DAY 87: Mon 8 June

What can one say about building a chicken coop?

Not a lot to report today. Almost the entire day was spent building the new chicken run with my house guest. We made use of anything to hand, and it is now ready, apart from the most fiddly bits. Oh and now we have built the door frame we discover that the see-through door I made last week doesn’t fit. See what I mean about the fiddly bits?

While we slogged away there were sounds off of a clucking chicken. The brood was out exploring the garden but this was coming from… inside the house! The white and black Light Sussex had taken advantage of our labours and sneaked in the back door, making her way through the living room and the kitchen (dropping a little memento of her journey on the kitchen floor) to end up in the downstairs bathroom. She was traced by my house guest when he went in for a loo break. He was taken quite by surprise as he had thought her squawks were coming from the roof. She was released through the window into the new kitchen run, from which she marched disdainfully, hopping up what the grandkids call ‘the dinosaur steps’ back into the garden proper, as if her dignity had been compromised. 

I later discovered that another of the little charmers had laid her egg at the end of the garden, where it was only found by chance.  Earlier this morning I came across fresh holes in the lawn suggesting that the badgers are back. So tonight I am putting out the wild life camera to see what other visitors we are getting, this long into lockdown.

On occasional trips indoors I stopped to check emails and the like – old habits die hard – and found that the images of me and my friend ‘taking the knee’ were still garnering likes and retweets – and a few rather unpleasant trolls – on Twitter. Who knew a couple of wrinklies would gain a fan club simply by genuflecting?

Twitter and the news is full of the demise of the Colston statue. Inevitably the most unpleasant Home Secretary since, well, Theresa May, was out for the blood of those who dared knock over a slave trader or besmirch the reputation of Churchill or ‘desecrate’ the Cenotaph. Her opprobrium will no doubt be worn with pride by the perpetrators, but now the police in Bristol are demanding that people submit their videos of the Colston event (like anyone is going to) so they can identify whom they should be procecuting.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to emerge about the statue comes from Bristol Radical History Group. Roger Stone wrote Myths within myths: Edward Colston and that statue several years ago. He reveals that statue is more recent than people might imagine, and it was hardly the result of public subscriptions as is claimed.  Myths within myths…

It deserves to be read along with his follow up Edward Colston ‘corrective’ plaque: Sanitising an uncomfortable history. The Edward Colston ‘corrective’ plaque And Bristol poet @Vanessa_Kisuule put up her wonderful commemorative poem Hollow on Twitter. It too deserves to be heard.

We were treated to a sanctimonious plea from Prime Minister Johnson this evening, claiming to be an anti racist – the man who wrote columns calling niqab wearing Muslim women ‘letterboxes’ and referred to black children as ‘piccaninnies’. This is the man presiding over a government determined to make the country a hostile environment for those seeking sanctuary here; which has yet to fulfil its commitment to those bereaved and made homeless by the Grenfell Tower confagration; and which happily destroyed the lives of countless ‘Windrush’ survivors, and has yet to provide adequate compensation. The man who was happy to hitch his waggon to the bigots for whom Brexit is a shorthand for ‘foreigners should leave Britain’. 

How dare he pompously berate those who tore down the statue of a slave trader and call them thugs, when he and his mates in the Bullingdon Club thought nothing of vandalising restaurants and flaunting their wealth in front of the homeless, as Tim Altman (@altman_tim) reminded us on Twitter. The struggle against racism will never be led by such toffs and Tories.

That is enough ranting for now, I am physically tired and its time for bed to work out how and if we can finish the chicken coop tomorrow.

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