1 December 2013 (Sunday) - Blurred
Last night I whinged that someone had deleted one of my geocaching logs. I asked the chap why he'd done that, and he replied that he'd gone out to the cache in question, checked the piece of paper inside and he maintained that he'd not seen my signature. Now I don't remember all two thousand five hundred and ninety seven (not that I'm counting) of the logs that I've signed, but I did remember this one. I went to that place first in October 2012 with HSL1 - I blogged about the day, And I subsequently went back with er indoors TM" on my mother's birthday when I remembered seeing my name on the log. I also returned at another point with Suzy's assistant (patent pending) and again remember pointing out my squiggle on that occasion too.
So I asked this chap for a photo of the log entry from the date in question, and within an hour a reply came through that he'd made a mistake, "MB" had been inscribed all along, and the fellow said that I could re-write my log. So I did that with a sense of self-righteous indignation.
It's silly how such a trivial incident of no real importance boiled my piss so much. I mentioned this episode on on-line geocaching forums, and it turns out that quite a few people who own geocaches do go out and read the paper logs. And (amazingly) they really do check that people who claim they've found the things on-line have actually done so. Can you believe it? As if wasting a life hunting for sandwich boxes in the wilderness isn't enough.
Their long winter evenings must just fly by...
As always my dog helped me with my toast as I watched episodes of "Family Guy" over brekkie. It's a show of which I've seen odd episodes now and then. I really should get the DVDs; they are relatively cheap in the CEX shop.
And I checked out social media. Yesterday I missed a charity fundraiser I'd been intending to get to. A shame - I'd actually been looking forward to that as being the start of the Christmas season. I was rather disappointed not to have got along to show my support.
To work - I quite look forward to the drive to work when I am working on Sundays. Rather than milking sensation from the trivia of the day, on a Sunday the radio is usually of a more philosophical and pensive tone. Usually. Today was something of a disappointment. The Catholic Church in Scotland is (apparently) rooting out the bad apples in it's own barrel. A laudable undertaking; but there is a fine line between weeding out evil and actively going on a witch-hunt. The radio actually featured a short interview with someone who had been chastised for hugging a small child (which had been in church care) when said child was crying. I used to hug the some of the cubs (as a scout leader) when they were especially upset or tearful. Was that wrong? Should I expect to be crucified in the popular press for having done so?
I suppose that this is nothing more than a sad sign of our times.
After the news, which dragged on interminably this morning, was the radio's church service. Often uplifting; today's was best described as dreary. With the beginning of advent I was hoping for cheery Christmas carols. I was disappointed.
Once at work I did my bit. Over lunch I got a message. er indoors TM" had taken "Furry Face TM" for a walk, and apparently not only had my dog eaten something disgusting, he'd rolled in fox dung as well. I don't know what I was supposed to do from a distance of twenty miles; all I could do was to hope that someone else would have hosed the fox poo off of him long before I came home.
Once home I opened the first window of my lego advent calendar, I wonder where this will go this year...
2 December 2013 (Monday) - Borstal
I suppose I had a reasonable sleep last night, I must have slept for five hours before waking shortly before 6am. I scoffed my brekkie before my dog came downstairs, and I tried to get him to scoff his brekkie. He didn’t seem keen.
I watched an episode of ”South Park”. Ike was going through Canadian puberty, which is apparently rather different to puberty in the rest of the world. One lives and learns. (To any offended Canadians, take it up with the writers of the show…)
And then I put the lead on my dog and we went out. Last night a friend I met though the Geocaching in Kent Facebook group asked if anyone fancied tacking down elusive Tupperware today. With nothing on the agenda that couldn’t keep I set off to Borstal. When one hears the word “Borstal” one immediately thinks of prisons for wayward adolescents. Borstal is actually the village where the first such prison was built. It’s somewhere I’ve never actually been before; it’s rather beautiful.
I soon met up with Kalle, and with Kieron. I wondered how Kieron would get on; being rather new to this game. Mind you I’m always apprehensive about meeting anyone for the first time, and there is never any need to be. It’s been my experience that most people are good company, and today was no exception. Three of us (and “Furry Face TM “) wandered along the river Medway where we found a dozen or so hidden sandwich boxes. We also found a very odd tree. It was a tall tree, about thirty yards tall, and from hundreds of yards away it looked wrong. When we got closer we could see what was wrong. It was artificial. It was a fake tree concealing a phone mast.
We then got into the cars and carried on along what looked on the map to be a footpath but turned out to be a tarmac-ed road. I don’t know if we were supposed (or allowed) to drive along it, but we did. We picked up a few more caches as we went, and then after a quick stop in the village of Eccles we went up to the top of Bluebell Hill. There was an Earthcache there; I did that one to get enough of those found to qualify as an Earthcache Master (Gold level) (it sounds far more important than it actually is). And there was a multi-cache.
Oh how we laughed…
This one required us to find the monument, get the date on the monument and do some sums with that date. From those sums we would have the co-ordinates of the actual cache. I’d done this cache last December, but was only too happy to go along for the walk.
Kalle did the sums. I checked her sums. My GPS had the cache half a mile behind us; Kalle’s had the cache a mile in front of us. Down Bluebell Hill. For those of my loyal readers who don’t know the area, Mount Everest was God’s provisional attempt at a steep hill; he then went on to make Bluebell Hill.
I blame myself really. I’d done this cache before. I had a vague idea where it was. Whilst I was sure that I hadn’t got the sums right, I wasn’t convinced that Kalle had them right either. But she seemed confident, and it was a good day for a walk. And walking downhill is easy. So we walked downhill. Down and down. Once we reached the supposed site of the cache and a good search had shown it wasn’t there we looked at the GPS again. Not only had we typed in the co-ordinates wrongly, we’d stuffed up our sums as well. The cache was about a mile and a half away from us. Back at the top of Bluebell Hill. Personally I thought it was quite funny, but Kalle did say that if she’d been on her own she would have cried.
I took a few photos whilst we were out. I do that.
I got a little bit cross on the way home. The petrol station on Bluebell Hill was advertising some sort of deal with lego, so I filled the car with petrol (three pence a litre dearer than I pay in Canterbury) only to be told that the deal only applied to diesel sales. Once home my little dog took himself to his basket where he went straight to sleep, and I played with html scripts until I dozed off as well.
Meanwhile in another plane of reality Arbuthnot Fink is drinking meths…
3 December 2013 (Tuesday) - A Day in the Life...
It was after 8am when I emerged from my pit this morning. I like that !! I scoffed my toast (ably assisted by “Furry Face TM “, and then as ‘er indoors TM set off to work I took my dog for a little walk.
Yesterday I was out walking with him for about four hours and he was as good as gold. Today in an hour and a half he tried to pick fights with a Chihuahua, three Labradors, two Mastiffs, five cats, three motor bikes, four white vans, a dustbin lorry and a Eurostar. And there was an embarrassing incident when a small child wanted to stroke him. He was quite happy to be stroked, and jumped up to the little girl. Both girl and dog seemed very happy with each other’s company. However when they parted I remembered that he’d just come out of the river. The little girl’s lovely pink coat was filthy with mud. Woops.
Whilst we were out I concealed another geocache. It’s a Doctor Who themed one. I wonder if it will generate more interest than the last one I put out; after two weeks only one person has bothered with it; which is rather disheartening.
After a spot of lunch I watched a rather gory film and then ironed for a while before hovering (with a Dyson). With laundry chores done I spent an hour or so solving puzzles for a possible mission to Maidstone next week.
There was a sound from downstairs - “My Boy TM ” was hunting for his tax disc. He don’t’ get any quieter.
‘er indoors TM was rather late home from work. It tuned out that a water main had burst somewhere along the A28 and the entire town was gridlocked. I read all about it on social media. It was the sort of incident which was rather entertaining all the time it is happening to someone else.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered and after insults had been bandied we watched the latest instalment of “Merlin”. In tonight’s episode the king croaked.
4 December 2013 (Wednesday) - Sore Bonce
I woke in something of a sweat this morning. I’d had this rather vivid dream that seven year old Lacey wanted to have a go at tattooing and she’d drawn (carved) the world’s worst attempt at Mickey Mouse across my face. I found myself jumping awake with something of a sense of relief to find it was all a dream.
My dog helped me scoff my toast, and I checked the internet. The rather tricky puzzle cache I’d set yesterday had gone live shortly after 6am, but no one had found it by 8.30am. That is unheard of in Ashford. I checked all my sums and calculations but could find no mistake. With brekkie scoffed I took my dog for a walk. He got into quite a nasty and vicious fight with a Labrador in the park; he got quite a shouting-at after that little fracas. I think it worked (for a while) since he walked at heel for a good ten minutes after that.
He then terrorised two Scotties and a Lurcher and there was a rather entertaining few minutes when he was being mocked by a flotilla of passing ducks. The ducks seemed to know he wouldn’t go into the pond after then, so they took up station about five yards offshore in Singleton Lake and wound him up. He soon lost interest in the ducks when he met up with a passing Spaniel and the two of them had quite a good game together. At one point the Spaniel jumped in the pond, and Fudge jumped in as well. This rather upset the ducks that all swam off as quickly as they could.
Once home I got the lawn mower out. It’s arguably a little late in the year to be mowing the lawn, but its best kept short, if only to aid location of what Fudge leaves behind.
It has to be said that he garden is a mess. A few years ago it was rather good. Not any more.
And then the guitar started. Someone nearby has got an electric guitar and was having a strum. When I get my sax I too shall make a noise. Mind you it won’t be any time soon. Saxophones aren’t cheap. I saw one was for sale in Maidstone, but turned out he wanted far too much money for it. When I turned the offer own the chap said that he was open to offers; did I have any gold or other valuables I might like to offer as payment (!)
I then had a look at my diary for the next few weeks and into the new year, but until I get my next shift rota I couldn't really plan very much, so I didn't. Instead I wasted some time in Candy Crush Saga until er indoors TM" came home. We then scoffed a rather good curry whilst watching more episodes of "Big Bang Theory".
And my head hurts. It's done so all day. On Monday when out I managed to head-butt a branch and I seem to have carved a lump out of my bonce. It's still rather sore...
5 December 2013 (Thursday) - Cold, Phones...
I woke at 4.30am this morning. Not bad really. I got up, and on glancing at my phone I saw that I had a text message from an unknown number. Received at half past midnight it asked if I was awake. I was glad I'd slept through that. If it had woken me I would never have got off to sleep again.
I got up and my dog helped me eat my toast as I watched the Family Guy version of Star Wars. This is something I'd heard so much about. Regarded as a modern classic, I felt it was something of a disappointment. Mind you things which are hyped up are often a disappointment. Added to which Star Wars is lame anyway.
Off to work. It took me a little while to scrape the ice from the car this morning; it was minus four degrees as I drove off. As I drove my piss boiled as I listened to the news. the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that I cannot claim my old age pension until I am sixty eight. That is ages away. I just hope that the work pension will stump up on time. I can't work for another eighteen years.
Whilst at work I had a text message. It looked to be from "Daddies Little Angel TM", but closer scrutiny revealed it wasn't. It was from her phone though. She'd dropped it on the bus and another university student had found it and texted me to see if I knew whose phone it was. I drove up to the university to collect the phone, and just as I was parking my phone rang. This time it was "Daddies Little Angel TM" who had been reunited with her phone. I'd told the finder whose phone it was and he'dmanaged to trace her.
She seemed ecstatic. I was pleased she had her phone back; I just wish I hadn't had a wasted journey up to the university.
Mind you this little episode has again proved that there are good people in the world. Normally one would expect a missing phone never to come to light again. I've actually got software on my phone so that I can disable the thing remotely should it get stolen. But this phone was found and the finder made an effort to return it to its rightful owner.
There are good people in this world.
6 December 2013 (Friday) - Stuff
"Daddies Little Angel TM" stayed overnight last night as she was off a mission. I didn't dare ask details, but from what I could glean it made sense for her to make an early start from Ashford than from anywhere else. And as is always the case when she is about, I lost my dog. "Furry Face TM" clearly and openly acknowledges that in his opinion "Daddies Little Angel TM" is the head of the household. When she is on the scene there is a very obvious transfer of allegiance.
My dog was nowhere to be seen as I scoffed my toast and watched telly.
And so to work. There was minor excitement as the traffic lights by Domino's Pizza weren't working. I slowed down and kept going whilst hoping for the best. As I turned the corner I saw the problem - one of the traffic lights had been hit by something heavy and the supporting pole was laying flat on the road. Completely flattened. Whatever hat hit it had hit it hard.
I got through without problem at 6.30am; I bet that caused problems later in the day. Interestingly at no point did this show up on the BBC's interactive travel hold-ups map. Mind you I'd be very interested to find out how tings to get on to the BBC's interactive travel hold-ups map. Every day (and I mean *every* day) there are reports of traffic chaos in the same places (Spearpoint corner and Pin Hill come to mind) whilst other incidents go unreported.
The morning's radio featured excerpts from proceedings in Parliament yesterday. I was frankly shocked and ashamed of what I heard while listening to what our lords and masters. On the radio they sounded as though they were a rabble; I used to get better behaviour from over-excited eight year olds in the cub scouts.
The morning's news was also full of glowing praise for Nelson Mandela who died yesterday. I can't claim to be an expert on international politics, but I have a sneaking suspicion that with the benefit of hindsight future historians will hold up Nelson Mandela as a classic example of the old maxim "the end justified the means".
It has clearly done so in the eyes of the fellows' contemporaries if the glowing obituaries are to be taken seriously.
We talked about this at work at length today and tried to determine the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter. We came to the conclusion that a freedom fighter is a terrorist who gets his (or her) own way to the satisfaction of the international community.
I got to work a little earlier than usual, and once there I did my bit. At one point I staged a coup and declared myself to be God-Emperor of the universe. However my coup was overthrown by a counter-revolution after a dismal five minutes. I suspect that had I the support of more (any) minions I would have triumphed victorious. However the only one who admitted that he would actually be a minion for me was on his tea break at the time. Witnesses even told me that he had been asleep at the vital moment.
Next time things will be different.
As I came home I listened to "Any Questions". Billed as a show in which politicians and celebrities discuss burning issues of the day, I've always found the show to feature unknown gas-bags spouting drivel. Tonight's show had two politicians, an economist and an author.
One of the politicians was trying to make out that our society's new-found need for food banks was a good thing. The author publically crucified him whilst the audience shouted swear words..
7 December 2013 (Saturday) - Bored
I wasn't feeling on top form last night and took myself off to bed at ten o'clock. I woke with a splitting headache at three o'clock and was up having my morning shave shortly after. I tried going back to bed, but dozed fitfully until "Furry Face TM" decided I should be up shortly before eight o'clock.
I got up to a relatively empty house; er indoors TM" had been ordered away on chaufferring duties. Over the half of my brekkie that my dog didn't eat I had a little look-see on the world of social media. It would seem that the date of the astro club's winter social has been changed, as has the venue. Perhaps this is God's way of telling me to get my arse in gear and swap my shifts so I can actually get along to the committee meetings that have been planned months in advance. And written on my calendar even though I don't look at the thing.
I took "Furry Face TM" for his walk. I forgot myself and we went round to the park. Fortunately the runners weren't there this morning. To compensate for this I met a silly old bat who had a go at me for having a "non neutered dog" off of the lead. I assured her he's been done. She assured me he hadn't. I picked up my dog and asked her to point out his "flowers and frolics", and I pointed out the scar from where they used to be. Silly old bat harumped at me and marched off in high dudgeon.
I suppose "Furry Face TM"'s shagging her dog hadn't helped matters. Fortunately OrangeHead and her chunky little friend were pleased to see us. I didn't mind their dogs jumping up to see me, and they know "Furry Face TM" (and his ways) of old.
We carried our walk round the to Singleton Lake, and then called in to see Lacey. The plan for today had been to take Lacey swimming. But she'd spent the night being sick so I contented myself with just spending half an hour with her and bandying insults with "My Boy TM".
On the way home we met up with OrangeHead (minus dogs and chunky little friend) at the bus stop in Bond Road. That was nice.
Whilst waiting for er indoors TM" to return I put the telly on. There was an advert which *really* boiled my piss. Compensation dot com... No one (and I mean *NO ONE*) goes into any medical profession with the intention of doing a shoddy job. Unfortunately mistakes do happen. The sooner we as a nation realise this the better.
Our current compensation culture is fundamentally wrong. The more that honest mistakes are persecuted, the less inclined anyone will be to work in a "caring" profession.
And people wonder why we as a nation have to recruit such a high proportion of our health care professionals from overseas because no one wants to work under the constant threat of litigation.
And then the day dragged. With lots we could have been doing I expected er indoors TM" to be home shortly after mid day. She got home at seven pm.
If I had known I could have made plans of my own. But the evening made up for the dull day. A good curry and we watched a new (to us) series - "Him and Her". It was rather good - if you like that sort of thing. WHich I do...
8 December 2013 (Sunday) - Chilham
I had a rather restless night. When "Daddies Little Angel TM" was small she would climb into bed and slowly (but with determination) push me out of the bed. "Furry Face TM" did the same last night. Being bigger than him I removed him, but once I'd dozed off he just came back and carried on.
I got up shortly after seven am and checked the world through social media. I discovered something - type ""Turlock CA 95380 warp drive" into Google maps - there really is a place called "Warp Drive" and it's just off of Picard Lane. There is clearly no secrets about the favourite TV shows of the Californian street planners.
Once er indoors TM" had emerged from her pit we put the lead on to "Furry Face TM and set off. WIth our usual partners in crime indisposed we thought we might do a stroll round some nearby footpaths in Chilham. So we did. It was a beautiful day for a walk. As we strolled we saw buzzards gliding and goats goating. We even found a poor pidgeon tangled in a fence, and after a little effort we were able to free the poor bird. I got a good feeling inside when we finally watched the pidgeon flying away.
We had a minor altercation with some off-road cyclists. I don't likee making generalisations but I have yet to meet an off-road cyclist who isn't self-centred to the point of arrogance in the way they try to run everyone else off of the footpaths and bridleways.
As we walked we did a little geocaching too. No surprises there (!) But only three caches. Two traditional ones, and one multi-cache. For those of a geocachical bent, "Time Waits" is perhaps the best multi-cache I've ever done. It does need a little maintenance, but if the C.O. doesn't want to maintain it, I've be very willing to take it on. I emailed him to say so, and he emailed me to offer it to me. So once the admin is done I shall take it on.
With our little walk done we came home via Chilham Church and Kings Wood car park (more plastic boxes) and the Co-op (Belgian buns). As I scoffed my Belgian bun I checked out Facebook. An ex-colleague had used MapMyRide to record a bike ride she'd done today. She'd cycled thirty kilometers but had only burned up 600 calories. I looked at the remains of my bun and realised that one bun had more than wiped out all the healthy benefits of today's five mile hike.
With er indoors TM" off bowling I watched a film I'd recorded a while ago. "The Krays" is a film I've slept through several times. Tonight I watched the film all the way through. It was rather good; if you like that sort of thing...
9 December 2013 (Monday) - Stuff
Perhaps it was the excitement of a cheeky First to Find last night; I don't know why, but for once I slept well. I woke shortly before five o'clock, and over brekkie I watched the "Family Guy" take on the second Star Wars film. Last week I watched the first of these and was disappointed. I watched the second today and wasn't expecting much and so wasn't disappointed. Mind you I wasn't enthralled either.
And I got my toast all to myself; my dog woke too late this morning. I told him to look on this as a lesson in life: you snooze - you lose.
I don't think he understood the concept though.
It was foggy as I drove to work, and as I drove my piss boiled. There was talk on the radio about match fixing in professional sport. Don't these people earn enough already without having to supplement their over-generous incomes with bribes to throw matches? In the same way that the TV soaps are scripted (and I suspect much of the reality TV shows), is all sport fixed too?
Meanwhile the media again undermines the morale of the health services by claiming that people are waiting around too long in ambulances on arrival at hospitals. Perhaps some people do have something of a wait from time to time. Perhaps there might be a valid reason for this. After all hospitals are busy places. There aren't always beds immediately available. If there were the media would be running with allegations of how wasteful such a practice would be.
Perhaps the media might do the nation a favour by not undermining the National Health Service quite so much?
I stopped off at Morrisons for some shopping. I needed peppermints. Fifty four pence a packet or seven packets for two quid. I now have enough mints to last a while.
Once at work I did my bit, and gloated at my colleague who'd arrived for the early shift only to find she was on the late shift. That sort of thing is always very funny all the time it is happening to someone else.
I then had a text from the people who organise my house insurance. My policy was about to run out and could I contact them urgently. I did so, only to be told that their computer sends out texts like that when the mood takes it. They wished it wouldn't do so; my insurance was fine. I thought it was as I'd renewed it with them only the other day.
This isn't the first computer generated text which has had me flummoxed though. The vet's computer did much the same sort of thing a few weeks ago. Perhaps this is just the start of the rise of the machines? Let's hope not
10 December 2013 (Tuesday) - More Stuff
I expect most of my loyal readers would be surprised to hear that I was sleeping well last night. I slept very well until 4am when my phone went mental. Text after text came in. All from my mobile phone supplier telling me about all sorts of drivel which could easily have kept until the morning.
I didn't get back to sleep after that. Eventually I emerged from my pit and watched episodes of "Family Guy" until it was time to go to work.
As I drove there was extensive coverage of the preparation ofr the funeral of Nelson Mandela. As important as the chap was to recent history, there is no denying that the description of a stadium filling up with mourners does not make for good radio.
In between desciptions of people going to a funeral there were occassional other snippets of news. Apparently there is consternation about the state of physical education in our schools.
When I was a lad P.E. lessons were a torment. It was a chance for the most physically adept to kids in the class to lord it over everyone else. Apparently little has changed in forty years.
Mind you in retrospect my school had a stroke of genius. Children were divided into five sets according to ability. Set one had the children who were really good at sports; set five had those less talented. After a while the teachers realised there were two distinct types of child in set five. There were those who wanted to do sports but were rubbish at it, and there were those of us who loathed and despised sport. A spin-off set (set six) was created for those who were not at all sporty. And whilst everyone else played football, the Latin teacher would take us in set six for a walk through the countryside.
Forty years later Mr Hatchard's influence still has me hiking on a regular basis.
I stopped off at "Pets at Home" on the way to work. "Furry Face TM" seems to like Baker's dog food. I thought I'd get a job lot from the pet shop. As I have said before, it pays to shop about. The Cheapo Bargains shop in Ashford does the dog food for only two thirds of the price charged by "Pets at Home".
And with a few minutes before I was due at work I phoned my mobile phone supplier to complain about the spate of texts that had woken me up. They were rather dismissive of me. Apparently they have a known problem with their system. I asked if they would offer my compensation for the inconvenience I'd suffered. They said if they offered my anything they would have to offer compensation to everyone else they wake up every morning (!)
Once at work I did my bit, and with my bit done I came home. I came home the long way. Just before leaving I checked my emails and was told that one of my geocaches had gone missing. The one in question contains a Chinese puzzle box. Replacing that wouldn't be cheap. I drove out to the middle of nowhere to check on the thing only to find it was fine..
11 December 2013 (Wednesday) - 11-12-13
With no need to get yp early I was wide awake at 3am. I lay awake for a bit, but boredom prompted me to be shaving at 4am. I then tried to sleep again, but was watching sstuff recorded on to the SkyPlus box at 5am. "Elegy" was a rather soppy ffilm which had me enthralled; if only for the fact that Penelope Cruz flopped them out half way through, and then brought them out for an encore later.
I'd watched the entire film (over two hours) and the Doctor Who episode "Daleks in Manhatten" before er indoors TM" got up for work. I then got "Furry Face TM"'s lead on to him (and his coat - it was cold) and we went to Viccie Park; I'd organised a geo-meet. Geocachers like those occasional co-incidences of numbers and so for eight minutes at ten past nine on the eleventh of the twenfth twenty-thirteen we met up. I realised that this wasn't the most convenient of times, but I was pleasently surprised with the attendence. Despite the really cold day a dozen of us turned out and chatted.
Billed as being an eight-minute meet, we gossiped for the best part of an hour before going our different ways. I walked through the part with another cacher for a bit before bringing "Furry Face TM" back home again. Once home he yummed up his breakfast and went to sleep.
With dog asleep I crept out of the house and made my way to the train station. Half an hour later I waas in Maidstone for a littlle solo geocaching, then on to the afternoon meet - 11-12-13 14:15. A dozen or so other cachers met and chatted for a while before dispersing in our various ways. I carried on hunting out small plastic boxes round Maidstone until it got dark, then I made my way to Bearstead. As I walked there I met school chucking-out time. There were a thousand girls all coming along the road toward me. All in identical uniforms except three. One was clad in skin-tight latex much like a porn star; one was dressed as a cow, and the third was dressed as Hitler. I wonder what that was all about.
And there was a minor altercation when some silly old duffer walked into me, and then tried to pick a fight about it. I actually had to point out to the old fool which one of us was the doddery O.A.P. and which one would cane his arse.
As I walked I found the Rose Inn. I was cold; it was dark and there was a fire in the pub. I got a pint of London Pride and read my Kindle app by the fire as I warmed up. After half an hour I carried on walking. One more geocache, and then I went in to The Lion of Kent where I sank another pint whillst waiting for the masses to assemble. The third 11-12-13 event for the day was a fish supper in the chippie over the road from the pub I'd settled into.
It was a very good fish supper...
12 December 2013 (Thursday) - Bored
I woke after what I thought was a good night's sleep feeling refreshed and raring to go. I could see it was still dark, but it is dark in the mornings these days. I looked at the clock. 2.51am! I dozed fitfully before giving up trying to sleep, and was watching episodes of "South Park" and "Family Guy" by 5am. My little dog woke up just as the toast was ready, and having eaten all the crusts he curled up on my lap and went to sleep.
I was ready to sleep at this point. I spent much of the rest of the day wanting to sleep. I really need to chase up that appointment with the sleep clinic.
I left home a little earlier than usual; there was seriously thick frost on the car to be scraped off, and as I drove I skidded on the ice in a couple of places. It is definitely getting colder. As I drove I listened to the news (as I do). There was little of note. The pundits were knocking the NHS again; politicians were spouting self-serving drivel. Nothing changes.
I got to Morrisons five minutes before opening time which gave me time to do a little geo-maintenance on a small plastic pot I once hid near there. I then bought some fruit for lunch, and some nuts for the works Xmas buffet next week. Peanuts aren't cheap; and why would anyone buy the brand name nuts when you can get the shop brand ones for half the price. After all, a nut is a nut.
I got to work, did my bit, and came home. As I drove there was half an hour's radio program about why the Roma communities are facing so much hostility. Common sense was intersperesed with blatent racism...
Yesterday was quite good fun. Today was rather dull.
13 December 2013 (Friday) - Animatronic Dinosaurs
Having felt so tired for most of yesterday, yesterday evening I fell fast asleep in front of the telly. I eventually got kicked awake and I took myself off to bed (with a stiff neck) in the small hours.
I was still wide awake watching rubbish on the telly before 7am.
With brekkie watched I put the collar onto “Furry Face TM “ and took him for a walk. And I saw red. Whilst we were going through the park a gaggle of old biddies came the other way with their dogs. They made a fuss of Fudge; which is fine with me, and carried on their way. He followed their dogs, as he often does. I called him; they called him and quick as a flash bent down and made a fuss of him. The more I called him, the more they distracted him.
As I stood calling him, so their little party carried on walking away. I ran after them, grabbed my dog and put his lead on him. The old biddies weren’t happy. They assured me that they were looking after him, and he was fine with them. They also said that if I didn’t want them to take my dog then he should be on the lead so they knew not to try to take him. I didn’t actually tell any of them to go !#*! themselves, but I think they got the idea.
I suppose they meant well. I never have this problem with OrangeHead and her chunky little friend.
Once home “Furry Face TM “ went to sleep and I made one of my infrequent trips into Ashford town centre. My nephews want vouchers from the “Game” shop for Christmas. They are out of luck; the “Game” shop has closed down. I am assured there are such shops in other towns. I’m not driving to Folkestone or Hastings to muck about. I shall give them cash instead. It saves a whole lot of messing about on everyone’s part.
I also got a new tag for my dog’s collar. The old tag still has the phone number of where he used to live. He’s been my dog for over a year now. It’s time he had the right tag.
And outside the toy shop rather than having Santa’s grotto they had an animatronic dinosaur. A sign of the times?
I came home, and put my shoes on the radiator to dry out. I’ve only had the things since the end of August and they already leak. Perhaps I am expecting too much from Tesco’s cheapest?
I scoffed my lunch and slept through a film about the world’s most notorious drug runners. Mr Nice was billed as being a comedy. It might have been; I don’t know. I missed most of it.
And with lunch scoffed I looked at the household accounts. They could be a whole lot better. But they could be a whole lot worse. There were people sleeping rough in the town centre today. I really shouldn’t complain.
I had a couple of phone calls. One fool tried to sell be solar panels to power the house. Apparently you don’t need a sun-facing roof any more for solar panels to work. It would seem that this idiot’s company will sell me solar panels that don’t ever need to see the sun because they work from the sun’s radiation. I was told that the sun radiates everywhere. When I asked if I could stick the solar panels in the living room and run it from the house lighting (thereby inventing perpetual motion) the chap finally realised I knew far more about the matter than he did.
And some chap from Mumbai claiming to be called Janet phoned from the Windows computer company. I asked him if my computer was “doing the virus on the Internet” and would he like all my passwords. He hung up.
The rest of the afternoon was squandered messing about designing pictures and logos.
The front door opened – it was ‘er indoors TM. I thought it was about mid-afternoon-sh. It was gone 6pm. Time certainly flew by today. ‘er indoors TM then set off to monger some candles leaving me and “Furry Face TM “ home alone. So I took my dog round the block. He gets fractious if he doesn’t get an evening walk. Once he was walked I got us a kebab to share, and we watched a film. “Little Voice ” is a really good film. And I didn’t sleep through any of it…
14 December 2013 (Saturday) - Geo-Meet
Last night a new geocache went live. I looked it up on the map; it seemed to be out in the middle of the countryside. Chatting on-line with a friend who knew the area it turned out that the place was on very steep slopes and that the footpaths there are treacherous at the best of times. Knowing full well that I would be wide awake early in the morning I thought I would go out at first light for a First to Find.
This morning I checked the e-log to see someone had been daft enough to go out overnight. Much as I like the smugness that goes with being first, there are limits. Falling arse over tit in the dark on the Wye Downs on a December night would very likely be something you wouldn't survive. so rather than going out with "Furry Face TM" I had another two hours laying awake in bed.
I'd actually dozed off when a text woke me. I'd forgotten all about fence fixing. After a firework had destroyed a fence panel a few weeks ago I'd offered to help with the repairs. Today was fix-it day. Chippy picked me up at 9am and the job was done within fifteen minutes. A crafty bacon sarnie and I was home and walking "Furry Face TM" by 10 o'clock.
As we were passing the place, we popped into the vets. It gets him used to going in there and he doesn't think of it as somewhere of which he should be frightened. Whilst we were there we met a staffie which was trying to tear the throat out of every other living thing on the planet except the small woman it was draggging ono the lead behind it. That woman looked as though she was about to cry. Some people have the nastiet dogs.
Once home we settled "Furry Face TM" and we went out on the main business of the day. The Kent Geocacher's Christmas bash was on today. Pretty much everyone who is anyone in the local fraternity of hunting small pllastic boxes met up at a pub just outside Maidstone. We had a rather good lunch, and chatted with friends. We met people who up till now have merely been strange names on pieces of paper found in the countryside. There must have been over fifty people along.
Whilst we were there a series of caches went live. We could have gone out, but we were too busy chatting. However we did go out once those who went earlier had returned. WIth the co-ordinates of the bonus cache revealed we (we being about twenty of us) blatently followed them to the bonus cache. The bonus was something special. It had the highest difficulty level; it was a sneaky hide. And it had the highest terrain level - it was ten (or so) metres up a tree.
Those who know what they are doing rigged up ropes and, one by one, those who wanted to go for the cache were hoisted up the tree. I don't know much about ropes, but I can pull on one. And that was what I did for much of the afternoon. So many people thanked me for helping to pull them up a tree. I was just grateful to have been a part of what turned out to be a really fun afternoon. And I was very grateful to be hoisted up myself to be able to claim my third 5/5 cache.
With the last person safely down just as darkness was falling we all went back inside the pub. Whilst we'd been out the raffle had been called. I had won what I would have considered to have been the first prize. A selection of novely geocaches. I won't say what they are, but some time over the next few weeks I shall be setting a new series of caches.
Today was a really good cachers' meet.It's actually now a year since I attended my first ever geo-meet. I've now been to nineteen of them (having organised two myself) and today's was up there with the best of them.
Home, where "Furry Face TM" was still chewing on the bone I''d bought him from "Pets at Home" this morning. We thought about having some tea; we were neither of us hungry. The pub lunch had beeen more than enough. And with er indoors TM" off to the film night I setled down with my dog and watched dross on the telly...
15 December 2013 (Sunday) - An Announcement
I went to bed shortly after pm last night. I got off to sleep reasonably promptly. I was up and shaved by 4am this morning. I shall phone the doctor tomorrow monring to chase up the referral to the sleep clinic. I feel sorry for er indoors TM"; by the time she gets up (at a proper getting-up time) I have usually been wide awake for several hours and am bored senseless and impatient to get on and do something.
Once dressed we drove into town for a liittle bit of shopping. er indoors TM" shopped whilst I walked "Furry Face TM" round the town. On Friday I mentioned that the "Game" shop had closed. Today I found a different branch of that shop. I also found three new tattooists. It's amazing what goes on in Ashford town centre when I'm not looking.
We collected "Daddies Little Angel TM" and went to Hastings for the family Xmas party. There was a minor episode on the way down involving five hyacynths and some mud, but we shall draw a veil over that. Suffice it to say we'll take the hoover to the car when we get chance.
Once in Wishing Tree Road we met up with family. We had a really good bit of scoff, and played passing parcels. Santa visited, we threw hats about, and an aannouncement was made.
My brother is getting married next year. I'm to be head groomsman.
Wikipedia is rather vague about what a head groomsman does. I suppose he gets to boss the other groomsmen about. Bearing in mind the other groomsman is "My Boy TM", that will be a case of business as usual.
Once "Daddies Little Angel TM" was deposited back in Folkestone and er indoors TM" had gone bowling I spent an hour or so solving geo-puzzles. When the rain stops I shall go across the Romney Marsh and see if my solutions are correct.
In the meantime I have a pain in my chest. It has been there all day. And my hands are ver sore where the blisters burst. I think I overdid it up that tree yesterday...
16 December 2013 (Monday) - Compliance
I had a good night's sleep, and consequently forgot to chase the quack about being referred to a sleep clinic. I'll phone them tomorrow.
After brekkie I put the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and took him out for a walk. I couldn't face going round the park today; we've had one or two episodes there recently. Instead we went out through Newtown and home via Frog's Island. We didn't meet any other dogs on the way, but my dog did try to pick fights with dustbin lorries, milk floats and buses.
Once home I set about solving more geo-puzzles and designing geo-souvenirs, and then Lisa messaged that her hair was washed and she was up for an outing. We had planned a serious walk around Burmarsh for today, but the weather wasn't really that good. Instead we went for a little drive out too New Romney and back via a dozen geocaches. It was a good day for drive-by caching, but we were both glad we'd decided against going for a long distance walk. It was rather cold and wet and windy.
Once home I popped round to Halfords for a tax disc holder that actually stuck to the car windscreen, and then once home I hoovered (dull), scrubbed the kitchen (duller) and ironed shirts (hyper dull). I then slept through a docu-drama about the late Frankie Howerd until er indoors TM" came home.
A quick bit of tea, then er indoors TM" went bowling. I sorted my undercrackers and watched a film. "Compliance" was a rather worrying film based on a true life story in which so many people did frankly terrible things because someone in authority told them to do so. It was a subject we touched on in the Psychology course that I did. A large proportion of people will do absolutely anything if they are told (firmly enough) to do so... You can read about it by clicking here.
It's rather worrying really..
17 December 2013 (Tuesday) - Airports, Tablets...
I looked at the clock at 1.45am this morning, but dozed off again. I then woke shortly after 5am which was rather good really. Over brekkie I watched "Family Guy" again - this time their take on the third (sixth) Star Wars film. If you were really knowledgeable about Star Wars and American television it would probably have been quite entertaining. I thought it was the worst of the three Star Wars/Family Guy crossovers; and the first two were rather dire. Consequently this was a rather rubbish hour spent in front of the telly.
And so to work through very heavy rain. As I drove the talk was all about the planned expansion of airports in the South East. Apparently some years ago the Prime Minister made some comment about his being opposed to any expansion of Heathrow Airport, and now he was being held to account on this comment. I can't claim to be his biggest fan, but the poor chap has a hopeless job. Like any politician, anything he says is immediately cast in stone. A politician is never allowed to change his or her mind in the eyes of the pundits.
What a silly line to take.
I change my mind all the time.
The radio also had news about vitamin supplements. Apparently a third of the UK population are taking them event though the latest research confirms what I have said all along; they are utterly unnecessary in the vast majority of cases. Any percieved benefits are entirely due to the placebo effect. But if people have money to burn, other people will take it.
I popped into Morrison's on my way to work. Fortunately for me (and humanity at large) they had cheap deodorant. My armpits have now been squirted. I bought a tin of sweeties to take in to work, and looked at the Christmas cakes. I say "looked" - that's what I did. Looked. They were very small, and worked out at about a quid a slice. I like Christmas cake, but not that much.
I shall see what the Cheapo-Bargains shop has on offer tomorrow.
Once at work I did my bit. And scoffed some sweeties. And then came back again. As I drove this evening there was a program on the radio about Islamic fundamentalists in Africa. I've mentioned before that the BBC seems to have a very obvious anti-Muslim bias.
I made my way to Queen Street where the Tuesday gathering was in full flow. Insults bandied, tea scoffed, and I stayed awake through an episode of Merlin.... must do that more often.
18 December 2013 (Wednesday) - Xmas Tree
Overnight the Christmas tree appeared in our living room. We've not had the tree out for the last couple of years; I'd forgotten that is is a rather yukky purple colour; I've never liked the thing. Mind you I never wanted a dog either, so what do I know...
For brekkie I had toast; er indoors TM" has bought a weightwatcher's loaf. I can guarantee that I will lose weight eating this bread; each slice is half the size of the average slice of bread.
Being on a late shift I got to leave for work in daylight this morning; which made for a pleasant change. As I drove the news was about the death of the great train robber Ronnie Biggs. I heard so much about the chap. Was he evil? Did he just fall in with a bad lot? I can't help but think that if I were offered financial security for life for one day's work I might be very inclined to do what he did.
I also listened to the weather forecast which was talking about a wet and miserable morning. Rather unlike the bright morning it actually was. Funnily enough the BBC's weather website had got the weather forecast right. I often wonder where BBC radio 4 gets it's weather forecasts from; they are usually completely different from what their own web site predicts.
And so to the Cheapo Bargains shop. I thought they might have Christmas cake going cheap. The didn't. In fact they had never even heard of Christmas cake. I explained the entire concept to several of their staff who clearly had no idea what I was talking about. In the end I settled for a small fruit cake. I like fruit cake.
Once at work I did my bit until mid day. We then had our Xmas buffet. It was really good. Far too much to eat, and I got a really good "Secret Santa" pressie; a six-in-one solar-powered toy construction set. I shall get up to mischief with that in the days to come.
I also scoffed more buffet at my afternoon break; by going home time I had rather a serious guts ache.
As I drove home I listened to more news. There was nothing really of note, but the rain was torrential. I can home to a seriously tidied house. Perhaps more Christmas decorations are about to go up...?
19 December 2013 (Thursday) - Ronnie Biggs, Minions
After a relatively good night’s sleep I got up a little before everyone else this morning. Yesterday I mentioned that the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs had died. Last night I recorded a docu-drama about the Great Train Robbery, and I watched it this morning over brekkie. I’ve watched quite a bit about that robbery lately; it’s odd how the public’s perception of that event bears little relation with actuality. When the Great Train Robbery is mentioned, everyone immediately thinks of Ronnie Biggs. However he would seem to have been only a minor player in the whole scheme; and hardly anyone could name the masterminds behind the heist.
I took “Furry Face TM “ out for his morning constitutional; we went through South Ashford to Singleton Lake and back home through Viccie Park. We had a minor attempted fracas with a bus, and there was a dodgy few seconds when my dog was nearly eaten by a passing Husky, but bearing in mind previous experiences, for once our walk was relatively uneventful.
Once home I settled my dog down and went to the van hire shop. A chap at work is moving to Southampton. I’ve offered to drive the removal van; if nothing else it will be a day out. I then went round to Staples for various stationery requisites. Whilst in the area I had a look in Ashford’s Cheapo-Bargains store. They didn’t have Christmas cake either.
Home, and once I’d done washing up and Hoovering I used the various stationery requisites I’d bought this morning. It’s amazing it takes to print out a year’s worth of homework. Whilst I printed I listened to Total Ashford’s Pod-Cast. Being of local interest it wasn’t at all bad. There was all sorts of interesting stuff about the Marsh Millions, the local rugby club, the decorations on the cows roundabout, and even an interview with an ex-cub who is now the leading light in the local pantomime. Mind you my piss did boil just the teensiest bit when they interviewed the “blood-runners”. The “Blood-runners” mean well; they act as unpaid couriers driving all sorts of thiongs to all sorts of places. But I did see red when the chap being interviewed said that what they did was "just like a real job". I can’t help but wonder what happened to the people who used to do that real job to earn their livelihood until well-meaning people put them out of work. Or how these people would react if their employers sacked them from their paid employment and replaced them with unpaid volunteers…
My email alert beeped. A new geocache had gone live only a mile away. I flew out of the house and was on a First to Find mission. I got to the cache twenty four minutes after it had been activated, but I wasn’t fast enough. Someone else had got there first. Next time…
The Rear Admiral came round for a cuppa, and then we set off to Folkestone. A bit of Chinese, and then Despicable Me 2. A rather good film; a shame I fell asleep; I wanted to watch it…
20 December 2013 (Friday) - Dull
Yesterday evening I was trying to watch a film with some of my best friends. I was soon fast asleep. This morning at 3am when I wanted to be asleep I was wide awake...
I got up shortly after 5am and watched the latest episode of South Park over a spot of brekkie. "Furry Face TM" helped me eat my toast, and then I started off to work. Once I'd scraped the ice off of the car I set off. I listened to the radio as I drove. For once there was absolutely nothing of note on the news.
I stopped off at the petrol station on my way to work. It was incredibly busy at 7am. And then on to work. There was still lots to be scoffed even though it is now two days after the Christmas buffet. I did my bit, and came home. I came home three hours early; having arranged to leave early for astro club. I had been under the impression that we were having astro club tonight. By the time I realised we weren't the time off had been booked.
So I thought I'd take the time off anyway.
With er indoors TM" out on the razzle I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk, and then I treated myself to KFC for tea. I then slept through the second part of the docu-drama about the Great Train Robbery.
Some days in my life are rather good. Others are rather dull. Today was one of the dull ones...
21 December 2013 (Saturday) - Brown Ale
I didn't hear er indoors TM" come home last night. However "Furry Face TM" did, and the sound startled him. So he declared "Red Alert" as only a Patagonian Tripe-Hound can at 3am. I didn't get back off to sleep after that awakening. Fortunately I'd recorded a couple of hours of "Family Guy" onto the Sky-Plus box , and I watched them instead of sleeping.
"Furry Face TM" came and ate my toast, and then jumped on my lap. he was still excited from his earlier red alert, and spent over an hour trying to get me to fight with him. The over-excitement wasn't good for him though; he was farting fit to peel the paint off of the walls.
The weather today was bad; my poor pup only had a short walk. And with pup walked I mucked about on my computer for an hour or so. A bt of homework, a bit of Candy Crush. I had a vague plan to tidy the shed but the rain was against that idea. So I wasted several hours until the party started.
We didn't get *too* wet making our way to Queen Street; because of the rain we were cheeky and got a taxi. Once there we chatted and bandied insults. And sampled my attempt at Christmas brown ale which I had brewed especially for the occassion. Very nice.
As the ale went down things became very vague. There was a chicken being brandised, and I think there might have beenn mention of port...?
22 December 2013 (Sunday) - Holidays are Coming
I woke this morning at 4am, fully clothed, sitting on the sofa with a dog on my lap. For some inexplicable reason I had a terrible headache. I wonder why.
I went to bed and after a couple of hours woke again. If not raring to go, I was certainly more lively than earlier.
I dressed, and did one of those things which is easier to write than to do; I moved the spare fridge from the shed to my car. "Daddies Little Angel TM" wanted it. It only took an hour to haul the thing into the back of my car. Not so much heavy as awkward I put my back out moving it. And with it in the car I drove it to Folkestone where it is now in its fnal resting pllace.
I came home via Sainsury's car park (for geocachical purposes) and as I drove home I saw a ghost.
There is a hump-backed bridge in South Willesborough, very steep and very narrow. As I approached the bridge there was a car coming the other way so I slowed down. As I approached the bridge, the hump of the bridge hid the car from my view for about two seconds. As I drove over the bridge I realised that the other car had disappeared. There was nowhere for it to have turned off; nowhere it could have gone.
Once home I pootled for a bit, then we went to Canterbury. We had thought about taking the train, but in the end drove to the park and ride and got the bus. Whilst waiting for the park and ride bus we messed about in the Cheapo Bargains shop.
And so to Canterbury. The Coca-Cola big red lorry was in Canterbury today; we thoought we'd go and see it. I don't really know what I was expecting form the day, but I was disappointed. There was the big red Coca-Cola lorry and nothing else at all. I would have thought there would have been side shows and events and activities. There wasn't. Those who like queueing up had the opportunity to queue up for hours to have their photos taken by the lorry (at a not inconsiderable expense). Those with sense went round the back and took photos almost immediately and for free.
Whilst in the area we found some geocaches and some munzees, and as it was a special occassion we had some McLunch. I have a McFestive Meal. Very tasty.
As we ate we listened to a very fat woman's mother who was broadcasting her medical ailments to a disinterested world. Other people's medical ailment amaze me. When I am ill I have colds, backaches, all run of the mill maladies that doctors see all the time. Fat woman's mother apparently had illnesses which made the so-called experts re-write the medical textbooks. The doctors had never seen anything like her before. I could beleive that.
As we came home our phones beeped. An email. A new geocache had gone live on the Romney Marsh. We could be First to Find. So we took a little detour on the way home, and were lucky. First to Find. We came home feeling very smug.
Once home er indoors TM went bowling, and "My Boy TM" and Lacey came to visit. Lacey had news. She is going to have a new uncle or auntie; her other Grandad's ladyfriend is expecting.
Am I alone in thinking it rather odd that someone would be eight years older than their uncle or auntie?
I then spent the rest of the evening attacking the contents of the laundry basket. Or attacking it as best I could with a bad back. I think I strained something when moving that fridge earlier...
23 December 2013 (Monday) - Bored Again
Shaving was hard work this morning. What with one thing and another I never had a shave yesterday. That never happens; I *always* have a daily scrape. Consequently this morning I had a double helping to shift, and I carved my face more than I would usually do.
My dog ate most of my toast whilst I watched episodes of "Family Guy"; the show is entertaining. However I am convinced that if I knew more about American television it would be so much better.
Off to work. It was so dark this morning; but it won't get any darker. The shortest day has now gone, and the mornings will get lighter; even though it will take a while. As I drove I listened to the radio.
Apparently Nigella Lawson and her ex-husband are squabbling in the divorce courts about who gets custody of a stuffed toy dog. Does such trivia really warrant any air time whatsoever on Radio Four?
It must have been a very quiet day for news; apparently boffins are now serioulsy talking about retro-genetically engineering dinosaurs from DNA taken from living birds.
One can't help but wonder why they would want to do this. Mind you I wouldn't mind seeing a real-live dinosaur.
Talking of which I received an email from the people running the on-line dinosaur course that I did recently asking if I would be prepared to be interviewed about my experiences on doing that course. they want to do it by web-cam and it would take about an hour. I suppose it might help them; I'd be up for it.
Morrisons was busy this morning. Rather than the usual half a dozen people waitng outside for them to open at 7am there must have been fifty or sixty people. I bet that things were fraught there during the day.
My working day was surprisingly busy; and as I was about to leave for home I checked my emails. Two new geocaches to go for. I set off for them, but half way home I got another email. I pulled up to see what it was. Someone had already found both of those caches.
Bearing in mind the awful weather I decided to go straight home where I fell asleep in front of the telly. Again... Another dull day..
24 December 2013 (Christmas Eve) - Floods
I had a realy late night; not going to bed until 1pm. Did "Furry Face TM" really have to announce a Red Alert at 3am? I don't think it was really necessary. Perhaps the wiind bothered him. I missed it, but apparently the winds were ratther bad last night. I woke to find the asphalt on the shed roof had gone, along with two fence panels.
They can all stay gone until after Christmas.
After a swift bite of brekkie I took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a walk. Having read the updates on social media it seemed tha the overnight storm had wiped out civilisation, and I was keen to assess what was left so I could make a start in this brave new world. It has to be said that I was disappointed.
There were some serious floods; but Ashford is a flat town. Floods happen all the time. I found a few roof tiles on the pavement, but other than that civilisation seemed to have survived. Mostly. I got talking with OrangeHead in the park; she's sprung a leak, but her chunky little friend seemed dry. Another passing dog waalker told us of a massive tree that had collapsed in Jemmett Road, so we ran off to gloat, but we couldn't find any fallen trees at all.
It was at this point that the rain became torrential. We sheltered under a (still standing) tree for a few minutes, and when home put shoes and trousers on to the radiator to dry out.
Whiilst we were out I did take a few photos of the floods. They weren't that bad really.
We then set off to Hastings. Collecting a couple of geocaches on the way we braved the floods and were soon in Westfield where we spent a few hours with father-in-law over an all-day breakfast. It wouls have been good to have sppent longer, but time was at a premium, so at 3pm we made our way into Hastings where we spent an hour with mother-in-law.
We popped round to brother-in-law, and then with time seriously having run out we set off to Folkestone to meet up with "Daddies Little Angel TM". On the way we passed a geocache I couldn't find a couple of weeks ago. Not only could we not find it again; this time we flattened the car's battery whilst searching for the thing. It was nothing that a bump-start couldn't sort out, but pushing the car out of a ditch before being able to do the bump-start didn't do much for an already-aching back.
Once in Folkestone we delivered all that we had blagged from grandma's tat shop, and then finding ourselves running about two hours late we went round to see "My Boy TM" and deliver various christmas requisites.
We sang along to Christmas songs, scoffed too much, and poured lager down our necks. An excellent end to a rather busy Christmas eve...
It was good to spend yestterday evening visiting the fruits on my loin in their own homes. And I do like the fact that they have (mostly) flown the nest. But the house was strangely empty this morning as I got up. Intending to foster a bit of Christmas spirit I put the festive collar onto "Furry Face TM". This didn't foster any Christmas spirit at all. For all that he looks really good in his Christmmas collar, he hates it, and he went into a serious sulk. I could have cut the atmosphere with a knife.
Two hours later er indoors TM" got up. I wish I could sleep as long as everyone else does. We did pressies; I got a decent haul, So did "Furry Face TM"; and made short work of his new toys.
We set off to my brother's for Christmas. Far too much was scoffed and drunk; I dozed for much of the afternoon. It was all rather vague, but I came to on the way home. As we came home "My Boy TM" messaged - as the taxi firm were reckoning on a two hour wait could he get a lift home from his mummy.
Once er indoors TM" had done taxi-ing we settled down for a scampi supper and watched the Christmas Doctor Who before everyone else told us all about it. And having seen it I shall tell the world that...
... I won't give the plot away for the simple reason that I have no idea what was going on. In the old days there was baddies and Doctor Who defeated them. A simple plot worked. The convuloted stories that the scriptwriters trot out nowadays are needlessly complicated.
But Matt Smith has now gone and the new bloke has taken over. Let's see what he's like before I rubbish him too...
26 December 2013 (Boxing Day) - Another Good Day
I was bored over brekkie; having been awake most of the night. An email notification came through. A new geocache had gone live just under twn miles away. So I had a choice - chase a First to Find or get even more stressed waiting for er indoors TM" to emerge from her pit. So I scraped the ice off of he car, chased the FTF and found it twenty nine minutes after the email had arrived.
I came home to find er indoors TM" was moving about, and it wasn't long before we were on our way. We took my Super Luxurious Omnidirectional Whatsamajigger (as Lacey calls the Grand-Dave-mobile) and collected "My Boy TM" and his entourage, and we set off to Hastings for the third time in three days.
Pausing only briefly to deliver a bottle of home brewed stout to my father-in-law we were soon wth my brother. Yeserday we were there, and I had a serious drinking session and a packed eventful day. Today being the driver I didn't drink a drop, but I spent most of the time fast asleep in a chair. I *really* hate that. Mind you Lacey and Fudge fell asleep too.
Little Lacey had plans for the evening, so we came home before dark, and leaving "My Boy TM" to his planned X-box-a-thon we went round to see Lisa and Earle. Once I'd been the Grim Reaper to a poorly gerbil we had a beer (or two) and watched Mrs Brown. How come I've missed this? We also watched "Life of Brian", and terrorised the pugs next door,
It would have been good to have stayed all night, but "Furry Face TM" is like a toddler; he doesn't let up until he sees his own bed. So we took a short walk home and once we were home, a dog which had been manically charging about for six hours was fast asleep within two minutes. As was I...
27 December 2013 (Friday) - Backache
I lay awake for much of the night llistening for a storm which never really came. We had some heavy rain, but at no point did we have "hurricane Holy Sh*t" which had been both forecast and promised.
I eventually staggered out of my pit shortly after 7am, and over brekkie had a look-see what was going on in the world via Facebook. There wasn't much happening really. I then spent a few minutes trying to get up from the sofa. Overnight my back had got really painful.
Probably as a result of pushing a car out of a ditch three days ago when it was still bad from carrying a fridge about five days ago.
I took "Furry Face TM" out for a walk. This morning seemed really quiet. Usually 8.30am on a Friday morning has people busying about all over the placce. Today we hardly saw anyone. Mind you"Furry Face TM" had a woof at all of those that we did see. There was a dodgy episode when he lunged at another dog, slipped on wet fallen leaves, skidded and turned a full somersault in mid air. He crashed down very heavily on his side. I was rather worried; for a few minutes after that he seemed very subdued and his tail was down. But no serious harm seems to have been done.
We walked into Stanhope to collect my car; we'd left it with Lisa and Earle overnight. I had planned to blag some more brekkie from them, but seeing no lights on I wrongly assumed they were asleep and so didn't knock. It turned out that they were up; I should have knocked.
Once home er indoors TM" set off shopping. I put the (hopefully) finishing touches to a year's homework and then spent two hours struggling with Feigenbaum's constants. If any of my loyal readers are feeling particularly clever maybe they could have a look at this puzzle.
After two hours I gave up and played Candy Crush until er indoors TM" came home with cakes. With cakes scoffed we went shopping for a bit. We didn't get as much done as I would have liked; my back hurt too much. Getting in and out of the car took serious effort, and walking with any speed just wasn't going to happen.
I then made a phone call or two to send my apologies to the astro club's meeting planned for this evening. My back had become so painful I actually felt physically sick. I would have been no company at astro club, so instead we had a quiet night in. Pickles and baked leeks and ham went down very nicely as we watched the Christmas "Downton Abbey" and Wallace and Gromit and all sorts of stuff recorded onto the SkyPlus box. It would have been a really good evening if only I had been able to move about...
28 December 2013 (Saturday) - Mum's Birthday
Ongoing back pain made for a rather restless night; I was up and brekkie-ing by 7am. This morning I was rather worried as I checked out the world of social media. I didn't get to astro club last night; my back was against the idea. But there's no denying that it wasn't a meeting I was especialy looking forward to: just a meet-up in a pub (which I couldn't really afford).
Usually on the day after astro club Facebook is awash with comments and praise for the previous evening's meeting. This morning there wasn't a single comment about yesterday's meeting. Not one.
I took a walk into town to post a parcel. As I went I weaved in and out of the recycling bins strewn all over the pavements. Would it cause the recycling binmen physical pain to leave the bins in such a place that the pavements aren't *completely* obstructed when they have done the few bins that they can be bothered to empty.
I'm all for recycling in theory. In practice it seems to be leaving a lot to be desired.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the block. He seemed to like that. And then we got in the car and set off to Hastings to see my mum on her birthday. The intention was to get her a pressie on the way, but all the florists on the way were closed. Eventually we found somewhere near Tenterden
Mum was well, and liked her pressie. We then came home via a rather scenic route along the coast where we sat on the beach and had chips. Our route also took in half a dozen geocaches as we went. Including one which was right next to a playpark. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that my piss boiled last year when I had a cache turned down by the authorities because it was (apparently) too close to a playpark. I have compiled a list of a dozen caches which are far closer to playparks and have been accepted. Today's one was about ten yards from where the kiddies would play. It turns out that today's discovery was quite acceptable because the rule about hiding caches near where people might get arrrested doesn't apply to caches hidden before that ruling was made.
I can't see the distinction myself; either a geocache is fine near a playpark or it is not?
Whilst we were out my phone lost its connection to the Internet. It loses signal from time to time. But the signal didn't come back this time. After four re-boots over ten miles I came to the conclusion that either my phone had gone west or the network had gone squafty. So I phoned my phone provider. Eventually I got through to someone who wanted to check every setting on my phone. I told him I was a busy chap; I would fart with the phone later. In the meantime would he tell me if there was there a problem with the network. Yes or no?
Eventually the chap conceded that there was nothing wrong with the network. Getting that admission took some doing. Why do so many people have such difficulty giving a straight answer to a straight question? I told him I'd continue the call when I got home and I had time to fiddle about.
Five minutes later my phone beeped. A text message; my network provider had spent the afternoon upgrading the network. If I would just reboot my phonne I could take advantage of all the new functionality. So I rebooted my phone and took advantage of all the new functionality. Not taht I can see much difference.
I would have thought that the people spoke with should have known what was going on when I phoned and asked? Yet another thing about my mobile provider which leaves me not wanting to renew the contract when it expires over the summer.
Once home, with no film night planned for tonight, we slobbed about in front of the telly for the rest of the evening. And scoffed Christmas pudding...
29 December 2013 (Sunday) - Tenterden
Despite it hurting to move I had a reasonable night's kip. I was still wide awake and up and about hours before the rest of humanity though. I spent a little while solving on-line puzzles in which random sequences of words, pictures and letters somehow lead you to the location of plastic boxes concealed in tree roots. I solved several over brekkie, but one had me foxed. If any of my loyal readers have any idea about cipher breaking maybe they might like to give it a go... I finally came up with the actual solution.
We then set off on a day's lame-o-caching as "Daddies Little Angel TM" would say. First of all we found one in Bethersden which I had been looking at for months; if for no other reason than it was the closest cache to home that I hadn't yet found. With that one under my belt there are now only three more to find within a seven mile radius.
And as it was on the way we also stopped in High Halden for a couple of multi-caches. I'd found these over a year ago when out and about with my Ham Street Lover, but it's always fun watching others when you know where the thing is hidden.
We then drove down to Tenterden for the main part of out day's walking. There are fourteen geocaches round and about between St Michaels and Tenterden, so we parked up in St Michaels and prepared to get going. It was at this point that one of the usual suspects send word that she wouldn't be along because she'd only just got up (!)
But we carried on with our walk. Today's route wasn't a logical series; it took some planning to keep on track. We started with a random one-off cache and moved on to the bonus cache of a small series (which we found through blagging the clues from the internet). We then followed the small series into Tenterden, did a different series of caches in Tenterden, then followed the second half of the original series back to the car; fitting in another random one-off cache on the way.
Because we were picking up an assortment of geocaches hidden by an assortment of people, the standard of hindes was very variable. Those caches in the countryside part of our Tenterden trip were (for the most part) in need of a little T.L.C. Most were damp, some were rather wet, a few were absolutely sodden. Several had maintenance requests logged; one of which had had the request for maintenance logged over a year ago. It's a shame when people put these plastic pots out and then just leave them to fester.
On the other hand the ones in more urban areas seemed to be well-maintained. Even if one was just outside a school...
The fields were muddy as we walked; the two digs got filthy. there was a dodgy little episode when little Suzy-pup tried to run past everyone whilst we were crossing a bridge. Rather than getting in front she slipped in mud, crashed into "Furry Face TM", bounced off, and plummetted off of the bridge into the river six feet below. She didn't like that very much.
Once home I washed teh mud off of "Furry Face TM"; there was quite a bit to wash off. I then washed all the camping tea towels I'd accidentally left in the garden since I moved that fridge a week ago. Woops! And with that lot washed I set about washing and ironing shirts before solving more puzzles whilst watching telly until er indoors TM" came back from bowling.
30 December 2013 (Monday) - Rain, Beer...
Am I paranoid or is the universe really against me? Following what could have been the best night's sleep in months I was woken by a text message from work. Could I work the late shift? No, I couldn't. I dozed off again and another text came in. Not today's late shift; could I do one later in the week? Then the phone rang with yet another mis-dialled call for the vets. And when the chaps that next door had hired to fix the fence started bellowing at each other I gave up and got up to find heavy rain outside.
"Furry Face TM" was getting fractious, so despite the weather I took him for a walk. Torrentially heavy rain had kept most of the other dog-walkers away, but I did meet one "plum". His dog looked rather like Fudge; different in colour but otherwise alike. I commented on the fact, and this twit launched a bitter diatribe about how his dog was a pure-bred Jack Russell, and how my mutt was some kind of mongrel abomination. He then went on to point out all the physical defects in my little dog that don't appear in the master race of pure Jack Russells, and he only just stopped short of accusing me of having committed atrocities against the entire canine race by not owning a pure-bred dog.
Were the weather better I might have debated the matter with him, but being soaked to he skin I just smiled politely and left him ranting to a disnterested empty park.
Once home we dried off. I looked out of the window. The blokes fixing the fence next door were still at it. Under supervision. The bloke next door gets people in to do every little job, but never lets them actually get on with the job; he stands over them finding fault with their every action. Today was the same; He was standing in his raincoat giving a continual stream of sage advice and suggestions. I left them to it; I wasn't going to get involved. Instead I checked out what was going on on-line.
Other geocachers amazed me. There are plans to go for a geo-walk on New Year's Day. A new load of caches will go live that morning. Several people were complaining that the caches wouldn't go live early enough for them to get their sat-nav units programmed in time. I have my phone raring to go to a cache within seconds of a cache going live. A sat-nav unit has to be taken home and plugged into a PC first.
Some of those who were whinging about not having enough time were those who will (almost aggressively) sing the praises of sat-nav units over phones despite their endless disadvantages. I am now utterly convinced that the sat-nav community are deliberately hiding something from me. These things have so many disadvantages, but are *so* popular that I really must be missing something vital.
I had hoped to go out today. Having done some serious puzzle-solving I had intended to rummage for tupperware near Peasmarsh. But the rain wasn't going to let up, so instead we went dull shopping. First of all to Currys where er indoors TM" ordered a dishwasher. I'm not sure we can afford one, let alone need one, but I just went with the flow. And whilst out we did food shopping in Tesco. That was dull in the extreme.
WIth nothing else to do I had a look-see at the telly. And I discovered something wonderful. "One Man and his Campervan" follows some bloke driving round the UK in a campervan. It is a gentle little show featuring some average bloke going to average places and doing average things; but I loved it. It's a shame that it is little more than just another cookery program, but that's UK television these days. Better than the alternative which is yet another police show.
With the rain showing no sign of abating we spent the aftenoon on a sparked-up Wii. And with rabbids spanked we set off to Folkestone for a crafty half. Last Friday when I wasn't at astro club the idea of a little drinkie was suggested, and so we went down to the Firkin Alehouse in Folkestone; only to find it was closed. So we wandered round to Kipps instead and had a cheeky three there. Then on to the Guildhall, and Chambers, and a kebab... it was all rather vague towards the end...
31 December 2013 (Tuesday) - New Year's Eve
After the excesses of last night I didn't get out of my pit until gone 10am this morning, That happens so rarely. Over a spot of brekkie I had a look at the New Year's Honours List. I suppose that there are decent people in that list who have been given recognition for tireless effort in charitable work. Mind you there is no denying that a lot of awards have been given to people in recognition for various things for which they already get six (or more) figure salaries.
Having seen decent people doing all sorts of community work for years for no reward, and all sorts of other people getting medals for doing their paid job I am utterly convinced that the so-called "honours" system should be scrapped.
I took "Furry Face TM" for his walk as he seemed to be going stir-crazy. We had an urban walk today as the fields would be so wet after the rain, and I wanted to see how many other people had had their fences blown down.
We came home just as er indoors TM" was going out shopping, so I made myself a cuppa and did the monthly accounts. Could be a whole lot worse I suppose. I backed up the year's digital photos; a job which didn't take anywhere near as long as I thought it might, and with the weather against doing anything I then played Candy Crush until er indoors TM" came home.
We then went down to Folkestone for the traditional New Year bash. Excellent food, good fun. I learned the dangers of hob nobs.
A shame that a recovering back decided to act up.... 2013 hasn't been a bad year really; but it could have gone better in a few places. Let's seen what the future holds...