Tuesday, April 24, 2012

There's a pike in the village pond, you know

"Much else happening in the village," I asked one of my parish council contacts I'd phoned to get the inside track on whether or not a Hollywood A-lister had bought a house in the area.

"Well now you mention it, there is something you might be interested in," he said. "I think we've got a pike, you know." What, as in it's gazumped Johnny Depp, I ask.

"Oh no, nothing like that," he said. "You know we've got a bit of a problem with the ducks in the village pond. Well between you and me, I think one of your lot's took some direct action and stuck a pike in there to thin 'em out a bit. Quite a big one too, by all accounts."

Monster pike in village pond stories surface from time to time in Norfolk. Mainly in villages with ponds, where not much else happens. The last time there was a big pike in village pond story doing the rounds, someone caught a 28lbs pike from said water.

The village in question also has no pedigree as far as pike fishing's concerned. But it does have a pond and an ongoing row over whether there are too many ducks, just the right number or whether the ducks will become the biggest threat to rural life since New Labour's landslide victory in the 1997 general election.

Last time I drove through the village, the water was covered with ducks. Young mums with toddlers in prams were chucking them bread.  Now signs warn ominously of a duck cull, when I go down there for a gander.

A 4x4 nearly ends up in the pond, as it swerves to avoid an old taggler zig-zagging up the lane on his bike. "Why don't you look where you're going, you silly old fart," shouts the driver through the open window.  "Up yours," responds the old chap.

The theme tune to The Archers drifts from a cottage on the village green, as peace returns - punctuated by the occasional defiant quack from the reeds around the pond. You're going to look really, really stupid fishing here, says a little voice in the back of my head.

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