…a point raised at the Parish Council Meeting – it’s time the duck-pond was cleaned out. There’s some ‘foreign matter’ i.e. not ducks. On checking, it wasn’t living and seemed to be mainly stuff like empty beer cans that people had chucked in on the long stagger home – you know, twice around the pond then turn left…

The pub is next to the duck-pond, opening hours are, erm, ‘flexible’.

Just have to fill in a form advising the local authority and spend an afternoon wandering around in waders under the guidance of Old Bob, the local expert. Someone has to wheel him up close though!

Erm, wrong! The local authority have defined it as a ‘specialist activity’ requiring a Risk Assessment and a Project Plan – Prince was mentioned but I can’t see how he would help? The local authority offered a grant and a Project Team so we accepted.

In hindsight, a hasty decision…

Anyway, a date was set and, on the Monday in question two chaps turned up in a van wearing hi-vis vests (the chaps, not the van) and white hard hats. A series of stakes were placed around the pond and ticker-tape finished the job. A low-loader turned up next with two more chaps in white hard hats and hi-vis vests. They had a chat to the first two chaps who then went away. After a couple of hours the security fence was erected following the line of the ticker tape which was then removed. Signs were attached to the fence warning against ‘unauthorised access’ and the need for hard hats – presumably in case a comatose, overweight pigeon roosting in the only tree plummeted earthwards…

Nothing else happened until Tuesday when a skip was delivered and a JCB dropped off.

On Wednesday, several vans appeared and a number of chaps examined the duck-pond minutely but nothing else happened until a lady with a red hard hat and a clipboard arrived. Boxes were ticked, heads nodded and the JCB was started.

Now, the only tree (mentioned earlier) is on the little island in the middle of the duck-pond making the pond a ring. This means there’s no requirement for the JCB to go into the water as the bucket can just about stretch across the full expanse. About a third of the pond was dredged and everyone stopped for munchies. When they returned the pond was empty, of water that is, it had all drained away through the hole the JCB had punched through the clay lining.

The project was stopped. Consultations were made. Two people with green hard hats turned up and looked into the pond then went away.

Nothing happened on Thursday.

On Friday, the lady with the red hard hat turned up accompanied by two chaps in expensive suits. They had gold Burberry hard hats. Someone wheeled Old Bob up to the pond.

“Tha’ll need six labourers in wellies and eight barrow-loads of clay from bottom field. A coupla milkers wouldn’t hurt”

No-one keeps cows in the village any more so we settled for the six labourers who walked around on the eight barrow-loads of clay we gradually shovelled in. After a couple of hours Old Bob pronounced himself happy with the result, the last beer cans were removed and the fire-hose was turned on filling up the pond.

And the moral of this tale? Don’t mess with technology you don’t understand 🙂