year of the pig

We are now officially well into the Year of the Pig. And, frankly, if the Year of the Dog was a bitch, this year has already been a pig of a year.

Back when I lived in Spain, pigs loomed large in my life. So here I’m just going to gather together some old blog posts that have featured pigs and pig products, boars and other related issues, and also re-post a few relevant images, starting with this little pig who went to market and half startled the life out of me as he nestled in among the reconstituted crab sticks.
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shaggy dog story

Tomorrow is the last day of the Chinese year of the dog; as of Tuesday February 5th, we’ll be in the year of the pig.

Although I tend to always write at least one blog post to mark the Chinese New Year, I don’t really know a lot about the Chinese calendar. Nor do I know much about the zodiac, though a colleague once told me that if I was a Gemini born in the year of the dog it explained why I was a two-faced bitch. Everyone else in the staff room expected me to be very, very cross, but I reckoned it was the first witty thing I’d ever heard the guy say, so I laughed and treasured it up to use myself when it seemed appropriate.
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dog days

Last week I talked about choosing love poems to read at a local event. In the end, I think I found nine short pieces that I ran together to produce a story of a kind, which seemed to go down reasonably well.

One of them has a dog in it, albeit unseen and at a distance, so makes a good piece to include in this first blog post of the new Year of the Dog.
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it depends

I like the idea of Chinese New Year. I am always running late with things and I generally forget to post Christmas cards or buy presents in time and just end up assuring people I simply have no interest in the whole festive season.

So to have a chance to catch up and send people New Year wishes around a month later suits me quite well – particularly when the celebrations fall in early February as it means there is a vague chance I may be nudged into remembering the multiple birthdays of friends and family that fall at that time.
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roost, rooster, roostest

I first came across the word “palimpsest” years ago, when I was training to teach English as a foreign language: in one of the classes we were given a list of words that we were not expected to know and asked to chat with a partner and guess their meanings.

Presumably, the idea was to simulate the stress suffered by the students we would encounter once we qualified, but, of course, our situation was vastly different as we were all native speakers and there was really no great pressure to get the answers right, anyway.
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home to roost

In the Chinese calendar, the year of the rooster starts today, 28th January 2017, so it seems a good reason to have some cockerels, roosters and chickens on the blog this weekend.

The photo at the top was taken at the Bristol Balloon Festival some ten years ago. I feel it’s a bit cartoonish to go with this poetry vignette of dawn breaking in the Spanish pueblo where I used to live, but I don’t seem to have many photos on file that are right for the topic.
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baa, humbug

Alternatively, Happy (lunar) New Year.
sheep and lamb
And a fragment of a poem, which at least has sheep tracks if not the animals themselves:

   I’ve walked the sheeptracks of your dreams
in search of unicorns, but they have fled.
   Now they graze where honey flows in streams
       through pillowing hills.

Though perhaps it should be goats not sheep in the photo, and Chinese dragons not unicorns in the poem.