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Chilterns Lifestyle Centre
Wow it has opened at last and I went swimming on Tuesday morning. After all the false starts it is really there and worth the wait. Live long enough and you get there like the lift at Amersham station that took a decade to come to fruition. Both are such a boon to me and others. I wonder how much use my fellow citizens will make of this multifunctional centre. Again time will tell.
Long Memories – Short Stories
“Chick! Chick! Chicken Lay a Little Egg for Me!”
During WW 2 a fellow employee at my Father's workplace was selling young chicken Pullets for One shilling (5p) each.
Since food was now on the ration, including eggs – the allowance being 1 fresh egg, per person, per week – it was decided to buy one of these from him!
In this way we could become self-sufficient, and have our own beautiful brown eggs to share out among the Family – and come Christmas time, the added enjoyment of a chicken for our Christmas dinner.
Chickens were a sought after delicacy, and as for a turkey at Christmas, it was just unheard of!
With meat also on the Ration, we were forced to eat whatever was going! We had whale meat, rabbit meat, and as a treat I was once given Sheep's brains on toast - Yummy, Yummy! If however, we were still hungry at bedtime, we would be given bread & dripping.
There were no sweets around as of today, and certainly NO chocolate! As for a Banana, we'd never seen one, and wouldn't know what to do with it, even if we were ever handed one.
There were only boiled sweets, lemonade powder, and as a special treat, we would spend the day going around sucking on a Liquorice stick, or Spanish Wood!
Anyway, the whole Family were all excited about our newly acquired Chicken Pullet, so much so, that my father built a special Chicken Coop for it.
The idea being, that we would fatten it up for Christmas, whilst at the same time, reap the benefit of all those lovely brown eggs, we could only dream about!
But whatever we tried, our chicken was unbelievingly obstinate and steadfastly refused to lay any eggs. My father even bought a copy of the “Poultry Farmer's Gazette” - and after studying it from cover to cover, and sending off for all the various concoctions advertised – it was all to no avail!
One night shortly before Christmas, my Father asked me if I would go outside to his garage, and find him his pair of pliers that he kept in a drawer under his workbench. As it was pitch dark, I found myself stumbling along outside. Eventually I found the door, opened it and went inside.
I fumbled around, found the drawer, but couldn't seem to find his pliers. Then I remembered, I felt in my pocket and took out the tiny 'Ever Ready ' battery torch that I'd had for my birthday. As I shone the torch into the drawer, I felt something brush against the back of my neck!
I turned around, and nearly died on the spot. There looking at me in the darkness was the beady, unblinking eye of a DEAD CHICKEN! I screamed – and as my legs turned to jelly I raced indoors, - scarcely able to breathe! My Father, as it turned out, had killed the chicken by wringing its neck, and in time for Christmas Day he had hung it upside down from the rafters of the garage so that the blood would drain out of its body – and down into its HEAD! He then declared that he had completely forgotten to mention it! (Although it's over 80 years ago now, if I close my eyes, I can still see that BLOODSHOT BEADY EYE looking at me in the darkness – and it still makes me shudder just thinking about it!!!)
Christmas quickly arrived, and my father having killed our beloved chicken – gave me the job of PLUCKING it! (Have you ever tried plucking a chicken?) and my Mother then prepared it.
The Big day arrived, and we all sat around the table and as the Chicken was duly served up we all closed our eyes, bowed our heads, and said Grace -“What the good Lord has given us may we be truly grateful!”
We then all dived in - then just as rapidly WE ALL DIVED OUT!
This Chicken was as tough as old LEATHER and in trying to chew through it, the awful truth suddenly dawned on us!
This was no plump fattened up hen, it was just a SCRAWNEY OLD COCKEREL!
No wonder it never laid any of those delicious brown eggs we had been dreaming about for months on end!
There are plenty more Yarns queuing up if they are of interest
Bryan Stanley 'Bowstridge' Ward
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