Sunday, May 11, 2008

Anyone for chicken.........

Being as this is la France Profonde, no self-respecting person would be seen dead without chickens. So, thanks to a friend who was moving back to the UK I became proud owner of Three French Hens and a stunning cockerel, a huge mass of black and white Brahma. Well if you're going to have a cockerel why now have one that's a statement?

My three French Hens and one French Coq lived in blissful harmony until a 'fouine' (stone marten) came a-calling and brutally murdered two of them. Bloody thing only bit off their heads and left the rest. What a waste.... although I did briefly think about whisking them down to my fearless French neighbour Chantal so she could do the business and we could all enjoy a very large chicken curry... but in the end I couldn't do it so they were rather unceremoniously dumped in the large poubelles at the end of our lane.

Two weeks later and M. Fouine came round again. He hid under the henhouse and ambushed my poor cockerel as he went to bed for the night. Off with his head, leaving me with about 4kgs of dead cockerel. Now I felt that M. Le Coq deserved a better burial but being as we are on bedrock, the chances of digging him a grave without the aid of either dynamite or a rock breaker were minimal so after much deliberation I opted for chucking him in the woods so the local wildlife could dispose of him.

I lugged all 4kgs of him into the woods in my trusty Tubtrug, selected a spot on the edge of a steep drop, said my fond farewells and threw him down the slope. Thing is, I nearly went too. The only way to stop myself was to let go of my Tubtrug and hope for the best. Poor M. Le Coq cartwheeled down the slope in his 'coffin' before coming to rest against a tree with his big yellow feet sticking out!

So, I set off in search of new chickens. You'd kinda thing that this wouldn't be too difficult living as I do in the middle of the French countryside.

I'd been reliable informed that a local market was a good place to start and on arrival I was faced with two benches of old farmers facing each other like some sort of avian standoff, clutching baskets of eggs with cages of rabbits at their feet and piles of chickens, all looking like they had seen better days, with their legs tied together to stop then escaping.

I hung around a bit to see what the form was. An old boy arrived, selected his chicken and was handed it, legs bound, whereon he hung it from the handlebars of his bike and wobbled off into the sunset with the poor bird swinging. All a bit too 'paysan' for me I'm afraid.

I didn't fancy wandering round the market swinging a chicken 'handbag' so I beat a hasty retreat.

Oh well, there must be somewhere else I can get them.

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