For Whom The Cock Crows

Ask not for whom the cock crows: he crows for thee.

When we were young, we had a vision.

We lived in a sleepy Kentish village, but we very much liked the thought of living in a sleepy Cornish village.

Being determined types, we managed this, and moved lock, stock and barrel from the halo of London to that wild appendage of Britain, the South West of England.

It is like transferring from the tutelage of Mary Poppins to Heathcliffe, moving down there.

The culture shock for our cats was huge. We had two then: the present incumbent, Kit Kat, and a princely siamese-moggie cross named Tuppence.

We moved into a cottage in a conservation area, two doors down from a household of ten boot-faced ferocious rescue cats.

Ours adjusted; they learnt to walk gingerly round other feline company. But they never got used to some of the other creatures.

One morning we woke to find a sunny day in progress, and Kit Kat on her rounds. Tuppence, however, was glued to the front window, his glorious green eyes bulging slightly. One simply could not move him.

We thought little of it until we stood behind him and saw, for the first time, what he saw.

There, strutting round our front garden, was the most glorious multicoloured cockerel. It was a plumed dandy of a bird, a great paunched stalking bureaucrat, mayor of the feathered dominions.

The Kentish cat had seen feathered things: sparrows, yes; the odd blackbird. Tuppence played hunting the little feathered creatures, alongside the mice and voles that filled his days with supersonic squeaking.

Oh, for a slap-on thought bubble. For this cat was looking at a bird fully as big as him, a true adversary; a worthy competitor. He was a cat from a common background and we fancied four word expletives flying through his mind as he sized up this outsize creature.

Maybe the walls were thick, but this cock’s crow never became a nuisance. It was just a reminder that here we were, living in the heart of Cornish countryside.

I remembered that slavering freeze-frame cat this morning.

I was just getting into the car after church when I spotted one of those headline billboards outside the village newsagents. I actually did a double take. It read: Owner fined for noisy cockerels.

Forty six years ago, before the village was its present corpulent size, a gentleman lived happily with something like a smallholding. He kept all manner of animals on his land: hens, of course, and ducks. And ferrets.

But as time went on, people began to build around his home.

He’s 72 now. And the people around him have become a little exasperated, for his cockerel is extremely vocal. They called the local council, who sent out a man to take copious notes. And between 6am and 7am one morning, the old gentleman’s cockerels managed to crow a total of 83 times.

Cockerels are simply not allowed to crow at night, either. It is against the laws of council and nature. Yet the council paid some poor soul to record cockerel crows which occurred during prohibited hours – specifically, overnight.

I can just see him in his undercover car with his little tally chart.

And one June night he (or she) recorded 97 separate cockerel crows.

It can’t have been easy to sleep. but how exactly does one shut a cockerel up?

The old man has plans. He will keep the cckerels in a smaller cage, with a blanket over them to muffle them.

It sounds an interesting strategy, and not one for which I hold out huge amounts of hope. Then again, I am no cockerel expert. Maybe a blanket was the solution all along.

I have taken the liberty of visiting an authority on the subject, namely Chicken Keeping SecretsThere is a blog, it seems, for everything under the sun these days.

It seems some areas specify cockerels should not be kept within city limits: but that does not help our old gentlman, around whom the city limits  have grown up.

“By hanging a light in the coop and shutting them in at night,”, says one expert, “you can trick them into thinking it’s still daytime. Shut the light off before you go to bed. When they awaken in the morning, they may think it’s still night because it’s dark inside the coop.”

It seems, then, that though they are glorious of feather and can confound even the most avaricious of cats, the cockerel is a bird of little brain.

With a few lights and covers, you can make them think it’s any time of day.

Sometime, though, the cock’s going to have to crow. I can only hope it does not crow for thee.

Image source here

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47 thoughts on “For Whom The Cock Crows

  1. The University of South Carolina had a mascot – a fighting gamecock. We will not try to decipher why a college would select a bird of the chicken family as its mascot, but it might be useful for your village. They sell all manner of clothing and other baubles with the phrase ‘Go Cocks’emblazoned on them. Might be useful for the protesting villagers. Or, the poor old man. Or, perhaps as a cover for the squawking cocks, depending on whose side you are on.

    🙂

    1. I feel the need for a hoodie with that slogan emblazoned upon it, Andra, here it would raise eyebrows like you would not believe.I could try selling them door to door: I feel sure the old gentleman in question would relish one 😀

      1. It seems the “go cocks” line has fallen out of fashion in the wake of national press coverage on the alternate meaning. Here is a version that might be useful for you. I found a hoodie for $42 on a different site.

        http://gamecocksonline.cbscollegestore.com/store_contents.cfm?store_id=141&dept_id=1715&product_id=128413

        Hoodie:
        http://www.bkstr.com/ProductDisplay/10001-10038-10702-68079681-1?demoKey=d

        Or, you could go all the way with this version, which seems to me the most appropriate of them all, given the situation:

        http://www.cafepress.com/+go_cocks_shit_happens_jr_hoodie,28672021

      2. Then there is the classic alternative…short shorts emblazoned across the backside with the aforementioned slogan…only to be worn by the most virtuous of co-eds, of course.

      3. I attended USC for law school . . . Go Cocks! 😆

        My undergraduate alma mater, William & Mary, just selected a “bird” as a mascot after the Tribe Pride “Indian” was ruled to be politically incorrect (or half-cocked).

        W&M now has a Griffin parading the field on game days.

  2. With all the hoo-ha, this seems like a Cock and Bull story to me! I wonder what the overtime rate for counting cockcrows is?
    I do have sypmpathy for the old geezer. It reminds me, though, of some of our locals who want to keep old customs and pretend that colonials and civilization had never come to Africa. On the other hand, I have lived with a resident egg at many times, and never found the crowing presented a problem. They didn’t do 97 a night, though.

      1. I have lived in many a home that has free-range poultry, and I’ve never found it a hardship. S of E daughter keeps enough to have own eggs and even sell some.

  3. I had to laugh, this reminded me of the time I spent a weekend out in Wales. Being a city girl, lorries, taxis, milkbottles rattling, won’t wake me up, but the gentle bleating of sheep? Egads, please sleep in- you fluffy white things!

  4. There was a case in France where a case was brought against the church for the noise that the bells made in a particular village. The plaintiff won and the church had to curb it’s carillons. On the other hand a similar case was brought against a noisy cockerel and the court upheld the rights of the cockerel to crow as often and as loud as his nature demanded. Great post.

    1. Ah, so cocks trump bells any time in France! you have to admire a culture which has a value system like that one, Roger. You wouldn’t catch their environmental health departments counting cockerel calls, I bet….

  5. cock-a doodle-don’t?

    I know about parrots and blankets over the cage to make it night time, and ostriches which are handled with a small sock like garment over their heads, as it calms them, so maybe the blanket over the cage will work pretty well?

  6. Ah, I do get frustrated by people who seem to think animals should regulate or sustain from their usual noises, barking dogs, crowing cockerels. After all humans are the only ones with an extended vocabulary for domestics, noisy forms of transport and oh, amplification of entertainment. They’re also the ones who invented bedtime. 😉

    1. They are! What persuasive arguments, IE! I really must forward this blog to our council: it has some excellent points which I feel sure would enrich their perspective 😀

  7. I feel sorry for the old guy who has seen his world so changed with a town growing up around him. Hopefully, the blanket trick will work and no further fining will take place.

    Now, as to your Tuppence and his view of the world, cats do indeed seem to get mesmerized by large birds or squirrels; it would be very entertaining if we could actually see what is going through their minds. I’m thinking cockerel fricassee.

  8. Furgoodnessake, when people choose to live in the country they have to accept the sounds of the country…. cockerels at 4am and combine harvesters working the fields in a haze of light and husks at 10.20pm, not to mention working sheepdogs barking, foxes crying, owls screeching, frogs a croaking…

    I’m totally with the old fella and his cockerel.. Them newscomers needs earplugs, them do. 🙂

  9. I’m simultaneously put in mind of both Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House, Pixar’s Up, and the Russian folk tale, Little Lord Feather Frock.

    I do hope the gentleman gets his cockerel in order, or manages to fly away in house via balloons.

  10. What a great description, Kate: “It was a plumed dandy of a bird, a great paunched stalking bureaucrat, mayor of the feathered dominions.”

    I can just see that proud little beaked strut-face!

    I hope it can be worked out. I’m such an animal advocate, but sleep deprived neighbours can become dangerous!

  11. Great post…I too love the line “It was a plumed dandy of a bird, a great paunched stalking bureaucrat, mayor of the feathered dominions”. I used to have some finches, and covering the cage with a towel or something was necessary now and then to get a little peace and quiet in the house. The roosters were outside, so, they were allowed to crow at will. Oh, tell Andra Watkins the “Real Carolina” used a Ram as a Mascot…U.N.C, she’ll know what you mean…The reason South Carolina picked the Game Cocks is because of their fierceness of fighting unto death of either themselves, or their opponents. Anyway, great post…Crazy Society Fining a little old man who helped bring society into dawn of the 21st century from nearly dusk of the 19th…There was a man recently fined in the state of Georgia for growing his own veggies in his back yard… It’s a mess in this world, as the old folks would say…
    Hey you forgot to hit the like button when you commented on my “Weekly Photo Challenge” post Kate…I’m trying to get 100 faces, or, ( keyboard images ) before moving onto another post. Thanks
    http://sonsothunder.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/weekly-photo-challenge-distorted/

  12. The reaction of Tuppence mirrors Tiggers . . . when we moved to FL and sized up the compeition (Great Blue Heron, Pelicans, Great White Egrets, Osprey, Hawks).

    He developed a purr-secution complex. 😉

    1. 😀 I’ll bet he did. Birds come big round your way, Nancy…must remember the gag to tell Maddie and Felix…

      (And apologies for all these late replies: my systems broke down this week! I discover today that I have left small handfuls of comments unanswered at the end of each post! Time for a new system…)

  13. I side for the gentlemen with the rooster. My way thinking is that the ‘grandfather’ rule applies. People seem to get their feathers ruffled for the silliest shtufffs. Puts to mine of lady I know whining and grumbling over not being able to sleep in upon moving from the city to country – as the “frick’n frack’n birds in the trees outside my bedroom window” , were waking her up at 4:30 in the morning. Poor thing.

      1. Mine doesn’t. More likely to mutter, if ya don’t like it, move back to urban living. Nature was here first. But your right, I should not be apathetic, but it is hard to be otherwise with some.

      2. I’ve done it the other way round and moved to the city…and in reality I’m usually the one snorting with laughter at townies who can’t get used to the country…

  14. Councils always seem to thrive on the petty complaints of a particular type of person. The sort of person who moves to the country and doesn’t expect to hear the cows lowing early in the morning – the travelling Nimby.

    We have a newish neighbour a few doors along from us. She’s already complained to another of our neighbours about cats in her garden and insisted that he supply a cat scarer for her. A neighbour behind us bought a dog for their children. Every now and then it comes out in the garden during the day and barks (very rarely). It doesn’t bark during the night. Yet this woman has made a point of going round there to complain on several occasions! You have to wonder what it is with some people 😦 Just as well she didn’t live here when I was a child – there was a factory behind us and roughly where the dog lives, the forklift trucks were bashing in and out of heavy rubber doors all day and night except on Sundays. People ought to expect the typical noises of an area that they move into but some of them just seem to think that they have a right to inflict their personal wishes on the rest of the community around them. I’m feel sorry for the elderly gentleman whose life is being disrupted through no real fault of his own.

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