An executive level decision was recently taken to extend the Jackson Group, Inc, corporate egg producing division. This basically led to me ordering an extra five hens from a nice lady in Los Gallardos.
There is a certain protocol to ordering hens in Spain. In part, this extends to specifying whether you want them to eat, to breed, or for eggs.
A side story:
Whilst rooting amongst the father in laws shed recently, I came across a lovely looking cock in a small cage.
“Why?” says the innocent young Brit, as I went upstairs to look for some bread to feed it with.
“Lunch” replies the experienced elder mother in law, cracking her knuckles. “Don’t give it that bread, it’ll sh*t when I wring its neck”.
This is why I don’t like to eat chicken. Fair enough, at least you know if the meat you are eating has been pumped full of hormones or not. Anyway, back to the eggers.
So I turned up at the appointed hour, feeling slightly dodgy about buying chickens by the bushel. Sort of white slave trader, if you will. The German lady offering me the eggers obviously felt the same way, patting them on the head and sighing about letting them loose into parts unknown.
Our first though was how to transport them. A box was the obvious solution, but we had no box big enough to fit 5 chickens into. Several smaller boxes were provided.
As is the way in Spain, an audience appeared. In this case, three large dogs from next door – who never uttered a word, simply looked on with amazement- and a large gitano and his son, who appeared from nowhere to lean against the wall, having a fag and a look.
Anyway, the chickens were amazing. They did not complain, they did not squawk. They allowed themselves to be captured without complaint, and said nothing about being stuffed into a small box. However, as soon as our backs were turned, they quietly, and without fuss, got themselves out of the boxes and returned to their perches.
After a few attempts, it was obvious that this would not suffice.
“What you need”, said the gitano, carefully pulling out another ducados and tapping it on the box, “is a sack”.
Now, I flatly refused, Englishman that I am, to transport an animal in a sack. The mere idea of carrying an animal in a sack is abhorrent to me.
The lady selling me the hens agreed. A sack is not nice. We northern Europeans were in agreement over the treatment of animals.
Trouble was, the hens knew how to escape the boxes. So we relented, and the gf, who all along had been in agreement with the gitano about the transport of Chickens, found a sack in a corner.
The hens went into the sack with little to no problem. They knew the drill. In, down, and think of España.
Trouble was, all except one of them. Who escaped. The gf tried to catch it (she was in charge of the door) and it escaped into the yard. The dogs next door stiffened. The hen perched on top of a pile and cackled. We looked at it. It looked back. Then it tried to lay an egg.
We pass lightly over chasing the hen for the next 10 mins. The grabs, the shouts, the hunting under statues and boxes of pipes. Thank god the gitano and his son knew how to organise a chicken hunt, and the kiddo was quicker than we were. He grabbed that chicken like it was a bin laden.
Ten minutes later, having paid…
I was driving over the AVE bridge with a sack full of chickens, when a sudden movement made my eyes swing over to the passenger seat. A white hen had its head out of the sack, and was looking at me. It had an eye full of patience and understanding, but it still filled me with panic. I had visions of the Mazda filling with hens, of the chaos….
I took a swipe at the hen, whilst swearing in Russian.
Брощу пить, курить и материться… Блядь! Сигарета в вино упала!..
This is the same trick I tried on a bumblebee in the Outer Hebrides, whilst driving a rented Ford, but here it had greater effect, as the hen gave a single alarmed squawk before vanishing back into the sack. The bumble bee only landed on the radio, changing the station to BBC 5.
Why Russian? Why not. It’s a great language to swear in. I’ve spent the last decade learning Celtic, but you can’t learn Celtic, it has to be bred into you.
Anyway, in case you were wondering, the new chickens have settled in fine, and are happy. Jackson Group, Inc, has expanded egg production to 8 or 10 a day, and the retirement fund is settled. The neighbours continue with their threatened lawsuit about the 5am cock crow. And I didn’t hit the AVE bridge, despite swiping at hens. All in all, a good day all round.