“Ok,” I say, resolutely.

“Ok,” Short Tony replies.

There is a short pause whilst we accept the fact that saying ‘ok’ resolutely before doing a difficult job does not really affect the difficultness of the job at all. Meanwhile the chickens look on suspiciously.

“I think the best thing to do is to sort of lure them back into the chicken enclosure,” I ponder. “Then they will not have so much room to run away, when we start chasing them.”

Short Tony nods his assent. “Do you still have your chicken catching device?” he asks.

I go to fetch my chicken catching device from the shed. This is a big sheet of board with some handles, which you can brandish in front of you like a riot shield. I was very pleased with it when I made it. It enables you to back a chicken into a corner and then keep it there whilst you grab it, plus it would be very useful should they riot.

I should try to market my inventions a bit more. Other individuals, organisations, governments etc would be grateful for my know-how, if they needed to catch any chickens or, for instance, if there was any serious trouble at the chicken G7.

But I cannot see the organisers of the chicken G7 buying into my idea. They would stick to straightforward first-generation nets. It is not what you know, it is who you know, and it is impossible for a lone-wolf inventor like me to get a foothold in the competitive tendering environment, no matter how good my product. I lift it from the shed, proudly.

“Right – are you ready with the scissors?” I ask Short Tony.

You clip chickens’ wings so they cannot fly any more, and destroy the LTLP’s plants. She has been really cross about this lately, what with her being in a heightened emotional state, and we are grasping the nettle accordingly. If we clip their wings, they won’t be able to get over Short Tony’s gate and thus into our garden.

In a way, clipping their wings will ‘clip their wings’ (as in the phrase ‘clip their wings’, meaning to restrict somebody from doing something, which essentially is what will happen when we clip their wings. This is just one of those delightful little etymological coincidences that makes the English language so interesting.)

I run towards a chicken, brandishing my riot shield. It yells in alarm and scuttles towards the corner, where I grab it.

“It’s these feathers. Yes,” confirms Short Tony, snipping away at the bird.

To avoid getting the snipped chickens mixed up with the unsnipped one, I put the first chicken over the fence into Short Tony’s garden.

“Oh. I’d forgotten they can’t fly any more,” I say, as it plummets like a small boulder onto the grass. It is unhurt, but adopts a reproachful air. I chase a second chicken around the enclosure. The second chicken has seen what has happened to the first chicken, so is unenthusiastic about co-operating, but not as unenthusiastic as the third chicken or, indeed, the fourth.

But within ten minutes, all the chickens are snipped, and pecking around on the grass, resolutely grounded.

“Is it just me, or was that unexpectedly easier than anticipated?” I ask Short Tony.

Short Tony surveys the chickens. “I can’t believe we just managed to do that,” he replied.

“The LTLP will be really pleased, what with her heightened emotional state thing going on,” I conclude, remembering that I mean to make a special announcement soon, but being careful not to hint as to its nature.

I replace the chicken device in the shed and walk slowly back to the Cottage. It is not often that a plan like that goes with any degree of smoothness, and I want to savour the moment.

21 thoughts on “We attempt to clip the chickens’ wings.

  1. Z says:

    Oh. I should be glad it went so well but it was a bit of an anti-climax, actually.

  2. Pat says:

    OOOOOOH I’m so excited! When?

    BTW did you think to put eye holes in your big sheet of board with some handles, which you can brandish in front of you like a riot shield?
    Thought not. Oh dear!

  3. tillylil says:

    No announcement yet then Jonny?

  4. A Quiver says:

    Well done, Colonel Saunders, well done! I shall sleep better at night knowing that the LTLP’s tender young shoots shall forthwith flourish unmolested and that those unsightly “Beware of Low-flying Barnyard Fowl” signs can be removed from the runways at Norfolk International.

    Now if only you would make your announcement. The suspense is well nigh killing me. What could it be, what *could* it be….

    -All aquiver with anticipation and excitement

  5. A Quiver says:

    Oh, and kudos on the riot device. Do you think it might work effectively on recalcitrant kitties as well? Now that would be a hot seller. I would buy one. No, make that two. It’s always good to have a spare.

  6. Is it just me, or is there a distinct air of other-shoe-dangliness hanging over this post? I should wrap up all that savouring tonight if I were you, Jonny. Might not be much left to savour by tomorrow morning…

    By the way, mood swings, nausea and increased appetite are commonly associated with (a) pregnancy and (b) one of those really aggressive brain tumours that swell up to the size of a grapefruit and push the victim’s parietal lobe out of their left ear. Do please take a moment to entirely rule out option (b) before making your little announcement, would you?

  7. JonnyB says:

    Hullo A Quiver and welcome!!!

    This was a difficult post to write. Because, as Z points out, things don’t normally go right. But having mentioned that I was going to go a’ clipping – in the natural expectation that it would go horribly wrong – it would have seemed dishonest not to talk about it.

    The riot shields are available for hire if required.

  8. At school we were taught the legend that if the chickens ever flew away from The Private Secret Diary then the whole of Britain would be Great again and the entire Commonwealth would get together that very evening and sign a petition asking for the restitution of the Empire and we could spend forever sitting in a big field lacing daisies in one an others hair listening to golden banjo music.

    You and ‘doesn’t-get-any-bigger-when-he-comes-towards-you Tony may have a lot to answer for.

  9. Lisa says:

    Ooooooooooh. We are getting chickens today. Will bear your riot shield hire availability in mid just in case.

    Sorry, hello JonyB!

  10. Dave says:

    Have you checked for tunnel-digging activity yet? A cunning beast, your average chicken.

  11. guyana gyal says:

    I’m with the LTLP on this, I would get really emotionally heightened if any chicken were to scratch around my plants, and I’m not in the state that she’s in, the one you keep hinting about.

    If a chicken scratched around my plants, I’d curry it and give it to a beggar, I would.

  12. ajb1605 says:

    why would the chickens fly over Short Tony’s gate, to get from their enclosure to your garden? Are they as orientationally challenged as you? Or do they just like to go the pretty way?

  13. JoAnne says:

    Yeah, what ajb1605 said. The chickens are in YOUR yard, aren’t they? They were before, anyway. Why go to Tony’s just to come back? And also – perhaps this story foreshadows another clip, one that might have something to do with the LTLPs heightened emotional state and current situation.

  14. JonnyB says:

    Hullo Lisa!!!

    Um – it is a bit difficult to explain the geography. Basically, there is a door from the chicken enclosure into both mine and Short Tony’s gardens. But his has been easier to get past, then there is the secret path and gate that leads between our properties, which they have been availing themselves of.

    Hope that clears things up.

  15. I am not surprised that the LTLP is in a highly emotional state.

    I would too if my better half were to spend his time chucking chickens with Short Tony.

  16. ajb1605 says:

    Is that a euphemism, UT?

  17. Andrew says:

    I’ll just speak on behalf of the Russian chicken delegation and say that they are disappointed your chickens, for all their hyperintelligence, still only form the G7. There will be sanctions. And…well. They will be dire. A rooster coop will descend over the Continent…

  18. Cogidubnus says:

    Dunno about chickens but ducks are pretty cunning – ours used occasionally to get into the house and crap all over the kitchen floor…couldn’t you tell LTLP how lucky she is they’re not ducks? Ah well….it was just a thought…

  19. mac says:

    I don’t come here to read about things going right!
    I come here for a regular dose of ‘it’s not just me then’.
    You’ve ruined it…..ruined it….

  20. Miss Nomer says:


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