15. Walking in the week – 7 April 2012

I think, in fact I know, that I am quite a tricky boss. I hope I manage to be fair almost all of the time but I am quite impulsive and erratic. I could put that down to artistic temperament but I always think that is a poor excuse for lack of constancy. However, the benefit of having an impulsive boss is that my employees can suddenly find that they don’t have to obey their daily timetable of constructing dresses of every kind and instead can down tools and come for a pig walk.

Yesterday morning it was sunny and whilst we were busy, all our deadlines for the week had been met. Snowy had left the car outside the shop and on the spur of the moment I suggested a visit to West London and a stroll with Snout and Crackling. You’ve never seen women move faster out of work! Within seconds we were all in the Landrover and heading home to surprise Snout and Crackle with an impromptu visit.

Stina and Robyn last saw Snout and Crackling when they were three months old and could be held and squidged. Emma had never met them before at all. All three were forewarned by me as to their current size and exuberance and so weren’t taken aback by either their bulk or the instant muddy nose marks that were planted on their legs as soon as they met them. Wherever I go with my pigs in tow, people are delighted by them but also amazed at their size. They believe them to be big. For pigs they are tiny. You look at a Gloucestershire Old Spot or a Black Lop eared pig and Snout and Crackling are teeny weeny. And whilst they tower over the odd Bichon Frise, they are matched by the bull mastiffs that we meet on our walks and made to feel very small beside my friend Follett’s Great Dane.

Anyway, we decided to take them off to Wendell Park. I then relinquished responsibility for them and let the girls do the leading and go through the usual walking palaver that is involved in sauntering along with two pigs. I did notice that both pigs really tried it on with new people in control and every now and then, I had to butt in with a quick brisk word or a yank to re-focus them on our goal.

Once in the park, we let them wander and were soon the centre of attention for a huge group of small children who were out from their school and playing in the park. I’m not a desperately child-friendly female and don’t find large groups of children relaxing to be around. Fortunately Snout was reasonably self-possessed and didn’t mind scores of tiny hands touching him and Crackling was entirely focussed on eating as much grass as he possibly could and couldn’t have minded less. At one point I looked over in Crackling’s direction and he was completely hidden by tiny people in fluorescent yellow tabards.

Trying to extricate both pigs from the park was just as difficult as the evening before although at least this time, the girls could help me by heaving their bottoms forwards and away from the grass. But much indignant snorting went on and I am going to have to devise an exit strategy to employ when it is time to leave. It is just too anti-social to have Snout and Crackling screaming furiously when it’s time to go home.


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