What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Living the High Life

This past weekend Mr Gillybirds and I left three teenagers “home alone” and the smallest Gillyboy was being cared for by some responsible adults and went off on our own to London. Mr G works in the capitol city most weeks so it is no novelty for him, but very exciting and much anticipated by me!
One of Mr G’s thrills is to climb the highest building/tower/structure in any city visited, and he closely watched the construction of The Shard in London, towering tall at 309m, the highest building in Europe. For Christmas I bought him two tickets to The View from the Shard. I’m not great with heights but I wasn’t going to miss out on an excuse to get some time together for two days.
The day was bright, a little cloudy, we emerged from the Tube looking up, and up again at this glistening jagged spire that dominates the London skyline. The two elevator trip takes you to floor 69 at an ear popping 8m per second. The 360 degree views are fantastic, if you like that sort of thing. I was more than a little anxious, clinging pathetically to the central wall, while everyone else seemed perfectly comfortable to be getting a bird’s eye view of London. A small child was merrily banging on the glass giving me heart palpitations.
Mr G was picking out familiar landmarks- St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Wembley Stadium, Battersea Power Station. The Thames was weaving its way through the city like a long silver ribbon.
Then we climbed a staircase to floor 72 where the floor is open to the elements and you can feel the wind blowing in your face. Scary stuff. The discreet sound of angelic voices added to the feeling that this was the closest we would get to heaven aside from being in an airplane.
And outside the glass, hanging from a thin rope were two guys, looking totally chilled to be dangling 994 ft above planet earth on a Saturday morning.

The Shard had a tenant before it was even completed. An urban fox. Staff discovered the intrepid visitor on the 72nd floor.The animal, nicknamed Romeo by staff, entered the building through a central stairwell before climbing to the top. It was living off scraps left by builders.
The fox was first spotted by a crane driver at the beginning of the month. Les Leonard, a pest controller, said: “At first I didn’t believe it was up there, I thought it must be a hoax. I’ve got a fear of heights and getting the hoist lift from the 35th floor to the 72nd was terrifying.
“On the second day it ran straight past us then scrambled up a 10 foot ladder onto the rafters. It was surreal, we couldn’t believe that a fox could go that high.” The fox had managed to make his way to the top of the tower via the central stairwell.
Romeo was caught by Southwark Council pest control officers (in traps baited with live chickensand taken to Riverside Animal Centre in Wallington where the hungry explorer was given a thorough medical and a few good meals. He was then released back into the London Bridge area.


The account of Romeo is taken from Metro newspaper.
Cuddly Romeo’s can be purchased from the Shard gift shop which you have to pass through as you exit the building.

I’m not one for heights but this was a great place to visit, the staff were so friendly and welcoming, the views are spectacular I would consider going again at a different time of day. I’m sure sunrise/sunset are awesome.
We had a great weekend, seeing Helen Mirren in a West End play, cycling on Boris bikes, finding the location for one of our favourite tv shows (Spooks or MI5 as it is called in USA), walking and walking and talking, enjoying delicious meals, getting some giggles from the world’s sweetest niece, and generally living the highlife for a couple of days.
And all our boys survived too.

“Romeo, where art thou?” Says Mrs Gillybirds at the Shard


10 Ways to tell you are suffering from henmania

1. You consider 6.45 am a lie-in and hurry out in your night attire (and often shod in welly boots) to let the hens out into the morning air.
2. The sound of a fox barking in the night turns your blood cold.
3. You can think of more than six ways to cook eggs.
4. Suddenly you become aware that you are making random chicken sounds for no particular reason.
5. You reach in your pocket and find a handful of dried mealworms.
6. The favourites list on your on line shopping now include meadow hay and millet treats.
7.When you visit friends you bring them fresh eggs as a gift and it feels like you are giving away your own children.
8. Walking down the chicken aisle in the supermarket makes you sad for all the wee lives and personalities now plucked, wrapped and ready for roasting.
9. The first thing you do when you get home is rush out and check the coop for eggs.
10. Wattle and gizzard are no longer merely high scoring words in Scrabble.


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