The Pig Yard

November - apart from our week away in Norfolk this has been a relatively quiet month on the domestic front. Of course this doesn't mean that work has been quiet - far from it. Steve is working long hours including time at the weekends and Jane will go into the surgery to cover her colleagues when they are on holiday or off sick.

We bought some tickets for Phill Jupitus and the Blockheads. It's always a risk when a band loses its front man but still decides to go on tour. This was their thirtieth anniversary.

The Blockheads were an excellent band when they were with Ian Dury and he was missed but they hadn't lost any of their tightness and they kept together and finished together all the way through.

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Steve was given the follow-up game to Half-Life 2 for his birthday. It's two years since he finished the last game and he finds game playing quite compulsive so that he has to limit the amount of time he will spend playing otherwise the whole evening will just drift by.

The adventure is as intriguing as before with all the usual trials and challenges facing the player. A series of physical puzzles are made all the more difficult by various assailants and monsters coming out of everywhere to try and kill the main character.

If he's lucky he may find time over Christmas to get through this one.

This month saw Graham and Sue's wedding anniversary and they took us out to the Walnut Tree just outside Blisworth. It wasn't busy so we received excellent service and there was a very good menu to choose from.

It was somewhere we'd like to go back to another time.

Jane found this accommodation in the Sunday Times and with her special interest in windmills she decided to book us a week away. Graham and Sue joined us for the weekend.

The mill is on an area of land bordered by the rivers Yare and Waveney and apart from a narrow causeway it is effectively an island. All of the land is below sea level hence the need for a number of wind pumps around the edge. As you can see from this photo the mill has lost its sails and it has had an extension to include a bathroom and kitchen. The land is now drained by electric pumps.

Of course with a building this old and 4 miles from the nearest road there were bound to be some idiosyncrasies. The water was pumped up from a bore hole and due to the high iron content it meant the water was undrinkable. Whenever you washed your hands you could smell the iron. The stairs were extremely steep, in fact the way up to the second bedroom was via a ladder - so no chance of a cup of tea in bed because you couldn't carry a cup and climb the stairs at the same time. The electricity supply was also a bit suspect and on the Monday evening after Graham and Sue had left us the power tripped out 5 times during the evening which meant a 100 metre walk to the supply box to flip the trip switch. After the fifth time we decided to go to bed early.

All of these delights were at the end of a 4 mile, unmade track with dykes or very wet pastures on either side. Going off the track even for our 4x4 Honda CRV would have been very unwise. We were going out for some shopping after dark one evening and met a cattle truck coming the other way and so we had to reverse in the dark one hundred metres before we could find a spot to get off the road and let the truck pass, a single error would have put us into a water filled ditch.

The whole island was alive with wildlife. Every time we drove along the track we would see Swans, Greylag Geese, barn owls, marsh harriers, dab chicks, little egrets and numerous waders . We've never seen so many hares and in fact they were more abundant than rabbits but this is probably a reflection of how wet the ground was, so a rabbit warren would require rabbits with breathing apparatus.

The little egret pictured here kept us at a distance, constantly moving down the river as we approached. If we ever return we must bring binoculars and a bird book.

Looking out from Red mill across the River Waveney we could see this beautifully preserved windmill and although the sails never turned whilst we were there the top did rotate into the wind during the week.

On the final day we were amazed at how high the tide came up the river bank and flood defences. It is easy to see how, with a particularly high tide and a north-easterly wind, this whole area is likely to be completely submerged and once the flood defences are breached it would be very deep.

Our week's holiday was a really relaxing time but soon forgotten once we got back to work.

Over the last six months Steve's brother has been personalising his little Fiat Cinquecento. New carburettor, new electrics, new air horns and new headlights but this latest addition we think is taking things a little too far.


We wish all our readers a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.