The Pig Yard

October - This is the eighth year of our web site monthly updates and looking back there have been a few changes - click here to see October 2000. We've seen a departure and an arrival - Jane' sister Ruth returned to her home in Tasmania after a six week visit and Nick & Val returned from their holiday with Dave & Lucie at Governors Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya. It seems that the Kenyan holiday was their best ever and they came back planning a revisit. This bodes well for our intended holiday next April.

This month also saw the end of the kitchen refit saga with the wall tiles being completed one weekend and we are so glad to see the end of this work considering it started at the end of April.

On the last days of Ruth's visit (Ruth is second from left with Jane looking over her shoulder) Jane managed to arrange with Martin and Kate a cruise on the canal. Despite the overcast weather and rain threatening they had a wonderful trip with Jane's sister feeling quite at home on the water. Martin even allowed her to take the helm for part of the cruise. Sadly Ruth was not on top form when she stayed with us so outings were few, although she was so poorly to begin with she had no interest in anything except her restricted white bread and water diet. What with the food and the fact she had no car in Rothersthorpe it must have almost seemed like a prison sentence...

We couldn't pass up the chance of seeing the Counterfeit Stones once more when they came to the Derngate. we've never see the Rolling Stones in concert and at the kind of prices the real Stones charge for their concerts it's unlikely we ever will but if you close your eyes it is really difficult to know the difference.

The concert as always runs through a lot of their early tracks in chronological order and the renditions are very close to the original - Sympathy for the Devil, Honky Tonk Woman, Jumping Jack Flash, Brown Sugar - all excellently performed with an extra layer of humour between each song just for good measure.

It's a while since we've been to the cinema - we enjoy the light evenings of the summer and feel guilty if we're locked away in a dark cinema no matter how good the film. With the evenings closing in we decided to see Atonement which was well received by the critics and had very good word of mouth recommendations.

The main plot centres around the undying love that Cecilia and Robbie have for each other. As her sister Briony falsely accuses Robbie of sexually assaulting her cousin and Robbie is falsely jailed for three years. He then had the option to go to war, which he did. He and Cecilia wrote to each other loving letters and they met twice, sharing passionate kisses and loving glances and words. Briony grows old and then tells you that the pair seem to have never met, with Cecilia being killed in an air raid and Robbie dying on the beach at Dunkirk within three months of each other in 1940. Robbie and Cecilia were never reunited but they were always together because they were always linked by the heart and in that way they were already married and happy.

After many weekends building up our stamina we eventually got to cycle our 25 miles for Cycle4Cynthia in aid Cynthia Spencer Hospice and MacMillan Nurses. It turned out to be a great morning, not too hot or too windy. We started out a fast pace although not as quick as the lycra clad racers doing the 50 miles.

We didn't bother with the first refreshment but after 14 miles we were please to stop at East Haddon for orange juice and a chocolate bar for Steve and a water and munchy bar for Jane. The last 11 miles were uneventful but there was some pleasure in overtaking some of the slower 12 milers as we came to complete the course. Jane said she was fit enough to do the whole circuit again but Steve had had enough and was happy to stow the bikes in the trailer, get back in the car and drive home for a sandwich lunch.

The last 'Worts' clan meeting, before Ruth returned to Oz., was held at the RSPB reserve in Sandy (Bedfordshire). Jane's Father has a seat to his memory situated somewhere around the garden. Several of us had checked to ensure that the seat was still there and that there were wheelchairs available for Mother as she would be incapable of walking any great distance. Carol & Ruth stayed in Northampton for the night before and drove Jane to Sandy. Mother arrived with Richard  in Nicola's (partner) mini. This is a photo taken on timed exposure of the Mother hen and her aging brood. We followed the Worts reunion with a meal in Potton village pub. Jo and Lyndon met us at the pub and shared the meal with us. Enjoyable but tinged with sadness day. This was the last time Jane saw Ruth before her epic journey back home.

For Steve's birthday he decided to take the day off and depending on the weather we would either spend the day in the centre of London visiting art galleries or take a trip out to Kew Gardens. The forecast was good and so we opted for Kew Gardens. To avoid parking hassles and the car queues we went down on the train. ( the cost being assisted by a BOGOFF ticket courtesy of Sue)

We arrived at Kew by 11 o'clock and it was a perfect, warm October day, so good in fact that we sat outside the cafe for our first drink.

The trees were changing colour and starting to fall - with such a variety of trees and leaf shapes there was something spectacular to see at every turn. The glass houses looked magnificent and we revelled in such brilliant weather. We ate our lunch outside and as we did clouds started to build but nothing significant and if anything they added to the skyscape. The jumbo a minute flyovers were a noisy novelty.

Apart from getting the wrong train back from Kew station and having a minor adventure to get back to Euston we had a straightforward return journey to our grand day out.

October wouldn't be October without having our annual camp fire. Steve managed to find the pit very quickly and removed the bricks he'd filled it with last time. Unfortunately it clashed with the Rugby Union final between England and South Africa so a number of our guests decided to sit in the kitchen watching TV rather than being outside enjoying the night air and one of the best fires we've had for a long time.

This event is nothing without the people so the night wasn't as successful as previous camp fires. Having said all this, some people were still sitting around the dying embers at 1 o'clock in the morning.

Our thanks go to Nick who cannot resist getting his hands on a frying pan thankfully he enjoys cooking sausages, burgers and bacon. - Jane did a few vegetable kebab style which were left well alone by the carnivores.

Jane decided to commission a fruit cake for Steve's birthday and of course it had a computer theme. This is a Dell cake running Windows 2003. On top of the cake is a mouse, of course, and pig with our web address.

This is a very large, rich cake and it will probably last us until Christmas with any luck.

As always he received a shed load of useful presents although he did give some strong clues by filling his Amazon wish list and then mailing it to all and sundry.

On someone's recommendation Jane made a last minute booking to see Spymonkey theatre group performing 'Cooped' at the Royal Theatre and it was excellent. There was possibly a little too much slapstick but for most of the evening it was non stop laughter.

The synopsis is as follows: A misty night - a young girl arrives at a remote railway station in the heart of darkest Northumberlandshirehampton to take up her position as confidential secretary to the reclusive Forbes Murdston. Beautiful, fawn-like, swinging, but a hostage to passion, Laura knows now that life - and love - will never be the same again... And her an orphan!

She has ignored for as long as she can the unsettling rumours that surround her new employer, his ominous manservant Klaus and the ancient mansion. But Murdston’s violent moodswings can only signify one thing: INSANITY! Her terrible dreams seem to warn of some impending calamity. If only she could get word to Inspector Judadench to warn him. In her desperation she turns to the trusty family lawyer Roger Parchment. How can she leave Forbes now, now that he is so close to finishing his memoirs? How can she leave him when she has grown to love him? Yes, now... now she is truly... COOPED!