Listening to: Loads of girlie stuff (Sal's been at the iTunes and you can't move for Alanis Morrisette complaining about how horrible her last five boyfriends were.)
Weather: Giving it some. High wind, freezing rain.
I used to have a cold, but: now I've got chapped lips, a bright red nose and a strange ache in my neck. . . and there's goo in my ear.
The boys eyed me in the way schoolkids eye an ancient, strict schoolmaster after a week with the easy-going supply teacher.
I had the bucket and there was breakfast in it, so that was a good start, but they seemed to know I wasn't too impressed. The place was a messier than a teenager's bedroom (OK, I exaggerate, but it was close). Straw everywhere, mud all over the place and that was least of the trouble. The barrier that keeps them in their fairly spacious shed was on the point of collapse.
There was a hole in the middle of the floor where the lads had snuffled out the cement between the slabs and there had clearly been some kind of Long Kesh-style dirty protest. Still, collect it up and in a few months it'll be good for the garden.
Pigs are, by and large, the cleanest of farm animals. They tend to do the stuff in one area and never in or near their bedding. Eric and Ernie don't mess their own bed, but they have got a bit slack lately despite the best efforts of myself and Sally.
While I was away they also took to bullying Sal. They are quite big now and hefty with it and Mrs TPF is around 5ft 4in. Sometimes a no-nonsense attitude and extensive command of ancient Anglo-Saxon are not enough.
I'm 6ft, I have equally good Anglo-Saxon skills and I'm a dab hand with a shovel (Irish roots). So, after a good deal of kicking, pushing and swearing, I got in the pen and spread their breakfast out on the floor.
While they were occupied (the rule of thumb is to give them enough food for 20 minutes eating, so 20 minutes is what I had) I had a look at their bedding which was spread out over half the shed.
A lot of it was looking very tired and it was a bit damp. The lads had possibly been trying to weed out the stuff they didn't like. Well, it's a theory, so, once I'd cleaned everywhere else, I replaced half the bedding with nice clean straw which, breakfast over, the chaps pounced on and decided to play.
I let them get on with it while I reviewed security arrangements, nailing another piece of wood to hold the hurdle in place and winding some barbed wire around to discourage them from playing with it.
Next job was one I should have done weeks ago - pick out a spot for an outdoor run. The pigs were fine in the shed when they were small, but they are clearly bored. I've been putting it off mainly because of the weather and the fact that plugging an electric fence into our creaking fuse box may plunge the entire island into darkness.
Still, it's time it was done and there's a little area of land at the back of the farm, about 70yd long and 10yd wide which would be perfect. Once the horizontal freezing rain stops, I'll get to work with the barbed wire, set up the spotlights and build a machine gun nest.
For you piggy, ze war is over. I'll be suspicious if they start practising gymnastics with a wooden horse. . .