Monday, 25 August 2008

Dr Pig "Farmer"

Listening to: Trumpton Riots (Half Man Half Biscuit)
Isn't: rendering hard? The kitchen project progresses at glacial pace.
Gordon: just doesn't get it, does he?
No: Great Britain football team for 2012 (it's a long story and when you've got an hour I'll explain, but it's definitely a bad idea).

I squirted a bit out of the tip (steady!) only to find the bubble was still there. I fiddled around a bit, squirted again and that did the trick.

I looked for an appropriate bit of pony to stick the needle into. I made a hasty call to Mrs Sort-of Pig Farmer who was just out of the pool in Kirkwall (that Rebecca Adlington* has a lot to answer for). The shoulder would do, the vet had said. I explained to Sal that pigs were really my field of expertise.

"I have got the right stuff - ACP?" . . . "Think so" . . . "Not NCP, RAC, BNP**?" . . . "Very funny, you pillock."

Ted has, we think, a bit of laminitis. I should have done something earlier. Marcus asked if Ted was stiff last week and if he was getting too much grass (Ted, not Marcus). I had a look at the lad and gave him a painkiller which perked him up.

Come Friday, Ted could barely stand so we coaxed him into the stable and he seemed a little better, but by the time this morning rolled around, there was no real improvement. A call was made to the vet in Kirkwall, symptoms described and serious thinking done.

I nipped down to one of the general stores in the village, picked up the syringe, needle and medicine (just like you do in downtown Wolverhampton) and so found myself trying very hard to look like I knew what I was doing so as not to alarm an already unhappy pony.

Ted was good as gold, letting me put the needle in without the slightest flinch. He's now in a drowsy half-sleep in a big bed of straw. Fingers crossed.

* Rebecca Adlington is the British swimmer who won two gold medals at the recent minority sports festival in China.

** One of these organisations is an extreme right-wing, racist bunch of twats, another will send someone to fix your car when it breaks down. Careful if you spot Nick Griffin changing a wheel.

*************** And yes, I enjoyed the Olympics (especially when the Irish started winning medals for hitting people), but there's nothing apart from a firing squad that will get me to watch for the next four years cycling, sailing, rowing, hoss leaping or any of the other deeply middle class sports for the wealthy that are out of the reach of so many schools and a huge majority of working class British children who will never be given a chance to even try these sports. Elite sport stinks - because funds are all diverted to the top, for every Hoy or Adlington, there are thousands of kids excluded from finding out just how much fun sport can be, whatever their ability.

Thank you for listening - and don't bother to disagree, I'll only start again, because for once (and this is really rare) I know I'm right.

TUESDAY MORNING. . . sorry for starting an argument all by myself (must lay off the late-night cheese), but the sight of the (unelected) Prime Minister smirking away as the athletes came off the plane was more than I could bear.


I, like the view said...

yeay!! Half Man Half Biscuit

one of XCH's fave bands of all time. . .

. . .I once won a tombola prize in a fund raiser in Church Stretton (or it might have been Brosely)(or Much Wenlock) and had a choice of prizes and picked up a HMHB CD for him

it's still on the shelf here along with the rest of his music

(he's got my Abba collection. . .)

I, like the view said...

oh, and you are so right. . .

. . .none of my children's schools (primary or secondary) even have a patch of grass to sit on, let alone a field to kick a ball about in

the local authority are selling off the "public" space to some tennis person's private f*ck-off-anyone-who-can't-afford-the-membership-fees club, so my kids won't even be able to go and kick a ball about there soon

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Raw nerve touched there ...gosh! totally agree though...thought I was the only person breathing that just never watched any of it..

Amy said...

As a participant in a sport you deem "elitist" i beg to differ. I was raised on a council estate by a single parent and definately class myself and my family (you included malc) as working class. However I still managed to qualify my horse for the national horse trials championship and she was the youngest equine competitor ever to qualify. I have serious aspirations of one day competeing at an olympic games and feel my lack of financial backing only drives me to do better and train harder. I think that people from "less fortunate" backgrounds should stop moaning about there lack of oppertunities and make there own like I have

Geoff said...

Although I felt a lump of stupid pride in my throat for British swimmers and cyclists I'm only really interested in watching the track and field at the Olympics. I'd rather watch Big Brother than watch sail boats and horses.

Malc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I, like the view said...

wish I knew how to do that linky thing with the http and the a and the href and the triangluar brackets

but I don't

or. . .

and for your (somewhat early xmas gift)


(I've never understood football, but then I have a great excuse - I'm a girl)(three cheers for amy, BTW, she's the kinda girl I always wanted to be)

I, like the view said...

ps fantasitc new picture

I always wanted to be a crofter, but I thought I'd end up in the Outer Hebrides

I, like the view said...

(I'll go and write on my own blog now)

susi said...

Gordon : on another planet really. An Olympic football team would just be another way to get players injured in time for the home season (but I'm a Celtic supporter so what do I know?)

Laminitis : Oddly, a horsey friend told me that this was caused by keeping native breeds on rich pasture when they should be on their home islands (she keeps Shetland ponies). Do you have rich pastures on Westray?

Sport : I didn't watch any of the Olympics. However, I agree with you in general about elitist sports although, obviously, there will always be exceptions who do succeed against all the odds.

The Birdwatcher said...

Half man half biscuit! Happy memories.The Macc lads are worth a listen of you get the chance.

I have managed to declare myself an olympic free zone for the past few weeks, I really have no interest in it at all.

Betty said...

As somebody from a horrible, common background I can only say that sports at school weren't fun in my experience, just the nearest thing to hell on earth. If I'd never had to endure P.E. lessons throughout my entire time at school I would've been a much happier child. Besides which, all P.E. teachers are barely evolved psychopaths. Ahem.

Strange that I should always enjoy watching the track and field events though. It's probably vicarious enjoyment because I was such a useless athlete at school!

Richard said...

Malc, I heard recently it's £75 to register as a Sunday League footballer and that makes footie elitest in my book. Ever equipped yourself to play the king of sports? A decent lump of willow costs the best part of £200 let alone the other stuff. It's actually cheaper to buy a bike and a canoe. My sis was an international hurdler despite having no facilities locally out in the sticks. She had to travel 40 miles to get to the nearest track and that cost her a fortune and ultimately a place at Seoul and Barcelona. It took the lottery to get a track built in so-called affluent Ashford. She'd blaps you upside you head if you'd called her sport, the easisest one to do, elitest just because it cost money to do it.

Richard said...

Btw, I'm not having a pop, Malc you're entitled to your own opinion but with one major exception, I've never got this elitest thing. I've been so annoyed at some of the comments I've heard on the wireless belittling the achievements of some of the athletes on the most spurious of grounds - whether or not their chosen sport received lottery money so enabling them to use the best facilities and equipment. Surely it just comes down to whether you want to do it enough and there are facilities locally so you can get a foothold and develop your talent, doesn't it?

Every sport costs money to do, some a bit more than others but most clubs realise this and do try to open up to the community. A little while ago I was interested in taking up archery after watching a display and remembering my cheapy old Lindop bow (which I found earlier this year at my Mum's) but was worried about the cost. No worries, said the local club, we've got equipment you can use until you feel you want to invest in your own. I still might have a go and at 51, it's not beyond the bounds of possibility I could make 2012 as long as I can stay off the beta blockers. Even the Leander Club subs are only £40 a year for under 30s (granted you have to have achieved as a rower to be elected, so you can actually say that's an "elite" club), probably a lot less than it costs to belong to your local CIU affiliated WMC (where a lot of the members would probably think nothing of spending £300 on a carp rod, not to mention the rest of the stuff to spend a day following that most traditional of working men's pursuits). Interestingly, I went to a grammar school (ok, it went compo after a year but it's reverted since I left) but there was one sport we didn't play because it was only played in the public schools at that time. Basically, we weren't posh enough. To this day rugby union is the one sport I associate almost exclusively with privilege. I know it's now largely an erroneous association given the backgrounds of a few of our more renowned players but it is the one and only sport to have come about from a schism predicated on the fact that some its players didn't want to be associated with the money-grabbing hoi polloi (even though they were quite happy to be paid boot-money). Cricket was, and I believe still is, so much more egalitarian. It's all so bleedin' relative.

How are Ted's lamina?

Richard said...


I should have known that.

Malc said...

Oh Gawd! Me and my mouth!

The comment about 'sports for the wealthy' was ill-judged and I take it back.

That phrase meant that what I was really trying to say was unclear. I'm not having a go at individual sports (even if they are not my cup of Darjeeling) or the people who take part in them. What bothers me is what the sports officials and politicians call 'elite performance'.

Because of the political benefits of sporting success at the top level to a desperate and morally bankrupt government, a huge amount of cash is thrown at 'elite' performers (and some very average ones as well). I've no problem with that, gold medals make everyone feel better about the country and may convince a few kids that sport is worth a go.

But the first point of contact with sport for most children is school where the teaching of sport is, in my experience, dire. I was lucky enough to be privately educated at a school where even duffers like myself were encouraged to 'have a go'. As a result I had great fun and found I was good at water polo and Eton Fives (really!). My children haven't been anything like as fortunate.

A lot of people enjoyed the Olympics, but we are becoming a nation of spectators. Grassroots sport is collapsing.
Amateur football leagues are contracting and even disappearing, cricket and rugby clubs are struggling to raise more than a couple of teams each week, swimming clubs are amalgamating because of a shortage of facilities and members and playing fields are still being sold off to private developers.

Of course, people should go out and take their own opportunities, but only a special few are committed enough or confident enough to do so without help or encouragement.

It's lovely to see top athletes doing well at the Olympics and long may that continue, but it's pretty pointless if all it does is to put a smirk on Gordon Brown's face.

. . . and don't get me started on the Prime Minister deciding the future of our football teams.

Can we get back to pig farming now?

Malc said...


All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague away kit.

The pic is taken from the new (and slightly windswept) patio at the front of the house.


The land is very good here and the pasture probably too rich for Teddy. I'll be putting him in a small paddock in future so he can't overdo it.

Of the Old Firm, Celtic are far preferable to The Hun. I've a sneaking regard for Hibs meself.

Richard said...

Ha, of course you can. You mentioned the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time and for once I had unrestricted access to a computer that allowed some spleen venting. There is only one person to blame for schools not having the facilities available and I was heartened to see reports from her daughter over last weekend that she's losing it. Don't ever expect me to have sympathy for her.

Aah, Dukla Prague. The only HMHB track I'm remotely familiar with.

Malc said...


So depressing, isn't it, that a Labour government should follow her agenda so slavishly?

Having seen my mother-in-law reduced into a husk by Alzheimer's I shouldn't wish dementia on anyone, but I'm tempted to make an exception in her case.

Richard said...

I was distressed to see while I was back in Ashford earlier in the year that some industrial units seem to have appeared on one of my old school's outer fields. They still have some land left thankfully. I really thought we were past all that. The worst thing is is that they seemed to be warehouses. For what? There's more empty warehouse space than we need. Speculators are another breed that can get off the bus once it's started moving. Useless bastards. Have you ever Read James Dyson's autobiography, Against The Odds? He might not be to everyone's taste but he has some very uplifting things to say about this kind of thing (it's probably out of print now as it was written before he shipped his manufacturing out to the far east).

Ginni Dee said...

I won't comment on the Olympics except to say I watched some of the events, missed all the equine events and those were the ones I wanted to see. So I feel cheated! I got tired of it after about 4 days!

As far as the laminitis is concerned...poor Ted must be in misery! He probably needs to be put in a paddock with low quality hay, no grain and no rich hay. Horses usually grass founder when they are chubby to begin with and on good pasture! A good farrier could shoe him so his toes are short and he breaks over quicker as he steps. This will alleviate some of the pain when he walks. That poor baby...I'm so glad you're helping him, Mr Pig Farmer.

Donnnnn said...

I am still waiting for the advent of the All Steroid Olympics which would be a ratings bonanza!

Every athlete (or non athlete since chemistry is the great equalizer) can take whatever the hell they like..and however much..and let's see once and for all how much higher, faster and stronger they can be?

I have a feeling that the East German Girls won't even bother shaving...pity.

elizabethm said...

From the hills of Wales I would like to point out that the idea that Rugby Union is a game for the privileged is a peculiarly English one. Come here and say that and it is hard to know whether you will be laughed out of court or strung up. Probably depends on how late in the evening it is.

mig bardsley said...

Wow! what fun (the sporting bit and subsequent comments that is). Seems to me that ability isn't the only requirement to be a top class competitor in any sport. A certain kind of admirable single-mindedness is also essential. A bit of luck, maybe? And you've got to have those, whether you've got privilege or not.

As for Gordon, I can't tear my eyes from his wobbly lower lip. I always expect him to burst into tears any minute.

I do hope Ted gets better soon. Laminitis is horrible but I remember ponies in Devon recovering after a strict diet. And the shoeing thing helped my friend's little cob a lot too.

lettuce said...

it did seem to me that there were some more "ordinary" (?) less privileged types in some of the sports - BMX for example? - and tai quondo (i think it was....)

but "modern pentathlon".
euphemism for "posh kids pentathlon" i thought.

(btw watched only cos i was away on holiday and ill.... but did enjoy more than I'd have expected...)