The politics of the chicken shed

By Martin Kirby

While Cameron and Clegg were constructing their extraordinary alliance I was knocking together a hen house out of old pallets. The jury is out on both counts, and only the inevitable tempest will tell which is watertight. Strangely, the two things evolved together. I tuned in to the highly addictive online coverage of the seismic shift in political thinking, while pulling nails out of pallet planks. Those few days of hung parliament hiatus immediately after the election were breathtaking, not because of the process (on the contrary) but because of the London media and their political columnists who couldn’t bear not knowing, and, more to the point, had nothing valuable to say. Never was it more apparent how child-like the so-called national newspapers can be, lobbing their toys in all directions because they just couldn’t abide the wholly sensible and reasonable ticking of the clock. Those fretful days passed, as it was fair to assume they would, and chicken shed number two and fenced enclosure took shape using (I preen) 100 per cent recycled materials, including those pallet nails. It took eight pallets in all, snaffled on three raids to the dump, but there’s no blueprint I’m afraid. It sort of evolved, with Joe designing a neat door that turns into a flight of chicken stairs. The project was urgent because the day old chicks we had billeted in the barn under a heat lamp at Easter had ballooned. We’re not keeping any more cockerels that’s for sure, so, gulp, the next question is …. will we really be able to do the deed if their number includes males? I’m going to try, but if repeatedly muttering the mantra of food provenance fails I will ask Jaume or maybe his mother to assist. The women round here don’t seem to blink an eye.


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