by Max Akroyd

I stepped out into the cool, foggy morning feeling a bit apprehensive. Yesterday had brought an unexpected tax bill, a blow to the head from the electricity meter cabinet and an unprovoked attack to the face by a bird table which has left me with a plaster across the top of my nose… not a good look even in these fashion victim-free parts.

My back survived the excavation of another ten metres of bean trench. But the morning round of the animals had revealed that the big pigs’ barn needed some serious housekeeping. Since the bad weather started, they’ve very sensibly elected to move their toilet indoors. This presented a potential health and safety apocalypse for me, though. Something about a very big, friendly boar who loves to give out bear hugs and the all-encompassing deep, liquid mud they’ve created suggested, given my recent record for mishaps, that I should call an ambulance before even starting the clean up operation… 

A big pig

"Oink! Big hug?" Errrm, no thanks.

Definitely daunted, I went for decoy tactics first and tempted them to the far end of their field with some hay. This gave me a matter of one minute to get into their barn and shut the door. Success! I was locked in the pig house with lots of pig poo, a shovel and a wheelbarrow. The arrival of a pair of pigs patrolling the other side of the door soon exposed the fatal flaw in my plan. Two pacing piggies were very unhappy that I was in there with what they imagined was a trough full of food and they weren’t…

Fortunately, pigs think with their snouts, and without any tempting aromas of  kitchen waste to keep their interest, they trudged off grunting and grumbling after ten minutes or so. I made my escape unhugged and unscathed to the garden and used the contents of a wheelbarrow in the new trench.