Well I didn't check the Diary date. For some unknown reason I thought the last entry was the 16th - so I'm late!
With so much Cricket of late, I haven't had much time for anything else, but have had a few hours here and there to do at least some of my planned projects.
My Office (6' x 4' Shed!) is nearing completion and will have the Grand Opening on Saturday.
It hasn't been easy. for cost I brought an Overlap type and this required me to build walls on the inside, mainly for the draughts.
I used all sorts of wood I've accumulated over the Winter plus some oddments from work as well.
It's all wired up. This meant threading a power cable under a Railway Sleeper, footpath anf finally to a power point in one of the old Sheds.
The Lan cable for Broadband meant a 30 meter roll going the whole way round to the front of the house and through the double glazed window. By sheer luck, I had about a third of a meter over!
So, about 28 splinters, bad back and tired knees later, I'm nearly there!
Being at home some afternoons last week allowed the Chickens out for a couple of hours and they totally enjoyed themselves delicately avoiding the weeds to get to the flowers!
Luckily they have loads of space and have had strolls further down the Lane.
The cats and dog next door live in harmony with them.
It's funy watching them because it's a cats natural instinct to hunt and kill birds. Then along come a few which are bigger than they are and they just give up the cause not knowing what exactly they're supposed to do!
In the Greenhouse, the Runner Beans haven't come up, so a second lot are under way in expectation.
The Potatoes in the Bath are all through the surface now and ready to be covered again. I'm reckoning on a bumper success on this one.
Tomatoes, Salad Crops and Vroad Beans are all coming up great. Just the Carrots to get under way now.
I've spoken with the Battery Hen Welfare Trust and told them I'd like to take on another ten.
There are some available at the end of June and seeing I have quite a bit of time off then, it'll be just right for me to be around whilst they're settling in and having their pecking order punch ups.
At Cricket, Kent have had an uneasy start. In the 4-day Championship we have drawn one and lost one. In the Friends Provident One Day Cup we have lost both games played.
But things are improving, a fine display against New Zealand this week and the return of Justin Kemp to the squad means we are getting over our traditional poor start to the season.
You know how, if you don't see a person for a while, you notice the differences in them whereas if you see them everyday you don't? The Cricket season has the same effect on my body!
Each year I start at Cricket and realise a few things which last year I could do with relative ease are, this year, a little more difficult.
It is a reminder, but you re-adjust and pace yourself accordingly.
The problem lays in the brain thinking you're 21 years old and the body knowing it's 60 !
I have a day off tomorrow and need a few things from town, so this gives me a chance to use the Bus Pass for the first time, can't wait!!
With so much going on in recent weeks I have only managed 4 new pages in April, the worst for about 8 months.
But the good news is that for the fifth month in a row, visitors to Down the Lane have increased.
I hope to get writing again next week - in the relative calm of my open plan Office of course!
I have also been offered the chance of two decorating jobs inbetween the Cricket and I intend to squeeze these in somehow. I'm frantically trying to save enough to take the Winter off, so it's 'work now, play later' so to speak.
I would also like to take a few days camping somewhere in August. Leo is booked up for the Reading Festival, so I imagine this could be my first solo trip.
Where I don't know yet, just a place where I can open the Flap each morning and see a mountain, then walk it.
I don't mind the occasional rainy day. These are spent sitting in the Tent, wrapped up with Sleeping bag reading a book whilst listening to the pitter patter on the roof moving only occasionally to boil up a cup of Coffee followed by 40 winks.
Natures way of getting you to slow down to take time off for rest and thought!
Having an unexpected whole one day off last Thursday enabled me to get some gardening work done.
You may recall me saying that I want to grow everything in Containers this year, so....
I'm doing second early Potatoes in the Bath, Carrots in an old steel bucket, Cabbages in an old Plastic Window Box, Onions in Bread Baskets, but I haven't decided what to put in the Toilet yet!
I'm on the look out for an old Sink, simply to get the overall 'Suite effect'!
On the rare occasion of me being home, I'm letting the Chickens out of their Pen as well. Fair enough they have 40 feet square to play around in, but there's nothing like 'other territory' for them.
The nice thing is we have ample hedging and bushes in which they can scrape away at the dry soil, thus leaving the grass pretty much alone.
The people in the big house opposite have recently lost their White Alsation and this was the main reason I didn't let them run free. He was a Shooting trained job and one sight of a chicken would have meant the worse.
They are buying a new one, so I've suggested they bring him over (as a Puppy) to get used to the Chickens and that it's a no go area of food!
When we first had Big Ron, he was quite anti-Chicken and given half the chance would have probably had one (or two) for Breakfast. But now they roam around in perfect harmony and it appears he's actually guarding them forever following them, finding a spot and just watching over them.
Spring is really beautiful down here. On the days of no rain, it's splendid to see the very green grass and watch the creatures and birds doing what they do.
There's many a visitor to the Lane and every day seems to render something new or unseen before.
This Wednesday sees the start of the Cricket season proper with a four day match against Notts and a one dayer on Sunday against Essex.
The Kent Team seem well prepared and as every year, the pre-season is finishing on a fairly quiet expectant note.
But, with Yasir Arafat returning tomorrow, the full squad is raring to go. I try to avoid predictions, but things are good.
I've a few days off next week, so plan to get my Garden Office (cheap
6 x 4 Shed with shelf and chair). I find it difficult writing inside the house sometimes, too many distractions and background noises of TV and PC games!
I am also insulating the Shed with about 30 meters of Bubble wrap, screw some hardboard inside to strengthen and make good.
Hopefully I will pick up my Wireless Router and all will be well.
For security reasons, I shall only have the Laptop in there, but will protect whatever with my trusted 'saucepans tied onto broom leaning against door which I forget is there and scare myself silly every time I walk in.
Our Oven packed up last week and I have gone to great expense and brought a new one (see 'we don't stock them here' in Blog). Great technology - 5 knobs and an Oven. Just right.
A dead Cherry and and an almost gone Horse Chestnut tree have been cut down at work. One of the Maintenance Chaps has kindly logged it all. About four of us have open fires and me, the Rayburn as well, so I'm bringing loads home piece by piece.
I think I over did it last Saturday though, I got a top speed of 45mph out of the Cinquecento on the way home.
At present I have just over a month's worth, so another 4 loads should see me through from October to the new year.
With the Cricket Ground re-development about to start and loads of demolition work being carried out, I can see me borrowing the Club Van on quite a few occasions through Summer!!
I certainly won't go short of bits of wood, that's for sure!
After the Shed I'm hoping there won't be any more big spends and what I don't spend this year compared to last will enable me time off at the end of the Cricket Season.
But all is well, it's healthy thinking and planning ahead a bit, something I haven't done for quite a while.
I've finally accepted that my dream of finding a suitcase with three hundred grand inside with an attached note saying "Finder keeps" will not come to fruitition and that my future is in my hands and no one elses!
Spring has sprung down the Lane and I'm feeling good!