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Perching here and gathering my thoughts ...

Sundance, The Tamworth One

22 October 2010 ~ 17:09

Last weekend I went to Ashford in Kent with my mum & sister, to visit The Tamworth Two, a pair of famous pigs who escaped from an abattoir (slaughterhouse) in January 1998 and went on the run for a week, before being recaptured and making headlines in all the papers. Thus they became the best known pigs in the world (well real life ones. The fictional title has to go to Babe).

We've been to see the Tamworth Two a few times (so-called as they are a breed called a ginger tamworth, crossed with wild boar). After the first visit we started making a weekend of it, staying in a hotel. It's possible in a day trip, but it's a long journey and more pleasant as a short break.

My sister Mikki hadn't seen these two plucky porkers before as it was the first time we'd taken her. Imagine our horror on arriving at the Tamworth's compound only to find a notice proclaiming 'Butch 1997 - 2010.' We read that Butch had been put to sleep the last Friday (8th October) after a respiratory illness what they had been unable to treat.

Butch was the female pig, Sundance the male. Though confusingly, in the TV film of their adventures made by the BBC, Sundance was the girl and Butch the boy. Guess that made sense. They originally got their names as 'Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Pig' due to their fame as fugitives.

Sundance seemed so forlorn without his sister, who had been with him all his life apart from a couple of days where she had been captured first. He didn't even seem to want to get up. We had brought some apples which he tried to eat lying down, and he was making heavy breathing noises. Mikki said it sounded like he was crying. My heart was breaking for him.

We left to visit the other animals; goats, donkeys, turkeys, chickens, ferrets, horses, sheep and other pigs. When we came back I offered Sundance an apple I had bought from the cafe, and my breakfast of three croissants and a tub of pinapple chuncks. This time he showed more interest and got up to eat, even licking the pinapple juice up off the floor.

We asked a farm worker if they would try to introduce another pig to Sundance, but they said that though pigs are herd animals, they don't like strangers, and Sundance is big with big tusks, so it would be too dangerous. I think it is a huge pity.

We aim to visit Sundance again soon to try and cheer him up, but in the meantime, it's good to think that though she is now gone, Butch managed to escape the chop at age six months, to live to be over 13 years old. Bless her.

Stored nuts | Future acorns