Pavlov’s Cygnets and Boatpeckers

We’d made Fotheringhay by Monday 7th, and some dear friends who we hadn’t seen since they relocated from the Isle of Mull to Northamptonshire managed to find the boat. After an critical inspection and n introduction to Sir, they whisked us off to The King’s Head, Wadenhoe which is also on the river, but a day or more further upstream. After an excellent lunch and catch up, an inspection of the pub’s moorings, a lightning whizz round Oundle’s Waitrose (so that’s what Oundle looks like!), and tea and buns at our friends new home, we arrived back at the boat having had a busier day than we had had for many weeks.

Pavlov's CygnetsPavlov's Cygnets 

Swimming grandly past were parent swan and three teenagers. The second we opened the side hatch the youngsters executed a smart right turn and paddled up to the hatch ready to be fed. Close the hatch… off they swim. Open it again… swift about turn and back to the boat. Talk about a Pavlovian response!

And if the birds that peck wood to wake up insects and provide sustenance are called Woodpeckers, why aren’t these ugly ducklings called Boatpeckers? It’s not uncommon to be woken up by these chaps pecking away on the boat by the hatch, then demanding food with menaces.

Here’s a tip chaps/chapesses: when the hatch opens and a lady is present, try to avoid hissing and looking dangerous!

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