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Published: October 8th 2009
Some couples have a favourite song but we have a favourite joke, and it goes like this:
A man visited a farmer and noticed a large and handsome pig, hopping about on three legs. "I see you have an unusual pig," said the visitor, "but I can't help wondering what happened to his other leg." To this, the farmer replied: "This is indeed a wonderful pig. When a fire broke out in the barn, he came to my bedside and woke me before my house burned down." The stranger was impressed but still curious. "But what about the leg?" he wanted to know. "Well," continued the farmer, "not only did the pig wake me and my wife, he went around and roused all of my children." The visitor was impressed. "An intelligent beast, to be sure," he said. "But, what does this have to do with the leg?" The farmer went on to explain: "After he woke me and my family, he went to the barn and freed all the animals. This pig saved man and beast from the fire." The visitor was amazed by this story but still puzzled. "Was the pig harmed in any way? Is this what
happened to his leg?" "Oh no," answered the farmer, reassuring the visitor. "This is an heroic and noble beast. But he was not harmed by his ordeal." "Please do not keep me in further suspense," insisted the visitor. "Tell me about the leg." The farmer paused and stroked his beard. "Since you ask about the leg, I will tell you at once. This is a noble, heroic, wonderously intelligent and handsome pig, who did us all a good deed and saved us from a fire," said the farmer. "A pig like that you don't eat all at once."
How does this apply, you are wondering? Whenever Ron and I want to prolong our enjoyment of something (or even when we don't, and are searching for sarcasm) we always use the line: A Pig Like That. And then we laugh uproariously. So, when we spend a whole morning buying Dutch underpants or sitting in a coffee shop, it's in honour of the pig. (Occasionally, this applies to unpleasant experiences too, such as repeated trips to the dentist for the same miserable tooth. She says: "Next time they're putting on the crown." He says: "A pig like that...") A good travel
philosophy, right? Or maybe you think it's just a zen-like excuse to justify a slothful lifestyle. Either way, it's our story and we're sticking to it.
So, we go slow. Each morning, when I empty the coffee grounds into the canal, it feels like an event. When the ducks come to the back door for leftover toast, when thick slabs of gouda arrive at the table, when the morning mist creeps through the bullrushes by the side of the road, nothing more needs to happen. On the days that we make it only as far as the old weeping willow, washing her hair in the waters of the canal, it feels like enough.
It would be damn peculiar to come to the home of Rembrandt and windmills and not marvel at those things. Don't worry, I'll get there eventually. But for now, I'm enjoying the wooden contraption on which I hang the daily laundry. It is raised and lowered from the rafters by a pulley, and counts on the warm air of the house rising. Colours, today. Whites, tomorrow.
As I think I mentioned: A pig like that you don't eat all at once.
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