1 August 2017 (Tuesday) - Lazy Day
I was sleeping so well, and being on a rostered day off I had no need to be up and about early. It was such a shame that the dogs had to start a pitched battle on the bed at silly o’clock.
I gave up trying to sleep; over brekkie I had a look into cyber-space as I do. There were several people posting to Facebook from Devon. This week is the national week-long national meet-up of Tupperware hunters. There had been talk of going, but "er indoors TM" couldn’t get the time off work. I suppose what with her big birthday this week, that was probably for the best.
I also saw I’d made a geo-boo-boo. There had been issues with the series of geocaches I put out in Bethersden. Several of the caches on one stretch had intermittently been going missing. A chap doing the series told the landowner on that stretch all about geocaching, and so (armed with a map of where to look) the landowner went out and destroyed all he could find. A friend went out yesterday and fetched in all the remaining ones for me. When he told me he’d got them in I did the on-line archiving not thinking that he might not have done his geo-admin. Woops.
To some people this would be a matter of life and death, to others it would be petty triviality. Each to their own.
Seeing a large parking space outside the house I fetched my car round… I wish I hadn’t. As I walked up the road there was a near-miss as a cyclist came out of a side road into Beaver Road. The cyclist wasn’t watching the road; his eyes and both hands were on his phone and he was utterly unaware of any traffic until he was nearly over the bonnet of a passing car.
I got my car; as I drove down Beaver Road I pulled up into the parking space and stopped. I heard a screech of brakes and looked round to see a car diagonally blocking the road not six inches from the back of my car. Some irate bloke was bellowing out of his car window demanding to know what the f… I was doing. Without thinking I replied I was parking my car. That completely foxed him. He’d shot out of the shop’s forecourt fully intending to fly down the road with no regard for anyone who might consider speed limits. With a little to-ing and fro-ing he managed to get his car out of the silly angle he’d got into and headed off. Hopefully never to be seen again.
"er indoors TM" went to work. Together with the dogs I scrounged a lift as far as Godinton. There were two relatively new geocaches there. The first one had literally been thrown in a hedge; the second had been hidden with a little thought. Mind you I’m not complaining; they gave us targets for today’s walk. But I have now found every sandwich box concealed within three and a half miles of home.
We came home through the park where the dogs played in the river to cool off. The morning turned out to be hotter than I had expected.
Once home I had an early lunch which I devoured whilst watching episodes of “Time Gentlemen Please”, Good stuff to watch.
I could have then fixed the bannister; I could have pootled in the garden. But I didn’t. I’ve been rather tired lately; every day I’ve not been working I’ve been doing things, and so with the dogs asleep I had a lazy afternoon dozing in front of the telly.
"er indoors TM" came home and we went to Pizza Express where the clans gathered for a pre-birthday dinner. I’d not been there before; the food wasn’t too bad at all. But (in all honesty) I would rather have had a McDonalds…
2 August 2017 (Wednesday) - A Big Birthday
I slept well until the puppy started licking and biting my head shortly after 7am. I got up and she made herself comfortable where I had been. I came downstairs and over brekkie watched my lap-top finishing off its weekly update. I *always* make the same mistake; presented with the options of “Update and restart” or “Update and shut down” I invariably go for “Update and shut down”. I always forget this actually means “Do half the update and do the rest when he turns the thing on next time”.
The lap-top eventually came back to life and when it did I managed to have a look at the Internet. Yesterday I mentioned about the week’s geo-event in Devon. Several friends had gone, and were complaining about the rain. In years gone by I used to camp a lot; nowhere near so much these days (it hurts too much), but there’s no denying that the rain does put me off. Rain when camping is manageable *if* you are prepared for it, but being prepared for it involves taking some relatively huge form of shelter. And having some way of drying it out when you bring it home wet.
If I could afford a camper van or a caravan and had somewhere practical to store it…
I then spent a little while on TripAdvisor giving the work the benefit of my sage wisdom on several cafes, restaurants and McDonalds until the birthday girl emerged from her pit. She then spent a rather happy half an hour opening pressies; she had a good haul.
We then took the dogs for a walk. With rain forecast later we thought we’d wear them out before it got wet. A new geocache had gone live in the wilds near Tenterden, so we walked the dogs round some beautiful countryside and even got a cheeky First to Find whilst we were at it.
As we walked we were harangued by a landowner. They were very polite but very insistent that we complained about the owner of the adjoining fields. They claimed that they spent out maintaining the rights of way on their land whilst their neighbour had let the stiles fall into disrepair and had let them become dangerous. We assured them that we would report any dodgy stiles to the council. However we didn’t find any. I wonder what they had the arse about; all the stiles we found were fine.
We got home just as the rain started.
We settled the dogs and drove down to Hythe. "er indoors TM" fancied an afternoon tea, so we went to the Hythe Imperial Hotel. It wasn’t bad but… the coffee cup was so small that two gulps and you emptied it. Admittedly they did free refills. But three tiddly sandwiches, one scone and four micro cakes came to twenty quid each. And call me old fashioned if you will, but I did think the hen party on the next table having champagne instead of tea was just a tad too much. No one gave me the option of a pint. Mind you I’d certainly go back.
On the way home another car rear-ended us; he skidded on the wet roads. No harm was done, but it added to the adventure of the day.
Once home we slobbed for a bit, then collected Sam and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and then went on to the railway station for "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". The entire tribe then met up at the Harvester where I’d booked a table for family dinner. Not cheap, but then that sort of thing rarely is. And although the food was excellent, like yesterday (in all honesty) I would rather have had a McDonalds…
I think she enjoyed her birthday – I certainly did…
3 August 2017 (Thursday) - Flowers, Dogs
Perhaps I scoffed too much yesterday evening, perhaps it was the coffee at afternoon tea, or perhaps it was that puppy again. But whatever it was, I didn't sleep very well last night. I gave up trying to sleep at 5am, got up and as the puppy got comfortable where I had been, I spent a very worrying ten minutes trying to find my dog. He was nowhere to be found. I searched the bedrooms, behind the sofa, in the laundry basket. I even went round the garden and into the shed. the more I searched the more worried I became.
Eventually I discovered him (fast asleep) in his basket where he was supposed to be. I don't really know why I didn't look there first.
Over brekkie I watched the most recent episode of "Detectorists" that the SkyPlus box had recorded, then set off to work.
As I drove there was an interesting interview with an economist on the radio. This chap was saying that future British fiscal policy will need to be conducted carefully bearing in mind that as a nation we've deliberately decided to cripple our economy by opting to leave the European Union. He was quite vocal on the matter, and presented quite a bit of evidence which he claimed supported his position (not that I really understood it). He also implied that having done something so stupid, the rest of the world is now watching to see what idiot move we as a nation make next. I felt this wasn't perhaps the most balanced view to take, but there it is. He sounded believable, and (as always) facts are never as important as perception. You can fool all of the people all of the time provided you talk loudly and confidently.
There was also talk about genetic engineering; a vital first step has been taken to remove genetic disease from unborn babies. Who knows - generations yet unborn may never suffer with cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease.
The pundits on the radio were interviewing an expert from the University of Kent. But the interview was rather once-sided. It was embarrassing to listen to the ignorance of the radio show's hosts when they asked the expert to sum up several years of post-doctoral research into one easy-to-understand sentence.
I'd left home early to chase a First to Find. A new geocache had gone live not a million miles from work. I thought I might get a cheeky FTF. Interestingly the thing had gone live on Monday evening and still no find had been logged. I had wondered why; that rarely (if ever) happens. Finds are usually made within a couple of hours. Two days is unheard of.
I got to where the sat-nav took me and soon realized why this remained unfound. I found a flower box on a very busy street corner. Even at 6.45am there were endless passers-by who were looking very suspiciously at the stranger acting oddly by the flower box. The hint for finding the cache was "In the flower box". *In* it? Seriously?
I could see that others had rummaged about in the box. It had been somewhat trashed, with broken plants left in the box and dead flowers scattered on the grass nearby. I had a cursory look-see before logging a "Needs Archiving" to protect the remaining plants.
Surely the reviewer should have thought better about this before allowing this? Less than one minute on Google Street View showed the location wasn't really suitable. Furthermore the chap who hid this cache has never logged a find on any caches and (from what I can work out) is only thirteen years old.
I got to work for the early shift, and spent the day sitting in front of a microscope alternately whinging about my aching stomach and farting (when I felt I could get away with it). But an early start made for an early finish.
Once home I took the dogs round the park. The walk was progressing much the same as ever when a cyclist flew by. The puppy did her usual thing of trying to race (she races all fast-moving things).
The cyclist deliberately kicked her.
I bellowed after the chap who immediately speeded up. There’s a photo of the fellow here just in case anyone might recognise him…
I mentioned the episode to other dog walkers; some seemed to know of the chap. Apparently there is someone who cycles through the park at 6.45am and 5pm who doesn’t like dogs. Part of me wants to be waiting at the park at 6.45am tomorrow. Part of me wants to break this fellow.
Realistically I have no idea who he is; I have a blurred photo of someone a hundred (or more) yards away. Were I to lay in wait tomorrow all I would do would be to harangue some innocent passer-by.
It has been suggested I tell the police. From bitter experience I know the police would be disinterested at best. They threatened *me* with arrest when I complained to them that a pervert was telling me about his sexual desires on my teenaged daughter; they wouldn’t get off their arses for a dog.
4 August 2017 (Friday) - In With The Chrysanthemums
A decent night’s sleep at last. Perhaps it was catching up from the busy birthday day, or perhaps it was the bottle of champagne we had last night. We have quite a few bottles of champagne around the house which are being saved for special occasions. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but what is I with champagne? I looked up the bottle we had last night. It costs well over thirty quid a bottle, and (for me) it is nowhere near as good as the cheap plonk we brought back from France a few months ago. And (given the choice) I’d rather have had a bottle of Doctor Pepper.
I’ve often wondered if I should go on a wine tasting course to see if I can find out what I’m missing in these expensive wines.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Uncle”. I considered going round the park to lay in wait for the cyclist who kicked Treacle yesterday. Trouble is he flew past so fast I have no idea who it was. I had half a mind to go chase that geocache in the flowerbed I went for yesterday. Apparently it had gone missing and had since been replaced.
Instead I sparked up my lap-top and had a look at Facebook. Twenty-one people had shared the photo of the bloke who kicked the puppy. Surely someone must know him.
I set off to work. With little traffic I found myself making rather good time, so I did go look for that geocache. Perhaps I had been somewhat harsh on the kid yesterday. Perhaps I should see what replacement he’d put out before condemning him entirely.
I got to where I was supposed to be and… I could see the cache as I drove past. The boy who had hidden it had taken one of his mother’s kitchen containers, written “geochache” all over it and shoved it in with the chrysanthemums. I suppose I shouldn’t complain as I got a First to Find out of it but… the thing is so obvious it won’t last. And with it gone people’s sat-navs will still take them to the flower box where they will rummage.
As I drove the radio was playing “Thought for the Day”. Anne Atkins (the famous broadcaster, novelist and journalist) took the opportunity to talk utter bollox for five minutes. She started off by slagging off her own family. Apparently they are scientists and can explain exactly what happens when you turn a light switch on. She maintained that time would be far better spent thanking God for the light rather than explaining it.
She then attacked yesterday’s announcement about a first step toward curing genetic disease and felt that type 1 diabetes, heart disease and Downs Syndrome are gifts from God and who are we to try to correct some of God’s more glaring blunders.
I have said before that as a child I had such high hopes for the twenty-first century.
I got to work and had a rather quiet day. But not that quiet. I had hoped to be able to slip out to Prue’s funeral today but that wasn’t possible. A shame; I would like to have been there.
Once home I walked the dogs round the park. After yesterday’s altercation today’s walk passed off far better, But we did fins a little slow-worm as we walked. I say “little”; the thing was about a foot long. I tried to move the little reptile from the path to a place of safety, but the thing was far too quick for me to catch.
I’ve had KFC for tea; "er indoors TM" is off on a works beano. If previous ones are anything to go by she’ll be home around 4am with her pants round her ears singing songs about sailors. With any luck…
5 August 2017 (Saturday) – Working
I had one of those “On This Day” reminders from Facebook this morning; two years ago EE were giving out free battery packs for mobile phones, and two years ago today there was a recall issued as some of them were prone to blowing up. I took mine back, was assured a replacement, and promptly forgot all about it. It turns out they gave up on the whole idea. Such a shame; bearing in mind how much I pay them each month something for nothing would have been rather nice.
Whilst on Facebook I realised that a friend’s ex-girlfriend had de-friended me. What it the etiquette on social media when you have a bust-up? Do you automatically remove all connection with your ex-s’ friends?
I spent a little while in the garden. I cleared up all the dog turds then hung out the washing. I then cleared more dog turds that I’d missed the first time. I got out the strimmer then cleared even more dog turds that I’d missed on the second clear up. I strimmed the lawn’s edges, then went round clearing dog turds for a fourth time. How can two small dogs generate so much poo?
I got the lawn mowed, then cut back the jungle hanging over the fence from next-door. If and when I next see her I’m going to say something to her about her mess. I shall have to figure out how to get her to acknowledge my existence first, but I’ll sort it somehow.
We then took the dogs for a little walk. "er indoors TM" had left her car at the Conningbrook hotel last night; a three-mile walk to go fetch it would be just right. As we walked along past the Riverside pub I looked into the river. There was a pike swimming along. It was huge; probably nearly as long as my arm. Me and "My Boy TM" have been looking for somewhere to go pike fishing. Now we know.
We made relatively good time to the Conningbrook and were soon home again. I got in the dry laundry, scoffed an egg sandwich, had a quick shower, and set off for the late shift.
I left home just as the drizzle was starting and drove to work through heavy rain. It looked as though we had the best of the weather this morning and, as I've said before, I don't mind the weekend work when it is raining.
As I drove to work the radio was broadcasting "Any Questions" from Northern Ireland. As is so often the case with this show (and life in general), what started as a reasoned argument soon descended to a bitter squabble.
The people being interviewed were talking about Britain's relationship with the European Union after the Brexit deal is finalised. One of the panel suggested that Britain might try for a deal similar to the deals arranged by the Icelandic and the Norwegians. Another of the panel pointed out that in order for these specific deals to have been accepted by the EU, Norway and Iceland had to accept compliance with more EU regulations than most EU member states have to accept. Now this may be true, or this may be a blatant lie but no one on the radio's panel disputed it.
Didn't we vote to leave the EU because we don't want Johnny Foreigner telling us what to do? I sighed, and drove in to work.
As I worked the rain lifted. During a break my phone pinged. A message (via Facebook) from an old colleague. I'd not heard from her in years. She's doing fine; having left blood-testing she went into teaching. Within two years she had become Head of Science at a secondary school, and was still loving her job. For all that I am quite settled now, sometimes I wonder "what if". You certainly don't see many school teachers working on Saturdays in August.
But I doubt if being a secondary school teacher would have worked for me; I would probably have strangled one or two of them by now.
I did my bit; the relief soon arrived and I came home again. I should have had an early night really…
6 August 2017 (Sunday) - Four Thousand
I had something of a restless night last night. "er indoors TM" was off out with her pals. When she’s off out, the dogs lay in wait for her at the front door and bark like things possessed every time they hear something outside. I get sick of telling them to shut up.
I was rather tired last night so I marched them both upstairs and shut them in the bedroom with me where they sat by the door and whimpered; obviously wanting to go woof at the front door.
Over brekkie I had a look on Facebook. I’m very tempted to take a trip to London to see the Bat out of Hell musical. If any of my loyal readers fancy a day out, let me know. I’m vaguely considering Wednesday 23 August… but I suspect I’d have to book tickets months in advance.
We got ourselves organised and set off to Linton where we soon found Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. Wayne and Lynne joined us as did Dave, and we set off on a little geo-walk. The series of caches we were following had gone live for last Saturday’s geo-meet, but we were rather busy last Saturday. We thought they might make for a good walk today.
We had a really good walk. The Kent countryside is beautiful, and the walk around Linton out to Boughton Monchelsea and back is stunning. As we walked we saw alpacas and deer, and I even saw a buzzard circling overhead. As we walked we helped ourselves to the blackberries that seemed to be everywhere, and some of us even got a plum and an apple too. Very nice!
We stopped at the church at Boughton Monchelsea; the church garden overlooks the deer park and this was an ideal spot for lunch. We scared off the normal people sitting on the benches, and as we ate so the church chucked out. We were soon joined by two small children who asked if they could stroke the dogs. Now call me old-fashioned if you will, but I always told my children not to speak to strangers. Lydia and Nathaniel’s mummy clearly never told them that. Lydia and Nathaniel were made up with the dogs, and asked if they could take them for a little walk round the church gardens. Both wanted to take Treacle as she was bouncy and running about; neither wanted my dog as he was slow and plodding. But they decided to take turns, and we had a rather peaceful dog-free lunch as the children walked the dogs about. Nathaniel told us he wanted a dog, but mummy had said no.
Mummy eventually turned up, and off they all went. I suspect mummy got a hard time from both children who both clearly loved our dogs. I wonder if they would be so keen had they seen Fudge roll in fox poo not five minutes later, and my having to give him an impromptu bath in a cattle trough.
As we walked we met several other people who also were hunting Tupperware. Jay and Clint were old friends, but we also met “Captain Navi”, “Dr D and Me”, and “Clockshop”. (A prerequisite of hunting Tupperware is a daft alias).
We found all the caches we set out to find, but there is no denying that some of them were a teeny bit tricky to unearth. I say we found them all; one was missing. Mind you they’d been hidden by a good friend, and a quick phone call established that the farmer had destroyed a hedge in the meantime, so we replaced it before adjourning to the pub.
The Bull at Linton is a rather good pub. The views from the beer garden have to be seen to be believed. We saw them and enjoyed them over three pints of rather good ale, then I slept most of the way home.
I took a few photos as we walked. Once home I put them on the Internet. I do that. What else is the Internet for? And with the dogs sleeping and "er indoors TM" bowling I settled myself in front of the telly. Poldark’s on soon. I wonder if Lieutenant Armitage is still sniffing around Demelza? Mind you with her bosom heaving like it does…
And in closing, today is something of a milestone. This is my four thousandth blog entry. The blog itself seems to have a life of its own. With over four hundred hits each week it certainly seems to be providing entertainment. Hello to all my readers… I hope you enjoy this little window into my life. I only started it as an aide-memoir for myself as I can’t remember what I did five minutes ago; let alone last year.
Since I started recording history in September 2006 I’ve not missed a day. People, fads, crazes and hobbies have come and gone. Back then I was a senior manager at the top of my career and hating every minute of it. Now I’m happy in my job doing the work for which I trained. Back then I was a scout leader feeling I was wasting my time. Not any more. Back then I probably drank too much. Not quite so much these days? Kites were a “thing” back then – I really should get them out more often. Both fruits of my loin were living at home; they’ve now spread their wings and have families of their own. But (for the most part) those and that which mattered is still on the scene today.
I wonder what the next four thousand blog entries will hold?
7 August 2017 (Monday) - Cheeky FTF
I slept well, but woke feeling rather miserable. I often do that after a good day. But we need the “bleagh” days to appreciate the good ones.
Over brekkie I saw four new geocaches had gone live locally. I could have got up and run after them for an FTF, but decided against it; I’d got a washing machine full of stuff churning that I wanted to put out, and I expected the local FTF king was already on the case. So instead I stuck to my plan for the morning.
I mooched in cyberspace until the washing machine had done its bit. With the first load of washing hung out I got a second lot into the machine, then I took the dogs for a little bit of geo-maintenance. Two of my geocaches had gone missing. I replaced one, and the other I archived and re-submitted as a new cache. Realistically after four years everyone locally has found it. Creating a new one would give everyone a little walk out (if nothing else). As we walked we met two ex-cubs mothers; both remembered me and we had a little chat.
Just as we were leaving Singleton Lake I had a look at the geo-app on my phone. Those new caches were only a few minutes’ walk away, and no one had logged a find yet. So I thought we might chase a First to Find. The nearest cache eluded us completely. I found myself rummaging in a thicket and the given hint (000556) meant nothing. So we walked a couple of hundred yards to where we found the next cache hanging in some cobwebs. But we were first to get there. FTF – happy dance.
We came home through the park, and once home Fudge ate the breakfast he’d turned his nose up at earlier. I hung out the washing as both dogs crashed out. Fudge was soon snoring, but after five minutes Treacle got on the back of the sofa and barked at the outside world. I wish she wouldn’t do that.
I filled the holes in the wall with a view to fixing the bannister then over some lunch (toast) I watched the episode of “Game of Thrones” that the SkyPlus box had recorded for me at 2am this morning; even though I had already seen one or two spoilers about the show. The show itself – it was OK. The fight scenes were spectacular, or so I’m told. I’m like that with fight scenes, or the chase scenes in films, or the guitar solos with bands. The bits that everyone else raves over are the bits I fast-forward through.
With telly watched I went to bed for the afternoon. I managed three hours sleep which was interrupted twice by dogs frantically barking for no reason whatsoever.
I got the laundry in; something odd had happened. It was all dry apart from one T-shirt which was still wringing wet. I wonder what had happened there?
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. She says she’ll boil up some dinner before I have to go to the night shift…
8 August 2017 (Tuesday) - Heavy Rain
For all that I quite like the night work, I certainly greeted the morning’s relief shift with a sense of gratitude that they had arrived.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were exploring some interesting points of law. Since the sort of law that the European Court of Human Rights deals with has been dealt with them for some years there isn’t any British based way of making up laws on human rights. It has been suggested that as and when the European Court of Human Rights makes up new laws so the British legal system just copies them.
Some see this as a good and cheap way of avoiding duplication of effort; others feel there is merit in spending an absolute fortune duplicating this effort because we are British. Island nation and all that old bollox.
I can’t help but feel that this is yet another thing that should have been thought about and discussed *before* the country got itself into this mess.
Once home I took the dogs for a walk (despite the drizzle). As we walked we met other dog walkers. Fudge played (and humped) with them. Treacle mostly ran in fear, but she did play chase with a small spaniel for a while. As we walked we met a woman we know by sight who warned us of a cyclist with a red jacket who kicked a puppy last week. I was glad that word is getting about.
As we walked my phone beeped; there was a new geocache less than half a mile away. After a moment’s excitement I realised it was the one that I put out yesterday.
We came home. I had a shower, then over brekkie watched last week’s episode of “Uncle” before taking myself off to bed for the day. The dog only woofed me awaked (for no reason) once, but the sound of the heavy ran did wake me at 3pm.
The dogs let me sleep until shortly after 4pm when Treacle insistently woke me. She wanted a tiddle. Good puppy. I then slobbed in front of the telly whilst the dogs grumbled at passers-by. Eventually they lost interest and sat with me. I was getting quite into “On The Buses” when the rain got so heavy that it blocked the satellite TV signal.
Off to the night shift again… the days between night shifts are usually dull.
9 August 2017 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shifts
I did my bit overnight, and then came home as best I could. I was somewhat delayed as a humungous pot-hole had appeared on my way home. Getting out of Maidstone wasn’t *too* tricky but traffic was queued back a mile to the motorway. I shall need to leave early tomorrow morning to get there in time.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were addressing an interesting point of law. The Government was meeting today with representatives of the Scottish, Welsh and Irish assemblies to discuss exactly what powers will be taken back to Westminster following Brexit, and what powers will go to the devolved assemblies.
The feeling was that power would come back to Westminster and stay there; heaven help the Scots, Welsh and Irish if they thought they were going to have any say in a post-Brexit Britain. I don’t understand this at all. “We as a nation” are leaving the European Union, but “we as a nation” don’t really exist. We actually have three small puppet states in thrall to one big state. In theory all four countries of the UK come together to make up the UK government; in practice it is the English who call the shots. Because there are so many of us English. The Scots, Welsh and Irish feel their voices aren’t being heard and want more powers for their assemblies, and maybe even independence of their own.
The whole thing stinks of hypocrisy. The British Government is taking the line that we want to take back control of our own country as far as the European Union is concerned, but when the Scots, Welsh and Irish make the same point, the British Government tells them to wind their necks in.
Surely it makes sense for us all to stick together? I really don’t understand this “take back control” argument. Take back control from whom? Someone who “isn’t us”? If so, who is “us”? I have as much in common with the average Scot as I do the average Geordie, Londoner, Scouser, or (come to that) Frenchman. Why should I take orders from any of those? And (in all honesty) how far do we go? I don’t really have that much to do with people from Surrey or Essex either. I’ll admit to an interest in Sussex because I have family there (in the east; West Sussex can do one).
Bring back the days when the stranger was someone to be feared. Pelt them with rocks perhaps?
Or (just maybe) there might be something to be gained from sticking together?
I got home and as I got out of the car I could hear my dogs barking like things possessed. "er indoors TM" said they heard my car pull up and they got excited. They know that when I come home is walkies time. We got the leads onto the hounds, then "er indoors TM" gave us a lift up to Repton Park on her way to work. Some geocaches had gone live there on Monday; I thought they might mark out a little walk for us.
We found one along an alley I never knew existed.
The second eluded us; it had eluded others. The chap who did find it on Monday found it after dark. It is one that would be best left till after dark; we looked rather obvious rummaging in a hedge on a housing estate.
The third was the one I couldn’t find on Monday. I went straight to it today.
As we walked I met an old colleague who was walking his dog. He was friendly enough I suppose. I was civil to him, but… It is nearly six years since I was (effectively) knifed in the back at the place where I had worked for over twenty-five years. With half a dozen exceptions, people I’d known for much of that time all turned their backs on me. There are all sorts of maxims about knowing who your friends are. I pray that my loyal readers never find out who their friends are; I did find out, and this chap wasn’t one of them.
We exchanged pleasantries; he was surprised that I would walk the dogs the huge distance from Repton Park to Beaver Road. I explained it was only two miles. “Only” he responded. And told me his dog gets a five-minute walk, and can think himself lucky.
I brought my dogs home through the park where we played in the river, and once home I had a quick scrub and took myself off to bed for a couple of hours.
At 3pm the nice man from Everest double glazing called to give a quote for replacing the living room window. After a little measuring-up he quoted a ball-park figure of about three and a half thousand pounds. Ouch (!) I think the existing window is good for a little while longer.
I then spent a couple of hours doing the ironing whilst catching up with episodes of “Dark Matter” that the SkyPlus box had recorded. I watched two; they were both good episodes, but the first was in many ways a rehash of the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Future’s End” and the second was pretty much a reworking of the Star Trek: TNG Episode “Brothers”.
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. I wonder what’s for dinner… She boils up a good bit of scran.
10 August 2017 (Thursday) - Early Shift
The noise of the seriously heavy rain woke me just before 3am. I lay awake desperately putting off getting up for a tiddle. I do that quite often; I would seem to prefer laying in bed suffering rather than getting up for two minutes to go to the loo. After a while I gave up and got up. I was back in bed within minutes, but didn't get back to sleep again; the noise of the rain combined with worries about the roof leaking (again) kept me awake.
I gave up laying in bed just after 5am, and got up. Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Uncle", then set off to work. Although I was on the early shift I was leaving home rather earlier than I probably needed to; a pot-hole in Hermitage Land combined with whatever floods may have happened overnight left me feeling that my journey might be delayed.
As I drove the pundits on the radio amazed me as they so often do. There is stagnation in the housing market; those who make money from such things are losing money hand over fist as people aren't moving houses fast enough.
I thought a house was somewhere where you live; apparently it's not. In certain circles it's seen as a financial commodity. This is entirely what's wrong with our society, isn't it?
The pundits then wheeled on another expert who felt the way forward for housing was cheap pre-fabricated houses.
All these so-called experts; no two agree on anything.
I'd left home early to have time to get through the traffic queues and floods. I was driving past the Aylesford McDonalds about fifty minutes earlier than I thought I might be, so I stopped for McBreakfast.
The day staff at Aylesford McDonalds are really organised, the early morning staff haven't a clue. I asked for a sausage and egg McMuffin meal; the woman behind the counter had never heard of it. In the end I pointed out what I wanted on the screen behind her; it was quite plain she'd never seen that screen before.
With McBrekkie eventually scoffed I set off to work. The temporary traffic lights set up for the pot hole were in place, but I couldn't see any huge pot hole. A shame - I'd been hoping to see something spectacular.
Feeling somewhat disappointed, I got in to work and did my bit.
During tea break I checked my emails - I had a notification from geocaching dot com. The geocache I couldn't find yesterday had had its co-ordinates updated. They were about ten metres out. Interesting - that might explain why I couldn't find it. (Or maybe I just can'#t find my own bum with both hands?)
I must admit that I was cold today; I found myself remembering a weekend at Teston Kite Festival fourteen years ago today. 10 August 2003 was the hottest day recorded in the UK; and that high of 38.5 oC was recorded in Kent. We were hot that day. Somewhere on a hard disk I've got diaries from the old kite festival days; I should dig them out I suppose.
However an early start combined with a shortened lunch break made for an early finish. I came home and walked my dogs round the park. Bearing in mind that I was on an early last Thursday and that it is a week since a passing cyclist kicked the puppy, I wondered if being on an early today meant I might meet that cyclist again.
Did I – I *might* have done.
As we walked from Bowen’s Field to Viccie Park a cyclist flew past then slowed down as he saw the puppy was running along the path. He went past us, looked back at the puppy, caught my eye, and then cycled off. We caught up with him later – he was circling the Hubert fountain where he again looked at the puppy and caught my eye. This time he sped off never to be seen again.
Was it him?
I don’t know. I am probably imagining all sorts of things and casting aspersions on a totally innocent passer-by. But there is no denying that I wish he’d tried something when I could have caught him.
Just as we got to the co-op field my phone rang. It was one of the supervisors at work. Could I not do the early shift tomorrow but do the daytime instead? My mind raced; why was I not wanted to work unsupervised? Had I ballsed something up? I felt physically sick but it transpired that staff shortages at the sister laboratory meant that colleagues were being moved there for the day, and having me on the core shift meant I could work unsupervised for longer.
I can be quite paranoid at times…
"er indoors TM" will be home in a minute. I wonder what she’s boiling up for tea tonight?
11 August 2017 (Friday) - Bit Dull
I slept like a log; I suppose two night shifts and a restless night would have made having a good night somewhat compulsory. Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Uncle” whilst the puppy chewed my arm. She is very much like a baby in that absolutely everything goes in her mouth.
With telly finished I had a mooch on-line, Nothing much was kicking off (for once) and so I set off for work.
I struggled to navigate my way up the pavement; the bin men had been out and had scattered the bins. I found out green recycling bin thrown across the pavement so I dragged it home. I assumed the food waste bin laying with it was also ours so I retrieved that one too.
Are Ashford Council *really* that desperate for bin men that they have to take these people with such a couldn’t-give-a-shit attitude?
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing James Chapman. He was once chief of staff to the Brexit minister, and he was trying to make a case for a new British political party. The chap rudely shouted down anyone else on the radio, and (quite frankly) was talking rubbish. He had this theory that Conservative MPs disillusioned with their party might club together with Labour MPs who were also unhappy with their party. The alliance would be based on the (supposed) fact that everyone was unhappy, and would attract those who want to stay in the European Union.
Hasn’t this argument been done to death?
I got to work, and did my bit. It was a very busy bit, and my concerns of yesterday were utterly unfounded as I took command of the hospital’s blood bank for much of the day. I say “took command”; I didn’t do much commanding. Being the only bloke there I knew my place and hid quietly in the corned whilst the ladies ran the show.
Once home I took the dogs round the park. Just as we walked through Bowen’s Field I noticed the puppy was limping quite badly. I felt sick; what had she done. She came up to me; holding up her paw and whimpering. The silly dog had trodden in dog shit and didn’t like it. I wiped it as best I could in the long grass, and she seemed to rally at that.
"er indoors TM" brought home fish and chips. I like fish and chips. So do the dogs. But where Fudge just sis looking hopeful, the puppy screams for scraps. She actually screams if you don’t give her food from your plate.
I’ve got to program “Hannah” for tomorrow. I should really have an early night too…
12 August 2017 (Saturday) - For Duck's Sake
The alarm woke me at 5am. A shame really as I’d been awake for much of the night. I got up, and over brekkie watched a lame episode of “Dad’s Army”. Much as I like the show it is somewhat formulaic; pretty much everything which happened in this episode was predictable.
We got ourselves organised and fed the dogs. I say “fed the dogs”; Treacle yummed her brekkie but Fudge knew something was going on and had to be hand-fed every morsel.
Eventually we got out of the house and set sail to Brenchley where we met the rest of our team. Karl, Tracey and Charlotte were waiting for us, as were Wayne and Lynne. We’d all decided to walk the “For Duck’s Sake” series of geocaches. The series was one of over a hundred caches and we knew we’d have something of a mission today.
As we walked we saw alpacas and cows. There was beautiful views, and chocolate-box cottages to be seen. Half way round we found a rather good pub, and it was a shame that my dog had to burst the football in the beer garden. There was a worrying five minutes when "er indoors TM" took a tumble; for a worrying few seconds I thought she’d dropped dead, but all was well (eventually).
We’d been told the walk was one of eighteen miles; ”Hannah” (my sat-nav) measured the walk as a shade over nineteen miles. We started walking shortly after 7.30am, and got back to where we started some twelve hours later feeling something the worse for wear. We had a couple of pints in the Castle Inn, and I can thoroughly recommend the place.
As for the walk; we’d started well by walking along a quiet lane, but soon ran into difficulties when we went cross country. We struggled to find the footpaths. Before long we were walking the lanes again, and were dodging the cars as they hurtled past, before again desperately searching for footpath markers. This was something of a feature of the day unfortunately; unmarked footpaths and dangerous roads. It wasn’t really put out with dogs or children in mind.
Also I don’t think there was a single stile which was actually fit for purpose either.
I must admit I wasn’t keen on the way that finding the bonus cache was dependent on finding rubber ducks in other caches; some of them had gone and the bonus cache was only found by educated guesswork.
But all credit to the chap who hid the caches in the first place; he did more than many have done.
We came home, and the puppy immediately piddled on our bed…
13 August 2017 (Sunday) - Lazy Day
Looking back it was such a good day yesterday. The weather was wonderful and the countryside was beautiful, we were out with great friends. However I knew that yesterday’s walk was going to be challenging, and this morning after nearly eight hours sleep (!) it hurt to move.
I struggled up, and say that both "er indoors TM" and Treacle was still fast asleep. I hobbled downstairs where Fudge opened an eye, turned it to me, and then closed it again.
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook as the washing machine did its thing. Twice. After two hours I got fed up with killing time waiting for "er indoors TM" to get up so with the washing hung out I started mowing the lawn. With lawn mowed I then cut back two dustbin-fulls of assorted foliage hanging over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door. As I worked I had the water features doing their thing. The big one was a tad whiffy so I emptied a bottle of disinfectant into it.
As I slaved away "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" came to visit together with Sid and Pogo.
We had been planning to got to Teston kite festival today to catch up with old friends, but looking at piccies on Facebook it seemed that with one or two exceptions pretty much the entire kite-flying fraternity had gone to Portsmouth for the weekend. Teston is an hour away; a round trip to Portsmouth would take a large part of the day.
The kites can stay in their bags a little longer.
Having decided against a day out to Teston kite festival we also decided against a walk round the park; it was too hot. So we slobbed about the garden for a while before walking home with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM".
As we walked we were going past one of my geocaches. I’d had a report that the thing was probably missing. It was. I replaced it, and then archived the listing and created a new one. After five years everyone local has long since found it. Five minutes effort on my part meant that everyone could have another smiley face on their listings.
Once at the "Stormageddon-arium TM" we met up with "My Boy TM" who was visiting, and I promptly fell asleep. I was woken with a cheese roll half an hour later, and I spent a rather pleasant hour watching the most amazing videos. Some chap has make stop-animation videos of car races featuring Batman, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Lightning McQueen, Buzz Lightyear and all sorts of other cartoon characters. You can see one of them by clicking here.
We came home; I dozed for a bit, then we went up to the Pheasant where we had Cheryl’s surprise birthday dinner. I ate far too much… I see a restless night ahead…
14 August 2017 (Monday) - Rostered Day Off
I scoffed far too much yesterday, and had a rather restless night. Over brekkie I sparked up my lap-top and saw I had a message. I knew one of the geocaches on my North Challock series was missing. I was planning to spend the morning replacing it today, but a kind person told me he had replaced it for me yesterday. I was pleased about that. When caches of a series go missing it is never the ones near the roadside; it is always the ones which involve a hike to get to. I wish more people would do that; certainly report “didn’t find it” if you can’t find it. but after half a dozen “didn’t find it” logs it becomes apparent that it really isn’t there. The chap has replaced the cache with a film-pot. Simple enough to do; if you ask in Boots they will give you a couple of dozen for free, and it keeps the hobby going. And (from a personal perspective) it saved me a couple of hours.
So rather than wandering round Challock this morning, I took the dogs out instead. We scrounged a lift with "er indoors TM" to Repton Park to have a look for that geocache I couldn’t find last week. I found it rather quickly today (now that the hider had updated the co-ordinates), and flushed with success I then went after another new geocache which had been placed within twenty yards of a playpark.
I *wish* the geo-feds would be more consistent with proximity-to-playpark issues.
Feeling rather smug that I’d found two caches we came home through the park. Fudge did straggle somewhat; he does that.
Once home I hung out a second load of washing, and then the postman came. Amongst the letters was one from the Halifax building society saying if I didn’t do something about my account with them they would give the money to charity. I’ve never had an account with the Halifax building society, but having a little time on my hands I went into town to see what it was all about. I went to the Halifax building society. It always used to be by the bus stops. It had gone. Jamie waved at me from his bus, and told me that the Halifax was in the building that used to be the Castle pub. Apparently it has been there for years.
I eventually got to the head of the queue and explained why I was there. The nice man behind the counter told me that the Halifax building society had taken over the Leeds Permanent Building Society in 1995, and I used to have an account with them.
One lives and learns.
The nice man asked if I’d like to keep the account going, or would I like to cash it in. I decided to cash it in. That was a net profit of seven pounds and seven pence. And an added bonus was that as I pulled out my passport to prove my bona fido I found twenty euros I never knew I had. Result (!)
I went back to my car via Boots where I asked if they had any film pots the didn’t want. They gave me a carrier bag full of the things.
Pausing only briefly for petrol I came home and over a bit of lunch watched last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones”. It was a good episode, not marred by the interminable fight scenes about which so many people rave.
I spent a few minutes downloading some classic tunes to listen to when driving, then did the ironing whilst watching some episodes of Eden: Paradise Lost. An interesting show; the premise is that a couple of dozen average people are dumped on a remote island and left to fend for themselves. The entire thing very quickly descended into one big argument as life generally does.
"er indoors TM" is off bowling in a minute. I shall program “Hannah” for tomorrow, and watch the last of Eden; Paradise Lost. It is reassuring to realise that it isn’t just me who is always in an argument…
15 August 2017 (Tuesday) - The Cuckoo Trail (North)
I got an hour’s sleep last night, then "er indoors TM" and the dogs came up. There was two minutes silence so’s "er indoors TM" could nod off, then the puppy started. She commenced by bothering Fudge (I could hear him growling) so after a few minutes I moved her. She then spent the rest of the night pushing forcefully against me. Eventually (at 6am) "er indoors TM" took the puppy to her side of the bed, but after fifteen minutes the puppy came back to harangue me.
A combination of the puppy and the noise of the rain against the window then kept me awake. I gave up and got up. Sleep is for woosies….
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. First of all I checked the weather forecast for Heathfield. Rain very early but a dry day. So the plan for the day could go ahead (hopefully). I then read Drew’s latest blog entry. He’s off to America to watch next week’s eclipse. One thing he wrote made me think. On describing dropping off his luggage during the late evening he wrote: “There was no queue at all, in fact, I was the only person there, though there were two Virgin desk attendants on duty”. I can remember being in a quiet hotel bar one evening; 11pm and three staff were on duty. Compare this to the average hospital after routine hours….
Talking of which a friend of a friend had recently had a bad experience at the local hospital. Rather than complaining through the proper channels she just scribbled out a rant and posted it on Facebook without spell-checking or grammar-checking. I suppose it is what people do these days, but will it actually achieve much?
I got myself ready, and set off to meet Dick. We then followed his sat-nav to Hellingly along a rather circuitous route, and once there we met Aleta. She hopped into the Dick-mobile and we all set off to Heathfield.
The Cuckoo Trail is a long footpath following the route of a long-since abandoned railway line, and (needless to say) there are one or two geocaches along it. The Cuckoo trail is a straight line, fourteen miles in length. Having parked one car at its mid-point we then drove to the northernmost end and walked back to that car.
It was a good walk.
I took some photos as we walked, as you can see it was rather pretty. As we walked we met other walkers and cyclists. We even met other hunters of Tupperware. We met a little toad who was four feet up a tree; the thunderstorm which started at mid day only lasted for a few minutes, and the day was only marred by Aleta going arse over tit into a clump of stinging nettles. (There’s no way of elegantly going into a clump of stinging nettles). However I can’t help but feel that East Sussex county council could have put some dog poo bins along the way; there was dog poo everywhere.
Geocache-wise we found forty-three of the forty-six caches we set out to find. One simply wasn’t there. We found one, but it was too far up a tree to get to safely. And the last one was (according to the description) over ten feet up a tree, but we couldn’t see it at all. If I had a clue where it was I might have considered scrambling up… Of the forty-three we did find, most were rather difficult finds. Many were lacking any kind of hint, and I must admit I thought the given difficulty/terrain ratings were something of an underestimate.
Also several were listed as having trackables in them; not one actually did.
We eventually got to the half-way point of the trail where we stopped walking for the day, and drove back to Heathfield where we said our goodbyes (until next week). We made good time home, and once home I walked my dogs round the park. I would have taken them for the geo-walk today, but the puppy gets travel sick and it isn’t fair to fill other people’s cars with dog-vomit.
As we walked I noticed something. The puppy stank. "er indoors TM" had walked the dogs at mid-day, and the puppy had wallowed in a ditch of stagnant water. Once home again (and having got and scoffed my dinner) I told "er indoors TM" that her puppy needed a bath.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. “Star Trek”, “Gotham” and “Benidorm” too. Not a bad way to spend the evening…
16 August 2017 (Wednesday) - Before the Late Shift
I slept well; it was a shame that "er indoors TM" had set her alarm an hour earlier than usual. I woke to find the puppy was curled up next to me. She’s no trouble when she’s quiet during the night.
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. More people are “taking time out” on social media. This seems to be a “thing” at the moment. But rather than just not logging in, people disable their accounts and it looks (to paranoid people like me) as though they have decided to block me. And I then spend hours worrying about what I might have done to offend.
I also saw some photos posted on-line from friends on their various holidays. Pictures from Arizona, Alcatraz, Portugal, Spain. Everyone seems to be having a good time. I like social media if only so I can see what everyone else is up to.
"er indoors TM" set off to work an hour earlier than usual, and both dogs jumped on to the back of the sofa to bark furiously at passers-by. I wish they wouldn’t. Mind you I’m glad Fudge can get on to the sofa again; it’s just a shame he jumps. We spent good money buying him a small set of steps and he refuses to use them. The lazy puppy does though.
I popped the leads on to the dogs and we went for a walk round the park. For once the puppy played (relatively) nicely with other dogs. We saw OrangeHead (minus posse) but she didn’t see us. I did notice an “odd” smell when walking past the William Road allotments; I think smoking “odd” substances is a prerequisite to being allowed an allotment there judging by how often I sniff those “odd” smells.
All things considered the walk passed off uneventfully which was for the best. However for all that things were good when the dogs were off the leads, the same can’t really be said for when they are on the leads. The puppy pulls like a train and Fudge stops every five yards to sniff where other dogs have tiddled. I can’t help but wonder if he’d be happier if I just left him in the garden with a couple of bricks that all the local dogs had piddled on. And the puppy might prefer just being chained to a post that she could pull against.
The puppy’s pulling is so intense that she’s worn bald patches around her neck where she pulls against the lead so much.
Once home I fed the pond fish. We’d had a fatality; a dead tench. On reflection, the koi feed from the surface; I don’t think tench do that. And the koi don’t leave much food to sink.
I settled the dogs, and set off to Maidstone. Yesterday Aleta had mentioned that she’d had trouble locating a geocache in Ditton. I had a go and drew a blank too. Mind you by the time I’d finished messing around it was lunch time so I got myself some McScoff and then went on to the late shift.
17 August 2017 (Thursday) - Another Late Shift
The puppy didn’t curl up last night. She spent the night waving her long legs about continually catching me with her claws. If she is banished downstairs she howls, if she is up with us she is restless. If any of the other bedrooms in the house were accessible I would sleep there. I might try the sofa tonight.
As I scoffed my toast the dogs barked for no reason. This happens all the time; I’m getting fed up with it. One dog will fart, or drop a toy, the other dog then starts woofing, and the first joins in. Both dogs then get incredibly stressed because neither knows why they are barking, and I get stressed because neither dog will shut up.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. I spent a few minutes looking at holiday photos from Arizona and Portugal and Spain. It is the middle of August; people are going to be on holiday. I was a tad jealous, but not as jealous as when I read the news (from LinkedIn) that an old schoolfriend of mine has a new job. I had a quick look on how-much-does-that-job-pay-dot-com and it looks like my old mate is earning about five times what I do. It’s not that I’m jealous, but I *am* incredibly jealous. I won’t say exactly what it is that he does, but it is basically pushing paper around an office (from 9am to 5pm). Today I was working until 9pm. I shall be working all night tomorrow and Saturday. If I slip up in what I do I have the potential to kill someone. My place of work (like all hospitals) is constantly under scrutiny with the public always looking to find fault. But I doubt if one person in a thousand gives a stuff for how efficiently paper is pushed.
It is too late for me to try to become some sort of office millionaire. And I must admit I quite like my (current) job. But I look at my old mate with his six-figure salary and can’t help but think “what-if”.
Despite the rain I popped the leads on the dogs and we did our usual circuit of the park. As we walked we could see the council were mowing the lawns, and the puppy went back on to the lead after she’d chased the lawnmower for the third time. Fudge could have done with going on the lead to have made him keep up. It’s not that he can’t; he just chooses not to. Just at the end of the walk (through the co-op field) the two of them were chasing each other like things possessed.
I set off to work, and went via Hollingbourne. There was a geocache there, but to be able to find it I first needed to solve a puzzle based on the village sign. I'd blagged some of the required information from the Internet at home, but I needed to go to the sign to get the rest. I got there, and whilst I was writing down various dates I thought I'd check the information on the sign with what I'd got from Wikipedia. And I had a shock.
Two of the so-called facts were different. Wikipedia was at odds with reality. Wikipedia said that William Cobbett wrote his book "Rural Rides" in 1830, but the information board by the village sign said differently. Is it possible that Wikipedia might be in error? It was just as well I checked. Personally I suspect reality has it wrong.
But with the information gathered and the calculations calculated I soon found the errant Tupperware that I sought, and I set off for lunch.
Usually I'd go to McDonalds for lunch. Today I thought I'd have a change. As I drive to work every day I see signs advertising the Woodstock garden centre and cafe. I thought I'd have a look-see and get lunch there for a change…
Following the signs takes you to an old mansion house not unlike the one in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The so-called garden centre is in the grounds of this place. It features a closed cattery, and some scary looking people selling vastly overpriced garden furniture. There was a cafe; I didn't go in. The woman behind the counter was eyeing me as though I would be the next thing on the menu.
Was I imagining it, or could I really hear the banjos in the distance?
I drove down to McDonalds. I thought I would stick to what I knew. And then, pausing only briefly to get some bogroll, I went in to work for another busy late shift. I could do with a quiet one.
18 August 2017 (Friday) – Boobs
I was woken by a crash as Fudge fell off the bed shortly after 1am. I settled him down, and tried to get back to sleep. However the groans and squeals of nice-next-door having sex did keep me awake. I was tempted to bang on the wall and suggest he shove it in her mouth at 1.40am. It was rather unfortunate that the scream that one of them gave at the most exciting part set the puppy barking.
I eventually nodded off, and slept through till half an hour after "er indoors TM"’s alarm was supposed to have gone off.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. I saw an advert for the Faversham Hop Festival in a couple of weeks’ time. It sounds like fun, but I expect it would cost me the thick end of a hundred quid. Things like this often do. Mind you I might give it a go. I should really experience it before I dismiss it out of hand.
Drew’s blog was interesting. He looked to be having quite an adventure in America. I’m quite jealous, but I do like the way he’s making a record of what he did. Somewhere I’ve got diaries of my American adventures when we took the scouts abroad. I can remember the mothers of the scouts being grateful for them, as all the boys could remember of three weeks abroad was a zoo trip and a day swimming.
On a more sombre note there was a terrorist attack in Barcelona last night. Quite a few people were killed. This morning on Facebook I saw several people were posting #prayersforbarcelona.
I don’t understand this at all. Why do people ask their God to help in the aftermath of these tragedies, but never feel that their God might have intervened to stop it happening in the first place?
I set the washing machine loose on some grungy laundry and took the dogs for their morning constitutional. Some of our walks are fun, some eventful, some are hard work. Today’s was just a walk. Nothing out of the ordinary happened; we met a few other dogs, OrangeHead was civil, it was just a walk. Some days uneventful is good.
Once home I ran round with the hoover (made by the Dyson corporation) and had a little tidy-up. I was about to hang out the washing when the heavens opened. That was something of a pain; just as well I have my trusty clothes horse.
Rather amazed at how long it took to do so little I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. When I woke a few hours later I watched last week’s episode of “Dark Matter”. I’ve mentioned the show before in less than glowing terms. And as I have said before about other shows you can tell that the writers are struggling when the tits come out.
I then had a rummage on an old hard drive. I found all my old diaries from the two Canadian/American holidays I went on with the scouts. But they aren’t really in a format that I can immediately share on-line. That will be a project for the next few days.
I also spent a while solving puzzle geocaches by traditional and not-so-traditional means. In many ways the entire concept of a puzzle geocache is a load of old crap. The hobby is a treasure hunt, not cryptic puzzle-solving. If I wanted to strain my brain I’d do the Open University again,
"er indoors TM" will be home in a bit. I’m hoping she’ll do me some scran before I go off for the night shift…
19 August 2017 (Saturday) - International Geocaching Day
Last night was rather busy. Not fiendishly "do it now !!!!" busy (like hospital work can be), but non-stop constant-without-a-break busy. It was with a sense of relief that I greeted the day shift.
I took a little detour home; there is a geocache not far from work and today is International Geocaching Day. You get an electronic souvenir if you log a find today. I deserved something for my efforts this morning; this cache was buried under stinging nettles and wasn’t really what the given information would have had me believe.
As I then drove home the pundits on the radio were discussing the death of Bruce Forsyth. I'd seen quite a bit of that on social media overnight when I'd managed a sneak peek at my phone. Admittedly it is sad that he's gone. He was quite a character. But he was nearly ninety years old; did people really think he was going to live forever?
Once home I was mobbed by my dogs, and then I scoffed a little brekkie. I do that. As I shoved toast down my neck I had a look at Facebook. There is the opportunity to go canoeing in a few weeks’ time; I shall see how that pans out.
"er indoors TM" needed to locate some Tupperware to get her geo-souvenir. She was planning to go out with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" later. My last-born holds no truck with something as lame as hunting for sandwich boxes in the wilderness, so "er indoors TM" decided to go get one this morning. Me and the dogs came along for the ride, and with souvenirs souvenired we went on to Orlestone Woods for a little walk. A rather pretty place; the dogs seems to like their walk even if Fudge did have something of an altercation with “Hamilton”.
“Hamilton” was another dog; I’m not entirely sure of his breed, but he looked like Fudge would look if he were about twenty times bigger.
We came home via the co-op to get some cakes for lunch. Today the co-op wasn’t so much a shop as a skating rink for small girls. I lost count of the amount of small children I nearly fell over as they flew past.
I downloaded a pocket query (to feed to “Hannah” later), and with "er indoors TM" off out with the most recent fruit of our loins. I then took myself off to bed for the afternoon.
After a few hours I got up and sorted my own tea. "er indoors TM" and the rest of the tribe had gone to a family birthday party in Hastings. I would have gone with them if not for work. Again…
20 August 2017 (Sunday) - After the Night Shifts
The night shift wasn’t too bad; certainly an improvement on the previous one. As I drove home the radio was broadcasting its usual Sunday morning moral dilemmas. Following all the white supremacy rallies in America during the week, the pundits were discussing the moral dimensions of physically beating seven shades of shit out of someone with whom you disagree. Some idiot woman (I have no idea who she was) seemed to feel it was quite acceptable to assault someone whose supported something as evil as fascism and nazi-ism. She also felt that it was *not* acceptable for the one getting beaten up for his views to retaliate.
I turned the radio off and listened to the tunes I’d downloaded last week.
Once home I scoffed a quick bit of brekkie, then we drove out to Cranbrook where we met Karl and Tracey and the girls. We had a rather good walk whilst hunting geocaches. The walk was rather pretty; I didn’t know that the puppy could climb trees just like a squirrel. As we walked we saw buzzards; who would have thought that such huge majestic creatures would sound so soppy? And as we wandered round our muckers found their seven thousandth cache. Result !!
Cache-wise the walk was very much one of two halves. There are two series of caches in Angley Woods. One has been there ages and consisted of a few caches which were trickier to find but relatively spaced out. The other was much newer and was one of more caches; closer together and easier to find.
But together both series made for a good wander. I was glad we went for a walk today; usually the day after the night shifts can be somewhat dull, and I’m back to work tomorrow…
I took a few photos as we walked, and with all the walking walked we drove to nearby Sissinghurst for a couple of pints before coming home.
I’m having an early night now…. I’m rather tired….
21 August 2017 (Monday) - Eclipse Day
I slept like a log last night. Two night shifts followed by a seven-mile hike then three pints in the sunny beer garden had taken their toll. Eight hours continuous sleep; I can’t remember the last time I slept so well.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Dad’s Army” with my dog laying next to me on the sofa. He’s been rather soppy lately. I then sparked up my lap-top to peer into cyber-space. The photos I posted from yesterday’s walk had generated quite a bit of comment. Sometimes they do that.
It was raining as I drove to work. I must admit that I quite like it raining when I'm at work; that way I have less of a feeling that I'm missing out on anything.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing two economists. One was of the opinion that the average British family will be five thousand pounds better off every year after Brexit. He offered all sorts of evidence to back his stance. I must admit it meant nothing to me, but it sounded convincing.
The second economist rubbished all the so-called evidence as hearsay and "says-you!", and after a heated discussion it turned out that neither economist had any tangible evidence to back their positions either way. This is entirely what is wrong with the entire Brexit proposal; the whole thing is one enormous leap into the dark.
The pundits also interviewed a chap whose makes a living from organising eclipse-viewing. He was in his element today – there was a total solar eclipse visible in much of the USA.
They also interviewed some professional astronomers who had never actually seen an eclipse before, and there was an embarrassing five minutes as the experts explained exactly what an eclipse was to those conducting the interview. Surely this is something that children are taught at primary school? But what boiled my piss the most as the explanations were made was that those asking for the explanations seemed to be in some way proud of their ignorance.
Drew has gone out to see the eclipse on his birthday today; the culmination of quite an adventure; I’ve asked for details of his itinerary. Will I go do something like that myself (but without the eclipse)? Possibly. If money allows. Though I doubt it will. There is no denying that my long-term life plan intended me to be far wealthier than I actually am right now.
I got to work far easier than I had been expecting, with no delays at all. I had a relatively good day (compared with the late shifts and night shifts of last week).
Once home again I ran the dogs round the park, then with "er indoors TM" off bowling I watched the most recent episode of “Game of Thrones” which the SkyPlus box had recorded in the small hours. It had the makings of a good episode if not for the dull interminable fight scenes.
I’m told from those that saw the eclipse first-hand that it was rather dull… I must admit the one I saw in 1999 was a disappointment.
22 August 2017 (Tuesday) - This n That
I didn't sleep well; I was conscious that Fudge was downstairs and he'd been sick a couple of times yesterday evening. He was quiet when I got up just before 6am. Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Time Gentlemen Please", got ready for work then cleared up another puddle of dog sick that little Fudge had thrown up.
I suspect a stagnant puddle from which he was drinking on Sunday may have something to do with this.
I set off to work; as I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing some of the pioneers of organic farming. These farmers were sulking that despite forty years of banging the drum of being environmentally friendly, still less than five per cent of the nation's farms operate in an "organic" way. It seems that for all that the general public claim to be keen on the "organic" ideal, they are far more keen on the savings that large-scale factory farming with pesticides generates.
I can see where the general public are coming from here. I'm not paying a fiver for one organic potato from a poncey farm shop ten miles away when I can get a sackful of spuds from Tesco for a few pence.
Perhaps if this organic nonsense wasn't so vastly overpriced we might all think differently? Does "Peckham Spring" strike a chord here?
There was then an interview with the author Neil Gaiman who was talking about the life and works of the author Brian Aldiss who died yesterday. "Supertoys Last All Summer Long", "Greybeard", "Helliconia"... as a child I used to read so much of his output. Classic sci-fi - I really must get his stuff onto my Kindle app and re-read it. I can remember "The Dark Light Years" being particularly good.
I got to work, and fretted about my dog for much of the day, even though "er indoors TM" had reported that he'd eaten his brekkie. I wondered if I might take him to the vet's this evening, even though he is really frightened of the vet.
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned at lunch time. She was going to the shoe shop in her lunch break as Pogo had eaten her trainers. She now has a hare-brained idea to buy a run-down hovel in Folkestone and do it up to great profit. She has an even more hare-brained scheme in mind that I might do the doing-up.
Once home I took the dogs round the park. As we walked I was told by a rather epically-breasted young lady that I had lovely dogs. I smiled politely; her rather flimsy blouse certainly wasn’t up to the challenge of restraining her ample charms.
Shortly after this we were harangued by a drunk. I have no idea what he was saying; he was incoherent. The woman with him apologised as he flopped out his nasty and piddled up a hedge. Treacle then picked a fight with an odd-looking dog accompanying an eastern European woman who was trying to simultaneously control the dog and four small children. All five of her charges were trying to run in different directions. And as we came through the co-op field we upset some bloke with a staffie who took one look at us, announced “oh for f… sake”, turned round and went back in the direction from which he had come.
As I have mentioned before sometimes our walks are uneventful, other times not so…
23 August 2017 (Wednesday) - The Cuckoo Trail (South)
I didn’t sleep that well last night. Just before I went to kip I’d had an email from Geocaching HQ. Yesterday someone had been looking for one of the caches I’d hidden on a public footpath near Challock and had upset the dogs in a nearby house. The chap who owned the house came out to find out what was going on, and the person looking for the cache told him what they were doing. They went on to tell them all about geocaching, and the web address of Geo-HQ. Consequently the chap contacted Geo-HQ and asked for the thing to be removed as he didn’t want geocachers (or anyone) using the public right of way which runs near his house. Without doing any checking the people at Geo-HQ immediately archived my offending cache.
I’m a bit miffed by this. The thing wasn’t on private land; it was the other side of a rather wide track on public land. Will the council now re-route the footpath for these people purely because they want to be alone?
And I’m doubly miffed that Geo-HQ didn’t think to discuss the matter with me first. I’m sorry I went out of my way and spent my own time and money to hide the thing to help them in what is fundamentally their get-rich-quick scheme.
Geocaching HQ are a load of crap really. What on Earth do they do? Caches are hidden by volunteer members of the public (like me). Their suitability is judged by unpaid volunteers. The caches are found (in the large part) by the use of third-party software as their own proprietary product isn’t fit for purpose. Despite the whole thing clearly being funded by quite a bit of advertising, having paid out money to Geocaching HQ every year I then had to buy at least two apps which *are* fit for purpose. I also pay money to Project GC because the website provided by Geocaching HQ doesn’t actually allow you to do the hobby.
I shall continue to take advantage of the hobby to go out finding the caches. However I shall take this episode to be formal notification that my efforts as a hider of caches are not appreciated, and shall not bother contributing to the hobby any more.
This morning I was rather tempted to take my “Kent Geocacher of the Year 2015” award over to Seattle and shove it up the arse of Geocaching’s chief executive.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Uncle”, then got my stuff together and met up with Dick. We completely ignored my sat-nav’s instructions and made good time to Polegate where we met up with Aleta. Together we drove up to Hellingly.
Last week we walked the northern half of the Cuckoo Trail, collecting geocaches as we did. Despite my sulk we went out hunting caches along the southern half today. It was pretty enough (as you can see by clicking here), but the route followed an old train line which now either has trees on either side or goes through housing estates. Scenic views were somewhat lacking.
We broke up the walk with a little wander round Heathfield where we had lunch.
Geocache wise… When we walked the northern stretch I wrote about the caches ”most were rather difficult finds. Many were lacking any kind of hint, and I must admit I thought the given difficulty/terrain ratings were something of an underestimate”, so we knew today would be hard. Today we set off for forty caches; we found thirty. Of that thirty, some of them were ridiculously deep in the undergrowth, and some required herculean efforts of tree-climbing. Several were only found from hints from previous logs.
We logged “Did Not Find” on six of them. Were they really missing? I’d offered to replace any missing caches and was told that none were missing a week or so ago. I saw a couple of the ones we found had notes from the chap who’d hidden them in the last week or so implying that he’d been along. Had he checked the lot? “Owner Maintenance” logs might have given us a bit more enthusiasm to persevere. I’ve mentioned before that some people want their caches found, and some don’t. These ones are definitely in the latter category.
There were three caches which fell into a rather odd category. We found them. But the rules say you have to sign the paper log. We couldn’t get to the paper log as they were too high in trees. There are those who like the tree climbs, but there were a few too many for my liking.
Perhaps I’ve just got the sulks with the whole hunting Tupperware thing. I had an excellent day out with good friends, but geocaching-wise today was perhaps my worst day ever.
Once home I walked my dogs round the park. It was as well that I’d not taken them to Sussex; they wouldn’t have liked the bushwhacking, and would have barked incessantly as I climbed trees. But they needed a walk.
The walk passed off relatively uneventfully (compared to yesterday’s fiasco), but there was a rather painful two minutes when the puppy got hold of a KFC chicken bone. I managed to get my fingers down her throat to retrieve it, but I got a rather chewed hand for my troubles.
For all that I had a rather good time with friends today, I’m hoping for a better tomorrow… Imight have stopped sulking by then.
24 August 2017 (Thursday) - Back to Work
I slept well, and over brekkie I watched the last episode of “Detectorists”. I quite like that show; the aimiable people going out and about doing their hobby is so like so many hobbies I’ve done.
During an advert break (when I was too slow to reach the fast-forward button) I saw an advert for a company called “Pure Cremation” which made me ponder. When I croak these people offer to take my carcass straight from where I drop and cremate it without any of the performance of a funeral service. Do I want a funeral service? I don’t know. Something to think about, I suppose.
I then sparked up my lap-top and peered into the Internet for a few minutes. I had a wry smile when I read one comment on Facebook. A couple of days ago I posted a silly comment to some of the people with whom I used to work. In discussing my old workplace one of the senior members of staff there posted “it's shit we're down to a 1 in 6 for the foreseeable future.” And then asked me to go back. So many people post so many similar comments about the place on social media and the management do nothing. But I once got a formal disciplinary warning for supposedly bringing the place into disrepute when I just posted a selfie in the small hours.
I no longer feel physically sick at the thought of going in to work every day. I no longer have people poring over my every move intentionally trying to catch me out (in the name of quality).
Do I want to go back there? I don’t think so…
With no emails of note I got myself together and set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting their usual brand of drivel. More Brexit lies have been uncovered; this time on the immigration figures. It turns out that the figures quoted for the annual amount of immigrants to the UK have always included all the foreign students coming to study in the UK. However no mention has ever been made in any official figures about all the foreign students who then go back home again once their studies are concluded.
Perhaps if this (and all the other lies) had been exploded before the referendum things might have turned out differently. Oh well... what's done is done.
There was also talk about how the average British adult does less than ten minutes brisk walking every month. Ten minutes a month? How do these people get about?
And brief mention was made of the fact that sales of fishing licences are down, sparking horror into the fishing world. is fishing in decline? Personally I don't see this. I see the lakes I fish in getting busier and busier. Surely this just shows that fewer people are wasting their money on a fishing licence. After all, why buy a fishing licence? No one ever checks on the thing. And I must admit I doubt the figures. I got my fishing licence using the on-line thingy and paid with my credit card. The Environment Agency has not taken the money this year. I wonder if this is where they get the idea that fewer people have licences. I expect the same amount of people (if not more) have fishing licences, just fewer of us are actually paying up.
I got to work. I’d had a rostered day off yesterday. Today was back to business so I did that which I couldn't avoid. As I worked I got a text. Last week I'd ordered several hundred quid's worth of wine as a pressie for "er indoors TM" (partly). They stuff had arrived and the people from "My Yodel" had left it with nice-next-door. My piss boiled; had I known that the stuff was going to be delivered by "My Yodel" I would never have ordered it in the first place. My experiences with them have not been good. For a company which offers delivery up to 9pm, they don't actually deliver after 5pm, and so actually getting a delivery from them can be difficult.
With work worked I came home, walked the dogs and collected the wine. I broke my back getting the camping gear out of storage, then over dinner we watched “Lego Masters”; a new show which I can only describe as being somewhat like the Great British Bake Off but with Lego.
It was rather good…
25 August 2017 (Friday) - On the Early Shift
I had a rather bad night’s sleep. Fudge woke me with his whimpering at 2.30am. He was restless and panting and wouldn’t settle. Eventually "er indoors TM" hit on the idea that he was too hot and she turned the fan on. I suspect he had the guts ache from where I let him lick out the oven tray we’d cooked last night’s fish on. We (me and Fudge) eventually got back to sleep about 4am, but I was awake again at 5.30am.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Uncle”; much as I like the show, this one was rather far-fetched. I suppose most TV shows have to be.
Overnight a row had raged on various geocaching forums on Facebook. Geo-HQ have decided to single out the world’s best four thousand geocachers based on the quality of the caches they’ve hidden. They refuse to disclose the exact criteria they’ve used, and now they appear to be surprised that something so potentially divisive has turned out to be actually very divisive. I must admit that bearing in mind the effort I took to create my twenty-one Wherigos might have given me a chance, but no luck for me. Surprising really when you think that a bloke not five miles up the road has made the grade, and he’s only hidden three of the things..
Admittedly I’m probably just sulking, but together with the geo-debacle earlier in the week (when they archived one of my hides for no valid reason) I feel absolved of the need to hide any caches ever again.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing a representative of an American pharmaceutical company. They weren't happy with how some of their drugs are being misused. Apparently no one told them that some of their drugs are being given (as massive overdoses) in lethal injections in executions. It was hinted that the companies might effectively get rid of the death penalty by stopping the manufacture of certain drugs, and now unproven drugs are being used for executions.
An interesting point. I wonder if these people really do think their product is indispensable? Have they never heard of the firing squad?
There was also talk of driverless lorries on British motorways; one driver will drive his lorry as per usual, and simultaneously drive two others by remote control. Sounds a bit dodgy to me...
I got to work for the early shift and had a busy day. Busy, but good. And then home again. I did the ironing whilst watching a film. “Still Crazy” is a good film; I’ve seen it before. But on this watching I realised that the young girl in it looked familiar. Wikipedia told me she is the woman in “Detectorists”, and was also the lead character in “Tipping the Velvet” which is another favourite of mine (for obvious, if base, reasons).
I really should have an early night… I’ve got another early shift tomorrow…
26 August 2017 (Saturday) - Off To Camp
What with "er indoors TM" and the wolf pack already at camp I had a peaceful night. Mind you I was still awake at 5am. I loaded the last of the odds and ends I’d need for camp into my car, and made myself a cuppa whilst having a look at the Internet. "er indoors TM" had sent a message asking me to bring tea towels so I dutifully got some.
Squabbles were kicking off on Facebook as they so often do. There are several people I keep on my Facebook list just to follow their various arguments.
But other than squabbles very little had happened, so I set off to work.
It was early; the pundits on the radio were drivelling on about something to do with farms, so I turned the radio off and sang along with my awful music as I drove to McDonalds for brekkie. A double sausage and egg McMuffin always hits the spot.
I got to work where I had a good shift. But one thing happened that made me think. Spike Milligan’s name came up in conversation. Tobi is twenty-six years old. He’d never heard of Spike Milligan. I wonder how many other classics won’t stand the test of time?
With my shift done I got the sat-nav to aim me towards Smarden where Bat-Camp was in full flow. I arrived to something of a surprise; for the last twenty-odd years I’ve been visiting the farm, the track to the fields has been so rutted that only a tractor could get up there. Since my last visit the ruts have been filled in. It was odd being able to drive all the way to where we camp.
With everyone else having set the camp up it only took me two minutes to sort myself, and soon I was sitting with the campers that hadn’t gone to pull trees out of ponds. It was a glorious afternoon; I could have gone fishing, but an afternoon sitting swilling beer seemed a preferable option. My good mate Kev had bought me some rather good beers a few months ago and I cracked one open to start my camp in style.
I *should* have read the label. Having bounced a bottle conditioned beer about in my car, the thing was going to be a tad lively. It exploded froth all over the place.
"er indoors TM" and the rescuers of trees were soon back on camp. My dogs were pleased to see me, and we sat around drinking beer whilst those on cookhouse duty boiled up some rather good fajitas (a camping tradition). However we’d probably been drinking a little too long and dinner was a little too late. Washing up in the dark was fun though.
We sat drinking; I had my very tired dog on my lap. I did smile when he jumped up and walked across toward our tent. I followed him; he was worn out and he took himself to his basket in our tent where he curled up and went to sleep.
More beer, the port came out shortly before midnight, and I think I went to bed shortly after that.
27 August 2017 (Sunday) - Bat Camp
I was disturbed by some shouting at 2am. Those still drinking had realised that the puppy had gone missing. I wasn’t bothered; she was cuddled up with me in my sleeping bag. After ten minutes when their shouts got more panic-stricken it occurred to me that maybe I should say something.
Oh, how everyone laughed.
I slept fitfully; realistically I am now too old to rough it on roll-mats. I need to look at getting a camp bed. I got up about 6.30am; a lot later than usual when camping and put the kettle on. I then cleared the carnage of the previous evening and washed up. It never fails to amaze me how much washing up we generate at camp between the meals.
Those who’d heard the kettle go on and had come round looking hopeful went back to their sleeping bags when they realised that I wasn’t brewing up.
Jimbo emerged from his pit, and we went for an hour’s fishing. The fishing at the Bat-Pond was odd; for twenty years it has been very busy fishing, but tiddler after tiddler. I only caught two this morning, one was a fair size and the other was probably the biggest fish I have ever caught at the Bat-Farm.
As we fished I heard a familiar jingling. I looked up to see Fudge happily walking round the pond toward us. The pond is several hundred yards from the campsite; he’d just wandered up on his own. Two minutes after he arrived I had a very worried phone call from "er indoors TM" asking me to come back and help search for Fudge.
Jimbo caught half a dozen fish; however fishing with a dog is hard work. Fudge felt the need to try to attack every fish, and when no fish were being landed he was prowling the water’s edge desperately searching for his nemesis.
"er indoors TM" had supplied the kitchen tent with croissants; I’d had one before we went fishing. I was grateful for that. Camp brekkie is always later than I’d like. Today we finished the washing up at 11.30am.
Some went shopping, them Jose and Maria joined us for the day. Cake and cream was scoffed, drones flew, and mermaids went swimming as we had another attempt at fishing. I say fishing – some of us fished, others chucked tackle up a tree.
We then had a really good afternoon, sitting drinking beer with good friends in the sunshine. Spag Bol made for a really good bit of dinner which I washed down with still more copious amounts of beer, and once I’d washed up we sat round the camp fire. Various cheeses were passed round; my dog (sitting on my lap) and I enjoyed them all as the night fell.
I staggered off to bed just after midnight leaving the party in full flow. Back in the day I used to be the last person still up. I’m getting old..
28 August 2017 (Monday) - Home from Camp
I had a restless night. When the puppy finally settled I nodded off, only to have the puppy leaping about in excitement when "er indoors TM" staggered into the tent at 2am. I struggled to get comfortable, but I was very conscious that something was moving about the campsite. Yesterday other people had mentioned that they’d heard things moving in the night. But what I could hear seemed to be in the tent. "er indoors TM" and the dogs were settled, and I felt a movement. Yesterday "er indoors TM" had mentioned that she’s seen the tent’s groundsheet move (and I’d laughed) but sure enough it was moving. A frog or a mouse was underneath it.
I gave up trying to sleep at 6.30am, got up, loaded all my odds and ends into the car and set off for home. I didn’t like leaving the clear-up to others, but I had to be away and ready for work. If I didn’t get away promptly I wouldn’t get away at all.
Once home it didn’t take long to unpack, and soon the washing machine was chewing my laundry. I scoffed my brekkie whilst watching the episode of Game of Thrones which had been broadcast in the small hours last night. It was the last episode of the current season and I was keen to watch it before I heard all about it from people who can't keep quiet. It was a good show. For all that it is rather swords and sorcery and far-fetched, for me it works as it has believable characters. Also the leading protagonists aren't super-human; the writers aren't above killing off a major character if the plot so requires.
I got the washing on to the line and I had a quick look on-line. Sure enough spoilers for Gam of Thrones were already abounding. And then I had an email. A new geocache had gone live not two miles away which would be on my way to work. For all that I have the major sulks with Geo-HQ I'm not going to give up hunting Tupperware. I will probably seriously cut back in the hiding of it, but I shall continue to hunt. After all it keeps me out of mischief and keeps me in touch with loads of friends. I shall not let idiots half-way across the world mess it up for me more than they really have to.
I got to where the cache was supposed to be. I searched and searched. After a while another searcher joined in. He gave up after ten minutes, but I persevered, and eventually found it. It was rather obvious really, but then they always are when you know where they are. An added bonus - I was the first one to find it. A cheeky FTF is always good.
In celebration of this result (and because I was too lazy to sort my own lunch) I stopped off at Aylesford McDonalds for some McLunch. The place was heaving. There were even two policemen getting their dinner. I was amazed at how busy the place was. August Bank Holiday was always busy when I worked in a restaurant on Hastings sea front. In the Harbour Restaurant we averages two hundred and fifty dinners a day. Four hundred dinners was super-busy. August Bank Holiday was always good for over six hundred. But that was on the sea front at a busy seaside town.
Why would a branch of McDonalds next door to an Aldi and a cheapo-bargain shop be so busy?
I got to work with a little time to spare, so I closed my eyes and listened to the dire music on my USB stick. I fell asleep.
I wasn't *that* late in to work. I did my bit on a surprisingly busy shift, and was grateful when the night relief arrived.
I think an early night might be a good idea…
29 August 2017 (Tuesday) – Lawnmowers
After two nights in a tent I was glad to see my bed last night. It was only a shame that nice next door were having sex, and they aren’t as quiet as they might be when they are getting jiggy. I have noticed that over the years the various people living next door have got louder and louder when doing “the nasty”. I wonder if they see the screaming and squealing and howling when watching filth on the Internet and think it is supposed to be a vocal rather than a physical activity?
Still, can’t complain really. No one on that side has ever been *that* loud when compared with not-so-nice-next-door’s infernal piano.
I slept for eight hours. Eight hours !! Over brekkie I sparked up my lap-top. It told me it could clear up over a gigabyte of space for me. In a fit of bravado I let it do its thing. I wonder exactly what it has deleted.
I then had a look on Facebook. There was a minor hiccup as the router wasn’t working. I pulled its plug and re-booted but not a lot happened. I wondered if I shouldn’t have allowed the lap-top to have had its clear out, but "er indoors TM" phone couldn’t connect either. I had a look at the settings; everything looked as it should.
I decided to leave it alone and come back later.
I took the dogs round the park. Fudge straggled as he so often does. I get so wound up; so often he gets *so* far behind that I have to call him and the puppy then sprints head-on at him. To avoid collision Fudge then takes a ninety-degree turn, and then not only is he lagging far behind, he is also heading in the wrong direction.
He looked to be walking awkwardly at one point, but shortly after that he was sprinting after Treacle. I think he just pretends to be decrepit.
Once home I mowed the lawn. There was a minor hiccup in that the lawn mower has had it. I bodged a repair with a tent peg, but it didn’t stay repaired.
I got three quarters of the lawn shaved before I finally gave up. I then cut back some of the crap hanging over the fence, then tried to back up recent blog entries (having found the Internet was working). However my desk-top PC that I back up onto is slow to the point of being unusable. I’ve set McAfee loose on it. I wonder if it will achieve anything?
I settled the dogs and set off on a pre-late-shift mission. I had a plan to visit various garden centres to suss out a new lawnmower before I went to work. I wasn't happy about having to do this. From previous experience I knew that I was going to have to spend serious money. When getting a lawnmower if you buy cheap you get something that doesn't actually work. I wasted good money on one like that once; I can distinctly remember having a tantrum and then giving the rubbish lawnmower to Chippy with the proviso that it didn't actually mow grass.
But the lawn needed a serous haircut, and this was going to cost.
More expense that I didn't need...
I worked out a rather elaborate route along which I could call in on garden centres on my way to Maidstone; my first port of call was B&Q (because they are closest). They had several boxes of my current (now broken) lawn mower, and next to it was boxes of the next model up. Bearing in mind that until the thing gave up the ghost this morning, it has done rather well over the last few (about ten) years. I was tempted to just get a new one of the same model. But raking up the cut grass is a pain (figuratively and literally). The next model up collects the grass (or so it claimed) so I got one of those. I'd mentally budgeted about a hundred and fifty quid for a new mower - this one came in at about half that amount. Mind you that is still eighty quid I wasn't planning to shell out.
I shall test it out tomorrow. I hope it does the job. If not I shall give it to Chippy. He can have a collection of lawnmowers that don't mow lawns (whether he wants such a collection or not).
My plan had been to visit several garden centres... Having bought a lawn mower in the first place I visited gave me a little time. So I wasted it by going to the tip where I emptied out the various rubbish and clutter which has been infesting the back of my car for the last month or so.
Then I *really* wasted some time. I drove on to Sainsbury's in Aylesford to get some shorts. they didn't sell them. Nor did Morrisons or Tesco in Larkfield.
So I stuck to what I knew and went for McLunch. I like McLunch.
I then went in to work for the late shift. I quite like doing the late shift (and the early and night and weekend shifts) as I get to work alone. Not that I'm anti-social but working alone means I am trusted to do the job.
Work was rather good. It usually is these days...
30 August 2017 (Wednesday) - Hastings Old Town
Another good night’s sleep, only marred by one or other of the dogs shoving a wet nose up my bum at 7am. I got up and over brekkie I looked at the Internet. It was working today, and looking at the geo-map I had an idea. Could I get a First to Find on a virtual geocache? There hasn’t been the chance for one of those locally for over ten years.
Last night a new virtual geocaches had gone live in Hastings Old Town. Geocaching HQ have given the (supposedly) top four thousand geocache hiders the ability to create a virtual geocache. I wasn’t one of the top four thousand; I actually wrote to Geo-HQ and formally complained. Having spent over a thousand hours on my Wherigos I was a tad miffed to be trumped by a film pot under a rock. I wasn’t expecting any reply, but I got an apology from them which basically said that the process they used to judge people turned out to be somewhat flawed. I sulked a bit (a lot) but I had this idea that even if I wasn’t good enough to be given one of these special caches, I might claim First to Find on one.
This one in Hastings Old Town was smack-bang in my old stomping ground. I know Hastings Old Town like the back of my hand, so this would be easy (I mistakenly thought). So I messaged my old colleague in Tupperware Gordon, and soon enough we were on the case.
It was a rather good tour for visitors… so much has changed in recent years and there is so much there that even the locals don’t realise. A shame about the hills, but as an ex-local you can’t visit Hastings without experiencing the hills. We got round in about half an hour – and got to be joint first one to find it as well… Can you claim FTF on a virtual? I wondered about the etiquette, and in the end just claimed it.
There are a few photos of our adventure here – what with having a lot less days off mid-week I’ve missed my walks with Gordon and Norton.
We climbed back up the hill where we said our goodbyes. Five minutes before we got back to our cars the forecast rain hit. By the time I got to my car I was soaked.
As I was in the area I popped in to see my mum and dad, and whilst I was there I had a phone call. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" was distraught. The company for which she’d been working had “let her go” as she didn’t fit in with their working environment. Bearing in mind the company were encouraging her to drink shots and take lines of cocaine as she worked, I am glad that she didn’t fit in with their working environment.
I got home. I had planned to get my new lawnmower out, but the rain was torrential. I watched an old episode of “Dad’s Army” that the SkyPlus box had recorded for me and then went off to bed for the afternoon.
I’m off to the night shift now…
31 August 2017 (Thursday) - Between the Night Shifts
As I drove home this morning after a rather busy late shift the pundits on the radio were interviewing the lieutenant-governor of Texas. He was talking about the recent floods in Houston following the hurricane. He made a very interesting point about the local politicians. Those who'd turned up to help were being criticised for using the tragedy to court publicity. Those who hadn't shown their faces were being lambasted for staying away. As the lieutenant-governor said, what *are* the politicians supposed to do?
Some idiot woman then talked about the public’s reaction to the floods on the “Thought For The Day” thingy. She was crystal clear that God was in no way accountable for the floods; "nature" was well known to be capricious. But God could be seen in the actions of people helping others in the aftermath of the disaster.
How can these people see a God in all the good whilst ignoring all the bad?
I came home where "er indoors TM" was rather disrespectful to the new suitcase I’d bought last night on the way to work. I then met up with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and we took the dogs round to the park. For once Fudge kept up. Mind you we had a worrying five minutes when playing on the zip line. We'd lost Fudge.
He eventually turned up playing in the river. He likes playing in the river. I wish he wouldn't wander off on his own though. How do you explain to a dog that he should stay close?
With dogs walked I went to bed for the day. As I slept I could feel the puppy laying next to me. It is odd; she is much more settled when sleeping during the day than ever she is at night. Mind you what with the house phone constantly going off, and the noise of the torrential rain didn’t give me quite the good day’s sleep I had been hoping for.
After five hours attempted sleep I got up and had a bit of late brekkie whilst watching this week’s episode of “Dark Matter”. It was the last episode of the current season, and I watched I with very much an air of “WTF is going on?”. No decision has yet been made about whether there will be a fourth season. I hope there will be; for all that I have no idea what is going on, I quite like the show.
"er indoors TM" should be home soon. I’m hoping she’ll boil up some dinner before I set off for another night shift…