Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Cock Vanishes

Foghorn LeghornIt's gone.

I woke up one morning expecting a familiar presence but it had disappeared. It was nowhere to be found, no matter how hard I looked, no matter how hard I strived to recover it... it just wasn't there anymore.

It had gone.

There is an argument that one should just accept this kind of thing. It happens, you know? Happens to everyone sooner or later. Or if not everyone then at least most.

But you get habituated, you get seasoned. You get used to having something there for you when you wake up in the morning. A reassurance that all is normal, all is well with the world. A rousing presence that seems almost as sentient as you are even though it is separate.

I was only aware that one of my neighbours was keeping chickens when the cock started crowing a couple of months ago.

At first, when I heard those first tentative rooster calls, I thought maybe I was imagining it. I don't live in the middle of the countryside after all. I live in a residential area of central Leamington Spa. It used to be farmland a hundred years ago but now it has semis, terraces, garages, corner shops and caravans that have become sculptures in honour of holidays that were never quite realized.

But each day the cock crowing got louder. Almost as if Foghorn Leghorn was finding himself. Finding his strength. Coming out of his shell (ahem). Learning to be a real cock rather than just a nervous chicken. There must have been chickens too I suppose. I mean one doesn't entertain a cock by itself unless one is really sad and lonely. But we never heard the chicks. They were ethereal in comparison to the volumed glory of the cock.

Between 6 and 8 every morning he'd offer his defiance to the sky. Greet the new day. Welcome the world.

I feared for him even then. People do not like to be woken up early in the morning by livestock in middle class residential areas of spa water towns. It didn't bother me and my wife - we have livestock of our own: two little monkeys who are wont to get up early and play in their bedrooms from 6am onwards. We were used to the early starts.

But the other neighbours?

Students. Labourers. Workmen. Dole-ites. Even a halfway house around the far corner of the block.

There was only going to be so much cock these people could take early in the morning.

And then, sometime this week, the mornings fell silent. No crowing. No calling. No cock a-doodle-doing.

I don't know what has happened to Mr Chook Rooster. There is no one I know well enough to ask and enqiry of the whereabouts of a stranger's cock is frowned upon in polite society. I hope Mr Rooster was found a home elsewhere where he can range free and wild in some immense morning wood. I hope his neck was not tugged by over-excited hands or disrupted by some cruel human's harsh chopper so that he came to a sticky end.

The mornings seem colder now. Duller. Adrenalin free. Devoid of natural pleasure.

I wish I could have done more for him but... I just feel so damned impotent.



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37 comments:

Dicky said...

That is such a funny story Steve. I too am slightly worried that one day the cock will stop crowing.

Steve said...

Dicky: (great name) you just have to make sure it never runs out of seed...

Gorilla Bananas said...

That will teach you to live vicariously through someone else's cock. The premature ejection of the rooster should stiffen you resolve to open the window and start yodelling yourself.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: but think of the risk to my self esteem if my own early morning yodelling fails to rouse my neighbours.

Tenon_Saw said...

If my neighbours had a cock I should not be happy. Their blasted wind chimes are bad enough when their is a gust.

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: but can anyone be truly happy without a cock?

Nana Go-Go said...

I`ve got a funny cock story if I may be so bold? My son's friend supports Tottenham Hotspur and in his youthful wisdom decided to have their mascot tattoo-ed (yes I know how much you hate those things)on the back of one leg. When they went out on the pull (before they grew up and found their respective `in it for the long-haul` partners), my son used to tell potential `pull-ees` that his friend was the only man they`d meet with a cock half-way down is leg!S`pose you had to be there!
Since these are hard times(!), perhaps the poor chook ended up on one of your neighbours` Sunday dinner tables or they`re keeping him in the freezer for Xmas - the poor man`s turkey?
Have a good weekend, my friend.

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: and did they ever pull any chicks with such a line?

Nana Go-Go said...

Yes, indeed they did!and now they`re kept very firmly in line too so no more pulling...EVER!

Nana Go-Go said...

edited to add....they wouldn`t have dared use that line on their present `chicks`!

Alienne said...

I grew up in a built up area and one of the families over the road from us kept chickens when I was a child, and they had a cockerel. Hearing it crow every morning was just a normal part of the background noise, like the church bells, and I don't remember anyone complaining about it then. I think it died of old age in the end. Perhaps people were more tolerant in those days.

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: nice to know they are now under the yolk of someone sensible...

Alienne: to be honest... you rarely hear church bells these days...

the fly in the web said...

I can remember...see, that's what happens when you get old, before senility sets in properly...living in the country.
A small development of bungalows was built, the townies moved in and started kicking up about cockerels, cattle walking down the street and church bells.
What did they expect?
Mr. Fly kept poultry in Harrow...ticked off the neighbours no end.

John Gray said...

as a man with three cockerelsl ( there's always one) I can take a guess at what happened to the poor chap.....
he's on my field!!!
The world and his wife have dumped 12 unwanted cockerels on my land over the past two years.
all of them noisy buggers, hated by their owners' neighbours

Trish @ Mum's Gone To ... said...

You say the Leamington cock has disappeared but I notice you refer to there being 'semis' in the town. Surely they could be roused to their full potential?

Steve said...

The fly in the web: I have a yen to keep water buffalo... but will probably need planning permission to build them somewhere to live over the winter months. The wife is against them sharing the kitchen for some reason. Let them get used to the gridle, I say.

John: I hope it's true and you have the Leamington cock. Give him a good home, please!

Trish: sadly a semi in the hand is not worth as much as one in the bush.

Lil Will "Nil" Wily Jr. said...

You choked him, brother. Like we all do. Sometimes you gotta let him roast in peace. Quest is: Willy come home to roost?

Nota Bene said...

Good job they didn't have a bull, I'd have hated to read a ;pad of cock'n'bull

Steve said...

Lil Will "Nil" Wily Jr: he's been well and truly stuffed is my fear and something unspeakable done with his wishbone and his parson's nose.

Nota Bene: keeping bovine livestock in a residential area would have been rather low.

Ahem.

Marginalia said...

"There was only going to be so much cock these people could take early in the morning." - Speak for yourself.

Wylye Girl said...

Between 6 and 8am? Good grief, that surely was a slack cock! Mine and I had three at one time, would be up welcoming the day from about 3am... when it was still dark. Stupid bloody things!

Steve said...

Marginalia: trust me, it depends on the size of the cock.

Wylye Girl: plainly the birds round here aren't too fussed about catching early worms.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

I thought you were telling us that you were getting old!
Like Alienne and some of your other commenters I grew up with cock-crow in the morning. I don't remember having trouble going back to sleep. If I might climb on my high horse for a shrill moment I will say that this is one of the drawbacks of cramming people into high density housing areas. People still have ancient urges to do with self-sufficiency and territory.
NZers generally have more space , but I think there might be edicts against backyard cockerels Country folk hereabouts have a special hot-line to a secret Chinese take-away restaurant in the city - not that I have ever used it mind.

Being Me said...

Yes, Steve. He's gone to a nice farm somewhere where his early morning call of nature doesn't upset the prudes. We used to keep roosters with our hens. Never forget the day my 11 yr-old little brother found out what happens when you make a pet of a rooster who's then got to go.... :-( I think he may still be getting therapy for that (the brother, not the rooster, may he RIP.

Steve said...

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: lack of space is definitely an issue - people want to do what they like with their own land but don't have the room or the privacy to do it. But I could be jumping the gun here imagining that the cock has been dispatched... maybe they just had it de-crowed?

Steve said...

Being Me: I think you're sugaring the pill just to protect my fragile sensibilities. There's no paradisical farm, is there? It's The Silence Of The Lambs all over again. The silence of the chooks.

I need therapy now. And a nice chianti.

The Sagittarian said...

In our new 'enforced' living arrangements, we have rowdy dole-ites next door, their chosen method of keeping awake appears to be parties, drinking and fighting - with the odd broken window to boot! I reckon they are a couple of cocks!!

Steve said...

Amanda: sounds like they need to be tarred and feathered to me...

About Last Weekend said...

Oh dear...the coq au vin vanishes...

femminismo said...

Ha ha! You men! Always worrying about the future. Just wait 20 minutes!

Steve said...

About Last Weekend: must have been the whine...

Femminismo: just 20 minutes? Those were the days...

Selina Kingston said...

Well this chick is very concerned to hear that your cock no longer rouses you in the morning. Most distressing!

Steve said...

Selina: it just needs a damned good roasting. ;-)

vegemitevix said...

So funny. Couldn't help giggling through my coffee. Thanks I needed that. *Wipes tears away.*

Steve said...

Vix: talking about my cock has that effect on most women.

Livi said...

awww the poor wee cock! Hope he's found pastures new!

Steve said...

Livi: ...and not been put out to seed.