Friday 15 October 2010

Swan story you will never forget.

About eight years ago we had a holiday with our two dogs on a broads hire boat. The boat seemed somewhat crowded with a couple of manic Springer Spaniels constantly dashing around. For the first couple of days, we had to try and keep them under close control, whilst they became accustomed to life on a boat. Both dogs loved water, as expected there were several instances of dog overboard.

Most evenings we would feed the ducks and geese after cruising for the day. This particular evening we were joined by a pair of swans. There birds were almost hand tame and I was soon sat on the gunnel feeding them. Suddenly one of the dogs came dashing out of the door and stopped with his back feet in the well and his front feet on the gunnels. With the swan being right next to the boat, this put them within a foot or so of each other. The swan was the first one to react when he made a lunge for the dog and caught a hold of him by the ear. At this point, both of them chickened out and tried to go in opposite directions.

The dog had the typical long ears of a spaniel, however he had been trimmed with his long wavy hair left on his ears. The swan was soon tangled up and not able to let go. I slammed the door shut into the boat, so that the second dog would not get involved. At this point I started to try and grab them both to see if I could pull them apart. Holding a flapping swan in one hand and a panic stricken Springer spaniel in the other is quite difficult. This was however, compounded by a couple of "old ladies" who were shouting abuse at me because they thought I had "set the dog" on the swan.

The tug and pull between the dog and swan must only have lasted a matter of seconds, before I managed to free them both. The swan made a tactical withdrawal away from the boat. The dog hit the bank at high speed. I jumped onto the bank to go after the dog. Out of the blue one of the old ladies started to beat me with her walking stick. I was trying to fend off the walking stick blows and call the dog back at the same time. I managed to grab her stick. Then the second old lady came to the "rescue" of the first old lady and also started to wade in with her bag, swinging it with all her strength.

The dog shot past me and jumped back onto the boat. I fought a rear guard action in Dunkirk style whilst I retreated for the boat. At this point the first old lady says she is going to get the police. The second old lady bolstered by her prowess with the hand bag, is issuing all kinds of dire threats.

I threw off the boats mooring lines and made good my escape. These two "blue rinse thugs" bring a whole new meaning to "Auntie Social Behaviour"


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