Country mouse – Mark Hedges

Do you remember when you could buy white hens eggs? They were cheaper than brown eggs, but have slowly disappeared from most supermarket shelves; for some reason white eggs were seen as inferior. My children had never seen a white egg until the arrival of the new chickens which replaced the old flock that was wiped out by a fox. We have been given three white leghorns (see page 134), thanks to the previous owner finding himself detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. Interestingly, the colour of the egg a chicken will lay corresponds to the colour of their ears.

The eggs are a sensation, boiled eggs and soldiers have usurped all other breakfasts, and the little chickens cannot keep up with demand. What is worse is that I am having a fierce battle with the neighbourhood magpies. They have learnt to go into the hen house and steal the eggs. It is not going to end prettily.

What is pretty is the countryside, now that the rape has finished flowering. Although I understand that farmers must grow crops that make a profit, aesthetically I am not a fan of all that yellow, and welcome the countryside returning to a more familiar green. MH