Monday, 28 December 2009

Pig's Ear And Cowpat Bigfoot

“Rosetta are you better are you well, well, well?” I’m not thinking of ‘Rosetta’, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s film (1999): the story of a poor Belgian girl who yearns for waffles, hides her shoes in a drainpipe in the woods and lives with her alcoholic mother in a trailer park; ‘Rosetta’ the grim, claustrophobic, quasi-documentary. No, I’m singing ‘Rosetta’ as sung by a pair of pigs - Pinky & Perky’s hit-single from the early 1970’s. I can even remember the words to ‘The Thirsty Mini’, the B-side: I once owned a Mini and drank when I drove it! Will I ever escape (grow out of) my ‘popular culture’ roots?

Like the woodpecker, pigs too live in trees: perhaps that’s why pigs fly? I fell off a pig’s ear once - flew off a pig’s ear - an ear long since blocked.

Here’s the pig’s ear I’m talking about; Pig’s Ear (route 2) was a hard-severe climb in an old disused quarry – Whitwick quarry. The route was so-named because some 30 feet off the ground the crux involved a tricky maneuver, utilizing a strange protrusion in the rock - a handhold shaped like a pig’s ear!

Notice, the route starts off by two shot holes: cave-dwellings for woodpeckers?

I made a right pig’s ear of trying to climb past the pig’s ear – fell off it – but pigs don’t fly! This little piggy went a plummet - I was only 14 – and I hit the ground with a thump - landed on my backside: no real damage done except for a blue bum - couldn’t sit down for a fortnight. I vowed to come back another day and climb Pig’s Ear. Another day became another year, and another year became two decades.

I moved to London, where over the years I suffered all of the symptoms listed on the ear above. But I didn’t give much thought to quarries or pigs ears; except occasionally, when I touched my ear (out of nervousness) - ran my finger around the auricle: it’s all crinkly like a quarry.

It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that my interest was rekindled; I read a short story by Graham Greene. ‘A Shocking Accident’ is about the tragedy of a boy’s father being killed by a falling pig. The pig falls from a balcony (in a city where it’s common for people keep pigs in their homes). The boy (Jerome) suffers for most of his life because the first reaction to the story of how his father met his death is one of laughter.

1999: I alight the bus in Whitwick, older and wiser, and with the aid of the original climbing guidebook (1973), make my way out of the village, towards the quarry. But when I get to where the quarry should be, the quarry’s gone! I’m standing in a meadow (once a vast hole in the ground), decked in rope, slings, nuts and crabs, surrounded by cows; and only the last 30 feet of Regalia Buttress – the final pitch of what was once a route of some 150 feet in height - are still poking out of the ground. To cut a long story short (after much searching a local farmer filled me in), the 200 feet deep, mile-in-circumference quarry had been completely land-filled in the late 1980’s – well and truly blocking-up Pig’s Ear.

Strange to think the pig's ear is buried deep beneath this cowpat: a cowpat shaped like a big foot! Say the pig's ear - like a voice from the beneath - is somehow influencing cows into shitting like human feet?

Look: here's a normal cowpat, uninfluenced by pig's ears from the deep, in a natural rocky landscape.

I’m going to write to the BBC –Time-Team. But I’d only get them to excavate down to about 5 feet below the pig’s ear handhold. Then I could just step off the ground and swing on a pig’s ear with out any fear – fear of flying.

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