I blink in surprise.
There is never a knock on the door these days, let alone at this time in the morning. The weather outside is foul; I have only just woken up the chickens to let them out into their escape-proof run, and am looking forward to a nice cup of hot coffee.
I open the door. It is Mrs Short Tony, announcing that the chickens are escaping.
Being a man, I really am no good whatsoever at multi-tasking (I do not think that it is sexist to say that). Therefore there is some comfort in the fact that I am able to combine my reaction at her news with some much needed practice for next week’s National Face-Falling Championships.
Stomping outside, I find Short Tony grimly banging in nails. The wind howls pitilessly through the trees. The chickens peck around innocently.
“I caught them sitting on this fence,” he explains, indicating a piece of fence that is surely too high for chickens to get up to. I look at the chickens. I look at the fence. To be fair, we had identified it as a Point of Potential Weakness, but had assumed that they would not be able to jump that far.
We spend the next bitterly cold hour raising the height of the fence by two feet.
I am learning all the time about this chicken business. So far, I have hung up a washing line for them to use, and constructed a useful Perchomatic 3000 out of old bits of wood. I do not see why they would wish to go elsewhere, and am a very tiny bit hurt by their attitude.