CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Dom Joly: The Great Escape

PUBLISHED: 12:55 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:55 14 May 2018

Sir Francis and Stanley: Pictures of innocence

Sir Francis and Stanley: Pictures of innocence

Dom Joly

‘It took me 20 minutes to find the tunnel. They had dug it behind a thick bush, so it was almost invisible’

They’d clearly been planning it for weeks. When I look back, the signs were all there. Stanley would make a weird whistling noise when I approached their quarters and Sir Francis would always have an overly innocent look on his suspiciously muddy face. “What have you been up to?” I’d ask jokingly, unwittingly sending my two pigs into paroxysms of worry. It turns out that they had been planning the great escape and they were not going to be foiled by some pesky human.

I’ve written before about just how intelligent pigs are. People often say that they have the IQ of a seven-year old child. I think it’s more the IQ of a 16-year old child and with the corresponding attitude. They want you to feed them and buy them things they like, but apart from that they want to you to leave them alone because you are “sooooooooo embarrassing and soooooooo stupid.” My kids demonstrate this early independence through the medium of festivals. There is always a festival that they need to go to or that somebody else is going to that they want to go. The only festival they have no interest in is any festival that Stacey and I might think of going to. Now, I’m not saying that my pigs were preparing an escape in order to go to a festival, but I wouldn’t put it past them. There was a period when Stacey thought they looked lonely and put a radio in with them. She tuned it to Radio 4 and they went crazy and smashed the thing to bits. She had another go and put BBC 6Music on. They appeared to love this apart from when Cerys Matthews came on but, as I said, they are smart pigs.

So, one morning, I wandered over to say hello and something was different. There was no warning sound from Stanley. There was no desperate rush to the fence from Sir Francis demanding grub. In fact, there was nothing. Total silence. I opened their gate and looked around. It was empty. These pigs had flown.

It took me 20 minutes to find the tunnel. They had dug it behind a thick bush, so it was almost invisible. It was a proper tunnel - room for a large pig to go through and under the back wall and emerging just on the other side in the lower field. I looked around for tools until I realised that they had used nothing but their snouts and trotters.

Where had they gone? It was actually rather sweet that they had escaped together. Sir Francis rather lords it over Stanley and I would have assumed that he would not wish to travel in public with him. I was wrong. They had clearly worked as a team and were off somewhere together.

I assembled a grumpy family posse and we jumped into the Discovery and set off trying to work out how on earth we even started looking for two fugitive porkies? If only I had put GPS trackers on them? I’d done this with the dogs, but the bloody things never actually work and I’d given up in the end. Presumably the pigs would have hacked into the system and designed a fake signal that would have sent me into Wiltshire on a wild goose (pig) chase?

So, we drove around aimlessly shouting “STANLEY” and “SIR FRANCIS” out of the windows. We must have sounded like people trying to find our elderly uncle and his batman.

Eventually we spotted them. High up on the crest of a hill, hugging the treeline, walking fast and purposefully towards Cheltenham. Where were they off to? Did they fancy a night at 131? Were they making a break for the border into Wales? Sadly, we shall never know. They were eventually persuaded home with the incentive of about a year’s supply of food laid in a trail back to their establishment. How they managed to consume all this grub and keep moving was a testament to their Olympian appetite. They are now subject to regular, random inspections of their quarters. I feel like a prison guard, but I’ve got to keep on my toes. I swear I heard the sound of a motor the other night...

For more from Dom Joly, follow him on Twitter! @domjoly

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Cotswolds are abundant with picture perfect locations ideal for a ramble. Gather loved ones, wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with one of these winter walks in the region

Read more
Monday, December 10, 2018

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Monday, December 10, 2018

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search