Friday, April 06, 2007

Chess, Calves and a Broody Duck

The public did indeed play with the chess set today. All our outdoor games were very popular. My main problem now is keeping the escapee calves away from it all. I don't want them to crap all over the board. They are very interested in the big games. And the dog keeps making off with the croquet balls.


This duck has also decided to go where she can cause maximum disruption. This weekend we proudly unveiled our new exhibition in the courtyard. A wonderful collection of new interpretation panels and interactive displays on 700 years of forestry and farming on the estate. One of our key exhibits was our "listening post", where you can press a button on the display and hear various people talking about various aspects of farming on the estate through the ages. This was in an alcove of its own. The last week has seen countless men in heavy boots clumping in and out, sawing bits of wood, wiring up the speakers, shifting out the junk. And, lo and behold, a broody duck decided this was the ideal spot to lay her eggs.

Her nest is a bizarre mix of an old latex glove, a used tea light, some plastic bags and feathers. Unperturbed by the activity around her she has sat stoically on her nest all week. I was concerned she'd get trodden on, being so well camouflaged, so McColleague brought in a fireguard to put around her (leaving space for her to get in and out, of course!)

I have roped off the alcove altogether, with a little sign saying "Do Not Disturb. Nesting Duck." She is proving far more of an attraction than the listening post, which, somewhat unsurprisingly, turned out not to work properly anyway.

6 comments:

stitchwort said...

Hope you didn't have to hit them with the croquet mallets to get them to bloody well play with the chess set.

Reg Pither said...

How about you lift up Gemima, eggs, nest and all, and move her onto the giant board? You could then put up signs saying "This way to real, live Duck Chess". The Duck Chess of Sparrow Manor?
Any other help with marketing, don't hesitate to call.

carmen said...

I don't want to be picky but your chess board looks as if it might need mowing... or are you trying to confuse the public by growing green squares?

Doris said...

Stitchwort - I just hefted a boule (or was it a bowl?) meancingly.

Reg - the duck chess gag is so bad, it's brilliant.

Carmen - it's that buggery bastard chess board. It consists of individual squares of flexible plastic, with a kind of lattice work design to it. Once the pieces are locked together and it is lain on the lawn, the grass pokes through the little holes. This is another reason why I was so keen for the cows not to poo on it.

Anonymous said...

So are you going to start a "Chess Problem" section now?

stitchwort said...

Duck Chess? Croquet?
Off with their heads!