The Cold War between us and her-next-door has warmed to tepid. The unintended insult that went with us putting up a fence behind the cherry tree so that I could sit, undisturbed, by the ministrations of our very chatty neighbour has all but been forgotten. When we see each other, we chat. But we don’t go seeking out each other’s company. I value my privacy and my downtime too much to want to have it constantly interrupted, no matter how well-meaning or nice the interrupter is.
She keeps chickens. I’m sure each of them has a name and all of them are well looked after. They roam her garden with abandon and seem to be happy little things. But her garden is brown compared to the luscious green of ours. One particular chicken has taken a shine to Himself, walking up and down the fence on the other side keeping pace with the lawnmower and then peering through to the wire to inspect the finished result, clucking in appreciation if it passes muster.
This same chicken popped over one day and walked through the house, and took a good look around. When she went out onto the terrace, she stopped, laid an egg in the bush at the bottom of the steps, and then went home. A house-warming present with a difference.
Lately though, she’s been popping over more often. She seems to prefer whatever she finds to eat in ours. We have plenty. And we’re happy to share. When her-next-door notices that one of her flock is missing, she lets herself in and takes her truant chicken home. Said chicken has even been lifted and passed back over the fence without a nip or a cluck.
As I was out weeding this morning, she kept me company. We chatted away, her in chicken, me in English with the occasional bit of Hungarian to see if it would get a different response. She’s definitely trilingual. She was doing her thing. I was doing mine. And there was plenty of room for both of us.