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Sharon Bill Music Tutor & Author

Oh, Shut Your Mouth!

Pets routines usually get disrupted during the holiday season - the hens were no exception. Eewe, they needed a good clean out!

Because the season has been unusually mild until now I've left the hens open during the night so that they can wander in and out at will (and so I don't have to get up too early to let them out). The problem with this is that it does let the elements in. The wood shavings were damp from the rain as well as the usual hen mess and I'd left the chore a bit longer than I usually would which meant that the chore was a bit heavier than usual - literally. I'd put about one sack of dry wood shavings down before Christmas and there were about three full, heavy sacks to haul up the garden. It's at times like these that I wish we didn't have a big garden and, more often, I wish that it didn't span over three levels with lots of steps.

I've been keeping hens (and therefore cleaning them out) for almost a decade now and so you'd think that I'd have the process streamlined by now. Sadly, this is not the case. However, I think that I have finally learned a most important rule for when shovelling piles of dirt ridden shavings - keep your mouth shut! You only need to learn the hard lesson once… I think the problem in my technique has become more apparent as I've gotten that little bit older, and subsequently less fit. Lugging bags of heavy waste and gear this time made me alarmingly out of puff. I've decided that this just won't do and has confirmed the appropriateness of my decision to join a gym.

I've had to swallow my pride and I've started swimming several times a week. I quite like swimming and one can only presume that I'll improve in time. It can only do good. Although the cost of monthly membership was initially prohibitive I realised that it was actually cheaper than paying the fee for the local municipal pool. My husband has been his usual perceptive self and has warned me that, while he initially supports my decision, has made it quite clear that if he (and I) don't notice any benefit or improvement he'll know that I'm spending most of my time in the pleasant coffee shop within the facility. He knows me too well!

The lesson I learned whilst cleaning out the hens is pertinent in the pool too - keep your mouth closed when your head is in the water…