Listening to: Hung Up (Paul Weller)
Quiet night: in
Eric and Ernie have, like the rest of us, munched their way through Christmas and the New Year celebrations and, like the rest of us, a little exercise and discipline wouldn't go amiss.
So it was that I found myself taking a bit of time off from hefting slabs about for a little experimental training with the two not-so-little pigs.
I'm thrilled to bits with the way the lads have come on. Careful feeding means they've grown steadily without seeming to put on too much fat and, although a combination of the weather and issues with our antiquated electrics mean they can't get outside for now, they have a large shed and a regular supply of turf and rocks to play with. They seem happy.
But I'm also aware that handling them is not as easy as it was when they first arrived and I was able to catch, lift and shove them into the places I wanted them to go. I know I'm going to have to move them around when it comes to their date with destiny in the Spring and it's about time they got used to it.
The routine is that you guide a pig about with a board and a stick. You may have seen Jimmy "quick, the cameras are here, let's have a crisis" Doherty do it on TV's Jimmy's Farm (pictured left).
The theory is that, like my mum when she's driving, a pig won't go in any direction it can't see, so you block its vision with a board and urge it gently forwards with a stick.
The boards are sold at an extortionate price by firms eager to cash in on the middle class smallholder market, so here on Westray we are using a bit of old door and, in a move inspired by Royal Ulster Constabulary interrogation techniques, a piece of rubber hose instead of a stick.
I clambered over the barrier to where Eric and Ernie were just finishing the last crumbs of a hearty breakfast and, in my best Sgt Wilson voice, tried to coax the chaps into action.
I put the board to one side of Eric's face and tapped him gently on the backside. Just as gently, he pushed the board out of the way, turned around and looked at me with a 'what, exactly, are you trying to do?' look on his face.
Seeing as Eric - the larger and more laid-back of the pigs - didn't want to play, I turned to Ernie who was snuffling around the edges of the shed. He was interested in the pig board/door. . . very interested. In fact, it was so interesting he decided he wanted to keep it and play with it all by himself.
So it was that I found myself in a tug-of-war situation, trying to get a large piece of wood out of an increasingly excited pig's jaws, while, at the same time trying to use aforementioned wood to protect my lower parts (Ernie's got form).
Attracted by the commotion, Eric broke off from trying to eat a breeze block and lumbered over to see what his brother was up to and to offer filial encouragement. . . and to see how long it takes to knock a trainee pig farmer off his feet.
Like the Romans besieged on all sides by hairy barbarians, I crouched behind my shield, waved my rubber hose threateningly and backed towards the exit, tumbling out of the pen just as Eric was showing a taste for steel-capped work boot.
So the lads are in detention. If they think they're getting away with it that easily, they can think again.