The only thing you could not use on a pig was the squeal

by Charlotte Tate

People who had the facilities would rear a pig or two to eke out the wartime rations. My grandparents, Arthur and Charlotte Masters, had always kept pigs from the time they came to live and work in Quinton, in 1908, and then onwards right through the war years. They purchased their piglets in pairs usually, and whether the pigs were male or female, they were always named Dennis and Ginny. They were very well fed. My grandparents would say, "If you put nothing in the sty, you will get nothing out of it." The pigs were reared in one of the two stables in the garden of the Ansells outdoor. They were always very clean, brushed, petted and kept happy. They would snuggle down, in deep straw and grunt softly to one another.

Contrary to popular belief, pigs like to be clean. They did not foul their deep, clean, straw, but like a pet guinea pig would use one corner of the stable for a toilet. There was a gutter in the brick built floor there and their waste was hosed along this gutter and into the drain outside.

Because the pigs were regularly handled they did not fear people, which made their deaths easier when it was time for their slaughter. John Masters, the youngest of the Masters family, was a butcher. He used to kill the pigs when I was a child during the war.

The bladder was washed, then blown up with a bicycle pump and the neck tied with string, and we children would play ball with it. Nothing was wasted, it seems, and my granny would say that the only thing on a pig that you could not use was the squeal.

© QLHS 2005


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