Yes, it's that time of year again. The day that for some bizarre reason we celebrate killing Guy Fawkes by letting anyone with a valid birth certificate buy explosives. Marvellous. You can probably tell that I'm not a fan.
Last night, despite high winds, one of my neighbours decided to celebrate early. As rockets flew up the road, blown off course by the gales and flying horizontally, I gritted my teeth. Practicing an air of tolerance and good neighbourliness, I managed to only mutter under my breath instead of hanging out of the window calling them morons. As a rocket explodes mere feet above your car it can be quite difficult to not slap the endearingly grinning and shrugging neighbour. However, I kept all urges for violence in check and spent the evening fretting about the birds.
Dodging out of control rockets and escaped catherine wheels I filled a bucket with water just in case one of these pretty fire bombs set fire to the Palace. As all pet owners know, animals don't like fireworks. They don't stand outside staring skywards going 'ooh' and 'aah'. They spend the noise barage cowering, shaking and generally on the verge of a heart attack. Even our demented budgie retreated to the bottom of his cage and attempted to comfort himself by doing his very best 'washing machine on spin cycle' impression.
I stood outside and waited for a lull in the bombardment before peering in to the coop. All of the girls were snuggled together in their respective places. They blinked at me blearily as I shone the torch around to make sure that there were no traumatised hens rocking wide eyed in the corner. Chickens are amazingly relaxed about noise once they are asleep. There was no panic, and when a rocket squealed over head there was just a low level muttering, like elderly ladies gossiping and feigning shock. Taking no chances, I locked them in to block out as much of the light show as possible and ran back to the house before the neighbour could score a direct hit.
Once the fire starter had run out of ammunition things calmed down. However, tonight is the official firework extravaganza and no doubt tomorrow will be equally pyrotechnic. So, my advice to all hen keepers is to lock your chooks up as soon as it gets dark. If they can't see it, it doesn't seem to worry them. If they are asleep before the re-enactment of the Blitz commences, they are unlikely to be troubled. However, if you live next door to a professional display, it might be worth moving your birds if possible. I know quite a few pet keepers who set up home for their girls in the garage at this time of year.
After this weekend, the skies should be quiet until New Year.