Hello everybody and welcome to the next instalment of The Hog Blog, by the editor of Special Places to Stay – British Bed & Breakfast, Nicola Crosse:

The Hog Blog – August 2007, part 2

The Hog Blog - August 2007, part 2

I collected the long-awaited pigs from a farm in Devon and drove back to Bristol as slowly as if I were carrying rare bird eggs in the back. In fact they fell asleep in their straw-covered dog cage and only woke when I stopped. I drove into the hot and sunny field and there were friends and some of my children to welcome us. We took photographs and had champagne – in brilliant sunshine; it was a happy afternoon. Later, when all the fuss was over and it was quiet, I sat in the ark with my youngest daughter Minnie (19) and the two new arrivals. We watched them quietly as they snuffled about, pushing the straw hither and thither, making their snuffly noises and grunts, coming up to sniff our hands now and then, occasionally Porker letting us scratch and stroke him. Mabel a bit stand-offish. But it is a wondrous thing, getting to know your pigs.

We left. I had worries and Minnie (even more neurotic) had big worries. Will they be safe? Could somebody steal them? What if they knocked their water bowl over in the night and then got thirsty?

Needless to say I slept badly – pigmares again. But much more vivid than the vague fear of the unknown before they arrived – now it’s serious. I can’t wait to see them again and leap out of bed by six. They are shy when I open the ark door; like startled lovers they jerk onto their feet, straw hanging from their ears. But breakfast goes down well, including some apples and a few blackberries from the hedgerows. I am so relieved to see them safely through their first night, it increases my confidence. I can do this! I can look after pigs. I go happily home for my own breakfast.

By 10am I am itching to get out to them again. Great that it’s a bank holiday so I have Monday to play with them too. Can’t imagine having to sit back at my desk all day again. Feel like a pig farmer instead of an editor. Minnie, who hasn’t got up early at a weekend for about five years is waiting by the front door wearing wellies. Good grief.

Mabel and Porker had three hours or so out of the ark and in the nursery area. In that time they created a mud pool beside the water trough, their strong little snouts digging up huge clots of earth and hurling it into the air. They are the perfect rotivators and manure comes out the other end. They then started on another dig at the other side of the pen. It will look like a mud scene in weeks, I know. But that is what they like. Locked them in the ark at 1.45 and will return this afternoon at about half past five for a bit more play. They are rather a waste of time I have to say: the house looks neglected, my garden worse. Hey ho.


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