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This article is taken from PN Review 74, Volume 16 Number 6, July - August 1990.

Concerning Pigs Julia Blackburn

I loved pigs because the people in that area loved pigs, and it made it possible to talk, to discuss things. I remember walking with a pig along the track that led to our house and meeting an old couple who had once both worked on this land which was now so empty and silent. They were amazed, they said, at seeing someone walking with a pig as if it were a dog, quite amazed. I asked them if they had ever walked their pigs, and the woman said, oh yes, often, long ago, sometimes with a lead. The Tamworth Reds, their skin the colour of ochre and their noses curiously sharp, they were the most obedient, she said, you could get very fond of a Tamworth Red. There was one in particular which she had to put in the oven to keep it warm at night because it was the last of the litter and not strong.

A pig among the apple trees at the end of the garden always made me think of a fat uncle who had shaken off all his clothes and was now running pink and naked through the green grass, jumping with a stiff ungainly joy, shouting for joy with his nose pushed deep into the earth; chewing up worms and spitting out pebbles.

Not that I ever had such an uncle, I had very few, and all three of them believed in being self-contained and fully-clothed. There was ...


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