19th. January - 3rd. February 2006

Phew, just managed, with one hour to spare, getting this one in on time !  Firstly the DVD> I have now finished it and after sending a few copies out for peoples perusal, was informed I could have some royalty / copyright difficulties over the music etc. It was pointed out I could be sued for all I've got. Well, I've a car worth £200, a PC, an old TV and a few books !!
But I guess I have to abide by the law and have today, got some royalty free stuff (not free to get mind you !).
I hope to have this done by Tuesday and should be ready to send out by Thursday of next week. The link is on the right. (NOW READY)

You will also notice, for legal 'safety', I have had to word it in the form of 'donate and get a DVD'. This, apparently, covers me for other things, but it's all too complicated for me to get a hang on !!

It's strange how life goes sometimes. Two weeks ago I hadn't any work, now I'm half way through an 11 day job, received a phone call this evening asking me to do what will amount to a 3 day job and I have about 5 days work left over the Lane.
This should take me through to some 'pre-pre' season work at the Cricket Club. So there's a possiblity of a 4/5 day week now through til early April. Don't know if I can handle that !!
But it pans out this way every year - Winter blues with not much work and financial disaster and Summer load of work at the Club and at home and just about getting back on track ! It certainly is a circle.

I went to Salisbury 10 days ago whilst visiting the family in Southampton and there were a few observations.
I noticed whilst going up the A38 how many houses down that way have chickens in their back gardens compared to these parts. This even showed in the City where one Book Shop had a window display of self-sufficiency, smallholding and poultry books.
It's therefore very pleasing when I hear and see people in towns and 'commuter land' making their gardens work for them. Now is a good time to start keeping chickens in the garden. The weather is about to change and getting some point-of-lay hens now would mean eggs by Easter.
Or of course simply get laying hens or ex-battery hens and give them a happier life.

My financial challenge was helped last weekend with the arrival of the long awaited tax rebate. The look I got at the Bank when paying in a cheque with more than 2 numbers to it was quite astounding. Had I a camera with me, it would have certainly made the fortnightly photo slot. I'm fed up with hearing the sentence "So Mr. Cannon, exactly how do you intend to pay".
This downshifting is great, but believe me it can have some enormous ups and downs to it.

But I'm quite proud of myself in picking myself up lately and really making a sincere effort to put things right. It is a sense of achievement. Eight years ago, I could have put things right with less than a weeks pay, but now is different - and this is where a very important attitude has to set in.
It's quite simple - you're earning a third of what you were, so you've got to spend a third of what you were. If you don't, you've had it - simple as that.
You can budget and plan as much as you like, but you'll still go over somewhere because of some unforeseen event.
I should add that the support I've had from a few dear and close friends has been paramount to a change of motivational attitude.

Within the next two weeks, the tomato seeds will be on the window sill and the greenhouse dug and manured. It's going to suddenly hit us, just the same as it does every year.
What happens every year for me it seems is that I wander up the garden to feed the chickens one morning and feel that strange forgotten feeling on my neck - warmth ! Then all hell breaks out as I'm digging, weeding, composting and sowing.
All this will happen just when I'm probably doing a 16 day stint at Cricket.Lots to look forward to !!

5th - 19th. January 2006

The last two weeks really have been two very different weeks. The first was still spent recovering from some evil nasty virus (blokes don't do virus's !!) and the second was a week of 'fighting back' both health wise and means of escaping a financial crisis.
I didn't tell too many local people about the virus because of the chickens, didn't want mud stirring, panic mongering media headlining 'First case in Britain' etc.,etc.!

I have found that not only do final demands make fairly good firelighters, but also are normally about the right size for lining the chicken baskets under the perches ! I think I've stalled most of them in the trust and hope that some monies owed and new work coming up will resolve the situation.
But you shouldn't think I don't take it seriously, I do really and much worry time has been spent - but now is the time to think positive and get back on the road again.

I've just about finished the DVD I've been promising for about the last 4 months and this will be available in about 10 days time. it's 33 minutes long and priced at £4.99 showing just about the whole of last years activities down the lane, especially the chickens and the introduction of some new ex-battery hens in July.
The DVD will be advertised on the Chicken Keeping, Downshifting and Home pages, as well as this one.
I like to think it's come out OK and thank you in advance should you purchase a copy for supporting Down the Lane.
I'm afraid the covers are in black and white because I can't afford the colour ink !!

January and February are not my favourite months of the year and they seem to go on for an eternity. I'm looking forward to starting to sow seeds, start at the Cricket Club, but most of all to feel a bit of warmth on my back.
The garden itself isn't in bad condition. I spent more time on it last Autumn than ever before and the start of it all should be a lot easier than previous years because of that.
I would normally let the chickens out now to have the freedom of the whole area, but they tend to wander up and down the lane, which is on a public footpath, and fear this will only lead to some busy body crying off to the council about chickens let loose to roam the streets and spread disease etc. All a load of nonsense of course, but ...........
They seem quite happy though. The pen is a bit of a mud bath and to get to the other side without keeling over is a challenge to say the least. But if you want the eggs, it has to be done.

The week after next I have secured a decorating job fairly close by. It's 8 rooms plus a hall / landing, everything from floor to ceiling. I only did all thse about 2 years ago in bits and bobs, but it's on the market soon, so Magnolia is the order of the day. At least there's not a lot of preparation though and I plan to do it all in about 12 / 15 days.
With that and a few days still in the old House where I do a lot of work, this may see me through to the cricket.

Going to Southampton was put off from last weekend to this, so I'm off tomorrow for 5 days much needed boost and quality time with the family. Christmas was great but a lot of people and not much chance to just relax and chat.

Last Sunday Leo and I had an impulse  Boot Fair and we 'made a killing' ! I was in the right mood, we had the right sort of stuff and I sold the two main things we went there for. Over the past 6 / 7 years I've noticed quite a few things about Boot Fairs and have compiled a new page with some of my observations and theories. Click here.
Certainly our stall appeared to be the only one in the vicinity doing anything. It made an early start well worth it and I hardly brought anything home with me.

So, after the last entry, I hope this one comes over as a bit more positive. Downshifting does bring about a lot of very good things, but it is a huge challenge sometimes, can't over emphasise this. The problems and stresses aren't the same as before, they're just different. The main thing is, don't expect there not to be any.

A few more weeks and the tomato seeds will be on the window sill !

Going back to look at the future

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