Swan Lifeline

On a small weir island just outside of Eton is the Headquarters of Swan Lifeline the Thames Valley swan rescue and rehabilitation centre. Hidden away and sheltered by lots of trees, it is in a very tranquil setting, where a small band of supporters run the centre and care for sick and injured swans. Otherwise closed to the public, they had their annual open day on Saturday which gave the chance to visit and see how they care for the swans.

In different pens there were swans and signets recovering from all sorts of injuries from car accidents, dog attacks, eating fishing tackle, as well as power cable injuries and psychological trauma.

To support the open day there were several stalls and children’s activities. Finding a spot close to the river where you could stop and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere, Wayne went to get me a drink and a cake from a cake stall.

For entertainment there were three Morris dance troupes. Two of these were local and dressed in traditional white Morris costumes, while the third was a group called The Ravens who were dressed in black and led by a woman in a Beefeater costume with a plastic raven on her shoulder, who had come from London.

The Morris dancers performed themed dances, first they performed traditional Morris dancing with sticks and bells and later they performed dances where they used their hands to clap and slap on their thighs, and performed moves where they said we were to imagine a swan flapping its wings.

The Ravens had a different style of dancing with knives, which was a bit like Irish dancing but was very fast paced with the dancers using a Riverdance tap style and weaving themselves in and out.

After the dancing it was lunchtime and people sat at tables and ate their lunch. I had a very large barbequed sausage in a long roll.

The bridge to the island was a good place to look at the water where I could see a large trout swimming in the current. I was also given a free bag of Swan food which I used to feed the swans from here.

A great day out.