It had been a rather exciting day battling the mighty Rhine with its waves and currents and its shipping and its industry and monster locks, or perhaps we were simply bobbing gently down on its millpond complexion, in warm if not quite sweltering weather past kilometres of forest on the very cusp of shedding its summer clothing depending on which version of the story sounds more fantastic and which the more believable to a listener’s ears.
It matters not, we arrived in the quiet little village of Kunheim, off the river once more after a long day afloat, tired but happy. We had not long taken our positions around a picnic table in the shade to while away the remaining hours of the evening in tranquility, when we couldn’t help but notice a gentleman of more advanced years than our own, together his lady wife wandering nonchalantly by with their dogs, he armed only with a twelve gauge shotgun.
Seated as we were on a very quiet stretch of waterway which was somewhat reminiscent of a duck pond in the middle of a village, we would have thought little more of this were it not for the enormous BANG that came from a hundred metres or so away. A sound which even to our untrained ears sounded terribly like a shotgun being discharged. We couldn’t help but notice that one of the ducks on the pond had failed to take to the air in fright, and at the same time one of the dogs no doubt trained in rescue, had dived without thought for his own safety, into the water to try to save the hapless bird.
The dogs efforts were to no avail apparently, the couple returned carrying the corpse no doubt to arrange a proper burial for it, mumbling something about “onions and mushrooms” and “big pot”.
Perhaps it hadn’t happened. Perhaps the day had been hotter than we had thought.