Another day, and another slew of contributions to Britain's funniest blog – Angry People in Local Newspapers.
And every now and then I get one that strikes a chord with me. This time it's one of the repeated themes that I see on the blog – school gets chickens, chickens go missing, kids are photographed looking sad.
These stories come round with depressing regularity, and it makes me wonder why is it that schools will invest in chickens if they're all going end up tortured by local psychos, casseroled by local crooks, or ripped to shreds by foxes.
Then I realised that this is the exact outcome that schools are hoping for. Yes, the kids learn citizenship, responsibility and how to care for something with the precious gift of life. But they're also taught to expect disappointment, betrayal and the inevitable victory of the cold hand of death.
This is the exact lesson I learned when our teachers set up a chicken run outside our classroom window, the lesson being "You will arrive in class one day to find a bloody and feathery mess after the chickens were eaten by foxes".
And so it came to pass that the chickens were eaten by foxes; and the run remained outside our classroom window for the rest of the year, a bloody and feathery reminder that the things you love will be eaten by foxes. It was a lesson deeply ingrained in my mind, reflected in my (rejected) submission for the year art project: Chickens Getting Eaten By Foxes, A Study In Red.
|Chickens Getting Eaten By Foxes, A Study In Red (Medium: Poster paint on teacher's Ford Escort)|
And it was a lesson that rang true. For when my grandfather got a pet tortoise, my take-home lesson was this: "He'll end up dead and in a pie."