“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.