There were numerous farms in the area offering food and other products from the farm gate. We wanted to purchase some dry logs and kindling to use in our log burners. One entrance in the nearby village of Tean appeared to be the most welcoming and so we decided to investigate.
The visit proved to be enlightening. The farm gate belonged to a smallholding hidden beyond the houses lining the main road through Tean. The owner had a small nursery, a variety of poultry and many other animals on his twenty acre holding. We bought our wood and then began a conversation that ended with us asking him to provide a quotation for building a large allotment shed. One of his many money-making enterprises was designing and building chicken coops. A shed was an extension of this occupation.
We had originally thought that we would dismantle and reconstruct the cattery to become our shed. However, following David’s visit to the allotment he suggested that we keep the cattery intact as it was ideal for housing chickens. We intended to expand our flock of hens and to try our hand at breeding, the advice made perfect sense. He suggested that we build the shed the other side of the entrance on the paved area that I had recently cleared. It had no other purpose and was sheltered from the sun. A few days later we had ordered a twenty-four by eight foot shed, to be delivered and constructed a month later.
It was our daughter’s second birthday this week which restricted the time available to maintain the croft. I did manage to spend one dry afternoon clearing debris from the old cattery roof and cutting back branches of the invading trees.
The birthday itself did not go according the plan. Unfortunately we had to take our last cat, Tabitha, to the vets that Friday morning. She had been acting oddly; subdued, not eating her food and drinking water from puddles in the garden. The vet confirmed our fears; Tabitha’s stomach was tender and her heart was beating erratically. At the grand old age of twenty-one we did not wish to put her through the trauma of an operation that was unlikely to resolve her condition. We had to make the unenviable decision to put Tabitha to sleep and ease her pain forever.
We were too upset to watch the fateful event take place and wished our last memories of Tabitha to be a fond farewell. We left her in the vet’s capable hands and returned home to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our daughter.