Mostly, I have been inspecting Marge, our most senior chicken, who has gone into moult. Luckily, I have a good selection of chicken-related literature and I was forewarned, otherwise, I’d have thought she was being slowly murdered.
My first thoughts are that it is a terrible time to moult. Why now? Why not in summer when it’s hot? We could have a nasty turn of the weather and Marge would have gooseflesh for weeks. It’s been too wet for hens these last couple of days. She, poor thing, has been bedraggled and to add insult to injury is now more white than brown, and has nasty bits of spiky new feathers coming through.
Imagine your hairs were two-hundred times thicker than they are, and then imagine them poking their way through your skin. I can only imagine it must be like teething, except teething needles. No wonder she’s been a bit limp-looking. Not only that, but she’s only got a couple of weeks before the really cold weather might set in and she might be a poor half-featherless chook. I felt like knitting her a chicken shawl.
Before you laugh, these exist. Someone invented chicken shawls already.
To be honest, it’s not too bad yet as though it’s wet, it’s not that cold yet. Compared to this time last year when we’d had lots of frosts already and the river had already returned, it feels mild. We’re still bone-dry at this end of the river.
And we’re not too cold. I got a sweat on last night in bed and had to get a bit more naked.
To be fair, I had the world’s best hot water bottle. I still haven’t sussed this amazing bit of rubber/plastic/whatever it is out yet. It’s still boiling hot in the morning.
Now I get heat transfer and heat loss. Some molecules get jiggy and jig other molecules. Eventually, the molecules that were jiggy have passed on their jigginess somewhere else, often into the air, and it’s dissipated. So how does that hot water bottle stay so unnaturally hot??!
I’ve had hot water bottles before. I know the principle. Go to bed with a hot water bottle. Wake up with at best a lukewarm water bottle or a cold water bottle. This one is still warm twenty-four hours later!
I’ve had it a month and it still amazes me. It’s like some new water bottle technology or something. I’m going to go out and buy 10 for when the end of the world happens and the electric companies shut up shop. Whilst you’re freezing in your beds, I’ll be toasty warm with the 10 hot water bottles I’ve got that I heated via the cauldron over a fire. Yes, I have a little cauldron. They’re great. It’s got a plant in it right now, but when it all goes POP, I’ll be glad of that cauldron and you’ll be laughing on the other side of your faces.
Just to explain why else I was too hot, I have now doubled up on the duvets and I’m working a two-duvet system. Toasty warm. The shutters have been closed since October, I’ve blocked up the inch-wide gap in the window frame with some mastic and I’ve got some curtains on the make for them too.
Freaky hot water bottle, two-duvet system… and… a fleece, a pair of fleecy pyjama bottoms and some fleece socks.
I hate to confess this…
I really, really do…
I will, in the name of honesty…
I put my newly-knitted shawl over my head
Yes. I was sitting in bed with a shawl over my head.
No wonder I was bloody warm. The Inuit wear less.
I could try and make it sound a little better by saying the shawl is really a triangular scarf in Aztec colours.
But I know, and you know, that it’s a shawl.
I’m just a broom, a black cat and a wart away from witchcraft between the shawl and the cauldron