Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Tea for two

You do forget how small they were, the piglets when they arrived were tiny compared to the massive porkers taken to the abattoir today.

The pic below is taken in the same trailer, they are as tall as the side bar now and not quite so cute as the little piggy pictured above.

It all went like clockwork today. The Stable Sprite rode shotgun as I abused Rene's clutch once more towing a horse box of potential roast dinners to the abattoir. I even found a parking space, always a problem as the small village with the small slaughterhouse gets rather busy as hordes of smallholders descend on a Tuesday with a motley collection of animals ready for the big sleep.
I must admit that I experienced a twang of jealousy as the three smallholder queuing before me all had matching Land Rovers attached to insanely large shiny clinically clean trailers containing two beasts cowering at the far end, spotless wellies and Barbour jackets that were missing the obligatory dog paw prints that my clothing has. Each new arrival meant delay as they messed around with a bewildering amount of paperwork and soon a backlog of impatient smallholders threatened mutiny. Well one did anyway.
There was a new form to fill in, always a nice surprise, this one committed me to disinfecting my vehicle within 24 hours of transporting the animals, failure to do so means a criminal offence. Hurrah for bureaucracy. I handed in the sheaf of papers that allowed me to eat pork for the rest of the year (providing the vet passed the meat as fit) and made encouraging noises at the Stable Sprites reversing skills. He achieved something of a minor celebrity status as he was the only one able to reverse with a trailer and soon he was doing good deeds for the squeaky clean smallholders by maneuvering their vehicles into the right places thus clearing the bottle neck. Meanwhile I chased ill prepared smallholders out of the yard and wished plagues on those that had abandoned their vehicles while they just popped in to the cutting room to give a list of cuts the butchers were to apply to their lickle lamby and wickle piggy. Why they cant sort that out before they hand the hapless beasts over like what I do is beyond me.
Pigs suitably dealt with I went back in a now sterilised Rene, the little green pressure washer got some of the crap off him at least, to fetch the pork.
Stuart the butcher received the carcasses and once again praised the quality, good to hear, and for dinner I had the traditional belly pork slice to sample the goods. Fantastic in a word.
Night fell on Rock HQ. Quieter than last night, no pigs grunting for apples by the front door. There a was a strange sound though, not Bronny, more of a crash, an incomprehensible oath and a dull thud. I opened the front door and the Technohermit fell in. "Oh hello" he sounded quite surprised to see me. I was very surprised to see him as he struggled to his feet. "Cuppa Techno?" we are on first name terms now
"Only if you are having one" he delivered the correct response that initiated The Marches Tea Ceremony, a ritual as old as the drink itself
"The kettles on" I showed him to a chair
"Ah go on then" and so the ceremony continued perfectly right up to the "Got any more milk" a classic variation only known to those who share the hermits postcode
"Too hot for you?" I countered, he nodded, he knew I was an expert at the ceremony and he slurped his tea down approvingly.
The reason for his visit took an hour to establish. After he watched Emmerdale and Eastenders, having dried out in front of the fire he finally broke the silence. "Got any bread?"
He left clutching a frozen loaf, not entirely convinced it would defrost by breakfast time but happy it had only cost him 50p.

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