Search results for bunty


Poor Bunty

9 Comments 13 July 2012

Bunty the coral hen

Lovely Bunty posing with Roxy and Coco. That’s the weird fluffy rooster, Snickerdoodle, in the background.

It was the thing I knew we had to be ready for if we were going to have chickens. We live next to a field. We have seen foxes in the field. We knew what we were up against.

But when my daughter came running in the house one evening this week after going out to tuck the chickens in for the night, with a pale face and an alarmed voice, I knew that moment had arrived: “I can’t find Bunty, I need help to find Bunty!”

“Not Bunty!” I thought. Our favourite! Bunty is the one who runs up to us when we come in the garden, scratches around near our feet when we’re gardening, clucks and purrs near us when we’re just sitting on the grass, as if joining in and telling us all the news in the garden since we were last there.

We all dropped what we were doing and rushed out in the twilight to look for the little white hen. I was preparing myself for a cluster of feathers as we sometimes see when a pigeon has got to the end of its days, assisted by a local omnivore. Poor Bunty. I was feeling a bit ill at the thought of it.

We walked up and down the long garden, calling out for her (she comes when called). We walked along the field, we walked along the road, we walked and called everywhere we could think of. Finally, everyone went inside and my daughter and I walked down the garden again. By this time she had been crying and calling so long that her voice was getting croaky. I was trying to say a gentle version of “we knew this might happen” but it was too soon and I was told off. I was upset too but I was trying really hard to not be. And I was really annoyed, worried that perhaps we had done something to jeopardise Bunty’s life. I was also very distressed seeing my daughter so upset.

I wished we hadn’t even got the stupid things.

I told her to wash her face and get a drink and that we could read our new books together. I was keen to get both our minds off the disapperance of Bunty and the logical conclusion our imaginations might come to–something gorey and unpleasant. After reading a while it was time for bed so I tucked her in and her parting words were, “she might turn up in the morning.” Yes, I said, she might.

As if.

I went to bed but woke at 3.30 am with a dream about Bunty. I lay there getting more and more wound up, thinking about what kind of awful end she may have come to. Annoyed with myself for letting the whole thing get to me so much, I got up to read my book downstairs. Husband woke at 5.30 and came down. “I can’t sleep when you’re not there.” We decided to make some coffee and go out into the garden before our daughter got up so we could find any Bunty remains and get rid of them.

We got to the gate and a little white hen came running towards us from the undegrowth. I can honestly say I stood with my mouth open for long enough to look ridiculous. Yes, it was Bunty, not even a ghost of Bunty, just regular ol’ Bunty doing what Bunty does when people come out into the garden. (Except for not the night before when we were calling her.)

I told her off for not coming when called and gave her some grain and my husband went inside to wake our daughter and tell her the news. He said she opened her eyes immediately when he told her, asked if Bunty was ok, when he replied yes she said “I thought she’d turn up,” and went back to sleep.

For a short story about Bunty, go to the end of this post: The hens.


expat life

Something to consider before becoming a long-term expat

22 Comments 19 May 2014

Dappled shade in the English garden.

Dappled shade in the English garden. This moment is perfect.

Curled up on your bathroom floor, towel pulled off the rail and scrunched into your face to muffle the sobs as you exhale in great lumps the weight held in for too long, stoically. What small triggers set off such large reactions? How can anyone live a normal life with all of this just under the surface?

The bare bones of 3:00 am, no place to set your anxieties aside. You must hold them and stare at them and know them. Not like during the day, on a sunny afternoon, sitting in the shade of a tree in the corner of your garden where you can close your eyes and smile at your piece of the planet, at peace with your lot, knowing you’ve found a happy balance in this moment (this moment is perfect). How easy to deceive yourself into happiness in an English summer afternoon.


How easy to deceive yourself into despair in the bleak, silent, 3:00 am moment. You demand to know (anger glaring in at that stuff you’re holding), which is the truth? The only sound is a car driven too fast through the village, a shift worker on the way to the airport to work until lunchtime the next day. You listen to the bass of their stereo as they fly by. Then silence again.

And finally the sobs run out; purged all there is to purge until next time (in five months, a year, or three).

Then when the weight builds up too much the scales tip and you lie awake after the lights go out.

And you turn and turn.

For hours you lay awake feeling the contraction and push of the lumps of Thoughts trying to get out, distracting yourself by watching the security light glow on and off outside on the driveway as a fox or a stray cat crosses the invisible line. Wondering if you should just get up and read, make a cup of tea, sleep in a different bed, watch TV, go on Facebook and remind yourself that there are other people in the world who Think Things too. And as you wonder about those other people living their lives you feel the first trickle down your cheeks and out the Thoughts start to pour. You press your face to the pillow and then the first sob. You don’t want to wake him next to you. The sheets are twisted and bound around you and the bed is too hot so you slip out and pad to the bathroom and wash your face in cold water and hope the tears will stop because they are the edgewaters of a sea of pain. You make the mistake of looking up and in the moonlight you see your reflection and you feel something like concern and love and anguish and then the weight pulls you to the floor where the tiles are cool but your face is hot with the waiting tears and so you let them push out and you pull the towel down from the rail and sob.

And you want it to Just Get Over With so you release them as quickly and violently as possible. You want them out of your system. And you swim past them into your depths looking for the cause and you see you are just exhausted and frustrated and sad. You still miss having a familiar (grown from birth familiar, known from the beginning of your time familiar) soul nearby, not this new family. Even though sixteen years is not new and you know it’s unfair of you. But you still miss knowing there are the old familiar someones who will be there, right there, not on the phone but just a short drive away. Even though you haven’t had that for almost thirty years. And you marvel at how acute that missing can be after thirty years, tucked neatly in tissue paper, locked in a tight box and placed in a cupboard somewhere deep inside. Kept and protected. Its name is homesickness.

But there are other things there, in the depths below the tears and pain. Like the sunny afternoon in the English countryside: Your daughter laughing, skipping through a sprinkler, her whole spirit is sunshine and sparkling water. Your best friend sitting next to you, the same man you don’t want to wake at 3:00 am, the one who grabs hold of your hand and fearlessly rides the waves with you. His children and their partners, a rainbow of auras and you’ve always loved rainbows. The cats blinking up at you from dappled shade under the hedge.

And so you wash your face again, hang the towel up, pad quietly back to bed, and relax into the pillow. One leg pressing against him. Sleep arrives. And the next day you wake up and know what’s inside you more than you did the day before.

Which experience is the truth? Both. The light and the dark: you can create a beautiful life across an ocean, while carrying the homesickness for what you left behind.



A tour of The American Resident blog

5 Comments 06 November 2012

Some of my beautiful family!

I have seen a lot of new people stop by here lately so I thought I would give you a little tour of the place!

Firstly, hello! Welcome to The American Resident. If you would like to know more about the blog, you can read my page About The American Resident.

Six years old and already a trendsetter.

If that’s not enough for you, and you would like something a bit more personal about me (no, not too personal, don’t worry!), then you can read How I got where I am today. You’ll be surprised, perhaps, to find that the path here hasn’t been entirely smooth. But really, whose is?

I’m a long-term American expat in the United Kingdom. That means I’ve been here a while (over 20 years) and I plan on being here a while longer. I’m married to a British man (yes, his accent is indeed lovely!) and my daughter, who is proudly half American, speaks with a British accent. But she does say mom, not mum. Neat, huh?

I write about making a life overseas. I’m building a family and a home like people all over the world, but I have the added bits about trying to teach my family about my American background without being able to immerse them in it daily like American families do. I am proud of being American–my nationality is so much more than the crazy politics of the country I was born in so let’s just skip that discussion and go straight to the Have a Nice Day part. And yes, they really mean it when they say it. At least they do in the Midwest where I come from.

old oak hipstamatic

One of the 400-year-old oak trees in a hedge behind my house.

I also enjoy embracing my host culture–there are so many amazing things about Britain I’ll never run out of things to say about it! One thing I really love about Britain is the history, as my regular readers will know. I recently found a map of Roman Roads of Britain and saw that the road in front of my house is a Roman Road. I kind of already suspected it, but it was cool to see the evidence. I wrote a post about my area called 2000 years of people where I live, which you might find interesting if you like that sort of thing too.

I don’t know much about the finer details of moving overseas anymore, but I do have some great links where you can get a lot of that info. If you check out my page on Expat Life, you’ll see some links to helpful resources and posts on this site. Don’t forget to check out the comments on those posts and pages–my readers have contributed some really helpful tips and insights.

One of my favourite tools for new expats is what I have cleverly labelled “Useful Tool for New Expats“. I love it because it makes culture shock and homesickness just so easy to understand AND offers such useful tips for dealing with both all in one simple diagram.

most Americans don't have passports

Can it be true that most Americans don’t own one of these? If so, is that really so bad?

Over there on the right you’ll see things like my most popular post (it was on that classic topic Most Americans Don’t Own Passports), or My blog is a fake, which I wrote not as a joke but as more of an experiment or a question. It’s not, by the way–a fake, that is. But you might be interested to see what the readers had to say about the post.

I love to write about food. I LOVE food. I try to focus on American snack foods because I have fun making those for my family and they have fun trying them (or very politely pretend to–it’s difficult to say “no” to American enthusiasm, I’ve realised).

cute kitten

I know! Awwww…!

I also write about our lovely chickens (like the tale about Poor Bunty, our white hen) and our adorable cats (including the one about Raffy, our disabled cat), and of course I write about my beautiful family, many of whom you’ll see in the photo above. And I write about the more difficult sides of building a life in another country, such as in this post An expat crisis that anyone can relate to.

Oh, and did you know I live in a former country pub? You can read more about it in my post, The Old Pub.

Besides writing about making a life in the UK I also write about other topics, such as current events or tips I’ve learned about living well, or books I’m reading, and sometimes I host contests. I love blogging and I often try to share useful ideas for other bloggers. But I know not all my readers are bloggers so I try to not overwhelm this space with blog tips. Promise! If you want some great blogging tips, especially for newbies, check out 25 Really useful blogging tips. Or you can also just have a look through the category Blogging.

One of the pretty birch trees in my garden. A seemingly random photo, yes, but placed here to provide balance for the post and because I think it’s pretty!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this whirlwind tour! I guess you’ve probably figured out by now that you don’t have to be an expat to enjoy this blog, but if you are an expat there’s great stuff for you here, including Someone Who Knows How It Feels (that’s me, by the way!).

If you think it’d be fun to hang out with my readers and me, and you’d like to say hello every now and then, have a look over in the sidebar and sign up for email updates, or follow through Facebook, Bloglovin or the RSS feed. For more suggestions on how to follow The American Resident, click on Contact & Follow. If you have a blog, be sure to leave a comment so I can stop by your place and see what you’re up to as well!

Thank you for stopping you for stopping by–I look forward to seeing you here again!



The hens.

17 Comments 30 November 2011

The hens: Belle, Roxy, Coco, Bunty. See how little their combs are? They hadn't started laying yet at this point, but when they did, their combs became much larger.

Following on from my Good Life post last week, today you get the chickens.

The chickens–or The Hens, as we call them were originally a birthday present for my daughter. We decided that two would be hers, and two would be ‘the family’s.’ This meant she still got the present and some level of ownership but the rest of the family felt some ownership as well. Which meant I could use the respsibility card when jobs need to be done for the hens. It sometimes works.

The day the hens started laying was magic. I could not believe I was so excited about eggs. We found two. I posted them on Facebook. My post on Facebook got more likes and comments than anything I think I’ve ever posted there. I either have very understanding friends or there’s a lot of people in the world who get excited about eggs.

(Notice I didn’t say eggcited once? Oops.)

I’m very lucky to have good neighbours. Two sets in particular have already helped me loads with the hens. One is full of great tips including where the best places are to buy hen houses, hen food and bedding. The other is quite happy to tuck the hens in at night if I am going to be home after than nightfall. We’re lucky to have such helpful people nearby!

The hens have a house and a mesh wire run, but they are also free range. I let them out in the morning and they wander all over our garden, scratching in the leaves and hedgerows, then I tuck them in at night, closing up the run and the house to keep them safe. If it starts to get dark before I go out to tuck themin, they’ve already gone in the hen house to wait for night. I love that they do that.

I can hardly imagine the garden without them.

I love seeing them in their little group as they appear in different parts of the garden scratching and pecking and sometimes come up to the patio, eyeing the door for the possibility of treats.

I love that they have individual personalities. They are Roxy, Coco, Belle and Bunty. Bunty could have been named Queeny, as she’s In Charge. Whenever I go out into the garden they all run towards me, led by Bunty. And wherever I am in the garden they like to scratch around near me. That’s very like the cats. Wherever I am in the house the cats like to be in the same room.

There was almost a year of prevarication before we got the hens. I had to do my research. And as my daughter was begging for them I made her do research as well. Then we had to research the best hen houses. I knew the eglu houses are popular but they cost a lot. I liked the hen house my farmer neighbours had and ordered one of those. And because there’s a touch of Margot in me I decided to paint ours black rather than leave it a poo-carrot colour. The hen house would not be in a far corner of the garden so I wanted it to look as smart as a hen house could.

Then there was the deciding exactly where the black hen house would go. We finally chose a spot on the field side of the garden, in the little orchard. When we were at last ready to buy them, we decided on hybrids and chose a local hobby farmer.

The swish black henhouse. And Raffy stalking the hens.

The hens settled in wonderfully. So far. We’ve had them about 3 months now. The cats have been very curious and have tried running at them a few times, but the hens are fairly imposing and the cats always back down. I watched over this a few times to make sure neither injured the other but it looks like there’s a sort of truce between them now.

We get about 3-4 eggs a day at the moment. Organic, free-range. And one double yolker! I think that was Coco. I was watching Antonio Carluccio on The Great British Food Revival the other day and he said a double yolk is good luck.

So what’s on my Christmas list this year? You guessed it–all the egg cookbooks I can get!

A short story about Bunty:

'Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Treats for me!'

'Seriously. Where's the treats?'

'Do you have treats or not?'



Who is The American Resident?


An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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