Monthly Archives: November 2015

On Clara, and Birds

** This post contains inferred Spoilers, Sweetie: relating to Season 9’s “Face the Raven”**

It’s no secret that I love Doctor Who’s latest (or is she the earliest?) companion, Clara. I’ve blogged about her before, and given conference papers about her in Auckland and California.


What you may not know is that I keep chooks. And one of my quirks is, that because the chooks are my companions, I am technically a Doctor and my sense of humour is sometimes odd, we name them after Doctor Who’s companions.

About two years ago, we rescued two hens and dubbed them Idris and Clara. I say rescued, because although they were advertised for sale on a local pets/produce swap/sell page, when we got there, they were in the world’s tiniest yard in our area’s worst suburb. When we paid the man, he tried to get them out of their cramped, dark pen, and Idris, in particular, made a very energetic run for it. The man’s naked toddler was chasing after her shouting, and the man was shouting and swearing, so I kind of didn’t blame her. But Idris quickly became known as “the big white one” because she was big, white and it seemed mean to add the descriptors “nasty” and “anti-social.” In hindsight, perhaps Davros or Missy would have suited her better.

Clara, on the other hand, was petite and pretty; a more exotic breed than white leghorn Idris, and despite the previous untold horrors they’d likely both experienced, she had a lovely nature. She was affectionate from Day 1.

Clara chook.jpg

Clara on Day 1, having a cuddle

Both birds came to us with scaly mite, so we spent some time treating them and getting them to be nice, healthy girls. They assimilated with their coopmates with minimal fuss, and Clara would (almost) always come when called. Idris never would.

A week or two ago, I noticed that Clara was looking floppy. Her comb had flopped, her tail was drooping, and she’d clearly lost condition. We treated all the girls for mites and worms, and while her two buddies immediately bucked up, she continued to look … well, floppy. I went to shoo her into her coop one evening and she landed on her tummy and sat there, looking shocked. She’d forgotten to put her feet out.

So when I had a day working-from-home, I  figured I’d better give her some quality time while I still could. I coddled her with a warm towel, cuddles, and hand feeding her creamed corn. She loved it, and was even quite enthusiastic about the food. But it was obvious that she was struggling.

I wasn’t home on Wednesday night, so I rang the kids and asked had they checked that the coop was locked. My daughter told me that “Clara was sleeping down the bottom.” She couldn’t even made her way up into the safety of the nesting boxes.

And that’s where I found her on Thursday morning. She looked like she was napping, and as I approached, I was hoping against hope for a different outcome. But no. The inevitable had happened, and even though I was expecting it, it was still hard to accept.

So tonight Doctor Who involved a plotline around Clara, inevitability, and facing a bird. As the distance between human and bird grew ever smaller and the raven shifted into sinister black smoke, I was once again hoping for a different outcome.

Vale, Claras.