I've always loved writing, and have, in the past, made several attempts to write a book. These all failed. The ideas were good, but I just never kept at it. Recently, however, I had an idea for a story and feel like this is the one. I figure I'll post what I have here now, and the promise of posting further updates will keep me motivated to keep going. Hopefully.
So here is my new, ongoing effort. For now it's called The Pig, but that may change.
“It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.”
John Stuart Mill – Utilitarianism (1863)
1 - The Farm
I can remember The Farm now.
The lowing of the traffic passing by in the background. Closer, the monotonous drone of fluorescent lights. The gentle lapping of water. It all fades now, and I can remember.
Sometimes we would visit The Farm during the summer holidays. Mum, Dad and me. Sometimes. Mum’s sister, Aunt Marie, lived in Little Toppingham with Uncle Steve and their two children, Michael and Lauren, my cousins. I didn’t have any others.
‘It’s nice to get away to the country,’ Dad would always say during the drive down the motorway. Sometimes he would sing ‘ooooooh baby do you know what you’re worth? Ooooooh Devon is a place on Earth,’ like that song, and he would start to laugh, long and hard, and he would grip the steering wheel so tightly from laughing so hard that it would start to turn with the heaving of his shoulders. The old Honda would start to cut to and fro across the lane in time with his laughter.
This terrified Mum, and she would shout ‘Pete! Stop it!’ and hit him on his shoulder with her tiny balled up fists, white from clenching so hard.
Seeing how scared she was would only make Dad saw the steering wheel back and forth even harder, deliberately now, still laughing, sometimes right in her face. From the back seat I would watch the road ahead as it jerked left and right, trying to keep up with the steering wheel as it, too, was jerked left and right. Dad’s knuckles rose out from the imitation leather wheel, as white now as Mum’s fists, which were still balled up but now nested together in her lap, rigid. Then Dad would stop. The demon in the steering wheel exorcised. The road ahead now tame and meek, yielding before us. Tears would be streaming down his ruddy cheeks, which would be puffing in and out like a fleshy bellows as he struggled to regain his composure.
‘Come on,’ he would say between wheezing gasps. ‘It’s just a laugh.’
Little Toppingham is a small village snuggled up against the side of the Moor, with The Farm being a fifteen minute drive away, as Dad drove. About twenty five minutes for anyone else. It was hidden down a circuitous succession of treacherously narrow country roads. The sound of the constant scraping of brambles and bracken and the tips of the lower hanging boughs of the trees, bowing to you on either side, surrounded you as you ventured deeper in to the dark heart of the Devonshire countryside. But then, after no time at all, you come to a turning, almost hidden by centuries worth of hedgerow growth, and you’re there.
I call it The Farm, but in reality that would be an insult to actual farms. It’s bigger than a small-holding, but not by much. A medium-holding. But when I remember The Farm I am remembering myself as a child, and as such I see The Farm through the eyes of my childhood, and it is huge. It was, and always will be, The Farm. Coming in through the entrance you are immediately met by the squat limestone farmhouse, crumbling at every edge and topped with a tatty thatch.