Monday, 2 January 2012

Petronella And Me, A Love Story.

She looked at me through soft, appealing eyes, and I made the stupid mistake of returning her gaze. We had only just been introduced, but I knew instantly, the moment her eyes looked into mine from beneath those exquisite eyelashes, that we had made a connection. I would go so far as to say that I fell in love with her at first sight.

Me a married man too. I really should have known better. My poor long suffering wife! As if she did not have enough to put up with. Now this!

Believe me please when I tell you that I fought against it. Inside my head I was saying to myself, no, no, this is wrong. But, weak, unutterably foolish man that I am, I buckled. I gave in.

She was enchantingly beautiful. I had to have her. That is my only excuse. That very night, our first night together, I slept with her!

It was silly to sleep with her, I know that now, but she was such a tiny little piglet, the real runt of the litter, and I just didn't have the heart to leave her on her own. She was, after all, used to sleeping snuggled up with her siblings. Besides, there was plenty of room in her new sty, and the straw bedding was really most comfortable. To be honest, I had slept in worse places in my time, and with less agreeable companions!

That is how Petronella Pig came into my life. Luckily my wife was to fall under Petronella's spell also. Almost everyone did. Especially in her younger days. Piglets really are most adorable creatures. They certainly deserve a lot better than the hell hole I took her from!

Initially, I had gone to the farm that morning to look at a pickup truck which was for sale, and after declining to buy what turned out to be a bucket of rust, I could not resist a look into the pig pens.

It was heartbreaking to see these animals, especially the breeding sows, penned up, without even the room to turn around! Things have improved lately, I believe, but it will never be properly better until all farm animals have the freedom to express themselves with natural behaviour. I am not a vegetarian. This is just my opinion. But I am digressing.

The piglet I picked up was very small and thin. She had been given a chance, but was not, according to the pigman, progressing. She was very quiet as I held her, which was in sharp contrast to the others around me.

"What will happen to her?" I asked.

"I'll kill it today."

"Killed! No! Don't kill her! Can I have her?"  I heard myself saying. "I'll give you twenty quid for her."

He was tempted, I could see that. "I could get sacked if I sold it to you," he said, eyeing up the two ten pound notes I was holding.

"I won't tell anyone, don't worry about that," I told him.

He looked about, furtively. Then taking the money from my hand, he began to walk off, "I'm not looking," he said.

So I stole the pig, and away did run!

She progressed just fine, once she had the opportunity to eat properly, and without being bullied by her brothers and sisters. In fact, she became the biggest sow I had ever seen, certainly living up to her breed name of  'Large White'. Blimey! She could eat. Nearly ate us out of house and home!

I never learnt my lesson though. Years later I bought Bluebell and Snowdrop, two Gloucester Old Spot pigs.

Never could resist a pretty face!


  1. PLEEEEEAAAAAASE tell me that your girls never became bacon sandwiches!!
    Pigs are as intelligent as the average dog...they are clean and affectionate creatures. I love them (which is why I don't eat them).
    Jane x

  2. Bluebell and Snowdrop are still going strong, and living a natural pig life. x

  3. Oink Oink have been nominated for an award. Cheers Maa

  4. I like your painting, very vibrant. Does it celebrate New Year ? I have a canvas and some acrilics bought for me a while ago. I want to paint whats in my head but I am afraid it wont come out right. I hope I pluck up the courage to try soon.

  5. Oh yes they have the cutest faces I can see how you were smitten. You still make me laugh. B

  6. Eileen: The painting is my impression of the London fireworks on New Years Eve. I'm glad you like it. Don't be afraid to try. Just go for it and enjoy! They are only paints. Acrylics dry very fast. You might want to try quick drying oilpaints which give you a bit more time. Apologies if you already know this.

  7. you are a hero to pigs everywhere :)

  8. A great blog, John! You certainly had me going at the start! I see why you could not resist Petronella! It's great that you had such an understanding wife!

  9. What a lovely name for your love. I have found pigs to be interesting. They have good personalities.

  10. And so what happened to the beautiful Petronella?

  11. Animals have a raw deal, don't they? I'm glad you rescued Petronella from certain death.

  12. diane b: Petronella eventually went to live with a family on their small holding, with the promise that she would live out her natural lifespan. There are a lot of soft hearted folk around. Even in the farming community.

  13. Thanks for your reply John. I didnt know about the quick drying oil paints so they may be on a shopping list for the future. For now I must just use what I have as I have a no spend policy at the moment (Christmas recovery time).

    A few years ago I met an old lady who used to be my art teacher way back in the 60s. She introduced me to her friend as one of her most promising ex pupils. I have felt guilty ever since as that 'promise' was never developed. Life and the need to earn money intervened. So maybe now is my time to be creative..... watch this space LOL.

  14. So glad it was a pig. Catchy story.

  15. She is, indeed, adorable. what does one do with an adult pig other than ham and bacon. I can deal with that unless the pig has been cuddled and slept with and named. I think I don't want to know, John.