Listening to: Charlotte Sometimes (The Cure)
Pigwatch: starting to think it's an elaborate hoax
Weather: clouded over, but still - mercifully - dry
It has been suggested by some of my closer friends that, despite a respectable IQ, an extensive knowledge of Irish history and Wolverhampton Wanderers FA Cup final teams (there have been eight, so stop sniggering), I can be a bit dozy.
I'm starting to agree (bear with me while I get to the point).
Mrs TPF went shopping with our plastic the other week. Fair enough, she's the sensible one who's gone out and got a proper job to give me room to pursue the hair-brained pig-farming scheme.
No shoes, sweatshop-manufactured jeans or skimpy tops for Sal - well, not this time anyway - she got on a ferry to Thurso and bought this. . .
It's very clean, smart, one careful owner and so on and should make a decent short-term home for my father-in-law who has decided that, at the age of nearly 80, it would be a brilliant idea to leave Wolverhampton (it's always a brilliant idea to leave Wolverhampton) and settle on the Orkneys. He's going to be living in the caravan while we build a self-contained grandad annexe thingy.
I made the arrangements for the caravan to be transported over to Westray and waited. Tuesday morning the ferry came in and this bloody enormous thing was wheeled off - the first time I'd seen it.
It made its way - slowly - to the croft, but could not be put into position behind the barn because the ground was soaking after several wet weeks. The weather was, however, lovely and a couple of days should do the trick, so I was happy to leave it outside the front.
I alerted my neighbour Marcus who said he would come along with his very, very big tractor when calving and lambing commitments allowed.
Friday came around and Sal came over on the morning plane and took the Land Rover out for some work appointments on the island. After attending to a few jobs outside I settled down by computer and phone to sort out a polytunnel. This took longer than expected. In fact, it was a couple of hours later I went outside with the dogs and was delighted to note that the lane and the area in front of the barn were lovely and dry.
We went to the bottom field to terrorise the rabbits and it was only on our way back up it dawned on me.
"Stuff me, where's the caravan?"
I went around the back and there it was, standing exactly where we wanted it, on the hardcore base, the picture window looking out over the sea towards Papa Westray.
Caravan pixies? It seems Marcus and his sidekick Richard had rumbled up the lane, assumed by the lack of Land Rover that I was out and just got on with the job. Captain Dozy meanwhile, was so engrossed in frames, plastic covers, crop bars and the like that he was oblivious.
I'd like to say it was a cunning ruse to get out of an awkward job, but sadly I'm not that bright.
* On another visit to Marcus's farm this week I was lucky enough to turn up just as a Limousin cow was giving birth to a huge calf. The front feet were showing when I arrived and Marcus set to work, easing the nose out and tying a rope around the ankles, getting the bull calf out in a matter of minutes while I held things, pulled when told to and tried to look useful. The calf was a whopper - twice the size of the one in the pen next to it.
It looked vaguely startled, almost as if he'd been told George W Bush really was the President of the World's No. 1 superpower, but he rallied well.
I saw dozens of calves born when I was a boy, but it's been a long time and I'd forgotten how bloody brilliant it is. Sadly I had forgotten to take my phone - so no pictures.
I mentioned all this to the sows, who grunted dismissively.