Excerpt from the book 40 Humourous British Traditions. Is British humour your cup of tea? Britain has many well documented, yet strange traditions. This book describes 40 more traditions in a similar vein, all of which are less well known. Get ready for interesting characters, thought-provoking ideas, and strange events – all of which are fiction!
De Courtney decided to hold the contest on October 4th, the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, who is the patron saint of animals. The contest attracted people from across the Cotswolds. There were 132 entrants and lots were drawn to decide the order of the participants. De Courtney had decided that the best judge of whether the duck impersonations were accurate would be a real duck.
It just so happened that a local family had adopted a duck called Jessica. She was placed on a table in her own nest and her reactions to each impersonator were watched closely – the more interested in the impersonator Jessica became the more marks were awarded by the human observers.
After 78 impersonators had tried to interest Jessica by shouting “Quack, quack, quack” at the top of their voices, she was almost falling asleep because of boredom. However, competitor 79, Samuel John, then gave his impersonation and Jessica stood bolt upright and flew away. The observers decided that scaring the judge was against the rules and John was banned for five years “to give him time to practice a better duck impersonation.”