Tag Archives: Chickens

The Lone Ranger…Of Cognac

Waynes Mask

Where to begin with so much going on…

I must admit as I write each story, I find that what I originally begin as a short anecdote about Kerry and Wayne, escalates into something wayyyyy bigger as other pieces of information overlap the original starting point. Due to this I have to edit and cut out lots of things to make it a manageable read.

And not destroy peoples will to live..

I have previously mentioned Wayne’s new toy, his excavator and the effort involved in getting it over to France. For those who don’t know, Its a mechanical digger, on tractor tracks. A smaller version of the type you may see on building sites, leveling land with the blade at the front, pushing soil into place, or digging trenches and footings with the mechanical arm mounted on the rear.

And it dances.

Spins around with a finesse that would surprise people. What you don’t want to do is wear head-phones and listen to a lively tune when your driving it. Things could get carried away. You’d be like John Travolta only with an 12 foot arm and tractor tracks suddenly doing the Saturday night fever routine. (Ha! Ha! HA! Staying alivvvvve)

The mini diggers are a great piece of equipment and invaluable in the hands of someone who can use them. People, when they become aware that one is available, suddenly realize all those too-large-to-do by hand jobs, they had toyed around with doing (but faced with a shovel and a wheel barrow thought “I’ll let the wife have a crack at that“) were now a realistic possibility.

So as Wayne’s reputation has spread, (He’s become known as The Bush Trimmer…) he’s found himself in-undated with work. To the point of working almost non-stop over the last 4/5 weeks with his new digger.

He takes all jobs, rescues people in fact and saves the day for those who really need saving.

Like the Lone Ranger Of Cognac in fact. Just on a big yellow horse.

With tracks.

Texas Ranger

He does, after all have the outfits to go with it. (See There’s A New Deputy Sherriff In Town..)

I mean, in the type of weather the Porters enjoy over in France, everyone should wear a hat. Maybe not a pristine white, 10 gallon Stetson, with shiny Ranger badge pinned to a proud chest. Possibly not matching spingly, spangly spurs, polished, nay, lovingly buffed to a super sparkly shine attached to Waynes work boots either. But if your going to rear the diggers arm back in a dramatic way, then you too would want to look the part.

Waynes Hat

As ever, this attitude to always help who-ever Wayne’s working with or for, almost led to a serious accident. This happened as he was digging out a trench for the plumber who hadn’t bargained on needing a trench for his feed. Wayne was as ever only more than happy to help the man out, and chased a channel out for him to feed his pipework to the mains. Then he carried on with his own work and promptly forgot about the trench behind him, and reversed into it, tipping himself over and almost trapping an arm under the 2 ton machine. Fortunately he managed to pull it clear and escaped with a lengthy gouge to show for it.

I blame the spurs personally…

And when the jobs done, he trundles off, silhouetted against the sun, on to save another day for some other poor soul with a garden that needs leveling and a tree that needs uprooting.

You would certainly want each employer to remember you and pass on the word. To stare after you as you drove away, looking at the long shadow you cast behind you as you disappear over the small rise into the sunset. And, with hands on hips, turning to whoever was beside them mopping their brow and muttering,

“Est-ce que l’homme masqué voulait pas de son argent? Oh merde regarder. Ici il s’agit. Il se souvenait…”
(“Does that masked man not want his money?? Oh shit look. Here he comes. He’s remembered it…”)

And Wayne dismounting and “Ker-ching! Ker-Chinging!” over to the waiting owner and saying,

“Ayup cocker. How’s about the money then…?”
(“Cocker Ayup. Comment va de l’argent alors…?”)

But seriously, he’s doing well with the new machine. He’s just got to stop wearing the spurs..

In the mean-time if Kerry isn’t working on her actual job via the PC, she’s working on the farm with the Ostriches, working on her own house renovating, or, just trying to find eggs in the enormous chicken hut that they built to house their chickens.

Which is more of an expedition than anything else. Mules and supplies are an important part of the search..

What is certain is the fact that Kerry seems able to form an epiphany with whatever animal she works with. And the chickens are no different.

Her 3 chickens are an echo of when the Porters lived in Helmshaw, when Kerry previously kept hens and supplied herself with free eggs. I know she took great pleasure out of the birds and was understandably upset when a fox managed to get into the hut and kill them all. Including the other addition at the time, Joey the Cockerel.

Her recent additions, Betty, Ginger and Lesbian Mary have formed an attachment to Kerry that goes beyond feeding. As the windows and doors tend to be always open due to the mild turning to hot weather, the chickens have taken to searching her out. And she often finds them in the house looking for her. If she manages to sit down outside then the birds each climb aboard her arms or shoulders. She’s begun to look more like a out-of-place Arab sheik, the kind that has a hunting bird perched on a fore-arm gazing off into the distance, waiting to be released upon some unsuspecting prey. Only Kerry’s hunting birds are 3 fat hens that make her shoulders sag, and crap down her back if she lets them stay there too long.

Kez and chicks

And one of those is a lesbian.

Wayne on the other hand has to gaffer-tape his chicken in place..

Wayne and Chicken

I managed to Skype her a couple of nights ago and she took great pleasure in sitting the laptop in the front door entrance and shouting the birds over.

“Betty! Ginger! Mary! Mary!! Leave betty alone Mary and come here..”

And they did. Kerry, sat on the floor in front of the laptop, found herself straddled with chickens. Not climbing all over her and rummaging about, but climbing on her lap and settling down into a comfortable position…All the while making satisfied clucking noises as they relaxed.

“Say hello Mary! Its your uncle Mike.”


The worst thing was, I actually found myself calling back..

“Hello Betty! How are-”

“That’s Mary! Are you blind?”

“Sorry. Hello Mary how are you?”

“Betty! Look who it is! Look Betty!! Ginger! Look Ginger – Its Uncle Mike!!”

(I wasn’t talking to this bird. It had no chance. It was a Ginger. Any un-born grandkids of mine better keep there un-born fingers crossed they’re strawberry blond at the worst..Otherwise they’ll be shouting “Grandad!” While I’ll be looking round bewildered asking if anyone has lost a small ginger grandchild..)

But you can only have so much conversation with chickens..

She then took me on a guided tour round the house, showing me the work done to date. And I have to say I was impressed. The dedication to detail and quality that Kerry and Wayne have applied to what was and old run down farm house 6 years or so ago, is now a nearly completed beautiful property. The Kitchen is immense, with its central island, covered in a solid marble work-top, that seems an age ago I was helping to give myself a hernia lifting it onto the back of a wagon to be transported over to France.

The defining feature for me in the Kitchen is the wood-burning stove. I’ve only seen it burning via Skype, on dark evenings, when Kerry and Wayne have been sat talking to me in the Kitchen, comfortable in front of the heat that it visibly generates.

The room next door is almost complete with minor work necessary left to do. The simplicity of the room is enhanced by the highly polished Parkay Flooring that’s been laid herring-bone fashion at a 45 degree angle to the entrance to the room.

This, Kerry was at pains to point out, had a card-board route laid on top of it.

So it doesn’t get dirty.

The upstairs is more or-less complete. The only room left to do is the main living room down stairs. This is all a-jumble with furniture and clutter, covered in dust sheets. More a storage space until time can be made to complete what will be a fantastically large living space.

I know how proud they both are of what they’ve achieved with this property and rightly so. All the sacrifices they’ve made to be where they are at this moment, what they’ve given up to achieve it. All, a testament to their drive and determination. All reflected in how beautiful it all looks.

Anyone who’s ever had work of any scale done at their home will be aware of the dust and dirt, the upheaval that it brings into your life. How frustrating, and at times soul destroying it can seem. Never seeing an end in sight to what you have started. And that’s on minor projects. What needs to be taken into appreciation is the scale that the Porters have worked on, how exhausting its been, and what they have had to overcome to achieve what they have.

Some of you who read this will no doubt at some point visit the Porters and see for your selves…

Finally, I had a message off Kerry about her work on the Ostrich farm. While Wayne was out lassoing rogue rocks and re-landscaping the OK Corral, Kerry still went onto the farm to help out Pierre and Nicole with the animals. Again some of you will have read about the type of work this involve, moving animals to-and-thro around the fields.

Part of this means moving the juvenile birds who have reached a size that allows them to mix with slightly older birds. They are loaded into a horse trailer and transported to a field and given more freedom. All this involves man-handling the birds on board, then releasing them at the other end. I hasten to add that juvenile they may be, but small? Whooa. Oh no.

These are Big birds. Powerful and fully capable of doing you some harm if reasonably stirred up or frightened. (As mentioned with Ron..) Kerry had loaded the birds into the trailer and drove them to the field. Then it was a simple matter of loading them from the trailer into their new home. This went with out a hitch until she came to a young bird with a bit more vim than the others. What began as a wrestling match ended with the bird head-butting her in the kisser.

I think the shock gave way to rage in short-shift, and went along the lines of,

“Your just a big fucking duck! Fuckerfuckfuck!! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”

And with her hair flailing all over the shop, he was hustled into where he belonged without too much effort having realized Kerry meant business.

When I spoke to her next it was to hear her fuming and view the big bruise flowering on her cheek bone.

It just goes to show, the Lone Ranger can’t be everywhere at once…

La Coupe De Brousse…(The Bush Trimmer…)

Wayne how the fuck am I goin to pick this

You may have read previously about the Porters paying a flying visit back to the UK from France in order to pick up and transport a mini-excavator back over the Channel. The journey took them through Paris (see Paris Or Bust…)

Well, the excavator has been put to use and word has gone round. Wayne is now working around the local area as more people have become aware of the service he can now provide, and more and more work has been rolling in…

He’s now digging trenches, land-filling and landscaping amongst other things with his new machine. In between this he squeezes in the work on the farm with the Ostriches, vines, and work on their own house. Its actually non stop at the moment.

This all going on while Kerry returns to the UK for her week long stay every 3rd week, to work hands on in the offices in Manchester. Then travelling via Tram/bus/taxi and lifts, to which-ever place her diary dictates during that week long stay. I tend to bump into her around 9pm each evening as she manages to return back to my house to crawl to bed. The last time she came over I managed to squeeze a night out with her into the hectic schedule she kept, just before she returned back to France.

I met her down in Manchester with her friend from work at around 7pm that Friday evening and caught up with them in a bar-come restaurant on High Street in the Northern quarter, where they were ensconced at a table for two upstairs. I was going to wait down stairs at the bar until they were finished, but to the waitresses dismay, I was convinced to drag a chair over and block her route through the room and join them at their table.

I gathered the waitress saying, “Oh no its finnnne..” and her smiles were a trifle insincere when she clocked me with her elbows behind the ear a couple of times in passing.

Once seated, I sat and watched them munch their way through the variety of Mexican food placed before them, nursing my beer and slowly salivating and trying not to. To be fair they didn’t take long to lick their plates clean (in a lady like fashion) and we headed across the street to another bar.

What then followed was around a 24 mile hike drinking at various establishments. Just as I would stop sweating and catch my breath, it would be,

“Why don’t we go…”

And another forced march. I had told my wife to expect us home for around 10pm so you can imagine my surprise to find I had criss-crossed the city center a number of times, and now discovered I was on Deansgate having visited Piccadilly Train station en-route to drop Kerry’s friend off. It was, I discovered, now 12.30/1am in the morning and as the fresh air hit me I was also made aware that I was reasonably convincingly drunk and was faced with one of Kerry’s concerted yomps, to catch a tram from Shude Hill.

We did make it all-beit using that old favourate, one step forwards, two sideways and the two backwards shuffle. Which when you think about it ensures you get to your destination only if you head there backwards.

me and kez

It was I have to add an excellent night one I don’t get to do often enough with my sister..

A couple of days later, Kerry duly returned home to Wayne who had been beavering away with his excavator during Kerry’s absence with his own stories to tell.

What he has built outside the house now, is what you could only describe as a bungalow. Its all a matter of perspective of course, it actually being a home to house the Porters newest additions – the 3 chickens that they have bought. But even to a human eye its a big structure with everything available for the welfare of these new creatures. From a chickens point of view though, the ceiling must go on forever…It must cost a fortune just to line it with bales of hay..

Kerry went with a neighbor to buy the chickens, Francios’ mum Agatha, a 70 something year old, typical farming no-nonsense lady. Kerry’s French has improved daily since, but at the time the conversation during the journey in the car was a little vague, although Agatha happily talked none stop. Leaving Kerry to throw in an odd “Oui” or “Non” or guestimating her response depending on what she imagined the question had sounded like. While Agatha who also had no idea what Kerry was saying, but bulled on through the conversation like women everywhere do..

It went long the lines of,

“Ho frisés, quand avez-vous décidé de poulets”
(“Ho Curly, when did you decide you wanted chickens?”)

A look inviting Kerry to speak.

“Poulets? Ah! Chicken! I love chicken sandwiches! I love the sky so blue and clear! Oui!”
(“Poulets? Ah! Poulet! J’aime sandwichs au poulet! J’aime le ciel si bleu et clair! Oui“)

“Oui? Très bon! J’ai eu des poulets depuis que je suis petite fille. Ils ont nourri ma pères de famille pendant la guerre!”
(“Yes? Very good! I have had chickens since I was a small girl. They fed my fathers family during the war!”)

“Really? Your father? I see. (not) He road a bicycle then?”
(“Vraiment? Votre père? Je vois. (pas) Il route un vélo alors“)

En effet. Les Allemands auraient confisqué les avaient ils les ont trouvés. les porcs
(“Indeed. The Germans would have confiscated them had they found them. The pigs!”)

“It was a german bicycle! Ah. Oui! And he had pee..pii.pig! Pigs! Indeed! He also rode a pig?
(“C’était un vélo allemand! Ah. Oui! Et il avait pipi .. pii.pig! Porcs! En effet! Il a également la route un cochon?”)

“Oui. Tous les porcs. Porcs allemands. Porcs anglais. Tout le monde est un cochon! Votre cochon bouclés!”
(“Oui. All pigs. German pigs. English pigs. Everyone is a pig! Your a curly pig!”)

“I love bacon. Mmmmmmm. I love pig!!”
(“J’aime le lard. Mmmmmmm. J’aime porc!!”)

And they laughed together all the way to the farmers market.

Where they bought our new friends who Kerry and Wayne now know as Ginger (Black/ginger colored chicken) Betty (Because she looks like a chubby old lady chicken and Betty fitted.(?)) And lesbian Mary, (white chicken) (because fuck knows)

These new pets are providing the household with regular free free range eggs, if, the Porters can find them when they wander into the vastness that is the chicken hut to look. I believe a ball of string and regulars shouts of “Alls well!.” every ten seconds as they wade deeper into the building are encouraged, to maintain contact with the outside world…

All the chickens produce eggs that have that lovely vivid yellow yoke that come with real free range eggs. Lesbian Mary in particular lays eggs in monster proportion scale. They seem to be pre-historic, knobbly and larger than normal. And what’s more, Mary’s eggs and only Mary’s eggs , are double yokers every time..

I think it’ll turn out she was infected by something radioactive that had been carelessly discarded when she was a chick…

The Chickens

Wayne has had his own moments with Nicole Pierre’s wife, while Kerry was away back in the UK. It was one of those days when he was attempting to fit in the work on the farm whilst continuing his now on-going work with the digger.

He had been accosted by Nicole in passing. Wayne and Kerry help on the farm with the management of the Ostriches. Pierre being a retired Vet, has an assortment of animals for the Porters to contend with. So Unusual request’s aren’t uncommon. (see The Yokes On Wayne, Dance Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Ron, Vive Le Garlic (Long Live The Garlic)…)

This stoic old lady had accosted Wayne with an urgent job that needed doing. She had tried to get Pierre to do the work and he had pointed her in Wayne’s direction having no inclination to have a go himself, and rightly so.

Again, while Wayne is valiant in his attempts at fitting into the way of life in France, his actual spoken french still needs a lot of work. So his conversation with Nicole was if anything more prone for misunderstanding.

“Ah Wayne. Juste l’homme J’ai besoin de parler à!”
(“Ah Wayne. Just the man I need to speak to!”)

“Hello! How are you madame? well I hope?”
(“Bonjour! Comment êtes-vous madame? J’espère bien“)

“Eh bien? Non! J’ai besoin de votre aide. J’ai un arbre qui a besoin de rognage. Êtes-vous libre”
(“Well? No! I need your help. I have a tree that needs trimming. Are you free?”)

“I’m sorry madam. A arbre? A bucket? A spoon? Pardon. I don’t understand..”
(“Je suis désolé madame. Un arbre ? Un seau? Une cuillère? Pardon. Je ne comprends pas…”)

Old lady rolls her eyes…

“Mon dieu. Un arbre. Un arbre! Attendez! Un buisson? oui! Un Buisson”
(“My god. A tree. A tree! Wait! A bush? yes! A bush?”)

“A Buisson? Buiss..bui..Ah! Buisson! Bush? Yes! Oui! You have a bush?”
(“Un Buisson? Buiss .. u .. Ah! Buisson! Bush? Oui! Oui! Vous avez un Buisson?”)

(The final word gave way to a pause and a bit of hesitancy..)


“(Cher Dieu) Oui! Oui! J’ai un buisson. Un gros buisson. Il a besoin de rognage. Pouvez-vous couper mon Buisson??”
(“(Dear God)Yes! Yes!! I have a bush. A BIG bush. It needs trimming. Can you trim my bush??”)

“You have a bush? Yes? A Gross bush? Gros? That you want me to mow? Cut? Trim? Trimmm!! You have a bush, a massive bush, you want me to trim!! Yes!! Wait..you have a..Massive bush…(Oh Jesus..)

(“Vous avez un buisson? Oui? Un buisson brut? Gros? Que vous voulez que je tonds? Couper? Coupez? Coupez! Vous avez un buisson, un buisson massif, vous voulez que je rogne! Oui! Attendez .. vous avez un buisson .. Massive … (Oh Jésus ..)”)

Well. Wayne’s nothing but game. Put a problem before him, any problem, and he’ll tackle it. Over come it, learn by his mistakes and know exactly how to do it properly from there-on-in. Never afraid to try.

“It Can Be Done” should be Waynes motto.

So as you can imagine upon translating what the old lady wanted doing theres was nothing else for it in Wayne’s eyes. He just squared his shoulders. Looked her straight in the eye and as dignified as he could he said,

Madame. It would be my honour, (Bow’s head even) Nay, My privilege, To trim your massive bush…
(“Madame. Il serait mon honneur, (la tête de Bow même) Non, mon privilège, Pour couper votre brousse massif…”)

Satisfied he finally understood she smiled at him, reached up and patted him kindly on the cheek and said,

“Oui, un bon garçon. Je vais attendre dans la cuisine pour vous”
(“Yes, your a good boy. I’ll wait in the kitchen for you..”)

It was with some surprise she opened the kitchen door to his hesitant knock 10 minutes later so see Wayne stood there, shoulders squared looking determined, clutching a tiny pair of scissors, which seemed even smaller in his large hands. The Old lady was confused for a moment, and looked from the scissors back to Wayne and said,

“Mon garçon Dieu. Vous serez là toute la journée avec ces petites choses! Mon Bush est énorme!! .. Vous devrez peut-être vous Digger…”

My God lad. You’ll be there all day with those little things! My Bush is enormous!!..You may need your digger…”

It was about this point that Wayne swooned.

Even Wayne has to draw a line somewhere.