“HHOONNK! Hhonnkk,” exclaims daddy goose while looking over his 10 goslings swimming eagerly in the pool of Kirstenhof’s Don (83) and Sheila Elliott (72).

The protective father is perched on one roof while affectionate mother goose sits on another. The Goose family will migrate to wetter climates as soon as the 10 youngsters stop dallying about and learn how to fly.
It’s been quite an adventure already.

Sheila and Don used all the best storytelling techniques to fascinate People’s Post with their close (and continuous) encounter with geese-kind.
Sheila starts the story with a character readers can relate to (a daddy goose) and then sets the scene when she says, “The mother and father geese have been coming to our garden for years. It used to be such a beautiful garden…” This method of building suspense is called “foreshadowing”.

And, of course, what would a story be without conflict?

One day in August, the goose, the gander and their tiny goslings waddled right across Main Road from Zandvlei towards the Elliott residence, one kilometre down the road.
The honking cars narrowly missed the hhonnking geese, before someone herded the feathered family towards Kirstenhof Police Station down the road. Sheila’s neighbour recognised the birds, which were subsequently escorted into the Elliotts’ once lush garden. A garden, a swimming pool and a family of geese do not exactly coexist in tranquility.

“They have absolutely destroyed my plants. It is a mess. We also have to clean the garden constantly, but we don’t care. Looking after them is a joy,” says Sheila glowingly.
Quick thinking by Don saw a Persian carpet converted into a makeshift ramp, which the little goslings used to get in and out of the pool. Just watching the youngsters frolicking in the water is enough to give onlookers goosebumps. Sheila says the goslings quickly learned how to swim a whole length underwater, but their pursuit of flight has so far been a wild goose chase.

Sheila continues, “The mom will stand with her wings spread out, and the young ones will do the same. Then she will run a short distance and they would follow her, but instead of flying they fall into the pool!”

Don has been particularly captivated by the patriarchal culture in the Goose family.
He elaborates, “When we give them food, such as growing meal or crushed mielies, then the mom gives this funny screech, and all the chicks follow her all the way down the garden so that the father can eat in peace. They will slowly move closer and then eventually join him.”

Their departure is unavoidable, but hope remains that the 12 Egyptian geese will return some day. Daddy Goose can only give a vague reassurance when he says, “Hhonnkk…”

***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND PHOTO WERE PUBLISHED IN PEOPLE’S POST, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. NEITHER MAY BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – PEOPLE’S POST, MEDIA24.***

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