The Pig Yard

December 2012

This month has been dominated by health issues. At long last Jane had her knee operation in the middle of the month and she came through it unscathed. Also her mum came out of hospital having been diagnosed as being diabetic and so at the grand age of 91 she now has a completely new regime of pills to take. This has caused a number of support issues and the problems of getting various agencies to work together to support her has been a nightmare. How people who have no relatives to help them survive is a miracle - or perhaps they don't.

The weather this month has been exceptionally wet even for the UK but it has also been quite mild with very few frosts and towards the end of the month we saw temperatures entering double figures (Celsius of course).

On a positive note we have been moving forward with the house development and the winter months will see us making a lot of decisions about materials.

Alex Cross Film

Alex Cross

We are avid readers of the James Patterson novels as they are well thought out detective stories. The books have the added element of criminal profiling and there’s nothing more fascinating than psychology and what makes people tick.

The last Alex Cross film we saw had Morgan Freeman in the lead role so Tyler Perry had some very large shoes to fill. The story line was one we had read but there were some changes which is to be expected in a Hollywood film script but nothing too disturbing. So this Alex Cross was good however he was little more active and less cerebral than the Dr Alex Cross in the books. The real star of the movie is Matthew Fox who plays “The Butcher of Sligo”, a psychopath who is an assassin with a penchant for inflicting pain before dispatching his assignments. He also doesn’t enjoy being challenged so the interference by Alex Cross and his team mean they become part of the game and are also hunted.

We enjoyed the film for its fast action and to see an excellent psychopath at work however the detective work that went on behind the scenes was played down too much. This is not Sherlock Holmes more Die Hard.

Jane's Arthroscopy

Having cancelled one operation date because of a cold, Jane was disappointed the night before her next date to be told it was cancelled because the hospital was too full!! The possible delay would mean a further 8 weeks before she could be fitted in under the NHS, The decision was made to go to Three Shires privately for the op which could be fitted in before Christmas. The thought was the sooner the knee was cleaned out the quicker she could return to normality (exercise).

We had been to Finchley Memorial Hospital (NHS) recently in London, a new hospital which housed Jane's Mother during her recuperation, so we thought Three Shires would be of a similar standard if not better bearing in mind the costs..... Well it really was not as good or as spacious. The attendant nurses were all pleasant Jane had never seen so many, she even saw her consultant three times.

Well is it better?  Jane was told she had chipped her thigh bone and they had removed the bits of bone, cartilage and stuff inside the knee but the cruciate ligament was torn and would not repair. She sees the consultant at the end of January, with a couple of physio appointments before then. She follows her exercise regime hoping that the tightness in the knee will ease. Looks like squash will be out of the question possibly for ever....

Arthroscopy diagram

Last Tango in Halifax - BBC 1

Last Tango in Halifax - BBC 1

Over the past few weeks we’ve been watching this BBC programme and have enjoyed every moment of every episode. It tells the story of two very different families brought together after their widowed mother and widowed father meet up again after more than 50 years.

Not only is it a romance late in life it is also a story of what might have been if circumstances had been different and how two very socially different families find themselves able to confide and support each other. If you haven’t seen it and are fascinated by relationships then catch up on iPlayer:

Christmas - Season of Bah Humbug

There was so much going on just before Christmas what with Jane's mum and Jane's knee operation we barely had time to think about the festive season. As always Jane was well prepared before hand and she has this uncanny knack of bringing everything together just in time. Steve on the other hand frets and frets about things being just right and of course does all his shopping the easy way - online (thank goodness for Amazon).

We spent Christmas morning sorting a few things out and then in the afternoon we went over the Sue & Graham's for a traditional Christmas dinner followed by an equally traditional snooze. We made sure we didn't outstay our welcome and were home by 11pm.

Boxing Day found us travelling down to Bletchley to visit our nephew and his partner. They were still in their nightwear at 11am, with the TV on, Christmas wrapping paper on the floor where it fell and a general air of abandon. What it is to be 40 and carry responsibility so lightly.

After Christmas Day it's always good to return to some semblance of normality and for all the razzmatazz and bon hommie to be over and done with for another year. Someone on the radio described the time between Christmas and New Year as the armpit of the year - how apt; it's like a dead zone.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Card 2012

House Project

After meeting with the Architect, James, this month we now have a project plan that stretches out to the end of November 2013. This is much later than we had hoped and we are looking at ways that this might be shortened by undertaking some activities in parallel.

The key things we have to do in the next 3 months is to select the timber frame company who will draw up the engineering drawings for us to get the OK from Building Control. We can then select the main building contractor who will be responsible for the groundworks, driveway and completing the house build (roof, windows, external cladding, internal first and second fix). There's a lot to be done and innumerable decisions to be taken but we are moving forward with a the foundations due to be dug during May.

Wood Stocks

Unlike previous years we haven't had the opportunity to get out into the fields and cut wood donated by our local friendly farmer. It seems he's keeping all the better wood for himself. As it stands we have enough wood, mainly Willow, to last us until the end of January and then I shall be looking to cut up the floorboards (if we had any).

There is a chance of getting some more Willow at the end of January when the local shoot is finished. Willow is such a poor wood because it is of low density once it has dried out. Willows grow very fast in wet areas because they draw up lots of water and therefore once it's dried out there's nothing left. Beggars can't be choosers so we take the Willow, cut and split it and then burn it on the log burner with an open draft, it's the only way to get any heat out of it.

Wood by front door

Next Month...

  • Jane continues to recuperate
  • We get to see The Hobbit and maybe Lincoln (Directed by Spielberg)
  • Dave & Lucie return from Kenya
  • Select our Timber Frame company
  • Decide on the major items for the house

Next Year...

  • House building project will dominate our lives
  • Holiday with our closest friends in March
  • Jane to retire from Blisworth Surgery (possibly May)
  • Steve completes the Community Web Hub project
  • Sell the Pig yard after 17 years
  • Move to Market Rasen (November)

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