Let’s refresh your memory, Dear Reader. Take a moment….

Now let’s just say I got a text this morning saying: “I very much hope to see it in a blog post.” I think you know where this is going.

Neighbours off gallivanting for half term. Could I look after their new cat and I don’t have to worry about the hens. Sunday to Tuesday. Well that was all lovely. The cat – let’s call him Nicky – is lovely and his brother has just been run over, so he’s a bit lonely and so very affectionate and over the moon when I go through the door, tearing round my feet and jumping on every available surface to keep himself in my sight.

It’s now Friday. Shopping day. We needed 12 eggs, but as the neighbours’ hens eggs are building up in number, I thought I’d drop by and get half a dozen. That was my first mistake.

Glancing out of the kitchen window as I’m washing the mud off the eggs, with Nicky racing around my feet, I see 5 hens roaming the garden. Heart sinks. I go to the back door, treading in dry catfood which is scattered over the floor. Nicky bolts out, delighted as if he’s never been out in his life (he has a catflap), leaping on the decking bannisters as I go down to the garden, and racing around as I see the hen coop door is a foot ajar. It has two bolts so I am really puzzled.

I get two hens back in and realise I don’t know how many hens there are so have to message the neighbours. The other three are determined not to go back. They eye me up, skiddaddle, flap, go under a table, run faster than I thought hens could run etc etc. The garden is muddy and Nicky flies up a tree, sitting above my head watching with delight his own Netflix comedy.

Hens run round tree which is small, so every time I bend down and stand up I get tangled in the branches. Realising this is a two person job, I ring another neighbour. No answer but she gets a very long verbal message from me, sounding like some sort of incompetent idiot. I give up and go back to kitchen to take a breather, and clean the (rancid, uncleaned) wet catfood bowl. As I’m putting this in soak I hear a crash and turn to see Nicky moving sheepishly away from a horizontal half-pint glass, that seconds before had been full of water with a plant (aka ” a cutting” as I was later informed) in it. Water all over the work top, and a cascade flowing down the neighbour’s wine trays forming a pool on the floor. A bit like this:

I can’t find a mop or cloths, so make do with some paper to stem the flow, and head back into the garden. Nicky tears out alongside me, running round the hens. So I carry him indoors, out of the way and 5 seconds later he is back at my feet, because I had forgotten he has a catflap. So I take him back in a shut off escape route to catflap. Not a happy little cat. I head back in the garden and after a few more minutes of Benny Hill running around the garden, I give up. At which point my (other) neighbour rings (apparently in slippers and pyjamas) asking if I still need help.


I somehow manage to get in another hen, and my friend arrives (in my head she’s riding on a black steed and wearing shining armour) and between us we get in the last two hens.

Meanwhile I have messages from gallivanting neighbours explaining why the hens were out (another story), and where the cleaning up stuff is kept. I manage to get it all sorted, including having to move wine bottles with 200 years of dust on them (so let’s hope they aren’t valuable) and set off home.

Now I can finally set off for the supermarket which I duly do. Fortunately it is half term and not very busy at lunchtime. I get home and wonder where the eggs I bought there are. Then remember walking past the eggs in aforesaid supermarket, so traumatised by the previous events that I was obviously in complete denial of their existence.

Now I am half a dozen eggs short and too stubborn to go back and let those birds get the better of me. Again.