"The Awesome Hen"

An illustrated Newsletter from a virtual village full of hens

How to Achieve Your Goals in 6 Easy Steps.

Posted by in Castle Coop News | 8 comments

A small brown hen who loves London, cycling, & kindly dogs.

 TAH 03/16

It’s been another busy week here in Castle Coop…


The Village Hall boiler has given up the ghost. There is no heating for the pilates classes and worse, no hot water for the washing up after our post-pilates coffee & brownies.

 Our loyal readers will be delighted to hear that The Graf and Lady Egality Maran lost no time in resolutely stepping  up to the mark to resolve the boiler crisis. They have been working their heads off co-authoring yet another excellent guide in The Awesome Hen’s popular ‘6 Easy Steps’ Series! We are very proud to preview the abridged edition here in this newsletter for you. All monies raised by the sale of the guide will be donated to the Village Hall New Boiler Fund. As with the previous guides published by the Castle Coop duo, copies with a foreword written & signed by Lord Eftie Nudge, may be ordered in advance from Castle Coop Castle.

We Love Lord Eftie!

Alternatively, unsigned copies may be bought from villagers taking part in Castle Coop’s Open Gardens during the last weekend of July. 


The Awesome Hen’s Guide to achieving all  your goals in 6 easy steps. (copyright: The Graf & Lady Egality 2016)


Introduction: How many of us muddle along aimlessly through life? In this little guide, we have endeavoured to help you fill your life with purpose. Learn about forethought and planning,  sign up for our Life map reading course, . read our guide for goal setting and attainment.  Take our 6 easy steps & start checking off those goals!

The Method:

  1. Decide on your goals & write them down.
  2. Keep on the list only those goals which are both realistic & achievable; ruthlessly cull the rest.
  3. Set out the tasks needed to make these goals a reality in an orderly list.
  4. Assemble all equipment required to perform each task on your list in advance. Doing so will ensure you give yourself the best chance of success. If by nature you incline to a more haphazard approach, please bear in mind that neither Valerie Singleton nor Konnie Huq ever embarrassed themselves by having to interrupt the Blue Peter show to nip out  to the shops because they’d run out of fairy liquid bottles & sticky-back plastic.
  5. With list and equipment assembled,  get cracking on those targets.  Go to it!  Pull out all the stops! Work your head off to make your dream happen!
  6. Remember (for what it’s worth..)
  • Ad astra per ardua!
  • Fortune favours the brave!
  • There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup & lip!
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day!
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again!


  • In conclusion: We hope that reading this guide will transform your life. We should like to thank all those without whose hard work, this guide would never have be written. All rights reserved.


Tried and Tested? Castle Coop Villagers commissioned!

In the interests of integrity,  The Awesome Hen’s  latest addition to the ‘6 Easy Steps’ series of guidebooks was of course, thoroughly tested on your behalf before publication.

Trev the Rev, Brown Owl and Liberty Hen all undertook to follow the guide’s instructions meticulously and agreed to report back saying whether or not they’d achieved their goals successfully.

This month’s Prize Competition!

Below are the lists of personal goals which Trev the Rev, Brown Owl and Liberty Hen all drew up in an effort to achieve them by following TAH’s latest ‘6 Easy Steps’ guide. The first reader to match each list to its correct author will win a virtual bottle of fizz. Please send all competition entries to: The Editor, TAH, Castle Coop.

Disclaimer: no Castle Coop villager is allowed to submit more than one entry (see reg. 1034)

Which villager wrote which list?

who wrote which list 2

N.B All entries to this month’s Prize Competition should be received by 30/08/16 

‘Choosing the possible?’

A personal journey towards either success or failure… (by Liberty Hen)

Following the ‘6 Easy Steps’ guide’s advice as to how to achieve my goals, I ruthlessly culled all the impossible ones & admired the orderly appearance of the two words left on my list in a nice, neat, straight line. Fired by enthusiasm and hope I embraced the idea of hard work, tenacity and grit; in a jiffy I was fearlessly tackling the ‘Assemble all equipment required to perform each task on your list in advance’ step. . Hurrah!

First piece of essential equipment: An exciting Met Office report.

Hello sunshine

Second piece of essential equipment: An essential recipe.

scrumptiousness in a glass!

I had to ask The Agent to go rooting about in the attic for the deck chair (third piece of essential equipment). Unfortunately several encounters with cobwebs made him rather grumpy for a short while but harmonious relations were re-established quickly.


Result:  Success! A win for The Graf and Lady Egality! I am delighted to attest that having meticulously taken the advice set out in their really excellent new guide, I am now able to be happy in the sunshine. Yay!

-How to be happy


Why not try their methods out for yourself & transform your life in 6 easy steps?

Yours on behalf of our crack Editorial Team here at The Awesome Hen,

LLH signature

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Only a Qualified Success

Posted by in Castle Coop News | 8 comments

When I accepted a commission from The Awesome Hen to write an unbiased review of my  new vacuum cleaner, I expected to be pressing the 5 star button right away.This little machine certainly looks the part. It is black picked out with little orange contrasting parts. I can’t fault its cleaning performance either. However, with regret, I must describe my first trial session with it as being only a qualified success.

So … where’s the down side?  Well,  IMO – reached after a thorough testing, this vacuum cleaner should carry a ‘social ostracism – high risk’ warning tag.


Initially, I decided to conduct a simple performance check by hoovering up some dust & rating the results :


In a trice, there was a beautiful stripe on the floor which I followed up by making several more. It was almost as satisfying as mowing & I am delighted to report that the vacuum’s dust-busting capability is very high.

Growing more ambitious, I then tackled  some crumbs on the table but unfortunately failed to take into account that the Agent’s newspaper was also there. The vacuum’s suction capability is really remarkable.

vacuuming the Sunday Papers

Next, I scored a partial success by cleaning weeks & weeks’ worth of mud from the dog.

vacuuming the dog

She had been sleeping soundly but woke up suddenly in a bad mood, wholly unimpressed by the vacuum’s efficient promotion of health & hygiene within the home .


An experiment with the Agent’s suit failed when he walked off, also in a bad mood, before he was quite dusted

vacuuming the Agent

and I subsequently had a misunderstanding with the cat.

vacuuming the cat

It took me simply ages to persuade her to come down from the top of the door and now I’ve just seen that some of the paint-work has bad claw scratches in it.

Weighing up the one pro of the new vacuum cleaner (a cleaner house) against the severe cons (neither the Agent, the dog nor the cat are fond of me at the moment & I have to re-paint the door), I’ve decided to give it a curate’s egg rating for The Awesome Hen’s product column.


Yours having quietly put the vacuum at the far back of the cupboard,

LLH signature

Disclaimer: unfortunately, no disclaimer is necessary as Liberty Hen, despite asking for loads of dosh, will receive no financial remuneration from either the vacuum cleaner company or The Awesome Hen for writing this review.

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Coffee & Cards

Posted by in Castle Coop News | 2 comments



Tonight, Lady E is coming round so we can have a lovely time putting the world – or Castle Coop at any rate – to rights while we drink coffee and play cards.

Doesn’t that sound a nice friendly evening to look forward to?







Yours while trying to find a pack of cards with 4 full suits,

LLH signature

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Castle Coop’s Clubs & Societies Recruiting Now!

Posted by in Castle Coop News | 0 comments




Large byline photo Lady Liberty Hen, News Editor

 TAH 02/16



It’s been another busy week here in Castle Coop…


Liberty Hen is dismayed to discover she erroneously published a rogue issue of  The Awesome Hen.  She has assured her editorial colleagues that it is she, rather than gremlins or global hackers, who is wholly responsible for this mishap and apologises wholeheartedly to all subscribers for any inconvenience suffered.


Castle Coop’s Clubs & Societies


As January gets underway, chairmen and committee members for our Village Clubs and Societies have been drawing up their agendas for the forthcoming year. Please read this issue carefully for details of new club & society recruitment activities.



Recruitment poster




Sir Burford Brown (Church Warden) writes:

Please note that as Rev. Rosecombe is holidaying in Devon, St Christopher’s in Upper Coop has kindly invited worshippers from Castle Coop to join its regular congregation during his absence. Extra seating is already available.

I am delighted to report that we on the St. Mary’s Refurbishment Committee are hopeful that the newly installed central heating system, wholly funded by the proceeds of last summer’s fete, will come through this recent cold snap with flying colours. Anxieties have been expressed by some parishioners re the damaged plaster work. Please note that our hard-working vergers are on the case.

Church notice

Help beautify our Church – sign up now & become a St. Mary’s Refurbisher

You may wish to help us make our church as beautiful as (we hope) it is now warm. There are 2 ways to volunteer to become a St. Mary’s Refurbisher: either 1) enclose a donation – as sizeable as possible please (!) in an envelope addressed to The Chairman (me) St. Mary’s Refurbishment Committee or 2) sign up your skills and join our team! We particularly welcome volunteers with practical skills!

why not volunteer




Writing on behalf of all of Castle Coop, The Awesome Hen is delighted to welcome Lady Egality and Sir Plym  back from their holidays in Kenya and South Africa; we are relieved to have them safely home again. The Editorial team cordially invite Sir Plym (Sporting Editor) to publish an authoritative account of his first hand impressions of the Cricket Test Match ( England v. South Africa).

Lady Egality returns from holiday


Interest has been expressed in the formation of a Sports Club for sporting enthusiasts who would like to attend matches and sporting events under the umbrella of a Castle Coop Sporting Society – to be called (pro tem), I Hengari. If any villager would care to stand for election (Chair, Treasurer, Sec, committee member positions available), please put your name forward to The Awesome Hen in time for next week’s issue.


Brown Owl was snapped for our Newsletter, leading the Church Cleaning Army last Saturday, by Sir Burford Brown (Church Warden). All in Castle Coop (apart from the unlucky ecclesiastical spiders which were efficiently dusted away by Brown Owl),  will enjoy the results of the Church Cleaning Army’s labours.

Brown Owl Cleaning St. Mary's Church

Let’s all show a bit of gumption, ladies.

Brown-Owl headshot roundBrown Owl (Chairman of the Church Cleaning Army) writes: As churches do not clean themselves, I shall be coming round the village during the forthcoming week to sign up recruits for the Church Cleaning Army. Ladies, if you are out when I call, I shall leave a card with a form for you to fill out letting me know for which dates during 2016 you would like me to put you down for the rota.

Brown Owl rail-roading Liberty Hen

I’m going to put you down for mopping the Church porch as usual.



2 New Societies!

Lady L-B headshot round

Lady Lohmann Brown – our gardening correspondent – is already planning ahead for the Spring Fair and would like to recruit volunteers to help stock the Green Fingers table. A Spring Gardening Society (unrestricted numbers)  will meet every WEDNESDAY  2 – 4 p.m. in her greenhouse. Please wear gumboots or goloshes  and bring gardening gloves, a notebook and pencils.

The green table - village Spring Fair



Lady Sebright would like to ask for volunteers to help stock the Cake Stall for the Spring Fair.  After having received repeated requests to lead a cookery club,  Lady Sebright – aka the Mary Berry of Castle Coop – has agreed to organise the Castle Coop Cookery Club which will be known informally  as The Hot Cross Buns. Details to be published in The Awesome Hen at a later date.


village hall plant sale.jpg


The Chairman of the Village Hall would like to alert all medically minded  Castle Coop villagers that they may attend a series of (4) First Aid lectures to be given by a representative from  St. John’s Ambulance. These will be  held in the Village Hall on Thursday evenings 6.30 – 8.00 p.m. starting the first Thursday in February).

Please note that a cash bar will be open after each lecture.


The #FridayFitness classes resume next Friday at the Village Hall after the seasonal break – at 10.30 a.m – 11.15 a.m.

Castle Coop fitness classes


If you would like to join in please contact Liberty Hen (acting secretary) – gentlemen as well as ladies welcome. Per ardua ad astra .

As a taster, for anyone thinking of signing up, please see Liberty Hen’s illustrated record of a #FridayFitness class in which The Lunge was the exercise of the week.



Note from our TV and Film correspondent:


The Graf headshot round

New Club!

The latest 6 – episode version of ‘War and Peace’ (shown by the BBC at 9.00 p.m. on Sunday nights) is being watched (& either enjoyed or slept through) in a great many households in the village. The amount of comment and interest engendered by the series so far have encouraged me to consider reviving our much lamented Friday Night Foyle’s War Club ; I for one have missed our regular meetings & it has been suggested that a new club formed to watch Downton Abbey or  the 1972 version of War and Peace starring Anthony Hopkins (20 episodes) might provide some convivial and entertaining evenings.

If you would care to join a new club  – virtual drinks and refreshments provided – either as an actual or a virtual member, I and my colleagues – Lady Egality (Treasurer) and Lady Liberty (Sec) on our  committee  will be delighted to welcome you .

Please let me (The Graf,  Chairman, Friday Night Foyle’s War Club (defunct), c/o The Awesome Hen ) know asap if you vote for:

Choice A : The Friday Night Downton Abbey Club or

Choice B: The Friday Night War and Peace (1972  version) Club

Best wishes,

Signature The Graf grey



N. B. For those who wish to purchase a virtual Friday Night Foyle’s War Club Tie as modelled below by Liberty Hen,

The Friday Night Foyle's War Club Tie

The Friday Night Foyle’s War Club Tie


a few are still available at an attractively discounted rate. Please contact The Graf,  Chairman, Friday Night Foyle’s War Club (defunct), c/o The Awesome Hen for details


Widget Kitchener

Yours on behalf of our crack Editorial Team here at The Awesome Hen,

LLH signature

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A Vigorous Sermon & a Problem with Scales

Posted by in Castle Coop News, Cautionary Tales | 4 comments



Large byline photo Lady Liberty Hen, News Editor

 TAH 01/16

It’s been another busy week here in Castle Coop…


The Rev. Rosecombe delivered a vigorous & timely address today on ‘Tackling Resolutions with Resolution!” which was well-received by the congregation.  This was Trev the Rev.’s last sermon in St. Mary’s pulpit before a temporary break as he sets off tomorrow for a most well-deserved short vacation. He will be away for a fortnight and we all join in wishing him a happy holiday in Devon where he will be visiting family. For information about Church service times, please contact Brown Owl.


Castle Coop was sorry to hear that Liberty Hen was nearly pole-axed by a nasty shock when she stepped on her bathroom scales:

The Awesome Hen: Edition 01/16. Liberty Hen standing on the bathroom scales

Luckily she rallied enough to stay calm, regroup and  think about the problem logically:

The Awesome Hen: Edition 01/16: the scales are wrong

And then succeed in dealing with it rationally:

The Awesome Hen: Edition 01/16: the bathroom scales which don't work

once and for all.

Castle Coop's Weekly Newsletter: Edition 01/16: wheelie bin


Colonel Pyncheon has been busy trying to decide what to plant in his vegetable patch . He has drawn up some plans on the back of an A4 envelope for Lady Lohmann Brown  to take a look at as she has offered to advise.

vegetable bed ideas


Liberty Hen has reported a Room 101 (01) on the Home Front

Castle Coop's Weekly Newsletter: Edition 01/16: Trying to keep supper under control

When applied to for advice, Lady Egality suggested using a slow cooker instead of trying to cook everything at the last minute: this advice seems eminently sensible and well worth trying & the editorial team is delighted to publish this advice in The Awesome Hen in case it helps any other tentative cooks.


The following email has been sent out  to the Ladies of the Church Cleaning Rota by Brown Owl:

Copy of email about cleaning the Church


Having been struck by the horrid thought that possibly her set of bathroom scales weren’t broken after all, Liberty Hen has embarked on a new reducing regime:

The Awesome Hen: Edition 01/16: Back on the green juice wagon


Lady Egality and Sir Plym, corresponding from overseas in Cape Town, have emailed Liberty Hen to report that the weather is hot in South Africa and they are thoroughly enjoying watching the  Test Cricket Match between England and South Africa. Castle Coop greatly looks forward to welcoming back to the village when they fly in next Wednesday.

Yours on behalf of our crack Editorial Team here at The Awesome Hen,

LLH signature


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Stars in a Winter Sky

Posted by in Castle Coop News | 4 comments


The stars in tonight’s clear winter sky are so beautiful, they make me catch my breath…

Stargazing in the winter sky



Yours dreamily,

LLH signature

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