Last Tuesday was a very trying day; Penny Pig escaped (she is in season), twice in one day. I didn’t get home til 7pm-ish after a long day at work and I had an assignment to finalise that evening for my Leeds Uni course. I got home, turned the radio on to catch the end of the Archers and started to prepare the pig’s food. When I went to feed the pigs, I discovered that Penny Pig was missing.
Snouter, her brother who is always a very good pig, was in his piggie bed, he was, as always, very pleased to see me, but Penny Pig was nowhere to be found.
I abandoned the bucket of pig food on the wall and donned my piggie suit, an all in one and wellies but could not find a torch. No worries, though, as there was a full moon and a sky full of stars. I walked around the paddock calling out ‘Penny Pig, Penny Pig,’ with Snouter trotting behind me, every now and again nudging the back of my legs. He lost interest after a while and went back to the Piggie Parlour eyeing the steaming bucket of food for them both, set on the wall, tantalisingly just out of reach.
I took a quick wander around the field behind my house, still calling ‘Penny Pig, Penny Pig’ (which may sound funnier than it was,) but nothing. It was very cold that night, about -6 oC and I had a hat on, but I pulled it up above my ears so that I could hear any grunts.
Penny Pig has bad eye sight and once before, when Penny had organised an escape, Snouter managed it back and I found Penny Pig waiting patiently in the dark on the other side of a gap in the wall, seemingly unable to return for her dinner.
Then I thought I should try my neighbour George’s field. I tried to climb over the tumbled down wall, a bit of a clue there - his sheep invade my paddock, which I didn’t mind in the summer, they can eat the grass too, but just placing my hand on the wall to steady myself to climb over, the stone started to fall. So I walked up to the main road and around, down his lane towards his house, all the while calling out, ‘Penny Pig, Penny Pig,’ listening out for any grunts of recognition. The thought of Penny Pig getting lost, not being able to see properly filled me with dread.
Penny Pig has recently hit puberty and is in season. She gets very grumpy and bad-tempered and doesn’t like being stroked or patted during this time. Sows come into season every 21 days and it lasts for about 3 days.
It suddenly occurred to me that my neighbour, George, has 5 pigs, 3 boars and 2 sows – his aren’t pets like mine, his are for eating. Well, he says they are, but he has names for them all and he appears exceptionally fond of them all, especially Miss Piggy. The boars are young Pietrain crosses which is quite a rare breed from Belgium and are handsome and very stocky, incredibly strong when they push you. His sows are slightly older Glos Old Spots and are very pretty creatures and larger than the boars.
To cut a long story short, because Penny Pig is in season, she went awandering, I think, to see if she could find a handsome boar suitor. I set off on the path to Peny Ghent, still calling, when I thought I heard a grunt. I quickened my pace, calling more loudly when unexpectedly, I saw a car. My heart sank – was someone stealing Penny Pig? I couldn’t see the car properly as it had its lights on main beam. I started to run towards the car when it set off and turned, driving away from me. I ran faster and my heart was pounding – who was it, and what would I do if I managed to catch it up?
Then, when I was least expecting it, it turned around and headed straight for me and I could see that it was towing a trailer. I was blinded by the lights but kept running towards it, shielding my eyes when the car stopped. The driver stared out at me, I still couldn’t see properly (I am as blind as a bat without my glasses and especially in the dark). ‘Is that you, George?’ I asked.
‘Yes’, he growled. ‘Have you seen Penny Pig?’, I asked. ‘She’s in t’back’, he replied. ‘Oh, thank God for that’, I said, my heart still pounding, ‘I’m so sorry for the trouble’. He didn’t reply and he drove us both back in silence. When we let her out of the trailer, she didn’t seem in the least bit phased, or cowered, and even worse, she did not at all contrite.
‘You are a very bad pig’, I chided her. George tutted to himself, carefully folding the gates of his trailer back in place as I remonstrated and told Penny Pig how worried I was about her. I fed them both, food cold, but neither seemed to mind and they soon went to lie down and fell asleep.
George had found her when he was feeding his sheep. He feeds cake to them in the dark so that the crows don’t get it. He managed to corner her in a small holding pen for his sheep until he had finished and had somehow coaxed her into the back of his trailer just as I was venturing across his fields; I had walked for miles, for about two hours, all the time calling out Penny Pig, Penny Pig.
The next day Malc the waller came, and lucky for me, he could wall up 2 gaps that day. Until the next time Penny Pig walks through a wall in search of a suitor.
And then, after making George a coffee, it was time to finalise the New Product Development assignment until the early hours. I went hungry that night.