The two little piglets had, in fact, grown and decided they wanted a bit of human companionship Photo / 123rf
I think it’s actors who always say you should never work with animals or children.
I know from personal experience of the newspaper game it’s something of the opposite.
A well-chosen picture of a
fluffy little kitten doing something super-cute on the front page was always likely to jiggle some loose change free from the depths of a pocket at the dairy.
Likewise, a photo of Little Johnny doing, well, just about anything from picking his nose to singing in the school choir would elicit the purchase of 10 extra copies from a proud mum or dad, nana or granddad.
Recently, I discovered, apart from actors, electricians don’t like working with kids or animals either. Or at least one I’ve met doesn’t.
Let me explain.
As I’m sure you recall, my day job occasionally takes me to some places my old West Coast mates would describe as “deep in the wop wops”.
I’d been to this place probably some 18 months or two years ago and it is, literally, the back of beyond down country. But it is a pleasant drive leading to a spectacular setting, which I’ll try and do my best to explain to you.
Basically, the main farmhouse is perched atop this conical-shaped hill. The driveway winds its way up and around the hill from the bottom — obviously. Partway up the driveway is a workshop with a small cottage attached to it.
From the top of the hill you can see for miles around and, most importantly, you can peer down to the workshop and cottage, which is basically only a couple of hundred yards away as the crow flies. This is important to remember.
So. There I am driving up to the top house and I recall on my last visit finding two tiny pigs asleep on a dog bed in the sun.
My arrival woke them and they came over to check things out. For the next hour or so I was shadowed by the two little porkers who were, quite frankly, more like inquisitive puppies than anything.
This time round I’m wandering around the house and the pigs are nowhere to be seen.
Inquiries reveal the two piglets had, in fact, grown to such a size that better living arrangements were needed.
As a result, a bit of land down below and partway up the driveway was cordoned off and a nice little structure was built complete with appropriate bedding and presumably a Netflix subscription.
By all accounts they seldom ventured far from their new palace unless, I was told, they felt like a bit of human companionship.
Now it turns out that on the day I visited, an electrician was also making the long trip out from his usual base in town. His required duties included checking something or other at the workshop.
As I drove up to the top of the hill I passed his van, so I knew he was there. Somewhere.
And so did the pigs.
What I didn’t know was that not long after he’d arrived, the pigs had decided today was the day to have some human contact. And they wanted the electrician to be their new friend.
How they got out I’m not sure. Maybe they started a tunnel as soon as they got into their new place. Who knows? But get out they did.
And they made a beeline for the workshop across the driveway where an electrician, shall we say more used to the domestic dogs, cats and goldfish of suburban houses, was suddenly confronted by two massive pigs who wanted to share some love.
While this was occurring, I happened to be wandering around the house up top. As I came round the corner I could see the workshop below. That’s when I heard the noise.
I stopped in my tracks — as you do. Was that a cry for help?
There it was again. And it was coming from the workshop.
I have to say I didn’t think anyone was being murdered or anything like that. I recall building a wall some years ago with concrete blocks and having to yell for help from Mrs P as some of the concrete infill started to push it over as I held it up on the other side. The cry was like that. But there was just enough urgency in it to warrant investigation.
Quickly, I jumped back in my car and raced back down the hill. I’m pleased I did.
Rushing into the workshop, I found a terrified town sparky crouching atop a small mobile workbench as two enormous pigs circled below like sharks.
Naturally, I took command of the situation (well, to be honest, firstly I roared with laughter) and herded the two beasties back across the driveway to their own place of residence. They seemed happy with the interaction, which involved a couple of pats on the back and telling them they were “good boys”.
I may have even heard them laughing.
Back inside, the sparky was a bit frazzled but really just wanted to get finished and back on the road.
I bade him farewell and made my way out to the main road where I eventually stopped for a coffee.
Lo and behold, not 10 minutes after I stopped the sparky pulls in.
A bit calmer by then but still rattled, he thanked me for my intervention. It turned out he’d basically done what he’d needed to do and was literally just heading for the door when the two pigs came trotting in.
He’d panicked, which seemed to agitate them a bit, and had just looked for the highest point he could get to in one bound. Thus he’d ended up atop the bench.
He’d been yelling for help at the top of his lungs for about 10 minutes before I got to him.
So that’s why this particular electrician doesn’t want to work with animals. “But what about kids?” I hear you say. “Where are the children in this story?”
Apparently, after I’d left and he was just getting in his van, the occupant of the cottage — a lady with a baby in her arms — emerged from inside and she was, er, shall we say “emotional” and had given him an absolute rocket for making so much noise.
It seems she’d had a terrible night, had just got the baby off to sleep and then all his yelling had woken the wee thing up again.