The deed is done. We have reserved a new home. I am freaking. Out.
Partly it's the usual house moving stuff. How will we move all of this stuff here, to there? How will I pack everything in just six weeks? How will I feel when I leave our home for the last 11 years and move in to the soulless box of the new build? How much gin will I need to get me through it? All normal, understandable concerns.
But I also have my hens. And that's where I fall to bits a little. Because I'm moving on to a brand new estate, where everyone scratches their heads when I ask if I can keep chickens there. They um and ah, and make vague references to domestic animals being ok, but there being nothing specific about livestock. In fact, every time I pose the Chicken Question, I am met with blank looks quickly followed by an expression best described as appeasing. In short, the builders think I'm mental.
No matter. I can handle being thought mad. It's nothing new. But I think to be safe I need to hedge my bets. I currently have ten chickens residing in the Palace. Ten chickens sounds like a lot. If someone who isn't a chicken lover hears that I have ten, they tend to respond thus: 'Ten! Bloody hell! Your graden must be like a swamp! Are you running a farm?' etc etc. Yet when I had six, it went more often like this: 'Aw! Chickens! How sweet! Lots of people are keeping little back garden flocks now, aren't they? I read it in The Guardian' etc etc. So I think I have to do the unthinkable. I think I have to rehome 40% of my flock.
It's not an easy decision. In fact, it's quite a painful one. But I know it is better for me to have some birds, than none. And my fear is that if we move in with ten birds, there will be complaints. People get a bit snarky if they spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a brand new house and then discover that a zoo has moved in next door. In my mind, I see us moving in with the Palace on a trailer, hens bokking off, and the puppy hanging out of the car window barking his head off. We look like the Beverley Hillbillies. First impressions count.
When I announced all of this on Twitter yesterday, I had several enquiries to rehome some of my girls. My Twitter friends are wonderful, and the poultry peeps that I know on there will no doubt help me find my girls a great new home.
But oh, it will be hard to say goodbye.