13th - 31st. December 2007 + A summary of the Year

Well, the Shepherd's Pie on Christmas Day went down a treat. This was followed by Lemon Steamed Pudding and Custard.
I was on my own until Leo came home about 6pm and I did as planned, sitting by the open fire and TV set most of the day - unheard of for me.
Mind you I started the day by cleaning out the Chicken Shed and sawing some wood.
On Boxing Day it was off to Southampton. Leo an I arrived before the family got back from Lapland and after a five meter diversion around the pile of presents awaiting them, we found the remote control.
Everyone was on fine form and we had a most enjoyable couple of days before I returned on Friday for an early start work shift on Saturday.

Other than that, it was work right up to 23rd.December with no breaks without too much news to tell I'm afraid. So I'll make this entry and resume of the year in general.

The year started with a disastrous financial situation. There was no work and a lot of bills which weren't getting paid. There were days where I thought I would never cure the state I was in.
Kent Cricket Club once again came to the rescue in February with some full time work leading up to my March onwards Dressing Room job.
At the end of March I was lucky enough to go with them to La Manga for a week and it was then, which seemed to be the turning point.
I thought long and hard there and decided I would only ever buy anything where I could hand cash over the counter for.
By May I had things pretty even and by following on the 'new me' theory, I managed to purchase a much needed new PC, a little run around Fiat and had my teeth done.
I think the most satisfying experiences of the year were of those where I did ask  'How much' and got a wad out from my pocket!

In no way am I well off now, I'm exactly break even and watching every move I make - very closely!

Around the home, because of work being Spring to Autumn orientated, things have been difficult.
I just about managed a vegetable garden and I'm still eating the produce to prove it!

The Chickens didn't have such a 5-Star environment though and their run did get pretty overgrown.
However, you often find  things out by accident - they seemed to actually prefer walking amongst the overgrown weeds and nettles. They had somewhere to each have their own space and I guess it was all more of an adventure for them.
Sadly I lost four this year, but all from natural causes it would seem. To be fair, in some ways seven are easier for me to manage and less cleaning. Seven still gives us more than enough eggs and still have some over to sell, thus covering the cost of food.
Not bringing in any for two years now, means the minimum age of any of my ex-battery hens is three. Some must be four or more and this is a testament to how hardy and strong these poor hens can become with a bit of TLC and sunlight.

The website has increased by 250 pages in the last 12 month's and is enjoying many visitors and a growing Forum full of like minded people.

I think I can say that 2007 has been the best since downshifting. Although I may have had some better days before, it was a great learning year and a year which I will look back on and say - After seven years, this was the year I understood it better!

2008 ?
Until September, the year looks pretty well panned out and the same as 2007. However, commitments and an annoying back problem which appears to be worsening a bit, could lead to 'something new'. Maybe location, maybe whatever - I don't know yet and will plot my destiny as the year progress's.
Should it be location, I just have to find another Lane!

Website wise, the plan is to increase the pages by another 400. I'm already expanding some site categories and finding room for some new ones which should start appearing around February time.

The highlight of 2008 will be receiving my Bus Pass on 8th.March. Gordon Brown has obviously heard about me reaching 60 then and has changed the rules that, from 1st.April 2008, Bus Pass's can be used throughout the UK!!
This with my retired employee Railway Free Pass, gives me the freedom of the Land!
Not only that, but next winter I will get £200 for my trips down to the woods fetching free fuel for the Rayburn!

Just a few thank you's for 2007.....Kent County Cricket Club, the nicest and best bunch of colleagues I've ever had and without whom I'd be in the Work House!  My Family for knowing that birthday and Christmas presents are not about size and cost, but about the love which comes with them. The Forum Members who never cease to amaze me by their enthusiasm which rubs of to those searching a better life.

Finally to whoever it is up there who's allowed me another year on this planet!

28th November - 13th.December 2007

Well - I've finally had the teeth done (see above picture on right, personalised framed copies available at only 15 guineas).
The acceptance by people has been twofold. Most are saying it's taken ten years off me and the blokes are saying I now look 65 rather than 75!
I should add that the photo was a shirt and tie job at the Kent CCC Christmas Meal. They now go back in the Wardrobe for the next formal event - probably my presentation of the O.B.E for services rendered to reducing the sizes of skip waste disposal units in and around Kent.

I had a fine few days in Southampton hampered only by the weather which was terrible. But often nature has a way of giving us an indoor chilled out day and it's always nice sitting in a warm room reading the Paper looking outside at the rain or cold.
The grandchildren were surprisingly very interested in my teeth and one had to demonstrate both in and out for their amusement and entertainment.
I'm sure Emily is going to be a Dentist when she grows up and her explanations of my problems are quite detailed when she tells just about everyone she meets!
I've been back for three days now and no signs of a cold atall!

On my way home I visted my Mother in Sevenoaks which was good, long time, no time etc.
Afterwards I had a trip around the village of Chipstead (Kent, where I was born) and took a few photo's for the new website pages
'Growing up in the 50's and 60's'.I wanted to do this for various reasons; to show how many shops are now residential houses and the walk my sister and I would go to school every morning on our own. It really is quite scarey seeing the streams and bridges we used to cross and the fields we'd wander over.
Today, this would be an absolute 'no no'!

On the 50's, 60's pages, I've just about completed the 50's, but the 60's will take a little while yet through gathering more info and a bit of factual research.
I'm also writing a page in the Health and Wellbeing section on the pro's and con's of dentures!
Plus a page 'Egg's from Caged Hen's' will appear soon in the Chicken Keeping section. This is mainly to portray how we can make more public awareness of them and what can be done to at least reduce the Battery Farm populations.
There is much on the subject in the Forum and members are coming up with some really good suggestions etc.

After weeks of working almost every day, it seems I have a couple of 'easier weeks' ahead. Being a Cricket Club, Christmas and the new year is pretty quiet. I think between Dec 23rd and around Jan 3rd, I only have to work about 3 / 4 days.
Mind you someone's sure to get some tummy upset at some stage, so it could all change!
Now I've cleared up the outstanding Dentist Bill, I'm back to zero financially, so must start all over again.

I read somewhere that we finally pay what we've spent at Christmas by 22nd March every year!
This I assume is the credit card calculations. It is very much a sign of the times and all the more reason I believe to look at how out parents and their's lived back in the 40's, 50's and 60's before the easy to borrow boom days came about.

The chickens are laying about two eggs a week between them now. I've tried most of the remedies like, when going in the Pen each morning, saying "Phew, I'm feeling peckish and haven't been shopping yet", "Ah, must remember to buy the Paxo" and "Now, what can I have with garden roast potatoes, garden cabbage, garden carrots, garden Parsley?".
None work though and you'd think they understand English by now wouldn't you.

I won't say 'Happy Christmas' to you all, because I should wish everyone a happy day, whatever time of the year it is!
With the exception of Leo, who I may see for half an hour inbetween parties and general boozing, I'm spending from Christmas Eve lunchtime and Boxing Day afternoon on my own, but I'm not unduly worried about it. At least it'll be quiet!
On Boxing Day we're going down to Southampton for two days, back to work on the Saturday, then off to my sister's house on Sunday 30th.

On that theme, it's really frightening seeing the carbon footprints being left behind by some decorations along High Street's and people's homes!
I read we use 10% more electricity pro-rata during December. Not being bah humbug, but it does seem daft that we spend so much time thinking green and 'future of the planet' then burn it up on a load of commerialised nonsense.
Perhaps I should edit it to bah humbug!!



Going back to look at the future