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9th - 23rd. April 2007
The last 14 days have been just about the downshifters perfect combination; 6 days work, 3 days at home and 5 days with family in Southampton.
With most vegetable seeds now sown, the garden work has been mainly tidying up and grass cutting.
Once again I'm having problems with the carrots. As soon as they peep above the soil, the mice eat them. Before I went away last week I counted 23 babies, now there are only two left.
I may try sowing them in a raised situation, or even in large pots up high somewhere.
It appears my Staff (the cats) are not fulfilling their contracts and this years pay review, for which they are asking an extra two sachets of food a week, will have to go to arbitration. Cost of living increases do not apply down the lane, with the exception of bills of course!
The Broad Beans are looking the healthiest of all the germinated vegetables, but I'm aware the old black fly will be down at some stage. We've sown some nasturtiums a few feet away in the hope they may re-direct their flight plan to them.
I spent quite a time tweaking up my Moped a few weeks back. I couldn't understand why I wasn't getting the extra speed promised and went through countless double checking procedures.
I then decided to refer back to the original instructions and noticed at the bottom 'Don't forget to remove brass screw'.
Whata a mistaka to maka! I took it off, went out and got an extra 10mph straight off! Hours of fiddling, my time thrown away because of my inability to read everything!
I'm not tweaking it for the sake of speed for speed's sake (it now goes 40mph), but for safety reasons. I've been so fed up with people overtaking me in the most ludicrous places thus nearly putting me against the kerb, like when I'm doing 30mph in a 40mph limit with cars coming the other way etc. Hopefully I can keep with the flow more now.
I had a grand five days in Southampton with my daughter and grandkids. I had some time on my own as well.
On Thursday I went to Southampton City Centre and spent a good four hours browsing at all those things you don't need but would like. I have to own up to spending £3 though (Joggers to wear round the house - Pri-mart!).
The following day I went for a walk around Netley taking photographs of the Abbey, the shoreline and Park.
Saturday saw a fine family walk around some nearby woods.
It was grand-daughter Emilies 4th birthday party on Sunday, so my final day was spent with nervous exhaustion - 18 kids, a bouncy castle the size of the garden almost.
This was added to by a blocked drain outside the kitchen. I tried my best before the Party, but Dynorod arrived during the Party itself to fix it.
The finale of sound of the air removing the muck certainly moved some of the parents who were sitting close by. Personally I wasn't sure if it was the drain or 18 kids all with major indigestion at the same time!
But it was a very successful party, although in my day, it was only a good Party if there were at least three injuries and a couple of kids eating something which didn't agree with them or simply too much (it's that mixing of chocolate, icing, marzipan, sausage rolls and Coca Cola which usually do the trick).
I also managed to get some odd jobs done as well, so a really good time and just what I needed - and deserved I might add!!
I went to the Doctors about my back and was duly sent to the Hospital for X-Rays and Blood Tests for which I hope to get the results this week.
I have to admit to being slightly worried over something else the Doctor put into the equation about it, but all will be revealed and I'm hoping it's just a passing fancy.
What it does do is to make you think about a downshifting experience and when to do it. I was more or less 35 years sitting at a desk and at 52 started fairly strenuous physical work which may be paying me back at 59.
Should anyone be considering downshifting to a similar situation as in becoming more self-sufficient through gardening with work which demands more of a physical nature, bare this in mind - the body has evolved around your lifestyle and doesn't always take too easily to change.
A gentle transition is the ideal.
This week sees Kent taking on Cardiff University for 3 days and next week Sussex for 4 days, all at Canterbury, so a long stint is about to begin. With pre-season training over, it's back to the 13/14 hour days again.
But with the extra 10mph on my Moped, this may cut it down by a minimum of 15 minutes a day!
The sun's shining, the gardens looking good, family are healthy - all is well!
26th.March - 9th.April 2007
I couldn't boast a bronze tan following my 6 days in La Manga, but I can now from the last 6 days at Canterbury.
In the last two weekends we've achieved much in the garden and despite the bad back, have managed the following;
Luckily there doesn't appear to be the same amount of creeping buttercups or thistles in amongst everything, but I'm not holding my breath.
Today (Easter Monday), saw cutting the grass, cleaning the Chickens sheds and servicing the Moped.
I'm really hoping the back problem will go away. On Saturday, the Kent Physio had a look at it for me. It seems the problem isn't exactly where it's hurting (very low down), but in the spine.
The Club kindly included me in a Skin Cancer test on Tuesday. I had mine done at 4.45pm and got the results at 8.15am the next day. They took scans and photo's of anything slightly suspicious.
I haven't had much time on the website of late, but with a few days spare to come I am planning a few changes.
Having just about got back to 'normal' on the finances, I've got quite bored not getting the thrice weekly call with "Is that Mr.Cannon, can you confirm the first line of your address and date of birth please......"
All in all, things are looking bright down the lane. All I need to do is find time for my family. With the exception of Leo, I haven't seen any of them since early January - and that is not good.
Finally, back to cricket. I did send a few balls down to an International batsman at 75mph last week.
12th - 26th. March 2007
I wish I could boast a glorious bronze tan after my six days in La Manga, but it was a tad windy and not quite as hot as last year. However, a few people have said I look better than I did before I went, so I'll settle for that.
Regret my fitness training kept within the limits of a bad back problem which came about out the blue. I think it was a combination of all the decorating and garden work I'd been doing prior to our departure and added to by sitting on an aeroplane for two and a half hours. It's a rare event I can keep still for more than about five minutes.
I received a criticism about the Diary from someone close the other day. They told me I mention 'being hard up' too often and shouldn't harp on about it. Although the criticism went quite speedily and smoothly above and over my shoulders, I feel I can defend it.
In my case there's summer and winter; summer OK, winter difficult, but by stepping up a gear now and again, you survive. It's as simple as that.
Blimey, that was serious stuff - where are my pills!!
I managed, with great difficulty, to cut the lawns yesterday. Amazingly my trusty Lawnmower started on the second attempt and I swept round in only two hours!
I was going to follow this up with putting the onions in, but couldn't bend down to take my Wellington Boots off after the above, so they must wait a couple more days.
There is a lot to do in the garden still; skimming off the weeds, digging and general tidying up. Sometimes you can have a tendency to think if all the back ache and so on is worth it, but you soon cancel the thought out by remembering the tastes of last seasons sweet corn, carrots, cabbages and salads etc.
I'm now virtually full time at cricket until the middle of April when there's about a six day gap. Hopefully I can get down to Southampton for a few days and see the family who I haven't been able to get to since very early January - this is too long a gap, the Grandchildren will forget who I am!
At the rate things are going I shall be cutting the grass under the PIR light like last year. Hard work, but entertaining to see the reactions from those around you!
Finally, it's great to see new faces appearing on the Forum on a regular basis and we're now forming a very nice little community. Everyone is welcome to join in. I've just added a couple of new sections, so hope this will spur on some new lines of thread.