On the business side, the year got better and better finishing up with the busiest two weeks at the
end of it. Up until March hardly anything happened except me having granduer idea's whilst looking at the frost from the comfort of my sitting room. At least the auctions were on, I was busy with the
chickens and catching up with all those lost jobs around the house.

The Spring and summer month's
brought about a fair amount of gardening work and the decorating of a large house, half the inside and all the outside. This with the Railway work OF MAINTAINING THE GARDENS ON THREE OF THE STATIONS as well kept thing's ticking over.

Just when I was contemplating finding a part-time winter job, along came the huge decorating job I'm working on at present and this should in theory, see me through til Spring.
I've had about 12 'regular' customers and about 15 'individual' jobs. About two thirds of my years
earnings came from three of them.

Financially I've managed quite well - then came Christmas !! It's odd how the more you earn, the less
you have and this applies at present.
Jobs this year have included all sorts of thing's, deliveries, putting in a bathroom, odd easy plumbing
jobs, making toy boxes, putting up shelving. In other words anything which I had confidence in doing
and had a bit of money at the end of it.
The garden produced well with good crops of just about everything. Disaster is that we lost a lot in the broken down freezer two weeks ago and this has cost us runner beans, carrots and sweet corn which would see us through til Spring. We still have leeks, sprouts and cabbages in the garden so all is not lost - just a re-arrangement of our veggies on the plate
I've said it since we lost 10 to the fox back in summer, but now really is the time to get some more
chickens. Our present six are getting to the end of the high laying age. This, with the cold winter, is
only giving us enough eggs for ourselves at present. It was good back in the summer when we were
selling 5 - 6 dozen eggs a week. It gave me a bit of cash and paid for the beer at the Bat & Trap
evenings. It was like a free night out courtesy of Doris and co.!
All in all I can't complain. I've become a Grandfather, I see more of my kids than I ever have done
before and I've found time to partake in new hobbies and interests.
Becoming 'self-employed' does give you more a feeling of ownership on your life and finances. If you
can be successful handling someone elses business then surely you have a good chance of doing
well in your own ? In theory that is!
I'm lucky that I've had a fairly healthy year. In fact I'm more tired when I'm not doing anything now. I'm
always reminded of my old next door neighbour who moved out about a year ago. He's about 60 now.
When he lived down the lane he was in the garden every spare second of the day tending to his
veggies, cutting the grass, cutting every other bit of grass he could find around and about, building
thing's etc.,etc. He suddenly moved into a town house with a postage stamp garden and withing two
month's was in hospital and has been dogged with ill health since. I saw him the other day and didn't
know it was him. Food for thought.
2002 brings about a complete mystery. I know (I hope) that all my regulars should need me again but
I need those two or three big jobs to pay the rent. The rest will sort out the bills. One thing I've learnt
is that you simply don't know what or where you're going to be in a month ahead. Just when you're
starting to worry, something comes up. I've never advertised and don't intend to, I leave it to fate,
hearsay and someone wanting a job done well but cheaply !
I really thank everyone who writes to me and especially for those who've written giving me confidence,
advice and most of all, friendship. The web site was another new venture in 2001 and it's so nice to
have so many friends from all corners of the globe.
Happy new year and...................relax !

Going back to look at the future

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