Friday, 30 July 2010

Anniversary

Three years ago, pretty much to the day, a worn out sports reporter from the West Midlands stumbled his way onto a croft on the island of Westray, carrying some vague (VERY vague) ideas of making a better way of life.

I look back at that man and wonder what the hell he was thinking.

Still, more by luck than good judgement, I'm doing all right. The derelict, unloved farm we bought is now semi-derelict and much-loved. The Stoneyhall herd of Saddleback pigs is registered with the British Pig Association, my two big girls Molly and Kim continue to produce prime porkers, while Kim's daughter, Little Kim, is expecting to farrow for the first time on September 3, the day war broke out (and my parents' wedding anniversary, as it happens).

Westray Pork is available on a regular basis at Dounby Butchers on Orkney Mainland.
We've got chickens and ducks too - and before winter we'll have a decent roof on the house and maybe even a second bedroom.

So, late/early on this Friday morning with Arnold Layne seeping from the speakers, the pig farmer watches the light struggle to heave its way into the sky, and he's a happy man.

This has been no escape to "The Good Life". We're not the Tom and Barbara that I suspect may folk south who know us believe. I'm still the grumpy old cynic and I'd rather be a real farmer than a hippy, while the whole thing would never have worked had Sally not been happy (so she assures me) to carry on her career.

Nevertheless, there'll be pork in the freezer this winter, with tatties, swede, cabbage, carrots and leeks to go with it. I'm really quite proud of what we've achieved so far.

My great grandfather James Bews left a small Orkney farm in 1879 to seek his fortune in England. I can't help but wonder what he would have made of my occasionally ludicrous attempts at farming. I can only hope he would understand that I've finally found a place where I feel truly at home and where I plan to spend the rest of my days.

Incidentally: Kim is very much better, almost frisky by her standards. The ankle problem disappeared as quick as you could say "trip to abattoir". Quite who's fooling who I'm not sure, but the Wolf-pig will sort it out when he comes here next month.

Incidentally 2: I'm not suggesting that my parents' wedding had anything to do with Hitler's decision to invade Poland. . . that was more the result of an unwise bet at my great uncle Heinrich's 20th birthday party - we'll never hear the end of that.

10 comments:

moreidlethoughts said...

Happy anniversary to you and Sal(and your "extended family.")

The Learner Gardener said...

Happy Anniversary :-) We've loved reading about you and the Stoneyhill pigs. Your final sentence is so true for us too "I've finally found a place where I feel truly at home and where I plan to spend the rest of my days".

As a regular customer, through Dounby Butchers, 'you're getting it right'.

Arabella said...

Lang mae yer lum reek.

Zig said...

3 years! It's gone quickly from this side, well done and thank you, it's been nearly as much fun reading about it.

Rog said...

Well done Malc. James Bews sounds like a Likely Lad. (along with Rodney Bolam of course)

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Congratulations on "surviving" up there for three years. I really do think it's marvellous - to have not only had the dream but to have pursued it. What is life for?

The Birdwatcher said...

Happy Anniversary and hope you have many more. Wish I had the courage to do something like this.

Have you heard from Reg at all?

allyclaret said...

Hey there. Congrats on surviving! Just about to embark on pretty much the same journey from the West Mids to a "shed" on Orkney so we shall be giving you a bell soon for some piggy type assistance...

Frith said...

Congratulations Malcolm! What a great change of course to make.

elizabethm said...

Our move from Manchester to Wales wasn't quite as dramatic as yours, though quite dramatic enough when I am trudging round the field in the rain. I think you sound to have got it just about right for you and yours.