• Emma Bennett

Paradise Found - It's A Piggin' Adventure


I write this taking some quiet time for myself. The birds are secure, we've left the nursery early today. We'd given the dogs a big run this morning very early, and spent the morning talking to a lovely lady..... I'd love to give out all the details but I can't just yet. We went back to the Horse Sanctuary up the road from the nursery and we started to rescue some fencing around a small pen on site. Years of horses rubbing bums against fence posts has rendered some useless and the whole thing was only a few weeks from falling over.

Everything was strengthened, more uprights added. Wire and old pallets were used to make a new and more secure fence for pigs. Yes Pigs! Duchess & Queenie are joining us. They are sisters and are two year old Kune Kune pigs. I had hoped that they would move directly to Wales with us from their previous home, but it's not to be, they needed to go. I arranged to have them so I'll just have to move them. Thankfully the owner of the Sanctuary was more than happy to let me borrow the pen for a short time. Its only going to be for a few weeks hopefully and the pen we had repaired was the perfect size so no added bother, except for going and getting them.

It's amazing just how the list of things we need ramps up, and ramps up quick. We managed to get two other creatures into the back of the Landrover - again I can't mention too much just yet! I don't fancy tipping up at a farm trying to wrestle two fully grown pigs into the boot! So I guess that means we need a trailer. Have you seen how much they cost!! flippin heck!

I must have spent months searching for trailers, I think I've found one, a new one, not TOO much and its on route to collect the pigs.... Now what's the chance that this plan actually works??

So one morning, I set off, sorted the dogs out, fed the animals and then I was off. I drove towards South Wales, my plan being simple. My first stop off was a sheep farmer who was selling trailers, some new some used. I had cash in my pocket and I had to buy a trailer then and there, then set off further south to collect the pigs and a pig ark before bringing everything back North. Simple.

My first issue was I was following the sat nav on my phone and I missed a roundabout which clearly was not a roundabout, so I was then heading off down a different road. Then when my phone tried to reroute me there was no signal. Somehow using the map image I was able to navigate myself, now cross country along tiny and winding country lanes to the farmer.

There were loads to choose from and I had to do pick one that was right for my task of the day in moving pigs but also was going to be useful in the future. Trailers are so expensive so we're only having one and I had to do it without Steve who was busy back home that day. I chose one with all the added optional extras like ramp gates and a spare wheel (just in case) and a deal was done. Trailer hitched, he said 'You driven with a trailer before?' Confidently I obviously said 'Yes, no problem' ,and I was off with an enthuastic wave from the farmers wife who thought I was brave doing all this on my own.

Again I had no signal, and my phone battery was dying fast with no charger on board. I was trying not to use the sat nav, again relaying on quick glimpses of the map when stopped. I realised having never backed up with a trailer on before that it might be worth giving it a go before I got there. I stopped for a toilet break, parking right outside leaving me no option other than to back up round the corner back on to the slip road. Needless to say, feeling refreshed I jumped on board and after a few adjustments I backed that trailer right up, round a corner first time like a pro. I celebrated with a fist bump into the air. Looking around for witnesses and hoping for a crowd standing open mouthed and applauding loudly I was gutted that no one was there to see me get it right.

At 4% battery I made it to the smallholding where the pigs were and only 20 minutes later than planned.

I met the owners of Queenie and Duchess, really nice people who were so fantastic agreeing to let me come get them but had hung on to them as long as they could. Now I wanted these two as they are adult pigs, so can go to work straight away. They aren't piglets who would be needing more care before they would be working for me, and obviously having been really well cared for and experienced lots of human contact I could be sure that I could handle them.

It was interesting getting them into the trailer, a few false starts, and understanding that if the pig won't walk forward, its not walking forward...End of argument. With two pigs loaded (an hour later) it was time to get the pig ark. Now when I got sent the measurements in my mind it was a hell of a lot smaller but looking at it now it seemed massive. I couldn't see any way it would fit up onto the roof rack. The chap there seemed to have a plan though. The ark was rolled over and simply rolled up onto the top of the Landrover. It fitted..just, with only an inch or two to spare at each end. At this point I questioned my sanity driving back home with this pig house on the roof..... but it was there so I figured I better get it strapped down...and tightly.

Three straps later, a brew on its way to me and a damn good push and shove to test the straps and the pig ark was going nowhere. Thankfully. It looked bloody ridiculous frankly standing about 4 feet high. I was trying to remember if I had passed under any low bridges on my way here because I didn't fancy getting wedged under one on the way home. But then again, sitting on top of a Landrover it did look bloody impressive. A quick sit inside, brew drunk. Stories of the pigs when they were younger helped me get to know the personalities of my new animal friends and I also had a good look around their little cottage which was beautiful, I set off. Hearing them saying it was sad the pigs were leaving I knew I had the right ladies.

I can only say I was massively thankful that the roads were not busy. I'd been able to charge my phone whilst drinking my tea, if your reading this, that was so helpful to me so Thank you again! I pulled over a few times letting some traffic pass, I wasn't exactly driving that fast and regularly developed quite a tail.

People stared at me in disbelief as I drove past, I needed fuel, and the lady attendant laughed at me saying the car and what I was doing was fantastic. Really I think she looked at me and thought I was mental. Car fuelled and a new car charger bought I thought I was on the home straight and all my issues were over.

The ladies seemed to not be bothered by the journey thankfully and were very peaceful in the trailer. Soon it got dark, big grey clouds loomed where I was going. Then it rained, and then it lashed it down. Roads became rivers, hail came down, then in the distance lightening. And there was me driving with a bloody metal ark standing 4ft over the car! Quickly in my head I was working out whether me or the pigs would get fried it we got hit.....

The traffic slowed, some roads were ponds and rivers and I could hardly see where I was going. Thankfully we just kept going, nice and steady and we avoided any hair raising moments, I had mentally prepared myself for a bolt from above, just in case.

I arrived home, later than thought, Steve was there to film me driving down the lane, he laughed as I knew he would. The ladies were settled into their new temporary home. I've instantly fallen for them. They talk to you, Duchess is very loud and I find myself talking back resisting the urge to kiss those noses.


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