It has taken me a while to start on my second blog, it got lost in the confusion of marketing and promoting in so many places, I found I completely lost track of where I was. Far too much information seemed to be coming my way. Then sadness descended and I thought I would take the time to share it.
This is my beautiful Cuthbert, a six-year-old Partridge Blue Brahma. At least he was until this morning. He stood two and a half feet high and weighed enough to feed 30 people at the appropriate festival lunch. Don’t worry, we feed them, they don’t feed us. Just thought it was worth a mention. He was a big, big bird. He was also gentle and funny.
Upon his demise, his small harem of hens, now reduced to three, didn’t bat a wing! They looked, turned and carried on with the day’s scratching and foraging. The loss of their ‘leader’ fazed them not one iota. It quickly became obvious Cuthbert would clearly be more missed by his human friends than his own kind.
All his life these particular three hens bullied him mercilessly. He was forever having his legs treated and bandaged as a result of ruthless pecking. Poor old thing didn’t stand a chance, nor did he ever put up a fight! Whereas I am quite fond of my trio of very pretty Bantams, these hens were, and still are, downright murderous and bloodthirsty. Throughout their short lives they have killed and consumed vast arrays of smaller wildlife, mice, baby frogs and small birds, to name but a few of their victims, and rather like cats they have played with and tormented their prey and even fought over it. Even the dogs and cat give them a wide berth. (But they will also receive a decent burial when they die– no-one ends up in the freezer in this house!)
Dear old Cuthbert did his best to keep them in order, but to no avail. Big as he was, as far as they were concerned, he just didn’t have that ‘je ne sais quoi’. Never the authoritarian; he was simply large, lovable and clumsy. That is not to say he did not have a happy life. He did. Though it has to be said, he never could crow properly and, perhaps due to his size and weight, he could not fly, even a few yards. His run was strikingly reminiscent of John Cleese in the Ministry of Funny Walks and his risible advances towards his hens in his younger days just don’t bear repeating. He also loved his food and would patiently wait for it by the back door each day, several times a day – which I shall miss.
Cuthbert had looked a bit shaky for a couple of days when we saw him spread-eagled on the grass and lying very still. Realising he had probably gone, we discussed briefly where we would bury him and I, with heavy heart, moved towards his ‘body’ as my son appeared at my side with a shovel and a sad expression. As I gently lifted Cuthbert up, he in turn lifted his head, looked at me, my son and the shovel and immediately sprung back into action. He was having none of it!
This happened three or four more times, minus the shovel, until it became apparent he was not going to be with us much longer. Last night I had to carry him to his bed and this morning, after I had stroked him and talked to him for a while, he left us.
Losing pets, which are truly our friends, is always sad, but writing this now I can only see the pleasure he gave to us and the amusement he provided, and the admiration he drew from others. People, of course, not his monstrous consorts.
Life, of course, will go on as usual, but Cuthbert will always remain in our hearts.
Cuthbert 2006 – 2012