1 April 2021 (Thursday) - Early Shift
Fudge was originally “My Boy TM”’s dog, but he was already a year old when the first fruit of my loin took him on. We don’t really know much about Fudge’s first year, and sometimes I wonder if he was mistreated in that time. Sometimes he appeared to be pathologically terrified for no reason at all. Take this morning for example - as I got up so Fudge came downstairs with me. We found Sid had crapped on the lino overnight. On seeing the turds, Fudge’s demeanour changed entirely; his ears went back and he crept outside looking incredibly frightened. Did he think he would get the blame for Sid’s turds?
I cleared the turds, and over toast watched an episode of “Superstore” whilst Fudge and Sid slept. Fudge wouldn’t come close for the crusts; he watched me from his basket (whilst pretending to be asleep).
I then sparked up the lap-top and did the monthly clan admin for our Munzee team. Again I’ve been asked to be the clan leader (which is something of a result), and with admin-ing done. I had an email from the power company detailing my use of gas and electricity over the last year. That was kind of them – that information will be really useful for when I pack up with them and move to Scottish Power once the ombudsman stops farting about. And with nothing much happening on Facebook I got dressed, and set off work-wards.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about heated conversations which had been taking place at the World Trade Organisation. Many of the world's poorer nations feel that pharmaceutical firms manufacturing the Covid-19 vaccine should either make enough for everyone in the world or voluntarily hand their technology to developing countries. However pharmaceutical firms manufacturing the Covid-19 vaccine feel they aren't operating a charity.
It is the old story. Is access to healthcare a right (like it is here in the UK) or something you buy like any other commodity (like it is in the US)? Personally I'm of the opinion that free healthcare for all is a good thing, and shouldn't only be for the rich. But I am reminded of the American (so-called) Christians I met when I took scouts to America. They felt that the UK's NHS and free healthcare for all was a "commie-pinko" idea and they claimed they would rather sell their houses and live on the streets rather than be provided with free healthcare.
I popped into Sainsburys in Aylesford for petrol and was amazed by the contrast between that filling station and Sainsbury’s one in Ashford. At Aylesford the assistants behind the till assist you and do their job. In the Ashford one the (so-called) assistants instruct you on how to scan in your purchases and your nectar card, point at the card reader with which you pay, and then nod at the receipt dispenser so that you can tear off your own receipt. I prefer the assisted service at Aylesford rather than the self-service at Ashford.
I got to work - there was cake today, and Easter eggs too. During a quiet moment I thought I might chivvy up the pet insurance people. What with Easter coming up I could see there being yet more delay. Eventually I got through to someone who said they'd received nothing from me. When I told her that on Monday I was told they had received the email she then changed her mind and said they had received it. She wasn't happy when I asked which it was - had they got it or not? She assured me she had the email and said it would be dealt with within ten working days. She *really* wasn't happy when I said that eighteen working days have already passed.
I'm told I should phone back at the end of next week if I've heard nothing in the meantime.
An early start made for an early finish. I did have plans to come home via B&Q for more bits for the garden, but realistically I’ve got to stop spending money until such time as when (or if) the vet insurance stumps up. I’ve got quite a bit of ronseal in the shed; I shall paint fence panels for a bit.
Instead of going to B&Q I took the dogs round the co-op field where we didn’t meet anyone at all, and so had a rather good walk.
I ironed shirts, and then fell asleep in front of the telly…
2 April 2021 - Crap Friday
Having finally got a good night’s sleep it was a shame that er indoors TM”’s totally unnecessary alarm woke me quite so early. And then work decided to send me an automated text to remind me to do a COVID test. I gave up trying to sleep, got up, cleared Sid’s turds and over brekkie had a look at the Internet.
I had quite a few emails today. Some people have had problems finding geocaches that I have hidden. Usually the caches are there all along. I wish people would just replace them when they realise the things are missing; it saves me a lot of arse-ache giving up a morning to sort out what they could have sorted in seconds. But one chap’s “did not find” log made me roll my eyes. When I go hunting for Tupperware I use the lap-top to stick all of the geocaches in a given area onto my GPS unit. But before I do that, the lap-top clears out all the old geocaches that were on the GPS unit. That is rather crucial, but not everyone does that… This morning I got a “did not find” log which read “Clear hint but couldn't see it despite long search. It certainly doesn't seem to be where the last photo shows it. Will watch and see if just me.” I know for a fact that the cache in question isn’t there. I archived it last July. Ironically I’ve met several experienced hunters of Tupperware who don’t clear out their GPS units and so regularly waste time looking for things that haven’t been there for months (if not years).
Two friends had birthdays today. One was quite a bit older than I thought he was; one quite a bit younger. I sent them both the obligatory birthday video.
As I waited for er indoors TM” to scoff her brekkie I went into the garden and got busy painting fence panels. I got two done, then we took the dogs to the co-op field for a quick run, and then came home again. Walking the dogs is much easier when I have help, and our walk passed off without episode (for which I was grateful).
I then quickly repaired four broken panels on not-so-nice-next-door's fence (which I shall paint at some point), then set off to work.
As I drove there was an alternative comedian on the radio. Not so much an "alternative comedian" as "an alternative to a comedian"; the chap simply wasn't funny. I turned the radio off and sang along to the album "Plagiarism" by Sparks.
I popped in to get a sandwich from Sainsburys (less than half the price of Marks and Spencer for something far better). When I came back to my car, it told me to top up the oil, so I sent a message to er indoors TM” to get some. Hoping that the oil would wait until I got home, I was soon at work and ensconced in a rather busy late shift. Back in the day Good Friday would be an epic booze-up at the Chambers bar beer festival. And in the years before that, Good Friday was always the day on which I actually started working in the garden each year. But today I found myself non-stop at work.
Interestingly when I got into my car to come home, the car told me the oil level was OK. I wonder if it is…
3 April 2021 (Saturday) - Bit Dull
Sid was barking at six o’clock so I came downstairs and let him out. Fudge went out too, and started barking once he was outside. Once I’d got him quiet I went back to bed, and came downstairs two hours later to find Sid had crapped.
I had my morning’s rummage round Facebook. It was much the same as ever. There was the potential for a squabble kicking off on one of the groups I follow based around Hastings. Should people feed squirrels? One chap was banging on about how grey squirrels are a non-native invasive species and were vermin. Others were also getting rather excited on the matter, as people do. How do people get so worked up over trivia which (in all likelihood) they have never even considered until two minutes before getting so worked up about it?
Dog breakfast was hard work today. Fudge refused three decent brekkies before finally settling for two Rich Tea biscuits.
We settled the dogs and drove down to Hastings to see Dad. Was this allowed in the new-look lockdown rules? There are those who told me it was, those who told me it wasn’t, and those who told me it was a grey area. I’ve seen Dad quite a bit over the most recent lockdown what with mum’s illness, and what with mum’s recent passing I wanted to be sure he was OK.
He was (mostly).
He’s got new neighbours who’ve told him that their house used to be a stable belonging to a local stagecoach company which was used before Hastings had “proper” buses. I found one reference to this on-line – I had no idea, and I lived next door to that ex-stable for six years.
We came home; I would have liked to have spent time in our garden today, but it was rather cold. I gathered turds, had a quick look about, and came back inside. The cordyline I potted last weekend is looking decidedly iffy; the leaves are snapping off. I had a look for advice on the Internet, and there were as many opinions as there were people to give them. I shall water it (with a bit of Baby Bio) from time to time and hope for the best.
Once Geocaching dot com started working (it had crashed – again) I programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow. I thought about updating the firmware, but some time ago there was talk of Garmin’s firmware updater having been hacked and there were issues about we shouldn’t update the firmware on our GPS units for fear of the Russians and the Chinese getting access all our data (or something). I wonder if this is still the case? Is updating the Garmin firmware still a no-no? I shall let someone else find out for me.
I then wasted far too long on a geo-puzzle. “E” is the Red Sea, and if any of my loyal readers have a set of outline maps of the world, please feel free to share.
I wonder what’s for dinner…
4 April 2021 (Sunday) - Sutton Valance to Kingswood (and back)
Fudge had something of a restless night, and consequently so did we all. Treacle was a funny thing though. When she is restless she stomps about all night long. When she is not restless, she growls and grumbles at anyone who dares make a sound.
I made toast (by running it through the toaster twice) then peered into the Internet. It was much the same as ever. I had hoped to see lots of children preparing to make themselves sick with far too many Easter eggs, but there wasn’t very much of that today. Instead the same picture of Lego Jesus appeared on several Lego Facebook pages. The same Sparks song had been posted to several Sparks Facebook pages. A couple of students had pasted their homework assignment to multiple work-based Facebook pages.
I wandered down the road to get my car. It was where I’d left it, and it assured me its oil level was fine. We loaded up dogs and luggage and set off, and within minutes Pogo as whinging for a tiddle. We stopped, he had a tiddle, and then the car suggested I might like to top up its oil level.
We drove up the A20 since the A20 is now a far faster moving road than the motorway, and were soon at the car park in Sutton Valance where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. What with lockdown rules we’ve not walked together for months; it was so good to be able to meet up today.
Since lockdown was lifted on Monday several geocaches had gone live south of Maidstone, and we sort-of cobbled together a decent route from what had appeared.
We had a very good walk; I did wonder what the ground would be like. Would I need my wellies? I was fine in my walking boots. What with lockdowns and Tier Three this was only the fourth time I’ve worn them on a decent long walk in the six months that I’ve had them. I spend longer polishing them than I do wearing them.
As we walked we met other friends also walking the new series of geocaches. It was so good to be able to catch up.
Treacle found several huge branches to carry around. She does love carrying a huge stick.
Fudge did very well today. He’s been very ill recently, but we couldn’t leave him at home; he would have been heartbroken. He came along and I was fully expecting to be carrying him for much of the way. But he walked ninety-nine per cent of the route. He did get Charlotte to carry him for a bit, but I could tell from his expression he was just being lazy. He does that; he knows how to get his way.
Geocache -wise it was OK. I don’t want to be discouraging as someone has taken the trouble to put out loads of geocaches in the area, but many of the ones we hunted out were in small loops. There are those who want smaller loops of caches; for the littluns these would be ideal, but we like a much longer mission. Cobbling the small loops together into longer route for a a day’s walk took a little doing, and consequently we had possibly a little more road-walking than we might have liked. But then, that wasn’t how the series were designed.
Mind you I would have a little whinge about the size of the hides. The unwritten etiquette is that ideally you should hide the biggest cache you can at the given location. We were finding thimble-sized caches where bucket-sized things could have been stashed.
And the difficulty setting – all geocaches have a “D”-rating. That’s how you can tell how hard they are to find. Some of today’s were fiendish; some easy. But all had the same “D”-rating.
But we had a good outing because someone had put in the effort to hide the caches for us. And that is the main thing. Any gripes I might have is just me being picky.
I took a few photos as we walked today. Today was something of a test for my new phone’s camera. I thought it did OK. Sometimes I wonder if I should learn more about photography, but “point and press” seems to do OK for the computer, lap-top, tablet and phone screens on which they are viewed.
With walk walked we said our goodbyes and came home. The dogs had their tea and were all soon snoring. They hadn’t been that quiet for ages. Perhaps I should walk them for nine miles more often?
er indoors TM” sorted our tea; chicken, parsnips and stuffing. All the best bits of a roast dinner with none of the carrot and pea nonsense.
I was soon snoring too…
5 April 2021 (Monday) - It Snowed
Yesterday’s walk had taken its toll. We all slept well last night… except for Sid who had a barking fit shortly after one o’clock. Having eventually settled him I then slept through until after eight.
I made toast and coffee – the coffee being in my new mug which was a pressie from Wayne and Lyn. A Wherei-Mug. I took a photo of it and posted it to the Geocaching in Kent Facebook page, sent out a birthday wish, then had a little look-see to find out what I’d missed overnight.
The squabble about who gets to be First to Find on new geocaches was still going on. I say “squabble”; those who go out hoping to be first and being continually thwarted had got the hump. Those who are constantly getting to be first are seemingly quite content to be first. It is an argument that has been going on for years, and shows no sign of stopping any time soon. Much like all arguments, really.
There was also a post on one of the local Facebook groups about a stolen dog. The dog had been stolen three days ago, the police have been told the registration number of the car that had stolen the dog… and clearly had done nothing. In order to get the dog back, the owners were posting to Facebook even though the police were (supposedly) involved. I wish I knew why we have a police force.
Last night I’d made a start on a new Wherigo project. It only took a couple of hours to blag the pictures I needed. I spent an hour carrying on with it this morning; getting the pictures into a format that the Wherigo-creating software would recognise. Creating the play zones, a guiding character and the final information took another hour. It kept me occupied whilst er indoors TM” and the dogs all snored.
Once er indoors TM” and the dogs got up, mayhem ensued. I went out into the garden to hide, and got two fence panels painted before the sleet stopped me. I came in and did more Wherigo work. After a couple of hours the thing was ready for field trials so I emailed it to those who (hopefully) were in the right field, and seeing that the snow and hail had stopped (!), I got back on with painting the fence.
After four hours concerted effort I’ve now got all of the fence between our garden and not-so-nice-next-door painted. It was cold though. Bitterly cold. I came in to get warm, and couldn’t help but wonder why a black dog (Treacle) had a white nose. Dust? Talcum powder?
I wrote up a little CPD, then er indoors TM” sorted out some dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Richard Osman’s House of Games”; a good show, but I spend a lot of time wondering just who the so-called celebrities on the show actually are. But then, this has always been the way with TV quiz shows, hasn’t it? People on TV quizzes are famous for being the sort of people who are on a TV quiz show.
I could be on TV quiz shows…
6 April 2021 (Tuesday) - Before the Late Shift
Despite sleeping well I woke feeling rather grim. I made toast, and scoffed it as I peered into the Internet. Fudge had some of the crusts as he needs feeding up. Pogo stared hungrily.
I saw that a new series of geocaches had gone live sort-of on the way to work (when at Pembury). These might make up half of a weekend walk at some point over the next few weeks. I also saw that another geocache of an ongoing series had gone live as well. Putting out a whole series of geocaches is a nice present for the first-to-find brigade. Deliberately putting a series out one at a time is also a nice present for the first-to-find brigade but it wastes their petrol as they make pretty much the same journey every day for twenty days.
It’s all a bit silly, and a bit sad really…
I took the dogs out for a walk where my idiot magnet was clearly running at full power. Just as we approached the corner of William Road and Christchurch Road so some woman walked round the corner with her dog. My hounds started barking (as did hers) so I made my wolf pack sit until the other dog had passed. Only it didn’t come past. The idiot woman stood there grinning at us (like an idiot) as he dog barked. As my dogs snarled and grumbled from a sitting position so this woman just stood there. I treated the whole thing as an exercise in self-control (for both my dogs and me), and we waited for her to clear off. After a couple of minutes this woman spoke. “Are they barking at me?” she asked. I told her they weren’t, which seemed to please her, but I rather took the wind out of her sails when I told her the dogs were barking at her dog. I had to actually tell her to go away before she realised what was going on with my dogs and her dog.
We had a little wander round the co-op field, then came home where I spent a few minutes mowing the lawn. Whilst far from perfect, the lawn is looking far better than it has for some time. Perhaps the lawn fertiliser has done some good?
I also saw that three or four of the Koi are looking pregnant. There are spawning brushes in the pond; will we get babies?
With a little time before the late shift I then drove up to Aylesford where I Qrewzee-ed and renovated a destination (it’s a Munzee thing) before going to Timpson’s. On Friday I’d got some spare front door keys cut there. They didn’t unlock the door so I took them back. The nice man trimmed them and fiddled about with them and said if they stil didn’t work I was to take them back to him.
I shall be going back to Timpson’s again tomorrow…
7 April 2021 (Wednesday) - Cheeky FTF
I slept well, which was a result. Equipped with toast I peered into the Internet to see what had happened overnight. Not a lot really. There were quite a few people posting photos from fifty years ago onto one of the Hastings-related Facebook pages I follow, as well as talking about the possibility of some of the big outdoor events re-starting in the town. I seem to be following quite a few Hastings-related Facebook pages these days… More and more I find myself wondering if I did the right thing moving away from there all those years ago. Admittedly lockdown has thrown a spanner in the works, but what with pram races, Jack in the Green, bonfire parades, carnivals, pirate day, Hastings is a place where things happen. Pretty much nothing happens in Ashford apart from two music days where amateur musicians try to make up for quality with volume whilst hired thugs masquerade as security and menace the public.
Do I want to move back to Hastings? Not right now, but when I retire? Possibly.
I had an email from the British Blood Transfusion Society (Some of the letters after my name have been awarded to me by them!). They wanted me to fill in a “diversity and inclusion survey”. Really? I told them I was a Martian and my sexual preference was “go on then”. I realise that I am probably an old reactionary dinosaur, but how on Earth does my gender, nationality, and preferred thing with which to do the dirty deed in any way affect my contribution to someone else’s blood transfusion?
I took the dogs for a quick walk which passed off utterly uneventful. We could have nipped down to the marsh to chase First to Find on a new series of geocaches, but the weather wasn’t up for stomping round the marsh. It can be windy down there, and for all that it was a bright morning, it was bitterly cold when you got out of the sunshine.
With walk walked we came home (as you do). I emptied the dishwasher, put in laundry, harvested a bumper crop of dog dung from the garden, and looked at writing up some CPD. I made a cuppa for myself and er indoors TM”, and as I clicked the kettle on so Fudge appeared. When we have a cuppa he gets Rich Tea biscuits. He is such a fussy eater it is good to see him eating something. He had his Rich Tea, and as I fiddled about with the blood compatibility simulator so Fudge went to the dog toy box and picked up something on which to chew. He’d not carried it more than a yard before Treacle pounced on him and snatched it away. She can be quite horrible; she doesn’t want any of the dog toys; she just doesn’t want any other dog to play with them.
She got told off, and Fudge got his toy back.
I popped up the road to Key Store to get some lunch. As I'd walked past my car (with the dogs) earlier I'd seen it was covered in ice. The ice had melted, for which I was grateful. I pulled out my phone, called up the geo-app and made a decision. A new geocache had gone live this morning which wasn't *that* far off of my route to Maidstone. It went live shortly after nine o'clock. No one had logged a "First to Find". On the one hand there were a load of new geocaches on the Romney Marsh which had probably attracted the FTF brigade. On the other hand several cachers lived in the vague area of that new cache. Should I go for the FTF? Would I be wasting my time?
As I drove up the A20 there was some utter drivel on the radio about someone of whom I had never heard. This person is spending much of his life hiding from other people of whom I have never heard either. I switched the radio off. If nothing else it meant I could hear the sat-nav slightly better as it directed me along miles of pot-hole-ridden narrow country lanes to where this new geocache was. I got to where the sat-nav said to go, pulled up in a convenient lay-by, and was almost immediately accosted by a passing hiker who seemed desperate for having got someone to talk to (at).
He eventually bumbled off; I rummaged in a thicket, and soon had the new geocache in hand. And I was the first one to find it too. That was something of a bonus. The thing had been live for two and a half hours when I found it. That is an eternity in first-to-find-circles.
I then drove on to Timpsons in Aylesford where the chap behind the counter smiled at me in a rather embarrassed way. He looked at the keys he'd cut for me on Friday and then tweaked yesterday, threw them in the bin, and cut some more.
I came home from work to find that they don’t work either…
8 April 2021 (Thursday) - Stuff
Being up far earlier than I needed to be I set the washing machine loose on a job lot of white stuff, then sorted myself a bowl of granola which I scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Superstore” before sparking up the lap-top. As it sparked up I recognised the photo on the Windows start-up screen – it was the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford. I’ve been there. With Windows showing me various scenes from around the world, in the five years that I’ve had the lap-top, this is the second time it has shown me a picture of somewhere that I’ve been. The other place was Buchart Gardens on Vancouver Island.
Pretty much nothing at all had happened overnight, and with no emails at all I deployed a Munzee, hung out the washing and got ready for work.
I was rather glad to see that (unlike yesterday morning) there was no ice on my car as I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking with one of the head honchos of an initiative which aims to clean up a million miles of coastline. This is an admirable project in which members of the public remove plastic waste from beaches. However the chap being interviewed was a bit vague about what we do with the plastic once we've got it off of the beach. Shove it in a hedge or chuck it over next-door's fence, perhaps? But what boiled my piss was when he said that we should all go out and clean up the mess because this would make the Government sit up and take notice and force them to do something themselves. Will it? Really? I was reminded of a public meeting I went to in Ashford a few years ago when a local councillor was talking about how the council didn't need to clean up my road as it was always litter free. I agreed with the chap, but a very angry beetroot-red-faced chap went hysterical and screamed and ranted that our road was only litter-free because he went out every morning at five o'clock and gathered all the litter. He went apoplectic when it was pointed out that there was absolutely no need for the council to spend money on street cleaning as he was doing the job already.
Mind you when I say "a few years ago"; my diary shows me that this meeting was on 13 February 2008 - thirteen years ago back when I used to blog on Yahoo 360. Looking back, I enjoyed that meeting. In between stirring up the local racists and xenophobes, the beetroot-red-faced chap nearly had a stroke, and one of the local Police Community Support Officers started crying. Funnily enough there's never been a public meeting in our ward ever since.
I got to work and did my bit. And with bit done I came home. er indoors TM” was out with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM”, so I walked the dogs, fed the pond fish, cleared the garden of dog dung, put on washing, fed the dogs, fed the tank fish, and took over an hour before I could slob about in front of the telly.
I worked harder in that hour than I did all day long at work…
9 April 2021 (Friday) - More Stuff
I’m not sure which was noisiest at five o’clock this morning; the seagulls squawking or the bin-men clattering the bins. But a combination of the two had me wide awake over an hour before I needed to be. I used the time putting a load of stuff through the washing machine.
As stuff scrubbed I scoffed toast whilst watching another episode of “Superstore”, then had a little look at the Internet as I do most mornings. Three friends had birthdays today so I sent the obligatory birthday video. There was a minor squabble on one of the work-related Facebook pages. Someone had posted their homework on-line trying to pretend it was a genuine medical case for which they were asking advice, and weren’t happy at being told to do their own homework themselves. This happens quite a bit – so many people post up the same (quite frankly basic-level) questions and are surprised to find that they aren’t the first person to have posted that very same bit of homework. How do these people think they will cope if and when they ever qualify? Are they really going to go onto Facebook Live with every patient they encounter and ask the opinion of anyone who cares to have an opinion to offer?
I hung out the washing, checked Sid for turds (he sometimes craps in his sleep!) and set off wondering where I’d left my car.
Once I’d found it I took a two-minute detour into Stanhope to cap some greeting cards (it's a Munzee thing) then headed off up the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the latest civil unrest in Ireland. The official line is that the unionists are unhappy that the Brexit arrangements undermine their position and are favouring the republicans. Well, that's true. Did no one but me see this coming? But are people *really* upset about esoteric political considerations? The word is that organised crime gangs are winding up teenagers so with the police quelling riots, criminals can get on with crime.
There was also talk about how foreign holidays may well be on the cards for this summer... *if* you pay for a PCR COVID test both before you go and when you come back as well. But with each test costing over a hundred quid, me and er indoors TM” are looking at shelling out an extra five hundred quid to take the holiday that we've already paid for.
We paid for our holiday last year, but that got cancelled (what with COVID). It got re-scheduled for this coming June but we each had to pay two hundred quid more this year (so the holiday company can recoup some of their losses?)... I think I'm at the point of wanting my money back.
I got to work, and during a lull in proceedings I phoned the pet insurance people. After being kept on hold for ten minutes I was told that they were behind with their workload, and that I should try again in a couple of weeks’ time. I intimated that we are all busy, but the woman on the phone wasn't having any of it.
Oh well... it's only a thousand quid... I'm in no rush... am I?
I also phoned the ENT people (not in the hospital where I work!) to chase up the ENT appointment that I was supposed to have had in January. I got through to the same recorded message that I always get through to, and left a message for them. To my amazement they phoned my back within the hour and booked an appointment for me in a month's time.
I had a mildly neutropenic sort of day (as you sometimes do). At lunchtime we got the news that Prince Philip had died. That was a shame - he was quite a character and gave a human face to what can sometimes be a rather stuffy, dull and out of touch Royal family.
er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s Celebrity Bake-Off which featured Anneka Rice doing a “Treasure Hunt” style entrance to the Bake-Off tent. “Treasure Hunt” was a favourite show of ours thirty-odd years ago. And being long before the Internet we used to try to solve the clues using a copy of the AA Guide to Britain which we’d bought just for that purpose.
I’m rather amazed that no one has tried to bring the show back – after all pretty much every other TV show has been resurrected…
10 April 2021 (Saturday) - Raising the Roof
I was woken just before eight o’clock by the sound of people outside who were raising the roof. Quite literally raising the roof. We’ve had the bathroom roof replaced today; those doing the replacing wanted an early start and were happy to get going before we woke up. Despite the noise of the roof being taken off, all four dogs slept blissfully, and were still fast asleep an hour later despite the ongoing racket.
If the shop up the road gets a customer, they all go berserk, but people can come into the garden, set up ladders, and take the roof off of the house and they don’t care…
I made toast and peered into the Internet. There was a row kicking off on Facebook about dogs on leads. Someone who won’t let his dog off of a lead felt that his dog couldn’t be trusted off of a lead, and didn’t want any other dogs to come anywhere hear his dog. Apparently he’d got into arguments with walkers of non-leaded dogs. Probably not me (this time), but I wondered why he didn’t give his dog a chance off of the lead. Ten minutes of whistle training will install a recall ability, and there are plenty of places to go where the dog can run with no other dogs about. Or why not have the dog wear something yellow? I thought about commenting, but decided against it.
There was also an argument about cosplay. Someone who had dressed up as a villain from “Scooby Doo” was being accused of racism. Scooby Doo”? – some people just want to argue.
I turned off the lap-top and made the builders a cuppa, then drove down to Hastings for a morning checking in with Dad. He seemed OK – he’s got a bit chattier since Mum’s gone, but I suppose he’s had to. He was talking about replacing fence panels. Fences seem to be a “thing” in our family.
Talking of which I came home via AVS fencing. My Ham Street Lover has started working there, and the place has all sorts of fence paints and post toppers and can get me shingle and patio slabs. I took out a few catalogues, and came home to find the bathroom roof looking good.
er indoors TM” and I took the dogs round the co-op field. It was cold and drizzly. And with dogs walked I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. I didn’t think I slept well, but I wasn’t woken by the sound of Dad ringing me.
I eventually got up to find the roof had been finished a couple of hours before. I don’t know the first thing about roofs, but it looks a lot better than it was. The rough wood edge has been replaced with a much tidier plastic edge, and there is no gaping hole in the felt any more.
I’m hoping that er indoors TM” will come up with some dinner in a bit, then I’m off to the night shift…
11 April 2021 (Sunday) - Poorly Pup
During a five-minute lull in proceedings on the night shift last night I finally got round to doing something I've been meaning to do for a little while. I found out who the Roman Catholic bishop who oversees the catholic churches in Hastings is, and I sent him an email. Over the last few years I have been to family funerals (father-in-law and brother-in-law) which were run by priests in the Hastings area. It was rather upsetting to find that the priests giving the funerals clearly had no idea who they were burying and had got basic family details wrong. However at my mum's funeral (a couple of weeks ago) the chap conducting it took the trouble to contact family members before the funeral to find out as much as he could, and so could be sure of basic details such as how many children and siblings the deceased had. A rather simple thing to do, but something that the priests might be well advised to start doing. I politely suggested that the bishop might have his minions sort this out before another catholic in the family croaks. If the priest gets it wrong again I *will* point out his mistake. Loudly and publicly.
I wonder if the bishop will reply.
I got four bouncers out of the work-based Skyland (it's a Munzee thing) then set off homewards, listening to the radio as I went. There was yet more talk of the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh. I must admit I always quite liked the chap, but since he died on Friday there has been nothing but "Philip-mania" on the radio and TV. There is only so much heartfelt sorrow that the BBC can trot out before the public get rather fed up with hearing it. And (apparently) that point has long been passed with the BBC having received record numbers of complaints about their non-stop coverage of the matter to the exclusion of all else.
Being a Sunday I was expecting there to be a church service being broadcast after the eight o’clock news his morning. Sometimes they are rather uplifting, sometimes they are dull. Today there was a rather dreary service of thanksgiving for the life of the recently deceased Duke of Edinburgh. I only listened for a few moments before switching over to my own choice of music.
Once home there was mild consternation as Fudge clearly wasn’t well. He was laying on his back with his stomach rigid; I wondered if he pulled something in all the excitement as all the dogs went mad as I came home. We settled him in a little bed on the sofa, and he was still there looking pitiful once I’d spent the morning asleep.
Mind you I shared the crusts of a late brekkie with him, and he ate the crusts off of my toast while his stomach gurgled very noisily. Had he hurt his back? Had he got stomach ache? Was he playing for sympathy? He has always been such a consummate actor; always being so able to look so sorry for himself, it is difficult to tell when he is genuinely ill and when he is playing to the audience.
We went for a little walk up to the co-op field where it became apparent that Fudge was rather struggling to keep up… until we met a red setter and Fudge charged up to play. He spent five minutes with his new friend, and that was probably five minutes too much.
We came home and as I spent nearly three hours doing the ironing so he slept intermittently. He would sleep with either er indoors TM” or me (once I’d got the ironing done) but if there was no one to sit with him he would wander restlessly not settling anywhere.
er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner. Little Fudge wasn’t that ill that he didn’t want any scraps. He ate quite a bit of swede, which I saw as something of a result.
He’s now laying on the sofa… quivering a little. I’m feeling all in and I’m going to bed. I doubt I will sleep though.
Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog?
12 April 2021 (Monday) - Pup Still Poorly
I got a couple of hours sleep until er indoors TM” and the dogs came to bed. The priority for everyone was making Fudge comfortable (Treacle and Pogo both understood he was ill) so once he’d settled, everyone else fitted in around him. That made for a rather awkward night, but there it was.
Eventually my phone told me to “get my arse out of its pit” (in those words), and I watched an episode of “Superstore” as I scoffed toast. As I scoffed so Sid sat with me. Poor little Sid seems rather oblivious to everything else but eating and sleeping these days.
With telly watched and toast scoffed I had my obligatory peer into the Internet. I got just a little annoyed as I read several twee self-motivational memes (posted on Facebook) banging on about how what life is what you make it. Have you ever noticed that it is always the people who have never been handed a lemon by life who advocate making lemonade?
There wasn’t much else happening on-line, so I got myself ready for work, fussed my little sleeping dog, and set off.
After a few minutes spent scraping ice from my car I set off west-wards towards Pembury. As I drove the Archbishop of York was talking utter twaddle (as most religious-types do). He was blathering about the recently deceased Duke of Edinburgh and was saying how having Sunday lunch with the Duke was rather daunting as the Duke would actually pay attention to the sermon that the Archbishop had just drivelled out and would point out all the errors in it. I’ve often made lists of the fallacies in sermons, but never had the chance to present them to the clergyman who drivelled them out.
The Archbishop then shot himself in the foot somewhat by saying how the death of the Duke of Edinburgh has shown everyone that the Royal Family is just like the rest of us in that they too have to face the spectre of death, and how his death has brought the royals closer to the average bloke in the street.
Speaking as an average bloke in the street who has recently faced the spectre of death, I would disagree. It took five weeks for my mother to get a funeral. I see the Duke of Edinburgh has got the same done in eight days.
There was also an interview with ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown who was talking about the ongoing scandal in which ex-Prime Minister David Cameron has tried to tap up his old mates to see if he couldn’t get some government money for his employer. Is this really news? Plenty of politicians have given lucrative contracts to their mates, and is tapping up your mates such a bad thing? Surely that’s the entire point of LinkedIn?
I suppose realistically the sensible thing to do would be for a Prime Minister to retire when they leave office and not take up any commercial interests, but when has “sensible” ever had any place in reality?
As I drove to wok so there were snow flurries, and the snow was quite heavy by the time I arrived. I had a rather busy day, and was glad when it was finally home time.
The snow had gone by the time I set off homewards; pausing only briefly to get sugar (er indoors TM” had sent orders) I was soon heading east. As I drove “Just A Minute” was on the radio. Julian Clary was the presenter on tonight’s episode; he had a fair go, but was no replacement for the late Nicholas Parsons.
Once home I took Fudge up to the pond for fish feeding. I had to carry him; he didn’t seem up to bothering the fish but when I “accidentally” dropped some fish food on the sleeper in front of him he soon yummed it up.
I had to carry him back inside though. He had some of the pasta from our dinner, and is fast asleep now. I’m thinking that some enforced rest might help him…
13 April 2021 (Tuesday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept like a log, and as an added bonus Sid hadn’t done a single turd overnight. Seeing that as something of a result I made toast, and had a little look at the Internet. I rather thought there would have been all sorts of things posted on-line overnight seeing how the lockdown restrictions had a serious easing yesterday, but there wasn’t. B&Q had sent me an email telling me that their stores were open, but the local branch of B&Q has been open all through the latest lockdown. (Why bother sending that email?) In fact pretty much the most interesting thing I read this morning on the Internet was the fact that today was the one hundredth birthday of the actor who provided the voice of Jeff Tracy (from “Thunderbirds”) and that the chap had been born in the same town that I was born in.
It was then that er indoors TM” discovered the turds that Sid had actually done.
I then spent a morning farting around in the garden. In readiness for the first phase of decorating (planned for this weekend) I needed to get the lock-ups moved out of the back yard so that we can put up ladders. I got all the stuff out of one, shoved it up onto the patio area by the shed, filled it again, and then did the same with the other. That was hard work. And then since I had the area clear I got the pressure washer out and scrubbed the yard. That too was hard work, but it looks better for the scrub.
And then I thought I might put the sleepers into place. Regular readers of this drivel may recall when I sawed two sleepers to size on March 30th. Today I found that I was a tad awry with my measurements. Oh, how I chuckled as I sawed another half-inch off of each sleeper. Oh well… it only took twenty minutes. For each sleeper.
As I fiddled about so Fudge was laying in the sunshine but was very restless. He couldn’t get comfortable, and had been sick (again). At mid-day he had an appointment with the vet.
We were a little late getting in; they were busy. He’s lost another half a kilogram, and the vet said he was dehydrated and that he needed a day or two in dog hospital on fluids. He looked rather miserable as I left him.
As I was in the area I popped over to B&Q to get gravel boards that can be used for walking about on the new roof this weekend before being used for fixing knackered fences. Having walked the length of the place from garden section to building yard and back again I eventually found what I thought was the right thing. It was only as I was putting them into my car that I saw that rather than having a pack of four decent boards I had a pack of eight triangular flimsy things.
I took them back, and as I was standing in the returns queue so some chap in a wheelchair started having a go at me for absolutely no reason that I could fathom. Some people just go through life looking for arguments.
Having returned the wrong boards I drove round to AVS fencing (who I discovered on Saturday) who came up trumps.
I then pootled in the garden for an hour or so to try to take my mind off of my dog, and then spent a little while putting a few bells and whistles into my latest Wherigo project before going to the vet to collect Fudge.
The vet was really patient with us, She showed us the results of his blood tests which show he’s dehydrated, he’s got pancreatitis and his kidneys aren’t coping at all. He’s got to go back to dog hospital tomorrow (and possibly Thursday) for another day on fluids which will hopefully shift the waste products that his kidneys aren’t shifting at the moment, and with some semblance of normality resumed he’ll be back to what passes for normal for him in a few days.
Trouble is normal for him is chronic kidney failure for which there is no cure. Just postponing the inevitable. The fluids he’s on is effectively doing pretty much the same job as a dialysis machine (i.e. doing the job of a kidney), and it’s not really a long-term practicality. Being on fluids is quite an undertaking, it is traumatic for him and has to be done in dog hospital and he needs to be tranquilized for the day – he’s currently sitting next to me absolutely zoned out.
He’s sick most mornings. He’s losing weight at quite a rate. We’ll get him through this current acute bout but I don’t want him to suffer…and he has been suffering these last few days.
This is why I never wanted a dog.
14 April 2021 (Wednesday) - Pup Still Poorly
Fudge didn’t move about in the night; he stayed where he was settled. When I got up he was quivering. Not shivering, but quivering. I fussed him for a bit, and once he was fast asleep I left him there and went about my morning.
Bearing in mind my failure with Sid yesterday I had a concerted check for turds this morning but found none. Mind you I found none yesterday either. Using the last of the jam I made some toast and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Superstore” then peered into the depths of the Internet. Three friends had birthdays today; I sent out birthday wishes as I do. Mind you I was rather disappointed to see that none were work colleagues – no excuse for cake. But other than birthday notifications, there was absolutely nothing else at all happening on Facebook. And with no emails at all (not even spam) I quietly got ready for work.
As I wandered up the road to my car I saw that what was once an ironmongery shop is to re-open as a barber's shop. That will make three hairdressers within two hundred yards of home. It would seem that getting a haircut is something of a growth industry? I wouldn't know - I've got a pair of shears and have been doing my own haircuts for years.
I scraped the ice from the car's windscreen and set off to work listening to someone or other from the Scottish Green Party banging on about the importance of Scottish independence. Really? How is it that the same people who advocate independence from the United Kingdom also want to re-join the European Union. Is there some contradiction here, or is this just the Scots natural hatred of the English at play? I can't help but feel that the time for petty nationalism is long past, and the sooner we have one world government with everyone pulling together, the better. But what do I know?
There was also an interview with Lord Sebastian
Coe about the Olympic
Games supposedly taking place in Japan in a few months' time. Even though
Japan is in the grip of a fourth wave of the COVID pandemic and less than one
per cent of the Japanese population have been vaccinated. Lord Coe seemed
confident the games would go ahead. Apparently
people watching on the telly wouldn't notice any difference as the
COVID precautions wouldn't affect the competition.
I got to work; I did my bit. During breaks I was reading an old favourite book (e-book) “Brideshead Revisited” in which someone looks back on part of their life. Was it this that made me think about my days in the Harbour Restaurant in Hastings. Nowadays it is the “Old Town Frier” fish and chip shop. Apparently it was a pub until 1913. I could only find one entry about the Harbour Restaurant itself on-line though, and that didn’t say much. I worked there during the summers of 1980 and 1981, and was wondering whatever happened to the people with whom I worked. The wife of the owner (an incredibly fat lady known to all and sundry as “Misses”) would seem to have died three years ago. The (so-called) head chef would seem to have been buried by Hastings council two years ago. But whatever happened to my mate Kev who got me the job there in the first place. Or Lisa who was dating the school hard man? Or Carol (who terrified me)? Or Joyce (who won the Sun bingo)? Or “Dustman’s Daughter” whose father emptied the restaurant’s dustbins? Or Anita? Or Willy? Or Mr Gustav? Or “Boss”? There were so many people who worked there – and so many memories.
With work done I drove to the vet to collect Fudge (who had had another day in dog hospital). I saw one of the vets that I usually see. He was rather dubious about what progress my dog might have made today; the trouble being that Fudge makes no secret that he doesn’t like to be at the vets and he sulks. We are to keep an eye on his general demeanour overnight and go back for blood tests in the morning.
Fudge did his business when we got home, then I
cuddled him up on the sofa next to me where he stayed for the entire evening.
What I find most upsetting is how Treacle keeps licking his nose and looking
at me as though she expects me to fix him.
15 April 2021 (Thursday) - Haunted Tesco
I had something of a restless night plagued by dreams in which I was constantly justifying why I didn’t want to run a marathon. What was that all about?
I woke to find Fudge at the bottom of the bed wrapped in his blanket. He hates being hot, but if he’s not wrapped up he shivers because he has lost so much weight. I left him sleeping, made toast and watched an episode of “Superstore” before peering into the Internet. I sent out some birthday wishes, and on seeing pretty much nothing at all had happened overnight, taking care to let sleeping dogs lie, I got ready for the off.
It was really cold as I walked to my car; a lot colder than it had been when I took Sid out (for a tiddle) half an hour before.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the lateral flow tests for COVID-19 that so many of us are doing every day. Every positive result is confirmed by a proper test, and the lateral flow tests are eighty-five per cent accurate. Personally I would laugh out loud at any test which is less than ninety-nine point nine per cent accurate, but what do I know about laboratory diagnostics?
Pausing only briefly in High Halden for Munzee reasons I was soon at Tesco in Pembury where I saw a ghost… I say “I saw a ghost” – there was definitely something odd going on. As I was perusing the beer aisle there was suddenly a loud smashing noise behind be and I was sprayed with some liquid. I turned to see a smashed champagne bottle, and a woman who was adamant that she hadn’t dropped the bottle. She was insistent that the bottle fell of its own accord. Thinking “yeah, whatever” and mentally composing a rather disparaging description of the incident for this very blog I wandered round to the jam department. As I reached for a jar of marmalade so another jar actually jumped of the shelf in front of me (and smashed). It really did jump on its own. Spooky, eh?
Work was work. I did that which I couldn’t avoid. I left a little early to collect Fudge from the vet. After three days on fluids his blood urea is still off of the scale. The fluids have done very little, and even if they had, his kidney function is nowhere near enough. He’s still got no appetite, and is still clearly in pain.
The vet wasn’t at all hopeful. She said to take him home and take him back for the last time in the morning.
We had an incredibly tearful evening as both “My Boy TM” and Cheryl, and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” came to say goodbye.
16 April 2021 (Friday) - Goodbye My Best Boy
I first met Fudge on 3 Sept 2011 when “My
Boy TM” took him on. At the time I wrote “…Now I have a
grand-dog. Fudge seems rather like hard work…” At the time when he was
with “My Boy TM” and Cheryl, “My Boy TM”
would cycle round to visit us and Fudge would run along next to him. When
they got to our house the first fruit of my loin would be a mass of sweat and
gasping for air; Fudge would still be raring to go.
There’s no denying that I wasn’t on top form back then, and Fudge was excellent company. We would walk for miles round Ashford exploring the paths out the back of Park Fark, exploring the woods out beyond Great Chart, even following the fields out to Wye. I once managed to lose him for a very worrying hour in Kings Wood.
No matter how cold it was, he refused to wear a coat (like other small dogs would). He loved rolling in fox poo. Despite having been “done” in 2012, he was always very keen to play dog-piggy-back whenever the opportunity arose (especially with boy dogs). He was very keen to chase anything he could (he hated squirrels with a passion), and over the years he caught a pheasant and (with Pogo’s help) a rabbit and on both occasions he proved he was still a little wolf. He could swim – and loved water. He would shout at people to throw stones into rivers and ponds for him to chase, and he would spend hours following the Koi in our garden pond. Over the years he had many toys, none of which lasted. For him a toy was something to be destroyed. He would have the stuffing out of any toy within minutes (if not seconds). And (so-called) indestructible Kong toys didn’t last long with him.
He was incredibly well-known on the local geocaching scene. All of the children wanted to hold his lead when we went on walks, and quite a few of the local hunters of Tupperware openly said that they only knew me as “that bloke with Fudge-dog”. We created a trackable dog tag which we registered with geocaching dot com so that we could record his geocaching adventures with us. Over nine years Fudge called in at over ten thousand geocaches and whilst doing so he covered a distance of over twenty-six thousand miles (slightly more than the circumference of the Earth).
But he wasn’t the healthiest of dogs. In
October 2014 he somehow slipped a disc in his back and was referred to “Supervet” (from the telly). I was in
Birmingham at the time and “My Boy TM” drove him and er
indoors TM” on a round trip of many hours to be given a
diagnosis of a grade two spinal injury and a prescription of six weeks
enforced cage rest (which he didn’t like at all). That spinal injury
would play up from time to time, and it was rather worrying to see an
incredibly active dog suddenly laid low.
It was when he inexplicably started losing weight two years ago that we became concerned. Slowly and surely he was getting thinner and thinner. Blood and urine tests showed… well, I won’t go into endless detail, but (bearing in mind what I do most days) it was clear that his kidneys were struggling. The waste product stuff that should have been peed out was staying in his blood, and the good stuff that should have been kept in his blood was getting peed out.
There was (and is) no cure for chronic kidney failure. The treatment was to help his kidneys by giving him food that would be easier for his kidneys to cope with. We spent a small fortune trying pretty much every specialist food on the market only to find he didn’t like any of them. He was never a greedy dog, and was always a very fussy eater.
Over these last two years he has had a slow but steady decline. He would still want to walk for miles at the weekend but would recover slower. He would sleep longer in the morning; not getting up with me at silly o’clock. We monitored how he was doing: he was as good as gold when blood had to be taken, and he would look at me in frank bewilderment when I would catch some of his pee in a bottle. But as time went on he slowly got worse and worse. A week after my mum died (in February) he rapidly underwent a very serious deterioration and had a few days in dog hospital with pancreatitis.
On reflection he never really recovered from that. After a few days he came home, but he wasn’t himself. We would still go for our walks, but he would straggle more and more. He was sick most days. Things came to a head last Tuesday. As I pootled in the garden I was watching him. At the time I wrote “…Fudge was laying in the sunshine but was very restless. He couldn’t get comfortable.. “ We went to the vet, and blood tests showed that his kidneys had all but given up following a resurgence of the pancreas problem.
Three days in dog hospital on fluids didn’t improve his condition at all. He came home last night and was very dull and listless. I sat with him for much of the night; he was miserable. We went back to the vet this morning where the vet took his pain away.
I miss my dog so much….
17 April 2021 (Saturday) - Early Shift
Yesterday had been rather traumatic and I had an early night. I slept for eight hours, waking a few minutes before the alarm went off. I made toast, watched an episode of “Superstore” then had a look at the Internet. So many people had sent me kind wishes about Fudge’s passing yesterday.
I had a friend request on Facebook from
Hillary Sparks; she seemed to be incredibly friendly and very keen to waggle
her jugs about. I reported her to the Facebook feds for having done so –
someone has to take a moral stance. I doubt the
Facebook Feds will do anything about her; they rarely do anything about
It was rather cold as I walked to my car, but the windscreen just had condensation on it; not ice. I turned on the wipers to clear the condensation, and it froze. So I spent a couple of minutes scraping the ice anyway.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were broadcasting something which I can only describe as pure unadulterated crap. There was a feature on folk songs about convicts who had been deported (to various prison colonies) a few hundred years ago. It truly was that bad that I found myself listening to it in utter disbelief. Not only have some people kept these frankly f...-awful dirges going, someone else feels they warrant half an hour on national radio. I really was tempted to put my foot through the radio and send the bill to the BBC.
This was followed by the farming half-hour in which various farmers were brought on to which about what an utter train-wreck Brexit had proved to be for them personally, and had they known what would happen then they wouldn't have voted for it in the first place. Now I can hardly claim to be impartial on the matter, but there must be *some* good that has come out of Brexit. There must be something positive about it? But there is never anything mentioned on the radio.
I turned the radio off, and sang along to my (some say bizarre) choice of music as I drove through a rather bright morning.
I got to work rather earlier than I would have liked. I was on time, but an early start in Tunbridge Wells means an early start (full stop!) I had hoped that the trainee would have done all the work today, and then I could have spent the shift sitting in a corner crying pathetically. But my plan fell at the first hurdle when the trainee told me that (being a trainee) he was still in training and I had to do the work. That was probably for the best; a busy shift kept me distracted, but I was still thinking of my dog at least once every ten minutes.
I came home to find “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” in residence. Having raided the KFC they were watching “Apple and Onion” on the Cartoon Network. They then went off to a mate’s garden where there was a marshmallow toasting going on.
er indoors TM” then tuned in to
her family’s Zoom reunion. Aunts and cousins from round the world were pontificating about the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral
and COVID regulations in their neck of the woods. For me the highlight of the
meeting was finding out that Maureen has had an operation and had all the
lymph nodes in her armpit removed, and that some other (anonymous)
relative has grown a tomato plant.
18 April 2021 (Sunday) - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep
I didn’t sleep at all well. Yesterday I probably went no more than ten minutes at any one time without getting all choked up about Fudge, and last night felt as though it was much the same. I gave up trying to sleep, made myself some toast and scoffed it whist trying to watch an episode of “Superstore” whilst the washing machine attacked assorted laundry.
I did another COVID test (negative), peered into a rather dull Internet, and on seeing pretty much nothing of note I got dressed. The plan for today had originally been a rather good walk, but I wasn’t up for a long walk today (mentally, rather than physically). Pogo and Treacle need long walks, and they will get them soon. But not today.
I went into the front garden. I say “garden”; it is really a rather scratty yard. I spent a few minutes pulling weeds out of the cracks in the concrete. As I took the skin off of my knuckles for seemingly the millionth time so my brother arrived. With the bathroom roof having been fixed last weekend he had been charged with painting the back of the house. He’d made a very good start yesterday in getting all the preparation done and was looking to get the soffits and facias painted today. Whatever they are.
I left him to it, and carried on in the front yard. I got the weeds out, swept it all down, and gave it a once-over with the pressure washer. That only took two hours. As I pootled, someone had been visiting the shop over the road and had left their car parked outside with the windows open, and “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” playing on a continuous loop (for the entire two hours that I was in the front yard). Oh, that made my day… I actually cheered when they finally shoved off.
er indoors TM” made us all a cuppa, then once I’d cleared away my mess we left my brother to the soffits and facias and went shopping.
First of all to the vets to settle up for the costs of Friday. Putting my little one to sleep, having him cremated individually (and not chucked in with a load of other animals) and getting him a good casket cost the thick end of two hundred and fifty quid. This last week’s vet bill has set me back over one thousand two hundred quid, and I’ve still got a claim for nine hundred quid waiting to be paid by the insurance people. I shall phone the insurance people tomorrow and find out *exactly* how they want me to make the claim for these final expenses.
We then went to B&Q for exterior expanding filler (No – I have no idea either) and a length of drain pipe. Whilst I was in the queue to pay, my phone buzzed. I had an email for which I had been waiting. An outstanding debt had been settled. I have a website - http://www.mankybadger.co.uk/ for which I pay so much every three months. Last month I changed the way in which I pay, and set up a direct debit. Late last week the nice people who provide the web space sent me a message saying that the payment was overdue. After a little mucking about it turned out that the money left my bank account on April 8th and arrived where it was supposed to be this morning. So where has that money been for the last ten days?
With shopping shopped I came home. Soffits and facias hadn’t taken long, and my brother was well into getting a coat of paint onto the back of the house. It was at this point that I noticed that Treacle was the odd dog out; Sid and Pogo both had substantial amounts of blue paint on them. She didn’t.
I made my brother and me a cuppa (er indoors TM” had gone to Asda), and then got on with mowing the lawn. As I mowed, not-so-nice-next-door came out and had a rant. When they put up the fence between their garden and ours (over fifteen years ago) the thing didn’t follow the boundary line. It is about four inches to their side. My brother had painted up to the boundary between the houses down as far as the fence, then painted up to the fence. That way he made sure that the part of her wall that she couldn’t possibly reach was protected and maintained. I told her we thought we were doing her a favour. She wasn’t happy, but she rarely seems to be anyway.
With the first coat of paint done, my brother set off homewards. We had a spot of lunch sitting in the garden, and I watched Sid sitting with us. Usually he sleeps on his own for much of the day, but today he was making a point of being with us. Am I being overly sentimental in wondering if he too was missing Fudge?
We took the dogs up to the co-op field, saw some girls having a picnic and came straight back home again. Dogs and picnics don’t mix.
Once home we sat in the garden for a little more until it got too cold, then I sat on the sofa and dozed until er indoors TM” sorted some dinner. As we scoffed it we watched an episode of “Guessable”, and like pretty much all TV quiz shows it features the same contestants that all TV quiz shows have on them. Mind you it is quite an entertaining show.
I’m not feeling on top form this evening; did I catch the sun whilst cleaning the front yard earlier? Possibly. I’m thinking early night… I wonder if I actually will…
19 April 2021 (Monday) - Extended Lunch Break
I had something of a restless night but woke feeling marginally better than I did last night. I made toast and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Superstore” in which the sensitive subject of gender inequality was addressed. The men in that show had a point – why are the floors in women’s toilets *never* awash with piss?
I sparked up my lap-top, and as it struggled into action I loaded no end of odds and sods into the dishwasher. My poor lap-top takes so long to get going I really need to do something whilst I wait for it. When it had finally got itself going I realised I might as well not turned it on. Very little had happened overnight that anyone felt they needed to tell the world about. I only had two emails of note… the first was an odd one. Six years ago someone found a geocache that I had hidden (and long since archived). Overnight that someone had logged in to their geo-account and changed the wording of what they had written. But not really changed it very much. I can’t help but wonder why. And someone else couldn’t find a geocache I’d hidden (in Fudge’s name). I bought some RUM (it’s a Munzee thing) and set off for work.
As I left the house I couldn't help but stop and admire how clean the front yard looked after I'd scrubbed it yesterday. I then went round to Banks Road. That supposedly missing geocache was exactly where it was supposed to be; I could see it from several yards away.
As I drove up the motorway I listened to the pundits on the radio who were talking about the proposed European Super-League that several football teams are threatening to set up. Opinion would seem to be divided on the matter. Some people feel this is a wonderful development; others think it is the worst thing to have ever happened to "The Beautiful Game". To me, one football game really is much the same as another. I can distinctly remember saying this at a residential management course many years ago. A few of us felt that way, many others disagreed. That evening there were several football matches on the telly. As all the football fans watched telly, some chap kicked over a dustbin outside, and as everyone looked to see what had happened, someone else flipped the channel. No one of the football fans realised they were suddenly watching a completely different football match.
But it would seem that a couple of dozen football teams going rogue in this way is big news. I suppose if it were hunters of Tupperware or builders of Lego going rogue, I too might be incensed.
There was also an interview with the leader of the Conservative party in Scotland who was making claims that the SNP's threatened or promised (depending on your viewpoint) second independence referendum is actually illegal. Is it? I don't know, but I will say that the chap making this claim didn't actually answer a single question that was put to him this morning.
I got to work, and when no one was looking I phoned the pet insurance people. They told me the existing claim (nine hundred quid) was going through and gave me instructions for how I should claim for the next lot (one thousand two hundred quid). I was incredibly impressed at how helpful the nice lady had been, but when I put the phone down so my mobile beeped to tell me that their claims department had just received my first claim and I should expect to hear more from them in ten days’ time.
I took an extended lunch break (cheeky!) and drove out to Sheerness. Whelans only had one painted sausage-dog statue left, and I'd asked them to save it for me (for obvious reasons). The drive to Sheerness from work took less than half an hour, but when you add on shopping time, walking to and from the car, and looking for a parking spot I was gone for an hour and a half.
Still, no one said anything, which was a result. I might just try extending lunchbreaks more often…
20 April 2021 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
I woke up far earlier than I needed to have done, so once I’d scoffed toast and watched an episode of “Superstore” I got dressed and shouted “Who wants to come for a walk?” There’s no denying that I’d not been looking forward to the first half-way decent walk without Fudge, but it went well. And much as I miss my dog, there’s also no denying we got round far faster without him slowing us down. It was never that his legs were too short and he couldn’t keep up. He could if he wanted to; he just never wanted to. There were always far more interesting things to sniff at under bushes, holes to dig, squirrels to chase. Much as Treacle and Pogo sniff, dig and chase, they are far more people-centred. They can’t bear to be away from us whereas Fudge was *incredibly* independent and wilful.
We went up to Kings Wood… or what is left of it. Since we were last at the lower part there has been a tremendous amount of forestry work and tree felling going on. We met a couple of other dog walkers. One chap had his dog still on the lead a mile into the woods. Why take the dog to the woods if you won’t let them run. (Pogo learned to come back to the sound of the whistle in minutes). Meeting the other chap was something of an embarrassment. From some distance he called to ask if my dogs were friendly. Of course they are friendly… and then I looked at them. As they were running so Treacle had Pogo’s leg in her mouth in a grip of iron and was snarling. Well – I know that they are always doing this, but I suppose it might look off-putting to the normal people.
As we walked we saw a pile of horse poo. Pogo and Treacle sprinted to it and ate as much as they could, all the time staring at me as I ran straight at them. When I got close enough to them to grab them, so they ran away from the horse poo. Foul creatures. My Fudge would *never* have eaten horse poo. To be fair he would most definitely have rolled in it, but eaten it? Never.
We’d gone to Kings Wood to replace a missing geocache. I’d had reports that a few of the geocaches I’d hidden there had gone missing; yesterday someone walked the entire series and found all but one of them. I replaced that one today.
Replacing missing geocaches can be something of a sore point. The rules say that replacing them is the responsibility of the person who hid it in the first place. Which it is. However when we are going out hunting Tupperware it takes two seconds to glance at GSAK (it’s a geo-thing) to see if there are any potentially missing caches where we are going walking. It then takes about twenty seconds to send a message to the person who hid the thing to ask if they would like us to replace the missing cache. And then when we are at where the thing is supposed to be, if we can’t find it after a concerted search, it takes about ten seconds to pop out a replacement. So – for me to help someone else takes less than a minute. But when I am replacing my own missing ones it can take anything up to half a day depending on exactly where I have to go to sort the problem.
Fortunately I have dogs to walk, so I’ve hidden caches along routes which make for good dog walks, but what with one thing and another, getting out to do cache maintenance has been rather difficult lately.
With walk walked we came home and I tried out the instructions the nice lady had given me for making the final insurance claim for the bill we ran up with Fudge last week.
It wasn’t easy…
Having started logging in to the insurance portal the thing then emailed me a six-digit code to prove to the portal that it really was me. The portal didn’t accept the first two codes. Then the lap-top asked if I wanted to accept cookies on pretty much every key stroke that I made. What could have been a two-minutes job seemed to take an age.
With that (finally) done I set about my CPD folder and wrote up that which was worth writing up. You can see what I wrote here. I’m amazed at how many people do look at that.
I took myself off to bed for the afternoon where I slept for a couple of hours and lay awake restless for another. Hopefully er indoors TM” will boil up some dinner, and then I’m off to a night shift that (quite frankly) I don’t want to do…
21 April 2021 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
I had been trying to get out of last night’s night shift for some time; I *really* didn’t want to work the night shift last night. But it wasn’t that bad really. Mind you, on Monday I was half an hour late back from lunch. This morning (what with traffic jams delaying the early shift) I was half an hour late getting out of work. Oh well… what goes around comes around.
As I headed home through a foggy morning the pundits on the radio were trying to embarrass the Prime Minister about the emerging ventilator scandal in which the Dyson corporation provided the nation with loads of medical ventilators at cost, provided the company didn’t have to pay various taxes as well as providing with loads of medical ventilators at cost… Scandal?… I think I’m missing something here.
I went to bed for the morning; Pogo came up with me. I slept for a couple of hours and got up to find the postman had been. There was a card of condolence from the vet’s, and they had also sent a little packet of forget-me-not seeds. We both blubbed for a bit over that, then took the dogs round the co-op field for a walk.
As we wandered round the field I found a golf ball which I threw for the dogs. On the first two throws Pogo got it first, fetched it back and dropped it at my feet for me to throw again. On the third throw Treacle got it and kept it for herself. She didn’t want the ball; she just didn’t want Pogo to have it. Fortunately I had another ball in my pocket which I threw. They both chased it. Pogo got that ball a couple of times and we played nicely. However when Treacle got to the ball first she rapidly alternated between the ball she had in her mouth and the one I’d just thrown; determined that she would keep both and let Pogo have neither.
She *really* can’t play nicely.
Once home I set about the ironing whilst watching “Four in a Bed” in which the proprietors of four bed and breakfasts all visit each other to see whose is the best. I do like that show – it never fails to amaze me that those expecting the highest standards from others have such low standards themselves.
I finally sparked up my lap-top in the late afternoon. I had message (via Facebook messenger) from Audre Nketia who claims to be “United Kingdom”. He, she or it asked “How are you handsome and rich man?”, claimed to be single and eighteen only, (I did wonder if that was years or stones) and offered me “hypersex” and “orgasm mouse”. I’m not keen, but if any of my loyal readers would like “hypersex” and/or “orgasm mouse”, let me know and I’ll forward the details.
I’ve long since lost count of the amount of messages like this that I get. I report all of them to the Facebook feds, and every time I get a message back assuring me that they don’t breach Facebook’s community standards.
I then spent a few minutes trying to blag geo-puzzles, and amazed myself by staying awake… er indoors TM” is boiling up scran. We will devour it whilst watching last night’s episode of “Lego Masters” and I might crack open a bottle of red wine. That *will* make me sleep…
22 April 2021 (Thursday) - Diversions
There has been a water leak over the road from our house. For the last year water has been dripping out of one of those little covers on the pavement. As we went to bed last night so a gang of workmen rolled up, closed the road and started drilling and digging. It wasn’t so much them that I found disturbing as new-next-door’s girlfriend shrieking about when would they shut up. I’m not sure when they did finally shut up, but they were done by the time that Treacle trod on my goolies at five o’clock.
I didn’t get back off to sleep after that.
Once I’d scoffed toast (and watched an episode of “Superstore”) I kicked er indoors TM” out of her pit and we took the dogs for a little walk. Last year Orlestone Woods was always a good place to walk, but over the winter it got really muddy. We went back today and the mud had pretty much dried up. We had a rather good walk; we did our usual circuit (but in reverse). And our usual circuit which used to take fifty minutes only took thirty-five minutes without having to be waiting for Fudge to keep up. I shall look at the map and see it we can’t extend our walk somewhat.
We came home; I popped to the corner shop to get lunch and some pastries for second brekkie, then (as my COVID test incubated and my phone updated) I peered at the Internet. Facebook was dull, which, although a shame, was probably for the best.
My email in-box had some messages in it:
The nice people at Credit Karma thought I might like to know that having run up such a massive vet bill had reduced my credit score by fifteen points. I wonder what will happen to that score when I pay off that bill next week.
The nice people at B&Q thanked me for buying various oddments from them a month ago, and wondered if I might like to write a review of them for their website. I didn’t like.
I wrote up some CPD, played some Candy Crush Saga until I got bored, then set off in the general direction of work.
I stopped off in Hemsted Forest – having had reports that a geocache of mine hidden there had gone missing I thought I’d better have a look-see. Being on a late shift in Tunbridge Wells meant it wouldn’t take too much of my time to sort it out.
I got to the car park, walked for a few hundred yards, and found the cache exactly where it was supposed to be… As I went on to work I found myself in a queue of very slow-moving traffic. There were traffic lights on the A21 for absolutely no reason whatsoever. There was a hundred yard stretch of the road which was coned off for some inexplicable reason.
I went on to work, had a rather busy shift, and came home… or tried to. Twice I found myself suddenly confronted with “Road Closed” signs with no diversions signposted. You would think that the council would have sorted something out, wouldn’t you? Blindly blundering round dark country lanes in Biddenden didn’t do much for my nerves. And the other road closure is the bit right outside my house. I wonder what that is all about? Unlike last night there is absolutely nothing happening there at the moment…
23 April 2021 (Friday) - Two Victories
Having trodden in one of Sid's turds yesterday I was pleased to find the house was a dung-free zone when I got up this morning. I made brekkie and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of "Superstore" which didn't really work. The show is set in a supermarket with a cast of characters who have developed over time - taking all the characters into a different environment and having them behave utterly unlike how they usually do wasn't a good move by the writers.
I had a quick look at the Internet. Facebook was dull, but I had a couple of emails.
The ombudsman have formally reviewed the aggro I had with the power company over the last few months. They said that whilst the smart meter wasn’t sending results to the power company, this isn’t uncommon, and they (amazingly) felt that it was quite acceptable for the thing not to be fit for purpose. But they did say that the power company had taken far too long to sort themselves out, and they agreed I could get cheaper leccie and gas elsewhere. They’ve told the power company to write me a letter saying how sorry they are and to give me a fifty quid bung. That’ll cover the exit fee so I can go to another supplier.
And the pet insurance has stumped up for Fudge’s first bout of pancreatitis that he had in February. Claiming to settle all claims within ten working days it only took them seven weeks to do this, but that is eight hundred and fifty quid for which I am very grateful. Let’s just hope they stump up for the one thousand two hundred quid bill we ran up last week.
Feeling rather chuffed at two (not so minor) victories I set off for work far earlier than I usually do. Overnight the bit of road outside my house had re-opened, but my car was still parked four streets away. As I walked to it I deployed resellers (it's a Munzee thing), and it wasn't *that* long before I was on my way. The traffic lights were still in place in High Halden, but I sailed through those. The road that was closed at Biddenden last night had re-opened, but on seeing the amount of traffic infesting the A21 at the Lamberhurst roundabout, I took a little diversion through Matfield and Colts Hill to get to work.
As I drove I listened to the radio as I do. There was brief mention about a vaccine against malaria, but only a very brief mention. When you think that malaria has killed more people than anything else in the history of humanity (it really has - look it up!) you might think that this would be headline news. Am I being cynical in thinking that this isn't more newsworthy because it is the poorest people who suffer from malaria, and those of us with money have other things to worry about?
I found myself thinking about the announcement that the Royal Family have now finished their official two weeks of mourning following the death of Prince Philip. I'm still missing my mum two months after she went, and does this mean I only have a week left in which to cry for my dog? (I think I might need a little longer for both).
I'd left home early expecting the roads to be bad; I got to work in better time than I had expected, so I popped to the works canteen to get the brekkie. It wasn't bad I suppose, but it gave me a stomach ache which lasted much of the day.
Work was work; I came home and spent much of the evening fast asleep in front of the telly. I get so cross when I do that…
24 April 2021 (Saturday) - Late Shift
I came downstairs to find no turds, but as Sid saw me so he got up. As he waddled to the door so the turds dropped out. I sighed… He don’t poop deliberately. He really can’t help it. But it is a pain.
I cleared up, made brekkie and had a look-see at the internet. It was much the same as ever; petty squabbles over trivia. I was rather amused to see I have been thrown out of a Sparks-based Facebook group. Yesterday someone was posting how they have got the all-clear from cancer. Someone else posted thanks to God for the news. I asked how that worked – couldn’t God have had them avoid all the heartache in the first place? I’m reminded of my old mucker (from my days when I was religious) who found fifty pence in the street and gave a prayer of thanks, and then shortly after trod in a dog turd which was just “one of those things”. I *really* don’t understand how the righteous can thank their God for every good thing that happens whilst making excuses for their God for everything else.
I had an interesting email. The nice people at Credit Karma told me that Marshmallow Financial Services have carried out an insurance risk assessment search on me. I wonder who Marshmallow Financial Services are, and why they are interested in me?
I then set about the monthly accounts. They were pretty much as I expected they would be; not too bad if you gloss over a two thousand pounds vet bill that needs settling. It was a shame that I seem to have paid for my web space twice… I shall have to chase that up.
My brother arrived to finish off painting the back of the house. He made a start, and within minutes Pogo was walking round with blue elbows having rubbed up against wet paint, and Treacle had a blue tail.
He got done far faster than he had expected. I helped him load up his bits and bobs, then got myself a sandwich from the corner shop and set off to work. Bearing in mind I'd seen endless notices about the motorway being closed for the removal of the "Operation Brock" barriers, I'd left home early and I drove up the A20. As I crossed the bridge over the motorway I wasn't impressed to see loads of traffic going in both directions.
I got to work a little early, and scoffed a sandwich whilst reading my Kindle app before tackling the late shift. For some reason I wasn't feeling it today. I had swapped in to this shift, and I was wondering if I'd done the right thing. But helping people out is always a good thing, if only to make others more inclined to help me back in return when I want to swap.
With work done I headed home. I got as far as junction seven of the motorway where there were signs saying the motorway was closed, and cones leading all the traffic up the slip road. Fortunately I know the way home from junction seven, but anyone who didn’t would have been stuffed. Just like on Thursday night I found a road closure with no signposted diversion. This seems to be a “thing” with Kent Highways at the moment…
25 April 2021 (Sunday) - Rolvenden to Benenden (and back)
I’ve been sleeping better this last week. Fudge used to sleep at my feet and Pogo and Treacle would sleep near (or on) him. Whilst there wasn’t much of Fudge, Pogo and Treacle are lumps. Now my Fudge has gone, Treacle and Pogo sleep on top of er indoors TM” instead, and I have some space in the bed. Though I’d rather have my dog back and the restless nights that went with it.
I made some brekkie and had my usual peer into the Internet. It was still there. There was an interesting post on Facebook from the Royal Voluntary Service asking for donations to fund a free cup of coffee for NHS workers. That had generated quite a bit of comment. As a tight-arse I’m up for any freebie which is going, but as an NHS worker I’ve had quite a few freebies over the last year. However I’ve seen photos of *far* more freebies going to the same old departments. Those parts of the hospital which are in the public’s imagination have done far better than blood testing over the last year, and the freebies haven’t been equally divvied out (not that I’m in any way complaining). Mind you there are massive parts of society which have kept the nation going during lock-down who’ve not had a sniff of any thanks. When did those keeping the trains and lorries going, or those keeping the supermarkets going get anything?
And does a donation to cover the cost of a cup of coffee *really* have to be pounds and not pennies? This morning’s cup of “Happy Shopper” coffee (we’d run out and it was all the corner shop had) was just as good as anything that Costa serves up. Starbucks and the like are on to quite a money-spinner.
There was also some article singing the praises of Charlie Chaplin, saying how he had grown up in poverty, got rich and “was against the exploitation and abuse of the poor, vulnerable and the marginalised”. Some people were singing his praises, others were not. I must admit I’ve got something of a bee in my bonnet over Charlie Chaplin. As a young man he was best of friends with my grand-mother’s uncle, and I am told that my relatives helped him a lot during those years. I’m also told that they heard absolutely nothing from him when he was in a position to return the favour.
We missed little Fudge again this morning as er indoors TM” made sandwiches for today’s walk. In the past we couldn’t do anything at all to give the slightest hint that we were going on an adventure as Fudge would get incredibly over-excited and not eat his brekkie. Pogo and Treacle have never made the connection.
And so avoiding the usual commotion we got ourselves organised and set off towards Rolvenden. As we drove we struggled to avoid the myriad of cyclists (and their support checkpoints) who were infesting the A28. They were staging a cycle race: I though those were illegal?
We soon met up with Tracey, Karl and Charlotte and set off on a little walk. Up hills, down dales, through fields and woods. We saw sheep and goats, and some rather over-familiar cattle. The bluebells and buttercups were out in full bloom As we walked we met a rather odd chap out in the middle of nowhere dressed as a cowboy. We smiled sweetly, but what was that all about?
As always our route was set for us by a trail of geocaches, Today’s trail was one that er indoors TM” had put out last summer. Following a flurry of “Needs Maintenance” emails yesterday, er indoors TM” couldn’t help but wonder what had gone wrong on her “Den 2 Den” series of geocaches, so a maintenance run was the plan for today. With fully a quarter of the geocaches marked as needing attention we went along expecting the worst… Four caches really were missing – this was clear from new fences having been put out but anyone passing could have sorted that for her. Two had wet paper logs and again anyone passing could have sorted that for her. (Admittedly the formal rules of geocaching say that those who hide the specific caches have to deal with any issues. But is that realistic? Bearing in mind that for every one person who takes the trouble to go hide caches, probably fifty (at least) don’t contribute anything to the hobby… I’ve whinged this before – so many times)
And (quite frankly) I struggled to see the reason why many of the other caches were flagged as needing maintenance.
As always I took a photo or two of our adventure. Once home as I was posting photos to Facebook and doing all the on-line stuff that goes with rummaging for film pots under rocks I realised that (without trying) we’d got three quarters of the latest load of geo-souvenirs. I also realised that I had caught the sun today.
er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching various quiz shows on the telly which the Sky-Q box had recorded for us. All very entertaining even if I had no idea who most of the so-called celebrities on the shows were.
I’m really feeling the after-effects of today’s walk. I’m really thinking of an early night. Mind you I say that a lot…
26 April 2021 (Monday) - Early Shift
I woke rather earlier than I might have done, got
up and made some brekkie. Just as I was about to scoff it
so Sid asked to go out. I took him out where he slowly bumbled round the garden
before taking an age to do a gallon of tiddle. We came in; Sid tried to climb
the dog ladder onto the sofa, and the physical exertion was too much and he sharted all over the carpet. Oh
how I chuckled as I cleared up.
Having obtained another negative COVID test I then had a look at the Internet as I do most mornings. You would think that instantaneous communication would be such a boon to humanity, but all it does is allow us to squabble with people that not only have we never met, but also never will meet. No matter what the subject – Hastings Old Town, building daleks, collecting Lego… there is always an argument to be had.
As I got dressed so I fussed the sleeping dogs. And as I fussed sleeping Pogo I felt something odd. He didn't complain as I pulled a thorn out of his shoulder. It must have been there since yesterday's walk (if not before). Treacle has had thorns before - the dogs don't seem to notice them.
I set off work-wards up a now open motorway. It
made such a difference not to be crawling at a snail's pace. As I drove the
pundits on the radio were broadcasting from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen
Elizabeth. Have you ever seen that ship? - It is *huge*! Apparently
the ship is being deployed to
the South China Sea to put the wind up some Johnny Foreigner or other.
I got to work, found I'd left my wallet at home and spent much of the day feeling rather concerned that I didn't have it with me. But on the flip side there was cake at tea-time.
An early start made for an early finish. I came home down an open motorway, and once home leaded up the dogs and took them down to Orlestone Woods. We arrived to see a dozen cars in the car park, but we walked our usual circuit of the woods and didn’t see a soul. Orelstone Woods are lovely – the bluebells are in full flower, the mud has dried up, the normal people (usually) don’t lurk there.
er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner, and with it scoffed both Treacle and Pogo snuggled up to me on the sofa, and we all slept the evening away. Fast asleep when I’d rather be awake, and I expect I will be awake far too early tomorrow morning – I wish I didn’t do that…
27 April 2021 (Tuesday) - Exploring
I came downstairs this morning to find that er indoors TM” had had a midnight feast of fried egg on toast, but hadn’t cleared away the evidence.
As I made toast and scoffed it I spent much of the time watching Sid like a hawk after yesterday’s debacle. For a dog which does very little but eat, crap and sleep he was incredibly restless this morning. I took him out twice to no avail.
I then had my usual morning’s trawl of the Internet. With not too many arguments abounding I saw that there were those deliberately trying to provoke squabbles on some of the Lego Facebook pages, and someone else was trying to sell paving slabs which were billed as “clearance – end of line” but were still more expensive than B&Q.
I had an email from the power company. Having spent six months arguing with them and having won my case with the ombudsman, they have now sent a circular saying that their smart meters don’t work. If only they could have said that last October…
I also had an email to tell me that the Apple ID account (that I don’t have) had been hacked, and requests to add people that I don’t know to my LinkedIn account.
There was quite a bit of condensation on my car's windscreen this morning. I activated the wipers to shift it, and the action of wiping made it all freeze. That was handy - it didn't take *that* long to scrape off.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the ongoing row over the refurbishment of the Prime Minister's flat.
I couldn't understand what all the row was about. Surely as the official home of the country's leader the nation should pay for it? But after a couple of minutes on the internet it seems that the country pays thirty thousand pounds every year for refurbishing the Prime Minister's flat. Thirty thousand pounds per year!!! - That would be the budget for my house's refurbishing for its entire life. The Prime Minister however would seem to have run up a bill of two hundred thousand pounds and got someone else to foot the bill.
It was alleged that the Prime Minister lied about the affair yesterday. That winds me up too. With the Prime Minister's lies being accepted and expected, and his ministers openly giving government contracts to their mates, the Conservative party is *still* streets ahead in the polls for next week's elections. Are the opposition parties *really* that crap?
I got to work and did my bit, even though I spent quite some time staring out the window watching three ladies videoing something lurking at the base of a tree. I have no idea what it was, but it certainly fascinated them.
Another early start made for another early finish, and once home I took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods. Last Thursday I said of the place “I shall look at the map and see it we can’t extend our walk somewhat”. This evening I took my say-nav “Hannah” along and in a triumph of pot luck I came up with a longer circular walk than the one we usually do.
On the track in the piccie above where the track heads up (in the middle) is the most westerly part of our old walk. As you cn see we’ve added a whole new loop almost doubling the distance… or so it looks on the map. “Hannah” would have me believe that the distance isn’t *that* much more than the original loop. Mind you if you look at the middle piccie above you’ll see a screenshot I took at the end of the walk. “Hannah” thinks I reached a maximum speed of one hundred and thirteen miles per hour at some point on this evening’s walk.
I had planned to make a start tidying up the back yard this evening… I’ll do it tomorrow…
28 April 2021 (Wednesday) - Late Shift
er indoors TM” had a restless night, and consequently so did I. Just as I got up so Sid started shouting. He doesn’t like being confined to where there is no carpet overnight. He had a choice of two baskets and he could have been very comfortable, but he is just awkward.
I made toast and peered into Facebook. The local Labour party candidate had paid for a “vote for me” advert in which he claimed that under his regime all would be better. “Better” is such a vague phrase, isn’t it? It sounds impressive whilst promising nothing tangible. But the chap’s post had got quite a lot of rather abusive comments which spoke volumes about the state of our country. Are Labour, the Lib Dems and all the others *really* so bad that we'd rather vote in a party lead by a Prime Minister who openly lies so much that the public expect nothing else of him, and with ministers brazenly awarding public contracts to their mates. Obviously they would seem to be...
My cousin had posted something interesting. The pub just down the road from my dad’s house is up for sale. It is closed now, but when open it was never anything special; very much a “local pub for local people”. Being a (ex) local I could go in with impunity, but it was the sort of place where strangers probably would have got eaten had they ventured inside. It had the lame to fame that during the 1970s the landlord was in the Guinness Book of Records for holding the world record for flipping the greatest number of ten-pence pieces from the back of his forearm into his palm. My cousin had posted the details of the place on-line. If I had a spare half a million pounds… I probably wouldn’t buy it. I suspect it will be knocked down and redeveloped as a block of flats. It would be a great shame – there’s only one other pub within a mile of the place, but (as I’ve ranted before) I can’t help but wonder if pubs have had their day.
We got the dogs leaded up and went for a quick walk round Orlestone Woods. It’s a lovely place to walk; just a shame that someone (wish I knew who!!) makes a point of getting McDonalds, drives at least five miles to those woods, and just dumps their rubbish in the car park. McDonalds really should print the number plate of all cars which use the drive-through onto the packaging of their take-away. We cleared the mess once we’d finished our walk.
Once home I spent a little while in the garden. Having dragged loads of stuff out of the way for the roof repairs and house painting, I dragged it all back, and then mowed the lawn. And this is exactly what I “bl**dy hate about gardening” (as I say from time to time). Having spent an hour’s really hard work, the garden now looks exactly the same as it always has done.
I came in to find that Pogo had eaten his brekkie. Being a greedy dog he never turns his nose up at food, and last night he didn’t eat his dinner. Instead he moped about with his stomach rumbling. Having lost one dog recently I was worrying myself sick about the silly pup. It would seem that whatever had upset him yesterday had now passed.
I popped round to B&Q to get some decking boards, decorative stones, screws a saw and drill bits for a little garden project I have in mind for the coming weekend. They didn't have the fancy decking I wanted, but plain decking planks will do just as well. Though I had something of a shock at the till. What I thought might cost forty quid set me back nearly eighty quid, but that's the cost of pretty much everything these days.
With utter drivel on the radio I turned it off and sang along to my odd choice in music as I drove up the motorway. I needed both lunch and petrol so I thought I might get them all at the Aylesford filling station. I got there so see that the door to the kiosk was closed and there was a queue of people waiting to pay at the window. When I paid for my petrol I asked if I might have a sandwich. The chap behind the counter said that they were only selling petrol, and flatly denied that the woman in front of me had bought a sandwich, even though I watched her do so, and we could both see her carrying it to her car. I asked why they weren't selling anything other than petrol. He said it was because his colleagues were filling the shelves with more stock. In retrospect I should have smiled and said nothing, but I didn't. I made the observation that his colleagues weren't filling the shelves with more stock. (They weren't). They were standing around gossiping and neither had moved in the five minutes that I'd been waiting in the queue. That didn't go down well and provoked a torrent of bluster from the chap behind the counter, but I regained the upper hand by pointing out his name was on his badge and demanding the name of his supervisor's boss. The chap behind the counter didn't actually crap himself, but he went from aggressive to smarmy at the drop of a hat.
I'm not going to write to the director-general of Sainsbury's (I can't be bothered) but he doesn't know that.
I then went into the main branch of Sainsbury's to get lunch there, and consequently rather than being fifteen minutes early for work I was five minutes late. Not that anyone noticed.
Work was work... and after the morning I'd had it was something of an anticlimax. it was only a shame that I spent the afternoon with backache having overdone the gardening. Having managed to get a parking spot outside the house when I got home this evening I unloaded all the stuff I’d got from B&Q.
My back really aches now…
29 April 2021 (Thursday) - Backache
I woke with backache at half past four, and couldn’t settle. After an hour or so I gave up trying to sleep, made brekkie and watched an episode of “Superstore”.
I did consider making a start on my planned garden project by getting a coat of ronseal onto the planks I bought yesterday, but my back was still playing up so I sparked up my lap-top instead.
The internet was much the same as ever. Some chap had posted to may of the local Facebook groups plugging his political party who seem to be promising to make the Romney Marsh a growth area. Others were slagging the chap off purely because he was supporting a different political party to their favourite one. No one was disagreeing with policy, everyone was disagreeing with the colour of the rosette being worn by the candidate.
More and more it seems that people are choosing political allegiances in much the same way that people pick football teams. With a football team you decide to follow them, and support them through thick and thin, and hate anyone who supports a different team for the simple reason that they are supporting a different team.
But political parties are different (aren’t they?) Political parties change their policies and their stances all the time. And what political parties stand for affects all of our day-to-day lives. It is a shame that people don’t seem to realise this.
I am reminded of an old workmate who wouldn’t hear a word against the Conservative party ever since her father once told her she was a “true blue”. I often cite her as a total failure of the democratic process. She didn’t agree with a single policy of the Conservative party, she regularly got *very* angry and insulted when she was told that what she thought were good ideas were actually Labour party policy (it was!), and she spent years bitterly complaining about the very government she voted in.
I also saw that I had an email to tell me that someone had edited what they’d written on a “Found it” log on a geocache of mine. Their original comment was written on Wednesday, 30 October 2019. They’d edited what they’d said overnight, but I’d archived the cache last June. What they’d written was rather noncommittal, and with the cache now archived no one will ever read it, so why did they bother?
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about some chap who has spent six years achieving his ambition of parking in each of the two hundred and eleven spaces of the car park at his local branch of Sainsbury's. Those long winter evenings must just fly by for that fellow.
Needless to say today was a rather quiet day on the news front…. Or I am assuming it was. After the news of the cark park chap was the sports news. I really did hear a repetitive drone of “blah blah sport, blah blah sport” and I didn’t pay any more attention to the radio for the rest of the drive.
Work was work; I came home and whilst er indoors TM” took Pogo and Treacle for a walk, I led Sid on a bimble round the block. We didn’t go far, and it tired him out. So much so that when we came home he went straight to his basket and flatly refused to come into the garden with me. I spent a few minutes getting that first coat of ronseal onto the planks I bought yesterday and gave myself another backache. And then my piss boiled when I came inside and saw that Sid had crapped all over the lino. Next time he is coming out with me whether he likes it or not.
er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with a massively overpriced bottle of plonk whilst we watched the latest episode of Lego Masters USA. Not a bad way to spend the evening…
30 April 2021 (Friday) - Two Weeks Later
I finally got fed up with shivering at four o’clock, got up , and heaved the duvet back in my direction. Pogo gave a rather unimpressed grunt, but Treacle and er indoors TM” slept through it. I then got a couple of hours of non-shivering sleep until the bin men woke me as they crashed the bins about just before six o’clock.
I made toast, watched another episode of “Superstore”, and then had my little look at the Internet. I hadn’t missed much. I had a message that there has been some ground work done along the Greensand way, and so some of my geocaches there have probably been destroyed. I shall have to fix those.
And with no emails worth the electricity to send them, I got ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing some sports personality or other who was banging on about all the hatred she'd had through social media, and was singing the praises of this weekend's planned boycott of social media by the sporting world.
Listening to her was quite strange. Her feelings had been hurt by posts on social media and she wouldn't shut up about how she was a real person. However she was equally insistent that those posting the hurtful stuff *weren't* real people. I'm sure she made sense to herself.
There was also a lot of talk about ex Auf Wiedersehn Pet and Doctor Who actor Noel Clarke who has been accused of groping, harassing and bullying women. Is he guilty? I don't know. With twenty women making these allegations it seems likely, but again we have someone who has been found guilty by the media before any formal trial (with evidence) is conducted. Mind you, I suppose that this case is different from many that have gone before in that seeing how Mr Clarke is still alive he can at least defend himself.
I got to work and did my bit. As I worked so my phone rang. It was the vet's. My Fudge's ashes were ready for collection, and that did for me. It is now two weeks since my dog passed away. I've deliberately not mentioned him as it has been a tad upsetting; After two weeks I can now go about half an hour without crying for him.
I don’t think anyone at work realised I was struggling today. I was fine collecting his remains at the vets until the receptionist said “I’ll go get Fudge”. Had she said “I’ll get his casket” or “I’ll get his ashes” I would have been fine…