(October 1 – 7)

We finally got our chicken this week, after months of prep and waiting. The farm I had been keeping in touch with called up to say they had some pullets available this week, so we drove down on Monday morning and picked them up.

They are already much loved members of the family and I’m really pleased to see how dedicated the kinderbesten are to looking after them. The Elderbeast has taken on feeding and watering duties, while the Kinderbeast has decided that he will be chief pooper scooper.

The chickens are called Henrietta and Lady Scramble von Eggs III (both names chosen by the kinderbesten). Of the two, Lady Scramble is the biggest and already clearly the boss.

Having finally got the hens, I’m definitely glad that I opted to buy a second coop and bolt the two together. The original coop would have been just about big enough, but only for overnight stays. As it is, there have been a couple of days already where bad weather has forced me to keep them in the coop (instead of them getting to spend the day in the playpen, on the lawn). The second coop has a much larger floor area, and provides a place for us to put the feeder and waterer where they won’t get in the way.

Over the weekend I fitted a roosting bar in the coop—chickens like to sleep off the ground, safely away from predators—and was delighted to see them start using it almost immediately.



I managed a relatively rare feat this week and binged an entire Netflix series. The show in question was Maniac, which had started off looked pretty intriguing, and had then gone on to get some pretty strong word of mouth.

The show does a great job of defying categorisation, but it reminded me in some ways of the cerebral science fiction thrillers that the late 1970s was very good at producing. It was also barmy, surreal, funny—demonstrating perhaps a dash of inspiration from Douglas Adams. Both Jonah Hill and Emma Stone are fantastic in it—Hill, especially, is a revelation—but I also took particular delight from Justin Theroux’s performance.

Ironically, much of the appeal for me was that Maniac was billed as a “limited series”—just the single, ten-episode series—which I like because I don’t want to have to catch up on, or commit to, several year’s worth of episode. Inevitably, this time I’m sad that we won’t be getting any more of this one.

For Saturday night I was planning to watch The Man From UNCLE. Then the Elderbeast overheard me listening to the soundtrack from The Social Network and asked if we could watch that. Having only seen it once, and remembering it to be pretty damn good, I agreed.

I was impressed that the movie kept the Elderbeast’s attention throughout. Then again, with David Fincher directing an Aaron Sorkin script there’s really no alternative. I was also very happy that, given the rich drama unfolding on the screen, outlining a version of the story behind the world’s biggest social network, I was able to summarise events as “it’s basically a bunch of people being dicks to each other”.


I’ve started two new books this week. The first is the audiobook of Stephen King’s It which, at 40 hours long, is going to take about 60 days of driving to and from work to finish off. It’s read by Steven Weber, one of those actors you recognise, but can never remember what from (most recently he appeared in I, Zombie).

So far he’s brilliant, bringing a huge amount of energy to the reading and giving each character their own, very distinctive voice. I get the feeling that he thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck into this one.

I attempted a reread of the book last year, shortly after the film came out, but stalled about halfway through (frustrating, given I’ve successfully read it at least twice before). Out of all King’s best-remembered books, it’s almost certainly the most rambling. Almost every character gets their life story laid out before you even get to see how they fit into the story. It’s certainly a long haul.

Luckily, no one rambles better than Stephen King. It may be a bit of a slog for a poorly disciplined reader like myself, but it makes for great listening. As with Dune, I’m finding that listening to the book, rather than reading, allows me to absorb the details more easily and enjoy the world I’m being drawn into (rather than worrying how long it’s going to take to get to the next damn chapter.)