Thirty Thousand Streets

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wales, Henz uv Deth

I'm at my mum and dad's in Wales. It's very rural.

There's fields nearby, full of lambs gamboling around, a dirty dozen or so cows in a corrugated tin shed, the ususal array of evolution-defyingly unintelligent pheasants (strutting calmly into the road like targets in a practise range) plus a new addition to the local agricultural portfolio: a large hen house out the back.

Ah hens. Even allowing for Colonel Saunders and Chicken Cottage, the image that usually springs to mind when I think of hens in the countryside is of plump satisfied chooks ambling round pecking at seed in an arcadian utopia: a benign avian sisterhood if you will.

But after an inspection today I can report.. it's nothing like that at all, in fact: it's like Prisoner Cell Block H up in there.

Which is not to say they're not well looked after. My mum isn't Bernard Matthews (obviously) and it's quite a nice hen house (I guess) but these sisters are doing it to themselves, with various of the inmates sporting a variety of nasty-looking peckwounds, and I can tell you with some certainty having viewed the injured: "These beaks weren't made for walking".

I suppose this is the origing of the phrase 'pecking order', and 'Top Dog' of this cell block when the lights go out is the slightly sinister Mrs Black, a terrifying matronly bird with dark plumage, who metes out her own violent form of authority as savagely as the bosun of a 17th century naval frigate might, if they were a hen.

As the other hens sport ever more painful looking beak marks and diminish in stature, the maniacal Mrs Black prospers inversely, and walks with an ever more pronounced swagger. In ten years she'll probably be ripping up flagstones and holding tanks at bay in Parliament Square. You watch and see.

Anyway. There isn't much to do here apart from walk around, breathe in the air, and blog about hens. I'm in the final stretch of an Ian M Banks novel which I just want to finish now. I sometimes find myself really craving a dirty fix of science fiction, only to be distinctly underwhelmed when I actually set about reading it. This is no exception. It's got some neat ideas in there, but the characterisation is a bit bland and for a thriller, it's actually quite unexciting. That said, I've enjoyed others of his books much more.

Not sure what I'm up to tomorrow, though the weather here is much warmer than I expected, so perhaps a walk, followed by some crate digging in the charity shops of Welshpool.


gridrunner said...

Wow, that all sounds nothing like my past few days. It's been pitch central here: Full-on lack of sleep, midnight oil burning, taxis home style of London overload.

I gots to get me some of that rural action.

The Eyechild said...

Sounds ruff dude.. but what if you win? It'll be like England winning the Rugby World Cup only more people will care and I'm guessing more booze will be involved.

Just saying.