A pig called Helga finds her place in former city slicker’s heart
SUCCESSFUL author and vineyard and boutique accommodation owner, Todd Alexander, was in Dubbo last week to promote his latest title, “Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga.”
The memoir tells of his tree change experiences moving from a corporate job at ebay to farm 100 acres in the Hunter Valley.
“We arrived on 100 acres with a pair of garden shears and an Aldi electric mower and thought we would go great guns,” he told
“Seriously, how hard could farming possibly be. It wasn’t part of the plan but there were twelveand-a-half thousand grapevines on the property and a thousand olive trees, but we fell in love with the property because it reminded us of Maggie Beer’s. We just thought ‘we could do farming’,” Mr Alexander said.
The idea of a country lifestyle struck a chord with him and his partner when visiting Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop in South Australia.
“Imagine if I could have sat down with her for about an hour or so, it would have scared the daylights out of me, and I probably wouldn’t have done it.”
If he hadn’t, however, Mr Alexander would never have discovered his fondness for pigs which led to his meeting Helga.
“Helga’s now two and I’d estimate she’s about 120 kilos. She’s really tender and sweet. She was the first farm animal I raised by hand. They’re really smart and when you look into a pig’s eyes you can see that.
“She came into our life and this is where this book came from. I’d written novels before and I started posting photos of Helga on social media, and a couple of people in publishing said ‘she’s amazing’. Complete strangers were asking for more videos and it grew from there.
“When they realised Helga was one small part of a much bigger tree change story and all of our stupid mistakes, it snowballed from there.”
Currently on tour in regional areas to promote his new book, he’s finding it resonates with country readers.
“It’s been really rewarding. What’s interesting about talking to a country audience versus a city audience about this book, is there’s a lot of in jokes that country people really get,” Mr Alexander said.
“They’ve experienced people coming from the city thinking they know everything. It’s always that steep learning curve. ‘How hard can it be?’ Those famous last words!
‘Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga’ has spent 14 weeks in the Top 10 bestselling biographies chart and is available from The Book Connection on Macquarie Street.
Mr Alexander is also the author of novels “Tom Houghton: A Novel” and “Pictures of Us”, plus seven non-fiction titles about online selling inspired by his past life working for ebay.
Author Todd Alexander was in Dubbo last week promoting his tenth book, “Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig called Helga”. PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS