Listening to: Beauty of Uncertainty (KT Tunstall)
Weather: cold north wind
Birds: pair of Great Northern Divers at Rapness Cemetery beach
I'm getting older. Obvious I know, but I'm really feeling it today. Every joint is creaking, every sinew twanging, every muscle throbbing. I think my right knee is going to explode.
I needed half-an-hour in a hot bath this morning just to get myself moving again. Mrs TPF and I nearly had a disagreement (exceptionally rare) as I snapped at a perfectly reasonable question. (I apologised).
Yesterday afternoon was a wake-up call to the world of hard, honest work. Not the working under pressure to meet a deadline in a nice, warm office - been there, done that - but the physical challenge that millions of manual workers face most days of their life.
Two new pigs are due to arrive at the end of next month, so we have to get the other half of the pig shed kitted out and ready for their arrival. I've already lifted and moved the giant flagstones that made up the floor and levelled the sandy base that was left. Next step was to lay the concrete floor.
Now was the time to play with my new toy. The Boy and I hoisted the cement mixer onto its stand and Mr D came to supervise. The Boy did most of the mixing while we shared the barrowing duties and I did the laying and spreading (nowhere near as exciting as it sounds).
I've spent all my working life as a journalist which, hanging around football grounds and training pitches waiting to be ignored by managers and players apart, was (obviously) sedentary.
Yes, I used to play cricket and hockey (reasonably well, but a long time ago), I occasionally played rugby (spectacularly badly) and I swam competitively until I was nearly 40, but it's not the same.
Since I got here, I've cleared a lot of vegetation, put in the odd bit of fencing, moved some stone, smashed up an old concrete water tank, chased pigs, fallen over a few times, got wet a lot, but there's been no real constant physical challenge.
Which is probably why my body, on being asked to do a second consecutive day's strenuous activity, has protested loudly - the grinding noises from my right knee suggest something is definitely amiss.
Anyhoo. . . putting the pain to one side, I've decided that, once the body catches up with the rest of me, I'm going to love this building lark.
I grew up in a very bookish family. My mum taught French and the old man was an historian (a historian? he liked history, all right?). If anything more complex than a fuse went, we 'got a man in'. Up to a few years ago I always believed that I didn't expect people to write their own newspapers, so why should I build my own walls/replace roof tiles/perform complex, life-saving heart surgery?
But few things have given me such a sense of satisfaction as seeing the pig shed floor gradually take shape. So, if you need any concrete work doing, Trainee Pig Farmer and Son are available at the usual place.
We'll bring our own tea bags. . . and ibuprofen.