The Pig Yard

January 2013

A New Year and not much has changed from the old year. Jane's knee is making slow progress and in her final visit to the consultant he effectively said "Your knee is f**ked; get over it". What he actually said was that it was already arthritic before the accident and the damage done has just pushed it over the edge and is in a very poor state. She needs to continue with her physiotherapy and she has been given the green light to use the exercise bike and get back into the swimming pool.

Jane's mother continues to require a lot of time and attention. Her house is deteriorating with the heating malfunctioning so that we thought we might move her into temporary residence in a care home in the hope she would like it and decide to stay however the service engineer said that although the heating would be off for the day they would supply electric heaters and there would be minimum disruption. She stubbornly remains at home despite carers sometimes not arriving or not giving a reasonable service or the fact that without Jane's constant monitoring of the situation her care service would fall apart. Unfortunately Steve's patience has run out.

Our house project is moving forward. The tree report has been completed, we've ordered the timber frame and information is being compiled to appoint a main contractor.

Driveway in the snow

Snow and more snow

Two weeks into the New Year and we had snow. Of course it looks lovely but we’re not that good at driving on snow in this country because it comes intermittently and rarely lasts very long. On this occasion it hung around for about a week with temperatures remaining freezing cold for many days. We used the Skoda Yeti because it is a 4x4 and the Smart Car is so low with a short wheel base that it tends to spin very easily. The Yeti was very sure footed however like all cars it has the same problem when it comes to stopping.

Jane worried about the icy conditions because her knee was not recovering as quickly as she would like. The most terrifying time was when we walked into Northampton on the icy pavements, often resorting to single file for safety.

Broadband Switchover

We've been with the same broadband supplier for many years on a fixed download deal. We've been downloading more "stuff" since getting our Smartphones and tablets. We decided to move over to TalkTalk because they were our phone provider and gave us an excellent deal. The new contract means we get unlimited downloads and the total cost for phones and broadband is slightly cheaper.

The changeover took place on 21st January and apart from losing the phone service for an hour we were up and running on all systems by 5pm. TalkTalk get terrible press for their customer service but they are superb compared with BT (it doesn't take much to be better than BT). It's great to have unlimited downloads so we can even user iPlayer and other catch-up TV channels.

Broadband switchover

Tree Report

House Project Tree Report

Before Christmas we spent a pleasant afternoon hugging trees, helping a tree person to measure their girth and assessing their health. In total there are 39 trees with preservation orders and we want to retain as many as possible. There are two horse chestnuts, a beech and possibly a lime tree that might be felled but we need to get permission from the Tree Officer to do this.

Another significant issue is the drive. It crosses over the tree roots and so we have to look at some cushioning material to lay on top of the ground over the roots. This raises the land profile by 290mm which gives us a problem about the levels on the site. The architect and arborist continue to research the best way forward.

We have also had site level and ground surveys undertaken in readiness for preparing the engineering drawings of the foundation type and levels.

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey

We thought we weren’t going to get to the cinema this month but we just managed to fit in a showing of the Hobbit in 2D. We knew the reviews had said it was too long and so we decided to buy some cold drinks in the foyer. At £3 a time we decided we wouldn’t be doing that again. Thankfully the tickets were purchased through our Tesco points so it felt like it was free.

So on to the film… The Hobbit story is beautifully shot and the fantasy is brought to life with excellent acting, great CGI effects and wonderful scenery in New Zealand. Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins was made for the part and his dynamic with the dwarves was brilliant. The issues of trust between Bilbo and the rest of the company was a constant thread until the very end. The meaning behind someone willing to give their own life to enable someone else to restore their own home transcends the ages, it even transcends fact and fiction. We enjoyed every moment, even the fights that ran fast and with boisterously across the landscape with a myriad of creatures all carefully sculpted on screen. We look forward to the next episode.

Hobbit - An unexpected Journey

Next Month...

  • Jane continues to recuperate
  • Decide on the major items for the house
  • Visit the cinema at least once

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