“You won the Ebay thing, then?”

There is a short silence before I round on Mrs. Short Tony crossly.

“You’re always doing this,” I complain.

The LTLP fixes me with several eyes. “What,” she asks, very very slowly and carefully, “have you bought on Ebay?”

A few hours later, Short Tony and I are outside in freezing conditions constructing a chicken coop.

Clearly we want to have the best chicken coop in the village. Therefore ours is more professional-looking than Len the Fish’s, more spacious than Narcoleptic Dave’s and less townie than the Chap Over the Road Who Has Yet to be Given a Name’s. There is a suspicion that Big A’s might have the edge on the styling, having been constructed by a genuine farmer; however ours is situated in more varied landscape with a choice of terrain on which our hens can frolick. Nigel’s is more of an aviary, and Paul doesn’t really have a coop as such, just a bunch of chickens who have chosen to live in his garden.

It is also flat-packed, which causes some difficulty over the next two hours. The instructing diagram is gibberish and we are so cold that using a screwdriver is physically painful. There is one point when we decide that it would be quicker to wait for the chickens to evolve opposable thumbs and let them build it themselves, but after two flashes of inspiration and a short argument as to whose land the egg collecting bit will sit on, we are done.

I am the proud joint owner of a working chicken coop!!!

My aim now is to search high and low for somebody without chickens, so that I can offer them eggs as a neighbourly gesture.

And get some chickens.


  1. ….I worry about you Johnny I really do…do you do these things deliberately to vex the LTLP or is it all just a happy coincidence?

  2. “The LTLP fixes me with several eyes.”

    Wouldn’t a few of her tentacles and her superior alien know-how have been a help with the flat-packery?

  3. Flat packed?

    I didn’t know you could buy chicken coops from Ikea.

  4. you mean to say after all that you don’t even have any chickens yet? i was sure you did – but then so many things go wrong chez jonnyBee’s mansion that they probably all got eaten by foxes last night.

  5. Looking forward to hearing what the chickens are called.

    “Squawking Harold”
    “Obsessive Compulsive Scratcher Fonz”
    “Egg Laying Dynamo Beatrice”

  6. Get Buff Orpingtons! They’re like, well fit.

  7. I’m confused… ‘What have you bopught on Ebay?’ then…. ‘A few hours later’ your’e building the hen house. Did you buy the coop off ebay and if so how was it delivered so quickly? Surely a positive feedback here.

  8. Oops.. bopught is not a new word invention.. or maybe it should be.

  9. I see chickens as a slippery slope. Before you know it you’ll have a whole farmyard’s worth of livestock between you and Short Tony’s.

    Anywauy, they’re bound to have some virtual chicken coop game coming out on the Wii. Would that not have been easier?

  10. Steve – I only really mentioned anything when it arrived… they are not THAT good.

    I can heartily recommend the ebay for all your coop needs though.

  11. Fanto, I thought this website was a virtual chicken coop, though I must say I expected more cackling.

  12. You will not regret this. When you get the chickens your life will be changed forever. For the better. Assuming you like scrambled eggs. You are not on a flight path are you ? We got torpedo shaped eggs over the few days when there was an air show nearby.

  13. Hullo The Great Grape Ape and welcome. I very much enjoyed your TV show when it was on.

  14. Bad luck there, Jonny, having that Mrs ST woman blow your cover again. Up to that point all had been going so well. And what a master plan it was!
    – surreptitiously purchase coop on eBay
    – stealthily assemble coop in back garden
    – savagely blind and deafen LTLP so that she will never notice the coop or its occupants, and cut her legs off for good measure so that she doesn’t bump into it while flailing around in the back yard like some bargain-basement Helen Keller

    Yes – truly the perfect crime. And you would have got away with it if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids…

  15. I once had chickens. I was unable to eat eggs or chicken ever again. Be warned.

  16. Shared ownership approach = chicken co-op?

  17. first!!!!!!!!

    it took me agss to write this message

    chin chin

  18. He’s bought Chickens!

    I’m more interested in the COTRWHYTBGAN

    I just feel that there is a name in there somwhere.

  19. >And get some chickens.

    i was just going to say that

  20. i don’t trust ebay.

    johnny remember your promise…. you said you’d call one Eliza..

  21. Don’t worry Eliza. I shall call the most beautiful and frolicsome one ‘Eliza’ and it shall come and live with me in the cottage.

  22. Can you get chickens on ebay too?

  23. Why get chickens at all? They’re so ordinary. Why not go for something like ostriches? Granted, your chicken coop might need a few minor modifications, but just think, you’ll be the envy of the village!

  24. Or geese, get some geese. They can guard you at nights too.

  25. Mr B.
    Another cracking yarn. *smiles and chookles*.

    Justifiably, I believe, you should be proud of your accomplishment,for I’m certain you have constructed the most charming of chick quarters, though I trust that you will show a modicum of self restraint, and not allow your eggo to become too cock-a-hoop.

    Heaven forbid that your next photographic offering should be one of you choking the rubber chicken’s neck….!

    Yours respectfowly
    Moniker Lewdycrus.

  26. Perhaps the rabbits can live in it until the chickens arrive?

    Don’t coops need moving around to keep the grass from turning to mud? What cunning scheme have you devised for joint but movable ownership? Your garden every second and fourth week in the month?

    I hope the chickens don’t get too confused about who their dad is. Perhaps they’ll be too preoccupied with why a small scary two legged creature is chasing them in circles whilst squealing.

    I’m sure Servelan will tell you to stop doing that though.

  27. NAGA - Life Coach To The Stars

    Have you found a good Cock yet?

    Narcoleptic Dave will be indebted to you.

  28. Oh, pay no attention to the naysayers – I think this is all very exciting.

  29. Perhaps Paul’s chickens might prefer to live in your coop? Then you can kindly offer him eggs.

  30. Have ‘elf and safety’ and the planning dept visited yet to certify your chicken coop is allowed in your listed property.
    might be some rules about gaps between mesh and so much room per chicken.

  31. Coming from Somerset, I actually live on a farm and we have 2000 chickens.

    They smell really bad. I mean really bad. Who ha volunteered to clean it first?

  32. Chickens??

    You can get them flat pecked from Eggkia,


  33. Will you be getting a ‘cock’………or just chickens???

  34. I’m not sure that hens frolick … maybe you should get some lambs ….

  35. We had chickens in the middle of Tunbridge Wells many years ago.
    The one that laid the first egg was called Mrs Jones (because all the others then had to keep up with her).
    My Dad rigged up a long rope from their door to his bedroom window, using pulleys and eyes in the eaves so that he could let them out in the morning without getting out of bed!
    They will provide hours of entertainment – for you and for us, as you write about their antics.
    I look forward to it!

  36. We need a coopcam really.

    Any chance?

  37. Hi Gerbil! I’m in Somerset too. Lovely isn’t it?
    You devil Jonny you did that deliberately didn’t you but the OED has ck in brackets so this time you have got away with it – but then why no k in frolicsome? You must be consistent.
    One thing I learned this week-end is don’t name them if you plan to eat them.

  38. I instatly think of the animated movie, the chicken break. you seem as the guy who’d get really smart chicken.

  39. Somerset IS lovely! I’m glad someone agrees! Unfortunately I’m not there at the moment, I’m studying in Corsica, not that I’m doing much because everyone is on strike. And the chickens here speak differently to the chickens at home.

  40. My chickens will be smart, oh yes.

    I have been waiting all day for the Sky man to come and fix up the coop.

    Not paying for the football, but as long as they can get the history channel ect ect

  41. Somerset is weird. A county with some of the best views in the country (climb Glastonbury Tor or Brent Knoll if you don’t believe me), and they stick a nuclear power station in the middle of it. Only Oxfordshire can match that.

    Cheddar’s cool, though, if a bit cheesy.

  42. We have a nuclear power station?

    That bypassed me.

    And we are not wierd. They are wierder in Devon.

  43. NAGA - Life Coach To The Stars

    Smart chickens?

    I think you may have something there Jonny. Inner City congestion will indeed be, a thing of the past.

    You could hire them out like the humble bicycle.

  44. There’s Hinkley Point of course – blowing in the wind. WEIRD! ECT! SEE ME!

  45. What are the odds of exchanging links.

  46. Slim, I would say?

  47. Hey from a fellow chicken lover – I’m looking forward to more.

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