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Pigs and ketchup

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James McLaren James McLaren | 08:26 UK time, Tuesday, 19 July 2011

This morning my eccentric and somewhat crude B&B landlord gets up early to feed me a full English at some ungodly hour of the morning. Very kind, I think. Out comes the steaming plate of fat and protein, followed by a vigorously-shaken bottle of ketchup.

Unscrewing the top, I am immediately blasted by a glutinous, gelatinous rain of red, sweet gunk. All over my jacket, my trousers, my sweatshirt, his tablecloth and the aged, bowed pastoral print beside me. That my breakfast is also smattered with ketchup is something of a happy accident.

After cleaning myself up as best I can (knowing that today I shall become a magnet for wasps, sigh), I resolve to go and visit some animals that have a reputation for being almost as dirty as I am: pigs.

Keith Brown of Wales And Borders Pig Breeders Association stands by his stall, in which is a saddleback sow ("I don't think she has a name") and her piglets.

"She's not very old," he says, "and those [pointing to the sleeping piglets] are an accident. She was with other sows but her brother got out and got her." He doesn't think the piglets will have any medical complications when I ask - the dangers of very close interbreeding in dogs is common knowledge.

I ask him if it's true that pigs are as intelligent as some dogs and he enthuses about the local pig shows his organisation is involved in. Apparently they do obedience and even agility, "but a bit slower than the dogs do it," he says.

I grab the dictaphone and ask him about his Royal Welsh:

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Now it's time to go outside and avoid those wasps.


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