1 April 2017 (Saturday) - Dog Reunion
Yesterday a friend of mine made cryptic comments about how all the ranting would now start. Over brekkie I discovered that she was referring to how the BBC have decided that one of the characters in the next series of Doctor Who will be gay.
I have no issue whatsoever with anyone’s sexuality. However I do have reservations about just how loud, vocal and in-your-face the gay activist movement can be. If people are happy with their partners, then that is fine. There are three gay couples in my family that immediately come to mind. Two pairs are happy and laid back about it, and there are never any issues. The third however are so forceful in shouting that they are married and that they are in love and asking (in a seemingly threatening manner) if anyone has any problems that it rather frightens me. I suspect that this might be the mind-set behind the creation of this character in Doctor Who. Have the ratings for this show *really* fallen so far that they need to drag out the controversial lesbian? After all, in the first fifty years of the show was anyone trying to pork anyone else?
We got the dogs into the car and, collected "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and drove up to the Warren. There we met "My Boy TM" and his posse, and several other people who were the owners of Treacle’s brothers and sisters and mum. About a dozen assorted humans took about a dozen assorted small dogs for a walk round the Warren. We had a good stroll; we scared the normal people who were doing their exercises and we played silly beggars on a rope swing we found. We did one of these walks a couple of months ago; must do another soon – if only so’s I can make another video of it.
Once back to the cars we said our goodbyes to the owners of the other dogs, and we took our dogs home where they soon settled. Our tribe then went round to the American diner. We’ve been there before and found the service to be *so* slow. But today they seemed to be on the case. I made something of a pig of myself. Peanut butter milk shake, Louisiana chili cheese burger and caramel ice cream sundae. Suitably stuffed we then had a little look around Bybrook Barn garden centre. "My Boy TM" came out with something of a bargain. An acer (twenty four quid), two sacks of gravel (twelve quid) and a tub of fish food (twelve quid) cost him thirty four quid.
We weren’t going to argue.
We all then went our separate ways; I came home and I mowed the lawn. It took some mowing. I then trimmed back overhanging roses. As I pootled, “nice next door” (as opposed to “nutty next door”) were in the back garden. They obviously had the family round to a little get-together. I mentioned this to "er indoors TM" before falling asleep on the sofa for an hour or so.
I spent much of the rest of the day on the sofa; I wasn’t feeling too good. I wonder if I’ve had too much sun over the last few days?
2 April 2017 (Sunday) - Doing the Chores
My piss boiled as I read the morning news. A seventeen year old boy is laying in critical condition having been brutally assaulted by a gang of thugs not fifty miles from where I live. He was attacked for being an asylum seeker. In today’s Britain asylum seekers are seen as people coming to Britain for an easy life. The reality is somewhat different. The asylum seekers of my experience are intelligent people who have fled their homes because it is not safe to be in a war zone. The asylum seekers of my experience work hard and work unsocial hours, and do the jobs that most Brits are unprepared to do or are unqualified to do. And now they are getting beaten almost to death.
It makes me ashamed to be British. Perhaps if people think twice about posting racist hate-provoking memes on social media, people wouldn’t think it was acceptable to kick someone half to death for wanting to live in safety.
I checked my emails – I had a rather nice log on one of my geocaches – you can read what the chap said by clicking here. And talking of geocaches…. Usually we’d go off on a rather long walk on a Sunday (if we hadn’t on the Saturday) but "er indoors TM" had plans for the afternoon. So with only a couple of hours spare we thought we might do some maintenance on our own caches.
Mind you geocache maintenance is something which boils my piss. I’m expected to perform maintenance on the caches I’ve hidden. It says so in the rules, and (to be honest) I knew that when I hid them all. But knowing what a pain geo-maintenance can be, whenever I go off to walk an extended series of caches I make myself helpful. If the series has been out for any length of time I email the person who hid them to ask if there are any issues, and to ask if there is any maintenance I might do on the way for them. It is silly for someone to go out of their way and waste their time when I am walking past the problem anyway. But I seem to be in the minority here. No one ever messages me to ask if there are any problems to sort. Rather than carrying a few slips of paper in a pocket to replace wet logs, so many people would rather put a “Needs Maintenance” flag. And if a “Needs Maintenance” flag isn’t dealt with promptly, the geo-feds will archive the cache.
Perhaps I’m just a bit pissy here because the chap who had me give up my Sunday morning has found twice as many caches as I have whilst only having hidden three of his own (and consequently has pretty much zero maintenance of his own to do) whereas I have over a hundred active caches to deal with.
So we drove out to do some geo-maintenance this morning. I had four issues to deal with. The first was a cache which was reported as missing. It was missing, so I replaced it. It was one which has gone missing a few times; I think I might need to re-think the hide.
The second one needed a new log. Yes – the log *was* wet. Did no one have a slip of paper with which to replace it?
The third one was broken, and the fourth one missing. Ironically a couple of hours after I replaced that fourth one (in a slightly different hide) someone else came along and just put down a new cache for me. If only I’d known he was going to do that. Still, better two than none.
We came home and scoffed a Belgian bun for late lunch then "er indoors TM" went off with her pals to see the Pet Shop Boys live. Finding myself “home alone” for the afternoon I did some gardening. I got all the weeds pulled out of the gravel, and I got the gravel round one side of the pond organised. Gravel doesn’t organise itself you know. The other side of the pond still needs doing, but I shall need help for that. Firstly the arbour needs lifting out, and then the gravel and membranes need some serious work because a certain poo-eating puppy has been digging.
I intended to pressure-wash the yard and some paving slabs but the shed was in such a mess I couldn’t get to the pressure washer. I need to do a couple of tip runs before I can get to the pressure washer. For all that I do like my new job, the shift system where I used to work was useful in allowing me time to do things like tip runs.
I then spent a couple of hours doing the ironing. Dull, but it doesn’t do itself you know. I then fed the dogs (and myself) and we all settled down in front of the telly. I expect we shall all be asleep soon – two of us are already…
I’ve worked rather hard on this last day of my little holiday.
3 April 2017 (Monday) - Poor Sid
I was up with the lark (as usual) this morning. Before settling to breakfast I wasted ten minutes trying to find my dog’s comb. "Furry Face TM" likes being combed, but the puppy likes chewing his comb. She’d obviously stolen it to chew on it, and I couldn’t find it anywhere.
I then watched a rather good episode of “Battlestar Galactica” which was marred only by the supposedly gory scenes. Fake blood winds me up for the simple reason that it looks nothing like blood. Blood isn’t bright red, nor is it transparent.
I spent a few minutes perusing a dull internet, then went upstairs to get dressed. As I sat on the end of my bed to deal with socks felt something uncomfortable. The puppy had buried the comb under the duvet at the bottom of my bed.
I set off to work through rather thick fog. I went to the petrol station on the ring road as they do the cheapest petrol for miles around. They were closed, so I went to the Ashford Sainsbury’s. Two pence per litre dearer than the place on the ring road but still two pence per litre cheaper than Maidstone.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. There was an interesting article about the oil rigs in the North Sea. In much the same way that Britain’s nuclear power stations were built without a thought for their disposal, the oil rigs in the North Sea were similarly put in place with no thought for getting rid of them. Some may be dismantled but it seems there is a trend (world-wide) to use them as “reef-builders” which is a thinly veiled way of saying just leave them where they are when they are done with. It amazes me that (when they built them) no one gave a thought for what would eventually happen to these rigs.
There was also talk about how research has shown that in medieval times the recently dead had their bodies seriously mutilated to stop them rising from the dead.
I wonder who pays for this research.
I got to work and did my thing, then took over an hour longer than usual to get home. Road works not a couple of miles from work held me up for that hour.
I came home to rather worrying news. Poor little Sid (my grand-dog) had been attacked. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" had been walking him round the fields at Newtown when an Akita savagely attacked him. Fortunately she had Buster (another grand-dog) with her and Buster was able to fight off the Akita (Buster loosing a tooth in the battle).
Needless to say the local police weren’t interested at first, but were eventually shamed into getting involved. They are apparently going to take statements tomorrow afternoon.
Some would say that is a day too late, but I’m rather amazed they are coming out at all. Personally I was of the opinion that they would wait until a child was mauled by this obviously out-of-control animal, and then pretend to have known nothing about it.
I wonder what they will actually do…
4 April 2017 (Tuesday) - Late for Work
Again I had night plagued with dreams set in somewhere where I used to work. I expect there is something deeply psychological about it.
I got up and made brekkie. Despite my constant encouragement "Furry Face TM" just looked at me from his basket. But after a few minutes "er indoors TM" came down for the loo and my dog was immediately up and following her. Dogs make no secret of who their favourites are. But once he was up he came and sat with me. Having found where the puppy had hidden his comb I spent a while combing and brushing him. He likes that. As I fussed him I watched an episode of “BattleStar Galactica”. Yesterday I mentioned how unconvincing the blood in that show was. Today I was similarly unimpressed with the nudey sauce romp that Starbuck was having. Now I’m no expert on filth, but I have always been of the opinion that in order to have sex properly you need to take your pants off first.
I sparked up my laptop. There was little of note on Facebook, and other than adverts about jobs in Merseyside and Wales I had only one email. It was from the South Ashford Community Forum. Someone relatively locally wants to turn their garage into a shop. My first thought was to let them, but then there’s very little parking in the area and the streets are rather narrow. Perhaps not such a good idea.
I set off for work through the rain. I got to within four miles of work and hit the same traffic jam that held me up last night. I then moved at a snail’s pace as the pundits on the radio drivelled on about congestion charges, how National Trust have boiled the piss of the Church of England (by dropping the word “Easter” from their activities), and how some chap in America claims to have used science to prove that philosophy really is the load of old tosh that we all think it is.
I always set off to work early so I can get there with time to spare; I arrived half an hour late this morning having taken over an hour to travel four miles. But bearing in mind this is only the second time I’ve been late in thirty-five years I’m sure I can get away with it.
I suppose it was only right that I was half an hour late getting out this evening.
As I walked to my car I spoke with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" on the phone. The police *had* come round to talk to her following Sidney’s having been savagely attacked yesterday. She seemed impressed with the copper, but from what I can see the chap was all fart and no turd (to coin a phrase).
He spoke a lot, but after all the talking was done there was nothing that the copper could (or would) do. Despite having been made aware of a dangerous uncontrolled dog (and been shown Sid’s scars) the copper says he has to wait until a human is maimed before he can actually do anything. Mind you the copper has now spoken to the owner of the dangerous dog. This owner seemed to have made all the noises that the copper wanted to hear. He’s even offered to pay the vet bills. Let’s hope he does.
Being a Tuesday the clans would usually gather. But with most people being unavailable we had a lazy evening in. I might have an early night – I need an early start tomorrow to not be late to work again.
5 April 2017 (Wednesday) - Early for Work
I woke early, but rather than spending half an hour or so watching stuff on the telly that "er indoors TM" don’t like, I spent half an hour letting dogs in and out of the garden. As I did so I noticed that there were no light on in “nutty next door”. There hasn’t been any lights on in that house either early in the morning or late at night for a couple of weeks now. There used to be. Perhaps they have gone on holiday, or perhaps they have gone for good.
I sparked up my lap-top and had a look into the Internet. I widened my circle of friends on Facebook, then checked my inbox. There were more job offers from a laboratory in Essex. Whilst not far away in a straight line, Essex isn’t really practical. But I did have an email from Mrs Ruth Benson who lives in the Ivory Coast. She wanted to “donate and hand over some fund to you for charity work for community development (Like: Building home for the old aged, Orphanage Homes, taking care of the widows in the community etc)”.
You have to admire the tenacity of these scammers.
Bearing in mind yesterday’s being late to work I set off half an hour earlier than usual. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about all sorts of stuff.
They started off with diesel cars. Year of official advice has prompted people to buy diesel cars, and now that diesel is seen to be responsible for all of the evils of the world the tax on diesel cars is going through the roof. This is felt to be somewhat unfair on the people who bought diesel cars following official advice.
The Prime Minister has dropped hints that she might not be quite as harsh as has been suspected. I’m just glad I decided against diesel. I can remember when the stuff used to freeze in the winter.
My piss boiled when the pundits then turned on the NHS (again). Now it seems that the problem with the NHS is a total absence of long-term planning. What utter rubbish. It is patently obvious that the problems facing the NHS are due to *far* too much long term planning. For as long as I’ve been working for the NHS I have seen government initiative after government initiative brought in only to be abandoned after (at most) a year. Far too short a time for any effects of said initiative to be felt. What the NHS really needs is far less of these plans. The NHS needs one plan, and needs to be left for that plan to actually take effect.
Oh – and a seven-foot-long tuna has been found (dead) floating in the River Severn.
Having left home half an hour early I got to work an hour and a half too early. I read my Kindle for a bit, then went into work and did my bit. I was late getting out and after getting stuck in traffic I came home to see my former employer had sent me a letter. They have invited me to become a public member of East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. I might just take them up on the offer. It don’t cost anything and if I get bored it might be a chance to do some good.
Today was rather dull really…
6 April 2017 (Thursday) – Puzzled
My elbow was hurting when I woke this morning. It does that more and more these days. After I’d watched this morning’s instalment of “BattleStar Galactica” I had a look-see on-line. Several friends were posting to Facebook from the week-long kite festival at Berck-sur-mer in France. In years gone by a day trip to Berck was one of the annual fixtures. It is a long way to go, but I quite miss it. Could we go this weekend? Possibly. Will we… I doubt it, but it would be fun.
Other people were using the Internet to go out of their way to pick fights with people they’ve never met about who loves their favourite football club the most. There seemed to be no pleasure in that one. I’d rather fly a kite than argue football.
With no emails of note I set off to work.
As I drove to work the radio spewed its usual drivel. Apparently the public are being asked to help English Heritage in monitoring the spread of the clothes moth. It turns out that the clothes moth is a cheeky little lepidopteran which scoffs the kind of stuff that English Heritage thrive on. The bigwigs at English Heritage have a theory that moth numbers are on the increase what with global warming and farmers not dowsing huge swathes of the country with DDT and other dangerous pesticides any more. The public are being asked to collect free moth traps and monitor moths across the country.
It might make an interesting pastime for the perennially bored.
Regular readers of this drivel may recall how (a couple of years ago) I took up the saxophone. Apparently the huge saxophone shop in Crowborough has had a break-in. Thirty saxophones worth over seventy thousand pounds have been stolen. It would seem this was a planned robbery; but what on Earth are the thieves going to do with the saxophones? They are something of a specialist item. Or is there a black market for saxophones?
I got to work early (again) and had a rather busy day, and was again late getting out. I came home to an empty house; "er indoors TM" had taken the dogs for their evening constitutional. So whilst they went round the park I struggled with a geo-puzzle. If any of my loyal readers can make anything out of the picture above….
7 April 2017 (Friday) - Bit Penniless
After having been wide awake for over an hour I gave up trying to sleep and was watching “BattleStar Galactica” at 5.30am. Today’s episode featured Ensign Ro (from Star Trek) being a rather dislikeable admiral. My viewing was interspersed with supervising the puppy as she committed various crimes, not least of which being running around the house trailing "er indoors TM"’s undercrackers as she went.
When the puppy finally went back upstairs to harangue "er indoors TM, I had a look at the Internet. It was still there, and hadn’t changed much since last night. I considered clearing some of the carnage that he puppy had left scattered around the living room but decided I couldn’t be arsed, and I set off to work.
On Monday I tried to get in to the cheapo petrol station in the ring road but it was closed. It was open today. I got petrol two pence per litre cheaper than Sainsbury’s but I think I’d rather spend a grand total of eighty pence more (per fill-up) to avoid the rather scary pikeys that haunt the cheapo petrol station. There was one chap there (the father of an ex-cub scout – he didn’t recognise me) openly attempting to charm his way into the affections (and pants) of the rather scary woman behind the till. Said scary woman never actually spoke to me or even acknowledged my existence as I paid for the petrol. Instead she brazenly led the cub’s father on.
Call me an old traditionalist if you will, but I’ve always felt that middle-aged women in the retail industry shouldn’t make their sexual availability quite so obvious.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were haranguing one of the executives from Cadbury because they have supposedly dropped the phrase “Easter” from the events they sponsor at this time of the year.
It was all rather surreal; the chap on the radio kept accusing Cadbury of betraying their Christian roots by dropping the word “Easter” and the chap being interviewed kept asking where they got this idea from because it was all made up.
I got to work and my phone rang. It was Cheryl. Was I at work? She wasn’t feeling well and had booked a Segway session today. Did I want to go? Unfortunately I couldn’t get out of working today. I say “unfortunately”; I’m not sure that I really would have enjoyed it. Maybe I should have a go to find out.
I did my bit at work and came home. I’d had the car’s heater running on the way to work; I had the air conditioning running on the way home. Once home we took the pups round the park. The puppy generally ran amok, and Fudge found a left-over kebab. Generally business as usual for my dogs.
Once home we had fish and chips, and then I looked at the monthly accounts. I’m far from skint but I’m nowhere near as well off as I’d like to be. Is it so wrong of me to want to not have to count every penny? There are those who don’t have to…
8 April 2017 (Saturday) - A Walk round Capstone
We had toasted hot cross buns for brekkie this morning. Following some utter drivel spoken in an episode of “The Great British Bake-Off”, "er indoors TM" was expounding the nonsensical notion that hot cross buns are a form of bread. She didn’t respond well to being told she was wrong… if they were bread what is with the currants?
We popped the leads on to the dogs and set off for Capstone Country Park. It was patently clear that the sat-nav was taking us the wrong way so we re-booted the software and started again. After a not inconsiderable squabble with the sat nav it turned out the sat-nav was right all along. Woops.
Mind you, having given me instructions of where to meet up, Karl went to the wrong car park.
We then had a rather good walk round Capstone Country Park. There were half a dozen geocaches there and (as always) they helped us find our way as we meandered about.
We walked for two hours then, finding ourselves back at the cars, drove half a mile up the road to the Waggon at Hale where the monthly geo-meet was taking place. We had a really good time sitting in the sun with friends. There was a small petting zoo for the kids (which fascinated Fudge), and the puppy generally made a nuisance of herself. I could have stayed there all afternoon, but after the third pint it really was time to make a move.
I slept all the way home, and once home we settled the dogs and went to Tesco to get the ingredients for a barbecue. That wasn’t cheap.
Home again, and I then spent an hour in the garden topping up the pond and cutting back the stuff hanging over the fence from next door. The overhang is nowhere near as bad as once it was, and regular trimming will keep it that way.
"er indoors TM" set off to the Saturday film night. I vaguely considered going, but decided against it. Instead I ironed seven shirts and a pair of trousers. What a riveting life I lead sometimes. As I ironed I wondered if I should have organised a game of cards for tonight…
9 April 2017 (Sunday) - Family Barby
The puppy was particularly restless last night; I finally got more than half an hour’s continuous sleep, and woke to find that "er indoors TM" had abandoned bed and gone to sleep on the sofa downstairs. I got up and tripped over the puppy’s feeding bowl; it has become one of her favourite toys, but does it need to be at the side of my bed?
Over brekkie I saw a sign of our greedy times. "er indoors TM" had posted a picture of my dog on his Facebook page. Facebook itself had added a comment saying “This post is getting more engagement than 80% of recent posts on that Page. Boost it for £4 to reach up to 3,000 people”. Why would I want to be advertising pictures of my dog to people who have never met him and probably never will?
I spent a little while solving Greek geo-puzzles, then went round to B&Q to get some ingredients for the garden. I got there to find that the normal people were out in force. Having loaded up my trolley with heavy shingle it was physically hard work to keep stopping the thing because other people’s unruly brats kept running in front of it. After the fifty near miss I resolved not to try to stop it for the next brat. My suddenly stopping the trolley hurt; someone else could share the pain.
However it was at this point that the “delightful” mothers started to exercise some parental responsibility.
I came home, and spent a little while getting stuff set up in the garden. Back at Christmas we decided that once every couple of months we would have a family day when we all got together. We’d originally thought about having a Sunday roast dinner today, but having seen the weather forecast we decided to have a barbecue in the garden.
The fruits of my loins (and their associated entourages) arrived, and we had a rather good afternoon sitting in the sunshine. We vaped and drank whilst "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" played in the paddling pool and Lacey and her mate lined up tin cans for us to knock down. Burgers, chicken wings, puddings, cheese… not a bad way to spend the afternoon.
I had intended to do all sorts of work in the garden today. I’ll do it another time…
10 April 2017 (Monday) – Stuff
An afternoon sitting in the sun yesterday had taken its toll so I had an early night. An early night is always counterproductive; it would seem I get about the same amount of sleep every night so an early night just means I have that sleep earlier and consequently I was awake ridiculously early this morning.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “BattleStar Galactica” then had a look at the Internet to see if anything momentous had happened there overnight. Facebook was interesting; so many people I know were on the beach at Deal yesterday. But although they all know me, none of the people posting photos from Deal knew each other.
I also had a pang of jealousy when I read a friend’s post. I went to Bromley Technical College with Della from 1983 to 1987. She was at my wedding, but over the years we’ve rather lost touch (apart from watching each other’s photos on Facebook). I knew she’s given up blood testing some years ago and had gone into teaching. She’d rapidly risen through the ranks to become a head teacher, and today was posting photos from her beautiful country cottage and was announcing her retirement. She’s only a couple of years older than me and has such a wonderful cottage and has now retired. For me retirement is ten years away (at closest). I know of several people who gave up blood testing and went into teaching and within a few short years were in incredibly senior positions.
Perhaps I should have done the same.
I got ready for work. In a novel break with tradition I didn’t wear my Doc Marten’s today. Over the last few weeks I think they have shrunk; they *really* hurt when I wear therm. I wonder what has happened to them. Instead I wore a pair of plimsolls. Back in the day the management would have gone mad about trivia like that. Nowadays no one notices.
As I drove through a rather bright morning the pundits on the radio were talking about a new play at London’s Royal Court Theatre are openly using autocues rather than learning their lines. The pundits were incensed at this revelation and were deploring the drop in standards. I must admit I couldn’t see their problem. Not learning lines is nothing new. Look at Arthur Lowe in “Dad’s Army” or William Hartnell in early episodes of “Doctor Who”. It was patently obvious that they could have done with autocues.
I got to work early; we had a morphology tutorial this morning. I quite like those. I then had a rather good day at work, and came home to walk the dogs. With dogs walked I moved some rubbish from the back garden into the front. I intend to do a tip run tomorrow. Will I do one? Time will tell. It always does…
11 April 2017 (Tuesday) - Late Shift
Being on my first late shift for some months I tried to have something of a lie-in. It was a minor success. The puppy spent much of the night marching all over me (odd how she doesn’t walk over "er indoors TM") but she seemed to settle down shortly after 5am (the time I usually give up trying to sleep) and I got two hours’ kip.
Over brekkie I sparked up my lap-top and peered into cyberspace. Last night I sent out an invitation to the geo-world asking if anyone fancied a walk on Sunday. I had quite a few replies this morning. Back when my shift pattern gave me time off mid-week I used to organise a lot of these walks. I quite miss them.
I had an email which boiled my piss somewhat. Someone logged a “Needs Maintenance” on a geocache I’d hidden as they felt it needed a new paper log. This same person has had a dozen of their own caches archived as they’ve not done any maintenance of their own and they have the cheek to suggest I maintain mine.
I popped the leads onto the dogs and we went out to meet up with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". We had a rather good walk round the park. Fortunately there was no one else using the swings and roundabouts as ""Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and the dogs wreaked mayhem, and we spent a rather enjoyable ten minutes playing with the dogs in the river. Equipped with soggy dogs we made our way home. As we walked we met up with OrangeHead. Unusually she was without her usual posse, and she was amazingly civil.
Once home we waited for "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"’s friend to arrive in her car. Despite only living half a mile away and despite having been to our house countless times she couldn’t find our road. How can people’s local knowledge be so bad?
I then took my car full of rubbish to the tip. It would have taken a fraction of the time had one person not parked in such a stupid, selfish and thoughtless way. Having parked as close as he could to the particular skip he wanted, an idiot had seriously obstructed access to the tip. However he’d only obstructed it; not blocked it. He *wasn’’t* happy with all the cars slowly driving past his car only inches from the door he dared not open. Had he parked a few yards further on everyone (including himself) would have been happier.
Once I’d unloaded my rubbish I set off to work. The pundits on the radio were discussing the composer Bach. It was a tad dull so I turned the radio off. Having wasted time at the tip I didn’t go to the garden centre but went straight to Maidstone. I had McLunch, then braved Aldi where the normal people were out in force. Dozens of people swarming about, not one looking at where they were going or what they were doing.
Late shifts in Maidstone start at 1.15pm. Almost two hours later than they did in Canterbury. I had time to do so much more this morning, but I’m not sure how getting home at 10pm is going to pan out in the long term…
12 April 2017 (Wednesday) - Another Late
We had something of a shock last night; a friend from way back had died. I first met Glenn some twenty years ago, but over the years we’d grown apart (as you do). He was quite a bit younger than me, and the news of his death came as something of a shock. I was thinking about him only the other day; some time ago he’d written a short story and sent it to me to ask my opinion. I’d found the draft he sent me on my PC. I wonder if he ever got it published?
Over brekkie I sent an email to the Environment agency. It has been over a month since I paid them good money for a fishing licence which hasn’t appeared.
As I then looked at a rather dull Facebook "er indoors TM" carried on with the puppy’s homework. Treacle started puppy class last night and she’s learning to walk at heel and wait and generally not be a pain in the arse.
Perhaps I had unrealistically high expectations, and it *is* early days, but I’ve yet to see any real improvement in the puppy so far.
I took the dogs for a walk round the park. Fudge plodded along at his own pace; Treacle harassed the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the park gates. She also bothered several Ghurkhas. Ashford’s Ghurkhas amaze me. They are some of the most fearless soldiers you will ever meet, but they all seen terrified of the smallest puppies. Every time we go out I am apologizing to one Ghurkha or another who is quaking in terror.
We came home. I watered my Monkey Puzzle tree and I had a look at the garden fence between us and “nice next door”. It seriously needs a little work doing. I then cleared the garden of dog dung (a never-ending task) and hung out the washing. Having warmed up on my T-shits the washing machine was then set loose on my smalls. I wasted half an hour trying to find a tape measure, then set off on a little mission before work.
I went to Wickes to get some metposts with a view to sorting out that fence, then went to the garden centre I intended to visit yesterday. Notcutts in Maidstone has a branch of Cotswolds in it. I had a vague idea I might go there on shifts when I would once have gone to Go Outdoors or Wyevale in Canterbury. I don’t think I will be doing so. The place was rather pretentious.
Pausing only briefly to fail to find a geocache I popped into the nearby Costa for coffee and cake. I shant’s be doing that again. I lost count of how often I had to repeat my order (mocha and carrot cake) because the first assistant didn’t speak English and the second couldn’t hear me shouting over the noise of the music they were blaring out. I finally got a mocha and carrot cake. The coffee was crap, and the cake was wet. Not moist; wet. And the place was full of the most ill-behaved brats.
I found myself wishing I’d gone to McDonalds. So I did. Just for a McFlurry.
Work was good. It would have been better had the chap taking over from me at 9pm turned up at the hospital where I was working, not the sister hospital fifteen miles away. Oh well, I wasn’t *that* late getting home…
13 April 2017 (Thursday) - The Lion, The Witch....
I slept reasonably well; but despite a rather late night I was still wide awake before 5am. Over brekkie I scoffed toast whilst watching “BattleStar Galactica” and combing my dog. These days he usually just looks at me from his basket, rarely getting up to come sit with me. I made the most of his soppy mood this morning.
As Fudge snored I had a little look at the Internet. Overnight I found myself in danger of becoming embroiled in a minor squabble in one of the work-related Facebook groups I follow. Someone had posted an article from curiosity dot com from a month or so ago. The gist of the article was that the lungs are a site of platelet production and this was presented as a major revelation. I commented that this is hardly news; I was taught this over thirty-five years ago. However I found myself being lambasted by some woman who felt that curiosity dot com was a far more reliable and credible scientific source than any peer-reviewed journal.
I didn’t rise to her bait. This woman had clearly got confused between misunderstood Internet-based gibberish and proper science and took every attempt at a reasoned discussion to be a personal affront. I had a look at her own Facebook page; she seemed to be selling crystals for their healing purposes. I wish I’d known she was a looney *before* I read the rubbish she’d posted in what is usually a reliable Facebook page.
With no emails of note I got the fence posts out of my car and set off to Lenham. There was a breakfast geo-meet planned in Lenham at 8am, and Lenham is mid-way between home and work. It wasn’t massively attended, but I met up with a few friends, and there were some people from Zimbabwe who happened to be in the area with whom I talked about Wherigos for a while.
I then carried on to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking to the Labour party’s spokeswoman on education. This woman was in the impossible position of trying to explain why the Labour party are utterly committed to the comprehensive education system whilst so many of the leading members of the Labour party openly send their children to grammar schools and private schools.
Apparently the Labour party is against grammar schools as there is no evidence that they help the poorer children. The Labour party annoy me. Whilst In theory it is such a good idea, in practice it is a spawning ground for idiocy. Take grammar schools for example. I know so many people who went to Hastings Grammar School who have gone on to do incredibly well for themselves financially.
The roads were quiet; I got to work with time to spare, did my bit and came home to run errands for the fruits of my loin. First of all I took "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" to South Ashford where we collected a wardrobe. As wardrobes go it was quite a nice one (if you like wardrobes). I took it back to her flat, then drove round to get Cheryl and drove out to her work where I collected two rather large artificial trees and then drove them home for her.
They made a nice mess in my car.
I came home to find a rather nice dinner waiting for me. As I scoffed it I had a text message. Where was I? What with wardrobes and artificial trees I’d forgotten that this evening was the wedding reception of an ex-colleague.
14 April 2017 (Good Friday) - Dustbins,Stuff
I woke about three hours earlier than I needed to today, and finding myself unable to get back to sleep I got up and watched more “BattleStar Galactica” before setting off to work. The pavements up our road were rather impassable as I left home. The bin men had been getting better, but it was rather obvious they didn’t want to work today and had made a point of blocking the pavements with the bins. I’ve emailed the council; I doubt anything will come of it though.
The roads were rather quiet as I drove to work. There didn’t seem to be many people other than me and the bin men at work today. For all that I do like my chosen profession, if I had my time again I would choose a job which puts up a “closed” sign from time to time.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The experts at NASA have recently announced that the place might harbour life. I thought that was common knowledge (rather like lungs and platelets!) but what do I know.
I had a bit of a chuckle at the “thought for the day” bit. The chap spouting the platitudes today was a “typical vicar”. In my experience nobody ever takes any notice of a “typical vicar” and so they can talk any old rubbish and get away with it because nobody is listening. This was certainly the case this morning; the vicar just spouted various non-sequitur platitudes. No sentence he uttered had any logical connection with what went before or came after. Does anyone ever pay attention to “thought for the day” ? What a waste of prime-time national radio.
I went to the petrol station to fuel my car. As I was filling the car someone who had just paid for her petrol got into her car, wound the window down and shouted very loudly and clearly at me as she drove off. “Your car’s vile!” was what she hollered. Both I and the woman at the checkout looked at each other and wondered what that was all about.
I got to work, did my four hours and came home. The original plan had been to fix the loose fence posts this afternoon, but "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and her entourage had been diverted to Folkestone. We can fix the fence posts another time. Instead I went into the garden and replaced the broken fence panel. As I did I got chatting with “nice next door” and had a lager with them. Fudge wandered through (as though he owned the place) as I was removing the scraps of the old panel. And then the puppy got involved. But I got the job done and had a chat with our new neighbours too.
I then mowed the lawn and had a general tidy up. I carried on until my elbow hurt too much to continue.
I ironed shirts, then did some geo-homework in preparation for Sunday. And after a rather good bit of scoff I found myself falling asleep in front of the telly.
15 April 2017 (Saturday) - Fixing the Fence
I slept through till nearly 8am this morning. I have a theory that a lot of my insomnia is related to not wanting to oversleep when I do need to be up promptly in the mornings.
Over a cold cross bun brekkie I had a look at the internet. Someone had commented “hygene hiit” on the geocache I hid round by the outlet centre. I wonder what that was supposed to mean. Mind you the person posting that comment had only found thirty of the things. Perhaps they feel that sandwich boxes left out in the Great Outdoors are supposed to remain pristine.
I then went out to the shed. I had a plan for the day. I would:
I had the shed half-way tidy when "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned to say they were five minutes away. I needed Sam’s help for the fence posts so I abandoned shed and got the pressure washer together. I had this idea that "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and the grandchildren might like to play with it. I then got the fence panels down so’s we could fix the fence posts. One had snapped and one was the one that me and "My Boy TM" “fixed” last year. At the time he said that sitting a fence post in a bucket of cement was a stupid idea, and he was right.
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and her contingent all arrived and started playing with the pressure washer as Sam and I made a start on the fence posts. We started with the one that had snapped. We thought that we would have to dig out a core of concrete. However we couldn’t dig out the core of concrete as there was a wall over where we needed to dig. So we had this idea that we could drive a met-post into the wood left over from the old fence post (in the middle of the core of concrete). Technically we were correct. We *could* drive a met-post into the wood left over from the old fence post. However we couldn’t drive it far enough. It stopped, and after about an hour’s farting about the thing snapped off. (Yes – I was surprised too)
Sam then had another idea. We could dig around the core of concrete and using some sort of power tool (I forget what he called it) we could break up the concrete. We drove off on a tour of Ashford to find all the tool hire shops were closed for the Bank Holiday. Sam suggested we went to B&Q for a “bolster”. A “bolster” is what I would call a great big chisel. Apparently chisels do wood, bolsters do concrete. One lives and learns. Sam was adamant that five minutes with a bolster and a club hammer would have the core of concrete in fragments. I didn’t think so. But I was wrong. After five minutes of clouting there was a great big cracking sound and the thing fell apart.
It was at this point that "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" called us in for lunch. She’d been to the KFC. It was 2pm; I’d hoped to have had the fence all done and finished by mid day.
We scoffed KFC, then went back to the garden. We had a plan that we might still be able to use the snapped met-post. After a lot of farting about we realised we were wrong. We used our one good met-post, got one fence panel back in place, and while Same did some necessary ground work I took Charlie to Wickes for another met-post. Having been offered the option of going girlie shopping with "er indoors TM" and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM", Charlie had opted to stay with us.
There’s no denying that a trip to Wickes had put us back half an hour, but putting in the second post would be easy (or so I thought). After all it was just going to go into the hole where the bucket of cement had been sitting. So we got it all lined up, gave it a massive clout with the hammer, and there was a resounding clang as the met-post bounced out. The soil wasn’t as soft as I’d hoped. In fact it was on the hard side. It was at this point that I remembered that the bucket of cement had been sitting on a core of concrete about a foot square and three feet long that I’d buried when I had the stupid idea about putting a fence post in a bucket of cement. So we dug it out. (It is much easier to write this than it was to do it, you know).
Having dug out the core of concrete I had this idea that I might make a feature of it so I set Charlie to clean it with the pressure washer whilst we hammered the met-post into place and then had a fight with the remaining fence panel.
By now it was 545pm. We were running about six hours later than I had planned. So I abandoned my plans and rather than tidying up I chucked all the gear into the shed and said “sod it”.
The garden will still be there tomorrow (I hope).
16 April 2017 (Sunday) – Scadbury
I ached somewhat as I got up this morning. Perhaps we overdid the fence work yesterday. The trouble is there is no easy way to move large lumps of concrete.
As I looked at Facebook over brekkie I was rather amazed at what I saw. One of the more racist people of my acquaintance was pretending to be Christian (he isn’t really) and was making great show of Easter being a Christian festival and wishing everyone a happy Easter, even those who aren’t Christian. What was that all about?
We got the leads on to the dogs and drove up to Scadbury Park in Sidcup. There are a series of twenty (or so) challenge geocaches there. A challenge geocache is pretty much identical to any other sandwich box shoved under a rock in the woods, but in order to be allowed to go hunt it you have to have qualified to do so. There is a challenge you must satisfy. Hence the name “challenge cache” (dur!) The challenges involved finding so many different sorts of caches on one day, finding total numbers on one day, finding total numbers of particular sorts, blah blah blah. I hadn’t really got out of my way to qualify for any of them, and I was surprised to find I actually qualified for all but two of them. During the last week I asked (on the local geocaching Facebook page) if anyone fancied coming for a little walk to find them today. Five of us set off on a rather good little walk. I say “little”; I’d thought it would take a couple of hours but the walk was closer to four. And we found a couple of Wherigos on the way. I took a few photos as we walked. It was a shame that I wasn’t quick enough with the camera to catch a picture of the fox and the parakeets.
We had planned to walk another series of caches in the afternoon, but time was pushing on and we got back to the car just as the rain was starting. Only light drizzle, so me and "er indoors TM" drove up to Sidcup walled garden to do a bit of sightseeing, scoff an ice cream and do another Wherigo. We had an entertaining five minutes watching the puppy watching a game of tennis; her head really was going to and fro with the ball.
Once home we visited the fruits of our loin to give out Easter Eggs. First of all we went to see "My Boy TM" who was having a problem in the garden. He’d hidden eight chocolate eggs in the garden for Lacey to have an Easter Egg hunt. She’d found seven, but the last one eluded her. And he couldn’t remember where he’d stashed it.
From there we went on to "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" who were having a disagreement over some toy or other. I’m not sure of the details; as they squabbled so I fell asleep on the sofa.
We got home rather later than we might have done. I spent about fifteen minutes making one of my “compilation videos” – I just bodge together about a hundred blog photos and they make for a rather interesting (to some) insight to my world. I’m quite pleased with the result; you can watch it by clicking here.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner before going bowling. Finding myself “home alone” I thought I’d watch one of the films Jose has lent me. I wonder which one I will choose…
17 April 2017 (Monday) - Busy Bank Holiday
Do you ever have one of those dreams where you know it’s a dream and so you can do whatever you like because it doesn’t matter what you do because it is all a dream? I had one last night, and knowing it was a dream I went to find an old workplace bully and deliberately punched her as hard as I could in the throat to intentionally try to kill her. The force of my fist hitting the pillow woke me.
Having woken and thought about it I’m not entirely sure I’m happy about this. There are a few people who aren’t at the top of my Christmas list. There are some people I know loathe and despise me. And I must admit the one in my dream was one who royally screwed me over for bitter and vindictive reasons. But for me to want to punch her in the throat so’s she would choke to death... I thought I was better than that.
As I scoffed my brekkie I saw that not much had happened on-line overnight, and seeing there was a parking space outside the house I got dressed and went to move my car. However in the meantime someone had beaten me to that space. It was the woman who lives a few doors down. I watched for fifteen minutes as she tried to park. Most people who live in our road can’t park their cars. They all drive into parking spaces forwards and then to-and-fro trying to get near to the pavement. This morning the woman I was watching simply couldn’t get within two feet of the kerb.
After a while the novelty wore off and I loaded the remains of the broken fence panel (from Friday) and the broken fence posts (from Saturday) into my car together with half a ton (I think literally) of concrete fragments. It would have been a much easier job had I been able to have parked within fifty yards of home.
Narrowly avoiding the cyclist who was falling all over Brookfield Road I got to the tip at ten past nine. It was incredibly busy for that time on a Bank Holiday. As usual the place was overflowing with people who had less than a carrier bag’s worth of rubbish. The tip staff had something of a dilemma when I asked them if my fence post was wood rubbish (because of the post) or hard core rubbish (because of the concrete). After a major discussion they decided “wood” because I was parked next to the wood skip.
We all then waited for an unnecessary ten minutes because some idiot woman had parked right in the exit. She had a handful of rubbish and seemed to be in something of a daydream as she stared into the skip, but eventually she got out of the way.
I had planned to do a second tip run to get rid of the rusted bikes, but parking was tight at home. I wouldn’t have been able to lift the bikes into my car without scratching the car behind.
We settled the dogs and drove down to Hastings; my mum had been poorly in the week. We took a rather circuitous route via Doleham (for geo-reasons) and was with mum and dad for a couple of hours. Mum put on a light lunch. Sausage rolls with mustard (oh yes) and raspberry pavlova (double oh yes).
We would have stayed longer, but the dogs needed a walk, so we came home and took the dogs to the park. They played in the river for some time. For all that Fudge hobbles about, I am of the opinion that much of it is for show. He charges about in the river like a thing possessed.
Once home I was able to get my car outside the house, and I got the remains of the three rusted bikes into the boot. As I wrestled with the carcasses of the bikes a passing busybody asked what I was doing with the bikes. On hearing they were going to the skip he got quite vocal about how they were salvageable and probably worth good money. I offered him the bikes but he didn’t want them. However that didn’t shut him up. I think he just liked the sound of his own voice. Interestingly this chap had a very obvious black eye where someone had recently given him a slap.
I got to the tip which was again full of idiots. One woman had her car boot open. It was full of boxes of rubbish and she was taking rubbish from the boxes to the skips two pieces at a time (one in each hand). She *really* couldn’t have been in any hurry.
I got rid of the scrap metal which was once bikes, and came home to tidy up the back yard a little. A bit of a sweep, a bit of a rummage and I had loads more bags of rubbish. However by then it was too late to go back to the tip. I then had a vague idea to do some of the gardening that I didn’t get done on Saturday, but I was hurting too much. I contented myself with gathering up dog turds and hanging up our green man garden ornament. I could have done some water feature maintenance, but I’d had enough by then.
I had a shower and then wrote up some CPD. Dull stuff, but one day I will be glad that I’ve been writing it up. Every so often us professional blood testers have to show we are doing CPD. As I CPD-ed "er indoors TM" tidied up the bedroom. She’s boiling up dinner now. There is talk of a bottle of plonk with it…
18 April 2017 (Tuesday) - Something New to Watch
I woke rather early (as I so often do) and over brekkie watched “BattleStar Galactica”. Fudge sat with me; he must have eaten something he shouldn’t have; his stomach was making the loudest gurgling noises. Mind you he seemed to be all right in himself. Somewhat unlike me; I had woken feeling profoundly miserable. Having had a good few days off work I still have loads I’d like to do. Not that I dislike my job, but it does get in the way sometimes. Perhaps I really should price up an early retirement?
I then had a look at the Internet (as canine intestines rumbled). With very little of note I took my dog outside where rather than doing the sort of thing his stomach sounded like, he just barked generally.
Leaving "er indoors TM" with instructions for my dog’s tummy I set off to work on a rather bright morning. The news on the radio was rather depressing. Apparently it is standard practice for teenagers in London to carry knives and knife crime is something which seriously worries the new commissioner of the metropolitan police. Also half of the world’s heritage sites are plagued by illegal hunting and logging operations. I rather hoped the world would have risen above this.
I got to work and had a rather good day, even if I was stuck in very slow moving traffic on the way home. Once home I saw "er indoors TM" in passing as she took the puppy to puppy class, and I took Fudge for a walk. My "Furry Face TM" seemed to have recovered from whatever had upset his stomach and we had a good walk. Mind you he did find a discarded kebab in the co-op field. Perhaps that is where is guts ache came from?
Being Tuesday the clans gathered; tonight in Somerset Road. We put the world to rights, and then watched the pilot episode of “Travellers”. The show looks like it has promise, but on Tuesday nights over the last twenty-odd years I’ve said that about “Lost”, “Heroes”, “Bleach”, “The Flash” and “Heroes”.
19 April 2017 (Wednesday) - This n That
My dog spent the night next to me on my bed last night. I’ve been worried about him; I was glad to have him nearby. However where he just slept, the puppy was restless all night. Does she *really* need to march all over my head all night long?
Over brekkie I watched more “BattleStar Galactica” then had a quick look at the Internet, Judging by the photos I saw there was a geo-meet last night. I wouldn’t have been able to have got along to it, but it would have been nice to have known about it.
There was also seemingly endless comment on social media about the Prime Minister’s announcement that she was calling for a general election in seven weeks’ time. Some people claimed to be sick of politics, and others seemed determined to deliberately give offence.
Bearing in mind the surprise outcome of the last general election and the Brexit referendum I’m intrigued to see how this election will end. At the moment the Labour party is in utter disarray and so it *looks* as though a resounding victory for the Prime Minister is unavoidable. And with such a victory she will be able to stage whatever form of Brexit she pleases without any credible objection from her critics.
Will she win? The Labour Party are currently little more than an unelectable bunch of well-meaning incompetents. The Dribbling Democraps are a spent force having abandoned any principles they might have had in 2010. Following the Brexit vote UKIP are a party without any raison d’etre. And bearing in mind that green policies are well established in all walks of life these days, have the Green Party *really* got a raison d’etre either?
But bearing in mind that a *lot* of people are regretting their vote to leave the EU, if any of the opposition parties make a policy of remaining in the EU, they might just win.
Meanwhile over on one of the Jack Russell Facebook pages I follow, some crackpot woman was trying to advocate a vegetarian diet for dogs on the strength that mushrooms are poisonous to dogs. If any of my loyal readers understand the logic of this one, please let me know.
I set off to work on a bright morning; the pundits on the radio were talking of nothing but election. I got to work and had a rather good day before coming home.
With "er indoors TM" preparing for Saturday’s CITO (it’s a geo-thing) I took the dogs round the park for a walk. We had a good walk up until the bit where the puppy went and sniffed at a drunk. The chap was laying on the grass and the puppy disturbed him. He got incredibly obnoxious about the puppy and then saw me. His attitude changed from belligerence to obsequiousness as I am rather bigger than the puppy (and bigger than him). I wouldn’t say he pissed himself in fear on seeing me, but he had clearly pissed himself at some point. I felt sorry for the woman with him; I couldn’t work out if she was girlfriend, daughter or carer. But whatever she was it was obvious she wished that she wasn’t.
I got the dogs on their leads and got away from him as quickly as I could. It was rather sad; he was variously trying to pick a fight with the puppy, trying to placate me that he wasn’t trying to pick a fight with the puppy, and arguing with the strange voices in his head.
As we walked home past the KFC, the puppy picked up a chicken bone. I wasn’t having any of that, and the puppy realised it. I hurried to pull the chicken bone out of her mouth, she hurried to get it eaten. She didn’t actually bite my thumb off, she realised what she was biting on just as she crunched down on my hand. For all that I play rough-and-tumble with my dogs it is easy to forget just how powerful their jaws are.
20 April 2017 (Thursday) – Bunion
I slept like a log last night and woke to find I was cuddling my dog like a teddy bear. It was a shame he was upside down, but you can’t have everything.
Over brekkie I watched more “BattleStar Galactica” then had a look at the Internet. Nothing much had happened overnight, so I set off to work on a rather cold morning.
Election trivia still dominated the morning’s news on the radio. There was a ot of talk about how the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne isn’t going to stand for parliament at the upcoming general election. He’s been in the news recently. He’s been appointed editor of the Evening Standard. In the last year he’s raked in eight hundred thousand pounds for fifteen speaking engagements. He also gets one hundred and twenty thousand quid a year stipend from a US thinktank and he works for four days each month for a financial consultancy firm for which he gets six hundred and fifty thousand pounds per year.
If I had that sort of money coming in I wouldn’t bother with parliament either.
I got to work early. I try to leave home about 7.30am when on a core shift. Any later and the roads round Ashford are too busy. Today the roads were empty and I was in Maidstone shortly after 8am. I made similarly good time coming home.
Sometimes the journey to or from Maidstone takes under half an hour, sometimes it takes over an hour. There is no reason to it.
Just as I parked up I had a text message from "er indoors TM" to say she’d already taken the dogs for a walk. I took a short cut and walked to the park where I met them. From fifty yards away I bellowed “where’s my dogs” and they charged to me like things possessed.
We then carried on with our usual circuit of the park. Or that is "er indoors TM" and the dogs did. I hobbled. Over the last year I’ve developed a bunion which is getting progressively more painful. Perhaps if I lost some weight the thing might hurt a little less…
Today was rather dull…
21 April 2017 (Friday) – Coal
I was rather late to bed last night. My desk-top PC has become so slow it is practically useless. I had ths idea that the free AVG antivirus wasn’t up to the job and McAfee might be better. When I got my lap-top I got a deal with McAfee that I could run their software on any device I own. It took an age, and I gave up struggling with it shortly before midnight.
The bin men woke me just after 5am as they were dragging the bins about. They weren’t excessively noisy, but noisy enough to wake me. And why were they dragging bins about anyway? They flatly refuse to empty any bin that isn’t already on the pavement, and at 5am a team of bin mem walked up the road moving each bin from the houses side of the pavements to the road side of the pavements. Each bin was probably moved about four to five feet.
Having been woken I got up and had my morning fix of “BattleStar Galactica” then had a look on Facebook to see what I’d been missing. It seemed that quite a few people were out and about having a day off yesterday.
My piss boiled at one political post I read. “It's about nurses being paid more”. I get rather frustrated that people always think of nurses but never give a thought for the pharmacists, physiotherapists, med-lab assistants, medical secretaries, gardeners, porters, podiatrists, speech therapists, radiographers, biomedical scientists, art therapists, psychologists, dieticians and endless other medical professionals who *aren’t* doctors’ nurses or administrators.
Just as I was activating the email circuit of my lap-top the dustbin lorry came up the road (just before 7am) almost (but not quite) two hours after the bins had all been scraped about the pavement. However the 7am people made a point of shouting up and down the street whereas the 5am bunch hadn’t done so.
I set off to find my car; weaving my way in and out of the bins which had been scattered all over the pavement. Once in my car I listened to the radio. The pundits were interviewing a young chap who had been convicted of computer hacking. Apparently the vast majority of computer hacking is done by teenagers either because they can, or as what many kids see as a “moral crusade” (?)
There was also a discussion about what constitutes “being rich”; interestingly none of the politicians being interviewed would put a value on “being rich”.
I got to work, and had a rather busy day. I won’t go into details but suffice it to say the reality of emergencies in hospital work isn’t quite as glamourous as the telly would have us believe.
I came home, and joined "er indoors TM" as she took the dogs for a walk. The evening stroll is getting progressively more and more painful. This is something of a nuisance for someone who (up till now) walks rather a lot.
In closing today did you know that today not a single volt on the National Grid came from coal? A combination of low demand for electricity and plenty of wind meant the UK went for twenty four hours relying on just gas, nuclear and renewable energy.
How about that!?
22 April 2017 (Saturday) – Tired
I woke feeling like death warmed up this morning. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned late last night to say that following a squabble, a friend’s daughter had run off. Personally I was of the opinion that she wouldn’t want to be found, but the police were involved already, so "er indoors TM" went to join the search. Bearing in mind I was working this morning I thought that walking the streets after midnight wasn’t a good idea, so I went to bed.
I got up three times because my dog was sitting at the front door howling.
I had some brekkie whilst watching “BattleStar Galactica”. Watching an episode every morning allows me to spot the many continuity errors. I then set off to work.
As I drove to work the talk on the radio was all about how Brexit would affect farmers and food prices. One farmer was saying how it was only the EU giving him cash bungs that kept him going; he claimed that if the EU subsidies stopped the shops would have to increase the price of lamb by twenty per cent to keep the farms in business. Another farmer was saying that the EU was costing him a fortune and he couldn’t get out quickly enough. Can they both be right?
I took a little geo-detour on the way to work, and also got some petrol. There was a dodgy five minutes trying to get past the turn-off from the A20 to Hermitage Lane as the traffic lights weren’t working, but I got to work without too much incident.
I wasn’t supposed to be working this morning but circumstances had conspired against me. Work was busy what with bonking and gassing (it’s a blood bank thing), but 1pm eventually arrived.
I set off to Charing where "er indoors TM" had organised the local geocachers into tidying up an area of woodlands. I intended to turn up late and then join in. I hadn’t read the instructions and turned up just as it was all finishing. I had a little walk round the woods with everyone, then we came home and took the dogs round the park. The dogs had a play in the river; I sat down, closed my eyes and fell asleep. I don’t know how long they were in the river; probably too long as Fudge did hobble home. He ges over-excited in the river.
Once home I fed the pond fish, watered my monkey puzzle tree and trimmed next door’s shrubbery. Now the jungle hanging over the fence has been massively reduced I’m trying to keep it that way. Interestingly one of the fence posts on “nasty next door”’s side has broken. That will be up to her to replace it, and she won’t be able to do so without trashing my gravelled areas. Perhaps she might have to speak to me to sort the problem. I wonder if doing so will cause her physical pain? I can only imagine talking to me must hurt her as she hasn’t done so in over ten years (certainly not since 2004).
With "er indoors TM" off on a mission this evening I had a few offers, but I turned them all down. I was feeling rather tired. An evening in front of the telly might just see me right. I might persuade the washing machine to have a go at my smalls at the same time…
23 April 2017 (Sunday) - Noah's Ark
Fudge had another barking fit shortly after I went to bed last night. I went downstairs, picked him up and carried him to my bed where I dumped him with orders to keep the noise down. A couple of hours later he was crying; he’d got off the bed and couldn’t get back up again. So I got him on to the bed again and he then spent the rest of the night growling every time the puppy so much as twitched.
Over brekkie I had a look on Facebook. Being St George’s Day Facebook was awash with patriotic stuff. Perhaps I’m not that patriotic; I’ve always felt that a country is like a football team. Something of an artificial division about which people can then argue and fight for no apparent reason. Or perhaps it is working in an environment where many of my colleagues and friends feel frightened to walk the streets on St George’s Day or when the England football team lose a match. I’ve mentioned this before, and been aggressively criticised about it by those who are actually the most threatening.
I’m getting just a little bit pissed off with the constant arguments in life which are fuelled by social media in this way. I follow groups on Facebook about astronomy, local interest, dogs, Star Trek, Laurel and Hardy, blood tests, geocaching, fishing, my old home town, puzzle solving… all of which often descend into petty bickering and back biting over the most trivial incidents.
I also saw that today was the day of the London marathon. A friend of mine was running in it; I’ve been meaning to plug his sponsorship page but the virgin money giving web site has been pretty much permanently crashed for the last week. It has finally started working; you can donate by clicking here.
We got the leads on to the dogs and drove up to Kemsing where we met Tracey, Karl and Charlotte and we went for a day’s geocaching. First of all round the “Noah’s Ark” series. Did you know that there is a little village in Kent called “Noah’s Ark”? I didn’t either. We had a rather good wander across fields and along lanes. The woods were beautiful with bluebells, and as we walked we found some friendly ducks and a phone box inside which was the Easter bunny (go figure!). It was a rather good walk which brought us to the pub shortly after opening time.
The Bell in Kemsing is a rather pleasant pub. However when we arrived at lunch time we did struggle to get to the bar. The place wasn’t that busy really; but the locals had all set up at the bar and it wasn’t really that easy to get to it. But we got drinks and crisps, and spent a pleasant few minutes in the beer garden psyching ourselves for the ascent that we were about to undertake.
We’d spent the morning at the bottom of the North Downs; our afternoon’s geo-walk was at the top. With a determined effort we got up the hill. It took some doing, but he views were spectacular. Once at the top of the Downs we had our picnic lunch and looked across the countryside. In the distance we could see the motorway and the railway we’d crossed earlier this morning.
We then started on our afternoon walk… Oh dear.
In the morning we’d followed a series of geocaches which led us on a guided walk. In the afternoon the caches were seemingly random. Perhaps it didn’t help that we’d not started at the numerical beginning, but the one labelled #1 was a *long* way away. Our route did involve a lot of backtracking and at one point we were hopelessly stuck in thickets and brambles. In fact Fudge gave up attempting to find the footpaths and he forced his way through the undergrowth into a nearby field. I tried to follow him; I couldn’t do it. We had a rather worrying five minutes attempting to retrieve him.
The afternoon’s geo-series was odd. There were some really good hides, some work had gone into making bespoke boxes. But there weren’t that many caches and they were seemingly randomly dotted about.
As we walked we found a pub. A pint would have slipped down nicely. I asked the people in the garden of The Rising Sun if the place was still open. A grizzled old harridan who I can only describe as looking like Zelda from “Terrahawks” said she might be, and asked me what the time was. I told her it was twenty to four; she replied (in a “piss off” tone) that she’d closed at three o’clock.
It was shortly after here that we encountered about fifty to a hundred people having some sort of open-air ceremony around a cross on the hill. We didn’t hang about… we went back to the Bell in Kemsing where (once we’d actually got to the bar) we had a couple more pints.
We’d walked a shade under eight miles when we got back to the cars. There’s no denying I was half expecting to have given up at lunchtime but my dodgy foot held up well. Fudge’s iffy back paw seemed OK too.
I took a few photos today as we walked. With them on-line I set up in front of the telly. I’m setting up there an awful lot lately…
24 April 2017 (Monday) - Knacked FTP
I slept like a log last night; nearly six hours sleep. Not too shabby at all. I was still wide awake by 5am though. Over some toast I watched more “BattleStar Galactica” as my dog snored, then I stood on the scales. I weigh one hundred and eight (point four) kilograms; a shade over seventeen stone. I need to diet again.
I hate being fat. Everyone makes what they assume to be jocular light-hearted comments about my weight. I smile, but I *do* mind being fat. And I especially hate the way that people who are not fat all have these stupid diet ideas. Eat granola, eat vitamin C supplements, score “treats and crime” foods, have days on and days off…. Over the years I’ve tried every diet there is. The only one which works for me is to count the calories in everything I eat and count the calories in all the exercise I do, and make sure that I’m using more calories than I am eating. I did this about five years ago and over a year or so lost about a third of my body weight. I was constantly hungry for a year, but that is how diets work for me. Unfortunately.
I then had a look on the Internet. There wasn’t much on Facebook (not even a squabble) and there were no emails of note (i.e. not in the spam folder).
However my FTP software seems to have crashed irreparably.
I set off to work; as I drove the radio failed to grip my attention. Somewhere up north some women’s rights crackpot is standing for parliament in the constituency of a (supposedly) misogynistic MP. Both were interviewed on the radio this morning; both were amazingly dull.
There was also a lot of talk about the upcoming French election which was also uninspiring.
I listen to the Radio Four current affairs program on the radio every morning deliberately so that I remain up to date on what is going on in the work. However the world sometimes is rather dull.
I got to work early; early Monday morning has become “microscope club” in which a group of us get together and discuss interesting cases of the last week. Today we talked about the May-Hegglin anomaly and various forms of leukaemia. Quite fascinating if you like that sort of thing; certainly more interesting than political drivel.
I then had a rather busy day.
I got home, and we took the dogs round the block for a short walk. Fudge behaved himself but the puppy was terrible. More puppy classes for her. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scran and I then had a few minutes on my lap-top. It took me an age to remember the login details for myfitnesspal dot com. I didn’t want to start a new account; the old account had a lot of the stuff I eat listed on there. I eventually got back into it. Do you know just how many calories there are in baked beans?
I then spent a few minutes struggling with my FTP… FileZilla has gone west. If any of my loyal readers can recommend any other FTP software I’d be grateful…
25 April 2017 (Tuesday) - Brian Blessed
I didn’t have quite the early night I was planning last night, and after four hours sleep I woke to find "Furry Face TM" standing over me having a woofing fit. Shortly after I settled him I was woken by the puppy marching all over me. But when I went down for brekkie both dogs were sound asleep.
I watched my morning fix of telly then sparked up my lap-top. Last night the thing wouldn’t shut down. This morning it took an age to get going. But once it was up and running I used it to peer into cyberspace. I had my morning nosey on Facebook. I was rather amazed at how many of my more sedentary friends have taken up running. It seems to be the in-thing at the moment. Perhaps if my foot wasn’t so painful I might have a go. But I think it fair to say that jogging is contra-indicated when you have a bunion. I also saw that Brighton Kite Fliers are crowdfunding to try to finance the kite festival this year. In previous years Brighton council has given them thousands of pounds to help finance the event, but times are hard. If any of my loyal readers would like to donate, you can do so by clicking here.
I also had a few emails offering me all sorts of bargains, and the opportunity to increase the size of my “member”. Bearing in mind the puppy fanged my “member” (right through my pyjamas) yesterday I’d be inclined to give her less of a target.
I also had an email from the South Ashford Community Forum saying someone was applying for planning permission for a loft conversion, and how the council wanted to build a car park on disused land. I can’t say I’m really bothered about this, but I suppose it pays to be aware of what’s going on locally.
I then had a genius idea about my FTP problem. I deleted the installer in my download folder, downloaded another and tried again, and all worked perfectly. I fixed the problem in less than two minutes. Odd how the fix was so obvious this morning when I’d spent over an hour fighting with it last night.
Flushed with success I set off to work on a rather bright (if cold) morning.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were announcing the amazing revelation that regular exercise is beneficial for the over-fifties. As well as keeping the body in working condition it also helps the brain. I thought this was common knowledge, but apparently not.
There was also the announcement that following the upsurge in fake news all over the Internet, the founder of Wikipedia is launching a news website. Bearing in mind how anyone can post any old trip on Wikipedia I can’t see how wiki-news can be anything other than made up as it goes along.
I got to work, did my bit, and came home again. The traffic in Ashford was terrible this evening; it took longer to drive across Ashford than it did to get to Ashford from Maidstone. Once home I zoomed my dog round the roads whilst "er indoors TM" took the puppy to puppy class.
It was then that my phone beeped. An email. Someone had read yesterday’s blog entry and had recommended some weight loss website. My McAfee anti-virus stopped the malicious content on the website to which I was recommended (I hope). I had a look at the “three week diet” but decided against it, if only for the fact that I don’t like this blatant plugging. And that I doubt if it would work anyway.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Not many of us this evening, but we got to watch Blake’s Seven – the episode with a very young Brian Blessed in it. Quality…
It was just getting light when I decided to give up trying to sleep and got up this morning. I watched an episode of “BattleStar Galactica”; half way through my dog came downstairs, went to his basket and started snoring. I had to turn up the volume of the telly to hear it over his snores.
I then set the dishwasher going and had a look at the Internet. Overnight my web browser Firefox had upgraded itself. I could see no difference whatsoever. A lot of these programs and apps regularly need updating but are seemingly completely unchanged after the so-called improvement. The all-new Firefox took a while to get going, and when it was running it became my window on the world as I looked in into cyberspace. Absolutely nothing at all had changed overnight on Facebook, but I had an email. The Environment Agency had emailed me to say that under-sixteens don’t have to pay for a fishing licence any more, but they still need to apply for one before going fishing. They didn’t say why, though. Mind you, I’m not complaining; fishing keeps them out of mischief.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing the various proposals about changes to schools which are being bandied by Labour and Conservative politicians. Proponents of both sides of the argument were wheeled on; both slagged off the other, and both said how their idea was brilliant on ideological grounds. Neither one had any tangible evident to support their position though.
There was also talk about giving nurses a pay rise in line with inflation if Labour got into power. I wondered if everyone else in the hospital would get the bung. It seems they (we) would, but it bothers me that only nurses got a mention on the radio.
I got to work and had a rather eventful time. Bonking, gassing, and dealing with the more obscure end of the Kell blood group system (anti-Kp(a) with an autoantibody doesn’t crossmatch itself, you know). And then I got rather wet walking from work to my car; I got caught in a rather extreme hailstorm.
Once home I took the dogs round the block. Fudge was well behaved on the lead, but once off the lead he would straggle. Treacle was fine when off the lead, but when on the lead pulled like a train. Walking both dogs on my own can be troublesome, but the cupboard was bare and "er indoors TM" had gone shopping.
Over a rather good bit of dinner we watched Saturday’s episode of “Doctor Who” then I ironed some shirts and then fell asleep watching an old episode of “Bake Off”. I *hate* falling asleep in the evening – I shall be wide awake at 3am…
27 April 2017 (Thursday) - A Day Off
I thought I’d have a day off work today. The upcoming Bank Holiday is the only one that I’m not scheduled to be working this year so I thought I’d make the most of it. Not needing to be up for work I slept through till gone 7am this morning. I wish that happened more often.
I had a little look-see on-line; not much had changed overnight.
I drove round to collect "My Boy TM" and together we went to a friend of "er indoors TM". This friend’s garden pond had developed a leak. They’d decided that the leak was going to be too problematical to fix and had decided to do away with their pond and had offered us the fish. We were told there was about twenty pond fish…
We arrived, we set up buckets into which to put the fish, the first fruit of my loin borrowed a pair of waders and got in the pond with a net. I stood on the side of the pond and brandished a net from the safety of dry land. After about forty minutes we seemed to have caught all the fish that we were going to catch (along with three frogs) so we said our goodbyes and brought the fish home. We set up another bucket so’s we could have a look at what we’d acquired. There were some rather pretty goldfish, tench (green and golden), orfe, and several koi. We’d been told we’d be collecting twenty fish; we counted forty-six into my pond, and "My Boy TM" took a further eight to his pond.
Having started the day with one of the fruits of my loin I then went on to see the other. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" (and Sam) came with me to visit my mummy and daddy. They were well; they fed us lunch. I say “lunch”; "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" just ate chocolate rolls.
We came home via Icklesham Koi, where I got some jollop to sort the froth in the garden pond. We also went via Ham Street garden centre for replacement water pumps for garden water features. They didn’t have any so we went to Bybrook Barn. They had some… but where I thought they were about fifteen quid each they were actually thirty quid each. I wanted three; I bought one.
Once home I mucked out the pond filter and applied the jollop. It seemed to do the trick. Apparently the froth is protein gunge from the left-over food I’ve been feeding the fish. I should feed them less.
I then disassembled one of the knacked water features. Moving a couple of dustbins of stones to get to the pump took some time and effort; but only took an hour. I was pleased to find that after a bit of cleaning, the water pump sprung back in to life. Re-assembly didn’t take more than half an hour, but once that job was done I gave up on my plans to fart around with shingle. Instead I fed the pond fish. I was pleased to see some of the new fish took some food.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of scoff. We scoffed it whilst watching stuff from the SkyPlus box.
It was a shame I fell asleep half way through, but there it is. Today was rather tiring for a day off…
28 April 2017 (Friday) - A Funeral
Another good night’s sleep; mind you I did ache when I woke. I might have overdone the garden work yesterday.
Over brekkie I stared into cyberspace. Facebook told me of a few birthdays today, but other than yet another personal snipe at me there wasn’t much of note there. My inbox was similarly uninspiring, so I took the dogs out.
The plan for today had been to drive out to the hop farm and set up a camp site for a four-day geo-extravaganza, but my heart hadn’t been in it from the start. It is too early in the year to go camping. And when it comes to camping one can either camp in comfort or rough it in a tent. Camping in comfort takes too much effort these days; especially when it is all over and everyone wants to go home.
It turned out I wasn’t the only one whose heart wasn’t really in it, so we decided against camping.
I took the dogs round the park for our morning walk. We went the other way round to that which we usually go, and it seemed to confuse Fudge; he straggled even more so than usual. As we walked we kept meeting up with the nice lady who lives up the road who runs the Morris dancers. We met up so often it became embarrassing.
We came home, and I went into the back garden where I had a few things to do. Firstly I had to sort out the membranes where we’d put in new fence posts over the last few weeks. Once the membranes were straightened I had to re-bury them with shingle. That hurt my arm somewhat. I was rather depressed to see that nice-next-door had taken their shed down. One of the broken fence posts was held in place by being wedged between that shed and the pot of my monkey puzzle tree. Now the shed has gone I will have to fix that fence post. The first stage of the job will be moving the monkey puzzle tree’s pot, and that is heavy.
I then disassembled a broken water feature (the one by the pond) with a view to cleaning it. It was so grungy the only way to clean it was with the pressure washer. So I ran out the hose pipe and set up the pressure washer. With the thing set up I pressure washered quite a bit (including the front garden). There was a dodgy five minutes when the puppy escaped the puppy-proofing and was running loose in the street. I was amazed at how the cars all emergency-stopped when I can into the street and bellowed “all cars stop NOW!!”
After that little episode I rather cut short pressure-washing the front garden.
I had intended to sort the red gravelled areas next, but I didn’t have any red gravel spare. So instead I thought I’d sort the concrete wreckage from the garden; there was quite a bit from the recent fence repairs. I loaded those that I could lift into the car and went to the tip.
The tip was quiet, but once there I met a random nutter who latched on to me for some reason. He wanted me to guess what he’d been doing all week long. I had absolutely no idea, but he insisted I guessed. I smiled politely and he said it was obvious. Apparently he’d been installing a new kitchen into his house. I was supposed to have guessed that from the cardboard pizza boxes he was throwing away. I managed to get away before he flipped.
As I was driving past the place, I popped into the shingle supplier by the tip. They had some red gravel. They also had pumps for water features. I saw the very one I wanted. It was somewhat smaller than the one in Bybrook barn I got yesterday. I asked how much it was..
The chap behind the counter proudly boasted he’d never sold one before, and pulled out a ream of paper to look up the price. Bearing in mind the one I got yesterday cost thirty quid I was expecting to pay about twenty quid for the thing. After ten minutes the bloke announced it was a hundred and forty nine pounds (!)
I didn’t get it.
I came home, thought about getting the gravel out of the car, and decided against it. Instead I had a spot of lunch (and watched “BattleStar Galactica”) and then phoned the payroll people at work. For some reason I’d paid over a hundred pounds more income tax this month than last month. The people at the work’s payroll office said that they take what they are told to take by the tax office, so I phoned the tax office.
They don’t answer the phone with any alacrity, you know.
Fortunately for my nerves I was eventually put through to someone who knew what was going on. Apparently despite NHS pay scales being a very open matter of public record, the Inland Revenue computer had a guess at what my wages would be, and guessed wrongly. I’m told I’ll get a refund next month.
Whilst thinking of money I had a little look at my accounts. For all that I miserly account for every penny I spend, I thought I’d have a look-see at what I’m actually spending with a view to not spending quite so much. So I cancelled an insurance policy on my desk-top PC. Five pounds a month for something I could (possibly) fix myself was a saving.
Following the morning’s debacle, I then had a look on eBay for pumps for water features. Yesterday I mentioned that I thought that they were about fifteen quid each; I bought two for seventeen quid. It pays to shop on-line (providing the things arrive).
Martin came round, we drove to collect "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" then went on to the crematorium. Today was Glenn’s funeral. Over the years our friends have gone here and there, and every so often we all get back together again. Today was one of those occasions. It was good to see so many old faces; but it was wrong to be for a funeral. Especially for the youngest of our number. Glenn should have buried everyone else.
There was an official wake, but from what we could work out the wake was by and for his father’s side of the family. None of us wanted to make polite conversation with strangers about how we knew our departed shared friend. Instead we went to the Windmill in Willesborough where we staged a wake of our own…
29 April 2017 (Saturday) - The Kent Mega
I slept well, but woke with my right elbow in some pain. I damaged it at Brighton Kite festival a couple of years ago, and now any physical effort (like yesterday’s gardening) sets it off. What with that elbow, the inflexible bunion joint and the rheumatic metatarsals my entire right hand side is in constant (if low-level) pain these days. But (as always) I had a choice. I could sulk about it and spend the day moping in self-pity, or I could get up and get on with life.
I got up.
I hobbled downstairs; what was pain eventually subsided to a dull ache. Over brekkie I had a look-see at the Stan Laurel archive. Over his life and career the comedy genius Stan Laurel received thousands of letters from fans. He replied to pretty much every single one. There is a project to compile all the letters he wrote; it makes for interesting reading.
We took the dogs into the garden and fed the fish. The new little fish seemed to be holding their own at feeding time. We were mean with the amount of fish food we put in to the pond; the pond is (at the moment) clean and clear. Here’s hoping it stays that way.
Pausing only briefly to drive over to Willesborough to collect my car (I left it there last night) we drove out to the Hop Farm at Paddock Wood. The Kent Mega was taking place. A Mega-event is one of the biggest things that happen in the geo-world; there’s probably less than a dozen happen in the UK every year, and we are rather lucky to have one within an hour’s drive of home.
We arrived and met Karl and Tracey in the car park. We walked the short distance into the Hop Farm and were soon chatting with friends. Pretty much everyone in the geo-world was there today and whilst the ladies went into the building to have a look at the various stalls I stayed outside with Karl and the dogs and chatted with loads of friends.
We then did a dog-swap (dogs weren’t allowed inside the buildings) and left the ladies with the dogs whilst we looked at the stalls. I won three caches on the tombola, and then bought some raffle tickets and some bisons and stuff, then we wandered over to play on the lab caches.
Lab caches are great fun – a serious bit of silliness. We played counting crayons, and bursting balloons. We dived in ball ponds with frogs and waved at E.T. flying through the trees. We played with the Three Little Pigs, and with Wall-E. We even saw Inspector Gadget (My contribution to the event was that I’d supplied Inspector Gadget’s coat). The people who’d created the Lab Caches had clearly put a *lot* of effort into making them. Lab caches are fun; it is a shame they are so few and far between. In six years and eight thousand finds I’ve only come across forty-one of the things.
We had a spot of lunch from the burger van. For all that the event had been really well organised it was a shame that the Hop Farm people couldn’t have sorted out their catering. One van wasn’t enough for a thousand punters. But with a burger scoffed we teamed up with another friend and half a dozen of us went for a little walk. You can’t go to a caching event and not walk.
As we walked Fudge was looking longingly at the water in the river. It looked clean but he seemed reluctant to go in. So I gave him a little shove. Then I saw why he was reluctant to go in; he couldn’t get out again. I nearly (but not quite) fell in trying to retrieve him from the water.
My dog then took his revenge for being pushed in; having come out of the water dripping wet he then rolled in dust, mud and fox poo. He’d never been so filthy.
As we walked my phone beeped; a text message. I’d won something in the raffle. We finished our walk and made our way back to the raffle stall. I’d won a collectible coin, Karl had won something similar, and Tracey had won a truly awful toiletry set.
We then adjourned to the nearby pub to celebrate our fortune.
Karl and Tracey then had to go home; teenage daughters needed to be taxi-ed here, there and thither. We said our goodbyes and then walked across to the camping field; we had an invitation to dinner with the campers. More friends to chat with. When we arrived at the camp site I rather wished we’d camped out too. It was a beautiful evening, and a beautiful location. But as time wore on I was glad we were going home. It was rather cold; too cold to be in a tent overnight.
We came home; the dogs slept as we drove. We’d all had a rather busy day. Mega Day was a good day…
There are photos of the fun here.
30 April 2017 (Sunday) - Sixteen Miles
Yesterday I was whinging about how my elbow was hurting. I then went out and played silly beggars going one-handed on a rope swing. I shouldn’t have gone right-handed on that rope swing.
Five o’clock was a rather early time to be up and about this morning; over brekkie I looked into cyber-space. There were a *lot* of photos from yesterday’s mega-event at the Hop Farm. And I had an email claiming to be from the Nat West bank telling me they had done some maintenance and I had to log in to my account to re-activate it. Needless to say they gave a link into which I could put all the details they would need to clear the account out. Equally needless to say I don’t have a Nat West account. I reported the email to the Nat West using their firstname.lastname@example.org email address. The email immediately bounced back to me as “email rejected”.
Personally I would see this as a good reason to pack up with the Nat West if I had any accounts with them.
We got the dogs leaded up, and set off at 6.30am. What with there being a Bank Holiday tomorrow (and me not working) we thought that maybe a serious walk might be a plan for today. We perused the geo-map and Karl suggested a walk down Shoreham way. We took the motorway route to Shoreham and started walking at 8.15am.
The first part of the walk was rather steep; it nearly killed "er indoors TM". It was windy too. I keep forgetting just how windy it is on the South Downs. As we walked we saw jays and buzzards, and even some deer running loose on the runway at Shoreham airport. We kept meeting up with a gaggle of runners who were doing a marathon. Sooner them than me. And we even found a “toy graveyard”; a garden full of unwanted toys.
We found a river which had a rather thick laver of aquatic-planty-stuff on the surface. The stuff was so thick that it didn’t actually look like a river. It looked as though you could walk across it. Fudge tried to, and fell in.
The weather had been ideal for walking in the morning, but as time pushed on the forecast rain came. We tried to sit it out in the Red Lion, but that didn’t work. We braved the drizzle and got back to the cars shortly before 6.30pm; ten hours, sixteen miles and ninety five geocaches after we had started.
I took a few photos as we walked. It was a good way to spend a day. Perhaps a little long for the dogs (and Charlotte)? I had wondered, but both dogs (and Charlotte) did well. I was rather impressed when they sprinted off (like bullets from a gun) chasing sparrows at the fifteen-mile point.
Cache-wise the series was good; caches all were straightforward finds on a (mostly) well-marked route. We had a minor issue between #23 and #24 when we found ourselves on the wrong side of the river, but that was soon solved
As we drove home I could see there had been heavier rain in Kent. Perhaps it was as well we hadn’t been camping…