There is a knock on the door!!!
It is Mrs. Short Tony, breathless with excitement.
“OMGOMGdidyouhearsmashingcrashbashtractorallovertheroadhayhayhay,” she gibbers, hopping from foot to foot like a frog connected to the electricity and badly in need of a wee. “Policepolicehayroadbashsmash.”
I follow her down the path to see what all the fuss is about. A tractor has brushed the wall on its way round the corner, causing its trailer load of hay to topple over. There are countless bales of hay strewn across the road, along the verge and in Big Andy’s hedge; some have broken open and blown about in the wind. Traffic is blocked, and there is a heavy police presence (3 policemen). Meanwhile, people are running out of their houses with bags and stuffing them with hay as fast as they can.
Free hay! It is an amazing scene. It is like Whisky Galore, but with hay. I run for some bin bags.
“Never get a pie lorry, do we?” comments one of the policemen as I trot past him. Poor bloke – he is presumably not allowed to take any himself. I give him a sympathetic smile, leaving him to think wistfully about pies.
The tractor driver has returned with a big prongy fork-lift thing, and is trying to pick up the bales one by one. People point at him and take photographs with their cameras. I am not much of a body language expert, but he doesn’t look in the best of moods. I start shovelling hay into my first bag. He hoots furiously, narrowly missing me with his prong.
“This is great,” says Big Andy, returning to the scene with fresh sacks. “I must have got at least three pounds 50 worth of hay. Although there was a snake in one of the bales, which was a bit alarming.”
The tractor/prong driver is gesturing to us to get out of the way. We take a step back, let him turn, then start grabbing more hay. Within a short time, I am laden down with the stuff – enough for the chickens for weeks to come.
“I’ve got a couple more bags if you want them,” calls Wallace from across the road.
But I am laden down. The road is almost clear, and the traffic (a lorry) can get through. I walk slowly back to the Cottage, bearing my load of arable gold.
“We don’t get much entertainment round here,” I explain to the policeman as I pass.
“I can see that,” he replies.