After several months of meticulous planning, I finally made it to Scotland to begin my new life of hill running and romancing under the stars. I always knew the transition from Shoreditch to The Borders was going to be a tough one. Not least because I’m used to living in zone two with six billion other people and 24-hour hummus on tap (yes I know, there are probably far more exciting things one can acquire after-hours in the great city of London, but hummus is the distilled essence of the Gods). So what’s the real reason the big move to the wilderness was bound to be particularly challenging? My new rural abode is located in the ass end of nowhere, an hour from the nearest train station, and I don’t actually know how to drive…
Not only am I clueless to the rules of the road, but I don’t have a bicycle, or a helicopter, or a unicorn. And there just aren’t enough people living on this particular hill out here in the sticks to justify a frequent bus service. We do live near a really nice donkey sanctuary with 71 different funky donkeys to choose from, but after three days of country life, I haven’t quite plummeted to donkey-riding depths just yet. If cabin fever really starts to set in, I’ll wait until Christmas Eve and charter an old donkey to carry me to a local barn, so I can lie down in the hay and give birth to Jesus Christ. But if miracles do occur, I’d prefer to have a driving licence and a snazzy new car than the trials of mothering the new messiah. Plus I have only just moved in with the boyfriend, so one step at a time.
So until I learn to master the art of driving, I’m not going anywhere. And before anyone suggests running to the nearest hummus shop, I’ve knackered my knee (great start to my hill running career) so basically I’m stranded in no man’s land like a fish without a bicycle, or a driving licence. But curiously, despite my concerns when I was back in the heaving metropolis, living in the wilderness without any reliable transportation is actually the least of my worries. After living in Hackney for the past six years, I’m really enjoying the peace and quiet. The biggest obstacle to my future happiness is in fact much smaller, fluffier and more inherently evil than any of life’s transportation woes. I’m talking about my new nemesis, my boyfriend’s cock, Monty.
No I haven’t christened my boyfriend’s manly cluster in homage to Judy Bloom’s Forever, (my first foray into early sexuality when Jackie magazine couldn’t provide the answers. What did she call his willy? Roly?) When I say cock, I mean cockerel. A Polish Frizzle to be precise. But not just any Polish Frizzle. Monty is a mean ass cockerel who wants my blood. I swear the frizzly little fucker is out to get me.
As with most cockerels, Monty likes to make the first morning call. Except he thinks 4am is an acceptable time for the world to wake up (that’s when I used to go to bed, oh how times have changed). Despite his antisocial timekeeping, Monty is actually hilariously funny to watch in action. He minces about the garden in a stately manner and parades in front of his hens with one wing raised like a bull fighter, whipping his red cape about in preparation for battle.
But despite being a fortuitous comedian, Monty is one vicious chicken and he rules his roost with a steely resolve. In the pecking order, he’s the top dog, and everyone must obey him, including me. Consequently, if I try to cross the garden to do something really ghastly, like feed him or clean out his water tray, Monty will go for me, wings, talons, beak and all. He’s drawn blood twice now. If he came in human form, he’d be Dorian Gray and hide a picture of his evil tarnished soul inside his chicken coop.
Even though Monty is only ankle-high, I confess I’m secretly terrified of the evil little rooster. I’ve been avoiding the garden at all costs, but he still stalks the outside walls and seems to know exactly which window ledge to jump on in order to stare through the glass and straight into my soul. I swear to God he’s out to get me. Arguably I should just drop kick the little bastard into the ether, but I’m a vegetarian and I don’t possess the fighting spirit. Plus I’m already rather attached to the lovely organic eggs his girlfriends have been laying and fear assaulting their alpha may put them off the job in hand.
The only individual in our manor that Monty does not bully is Ultraboy. But I imagine a six-foot Scotsman striding through the morning mist brandishing a bucket of seed would be an imposing sight even if you’re not a seemingly innocuous but secretly evil cockerel. Or perhaps Monty is locked in some ancient love rival battle, and believes that Ultraboy is his one true love?
Whatever the sadistic chickens’ intentions, now that I live here, it’s time for me to man up. I didn’t emigrate to the wilderness without a driving licence only to get beaten by a vicious little cock with a chip on its wing. So step two in this city chicks assimilation into country life, vanquish the vicious chicken before it gets me! Then all I have to do is book a driving lesson, learn the local lingo and become an expert hill runner. Not sure which is scarier actually…