mildred, my amazing chicken, passed away this weekend. she was an ex-farm hen sentenced to death about 5 or 6 years ago when she was just 2 years old, as all farm hens are when their eggs develop slightly thin shells. In the years since she has brought so much happiness to so many people, joining us for breakfasts where she stole our toast, tea and porridge, pottering around the gardens she lived in, and generally fossicking and eating snails. she had a penchant for pecking buttons on clothing, playing in compost, and dustbathing with the neighbourhood cats. she was never averse to a cuddle. most notably this year she fought off a fox. she has probably had more comics drawn about her than any other chicken ever. she was the most remarkable chicken i ever met and i loved her very much.