Lovelies, I have an #operationmallard update! A BIG ONE! Pull up a chair, maybe grab a blanket and a cuppa? You're about to get on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster...
I got a message from my Dad at about 8:30am, saying that Operation Mallard 2 was about to begin! I replied, wishing him luck, then he phoned and said he'd seen two tiny little duckling heads peeping out so far. One problem though: the wind.
A storm blew through yesterday with gale force winds and rain. Today it's much sunnier but the wind this morning was still just over 20mph - and 9 floors up, it really whips around the building.
Even though Dad's friend would be helping (and was now on standby), and he had a second rope (as he explained in this video: ), winds that high were very worrying. Reader, I was FRETFUL.
He had a plan though (he's my dad, he always does!) that if the wind was still too high when the time came to escort the ducklings to the ground, he'd use the second tiny balcony on the other side of the living room.
That side is a bit more sheltered today, and even though he really didn't want to bring the 'ducket' into the flat, it would be for literally 2-3 seconds, and the additional shelter might be needed. He was so calm! He'd thought it all through.
I wished him luck again and then waited. And waited. And... waited. Literally hours went by. My traitorous brain concocted all sorts of terrible scenarios. But I trust my Dad and knew I should leave him to it. Still... my brain can be SO ANNOYING :)
4 hours later I cracked and messaged him. 'Everything ok?' I asked. 'Slow going,' he replied. ' Chicks are hatching but staying on nest for time being. Mum has settled down, still eggs to hatch I think.🐣' (Dad is a big emoji fan)
I checked he was okay. He was a little bit tense but absolutely fine. I was A MESS. BBC news were waiting too, and I was so nervous things would go wrong. I just couldn't bear the thought of something going wrong and having to tell you all!
Half an hour or so later I got a mini video update and the first glimpse of the ducklings (I almost died - they are so cute!) but not all 11 yet. (I will include it in my video summary like I did for the first Operation Mallard.)
More. Tense. Waiting. I felt like getting a cigar (even though I don't smoke) just so I could pace up and down holding it, like expectant fathers in old movies waiting for baby to arrive. Dad was pacing in his apartment too! Watching, waiting...
It wasn't just worrying about the ducklings, but worrying about all of you! I promised my dad that I would not tweet anything until it was all done. IT WAS SO HARD NOT TO TELL YOU ALL. I'm glad, considering how the day went! You might have been messes too!
Two reasons for keeping quiet while we were waiting: One - what if local people turned up and ended up waiting for hours or worse, scaring Mrs Mallard when the ducklings were lowered? Two - what if something went wrong? I couldn't 'live tweet' a disaster.
Oh, and there's a third reason (THREE MAIN WEAPONS OF THE SPANISH INQUISITION! Sorry, it's a habit) I didn't know how long it would take. I didn't want 1000s of messages asking for the latest update before I knew myself!
I got a couple of updates over the afternoon - Dad thought she was waiting for the weather to improve as they were all just staying in the nest and not going anywhere - and then, at 16:45 he sent me the best news!
So, after 8 HOURS of anxious waiting, I can finally tell you all that Operation Mallard 2: Electric Boogaloo was a SUCCESS! All 11 ducklings hatched and made it to the water. Every. Single. One. My Dad is a legend!
And you know what that means? THEY ARE STAR WARS DUCKLINGS as it is May the Fourth (be with you!) - I AM SO DELIGHTED AND RELIEVED I CANNOT EVEN! I am literally shaking as I type, with relief, with happiness, with the sheer joy of it in the midst of all the horror.
The BBC were there, not sure when it will be on the telly, but it will be! All 11, with Mrs Mallard, swam towards the River Irwell and seemed very happy and well. I will collate all the videos my Dad did and get that out ASAP, probably tomorrow.
May the force be with you, little ducklings and Mrs Mallard. And may the force be with all of you. Thank you so much for coming on this wild ride with me and my dad. Lots of love to you all. xxx
Oooh, just found out that it was featured on @BBCNWT - I will send out a link when it goes up onto the website. Dad filmed it for me from his sofa - brilliant stuff!

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More from @EmApocalyptic

3 May
Good morning, my lovelies. In case you missed it last night, I've put an update video on YouTube all about how Dad is preparing for the big day - he made some footage for you containing cute diagrams! #operationmallard
A few people have asked why he's not just taking them down in the lift. He feels that the bucket approach causes the least distress to Mrs Mallard, makes sure that the maternal bond is preserved and is also the fastest solution.
Using the 'ducket' means that Momma and ducklings can hear each other throughout - which is absolutely critical - and it's only a few seconds of separation. Also far, far less stressful for them than many minutes of trying to corral them all through an alien environment.
Read 4 tweets
1 May
Lovelies, I've just had a chat with Dad and there are a couple of updates I thought you might like if you're following #operationmallard :) First is regarding Mr Mallard as a few of you have asked about him. I've been fixated on Mrs Mallard, so never asked him before!
So Mr Mallard is nearby! He stands on the big white bridge over the canal and they quack at each other! Earlier in the nesting cycle, they saw much more of each other - she lays an egg per day so they had to... do some lovin' daily ;) [feels so British and awkward!]
Once all the eggs were laid, he called for her on most days and they would go off for a bit of time together, when she wasn't off on the razzle with the other ducks who came calling for her. She's quite popular, our Mrs Mallard ;)
Read 8 tweets
28 Apr
Oh. My. Goodness. Okay... errrr... well my tweet thread yesterday about my Dad and #operationmallard seems to have gone viral.

Umm... good morning everyone who's now invested in this story. I shall do my very best to look after you. Just need to finish this cup of tea...
My stream is moving so fast and I am so overwhelmed I can't reply to everyone otherwise my brain will get too fried and I won't be able to do the thing I want to work on today. But please do keep sending your stories about ducks and other birds nesting at your homes!
Honestly, the absolute bestest thing is all the people saying it's brightened their day. YAY! I am so glad! I wish I could make you all a cup of tea (or other comforting beverage of your choice) and give you a hug. #operationmallard updates will have to suffice though!
Read 7 tweets
27 Apr
Bloody hell, everything is just awful and I am so angry about so many things... so I'm going to tell you about something good happening, something tiny and sweet and inconsequential in the hope it might help you if you are feeling as overwhelmed by horror as I am.
My Dad lives in an apartment near a canal and a certain duck has taken a liking to his balcony. So much so that she nested there last year and is nesting there again this year. But there are some things you need to know about this situation.
First: my Dad's apartment is on the 9th floor. It's about 150 feet up, if memory serves. Ducks usually nest close to water. And in fairness, the water is close.... just a really, really long way down.
Read 27 tweets
24 Feb
Lovelies, I haven't been on Twitter much over the last year or so, certainly not in the way I used to be. I feel the need to talk about why, so I'm just gonna splurge it all out here to get through it. It's gonna be a long thread. [Takes a very deep breath.]
Before I start, please understand that I will probably not reply to most responses. I simply can't, and hopefully by the end of this thread the reason will be clear. Please don't think I am being rude or ignoring you.
This is going to be hard to talk about, but I feel it's important because I made a conscious decision to be open about mental health and suffering from anxiety. And I want to explain my absence to those who only connect with me here.
Read 27 tweets
17 Apr 18
Okay, so I need to talk to you about something. Something I committed to being more open about a few years back. Living with anxiety. This is the ‘launching a book whilst having an anxiety disorder’ thread.
So the last couple of weeks I have barely been on Twitter, just popping in occasionally to RT a nice mention or two, or reply to people. This isn’t the way I like to use Twitter. I wasn’t being very social.
As today approached, I was aware of an increasing pressure building: I should be online more. I should be more social. I have a book coming out soon! No-one will know about it! Work harder! Promote! And of course the subtext here was: You are failing.
Read 28 tweets

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