Sunday. I woke up leisurely to the steady patter of endless rain outside the window, and plumped up my pillows and finished reading Winter Magic (see my enthusiastic review) before getting up for an even more leisurely breakfast.

We had done all the jobs, including the mucky task of cleaning out the animals yesterday and knew what the weather forecast was going to be for today so were looking forward to a day of hibernation and roast dinners. When I got downstairs and went to put the light on in the garage for our poorly chicken, I found everything strangely quiet. Alice wasn’t on her perch, and I couldn’t find her anywhere. There was however, blood splattered all up the walls and across the ceiling that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a slasher horror flick. It was awful. And no chicken anywhere. I called her name and spoke to her like that was ever going to do any good. Then I found her, jammed down the side of the washing machine and the garage door where she had fallen off her perch, dead after coughing and spluttering blood to death.

Alice had not been well, for the last week and a half and we were treating her in isolation. She did have a weird lump in her throat that was the source of the bleeding and we were probably nearing the time when we would have to put her to sleep, but it was still not a nice thing to come down to in the morning, and then to have to clear up.

Alice was, chicks aside, our youngest chicken and hadn’t laid us our first egg yet. She was a beautiful, good-natured chicken. She will be missed.

Alice, right, with Pancake.

Alice, right, with Pancake.

Alice 2016–2017