Listening to: Riverflow (The Levellers)
Marcus is at the front door with bad news.
"Someone's complained about your pigs. I've heard you've been reported for animal cruelty."
I stand, open-mouthed, wondering if this is a joke, but Marcus is deadly serious.
"Who, what, when, how?" I splutter.
"I don't know, but I was told last night and I thought you should hear it. I'm sure it's nobody from the island because there's nothing wrong with the pigs and people here would know that."
I can feel the rage rising, almost choking my words. The paddocks in the bottom field are wet and muddy, but the pig shelters are dry and there's fresh bedding every day. The pigs are fed and watered twice a day and get their fair share of ear-scratches and back rubs.
"Are you sure there's nothing wrong," I ask, confidence crumbling.
"No, you're looking after them fine. Just wait for the inspector to get in touch and deal with it then. It'll be all right."
Marcus leaves and I try to keep a lid on my feelings. I can't remember being so angry. I'm hurt, uncertain and a bit paranoid.
A call to Sal calms me a little and I decide to meet the problem head on. I phone Animal Health in Inverurie, The SSPCA and the environmental health department at the council. All are pleased to hear from me, but none have heard even a whisper of complaint. The whole business takes about three hours.
Mystified, I go and adjust the paddocks in the bottom field - no harm in giving everyone there a bit more space. Then I go to reassure Marcus, who had looked worried at being the bearer of bad tidings.
I suppose I'll never work out what happened and, a few days later, I'm not worried. Chinese whispers maybe, someone getting the wrong end of the stick. It's probably wise to treat it as a kick up the backside, something to keep me on my toes and prevent me from getting complacent.
POSTSCRIPT: I don't want anyone to get the impression that this was anything other than a temporary upset. I'm now absolutely convinced it's a misunderstanding and the number of people on and off Westray who have heard about it and said nice things since has been heart-warming. Thanks.