Listening to: curlews in the morning
Weather: winter giving it one last go
Those of you of a certain age (the same one as mine) will remember the late 60s Tarzan TV series starring Ron Ely* where the Great White Ape had morphed into some sort of crime-busting jungle man. A kind of Bergerac with a loin cloth.
Along with all the lions, elephants, tigers (in Africa!), geographical confusion (he appeared to have left the jungle and settled in East Africa) and sterotype 'natives' (either cowardly villagers or fierce painted blokes with big spears) I seem to recall that it was pretty regular for someone to find themselves stuck in quicksand.
The baddies invariably came to a gooey end, while anyone else was rescued by the timely intervention of Big Ron and his aforementioned loin cloth.
As lively seven-year-olds with time on our hands (we had to make our own fun in those days and, let's face it, unless you lived within a bus ride of Carnaby Street the 60s didn't so much swing as drag) we often tried to recreate this scene. How our mothers laughed when we returned home covered head-to-toe in 'quicksand'.
Forty years later, I have managed the ultimate re-enactment and I am happy to reveal that Tarzan is redundant thanks to Dickies rigger boots - guaranteed to get you out of the deepest, gungiest hole and damn comfy too.
I had decided Eric and Ernie needed weighing. I had no real idea how much they weighed - just that they were healthy, not too fat and getting bigger.
Given that it's hard to get a seven-month-old pig to stand still on bathroom scales long enough for an accurate reading, I looked for an alternative method.
After consulting a couple of other pig keepers, I decided to try using a tape measure. It's not 100 per cent accurate, but it gives you a good enough idea.
I clambered into the swamp, put some food down for the lads and whipped out the tape I had quietly stolen from Mrs TPF's sewing box. Easy-going Eric stood quietly as I measured around his chest and shoulders and then along his back, Ernie flinched and squeaked a little, but even he accepted the 'suits you' treatment with little fuss.
I jotted down the measurements and set about applying the formula (chest multipled by back divided by 12). I'm not the sharpest chisel in the tool box when it comes to maths so this required considerable concentration.
So much concentration that I failed to notice that what I thought was a reasonably dry part of the swamp wasn't and I was sinking up to my ankles, the suction tightening all the time.
I tried to lift my foot and damn nearly popped a cruciate ligament. The other was similarly stuck fast. No problem, I thought, I'll grab a fence post and pull myself out. I had carelessly strayed more than an arms length away from the nearest post and the only thing to grab hold of was the electric fence - not an option.
Mrs TPF was mucking out in the stable with Radio 2 on very loud (!) so my cries for help went unheard.
Fortunately, the very thoughtful people at Dickies have stitched leather tabs to the side of their excellent boots (go out and buy some now, a snip at £50) so I hauled one foot out, then the other, repeating the process several times until I reached dry land, leaving Ron's retirement undisturbed.
And, for the record, Eric is close to 140lb, Ernie 136lb. Pork weight is around 150lb, but I'm letting them go to bacon weight, so we can all relax until some time in June.
* Ron Ely was the 15th actor to play Tarzan. He refused a stunt double for the vine swinging and animal fights, although the Tarzan call was still Johnny Weissmuller's dubbed over. As kids we always wondered how anyone came to be named after the town we lived in.