Freeway Free in France: The Flight of the Pig
W and I were walking along the tarmac road a bit ahead of the D’s when we heard an almighty rustling in the shrubbery on the bank to the left and above the level of the road. At first I thought it was a gust of wind, but no, there was movement. There was a shout from behind us. There was definitely something moving in the shrubs above us. I saw something white and brown through the brambles. I looked around and the D’s were gesticulating madly. Behind them four small trucks had appeared, and a squad of guys clad in international orange vests poured out of the trucks. There was caterwauling in the shrubbery. Was it an escaped convict? A terrorist attack? No, D&D explained. They had seen a pig the size of a small sheep dart across the road. These were hunters with a pack of dogs.
Just then the dogs burst out of the shrubs, yelping merrily, one stopping to deposit a trace on the roadside. There were foxhounds, a setter, a border collie, and a couple of serious-looking shaggy gray animals whose job would probably be to try to take down the pig if they ever caught up with him. All sported orange collars which seemed to be fitted with GPS trackers. The dogs took off to the right of the road and down the hill into more shrubs. The hunters jumped into their trucks and roared away at right angles, hoping for a road which would bring them closer to the hounds. As we walked along, we saw the hunters stopped, back-tracking, roaring off in another direction, then returning , sometimes with a dog or two added to the back of the truck, sometimes not. All seemed to be having a great time. I was just happy that the pig had not jumped from the bank as we were passing – what an ignominious end, to be on a hiking tour in France and be crushed by a flying pig!
Can you spot the pig? (Neither could we!)