My husband picked me up from the train station last night. The moment he saw me, he said, “I’ve got some more bad news.”
These days, whenever my reticent husband opens his mouth, it all starts with the same line, “I’ve got some more bad news.”
“Two hens of our neighbours’ were killed last night. Killed by a fox.”
“What? Two hens?” I was shocked. I’d just returned from an exciting trip to London, involving high tea, a magnificent palace and a touch of middle-class sophistication of enjoying opera singing in Covent Garden, but now I must quickly transport myself back to the reality of my everyday hens-mice-weasels-fox-murder type of Good Life. Strangely, I felt a weird sense of ‘victory’ when I heard my neighbours’ two hens were down. We were only one hen down; they were two hens down. Surely we’re the winner. Surely my hens were more intelligent and resilient than theirs? When disturbed a few nights ago, my two hens ran for their life, flew up high and hid in other people’s garden. If needs be, they even proudly crossed the road.
Last summer, I spent a few weeks with my 80-year-old mother in Singapore. Two weeks into my staying, my mother began muttering to my siblings about my strange behaviours. According to my sisters, my mother was slightly worried about my sanity as in Singapore, what I only talked about was my chickens in England.
My mum has 9 children and I’m the only one who’s been to university. My eldest brother and sister only received primary education and were forced to work so that their younger siblings wouldn’t have to eat each other. I’m the only child with an academic job. I’m the only one who is married to a white man. However, my mum was a bit baffled as I didn’t seem to have many glorious stories from England to tell. In England, when we travel, we live in a tent on a muddy field. When we did once stay in a hotel, we stayed in a humble Premier Inn facing a busy main road. In contrast, in Singapore, once in a while, my eldest brother would take my mum abroad with his family and they would stay in a 5 star hotel overlooking the glistening ocean. They had visited Australia and Japan and I haven’t. They eat in posh restaurants every month with dishes like chilli crab, bird’s nest, abalone, peking duck and fish head curry. In England, I eat spaghetti bolognese which might have contained horse meat fed with the equine painkiller phenylbutazone, or bute.
Therefore, I think I ought to take a break from stories about my chickens for a while, though some of my sadistic readers do seem to enjoy the saga. My mum would be disappointed about her only highly educated daughter rambling about chickens all week. She would like to imagine her daughter has got other proper jobs to do in life.
Let me share with you a few more photos before I sign off today.