I started Down the Lane as a Website at the end of 2000, the year I gave up ‘the proper job’ and downshifted into a world of chicken keeping, frugal living, vegetable gardening and paying the Bills by doing all sorts of oddjobbing. The Site included a Monthly Diary. As the Site progressed, I upped this to a Fortnightly Diary to record the many ups and downs of surviving through Self Reliance

As time has gone on, I now have a routine of Summer, working for Kent County Cricket Club as a Dressing Room Attendant for Home and Opposition Teams and in Winter, mainly working as an Oddjobber and general ‘whatever there is’.
There have been times when it’s been so rough I’ve hidden valuables under the floorboards should the Bailiff arrive, but these have been offset by some good times where I’ve been able to achieve a few bonus’s as well.

17 Comments on “The Down the Lane Downshifter Diaries”

By sailorbob. June 1st, 2010 at 19:49

This has got to be the best diary I have read. You should be on BBC radio 2 instead of the allotment spot. What a great site. very well done

By Annetta Badman . June 23rd, 2010 at 01:29

Hi, just a quick note to share that i’m new to your weblog but I am undeniably the latest fan. Oh and to cheer on ITALY for WORLD CUP 2010!! Viva Italia!!

By Hannah. June 25th, 2010 at 15:36

What you have done is amazing, i have only just come across your site so theres so much more to read on it, but i was researching the history of battery farming and the horrible disgrace it is. I am looking to start my own free range farm in australia, and i adore chickens, the horror stories that are so true with battery farming always upset me so ill definately be a rescuer once i find suitable land. I just wanted to let you know, you have done a great job saving the chickens you have saved and im glad theres others out there that make the effort! Hannah 🙂

By peter green. July 19th, 2010 at 10:47

Hi Just like to say what a wonderfull web site you have.My wife has always wanted chickens and 3years ago bought me an incubator which until recently has never been used, by accident we visited a man who had chickens and he gave us many eggs to incubate most where light blue in colour. we now have 11assorted birds at 8 weeks old,they are all different in colour,havnt got a clue what i have got or what is male or female,they have half an acre to run around in and are like pets,often coming into the kitchen and eating the cats food, no eggs yet but told 22weeks before they start to lay, dont have a clue what i am doing but can say these burds are as happy as pigs in s… thank you for your website i am your most avid fan

By Chloe. July 19th, 2010 at 22:20

This is inspirational. Thank you. I found you by googling care for my ex-batts (picked up yesterday) but they appear to be alright! It’s my first year of veg growing and we’re always looking for creative ways to save and make money so your site’s fantastic. We’re lacking a knowledgeable parent, friend or neighbour in the way we wish to live, so we’ve adopted your site!!

By Marlene . October 28th, 2010 at 07:48

Hi there. Just checked out your blog on being an extra! Really enjoyed it and can say I’ve had similar experiences on the other side of the world! (Downunder in fact!) Have you had any more work since then or is it just chickens?

By Sally. March 24th, 2011 at 21:04

What a brilliant website. I am just about to receive my first delivery of chickens. I found your website and it covers everything I need to know. I particularly love the video on feeding chickens! I am sure I will be visiting again, making sure I am doing the right thing. Wish me luck and thanks

By Christian Book Store . April 9th, 2011 at 08:10

Great site I was really inspired. Have a blessed day and keep up the good work!

By Appenzeller Sennenhunde . April 24th, 2011 at 12:55

Good post, really liked your blog 🙂

By Lesley. March 23rd, 2012 at 21:03

Hi Rich, haven’t visited you for a while – um, well over a year, nice to see you’re still going strong. Hope you had a good birthday, Cheers.

By admin . March 23rd, 2012 at 23:08

Thank you Lesley and thank you for popping back in.
Birthdays, mmm, they make you one year older every time 🙂

By paula cd. July 5th, 2012 at 18:28

wow and thankyou for such an amazing website….. just read and believe me ive not stopped for the last two days since i became a member and to be honest the idea of saying “the comericial side of living can hit the curb” as i so want to become self relience. me like most people are living well outside our means and not happy with that fact but its easy to get pushed along with the crouds, dont get me wrong, i dont live in the lap of luxuary but i can do better an all this new thinking started when we decided to get some ex batt hens. i am fed up with just getting by but believe me with the help of this web site which is amazing. my new life and the life of my family begins. im lucky that my son is very aware of the world and his surounding and the fact hes only 5 and not overley impressed with exspecive things. so just want to thankyou again and here to starting small but making all the changes for the better.

The Dyson Family.

sorry about all the typos.

By admin . July 5th, 2012 at 22:42


Thank you so much, it’s really appreciated.
There are many hundreds of likeminded people on the Forum full of experiences and ideas, please pop along and have a look – and register of course!!
Looks like you’re well on the way – live the dream! Richard

By stephen mills . August 11th, 2012 at 11:17

I am writing a fim script set in whitstable kent during the 50s and 60s. Is there anybody who can help me with the following. Fashion with the other women, what young girls were reading and what was the housing like- was it terrace etc. Any help would be greafully recieved
stephen mills (stephenmills1952@yahoo.co.uk)

By Oscar . March 17th, 2013 at 19:35

I’ve had a few chickens for a couple of years now and whilst searching for some gardening information, I stumbled on your website. Well what can I say? I don’t like cricket but I’ve spent quite a few hours reading your diaries and various pages. Well done Richard and thanks for some great entertainment. I’ve clicked on a few of your sponsors pages so hopefully you will get a few shillings in commision. I don’t think I earn enough to consider downsizing, but a change of career at 50 is possibly on the cards!

By admin . March 17th, 2013 at 23:03

Many thanks for your comments. Maybe you’ll get to like Cricket when you are the average age of people at a 4-Day game (better be careful what I say!!!). 50’s a good age, I did it at 52. What I would say is the older you get the harder it is I think. There again, it’s the age you are comfortable with which is important. Cheers, Richard

By Jill. September 14th, 2013 at 07:05

I have to say I’ve never quite understood why our chosen national game is something that is so affected by the weather. And it does make me laugh the way they have to go in because their mum says it’s time for tea.

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