I think it's time to tell you about The Chicken.

I think it's time to tell you about The Chicken.

Some time ago I was heading to the woods with the dog via the view point at Winter Hill.  Just as I got to the National Trust car park, I came across The Chicken.  A happy, pecking chicken would have been some what of a surprise but actually, this was an even greater surprise because it was an oven ready chicken (although no sign of the cooking instructions).  She was spread eagle on the grass, with all four little limbs akimbo.  Oddly, my first thought was "Lucky, lucky Foxy Dog" not "Why is there an un-cooked chook at Winter Hill".  The dog dragged me ever closer and that is when I noticed the used condom.  Now I am the product of a Newlands Girls School education in the era of Mrs. Leighton and her quite remarkable legs (water retention, as I now know). In that era, we were still referred to as "gals" in clipped Home Counties accents.  Communal showers convinced us without doubt, that each and every one of the PE teachers were lesbeherns.  And sex ed was taught in the third year by Mrs.Williams and her overhead projector, adding emphasis to important points with her felt tip pen by drawing on the acetate and banging her long wooden pointing stick on the white projection screen. So with this limited context, it took me several moments to come up with 1+1+chicken = OMG! The dog and I scuttled past appalled and that's when the questions started.  Questions that frankly, I can never un-think.  What had he done with the packaging? Where did he get the chicken from? I mean I just immediately assumed that it was not a happy chicken, in any sense of the word, but perhaps free-range is better for some reason?  And dear God...which end is the correct end for such an activity? But mostly JUST HOW BLEEDIN' DESPERATE do you have to be to go to the supermarket, buy a chicken and then go to Winter Hill on a dark night with a plucked bird?  Anyway, the reason I tell you this, is that not for the first time since, I found myself collecting litter at that very spot last weekend with the Cookham DogWalkers crew. And because the effect of The Chicken has been profound and long lasting, I don't mind admitting that I was a little anxious.  

I was relieved not to find another Chicken.  However, it's very clear that un-savory activities do go on up there under cover of darkness. We found loads of nitrous oxide canisters, the small bags that drugs are sold in and the un-wanted and discarded of thievery. So having cleared up no fewer than ten bags of rubbish, we returned home satisfied that we had made a difference - if somewhat puzzled that Disaronno Ameretto seems to be the liqueur de jour of the Winter Hill winos, with no fewer than three empty bottles collected.

Then, you may the have seen in the Maidenhead Advertiser that the same evening (so within less than 12 hours), the area was subject to fly tipping and a huge pile of rubbish including plasterboard, a toilet and broken kids toys, were dumped.  Fly tipping is a regular activity here, and in other areas of the village.  But at Winter Hill it is not "just" fly tipping.  It is not even "just" antisocial behaviour.  People go up there to break the law.  Now I have no idea, maybe dating a plucked chicken is not actually a chargeable offence, but taking drugs surely is?  And stealing stuff off people is.  And driving away whilst under the effect of drugs or alcohol is.  I can't help but wonder at what point the authorities will actually DO something?  According to The National Trust they are in discussion with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, but whilst they are discussing who knows what, chickens are being plucked, toilets are being dumped and kids are driving off, putting themselves and other road users at risk from this spot in our village.

The litter picking Cookham Handyman, checking out the fly tip at Winter Hill 26/02/18


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