14th. May - 7th. June 2009

There was I saying a few weeks back that I'd get the fortnightly diary back to being fortnightly again - and......!!!

The last few weeks have been chaotic, but mainly in a nice way.
Whilst doing a very intense spell at Cricket, a hose decided to go on my car again. Because I was motorway driving at the time, I didn't notice it was getting hot until I stopped after about 30 miles. Well, it had blown the head gasket and affected the engine. To repair it again, at over £700, just wasn't cost effective and......another car bit the dust.

Because this happened right in the middle of a busy time, the best way to handle Cricket was simply to stay there. So, about four nights of dressing room !

After weighing everything up and looking at my car history and expenditure on them over the last three years, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a decent one. Although this means credit, normally against my best wishes, the cost along with the years warrantry seemed the best route. I now own a three year old Kia Picanto, nicely green in fuel consumption etc. The strange thing is driving without the normal squeaks and paranoia, but it's good.

This all happened before the week Leo and I were going to Belgium ! But we got off on time and spent a very good four days exploring more of the WW1 sites and had a day out to Bruge thrown in.
Where we stayed was a lovely spot, right on the side of Polygon Wood in rural land which was once 'no mans land'. The B&B was tremendous, we ate well at breakfast and part of the cost was to take a self made packed lunch everyday.

On the fourth day we returned to Calais via La Copelle to visit the site of the V1 and V2 launching sites from WW2, an interesting experience and a reminder of all that went on in a period of just 35 years.

Luckily the weather stayed fine throughout and we came home suitably satisfied we had achieved our ambitions.

After I got back, one day off and into Hospital for my Shoulder Operation. All went well, I arrived in the Hospital at 7am and had the operation at 8.15am. I had no problems going into theatre and woke up with no ill affects.
Problem was I'd had a general and also a local block which made me nicely numb from the shoulder down. For a good four hours I thought 'piece of cake', then the block wore off and my goodness, did it hurt! After getting through about three kinds of pain killers in around five hours which didn't seem to touch it, they kept me in overnight and I had some morphine. This seemed to help, but I did see some wellington boots floating down from the sky at one time - maybe it helped me a bit too much!

Rather than coming home, my daughter took me back to Southampton for three days where I had a good rest. Hopefully tomorrow (16 days after), I can have the stitches out and won't have to sleep in a sling anymore. This was followed up with three days at Cricket, a mistake I realise now. Obviously it did me in and I caught the cold of all colds, the first one for over 18 months. Eight days on and I'm just starting to get over it. Typically, I have a fortnight off, the first decent break since March - and I'm ill !

All the above has the result of the garden being in a bit of a state. The grass needs cutting, more earth needs to be dug and the stinging nettles in the Coop need to be cut back.
The weather forecast doesn't look good for the next few days and on Saturday I travel to Southanmpton returning Sunday night, then on Monday go to Cricket at Tunbridge Wells for five days where I'll be staying in a Hotel. So at least another ten days of it being on hold. Just hope I can catch up on things OK.

I have at least been able to get the web pages going on the WW1 experience. Ypres was where one of my Grandfather's served, so it was good to tread where he did, the difference being quite simply, war and peace. I've nearly finished the pages -you can see these at
Ypres Battlefields WW1

So now I have five days at Tunbridge Wells, then the same at Beckenham, but after that, most of July off at home, maybe the odd one or two days work. I have no doubt that once again I shall see myself as not having anything to do, then cursing because I haven't had time to sit down. Life seems to be like that.

One extra little bit of work is that the Dressing Rooms are being used by the Police at the Cricket Ground's two Pop Concerts at the end of July and I need to be there to take care of things. The downer on that (if you're an old git like meis), it's the Sugababes and Neil Morrisey. But everyone to their own

22nd June - 5th. July 2009

Those who have read the Diary for some time will know that Summertime lowers me to lateness!
So once again I make no excuses, Summer brings about my work at Cricket and squeezing everything else in between. It's like a Jekyll and Hyde situation; Winter, loads of time and Summer, none at all!.

Since the last entry I have spent a total of 11 nights away from Home, four at Tunbridge Wells, four at Beckenham and three at Southampton. Each morning I wake up and think through the blur as to where I am, although I'm often like that in the middle of the afternoon!

It seems us Brits are a miserable lot; we moan in the Winter when it's cold and moan even more in the Summer when we have a heatwave and this year so far has certainly lived up to that.

The Chickens aren't too keen on the hot weather either. Luckily they have ample shade and their Shed is pretty well ventilated. Many people worry about their Hens more in the Winter than Summer, but trust me, they are usually far more comfortable on a cold January day than a hot July one. Their feathers make for a good permanent duvet cover and you imagine yourself going round Town wrapped up in a Tog 12 at this time of the year.
To combat this, I have allowed the Stinging Nettles inside the Run to grow again which anables them to make their little causeways through to sheltered spots. Saves me cutting the darned things down as well !

The Vegetables are going from strength to strength, especially the Runner Beans and it's interesting to note the plants in the pots are actually growing faster than those in the ground.
As the Carrots are in Pots as well, I haven't watered them at the top, but watered underneath to promote them searching downwards for a drink, getting longer as they do so.

I'm almost scared of getting lost in the two Greenhouses, they are completely taken up by Tomato Plants which seem to have one destination in mind - the roof!

It's strange how fast everything comes round; one minute you're sowing seeds on a cold April evening, the next you're looking expectantly for the first Vegetable from each group to be ready for eating.

Cricket has been very busy, but Kent have got into a somewhat healthy habit of winning Matches. We're through to the twenty/20 quarter final and just second in the League with a game in hand.
From now until the end of July though, it's all away matches, so I'm sitting pretty with a few weeks of idleness.

The weekend before last, Leo and myself went to see my Mother on her 85th. Birthday. Although her body is adjusting to her time, I still can't pull one over her on the financial stakes. Hints like "if I had a better car, I'd come up more" are a complete waste of time and any reference to needing a short break somewhere sunny are met with answers like "I haven't seen many Squirrels in the Garden this year".
But I wouldn't have it any other way - if I fail, it's my fault and if I succeed, it's my doing.

Last weekend, my Grandson Thomas had his 8th. Birthday Party. There's nothing more relaxing after five days working away from home in a heatwave to be surrounded by over 20 hyperactive Kids playing games like 'which adult can I hit with this Golf Ball' and 'How much do you have to do to cause the Rabbit to have a Heart Attack'.
One observation I had was to note how many Parents say "You'll poke your eye out with that". They're always wrong and it just ends up as a broken leg, either their's or the neighbours as the home made pretend Jousting Pole (Garden Rake) journey's through the Sky like a badly thrown Javelin.

Reference the possible Book, today and tomorrow I'm putting together all the information required by the Publishing Company and hope to get an answer within the next few days. It's odd, I can think of everything to write content wise, but not a title for it.. I don't like the 'down' in downshifting simply because you're not going down, only financially maybe, so I must make positive of it.

The one thing I do find about downshifting is to have plenty of options. By that I mean one should have a diverse range of income - should one fail or slacken off, you can move to something else.to make up for it. This is especially so with health - at some stage or other, things on your body start saying 'No way Mate' and if you haven't something up your sleeve, you're in trouble.

This is partly the reason why I am busy practicing my Guitar for a possible gig at the O2 followed by three feature movies in 2010!!

Something always comes up !

Going back to look at the future

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