Some things never change. It’s May. The vixens are starving, with cubs to feed and yes, dear readers, I no longer have any chickens. What’s even more galling is that I went to lock them up at 9pm, but the fox had already been. It was an awful sight that left me wondering whether it was fair for me to keep poultry as they always come to a grisly end. However, I’ve decided to invest in a clever gadget that automatically opens and shuts the hen house at sunrise and sunset. If that fails, I’m giving up.

The hawthorn trees are in full bloom like showers of snow. In the tag relay of spring’s glories, the tree has taken over from the bluebells, which are now fading. In one thorn, I’ve watched a pair of blackbirds make their nest, but so had the local magpie, which casually raided the nest of its eggs despite being bravely attacked by the male and female blackbirds. Nature can be very cruel. As a countryman, I should accept that the chickens and eggs were simply fodder for another species, but I prefer to think of the culprits as vermin.