20th.November - 4th.December 2006

First of all - before you buy the Supermarkets dry, here's my frugal tip for Christmas Lunch = Have an Omelette.

You recall from my last entry the Electricity people were trying to up my Standing Order to £180. After a phonecall and discussion on the readings, it's now £63 per month!! Even that's too much I told them.
They asked me if I'd like to speak to one of their Energy Savings experts!
I said I have that all in hand - one storage heater and an extra jumper. It's as simple as that.
Believe me, that is true. Good thing it's quite mild at present, but the Rayburn does a good job of warming the Kitchen and Sitting Room anyway.

Financially, things are better than last year. I'm only one Direct Debit behind as of today. This day last year, it was three!

Well, you've got to laugh but take it seriously all in the same breath. 'Our' way of life has to be like that and you just plod on.
Also, last year I hid all the valuables just in case the Bailiff's came knocking.

Between the terrible wet weather I've really got on with the painting work over the Lane and only have about another 10 hours or so to do. Luckily there's some gardening work as well plus a window with dry rot which needs doing.
The bad news is that I can't get paid for this for another 3 weeks which could put me right in it over Christmas.

I think on Christmas Day I shall see Leo in the morning, then have the rest of the day to myself, going to Southampton on Boxing Day. I don't have a problem with that. The following days will be quite active, so a day to reflect will be OK for me.

I'm afraid the chickens have let me down with no eggs for a few weeks now. Eggs are off the menu therefore.
They don't seem to mind the weather how it is, but with the longer time spent in the sheds, the cleaning up, with the mud as well, is quite a chore.
I've seen a couple of rats up there as well. They seem to look quite healthy on their diet of Chicken Food.

I am starting a free Down the Lane Newsletter in January, trying to make it a monthly event.
This will be mainly for any current news/developments on subjects relative to the Web Site, comment and informing you of any good deals I may have through Affiliate Links. It won't be spammy, there are no pop-ups and no security breaches etc.
If you would like to subscribe now, the form is on the left hand side of this entry.

By the way, many thanks to those who have purchased items by using the Amazon links. It really does make a difference and the hosting's just come up - and I paid it!! Problem is with web sites; the more hits you get, the more it costs.

I received a nice email from Anna Shepard, a writer of articles for 'Times Online'. Anna asked me to have a peep at her pages under the heading of 'Eco-Worrier'. It's very well worth a look at and you will see she is keen to know from people who have views on the subject. )

I've been working hard on my other web site 'Silvertops' but have now reached a stage where it's big enough to ease up a little on, so this means I can get back to sorting a few things out on Down the Lane which have been niggling me for quite some time - especially on 'same layout' and page loading time due to some being a tad large.
It seems strange, but it's just about half way through the cricket off season for me now and before I know it, I'll be back to the smell of leather and willow (plus a few others thrown in which we won't go into!).

When I had, what some people would call, 'the proper job', I'd work from 8am - 6pm approx., but I'd get home and not do a lot. Nowadays it seems I don't have a second to spare and I'm darting around everywhere.
I may be accused of mentioning this a lot, but we downsize to make our life the number one priority and the money less. But it does often bring home the necessity of it no matter how frugal we are. There is always going to be the unexpected.
But between those times we can be happy with our lot and know we can never be seen as not facing reality.
I think they ought to make a TV programme called 'It's easy being green and skint' !

6th. - 20th. November 2006

Autumn Proper has finally made an appearance down the lane and it's quite comforting to be back to the high winds and rain we've had in recent years by putting a hole in th Ozone layer the size of Yorkshire!
By chance I noticed the wonderful appearance of the Acer tree in our front garden on Friday and took a photo of it. Twenty three hours of wind later, on Saturday it was bare - click here to see photos.

During the wind I was putting the undercoat on two Stable Doors opposite. Because of the gale, I carefully lay the sheets out, put bricks on them, guarded the doors by putting a wind breaker board next to it - great - until the ladder which was about ten feet away got an upsurge and clobbered me right down the back!

Even so, I've managed quite a bit of work this week, also doing someone's garden, painting a front door and putting up a load of curtains (I've always been drawn to that work - sorry!!).
This has enabled me to do a bit of catch up work financially.

I have however refused to pay the Electricity Standing Order. Between January and end of March, I had two storage heaters on low, switched the water heater on three times a week (I shower) and beside that just had the normal TV, PC turned on - and being an old git, I never leave things on standby etc.
I thought it was bad enough being asked to pay £85 per month.
So, we turn on one storage heater two weeks ago (warming downstairs with the Rayburn) and the rest the same.
I get a letter saying they're putting it up to £180 per month !!
Well, I'm totally dumfounded as to where they got that figure.
I await their reply with keenness !!

The chickens haven't laid an egg for 10 days and this is getting serious! I've searched all round the Pen and found nothing.
I shouldn't complain as they went crazy during Spring and Summer, so they're probably just 'egged out' I guess.

Despite about 5 frosts over the last two weeks, the Lettuce continues growing in the Veggie patch. My word, things are tough in Kent !!
I must at some stage dig the garden over. As all you keen types will know, it's always "Ah, I'll do that tomorrow", but that goes out the window either through some change of plan or a good Daytime TV programme.
My favourite is BBC's 'Flog It'. I love the "And what are you going to do with the £35 then" Back comes the reply "Well, I'm going on holiday soon.....".
I must see myself in it !!
But, in fairness, some of these programmes are quite interesting because they're often items we have as well, so you sit by the PC ready to click on ebay.

The Moped still proves to be a real winner on the financial stakes. I put £2.80 worth of Petrol in the day I made the last Diary entry and I've still got about a third full still.
Mind you, with the work opposite and Leo either working, at College or with his girlfriend, I am becoming a prisoner of the Lane ! In fact, it's come to the point where it's a bit of a pain to venture out.
I'm quite happy doing the work and coming back to work on the websites once it starts to rain.
It's also genuinely good to see Leo becoming more independent as well. I guess it won't be long now until I finally reach my 'they've all flown the nest' stage.

I've been working on the Diary Archives a bit and put 2006 all into one section, about 12 pages.
At the end of December I shall do a 'summary of the year' and put a photo page of all the exciting highlights !!

My Mothers illness was short lived and she's now well again back home. Seems the old ticker was going a tad too fast at a constant 150/160 a minute and there was fear of a Stroke coming on.
We all went to see her in Hospital expecting the worst and heard the life histories of every other Patient in there and watched her racing to the 'Cloakroom' at power walking rate.
She certainly is some gal my Mum !

I hope you noticed the new 'Quote of the Month' at the top of this page - I rather like it. I await all the complaint emails!

Well, Christmas is just around the corner and I haven't a clue what I'm doing yet. More's the point, I haven't dowsed out my Yule Log yet, so must do that this coming week.
My, times does go so quick.

Going back to look at the future