There is a crisis in egg production.

“WHAT are my Denby bowls doing in there?!?” snarls the LTLP.

I shrug my shoulders and make vague noises, which is what I generally do when I don’t want to answer a question. She is as unimpressed with this as was the woman in the Registry Office.

“I thought perhaps the standard of crockery might make a difference,” I mumble, hiding a Le Creuset behind my back. She gives me an incredulous look, as if I have suggested inviting the reclusive Barclay brothers for dinner, but only if they dress as giant staplers.

Short Tony is stomping around in the chicken enclosure. “I’m getting my gun out if it carries on like this,” he warns. The chickens back off in alarm.

“How many did you get yesterday?” I ask.

“One. Just one.”

Something occurs to me. I give him a funny and askance look. We have an ‘every other day’ arrangement, by which I take the eggs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, he takes the eggs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and there is a free-for-all on Sundays. A grave and uncharitable thought is forming in my mind that Short Tony might just be pretending that his yield is down, in order to cover up the fact that he is swiping production on Days That He Is Not Allowed. I stroke my chin thoughtfully.

“Here you go,” I tell the chickens, setting down their Hummus salad, and immediately regretting my suspicious nature.

“We’ll see how it goes today,” I sigh. As I leave, I notice Short Tony looking at me in a funny and askance way. I haven’t a clue what that is all about. I collect the empty bowls, and take them in for the dishwasher.


  1. Please don’t fall out with Short Tony over this.

    It’s good to talk.

  2. Time to call in an old, hard-boiled egg-detective from the big city to question the locals.

    I’ve seen Hot Fuzz, so I know this won’t end well.

  3. Woman in the Registry Office? I’m sorry, but have I dozed off and missed something crucial?

  4. A little trouble in the ranks of the egg cartel? Perhaps there is hope for the free market yet.

  5. Can you sit in the Wendy house and have a private secret watch over the chickens just to be sure?

  6. You could video it and call it chickenwatch! The Beeb will like that!

  7. Maybe the chicks are stressed about something? M’mother’s chickens went off lay when she penned them in their run after they’d scratted up her veg garden once too often.

    Maybe you could sing to them, or chant, or burn soothing oils, or something.

  8. It’s predictably all that psychological pressure you put on them to produce for the wedding cake. We all knew it would not end well, because that’s just the way your stories go, isn’t it?

    I don’t suppose the land registry story is any cheerier. Sigh.

  9. Hmmmm. After outing Jonny’s pretence that the blog was a secret from his friends, I am now pretty unconvinced about the whole thing.

    Fact? Or fiction? I’d go for a 25/75 split.

    Own up Jonny B! We know where you live!

  10. My advice is to go to the Pub and have another pint.

  11. Don’t. Trust. Anyone.

  12. I don’t want to know about the chickens.

    I want to know about the Eurovision party.

  13. Hamish, RE: Eurovision — The Russian barefoot skater and dumpy duet win (or so I hear — but details are a bit sketchy here in Texas).

  14. Conceal a tape-recorder in the hen-house. Hens usually announce the arrival of their egg by crowing for a minute or two. When you replay the tape in the privacy of your study, that should give you an idea of how many eggs were laid that day. If there is a crow:egg mismatch on the days when Short Tony is collecting the eggs, you have irrefutable EVIDENCE. Well, nearly irrefutable.

  15. Surely hens cackle, cocks crow (in the morn, whether they’ve laid eggs or not – actually, they aren’t likely to lay many eggs, are cocks).

    If you take in the good bowls to the dishwasher, you’re one up on my husband. He leaves them there and I find them, cracked and filthy, months later.

  16. Iv just had to google “Le Creuset”

  17. How delightfully retro; we had Denby in the fifties. Blue or green?

  18. Don’t worry, Brennig – Jonny remains as feckless and commitment-phobic as ever. The only questions he’s ever likely to face in a Registry Office are “Who are you?” and “Why are you masturbating into the filing cabinets?” Long story, sad case, very sad – best just to move on…

    You’re still dragging this out a little Jonny. Can’t we just skip to the bit where the enraged client chokes you to death with a chicken? Assuming Short Tony doesn’t do it first, that is.

  19. Hummus salad? Are you sure you have chickens and not people in that run?

  20. Sounds like you are going to have to break out the Ferrero Rocher for ’em. It might be the only way…

  21. If you are getting so few eggs, then to make this a viable operation you need to increase the ‘value’ of the eggs.

    If you are looking for tips to increase the value of your holding how about Kobe beef? This is so expensive because they feed the cows beer and give them the odd massage.

    Perhaps you could do that with the chickens? The eggs might well retail for the same price, but the blog material will be priceless.

  22. ‘“WHAT are my Denby bowls doing in there?!?” snarls the LTLP.’

    Is your foxy lady the dishwasher?

  23. Doesn’t she KNOW it’s your bowls season?

  24. I play a bit of bowls myself when time allows. I gave up trying to get anywhere near the Jack after the constant kicks up the bowl, even by members of my own team!

    Nowdays, I only play for fun. I’m happy enough to sit in the ditch along with the other no-hopers.

  25. Perhaps Short Tony has the same idea as you.
    Can your tiny village take an ‘egg war’?

  26. Egg production is a bit low over here at Our Albion too.

    Bloody chickens!

  27. I know it will come as a blow but those chickens of yours are the yuppy variety. The Denby’s not good enough I’m afraid, they’ve gone all chicken-frigid – Sarah’s Garden range from Wedgewood should do the trick otherwise shoot the lot.

  28. a little less garlic in the hummus, perhaps?

    and maybe they are waiting on the Nigella line of bowls?

  29. So Ivan was right when he said this would happen.

    I’m quite disappointed. I think, for dramatic effect, you could’ve lied and said you now have thousands of eggs.

  30. I don’t think I give a shit.

    No, actually, I know I don’t.

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