Ankle update - there is nothing more that can be done other than a quite dangerous operation which, if unsuccessful, will make matters much worse. Arthritis has set in and it looks as though I must grin and bear it the way things are. I am going to discuss matters with my G P but in the meantime I shall just soldier on.
Hen up date. The pen is in place, the pop hole is open but as yet no hens have been forthcoming. After all, as friend S, who also bought three, says - they have never seen the sky before so give them a chance to get used to the big wide world. They are eating their layers pellets and corn happily but looked with suspicion on a crust of wholewheat bread which the farmer gave them yesterday. The old hens would have fallen on it like marauding hordes, but these little dears have never seen such luxury before. What breed are they you ask. They are hybrid layers, that is all I can tell you - obviously from their colour there is some Rhode Island Red in there somewhere. In the past I have had Black Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, White Sussex - all have been pretty but none of them really good layers.
There seems to be sabre-rattling today between US and Russia over the small enclave on the edge of the Ukraine. Have you noticed how it is always the men (sorry male followers) who get in this state? The men get bullish, the women are left to pick up the pieces. It was ever thus.