The Pig Yard

November 2012

Jane was supposed to have her knee operation in the middle of the month but she caught a cold which became a cough and so she had to postpone it. She had a new date for 4th December but this was cancelled by the hospital 12 hours before it was due. We had a busy month with plenty to keep us busy and our minds off other matters such as Jane's leg and her mum in hospital after a fall. 

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading has been a favourite of ours for over 30 years and as Jane said as we walked away from the theatre, “she never disappoints her audience”. For Joan’s biography click here…

She was supported by an up and coming singer songwriter called Jim Brewer who did 3 interesting songs and was followed by a more experienced modern folk, singer song writer Chris Wood. Both were competent but it was easy to see that Chris Wood has been on the circuit for many years because his singing and guitar playing were very relaxed; many of his songs had a modern political slant.

Joan’s concert was a wonderful mixture of some of her old and new songs which had the audience singing along, clapping and having a great time. The last time we saw her she focussed very much on her guitar playing, which is brilliant, however this time there were more songs when she put her guitar down and just concentrated on the singing. Steve thought she looked a bit awkward without the guitar but Jane disagreed and thought she appeared relaxed and very at ease with herself and her music.

Her set list consisted of: Show Some Emotion; Single Life, Close To Me; All the Way From America; Crazy; A Woman In Love; Tell Me; Love And Affection; Tall In The Saddle; My Baby’s Gone; Starlight; The Weakness in Me; Cool Blue Stole My Heart; You Rope You Tie Me; Kissin’ And A’ Huggin’; (I Love It When You) Call Me Names; Best Dress On; Me Myself I; Encore: Drop The Pilot; Summer Kisses. Sadly there was no Willow but hopefully next time.

Printers consumables are a rip off

Computer printers are a real nightmare. If it’s not an inkjet printer inks drying out then it’s laser printer needing a new photoconductor. Our old Epson Aculaser 1100C was first purchased in September 2005 so it has done 7 years good service which is pretty good for a piece of electronics. It still works today however the cost of consumables (1 toner + 1 photoconductor = £150) has outstripped the cost of purchasing a new printer (£144). We hate to see a serviceable bit of kit being sent off to the knackers yard and we struggled hard to make the decision but the decision was made. We know the manufacturers make more profit from consumables than from the printers themselves but that seems very wrong to us and not environmentally friendly.

The new printer (Epson C1750N) arrived two days after ordering through Amazon and being a networkable printer Steve has connected it to the network hub so we both can now print in colour. Will the new printer last as long as the old one? We shall see…

Epson Aculaser 1100C

Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung Tablets - Good but not perfect

Jane liked the Galaxy Tab 10.1 so much she offered to buy Steve the Note 10.1 which he leapt at. The major difference is the processing speed and the use of the scribe for handwriting and drawing. The handwriting is very good and feels almost as natural as writing on paper – Steve loves it. We now sit on the sofa and write emails very quickly, hassle free. We find it difficult to find fault however there are some issues with the software, particularly the synchronising software to the PC.

Steve discovered that he could sync his Samsung S3 phone but the tablet wasn’t recognised and after trying to connect the PC wouldn’t then recognise the phone. He did get a solution from Samsung support that involved deleting a DLB file. Thereafter syncing has been fine, if a little slow.

The other complaint is the way the music system works. It doesn’t automatically pick up album covers and if it does they’re not correct, it is slow to display the music and is just clunky. Kies isn’t a patch on iTunes which is a pity because iTunes wasn’t that good. Generally Samsung make excellent hardware and we're pleased we opted to follow the Android route rather than continue with Apple iOS however it feels as though Android still has a significant level of maturing to do before it becomes slick.

Argo - a thoughtful film

The film had received excellent reviews. Dave & Lucie had been to see it and found it good so we decided to go to the cinema on a wet Monday evening. The introduction takes us back to 1979 when the USA embassy in Tehran is overrun by the Iranian “revolutionary guard” and all the staff are imprisoned within the embassy.

Six staff evade imprisonment and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. The dilemma for the USA administration is to come up with a way of rescuing the six without putting their lives in greater danger. The “best worst” option is to invent a film and send in a “Canadian” who pretends to be in search of a film location. The twists and turns within the security agencies is amusing, in fact laughable, but within the amusement there is the serious tension as to whether the CIA agent can get them all out and survive himself. This isn’t an all action film but it still has you on the edge of your seat right up to the very end. (Jane didn’t think it needed to be on the big screen). Highly recommended.


Epson Aculaser 1750N

New Noisy Printer

When Steve's new printer arrived earlier this month he was pleased with it but it did seem a little noisy. The rollers were loud whenever it was printing but he accepted it. After a couple of weeks Jane persuaded him to contact the supplier to raise it as an issue. They were very helpful and offered to swap it out immediately, that is until Steve told them that he had recycled the packaging.

Now normally he hangs onto the box and packaging forever, we’ve got boxes in the loft for electrical goods that went to junk heaven (or hell) some time ago, but on this occasion, because we’re having a clear out, the box went out.

After a bit of discussion the supplier sent out an Epson engineer who listened to the noise and declared it shouldn’t be like that. Without lifting a screwdriver he produced a new model from the back of the van and hey presto we’re back up and running. This network printer means that Jane can print to colour as well which was always a contentious issue.

House Project

At long last the protracted process of buying the land has come to an end and we now own a plot of land in Market Rasen. (Our’s is the plot on the right)

We’re really pleased that this major hurdle is now behind us and we can get on with going through Building Regulations, selecting a timber frame company, hiring a builder and agreeing on the many and various decisions we will need to take over the coming months.

We don’t have a fixed timescale but with poor weather over the winter we guess we will be moving sometime in the autumn of 2013.

House Project Site Plan

Alan Davies on tour

Alan Davies - Life is Pain

The thing about reviewing an event is to try to recapture the essence of what we were expecting and what we experienced. Well, as people who don’t watch Qi on TV we haven’t really followed Alan Davies since he was the magician’s assistant in Jonathan Creek. He seems a genuinely nice guy and so we booked our tickets.

A bit scary really because we were only 5 rows from the front and Jane was in an aisle seat so she could stretch her gammy leg out but we needn’t have worried because he didn’t really pick on anyone unless they were asking for it, and he didn’t embarrass anyone, except the woman who got up half way through the first session to go to the toilet. Didn’t she have any control?

On to the comedy – it was brilliant!!! The first half flew by and there weren’t many minutes when we weren't laughing. For the first part he just talked to people about where they’d come from, the problems they had getting there, especially for the late-comers. His humorous story telling was excellent. By definition (Raconteur - a person who is skilled in relating stories and anecdotes interestingly) he is a master raconteur and so, so funny (that’s not “so so” as in dodgy but as in “extremely”). So in conclusion it was an excellent night and highly recommended.

Our First eBay Sale

We've had an eBay account for many years but have never had the energy or courage to sell anything. With the prospect of a move on the distant horizon it is time to start shifting some of the larger stuff and the cement mixer came out of the corner barn first. We built our walls, towers and created many hard landscaping projects with this cement mixer but it hasn't been used for several years so it had to go.

Jane did all the work in formatting the advert and setting the prices. She got it absolutely right because the bids started rolling in and at the end of the five day period we had made a decent amount of money. We were happy to see it being loaded onto the back of pickup truck and driven away.

Now onto the next item...

eBay Cement Mixer

Next Month...

  • Jane has her knee operation
  • Jane's mum comes out of hospital
  • We get to see a couple of films - Alex Cross and The Hobbit
  • Lucie joins Dave in Kenya for Christmas
  • We move the house project forward
  • We survive Christmas

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