The Pig Yard

November 2013

We thought our time at Manor Farm would be uneventful because we've left all our friends, acquaintances and colleagues behind but we've been busier than ever. Jane has a job with North Lincs council chasing up the electoral registration forms in two villages the other side of Scunthorpe. She's in her element and loves exploring a new area. She's also swimming twice a week, joined the Rock Choir at Louth and visiting her mum in London every two weeks. The journey takes her 5 hours in total - leaving home at 9am it takes nearly an hour to drive to Lincoln and then another 3 hours before arriving at Kings Cross and then up to North Finchley just after 2pm. Steve picks her up from Lincoln station shortly after 9pm, its a long day.

We've also been to a couple of comedy gigs in Goole and Barton upon Humber and a KT Tunstall concert in York, all involved first time experiences which have been challenging at times but very rewarding.

The house build has not visibly moved forward but we have been assured that the pace will pick up in the first weeks of December. Of course the building trade do have two weeks off over Christmas so nothing will happen then.

Next month will be the last time we update the Pig Yard web site as there's always more up to date articles on our blog You also would have the opportunity to comment on the blog site which would make Steve's day.

Windows arrived on site

Windows Arrived

The house build has hardly moved over the past 4 weeks with the front roof still uncovered, the garage with no tiles on it at all, and the windows that arrived in the first week of November only just getting installed on the last working day of the month. We were  very concerned that all these expensive windows were under cover but still exposed to the elements for several weeks.

The first fix plumbing has been completed and the electricians are in doing their bit however we get the feeling this may not be completed until the end of the first week of December. Only after the first fix has been finished can the final layer of insulation and plaster board be installed.

At every turn there is another problem to be resolved or an extra cost that wasn’t in the original budget. in one week alone our extra costs escalated as follows:

  • Sewer trench filling with water so pumping costs £1,600 per household
  • under floor insulation omitted in original quotation £1,500
  • Additional rubber seal to fit windows £1,200

So in one week our costs escalated by £4,300.

The prospect of finishing by mid February seems unlikely now and so we are adjusting our plans with the intention of moving in the final week of March. Although this is disappointing it doesn’t affect us too badly as our six month rental comes to an end on 27th March so we need to be out of Manor Farm by then.

Atrium Roof Lights

Would you believe that these innocuous roof lights would hold up the external work for nearly three weeks? Without these in place the roofers couldn’t get the tiles laid and they couldn’t install the windows because the flashing between the two wasn’t available. It was a late design change on our part but we didn't expect to take so long for the windows to be delivered.

We were pleased to learn that the windows are electrically operated, We had assumed they were fixed but it will be great to open them in the height of summer to ventilate the atrium.
Attrium Roof Lights

Humber Bridge

Crossing the Humber

It seems that every day we do something we’ve never done before. One Sunday we were walking along the Humber and were close to the Humber Bridge and a few days later we’re driving over it heading for York (Jane took this photo on the way back). It might not be as high off the water as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco but it is equally impressive, more so because there is less traffic and therefore greater opportunity to take in the views.

We will certainly be doing this again because Hull is just across the water and has just become UK City of Culture in 2017 so is starting to pull out all its cultural stops.

KT Tunstall

We booked up to see KT Tunstall many months ago and although her tour would visit Northampton we took a risk and decided to see her in York. It was only just over an hour’s drive away from Manor Farm but we decided to stay overnight.

The hotel was a 30 minute walk from the York Barbican and thankfully it was a dry, chilly evening. After a reasonably priced dinner at a nearby Wetherspoons we took our seats. It never ceases to amaze us how late people will turn up to an event all apologetic about making you stand up as they move along the row but they had a enough time to stop off in the bar to grab a drink or two. The support act was a young guy called Billy Lockett who was really good and someone to look out for in the future interestingly he came from Northampton. We think his father is John Lockett an artist we bought some paintings from in the 1980's!

Now for KT. What a set! She was excellent, like looking into a stream of crystal clear water and hearing her voice.  She never hits a bum note and draws you into the event like she’s playing for you and a few friends, even prepared to start again if she feels it isn’t going right. We just love the way she starts by sampling the percussion by drumming on her guitar, adds a few voice bits, and some tambourine and away she goes. To see this build from nothing is exceptional and we’ve never seen anyone else do this.

Her final song of the night brought together all her creative skills and she left the stage with the sampled backing music still playing – what a stunning ending. The walk back to the hotel through York at 11pm was magical.

KT Tunstall

Gravity Film



Always a sucker for a sci-fi film and with most reviewers giving Gravity five stars we had to see this. We were not disappointed.

This is another film like Captain Phillips where a straightforward story becomes very unusual. The fact that it is in 3D means the special effects are beyond special, an example of which is when Ryan (Sandra Bullock) cries in the space capsule and her tear drops float towards you. It adds to the atmosphere of being weightless in space and helps to immerse you in the experience.

Without giving too much away the whole film revolves (sometimes literally) around a 90 minute series of events and so the players are always working against the clock. The whole story is very feasible and one wonders how a space accident of this nature hasn’t happened. It gets 5 stars from us…

Mark Thomas @ Goole Junction

Mark Thomas is a radical, political comedian and someone we saw at the Edinburgh Festival a couple of years ago. His purpose is to fight the establishment through comedy and he’s very good at it.

Jane booked the tickets at the Junction in Goole – another first for us, never been to Goole. After a 45 minute journey we found some free on road parking just down from the City and County JD Wetherspoons pub where we intended to eat but first we had to collect our tickets from the box office. After avoiding some dubious looking characters we asked a couple walking towards us where the Junction was and they said “we’re going there ourselves, we’ll show you”. When we looked at the chap it was none other than Mark Thomas himself – he lead us to the entrance and ushered in. A great intro to the evening.

For a fifty year old man to maintain the rebelliousness of an eighteen year old is marvellous and a lesson for us all. We had a great night. To see an interview of what the tour is about follow the link (and sorry about the adverts): 100 Acts of Minor Dissent

Mark Thomas

Lucy Porter

Lucy Porter @ Ropery Hall

We keep our eyes out for local events and Jane buys the local papers to see what’s on. We noticed that Lucy Porter was doing her stand up at Ropery Hall in Barton Upon Humber so we booked.

Another new venue for us and it was laid out in a cabaret style with most of the tables reserved so we sat at the edge. It’s a really good place, very intimate with seating for 120 people. Next time we’ll book a table.

We first saw Lucy Porter at the Edinburgh Festival so we knew what to expect. She kept us in fits of laughter by telling stories of her attempts to be “northern”. She would love to be from the north but unfortunately was born in Croydon – a place she derides at ever turn. Throughout the two sets there wasn’t a moment when we fell off our chairs but we were kept amused for nearly two hours. We enjoyed the evening and will return to Ropery Hall.


Normally Murphy doesn’t feature in our blog because he’s the old man of the house and spends a good deal of his time asleep however he deserves a mention. He has settled into Manor Farm very well, initially we were reluctant to let him go out in case his dementia got the better of him and he couldn’t find his way home but after a month of careful monitoring he is now allowed out on his own.

He meows a lot to tell us when he wants to go out and within minutes is usually at the back door meowing to come back in again. He has taken to using cat litter so well that he won’t go to the toilet outside. It’s a small price to pay for his happiness.


Next Month.../h4>
  • Watch the house progress - roof tiles, windows, plaster board, drains
  • Jane completes her electoral registration job
  • Dave & Lucie move to Lincolnshire
  • Christmas in Northamptonshire
  • New Year in Lincolnshire

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