Back In Business With Berkshires and a B17 Bomber
I’m back. Due to this site being jackhammered again and so rendered out of action, poor old Blog in France had to take an enforced break. Mind you, it’s been so hot it’s been hard to muster up blogging energy!
So what’s been going on? Well, Portia, our second Berkshire sow, is now a mum too. I’d got up early to attack the hoovering in the gite before it got too hot, about half past six, and noticed Oberon was standing outside the trailer, the bedroom, looking a little lost. Portia was in the trailer. And then I saw the piglets. Six shiny and quite new arrivals. Clearly Portia had told Obie to clear off while she got down to business and produced the next generation.
This was not the ideal scenario. We’d intended to get Portia out of the field she shared with Obie and into the maternity unit, but she took us by surprise. She was clearly pregnant, but we didn’t think she was imminent. Possibly the very hot weather has put her under stress and she went into labour prematurely. (Been there, done that!)
Anyway, I roused Chris. First we evicted Brendan from the maternity ward where he was taking temporary refuge for various reasons. Next Chris quickly mucked it out while I kept Obie busy and out of the trailer – we were worried he’d tread on his children – by drip-feeding him handfuls of wheat. Portia came out to eat too.
Once the ward was ready, we lured Portia out of the field with a bucket of food. She trotted out as happy as anything, babies clearly forgotten for the time being. We threw Obie more food to keep him busy too, and swooped in to grab the babies. We relocated them to the creep with the infra red bulb switched on to keep them toasty warm. The piglets didn’t seem the slightest bit surprised to be hustled away in our arms. Portia wasn’t concerned either and after a good feed, she settled down and the piglets wriggled out of the creep and suckled.
In other news, we’ve been going for early morning cycle rides as often as we can. A couple of days ago we had a very interesting trip out to see a memorial to a B17 that crashed near La Cellette on 6 February 1945. It was B17 Diplomat. Here’s the description in French of what happened.
Pilot Joseph Belgam and his colleagues were on a bombing run from England when they ran out of fuel and had to bail out. The plane crashed into the Creuse countryside on quite a high point, and worryingly close to some farmhouses! Luckily no one was hurt. The crew were helped to get to Limoges from where they were repatriated back to the UK and assigned another plane at once. Joseph came back in 2001 to visit the scene of the crash.