A few days ago we shared the back story of Jan Davey's book Life at Jericho. On Saturday the 10th March she will be launching the book at the museum in Uppermill, Saddleworth. Please come and support her at 1:30PM. In the meantime here is an authorized extract from page 70 of the book:
I took Sam to see the cockerel and told him that if he liked it he could have it as an early birthday present. I explained before we got there that the cockerel would be smaller than our hens were because it was a bantam. So if he thought it was too small he didn’t have to have it.
The man at Pike View took us into a shed where the small animals were kept. The cockerel was perched on a thick branch in a large cage. He wasn’t as small as I expected, his richly coloured shiny plumage was predominantly orange and brown and his red comb flopped over to one side. He was very alert and with his head on one side he looked at us out of a dark beady eye.
‘What do you think Sam?’ I asked.
Right on cue the cockerel crowed – very loudly. Startled, Sam laughed then looked at me and nodded. The man had no idea what to charge for a cockerel. He had never re-homed one before, so I gave what I thought would be a suitable donation and the man put the cockerel into a cardboard box. We set off home in the Land Rover with the box between us.
‘You’ll have to think of a name for him.’ I commented.
‘Eric’ replied Sam without any hesitation.
We knew that a few feathers might fly when we introduced Eric to the hens. But he had to meet them sooner or later so as soon as we got home we opened their door and put him in with his new harem. Blanche immediately strode across and gave him a good battering. The others left him alone as long as he kept away from them. That night all the hens roosted on their perch as usual – Eric roosted on the feed barrel on his own. This continued for the next three nights.
We kept them all in the pen for four days to give them time to get used to each other before we opened the door and let them potter outside. Although he was now free to roam Eric stayed close to the hens and constantly made quiet chuntering noises in his throat while he scratched about busily with his claws. Whenever he succeeded in uncovering an unfortunate bug or worm he growled noisily and one or more of the hens would sprint across to him and devour the wriggling morsel. He fed each hen in this way before indulging himself. If we threw any tit-bits out for them he waited until all the hens had eaten something before he would eat anything himself. What a gentleman! I was well impressed.
Next morning when I went round to feed them Eric was perched right in the middle of the hens looking very pleased with himself!
‘Life at Jericho’ published by Countyvise Ltd retails at £8.95. Copies can be purchased by arrangement direct from me – please contact by email: email@example.com or on facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Life-at-Jericho/141515625957690