Saturday, July 30, 2011

30 July 2011: Sheep-Pig

What is this mysterious creature? A genetic experiment gone wrong or a Photoshop special?

Actually, it seems it's a genuine animal and there's no funny Dolly The Sheep business going on at all. Far from being something new and weird, it's actually something old and weird - a 'Mangalitsa' pig, originating from central Europe, and a reminder that a lot of the farmed animals we are familiar with today are only a small subsection of what there used to be... we've carefully farmed the ones we like, let the rest die away slowly and then get used to what we see as being first 'normal' and then 'the only way it can be'. Even pigs with spots on are considered special and different, and who knows how those black-feathered bronze turkeys survived the move to white turkeys (less flavour but easier to intensely-farm and without the speckled look when you pluck them).

Having said that, of course, I'd never heard or seen of this type of pig (yes it IS a pig) until yesterday when I got my occasional marketing email from Uptons the butcher over in Southampton. Seems Simon has got his hands on a few of these pigs and for one week only they're selling them (and sausaging them, I'm pleased to report) at the shop over there. I'd be very curious to see how it tastes - would expect something a little wild-boar-ish, but the email says it's a fairly light meat. I wonder what they're doing with the left-over wool. The email also says they've bought the building next door (the old bed shop) and are going to expand into that, so maybe they're going to have some kind of wool-mill in there or something next to the new fish counter.

Meantime what to report from here? Heat wave has been a little ridiculous, especially with the air conditioning breaking again (new system put in yesterday seems to help), went to see the Atlanta Braves lose to Cincinnati last weekend (and wisely left before it got too disastrous - final score 11-2 to the Reds) and Hannah is walking everywhere, pointing, saying 'no' and 'bye' (two rather negative words for her intial vocabulary I'd suggest) and not far off her first birthday. Argyle continue to fail to resolve anything and legal issues at various levels look about to take off (they could do a Dispatches programme entirely about the shady goings-on of this football takeover), but it's all very tiresome somehow.

Oh, and Mark Cavendish won the green jersey at last in the Tour De France. I know I'm a week late in mentioning it but blogging hasn't been my strongpoint. Question is, which team will he ride for next year? I do hope it isn't Team Sky... purely because he needs to be the main leader of his team, with a team that had multiple aims he would surely not do as well. Partly because of the leadout train, but mainly because HTC spent most of the flat stages of the tour with Danny Pate and Lars Bak at the head of the race chasing down breakaways. Cav's green jersey is certainly him in a big way, but really it belongs to the whole team, and Team Sky won't be able to be as dedicated as that. Certainly not if they want to produce a tour winner by 2014.

On the other hand, there's a pig that looks like a sheep, so maybe anything is possible?

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