So now we have a herd, not a pair, of Oxford Sandy & Blacks. The reason we’ve acquired another member of the boys’ litter is partly due to finding this breed rather moreish and partly down to feeling the need to slightly increase our scale of pigkeeping lest we become too attached the individuals concerned (of course, both these reasons are linked). We needn’t have feared the later entry wouldn’t be accepted. As soon as we released him from the dog crate (which he managed to force open several times on our way back to the Smallholdings!) and introduced him to the others over a feeder full of pig nuts, the trio of brothers were thick as thieves. The following morning, I snuck down to see how the incomer was faring in the ark and felt suitably reassured.
They’re proving even more entertaining now there’s a third porcine character in on the act. James has held the fort over the past week, as I was in Mull with my sister Kate to do a CL feature and also have some holiday. My phone seemed to enjoy the break on this stunningly beautiful island, too, and refused to pick up Wi-Fi, which meant not being able to blog or Tweet while away – no bad thing, I guess. It was a truly slow, restorative few days away with a kindred spirit, taking in the special landscape and character of this wild place.
Of course, I spoke to James every day who kept me up to speed with porcine and poultry news, including a particularly odd tale of going down to feed the Oxford Sandy & Blacks one night and discovering one of them chewing on a stick, which was hanging out of its mouth like a cigar, another climbing on top of a bale in the house and number three tearing a load of straw apart on the floor and throwing it about in the air. James didn’t have a camera on him at the time, but below is another picture showing their sense of adventure.
We returned from our Scottish mini-break on Tuesday evening and, after a Country Living day out of the office yesterday, am at CL HQ today catching up with work, including editing copy for our Christmas issue and reading proofs for November – we always work a season ahead (with shoots and features often being written a whole year in advance), which takes a little getting used to again after a holiday. Feeding the ever-appreciative pigs and making a fuss of Audrey and Margot always makes a great start to the working day, though.