I threw down the tailgate and announced, “Give it up and go nuts everyone, the General is back!” The General ignored me and so did all the rest of the pigs. He made his way out of the trailer and stepped into his old pen for the first time in more than a month, sniffed the air and ignoring the pigs and food in the middle set off on a reccy around the perimeter fencing.
Meanwhile I’d gone from a fine rendition of, The General’s Back in Town by Thin Lizzy to Robbie Williams Let Me Entertain You, mashing it up with some Wurzles I’ve Got a Brand New Combine Harvester. I was pleased to see him back if no one else was. I wanted them all to go mad but pigs can be very conservative at times. Unlike me.
Having lost my glasses the week before and now using an old pair with an old prescription that severely limited my eyesight, I was confident nobody was around to see me acting a fool, working on the ancient rule of if I can’t see them, they can’t see me.
Just as I reached the chorus, fifty stone of handsomeness sauntered along the last few feet of the perimeter and stopped in front of me. Truth is, I’d really missed him. He’s my mate and I’m his. While he was away I’d missed not being able to talk to him, not having someone with whom I could share how I was feeling and gossip about what was going on.
I guess we all need a confident and I felt comfortable with the General as mine. I stopped singing and larking about and went quiet. For ages we just stood next to each other. I put my hand on his shoulder and leant against him and he leant back. Then he wandered off.
He walked over to the group. It was dinnertime and they were tucking into pig nuts and barging one another about, which is normal. I try and limit competition for food by spreading it as wide as I can, but even so they’ll still congregate and argue over the same bit even though they’re surrounded by goodies.
The General didn’t bother eating. He just bumped into all of the pigs one by one in a kind of greeting, the way we might shake hands or hug.
Bump: Hey, General, you’re back!
Bump: Good to see you man, what’s happening?
Bump: Do you mind, I’m trying to eat my dinn—Oh, it’s you! How you doing General?
Pigs only have seven audible sounds with which they communicate, and they’re reserved for the big emotions, fear, food, sex, etc. Behind that, all the subtlety of conversation is conducted in body language. Pigs are masters of body language. Of course it’s all interpretation, but when you watch them communicate amongst themselves it’s laugh out loud funny.
I don’t know if he was seeking out Whinny, whom before he went off was his special girlfriend, or if she was seeking out him. But they found themselves together. She turned her back on him and he nudged her bum. She ignored him. He nudged harder. She still ignored him. When he went to walk off, she turned and charged and bit him on the shoulder. Hard.
He immediately went into full love seduction mode and she went, oh no, no, no, no, no! And bit him again. Then she started squealing and running away while looking back over her shoulder at him, and he lumbered after her. We were all pleased to see him home.