11.02.2004 01:57 - Cocky Locky
When I was a child, we lived over the road from the place my parents live now, and we had a big garden. (Actually our former house is now owned and lived-in by a former schoolfriend of mine). For some reason, my parents decided that it would be a good idea to keep some bantam hens. I don't know why. Perhaps they felt that the eggs would do them good. Perhaps it was because they were children during the war, at a time when everyone was exhorted to "Dig For Victory". (I myself decided it was a good idea to dig for victory when I was seven. I spent a whole afternoon digging up the vegetable patch but I didn't find a victory anywhere.) My mother has memories of my granddad buying a pig every year, which was fed on leftovers and then butchered for Christmas. My parents generation weren't squeamish about raising and killing an animal for food. It was something you had to do. There weren't any supermarkets, and even if there were, rationing was strictly enforced. Sometimes I think my generation could do with a good kick up the arse like that.
Anyway, they decided to keep hens. As part and parcel of the hen group came a little bantam cock, who I named Cocky Locky after a cockerel in a children's book. The thing was, Cocky Locky and I didn't get on at all. Cocky Locky was living proof of the admonition that it's the little guy you've got to watch out for. He wasn't very big, but he'd have a go at anything and everything. Dogs, cats, larger birds and (you guessed it) me. I have a vague memory of my mother asking me to get the eggs from the hen coup, and me trying to get them but being driven off by Cocky Locky's pecking. He actually drew blood, the little fucker. My father says that that wasn't the only time he had a go at me : apparently they finally decided that Mr. Locky and his lady friends were too much trouble after my father found him chasing me round the garden for the third time.
Let me elaborate on this : I did not go looking for trouble with this satanic little creature : I didn't have to. I didn't want any trouble. I just wanted to feed the hens occasionally without having to fend off Cocky Locky. Eventually I wouldn't go out until I was reassured that Cocky Locky and his wives were safely locked away. It didn't make any difference. Somehow he would get out and would find the nearest available target, which was usually me. My father once subdued the little sod by hitting him with a spade. It didn't make much difference. He was out cold for a minute, and then perked up and made a mental note to try doubly hard to peck my eyes out.
So Cocky Locky and his harem were given marching orders. My father sold the brood to a man who lived in the house next to the St.Johns Ambulance station, near Sheep Fair. The man owned a brood of chickens - not small bantams, but full-sized hens, with a fully-grown rooster of Foghorn Leghorn proportions. My father mentally noted that Cocky Locky was not long for this world.
The next time my father saw the new owner, he asked "Is he dead?". "Yes" said the man. My father said that Cocky Locky probably never stood a chance against the large rooster. The man shook his head. Cocky Locky had terminated the unsuspecting rooster with what can only be described as extreme prejudice.
Like I said. It's the little guy you've got to watch out for.