Brash McKelvie – The chicken that sat on a goose egg

Scottish Field’s online columnist Brash McKelvie has found some unexpected new arrivals in the woodshed.

Here are the cast of characters that share the vicissitudes of life:

Scragend – a Rhode Island Red of indeterminate age and foul nature.

Shitting Cat – does exactly what it says on the tin.

The Beloved – a paragon of virtue and a self-appointed critic of most of my thoughts and actions.

Snr and Jnr Orifice – our fledged offspring.

You will know by now that Scragend is her own force of nature.

Not particularly maternal. Quite bombastic. Shall we say, kindly, a ‘one off’? This summation of the bird’s personality was further reinforced today. We have a pretty useless goose who lays and leaves her eggs lying about in a rather random fashion.

So Scragend, for reasons best known to herself, has decided that sod incubating her own eggs – no, she’s going for the Calcutta Cup of eggs – and I watched in a vacuum of disbelief as she rolled, pecked and kicked the goose egg – laid in the middle of our garden – into, as near as damn it, the woodshed.

With a small amount of intervention involving a tattie basket, some straw and wrestling the egg from a murderously sharp beak, Scragend is now currently perched atop it, rather like Idi Amin in one of his levitational modes and very like one of those furry bobbles on top of a beanie hat. She has as little chance of it hatching it out as Putin has of winning the top WRI award for macramé. But lord do I admire her spirit.

Talking of spirits and things that go ‘bump in the night’ I was recently awoken by the Beloved to share a moment of midnight magic. ‘Do you hear that?’ Nope. ‘You must have heard THAT?’ No, not at all. ‘OH COME ON – you MUST have heard that?!’ Well, yes actually I did. A disturbance in the Drawing Room, a panic in the Parlour, a scene in the Sitting Room – call it what you will, stuff was happening downstairs that had to be seen addressed and I had picked the short straw obviously.

Creeping downstairs armed with my old cricket bat, an eldritch type of keening emanated from the lower room, combined with a crackling sound of Auld Nick’s infernal blaze. Tentatively I pushed the door open – ready for a whole host of anything but, rather like Scrooge, entirely unprepared for nothing. For there was nothing. No diabolical inferno, no spectres caught moaning in anguish. Nothing. And there the matter rests.

In case you are interested I have a new hate. Not just one but two.

Firstly – food programmes – why, oh why, do we have to witness the chef/cook/baker stuff their maws with the results of their labours as the cameraman pans into their masticating jawlines? Mastication is a personal thing and should remain private.

Secondly – both on TV programmes and out here in the real world – what is the current fad for the server to place down your plate of nosh with great gusto, and then having placed it… turn it by 45 degrees? What are they expecting? A sudden exhortation by the diner? ‘My Hat Billy Boy, now that you’ve turned that plate of food round that quarter degree I can actually understand why you are charging me a small nation’s entire Gross National Profit for chips and eggs. Well done.’