A Close Encounter Of The Porcine Kind

I have often featured cattle and other animals basking beneath Bramshaw’s ancient oak. These pictures were produced in November 2018.

This morning the unburied corpse of this once mighty giant, some of its limbs chopped up, lay across the green, being investigated by a solitary calf which is hidden in three of these images. The muddy turf was littered with acorns. The shattered trunk of the tree was completely hollow. A telegraph pole had been pulled down with it. The weight of a few hundred years and the winds of storm Alex had been too much for this venerable Quercus.

We had noticed this disaster on our way to Nomansland in the gloom of yesterday evening and felt impelled to pay our last respects early this morning.

On this village’s other green ponies cast their shadows, donkeys dawdled,

and sheep sheltered under healthier oaks.

Along the road to Furzley Common others rose to their feet in trepidation as I approached.

At the Furzey Lane crossroads I witnessed a close encounter between a somewhat sheepish pony and a snuffling piglet.

Soon the little porker trotted across the road to join its squealing siblings swinging round the corner in the wake of a soggy, grunting, sow.

While I poked my lens at pigs, Jackie aimed at alpacas occupying a distant shed.

Donkeys and a foal soaked up the sun in Blackhill Road.

Our return home was greeted by rainclouds and a showery afternoon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy lamb jalfrezi, a plain paratha, and turmeric tinted boiled rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cahors Malbec 2018.


  1. It’s a bit sad that the old Oak has fallen, and was hollow inside. The pigs are kind of cute. Stay dry, Derrick! πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§

  2. “How the might have fallen” obviously springs to mind (couldn’t stop myself!). The little piggy is trying to warn ponies that acorns should not be part of equine diet, I think.

  3. time for pannage I suppose? Grand to see the live stock just wandering around. Shame about the oak but it had a good life by the looks of it.

  4. I find it sad to see a mature tree uprooted – rather let this be by the elements of nature though than by courtesy of a chainsaw!

  5. It always seems a shame when a fine old tree succumbs to an end of life event. From SueW’s comment it sounds like the hogs are only out part of the year?

  6. It’s always sad to see a tree like that go. Nice firewood for someone I hope. That picture of horse and pig communing is so sweet. I remember on my grandparent’s farm our pony, Dusty, was great pals with a cow. They were inseparable in the pasture and when we went to get Dusty to ride, she always followed us in.

    1. The animal friendship is fascinating, Lisa. In the forest the tree would be left for the ecology. I’m not sure what will happen on the green. Thanks very much.

    1. They would indeed. In the forest, as you know, this would be left to rejoin the soil. I wonder what will happen on this village green. Thanks very much, Susan

  7. As I was waiting for the first couple of photos to appear (they were slow this morning) I had this feeling that something disastrous happened. How sad.

    I love old trees and I often photograph the same tree over and over if only through a year of seasons.

    As usual, the wait for the all the photos in your post to appear was well worth the wait.

    Oh, I love turmeric tinted boiled rice. πŸ™‚

  8. Aw. πŸ™ Always sad when a tree can no longer grow. Hopefully it will still be useful as firewood or in some other helpful way.
    Your title made me snort-laugh! πŸ™‚ (Ooh, I might have some porcine in me! 🐷 )
    Porcine! Bovine! Equine! Ovine! Alpacaine! Such sweet animals! Those faces! πŸ™‚
    Love the pony and pig encounter photo. Thinking of what they might be conversing about…hmm…
    🐷: “Hay! You lost our bet so quit foaling around and pony up!”
    🐴: “Hay, yourself! Stop swine-ing and wallowing! I’ll pay you on Friday after I get paid!”
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚
    PS…your rice sounds beautiful and yummy!

  9. It is sad to see a venerable giant of a tree come down. I agree with JoAnna, thank you for honoring it here.

    And thank you so much for the inquisitive piglet and horse photo! I love it! <3

  10. The Midwest in the US is known for tornado winds and storms in summer. I ride around after the storm has passed, and see so many huge Oak and Gum trees broken like tooth picks due to the fury of these storms.
    Do not like the havoc that the storms cause. Especially in the felling of the old and giant trees.

  11. Die koeien bij die enorme dikke eik … , de bovenste drie . . . , geschilderd door oud Hollandse meesters in het Frans Hals Museum en anders gewoon in het Rijsmuseum van Amsterdam … Frans Hals meteen even googelen! Amsterdam, 8-10-2020, 17.20 uur … Hollandse “Zomertijd”… * http://www.friedabblog.wordpress.com * Groetjes!

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