It’s one of those really annoying things that your mum used to say to you when you were little: “good things come to those who wait”. But of course she was right. And after seven days of endless conflict, Snout and Crackling are finally reconciled and friends once more.
A week on from Snout’s return, I was standing guard over both of them on neutral ground. The porcine world is matriarchal and so I was assuming the position of Grand Pigess and making sure that there was going to be no fighting on my patch. And slowly, slowly, both pigs sauntered around and Crackling made no attempt to provoke Snout. I relaxed and felt vaguely optimistic. I put my pig board down and sat on a low wall, enjoying the evening sun. My eyes wandered over to the new flowers that I had planted with my stepson the previous weekend and my thoughts turned to what to cook for supper. So when the final attack came, I was hopelessly unprepared.
With shoulders lowered, Crackling lunged at Snout with ferocious speed. Clamping his jaws around Snout’s ear, he pulled backwards trying to tear it. But Snout was quick to respond and before I had even got my pig board ready, had turned on Crackling and counter-attacked with force. Clearly Snout had had enough and he was now going to stand his ground. After some fearsome fighting, Crackling was vanquished and ran as fast as his little legs could carry him and Snout, breathing heavily, turned back to the weeds that he had been digging up before his brother’s attack.
With Crackling on the back foot, I decided that the time had come to put them both into the same pen. Bearing in mind that animals are quick to pick up on human’s anxiety, I forced myself to be cheery and relaxed, whistling a little tune even as I herded them together. Once they were penned in, I shut the gate and walked calmly back into the house where Snowy was staring anxiously out of the window. I assured him that it was all going to be absolutely fine. I was completely confident. Would he please stop staring at them out of the window because they would pick up on his worry and that might provoke them once more. I pottered upstairs. And then at the top of the stairs did a sort of army manoeuvre creep into my step-daughter’s bedroom, staying below the lintel of her window and then cautiously peered down into the garden.
They weren’t exactly hugging and chatting enthusiastically, but Snout and Crackling were finally tolerating one another. As I watched, Snout went into the pig ark. Crackling followed. Crackling exited promptly. Snout stayed inside. Crackling made himself a nest in the straw outside the pig ark. Silence ensued.
The following night was much better. When I went out to see them both after supper, I found them in their old positions, lying flank to flank and snoring quietly. They both got up to greet me and then Crackling flumped back into the straw and Snouty lay down on top of him and I could see that harmony was completely restored.
This evening I have taken them both out for a stroll. We didn’t get far all together as Crackling decided that he wanted to go home. Snout and I dropped him back to the garden and then we braved crossing the Goldhawk Road so that we could get into Ravenscourt Park for a peaceful stroll and some good grass.