The truth is, dear reader, I'm not awfully fond of people who don't like animals.
|Rex Harrison as Dr Doolittle|
But there is one animal that is anathema to me. She is, in fact, my nemesis. And her name is Francis Bacon. She is a pig. And I don't mean that perjoratively. She is literally a pig. A big, fat, grumpy pig that grunts and lives in my best friend Lucy's kitchen.
|Francis Bacon, photo credit: Lucy Dahl|
Lucy made me lunch today. It's a sweltering day in Los Angeles, 100°F (38°C), which makes impossible to get into a car without first turning on the air conditioning and swathing one's seat with a towel. Lucy's house is big and dark and cool and airy, with lovely thick walls and cold, wood floors. She'd opened all the doors to let the air circulate and we found refuge in the kitchen to catch up after a summer apart.
Francis didn't notice me at first (did I mention that she is partially blind?) but as soon as she caught my scent, she stamped her trotter, squealed indignantly and rushed at me, her teeth aimed at my calf. As her snout was covered in dirt (she'd no doubt been practising her truffling skills in the garden), I had a large round mark on my leg. "Your pig tried to bite me" I said. Lucy laughed, looked down at my leg and said "Oh dear." Being the Alpha Femme in the house, Lucy put on her deepest, strictest voice and said "Out, Francis. Out." Francis all but ignored her. "I know" she said, brightly. "I'll put myself between you and her, you know, like a Switzerland."
The theory is that pigs like a social hierarchy and they don't like that hierarchy disturbed. It makes them antagonistic. Normal visitors, apparently (or maybe Lucy said this to make me feel better) don't bother the pig. It's only people she knows Lucy loves. Like me. Great. A pig is jealous of me.
With Lucy between us, the pig and I glared at each other.For better or for worse,A pig is a pig,and ever moreshall be it so.
Had I been better prepared, I would have brought with me a pig board, pictured below, to protect myself.
|a pig board|
Because you need armour of some kind when a 300 lb animal with a bone to pick decides to charge you. And they're remarkably agile for their size. Those little trotters work with surprising alacrity. A veritable whirl of pinkness.
|Photo credit: Lucy Dahl|
Here, just in case there is any doubt, are Francis' teeth.
|Lucy: 'I told her "Bum wants a photo of you" and that is what she gave me (you!)'|
Lucy told me what she thought was a charming story, about Francis being locked in the garage with the barbecue charcoal, which she rolled around in until she took on a perfect shade of black. When they found her, it seemed she might be dead, poisoned by the carcinogenic coals. "Thank God, she was only sleeping" said my friend. "Gosh, that MUST have been a relief" I said, with the most sympathy I could muster.
|Photo credit: Lucy Dahl|