I realise that I’m posting very late in the day today but having been at the London Book Fair the past 3 days I’ve been frantically catching up on a backlog of emails. Sorry to make you wait! Some good news that I found waiting for me is that our July release What About China? will be getting featured in an influential book trade publication. More about What About China? later but in brief it is a book about how to answer awkward questions about climate change such as “What is the point of doing anything when China opens a new power station every week?”
But for now here’s another instalment of Nicola’s Hog Blog. Have your tissues ready.
The Hog Blog – February 2008, part 2
We arrive early at the abattoir and I go in to sort out the paperwork. Three forms for one pig. A pig movement form, a transportation form and a what she has been eating form. One of the forms is three pages long and I understand none of the questions. They are in code. The guy who manages the abattoir is about 65, with the ginger grooved wrinkles and the deep, watery chested voice of the dedicated smoker. His ‘office’ is a sort of freezing cold garage with a tiny electric fire at one end and a small wooden table and chair at the other. He is an old hand. He is not overly friendly. He’s seen it all before. I feel like an idiot. I am behaving like a ridiculous townie at a cocktail party, enquiring about his job and whether he ought to have a bigger fire, and oh gosh, these forms, how on earth does one make head or tail of them? He groans and lights another fag.
Help is at hand from a lovely young man in a white coat and white wellies: the man from DEFRA. He helps me fill in the forms, then helps us get Porker down the ramp and along a long, stone corridor. He is so gentle and sweet with her ‘Come on lovey, come on sweetie’, patting her gently and encouraging her down. Pigs don’t like going downhill much. I instantly like him and trust him and there is a lovely, straw-filled pen waiting for her with a drinking bowl and everything. I give her a pocketful of pignuts and stroke her nose for the last time. She is next in line. I walk away. Turning once I see her just rooting about in the straw like normal. I am not worried.
I make arrangements to collect the carcass in three days and return to work. Feel strange all day. Quite grown up.