(It gets worse.)
A few days after we divided the pig field and successfully confined one porker with the trailer to sleep in (an idea generally deemed Well Worth Trying), Her Outdoors was late picking me up from work. Unusually late. And when she arrived, she was unusually agitated.
‘Black pig’s gone,’ she said.
These three little words may not seem much to you, but this close to slaughter they have a relative value of over 230 euros (about 230 pounds). Each.
‘F*c*i*g pigs,’ she said. (She doesn’t swear like me.)
Apparently (and this will come as no surprise to pig-followers of this blog), Her Outdoors had turned up for the evening feed to discover all was not as we had left it. On one side, in the trailer part of the pig field, the smallest (but most inquisitive and food-led) pig slept comfortably in the trailer. But on the other side of the field there was… just a field.
Maybe the fence had shorted out on the trailer. Maybe the battery had failed. Either way, at some point since breakfast the two big pigs had gone trotabout.
Only slightly disturbed (so far) by this turn of events, the Pig Whisperer armed herself with a bucket of feed and went hunting. Her weapon of choice: ‘Piggy-piggies!’
It half worked.
After a few moments, the White-Faced Pig came trotting through the long grass and, true to recent form, obediently returned to the big pig area. Which was when the pig from the trailer side of the field made a dash through the un-electrified fence, instantly undoing our previous hard work.
A few more volleys of ‘piggy-piggy’ were tried. But night fell fast and heavy, and Her Outdoors came to pick me up.
‘He’s probably already been shot,’ she suggested as I pulled my seatbelt on (a high probability, given the number of hunters in these parts and the very-much-like-a-wild-boar appearance of the missing pig).
When we were nearly home, Her Outdoors remembered she’d left the battery in the field and forgotten to pick up some bread.
Like I said, she was unusually agitated.
It’s at times like these (and I know I am not alone) that I like to play what Edmund Blackadder might call the ‘Blind Optimism Card’. I selflessly volunteered to return to the land (ooh, about a kilometre away), collect the battery and see if there was any sign of the pig.
At first, it didn’t look good. Two black shapes moved around in the dark where two black shapes should have been. ‘Piggy-piggies’, I said.
A snuffling sound off-stage right, near the compost. I turned. The wind-up torch revealed none other than Troublesome Pig. The pig we originally wanted to get into the back of the trailer in “Stick and board… Part I”. (Can you see where I’m going here?)
Some deft fence turning off, food tossing, door laying down across wires to create a clear path and the pig was where it should have been all along. All with time for me to pick up the battery, some bread, a four-euro bottle of fizz to celebrate a 700-euro saving, and return home a Pigging Hero.
(It gets better.)