The Pig Yard

September 2011

Another month flashes past and before we know it we're into October. A major event this month was our charity fifty mile cycle and if you wish to donate to the good causes please click here... We found time to take a week away from home on the Isle of Wight - this is one of Jane's favourite places and it is likely to become an annual pilgrimage.
So we've cycled ourselves fit this month and Jane has been working hard at the surgery because they're installing a new computer system and as a consequence they are doubling up all their prescriptions for a whole month therefore making twice as much work in the same period. We've still found time for cultural activities.

House Project

Land Search

We attended the auction for the plot of land at Sywell. The auction was an interesting experience. The Sywell plot bidding got off to a slow start with the auctioneer having to get down to £250k before anyone broke cover. It gradually moved up to about £350k before faltering and we started to think we were in with a chance however after this short stammer it continued upwards crossing over our £400k limit until it finally was sold for £455k.
Where we go from here is now under debate. Perhaps the idea of a community of friends with various budgets and requirements getting together on a single site is just a pipe dream. There is a possible site in Long Buckby but with a price of £400k for less than 0.5 acres of usable land it is more than we wish to pay.

Basket Case

This was a simple comedy drama with light laughs and no depth. It had all the feel of a 1980s television sitcom however this is no longer the 1980s and even if it was it wouldn't have a long run.
There were a few laughs but mainly from the excellent support. David Cardy as Guy’s best friend, James, made the comedy look effortless and had the best lines while Graham Seed, as devoted but dull vet Martin, proved the perfect straight-man. Meanwhile the star, shockingly dressed in an ill-fitting navy jacket, black trousers and white trainers (who was responsible for this fashion faux pas? He looked like he had raided the dressing up box in the dark) seemed nervous and ill at ease throughout.
Steve was disappointed but Jane said it met her expectations and on reflection Steve's disappointment was because he has become used to the depth of thought that went into many of the events we saw at the Edinburgh Festival.
Basket Case @ Derngate Theatre

Woodworks Festival

Woodworks Festival

Our friend Kate used to do voluntary work with this woodland group and every year they arrange a festival. This year we decided to go along because they had folk groups and other attractions. As we parked up in the field it started to rain and continued to do so all afternoon. We spend most of the time in the music tent but did grab the chance during a break in the downpours to get around to see chainsaw wood carvings, birds of prey, alpacas (Jane's favourite) and the usual rural based organisations.
Although the picture doesn't really show the extent of the rain the empty tables and chairs are a clue to the fact that nobody was sitting outside.

Village Fair

The annual village fair is a strange event because it centres on the church, it is organised by church goers and all funds go to the church. Perhaps the idea of it being a village fair is not how it should be perceived but more a church fair. If the rest of the village was to get engaged then maybe this would change.
Apparently numbers were down on last year and there are moves afoot to increase the variety of stalls and activities to attract more people however it was the same weekend as the Scarecrow event in Harpole which has been a long standing event that gets a lot of attention from the local media.
Village Fair

St Katherine's Lighthouse

Isle of Wight

We had the opportunity of renting a flat in Ventor. Dave & Lucie had came here earlier in the year after someone Dave worked with at Avis Car Rental let him know he had a flat on the island that he was prepared to rent out.
For the first time ever we loaded our bikes onto our recently acquired bike rack determined that we would spend several days cycling around the island.
For more about our break click here...

Martin & Kate's Leaving Party

Our good friends Martin & Kate are in the process of selling all their goods and chattels, packing others into boxes as they prepare to leave Britain for a new life in Bulgaria. Over a number of years they've been preparing for this monumental move and at last they're ready to go. They're not quite cutting all ties with their home country because they're renting out their bungalow for the time being.
We will miss them greatly and as part of their move they had a leaving party, inviting all their friends and acquaintances.
We were in a difficult position because the next day we were doing our 50 mile cycle and so we needed plenty of carbohydrates to build our stamina, this is not something you find at a party.
We had a good time tinged with great sadness - we will miss them when they've gone but we hope to keep in touch via Skype, their Blog and email.
Martin & Kate

Cycle4Cynthia 2011

Cycle4Cynthia Event

For the sixth time we entered the Cycle4Cynthia charity cycle in aid of Cynthia Spencer Hospice and MacMillan Nurses. This was the first time we were starting at Althorpe House and then heading up the Brampton Valley Way towards the north of the county passing through Harrington; Great Oxenden; Clipston; Naseby; Haslebech; Creaton; Guilsborough; Cold Ashby; Yelvertoft; West Haddon; Long Buckby and finally back to Althorpe.
The first 20 miles were not too bad but then we turned into a wind gusting up to 25 mph and so we were not only working hard up the hills we also had to peddle going downhill just to maintain momentum.
Despite having prepared for several weeks cycling 25, 35 and 44 miles it still seemed very hard with endless hills taking their toll especially as Jane had trouble with her low gears on the hills and on several occasions her chain came off.
To see the route and our times click here... We used over 2,500 calories so it was a great excuse for Steve to eat a Mars bar on the way round.

Stephen Merchant at the Derngate

Another visit this month to the theatre, this time to see Stephen Merchant on his stand up comedy tour. The warm up comedian was very good but would have been better if he'd used the microphone properly and didn't slur his words so much.
When Stephen Merchant walked on there was a great roar and as it turned out this pre-emptive appreciation was well deserved. He kept us laughing long and loud. There were several times when we were still guffawing at the first joke when the punch line for the second had broken over us like a drowning wave. Before you get the impression this was just a series of one liners, it wasn't. There were clever build ups and underlying themes that he managed to return to, time and time again with brilliant effect.
It was a superb night out.
Stephen Merchant

Dark - Picturedrome Charity Gig

Dark Charity Gig

We went to see our dear friend Martin Weaver reunited with his colleagues from the group The Dark. For some background information click here:
They were playing at the PictureDrome in Northampton, somewhere we’ve never been before but it was quite a good venue however the acoustics left a lot to be desired. The band got off to a good start and although we were not familiar with the band’s music they played for 45 minutes and really created a great atmosphere. Some of the sounds and riffs reminded us of the early Led Zeppelin stuff and Steve might have to dust off the old vinyl languishing in a cupboard somewhere.
At the end of the set Martin was approached by a fan for his autograph on one of the original Dark albums that have reputedly been fetching up to £6,000. When Steve approached him to sign his ticket he just wrote “f**k you” on it. I think it was his way of telling him not to take the piss.
We enjoyed the evening immensely but with some sadness that this maybe the last time Martin plays in a band.

Next Month...

  • Dave & Lucie arrive home
  • Illegal Eagles gig at the Derngate Theatre
  • Quiz Night at Nether Heyford
  • Steve's birthday - iPhone 5 or not iPhone 5
  • Kate's birthday
  • Martin & Kate leave for Bulgaria

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