Dom Joly: Bringing home the bacon
PUBLISHED: 20:41 12 June 2017 | UPDATED: 20:41 12 June 2017
I used to think that Wilbur was greedy. Then I met Francis...
First it was revealed that Wilbur- our ‘rescue pig’ was not, as claimed, a kune-kune, but a Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pig with perhaps a hint of wild boar? He was becoming increasingly grumpy and we were advised that he might be in need a friend, as pigs are very sociable animals? So I found Francis (Bacon) a young and authentic kune-kune living in a commune outside Winchcombe. He was put in a separate pen next to Wilbur so that they could get accustomed to each other.
I have to admit to instantly falling in love with Francis. He is the sweetest and friendliest of pigs. Like all his kind he is mostly keen on food but will, sometimes take two/three minutes out of his day to accommodate a foodless human who wants to give him some attention. I used to think that Wilbur was greedy. Then I met Francis. When food is being brought to him he goes into something of an ecstatic state – something I have only seen in Whirling Dervishes on an island in the Bosporus.
He starts jumping up and down like a Hawker Harrier Jump-Jet with a dodgy engine, emitting a noise that is part man-being-murdered, part the aural embodiment of greed. Twenty seconds in, the whole thing appears to get too much for him and he starts running at the fence repeatedly trying to bash it down so that he can shorten the distance between him and grub. Unable to break the fence he rolls onto his back and starts wiggling his little trotters in the air as if in submission to his own greed. By the time the food is actually placed into his bowl he is physically and emotionally exhausted and drags himself towards the bowl where he eventually collapses while wolfing it all down through the side of his mouth.
Wilbur meanwhile just stares sullenly at this silly little pig. He is also insanely greedy but some inner pig decorum has made him behave with more dignity in front of the new arrival… or so I thought.
The day after Francis arrived I had to go on a business trip to Kuala Lumpur. I felt bad as I really wanted Francis to settle in but Stacey seemed to be rather fond of him already and even Wilbur appeared more subdued. Maybe he was finally happy, I thought to myself as I got into the car to the airport?
Things however are never simple in the world of the pig owner.
I landed in Kuala Lumpur fourteen hours later and checked into my hotel. I was about to head out for some street food when I happened to glance at my phone. There were three urgent messages from home? I panicked. Just before I rang however, I saw that there was also a video message. I pressed ‘Play’.
It was a harassed looking Stacey. Apparently, there had been a terrible noise about an hour after I had left. When she went to investigate, she discovered blood and feathers everywhere – as though a pillow fight had turned fatal. As she turned the corner to pig alley she found Wilbur standing in the middle of the passage. He was staring at her intently. To his side was the decapitated and mutilated body of our beloved cockerel, Alan. Wilbur was nonchalantly chewing slowly on Alan’s bloodied head. Stacey said that the crunching sound was something she would never forget. Meanwhile, Francis was in his enclosure, very still and staring at Wilbur in an entirely different manner.
Clearly Wilbur was trying to Alpha-Male Francis into knowing who was boss pig. Over in Kula Lumpur however, there were different theories. A friend I recounted the tale to felt that Wilbur might have been set up. Had there been any incidents of cockerel killings before Francis arrived? I had to admit that, no, there hadn’t.
“Francis is clearly the killer and is setting Wilbur up to take the rap.” said my friend- a keen Hercule Poirot fan. Until I get home – nothing is clear – except that pig politics are an exceedingly tricky area.
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