Gordon Brown has told us to eat our leftovers. A trifle bossy, but something that most Country Life readers do as naturally as shutting the farmyard gate. Better still, in these days of financial austerity, almost every discarded scrap can be fed to chickens, which will happily respond by laying delicious eggs.

It would be prudent for Mr Brown to install a little chicken run in the garden at Downing Street. He would, I feel sure, benefit from a closer rural connection, and an early morning call from a cockerel would do much to sharpen his wits for the day ahead. And although it isn’t quite the same as turning water into wine, there is tremendous pleasure in turning pilau rice into free-range eggs.

If Mr Prescott pops in for a visit, Mr Brown need not worry, as chickens are equally happy with chips. They would also snap up pasta, if a lunch with Mr Blair put the Prime Minister off his food. Thanks to the fox, we’re currently without poultry, and I’m amazed by how much we scrape off our plates and put in the bin that would otherwise have gone to the merry band of feathered recyclers. If you haven’t owned chickens before, now is the time, whoever you are.