It is 1938 and for three months of every year the men take to the sea to hunt whales with fast boats and explosive harpoons. This year, the whales aren’t the only ones returning -- Lilian’s troubled son Mickey has come home too.
It was the start of the day and the calling of the chickens. Lilian loosened the gate of the run and ducked her head to enter, giving a thin high whistle at the back of her teeth as she did. It was either that or the clang of the scrap bucket against the gate post, but by the time she looked up they were out of the hen house and running across the hard earth. It didn't take much, only the smallest whistle and the single knock of a bucket, and Lilian was besieged by birds.