Pig shenanigans (516 days to go)

by Max Akroyd

Perhaps it was a little naive to expect a restful holiday in this line of work, but I didn’t expect the phone to ring just minutes after completing my final post of 2009…

It was the butcher to say he had some spare time to kill our pig after all. I’ll write of the boar’s demise elsewhere, but the immediate after effect was a flurry of acivity over the festive period relating almost entirely to pigs. Most obvious, and pressing, was the need to process the boar’s mortal remains. The intention was to keep things simple as possible – sausages could wait – but even so we spent a long evening wrapping and bagging the vast range of porcine product for the freezer.

Back from the butcher...

The next priority was to find some company for the late boar’s sister whose immediate relief at being first to the food trough was soon replaced by a slight but distinct melancholy about being alone. We selected our gentlest mini-pig sow to be her new companion. Unfortunately, this docile, elephant-eyed piggy, who rolls over to have her tummy tickled if you stroke her back, became a murderous screeching hell-pig when introduced to her new room mate. In scenes reminiscent of the Discovery Channel’s ‘When Killer Walruses Clash’ these two previously gentile ladies rolled up their sleeves and really went at each other…

The resulting need to reorganise the pigs and try different permutations occupied a lot of the holiday: a time I’ll remember not for carols around the Christmas tree but escapee pigs, disguntled swine and dragging reluctant, bellicose porkers a). here b). there and c). everywhere. Oh well, not exactly the quiet restorative week I had in mind, but order has finally been restored and lessons learnt. And the freezer has enough meat in it to shorten our supermarket till receipt for many months.

Fortunately a brief trip back to ‘civilisation’ over Christmas gave me a change of scene and sufficient reminder that there are much worse things in life than unruly farmyard animals: queueing for hours on the A34 outside Newbury for example. An experience so dire that I’ll need a few months of wading through the mud with buckets of pig food to restore my soul… 

Note: The planned ‘improvements’ to the blog got largely derailed by the pigs – which is a bit like blaming the dog for eating my homework. I intend to implement them in the new year – maybe in time for Christmas…