Posted by: kathandroger | June 17, 2016

New chicks and Nantes.

After the failure of Beryl to raise a new brood, we decided to buy a couple of point of lay chickens. The local Gamme Vert store in Chatellerault has recently built a coop in the parking area and sells all varieties of fowl, so Kath popped in last week and came back with a fine pair. One is a “Cendre”, so called because of the ash like colour, and the other a Light Sussex, and both have settled in well. I was a little nervous because the other chickens can often bully newcomers and peck them badly, but these two seem to cause no problems. Our old dog Boudie, to our surprise, found them very interesting, and spent ages trying to get close enough to smell their bottoms, but a sprightly young chicken is more agile than an ageing Airdale.IMG_3417 It was more exercise than she has had in weeks, and the poor old bugger was knackered at the end of the day, and the rear ends of the newcomers had still not been inspected. Names were not too difficult, the cendre had to be Sooty and therefore the other had to be Sweep. Incidentally, I used to live in the same village as Harry Corbett, who introduced the famous pair to the world, and he was exactly the same in real life as he was on the telly, even down to his little chuckle. He once showed me around his workshop and he loved messing about making things just as I do. Anyway, we hope the two new girls  will soon start laying as the other hens are now pretty useless. The Turkey, our great big counou chicken, has been laying huge eggs, but I fear she has now got one stuck in the exit, and I may have to help with the extraction if nothing happens today. I thought my days of inserting the inquiring digit into rear ends had ended, but it seems not. Sweep made herself at home straight away, and we had to explain to her that she did not live in our house, and the food on the windowsill was for the cat and not for her!IMG_3418The hen house automatic door is not working at the moment, and there is a danger that the new egglayers may find another location to leave their offerings, we shall have to be vigilant.

We visited Nantes earlier this week. A daughter of one of Kaths’ old friends was playing for New Zealand against France at Basketball in an elimination tournament for the Olympic games, and we were offered tickets. As the only two New Zealand supporters in a crowd of four thousand flag waving French, we had a great time. Luckily we were in the VIP area, and very well catered for, and our shouts for the opposition were taken in good heart. The French won, so maybe that explains it. Nantes itself is well worth a visit. It is clean, and due to the excellent tram and bus services is wonderfully clear of traffic.The history of the place is eye opening, being the top slave trade port in France in days gone by, and during the French revolution famous for another dark episode. Apparently local resistance was met with a novel way of dealing with alleged traitors of tying man and woman together, back to back and naked, displaying them in a boat in the Loire, and then drowning them by chucking them in. The inventor of this barbarism was later himself guillotined. On a lighter note, the old shipyards on the island in the river is now home to an exhibition of moving animal statues. The Elephant can carry fifty people and makes regular trips around the area, trumpeting and blowing water from the front end but thankfully nothing from the other end. The huge dragon has been exported to China and has apparently improved international relations immensely. Well done the old frog for rejuvenating a formerly derelict site into a tourist attraction.

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