Listening to: Child In Time (Deep Purple)
Weather: sunny, strong breeze
Surf: 4ft, offshore wind, looking good
Piglets due in: 10 days
Spring doesn't so much as bust out all over the place on Westray as stagger through a life or death struggle with the wind and the rain. Two days of snow and cold north winds earlier in the week made the place lovely to look at, but winter seems to be on its way out.
Daffodils are out, two of the last three days have brought sunshine that - a stiff breeze notwithstanding - has felt warm at last and, with the change to Summertime tonight, it will still be light at 8pm. Everywhere is still wetter than a British Prime Minister in a meeting with George Bush, but there's reason to hope for dry ground some time soon.
We have treated ourselves to some more hens - four, to be exact. It had become obvious that we didn't have enough active layers with the two older hens having given up. And, yes, the one chicken is still being a complete bitch and, no, I haven't plucked (!) up the courage to wring her neck. (Joan Collins - there, I've just named her).
Anyhow, a call was put in to the family on the island's Westside who had provided us with the original mob and Sal and myself trundled over to collect (remembering this time to stick a very large cardboard box in the back of the Land Rover - no repeats of last time's Black Hole of Westray).
We went into their hen house to collect and I froze.
Regular readers will know I'm scared of hens and am in the middle of a kind of therapy, involving one of our older hens who follows me around like a faithful dog and who is so quiet and easy-going I've felt able to stroke her and offer her food out of my hand. She's a confident old bird and this is her pinching the pigs' food this afternoon.
In complete contrast, these new hens were as quiet and easy-going as a bunch of Millwall fans after a 4-0 home defeat. OK, so they weren't throwing heavy duty fireworks or torching cars, but they might as well have been - I would possibly have been able to deal with it.
No, the little buggers decided they didn't much fancy the move to Casa del Trainee Pig Farmer and squawked, flapped, screeched and did everything bar write to their MP (no point on Orkney, he's a Lib Dem).
Sal stubbed out a metaphorical fag, rolled up imaginary sleeves and waded in, helping their owner Christine grab the nearest four noisy, flappy, pecky, bastards and shove them into the box held by a trainee pig farmer who was now rooted to the spot, unable to move - think of Michelangelo's David. . . only with more clothes.
Long-suffering wife bundled box and trainee pig farmer out of the door, muttering darkly about big girl's blouses. A reviving coffee raised spirits for the journey home, we dumped the box in the middle of the hen house and waited.
Nothing. The four hens were cowering in the bottom and the only way we could get them out without a repeat of the flapping/squawking/rushing about fiasco was to tip it over on its side (very gently) and wait.
They emerged and over the next couple of days investigated their surroundings. Egg production has increased only slightly, but it's early days and, as umpteen football managers told me in my previous life as a sports hack, new signings need time to settle in.
Adam the cockerel can't believe his luck and has been 'at it' like Russell Brand after a meal of oysters, but there's a definite divide between the old hens and the new gang.
The newbies have marked out their turf, taking the upper shelf in the hen house while the old hands stalk the floor and the lower nesting box - straw bales are disputed territory.
Sharks and Jets?