11th - 25th June 2003

With 12 days at cricket, including 5 in a hotel at Tunbridge Wells, life has been a bit of a rush round. Tunbridge Wells is a lovely ground surrounded by Geranium bushes in full bloom at this time of the year, plus it was an opportunity to chat with Yorkshire and Englands Darren Gough and Umpire David Shepherd who lived up to expectations with all his eccentric mannerisms out on the field.

The chickens have all gone completely mad and last week we got 67 eggs !! Not bad as 13 of them are ex-battery hens. I think the answer was that, as I was bringing lots of food home from cricket, I may thought they wouldn't need the layers pellets supplement with their mixed corn. I re-introduced the pellets and within 3 days they were up from 3 / 4 eggs a day to 9 / 11 eggs a day. Just shows you how we live and learn !
For some unknown reason, they seem to have gone off the idea of eating the eggs.

Lots going on. We have a new cat from the Cats Protection. He's a ginger / white 2 year old and was found very uncared for in a drug addicts house. He's so friendly it's uncanny. Mimi though hasn't taken too kindly to him, so he's confined most of the time to the spare bedroom. I'm sure with a bit of patience both will settle OK. Already she's down to just spitting and not howling and growling.

The big house over the Lane have put their two breeding barn owls in the stable. The 'Owlman' has put wire netting over the entrance and I feed them every evening. Once their first egg is hatched in about 5 weeks, they'll be let out and should 'home' alright. I'm a little worried about the bats as we have a good population round here, but I guess the law of the jungle always lets some get away - it's us humans which are pretty good at making creatures extinct. Barn owls are endangered, so good work all round I think.

The recent rain, sun, dry, damp has galloped along the veggies. I marked the poles on the runner beans on Bank Holiday Monday and two of the plants have grown six feet in just 14 days. The Sweet Corn has not really happened and I've only 8 growing from 24 seeds - too late to sow more now I think.
Everything else though is in abundance especially the beetroot, tomatoes and onions - lots of Chutney this year !!

I must swot up on natural vegetable storage. Since we lost all our vegetables in October 2001 due to the freezer packing up without our knowledge, I'm paranoid now !!

Some month's ago I applied online to 'Zoo People' to do some mystery shopping and out of the blue this week came two small merchandising jobs in local DIY stores. Only a few hours worth, but maybe the source of some more work coming up fr winter. I still do the mystery shopping with 'Gapbuster' but I'm 'on rest' at present as I was going to the same restaurants quite a lot and it may become obvious if a cunning Manager worked out the dates he / she was visited and noted I was always there at that time.

Doesn't time gallop on though. Because I started at cricket in March, I'm over half way through the season. On 29th.June I will be doing the International between South Africa and Zimbadwe, looking forward to that. Regret to say Kent have not yet found their form this year, but the win against Yorkshire on Sunday should give everyone a bit of confidence and the start of a comeback.
In that sense, I am now planning autumn and winter work wise. I shall look around for a part time job in August, say two days a week (and inside), perhaps retail. This will at least give me regular income. There should still be lots to do over the Lane though. I'm very blessed with how things have panned out, although money wise, it's very, VERY tight ! Maybe I've a distant great Uncle somewhere who I've never heard of and he'll leave me a house, five acres, 50 chickens and about a hundred thousand quid !! Dream on !

I've received my copy of the River Cottage Year book. At first I must own up to being a little disappointed, but as time goes on and more recipes are read, there's some good frugal recipes in it.

On the frugal front, I've acquired a De-humidifier, about 40 CD's, a table and a load of chicken wire. Must get round to having a boot fair soon, I need some money to have a little mountain break with Leo in August.

Well I'm off to install a fountain in the pond opposite, after that cut the grass (one acre) and assemble some shelving. Then sort the chickens, sort the cats, feed the owls and have a lager !!