It’s been an unusually quiet week in Pavers Place, no big dramas to report, no events to unite the residents. That’s my perception, Jacinta. Prithpal and Catherine may beg to differ.Jacinta’s children have long been bemoaning the fact that they are not allowed to have pets. Prithpal believes that any living thing extra to a household needs to be of some use, therefore when Manjit started asking for a pet last year, his endeavours to persuade his dad of the merits of an animal in the home were rewarded with, a wormery. That’s right, a wormery. No cuddly rabbit or cat to stroke and pet, no dog to take for regular walks or to train to do tricks, instead - worms. Unattractive, unappealing and characterless.
‘But dad, what’s the point of worms, I want a pet not a living composter’.
Prithpal was not to be moved on the subject, he bought the best wormery he could afford.Although Manjit had looked after the worms he had not given up on the idea of a proper pet, at the Easter egg hunt a couple of weeks ago he thought he had found the perfect solution – chickens, or to be precise at the time of purchase – chicks.
‘Look at them dad, they are so cute and easy to keep. We will have fresh eggs every day, well when they get older, and you are really good at building things, we could make them a pen, I could help you’.
Manjit certainly knew his father well enough to say all the right things and with Sharonjeet, Sarwen and Jacinta all making doe eyes at him he finally agreed.
The chicks arrived earlier last week, 5 of them in total and as this was sooner than expected they were kept in a temporary pen in the cellar. I was a bit concerned about this, my own cellar is damp and dark and any existence in such a place would be unpleasant to say the least. There were those horrible novels years ago about children who were forced to live in the attic, I could see our own version being published, ‘Chicks in the cellar’, ‘Beaks in the basement – the sequel’. I hoped a proper pen could be made and placed in the garden soon.
As it turned out the chicks spent more time upstairs, Jacinta had fallen in love with them and they followed her around as she did her daily chores. I think even Prithpal had a soft spot for them, who could resist such cuteness?
Such were the success of the pets that Catherine took an interest in joining in the fun, but she had never had animals and could be slightly erratic so was not sure she would be able to look after them properly, she decided to discuss her thoughts with Jacinta.
‘Catherine, of course you could look after them, they are so cute, you would love them, and you don’t have to do much to keep them safe’.
From where I was sitting by the window I could see the glow on Jacinta’s face, she was clearly enamoured by these fluffy balls with legs and she was doing a good sales pitch to Catherine, but then she clinched it.
‘I know, why don’t you have a couple of our chicks overnight, like a trial? You could see how easy it is and then get some yourself.’
The deal was struck.
Now I’ve known Catherine a few years now and I would not describe her as a stupid woman, maybe just lacking a little common sense, but even I would have thought that she would have kept the chicks in a box. However, feeling that the confines of four cardboard walls may be too much for them she allowed them loose in her spare room. The floor does have lino so she could clear up easily after them, but they were scurrying around the room where she got ready in the morning, how could she think that was a good idea?
Apparently by the end of the first evening Catherine felt that her pet skills were better than expected, she had checked on the chicks several times and they were alive and lively and she went to bed happy in the knowledge that she too could be a pet owner.
In the middle of the night Catherine woke with a start, her heart racing she could hear the sound of a hairdryer in the distance. A firm believer in the afterlife, Catherine took a while to adjust her mind to the fact that a ghost would not be doing its hair in the middle of the night, did they even have hair? Finally awake she realised that the sound was coming from the spare room.
The chicks, while flitting around the floor had managed to click the switch on Catherine’s hairdryer which was lying beside the chair. The chicks themselves looked unperturbed.
The next day she came to the conclusion that pets were not after all for her and she returned them with a smile to Jacinta.
Of course as soon as Ken got hold of the story his first reaction was peals of laughter, closely followed by an intensive thought process, which was unusual for him. Perhaps there was a gap in the market, people had their dogs groomed, but what about other animals, surely they was a need for cats, rabbits or even chicks.
The last I heard he was going to call it ‘Pet Hairs’, I wish him luck.