My day began bright and early with my duties as bird handler. I washed out water troughs, dampened bread and seed for bird consumption and then set myself the task of cleaning up the muck heap. Of course, as soon as I had finished the hens and two upright Indian Runner ducks were scratching away for worms in the freshly turned earth, blithely redistributing the carefully stacked straw. I don’t really mind; as far as entertainment options here – so far – go, reordering the muck heap is top of the list.
A few of us went for a pre-lunch stroll down to the next farm in the area, which lies in a dip in the land and is decidedly ramshackle. According to our accompanying nurse, it used to be owned by a family who were well known in the area and was kept beautifully but was then bought by a couple who promptly divorced and let the maintenance slide. The man’s new girlfriend is not farm friendly, so he lives with her in the village and drives over every so often to fulfil his obligations. The farm is home to a herd of sheep, a few goats, geese, hens, a horse and an enormous male turkey who is terribly territorial. As soon as he spotted us, he puffed out his feathers and started patrolling along the fence making vaguely threatening noises.
My stomach is now also making vaguely threatening noises after an extremely oily lunch of veggie nuggets and vegetables. I say vegetables somewhat generously, as what I actually got was more of an indeterminate sludge in an obscene amount of butter. Given that the nuggets were also fried I think my digestive tract is now well greased, which as anyone aware of the effect of opiates on the bowels will know, is a bonus.
I am once again a human pin cushion. I don’t believe in acupuncture, but I (obviously) believe in needles. This day has been far too long and I have been far too mouthy. There was the bike ride, just me, B– and a nice member of staff who has also had the pleasure, twice now, of sticking needles in my ears. After a brief paddy from me on the first climb, I proceeded to trounce both boys spectacularly as they both had to resort to getting off and walking. My Dad would have been so proud…that, or 50 metres ahead of me lost in his own battle to speed to the summit.
After the evening round, three Russians, my roommate S——– and of course B– were driven into the Dorf for an evening stroll. The Russians seemed particularly keen on chatting with me, feeding me with cigarettes and sunflower seeds in return for being in their photos, which I assume will end up on the internet with the caption “nailed her” – or the Russian equivalent. As a result of all the attention I realised I was being very, very talkative, to the degree where I pissed off even myself.
Upon returning to the bright yellow prison where I am currently residing, I asked S——– to help me with the birds – she was a bit down and I hoped to take her mind off her problems, however briefly. She made the decision to go first into the gaggle’s lair with the intention of enticing them in, not realising that this action would result in her exit being barred by four hissing geese. One of them inevitably went for her, in what I can only describe as a calculated attack, attempting to fell her with a beak blow to the knee. Luckily she managed not to fall face first into the dirty straw and has lived to tell – somewhat shakily – the tale.