The Pig Yard

March 2012

Another busy month full of many highs and a few lows which is a fair reflection of a balanced life. When the "lows" begin to outnumber the highs then it would be a good time to examine what you're doing wrong. As it stands we seem to be doing a lot right and hence we have a happy life. We are still keeping fairly fit and even at this early stage of the year we've managed to fit in a few cycles one of which took us from home to Wilby and back a total distance of over 30 miles. We're out in the garden tidying up whenever we find the time and Jane has been busy preparing the seed beds in her vegetable plot and sowing seeds in the greenhouse. Steve continues to develop the village web site and improve his "layabout" skills.

Duddon Villa

Cumbria Holiday

We were really looking forward to our annual holiday with the usual suspects after last years was aborted by us because Jane had flu and we had to come home after one day. See February 2011's instalment by clicking here.

Prior to travelling up to Millom we collected Martin & Kate from Luton airport after they flew in from their new home in Bulgaria. We had a pleasant few days with them staying with us and then we travelled together up to Cumbria stopping off at Morecombe Bay and Eric Morecombe's statue with the usual photo shoot with all the usual suspects. Click here for more holiday events...

Sad Goodbye to Millie

After getting back from our holiday in Cumbria our little female cat, Millie, was not at all well despite our neighbour doing everything she could to get her to eat. We took Millie to the vet and heard the shattering news that she had a cancerous growth in her gums that had spread and it was so bad it was stopping her eating. The prognosis was terminal and so we made the very difficult decision to have her “put to sleep”. We held her whilst the vet gave the fatal injection and she purred all the time until she slipped away with a final, gentle gasp. We cried and throughout the day we cried again and from time to time we still well up. After 15 years, one quarter of our lives, to lose the cutest of cats has been very difficult – we loved her dearly. Perhaps our tears are for the recognition of our own mortality but whatever the deep psychological reason, it still hurts.

We buried her next to the rockery, laid a stone on top and placed a basket of flowering plants alongside.


Best Exotic Film(mar12)

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The audience were our age or older which was a reflection of the story. These were not regular cinema goers as the couple in front of us confirmed by the following comment: “should we wait here for the usherette to show us to our seats?” It may have been a joke but it illustrated the age range perfectly – all over 60.

The film was excellent. A film of its time and its age with an aging society we are all looking for excitement in our third age. We may not have the confidence to take ourselves off to exotic India or, as some of our friends have done, to Bulgaria but we are seeking a change to our lives in Market Rasen – different but not too far outside our comfort zone.

But back to the film… It had everything - a marriage that had run out of steam; a man who lost his love 40 years previously and was looking to correct old mistakes; a man who wanted to meet a companion to give him a new life (sex included); a widow who was looking at life with fresh eyes; a woman whose work was everything and had nothing once she went beyond her sell by date; and a woman who couldn’t commit to anything. Put these people into a truly alien environment, the “best exotic” hotel, which is in fact run down and close to ruin and you have the whole of life in microscopic format.

We laughed, we cried and we loved it. If you’re over 60 and like cinema then get to see this film! To read an outline click here...

Ideal Home Exhibition

It was Steve's first visit ever to the Ideal Home Exhibition and he hadn’t a clue as to what he was in for. Sue and Graham joined us for this outing arriving at just after 10 on a Monday morning, it wasn’t too busy and we managed to get to see two of the show homes which weren’t particularly inspiring however Jane did see some wonderful glass tiles that would heighten the colours in a bathroom so we will store this idea away until we get the chance to decorate the new house.

As for everything else it was largely cosmetics and feminine treatments (nail bars?) or house cleaning equipment, mops and window cleaners. They always look really useful in the hands of someone who demonstrates the product every day but you just know that if you were ever foolish enough to buy one and battle your way through the London underground with this “mop” in your hands, it would be no better or any worse than any standard mop you could pick up from Tesco for a lot less money. As to why all these cosmetics make an “Ideal Home” Steve remained clueless. It was a day out but Steve won't be going again, ever!

Ideal Home Exhibition

How to disappear

How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found by Fin Kennedy

We booked these tickets knowing that it was performed by third year students from The University of Northampton acting school and hoped it would be a bit like some of the productions we've seen at the Edinburgh Fringe. The play explores whether one can successfully transform one’s identity from the outside in and upon what is one’s identity truly constructed? It examines these critical themes and combines elements of tragedy with comedy.

We liked the idea of the story as it tells the story of 29-year-old Charlie, a stressed out, cocaine-addicted, brand manager in an advertising agency who when seeking advice from an older friend of his deceased mother, is told: “What makes you who you are, Charlie? A name? An address? A random collection of experiences, a few memories? You are who you can prove you are. You are what people think. And that’s the easiest thing in the world to change.” In the 21st century our identities are easily cloned and as such it should be just as easy to disappear off the radar by taking on the identity of someone else. The only flaw in the whole notion is that you would have to live on cash until such time as the new identity has established a financial history and can start to use credit cards.

National Homebuilding Exhibition

It was our intention for us both to go to this exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham however a chance came up for Steve to go on an exploratory visit with Nick on the Thursday and having done so it was felt unnecessary for Jane to spend her Sunday traipsing round an overcrowded exhibition hall.

Steve's visit was very fruitful making some good contacts and learning a great deal about wooden cladding, rendering, mechanical heat recovery systems, gas boiler systems, and so much that his brain was hurting by the time he got home.

We do have a lot of critical decisions to make before we can start building our dream home, always assuming we get planning permission.

National Homebuilding Show

Our New House

Our New Home

The plans for our new home are taking shape. Having signed off the floor plans and worked on the external design we've now reached the point where there are 3D visuals of the house as it will appear on the plot. It works really well for us with hopefully plenty of light reaching into the heart of the house despite most of the key rooms facing north. We will have a bedroom balcony facing west so we can sit and watch the evening sun go down, maybe with a glass if wine in our hands.

The planning application should be submitted in early April and then we wait up to 8 weeks to see what happens.

Murphy - after Murphy's law, what can go will go wrong

With the demise of Millie our oldest cat Murphy has taken centre stage in our affections. When he first came into our lives as a kitten 17 years ago he was full of fun and games. He made our previous cat Milo's life a misery because he would jump all over him and constantly wanted to play whereas Milo who was in his autumn years just wanted to sleep. Murphy had a couple of months when he was on his own and spoilt before we introduced Millie. She came in as a kitten and wanted to jump all over him and play; and so the cycle repeated itself.

He never got on with Millie and it was always a matter of tolerance rather than anything else. If she sat on the "best" spot on the mat in front of the fire then he would bully her off. He was always the top cat. Now she's not around he appears to miss her although there is considerable risk that we are anthropomorphising onto him our own thoughts and feelings. He is now getting a lot more attention from us and he's not quite sure what to make of it all. Long may he survive.


Next Month...

  • Chris Rea concert - Hammersmith Apollo
  • House planning application is submitted
  • Our wedding Anniversary
  • Holiday in Scotland with Tony & Jude

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Next Month...

  • Dave & Lucie return from Kenya
  • Review first draft of house plans
  • Visit from Tony & Jude
  • Spend a couple of days in Market Rasen
  • Visit David Hockney Exhibition at Royal Academy
  • Jane's Birthday
  • Martin & Kate return from Bulgaria

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"Steve Says" has moved onto the Blog Site - click here to see the latest comments...