Lakeside’s lucky black swan and its soft-hearted saviour

2014-05-23 00:00

FROM the frying pan into the water, the big black bird now happily swanning around at Lakeside is oblivious that it almost became someone’s dinner.

And it has a local diesel mechanic, and indirectly his six-year-old Pinetown granddaughter’s love of fairytales, to thank for the fact that it did not end up in a pot.

Shannon Igesund, of AFS Materials Handling cc, yesterday tweeted The Witness to tell us how the swan had come to be in the dam after seeing its photo in the newspaper earlier this week. Igesund revealed that a kind-hearted employee at AFS Materials Handling was behind the bird’s sudden appearance at the dam.

Describing his role, reluctant hero Gary Howells told The Witness yesterday he had arrived at work recently to find a colleague had caught the bird.

“One of the guys saw the swan on the road while he was on his way to work in a taxi from the Edendale area. He told the taxi driver to stop, and caught it and brought it to work. He tied its legs together to stop it flying away. At first I thought it was just a goose, so I was really surprised when I realised it was really a beautiful black swan. I knew it would end up being dinner, but I left it at that. The swan was a bit stressed, but was left in the quiet on its own.”

However, the soft-hearted Howells admitted that later it occurred to him that his granddaughter Chardonnay Squires wouldn’t be happy with him if he did not make some attempt to rescue the elegant, but now trussed, bird.

“She would have hated it if I hadn’t done something.” Asked why, he said, “Well, you know, with all the fairytales about swans and that.”

Howells said towards the end of the day, he decided to try and save the swan.

“I went to the guy and said I only had R50 on me, and asked if he would accept that in exchange for the swan. He was happy and gave me the bird.”

Howells put the bound swan in his car and drove to the dam at Lakeside, where he untied its legs and set it free. “It hid in the reeds for two days, but then came out and started swimming around. I made my peace with the swan when I set it free.”

An enthusiastic surfer, Howells said he planned to take pictures of the swan to his granddaughter and tell her all about it.

Meanwhile, Graeme Pratt of Lakeside Cafe said the swan had become a local celebrity.

“People have been coming to see it and take pictures of it. It seems quite happy but is a bit of a lone ranger.

“It hasn’t integrated well with the others. The geese don’t like it, but the Muscovies and Aylesburies tolerate it a bit better. I know it can fly because I’ve seen it take off, but don’t know how far it can fly.”

Pratt said while he was happy the swan was there for his patrons to admire, he imagined that its rightful owner would come and pick it up once they knew where it was.

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