Today, a special moment which requires some background.
In August I became foster-mum to six tiny ducklings courtesy of the Animal and Bird Hospital. They progressed from a carton in my bedroom to a double carton in the spare bedroom, to a cold-frame in the garage (thanks Niki, Geoff and Daniel), to the cold-frame outside on the lawn, and finally to the chook enclosure. All this time they had the comfort of a lamp which provided warmth, even when it meant trailing metres of extension cord down the hill to the A-frame and hoping that rain wouldn't result in roast duck! Until they joined the chooks I went through armfuls of towels (substitute nappies) each day and endless changes of water. Once in with the chooks the duck(ling)s had a wonderful time swimming in two cat litter trays and a baby bath. Chooks and ducks happily co-existed.
I was warned that once released they would fly off - no thank you or backward glance. No such luck! They remained glued to the chook fence for several days (identity crisis?). Gradually they have waddled further afield, returning at a fast-waddle when they heard the chook (and their) food arriving. Then some days there would be four, or five, or two and I knew they were out exploring... But today, for the first time, I saw four ducks wheeling over my house several times in a figure of eight before coming in to land in the grassy area outside Chomondeley Children's Home. It was a glorious moment watching the ease of their flight and knowing that they were free and independent but choosing to return (even if just for the food!).