14th. August - 2nd. September 2007

Life has been very chaotic over the past few weeks and today is the only day I've spent the whole day not working either at Cricket or somewhere else.

But there is some excellant news, for me anyway, I have acquired part-time work at the Kent Cricket Academy through the winter.
This will be approximately 15 hours a week and involves just about anything, something I'm used to, from putting equipment up, working behind the Bar, Reception and whatever else may need doing.
Another benefit will be that I'll see the Player's popping in and out through our off season, albeit making me seethingly jealous with their southern hemisphere suntans!

A few extra hours should see me through the winter month's. Last winter was a disaster work wise and hiding valuables under the floorboards in expectation was a whole new experience.
I must admit that it was the only time since downshifting that I had my doubts and the fear of spending the rest of my days stone broke was not a pleasant one.

But, a good summer at Cricket with some extra's as well has enabled me to get back up to date and the lessons are learnt and accounted for in my Business Plan (that's the one I think about before I go to sleep).

Last Sunday I went to Lord's with the team and met my sister Sarah and nephew Alex there. Although in my kit and looking like a hasbeen third rate cricketer (OK, it's true), they wouldn't let Alex in without a tie and trousers! But, it was good seeing them, albeit a rather non eventual game.

It seems that the vegetable garden for me this year has been; sowing the seeds and harvesting whatever has come up.
Inbetween has been neglected somewhat, but mainly because of the timing of bad weather.
The Beetroots are growing out of control, as are the Runner Beans. I've harvested all the Onions, they all came up but a third of the size last year.
The Sweet Corn plants are no more than 3 feet tall and all 8 of them have only produced 12 cobs.
The Carrots, which we didn't lose, are doing well and really tasty.
The bad news is, no Squash from the Garden this year. They simply haven't grown bigger since we planted them out.
Everything else is much and much, nothing special.

The Chickens just don't care about anything though and quite happy frollicking around scraping for whatever they can dig up.
They're in for a shock soon though. No more Cricket left overs for them! They get a good amount of extra's such as Rice, Jacket Potatoes and Veggie sandwiches.
The occasional piece of Chocolate Cake has slipped in Chef's bag accidentially, but that's the first thing they aim at if there is any!
The way I see it is, I don't appear to have lost one yet through wrong food, sobeit.

As I have tomorrow off as well I intend to roam the fields doing some foraging. I hope I'm not a bit late for Horseradish, but there appears to be ample supplies of Blackberries, Blackcurrants etc. I've also been offered the remains of the Plums on a Tree over the Lane. Looking at it, I could put Robertson's Jam's out of business!
Once Leo is available (teenager, hence 'available'), we'll go and raid the Apple Tree's in the dis-used Orchard up the Lane. They belong to the Landlord so there'll be no problems.

This week I have a posh doo. The Squad are invited to a Civic Reception in celebration of our twenty/20 cup win and I'm going along to lower the tone a little!
I'm only working 4 days this week, so I hope to catch up on some web pages I've been meaning to do since about 1879.
Then, a one day game against Yorkshire, some work at the Academy and off to Southampton for 4 days. On my way I have the final visit to the University of Brighton reference the 'Learning Life' Project.
Kent are playing Hampshire at the Rose Bowl, so I'll look in for a few hours there.

It's strange. From my Bank balance at almost the end of the summer, I have calculated that if summer lasted all year round, I could be a Millionaire by 2189. The problem is that this does not account for inflation, so it'll probably stay the same at about £4.29.
Quite often, as I said above, downshifting can lead to some pretty scary moments and I challenge anyone who says it's escapism. The only escapism in it is from the routine and acceptance of things.
You learn so much about yourself and others!
Although it is hard and often frustrating, it is the challenge which keeps you going. It's the challenge of depending upon yourself and your ability to 'survive' without conformity to normality.

I'm quite proud about being not normal!!

29th - 14th. August 2007 (away from main PC - next entry Sat.31.08)

It's a little difficult to fill the page up this time. The last entry was made upon arrival at Southampton. I came home on the Friday late evening, then a 5am start on Saturday to travel to Edgbaston, came back early Sunday morning and have been at the Cricket Club ever since!
Today is my first full day at home in the last eighteen!
I just have to outweigh the aching body and think of the Bank account, which surprisingly hasn't been that bad lately.
Needless to say, when you've a bit in there (and the emphasis is on 'the bit'), you start getting letters offering you loans which will eat up the bit extra you've been getting.

But I have to say, I've disciplined myself quite well for the last few month's and intend to start the darker month's slightly more prepared than previous years.
Usually I start my preparation the day before the cricket season ends, but I've been toiling away building a few bits, gathering lots of stuff to sell and so on.
I hope to get a 2-day week job soon. That, with the regular odd-jobs, should ensure a easier winter journey this year (famous last words - something will come up, it always does).

So, last Saturday I made it up to watch the twenty/20 cricket finals in Birmingham and have to say 'boy was it worth it'
So many times I've seen the Team's sad faces after a 'nearly made it' game and how it has affected them.
To see them win the Cup was amazing. I've never seen 11 blokes look completely drunk without an ounce of alcohol in them!
After six years of the Dressing Room at Canterbury, I thought I was becoming a jinx! So this put paid to that.

Even I was asked a question on BBC South East TV news!!
The following days, Surrey came down. I know the chap who does Surrey TV quite well now and thought it would be fun to appear as 'background' in his opening commentary.
You can see it by CLICKING HERE , about 15 seconds into the clip. Takes a bit of time to load.

So, a few days off before a really long haul at Cricket, about 14 days I think. I shall spend the next three or four days tending to my spectacular weeds, tropical grass and have a look round the fields to see how the Horseradish is progressing. I reckon on about another two weeks or so yet.
Many last year asked me about identification etc., so I made a page which you may like to visit.
It also has a recipe for 'long lasting Horseradish Sauce. It's here. in the 'Natures Free Gifts' section.

It's coming up to a time of the year when I have very mixed feelings. The end of the hectic Cricket says farewell to many people whom I totally enjoy being with, yet it's a time when I can keep busy gathering the winters needs. There is nothing like a day spent wandering around and about collecting wild fruit, then making it in the knowledge you'll still be eating it in six month's time.
Put that with the beautiful colours of Autumn and it's quite relaxing. I guess you could say 'the calm before the storm'.
But I enjoy the darker evenings.

After a few jobs to catch up on in late September I hope to take a whole week and catch up with some web site work. Although I've managed quite a bit of late, the site is in need of better navigation still.
A great frugal find this week was about 100 pieces of 2" x 1" wood about 30" long. These will be ideal for my Chicken / Bantam / Rabbit and Guinea Pig runs I'm making.
Having thought more about that project, I think I'll just build them and put a card up in the local Shop.
If stock outweighs sales, at least I will have some for next Spring when people are more likely to want them anyway.

I could of course forget about this frugal living and become a highly paid Busker on the London Underground, but the Green tendances of mine are against it.
That's to say I want people to use Public Transport.
It's quite strange to hear Leo strumming away in his bedroom. Stranger still that most of the tunes are those I played back in the 60's! Needless to say I don't actually tell him that he plays some of them better than me. I can't take away the fact he thinks I'm an ex-60's Rock Idol Hippy. A Drop Out would be more to the point.

Maybe that's what this downshifting is. Simply trying to re-create the freedom and relative happiness of youth. Although in our Teens we went about with no money, we were happy and more content with our lot.

I was doing gardening tomorrow, but it's chucking it down outside. Oh well!

Going back to look at the future

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