Bit more melodramatic news recently, so thought I should tell you . . .
A rather unexpected invitation from the Hertfordshire Cricket Club recently. As an ex-captain, they wanted me to visit for luncheon to be photographed with a new mascot they had just obtained. They were all very secretive when I first arrived, and even over lunch just said the photograph would have to be taken outside but it was a ‘surprise’. I had worn ‘whites’ as requested to do so and was only told I’d have to hold the new mascot on the cricket field outside. They said the photograph would then be framed and hung on the Clubhouse wall in honour of my past services!
Well, I couldn’t argue with that, but when we finally assembled outside, I was more than a little surprised to see that the new mascot lived in a pen: and it was a pig, whose name was ‘Tubby’!
While the cameras were getting ready, the secretary told me the brief story of how ‘Tubby’ came to be adopted by the Club . . .
In fact, the Club had first obtained Tubby whilst visiting Yorkshire to play one of their numerous away matches. The team had booked a hotel in Selby for five days and had visited the town while having some spare time on their hands. They were looking around the livestock market in Selby, really motivated to buy a pair of ducks to bring back to Herts, with the intention of releasing them in a large pond near the cricket field and hopefully, persuading them to breed. Transportation was no problem as most of the team owned cars and there was a standard transit van that always accompanied them to make room for all the equipment needed for away matches. Well, they bought some ducks (not cheap, about forty pounds each I think) and arranged to collect them (alive!) on the farm they came from just outside Halifax. But as they were leaving, they noticed a very lonely looking pig. It was quite fat but not that old. But it seemed to be somehow outcast from the rest of the group, and when it noticed them giving it some attention, it seemed to relish the thought of new friends, and kept running over to them and sticking its snout through the bars. It was really quite tame and everyone took turns patting it. But when they eventually turned to leave, it began to squeal piteously as if to say . . . ‘Please don’t leave me here to be slaughtered!’
The outcome was that everyone persuaded the Captain to buy him, so he could be the new mascot for the Club. And the farmer was found who had brought some animals to the market.
He told any interesting story: He had not wanted to sell the pig, not only because it was so affectionate, but because it had ‘fallen in love’ with another sow he had borrowed from another farmer near Brighouse who loaned out ‘prize sows’. That much adored sow was now expecting a litter of piglets (then he had to return her), and he couldn’t just keep ‘Tubby’ as a pet (affectionate as he was) as he had a business to run, and it wouldn’t solve the issue as the pig was just ‘pining away’ for its mate. But he was pleased to see the pig would have a good home as a mascot so he wholeheartedly agreed to sell him. So the guys agreed to pick him up in the transit van after collecting the ducks on the way back to Hertfordshire.
I have to admit, I was quite taken with the pig even though he tried to ‘eat’ my hand (well nibble!) as I tried to stroke him.
But that was not quite the end of this adventure: when I tried to pick Tubby up for the purposes of the photograph, I accidentally dropped him and he ran off across the cricket pitch with myself in pursuit. He was only playing, and I eventually caught him and the photograph was duly taken.
But not the one you see here. That was one taken by a private party to the ‘escape’.
“Don’t you DARE frame that one”, I jokingly said. “Don’t worry Dave, we wont, he replied. But we’ll send you a copy.”
So here it is (above). Just thought you would like to see it!
Oh, for another quiet day!
All for now everyone,