If you go down to the woods today….

 Reminiscence is so full of flavour and detail whereas  prophecy is already tainted with disappointment. “If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure  of a big surprise” clearly vindicates the quotation “It’s better to travel hopefully than to arrive”. From the look of the sign (above) ,which I saw at the end of our lane this morning, it would be the picnicking teddy bears who would be having the big surprise if they were down in the woods today. I was fascinated by the sign with the Edward Muybridge style illustration of a wild boar in motion. There was a suggestion of fun about its day-glow colours and the exhortation that seemed to include a universal “us”. I did have the feeling that the  huntsman watching me taking the picture of his sign was mentally excluding me from the universal “us” and thinking of excluding me from the universe altogether. Several years ago, Jenny and I witnessed a family of three adult wild boars, together with their young, charging across the open ground of a field adjacent to our house. It was clear that they had broken cover from some woods and were galloping across the 800 metres of open field to gain the sanctuary of the forest towards which they were heading at speed. The adults had herded the young marcassins between them so that none would be left behind to be taken by the hounds or the hunters. It was an impressive and heartening sight. I had to convince Jenny, a lover of all creatures with more than two legs,  that it would be unwise to drive up the lane, dismount from the car and wave and shout to the fleeing, yet charging, boars in order to show them a gap in the hedge through which they could pass for a clear run at the shelter of the forest. I needed to explain to her they might not be able to instantly identify us as friends as opposed to the other, very similar, two legged beasts that were busy, at this very moment, trying to kill their nearest and dearest. Only a few days before there had been an episode in a clothing store, near Poitiers, that had involved a wild boar who found difficulty in trusting his two legged friends. The boar in question had been struck by a car whilst quietly crossing the road. A passing motorist stopped to help the pig, but this led quickly to a misunderstanding during which the pig inflicted not insignificant damage on the would be helper’s car. Realising its mistake the wild pig turned towards the two legger, intending to apologise for damage done in the heat of the moment, only to see him fleeing into a nearby clothing store. Feeling it was best to sort the matter out straight away the boar gave chase and in no time was in the store and intensely searching every department for the two legger that he had wronged. Our piggy hero was now draped in an unnervingly clever selection of blouses, frocks and knickers and felt that the other two leggers, who were also madly running around squealing, were equally intent on helping him to find his chum. Only the blissful dream filled sleep of half a dozen tranquilliser darts prevented him from offering a full apology. Any way, by the time I’d explained this to Jenny the pigs  had gone, and so had Jenny.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Art photography, Autumn, Dreams, Emotion, Expectation, Food photographer, France, French countryside, Humour, Hunting, Landscapes, Landscapes, Marcassin, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Uncategorized, Vendee, Wild Boar, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to If you go down to the woods today….

  1. Mad Dog says:

    Phew! Sanglier can be ferocious, especially when they feel threatened. Being omnivores, it is possible that they’d eat people along with all the wine grapes! They are a very different beast to Cecilia’s charming pigs.
    They do, however, make for delicious casseroles and sausages 😉

    • You’re not kidding. In fact the one in Poitiers rendered the car undrivable and it took 3 gendarmes with high powered rifles to bring it down, rather than my version with tranquilliser darts.You have to work for your sausages:)

  2. spree says:

    Hysterical and wonderful! The way you weave a tale Roger is absolutely priceless! I picture it all so well ) as of course would happen when a man with such an eye for detail (and such command of the language) tells a story! (I think I can even smell that sweaty, warty boar! And I’m wherever Jenny’s off to!)

  3. Michelle says:

    “Any way, by the time I’d explained this to Jenny the pigs had gone, and so had Jenny.” Priceless. (We have the same troubles here, but it’s with the deer. Much, much larger deer than what y’all have in France.)

  4. Andy Szpuk says:

    Well done, Roger, for saving jenny’s bacon.

  5. So, this may be a lengthy comment. Pardon me if I become an Ugly American.

    The book I am currently writing includes an homage to the wild boar in America. I would love to be able to use your photo, but it is unfortunately in French, and the wild boar portion takes place in the state of Mississippi. Under the direction of a Spaniard, because a Spaniard is why we have them in the first place.

    My favorite experience with a wild boar was at Hampton Plantation. http://south-carolina-plantations.com/charleston/hampton.html

    I was meeting a client, and we sat on the front porch and watched a wild boar forage in the yard, just beyond the live oak tree that George Washington somehow christened when he rode through in 1791. Not old, I know, but exciting nonetheless.

  6. I’ve seen families of wild boar in the vines, where they can do a lot of damage but they look quite friendly and protective of their young, and I’ve kept away from them. I’ve also eaten some very tasty ones!

  7. Eha says:

    I honestly do hope your Jenny has forgiven you for writing about this in such graphic terms; and then, we actually dare to laugh!!! ‘The quality of mercy is not strained . . . it droppeth as a gentle rain from heaven . . .’ Yes, well, darts or a whole lot worse . . . poor, poor . . .

  8. ChgoJohn says:

    I’m forever on the look-out for deer during my travels to-and-from Michigan, especially this time of the year. Still, as prevalent as they seem to be, they are equally shy. Few, if any, would ever seek out the driver to apologize. These boor are a different sort.

  9. Tandy says:

    I can well imagine the chaos of a wild boar running around a village 🙂

  10. Great story Roger – the real one too! Every year in Spain we also get to see news stories of Wild Boars running amok in stores, we had one once heading towards our garden in our last house, but I think I frightened it more than it frightened me 😉 Love the shot – when I saw it (just the top) as I was scrolling down, I thought it was a river at first with the amazing colours.

  11. Sometimes nature is best observed from afar! I didn’t realise either that the wild boar was introduced to the states. What were they thinking?!?! People do underestimate the strength of the boars with unsettling results.

  12. Now I can’t go to France. I would steal that sign to hang in my living room and cause an international uproar.

  13. Very, very funny, Roger….once upon a time we used to holiday among the lavender fields and missile silos of the Palteau D’Albion in the French Alps. Phil and I were out for a ramble when we heard an unmistakeable cafuffle in a nearby set of bushes. Never have we been so fleet of foot…

  14. cecilia says:

    Makes the bull in a china shop sound quite tame! c

  15. Leta Blake says:

    I absolutely adored the boar in the clothing store story. Would make a fantastic kids book with a good illustrator. 🙂

  16. Have never seen a wild boar in my life, but have heard they can be really dangerous. Hilarious story. 🙂 I like the idea of the children’t book too.

  17. In our neck of the woods, my friend’s aunt stopped to see if the bear she’d struck was all right.. Fortunately, it was and had gone. Everyone stops to photograph wildlife here at a close distance.. crazy!!

  18. The boar meant well; he went into the store to apologize; so he wasn’t so wild after all, was he Roger? Imagine the unsuspecting customer walking into the store to buy a sweater and seeing a wild boar strolling around; she might think their sales staff needs some reconsideration from the boss.

  19. Idebenone says:

    Wild Boars are big, ferocious animals. They are hunted extensively in Florida. These animals do a lot of damage to crops because they “root” with their noses and tear up the crops. Hunting them is allowed throughout the state with no restrictions. Hunters use dogs to catch the hogs and then hold them down until the hunter can come and shoot them. In our Veterinary practice, we would see dogs that have been severely injured by these hogs. They have very sharp front teeth capable of tearing into flesh. People who like to eat wild boar prefer to kill them with a bow and arrow and crossbows because they say that when the boar is frightened by the dogs, the meat tastes bad due to the adrenalin levels the boar releases. I have personally never seen a wild boar, and I can’t say that I really want to see one, either.

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