The Pig Yard

August 2013

What a very strange month. Now we know the meaning of limbo, or should that be purgatory? Our house sale that we thought was a done deal back in June has faltered and although we're all boxed up and ready to go we're still here. Looking on the bright side Jane has managed to sell her mother's home and there is enough money to keep her mum comfortable in a care home until she's about 120 after which the state will have to pick up the bill. We think the state won't have to worry too much about that invoice ever arriving within the corridors of the Department of Health and Social Security, or Department of Work and Pensions

Our house build is making good progress and we are getting very excited about the timber frame arriving in September with erection completed in early October.

This month was the first full month when Jane wasn't working at all. The loss of being needed is difficult to come to terms with so Jane is desperate to get up to Market Rasen so we can start to work on the new garden and volunteer within the community.

House Piling

The Pile Driving Is Completed

The pile driving has been completed. Some of them were driven in much further than the civil engineers had thought. We had been told they might go down 7 metres before reaching stable ground however some of them went down 10 metres. Every metre costs extra!

The next stage is for a wire frame to be suspended from the piles and then encased in concrete to make a ring beam. This took   two weeks so our footprint wasn't visible until mid August. See below for progress...

Old Man Murphy

We worried about Murphy because he was showing signs of his age. He sleeps in the shade in the garden during the day, sits on the back door step to catch the rays from the setting sun and then comes into the house after dark.
He eats sporadically and is a little on the thin side but try as we might we can’t get him to put any weight on. We’re not sure he will be with us through the move into the new house but we live in hope.

After a visit to the vet and injections of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, Murphy quickly returned to normal. The vet diagnosed inflamed gums which is a recurring problem with old cats. As usual he didn’t want to go into his cat box before leaving the house and then didn’t want to come out when we got him there. Steve tried to get him out by the scruff of his neck and carries the scars to prove that Murphy’s teeth still have a bite.

He is now eating well, his smelly breath is better and seems happier in himself. Long may it last.

Murphy on the doorstep

House Contract

House Sale Show Down

We signed the contract for our house sale on 26th June and since then our buyer has not made any progress in getting a mortgage. We gave the Estate Agent an ultimatum that we either exchange contracts or the house goes back on the market. Our buyer made two attempts to get a mortgage and has failed to do so. After waiting nearly two months we’ve decided to put the house back on the market. With the proviso that the current buyer would have first refusal when and if he gets a mortgage.

This was a really troubling decision but it seems we had little choice. We continue to live in a world of boxes gradually filling up the second living room.

 The estate agent tells us the market is still very lively and there is a good chance of finding another buyer. We have to wait to see what happens.

Timber Frame

We are rapidly approaching the time when the timber frame will be delivered to site – week commencing 10th September for Dave & Lucie and 16th September for us (unless something dramatic changes). We have been surprised that FrameWise haven’t supplied details about how they will approach the project in terms of which house will be delivered first, order of erection, scaffolding requirements, etc. They do this as their business so we thought these details would be readily available but it doesn’t seem so.

We worked with our architect to get all the information together and after Steve had a stroppy conversation with the Timber Frame project manager and Dave emailed one of their senior staff we are back on track.

Timber Frame

Temporary Tooth

Temporary Tooth

After all the waiting Steve eventually had a temporary tooth fitted. To “fill” the gap the remaining stump of the tooth had to have root canal work. The first session took one and a half hours and then a week later he had a two hour session to finish off the root canal, fit a fibre post and then build up a temporary crown until the final crown has been moulded to fit perfectly. This is the longest he has ever been in a dentist's chair and he compared it with the water boarding torture the CIA say they don’t do.
He says the tooth feels bruised from all the pulling about but it is solid. He is worried about how the dentist is going to remove the temporary crown without the tooth coming with it. It’s easy to tell which is the rebuilt tooth because its the straight one – left incisor as you look at it.
He feels a lot better now he's no longer a member of the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Foundations On The Up

The house footings are developing. Dave & Lucie went up to the site and helpfully took some photos of our plot. The process is to build up trenches (made from orange plastic), place metal frames between the piles and then pour concrete over the frames to create a reinforced beam between each pile. This forms a complete ring structure upon which the timber frame sits.

It’s always a good sign to see something coming out of the ground however this element of the build has cost us a lot more than originally quoted because the piles went further into the ground than originally anticipated. They stopped piling when they reached 10 metres.

House Ring Beam

Wlanut Tree Live Comedy Night

Live Comedy @ The Walnut Tree

We had been given a voucher for a comedy night performance and after trying to book into events in London we eventually decided to visit the Walnut Tree in Blisworth for their comedy night.
You never know what you are going to get on a night like this and that’s all part of the event. It was advertised as: “Amiable and energetic humour from Australian stand-up and creator of late night comedy show The Phatcave, Mickey D. Also featuring James Sherwood, Toby Muresianu and MC Jim Grant.”

The MC Jim Grant was really a waste of space and rather than getting everyone laughing he worried us that this was as good as it gets – thankfully it wasn’t. First up was James Sherwood who seemed relaxed and used a keyboard to analyse the poor grammar in popular songs and how they might sound if the grammar was corrected. He played Michael Jackson’s “I’m Bad” only to dryly say how prophetic that proved to be.

Next was Toby Muresanu, an American with a machine gun delivery in a mumbling style which left us at a loss as to what he was saying and not even aware there had been a punch-line. He didn’t get out seal of approval however Jane spoke to a young person in the break who said they thought he was terrific and James Sherwood was too slow in his delivery so there’s no accounting for taste.

Finally, up steps Mickey D, an Australian living in Birmingham. He made the Brummie accent the butt of many of his jokes and he was very funny throughout his part of the gig. His timing was good, the variation in joke subject matter was well spread and he managed to maintain a thread all the way through. He was the best act of the night.

Each act was separated by a break so people could go to the bar for a drink and although the MC said it was going to be 10 minutes most of the breaks were 25 minutes and the atmosphere had to be built up each time. It would have been better to stick to 10 minute breaks! However with a cost of £3.80 for a pint of orange and lemonade, Steve made his drink last all evening  with the rest of us drinking soda and lime (50p)

Next Month...

  • The house sale meanders onwards
  • The new house build gathers momentum with the arrival of the frame
  • We exchange contracts on the house
  • We find rented accommodation in Market Rasen
  • We agree a moving date

This Weather Widget is provided by the Met Office

Regular updates of our activities are available on our blog site - click here to see the latest posts...