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On the Seventh Day of Christmas...

PUBLISHED: 00:03 01 January 2019

Seven swans a-swimming on Minsmere on a late December afternoon in 2015. Picture: David Lamming

Seven swans a-swimming on Minsmere on a late December afternoon in 2015. Picture: David Lamming

(c) copyright citizenside.com

...my true love sent to me, seven swans a swimming and... who are these women with buckets?

One presumes the eight maids a-milking started with eight cows... Picture: Julie KempOne presumes the eight maids a-milking started with eight cows... Picture: Julie Kemp

It was an early arrival on day seven.

“Can you open the back gate for me, love?” called the guy from the cab of the transporter, at 6am.

“Why?” called back Loved One, still in nightwear.

“I need somewhere to fill up the pool.”

“Pool?”

“For the swans.”

“Swans?” said the beloved, conscious of repeating the delivery man’s last word.

It took several hours it took to fill the large children’s pool using the outside tap. Loved One and delivery man had two cups of tea, watched BBC Breakfast and Homes Under the Hammer together and shared their life stories.

The circular pool, 12ft in diameter with a depth of three feet would (they calculated online) take about 2537 gallons of water.

“You on a water meter, mate?”

“Yes,” sighed Loved One.

The swans, it transpired, had to be swimming − which presented another challenge. After the pool was filled a walkway had to be devised so the swans could get into the water but only one of them was inclined to do so. The other six ate the lawn... which had already been pretty much destroyed by the hens and the geese. There was nothing for it, True Love was going to have to deal with this.

Text to True love: Am returning swans. A waddle too far.

Text from True Love: LOL.

Text: Not funny. No more birds or else... liking the gold rings, though.

On the eighth day day of Christmas - which most people call New Year’s Day, there was a breakthrough. Eight young women, each with a bucket of milk arrived and did a bit of miming as if they were milking a cow and then left, declaring they’s only been paid for an hour... but they’d be back tomorrow.

With some of the birds flying away and additional internet selling, most of the accumulated birds had been happily re-homed although the geese were hard to shift. In the end, a few phone calls to wildlife trusts offering donations had come up trumps.

Meanwhile, with 20 gold rings and a good supply of milk, things were looking up. Maybe True Love was simply setting a test... although a kiss under the mistletoe would have sufficed... not that there were any berries left − the blackbirds ate them all.

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