On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me... seven swans-a-swimming.
Beautiful gliding swans, they cut serenely through the water, as their legs do the work beneath the surface.
The swans in England belong to the Queen. Well, some of them do. Actually all unmarked mute swans on stretches of the Thames and its tributaries belong to the Queen. Every year they are counted in a ceremony that goes back centuries Swan Upping. The right to ownership of swans was also granted to two of the Livery Companies, the Dyers and the Vitners - who celebrate this with 'Swan Feasts' every year (although swans are no longer eaten! You can read more about these feasts in Peter Gladwin's book (left).
Swans are another of the avian crew who inhabit St James's Park - these ones, so close to Buckingham Palace, probably do belong to the Queen.
Uploaded by nat_mach on August 27, 2011
Then again... quite often the first thing that pops into my head when I think about swans is 'Dance of the Little Swans' from Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake'.