The Pig Yard

February - A short month but plenty going on. We took our winter holiday in Northumberland with the usual suspects and managed to fit in some good walks at the weekends. The weather has been from one extreme to the other and the month closed with several days of cold winds and snow, none of it settling for too long and no major travel disruption in Northamptonshire.

Our February holiday was a break from the traditional Lake District visit so we went to the Northumberland coast. The house had plenty of space, a massive kitchen and was within 50 metres of the beach. The weather was good enough to produce some excellent sunsets.

We wouldn't want to swim in the North Sea at this time of year, that's probably true at any time of year, but these beaches are truly wonderful - unspoilt, unpopulated and alive with the sounds of the sea and birdlife. We shall be returning and we won't leave it too long - for more pictures go to the Northumbria holiday page.

The holiday meant we didn't have time to go to the cinema as many times as we would like but we did get to see In Good Company. Denis Quaid plays a man in his fifties who is head of a sales department but is then demoted when a twenty-six year old hot-shot comes in to run the department. Its made all the more complex by the hot-shot dating Quaid's daughter.

In the end the voice of reason prevails and Quaid gets his old job back, the hot-shot is fired, learns the error of his ways and decides to take up a more worthwhile career, possibly teaching.

After eighteen months waiting for a new window in the summer room to match the gothic windows in the library we at long last had them fitted. It all happened in very quickly at the end - a few phone calls and days later the room is transformed. Now we need to get the radiator moved and the old French windows installed so that we can walk straight from the summer room onto the patio.

If we're really lucky this will all be sorted by the summer and we can enjoy a more open aspect.

Our projects around the house have gone into decline, maybe it's the winter weather or perhaps it's old age and indolence creeping up on us.

Never to miss an opportunity Jane has already got her seed potatoes chitting in the window.

Jane's birthday was a feature of the month but she would rather forget the ageing process if she possibly could.

We went out for a meal together at the Boat Inn, Stoke Bruerne - just the two of us - which is a rare event because food is not high on our agenda. We used tokens from The Times to have a cheap meal and it was excellent. The restaurant was nearly full but we were shown to seats overlooking the canal and even though it was dark it was a very romantic setting.

To further celebrate we went out with our good friends to the Yeoman of England at Wootton. This is a pub/restaurant mix and the food is generally good however the service is somewhat suspect. They took our order at the bar and managed to bring the wrong number of certain meals with too many of another. Suddenly we were being questioned by the manager about "our" mistake, roll on the Spanish Inquisition. As it happens Jane had written the order down on a "Post-it" Note so there was evidence of their incompetence. Perhaps the Yeoman will not be on the top of our list next time we go for a meal.

The picture is not the most flattering but she does look warm. It also has some of Jane's favourite things - a camera and a bag covered with cats.

We've started to put our mind to our holiday in Australia next November. Our present thinking is Melbourne, Tasmania, Sydney, Cairns and then return from Brisbane. We should be able to spend some time with Jane's sister in Tasmania, Dave & Lucie north of Sydney, and Ian and Sue north of Brisbane.