Z likes it hot, which I’ve probably said before

I opened the back door to get some bay leaves and the heat hit me. Far hotter outdoors than in. This house has really thick walls and it faces east and west, so the midday sun doesn’t blaze in. The temperature had been in the 30s (Celsius, that is, of course) by mid-morning and, according to the weather apps on my phone, this afternoon it was hotter than Greece and the South of France, at 34ยบ. But there was a pleasant, warm breeze and I took a book out onto the lawn and relaxed in the shade of the plum trees.

Wince the gardener found another nest of eggs yesterday. Polly promptly decided to sit on it. I’m not sure if it’s the one Gladstone has been sitting on but I haven’t seen her, anyway. I put Polly and the eggs in a coop, which affronted her and she left them. This isn’t a bad thing. I don’t actually want more chicks, it was just in case they were actually Gladstone’s and she might have wanted them back.

Polly had amused me yesterday morning. I feed the barn cats first, with a scoop of dry food and a share of the tinned cat food, then go to let the chickens out. They love meat, of course, it’s as good as worms to them, and I saw Polly standing by Zain’s dish, staring at him. She clearly expected him to be intimidated and move away, but he’s a confident cat and didn’t budge. It reminded me of Ronan as a child. He was a slow eater in a family of Simpsons. We used to eat up rapidly and then watch him take a bite, put his knife and fork down, pick them up, cut up another mouthful – it was remarkable. We had no idea where he’d got the idea of eating properly, it wasn’t from any of us. Anyway, after a few minutes, it would dawn on him that conversation had stopped and we were all looking at him. He’d eye us. “What? ” he’d say. “What?” We’d assure him we were enjoying the spectacle and he muttered and went back to his slow plateful. Zain was just like that. He felt watched and didn’t like it, but just hunched his shoulders and tried to ignore her. The adult chickens aren’t at all afraid of the cats, who don’t bother them at all. It’s a nuisance if not all the youngsters haven’t gone into their greenhouse (their shed is in a big old greenhouse, where they can also stay for the day if the weather is bad) because the cats hang round outside, waiting for me to feed them, and the chicks won’t go past them. They don’t know that the cats wouldn’t dare. A mother hen is a fearsome thing and more than a match for a cat, as is a protective cockerel.

Wink has invited us in for a glass of Prosecco. Have a lovely evening, darlings.

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