Cocktails, A&E, Kitchens and chickens

It’s been an eventful weekend.

We were out with our very lovely American friends, Martin and Rebecca Cate, on Friday evening (I say “us” because we even managed to find a babysitter so the Lovely Melanie and I were out together!)  Martin owns the 17th best bar in the world (according to the Sunday Times) so we just had to go for cocktails at Red Bar (where the bartender was a tiny bit starstruck by meeting Martin, I think), and then eat superb Chinese food at Bam-Bou.

You won’t hear me complaining about any of those things.  Thanks, Martin and Rebecca! 🙂

Saturday…well, we had plans, but they kind of went out the window when Amber Grace Carter stuck a bead in her ear.

It was just before lunch: she and Millie were making bracelets with beads, when Amber suddenly said, “Look!  I’ve put one in my ear!” and smiled proudly.

Have you ever watched someone realise they’ve made a terrible mistake?  Seen their face go from happiness, through realisation, to panic?

It’s quite amazing to watch.  Amber’s face went through those expressions over the course of five seconds, whereupon she burst into tears, followed shortly after by her mother; Millie didn’t cry but retreated upstairs, finding it all a bit too much to cope with.

As the unflappably practical man of the house, I rolled my eyes and went to look up “Removing bead from ear” on the internet.

We tried tweezers: it wasn’t deep in Amber’s ear so we thought this would work.  Unfortunately, the bead pinged out of the tweezers deeper into the ear.


So we tried washing it out: I remembered a squeezy tomato ketchup bottle recently consigned to the recycling box, so we retrieved that, filled it with warm water and squirted it into Amber’s ear.


Amber was still very upset, and when we mentioned going to hospital she burst into tears all over again, the poor thing.

“What if they can’t get it out?” she sobbed.

I gave her a hug and explained that the hospital will definitely be able to get it out.  No question (all the while wondering – well, exactly how do they remove a bead from deep in the ear??)

We all piled into a taxi towards Queen Elizabeth Hospital in nearby Greenwich, stopping only drag Millie out of the taxi when she was almost sick on the way – she went very very pale. Jeez, I was thinking, what next???

The usual huge respect to the NHS – we were booked in, seen by a nurse, and the bead removed by a friendly doctor, all within an hour.

God, I love the NHS! 🙂

That afternoon, as an antidote to all the excitement, I cleaned, tidied and streamlined the layout of our kitchen.  We now have lots more room for kitchen food and other stuff; everything is neat, efficient and orderly.

Admittedly, we keep looking in the wrong cupboard for cups and bowls, but that’ll pass.  Eventually.

Cool, Queen and Sergeant Rock
Cool, Queen and Sergeant Rock

But today’s big news, of course, is the arrival of Cool, Queen and Sergeant Rock, our new chickens!

Once again, my good (and very useful!) friend Nik took us to Foal Farm, where the British Hen Welfare Trust were rehousing rescued hens; this time, however, they were not battery hens but barn hens.

Barn hens will have had a marginally better life than their battery cousins, but still never seen daylight; they also don’t get to move about, as we could immediately tell from the state of our hens’ feet – they were oddly twisted and the hens were a bit unsteady when walking about.  They are, however,  definitely bigger and heavier than battery hens, less smelly and generally have more (but not all) of their feathers.

The Lovely Melanie and Amber were both at a birthday party this afternoon, so Millie and I went to collect the hens.  Millie was terribly excited and fascinated by the whole business; Amber, as soon as she got home from her party, went running into the garden to see the new arrivals and demanded to know which was her hen – Queen.

“It’s the one who won’t stop talking and has already gotten stuck behind the shed once,” we told her, “She’s a lot like you!”

Millie’s hen, Cool, was the first to realise that the large bowl of porridge we put down for them – all soft, steaming and smelling delicious – was food, after walking straight past it ten times!

But it was my hen, Sergeant Rock, who first dared to venture inside the chicken coop.

They’re all currently settling on the ground for the night, not having discovered the large ramp leading up to the box filled with luxurious hay and protected from the elements.

Stupid chickens. 😛

The good news is, we’ve already had two three eggs from them.

The bad news?  We’ve already had to chase Mr bloody Foxy out of the garden.  Twice!

I’ve been making sure the girls double-check all the coop doors are shut and locked.  We really don’t want a repeat of last time.


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