Let me say from the outset I have nothing against ducks.

But when they spoil an eagerly anticipated catch-up with my 2-year-old granddaughter then they definitely get crossed off my Christmas card list.
Let me explain.

Saturday saw me driving south to a town which shall remain nameless (in case of duck reprisals) and our own baby, Banker Boy, driving north with Mrs Banker Boy and their bub for a picnic-in-the-park catch-up.

Naturally we're all short of a few bob in the run-up to Christmas so lunch is a supermarket cooked chook, some rolls and a bit of coleslaw. You get the picture.
I was late and Miss Two was a little scratchy by the time I plonked myself down on the blanket beside her for Grandad time in the park.


Okay, so she hadn't seen me in a while but I've been down this road before so I knew which tricks to pull out to settle her down. The "Poor Grandad Needs A Hug" one fell flat so I settled for animal impressions.

"There's a dog over there. What noise does a doggie make? That's very good. Now what about those ducks over there. Can you quack like a duck?"

At this stage Banker Boy decided to help so he and I quacked like ducks to try to put a smile on the face of the wee cherub while Mrs Banker Boy sorted out the chicken and coleslaw rolls.

Before long we had attracted a good crowd of real ducks, all warily standing a few paces off as we quacked and laughed and started to eat.

On the blanket Miss Two had taken a bite out of her roll and was absentmindedly pointing elsewhere when, from nowhere, a duck charged in and grabbed it from her hand. Fearing she'd lost fingers I went for the villain.

Now, in my younger days I would've fancied my chances but now, with creaking knees, and excess weight causing an imbalance, er, everywhere all I managed to do was engage in some sort of slow motion roll-crawl to the aid of the wee one.

I sensed I was going to fall flat on my face so I let go of my roll and put out a hand to stop me face planting at her feet.

As I did another duck snaffled it up and had it away.


By this stage Banker Boy and his beloved had extricated their legs from the picnic table (you know what I mean; impossible to escape from quickly) and were coming to our aid.

Mrs Banker Boy took off after the first duck, which still had a sizeable roll in its mouth, and was joined in turn by other ducks and sparrows looking for an easy meal. Think one of those crazy Benny Hill chases from the '70s.

Banker Boy had made it to the blanket and there we sat with bub, somewhat open-mouthed watching the scene unfold.


As we watched a shout from a lady nearby made us aware of more drama behind us.
Two other ducks had hopped up on to the table and were wolfing down the unguarded chook.

Another had joined in the looting and was into the coleslaw.

All around them various little birds added to the frenzy, flitting in and out at the prospect of a crumb here or there.

Twenty metres away Mrs Banker Boy had given up the chase and was heading back to save the food as we sat frozen, trying to work out what next. The next five seconds of my life are a bit of a blur. It all happened so fast.

Basically it was like a table top explosion as an angry mum charged into the carnage.
Ducks, cooked chicken, birds, coleslaw, bread rolls, and all that other stuff that make up a picnic went everywhere.

Now Banker Boy is a lot like me and likes a laugh so he just roared.

Unfortunately he's only a year married so hasn't quite worked out there's a time and a place when your beloved is involved.

I mean derisive hoots are fine but not when your wife is standing there amid the chaos, a bit of coleslaw on her arm, wondering what on earth to do next and more importantly how to feed the family.

So Grandad stepped in to save the day with two words he knows from years of experience will ease both the tension and hunger pains.

"McDonald's, anyone?"

Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief that laughter helps avoid frown lines. Your own tales and feedback are welcome on kevin.page@nzme.co.nz