I may have been a writer for many, many, many years, uh lets just make that a couple or it will show my age, but there are still times when I stare at the blank screen and think “What next?” Well today is one of those days. My mind has gone totally blank and I may just lie on the sofa and read, a real treat. So, I am going to cheat and include a passage from the new book before I continue with the history lesson.

If I thought the abattoir took some stamina that was before I went to the chicken farms. Yes, in theory they were free range chickens, housed in a barn, and yes, in theory they could run around, if they could find the space to move. I’d thought that free range meant running wildly and happily around in a field. But no, as long as they were not in cages they were classified as ‘free’.

The smell was quite indescribable, but the cheerful band of friendly women who greeted us with songs and dances, holding palm fronds in one hand and a chicken dangling upside down in the other, were oblivious to the stench.

When they wanted to move the chickens from one barn to another they waded in amongst them, grabbing legs and bundling half a dozen in each hand, with more squeezed under each armpit, before flinging them over the wall into the next pen. I guessed they knew what they were doing, as after stumbling for a few moments, it looked as if the chickens could still walk.

After we had gathered all the footage we needed at the farm they told us we were going to drive them to a nearby school just down the road, so they could present a few chickens to the children as a public relations exercise. They didn’t use those exact words of course, but I could see that their gifts would help keep everyone happy.

I really didn’t want a crowd of squawking, screeching chickens in the back of my car, especially as I had no idea how far this school was. In Africa, ‘just down the road’ could be just that, or 100 kilometres or more. I didn’t feel I could refuse to give them a lift in the crew car, which happened to belong to my husband. I borrowed it from him for shoots as it was large, powerful and had an enormous boot.

As one of the ladies came to wait by the car, three chickens dangling upside down from each hand, I noticed with horror that there were little mite-type creatures leaping about in the chicken feathers. I shuddered. How many would drop off and snuggle down for a sight-seeing drive to visit the rest of the province’s finalists? Did these little black creatures bite? Did they carry diseases? And then it also dawned on me that chickens weren’t house trained either, though I wasn’t sure if they could commune with nature while hanging upside down.

At the last possible moment, much to my relief, another customer arrived in his bakkie to buy chickens, and I managed to persuade him to give the ladies, and their infested birds, a lift to the local school. I bribed him with the promise he would be on national television, and I would get the finalists to say on camera how delicious these particular chickens were, and how he was their favourite customer. I lifted my eyes to heaven and hoped that He would forgive my lies. It was all in a good cause wasn’t it? I was only protecting the health of my crew.

Time to leap back into the past now as we move on to the next king.

The next king Henry IV part 2, had only been one year old when he originally came to the throne the first time and was rather a weak king, as the barons had difficulty understanding his commands.


Actually these pictures of Henry look a little older than his baby pictures, but I’m sure they will do. You can use a bit of imagination can’t you? It’s really terribly difficult finding suitable photos of them as they were all so terribly camera shy.

MAP FRANCEENGLISH FLAGNow here we have another outline of France and a British flag. You need to put the flag over France to show it was British and not French, because it was during Henry’s reign that the Hundred Years war came to an end, it had lasted longer than 100 years anyway and everyone had got a bit bored with it.

In the next thrilling installment, I’ll tell you who won what, if I can find out before Friday.

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