Ducking and Diving


Beleaguered waterfowl at the bird sanctuary annihilated at the hands of the Gastapo fishing corps (Grind All Subjects To Political Offal) - common decency swept aside in disastrous rout as custard brain virus decimates moderates at Town Hall. Our Sainted Leader Homer and brain dead propaganda minister Nappy-Doogie proclaim victory

News from the front.

Surveying the carnage, commander Trampledown of the angling club corps was in carnival mood today as he relaxed with his ADC lieutenant Hookem-all, savouring victory on the south bank. When asked about casualties to pensioners, dogs, ducks and children he responded “ you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. Our conscience is clear. Mobility scooters and wheelchairs have no place on a fishing beat. We have the democratic support of the whole cloud cuckoo land cabinet, its leisure and green officers and environmental services. Our out-of-borough membership bears testimony to our democratic principles. You need to remember the lessons of history to understand that what might appear to ratepayers as favouring a minority interest is in fact the reality of contemporary politics. In general, law must not depart far from ethical custom nor lag far behind it” On the footpath jubilant Android fishionaires chanted at waterfowl huddled on the far bank ‘sling yer ‘ook. sling yer ‘ook, sling yer ‘ook!’

Moving swiftly, forestalling retaliation, the Android pioneer corps widened the path to permit rods and tackle to be deployed, banned toddlers trikes to protect the rods and hacked back overhanging branches to clear a field of fire to the far bank, no more than a cricket wicket away., Not a square millimetre of water remains clear for the waterfowl. Trampledown exulted, “Rami Pril, perhaps the best educated council officer, holds NVQ level one in bridge building, approves our plan to construct fishing platforms. Hoist the banner please - ‘Mission Completed, courtesy of the angling corps’, alongside the lottery commission one do will do nicely. I’ll be back for the photoshoot.“

(Damage to the bank)

On the pond - a very small 240 x 24 metre urban oasis.

On the north bank bird sanctuary, Oliver Owl gently cooed, unheard, ’Naturam expellas furca, kamen usque recurrent’. Partisan Droopy Duck was busy arranging a last ditch defence, cautioning ducks not to swim on the water, coots and moorhens not to duck-dive, dogs not to swim for sticks and birds to fly in and out by way of the Berlin air corridor over the playing fields. The latter admonition considered prudent since Hoppy Heron went for a burton, snagged by a line over the southern flight path. Molly Mallard spoke soulfully of the loss of the south bank where in happier times she had delighted in showing off her chicks from under her wings to passing children. Where two seasons previously up to two dozen broods congregated, now only brave individuals ventured, mainly at dusk. “ Oh dear” she lamented “ now the beautiful mute swans can never return,

Becks and Posh are in great danger. Hold on, hold on, - doesn‘t the Monarch own all swans? That’s what I’ll do, by jove. I’ll write to bonnie Prince Charlie, yes, yes and the mayor, you know, that bloke Boris, what’s his name, Karlof? And don’t forget Bill Oddsocks and Kate Humblepie, The omdudsman, RSPB I’m sure they will help. Oh no, save your standing ovulation, there is no point.

She quacks

“Perhaps the Councils spin

has already roped them in.

Press officer Tauruscheit

commands indisputable might

Bunnie Buffie, is probably right

although her talk of injunctions is beyond my sight.

Delegated legislation

is a complex situation,

ultra vires ploys

is one for the legal boys.”

Tell me, granddad rabbit, please, when you were a lad, were cruise missiles and make-believe MWD’s falling around your knees? Oh no, he replied, I’ll tell no lies, only doodlebugs, V2’s and butterfly bombs fell from the skies. We gave as good as we got, launched phosphorous grenades and napalm canisters at the other lot. The problem is we’ve only feathers at this spot.

Squirrel Nutcase’s master class

“Today we consider the role of duckmocracy.” he began. Who knows what this is?” “It’s exercising the will of the majority” responded pochard Pangloss obsequiously, encouraged by the smiling encouragement of professor Nutcase.

“Oh no it’s not!” remonstrated vole Voltaire. “Consider our pond, with say three major parties - the birdbrain party, the animal behaviour party and the fish face party. Now suppose in a local pond election they receive respectively the following percentages of the votes cast. 41%,39%,11% and other parties share 9%. Of course, over several wards the figures vary but for the sake of our hypothesis they will do. Therefore 41%, you say, inherit the right to insist that they reflect the opinions of the other 59% which they do not. Overall, Pangloss, you maintain that the bird party will look after us. But hang on a moment. What if I told you that in the said election only 30% of the entire common voted. Let us suppose a population of 10.000. Therefore 3,000 have voted, so 1230 birds claim they speak for 10.000. This is an aberration, and, anyway. none of this counts for a damn! Here only 50, nay, half a dozen un-elected anglers and cohorts, not from the area, at an unconstitutionally convened meeting, surreptitiously engineer a beautiful putsch. Speaking for 200,000 locals? Nice if you can get it.

For years now, cynical manipulation of our duckmocratic principles has misled us all, pretending that our imperfectly elected representatives control the corridors of power, are accountable to us, and will look after us. Wrong, wrong, wrong. In this money driven world today, do you really believe £200,000 p.a. salaried permanent mandarins, often lured from out of our area by “attractive packages”, will listen to the voices of poor £8000 local councillors?”

Gordon Goose from Hibernia, stirred awake by the snorting of Connery Coot and Smokey Salmon, screeched “ it’s a ducking liberty, hang the ducking lot in the ducking high street!” Sugar Sparrowhawk, off with the fairies, for no apparent reason suddenly snarled “ your fired ” and Connery Coot added “would some power the giftie gie us” and Salmon quacked “devolution” Bedlam reigned.

Panicking swiftly, Dr Nutcase, Bf (hons) was appalled things were not going according to intranet/ds-decisionprocess and unable to find the appropriate idiot box to tick on his performance sheet, frantically dismissed the class, handing out worksheets for next weeks master class on :

Delegated Legislation, (a) Parliament delegates to local authorities, (b) local authority delegates to angling club (c) angling club delegates to PCSOs (d) Swans get shafted. Examine the relationship and the significance of this and its parallels with (a) i.e. Top honcho Gravy Brown delegates running the whole world to un-elected Namby Meddlesome. Jock ‘watch my hips’ Cameldung provides fatuous response in opposition so the dictates of democracy are satisfied. Discuss

The Great Disturbance

Outside, scraggy Fred, genus unknown to Granddad rabbit, but clearly recognisable as being the black one with a curly tail and a predisposition to walk like an ostrich, frequently stopped and searched by OSPC,s, reminisced over the days of his hassling the bulldozers and dredgers during The Great Disturbance to end all disturbances. How his actions alone had led to the anti terrorist laws on the common. No assembling within 200 yards of the banks, unless you are an Android, no photographing and registered identity cards proposed as mandatory.

(The great disturbance)

Picking up the pieces

In the junior classroom, Mandy Mandarin, a dedicated teacher, strived to make sense of it all for the ducklings .“It’s not just here” he declared. “the whole council; their brains have turned to custard, or perhaps they are truly evil. Councillor Stenosis and Councillor Claudication have handed the reins completely to their salaried, un-elected Jobsworthys. We have their press releases extolling their love of nature, their traditional support of no fishing on such a narrow site - a bird sanctuary to boot!: their box ticking membership of so many conservation bodies, provides the cloak of their being the goodies.

He quacks.

Dr dis and Dr dat,

with Masters in dis and Masters in dat.

Children. it’s the three R’s that they lack.

You will do well to remember that it is a gap in your grasp of any of these very simple basics that will forever leave a void in your brain for the rest of your life. Phd or not. So pay attention at the back! Homo Sapiens think they rule the world - rubbish- they are only here to feed the bugs. Remember, you can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals, but it all ends up the same.

Talk to three trees, talk to the trees” he cried as he took off in a flurry of feathers into the evening breeze.

Meanwhile Eggy, the Egyptian Goose, a relatively recent and welcome newcomer was scanning the horizon for signs of his (or her?) former spring partner, but feared the worst.


Goethe Kingfisher, himself an expert angler anguished over the conflict in his heart “zwei Seele wohnen, ach, in jeder Bruster” to which Pochard Pangloss replied “All’s for the best in this best of possible worlds” while Voltaire Vole said “don’t you believe it .” Jones ‘the song’ Jay, in his cups, sang morbidly “ who lost the tripple crown, who lost the tripple crown ... “ The Canada geese voted to flip their main residence back to Ottawa, claim allowances for Cannonball Lake, disappear as soon as possible and not stand for reselection.

In the boughs woodpeckers and parakeets dodged abandoned tackle.

Droopy confirmed that support had been offered by detachments of mitten crabs, terrapins, natterjack toads and pipistrelle bats, but had been rejected, although the enemy had introduced foreign carp. However, support from the Cormorant squadron, Guernica, could neutralise some of the latter threat but they were not really ideal pond mates. Active support from the canine defenders, trampling lines, swimming into floats and devouring bait, although welcomed, had led to injuries and foul language from some and heavy veterinary bills to others, which was sorely regretted. Droopy stressed however that the ducks wished to live in harmony with marine life as they had for decades past. Realistically, human support was what was required. So nature lovers and children, Droopy wants your support and seeks your ideas What about it?

As weights and floats from the victorious fell among the waterfowl Oliver hooted loudly ’Adhuc sub judice lis est’ which Droopy kindly translated as it’s not over yet and when pressed to explain Ollie’s earlier utterance quacked ’ you can force nature away with a fishing rod but its not over until the fat goose sings.’ Droopy sighed deeply as he set off on yet another hazardous patrol, leaving granddad rabbit to limp off back

to his barn HQ, musing ominously “ there is a tide in the affairs of man“.

In the old folks’ home

Fortunately some are able to take a more sanguine view of life. You know, those past it, been there, seen it, done it, got the T shirt, boring old fats. Philosophical you say? Not really - actually they were in their cups. Granddad robin was having a dig at the grandchildren, chirping ‘the guards are changing at Duckingham Palace, Christopher robin’s now know as Alice’ Granddad Goose chipped in with ‘Duckmas is coming, the geese are getting fatter, I’ll roast my old woman, in a fizzy water batter’, upsetting Granny Goose who, already irate at being forced to watch footie when strictly come ducking was on the tele, responded with ‘ my old man’s a racist, he wears an England hat, he thinks we’ll beat Brazil, what d’yer think of that’

The rebirth of Duckmocracy

In the dark of the night, as moonbeams filtered through the scrub, something stirred

‘deep in the woodland.

living in a tent’

just like a squat, man,

you pay no rent’

it was Droopy was going over plans to flood the banks. Voltaire, however was occupied on more weighty matters, the compilation of the duckmocracy manifesto. An event later to be enshrined in history. The bedrock of the creation of The New Real Duckmocracy Party, no less. Those not there will think themselves accursed.

The draft manifesto proposed that all law-making remains in (returns to?) the nation’s pruned parliament composed of 300 elected M.P’s. who would vote in the house according to their conscience and the wishes of their constituents. None would be eligible to stand as an MP until the were 30 years of age and had been gainfully employed in the commercial world for at least ten years. Any delegated legislation to local authorities and any powers permitted thereby would be the responsibility solely of clearly recognisable, accountable, elected local representatives; not salaried un - elected mandarins and their minions who would be shorn of the powers they have undemocratically usurped. The party whip would be abolished, indeed criminalized. Local authorities and its councillors, once the cornerstone of democracy, but now derided, would be revitalised.

Cannonball Town Hall

motto: facilis est descensus Averni (to hell with you all)

Back at the Town Hall, Deggie Currantbun, the verified pc correct, caring, sharing, feeling, leader, sat back at his idling workstation and summoned his Enviro chair, (or was it a wardrobe?) namely ruthless Wrecker Bradman, seeking assurance that all performance charts were up to date. He was assured that “alles war in Ordnung”, that Stenosis and Claudication had been tossed their crumbs.” “Pass the port” he replied, and show me again how to log on to this new computer game, for I pledge I‘ll beat you yet”. Oh and by the way, I’ve heard news of a rebel called Voltaire - get the other lot to send a drone over there, if you would. You don’t live in the borough, so friendly fire from the usual multiple strikes won’t disturb your rest at night. Those proles out there dare to take solace from nature with its love of kinship and family life. But gadzooks we shall wipe it out. Murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right. Oh yes, surprise, surprise, Trampeldown and Hookem found no WMD’s so be prepared for the usual cries, just face them down and they soon subside. We’re not war criminals telling lies. Hitler and Saddam can go that way, but we will thrive and stuff ’em alive.

We’ve come too far to let this slide, with Gastopo offices in every town to smooth our ride. Our council consultations are a lovely blind, to fool the people that we’re really kind.

Breaking News: custard virus mutates, custardbrain flu sweeps the globe. Local Gastapo vaccination offices set up to spread the virus.

Correction, important priority one, for spread read spear, acknowledge immediately

Deep in cyberspace at Camp Tony, intelligence agents trawled the web, listening and logging all. President Ripebanana turned to his guest, ex-prez Mulberrybush averring that things looked good. Omens for the primaries were cool, real cool. Except trouble was brewing in tiger woods.

The barn HQ and its personnel

The barn HQ is secretly located in a quiet suburban side street. It was originally a typical three-bed semi but a fortuitous series of DIY ‘happenings’ created what could possibly be called a desirable rustic barn conversion with outbuildings. Concealed behind the seemingly bland exterior is a tardis-like warren of facilities open to visiting intelligence operatives Charlie Robin, Woody Pigeon , Cheeky Mouse. Dizzy Dunnock and a host of visiting wildlife.

(Goldfish pond)

Sub aqua intelligence is the responsibility of Goldie and the frogmen in a newly dug pond in the far corner of the domain which although necessarily small played host to at least 14 frogs earlier in the year

At the centre of it all sits Granddad, hunched over his ancient workstation sometimes fondly called Enigma and at others bolshie computer

Granddad Rabbit (a pretend rabbit)

(Granddad takes unwelcome news at the barn forward OP)

Granddad Rabbit is the pseudonym of

David Coleman, BA(hons) Government, Constitutional Law , FCIS (Rtd), Corporation of Secretaries National Prizewinner.

Youngest of five children, his father was a mechanical engineer and his mother a shop assistant, he was born 1936 in Camberwell Green London to a family living in poor surroundings, in Peckham, - one cold water tap and outside loo. Evacuated on the first day of WW11 with his Mickey mouse gasmask to the bucolic surroundings of Sturminster Newton, Dorset, farm life was his daily bread. Returning to a bombed-out Peckham, the bombsites and redundant EWS reservoirs furnished great adventure and nature sites, where the Three Musketeers, convolvulus, colt’s foot, elderberry, rosebay willow herb, ragwort, dragonflies and caddis fly larvae flourished amongst the debris. Ever sociable he learned ballroom dancing, - quickstep, tango and all that jazz and became a mean three card brag player in his teens.

The 11 plus and entry to the local Grammar school, he is a proud Old Askean, led on to National Service, serving as a squaddie with BCFK in Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. A WOSB deferred candidate, after two year’s service, he declined the chance of a commission in Hong Kong, wanting to get home, but the boat was delayed by war in the Suez..

After demob, grafting in Austria (courier), Australia(airport baggage loader), Canada (tobacco picker) and America (car delivery driver) meant that he did not apply to universities until he was a mature, 23 year old, when he entered Exeter University. Awarded an honours degree in-between spending most of the time playing rugby for the first XV and the UAU. Reading government, jurisprudence, legal theory and constitutional law added to his A level qualifications. Exposed to in-depth analysis of the Constitutions of America, Russia, France and Britain. His ease in German and French, passable Spanish and Japanese has ensured many ad hoc enjoyable exchanges with chance acquaintances.

A maths supply teacher at a tough secondary modern school in Peckham he spent the later decades running his own accountancy and company law secretarial business before retiring, age 66 in 2002. Clients included the most determinedly independent minds in London print, requiring loads of tlc with Management Accounts, Payroll, Credit Control, VAT, PAYE, Insolvency, Redundancy Law, SSP, ITB consultancy kept his brain keenly honed. External auditor to the Bank of Nigeria. Lecturer in Constitutional Law and Legal Theory.

An avid supporter of the local community, a past Hercules Wimbledon Team Manager and trainer, he is currently campaigning against Merton Council’s culture of deference and its promotion of an angling club to fish the local small, grade one listed nature reserve waterfowl sanctuary ; although he is a fisherman himself.. “It’s wrong, I don’t believe in shooting fish in a barrel, on a reserve, while local children are compelled to dodge hooks whilst trying to feed the ducks and birds that are nesting”

His wife, a retired senior physiotherapist, is a staunch fund-raiser for the local Scouts. His son, a chartered accountant and three daughters, all professionally qualified, were all educated in the Borough’s local schools. Forever indebted and appreciative he is aghast at the arrogant, undemocratic stance displayed by present-day Councillors and Officers in Merton.

Eight grandchildren complete his family. Believes the best lesson he was given as a child was to master simple arithmetic and basic English speech , as the foundations to achieve success in whatever one chooses to be in life. As something that can be revisited and mastered at any stage in life, he believes it pays indisputable dividends.

Presently compiling an archive on the works of his father in law, the Edwardian poet Russell Markland - RM Ingersley (Lay of the stone table, The scarab beetle etc) and his cousin Professor S E Whitnall, author of Human Anatomy and Physiology, essential reading still for medics. Contemporary of Sir William Osler who entrusted Whitnall to deliver the his irreplaceable medical oeuvres from Oxford to McGill, Canada. Founder member along with Stephen Leacock of the now worldwide Osler Society. Archive includes unpublished works from 1915 and home movies featuring his family and grandchildren up to his death in 1973. The far-distant family kinship includes Lord Rea, Keith Groves of Manx, Grimble Groves - A Pattern of Islands, the family sponsorship of Cheshire homes (Holehird) and Outward Bound(Gatehouse).Russell’s handwritten diaries of life as a country gentlemen, and his correspondence with contemporary literati between the wars, and after, divulge a host of tremendous personalities, begging for a drama-doc production. He would welcome help with this project and others he has in mind.

Granny Rabbit (another pretend rabbit)

Code name of a soft and adorable person married to the above for the past 45 years, which says a lot for her tolerance and equanimity. Loves animals, her four offspring and eight grandchildren.

Raises funds for the Scouts with her keep fit and dancing classes. A highly experienced and qualified retired physiotherapist, so ably positioned to offer advice on any on site sprains. Anyone else able to buzz off in so many directions at once, would surely be called ’fly’ of the blue variety. Approach with utmost respect

(Granny rabbit arms Woody and his bomb aimer for a mission)

Bob, Maxie, Billie and Buffie ( real rabbits )

All rabbits who live or have lived at HQ with complete freedom and run of the house and garden. A full log photographic record of their intelligence operations exits and awaits publication.

Bob - now laid to rest under the apple tree. A true male, a master of subterfuge and the hidden sofa terror of the dance mistress. The Chief often carried his scent to the City as an unidentifiable and unwanted male fragrance when Bob objected to being ejected from the garden and placed in secure accommodation in the barn. Decorated with the cross for valour for fighting off two foxes with a bar for sabotaging eight confirmed telephone lines.

Maxie - the softest fur and greatest fireplace chimney explorer and climber. Fastest over two flights of stairs if the bar was open . Could leap six feet from a standing start. A comfort to old ladies. Buried under the potentilla bush of the same colours of his coat.

Billie the kid - simply the greatest from the day the vet was ordered by the pet store to put this two week old down to his last day with us eight years later. A boy with real attitude who if you didn’t quickly share the cornflakes would vent his disapproval on your shoes and trousers with you in them. Had the sharpest and most accurate jaw of all.

Buffie the barrister- like Billie a rescue bunny pup from the vet, then no larger than a small hand who had been attacked by an adult doe and chewed to pieces. Given days to live but tenderly nursed by Granny rabbit and Billie she has grown to a beautiful although slower seven year old. Eager to take on the wreckers of Cannonball Common. If you would like a copy of her 15 point appeal to the Council, please mail the chief:

(Billie right, briefs Buffie before a mission)