The Pig Yard

July - We enjoyed three weeks of searing heat and one week of constant rain - it would be easy to blame global warming but the weather usually balances itself out. We've had a busy month, Jane involved with the Roman dig at Whitehall Farm (As seen on Channel 4) and the weekends spent gardening, visiting people and chores around the house.

We've also had quite a bit of work done on the house by "real" builders, as you will see below, and this has finalised our current plans for the house other than making good the disruption caused.

Well if anyone saw the 'Big Dig' in early July, they would not have seen Jane. She was up the top of the field using her camera to capture the moment when Korenza (how on earth do you spell her name) walked around the Whitehall site enthusing about the various features. The advantage to the diggers of all this tele-visual interest was the fact they brought with them the classy toilet block and a food/drink wagon, so we could abandon our flasks and the chemical loo for a couple of days. Margaret Mac was the only true Whitehall Digger featured apart from the lovely mole they found. A new room has been scraped up this year with lots of pot as well as stacks of box flue which Jane spent most of her time trying to piece together. Dr Weaver was to appear on the programme with his rebuilt head from a skull they found, but due to the bombs in London it was felt in poor taste to show a body less head, Martin is the thinker in the photo featured. For more on the Roman dig go to Whitehall Farm or Channel 4 Big Roman Dig)

After twelve months without a wall between ourselves and next door the dividing garden wall has been completed. Jane helped Mick from the village to build it and it has worked out really well. We still have a little bit of stone left from our previous wall demolishing activities but we will use that elsewhere. Jane has some deserving homes some of the remaining pieces will go to.

Now this has been completed we can clean up the yard and put fresh gravel down to smarten it up (plus liberal doses of weed killer). Ever since the garage was built in 1998 and the drive was disrupted we've been waiting to complete all the heavy building work before tidying up the yard, so now we can start bringing about a semblance of order.

For the first time the we went on holiday to Ireland - click here for more pictures and details on "what we did on our holidays."

We had great weather and managed to tour across most of County Mayo however walking was another story...

We had the French windows taken from the end of the summer room and moved around the corner. Previously when we opened the doors we walked out into the yard but now we step out onto the Patio which is much better. It also makes the summer room even lighter.

We need to do some cleaning up, painting and decorating before it is all back to normal. There's also some thought required on how we finish off the gap between the fitted carpet and the doors. Current thinking is that we cover this area with some wood laminate and something to bring carpet and wood together. Of course the curtains that used to hang in the window no longer fit so we need to think seriously as to how we resolve this - new curtains or perhaps have a set of curtains in a plain, matching colour.

Looking on the bright side at least we didn't have to move the water butt which would have required us completely resetting the guttering so that it drained at the other end of this part of the building.

We have a great life and our only problem is that sometimes we forget how fortunate we are. Here we are in our mid fifties, we're both reasonably healthy, been married for over 34 years, have no financial worries and when you look at this picture we are relaxed and happy to be alive...

The picture doesn't tell you the struggle we had to get there - we hacked our way through overgrown woodland, climbed walls, waded through acres (or should that be hectares) of Irish heather to get to the very top of this hill. It was all worth it because the breeze was fresh and the views over the Moy valley were magnificent.

Perhaps there's something deep and meaningful in this bit, or perhaps not.

Moans of the month

Here's one from Australia:

"I hate it when you receive a protracted phone greeting, in the guise of good customer service. For example - "Good evening, thank you for calling Dominoes, Cessnock. My name is Rochelle, how can I help?"

I would really much rather hear a cheery, competent voice saying, "Hello, Dominoes.""

Another one closer to home:

"You know me I never like to moan, but what really gets me going is listening to so many people moaning!"