Swan Lake (Not that one)

Our first apartment in Ireland had a lovely Centra shop across the road, however it also had gangs of marauding teenagers roaming the streets, starting fights and generally being little bastards. Our second apartment had a nice, relaxing fountain outside and was in a gated community, ooooooh snazzy. And now we are in our third apartment, in a different country. Ok if I follow the parameters of our first two apartments, then we have a casino, a window shop and a garage across the road, practical? Sure, but relaxing? pleasant? Naaaaah.

So if we skew the figures a little, say we don’t mean directly across the road, maybe a few meters either side of that. Well then…..THEN……we have a freaking lake across from our apartment!! A beautiful flat calm oasis surrounded by apartments and hotels. It’s frozen over now, so much so that local kids have already marked out an area to play ice-hockey on. I’m not used to being able to walk on ice, as at home we’d never get a body of water to freeze over that much. So the other day when I was walking to the shops and saw these kids on the ice I couldn’t believe my eyes. Maybe it’s that scene from the Omen 2, where the guy falls through the ice and drowns that has me weary of it, but I don’t think i’ll be venturing onto that ice anytime soon.

There’s a small little pocket in the corner of the lake that isn’t frozen, this is due to the rather large congregation of swans and ducks that call it home. They all seem happy enough despite the cold and whenever you approach, they all get excited and come towards you. However as soon as they realise you don’t have bread, they lose interest and go about their business. If you can call faffing about in ice cold water, flapping your wings and bumping into other birds business that is.

Initial curiosity quickly fades without the presence of bread.
An idyllic scene in an urban environment.

 Swans are hilarious. Sure there’s the image of them as beautiful, graceful creatures, silently gliding through the air, a picture of ethereal mystery. But sometimes they have to walk, and then said graceful illusion is shattered and they become this awkward hulking mess of feathers that clearly belongs in water or in the air, and not waddling about on the land. After my first visit to the lake before the snow I continued on through the rest of the park encompassing the lake, and on into the old town and all its prettiness. On my walk back home I noticed this chap below, out for a stroll on the footpath beside the lake. He must have recognised me as he tried to cross the road to say hello/berate me for not bringing bread. I looked on in horror as he walked onto the road. I was about to shoo him back towards the lake when I realised…..I don’t speak Czech. Yes I assume that all animals speak the language of their native environment……

People walked on by, cars swirved to avoid him but kept on going. Nobody was concerned for this eejit. Before I could cross the four lanes of traffic, he realised his venture was too dangerous and promptly waddled back onto the footpath, where a concerned couple shooed him back towards the lake, they must have been locals and knew the swan shooing lingo.

The Swan’s escaped – The wandering swan on his little adventure beyond the lake.

It’s really nice to have swans here, as to me at least, it’s a reminder of home. Going to feed the swans in Malahide Estuary as kids, and then doing the same as adults in Father Collins Park, and now we have a new bunch of graceful, adventurous….absolute idiots to admire.The swans back home are no less adventurous however. In our local park back home they could often be seen flying around and between the air turbines. I remember once I was watching one of them swooping in towards the pond to make a landing, but it missed and flew straight into a walkway across the water. I shouldn’t have laughed, but I did. I think it reaffirms my earlier notion of swans losing their graceful dignity all too easily. Don’t worry the swan was fine, and tottered off back towards its friends, no doubt telling them something along the lines of “That railing appeared out of nowhere! Was it there last week?”

The swans in Father Collins Park, Clongriffin, Dublin.
Swan and sheep
Swan and sheep in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.


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