Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Fond Farewell to Jock the Cock

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Fond Farewell to Jock the Cock

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID BANKS

DISTRESSING news reaches me as I wearily evade the motorised rickshaws hunting victims on downtown Bangkok's crowded streets.

What I am seeking is a plateful of local cuisine during my brief stopover en route to Australia. What I actually receive is a doom-laden text from Young Neil back at The Henhoose in Tweedo Paradiso.

"Jock the Cock is a goner," reads my mobile phone, having finally found a signal from the most expensive telecoms provider in south-east Asia.

Then, summoning the sort of gravitas the BBC normally adopts only for royal obituaries, it solemnly adds: "Much loved hen harrier and father of 28, departed this life in time for Sunday lunch, Rest In Pieces... " The news is devastating. That Scottish king of cockerels, our very own 'Robert the Brooster', has fallen from his perch, summoned by the Great Egg Collector in the Sky to lay down his earthly burden and join the Choir Invisible.

Not even pausing to count the cost s (pounds 1.40 per minute, if you must know), I waste no time in placing a call to my agri-business partner's bar stool in the Red Lion. "How did it happen?" I ask.

"Abscess on his right claw," replies Young Neil clinically, with a trace of the George Clooney swagger about his diagnosis.

"Hobbling badly, so we tried antibiotics and he limped off for a rest in the Henhoose.

"When Wee Emily the egg collector stopped by for her breakfast eggs, Jock was stiff as a board, claws in the air." I stand there stunned, grief demanding that I ignore a proffered plateful of steaming Pad Thai. "Did you give him a decent send-off?" "About nine hours on medium heat in a slow cooker," says Neil, brightening a touch.

"Beautiful! Went down a treat with Debbie's roast tatties and some garden greens." "Ah well," I muse, now beginning to pecking reluctantly at the plate of chicken and noodles that sits before me on the Bangkok fast food counter, "life must go on. …

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