1 December 2016 (Thursday) - Robot Duck
I slept well; waking shortly after 7am to find myself cuddling my dog (as opposed to her dog) and in urgent need of the loo.
Over a spot of brekkie I had a look-see on-line. I see the date for Brighton Kite festival has been published. I didn’t go last time. I wonder if I’ll go to the next one. I’d like to. It just depends on how the shifts on my new job will pan out.
I also had several emails. There is a geo-meet on New Year’s Day. I may well go along to that. I also had a voucher for fifteen quid off of whatever I want to buy in B&Q, a notification about several jobs about which I am not interested, and the offer of sex with exotic and refined Asian women. I was rather intrigued with the last offer. From my (admittedly limited) experience in these matters I wouldn’t have thought that it would be the “exotic and refined” women who were offering sex with strangers over the internet. I would have thought it would have been “loose” women. But what do I know.
As I pondered about women of dubious moral character "er indoors TM" fed the dogs. In two days they have already got this way of eating each other’s food then both farting like fruitbats for the next hour or so.
I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park. It was cold. Once home I sorted laundry and then opened my Lego advent calendar. I got the thinh months ago but have been good and haven’t opened it till today. Each window has a surprise behind it. Today we started off with heaven only knows what it was. I’ve decided that it is a robot duck. I suspect that if you are seriously into Star Wars ego then the robot duck has a major significance. All I can say is that I have two Star Trek tattoos and I have no idea what robot ducks are all about.
I hope all will become clear over the next few days. I suspect it won’t….
With a little time on my hands I thought I might make a complaint to my mother’s GP surgery. The nurse overseeing her anticoagulation therapy has been taking far too long to get my mother’s details entered onto the anticoagulation software. Said nurse is very vocal about the fact that she’s not been shown how to do it; it is somebody else’s job.
I’ve told the practice manager that these drugs can kill and that it is imperative that my mother’s details be correctly entered on the system. And further more if this nurse hasn’t gotten it sorted by tomorrow I will be lodging a query about her competence with the Royal College of Nursing. If this nurse can’t actually do the job then she shouldn’t be dealing with patients. Decent people have been had up for far less serious failings…
So I phoned the surgery and the phone just rang and rang. After half an hour I got through and was told the practice manager wasn’t there. I left a message for her to phone me back. She didn’t.
With a little time on my hands I did a little more of my course on dog psychology. Today we learned about aggression in dogs. It turns out that thirty thousand Americans need reconstructive surgery every year after being bitten by dogs. Everyone blames pit bull terriers; and they aren’t to blame. Mainly because few people actually know what a pit bull terrier looks like. It turns out that all breeds have aggressive and non aggressive individuals. Furthermore most dog bites happen to small children who try to take food away from dogs or won’t stop provoking dogs.
And so to work. It took nearly an hour and a half to do a forty-minute journey. And once there all the excitement of my day was done…
2 December 2016 (Friday) - Lamp Post
With a day off work and no reason to be up (and sleeping for once) it was a shame that a random car alarm started shouting outside at 6.30am.
"er indoors TM" then referee-ed the dogs’ breakfast. Having chosen them different foods according to their ages and sizes each dog now wants what the other is eating. And having eaten their brekkie they played tug-o-war with the remains on an old teddy bear.
I opened my Advent Calendar. Today I got a little Lego man. He will (probably) be the hero of this year’s story. You can follow this year’s calendar by clicking here. The calendar got off to something of a bad start yesterday when several people (who I don’t know at all) complained (in the most nerdish tones) that what I thought was a robot duck was actually Bobba Fett’s spaceship. I started off being polite, but in the end decided that when they have as many Star Trek Tattoos as I have and when they have been filmed for the Sci-Fi channel’s adverts dressed as a Bolian (in full Starfleet uniform and shaved blue head like I was) I might respect their nerdish opinions. Until then I have deleted their comments.
The trouble with nerds is they have no sense of humour. Geeks do. A subtle (but important) difference.
"er indoors TM" was having a day off today. Together we took both dogs round the park. Fudge was his usual boisterous self. The baby was carried. She had a couple of small walks but it was all rather too much for her; she cried most of the way.
Once home we loaded up my car with assorted garden rubbish, and with dogs settled I dropped "er indoors TM" at Matalan and I went on to do a tip run. I’ve grumbled about the tip before; why is it that when people are unloading rubbish they seem to be utterly oblivious to the world around them. People were walking into other people all the time. It really did seem that everyone was invisible to everyone else.
I then went back to Matalan who still don’t cater to the more portly physique, and we drove on to Tesco who were even worse.
Home for a spot of lunch. I sat with my dog and we both dozed for an hour or so. I then left "er indoors TM" with the dogs and drove out to Trottiscliffe with my ladder. There is a geocache up a lamppost in the general vicinity and today a gaggle of us were meeting up to go get the thing. Just as I was nearly there I met Dick. We made our way to the lamp post, did the secret geo-ritual up the ladder then waited for everyone else to arrive. Despite having arranged to meet at the lamp post everyone else had congregated in a pub car park, but it wasn’t long before we were all together. Everyone else went up the ladder; we retreated to the pub for a crafty half then I came home through some rather awful traffic.
With "er indoors TM" flogging candles this evening the plan was that I would do some ironing. It was a good plan for all the time that the puppy was asleep. But once she woke up we had a bit of a falling out. When she’s not fouling the carpet she just won’t stop biting; her teeth are like needles and they *hurt*. And she had a habit of digging into the carpet and sofas too. I gave the puppy a five minute time-out in her cage and she just whined and cried.
Fudge is amazingly patient with her, but if I had the contact details of the woman from whom we’d got the puppy I would have taken her back this evening…
3 December 2016 (Saturday) - Treacle's First Geocache
I came downstairs to find both dogs charging about like mad things. I was rather pleased about this; I had formed the vague impression that "Furry Face TM" was merely tolerating the baby. It was good to see him playing chase. Even if he did tire rather quickly. Both dogs then sat with me as I scoffed my toast.
Or (to be more accurate) my dog sat with me whilst the baby swarmed around my neck biting ears as she went. She’s more like a furry shark than a puppy.
I opened my Lego advent calendar. Todays was some space ship thingy (Yes – I *know* it is a TIE-fighter… no one cares!). Again I’ve got the Star Wars advent calendar, and again I’m wishing I’d got the other one.
I then played “Gems and Genies” on Facebook until "er indoors TM" was ready and then we took the dogs out. "er indoors TM" needed to find a calendar cache so we went down to Snave for a little wander. Having wasted half an hour being unable to find the Church Micro there a few weeks ago we found it in seconds today.
It was a good little wander even if "er indoors TM" wasn’t paying attention and went arse over tit over Fudge’s lead.
We came home (via the co-op) and had a message that Mrs Kleeneze was on the way. Whilst we waited both dogs charged round the house like things possessed. Again.
A Belgian Bun for dinner… a little pootle on-line, and then an afternoon asleep.
I woke and looked at the monthly accounts. Could be better; could be a lot worse… I had a spot of dinner then was severely savaged by the furry shark.
I’m off to the night shift now…
4 December 2016 (Sunday) - Poorly Dog
I did my bit at work last night. I say that I don't mind night work... I don't really, but it can be so lonely. Over twelve hours on my own can be a bit much. And there is only so much Radio Four one can listen to before the brain overloads. Mind you I did sulk a little last night as I was missing the works Christmas booze up. The trouble with hospital work is that the place never closes and someone has to man the fort when everyone else is on a jolly. And I’d drawn the short straw.
I had intended to come home via the Wincheap boot fair. I went there a month or so ago and saw a rather good fishing tackle stall. I was hoping to get a seat box this morning but the boot fair wasn’t there today. That was a pain.
Once home I was rather surprised not to be mobbed by dogs. "Furry Face TM" looked at me from his basket but didn’t get up. I showed him his lead and he started quivering. We have a theory that he has strained his back through charging around with the puppy. As he lay in his basket the furry shark laid with him.
However he did rally enough to go round the block.
"er indoors TM" needed a calendar cache today. One in Egerton was selected and I went along for the ride. A relatively straight-forward find. We came home via the vets for a little advice about Fudge. I must admit I wasn’t as patient with them as I might have been. A combination of having been up all night combined with the receptionist’s desire to gossip rather than do her job did little for my mood.
I didn’t want to take my dog to the surgery as he only seems to be under the weather, and taking him to the vets would *really* stress him out. The receptionist went out to speak to the vets and eventually announced that they would not advise anything unless they saw him.
We agreed that I will bring him in tomorrow if he doesn’t rally.
I had a shower and a light lunch of a Belgian bun. As I scoffed it so the furry shark scrambled round my shoulders licking my wet hair. And just as she’s lulled me into a false sense of security she bit a lump out of my right ear.
I then took myself to bed for the afternoon and sulked a little more as the family all drove down to Hastings. Again working meant I was missing out. My brother's in-laws were holding their annual pre-Christmas party today. For all that I don't really know three quarters of the people there, it is usually a good party. I would rather have been there with my children and grandchildren rather than being in bed prior to twelve more hours of loneliness. I didn’t sleep that well; next door spent the afternoon hammering and drilling. After three hours I gave up and watched an episode of “Game of Thrones” with my dog on my lap. He was rather subdued; he’s going to the vet tomorrow…
5 December 2016 (Monday) - After the Night Shifts
When on the night shift I have the radio on. It can be interesting; it *is* interesting. But there were oh-so-many repeats last night. We started off with an expose on a scandal about how Estonia its selling citizenship on the Internet. I listened to that on Thursday evening. There was a nature program about crayfish which I heard shortly before going home yesterday morning. There was extracts from the autobiography of the widow of Captain Scott which I also heard shortly before going home yesterday morning. There was an odd play about a misanthropic governess that had been on in the small hours on the previous night.
It is as well that the radio is just background noise to keep me company whilst I work, rather than the only thing I have to keep me sane in the small hours. You'd think the BBC would have a rather larger archive.
As I came home the pundits on the radio were wittering on about Brexit again. It seems more and more likely that in order to maintain the current levels of trade with the European countries the UK is going to have to pay all sorts of tariffs. The Brexit secretary has hinted that at the end of the day the UK may well still be handing over as much money to Brussels as we were before the referendum, and may well be beholden to as many Euro-rules as we were before. The only difference Brexit would have made would be that we no longer had any say in the making of those Euro-rules. They were interviewing one of the Norwegian ministers who had warned that this is the arrangement that Norway has with the EU and that they don’t like it.
The Foreign Secretary disagrees. Let's hope he's right.
I had decided that when I got home I would take my dog to the vets. But I got home to find him a lot perkier than yesterday. He wanted to go for a walk, and he was scoffing biscuits. Going to the vets only upsets and stresses him so we went for a walk instead.
Once he was walked I went to the dentist. He again commented that existing fillings really need replacing at some point; he’s been saying that for ten years.
I took myself off to bed for the rest of the morning. Over a spot of lunch I watched the second episode of this week’s instalments of “Game of Thrones”. I’m now at the part of season six where it starts getting good again (yes - the episode where nudey-dragon-girl gets them out again). As I watched so my dog was intently ripping up the teddy bear he’s been given yesterday, and the puppy (furry shark!) wreaked mayhem. Eventually the furry shark tired and fell asleep across the back of my shoulders. As she snored into my left ear I watched the last couple of lectures on the course on dog psychology, and then did the exam. I passed the course – ninety-three percent. Not bad.
This is the seventh course I’ve done with Coursera. Over the years they have taught me about astro-biology, internet security, dark matter, dinosaurs, psychology (human and canine) and the origin of life, the universe and everything. And all for free. I wonder what I’ll learn about next with them.
I then had a rather odd five minutes. Having chewed my laptop’s power cable and my phone the furry shark then went on a little walkabout. It wasn’t long before the familiar odour reached my nose. The puppy had done a poo. But could I find it? Eventually I gave up searching; it is still out there somewhere.
I then opened today’s window on the Lego advent calendar and then sat on the sofa with "Furry Face TM" for a while. He’s better than he was yesterday but is still obviously not his usual self. After a while "Furry Shark TM" joined us. I had a quiet poorly dog to my left and a rampaging ball of fluff and sharp teeth to my right.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner before going bowling. I thought of suggesting she might stay in with the puppy she wanted rather than leaving me with the puppy I didn’t want. But I thought better of it. The little puppy actually slept for much of the evening, but was fascinated by the noises made by various animals starring in the documentary “Planet Earth II”. At one point she was sitting up and watching the telly. Fudge never watches the telly…
6 December 2016 (Tuesday) - Boiler Service
"er indoors TM" refereed the dogs’ breakfast this morning. "Furry Face TM" has never really been a greedy dog where as "Furry Shark TM" seems to be rather more rapacious. And bearing in mind one dog has “adult dog” food and one has “puppy food” it is a shame that both would rather eat the others. Or to be more precise my dog would rather have two bites of the puppy food and leave all of the rest and all of his food to the baby whilst hoping for dog treats for himself.
"Furry Shark TM" devoured all that she could, crapped on the carpet then bit chunks out of my ears. For all that she is entertaining she is *really* hard work. I turned my back on her for five seconds and turned round to find her chewing my phone.
Both dogs then played “chase” around the living room then squabbled over a scrap of material. "Furry Face TM" is better than he was; having been poorly at the weekend, I think he struggles to keep up with the puppy.
I got dressed, put the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and put "Furry Shark TM" into her carry-sling and we went out to meet "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". They had Sid and Pogo ("Furry Shark TM"’s brother) with them, and together we went for a little walk. Bearing in mind we had a toddler and four dogs (two of which had never been for a walk before) the walk was something of a success.
Once home the dogs went to sleep and I ran round with the Hoover in preparation for the boiler’s servicing. I then watched an episode of “Game of Thrones” with a sleeping dog on each side of me, and then the nice boiler servicing man arrived to give the boiler its annual once-over. There are those who say it is money wasted and that they never get their boilers serviced. I used to say that until the old one gave up the ghost and the new one cost me two thousand pounds…
As the dogs carried on snoozing I watched a film about the life of the painter JMW Turner. It starred Timothy Spall; I quite like him even if he did once have a minor run-in with my brother. About half way through the film the doorbell rang. There was some young lad purporting to be collecting on behalf of Cancer Research UK. Perhaps he was, but when it became clear I knew far more about radiotherapy and chemotherapy than he did, he couldn’t get away quickly enough.
I settled back down with my dogs. I was just thinking how sweet "Furry Shark TM" was when she bit me. Quite savagely. I then took both dogs into the garden to do what dogs do in gardens. One did. One didn’t. So we came back in and the little one tiddled on the carpet. And as I cleaned up the tiddle so she had a dump on the carpet too. And another tiddle.
Jimbo came to visit; we put the world to rights over a few beers whilst "Furry Shark TM" savaged him. And then (being Tuesday) the clans gathered in Arden Drive. We’d arranged for pizza to be delivered, and with that scoffed I slept through an episode of Gotham. I *hate* that. Fast asleep when things are happening and I shall now be lying awake for half the night…
I didn’t sleep that well last night; I was rather miffed about a rather snotty message I’d received about one of my geocaches. When you find a cache you get to write a little story about your experiences. Yesterday evening I got probably the arsiest log I’ve ever received on one of my hides.
The cache is part of a themed series; this one is “Something beginning with Y”. There aren’t many things which begin with the letter Y that are small enough and are waterproof to serve. I’ve used a Yazoo bottle. The most recent finder wasn’t impressed with this hide and he made his contempt public. I wouldn’t have minded quite so much had I not spent hours over the summer giving the chap in question one of my wherigos and helping him re-write it to suit his purposes. I’m sorry I bothered helping him now.
Oh well… as the Ferengi say “No good deed ever goes unpunished” (Rule of Acquisition #285)
I thought about writing nasty things about him on Facebook but decided better of it. I’ve been told several times I shouldn’t descend to the level of those who boil my piss. So instead I just sulked as I looked at Facebook as I scoffed my toast. I had two friend requests from people I don’t know. Who are Jeny Lazo and Ian Mann?
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing the plight of the Yemenese. Britain is currently spending millions of pounds to help those being bombed by the munitions that he British Government is (allegedly illegally) selling to the Saudis (who are bombing the Yemenese).
Surely the obvious answer to the problem is to stop the arms sales?
There was also some NHS bashing- waiting times are getting worse despite the best efforts of healthcare professionals.
However much of the blame about limited resources must be laid at the feet of the pharmaceutical companies. One such increasing their prices by over two thousand per cent.
On the one hand is making an honest living, on the other is blatant profiteering. How can the NHS ever save money when the prices are being hiked up like this? Maybe this might be a matter for the Minister for Health to investigate in detail.
I got to work but my mind was elsewhere. "Furry Shark TM" had her injections and was chipped this morning. For all that I never wanted a puppy I would have liked to have held her during her ordeal. She seemed to get on well even if the vet says she’s a tad heavy. But the vet seemed taken with her and she featured on the vet’s Facebook page.
She looks so sweet in photos; I wish she’d stop biting me…
8 December 2016 (Thursday) – Badlesmere
I was rather pleased to find my dog on the bed this morning. He’s taken to playing chase with the puppy and it is rather obvious he is wearing himself out doing so. He certainly overdid it last weekend and when I came home yesterday evening he didn’t have the energy to get out of his basket. Apparently he came upstairs of his own volition last night and "er indoors TM" lifted him on to the bed.
I would have liked to have stayed in bed longer this morning but I had to get up and move the car. The traffic wardens are rather unforgiving round our way and where I had parked last night was only good until 8am. Had I left the car there after 8am they would have given me a parking ticket at one minute past eight. However (from experience) it rather boils my piss that once I have vacated that spot a commuter will then park there and leave their car there all day and the traffic wardens will do nothing. They only ever come down our road before 8.15am and after 6pm. I once met a pair of them at half past midnight; ticketing cars which were not bothering anyone.
Much as I would have preferred to stay in bed it wasn’t a bad morning to be up. The sunrise was glorious, and as I then scoffed my toast I saw that Facebook was alive with photos of the sky.
"er indoors TM" was on a day off today; we put the leads onto both dogs and set off to Badelsmere where we met Gordon and Chrissie. Four bigguns, one littlun and three dogs then set off on a little geo-stroll. As we walked we saw pheasants and pigs. "Furry Face TM" vanished into the woods at one point, and ten minutes later he charged off over the fields in pursuit of heaven only knows what. He then sulked when he was put on the lead for the rest of the walk.
We walked for a baker’s dozen of geocaches; a couple of miles, less than two hours walk. Some might say a rather short walk, but it was ideal for a toddler and a puppy’s first serious walk. Treacle seemed to like the walk; mind you she did squeak a lot as we walked, and she did end up with mud on her nose.
Once back at the cars Chrissie had to get back to collect littun from nursery school; those remaining popped into the Red Lion for a debrief and for "Furry Shark TM" ‘s first ever visit to a pub.
A pint of Adnam’s “Ghost Ship” went down very well, followed by a pint of Theakston’s “Masham Oaked Ale” for dessert. As we sat and chatted there were Christmas songs playing in the background; it was really good.
It was at this point that Norton-pup started showing interest in Treacle. He seemed fascinated by the baby. Fudge’s reaction was hilarious; normally he and Norton pretty much ignore each other but Fudge wasn’t happy with Norton getting anywhere near the puppy.
With nothing on the agenda for the rest of the day I would quite happily have stayed in the pub soaking up the ambience (and the ale), but it was time to go home. We said our goodbyes and set off home. There was a minor disaster when we found the Co-op had sold out of Belgian buns, but a strange cherry cake from the Polish shop over the road made for a good stand-in…. Mind you I say “cherry cake”; I assumed it was cherry cake because there was a picture of some cherries on the label. The words were all in Polish. It could have been absolutely anything for all I knew.
Cake and coffee always makes for a good lunch, and with that scoffed, "er indoors TM", "Furry Face TM" and "Furry Shark TM" all curled up and went to sleep. I’d taken a few photos while we walked. Whilst everyone snoozed I posted them on Facebook.
We had a rather lazy afternoon, and after "er indoors TM" had boiled up some tea she shoved off to the monthly girlies crafting evening. I was left on dog-sitting duties so whilst they did their own canine things I watched the telly. The dogs slept for a bit, had a minor squabble, chased each other around the living room, and generally had fun.
The evening was slightly marred by one of them tiddling on the carpet, then crapping on the carpet, and then (exceeding the expectations of even her staunchest followers) she bit me on the bollock…
When I was asked about having a puppy I said no…
9 December 2016 (Friday) – Frustration
I was just about to go to kip last night when "er indoors TM" phoned. She was at the filling station up the road with a flat tyre. I walked up to see her and we phoned the insurance company to arrange to get the breakdown people out. We were rather shocked when they told us the policy hadn’t been renewed. So we came home and checked the details and found that the insurance policy *had* been renewed. We phoned them back and told them to get their arses in gear…
All was sorted eventually, but I was left with no confidence whatsoever with the insurance people.
It was 1am before I got to bed.
I slept like a log; over brekkie the dogs scrapped whilst I looked on-line. The astro club is still getting spamming emails. Petty squabbles abounded on-line. E-Pots were calling e-kettles black. They always have done, they always will. Karma and injustice abounded in equal amounts.
One of the major achievements of the Internet is that it has allowed more people to argue than ever before.
I popped the leads onto both dogs and we went out to meet up with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". We went for a rather curtailed walk; "Furry Shark TM" *really* doesn’t seem to get the idea of “walkies”. Mind you things did improve when we took her coat off. Maybe she’s like "Furry Face TM" – he hates wearing a coat too.
Once home again I settled both dogs then did some phoning of insurance companies. I got on to the people who had messed us about last night. As well as arranging the insurance of the "er indoors TM"-mobile they also did our house and contents policy. Bearing in mind last night’s debacle I was a little worried.
It took a while for them to find our details. They have “several systems” but we are only on one of them, and not all their staff have access to all the systems. And it took a lot longer to get the truth of our insurance arrangements from them. It turns out they don’t actually insure us for anything at all. They are just a middleman whose business is to sell someone else’s policies. We just pay them and if we have any problems we have to contact the insurance company directly.
Out of interest I phoned the company with whom they claimed to have arranged our house and contents insurance. The nice man at Midas was very polite, he acknowledged that his company did in fact provide our house buildings and contents insurance, but he couldn’t really discuss the matter. If I had any queries I should phone the broker. This would be the same broker who was only interested in taking the money and passing the responsibility and was worse than useless when we actually needed the service we were paying for at midnight last night.
It was crystal clear that if I needed to claim on my household building and contents policy there wasn’t actually anyone with whom I could speak.
I put the phone down feeling as though I would be better off on the discworld getting in-sewer-ants from Twoflower… Clearly the people we were with couldn’t do the job. I didn’t really want a better price for the insurance; I just wanted a company who weren’t worse than useless.
My car insurance is with Hastings Direct. I phoned them to talk about house buildings and contents insurance. In a few minutes I lined up a better deal than I already had for half the price and with the added bonus that in the event of disaster I could speak directly to them and not through some disinterested middleman.
Feeling rather pleased with myself I treated myself to a KFC festive burger and scoffed it whilst watching “Game of Thrones”, then cleared up puppy poo and took myself off to bed for the afternoon.
I slept for a couple of hours until "Furry Face TM" woke me with a woofing fit. Something had bothered him. I came down to find him on the back of the sofa intently staring up the street. The puppy was blissfully asleep but she woke as I walked into the room.
The two dogs played nicely for a while: I kept half an eye on them. We had a sudden emergency when the baby looked as though she was about to tiddle; I got her into the garden just in time. I’ve noticed that "Furry Face TM" goes and hides in the bathroom immediately after "Furry Shark TM" poops on the carpet. If only he could warn me *before* she unloads. This toilet training is hard. Back in the day we used to have free newspapers which were ideal for this sort of thing.
I’m off to the night shift now. "er indoors TM" can deal with her puppy…
10 December 2016 (Saturday) - Christmas Bash
I was a bit happier on the night shift than I had been for some time; the last night shift of the year, and the shift pattern means the Friday night shift is a single night shift. Doing two on the trot is a tad hard. (I'm told I might be able to do single nights at Maidstone)
As I worked the radio spewed all sorts of drivel. Pompous windbags pontificated on "Any Questions", there was a discussion on the mathematics of the infinite, a biography on the Hollywood star Cary Grant and of the singer Bob Dylan, a dramatization of "Raffles the Gentleman Thief".... it helped to pass the time.
In between working I was straining my brain on a geo-puzzle. it had gone live yesterday morning. I *think* it is (sort of) on my way home but I couldn't solve it. I saw that a geo-friend had got the answer – I shall harangue him tomorrow.
I came home to find just the dogs in residence; "er indoors TM" had taken "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" out for a little excursion. So I put the leads onto the dogs and we walked up to the wetlands park and back. The puppy was better on today’s walk; she seems to find the whole thing rather nerve-wracking and spends much of the time sticking to the side of "Furry Face TM", but today was a vast improvement on yesterday.
Mind you the whole idea of a dog walk is that it is something the dogs want to do. Whilst "Furry Face TM" loves his walks, "Furry Shark TM" doesn’t. Yet.
We came home, I went to bed for the morning. I woke just as "er indoors TM" arrived home. Cheese on toast made for a good lunch, and we had something of a lazy afternoon. I played a few on-line games, did a little work-blogging, dozed a bit. I had a little look at my geo-website. It was a little project that seemed like a good idea at the time; it is still very much a work in progress.
As I fiddled about so next door started hammering her piano. Usually I tune it out but this afternoon it bugged me. Their piano first arrived over fifteen years ago. The woman next door was (to be honest) shit at playing the piano then, and in the intervening years she has made absolutely no progress with the thing at all. Every afternoon she plays the same scales, and every afternoon it sounds like my two-year-old grandson is clobbering the piano’s keys with a mallet.
"er indoors TM" went shopping, and within five minutes the doorbell rang; Lisa was here. Unable to get a taxi she’s come for a lift home. She’d been to the charity day round at the Riverside Inn. I *knew* there was something I’d forgotten today. "Furry Shark TM" bit her for a while then we took "Furry Face TM" to visit Earle. A mistake – I’d forgotten how much the degus wind my dog up. I came home far earlier than I would have liked; but I couldn’t stay – my dog’s heart was pounding with the stress of wanting to get at Lisa’s little furry pets.
I sat for a while watching old music videos on YouTube (with sleeping dogs either side of me) until "er indoors TM" came home. Jose and Maria soon arrived and drove us round to Heather and Andy’s for the evening. We had a really good time; wonderful food, a few beers, chatting and putting the world to rights.
We really must do that more often….
11 December 2016 (Sunday) - Another Xmas Bash
"er indoors TM" has taken to bringing "Furry Shark TM" upstairs at night. The two of them woke me by having a fight at 3am. Ironically their fight was finishing just as I woke. I lay awake for a bit then went to the loo. I felt like death warmed up; I blame the fourth can of mild that I downed yesterday evening.
I went back to bed and amazingly went straight back to sleep. I eventually woke at 8am to find "Furry Face TM" had nearly pushed me off of the edge of the bed, and the noisy pair were nowhere to be seen.
Over brekkie I emailed the astro club membership to remind them of Friday’s meeting, and advertised the meeting on a few local Facebook groups. I then realised my mistake and deleted all that I’d done and put the adverts out again properly.
We then took both dogs for a little walk. Ashford Warren is always good for a wander; even if we did fail to find the geocache there (for about the tenth time!). The puppy is getting better at walking in that she doesn’t cry the entire time, but she does want to be picked up a lot. She’ll get the hang of walkies even if it kills me. After all walkies is what we do.
With walkies done "er indoors TM" took "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" shopping whilst I gave myself a haircut. I then slobbed for an hour or so until she returned. Whilst I slobbed, both dogs snored.
We then set off of the Kent geocacher’s Christmas bash. There was a minor hiccup when my card wouldn’t work in the CashPoint machine, but we were soon at the Castle Inn. We’d arranged to get there a little early and we had Sunday lunch with Team Fruitcake. Very nice.
A few beers with friends, talking geostuff, a really good evening. I had been nominated for “Cacher of the Year” but this year I wasn’t the winner. Mind you the award went to a most deserving chap.
And I didn’t sleep on the way home…
12 December 2016 (Monday) - Turd Bonanza
Over brekkie I watched the episode of “Dad’s Army” that the SkyPlus box had recorded for me on Saturday night. It was the last one that was ever made; it wasn’t bad at all. But now I’ve seen the lot in order I wonder what will be next on BBC2 on a Saturday evening?
I then had a quick look-see on-line. Not much had happened overnight at all for once. Which was probably for the best.
It was a rather foggy morning as I set off to work. Foggy and still dark. But at least the car wasn't covered in ice. As I drove I listened to the radio. President-elect Donald Trump is publicly arguing with the bosses of the CIA following revelations that the Russian KGB supposedly conspired to put the skids under Hilary Clinton's election campaign to ensure Trump got elected.
One can only speculate on why the Russians wanted Trump in the White House...
There was also more evidence of global warming in that squid is becoming cheap enough to now be a staple in the nation's fish and chip shops, and apparently reindeer are getting smaller as a consequence of climate change.
As well as reindeer shrinking, apples certainly are. the ones I got this morning in Morrisons were half the size of the ones I got a couple of weeks ago.
I got to work for the early shift and did my bit. Having done a lot of lone-worker night shifts it seemed odd having loads of people about the place today. But an early start made for an early finish and I was soon enough back at home.
As soon as I get home is dog walk time. Now the puppy is involved it is becoming something of a chore. It is a fight to get her lead on, then she tries to pull "Furry Face TM" ‘s lead as I’m trying to get him leaded up. She whimpers for much of the walk, and it is difficult not to fall over her. Walking one dog is a pleasure; walking two is hard work.
With the dog walk over and no “business” done the dogs were sent into the garden. Both did business. One then went on to shit on the carpet for an encore. It was rather amusing a couple of weeks ago, it is becoming rather tiresome now. Especially as once "er indoors TM" had gone bowling I then spent much of the evening either being bitten or clearing up behind the puppy…
13 December 2016 (Tuesday) – Raffles
"er indoors TM" spent much of the night fighting with the puppy; finally putting her in her own bed at some point in the small hours. I didn’t get involved; I had more than my fair share of her playing up yesterday evening.
Over brekkie I sat with the puppy generally mauling me about. "Furry Face TM" watched from his basket. He looked like misery personified. He’s not nasty round the baby, but he clearly looks as though he is missing out on the fuss. So "er indoors TM" took the puppy off so’s I could have some “me and my dog time.” Within thirty seconds the puppy was back and being a nuisance.
As one dog sulked and the other chewed the corner of my laptop I tried to have a look-see on the Internet. Facebook abounded with birthdays. It often does.
I had quite a few emails this morning. LinkedIn were letting me know that someone I’ve never met has been lauded for his coaching abilities, B&Q and Go Outdoors were offering me discounts, various employment agencies were suggesting I do work for which I am utterly unqualified and someone at www8336up.sakura.ne.jp was pretending to be HM Revenue and Customs in a rather pathetic attempt to con me.
Against my better judgement I took both dogs round the park this morning. "Furry Face TM" was his usual self, but "Furry Shark TM" was (in all honesty) a pain in the arse. Having been boisterous and excitable and non-stop all morning she whimpered and cried for most of the walk. She *really* doesn’t seem to like going out for walks. Perhaps she’s cold? If so she should wear her coat. As we walked we met many of the usual dog-walking circuit. Everyone wanted to fuss her; it just scared her.
We were out for the best part of an hour; once home she tiddled in the garden and crapped on the carpet. I’m told she’ll grow out of it…
And so to work for the late shift. During my breaks I usually read something on my Kindle app. Today I got a bargain. I got the entire collection of all of the stories of Raffles the Gentleman Thief in Kindle format from Amazon for fifty-nine pence. I always liked the TV series, and “Raffles the Gentleman Thug” (in Viz magazine) always makes me snigger. So far the book seems OK; but for fifty-nine pence I can’t really complain.
14 December 2016 (Wednesday) - WTF?
I came downstairs shortly after 5:30am this morning to find the puppy had spent the night in her own bed. I immediately took her outside and she immediately came back inside to do her tiddles and poops. Having checked out eBay and saw I paid about three times the going rate for puppy pads yesterday. I’m hoping the ones I paid will last three times longer…
Over brekkie I watched Saturday’s episode of “Thunderbirds are Go”; there are those in the geek fraternity who don’t like the show; I love it. As I watched it the puppy fidgeted on my lap.
With puppy finally settled I sparked up my lap-top and had a look-see on-line. My piss rather boiled at the rampant hypocrisy of social media. I won’t go into specific details; there are several currently boiling my piss. But what is social media for, if not for having a good rant and seizing the moral high ground?
I spent five minutes opening my Lego Star Wars advent calendar and trying to figure out exactly what I had in today’s window. Initially the Lego Star Wars advent calendar attracted quite a few “iffy” comments from those who didn’t really understand it, but they seem to have decided to leave me alone now.
It was another foggy morning as I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting their nonsense. Today there was fuss about the funding of schools.
In years gone by schools were funded centrally. That wasn't thought to be fair because it didn't allow for regional idiosyncrasies. Funding was then organised locally and so consequently some councils put a higher priority on education than others. This is the reason why the funding of schools differs massively across the country. This isn't fair either, and so the funding is to be messed about again.
Much the same can be said of all public services. In 1981 I was employed by East Sussex Health Authority. Similar political thinking promptly split it in to three separate bodies for Eastbourne, Brighton and Hastings, and in the intervening years has (effectively) re-formed and disbanded several times. Every time because of the whim of the current political climate, and never once because of any provable tangible reason.
I can't help but feel if more money was spent on services and less on thinking in abstract political terms about services, then everyone would have more money to provide said services.
I stopped off at Morrisons where the chap putting out the wine bottles had his arse cleft hanging out of the top of his trousers. I wasted ten minutes unsuccessfully trying to get a photo for "CrackWatch" then went on to work.
As I worked I had a minor bit of good news. What with the odd hours I work I am often free mid-week, and so don't use up my annual leave. Before I leave for my new place of work in January I've got some leave to use up. The boss has agreed that I can take two days off next week. One day will be a spell of pike fishing on the canal; the other may be a dog walk for me and *my* dog (and anyone who wants to come along)
With work worked I came home. In a novel break with tradition "er indoors TM" was home first, so I left her to fight with the puppy and took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk. We didn't go far, but just having one dog on the lead is so much easier.
"er indoors TM" then shoved off to some works beano leaving me “home alone” with the dogs. "Furry Face TM" is no trouble, but "Furry Shark TM" was a pain in the arse. Literally. She was constantly seeking attention, and when she wasn’t seeking attention she was chewing things she shouldn’t. Like my laptop.
She spent the rest of the evening in her cage. I *know* it is not supposed to be a punishment, but I am struggling with this puppy…
15 December 2016 (Thursday) – 6000
I slept well but not needing to get up early I lay in bed not wanting to get up. If I got up I would have to deal with "Furry Shark TM". She is *too* demanding. The call of the loo eventually became too strong and I came down and did my thing then sent both dogs to the garden where they both did their things two. For one dog that was expected, for the other it was something of a result.
Over brekkie I stared at my lap-top. And after fifteen minutes I used it to stare at other stuff. Last night I was told that updates were available. Every time this happens I make the same mistake; I choose the “Update and shut down” option. What this actually means is “only do half the update and do the rest when you next turn it on.” And so I stared at a blue screen telling me the progress of the update.
Eventually my lap-top got working. I managed to organise a walk for next week. If any of my loyal readers fancy a geo-wander you can sign up for it by clicking here.
I then had a wry smile about something I read on Facebook. The same theme occurs time and again; people deliberately go out of their way to give offence and then sulk when they reap what they have sown. Why can’t people say “I disagree with you for the following reasons” rather than saying “I disagree with you therefore you are a prick! – screw you, and screw the horse you rode in on” (here’s a tip – if you want to *really* insult someone be rude about their horse).
I also had three emails of utter drive from LinkedIn…
With "er indoors TM" having a day off work today I left her on dog-waking duties and set off to work. To be fair she'd given me orders to deliver candles to her mate on the far side of Canterbury, so it wasn't unfair to saddle her with the wolf-pack this morning.
As I drove to Canterbury there was a documentary on the radio about excessive consumption of gin in the lower orders in the nineteenth century. Apparently gin was seen as being sexy in those days (as it is today!)
I delivered the candles, and then drove down to the nearby church. There is a geo-puzzle there which had foxed me in the past. It looked like it was going to defeat me again until I actually read the instructions of what I was supposed to do, and soon enough I found the statue I was supposed to be looking for. On none of my previous visits had I realised I was looking for a statue. It is amazing how reading the instructions can help in life.
I found "Albert", found his date of birth, did the sums, and sighed. In a geo-puzzle you work out a puzzle to find the location of the cache you are seeking. Some puzzles are solved at home; some involve going to a specific location first. Today's puzzle was based on a birthdate written on a statue. You can't blag that from the Internet (I'd tried), so I had to go to the specified co-ordinates first. The final location of puzzle caches can be (pretty much) anywhere. Whilst the ones solved at home at home via the Internet really might be anywhere, I do feel that ones you have to solve in the big wide world should be relatively close to where the clue is. This one was quite a way away. Six hundred yards away. But I won't whinge - someone had taken the trouble to put the cache out; precious few people are doing that at the moment.
A short car journey, and a bit of a walk soon had me with the cache in hand. And I even picked up another geocache in the coach park as I was driving by. I didn’t realise at the time, but it was my six thousandth traditional-type find.
I got to work for the late shift. I'm not keen on the late shift; I arrive to find everyone else has settled into the day's routine and I then effectively cover everyone else's lunch and tea breaks until everyone goes home at 5pm and it then gets busy.
And I don't get home till nearly 9pm.
I came home to two dogs; "er indoors TM" was off flogging candles. But at least she'd left me my dinner.
16 December 2016 (Friday) - Busy, Busy...
Another good night’s sleep; I woke shortly before the alarm to find I was cuddling "Furry Face TM" as though he were a teddy bear. Leaving him asleep I went downstairs. After a few minutes "Furry Shark TM" woke. We went into the garden where she did a poo and a tiddle. Some people may claim this is too much information; in my world this is actually something of a major result.
"Furry Shark TM" then sat on my lap quietly (another major result) whilst I watched last week’s episode of “South Park”. I’ve been less than enthusiastic about that show recently; today’s episode was a disappointment. Maybe after nearly twenty years the show has run its course?
As my puppy alternated chewing my laptop with farting I had a quick look-see on-line. For once my inbox was empty. And in a novel break with tradition not a lot was happening on social media either. I then sat doing absolutely nothing for a few minutes; my puppy had crawled behind my neck, had got herself in to the most precarious of positions and had gone to sleep. I didn’t really want to wake her. However she dropped one of the worst farts I have ever smelled; that shifted me.
I must admit I got a tad peeved as I listened to the car radio on the way to work. There are calls for banks to refund the money of people who are stupid enough to fall for Internet scams. Can you believe it? Someone gets an email saying "Free money - click here" and they get directed to a web page which says "tell us all your banking details and passwords". Not only are they are then daft enough to do so, but they also expect someone else to pay for their idiot actions. These Internet scams are no different to some wide-boy approaching you in the street and asking for all your cash. You wouldn't give them your money in the street, so why do so on-line?
I can understand this being an issue in the early days of the Internet, but surely people are now aware of this sort of thing? Aren't they?
I stopped off at Morrisons before work to get supplies. In the five minutes it took me to do a little shopping the roads went from empty to absolutely heaving with traffic.
I was rather miffed when I got to work. Today was "Christmas Jumper Day". A couple of weeks ago I spent twenty quid on a Christmas Jumper from Tesco's. The thing was supposed to light up. It did when I first got it; but in the intervening two weeks the battery had died. Still, I can't complain too much. My Christmas jumper was rather good compared with others worn today; even if it was a tad warm over my shirt and under my laboratory coat (yes - I wear a lab coat at work!) And the pom-pom did give me a rather saucy-looking protuberance.
I was rather tired as well; what with the vagaries of my shift system today was the first time in months that I'd actually worked a full five-day week. I've found it rather hard going.
Usually I have McScoff before astro club, but a combination of every other McScoffer being unavailable together with my having to work today made McScoff impractical. I'd bought a Cornish pasty in Morrisons this morning so I devoured that and set off to Woodchurch.
This was (in theory) the last time I would go to astro club from Canterbury. I’d passed up a trip to the Winter Wonderland at Hever castle for tonight’s astro club. We had a really good quiz night. Good fun was had by all, and it was obvious that a lot of effort had gone into putting the quiz together. However I did think the attendance was somewhat disappointing. We had perhaps a third of the usual attendance. Is it because it is Christmas and everyone else had stuff on? Would the punters rather have a standard lecture evening?
I don’t know, but I enjoyed the quiz. And winning isn’t important. It is taking part that counts. And next year I shall abuse my position on the committee to find out what the proper answers to the quiz are…
I left home shortly after 7am this morning; I got home shortly after 10pm tonight. I’m worn out….
17 December 2016 (Saturday) - A Few Beers
After a night filled with vivid dreams about a monthly geo-meet being held in a public toilet I got up and took "Furry Shark TM" into the garden where she did two flavours of “business”. Once I’d dealt with the unsavoury bits of having a puppy, "er indoors TM" then showed up. The puppy then spent much of the early morning quacking like a duck. She’d clearly got something stuck in her throat.
Over brekkie I had a look on-line. Facebook told me of several people having birthdays. There was also a thing on one of the work-related groups I follow about people seeing ghosts in the laboratories in which they work. I have seen what I thought might have been a ghost on night shifts many years ago so I commented. I suspect I will regret doing so.
I then checked out my emails – Mrs Fatima Usman had written to me because I am “beloved in Christ” (!) She’s got four million quid and is on her death bed. She won’t get into heaven with all that money and it is her dying wish that someone give the money to charity for her. Obviously she’ll pay that person handsomely for their trouble but if someone don’t give the money away for her, she’ll burn in hell fire.
If anyone would like to help Mrs Fatima Usman avoid eternal damnation (and be paid a lot of money for doing so) I can forward the email for a mere fifty quid. (I can do scams too)
I also saw I had a comment from Guy on yesterday’s blog entry. One worth reading – not all scams are quite so blatant. Perhaps I was a tad harsh yesterday.
I’ve adjusted the comments section on this blog – it should be easier to comment now.
Jamie arrived, and we all set off to Betteshanger. There is a geo-series in Fowlmead country park, and we soon met up with Aleta, Karl, Tracy and Charlotte for a little walk. There weren’t a lot of caches on the walk, but the ones that were there were challenging, and very cleverly done. We eventually fornd the lot, but they took some finding. We had a rather good little walk. I’d never been to Fowlmead country park before; if it wasn’t for this hobby of hunting Tupperware I doubt I would ever have gone there. It was a rather good place to go for a walk.
We only had a short walk today; and with the walk done we adjourned to The Crown in Finglesham. I’d been in contact with the landlady in the week; the place was dog-friendly. They did some rather wonderful cheesy chips (with red Leicester) and had a rather good ale selection. I tried the lot, and barring a quick tiddle stop in Kearsney Abbey I slept all the way home.
I took a few photos whilst we walked; once home I posted them on-line, then dozed for much of the afternoon.
Eventually we both woke, had a pie and chips whilst watching “Trollied” then went up to The Star where “Access All Areas” were playing a Christmas gig. As always the band were excellent. I particularly liked the bit where a pint of Guinness got emptied into the P.A. system and the resulting short circuit blew all the electrics in the pub. I think they should do that more often.
However I was rather amazed by how empty the pub was. There was the obvious “rent-a-mob” crowd (of which we were a part) who had come to support the band. And it was obvious who wasn’t part of that “rent-a-mob” crowd. There couldn’t have been more than four people in the pub who weren’t friends of the band. I can’t see The Star staying open with that level of custom.
18 December 2016 (Sunday) - Poorly Puppy
I woke rather earlier than I had hoped; I had this plan that if I got up and had a shave and did stuff I might then go back to bed and get back off to sleep again afterwards. It is an idea which has worked in the past. Half way through my ablutions "er indoors TM" unleashed woop-ass on me as I had supposedly woken the puppy.
I went back to bed leaving her to deal with "Furry Shark TM" (after all I never wanted the puppy) but I didn't really get back to sleep. I got up after a couple of hours to find her and the puppy both snoring on the sofa. I quietly made some brekkie and took it out of harm's way.
"er indoors TM" had stuff to do this morning so I kept myself hidden. I sorted out various bits of paperwork concerning my various vaccinations as the nice people at Maidstone Hospital are asking questions. Occupational Health departments do that. I then put together a little video of what's been going on in my world over the last six months, organised a booze up (not in a brewery), and played Gems and Genies for an hour or so. Having a lazy Sunday seemed rather odd as we are usually out and about every Sunday.
I soon got very bored, and came downstairs to find "er indoors TM" was sorting out the Christmas decorations. She was also sorting out the dogs; the key-winder to her Christmas music box had gone missing and although "Furry Shark TM" was suspected of having eaten it, "Furry Face TM" wasn't entirely above suspicion.
I went and hid again.
We went out shortly after mid-day to do a spot of geocache maintenance in the Tenterden area. We had a rather good walk through some rather pleasant countryside; both dogs seemed to be enjoying the walk. There was a minor incident when the puppy got zapped by a stinging nettle, but all things considered it was probably the little one’s best walk so far.
Or so we thought…
As we drove "Furry Shark TM" wasn’t settling. About twenty minutes later just as we were driving into Maidstone she went berserk; screaming and thrashing about with legs at all sorts of odd angles. We abandoned plans and made a bee-line to the vets. I phoned the vet to give them the heads up. Mind you I didn’t ask for an appointment; I *told* them we were going to have one in about half an hour’s time (and managed not to blub whilst I was doing so).
We made good time and soon enough we were at the vets. The vet seemed to agree with my diagnosis of shock after an allergic reaction to the stinging nettle, and he gave my puppy the steroid injection that I was expecting he would. He also gave us some steroid cream just in case.
As the vet said, an older dog with harder feet would just walk straight over stinging nettles. "Furry Face TM" does; mind you he just finds other ways to make me cry like a baby.
Fifty quid later we were on our way….
I did think about completely blowing plans and staying at home with the little dog; but I was glad I didn’t. The original idea for the day had been to meet the tree-climbers for the last part of their afternoon then go back to Jo’s for dinner. What with the detour to the vets we met everyone at Jo’s instead. "Furry Shark TM" slept all the way to Dartford, and the combination of an hour’s sleep and the steroid injection worked wonders. We arrived with a completely different dog. No cries of pain at all, and she was soon charging about with everyone else and their dogs. The puppy running and playing like a thing possessed at 5.30pm bore no resemblance to the puppy screaming in pain at 3.30pm.
I was glad we’d gone to Dartford; it was really good to meet up with friends. We had a very good dinner, and after dinner we have an excellent game of… well, I don’t know what the game is. It was some sort of TV trivia quiz game; it was really good. And our team won…
The evening was only marred by "Furry Shark TM" tiddling on Jo’s carpet.
My puppy then slept all the way home and is currently sleeping on my shoulders behind my neck. She seems to have completely recovered from this afternoon’s episode.
Little debacles like today are the very reason why I never wanted the puppy… I don’t mind the expense, it’s the heartache I don't like...
19 December 2016 (Monday) – Tired
I woke in the small hours having had only four hours sleep and couldn't get back to sleep. I eventually gave up trying and got up about an hour or so before the alarm was due to go off.
Both dogs seemed worn out when I came downstairs; but then it was 5am. We had a successful tiddle-run to the garden, then over brekkie I watched an episode of "The Young Pope" with a dog asleep on either side of me. A good episode; much more pious and much less nudity.
I carried both dogs upstairs, settled them on a sleeping "er indoors TM" and set off to work.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the terms of any Brexit agreement. It is looking more and more likely that whatever agreement is reached will have the UK beholden to European law. In fact beholden to the very same laws that we intended to abolish by voting "out" in the first place. So having left the EU we are stuck with those laws that we didn't want, and now have absolutely no say whatsoever in amending them (where once we did).
Have I missed something here?
There was also talk of the island of St Helena. An airport has been built there at considerable expense to the UK taxpayer, and now that it has been built it turns out that the airport can't be used because it wasn't built with any consideration for the prevailing winds.
I found this particularly interesting as it was only a year or so ago (6 March 2015) that I was seriously considering taking a sabbatical there. I'm glad I didn't now.
I stopped off in Morrrisons on my way to work and was rather disappointed by the complete lack of any sort of Christmas ales. I shall have to shop elsewhere. I have an appointment at the Whitstable Brewery tomorrow morning.
I came home via Fat Fish Tackle in Chartham where I got some pike lures. I’m told the canal is fishing well at the moment. Here’s hoping.
And so home. I put a load of shirts in to wash whilst "er indoors TM" fought with "Furry Shark TM". I believe the plan was to do some hoovering but the puppy wasn’t overly keen in the idea. She also tried to eat the brush when sweeping was tried. And with "er indoors TM" off on a shopping mission I got the shirts ironed whilst the dogs ran riot…
I’m really tired – hope I get some sleep tonight…
20 December 2016 (Tuesday) - Got the Beer
I was pleased I had a reasonable night’s sleep; nearly six hours. Can’t be bad. I tried for more kip but it wasn’t happening so I got up and took the dogs outside for a tiddle. One of them isn’t a worry about such things, the other certainly is. Once tiddled "Furry Shark TM" ran upstairs to terrorise "er indoors TM". However my dog looked at the stairs and went back to his basket. Since the puppy arrived he’s been a bugger for eating the puppy food and it is *really* fattening for a dog that isn’t supposed to be growing. He’s put on nearly a kilogram in this last couple of weeks, and he is clearly struggling with the extra weight. We’re trying to enforce a diet, but it isn’t easy.
Over brekkie I watched the most recent episode of “Thunderbirds are Go” then checked out emails. I had one from NHS jobs which was advertising the job I’m currently in. Changing job is somewhat nerve-wracking. I also had the chance to register the domain name mankybadger.blog. Do I want that? Possibly. I also had an email offering me a hot date with sexy Asian beauties. I decided to pass on that offer.
I set off to work on a rather circuitous route. First of all I got some cash from the co-op. As I queued for the money machine a small boy (who was in the queue with his mother) asked my name. I told him my name, and suggested that he shouldn't really talk to strangers. He promptly told me that I wasn't a stranger; I was Dave. He then went on to tell me all about his puppets including his favourite one who was called Fred. It was something of a shame when I had to leave the co-op.
I then drove to the hospital in Maidstone. It took about as long to drive there as it takes to drive to Canterbury. It is a longer journey but straight up the motorway with far less farting about. Once there I picked up my car parking permit and electronic key to the staff car park. It looks like there is a better car parking arrangement there (and it is cheaper).
Mind you picking up the parking bits suddenly made the new job seem rather real.
From there it was a short hop to Grafty Green. Needless to say there is a geocache there. This one involved a field puzzle. I solved the puzzle and soon had the cache in hand. Happy dance.
I also popped into the village shop in Grafty Green. Have you ever been there? If not, I'd suggest paying the place a visit. It is like going back fifty years in time. It is the sort of shop that they would have in Royston Vasey.
Having barely escaped with my life from the shop I drove down the road for a mile to what I can only describe as "Heaven on Earth"; the Whitstable brewery. The place where they make raspberry wheat beer and oyster stout. I came away with four gallons of oyster stout and even got a little look round the brewery too.
From here I pointed the car towards Canterbury and despite a couple of road closures was soon on the A28. Coffee and cake in the garden centre, a pit-stop in Morrisons, a quick top-up with petrol (for the car; not me) and I was at work with a couple of minutes to spare.
I did my bit, and with my bit done I didn't head to Folkestone (as was the original plan); instead it was to Arden Drive as Jimbo was ailing. A spot of telly on a Tuesday night is never a bad thing…
I’ve got the box of beer in place. It can settle overnight and I shall try some tomorrow…
21 December 2016 (Wednesday) - Pike (?) Fishing
I woke rather early, and once up I tiddled the dogs. Both then wanted to go upstairs to bother "er indoors TM". "Furry Shark TM" charged up under her own steam, I had to carry "Furry Face TM". Since he’s taken to eating the high-calorie puppy food he’s piled on the pounds and climbing the stairs is a bit much for him.
My SkyPlus box had recorded another episode of Dad’s Army so I watched that over brekkie, then got my fishing gear together and drove round to collect "My Boy TM".
We had a spot of brekkie then drove down to the canal at Kenardington. We’d been planning a spot of pike fishing for months. Imagine our disappointment when we found the canal was empty. Yes – empty. Someone must have opened the sluice gates; where once the canal was ten yards wide today it was an expanse of mud with a trickle of water which was barely two yards wide and one foot deep. It was utterly unfishable, so we resorted to our backup plan; Shirkoak lake.
According to the information sign the gate to Shirkoak lake is opened at 7am every morning. We got there at 8am to find it locked. We rang the enquiries phone number but it went to answerphone. Thirteen times. We walked up to the nearby farmhouse where the fishery owner lives. There was no sign of life. We had little option but to try Chequertree fishery.
We were soon at Chequertree. We set up and started fishing. Fishing was slow; but what do you expect for the shortest day of the year? Dan had caught seven before I caught my first, but I eventually got going. We both eventually lost count of how many we had, but using our usual criteria of counting species I won by seven distinct types of fish (perch, dace, rudd, roach, common carp, mirror carp and crucian carp) to five. Mind you "My Boy TM" did catch a goldfish. We’d neither of us seen that done before, let alone done it ourselves.
The weather forecast for the day hadn’t been good. We’d gone along expecting rain for the morning, and rain came. It stopped for a brief spell around mid-day but soon came back. There was a minor disaster when we found that the stake for the brolly didn’t actually fit. By 2pm we were both rather cold and wet and decided to call it a day. I took a few photos whilst we were out. I would have taken more but I wasn’t keen on having my phone out in the rain.
Once home I ran the dogs round the block then watched the last episode of “The Young Pope” whilst the dogs got into mischief. I understand that there is to be a second series of that show. I’ll be interested to see how that pans out seeing how he croaked in today’s episode.
I then had a little doze in front of the telly. Despite having got cold and wet on the shortest day of the year I still somehow caught the sun.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of tea, and then Charlotte came round and we spent the evening getting savaged by "Furry Shark TM"… not a bad way to spend the evening.
22 December 2016 (Thursday) – Leigh
I had a rather troubled night with dreams plagued by nudey ladies without any clothes on. In my rather vivid nightmare one of the ladies of the local geocaching scene was wandering across hill and dale in the altogether because she was keen to show that I wasn’t the only one who had “puppies”. Said lady would *not* cover up (despite my puritanical protestations), and some of the other geocachers were getting rather over excited. The dream was so realistic that when I woke (cuddling my dog) I lay for a few minutes trying to work out where I was and what was going on.
It was at this point that I heard the puppy whinging downstairs so I gave "er indoors TM" a prod and told he that her dog wanted her. She was grateful for that (!)
Social media was interesting today. A chap with whom I’ve worked over the years recently moved to the West Country. He mentioned me in a post and someone of whom I’ve never heard started singing my praises about the work-related on-line resources I created. It was good to be appreciated; I’m glad people are finding them useful.
I also read an article about why there are so few people in my line of work. The author wittered on with the standard management-speak but never actually tackled the core problem that on the one hand you can study for years, or on the other hand you can drive a train (with one GCSE) for double the wages.
Once "er indoors TM" was ready I put the lead onto "Furry Face TM", settled the puppy and set off. The baby is just too boisterous for me to take both dogs for a major hike. The original plan for the day had "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" along with us today to assist, but events conspired against that idea. So we left "Furry Shark TM" at home and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" came round to entertain her.
We collected Jamie, dropped "er indoors TM" at work, and set off to Leigh. We soon met Aleta, and went for a rather good walk. And (would you believe it – there were some geocaches along the way)
Bearing in mind how it rained yesterday the weather was beautiful today. I took a few photos whilst we walked; they don’t do the views justice. As we walked we felt the temperature drop as we walked uphill; we actually walked through the low clouds and were soon looking down on them. We met (lost) normal people who thought we knew where we were going – they were disappointed when we didn’t. We met a pheasant-shooting party. We all slipped in the mud a little.
After a couple of hours we had looped back to the village where we had a pint and a bowl of chips. From here we walked up to the church. There was a cache there. In order to find it you needed to pick up various clues from ten other caches. Over the years I’d got some of the clues; a little thought and guesswork gave some possibilities; the second guess proved successful. I’m not entirely sure that guesstimating the location is entirely within the rules but reading previous logs shows that others have completely ninja-ed the cache so here’s hoping.
We then walked on into some rather beautiful woods where there was a small geo-series. Billed as a sixty-minute stroll that was exactly what it was. I wish I had a wood like that nearby that took me an hour to walk round it.
We got back to the car where “Hannah” told us we’d wandered a tad over nine miles. I think that might have been an over-estimate. That GPS unit played up a little today. I might just have to upgrade the firmware.
Geocache-wise it was a rather odd route. Normally we follow a specific route that someone has put out for us. Today we rather cobbled together our own route. We started off following the L-T-P series but there seemed to be a *huge* gap on that series between cache 5 and cache 7, and no #6 that we could see, so we cut the circuit short and made our way back to the cars following a couple of caches from another series in reverse order. However doing them in reverse order meant that we weren’t ideally placed to pick up the field-puzzle cache. In fact having solved the puzzle and seeing we’d have to seriously back-track we missed one out. But having got back to the village the sixty minute stroll filled the afternoon well.
We had a good walk; we made seventeen finds. There was probably room along the route for forty or more caches, but sometimes it isn’t about hunting the Tupperware.
Once home I hosed the mud from my dog and fussed my puppy. True to her word "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" had been round and had run the puppy ragged. With both dogs fed I then fed myself. "er indoors TM" was at her works Christmas do, so I got myself a bag of Doritos, a jar of salsa dip and a can of diet coke. Perhaps not the healthiest meal but it suited me. I scoffed it whilst watching the last episode of the National Geographic’s series “Mars”. People who aren’t professional scientists tell me that it is a really good show as it is “scientifically accurate”. Being one myself I remain somewhat sceptical about the show. Bacteria don’t grow roots whilst you watch them in a microscope…
I wonder what else is on my SkyPlus box that needs watching….
23 December 2016 (Friday) - Robots?
For some odd reason I was cold for much of the night. In retrospect I think I might have been warmer had I pulled the duvet over myself, but I gave up shivering and tiddled the dogs at 5.30am.
“Hannah” (my GPS unit) was playing up yesterday so with a couple of minutes spare over brekkie I downloaded some software and Garmin Express has now updated my firmware. I wonder if the thing will ever work again?
I then had a look on-line. I had a friend request on Facebook from a rather foxy looking young lady wearing a saucy bra and a smile. I decided against accepting her friend request; you can get too much of a good thing.
I also saw something which worried me; The Works café is closing down today. I had a minor panic until I realised that I’d confused the Works café with The Foundry café. The Foundry café does really good food. The Works café did good food, but as you ate it the cook’s children would stand and watch you whilst looking very hungry. Their closure isn’t such a loss.
I left for work in the dark; it seemed rather cold today. As I drove the pundits on the radio were wittering on. I didn't really listen to much of what was said, but my ears did prick up when they said that Eaton Square (where my favourite show "Upstairs Downstairs" was set) is the most expensive place in the country to live. I knew the Bellamys were rich but...
Also the second international congress on love and sex with robots has announced that it is unlikely that anyone will get killed having sex with a robot. There are to be recommendations that sex robots have emergency "off" buttons just in case things get too racy.
Personally I'm amazed that there was a *second* international congress on love and sex with robots. You would have though they would have learned their lessons on the first one. And someone somewhere is getting paid to go to international congresses on love and sex with robots. I bet they are getting paid more than I get.
It is at times like this that I seriously question my career choices. I wonder where you apply to be a delegate...
I stopped off in Morrisons for some supplies. Usually Morrisons is rather quiet at 7am. Today it was heaving. It was full of rather foxy young ladies all of whom seemed to have taken their grandfathers to get their Christmas food shops. All rather odd.
And then to work. Today dragged. Back in the day the last working day before Christmas was fun. We would work until mid-day. At that point management would take over and we would all go down the pub. Management would join us at 3pm when the night shift arrived early to take over.
Things are very different nowadays.
Mind you I did get an email from the occupational health people at Maidstone. The stuff I emailed them earlier in the week was good, and all is good for me to start there in a few weeks time. I wonder who things will turn out there?
I left work a couple of minutes early; time was it would have been several hours early. Once home I got changed, decanted some stout, and pausing only briefly to collect Stevey from the station we went round to see Steve and Sarah. An evening chatting, far too much to eat… Christmas has started.
24 December 2016 (Saturday) – Visiting
Despite a very late night last night I was still wide awake about four hours earlier than I would have liked.
Over brekkie I posted up the last instalment of this year’s Lego advent calendar. This year’s seemed to be somewhat lacking in plot. The Star Wars advent calendar doesn’t really work in my world. Next year I’ll get the Lego City one.
There was minor consternation in the family this morning since the "My Boy TM"-mobile blew up last night. The thing stopped working in the general vicinity of Court Wurtin (a place, not an indecent offence!) and the official verdict of the AA man was that the car was f*cked. For those of a more technical disposition the engine has seized. If any of my loyal readers have a spare engine they don’t want, and the ability to install it, please let me know.
Six years ago I would have been able to buy them a replacement car. For all that I wasn’t really happy with my lot six years ago, having a *lot* more disposable income did make for an easier life. It is little niggles like not being able to help my children that really hurts.
"er indoors TM" had cooked up the turkey overnight; the dogs had turkey fat on their biscuits for their brekkie. They loved it.
With dogs settled we set off to Hastings. First of all to visit the mother-in-law. An hour’s chatting, a cup of coffee and a mince pie all went down nicely then we walked down the road to see the brother-in-law and his tribe. We were only an hour late for lunch with my mother, but on the plus side we managed to reactivate her Facebook account. I then slept for much of the afternoon.
We then visited the other in-laws for a mince pie, and as we were in the area we had a wander round Westfield. The village puts on a rather pretty light show every year; it was rather impressive and *very* crowded.
We’d had a *really* busy day and we came home worn out; in many ways this was typical of how our Christmases used to be. For years Christmas was always an endless journey of driving round visiting everyone else. A couple of years ago I put a stop to that.
We got home to another family emergency. With the universe now closed for one day "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" had run out of bumwad. "er indoors TM" set off on a mercy mission; my suggestion of baking it until midnight then using the wrapping paper from the Christmas presents hadn’t gone down well.
With bumwad delivered "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and we scoffed it and washed it down with Christmas stout. For afters was port and cheese.
Headache in the morning…?
25 December 2016 (Sunday) – Christmas
Another night with far less sleep than I would have liked. Mind you "er indoors TM" was up before me and had "Furry Shark TM" in the garden when "Furry Face TM" and I came down.
We opened some pressies, and then disaster struck. Just as the puppy piddled on the carpet "er indoors TM" announced we’d run out of tin foil. Seeing the shop over the road was closed I set off on a mammoth drive round the town to get some. As I did the Grand Tour of Ashford I popped in to "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" as we’d mistakenly addressed one of Cheryl’s pressies to Charlie and needed to sort it out.
I eventually found tin foil and got home to find the shop over the road was open, and that we had tin foil all along.
We took the dogs round the park for a walk. I’d never seen Viccie Park so empty. We saw maybe half a dozen other people as we walked.
Once home we settled the dogs and drove round to "My Boy TM". We got there a little later than planned; there was nowhere to park. However once there we had a really good time. Lacey unwrapped pressies, we drank beer, Christmas music was on the telly. Cheryl had cooked a rather good dinner and we stuffed ourselves silly.
I settled myself on the sofa and woke an hour or so later to find “The Wizard of Oz” was on the telly. We used to watch that on Christmas afternoons at my gran’s house when I was my granddaughter’s age. And it now occurs to me that Dorothy must have been rather thick. How can she get lost like she did? There is only one road in Oz and it is bright yellow.
It turned out that everyone had been waiting for me to wake up; we then had Christmas pudding and spent an hour or two playing various card games. Great fun.
By the time the early evening came we really had to get home for the dogs. It had been a really good afternoon, and it was good to have a lazy evening watching the Christmas “Doctor Who” and “Bake Off”. One was good; one was awful…
I’ve got guts ache again…
26 December 2016 (Monday) - Boxing Day
Just before I went to bed last night I saw the announcement of the death of George Michael. Over brekkie social media was alive with people who were claiming to be distraught at the news. Admittedly a *lot* of celebrities have died this year. But bear in mind that everyone dies. Sad as it is, death is unavoidable. And (what *really* boils my piss) is that over the last year most of the heartfelt eulogies I read on social media came from people who have hitherto never expressed the faintest interest in whichever celebrity it is that has croaked.
We spent an hour or so getting the living room tidied, then "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" arrived (with Sid and Pogo) and we went round the park for a walk where we met "My Boy TM" and Rolo. We had quite a good walk with the entire family wolf-pack before coming home to find Sam and Charlie waiting for us.
Little Charlie had to go home to Folkestone, so I drove him back. Whilst out I popped into Tesco for some supplies, and then it was home for stout. You can’t go wrong with stout. There was only time for won pint, then it was roast dinner time. "er indoors TM" did a rather good dinner. And once entirely stuffed we spent the afternoon playing cards whilst the five dogs were amazingly well behaved. I must admit I was expecting mayhem with five dogs, but they were really well behaved.
All too soon the fruits of my loin had to go home. We don’t all get together that often, and when we do we make the most of it. But they both have little ones of their own to get to bed.
It didn’t take long to clear the carnage; we watched the second Christmas Bake-Off (which was good) and then five minutes of some supposedly sciencey-thing with Professor Brian Cox. It was dreadful; we turned off after ten minutes.
I’ve got guts ache again…
27 December 2016 (Tuesday) - Walking the Dogs
I had a rather traumatic night plagued with inexplicable dreams about various scandals involving the cast of "Thunderbirds". I got up early, tiddled the puppy and dumped her onto a sleeping "er indoors TM". I then had some toast as I watched a Christmas "Dad's Army" special from years ago.
I left for work in the dark; and I had to spend a few minutes scraping the frost from my car. As I drove the radio was still spewing its usual blend of news. I was rather amazed at one news article. In order to avoid election fraud it has been suggested that when you show up to vote at national or local elections you need to bring some proof of identity. Personally I've been amazed that for as long as I've been voting I have just marched up to the desk and announced who I was and been given a ballot card. No one has ever checked who I am, and there is absolutely nothing stopping me from coming back ten minutes later and claiming to be my son, my son in law, my next door neighbour. However it turns out that this has caused consternation. There are some communities where the head of the household sees it as his right to cast all the family votes. This has been recognised for years, and returning officers have not dared to say a word for fear of giving offence. But now the entire family are going to have to turn out to vote how they are told rather than having Father vote for them.
Have I ever said I'm not convinced by the idea of democracy?
And our old friend Science has found aliens again. Science does that a lot....
I stopped off at Morrisons on the way to work. The place was lit up; staff were busying about. the door was locked. Some spotty oik came to the door and said they were closed. He didn't actually say the words "piss off, fatso" but his tone conveyed the sentiment very well.
I went to their petrol station to re-fuel. It too was lit up and looked open for business but wasn't.
I got to work; the leaving night shift was pleased to see me. They'd had a busy night and were glad to get away.
I wasn’t overly keen on working today… one of the drawbacks of working in a hospital is that the place never closes. Obviously one realises that when first taking up hospital work, but I still get a tad resentful of everyone else whose firm shuts up shop a day or so before Christmas Eve and doesn’t open again until the New Year. I set off to work this morning whilst most people were still sleeping off the excesses of Boxing Day. Mind you I had three clear days off work this Christmas. I’d worked all night long on Christmas Eve last year, and did a twelve hour shift the year before. I had a good break in 2013, but I’d worked on Boxing Day in 2012… One of the advantages of regular blogging is that I have a record of things like when I worked at Christmas. In fact I’ve only had four proper Christmases off work in the last eleven years.
But I did this year’s bit today.
I got home to find "er indoors TM" was off out sorting out one of "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM"s Christmas presents so I took the dogs round the park. "Furry Face TM" likes his walks and "Furry Shark TM" is getting the idea. As we walked I did a couple of live videos on Facebook. Now my mum is back on Facebook she loves that sort of thing. I was amazed how many viewers I got whist broadcasting live. And in the five hours since I posted them they’ve been watched over seventy times each.
Once home I played back the videos. I was shocked at how breathless I sounded. I seemed to be gasping for air. That can’t be right.
With the walk done the dogs played for a while before completely tiring themselves out. We all then dozed until "er indoors TM" came home. Turkey curry went down well as we watched telly, and for the first night in a week I didn’t have a pint of stout…
28 December 2016 (Wednesday) - New Phone
I had a relatively good night’s sleep, but even having had six hours sleeping still had me wide awake before 6am. I watched a Christmas episode of Dad’s Army and last Saturday’s episode of Thunderbirds then I had a message. A new geocache or two. In fact fifteen of the things all on my way to work. Somewhat ironic that I’m now on a week’s leave. If only they’d gone live yesterday…
One of them involved a puzzle to be solved. Five minutes thinking gave me a solution which was several miles off the coast of Ramsgate in the North Sea. I checked my sums – the error was in the setting of the puzzle. I emailed the chap who’d set it. There is quite a difference between co-ordinates of E000 and E001.
I then walked into town. I’d been due an upgrade on my phone for some time and hadn’t been sure what to do. In years gone by I hadn’t been at all impressed with EE. When it came to internet signal, far from being “Everything Everywhere” they were “Nothing Anywhere”. But over the last few months their coverage has improved. Last night I sought opinions and most people seemed to rate the Samsung S7 phone. So I got one.
I came home, we had a cuppa then drove down to Hastings to see my mum on her birthday. She’d gone out. What was that all about - she never goes out.
We drove back to Ashford, had a quick McLunch then gave Cheryl a lift home and walked the dogs round the park. "Furry Shark TM" is getting better at the whole “walkies” thing; even if she does insist on harassing passers-by.
With walk done "er indoors TM" took Cheryl shopping. Their new car arrives on Friday; in the meantime they are having issues with shifting the carcass of the old one, and will insist on spending out on taxis. We are intently trying to head them off whenever we can.
I then sat down (with a small dog on either side) and had a look at my new phone in earnest. Various accounts to set up, message alerts to customise. A lot of the battle was deciding what I *didn’t* want on the new phone. Over the years I’d downloaded all sorts of apps I never use. Rather than generally copying the lot I tried to be somewhat discerning about what I have got on the phone. Funnily enough getting my geo-app sorted was the work of minutes whereas sorting my SmartWatch was rather painful.
As I fought with the device the doorbell rang. It was our new next door neighbour. She’s apparently got a problem with rats. We’ve had rats in the past; I thought the problem was solved. Mind you it has been cold lately; perhaps the rats have come inside to where it is warm?
Before I knew what was going on it was 6pm… where did the afternoon go? I eventually got the new phone (mostly) exactly how the old one was. I’ve now got a spare galaxy S4. I might just hang on to it as a spare GPS as I doubt it has much in the way of a resale value.
Over a tea of bubble and squeak we watched the “Paddington” film, and we’ve got time to watch another film from the SkyPlus box. That thing is now sixty per cent empty.
We might be in a position to get a SkyQ box soon…
29 December 2016 (Thursday) – Beer
I slept reasonably well, but was till up shortly after 6am. I tiddled the dogs (who went promptly back to bed) and then watched telly. “Dad’s Army” and “Mutiny on the Buses” passed the time until "er indoors TM" surfaced.
As I watched Blakey (who still “ates you Butler”) my new phone beeped with a friend request from Facebook. I thought that was odd as I’d turned off the thing’s mobile data and wi-fi last night. Sure enough they were still off. The phone couldn’t connect to the Internet, but somehow it had received the friend request and also an email or two. I wonder how it does that. I turned on the Internet connection and had a look on-line. As always Facebook amazed me; if nothing else it shows that I truly have nothing in common with some people that I’ve known for years. I particularly get wound up by people posting these self-improvement memes which imply that absolutely anyone can be utterly successful in anything they try. They are always posted by people who’ve never had life truly piss on them. Some people are lucky; other are not. And it is really unfair that the fortunate imply the less fortunate are in their various predicaments because of some failing on their part.
"er indoors TM" eventually got up. I say “eventually” – in fairness she probably got up about the same time that the rest of the world would have done, but by then I’d been up for ages and was bored shitless with sitting about waiting.
We took the dogs round the park. It was a rather frosty morning, and the walk was somewhat delayed by pretty much everyone we encountered wanting to fuss the puppy. Mind you, apart from a minor incident when "Furry Face TM" tiddled on "Furry Shark TM"’s head, the walk passed off reasonably well.
We came home for cake, then set off to the train station where we soon found Steve and Sarah. The train was on time and it wasn’t long before we were in the Bridge café with Jimbo scoffing a rather late brekkie. And with brekkie scoffed we went to the Firkin where we met Stevey. We also met a pint of Bunny Hop and Lemon Dream and some tropping shollies (!)
From the Firkin it was only a short walk to an old favouite; the Chambers. A pint of black IPA (abv 5.8%) went down very nicely. We could have stayed longer, but the Chambers isn’t the cheapest of ale houses so (pausing only briefly for geo-reasons) we went on to the Guildhall for Harvey’s Best, pool and a very saucy photograph in the gent’s lavatory.
The Pullman was only a short hop from the Guildhall. They were serving Educated Guess from the Mad Cat brewery. There was a serious “real ale twat” on the next table, but (to be fair) he seemed to be harmless enough.
Time was pushing on, so we made a bee-line for Kipps alehouse and a pint of Brewdolph (from the great Orme brewery). And with that guzzled it only remained to get a kebab and go home. And in a novel break with tradition I stayed awake long enough to get off the train at Ashford.
I took a few photos of the afternoon… I wonder if I will get up for the walk we’ve got planned or tomorrow…?
30 December 2016 (Friday) - Old Wives Lees
I had something of an early night last night. After an hour or so I was woken by a scrubbling sound. "Furry Shark TM" was trying to get on to the bed. Still half-asleep I reached over the edge of the bed and lifted her up. She immediately burrowed under the covers and bit me on the arse.
I took her back downstairs to "er indoors TM" who *said* she was wondering where the puppy had gone but looked to be enjoying the peace and quiet. I went back to bed, but couldn’t settle. Eventually I found myself out of bed and watching a documentary about the making of the National Geographic Mars show. I’d liked that show but for all that it was supposed to be realistic, some bits weren’t. The director of the “making of” show all but admitted that scientific accuracy doesn’t make for good viewing.
I eventually took myself back to bed shortly after 3am and got three hours kip.
Over brekkie I sparked up the lap-top and had a look-see on-line. I had a “notiication” supposedly from PayPal that my “acount” had been “susspended”, and asking for all my log-in details. You’d think people trying to perpetrate these scams would at least check their spelling.
Facebook was quiet today. For once people weren’t pretending to be surprised that celebrities eventually die.
As I looked into cyber-space on my lap-top "er indoors TM" did so on her phone. Her lap-top is currently out of action on account of “someone” having chewed through the cable.
We got the leads on to the dogs and set off to Old Wives Lees. A couple of days ago a new series of geocaches had gone live there. I’d been intending to go for a geo-walk today and having seen someone else suggest this series I was only too happy to join in. Seven of us (and two small dogs) went for a walk. It was a good walk, even if a little cold and foggy. I rather liked this walk; for the most part it was quite close to my morning drive to work. I had no idea these beautiful places existed. I even took a few photos as we walked.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk. A mixture of hides; some easy, others not so. Our route took us past one cache I’d visited before and failed to find; I was pleased that we unearthed it today. However they were rather spaced out. The route was one of sixteen caches; it could easily have been one of thirty hides.
A couple of the hides had been rather challenging; we were out for rather longer than we’d expected and were rather cold by the time we got home. Both dogs had a shower; it was puppy’s first bath-time. It went rather well.
The afternoon was then a rather lazy one. I had a look at the household accounts. I can account for every penny that I’ve spent; I could just do with having more of them. And I spent half an hour sorting out my undercrackers. I shall need my red ones for tomorrow (what with it being New Year) and they took some finding. Mind you I did find *loads* of undercrackers and socks. Why do I keep buying new ones when I have so many?
I also signed up for the “walk 1000 miles in 2017 challenge” – a friend has done it this year. It isn’t about raising money for “charidee”; it is all about feeling better. Supposedly. Personally, I’d be interested to find out how far I do walk. I’ve measured our standard walk round the park at being one mile; I shall take the GPS unit out when I go with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and see how far we go. I suppose that the target is to do 1000 miles in the year. That’s do-able – isn’t it?
Over dinner we watched a few episodes of “Timeless”. It has been advertised an awful lot lately; it is quite a good show but rather derivative of all sorts of other sci-fi shows and books. The first three episodes were OK; we’ll see how it pans out.
31 December 2016 (Saturday) - New Year's Eve
I slept really well last night – eight hours – can you believe it? It was nearly 8am by the time I hauled my carcass out of my pit. In fact "er indoors TM" had got up first and that *never* happens.
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Several people were moaning on one of the local Facebook groups about the waiting times in the local hospitals A&E departments. The gist of the moaners arguments was that they were *really* ill and everyone else was time-wasting and should piss off. I suppose it was good that they were squabbling amongst themselves and not having nasty digs at the hospital staff.
We got the leads on the dogs and made our way to Faversham. We’d arranged to meet Aleta and have a little geo-wander round the town. It was a good idea in theory… in practice we rather wandered further afield than we might have done. All of us went expecting to be “urban” and the muddy fields rather caught us by surprise.
Cache-wise the walk wasn’t quite the success we were hoping for. We found eight of the ten we went for, and pretty much all of the eight we found were in dire need of maintenance. Of the two we didn’t find one was clearly missing, and the other had had a fence go up between it and the edge of the field some time ago. And then the fence had been smothered in anti-climb paint (much to my disgust).
Having scraped off most of the mud (and anti-climb paint) we drove into Tenyham to the Dover Castle where the hunters of Tupperware were gathering for a New Year’s Eve convocation. A rather good bit of dinner and a couple of pints slipped down in very good company.
We came home, and I took myself off to bed for a couple of hours in readiness for later.
Steve and Sarah came round and we set off to the Hosey’s in a minute for the traditional New Year thing… “Name that film” and “Name that advert” games, far too much to eat…
Happy New Year !!!
And with that in mind I suppose I should really take stock of the year that has just ended. For me it has not been a bad year really. What a difference a few years make… For all that I’ve not done any beer festivals or camped out at any kite festivals, I’ve had holidays in Cornwall and Oxfordshire and a weekend at BatCamp too.
I’ve been to the theatre twice (Spamalot and Joseph) and seen the new Star Trek film at the cinema.
I’ve had excellent days on the Western Heights, canoeing, at the Imperial War Museum, and at PugFest.
I went to the wedding of my mate that I’ve known for over thirty years.
I’ve had countless midweek walks with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM".
In addition to excellent geo-walks most weekends I’ve been on two caching trips to London, had fun in rivers, rescued a bat and been on a twenty-four hour geo-rally.
I’ve had a new phone and a new lap-top, and become a published author.
I’ve spent a fortune on sorting the garden pond filter and on re-vamping the back garden.
I’ve taken over as secretary of the astro club and the club’s been to Downe House twice, got rained off in Shadoxhurst and I’ve sorted a program for the club for the next year.
I’ve had a rather good birthday meal at the New Chimneys; my mum’s recovered from heart surgery and my dad’s recovered from a hip replacement.
I’ve formally studied astrophysics and canine psychology.
I’ve got a new puppy.
I’ve discovered the fun to transmitting to the world with Facebook Live, and set up mankybadger.co.uk
I’ve taken up fishing again and been loads of times with "My Boy TM".
And I’ve resigned from my employer of thirty-odd years.
I wonder what the future holds…