Towards the end of their stay with us, I went down to give the chickens their afternoon treat of wheat (they love scratching around for it, and all cluster by the gate when they know it's imminent). Lo and behold, in perfect condition and lying in plain sight by the chicken house was the glass from my Dad's watch. We had looked there a number of times before without success, so we decided it must have been turned up by the chickens while they were scratching.
That same week, Mum, Dad & I drove out to the Pembrokeshire coast to visit Porthgain (a tiny fishing port) and St Non's Well near St David's (a holy well in a stunning clifftop position overlooking the sea). Later that evening, I realised I had lost my silver pendant.
I was really upset. For one thing it has great sentimental value, as T had bought it for me as a birthday present when we were on holiday in Australia. For another, it's my 'subtle pentacle' - living as I do in an area with fiercely evangelical Christian neighbours, I have to be a little bit careful and keep my Pagan identity a secret most of the time. This pendant is a five-pointed star within a circle (a pentacle, the sign that Witches wear as a Christian would wear a crucifix), but it's not an obvious pentacle, so I feel comfortable wearing it openly. I have never seen another exactly like it.
I pulled out all the stops trying to track it down. Mum, Dad and I combed the house, car and garden - down the back of the sofa, under the car seat, in the outhouses, on the drive, in the grass on the path down the hill. For a variety of reasons I couldn't go back to Porthgain and St Non's well and hunt for it myself, but I sent out a flurry of emails, to the restaurant where we'd eaten lunch, the retreat centre near the holy well, St David's tourist centre, Pembrokeshire local radio, and a Pembrokeshire 'local news' yahoo group. The response was wonderful, people searched for it, emailed back suggestions of other contacts to try, and offered handy hints like taking a metal detector down to the places we'd been to try and find it. Everyone really was lovely.
But the pendant remained lost. After a fortnight I was out of places to look and out of luck. I gave up any idea of getting it back, and wondered wistfully about asking my sister (a silversmith) to make me a new one.
Last night I took the chickens their afternoon scratch feed of wheat. And guess what was lying in plain sight in the chicken run?
Now, like Dad's watchglass it must have been there all along, hidden in the grass until it was scratched up by an insect-seeking chicken. Or must it? Perhaps we have criminal mastermind kleptomaniac chickens? Or kindhearted fairies living under the chicken house who run a Lost Property office? I'm keeping an open mind. And I've told my friend, who lost a pair of glasses at the supermarket, that I'll keep an eye open for them in the chicken run. Just in case.