Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Whose pigs are these?

I had a busy day on Monday.  I went into town to run a few errands, then called in to see father in law WithaY at the nursing home - things have indeed improved, and hopefully will continue to do so - then headed back towards home.

As I was driving into our village, I noticed some pigs snuffling about on the grass verge. 

"How nice!" I thought.  "Someone has pigs, and they are being allowed to graze free-range."  I slowed the car down and took a proper look. 

That was when I noticed that they weren't just grazing, they were escaping.

I stopped the car on the opposite side of the road and watched the pigs in the sunshine for a minute.  They were intent on rootling about in the grass, seemingly unaffected by the traffic.  Then one of them headed onto the pavement, and then towards the road itself.

I got out of the car.  I was suddenly committed.

The pigs looked up, and then came trotting towards me. I squatted down and scritched them behind the ears and made vague pig-encouraging noises.  They liked this, and both of them started rubbing their cheeks on my legs as I scritched them, grunting ecstatically. 


What would you have done, readers?  I enjoyed their company for a little while, shooing them off the pavement and back onto the grass every time they looked like they were going to wander onto the road.   

They seemed to be all alone, there was nobody in sight, apart from the bemused car drivers going past.  A woman slowed down and unrolled her window. 

"Whose pigs are these, do you know?" I asked her.

"No...I don't know anyone in the village who keeps pigs," she said.  She pulled her car over to the side of the road and got out as well.  We both stood there, watching the pigs, unhurried and happy, methodically quartering the grass on the verge for, well, anything edible, I suppose.

We agreed that the pigs ought to be herded into a field for safety, and that the paddock across the road seemed like the best place, at least until their owners could be found. 

We found a place in the wall that looked low enough that the pigs might be persuaded to jump over, and started to shoo them across the road.  Remembering the Bath and West pig-wrangling contest, I got a couple of big map books out of my car and attempted to herd them along, making "cooosh cooosh" noises as I did so.

""Ooh, you're a natural!" said the other lady, admiringly.

Not necessarily what I would hope to be remembered for, but you know, it's nice to be applauded for a skill of any kind.

Another lady stopped her car - in the middle of the road - and hopped out.

"Whose pigs are these?" she asked us.

We admitted we didn't know, and explained what we were trying to do.

"I've got a pig feed bag in my car!" said the newcomer, retrieving it and waving it about triumphantly.  The pigs looked up, eyes brightening at the possibility of a snack they didn't have to dig up with their noses.

Using a careful combination of luring (with the feed bag), and coaxing (me using my map books to great effect), we persuaded the pigs to walk across the road to the paddock.  They refused to hop over the wall, and started gruntling and snorting in alarm as we tried to encourage them.

"It's really hard to move them," I said.

"Yes," said pig-feed-bag lady.  "They have nothing to grab hold of."

She was right.  A pig is designed without any convenient handholds.  Schoolboy error.

As we coaxed the pigs off the road again, and out of the way of the traffic, a man in a van stopped and got out.

"Whose pigs are these?" he asked us, grinning widely.  We explained the situation. 

He joined us in our efforts to coax the pigs over the wall.  It was no use.  Pigs, like white men, can't jump.

I don't think I helped much, as by this time I was giggling like an idiot.  Finally, eventually, the lady with the pig feed bag coaxed the pigs under a handy fence rail and into the paddock, then we dragged a bit of chicken wire across the gap, which seemed to do the trick.

The four of us stood in the road, proud.

Then we realised the combination of our haphazardly-parked cars and our inept pig-wrangling had drawn quite a crowd. 

As they drove past us, I could hear people asking "Whose pigs are these?"

We never did find out.  But at least they were safe. 


Z said...

There are some Gloucester Old Spots about three miles down the road from us. Since that's over 200 miles from you, it may not be much help, though. Brilliantly entertaining post!

rachel said...

Fabulous post! You have another career in you yet, I think, you Piggy Whisperer, you.

That Janie Girl said...

Well, that's pretty awesome!

Down here we have feral hogs, and there would have been no scritching, I promise.

@eloh said...

I think I've read this three or four times now... sometimes you paint such a motion picture with your words ... no movie could compete.

Pigs scare me...Where I grew up there was a saying..... when someone seemed to be gone too long...

"They went to sh*t and the pigs ate him." Cause it used to happen all the time. Fall down in a hog lot and that would be the end of you.

So I see your actions here as very heroic.

livesbythewoods said...

I have to say, ladies, that the pig episode goes down in my head as one of the Best Days Ever so far this summer.

And it turns out that the field we persuaded them into is actually where they live, so hurrah.