The Pig Yard

July 2013

Our House Development

Despite of our impending move or perhaps because of it we planned as many activities as we could into this month so we have been busy. Jane continued to work filling in when there was a severe shortage of staff but she has now finished both officially and unofficially so she can focus on all the other tasks we have at hand.

We spent a couple of days up in Market Rasen to look at the site development, review local properties available for rent and to visit Grimsby which although grim in parts has a very vibrant shopping area similar in size and style to Milton Keynes.

Whipsnade Zoo

Four Go to Whipsnade Zoo

It’s many years since we had been to Whipsnade Zoo and our imminent departure from the area led us to invite Sue & Graham to come with us. We arrived just after opening time at ten o’clock and walked ourselves into the ground making sure we saw every animal that we could. There were a couple of no-shows – the Otters were not evident and because the Lynx had recently given birth the area was completely overgrown with weeds and grasses. Somewhere in the middle of the large compound the Lynx and its kittens was happily snoozing the afternoon away.

We did see plenty of other animals during the time we were there (not leaving until 6pm) and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 

Last Supper BarbequeOur Last BBQ

As our packing, recycling, visits to charity shops and dumping continues (largely led by Jane) we decided to have a last supper at the Pig Yard. The weather was very warm so we had to have a barbecue. We sat outside appreciating our garden and how much it had evolved since we moved in 16 years ago. The lawn had been cut, the garden furniture cleaned and Jane had prepared enough food to feed the 5,000.

We look forward to the first barbecue we have at our new home in Market Rasen but that won’t be until summer 2014.

Pile Driving on site

Movers and Shifters

After many weeks of little activity or at least no visible activity we can now see a slight glimmer at the end of the tunnel.

We’ve signed the contract with the builders and they started w/c 15th July. It will took a day or two to set the site out before commencing pile driving for the foundations. We are really excited to see some progress.

Our house sale has stalled as the buyer is having problems with their mortgage and they are having to undertake another survey. This could delay the process by two or three weeks. We had hoped to move out in the middle of August but it is now likely it will be the end of August or even early September. Once we exchange contracts we will have 4 weeks before completion to find somewhere to rent in or around Market Rasen; change our address details; organise the removals date; and get the house cleared.

Jane’s doing a superb job of packing up and getting rid of unwanted “stuff”. Whilst she’s doing that for us she’s also clearing her mother’s house which is more challenging because she’s trying to conserve much of her parents’ historical documents. A very tough job and quite emotional.

Utility Dresser on Freegle

We’ve had this dresser since we were first married 42 years ago and in the intervening years it has been painted various colours. We have now given it away advertising it as a retro piece of furniture.

Admittedly it has sat in our corner barn for the past 17 years but it is gratifying that it’s gone to a good home. In fact we had a number of people chasing it on Freegle and we were surprised that it was in such high demand. Perhaps it is worth something and we didn’t even know.

We've given away a lot of our "stuff" using Freegle which is a website that connects together those with things to give away and those who would like junk items. It saves us taking stuff to the dump and having it go into land fill but there is a lot of rubbish.

WW2 Utility Furniture

Steve's Broken Tooth

Broken Tooth

We were on our way to East Sussex for a few days with Jane’s brother when we stopped off at a pub for lunch. Steve avoided the cheesy sandwiches in favour of a crispy bacon salad sandwich but on the first bite he heard a crunch which didn’t sound like bacon and there was something strange in his mouth which wasn't bacon.

As he fished about with his tongue he realised one of his upper front teeth was missing. It had sheared at gum level and looked as if it was rotten. How can this be? He's visited the dentist every 6 months since about 1973, they’ve been fully xrayed in the past 2 years and yet this weakness has gone unnoticed. He thinks in this day and age your teeth shouldn’t catastrophically fail. Jane booked him in with the dentist but we imagine this will just be the first step towards getting a replacement tooth.
At the moment he looks like Mackenzie Crook in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Seven Sisters Walk

At the beginning of the year we agreed to share a couple of events with Jane’s brother, Richard, and his partner Nicola. The first was an evening at an opera at Glyndebourne. To make the most of the travel time Richard organised a couple of nights stay on a farm in East Sussex and so we had the opportunity to go for some walks.

This walk down to the coast and along the seven sisters was undertaken in searing heat which got to us with Jane suffering the most. We managed to finish the walk after trekking for 4 hours and the cups of tea were like true nectar; Jane had more than five cups but lost count after three.

Seven Sisters Walk

Jane at Glyndebourne

Glyndebourne Opera

The opera at Glyndebourne was a complete unknown to us. We were told it was a black tie and posh frock event so we got into our best kit and turned up with plenty of fizzy wine a picnic and open minds.

We had plenty to drink before hand so we were quite relaxed. The box we had was very versatile because we could move the seats around – Nicola was concerned that the view would be obscured but we had perfect sight of the whole stage. The story was easy enough to follow, after all it was an Italian farce. At the interval we came out to eat our picnic which Jane had prepared earlier.

More wine was consumed before returning for the second half. It was without doubt a memorably enjoyable evening. Would we do it again? Well possibly because of the ritualised dressing up and overall atmosphere. The opera was “interesting” but possibly not engaging enough to become a regular thing.

Kew Gardens

We went to Kew Gardens with Dave & Lucie. This was their first visit so it was really exciting for them. It was due to be another hot day so we set off early and arrived just as the gates were opening at 09:30 so it was pleasantly cool for the morning. It’s strange that the gates were open but the cafes didn’t start serving refreshments until 10am.

There were some new features since we last went and the tree top walk was very good to see right over the gardens and into the tree canopy even if the climb to the top in the midday sun was a bit of a stretch.

We hadn’t been in the Princess of Wales Conservatory before and as it was early and therefore quiet we went for a stroll through the various collections. We were impressed and the term conservatory doesn’t really do it justice. There was as much to see as there was in some of the domes at the Eden Project.

The Temperate House was about to close before undergoing some major refurbishment so we were lucky to go when we did. They were removing all the plants which is a mammoth task in itself as some of them have grown into the roof area. It will be several years before it reopens.

Kews at Kew

From the Ground Up

The house project has started with the top soil being scraped off and the house being marked out. The piling for the foundations should be starting next week (w/c 29th July) as the piling on the Kew’s plot has started although it is taking a little longer than anticipated because instead of going down 6 metres some of the piles are going in 8 metres or more before hitting solid ground.

It gave us a real boost to see activity on site and we hope to see the foundations completed in the next two weeks. The timber frame isn’t due for delivery until w/c 9th September so there’s plenty of time for all the ground works to be completed.

World's End Film Review

The trailers and interviews with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost enticed us into going to the cinema on a sunny summer's evening to see their latest and possibly last joint effort - The World's End which is a reference to a pub.

Simon Pegg takes the lead as Gary King who contrives to get four old school mates together after 20 years to undertake a rerun of their last attempt to pub crawl around 12 pubs in one evening. Whereas everyone else has moved on with their lives, Gary has been stuck in a time warp and possibly a mental institution (but never explicitly stated). Needless to say things don't go as planned and the pub crawl becomes very much allied to Shaun of the Dead with a sci-fi twist.

There were parts where the action was "laugh out loud" funny and we did, some was cringe worthy and yet other parts were just too silly and fell flat. Better than Shaun of the Dead but not as good as Hot Fuzz.  Overall it wasn't a great film but would make a good film to watch on TV - it would have to be shown after 9pm because there is wall to wall swearing throughout.

World's End Review

All's Well That Ends Well

All's Well That Ends Well

Our infrequent visits to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon are always something to look forward to. The last time we stayed at a different B&B because where we normally stayed was full but this time we were back staying with Johanna and it was like revisiting an old friend as we were greeted with hugs and kisses - she is very theatrical and therefore a good preparation for what is to come. This visit we were joined by Richard and Nicola as part payment for their hosting us at Glyndebourne two weeks ago.

We had never seen All's Well That Ends Well before and as usual we had done very little preparation partly because we like to approach it with a totally open mind and partly because we are too busy (for which read couldn't be bothered). Our seats were excellent, front row of the circle. The play was well directed and although some of the actors were a little wooden or hammy we enjoyed it very much. Some of the speeches were brilliant, particularly the King of France extolling the virtues of Helena who although of poor birth is virtuous and undertakes good deeds. Simply put - it's not who you are but how good you are that matters.

We enjoyed it enormously and it is probably going to be in the top three of our best Shakespeare plays.

Rock Choir @ Northampton All Saints Church

Jane and Viv from next door attend the Rock Choir at Northampton School for Girls in term time. It is one of many franchises that meet all over the country. The Northampton choir mistress! is Jess, a very talented young lady who manages to promote the Rock Choir by attending various events around Northampton. They appeared at the Saints one  Saturday in February, were on a carnival float in May/June and on Sunday 28th July performed on All Saints church steps. This was Jane's only public performance which she felt quite emotional about. It was a very fulfilling experience, but a shame that Steve did not attend, although she felt sure he would have been bored or embarressed.


Rock Choir @ Northampton All Saints Churhc

Next Month...

  • The House packing continues
  • Jane completes the sale of her mother's house
  • We exchange contracts on our house
  • We find rented accommodation in Market Rasen
  • We agree a moving date

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