Chicken Warrior vs Mad Max

You can keep your Mad Max, Road Warrior nonsense, in this part of the Pennines we have another kind of warrior, we have woman who goes out into the cold to warm up chickens with kind words and food. This type of warrior wears long johns, thermal vest borrowed from her husband, many layers, a large scarf wrapped around head and a thermal hat. If you listen above the screaming east wind, the flailing snow, you will hear her warrior cry of, 'How bloody deep is this snow?' 

Chicken Warrior vs Mad Max

Chicken snow warrior

The answer to that is found just outside the back door when an avalanche engulfs her as she tries to get out. There is much swearing, beating of the chest and some high pitched yelps as the east wind bites in. Like all good adventure stories, our heroine sets out into the unknown, or as we call it, the back garden.

Snow from the east settles in drifts

There are hard ships and peril as the snow gets deeper and deeper. At one point up to the top of her thighs. Her wellies are swamped beneath cold drifts and hidden perils, in the shape of our strawberry tyres, nearly make her spill into the arms of snow drifts. She recounts her story, her fears that she would be found frozen a million years from now, until she is told that it should all have cleared in 72 hours.

Snow in the garden

Winter 2018

After much slipping, some sliding and a few neighbours' watching from behind ice encrusted windows betting online whether she will make it, our heroine makes it to the chicken coop but the run is deep in snow and the chickens huddle together. Now comes the decision whether to let them out or keep them in. Water is freezing fast at -6c and our heroine strokes her favourite hen as they converse in chickenese about the staying inside for the rest of winter. Water is provided, grit and corn, some feed and then the hen house is left firmly closed as the chickens inside turn on the radio and tune into the shipping forecast: 'Northerly or northeasterly 5 to 7, increasing gale 8 at times. Cook crumpets. Moderate or rough, becoming very rough or high in south. Drink hot chocolate. Occasional rain and sleet near Iceland, occasional snow later in southeast. Tune into the Chicken Archers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor near Iceland and later in southeast. Wear thick socks'

Keeping chickens in the snow

Our heroine then goes off to care for other chickens in far flung places called next door, here the hill is more exposed and the drifts deeper as she wades through waist deep snow. She is now the chicken sitter in search of eggs and after thirty minutes she returns not a heroine but a chicken snow warrior with wind burnt cheeks, and a story to tell. 

Wind burnt cheeks

That's the Northern Mad Max: 'The light fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of snow. Frightened chickens. This snow filled land. But most of all, I remember the Chicken Warrior. The woman we called “Carol”'.


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