The pale fingers of dawn are creeping around the edges of my curtains as something awakens me. I check my phone. There is a message from the Baby Angel many thousands of miles away in the UK so I exchange a few thoughts with her in the thinning gloom.
It is still quite dark when I heard the first quack.
"Hey, I hear quacking" I type. I swing my legs over the edge of the bed and shrug on the sky blue fleece dressing gown that will not wear out. Padding through the darkened corridor, lit by the glow of my phone, I make my way to the back door and peer through the glass to see if I can see the telltale silhouette of a bobbing head.
He (or she) is right there. Poised on one leg on the wall between spa and pool, its shadowy outline clear in the burgeoning morning.
The little bastard.
Bearing in mind the earliness of the hour, I employ only a partial version of my tried and true method, leaping across the patio, vaulting up the stairs and stamping my feet on the wooden deck. The duck slips into the water and hastily makes for the other shore. I race for the long handled pool scoop and wave it savagely at the slightly nervous looking creature who simply paddles off in another direction. I give chase; it redirects. I redirect; it paddles faster, just out of reach of my pole. I forget the hour and ROAAAAAAARRRRRRR like a beast.
"GET OUT OF MY POOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!"
The duck takes off in a whirr of wings and I settle back to still my heart.
No really, I am a bit out of breath.
I reach for my phone. As I am reporting the incident to the BA, another duck (paler, smaller) plops into the water beside me. BLOODY CHEEK!
I employ my methods again but this time the creature squawks furiously and shakes its feathery little tail insolently at me, lifting off the water for a few feet and landing again amidst a flurry of splashing and flapping. I swipe, it lifts and lands. I swipe it lifts and lands in the spa. I swipe again, roaring all the time; it lifts and performs a series of landings all the way across the pool with my scoop millimetres from its fluffy arse...rather like chasing a skimming pebble. Finally, it gives up and takes off proper, quacking indignantly all the while. I skid to a halt and realise I have broken out in a sweat; my heart is hammering and I have no further need of exercise for the day. I may also have pulled a hammy.
Quickly reporting my exploits on the phone to the BA, who is warm and comfortable on the sofa in England, I become aware, in the rapidly growing light, that Duck 2 has not gone far. It is up on the next level, near the shed, lurking. Waiting. Hovering like a vulture over the gasping breaths of an expiring animal (That would be my gasping breaths as I get my pulse rate down). I throw myself up the next flight of stairs, waving my stick again, and it saunters off behind the shed. I race back down the steps to retrieve some decorative stones from around the asparagus fern. Lobbing a few, ineffectively, behind the shed, I am satisfied to hear some scuffling and then stillness. I think it went over the fence. Or under. Pretty sure my girlie stone throwing had nothing to do with it though.
Returning poolside I station myself on the spa with pool scoop by my side.
YOU SHALL NOT LAAAAND!
A whirr of wings as the second duck buzzes me from overhead, on its way north.