What a strange, fascinating, anxiety-inducing, often hilarious and sometimes exhilarating week it has been. If I feel a bit battered after all this action, and by staying up all night to watch the general election unfold, this is nothing to how tender Theresa May, our desperately hanging-on prime minister, must be feeling right now. There’s nothing like an accidentally self-inflicted wound for making you feel angry and ridiculous. And as for the rest of the Tory party, well I can’t help but see the similarities with my own dear brood of hens. Let me tell you why.
I have discovered the magic of mealworms. I’ve heard meal worms described as chocolate for chickens but this is not correct. Meal worms are the chicken’s heroin. Since I first introduced these tasty treats Rita, Sylvia and Doc come running and flapping to the gate every time I emerge from the house. They line up like drunks outside the off-licence on a Sunday morning. They can think of nothing else. They do this despite the fact that I only ever give them their meal worm treat at the end of the day to get them back into the run. If you’ve never experienced the sight of a brood of chickens running excitedly towards you, you must put this on your list of ‘things to do before I die’. They come charging down the yard in their wobbly leaning-left, leaning-right gait. Sometimes they flap their wings and give themselves a head start by skipping several metres of ground, clumsily flying just a foot above it. No matter which way they travel though, they all seem to arrive at the same time. Then they start clucking and singing, bobbing their heads up and down, checking me out, checking out the floor, shifting positions round and round each other, desperately hoping to get the tastiest titbit before anyone else. This whole pantomime never ceases to make me laugh.
Back in the world of politics, while their wounded prime minister frantically tries to prop up a hung parliament with her new extremist Irish loyalist friends, I’ve heard people describing the excited circling of Conservative Party members of parliament as ruthless. There’s talk of knives being out, of a hunt, of sniffing blood. These are all aggressive, violent words suggesting thought-through, Machiavellian intent. But I can’t see it like this. To me they are all, including the prime minister, ridiculously flapping to get their meal worms of power before anyone else does.
But where is the magic in all of this? Well my friends, in an earlier post I described the no doubt entertaining spectacle of me chasing chickens round and round the garden to get them all into the run. No more, my friends, no more. Now all I do is enter the yard shaking the meal worm packet. As I walk to the run they circle round my feet like the cute woodland creatures in Disney’s version of Snow White. Then they dash straight into the run to greedily snap up as many meal worms as they can get before their sisters get to them. Now if only I can work out a method to control our politicians in a similar way….