SOMETIMES we don’t run into someone for ages, then they turn up everywhere we go.
We see them at East Albury IGA, Nord Bakery and primary school drop-off, all within days.
Suddenly they’re orbiting on the same circuit as us.
It’s happened to me with a family of wood ducks I chanced on about four weeks ago on a walk along the Murray River to Noreuil Park.
The proud new parents of eight ducklings were happy enough to greet my fellow walker and me from a distance – my friend was out walking her baby after all too – but less fussed when we actually crossed paths.
The parents lunged at the tyres on the pram as we made off post-haste.
It’s fair enough; it was border protection policy and duck parenting at play.
Since then the ducks have turned up everywhere, though truth be told not yet to IGA or Nord. They’re too far east and south, respectively.
At the Albury pool on Sunday afternoon, the same family of ducks made a beeline for the 25-metre pool.
I was swanning about with my two offspring, who were practising their synchronised swimming up the shallow end of the medium pool.
They had strict instructions to steer clear of the lap lanes and not to grab on to the lane rope unless their lives depended on it.
I wasn’t prepared to argue with the lap swimmers over anything less trivial than a near drowning!
The lap swimmers had already warned off plenty of kids crossing the line – so to speak – into their watery turf.
They had also called a lifesaver over to deal with the repeat offenders.
So when the ducks looked like launching themselves on the lap lanes, I wanted to warn them.
“Feathers will fly,” I tried to say.
“They’ve already told 10 other children to duck off ... I mean, away.”
Anyhow, the ducks took no notice and dived in despite the “No Diving” sign. This was going to get ugly for the ducks, I worried.
Before too long the ducks were given the short-shrift by children risking the wrath of the lap lane swimmers once again. Then the lifesaver had to set the kids straight about staying away from the lanes.
Within 20 minutes the ducks came back. They were thirsty and were not going to let a few kids get in their way.
Now the lifesaver waded in to shoo the ducks, who reluctantly waddled off for the last time.
On Monday catching up on social media happenings from the weekend, I noticed the ducks had been on parade at Albury’s Picnic in the Gardens at the Botanic Gardens.
Apparently free entertainment is a drawcard for all kinds of big families.
The protective duck parents were again letting everyone know just how close they could come to their tribe without any problems.
I can’t imagine the responsibility of looking after eight youngsters under the age of three months.
I’m curious as to where the duck family will turn up next but if they stay on my course they will definitely be at a few Christmas parties including barefoot bowls, Albury Carols by Candlelight, a street party and a drama concert.
Heading into the gale-force full front of the festive season, I only hope the clever parents can keep all of their little ducks in a row.