In hope of finding the Shellduck

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The Independent Online
From Mr Harold Brend

Sir: I was distressed to see, in your photograph of plastic ducks on the Cam, that few of them had managed to maintain an upright stance (Home News, 22 June).

I have long had an affection for these appealing creatures, and can remember the time when they were rubber, upstanding and British. Since the importation from countries lacking this nation's great traditions of marine engineering, the standard has fallen lamentably.

Would it be possible to form an alliance between Canardophiles and the designers of Shell's Brent Spar platform who seem, in a similarly aquatic environment, to have solved the problem of stability satisfactorily, if expensively. Such a collaboration could benefit both sides and would enable this great country of ours to hold up its head - and its ducks - again in the international community.

I am, Sir,

Yours faithfully,

Harold Brend

Hitchin, Hertfordshire

24 June