1 April 2013 (Easter Monday) - A Wonderful Walk
We had a shock when we went to the er indoors TM"-mobile this morning. Overnight some git had got into he car and ransacked it. Absolutely every single thing had been turned over, even the fuse box opened in case there was something worth having in there. Not much had been taken - the loose change was gone, and so were our walking sticks. Mine was nothing special - it cost me £3.50. But "Er" walking stick was special. It was a one-of-a-kind hand made one.
I shall find a piccie of it and circulate it. And if we find it we shall speak nicely (!) to whoever has it. We didn't call the police. The police have made it crystal clear in the past that they had no interest in investigating car break-ins. Which is probably exactly what is wrong with today's society.
But despite this unfortunate incident we decided to carry on with our day's plans. It was a shame that today's walk had had such a high drop out rate. Originally hoping for double figured attendance we ended up with three of us (and two small dogs). But we had a good walk. Parking at a country park near Lullingstone Roman Villa we walked up hill and down dale. Through woods and alongside rivers. As we went we saw buzzards and foxes, llamas and pigs, sheep and donkeys. I'm not sure of the exact distance covered, but we started walking at 10am and got back to the car at 7pm. And as always there are photos of our day on-line.
As we walked we picked up the occasional geocache. I think we found thirty-seven of the things as we went. The idea was to follow the "Wonderful Walk" series, but as we went we got sidetracked with other caches here and there. We definitely need to go back to the area - it's really scenic and there's lots more caches still to be found in the area.
And so home. Once I'd hosed the fox poo off of Fudge the poor dog scrambled on to my lap and was asleep within seconds. He was worn out. I was a tad tired too. and I'd caught the sun.
It was gone 9pm before we sat down to tea. Despite a shaky start it had been a good day... I shall ache tomorrow.
2 April 2013 (Tuesday) - New Battery
I was rather aching this morning, but I’m not really surprised. Yesterday’s walk was rather keen.
I started the day by getting my car battery
sorted. Oh that was fun. I shopped about on-line and found that
eurocarparts dot com were offering a deal.
And I knew that my information about this deal was correct because I had to
type my car registration number into their website for it to tell me the car
battery I wanted.
And then we wandered round Brabourne for a bit doing some geocache maintenance. Another good place to be.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Tonight was more like a geocaching event cache that anything else - there must have been a dozen trackables being passed round and being discovered. Tonigt's episode of Merlin was good.
And as everyone went I I had to squander more money foolishly - my phone was acting up - the microSD card has died. It was at least three years old. I wonder if I have all the stuff that was on it backed up anywhere?
3 April 2013 (Wednesday) - Military Debris
With my phone card having died last night I decided to replace it there and then. We went to Asda at 11pm. The place now offers free wi-fi. What is that all about? I thought you were supposed to go there to do your shopping, not muck about on the Internet. It's not as if there's a coffee shop or cafe in there.
We soon found the card I needed, priced up at four pounds. I was quite impressed by that. I wasn't so impressed when we ran it through the till and got charged nine pounds. I had a whinge, but to no avail.
Once home I then spent two hours copying back all the sounds and music that had been lost when the old card went west, re-downloading maps for hunting plastic boxes and putting the phone back to how I want it. I like customised ring tones. That way I know who's phoning me. Even if it does take an age to set up.
I was expecting "Daddies Little Angel TM" to visit this morning, but she was a no-show. So I took Fudge round the block. As we walked I realised that these days I am finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between normal people speaking to friends using hands-free phone technology and nutters arguing with the voices in their heads. I have a theory that if they are brandishing a tin of Stella then they are probably talking to voices in their heads. But not always.
Once home I spent an hour clearing the undead out of NeverWinter until my Ham Street Lover arrived. We set off to find a newly hidden geocache, and after half an hour searching we gave up. We couldn't find it but we did find something interesting in a rather hidden spot,
It transpires that someone else found the cache two hours previously. Either what we found was an integral part of the cache, or we really failed utterly. I suspect failure on our part; much as I'd rather it wasn't.
I've since been reliably informed it was both...
We went on and caught up with Lisa and Earle and hunted out some more geocaches; actually finding these ones. Which was nice. We drove to some caches, found one which was all but buried, (which I am sure is against the rules) and walked some on half an hour's loop. The walk was interesting; going across Ministry of Defence land where we were admonished not to touch any military debris. I was hoping to find half a tank or an unexploded hand grenade. We actually found a rather lame hat. However being in camouflage material we assumed it had been dropped by a soldier and so counted as " military debris". As hats go it's not a bad one. I've brought it home as a trophy of the day.
The walk was soon over. It would have been good to have carried on caching for longer but a combination of bad knees and snow put paid to our plans.
And so home, where we were fobbed off with a couple of CHIMPS. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that the er indoors TM"-mobile was broken into a couple of days ago. At the time I said that it would be a waste of time telling the police because they wouldn't be interested. However my experience was based on the not-caring attitude of yesterday's rozzers. Today's old bill has a much more hands-on community-friendly attuitude as we found out this evening.
Against my better judgement we were persuaded to tell the police of the incident and today (two days later) two Police Community Support Officers, or CHIMPS (Can't Help In Most Police Situations) came to visit. Whilst there's something inherently satisfying in having fit uniformed women in the living room (in hi-vis jackets - woof!), they did very little other than blather platitudes and tell us what a good dog Fudge is.
I suppose this works for most of the public...
4 April 2013 (Thursday) - Stuff
I went to bed at 11pm last night and got a good five hours sleep. I woke at 4pm which on a work day isn't bad for me. For brekkie this morning I tried some of the amazing frooty-bix cereal at which the most recent fruit of my loin had turned up her nose. "Daddies Little Angel TM" had brought the box home, dumped it in the cupboard and announced that I could eat it. I'm still uncertain whether this was an act of kindness to her beloved father, or whether she was trying to poison the old scroat. In any event I quite liked the stuff. Whilst I was at it, I gave Furry Face a bowl of milk. He quite liked that.
We were both happy as we watched Babylon DVDs at 5.30am.
Yesterday I mentioned that I'd made a complete bog of finding a recently hidden geocache. Overnight I'd had inspiration and I left for work early to see if my brainwave was correct. It was. Within only a few seconds I'd found the thing, and signed the log. The electronic record timed it at 6.30am. As I was signing another car pulled up. Surely it could only be another cacher? Who else would be up and about in that particular area at that time of day?
I didn't recognise the bloke who got out of the car. He looked about in a rather shifty sort of way. He clearly didn't see me, and he strode off across a field. He went up to the only big tree in the area, rummaged, and he came back carrying a very large package. He put this package in his car and drove off.
I wonder what that was all about?
And so to work where I did my bit whilst we pondered how we might fortify a hospital to withstand a zombie apocalypse. Opinion was divided on the matter. Some felt that a hospital doesn't lend itself to becoming a defensible structure; others thought that a hospital would be a veritable fortress.
I couldn't make up my mind, so stayed neutral in what became a rather heated discussion.
After a rather interesting start the day turned out being rather dull...
5 April 2013 (Friday) - Blame
Another early start saw me scoffing my frooty-bix cereal and Fudge lapping up his bowl of milk well before 6am. I got my morning's fix of Babylon 5 and set off to work.
As I drove I had a wry smile at the news, and found myself pondering on the way that today's society assigns blame.
Take for example the Welsh measles epidemic. When the fruits of my loin were much smaller we had a dilemma. Should we give them the MMR vaccine to protect them against clear and present disease risks? Or should we not give them the vaccine because of vague unpsecified scaremongering? At the time the newspapers were rife with stories about how terrible the MMR vaccine was, and how dangerous it was. We ignored the scare-stories and got them jabbed. It would seem that at the time the local rag in Swansea ran a rather impressive campaign against the MMR vaccine and a generation grew up in south Wales un-immunised.
History has shown that we made the right decision. The residents of Swansea have all have found out that there is far more to measles than a few spots. The news pundits were saying that because the scare stories were so long ago no blame can now be assigned to the local newspaper. I found this rather odd - celebrities now in their eighties are being hounded about allegations of what they might or might not have done forty years ago. Why can't a journalist be held accountable for what they demonstrably did twenty years ago?
In a classic sign of our times the senior Welsh health officials being interviewed on the radio this morning tried to blame it all on the English. Apparently some Welsh kids mixed with some English kids and caught the disease. Perhaps I'm being thick (again), but I thought that passing diseases around each other was what kids do best.
Or consider the recent HBOS banking collapse. I don't realy understand what happened. I don't think anyone really foresaw what was going to happen. Whilst it was terrible, and whilst mistakes probably were made, is looking for scapegoats really a better way to proceed rather than trying to learn the lessons of what actually went wrong?
Mind you in both these cases I suppose it's easier to assign blame to someone than to try to make sense of something which is probably beyond most people's understanding. An obvious scapegoat is always useful to have. And it's also interesting that the media are in no way held accountable for the consequences of their actions.
Meanwhile my dog is incredibly quiet and has a very odd smell. I wonder if he's eaten something he shouldn't have..
6 April 2013 (Saturday) - Folkestone Harbour
I spent a rather frustrating five minutes this morning trying to find the remote controller for the DVD machine. It eventually came to light (literally) after I extricated it from inside the sofa. Every household gadget these days has a remote control without which you can't operate them. Which is fine until *someone* shoves them inside the sofa. I have my suspicions who the guilty party might be...
The original plan for the day had me going off to Chatham's historic dockyards. However last weekend's mishaps effectively put paid to going Chatham-wards; having spent all the Chatham budget on a new car battery and phone memory card.
Instead we went round to see "My Boy TM" who was having new lights fitted in the hallway, courtesy of Hosey-Tek. The ground floor lights were good, but the ones for upstairs needed bulbs so I went round to B&Q with the first fruit of my loin to get batteries. And then on to Asda for the makings of lunch.
Whilst in Asda we had a phone call. We didn't need the light bulbs as the light fitting was knacked and had to go back to the shop. So we returned the light bulbs to B&Q. The nice lady in the shop said they operated a refund policy for anything brought back within forty five days. We'd had the light bulbs for about forty five minutes.
Back to base, a quick sausage baguette, and then we went to Folkestone for a walk about. Meeting "Daddies Little Angel TM" and Sid by the harbour we wandered up to the coastal park for a mooch, then back to the harbour for cockles and a stroll on the beach before going back to see Jose. We had a go on his 3-D TV. Very nice.
And so home. With er indoors TM" off out flogging candles, me and Fudge were left to our own devices. The dog seems to have perked up since yesterday, but he still smells odd. I think he's been eating Parma Violets. I wonder if he can smell it too. Perhaps the odd smell is the reason why he rolled in fox poo then jumped in the river during our walk this evening. Rolling in fox poo is something I've come to expect from Fudge, but jumping in the river is new.
There is a stretch of land we regularly walk along. Fenced on one side; river on the other. He regularly runs along this path off of the lead because he can't get through the fence and the river has always acted as a barrier to him and he has never, ever, swum.
Tonight we found out he can swim.
For no reason at all he leapt into the river, swam straight across, climbed up the other side and charged off into the wild blue yonder. A few minutes before this episode we had been doing whistle training so (in panic and desperation) I blew the whistle. It worked. He stopped dead, turned round and charged back to me. However when he reached the river he pulled an emergency stop and looked at me. I could see the amazement and confusion on his face. Where had all that water come from? He then ran up and down the river bank in panic. Somehow I got his attention and ran myself. He followed, and once at a bridge we were re-united. If ever a dog looked relieved it was Furry Face.
I didn't need to put him back on the lead - he stayed by my side from then on.
And so home. Bath time for both of us, and as I type this blog entry the dog snores are louder than the television...
In closing I would point out to any geocachers who might be reading that there might just be a new puzzle cache going live locally. "Maelstrom #3" shouldn't be that difficult...
7 April 2013 (Sunday) - Mereworth
Earlier in the week a geocachical chap of my acquaintance asked if anyone fancied going for a walk as a ruse for finding a geocache or two. He suggested a mooch round Mereworth - somewhere I've not been before. We set off at 9am and having picked up a crafty cache on the way six of us (and two small dogs) met up by Mereworth church. The first church was a multi involving solving puzzles. Everyone else had already arrived and solved the puzzle and was prepared to set off walking half a mile in an easterly direction. Out of a sense of doing the right thing I had a crack at solving the puzzle. My solution involved walking quarter of a mile in a westerly direction. Since west was the direction we wanted to be going in, the consensus of opinion was to try my solution. Fortunately it turned out to be right. I was rather pleased about that. However it pays not to be too smug, as I was soon to find out.
And then we set off along the Mereworth Meander. Billed as a series of thirty one geocaches along a walk off six and a bit miles we ended up with having done thirty six over a ten mile walk. Including one which required a soduku expert to solve a puzzle.
Half way round was a puzzle cache that I'd solved before we'd set out. We sat down to a picnic lunch just before going to this cache. I called up the details, entered my solution into my geocompass, and realised that I''d stuffed it up. My answer was miles away. So I asked for pencil and paper and worked it all out again. This time I worked it out properly. Perhaps somewhat appropriately this cache was called "bird brain" (!)
Today was a good walk out with friends. Two of our number found their 1000th caches, one found his 1200th cache, and I got my 1450th. Both dogs were well behaved - Suzy is never any trouble anyway, but Fudge was good for all of the time for a change.
We finished walking at 4pm (six hours walking) and Dave asked if we fancied visiting his new cache before going home; he'd taken one on. It would have been rude not to have had a look, so we went to "forgotten gate". When we got there we disturbed a couple who were indulging in a spot of al-fresco rumpy-pumpy. It was great - Kallie even saw their leopard-skin undercrackers. We soon found this cache that Dave had taken on.
But of more interest was the forgotten gate. It was huge - an enormous structure - obviously once a gatehouse to Mereworth Castle; now fallen into disrepair. Well off the beaten track and left to fall to pieces.
It would have been good to have carried on, but time was pressing so we said our goodbyes and made our separate ways home. We had an errand to run in Sittingbourne, so that was where we went, picking up one or two more caches as we went. But once in Sittingbourne it was obvious from the three mile tailbacks that the road back to Ashford was blocked. So we decided to come home via Faversham.
No one had told us that the road from Faversham to Ashford was also closed. We eventually came home via Canterbury, stopping off on the way to pick up a geocache named "Forrest and the Wombles". It was probably too late to be messing around like that, but with a name like "Forrest and the Wombles" we couldn't resist it.
Today was a good day out with friends, a good walk for the dogs, and a successful hunt for small plastic boxes; finding all forty four of the ones we tried for. As always there are photos of the day on-line,
Once (eventually) home Fudge was bathed, as was I, and the little dog was soon fast asleep and snoring. As was I...
8 April 2013 (Monday) - Bit Dull
I was woken by a loud thump at about 3am. I assumed it was Fudge jumping the dog-proofing on the kitchen gate, and so I expected to feel him jump on the bed after a few seconds. He does that sometimes. But not this time. I pondered on what the noise might had been, but it the absence of any more racket I carried on dozing fitfully. When I went downstairs at 5.30am Furry Face was curled up in his basket (where he was supposed to be). I wonder what that crashing had been earlier .
And so another early start saw me scoffing my frooty-bix cereal and Fudge lapping up his bowl of milk before 6am. I got my morning's fix of Babylon 5 and I set off to work.
For once the morning's news was unremarkable. There were ructions about the Prime Minister's proposed tour around Europe; apparently the rest of the European Heads of State are seeing it as little more than a political publicity stunt. As if any politician's activities have ever have been anything else. There was concern about changes to the welfare benefits; those that need the benefits don't get them. Those that don't need it do get them. Same as it ever was, unfortunately. And apparently some dead South American author is to be exhumed after thirty years to see if he really died of natural causes or to see if he was poisoned.
All rather dull. For once my piss remained at ambient temperature.
Two new geocaches had gone live (almost) along my way to work. I could have stopped off and had a hunt for them. But I hadn't allowed myself enough time. I'll save them for later.
And so to work where I did my bit. I can't really complain. It's no secret that I would like to change what I do for a living. It's also no secret that after eighteen months of active job hunting I've got nowhere. So I shall stick with what I know.
The morning's news was unremarkable - the evening's not so. Margaret Thatcher had died during those intervening few hours. I can remember when she came to power. The country was in a terrible state. She sorted things out. She was a force to be reckoned with. Love her or loathe her; people respected her... at the start. After eleven years of her it all wore rather thin.
History will probably quote her as an example of why Americans only let their presidents serve for two terms...
9 April 2013 (Tuesday) - Porkers
I had a very intense dream last night. About something rather trivial. I dreamed I was testing a new shaving razor. Nothing interesting or remarkable, but it was very vivid. This morning I found that the vibrating circuit in my trusty Gillette Mach III had given up the ghost. I need a new razor.
Co-incidence or premonition? If it was premonition I just wish it had been about something more interesting; something on which I might have put a bet at the bookies and won some money.
And so to work. I had planned to pick up the two new geocaches which had appeared on my route to Canterbury over the weekend. But the rain was rather heavy, so I decided against it.
Whilst on my way I pulled in at the farm shop and bought some rather expensive chutney for Friday's planned extravaganza. And to counteract having bought something worth having I then stopped off at the cheapo-bargains emporium. I like that place. No curly-wurlies this time, but chocolate frogs were available at discount rates. However it has to be said that my piss boiled a little in this shop.
Some people bother me. Take for instance several such people I encountered today in the cheapo-bargains emporium. With the entire universe to fart around in, why do epically fat people choose the smallest alleyways and gangways to stop in. Surely they could have a rest, stare into space, go into a trace or desperately gasp for air anywhere. If they are having a heart attack, then that is understandable and I will allow them that. But to choose to deliberately block up the passage of the rest of humanity in general (and me specifically) for no adequately explored reason is just anti-social.
There were several such hyper-tubsters in the shop today. *Really* fat people - so fat that they didn't walk. Instead they actually lumbered; with each step throwing their weight from side to side and then flinging a leg out to catch themselves before gravity made them collapse. All of them acting as though they were the only people in the shop; all randomly stopping whenever and wherever the voices in their head told them to pull up. Mostly at the narrowest parts of the shop; in aisles next to where shelf filling was in progress, in the doorways, wherever three other mega-lardies had already stopped to gossip. All in places where had they moved on only two more yards they wouldn't have been in anyone's way.
The fifth such porker to block my passage this morning (!) nearly (but not quite) got pushed flat on its chubby face and then trampled over. The next one certainly will be(!)
As I drove I listened to the news on the radio. I say "news" - there was no news today. Just lots of talk about the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher. Some were praising her, some reviling her. As always politics divides society. One of the morning's commentators made an interesting point - "Thatcherism" has become a political byword, "Heathism", "Majorism", "Blairism", "Brownism" and "Cameronism" have not.
Having lived through the Thatcher era I can say that I voted her in and I voted her out. And I'm sure that I speak for a lot of people when I make the comment that, like many mistakes, she seemed to be a good idea at the time.
Which is what the fat people probably thought about randomly stopping dead wherever the mood took them...
10 April 2013 (Wednesday) - Bedgebury Again
Here's something of note. Regular readers of this drivel will know that I often rant about my sleep patterns. I rarely sleep more than four hours at night, and spent much of my so-called waking time nodding off. It turns out that this idea of "eight hours sleep" is a relatively modern concept. Historically people would sleep for three or four hours, get up, do stuff for an hour in the middle of the night, and then go back to sleep again. Researchers have found over five hundred historical references to people doing this sort of thing. I might try that for myself.
Among my collection of lame DVDs is the complete "Blake's 7". Billed as a "classic", at the time (thirty years ago) it was one of the best sci-fi shows there was. Computer generated imagery and super special effects were still years into the future, so like all sci-fi at the time they didn't try to disguise the fact that the sets wobbled, the props were made of old washing up liquid bottles and the monsters were men in rubber suits. Instead they employed actors who could act convincingly and they made a show with a plot. And the plots was (usually) good enough to take your mind off of the fact that the sets were wobbling and the monster was clearly a man in a rubber suit.
Recently much sci-fi hasn't bothered with plots; hoping instead that CGI will blind the public to the fact that modern sci-fi isn't so much about telling a story as it is about showing off the latest advances in computer technology
I see Blake's 7 is to return to our screens. I'm hoping for great things. I bet I will be disappointed. Mind you they re-made "Battlestar Galactica" which was from the same era and that worked.
With brekkie scoffed I put some laundry out on the line to dry. "Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived with Sid. We swapped a few insults, and then said our goodbyes. I had plans for the day - plans she had already declared to be "lame".
Four of us (and two dogs of differing sizes) set off to Bedgebury. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that over the last few weeks and months I've already been on two geocaching missions to Begebury. There are a *lot* of caches there, and today we intended to find all of the ones that we hadn't already found. We went with a list of thirty caches to be brought to light. We had a good time - a really good walk in the company of good friends who understand that my little dog has his little episodes. A walk in the fresh air in beautiful scenery. A walk past the ice cream van who did Whippys with monkey blood. (Am I really the only person in the world who calls the strawberry sauce in ice cream vans "monkey blood"). A walk through the woods and the mud.
And the caches - really clever multi-s and puzzles. Some easy to find. Some difficult. Some needing props and tools to find. And three of our thirty targets eluded us. Certainly one of them had gone - we found the hide but the cache had gone. One was supposed to be behind a tree. It might have been once but I wasn't convinced that it still was. And the third gave us the slip completely.
We started walking at 10am; we got back to the car shortly before 4pm. Steve found his 450th cache, Lisa & Earle found their 1150th and I found my 1500th. Is 2000 before August too ambitious?
We shall have to make another trip to Bedgebury to find those last three caches. But that won't be a bad thing; there are worse places to be.
Full marks to the chap who has hidden those caches. It's clear that a lot of time and effort has gone into filling Bedgebury with those caches and I for one am very grateful.
And so home again to the domestic trivia. Planning to mow the lawn tomorrow I harvested all the dog dung that was littering in. And again I blocked the toilet with the dog dung. Planning to do the ironing tomorrow I got the laundry in from the line. Most of it was dry. I then sat myself in front of the telly with a small dog (fast asleep) sprawled over me. It can be a tough life sometimes..
11 April 2013 (Thursday) - Housework
I have often mentioned that God laughs when we make plans. Today was always going to be dull. So I'd resigned myself to using the day to get the housework done. Yesterday I'd got the lawn ready for mowing (at not inconsiderable effort) only to find that it had rained overnight and the grass was soaking wet. After a spot of brekkie I took wet laundry to the washing line to get it dry only to find it was still raining. The next job was Fudge's walk - which neither of us would enjoy in the rain. So I consulted the weather forecast (I know!) which predicted that the rain would have stopped by 10am. It was time for a judicious rethink of the day's plans. If I did the tip run and supermarket shopping first....?
So that's what I did. Round to the tip. At the moment Ashford has a temporary tip whilst the proper one is being refurbished. I had an old florescent light tube that I needed to get rid of. I asked the chap at the tip which bin it should go in. The twonk informed me that the "tip facilities are unable to process florescent light tubes at the present juncture until the new facilities are working down the road like". There's nothing quite like truly stupid people trying to sound official. I asked the idiot where I might find alternate facilities. He told me that "they can be found at most retail shops like supermarkets", so I stuck it in with the glass recycling at Sainsburys. I hope that was the right thing to do. If it wasn't then I'm sorry, but would it have hurt the council to have employed someone who might have been helpful.
Home, and I took Fudge for a walk. I'd had a report that one of the geocaches I'd hidden had gone. Two days ago I got a message "Cache had been destroyed. Found the remnants and disposed of". Today we went to have a look-see. The cache was exactly where it was supposed to be. I wonder what that message was all about? Feeling flushed at having found that where it was supposed to be we went down to Park Farm to look for a cache that Lisa had hidden a week ago, and completely failed to find it. And so we came home. As we walked so I noticed that I'd developed a blister.
A spot of lunch, and seeing that the lawn was still too wet for mowing I attacked the ironing. There was a lot of it. As I ironed I watched a film I'd recorded onto the Sky-Plus box. I've always been a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, but I was disappointed. "Contagion" was probably one of the worst films I've ever seen. I don't know why, but I watched it to the bitter end. I wish I hadn't. With that over I resorted to Babylon 5 DVDs to keep me amused whilst I finished the ironing. And with undercrackers and socks sorted I then stitched up the hole that I'd ripped into my troosers last week, before tidying up and hoovering round. Hoovering with a Dyson.
Some days are dull. Today wasn't riveting, but I didn't have time to get bored...
12 April 2013 (Friday) - Cheese and Chutney
It rained hard in the night. The rain was so loud against the window that it woke me up. I wish it wouldn't do that. It woke me up on the rare occasion that I was actually getting some sleep, and it boiled my piss that the ground was going to be very wet underfoot for walking later in the day.
In the absence of "Daddies Little Angel TM" I took Fudge round the block for a walk. As we went through the Bowens Field (very) wetlands park I noticed something in the pond. Someone's cuddly "Barney the dinosaur" had drowned. Rather sad really. And after that fatality the rest of our walk was rather dull.
And so home. Fudge took himself off to his bed and went to sleep, so I went out with a clear conscience. The O'Lata's were going on a walk and I was going with them. From Sevington to Mersham and back. It was as well Fudge didn't seem up for it - I've already hosed mud off of him twice this week.
As we started walking so the rain started and it looked rather miserable. But as we walked so the weather picked up and we had quite a good stroll. Only a short one - just over two hours, but it's all good exercise even if very muddy.
And so home. A spot of lunch, and with Fudge asleep on my lap I administered his monthly anti-flea treatment. He didn't seem too bothered about it; which was just as well. And having pretty much wasted the rest of the afternoon, once er indoors TM" was home we went round to Queen Street where the tribes were gathering for cheese and chutney.
A wonderful evening with friends. Must do it more often...
13 April 2013 (Saturday) - Raining
Bearing in mind the amount of cheese, chutney and mild I scoffed last night, my guts weren't in too bad a state this morning. Which was probably as well for the universe and its denizens. Specifically those who inhabited the bit of it in my general vicinity today.
I emerged from my pit shortly before 6.30am this morning and having checked on cyber-space I set off to work a little earlier than I might have done. I don't mind working at weekends, but everyone else would be up to mischief, so I thought I'd get up to just a little myself. Earlier in the week I'd not gone for the two geocaches that had recently gone live on the Canterbury road. Today I went for them. One was in a really scenic place - just by the riverside. A really pretty river view that I drive within fifty yards of on my way to work, and I had no idea that it was there.
Having nearly fallen in the river before finding the cache I enjoyed the view for a couple of minutes before moving on to find the next cache which was rather dull in comparison.
As I drove, as always, I listened to the news. Today's made me think. What do we actually know of the world around us other than what we are told by others? The news commentators were reporting a story about Madonna who is currently doing various good works in Malawi
Apparently some of the locals don't like her, and have slated her efforts. The pundits on the radio were also very disparaging about her, and contrasting her efforts with Angela Jolie who was being held up as some sort of role model, as was (interestingly) Bono. This surprised me as I'd always been led to believe that Bono was a bit of a twit. But on reflection this belief was based entirely on what I've read about the bloke by people who obviously had axes to grind. It turns out that the chap is actually quite knowledgeable.
I really shouldn't believe all that I read.
And so to work where I did my bit. I did look out of the window at the glorious day outside several times this morning. But as the day wore on the bright morning gave way to an overcast and wet afternoon. And I spent much of the evening listening to the rain hammering of the windows and being glad that i was at work for such awful weather.
The original plan for the day did have me going for a weekend in Brighton - unfortunately this was put on hold when I realised that I'd forgotten that I was rota-ed to work. It turns out that all was for the best. The rain was torrential down in Sussex.
And whilst at work I got an email through my work account. An old mucker had got in touch - someone I've not heard from in over twenty years. He was an usher at my wedding. He seems well. Must organise a meet-up...
14 April 2013 (Sunday) - At Work
I went to bed shortly after midnight last night with the alarm set for 6.30am. I woke at 5.30am, so that's not bad really.
After I'd done the washing up, I sorted brekkie. Frooty Bix for me, a bowl of milk for Fudge. I've heard that milk's not good for him. I need to do some research. It worries me that he drinks so little for a dog that tiddles so much. If nothing else, giving him milk gets fluid into him.
Once he'd had his milk I terrorised Furry Face for a few minutes before setting off perhaps slightly earlier than I might have done. But Sunday mornings are especially quiet and so are ideal for a spot of lone geocaching on the way to work. A group of people lurking about looking suspicious is nowhere near as dodgy-looking as one person on their own looking suspicious.
There's not many caches left that I haven't found within striking distance of home, but one such was at Wye downs. A rather beautiful spot. I was amazed to find that there was a car in the car park when I pulled up at 7.25am, but the occupants of the car were busy with what they were doing. I won't dwell on what they were up to; suffice it to say that I have heard the practice billed as a cure for tonsillitis.
I did my thing, I quickly found the cache, did the secret geocaching ritual known only to the initiated, hid the thing again, enjoyed the view and was soon back on my way.
In the meantime those in the other car carried on slurping and being slurped, seemingly oblivious to the world around them. I would have thought that 7.25am on a Sunday morning was rather early to have driven up to Wye downs for a nosh. But I expect that those who engage in al-fresco sword swallowing probably think that 7.25am on a Sunday morning was rather early to go looking for plastic boxes.
I then came on to Canterbury via Chartham where I picked up another cache. Geocaches are graded on a D/T scale. D being "difficulty" - how hard the thing is to find, and T being "Terrain" - how hard it is to get to the cache. Both numbers being on a scale of one to five.
This second cache of the morning was rated 1.5/4. Having looked it up I was dubious. A difficulty rating of 1.5 shouldn't be that hard to find, but a terrain rating of four... I have hidden two caches myself which are inside rubber ducks floating in rivers which I have rated as terrain 4. I was expecting to struggle to get at the cache. Would it be up a tree, in a swamp....?
I was wrong - it was easy to get to. Whilst someone in a wheelchair might have had a tricky time, it was certainly accessible by push chairs. I can only imagine that there has been some forest clearance which has taken place since the cache was hidden. Certainly the terrain rating might benefit from a tad of adjustment.
As I drove, the radio was talking of vaguely religious matters, as it often does on a Sunday. There was an argument between two Hindus, one of high caste and one of low caste. Apparently there is legislation in Parliament to make it illegal for those of high caste to discriminate against those of low caste. The chap who was of low caste was all for the legislation, as one might expect. The chap who was of high caste felt the whole thing was silly as no one ever discriminated against him, his family or his social circle. As one might expect. Furthermore he went on to point out (in a rather patronising way) that the whole concept of caste discrimination was nonsense. Apparently it never affects anyone of any importance (!)
It was a sad demonstration of the fact that we need this legislation that the low caste chap's arguments were nowhere near as convincing as the high caste chap's arrogance.
The radio then wheeled on several self-appointed pundits who squabbled about the personal religion of Margaret Thatcher. Apparently Mag Thatch had announced that she was Christian, and had also made it known that she felt very deeply about her religious convictions. Some of the pundits defended her position, others attacked it. None with any real credibility. Did she have a deep religious belief? I don't know. Does anyone ever know if someone else actually believes in their professed religion or is just going through the motions because it is expected of them. Like I used to.
And then it was time for the radio's Sunday service. I've whinged about the broadcasted Sunday services in the past. I'm not keen on the happy-clappy form of worship; preferring something rather more traditional myself. However there is a fine line between "traditional" and "dreary". Today's service had crossed that line.
And so to work. As I'd driven the scenic way to work through various country lanes I had encountered several floods. The usual suspects were off walking dogs today (and looking for tupperware too). I exchanged a few texts during the day if only to see what I was missing. They'd gone to Bedgebury - where I went last Wednesday. It was rather wet underfoot in places a few days ago. Much as I like being out and about, judging by the floods I'd driven through this morning I think that were I to have picked a weekend to work, this might have been one of the better ones. And the wind was rather excessive at times. Walking when it's blowy is no fun.
I kept telling myself that as the day went on.
And so home where I caught up with yesterday's episode of Doctor Who. It could have been a good episode. I fell asleep...
15 April 2013 (Monday) - This n That
With no bread for my morning toast I popped over the road to the local shop to get some. Not only was it thirty pence more expensive than Tesco, their stuff wasn't at all fresh - verging almost onto being stale. And people wonder why the general public prefer supermarkets over smaller establishments.
But even stale bread can make good toast. Or it could given a good toaster. I think ours is on the way out. It has two settings. One slightly warms the bread, the other incinerates it.
I took Fudge for his morning constitutional. Last Thursday I'd taken him down to Park Farm to look for a recently hidden geocache. After half an hour's searching last week I'd given up. Today, after a silly episode in which I nearly fell in the river, I found the cache almost immediately. We then carried on with our walk. We found a discarded supermarket trolley about half a mile from Tesco's. Whoever had dumped it had carried it over a fence and across several hundred yards of field to leave it where it was. Whatever possesses people to do that? We carried on through Park Farm to a new estate that "Daddies Little Angel TM" has dubbed "Legoland". She's not wrong in her description. The estate is on it's own with nothing around it, and the houses (in all honesty) look as though they are made of Lego.
As we walked by the river I remembered Fudge's swimming episode of the other week, but nevertheless I let him off the lead. He made a bee-line to the river and I heard a plop. And another plop. The frogs seemed to be bothering him.
We eventually made our way home past "Pets at Home" where I popped in and asked about whether or not Furry Face should be having milk. Opinion was vague. She wouldn't advise it because some dogs are lactose intolerant and it might give them the two bob bits. I explained that he's been having it for some time and all has been fine. Their reply was non-committal. I've since done an Internet search and it seems that the best way to find out if your dog is lactose intolerant is to give him some and see if he gets the squits. I've done that experiment already.
I shall carry on giving him a small bowl of milk in the morning. The milky goodness is good for him, and I like to see him drink anything which isn't murky muddy water.
And so home. Finally with some fine weather I got into the garden and hung out Fudge's bedding which had been washing whilst we were walking. More laundry went into the washing machine whilst I mowed the lawn and mucked out the pond's fish poo filter. The pond has been reactivated after its winter sleep; a month later than it was last year. I also turned on all the water features to give them a run through. Fudge had quite a bit to say about my large fountain. I can't believe I've not used it to wind him up before.
More laundry onto the line, more laundry into the washing machine, and after a quick spot of lunch I went to the hospital to visit. There was someone with a kidney infection who needed cheering up. There was a minor mishap when I realised I'd left her get well card in the car, but she seemed in good spirits, if in a bit of pain. I stayed for a couple of hours, but really had to come home. Dull domestic chores don't finish themselves, you know. I eventually finished dull domestic trivia shortly after 6pm. Amazing how long it takes to just fiddle about.
Steve and Sarah called round to collect the barrel of mild for the weekend. I was rather pleased with how last week's mild turned out. I have high hopes for this next batch...
16 April 2013 (Tuesday) - Stuff
A good night's sleep, and with little of note in social media I set off to work. The news on the radio was all about the recent tragedy in Boston. Was it a terrorist attack? The pundits seem to be very cagey. So far no crackpot group has claimed responsibility.
For myself I can't help but wonder why anyone would target innocents like that. There's no denying there are some people to whom I would wish harm. Not many, but they exist. I suspect they know they are on my poop list too... But were I daft enough to drop a rock on them I would make sure that no innocent bystanders got hit by that rock.
There was also talk on the same radio show about why we haven't found any aliens. It seemed an odd topic to have on the morning's news program. The old chestnuts, the Fermi paradox and the Drake equation, were wheeled out again. As were the ideas that if were aliens going through the galaxy in years gone by then they would have already set up a colony on prehistoric Earth.
Interestingly today's experts seemed to be of the opinion that we haven't found aliens because we're not using the right technology to find them. They were rather vague about what technology one might use to find an alien, as one might expect them to be. Presumably they were loathe to mention illudium-Q space modulators in case the public thought the worst of them.
This reminded me of the astro-biology course I completed a few weeks ago. I got a distinction for that. It prompted me to have a look on the Coursera web site this evening to see what else I might learn. I've signed up for a course in psychology (of all things). It will either help me to be more understanding of the idiosyncrasies of my fellow man, or it will make me more astute in spotting loonies. I wonder which it will be. Time will tell - it always does.
I stopped off on my way to work at Morrisons to fill the car with petrol. Sixty quid's worth of the stuff. Ouch! And then (since it was in the area) I popped in to the cheapo bargains shop. The other day I whinged about the fat people in that shop who were getting in my way. As I pulled up there were a gaggle of porkers heading towards the door. Would you believe it - once at the door they all stopped (blocking it entirely) to have a gossip.
And so to work where I did my bit. In days gone by I used to do far more than just my bit. Not today though.
Over the weekend one of my colleagues had had a birthday so we got to scoff cakes. That's always good.
Being on a very late finish I wasn't at the weekly gathering of the clans. I've not been there for two consecutive weeks now. I'm missing my weekly fix of bandying insults and spotting the historical mistakes in Merlin...
17 April 2013 (Wednesday) - Solving Puzzles
What with not getting home till gone 10.30pm and having a rather late tea and one thing and another it was gone 1.30am before I went off to my pit last night. So it's not really surprising that I didn't emerge until 8am this morning.
I was half expecting "Daddies Little Angel TM" and Sid to visit today, but she was working. So Fudge and I went off for a walk on our own. Past the International train station, almost as far as Arden Drive, then round to Henwood, the Willesborough railway crossing, Frog's Island and home past Asda. Two hours exercise can't be bad.
Fudge was allowed off his lead at three different stages of the walk and he was as good as gold; coming back when called every time. Even when he saw a rabbit and gave chase he only chased for a little while before coming back.
We came home to find "My Boy TM" at home, and exchanged some insults before he set off on his way. I put washing on the line and then after a crafty spot of lunch I spent a couple of hours doing dull homework.
And then I spent a frustrating couple of hours solving two relatively local puzzle caches. Eventually I had their locations - all that remained was for me to go and to the secret geocaching thing with them.
With er indoors TM" off to a conglomeration of candlemongers this evening, me and Fudge were at a loose end. So we set off to find those two puzzle caches that I'd solved earlier. We found both. We could open neither.
Both required that I took along the print-outs that I'd used to locate the caches. I'd not printed out the vital bit that I'd needed for one, and the print quality was too faint for me to see what I needed for the other. And it was getting dark.
So once home I copied a certain picture to my phone and consulted wikipedia some more. I might just go back to those caches tomorrow. I wonder if Furry Face would like another walk. As I type this the poor dog is snoring. I think he's had walkies overload...
18 February 2013 (Thursday) - Which Direction ?
Yesterday evening me and Fudge set off to find two puzzle caches that I'd solved earlier in the day. Despite finding both of them we could open neither. Both required that I took along the print-outs that I'd used to locate the caches. I'd not printed out the vital bit that I'd needed for one, and the print quality was too faint for me to see what I needed for the other. So once home I copied a certain picture to my phone and consulted wikipedia some more. After a spot of brekkie this morning me and Fudge got a lift of off er indoors TM" (who was driving near to where we wanted to be) to try our luck again.
One cache opened easily. We felt very pleased with ourselves, did the secret geocaching ritual and went on to the other cache. If anyone is reading this blog entry in the hopes of getting a hint for this other cache.... sorry. Suffice it to say that finding the cache is easy, getting in not so. I thought that having a photo of the clue would help me. I needed to actually write down what I thought my solution to the puzzle was. I hadn't written it down.
We came home the long way. As we walked it was windy, but a lovely day. We saw blue tits in the hedgerows, a hawk was hovering not five yards over the footpath. Rabbits were in the fields, blossom was (finally) on the trees and Fudge behaved himself mostly. He even came off the lead a few times and was fine.
Once home I had a spot of cheese on crisps on toast for lunch and posted a "sulk note" on the cache's web page for the cache tat was giving me gyp. I spent an hour or so clearing thugs and ruffians out of NeverWinter and I theen had a message via Facebook. From the nice lady who had hidden the cache I was struggling with.
She said that when I next was going up to try to open the cache I might send her a message with my solution so as to save me a wasted journey if it was wrong. I thought that was a very kind gesture, and we got cyber-chatting. Whilst not angling for hints I wondered if I was on the right lines with my solution. It turned out I wasn't completely wrong, and after a bit of head scratching I sent her a solution. She sent back the thumbs up.
So at 4pm I put Fudge's lead on him and we walked the hour's walk to the cache. This time the thing opened up right away, and I was able to log my find. As I've said before caches are rated on difficulty and terrain. Both scales from one to five. The terrain on this one was 2.5, which takes a bit of effort. But the difficulty is rated at 5. I did feel very smug.
The walk home was spent exchanging cyber-messages with various people who had been watching the internet to follow my progress with this cache. On reflection it's a sign of Fudge's progress in that I can recall taking him for a walk over the summer. When my phone rang then I had to pass the lead to Steve to hold him whilst I took the call. Now he's that good that I can text whilst walking him. And whilst I was reflecting on what a good dog he was, he picked a fight with a passing vagrant.
We got home shortly after 6pm. With er indoors TM" off on a works overnight beano, me and Furry Face were left to our own devices. Fudge promptly fell asleep, and I went foraging for my tea in the general direction of the KFC. Expensive and calorie-ridden, but I thought I deserved it after the exertions of today.
19 April 2013 (Friday) - Rolf?
With my beloved off on a jolly, Furry Face spent all night at the bottom of the bed. I wonder how he got there? Perhaps I forgot to secure the dog-proofing in the kitchen last night? Astute readers might notice that I said "spent all night" and not "slept" - he was rather restless and did fidget a few times. Fudge woke me shortly after 5am by having a woofing fit. I wonder what it was that upset him.
I got up to see what the problem was, and he seemed very keen to get into the back garden where he went straight to the pond and watched over it in much the same way that a hawk would study small mice.
Since I turned the pond pump back on a week or so ago he's been fascinated by the Koi. I let him watch them for as long as it took me to shave, then (strangely for him) he came back in of his own accord.
I watched another episode of Babylon 5 over a bowl of frootie-bix and then set off to work. There was little of note on the radio as I drove. That most volatile of bodily fluids didn't even simmer (for once).
I got to work and did my bit. And whilst listening to the radio on my way home I heard something which did set my piss bubbling.
Rolf Harris was a kiddie fiddler? Was he? Wasn't he? Not Rolf Harris!
Personally I can't help but wonder whether he's been accused on the strength of actual evidence against him, or because he is a public figure and has been a children's entertainer. It seems the "in thing" at the moment to accuse anyone who's ever been on the same planet as a child of having been a kiddie fiddler.
I feel rather strongly about this - as an ex cub scout leader I am sure that it is only a matter of time until some opportunistic ex cub realises they can make a name for themselves in the local press by bandying baseless allegations against me.
20 April 2013 (Saturday) - Cake and Mild
A rather restless night was spent mostly prodding er indoors TM" to stop her snoring. I eventually gave up the battle and had a slightly earlier brekkie than I might have done. And after spending an entertaining five minutes duffing up Furry Face I took him round the park for a walk. We met many of the usual dog walkers. The Irish chap was there and we had quite a chat. "Orangehead" was there (looking more like Ronald McDonald every day) with her chunky little friend. And their dogs. And Fudge was off the lead and (mostly) behaving himself; coming back (eventually) when called.
We carried on with our walk and a little later encountered "Orangehead" (without her chunky little friend) as we were walking across the co-op field. Fudge ran up to her dog, and "Orangehead" promptly started giving Fudge dog treats. I wish people wouldn't do that; it only makes him not want to come back to me.
I then drove round to the garage to collect er indoors TM" who had left her car to get fixed. And once changed we set off to the Hare and Hounds. Ashford was hosting the monthly gathering of geocachers. Once a month we all meet up and chat about the latest developments in hiding tupperware. It was really good to meet up with friends old and new. There was a new lady from Chartham who was introduced to me (because I have some caches in Canterbury). We got chatting - she was really new to the game, and she got a lot from chatting to the old hands. We had a couple of pints and a cheese ploughmans, and then my phone beeped. Twelve new caches had gone live in honour of the event, and so people set off in various directions in various groups. I walked along with people I've not walked with much before. But it's always good to walk with like-minded friends. We had a really good day on what must have been the finest afternoon so far this year. And Lisa had made cake too.
We walked for a couple of hours, and then came back to the pub where we chatted for a little before making our way home. A quick cuppa, a quick game of tug o' war with the dog, a change of shirt, and off out to a birthday party.
Loads of us gathered to celebrate Steve's birthday, and we tried my second attempt at making mild. It wasn't a bad drop. From what I can remember...
21 April 2013 (Sunday) - Scotney Castle
It was all rather vague last night. That mild was good stuff. I slept like a log, and was eventually woken shortly after 8am by a small dog licking my nose. He'd got bored with waiting for me to get up and jumped the dog proofing.
er indoors TM" eventually emerged from her pit and after brekkie we went to the garage to reclaim the er indoors TM"-mobile. And the round to Singleton for the rest of our crew and off we went. We'd heard that there was free admission to Scotney Castle today. Something for nothing is always good. We stopped off at half a dozen seemingly random points along the way. Can't think why (!)
We got to Scotney Castle shortly after mid day with what seemed like most of the rest of the human race. A combination of free admission and glorious weather had got everyone out today. We found a secluded spot for a little picnic, and then thought we'd stroll the grounds. The woods were lovely. The grounds of Scotney Castle are somewhere I've not been for years. But they are really good. And (if you know where to look) there are four geocaches in those grounds. We found them - and we found other people looking for those caches. It was good to meet up with these people and put some faces to names.
Having walked several miles we realised we'd spent too long walking and that we'd left it too late to go round the castle itself. Oh well - we'll do that next time there's a freebie advertised.
As always I took photos of the day and put them on-line.
We came home a rather circuitous way (can't imagine why!) and once home Fudge had a bath. He wasn't quite as grubby as I'd thought he was, but a scrub never hurts him. And with er indoors TM" off bowling I watched my DVDs whilst a small dog snored.
er indoors TM" returned, and we watched yesterday's episode of "Doctor Who". I liked the Jon Pertwee era references; it was one of the better episodes that have come out recently. But I still fell asleep...
22 April 2013 (Monday) - Rippers Cross
Once brekkied I got the laundry on the washing line and then me and Furry Face begged a lift from er indoors TM" to her work from where we went on a little stroll. Up through Kennington to Sandyhurst Lane. Down and across the A20 as far as Rippers Cross, then home via Great Chart and Viccy Park. To those that don't know the area we were walking for nearly four hours and covered about twelve miles. Whilst we were going I found two geocaches, and Fudge scoffed sheep poo and horse poo. Both us us were doubly successful at our chosen hobbies.
Once home we had a quick spot of lunch, then I lowed the lawn. I'm not sure the strimmer has survived the experience. I'm hoping it's salvageable. We then went round to Pets at Home - I'd had a text to say that Fudge's flea treatment was ready. They told me they were doing a special offer on microchipping dogs. I thought he's already been chipped; his records said not. To prove a point they scanned him and found a microchip. They gave me the reference number and a phone number which I phoned with a view to updating the records. Apparently the number they scanned out of him was missing a country code, and they suggested I got him re-scanned. I'll get that done later in the week.
I then spent an hour and a half solving a (relatively) local puzzle cache. And having come up with a solution it turned out that my answer wasn't a million miles from what Lisa had worked out. So with neither of us having anything better to do we then spent another hour and a half finding that we were both wrong.
Laundry off of the line; undercrackers washed, dog fed... and with er indoors TM" off bowling I watched a film I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. "East is East" was entertaining enough; even if I did struggle to hear it over a snoring dog....
23 April 2013 (Tuesday) - Dull
Despite a late night I was still awake at 4.30am. I think I had about four hours sleep last night. I had a crafty bowl of frootie-bix for brekkie and watched an episode Babylon-5 with Fudge, and then set off off to work. The news got me going, as always.
Many years ago I can remember grumbling about why we learned history at school. After all, it's all dead and buried. But, as I was told at the time, if we don't learn from the mistakes of the past we will be doomed to repeat them in the future.
I've blogged before that I think Scottish independence is a bad idea; personally I think union is a good thing. Take the European Union for example. If we are all one big happy family then despite the odd squabble we won't waste years warring with each other (again). But if one lesson has been learned from the enitire Euro-zone concept, it is that having a common currency across twenty-odd countries means the most powerful ones give the orders, and the smaller ones do as they are told. When they are told. And say "Yes Sir!" whilst they are at it. So why does a potentially independent Scotland not want it's own currency, but would prefer to keep the pound? I thought the pro-independence nutters wanted to go their own way?
And so to work. I wasn't feeling particularly motivated today. I did my bit, but no more. And so home again.
For the third consecutive Tuesday I missed the weekly gathering. Not finishing work until 8pm made a timely arrival in Folkestone somewhat tricky.
As I came home the pundits on the radio were expounding on a crackpot theory that international corporations perpetrate tax avoidance schemes to their benefit and to the detriment of their host countries. Half an hour of pointing out the obvious was rather tedious.
And in closing, today is St George's day. I don't think anyone noticed the fact.
Dull, so dull...
24 April 2013 (Wednesday) - This n That
Another early start. Fudge was fast asleep when I came down. Late at night he takes himself off to his basket and we cover him over and tuck him in (!). I found him exactly as we'd left him last night. I gave him a stroke; he opened one eye, looked at me and closed it again. He doesn't seem to be a "morning dog"; it takes him a little while to get going in the morning. Mind you it takes most people a little while to get going at 5am.
This morning I had the last of the frootie-bix. I quite liked that stuff. It was a shame it came from Sainsbury's; I'm not rich enough to shop there regularly. I wonder if DLA has any other posh cereals she doesn't want (he speculated hopefully).
And so to work. It was a very foggy morning. Interestingly the radio's weather forecaster this morning started off with a summary of the current weather, and he said that the morning's fogs were restricted to a few patches in Devon. That bloke was on the case(!)
The morning's news was interesting. Apparently Britain is becoming a much less violent place, with violent crime and violence leading to hospital admission being on the decrease. That's good news in what can often be depressing times. So in order to redress the balance, one of NASA's rovers has drawn a rude picture on the Martian surface.
Meanwhile science is still at a loss to explain where all the anti-matter has gone, Perhaps whoever programmed the rover to draw pictures of willies might have had a hand in the matter (to coin a phrase).
Once at work I checked my emails. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I spent quite a bit of money recently on a new car battery. Today it turns out that had I used the works discount scheme I could have saved money on that battery. Oh well. Such is life. And what is money for if not to squander foolishly.
At tea break I had a disappointment. I have several e-books on my phone. Last year I found an iffy web site from which I downloaded hundreds of e-books. I was just getting to the good part in the novel 2010 when the story stopped. What I thought was a copy of 2010 was actually a copy of the first third of 2010; stopping mid sentence a little way into the eighth chapter.
I suppose there is a moral in there somewhere.
And so home. My beloved was off at arky-ologee club. I've not been there for over a year what with the vagaries of my shift pattern. Do I miss it? I don't know. Some of the talks are interesting; some rather dull.
It would be nice to get along to a meeting at some stage for old time's sake...
25 April 2013 (Thursday) - That n This
I was awoken by a little thud this morning. I think a certain small dog had mis-judged his attempt to jump on to the bed at 6.30am. Once he was eventually on the bed I wound him up by looking at him and then pretending to go back to sleep. I succeeded in aggravating him so much that his whining woke er indoors TM". I really shouldn't encourage Furry Face to come upstairs.
For want of anything better to do I checked the phone's 1571 message thingy. I wish people wouldn't leave messages on it; I rarely (if ever) check it. There was a message on it left by a health visitor some three days ago. I can only assume she had a wrong number as neither of us had any idea of what the message was about, despite her detailed witterings about who she wanted to visit and their apparent maladies and treatments.
So much for medical confidentiality. Perhaps I should have made an issue of it rather than just deleting the message; after all some people have been sacked for lesser mistakes (!)
And so to work. I'd left rather earlier than I needed to; but being on a late shift meant that (if I was quick) I'd have time to pop into the cheapo bargains shop. That was the plan...
I found traffic was queued for two miles out of Canterbury because of road works. Far from having time to go shopping, I was ten minutes late for work. I shall have to eke out my supply of armpit-squirt until I can get to Wilkos.
I did my bit at work and came home. On the corner of our street is a bench where various vagrants often congregate. This evening once I'd parked, as I walked home I was greeted by one of these. He was an ex-cub scout who was having a crafty tinny. I got chatting - I distinctly remember this chap when he was a cub fifteen years ago. His family had never had any luck back then, with a brother having died as a child, and his mother dying whilst he was young. His luck hadn't changed. I had heard he'd moved up north. He told me that he had; but it hadn't worked out. He was visiting Ashford trying to arrange visiting rights to his child. Apparently his ex- was being difficult about custody. He was enjoying a quick drink before taking a train to London where he was staying with a relative for a few days. He was vague about his plans after this sojourn would be over.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up with my own trivial problems that I forget that I am doing rather well compared with so many others.
Being on a 10pm finish meant that I couldn't get to see Maria for her birthday bash, nor could I get to the astro club committee meeting this evening; which was a a pain. We've not had a committee meeting for a few months, and it would have been good to have got along. Being the Treasurer I have a couple of cheques that need signing, and it's easier to collar other signatories at a committee meeting than anywhere else. It would also have been good to have had a chat. I sometimes wonder about the club's future direction. On the one hand it would be good to expand our remit; involve the membership more, put on observing evenings, organise imaging workshops. On the other hand we've tried expanding what the club does before, and had a minimal take-up. The punters seem to be happy with what we are doing.
I'm gripped by indecision. On the one hand the club might be doing more. On the other hand I have absolutely no interest in shivering whilst looking through a telescope at midnight.
Something else which needs a little thought is Canterbury beer festival, which is only three months away. It's been suggested that we go along mob-handed on the Friday afternoon like we have before. I've checked my shift pattern and I'm not working that day. But... getting there (train & taxi) is a tenner. Beer is (at least) twenty quid. A portion of goat curry and some flavoured olives is another tenner. And then there is a tombola to win and souvenirs to buy.
So that's fifty quid to be packed like sardines into a cowshed with the weirdie-beardies who frequent beer festivals.
I've been told that I brew a half-decent pint. Maybe I could rally the troops and we could put on a festival of our own. For far less that what someone would spend on a day at Canterbury beer festival, anyone could buy the barrel, bucket and ingredients for five gallons of ale. If I could get half a dozen takers we could do a beer festival of our own. I shall put out some feelers; the weekend of Canterbury beer festival would be a good time to stage such an event. If we go for that weekend people will need to get brewing within the month...
26 April 2013 (Friday) - It Rained
Having had three days of glorious weather whilst I was working I had great plans for today. So you can imagine my reaction when I woke to torrential rain. The rain showed no signs of abating, so I settled down to laundry and dull homework. I also did the monthly accounts which didn't depress me quite as much as I thought it might.
By mid day the rain had abated somewhat so I finally got to take Furry Face for his walk. Whilst out I trued for a nearby geocache which had gone live two days ago. The watchword of geocaching is "stealth", so with Fudge noisily trying to pick a fight with every dog for miles around I gave up. We came home through Frog's Island where I left Furry Face off of his lead and he made a nuisance of himself with the nice people trying to train their dog.
As the rains started again we came home and I spent most of the afternoon ironing shirts whilst watching Babylon 5 DVDs. I left for astro club perhaps earlier than I might have done; there were a couple of geocaches on the way that weren't going to find themselves. Both were out of the ordinary; one being quite unique.
I had a shock when I pulled up at the car park in Woodchurch. Fudge was running across the field. I looked again; it was my dog. He had a very distinctive shape, and it looked just like him. Panic set in. It was only when I went across the field to him that I noticed the white patch on the dog's chest. It wasn't Fudge, but it could have been his brother. I got chatting with the dog's owner; he too had never encountered another Patagonian Tripe-Hound. His dog also had been a rescued one.
And so to astro club. With an excellent turn-out of over sixty people we had a really good talk about the Voyager missions. I learned loads; and after I hawked the raffle we had a stellarium show of the spring stars. Ironically the clouds parted just as we were going home and I drove home under a clear sky.
We then watched "Big Bang Theory" for an hour or so whilst scoffing prawn crackers. I wonder if the other Patagonian Tripe-Hound likes prawn crackers quite as much as my one seems to...
27 April 2013 (Saturday) - ... Without A Paddle
I was wide awake at 7am, and with little else to do so early on a Saturday I had a go at the astro club's accounts. The credit crunch is obviously hitting - refreshments takings are regularly twenty per cent down on what they were a year ago, and the raffle is only raking in just over half of what it once was. We still have just as many club members; it's just that no one seems to have any spare cash.
With er indoors TM" out of her pit we collected Lisa and set off to Worton's wood. On Monday afternoon I spent an hour and a half working out the location of a puzzle geocache, and then in the evening Lisa and I spent an hour and a half working out that it wasn't there. I revisited my calculations and with the application of graph paper I worked out a new solution to the puzzle and we thought we'd try again. The new solution wasn't that different too the old one, but this time we found the cache after only ten minutes searching. We'll gloss over the fact that it was in a place that we'd thoroughly searched on Monday evening.
From the we moved on to Cheeseman's Green. Still geocaching; this time hiding one. We'd spotted the ideal bridge under which we could hide a cache. The rubber dingy was soon inflated and ignored the faint hissing sound I could hear. The boat was very soon in the river. I chucked myself into the boat, and once aboard wondered about steering and propulsion. I realise that it is standard nautical practice to take oars, but the entire concept of oars didn't occur to me until I was on the high seas. I managed navigation of a sort by grabbing passing trees (there was a surprisingly fast current) and managed to bring "ELF-1" to where Lisa was waiting to board. She too was rather vague about steering boats, instead choosing (like me) to trust to pot luck and idiot enthusiasm. However a combination of pot luck and idiot enthusiasm soon found us aground right under the bridge where we bought the drill into play and secured the geocache.
It was at this point that we first started to think about the vague possibility of getting out of the river. And as we cast off so a submerged rock made its presence known by making a hole in the boat. I would have laughed if the river water hadn't been so cold as my bum got wetter and wetter.
Rather amazingly we emerged from the river with with only wet bums and wet feet, and we managed to salvage the boat. We shall need that when it's time to do maintenance.
Home, where I showered the river scum off of myself and the fox poo off of Fury Face, and we had a crafty spot of lunch before going back out for an afternoon's stroll round to Singleton. We explored places we've not been before; found some new footpaths, and generally wore the dog out. We were gong to go on for a bit more of a stroll round Coldblow, but time was against us. We'll do that another time.
After a rather good bit of scoff er indoors TM" set off to film night and I prepped my phone for tomorrow's planned extravaganza before settling down in front of the telly with my dog.
It can be a tough life sometimes...
28 April 2013 (Sunday) - Haywards Heath
An early start; it had been suggested that we went off to Haywards Heath for a walk. I was game, but being a little way away meant for an early start. Three of us and two small dogs were out of Ashford before 8.30am. I'd not been to Haywards Heath for some years - in fact the last time I was there was 29 May 2006 with the kite club when (after an unexpected gust) a huge Manta Ray kite broke its tether and flew off for nearly two miles before it was recaptured.
On the way this morning we drove through the village of Newick - I must admit to a snigger when I saw the posters for their am-drams. The abbreviation for Newick Amateur Dramatic Society (N.A.D.S.) which was emblazoned everywhere really hadn't been thought through.
We parked up shortly after 9.30am and set off. Had we actually planned our route we would have found a lot more caches than we did. Instead we rather made up our route as we went. But it was a good day to be out inn some rather beautiful scenery. As we walked we saw horned black rams, grey sheep, oxen, and even some deer. We had an iffy two minutes when Fudge slipped his lead in a field full of sheep. But he was really good. His natural reaction was to chase the sheep; which he did. My natural reaction was to bellow at him; which I did. And the little dog stopped dead and waited for me to come and get him.
We found total of fifty four geocaches (and couldn't find a further half-dozen) along a rather convoluted route off some fifteen miles. We were out for some nine hours and through the wonders of GPS technology we were rather amazed to find that we were only actually walking for six of those nine hours. One third of our time was spent not actually moving. Obviously we waste far too much time on secret geocacher rituals and fannying around. We shall have to work on our efficiency for next time.
And there will be a next time - there are loads of places to walk in the Hayward Heath area; Today barely scratched the surface of geocaching along the East/West Sussex border.
As always there are photos of our walk on-line.
We got home just before 9pm and once I'd hosed the mud off of Furry Face, er indoors TM" went up to the KFC to get tea; it was too late to be cooking. Chicken, chips and episodes of "Big Bang Theory". It don't get better than that...
29 April 2013 (Monday) - Two Dogs
Six hours sleep ! That's not bad. I wonder if yesterday's walk had anything to do with it? Mind you I was surprisingly not aching as I scoffed my bran flakes at silly o'clock this morning. Fudge however did seem to be rather stiff. He's never particularly sprightly in the mornings; today he was sparked out and snoring on my lap as I watched my Babylon 5 DVD.
As I drove to work it was a dull overcast morning; quite a contrast to the weekend. I don't mind the weather being bad when I have to work. I felt it something of a shame when I looked out of the window and saw that the day had brightened up. Selfish of me; but there it is. The weather has been bright these last couple of days; I spent much of the morning conscious of my face glowing from where I'd caught the sun yesterday.
As I drove to work (as always) I listened to the radio. There would seem to be trouble ahead for nursing homes. Apparently they are closing down faster than ever before. One of the pundits being interviewed on the matter said the reason for the closures was quite straight-forward: the average nursing home isn't getting enough customers.
I can't say I'm surprised. The last I heard these places cost over five hundred pounds per week per resident. Who can afford that amount of money? Does it really cost over five hundred pounds a week to house someone? It don't cost that to house me at home.
I can remember many years ago a friend's father being very verbal on the entire concept of nursing homes; being convinced they were a way to make easy money. Eventually this chap scraped together enough money to buy himself a larger house with a couple of spare bedrooms, and he took on two elderly people. Within a few short years the chap was running a nursing home the size of a small mansion. He was always good to his ladies and his gentlemen, but made no secret that he was in it for the money.
There used to be lots of money to be made from nursing homes. Is there still? Another example of the credit crunch in action perhaps? Or is it something else? I have instructed both fruits of my loin that I don't want anyone throwing good money down the toilet to keep me in such a place should the time come.
So to work where I had a relatively good day. I try not to mention work much these days; some days are better than others. Today was one of the better ones. And having done my bit I came home again.
I had a message from one of my loyal readers. Regular readers of this drivel may recall some squabbling a few months ago about the politics of Teston kite festival. It may be that events overtake plans. There would seem to be serious development works going on at Teston Bridge picnic site with the lock being refurbished. For all that the work is due to be finished next month I wonder if we will be able to set up camp there this year?
Once home I found our house guest was already in residence. The most recent fruit of my loin is on holiday in foreign climes and the Rear Admiral is off potting black so Sid had come up for a sleepover with Fudge. Sid's a sweet little dog really. Quite the little softie. Rather tame in comparison with Fudge, but that's in no way a bad thing. So far Sid has spent much of the evening being my second shadow whist Fudge looks on from the sofa with something of a supercilious air.
I wonder how Sid will cope overnight without his mummy? He's already crapped on the carpet once...
30 April 2013 (Tuesday) - Stuff
Last night I wondered how Sid would cope overnight without his mummy. I was listening out to hear him crying for much of the night. He didn't cry at all.
Thinking things had gone better than I was expecting I got up to a disappointment. As I came down the stairs at 5.15am Fudge started woofing. I opened the living room door and felt Sid in the way of the door on the other side. I also found the warm pool of tiddle and a couple of fresh dollops by that door. Fudge was at the far end of the room, ears right back, clearly knowing that wrong had been done. I chased both dogs into the garden where Fudge immediately produced the biggest pile of dung and the most tiddle you ever did see, all the time looking at me. Almost as if trying to prove his innocence. Sid on the other hand seemed oblivious to his indiscretions. He was bounding up at me, seemingly desperate for company.
I then spent a little while clearing the mess. It's amazing how long it takes to get pug tiddle out of a carpet. Sid sat with me whilst I had my brekkie and I watched my morning's DVD. Fudge sat on the sofa and glared his disapproval in a manner not unlike that of the first fruit of my loin when we brought his baby sister home for the first time.
And so to work. As I drove I listened to the radio. And I nearly had another urine-related incident as my piss boiled.
Apparently the government is planning to toughen the regime in prisons. The radio presenter interviewed a reformed convict who told about how bad things are already in prison, then the presenter laughed at him.
There is a public perception that things are really easy in prison which was reinforced by this morning's article on the radio. From my limited experience I know that this is far from the truth, but the general public don't know that. Most people have very little (if any) experience of prisons and the general perception of the places is nothing like the reality. I wonder if making this announcement two days before an election is the government's cheap way of grabbing a few more votes.
At the same time it would seem that many violent offenders are not going to court; instead having their crimes dealt with by a far more informal system of conflict resolution. I can't pretend to be an expert on this case, but I can't help but wonder if its popularity with the police is connected with its involving far less paperwork.
Here's something to make you think. As power companies struggle to keep up with demand, the household appliances of the future will be fitted with sensors which will allow them to recognise times of peak demand for electricity. Having recognised such a demand on the electrical infrastructure, your oven or fridge will (in a spirit of being helpful) turn itself off. Presumably just at the very instant you want to be using said device.
Once at work I did my thing. Over a tea break my attention was caught by the day-time TV dross. Have you ever seen "Don't Get Done, Get Dom"? It features a bald do-gooder who tries to right wrongs suffered by the gullible public. Today baldy was dealing with a rather laughable tale of an incredibly fat woman who had bought a cheap sofa. Being incredibly fat her cheap sofa wasn't up to the job of supporting her gargantuan frame, and so she soon reduced the poor sofa to matchwood. Fat woman wasn't happy and took the fragments of the sofa back to the shop to ask for a refund. The main in the shop wasn't happy either, and he sent the fragments of the sofa back to the factory for a post-mortem.
The lab tests were soon back; it it was a proven scientific fact that a cheap sofa was no match for a fat ass. Consequently no refund was forthcoming; the shop took the line that Fat Woman should know that someone of her size needed a sofa which was more robust than the run of the mill sofa.
Fat Woman then contacted the telly's consumer rights people because she found it offensive to be told that she was too fat and that it was upsetting to think that her epic bulk might have broken the sofa. Baldy did his best for fat woman, but whichever way you look at it, if you are epic in the ass department you really shouldn't scrimp on anything you hope to support your massive weight.
It was as well that I was watching the program on a wide-screen telly...
With work done I set off for the Tuesday gathering. What with late shifts I'd not been for three weeks. I've missed going along. Today we were at Somerset Road where Matt clearly hadn't scrimped on his sofa. Watching telly with mates. A simple evening, but really good...