Pigging out with Josie down on the farm, and a horse that really takes the p*ss...
I WAS standing in the middle of Josie's field armed with a pitchfork as you do. The wind was screaming across the plains of Kildare and my eyes were watering in the freezing cold.
As I wiped snot from my nose with a gloved hand and muttered a couple of 'FFS's' to myself, I wondered how had it all come to this? "I COULDA BEEN A CONTENDAH!" I shouted but not even Josie could hear me in the din
The reason it had come to this was that Josie had bought five pigs just after Christmas. I had earmarked one for myself and I was determined to make sure Denny (a cross between a Gloucester Old Spot and a Duroc) was being fed as well as the others.
The reason I was armed with a pitchfork is that, according to my friend, pigs have been known to eat their owners, particularly in America (swear to God) and, as Durocs hail from New York, we weren't taking any chances.
It's not that the pigs will attack for no particular reason but, if you fell over in the mud, they may take advantage of your vulnerability by jumping on your thigh hocks. And if you are the same size as Josie and myself then that's a lot of hock.
The last thing I needed to see when I walked around the corner was to see no sign of Josie, her wellies standing by the feeding trough and the pigs licking the last of the meat from one of her finger bones.
In the end, there was a lot of squealing and muck rolling but the pigs seemed happy enough to gorge on the fruit and veg she was feeding them. For now that is.
Safely back inside we both put our feet up and partook of a strong cup of coffee and a couple of digestives.
We shot the breeze for about 20 minutes as I wondered just how I was going to fit half a pig into the freezer. When I stood up to leave she asked me to help her with something she couldn't really do on her own.
The 'something' was to hold a bucket under the horse while she encouraged him to pee. He had a suspected urinary tract infection and she needed a urine sample for the vet. It took about half an hour before he peed and when he did it came like Niagara Falls.
By the time he finished I had the same core body temperature as an ice sculpture. When I eventually looked up the five pigs were lined up at the fence watching us. I could have sworn they were smiling…