1 December 2015 (Tuesday) – Stuff
Again I slept well; waking only minutes before the alarm. I got up and wasted quite a bit of time trying to find a container in which I could transport my parsnip dalek to work.
Over brekkie I watched the most recent episode of "South Park"; much as I giggled I distinctly got the impression that unless one was seriously up to date with current American politics much of the show would go over your head. Mind you, with that in mind I was grateful that it doesn't seem to be just my small part of the work that is struggling with the "politically correct" crackpot brigade.
As I drove to work (as always) I listened to the news. The Japanese have decided to defy world opinion and carry on hunting whales in the Antarctic. Personally I'm of the opinion that why do we have a navy if not to stop this sort of thing. The navies of the civilised world should go and reason with the whalers, and if they don't turn around, torpedo them. Personally I wouldn't stop to pick up survivors, but I can be somewhat harsh.
I was also somewhat peeved to read the story of a pensioner who successfully sued Apple for inadvertanetly wiping all his personal data when he took his phone for repair.
Has this fool never heard of the term "backup"?
I got to work for the early shift. It wasn't long before everyone was in. Quite a few people had brought in their contributions for the vegetable nativity, and there is no denying that my parsnip dalek looked quite pathetic in comparison to other people's efforts. Mind you this vegetable nativity competition is a team effort; I'm confident of our victory.
And so home. As I walked "Furry Face TM" we saw "nasty next door" parking their car. She made a point of completely blanking me. She's done that consistently for the last ten years. It is getting rather wearing.
After our walk I opened the first window of my lego advent calendar. And then spent a little while trying to work out how to start this year's story. Every year I do my advent calendar ramblings. And every year I *could* start preparing when I get the thing in August. I don't though. I wait until when I am supposed to open it.
I wonder where this year's story will take us. Personally I'm hoping for a return of RU12, Arbuthnot Fink and the felonius miscreant. (Who?)
Being Tuesday the clans gathered and we watched last Saturday's episode of Doctor Who. It was better on the second viewing..
2 December 2015 (Wednesday) - We Won !!!!!
I woke up in desperate need of the loo at 3am (it's an "old man" thing) and was surprised at just how cold the house was. However there was a reason for it; the back door was wide open. I went round the house and had a quick roll-call. All were present, I coouldn't see any burglars, and presumably no one was in the back garden so I closed and locked the door.
I didn't really get back to sleep after that. I lay awake listening to "er indoors TM" snoring before finally getting up at 7am. I spent a little while learning how to operate the auto-focus on my phone's camera, then carried on pruning the list of people I follow on social media. Much as I like the entire concept of "social media" it only really works for me if actually know the person who is spouting twaddle. Whenever I look on-line so often I find myself wondering exactly who all these people are.
The plan for today had been to take a day's annual leave to help "Daddies Little Angel TM" move house. To cut a very long and convoluted story short she didn't move today. So beaing in mind that last year I lost holiday where I didn't use it all, I decided to carry on taking today as holiday.
I took "Furry Face TM" for his morning constitutional. As we walked we saw Jimbo driving to work so I shouted abuse (as one does) only to find it wasn’t Jimbo; it was some random little old lady. Woops (!)
We walked out as far as Park Farm, replaced a missing geocache, and came home via some fox poo in Willesborough Dykes. That dog hadn’t been off the lead for more than a minute before he’s smothered himself in the foul-smelling muck.
We cut short our walk and came straight home. Bath time !! But despite vigourous and prolonged scrubbing he remained a tad whiffy all day.
I was about to do the monthly accounts when the phone rang. Someone whose name clearly wasn’t Kevin (as he claimed) demanded to be told how my name was pronounced. He spelled my name out; "c-o-l-q-u-o-n" then got quite aggressive when I told him this wasn’t my name. I wasted ten minutes of his time before hanging up on him.
I set about the monthly accounts and on seeing that no payments had been taken for the buildings and contents insurance since September I gave the company a ring. The nice lady (Nikki) was very helpful; payments were due to start again next month. But when she checked our data there was a problem. Because we live within four hundred metres of a river our current insurer won’t touch us. The nice lady said she’d get back to us… after an hour she did.
Because some twit at the Environment Agency claims we live in an area with a high risk of flooding our monthly building and contents insurance premiums have been doubled.
A day's holiday is never complete without ironing; if nothing else I got to try out my new ironing board cover today. Quite sexy if you like that sort of thing. As I ironed I watched a film. "Rise of the Footsoldier" is a rather violent film about drug gangs in Essex. I quite liked it; I thought I'd give it a go as the sequel is coming out soon and there is talk of "My Boy TM" taking his old man to the cinema.
As I watched, my phone beeped. A message. The judging of the vegetable nativity had taken place and the winner announced. It was us! Our team had won! Result !! It was only a shame I coldn't have been there for the victory.
With ironing done I spent an hour or so working on my new Wherigo, and once I was Wheri-ed out I sorted my undercrackers whilst watching "Upstairs Downstairs"; far more genteel than "Rise of the Footsoldier". So much so that I doozed off only to be woken by "er indoors TM" coming home from work.
We downed a rather good bottle of plonk over a rather good bit of dinner. "er indoors TM" does boil up a decent bit of scran...
3 December 2015 (Thursday) - Another Calendar Day
I diidn't sleep well; I was too over-excited about our victory in the vegetable nativity competitiion. I finally gave up tryig to sleep shortly after 5.30am and had a look at today's offering from my lego advent calendar. For some inexplicable reason the song "The Rainbow Connection" (by Kermit the Frog) seemed to be stuck in my head.
Despite being over fifty years old (and being a grandfather) maturity sometimes eludes me.
Over brekkie (shared with a still-smelly dog) I watched this week's episode of "After Hours". After five episodes I have finally realsied that the show is set in Lincolnshire and not on the Isle of Wight.
I took a rather circuitous route to work today. Being a "geo-calendar day" I needed to log one geo-find today so I drove out to Hastingleigh where I made rather hard work of finding a little magnet stuck inside a metal gate.
The location of this hide seemed very familiar; I'm sure I've geo-hunted there before.
As I drove the talk on the radio was all about Parliament's decision to start bombing Syria. Will bombing Syria actually affect the terrorists that the bombing is supposed to target? I can't help but feel that there will be a lot of innocents caught up in the violence and that anyone who should actually be bombed will be nowhere near the target zones. Those being interviewed on the radio suggessted that a large factor in the decision was that britain's bombing would help the Prime Minister's political posturing on the global stage.
There was also a lot of talk about how many MPs have felt they have been bullied recently in order to sway their vote for or against the bombing.
Jeremy Corby has said that he won't stand for bullying in the Labour party. Within reason he has a point, but... I blame society (and the schools).
Fewer and fewer people these days are able to actually form a coherent argument or can disagree without deliberately causing offence which can be misconstrued. And more and more it seems to me that what one person sees as a heartfelt argument about a deeply felt conviction is so often seen as bullying by another person who is unwilling to see any point of view other than their own.
I got to work and after the recent excitement of the vegetable nativity, today was rather dull. Busy, but dull.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the block. As we walked I heard the distinctive sound of chicken bones being crunched. Someone had dropped KFC bones and he had them. Twice.
Seeing how he'd had KFC it was only fair we had the same...
4 December 2015 (Friday) - To Quote Bobby Chariot...
The noise of the torrential rain woke me at 1am; I woke to find my CPAP machine was going at full pelt trying to inflate me like a balloon. I took it off and dozed fitfully and intermittently until 3am when I put it back on again. I then slept like a log until two minutes before the alarm went off. If nothing else this proves that I don't really get any proper sleep without the thing blowing up my nose.
Has this finally put the kibosh on my going camping?
Over brekkie I watched the last episode of the current season of "Detectorists"; a gentle little comedy. It has beleivable characters and if the people are beleiveable then any story become plausible.
As I drove to work my piss boiled at the rubbish that was being spouted in the news. The pundits were all a-panic because the Kepler space probe has seen a huge solar flare from another star and the entire concept of solar flares was hitherto unknown to those who spout the daily news.
Apparently it came as a surprise to them that our sun could have a "hiccup" ant any moment and effectively blat out all of our electronics. Surely everyone knows this?
There was also the apparently sad tale of a family who have moved to France because the drugs to treat Duchenne's muscular dystrophy aren't available on the NHS. All I can say is that my friends who have Duchenne's muscular dystrophy are managing very well with what the NHS dishes out. Perhaps they might not be getting the very latest developments in the pharmaceutical world, but then the NHS did say that "more evidence from pharmaceuticals was needed on the benefits" before they'd squander precious resources on untried and unproven medicines. Perhaps the NHS has a point?
I stopped off at Morrisons for this and that. This and that came to £2.31. I didn't have that in change so I gave the nice lady on the till thirty one pence in change and a ten pound note. She looked at me as though I was the dog poo on her shoe, and she gave me eight pounds and four pence in change. Result!! - I was four pence up on the deal.
I got to work, did my bit, and saw an old friend.
Or so I thought.
This was someone I'd known for twenty years until I was professionally relocated to Canterbury. We'd been good friends; I'd taken her children camping (as Cub Scouts) more times than I could remember. I beamed smiles; she glanced at me, mumbled something, and hurried off.
After work I drove down to Woodchurch and paid the hall hire fees for the astro club for the next year. And then I drove on to the village green. The astro club was having a short-notice observing session whilst being interviewed by the nice man from Radio Kent.
It would have been nice if there were a few less clouds; it would have been nice if there were a few more people along. Whilst I realise it was short notice, I did feel that only three non-committee people turning up out of a membership of (about) a hundred was rather disappointing. But the nice man from the radio seemed impressed with what we did for him.
Now to program "Hannah" for tomorrow...
5 December 2015 (Saturday) - Geo-Christmas Party
Last night I was feeling rather tired. I had a reasonably early night and slept well.. I woke refreshed and raring to go only to see it was 2.20am. I rolled over and went baack to sleep. Before long I was embroiled in a rather vivid nightmare in which "Furry Face TM" had fallen from the sea wall in Dymchurch and had dislocated or broken his front right leg. I woke up sobbing pathetically.
Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog?
It was still before 4am. In situations like this I sometimes find that getting up and doing something helps. So I got up and had a shave. It was a little cold as I scraped, but it worked; I was now tired. I then went back to bed and slept through till 7am.
I got up and opened today's window of my lego Advent Calendar. Today I had a little areoplane, so I took a photo and posted it on-line. Again this lego Advent Calendar seems to have developed a life of its own. I can't help but wonder what will happen tomorrow. It would be very easy to open all the windows and find out, but that would be cheating.
I took my dog for a walk. Some days we go for hours and hardly anything of note happens. Today was different. As we walked round past where the councill says horses aren't supposed to be (I counted ten horses today) we saw something odd. A random looney was doing his excercises on the footpath. So I filmed him for a while. The video wasn't as good as it might have been; when making clandestine videos of random looneys, sublety is everything.
As we walked past the random looney Fudge barked at him. Somewhat half-heartedly I thought.
From here we walked down to the bakery. Saturday morning is Belgian bun time. Lee's mum was behind the counter in the bakery. Lee was one of my cub scouts (twenty years ago) and at the time Lee's mum was rather foxy (woof!). She's still got it !! And she remembered me. Result !!
We came home, uploaded the video of the random looney to YouTube and scoffed the Belgian buns. Despite the serious plus factor of Lee's mum I wasn't impressed with mine.
We then made our way to ean where eight of us had a little geo-walk round Beacon Wood. It was a good wood to walk around; but I do feel that I could have done with a little more familiarity with the area; I did feel I was following the GPS arrow far more than following footpaths.
And from the woods we drove to the Kent County geo-Christmas event. It was *really* good; meeting with friends, eating cake... and I got voted "Geocacher of the Year"... for a moment I really was lost for words. I had a little drinkie (or two) to settle my nerves. It's just possible I might have had one too many...
6 December 2015 (Sunday) - Family Xmas Party
Yesterday I was voted "Geocacher of the Year" by the Kent caching fraternity. I'm still somewhat amazed at the honour. On reflection there are many people who do far more for the hobby than I do; all I do is ask if anyone fancies coming for a walk, arrange a meeting time and place and take loads of photos. Oh - and am generally rather noisy. But I got the award... I'm rathered flattered and very humbled.
I'd like to offer up a heartfelt "Thank You" to everyone who voted for me.
I felt a little fragile over brekkie; can't imagine why. I then took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk round the park. He chased some ducks and rolled in a dead rat. He seemed happy with that. I had intended to walk a lot further, but it was raining; that annoying fine rain which doesn't actually seem very heavy but gets you soaked. And I was soon soaked.
Once home I changed into dry clothes and over a cuppa I solved a geo-puzzle. I'd been pondering it (on and off) for the last couple of weeks. Yesterday I got to speak with the chap who'd set the puzzle. He gave me a pointer annd it turned out that I had been seriously over-complicating matters.
I then spent a couple of minutes organising a little walk for a calendar-filler day for two weeks time. If any of my loyal readers are at a loose end on the Monday before Christmas the details are on-line here.
"er indoors TM" then set off to Folkestone to collect "Daddies Little Angel TM" and her entourage. I then went to sit in Trap One for the fourth time of the morning (its a beer thing) then drove round to collect "My Boy TM" and his branch of the tribe. We then set off to Hastings, and pausing only brieflly for some McLunch we were soon at the annual family Christmas party. Bouncy castle, party games, a dancing display, even a visit from Santa; the annual Christmas bash is always a fun afternoon. I took several photos; it was only a shame we had to take the long way home as the A28 was apparently closed.
Once home I too "Furry Face TM" round the block quickly. It was still raining; we got soaked again. I showered, and with "er indoors TM" off bowling I spent the evening slobbed in front of the telly...
7 December 2015 (Monday) - Dentist, Stuff...
I slept like a log last night; sometimes I see every hour of the night, other times I am absolutely sparko. I was finally woken by the noise of a postman bashing on next door's front door shortly before 7am.
Most weekends in my life are busy; this one seems to have been especially so. I think I could really have done with taking today off work. Or perhaps I'm still somewhat under the weather from the excesses of Saturday.
"My Boy TM" is swearing off of the beer. I wonder if I should do the same. Or (at the very least) only drink a couple of pints rather than a couple of gallons in future.
Over brekkie I tried to see what was happening in cyberspace. I tried, but gave up. "Furry Face TM" was in a particularly soppy mood and was resting his chin on my hand. It is difficult to work the keyboard when he does that so I took him for a walk instead. As we walked we met all sorts of people and the vast majority of people were fine. Except one bloke. My dog was walking straight past him when (for no apparent reason) this chap started shrieking and jumping about seemingly in terror. This spooked "Furry Face TM" who woofed at him. Said nutter then started ranting at me abbout how all dogs should be on leads. I politetly gave him two minutes of my time before telling him to get knotted. Funnily enough not ten seconds later a couple of lads rode past on their bikes so I turned and watched to see what would happen when they caught up with the nutter. Sure enough he leapt about and started hollering at them too.
We came home, I pootled for a few minutes then went to the dentist. Bearing in mind the amount of letters they've recently sent me about the managerial and administrative changes they've been making I was expecting to see massive alterations around the place. i was disappointed; the only difference was that they had new chairs. Rather uncomfortable ones I thought.
The dentist rooted about in my gob, then whinged about why I don't go to their dental hygenist as often as I might. Apparently on my insurance plan I get two free visits to the hygenist every year. No one told me... or did they? Perhaps if they sent me less junk mail I might pay more attention to the mail they do send. But I made an appointment for next week to have the hygenist do her thing inside my gob.
I set off to work a little earlier than I might have done. I couldn't face the radio this morning so instead I sang along to the rude songs on one of my "Ivor Biggun" CDs. I drove to Canterbury via Wye where I had a little rummage in some undergrowth for a calendar-filling geocache for the day. I then went on to Morrisons where I joined the "ten items or less" queue and my piss boiled when I realised the chap in front had eleven items. I counted them.
I had this plan to buy "er indoors TM" a Christmas pressie from Go Outdoors. She was disappointed in her walking trousers so I thought I'd get har a new pair. But I got there to realise I have no idea what size she takes. So instead I went on to work.
Work was busy today...
8 December 2015 (Tuesday) - Moving Stuff
I woke at 3am and went for a tiddle. I didn't turn on any of the lights in the house because I knew the way. However not turning on any of the lights meant that I didn't see the tennis ball that a certain small dog had left laying around. I didn't actually end up on my bum but I certainly twisted something.
I drove down to Folkestone. The nice people from the council had finally deeclared that "Daddies Little Angel TM" s flat had just too much mould and damp for it to be a safe environment for a littlun and had offered them somewhere in Maidstone Road until they can sort out somewhere more permanent. So I went to Folkestone. What with the traffic it took an hour, but once there I loaded my car full of their stuff and took it all back home.
I drove back to Folkestone; this time taking ages because my way was blocked by the frankly rubbish parking of the lorry of Folkestone Scaffolding. Why on Earth did they block up the entire street when they could have pulled over and parked by the pavement? I'm no expert but I aalways thought that parking your vehicle on the side of the road by the pavement (rather than in the center of the road along the white lines) was standard practice.
I arived to find the nice man & van we'd hired had arrived. They took the heavy bulky furniture to storage. I loaded up my car again, drove home again, and unloaded this lot.
My third trip to Folkestone was fortunately somewhat easier. But by now my tennis elbow was playing up, and slipping on the mopped floor didn't help the back I'd twisted earlier. But nevertheless I filled my car with a third load of stuff that wasn't to go into storage, took that lot home (to a rather full living room) then went back to Folkestone; this time to collect people to fetch back.
We were only fifteen minutes late for the appointment at the council offices; then I took them to their new home. It seems a nice enough sort of place. We then came home for the stuff they will need over the next few days and took that to the new place.
Pausing only briefly for "Daddies Little Angel TM" to lose her phone I came home. The plan was then to move all the crap out of the living room and store it upstairs. We shifted some of it. But my elbow hurts too much to continue.
"My Boy TM" says he will shift it in the morning. He's a good lad. I've scoffed some paraccetamols; I'm going to fall asleep in front of the telly now....
9 December 2015 (Wednesday) - My Elbow Hurts
Whilst "Daddies Little Angel TM" is waiting for somewhere more permanent to live we are looking after little Sid. He is a sweet enough pug even if he does smell and doesn't seem to be quite so toilet-trained as Fudge is. I got up this morning and spent a moment "clearing up" after him before sending both dogs into the garden. "Furry Face TM" ran straight out there; Sid had to be pushed (proving he had no real need to go as he's already been)
There was a near disaster over brekkie; the episode of "Dad's Army" which was broadcast on Saturday evening was aired late because the snooker over-ran. However my SkyPlus box knew all about this and just kept recording snooker until "Dad's Army" started when it then recorded the whole episode. My old VHS never did that.
I was pleased to discover this function. I quite like watching the show as I scoff toast (even if it would have been better without Clive Dunn)
I spent a little while scraping the ice off of my car then set off to work. As I drove the radio was talking about the plight of the poor people in Cumbria who've been flooded out by the recent storm. The local council have announced that these people won't have to pay council tax all the time their houses are under water. However there was uncertainty as to whether they would still have to pay utility bills. If my house was flooded out I wouldn't expect to have to pay for gas and leccie. But this is what happens when what should be a public resource is now a private enterprise.
And my piss boiled whan I heard that the Football Association has recommended that results of matches played in under-11 leagues should not be published as those who've lost find it offensive. In that case why keep score at all?
I got to work and did my bit. As I did it I kept glancing out of the window. Today's weather was glorious; it would have been an ideal day for moving house. unlike yesterday when it rained hard.
I also kept glancing at my elbow; I think I strained that yesterday.
It still hurts now...
10 December 2015 (Thursday) – Foxy
I woke up at silly o'clock this morning. I waatched rubbish on the telly then sparked up my lap-top. I had an email from my mobile phone provider this morning. They'd sent me a Christmas present. Or so they claimed. Having clicked on the link they sent it looked very much like they'd actually given me the opportunity to provide all my personal details to a spamming site.
If they wanted to give me a free e-book for my Kindle then the link would go directly to Amazon; not some third party company of whom I had never previousy heard.
As I got into my car this morning something caught my eye. A fox was walking up the pavement. I got out of my car and followed him. The fox went into a garden and started ripping into the bin bags which had been left for the dustmen. Foxy knew I was watching him; he didn't seem bothered as I took photos of him from only two yards away.
After a few minutes he lost interest in whatever he was eating from the bin and wandered off up the road. I watched him for a while then drove off down the road. Yesterday I'd spent ages scraping ice from the car; this morning I had no scraping to do.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the US presidential candidate Donald Trump. He is being very politically incorrect; among other rather outrageous things he's calling for Muslims to be banned from the USA. His opponents are noisily drawing parrallels between his policies and those of Adolf Hitler.
What worries me isn't so much those parrallels as the fact that his policies are actually proving to be rather popular. As were those of Hitler's in the Germany of the 1930s.
Have I ever mentioned that I don't think democracy is all it is cracked out to be?
I got to work... and came home afterwards. Once home I took both dogs for a walk, then over a spot of dinner watched a film. "The Colony" is perhaps the worst film I have ever seen. It started off quite well with a post-apocalyptic colony doing the best they could in a frozen wasteland. It started off in a well thought out scenario and there was even a plausible plot. But it was not long before the director decided he's rather have a film about zombie cannibals instead. And so for some inexplicable reason the second half of the film was just a gratuitous bloodbath which bore no relation to what had gone before.
As I watched this drivel I had a dog on either side of me. For all that "Furry Face TM" has known Sid for years, he is a jealous dog. I tried sitting on the sofa with both dogs together but that didn't work. If Sid was already on the sofa with me then Fudge would sulk and wouldn't come up. If Fudge was already up with me he would snap at Sid when he tried to jump up.
So I plonked each dog at either end of the sofa and sat between them. Sid fell asleep whilst Fudge glared at him. I'm hoping Fudge will get used to the situation. He doesn't like having a house guest...
11 December 2015 (Friday) - Games to Play
I got up this morning and spent a few minutes clearing up Sid's turds. As I did so, Fudge watched from his basket with a most odd expression. I could tell that he knew it was wrong. Sid however seemed oblivious to his misdemeanours.
Over brekkie I found myself enthralled by the Christmas episode of "George and Mildred" on ITV3. Did people *really* enjoy this sort of drivel?
I set off to several streets away to find where I'd parked my car last night. As I walked the dustbin-men were doing their thing. For once they weren't noisily making a mess whilst scattering emptied bins all over the pavements. And they were being civil to passers-by. Obviously they were after something. Do people still give bin-men a Christmas tip?
I got my car and drove it home where I unloaded the baby seat and put the box of my stuff back into the boot. As I did that the fox I saw yesterday walked down the pavement. As he passed me he glanced up in the same way that I would nod at a passing acquaintance.
I spent a few minutes watching Foxy. That animal is completely fearless.
I drove to work; as I drove the radio spewed its usual brand of drivel. I stopped off at Morrisons as we'd run out of jam. It was a shame that I didn't realise I'd left my packed lunch at home as I could have bought some sandwiches there. I didn't realise that until I actually got to work.
The League of Friends shop sells sandwiches but I don't like encouraging that sort of thing. I got some coronation chicken sandwiches from them. They weren't too shabby (to quote "My Boy TM" ) but I wouldn't tell them that.
Today at work the talk was all about Chess-Boxing; a novel sport in which three-minute rounds of chess are interspersed with three-minute rounds of boxing. In all there are six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing; the winner being decided on points, knockout or checkmate. It is actually a proper sport. I wonder if I can find any takers for this over the Christmas holiday - it might make a pleasant change from charades.
After work I set off to McDonalds. Usually before astro club we go to the McD in Eureka Park, but today we went to the one on the Orbital Park. If nothing else it made for a change. I had the chicken strips, or as I prefer to think of it, McKFC.
And so on to Astro Club. Over a year ago the committee had actually arranged for the December meeting to be next Friday, but it seemed that only some of the committee could make that date. So we met tonight instead. The meeting was billed as a "social". Generally I read any club's "social" as "we've not actually arranged anything" and I went along with rather low expectations. But I was wrong. Despite a rather disappointingly low turn-out we had a great time.
Especially with the custard pie throwing machine intended for five year olds. Must get one for myself.
Chess-Boxing and custard pies for Christmas...
12 December 2015 (Saturday) - Sid's First Geo-Walk
I was woken by a huge crash at 3am.Sid (our house guest) had opened the stair gate and was trying to jump onto the bed. But he's not of the most athletic physique and couldn't make the jump. I got up and chivvied him back downstairs where "Furry Face TM" was sitting in the sofa with a look on his face not entirely unlike that which behaving cub scouts used to wear whilst watching the thicker of their companions failing to misbehave.
Seeing no little accidents in the living room (yet) I sent both dogs outside for two minutes, then went back to sleep. Amazingly I actually got back to sleep, and slept until 5am when I woke in a cold sweat following a vivid dream in which because of my involvement with the astro club I had been given the task of providing the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher practical advice on dealing with nose bleeds.
Over brekkie I checked out the Internet, and then had a rather irate text from "Daddies Little Angel TM". Apparently Sid *is* house trained. He knows how to tell people that he needs the loo. But if everyone is asleep when he needs to go and consequently no one can see him then what is he supposed to do?
I spent a few minutes solving rather fiendish (I thought) geo-puzzles until "er indoors TM" was ready and then we set off on today's mission. Usually we go for a serious walk on Sundays, but there is other stuff on the agennda for tomorrow so today we went down to Peasmarsh. Often when we walk we go mob-handed but bearing in mind that today was something of an experiment (Sid's first serious hike) we thought we'd keep things low-key just in case I ended up carrying a pug for several miles.
We drove down to Bixley Woods and we hadn't even left the car before I wrenched my back by swinging up my haversack. But I soldiered on; we wandered up the lane and into some woods. I was brave and let Sid off of the lead. And he was as good as gold. Whilst the other two were their usual excitable boisterous selves, Sid pootled along sniffling and snuffling. Whenever he got more than ten yards behind I could see panic set in and he would run to catch up.
There was a dodgy five minutes when we could hear F-birds (pheasants) in the distance, but we got the dogs onto their leads before they reallised what was happening. There was a funny five minutes when Fudge fell in a stream. There were some rather tricky geo-hides to find, and there were some rather clever ones too.
We found twelve geocaches along a well-marked route over a couple of hours and found ourselves back at the car much earlier than I had thought we would be.
We scoffed our sandwiches and with time on our hands we drove a mile down the road to a smaller geo-series of eight caches. We thought this would fill the spare time nicely...
I don't want to be negative; someone has gone to a lot of time and effort to hide these things for me to go hunt them. But, on reflection, the first series seemed so much better. For all that there were a couple of really good ideas on this second loop, the GPS units didn't settle down, we struggleed to find caches, and when we did the co-ordinates of the caches seemed to be rather out. Also there didn't seem to be any clearly marked footpath route; at one point we found ourselves doing a "follow the arrow" through the jungle for two hundred yards when it became apparent that the path was going in entirely the wrong direction.
Or perhaps I was just sulking as I nearly (but not quite) bent my knee backwards when struggling with one of the two caches we couldn't find.
I slept most of the way home, and when we got home I forrgot that I'd done for my knee and nearly fell out of the car when I lunged out. Woops. I hosed the mud off of both dogs and it wasn't long before they were both snoring.
I took a few photos whilst we were out today. I put them on-line as the dogs snored.
The plan for th evening was to go out on a night walk. But I ached; my right elbow's not been right for some time and after my little episode in the mud today my right knee was playing up too. So I backed out of the night walk and stayed indoors.
Hope it gets better soon....
13 December 2015 (Sunday) - Visiting Santa
Sid had a woofing fit five minutes I went to bed last night. I settled him doown again. He had another woofing fit five minutes after I dozed off. I slept well and woke raring to go at 8am. I got up and my right knee immediately collapsed underneath me. It was a good job the bed was there.
I came down and was very pleased to see that there had been no "accidents" overnight. Over brekkie I pondered geo-puzzles. There is one in particular which had had me thinking (on and off) for well oover a year. As i devoured my toast I had a stroke of genuis when I realised.... well, I won't say what I realised as it has taken me so long to realise it. However my genius seems to leavee a lot to be desired. I think it isn't giving away any secrets to say that it is (probably) is in the general area of a triangle with vertices at Tunbridge Wells, Paddock Wood and Cranbrook. Unfortunately my calculations have placed it in a parrallel universe which features a negative latitude.
As I tried to correct my error "Furry Face TM" was snuggling closer and closer to me. For all that he acts the problem child in public, he is actually a rather affectionate little dog, and since Sid moved in with us, Fudge has become rather clingy.
Once "er indoors TM" was ready we set off to Bethersden. Santa was at the Reindeer farm today so we thought that Lacey might like to go see him. Again. We went on the weekend before Christmas last year and it was so incredibly busy. It was busy today, but not as bad as last year. This year we saw Santa after about an hour's wait. Last year we queued for an hour just to get tickets.
We saw Santa; he was really good. And then we walked through the winter scenes; even seeing the foxy one from "Frozen". I then spent a small fortune getting fridge magnets and keyrings and snow globes of our visit to Santa.
We weree peckish; we had a quick sausage roll in the restaurant, and then had a go at the tombola. Cheryl told the Mayor off for being a cheapskate and Lacey walked away with three prizes.
From here we went on to the animals. Reindeer, drizzledeer (like reindeer but smaller), stormdeer (like reindeer but bigger), donkeys, emus, meerkats, iguanaa, ducks, pythons, pigs. All sorts of creatures. "My Boy TM" blagged some carrots and had a whale of a time feeding them to every animal that eats carrots (and one or two that don't).
You can see what we saw by clicking here.
All too soon it was time to go; family had things to do and places to go. We drove over to Canterbury. "er indoors TM" had bought a jumper from "Go Outdoors" a while back only to find a hole in it. The nice people at "Go Outdoors" were really helpful and changed it right away.
We then went on to the Cheapo-Bargains shop for some cheapo-bargains, and then on to McDonalds for a spot of McLate McLunch. Again I had McKFC and was loudly telling "er indoors TM" that I like McKFC when the little boy at the next table told me that KFC was rubbish.
Once back in Ashford we ran the dogs round to the park and back just as it was getting dark. As we walked I met an old friend from my days as a cub scout leader. She too had become disillusioned with the way things were going at our old scout group, and we spent five minutes whinging before saying goodbye for another few years.
We came home; the dogs had their tea and soon both were snoring. Sid on one sofa, Fudge snuggling up to me on the other. Did I mention that Sid's visit has made him rather clingy?
14 December 2015 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
Both dogs sneaked upstairs last night. I can (just about) cope with "Furry Face TM" taking up all the space on the bed taht "er indoors TM" allows me, but Sid's snoring was just too much. I took them both downstairs and after a a quick trip to the garden I settled them in their baskets. Within half an hour I was taking them back downstairs again...
Over brekkie I checked out the Internet; other than Dick Van Dyke having had his ninetieth birthday little had changed overnight.
I put the lead onto a bouncing "Furry Face TM" and "er indoors TM" coaxed the lead onto a rather disinterested Sid, and I took both dogs for a walk. As we walked neither dog was paying much attention to the other, and there was an embarrassing incident when Fudge stopped and Sid bulldozed right into him.
We carried on to Singleton Lake and round to Viccie Park where Fudge made a nuisance of himself with some old friends. Sid was noticed only for the fact of how he was straggling. Sid was odd; when on the lead he was by my side all the time. When off the lead he seemed to fall further and further back.
Once home both dogs immediately settled and Sid (in particular) was soon snoring. I spent a few minutes fighting with Christmas wrapping paper then put some stuff into the washing machine. Since the nice man fixed the program timer, the washing machine seems to take much longer to scrub stuff.
I then took the rubbish from last Friday's astro club meeting to the tip, delievered a vaccum cleaner to "Daddies Little Angel TM" and went on to the hospital for an appointment about that troublesome lump in my neck.
To cut a very long and tedious story short I'm being sent back for yet another urgent ultrasound-guided biopsy at some point.
I came home, scoffed a bit of lunch then took myself off to bed for the afternoon. I slept for a couple of hours and dozed fitfully for a little while after that.
I came downstairs and watched "Upstairs Downstairs". Sid seems to have taken a dislike to Her Ladyship. I must admit I have too; whilst the Master is away fighting in the war she is having it away with a junior officer from Yorkshire.
I'm off to the night shift now...
15 December 2015 (Tuesday) - Poor Service
I stopped off at Morrisons on the way to work last night. In much the same way I have done several times over the last four years. As I queued at the checkout there was a minor altercation in the queue behind me. One chap was standing with a basketful of packets of sweets. Loads of sweets. As I looked at them I vaguely wondered about stocking up with the things myself for Christmas. And then some rather officious woman in Morrisons uniform bustled up and aggressively demanded that he put most of them back. She would only allow him to buy six packets of sweets.
He seemed to accept this; I mentioned to the chap that if he wasn't allowed to buy them I would have some of them - they would be ideal for Christmas. Five minutes later the same officious busybody marched up to me and told me that the checkout girl had accused me plotting with the other chap to somehow defraud Morrisons. She accused me of buying shopping to then pass on to this chap, and rudely went on to say that for reasons that she could (but wouldn't) explain it is illegal for anyone to buy more than six of any given item from a shop.
This is patently nonsense and has no standing in law. Even if it is a strange regulation peculiar to Morrisons it is not one whach I have ever seen enforced. The people in the queue in front of me were buying *lots* of bottles of a certain brand of wine.
Over the years I have come to accept rather shoddy service from Morrisons but this was an all-time low. I told her (in no uncertain terms) where she could put her groceries and drove round to spend my money in Sainsburys.
The manager at Sainsburys confirmed my suspicion that there is no legal bar to buying as much of any given item as I choose. He also had an attitude which could not be described as "obnoxious" which has made me wonder if I might not be better off spending my money with them in future.
I sent them a rather scathing email, then did my night shift.
As I drove home I had a wry smile at the news. Ex-Radio One disc jockey Neil "Doctor" Fox has been cleared of all the horrible allegations made against him.
Following this, Britain's most senior magistrate questioned the pursuit of historic sex attack cases. "The most difficult aspect of this case was most of the allegations were historical," he said. "While the events were undoubtedly memorable for the complainants, it's appropriate to approach with caution accounts which happened of a brief period so long ago."
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, who was also arrested over historic claims before charges were thrown out, called for Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to resign.
Meanwhile in America Bill Cosby (who despite all the rumours has still to be formally charged with anything) has sued seven women saying they lied when they accused him of historical sexual assault with a plan to make money from the allegations.
Whilst the alleged crimes in these cases are terrible (*if* they actually happened) the supposed victims have had quite long enough to bring their cases. But so many people really do beleive in the "no smoke without fire" philosphy and innocent lives are ruined.
I've ranted about this before, haven't I?
Once home I had planned to take the dogs for a walk. The rain was against us, but we had a go. After a hundred yards Sid sat down and refused to go any more. I managed to coax him on a little, but we didn't go far.
I then spent most of the day asleep. I'm off to another night shift now...
16 December 2015 (Wednesday) - A Wombling Merry Christmas
When I took out my morgage I was allowed to borrow up to three times my annual salary. On that basis most people are over two hundred thousand pounds short.
How does anyone afford a house these days?
I came home; "er indoors TM" was off work today. The plan was for us to take the dogs for a walk the moment I got home. Like I do shortly before 9am after every night shift. I came home and waited for over an hour. At ten o'clock with her still in her pyjamas I lost patience and went to bed.
I slept for a while; "Daddies Little Angel TM" phoned about... I have no idea what she wanted. I told her I was asleep and went back to sleep. I eventually got up to see what the dogs were barking about at 2.30pm. Fudge was rather indignant because Sid had crapped on the carpet. Again.
On the one hand I can understand people's frustrations at the delays. On the other hand I feel for the people who work on the trains. When the train runs late the poor train staff are late getting home too. It is not as though they run the trains late deliberately. And is eight minutes *really* such a big deal?
Whilst this group was started with good intentions I can't help but feel that in a very short time it has become something of a magnet for the whingers.
Also on Facebook was a friend request from Caean Adc. He is apparently rather pleased to have found Jesus. That's nice for him. He was also rather pleased that Jesus got nailed to a tree, which I felt was rather harsh.
I didn't so much respond to the friend request as told him to get knotted.
I had an email from LinkedIn. Apparently Joe Edwards is now a recruitment consultant at the therapies division of HCL Healthcare. I wonder who Joe Edwards is. This same email told me of a job opportunity that suited my profile; I could apply to become a tester of blood whilst serving on one of the Royal Navy's warships, and it also told me that I have had my skill in clinical research endorsed by someone that I've never met.
I rarely use LinkedIn; mainly because it seems to think I know all sorts of people of whom I have never heard and offers me jobs which are utterly unsuitable for me based on recommendations about me which are made up.
And I saw that an old schoolfriend of mine is to become Rye's Town Crier. Whilst I'm rather pleased for him I must admit to a pang of jealousy. Being a gobby sort of person I could do that. How does one become a Town Crier?
"er indoors TM" apppeared at 4pm. She'd been shopping for (or should that be for?) "Daddies Little Angel TM". We took the dogs out then. It was a shame that it was dark, but Fudge enjoyed his walk. I don't think Sid did much. He did straggle rather a lot.
Once home we had a little tidy up and prepared for the evening. "er indoors TM" was staging a candle party. Much as I can be cynical about the things, the candles aren't bad. And we had a really good time laughing and chatting and even Chromecasting wombles with old friends... really must do this more often.
The dogs sneaked upstairs in the night again. I wish they wouldn't. I can cope with "Furry Face TM" and his fidgetting; it is Sid's snoring that *really* disturbs me.
I gave up trying to sleep shortly after 7am and got up. I was expecting social media to be crawling with spoilers about the Star Wars film that came out last night. Surprisingly it wasn't. I was pleased about that.
Mind you (at the risk of appearing to be an old sourpuss) I'm getting a little fed up with hearing about it. I've said so a few times and this has met with genuine surprise. So many people have asked me why I'm not raving about the new Star Wars film - "after all you like Star Trek" is the standard response. That is akin to wondering why a fan of West Ham United isn't interested in the exploits of the Kent cricket team because it is all sport.
I took my brother to see the first three Star Wars films (when they first came out) and wasn't impressed. I've only seen the next three once only, and slept through most of them.
Don't get me wrong - if anyone likes the genre then I sincerely hope they like the films. But I have no interest in them.
"er indoors TM" had plans for a haircut this morning so I put the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and took him out to Great Chart. I had some geocaches to hide. I didn't take Sid as I thought it might be too muddy for him. It was. The mud was *very* thick and deep. Shoulder-deep on Fudge in places. But we got the caches out. Job done.
We came home to find visitors. "Daddies Little Angel TM" was on the sofa and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was wreaking havoc with a salt cellar. I hosed the mud from my dog then scoffed the burnt cheese on toast she'd boiled up. They then set off to visit friends, and "er indoors TM" came home complete with new haircut. I'm not sure how much she spent on it; in all honesty it doesn't really look any different to how it was before, but what do I know?
We then went on a little drive to Surrey to the bowling ball shop. She wanted a new ball, and the place in Surrey drills out the holes to custom-fit the ball to your hand. This is the fifth ball she's had; they don't seem to last that long.
We came home, and because it is nearly Christmas we went out for dinner. We've been to the Honest Miller in Brook a few times. Thursday night is steak night. I rarely have steak when I eat out but this was really good. And the trifle for dessert wasn't too shabby at all (to quote the first fruit of my loins). Both were washed down with a couple of pints of rather good ale. And they gave us a voucher for twenty five per cent off the price of our next visit. I will definately be going back.
Mind you (like many pubs) this place really does decide what it wants to be. On the one hand was fine dining. On the other hand was drunken harpies shrieking at each other. Drunken shrieking is only acceptable when I'm the one doing the shrieking.
18 December 2015 (Friday) - This n That
Apparently "er indoors TM" chivvied the dogs back downstairs to their baskets four times last night. I didn't hear any of it; I slept like a log last night. I suspect the rather good steak dinner had something to do with it. Having said that I woke this morning with something of a stomach ache.
Over brekkie I checked out the Internet. Christmas and Star Wars seemed to be being bandied about in equal proportion, and the teachers of my aquiantance were crowing that today was their last day at work. Sometimes teachers wind me up *just* a little bit. They seem to be *very* vocal in telling the world about their extended holidays (something like thirteen weeks?) and then get all upset when the general public doesn't respect the fact that their jobs are very demanding and they do a *lot* of preparation in their own time.
All I can say on the matter is that the average teacher seems to be breaking up for Christmas sometime during the afternoon today; I break up for Christmas at 8.15 am on Christmas morning (and will probably sleep for much of the day).
I had an email (well sixty of the things) telling me that the geo-series I put out yesterday had gone live. There would seem not to have been any problems with the series; I was pleased about that. Whilst anyone can go find them whenever they like (and some already have), I'm hoping one or two people might like to come out for a walk in their general direction with me on New Year's Day. I've set it all up as a Facebook event which anyone can join.
"er indoors TM" wanted to know if any of her best tops were in the ironing basket. I wish she wouldn't ask things like that - how am I supposed to know a "best" top from any other sort. We have rather different criteria as to what constitures a "best top" (woof!) I just iron them - I don't grade them. She then spent five minutes telling me how stupid I was.... it turns out she wanted a *vest* top.
I know what those are.
I then put the leads on the dogs and we walked round to the park where we met "Daddies Little Angel TM" and Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". Littlun beamed when he saw us and we had a good walk around the park.
Once home I then drove down to the marsh - today was a geo-calendar day. I made rather hard work of finding a film pot under a rock down there. Then (as a Christmas treat) I got the car valeted. It hadn't been done for some time. It was *rather* grubby but is amazingly clean now.
I came home to find "Daddies Little Angel TM" still in residence. She was waiting delivery of a replacement phone. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was contentedly wreaking destruction on our living room. As he pulled something electical I told him off. He sobbed for fifteen minutes; Granddads aren't supposed to do telling off.
Having seen off most of the contents of the living room "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" went round to wreak havoc at Brian and Rachel's whilst I went to see the dental hygenist. She had a good rummage about inside my cake muncher, and I then spent a couple of hours watching Clint Eastwood escaping from Alcatraz on the telly whilst doing the ironing. I'd not done that for some time. (Ironing *and* watching Clint Eastwood)
"er indoors TM" eventually came home armed with fish 'n' chips (or chips fish-n as "My Boy TM" used to call it) and we spent the evening catching up with stuff recorded onto the SkyPlus box. "er indoors TM" had had a better offer for the evening that she had turned down... she could have gone Ingressing mob-handed with the blues but she had thought better of the idea.
I wonder if it was my griping that it was exactly this sort of thing that made me pack up the whole Ingressing game that changed her mind... or perhaps it was just anything for a quiet life...?
19 December 2015 (Saturday) – Nuts
I got up five minutes before the alarm was due to do its thing and spent a couple of minutes picking up the turds that Sid had peeled out overnight. What a delightful creature he is...
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Little had changed really. It rarely does. As I scoffed my brekkie I watched a particularly dire episode of "George and Mildred" in which a hen-pecked George was hiding in the pub. Much as I like going to the pub myself, it never fails to amaze me how large a part of life pubs play on the telly. I wish I could afford to go drinking as much as George Roper did.
And so to work. I do like my shift system because it gives me a lot of time off. However the flip side is days like today when I have to go in to work on a Saturday and do a twelve hour shift. But on reflection I prefer this way of working to a nine-to-five arrangement.
As I drove I was reminded of yesterday's valet-ing which the car had; both the gear stick and the steering wheel were rather slipperier than usual. And (as it does) the radio was churning out its own brand of drivel. There was an interview with a Kentish nut farmer who wasn't happy about the presenter's implication that people only buy his nuts as an ornament for Christmas then throw them away uneaten. He seemed surprised, shocked and offended by this.
I'm sorry if the farmer wasn't happy, but that's what we do every year. And so does everyone else. Don't they?
Bearing in mind how the new Star Wars film is in the news, the pundits were talking about how future wars will be fought using space based technology. I would have thought that shooting down communication satellites would be an obvious way to cripple an enemy, but the pundits seemed surprised at just how easy the entire global communication infrastructure could be knackered. Are these people *really* that stupid?
Despite the ding-dong I had with them earlier in the week I stopped off at Morrisons to get some supplies before work. Much as they might boil my piss, they have one over-riding advantage when compared to other supermarkets; they are on my way to work.
Admittedly I drive past Asda, but I drive past Asda (usually) before 7am, and they don't open until 7am. Visiting any other supermarket means a rather serious diversion.
I got there; I did my shopping. All rather uneventful when compared to my last visit.
I got to work, and had a very busy day. Ideally I would have gone on from work to the work's Christmas do. But not leaving work till gone 8pm meant I would be rather late. And a late night isn't good before an early start.
I've got to do all this again tomorrow you know..
20 December 2015 (Sunday) – Hippies
I got up at 2am and chased both dogs into the garden whether they liked it or not. (As a matter of fact one did and one didn't) I was therefore not impressed to get up at 6am to find a turd waiting for me just outside the bathroom door. I suspect that was from the dog that didn't like it at 2am.
I had a spot of brekkie and had a look on-line. My piss boiled over Facebook... Something which annoys me is how history repeats itself.
About fifty years ago hippies sprang up and became somewhat notorious for slobbing about whilst dressed stupidly, stoned out of their tiny minds blathering platitudes about peace and love whilst (for many) making themselves patently unemployable. Presumably with this in mind, my nephew has modelled himself on Coco the Clown and spends much of his time stoned out of his tiny mind blathering platitudes about peace and love all over Facebook... having dyed his hair bright green and pierced his right ear with a lump of plastic so large as to make him instantly undesirable to any potential employer. (I've nagged him about this so many times!)
I agree entirely that the world *would* be a better place if everyone stopped fighting and killing and hating each other. However the hippie philosophy doesn't seem to offer a practical alternative.
I can't help but think that if those who are so vocally advocating slobbing about stoned out of their tiny minds (whilst blathering platitudes about peace and love all over Facebook) actually paid their way (and didn't expect subsidies from my taxes) then the world might actually be a better place.
Have you ever noticed that you rarely see hippies going to work at all; let alone before 7am on a Sunday morning?
I set off to work. It was dark when I left home; after all in two days time it is the shortest day of the year. Mind you it was warm; according to my car's dashboard it was eleven degrees at 6.45am. I've only had to scrape ice off of my car once this year.
As I walked to my car I met a chap walking toward the town. I say "walking" - he was staggering all over the pavement taking three or four steps from side to side for every step forward. He was wearing a (rather crumpled) fine suit, but his tie was knotted under his right ear, he had tinsel round his neck and a carnation behind his right ear. He attempted to exchange pleasentries with me, but speech was far beyond him.
He seemed happy. Perhaps he was a posh hippy?
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. In stark contrast to my nephew's wittering about love and peace, the Prime Minister is to review the use of guns by British police.
It transpires that British police are rather reticent to use firearms because fears of lengthy investigations, public inquiries and even prosecutions following a shooting deter police form wanting to take pot shots.
There is no easy answer. On the one hand the police should be able to shoot gun-wielding terrorists dead on the spot without a second thought. On the other hand in such situations it is not clear until after the event what was actually going on.
I'm glad I don't have to make such decisions. It is much easier to pontificate from a distance.
I got to work just as dawn was breaking and had another busy day.
Twelve and a half hours later I came home again.
You don't see many hippies working twelve and a half hour shifts on Sundays do you?
(I'm going to have a little lie down now until my blood pressure subsides)
21 December 2015 (Monday) - St Michaels
I must have been tired last night. I slept for over six hours, got up for a tiddle, and went back to bed for another three hours. I was eventually woken by "er indoors TM" "quietly" getting ready for work.
When I'm first one to leave the house my stealth ninja skills are second to none. When she's first one to go it is as though she is teaching tap dancing to a herd of elephants.
I got up just before 8.30am; something of a lie-in. The nephew who provoked yesterdays rant was still pontificating on Facebook. Today he is wondering about the meaning of life.
I've calmed down a little, but (it's an old man thing) it annoys me that one of the major failures of human beings is that we seem to be unable to learn from the mistakes of others.
Eventually he will wise up to the fact that he's wasted so many years, will stop dye-ing his hair silly colours, have his ear surgically reconstructed and get a job. And he will then rant about others doing what he is doing now. Why can't he save a lot of time by learning from how others have simularly cocked up in the past?
Probably for the same reasons that I dont...
I fed the dogs then had a look at the monthly accounts. They've been worse but bearing in mind it is Christmas I could do with them being a whole lot better.
I then settled Sid down and took Fudge for a walk. Ideally I would have liked to have taken Sid, but (in all honesty) he is something of a "special blossom". He tends to look at the mud in the same way that pink girlies do. He had a good walk yesterday. He wouldn't have liked what we had planned so we settled him into his basket.
Pausing only briefly to collect the required information for a geo-puzzle I soon was at the agreed meeting place. Seven of us (and my dog) set off for a little walk around St Michaels. As geo-walks go it wasn't the longest, but it kept us out of mischief for a couple of hours. The mud was quite thick in places; several of the fields had rather a lot of water on them. "Furry Face TM" would have found stilts very useful. We were told to get a move on by the horsey-people; we told the horsey-people about not putting a fence on a public right of way. Cliff nearly (but not quite) fell in a pond; I had mud all the way up to those parts that mud should not go.
It was a really good walk; the forecast rain did come a couple of hours earlier than expected but we didn't get *too* wet.
We set out in search of twelve geo-targets. We found them all. That was something of a result. Especially bearing in mind that today was a calendar day.
We got back to the car. I looked at my pristine car which I had valeted only three days ago. I looked at the mud dripping from my dog. Fortunately I had an old towel he could sit on. We came home and my first reaction was that I was pleased taht Sid was asleep. He'd clearly not missed us. Then I saw the turd on the carpet and the tiddle stain on "Daddies Little Angel TM"'s bag of stuff. I'd taken him into the garden before we went out; he did "stuff" then. We were only gone for three hours!
My dog saw wad had been done and immediately his ears and tail dropped. He knew it was wrong. Sid looked up at me, then went back to sleep.
I gave "Furry Face TM" a bath; quite a bit of mud came off. I uploaded the photos of our walk, and a video too. And then I had a notification from LinkedIn. Alan Dias had shared an article. If any of my loyal readers know who Alan Dias is, please don't hesitate to share this knowledge.
"er indoors TM" got home and we set off to Asda to get the scran for Christmas Day. The stuff for one day came to over one hundred and ten quid. To think that some days I get by on a couple of peanut butter sandwiches, a bit of toast and a bag of crisps.
Once home I ran "Furry Face TM" round the block whilst "er indoors TM" took Sid off to see his Mummy. "Daddies Little Angel TM" is missing Sid. The sooner she gets a permanent address the better for everyone...
22 December 2015 (Tuesday) - Washing Machine Fun
What with one thing and another last night was the last night that both "er indoors TM" and I would be home before Christmas. So we had a rather good dinner and a bottle of wine. And as it is nearly Christmas I opened a bottle of port.
I was therefore rather amazed to be wide awake at 1.30am this morning. I got up and watched a couple of episodes of South Park before going back to bed where I dozed fitfully until I could resist the call of the lavatory no more. After that I went back to bed again and this time slept like a log for an hour until "er indoors TM" "quietly" got dressed.
I got up, fed the dogs, fed "Daddies Little Angel TM"'s laundry into the washing machine and fed myself. Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line and I must admit I had a little gloat at the tribulations facing Theranos. For those of my loyal readers who are unaware of the company, Theranos are a recently launched company who are trying to undercut the blood testing market by offering really cheap blood tests.
However the established blood testing community seem to favour using devices which give accurate and repeatable results. We tend not to use machines which seem to rely on random number generators (rather than reliable science) to produce results.
But enough of work; today is a rota-ed day off.
I then took the dogs for a walk. Fudge was raring to go; Sid wasn't interested. But he came anyway. Apart from Sid's harness completely failing half way round, the walk passed off without event. We might have gone further than we did, but the rain was persistant so we cut our walk short and came home.
I had a look at the astro club's accounts, confirmed the pub booking for next Monday and then wandered up into town. I had some money to pay into the astro club's account. I came home via the milk shake shop (which was actually open for once). I was hoping for a Christmas pudding milkshake; I had to settle for a curlywurly one.
I came home; emptied the washing machine and flooded the kitchen. The machine hadn't spun off the excess water. Oh how I laughed. Using six towels I managed to soak up all the water. I had an idea that the pump might have blocked; the engineer once showed me how to sort that. So I opened the pump and flooded the kitchen again. Pausing only briefly to go get more towels I opened the inspection hatch and shone a torch in I could see the problem. There were two dog poo bags stuck in the trap. So I hoiked them out and had another look. There was a wodge of elastic hair bands wrapped around the pump. In theory if I could get a crochet hook into the tangle I could pull it forward, cut the elastic with a Stanley knife and all would be sexy.
In practice I had no crochet hook. At the suggestion of "er indoors TM" I emptied the kitchen's "man drawer" and the sewing basket to find one, but to no avail. I even asked the nice lady next door but she didn't have one. After an hour's struggling and lacerating of fingers I finally managed to get the tangle off of the rotors by use of a tent peg and a Stanley knife. There wasn't *that* much blood really.
I had this plan that by 3pm "Daddies Little Angel TM"s laundy basket would be empty and i would be looking to take it all back to her dried and ironed. At 3pm only half of her stuff had gone into the washing machine (and was still wringing wet) *and* I had ten sodden towels to sort out.
However I did have a functional washing machine again. So I started washing again.
As the washing chugged I watched "Dad's Army"; my SkyPlus box had recorded the feature film for me to watch. That was kind of it. As I watched I tidied out the kitchen's "man drawer"; I'd made a bit of a mess of it earlier. And (to be honest) there was a *lot* of rubbish in it. I threw out about half of what was in the thing but it still looks full.
Interestingly I found three shoe horns in there. I've been searching shops high and low for the last month trying to get a shoe horn and there were three in my kitchen all along.
Cheryl came round to deliver the sprouts and parsnips for Friday, the dogs had their tea and I watched another film. "Community" is a rather odd horror film about a rather foxy film-maker who falls foul of a transvestite drug-dealing psychopath. If nothing else it passed a couple of hours whilst I was waiting for a message from "er indoors TM". She was on her works booze-up today. I collected her just before 8pm expecting the worst.
Bearing in mind the state she's come home in from previous works events my fears were unfounded.
23 December 2015 (Wednesday) - Before The Night Shift
I found myself wide awake in the night so got up and spent half an hour watching the 4am "South Park" on the Comedy Central channel. Getting up and watching telly seemed to work; I went back to bed and slept through til 8.30am.
Sid spent the night on the bedroom floor for the second night, and for the second night there were no turds. Perhaps it is an attention-seeking thing?
Over brekkie I struggled with a geo-puzzle. I was pretty sure I had the right idea in that my calculations put the thing in the UK. However I was pretty sure it should be somewhere in the general area of the Kent-Sussex border but I calculated it to be miles away from there. So I utilised a "non-standard" way of solving the puzzzle; I asked for help.
I also read an article which made me sigh. A space rock thingy flew past the Earth last night. This was presented as news. It really does happen all the time. Go outdoors on any clear dark night and look up. after a few minutes you will probably see a shooting star. You will see several in an hour. After a while they will seem commonplace to you. These are all from space rocks burning up in the atmosphere. These aren't news. But it amazes me that the general public really do see them as news.
We put the leads on the dogs and took them for a walk. Last night I collected "er indoors TM" from the Spearpoint and we left her car there. Today we walked back to collect it. Yesterday's dog walk was cut short because of the terrible weather; it was glorious today. The weather was sunny and mild. Sid rolled in fox poo; Fudge tried to hump him. I even took a few photos as we walked.
It took an hour and a half to get to the Spearpoint; getting home was hard work. The roads were *really* busy. Everyone seemed to be off for the Christmas break. We got home just as the delivery chap was arriving with a consignment of candles; that was well-timed.
Pausing only briefly to hose the fox poo off of Sid we had a spot of cheese on toast for lunch. I had an email - a message about that troublesome geo-puzzle from the chap who'd set the puzzle. I was thinking along the right lines but hadn't allowed for zeros. i have now, and in the New Year I shall go find this one.
Feeling rather smug I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. After two hours I was wide awake. If only we could sleep for extended periods at times when it was convenient to do so...
I'm off to the night shift now....
24 December 2015 (Thursday) - Christmas Eve
As I did the night shift last night I listened to the radio. There was a rather interesting program which started off with a sci-fi theme. Given that you are on a spaceship that has crashed on an alien planet, would you eat an alien?
There are a lot of things I do eat, a lot I would eat if I had to, and a lot that I say I wouldn't but probably would if needs must. The program started along these lines, but I must admit that I was rather disappointed when the thing descended into thinly veiled pro-vegetarian propaganda. The implication was made that eating a food animal was akin to eating a family member.
If someone chooses to be a vegetarian then that is their choice. Why do so many feel they should evangelise about the matter?
I also heard something which made me sit up and take notice. In my previous workplace I used to look after the trainees. Over the years I saw over twenty of them from employment to qualification. They were (and still are) all a decent bunch. One in particular was an amiable gentle girl and I was pleased to hear of her getting promotion to a senior position a few years ago. I kept in touch with her (on and off) via Facebook.
A few weeks ago she was sacked for bullying other staff. Bullying? I can't believe that of her. I spoke with her and it would seem she'd fallen foul of trumped up charges. And now (completely out of the blue) her partner has collapsed and is in hospital for the foreseeable future.
How quickly life can change.
With work done I came home. Sid was snoring but "Furry Face TM" was itching for his walk. I left Sid (and "er indoors TM") snoring and took my dog round to the park and back. As we walked we met a dog-walking acquaintance. We chatted as we walked while my dog spent the entire time trying to hump his dog. I wish he wouldn't do that.
I came home; had shower, shave, brekkie and took myself off to bed for the day. I slept like a log until mid afternoon when I woke to an empty house. "er indoors TM" had gone out somewhere with the dogs. The house seemed empty without them.
And so I'm off to work again. There are those who would grumble about having to work on the night of Christmas Eve. I really don't mind. When I first took up this line of work thirty four years ago I knew that this would be the way of things. I wonder what the night will hold. Some of my quietest times and busiest times at work have been working alone on Christmas shifts.
When you are drinking yourselves silly over the Christmas period spare a thought for the likes of me. And the physiotherapists, radiographers, dieticians, biomedical scientists, audiologists, speech therapists, cleaners, cooks, podiatrists, ODAs, orthoptists, psychologists, prosthetists and everyone else?
It's not just doctors and nurses who work round the clock in hospitals...
25 December 2015 (Friday) – Christmas
Christmas Eve is an odd night at work. Some years it can be busy, other years quiet. But there is no denying that I was expecting the overnight radio to have been somewhat more festive than it was. With documentaries about the physicist Faraday and the New Horizons probe to Pluto and articles about the German economy and adoption it didn't seem at all Christmassy.
And so I set off homewards. What with a few days leave having been booked, Bank Holidays, scheduled biopsies and the vagaries of my shifts I've only got three working days over the next two weeks.
As I drove home I listened to Nicholas Parsosns doing a festive "Just a Minute" on the radio. That started getting me in the Christmas mood.
I arrived home feeling rather festive; the house smelled of roasting Christmas dinner. But as well as feeling festive I felt tired so I went to bed until mid day.
I got up and found "Daddies Little Angel TM" and her crew had arrived. And it wasn't long before the "My Boy TM" posse were here either. Pausing only briefly to surgically deal with Cheryl's blister we were soon in full Christmas flow. Pressies were dished out. I was pleasantly surprised with the barrel of stout that I'd brewed. seven of us (and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM") sat down for Christmas dinner. "er indoors TM" had excelled herself; we had a really good scoff.
Feeling pleasently bloated I took Lacey to the shop over the road for loads of squirty cream and we had a quick game of "Pie Face" before I sat down on the sofa to rest my eyes.
I woke to find that James and Emily had arrived and we scoffed meat and pickles whilst playing "Who's in the Bag"; a rather good game which does pre-suppose you have heard of a lot of celebrities and historical figures.
By the time the evening came the crowds had thinned somewhat. I got out the port and cheese and we sat laughing and putting the world to rights with Brian and Rachel.
Having only had three hours sleep followed by a gallon of home brew and far too much port I finally crawled into my pit shortly after midnight.
Not a bad Christmas really... Same time next year?
26 December 2015 (Saturday) - Boxing Day
Over the summer we had our annual garden party; I worked the night
shift before that. During the year we had two good works booze ups the nights
before which I'd done night shifts. And I did the same yesterday.
But despite lack of sleep and copious amounts of food and drink I was still wide awake and watching Alan Partridge on the telly at 3am. This time it was not so much insomnia as guts ache from having eaten *far* too much.
I went back to bed and despite Sid's snoring I got off to sleep; finally waking shortly after 9am. I came downstairs fully expecting to have to sort out the carnage of yesterday only to find it had all been sorted.
"er indoors TM" has done a rather good job of Christmas. I quite enjoyed yesterday; in years gone by Christmas has always been done in Hastings. And much as I do like seening family and friends, historically Christmas has always been something of a road trip for us.
It was good having the day at home for a change.
As the rest of the family snored I had a look on Facebook. For all that over the last few days everyone of my acquaintace seemed to be complaining about not feeling Christmassy it looked as though most people had a good time yesterday.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" called round with a pile of laundry for us to do, and I then spent a few minutes messing with my Chrimbo pressie. "er indoors TM" got me a SmartWatch. It took a little farting around to get it commected to my phone and I've got a lot to learn about it but it seems to be a good toy.
We then took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a walk; picking up a few Munzees as we went. The plan was to come home via the pet shop to get some dog food, but they were closed today.
Once home we started watching all the drivel that the SkyPlus box had recorded for us yesterday until father-in-law came to visit for a bit.
We then carried on staring at the telly. The Christmas "Doctor Who" was something of a disappointment. The Christmas "Downton Abbey" was good. The Christmas "Gogglebox" was just rubbish.
Many people make a point of doing something on Boxing Day. We do lots most days; having a lazy day was a really good change...
27 December 2015 (Sunday) - Ashes Wood
I was again up and watching telly at 3am before going back to bed for a bit. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing really. I got up properly just after 8am and had a quick look-see on line. A new geocache had gone live only a mile down the road. I *could* have gone chasing after it but I didn't. It will come in handy for filling up this calendar challenge thingy.
We had a spot of brekkie and put the leads on the dogs. Fudge was leaping about only too ready to go out; Sid actually went and hid; he did *not* want to go. But he had no choice, and soon we were driving down to Battle in Sussex.
Today's geo-walk was all a little bit last minute. We had pondered on where to go; even pondering on not going out at all. We had vaguely planned on going to the geo-event in Imber some one hundred and thirty miles away, but didn't fancy going on our own. It was rather late last night that we decided to have a mooch round Ashes Wood in Netherfield. We put out an invite but most people had made other plans (as you would expect). And overnight half of those who were coming dropped out. But we went ahead anyway, and had a really good stomp around the mud with our friends Gordon, Stuart and Beth and pups Norton and Gilly. We found all of the dozen geocaches in the woods, and saw some rather beautiful scenery as we walked. Although we didn't see any deer we found deer tracks. It was odd that the dogs were all doing their own thing until such time as we found the deer tracks. It was then that the dogs wanted to tank through the tracks and destroy them.
The walk was billed as one of three kilometres; I guessed that would take us about an hour and a half; what with all the mud it took us two hours. Once back at the cars we said our goodbyes. I had formulated a plan to spend the afternoon walking round Battle itself hunting down elusive sandwich boxes but instead we decided to drive home picking up a cache or two as we went.
We took a rather circuitous route (i.e. went the wrong way) home via Heathfield picking up ten extra caches as we went including one I've suggested should be archived. I didn't really want to post a "Needs Archiving" log.... it wason a good hide near a rather odd obelisk. If not for geocaching I've never have known this object was there.
According to his profile the chap who hid the thing lives a hundred miles away and hasn't logged into geocaching dot com for two and a half years. When I found it today the cache itself was running with water. The contents were mouldy and stank. There are already thirteen "Needs Maintenance" logs on that cache.
This *really* doesn't give a good impression for the hobby. Perhaps with it gone someone closer might be able to replace it?
As I usually do I took a few photos whilst we were out. Once we got home (and got the mud hosed off of the dogs) I put them on-line, and as the dogs snored we slobbed in front of the telly for a while. "er indoors TM" went off to the bowling Chrimbo do, and (for want of a better offer) I sat with the dogs and watched more telly.
28 December 2015 (Monday) - Mum's Birthday
After a surprisingly good kip I had a look-see at the Internet over brekkie. Yesterday we decided not to go to Imber in Wiltshire. There's no denying that distance was an issue in our deciding not to go, but looking at all the photos on-line had we known that so many friends were going, we may well have made the effort. Oh well... I see the place is open again at Easter. Maybe then?
I also saw one or two snippets about the latest Star Wars film before I could look away. I can't pretend to be a fan of the genre, but I was vaguely thinking about a trip to the cinema at some point over the next few days. I don't need to go now. It is ironic how those who were so vocal about spoilers not being given are now so keen to give them themselves.
I then drove round to collect "My Boy TM" and his crew to drive down to Icklesham. The tribe was gathering for a meal to celebrate my mum's eigthieth birthday. I'd booked a table at the Queen's Head in Icklesham because it was equally inconvenient for everyone and because I have had good experiences there in the past.
Fourteen of us (and the littlun) sat down for a rather good dinner. I'd certainly go back there. And Mum seemed to enjoy herself which was the main thing.
The Hastings contingent went back to Hastings. We stopped off in Rye on our way home for a little look-see. We mooched the shops then had hot chocolate. Very nice. Once home we ran the dogs round to the park, then the fruits of our loins went their various ways.
I had a phone call about the episode I had in Morrisons a couple of weeks ago. They told me that due to confidentiality issues they couldn't tell me what action they had taken against the member of staff who refused to sell me more than six bags of sweets. And they hoped I had had a good Christmas. And then emailed me to ask my opinion of how the phone call went.
I then slobbed in front of the telly for much of the rest of the day. I was feeling rather tired after today's family do...
29 December 2015 (Tuesday) - Fungus the Bogeyman
Over brekkie I read the sad news that Lemmy from Motorhead had died. Having been diagnosed with cancer on Boxing Day he died soon after.
This sparked a few memories for me. I first heard his music in the late 70s when a friend was playing it in his bedroom. At that particular moment I was in my bedroom a quarter of a mile away. Over the next day or so I subesquently heard it in several places nearby. Having been told that Motorhead's gimmick was "LOUD!", for a day or so my pal Philip Crosby used to hang the speakers of his record player out of his bedroom window and broadcast Motorhead's albums to much of the Ore area of Hastings until the police stopped him from doing so. My pal Phil honestly thought he was providing a public service by playing Motorhead so loud that it really could be heard clearly at distances of up to a mile, and he was devastated to find that no one (other than him) wanted to hear his noise. He was far more upset to find that he was regarded as a nuisance than he ever was by the noise abatement orders.
And now forty years later there are still so many live bands following Motorhead's (and Phil's) example.I know I am in a very small minority, but ever since that episode I've felt that Lemmy and Motorhead did a lot of damage to the live music scene. No matter how loud you turn it up, crap music remains crap music.
I farted around for most of the morning; killing time until "er indoors TM" got up. I looked at the household accounts (ouch!) and had a root through my letter rack. I’ve not done that for a while.
There was a *really* good Christmas card from the RNIB, and another from SightSavers. Whilst I realise they get these things done in bulk and therefore cheaply I can’t help but feel I’d rather they spend the money I give them on something other than sending me a Christmas card. There was also a card from the garage with a voucher offering me fifteen quid off of my next service. Now *they* can carry on sending me Christmas cards.
I then looked for geo-puzzles in the general vicinity of the Imperial War Museum. There was only one; I solved it just as "er indoors TM" got up and announced she was off out with her mates.
Being at something of a loose end I took the dogs for a walk (posting my brother's birthday card as we went). Apart from Sid rolling in something disgusting the walk passed off mostly without excitement.
Mind you I was amazed at the traffic queueing to get into the nearby outlet centre. All the roads were jammed solid with a queue of cars several hundred yards long waiting to get into the (full) overflow car park.
Once home I checked the booking with the pub for the geo-event I'm hosting on Friday, and I got a personalised email from geo-HQ in Seattle thanking me for putting on the thing. That was nice of them. They've asked if I can send them some photos from the day. I can do that; I take photos from time to time.
I then had a rummage in the fridge and curried up pretty much all the leftovers that I could find. That would save "er indoors TM" cooking if and when she gets home. I have this theory that if I cook dinner every so often she'll realise it is better if she does all the cooking.
As the curry simmered I two loads of washing, ran the dishwasher and ran round with the Hoover before settling down to watch one of my Christmas presents. You can't beat the Three Stooges.
We eventually scoffed the curry whilst watching SkyTV's "Fungus the Bogeyman". Both were rather good...
30 December 2015 (Wednesday) - A Booze-Up
I finally saw red with my little dog last night. After an hour of him trying to push me out of the pet I forcibly relocated him to his basket. I then slept like a log only to have him sulking at brekkie time.
Over brekkie I suddenly found myself to be "Mr Popular" on social media. On one of the many groups I follow someone had posted one of those links in which there is a You-Tube video embedded into a ton of adverts. I suggested they might get a lot more hits if they didn't post the spamming websites. For once people seemed to agree with me; it was nice not being in a minority of one (if only for a few moments).
Spoilers for the new Star Wars film abounded on-line too. Much as it would have been nice to have seen the film *without* knowing what is going to happen, I'm not really that fussed. Mind you I can remember an incident some time ago when someone who was mouthing off about the latest Harry Potter film the day after it came out. I deliberately went to the bookshop for the midnight release of the next Harry Potter book and stayed up all night. Next morning at 8am I told him *ALL* about it. I shall go see the next Star Wars film on the very first showing after its release. I have a list of people I shall go visit immediately afterwards.
There were also quite a few tributes to Lemmy from Motorhead (who died recently) to be found on Facebook. It never fails to amaze me how no one is ever appreciated in life, but once dead the tributes flow like water.
I then took the dogs for a walk. "Furry Face TM" was raring to go; Sid ran and hid by the sofa and had to be forced into his harness. We went for a rather shortened walk; today I realised something. I like going for walks with my dog, but with Sid along the walk becomes a chore. He doesn't walk, he plods. When off the lead he trails behind. When on the lead he has to be (almost) dragged.
Jimbo arrived and we went to the Gorge for a spot of brekkie. You can't go wrong with a fry-up. And once fryed-up we wandered down to the railway station where we met up with Steve Sarah and Jason. WIth tickets bought we took the train to Hastings and scoffed home made mince pies as we went.
After a short walk we were at an old favourite; the FILO. With six of their own ales on the hand pumps we were settled for the afternoon. My old mate Kev came to find us, and the time flew by. The afternoon was something of a haze, and all too soon it was time to go home. Pausing only briefly for a pint of the Christmas Ale in the George and a spot of McDinner we were soon snoring on the train home.
It was a shame it was raining on the walk home, but you can't have everything. Once home I posted some photos on-line.
I shall have a headache in the morning...
31 December 2015 (Thursday) - New Year's Eve
I had a quick look-see on-line as I scoffed brekkie. Photos of yesterday's booze-up seemed to have been popular. I say "popular"; a lot of people had clicked the like button. Did they actually like them or was that just being polite..... this morning found me in a rather paranoid frame of mind. For example... many people don't realise that when they post something on social media it posts an approximate location of where you are at that time. So when someone tells me that they would be in central London at a certain time but actually seemed to be transmitting from just down the road I spent hours wondering if there has been a hiccup of technology or whether the talk of London was just a ruse, an oversight or a deliberate attempt to avoid me. Whichever it was I am sure it was of far less significance than I have taken it to be. I'm silly like that.
Perhaps it was the hangover? I like going for a booze-up. I do *not* like the general feeling of grottiness (and vague guilt) that follows it.
I must admit to a wry smile when I read that the fan-funded Star Trek movie project "Axanar" has been kiboshed by the people who own the copyrights to all things Star Trek. Much as I like watching the fan-made stuff there is a very fine line between making these fan movies for fun and making a mint out of them. And as Paramount are looking to release a new Star Trek film and a new Star Trek series in the near future is anyone really surprised that those withte legal right to make money from the franchise don't want anyone else dipping into their pot?
With toast scoffed I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. He was full of enthusiasm to go out. Sid went and hid when he saw the leads so I left him at home. He didn't want to come out so I wasn't going to force him (today).
I'd had a report that one of my urban geo-hides had gone soggy and needed replacement, so we walked round the streets to Banks Road. Sure enough the thing was wringing wet; it was the work of a second to swap out the old sodden one for a new dry one. Mind you there was no need for the old one to have been wet. If only people put the things back with the open end facing down then the rain wouldn't fill them up.
Once home I got "Hannah" programmed for the day. For once we left the dogs at home and drove up to Faversham to meet out geo-buddies. Surprisingly the journey took rather longer than I expected, but soon enough ten of us were gathered together and we had a really good wander around Bysing Wood. Only about a mile; only about an hour. But still a good stroll with good company.
From the woods we made our way to Teynham where the county's hunters of tupperware were meeting up. We spent an couple of hours chatting, then went out for another little walk after lunch.
I then slept much of the way home.
I took a few photos whilst we were out. Once home I put them on-line and then dozed until Jimbo called to tek us round to Steve and Sarah. Chatting with friends, food and drink, ChromeCast quizzees and even a new card game to play.
Not a bad way to see in the New Year...