TROTTING happily down the lane, metaphorically with a tied handkerchief on a stick over her wing, I spotted the escapee hen I had been looking for for the last hour.

This is a repeat offender. While the rest of the hens are satisfied with all that their paddock has to offer -food, deluxe paddling pool (to drink out of, hens don’t paddle though the ducks and geese do), secure hut and luxury nest boxes, this hen seeks more. What more I am not quite sure, but this is not the first time I have caught her legging it away from the farm to pastures new.

Perhaps it is that we do not have any cockerels in the hen house and she yearns for male company, or for her eggs to be fertilised. Maybe she is the Greta Garbo of the hen world and “wants to be alone” and not cooped up at night with two dozen other squabbling birds.

To be able to pick her out from the other hens I had sprayed the feathers on her back pink with a marker John uses for the sheep. Perhaps she felt insulted by being singled out for this treatment, but I am afraid that a squirt of spray did not deter her from seeking pastures new, so for this reason for the last few weeks she has been incarcerated in a closed run. From which she had escaped.

Fleetingly I imagined her either plucked and roasted, casseroled, barbecued or simmered in the slow cooker. But I think she would make for a very chewy mouthful. This is one of the hens we rehomed from an intensive egg laying unit. You would think she would be grateful at the reprieve, but not so. All she wants is to be is off,

It seems this week that life is destined not to run smoothly. In the greenhouse, our strawberries have been under attack by a mystery nibbler. The answer. A mouse. Or rather mice. I have so far caught eight in a fearsome rat trap.

And finally, to add to these pulled threads in life’s rich tapestry, the queen in one of John’s hives has done a runner. Or more accurately, a flit. On checking this hive he could see no eggs, no new broods. So today he has introduced a new queen. Marked with a fluorescent green dot on her thorax, she will hopefully start laying in the hive, once she has eaten through the fondant seal of the box she is in.

So we have a pink stained hen. Green stained bee and cheese choked mice. Life might be frustrating round here, but it’s never dull.