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EEL PIE DHARMA - a memoir / haibun -  © 1990 Chris Faiers

Chapter 18 - The Night The Hog Farmers Got Swamped

One fine summer evening a whole travelling commune came to visit Eel Pie.  The Hog Farmers were a famous American commune.  One of their leaders, Wavy Gravy, had been the main announcer at the Woodstock Festival.

The Hog Farmers set up a huge teepee on the front lawn, overlooking the Thames.  Other Hog Farmers camped in smaller tents, and the hotel took on an even more raffish and carnival-like atmosphere than usual.  Most of us squeezed into the Hog Farm teepee to share hash and stories with our American brothers and sisters.  The Hog Farmers were full of themselves, a trait familiar to the British who suffered an invasion of the liberating 'Yanks' during the latter part of World War II.  But the mood that night was of brotherhood and camaraderie inside the huge teepee.

I went to bed very late, and slept in until mid-afternoon, as usual.  When I finally made it downstairs, an odd sight met me.  Thirty or so soaked Hog Farmers were spread out on the ground floor of the hotel.  They were even more disheveled and bedraggled than usual.

I ran into Seamus and asked what had happened.  "The tidal bore came through last night," he told me with a grin.  "It only happens once or twice a year.  A great big wall of water is forced up the Thames by the pressure of the tides.  Our lucky Hog Farmers, so in touch with the forces of nature, picked the one night of the year to camp on our lawn when the tidal bore hit.  It swept up about three feet into the yard, and washed all the Hog Farmers into the hotel in the middle of the night."

Beside the Thames
    giant teepee
        spilling hippies

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revised 8 March 2017