We always said we’d have a few months between pigs. To take a break from the twice-daily responsibility of feeding and watering, the frequent re-zoning of land for them to clear, the dismantling and re-mantling of Ark One, and the buying of food in ever-increasing quantities.

But then we got a phone call from Marlene. Two of her sows were farrowing, she said. Could we take four little ones off her hands to give them some room – at a knock-down price?

Of course, we said. Could we borrow her trailer to take our two big ones to the abattoir – to give them some room?

Of course, she said. We could have it for a couple of weeks if necessary.

Which would give us time to fix the tractor, so we could tow the trailer out of the field.

Which meant asking Richard the butcher (and tractor fan) to take a look at it.

Which he did, before declaring the battery was shot.

Which meant digging another battery out of storage only to find there’s more to the tractor problem than a shot battery.

Which meant towing the trailer out of the field with our two-wheel-drive car, on a frosty Monday morning.

Which got stuck in the muck (oh – what bad luck).

Which meant an emergency phone call to Sonia.

Which was exactly what we were trying to avoid. But which she responded to like a trooper – albeit a trooper with a Freelander.

Which impressed the hell out of me – having struggled for 15 minutes with brush, pieces of wood and much spinning of wheels – we just hooked up the Landy and off it went.

Which means I’ll never let anyone take the piss out of a Freelander again (Sonia still says it’s a hairdresser’s car – which is true enough – she’s a hairdresser – and it’s her car).

Which is how our pigs got to the abattoir and we got to have 24 hours before our new pigs arrived – a whole blissful day, when we only had to worry about feeding and watering the horse and chickens.

Which is just long enough to drag Ark One down the field, put it back together, fence off what will be a willow trench for grey water coming out of the guest facilities, and go and collect the new pigs from Marlene. They’re very, very cute. We took pictures.

Which you’ll see later.

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