Thursday, 3 January 2008


Listening to: Radio 5 (against my better judgement - not good for the blood pressure)
Drinking: third cup of tea of the morning
Watching: the sun struggle to come up

Christmas is over in our house. Mrs TPF, never one to mess about with all this 12 days stuff, took down the decorations yesterday and suddenly it's January.

The fields on Westray are looking tired, battered and empty. Only a few sheep and the occasional horse are still outside and - the last two days having been bank holidays with no transport on or off the island - it's been even quieter than usual.

Sal and I promised ourselves that, once Christmas was out of the way, we'd get our act together and start work on the house and farm in earnest. As a result we've spent quite a bit of the last two days making lists and drawing plans. Getting the terrifying number of projects into some kind of order has been tricky and we're not there yet.

While we try to fathom out where to start on the renovation of our tumbledown house, one job needs getting on with right away. With two sows due to arrive at the farm in the next few weeks, we need more pig housing and I had plans to lay a concrete floor in the half currently not used by Eric and Ernie and to build two pens.

Nothing is ever that simple, however, and Sal had spotted that the current floor was made up of a lot of large flagstones - perfect, once cleaned and polished, for a kitchen floor. I had hoped she wouldn't notice. I had hoped Mr D would back up my claims that moving them was far too difficult.

I spent yesterday lifting and shifting, suggestions that laminate flooring is great in a kitchen having been ignored.

We now have a pile of flagstones, most at least 3ft x 3ft. There's plenty for the kitchen floor with some left over. It's not exactly Ikea (a lot dirtier and no meatballs) but I have to admit Sal's right.


Dave said...

Perhaps the pigs would prefer a laminate flooring.

Z said...

I'm terribly jealous. I want flagstones in my kitchen too.

Malc said...


As long as there's food on it, they don't give a hoot.


We've got loads, although transport to Norfolk may be a problem.

Cherrypie said...

Wives always are right. Now you've got that established, you can't go wrong.

Put your back into it, Man. That's the spirit.

ziggi said...

why d'you think they're called 'flag' stones??

just idly wondering, like you do.

CP is right by the way but not quite accurate, whilst wives are always right, they are only part of that happy band that are always right, the female of the species.

elizabethm said...

We have huge slate flagstones in the old bit of our kitchen, about 3foot by 2 and an inch and a half thick - beautiful but hefty. I think we are going to have to ask you about keeping pigs. so tempting.

Anonymous said...

Just reading about your 3x3 flagstones makes me tired. Congratulations on your new kitchen flooring :-)

Reg Pither said...

What exactly do these sows look like? Thing is, I'm coming up in the New Year and I don't want an ugly one.

Malc said...


She's got you on the payroll, hasn't she?


They're named after Arthur J Flagstone who discovered the floor-covering qualities of seaside stone in 1843.

Actually, most of the time I do what Spike tells me.


Big is beautiful, isn't it?
And pigs? Go for it. You will not be sorry, I absolutely promise.


You're tired! I've just been out to a birthday party - I'm trashed!


It's OK. The Gloucester Old Spot has not mated this winter because the boar has a skin condition, so you don't have much to live up to.

The Birdwatcher said...

Ah yes the solution to any urgent job that needs doing, make a list. Then go to the pub!

Ginni Dee said...

Oh wow, flagstone! While I envy you the nifty floor, I don't envy the work involved!

Isn't your little slice of the world well-known for it's flagstone??

Have a great day,

ziggi said...

nothing to do with hoisting them then?

Malc said...


It is indeed. You can see where they've been carved out of the rocks on the shoreline. They're used for anything from roofing to fencing.


Aaah. . . the build-up to a joke. Sorry I missed that one.
I've got a feeling that severebackpainstones would be a better name.

Rol Hirst said...

You ask me, the decorations should come down on boxing day. They just look sad* after that.

(*In the traditional sense of that word.)

Betty said...

Blimey, great discipline in getting back to hard work on your part. Me, I'm still working up to cleaning out the fridge. Yeck.

Oh, and I always leave the decorations up until 12th Night. I just like the way the fairy lights glow and reflect around the room because I'm twee and silly.

Gledwood said...

Yeah I concurr with the above

Malc said...


That's uncanny. Exactly how it worked out. How did you know?


Got a point, but I always like to see them still up at New Year.


Needs must when the pigman delivers. Got to get the concrete floor and pens built by the end of the month.
Twee and silly - yeah, right.


Hello there. Is that a hamster or one of our resident mice?