Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Sticky-backed plastic would be handy

Listening to: Club Foot (Kasabian)
Weather: sunshine, mild, spring on the way?
Trying to remember if: I've had a tetanus jab lately

I'm doing a bit of recycling. As well as putting out cans, bottles, old newspapers and so on, I'm sort of giving new life to an old threshing machine.

Not that it will be even slightly recognisable as a threshing machine once I've finished with it. It's got two good, hefty frames and as such is perfect for the shelter I'm planning for the pigs in their new paddock.

I had considered splashing out on a couple of pig arks - that's ark as in small nissan hut, rather than big boat built in case of biblical events* - but they start at £250 for a simple one and that's before you've got the thing to Orkney. So, with loads of scrap timber hanging around the place, we're going for the Blue Peter** option.

I've trimmed off the bottom beams so they'll stick straight in the ground and then I plan a sort of freestyle performance, hammering in wood where necessary and adding some waterproofing.

Trust me, I nearly know what I'm doing.

It has been beautiful today and a real pleasure to be outside, even though I spent much of the day cutting my hands to ribbons on barbed wire in a no-doubt futile attempt to pig-proof the paddock. There's blood dripping onto the keyboard as I type.

Mrs TPF popped out to help when I needed an extra pair of hands, but she's spent probably too much time ironing and sorting stuff out for when she starts work in Kirkwall on Monday, her criminal record check having come through clear - no jokes, please - quicker than expected.

That news at the end of last week caused a bit of a stir, not least because she hadn't got anywhere to stay or any flights/ferries booked. Transport was quickly sorted, but Sal still had to find a bed. We placed an ad in The Orcadian, but short-term she was going to have to find B&B/self-catering in Kirkwall.

She trawled the internet, made some calls and an hour or two later proudly announced that she'd got a deal with a guest house for the first couple of weeks until she arranged something more permanent.

"You know the place, it's near the harbour in Kirkwall," she said. I didn't. Couldn't place it at all.

"I've saved it on the favourites," she added. "Here, look."

"Oh yes," I said. "That'd be the ***** Hotel in Stromness. Very near Stromness harbour - about half-an-hour on the bus from Kirkwall. Look, it says 'Stromness' in very big letters."

Bless her. I think the animals and I had better go too, just to keep an eye on her.

* Sally and I visited Maes Howe prehistoric burial chamber on Orkney mainland during the summer and opted for the guided tour (very good it was too). The 'any questions' bit at the end was more interesting than usual.

Elderly American Tourist in lemon golf slacks (on Orkney!): "How long after the Great Flood was this built?"

Tour guide: "I'm sorry?"

Lemon Slacks: "The Great Flood. Noah's Ark."

Tour guide (remaining remarkably steady): "I'm afraid I don't know. Maybe if you ask at the museum in Kirkwall. . . or the cathedral."

Championship class buck-passing if ever I heard it.

** I loathed Blue Peter as a child. Still do, now I come to think of it. When school was over, I wanted cartoons and football, not more school.


The Birdwatcher said...

You lost me after "I trimmed off the bottom beams....." I hate it when people get all technical.

dinahmow said...

Laughed like a drain at Mr. Golf Pants and his flood! And I'm struggling to make a pig hut out of a thresher.Coming from the land of fencing wire initiative, I should "get it" but...

Anonymous said...

Ask the cathedral sounds pretty genius, really!

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

Can't wait to see the finished hut -- am sure it will be much more impressive than my shed! :)

I, still, like the views said...

we differ for once!

I loved Blue Peter - only my mother didn't believe in sticky backed plastic and wouldn't let me have a Barbie doll, so much of what they made was purely visual entertainment. . .

. . .bit like reading about you and the pig ark then


however, I will follow your progress as keenly as ever, so no skipping the bloody details and presenting us with "and here's one I made earlier"


(watch out for cellulitus as well as whatever nasties a tetanus jab protects you from)

Dave said...


Rol Hirst said...

My dad used to keep chickens in a night ark... and I always wondered why it was called that, being that it didn't float. I think you might just have explained it, thanks for that.

Malc said...


Sorry. What I should have said was that I hacked a bit off so each side stood up in the holes I dug.


The old panels are making the sides of the shed with scrap timber doing the rest. Will post a pic in a day or two.


I thought so. She was far more composed than I would have been. As it was Sal had to give me 'a look' to stop me (a) laughing out loud and (b) saying something very sarcastic.


You are so kind, but that's to compare Johnny Depp with Frankenstein's monster.


I just never 'got' Blue Peter. It was all too busy for me. Mind you, even at that age I was hooked on Grandstand, so there was no hope. The shed is coming together nicely, although we've got the sideways rain today, so that may slow things down a bit.




I have a feeling it should be arc, as in the shape, which would explain a lot.

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

Johnny Depp? Frankenstein's monster? Have you forgotten???

Malc said...

OK, bad example. But you'll see what I mean in due course.

elizabethm said...

Need to see a picture of the recycled pig ark please.

mig bardsley said...

I like the sound of this ark. The organic school of architectural design?