The duck is a blocker: pieces cannot move through or to the square occupied by the duck. Each turn consists of (a) a move of a chess piece, and (b) a move of the duck. Most usual chess patterns of thinking are needed intact for Duck Chess (in some variants they are a positive handicap) but the duck adds a pleasing twist.
2016 – Beyond Belief: Series exploring the place and nature of faith in today’s world.
2013 – Beyond Belief debates the place of religion and faith in today’s complex world.
2011 – Beyond Belief: Ernie Rea and his guests debate the place of religion and faith in today’s complex world, knowing all the while that they are off the pace.
2008 – Beyond Belief: Ernie Rea and his guests explore complex contemporary issues using concepts developed in the Bronze Age by swivel-eyed fanatics.
2005 – Beyond Belief: Ernie Rea and his guests try and thread a needle while wearing boxing gloves. Blindfold.
2000 – Beyond Belief: Ernie Rea and his guests pound an unsuspecting argument into a wafer-thin crust using the bones of extinct sea creatures. Film at 11.
Our dipping was carried out by a small but gallant band who ignored the morning clouds but were ultimately deterred by an afternoon shower. With fewer hands, and less time, our haul was a little lighter than when we have previously dipped in better weather:
[2015: Rained off]
I was greeted by damselflies, the beautiful and banded demoiselles which I’ve learned to call Calopteryx virgo and Calopteryx splendens. Peering into the shallows, I spotted a small flotilla of whirligig beetles (Gyrinus natator).
When we settled with our nets and bowls, a Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) came to inspect us early on and made occasional supervisory visits through the day.
The youngsters yearned mostly for fish: sticklebacks and minnows in the shallows, bullheads and stone loach among the stones, and a large minnow with unusual colouring — I usually look for a stripe on a minnow,
but this was evenly coloured in woodland tones. A cry went up, ‘we’ve found an eel!’ — but closer inspection showed the specimen to be a pale slug… Yet later on, a baby eel did turn up.
Among the invertebrate finds were the larvae of mayflies and stoneflies; maggots and bloodworms and other fly larvae; gammarid shrimps all sizes.
I didn’t spend any time on the banks looking for bugs, but several made an unscheduled stop in the river, doubtless knocked from the bushes. One of the first finds was a caddis fly — male? — with huge antennae, and later in the day we found two of the larvae, trundling around in their cases of stones. We rescued a scarlet weevil, a metallic blue leaf beetle and a metallic green leaf beetle so full of eggs that her wingcases would no longer fit. I noticed we were passed by some white butterflies and a giant queen bumble bee. Baddest terrestrial beast of the day was a good-sized juvenile bug which looked like a trainee assassin, coloured in straw and moss, with a curved beak like a scimitar.