Work

The work proceeded well. Moving from Lane End Farm I was now based at Sonning Farm where I kept the fistulated sheep in a loft and had the use of  a big barn in the summer. I went through many lambs. In the end I was not able to provide confirmation of my hero, Blaxter’s work. This concerned me that I, as a young scientist could not confirm a great scientist’s work. Furthermore I had learned that David Armstrong who had worked with Blaxter was to be my external examiner. I got a great boost to my confidence when by trying to re-calculate his work found that an important conclusion was based on a mis-calculation. I went down to NIRD and asked them to check my calculations. I remember Dr. Sutton saying “you can be sure if Blaxter calculated it, it will be right!”. I was sure I was right. I persuaded Dave Allen to write to David Armstrong to check. He said it looked as if I was right but he would confirm later -he never did but he was wrong. I had also a very good friend in Nigel Jenkins who helped me not only with English but in challenging me to think. I taught him some Danish in return. I kept in touch with Nigel until he died last year. I handed in my thesis in the early spring 1965. Professor Duckham was a bit critical of my English but Dave Allen did not think it was too bad, after all Nigel had read it. In any case I submitted it and passed the examination in May 1965 I rang my parents to say it is Dr. Ørskov speaking! Mother was so happy- perhaps I did it for her!

Work at Pig Improvement Company

Since I did not really have funds for the fourth year I was looking for a bit of extra income. Sidney Fox came to my rescue. He was on the board of the newly established Pig Improvement Company managed by Ken Woolley. They needed a technical officer who could be in charge of the quality assessment of pigs carcasses and to advise in general on statistical analysis and on selection. This entailed my setting  up a photographic room in the local slaughterhouse. All of the male animals slaughtered were cut at the 10th rib and photographed. I even had the facilities for developing all the films there so that we had a complete photographic record. This was done about once a weekl. It was rather boring work but they paid me well and I enjoyed going up to Fyfield Wyck each week to visit Ken and Alwyn Woolley. Ken was a typical entrepreneur. He needed somebody to challenge his ideas. I did that and we got on well and even before I had completed my PhD studies he wanted me to  take on a job as permanent technical manager of the company. At first I could not make up my mind but I was sure I wanted to complete my PhD and I really preferred ruminants. In the end I did not take the job. PIC is now a very large international company. Maybe I missed an opportunity but I have really never been in any doubt I made the right decision!