Well that’s it. The pigs have gone. We are sans porcs.
On Wednesday we took our Three Little Piggies to their new home at Camping Moulin de la Geneste in the Corrèze, where they have found new employment as Entertainers of Happy Campers and Small Children. They have moved into their new (and excitingly vegetated) living quarters, next door to Isaac the Diminutive and his coterie of exceedingly pretty chickens, where they are no doubt busily absorbed in the all-consuming piggy purpose of removing every last possible speck of living greenery from their allotted area, as I write.
Pigs are a lot easier to move than llamas. Llamas are suspicious by nature. Present them with a new experience and they are all “Hey Nooooo! What the … ? If you think I’m going near that trailer/unfamiliar person/new bucket/strangely-coloured-food-item-that-I-have-never-seen-before, you have another (long, slow) think coming.” But pigs are pretty damn sure of themselves. Apart from humans, pigs don’t have a whole lot of natural predators. Maybe the occasional mountain lion or coyote might be tempted to snack on piglet chops in times of great need, but I’m pretty certain there aren’t many of either of those lurking droolingly behind bushes in the middle of France. And pigs know this.
However, even though they have no fear of predators, you might think they’d at least be suspicious of trailers – given the vast numbers of their species that have been carted off in them to their final bloody meetings with their maker, at abattoirs throughout the land. But it seems that, for our pigs at least, no genetic memory has been passed down through the generations to inspire in them any inherent fear of towed transport.
Au contraire, when we opened up their gate and presented our piggy trio with a ramp into the unknown, Fogarty and Yoda trotted up it straight away, in search of amusement and parsnips. Then Peppa took her customary roundabout approach to the target, eventually joining her colleagues in the horse-box, where they proceeded to snout about amongst the freshly-strewn hay, until they had each fashioned themselves a comfortable couchette for the three hour journey. I wish we had a web cam in the trailer. From the hugely-flattened pancake state of the poo I cleared out with the hay yesterday, I suspect that our Three Little Piggies had been rolling about like legless, lardy rolling pins, pitching from side to side as we negotiated the bendy bits in the road.
But whatever the undulating tribulations of the journey, the jolly threesome arrived at their destination with their appetites and curiosity intact. And an inspired combination of four people, an excited small child, two sheets of plaster board, a shaken bucket and a trail of sliced carrot was all that was required to move the curious cochons the hundred-or-so interesting, muddy, stream-sided metres from the trailer to their freshly-created enclosure, on the far side of the goat-and-chicken pen. With the last piggy inside the pen, Steve (camp-site owner and pig-servant-in-training) set about finishing off the elegant wooden gate that he had skilfully magicked up only moments before our arrival, with the all-important addition of a big-bolt-to-close-it-with, whilst the Impertinent Three set about demolishing the unsuspecting vegetation, and their beauteous-but not-quite-big-enough new house.
“They’re bigger than I remembered”, said Steve. “Never mind. I can rustle up another house in a few hours, and Isaac can have this one.”
Steve is also a carpenter. And an optimist.
Isaac is the little black billy goat who lives next door to the pigs and currently thinks he is a chicken. Apparently, he has been camping in the chicken-run since cleverly breaching the boundaries of his former grazing area through dint of the dark art of walking on water, (when the boundary lake on one side of his area froze over in the depths of winter).
We left the Impertinent Three to explore their new home, while we enjoyed a guided tour of the rest of the site, followed by a delicious lunch sprinkled with pleasant conversation about pigs and plans, and ebay, and Life. The camp site is in a delightful and utterly peaceful spot, and Steve and Sharon are such welcoming hosts, that I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone who is looking for a lovely place to stay in the middle of nature, in the middle of France.
And when the time came for us to leave, and we stood misty-eyed in the mud to bid our Three Not-So-Very-Little Piggies a fond and final farewell, they all three lumbered hastily towards where we were standing near the fence… where they proceeded to totally ignore our emotional departure, and instead to noisily demand their evening dinner from their new
I think they will be very happy in their new home. As happy as a pig in mud.