April has been an odd month in Ambridge. For odd, read wet. Indeed were I of a superstitious nature I’d be laying in biblical quantities of wood right now, and assembling a binary menagerie. You see the Am has burst it’s banks and roams abroad the flood plains of Borsetshire like an invading army and the denizens of the quaint Am-side villages are stockpiling tinned goods and filling sand bags “just in case”.
In consequence the roads of the customary drive to work have become waterways, especially those approaching the foot of the Ambridge Escarpment. Last week I sloshed up behind a Clio that was crawling along at a sedate pace in the middle of the canal… er, road, seemingly oblivious to the tailback that was forming in short order behind me.
It transpired as they approached the rise to the aforementioned escarpment, that there was a tailback of their own in front. Or at least a tail attached to the back of a young lady mallard who had, not unreasonably, taken this particular part of the Queen’s Highway for a new tributary to our mighty river, through which she was paddling and plashing along, oblivious to the chain of four wheeled watercraft arrayed in line astern. I can’t help wondering what went through her mind as she encountered the uphill gradient of this particular watercourse though.
There have been benefits to the “wettest-April-on-record”. The lawns at Jest Acres now, at last, have a greenish hue and no longer resemble blasted and windblown tundra. Admittedly most of this greening is of mossy origin, but as you all know I’m never one to complain. And the wizened and stunted trees of the soon to be legendary Jest Orchard have finally seen fit to sprout a few green shoots and varicoloured pink and white blossoms which cling desperately to their branches for a few moments before being lashed away by the battering rains.
Just now it looks for all the world as though May is destined to continue the aquatic trend, though we are told it would need to keep up like this for months ahead if we are not to regard present conditions as a drought still. (It seems the spirit of Michael Fish is alive and well at the Met Office). Be that as it may, imagine my delight when, on approaching the escarpment this morning I espied a hastily hand painted sign reading simply, “Caution! Ducks!”