In your imaginary dream house, what do you see out of your bathroom window? Perhaps a herd of wildebeest hurtling across the plains in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. Or an idyllic water lily pond in the style of Claude Monet’s. Or maybe the Golden Gate Bridge spanning the breadth of San Francisco Bay.
Our view is somewhat different at the moment.
I should say, at this point, that Nutsford House is very much a dream house and the view out of every single other window in the house - and there are a lot of windows - is pretty magnificent. And, indeed, the view out of our bathroom window isn’t at all bad. It’s just that a new structure has appeared in the garden and the bathroom window points directly at it.
Last Saturday we picked up our new hens. There are four of them. They are eighteen months old and up until last week they, like 40% of the egg-laying hens in the UK, were kept in cages and were delivering eggs for the egg farming industry.
Then the brilliant charity The British Hen Welfare Trust (https://www.bhwt.org.uk/) stepped in and saved them from slaughter, which they have also done with over 900,000 others this year alone. We picked them up and here they are at Nutsford House, hopefully enjoying a little more freedom.
However, avian flu continues to be an issue in the UK at the moment and, because of this, there is a housing order meaning hens must be kept in spaces which wild birds can’t access. Effectively, if they are outside, they must be enclosed on all sides and the roof must be solid to prevent wild bird poo dropping into the enclosure.
So, you may have guessed now what the view out of our bathroom window is.
Amanda and I - meaning just Amanda, really - have constructed a small enclosed area with chicken wire on the sides and a roof of thick plastic. The idea is that the hens can come out of their beautiful wooden home to enjoy a little fresh air and get some sun on their backs which will hopefully help them regrow the feathers they are missing.
In reality, only one hen has braved the outside world so far but we are hopeful more will in the coming days and weeks.
If you are a regular viewer of TV crime drama, you will recognise the structure that we have created. When there is a terrible murder in a house, the police erect a canopy in the garden to give privacy to investigators and forensic experts.
This is what we have constructed too.
So, looking out of the bathroom window in a morning, I am now reminded of Taggart, Inspector Morse, Broadchurch, Line of Duty, Happy Valley, DCI Banks and many more excellent crime drama series.
But, I am pleased to say, ironically, in this case, (in a Scottish accent) “There hasn’t been a murder!”
All thanks to the British Hen Welfare Trust, who are currently accepting online donations.