Oh, the irony! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry this week. In the end I did both, in turn.
Remember we have some turkeys? It’s been so long since I wrote about smallholding that you probably forgot about the Shoogly turkeys.
Well, we had Sally and Queenie, the Kelly Bronze commercial turkeys which escaped the dinner table about four Christmases ago. They were joined by Cilla, who is a rare breed turkey, a Bourbon Red. And finally, there was Vic, a (bog) standard turkey, the slate (blue) stag (boy).
And finally is perhaps the right description, in the light of last week’s events.
Gamford was doing the rounds on the estate and got round to the usual chook check.
He topped up the food and the water, and then set about sawing some logs from the woodpile which is at one end of the chook run.
All of a sudden, there was a flapping and squawking from the chooks and they all seemed to leap away in horror from something.
That something was poor Vic, who had face-planted and was lying dead as your proverbial doornail in the middle of the run.
One minute, eating corn and socialising, brown bread the next.
Poor Vic. The chooks just couldn’t understand it, and, giving him a wide berth, patrolled around his titanic corpse in awe and wonder, like Lilliputians gawking at Gulliver.
It only seemed like yesterday we drove all the way to the mart at Carlisle to fetch him. We met his breeder, Janice Houghton-Wallace, there in the car park, for the handover.
Janice, who is the queen of all turkeys in Scotland (well, secretary of the Turkey Club UK) drove him over from Dumfries and Galloway in her white transit van to meet us (this being judged to be a good halfway point between us) from her home which she shares (depending on the time of year, if you get me) with between 100 and 200 turkeys.
This was about four years ago now, so in that time Vic had become part of our extended fur and feather family. Janice sold him on to us as he wasn’t quite good enough to have made a show bird.
But we got used to his knock knees and lumbering gait. He would never have made a stud – apart from his knock knees which are undesireable characteristics to pass on to the next generation, he was no Barry White.
In fact, he made all the right moves whilst Sally and Queenie sat there patiently.
Sadly, he was always at the wrong end. He just never seemed to get it, so, to be blunt, neither did his lay-dees.
I must admit to bursts of hysterical laughter – no, not at his inadequacy, that would be too cruel. No, I laughed as the irony of the timing of his death was not lost on me.
A few days before Christmas, when turkeys are being slaughtered by the shed-load for the Big Day, Vic had added to the tally and was not even good to eat.
We didn’t know what he had died of and at five-plus years old he would have been as tough as old boots.
Oh, the irony of standing out in the wind and sleet digging a huge hole to bury an enormous turkey just days before Christmas.
Sorry, Vic old son, I’m sorry, but I just had to laugh.