1 February 2008 (Friday) - Stuff

1 February 2008 (Friday) - Stuffmagnify

I really shouldn’t listen to the news – it just winds me up. Apparently two prisoners are suing the government. They claim that if the prison service had done its job they would have been reformed. The fact that they have been in and out of the slammer all their lives is the fault of a failing rehabilitation. And therefore they are suing.

Me – I’d like to sue the government for my tax money which has been wasted on housing and feeding these scumbags in prison when they could have been executed and therefore not have been a drain on the public purse.

Meanwhile in Africa, science has discovered the giant sengis – a funny looking beast about the size of a cat. It’s related to elephants, sea cows, aardvarks and hyraxes. One wonders what a hyrax looks like…..

 

2 February 2008 (Saturday) - Dover Beer Festival

2 February 2008 (Saturday) - Dover Beer Festivalmagnify

I’d been looking forward to today for ages. Dover beer festival is one of the highlights of my year. Good beer, good company, good music (!) and I even get to cheer the referee at rugby. Despite several of our number having to pull out at the last minute, close on a dozen of us set off from Ashford railway station with high hopes. Picking up more at Dover Priory, we arrived almost at the start of the festival. I started of with a “Khyber”, and moved on to a “bobbled” and a “Chilly Willy”. The fourth beer came from the trossachs (!), and it was time for a plate of chips. The “Fit Bird Doing the Chips TM” couldn’t decide who was the sexiest out of Steve & me, but I think the fact that I got my chips first speaks volumes. Or it would have done if Steve hadn’t got his chips first.

The next beer was a new one from the people who make Oyster Stout, and the sixth was a bete noire. As is traditional at Dover, in order to be able to accurately report to my loyal readers I make notes of events. My scrawled notes include comments about “Giggles the Beer Lover”, “Card carrying members” and “The fit bird fancies me”. This fit bird being one with a face so sour she’d curdled her beer. But inspired by the sour looking one, I asked the barman for some “Head” for beer number seven. Oh how he laughed. (!) And then we were photographed for the local paper. I told the photographer we were the “Fluffy Appreciation Society” (Sorry Steve!)

Normally at this point the chap who plays the musical hose pipe comes on the stage. He was late. Where was he? I couldn’t stand the strain and went to find where he’d got to. Disaster. He wasn’t appearing. Ever again. It turned out he was the local vicar, and for some inexplicable reason the bishop had transferred him to another church miles away. To calm my nerves beers eight and nine were Dogbolter from Ramsgate, followed swiftly by beers ten and eleven – an IPA from Somerset. To be fair to the organisers they’d got a back-up plan, but the flute & piano combination are a tad on the quiet side, especially when you want a sing-along.

All too soon it was time to move on, so two swift halves of Blues later we were off to Blakes of Dover. An interesting underground bar not unlike Chambers in Folkestone. Pausing only for a quick tiddle……….

This is where it got scary. Up to this point I was fine. A bit the worse for wear, but I’m not unused to beer. But… I can remember heading off to the loo quite distinctly. The next thing I can recall was waking up on my own bed at 10pm. The intervening six hours are a complete blank. Seeing as both I and ‘er indoors have text messages asking where was I and was I OK, it’s probably safe to assume I wandered away on my own. Somehow or other I got myself home and put myself to bed. I suppose it confirms my theory that God looks after drunks, but I had been looking forward to the rugby. And more importantly I was the navigator to get our party to the rugby. Perhaps next time I should pace myself more. Or maybe I need more practice. For those with more time than sense, you can see the piccies I took on You-tube.

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3 February 2008 (Sunday) - Still Alive

3 February 2008 (Sunday) - Still Alivemagnify

I had a spell of about six hours yesterday that I can’t account for. I’ve absolutely no recollection at all of what I did. It’s quite worrying, really. Almost worrying enough to make me consider drinking to excess in moderation from now on. I’ll see what happens next time before I make any rash decisions. I can’t help but think that if I’d woken up in a hedge somewhere rather than in my own bed, I’d be a bit more concerned.

I awoke feeling a little under the weather this morning. I’m sure I can’t imagine why. Whilst I was “absent” yesterday, ‘er indoors managed to bash a power socket off of the wall. It has to be said that I was probably far too fragile a petal to be dealing with that sort of thing today. Fortunately the cavalry arrived to sort it out for me. A quick trip was made to B&Q for a breakfast roll and some DIY ingredients, and then the wall was plastered. I’m told that I could have done that bit very well (!) Having been plastered, it needs to be left alone for a while (sounds familiar!). I’m told that Batty will touch it up on Tuesday….

 

4 February 2008 (Monday) - Ablutions

4 February 2008 (Monday) - Ablutionsmagnify

As well as destroying power sockets, er indoors trashed the bathroom sink over Xmas. The nice man next door offered to fit the new sink as a “thank you” for putting up with all the banging as he refurbished the place. I came home tonight to find the old sink gone and the new sink in place, but not attached to the wall and not yet plumbed in. But it looks good – I wouldn’t know where to start to do something like that. He’ll be back to finish up tomorrow. I wonder where I’ll have a shave in the morning?

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5 February 2008 (Pancake Day) - Worrying About Other People's Money

5 February 2008 (Pancake Day) - Worrying About Other People's Moneymagnify

Despite all of the cubs having had an average of four pancakes each before arriving at the scout hut, they all found space to shove in a couple of pancakes more. One of the good things of meeting on a Tuesday is we always have Pancake Day! This year none of them threw up, which made a pleasant break with tradition.

One thing I particularly dislike about Cubs is the fact that I’m the treasurer for the International fund. With only six months until the trip to Alaska, there’s a lot of money for which I’m responsible. I was hoping to spend the evening with friends watching “Automan”. Instead I felt duty bund to solve the mystery of the missing thousand pounds (well £1176.78 to be pedantic about it).

After a lot of pouring through records and panicking it transpired that nobody had told me about the hundreds of pounds that had been spent on insurance. Or that when I’d been told that little Debbie’s mum had paid in hundreds of pounds which had been banked in the last week, that wasn’t quite the case. What I should have been told was that little Debbie’s mum was thinking about paying in hundreds of pounds at some point in the near future. And there was the couple of hundred pounds from the last fundraising bash was actually from a fundraising bash in October for which I’d already accounted.

Why do I do it? Because I can. But sometimes worrying about other people’s money does my head in…..

 

6 February 2008 (Wednesday) - Blockages and Fish Poo

6 February 2008 (Wednesday) - Blockages and Fish Poomagnify

As my meeting in Margate planned for this afternoon had been cancelled, I thought I’d take the afternoon off work. With nobody in the house for an hour or so I could pour Mr Muscle drain unblocker down the bath plughole to my heart's content. It’s funny how that stuff makes everybody *need* to be in the bathroom. No matter how many times I ask if anyone wants a shower, the moment I’ve poured the stuff down the plughole, everyone wants a bath. And then has the right hump that the magic chemicals need an hour to do their mystical business. But this time, success (I think). Let’s hope it’s worked. It’s probably about five years since I last unblocked the plughole, and the bath has been a tad slow to empty lately (to say the least)

My Boy TM came home about an hour later, and he then did all the heavy lifting parts of cleaning out the fish pond filter. From bitter experience we’ve found that the thing gets blocked with carp poo about every three months. And then once blocked it can’t recycle the water so it proceeds to empty the pond. So we decided that if we clean it out every two and a half months it will only take half an hour. Rather than the half a day it took in the past to clean the filter and re-fill the pond. Added to that we used the genius idea of pouring out the cold pond water (in the filter) and pouring in hot water so’s we wouldn’t get frostbite again. It worked. What in the past was sub-zero hours of misery was done today in about twenty minutes. But we still ended up stinking of fish poo.

 

7 February 2008 (Thursday) - The Future

7 February 2008 (Thursday) - The Futuremagnify

My Boy TM likes his “power nap”. There’s no denying that as the last twenty years have gone by, he’s got progressively less cute when he has his naps. I wonder what he’ll make of the next twenty years.

Will he have to pay a tax because he’s not of a certain religion? Will he be expected to give a future wife a slap if she gets lippy? Will his Sunday roast be from an animal that’s bled to death? Will he be forced to subscribe to a moral code that the European Court of Human Rights considers to be barbaric and cruel? Will he be forbidden to rant like this in a blog? I hope not. But the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks he may well do so.

I’ve been told in the past that I don’t understand the laws in question here. I hope I’m very mistaken in what I’ve read about them. I find news like today’s is making me a very racist person. And I don’t like that....

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8 February 2008 (Friday)- Getting My Lottery Ticket

8 February 2008 (Friday)- Getting My Lottery Ticketmagnify

Whilst queuing in the shop this evening I happened to glance at the magazines of a specialist interest. On the front cover of one of these august publications was the claim that the magazine featured saucy pictures of the “nudest girlies ever”. Interesting. I was under the obviously mistaken apprehension that a girlie was either “nudey” or she was not. I didn’t realise that one could quantify degrees of nudeyness. Presumably this will spark a nudeyness war in which one unspeakable tome will attempt to out-nudey its competitors. The same shelf featured the “Ronnie Barker Collection” – a magazine with free DVD which over the weeks costs far more than what you can buy the DVD for in HMV. Presumably Ronnie Barker wasn’t nudey.

I was in the shop to get my ticket for tonight’s Euro-Millions lottery draw. With an estimated prize tonight of ninety five million pounds, I thought I’d buy a ticket. It might be me. If tomorrow’s blog is written on gold plated Yahoo 360, you’ll know I won. If I won ninety five million pounds, the first thing I would do would be to smile. A lot….

 

9 February 2008 (Saturday) - Going For A Walk

9 February 2008 (Saturday) - Going For A Walkmagnify

The day started badly. Retards!!! I was sent to fetch a parcel from the sorting office for er indoors. There was a retard at the counter wanting to know why his mail was being sent to his old address. He then proceeded to answer his own question. The answer being that he’d not told anybody that he’d changed his address. He didn’t see a need to tell anybody that he’d moved house. Because it wasn’t the people sending the mail who had the problem, it was the people delivering the mail who were at fault. He seemed to think the post office had a hand in addressing his mail. To add insult to injury he then refused to fill in a form to have his mail forwarded because that would cost him money. He then left the sorting office complaining about how much hard work it would be for him to let everyone know his new address, and that the post office was being deliberately awkward.

There was another retard at the ticket office at the train station. He wanted to go to London and come back Monday night at about 7.30pm. How much would it cost? I can’t remember the price, but this retard thought it was too much. Would it be cheaper if he went via Tonbridge? No! How about if he went via Sevenoaks on a super-saver? No! How about if he didn’t go on the tube, but had a network express ticket? Why couldn’t he just buy the ticket and be done with it?

Last week I had this stroke of genius about getting the train to Sandling and then walking to Folkestone Central. Today we did it. It’s a walk that lends itself to being done at any time of the year. Whilst today’s hike was all on tarmac, there’s stretches that can be done along footpaths. There are a lot of pubs along the way to break the journey up if need be. There are a lot of newsagent-type shops along the way for sweeties and ice creams. Pausing only for a rocket salad sandwich (I had a ham roll) at a couple of points, we walked through countryside, along rivers, through built up areas and along the sea wall. That is some of us walked alongside the sea wall. I walked on the sea wall. A journey which can be done on the train in six minutes took us two and a half hours. It has to be said there was a dodgy five minutes when the waves were coming over the promenade, but all too soon the exertions were over.

Whilst we were in the area it seemed sensible to check on the arrangements for Good Friday – Chambers Bar beer festival will be ready and waiting for us. Even if we’re normally queuing outside before they open…

 

10 February 2008 (Sunday) - Flying

10 February 2008 (Sunday) - Flyingmagnify

A rather dull morning. Having been called into work twice last night, I didn’t stagger out of my pit until 10am, and then the morning was wasted doing the ironing. What an exciting life I lead!

Half an hour was then spent in the park. Following reports that fields weren’t as swampy as I’d been l’d to believe, it was high time to try out the helicopter I’d go for Xmas. In the fullness of time I’ll be part of a squadron of aircraft. But for now I need to get the hang of how it works without being a danger to others. A favourite maxim of mine is that if all else fails, one should read the instructions. However I would speculate that I was the first person to read these instructions whose native language was English. The instructions start off by urging me “Do not expose battery to direct sunlight in heat location or near stove to avoid explosion”. I was also warned about the dangers of flying in high winds – “The chopper can be blown off and out of control”. Also I was admonished that “The helicopter’s heavy crash and fall are prohibited when you are playing”. I’m afraid that I gave up on the section on troubleshooting because “do not play the chopper in can confuse your control”. I maintain that the failures of the instruction manual are entirely responsible for the helicopter’s getting stuck up a tree.

Following a swift bite of scoff, it was then off to High Halden to see the baby guinea pigs. Quite sweet, as guinea pigs go, I suppose. But I can’t help but hope we don’t end up having some. We once had a shed full of them. And then home, via the pond shop. It never hurts to have a look at the fish…..

 

11 February 2008 (Monday) - Staries

11 February 2008 (Monday) - Stariesmagnify

Facebook is really pants. But there’s this silly little game called “Staries”. I hate these silly little games …….

 

12 February 2008 (Tuesday) - Life

12 February 2008 (Tuesday) - Lifemagnify

The cubs were supposed to be finishing of their plaster of Paris moulds tonight. Or their “lumps of rock” as the cubs now choose to call them. Can’t imagine who they got that phrase from! They pick up on everything I shouldn’t say to them. And then we played a new game. Each cub in turn stands up straight. I go nose to nose with that cub and start shouting at him or her. And then we start timing. The one who can go the longest without giggling is the winner. Or would be if any of them could stop giggling. To be fair, Billy did manage eight seconds, but he was struggling to hold the giggles in for that eight seconds.

And then home – at the moment we’re watching “Eureka” on a Tuesday. I say “watching”-for some reason today everyone was asleep.

 

13 February 2008 (Wednesday) - Small Minded Stupid People

13 February 2008 (Wednesday) - Small Minded Stupid Peoplemagnify

Today’s news featured some stupid woman who is suing British Telecom because they allow sensible people like me to get a reduction on their bill by using direct debit to pay their bills. This doombrained idiot wanders into the bank once a month with an armful of cash and wastes her time and the banks time by tediously counting out the right amount of money. Apparently last summer her bank decided enough was enough and started charging BT for twits who pay by cash. Neither the bank nor BT will say how much the charge is, but the twit in question claims she gets stung for £4.50 each time she makes a cash payment. If it were up to me she’d be fined for being such a stupid person. With so much injustice and evil in our world, her time and efforts and money could be so better employed elsewhere. I say *her* money – I suspect that she’s probably wangled some handout by which the entire thing is financed my tax payments. What I find particularly galling is the amount of like-minded dimwits who are applauding her on the BBC blog about this.

And then off to the inaugural meeting of the local chapter of Neighbourhood Watch. Or so I thought. A week or so ago we had a circular through the door ostensibly from Kent Police telling us that the neighbourhood policing team for the area were staging a meeting of local residents who were concerned about local problems such as parking, street lighting, litter, etc. Being a public spirited kind of guy I dragooned Brian into coming along and off we went.

Oh dear!

Far from being an inaugural meeting of the local chapter of Neighbourhood Watch it was the fifth meeting of a local bunch of malcontents who’d persuaded the local police community support officers to advertise their meeting by leafleting the area. They commented about how successful the leaflets had been. Rather than the initial six retards, tonight saw a turn out of about thirty people. Six retards and twenty–four people who’d been fooled into wasting an evening.

Run (rather ineffectually) by her from the shop round the corner it was an open forum for all the local misfits, the halt and the lame, to gripe about whatever they felt like griping about. The meeting might have achieved more had there been anyone present in any position of authority to deal with the gripes,

We kicked off with reports of a suspicious looking chap who’d been seen in the area a few weeks ago who has since disappeared. It seems we would like to hang strangers who cannot prove their bona fide. We then moved onto a twenty minute rant about the rubbish generated by the KFC up the road. I know I should have kept my mouth shut, but I couldn’t resist it. I piped up that I thought that my part of Beaver Road was quite clean and tidy. The fellow (Mr Beetroot Face) who’d earlier complained about getting a slap when he’d given some drunk his discarded kebab back rose to the bait. It would seem my part of Beaver Road is clean because he goes out every morning at 5am with a bin bag and tidies it up. Oh, he did get cross and over-excited. He was purple in the face whilst shouting at me. I honestly thought he would have a stroke or a heart attack. It was such fun. People like him are so easy to wind up.

And then the topic of street lighting was discussed – I use the word “discussed” where perhaps the word “ranted” might have been more appropriate. Apparently a few meetings ago one of the assembled retards had pointed out some defective street lights. The “fit police bird TM” had organised for the lights to be fixed there and then, but still the retards had to gripe on about the problem that had long been fixed. At this point I feel I should mention the “fit police birds TM”. There were two of them in police uniform with Hi-Vis yellow jackets. Woof! I can’t help but feel that if they hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did.

Dog turds were next on the agenda. Or they would have been if we had an agenda. Another newbie pointed out that he’d rather lost track of what had been decided. The chairwoman (her from the shop round the corner) answered that nothing had been decided – we’d just aired some gripes. So, back to the topic of dog poo. Her from the shop round the corner said that she gives out free bags for people to put dog poo into. The “fit police birds TM” said that there will be signs about dog poo going up soon that are written in English and Dog. The signs apparently say “Woof, bark, thank you”. Mr Beetroot Face exploded at this one. It was so funny. He then launched a tirade at how crap the local police community support officers were because they can’t execute people whose dogs poo on the pavement. Just out of wickedness I lambasted him for being mean to the “fit police birds TM”. This put his blood pressure up a few more points.

No meeting of small minded pedants is complete without a bit of racial abuse, and so the perceived failings of the local Poles were whinged about for five minutes. It was at this point I was glad that the chairwoman was of African extraction, or things could have got quite nasty.

By the time the topic moved onto the issues surrounding local parking I’d given up with the whole sorry meeting. There was no one there with any authority to do anything. The chairwoman was clearly unable to control the meeting. The “fit police birds TM” were contradicting themselves with every other sentence. At one point they claimed to patrol Beaver Road daily. Five minutes later they claimed that South Ashford was so huge they couldn’t possibly visit anywhere more often than twice a week. They admitted that they don’t give out parking tickets to lorries that totally obstruct local roads for hours at a time because that gives offence. I suppose it’s a result that I got the “fit police birds TM” mobile phone number. But they apologized that people won’t get a response every time you phone them. They went on to say that you “won’t get consistency through the police”. I passed the time by making the odd comments cunningly calculated to raise the blood pressure of Mr Beetroot Face. I’d set myself the goal of giving him a coronary by the end of the meeting - I nearly succeeded.

The meeting was suddenly drawn to a close for no other reason than that it was 9pm, and the ineffectiveness of the whole sorry affair was illustrated by the fact they passed the hat round to finance the hire of the hall we’d met in.

Brian and I adjourned to the Beaver Inn for a bottle of 1698 and a pint of Masterbrew. The evening might have been better spent if we’d done that in the first place…..

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14 February 2008 (Thursday) - On the Telly

After last night’s excitement, all else pales into insignificance. Channel 4 had a documentary tonight about the newest evangelist preachers in America. Lots of shouting at sinners, lots of bible bashing, and they are all younger than my cubs.

I’d be interested to see a documentary about the same children in ten years time….

 

15 February 2008 (Friday) - Housework

15 February 2008 (Friday) - Houseworkmagnify

I wasn’t due into work until 11.30am today. So why on earth was I up ironing before 6.30am? The laundry is so frustrating. This morning the washing basket was empty. This evening it’s overflowing again. I blame this evening’s flying visit from “Daddies’ Little Angel TM” who’s given me orders to have it all washed, dried and ironed ready for her to collect on her next visit in a day or so. I can’t help but wonder if her comings and goings is a prelude to her moving out. I think I’ll set a formal goalpost of “having moved out” to be when laundry isn’t left after her flying visits.

I’ve now got a week off. With various things planned for some of the week off, there’s one or two days I might have free for the garden. I’ve bought some paint to have a go at the fence seeing as I had such fun with it last year. What annoys me is that I would seem to have chosen the expensive colours. Red and yellow (rich cedar and harvest gold actually) are £12 per tin. Green is only £8.

 

16 February 2008 (Saturday) - Painting Fences, Watching the Telly

16 February 2008 (Saturday) - Painting Fences, Watching the Tellymagnify

Having bought the fence paint yesterday I really thought I’d better use the stuff. Last year when I got the fence painting bug it was later in the year. Consequentially all next door’s “stuff what grows through trellises” had already done its thing. This year I thought I’d get in first. Abandoning my post only briefly to sort out the problems at work, I managed to get in about four hours painting until succumbing to frostbite. Oh, it was cold!

So cold in fact that I was unable to carry out my plan of spending the late afternoon asleep in front of the telly. Because I was too cold to doze off. The National Geographic channel had an “Aliens Day” in which absolutely everything and anything which has ever happened was ascribed to having been done by aliens. My plan was to sleep through it and so I could claim I’d seen it. But I was too cold to sleep. I sat through four hours of the most inane drivel imaginable. In one bit it would seem that either the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids on Mars or the Martians from the planet Hoova built the pyramids in ancient Egypt. Either set of builders were aided by the denizens of the lost city of Atlantis in an attempt to thwart the work of the devil who apparently hails from the Pleiades star cluster. At one point Armageddon was predicted to have taken place in 1978, and at another a gaggle of aliens communicated with the TV mystic Uri Geller.

In the end it transpired that the whole thing was probably a put-up job by the freemasons who were operating in league with the CIA. One lives and learns…..

Oh – and (engage cryptic message mode) – “Robin Huss has landed

 

17 February 2008 (Sunday) - Markets, Bow Snarrows

17 February 2008 (Sunday) - Markets, Bow Snarrowsmagnify

I was up at the crack of dawn today for some quality time with “My Boy TM”. Having trolled all round town to find a working cashpoint machine it was of to McDs for McBrekkie. You can’t beat a good belt of McScoff first thing on a Sunday morning. From there “My Boy TM” wanted to go to the market. The windscreen wipers have apparently fallen off of his car. He claims that as he was driving along in the week he went to use them to wipe the windscreen and they just flew off never to be seen again. You can get cheap replacement windscreen wipers in the market. You can get loads of cheap rubbish in the market. Very little that’s actually worth having, but loads of cheap tat. There was one stall doing a roaring trade flogging dodgy videos. VHS videos. Who watches VHS these days? There was half a dozen stalls flogging fishing gear, one stall flogging three piece suites incredibly cheaply, and for every “proper” stall there was half a dozen “boot fair” quality stalls. The place was waist deep in pikeys and retards who thought the whole sorry affair was a good thing. It was absolutely awful. Can’t wait to go back.

And then to the farm for a quick dose of bow snarrows featuring the “collapsible chip-o-target stand (patent pending) TM”. Somehow or other that august structure got spiked off of a red arrow. I wonder how that happened. “Hunting Pose TM “ was again employed to dramatic effect, and (narrowly avoiding poking Chip’s eye out – woops) I managed to pogger three of my best arrows. I lost a fletch off of one, the nock off the second, and the point off the third. Perhaps I can bodge two arrows out of the wreckage. Or perhaps those who like mucking about like that can. Me – I’d just as soon go to the shop and buy some more. It could have been worse. Er indoors had one of her arrows shot clean in half by Brian. That’s twice he’s shot one arrow through another. Some would call it really skilful shooting. Me – I recognise pot luck when I see it. In another field Hosey’s radio controlled plane went up a tree. I’m reminded of “Really Skillful Kite Flying TM “ that also put things up trees. I remember kite flying. Apart from kite festivals, I haven’t flown a kite since October 2005. Must do that again sometime…

 

18 February 2008 (Monday) - The Return of Robin Huss

18 February 2008 (Monday) - The Return of Robin Hussmagnify

The plan for the day was for me to be banging on Brian’s door by 11am. That gave me two hours spare in which I could carry on painting the fence. Having togged up in all my warm outdoors scruffy kit it came as something of a shock to find the tin of paint was frozen solid. I didn’t realise it was that cold! That two hours were wasted in NeverWinter instead.

Having collected Brian as planned it was off to the train station to meet an old friend, comrade in arms, and sidekick. Many years ago when I occasionally sailed the seven seas in the alter ego of “Mackerel Man”, I was always ably assisted, accompanied, and organised by “Robin Huss”. Today my old mate was over from the Channel Islands, and in memory of fun at sea, a gaggle of us spent the day at the seaside – Hastings.

We decided to kick off at the FILO – always a good place to drink, and we weren’t disappointed. This is more than can be said for our next port of call. The Old Pump House was always seen as the school’s youth club when I was an inmate at Hastings Grammar School. Thirty years later I suspect little has changed. Brian and I had the Bishop’s Finger which was sour. Alan and Chip had the Spitfire which wasn’t any better. It’s the sort of place which gives the Shepherd Neame brewery a bad name. Which is a shame, because directly over the road not ten yards away was the Anchor – a pub of the same brewery which was streets ahead. The porter was as nectar, the barman was a great laugh, and even though it was by now 4pm we had dinner to the tunes from an excellent jukebox. Even more excellent because the barman kept giving us freebie selections. Apparently some of us have good choice in music. Others of us not so. (Well I like Abba!)

Dinner was walked off with a stroll along the prom – a stroll to the White Rock Hotel. Somewhere we’d found on a previous trip that had a good bar. This time it featured a pair of young ladies who looked entirely the sort to have had a caravan on the Romney Marsh. Pausing only for a sky-rat kebab (well, we were in Hastings) it was back to the station for the 6.30 back home. I say “home” – there’s always time for a crafty pint in the Riverside…..

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19 February 2008 (Tuesday) - Woodwork

19 February 2008 (Tuesday) - Woodworkmagnify

Having brought the paint into the house last night it was still liquid when I got up this morning, so I was able to complete the green bits of the fence today. I say “complete” - the bits I did on Saturday might need a second coat – the paint seems to have soaked right in. I’ll see how I feel in the morning. And then I thought I’d “womble up” all the tat in the garden. I got seven bin bags of tat together, piled it all up in the front garden planning to load it all into the Espace for a tip run (I love it!) when I realised that tomorrow is dustbin day. Hopefully the dustmen will save me a journey. There is still loads of soil in bags to be sorted. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with that.

And so to cubs where we found a full postman’s bag of mail outside the scout hut. Someone had got through, over or under a locked gate to abandon a bag of post on our doorstep. Attendance was down on previous weeks – on the one hand it is half term. On the other hand (as “Princess Prawn Cocktail” told “Dimwit” just prior to hoofing “Dimwit” where it hurts), “It’s mayhem, it’s total war!!” “Dimwit” seemed to accept being hoofed with good grace. He’s a good lad. And then on with the bird tables. A four week project is now into its seventh week, and there’s a minor mishap with one of the bird tables. It’s got the teensy-est little imbalance. There was talk of sawing all the legs to the same height, but I can’t help but feel that if we put the table on a hillside and tell the birds that nothing bigger than a sparrow is allowed to use it, all will be fine.

 

20 February 2008 (Wednesday) - Shopping with Hosey

20 February 2008 (Wednesday) - Shopping with Hoseymagnify

Some time ago Hosey told me about an aquatic centre in Godstone. Today we went to visit the place. Some impressive water features and hot tubs, but I must admit to being an old traditionalist where fish are concerned: the sight of the dead one floating about did put me off somewhat. I asked the chap behind the counter if they had any spawning brushes. He just stared blankly at me.

The next port of call was Lakeside. First of all to Decathlon for arrows. I’d like a new bow, but they only had weedy girlie-strength bows. Following a quick look around the bookshop it was into the shopping centre itself where my associate not only found a rather saucy shop, but also the chest of the nice lady on the hairdressing stall. So nice that we had to adjourn to McDonalds to calm ourselves.

Next stop was the M25. A stop of about half an hour in a traffic jam, and then on to Notcutts garden centre where they do Koi stuff. Or, that is where they did Koi stuff and will do again “in the Koi season”. On wonders when the “Koi season” starts, and if my fish can wait that long. Fortunately Grafty Green had spawning mops. There are those who would be utterly unimpressed with a spawning mop for a birthday pressie. Hosey for one. Me – I’m well chuffed!

Whilst on our way out of the garden centre we wandered through a door being held open for us by some old git. “Cheers” we muttered and carried on with our conversation. I can only imagine his deaf aid wasn't working because he went off on one about us not thanking him - the old git was singularly unimpressed with our lack of gratitude and told us so in no uncertain terms. Apparently because of his selfless gesture in holding the door open I should have declared undying praise for his selfless actions. I told him to be thankful that I was such a decent guy because most people would have given him a slap for his rudeness, and we wandered off leaving him blustering.

And so home to the latest email from Yahoo 360. About a month ago something about my blog caused offence to someone. I’ve been formally cautioned that if I continue to violate Yahoo’s terms of service my account will be closed. I’ve been through the terms and conditions and I can’t see what I’ve done wrong. I’ve asked for clarification, but due to their own rules they are not allowed to tell me what I’ve done to cause offence. I’ve asked how I should proceed bearing in mind I don’t know what I’ve done wrong, and they won’t tell me. But this was to no avail. I can only imagine it was a screenshot from NeverWinter Nights (a children’s computer game), hence today’s highly edited photo. I’m not taking any chances. But if this blog should vanish from the Internet over the next few days, you’ll find a link to its new home via mankybadger.com.

And to add insult to injury what I thought was a birthday card on the doormat was actually a formal warning from the environment agency that my house is in danger of flooding.

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21 February 2008 (Thursday) - A Booze-Up In A Brewery

21 February 2008 (Thursday) - A Booze-Up In A Brewerymagnify

I’ve had a really good birthday! Following a bout of shopping with ‘er indoors it was off to the brewery. In the past I’ve always looked down on Shepherd Neame, but after today’s trip around their brewery I shall treat their beers with more respect. Lead by a “fit bird TMwho not only works in a brewery but has a Hi-Vis jacket too, the trip was great. The smells of the brewery were wonderful, and having been all around the plant we ended up with a beer tasting session. Oh Yes!!!

And then to the tattoo studio for another birthday pressie. There are those who would be utterly unimpressed with a selection of pressies featured among which are a spawning mop, a William Hartnell Dr Who DVD, a tattoo, a brewery tie and a selection of specialist lagers and ales. Me – I’m well chuffed!

And so home another email from Yahoo 360. I wish I knew what I’ve done to upset them, “However, under Yahoo!'s Terms of Service and our Privacy Policy, we are unable to disclose the action taken or the reason for which we have taken action. We are not able to make exceptions to this rule.” I’ve copied all 530+ blog entries out of Yahoo since this blog is obviously subject to being shut down for absolutely no reason I can fathom. I’m currently smiling in the direction of energize-group.co.uk and hoping that my mate there can find a spare 10Mb for me….

 

22 February 2008 (Friday) - A Visit To See Doris

22 February 2008 (Friday) - A Visit To See Dorismagnify

Following a good belt of ironing the morning's email haul included another one from Yahoo 360 again refusing to tell me what I've done wrong, and advising that I carefully read their terms and conditions. I've copied out all 530+ blog entries and arranged for them to be reproduced "elsewhere". I don't want to pack up with Yahoo 360, but I'm rather wondering how long I've got left until they throw me out.

Having met up with Brian it was off to the train station for a trip to Appledore. Well, a train trip to Appledore and them a walk to Snargate to visit the Red Lion. Having been run by the same little old lady since 1946, the Red Lion is a step back in time. A "proper traditional" pub that serves beer. There are bags of crisps and pickled eggs if you're hungry, but that's all. No food! And although there are hand pumps, they are for show only. The beer is poured straight from the barrel into the glass. It's a great place - we met up with a gaggle of people on holiday who had been hiking in West Sussex on Wednesday and had been told about the place and felt they needed to visit. They are going to the FILO tomorrow - I hope they like that place too! Having tried all of the ales on offer, the dilemma was which one to have for beer number five. The dilemma of beer number six never happened, as part of the traditional charm of the place is the historic pub opening times - the place closes at 3pm, so all too soon we found ourselves merrily on our way back to the station.

The Railway Hotel by Appledore station always used to be a popular haunt until it was taken over by new owners four years ago. Then it went downhill. It changed hands recently, and the new people seem quite amiable - must go back again sometime soon to visit.

And so home - or that was the plan. The trip home involved walking past the tattoo studio, and Brian had his ear done because it would be rude not to. Having bought a gallon less beer than I'd budgeted for, and seeing it was a slow day in the tattoo studio I took the nice man up on his offer to touch up my old tattoo. It looks really good. Or it will do once it's healed up.

The South Eastern was rather grim the last time we visited, so we thought we'd give it a second chance. Last time they only had one ale on the hand pump. This time, none. So having roughed it with a creamflow masterbrew (ooer!) it was off to the Riverside to calm our nerves. With Bombadier and Harvey's best.

And so home to find a toy gorilla in the post, courtesy of the John Aspinall foundation. It was a "thank you" they've sent to all their supporters. I think he's cool. And then to the KFC for some tea seeing's 'er indoors has left me unattended this evening. Having scoffed my tea and watched some Blackadder I was bored. The tattoo studio was open till 10pm. I wondered if they'd be able to touch up my other arm. They were…

In closing here's the latest masterpiece from You-Tube. I'm reliably informed the cow has better lip synch than I do.

To view this multimedia content, please click here.

 

23 February 2008 (Saturday) - Jayded's World Tour

23 February 2008 (Saturday) - Jayded's World Tourmagnify

Once I’d got more of the fence painted it was of to Folkestone for Jayded’s world tour. But we had a few minutes spare, so we had a pint of Dogbolter in Chambers, some really good dark stout in the Guildhall, and then off to Mustangs. The beer was a disappointment. Jayded were good – although the band does lack a certain something now that the drummer no longer has to be home in time for his paper round. However my enjoyment of the evening was marred by the fact that the last train left Folkestone about an hour before the end of the concert. So’s we’d miss quite a bit of the show. And those of us that wanted a kebab on the way home would miss even more of it.

Just so my loyal readers wouldn’t miss out I’ve put some videos of the event on You –Tube. You can see the videos here. I would normally embed the video, but it’s been pointed out that it could be the You-Tube videos that have caused my current flurry of emails with Yahoo 360. I’ve sent them an email asking why is it that if my blog is clearly unacceptable, there are so many Yahoo 360 sites blatantly advertising porno websites? Let’s see what response I get….

 

24 February 2008 (Sunday) - Back to the Garden

24 February 2008 (Sunday) - Back to the Gardenmagnify

I’ve found there’s a problem with getting the fence painted. It’s those tons of soil that we dug out for the gusher last September. With absolutely no use whatsoever for the soil, and because it’s in the way, I had a plan that if I was to relocate all the soil to the front garden, then those people who want soil could help themselves. I then had a better plan – perhaps if I was to use the phrase “if I was to relocate it” in a more managerial/supervisory capacity, then things might be easier.

So I put the girls to work, and (this is another of those blog entries that is so easy to write) we shifted about three cubic metres of soil from the back garden to the front. The operation went off quite smoothly (if we draw a line over the episode with “Daddies Little Angel TM” and the slug). With the soil moved I was able to continue painting the fence. The tin says “lasts up to five years”. The operative phrase is “up to”. It’s less than a year since the fence was last done, and in parts it looks like it’s never been painted. It was whilst I was doing the painting that I had this stroke of genius about having a raised section of the garden. A shame I couldn’t have had my stroke of genius before we shifted the soil. So much for my raised platform…

If any of my loyal readers want some soil, come round and help yourselves. I’ve put an advert on Ashford Freecycle. I’ve unloaded unwanted fence panels through them once before, but they have been funny with me about precise wordings of adverts in the past. Oh well, if all else fails I’ll stick a sign on it saying “Get It Here” in a day or so.

And so to prepare for tomorrow night – if anyone finds themselves at a loose end tomorrow evening, I’m talking to the astronomy club about the planet Venus. Stanhope Community Centre at 7.30pm. See you there…. ?

 

25 February 2008 (Monday) - A Day in the Life

25 February 2008 (Monday) - A Day in the Lifemagnify

Back to work after a week off. I’ve been formally invited to the official opening of our newly rebuilt department by the hospital’s chief executive. That’s nice. And just so’s I don’t get lost the formal invitation comes complete with a map so I can find the hospital. These people really have no idea how insulting such an invitation is, have they?

I finally got my advert about the soil up on Ashford Freecycle, Mind you, they did tell me off because I’d given a phone number as a contact. Everything I’ve ever tried to unload through Ashford Freecycle has prompted an email of complaint from them because it’s done in the wrong colour ink, or something equally trivial. Still, here’s hoping. Some cheeky fellow in Challock has a sign outside their house saying “soil wanted” – not only do they want it buckshee, they want “muggings” to drive it up there as well. They can whistle…

And so to the Astronomy club. I’d agreed some months ago to give a talk on the planet Venus, and went along fully expected to be little more than a warm-up man for what would like to be seen as the main act. I was wrong. With an audience of about fifteen I was given free rein. The talk went well; there were a lot of questions and discussions over topics such as the intricacies of spectroscopy and NASA’s long term policies. Whilst I had no idea of many of the answers, enough of the audience chipped in with comments. Possibly enough that I may well have got away with it. Tune in again in May when I shall be speaking about extra-solar planets.

 

26 February 2008 (Tuesday) - Fun at Cubs

26 February 2008 (Tuesday) - Fun at Cubsmagnify

When Baden-Powell held the first ever scout meeting on Brownsea Island over a century ago, I doubt he had any idea what his legacy might entail. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve got this whole “scouting” thing wrong somewhere along the line.

Little Janey has learned a fundamental difference between girl cubs and boy cubs. She demonstrated it to me tonight. She called Liam over and hoofed him firmly in the plums. As he went green and fell to his knees, she turned to me and explained that all boys do that when you kick them there. She continued to demonstrate this (using Liam every time) to all the other girl cubs as they arrived. Liam, foolish boy, seemed quite happy to continue getting kicked where it hurts, getting hoofed at least another half a dozen times. I dread to think why he encouraged Janey in this way. Perhaps it’s luuuurve……. It affects them in strange ways when they are nine years old.

Most of the evening was taken up by a visit from the Transport Police. The copper started with a bit of a chat about the dangers of the railways – why should you not stand near the edge of the platform when the Eurostar rushes through the station? Alex announced that was because you might get either pulled or sucked off. As you can probably imagine, the evening went downhill from this point. On the one hand I wished the cubs were a bit better behaved. On the other, people who are employed to deal with children should be able to deal with children. It the end the chap put on a cartoon aimed at four year olds about an electric train, and everyone was happy….

 

27 February 2008 (Wednesday) - Jelly Blocks

27 February 2008 (Wednesday) - Jelly Blocksmagnify

In a bit of a sulk on Saturday I asked Yahoo 360 about why they were picking on me when there were so many Yahoo 360 sites advertising porno filth. I gave them an example with which they were suitably shocked. Last night I emailed them with another three hundred such sites. Neo-Puritanism rides again. Hypocrisy for the twenty-first century. I love it!!

Following on from the advert in Ashford Freecycle, some chap did say he was going to collect some soil yesterday. He never showed up. Or so I thought. In fact he arrived, took one look at the amount I had, said “Good Gracious” (or some such expletive) and went round to the builder’s yards. He’s arranging to have it all craned onto a lorry sometime in the next few weeks. That’ll solve a problem. So if anyone wants any soil, get in quick!

In the meantime, back to the latest craze – Jelly Blocks. Have a go- you’ll love it.

 

28 February 2008 (Thursday) - Life

Following changes to the legislation concerning who’s allowed to muck about with your blood in a hospital, several years ago it became necessary to have a degree to be a bloodtestologer. Today we had several people from the university of Kent visit our labs. All students doing an incredibly specialised degree which in all honesty is rather a waste of four years if you’re not going to work in a hospital lab. A few of these students were quite vocal in running down the whole biomedical profession as there wasn’t enough money in it. there was no way they would ever do hospital lab work. I can’t help but wonder why they are wasting their time doing the degree.

And then got home from work at 8.30pm to find “Daddies Little Angel TM” wanted a lift back to Canterbury.

In the meantime Yahoo 360 have thanked me for reporting the porno sites. “Thank you for bringing this to our attention and thank you for your report of potential Terms of Service violations on Yahoo! 360. Yahoo! has evaluated and taken the appropriate action” I wonder what “the appropriate action” is – all the sites are still there in all their glory (!) Perhaps if I put a link to those sites Yahoo 360 will close me down for advertising filth…..?

 

29 February 2008 (Friday) - Parking Tickets

The weather forecast had said that the temperature overnight would have a minimum of 8oC. I was therefore quite amazed to find thick ice on the windscreen. Frozen into this ice was a parking ticket. As my car was parked quite legally, and because I hadn’t actually parked it until nearly 10pm I was all set to go mental at the council. Firstly for giving out unwarranted parking tickets, and secondly for yet again wasting my council tax money on traffic warden’s overtime. (You never see traffic wardens in Beaver Road in normal office hours). I opened the envelope and immediately realised something was amiss. The ticket was dated at 19.45 the previous evening – some two hours before I’d parked. And then the registration number on the ticket wasn’t that of my car. Some cheeky fellow had taken the ticket from one car and put it on another. When I phoned they told me this was commonplace – it seems someone follows the wardens and when they ticket a car, this someone takes the ticket away and puts it on another vehicle. Which doesn’t help anyone because you get a cheaper fine if you pay right away. You can’t pay right away if you don’t know you’ve got a ticket.