Official duck shooting season commenced yesterday.
The big party to celebrate the opening of duck shooting season was planned for weeks.
The Swine House was decorated with wooden decoys, bales of hay, three dead pigeons (tastefully arranged), a life-size portrait of Daffy Duck and a bushy mai-mai in the corner. There were to be games: Duck Idol, a duck and spoon race, pin the tail on the duck, musical ducks and a duck chucking contest.
Agent of Death had a lamb, a salmon and leg of ham for the barbeque. There were three coolboxes full of wine, spirits and mixers to facilitate interest in the games.
So it was a real shame nobody turned up apart from The Warrior who wasn’t even invited.
In fairness, it had been raining rhinos and witches all afternoon. The Swine House paddock was a quagmire. In fact, ‘quagmire’ doesn’t fully describe the shifting, crawling mess of mud, which – if you stared at it after a couple of vodkas – appeared to advance menacingly in waves.
Being Irish, I wasn’t going to be put off by a touch of inclemency – which in any case was more than compensated for by lashings of alcohol. In case you’re ever invited to the Swine House, appropriate party wear is woolly socks, reliable jackets and extreme beanies rather than stilettos and body glitter.
I attempted to kick off the evening with a vodka & orange, but got off to a shaky start when I mistook Agent of Death’s ham glaze for orange juice. My stepfather in law was so preoccupied laughing – or choking on a lamb shank, it wasn’t certain which – I nearly succeeded in throwing out his glaze in disgust. Agent of Death saved it at the line with a last-dash tackle.
At 8pm, the gathering consisted of the family, Paul, the Kardashian Twins, Barry and his ADHD sons, The Warrior and a couple of his infested friends – enough to stage Duck Idol. Her Goatiness, Florrie and I judged the duck-calling. I don’t know about anyone else, but we had a blast:
“In all my years on the duck scene, I’ve never heard anything so shit. It sounded like the wicked duck of the west. I’m afraid it’s a ‘no’ from me.”
“There’s no doubting your enthusiasm, but you need to project from the diaphragm, not the sphincter. No.”
“You think you can come on here with your skimpy outfit and wiggle your tits around, but here at Duck Idol we’re looking for more. I’m going to vote ‘no’.”
“There’s no doubting your technique, but I just didn’t feel the emotion. To be honest, I just don’t think you’re hungry enough to win this competition.”
As it turns out, Husband demonstrated an extraordinary, previously unsuspected talent for duck calling. His performance was a startlingly original portrayal of a duck-hunter on the edge, a man driven to desperate measures. In a dramatic twist at the end, he mimed fending off a savage duck attack. It was a poignant and heartfelt blend of yearning, urgency and drunkenness.
There was no nepotism involved in my granting him my only ‘yes’ of the competition, and it was no surprise (to me) when he swept aside his competition to win Duck Idol 2011. He was so caught up in his victory that he sprayed his cheering fans with beer, thankfully direct from the bottle.
Agent of Death sulked because he only won a consolation prize.
The duck chucking competition was carnage: feathers, blood and lice everywhere. The kids came in handy for retrieving the ducks in the rain. Husband duct-taped his duck, but in the event it didn’t provide any superior aerodynamic advantage. Paul somehow flung a duck onto the Swine House roof. Gary pulled the head off his.
I left around about the time the dead pigeons looked like they were about to come to life and terrifyingly peck at my eyeballs.