1 April 2019 (Monday) - Another Early Shift
I had something of a restless night. Eventually I gave up trying to sleep, and watched an episode of "Uncle" that the SkyPlus box had recorded for me. It seemed vaguely familiar. I can remember seeing the first season - have I already seen the second season too?
I thought better of turning on the lap-top; being on an early start meant I needed to get a move on.
The roads were far busier today at seven o'clock than they had been yesterday.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing the UK Children's Commissioner. She has had a revelation. Apparently those children who get themselves suspended from schools are *exactly* the sorts of children that are likely to get into trouble when not at school. Consequently she thinks that schools shouldn't be so quick to give suspensions and should think of other ways to work with these "challenging" children.
The woman is a genius - even if I did write to the head teacher of Swadelands school (many times) saying exactly this some twenty years ago. "Suspension" is no punishment at all for a recalcitrant child. If you reward their bad behaviour with a day off, they are going to play up again and again. Finally someone in authority has realised this; even if it is twenty years too late.
There was also Brexit talk. Parliament is to review two petitions today. One petition demands that the Brexit referendum of three years ago should be honoured. The other demands the decision should be reversed. Despite one petition having ten times the signatures of the other, the politicians being interviewed insisted that the "democratic" thing to do would be to support the minority position.
Go figure (!)
I got to work early. I like an early start if for no other reason that I get to work early anyway because the roads are quieter then. During a lull in proceedings I phoned my local hospital. Three weeks ago I went for an appointment about getting my lose re-bored. I was told I'd probably have surgery some time around November. I hinted that this was perhaps an unreasonable length of time to wait. The secretary with whom I spoke said that I'd not been on their books for very long. I explained that I was scheduled for surgery in January 2017 and I'd had to postpone as I was starting a new job, and that they had lost all the paperwork. She didn't actually say "f... off fatso", but that was effectively her sentiment.
I can remember that the last time I had my nose re-bored, I only got anything done by continually putting in formal complaints. Do I really need to start whinging at them again?
An early start made for an early finish. I came home and took the dogs round the park. As we walked we met an old friend, and an ex-cub’s mother. It was good to have a little catch-up. I did try to get the dogs to pose for a photo in the Chinese garden. They weren’t having any of it…
And with dogs walked I spent over half an hour putting little slips of paper into the film pots I intend to shove under rocks tomorrow.
"er indoors TM" boiled up sausages and chips, then went bowling. I watched last night’s episode of “Victoria” then found myself getting a little bit cross..
The series of geocaches I intend to put out tomorrow is (effectively) to replace the series I put out round Challock three years ago. Someone who only started hunting out film pot from under rocks last September sent me a rather comprehensive list of the failings of that series round Challock. Had she not seen that one hundred and seven other people had already walked the route without incident?
2 April 2019 (Tuesday) - A Day Off
Not a bad night, I suppose. Treacle did try to scrap with Pogo in the small hours but it blew over as quickly as it started.
I was laying quite contentedly when I suddenly realised that after all the hours of preparation for setting today’s geo-series (and there has been a *lot* of hours spent preparing) I hadn’t updated “Hannah” with the thirty-three final sets of co-ordinates that I am going to use, and would need for this morning.
That was another half-hour…
As I updated my GPX file (a rather tedious pastime) Fudge sat with me hoping for toast crusts. He gets some these days. A couple of years ago he was quite the barrel, but as he’s getting older so he is losing weight. I wouldn’t say he’s gaunt, but I might just take him to the vet and waste thirty quid to be told I’m worrying about nothing.
I then had a look at Facebook. I sent out a couple of birthday messages. One chap who was having a birthday today… I always thought I was older than him, but fifteen years older? And I then had a wry smile at the latest meme that was circulating. Those who never post anything original were re-posting “I wanna see something cool – not a meme or a selfie but a pic you’ve taken”. I agree entirely with the sentiment – that’s why I go on Facebook. I want to see what others are getting up to.
I spent a few minutes solving geo-puzzles, then got myself organised for the day. The original plan for today was that I would be working, but having swapped out of last Thursday night (and got two day shifts instead) and having acquired last Sunday’s early meant I was owed some time.
I loaded the dogs into the boot of the car and we drove to the garage where "er indoors TM" had left her car for its MOT. Up until that point the dogs had sat in the back of the car as good as gold. The moment that they heard "er indoors TM" they started screaming and Treacle tried (and succeeded) to come up-front. We drove "er indoors TM" to work, and once we’d dropped her off so the hounds all went back to being (relatively) well behaved.
I drove the dogs up to Kings Wood; having done all of the preparations for a new geo-series it was time to actually shove the film pots under some rocks and sticks.
We had a rather good walk. The only cattle we met were on the other side of a fence. We met two other people, but that passed off without incident. We met a horse rider; she was civil enough but I *think* she shouldn’t have been there. I don’t think horse riders are allowed there. I even took a few photos as we walked.
In fact the only problems I had was when I was actually trying to hide film pots under rocks; Pogo wanted to play with the sticks I was using to disguise that which I was hiding. He got quite frantic in wanting the sticks. Mind you the dogs were a lot easier to manage than on previous geo-maintenance missions.
The problem with taking dogs out on a geocaching expedition is it soon becomes all about the dogs. On-with-leads, off-with-leads. Crossing roads. Crossing stiles… It is all very well when you are mob-handed with two people to every dog, but when it is just “me and three” it can be hard work. Kings Wood has none of this nonsense. Once we are twenty yards from the car park the dogs come off the leads, and bimble about doing their own thing until we’ve walked all the way round. Five miles over three hours – not a bad walk for the dogs (or me!) I’m hoping that this route will make for much easier geo-maintenance than the previous eight series I’ve put out did.
It was rather foggy this morning. The weather forecast had predicted rain for mid-day, but we got round whilst it was still dry.
Once home I scoffed a sandwich whilst watching an episode of “Uncle”, then told the geo-feds what I’d done this morning. That took half an hour. When I was half-way through so the rain started. I then archived the route of film pots under rocks I put round the north of Challock a couple of years ago. It had been logged as visited by over a hundred and thirty people and (from experience) that’s probably about as many people as are going to go visit it. It’s run its course; time to go.
I did have a plan to mow the lawn and generally pootle in the garden this afternoon, but the ran had put paid to that. instead I set about solving some geo-puzzles. The solutions to these puzzles will lead us round a walk that I expect we shall be taking in the not-too-distant future. These puzzles were about the TV series “Dancing on Ice”. I’ve never seen a single episode of the show, but (as always) Wikipedia told me all I needed to know. I did chuckle as I called up the “Dancing on Ice” page on Wikipedia. Have you seen it? Have a look by clicking here. As you page down through it there are tables of celebrities who have been on the show. These tables list exactly what these so-called celebrities are famous for. Isn’t this truly a sign of our times in that with celebrities being ten-a-penny, we need to be told why people are actually billed as being famous.
I drove out to collect "er indoors TM" from work and take her to the garage. All is not peachy with the "er indoors TM"-mobile…
We had a rather good bit of dinner and a bottle of plonk whilst watching “Young Sheldon”, “Derry Girls” and “Bake Off”. “Bake Off” *really* proved my earlier rant. It was the celebrity show – we’d never head of any of them…
A day off without doing any laundry… that must be a first…
3 April 2019 (Wednesday) - Late Shift
I got a little bit cross over brekkie. A family member had re-posted something to Facebook. It was a pro-Brexit hate-filled racist rant about how the EU has invested UK money in EU projects. The original article contained the line “Find something that's gone the other way, I've looked and I just can't” Perhaps this bloke is a bit thick? There’s this brilliant thing called “Google” which (in less than five seconds) gave me thousands of examples of EU investments in the UK. Pro-Brexit, pro-remain… neither side of the quarrel is helped by deliberately spreading lies which can be debunked so easily. Mind you it amazes me that so few people take those five seconds to debunk the lies.
My in-box then went doolally as the geo-feds activated that series of geocaches that I hid yesterday. With an email to tell me that the reviewer had done his bit, an email to tell me it had been published, an email to tell me that *my* geocache had been published, and a notification about a new cache for each of them, that was one hundred and twenty-eight emails.
I got the leads on to the dogs, and we did our usual circuit of Bowens Field, Viccie Park and home though the co-op field. Sometimes our walks can be hard work; today’s walk was fine. We chatted with quite a few people, we had no fights. We met OrangeHead who (without her little gang) was quite chatty. Interestingly the foxy Jehovah’s Witnesses were dressed rather demurely today. Either because it was cold, or because that’s what you do when aspiring to take the moral high ground. (Though how you can take the moral high ground when you’d let someone die for want of a blood transfusion because the Bible says you shouldn’t eat uncooked pigs’ blood is beyond me).
There’s no denying that Fudge could have got a move on more than he did. Admittedly he has only got little legs. But if he employed them more in going forward and less in going off at right angles to the way we are going, or in running back the way we’d come from then we might get somewhere.
With walk done we came home. Within minutes all three dogs were fast asleep. I spent a little while working on the last module of my Coursera course. Are plants conscious? Are they intelligent? Intriguing questions.
I then drove up to the Medway towns. There is a geocache there which you find by solving a puzzle which is based on a plaque on a Naval memorial. I went there on February 15th when I entitled my blog entry for the day “Wasting Time in Chatham”. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t come up with a solution to the puzzle which looked to be sensible. At the time I took a photo of the plaque, and I thought I might have another look at the puzzle from the comfort of my sofa.
So I had another go at solving the puzzle this morning. Something which wasn’t evident from my phone’s app (but was on the lap-top screen) is that there is a checker that you can use to see if you’ve got the right answer to the puzzle. I tried the solutions I came up with last time. Both were wrong. So I tried again. And again. On about the twentieth time I got the right answer. If any of my loyal readers have been struggling with the puzzle I can explain exactly which one of the ten questions is open to misinterpretation.
I got to *exactly* the place that I'd seen on Google Street View, looked in *exactly* the place that the hint said, and there was nothing there. Ho hum...
Just as I was about to search again for the umpteenth time I had a message on my phone. And another... And another...
I'd made the teensiest error on one of the cache pages for the series that went live this morning. Being a generous sort of guy I'd set thirty geo-checkers to allow people to have solutions accepted that were within ten metres of the actual result. In geo-speak that's pretty generous. I'd intended to set them all like that, but I'd overlooked to change the default setting on one of them, and that one would only accept absolutely spot-on solutions. Which arent easy to get when you are trying to work out where something is from over a mile away. Consequently people were struggling to get the green light on that one. Some messages were friendly; so weren't as aimiable as they might have been. It took about fifteen minutes for me to spot what I'd done wrong, and about thirty seconds to put it right.
I drove in to work where I had a rather good dinner. Chicken and chips in curry sauce followed by spotted dick and custard. It's almost worth doing the late shift for food like that...
All of those geocaches I hid yesterday have now been found except one. From the description of what was found where the missing one had been hidden, it seems as though an animal has had it. I’m not entirely sure it wasn’t Pogo…
4 April 2019 (Thursday) - Another Late Shift
I slept for over seven hours last night, but woke with a rather bad headache. What was that all about?
Over a bit of toast I had a look at the Internet. Interestingly whoever it was who had been making the snarky comments on my new geocaches had deleted them overnight. The arrogance of people with this attitude amaze me. Despite others having no problems in solving a puzzle, this one took the line that if she can’t solve the puzzle then it is clearly impossible (!) and that I had made a mistake in the puzzle’s construction. I looked up this person’s geo-profile on the internet and my piss boiled. She’s found over twice as many film pots under rocks as I have (and I’ve found nearly eleven thousand). However she’s only ever hidden seventeen of the things (I’ve hidden over two hundred and fifty), of which several have been archived, and none have been hidden in the last three years. And to add insult to injury she lives a hundred miles and a two-hour drive from Kings wood so she ain’t going to be rummaging in the undergrowth for that cache any time soon.
I whinged about this (in general terms) on a Facebook page for people who rummage under rocks locally. It would seem I’m not the only hider-of Tupperware who finds this.
I got dressed, which isn’t an easy task. As I got myself together so Treacle scrapped with Pogo in a shallow attempt to lull me into a false sense of security. When she thought I wasn’t paying attention she made a bid for my socks. But I was too quick for her.
And then we came downstairs…
Coming down the stairs is something of an art form. I walk. Using my legs. Pogo and Treacle slide down on their chests using their legs and mouths to conduct a battle as they go. I wish they wouldn’t.
We then went for our morning constitutional, but in the reverse way to that in which we usually go. As we walked through the park we all had a poo. I cleaned up that which Pogo and Treacle had dumped. Before I could stop him, Pogo cleaned up Fudge’s. Foul creature.
Mind you, apart from eating dung, the walk passed off reasonably well. We did have one fight with a Beagle near the car park, but the nice lady with the Beagle understood how dogs’ brains work. And (to be fair) the Beagle gave a good account of himself.
Once home I sat on the sofa, sparked up my lap-top, and did the last video lectures on my course on plants. In retrospect it was all very interesting, but it was about “what a plant knows”. I really wanted to find out about plant biology. Perhaps I’ll do another course in a little while.
I looked at doing the end of course quiz, but thought better of it. Having had a message from Cheryl I spent five minutes getting a Turkish visa. To answer the questions to get the visa I needed my passport. I found I’d stashed thirty-five Euros in there. I’d forgotten about those. Result !!
As I drove to work I found myself thinking about that Turkish visa I'd just bought. Twenty quid just to be able to enter their country... it's a bit of a rip-off isn't it? It's not as though the application process actually checked anything. I just typed in my details, gave them my money, and I had the visa in my hand (well, in my in-box) right away.
But then the whole "visa thing" is a bit of a con, isn't I? Good money for absolutely nothing. To think that a lot of people voted for Brexit just so we could have a daft system like this for more international destinations... not that they actually realised it at the time(!)
I stopped off at Detling village on my way to work. There is a geocache there that hadn't been found for a year. With no other film pots under any rock within the best part of a mile of it, it doesn't get many visitors. But it made for a good morning walk through some rather pretty woods running alongside the motorway.
To think I drive within fifty yards of that place every day.
With a little spare time I went to get petrol. I could have lasted till tomorrow. Looking back I think I should have done. When I was walking back to my car after having paid, there was a minor contretemps on the petrol station's forecourt. Some idiot was trying to drive his car through where everyone else was getting petrol at the pumps. Apparently there wouldn't have been a problem if I hadn't left my car where it was when I walked off to pay for my petrol - by doing so I was blocking everyone(!) No one else seemed in any way blocked or bothered - everyone else was happily getting petrol. I smiled sweetly and drove off, leaving the idiot demanding that everyone else get out of his way. It would seem that he was utterly oblivious to what goes on at a petrol station.
Why do I attract these loonies?
I got to work. there was curry for dinner in the canteen. I scoffed a plateful, and followed it with jam roly-poly and custard.
After a rather full morning and a heavy lunch I spent the late shift wishing I could have gone to bed...
And then I got a message.
A good friend was minding her own business when a van reversed over her. Arm, leg and nine ribs broken. It has certainly made me think - you can be quietly doing your own thing with nothing more than a looney at the petrol station to contend with, and begrudging twenty quid for a visa to go to your own son's wedding when suddenly your entire world gets turned upside down...
5 April 2019 (Friday) - If You Want to Get Ahead...
I slept well despite rather vivid dreams about Margate council having bought some new islands. I wonder what that was all about?
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Uncle” then did the end-of-course quiz for my Coursera course. Before I started it, I had been told that only thirteen per cent of people passed on the first attempt. I didn’t. Oh well – I can re-take the test any time I like.
I then had my morning look at Facebook. Two Facebook “friends” were having birthdays. One was a good friend; the other someone who send me a friend request because he once went to the astronomy club about six years ago. I sent one a birthday message because we have had quite a few fun times together over the years. I deleted the other from my list because I have absolutely no idea who he is.
I checked my emails. There weren’t any worth mentioning. I got myself dressed (which is far easier when the dogs are asleep) and set off work-wards.
It was rather cold as I set off towards work this morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were still droning on about Brexit. It never fails to amaze me that every politician wheeled on insisted that their opinion was based on "the will of the people" even though no two politicians agreed on anything. I had a look at Wikipedia this morning. When “the people" last showed their "will", the voting figures were pretty much evenly spread between leaving, remaining and "don't know/ don't care" (37.4%/34.7 %/27.9%).
Perhaps this explains why the politicians are in such a dilemma. There really is no clear mandate for what to do.
I must admit I can't help but laugh at all the calls being made to get rid of all the politicians at the next round of elections. Those trying to sort out the mess the country is in have a thankless task, and for all the hot air being vented on social media I don't see many people with any practical ideas standing for office.
I stopped off at Aldi to get some bits and pieces. As I pulled up, I counted four police cars in the car park outside McDonalds. Perhaps the rozzers have some arrangement with the local villains that eight o'clock is brekkie time? Certainly there wasn't much crime fighting going on this morning.
I got some bit and bobs from Aldi, including a "cat fishing rod" which I thought might come in useful for winding up the dogs.
I got to work and told off one of my colleagues. He was banging on about how the UK (supposedly) spends so much money on foreign aid. In the first instance, is it wrong to help people less fortunate than yourself? And in the second instance what he was saying was factually wrong, as proved by thirty seconds on Google.
Why do people carry on perpetuating these lies about how much the UK spends on foreign aid? Is it because of a hatred of foreigners or just plain stupidity?
Neither is very reassuring.
I did my bit and came home again. Coming home took some doing with the motorway seriously blocked up. I stopped off at the home of the first fruit of my loin. My wedding suit had arrived. I’m forbidden to talk about it; let along post photos, but I would say that it might benefit from a sexy hat.
Am I old enough to get away with a panama? They ain’t cheap…
6 April 2019 (Saturday) - Rather Busy
Yesterday I had a pain in my left hip. I had hoped it might go overnight. It didn’t. It was still there when I got up. But (as ever) I had two choices. I could sit and whinge, or I could get on with it. I got on with it.
I had a look at Facebook. It was much the same as it ever was. For every one person with something to share, there were half a dozen people trying to sell things. I wish more people would share stuff. I’m nosey like that. However I did see that Berck kite festival was starting this weekend. We’ve missed it again. Back in the day Berck kite festival was one of the big events of the year. Mind you back in the day kites were one of the big things in my life. I really should get them out again.
I had an email from Amazon suggesting I bought that which I’d already bought from them. And I had an email telling me that people were putting “favourite points” on to some of the geocaches I’ve hidden. That was kind of them.
We got ourselves organised, and set off out. "er indoors TM" took her car to the garage. I followed with the dogs, and with the "er indoors TM"-mobile safely “up on blocks” I drove us out to Whitstable where we soon met up with Karl and Charlotte. Despite an early rain shower we had rather a good little wander over Duncan Downs. We didn’t go far – just a shade under four miles. But it was ideal for me as my hip wasn’t what it might have been.
As we walked we met other dogs, and apart from being a bit shouty we didn’t fight with anyone at all.
We were back at the cars after a couple of hours. It was as well that we ended the day as early as we did; as we drove home so the rain started. It was odd; we came to Whitstable for a walk two months ago when we’d had fish and chips in the pub’s beer garden. Today it was coats and jumpers.
I took a few photos as we walked; Once home I told the Internet about them. We then collected the "er indoors TM"-mobile and then went round the road to meet some people I haven’t seen for a while. Too much food… (arguably) too much drink… hic !
7 April 2019 (Sunday) - Late Shift
The original plan for today was that I would be working an early shift. And consequently would be getting up at about six o’clock. Bearing in mind last night’s little drinkie with old muckers it was as well that I’d been asked to swap into the late shift today.
After a rather restless night I came downstairs about two hours after the early shift would have started. Over brekkie I looked at the Internet to see if it had changed much since yesterday. Some friends were having birthdays. I posted my birthday video to those whose settings would allow me to do so. And didn’t to those whose settings wouldn’t let me.
For once some people had posted photos of what they had been doing yesterday. I like being nosey, and I like seeing what other people have been up to. It would seem that whilst I was scoffing myself silly with friends yesterday evening I missed a rather good geo-meet.
More lies about Brexit were being circulated; this time by the remain brigade. There was a meme being circulated which claimed that UK trade with the EU countries last year was worth more than the UK’s trade with the USA, China, Japan, Australia, Mars, and even Cloud Cuckoo Land all put together. It didn’t take more than ten seconds on Google to see that the first figure quoted in the meme was actually wrong.
I checked my emails. I’d been awarded a geo-souvenir because of all the favourite points my new geo-series had accumulated. I was pleased about that. I’ve got all of the latest batch of geo-souvenirs now.
Treacle then came downstairs hotly pursued by "er indoors TM". She (Treacle, not "er indoors TM") had stolen a sock or some pants or something (I wasn’t really paying attention) and had run off with it. That dog is as good as gold with me, but the moment "er indoors TM" turns up she makes a point of running off with stuff for dramatic effect.
"er indoors TM" then boiled up some hot cross buns. Salted caramel flavour. Have you ever had salted caramel flavour? It works for ice cream, but for hot cross buns – I’m not so sure.
With brekkie scoffed we took the dogs out to Brook for a little walk. There was a geocache there that neither of us had found. To locate it you had to find a number from a post box, do some sums, and then walk a short distance to the final hiding place. I found the number on the post box, I used the degree I have in mathematics (I actually have one!) to work out the longitude and latitude. I plugged these numbers into the geo-app on my phone, and found that what I'd worked out was about ten miles away. I rechecked my sums, and on realising that three times three is not four I soon had a location within a couple of hundred yards.
The cache had been hidden in what looked to be a private petting zoo; the dogs got very excited at the sight of the chickens and sheep. Luckily I saw the film pot we sought laying on the ground from ten yards away, so we didn't have to hang about.
We then popped up the road to the church. "er indoors TM" owns the geocache at that church, and there had been reports that the thing needed a tad of maintenance doing.
Geo-maintenance is something that winds me up. There are two types of hunters of Tupperware; those that log that caches need maintenance, and those that just do the maintenance anyway. Most requests for maintenance are because the paper logs are full and need replacing. How hard is it to carry a sheet of A4 paper (sliced into strips) and pop in a strip when needed?
Some requests for maintenance are because caches are broken. However most caches are little plastic pots; you can get them (three for a quid) from the pound shop. Is it *really* unreasonable to carry a few of these with you and put one out if needed?
Having said that, there are those that delight in charging out to do their own maintenance. (And for all that it is the easiest thing in the world to carry spares, I often forget to do so myself).
Each to their own , I suppose.
We found "er indoors TM" 's cache. It wasn't in pristine condition, but it wasn't *that* bad. We replaced it, quarrelled with a passing Labrador, and came home again. If nothing else it was a walk for the dogs.
Once home I swapped out of my boots, and leaving "er indoors TM" to attack the laundry I set off to work. The pundits on the radio were broadcasting something about the role of the resistance fighters in the last great war. I listened for a bit, but my attention wasn't on it, so I turned to my dreadful taste in music instead. As I drove up the motorway I became conscious that nothing was coming in the opposite direction. After a while I saw why. A car had broken down, and the pick-up truck sent to fetch it was taking up both lanes. As I drove past this I could see that traffic was stacked up for miles behind this broken-down car.
With what was once a three-lane motorway reduced to a two-lane dual carriageway, this "Operation Brock" isn't the rip-roaring success that the government would have us believe that it is.
I got to work and went to the canteen. It was far quieter (being a Sunday) that usual. I demolished a plate of chicken and chips, and followed it with chocolate and orange pudding with custard.
Feeling rather full I got on with the work. During a lull in proceedings I wrote up some CPD. It's dull, but it needs doing.
As I worked I looked out of the window at the rain. I’d rather not work at the weekend, but I don’t mind *that* much if it’s wet…
8 April 2019 (Monday) - Hole in my Shoe
I slept for over eight hours last night. Eight hours – can you believe it ?! Mind you I did have something of a fraught dream in which "er indoors TM" announced that since taking on Pogo had been no trouble (!) she had decided to have another baby. And what with all the dogs we’d need a bigger house, so would I get that sorted by the weekend… Usually I wake up in terror after nightmares like that.
I set the washing machine loose on some T shirts, and Fudge sat with me as I scoffed toast. He got a couple of small bits of crust. As we shared toast I did my morning trawl of the Internet. Facebook was much the same as ever. I was hoping that seeing how most people aren’t at work at the weekends they might have posted piccies of what they had been doing over the last couple of days. A few people had, but not many. I wish more people would show the world what they had been doing; I’m nosey. I don’t so much as go to the loo without checking in on social media.
I did chuckle at a post in one of the on-line groups I follow. A chap in Australia was grumbling that he was unable to get certain CDs by the American duo “Sparks” because his local record shops aren’t *that* specialist. I found the things in less than ten seconds on Amazon or eBay. Didn’t he look there?
I opened my email account. Eighty-four new emails. People had been out yesterday hunting for the geocaches I hid last week and the week before. I was glad that the things had been found; it saves me griping about maintenance. I quite like putting the things out, but my favourite ones are the ones which don’t go missing or need attention. Geo-maintenance is a faff. Mind you, I’ve hidden the ones in Kings Wood with ease of maintenance in mind.
I got the leads on to the dogs, and we went for a walk. Pogo did try to scrap with a beagle fairly early in to the walk, but other than that the walk passed off reasonably well. It was a shame that we couldn’t go through the Chinese garden, but the gardeners were having a go in there. They were also mowing the lawns in the park. The lawn mowers they use have got quite a turn of speed. Probably best described as “far too fast” for a public park.
Once home I went out not the garden and fed the fish. The pond is looking rather clear; I was pleased about that. I saw that next door had fixed the two broken fence posts. I was pleased about that – it saved me a job. When the next post breaks I’m going to pay someone to replace the lot with shorter panels and concrete uprights.
I then hung out the washing and set the dishwasher loose on the crockery. Just as I sat down for a cuppa my phone beeped with an email from “lemonaid legal”. It looked like some spamming thing, or was it phishing? I’ve forwarded it to a legitimate email address for “lemonaid legal” and shall await developments.
As I drove off "Women's Hour" was on the radio. With the presenters going into great and graphic detail about "women's things" I turned the radio off. Too much information(!)
Regular reader of this drivel may recall when I walked the dogs round Stalisfield in early March. We looked for four geocaches. I say "we"; it was me that did. My furry associates rooted about in the undergrowth hoping for rats, squirrels and rabbits. They didn't find anything (other than some fox poo). I found two of what I was looking for, but two of them evaded me despite twenty minutes serious searching for each. I went back this morning and found them both with less than a minute's rummaging at each location.
That gave me more smiley faces on the map (it's a geo-thing), and a rather good walk walked too.
However when I got back to my car, as I pulled my wellies off and put my trainers back on I saw a rather serious rip in the fabric of one of the shoes. That was a pain... I wonder how that happened. Treacle would be the prime suspect, but it was a clean tear with no evidence of chewing.
Needing new shoes I went to the Notcutts garden centre to get some. The Cotswold shop there didn't have anything sensibly priced, but there was a branch of the Paver's shoe shop inside the garden centre. I went there and asked if they had shoes my size. I wish I hadn't bothered; the assistant didn't actually say "get knotted, baldy" but with that attitude she really didn't need to.
I shall drive to "Go Outdoors" in Canterbury tomorrow morning. Despite it being fifteen miles in the wrong direction and will cost quite a bit in petrol, it would still be cheaper than buying anything the Notcutts garden centre had.
I went in to work and devoured a pork chop on a bed of spicy noodles (which was rather good) and followed it down with sponge pudding and custard. Suitably fuelled I got on with another late shift. As late shifts go, this was one of the better ones.
During a tea break I finished an e-book. "Renegades" by Craig Alanson is the seventh book in his "Expeditionary Force" series was rather good. I’ve surprised myself by keeping my book reviewing going…
What shall I read next...
9 April 2019 (Tuesday) - Another Late Shift
Another good night’s sleep. Despite treacle whinging to be picked up on to the bed in the small hours I got seven hours sleep last night. That’s not to be sniffed at.
I got up shortly after seven o’clock, set the washing machine loose on my undercrackers, and peered into the murk of the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight. This morning Facebook presented me with quite a few posts from local political groups who were clearly angling for the upcoming local elections. The posts from the local independents had been taken over by some idiot who didn’t understand that local councillors have no say over the Brexit negotiations. The people at the local Labour party and Green party were taking the line that I should vote for them because they aren’t as bad as the Conservatives. This got me thinking about the local elections. I had a little look on-line and (eventually) found that there are four candidates in my local ward. I get to choose between wanton greed (the incumbent party), well-meaning incompetence (the only ones who’ve actually been round dropping leaflets), shouting at foreigners, and tree-hugging. It is strange that I see and hear more about the Ashford independents on social media than any other party, but they aren’t standing locally.
Despite the rain I took the dogs out. Because of the rain we had a rather shortened walk; up to the station and back home along the footpaths. They got a little run, and we didn’t have a set-to with anyone or anything.
As we came home I saw there was a car parked round the corner where you aren’t allowed to park after eight o’clock. If we park there we have found tickets on our cars at one minute past eight, and traffic wardens standing waiting at five to eight. However this morning that car was there with no parking ticket having been parked for over an hour longer than it should have been.
I spent a little time looking at the fish pond. The filter is doing its thing rather well. I would have liked to have pootled in the garden, but the weather was against me today. Instead I came in, then went back to the garden to order the dogs in. Fudge was guarding the fish, and Treacle and Pogo were watching him just in case they were missing something.
With hounds rounded up I locked the back door, then pondered the geo-map some more. I’d like to find another place to put out another series of geocaches. However it has got to be easy for me to go do maintenance with the dogs. Which means loads of footpaths, no cattle or horses, no gates or stiles. A wood would be ideal. However the obvious candidates (Orlestone Wood, Ham Street Wood and the one out at Smarden) are all sites of special scientific interest, so they are out.
As I pondered I listened to the tumble-drier. It was making some seriously bad noises. I think the thing is past its best. Not daring to leave it unattended I turned it off, kissed each of the sleeping dogs, and set off.
As I drove, "Women's Hour" was on the radio. Today the presenters were talking about the potential effects of Brexit on women. Apparently Brexit will be far more serious for women than it will for men(!) I *really* couldn't understand how, but according to the presenters, trade tariffs under World Trade Organisation rules would be far more onerous to a woman than to a man.
I stopped off at Matalan where I got some new trousers for work, then headed off to Canterbury. I had planned a little geo-mission for myself in Chilham, but with the rain getting worse I abandoned that idea and went straight to Go Outdoors.
I arrived there to find an elderly couple who were having a little "episode" in the car park. They weren't actually hysterical, but were rather excited as they had managed to crash their car into the outside wall of Go Outdoors. As I walked into the shop I told the welcoming assistant (who was grinning at all new customers) about their little fracas. That wiped the smile off of his chops.
The nice lady in the shoe department helped me get some new walking shoes (sixty quid), and I got some insoles for my walking boots too (a tenner). I also bought more trousers (fifteen quid), a fishing bucket (a tenner), a new box for my fishing tackle (twenty quid), walking socks (a fiver) and a tenner's worth of assorted baits. When I came to pay, the nice lady on the tills asked for sixty-five quid.
I couldn't get out of the shop quick enough.
I had planned to stop off in Faversham for geo-reasons, but with the rain showing no signs of abating I carried on driving. I went up into Aylesford where I went to the pond shop and got a rather large bag of food for the Koi before heading to work.
I went to the works canteen as I do on the late shift, and today I had something of a first. I had a dinner that wasn't anything special. It wasn't bad, but usually I come out of the canteen and tell all my colleagues that they should have the dinner and how good it was. But today's sweet & sour chicken was just rather average; and the chocolate pudding with chocolate custard wasn't anything to write home about either. Well... to be fair it was a good dinner, but the standard has been so high recently that I was rather disappointed.
But it set me up for a rather busy late shift, and that is never a bad thing…
10 April 2019 (Wednesday) -Before the Night Shift
I woke perhaps a tad earlier than I might have done. Over a bowl of granola I watched the last episode of the second season of “Uncle”. Wikipedia says there is a third season. I shall have to look out for that.
I sorted the undercrackers before the dogs woke and put them in piles on the table. The dogs came down, and when she thought no one was looking Treacle made a few attempts to make off with my pants. Brave dog – I think twice about going near those things.
We were just about to go for a quick once-round-the-park when my phone beeped. Two new geocaches. One near work, one ten miles down the road from home. I hoiked the dogs into the boot of the car and we chased off after the nearest one. There was a field puzzle to be solved. I found the sign from where we needed to get the information, and after a little false start we were soon where we were supposed to be with film pot in hand. First one to find it. Happy dance. Or I would have “happy danced” if my back wasn’t hurting so much. Pogo’s pulling has strained something.
I then drove the dogs up to Orlestone Woods where we had a little walk. I got to test out the new contoured insoles for my walking boots. They seem to do to the trick, and the boots feel better than they did. We had a rather good stomp round the woods; marred only by a passing nutter who announced that she was going to speak on behalf of Pogo (it would seem that the other two dogs had nothing to say). This nutter then jabbered on about how Pogo likes to tiddle and what he likes to tiddle on. Had she said that she was the voice of Fudge then (just maybe) she might have had some credibility. Pogo doesn’t care where he tiddles, or what’s in the way. When he goes, it is like a fire hose for five minutes.
We came home, and after a little bath the dogs were all soon asleep. I got the ironing board out. With the SkyPlus box playing, I ironed all the way through last week’s episodes of “Victoria” and “Alan Partridge”. And with ironing ironed I scoffed a sandwich whilst watching the first episode of “Trailer Park Boys; The Animated Series”. It was rather good.
I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. Despite Fudge’s barking and Pogo’s licking my head whilst I tried to sleep, I got a few hours’ shut-eye.
I then watched more “Trailer Park Boys; The Animated Series” in which our heroes were getting to grips with being cartoons.
There’s a geo-meet locally. I plan to go on the way to work. So far I’m the only person who’s logged a “will attend” …
11 April 2019 (Thursday) - Bit Tired
As I drove home from the night shift the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Prime Minister has managed to get yet another extension to Brexit. The UK now has until Hallowe’en to come up with some sort of formal arrangement that the EU might buy. However with her own plan dead in the water and having clearly given up on her own party and now sucking up to the Labour party, you can’t help but wonder what she is thinking of.
I came home, and took the dogs round the park. We found the young ladies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses lurking up by the bowling alley. With legs all the way up to their bums and more make-up than sense I’m afraid that the phrase “painted Jezebel” came to mind. They gave me the fluttering eyelashes, and told me about a party that they were having, and how they would be so pleased if I could go along. And just at the point where most men would have been putty in their (elegantly manicured) hands they came out with all the Jesus stuff. However either being made of sterner stuff or having to deal with a king-sized Pogo-turd allowed me to steel myself away from their allures. They then started fussing Fudge, but he wasn’t having any of it.
As we came up to the Hubert fountain we encountered a hysterical old biddy. She was distraught that the dogs were fighting. I suppose that (to the uninitiated) Pogo and Treacle’s scraps must appear rather frightening. They are rather aggressive to each other, and there is a *lot* of growling and snarling. But that’s what they do. It is all in play. But then again, they are my dogs. I know what they are like, and if it is *truly* nasty I stop the game. If they are playing I let them play. This old duck didn’t believe it was play.
We came home; I set the alarm for late afternoon and went to bed. I woke at mid-day. I scoffed a late brekkie, then did a couple of hours of ironing whilst watching a film. I was pleased to see that “Suicide Squad” was now on Netflix. It is a film I’ve been wanting to watch for ages. It was disappointing. It took over half the film to set the scene, and rather than having a plot of its own, it just used the plot of the Alexei Sayle blockbuster “Things Exploding”.
I then spent a while fighting with GSAK (as one does) in an attempt to wrestle a GPX file into “Hannah”. It took some doing. As my file compiled I messed about with my phone. My contract has ended and I *could* get a new one. But bearing in mind that there is nothing wrong with the old phone I might just downgrade to a cheaper “pay as you go” sort of arrangement. In the meantime I’m clearing out all the apps I don’t use and generally tweaking it up. Last night during the night shift I ordered some new screen protectors from Amazon. The advert said they would be here today. At five o’clock in the afternoon I got an email saying they had just been dispatched. So much for next day delivery.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Derry Girls”. I *really* should have an early night.
12 April 2019 (Friday) - Off to Cambrdgeshire
I’d set the alarm early today as I knew we had an early start. But despite last night’s night shift I was still awake far too early. I watched an episode of “Trailer Park Boys” then went and kicked "er indoors TM" out of her pit. As she got up Pogo looked at me in utter amazement. What were the humans doing getting up in the middle of the night?
We all came downstairs and Pogo watched us get ready from the comfort of Fudge’s basket. If ever a dog had an expression of “WTF is going on?” it was Pogo this morning.
We left home just before half past five. As we drove up the contraflow on the motorway the travel news told us that the “Operation Brock” contraflow would be removed later today. “Operation Brock” has been a major inconvenience for the last few weeks; I shall be glad to see it go.
But despite having half the motorway not in use (for no discernible reason) we made good time and were at the Duxford McDonalds half an hour earlier than planned. As was everyone else. I found Karl Tracey and Charlotte at the self-service gizmo, and as I fed the dogs their breakfasts of sausage and egg McMuffins (spoiled pups!) so Wayne and Lyn arrived.
We drove to the sleepy village of Meldreth (it’s somewhere in Cambridgeshire) and we went for a little walk; our walk being directed by various film pots stashed under rocks. Within yards of starting the walk Pogo “unloaded”. I cleared his mess and walked him back a hundred yards to the dog dung bin, and he was heartbroken. This was something of a theme for the day; if he was away from "er indoors TM" for even a few moments he was distraught.
But we had a rather good walk. The weather was odd; it was too hot to be wearing my fleece so I took it off. It was soon too cold not to have my fleece on. On-off, on-off all day. Mind you it was warm enough to sit in the beer garden of a pub we found. A pint of “Oddy” from a brewery in Bishop’s Stortford slipped down very nicely.
I quite liked walking in Cambridgeshire. Compared to Kent it was very flat. As we walked we saw buzzards and yellowhammers. We found a stone commemorating the millennium which had been placed on the Greenwich meridian. And I found my eleven thousandth geocache too.
After twelve and a half miles (and eighty-three geocaches) we were back at the cars. An hour later we were at the wonderfully-named village of Molesworth (has no one but me ever heard of the star pupil of St Custard’s school?). We’d booked rooms at the Cross Keys pub. Everyone else but us had stayed there before and thoroughly recommended the place. I must admit that I went hoping for the best but expecting the worst, and I was pleasantly surprised. They were very happy for us to have the dogs with us. The little chalet-thingy we had was very comfortable.
Mind you I spent five minute fighting with the shower; why do no two hotels, pubs or guest houses ever have the same shower controller-thingy?
As "er indoors TM" showered so I went into the bar. After a couple of pints of “Landlord” we were all assembled, and we sat down for dinner. I had the mixed grill… It was really good. Cooked to perfection, and it was as well that we were allowed to have the dogs with us. Even with their help I barely cleared the plate. (But I still managed pudding!)
It was a shame that the pub’s wi-fi was a tad flaky, but despite knocking a pint of ale flying I eventually got some photos of the day on to the Internet.
Today has been a very long day…
13 April 2019 (Saturday) - Cambridgeshire Day Two
I slept like a log until half past four when a crowing rooster woke me. Mind you, to be fair to the bird perhaps I should be more precise. It wasn’t the rooster which woke me; it was Treacle and Pogo’s declaration of “Red Alert” which did.
I didn’t really get much more sleep after that. As soon as I nodded off so the rooster would have another go, and so would Treacle and Pogo.
It transpired that Treacle and Pogo’s warnings disturbed Fudge; he had been having a sleepover with Charlotte, and whenever the terrible twosome kicked off, he did too.
Eventually we gave up trying to sleep, and took the dogs for their morning unloads. As we walked across the field we couldn’t help but notice the frost on the grass. Frost – what was that all about?
We’d arranged to meet for brekkie at eight o’clock. Regular readers of this drivel would realise that I am something of an aficionado of the full English breakfast. The full English I had today was certainly one of the better ones.
Suitably fed to face the rigours of the day we drove out to Alconbury. We had the sat-nav running even though we were following everyone else. It did seem odd to me that we hardly ever went the way that the sat-nav was directing until we got to where we were parking. The designated parking place was a car park which was actually underneath the A14 dual carriageway. The sat-nav (like all sat navs) doesn’t consider the z-axis, and had been trying to get us on to the A14.
Again we had a rather good walk. We walked through a ford, we saw buzzards, red kites, chaffinches and even a flock of peacocks. At one point I spotted that Fudge was walking with a dead mouse in his mouth. I got the dead mouse out, and quick as a flash Treacle ate it. Which I suppose is marginally better than Pogo’s eating horse poo. And we even had a small flurry of snow when we stopped for lunch.
Geocache-wise today was a mixed bag. One part of the walk featured well maintained caches; one part featured caches in a right old state. (This is why I don’t like having anyone else hinging caches near any series that I put out – people just remember the crap ones)
Twelve miles (and seventy geocaches) later we got back to the cars. Today’s walk had taken a little longer than planned. We hurried back to base where we’d planned to stage a geo-meet in honour of Karl and Tracey’s ten thousandth cache find. We weren’t sure if anyone would turn up (apart from us), but we had half a dozen attendees including some friends who’d driven up from Ashford for the day.
We talked Tupperware and poured ale down our necks until it was dinner time. And what a wonderful dinner we had. I went for the rib and scampi, and followed it up with the cookie dough sundae.
Today was a rather full day – I took quite a few photos. I expect to sleep well tonight…
14 April 2019 (Sunday) - Cambridgeshire Day Three
The rooster didn’t start its noise until half past five this morning. Fortunately the dogs were so tired they slept through it. Or couldn’t be bothered to react.
We had another really good breakfast, then said our goodbyes to the Cross Keys at Molesworth and drove off to the village of Barrington where today’s little stroll was starting.
Or some of us did.
Others got there eventually once their sat-navs decided to work. We didn’t snigger much…
We started a little walk which was again directed by various geocaches. Our first port of call was just by where we parked - a church graveyard from which we had to get information from various graves…
It isn’t uncommon to have to find one gravestone from which you need a date to solve a geo-puzzle. Usually the grave is rather near the gate of the graveyard so you can come and go easily. This puzzle was different. We had to find four separate places in the graveyard. I wasn’t comfortable with traipsing all over the graves. And then once you’ve found what you are looking for you need access to the internet to calculate the number of days that someone lived for.
I’m surprised the geo-feds allowed this one to be placed.
We took a wrong turn, but it wasn’t long before we were on our way. I lost Fudge at one point, but when I saw several pheasants flying out of a bush I knew where he would be. Pogo fell in a river, and needed help to get out. We found a cache which had been named “Cheeky Sod”. For all that I liked the name, I couldn’t see anything “cheeky” about it at all. We found a rather good house which looked to be half-castle. Was it once a windmill?
We had a little picnic – it was a shame that Pogo had to bark so loudly at the passing dogs. His socialisation training clearly isn’t working. I shall have to try something else.
Eventually the first part of our walk was done. The “Shepreth Saunter” was… to be honest I didn’t like it. It was a well marked walk with well maintained geocaches, but for me I want a dog-walk, and this was mostly along roads, some of which were rather busy.
Finding ourselves at a pub we stopped for a pint. The Royal Oak in Barrington isn’t somewhere I can recommend. It was clearly a very good and welcoming pub... *IF* you are a local. If you aren't, it was quite clear that you might as well go somewhere else.
And then the rain started.
Mind you the rain went as quickly as it started. And seeing how it had stopped we carried on with the second part of our walk. Being all off-road the dogs could run free. And they did.
I took quite a few photos today as well.
After nine and a half miles and sixty geocaches we were soon back where we’d parked. We again had a go at trying to solve that puzzle in the graveyard, but we couldn’t come up with a sensible answer.
We said our goodbyes, and set off homewards.
We’d been looking forward to a good run home with “Operation Brock” having been called off. Although we made good time, the contraflow was still in place. What was that all about?
Once home the dogs were soon snoring. I popped to the KFC for dinner, and we scoffed it whilst watching the last episode of “Derry Girls”.
It’s been a rather good weekend…
15 April 2019 (Monday) - A Day Off
I woke at ten to two. I had half a mind to get up and watch the first episode of the new season of “Game of Thrones” as it was being broadcast. I did that with some of the last season of the show purely to avoid the spoilers. Mind you when I did that, the next morning I deliberately gave some spoilers to a colleague with whom I worked at the time. He would not stop giving spoilers himself until he got some given to him.
But I decided that I wouldn’t watch it just then. Watching it live means you’ve got to sit through all the adverts. I went back to sleep.
I eventually woke just before seven o’clock, and set the washing machine going. Over toast I wrote history for yesterday. I rated some pubs on Google. One good, one not so. I then had a look at Facebook. The photos I’d put up over the weekend had received quite a few comments. I also had a load of emails. People had been visiting the geocaches I’ve recently put out in Kings Wood and in Godinton. I had three hundred and fifty “Found It” logs for my attention. I must admit I didn’t read them all. I also had one email finding fault with the Wherigo I’d put in Kings Wood; I’d made a teensy error which I soon corrected.
Usually I would take the dogs out right after brekkie. But all three were absolutely knackered. Not one of them wanted their own brekkie… but then they showed some interest…. In the end only Pogo ate his, but I thought I might take them out anyway.
We went round the park and had a good walk. I did find a loony on the way; a passing cyclist warned me that he’d seen that me and my two black dogs were being followed by a smaller brown and black dog who was trailing some distance behind. He thought that I should know we were being followed. I smiled sweetly.
We came home; I hung out the washing, fed the pond fish, put in more washing and went out on a little mission. First of all to the tip where I got rid of six pairs of shoes. Each pair was knackered in various ways, but I had still kept hold of them.
I then drove into town and went to the phone shop. My phone contract was up for renewal. Rather than getting a new phone I downgraded to a sim-only contract. That has saved me thirty quid each month.
I came home, and over a sandwich watched last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones”. I was glad I didn’t get up at two o’clock to watch it; it was rather dull. Fast-forwarding through the adverts shaved half an hour off of the viewing time, but nothing of note really happened. Nudey-Dragon-Girl kept her clothes on, which was a shame. To be honest I struggled to stay awake.
I’m wondering if this is one of those shows which started well, but the writers have no idea of what to do next. It’s a common problem with telly shows.
I then went into the garden and got the lawn mower out. Mowing the lawn took some doing; it hadn’t been done for some time and the lawn mower struggled. I had a go at the edges of the lawn with the strimmer, but the strimmer has totally had it.
I thought I might get a new one.
And seeing how the wooden plank that the fish pond filter sits on was rotting through I thought I might replace that with a concrete slab too.
I went to B&Q and put so much effort into lugging a heavy slab about (it was HEAVY!!) I forgot all about the strimmer. I’ll go back for that tomorrow. I brought the slab home and wrestled it into place. In doing so I rather strained my back. So I put “Trailer Park Boys” on the telly and fell asleep for an hour or so.
"er indoors TM" came home, boiled up a rather good dinner, then went off bowling. I watched last night’ episode of “Victoria”. Unlike “Game of Thrones” that makes for good telly, as the writers know where they are going with the plot…
I shall do a few geo-puzzles, then I think an early night wouldn’t hurt. The dogs certainly haven’t slept so much since we came back from the New Forest…
16 April 2019 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
I had a good night I suppose. I will probably have better nights once I get my nose surgically re-bored. It’s been over five weeks since I went to the hospital to see the specialist and I’m still waiting to hear back from them about a date for the surgery.
As I scoffed my toast I had a look-see at the Internet. Not much had happened on Facebook overnight, and I’d not had any emails that had been worth the effort to send. I pootled on the Internet for a bit, then got dressed.
I got the dogs into the car and we drove up to Kings Wood for a little walk. This place has the advantage that the dogs can run off of the leads, and we rarely meet anyone else.
Within seconds of starting our walk the dogs were barking at someone who was rummaging very suspiciously in the undergrowth *exactly* where I’d hidden a geocache a few weeks ago. It was an old geo-pal. We chatted for a bit, then I went onward with the hounds. Or (to be precise) with two of them. Fudge straggled behind as he does, and then he flatly refused to go any further.
Having walked round Kings Wood a few times recently planning a geo-walk and stuffing film pots under piles of sticks, we’ve always gone the same way round. Today we were just there for a walk, and so I thought we’d go the other way round. Fudge didn’t like that at all. In his mind we have set walks, and he *really* doesn’t like any deviation from them. Eventually we encouraged him to follow us, but I could tell he wasn’t impressed.
I took a few photos as we walked. Kings Wood is a lovely place for a walk. Today we only did a short loop, but it was still pretty.
As we walked I spotted some of the geocaches I’d put out there only a few short weeks ago. Some were as I’d left them. Others had migrated a few feet or a yard or so to where people had thought might be a better hide. For all that the etiquette is that you put it back as you find it, this happens quite a bit. It’s a nuisance. But if all you can grumble about is someone moving your film pot a yard or so, then you are doing far better than a lot of people in this world.
Some people who’ve hunted for the Tupperware I’ve hidden there have told me of a white deer in the woods. I deliberately didn’t holler out for Fudge to keep up in the hope that I might see that deer, but it didn’t happen today.
When he was on the lead today (on the stretches to and from the car) Pogo was as good as gold. When we go out mob-handed he pulls like a train; desperate to be in front. When it is just me, he can behave himself. Nobody ever sees the dear little pup he can be, which is a shame.
With walk done I quickly popped to B&Q to get that strimmer I forgot to get yesterday. Once home I had it assembled in seconds, and it has done a wonderful job on the edges of our lawn. Effectively between yesterday and today the lawn has been scalped. I really should give it a “proper” mowing tomorrow.
I spent the afternoon asleep, then (feeling like death warmed up) I watched a couple of episodes of “Fleabag” which was rather good. Yet another thing I’d missed.
Once "er indoors TM" has boiled up some dinner I’m off to the late shift. I might go via B&Q. Is there such a thing as “garden scissors”? I need to trim up round the stepping stones in the garden without totally knackering my new strimmer...
17 April 2019 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
As I drove home after a surprisingly busy night shift I was pleased to see that “Operation Brock” had been lifted. Or, that is, it had been lifted on the eastbound carriageway. Going home was straight-forward, but I could see that heading up the motorway was still something of a nightmare with the contraflow still in place. I wonder where the Highways Agency will store sixteen miles of barrier?
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Archbishop of York about the recent fire at the Notre Dame cathedral. Close on a billion Euros have been donated to restore the building to its former glory whilst millions of children still die of hunger. The Archbishop spoke for an age without actually saying anything at all. I don’t think he realised he’d been asked to take part in an interview, not to give a sermon. He was clearly unsettled by having his pontifications challenged. The average vicar is used to droning on safe in the knowledge that their listeners don’t really take any notice, and clearly Archbishops have developed this to a fine art. “Blah, blah… platitude… bible quote” works to a disinterested congregation, but not on live radio.
I’ve since seen quite a few people posting on Facebook and elsewhere that the money raised to repair the cathedral might be better spent on feeding the starving. Perhaps it might well be.
Once home I walked the dogs round the park. I’m trying something new with Pogo. He can do “sit” (after a fashion) so we are regularly stopping and doing “sit”. He gets a good fuss when he does this. It did distract him from one or two bigger dogs with which otherwise he might well have picked a fight. However one or two other dogs (or specifically their owners) did make a point of coming and bothering him. I wonder if making him a “yellow dog” for a while mightn’t be a good idea.
I went to bed for the morning. Just as I nodded off the doorbell rang. It was the postman with "er indoors TM"’s phone. It had been sent away for repairs which (apparently) had been done in the factory just down the road. The postman knew all about it and wouldn’t shut up. Once he’d (twice) told me all about how close the factory was, and how far the parcel had travelled he then started telling passers-by about it.
I just wanted to go to bed.
I finally got to bed; I got a couple of hours asleep. I scoffed a late brekkie then went into the garden. I got some garden scissors from B&Q last night and I used them and the strimmer to sort out the paving slabs, mowed the lawn again, and then pressure-washed the paving slabs. By the time I’d taken a few buckets of water to the bigger pots my back was rather painful. I’ll sort the smaller pots later.
I then had a shower and the shower hose attachment snapped off. "er indoors TM" was surprisingly relaxed about it; I thought she might break my face (!)
If any of my loyal readers are a dab hand with a monkey wrench, or could recommend a good plumber…
18 April 2019 (Thursday) - Crap Thursday
On Monday I struggled a concrete slab into place to support the posh pond filter. It was rather heavy and I think I knacked my back doing it. So I probably didn’t help matters by doing a couple of hours of rather strenuous gardening yesterday. I ached somewhat this morning.
All three dogs were asleep as I made my toast this morning. Probably just as well as there was someone in the front garden. The chap from the dustbin-men company who walks the streets picking the litter was in the front garden gathering up rubbish (it accumulates from the street). That was good of him, but it made me think. I wonder if the bin men have changed their insurance company? I’ve been told many times that I have to leave bins out on the pavement for them as they aren’t insured to set foot in my garden, but clearly today one of them was in there. Perhaps they are now insured by the same people who do postmen, milkmen, paper boys and those people who shove adverts for kebabs through the letterbox?
Fudge came and sat with me as I scoffed my toast and peered into the murky depths of the Internet. Facebook told me that someone with whom I (apparently) went to school was having a birthday today. I added him to my friends list when he sent a friend request, but I can’t say I remember him. Mind you with over a hundred of us in the same year at school I suspect there’s quite a few I don’t remember.
As I took the dogs out for our morning constitutional I saw that "er indoors TM" was watching “fixing knacked bath taps” videos on You-Tube. She did a sterling job on the chod-bin a while back, so here’s hoping.
We walked our usual circuit of Bowen’s field, the park and home through the co-op field. As we went we had no fights, we met no passing loonies. Only one squirrel got chased and (unlike yesterday) no one came home covered in seagull shit. As I told the world via Facebook earlier, in my life that's a result.
Another result was Pogo. Having tried so many different things with him, “sit” seems to be working. He has to sit to have his lead put on and off, and before crossing the road, and we sit about every hundred yards as well (for fussing). He seems to be getting used to sitting regularly – he seems to like the attention. On four different occasions today we met other dogs that he would usually bark at, but today he sat as I fussed him. He watched the dogs go past but didn’t bark and snarl like he so often does. I’m looking on this as something of a minor victory.
I settled the dogs (I say "I settled the dogs" - they were already all fast asleep) and went off to find my car. It turned up eventually - it was where I'd left it. As I drove off to work "Women's Hour" was banging on about how much women love playing football. I listened for five minutes, then turned it off.
I thought I might have a little geo-adventure on my way to work. There were two geocaches near Faversham that hadn't been found for over a year. I thought I might go for a resuscitation. I got to Faversham and discovered why they hadn't been found for over a year - both weren't there. I suggested that the geo-feds might like to archive the listings, then went for another resuscitation on the way from Faversham to work. This one involved solving a puzzle and I didn't find this one either. I wonder if I didn't solve the puzzle properly?
I went in to work and pigged out on chili and rice followed by jam roly-poly with custard, and gave myself a guts ache that lasted for the entirety of a very busy late shift.
And talking of guts ache I came home to find that with "er indoors TM" off out the dogs had again eaten that which they shouldn’t. And once I’d cleaned up I had a bath… only to find that the plug hole was blocked with dog hair…
19 April 2019 (Friday) - Swanley
When I came home from work last night I saw I had a letter from the local hospital. I had a quick look, and saw that I’ve been advised to had a screening for bowel cancer. I spent a night fraught with dreams about having all manner of things rammed up my chuff. And then this morning I re-read the letter…
What I’d received wasn’t an invitation to a screening for bowel cancer. It was a letter telling me that I was going to receive an invitation to a screening for bowel cancer.
It is commonly felt that the NHS is short of money. If this is the case, why waste money on this first letter? Why not just send the invitation?
I then spent a little while fighting with “Hannah” in an attempt to prepare for today’s walk. Eventually I got it to work (after a fashion). GSAK wasn’t having it, but in the end it relented.
In the absence of dog treats I got a pot of fish food (for Pogo’s ongoing training) and got ready for the day.
We had an interesting five minutes as we drove up the motorway. The contraflow (heading west) has a maximum speed limit of fifty miles per hour. We were going at that speed limit when some idiot came up behind flashing his lights and beeping his hooter clearly desperate to get past. With lorries nose to tail in the slow lane we couldn’t move immediately, but eventually we managed to let him pass. I then phoned the police and told them all about the driver of RE15 AEJ.
And then exactly the same thing happened again, but this time with a lorry. Can you believe it? Some lorry-driving prat was tail-ending our car. I’ve told the police, and once the Bank Holiday is over I shall be contacting the management of “Kelly International Transport” of Aylesford Kent about their lorry GN18 VKZ.
We got to Swanley where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we went for a little walk. I say “little walk”; the series of geocaches we had in mind today was rather a big one. With eighty targets over (so we were told) thirteen miles we set off.
Have you ever been to the area around Swanley? It is an odd place. Our walk took us past beautiful posh houses, and some rather scratty council estates too. We went through stunning countryside, and through miles of fly-tipped woodlands. And it was amazing just how fast you would go from one area to the next. We would be admiring the house which would be worth millions of pounds, and then see the broken microwave thrown in the hedgerow. We would be looking at the well-manicured garden lawns, then see the pissed-on mattress laying on the wasteland.
I think the area might well be summarised by the pub we found. The Bull in at St Paul’s Cray looked really good from the outside. But getting a drink at the bar was tricky; the bar was completely blocked by locals who were clearly proud of having got themselves seat at the bar and weren’t moving for anyone. The beer garden seemed like an out-take from “TOWIE”, and as we sat with our drinks we were harangued by passing vagrants who wanted to know if we would like to buy DVDs, tobacco or cigarettes from the rather dubious carrier bags they were lugging round.
As we walked I kept a close eye on Pogo. I can hardly be impartial with that silly dog, but he managed to not bark at horses and some of the other dogs. But when he did bark at dogs it was at dogs that he’d seen before I did. Was he raising the alarm by doing that? He seems quite content and doesn’t bark when I tell him that something is going on.
Perhaps I need to be more vigilant?
Geocache-wise… The route was well-marked by the caches. And I know well just how much time and effort had been put into creating this route. But I did wonder about some of the hides. Some of them were in odd places. Certainly the toffs on the golf course weren’t happy with us leaving the footpath to hunt for the caches; and searching under the security camera was uncomfortable. And some of the challenge caches?… in order to qualify to be able to claim some of the caches you had to fulfil certain criteria. How many people have hunted for Tupperware in twenty EU countries? And only allowing people with over fifteen thousand finds to log one - there’s less than a hundred and fifty people in the entire country who qualify for that. Personally I wouldn’t set challenges like that… but that’s just me. Some people delight in challenges like this. Each to their own.
I took a few photos as we walked. We walked for quite some time. Billed as a walk of thirteen miles, my sat-nav “Hannah” measured it as a shade over sixteen miles. We were walking for some ten hours too.
We came home; the journey home was far less problematical than the journey out. I popped to the KFC to get our dinner; we scoffed it whist watching an episode of “Young Sheldon”. As we scoffed, Treacle was quarrelling with the other dogs. Perhaps she was more tired that everyone else?
We’ll all sleep well tonight.
20 April 2019 (Saturday) - Easter Saturday
The night didn’t start as well as it might; Treacle and Pogo have issues with each other once it is dark. The first one on to the bed sees it as their territory and is *very* resentful of the other. There was something of a full-blown scrap at half-past one.
Fudge stays well out of it in his own basket.
Despite the nocturnal fracas I slept through till half past eight. Having set the washing machine doing its thing I scoffed toast whilst looking at the Internet. A squabble was raging on one of the geocaching pages; a squabble I’d started. I’ve been using a new app for hunting Tupperware but every time I find a film pot under a rock it transmits the news to Geo-HQ. I’d rather it didn’t. The “why I want to do that” is irrelevant. If someone knew how to stop the app broadcasting, then I’d hoped they might tell me. if someone didn’t know, then they had nothing to contribute and should have kept quiet. But loads of people were lining up to ask what kind of half-wit would want to hunt Tupperware like this, and I had to delete one whole thread of personal abuse.
Why are people so quick to look for an argument? I see this all the time on Facebook. It’s got to the point that when I want to ask a question in the future I shall prefix it with “if you don’t know the answer, please don’t keep your trap shut”.
I had a look at my emails – we’d had a good day hunting Tupperware yesterday. So had others. I had received one hundred and sixty-five emails telling me that people had found the geocaches I’ve recently hidden. I logged eighty-six caches of other people yesterday and had one hundred and sixty-five of my own logged. That’s about right…
We eventually got ourselves organised and took the dogs for a little walk along the military canal. As we walked we went past the southernmost bits of port Lympne wildlife park. We had been hoping to see giraffes and elephants. Instead we saw some things which looked like cows with horns, and an ostrich. However to liven up proceedings, Pogo fell in the canal. Twice.
As is usually the case our walk was guided by geocaches. The first one suggested the car park from where we started, and we walked a mile along the canal to find a signpost. We used the numbers on the signpost to do some sums, and came up with the film pot we sought being another half a mile along the canal. There are those who feel it was a lot of walking just for one geocache, but it made for a good dog walk. As we walked back to the car we took a little diversion to find a second one. Named “Giraffe House” I was hoping we’d see giraffes. I just saw stinging nettles.
With walk walked we came home via the co-op in Sellindge where we stocked up on hot cross buns. Once home I fetched in one load of washing, pegged out another, and started on the hot cross buns for a late lunch
I did have a plan to do some gardening, but it was a tad hot. So instead I played Lego for a while. One of the houses in my little town wasn’t quite to scale with the other houses, so I enlarged it a little, and added my trackable Lego brick to it. I wonder how many “discovered” logs it will get from the photo I put on to the Internet? Probably far more than the trackable tags in my car and on my rucksack.
Jose called round and drove us up to the Wetherspoons where a load of us met up. I sank three pints, then we went to the Imperial China for a rather good dinner. It was good to catch up with old friends. I took a few photos too…
21 April 2019 (Sunday) - Easter Sunday
Yesterday evening was a rather good catch-up with old friends with wonderful food. It was such a shame that I was awake for most of the night feeling rather bloated. Rice swells up with too much beer…
My stomach was gurgling rather impressively as I scoffed toast this morning. As I scoffed I read something on Facebook which worried me. The local council are going to start charging for using the local tips. Bearing in mind I’m often up there I got a tad worried. Then I actually read the article to which the link led. Charges are being made for dumping plasterboard (that won’t affect me), rocks (I want those!) and soil. I’ve got rid of excess soil before by advertising it and people have collected it. And paid for it.
Yet more scaremongering by Kent Live…
I also saw the “Keep Ashford Clean” bunch had staged a tidy-up at the co-op field yesterday. They seem to delight in posting all over social media about what they have done, but keep very quiet about what they plan to do.
And then I saw yet another example of the total failure of democracy. There are local elections taking place in a couple of weeks. There are six wards locally where the results of those elections have already been announced. With only one candidate standing in each ward (and the closing date for nominations having passed), in each case the candidate gets the job unopposed. Interestingly each one of these people is standing for the Conservative party. Bearing in mind the popularity of the Conservatives at the moment you would have thought that the other political parties might have made the most of the opportunity. But there is a world of difference between shouting and ranting on social media, and getting off your arse and doing the (thankless) job of being a local councillor. I wouldn’t fancy it much.
Bearing in mind the weather forecast we thought we might take the dogs for a little adventure before it got too hot. Four Village Signs geocaches made for a good outing. We started in Bilsington where we solved a puzzle based on a road sign, then went for a little stroll to find a plastic pot. We then relocated to Ruckinge where we couldn’t find a tub at the base of a tree, then got into a minor squabble with a local. Perhaps Pogo shouldn’t have been in the chap’s garden, but did this bloke have to be quite so obnoxious about it? Mind you, I remember (from my time in scouting) that Ruckinge always was home to the nastiest people in the Ashford area. And, as I shouted to the chap, I know where he lives, and if he gets a dog turd through the post he can only guess at from where it came
We then replaced the geocache that was missing (because we were told that we could), then drove up to Kenardington where we rummaged round a bus shelter before coming home.
We found four pots – it made for somewhere different to take the dogs.
We came home for hot cross buns (it is Easter after all). As we scoffed, "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" phoned to play his recorder at us. His rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” was outstanding and was in a field of its own. There are those who might say that it would sound best when he is out standing in a field on his own…
I did a little geo-puzzling, then (in a novel change) I drove us round to the abode of "My Boy TM" where we had a little family barby. I scoffed far too much whilst the lilttluns played “Find the Plaster” which is (so I am told) *the* game to play in your uncle’s hot tub. I’m not sure the first fruit of my loin agreed. Eventually the littluns went home, and Cheryl and "er indoors TM" took up residence in the hot tub. Neither found any plasters. We all sat in the sunshine chatting until the sunshine gave way to the dark. And then we watched the bats. I’ve now got stomach ache from a couple of litres of Doctor Pepper and more hot dogs than sense.
And "er indoors TM" is snoring.
Not a bad way to spend Easter Sunday…
22 April 2019 (Easter Monday) - Early Shift
I had a rather uncomfortable night. Having stuffed myself with all sorts of goodies at yesterday's family barby, my stomach wasn't sitting well. I eventually nodded off only to have Treacle and Pogo wake me with a fight in the small hours. They get rather territorial over who is on the bed and who is not.
I got up early. I could have watched last night's new episode of "Game of Thrones", but last week's one was something of a disappointment. I watched an episode of "Fleabag" instead. I think she is going to try to pork the priest. It's what fleabags do. And priests (judging by my experiences of a nurses’ home).
I set off from home shortly after half past six. Pausing only briefly to totally fail to find a geocache I failed to find last time I set off up a motorway which was surprisingly busy for seven o'clock on a Bank Holiday.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the bombings in Sri Lanka.
Will people never stop trying to kill each other?
There was talk over how the Ukranians have elected a comedian to be their President purely on the strength of the popularity of a comedy character he once played. There are those who see this as a snub to the incumbent. There are those who see this as rather entertaining. Those with any intelligence see it as the end for Ukraine as the Russians will walk all over this bloke. I see it as yet another example of why democracy doesn't work.
Mind you I did chuckle when I heard that the chairwoman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was expressing concerns that fertility clinics were using blatant sales techniques on their potential clients.
What does she expect? If you are running what should be a public service as a for-profit business venture, then you are going to do your best to drum up some trade, aren't you?
I got to work. I thought about having a fry-up. As my stomach gurgled I thought better of the idea, and got on with some work instead. There are those who feel that people shouldn't work on Bank Holidays. Mind you that is "people in general" - I've never met anyone who feels that a blood bank should ever put up a "closed" sign.
I had a rather busy day. To be honest I've had a rather busy weekend. I could have done with a day of rest today; not a day of going back to work.
Having done my bit I came home. "er indoors TM" had been busy tidying, and so I joined in and spent an hour or so in the garden. I ran out the hose to top up the pond, and then ran round with the strimmer and the lawnmower. One of the fish looks to be on the way out. I’m hoping he might perk up, but I think he’s a bit beyond “perking”.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the last episode of the most recent season of Star Trek: Discovery. I wanted to watch it; I wanted to like it… Oh, it was tedious. Such a shame…
23 April 2019 (Tuesday) - Look What I Won
Despite the dogs being very quiet last night and despite not having stuffed myself, I had a rather restless night. I eventually gave up trying to sleep shortly after five o'clock and came downstairs. As Fudge snored I scoffed a bowl of granola whilst watching yesterday's episode of "Game of Thrones". It was... dull. The Sky-Plus box told me it would play for an hour and a quarter. Fast-forwarding through the adverts shaved twenty-five minutes off of it. But it was still fifty minutes of not much. I can't help but feel that this is another of those shows that started well, but was written with no end planned, and the writers are just spinning it out as long as they can since the advertisers will pay a fortune to be in the advert breaks.
I got dressed and popped out to the pond. That fish that looked to be on death's door yesterday had perked up, and was swimming round with the others. I'm glad I didn't pull the thing's plug for him now.
I fussed Fudge, then set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were again talking about the bombings in Sri Lanka. It is now felt that there was a religious motive in that it would seem to have been predominantly Christians who were killed. Why on Earth would someone kill someone else over their choice of invisible friend?
There was also talk about the Prime Minister. Despite her having won a vote of confidence at Christmas time and it being announced that she was secure in her position for at least a year, there are now so many calls for her resignation that she may well be gone by the end of the week. For all that she is probably the worst Prime Minister we have ever had, I can't see anyone else making a good job of the hand they will be dealt.
And there was also talk about President Trump making a state visit to the United Kingdom. The general feeling was that the average Brit doesn't have much respect for the chap. He is seen as something of a dangerous idiot, and any visit will be plagued by non-stop protests. No one is really sure why he has been invited on a state visit.
Perhaps Mrs May thought it might deflect the public's attention away from her?
I got to work and got on with it. At tea break I saw I had an email from the managing director of Kelly International Transport. He apologised on behalf of his company for the way the driver of one of his lorries had behaved on Friday. I saw that as a minor victory.
I also had an email from Amazon to say that the belt buckle I'd ordered a few days ago (on next-day delivery) was in the locker just up the corridor. I went and got it. It's rather handy having an Amazon locker at work. But it is a pain seeing something advertised as "order in the next three hours for next-day delivery", ordering it there and then, and waiting two days for it. It has been my experience that Amazon's next-day delivery isn't what it might be.
An early start made for an early finish; I drove to the garage. Last night I’d had a message from them that I had won a prize in their Easter draw. I drove along expecting a rather small Easter egg; I got there to find that I’d won a dozen of them. That was something of a result.
I came home, and took the dogs round the park. They ran off of the leads. They came back when called. They didn’t pull when on the leads. “Sit” is actually working with Pogo. It was only when we got home that I realised that Pogo and Treacle stank to high heaven and were both covered in slimy mud. I didn’t see them go in the river. With no working shower, washing them off took some doing.
With dogs washed I went and checked on that iffy fish. He seems to have made a remarkable recovery.
"er indoors TM" came home and made something rather good out of chipolatas which made for a very tasty dinner. We devoured it whilst watching last week’s episode of “The Orville” which was (sadly) streets ahead of last week’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery”. I then slept through last night’s episode of “Ghosts”.
Perhaps I might just actually have an early night tonight?
24 April 2019 (Wednesday) - Feeling Grim
I did have a relatively early night last night. I got nearly eight hours asleep, and woke feeling like death warmed up. I wondered about staying in bed and phoning in sick, but I got up anyway in the hope that I might rally somewhat.
I scoffed a bowl of granola and swallowed a cup of coffee whilst watching an episode of “Fleabag” (she was still trying to pork the priest), and by the time I sparked up my lap-top I wasn’t feeling quite so grotty. I had a look at Facebook – the photos of my haul of Easter eggs had got a lot of attention (which was nice).
I checked my emails. I had a whole load more emails about “found it” logs I’ve received on the geocaches that I’ve hidden over the last few months. Over the Easter break I’ve had about four hundred such messages. Having a look at my geo-stats it would seem that over the (nearly) seven years that I’ve been hiding film pots under rocks, for each one I’ve found, over two people have found one that I’ve put out. I’m quite pleased about that.
As I drove to work there was talk on the radio about the Prime Minister getting the heave-ho. Yesterday the knives were out for her. Today the people being interviewed on the matter weren't so keen to be rid of her. The feeling now is that any election to replace her will just be a bloodbath between the pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit wings of the Conservative party. One side would win, one would lose, and it would be *very* divisive for a party that is already divided. It would seem that with Mrs May being generally hated, she is probably doing more to unite the Conservative party than anyone else could ever do.
There was also consternation being expressed about the Chinese tech giant Huawei who are building much of the nation's 5G telecommunication network. Being a Chinese company, they are bound by Chinese law, and as such are obliged to do whatever the Chinese government tell them. Such as hand over all the confidential information going through the 5G network, or even turn it off.
The obvious answer is not to sell off the nation’s infrastructure, isn’t it?
I got to work; there was cake. I came home to find a car clamped outside my house. There were all sorts of stickers on it about it being a clamped untaxed car. On the one hand it is good that the authorities are clamping down on road tax evaders and are clearly making an example of them. On the other hand I’d rather they did this somewhere else. With parking at a premium in our street, there’s a parking space wasted.
I’d got up feeling grim; I came home feeling grim. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scoff. We watched it whilst catching up with episodes of “Big Bang Theory”.
I might have another early night…
25 April 2019 (Thursday) - Late Shift
I slept reasonably well, but despite a relatively early night I still woke feeling like death warmed up.
Fudge sat with me as I scoffed my toast; he had some of the crusts. He also ate his breakfast for once. I just can’t get used to a dog that isn’t incredibly greedy.
I had my morning’s rummage in cyber-space. I sent birthday wishes to friends, then I saw something which is perhaps a sign of our times? An author I follow had posted on Facebook whinging about a one-star review he’d received on Amazon on one of his books. I follow several authors on Facebook and all whinge about the injustice of getting a poor Amazon review. However by the same token as a reader I dislike buying a book on the strength of all the good reviews only to find that the book is crap. Who actually writes these reviews? I know of one author whose books have quite a few very good reviews from people who’ve never actually read them. Amazon book reviews isn’t really a system that works.
I also had a load of emails about “Found It” logs on the geocaches that I hid recently. It would seem that despite only having been out for a month, one is already broken. Oh well… Kings Wood is a good place to walk. I’ll take a look next week (hopefully before the self-appointed geo-police get involved).
I thought about walking the dogs up to Kings Wood, but instead decided to do the park circuit. As we walked to the co-op field I saw one or two other cars and vans which had been clamped by the DVLA (like the one outside my house). One of them was the van of a local business – being clamped for non-payment of road tax is hardly good advertising, is it?
Apart from Fudge straggling we had a rather good walk… right up to the part where we had to put leads back on. As I called her, Treacle defiantly ran into the mire of the swamp at Bowen’s field. When I finally got her back I saw (and smelled) that she had been rolling in fox shit. Pogo (who had been *incredibly* well-behaved right up to that point was also very reluctant to come to have his lead put on. He too was covered in fox poo. Amazingly Fudge was clean.
We came home, and I scrubbed the dogs. Over the years I’ve heard about tomato ketchup getting fox poo off of dogs. I thought I might give it a go. It wasn’t any worse than dog shampoo, and the dogs did smell a little better afterwards.
We all then went into the garden; some of us needed to dry off. I fed the pond fish; that one which was on death’s door at the weekend seems to be fine now. I then spent five minutes harvesting all the dog turds. I only did that job a day or so ago. How can three small dogs crap so much? Especially bearing in mind the rate at which we get through black poo sacks when we are out.
With the dogs all snoring I quietly left. I'd looked at the geo-map and had located a couple of geocaches (amazingly within two hundred yards of each other) that hadn't been found in over a year. They were both fairly close to work. Could I go for a double resuscitation?
As I drove there was an adaptation of the diaries of Adrian Mole on the radio. Much as I like Adrian Mole, the chap reading the diary didn't sound quite how I imagine Adrian Mole would sound. Adaptations of books rarely do turn out quite how you picture them to be.
On my way I went past the most beautiful house. It was by such a pretty lake. If it was mine I could have fished from within yards of the kitchen window. There was a large car park - I could open a little fishery there. I pulled up and spent a few minutes admiring the view and enviously wishing that I lived there. And then I watched a hearse pull up in front of the house. Loads of very somberly-dressed people came out of the house. Some were openly sobbing. They might have a wonderful place to live, but their lives aren't entirely a bed of roses.
I got to where the sat-nav said I was supposed to be - I rummaged by a footpath marker and found what I was after. I went on a short distance, and scrubbled around a fence post and was again rewarded with a scruffy little pot. I'd found both of my geo-targets. Two resuscitations. Happy dance.
I somehow doubt that those at the funeral would have been so easily amused.
I set off toward Aylesford where I eventually got some petrol. Again the entire petrol station had been brought to a standstill by idiotic parking. I don't understand how some people's brains work. You stop at the petrol pump. You get petrol. You either pay at the pump or you pay at the kiosk. You then go away. You *don't* park idiotically across the forecourt stopping all the other cars from to leave the petrol station and then dither about.
I got to work. A plate of chicken and chips set me up for the late shift. It must be some time since I had McDinner before a late shift. To be honest I much prefer the hospital canteen.
I got on with the late shift. It was rather interesting for reasons that I might blog about elsewhere at some point.
I like the late start of the late shift so I can have the morning to myself. But I’m not keen on the late finish.
26 April 2019 (Friday) - Another Late Shift
I had a rather good night’s sleep; it was a shame that the bin men had to be *quite* so noisy as they moved the bins ready for the bn lorry which followed them over two hours later. I got back to sleep, and was woken shortly after by Treacle being sick.
Oh well, it was getting-up time anyway.
Over brekkie I spent a little while looking at the geo-map planning a walk for the weekend. We’ve walked most of the geo-walks locally; there’s not many left for us to do. Mind you as I looked at the map my piss boiled somewhat. There are huge areas of Kent where people *could* put out geo-walks; long ones, short ones, it is such a shame that more people don’t. Looking at the profiles of people who’ve logged finds on local geocaches I read “Found 2000+, hidden none”, “Found 3000+, hidden none”, “Found 6000+, hidden four”. Whilst there is no obligation for anyone to stick a film pot under a rock, the hobby will fall flat on its face if people don’t.
For once, nothing was kicking off on Facebook, and with no emails worth the electricity to send, I got the dogs on their leads and we went out. Our walk round the park was wonderful. I herded Fudge along, and without his straggling we got round twenty minutes faster than usual. We had no fights and no shouting at other dogs at all. Treacle tried to roll in a dead rat but missed. Pogo and Fudge tried to hump a passing Labrador, but this was just laughed off. Dog-walking people are odd. They get the right hump when a dog barks at their dog but laugh when their dog gets porked by another. With people it is (usually) the other way round.
We got home just before the drizzle started. I fed the pond fish. The one which looked ill earlier in the week (and had made a remarkable recovery) was floating belly-up on the surface. Usually at fish-feeding time the dogs try to get the fish food. Today they were all straining to get the dead fish, so I removed it before one (or all of them) fell in.
I hung out the washing that I’d fed to the washing machine, and seeing how all the dogs were fast asleep I set off in the vague direction of Tunbridge Wells. I took a rather circuitous route to work. As I drove "Women's Hour" was on the radio. They were talking about environmental matters - did you know that the term "Tree Hugger" comes from an Indian organisation. I've always used the term somewhat pejoratively; one lives and learns.
I'd planned my route with four geocaches in mind. Two were rather close to home; I found them both. One (near Paddock Wood) was a cache which hadn't been found for over a year. It hadn't been found for over a year for the simple reason that it wasn't there any more.
The last one just happened to be on the way to work; I found it. Three out of four ain't bad...
I got to work; being Friday I scoffed fish and chips in the works canteen. Very tasty. I then got of with work. What with the vagaries of night and weekend work I rarely work a full five consecutive days. I have this week; I felt it was perhaps too much... I prefer my odd hours and mid-week breaks.
27 April 2019 (Saturday) - Stelling to Bossingham (and back)
I slept like a log, for which I was grateful. Over brekkie I downloaded my latest Wherigo (as one does) and was utterly unable to get it to fail in the way that I was told it failed over the last few days. Perhaps I *had* fixed it properly? So why did it play up recently?
I made some toast. As I scoffed it I saw that absolutely nothing had happened in cyber-space overnight, which was for the best. "er indoors TM" announced that she’d fiddled with the house wi-fi and our broadband speed was now officially “fast”. She quoted some numbers and letters and acronyms, but it meant nothing to me. I smiled and pretended to be impressed. I find it makes life easier for me to do that.
We got ourselves and the dogs organised, and set off for the church at Stelling where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. The dogs howled and barked in excitement, and after we’d rummaged round the telegraph pole looking for film pots we set off. We hadn’t gone far when we met some caching friends we’d not seen for ages. It was good to walk together and catch up.
We were soon off of the roads and onto the fields; Treacle was soon doing her trademark move of carrying a stick which was far bigger than she was.
The ground was a tad wetter than it has been recently; we slipped and slided a few times as we walked through some rather pretty woods. It was in these woods that we lost Fudge. The voices in his head said for him to run, and run he did. I eventually captured him scrubbling at a rabbit hole a couple of hundred yards into the woods.
The woods gave way to lanes, and we found ourselves in Bossingham a little earlier than planned. We sat in the bus shelter and scoffed lunch whilst waiting for the pub to open. Our friends carried on at this point. In retrospect they should have stayed with us. It was then that the heavens opened, and it poured hard. We took shelter, but three pints later the weather cheered up. We carried on with our walk.
On the second half of our walk we met sheep and some youngsters doing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. We climbed trees. We carried three dogs over seemingly endless stiles.
It was only a shame that Fudge felt he had to disappear into the crops again.
It was a good walk – I took quite a few photos.
As we walked I was keeping a close eye on Pogo. He still pulls like a train when he wants to walk with Treacle and "er indoors TM", but he sat every time his lead went on or off, and he was far better with the other dogs that we met today than he has been before. Dear Pogo is still something of a “work in progress”; he’s such a sweet dog; he doesn’t realise what a big lump he is.
Caching-wise I must admit that the hides weren’t as easy as I would have made them. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However we did have a minor hiccup. At one point we crossed a fence which did look to be somewhat “heavy duty”. It was only a couple of miles later as we were leaving these woods that we saw a sign saying “Private Land No Geocashing”. Whoops!
We came home; bearing in mind our last four walks have been over ten miles long I didn’t feel anywhere near as tired as I have done recently after our walks. Mind you I think the dogs felt it. With "er indoors TM" off to the film night I set the washing machine loose on my smalls, then all three dogs snored as I watched the telly. Last week’s episode of “Victoria” was rather good, then I watched another episode of “Fleabag” in which Fleabag nearly porked the priest. She would have done so had God not put the kibosh on her immorality. Something God could do with doing a tad more often perhaps…?
As the tumble-drier screamed about my undercrackers I did the monthly household accounts. My bank balance *could* be better, but it could certainly be a whole lot worse. Mind you I suspect I might not be thinking this in a month or so… holidays, family weddings, a shower tap to have fixed, and the tumble drier actually screams when we use it.
Still, what is money for if not to squander on new tumble driers?
28 April 2019 (Sunday) - Lazy Day (!)
I slept like a log last night even if I did have to fight for my share of the duvet. I eventually got up at nine o’clock. Nine o’clock – that was a result.
I made some toast and peered into the Internet. Facebook told me three friends were having birthdays today – I sent my usual birthday message. Seeing how nothing much had changed overnight on that website I had a look at my emails. I had forty-three emails about finds a couple of friend had made on the series of geocaches I put round Godinton last month. Forty-three? There are twenty-two caches there and two people… that should be forty-four emails?
I then looked at the geo-map and got a bit cross. Planning for next weekend’s adventure I saw a geo-puzzle on the map. I saw that I’d written something in the notes section, so it was plain (from what I’d written) that I’d solved it before. Such a shame that I hadn’t written down the actual solution… Eventually herculean brain-strain came up with the answer.
I went into the garden and harvested the dog dung. I fetched in loads. Then I found some more. Having fetched in a second load my furry associated realised what I was doing, and they all created some more for me.
Finally having cleared the lawn I went round the edges pulling out weeds. A simple enough task; it took over an hour to do. "My Boy TM" then called round and drove us round to B&Q. I needed some new bedding plants for the garden pots. I wanted to replace the palm tree that never really took off last year. By the time I’d also bought a new outside light I’d squandered over sixty quid.
It was ironic that we came home just as the rain was starting.
We had a spot of lunch, and I geo-puzzled until the rain stopped. Bearing in mind that the wolf-pack was getting rather fractious we took them round the park. Perhaps it was having "er indoors TM" along, but the walk passed off without incident. There were no itinerant nutters roaming the park, we had no fights… the walk was as every walk should be.
We came home, and I cracked on in the garden. I got the new plants potted, I trimmed the lawn edges and mowed the lawn. I even got the new solar-powered motion-sensing light into place.
After six hours effort the garden looked just the same as when I’d started. Have I ever mentioned that I hate gardening?
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner, We washed it down with a bottle of plonk whilst watching last week’s episode of “The Orville”. Again “The Orville” took a story which had been done twenty years ago in “Star Trek” and did it better.
For a day with nothing planned, I’ve been rather busy.
29 April 2019 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
Finding myself wide awake at three o’clock I got up and watched last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones”. Billed as being an epic blockbuster episode I thought I might watch it to avoid getting any spoilers later.
I wish I’d stayed in bed.
Without (hopefully) giving any spoilers, the strength of “Game of Thrones” is that the characters are all so believable. Some you like; some you loathe, but the show is about the people and how they interact. We all knew there was going to be a battle in last night’s episode. The story had been leading up to it. But the battle scene dragged on. And on. And the whole thing had been deliberately filmed in such low lighting that unless you watched the whole thing with the room lights turned off you didn’t have a hope of seeing who was on screen and who wasn’t. To add insult to injury the special effects were somewhat lacking; I can only describe the episode as a rather poor re-make of the fight scenes of “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” which had been filmed in the dark.
The episode was best described as “tedious”; I found myself having to go on-line to find out who had died and who had survived. But amazingly as I scoffed my breakfast toast four hours later, the world and his wife were raving about what a brilliant episode it had been. I can only assume I watched something different to everyone else.
Sometimes I hate being in a minority of one.
When I checked my emails this morning I read that the Sussex geocachers are staging a geo-rally. It is the sort of thing that we in Kent actually did do a few years ago… but we had resistance from the geo-feds for over two years before they finally relented and let us stage such an event. The Sussex gang do it annually (!)
Mind you, it could be a good fun event. And (by random chance) I’ve booked the day off work anyway so I’m keen to join in. The idea is to meet up in Reigate at four o’clock in the morning. At sunrise the organiser shouts “GO!!!” You then have sixteen hours and thirty-eight minutes (the hours of daylight on the longest day) to find as many geocaches as you can before ending up in the back end of nowhere in Sussex at half past nine that evening (as the sun sets).
It might be a good day out; it might not.
I got the dogs on to their leads and drove out to Kings Wood. One of the geocaches I’d hidden there was broken despite only having been there for a couple of weeks. We soon got out to it and replaced it, then dawdled slowly back to the car. Some of us dawdled slower than others. Fudge was particularly slow. I chivvied him a few times; at one point he seemed to be worrying his paw. Had he hurt it? I couldn’t see anything wrong with it.
Just as we were getting close to the cars I saw a couple of people looking at their phones and looking at a rock under which I knew there was a film pot. One of them had a trackable number on her fleece. We got chatting; they had come over to the UK from Belgium for a week of hunting Tupperware. They seemed rather pleased to meet the dogs. My hounds would seem to be famous (or notorious) in geo-circles.
We came home. Bearing in mind the walks we’ve done recently, a couple of miles round Kings Wood seemed to have seriously tired the dogs. They were all soon snoring.
With them asleep I phoned the hospital’s arse clinic. They’d sent me a letter telling me they’d made an appointment for me to have a bowel screening. I couldn’t make the date they’d planned, so I re-scheduled for a week next Thursday. They are sending me an enema in the post with a view to shoving a camera up my jacksie shortly afterwards. That will be something to look forward to.
I took myself off to bed for the afternoon, then ironed some shirts whilst watching last week’s episode of “Jamestown” in which Jocelyn’s bosom obstinately refused to heave at all. With ironing done I watched an episode of “Fleabag” then looked at the letter from the arse clinic people. Apparently I can’t do any foreign travel in the fortnight after they shove the camera up my jacksie… I’d booked an appointment for a week before "My Boy TM"’s stag do in France. I phoned the appointment line. This morning they couldn’t give me an appointment on the week I’ve got off work in June. This afternoon they could.
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. I’m hoping she’ll feed me before I have to go to the night shift.
I’ve spent the entire day with a sense of feeling very guilty about something. I have no idea why. I wonder what that is all about?
30 April 2019 (Tuesday) - Shower's Fixed
Last night’s night shift was rather busy; I was very glad when the relief arrived.
As I drove home my piss boiled as I listened to the radio. Apparently Cambridge university is launching a two-year project to see if the university profited from the slave trade. Does it take a rocket scientist to realise that they did profit from the slave trade? At the time everyone did. That’s why it was a slave “trade” and not a “charity”. The pundits interviewed some professor or other who was banging on about how he was of white British descent and so his history was unaffected by the slave trade, but many of the university’s students histories have been blighted by it.
I’m not endorsing the slave trade in any way, but it happened. More than two hundred years ago. Can anyone alive today realistically claim to have been hurt, injured or offended by what happened over (at minimum) a century and a half before they were born? Certainly do the research. It would be interesting to see the outcome; if only to illustrate another facet of Georgian times. But don’t do it out of some perverted sense of seeking justice. You’re far too late for that.
The pundits on the radio also wheeled on the Foreign secretary who was interviewed about all sorts of things. Again my piss boiled; I cant say I like the chap. But he pointed out an interesting fact. The Japanese emperor is planning to abdicate today. “Abdicate” – it sounds terrible, doesn’t it? The poor chap is eighty-five years old. He wants to retire. His successor will be the forty-sixth international world leader who was educated in the UK.
I came home; "er indoors TM" said goodbye, and ten minutes later the plumber arrived. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that two weeks ago I broke the shower. I say “I broke the shower”; the thing really did fall off in my hand. We’ve been messing about with baths for the last two weeks (I say “we”; to be honest I have no idea what "er indoors TM" has been doing) and getting in and out of the bath is hard work.
I must admit I’ve been worried sick about the plumber calling. I wouldn’t know where to start to repair the shower attachment. I had visions of the entire bath needing stripping out. I deliberately emptied the washing basket yesterday as I was half-expecting the water supply being permanently knacked after his visit.
It turned out I was rather over-reacting. The nice man had it all sorted in less than an hour. I paid him using the bank’s app on my phone, and we chatted for a while about how useful that app is. He told me how that when people paid him with a cheque it used to cost him time to take the cheque into the bank, but now you can pay cheques into your account by using the app to take a photo of the cheque. Can you believe it? We take these mobile phones for granted – you can do so much with them.
I took the dogs for a little walk. As we went to the co-op field we met OrangeHead who commented on how late we were leaving home. I found myself telling her all about the plumber… is this how she dragoons people into her posse?
And with walk walked I tried out the new shower. A shower, rather than wallowing and struggling to get out of a bath. Heaven.
And then I went to bed for a while. I slept like a log.
I got up at three o’clock, had some toast, and then did the ironing. As I ironed I watched the last episode of “Fleabag”. She had the arse because she did pork the priest after all, but the priest preferred God over her. Priests do that. I also watched the first three episodes of the new season of “Lee and Dean”; I’d forgotten just how much I’d liked the first season of that.
And then I fell asleep until "er indoors TM" came home.
I wonder what’s for dinner…