A Midwinter’s Night Dream

Or “Julius has nodded off on the sofa (again)”

Here we find Julius putting his feet up and just resting his eyes following an afternoon of Christmas busy-ness.

Unfortunately, before settling down he succumbed to the pleasure of maybe one too many of Alice’s delicious mince pies. (We won’t mention the Festive libation that accompanied it.)

He soon drifts off to the Land of Nod, with the sound of Christmas carols reverberating gently in his ears. To sleep, perchance to dream …?

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To be continued …

 

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A Duck Called Jack to the Rescue

In the last episode, we left poor Julius at the mercy of incomprehensible cooking instructions and his chocolate stealing ducklings. But perhaps all is not yet lost ..

In desperation, Julius rushes over to Duncan’s house to ask him for help (after all, it was his recipe). As luck would have it, Duncan has a visitor, his old pond mate Jack Monkfishroe, a cook known professionally as A Duck Called Jack. She has taken the opportunity to catch up with Duncan (along with her Small Duckling, SD) before flying off to the bright lights to promote her new cookery book. A popular figure in the Duck World, she has been known to shock the more staid readers of the Daily Guano with her tattooed feet. However she has won the hearts of thousands of cookery mad ducks with her no-nonsense tasty recipes that any duck can follow (and, just as importantly, afford). Mind you she has yet to meet our Julius …

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Duncan and Jack follow a distraught Julius back to his house, where Jack spends the rest of the afternoon taking him step by step through Duncan’s “foolproof” recipe.

Success! Under her close supervision Julius produces a perfectly moist eggless sponge with (thanks to a quick trip to the shops by Duncan) a rich chocolate ganache icing. Disaster has been averted.

By the time Alice arrives home, the kitchen is neat and tidy and the cake displayed in all its glory on her best china stand. Needless to say, she is delighted (as well as somewhat surprised). The ducks sit down to have a nice gossip in the time-honoured way with a cup of tea and some of Duncan’s own excellent seed cake. All’s Well That Ends Well ..

Drake in the Kitchen..

What is that noise coming from Alice’s kitchen? The banging of crockery; the crashing of cutlery; the sound of a drake muttering curses under his breath?

Julius, with the utmost romantic intentions, has decided to make his beloved wife Alice a special cake for Valentine’s Day. However, he is discovering that there is more to this “baking” malarkey than meets the eye.

He starts off well by asking his friend and local cake expert Duncan for a recipe. “This one is foolproof!” Duncan assures him. What could go wrong? Poor old Julius is about to find out.

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How do you “castor” sugar? How do you “cream” butter? ( Why not just use cream?) And how on Earth do you fold flour?? Perplexed by the unfamiliar jargon, Julius begins to lose heart. And this is before he discovers that his little Darling Ducklings have helped  themselves to the “special” chocolate he needs for the icing, neatly replacing the wrapper.

It seems as though the odds (as well as the cake tins) are stacked against our intrepid chef. Will his efforts to bake Alice a delicious offering of his love come to fruition, or will everything (including the kitchen) go up in a puff of smoke?

All will be revealed in the next episode, in which we meet a Mysterious Stranger and her Small Duckling …

A Very Feathery Thanksgiving

Petroc, Alice and Julius’ eldest, is coming home for the first time with his new sweetheart to meet the family. His new friend is American and will be having her first Thanksgiving away from home this year. Alice thought it would be nice if they could treat her to a Thanksgiving Meal so she wouldn’t feel left out.

The apple of his Mother’s eye, Petroc, has been away at Billiol College, Camford studying Medicine. He met his sweetheart Jamie on the rugby pitch; well to be exact she was on the sidelines and he was on the pitch being the new left wing for the First Fifteen. Their love of Rugby brought them together –  a sport widely enjoyed by many ducks, consisting of thirty muscular fellows scrambling about on a wet muddy field; a combination of opera, ballet and murder.

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Jamie is a Rhodes Island Red Scholar from a well to do family who made their money speculating on the Duck Jones stock market in New York. When their eyes met it was love at first sight and they have been inseparable ever since.

Alice is very keen to get things just right and the family have been very busy with the preparations for this important meal. A slightly confused Julius was told to return the Rainbow tablecloth he had borrowed from Gerald and Duncan after it was explained carefully to him that Jamie can be a girl’s name as well as a boy’s. The ducklings have been told to be on their best behaviour (!) and Heston, rather miffed that he has been told to have yet another bath, is nevertheless looking forward to a slap up meal.

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The meal is of course vegetarian as all ducks are. Jamie being very involved in Wildfowl Rights has brought a present for Alice, her hostess, a Turkey of her very own to adopt and so save from the dining tables of the humans. The meal goes swimmingly and the new British Holiday of Thanksgiving is deemed a success!

I hope that you too are able to spend some precious time with loved ones this Holiday Season.

Summer Days Drifting Away …

Ahh ! The summer holidays. A magical time for children to play, learn, explore and have fun ( weather permitting ). It seems as though those long balmy days will stretch on forever, well, until the beginning of September anyway, when the school term starts again. This is generally accompanied by parents heaving a massive sigh of relief because, although they will miss the little darlings, as everyone knows, you can have too much of a good thing.

Julius takes the opportunity to spend some quality time with his baby daughters and take them to Twt Park in Cowbridge. Heston is far too cool old to play on the swings, so he has gone off to play football with his mates. Alice is busy being pampered and having her feathers washed at Morgan Hair Design. So the three of them are left to enjoy themselves in the playground.

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On the way to meet Chloe and her ducklings at Caffi Cwac, they pass by the river and can’t resist have a splash about. A people Dad is also having some precious time with his children, showing them how to feed the ducks (properly).

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What better way to end a relaxing afternoon with your children than having tea with your friends and catching up on the local news ?

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Better make sure those uniforms are pressed and alarm clocks are ready ( not long to go now ).

Meet the gang….

To the theme tune of the 1970s British sitcom “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” – by Perry and Croft.

Meet the gang ’cause the ducks are here –

The ducks to entertain you.

With music and laughter to send you on your way –

We’re raising the rafters with a hey-hey-hey!

With songs and sketches and comedy too –

So come with us and you won’t feel blue!

So meet the gang ’cause the ducks are here –

The ducks to entertain you!

D-U-D-U-C-K  DUCKS to entertain youuuu!

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To conclude with a rousing rendition of “Land of Hope and Glory” – getting into practice for the Proms!