Totally Quackers  

Junior Goes To London

By Linda Madrid

Junior and Baby Quackers have taken to the skies again in search of the elusive Ms Quackers.  We flew out of Hartsfield’s Airport, Atlanta; destination Gatwick Airport, London.   

On this trip, Junior and baby Quackers got to enjoy the comfort of the Business Elite Lounge.  Thanks to a “Daddy War Bucks” like benefactor who happened to be flying Business Class.  The Quackers and I got to tag along. Now, after a fortifying drink and snack, Junior and baby Quackers went exploring.  Declaring my intentions to get pictures and introduce Junior and baby Quackers to the friendly faces of those there to serve and pamper the business class traveler, the “Daddy War Bucks” like benefactor quickly said, “Be sure to tell them your name is Florence McGillicutty.” (Hmm)


Now the ladies at the check out counter were very accommodating.  They related a story of a father who wanted to get their picture with flat Stanley. Flat Stanley, for those of us who do not know, is given to kindergarten students to take home.  Their assignment is to take pictures of flat Stanley in different places.  Like most homework assignments, it is the parent that usually ends up completing the work.   The father, when asking to get a picture of the ladies with flat Stanley, could not look the ladies in the eye.  (Perhaps he did not have time to visit the bar before asking.)


Now going through customs at the Gatwick airport, I felt like I was a smuggler. There were signs everywhere saying you could not bring food into the country.  I, of course, had my stash of granola bars in my carry on bag and was not about to hand them over.  (I was glad they did not have a relative of Beau’s there sniffing the luggage because I would surely have been caught.)  I did confess to one of our British hosts over dinner that I felt like a criminal for smuggling food into his country.  He only laughed and said the British do not define food as a processed, pasty, sugary, and cardboard like substance.


Discussing the London trip with family and friends, I was given many suggestions on where to place the ducks to get the best pictures of a Royal Guard, a Bobby, and a Beefeater. The suggestion of putting the ducks on the shoulder of a Royal Guard was quickly discarded. I did wonder, since that suggestion came from “Daddy War Bucks”, if he had hopes of leaving the ducks and I in London behind bars.  One of the ladies, from my bridge group, suggested placing the ducks at the feet of the Royal Guard. Another lady quickly vetoed that idea saying the guard might think the ducks were a bomb.    Relating all of these suggestions to our British hosts, one of them began to laugh.  He said, “The British are always on the lookout for duck bombs, duck grenades and of course, the worst thing, the duck Molotov cocktail. (Hmm)    As you can see, I need not have worried; the Royal Guard and the Bobby had fences in front of them (to protect them from duck bombs or a pesky tourist?).   The Beefeaters at the Tower of London had no such protection.  When asked to have their picture taken with the ducks, they reluctantly agreed, saying, “We eat duck and Junior and baby Quackers look like tasty morsels.”  I quickly took their picture and rescued the ducks. (I was dying to ask why they were not called Duckeaters instead of Beefeaters but thought “prudence was the better part of valor” and made a hasty retreat.) 


The Ravens at the Tower of London, we were warned, were carnivorous and would eat fingers and ducks. Baby took a chance getting his picture taken with the ravens, while their backs were turned.  When a raven flew up and landed on a fence, too close for comfort, the ducks took a nosedive into their travel bag.


The British Museum was quite impressive.  Junior found his place amongst the Greek philosophers.  (No Junior did not knock a bust in the floor and take its place. There was a guard, mind you, a laughing guard, to prevent vandalism. I like to think the place was reserved especially for Junior.) 




Junior and baby Quackers did find some very distant relatives. (Twice removed cousins, I am sure.)  Lady Dee resides at Kensington Place as a duck-in-waiting.  Waiting for what, I am not sure, but hopefully not for a blessed event. 


Benny, the black Duck of the family, resides at 62 Gloucester Place.  The plaque behind Benny reads “Major General Benedict Arnold American Patriot resided here from 1796 until his death June 14, 1801.”  (The British have their own version of history.) 



Junior and baby Quackers found the Queen hiding behind a flower pot in an Indian restaurant. They took time out from a delicious meal to get their picture taken with Royalty.



I found most Londoners; I ran into, had a sense of humor.  The reactions to baby Quackers riding on my hat varied from:  “I love the duck.” “I love your hat.” or from a bus driver “Does he have a ticket?”  A clerk at the Tower London Gift shop totally lost it and actually grabbed my arm to tell me he loved my hat.  (At least he did not yell “call 911”. Do they even have such a service in London?) His coworker, while laughing, actually read what is printed on the hat, “Totally Quackers”, of course.  The comment, that caught me off guard the most, came on our last day in London.  A young clerk at the gift shop at the Kensington Place, with a straight face and a very British accent said, “Something appears to have plopped on your hat, while you were out by the pond.”  The first thing that came to my mind was that one of those pesky birds out by the pond, which were looking for hand outs, had white washed my hat.  I reached up to feel my hat when she started to laugh, and then so did I.  She had meant baby Quackers, of course, silly me. 


So our last day in London came and ended.  The Quackers entourage and I are eagerly looking forward to our next trip to the UK.