Mariette came to Mulberry Cottage in April 2012. Rehomed with the help of the British Hen Welfare Trust, she arrived with her two sisters Primrose and Little Flo, all named after characters from my favourite novel – H E Bates’s The Darling Buds of May. And what a little darling she was with an oversized pale comb and huge bare patches all over her body.
She also became one of the plumpest with a well-rounded body and fabulous full tail, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat in the garden with her falling asleep on my lap in the sunshine.
Mariette was also one of the most photogenic hens we’ve ever had which made her an absolute natural when the East Anglian Daily Times came to interview me about my books. Mariette took pride of place in each of the photos taken!
And how proud I was when she reached three years of happy retirement with us this April – a record for one of our ex-bats. She celebrated with a bowl of warm mash and grated cheese, shared with the flock.
I am so going to miss my large, docile girl. No more will her cheeky face peer in at the kitchen window from the top of the dustbin which she’d often jump onto. No more will she sneak into the conservatory and stick her head in the bag of corn, gobbling it so fast that it would make her sneeze.