The reward (455 days to go)

by Max Akroyd

There was a moment this morning when I thought “this is it”. After a couple of hours work in the beautiful early morning sun, I was sitting on a bench with my wife. We were drinking coffee in this sheltered spot and Emma was brimming with pride regarding our youngest who has just had a glowing report from his headmistress. After all the ups and downs of the last few years, and little financial benefit from all our labours, I thought this simple time in the spring-like sunshine was my reward. And it was enough.

It’s a shame I spoilt this small but magical moment a bit by reeking of pig poo. Well, panicked piglet poo to be precise, having swooped on three of the bristly little dough-balls while they were scoffing their breakfast, and carried them wriggling and squealing to their new quarters. The rest will follow over the next few days. Mummy pig seemed unperturbed by this theft. The fact that she’s been guarding her nipples like the crown jewels from her offspring in recent days suggests she’s had enough of them.

 The rest of the morning was spent grappling with the bramble patch. This was the final stage in completing Mummy and Aunty pigs’ outdoor enclosure and I’m bearing signs of the struggle!


If such things could be arranged, it would be tempting to book this weather in for the rest of the year. Lovely kissy sun, too cold for slugs, cool enough to work for hours… I’m not the only one to appreciate this weather blessing either:


There’s an important subtext to the March ‘to do’ list – sorting out my existing fruit stock. Pruning has been done, except the plums, but I had a last-minute requirement to move three baby apple trees. They had got adrift of the main lot somehow and it feels good to have consolidated the row.

Finally, I moved three more piglets. No wonder Mum looks so jiggered; some of her progeny are so fat it was like carrying an armful of porcine ectoplasm. Pot bellies indeed!