Oh my gosh. What a day, and we're only just about half way through it!
I'm sure you're all wondering how Mini is after his poorliness during half term? Well, antibiotics are almost all gone, and other than the eczema, he is fine. We even had a pretty much enjoyable weekend, with just a couple of manageable 'moments'.
So back to today.
The NC and I were woken at 5am by the sound of breaking glass. Rushing to the window we were expecting to see a person perhaps by the shed, maybe by the back door. Instead we saw our neighbour's 3 hens rushing through a glass pane of the old greenhouse that is attached to their coop and run. The NC pulled on some clothes and ran downstairs. (We have a bit of a soft spot for these 3 girls, having recently spent a week looking after them...and after doing so, we're considering getting our own hens too.)
As the NC rushed down stairs I peeked around the curtains to see a large ginger cat at the garden end of our shared alleyway....with an enormous white chicken in it's mouth, shaking and shaking until the bird went limp. I shouted down to the NC to hurry, but it was too late. The chicken had been killed.
We think the cat had jumped/climbed into the run, and spooked the chickens (who for the first time ever hadn't been put away for the night), causing them to run headfirst through glass in an attempt to escape. I'm sorry to all you cat lovers out there, but this furthers my belief that cats are evil. (Can you tell I prefer dogs? More than that, I'm scared of cats!).
In the absence of our neighbour who was at work, the NC bless him, moved the body, cleared up the broken glass, secured the greenhouse, and cleared up the vast mess (phew!) that had been made. He also coaxed the remaining girls back down to the run, although we discovered that one of them had a large cut across her body and under her wing. (She's been to the vet and she's OK).
Of course the children both love the chickens too, and enjoy sneaking down and feeding them a few raisins. So when I woke Mini, I had to tell him what had happened. It was a good opportunity to explain a little more about death to him - and I answered his questions about heaven, and where the body was...If the body is in the garden, how can the chicken be in heaven mummy? He didn't seem upset, and in fact got very defensive when I told Dollop that some people were upset, assuming I'd meant him. I told him that our neighbour had been crying, and that Daddy and I were upset after what we'd seen. He replied that he didn't know grown-ups cried. (Now this isn't quite true, as I have cried in front of him but...)
All this coincided with Mini declaring he didn't want to go to school today. Although he's been anxious before, he's never point blank refused school. With baby steps and little milestones I got him to school, then inside and had a word with his teacher; so far she's not called me so everything must be OK. But I wonder if there's a bit of upset/grief tied in with the usual anxieties around school. I can imagine he's worrying about what else will have gone whilst he's at school, and what will/won't be here when he gets home.
I'm preparing myself for a 'not-so-easy' afternoon after school. But I'm hoping that some playtime outside and some nurturing (by way of surprise milkshakes and doughnuts for snacks) will help ease things for him, and of course as many cuddles as it takes!