1 April 2014 (Tuesday) - Sand
A rather bad night; I was kept awake by the "gentle rythmic breathing" (!) of "er indoors TM". I gave up trying to sleep, and came downstairs. the idea was to watch drivel recorded onto the SkyPlus box. However overnight the SkyPlus box had received a software upgrade. So I spent a little while seeing what was new. Nothing was new; the only difference was that all the functions were in different places.
After watching South Park and Family Guy I then had a look-see on-line. Facebook has had a face-lift too. And again nothing is better or improved; just different.
As I got into the car I thought it looked rather grubby. The pundits on the radio mentioned about a Saharan sand storm. I thought that was obviously an April Fool's joke, but every car seemed to have a light covering of sand. It had to come from somewhere.
Once at work I did my bit. At lunchtime I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to a seminar on rivaroxiban. Fascinating stuff, and a free lunch too. Mind you I did have to cut down on the length of my saxophone practice to fit it all in.
And it didn't help that whilst I was setting up my music stand in the car park I was accosted by some silly old git. What did I think I was doing? I thought I was setting up a music stand, and I told him so. I also thought that was obvious and I told him that as well. This twit wasn't fazed at all and demanded to know why I would be setting up a music stand in a car park. He took my honest answer (for saxophone practice - dur!) as sarcasm and had a right whinge about how rude I was. He didn't even shut up when I pulled my saxophone out of the car and started playing the New World Symphony (rather badly).
I took "Furry Face TM" for another longer walk this evening. I do like the lighter evenings. We went round the park where we had a fight with a scottie, and then round to the co-op field where I made another video. On the way home I saw Cheryl and Lacey drive past. they didn't see me, and I sulked about that for a bit.
I then spent a little while emailing various collectors of tupperware. There's a big sandwich box hunting event on Saturday, and as part of it I'm going to show anyone who is interested how to go about completing a simple Wherigo. I've emailed several people; let's see if there is any interest.
And with tea scoffed we set off to Arden Drive. Insults were bandied, and we watched Merlin. Tonight they were bringing people back from beyond the grave. Despite having missed a golden opportunity to improve the show by not returning Sir Bigtits, this evening's episode was rather good. It must have been - I stayed awake.
2 April 2014 (Wednesday) - Fast Asleep (Not Me...)
Another early start spent much the same as most mornings watching drivel recorded onto the SkyPlus box. I have worked out that when the clocks went forward the cheap rate timer on the leccie meter stayed where (when?) it was. So I've taken to doing laundry over brekkie. Mind you, like most things in life, it has good points and bad points.
On the plus side I am saving money by using cheap leccie.
On the minus side I can't hear the telly over the noise of the spin cycle.
I can't remember anything of note on the morning's radio show on my drive to work. I suppose that would be a good thing both for my blood pressure and the temperature of my urine.
Work was much the same as ever. At lunchtime I popped out for sax practice. I found myself a little bored with Dvorzak and so experimented with Puff the Magic Dragon. I found myself going up an octave and was left breathless, but I was rather pleased with the result. I just need to keep practicing.
I saw something rather shocking on my way back in to work. Every lunchtime I go out for sax practice, and the inestimable Soup Boy goes for a run. That's what he tells everyone. As I walked back to work I saw the inestimable Soup Boy. He had made himself comfortable on the grass, taken off his shoes and gone to sleep. So much for his four-mile runs (!)
As I drove home there's no denying that I wasn't feeling on top form. I felt rather breathless. Yesterday I mentioned about Saharan dust. Apparently this stuff has combined with "other pollutants" and has given the worst air pollution in South East England for years. Officials have even gone so far as to advise anyone of a delicate disposition to stay indoors.
I wondered if maybe I should have done that, but small dogs don't understand news bulletins. So I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and took him through the Co-op field and round the park. Our walk was relatively uneventful; no fox poo, no dog fights. All rather dull really.
Once home I checked out the Internet. A geocache or two has gone live locally. Over fifty of the things down on the marsh. That will be something to do over the next weekend or so. I then spent a little while sending personal emails to people whose names appear on geocache logs but rarely come to any of the meets. I've now invited over fifty people (who I don't think have ever done a Wherigo) to come Wherigoing on Saturday morning.
I wonder it there will be much interest...
3 April 2014 (Thursday) - Trilby, Chaplin...
Over brekkie I watched the latest episode of "The Tomorrow People". Having been marking time for weeks the plot now seems to be going somewhere. About time too; I was seriously considering giving up with the show.
After brekkie I had a couple of moments spare, so I harvested all the dog dung from the garden. It's amazing how many turds such a small dog can generate. I also took the fluorescent tube out of the fish pond filter. I never know which one to buy when I replace the thing. It was due for replacing.
And so to work. The news this morning featured the revelation that nursery schools aren't preparing toddlers for the rigours of school. The pundits started ranting about how ridiculous it was to have academic expectations of a two-year old. But it seems that the nursery schools aren't preparing toddlers for schools in that many children aged five are going to school for the first time who are not toilet trained and can barely speak.
I would have thought that this was a job for parents, but apparently (so the experts said) only well-to-do parents teach this sort of thing to the fruits of their loins; the vast majority of humanity need someone else to impart these skills. The implication was made that the vast majority of humanity can barely speak themselves and are not toilet trained.
The morning's news also mentioned Charlie Chaplin. He was held up as some sort of an icon on the "Thought for the Day" section. This boiled my piss. There has been a recent biography of him which was discussed on yesterday's morning radio show. I didn't realise that had he lived today he may well have been a candidate for Operation Yewtree; apparently his first two wives were only sixteen years old when he married them. His last wife was eighteen when they married (he was fifty-three) and it was intimated by the biographer being interviewed that Chaplin "liked" young girls. Quite a serious allegation to make on live radio I thought.
Mind you I never liked Chaplin on a personal basis. My grandmother actually knew him; he was a contemporary of one of her older cousins. For all that great show is made of Chaplin's humble origins, no one ever mentions how he turned his back on the very people who helped him during those early years. (Like my great-uncle Ted).
And so to work, where I had a better day than I had been expecting. Again lunchtime was saxophone practice time. My music-reading skills are coming back; albeit rather slowly. Today as well as getting used to Puff (the magic dragon) I experimented with my tonguing skills on some vulgar boatmen. It was an experience I may well share with an unsuspecting public in the not too distant future.
This sax business is going a lot better than I ever imagined it would. Mind you I think that if I am going to do the thing properly I am going to need a black trilby with a white band round it. I have this idea that all the best saxophonists wear a trilby.
Home via the Koi shop in Chilham. I've now got the replacement tube of the pond filter; I just need to fit it and we can re-activate the pond. I was going to do it tonight, but other stuff took precedence.
I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We went out through Newtown where we woofed at passing cyclists and came back via Asda where we laid several dog's eggs. I wish he wouldn't make such a show of it.
And with "er indoors TM" off visiting the home of "The Man with No Alias" (patent pending) to peruse the latest developments in kitchenware I set about the ironing. Far from ironing itself, left unattended it seems to breed and multiply...
4 April 2014 (Friday) - Busy
I had an amazingly good night's sleep last night; finally being woken by my alarm. I can't remember the last timr that happened. It speaks volumes that I struggled to turn my phone's alarm off; I am so unfamiliar with it.
Crumpets for brekkie. "er indoors TM" had bought some (going cheap) and I was under orders to get them scoffed. They weren't anything special. Next time I shall feed them to "Furry Face TM" and stick wth toast.
To work, listening to the radio as ever. There was talk of the housing market; concern was expressed that the price of an average house is now far beyond the buying power of the average person. Apparently a house goes up in value more each day than the average person can earn in that day.
How can this be a sensible society in which you can earn more money from having a house than by working?
Once at work I did my bit, practiced my sax, and came home again. Our evening dog walk brought us through the park where I saw two rather attractive and amourous young ladies. Snogging. With each other. That was something of a result ! I watched for a few minutes until they came up for air.
As we came along Christchurch Road we saw something you don't see very often. Another Patagonian Tripe-Hound. There was a little dog which was a three-quarters sized version of my Fudge running loose in the street. The dog had no collar, and as she came sniffing round my dog I saw it was a little girl dog. I couldn't leave her running loose; Patagonian Tripe-Hounds are dogs of remarkably little brain and i had visions of her running in the road. So I scooped her up. I expected her to react to being picked up; she did; she licked me. This little pup wasn't at all bothered about having a stranger picking her up.
I then spent five minutes walking the length of Christchurch Road bellowing out asking if anyone had lost a dog. After a while a chap emerged to claim her, and we chatted about how marvellous Patagonian Tripe-Hounds are.
My phone rang. "Daddies Little Angel TM" was bleeding and was on the way to the hospital. So I went up there to do what I could. In the end it was as well that I turned up. Despite the deliberate unhelpfulness of the receptionist I eventually found her in the maternity unit where another obstructive jobsworth informed us all that she was not far enough gone for them to be interested. When we asked if she should just carry on bleeding until she died, this onstructive jobsworth (who claimed to be a midwife!) suggested we might go home and call an ambulance which would then bring us back to this very ward.
I marched my daughter (and grand-unknown) over to the delivery suite where I demanded to speak to the most senior midwife. I explained what we'd been told, and I suggested that if we could all pretend that we'd come into the hospital by ambulance we might save an hour's farting about (as well as the cost of an ambulance ride).
Finally we found someone to take us seriously. Scans were done, investigations made. All was well, and after an injection of anti-D we went home via a celebratory McDonald’s
5 April 2014 (Saturday) - Geo-Meet
The excitement of yesterday evening clearly took its toll when I fell asleep in front of the telly shortly after getting home at 11pm. Bearing in mind how poorly I usually sleep "er indoors TM" probably did the right thing leaving me asleep; I woke and went to bed properly shortly after 3am when I dozed fitfully for a couple of hours before getting up and re-watching the lastest episode of "The Big Bang Theory" which I slept through last night.
The morning;s news was all of a twitter about Sir Bruce Forsyth stepping down from his leading role in "Strictly Come Dancing". I can't say I blame Sir Bruce; he's well into his eighties, and is twenty six years over the age at which I intend to retire. Personally I've always liked his appearences and wish him well, but I can't hide my amazement at the uproar the news has generated. How on Earth is Strictly Come Dancing peak time TV viewing? Have you ever seen the show? Whilst I hestitate to dismiss it as utter drivel it is... well, it is utter drivel. What is the attraction of the show? I can't see it.
And so on with the business of the day. Hunting tupperware. Today was the "Maker Madness" event at which people showed off their inventiveness at creating geocaches. I had this vague idea to crow about the Wherigos I've put out. It's no secret that I expected that I would invite people along people along to a Wherigo walk only to have no one show, and then I would whinge that I'd offered... sulk, sulk sulk.
In the event I was wrong. A dozen people came along and we had a really good time. I didn't need to help at all. Everyone seemed quite OK with the software; I just wandered along chatting with friends old and new as we went. An hour's stroll led us to the cache as I'd intended when I'd put the Wherigo out all those months ago.
Leaving eveyone behind to find the Park Farm caches I then took "Furry Face TM" home where he went to sleep and I made my way to the WIlliam Harvey pub for the monthly meet-up of tupperware hunters. A really good meet-up of like-minded people. I chatted with old friends. I met new friends. I even met Frankie-Doodle who I've not seen in over ten years. And having guzzled a gallon of light & bitter we even went and did a geocache just to prove we could...
6 April 2014 (Sunday) - Parish Peregrination
Yet another restless night. I'm getting so fed up with this. Especially at the weekends when I find myself sitting watching rubbish on the telly just to waste the time until "er indoors TM" gets up. The trouble is that by the time she gets up (at a sensible sort of time) I am bored senseless and itching to go do something.
This morning I had been intending to kill time by starting watching "Game of Thrones". On my newly-upgraded SkyPlus box I saw I could download the first three seasons. Or so I thought. When I tried to do so it told me to upgrade my subscription. I'm not doing that; I pay quite enough already So I downloaded and watched "Extras" instead. Starring Ricky Gervais it's quite entertaining. I'll have to see if I can borrow "Game of Thrones" on DVD.
Also whilst killing time I had a look-see at my tent poles. Having had one break at last August's camp I have had them in my living room as a reminder to get them fixed. Sweatman's mowers let me down yesterday. I wondered if there was somewhere on my way to work where I might get a replacement pole. But having had a look-see I can't help but think that a good dose of duct tape will put it all to rights.
And so off to Singleton to collect Suzy and Gordon Tracy for our peregrination. From wictionary, a peregrination is a journey from place to place. Usually on foot. Parish Peregrination is billed as a series of (about) thirty geocaches involving a walk of about fifteen miles through six kentish parishes.There are some who might say that the distance was somewhat excessive for one day, but we thought we'd give it a go.
We nearly fell at the first hurdle; on approaching the designated parking spot (where formal permission to park has been given to all geocachers) we found a locked gate. Woops. A two mile detour brought us to the other side of that gate; and we were off peregrinating.
It was a good walk; only one stile on the entire route, and very clearly marked footpaths for all of the way (except in only one spot). We had a "hit list" of twenty-nine geocaches; we found twenty-eight. We didn't try for the twenty-ninth. the descripttion said that the church in which it was based closed at 5pm, and at 5.05pm we were still several hundred yards up the road from it.
We were walking for nine hours today, and at the end we had covered just under seventeen miles. I feel I must mention the religious nuts we met along the way. In the middle of nowhere a chap with a pronounced American accent appeared from nowhere and led us back to the footpath from which we had strayed. As we walked along this path we were harried and harrassed by several people who I could only describe as looking like extras from the fiilm "Deliverance". One of the more loquatious of these people, a rather scary freak wielding a large axe, told us that they were a self-sufficient community of seventy families totalling nearly three hundred people, bound together by their faith in their God.
I'm sure these deightful people (!) were harmless, but I certainly felt rather apprehensive around them, and was certainly glad when we got away from their lands. Mind you it did very little for my state of mind to find we'd gone from religious-nut-central to Chillenden; scene of one of the most horrific murders in living memory.
I took fifty photos whilst we were out. I do that a lot.
As a geocache series how could I describe it? It is unlike any cache walks I've done before. I first heard of this series at a cachers meet about a year ago when I heard it described as "old-school". I think that's a fair description. The caches are spaced out far more so than on many other geo-walks; an average distance of half a mile between caches. The only two other walks I've done of comprable distance (Gypsum Gyratory and CBN series) have a hundred (or more) caches and are numbered 1, 2, 3... This walk isn't like that. Each cache has it's own name and a little local history, and needs a little thought with the map to work out which cache is next and where the route goes. Which is a good thing. Some walks are all about numbers of caches. This one isn't. It's about a really good walk.
It's a shame more people haven't done this walk. The individual caches get found, but from what I could see I don't think anyone has done it in its entirety for eight months.
Once home "Furry Face TM" curled up in has basket and snored. The poor little dog was worn out. My face was glowing; for all that the day was rather overcast I caught the sun today. And my back really hurts too. I can understand my legs aching, but why should my back ache?
I can't be ill tomorrow. I've finally got an appointment with the experts who are going to sort out my insomnia. I hope...
7 April 2014 (Monday) - Oximeter
I slept well last night, but after the seventeen mile walk that's hardly surprising. I got up to find my little dog still crashed out in his basket. Normally he would move to a sofa or a bed (because he's cheeky like that), but not last night. As I had my toast he dragged himself over for the crusts, then dragged himself back to his basket.
Over brekkie I watched the second episode of "Extras". I had intended to be watching "Game of Thrones", but my SkyPlus box won't have it. I really must take up that offer of a lend of a Blu-Ray boxed set.
Talking of which there was an article about the success of "Game of Thrones" on the morning's radio show. It's been so popular, and its creator was really pleased about how it is the first adult fantasy show to have actually achieved mass popularity.
I just want to see what all the fuss is about.
There was also talk about the missing aeroplane MH370; it would seem that the plane has been located about a mile or so under the ocean. There are moves afoot to get to the thing's black box to find out why it went missing in the first place.
Whilst I do feel for the relatives of the missing; there does seem to have been a lot of effort expended to find the thing. Part of me can't help but wonder who pays the bill.
This morning I had my inaugural visit to the sleep clinic. Oh dear. The plan was to kit me out with a gadget which will measure heart rate and oxygen levels while I sleep tonight. In a complete disregard for patient confidentiality I was lumped in with various other assorted insomniacs to be instructed on the use of the oximeter.
That was fun; one chap flatly refused to sit down during the instruction, and was constantly in the way. And another was using the session as a chance to vent his anger, frustration and hatred at the entire NHS. I did feel sorry for the poor lady who was trying to demonstrate the device; and I said so. That got the standing one to sit down, but the one with the grievances wouldn't stop moaning. He seemed to delight in finding fault at every opportunity; having been asked to return the device in two days time he loudly boasted how unreasonable he thought it was to ask him to try to find the very clinic to which he had reported only fifteen minutes previously. At this point the nice lady had had enough and told him not to bother and to go home. Even that didn't shut him up.
I tried a sax practice at lunch time; after playing the five tunes I can do (yes; five!) I had a go at "When the Saints go Marching In". Unfortunately I had to give up; that tune involves playing a B flat, and I can't do those (yet). I was getting rather Egyptian when the rain started. I had to give up twenty minutes earlier than usual, much to the delight of the scary-looking woman who had been eating her lunch in her car; glaring at me and wincing every time I played the wrong note (she'd winced rather a lot)
The rest of the day was rather dull. I’m off to bed in a minute. Wearing my oximeter. “Furry Face TM “ has chewed it several times; he seems to like the taste…
8 April 2014 (Tuesday) - On The Other Peg
Last night I put on my oximeter and went to sleep. It wasn't especially comfortable. The thing got more uncomfortable as the night went on; by 3am it felt like my finger was in a vice. I spent the last hour or so in serious pain before finally pulling it off shortly before 6am.
Family Guy and South Park kept me entertained over brekkie, then I set off to work where the radio was less entertaining and more annoying. There was concern expressed about how nothing is really being done to combat global warming, and how by the end of the century the planet will be (on average) four degrees warmer than it is now. That being an average figure it means there will be whole swathes left uninhabitable.
No one really seemed bothered.
Mind you everyone seemed to be incensed at the Culture Secretary. From what I could work out she's made the most of a rather vague system of claiming expenses; and having been told she'd arguably taken the piss, she apologised about any offence caused and paid back what others said she'd overclaimed. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, was on the radio refusing to condemn her as she'd not actually done wrong.
The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles was launching a scathing attack on active atheists; claiming and insisting that religious intolerence is purely something open to Christians.
Nero fiddles whilst Rome burns...
At work I faced something of a mystery. One of the apprentices asked me if my banana-guard had suffered any damage. The thing looked fine, and when I asked him why he should be wondering, he started giggling. As did others. I suspect my banana-guard has been used for nefarious purposes.
And the inestimable Soup-Boy announced that from now on he was going to hang his coat on the other peg. I assumed this can only be tantamount to "getting on the other bus", and I have warned him that should he be "good with colours" or found to be "baking a moist sponge" I would have no choice but to take him in hand (!) before he "bowls from the pavilion end".
The rest of the working day was rather dull after this revelation.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round to Frog's Island to replace a missing geocache. On the way we terrorised a bus, made friends with several toddlers, chased a Yorkie, played with a stick, and upset two skinhead thugs (complete with hand drawn mis-spelt tattoos). "Thugbert" and "Pratfred" had some sort of banned and illegal dog on a length of rope. As we came close we were warned to "keep that F*!* rat away"; the implication being that their macho dog would attack. Before I could do anything "Furry Face TM" started sniffing the murder-hound's bum. The supposedly vicious and dangerous dog started whimpering and crying and pulling to get away. I don't think they saw me laughing.
And so to Folkestone for the Tuesday conglomeration. After insults were bandied we watched Doctor Who. Or, to be more precise, Doctor Who was the show that was on the telly, but I for one was watching Nicola Bryant's epic chest. Anyone who says they don't like classic Doctor Who clearly hangs their coat on the other peg.
Let's hope that oximeter is more comfortable tonight...
9 April 2014 (Wednesday) - Poo (Horse and Fish)
The oximeter didn’t pinch quite so much last night, but it certainly wasn’t comfortable. And again I was up and about by silly o’clock. I watched some Family Guy and some South Park, and had a look-see on line. Not much was going on so for want of anything better to do I did a virus scan on my lap-top. It was as well that I did; I found loads of viruses. Woops.
With it still being far too early to go to work I disassembled the fish pond filter and put the stinking components into soak for the day.
I finally set off to work at 7.30am feeling that I’d already done a day’s exertions. As I drove the talk on the radio was all about the Culture Secretary who had resigned overnight. Despite having been cleared of wrong-doing by the investigatory panel she’d clearly made enemies of the media and a witch-hunt had ensued.
She was right in saying that all the fuss was distracting people from running the country; it’s wrong that unappointed newspaper journalists can decide who has political office in this country.
And so to work where I had a rather good day. On the way home I stopped off at Chilham Koi shop to get new filter medium for the pond filter. They wanted over forty quid for something which I thought would be over-priced at a tenner. Needless to say I didn’t get the stuff.
Once home I took “Furry Face TM “ for a walk. As we walked my piss boiled just a little. If my dog does a turd and I don’t clear it up I am liable for a fine of a thousand pounds. Horse riders have taken to using the footpaths and cyclepaths of South Ashford and I can clearly see that no such fines apply to horses. It’s beyond a joke – every horse turd is bigger than my little dog. And there are a *lot* of horse turds.
I then put the fish pond filter back together and turned the pond on for the summer. Seven years ago when we dug the pond I was full of enthusiasm for it. Now I am seriously considering filling it in. I can’t afford to keep upgrading the filter to keep the water clear; the filter stinks. Fish poo reeks so bad I nearly throw up when cleaning it out. And I don’t have time or inclination to do anything pond-related any more.
I’ll give it a few months and maybe shut the thing down for good in the autumn…
And this evening I did the final exam for my on-line course “Internet History, Technology, and Security”. I got eighty-two per cent. I was pleased about that. It’s been a very interesting course – I can thoroughly recommend it…
10 April 2014 (Thursday) - Bad Boy !
Up at silly o'clock, and being Thursday morning I watched the latest episode of "The Tomorrow People". After weeks of inaction the story is now beginning to take off. It's taken long enough. I then had a mooch round cyber-space; nothing much seemed to be happening, other than that there was to be an astro club committee meeting tonight. I must have been told about it, but the news came as something of a surprise.
As I drove to work much of the talk on the radio was about the ongoing elections in India. For all that it is apparently the biggest election the world has ever seen, there's no denying that the thing is a matter of indifference to me. Is it arrogant to say that I felt it was a waste of air time to have devoted half the show to it?
Perhaps of slightly more interest was the news article prompted by the death of US wrestling star Ultimate Warrior. The pundits wheeled on a has-been of British wrestling who openly admitted what I've suspected for years; that professional wrestling is all pantomime and the matches are fixed. This chap specifically said this about my old favourite; the WWF (or WWE as it is now known), and was crystal-clear that this has been going on for years.
I wonder if the wrestling establishment will make a fuss about this announcement made on prime time British radio.
I was a little bit miffed about the revelations made about the anti-flu drug Tamiflu. Having felt bullied into having the injection last year, and then having been ill for several days afterwards, I was not impressed to hear today that there have been serious reservations expressed about the stuff; the evidence suggesting that it didn't actually work.
And so to work where to improve the public standing of the inestimable Soup Boy I spent some time coaching him on making a dramatic entrance every time he came into a room. the news That we had been working on his opening was deliberately misconstrued by several...
Lunchtime's saxophone practice was uneventful for once. I'm getting better, and can manage most of my five tunes without too many bum notes. I'm quite looking forward to Saturday's lesson to see what comes next.
Home, where "Furry Face TM" did not greet me with his usual enthusiasm. In fact when he saw me he ran to his basket where he cowered. He'd managed to get the wrappings from last night's gammon out of the bin, and in doing so he'd knocked the bin over. It was no real problem, but the little dog looked terrified. I can't help but wonder if he was beaten and mistreated before he came to us; he's rarely naughty around the house but whenever he is, he never needs to be told off as he always knows he's been bad and he is terrified.
To show him I wasn't angry I showed him his lead. Usually he would go ballistic on seeing his lead; this time he came to me slowly and sheepishly. Mind you once we were at the park he was back to his usual self.
And so home. The astro club committee meeting had been a false alarm so we had a bottle of plonk for tea...
11 April 2014 (Friday) - Justice
I was woken at 4am by "er indoors TM" having some sort of fracas with "Furry Face TM" . I'm not sure what the problem was, and she claims she can't remember anything going on, but whatever it was, it woke me, and I lay wide awake afterwards until getting up to watch "Family Guy" at 5.30am.
After watching telly I checked out the Internet. Regular readers of this drivel may recall the fun I had with the frankly appalling on-line ordering service offered by Argos a couple of weeks ago. Earlier in the week the people at Argos asked me to write a review of my experience. It came as no surprise this morning to find that my review had been rejected.
As I drove to work my piss boiled as the Crown Prosecution Service announced that despite the fact that the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons has been found not guilty of the allegations made against him, they felt they were still right to have made those allegations.
It strikes me that they are actually saying that they beleive the jury was wrong and that they feel the accused is guilty. Rather a worrying position to take; it is up to the courts and the juries to determine guilt; not the prosecutors.
There's been a lot of high profile people taken to court recently; TV stars such as Coronation Street's William Roach and Michael LeVeil; radio's Dave Lee Travis, comedian Jimmy Tarbuck. All have had their good names dragged through the mire by the Crown Prosecution Service, all have found not to be guilty of the crimes with which they have been charged. However thanks to the high profile of their cases the taint of scandal will remain with them.
And there are plenty of other celebrities who are still facing these allegations. I reserve the right to shout "I told you so" when they too are found not guilty.
It's amazing how standing up to these allegations proves that they are wrong. I wonder what would have happened if Jimmy Saville were still alive and had been taken to court and been given the chance to defend himself against the tales circulated about him
And still the Crown Prosecution Service continues to point the finger.
Once at work I did my bit despite one of the young ladies declaring that the laboratory apparatus was grubby and then announcing that she was going to "scrub her rack". It was as well that I was able to take a moral stance.
Lunchtime saw sax practice; I have now increased my repertoire to six tunes. Yesterday I saw that the music to "Annies Song" was in my book. Today I had a toot, and within half an hour I could perform a passable rendition of the tune.
This evening I took "Furry Face TM" on a walk right through the park, round Singleton Lake and on to the Butt Field Road Munzee. As we were in the area we popped in to see Lacey and her entourage. A minor disaster was in progress as her hamster had escaped and had set up camp behind the wall units in the kitchen.
It is all very entertaining all the time it is someone else's hamster...
12 April 2014 (Saturday) - According To Plan...
To bed at midnight; I was wide awake and watching telly at 3am. I felt tired after an hour or so and went back to bed and then slept util 8am. Not bad really, I suppose. Roll on Monday's appointment at the sleep clinic.
Hot cross buns for brekkie, and then on with the business of the day. I had a plan. The plan was to mow the lawn and tidy the garden. Then to tidy my back room. Sax practice. Dog walk and geo-maintenance in Sevington. Then ten shirts to be ironed whilst watching telly.
(I wrote this list over brekkie just to see how my plans would pan out)
I was rather amazed to find that this was how things actually happened. I got the lawn mowed. It was something of a jungle, but I got it under control. Having put the clippings into the compost bin I now have a full compost bin; but I can take that to the tip another time.
I then ripped out the bigger of the brambles and left the garden mostly presentable. There is still some work to be done out there, but there's no denying that I don't have any interest in gardening whatsoever.
I then went through my shelves like a dose of salts, and have all sorts of rubbish to take to the skip, including quite a few books I am never going to read. There are those who say its wrong to throw books away. If any of those people would like the biography of Alan Titchmarsh or other equally lame volumes they have one week untiil tip run. I found spare computer keyboards (five), broken PC base units (three), blown motherboards (two) and endless cables, modems and mice which are never ever going to be used again. All are on the way to the tip.
Sax practice went well. My teacher is impressed; apparently I am one of a very small minority of saxophonists who don't blow bubbles of spit out of their sax. Today I learned about sharps and flats. Did you know the are three ways to get a B-sharp out of an alto sax? I didn't either. I now have to choose which way will work for me. I suspect I am going to use the laziest way, two of them seem to be needlessly convoluted whilst the third only needs one finger.
With next week being Easter I have two weeks until my next lesson. I have to learn "When the Saints Go Marching In" and assorted Egyptian and Eastern European dances by then.
Home to find both fruits of my loin were visiting. "My Boy TM" was pleased to announce that their hamster was still alive after yesterday's episode.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" was awaiting the arrival of Skinhead who has recently bought a new car. I say "new"; it was the car that Noah drove off of the Ark, it cost the grand total of two hundred and seventy fiive pounds. It was bought on the understanding that anything that was likely to go wrong would have already gone wrong by now, and so the car should be rather reliable by now.
I can't say it's a theory I'd go along with. Despite the alledged reliability of the car the girls walked to the park. There was talk of their taking a flask of tea with them as apparently flasks of tea are cool. But in the end making the tea was too much like hard work, and so the flask remained unmade.
Leaving the girls behind "er indoors TM" and I went off on a geo-maintenance mission. Last week at the monthly cachers meeting I was told that several of my caches needed mainenance or were missing. Today I found that one did indeed need replacing, one had been replaced for me, and the supposedly missing one was fine and had been there all along.
I then got the ten shirts ironed. All the day's planned chores done by 7pm. I was impressed.
13 April 2014 (Sunday)- Marsh Mosh
In a novel break with tradition I was woken by the alarm today. It had been set earlier than I suspect most people would set their alarms on a Sunday morning, but regular readers of this drivel would know that I'm not like most people.
A couple of weeks ago a rather large series of geocaches went live on the Romney Marsh. Two days later was the county meet-up of hunters of tuppeware. It came up in conversation that several of us were interested in doing the series, and today was the day. We colllected Gordon Tracy and Suzy and then, dragging Lisa out of retirement, we set off to Old Romney where we met up with everyone else.
My phone did give me some gyp to begin with, buut before long eleven of us (accompanied by two small dogs) set off on a rather god walk across the Marsh.
Romney Marsh is somewhere I've been to countless times, but it was only today that I realised that I've always driven past, across or through it. I've never really taken the time to have a good walk about the place. I was glad we did so today. The route led us thought some wonderful scenery; we saw butterflies, caterpillars and even a little lizard. We saw a pair of nesting swans, and saw their eggs as they changed over on the nest. We saw newborn lambs taking their first tottering and faltering steps. And I did feel sorry when my silly dog shoved his nose through an electric fence and got far too many volts through it. He did yelp.
Our walk took us past a derelict cottage. What was once a charming little house in beautiful surroundings is now a collapsing tumbledown wreck. It amazes me that anyone would ever have let the thing fall into such disrepair.
We also walked through the array of wind turbines. I had no idea how big those windmills are; they are huge. And we also discovered acres of solar panels that I never knew were there.
We started walking at 9am; we finished walking shortly after 6pm having found over fifty caches along a route of more than sixteen miles. It was a really good day out with friends. Some of our number were new to this silly hobby and today found their one hundredth cache. I found my three thousandth, and having done so sat down in a clump oof stinging nettles.
And on the way home we stopped off to collect a puzzle cache I'd solved months ago.
I took a few photos whilst we were out and put them on-line when I got home. Once home I washed the mud and fox poo off of "Furry Face TM" who promptly went to sleep.
We then had a rather good bit of tea. It was at that point that my face started glowing and my back started aching. It is just possible that I overdid the walking today. Again.
14 April 2014 (Monday) - Sleep Clinic
After yesterday's walk I was rather tired. I could have done with a decent sleep; it was something of a shame that "Furry Face TM" decided to have a barking fit shortly before 2am. I didn't really get any decent sleep after I'd settled him down.
I got up shortly before 6am, pootled with general tidying for a bit and then watched "Extras" over brekkie. In today's episode Daniel Raddecliffe and Warwick Davies were parodying themselves. I can't understand how I've missed this series in the past; it's really good.
As I came out to my car I saw that over the weekend a bird had pooped all over it. I am no ornithological expert, but judging by the quantity of bird dung I would estimate that the guilty avian was either a pterodactyl or an ostrich; nothing smaller could generate so much dung.
And so to work. Until recently people have been parking rather randomly in the car park; since I've started sax practice at lunch time there has been a noticeable shift in people's parking habits. A lot of people like to have their lunch in their cars and clearly want a bit of peace and quiet at lunch time. Today everyone had parked at one end away from my usual parking space. It was rather obvious that no one wanted to park near where I practice.
As for today's sax practice... I made a start on a new tune "When the Saints Go Marching In". I think its fair to say the Saints weren't going marching anywhere today. Despite my having (mostly) figured out the B-flat I still have a lot of work to do on that tune before any saints could be described as "marching" rather than "mincing".
I left work early to go to the sleep clinic. Bearing in mind I've been hoping to go to a sleep clinic for years it is just possible was expecting too much from the place. I arrived to find (arguably) the fattest man on the planet asking the assembled throng if he looked fat. He'd been told that his insomnia was due to the fact that he was as fat as twenty-eight other people put together, but he was adamant that he could not possibly possibly be overweight because in his youth he had once played a game of squash.
Much of this assembled throng was the entourage of a village idiot (I never did work out which village he was from); all of whom wanted to see a specialist. They didn't seem to be bothered which specialist; they asked after several.
And overseeing the entire clinic was a small vaguely oriental-looking elderly woman in a nurse's costume (I hesitate to say "uniform") who quite frankly didn't speak English.
I slept until I was called (only ten minute later than planned) to be given the standard old spiel about not drinking coffeee before bedtime, losing weight, drinking Horlicks, blah-de-blah. I told the so-called expert that I had had all this drivel till the cows came home, and we were several years past the basics. I expounded my two theories; sleep apnoea or nasal polyps. One requires medical equipment; the other surgery. The specialist suddenly realised that he wan't dealing with the usual kind of person his clinic attracted; and intimated that if he told people to b*gger off and have a glass of warm milk, then he never sees nintey per cent of them again.
He then tried to fob me off with a "blood test for thyroid"; but when I told him what I do for a living (blood tests for thyroid) he sat up and started to take notice.
I asked what last week's sleep tests had shown; regular readers of this drivel may recall I had two very uncomfortable nights last week strapped up to an oximeter all night long. The specialist told me that the results of those tests will make a very good starting point for a diagnosis and a possible cure for the insomnia, and that he will write to me when he gets the results of those tests in six weeks time.
I politely asked why there had been a delay with the results of the oximeter tests. The specialist gave an embarrassed cough. Can you beleive it; there had been no delay. These tests take a couple of months to come back. So I took a deep breath and resisted the temptation to suggest that maybe it was not the best use of limited NHS resources for me to be having this appointment if we all knew that the test results would not be ready for some weeks.
The specialist is going to write to me when the test results are through. I shall wait patiently; after all I've been waiting for years; what's another couple of months of sleepless nights...
15 April 2014 (Tuesday) - Dull
Up with the lark, and I was watching Ronnie Corbett guest-starring in "Extras" as the washing machine did its thing with my smalls. With brekkie scoffed I hung laundry on the line and then set off to work. With nothing of note on the radio my blood pressure remained constant.
Being at the blood test department befor anyone else I got my "blood test for thyroid" done shortly after 8am. Work was unremarkable, and at lunchtime sax practice I finally got to grips with those marching saints.
Mind you the traditional Egyptian dance is still giving me some gyp.
I came home to find Andy waiting on the doorstep; I'd forgotten he was coming round. Regular readers of this drrivel may recall that I had a clear out at the weekend, and Andy wanted one or two bits that I would otherwise have dinged out. He then came with me and "Furry Face TM" on our walk round the park.
Tea, and then leaving "Furry Face TM" chewing on his present from Andy we set off to the weekly gathering of the tribe; this time in Somerset Road. Insults were bandied, choccie biccies scoffed, Merlin was watched, and I stayed awake the whole time.
Not a lot really happened in my life today...
16 April 2014 (Wednesday) - Beards, Stuff...
After yet another terrible night's (so-called) sleep I was up and watching "Family Guy" before 6am. "Furry Face TM" was also up, but for once he showed absolutely no interest in having the crusts off of my toast; he was still chomping on the huge bone he'd been given last night.
With brekkie scoffed I put washing on the line and set off to work on what turned out to be a rather cold morning. But the boiling of my piss warmed me as I listened to the radio. The late Cyril Smith, ex-MP for Rochdale is the latest to be accused of paedophilia. Was he guilty? Some say he was; those who knew him and worked with him said he wasn't. Now that he's been safely dead for four years he has no way to defend himself.
For myself I can't help but think that any accusers should have said something whilst the chap was alive rather than waiting till four years after his death.
There was also something of a rather pointless squabble on that same radio show about the attractiveness of beards. Advocates of beards were claiming that the ladies prefer a bearded man; the clean shaven were insisting that women prefer no facial hair. Having wasted quite a lot of valuable radio air time on such a trivial matter the experts then announced that research has shown that the ladies actually prefer whatever is in the minority at the time; if there's loads of beardies about then I am in with a good chance. If there are very few beardies on the scene, then I don't have a hope.
Surely there must have been something more relevant to waste air time on.
I stopped off at the Park & Ride on my way to work. Some time ago I hid a geocache there. It gets found from time to time. Yesterday I received a curt message about the thing; the message simply read "not there". So I went along with a replacement cache (and apparatus to secure the new one in place) only to find the old one was fine and was exactly where it was supposed to be.
I wonder what that message was all about.
Once at work I did my bit; pausing only for lunchtime sax practice. The Egyptian dance still eludes me, but I have now got to grips with "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "London Bridge is Falling Down". Whilst today's practice went off without incident I did get one or two pointed stares from other people who clearly had planned to have their lunches in their cars and didn't like the noise I was making in the car park.
If anyone could suggest somewhere else I might go then I'm open to suggestions. In the meantime those who don't appreciate good music are free to drive their cars elsewhere for half an hour.
Quite a few philistines are doing so.
Home where after I'd taken "Furry Face TM" round the park I did't do any of the tings I had planned for the evening. I'm feling increasingly tired in the evenings.
If only I could sleep at night...
17 April 2014 (Thursday) - Having a Whinge
I woke at 3am to hear my dog whimpering and crying. I had no idea what had upset him, but having settled him I then lay awake for the rest of the night wondering what had been wrong. I wonder if he had lost his bone in the dark; in the two days since he was given that bone he has become inseparable from it.
Perhaps it is now time to take that bone away.
Brekkie was shared with "Furry Face TM" today. He sat on my lap to be combed; he doesn't have fleas but likes to have a good going-over with the flea comb. Whenever I stopped combing him, he squeaked in complaint and carried on squeaking until I continued combing.
Whilst grooming the pup I watched this week's episode of The Tomorrow People. Another good episode. I then checked my emails. I saw a new geocache had gone live in Folkestone. A bit too far away to chase, but I didn't like what I read in the cache description "Why not check out the near by adventure playground."
I've had caches turned down because they are within a hundred yards of a playground, and here's one actively advertising to go bother the kiddies.
As I drove to work the radio was again wittering on about Scottish independence. But not the usual kilted "we hate the English" arrogance. The radio presenter has dug a bit deeper for once. An interview with the English in the North East (Newcastle and environs) shows the average Geordie feels he has more in common with Edinburgh than London. The implication was that should Scotland go independent then the entire Tyneside area would want to go with them.
However opinion isn't entirely in favour of those who would run Scotland from Edinburgh. The denizens of the Orkney and Shetland Isles apparently feel that the politicians in Edinburgh have no understanding of thier concerns and problems and are demanding greater autonomy regardless of whether they are ruled from Edinburgh or London. There was even talk of their wanting to abandon affiliation with any part of the UK and to be lumped in with some form of Scandinavian union.
I had an irate phone call from the hospital's complaints department. Regular reader of this drivel may recall that on Monday I went to the sleep clinic to get the results of the previous week's sleep tests only to be told these tests take six weeks to come through. So I contacted the hospital's "patient experience team" (or "complaints department" in English) to suggest they might make appointments at such a time when test results would be available (as I thought this would be a sensible idea).
The rather stroppy lady form the complaints department phoned back and demanded to know who lied to me; any fool knows these tests don't take six weeks, and that the doctor I saw on Monday had already received the results (even though he said he hadn't). During the course of the conversation it became clear th at this woman from the complaints department had access to my medical records. I feel that is a matter for complaint in itself.
Shortly after this I received a call from the hospital's respiratory people to let me know that I had another appointment at the sleep clinic in a couple of weeks time. That seemed rather soon to me; I asked if I'd got an early appointment because I'd had a whinge. The nice lady laughed and said that everyone who contacts the patient experience department gets bumped up the queue.
Sax practice; last week I ordered some new reeds for my sax. They've arrived. I tried one out today. I think the thing sounds better for the new reed. Mind you it's all relative; the sound is still far from good, just better than it was.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park and on to visit "My Boy TM". With the first fruit of my loin visited I drove round to get an astro club cheque signed. "er indoors TM" was off on a works outing so I foraged for tea. I'm quite good at foraging; today I foraged in the general direction of the KFC.
I like KFC...
18 April 2014 (Friday) - Back to the Marsh
"Furry Face TM" had a barking fit at 2am. After that rude awakening I dozed fitfully for the rest of the night. I got up shortly before 6am and watched drivel on the telly before getting on with the main business of the day.
Originally I had planned to go down to Folkestone to Chambers Bar for the Easter beer festival. But in a novel break with tradition, common sense came into play. Much as I like a booze up, I have one or two major booze-ups planned over the next couple of months. And I know from previous experience that the Good Friday Chambers Bar beer festival ends up costing about a hundred pounds. I've already overspent this month, so an economy had to be made.
Regular readers of this drivel may recall I went on a rather epic geo-walk last Sunday round the Romney Marsh. Although we did all that we had intended last Sunday, there was still a lot of that geo-series left undone. Today was the day to finish it. I put out the word, but due to one thing and another not everyone could make it. But half of last Sunday's attendees were there, and logging geoacaches as "H.O.T.M.M." (half of the Marsh Massive) we walked thirteen miles over six hours. We enjoyed beautiful scenery, and had a good gossip as we went.
"Furry Face TM" seemed to recognise electric fences and pulled away from them whenever he saw any. He also pulled away from the sound of any sheep; I think he associates the sound of sheep bleating with the zap he got from the leccie fence.
I had intended for us to stop for a pint with our picnic half way round at the Rose and Crown in Old Romney. I phoned them last night to see if they were happy with us to do so. They were not. They told me that we could forget about a picnic; we could buy our lunch from them. They told me that rather rudely, so we didn't buy anything from them, and I'd suggest that anyone else in the area doesn't buy anything from them either.
We stopped off along a farm track half way round our walk and we enjoyed our lunch al-fresco; and after the thirteen miles had been walked we had a pint of Early Bird in the Woolpack in Brenzett. They'd been quite happy for us to use their car park whilst we walked and were generally far more welcoming. I even blagged scraps of steak to feed to "Furry Face TM".
And, as usual, I took some photos whilst we were out walking. It was a good walk; this part was more on roads than last week's was. But if anyone wants a guided walk across some rather flat land through some of the most scenic parts of Kent, then the Marsh Mosh is the walk to do.
Home; and over a rather good bit of tea we watched a film. "Wedding Crashers" was something I recorded onto the SkyPlus box shortly before Christmas. It's a film I've been intending to watch for years.
It was a disappointment...
19 April 2014 (Saturday) - Busy, Busy
As I went to kip last night the clock on my bedside table read 12.34am. I woke (feeling rough) at 3.33am. Just under three hours sleep (!)
I then lay trying to get back to sleep until 5.30am when I finally got up and watched Family Guy for a while whilst waiting for the time to pass; effectively wasting three hours waiting until the bank would be open.
I then went to said bank to cash a cheque for the asro club. As I was in the area I went into the mobile phone shop to have a whinge. I've been suspecting that my monthly bills have been wrong for some time. It turned out I was wrong; the billing was correct. It's amazing the difference that dealing with someone who speaks English makes.
I then came back home, and whilst "er indoors TM" fiddled about "My Boy TM" came to visit. He was less than respectful about my musical endeavours so I had a quick sax practice for his benefit. H|e was suitably impessed. However once he'd gone, for some inexplicable reason I seem to be going squawky on D and B. I wonder if these new cheap reeds I bought are a load of rubbish.
We then drove out to Smarden to collect some camping gear for the upcoming expedition. As we were half way to Wychling (or so I thought) I had a look-see at what was going on with a Wychling-based geocache. It had gone live on Thursday evening but still no one had found it yet. I thought we might chase the FTF.
It was at this point that I found out how far away Wychling is. I thought it was only just up the road. But we got there, found the cache, got the FTF (happy dance) and even met an old friend from the arky-ologee club too.
Home via a spot of McLunch. It was there that I realised that I am the posh one in the family. I was whinging about the pikey children. "er indoors TM" claimed she couldn't see any pikey children, and therefore I had to be posh.
We then picked up the old tent poles and drove out to the camping shop to get new poles. We picked up a couple of geocaches on the way. I did get a bit wound up as we did one of them. Why do people insist on cluttering up the geo-maps with unnecessary markings for parking points when the obvious parking place is only ten yards from where the geocache is?
From there we drove to Folkestone to take stuff to the Rear Admiral (who'd gone to Maidstone) and to "Daddies Little Angel TM" who'd gone to Ashford. Oh how we laughed.
And with "er indoors TM" off out on the sauce I found myself home alone. Rather than dozing in front of the telly (as I do all too often) I ironed shirts and sorted undercrackers whilst watching forty-year old episodes of Doctor Who.
Dull, but if I can stay awake in the evening I am less likely to spend the night wide awake...
20 April 2014 (Sunday) - Herne Hill
After a rather restless night I came down to find three dog turds on the carpet. "Furry Face TM" knew he'd done wrong and was very subdued for the rest of the morning. I was watching Ricky Gervais in "Extras" by 6am. I checked out social media and saw not a lot had happened overnight. As I checked I saw a new geocache went live; not far from where we were yesterday. Ho hum...
The original plan for today was to go to Essex for a spot of watching banger racing. I've never been banger racing before; it might have been fun. But in the same way that Friday's beer festival was abandoned for reasons of economy, prudence dictated that today's banger racing had to go the same way.
I've estimated that by having abandoned the beer festival and the banger racing I can (hopefully) afford the next two weekends' plans.
So in an economical frame of mind we set off to Herne Hill for a day's hunting tupperware. Six of us (and two small dogs) met up at Herne Hill and having solved a clue in the graveyard we set off round the Herne Hill Hike. The weather forecast for the day wasn't good, but it turned out to be pretty much right. A damp start followed by a relatively dry few hours and then torrential rain just after the sort of time I estimated that we'd finish walking.
We had a really good walk; the views would have been better had there been clear skies rather than very low cloud and fog. But it was a good day to be out. And once we'd walked seven miles we had a crafty half in the beer garden of the Red Lion.
I took a few photos whilst we were out
We finished at just the right time; we finished our walk, we enjoyed a pint of ale, and just as we got into the car so torrential rain hit. We abandoned plans for a drive-by puzzle cache and went home with Kim and Andy. Andy had been telling me about Manchester Star ale; a rather good dark ale. I had a bottle. At 7.3% it's not something you mess with. We spent a very enjoyable hour or so chatting and drinking. Must do that more often.
And so home. A rather good bit of tea, and as "er indoors TM" set off bowling I curled up in front of the telly. You can't beat hours and hours of "Only Fools and Horses".
21 April 2014 (Monday) - Cuxton
Being wide awake at 3am I wondered if I did something then I might then get back to sleep agan afterwards. So I had my morning shave rather earlier than might be considered usual, and then went back to bed where I lay dozing fitfully until 6am. I then got up and deleted a whole load of stuff that I am never going to watch from the SkyPlus box.
By the time "er indoors TM" got up (which was probably rather early for most people on a Bank Holiday) I was bored senseless.
After a minor contretemps with a GPS unit we were on our way to Cuxton for a day's hunting sandwich boxes. As we found the first cache we got a message; friends had already done the first part of our walk, but would meet us for the second part. And they did. And six of us (with two small dogs) walked around somewhere I'd never been for a walk before. There were some wonderful views to be had across and around the Medway valley. I got to collect six more letterbox stamps (it's a geocaching thing), "er indoors TM" got to go up a tree. I got to go into a tunnel; I wasn't expecting to go tunnel-ratting today, but I wasn't going to turn down the chance when it arose.
And (having been given just the teensiest of hints) we even picked up a puzzle cache which has been bothering me for a little while.
As always I took a few photos whilst we were out
And so home where the less agreeable of our neighbours was practicing piano. I practiced my sax for half an hour in protest, but to no avail. She continued clanging her piano for a good two hours.
I must admit to some amazement about her piano-ing. A month or so ago my sax playing was just a dreadful noise. I've still got a long way to go, but (even if I do say so myself) I think there has been a marked improvement in my sax-ing over that month. Next door's piano-ing isn't as bad as my sax-ing, but in the years she's been clanging that piano (and they've had it some years) she only plays the same few tunes, and has shown absolutely no improvement in them whatsoever.
Whilst next door strangled their violin I spent a little while this evening looking at puzzle geocaches in the north Kent area. Feeling flushed with success after having puzzled this afternoon I tried to puzzle out some more caches. I've found a series based on astronomy. It's a shame that I've had to put incorrect information into some of the sums to get the correct answers, but what is a puzzle cache for if not to haggle about what constitutes a correct answer. If only I could solve this one...
22 April 2014 (Tuesday) - Priorities
After another restless night I was up and about well before 6am. Having spent a little while puzzling puzzles I've now solved all the astronomical puzzle series I've been looking at. I then went on-line and applied for a new tax disc for the car. Doing it on-line is far less painful that mucking about in the post office. I would have shared brekkie with my dog, but he didn't seem interested in toast. Since he got a large bone a week ago he's not really shown any interest in any food other than his bone.
To work - a wet mucky morning so unlike yesterday. As I drove I listened to the radio. There was very little of note. The talk was all about who would be the next manager of Manchester United football club. I can't help but wonder if the BBC had got their priorities right. After all who really cares about a silly game of football when there is so much else of note in this world.
The Russian troop build-up in the Ukraine increases and the world has completly ignored the fact that the Russian takeover of Crimea is now complete. The UK Independence Party has apparently resorted to outright racism in its election campaigning. Science has figured out how to cure faulty genes and has cured hereditary illness in laboratory mice. And today was Earth Day.
But none of these warranted air time because the fortunes of some football club was apparently more important.
I popped into Morrisons for the makings of lunch. I thought I might get a pair of tweezers to replace a set I gave away at the weekend. After all they are only cheap things. Or so I thought. A couple of months ago a pair of tweezers in Morrisons was forty six pence. Today the same thing was two pounds. Inflation in action!
And so to work where I did my thing. I saxed at lunch time; I'm now convinced I'm doing something wrong as the squawking sound is getting worse. And with my thing done I came home and walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. He tried to fight a bus on the way, but was completely oblivious of the remote controlled racing car shooting across the fields. I got chatting with the lads whose toy it was; they say that the makers claim it goes at over fifty miles per hour.
The clans gathered this evening for another dose of Merlin. Good stuff...
23 April 2014 (Wednesday) - Debbie Doo-Doos
I suppose I had a reasonable night, but I was still up and watching telly before 6am. Today I watched something I'd recorded over the weekend; old Doctor Who episodes. Specifically the first episode in which the daleks ever appeared on our TV screens.
I was disappointed.
I knew that the special effects weren't up to much. But I rather thought the plot and storyline and acting might get round that little hiccup. They did not. Doctor Who has always been a character to whom one would warm . William Hartnell's Doctor was surly and unfriendly. Not at all likeable. And it didn't help that William Hartnell usually got his lines wrong as well. For example in today's episode our heroes were searching for "anti-radiation drugs". The Doctor was talking about "anti-radiation gloves... erm... drugs".
I expect I shall watch the next instalment tomorrow. If nothing else it will give me something to whinge about.
And so to work. As I drove I listened to the radio. The talk was about how the incidence of violence and crime is at its lowest level for years. Not only in the UK, but internationally. Many reasons have been postulated for this; but the most likely seems to be the decrease in binge drinking and consumption of alcohol which is a contributory factor to many crimes.
It would seem that the financial crisis of the last few years had left most people unable to afford to go out drinking to excess.
Work was much the same as ever; until I had cause to go walkabout. I encountered a tribe of what I can only describe as "pikeys" who seemed to have met up with an old friend. There were half a dozen of them, standing in a semicircle, all pointing at a chubby simpleton whilst shreiking "It's Debbie Doo-Doos" in surprise and delight. The chubby simpleton seemed delighted to have been discovered by the pikeys and was grinning like a loon. The more that the pikeys shrieked about "Debbie Doo-Doos", the more "Debbie Doo-Doos" got over excited. She was even doing a little happy dance.
I couldn't get away quick enough. Unlike "Debbie Doo-Doos" who seemed content to stay there all day being told that she was "Debbie Doo-Doos". Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't just chuck it all in and become a professional chubby simpleton. Life is definitely much more straightforward for them.
My lunchtime sax practice saw me finally getting to grips with the Egyptian dance tune with which I have been fighting for a week. Next on my list is a traditional Hungarian ballad that is (at the moment) rather tricky about the upper octave. We'll see how I get on with that tomorrow.
Once home we went round the park for our usual walk. As we went some teenagers were haranguing the local Polish who were having their customary picnic on the street corner. I wish they wouldn't; it will all end in tears.
"Furry Face TM" was really good; we have a new trick. When I want to get him back on he lead I shout to get his attention and hold up the lead. He sees it and comes to me. I'm not sure how he learned this one, but so far it seems to work....
24 April 2014 (Thursday) - Big Pants
I had a particularly vivid dream last night in which my long-dead grandfather had become best of chums with my daughter. He particularly liked having a great-granddaughter. I've never before realised just how simular in temperament the two are (were?)
Despite a good night's sleep (for me) I was up and watching telly by 6am. This week's installemt of The Tomorrow People was marred by smut. Do people have to get jiggy on screen? Three seperate lots were geetting grubby.
If they had got to be seen doing the nasty then, like all telly, it should be beleiveable. I'm not saying that we need to see graphic detail, but if people have supposedly just been doing dirties, then they won't be wearing dull huge undercrackers. You have to take those off to do dirties.
Doctor Who wasn't doing filth (thank the Lord), but today's episode was just as lame as yesterdays. Crap plot with even worse acting. How on Earth did it become popular? The other stuff on TV in the 1960s must have been bad if this is what survived.
As I drove to work my piss really boiled. The Cornish have been officially recognised as a "minority". The Cornish woman being interviewed on the radio was seriously suggesting that should the Scottish should vote for independence, then the Cornish might do the same.
I can remember having a conversation in a pub in Bromley in the mid-1980s when I was loudly pontificating that in thirty years time Britain would be part of a United States of Europe which would be looking at even larger international affiliation. Instead of knocking down barriers we are putting up more and more. Where will this push for independece end? In utter anarchy with no central authority whatsoever?
Sometimes I despair for the future.
Work was busy; sax practice went well, and once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park where I had a good laugh. In the children's play areea is a rubber tyre suspended horizontally three feet off of the ground. Two parent-types were busy extracting a grandparent-type from this tyre. I say "extracting"; they were trying, but not having much luck.
With "er indoors TM" off flogging candles I set about ironing shirts, and with shirts ironed I slept in front of the telly. I wish I didn't do that...
25 April 2014 (Friday) - A Day Off Work
Today I had a rather later start than usual, being on a day's holiday. Originally the plan had been for a weekend away caravaning, but things didn't go quite as we'd hoped. But I still took the holiday, and after a spot of brekkie I took "Furry Face TM" for the sort of walk we used to do back when I was on three-day weeks. We went through the Bowens Field wetlands to Viccie Park and on to Singleton Lake. The weather forecast hadn't been good, and we did get rained on for five minutes. However the rain soon let off, and we even found one of the two munzees in Singleton. Mind you the other one still has me foxed.
Once home I went through my letter rack. There wasn't much of note there; mostly bills for the next year. I did the monthly accounts. On the one hand I've had a pay rise. On the other hand I have to spend more on petrol now that I'm doing five day weeks. The extra money from the pay rise is almost exactly equal to my increased petrol costs. Ho hum...
I was going to mow the lawn; it was raining. I was going to repair the tent poles; I needed a hacksaw. So I had a bite of lunch and watched more lame 1960s Doctor Who and a documentery about Queen until the Rear admiral arrived to collect some odds and ends.
I then spent half an hour on sax practice. Or to be more precise I spent five minutes on sax practice and twenty five minutes stopping my dog from howling along. I then had another look for a hacksaw, and having found one I managed to fix those tent poles.
The rest of the afternoon was spent bashing my head aagainst a brick wall solving geo-puzzles, and then I went round to McDonalds wheere I met the Rear Admiral and Stevey for some McTea. From there it was on to astro club. We had a huge turnout and a guest speaker.
I have mixed feelings about guest speakers.
On the one hand its good to get an expert lecturer in. On the other hand these so-called experts are often little more than people like me who've taken the trouble to research astronomy on Wikipedia and then put on a show for a bemused public. I much prefer the astro club to have lectures from our own members.
Tonight's talk had been billed as being on exo-planets; a fascinating topic. The speaker however announced he wasn't going to talk about exo-planets; he was going to talk about how unlikely it is that the human race and the planet Earth exist at all. It could have been interesting...
Whenn discussing a rather esoteric and complex subject some speakers try to illuminate and elucidate. Some try to blind with science. Some endeavour to baffle with bullsh*t. Personally, when I'm lecturing I like to think that people are listening to what I am saying, and if anything is complicated, then that I have conveyed the salient points in a way that people can understand.
I could see the eyes of many of the club members glazing over as tonight's speaker droned on.
He presented random speculation after random speculation as established and proven facts. His fundamental arguments and reasoning were factually wrong on at least three seperate key issues. And in the question and answer session after the lecture he contradicted what he'd said earlier with nearly (but not quite) every answer he gave.
I can't help but feel that the misconceptions presented about living things and living ecosystems would have been blown out of the water by a two-minute discussion with a professional life-scientist. Perhaps as a professional life-scientist I should have said more; but I felt it would be bad form to have one of the most prominent club members present vociferously arguing with the speaker.
It was a shame that the speaker then went on to plug his latest book. Yet another book which has the age-old argument back to front. It's not amazing that the human race exists despite all the vagaries of the Earth's multi billion year history. We are here precisely because of the specific vagaries of the Earth's multi billion year history. And had things been different, then humanity would be different.
Had the moon not been present, or had the solar constant not been quite so constant, or had the ice ages been more intense then maybe we would now be twelve feet tall on average; or green skinned and photosynthetic, or intelligent octopi.
Normally after an astro club meeting the club's Facebook page is alive with comments about how well the evening's talk went down. Tonight - not a sausage... which is a shame.
26 April 2014 (Saturday) - A Gentlemen's Afternoon (hic!)
Being up rather earlier than I’d hoped I set about the astro club’s accounts. Not too bad, really. I then pootled about for a bit fiddling with my presentation for next month’s astro club. I hope it goes down well; it’s not especially long at the moment.
I could have gone out to be public-spirited this morning. I could have gone to a CITO (cache in, trash out) event in which geocachers do a bit of tidying up of a public area.
Last year I went to a CITO event. It was on 10 March and on re-reading my blog entry for that day I can see that I was rather unimpressed. Sixty brave souls turned up to be rather public spirited, but most people soon lost interest and shoved off to do their own sweet things, leaving only a few hardy souls working their butts off in the cold and rain.
There was another such event today. But it was in the same place as last’s year’s one. Presumably supervised by the same council employee. Bearing in mind it was already raining I decided to stay home this morning. ‘er indoors TM went along. She’s more public-spirited (and more forgiving) than me.
On March 7 I wrote “My new walking shoes have arrived…. I wonder how long they will last” Today I got my answer. I took “Furry Face TM “for a short walk, and within fifty yards I realised I had a wet foot. Looking at my feet I saw that the sole of my walking shoe had a huge split in it. On the one hand I got the shoes for half price. On the other hand they lasted six weeks. I would have expected a reputable brand such as Cotton Trader to have supplied shoes which would have lasted a little longer. Or do I walk *that* much that I have given the things a lifetime’s wear in a little under two months.
I phoned Cotton Traders to have a whinge. They were really helpful and have arranged for the knacked shoes to be returned and new ones sent out to me.
I then set off to Bybrook Barn; I’ve been needing an ink stamp for my latest geo-project. And having got one I lunched in the American diner.
Sax lesson went very well. I’m making progress, and this week’s homework has some well-known tunes such as “Yankee Doodle” and “On Top of Old Smokey”, and a couple of scales. My problem with squawkiness is probably due to my breathing (or lack of it).
I’d gotten to the music school a little early, and the student before me hadn’t shown, so I was finished there rather earlier than I might have been. With over an hour until the next phase of the day, I did what real men do. I went to the pub.
We were having “A Gentlemen’s Afternoon” going round Folkestone’s ale houses in lieu of a stag do. The plan had been to meet up at Ashford International at 3pm. Being at a loose end and having heard that Terry had arrived at the Admiralty I took the earlier train. We were soon in the Firkin where I had a rather nice pint of porter, and I got through another two pints whilst waiting for all our number to assemble.
A dozen of us then moved on to the Chambers for another pint; then to the Samuel Peto for food. You can’t beat a good mixed grill after far too much ale. Kipps bar had oatmeal stout. Very nice.
Most people were then going back to Ashford to see a band. But as Terry was staying in Folkestone and I don’t see him much I stayed in Folkestone for another pint at the Black Bull. Once a very rough pub this place has been done up very well.
I eventually said my goodbyes, got myself a kebab, found a train going in the general direction of home, fell asleep and woke up half way to London. Oh how I laughed…
As always I took a few photos of the action. All in all, not a bad day….
27 April 2014 (Sunday) - Farningham and Eynesford
The rules for yesterday's pub crawl was that moustaches were compulsory. Having grown a full set of chops for the event, there's no denying that I was glad to scrape it off this morning. There are those who sport beards and moustaches. I generally don't; I can't say that I like having it. Shaving every day can be a bit of a chore, but personally I'd rather that than have the beard.
I did feel a little less than one hundred per cent this morning, but a few cups of coffee sorted me out. I checked the weather forecast and saw that the day was going to be overcast and showery. We decided to go on with the planned walk, and dressed accordingly. In the end we were right to have done so; there was no rain until we were driving home. The day was lovely.
Having collected Gordon Tracy we drove up to Farningham, parked up, put on waterproofs and set off on our walk. Initially we were on a rather busy main road, but not for long. We were soon in full countryside, speaking with a rather tame sheep who came up to us to be petted. This sheep was very friendly, and wasn't at all bothered by the dogs. Mind you Suzy is well behaved, annd since his experience with the electric fence a couple of weeks ago "Furry Face TM" is rather cautious around sheep.
We saw a couple of alpacas in with the sheep, we saw some sort of large flightless bird in with the goats; I think it was a rhea, but it might have been an ostrich. And over a spot of lunch I saw something black and very low to the ground in the next field which (just possibly) might have been one of those panthers or pumas that your hear about.
As we went along we found all of the caches we were after; including two puzzle ones we'd all solved in the week. I had to supply the vital co-ordinates to the rest of the party though. Apparently everyone else had worked out the puzzles using pencil and paper, and the dogs had eaten their homework (!)
Billed as a three mile walk, our independent sat-nav technologies recorded the distance as being five miles. Geo-walks are always longer than the description claims; not that this is a bad thing.
With the walk done we still had an hour or so spare, so we drove into Eynesford where we collected another puzzle cache that we'd all solved iin the week; even if the dogs had again eaten everyone else's homework. In the village we met some fellow cachers who told us that a certain cache was missing, and advised us not to bother looking for it. I saw that as something of a challenge, and sure enough after a short search we had the elusive film pot in our hands.
By 3.30pm we could feel spots of rain, so having exhausted the area of unfound sandwich boxes we came home. As we got closer to home we could see there had been very heavy rain at home today. We'd been rather lucky with the weather.
And as always there are photos of the day on-line. the geocache series we did today was called "Kent Views", and as you can see there were some wonderful views to be enjoyed.
Once home we had a rather good bit of egg and chips for tea, and as "er indoors TM" set off for the Sunday bowling I mucked about on-line. I was rather frustrated to find that during the week I'd solved a dozen geo-puzzles and that today we'd not been that far away from them. Oh well, we were planning to go back to the area anyway...
28 April 2014 (Monday) - Another Day's Leave
I woke at silly o’clock, and got up and shaved and pootled about for an hour or so before going back to bed. The idea was that I might get back off to sleep. I didn’t.
I finally gave up trying to sleep when ‘er indoors TM‘s alarm went off at 7.30am, and after a quick cuppa I took “Furry Face TM “for a walk. Out to Singleton where I had heard reports that one of my geocaches had gone missing (it had). We then went on to the lake and home through Viccie Park. As we came home through the park I lost count of the amount of people swigging cans of lager before 10am. Have things gone downhill that much, or was there something special about today of which I was unaware. Was it “lager Monday”?
Once home I put the washing onto the line to dry, put more washing in, and went up to town. Astro club money to the bank, and then home again. I had intended to have a black forest gateau milk shake on the way home, but the milk shake shop was closed, which was a shame.
Over an early lunch I watched a film I’d recorded onto the SkyPlus box some time ago. “Bridesmaids” carried a warning about strong sex scenes and language throughout; I thought it was rather lame.
I then spent ages writing to the DVLA; I am legally obliged to tell them that I went to a sleep clinic. Having filled in reams of paperwork I’m hoping they won’t take my driving licence from me; that would be something of a pain.
“My Boy TM ” phoned: could I drive round and collect a load of stuff to take to the tip? I had some stuff to take to the tip as well, so we did a tip run and I went back with him for a cuppa before coming home and spending two hours ironing all that I’d washed and dried earlier.
As I ironed I watched stuff I’d recorded onto the SkyPlus box over the last few weeks. I can remember the Doctor Who story “The Brain of Morbius” being something of a classic. Perhaps it was when it was first broadcast in 1976; there’s no denying it’s not really stood the test of time.
My new walking shoes arrived. Unfortunately they were delivered by one of these franchise courier types. I told the chap he was supposed to take the old ones back. He didn’t want to. When I threatened to complain he grudgingly agreed to, but suggested I might get someone else to do the job. Hopefully the old ones will arrive where they are supposed to be.
I seem to have developed something of a cough over the weekend. I wonder if it was that cigar…
29 April 2014 (Tuesday) - CPAP
I usually whinge about poor sleep most days, but there is no denying that last night ranks among the worst nights ever. Going to bed at 10.30pm, I woke at 1.50am and was awake for the rest of the night.
I was watching "Ade at Sea" at 5am; an interesting series following the exploits of Adrian Edmonson as he sails round the British Isles. Today "Eddie" was shrimping for salmon (!) in the Bristol Channel. As I watched so "Furry Face TM" hauled himself out of bed to have the crusts off of my toast. He likes those.
But there is only so much telly one can watch, and I left for work at a ridiculously early 6.30am.
I went via Wye to find a recently released geocache (for something to do), and I stopped off in Thanington to hide one as well. Having been given an ammo case as an Easter prezzie, today I put the thing to use. Hopefully like-minded people will go looking for it, and when they find it I will get emails telling me that they have found it.
Sometimes I wonder if I am not doing justice to this pastime.
It was as I was doing the last part of the on-line geo-admin for my new geocache that I saw that had I left home at a more sensible time, then I would have had the chance of an FTF on three caches not far from home that had just gone live. Rather frustrating...
... In fact almost as frustrating as shopping in Morrisons for some apples and bananas. I found myself behind some twit who had clearly not grasped the concept of a check-out. Bless him.
I then got petrol which is now no cheaper in Canterbury that it is in Ashford. When I first transferred to work in Canterbury two (or so) years go petrol was five pence cheaper (per litre) in Canterbury. Now it's the same price (if you know where to go for the stuff)
Today I went back to the sleep clinic and was fitted with my CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device; a useful gadget that blows air into my nose all night long. Apparently this thing senses when I stop breathing and blasts more air up my nose, thereby keeping me asleep. Here's hoping.
Lunchtime sax practice went well. Or that is to say it went well for me. I don't think the young couple in the car parked next to mine appreciated my renditions of "Daisy, Daisy" and "On Top of Old Smokey" as they tried to fornicate.
In the same way that I have established that he far end of a car park is a good place more me to practice my saxophone because I won't bother anyone, this young couple would seem to have identified the place as somewhere private for a little bit of filth.
It's a good job that I am able to take a firm moral stance. With a saxophone.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a wlk, and then it was off to Queen Street for the weekly gathering. Insults were bandied and I slept through most of an episode of Merlin. Wish I hadn't done that.
And so to bed to try out my CPAP machine. I wonder if it will be any use...?
30 April 2014 (Wednesday) - Success
The CPAP machine isn't the most comfortable of things to wear; especially when trying to sleep eith it on. I took rather longer to doze off than usual last night. But once asleep I slept through until after 4am which was quite good really. I then took the thing off and slept "naturally" until 5.30am. For a first attempt I'm rather pleased with the thing. We'll see how tonight goes.
Over brekkie I watched more "Ade at Sea"; today Eddie was off the coast of Scotland on the isle of Eigg. I'd never heard of the place before. I checked my emails - I've passed the on-line course I've been doing. I got a distinction for "Internet History, Technology, and Security". I'm quite pleased about that.
To work a little later than I might have gone. As I drove I listened to the radio. And again I despaired for the world.
Crackpot extremists in Nigeria have kidnapped two hundred girls from their school; the reason being that their religion doesn't think women should have any form of education whatsoever.
These children have been missing for over a week. As the worried parents said, it would be difficult to conceal half a dozen children; let alone two hundred. There must be a *lot* of crackpots complicit in this crime. The latest theory for their prolonged absence is that the poor girls are to be forced into arranged marriages. That too is acceptable to certain gods.
This episode alone should be enough to have this form of superstition banned.
There is to be a by-election and the pundits on the radio were criticising the leader of the UK Independence Party for his decision not to stand as a candidate. Even though the chap openly admits that he has no connection with the area, and that for him to do so would be nothing other than a cheap publicity stunt.
It is a sad indictment of our nation that with the government coalition parties unpopularity and the Labour party still recovering from the debacle they made of the economy, rampant jingoism appears to be a sound political position.
Once at work I did my bit. Sax practice went reasonably well. I think I'm getting to grips with "Daisy, Daisy", and fortunately for public morality I didn't see anyone in the car park "getting to grips" with anyone else this lunch time.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park. He actually cried in fear when a large Alsatian came up the path towards us. I wonder what that was all about. As he's getting older he's getting more cautious around bigger dogs, but to cry?
I then took the back seats out of my car so I can get more luggage into the thing, and with a bit of effort I got the top box onto the car single-handed. I think I might have done something to my back whilst I was at it...