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7th. - 19th. March 2003
The lovely weather over the past few days has given much motivation to do my own garden a bit.
One of my older chickens died. She was the really tame one who followed me everywhere and was no problem to pick up. I had noticed she was a little on the light side, but I didn't expect her to die. The others seem OK, so I'm hoping it's not a virus.
My 5 days in France were productive on the work side. I got 44 hours work done and had a chance to spend a few hours investigating the local villages.
After my weekend to Southampton, I shall be non-stop for a while. Next week I have a 3 day pdecorating job for a Canterbury Company, the Mill House, then France, then Cricket and inbetween, my garden !!
With all that's been going on, I haven't added any more to the web site since last time but one very kind site visitor from New Zealand has offered to do a regular 'job of the month'. More to follow on this one.
The one thing I have noticed on all the TV gardening, make over type programmes, there's nothing really said much about vegetables. I suppose it became non-friendly a few years after WW2 had finished with every one taking the view that foods easy to get and quite cheap.
Grow your own - Dig for Victory !!
22nd.February - 7th.March 2003
I've been meaning to do this entry since Sunday, but I haven't been able to get on line due to something in the exchange which slipped ??
Much to do, I'm off to France on Sunday to do some decorating in a Holiday Cottage over there. Should be back on Thursday night or Friday morning. I haven't driven abroad since 1981 so I'm a little nervous about this. But it's only about 20 miles on the other side, so I'm hoping they all know I'm coming and won't go out onto the roads for a few hours.
Grass cutting is once again on the agenda. I cut mine last week and was surprised how it didn't clog up the lawn mower this year.
After France, just about everything will be sown. I'm still digging the garden, one hour every day. The potatoes are chitting in the bathroom and they take up space. I'm only growing salad potatoes. At the end of the day, maincrop can be brought fairly cheaply at the farm shops around here.
I start at Cricket on 20th. March. Only a few days in March, but a very busy April with all the practice and friendly matches.
With the net down for a few days I got time to sort out things on my PC and have added yet another page to the Poultry section. . This tells some of the thing's I've come accross from buying ex-battery chickens. Please take a look at a new photo on the Battery Hen page showing the underneath of a cage - frightening.
I think now is the start of a busy Spring and Summer for me. I learnt a lot last year, though not til December when I realised I wasn't getting enough money in !!
Tomorrow, I shall be 55 years old and believe me, I don't look a day over 60 !!
Once again, thanks to those who are purchasing books etc., through my Amazon links. This is really helping me a great deal, most of all, it keeps the chickens fed !!! (Buying another 5 when I come back)
10th - 22nd. February 2003
The Poultry Auction went better than expected. I got 5 Goldline at £1 each and 2 Point of Lay Black Rocks at £4 each. I was disappointed at not bidding for 4 White Stars which went for £8, but 7 more bringing my present total to 10 will do.
The influx of new birds prompted me into extending the run a bit more and put in a new feeder (old toolbox), shelter (old table with corrugated roof) and an outdoor nesting box (old barrel). The reason for the outdoor box being that the 5 Goldlines appear to be ex-battery and lay 'where they lay', so it's weening process.
I'm becoming International in two weeks time. One of my customers owns properties in France and I'm going there for a week to do some decorating. Nowhere too far afield, just half an hour from Calais, so door to door should only be about two and a half hours.
Although we've had overnight frosts, the ground has been soft enough to dig during the afternoon sun and I'm busy preparing the vegetable patch. On Sunday I will sow some onions and Broad Beans.
The Mill House are having some of their outdoor buildings semi demolished, so between my decorating work I'm 'saving' loads of wood from the bonfire to use in the Rayburn. I'm looking forward to a cottage roof replacement soon - the wood from that will keep me in kindling wood for at least the next two winters.
On the frugal side I've acquired some shelving units, cd stands, 300 pairs of surgical gloves and a television set. All stuff destined for the dustbin !!
On the web site front I shall be changing most of the photo galleries over the coming weeks. The Forum is very quiet at present and I know this will put people off posting and asking questions. If I can help in any way, please e-mail me - or if you have a question or want to share views etc., I post a lot on there, it is a really busy forum with many participants.
I notice from my hit counter stats that I get lots of visitors from Universities. If you are a student, I'd be really interested to know what subject it is you're doing.
Next week is school half term, so Leo and me are going to Southampton for a few days. It'll be about the last chance before my second grand child arrives (1st.April !!!). I shall try and get a bit of dowsing in. I haven't done much lately, so I'll go to the site of the old Netley Military Hospital and have a search around.
So, the sun is shining and I'm sitting indoors doing this ! I'm actually waiting for the paint to dry over the lane before I hang a bit of wallpaper. After that, one hours digging and a bath. I've actually got a party tonight - it's one of my old railway colleagues leaving do. I've seen hardly any one since I left nearly three years ago so it's a chance to do catch up, hear the gossip and all the moans which I'm sure are exactly the same they were before I left !!
PS - I won a pool game last week !!!
28th.January - 10th.February 2003
Work is quite good at present; about two weeks full-time over the Lane, 7 'mystery shopping' assignments to do this week and a few bits and bobs sold - plus I finally got my tax rebate. Cor blimey, what's going on !!
I sold the two cockerels at the weekend. The ladies who came along were very nice and the chooks were obviously going to a good home with space. I felt a bit sorry selling the cocks without their two matching hens (and they'd become quite attached), so they brought them as well.
There's a poultry auction at Ashford Market on Wednesday, so I'll go along and buy 5 or 6. I'd like to get it back to about 16 hens by mid Spring and all laying. That'll give me eggs for us, eggs for others, paying for the food and a few extra pennies for an occasional treat.
The extra work and a bit of cash (to pay off the overdraft !) has given me a bit of a lift and I've been busy during the off periods strengthening the chicken fencing, digging the garden and I've even finally got around to finishing the earning a living page on the web site. Please take a peep.
I regret the webcam has not worked. I downloaded a programme but it crashed the PC every half an hour. But I refuse to be beaten and am working on another method. My son and daughter call me 'Doctor Dick' because I have a habit of helping them on their PC's and crashing them !
I'm a bit cheesed off about the cricket World Cup only being on digital TV. I'd like to see England play and I can't help feeling we're going to do well - watch this space !!!!
Something else to really look forward to is the birth of my second grandchild end of March / early April.
My pool form has progressed to the level of pathetic and have now lost six games in a row. I can only afford to go up the Pub on a match night now, so you can imagine the stick I get ! I need a lucky charm - maybe if I don't wash for three weeks and put the opponents off, that would help.
So, the mood is changing and suddenly everything will happen at once. Spring will hit us overnight, the mad rush to the garden centres on the first nice day (Gets everyone planting too early - good return trade when the they all die !). For the last two diary entries, I've been in a bit of a hole and when you're like that, it's hard getting up in the morning, let alone going to work.
Maybe, just maybe, I'm out of it.
15th - 28th. January 2003
A beautiful sunny day, outside in the shelter it was 17 degrees. Not a day to be decorating and would have been better spent digging the veggie patch and some prep work. We start sowing in February 'in these parts' and I just know there will be the same panic as I had last year.
I think the web cam is OK now. The programme was giving the hard drive judders, so I had to take it off. I've re-installed now and hope it will continue. The logo above links to the web page and tells you if I'm on or off line.
I am starting a monthly newsletter and would be delighted if any one is interested enough to subscribe (absolutely no charge of course!). I hope to make it one up from the diary with topical and relevant links etc. I would be most interested if any one could write an article or do a regular for me (ie jobs of the month etc.). Anything accepted.
I've started my fight back on the financial front, been working quite well and have received one cheque that's been owing to me for quite some time. I hope this is the turning point and I can get back on the straight and narrow reasonably quickly.
I've now had 7 mystery shopper jobs this month, good for some extra money but completely sick to death of hamburgers !!
The chickens are not laying anything at the moment. I've put adverts in the local paper for the cockerels. I've weighed up the pro's and con's and just can't see the hatching process successful. I'm out much of the summer, also baby chicks would need more protection still etc., etc.
I saw a glimpse of the David Attenborough programme the other evening and it showed that they do kill chickens by the number for a purpose. They take them away one by one and bury them with just the heads popping out of the ground.
Still plodding on with the genealogy and boy does that get you going; so many wrong tracks, so many missing persons etc.,etc. I am surprised to know that I'm not just a southerner ! My 8 great grandparents are Yorkshire x 4, Liverpool x 1, London x 1 and Kent x 2. On my fathers side I've got back to the 17th. century now, but the others are causing a problem. They had habits of using another name to which they were christianed, didn't always get married and spent the whole time visiting people which completely mucks everything up when you finally find them on a census !!
Had a disaster in the Pool last week, losing 6 - 3. I did sink an incredible black to finish my doubles match. Regret to say it was before the other reds had gone in. In fact I broke, hit four balls in, then the black, so I was the only one out of 4 players to hit a ball.
Well to finish on an optimistic note, it's going to snow on wednesday !!
2nd - 15th. January 2003
I'll get the wallowing out of the way and then brighten up !! ). Over 30 years with my bank, I've had three 'blips' in that time - and have they been understanding ? - as yet - no !! "Phone you back" - no they don't; write on the 11th - they answer on the 28th ! (in that time they're happily adding bank charges !!).
So, work continues and I'm busier now with three jobs to do which will keep me fully occupied for the next two weeks. I have an option also of a part time job, two hours, monday to friday 5 - 7pm. I'm pondering and have until Monday to make up my mind. The local paper comes out tomorrow so I'll see if there's a 5 - 8pm three days a week - that would be better.
I had an influx of Mystery Shopping jobs last week; four fast food restaurants and £10 worth of petrol at a garage close by. They pay for the petrol if you send in a report on the service etc. The food one pays for the meal plus £4 over the top. All these were within 3 miles of the house, so quite worth it (especially if you arrange it for when you've got to go down town anyway).
I've changed the home page a bit so as to make it a bit more 'up to the minute'. So if you are a regular visitor, give it a peep once in a while.
Gillian makes feather art from her poultry (she assures me they are naturally moulted and not painfully stolen from a passing cockerel who woke her up a bit too early that morning !!). We hope to get our heads together soon and offer some for sale on the web site. So watch this space.
Talking about watch this space. I have 'gone live' on my webcam. Should it be a still shot, it's 'one I made earlier'. If I'm moving, I'm live !
The pool league gets under way again tomorrow after the Christmas break. I've had to practice with cups of coffee as I can't afford the beer.
I'm still getting on with my family tree project. Apparently, my great, great, great grand father redesigned the drainage system in Leeds, thus helping to stop cholera - and his son designed the City Theatre in Leeds where they filmed 'The Good Old Days'.
I'm still here to tell the tale and will continue to do so.
11th.Dec 2002 to 2nd.Jan 2003
A very happy new year to one and all and trust you had a good Christmas.
I just about managed to get the new car, I got it fully serviced with a new MOT for £250 !! It got Leo and me up to London and down to Southampton and back with no problems. So I'm well happy with that.
The rain over the last few days has left the Chickens in a pen resembling the Florida Swamps and the Lane a constant Welsh Mountain like river ! At least the house has held up to it and the Rayburn does her job efficiently.
Before Christmas saw a small rush of work which was very welcome. Gillian, a regular visitor to this site and the forum who lives close by, very kindly found me a couple of Leylandi to cut down - one done, one to go. I also managed a bit of weeding, lawn care and handy man jobs in another house. This with my other regular work just enabled me the car situation.
I had a really enjoyable Christmas Lunch with the Stewards at Kent County Cricket Club. I took time to have a walk around the dressing rooms, which are being decorated at present, and looked out of the balcony window to the resting grass and the famous lime tree spikey and bare.
What is in stall besides the cricket this year I don't know. The first couple of month's will be hard work (to survive) and then hard work on the 'actual work' side to revisit the comfort zone. Regret to say that no matter how happy you are in work, you've still got to pay the bills.
Another thought from a friend id to make the rest of the site slightly more changable every month, so I'll put my thinking cap on about new articles etc.
Whatever, I've been harder up in a full time job situation and earning three times the amount I am now. It's too easy to slip back into spending money !!
Have a good time.