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Chickens to the Rescue at the B&B

The children want a pet. They aren’t fussy. Their only condition is that it doesn’t live too too long as they are planning a lavish burial, possibly at sea. Which thankfully rules out a pony. We have tried various animals in the past and our dog is now on life time loan to my mother-in-law. With a newly established B&B, a falling down house, a some time most of the time job and three children I am in no hurry to take on anything else that requires any sort of care and attention. Including The Husband.

So imagine if you can, picture if you will, the upturned faces of the 3 as the neighbour hangs over the fence telling them about the baby guinea pigs born that morning. Do send the children over after school to see them she says sweetly, barely hiding  her desperation at needing to find homes for them. I do a lot of putting my foot down including actually doing it in front of the neighbour. The same one who looked thoughtfully off into the distance once when I asked her if she heard me shouting at the children. I bundle them all into the car for the school run and turn the radio up. Then I do the same in reverse 7 hours later and screech into the drive. It doesn’t look like the neighbour has moved since the morning and the children whoop over the fence and straight into her kitchen. Defeated, shoulders slumped, I follow them.

In fairness I can now revise my animal hate list. Still on it – hamsters, gerbils, budgies, anything which requires a cage in the house – but have downgraded guinea pigs to the OK To Look At If Not Yours subsection. The neighbour is doing that brilliant I am Not Selling This sales technique even letting the Curly One have a hold when she knows exactly what he is capable of. For a moment all is lost and I start asking how much the vet bills are and then from nowhere, springing spring like into my conscious I have a plan. We are going to get chickens I announce and three little heads swivel around, large suspicious eyes waiting for the But. But there is no But. As soon as I say it I think it is a marvellous idea. What is a country B&B without its own fresh eggs? How often do I run out when cake baking for Gub? And isn’t it a fact that chickens cannot live indoors? I have even heard they put themselves to bed at night. I almost punch the air but stop at the memory of stamping my foot earlier.

The following day, my plan taking shape, I am pacing out a possible coop and run location when Eldest Son passes by wearing my vintage black evening coat with the velvet collar and buttons dragging the dinghy behind him. Turns out one of the little guineas didn’t make it through the night…


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