Country Matters by the Hodge November 18

Gloucester Old Spot Litter

Country Matters

By The Hodge

If you would be happy for a week kill a pig;

if you would be happy for a month take a wife;

but if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden.”


I was late on parade this month. I try not to be but occasionally I let our esteemed Editor down and miss the set deadline. Excuses are numerous – well who among us does not have constant pressures on their time? I’m certainly not unique!

But this month I was facing several deadlines, the main one finishing my latest book. Like all the others it is about pigs and an approved draft including illustrations and captions in full layout has to be in America for approval by the end of October. And it’s going to be down to the wire, believe me!

As I said, I’ve written about pigs before, (I try not to overload readers of Cirencester Scene on the subject), but this one was more of a challenge than the others as it is more technical with a lot more science and the research was prodigious. I locked horns with a technical editor based in Australia who kept urging me to use the internet more but much of what appears on that source us unverified and frankly risible in many respects and thus I tended to ignore anything that wasn’t a peer-reviewed scientific paper thereon. The young lady was not impressed but I prevailed.

But now it is nearly complete and my job is done, (unless, of course, our American friends demand revisions), and I will have to wait ten months to get the finished article into my hands. Why so long? After all it only takes nine months to produce a baby!

Well, the reasons are several but one of the main ones is that it is also being translated into German to be published in Germany simultaneously and no, I’m not having to do the translation. My language abilities are few and German defeated me at school with 16 variations of ‘the’ and a habit of parking the verb at the end of the sentence so I’m not the one qualified to do that job. My mischievous side prevailed though and I set the translator a few ‘challenges’ along the way, just to test his or her mettle. For instance, I included an old saying to do with giving young pigs iron in order to avoid anaemia. Nowadays it is by giving liquid iron as an injection or orally but an alternative is to put a turf into the pen which the little pigs will play with and ingest natural iron from the soil. Thus, the saying is: ‘Throw a sod in or throw the sods out.’ Should be interesting…

All being well, I should have no excuses for being late in future although time is rarely something that passes unnoticed. There’s always something to do and not all of it swine-related. But I may perhaps in ten months or so time, be urging you, dear reader, to go for a more unusual Christmas present for Aunt Maud, Cousin Cyril and maybe even closer family members as I’m sure they’d all want a brand new book all about… pigs!
Get some of The Hodges past books here.

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