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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home ...

A butcher's shopfront with all the carcasses hung up on display is our theme photo for this week. I had a three times great grandfather in Manchester who was apparently a butcher, but I don't have any photos, not surprisingly. I do have some more recent pictures of pigs of various kinds however. 

The first rather dim photo below is of a sow and some piglets at the Hereford livestock market. The old market used to be held every week in the city centre, but no longer exists there, having been moved in 2011 to a new custom-built but characterless market area on the outskirts of the city. I took this photo on my little Instamatic camera without flash back in 1976, when we stayed with my husband's family on their property called Yew Tree Farm in the village of Clehonger, a few miles outside Hereford. Uncle Cyril kept sheep, cows and pigs at that time, and one morning we went along to the market with him to deliver some pigs that he had fattened up ready for sale. I don't think the pigs in this photo were his, as he didn't have a sow, and these look like piglets that he might have bought to replace the ones he sold. We all know what they were destined to become, but can only hope they had a happy life beforehand.   Our English son-in-law was once told by his French boss that no, he  could not call him by his nickname "because they did not raise pigs together"!  

After Grandma, Doris Olds, died in 2004 one of the fields had to be sold to pay inheritance tax on her estate, five new houses were built there and the old piggery was demolished, but in any event Cyril hadn't kept pigs there for many years. Cyril's tractor stands idle in one of his old greenhouses, as he too passed away last year.  We've visited the farm many times since 1976, but you can click here to see a photo of Doris and Cyril taken there on the same trip. 


This next photo, while neither sepia nor old, is not altogether dissimilar in a way to the prompt photo. I took it last year at the fresh food markets of La Boqueria in central Barcelona, and see that the name of the stall is Can Vila. I don't know if they also displayed whole carcasses as well as legs of ham, but they sure had pork of all kinds. I took the photo for the brass pig as much as the display! On the side block were very interesting contraptions for slicing ultra thin samples of the different  hams.  It is a fascinating market to visit, if you are ever in Barcelona.


Now for the tale of the little piggy who stayed home, or at least wanted to find a good home.  This next photo was sent to me by my daughter Laura in her classroom last year, showing her holding a little piglet that one of the children had brought in for 'show and tell' one day. It does look very cute.

A couple of months ago Laura and her husband bought a similar pig. Pedigree miniature pigs are raised to be kept purely as  pets. They are friendly and intelligent, can be taught to come when called and taken for walks on leads like dogs, obey simple commands and be house trained. They can live for up to 15 years.  The pig in the collage pictures below was initially called PJ, but was renamed Miss Peggy. She is about 8 months old and weighs 50 kilos, so not that miniature, really.  Unfortunately after about six weeks Laura and John decided they couldn't keep her, as she was doing her best to dig up a the extensive backyard that they had put a lot of work into creating, and while they have 40 acres in total, they couldn't just let her run free, so they regretfully put her up for sale online. She quickly went to a new home, but the very next day the buyers brought her back, claiming she had bitten one of her new owners. This was a bit hard to believe, but Laura and John resignedly put her up for sale again, and this time she was bought by a family with two little girls who were very excited to have her, and Miss Peggy became Peppa. Sad to say however, within only a few days she was on the market yet again, because apparently the family ponies didn't get on with her. Perhaps they will get used to her. I hope she finds someone who will give her a permanent home soon, as the poor thing has now had at least five different owners in her short life, like a live token in a game of Pass the Pigs. Still on the market, last time I checked, so if you live within cooee of outer Melbourne, have a spare $150 and want a pet pig, Miss Peggy could be yours!

Pig in clover, if only for a short time. Miss Peggy and dog Shelley got on ok after a few initial skirmishes and were taken for daily walks together.

I'll finish off with this photo I took in 2010. My mother and I were aboard a cruise ship that was sailing around New Zealand and was docked for the day in the port of Auckland, and I spotted this piggy sculpture on the balcony of a dockside unit,gazing across at the ship, as if wishing it were free to sail away with us, rather than remain tied up there.  At least it would never be sent to market!

Now trot along to the market that is Sepia Saturday #288 yourselves, where you can find more blogs possibly related to pigs, shops and other items of interest that may or may not be relevant to this week's prompt.

I usually try to stick to just my own family photos in my blog, whether historical or not, but if I had wanted to look at butcher shops in my local area, I see that my local library has photos in its historical photo catalogue like these for example, showing past butchers in Stonnington, all wearing those trademark striped butchers' aprons:


  1. I hope Miss Peggy finally finds a permanent home. I noticed that her third owners had renamed her Peppa & I assume that was for the "Peppa Pig" of storybook fame. I had never heard of Peppa before but came across many pictures of her when I was doing research for my pig post & noted that the stories of Peppa are popular in Australia & wonder if that's where she got her beginning?

  2. No, Peppa Pig is popular with kids here, but is from Britain originally. Australia's contribution to pre-school kids' entertainment comes primarily from the singing group the Wiggles and their various characters, for example Dorothy the Dinosaur.

  3. I think pork butchers used to be quite distinct from other butchers. Perhaps because the meat from pigs had to be kept separate, I'm not sure.

    Our local butcher when I was growing up also wore dark blue aprons with thin white stripes. I have very strong memories of that butchery.

  4. Oh, that brass pig reminds me of the one in Florence, Italy -- you throw money at it for good luck and a promise to return. Eh, it's not quite the Trevi of Rome~

    (PS -- you sound like me. I am reluctant to use photos that are not from my own collection, and I don't like using anything really contemporary although I sometimes cave. That said, I do like these local photos of butcher shops with butchers in striped aprons. You commented about aprons on ScotSue's post. I've never seen striped butcher aprons before. Now I'm going to be watching for them everywhere!)

  5. Poor Peggy Peppa. I don't think I could be tempted to have a pig as a pet. I like something more cuddly. But It's nice to know that there are still a few traditional butchers shops operating though not as many as there used to be.

  6. Such a great collection of photos. We seem to wander down the same streets - I was in Hereford a few weeks ago and I have taken a photograph of that same butchers stall in the Barcelona market. One day we will meet up - caught in each others' camera viewfinders.

  7. I also hope the little piggy finds a home that welcomes her as a pet. I also never saw the striped aprons, but then I've been in very few butcher's shops, though there's a new "meat" store here, which advertises local grass fed meats.

  8. I think you covered all the possible pig propositions with this post. Miss Peggy is quite a pretty spotted pig. But pigs gotta be pigs, which is the reason most folk don't keep them as pets.

  9. You always manage to find interesting family photos and write interesting stories about them.