Dom Joly: Porcine of the times

The 'offending' image...

The 'offending' image... - Credit: Archant

Wilbur was upset, and I felt like a heel

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treats us as equals,” said Winston Churchill. As the owner of a famous pig (cover star of Cotswold Life no less) and living but a stone’s throw from the Prime Minister’s constituency, the sordid ‘Pig-gate’ affair was a particularly distressing time for both Wilbur and myself.

As the story of David Cameron’s alleged indiscretions while at university delighted/appalled the nation, I tried to shield Wilbur from the news. Pigs are incredibly smart however and he sensed that something was up. I eventually had to sit him down and tell him the whole story. To say that he was disgusted would be an understatement. Wilbur is not a total naïfa woman called Rebecca Loos once manually relieved the great-uncle of one of his closest friends on a TV reality show. He knows that strange things happen to pigs in the outside world, but I could see that he expected a lot more from the Prime Minster of this country.

This is not the first time this issue has turned up in politics. US President, Lyndon Johnson famously told an aide to spread a story about an early Congressional rival having a proclivity for pigs. When the aide in questioned protested that they couldn’t do this, as it wasn’t true, LBJ replied: “of course it ain’t true, but I want to make the son-of-a-bitch deny it…”

I told Wilbur this story and he laughed in a hollow manner. He is a little sensitive at the moment as his star is very much on the rise. Online footage of him joining my dogs on long walks has gone viral and he is much in demand. There was a page on him in the Daily Telegraph, a feature in a popular pet magazine and, of course, a five-page spread on him in this very magazine. I could see this was very much on his mind.

“You know that Cotswold Life piece?” Wilbur grunted.

“Yes, everybody loved it.” I replied enthusiastically.

“I’m not too sure about the photos they used?” He looked at me accusingly.

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“What, which ones?” I replied, truly confused.

“The ones in which we are both lying on the carpet in front of the AGA and you are offering me an apple…” I did remember those. Wilbur loves apples.

“I thought they were lovely photos.” I said.

“I just don’t want any of my friends to get the wrong idea about our… relationship status…” Wilbur fixed me with a steely glare. There was a long and rather awkward pause.

“I’m sure everybody will totally get that we are just good friends…” My voice was a touch high-pitched for no good reason.

“I mean I’m not stupid. I know you think the apple in the mouth and me by the Aga are all very funny… haha look, living roast pork…” Wilbur looked sad for a second.

“Hang on, Wilbs… it’s only a joke. I didn’t know you even got the reference?” I felt terrible.

“And you always do that joke about me being the slowest pork joint in the world – not funny…” Wilbur was upset and I felt like a heel.

I took the dogs off for a walk. As usual Wilbur slipped under the gate and followed us. He kept a little distance between us and I only noticed when we were a good 20 minutes from home. I demanded that he go back but he refused – “Why do the dogs get a walk and not me?”

I didn’t want to argue. I called Stacey and she came out to help in the Land Rover. Wilbur flat refused to go home quietly and so I had to grab him. He is a big, heavy pig and I was really struggling to carry him towards the car as he squealed in displeasure. At this very moment, a peloton of cyclists came round the corner. They screeched to a halt and stared at the scene. There was Dom Joly trying to force a large, angry pig into the back of his Land Rover…

I could see what they were all thinking… they’d all read the news.

“Bloody hell, they’re all at it…”

You can read more about our interview with Wilbur here.

This article was taken from our December 2015 issue.

Follow Dom on Twitter: @domjoly