Posts Tagged ‘pig’

The Real Tamworth One

March 29, 2015

Back at Christmas time I commented on a coaster my wife was given – a coaster which featured a Tamworth sow. I told a little of the story of the Tamworth sow we had kept for a work colleague of mine – a chap who had to go for cancer surgery.

It was not an easy pig for us to keep. This young girl proved adept at high jump and she could easily vault out of our pigsty, even when I added an extra layer of blocks to the wall. She was also a powerful weight lifter and could happily lift heavy steel gates off their hinges and lay them down flat before setting off for escapades around our village.

Back when I wrote about her, I had really quite forgotten just how long ago it had been since our time with the Tamworth one, but I was recently looking through photos for something else and came across pictures of her. It was 1990 which, it scares me to think, is now 25 years ago.


And there she is, with me offering her some food. By this time I had learned that an electric fence was the only way I could keep her in. Our Tamworth was tamed by one electric shock and then knew to keep her distance from the netting. She settled down to doing what pigs do, which is to be a kind of living plough, rooting through the soil. Lest anyone worries, she had a pig ark to offer shelter from wind and rain. Being solo probably wasn’t so good and she loved human company. Yes, she was quite cute when she wasn’t escaping and terrorising the village.

The Tamworth One

December 28, 2014

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.


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.



A pig in a park

August 27, 2014

No, I don’t mean a poke this time. I have done a blog called a pig in a poke and that was about the house we bought getting on for forty years ago and which we still live in.

Actually, that house came equipped with pig sties and I have been a pig keeper. I know enough to be wary, for pigs have sharp teeth but I also know enough to be friendly with pigs and to expect friendship in return.

We had a day visiting friends who took us for a walk in Stowe Park, near Buckingham. They had been before and warned us we might meet ‘the mad pig of Stowe’ as they dubbed it.

We certainly didn’t meet a mad pig for what we met was a sleeping pig. In fact it’s hard to say you really met a sleeping pig for it barely batted an eyelid for us.

The pig may be the only representative of its species in the field, but it has plenty of sheep for company.


And being on a tourist attraction pig probably can enjoy the company of humans – when not overcome by sleep.

The pig, large in size and black in colour, so possibly of the large black breed, had a pig sized hollow in which it had settled down so that the wind could whistle above it.  It was so asleep that some of our party thought it was dead – but I could see the chest going up and down.


What a beauty – but beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. I suspect most would say this beast had an ugly face.


The poor thing was troubled by flies, but it didn’t seem too bothered.

What a lovely animal, although I’d definitely be very wary of those teeth!

A Card to Great Great Granny

February 24, 2013

Well, what a strange card this is.


We appear to have a barn yard with, amongst others, top hatted and newspaper reading babies hatching from giant hens’ eggs. This card was sent to my great great grandmother, Helen Stevens, in 1904


I find it interesting that the address could just be a person’s name and a village.

Unfortunately, the sender hasn’t signed it so I’m guessing just a bit.


The message reads, ‘We will be over next Friday night am going to kill the pig on Wednesday will bring you it ??? bone’. I’m not sure which bone was on its way to Helen.

There is evidence here to this being sent by my Great Aunt Nellie. She’d have been Helen Stevens’ granddaughter. Nellie and her husband, Frank, always kept a pig. Indeed, I’m told that in my early childhood our Christmas dinner was based around a bit of Aunt Nellie’s pig. She lived in Firle and that would have got a Lewes postmark. But in 1904 she wasn’t married, was in service and could hardly have kept a pig and, in any case, the handwriting is all wrong.

That handwriting, and the lack of punctuation and grammar, make me think this was sent by Sarah Ann Stevens, my great grandmother, and daughter in law of Helen.  Now I didn’t know that she and great grandfather George kept a pig.

They lived at Ringmer which does seem to be the initial postmark so it all ties in. Even the picture on the card ties in, for Great Granny called my grandmother her little china chick. I believe Granny was staying with her granny, Helen, at this time.

So, another lovely snippet of family history.