It seems the chickens have devised a game of "let's see who can make Trish jump most".
It began with one or other of them quietly creeping up behind me and then brushing against my leg as they walked past. It doesn't matter that there's plenty of room for them to pass without touching me. Oh no - that would spoil things because it would be unlikely to make me jump.
When they got fed up with doing that, they changed tactics a bit. Sometimes I like to just sit quietly in the garden, thinking of nothing in particular. Usually, I let the flock out to play, but now and then I just want the garden to myself. So they gather at their gate and mutter darkly to each other about how selfish some people are, not sharing their garden.
Then Irene discovered that if she gets up on the coop roof and jumps down onto the nest box roof as hard as she can, she can make a hell of a racket. And that racket will make me jump out of my skin! Ha! Another point for the chickens.
Pom-Pom very often wanders round beneath the bench, pecking away at random bits of corn that nobody else has noticed. I'm sure the little madam pointed out to Irene that if she sneaked under the bench, she would be perfectly placed to rush out between my ankles. That, she thought, should have a remarkable effect on my nerves. Irene thought so too and put the plan into action, with the result that that I nearly dropped my mug of tea, I got such a surprise.
I can't work out if I've done something to upset them, or if they just like a bit of fun at my expense!