Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Playing Chicken

I went to my first ever village planning meeting the other week.  Well, I say planning.  It wasn't really.

It was a consultation exercise, chaired (I use the term very guardedly) by the Parish Council, to discuss the planning impact of a proposed new agricultural development a mile or two down the road.  There's a disused chicken  farm, which has been disused for at least four or five years, maybe more; the owners now want to redevelop the land to put a new all-singing, all-dancing chicken farm there.

When I say "all-singing, all-dancing" I don't think that'll be the chickens themselves.  I may be wrong, of course.

Anyway.  The plans said that there would be a large number of lorries travelling through the village (narrow roads, few pavements, already awkward to get through when there are large vehicles coming the other way) which was hotly contested by the increasingly furious village people at the meeting.  There were also concerns around the removal/disposal of "foul waste" - chicken shit, I guess - and presumably dead chickens that failed the assault course and swimwear sections of the final rounds of their training.

The meeting was loud, poorly-managed and grumpy.  Things were not improved by the arrival of the local pretend police at the start of the meeting, sauntering in casually in their stab vests.  Nice touch.  Nothing like some not-really-police-officers arriving in uniform to reassure the disgruntled attendees that things will all be lovely.

So. The upshot of all the ill-tempered arguing was that the people who own the current chicken farm are pretty much adamant that they will be developing their property, and it will be a huge battery "broiler chicken" farm before much longer.

At one point the chap representing the developer said "Well, it's all very well to protest about it, but you all like this sort of chicken!" to which there was a loud, sustained roar of "No we don't!" from the audience.  It was like the world's most middle-class pantomime ever.

I'm not vegetarian, or anything like a vegetarian, but I do buy eggs and meat that are British, free range and locally-reared, preferably from one of the independent butchers we have in town.  I am aware that I am fortunate in being able to make choices based on my personal ethical preferences, rather than price.  It was, however, very amusing to see the look of dismay on the chicken farm owner bloke's face when he realised that most of the people glaring at him were not his target market for two-for-a-fiver chickens.

In other news, I went to the market this morning.  No lemons this time, sadly, but there were bargain tomatoes.  A huge boxful for a fiver, which have been transformed into nine large bags of chopped tomatoes (stashed in the freezer) and four jars of extremely spicy chutney.  I followed a recipe which was called "Spicy Tomato Chutney", but would more accurately be called "Suicidally Hot Tomato Sauce, Eat In Very Small Doses, It Would Help If You Like Mexican Food."

They were lovely, and not one was blemished.  This is about a third of the box.

I also bought a large lump of fresh root ginger and four huge aubergines (for another fiver) which I plan to turn into (respectively) apple and ginger jelly, and a moussaka.

Maybe two moussaka.



The weather continues to be shit, with torrential rain and hail at regular intervals.  Today it's windy as well, just for some exciting variety.

Last week, while Mr WithaY was away, I went through a bit of a miserable episode, mostly my own fault for not going out and doing stuff.  I was busy with some sewing work - proper for-someone-else sewing - and thus ended up not leaving the house (or garden) for about three days, and by the time I realised why I was miserable, I was really miserable.  I self-medicated with chocolate and Futurama, and made a full recovery, you'll be glad to hear.

I also made a determined effort to get on with some of the boring housekeeping jobs which I have been putting off for ages.  I have a voice in my head which says "You might as well do the ironing, you're already grumpy," and I tend to listen to it.

So, with a zesty spring in my step, and my sleeves rolled up purposefully, I took the arm caps off the big sofa and handwashed them.  This was by way of a test, as they have labels saying "Dry Clean Only", but I wanted to find out if they would fall apart, bleed colour or shrink to buggery if they were immersed in water.

You'll be relieved to know that they didn't collapse into threads, lose all their colour or turn into jaunty egg cosies, so I stepped things up and put the actual sofa covers into the washing machine, with a devil-may-care attitude.

That's how I roll.  Like a 1930s housewife, with a bad-ass attitude and a Dyson.

Wrestling the covers back onto the cushions took longer than it should have, and would probably have been a prizewinning video clip on You've Been Framed, had I had the foresight to film myself doing it.

Which reminds me.  The other week, before the weather went all shitty, I was out in the back garden, pegging out some washing.  In a bizarre Norman-Wisdom-esque sequence of events, I managed to get my glasses caught on the rotary washing line as I was turning it round, half dragging me along, before flicking my specs into the currant bushes.

You couldn't make it up.


badgerdaddy said...


Basonnn said...

I've just read this blog with one of the Engineer Boys, he declared you could do well on the apprentice if you take in Chutney with a name like you suggested :P just another business idea from two bored students...

Doll said...

Love your gift of gab !! Cheered me immensely :D

Nia said...

Gave me a bloody good laugh this morning, ta for that!!

livesbythewoods said...

Badgerdaddy - of course! Thank you!

Beth - aren't you supposed to be revising, rather than reading blogs? *tch* Young folk.

Doll, hello again, and thank you!

Nia, hello and welcome. Excellent, My work here is done.