I went to water the greenhouses. I hadn't picked the vegetables today as I had to go to Norwich fairly early for a dental appointment (just routine, no problems, thank you for wondering). I'm out again tomorrow morning, so I decided to pick the cucumbers and courgettes this evening. And courgettes can turn into marrows overnight, so it would be a good move in any case.
Cheerily cutting the last few courgettes, I noticed that something was different. I straightened up. Where was the sweetcorn? There was nothing there except a few uprooted stumps. I followed the trail back through the asparagus, now grown into tall (if flattened) fern.
I went indoors. "Darling! The cows have been over the beck and into the kitchen garden."
Probably Foster, we decided. She is the boldest. We followed the footprints, and she had broken through the wire and walked along the bank of the stream, eaten all the corn, half of the swiss chard and then strolled innocently back. There was one cob left. I picked it up and stripped back the husk. It was not yet ripe and the end was slightly bruised. I took one mouthful near the base, where it was untrampled and ripest. It was delicious. I tossed it over the fence into the chicken run.
Have you seen a chicken checking out something unfamiliar? It is adorable. She approaches it, stopping at a safe distance, and regards it. Then she turns her head to give it a good stare with one eye. Then the other. Then she watches again. Then another chicken approaches. She might be reassured by her sister's apparent safety, and go closer. Eventually, one of them tries a hasty peck. Then of course, they realise it is good to eat and hurry in to peck at it.
Alex arrived home and I told him the tale and showed him the desecrated veg patch. And - well, what do you do? - we both laughed. At least no cow had been hurt. We've had them all these years and we have never had all this sort of trouble before.
Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn. As the rhyme goes.