On Wednesday evening I wended my way home back up the towpath after purple_pen
's birthday celebrations. I saw not a single soul, bipedal or feathered, all the way along the path. Eventually, as Donnington Bridge loomed large over the river, I found the missing birds. Under the bridge, around fifty or more ducks and geese were floating, silent and stationary, in the middle of the river. They were all looking, expectantly, back towards town. They weren't blinking (do ducks blink?), and they weren't making any noise. Just waiting.
A short time later, I walked back over the bridge[*]. The ducks and geese had dispersed, around ten had settled by one bank, and the remainder floated against the other. I can only assume that this is an avian form of voting. This was the annual great waterfowlmoot, and something serious is afoot. The motion as firmly carried (or possibly soundly defeated). Expect ducks to take over the world imminently.
[*] I appreciate that the obvious question here is what was I doing walking backwards and forwards over Donnington Bridge. It goes like this: Donnington Bridge is a largely symetrical structure, with equally bland scrubby patches of greenery and brick houses on each side. When I climb up onto the bridge from the towpath, I have to pause, visualise a map of Oxford, and work out from first principles which way to turn to get to my house. I did this on Wednesday, calculated that I should turn left, and was thus somewhat surprised to find myself at the wrong end of the road heading for the Fox & Hounds.
Subsequent attempts to recalculate confirmed that (a) left was the correct answer and (b) I'd gone right. I have no idea why. I'm usually pretty good on left and right. My only possible explanation is that I was distracted as I got to the road by a fox running along the pavement, and, watching him, turned right through long force of habit born of too many trips home from the Isis Tavern. As I walked along, I had my eyes firmly on the ground as I attempted not to squash hundreds of snails and thus failed to notice the wrong scenery going past.
Either that or someone temporarily flipped Donnington Bridge by 180 degrees. Bastards.