Firstly, many thanks to those who wrote both via email and the Forum about the last entries and two new pages referrimg to my financial situation during the winter (link on left side of this page).
It's one of those things which had been looming for some while, but a learning process indeed.
No more, for a while anyway (!) of hiding the valuables and waiting for the door bell to ring every time a car is heard coming down the lane.
Let's hope that is now a story told - onwards and upwards!
The Cricket Club received a phone call from BBC Radio Kent last week and asked if I'd be interested in being 'Odd Job Bod' on the Pat Marsh show.
I thought it would be a giggle and also break up the 4-day match for me a bit, so agreed.
It's a kind of 'What's My Line' on the radio. Reporter Kerry Gray had to do 3 sound effects of my job and listeners had to guess. To be honest, the clues were simply not clues atall until I did a ball bouncing on a cricket bat (to which it was said by Pat "My goodness, he's got a wooden leg"!
Anyways, turns out that a supporter of Kent Cricket Club obviously twigged and got the answer right.
In fact it was a bit embarressing at the end, the chap who got the answer right said some rather nice things about me and this was followed by Jamie Reid doing the same - I nearly cried !
All in all, a pretty good two weeks but I'm tired, which I guess is quite logicalk seeing as I'm rapidly becoming an old git - but hopefully, not a too miserable one yet.
I actually got a few hours off today but this was stolen from me with having to rebuild my frugal Clothes Rail I made three years ago - long pole between two walls in the PC room. Basically, it fell down, along with all my clothes naturally and today is the only time I had to fix it.
This was followed by re-connecting my CCTV camera as we've had a few youngsters down the lane during the night taking pleasure in fly tipping amongst other 'bad habits'.
I'm hoping the CCTV sign may deter them. I have it pointing at the spot that the PIR light comes on and record an 8 hour tape through the night. The Police are aware.
I'm already planning ahead for Autumn and Winter. I can get quite a lot of casual work in the Catering Department at the Cricket Club (Conferences etc), but will also look round for alternative part-time work closer to home purely for economic reasons.
I 'm also considering making a few chicken arks to sell locally as well.
Whatever I do, it has to be more of a guaranteed income this time !
Otherwise, the chickens are laying pretty well except one joker who has pleasure in laying eggs about a third of the size of any other in the hen house! (see Chicken Fun Page). I can't quite make out which one it is who keeps sniggering everytime I go up there to collect the eggs every day.
The garden is racing along and verything which 'is in' is growing at a rapid rate.
With only 4 days off between now and 10th.August, it's going to be a challenge keeping up with it - and eating it as well !
It's good that the Avian Flu scare seems to have died down somewhat. Apparently, the French have now lifted their ban on having their chickens indoors.
Obviously the risk is still there and we have to be mindful about things.
I'm sure that, once the hype of the World Cup, Mr.Rooneys foot and political scandal subsides, the Press will once again announce that the end of the world is nigh.
Not only are the chickens and veggies in full swing, but Nature is as well. I've been quite busy getting some pictures of various things around the Lane and hope to create a Nature Supplement soon (see my entry in the Forum).
Something which seems to be a lot worse this year are the amount of birds flying into our sitting room window. I guess the reflection off double glazing does this and they seem to head straight for it. It is at least an excuse to not clean them for a while.
I see quite a lot of woodpeckers in the garden. At present there's a mother with her two youngsters having a grand time on the peanut holder (see this months video clip).
I was so lucky.- Whilst filming the woodpeckers a bullfinch appeared and this is only the second time I've spotted one down the lane in the 7 years I've been here.
If downshifting does anything besides the obvious, it's that it opens your mind to see and observe more things which are going on around you.
You find yourself more aware of things you felt were quite unimportant before.
It's a great time at present, lots going on and lots to look forward to
It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it brings rapturous joy and a feeling of great satisfaction.
A Bank Mini-Statement with three figures on it, without a little minus next to it !
I was so overjoyed I nearly took a photo of it and framed it so my Great Grandchildren would, one day, see I was not a complete twit !
So after my long winter of discontent I have finally made it back to zero. It's a great feeling I can tell you - no more phonecalls and those red inked envelopes coming through the door. I should also add a big thanks to those who gave me fine words of wisdom during that time and sent me much love and kindness.
I've written what I've learnt here
All in all, the last two weeks have been very kind to me. Tunbridge Wells Cricket Week was most successful with Kent outplaying Ireland, Warwickshire and Sussex to win all three matches.
Because of a mix up, two nights out of the six, I slept in the dressing rooms. The heavy rain had caused havoc around the edges of the ground, so camping was not such a good option in the end. The other nights were spent in a nice Hotel though.
Coming home after a week was frightening. With the rain finished and the start of a heatwave, the garden had gone silly and it took the best part of three days to get it back to norm. I am winning my battle with the slugs and the mice seem to have vanished.
One slightly worrying thing is the sound of foxes chatting down the lane at night. I'm sure they've had a prowl round the pen looking for weak areas, so I'm watching this one very closely. I can't see any tracks of footways, but they're crafty - very crafty bless'em!
The chickens don't go so much on the heat and the eggs have gone down to about 6 a day at the moment.
The good thing about chickens during the summer is that because they don't spend so much time in their housing with the longer daylight hours, there's less poo to clear up.
I successfully not only injured myself this week, but made a fool of myself at the same time.
First I was cleaning the windows of the big house opposite using my old window cleaners wooden latter and the third rung up broke - with me on it. This caused me to fall between the ladder uprights and not being able to make an escape, had to feel myself going over backwards ending up in the stream.
I got back home, went to get a garden chair to sit on and promptly fell over the wheelbarrow which, through sheer laziness, didn't move first.
I am bruised both bodily and in pride.
It appeared it was going to be one of those days and I hadn't had my shower at that stage. For some time I've been showering without a bathmat and decided it was high time to get one. Well, I can tell you now that a Nissan Micra floor mat is the perfect fit for a bath and does the trick famously!
The other good thing about the shower was it enabled me to use some home made Goatsmilk, Honey and Oatmeal Soap kindly sent to me by regular Down the Lane visitor Jill.
Jill hopes to get a business going sometime in the future. I will tell you should it happen as the soap is very special.
I have now sold enough copies of the DVD to up-grade my website hosting specs. This is good in so far as I have much more space to expand 'Down the Lane', file more video clips and generally grow it a bit further for the winter months. There could be a couple of hours on Monday where the site is down due to the files being transferred to the new Server (very tech isn't it !!).
This coming week I have a couple of days work before I go back to cricket. I think I'm working solidly until about 10th.August with just about 5 'whole days' off in that time. So it'll be rise at 5.30am, do the garden, going to work and getting back at 10.30pm!
One game I'm doing is the England A v Pakistan 4-day match, so that'll be exciting - plus I'm going to Lords with the Kent Team for the Twenty/20 match. It'll be special for me to go in the dressing rooms there. Also, it's a 30,000 sell out apparently - so some day !
Well, life is good for me. In fact it's the best it's been for ages.....and it continues !