Thursday, 10 November 2011

This little pig...

built a house of straw. Or, rather, she delegated the task to me. Strictly speaking, it's a house of climbing frame, tarpaulin and straw. She did the straw. I did the rest.

Nala (for that is her name) has a very lovely pig sty (which I am told should be called an ark, as though she will fill it with fellow creatures and sail away when the rains come). However, the pig sty is in the bottom part of the garden and the pig is in the top, through an archway that the sty won't fit through. When the pig sty was delivered, it was supposed to come with two brawny men who would put it anywhere. It came with one scrawny man who couldn't even get it off the lorry without my help. The only reason he helped me to move it anywhere beyond the end of the drive is because I produced a skateboard for us to move it on so that he wouldn't have to do any distasteful lifting.

So we have two regions - the south, which is the domain of the pig, and the north, which is the domain of the pig-free sty. I have tried several times to put the sty so that the pig can pass through the gate into the sty but nowhere else, and every time the pig manages to invade the north. The north has a pond (all the better for drowning you, my dear) and a tortoise gulag, currently devoid of tortoise (but I don't want it wrecked as the tortoise will return after its months in the fridge), and two ferrets (all the better for nibbling those ears you put so close to the wire).

The geographical separation of pig and pig-free sty was fine for the first couple of nights as it was warmish and dry. But then the rain came. I went out late at night and put a tarpaulin over the sleeping, damp pig. She grunted and settled under it. But yesterday I worried about her out in the rain. Would she get pneumonia? Would she get something like trench foot, or trench trotter? Would she wish she had never come here? And that's why I climbed the climbing frame, dragging plastic sheeting and string, while Nala stood at the bottom blocking the way down, and fashioned a rather rubbishy shelter. I put straw underneath, and she spread it into a bed.

And she is the most ill-housed pig in East Anglia, I'm sure. She is a pig hobo, sleeping under the equivalent of a newspaper in what passes for the favella outside the area of fine pig-free sties. When the big, bad wolf comes, it will take barely a puff...

I went out late last night to check she was sleeping in it. She was. And snoring away, until my torch woke her and she panicked, ran around in the dark grunting. She is a big pig. A big pig that you can't see blundering around in the dark is a scary thing. I ran away.

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