Chicken Run

It was a relaxing kind of Sunday at home, as the rain poured down outside. The weather didn’t really matter as, it being lockdown, we weren’t going anywhere anyway.

‘There’s a film on the telly you’ll like,’ Mr Grigg shouted from the front room, just as I was about to immerse myself in a good book.

The novel was already beginning to irritate me because a character had just said ‘hey’ instead of ‘hi’, ‘you guys’ instead of ‘you two’ and were appealing the decision rather than appealing against it.

And this was only the first page.

On page two, someone was talking about an invite rather than an invitation. Before blowing a gasket, I decided it was time to put down the book and watch the telly instead.

The film Mr Grigg had just paused for me to watch was Chicken Run. Made by Aardman Animations in 2000, it’s one of my favourite films. I recall watching it on a big screen at an open air showing many moons ago in the gardens overlooking the sea at Lyme Regis.

So I put down the book and arrived in the front room just as the two rats, Fetcher and Nick – voiced by Phil Daniels and Timothy Spall – deliver my favourite line:

Sitting there watching Ginger and the hapless Rocky, I was transported back to the days when I was a local newspaper editor, concealing our scoops from the sister – and rival – publication that demanded feeding every day. I’d wait until the very last minute to put any front page material on the shared electronic system so that our stablemate’s newdesk would be unable to pinch it before we’d come out in print.

On the day I left for pastures new in NHS communications, one of my members of staff said: ‘Do you know who you remind me of?’

I had no idea.

‘Ginger from Chicken Run,’ she said.

How could being compared to a cartoon hen be a compliment? She saw my perplexed expression and added, quickly: ‘You’re smart, kind, determined, resourceful and do everything you can to protect the flock. You’ve always got our back.’

It brought tears to my eyes. It was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me at work.

I thanked her for her sweetness and then left, quiet like. Like a fish.

That’s about it.

Love, Maddie x

By Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.

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