Email update from my brother: cockerel & alpaca

It's Saturday, so another eagerly awaited email from my brother down under. I wasn't sure if he would write this week as we managed to Skype last night. The kids were adorable and my nephew looks so much like his Dad!
So I was very pleased upon checking said inbox to see he had! I had to read it in stages due to laughter. My staples came out yesterday and I'm convinced my insides will burst out if I cough or laugh too hard!
So, grab a cuppa and enjoy (hopefully it will make you laugh........ but not so much your insides burst)
Hi Fay,
Good to see you on Skype this morning even through the chaos, chatter and interference being run by your niece and nephew. Honestly I reckon if I had a couple of coked up chimps with me they’d sit still longer. I can’t even begin to imagine what’s going through the kid’s minds though when every Saturday morning we sit down to talk to a computer that for the rest of the week doesn’t talk back.

Anyway, I’m keeping it short this week because after being away last weekend at an SCA event I’m looking forward to a sleep in. Speaking of being away you’ll be pleased to hear that my cack in a bottle (an authentic smell of Cheapside circa 1377) came last in the Arts & Sciences competition. It’s like sniffing sh*t wasn’t something people really wanted to ponder too much on before putting pen to paper to mark me on historical accuracy.

I also had to stop someone from pouring it into their glass too at one point which led to a “warm discussion” on the merits of putting a warning on the bottle lid.

I consoled myself with the second place for my Anglo-Saxon honey sweetened cider in the same competition (now all drunk) and the Silver Arrow in the archery competition (now hanging in my garage). Silver was of course second place and not first, but I’d made repairs on the gold arrow the night before as a favour because I was the proud owner of a tube of Super Glue (both arrows were previously broken wooden arrows sprayed their respective colours). Sadly the glue had set in such a way so that the gold arrow was kind of bent. Who wants a bent golden arrow? Not me. You can keep it, oh yes. I’d much rather have the silver one which still had it’s elegant straightness … and gold is so gauche don’t you think?

So this week one of our cockerels died. We had three cockerels left here by the previous owners and now we’ve got two, which is much better. Obviously zero cockerels would be best but Juliette with her vegetarian ways thinks Father Time should handle the problem rather than me with a machete, a wooden tree stump and the opening lines from A Tale Of Two Cities. The cockerel who died was called Unpopular Cockerel. Obviously if he had a name among the chicken folk it might have been Charlie or Steve or Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds or some such, but to us he was Unpopular Cockerel because none of the other chickens liked him. He’d get chased away by the other cooler cockerels and was generally seen on his own or being chased across the fields by the alpacas to the tune of Yakety Sax.

True to his name he also died in an unpopular way; I found him floating face down in the alpacas’ drinking water. He’d obviously been there a couple of days because when I fished him out he was a bit green around the neck area. So Unpopular Cockerel took his first and last short flight via an over arm shovel fling into the neighbouring ditch, there to be a meal for the rats, insects and bacteria which would strip his unpopular carcass to the bone in a week. A sad end to a sad life. He could have been so much more. Roast chicken, chicken casserole, fried chicken, chicken burgers …

The thing was the alpacas hadn’t complained about having a dead chicken in their drinking water. Basically because alpacas are from the camel family they make two camel’ish noises. The first is a warbling noise like a tauntaun from The Empire Strikes Back. In case you don’t remember it’s the animal that they ride around on the ice planet of Hoth and when Han’s tauntaun dies he slices the tauntaun’s belly open and stuffs Luke inside the guts to keep him warm (with the line “and I thought they smelled bad on the outside”). I bring this up only because I Googled how to spell tauntaun and found out they do tauntaun sleeping bags. This is a piece of marketing genius.

The second noise alpacas make is a sort of disappointed sigh. It’s the noise I imagine the Queen makes when looking into the Royal Biscuit Barrel and finding out there are no Chocolate Hob Knobs left. They make these noises all the time whether there’s a dead chicken in their drinking water or not so it’s kind of hard to spot when something is wrong. They amble up to have a drink, warble like a tauntaun, spot the dead chicken and give a disappointed sigh. They come up to the fence, warble like a tauntaun, spot me holding out alpaca pellets and give a disappointed sigh. Same noises, no difference.

Anyway, as we don’t know if Unpopular Cockerel was done in by the other chickens, the alapacas, a disease, old age or just falling in and drowning, we put a fence post in the drinking water so that if another chicken falls in and they’re not dead they can climb out. Obviously they’d feel a bit foolish and might ruffle their feathers a bit and pretend they meant to fall in on purpose but no harm would be done. Putting the piece of wood in though led to all four alpacas peering at the post for the following two days. Dead chicken there’s no staring, bit of wood and they’re all giving it the Paddington Bear hard stare. I don’t know, funny animals alpacas.

Anyway, my first e-mail to you mentioned Juliette’s nipples and she told me I wasn’t to write about them ever again so I’m glad I got to the end without them being mentioned. Chin up, hope you settle in back home okay and you don’t miss Dad’s cooking too much.

Take care of yourself, love Mark xxx
As always Mark........

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