1 August 2013 (Thursday) - Dull
My little dog really likes being combed, so I raked through his fur whilst I scoffed brekkie and watched Blake's Seven this morning. Blake's Seven was particularly good; featuring a personal hero of mine - Brian Blessed. Mr B played the part of a space alien what shouted a lot. He played this part particularly well.
I left for work a few minutes earlier than I needed to. Geocaching dot com have arranged that you get an electronic souvenir for every day in August that you log a geo-find. With only two caches unfound within six miles of home, my hopes aren't high for getting many of these e-souvenirs, but I managed one on my way to work.
As always I listened to the radio as I drove. Today there was absolutely nothing of note in the news. There was some drivel about a survey showing how people fiddle with SmartPhones whilst watching telly. As if that was really any sort of revelation(!) The text of a hypothetical Queen's speech in the event of a nuclear war thirty years ago was revealed to the public, along with plans to flood Essex and Kent should floods have come before the Thames barrier. Raking up stories from 1983 shows how little happened in the wider world today.
And just as much happened in my world. I went to work, did my bit, and came home. Unfortunately too late for the astro club committee meeting. I wish I'd been able to get to that...
2 August 2013 (Friday) - Busy Busy...
I was quite late to bed last night. It was a hot night, and I was wide awake at 5am. I lay awake for a bit, then got up, pootled about with domestic trivia and then watched my morning's fix of Blake's Seven. Today our heroes were having problems with an intergalactic fungus which was giving them gyp. In the end Avon fixed it with a flutonic power cell. Which was probably for the best.
I then had a look on-line to see what was going on, and my piss boiled somewhat. Regular readers of this drivel might know that I am on a quest to find exactly what is so good about hand-held GPS units. For the uses to which I would put one they are either equal or inferior to my phone in every way except two. The two areas in which they excel is that they have better battery life and they are billed as being pretty much indestructible, If only I had enough money to waste I might find out just what it is about these things that everyone loves so much. All the disadvantages that hey have are billed as being reasons for why they are so good.
This morning on Facebook I saw a friend had managed to trash his GPS unit quite comprehensively. When I mentioned that I had been told about the ruggedness of said devices, those who once told me that now sang a different tune.
And so on with the business of the day. I’d arrange to pick Lisa up at 9am, and I found myself parking outside her house far too early. As I’d driven down my phone had beeped about emails so as I had a minute or two I thought I’d check them. A new cache had gone live. Only a few hundred yards away from where I was. I zoomed off, and got a First to Find. I was quite pleased about the FTF; being in the right place at the right time helped. I suspect there are those who will call “shenanigans” though.
I collected Lisa and we set off to Ham Street via Ruckinge. HSL1 had released a series of geocaches earlier in the week. I would like to have done the lot today, but time was short and we had other fish to fry. So we contented ourselves in trying to find the one cache that Lisa couldn’t find on Wednesday. It turned out that several other people hadn’t found it either, and another FTF was begging. We parked up and on seeing the power lines I had an idea. I suspected that the power lines had thrown the GPS signal. They do that. So I didn’t really bother with the GPS, and just marched up and down the footpath looking for where someone would hide a cache. This plan paid off, and we found it some fifty yards away from where one might first think to look.
Having done the happy dance we made off to Ham Street and told Steve the co-ordinates of where we’d found it. And then the three of us went into Ham Street Woods for a stroll, a wander, and to see if we could find a tunnel which was purported to be in those woods. We found it; a torrent was rushing through it, a small stream was fuelling a waterfall above it, and it was full of spiders. But we found the tunnel, which was the object of the exercise. Getting Lisa wet and covered in cobwebs was an added bonus.
We did our best to ignore the thunder we could hear in the distance. Fortunately the storm never amounted to anything, but getting caught in the rain was something to worry about.
It would have been good to have messed about more today, but there were dull things to do at home. Lawns to mow, overgrowth from next door to prune, garden furniture to scrub, buckets to bleach, patios to brush, gardens to tidy. I’ve not done a perfect job, but it will do.
I also put the new gas barbecue together. To be honest it went together easily enough; taking about an hour and a half to do. The problem came with the gas. We had four gas bottles in the shed; none fitted. So I drove over to Sweatman’s mowers and explained what I wanted. The nice man said I could bring in one of the bottles from home and swap it for a new-style bottle and save thirty quid on the cost of a new bottle. All I would then have to pay for was the gas. I liked the sound of that so drove home and came back with what was apparently the wrong bottle. It was a nine-0-seven(!) This caused ructions with the assembled throng. Apparently I couldn’t trade that in, but had to buy a new bottle and gas as well. Whilst I was at it I got some gas for the up-coming camping expedition.
That was seventy quid I wasn’t expecting to spend…
er indoors TM" came home and we took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. Down through Park Farm and home through South Willesborough. A two hour walk on a lovely evening. We came home to find "My Boy TM" and his entourage were in residence. They'd come to see the birthday girl.
Did I mention it was her birthday today...?
3 August 2013 (Saturday) - Hic!
Insomnia struck, and so with a busy day planned and little time in a packed schedule to get the daily geocache (must get the e-souvenir) I thought that I'd get the morning's cache early. I lay in bed until it got light, then set off. At 5.30am I was looking incredibly suspicious on a road side near Aldington, and after having pretended to have stopped the car for a tiddle (twice) I found the cache and did the secret geo-thingy at 5.45am.
The idea was that having pootled about I would then get back to sleep again. It was an idea which didn't work. I went back to bed and lay awake until 8am when I gave up and got up; this time properly.
We voomed into town for some shopping, then home where we laid out all the camping chairs we could find. Both fruits of my loin arrived to help, and then friends and family arrived. Two flavours of home brew, minion cakes, painting nails, sleeping in the sunshine. We had a great afternoon. And evening. I ate and drank far too much - toward the end it was all rather vague...
I didn't take many photos, but there are a few on-line.
4 August 2013 (Sunday) - Wonderland
I slept well, not surprisingly, and got up shortly before 8am. I took one look at the carnage in the garden, and thought about going back to bed. But only thought about it. I got the washing machine to do its thing and after a bit of brekkie we set about tidying the garden, As is always the case the mess looked a lot worse than it was, and after an hour or so's fiddling about things were in far better order.
The door bell rang - it was the chap from up the road. Did we have his ladder? We didn't. I'd borrowed it a year or so ago for half an hour and had returned it. In the meantime someone has walked into this chap's back garden (going through other people's gardens as they went) and stolen a ladder. It was a large ladder. How can anyone steal a ladder?
The first fruit of my loin arrived shortly after 10.30am, looking slightly the worse for wear. I blame all the lager he poured down his neck last night. Whilst his mother showered we tidied up the shed a little. I’ve been nagging him about his fishing gear being in the way for months. For month he’s been assuring me that there were no loose baits in the shed. We found loads of loose baits, all of which have been ratted. Now the bait is all gone perhaps the rats will go as well.
We loaded up our bags and set off to Folkestone where we collected the most recent fruit of my loin, and we went for a little stroll to the harbour. You can’t beat a plate of cockles at the seaside. "Daddies Little Angel TM" and the Rear Admiral then said their goodbyes and we walked on the the coastal park where we met up with the Hose Beast. We had a picnic lunch, then got on with the main business of the day. Someone had stolen the Red Queen’s tarts. Alice was the main suspect and was due to be beheaded in an hour’s time unless detectives could find the real culprit.
“Alice at the Coastal Park” was a wonderful day out. I’d seen it advertised and had no idea what to expect. Folkestone’s last venture along these lines, the sci-fi day, was rather lame. But Wonderland was really good. Any child who wanted to join in was given a list of suspects to interview, and we followed Lacey up and down the park as she sought out Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, the caterpillar, the Knave of Hearts and the White Rabbit. We met the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse having tea, and we saluted as the Red King and Queen came past accompanied by their card guards. We spoke with Alice, and told her not to worry; we’d get the guilty party. Or that is Lacy told her not to worry. I told her that I was with the Queen – “Off with her head!” We later learned that "Daddies Little Angel TM" had met the Red Queen shortly after they’d left us – the Red Queen had pointed at little Sid and announced “Off with his head!”
After an hour of searching we made our way to the outdoor amphitheatre where all the actors who’d been doing their thing up and down the park came together for the trial of Alice. They put on a wonderful show; it was really good. It was plain that a lot of effort had gone into their performance. It was only a shame that the "Great Unwashed" wouldn’t control their brats; one child was walking all about the amphitheatre whilst the actors were doing their thing. This errant brat was returned to the audience so many times, and each time it just wandered back to get in the way again. But wayward children aside it was an excellent day out. I do hope they do more of this sort of thing. As always there are photos of the day to be seen if you know where to look.
And so home (via a quick cache in Kingsnorth Gardens). As er indoors TM" went off bowling I did more washing up and cleared up some dog sick. I don’t think "Furry Face TM" likes the heat. Mind you I’m sure he’d rather be with us then left at home. I offered him water regularly through the afternoon. He didn’t seem to want much water, but now he’s been sick.
Or was it not the heat at all. Was it all the fat he’d licked out of a frying pan I just found half way down the garden…
5 August 2013 (Monday) - Stuff
An early start; I was up clearing more of the weekend's washing up at 5.30am. It's amazing how much washing up you can generate when you put your mind to it. And even more amazing how long it takes to shift the stuff. Over brekkie I watched lame DVDs with my dog. He seemed especially subdued this morning. Either too much sun or too much barbecue food over the weekend has taken its toll on him. Probably a combination of the two. Poor little pup. Either that or Blake's Seven has a particularly soporific effect on Patagonian Tripe-Hounds.
And so to work. As I drove I listened to the news as I do, There wasn't much of note other than that tensions would seen to be rising on the border between Spain and Gibraltar. Mind you as the pundits on the radio pointed out it is extremely unlikely that the UK and Spain will go to war over the matter. The status of Gibraltar is something over which the British and Spanish have been squabbling for centuries. The petty bickering is unlikely to finish any time soon.
I stopped off at Morrisons to get the makings of lunch. I also got a bottle of port whilst I was at it. That should come in handy for the weekend. I endeavoured to find out what the plans were for the weekend. Back when Teston kite festival was under the original management we could have gone up on the Thursday and made a long weekend of it. Now we are effectively wasting a day's leave on Thursday whilst we wait for the gate to be opened on the Friday morning. And then what was the most enjoyable day of the event - the Friday - will be spent doing all the hard work of setting up camp.
Once at work I did my thing. I hadn't been there long when I got a text - back at the ranch "Daddies Little Angel TM" was in residence and she texted to tell me that "Furry Face TM" had been sick. Again. I thought he didn't seem his normal self earlier. I shall have to keep an eye on him. Mind you it wasn't long before another text came in saying that she'd taken both dogs for a walk and Fudge had somehow got fox poo on his head. If he's well enough to be playing in fox poo he can't be that ill. That dog does love the fox dung.
As I did my thing at work the burning issue of the day was what would you rather be - mermaid or pirate? For me there was no choice. On the one hand you could be rather foxy and muck around in the water. On the other hand you could wipe your bum with a hook.
I came home a rather circuitous route via Selling railway station. I wanted to carry on my streak of a geocache a day all the time I can. It was only on arrival at Selling that I realised that the cache has had some "didn't find it" logs recently; including one from the bloke who hid it,
I found it though.
6 August 2013 (Tuesday) - More Stuff
Blake and his five (there's not seven - I counted) were scrubbling about in Cheddar Gorge in this morning's thrilling instalment. Or that is it looked like Cheddar Gorge to me. Blake said it was Space Planet Zarkon, but he wasn't fooling me.
Suitably enthralled I set off to work. I found my day's geo-fix hidden under a dustbin a few miles outside of Canterbury on the drive in to work, and then I nearly (but not quite) squealed on a postman. As you drive along the A28 the speed limit is variable. There are huge signs showing what that speed limit is; and it is usually substantially less than the national speed limit. For much of my journey along the A28 today I had a post van only inches from my rear bumper. Several times I slowed right down and he backed off, only to start tail-gating me again. Why do people do this in the work's van? It really leaves them open to retaliation should I wish to formally report his dangerous driving.
Oh - and the BBC have announced the next person to be Doctor Who. I can remember the last nine times a new Doctor was cast, and on seven of those occasions the actor was (to me) a completely unknown one. This latest casting is someone of whom I've never heard before. He might be good; he might not. However it is traditional for Whovians (and everyone else) never to like the current actor playing the part. He will only be truly appreciated once he's stepped down from the role.
For myself I'm only too happy to see what he makes of it. After all the chap will only be as good as the scripts he's given. As long as he doesn't try to do a rather poor impression of David Tennant (like the current one does) he won't go far wrong.
Alternatively they could bring back Blake and his seven,,,
Today was one of those dull days
7 August 2013 (Wednesday) - Goats and Packing
I had a late night last night, finally crawling into my pit shortly before 1am. I lay awake for some time (which is unusual) and woke shortly after 4am. After an hour or so laying wide awake I got up. Not being really sure of the day's plans I thought I'd get today's e-geosouvenir while I had little else to be getting on with.
At 5.15am I was lurking by a drainage ditch two miles the other side of Bilsington. I had a good rummage, and despite nearly falling into said drainage ditch twice I couldn't find the cache in question. I gave up after twenty minutes searching I shall have to go back with reinforcements. So I drove on another half a mile and found a cache near another drainage ditch. I didn't fall into that one.
I was home just after 6am and still being wide awake I had brekkie and watched the antics of Blake and his five. It's quite amazing how camp space aliens are; quite makes you want to stay at home and leave space adventuring for those of a more expressive bent.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived and had a good shriek, then we took the dogs for a walk. Up past the skate park where we exchanged insults with Sam. We came along Hythe Road then across the railway into Willeborough where we walked past the young farmer's farm. They had a lot of goats there. Closer scrutiny showed (to those of us with a zoological bent) that some of the goats were sheep, and that others were geese and cows. It's amazing what you see on a closer look.
Home - where "Daddies Little Angel TM" did the heavy lifting and we got the car mostly packed for the weekend's planned camping expedition. And as "Daddies Little Angel TM" set off on a mission of her own I did more of my on-line course in mathematical philosophy. This week we are learning about "truth". It turns out that there is more to truth than just writing it down.
Lisa sent a message - she was going to the camping shop in Hollingbourne; did I want to come for the outing? I did. There wasn't anything I needed in the shop, but it never hurts to have a look. And then home again to spend a couple of hours doing the ironing whilst watching more of Blake's exploits.
er indoors TM" came home and we took "Furry Face TM" out for an evening's stroll. It was a good evening to be out. We need more of these..
8 August 2013 (Thursday) - A Walk with the Girls
Last night we missed a treat. Every August in Hastings there is a pram race. It's become something of a tradition - teams of people in all sorts of fancy dresses race round the Old Town cheered on by tens of thousands of lookers-on. And for yet another year I missed it. Mind you my cousin was rather scathing about the aftemath of the event this morning, She told me that when she drove her daughter to work at 4.30am "The old town was in a dreadful state from last nights pram race! absolute carnage! broken bottles rubbish and all sorts like a sea across the place. and i know everyone was having a laugh etc.. but is it so difficult to put stuff in bins? People with their heads in the gutter and silly tarts half dressed staggering home! kind of ruins what I hear was a good night."
There's no one likes a pint more than me as anyone coming camping over the next few days will testify. But I like to think that I don't leave wreckage for others to clear up. Why do people do this?
I wasted far too long slobbing about on Facebook this morning. With er indoors TM" still asleep I couldn't pack my clothes for the weekend. So I out the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and walked him round to Cheryl's where we picked up Cheryl, Lacey and Lacey's mate Lexi. We then went for a little walk out through the Godinton estate. It was a lovely day for a walk. We walked up to the river, we were scared by the sheep, Lacey found one or two geocaches. By the time we got back to Great Chart we were all rather thirsty so we popped into the pub. Seven pounds for four soft drinks!!! I would have had a beer, but it ran out half way through pouring. Advertising five ales on the boards, they had none. I was told that there was a delivery due, and they would have ale soon. I mentioned that I was under the impression that barrels needed time to settle. the young lad behind the bar looked at me blankly. Oh well, one more pub to add to the "avoid" list.
Home again to find er indoors TM" had had a haircut. "Daddies Little Angel TM" and the Rear Admiral called on a flying visit to talk beer for the weekend. I then did the last few bits of packing and spent the rest of the afternoon fiddling about. Eventually the evening came and we set off to Maidstone. There was a conglomeration of geocachers (what is the correct collective noun?) scheduled for 8.08pm on 8-8-13 at junction 8 of the M20. We arrived and chatted with friends old and new. These cachers meetings are always a good chance to catch up and gossip.
There was an interesting five minutes in the queue of McDonalds where a rather overweight simpleton from behind the counter demonstrated the shortcomings of putting those of restricted common sense into positions of responsibility (no matter how limited the responsibility). Far from drumming up trade, her attempts to streamline the waiting times merely offended the assembled throng. I nearly laughed out loud when a rather irate Essex-onian nearly punched overweight simpleton up the bracket.
The plan for today had been to go up to Teston and start our camping holiday. This year the management had decreed that the weekend starts on the Friday, not the Thursday. I had been sulking about not going off on holiday today. As it turned out today was a rather good day...
9 August 2013 (Friday) - Off To Teston
I was too excited to sleep, and so was wide awake at 4.30am. Over a spot of brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Some people are truly stupid. Take this Facebook status: "OK, Challenge begins, complete night shift 8am Friday morning, coffee, top down, don't put top back up until reach Sennen Cove, Cornwall, 1 mile from Lands End (400 miles away) for late lunch !!!"
Someone (with a Masters degree level education) is going to work a twelve hour night shift and then go straight on to a four hundred mile drive. It's daft enough doing it, but telling the world that he is doing so? When (not if) he crashes I wonder if his insurance company will see this admission as a reason not to pay out for any claims he might make? And if he kills anyone when he crashes the newspapers would have a field day with that admission.
And so to Teston. I went via Tesco to get some bits and bobs. I was too early - Tesco was closed. So I got my stuff in Asda. Interestingly the pries at the till bore little relation to the prices on the items. That wasted a few more minutes. I got to Teston at 7.30am, and within minutes the heavens opened. As I struggled to get the tents up so I would have shelter, I was bombarded with messages and texts telling me that it was raining in various parts of the South East.
Dave arrived, followed soon after by the Rear Admiral, "Daddies Little Angel TM", and Sid. A concerted effort had camp together in record time, and as the last bit of camp went up so the rain stopped and the sun came out.
As the day wore on so more and more people joined us. "Daddies Little Angel TM" took a moral stance and declared that camp should be a geocache free zone. She probably had a point - it is possible to become overly obsessed with hunting tupperware. So a few of us slipped off for five minutes to get our geo-fix for the day before coming back to sit back and watch how easy it was to put up an inflatable tent (!)
And with nearly everyone finally arrived we settled down for a geo-free evening of fajitas, excessive beer, port and sick jokes until gone midnight.
10 August 2013 (Saturday) - Teston Kite Festival
I was woken at 5am by the sound of one of my smaller nephews shouting that he was going to be sick inside his tent. Heaven only knows why the thick child didn't have the common sense to get out of the tent before throwing up. Being the designated key holder is something I like. I feel that I'm doing something positive for the event. And so I was unlocking the gate at 6am. It's not like I ever lie in anyway,
With gate opened I enlisted the help of a non-vomiting nephew to help me tidy up camp. We had a quick wash-up of the wreckage and as the Rear Admiral made a start on brekkie I led a team to the supermarket to get assorted shopping. It was amazing how much stuff we needed. Paprika flavoured popcorn for a start.
Shopping didn't take long, and we were back on camp before 9am where we had a rather good bit of brekkie. You can't beat a fry-up when living in a field.
We hosted a little birthday party for a birthday girl. Party rings and cakes all round was rather good, and then the Bat arrived for a day's visit, and in a novel break with tradition I got a go in the boat. In over twenty visits to Teston kite festival I have always heard about boating missions after the event. Today I got to play at Somalian pirates. Mind you I think that in getting into the boat I did something nasty to my neck.
And having sailed the seven seas we returned to camp (eventually) to a rather good curry for tea.
With tea washed up and the light failing we stood back and watched the night kites lighting up the sky. And then we cracked open the port and cheese and had a rather good booze up. In the meantime we heard about the exploits of Bertie the Wonder Glow Worrm. (He doesn't burp, he doesn't fart; he just rides about in his hovercraft...)
And feeling suitably refreshed I staggered off to bed at half past midnight as the geocachers set off on a spot of night caching.
11 August 2013 (Sunday) - Teston Kite Festival
The night cachers returned to camp quietly (!) at 2.30am. I lay awake for much of the rest of the night, finally getting up to unlock the gate just after 6am. Our campsite looked like a bomb had hit it - it's amazing how much mess we can generate in the dark. So I got a kettle of water on to boil, and once I'd cleared the carnage I got washed up. Having used the rest of he hot water to make coffee I put away the washing up. It was strange - for all that we would get messy, this camp never stayed messy. We were a rather organised campsite.
the Rear Admiral soon emerged from his pit and organised a rather good fry up. Being Sunday we went shopping after brekkie because shops open at silly times on Sundays. Personally I would rather go shopping earlier in the day but today that wasn't possible. But it didn't take long to chivvy up the makings of tea, together with ginger nut biscuits, paracetamol and tinned curry.
Back to camp. Feeling rather tired I closed my eyes, and woke three hours later. I helped Lisa pack her bits and bobs, and we missed the group photo. At every Teston kite festival there is a photo taken of everyone who was camping out. I missed being in this photo. A shame, really. But hopefully there will be other chances for other photos in the future.
With the wind picking up I tried to fly a kite or two. But for all that the wind was picking up, it was a choppy wind; not at all constant. I gave up after an hour or so.
Teston kite festival is never complete without a minor medical disaster, and I spent an interesting hour stepping in to be a backup mother to Leah whilst her mummy took her little sister for steri-strips and bandages. I thought I made quite a good backup mother; so did Leah. So much so that she insisted I be made up like a mother would be. I thought I was rather sexy.
In theory I was supposed to be cooking tea. In practice I peeled twelve spuds whist those of a more culinary bent excelled in the kitchen. We had a rather good sweet and sour for tea. As always we'd made loads, and it was god to be able to share with friends of whom we see nowhere near enough.
Sunday evening at Teston kite festival is always rather sad. We stay on till Monday morning. Not many people do. We spent quite a while saying goodbye to so many friends. Some of whom we will only see a few more times this year; some we won't see for nearly another year. And with the number of campers seriously whittled down we settled down to attack the last of the port and the cheese. We did reasonably well, even if we did manage to break Dick with excessive amounts of port.
er indoors TM" arrived shortly after 10pm - she'd missed all of the Teson fun having been to the annual conglomeration of candlemongers in Harrogate. She soon settled in for a splash of drink, and I eventually staggered off to my pit shortly after midnight.
12 August 2013 (Monday) - Home Again...
I had this theory that the designated key holder only does key-related things on days of the kite festival. Today wasn't a festival day and so the wardens would be opening the gate and I had no need to be up. Someone's phone alarm went off at 6am. I leapt up thinking it was mine as it was the same alarm tone. It wasn't mine. I don't know whose it was. But being up (and having been awake for some time) I decided to crack on with the morning's chores. I got the kettle boiling, tided up, did what seemed like the two hundred and forty eighth load of washing up, and generally pootled about until everyone else emerged from their beds two hours later.
We had a rather good brekkie, we all chipped in and worked hard, and camp was disassembled and loaded into the cars and despite having to bump-start the Luke Warm - mobile we were on our way home by 11.30am. Pausing only briefly on the way home for the day's cache we worked hard at home, and by 1.30pm Teston kite festival was but a happy memory. Fortunately there are photos of edited highlight of the event here.
I'd done my lame caching (sic) on the way home. er indoors TM" had not, so we popped out so's she could find one. It's somewhat easier for her as there are a lot of local ones she is still to find. there are two within six miles that I am still to uncover. And with her daily geo-fix sorted we drove round to Beaver Lane to collect "Furry Face TM". Other dogs came to Teston. I might (just possibly) take Fudge on a future camp; if only to prove what a disastrous idea taking him camping would be.
I spent an hour combing my dog this afternoon. He likes being combed, and wouldn't stop worrying me to be combed. I didn't find any fleas at all, very little fur came out - he just wanted to be combed. Silly pup.
With er indoors TM" off out bowling I caught up with the on-line lectures in my course on mathematical philosophy that I'd missed toward the end of last week. An analysis of truth - it made my head spin..
The weekend away was really good. It's back to reality now...
13 August 2013 (Tuesday) - Fun in Kings Wood
I would have slept better had I not woken with my mouth as dry as a bone. That happens when I sleep on my back. I must stop doing that.
Over brekkie I watched the latest exploits of Blake and his five (not seven). Evil space baddies had stolen an intranodal galactivator and were planning to do whatever it is that evil space baddies do with intranodal galactivators. Whilst they plotted and schemed Blake’s five camped it up to the limit, and I filled the washing machine.
With washing on the line I went into town to get my new specs. They seem rather stronger than the last ones. I then paid money into other people’s bank accounts, I forgot to go to Wilkos, and I got a text. "Daddies Little Angel TM" was distraught – one of her guinea pigs had died.
I wish I had something I could have said to have made it all better.
I came home and got washing onto the line, then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. For a change I thought we’d have a drive out to Kings Wood. There was a minor hiccup when I found that the car park had a barrier across it. Having the roof box on the car meant that I couldn’t get into that car park. But a minor diversion of several miles had us at a suitable car park. I say “car park” – a rough area on the edge of a country lane did the trick.
We walked into the north end of Kings Wood past a rather beautiful house. I’ve put a photo of that house above. I’m not jealous of the owners very much – what do people do in order to afford such houses?
We walked into some woods which I had been assured were thick with stinging nettles; they weren’t. After a little fiddling about I soon found the day’s geocache, and we carried on with our walk in the woods. FF was off of his lead, and was as good as gold. Forty five minutes walking saw us nearly back where we started, and I thought that we’d not really had enough of a walk, so we turned right rather than carrying on to the car. It was at this point that the voices inside a certain dog’s head gave him ideas. He shot into a rather dense thicket. I could hear the tags on his collar jingling for a while, but after ten minutes I couldn’t hear them anymore. After half an hour I was nearly hysterical. Pathetic really (!) I knew where he probably was; the trouble was that he was in a seriously impassable (to me) jungle which was roughly triangular in shape, and about half a mile along each edge. All I could do was to circle this triangular primeval forest whilst calling him (and trying hard not to blub hysterically). Just over an hour after he had vanished I saw him. He was several hundred yards away, running at full pelt along the path toward me. He had an expression of terror in his eyes, and seemed rather glad to be back with me. I made a point of not shouting at him; that would only make him less inclined to come back next time. If he is ever allowed off the lead again.
And so home again. Over a spot of lunch I did some more of my on line course. Mathematical philosophy is dull; incredibly dull. I managed four of the week’s fifteen lectures before I fell asleep.
The first fruit of my loin arrived home to deposit his fishing tackle in my shed. He has a shed of his own. I don’t have the space for his fishing gear. I wish he could keep it somewhere else. Like in his own shed.
I noticed that one of his bags was dripping wet; I suggested he hang the wet nets outside rather than leaving them to grow mould. He seemed impressed with that suggestion. And as he vanished off to wherever it is that first fruits vanish I made a start editing a video.
It has been suggested that next year might see two kite festivals at Teston; if only “we” can finance them. It is rather vague as to who “we” are. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that in life there are “those that do” and there are “those that let those that do get on with the doing”. Unfortunately I have always been a do-er. It struck me that bearing in mind the success of the Elite: Reclamation Kickstarter project “we” might achieve something similar on Kickstarter to fund a kite festival. It seems that a vital part of the Kickstarter project is having a video to tell the punters what is going on. I have a provisional first draft of a video. I am now waiting for those who are in a position to give a green light to let me know exactly what more I need to do to get the project up and running. When it is I shall be looking to my loyal readers to hand over hard cash. But not much, really. With a need to raise (about) one thousand pounds we only need to find two hundred people to hand over a fiver. There must be enough people associated with the kite festival to make that possible.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered in Queen Street this evening. We listened to Steve on the radio, then watched the exploits of Merlin. Today he dealt with a recalcitrant goblin in a rather more lenient way then Blake and his random number would have done...
14 August 2013 (Wednesday) - Off to Gillingham
I went for a tiddle at 3am last night and fell down the stairs. That hurt. Mind you it won't be long before falls like that will be breaking hips. There's no denying that the jolt set off the neck injury I sustained when I got thrown into the river at the weekend - I did spent quite a bit of the day whinging about backache and neckache.
I had a pleasant surprise over brekkie - an old school friend had got in touch. He seems well; and also seems to have retained far more hair than I have done.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived with Sid, and we took the dogs for a walk. Today we went out through Newtown and home via Frog's Island, Asda and McMunchies for a bacon roll. Very tasty. Home to put washing on to the line, and then Lisa arrived and we went down to the Romney Marsh. We had planned to go to Camping International but we thought we'd make a little detour for the chance of a First to Find as a new geocache had gone live. It was only a round trip of twenty miles out of our way. We arrived and searched the obvious target for half an hour to no avail before giving up in disgust. Half way back to the car we had a stroke of inspiration, went back to where we had already searched several times and almost immediately found the hidden cache. And we got First to Find too. We felt very smug
From here we then went on with our original plans - to Camping International in Gillingham where we bought new tent poles and pegs for the mess tent and a couple of new nozzles for the water barrels. We looked at the Colesman's event shelters. I'd like to get one for when the current gazebo finally gives up the ghost; probably next spring.
By now it was mid day and we were feeling hungry so a spot of McDinner was in order. And as we were in the area we did a geocache. I say " a geocache" - it was a multi with four stages. It took us just under an hour to do and was a work of absolute genius. Even if we had to watch out for the dene-holes
I was rather pleased with today's caching. There is a unique e-souvenir given to everyone who finds a cache on any day this month. I would like to get all thirty one of theset. So far I have managed a cache on every day of the month (and consequently the first fourteen e-souvenirs), I have planned out caching for the rest of the month to ensure I get all of the souvenirs. But a day like today when I get caches which weren't on my list is very good as it gives me scope for disaster and "did not finds" later in the month.
And so home where I sorted out my undercrackers into their respective pairs. A task which is tedious to say the least. Whilst I did it I watched an episode of Blake's Seven. They were all suffering from chronic fatigue. It's a tough life camping it up in outer space...
15 August 2013 (Thursday) - Seagulls
I've been sleeping a little better recently during my little holiday. But not that much better really, and now the holiday is over it really is back to "business as usual". I went to bed at 11pm last night and after a rather vividly disturbing nightmare involving a lego train and a First to Find (don't ask) I found myself wide awake at 3am. I lay awake until finally giving up and getting up at 4.45am. Fudge had made himself a little nest on the sofa and was absolutely dead to the world. He opened one eye lo look at me and he raised one leg so I could rub his tummy, and he went back to sleep. I washed up (dull), checked emails (little had happened overnight) and set off to work over half an hour earlier than usual.
Being on a mission to log a geocache find every day this month is tricky; especially when one has found all of the local caches. However the cache map showed there were three near Perry Wood; which wasn't more than a few miles out of my way on the morning's trip to work. As I drove I thought it would be a lovely morning for a walk. I followed the instructions of the sat-nav and as I parked at the designated car so the rain started. Just a shower, but enough to be disheartening. Fortunately the rain stopped as quickly as it started. I set up the geo-app and soon found my target three hundred yards away. As I walked back to the car I realised I would be walking past another cache. Or that is I was walking past where someone had once hidden one. I don't think it was there any more. I couldn't find it and neither could the previous person to look for it.
When I got back t the car I realised that my next cache target (for my next working day) was less than two hundred yards away, so I took five minutes to suss out the lay of the land. I'll get that cache next time. Unless circumstances change, that "next time" will be on Saturday morning.
I had a wry smile at the news today - a relatively local old lady has taken to wearing a colander on her head to protect herself from seagull attacks. It would seem that the feathered fellows are getting more and more aggressive. Pundits on the radio had various suggestions as to why this might be. The current hot spell, a cold winter, all sorts of suggestions were raised. I wonder if it is in any way connected to the advent of wheelie bins in parts of Kent? Several people have commented that now that black bags are not being used, seagulls aren't scattering rubbish everywhere in their quest for food. Perhaps the gulls are just hungry?
And so to work. Back in the day I would have had a backlog of managerial catching up to do. Today I just did my bit, and came home again. Dull, but dull isn't always bad. At least the seagulls near me were behaving themselves...
16 August 2013 (Friday) - Reindeer, Trees and drewwagar.com
I slept amazingly well, not stirring from my pit until gone 7am. That is an amazing sleep for me. I was well pleased. I had a spot of brekkie and watched the dustmen doing their thing. I’d noticed someone had put a carrier bag of rubbish into our recycling bin overnight. I’d spotted it and hoiked it out and left it by the bin, but this raised a question. If the bin men persist in playing silly beggars and will leave an entire bin full of recycling if a random passer by drops the wrong coloured sweetie wrapper into the bin (which happens a lot!) then perhaps the council should provide lock-able wheelie bins….
With er indoors TM" tottling off to work I put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little stroll. We went down to Park Farm where I totally failed to find the geocache that was hidden there last week, and then came home via Willesborough. It was just as Fudge had his eye on a particularly ripe fox turd that my phone bleeped. Could the first fruit of my loin make off with the gas barbecue, and did I want to come on a day trip to the reindeer centre. Yes, and yes. We carried on with our walk, and after only a slight delay for Fudge to play in the river we were soon home.
My little pup curled up and went to sleep, and we set off to the Reindeer farm. It was only when we were on the way that I was told that the place was having a themed pirates and princesses day. Fortunately I had a bandanna in my pocket (I usually do) so I was able to have a go at joining in. I would rather have had notice of what was happening so that I could have been a proper princess. It turned out that I wasn’t told about the day’s theme for that very reason. But on arrival I saw that they were doing free face painting so I got to be a fairy pirate princess after all.
Interestingly all the staff and helpers at the place had dressed up. There were a dozen pirates but only one princess amongst them.
We got to see all the animals. The reindeer were great, as were the llamas and the donkeys and the meerkats. Lacey got to hold ducklings and baby guinea pigs. We saw the day-old piglet, and laughed at the turkey who was jealous of the attention all the other animals were getting. And we got up close to goats; actually in the goat enclosure where we were allowed to cuddle the baby goats. Personally my favourite of the day was the Bassett hound who was plodding about the place.
The reindeer farm is great for a day out – they don’t have as much as some zoos have, but what they do have, they do well. They are opening again for the Christmas season on 16 November. Can’t wait to go back.
And so home – we dropped the girls off at Asda and then did gas barbecue moving. With that done we said our goodbyes and I collected Lisa for the day’s geo-activity. Yesterday evening a new cache had gone live. It was billed as high difficulty, difficult terrain. It was difficult terrain being up a tree, but as for high difficulty… perhaps not so. After all it was visible from a little way away. However it was an excellent cache placed as it was quite a way off the ground. I say “ground” – it was actually over a river.
There are those who feel that chasing such caches should be left for the more spry amongst us. To those I would say that I was off the ground and had the cache in my hand within thirty seconds. I threw it down to Lisa and climbed down. Instructions said you could only claim the find if you’d done the climb, so I retrieved the cache and Lisa put it back. I say “put it back” – at one point the cache was stuffed down her bra for no adequately explained reason.
I gave this cache a favourite point. Unlike some caches which can be complicated to the point of confusion (“Two Dogs” and “Maelstrom #3” come to mind), this one is straight-forward, obvious what you have to do, but still very challenging. I noticed that it was put out by someone who is new to this silly hobby. A very good first cache from jacobwells22 – here’s hoping for more good ones.
Home again. I had half a mind to go back to Park Farm to carry on looking for the cache I failed on this morning. But the rain which had been patchy and intermittent was getting heavier. So I went home, looked at the ironing which wasn’t ironing itself, looked at the washing up which wasn’t washing itself up, and I played Candy Crush Saga for a bit to bide the time until the launch of www.drewwagar.com
I must admit I was rather impressed with this new website. I've been awaiting it's go-live for a little while now. Now it is active I am reliably assured that it is now "your main site for anything Drew Wagary"... (apparently - it says so on the Internet so it must be true)
One cannot help but wonder if the good Mrs Wagar will be going to www.drewwagar.com for her Drew Wagary requirements. I shall ask her...
17 August 2013 (Saturday) - Muffin
Up with the lark and bearing in mind the old maxim, I let my sleeping dog lie. Over a spot of brekkie I watched the antics of Blake and his four on DVD. He's only got four henchmen now. One croaked whilst doing battle with space baddies. I would have though that would have been an object lesson in life - don't do battle with space baddies. But Blake doesn't seem to have learned anything from the sad demise of poor Olag Gan (A.K.A. "Meat Shield #5") and he was having a set-to with some sort of intergalactic lizard thing today. Sooner him than me. Meanwhile the evil space baddies which did for the one who croaked were at each others throats.
Today's episode was rather poor. Having the main protagonists behaving at odds with their established personalities doesn't make for believable viewing. Two characters who were once best of buddies could now conspiring against each other because of their duplicitous nature. Or they could be given decent scriptwriting. This morning's episode merely had pretty much everyone acting towards each other in a completely different way to how they were doing so in the last episode. It didn't make for plausible viewing and so today's episode didn't really work; which was a shame.
As I got into my car I saw Martin heading off up the road. It was 6.50am. He does seem to love his early starts on a Saturday.
Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I looked for a multi-geocache on my way to work on Thursday. Looked, but didn't find it. Today I went back and had a proper look. After ten minutes I found the first part of that multi-cache. I was a little confused about the directions given; it seemed to be sending me to one of two points, both of which were within a few yards of each other, but neither were especially close. I tried both locations. I'm pretty sure I was in the right place because there was a wonderful viewpoint nearby. It's the sort of place where people put caches. But I didn't find it. On reflection I have a sneaking suspicion that I know where I went wrong. If I am up early enough tomorrow morning I shall go back.
Mind you I did find the cache which was hidden by the nearby pond so the expedition wasn't entirely wasted.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that a while ago I mentioned the fracking for gas that is going on in Sussex.
I had a wry smile as I listened to the advocates for and against fracking who were expounding their viewpoints on the radio today. Both sides claimed to be representing the majority view.
I can't pretend that I know whether there are more of the public who are in favour of fracking or who are against it. However reading various postings on social media from friends and relatives who live near the fracking site, I think it's fair to say that the opinion of those being fracked (!) is that they hold the protestors in very low regard. I am informed by these locals that environmental protestors come in two forms; unwashed workshy layabouts funded by dole handouts, and vastly overpaid celebrities who are posturing for the publicity. I'm sure that neither description is in any way fair. I'm sure that everyone who is protesting about the fracking is doing so for valid and heartfelt reasons. Mind you from what I have seen on social media I am also sure that the protestors are not getting their message across.
And so to work. I did my bit. I don't really mind working at the weekends. In fact I actually prefer working at the weekends to working during the week. With a skeleton staff I get far more variety in my daily round. And being a weekend I get more of a bung for showing up. It's just that when I am working the weekend I find I do miss out. Today I could have been at the monthly conglomeration of Kent's geocachers for a meeting which looked to be great fun. And then I could have gone on to visit the first fruit of my loin who was staging a barbecue in the garden. Or I could have gone to the theatre with friends to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Instead I found myself spending much of the day looking out of the window fretting about what might have been. I probably do that too much.
Mind you when the rain started in the late afternoon I did wonder if I had been in the best place today. And then my colleague didn't want the toffee muffin she'd brought in for her evening meal. In a fit of feeling rather public spirited I ate it for her...
18 August 2013 (Sunday) - Perry Wood
My little dog is absolutely rubbish at pretending to be asleep. This morning, like most mornings when I come down early, he made a point of not moving from where he had spent the night. He watched me with one eye until he thought that I was looking at him. He then hurriedly closed that eye. But he gave the game away when I walked near him by lifting his leg so I could rub his tummy.
The front end which feigns sleep is always given away by the soppy rear end.
I spent a little while before 6am this morning scanning documents for a colleague. She needed some paperwork scanned so she could email it. I have a scanner, and am glad to be able to help. Everyone was happy.
Scanning took longer than expected so I didn't have time for an episode of Blake and his ever diminishing number (he started off with quite a lot of sidekicks, hangers-on and assorted henchmen you know), so over brekkie I watched re-runs of "Coogan's Run". I quite like Steve Coogan's characterisations; Alan Partridge is a particular favourite of mine.
I set off rather earlier than usual when working on a Sunday. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that there was a particular multi-cache which had been giving me grief over the last few days. And with the ongoing August cache-a-day challenge I needed to get one cache on my way to work. A few days ago I had totally failed with this multi. Yesterday I eventually found the first part, but not the second. Today with a concerted effort and a cacher's eye after ten minutes of rummaging I found what I had been looking for.
Mind you, as is so often the way with this silly hobby, it's not only about finding the tupperware box. This troublesome multi had taken me to Perry Wood. This is somewhere I'd never been before, and would probably never have found if left to my own devices. It's a very scenic place to be, and is somewhere that I could well take a certain small dog for a walk in the near future.
As I drove I listened to the news. Today's news was all a-twitter with revelations that the Metropolitan Police are investigating fresh evidence concerning the death of Diana Princess of Wales.
Interestingly no one seems to know exactly what this new evidence is, or what it proves. She's been dead sixteen years; why can't the media let her go. What on Earth is the point in raking up a court case which cost more than four times the price of Margaret Thatcher's funeral.
Once at work I did my bit, and then I came home again. As I drove the evening's radio show was running down the NHS; specifically the 111 helpline. My piss boiled somewhat. What do people really expect from a phone helpline? If you are truly ill, go to hospital. If you are going to survive till the morning, turn up at the GP surgery ten minutes before they open and demand to be seen. If you just want to talk to someone (which so many of these 111 calls are all about), that's what social media is for.
Bearing in mind how quick the general public are to cast blame and find fault with the NHS is it really surprising tha the vast majority of 111 operatives want to cover their own backs by sending their callers to actually see a doctor there and then?
19 August 2013 (Monday) - Walking
A surprisingly good night's sleep, but a disaster at brekkie. With enough jam to feed an army (provided an army would be content with four jars of jam) we had no marmalade. I like marmalade on my peanut butter in the morning; today I had to rough it with jam. Just jam on toast. No peanut butter with the jam - that would be silly.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" and Sid arrived. They had an errand to run, and then would be looking after the burger van for five minutes whilst "Jimmy Fingers" ran an errand of his own. After an hour I got bored of waiting for them, and drove down to the van. After another half an hour Jimmy returned and we set off on our own errand. Rather than sending a cheque to pay for the astro club's hall hire fees I thought I'd pay in cash. That way I am saved a trip to the bank to pay in cash, and I am saved the job of chasing round for signatures for a cheque.
The nice lady to whom I gave the cash had a husband who was rather good with watercolours, and we spent a little while talking art. And then we took advantage of a glorious day and being in the countryside to take the dogs for a walk somewhere different. We had a minor hiccup driving to our starting point, but having driven in circles for a few times we eventually found somewhere to park. We then had a lovely walk across fields and woodlands to High Halden. I had hoped for a crafty pint in the pub before we walked back, but the pub had closed down again, so we walked back thirsty.
Once home "Daddies Little Angel TM" set off on a mission. We hadn't walked that far this morning, so I took my dog and walked him up to Little Burton Farm and back. And once back I went for another walk round Coleman's Wood and back - it was too lovely a day to be in.
I had planned to spend the evening catching up with ironing. I didn't. Perhaps I did too much walking today; I just slobbed in front of the telly...
20 August 2013 (Tuesday) - Crimmos
I had a terrible night's (so-called) sleep. I went off to bed shortly after 11pm last night and was woken shortly after by "Furry Face TM" jumping onto me. I dozed off only to be woken by er indoors TM" crashing home from her evening out. And then it seemed to be one disturbance after another for most of the night.
I gave up trying to sleep and was watching my DVDs by 5am You can't beat a bit of late 1970s sci-fi.. Blake and his four were having problems with a treacherous uncle, a wanton cousin, and "crimmos". "Crimmos" are a new breed of evil space baddie to me. They seemed rather stupid as evil space baddies go; but not quite as stupid as Blake and his few remaining associates. Given that a "crimmo" is trying to kill you, you are obviously faced with a life-or-death struggle. Personally if I were contending with such a "crimmo" I would kill them to death with my space laser from a comfortable distance. I would not leave my space laser in its holster and try to have fisticuffs with them.
But what do I know? Mind you the wanton cousin was interesting. I always thought Blake had been podgering the bimbo who drove the spaceship, but he seemed rather enamoured with his cousin in today's episode. In fact he qot quite carnal with her at one stage. Shocking, really!
I then set off to work at 6am. Needing to find a geocache before work as part of the August cache-a-day challenge I thought I would go for one in Boughton under Blean before work, and then get shopping and petrol for the car on my journey through Wincheap. For those of my loyal readers who aren't sure about Kentish geography, Boughton under Blean is in the general vicinity of Faversham. My sat-nav had several false starts, took several wrong turns, and eventually gave up the ghost entirely leaving me somewhere on the M2. I suspect that things might have turned out differently had I been able to concentrate on sat navs rather than on the road. I'm sure that nearly getting squished by a juggernaut on the roundabout at the top of the M2 didn't help either. But somehow or other I found myself on completely the wrong side of Canterbury and running out of time before the start of my shift. In the end I headed to work, stopped off in Canterbury city centre and told my phone to find me the nearest cache, and not to play silly beggars about it.
Probably feeling remorse for the M2 episode it told me there was a cache not one hundred yards away, and I soon had that one in the bag. I suppose I can draw consolation from the fact that the cache in Boughton under Blean remains for me to find another day.
And so to work where I did my bit on what turned out to be rather a good day. It was a pain that my trip home was delayed because I had to stop off for petrol. The plan had been to get petrol on my way in to work, but that plan had unfortunately gone west. Plans do that with annoying regularity.
And so home where the clans had gathered. Insults were bandied, and we watched more Merlin. And I stayed awake. Good times..
21 August 2013 (Wednesday) - Damp
Over a spot of brekkie I was bandying insults here, there and thither with the world at large over the social phenomenon that is Facebook. And I found myself guilty of having double standards (again). I quite like being a grandfather. However I am certainly *not* middle aged. Can I get away with being both? I don't really think so.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived and we took the dogs for a little walk up to the railway station where I needed to get some information to solve a puzzle I had been set. And with that information we then carried on with our walk into Newtown and down to Frogs Island and back. Sid's behaviour was impeccable, but "Furry Face TM" disgraced himself by running off with another dog's ball. I wouldn't mid so much if he ever played with the balls he steals. He doesn't. He just destroys them.
I left "Daddies Little Angel TM" at McMunchies burger van where she assured me she would only be five minutes. I then went home and made a start loading up the car for the upcoming camping trip. After an hour I had the car loaded. After an hour and five minutes "Daddies Little Angel TM" returned home to help me load the car(!)
I had a bit of toast in lieu of lunch, and then went out with Lisa. Two weeks ago I went down to the marsh looking for a geocache I couldn't find. On 7 August I wrote "At 5.15am I was lurking by a drainage ditch two miles the other side of Bilsington. I had a good rummage, and despite nearly falling into said drainage ditch twice I couldn't find the cache in question. I gave up after twenty minutes searching I shall have to go back with reinforcements. So I drove on another half a mile and found a cache near another drainage ditch. I didn't fall into that one".
On reading subsequent logs of people who did find it, it was apparent that had I fallen in the drainage ditch I would have found the cache. So having enlisted the moral support of someone else who doesn't mind falling into drainage ditches I did what I said I would do and went back with reinforcements. Having failed to find the cache last time we saw it right away this time. It was huge. I am loathe to describe what happened in too much detail because I don't want to spoil the fun for subsequent cachers. Let's just say that I took my swimming trunks just in case, the water wasn't quite up to my goolies, we did need the towel I'd packed, and rumours that I dropped the cache into the river are quite unfounded.
Home, where I put my swimmies and the towel through the washing machine, and then I took Fudge for another walk. Having solved the puzzle at the railway station this morning I thought I'd go discover the cache associated with that puzzle. The idea was that having located it today I could do the secret geo-ritual with it tomorrow for my one-a-day (having already got today's find).
I soon made my way to where I thought the cache was, and found a young family obviously searching for something. I said hello, and they pointed at my dog, screamed, and all ran away. After a brief search I found what I was looking for. I shall go back tomorrow and do my thing with it then.
Home again, and with "Daddies Little Angel TM" holding court in the living room I was again banished upstairs. Candy Crush Saga and a little doze went down well, then I did the hoovering (with a Dyson) and then had a look at the household accounts. I renewed my annual subscription to geocaching dot com, It was fifteen quid last year - now it is twenty five quid, there's inflation for you. The combined gas and leccie bill has gone up twelve pounds each month too.
Oh well... what is money for if not to squander foolishly on trivia.
22 August 2013 (Thursday) - Off to Camp
Last night was the Hythe Venetian fete. It was rather worrying that a teacher on my Facebook list referred to the event as the "Vanician Fete".
Despite the light drizzle this morning I put the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and took him for a little walk through Willesborough. Had I left five minutes later I would have seen an email and would possibly have had a "first to find" on a newly released geocache. But I didn't. Such is life.
This morning's walk was something of a pain. I lost count of the amount of cyclists I nearly fell over because they were on the pavements with earplugs in which effectively made them deaf. Cyclists should be on the road; not the pavement. It says so in the Highway Code.
Martin arrived, and we set off to shopping. First of all to the fishing shop. I was amazed to see perfectly good polaroid sunglasses for sale for fifteen quid. If I want prescription sunglasses the polaroid bit costs sixty quid alone. And I can get the whole (non-prescription) lot for fifteen quid. I'd like to think this isn't blatant profiteering from the optician...
After a brief stop at Tesco we made our way to a certain farm in Smarden where clans gathered and we set up camp. We arrived in rain, and started setting up camp in the rain, but the rain soon petered off. And having set it up we repaired it. The mess tent has some life left in it, but I think it' s fair to say that the gazebo is now fit for the bin.
A few beers were sunk, and after a flying visit from Foo-Foo (the bunny rabbit) er indoors TM" arrived just as it was getting dark and announced that we (I) had forgotten all the cooking pans. Woops. So after an impromptu drive home we finally had tea at about 10pm. I staggered off to bed somewhat the worse for wear as others went lamping. Lamping apparently is an obscure country tradition by which you wave lights around in fields in a fruitless attempt to catch wildlife which is nowhere near as daft as you might imagine it actually is.
23 August 2013 (Friday) - Duck Houses
I think it fair to say I had far too many peanuts yesterday. They have a rather dodgy effect on my innards. After a fifteen minutes sit-in at the smallest tent on the camp site (the Turdis) I discovered that during yesterday's setting up we hadn't dug a poop pit. So at 6.30am I was getting busy with a shovel. I had stuff to bury. As did Lisa - while lamping in her Foo-Foo the Bunny Rabbit costume she's trodden in something that should have been in the pit I was digging. Yuk!
With no one else emerging from their pits I wandered up to one of the ponds for a spot of fishing. The fishing started slow, but soon picked up. After an hour the Rear Admiral and "Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived with coffee for me, and we fished for another hour with varying degrees of success until the summons came for brekkie.
There was a bit of a problem with brekkie - it was all still in the freezer. So we made do with omelettes. Very good omelettes.
As I was washing up so the sun was coming out. It looked like being a bright day. Some of our party set off on a shopping trip. Others of us set off to the pub via Dering Wood where it was rumoured that there was a solitary geocache. There was, and from there we carried on to the pub. But not the pub we had originally planned. The Dering Arms was several miles away; the Mundy Bois was just down the road from where we were. So once we had got some phone signal we told the shoppers about the change of plan and they met us for a second pint before walking back to camp with us.
Once back at camp we felt we ought to earn our keep. The duck houses needed their annual maintenance so our job for today was to get the duck houses out of the water and to leave them by the pond side to drain. Regular readers of this drivel will know that I have had dealings with duck houses before. So knowing what to expect I went along wearing my swimmies, and (as I had expected) immediately slipped in the mud and was waist deep in a pond.
"Furry Face TM" excelled himself with duck houses, having swum across a pond to one and having found a three month old addled egg inside promptly broke it open and rolled in the gunge. I'd not taken my dog camping before. This is one of many reasons that taking Patagonian Tripe-Hounds camping is not a good idea. And having created one of the worst smells in the known universe, he went on to exceed the expectations of even his staunchest critics by disappearing into the last duck house and coming out a few moments later in hot pursuit of a duck which was stupid enough to still be in that house.
Some of the swimmers of our party went back to the farm house for a shower. Me and my dog got hosed down in the farm yard. And after a rather good bit of tea we sat round the camp fire drinking to excess. So much so that I fell asleep and missed out on the port...
24 August 2013 (Saturday) - Emergency Plan "B"
We had all seen the weather forecasts. We knew today was not going to be a good day weather-wise. I woke to the sound of rain on the tent in the middle of the night, and lay awake listening to the rain for much of the rest of the night. It was too wet to go fishing, so I didn't bother. I had a bit of a lie-in, as did everyone else. It was gone ten o'clock before brekkie was done.
We got washed up, and shopping missions were dispatched. With a restless dog and the rain slackening off to a medium monsoon I thought I'd take "Furry Face TM" for a walk. I needed to get a cache for the day anyway. I got the cache just as the rain started. By the time I was back at camp I was rather damp. As was "Furry Face TM".
Lunch was announced, and with little else to do we declared Emergency Plan "B". As emergency plans go, "B" is my favourite, involving (as it does) copious amounts of beer.
Steve and Sarah arrived to visit for the afternoon and evening. It was really good to see them, it was just a shame that the weather was against us. We spent much of the day tipping rain water from where it was pooling in the tent. Mind you, we did have sweeties and cake. And beer.
The evening meal was good. We'd not had stew with dumplings at camp before. I think we should have it again. But next time we should stir the stew. The washing up took some serious elbow grease this evening. And having worn myself out doing the washing up we had a beer or three more and just the tiniest soupçon of port. Hic...
25 August 2013 (Sunday) - Custard !!!
The rain continued for much of the night, but having slackened off just as it got light I thought I'd have a spot of morning fishing. Having had a day of torrential rain the pond side was a quagmire and the fishing tackle was awash. But despite all odds I was soon bashing tiddlers like a thing possessed.
After a little bit of brekkie (camp brekkie is always excellent) shopping missions were dispatched as were caching missions. And after discovering that "Furry Face TM" is partial to Benenden sauce we made the most of the good weather by continuing our work with the duck houses. We got the duck houses onto a trailer, took them down to the yard and gave them a good hosing down. There is something very satisfying about hosing duck dung with a power washer.
And with duck houses glistening like new we had another beer, and enjoyed the afternoon. Some took pot shots at targets with air rifles, some went off to the nearby hippie-fest. Me - I alternated between beer and dozing in my chair in the sunshine before going fishing. Fishing was fun. We didn't catch much but we got to laugh at the Rear Admiral's phone which hadn't really enjoyed having been charged and was having a sulk. A sulking phone is a sight to behold. As is someone attempting to do anything with such a phone. I suspect there is an app for sulking phones. However I defy anyone to download it; especially with the Rear Admiral's phone when it is having a cob.
Chip visited. as a stalwart af previous Bat-Camps it was a shame he couldn't have been along for the entire weekend. And as we waved goodbye it was tea time.
Tonight's tea was something new - pork steaks. Very good. Very tasty. And as the beer got to the point of being far too much we had cake and custard. As it was said at the time, what's the point of being sensible if you have custard. We sat around the camp fire drank port, and dozed off.
26 August 2013 (Monday) - Back Ache
"Furry Face TM" was upset by something in the night and had a woofing fit at silly o'clock. I then lay awake until seven am when I got up, used the Turdis, and went for a spell of early morning fishing. We came back to camp around nine am to find little movement, and then started a leisurely packing up.
At kite festivals we are packed up and gone by mid day; often well on our way home by mid day. At Bat-Camp we are always some two hours later in packing up than we are at kite festivals. Packing up is easier; we don't have to consider how to load our cars; we just chuck all the gear into a barn for the winter, but still we take ages.
Whilst putting my tent away I felt the muscle in my back go. It does that from time to time. In retrospect I should have sat back and let everyone else do the heavy lifting from that point, but I didn't. I carried on with the packing and loading. I shouldn't have done that.
We left the farm just after one pm, which although later than I would have hoped, was about what I was expecting.
Once home we were soon unpacked. We had a late lunch, then took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk down to Park Farm where I got the day's "geo-thing-that-we-dare-not-mention" and up past Kingsnorth church. I felt my back complaining as we went, but it was a lovely afternoon; too good to sit indoors whinging that I had backache...
I think I will have an early night tonight. My back hurts...
27 August 2013 (Tuesday) - The Hench Beast
I woke in the middle of the night last night feeling the call of nature. Perhaps I’m getting old but it is so much easier to get up from a bed than it is from the floor of a tent. I set the washing machine going and went back to bed until the pain of my bad back stopped me from lying down any longer.
I got up and watched the antics of Blake’s Four on DVD. Somehow or other the baddies had developed long distance space hypnosis and had tried it on Blake. It sort of worked for long enough to make a half decent stab at having a plot for an episode until our heroes saw through the ruse. I then checked the Internet and saw that little had happened overnight, and with more washing on the go I abluted.
I got two beer barrels washed out and then took "Furry Face TM" for his morning’s constitutional. A new geocache had gone live in Kennington and I thought I’d get it for today’s attempt at the August geo-challenge. We soon found the cache. The customisation of the container bore an uncanny resemblance to ones I’ve hidden. I shall hope that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Home, where I washed out a third beer barrel and mowed the lawn. I have decided to tidy up the mess of the garden and of the shed. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that on 8 June 2008 the first fruit of my loin brought home what he described as his “hench beast”. He intended to screw it on his car somewhere and it would make a noise. After over five years of waiting the thing has stayed in my shed and hasn’t been screwed on to anything. I have nagged him incessantly about it, and he has long since washed his hands of it; saying I should sell it. So after four and a half years of whinging at him I decided to take him at his word.
I put photos of the thing onto some selling pages on Facebook. One chap expressed mild interest, at which point "My Boy TM" announced how low a price to which he was prepared to go.
I didn't realise I was selling it on his behalf. Oh well - I shall charge a hefty agent's fee if the thing ever sells.
The doorbell rang. There was someone from Zenith Windows trying to sell their product. He started off with some cock and bull story about doing some work up the road and not wanting to disturb me with his noise, and then tried to force his wares on to me. I wasn’t interested and said so, but the bloke wouldn’t take no for an answer. What do you do with pushy salesmen? I just closed the door and walked off.
And then I had an interesting phone call. Apparently the astro club has an active Twitter account. One lives and learns. This week’s meeting is taking place in a local pub and I’m reliably informed that the plan is to tweet to the world from the meeting. In order to do so, wi-fi would be useful. The question was asked if the pub had wi-fi. I phoned them and in all honesty I think the phone was answered by the village idiot. Apparently they might have wi-fi, but if they do it's not something that they know about.
I spent some time sorting undercrackers and ironing shirts, them my email pinged. A new geocache had gone live. One that was of special interest - featuring a Tree Cow. People say there is no such thing as Tree Cows. People know nothing. You can find Tree Cows on the Internet so they must be true.
I set off hoping to be First to Find - I missed out on that by one minute.
And being Tuesday the clans gathered. Today in Somerset Road. We bendied insults then sat to watch telly. Merlin was in all sorts of trouble this evening. Not least of which was explaining why his boss was wearing spectacles some three hundred years before their first recorded use...
28 August 2013 (Wednesday) - Walking
Over brekkie I watched the antics of Blake and his four. They finally found that for which they had been searching for several episodes and were about to blow it up only to find that to do so would leave the way open for inter-galactic invaders from Andromeda. It turns out that inter-galactic invaders from Andromeda aren’t good, so instead of blowing things up, Blake had a fight instead.
It was shortly after this that "Daddies Little Angel TM" and Sid arrived, and we went for a walk. Down through South WIllesborough to an area we call “legoland” (because the houses look like they have been made of lego), and then somewhere new. Rather than coming home through Park Farm we tried a new route. Up through Cheeseman’s Green and across the footpaths back to Willesborough. There was a minor hiccup following the footpaths as we found a sign saying that footpaths had been diverted, but no signs marking said diversions.
I expect it’s nothing that a complaint to the local council won’t sort out. I wonder what response I will get…
Home, and as "Daddies Little Angel TM" started tidying the kitchen I started on the ironing. As I ironed I watched more of Blake and his four. I say “Blake”; after his earlier set-to with inter-galactic invaders from Andromeda all sorts of things got blown up including the Blake-mobile. Blake is currently missing in action.
After two hours of ironing I finally got to the end of it all. Lisa was keen to go for a walk, so I put "Furry Face TM"’s lead on him and we walked out to Great Chart and back through the environment centre (via the pub). It was a lovely day for a walk. Two hours later we came home, and after sleeping in front of the PC for half an hour er indoors TM" came home and we set off to the evening's meeting of Kent geocachers. We went via a rather unusual cache and MacDonalds, and spent an enjoyable evening chatting with old and new friends.
It would have been good to have carried on to the midnight caching session; but having helped lay out the trail during the afternoon it wouldn't be fair for me to do so. So I stayed in where "Daddies Little Angel TM" was watching absolute drivel on the telly. I soon put a stop to that and got her to go through the Sky Plus box and delete all the rubbish.
We more than tripled the available space on the thing...
29 August 2013 (Thursday) - Cold Calling
After a week's holiday with reasonable sleep I was expecting a bad night before going back to work today. It would probably have been better if "Furry Face TM" hadn't crept up the stairs, sat on the bed and started fidgeting half way through the night.
I gave up trying to sleep and was watching my DVDs by 5am You can't beat a bit of late 1970s sci-fi.. Blake was still absent, but his remaining henchmen have found two replacements. All of them were stuck in a black hole which was seemingly under the command of what I can only describe as a renegade Oompah- Loompah. Fortunately for the future of the series everyone escaped except the renegade Oompah- Loompah.
I must admit that renegade Oompah- Loompahs are nowhere near as good at being space baddies as the scary dominatrix they usually wheel on in Blake's Seven.
And so to work via Little Burton Farm where I completed day twenty nine of the August geocache challenge (at 6.45am). As I continued my journey I listened to the radio. The news was depressing; war, conflict, fighting. Mind you there was an article which promised to be interesting; the pundits were talking about nuisance phone calls. I get these at home with annoying regularity. The chairman of the committee for banning nuisance phone calls whinged that she was sick of nuisance phone calls. The chairman of the association of people who make nuisance phone calls assured the world at large that there is no such thing as a nuisance phone call (!) He went on to claim that everyone receiving such a phone call trying to sell them something receives that call because they want it. Apparently it is a proven point of law; this chap was crystal clear on the matter.
Both sides squabbled for a bit; the upshot of all of it was that nuisance phone calls are totally legal; and if you don't want them, don't have a phone.
I couldn't help but feel that wasn't as helpful to me as I had been hoping for.
I popped into Morrisons on my way to work. Sometimes a source of entertainment, amusement or frustration; today it was dull. Much as the rest of my day really. After a week of doing my own thing I rather resented having to do someone else's thing. The highlight was an impromptu gathering for a chap who was leaving today. He's going on an apprenticeship to become a plumber. I felt just the teeniest bit jealous that he was starting something new. It's not that I dislike my job; far from it. It's just that I've been doing it for so long.
I can't wait until retirement; if all goes according to current plan that will be in ten and a half years. I suspect things won't go to that plan...
30 August 2013 (Friday) - Astro Club
Another night's sleep wrecked by a certain dog. When ‘er indoors TM finally staggered home last night she took Furry Face TM for a walk. When she came home she left his collar on. So when he sneaked upstairs at 3.30am and started scratching, the tags on his collar seemed to make enough noise to wake the dead. They certainly woke me. After trying and failing to get back to sleep I got up for my morning's sci-fi fix.
If you ask anyone about Blake's Seven as a show, those that remember it will say that it started well and got worse. I think I've now got to the part where it is getting worse. Today's instalment featured the chronic coward character being somewhat heroic and even having his wicked way with the ladies. Quite out of character from what we've seen in the previous twenty-odd episodes. Mind you today's space baddie was a particularly camping-it-up Colin Baker. That was rather entertaining.
To work, via Little Burton Farm for a pre-work geocache. Only one more for this month's challenge. As I drove I listened to the radio. The news was all about the fact that the UK is not going to go to war in Syria to the apparent dismay of our international allies.
For all that I sympathise with the plight of those in Syria, I don't really know whether getting involved in somebody else's fight (yet again) is a good thing. I suspect not.
Once at work I did my bit and then left early for astro club. Tonight's meeting was a Summer Social. Personally I remain unconvinced about "socials". At the risk of appearing anti-social I went along feeling that I would rather have had a normal meeting with a talk followed by either telescopes or a planetarium show. But tonight we had a social. In a pub. The World's Wonder have been pushing for us to meet at their pub for ages. I must admit that having run the snake club in a pub for many years I wasn't keen on meeting in a pub. You feel obliged to spend money you haven't got on overpriced drinks you don't want. And you have to put up with the normal people who are there, getting in the way, and often resentful of what they see as strangers intruding into their territory.
But my fears were unfounded. The pub’s management was very welcoming, and we had a really good meeting. In retrospect I think I was just worried about doing anything to change what has been (for five years) a winning formula
And tonight there was the announcement about the future of the astro club. Change is seriously on the cards.
The plan is to build our own premises which will include an observatory in which we can set up dedicated telescopes. Ambitious perhaps? But certainly achievable. After all we raised thousands to take scouts to Canada. Twice.
For myself I will support the club's venture wholeheartedly... with one reservation. Whilst this plan is laudable, we mustn't lose sight of the fact that we need to look out for the interests of the "armchair astronomers" who do form a sizeable part of our membership. Whilst I am all in favour of getting our own premises, as far as the observatory bit goes, I will be working toward it for everyone else. It's no secret that I have little interest in actually looking through a telescope. Our observatory must be an add-on activity to what we currently do; not a replacement.
Mind you, in re-reading that last bit it would seem that I am already talking about what we will do with our new headquarters when (*not* if) we’ve built it. The time scale is five to seven years. Tune in sometime in late August 2020 and we’ll see…
31 August 2013 (Saturday) - Ashford Beer Festival
Once I'd got home and done the astro club's accounts and finished mucking about last night it was nearly midnight. Despite having been on the go since 5am I wasn't especially tired. I had a stroke of genius. Bearing in mind I would need to find a geocache on the31st to complete the month's geochallenge, and also bearing in mind that "Furry Face TM" always likes a walk we set off into town. There was a new one went live in the town centre a week or so ago, but whenever I've been near there have been workmen about. There was no one to be seen when I did the secret geo-ritual at one minute past midnight.
And so with the month's challenge completed I came home feeling rather pleased with myself. I never thought that finding (at least) one cache a day for the entire month of August would be practical. With only one un-found cache within six miles of the house at the start of the month, and two family holidays planned for the month it was going to be tricky. But I managed it, and with three FTFs as well. There's no denying that having people hiding caches nearby during the month really helped.
Mind you, I'm hoping there isn't a similar challenge next year.
Talking of geo-thinging we could have gone away on a geo-camp this weekend. In fact we would have gone if not for having had a better offer. This morning over a spot of brekkie I read some of the on-line reports from geo-camp. One especially caught my eye: "Well its ten to four I have thrown up once found two caches completly wasted and now I rekon its time tto go to sleep, god im gonna suffer in the morning, happy days".
I must admit I'm glad the better offer came up.
Another offer for today that I turned down was a fry-up brekkie. It would have been good, but I've put on half a stone in weight over the summer and having high calorie plans for today already I thought it best to moderate the calories. After all the secret to weight loss is easy. Just stop eating so much. It really is that simple. I've done it once. I need to do it again. Being permanently hungry is a pain (literally) but I know from experience that for me there is no other way to do it.
I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. As we went I listened to the breakfast show from AHBS on my phone's radio. I usually only listen to the radio when in the car. Today was a special event and I wanted to listen to Chip broadcasting to the masses. I enjoyed the show but did find the phone's ear pieces uncomfortable. How does everyone else manage?
Once home it wasn't long before Lisa and Earle arrived. We set off to the rugby club for the beer festival. I'd not been to the rugby club's beer festival before, and when we could hear the bands from a mile away my heart sank. I like live music when it is done well. Unfortunately it is rarely done well; and all too often there is a misconception that turning up the volume will disguise the fact that the band is rubbish. We arrived to find one such band playing rubbish music at deafening volume. But they didn't play for long, and were superseded by some surprisingly good bands who didn't feel the need to be quite so loud.
We met up with the rest of our number, and a pleasant afternoon was spent watching rugby, drinking silly names beers to excess, sitting in the sun. It was especially good to meet up with Terry who was over on a flying visit.
As the afternoon wore on we wandered round the fun fair, scoffed candy floss, ate hog roast. This was the rugby club's eleventh beer festival. I can't believe its taken me so long to get along to one.
One minor result was to find that the organisers were throwing away the disposable glasses the beer was being served in. We gathered up one or two of those as they are always useful. We now have replenished our stock of Shepherd Neame plastic pints and should not need any for another five years...