How better to spend a lazy afternoon on the sofa than browsing through the Ceredigion Monthly Advertiser. It’s reassuring to know that there are people in the local area who can provide man on man deep tissue massage, mole control (of the small furry variety) or salsa classes for beginners. Two ads caught my eye this month - the first was for Welsh cross Berkshire weaners. We’ve been trying to decide between the Welsh white pig (good for bacon) and the Berkshire black pig (good for pork) as the starter pig for the Banceithin herd. If someone out there has crossed the two breeds perhaps that’s the compromise we’ve been looking for - a black & white pig happy to live up to its snout in muck on a damp Welsh hillside with nothing but sheep for company, but equally at home snuffling amongst cake and jam stalls at the school fete on the village green. Anyway, I digress. The other ad of interest was for a poultry auction down the road at Llanina Hotel. Pigs are on hold until new year, but the sooner I can stop buying eggs from the farm up the road and start snaffling them fresh from under a warm feathered bottom in my own garden, the better. The chicken house has been sitting in the shed like an abandoned mini-ski chalet since its construction in September 2008. 11 months later, in a fit of enthusiasm, we went out and spent a small fortune on fencing. But each time I suggest to Dave that perhaps building of the chicken run could begin, he groans and finds something more interesting to do, like lagging pipes or measuring holes. I think perhaps flashbacks to lonely days in winter concreting in veg plot fence posts are putting him off. If the chicken run is to become a reality, some hired muscle would be required. As luck would have it, cheap foreign labour was already on its way (if an illegal immigrant is good enough for the Attorney General, a legal one should be just fine for us!). We knew Yiannis could balance 6 plates on one hand while using the other hand to down Jaegermeister bombs, but would his talents extend to power tools? The first test set for Yiannis by Dave was to build a path - cue some serious mattock swinging, manly grunting (both Greek and English) and heaving of rocks, in between fag breaks.
If the BBC ever decided to combine Gardeners World and The World’s Strongest Man into a single show, it would not look too dissimilar to what I witnessed from the safe (and comfortable) distance of the kitchen window. That said, it would be unusual to see any contestant on The World’s Strongest Man take a break from his exertions to smell a flower. I swear this is exactly what Ali caught Yiannis & Dave doing, although they maintain it was a herb not a flower that was the object of inspection, but note the lack of denial that sniffing did take place.
Judging by the back slapping and general mutual appreciation that took place I think it’s safe to say that Yiannis passed the first test with flying colours. But now for the ultimate test … Project Chicken Run!