Swans, Police, and Busted Bones
One of our favorite things to do in Lowestoft is feed the swans in Oulton Broad. Oulton Broad is part of the network of man-made bodies of water known as the Norfolk Broads (although, it’s actually situated in Suffolk, not Norfolk). Besides having the largest group of wild swans I’ve ever encountered, Oulton Broad has Nicholas Everitt Park, a monstrous park with an equally monstrous play area. The boys love playing there, not even minding that what should be a few-minute car ride straight from our house is actually an hour-long journey that includes two separate buses and a half-mile hike. Thank goodness they adore buses.
In fact, it was as we waited for a bus connection that we talked to the constable about the swans. She was waiting for a bus to work, standing right next to us at the bus stop. The boys were fascinated with her jolly hat and reeled her in from there. They showed her our bag of bread and told her our plans to feed the swans. She then told us to “mind those swans”, as they’ve been known to break people’s arms in their excitement to get food.
Hello! Mommy Alert at Code Yellow. None of the swans in the fairy tales I know so well break people’s arms. Yowza.
She also told us that we had to be kind to the swans, as they “belong to a very special lady….”, clearly prodding them to answer. My boys looked at her blankly. “They belong to the Queen,” she finished with a jaunty nod. My boys still looked at her blankly. I haven’t taught them about queens yet. If she’d asked about castles, she would’ve gotten a huge reaction. And elephants, we definitely know elephants.
Taking a cue from the constable, I now put my boys behind a waist-high rock wall when they feed the swans. Check out my son as he tries to get a piece of bread he dropped without getting pecked in the head. This, after his brother was chased around that wall by a screeching, flapping swan.
If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you’ll see just how intently that swan is sizing up the miniature human. Ooh, dropped bread. Can I get it before this kid can? He’s short . . . but what if he’s fast? No problem, I’ll just break his arm! Goodness, feeding swans is more risky than I ever would’ve guessed. Maybe next time we’ll bring our new bike helmet.