Chickens pooing on fashion trends

Naked truth: Controversial artist Tracey Emin crouching, not in a chicken coop but in a dilapidated beach hut.
Naked truth: Controversial artist Tracey Emin crouching, not in a chicken coop but in a dilapidated beach hut.
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We may not yet have decided on a colour for the living room (come on; it’s only been nine weeks).

But at least some members of our household have new-look living quarters.

The chicken coop, previously a sweet, cream and blue homage to Little House on the Prairie, has had an interiors make-over... it’s gone chic.

It wasn’t intentional. When I cleaned out the girls this weekend, I realised we’d run out of wood shavings. As chickens can’t cross their drumsticks and wait for you to run to the wood-yard, we improvised.

Bloke rummaged in the recycling pile and handed me the Lakeland Christmas catalogue and the Telegraph’s winter fashion supplement I’d finally forced myself to oust, un-read.

So there I am, standing by the freshly scrubbed and Dettoxed hutch I have just clambered out of (the worst part of chicken-keeping is the weekly mucking out. Thank God we didn’t go for horses).

I’m still wearing muddy walking boots and gaiters from the morning walk with the dog and I’d like to say this was an affection of Winter 2011’s country heritage chic, only it would be a lie.

Chicken poo has made a little olive streak on my white GAP T-shirt. Yet more is stuck to my forearms; my recycled-from-last-week plastic disposable gloves have sprung a leak. Greenish water is bulging at each fingertip. I have no make-up on; it’s a breezy day and my hair is whipping into my mouth, which I can’t do a thing about for fear of smearing my face with chicken germs.

I pick up the fashion mag and suddenly, I can’t bear to part with it until I’ve leafed through its gloriously glamorous pages and discovered what I’m supposed to be wearing/buying/drooling over.

I lay it atop the chicken run and start to skim-read articles on how to work traditional Harris tweed, why velvet is the next vintage vibe and how to channel your old Chanel jacket (yeah, right) into something Coco would probably have an apoplectic at.

I’m drooling over lady-like cashmere coats and “must-have accessories”; awesomely sexy hooker heels, teeny leather bags so expensive the maker must have had to slaughter an entire herd of cows to create one perfect little rectangle.

And then I realise how truly bizarre I must look. How truly bizarre women are, actually, to be so obsessed by Planet Fashion; so easily led down the never-ending path to yet another new look, yet another ‘can’t live without’ purchase we’ll be told is old-hat some three months down the line. And that, here in the dirty, messy real world, the chickens are clucking at me to get a move on.

So now, under the roosting perch lie images from painstakingly arty photo shoots featuring the world’s most coveted clothes. Marilyn and her cronies can now pee and poo on slender shoe-boots from Miu Miu Prada, gorgeous things from Gucci and the impossibly beautiful face of a model in a make-up ad.

It occurs to me there’s something a bit Tracey Emin about this.

That maybe the chicken coop is now making a statement about women being slaves to their vanity and on new fashion trends being nothing more than chicken manure...