The Value of Things – The Story of the Blue Cockerel

We were on our way out of Matlock a few years ago, pre children, on a cold Winters day. We’d done a big walk, and were tired, and keen to get home, and bumped in to an antique store on the way. In those days, we always found it virtually impossible to walk past an antiques shop, without going in for a good snoop and a rummage. We used to collect things back then, like lots of things, pottery, ceramics, glass, furniture, art, everything pretty much, and whenever we had a little bit of cash, we’d put it aside  & buy something beautiful together.  Pre children as I say.  It was vast that antiques shop, it was one of those that’s crammed with all sorts of things, from all sorts of dealers which means you’ll find all sorts of things, trinkets and coloured glass, books, fine art, to plant pots and trombones. We browsed & snooped. Picked things up and put them back down. All rather disappointing, with nothing grabbing us, until I spotted this fellow in one of the rooms at the back.  It was cold in there and was the sort of room where things that haven’t sold end up before their final destination of ‘storage’.  Everything was piled high. These beautiful things with history, aged things, like people really, that have been loved and cared for by someone in the past, but now sadly languishing. It feels wrong !  I could feel the stare of big beady eyes on me. A cockerel. There he was – perched on top of the pile of piles. Staring. I stared back. I knew I liked him. I had to stand on tip toe to catch him.  Paul thought he was marvellous. So we bought him for under a tenner and carried him out really carefully. He got a good clean when we got home, and we de-grimed him, after which he looked a different creature. He was blue for a start.

I’d like to think that he enjoys looking down from his perch on the mantel. That’s where he sits. Visitors often pick him up, and admire him, but I feel relieved when they put him back down as I often imagne him being broken by accident. We’ve never seen another one like him which surprises me as he is over 50 years old (which is  knocking on for a rooster), maybe it’s because he’s come all the way from Hungary and there wasn’t much call for Hungarian Roosters back in the 1960s. I recently introduced him to lots of people on our social media pages, and everyone went crazy for him.  The value of something is always determined by how much its loved and wanted.  So he’s been immortalized. I wonder if he knows.


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A Man’s Best Friend or The Hound from Hell?

A Man’s Best Friend or The Hound from Hell: Monty, our 7 year old recently announced that he was no longer scared of dogs. He’s always been scared of dogs. Small ones, big ones, old ones, happy ones, grumpy ones, bouncy ones particularly. It’s a relief hearing his announcement.

Are all kids scared of dogs?  I remember I was, but who could blame me?! After all, I just so happened to live next door to ‘The hound from hell’  -Sheba.

I was 5 and we lived in a back to back terrace in Bradford. She moved in next door one day and from that moment took up supreme command of her post in the garden, and any of its local vicinity that she believed fell under her domain. Our gardens were adjoined and separated by a 6 foot stone wall.  This meant nothing to Sheba who could with time and ingenuity scale anything vertical in her path.

Sheba with her sixth sense, knew I was scared of her from the moment I saw her. She was clever and way advanced in intelligence of any other dog I’ve known since. Whilst out playing on the street one day, Sheba managed to scale her perimeter and was loose on the streets. She spotted me from a distance. I spotted her.  Lean, wiry & Amazonian if such a thing exists in the dog world she was nearly upon me in a few bounds. All these other kids and vulnerable prey in her path were ignored. It was me she was after. I fled with fear, running for my life, crying whilst hearing her howling behind me. I fell and closed my eyes. Knees all scraped and waited for the teeth to sink in. But nothing. I looked around and she was gone. She showed me who was in charge that day.

Night time was the worst. Just before bed my Mother would say right off to the toilet then. Unfortunately for us, the toilet was outside,  and the door faced Sheba’s wall, the wall she loved to scale.  Compliantly out I’d creep. No matter how quiet – she knew I was there. My faithful companion, barking, howling, attempting to scrabble over the top, to get me, eyes on fire, foam at the mouth, and fangs like knives !

These days like any other adult I put a positive spin on everything and will say to the boys, “oh she’s a happy dog isn’t she” or “look she’s just trying to make friends” .That’s the sort of thing you say when you’re a grown up. The truth is something really quite different though isn’t it when you’re a child.




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