Welcome to Down The Lane

1st. - 13th. September 2009

Having had the last 13 days off, it's given me a chance to not only get some of those 'do it tomorrow' jobs done, but allowed me to get some Winter preparation jobs sorted as well.

Ever faithful and efficient Mr.Munns came to sweep the two chimney pots and yet again praised us for how well they appeared to have been looked after. I didn't tell him that by being a complete cheapskate, you never have a blaze and count the number of coal lumps you're putting on each day!.

The old trusty and rusty Rayburn is c1952 and serves us well. Should it pack up, it would be around the five grand mark to have another new one put in, so once more down to the DIY Store for Chimney Cement.
Having the Chimneys done does bring back fond memories of childhood though - see Blog Article .

The following day the Rayburn Solid Fuel arrived and I'm hoping the £120 worth will last me through to next March!

All this brought the need for some trips down to the Woods, the more I get, the less solid fuel etc.
Although a lot of bending down, collecting wood always gives me great satisfaction; you're doing something with a purpose, you're doing something to save you money and enjoying the sights and sounds of a small wood.

Collecting wood also gives you time to think and you find yourself mentally sorting out the world financial situation and how you can fix your bicycle pedals etc.
Whilst all this is going on, you know you're being watched; you don't know what by, but with Rabbit Holes, Fox trails and so many birds from Wrens to Herons floating around, you start wondering what - maybe an escaped Puma from Lympe Zoo, who knows!

After clearing out more of the Stinging Nettles from the Chicken Run, I spent the next three days bitten and full of itch, obviously some fly that likes Nettles. After brushing my hair out over the Bath I noticed some really tiny black round things. Upon touching them, wings suddenly appeared and they buzzed around. Looked a bit Alien like to me, but I did learn something from it. If you have itching from a fly bite, dab toothpaste on it, it really does work !

I made the Horseradish Sauce and got about two Jam Jars full, but the work involved, two hours digging, two hours peeling with runny eyes, then grating did once again remind me it's only 79p at Tesco's !!!

With that and very healthy stocks of various Chutneys and Relishes, we are well stocked up for the next year. Our Freezer is full to the brim with Runner Beans and other blanched vegetables - all in all, fairly successful this year.

Next will be foraging up at our Landlords forgotten Orchard where there are loads of Apples just ready and asking to be picked. Passers by look up with amazement at the 60 plus year old clinging delicately 20 feet up a tree reaching out for 'just that special one' which is almost out of reach, then throwing down to a rather bored 20 year old at the bottom.

Tomorrow see's the start of a six day run at Cricket, then four days at home followed by three final days at the Club. By this time of the year, the trees and plantation around the ground speak out their message that the season wants to end. In fact, the sight of some of the players walking with fragile steps as they leave the Ground everyday, also say's this message.

It's always sad to finish the Cricket Season, you've had six month's of competitive spirit surrounded by people a third of your age and generally joining in lots of banter with Staff and Members alike, but what is to be is to be and there's Winter life as well as Summer's, except of course, many of them will be wintering in 30 degree plus heat in various places scattered around the Globe.

So, all is pretty much prepared or under way. I don't like Winter, especially January and February, but there is an inviting feeling when you're sitting by your fire enjoying a Roast Meal, with much of it coming from your own toil. Must not waste our time away -

we're only here once !

14th - 30th. September 2009

September and October always seem to be the busiest Months for me, the Cricket season ends along with all the clearing up, the serious work of winter preparation starts and it's also a time to catch up with all those things you were going to do 'next week' for the last six months!

The last game of the season at Canterbury took place on Sunday. Regret to say a rather dull performance from the Team. I guess the season had caught up with them, they had achieved their goal of winning the 2nd. Division thus going back up in one season and hearts and souls seemed set on a few days relaxation before their winter adventures.

For me, it had an extra ! I was put forward for Meridian TV's 'Sport Unsung Heroes' feature in their early evening News. This entailed a Camera Crew coming on the Match Day to ask Player's questions about me and generally film me pretending to work for a change.
This was followed up on Tuesday with the Presenter coming to interview me and do a few more shots.

Goodness knows how it's going to turn out. They say any publicity is good publicity, but this.........? !!!

Since the last entry I have gathered up yet more wood and may get around to saw it up December time ! So far though, we haven't had to have the heater on. Temperatures over the weekend exceeded 20 degrees yet again, but at least the dry days gave me time to do a fair bit of pruning, lopping and cutting the rather browned off grass.

The big thing about this time of the year is the adaptation from having what you could call 'a proper job', as in regular money, for six months to having more a self dependant lifestyle. Luckily I've usually been able to get a bit of a financial cushion which will see me through at least the first few weeks of the Winter months and this year is no exception. What you have to avoid is getting into that 'I'll find some work when the cash runs out' mode. If you do that, some sudden financial burden suddenly looms up and you're on the path to overdrafts and the Bank charges which come with it. Too many times I have done this and found myself in deep trouble by around January time.

I'm lucky in respect I have much work to do in the big house where I do the oddjobbing and a few other little decorating jobs as well. It's striking a balance really. You have to pace it, avoiding the too laid back view with the fact you don't want to be rushed off your feet thus distancing yourself from the reason you downshifted etc.

For six yearsafter I resigned 'the norm' I struggled with the above phylosophy and paid the price heavily. If I can work a couple of days a week and continue the frugal ways I have learnt over the years, I'll manage.

The thing is not only to have the pacing method, but to have a frugal cushion as well. By that I mean having more things you could cut down on as well. This can be something like using my Bus Pass to go to Town rather than going by Car, sawing up a few larger logs to avoid using the Coal, not being tempted into a Kit Kat when you're feeling a tad peckish when out. There are loads of things you can look at to save even more money. The best idea I guess is to do that automatically, but you can get lapse !

It's all down to self discipline and managing time, the hardest thing of all to manage !

Meanwhile, the lopping and cutting back around the garden continues, I must have a really big sort out of the Chicken Run, tidying up the Vegetable area and do a few DIY needs around the House. All this and to maintain my plan of adding at least five new web pages a week !

It's strange because this morning I changed the page of the Calender hanging up in the Kitchen to October. On it I have three days marked; two Weddings and a visit to Hastings. Through Summer it's a mass of green highlighted days for Cricket and other bits and bobs. It looks like I have nothing to do, but rest assured it'll be one big journey of running around chasing my own tail ! I'm the sort who, when at home, can't sit still, I have to be doing some little job or other, so time flies.

My six chickens have laid two eggs a day for the last four weeks. The mystery is if it's the same two chickens laying them or all of them laying every third day. The thing is that you don't really want to know the answer. Should you know, you're aware that four of them are past their egg laying days. Not that I'd get rid of them if I knew, but treat them all alike, that's what I say.

Today I'm off to Southampton for a four day break. Tomorrow, after going to my Grandkids School Harvest Festival I shall have the afternoonn wandering around the City, on Saturday we go to watch Southampton play Gillingham at St. Mary's Stadium (the Grandkids won some tickets) and Sunday have a lounge around at home.
As far as I'm aware they haven't any Virus I can catch down there at present, so all should be well.

Next week - don't know yet, I'll decide when it happens. Every day is a bonus !

Going back to look at the future
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