Behind our house are the Hamilton Lane Allotments. This means we don't have any houses behind us but we still have great neighbours. Some of them are chickens!
I once had pet a chicken when I was a very young child, so I rather like them. I can hear them clucking to each other early in the mornings and in the evenings, a little bit of the country in the middle of town.
The chickens are owned and cared for by three gentlemen who garden the three plots directly behind our back garden fence. They joined forces earlier this summer to build the chicken run and transformed an old garden shed into a fancy chicken house. It is a huge enclosure for twelve hens. I mean, it's plush!
Everyday I would get a 'chicken report'. 'Nope, no eggs yet', was the report for the first few weeks. Then gradually, the hens went into production. 'One egg today' and 'Two eggs today' and the proudest proclamation of all 'We got a double yolker!'
The hens are doted on. Grand tours of the chicken run are periodically conducted for friends and family. It's lovely to see three grown men so devoted and smitten.
They adore the chickens but I rather think they may be tiring of the eggs. The girls have become quite prolific. This morning, a head popped up over the fence. It was co-owner, Arthur. 'Could you use some eggs? We've had nothing but omelets and frittatas for weeks and I want some meat!'
We gratefully accepted the eggs and complimented the hens and the gents on their efforts. Arthur beamed with pride but then added, a bit sheepishly, 'There would have been six eggs but one hen is sitting on a clutch of at least five eggs and we don't have the heart to move her.'
I struggled to suppress a grin. You have to love three grown men who are too kind hearted to shoo a hen. Like I said, we have excellent allotment neighbours!