Welcome to Down The Lane

16th - 26th. March 2006

A wee bit early this diary entry. I'm lucky enough to have been asked to go working on a Fitness Camp next week so won't be around until Saturday.

The players all returned on Friday and I just about made the deadline of getting all the jobs done I wanted to. In the last few days I've painted walls, scrubbed floors, washed towels, hoovered and even painted cricket balls !
But the Dressing Room is not quite right without cricketers in them, so Friday was good. It won't be long before the odours of paint and detergant are replaced with new bat smell and the sound of a vacuum replaced with banter and emotional outbursts happy and sad.

The sudden call of duty has meant me going from the Cricket Ground to finish off a couple of jobs in the early evening.
It's strange this time of the year, one week I'm scratching around and the next I'm rushed off my feet.
Needless to say that the day the players returned was the first day of rain for about 3 weeks !

Yesterday morning was beautiful down here in East Kent. The sun shining through the window prompted me to have an early start and get out in the garden.
It was so nice that by 9am I was down to a T Shirt (I did have some trousers on though !).
I managed to put up the runner bean poles (top photo left). I only had a few canes left so ventured off to the wood to collect some hazel shoots. These will last well with no problems.

Not being sure about the weather next week when I'm away, I didn't sow anything, but prepared all the areas where, hopefully, next weekend I shall be putting the Onions, carrots and beetroots.
Last year the carrots and beetroot were not good. They all came up OK but 'vanished' rather quickly.
So this season I'm alternating the onions with rows of carrots and completely changing the layout to last year.
I also intend to sow at regular intervals as well. I made the mistake last year, through 'short cutting' of some things and just sowed one big lot and hoped - silly me !

My next door neighbour left on Thursday and told us to rumage around anything he left outside which he couldn't take with him.
This amounted to a load of ceramic pots, enough logs and kindling for about  2 / 3 weeks, a kiln top barbie and endless other bits and pieces.
I was particulary pleased about the logs. I ran out of Rayburn Taybrite two weeks ago and have gone over to 100% wood from down the lane. The sawing of extra 'tree' has given me a few aches and pains after 12 hours out the house every day, so I'm happy with that.

You can also see in the top photo he also left a giant water butt as well.

For four days in a row the hens achieved maximum points; 12 eggs from 12 chickens every day !
I think they know the cricket season is here. On friday I brought home left overs of about 12 jacket potatoes and some mixed vegetables.
I knew they liked this but did question where the bread rolls and salmon was
They are also very partial to the beetrrot from the greenhouse. These were the late sowings I did last year. About half developed, but half just bore leaves. After sorting the best leaves for salads, the chickens have had the rest over a period of about three weeks. They love them !

Bertie the Stray is still visiting us, but not so often. I'm hoping he has a home perhaps and just likes venturing further than he should. He's a lovely cat but has a habit of 'leaving his mark' here and there which means poor old Rich has to try and identify the place and wash it !
Thing is, if I close the cat flap, our cats can't come in and out. I don't know why I don't just put a sign up outside saying any old Tom, Dick and Harry welcome - come in eat the food, have a wee and go !

I am pleased to report that I have now achieved one whole week without a letter from the Bank. Stupid, but this makes me even more nervous ! I have this dream of them knocking at the door, asking for money and I reply "OK, hold on, I'll go upstairs and give you cash", then seeing their faces when I pay them and still have a larger wad in my hand than I gave them.
Dream on Richard !

1st - 16th. March 2006

Just as I thought it would happen, it has. I've started again at Kent CCC and until next Friday when the players return 'proper', I'm doing some decorating work in the Hospitality Boxes and hosing down the seats in one of the Grandstands.
Not exactly my normal role, but I'm just pleased to be back there and see all my colleagues again.
It's also given me a chance to have a long awaited haircut ! A couple of days ago I was nicknamed 'Catweazle', but today, wearing my hooded track suit top, it's changed to 'The Grim Reaper'
It's a tad scarey looking in the mirror now, I don't know if it's him or me.

Next Wednesday I return to the Dressing Room to get it all spic and span for the Players, then, off we go for yet another season - and a very busy one at that.

I still have a couple of other ongoing jobs to complete and have been coming home, then going out for an hour or two to work on those.
The Cricket will now see me Mon-Fri until the end of April. As soon as the first game finishes, I'm fitting a Kitchen for someone and doing some other decorating work on top of that.
I'm lucky that I have a few customers who know the situation with Cricket from March to September and don't mind a moments notice on change of days etc.

All in all, my work in all quarters fits well with my way of life, but does leave me doing my vegetable garden under the PIR light quite often during Spring and early summer.

Also of course, this is all positive stuff financially and hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel will be getting a bit bigger over the next few weeks.

This week I've cycled from my house to Wye Station (2 miles) then from Canterbury West to the Ground (about one and a half miles). Linked to my free travel I get from my late career on the Railway, this saves me about £3 per day.
Sometimes I do a 50/50 and have the bike in the back of the car ending up with one way car, other way train.
It's a diverse life I lead !

Yet another stray cat has arrived down the lane. This one (photo left) we've nicknamed 'Bertie'. He's been around for about 3 weeks now coming in a couple of times a day to eat, then clearing off again !
My two cats don't seem to mind much - but they are natural cowards !
We've let the Cats Protection League know and I see they have a mention of him in the local paper this week.
If no one claims him and he wants to stay here, he can. Maybe, like other cats who've passed through, he'll just return from where he came or venture on.

I'm thinking of writing to the Vatican. I appear to have had a miracle in the Chicken Shed - 12 chickens, 14 eggs yesterday ?
I know I cleared them all out the day before, quite late at that, about 6pm. Also, I cleaned the shed out on Sunday, so I don't know whats happened.
I always thought an egg took 25 hours to produce.

My theories about his are; the rats took a couple, rejected them and brought them back - two alien hens came down in a flying eggcup and placed them there (ever see the movie 'Starman') or the chickens themselves are just having a laugh with me ?

The escapee hen has not been out again since I clipped her wing. But it's strangely quiet sometimes when I go up there, so I'm stamping around seeing if they're digging a tunnel from the Toilet Block.

Seriously, they are doing me proud, I've never had such a successful run of eggs and I know there isn't one there under two years old.

Last Wednesday was my 58th birthday and once again the Postman struggled up the footpath with my two birthday cards. Leo was staying here for a week and forgot altogether, but that's teenage for you, so I let him off.

My grand daughter Emily is recovering from her bullous impetigo and grandson Thomas has had good results from his Stills Disease tests.

So, a lot of positiveness around. Spring is not far off, the leather is about to hit willow, I'm working somehwre I love, the family are fairly well.

Life is grand !

Going back to look at the future

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