17th - 28th. May 2006

A couple of days early due to me going off to Tunbridge Wells for a weeks cricket work. It may seem as if I'm never home and at present, this seems to be the case. I've just returned from a visit to Southampton and after 8 days of almost solid raim, the garden has become a boggy slug friendly paradise !
The slugs seem to have attacked almost every living thing with the exception of weeds and I've spent the morning building up defences and re-sowing the seeds which the mice ate !
There's a more detailed look on the new Page 2 of The Garden Farm 2006.

Right on queue, just as I was getting the old finances straightened out, a stone hit the underside of my cars front wheel and cost me £77 having 'an arm' fitted. It had basically pushed the seal out and as the steering was affected, I had to get it done. One of those unexpected items which, although a relatively cheap job, affects the downshifter living on a a tight balance quite hard.

This was partly offset today when I received a tax rebate. I've already window shopped all the things I'd like but won't get because 'the new financial me' says no and looks ahead to Autumn and winter.

I still for the life of me can't work my chickens out. They've just gone 'hen happy' and won't stop laying. Fourteen chickens laying ten plus a day - 12 of which are ex-battery hens well into their third or fourth year !
It's crazy that human instinct makes you worried when things are going well !

The grandkids didn't have 17 virus's to choose from, it was only 16. I'm one day back from there now and will be checking myself every morning for various symptons accross the whole body. Thus far all seems OK but I have noticed some itching in the hair. However, I put this down to clambering under the nest box this morning to retrieve a wayward laid egg.
I am probably the new happy home to about 600 mites of some description now.

I was quite pleased with myself doing a front garden, pictured left, with the tree bark. It's something I hadn't done before, but that's what 'odd jobbing' etc., is all about, finding a few hidden talents and having the confidence to take them on.
Mind you, I'm cheap - which helps !
I chose about the windiest day I could do it on and forgot about pins to hold the sheeting down before I put the bark on.

On a temporary basis I got away with this by finding some thin, fairly heavy roof tiles and holding it down that way.
The other thing I learnt was that a 7 feet by 2 feet slab of concrete does not match very well with a plastic wheeled wheelbarrow ! The stupid thing being that when it fell off, it broke cleanly in half and there was no need to use the wheelbarrow atall !

Beside that I've rebuilt a gate and re-routed a Wysteria bush delicately positioned on a ladder two floors up. The greenhouse staging I was building has been put on temporary hold with an old circa 1958 bedroom dressing table doing the job quite adequately.

In my last entry I told you that my two cats Ginger and Mimi were having a discplinary hearing in regard to not catching the mice eating my vegetables.
Well, after a long adjournment, I decided that no action is to be taken at present and that the punishment (placing chairs on the sofa and shutting the bedroom doors for 5 days when we're not in) be suspended til the end of June.

Apparently, the night in question was the night the pigeon fell down our chimney and was found roaming around the sitting room in shock after disposing some stomach content over various items of furniture.
The cats were so shocked by this, they suffered from stress and the Vet wrote them off for two weeks.

Today I'm off to Tunbridge Wells for games against Ireland, Warwickshire and Sussex. In the 5 years I've been with Kent, it has not rained atall at Tunbridge Wells, so I'm expecting great things after the appalling weather we've had.
I popped into the ground on my way home from Southampton earlier and it's damp - well, flooded really. But we all have every confidence that all will be well.

The week after is a bit less booked and I hope to get on at home with a few jobs. The downer is that my MOT runs out and if it's over about 75p to get it put right, it looks like the bikes coming out of the shed again ! 


20th.April - 4th.May 2006

It's been a bit of an obversation job for me over the past two weeks.The first observation is the one on myself. After about 10 days of working at Cricket, I selected to do a couple of decorating jobs last week. Both of these went over the estimated time and completely did me in !
The observation part was the mirror last Sunday morning. I looked terrible - even more than normal !
However, it give me the opportunity of getting closer to financial stability and that is improving.

The second observation is one that upset me quite a lot. I've been looking for a book on a PC programme I wish to use on my websites.
Whilst looking around various PC Stores and Book Shops, I kept on coming accross books 'Learning PC for Seniors' and 'PC for Over 50's'.
I picked them up and browsed through only to find they are the same as any other PC tuition book. The publishers obviously put the 'old' bit in to make it niche and narrow their prospective buyers.
It wouldn't have been so bad if they kept the text and made the type faces a bit bigger. At least that would please some of us who are not as young as we were !

A friend of mine contacted me and asked if I could take two of her chickens, a Black Rock and a Light Sussex.
So, I'm a 14 chicken man again !!
I brought them home just after it had got dark and put them in the small shed with 4 others.
I went up the garden the next morning expecting there to be the usual feathers everywhere and punch ups galore, but there they were standing with the others by the gate waiting for their food, no sign of any pecking order squabbles atall !

One theory I have is that the others woke up and couldn't remember how many of them there were the night before or, as the two new ones are 'pedigree', couldn't understand their posh accents and accepted them out of fear ?

But all is well in the chicken run. I'm still getting 6 - 9 eggs a day from the other 12. All is good.

There is much activity on the vegetable front. I don't think there's a square foot of greenhouse space left with so many things being started off.
I thought it would be an idea to follow the progress of the 'garden farm' this year through web pages and have just uploaded the starter page for it
You will see an aerial view of the garden indexed to where everything is going.

As the season progress's I shall up-date with a new page accordingly. Probably about once every three weeks.

At cricket, Kent have made and up and down start to the season winning only one out of 4 games. But we're training hard and spirits are going up daily.

Personally, I am working hard on my folding towel techniques and am working on a device which is basically a radio controlled electric shock to a hidden device in the Umpires Jacket.
Upon any Kent players appealing, I press a button and the shock causes the Umpires finger to go upwards thus sending the opposition batsman back for an early shower.
The only problem is that the device attached to the Umpires shirt requires 18 AA Batteries and a satelite dish so is hard to disguise.
I just hope that no one from the ECB take that seriously !!

Other than all the above, things have gone quite smoothly. The weather has suddenly taken a turn for the better and today, a temperature of 24 degrees is expected.
Time to get the greenhouse windows open and maybe shield the glass windows a bit as well. The last thing I want is the plants to have a false sense of security in so far that cold nights are a thing of the past.
The rain and the heat has also made the grass grow and I've mowed the lawn twice in the last two weeks.
The Acer Tree in the front garden is reddening daily and will soon be in full leaf.
This will please Ginger the Cat who uses this as a hiding spot for the birds. Luckily the birds round here are pretty keen and last year I think he caught about 3.

We also have the pleasure of having new neighbours who, with their dog, are enjoying themselves. At the moment they are in urgent mode of getting house and garden in order for the arrival of their first child.

All's well down the lane, the sun is shining and I'm still on the right side of the grass !


Going back to look at the future