18th.June - 2nd.July 2007


To say my life has been 'full' in the last two weeks is a great understatement! Downshift for a quieter, more relaxing life? Balderdash!!
I've been here, there, everywhere and inbetween been hindered with things going wrong.

My new PC decided it didn't like emails very much and it took some persuasion for me to make it accept any, then read them as well.
My Moped got slower and slower. I decided to start the diagnosis from the front of the bike and work back. After the Carb, Plug, Choke and various other hard to get to items, I finally got to the Belt and found a hole in it. Luckily it didn't snap down a North Downs Valley on the way home from Cricket, or I'd still be walking back with it now.
In fact, a Push Bike overtook me going up the hill just past Chilham!

These little 50cc Mopeds run similar to the old Daf one gear cars, if you go back that far. A bit like an elastic band going up a cone to increase speed. Great idea and works a treat, until it goes wrong. But at least they're only £13 to replace and I should get it by Tuesday.
To add to that, the rear tail lamp holder shattered, so another job (£8.95).

My heart goes out to those affected by the floods and I dread to think how families, homes, gardens and pets are taking it all in.
We've had considerable rain down here, but the usual occurance of the Lane becoming a River has not happened this time. It appears that much work has been done around here to prevent flooding.
Not however on some of the new Housing Estates, especially those built on reclaimed flood plain land.
The need (or is it greed) for Developers to build wherever they can, does have it's revenge quite often.

The rain has affected the veggies quite a lot and those which lap up the sun are very slow to grow now; Courgettes, Squash and Sweet Corn especially.
I've dug the fork all round the plants in an attempt to let some oxygen into the rain packed earth.
The Broad Beans, Beetroot and Runner Beans seem to be lapping it up.

Needless to say, the chickens don't care too much about anything as long as they hear the sound of the saucepan at about 7am every morning.
Because of the weather I've only had time to clear a small amount of the nettles growing in their Pen, but they don't seem to mind. They have their own little hideaway corners they go into and appear to like strolling between scraping around.

Certainly the whole garden looks just about the most unkept in the 8 years or so I've been here. But the rain has allowed me to sort out all the sheds and 'Barn' area and all is quite tidy, swept and presentable. These areas are the best they've been in 8 years!

All this work keeps me away from the old TV though. I reckon I've watched no more than two hours in two weeks, just so much to do.
Plus - when I did have my sit down, our ginger cat decided to do a projectile job off the top of the sideboard. Just what you want halfway through your Pasta!

Saying all that, in October I'll probably be twiddling my thumbs!
A friend of mine gave me enough 'Rayburn Eggs' to last about 6/8 weeks. With that and the logs I'm getting from the dead Cherry Tree at work, at least half the winter is already sorted.

It's usually about this time that I start looking around for dry wood, especially kindling. But there's not much dry to talk about.

This week I have two days at Beckenham for twenty/20 games, then on Thursday back to Canterbury. On Friday I go to the University of Brighton for the second to last Project Meeting I'm doing with them (kind of 'why are we where we're at'). This has been going for 3 years now as part of the Learning Life programme. It started with over 100 and nows there's just the four people who will be the centre of a Book to be published at some stage.
Ah, fame at last. The only thing is, they don't use my real name!

After the Uni, I will catch the train to Southampton and spend 5 days with the family down there. It's my Grandson's birthday party on Sunday.
I find these Parties a great mystery. By that I mean a mystery to know what virus you're going to catch this time. I've had most of the 'usuals', so it's normally down to which strain of summer cold or the violent tummy screaming ab jabs!

I haven't had time to write any new articles of late, but watch this space for a couple of new sections I've been working on.
This will be in spare time between Cricket, Garden and building my prototype Chicken Run (for sale at reasonable prices!!).

Meanwhile, the new Forum goes from strength to strength and with me out much of the time, a lot of it's success is down to the wonderful work being carried out by the Moderators Kat (b_cos), Wendy, Mo and AnnaB.
Me, being of generous nature will ensure they get their rewards at Christmas, although I'm not sure how to wrap up 20 pieces of coal and 3 eggs each.
I'll think of a way.



4th - 18th. June 2007


After my chaotic time of travelling around Kent for Cricket, I actually got two un-interupted days at home over the weekend.
This enabled me to completely relax whist fitting two pairs of taps, changing two inner tubes on a bike, cleaning the chicken shed, cutting down the nettles, general fortnight's worth of weeding, cutting the grass and sorting out my PC. The latter was the only thing which gave me a nervous breakdown!

Yesterday though was a bit showery and this kept the cats in most of the day. Ginger got through 3 sachets, Ronnie had 3 sachets and a rat whilst Mimi faffed around with biscuits all day, then without a thought for me, depositing them all orally onto the carpet.

All in all, a pretty good weekend!

One of my chickens died last week (see Forum post). I think many people just see chickens as Eggs and Sunday Roast, but they're not and I do hate losing one.
Meanwhile the others are doing famously and every one has laid an egg each for three days now.
I had so many and without going to Cricket, put them at the gate. I'd run out of small egg boxes, so sold them 'lose' at 10p each.
Luckily, as the Lane is a Public Footpath, the chap in the Cottage opposite was having an Art Exhibition and I sold them all in a couple of hours!

I was able to catch up on the vegetable garden jobs over the last few days. Reading other peoples stories of their gardens, I do seem to be a bit behind. But it's all growing and generally doing OK.
I planted out the Squash Plants. For the last 4 years we've grown them on the old Bonfire and they did very well - they seem to like not so good soil.
However, last year's crop was not so good, so I've bunged them in some fairly awlful soil in the main patch, the theory being that they seem to like that!!
I'm still awaiting the promised heatwave we're supposed to be getting this year, it just seems rain/sun the whole time. The veggies love it, but the weeds love it more!

For the last few years I've had 'a cunning plan' for the Winter, but up til now have not gone further into it simply that I always get some decorating work and use the time to catch up on my life a bit.
But I can't see my back fairing too well to all the getting up and down with the stooping, kneeling and stretching etc., so I'm looking at building Chicken Arks to sell.
I've priced it all up and have a plan drawn. I wouldn't go into a selection of designs, just standard 'house' and two size option runs which would attach.
I'm sure this would work, but the fear is that I may get too many orders! I don't particulary want to go into business as such, Excel Spreadsheets and budgets are a thing of the past to me and I can't have the Bank Staff smiling at me when I walk in - they enjoy a good laugh on a Monday morning!
At least I could do most of it on a Bench, I have the room up in the Shed, a long extension lead plus all the tools. It's just a case now of building a prototype.

My aspirations to become an aging International Rock Star may well go right out the window if I can afford to have my teeth done!

My PC had a major bleep last week and looking at the options, the most cost effective exercise was to buy a new one. Luckily I got a pretty high tech custom built.model for about two thirds of the price in Retailers and it really does whiz.
The other problem I had was quite major - I lost all my email Contacts and address's and in this were the emails for the Newsletter distribution.
I'm still seeing if I can retrieve it off my old hard drive, but it looks bleak.

The new PC meant transferring lots of data and programmes accross and it drove me crazy for a good 12 hours over two days. One driver would only work if the other one was installed first and Office couldn't find the dubri macro and showed the Error 577773b/cg/25a window which you haven't a clue about and can't do an Internet search, because you haven't got that far yet - grrrh!!
But, it's all up and running now thank goodness.

On a really happy note, I suddenly realised the other day that I've only got to wait anouther 8 month's to get my free bus pass at 60!
Life seems to be rushing by and I wish I had the plans I have now 30/40 years ago, but you can't look back, only to learn.
It seems you spend the majority of your life deciding what you want to do, then when you realise it, you haven't the physical ability to match!

They say you get memory problems when you're getting on, but there is another phase of your life where this happens - teenage years! Leo, beside losing countless other things, lost his Bicycle Padlock Key and this saw me (would spoil his cred) to go down town with hacksaw and Clippers last week. There is a worrying side to this though and I wrote an article in the Blog here.

The fortnightly photo's above are from the Forum Members Picture Page. I regret that during my mayhem PC changing, I lost the cable for my Digital Camera, but thought this would by far compensate for my stupidity!

So, onward we go. At cricket the twenty/20 tournament starts this coming Saturday for Kent. The games only last about 2 - 3 hours, but it's great seeing the huge crowds, the noise and Mexican waves. Wears me out, but wears me out nicely!

 


Going back to look at the future