The Tamworth One

A little Christmas present arrived – I believe from a lady my wife sometimes gives a lift to on their way to the Community Choir. It’s a gift that kindled a memory for me, being a coaster with a picture of a Tamworth sow.

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Now some folks, particularly readers in our home country, the UK, will remember tales of the Tamworth Two. This duo of pretty porkies decided the slaughterhouse was not the place for them and they escaped and proved hard to recapture as they roamed an area on the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire border. After a fortnight or so they were recaptured, but by this time the rights to their story had been bought by a newspaper so they escaped the slaughterhouse. Instead of becoming sausages in 1998, they lived until 2010/2011 at a rare breeds centre.

We suffered from having the Tamworth One before this event.

I worked at a school that taught agriculture and had facilities for pigs. Our agriculture teacher was offered a Tamworth sow and I could see he was minded to accept but there was a snag. He had just been diagnosed with cancer and was about to have surgery. (For the record he is alive and kicking as I write this some twenty years on.)

Now I had pigsties at home and had kept pigs. So I said we could keep Tammy until he was fit and ready to take her on.

She was delivered to our pigsty and our troubles began.

Tammy was a high jumper and promptly leapt out of the sty. I added another row of concrete blocks on top of the wall. Tammy liked a challenge and soon learned how to clear this higher hurdle.

But Tammy wasn’t just interested in getting into the field. I don’t know if Tammy had met metal field gates before but if not she was a quick learner. Once out of the sty, Tammy could put her nose under the gate at the hinge end and lift it off said hinges so that it fell over. Tammy was free to explore our village.

We were soon used to the phone ringing – in fact we learned to dread it.

‘Your pig is in our garden!’
‘I’ve just been frightened by a pig on the stream path. I’m told it is probably yours!’
‘Your pig has been in my garden and eaten all my beetroots!’

These were some of the calls we had and on each occasion we had to head off with bucket of pig nuts and sheets of tin (they help to guide an escaped pig) so that we could lead Tammy back home.

We sought advice and were informed that an electric fence would keep her in so she moved quarters to a spot in the field where there was an old and quite immovable pig ark and we surrounded her with sheep netting and set the old ticker unit going.

Poor Tammy obviously took a shock and for quite a while she avoided going anywhere near the fence but she settled in and thoroughly ploughed up the patch she was on.

But I can tell you, we were mightily relieved when our agriculture teacher recovered and returned to work and Tammy could be transferred to the school facilities.

 

 

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