1 August 2019 (Thursday) - Rather Dull
Finding myself wide awake far earlier than I needed to be I had a little look at the Internet. I’d had an email last night about a new puzzle geocache. I solved the puzzle easily enough (despite the glaring spelling/grammatical mistake) and saw it was up a tree in Dartford. This morning no one had been out for the First to Find. I *could* have gone chasing but it would have been quite a long way out of my way, and climbing a tree on my own… I decided against it.
Whilst I was at it I had a look at Facebook. Nothing much had changed overnight.
I had a bowl of granola, watched half of an episode of “Orange is the New Black”, and got myself ready for work.
It was a slow drive up the motorway; yet another lorry had broken down, and with only two lanes and no hard shoulder, that slowed everyone. As I crawled towards Maidstone the pundits on the radio were discussing the proposed pilot’s strike. It was mentioned that the average pilot earns ninety thousand quid a year. Then the figure of a hundred and eighty thousand quid a year was mentioned. With such variation (one figure being double the other) you have to wonder just how much faith you can have in what you hear on the radio.
There was then a *lot* of talk about the ongoing cricket matches between England and Australia. It all sounded very competitive; tickets to watch it started at ninety quid a day. And then some vicar was wheeled on to do the “Thought for the Day” slot in which he proposed the radical idea that sport (such as this cricket) should be fun.
I got to work; I had a busy day. Busy, but not as stressful as it might have been.
I came home and took the dogs round to the co-op field. Unlike yesterday the dogs were a delight. They can be *so* good; if only they try.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of “Isla Negra”; arguably one of the worst wines I have ever had…
Today was a tad dull…
2 August 2019 (Friday) - A Birthday
Finding myself wide awake at three o’clock I got up and watched an episode of “Orange is the New Black” in which it is becoming very obvious that the leading lady’s wife is about to pork one of the lady prison guards.
I then went back to bed and slept through till after eight o’clock.
I got up and fed laundry into the washing machine. As I had my morning shave I found that the hot tap in the bathroom sink is rather stiff. I suspect that fixing that will be a saga for the next few weeks. I then scoffed some toast and home-made jam (very tasty!). Fudge sat with me until there were no crust scraps left to be had, then he wandered off doing his own thing. Treacle and Pogo are both rather attentive dogs; Fudge has always been rather more independent.
As I looked at the Internet, Facebook told me that today was "er indoors TM" birthday. That was good of it. It has always been a standing joke that men forget wife’s birthdays and anniversaries… do they really? I never have.
I did chuckle when I saw that "My Boy TM" had used Facebook to wish his mother a happy “bithday” (!)
I also saw that the geocache I considered hunting down yesterday still hadn’t been found. Is that because the puzzle is too tricky, the tree-climb is too hard, no one could be bothered to chase the FTF, or (most likely) someone *has* already found it but hasn’t logged on-line in a thinly-veiled ruse to waste other people’s time.
Whilst "er indoors TM" got ready I hung out the washing, and pootled about in the garden. Pushing gravel about, trimming back overgrowth, pulling out weeds.
We then took the dogs down to Orlestone woods for a little wander. They behaved (mostly).
With walk walked we came home, got changed, settled the dogs, and walked up the road to the Curious Brewery. I’ve walked and driven past the place several times. But when they were in Tenterden they used to brew their beer in whiskey barrels (and so it tasted horrible), and I’d heard they weren’t cheap, so we’d put off visiting. We went today, and met "My Boy TM" there.
They’ve changed the way that they brew; the beer wasn’t bad. The food was very good. It wasn’t cheap, but then that’s not a bad thing; it keeps the likes of me (and the rest of the lower orders) out of the place.
We staggered home, and I ran out the hose pipe to top up the pond, dug the weeds out of the front garden path, and did some water feature maintenance. I didn’t think I’d done that much, but I certainly ached at the end of it all. But not too much; ironing wasn’t going to iron itself.
It’s been a rather good day off. Perhaps one of the less eventful birthdays, but not a bad day, really…
3 August 2019 (Saturday) - Garden Party
I think I ate too much yesterday – I had a very restless night. Mind you having to be up at six o’clock probably didn’t help. I made some toast and coffee, and had a look at the Internet. I had emails about a load of “Found It” logs on the geocaches I’d hidden. I was pleased to see that people were hunting the things out. I was very pleased to see that two which I thought might have been missing weren’t missing at all; I haven’t got to go replace them now.
I got dressed, and set off (via one or two geocaches) to Margate where I found "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". After we’d squabbled a bit we went to the cash and carry for supplies. The cash and carry at Broadstairs is an odd place; I think that a prerequisite to being taken on there is that you must have less than fifty per cent of your full quota of teeth.
We bought loads, and after a little effort we got it all into the car. Loading the car wasn’t unlike playing Tetris. And with the car unloaded at the other end I said goodbye and came home. It’s a shame that she can’t get more staff in the shop; I rarely see the most recent fruit of my loin these days.
Once home I spent a frustrating twenty minutes trying to find what I’d done with the event shelter. Once I’d found it, I set it up, and we prepared the garden for the afternoon. "My Boy TM" arrived, and started cooking, and it wasn’t long before family and friends arrived for our annual garden party. This year we seemed to have clashed with all sorts of other events; so many people weren’t able to get along. But we still had over thirty people in the garden. Scoffing food, drinking all sorts of stuff… Treacle and Pogo found the fat tray on the barbecue and got filthy. My mummy hammered the Pimms, mother-in-law went base over apex, we scoffed pork lions (!), and I even got to have the cigar I brought back from Turkey.
And (in a novel break with long-established tradition) I stayed awake for the entire time.
I took a few photos too.
I’ve programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow’s walk. I could do with a good night’s sleep. I hope next door’s dogs settle soon…
4 August 2019 (Sunday) - Loose
Despite having had a serious tidy-up last night, I got up this morning and still found load of carnage from yesterday. I spent a little while tidying, then had a look at the Internet as I scoffed my toast.
I follow a Facebook page about the hotel in Turkey where we stayed earlier in the year. Apparently a child has fallen over by one of the pools, and has needed to have stitches. There was quite a discussion (rant) about the matter. There was a *lot* of talk about how difficult it is to claim compensation in Turkey, and a *lot* of resentment to the suggestion that parents should insist that children *don’t* sprint like things possessed over wet and slippery floors. Especially when there are signs everywhere saying how dangerous slippery floors can be.
I tried to encourage Fudge to eat his brekkie; he wasn’t keen. Yesterday I’d mentioned to my brother that barbecues have two settings; “burnt” and “diarrhea”. Unfortunately my dog seemed to have gone for the second setting.
"er indoors TM" then pointed out that a new geocache had gone live in Biddenden, and bearing in mind the traffic chaos planned for the motorway for today, this new cache was actually on our way to today’s walk. We got ready as quickly as we could, and got to the new cache at just the same time as the resident local FTF fiend got there. But a joint FTF is always good, and it was good to catch up and chat for a few minutes.
We were only ten minutes late getting to Loose.
Bearing in mind that half of our number probably were a tad under the weather today, the plan for today was to take it easy. We started off with a short(ish) stroll through the Loose Valley…
As always our route was laid out for us by a series of geocaches, and today was definitely a walk of two halves. The first half was best described as “frustrating”. It was only when we got home that I realized that the chap who had hidden these caches had never actually walked a series of geocaches himself. He’d done odd caches of series, but not a complete series. And (unfortunately) it showed.
Things started badly when we read that our first target geocache was labelled as “dogs allowed”, only to find it was in a field with signs saying “no dogs”. The given co-ordinates for our second target were about twenty yards out; in fact the given co-ordinates of most of the caches in this series were seriously awry (We only found them from seeing what friends had said about their experiences there). There was a section of the walk along a busy road which might have been bypassed by use of footpaths. Footpaths weren’t clearly marked. And the route involved quite a bit of back-tracking. (The idea is that you walk a route along which geocaches have been placed. You don’t walk back and forth from one randomly-placed geocache to another... A subtle difference!)
That all seems very negative, doesn’t it? It was such a shame. The person who’d put them out had clearly taken a lot of time and effort to put them out. Individually (apart from the poor co-ordinates) they worked, but they didn’t work together as a series.
But this is typical of what is going wrong in geocaching at the moment. There are a *lot* of people wanting to rush into hiding the things despite having very little experience of the hobby.
We finally got back to where we’d parked, and sat in the meadow and had a picnic. It was only after we’d scoffed that we realized this was the other side of the meadow in which dogs weren’t allowed. Whoops!
With sandwiches scoffed we went down the road to the Chequers were we sat in the garden for a couple of pints.
It would have been rather easy to have sat in the pub all afternoon, but we decided to crack on. Earlier I’d mentioned that today’s geocaching was a walk of two halves. The second half was far better than the first. We had a few field puzzles the information for which was soon found, and after the morning’s debacle it was so good to be operating with reliable co-ordinates. Given the hint of “base of post” we didn’t have an entire fence to search.
As I fiddled about, "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned. She’d been watching the Margate carnival today. I can remember carnivals in Hastings when I was a lad. There were loads of floats and majorettes and all sorts of fun. I used to march with the Boys Brigade band in the carnivals. Ashford used to have carnivals back in the day. There were a few floats, and loads of vans carrying carnival queens (all behind metal meshes as the oiks would catapult pennies at them). Apparently Margate carnival featured a total of three floats, and was mostly just a load of businesses trying to hawk their wares.
I wonder why Ashford doesn’t have carnivals any more?
We had a rather good bit of dinner, then watched a couple more episodes of “Timeless”. I think I might see if I can solve a geo-puzzle or two in readiness for mid-week…
5 August 2019 (Monday) - Week Off Day One
One of the dogs gave a single humungous woof at three o’clock. I wonder what that was all about?
I slept through to seven o’clock then got up. As I got up I noticed a damp patch on the duvet. Had one of the dogs jumped up with wet paws from their trips out to the garden? Had one of them had an “accident”? It turned out that Treacle has started licking the duvet (for no apparent reason).
Over brekkie I had my usual trawl through the internet and saw some new geocaches had gone live locally. Interestingly one of them was in exactly the place where "er indoors TM" had been told that geocaches weren’t allowed. I’ve mentioned before that there is a definite lack of consistency in how the geo-feds apply the rules.
Facebook was worth looking at this morning. Several friends had posted up photos from the weekend. Some had been for walks, some had been to our barby, some were on holiday in various places across the world. Being a nosey sort of person I love seeing what others are up to. Mind you it never fails to amaze me how those who’ve not been in employment for months and those who constantly plead poverty are those on the longest and most exotic holidays.
I drove over to the garage where "er indoors TM" had dropped her car. It was near where the new geocaches had gone live. I thought I might see if might get a crafty First to Find, but I couldn’t find anywhere to park. So I collected "er indoors TM" and took her to work.
My original plan had been to then drive out to hide the new series of geocaches that I’ve been planning, but "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" wanted to do a cash and carry run. I thought I might do this run before shoving film pots under rocks, but by the time I’d got over to Margate, did the cash and carry run, came back to the shop, unloaded and driven back to Ashford time was against me. I wouldn’t have had time to drive out to the back of beyond, walk five miles with film pots and dogs and be back in time to get "er indoors TM" back to the garage.
I *might* go hide those caches on Wednesday. And then again I might not. There are those that contribute to the noble art of sticking a film pot under a rock, and there are those who enjoy other people’s efforts. Over the years I’ve actually hidden over two hundred and eighty of the things. I don’t know if I can be bothered to put more out. Maybe others might care to contribute? Or maybe they wouldn’t?
So I came home, and walked the dogs round the park. We had a very good walk with no incidents whatsoever (can you believe it). With walk done I then fell asleep in front of the telly. I woke just in time to go fetch "er indoors TM" from work and take her back to the garage.
With garage run done we came home; "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and went bowling. I slobbed in front of the telly for the evening, managing to stay awake this time.
Rather a waste of a day’s holiday really…
6 August 2019 (Tuesday) - A Day in London
I didn’t sleep well for some reason. I got up about an hour earlier than I had planned, and over brekkie watched the last episode of “Catch 22”. The series has been watchable, but odd. In six episodes nothing much really happened, and the last episode followed in much the same vein. After an hour they just ran the closing credits with no real ending to the show. Looking on-line it would seem that the book ended equally vaguely. I can remember having the book (years ago) but can’t really remember much about it. If it was anything like the TV adaptation, now I know why.
With telly finished I had a look at the Internet. This week is the week-long national geo-meet up in Aberdeen. I hadn’t realised that the thing was a week-long extravaganza; I thought it was only over the weekend. Had I known I might have made the effort to have gone; after all I’ve got the week off work. Such a shame that I didn’t realise this. Mind you, many of these events seem to be a closely-guarded secret. I’ve lost count of the number of mega-events that I’ve found out about *after* they’ve happened. There was one such last weekend that I only found out about this morning.
I got myself organised and wandered up to the train station. I tried to buy a ticket for the eight-oh-three train to Charing Cross. The nice man behind the counter wouldn’t sell me one. That wasn’t a cheap rate train (he said). I told him that the Internet said it was. He rolled his eyes and explained to me what kind of half-wit believes what they read on the Internet. So I bought an off-peak ticket for the eight-twenty-nine to Charing Cross. I then went to the ticket barrier where the nice man said that I *could* use the off-peak ticket on the eight-oh-three train to Charing Cross, and implied that only a half-wit would listen to the nice man at the ticket office said.
Customer service has never been a strong point for railway staff, has it?
I found a free newspaper, and did the crossword as the train took me to London. Once at Charing Cross I soon found Karl, and we took to the underground. Hot, noisy, smelly… so many people packed in like sardines.
We got to Hyde Park Corner and went for a little walk. I don’t really know London, so (as usual) our route was laid out by geocaches. Many of them were Earthcaches which took us to the rather obscure parts of the capital; the sorts of places that the tourists don’t usually find. One of the other caches had a field puzzle which had me playing a strange version of hopscotch outside the head office of the BBC. We met up with some Czech cachers in an obscure alleyway used in the Harry Potter films. And we found one of the cheekiest hides ever.
It was a shame that we drew blanks in Goodge Street and at St Anne’s in Westminster, but you can’t have everything.
As we walked we found ourselves in Leicester Square. I thought we might divert to the Lego shop for five minutes. Have you ever been to the Lego shop in Leicester Square? The queue to get into the place was probably over a hundred yards long. Stuff that!
We had a rather good stilton ploughman’s for lunch, and with walk walked we had a pint of porter in Covent garden’s iconic Harp.
I took a few photos whilst we were out.
Despite the noisy toddlers watching Peppa Pig videos on the train home I slept for much of the way. Strangely the Peppa Pig videos being turned off at Paddock Wood woke me, and I picked up the newspaper that the toddlers’ mother had left and did that paper’s crossword until the train got us back to Ashford.
I got home at almost exactly the same time as "er indoors TM", and we took the dogs round the park. Pogo was a tad wilful, but there was no squabbling with other dogs, and as walks went this was a good one.
With walk walked we had a very good bit of dinner, then I set about doing the homework from the London trip. Earthcaches are akin to geology homework… I’ve sent in eight sets of answers to questions. I hope I’ve got the answers right…
7 August 2019 (Wednesday) - A Walk in the Woods
Amongst my morning’s haul of emails was one from someone who couldn’t find one of the geocaches I’d hidden some time ago. Having failed to find it, she wrote a rather petty little tirade about what a crappy area I’d chosen to put the thing in. I did chuckle when I realised that someone else had found it the same day, and it wasn’t supposed to be an easy find anyway.
This woman has found over twenty thousand caches but hasn’t really hidden that many (relatively speaking). You would think that someone who clearly gets so much out of the hobby would be a tad less discouraging.
I got the dogs onto their leads, and we made our way to the car. We did “boot dogs”; but once in the boot, Treacle has taken to jumping out of the boot onto the car’s back seat. When we are on the way to a walk that’s not a problem. On the way home when she is filthy is a different matter. I need to get some sort of a dog barrier thingy to put up in the back of the car.
As I drove, the pundits on the radio were talking about Brexit. Since Mr Johnson became Prime Minister there seems to have been something of a change in the nation’s attitude to Brexit. Under Mrs May there was a “yeah, whatever” frame of mind. But now it seems that people are taking it seriously. As well they should. This morning there was talk on the radio about possible shortages following Brexit. No one knew what we would be having shortages of, but everyone was convinced that some things will be in short supply.
We got out to Hemsted Woods and had a little walk. Last month I started making plans for a series of geocaches round these woods; today I put the pots out. We had a good walk; it would have been better had the normal people left us alone.
As we walked some fat little woman came jogging past with an odd-looking Spaniel. Pogo totally ignored the dog, but Fudge tried to hump it, to which the fat little woman told him to f… off. She then looked at me and sprinted off as fast as she could (leaving her dog behind). Silly cow.
We had another dog-related episode a little later on when some scrawny looking woman was walking about seven or eight assorted dogs. I say “walking” – the dogs were all mostly going in the same direction as she was, but purely by chance. Some were fighting, some were humping, some were bumbling. It was plain that this woman had no control over any of her dogs. She gave me the most evil glare for no reason that I could fathom.
After a couple of hours we were back at the car. We came home, and once the dogs were settled I reorganised the shed, put the garden furniture away, popped to the fishing tackle shop, did a tip run, and got a bit of lunch for today and for tomorrow as well.
I then did all the geo-admin for the new geocaches I’d hidden earlier. So far the geo-feds haven’t given the series the thumbs-down.
I scoffed today’s lunch whilst watching the telly. Having had torrential rain whilst I was at the fishing tackle shop, the afternoon was really hot, so I hid from the heat in front of the telly. I watched the last two episodes of “Orange is the New Black” which were both rather good. It’s a shame that I’ve seen all of that show now. I wonder what I can watch next?
I’ve loaded the fishing gear into the car for tomorrow. I really should have an early night. "My Boy TM" wants me to pick him up at six o’clock tomorrow morning…
8 August 2019 (Thursday) - A Day's Fishing
With the alarm set for five o’clock I woke every twenty minutes until four o’clock and then was out like a light when the alarm went off.
I loaded up the dishwasher and had a look at the Internet. There wasn’t a lot to see so early in the morning so I got dressed, got the last of the fishing gear into the car, and drove round for "My Boy TM".
We had a quick McBreakfast, then set off to Bethersden. I knew a shortcut along Magpie Hall Road. However I didn’t know that Magpie Hall Road was closed. But despite a little diversion we were still at the gate to the lake ten minutes before it opened. We exchanged pleasantries with the bailiff, and made our way to the lake.
Lovelace fishery is somewhere I’d not fished before. I’ve driven past it several times but I’ve been put off by what I’d heard (I follow the lake’s Facebook page). I’d read that the lake was incredibly narrow. (It wasn’t). I’d heard it was difficult to fish. (It wasn’t… really).
"My Boy TM" had warned me that the place wasn’t a runs water... You’d think that runs water is a bad thing, wouldn’t you? I’m sure that many of my loyal readers are having quite unmentionable visions… In piscatorial terms a “runs water” is a lake, canal, pond, river or any other watercourse from which it is very easy to catch loads of fish.
"My Boy TM" had given me the choice of where we would fish today Did we want to try Lovelace fishery? On the one hand we had a chance of catching some very big fish there. And on the other hand we had a far better chance of catching nothing all day long. I gave the matter some thought. Common sense told me that there were no end of other lakes where we had a far better chance of catching stuff (albeit not as big). But in my world common sense is no match for idiot enthusiasm so Lovelace fishery it was.
We set up our rods and (despite a minor hiccup when my reel broke) we were soon fishing. The first fruit of my loin set up three rods; each with a huge bait. He was loaded for shark(!) I set up one rod with a huge bait, and one rod with a very light float which I baited with maggots. I had one rod the bait of which could only be taken by a big fish. And I had another rod with which I was targeting tiddlers because when you are targeting tiddlers, anything might happen. I’ve had carp over ten pounds in weight when tiddler-bashing before.
The tiddler rod was a success. It really was fish after fish. I lost count of how many I had on that rod but it was well over a hundred. Admittedly none were over six inches in length, but tiddler bashing is a dying art. If I don’t keep the old traditions alive, who will? And it kept me occupied whilst I waited for the bite on my other rod.
That bite came at mid day. "My Boy TM" had caught a carp of over twenty pounds within minutes of our arrival, but after that things went very quiet on the big fish front. It was over five hours before I had the second carp of the day. Not quite as big; it was a shade under twenty pounds. But it beat what had been my previously heaviest fish by six pounds. I was rather chuffed.
"My Boy TM" caught two more carp during the afternoon; both about sixteen pounds in weight. We came home having caught four fish between us (I’m told the hundred-plus tiddlers don’t count!), and we were rather pleased with ourselves. "My Boy TM" didn’t catch anything on his first three visits to that lake.
Would I go back there again? Yes. Admittedly we didn’t catch as many big carp as I would have done at other lakes, but the fish we caught were far bigger than those where we usually go, and I can amuse myself by tiddler-bashing.
I took quite a few photos whilst we were at the lake. I would have stayed longer, but "My Boy TM" was getting hungry. I had offered him one or more of my six-pack of crisps but Cheryl has said that he is on a diet, and (apparently) if he’d had any crisps, I can’t be trusted not to tell tales and squeal him up. So we came home so he could have his permitted dinner.
I’d struggled to get my gear to the lakeside, and I struggled getting it back to the car. Regular readers of this drivel may recall my spending quite a bit of time last year finding a trolley big enough for all my fishing gear. The trolley I got worked for a while, but it isn’t big enough to accommodate the fishing seat I got for Christmas. I need another new fishing trolley
Once home I hung out my wet tackle (ooo-eer!) and took the dogs for a walk round the co-op field. We had a rather good walk; we didn’t shout ant anyone, or try to hump anyone. A passing normal person did give me a pointed glare when Treacle and Pogo were play-fighting; I suppose that (to the uninitiated) their play-fighting does look rather nasty
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. We had a bottle of fizzy plonk with it as a celebration for my big fish.
A spinning head, too much sun earlier… I think I should have an early night…
9 August 2019 (Friday) - Tubular Dog Guard
When I went to the loo at one o’clock (pausing only briefly to trip over Fudge) the rain outside was torrential. When I woke seven hours later it was still just as awful. I couldn’t help but think about the two blokes we’d met at the lake yesterday. They’d arrived as we were leaving. They were planning a night fishing session; even though they knew what the weather forecast was.
I made myself some toast and shared the crusts with Fudge. Back in the day he wasn’t allowed crusts as he was such a little barrel. Now he’s getting so thin he needs feeding up. Sometimes I worry about how thin he is getting. Mind you he seems OK in himself; he’s just getting on a bit. And it doesn’t help that he’s such a fussy eater.
I had a little look at the Internet as I scoffed toast. Quite a few people had said nice things about the fish I caught yesterday. I’ve only just worked out that (bearing in mind my previous best fish was thirteen pounds) I’d beat my personal best by nearly fifty per cent.
Several people were having a birthday today. I sent out birthday videos. I’ve got out of the habit of doing that recently; I really must start again. Looking at the birthday video I send out I saw that it hasn’t got any fishing pictures in it. Lots of pictures of walking and dogs and beer and Lego, but no fishing ones. I shall have to bear that in mind when I make a new one.
Seeing that the weather forecast said the rain wouldn’t ease until mid-day I went on a little shopping mission. First of all to Halfords where I asked the nice lady for “You know – one of those things…” and I then proceeded to gesticulate and thrash my arms about in a pathetic attempt to reenact what “one of those things“ was. Amazingly the nice lady immediately realized that I was after a tubular dog guard to keep the dogs in the back of my car.
She showed me the range, offered up the one which I probably wanted, and suggested I took it to my car to see if it fitted before I paid for it (apparently there is a lot less paperwork doing it that way). After a few minutes fighting I had the thing in place, and went back and paid. I complemented the nice lady on knowing what I wanted. She said they get a lot of customers coming in wanting “You know – one of those things…” and she’s used to it.
I then went to the fishing tackle shop with the fragments of my reel that broke yesterday. As I said to the nice man behind the counter, I’d only used it three times. He had a look; he said he could see it was barely used, and he said he’d never seen one fall apart in quite the way mine had (I think he was secretly impressed). He gave me a new one and said if this one breaks I should fetch the bits back again.
With the rain still coming down I thought I might visit the Lego shop at Bluewater. As I drove, “Desert Island Discs” was on the radio. Today it was the turn of Sir Tim Waterstone; founder of the “Waterstones” book chain. The bits of the show when they were interviewing him were fascinating. But his choice of the eight records he’d take to a desert island… Oh dear…
They do this all the time on “Desert Island Discs”. They have such interesting people who then claim to be classical music buffs. Does anyone *really* have Schopenhauer’s concerto for stilton and armpit as their favourite piece of music of all time? Of course they don’t!
I got to Bluewater and (as usual) managed to park about as far away from the Lego shop as it is possible to get. As I walked through the centre there was a “delightful” family scene. A rather snotty (literally) four-year-old was having some sort of melt-down. After a lot of trying to reason with the brat, the young mother just shouted “Button it, shitface” and dragged the child away.
I got to the Lego shop where I was the oldest customer (by about twenty years). I got a pint of Lego (you really can buy bricks by the pint!) and came home again.
Once home I thought I might try out my new tubular dog guard. I got the dogs on to their leads, we went to the car and the dogs hopped into the boot (as they do). Treacle immediately spotted the tubular dog guard preventing her jumping onto the back seat and gave me the most evil glare.
We drove down to Orlestone Woods and had a very good walk. We met some other dogs, and it all went amazingly well. Pogo was friendly to the four little bundles of fluff, and he played with the big black dogs that ran up to him barking (like he does to other dogs).
And when he came back to the car, I had all three dogs sit. I opened the back end of the car. All dogs sat nicely until I said “Boot Dogs!” and all three jumped in. As I closed the door a little old lady came up to me. “How wonderful” she exclaimed. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I was more amazed than she was.
She introduced me to her little dog; a lovely little pup that was seventeen years old.
We came home, and I fed laundry to the washing machine. It seems to like that. As it chewed the laundry I caught up with the episodes of Poldark that I’d not got round to watching. And with dogs fed I looked to feeding myself. Being left “home alone” for a couple of days I went up to the KFC to get dinner. Just as I was being given my scran a minor fracas was kicking off. Some rather weird-looking chap was demanding he be served a “beans meal”. Apparently in his world a “beans meal” was just like a bargain bucket, but with the chicken and chips and fizzy drinks replaced by beans. This caters for vegans who don’t like chips or fizzy drinks.
No one else seems to meet these nutters; why do I attract them?
I’ve programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow’s adventure, I’ve got my pack-up organized. I see that the last season of “Gotham” is now available on Netflix. I shall watch an episode or two of that and have an early night.
The dogs are all waiting for "er indoors TM" to come home. I’ve told them all that she is away for the weekend. They aren’t taking any notice…
10 August 2019 (Saturday) - Knatts Valley
The dogs missed "er indoors TM" last night. They all lay by the front door until I went to bed, and for all that they came upstairs, they wandered downstairs every half-hour or so to see if she’d come home.
I eventually gave up trying to sleep and got up. I set the washing machine going on some towels, and watched an episode of “Gotham” whilst we all had out brekkies. Just as “Gotham” finished, my phone went absolutely mental. The new geo-series that I’d been working on had gone live. Twenty-three geocaches each of which I received four emails about. “Your geocache has been published”, “Geo-Fed #99 posted a reviewer note”, “Geocache #10000 has been published” and “There is a new geocache”. It was a lot of stuff to have to delete.
I eventually got all my gear and the dogs together, and I got it into the car in two loads. Luggage first, then the dogs. And then I drove up to Knatts Valley. Five months ago (on 3 March) I spend much of a rather dull day solving geo-puzzles. Today we went to find the things.
We arrived at a lay-by somewhere near Sevenoaks, and waited for our buddies to arrive. I took the dogs off for a tiddle, but it started raining, so I opened the boot of the car and the dogs sat inside. I sat on the edge and we all sheltered under the tailgate. After a couple of minutes some normal people appeared (seemingly from nowhere) and announced loudly to the world at large that they were going to shelter under my tailgate. Their dogs started barking at my dogs and it was implied that their dogs are delightful creatures and I should take my dogs elsewhere whilst they sheltered in my car. I didn’t actually tell them to p*ss off in so many words…
Karl, Tracey and Charlotte soon arrived, and we set off for our walk. We didn’t get far before we had to stop to shelter from the rain. And once we got going again we soon had to stop to shelter from the rain again. The BBC’s forecast was that the rain would all be done by nine o’clock. I was devastated to see that that BBC had got it wrong (yet again). But the worst of the rain was over by mid-day.
Mind you the wind was strong. Two of our target geocaches were found on the floor. They were still attached to the branches to which they’d been tied, but the branches had been blown off the trees.And as we walked though woods we could hear branches coming down.
We walked for just under twelve miles. Across fields and along lanes. Footpaths and woods. Fudge rolled in various disgusting things. Treacle found several sticks to carry. Pogo was well behaved.
It was as well that "er indoors TM" wasn’t along; there were some serious hills to be climbed. As we walked we found a deserted golf course. It was eerie. Have you ever seen a deserted golf course? Usually golf courses are pristine; an example of gardening taken to the extreme. This one had just been left to go to rack and ruin. The greens and fairways were two feet deep in grass.
Usually we have a pint on our walks. Today we’d sussed out that there was a pub two-thirds of the way along our walk. But it wasn’t until we got there that I realized that it was the Rising Sun in Kemsing. We went there on the twenty-third of April 2017 when I wrote: “As we walked we found a pub. A pint would have slipped down nicely. I asked the people in the garden of The Rising Sun if the place was still open. A grizzled old harridan who I can only describe as looking like Zelda from “Terrahawks” said she might be, and asked me what the time was. I told her it was twenty to four; she replied (in a “piss off” tone) that she’d closed at three o’clock.”
We got there at half past two today to find a very welcoming sign outside, but the place was closed and locked. Just as we were giving up some bloke drove up and said that he wasn’t opening today.
Others who’d walked this series had reported they’d taken five hours to get round; we took eight. A combination of sheltering from the rain, time spent searching for some rather tricky hides and diverting to closed pubs all slowed us down. Mind you I took a few photos today. That probably added a minute or two.
Geocache-wise today was a mixed bag. Some were straightforward finds. Some were rather more difficult. Despite having secured permission to replace any missing ones, we logged two “did not find”s. One had clue “base of concrete post”; we couldn’t find any posts in the thick stinging nettles.
And the other one – after fifteen minutes searching some chap came out of his house (in his pyjamas and smoking a fag) and wanted to know what we were doing.
Once home I fed the dogs who were incredibly hungry after their walk. I then went up the kebab shop for my tea. Chicken doner meat, chips and a can of drink for four pounds fifty pence. Can’t be bad...
Except that they’ve put it up to six pounds seventy (there’s inflation for you). And it didn’t help that I had to keep handing it back to them. Chicken meat and chips – how difficult can it be? No – I didn’t want all those sauces. No I didn’t want some pitta bread thing. No I didn’t want lamb. No I didn’t want salad… in the end the manager came over and was amazed that anyone could mess up chicken meat and chips so much.
I scoffed tea whilst watching more “Gotham” as the dogs snored. I had to turn the telly up to hear it over their snores…
I’m hoping for a better night tonight…
11 August 2019 (Sunday) - Here and There
We all slept rather well last night. I woke before the dogs, and watched an episode of “Gotham” before they hauled their carcasses downstairs. Fudge and Pogo wolfed their breakfasts; I had to hand-feed Treacle hers, scrap by scrap.
The dogs all went back to sleep; I left them and set off in the general direction of Margate. I thought it better to go whilst they were asleep rather than have them wondering where I was going. On the way I took a little diversion into Dargate where I stopped four times to hunt out geocaches. One was on a road sign. One in a bus shelter. One in a churchyard (nearly) and one was in a crash barrier.
As I drove the radio was having its usual Sunday morning religious stuff. Some vicar was banging on about the importance of prayer in that if we want to change the world, then prayer is the way to do it. He then said that whatever happens is God’s will anyway. What will be, will be. He seemed to gloss over the failing in his logic that if God is going to do whatever God wants to do regardless, then what is the point of prayer. I *really* don’t understand religion at all. Clearly nonsensical claptrap is presented as supposed fact and we are supposed to just accept it?
I got to Margate on the stroke of nine o’clock. Whilst "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" fiddled about I played with "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". He’s got a new Game Boy thingy.
The plan was that we would go straight to the cash and carry; we finally set off for there at about quarter past ten. Shopping there can be a bit of a nightmare. You’d think they’d make the aisles big enough for the trollies, wouldn’t you? Mind you I did laugh out loud when the most recent fruit of my loin loudly announced “I can't hack this shit any more. I'm getting bored".
Once we’d got a car full of assorted stuff back to the shop I collected my old step ladder and headed back to Ashford (about an hour and a half later than I’d planned). I delivered the ladder to "My Boy TM" who was decorating. He’d made what I considered to be the schoolboy error of trying to paint grey walls white. After four coats of emulsion the walls still looked grey.
I came home, collected the dogs and drove up to Mote Park. There was a works picnic taking place. Back in the day when I worked “somewhere else” I wouldn’t have dreamed about going to a works picnic. Looking back I wish I’d left “that place” about twenty-five years earlier than I actually did. Despite pausing for all three dogs to have a spate of diarrhoea, I soon found everyone. I chatted for a bit, and then took the dogs for a walk round Mote Park. I’ve not been there for years. It is a rather good place for a dog walk. We met loads of other dogs and we all played very nicely with them. We even met another cocker-pug, the owners of which said they’d never seen another cocker-pug before, and I’d wandered up with two of them.
In fact the walk was only marred by some idiot who insisted that Treacle and Pogo were “Lancashire Heelers” and was adamant that they were not a pug – cocker spaniel cross. Ironically if you look them up on the internet, Lancashire Heelers look rather like Fudge.
With walk walked we made our way back to the picnic. When about quarter of a mile away we got caught in a rain shower. The dogs didn’t care as they’d been in the lake anyway, but I got a tad damp. Mind you I got given some home-make cake at the picnic. That chirped me up.
We came home, and the dogs went to sleep. I got out the ironing board and ironed through some episodes of “Gotham”. With ironing done I went down the road to Marino’s; I had this idea that I might get cod and chops for dinner.
It ain’t cheap.
A portion of chips cost over two quid. Back in the day chips came in two pence or five pence portions. But the dogs liked the fish. In fact they liked the fish today, the kebab yesterday and the KFC on Friday. Is it any wonder they all have diarrhoea?
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. Things will soon be back to usual.
12 August 2019 (Monday) - Back to Work
After a rather busy weekend I slept like a log. And with "er indoors TM" returned, so did the dogs.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Gotham” then had a look at the Internet to see if I’d missed much overnight. I hadn’t missed much on Facebook but I had missed the Perseid meteor shower last night. Back in the day I would have been all over that. I was surprised that no one had mentioned it.
I checked my emails. What with my new geo-series going live on Saturday morning and people walking round my other caches, I had two hundred “found it” logs. So over this last weekend for every film pot that I found under a rock, over three people found one that I’d hidden. I see that as something of a result. Mind you, sometimes I wonder how the noble art of shoving film pots under a rock is going to continue. It wasn’t that long ago that I got at least one notification about a new one five times a week. Now sometimes weeks pass before anyone puts out a new one.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing President Trump’s seemingly incessant tweeting. There is a growing feeling that Donald Trump has done untold damage to the office of President of the United States. For years whatever the American President had to say was respected. Now with his stream of drivel there are those who feel he’s made the position something of a laughing-stock. Whoever takes over from him will have the job of restoring respect for the position before they can realistically do anything else.
The pundits also interviewed the numero uno honcho at Phones 4 U. Because the chap has had Lyme’s disease he was seen to be something of an expert on the matter. And (listening to what he had to say) he probably seems to be something of an expert on the matter to anyone who knows nothing about it. It struck me that with endless experts that could have been wheeled on, why wheel on someone who clearly didn’t know much at all?
I got to work. There was cake. There was also a lot of torrential downpours too. And we had weather warnings too. Did you know that there are distinct “yellow” and “amber” weather warnings? One means “be aware” and one means “be prepared”. What’s the difference?
With work done I came home. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scran and went bowling. I watched the final episode of “Gotham”. Something of an “end of an era” now that I’ve seen them all. I rater liked that show, but it did have the problem that (being a prequel) you knew all the characters were going to survive. That was where “Game of Thrones” worked so well; anyone could drop dead there.
I then fell asleep in front of the telly. I do that far too much…
Going back to work was a tad dull…
13 August 2019 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
I slept like a log last night. It was rather cold (for August) but I had two dogs snuggled up to me radiating quite a bit of heat to keep me warm.
As I scoffed my toast I had a little look at the geo-map. I’ve got a little plan for a small series of Wherigoes but finding somewhere to put the things was something of an issue. There’s not many places left locally that don’t already have caches on them. I *really*don’t want to use an area that has an odd cache already there; most of these caches have been put out by people who got overly excited at the prospect of putting a film pot under a rock, and then lost interest. I tend to avoid those areas when hiding my own film pots under rocks. You end up putting in loads of effort only to have your location remembered most because of that cache that the local scouts don’t maintain any more.
But I eventually found somewhere that looked promising
I got the dogs into the car and after a ten-minute drive we were walking along the new little route I had in mind for my Wherigoes. As we walked I was rather amazed to see a sign from a local farmer asking dog walkers to clear up the dog poo. Bearing in mind the field was awash with sheep dung, what difference does one dog turd make? Especially a turd from my dogs who are regularly wormed.
We had a good little walk. Across fields, through woods… there was a little episode when we lost Fudge. I finally spotted him in the next field about fifty yards away going at right angles to the way the rest of us were walking. But he came back when called… I say “called”; “bellowed at” might be a better description.
This is a little walk we’ve done before. It’s a good one; it was especially good to walk with the dogs and not meet up with any of the normal people.
I got home, and spent an hour and a half doing the bare minimum geo-admin so that the geo-feds can let me know whether or nor the Wherigo series is possible or not. If they give it the thumbs down, then we had a good walk anyway. If the locations are acceptable, the next stage is for me to create a Wherigo cartridge. That will probably take about thirty to forty hours work over a month or so.
I spent the afternoon in bed; I got a couple of hours’ sleep, then watched a couple of episodes of “Black Mirror” on Netflix. Netflix has been playing up recently in that it doesn’t seem to remember what I’ve been watching, and where I’ve got with it. I blame the constant upgrading of the app; if those who made the thing would just leave it alone
Once "er indoors TM" boils up some dinner I’m off to the night shift. On the one hand I don’t want to do the night shift. On the other hand I like the time off work either side of the night shift and I’m not scheduled to do another for over six weeks.
I should really stop whinging…
14 August 2019 (Wednesday) - Bit Tired
As I drove home after a particularly busy night shift, the pundits on the radio were interviewing Philip Hammond who was Chancellor of the Exchequer under Mrs May’s premiership. The bloke has given Mr Johnson a couple of weeks’ grace before he decided to stick the knife in. He was banging on this morning about how him and his cronies are going to block Mr Johnson’s attempts to force a no-deal Brexit onto the nation.
It never fails to amaze me just how thick these politicians can be.
Mr Hammond was a senior figure in the previous administration. He had a *huge* opportunity to help to secure a Brexit deal. His government worked for two years to come up with a deal. That deal was then soundly rejected by the UK Parliament three times. Parliament itself then took some time out to come up with alternate deals and couldn’t agree on anything. The European Union has made it crystal clear that there will be no renegotiation of the deal. So it is plain that the UK is faced with either a no-deal Brexit or no Brexit.
I must admit I’m rather relieved that Mr Hammond isn’t in government any more. it is plain he’s got no idea what is going on.
I came home, said hello to "er indoors TM", collected the dogs, and drove them down to Orlestone woods for a little walk. We found another little path today that we hadn’t found before, and spent an hour or so exploring. As we walked we met a couple of other dogs (and their associated humans). The encounters passed off reasonably well; Pogo didn’t bark at them, and Treacle didn’t run in terror. I’ll take that.
We also found a hippie encampment. I’m not sure if the hippies are allowed to be camping there on Forestry Commission land, but they didn’t seem to be hurting anyone. Mind you it does niggle me that I can’t put a film pot under a rock there as it is a site of special scientific interest but the hippies are allowed to set up a campsite.
We left the woods just as the rain started.
Once home I took myself off to bed for the morning. Over a late brekkie I watched another episode of “Black Mirror”. For all that the show is following a format first devised by “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits” some seventy years ago, it’s not a bad thing to watch.
My phone then beeped. An email. The geo-feds have given me the thumbs-up for the locations I selected yesterday for my latest geo-project. I made a start on creating the Wherigo cartridge. Just putting in the start and the six geocache locations took over an hour (by the time I’d fiddled about correcting co-ordinates to the correct format).
As I fiddled about the doorbell rang. The nice man from the carpet company had come to measure us up for a new carpet to go up the stairs. The old one was there when we moved in (in 1991) and probably needs replacing. The dogs went mad (as dogs do), but h was only here for ten minutes. He’s going to send us a quote.
My laptop then asked if I would like it to update its operating system. Apparently the old version of Windows won’t be supported for much longer. After two hours the laptop now has the new version of Windows which seems to be exactly the same as the old one. Progress, eh?
"er indoors TM" is boiling up some scran, I’ve opened a bottle of plonk so’s it can breathe… I wonder how long it will be before I’m snoring?
15 August 2019 (Thursday) - At The Circus
I slept like a log last night; probably something to do with having done a night shift, half a bottle of red wine and the last of the amaretto.
Over brekkie I peered into the Internet. I sent out a couple of birthday messages via Facebook, then checked my emails. There wasn’t much of note apart from connection requests via LinkedIn. Does anyone other than people working for recruitment agencies actually use LinkedIn?
Seeing that it was rather bright outside I got the dogs on to their leads and we drove down to Orlestone woods where we had a little walk. We met a little old lady with her dogs; we explored the new shortcut we found yesterday. We also saw that the hippie encampment was still in place. Their tent didn’t look cheap. Neither did the camping gear that I could see.
It was as we were walking past the hippies that I realised Fudge had disappeared again. I called him; I immediately heard a dog yelping in pain. Now it might not have been Fudge, but the yelps did sound like him. I sprinted back down the path toward the hippies (but nowhere near as fast as Pogo or Treacle were running). I couldn’t see Fudge anywhere. I called him a few times, then suddenly realised he was standing at my ankles looking at me (as though wondering what all the fuss was about). He seemed fine. Had that been him yelping?
From Orlestone we drove up to Kennington where a new geocache had gone live. It was on a rather busy footpath, marked as incredibly difficult and with no clues whatsoever. I gave it five minutes before putting it on my “ignore” list. Some people want their caches found; some don’t.
We came home, and I squealed the hippie encampment up to the forestry commission’s head office. Having a little camp in the woods is one thing; this morning they were cutting down whole trees and having a bonfire. That’s just taking the piss.
I then spent a little more time working on my Wherigo project. The plan is that people will start off at a car park, chat with a cyber-narrator character and then go to six locations in turn where they will interact with various fictional characters. Just getting the pictures for those fictional characters took nearly two hours.
I had a sandwich, and watched two more episodes of “Black Mirror”; both were exploring ideas in sci-fi that were already old before I was born, but both were very well done.
I then turned my attention back to my wheri-project. Having spent ages this morning creating pictures I then fiddled about so the Wherigo creator could use those pictures. That took half an hour. I then programmed in about thirty seconds of dialogue… another half an hour. After an hour’s attempting to create the player’s name as an input variable (!) I gave up. I had other things to do.
Having loaded up my car with family I drove down to Folkestone where we had a little birthday meal (today was Cheryl’s birthday).
Have you ever been to the Brickfields? I have before, and I had high hopes. I was disappointed. "My Boy TM"’s pie looked as though it had been sat on by the chef, and my chicken had probably already been cooked three or four times too many.
From dinner we went on to Radnor Park where the circus was in town. I’d not been to the circus for years. The last time I went, the girl on the flying trapeze’s tit popped out, and one of the llamas humped another. I wasn’t sure what to expect today.
We arrived to find the place was crowded. Pretty much every seat in the house had been taken. And even with the Groupon deal it wasn’t cheap. But it was rather good… *if* you like acrobats. Back in the day the circus was something of a variety act. Today’s show was ninety per cent acrobats, with a single clown filling in the remaining ten per cent. But it was still rather good. I particularly liked the bum of the girl who was assisting the chap balancing on a beach ball on a see-saw on a skateboard. Mind you, seeing how I don’t like heights I couldn’t watch the girl who was doing the trapeze thingy, and had to turn away from the grand finale. I video-ed some of it; after I finished videoing they climbed out of the wheel bits and ran round the outside. I felt ill just watching.
But I’d certainly go again…
16 August 2019 (Friday) - House Guest
Another rather good night. Over a bowl of granola I watched more “Black Mirror”, then sparked up my lap-top to see what I’d missed overnight. I hadn’t missed much really. No one else could find that geocache that I couldn’t find yesterday. Other than that, nothing would seem to have changed.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how many dogs have been rehomed because people don’t realise just how much hard work it is having a dog (!) You can now download a virtual dog and find out for yourself how much time and effort they take.
There was also talk about the British fishing fleet. It would seem that it is no secret that the French fishing fleets intend to carry on fishing in British waters after Brexit. And it is no secret that the British fishermen see this as a good opportunity for a fight. However everyone seems to have overlooked that the largest part of the UK fishing fleet fishes in Norwegian water, and for all that the Norwegians are happy to talk about an access deal, the Prime Minister isn’t.
Pausing only briefly to get petrol I was soon at work where I had a fairly good day; there was cake.
The dogs didn’t get a walk this evening; the rain was too heavy. It wasn’t long before the doorbell rang and our house guest arrived. Sadie is staying with us for a week. I’m hoping she will settle soon…
Today was very dull until Sadie arrived, and then it became hard work…
17 August 2019 (Saturday) - Early Shift
I had an early night last night; I wasn't feeling on top form. Despite some vivid nightmares about somewhere that I used to work (that happens rather a lot) I slept well.
When I got up, three of our four resident dogs got up with me and asked to go outside into the back garden. I thought they all wanted a tiddle. They didn't. They all wanted to play silly beggars in the rain. I gave then five minutes then rounded them all up.
Over brekkie I watched more "Black Mirror". Imagine if you could make a copy of yourself to use as your personal assistant/slave. Someone who already knows all your personal preferences. Who better to know what you want, what you like? Wonderful for you... not so good for the copy.
I then set off for work. Being International Geocaching Day there was an e-souvenir to be had if you logged a find today. I thought I might get a quick one on the way to work. After a detour of about five miles I found one. It speaks volumes about the state of Kent's road that I can travel up the A20 far quicker than I can get up the M20 at the moment.
I’ve just had a look through my diary. Since I started hunting under rocks for Tupperware I’ve worked on every International Geocaching Day except the one in 2014.
As I drove the pundits on the radio spouted their usual drivel. Jeremy Corbyn continued to make himself more and more unelectable. Such a shame that he can't see it.
There was also talk of the Iranian oil tanker that the Royal Marines seized a little while ago. The thing now has permission to sail provided it doesn't go to Syria. The Americans are up in arms that it might go to Syria. The Iranian government have given a written undertaking that it won't Some chap on the radio this morning suggested that the Syrians haven't got a harbour big enough for the tanker to dock. Haven't they? I don't know. But it keeps the politicians squabbling with each other and distracted from doing anything else.
I got to work; I considered going to the canteen for second brekkie, but thought better of it. Instead I got on with that which I couldn't avoid. The day wasn't bad.
Once home "er indoors TM" and I took all four (!) dogs to Orlestone Woods. We had a rather good walk; with Sadie along, Fudge didn’t straggle anything like he usually does. We did meet some other dogs, but that passed off mostly without incident.
With the walk done "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and we scoffed it whilst watching a couple of episodes of “Timeless”. I say “watching”; I slept through the second one. I’m still feeling rather grim…
18 August 2019 (Sunday) - Late Shift
It *is* possible for dogs to sleep in a tightly curled ball. Mine do this during the hours of daylight very successfully. However at night dogs seem to have to sleep with all limbs stretched out at odd angles, and heads and tails extended as far as is physically possible to do so. I found myself sandwiched between Pogo and Sadie last night, and as quickly as I would move one offending limb, so another would be scratching up against me. I gave this until five o’clock when I told them that they had had their sleep, and it was time for mine. I scooped both up (one scooped easier than the other) and dumped them both at the bottom of the bed. I then got two hours’ sleep until Treacle kicked off barking and snarling for no reason that anyone could fathom (least of all Treacle).
I got up, looked outside and smiled. It was raining. With a dull day on the agenda, rain suited me. Everyone else went back to sleep. I came down, fed laundry into the washing machine and sparked up my lap-top. Seemingly three weeks later it started working. What is it with these Windows updates? Twice a week the laptop announces it needs an update. The thing is unusable for an age whilst it does the update, and when it finally finishes it is no different to how it was before.
Eventually I got to have a look at the Internet before my toast got too cold. I saw that quite a few people had been out to that new series of geocaches that I’d hidden a few weeks ago. Most people seemed happy with what I’d done. There were a couple of comments about one of the hides. The GPS co-ordinates might be a bit awry on one of them. I’ll go have a look when I get chance; it’s a shame that rather than saying “your co-ordinates are out”, people don’t send me what they made the co-ordinates to be.
I also had a “Needs Maintenance” on one of the caches I hid years ago. The paper inside is full. Rather than replacing it himself someone’s asked me to go sort it out. On the one hand according to the rules it is my responsibility to sort it out. On the other hand I carry spare paper with me so I can do in seconds what someone else would have to give up an hour or so to do.
I spent a little while working on my new Wherigo project. As part of it, players will have to find six film pots under rocks. To do this they need the GPS co-ordinates of each. So for each one I had to create a jpeg file of the co-ordinates, then turn each into a media file for the Wherigo creator, then use the media file in the creation of an object in the Wherigo creator. That took forty minutes.
Then the doorbell rang. Once we’d calmed the dogs (who were all going hysterical) we let in cousin Natalie. She’s closed down her fish tank and had asked if we’d take on the last of her fish. It wasn’t as though we don’t have space in our fish tank. I popped the new fish into a quarantine tank with a little potassium permanganate, and whilst that worked its wonders we took the dogs down to Orlestone woods.
We got to the woods; within minutes we had more dog dung than dogs. We then had a good walk. Bearing in mind it had rained overnight the walk was wet and muddy. All four dogs got filthy. But as we walked we didn’t see another soul or dog. And (at the risk of appearing anti-social) that was a good thing. All four dogs ran round like things possessed; all four got caked in mud.
We got back to the car just as the rain started.
Once home "er indoors TM" bathed the dogs. Sadie didn’t like the bath. As "er indoors TM" scrubbed, I put the new fish into the tank; they seem to have settled in fine. I then had a shower myself. Partly to get clean, and partly because it is the easiest way to clean up after muddy dogs have been scrubbed.
I had a cuppa, then set off towards work.
As I drove to work do the weather was changeable in the extreme. Glorious sunshine gave way to torrential rain, and then back to sunshine on a regular ten-minute cycle. Definitely a day to be going to work rather than going on a long walk.
As always I had the radio on in the car. I caught the end of a program about the fire that happened at York Minster a few years ago. Those clergymen being interviewed were likening what happened at York Minster to the relatively recent fire at Notre Dame in Paris. No one was prepared to rule out that it might have been an act of God. Now I'm no expert on what the Almighty might or might not do, but it strikes me that zapping a cathedral and blasting a minster is akin to pissing on your own chips. Surely He'd be more likely to be flinging thunderbolts at dens of iniquity and ladies of loose morals?
This was followed by Nicholas Parsons leading another episode of "Just a Minute". I do like that show. Nicholas Parsons is over ninety years old; I hope I'm as sprightly as he is if I get that far.
I got to work; broccoli cheese was on the menu. Very tasty. As I scoffed I read a notice that the work's canteen has "gone green". Rather than having individual sachets of sauce and vinegar, there's now bottles of the stuff. The sachets were five pence each; the bottles are "help yourself". I prefer a bottle of vinegar rather than a sachet of the stuff. I really did begrudge that five pence.
Suitably replete I went in to work. Much as I grumble about having to work at the weekends and nights, I don't mind it. there is something strangely satisfying about lone working. I can just get on with the job without being supervised in any way.
Mind you the trouble with a late shift is that I get hope so late…
19 August 2019 (Monday) - So Dull
I woke in the small hours with an attack of claustrophobia. With a dog snuggled up close on either side of me I had been pinned in place under the duvet. I eventually thrashed myself free, and relocated the offending pooches.
I woke earlier than I might have done, but thought I might use the time constructively. I got up and put a load of undercrackers into the washing machine, had a shave, then sorted some toast. I scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Black Mirror”. This made me think. When you get blocked by someone on social media you can’t see what they post on-line. Imagine if that could happen in real life; other people would be completely invisible to you. Either individuals, or humanity as a whole. The ultimate “being sent to Coventry”.
As “Black Mirror” finished, so did the washing machine. There’s something wrong with its “quick wash one hour” setting. Today’s scrub took an hour. Last week it was still going strong after an hour and a half. Other times see it done in forty-five minutes. Still, my pants came out clean, which is the main thing. I set it to tumble drier mode, and had a look at the Internet.
Absolutely nothing at all had happened on Facebook overnight. Have I been blocked by everyone? I did have quite a few “Found It” emails from people who’d been out at the weekend finding the geocaches I’ve hidden. One of these people had said that they liked the idea of the puzzles on the series that I’d hidden in Hemsted forest, and they thought they might use the idea themselves. I was pleased about that; more series of film pots under rocks is more walks to do at the weekends. But other than that, there were no other emails in my inbox.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were fussing about Brexit. Someone or other in authority (who should know better) has been scaremongering by releasing (leaking) a confidential government memo warning about possible shortages after a no-deal Brexit. But is there need to panic? I would have thought that the take-home message here is that someone in power is taking Brexit seriously. Am I being vindictive in wanting to see someone being prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act for wantonly trying to stir up panic by disclosing confidential information? Or am I just a reactionary old git?
For some inexplicable reason the radio's sports news was delayed by ten minutes. No reason was given, but it did seem to be a serious issue for those presenting the show. Personally I wouldn't care if they never gave another sport bulletin ever again.
Having run out of peanut butter and marmalade I drove to Sainsburys where (for some strange reason) I bought peanut butter and jam. And having run out of peanut butter and marmalade (my usual sandwich filling) I bought a sandwich for lunch. Rather a dull thing to report, but that beef and horseradish sandwich was probably one of the highlights of what was a rather dull day.
As I was shopping I saw a fellow shopper was wearing her Tesco uniform. In Sainsburys! I asked her if Tesco was too expensive for her; she laughed and said that Sainsburys was on her way home.
Don't Tesco offer staff discounts? If I was running Sainsbury's I'd be publicizing this as much as I could.
I got to work; I did my bit. I scoffed my beef and horseradish sandwich (which turned out to be something of a disappointment) and had a phone call from "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" who seemed to be in high spirits. We also had a thunderstorm which brightened up an otherwise dull afternoon. It was during the height of the storm that I realised that I had no coat and had left my hoodie in my car.
Mind you I got back to my car without getting wet. Just as I was nearing home I saw "er indoors TM" walking up the road with the dogs. But by the time I’d parked I had no idea where she’d gone, and as she doesn’t answer the phone and as the rain was starting again I went home.
"er indoors TM" eventually returned with the dogs, boiled up some dinner and went bowling. I ironed shirts whilst watching “Poldark”. “Poldark” turned out to be even more of a disappointment than that beef and horseradish sandwich…
20 August 2019 (Tuesday) - This n That
Another restless night. Perhaps the dogs should sleep downstairs? Or perhaps I should?
I eventually gave up trying to sleep and came downstairs. Usually I would make sandwiches for lunch, but the peanut butter I bought yesterday was still in the car, and I didn’t actually get any marmalade so I just made myself jam on toast for brekkie. There are those who would say why not make a jam sandwich for lunch, but that is crazy talk. Home-made lunch sandwiches feature peanut butter and marmalade. Everyone knows that.
I set the washing machine loose on some laundry, and as I scoffed toast I watched an episode of “Dark Mirror”. A rather good tale about virtual reality. It had me hooked.
I sparked up my lap-top to have a quick look at the Internet. It was marginally more interesting than yesterday in that people had been doing things on social media. Those who have spent ages pleading poverty were on the way home from a two-month European road trip. Those who are constantly on diets were eating McMegaburgers. There was also some petty bickering kicking off on one of the local Facebook pages. Someone was whinging about some trivial annoyance that was happening locally. Someone else was whinging about the constant whinging. What are local Facebook groups for, if not for whinging? But the best bit of pettiness on Facebook this morning was a post to the “60s and 70s Lego” page which has caused consternation because the Lego set in question might have been more suited to the “80s and 90s Lego” page. You wouldn’t believe how much aggro kicked off over that one.
If nothing else the Internet has given us the ability to argue across the world.
With no emails of note I got myself ready for work. I drove to the co-op where I got a sandwich for lunch. As I paid I found myself speechless. The woman behind the counter was shrieking *exactly* like Terry Jones did when he played “Mrs Brown” in the "Live Organ Transplant" sketch in Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life".
I was so amazed that when I got back to my car I had to return to the shop as I'd forgotten the marmalade which prompted my needing a sandwich in the first place.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were interviewing Laurie Sheck; an American professor of literature whose student have accused her of racism because they didn't like what the racism in the books they were reading. The student felt that it was more appropriate to accuse the professor who was presenting classic literature than to have a go at the author who'd actually caused the offence.
Apparently this poor professor had the allegations hanging over her for two years without knowing specifically what she'd been accused of. She was rather amazed to find that she'd taken the rap for someone else's opinions.
It was also mentioned on the radio that people in their fifties who have children are far happier than those who don't *provided* the children have left home.
I can relate to that...
I got to work, and spent much of the day peering out of the window. There is a public bin a few yards out of the window. It was full to overflowing, and at regular intervals passers-by would drop cigarette ends into it. I was avidly waiting for the bin to burst into flames.
Needless to say it didn’t.
I got home just as "er indoors TM" was setting off on a dog walk. I joined in. We went round the park and back through the co-op field. Amazingly we had less problems with four dogs than I would have expected with three.
We had a bottle of plonk with dinner. I wonder if I will have a headache in the morning…
21 August 2019 (Wednesday) - Stuff
It was something of a shame that on the one night that the dogs weren’t mobbing me I barely slept. I started the night with a nightmare in which I had (somehow) been press-ganged into the Royal Navy of two hundred years ago and after sailing the seven seas singing “Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of fruit cider” I woke in a cold sweat. I dozed fitfully until one or another dog woke me by barking from downstairs at five o’clock.
I got up, put a whites wash into the washing machine, made sandwiches (now I’ve got the ingredients) and watched an episode of “Black Mirror”. It was rather good. We all get those phising emails – what happens if you respond to them?
I then hung out the washing. For all that I’d put a “white” load in, there was a massive load of coloured stuff in there. Oh well… "er indoors TM" pants didn’t go *that* pink.
I then had a quick look at the Internet. Yesterday I read one of those soppy memes on Facebook about how marvellous the NHS is and how we should appreciate all the doctors and nurses. My piss boiled when I read that. Yes – the doctors and nurses are wonderful. So are pharmacists, physiotherapists, transfusion practitioners, cleaners, cooks, biomedical scientists, podiatrists, speech therapists, cardiographers, gardeners, dieticians, porters, secretaries, med lab assistants, biochemists, radiographers, O.D.A.s. I said as much on Facebook yesterday evening. This morning over a hundred people had responded favorably.
Mind you the ones who’d posted those soppy memes hadn’t.
I had some emails – a string of “Found It” logs. More people have been out looking for those caches I hid recently. Each has now had nineteen finds in a week and a half. I call that something of a result. Mind you it also shows how few series of caches are being hidden locally at the moment for so many people to be chasing out so quickly.
As I got dressed I made a point of putting my socks under Treacle’s nose. Usually she would go running off with them; in the early morning she just gives them a glance and goes back to sleep.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits were interviewing Anthony Scaramucci. Once Donald Trump’s biggest fan he is now his harshest critic. This morning he was suggesting that Donald Trump be removed from office on the grounds of insanity. He also made an interesting observation that for all that Donald Trump claims he’s cancelled his state visit to Denmark because the Danes won’t sell Greenland to him, that isn’t why the visit has been cancelled. The claim was made that President Trump was scheduled to give a speech at some university where Barak Obama had recently spoken, and the feeling was that Mr. Trump would only attract a fraction of the audience that Mr. Obama had.
I got to work; I did my bit. I had my peanut butter and marmalade sandwich. I’ve missed those.
As I was walking along one of the hospital’s corridors I heard two old ladies loudly talking. I think these two were deaf judging by the volume at which they conversed. As they disappeared into the restaurant one announced “Well, he’s got this penis that he doesn't want.” Haven’t we all…
I came home, and together with "er indoors TM" we took the dogs round the park. We found an ice cream van so of course we had a 99 each. I scoffed all of mine. "er indoors TM" intended to share hers with the dogs. Had Fudge not scoffed the lot in one bite she might have done so.
The walk was a bit of a disaster. It would have gone better had Fudge not tried to pork a passing precious-hound, or if Pogo hadn’t shouted at another passing precious-hound.
This is *exactly* the reason why I prefer walking the dogs round Kings Wood or Orlestone wood. The dog owners there know what dogs are like, and what dogs do. You don’t get the element which thinks a dog is a delicate child and has to be protected at all costs from every other dog.
Not that I ever wanted a dog…
22 August 2019 (Thursday) - Sulking Dog
Some nights I sleep like a log even though restless dogs are stomping all over me. Other nights I see every hour even though the entire wolf-pack is settled and snoring. There’s no reason to it that I can fathom.
Finding myself again awake far earlier than I needed to be, I watched another episode of “Black Mirror”. Imagine that rather than dying you could upload yourself into a virtual 1980s where (together with everyone else that could afford it) you could pretend to be happy for ever.
As I watched the telly Fudge marched into the living room, gave me a filthy look and took himself to his basket. He then sulked at me. I have no idea what had upset him, but he had the hump and completely blanked me as I tried to fuss him.
I then spent a little while reading a Facebook page. ‼️Ashford & Surrounding Areas Crime Page‼️ is frankly terrifying. The amount of crimes that would seem to go in Ashford are amazing… *if* they really happen. Much of what is posted is frankly unbelievable, and much of the rest is people reporting teenagers who’ve committed the crime of walking down the street in broad daylight.
I went to see Fudge in his basket – he was still sulking and continued to sulk despite my best efforts.
Eventually I left him sulking and set off to work. When he has a moody, there is nothing that you can do with him. A bit like a recalcitrant teenager, really.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about Donald Trump's bungled attempt to buy Greenland. It was alleged that the whole thing has given the Chinese ideas, and that they have now put in a better offer. This has apparently gone down like a lead balloon in Washington
My shift pattern is such that I work early, late, nights, weekends... today was my seventh consecutive day at work and I was feeling it.
I did work… I came home, collected Pogo and drove him out to Margate where he’s now having a little holiday with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". I came home again; "er indoors TM" and I took Sadie round to Brian and Rachel’s where she’s now having a little holiday as well.
I’ve packed my bags. Hopefully my little holiday starts tomorrow….
23 August 2019 (Friday) - Off to the New Forest
Having farmed out two dogs I had been hoping for a good night. However Treacle expanded to take the bed space of three dogs.
Over brekkie I sent out some birthday wishes, then woke everyone else up. With the last of the packing done we set off on our holiday.
What with glorious weather forecast, the police had been warning of five million more cars than usual being on the roads today, so we thought that an early start to beat the masses might be in order. We left home shortly after six o’clock, and made very good time. So much so that even stopping at Fleet services for a tiddle (that took half an hour) we got to our destination in two and a half hours.
As we drove we were messaging Karl and Tracey to say where we were. However messages as to where they were weren’t forthcoming. I would say where we were, and get a reply of “OK”, or “Excellent”. Were they ahead of us or behind? It turned out that they’d come down last night, but having made incredibly good time we got to where we’d arranged to meet ten minutes ahead of them.
I didn’t gloat much.
We started our little holiday with a walk round Linford Bottom. The woods there were rather beautiful. The dogs spuddled in the rivers and streams, the humans hunted for little Tupperware boxes. A rather good walk. We then relocated to the Elm Tree where we had a sandwich and a pint or two (three) of their rather good Elm Tree ale. Hic!
Suitably replete we went shopping. First of all to the Ringwood brewery for supplies. I took a selfie there and posted it to Facebook. It got over twenty “likes”; including one from the brewery itself.
From there we went into Ringwood. Charlotte and I had been detailed to walk the dogs to some local geocaches whilst everyone else went to Sainsbury’s. We walked the dogs to one geocache, then walked the dogs to the café where we had a pineapple and grapefruit smoothie each, then walked the dogs on to the ice cream stall for ice creams.
I slept all the way back to our holiday cottage in Redlynch.
We got to our cottage; it was rather grand. We unpacked and explored. But time was running away from us. A quick change, and we went over the road to the Kings’ Head. A couple of pints, a rather good dinner, then back to base. We got out the Blockus, and spent a rather good hour wantonly trying to ensure that everyone else lost. Have you ever played Blokus? It’s not enough to win; everyone else must lose.
I took a few photos today… I’m hoping I’ll sleep well…
24 August 2019 (Saturday) - New Forest Day Two
You never sleep properly on the first night in a new bed. Especially when one dog is taking up most of the available space, and the other is clattering round the house for no other reason than because he can.
As Karl and Tracey prepared a rather good brekkie this morning, I had a little look around our cottage trying to find fault. The place was so good that I felt I had to find something that the owners hadn’t provided. After an hour’s seriously struggling I gave up. They’d provided pretty much everything anyone might possibly want. So instead I just retrieved the stream of other people’s shoes that Treacle was stealing.
Brekkie was rather good; you can’t beat the Full English. And with mustard from the Ringwood brewery (20% abv!) who could ask for more?
We got ourselves organised and set off out. Our first port of call was an Earthcache which was a little lesson about the geology of a rancid swamp somewhere in the back of beyond. We got there, watched the dogs spuddle in some rather foul water, and came away.
From here we walked up the road to the Royal Oak in Fritham. It’s a tiny little place; you order the beer and take it outside to the garden. Mind you they did have ale straight from the barrel – and six barrels. It was here that we met up with Matt and Glen; we knew they would be passing so we’d arranged a little meet-up. It was good to sit and chat in the sunshine.
As we drank so the dogs both had a bowl of ice cream each. Some of the passing normal people looked at this and looked at us. If they were jealous I’d have bought them an ice cream too.
It wasn’t a bad pub, but I was rather surprised at the staff who were openly discussing (taking the piss out of and being rude about) their customers in front of other customers.
After four pints it was time to move on. Matt and Glen had to be in Brighton; we had some geocaches to find. We drove down to Stoney Cross where we had a rather frustrating afternoon. A cache there had been marked as in need of maintenance. The chap who’d hidden it wasn’t able to sort it, so we’d offered to go lend a hand. We got there to find the thing was fine.
We then went on a little stroll. There was a series of ten caches which we thought might make for a good little walk for the dogs. As we walked we saw stags and deer, horses and donkeys, and even wild boar. Geocache-wise we found all the caches – all well maintained with very accurate co-ordinates.
But as for a good little walk…
To my mind a series of geocaches are numbered. You go from 1 to 2 to 3 along well-marked footpaths. Today we went from one cache to the other following the arrow of the GPS through hedgerows and thickets; over hills and through streams. If there was a logical sensible route from one cache to the next it eluded us.
We got back to the car and was amazed to find we’d only covered two and a half miles; it felt live six or seven.
This wasn’t a series of caches. It was ten caches (good ones) which had been given numbers which implied a sequence that wasn’t there.
We came home; after a quick shower we cracked open the box of beer we’d got at the brewery yesterday. We then sat outside in the garden and had a rather good dinner of pizza as the dogs barked at everyone and everything. Eventually we gave up sitting outside; the gardener arrived and the dogs really couldn’t cope with having her about.
We came in; as Fudge snored we played Blokus, then Mouse Trap. Mouse Trap was a classic game; it has been modernised. In the new version of Mouse Trap you pull the flush of a toilet to randomly activate one of three traps (none of which actually work). We gave it twenty minutes then played Buckaroo.
I took quite a few photos today…
25 August 2019 (Sunday) - New Forest Day Three
I slept rather better last night; I was woken by the sound of a dog heaving. Fortunately I was quick enough to hoik Fudge to somewhere where dog sick could be easily cleared up.
I took him outside for some fresh air; Treacle joined us. Fudge had a tiddle; Treacle went to get her stick (she brought a *huge* one back after yesterday’s walk) and she then took umbrage when I wouldn’t let her bring it into the cottage.
Being up earlier than I might have been I spent a few minutes sorting out the answers for the Earthcache we went to find yesterday. The people who’d set the thing had been in touch overnight and had been good enough to give us one or two tips of local knowledge. Which pubs to visit, and which beer to try. That’s why I love the ancient and noble art of looking for film pots under rocks; you get to find all the stuff that the tourists don’t (and not just the film pots).
As I typed out the Earthcache answers Treacle was constantly walking past showing off all the shoes she’d stolen. I find it best to ignore her; she rarely chews them – she just likes to show off. But I did get involved when she started chomping on the pieces of “Buckaroo” from last night – how did she get those?
As we pootled about getting ready for brekkie I could hear a frantic barking outside. Some silly old bat was standing at the gate with her dog deliberately provoking our dogs. I came out to round up our pups and she gave me the most filthy glare. She then made a point of standing at the gate with her dog for a few more minutes. We waited for her to clear off before letting the dogs out again. On the one hand we wanted the to enjoy the garden; on the other hand we didn’t want some silly old bat intentionally winding them up.
Brekkie was fun; we had an interesting discussion on exactly what one does with the butter knife. I found out (by trial and error) how to do it properly.
And with brekkie scoffed we drove out to the Godshill enclosure for a little walk. Beautiful scenery, a wonderful place to be; if a tad hot. As always our route was directed by a series of geocaches, and today’s route was a pleasure (unlike the chore which was yesterday’s).
About half way round we stopped off for a crafty half at a pub. We arrived to find that the Horse and Groom in Fordingbridge was staging a beer festival. I was rather pleased about this, but was rather disappointed to see what their beer selection was, Their “beer festival” featured six ales; all but one of which were so common that they are regularly available in the high street supermarket “Iceland”. The idea of a beer festival is that you get to sample the more obscure beers; “Pedigree” and “Hobgoblin” have no place in a beer festival. The pub’s bar had a better selection of ale.
It was here that I mistakenly let a herd of donkeys into the pub’s beer garden. It didn’t take me *that* long to chivvy them out again.
We came home via Tesco. As well as shopping, we needed (“needed” - not “wanted””) Baileys, Tia Maria and port. Tesco had none of them. They suggested we try the local garage who had port, and who suggested we went back to Tesco for the Tia Maria and Baileys.
As we then drove home we picked up a hitch-hiker. He was hoping to get to the village up the road from where we are staying. It was a hot day, and he was walking a long road. We couldn’t leave him. As luck would have it he asked to be dropped at a shop where we got some Tia Maria, and there was a geocache right outside the shop too. Result!
Once back at base we had a pint or two, and a rather good dinner which we ate outside in the garden. As we scoffed we watched the bats flying overhead, and as the night fell we went from bat-watching to stargazing. We peered at the stars, we chatted… the evening was only marred by Fudge throwing up. Three times.
I took one or two photos today as well…
26 August 2019 (Monday) New Forest Day Four
The dogs slept well last night, and as is usually the case, when they sleep well, so does everyone else.
I woke feeling amazingly chipper bearing in mind that yesterday I shifted a gallon of ale and made a serious dent in a bottle of port. When I’m at home, half a bottle of wine leaves me feeling like death warmed up but when on holiday something is very different. It was the same when I was in Turkey earlier in the year. Why is it that I can drink to my heart’s content when on holiday?
As everyone else was still snoring this morning I emptied the dishwasher, made a cuppa and had a little look at the Internet. I had loads of “likes” and comments about the photos I’ve shared on Facebook over the last couple of days; I did chuckle when I realised that the facial recognition software had tried its best but got the wrong family member.
I then found myself faced with a moral dilemma (albeit an incredibly trivial one). Someone who was new to the art of rummaging in the undergrowth for broken film pots had asked a question on a geocaching forum. Some people had offered sage advice. You might think that would have been a kind thing to have done, but several of those offering the advice haven’t rummaged in the undergrowth for over a year. I considered offering a warning to the newbies about being careful about who you listen to… but decided that was an argument I couldn’t be bothered to have. The same happens on websites about fishing. The most vociferous people on those forums haven’t been near a lake in years. I used to find the same when I was in the astronomy club, and when I kept snakes. I’m sure it is also true of baking, stamp collecting and pro-celebrity arm-wrestling. These days hobbies are dual-purpose things. You can enjoy them by either doing them or by talking about them.
The dogs woke; I took them out for their morning tiddles. As I pootled round the garden I saw what Fudge had sicked up yesterday. You’ve never seen quite so much dog-honk. It wasn’t the heat, or the excitement that had made him ill yesterday; he had just eaten *far* too much.
I programmed “Hannah” for the day, and we set about brekkie. Brekkie was rather good.
We then drove out to East Tytherley. As we drove the nice lady on the radio was talking about what you might do with left over Christmas cake. Left over Christmas cake? At August bank holiday? Apparently the stuff fries well? Fried Christmas cake? – one lives and learns.
We got to the church at East Tytherley and solved a little puzzle based on a war grave before setting off on a little stroll. Although it was a hot day, much of the walk was in the shade of trees, and unlike the walk of a couple of days ago we found ourselves following clearly marked paths from one point to the next. And we even found a couple of ammo cans as well. Ammo cans are good things to find when rummaging in the undergrowth.
Mind you one of the geocaches we found was disgusting. Some idiot had put a fruit salad sweeting in the container (which is against the rules) and it had melted and sticky slime had gone everywhere. Yuk!
With walk walked we got back to the cars and had a little picnic. We had found a rather nice spot in front of the church by a giant redwood. It was rather beautiful. Within a few minutes someone drove up, made great show of checking the oil in a container outside the church, and then came over and chatted. It was rather obvious that he was the church warden and he was investigating claims that the lower orders were setting up camp on the church green.
Five minutes after he went another car drove up to us, circled round (whilst the driver watched us like a hawk) and then went away again. Having picnicked at the church we had definitely worried the locals.
The plan had us then visiting a local pub that had been recommended to us, but there wasn’t much parking there. In fact there was only parking for one car, so we found the geocache that had been put out as an advert for the place, and came back to base where we sat in the garden and drank beer and Pimms and played Jenga.
Dinner was particularly good, and with it scoffed Karl popped over the road to the pub to book a table for tomorrow. I went along in case he got lost or needed backup. Once there we had a pint and a port, and came back to find Blokus was in full swing.
Not a bad way to spend the bank holiday. As always there were photos.
27 August 2019 (Tuesday) - New Forest Day Five
When we came back from our little walk yesterday Fudge took himself straight to bed, and looked at us in amazement when we didn’t go to bed ourselves. He slept like a log last night; I found him crashed exactly where he was when I went to bed last night. Treacle however was a different story. As I went to bed I saw her fast asleep on the dog blanket on Charlotte’s bed. At two o’clock she dabbed and dabbed at me. I thought she wanted a tiddle; she just wanted to play. I eventually dozed off and got up just before seven o’clock.
I made myself a cuppa. I’ve done this successfully for the last few mornings; today as I poured it, the kettle decided to spit boiling water everywhere. I’d never seen anything like it. It spat water vigorously and violently as though it was a living thing.
As I waited for everyone else to spring into action I had a look at the Internet. They’ve got one down here in the New Forest, but it doesn’t work quite as well as the one at home. Bearing in mind that yesterday was a bank holiday I had been hoping to see what people had been getting up to. I saw two sets of photos that people had posted, and an endless stream of adverts for rubbish I would never want to buy. And I was again plagued by ad advert asking me to spend good money to go on a course to learn the difference between blessings and curses. Religious nuts wind me up. They walk down the road and find a fifty-pence piece and call it a blessing. They then tread in a dog turd and call it a curse. And these people are allowed to vote and do jury service.
I took the dogs outside where we didn’t bark *that* much. I went on a turd-hunt round the garden and didn’t find any. I didn’t think there would be any, but you never know what those dogs do when you aren’t watching them like a hawk. Mind you I did find several sticks (Treacle has amassed quite a collection) and I found the broccoli stalk that Fudge has been chomping on. I left them all for now.
I programmed “Hannah” for the day’s excursions. For such a supposedly high-tech hobby, the GPS units seem to run on software which is ten years behind the times (at best). I’d use my phone for hunting Tupperware if the GPS didn’t have the one overriding advantage that it comes on a lanyard which I can hang round my neck.
We had a rather good brekkie; you can’t beat a Full English. As we scoffed the nice man from the Environment Agency arrived to do something with the well in the garden (as nice men from the Environment Agency do). We watched him lower a probe down, and wind it all back. I’d been looking forward to his visit all week, and was rather disappointed. But he did say that the well in the garden was thirty-three metres deep. That’s rather impressive.
Having scoffed we then drove out to East Martin. Bearing in mind the heat of the last few days and the weather forecast we’d planned a shorter walk for today. Within half a mile we were sheltering from the rain under a tree, and seeing how they’d got it utterly wrong, the BBC’s weather app had changed its predictions to coincide with reality.
We considered our options. We could abandon our walk, or we could hope for the best. We hoped for the best, and the rain soon cleared. The temperature remained rather lower than predicted, and we had a good walk. It was a shame that Fudge had to run off after a pheasant (twice), but if he doesn’t chase the F-birds, who will? We soon retrieved him; it only wasted ten minutes. Quite a quick retrieval bearing in mind some of his previous episodes.
Once back at the car we drove out to the Compasses; a rather nice pub. It was a shame that the locals in the bar gave the distinct impression that you were intruding in their living room, but locals do that in pubs all over the place. We then went on to find another pub actually in the New Forest so we could see all the horses doing their thing. A five-minute drive took about half an hour as “Psycho Dobbin and his Equine Associates” wandered up the middle of the roads with no regard for their own safety. And where there were no horses, “Insane Buttercup and her Bovine Compatriots” got in the way as best they could.
We found the Alice Lisle; to be fair to the place it isn’t a bad pub. It was a shame that we had to get to the bar a few seconds after such a “delightful” family. Does the entire tribe need to go up to the bar to order drinks? Especially as not one was allowed any choice but was given what mother said they would have.
Pausing only briefly not to crash into a cow we came back to base, had a quick shower, then went over to the pub just over the road. We’d had dinner there a few days ago, and it was good. It was good again. The mixed grill was too much for me, but I shared it with Fudge and Treacle. The crème brule was good too; I didn’t share that.
We came back to base, broke out the Blokus and after doing the worst I’ve ever done (my new tactic didn’t work) I went to bed. I had been falling asleep over the board.
I was worn out. But not too worn out to take a few photos.
28 August 2019 (Wednesday) - New Forest Day Six
I had a relatively early night last night. I didn’t like going to bed before everyone else, but I was falling asleep. It was rather annoying that I was wide awake and up and about an hour before anyone else this morning. Oh well… if nothing else it gave me chance to post up the photos I took yesterday.
I then had a little look at the Internet. Quite a few people seemed to have liked the photos I’ve been posting up recently.
With a heavy heart I did my packing, then with everyone up and about we had the last brekkie of our holiday. There was a minor episode when the toaster tried to take Jessica’s head off with a slice of Hovis; I didn’t laugh much. Mainly because she would have bashed me up if I had.
As we scoffed we heard a noise outside. It was the dustmen. I grabbed the bin bag, and as I walked out with it so the bin men looked at me and drove away down the road a little way. I walked down after them; as I got close so they again looked at me and drove further away.
I would *really* like to be able to be equally helpful to them some day.
We drove up to Barford Down. For our last day in the area we thought we’d so a relatively short-ish walk. We had a rather mixed walk. There were some really good views and we saw some deer but there were some very poorly marked paths which didn’t help us.
Geocache-wise I’ve never found so many large ammo can caches ion a single series. But by the same token I’ve never found so few caches over such a great distance. With caches being about half a mile apart (on average) there could have been at least twenty-five more caches along the route. And (in some places) more caches would have been useful if only to guide our way.
I took a few photos whilst we walked.
With walk walked we went back to base. We had a light lunch, loaded up the car, said our goodbyes and drove home. Despite rather heavy traffic in places we made good time home.
Just as we pulled up we had a message. When would we be collecting Sadie? We unloaded the car, "er indoors TM" collected Sadie; I got KFC for dinner. We both came home, and once Treacle and Sadie had had a fight we had dinner whilst watching the first episode of the new season of “Bake Off”.
I’d like to go back to the New Forest…
29 August 2019 (Thursday) - Back to Reality
I slept like a log last night. For all that I grumble about them, "er indoors TM"’s blackout curtains do help me sleep. So did having had an incredible week away. For all that it was good to be home, and "er indoors TM" did have to go in to work today, I might have stayed on for another day in the New Forest (mightn’t I?)
But having spent a week generating laundry I made a start dealing with it. A week’s worth of sweaty T-shirts went into the wash.
I then had a little look at the Internet as I scoffed toast. There was a very nasty squabble kicking off on the national geocaching Facebook page. A couple of months ago was the national meet-up in Aberdeen. As an attraction for this meet-up the organisers had paid for someone to bring a duplicate of a can of beans that had been in the first ever geocache (some people are easily entertained!). They’d paid for this (and the chap who owns the can of beans) to be flown all the way from America. The idea was that you would look at this can of beans, and once you’d tiddled your pants in uncontrollable excitement, you’d sign a piece of paper to say you’d seen it. After the event was all over, the can-owner went back to America only to find he’d left the bit of paper (with all the signatures) behind, so he emailed the event’s organiser to ask for his list of signatures to be forwarded to him in the USA. However everyone else has emailed in with all of their petty trivialities, and this email was but one in a pile of over three thousand.
Because the list of signatures wasn’t returned instantly, the chap in America then posted up all over the Internet claiming that this insignificant scrap of paper had been stolen, and the entire issue has been blown out of all proportion in Tupperware-hunting circles all over the world.
Apparently this bloke had done this sort of thing before.
You *really* couldn’t make this up, could you?
More and more I’m moving out of the social side of geocaching (and any hobby come to that). It doesn’t need to be one big argument, does it?
Once Fudge had been hand-fed his brekkie (piece by piece) I hung the washing out, put more in to scrub, and we went for a little walk. Getting fed up with walking in the same old places, today we took a little stroll along the river up by Little Burton Farm. As we walked we saw quite a few people fishing in the river. I say “fishing”. There are various ways to fish, each of which are as different to each other as throwing darts is to throwing javelins. It was crystal clear that the three people we saw today hadn’t the faintest idea of what they were doing.
As we walked we met other dog walkers, and played nicely. That was something of a result.
We came home. I hung out the second load of washing and set the third lot to scrub, then mowed the lawn. It took some mowing. I then chopped back the roses and clematis from “not-so-nice-next-door”, hung out the third load of washing and put the fourth load in.
Over a spot of lunch I watched the last episode of “Poldark”. The series seemed to have been left open. Will they make more? I hope so.
I then set the washing machine loose on my pants whilst I ironed shirts.
With shirts ironed I had a look at the household accounts as I do every month. They aren’t bad; they could be a lot better. But they aren’t bad really. I just want to have a *lot* more money. I don’t need it; I just want it.
Mind you, I had a minor result with the car’s insurance. The insurance company had sent in the quote for next year’s policy. Ninety quid more than I am paying at the moment. So I phoned them and asked if I *really* had to go through the farce of phoning around for other quotes. They laughed and knocked thirty quid off of the price that I was already paying. I was rather pleased about that.
"er indoors TM" came home, and we had a rather good bit of steak and chips for dinner. As we scoffed we watched the three episodes of “Dad’s Army” that have been re-made. I must admit that my hopes weren’t high about this re-make, but it wasn’t too bad at all. Far better than that frankly awful film that was made a few years ago.
Today was really dull compared with the last week…
30 August 2019 (Friday) - A Birthday
I slept well; still worn out after a wonderful week away. Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet and rolled my eyes. A chap I used to know very well was banging on about his supposed Scottish heritage. He’s done this before. I don’t understand the Scots. If Scotland really is such a brilliant place (and it may well be) then why do those who tell me about it all live in Kent? You can’t get further away from Scotland and still live on the same island.
I also saw an album of photos of the cottage in which we’d stayed in the New Forest. Such a lovely place to have been in.
With nothing planned for today I took the dogs out. We went out to Boys Hall for a walk; again trying somewhere new. It wasn’t the best of places to walk. For all of the talk of the historic Boys Hall, realistically it is waste ground that will be turned into a housing estate some time in the next two years. As we walked I looked out for the geocaches that were over there. I found one; didn’t find two. Mind you I didn’t look *that* hard for the two I didn’t find; it is difficult to do so when supervising three dogs.
Having walked our walk we came home, and I cleaned out the fish pond’s filter. A smelly job, but one which needs doing from time to time. Best I do it at a time that suits me rather than waiting for it to bung up and find myself being forced to do it when I have better things to do.
As I cleaned and scrubbed, so Sadie yapped constantly and for no reason. She does that; it’s beginning to get on my nerves.
I then spent a little while working on my latest Wherigo project. About thirty seconds of game play took the best part of an hour to program in.
Feeling peckish I popped up the road to get a sandwich. As I was in the shop some “delightful lady” was demanding to know how she was expected to live on what the government gave her. Judging by what she was buying I would suppose that the government would expect her to spend less dole money on tins of lager, but that would only be a guess.
As I scoffed my sandwich I watched an episode of “Black Mirror”, then cracked on with an hour’s worth or ironing before doing a little more work on the Wheri-project. I actually did loads of work but actually achieved very little. That’s how these Wherigos work.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up an incredibly good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Timeless”. I played a little Mah-jongg whilst "er indoors TM" had a look-see at what Netflix has to offer. There’s a *lot* of stuff on there.
Oh – and it’s my dog’s ninth birthday today. Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog?
31 August 2019 (Saturday) - To Hastings (and back)
Yesterday evening I posted a picture of Fudge to Facebook seeing how it was his birthday (or so we think; we’ve always been a tad vague about his birthday). This morning as I scoffed my toast I saw that over seventy people had clicked the “like” button. I was rather impressed with that.
I also saw that the husband of someone with whom I used to work had received a speeding ticket. This was issued by the French authorities during their recent holiday in Epervans in France. I was somewhat amazed to see this; for at least twenty years the French lorries on the M20 have been speeding and driving *incredibly* dangerously because it is common knowledge that it is not possible to issue a speeding ticket to a vehicle not registered in the UK (!) Clearly the French can issue tickets to those in Glasgow; perhaps the government’s Department of Transport might with to learn from the French government. Or is it that the UK Department of Transport issues speeding tickets which the French drivers just ignore?
I played a little Mah-jongg then (pausing only briefly to shout at the dogs to stop them barking) I took the ultra-violet lamp out of the pond filter. The pond is rather murky; I had a theory that a new lamp might sort it out. I also like taking the old lamp to the man in the shop to be sure we get the correct replacement.
We got the leads on to the dogs and went on a little mission. First of all to Wittersham for a dog walk. Narrowly avoiding being run off the road (I squealed the driver up to rate-driver dot com) we got to Wittersham where I found a geocache which boiled my piss somewhat. I’ve tried to hide caches myself only to have them turned down because they are within a hundred yards of a playpark. I’ve now found twenty-six of the things within a few yards of playparks. This one was best described as “right in the playpark”.
From the playpark we relocated to Wittersham church where (having narrowly avoided being run off the road again) we took the dogs for a little walk across the nearby fields and paths. We had a good little stroll; the dogs got to run about. They seemed to like it.
From Wittersham we took a rather circuitous route to Hastings (stopping off for five more geocaches on the way) where we called in to see my mum and dad. They seemed well; I would have liked to have stayed a tad longer, but the dogs were getting fractious, so we set off to visit mother-in-law who wasn’t home.
We came home via one more geocache and the pond shop. The nice man in the pond shop said that the ultra-violet tube needed to be changed last March. I told him it was (on the fourteenth – I keep a diary!). The nice man was rather taken aback by that. Bearing in mind that a couple of months ago the pond was crystal clear we both thought that changing the ultra-violet bulb couldn’t hurt.
I slept all the way home.
Once home I put the new bulb in place and played some more Mah-jongg. "er indoors TM" boiled up some rather good dinner (followed by Christmas pudding). As we scoffed we watched a film. “Dumplin” was the tale of two “more rotund” girls and a misfit making good at an all-American beauty pageant.
It was a rather good film… being a fat lad I felt I could relate to it. No one ever intends to be a fat lad…