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The Rat That Wasn’t There

The glamorous days get increasingly ritzy: the ‘odour’ in the house that has been slaying us for weeks turned out not to be a dead rat but a loose pipe.

I write this as the plumber waves a cheery goodbye and I feel all happy and summery: kind of  lashings-of-ginger-beerish in a good way. Morning dog walks mean blackberry breakfasts along the way: who’d have thought it would ever happen? And the final proof I may have gone native: I have chickens. Three of them.

It wasn’t meant to happen. It just did. The  little-used ground floor of the treehouse needed to earn its keep, so after staring at it for a while I had one of my lightbulb moments. Actually, I had two, but the first one involved a pizza oven and would have meant a chimney going up through the treehouse itself which felt a little extreme.

So, advised by our latest member of the team,  Julie The Poultry Guru we built a little house, and got the girls in. As yet they are unnamed: they’re a surprise waiting for the children to come back from hols with the grandparents, who are once more horrified by this addition to the mix. “More smells in the garden!” gasped my mother – I’m not quite sure how I should take this.

Fortunately, I have happy clients who indulged my wish to recreate a little bit of Renaissance architecture in a Kentish garden –  wot genius loci? And I’m building a garden on the sand which I do not recommend unless you can sink 20m-long piles into the ground

Newsflash: the chickens have  been named. My daughter has selected Mary and Mayai (Swahili for ‘eggs’,  inspired by current reading material. Luckily she’d finished Lord of the Rings). Son’s: Luis, in homage to the great striker.  I am informed that this name is  selected also as phonetically it is a tribute to Formula 1. And yes, I have told him it’s a female.