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At last the weather has changed and we get that more secure sense that the Winter is fast approaching. Just 10 days ago we were living in the false world of twenty plus degrees in early October, going around with clothes to match and wondering why the Cricket Season had finished!
Now it's back to spending those annoying 15 minutes each day cleaning out the Rayburn and restocking it and searching for the pullover you put away in March. Even the walk up to the Chicken Run to feed them is slightly a chore rather than a pleasurable experience of the early morning warmth.
But all this adds up to the reality of life and the experience of sitting round the open fire isn't that bad. Late Autumn and Winter kind of say to you it's time to close the day down more at 5pm than 9pm. I know this isn't the case for many who have kids, but for us who've done that and got the T-Shirt, it's doing off time after your Squash Soup and Casserole. Why not as well, it's the fruits of your garden labour through some eight months of the year!
My days of Winter odd jobbing have started and already, the last two weeks have involved some decorating, repair work of windows, fixing a Spit, mending a fence and re-aligning a Gate. All that and I have a list which includes building some shelves for a Greenhouse, replacing about 8 fence pieces and having a huge Bonfire.
This is all in stark contrast to my work at Cricket where I spend most days within the inner circle of two Cricket Teams, many members of Staff and 2,000 plus Fans. Over 95% of the time is now spent alone, it's a huge House I work in and my work is when the owners are not there, but I enjoy the diversity of life, I work as and when I want to, I can pop down Town, go and see Leo or journey down to Southampton more or less when I please.
The only problem with all this is there's no break between my two 'careers' each year, one job finishes on the Friday and the other one starts on the Monday. Every year I say I'll have a week away, as in 'holiday', but I never do, I kind of wander through the Winter month's with some enjoyable trips to see the family etc. One day I will have a proper holiday I promise myself, but then, maybe one day I shall not have the diversity and ability of the life I lead now. It has to come sooner or later!
With most of the vegetable garden put to bed, the Chickens are allowed more free space, that is as long as I'm in and can see them. Being where we live, there's always a chance of a passing dog getting in, or the chickens getting out of course. Luckily I have a large Garden and have just built yet another Gate to make it even more secure.
Another advantage of my Office placement means I can see them the whole time I'm outside. They don't care too much for the Lawn, they'd rather spend their time scraping inside the hedges and Laurel Tree. If I can't find one, I can usually hear it !
The Cat's are also noticing the difference of seasons. Mimi, the oldest, usually gets a chair and cushion next to the Rayburn, although she's usually almost in it, This upsets Ginger, who often takes a jump at her with the end result of fierce 'chair wars' going on. The only answer is to put two chairs there each evening, but even then, there's often a punch up for the one with the cushion! Big Ron in the meantime couldn't care less and is usually found on the newly emptied Sofa or on the Chair outside in the Lean-To.
We let the Rayburn lay overnight and by morning, the top is just warm enough for one of the two cats to lay on top. The saga and routine of Winter appears to have begun !
I had a good few days down in Southampton, the highlight being a good afternoon watching Saints win at home, all be it against Gillingham, the local Kent side. There were 19,500 fans there, so the Grand kids found it really exciting, certainly the atmosphere does allow you to forget your woes for a while. On the way down I had a stop at the Devil's Punchbowl just south of Guildford and on the way home popped into see my Mother (See the Rat story in the Blog!!)_ Leo has a few days off in early November, so we'll be back down there again.
Well my moment of being 'Sport Unsung Hero' on Meridian Tonight TV came and went. Obviously with four hours filming and that having to cut down to under four minutes meant that some of the things I said which I hoped they would use, was not.
The Cricket Club has done much for me. All the Staff there are part of the Club and the success of the Team, each person has their own task to do and without many of them, there wouldn't be a game of Cricket played at all!
If you like, it's there are many who work full time, they have to be there during the Winter months when there's not games being played., then the likes of myself 'turn up' around March time and are more the visual ones so to speak.
Every season I think if I'll be able to manage another season, it's long hours and has it's hard days, but you look at the spirit of the Club, being surrounded by much younger people who treat you as one of them - and back you go. I love it and wish it could go on for many years to come. 'Life is an open book' they say and it's true.
Well, better be off and saw some more wood.
It really is a case of never a dull day at present. I seem to be going around from here to there doing this and doing that.
The diversity of the work though is quite good and at least I don't get bored. You can see the pictures on the right and that's just half of it!
The good news from earning money wise is that with so many jobs, the weather doesn't really matter too much.
The main job in hand is cutting back rose bushes to the wall, the problem being that most of it has crept between the guttering and house thus causing high living dare devil feats to do it. The overall length of wall concerned is about 100 feet, so quite a task, but great bonfires at the end of each day though.
If it rains I simply go inside and continue painting windows, this being made somewhat harder since the Harlequin Ladybird invasion. They seem to love it behind curtains and in the little window cracks. Apparently these horrible things have worked their way up from Africa and are known to kill off our native varieties and have a bite as well.
Outside in the garden though is quite a haven for birds at present. We have two resident Woodpeckers who busy themselves digging into the front lawn around the Acer Bush.
The Robins are being as nosey as ever and with so much outdoor work being done, they are constantly strolling around your feet in hope you're going to supply them with a light meal.
In between all the work though, I've been able to get a bit of social life in as well.
Leo and myself had a good day out last week; we started by visiting the Shorncliffe Military Cemetery just outside Folkestone. It's set in a beautiful situation with views going over the Romney Marshes to Dungeness and beyond to Fairlight. Obviously, the setting is nice but does not distract you away from the meaning of the place. Unusual to this Cemetery is the fact it contains many Servicemen who died of the Spanish Flu in 1918, the Virus apparently tore through the Barracks and many were lost.
After that we popped into Folkestone for something to eat and wound up the day watching Folkestone Invicta FC play Sittingbourne, with The Invicta coming out winners by three goals to one.
With Leo working full time now and doing split shifts on most weekdays, we have an arrangement to meet in Ashford for a Breakfast once a week. This gives more of a reason to do the boring Town chores and on a full stomach!
I guess with all this I should be glad of the hustle bustle of work, at least it pays me for the occasional treats and this weekend we shall be at Southampton and hopefully next week pay another visit to Belgium for some 'bunty' and further visits to some place of interest from one of the World Wars.
Depending upon the weather, we may have a couple of nights over there. I have some more research to do on the genealogy side and wherever we go will be another web page!
For those who missed the Meridian TV feature on October 14th., here it is! Apologies for poor quality, but the only way I could get a copy was to film it off the TV onto my Camcorder.
It's hard to see that and remember they were around for about 4 hours in total. The only pity was that I tried to include how much the Club with all the Staff, Players and Members have helped me over the 8 years I've been there - suppose they have to make it 'good TV'.
The only things which are giving me grief at the moment are the Cats. Mimi (about 13) and Ginger (about 7 but a 'runt' and the head of a kitten) have decided that chasing one another around the bedrooms and up and down the stairs in the middle of the night is the fun thing to do. Almost every night I'm awoken with clatter, thuds, meows and feet running over the bed.
I tried shutting the bedroom door, but then, Big Ron (about 5 but 1stone 5lbs) decides he wants to return home from ransacking the local Rabbit population and sit on my bed. Trust me, he will stop at nothing to get in! When we first got him, we shut the cat flap so he couldn't get out, but one massive head butt and he was through !
Maybe an electric fence accross the Stairs would do the trick !!
It seems that nowhere here is sacred, even sitting here in my Shed will be interrupted sooner or later with scratching and meowing at the door. You open it up, but they don't want to come in of course, so it's a brisk cold run over to the House to feed them.
Hopefully I can organize myself a little better in November and do some catch up work on the Web Site. I am working on a chronology for the 1950's and 60's pages, hope to do a few more pages on Battlefields and a couple of new Chicken pages.
The rest of this week see's two visits to the Dentist and a trip to the Doctors. I'm 18 month's beyond my 60th. birthday and still haven't had a free Prescription ! I suppose I shouldn't wish it upon myself should I, so I'll just go along with using the free Bus Pass to get there !