I won’t have a word said against ducks. Which is strange because up until last week, I couldn’t have cared less. The most hardened duckophobe in the world could have marched up me to and launched into the sort of vicious anti-duck tirade that has people creasing up with embarrassment and discomfort, staring at their feet, wishing they were somewhere else. Not an eyelid would I have blunk. But that was then. That was before I had spent a happy afternoon watching a little duck family going about their ducky business in a pond in the Phoenix Park. Cute? Cute doesn’t even nearly cover it. Especially when it comes to baby ducks or “ducklets” as I believe they’re called. Wee balls of semi-transparent fluff who follow each other around even though it’s obvious that the lead ducklet hasn’t a clue where he’s going and is simply faking it, hoping the mammy duck will come back to the surface soon, preferably with a bit of soggy bread. And they don’t even get wet! I don’t know how they do it, what cunning trick they employ, but somehow the water just rolls off them like … oh. Right. Anyway, the point is that ducks have shot to the very top of my favourite birds chart, which is a highly respected chart that I have just made up. I plan to devote the rest of my life to their cause insofar as I will toddle across the street once in a while and throw bread at them. At least I think they’re ducks. Small birds in a pond, at any rate. What am I, Bill Oddie?

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