The Mystery of the Missing Lighthouse

Dear M,

I’ve had a nice weekend, how about you? I want to tell you about the lighthouse – but first I’ll tell you about chickens.

There’s a bit of chicken news, as I decided that the chicks are now big enough to be let out of the cage. The cats never touch the chickens, but would eat the chicks if they could, so I have to wait until they are definitely big enough to fit the cat definition of “chicken” and not “dinner”. The parents have been very antsy, waiting to be let out, and the cockerel has made a few escape attempts, by lurking near the door and rushing at it when I open it to feed them. Today, I let them out.

When I opened the door, the parents were waiting, and were out in a flash. The chicks started to follow – and then stopped – and waited. They stared for a while at the outside, and then, very slowly, turned back to the cage and walked away from the door. I waited for a while, and then just shut them in. Stupid birds. I’ll leave the door open again tomorrow, and see what happens; I didn’t want them to wander out after the parents had left, as they’re safer in a flock.

I thought the hen was still not laying, but when I did a proper clean up of the cage, I found a whole stash of eggs hidden where I couldn’t see them. Nice to have eggs again.

The chicks are still too small to be laying, but they do now roost on the perch at night. Very grown-up of them!

I keep looking, trying to guess which are males – cockerels have large red crowns on their head. Only two of the six have little crowns, which suggests I have four cockerels. (Four! Very bad news.) However, the mother has quite a large crown for a female, and so I’m also checking the chick’s legs. Two have definite thick, cockerel-sized legs, but two others are thinner. So, I am still hoping that I might be lucky and have more than two hens in the clutch.

Now to the lighthouse mystery. You remember that S gave me a lighthouse for Christmas, to go next to the pond? I loved it, because it was solar-powered, and at night went round and round. But the ducks weren’t so keen, and made a big fuss, so for a few months it lived near the house. I became rather fond of it, seeing the light sweep round the garden every evening when I shut the curtains.

Anyway, when the new pond was finished, I wanted to persuade the ducks to sleep on the island, not the bank, and I thought I could use their dislike of the lighthouse. So, I set it up, with a piece of masking tape across the area that would shine on the island, and put it next to the pond. I didn’t want it to fall in, so I built a little clay wall between the lighthouse and the water. It worked really well, when it got dark each evening, the light would start to sweep around the pond, only the island was dark. I thought it might also help to keep the fox away.

However, a week later, when I went to feed the ducks, the lighthouse was gone. I looked all around the pond. The little clay wall was still there, but no sign of the lighthouse. It was too heavy for a duck to move it (even the big ducks have no weight to them, and would be unable to move it, even if they flapped their wings right on it). I felt so sad, I thought that either someone from the farm lane had seen the light and climbed into the garden to steal it, or else the fox was so annoyed by it he had carried it away. I tried to sweep the bottom of the pond with the long net, but no luck, the lighthouse was gone.

Then on Sunday, when I was lamenting, again, the loss of my lighthouse, Dad said he’d try and search the pond for me. He set off, in leaky waders and bare legs, into the muddy pond. I wasn’t hopeful, but about 20 minutes later, a soggy man appeared at the kitchen door, with the dripping lighthouse. I was so pleased. He said that it was about 2 metres from the bank, which suggests it had been thrown rather than fallen. Can angry foxes throw? Maybe they can.

I don’t know if it will ever work again. I’ve unscrewed all the parts that I can without breaking it, and have spread it out on newspaper to dry out. Kia – nosiest dog in the world – tried to help. Next week I’ll reassemble it, and see if it works. But even if it doesn’t, I’m so glad it’s back. I’ll let you know next week if it works (or not…)

Hope you have a happy week.
Take care,
Love, Mum xxx



Anne E. Thompson has written several novels. They are available from bookshops and Amazon.
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