‘Plucking around the cloaca increases fertility’. Welcome my local Poultry Club’s monthly meeting. I’m the youngest person here by about two generations. I’m here because I saw their ad in the local paper paying particular attention to the ‘everyone welcome’ section.
However, none shall enter poultry club until gold has crossed Dot’s palm. Dot’s married to Don, they live off Campbell Road, behind the old lettuce farm. Oh yes, next to the new estate. That’s the one. Pop round sometime love. This invite to her home has happened before I’ve finished counting out $4 in coin for the entry fee.
Once seated, in the back row, Kaye comes around asking if I’d like to buy a raffle ticket for $2. I’m not a millionaire Kaye! The prize is a bag of chicken feed, I decline to purchase a ticket, and tell Kaye it’s because I don’t own any chickens. I’ve just blown my cover. As Kaye turns to tell my dirty secret to some Millers clad ladies who are arranging Arnotts Family Assorted on paper plates, I call out, ‘very interested in buying some hens though’, so she knows I’m not just here for the biscuits.
The meeting begins, item one on the agenda, is a guest speaker, “The guest speaker this month is Bill, he comes to us from the Lockyer Valley Poultry Club. Strap in bitches as Bill has brought a Croad Langshan with him” said Don, I may have used some artistic license with that sentence.
Bill takes the stage, he is a little nervous as he stands to speak to the group. Bill has taken a leaf out of Don Burke’s book, and has made everyone a Croad Langshan fact sheet. As we’re all still shuffling our fact sheets, Bill pulls a Croad Langshan out of a covered cage. It’s a giant bird. It’s closer in size to a turkey than a hen. The room is engulfed in awe. Bill, who’s clearly seen this reaction to his bird just lets it soak in, like a teacher he waits for quiet before he continues. He places the bird on the table and commences his overview of the breed.
“In the original birds, the males topped 4.5 kg; today cocks weigh 3.75kg” said Bill. I scan the room for anyone else who thinks there was a funny word in that sentence, no? They stare straight ahead enjoying the presentation.
‘I got my Croads from Lionel Miller, but as you all know, Lionel isn’t with us anymore, he’s um, well he’s fallen off the perch’. Bill! You wag. What is this Friday night at the Improv?
Bill has one more trick up his sleeve, ‘who wants to come forward and guess the weight of the bird? Closest guess wins a bag of feed’ states Bill, with a brazen grin. One by one everyone goes up the front, holds the massive bird and writes a guess down on a piece of paper.
I didn’t go up to guess the weight of Croad Langshan. I’d probably be allergic, and by allergic I mean afraid. Bill meets my eye, I slide down further into my seat, I’m the only person who hasn’t come forward to guess the weight of the bird.
Kaye and Dot look none to impressed by my lack of participation, I feebly mutter, ’10 pounds?’ Bill writes it down and gives me an encouraging nod, the kind of nod you give old people when they call twitter ‘the twitt book’. This is a lot of pressure, I don’t think this is my scene, I think I’ll stick to angry birds and KFC from now on.
As originally published in The Courier Mail