This fine bird is the last of a flock of Rhode Island Red fowls that my parents owned. Dad nicknamed her 'Mrs Dimwhitty'. I don't know where he got that name from. Maybe it was a character in a book, or a play perhaps? Mrs Dimwhitty had full pecking and scavenging rights wherever she chose to wander. She was also rather partial to big, fat white Witchetty Grubs which were often found in logs of wood waiting to be cut for firewood. The grubs were actually found when the wood was being chopped, so it was necessary to make sure that Mrs Dimwhitty's neck was not on the chopping block as well.
Richard boarded on the farm next to ours and would often come over at the weekends and wander down to the woodheap and spend a couple of hours cutting wood so that Mum and Dad didn't have to do it. He cut and stacked the wood as though building a house, and we used to joke that if we couldn't get a school with a residence to move into after we got married, well, we'd just live in the 'log cabin' at the woodheap. Fortunately, it didn't come down to that, and we did have somewhere to live.
I think Mrs Dimwhitty earned her keep laying as many eggs as she could during her reign as Queen Chicken. Mum was quite fond of her. So much so that 2 and a half years after our wedding, we cut the top tier of our wedding cake (a rich fruit cake) on the occasion of Shelly's Christening, only to find that I hadn't sealed the cake properly and it had fermented. Mum took the cake down past the woodheap, dug and hole and buried it. She explained that she didn't want Mrs Dimwhitty to find it in the compost and eat it in case it made her drunk!