After my recent equine-induced hospital stay which left me piloting a wheelchair for several weeks, my left leg has been declared healed and can do whatever it wants.

My right leg, however, is still under doctor's orders to do nothing at all, which poses a dilemma.

Do I follow my left leg and go forth and conquer, or stay at home with my right leg and watch daytime TV?

The problem solved itself when I discovered that I wasn't going to leap aboard my newly-healed left limb and head off on adventures, as it's all wobbly and wonky and has forgotten how to put its best foot forward. Or sideways, or for that matter backwards.


My new constant companion is a walking frame. It's not a thing of beauty, but it's a thing of extreme usefulness.

The theory is that I wheel the thing forwards, apply the brake and then step towards it, then repeat. In practice it's more of a shuffle-hop-drag than a step.

It wasn't until I was making a trip to the loo and back in the middle of the night that I realised my shuffle, thump, shuffle, drag, and accompanying heavy breathing and the occasional groan (it's hard work, okay) is the soundtrack to any zombie movie you care to name.

I'm surprised my husband didn't wake up screaming and reaching for the keys to the gun safe.

The cats and dogs are delighted. Now they can hear me coming and not get run over. Also I am doing physio, some of which involves lying on the bed and doing exercises.

Anything that involves lying on the bed is fair game to the furry tormentors. Leg raises with a weight? No problem, add one large hairy tabby cat. Tighten those abs? I sure do when a chihuahua with pointy little feet walks over my middle.

I'm not sure what Frank the kitten's claws in my arm achieve, but that's her contribution…maybe it's to increase my pain tolerance.

The other livestock are taking full advantage of my inability to get out and impose any form of order or discipline.


The chickens, knowing full well I can't get across the shingle driveway, have taken to blatantly flapping their way on to the paddock fence, smirking at me through the dining room window and flopping down into the back yard where they saunter about raiding the tack-shed for feed and ganging up on innocent chihuahuas.

I thought I had their number earlier in the week when they staged an invasion while my daughter was on the premises. "Get the scissors" I yelled, "The chooks are out".

No I wasn't about to behead them, that would probably have needed the hedge clippers.

I got my daughter to snatch the smug little featherballs one by one and I clipped their wing feathers. The first chook was taken completely by surprise, as were the second and third because chooks are really not bright.

But by the time the fourth one was in our sights the message had slowly sunk in… "run". So chicken number 4 took evasive action and after leading my daughter on a wild chook chase it fled through the pig pen and got away.

In theory, with the flight feathers off one wing, chooks can't fly.

We watched them plod grumpily back to their chookhouse in the paddock, but as we turned away…"don't look now," my daughter said, "but a chook has just flapped up on to the fence. It must be number 4."

She spun and snatched at the hapless beast, which squawked for help as I reached to de-feather a wing. Which turned out to be already de-feathered.

"So how did it fly on to the fence?" I asked.

"Maybe they just…jump?" Suggested my daughter, adding that if that were the case perhaps trimming a leg off would be more effective than snipping its wing feathers.

I didn't think that was a good idea, so the chooks are still on the rampage and I am thinking I should nail the cat-door shut before they invade the house as well.

Because I can't get into the paddock, the sheep are taking turns to lie on their backs and pretend to be cast … or dead.

They can hold that position for ages, while I become more and more convinced of their imminent – or recent – demise. They wait until I have phoned for help to suddenly wake up, roll over and get back to eating. My family is convinced I've become a sheep hypochondriac.

As for the horses – Bryn is taunting me by rolling in as much mud as he possibly can, and parading past the window several times a day just to remind me I can't get out and clean him, so there. While his pony sidekick is deliberately tangling his mane and flaunting impressive dreadlocks that make my fingers itch for a brush … or my trusty scissors.

I should perhaps just close the curtains.

*Rachel Wise is Hawke's Bay Today's associate editor.