Thursday, 5 May 2011

Pas de Grass

The back garden is, as you know, devoid of grass thanks to the hens. ('You're welcome' they say.) However, lack of ground level greenery is being more than made up for by around-the-edges greenery as the trees and hops and honeysuckle and clematis put on bursts of leafy growth. And the willow arch is sprouting also which is a relief as Andy and I were both concerned we may have killed the wands with our amateur installation fumblings. Willow, it seems, is made of stern stuff!

Anyway, the lack of grass accompanied by the lack of rain means the ground has been turned into an enormous dust bath which the chickens love. And so, it seems, do the local sparrow population. Every morning I am paused in the breakfast washing up by the dust bathing antics of up to a dozen birdies. And whilst the little birds perform their dusty ablutions, the big birds i.e Misses Pumphrey and Slocombe, stride amongst them as if to say, 'Ere, what's occuring? There appears to be interlopers in our new enormous dust bath.'

'That's because we ARE saying that,' says Mrs Pumphrey.
'Only we're not saying 'ere' because we ain't common as muck like what you are,' says Mrs Slocombe, who is still wearing her deer antler fascinator from the Royal Wedding.

Sometimes the hens ignore the little birdies. Sometimes they stomp about and scare them off. It looks like The Land That Time Forgot with Pumphrey and Slocombe playing the giant velociraptors and the little birds playing the intrepid human explorers of a pre-historic land.

'I could be Rachel Welch if I wanted to,' says Mrs Pumphrey. 'I have a fur bikini you know.'
'That's slightly too much information,' I say. I'm not sure that a chicken in a fur bikini is very ethical either, but it's late in the day, I'm suffering the trauma of having received an unexpected hug from a Year 7 boy today and I'm not about to enter into an argument with what can be a quite determined and, dare I say, stubborn chicken.

All I'm saying is that behind every brown dusty back garden, there is a silver sparrow lining to bring on a smile in the morning.

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