The Pig Yard

September 2002 @ the Pig Yard...

Once August is over there is always an expectation that September is the start of Autumnal weather but this year has proven to be a wonderful exception. We have experienced some beautiful clear days and even when it has been overcast it has been warm and I cannot recall having any serious rainfall. We've been busy building decking in the garden, taking a holiday around Chepstow and flying some 'interesting' balloon flights.

The decking really tried Steve's patience to breaking point but once he had run out of expletives the structure started to take shape and progress was made. Luckily Jane was there to smooth the furrowed brow and calm the jangled nerves.

The hardest part was getting the brick pillars level but when we considered the number of twists and turns in the timber it became apparent that as long as it was within reasonable limits then it didn't really matter.

Here we are sitting on the part finished deck, Ground Force style. The only thing missing is the champagne, not forgetting this took us a little more than two days. It took another couple of weekends to get the job finished off completely. We plan to develop a wet area in the garden next to the decking to accommodate the large number of frogs and newts we found whilst building the decking. We shall place a small pump in to give it some movement and something to listen to, bubbling away whilst we relax in the shade.

There are times when the cement mixer comes between us. Without this wonderful piece of machinery our work on reconstructing the garden would've taken even longer. Steve keeps it meticulously clean so that it will last until we are too old to pick up a shovel, wield a trowel or build a wall - any day now then.

Our holiday in Chepstow was an excellent break. We had intended to fly to Barcelona but we just didn't seem to get our act together and in the end it was all too much to get organised. Instead Jane found a great cottage that was part of a small complex in the middle of some wonderful rolling Welsh hills. We could lay in bed and see nothing but hills and trees with buzzards circling overhead.

Here is a view of our cottage seen from the opposite hill taken from amongst the trees. Our accommodation was attached to the main building. Go to Parsons Grove for more details

Here we are at Tintern Abbey half way along one of the longest walks we have ever done. It started at Chepstow castle and followed the western side of the Wye Valley for about 7 miles before descending into Tintern. As can be seen we are happy and relaxed, probably glad just to be sitting down. We managed to complete the return walk along the eastern side of the valley before it got dark and returned to the cottage tired but contented.

Steve flew several times for the Ballooning Business during this month and although most flights were without serious incident he did have a near accident one Sunday morning when the surface winds picked up a lot quicker than forecast. He landed at 16 knots and the wind was knocked out of the balloon on the approach which meant he landed quite heavily in a field too soon and dragged through a barbed wire fence before dragging a further 100 metres. The passengers were all safe but Steve picked up a hefty bruise on his upper thigh. Luckily the land was awaiting property development and therefore nobody was worried about the loss of a few posts and rusty barbed wire.

He finished the month with a really beautiful flight over Pitsford Reservoir and a gentle landing in a field on the northern edge.

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