Friday, 5 November 2010

In which I say goodbye to the pig

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Very hard to write anything that makes sense since I am about to drive five hundred miles south. I used to scoot up and down the motorway as if I were driving to the corner shop. There were days when I so loved a road trip that I once drove from Los Angeles to Seattle and back all by myself, thinking of Jack Kerouac the whole way. Now I am not so hardy. There is packing and repacking; projected terror of vital things forgotten; sudden last minute panics. It is as if I am going to Ulan Bator rather than my lovely cousin in Gloucestershire.

On days like this I wish very hard that I were one of the calm, organised people. Instead, I wander round the house in a mild state of mania, chanting my ancient travelling mantra of: passport, tickets, travellers' cheques, credit card. That is what we always used to say, in the old days, before leaving for the airport. That's how old I am. I miss travellers' cheques. (Remember the thrill of going to the American Express office in somewhere like Rome and signing one of those grand blue pieces of paper and coming out with fistfuls of lire? Now it seems as distant as travelling with a cabin trunk.)

Since I have no coherent thoughts for you, here are some pictures.

The morning was dreich and grey, but even under an angry, low sky, Scotland still has some kind of forlorn beauty:

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Then the sky lightened a bit, and the colours of the beech trees sang out:

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I went to say goodbye to Virginia the pig:

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She has got a new boyfriend, whom we hope will do his duty so that we may have piglets:

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One more for my friend Amber, because her mother tells me she is quite enchanted by all things porcine:

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The furze was looking rather splendid:

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And I paused, as always, to admire the sculptural beauty of the tree bark:

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The amazing hydrangea has gone the colour of old books:

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And there is one last leaf on the salix:

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Whose elegant bare branches now look like this:

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The sedum will be over by the time I get back, but it has been magnificent this year:

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The little eucalyptus came back from the dead this summer, and I hope it will survive the frosts to come:

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The lingering rowan berries, with artistic raindrop:

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A fallen pine branch:

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A magical spider's web:

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And the best for last, although I am ashamed to admit this wrenches my heart. They are not coming with this year, and since they saw the suitcases come out they have been giving me these looks:

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Can you practically hear the sound of plaintive violins? In fact they are going to have a perfectly splendid time with my mother and the inordinately kind stepfather. All the same, I shall feel like twenty different kinds of heel as I drive off tomorrow without them. See what I mean about being stranded on Dog Island with no chance of a ferry home?


  1. My sentiments exactly about travel, travelers checks, and saying goodbye to the dog. What happened to the jet setter in me?

  2. Horrors! I thought you meant the pig had died!! Am v. glad this is not the case. Isn't her boyfriend magnificent?

  3. Wonderful pictures, it's amazing you can still find so much colour so late in the autumn. Hope you will have a very pleasant trip.

  4. What lovely photos. Enjoy your trip.

  5. Darling - have a lovely time away. The girls will be so happy to see you when you come back, its always just that initial pang of "maybe I should just stay at home with them because....".

  6. My feelings exactly about the travel mantra! old I know.

    The dogs somehow they know when the suitcases come out. Sad

  7. Is Virginia a Pietrain? It's hard to tell in your lovely photos, and I do know that the desire to identify a pig's breed is a combination of obsessive and intrusive, but my thirst for understanding is limitless. Have a lovely trip and try not to worry about the dogs.

  8. Oh that was a lovely Autumnal walk. Thank you.

  9. Julie Anne - so glad I am not the only one who has mislaid the inner jet setter.

    Alex - sorry to alarm you but glad you like the BF.

    Oana - the colour really has been amazing this year, the best I can remember.

    Spangle - thank you so much.

    Colby - so understand about the limitless quest for understanding. Virge is in fact a Gloucester Old Spot, although there is a naughty rumour that she has a tiny bit of WILD BOAR in her somewhere. Her last litter of piglets were very boarish in the most adorable way.

    So Lovely - so glad you understand about the pang.

    Mystica - amazing about the dogs and suitcases. Although I have reports from my mother that they are now happy as clams.

    Lou - thank you; so glad you enjoyed it.

    Glory - first prize for pithiest comment ever. Made me laugh.

    Lovely comments; thank you all.


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