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21st April - 4th. May '04
Kent have got off to a great start to the season with three wins out of four. Last week we played Gloucestershire in the one-dayer and this gave me a chance of meeting Jack Russell again. A fabulous player and person and also a very fine artist. Take a look at some of his paintings on http://www.jackrussell.co.uk.
Bank Holiday weekend was socially active for me. On Saturday I actually brought a new sweatshirt (took me 5 shops and two hours to decide - Leo completely bored to the bone !), Sunday was Leo's first cricket match of the season, so I went to watch and yesterday we went to Hastings for the day.
Regret to say the 1945 seeds have not risen, so my hopes have gone now. I don't think anything will happen now, it's 4 weeks since I sowed them.
I am hardening off the sprouts, the tomato plants are zooming and already eating the mixed lettuce !
It's great to have the car back on the road, but having a trip to Southampton and Hastings plus the running around and work etc., I've spent £55 on petrol in three weeks. I now find myself sitting down in the evening thinking what I could be spending the £55 on ! But all the work at cricket with the extra money I compensates that I guess and at the end of the day - rather the car than a zimmer frame !
The chickens definitely have got spring fever with a minimum of 6 eggs a day for the past two weeks. For the first time last Thursday, I got 'the maximum' 9 chickens, 9 eggs' - a day to remember !
The restoration of the cottage opposite continues, but last Wednesday I came home completely dog tired and thought I'd have a dose in the back garden. I like the Beach Boys, but 'Da Do Ron Ron' at about 150 watts was too much and unlike me, I lost it and went over for the show down. They did turn it off but more out of shock I think that this 6'0" ten and a half stone picture of a mispent life actually had the nerve to face up to 6 blokes who could down him with one good sneeze !
My new found wealth of the summer has also led me into purchasing new ink for my printer and three pairs of socks. I can't quite go as far as the new underwear yet, but 'what the eye doesn't see..' etc !
Finally, on the right is a little ad I've put in for a acountrylife forum friend of mine. I've known Alison through the forum for a few years now and I know if she says 'beautiful', then it will be; so if you are interested, please either email Alson or myself for more details. I'm sure she can send a photo should you be interested.
7th. - 21st. April 2004
Things are happening at a rapid pace. It's 23.45hrs and it's the first opportunity I've had in 5 days to get on the PC for this entry.
I had a fine time at Southampton over the weekend and besides having about three hours sleep every night due to grandkids waking up and cats meowing outside the door because we stole their room, all great.
The chickens obviously have Spring Fever and the nine are laying 5 eggs a day minimum ! A healthy diet of mixed corn, layers pellets and just about anything left over from the cricketers lunch and teas must be the secret.
I think my 1945 tomato seeds are at last coming through. I was a little worried as nothing happened for 15 days, but this evening I notice about 3 very slim stems looping outwards. Well, they've waited 59 years to come out of the packet so an extra couple of days isn't amiss.
The car is back on the road and I actually got this done £5 under the budget set aside ! The only thing is that it seems as if I never had it for six months. Now it's a case of discipling myself not to use it for those silly short journeys up to the Co-Op etc.
It's strange. You know how you get fed up with receiving letters from the same place saying the same thing for months on end. Well, I had a year of Tax demands which I continually returned saying I wasn't earning enough and I'd been paying emergancy tax.
Kent won the first game of the season and are top of the league !!
Next week I've actually got about three days 'to myself' and can catch up in the garden. I need to sow a second batch of carrots, the beetroot, more lettuce and plant the potatoes which have chitted very well and quite quickly.
I'd better be very careful here. I read back at this entry and haven't found a negative yet and what is nice I can't think of one over the past two weeks.
Also at cricket, we had a skin cancer test and I haven't got it, so that's more good news.
Not all the time, but sometimes you can go to bed and say "That was a good day" and it's so nice to have had some of those in the past few weeks.
25th March - 7th April 2004
Busy, busy, busy are the keywords at present. I've been 6 weeks full time at the Cricket ground now and squeezing everything else in between.
Cricket training is in the second week now. The Kent boys all look fairly fit and are keen to go. The weather has been fairly favourable and I've been out there as well fielding a few balls at 'extremely long stop' position !
I took the car in for it's MOT today and was pleasantly surprised to learn it only needs about £60 worth of bits doing to it. This was quite a relief as I thought it would be more and I have £150 to cover the MOT, Road Tax and repairs. I think it will amount to £162, so not bad.
So the result of my winter cycling must amount to 1000 miles. Take that and I've been to Southampton 4 times on the train, I've 'saved' another 1100 miles there. That's over 2000 miles of non car driving plus 7 months Road Tax and Insurance saved. I would guess at about £500 savings.
I sowed my Grandads 1945 tomato seeds some 9 days ago and am watching the tray on the window sill every night as soon as I get in. No signs yet, but oh what joy when, if, they come up.
I am so angry at myself. I repaired the shed after the fox ate it's way through the wooden panels but failed to see a small gap in the barbed wire above the corrugated fencing (which has been 100% proof for two years). The recent wind must have moved it a bit and the fox had jumped about 5 feet and got over it. Result - another 3 chickens lost and I've 9 now.
At least all my chickens have experienced clean air and seen the sky, that's the main thing, although protection has to be the number one. If I can afford it, I'll invest in some electric fencing. I guess I'd need about 100 meters.
Two weeks today will be Press Day at the cricket club and I'm having a picture taken with the Team, so a nice momento for me and the kids ! The day after that the season starts proper and the lads are off to Gloucestershire. This will give me a few days off before the first home match the following week. You never know, it'll be put in the archives and someone may dig it out in 200 years from now and say "Who the hells that" !
Besides the sad news about the chickens, things are going pretty well at present and it's nice having some money coming in. I've planned my whole years finances, but I know underneath, the plan will never come to fruitition. Something will happen to send me off course again - but life would be very boring if it didn't.
Cheers for now.
10th - 24th. March 2004
The last four weeks has made me remember what busy means, up and downs, good and bads.
We had a terrific wind storm here last weekend. I heard a few tiles blow off the roof and didn't think much of it. Then, about 10 minutes later a huge crash and rumble. I can only assume the landing ceiling was pulling away from the batons and down it came. Dust, dirt and rubble everywhere.
At Cricket, I finished the decorating today, just in time for the players who return for pre-season training tomorrow morning.
At last, the chickens are laying well and I made a profit last week (30p !!). Losing 8 to the fox two weeks ago was pretty soul destroying, but surprisingly, the survivors haven't been affected like they sometimes are. In fact, they all seem pretty happy and generally enjoying life.
A large ginger cat has suddenly appeared from nowhere. He seems well fed and doesn't appear to be lost. I know that cats usually wander no more than a third of a mile but I can't think where this one lives. Besides the four houses down the lane, there are probably only 5 other houses withing half a mile of here.
Last weekends storms put the garden on hold for another week, so this weekend with the forecast looking good I intend to sow just about everything. I've dug the garden completely and the soil looks really good.
All that needs to be done now is to get the car back on the road. It was quite strange last week having two amounts of money being paid into my Bank ! As long as there are no unforseen drawbacks, I hope to have the MOT done next week.
So, you may have sensed a slight 'upper' compared to the last entry. I have to admit to being somewhat down a few weeks back, but even with things like the ceiling etc. going wrong, there's a feel of Spring and Summer in the air.
Going to Canterbury on the train every day has renewed comradeships with some Conductor / Guards I knew a long time ago. It's great seeing them and speaking with them.
27th. February - 10th. March 2004
Just as things were looking up with the chickens back laying again plus the battery hens finally looking like real chickens, the fox struck.
I haven't been all that well for the past two weeks but have got to the Cricket Ground every day. We've just about finished all the painting, now it's floor grouting and carpet tile laying. All in all, this will give me about 15 days work which three weeks ago I was not expecting.
I treated myself to a new second hand bike off ebay. The poor old one is on it's last legs and to put it right just would not have been cost effective. Like most things nowadays, it's easier and cheaper to buy a new 'something' than to do up the old one.
I'm not sure if I can get the car back on the road til April now due to costs etc., so the bike is here for another few weeks yet. I may even get a chance of riding it in some reasonably nice weather !
I'm still on a complex about digging and keep on extending the beds a bit. I want to try growing potatoes under plastic this year. I think this will take up less space and also keep down the weeds.
I'm avoiding meeting the players who have just returned. I hear they all have disgusting sun tans and this will only encourage me to be rude to them. However, James Treadwell did pop over to say hello after returning from his captaincy of England 'A' and this was very nice - a good young man !
On the ebay front, I think I'm going to 'shut up shop' for a while and spend the summer accumulating bits and bobs. This will then give me a little extra income after the cricket season.
I did get 5 birthday cards and two presents !! Vicky is arranging my present next time I go down - a guided tour of Southampton FC Stadium and a meal at the end. Leo's coming as well (not fair, it's MY birthday present !).
So you may sense a tinge of negativity in this entry and I must admit that a few things have been quite difficult over recent weeks. The winter has dragged on, the old bones have been feeling the cold on the bike, financial deja vous and one step forward, two steps back.
Never mind. I know that in a few weeks time all this will be but a dream and I'll be a perfectly happy bunny again. You can start the thinking 'hey, I'm 56 and shouldn't be doing all this running around and having money problems'. But, if you didn't have these, you'd have something else to worry about.
Maybe I will have that holiday - a day out to Dymchurch does sound somewhat appetising at this time of the year and it's all down hill getting there. Have a couple of pints before returning and you won't notice the uphill bits coming back !
Til the next time - Richard
10th - 27th. February 2004
Apart from one 'bleep' (a person got into our house today, switched on the telly, heater, had a look through the sideboard and left) it's been a time for good news.
Just as I was about to leave to visit my daughter and family in Southampton last Friday, I received a call from Kent County Cricket Club asking if I could, along with a couple of other people, decorate the dressing rooms. I did have to think seriously about this and after careful thought said "Yes" after approximately three seconds !!
The weekend at Southampton went well albeit too cold to do much. I had my usual relaxful restful time with my 2 year old and 9 month old grandchildren ! Luckily, they both love Leo and he took much of it, but loves it.
In the garden I've sown the broad beans and dug even more space. The chickens are just starting to lay again and this is the best news of the year to date. I had bad dreams of feeding 20 chickens for no return. The are now back in their large pen and in some ways this is easier as I know where to find the eggs. Last year I found a hoard of them inside a mower box in the barn, must have been 30 odd.
My skillful renovation of the wood shed will take place this weekend weather permitting. I have the sledgehammer all ready to go ! The corrugated iron roof will give me another shelter for the chickens and all the wooden uprights etc., are destined for the Rayburn.
About nine more bits are coming to an end on ebay at present and with 18 hours left, I have bids on seven of them. Four 'carraige stop' signs which I've had for some while are up to £21, so a wondrous bounty of wealth coming in !
Hopefully, the extra work at the Cricket club will enable me to get an MOT done on my car and journies which are taking 20 minutes at present, will only take 3. Even so, I do intend to only use the car if I have to and maintain the cycling as much as possible. Not only has it saved me much money through winter, it has kept me reasonably fit as well. I don't dawdle you know !
On Sunday week I'll be 56 and besides being quite surprised at reaching that age, I shall enjoy the day opening the mandatory 5 birthday cards and two presents !! No more the 'just turned 50', it's 'nearing on 60'.
Finally, I shall be doing a regular up-date on my 1945 tomato seeds, from sowing to eating. I'm interested to see if they work and I can't help feeling it'll be quite emotional should they grow and harvest OK. I can see my Grandfather buying them and think I know the shop where he'd have brought them. Bet he didn't think they wouldn't be sown for 49 years !!
Lots to do and no time to do it in, but that's life and as I'm reminded on a Silver Surfer forum 'we are not promised one day on this earth'.