Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.
A couple of weeks ago it was feed-time on the what I like to think of as "the farm". The sun had sunk below the horizon, but there was another half-hour of light left as I trudged out with the bucket to feed the outdoor pigs.
Instead of going through the gate into the field, I climbed over the stile from the vegetable garden, thereby reaching Alfie's paddock first instead of Annie and Tina's. Obviously I put Alf's grub out first - why the hell not?
I'll tell you why not. Annie - a Tamworth and therefore livelier than the average pig - went spare in a way a student might on learning Countdown has been replaced by a Lib-Dem party political broadcast. She bust through the electric fence and, with Tina following in her wake, headed straight for the old fish box that doubles as Alf's trough.
Now Alf may be only seven months old, but he's a well-built lad, knows where everything goes and this was easily the most exciting thing that had happened to him all week. So, as Annie got stuck into his tea, Alf climbed aboard.
Fortunately, by the time the pig farmer had wheezed onto the scene, Alfie's first two attempts to hit the target had been just wide of the mark. There was nothing for it but to drop the shoulder and barge the lad off.
You'd have thought a 15-stone pig farmer thumping into the side of you just as you were about to do the honours would be off-putting. Not to our Alf, it seems. He rallied remarkably well and was lining up another go as, with the help of a plastic fence post prodding her backside and the incentive of the feed bucket in front of her nose, Annie was persuaded back into her paddock.
At that point Alfie turned his sights on the previously unnoticed Tina and learned an important life lesson. As he hoisted himself onto her back, she complained loudly, snapped at him and set off briskly for the other side of the paddock.
Pretty much the reaction you'd expect if you tried it on before the coffee and mints had been served.
Alfie hurried off in pursuit. Tina started running, Alfie following with the pig farmer - doing his best to put dodgy knees, heart and blood pressure issues out of his mind - trailing in the bronze medal position.
With a little diagonal running, I hoped to head off Tina and divert her back into the paddock where Annie was still scoffing away and then hold Amorous Alf at bay while reinstating the electric fence - how hard could that be?
Ten minutes later all that was missing was the Benny Hill music as I gasped for air, Tina kept up an impressive pace and Alfie showed signs of flagging. Making one last desperate attempt, I cut across the paddock, got down as low as is possible for a 49-year-old crock and shoved Tina back in with Annie, hurriedly reconnecting the fence, turning round and tripping over a panting and slobbering Alf to land in what I hoped on descent was mud.