Saturday, 14 March 2015

Pig Tale for Mother's Day

The ancient Athenian equivalent of Mother’s Day? The Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries. These took place in March. They celebrated the springtime return to the goddess Demeter of her daughter Persephone from her rapist/ husband Hades in the Underworld.

Eleusinian celebrants sacrificed a piglet. This is not something I will be doing this year. After seeing a pitiful lorryload of mammals being taken to an abattoir, I have this week had one of my several (hitherto embarrassingly shortlived) conversions to vegetarianism.  The last time was in Australia in 2011 when I was offered a steaming plate of kangaroo stew after visiting a marsupial park and shaking paws, eye-to-eye, with one of its residents.

Kissing, Feeding, or Telling it Off?
My intermittent revulsion against sinking my canines into the flesh of other animals will probably also prevent me from accepting this week’s invitation from the North Cotswold local press. If I do attend the annual Moreton Pig Show, I am promised a chance to Guess the Weight of “the magnificent British Lop Boar named Pastie” and witness the Marquess of Salisbury, President of the British Pig Association, bestow trophies on the victorious swine. I hope he won’t imitate whatever ritual this ancient Egyptian is performing in Saqqara tomb art (suggestions welcome in the Comments section).

Robert Michael James Gascoyne-Cecil KCVO PC DL 
As an urban leftie, stranded for love in a reactionary rural backwater, this is where I draw the line. The Marquess, universally said to be delightful, is just not my kinda guy. He alighted from Eton effortlessly in Oxford to achieve a Third Class degree. He has a vast personal fortune. His appointments have included Merchant Banker, Tory MP, Peer of the Realm and now breeder of Ginger-Haired Tamworths. 

In 2011 he told the Financial Times that politics was much “easier” than pig-keeping. “I regard politics a bit like fox-hunting; there’s nothing more serious while you’re doing it, but there is [sic] always buttered eggs for tea afterwards.”

Demeter & Pet Pig, 4th c. BC
It is very good to be thus reassured about the intellectual prowess of our hereditary ruling class. 

I can't quite follow the analogy between fox-hunting and politics myself, but then I have never regarded myself as gifted enough to govern the populace.

Although I probably won’t go to the porcine prize-giving, I will take up the buttered egg suggestion. Currently I doubt if I’ll ever be able to face another bacon sandwich.


  1. Well, you know it was for the fertility of the land ;-). (Please don't mind me throwing in a few vegetarian jokes -- I'm an omnivore. However, I do draw the line at dog/cat -- I lived in Asia.) Medan Agan

  2. Draw strength from the words of another who was stranded for love in a reactionary rural backwater - "bene qui latuit bene vixit"