Can pigs swim? I dunno, but we nearly found out today.
We've finally paid the price of feeling a bit smug about the relatively kind weather this November here in the far North.
Pig "farmer" and wife were on Mainland last night and it hammered it down with real ferocity. With a couple of pints of Scapa Special and a homemade pizza on board, a cosy bed and a good book, I didn't really give it much thought.
Then, as I blearily made my way onto the 7.20am ferry back to Westray I had a call. "Malc, we're flooded out," said my stepson Pat, never one to understate a case. I feared the worst when he met me at the boat (he and Sal are heading south for a couple of weeks) and handed me a pair of wellies.
Sure enough, we weren't flooded out, but it was bloody wet. Loch Steenyha' had formed in the top field (one of the highest points on the farm), pouring water into a delta near the pigshed, which in turn sent a steady flow down past the barn onto the lane towards the main road and - in the long run - the Atlantic.
After a quick coffee and a think, I checked the horses and the pigs in the shed before having a quick look out to the back where Molly and Little Kim are lodged. Molly was up to her shoulders in mud as she sent frantic "breakfast" signals in my direction while Little Kim was peering out of a hut which appeared to have developed a moat overnight.
I gathered feed bucket, dry bedding and a trenching shovel and having checked the insides of the huts were dry I set about digging a few small drainage channels to move the water away. Not having thought it through, I quickly found myself up to my ankles and being reminded that the stitching on the side of my left boot has given way.
I squelched back through the Rio Steeny, gave extra helpings of hay to the horses who were not at all happy to find themselves confined to quarters, and went in to steam gently in front of the fire.
I could be worse. We could be in Workington.