When I was twelve, my father was transferred to Goondiwindi. Not only did our house there have a huge rumpus room, a pool, and an easy way to sneak out at night, it also had chickens. There were about a dozen of the tatty old things. They were lucky to produce a few eggs a week between them, but I loved them all the same. I used to hang out in the chicken pen, running the hose to make mud, and teaching the chickens to perch on my shoulder. I looked like a hillbilly Long John Silver, but I persevered in the knowledge that one day I would have an entire troupe of trained circus chickens. The dream died, but the love of chickens remains.