A Mercy Mission

Some days at the allotment start out ordinary and end up being extraordinary! I walked down to the allotment this morning with a list of jobs to do. My first job was to sort out the willow. Somehow despite the heatwave, it has grown massively in the last week. Grabbing my trusty secateurs, I made a start. The willow screen was relatively quick to do but the arch took ages. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have cut it back this summer, but I suspect I will need to do it several more times before autumn. By the time I had done both sides of the arch, my arms were aching so I left the top of the willow for another day.

I moved onto weeding the plot and had made it onto the second bed when my husband joined me. Between us, we worked down the plot, slowly making inroads into the endless weeds. As we worked we were joined by a juvenile robin who pottered between us, picking up tasty morsels.

Alan appeared around the shed with arms full of courgettes and made a beeline for us. He kindly offered us the courgettes – apparently they have been drowning in them. So much so they have resorted to baking a courgette cake! Alan seemed relieved when we said we would take the courgettes and mentioned that if he went home with anymore, he’d be in trouble! Last year, Alan gave us some of his yellow courgettes and they were absolutely delicious. We put them to one side to take home and carried on weeding.

An hour later, we moved across to harvest the potatoes on Geoff’s plot. These should have been harvested several weeks ago ideally. We filled a bag full of Charlotte potatoes and as my husband went back to the shed to close up, I began to weed around the raised beds. On one of the beds, I spotted a massive amount of feathers. An ominous sign. I kept weeding, wondering if I would come across a small body. As I weeded around the bottom of the last bed, I spotted a large pile of feathers. I moved the netting slightly, dreading what I would find. The feathers moved. Or was it the wind moving them?

Moving closer, I lifted the netting and to my utter astonishment, I found a live wood pigeon. Clearly, it was injured and in distress, stuck half upsidedown on its back. Gently, I picked it up and checked it over. How on earth it managed to escape without any obvious major injuries is a mystery. All the feathers on one side was missing and it looked completely bedraggled. Dashing to the shed, I picked up a towel and wrapped the bird carefully in it. I grabbed my phone and called the local vet. They were closed and I got transferred to the Nantwich branch. 

They recommended dropping the pigeon off at Stapeley RSPCA Wildlife centre in Nantwich. We headed off home to get a pet carrier and pick up the car keys. I transferred the pigeon into the carrier and we set off. By the time we arrived fifteen minutes later, the pigeon had wriggled to the back of the carrier and was half asleep. Shock and stress is very dangerous for birds and I knew I needed to get the bird into the RSPCA as quickly as possible. Pressing the buzzer, a lady came into the office and took a few details from me. Next, she went to get a box and carefully transferred the pigeon. Breathing a sigh of relief, I headed back to the car. 

As we were driving home, I had an email from Derek. One of the plot holders has lost one of their chickens and would I be able to pop down to the site and see if I could find it. So I headed back down and searched without success. I hope the hen will turn up soon but she’s apparently been missing for a couple of days which doesn’t bode particularly well. I sent out an email to all plot holders with a photo of the missing chicken asking everyone to keep an eye out for her. I’m hoping that someone will find her soon!

Exhausted by the drama, I headed home for a well deserved shower and dinner!


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