The Pig Yard

March 2013

We've had a good month with plenty going on. Jane has been very busy tidying up "stuff" - there have been several trips to charity shops and the rubbish bins have been fuller than normal. There is a lot more work to be done because after 16 years in this house we've accumulated a lot of "stuff" and where would we all be without "stuff".

Our friends from Bulgaria, Martin & Kate, flew into Luton prior to us all going on holiday to Poole. They were, as always, good company and well trained house guests and after two weeks we were really sad to take them back to the airport.

There's more on our annual holiday with the usual suspects below...

Usual Suspects

Our Holiday With The Usual Suspects

The annual holiday with our close friends was down in Dorset between Poole and Bournemouth. It was a great house with plenty of space and although the large rounded dining table was in the kitchen we managed to work around it with each host for the evening electing to sit by the hot oven.

There's more here...

Robot & Frank - film review

We liked the look of Robot & Frank but soon realised it was on limited release and wasn’t going to come to our local cinema. Luckily we were on holiday near Poole and through the use of our Smartphone App we found a small studio theatre that had it on so we decided to go and see it on a late chilly afternoon.
The theatre had just 40 seats and there was only one other person in the audience – a private showing.
It’s about a man who has retired from being a jewel thief and has lost any motivation. His memory is on the slippery slope towards dementia. His son persuades him to accept a robot as a care worker. The relationship that slowly builds is extremely touching and the enthusiasm for life when Frank realises that he can train Robot to assist him in returning to his previous criminal life is heart-warming.
This is an unusual film because it touches on so many areas: the issues of dementia in old age; the use of robots as care workers; the difficult relationships old people have with their children; and the general question of machines in our lives. (Did we say we found the showing on our Smartphones, probably.)
It’s unlikely you will now see this at a cinema but if you get a chance borrow the DVD or wait for it to come out on TV. We really enjoyed it – 4 stars.

Robot & Frank


Architect Meeting

We met with the architect at the beginning of the month to discuss some of the finer details of our plans. We had to decide on the lighting, electric points, where the bathroom items would be located and the ventilation points.

In the afternoon we had a preliminary interview with four potential builders. This was a long afternoon with each builder having 45 minutes to discuss the project and how they would handle it. It was interesting to hear the different approaches and although some were better than others we now wait for their quotes.

The production information will be sent to the builders on 8th April and we won't get them returned until 26th April so we won't be appointing our builder until early May.

Tree Preservation Order

We bought the site partly because of the large number of mature trees and we knew many of them have tree preservation orders on them which means we have to make an application if we wish to do anything to them. We've completed the necessary paperwork requesting that 3 trees that are considered unsafe are felled and that the rest of the trees have the lower branches removed to a height of 3 metres (raising the crown).

This will allow the trees to become stronger and healthier. We won't know the outcome from our application until 20th May so we have a long wait before we can do anything. We have been given permission to remove some of the Holly trees that don't have preservation orders.

Tree Preservation

Coldest March

Coldest March for 50 years

This has been the coldest March in over 50 years and much of the time we have been trying to keep warm under very grey skies with not sight of sunshine for days on end.

As a consequence of the cold spell we nearly ran out of wood for the log burner and we started eyeing up proper wood but in the end a local farmer came good and gave us access to some sturdy hawthorn and fallen beech tree which was ready to burn. With snow on the ground and a biting easterly wind we had to choose our moment to go onto the farm to get it but we managed to get enough to see us through the rest of this cold spell and possibly into next Autumn - hopefully by then we will have moved.

Next Month...

  • The House Build Project Progresses
  • Nether Heyford Quiz Night
  • A few days in London to celebrate our wedding anniversary
  • We get onto the build site and clean up some undergrowth

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