Sunday, 30 August 2009

What? Already?

There was a large pool of watery mud where no pool of watery mud should have been. What had been hard, dry ground only 24 hours earlier was now the kind of brown sludge they put on the roast dinners at my old school*.

Chas and Dave**, the two Saddleback porkers, looked like rugby league players from the depths of a 1960s winter. The pool in question just happened to be inside their hut.

"@%£^," I said. Loudly.

"@%£^ing hell. It's not even September yet."

A glorious summer in Orkney has given way to spell of unsettled weather. Unsettled is something the weather in the Northern Isles does exceptionally well and this week has involved some warm sunshine, heavy showers, strong winds from the west, north, then west again, more sunshine, lots more rain and a bit more wind from the west. . . and the north.

One night's rain had churned up Chas and Dave's paddock quite impressively. I had anticipated this and we had dug a trench around their hut and filled it with rubble and chips (that's gravel to you in England).

The drain had failed to work spectacularly mainly because Chas and Dave had dug it up, spreading the rubble far and wide. . . the little scamps.

So. I put enough food down to keep the boys occupied for 20 minutes or so, ducked inside the hut and, bent double, started to shovel mud out. It didn't make a massive difference, but it was a start. Two barrows of sand and chips went in, followed by the wooden base of an old bed I use as a temporary barrier here and there.

I bunged in a whole bale of straw and, for the next hour, watched as the lads helpfully spread it all around the paddock. Idiots.

They spent a chilly night in the hut, but seemed none the worse when I arrived, feed bucket in hand, at what I now think of as The Baseball Ground*** the next morning. I peered inside the hut and it was a mess. The bed was in danger of sinking and a move into the main pigshed was a must for the boys. The hut was due a concrete base.

Mrs Pig "Farmer" was - at 11am - still in dressing gown and jammies as she pottered around the kitchen, singing along to Al Green.

"I'm tired of being alone with these pigs. You ought to be with me," I might have said.

"Oh me, oh my. Just let me get some clothes on," Sal might have replied.

Now Sal's never been too confident with the pigs, but she was a star, tempting two lively young boars with the feed bucket from paddock to pigshed in a matter of minutes while I played backstop.

"Look What You Done For Me," I should have said.

* A lower/middle-ranking private school whose motto was Aut Vincere Aut Mori - either to conquer or to die. Jeez!

** They don't "oink", they "gertcha".

*** Derby County FC's Baseball Ground was a notorious mudheap in the 1970s. There was barely a blade of grass on the pitch come mid-November. Funnily enough, Derby were champions twice in the early 70s and never came close before or since.


Jimmy Bastard said...

Who could ever forget the tough little Glaswegian, Archie Gemmill?

Cloughie knew a real bargain when he saw one.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

All these asterisks and explanatory notes are doing my head in! Just get on with the concrete floor or the Westray branch of the RSPCA will be giving you a visit after receiving an "anonymous" tip off! By the way, I just noticed my Word Verification for this comment is "pigna"!

Dave said...

Can we have another footnote, please, explaining why Derby should have called their ground after an American sport?

Rog said...

Here I am Come and Take Me.

You should have said.

I, Like The View said...

does anyone live in the small building towards the top of your photo? can I please?

zIggI said...

I need to borrow 1/2 dozen sheep please?!

Malc said...


Welcome back. Archie's goal against Holland is one of the greats. For me Dave McKay was the embodiment of Derby, first as nut-hard centre-back, then as manager.


Sorry, but stuff needs explaining sometimes.
I suspect the nearest branch of the SSPCA is in Aberdeen.


There's a good reason which I ought to remember, having worked on the sports desk of the Derby Evening Telegraph many years ago. Bear with me.


Maybe I did. . .


It's the old boathouse on Faray. The corrugated iron is rotten, the joists rottener. I don't recommend it!


I don't have any myself, but a friend in Okehampton could help. What's up?