Two of my chickens were tired of country life and wanted to check out the bright lights of the capital. So last Monday after a very early start at 5.30am loading last year’s lambs into the trailer for James to take them to the abattoir, I popped the two chickens into a box, and set off for London.
The chickens were going to live with my lovely friends in Putney – they were very exited about their new digs and the promise of home-grown, organic greens.
The plan was I would get my usual two trains to London, then hop on two tubes, get another train towards Strawberry Hill where I work, but hand over the chickens at Putney station in the short time period between the doors opening and the door shutting.
Of course I had meetings to go to at work so couldn’t really afford to get off the train at Putney with the chickens and then wait for the next one. So for this very cunning plan to work timing was important – we agreed the handover would occur when the 11.03 Teddington train, leaving Waterloo, arrived at Putney station – at the very end of the platform by the first carriage.
All went well. At Ipswich I precariously balanced my coffee on top of the chicken box, school bag on my shoulder while I scurried up the platform to catch the train. I even managed to squeeze me and the chickens onto the tube.
But then I got to Waterloo. All of the trains were cancelled or delayed. Obviously I didn’t have my friend’s phone number so I squatted on the floor, powered up my laptop, balanced on top of the chicken box and tried to send an email. Suddenly the announcer said that the Windsor and Eton train would be leaving in a couple of minutes. It would stop at Putney and Twickenham – which is close enough for me to get a couple of buses to university.
Laptop still open and on top of the chicken box I lurched towards the train, hoping that my friend would get my message, call me and I could update them on my new arrival time which was going to be quite a few minutes earlier than arranged.
I heard nothing. What was I going to do? It just didn’t seem to be appropriate to lean out of the train door and deposit a suspicious-looking box making faint clucking sounds on the platform – I reckoned this would just add to train delays.
Then as the train pulled into Putney station I saw my friend hurtling down the steps. The train started to slow down and as the doors opened I was just able to thrust the box into her arms before they shut and I continued on my way.
Apparently the hens have settled in very well and are already laying eggs …..
N.B. Still rather gutted about the lambs, especially little Bowie and Aladdin. This is the hardest part of smallholding life. But as a friend said, when they graduate from “university” they are so very, very tasty.