The next day my wife rang the neighbours to see if the noise was bothering them. They hadn’t noticed.
Gradually we stopped noticing the noise too. It blended into the general sounds of the countryside. Sheep, cows, rooster, the soft calls of night birds. Water gurgling in the stream. Gunshots. The occasional squeal of car tyres driven by teenagers going nowhere. The odd freight train rumbling in the distance.
But all was not destined to remain well. Horace got worms. We didn’t know that at the time. We just saw him lurching drunkenly around the paddock, twitching. A bit like some of the guests at our infamous annual party. The difference was that when my wife went out to feed the chickens he tottered over and fell on his side. Thrashing and blinking up at her for help.
What to do? A vet would be unlikely to do much at this stage. And would cost more than a new rooster.
A friend who is a real farmer came to the rescue. He popped poor Horace into a cage – for re-homing, no doubt – and just for good measure, brought us a beautiful white rooster. He was surplus to their requirements but too gorgeous for them to cull.
The new fellow is called Marlon Brando as he is uselessly beautiful, and Horace? Well, rest in peace.