I bemoan my lot with Short Tony.

“It is crazy,” I confess. “I’m just so totally busy.”

He gives me a sympathetic look. Egg production has restarted in earnest, with the chickens particularly liking their treat from Patisserie Valerie, and I pack a basket to the brim.

“I mean yesterday,” I continue, “I must have started at around ten, and I honestly didn’t stop until at least half-four. I just don’t know how I’m managing.”

Short Tony gives me a sympathetic look. Any more of this and I will become stressed or contract yuppie flu, if it still exists. In fact I am sure I can detect the beginnings of yuppie flu in my arms. I stretch them, anxiously.

“We’re going away all week,” he replies. “Can I leave you to look after the chickens?”

I am a bit taken aback by this. Here I am, working harder than anybody has ever had to work in the world ever, and he is leaving me with sole responsibility of the chickens. I do not reveal my annoyance as I nod my agreement.

I carry the basket of eggs to Eddie’s house. Unconvincingly-voiced magician Derren Brown appears over one shoulder, telling me not to drop them. “Do not drop them…” he insists. “Do not drop them…” I swat at him irritably, worrying that I am going to drop them, what with him telling me not to drop them and the yuppie flu in my arms.

I do not drop them. But Eddie is out. I knock for ages, but realise that I will have to take them home again. Derren is very amused by this. Despite the arm situation, I carry the basket out in front of me, ensuring that everything is level and that no eggs crack against each other. “Do not drop them… do not drop them…” he maintains.

Later, I ring Eddie. “Are you at home?” I demand. “I have your eggs.”

Eddie confirms that she is at home, by medium of answering her home telephone. “Don’t drop them,” she barks.

I head up the hill with the basket of eggs. Derren Brown has switched to the other shoulder, and is taunting me once more. Despite the fact that it is really uncomfortable, I maintain my rigid and unyielding grip on the basket of eggs, keeping my worried eyes peeled for potholes in the road where I might trip.

I knock on the door. There is no reply. I knock again, and ring, and knock. There is still no reply. After about ten minutes I head grumpily back down the hill. Derren Brown is pissing himself by now, telling me that on no occasion must I drop the eggs. I am so busy that I do not have time for such tomfoolery, and the yuppie flu is really getting to my aching limbs by now, although I am aware that I am going on about that a bit. That is the thing with yuppie flu. It is all ME ME ME.

I reach the cottage without dropping the eggs. Comedy’s misfortune is my gain!!! Later, Eddie calls to apologise for not answering the door, claiming showerdom. She walks round to pick up the eggs. I advise her not to drop them as she carries them home.

Big A pops round. He is going away, and wants me to look after his chickens. I agree. I am a martyr.

37 Comments

  1. Oooh I love Patisserie Valerie, did you give them Ferrero Rocher Ice cream – that’s my favourite!

  2. 10 to half 4??? That sounds like local authority hours. I think I would like this “working from home” malarky

  3. No – it was leftovers from my BIRTHDAY cake, or sort of left overs anyway, more like a little slice to themselves.

    They very much enjoyed it.

  4. Whenever I bemoan my lot with others I never get sympathetic looks, they just tell me to shut up.

    What’s Patisserie Valerie? Sounds interesting.

  5. If you feed chickens lovely birthday cake containing eggs, does that count as cannibalism? Inquiring minds want to know. And happy birthday.

  6. Yeah, thinking about it, cake is probably a far more suitable foodstuff to give to chickens than ice cream, but probably nowhere near as entertaining!

  7. Oh, and Happy Birthday of course!

  8. Boooo – I have just emerged from their enclosure. They have got coleslaw on their heads.

    Rachel – chickens do sometimes eat eggs. So you have to disguise them so as not to encourage this. Like in a cake.

  9. i have some egg boxes you could have. Or add straw to the basket, to cushion them.

  10. Hello JonnyB and Happy Belated Birthday,

    I’m going on holiday too. Could you look after my chickens as well?

    I’ll pay you of course. Usualy rates, a percentage of all eggs laid?

  11. Game over for the chickens, then, left to your tender mercies. They’ll probably get all suicidal on you, like in that new M. Night Shyamalan film, taking turns to cut each other’s heads off and leaving you standing bewildered in a field of feathered corpses.

    Roll on avian flu, I say.

  12. That is the thing with yuppie flu. It is all ME ME ME.

    That’s dreadful, although not necessarily in a bad way. It ordipends who you want to attract – your established readership, drawn by your self-deprecating wit charm saviour-faire ect ect, or the pun-loving and rediculously high-paying Daily Mail crew. It ordipends.

  13. The chickens are not laying, the chickens are laying, JonnyB is developing egg-collector’s elbow… Slow down please, it’s Friday and I’m not sure I can cope with this hectic pace and heady excitement.

  14. So… how tempted were you to rewrite the ending for the benefit of the blog?

    Then again it has just as much comedy value this way too, so maybe not.

    I bet it would be very satisfying to break lots of eggs on purpose though. You could put them in a container and walk on them. It might be as good as popping bubble wrap.

  15. Or you could squish them under your armpits.

  16. Or between your thighs.

  17. Or use a nutcracker.

  18. Or place them in regular pleasing pattern under a large board and then lie on it. Or jump on it. Or ride a bike over it.

    It would be fun to come up with a hundred interesting ways of breaking eggs, don’t you think? There must be better ways than the ones I’ve come up with. Somebody could make a video. It could be an art project.

    I wonder if you can make a vagina out of eggs, or even get a female personage to squish one in her… OK OK, I’ll stop now.

  19. You need to get out more, Clare. But of course, if you hadn’t surrendered yourself so utterly to your egg-squishing obsession seven-and-a-half months ago you might not be – ahem – egg-bound yourself now, so to speak. 6 weeks to go? Judging by the above, between baby and madness it’ll be a photo finish…

  20. Ooh, yes, could you look after our hens too? And I’m due to play the clarinet for a wedding next Saturday and it isn’t very convenient – they’d love a Norfolk celebrity on the banjo instead.

    Why didn’t you just leave Eddie’s eggs on her doorstep?

  21. Well Phil I liked that line about yuppie flu and Me Me Me – got a half snigger which is a lot for a blog – and I read the Telegraph so (cue nasally Beckham voice) attheendoderday ya never can tell.
    Patisserie Valerie in Norfolk?

  22. Hi Jonny,
    Thanks for offering your song, we love it but we’ve decided to use “let it be” cos everyone already knows it. Here’s our news letter:
    Great News! This is going to be huge and we have the most tremendous support! The police, Spotlight and Westcountry TV are joining us all day on Tuesday June the 3rd at 8.40 a.m. for the Drive to Sandford P.O. and on to Crediton P.O. to buy a stamp or collect a form or whatever. The national and local press are expected. A wide variety of politicians and organizations are also onboard. But to make it a success WE NEED YOU and your neighbors, in your cars! Please decorate your car with the broken heart logo attached or something similar. Please remember to pack food and soft drinks. J
    At around 6.30pm we’ll sing “Let it Be” in front of Sonia’s for the TV cameras and this will later be edited and put on youtube. We have musicians and Ella from Black Dog singing the verses so you can just join in the chorus:
    “Let it be x 4
    Whisper words of wisdom, let it be”
    If you don’t want to sing, please wave your placards or make your presence felt. Don’t worry about dressing up, some people feel that would be inappropriate so please just come as you are. If you can’t come to the drive due to work or whatever, please still come to the song.

    Thanks for all your support so far.
    They made a mistake when they took on mid Devon!
    All the best
    Tanya

  23. What?!? I have been bounced for THE BEATLES?!? What did THEY ever do for Post Offices?!?

    Apart from ‘Please, Mr Postman’. And ‘Car Tax Man’ and – er – ‘The Fool on Rowland Hill’.

  24. Anyone who’s guided small children should know that you need to use a positive message eg. “carry the eggs carefully”. If the voice over your shoulder is saying “don’t drop the eggs”, the anxiety produced, combined with the power of suggestion means “don’t” gets ignored in your mind and hey presto – “drop the eggs” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy!
    It takes practice, but all sorts of boringly restrictive phrases can be turned around to make achievable challenges – “hug gently” (not “stop squeezing the guinea pig”) – “walk on the footpath” (not “don’t run into the road”)- “fill the dishwasher” (not “what are my good dishes doing in the henhouse?”)
    Of course Derren is a strange old dog to be teaching new tricks – good luck!

  25. What is “Patisserie Valerie” and why isn’t there one in my village!

    I checked their website and clicked the link that leads to “Find a Valerie in Southern England”. Are you sure this is a pretentious cake shop and not some sort of furtive dating agency?

    No wonder your arms have yuppie flu – I expect it’s pretty much an inevitable consequence of embracing strange exotic French-sounding Valeries in Milton Keynes and Bromley.

  26. Congratulations for not dropping the eggs, and your birthday. It was lucky your mother had taken less care when it came to dropping her’s.

    A friend of mine told me today her favourite hen had part of its scalp removed by the other hens! Thankfully, a quick thinking veterinary surgeon stitched it right back on. The chicken survived to tell the tale, and was most pleased by the outcome of a facelift thrown in. Unfortunately, the hen now can only manage to ..”brreeeck” instead of the normal, “brruuuck.”

    Let this be a cautionary tale to you and your’s JB. Hen pecked, can seriously damage your vocals.

  27. Why did the chicken cross the road?

  28. To go to Jonny’s birthday party??

  29. I think it was Jules I’m with over me me me and if you can have Chateau Ethel in Epsom you can have Patisserie Valerie in Norfolk.
    Jonny just say no.

  30. I am going to see Derren Brown at the theatre on Thursday. Perhaps I will ask him to do some subliminal reinforcing of positive egg thoughts.

  31. “if you hadn’t surrendered yourself so utterly to your egg-squishing obsession seven-and-a-half months ago you might not be – ahem – egg-bound yourself now”

    I’m still trying to think of a way in which having one’s egg fertilised could be described as squishing eggs…

    …maybe if the sperm were extra-extra large?

  32. In the midst of all this egg squishing angst I am loathe to inquire, but must…

    WHY do the chickens have coleslaw on their heads, Jonny?

  33. To whomever suggested that their chickens could be chickensat for a percentage of egg yield: It is apparent that the going percentage is 100% of eggs PLUS a nice bottle PLUS a tacky holiday souvenir.

  34. How did the egg production swing from low to high so dramatically?

  35. Unless one of these chickens is impersonating Dustin the Turkey in Belgrade I’m afraid these chickens all must die.

  36. I think the Rolling Stones did way more for Post Offices than the Beatles.

    Who can ever forget those magical lyrics about a visit to the Post Office? “I see a red door and I want a Penny Black”

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