30 Seconds to Mars isn’t a choc alert

SOMETIMES it is the little things that make a difference. Take the other day, for instance, when Small But Fierce of Ipswich was in the hairdresser’s chair having some expensive attention lavished on her curly little head.

As ever, there was popular music playing in the background, making sure that there were no awkward silences. As if.

One of the tunes caught the ear of the high-maintenance one. “Oooh,” she trilled. “That’s 30 Seconds to Mars; they’re one of my son’s favourite bands.”

The tonsorial artist, probably still short of his 20th summer, froze in mid-snip, stunned by what he’d just heard coming from the lips of a person so, like, old.

“That’s just unutterably cool that you know that,” he gushed, making SBF’s day.


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She recounted the tale to me as we set to work assembling the chickens’ new house. It is a fine little construction which went together with astonishing ease and amazingly there was nothing left over at the end.

All it needs now is some residents – and we’ve been told that April 16 is chook day.

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SBF is getting very excited. As I mentioned before the hens are ex-battery farm survivors who are likely to be so short of feathers as to be almost oven-ready. She has been doing her homework and discovered that you can buy, or make, little vests for these shell-shocked birds.

She showed our friend Creative Carrie, who joined in the mirth at the comical pictures of chickens strutting proudly around in their tops. But knock me down with a wishbone if next day she didn’t call SBF round and present her with a tiny pink hen vest, beautifully knitted and ready to warm the giblets of Daisy, Florence, Nell or Hayley. Bless her!

It is as well we put the hen house together on Saturday, for on Sunday I went to race my mountain bike and – you’re ahead of me – fell off. This time we had five hours in A&E in brand-new and very shiny Broomfield hospital in Chelmsford.

As ever, in my increasing experience of frontline medical matters, I found the staff brilliant, not least the appropriately-named Sister Ward and the small but startlingly strong Dr Khan, who expertly mashed the broken bits of wrist back into place before plastering it all up.

SBF has been kind about the whole business, which is laudable considering the considerable nuisance factor of me being unable to drive, ride or even open a jar or peanut butter unaided at the moment.

The novelty may wear off but as the Ginger Ninja returns home next weekend attention will be directed elsewhere. No, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.

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