The Pig Yard

This was an almost perfect month for ballooning. Dave edged his number flights for this year into the nineties. The winds were always close to marginal so the take-offs were never straightforward.

We managed to get a couple of outings with CZAG and had great flights. On both occasions we headed north over Northampton, landing near Walgrave the first flight and next to the Weetabix factory at Burton Latimer at the end of the second flight.

Having completed the rockery in the early summer we left it to settle in the hope that we would have some rain but this wasn't to be.

Deirdre, our neighbour, kindly donated some London Pride and this was ideal to get the rockery started. We're planning to get some alpines planted in the spring.

The rockery looks good and we feel sure it will mature over the coming years. Steve has placed some lights into it for the time being.

The pond project has become a bit of a millstone for Steve and it was starting to get him down. The soil was being dug out and shovelled into plastic bags for Jane to take to the local tip whenever she had the time but it was proving to be slow going.

We decided to order the pond liner from so that it would give us the impetus to move things along. As it turned out we managed to finalise the digging a whole week ahead of the liner turning up.

We've dug down about 75 centimetres and although the recommendation is to make a pond about a metre deep we hit solid clay and we decided it was enough.

Steve was wanted to hire a skip to get rid of the soil in one go but Jane wasn't happy about the cost so we compromised and had two 1 tonne bags delivered. The deal is that you pay 6 pounds for the bag and then pay 25 pounds for a bag, 20 pounds for each extra bag, to be removed once they are filled. Needless to say we filled them to the very brim in one weekend.

The Bag & Grab company required 48 hours notice for them to come along and take them away. So for a total of 57 pounds we had two tonnes of soil and rubble removed. We think this is much cheaper than a skip which now cost over 100 pounds to hire.

Jane took a Saturday out to do a charity cycle which involved visiting as many churches as possible. Like many days in September the weather was excellent and she visited a total of 17 churches, travelling over 37 miles. She was accompanied by Helen, a colleague from the surgery where she works.

Although Jane is an atheist she enjoys the architecture and history behind the local village churches and believes they should be preserved.

Finally the time for our holiday in Dorset arrived. We intended to travel down in the Audi but we had so many bits and pieces and the boot on the TT is so small that we had to put it back in the garage and get the Freelander out. It was a good decision because the Dorset roads were very narrow, with high hedges and often covered in cow shit so a 4x4 was essential.

It was a pleasant cottage with all the usual amenities and the weather was sufficiently kind so we could sit out in the evenings reading and doing crossword puzzles until the sun went down.