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17th. Feb - 1st. Mar 2006
Although it's cold enough to make a brass monkey be very worried, you can almost hear the seeds shouting 'get me out of hear' from their container in the Larder.
Luckily my work has all been indoors and I've decorated a hall, stairs and landing, continued work over the Lane plus spent my day in Hampstead doing someone elses snagging for them.
At home we said goodbye to the old faithful friend - a good old fashioned chain pull WC and had a low level all nice and white one put in.
The chickens remain splendid in their laying and one day this week they achieved 9 eggs. I have my doubts here - I reckon they're secretly importing them from another back garden chicken keeper a couple of lanes up !
Chickens are a source of great enjoyment, watching them can be quite theraputic. You see all their individual characteristics and realise that underneath the sometimes laughable shield, theirs a lot of comedians !
I would also like to point out I was nowhere in the Tonbridge area driving a white van last week ! Phew, I wonder if they stopped to think 'do you think we've stolen a bit too much and it could possibly draw a bit of attention' when there's about 50 TV Crews on every farm gate in Kent !! Makes my £200 debt seem a bit silly really !
It's now only 3 weeks til I return to my job at Kent County Cricket Club for the summer.
Until then I have still some work to do here and there. Hopefully the frosts will ease for a few days enabling me to further dig the garden and get some more compost in.
3rd - 17th. February 2006
Albeit a very busy two weeks, lots more positive stuff happening and I feel an upsurgance in spirits as we approach Spring.
The chickens have gone egg crazy and, although not the purpose, I'm back in pocket with egg sales. They're averaging 6 / 7 evry day at present.
At the moment, following two days of well needed rain, the pen is like a skating rink to get accross in the mornings. I got a 6.8 for Artistic Merit on Tuesday following my triple loop. The rats scored me down a bit as the skid pushed the mud over their well designed hole.
You can see on the left that the broad beans I sowed in November are coming along nice, as are the lettuces I thought I'd give a go at in the unheated greenhouse.
I'm continuing my busy work schedule and in the last three weeks have worked for 3 different people. I've fully decorated three rooms, smartened up two others, painted garage doors, stained two flights of open plan staircases and helped with some furniture removal.
In the evenings I've been working on two new web projects and generally giving 'Down the Lane' a bit of a tidy up.
Inbetween I'm squeezing a family meet up in London on Saturday, a wedding next Friday and on Saturday Leo and me are invited to the Gillingham v Scunthorpe football match by the infamous Jamie Reid of Radio Kent with his dazzling commentary including his trademark saying, 'cool as a cucumber'.
I'll be totally honest and say that four weeks ago I was about as low as could be, especially financially. But as I said then 'As long as there's a light in the tunnel and it's not getting smaller', you'll make it.
A good frugal tip is 'don't allow yourself the time to spend your money' I think.
So, in three weeks time I shall be 58 and in 6 weeks time it will be Spring. These two things of course mean absolutely nothing, but I'm finding it really difficult to fill up the remainder of this space !
Many thanks to the people who have already donated and received the Down the Lane DVD. I haven't had any feedback so I assume they are either OK or suitably hanging in the vegetable patch to scare away the pigeons !
Finally, a countrylife.com have just started a weekly half hour radio show. This features interviews with smallholders and of the like, plus you may even hear a frugal tip from 'Mr. Thrifty' a man very close to my heart ! Bye for now.