15th - 29th. February 2008

I've just worked it out that if there were two extra weeks in this financial year, I would bring home half of the amount of money I was in 1999 / 2000!
In a way, I'm glad I'm not because I couldn't boast about it then!
I guess it's quite pleasing really; I live in the same House, eat the same amount of food and still have more time than I did to see my family.

The results of last winter were terrible and I finally got back to being all square again in July. With all the work I've put in over the last few month's, there's a possibility it will be early April this year.
If so, it'll be great and I can look forward, subject to no horrible unexpected experiences, to having a much easier Autumn and Winter late this year.

Next Wednesday sees me finishing off the winter work at the Cricket Academy and the Catering Departments at the Club.
On Thursday I travel again down to Southampton for my 60th. Birthday Party which is being arranged by my daughter Vicky.
I haven't a clue who's going, I told them not to tell me. I've asked six people but it appears none of them can make it.

Leo and myself spent a few days down there last week for Grandchild sitting purposes. I have to say they are impeccable in their playtime and get on with things completely unattended.
I even managed to get them out the house for twenty minutes on one day. A brisk walk down to the Duck Pond, bribing them to walk the long distance across the other side of the road to the Beach and back home again!
It's strange because with all the technology games they have, I brought them the Danny Kaye film 'The Court Jester' (made about 1956) and they love it, especially 'The Vessel with the Pessel' etc.
Ah, back to basics!

The Virus I had seemed to be calming down quite nicely but returned with vengeance yesterday and I'm now with heavy cold, but best over with now and not during Pre-Season training starting on 17th. March.

I've made my yearly start of Season wish list for the Dressing Rooms, everything from Soap to a new Washing Machine! The old one works but you have to close the door with Gaffer Tape! The results of washing 40 towels a day for 70 odd days of the summer!

We have a new Fitness Coach - bit too keen for my liking and wants me to join in! I've made it quite clear that I'm perfectly happy about my three hour 50 meter dash around the back of the Pavilion for a Roll Up, but I don't mind spurring on the Team with motivational cries such as "Come on Boys, bit quicker". Have to be careful though, the removal of a Bat Handle is quite delicate surgery I understand.

But how the weather has changed of late! Overnight it seems that blossom is blooming on the trees and there's a plethora of birds visiting our front garden.

Unlike last year, I haven't had to cut the grass yet. This is good news as I can delay replacing the Blade for the fifth year running. It's also good news as I used the Lawnmower Engine Oil in the Cinquecento on Sunday! I now have three types of Oil in the Fiat and still it gets me to work and back every day. Italian State of Art!
You can see my last Lawnmower servicing HERE . A fine advertisement for Gaffer Tape yet again!

Another highlight of the last two weeks is that I've actually got an Egg. None of the chooks had laid since early December and with the youngest Hen being probably around 4 years old, I thought that was it. But need I have worried!!
The main thing is that it's the ex-battery hens which are laying, firm evidence they aren't egged out and past it when (and IF) they get their freedom. A bit of TLC, fresh air and daylight and they're happy to be around for as long as possible - and they're very welcome to be!

So, the next time I write an entry I will be 60. This has been in my thoughts quite a lot recently, mostly positive stuff but to be honest, some slightly scary bits as well!
But the positives!! Well, being an early retired Railway employee, I get free travel and now the Bus Pass takes you anywhere in the UK - at least getting about will be cheap and I must say that the only reason I have a car is to make getting to work in easier.
This past winter I haven't spent £200 on fuel, so next years allowance will come in most useful.
Should I move of course, I may not have the benefits of Solid Fuel and Woods just a stones throw away.

But that's a way off yet - no time to think about 6 month's time - today and tomorrow are more important.
Anyways, I have to slow down - can't be earning half of what I was 8 years ago now can I !!!
Next entry = 15th.March

1st - 15th. February 2008

I'm unsure how I'm going to fill the alloted space up this time. I've just spent 6 days at home doing nothing because I've been ill.
Now I know some will say 'blokes flu', where the male of the species mopes around as if he's awaiting the Reaper to pop round the corner at any moment.
Well I'm not quite as bad as that I assure you. It's the first virus I've had in over a year and with the forthcoming heavy (even heavier) workload, I can't afford it to develop. Usual stuff, temperature, aches, pains, tightness etc.etc.
I don't like sympathy - but if there's any going........!!!

I'm hoping to work this afternoon but have been up since 5am, I've six hours to sort myself out!

Inbetween dozing off and whilst the pills have kicked in OK, I have done a couple of Blog pages and tidied up parts of the website though.
Thing is I don't know exactly how big the site is now. Every time I count, it's different!
I think it's around 360 article pages and over 1,700 topics in the Forum.
The Forum news is pleasing as the new one was set up at the end of April last year. We're closing in on 300 members now - cor what a bunch and mixture of Characters!!
If you aren't a member yet, should you register (no catches, mass emails etc), you'll have three other categories through which to look and post in.

What I have noticed this week is the huge increase in Birds visting the front garden.
The Acer seems to attract the Backbird especially. Other welcome visitors have included Blue Tits, Great Tits, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Sparrows, Great Woodpeckers, Green Woodpeckers and many more.
Luckily Big Ron our Heavyweight Prize Black Cat is so huge at the moment that the thought of actually hurrying anywhere to catch anything appears to be beyond him!
He seems quite happy to be punched by little Ginger, half his size and the 'hoody' of the three!
It's crazy really, Ron could turn around and put him out with one glance, or worse still, sit on him, but he simply keeps walking without turning a head.
I'm determined to understand more about cat brain before I leave this Panet, but think they're so complicated, I'll have to continue my studies 'elsewhere'!

With my 60th birthday getting closer and closer I can already feel the brain preparing itself. I'm getting into that 'go round every Department of the local Government Offices to get every single nbenefit there is'.
Well, I've spent the whole of my life paying in and never got anything back to date, so I intend to make sure I do.

Next week Leo and myself are off to Southampton for four days doing some Half Term grandchild sitting. I understand there is a small gap between virus's dow there and hope to time it accordingly.
Saying that, the poor thing's virtually have a season ticket at Southampton General Hospital with all their other niggling growing up things.
I thought once your kids left and had their own, the family worries would go - but they're doubled!
It's not only seeing a Grandchild unwell, but seeing your own child worrying about them which can knock you for six. Let's hope the sun comes out a bit more often this summer than it did last and better health comes through it for all.

It's the law of life I guess that at this time of the year you have a few days at home and can't get outside to do the vegetable garden. The weather has been perfect for weeding and digging this week, sorting out the Greenhouse and getting general preparation done, but four steps up the garden and I'm back in again.
Luckily I've made it up to the Chicken Shed every morning with about six layers of clothing on - still no eggs!

Back to the website, there are many who visit the Blog who don't visit the Website and vice versa, which is great. The Blog is about 'off topic' more and allowing free time from the main site subject.
However, I'm now introducing a 'Chicken Talk' section to the Blog in which I can speak my thoughts on more welfare issues.
There is so much happening at the moment, thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver, that a section where I can put forward some of my views, plus allowing others to comment seems a natural progression of Down the Lane.
Saying that, I haven't actually written anything yet!

So, Spring is not far away and already the tills of the Garden Centres are jingling away. One thing I would say is don't buy new packets of seeds when you have some from last year. I've used the same carrot seed pack for five years now to no ill effects.
Sow things early, then if they don't come up - then go out and buy some.

Going back to look at the future

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