1 February 2015 (Sunday) - Another Goat
The night shift went as well as can be expected; I quite like the night work really. As always I had the radio on. And as always it was akin to the proverbial curate's egg.
There was an interview with the lead singer of the eighties ska band "The Selecter" who was famous for having been famous thirty years ago. Amazingly that band is still going. The woman interviewed seemed to have little of note to say, but that didn't stop her saying it.
Clive Anderson then led a discussion on how accusations of rape are dealt with by the British courts. The panel of self-appointed busybodies seemed to be disappointed with how few accusations of rape ended in a conviction.
A case was discussed in which the accused chap was adamant that consent for sex had been given, and when the case went to court the woman involved then claimed she had been so drunk that she had no recollection of an entire day. The accused denied the woman was at all drunk.
What evidence is there for either side in a case like this? Apparently the judge in this case threw the case out of court, and there was then a legal squabble as to which of the two parties was to be charged with wasting police time.
There was a ten minute article about the mass murderer Harold Shipman, and ten more minutes about atrocities during the Spanish civil war.
And then a complete nut-case calling herself a "holistic doctor" ranted about how it was better that children should suffer from preventable diseases rather than have their civil liberties infringed by vaccinating them before they are old enough to decide for themselves whether or not they wanted to be vaccinated.
I wonder if I might be better off listening to Radio 2...?
With work done I came home. As I parked the car outside home my phone pinged. A new geocache had gone live in Hothfield. Five minutes drive away. I thought I'd chase the FTF; I chased it. I was beaten by three minutes. But it was good to chat with "The Three of Us"; and for once there were three of them.
I came home again to an empty house. "er indoors TM" had taken "Furry Face TM" for the traditional Sunday walk. So I abluted, put some laundry in to wash and had brekkie. WIth no small dog about the place I had all of my toast to myself. I didn't like it much. It's amazing how empty the house seemed without Fudge under my feet.
Whilst scoffing brekkie I checked the geocaching forums and showed amazing self restraint. Those who advocate the use of GPS units (whilst sneering at SmartPhones) were extolling the virtues of spending a lot of time and effort laaboriously farting around with GPS units to do what my phone can do at the touch of one button.
I kept quiet for once and said nothing.
Whilst the washing machine churned I spent an hour dissecting .lua scripts. I *think* I can devise enough programming to make another Wherigo all on my own. I then took myself off to bed and slept for a few hours. I got up and spent over an hour making twenty seconds of game play for my next Wheri-project. It's going to be an adventure based on Batman, and after quite a lot of serious effort I've got the thing to have Batman's Butler Alfred to say that Batman is wanted on the phone, and Batman to say "sod it" and go down the pub.
Oh - and it's the first of the month. I turned the page on my calendar.
Another goat in another tree...
I'm off to the night shift again...
2 February 2015 (Monday) - After the Night Shift
Last night on the night shift (for a change) I had a look on the Radio 2 website and saw a podcast that looked interesting. "Johnnie Walker's Sounds of the 70s" said on its blurb that it featured an hour-long interview with Ron Mael; one half of (arguably) the best band on the planet. So I called that up. If nothing else it would be different to the stuff I normally listen to on Radio 4.
The podcast started off with music from Dr Feelgood, Queen, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Issac Hayes, Gloria Gaynor, Elton John, The Disco LameActs, far too much hippy rubbish, and loads of people that history has now quite rightly forgotten. I found myself being grateful that it was a podcast because I could fast-forward through a lot of the dross. The presenter wound me up by spending far too long wittering about the records. His reading out the letters from those who'd written in with requests was rather sad. And his sucking up to musicians who've never heard of him was rather cringe-worthy. He announced that after forty years Ron Mael was still one of the most iconic musicians of the 1970s. Of course he is. Have there been any other new iconic musicians of the 1970s in the meantime?
Ron Mael finally appeared about an hour and twenty minutes into the show and was actually on air for about half an hour. Like all of us, he said a lot without really saying anything. To be honest for all that I like the band, I'm not really interested in the musicians themselves. Am I supposed to be?
It wasn't what I've come to expect from a radio show; and it was frankly odd to be at work with three of the greatest songs in the history of the universe playing at top blast (This Town, Mother Earth, Number One).
I think my reaction to the experience is best summed up by the fact that it was that it was with something of a sense of going home that I turned back to Radio 4. Radio 4 featured an article on everyday life in Romania where they interviewed a village sex theraist (who was adamant people shouldn't kiss in public because it would be too wantonly lascivious) and an Elvis impersonator who couldn't afford to buy blue suede shoes.
It wasn't actually any better than Radio 2; it's just that I'm more used to it.
I've often said that I like working at night. I do, but it has to be said that some nights are better than others. Last night wasn't a good one. I was glad when the early shift arrived to take over from me. As I drrove home my phone beeped with the new email noise so I pulled over to have a look-see. Two new caches had gove live in Ashford. One wasn't too far from where I was so I chased the First to Find. And got it. Happy dance.
Mind you whoever had hidden it had disguised the box with green paint, and the paint was still tacky. And was all over my hands. I wiped most of the paint on to the trunk of a nearby tree, and wiped the rest of it down my trousers.
I went home, washed my hands with some decent soap, then popped over to the hospital. I had a follow-up appointment following my operation from last year. As I was in the area I had a look for the second of the new caches. I got another FTF, and another dose of paint all over my hands which I washed off in the hospitals' toilets.
I arirved for my appointment rather earlier than I was expecting, and was seen pretty much right away. All is well in the snout department. Apparently.
I came home and took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We hadn't gone far when I realised he wasn't a happy dog. His tail was down and he was walking rather slowly. So we cut our walk short. As we came home I let him off the lead on the co op field;he seeemed very stiff. Whilst I slept yesterday, "er indoors TM" had taken him for a ten-mile walk. The poor dog was worn out.
Once home we both slept for a while. I then spent several hours working on my next Wheri-project and I then had a message...
Regular readers of this drivel will know I am an ardent supporter and fan of the astro club. I have been a member right from the start. But things were different when it started. My blog posts from five or more years ago are very bitter about the twit who started the club in the first place.
The chap who started the club up didn't want as astronomy club. He wanted an audience; he wanted disciples. He *hated* it when anyone other than himself was speaking at the club. On one night when half a dozen friends came to hear my lecture he tried to stop me speaking because he felt it should be him talking when new people were there. We had a constant stream of people coming for one meeting and never coming again because of his self-obsession. A club which now has regular attendances of fifty-plus people never got about ten when he was at the helm.
I see this chap's been convicted for running over a lollipop lady's charges...
3 February 2015 (Tuesday) - At The Vets
After a couple of night shifts I suppose it's understandable that I slept until 8.30am. I opene my eyes slightly to see Fudge was poised ready to lick my nose. I feigned sleep, and he stayed poised. The moment he realised I was awake he set about me.
I had some brekkie, and we went for our walk. He seemed slightly more lively than yesterday and we walked down as far as Park Farm/ As we walked there were a few flakes of snow, buit not much. Our walk was (for once) relatively uneventful for which I was grateful.
I'd timed our walk so we would come past the vet's in time for our appointment. I make a point of taking my dog into the vets at least twice a week so he will get used to the place. We go in there twice a week without problem. Today he somehow knew he had an appointment and once in he was pulling to get out.
We saw the vet,l he had his treatment. Not an injection but given by drops up his nose. Twice. He managed to sneeze out the first lot. He's also rather overweight at eleven kilogrammes. Vet wasn't happy about that.
We came home and I put a film on the DVD. "Green Street" is about football hooligans. I quite like that sort of thing. And with my dog curled up next to me and snoring I carried on Wheri-programming. Whilst out walking yesterday I had some ideas on how what I did yesterday might be improved, so I re-wrote. Another day's effort and I'm actually no closer to completion.
As I worked there was a hailstorm, and then heavier snow came down.
It wasn't long before "er indoors TM" came home. We had a rather good bit of scoff and then went round to Arden Drive. It was quite cold, and snow had fallen. Not much, but enough to make the roads and paths icy.
We watched "The Flash"; I like that show because I seem to stay awake through it. Tonight's episode feature a cross-over with "The Arrow"; not a show I watch. I got the distinct impression the whole episode was to drum up an audience for "The Arrow". I shan't be tuning in; I don't like the lead character.
And home again. It was a clear night. It will be icy tomorrow...
4 February 2015 (Wednesday) – Stuff
I slept well, finally waking sometime around 7am with backache. Not that I like backache, but sleeping long enough to get it isn't a bad thing. I got up, had brekkie, and worried about my dog. He's not slept on the bed for two days now. Yesterday evening he didn't come on to my lap, and this morning he didn't get up for toast (not that he's allowed toast any more). When he did get up he seemed whiny and listless. I expect a combination of the weekend's route-march and yesterday's vet visit have taken their toll.
After a while he came and sat with me, but he seemed very quiet and subdued. We sat there for a bit; I worked on my Wherigo to give me something to do whilst I fussed him.
Mind you when I mentioned "walk" he seemed keen to go. We only went round the block, and when we came home he had a little of his medicine. He scoffed all of his brekkie (which was a good sign) then took himself off to his basket.
Normally when on the late shift I go to work earlier than I need to and have a lilttle mini-adventure on the way. It was too cold to play silly beggars today, so I stayed in and spent an hour programming a death machine. I'm quite enjoying making this next Wherigo. I wish more people would write them.
My car was covered in ice; but melting ice. One push and it all fell away. As I drove to work there was drivel on the radio. "Women's Hour" was interviewing someone who had given up the day job to become a professional guitar-maker. It was not at all gripping; rather a waste of air time (and licence fee).
Bit like this blog, really...
I stopped off at Morrisons where, as well as getting an apple and a banana I completely forgot to get a replacement sandwich box for the one I blagged last night to use for the dishwasher's salt. Mind you if it carries on being this cold I doubt we'll need a sandwich box this weekend. It's too cold to be out for long enough to want sandwiches.
It was too cold to be out at all really, and so I didn't bother with a sax practice this lunch time. I need to find somewhere to practice my sax. The hospital car park is only any good when it is warm enough *and* when I am actually on day shifts (so that I am actually there). Practicing at home is a bit traumatic as my dog will insist on singing along, and it is too cold to banish him to the garden for very long at this time of year.
Whilst on tea break I checked emails on my phone - a new puzzle geocache has appeared on the Romney Marsh. Whilst still on tea break I solved the puzzle. If I were not on the late shift I would have gone chasing after the thing after work. But it will still be there tomorrow, as will (I suspect) the bragging rights that will go with being the first one to find it.
After work I came home and wasn't greeted by an over-excited dog. I found him on the bed looking incredibly tired. His tail is down all the time, and he seems rather tender about his tail; he guards it when I try to have a look-see.
Off to the vet tomorrow... In the meantime it's "Coon and Friends" on South Park...
5 February 2014 (Thursday) - The Tail is Back Up
Yesterday I mentioned my little dog wasn’t well. He was subdued, quiet, his tail was down, and was wouldn’t let me near his tail; it was obviously causing him great pain. He's had his tail deliberately tucked down between his legs for several days.
This morning the soppy little thing was charging around like a thing possessed with no tail problems at all. No vet for him today (!)
I scoffed brekkie, and took that dog for a walk. We went out through the park where a small group of people I didn’t recognise announced “here comes Fudge.” I have no idea who they were but they seemed pleasant enough.
We walked round to Singleton Lake and there I got out my phone and tested my latest Wheri-project. It’s not finished yet, but what I’ve done so far seems to work well enough.
As we came home we met up with a garrulous old biddy. She told me that she one had a Jack Russell terrier too. I was tempted to say that my dog is not a Jack Russell but a Patagonian Tripe-Hound but thought better of it. And having established something in common she then gave me all her news. Her daughter had a dog and five cats, but her daughter was evicted by the council and so the cats have gone to live with her sister. (I couldn’t work out whether the sister was the sister of the old biddy or of the daughter). Also the old biddy’s daughter has the hump because the old biddy’s husband won’t buy the daughter’s children any Christmas or birthday presents because he hates them.
The old biddy asked me where we were walking. I gave a rather non-committal answer. Much as I was intrigued by the exploits of her family, there is only so much time one can devote to nutters. She announced she was going to the post office in Brookfield. I suggested she was walking in completely the wrong direction (which she was). She stopped, looked around, and realised where she was. When she’d left her house she should have turned right; not left.
Once home I had a cuppa and set about emptying my letter rack. It’s a job I should do more regularly really.
Legal and General were inviting me to join their Over-50s plan. I was rather insulted until I realised that I now qualify for it.
Legal and General had also sent me a second letter asking why I hadn’t responded to the first one.
I found my pay slip; I’d been wondering what I’d done with that.
I found a letter from the double glazing people confirming the wrong appointment they’d made for last week. Had I read that I could have saved them a wasted journey.
I also found the agreement from the double glazing people about the new back door. I suppose I should really keep that somewhere safe… I put it back in the letter rack.
I found a couple of letters from the hospital confirming last Monday’s appointment.
I found my latest mortgage statement. I know it’s peanuts compared to what a lot of people are paying, but if any of my loyal readers have a spare suitcase full of used fivers…
I had a letter that the warranty on my telly was about to expire. Personally I’d rather run the thing into the ground and then get a new one rather than farting around having it fixed. Which is odd really because I do the exact opposite with the washing machine; I pay out each month and when it goes belly-up the nice man comes out and revives it for another few months.
I had a letter from Virgin media. They don’t give up.
There was something from NHS pensions which I filed. I suppose I should read it really. Much as I actually do like my job (I rarely mention it these days, but do), after the ups and downs of the last three years I am effectively biding my time until retirement.
There were bank statements. I had a look at them. They could have been better. They could have been worse.
The doorbell went. The nice man had come to do the survey for our new back door. The old one has been leaking for some time and the handle mechanism has broken. I know Everest aren’t the cheapest, but we’ve gone cheap before and got what we paid for. The current door is over twenty years old and was hooky when we got it. I’m hoping the new one will see me out.
The nice surveyor took about an hour to do his thing. Surveying doors isn’t as straight-forward as you might think.
I wheri-programmed for a bit, then set off to sax lesson. I do like the lessons, but they would go far better if I could get more practice in during the week.
I then spent an hour or so ironing shirts. I didn't stop today...
6 February 2015 (Friday) – Stew
I was woken at 6.30am by my dog's grumbling. Not a woof or a bark or a growl but a definate grumble. I don't know what it was about; perhaps he'd been dreaming?
He watched me eat my loast. He did grumble about that; how do you explain to a dog that he is on a diet? And then we went for our morning constitutional. We went out via Brookfield Road where I replaced one of my geocaches (it needed maintenance). From there we walked on to Singleton Lake where I let "Furry Face TM" off of his lead and he immediately played "Goose Skittles". "Goose Skittles" is a fun game for everyone *except* the geese involved. I wish he wouldn't chase the birds. He's already been told off by a swan more than once.
We came though the park where my dog caused mayhem with the woman with more dogs than sense. There's a woman who regularly walks round the park with half a dozen assorted mutts. None are on leads. Some are walking at heel, some are ten yards in front of her, some ten yards behind, and some hust wandering aimlessly. Fudge charged up to the dogs in the lead and started playing. Some of the other dogs joined in; some ran away in terror. I finally got "Furry Face TM"'s lead on him and dragged him away; leaving the woman with more dogs than sense desperately trying to round up her flock.
Shortly after this we encountered OrangeHead and her Chunky Little Friend (and a hanger-on). OrangeHead's definately going greyer these days. She's an odd one. When I meet her when she is on her own she's quite civil. But when surrounded by "her gang" she's rather stand-offish.
I came home, got my saxophone out and had a practice. I then banished a singing dog to the garden and practiced some more. I need to practice more if I am to improve, and having Fudge scream every time I try to do so doesn't help.
Interestingly yesterday I recorded teacher playing a tune (so's I knew what it sounds like) onto my phone. I can play that without him howling. It's only the sound of my practice that bothers him. Charming(!)
I then spent an hour on my latest Wherigo. I keep mentioning them -- they are a GPS adventure game played on the SmartPhone which eventually leads you to a geocache. In the past I've shamelessly blagged other people's work. Mostly so's I could have the bragging rights of hiding Wherigo caches, but partly to learn how to do them myself.
I'm now working on my second one which is entirely of my own doing. They are surprisingly hard work. Yesterday I field-tested what I've done so far. It worked, but had room for improvement. Last night I made those improvements and then ran it through the simulator and found nine problems. So I spent a little while fixing those.
Over a spot of lunch I watched this week's episode of "Extant". I got a bit cross at one point. The leading character had a blood sample taken at one point... Have you ever seen blood. It's a very deep maroon colour, and it's rather thick. A television special effects department could easily make some fake blood from mixing a little beetrrot juice into some tomato ketchup.
The special effect people in "Extant" decied to use diluted blackcurrant juice as their fake blood. Blood is *not* that thin or that runny. And it certainly isn't that clear.
I took myself off to bed for a little while and got as much sleep as I could despite all the phone calls from people trying to sell me solar panels. And once awake I then went for a somewhat circuitous road trip. I started off in Tesco where I got some food with which I could stage a midnight feast during the upcoming night shift. I also got a bottle of "Doctor Fizz"; Tesco's cheapo version of Doctor Pepper. For all that I like Doctor Pepper, I prefer the cheapo versions; Asda's "Doctor Thunder" and Morrison "Doctor Pop". The fact that they are only fifty pence for a two litre bottle is an added bonus. "Doctor Fizz" is new to me; it was fifty-five pence for two litres. I wonder if it is worth the extra five pence.
I then popped in to Maplins in Folkestone to get a cable for charging my phone during the night, and I stopped off near the Folkestone Baptist church for a swift spot of geocaching.
I'd actually gone to Folkestone to deliver a ladder to "Daddies Little Angel TM"; she wants to hang a new chandelier. Whilst I was dropping off said ladder I had my tea; "Daddies Little Angel TM" gave her old man a bowl of stew. Good stuff.
I then played with the baby for a while. He's getting bigger and bigger.
Did I mention "Daddies Little Angel TM"'s got her university results? She's got her honours degree. Bearing in mind the fun and games we had with her at school, I'm rather proud of her having letters after her name.
Now off to the night shift...
7 February 2015 (Saturday) – Concatenation
I got to work for the night shift, and started off with a busy little spell. But being busy keeps the mind off sin. Not that one can get up to too much sin in a pathology laboratory.
As always I listened to the radio as I worked. It had its usual mix of good, bad and indifferent throughout the night.
Great show was made of the Russian military menace. Russia is getting involved in armed conflicts in Ukraine; the Western powers are getting involved with Russia. At the risk of siding with the lot that is being painted as the enemy, I can't help but feel a little sympathy for the Russian position. Once a global power, their empire is slowly but surely crumbling.
I did snigger when the Minister for Propaganda was talking rubbish in an interview about the government's record on education. When challenged about the fact that one British school in four is now rated to be sub-standard, she tried to say this had actually been an improvement since the start of the government's term of office. She was very proud to announce that when the government came to power one in seven schools were in such a state.
Yes - she was proud that things had got worse. A shame she didn't realise that to which she had admitted.
Mind you after a while I tired of the news and called up You-Tube and streamed albums (that other people have (illegally?) put there) whilst I did my thing. "The Age of Plastic" by The Buggles was one I've not heard in a long time. "Plagiarism" and "Indiscrete" by Sparks was good listening from 2am to 4am. From 4am till 5am was the iconic album "Time" by the Electric Light Orchestra, and the dawn chorus was "A Tonic for the Troops" and "The Fine Art of Surfacing" by the Boomtown Rats. I was tempted to try for "More Filth Dirt Cheap" by Ivor Biggun but thought that might be pushing my luck.
I was surprised to find that no one had uploaded "Initial Success" by B.A. Robertson though.
Yesterday I mentioned my midnight feast - when on the night shift I have an extra meal each day because I'm up in the night. I really should cut something out when I'm on nights - the weight's coming back on.
As part of my midnight feast I had Tesco's "Doctor Fizz" to drink. It certainly isn't worth the extra five pence that it costs compared to its competitors. In future it will most definitely be "Doctor Thunder" or "Doctor Pop" for me.
I came home and went to bed for a bit. I woke to find I had an email - over the last couple of months I've been doing a course with Coursera - "Origins - Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth and Life" I've passed the course with a final mark of eighty two per cent. I'm quite pleased about that.
With nothing else planned we went for a little walk round Ashford. I say "little walk"; it actually clocked in at ten miles. Once home "Furry Face TM" went to sleep, "er indoors TM" went off to film night and I Wherigo-ed. I've learned to concatenate (!) and I now have my thirteenth Wherigo adventure ready. i say "ready" - I *could* put it up for publication now but I want to fart it around a little more first.
that will keep me out of mischief for a few more days...
8 February 2015 (Sunday) – Meopham
I spent an absolute age this morning waiting for the toaster to pop. Eventually I realised I'd not actually put any bread into the thing to cook. A small point, but it makes a difference.
Over brekkie I checked out the Internet. Richard Parker has invited me to join Twitter. I can't help but wonder who Richard Parker is. For his information I do have a Twitter account, but rarely use it #because #I #honestly #think #all #the #hashtags #look #bloody #stupid. But then, that's just me, I suppose.
I then actually had a look on Twitter. My feed was flooded out by people I barely know making what I thought was references to the rather disappointing comet that was recently in the sky. I couldn't work out why they were messaging me about the thing; it's not as though *any* of the people involved have ever met me. But then this is social media. People who won't even say "Good evening" to you and make a point of ignoring you to your face are all over you in cyberspace.
We drove round Ashford to rally the troops, then set off to Meopham where we met up with Aleta. Six of us (and two small dogs) then went on the "Meopham Madness" geotrail. About eight miles; there were some serious bits of up and down as we went. I've been on a few walks round Meopham before - it's a good place for a stroll. As we went we saw some rather beautiful houses, some wonderful views, and more turnips that you could shake a stick at. The mud wasn't *too* bad; we only had to carry the dogs once. I took some photos whilst we walked.
There was a minor contretemps when my little dog found a horse with which he could argue, and he did come off the worse in a tussle with an electric fence. He's had pokes from those things before; he doesn't like them.
For those who enjoy hunting geocaches, I can't recommend the "Meopham Madness" geotrail highly enough. Thirty-six caches along a clearly marked route with the only cache which really needs some head-scratching being placed at an obvious place at which to have a lunch break.
We logged two as "Did Not Find"; one was in a place where a farmer had clearly been doing work on his fence, and the other was one with which several others would seem to have struggled.
Once home "Furry Face TM" had a bath; scoffed his dinner, and then spent the evening fast asleep. Rather than sleeping myself (I did that on the journey home) I watched the James Bond film on ITV. A couple of weeks ago I was rather disparaging about "The Man with the Golden Gun". Today "Moonraker" was equally patronising, mysogynistic and dated.
I put the finishing touches to my latest Wheri-project. All that now remains is final field testing and putting out the actual cache...
9 February 2015 (Monday) – Stuff
Last night I watched "The Sky at Night". When Patrick died (that's "Sir Patrick" to everyone else!!) there was a campaign to ensure the programme kept going. In retrospect they show should have ended with him. With a comet in the sky and space probes approaching Ceres and Pluto, last night's show was entitled "What have UFOs done for us". It wasted half an hour explaining in broad outline that which anyone who has ever heard the word "astronomy" already knows in great detail.
Imagine tuning in to what you would imagine being a degree-level lecture and being told that today we are going to do colouring-in...
I slept like a log and awoke to find "Furry Face TM" had done likewise. Over brekkie it seemed little had really changed in the world. The only real thing of any interest was that people I've never met were tweeting at me. I wish they weren't, and asked them not to.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. For a dog feigning exhaustion he soon perked up when he saw his lead. We went up through Bowens Field and round to Viccie Park where we scrapped with a few other dogs, got given free dog poo bags, and generally had a mostly uneventful walk (for once).
I came home to find I'd been tweeted at again despite having asked people not to do so. It seems that having been mentioned in a posting about a comet three weeks ago I'm going to get messages about the thing in perpetuity.
Then someone who's never actually been to the astro club started chipping in on postings on the astro club's Facebook page that are nothing to do with them...
As I drove to work the radio featured an interview with someone claiming to be a leading light in the evangelical alliance which Wikipedia says is an umbrella group for evangelical Christians in the UK. This woman was being interviewed to explain how she can reconcile being an active Christian with being an active homosexual. Apparently this has been done by studying scripture. It transpires that because God loves people then being gay is OK. Even though scripture says it's not. To quote God "Leviticus 18:22 You shall not lie with a man in the same way you would lie with a woman, it is considered a sin and surely both men should be put to death"
Don't get me wrong - personally I think that God is wrong here, but how can those who are taking the Bible to be true read this any other way than what it says?
If you look into this more deeply it's mentioned elsewhere in the Bible too. What winds me up is that Christians are allowed to pick and choose which bits of the Bible they want to accept, and are still taken seriously.
I got to work, did my bit, and at lunch got to have a half-way decent saxophone practice. It was cold, but there was no small dog shouting along.
And with work done I came home again, and felt rather guilty as I ate my tea. Every bite was watched by "Furry Face TM" but he's now on a diet. He had none.... I feel awful.
10 February 2015 (Tuesday) - Result!!
I was rather later to bed last night than I would have liked (bearing in mind I was on an early start today) and so I suppose it's no surprise I slept through till the alarm went off. In the past I would be awake long before alarms went off and watching all sorts of tripe on the telly at silly o'clock. That doesn't happen quite so much these days.
I had my toast to myself this morning; my dog was still asleep, but in this new world order of dog-diet he wouldn't have had any anyway.
I had no emails of note, and nothing much had really happened on social media so I set off to work.
The radio spouted its usual brand of trivia. Apparently the Prime Minister is giving a speech today in which he is telling the business community to give their workers a pay rise. It's a shame he can't advocate the same for those of us in the public sector. Perhaps if he did, then the over-stretched NHS wouldn't struggle to recruit and wouldn't have to spend a fortune on agency staff.
And there was great issue made of today being "Safer Internet Day" which I Ithought was particularly ironic bearing in mind that a survey has showed that half of the country's eleven to sixteen year olds have used the Internet to access filth.
Personally all I think that this survey showed is that the other half of the country's eleven to sixteen year olds lied when they completed the survey.
I got to work, did my bit. I had an email from some bunch called "NHS Bargains". I get these emails from time to time. They always seem to have bargains that just won't work for me. They had one such today. I could save on my energy bill by changing energy supplier to the one I am already with (!)
At lunchtime I went out to the car park and got saxy on my saxophone. It was cold, and just as I was about to pack up a not unattractive woman appeared from nowhere and told me how sexy the saxophone was, and how she'd always liked, admired and fancied saxophonists.
Were it not a chilly five degrees in a windy car park I could have been in there (!) but on retrospect one has to wonder exactly what inspires anyone to go out on the pull in a hospital car park.
I hurried back to work, and being on an early shift got to drive home before it got dark. After quickly running "Furry Face TM" round the block the clans gathered in Willesborough where (for the first time) I slept throough "The Flash". A shame really...
11 February 2015 (Wednesday) – Puss
Again I slept right through until the alarm woke me this morning. This is becoming something of a habit. However unlike yesterday I had an audience as I scoffed my toast. I did feel guilty as I ate the lot without offering "Furry Face TM" any scraps. Mind you, this dog-diet seems to be working for him (not that he's at all impressed.) Allowing for the difficulty of accurately weighing a Patagonian Tripe-Hound on bathroom scales, he would seem to have lost half a kilogramme in weight. Bearing in mind I had no idea how much more he needs to lose I had a look on the Internet. According to the Internet he should have one kilogramme in weight for every five centimetres of his height.
A rough calculation shows he's got (about) another two kilogrammes to lose to get to his ideal weight. Bit like me, really.
As I drove to work there was lots of talk on the radio about the ongoing trials of self-driving cars. If I had one I'd probably sleep on my way to work. Or read my Kindle app. Either way I probably wouldn't listen to the news which would be better for my nerves. My piss boiled as the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party was ranting on the airwaves about wanting an end to austerity in the UK. She might have a point; she might not. What amazes me is how the Scottish Nationalists have become such a key part of UK politics over the last few months despite comprehensively losing the Scottish independence referendum. Anyone would think that such a defeat would have killed the party off permanently. How many other political groups can get such a surge in popularity after having had their one and only policy firmly rammed up their own arse by the electorate?
I got to work; I did some. Remembering yesterday's episode in which I found myself a groupie I was rather dubious about going saxing today; but Pink Panthers don't play themselves so I took myself off for a practice.
Whilst I played I was amused by watching the people around me. The car park has become a rather busy place recently. The car park in which I park and practice hasn't been open that long. It was recently re-built and is much larger than it used to be. When it first opened everyone would park near the entrance, and there would be a *long* way between me at the far end of the car park and the nearest car. Now more and more people are parking nearer to where I park. And at lunch time the people who have parked near to me seem to find reasons to come to their cars for a minute or so; thinking I don't realise that they've only come to stare at me. And when people drive off at lunch time they invariably set off in completely the wrong direction so they can drive past me to stare and see what I am doing.
Is a fat bald bloke playing the saxophone rather badly *really* that fascinating?
Once home we had a rather good bit of scoff and a bottle of plonk and watched "Puss in Boots". Can't beleive I've never watched that film before...
12 February 2015 (Thursday) – Fortissimo
Yesterday I was boasting about how well I'd been sleeping recently; last night wasn't quite so good. I did wake rather a lot during the night. Mind you a restless dog may have been partly to blame.
The same restless dog watched me eat my toast this morning with a hungry expression on his face. I did feel rather guilty about not sharing my brekkie with him, but he's not going to lose weight by being over-fed.
I drove to work and as always listened to the radio. There was a lot of fuss about the HSBC banking scandal. I say "scandal" - I can't see what all the fuss is about. In an unnecessarily complicated financial world a bank has offered advice to their clients on how to minimise their tax bills. Admittedly the sums of money involved aren't trivial, but in principle I can't see what all the fuss is about if it is not jealousy on the part of those stirring up the bad feeling.
After all those who stand accused haven't done anything illegal and haven't done anything that anyone else wouldn't try to do in the same situation. I'd certainly cut back on my tax bill if I could.
There was also great fuss made about the fact that the government's obesity adviser would seem to be rather closely involved with the sugar industry. The pundit being interviewed pointed out that none of the information we receive is impartial. He quoted the pharmaceutical industry. How many of the drugs in common use are independently tested? Not many. Most of the testing is done by those with a vested interest in selling the stuff. Admittedly they also have a vested interest in supplying a reliable product, but as the pundit pointed out no government could afford to independently assess everything. Advice has to be taken from experts. And who are the experts if not the people intimately involved with that on which they are expected to be expert?
I got to work for the early shift (via a quick stop-off for geo-maintenance) and once at work I did my thing. I could have done more I suppose, but I was feeling a little worn out. This working for five consecutive days is hard. I much prefer working longer days, but because they are longer I work for less of them. I get more time to myself that way and also save on the petrol bill.
At lunch time I had sax practice in the works car park. I pretended not to notice the half-dozen people standing at the other end of the car park who spent the entire time watching me intently. What is the fascination? I can understand listening to a decent musician in a comfortable environment. But I would have thought standing in a cold windy car park listening to my murdering the theme to the Pink Panther would have got rather dull rather quickly? Perhaps they thought that the moment their back was turned I would get up to something?
As the afternoon wore on I felt a little under the weather, but fortunately for humanity I perked up for my saxophone lesson. The Pink Panther went relatively well, however I was skimping on my fortissimo. I must remedy that over the coming week.
And then it was round to Park Farm for a committee meeting. The astro club is doing Stargazing Live in March to co-incide with the upcoming solar eclipse. Should be fun - it has been in the past.
13 February 2015 (Friday) - E.T. Phone Home
I woke feeling particularly snotty at 3am and a combination of backache, neckache and sniffles kept me awake for the rest of the night.
"Furry Face TM" seems to be getting the idea that he doesn't get toast in the mornings any more; as I scoffed hw flung himself onto my lap whilst carrying his bone (which is nearly as big as he is) ane he then chomped on his bone as I chomped on my toast.
I then took my little dog for a quick walk round the park. Usually we take an ant-clockwise route, but today in order to avoid Mr Misery-Guts we went clockwise. In all honesty it wasn't very different. Other than avoiding Mr Misery-Guts and watching Bernie triotting off to work we didn't see any of the usual "Viccie Park Massive".
I had planned to do final Wheri-testing before work this morning but overnight rain would have made the ground muddy, so instead I had a cull on my list of Facebook friends. I say "friends"; there was four hundred and twenty four people on the friends list. I went through it and deleted two and then sorted the astro club accounts.
I messed about working on yet another Wherigo adventure before finally setting off to work.
As I drove something on the radio boiled my piss. Scientists are recommending we should start actively trying to make contact with aliens. In theory a good idea; in practice it's doomed to failure.
First of all the only way to make contact would be to send a message; radio, laser light, microwaves.... whatever we send will be some form of electromagnetic radiation. The message will go at lightspeed. Which relative to the badgermobile is pretty fast. However compared to the speeds needed for interstellar communication it's peanuts. If a message was sent today, there wouldn't be a reply in my lifetime, or in that of the fruits of my loin. In fact anyone who's heard me lecture on the Drake Equation will know that we would expect a reply some time around the year 3600.
Mind you we would only expect that reply that soon (!) if we knew exactly where in the sky to send a message. That also presents a problem. Expert opinion (of three years ago) is that (on average in our part of the galaxy) intelligent civilisations will be (about) eight hundred light years apart. Assuming that aliens live in orbit around stars which aren't unlike our sun (a resonable assumption) means that we'd direct our message at sun-like stars which are about that far away. That presents a problem. Where do we point the trasmitter? For all that Kepler can tell us where other planets might be, we have no idea if anyone might be home there.
So not knowing in which direction to transmit, we'd have to send wide-angled shouts. That wouldn't be cheap. All this talk about how aliens could already hear us from the stray radio noise we've been transmitting for the last hundred years is drivel Due to signal degradation from the inverse square law any radio waves currently leaving Earth would be indistinguishable from the background radio noise on the galaxy at a distance of only a few light years.
The whole "communicating with aliens thing" is somewhat akin to randomly sending flocks of carrier pigeons from Kent randomly into the sky in the vague hope of making contact with another pigeon fancier in New York, Rio de Janeiro or Melbourne or somewhere else incredibly distant.
So why am I ranting about this? Because I can see what's going to happen. Leaving aside the questions of who exactly is trusted with sending a message, and what the message actually is, sooner or later someone's going to start transmitting. And after a *very* short time they will run out of money and enthusiasm for the project. And be laughed at.. just like the pundits on the radio laughed at the whole idea this morning...
Bearing in mind I had very little else to rant about today, you can see how dull today was...
14 February 2015 (Saturday) - Busy Day
I slept well last night; having a small dog sleeping downstairs works wonders for a good night's sleep. I got up, checked cyber-space, and posted a rather lame video to "Daddies Little Angel TM".
I spent an hour on rather convoluted wheri-programming then "My Boy TM" came round. Narrowly avoiding getting tangled in "Operation Stack" we made our way to Deal where we soon met up with "er indoors TM" who had collected "Daddies Little Angel TM" and her entourage.
Nine of us then went swimming. Or that was the plan. Nine of us waited for a while until enough people had finished swimming so's that we could be admitted to the pool. A "rather special" attendant informed us due to "Health and Safety" no more than one hundred aand eighten people could be in the pool at any one time. An odd number I thought, but what do I know?
She gave us a ticket and said she's call its number when enough people had left. I counted about fifty people in the pool, and after about twenty minutes of being glared at by the woman in the lesiure centre's cafe our number was called and we went swimming.
Despite the staff we had a good time. Baby had never been swimming before; we went expecting him to find it all rather daunting. We were wrong; he seemed to love it. It was only a shame we had to leave so soon. We'd put two hours on the car park tickets and that would have been about right had we not had to sit about waiting for no adequately explored reason.
I was dressed first, and seeing a traffic warden in the car park I zoomed out to the cars. Seeing our time was running out she'd staked out our cars ready to ticket them. I got to the cars with one minute left on our tickets, so I bought tickets for another half an hour. The traffic warden watched me do so with an expression akin to that of a bulldog licking piss from a stinging nettle. She was *not* pleased about it.
Totally failing to find the Dover McDonalds we drove on to the Folkestone one where we all had a rather good feast. And the kids (and Grandad) had a McFlurry each.
I slept all the way home, then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park. I had planned to drive out to Wheri-test but I was aching after the swimming and it was cold. Wheri-testing will keep.
We walked round to Kim & Andy's. We had a rather goodd tea. All sorts of scoff washed down with home made brown ale. Then "Guitar Hero" and ChromeCast games until the early hours.
Good job it's a later start tomorrow...
15 February 2015 (Sunday) – Otford
It was a late night last night - I didn't get to bed until 2.30am. Despite a tiring day and a surfeit of brown ale, persistent neck ache made for a restless night.
I got up to sad news; "My Boy TM"'s beard is no more. Apparently routine beard maintenance went horribly wrong and to cut a long story short the thing was put down as an act of kindness. I'm told there will be a period of official mourning.
I also saw there was ranting on the "Geocaching in Kent" Facebook page. My piss didn't actually boil, but it did simmer...
When you find a sandwich box in the wilderness and you've done the secret ritual known only to the initiated you then have to log this on-line. There are those who maintain that you come home and *on your PC* (ideally running Windows 3.1) you write a twenty-page essay singing the praises about said sandwich box in the wilderness. Should you find a second sandwich box in the wilderness then an entirely different essay must be written. (I personally maintain that the hobby is a treasure hunt, not an excercise in creative writing, and those who differ with me can do so when they too are a published author (!) but (as usual) I'm in the minority.)
The essay *must* be a glowing tribute to the wonder of the sandwich box no matter how much in disrepair the thing might be. Heaven forbid you should only leave a one-line comment, and if you do so from your SmartPhone then you will surely burn in hell fire.
It amazes me that geocaching has been going for fifteen years and (effectively) we still have to use the same technology as was used to find that first geocache. For all that it's a good walk in the countryside, it's one using gear which is ten years out of date *and* sees doing so as something to be proud about.
And talking of the g-word we collected the troops, narrowly missed a First to Find, and set off to Otford where we met Rosie. After a quick chat with a fellow hunter of tupperware six of us (and three dogs) set off for something rather unusual in the geo-world; a virtual multi-cache. There's a to-scale model of the solar system in Otford. And for all that you might know (in theory) that planets are a long way apart, it's not until you actually experience the amount of hiking about that even a scale model involves that you realise just how big space is.
We started off at... I won't say which model planet (not giving spoilers!), and solved the puzzle, moved on to the next one, and so on until we found ourselves being directed into a private allotment. We re-checked out calculations again and again to no avail. It was with something of a sulk that we admitted defeat.
Rosie suggested we went and did a series of caches which was just three miles up the road. I didn't have them on my tablet, but two minutes of piggybacking off of my mobile wi-fi hotspot saved the day. (You can't do that with a GPS unit!) and soon we were in Mildridge woods. A beautiful wood where the dogs could run and we could hunt tupperware.
I was so impresed with Jess the geo-pup. I'd seen her before many times but not really paid attention to her. I hadn't realilsed she is the ideal geo-hound. When we are near a cache and searching we have to keep an eye on "Furry Face TM" because he gets bored and wanders off. When Jess hears the beep of the GPs unit she immiediately sits and waits for us to do our geo-thing.
In these woods we searched for twenty-five caches, and found the lot with minimal difficulty. If anyone wants a scenic walk, or is considering taking up hunting tupperware as a pastiime I can't recommend the series in Mildridge Woods highly enough.
We were just about to get into the cars when another caching friend pulledd up. He was taking his dogs for a walk. he asked how we got on with the virtual multi-cache. We told him we were suulking, and he said.... I won't say whaat he said, He didn't tell us the answers we were after but he did point out our error. We went back, and in five minutes we had the solution to the puzzle we wanted. Success !! In over four thousand three hundred geo-finds this was only my thirteenth virtual find.
As I sometimes do, I took a few photos whilst we were out.
Home, and after aa rather good bit of tea we watched the latest period drama - "Indian Summers". Billed as the next "Downton Abbey" I thought it would be right up my street. The first episode started well enough, and I then fell asleep for the rest.
16 February 2015 (Monday) - This n That
I was fast asleep shortly before 5am when for no fathomable reason my dog declared "Red Alert" and was running round the house barking. It is possible that the sparrows chirping outside might have startled him; I hope not. We don't need him accompanying the dawn chorus every morning. Ironically he then slept (and snored) whilst I watched "Dad's Army" over brekkie. Arguably a lame show, but it's entertaining enough at 6am.
My dog got up just as I got dressed. I settled him down and set off to work.
I drove to work through a rather foggy morning. As I drove the radio was talking about easing the burdens of our legal system by using "on-line courts." Apparently the powers that be beleive that eBay's electronic dispute arbitration system works so well that in principle it could be rolled out on a larger scale. The theory is that most matters currently dealt with by small claims courts could be dealt with by a similar on-line system.
The fact that no matter what the issue, eBay's eBay's electronic dispute arbitration system just tells the seller to refund the buyer's money is neither here nor there...
I stopped off for supplies at Morrisons. And as usual the self-service checkouts failed. They work fine until you try to weigh something and then their screens start flashing error messages. That was what happened (again) to me this morning. As I abandoned the broken machine and moved to another, the sour-faced harridan charged with overseeing the self service checkouts came bustling over. "What's wrong with that one?" she rudely demanded of me. I told he that she knew full well what was wrong with it; it was the same problem I'd pointed out to her on my last visit. I also told her (rather loudly) that the machines in Sainsburys work fine and the staff there don't have attitude problems.
I could see that she didn't like that, but she realised she was in the wrong. I left her muttering over the broken machine and drove off to work.
Pausing only briefly to replace a missing geocache I got to work for the early shift and did my thing. At lunch time I took myself out to the car park and saxed. "The Pink Panther" is coming along nicely. "When I'm sixty-four" is very much a work in progress, but I'm making progress. Unfortunately "One Step Beyond" is still very much at the aspirational stage though.
My piss did simmer somewhat; I play my sax at the far end of the car park away from the entrance and all the other cars. During my practice about a dozen people went to their cars and drove all the way round the car park (having a good stare at me as they passed) before leaving. What's so fascinating about a fat bald middle aged bloke playing a saxophone rather badly?
An early start made for an early finish, and I was (just) home before it got dark. I got the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a quick walk round the block. We would have gone further had it not been raining.
I then spent a very frustrating half-hour doing e-shopping. I've nearly got to the end of my sax music book. That book was a general introduction and Teacher recommended I move on to a series of music books called "Guest Spot"; she said I could choose whatever one I liked because they all have different tunes and genres. Both eBay and Amazon sold them, but both filled the the descriptions with what I can only describe as "corporate bollox". With several thousand listed terms and conditions, neither one of them actually listed the tunes in any of the books. Sometimes there is no subsititute to actually going shopping.
With "er indoors TM" off bowling I set about ironing shirts that I didn't iron at the weekend. Being on day shifts at the moment means I'm on five-day weeks. I prefer the longer night shifts - longer shifts mean less of them and so I get more days at home so I can catch up on stuff like ironing. Otehr than ironing shirts this evening I didn't get much else done as a small dog spent much of the evening bothering me to fuss him.
There was an interesting mockumentary about what might happen if UKIP won the upcoming general election. I expect the pundits will be up in arms about it on the radio tomorrow...
17 February 2015 (Tuesday) - A Screw Loose
I had an email from Amazon this morning. Because I'd bought a book of sheet music for the alto saxophone they had some other books in which I might be interested. One was a war tale about French merceneries living some seven hundred years ago. One was a romance story set in 1940s London. Another was a child's book about gorillas. The fourth was James Martin's (who's he?) recipe book.
If anyone can explain the relationship of any of those to the alto saxophone I'd happily buy them.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We went round the Bowens Field wetlands park without incident (for once), and my dog them walked nicely at heel all the way along the riverside path to Viccie Park. It was a shame he was walking at someone else's heel, but you can't have everything. Mind you the lady at whose heel he was walking did look terrified.
Once back home I settled him down and went out for a little Wheri-testing. All went (relatively) well, and then it was off to work for the late shift. Before I set off I thought I'd get my shopping and I then watched a minor incident whilst trying to get out of the shops in Singleton.
Two young mothers escorting a tribe of a dozen or so littluns were herding the children into a shop. With only half the tribe through the doorway the mothers decided to start ranting at the children about all manner of trivia. Whilst the mothers were ranting , they were completely blocking the way in and out of the shop.
A passing old biddy suggested that the rant might be better staged outside where decent people could get in and out of shops without having to weave in and out through a herd of unruly brats. Whilst I sympathised with the old biddy, I wasn't going to say anything, and slipped away quietly as the row escalated.
As I drove i listed to the radio. Last night I mentioned that I wondered if the pundits would be harping on about the mockumentary attacking UKIP. They were. With over one thousand six hundred complaints it's become one of the most contraversial TV shows in history. I'm glad I watched it now.
I got to work where I put on my new shoes. My old Doc Martens had finally given up the ghost after two years, so I'm trying an experiment. This new pair of shoes cost a fiver from eBay. A pair of DMs would cost one hundred quid, and would last about two years. That's about a quid a week; if my new shoes last more than five weeks then that's a saving that I've made.
So far they've left a lot of rubber marks on the floor, but what do you expect for a fiver?
I got to work, I avoided as much as I could, and did that which I could not. Lunchtime sax practice went well right up to the point at which I had a look at the loose screw on my mouthpeice, dropped it and lost it. I've been thinking about a trip to the saxophone megastore in Crowborough and a new mouthpiece for some time. Looks like I'll be going there soon.
Once home I did the geo-admin on my Wheri-testing (which is easier said than done). I'm bored now...
18 February 2015 (Wednesday) – Stuff
I've had rather bad neckache these last few days. I slept awkwardly one night last week and I've been feeling it ever since. The neck was marginally better this morning; but only marginally.
I spent a little while over brekkie this morning solving geo-puzzles. There are one or two in the general vicinity of where we are planning to walk this Sunday so I thought I'd get prepared. With only the teensiest nudges from friends I soon had most of the answers. I know "Gordon Tracy" has alreay solved them, but his dog will have eaten his answers by the weekend. She always does.
Ironically having solved the puzzles it doesn't look like they are actually anywhere near where we are going to be.
I then took "Furry Face TM" out for a walk. We did our usual circuit of Bowens Field and Viccie Park. We met Mr Misery Guts again. He's a funny one. He has some small rat-line animal on a lead which he never allows loose. He is all smiles to people's faces, but when he thinks no one is listening he swears at the other dogs. He was cussing my dog until I came round the corner when he immediately changed his tune.
We also encountered a dog which must have had a horse and a bear somewhere in its ancestry. It was huge, but that didn't stop "Furry Face TM" trying to get jiggy with it. Even if this dog's "jiggy bits" were twice as high as he is off of the ground.
I managed to get a photo of my dog's face whilst we were out. It's not easy. He won't stand still for photography. He keeps wandering off; and for every one photo of his face I have a dozen of his bum.
We came home to find a flier had been dropped through the letter box for the South Ashford Community Forum. iI've been asked to sign a petition to Ashford Council asking them to convert the local wards into a Community Council which will somehow be far better for local residents and will give us all a greater voice in the management of our local area. Apparently.
I suppose it's a good idea. I'd sign the petition. *IF* I knew where to sign. Whoever sent the fliers out omitted that one vital piece of information. Woops!
Off to work. As always the radio was playing. The pundits were laughing at a Saudi religious-type who was spouting rubbish in a lecture to university students about how the Sun goes round the Earth. His theory was that if the Earth truly was a spinning globe then (somehow) planes would not be able to fly. He was backing up his claims with references to all sorts of theological claptrap.
For all that what he was saying was wrong and was frankly laughable, is it any surprise that the world is in such a state when those who are invited to lecture at university level are actually so stupid? And worryingly a quarter of all Americans would apparently agree with this chap.
I get to work, did my bit. At lunchtime I tried saxing despite missing a screw in my mouthpiece. It went reasonably well.
And then after a rather hectic day at work I came home and we had a rather good bit of scoff. And a bottle of plonk. Hic(!)
19 February 2015 (Thursday) – Ticketed
After a relatively reasonable kip I woke at 5.30am and leapt into action. I wish I hadn't, as leaping into action really hurt my gammy neck.
Over brekkie I checked out the Internet. No emails of note, and not much happening on social media. Social media is becoming hard work these days; more and more people are setting their Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook accounts to copy everything they post to every other social network site, so pretty much everything I see is triplicated.
I then looked on YouTube to see saxophone renditions of "When I'm 64" - I'm struggling with the intro and wanted to hear what it is supposed to sound like.
I gave up after two minutes as 6.15 am was rather early to have a howling dog doing his thing (at full volume).
I set off to work a little earlier than maybe I might have done. It was good to be leaving home in daylight though. As I drove the radio made me snigger. There was talk about the ongoing HSBC scandal. Apparently there is a feeling amongst those with axes to grind that the HSBC scandal would be far more publicised if HSBC were not spending a fortune on advertising contracts with leading newspapers.
Is anyone really surprised that here is no profit in upsetting your sponsors? If nothing else it does again show that none of us ever hear unbiased news coverage.
I got to work, and spent a couple of minutes in the car park looking for my lost screw. I couldn't find it. I went in, and soon had an email from "er indoors TM" . She'd got up to find a parking ticket on her car.
Traffic wardens in Ashford boil my piss. They will turn a blind eye to the cars of commuters left all day parked illegally (and causing obstructions) but will ticket cars of residents at 8.01am when the parking restrictions say no parking after 8am.
I bided my time until the lunchtime sax practice. It went reasonably well, and flushed with success I went on to this week's sax lesson where I made rather a stuff-up of everything.
After a brief hiatus I then went round to Park Farm where there was a meeting of the astro club's new observatory project committee. There's no denying I went along not in the best of frames of mind about the project. But what I heard reassured me somewhat. Here's hoping for great things from this venture.
I came home to find "er indoors TM" had "Eastenders" on the telly. Apparently Lucy was going to get killed in tonight's installment and it will be the only topic of conversation anywhere tomorrow.
I watched for five minutes before losing interest. "Eastenders" was rubbish thirty years ago and it hasn't improved in the meantime...
20 February 2015 (Friday) - Rock, Scissors, Paper
Finding myself wide awake at 5.30am I got up. I saw the heavy rain overnight had again leaked in under the back door. It might seem odd, but I was pleased about that; it's a problem that justifies the small fortune I'm spending on getting a new back door.
I had brekkie. I had an audience, but I was firm. My dog didn't get the crusts. There's no denying he has become something of a barrel. The vet is right he does need to lose weight. And he does seem to be getting the idea that I won't share with him any more. He then sat with me and snored whilst I played with the newly-upgraded Wherigo-writing software.
Having blagged ten Wherigos from others and re-written them and having then written four of my own from scratch I've had some constructive criticism; they all take too long to do.
I can't argue with that. The first one I ever did (as a participant) was fun but took over four hours to complete. Many of the ones I've put out take over an hour. For the tupperware-hunter in a hurry that's a little long. I've a couple which only take a few minutes, and so I thought I'd come up with (at least) one other. Funnily enough it's the shorter ones (to do) that take the time to write. I'm having a little trouble with my current Wheri-project. Programming a virtual badger to play "Rock, Paper, Scissors" took just over half an hour. However getting a virtual badger to stop playing "Rock, Paper, Scissors" is proving rather tricky.
I set off to work. The pundits on the radio were up in arms about the Greek debt crisis. I'm no expert on the subject, but from what I can work out the Greeks have run up terrific debts causing a previous government to take out a tremendous loan from the other European countries. And now a new government is refusing to pay back what is owed.
Whilst everyone will want what they are owed, I suppose you can't blame the Greeks for trying it on.
Only a small mention was made of Professor Stephen Hawking's announcement that space travel and colonisation of other planets is in humanity's best interests.
It rather amazes me that those on the radio don't see this as the blatantly obvious fact that it is.
I went to work via Morrisons where a couple of coppers had parked up their old-bill-mobile and were getting money from the cashpoint machine. I couldn't help but feel they should do that in their own time; but I didn't say anything.
I got a ton of cakes for the people at work; after all it will be a special occasion soon. I then went on to work where a colleague was bemoaning her recent "porridge disaster". "Porridge disasters" are best avoided if at all possible.
I did my bit whilst others spent the morning picking porridge detritus from various garments. At lunch time I looked out of the window. I was hoping to practice my sax, but the rain was against the idea. Instead I spent an hour reading my Kindle app. I soon got bored with it though.
With work done I came home and despite the rain I took "Furry Face TM" round the roads for a quick walk. When it gets lighter in the evenings we can walk for longer. But not quite yet.
Over a rather good bit of tea we watched more some of the celebrity "Bake-off"... more interesting than last night's drivel in Eastenders..
21 February 2015 (Saturday) - Happy Birthday to Me
After a rather restless night I got pancakes for brekkie. Well, it was my birthday. And I like pancakes. After a lazy morning spent playing rock scissors paper in cyber-space we rallied the troops and went to Lydd for the monthly congregation of hunters of tupperware.
The Dolphin was a good choice of venue, and I do like these monthly meets. People come from miles to attend.The ale selection was excellent. But I'd decided to pace myself because I had plans for the evening. Just a couple of pint I'd said... I had a really good time talking tupperware and the ale flowed freely. I think the seventh pint might have been a mistake...
We came home, and I was dropped off at the station where I met up with the first fruit of my loin. On the platform our numbers swelled to five, and we made our way to Wye. A couple of drinks and then everyone arrived. The idea had been a quiet meal, but it was an idea which had grown and was only linited by how many people could physically fit into the Tickled Trout. Initially having booked a table for fifteen we ended up with double that number.
The ale there was good too... It was all rather vague towards the end of the evening. I can remember something about cigars and shouting "Woof!" rather excessively...
22 February 2015 (Sunday) - Nash Street Bash
After far too much beer yesterday I was wide awake and checking out the Internet at 5.30am. Maybe not as raring to go as I may have been, but certainly drinking coffee. One hundred and four people had used social media to wish me well for yesterday's birthday. Those who run down social media don't realise that soppy sods like me actually enjoy the small things like that.
Being wide awake and feeling rather under the weather (for no explicable reason) I had a bowl of cereal and watched an episode of "Dad's Army". Private Pike had been turned down for the R.A.F because he had a rather obscure blood group. I realise that there aren't many people who know that an obscure blood group would not justify turning someone down for military service. I also realise that there are even fewer who know that "Dad's Army" was set many years before obscure blood groups were even discovered. But it was a failing in the plot which spoiled the show for me.
I then carried on writing a Wherigo which is now ready to be tested.
"er indoors TM" leapt into action, we rallied the troops and set off to the north of the county. The "Nash Street Bash" was billed as a four-mile geo-walk. Admittedly we did wander off here and there to pick up a few extra caches as we walked, but we ended up having covered seven miles.
The day started bright, but cold and the going was rather muddy. The dogs were mostly well-behaved even if Fudge did get stuck in a thicket at one point. We did have episodes with horses and with drain covers, but such is life. In retrospect if I ever see another series with quite so many multi-caches I shall do it in the summer; ten multi-caches made for a lot of standing around getting cold.
Towards the end of the day we saw one geocache on the map which was just a little way off of our route. It would have been a shame to have missed it so we thought we'd have a look-see. I was glad that we did; we found the cache was concealed in a dene-hole. Great fun to get to; my dog refused to climb down with me.
The BBC weather forecast had predicted rain, but not till 5pm. The rain came shortly after 3pm. Weonly had half a mile's walk in the rain, but we did get wet.
I even took a few photos whilst we were out.
After a rather good bit of tea "er indoors TM" set off bowling. I settled in front of the telly for an evening of "Big Bang Theory" with a small dog curled up next to me. Snoring. As I watched the exploits of Sheldon and Leonard I messed about on-line and organised next Sunday's geo-stroll. If any of my loyal readers fancy traising through nine miles of mud in an attempt to find unwanted tupperware next weekend, just drop me a line and I'll send details...
23 February 2015 (Monday) - Wherigos, Chromecast
I would have slept better if not for a rather vivid dream in which "My Boy TM" had bought the local church hall as his house, and having found a small African boy lliving in the basement brought said small African boy to live with us because I would be kind to the child.
I woke and couldn't help but wonder what that was all about. I didn't sleep much after that. I got up probably an hour earlier than I really needed to whilst on a week's holiday and fed a week's worth of undercrackers to the washing machine. I then scoffed brekkie whilst my dog snored next to me.
Eventually I prodded the dog awake and we went for a quick walk round the block. We stopped off at the vets so I could weight him on the dog scales. The vet has given orders for him to go on a diet. He's been on a diet for a few weeks now, but he's not lost any weight.
We came home, and whilst we waited for "er indoors TM" to leap into action I watched songs from "South Park" on You-Tube.
We then drove up to Chislehurst. On the Monday around my birthday me and "er indoors TM" try to do something to mark the occassion. It's often difficult to find something to do as many places are closed in February. I suggested going to play hunting Wherigos. I've hidden lots locally, but there's not much (i.e. absolutely nothing) for me to find. The closest ones were in Chiselhurst; so we went up and Wheri-wandered. We went for four of the things, we found all four. Each one had a little tourist guide that went with it. All quite interesting really - we found the house of the chap who invented Bank Holidays.
And there was even a bonus Earthcache too.
As we wandered we found a pub at lunchtime just as the rain was starting, so we had a rather good meal. And on the way home we had McFlurries with toffee sauce. Very nice.
Once home I put the washing machine doing its thing, and with "er indoors TM" off bowling I set about ironing my shirts. Or I would have done had the washing machine not taken over two hours to do the "one hour quick wash" cycle. Whilst I waited I set up my ChromeCast amd transmitted You Tube videos to it. I'm sure I will be able to do a lot more with the thing... once I know what it is and what it does.
If any of my loyal readers know what I can do with my ChromeCast I am open to suggestions...
24 February 2014 (Tuesday) - Sax (dot co dot uk)
Several years ago I turned away from the telly because it was crap. I looked to the Internet and found all sorts of other and better crap on it. And now with my Google ChromeCast I can broadcast this other and better crap to the telly. What goes around comes around.
I spent ages last night streaming my favourite You-Tube videos to the telly. UltraVox, South Park, ELO, Sparks cover versions, Parenthetical Girls, Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, Gay Daleks, even all the things the lesbian pirates said too.
Bearing in mind my penchant for using sat-nav for finding sandwich boxes, sometimes I wonder if the high-tech wonders of this modern age are wasted on me. It's possible I streamed too much; I had a rather disturbing dream that my smallest grandchild's first words were "doesn't Grandad watch a load of rubbish?"
I was up early today - I took my dog with me to get the car M.O.T.-ed. We left the car at the garage and walked home. As we walked guess who picked a fight with what looked to be the love child of a grizzly bear and a dinosaur. As usual with most dog-disagreements it was my one that was full of gob and the other one that backed down. It was only when we were half way home that I realised I’d forgotten to pick up poo-bags. I’m usually so OCD about dog-dung-bags.
I was so pleased that "Furry Face TM" didn’t need to drop anything this time.
Once home I had a quick tidy-up and then I went through my letter rack. First of all I checked my bank and credit cards statements. They are always worth checking - they aren’t always right. We got a free drink out of the Royal Oak in deepest Sussex last year, and it looks like I got a consignment of geocaching kit for free a little while ago as well.
Whilst far from rich, the accounts are looking far rosier than they were over the forced austerity of the last few years. I then found a voucher the garage had sent me a while ago for five quid off my next M.O.T.. I was just putting it in my pocket for later when the phone rang. My car was ready; M.O.T. passed. Result.. All that needed doing was one light bulb needed replacing.
So me and "Furry Face TM" walked back to WIllesborough to get the car. The garage had offered to come collect me, but a walk does us both good.
I don’t think it did any good for the three spaniels on whom my dog declared war though.
We came home, and over lunch I watched the episode of “Extant” from two weeks ago. It was quite entertaining. I then hopped into the car and drove to Crowborough. There is a rather good specialist saxophone shop there.
I’ve never seen so many saxophones; there must have been over a hundred on display. They were rather sexy. I was rather taken with a dark grey one which was only slightly more expensive then the new back door I’m buying.
But I didn’t need a new sax; I needed a new mouthpiece. The nice man set me up in a soundproof practice room and I tested out three mouthpieces before deciding that they really did all sound different. It was only a shame that the one I liked the best was the most expensive one.
I bought it anyway; my current mouthpiece cost me more than the saxophone to which it is attached.
Home (via a crafty geocache) and I watched another episode of “Extant” whilst the washing machine did its thing with some whites. Half way through the episode I had a phone call from someone from "Geoffery Masons" who was trying to pull some kind of PPI scam. I wasted fifteen minutes of his time before hanging up on him.
I then spent a little while fiddling with ny two latest Wherigo games. I shall field-test them tomorrow (weather permitting). I suspect one is ready to go, and one is not quite there yet.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered, and unlike last time I was able to get along. There was sausage rolls and cake. Cheesey Puffs and port. And even Star Trek too. Can't be bad..
25 February 2015 (Wednesday) - Busy, Busy...
I woke to the sound of rain this morning. Somewhat depressing. But as I scoffed brekkie so the rain slackened off. By 8am it was just fine drizzle so I put the lead onto my dog and we went for a walk. Firstly some geo-testing, and then home through Viccie Park where OrangeHead made a point of blanking me. Silly woman.
Once home I hoovered (with the Dyson); a couple of days ago the neighbours put a box outside their house. "Free Teddies" was written on the box, and inside were unwanted teddy bears. I took one for my dog, and today I hoovered up all the stuffing that was left.
I then had a sax practice. I've been skimping on that this week. I can do a half-way decennt rendition of the introduction to the theme to Star Trek. Trouble is I can't get any further into the tune because "Furry Face TM" will insist on singing along.
I scoffed a sarnie whilt watching "Extant"; I've caught up with the backlog of episodes and am now up to date with the show. It's quite entertaining, but is clearly written by someone who knows nothing about science. Like most science-fiction really, I suppose.
I then popped into town for a little mooch. I took my new shoes to have the heels replaced with ones that won't leave marks oll over the liino at work. The shoes cost a fiver, the new heels cost over a tenner.
I also went into the CEX shop and got several DVDs. All films I would have liked to have seen when they first come out, but now far cheaper. Six for ten quid - can't be bad.
Whilst in town I was rudely harangued by some woman collecting money for the Red Cross. She proudly boasted of how their efforts subsidise the Fire Brigade and Ambulance services. Personally I'm not sure this is a good idea. All the time do-gooders are shoring up deficiencies in the public budgets no government of any political party is ever going to fund public services properly. Look at the state the schools are in. We have to stage jumble sales to buy the text books. I told the woman this; she'd clearly never thought about it and got rather aggressive.
As I was out and about my phone pinged. Something had been posted on social media. A Member of Parliament has publically stated that astrology, along with complementary medicine, could take pressure off NHS doctors.... (takes a deep breath...)
Let's not make any mistake about this. he is talking rubbish. And as for those who feel that he is entitled to his opinion... he is *not* for two reasons. Firstly because he is talking out of his arse. And secondly because he is a Member of Parliament and as such he's in a position of responsibility. People will assume he knows what he's talking about.
I've said it before; democracy is a bad idea. it only works when people aren't demonstrably stupid.
Once home I had a phone call. My new door is ready; would I be able to have it fitted tomorrow? Yes, I would. That surprised them. Tomorrow is now door-fitting day.
I then set about several weeks worth of ironing whilst watching one of my new DVDs.
I was under the impresson that the film "Prometheus" was a prequel to the "Alien" series. It wasn't. If it had been intended as such then whoever made it might have benefitted from having watched the "Alien" series. I'm not saying I didn't like it. Far from it; it was quite good. It was just rather at odds with all that had appeared on screen before. Or am I the only person who feels that continuity is a vital part of any series of films.
"er indoors TM" texted. She was off out candlemongering and i was left to my own devices for tea time. My first thoughts were to go foraging in the direction of KFC or the kebab shop. But I was feeling rather worn out from the day's exertions so instead I had a look in the freezer. I was convinced that even I could boil up a pizza. After a bit of effort I did. I scoffed it whilst watching another DVD I'd bought; "Goodbye Charlie Bright" was a British film; the sort of thing I quite like. With pizza scoffed I sorted undercrackers for a while,
These long winter evenings just fly by...
26 February 2015 (Thursday) - Snakes, Ladders and Filth
Finding myself dozing off over the telly yesterday evening (I *hate* that!) I toook myself off to be shortly after 10pm and slept like a log round to 7am. I wish I knew what causes the difference between the good and the bad nights.
After brekkie I made ready for the new door's arrival, and sure enough the nice people from Everest were soon on the case. As they worked (for want of anything better to do) I programmed a virtual badger to play "Snakes and Ladders". As I messed about so my dog started barking. A postman walked up to the door, filled out one of those "there was no one in" slips and pushed it through the letterbox. I ran out and waved it at him. he asked my what my problem was. I explained he'd just put the thing through the door and there was someone in. He assured me there was no one in when he pushed the card through the door. When I quibbled he told me he was paid to deliver letters, not to argue, and he walked off.
I complained to the Royal Mail (who weren't in the sllightest bit interested) and after a *lot* of farting around it turned out that the parcel wasn't for me at all. It was for people who used to live next door.
With the new door in place I went on-line and downloaded the Ivor Biggun Album "Handling Swollen Goods". I had it on CD once; it's gone missing. I found that download is far cheaper than CD, so I replaced it with an e-album. I copied it to a memory stick and then sang along all the way to Folkestone where I went to visit the baby.
He can roll over now. Clever lad.
Back home, and after a little more "Snakes and Ladders" I then went to sax practice. I'm still having trouble sorting a sharp from a flat, but I'm getting there. This week's homework is from my TV themes music book. "Star Trek" and the theme from Blackadder.
"er indoors TM" set off to a hanndbag party (!) and over a raather good but of scoff I watched one of the DVDs I bought yesterday. "Green Street 2" was (in all honesty) crap. The first film in the series was about football thugs. This film was about football thugs in prison. It was utter tripe even if it did feature Marina Sirtis of "Star Trek" fame.
I then played more "Snakes and Ladders" until 11pm when I put the game onto my phone. I've done as much with it as I can from the laptop. Weather permitting I shall field-test it tomorrow...
27 February 2015 (Friday) - Astro Club and Stuff
I had a weird dream that I was hugging a teddy bear like I did fifty years ago and woke to find I was hanging on to my dog as though he was a rag doll. He didn't seem to mind though.
Over brekkie I read something which made my piss boil. You-Tube isn't making a profit. This is seen as very bad by those who own the thing because the only reason it is there is for it to make money. Personally I quite like You-Tube. All sorts of fun and obscure videos to watch, and free video hosting for myself. But the actual business of video hosting is secondary to making cash.
The museum in Hastings Old Town is up for closure because it too doesn't return a tidy profit.
It's a really sad indictment of our capitalist society that everything has to turn a fast buck. I've just spent a large part of the last few months desiging GPS games for the general public who will play them for free. It's cost me hours (weeks) of time and a not insubstantial amount of cash (for the physical aspects of the game). I don't want or expect any financial return whatsoever.
Am I the one who's got it wrong?
I put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little walk round to Frog's island where I field-tested my GPS "Snakes and Ladders" game. It seemed to work well. It was a shame that I've inadvertently put it on a football pitch, but people wanting to play it will just have to plan their day around the vagaries of football. Most people do that anyway...
Narrowly avoiding having my dog eaten by what looked like bear on a lead we came home where I hosed the mud from someone's belly and then booked camping for the upcoming geo-event in May. I've got used to cheap camping at kite festivals; a "proper" camping site is rather expensive in comparison.
I saxed for a while. "Star Trek" is coming along, as is "Blackadder". I can get so much sax practice done all the time a certain Patagonian Tripe-Hound is terrorising cats and birds in the garden.
Eventually he came in and I put my sax away. Over lunch I watched another of my new DVDs. "Platoon" is supposed to be a classic. I felt it was sadly lackiing a plot, and I slept through most of it. Eventually I woke; totally failed to solve a geo-puzzle for Sunday, and then set off to McDonalds where I met Jimbo and Stevey.
We shoveled McScoff down our necks then went on to astro club. Rather a good meeting; over eighty people turned out, clear skies (for those who like that sort of thing), good talks, and good company.
Oh, and Leonard Nimoy died today.. The Internet is full of mourning for the character for which he was most famous. I suspect not many people have read his biographies..
28 February 2015 (Saturday) - Busy Day
Yesterday I mentioned that Leonard Nimoy had died. Overnight more and more tributes to the character he played had sprung up on the Internet. Do people not realise his first autobiography was entitled "I Am Not Spock", he almost single-handely put the skids under the proposed TV series "Star Trek Phase Two" by refusing to feature in it, then suddenly realising what money-spinner Star Trek could be, he completely changed his tune.
Every single tribute (and there are thousands of them) are about his character Spock. Not one mentions his role in "Mission Impossible", or the films he directed, or the five albums he recorded. He was far more than just one fictional character.
It was a damp mucky morning; we took "Furry Face TM" round the Godinton estate helping with geo-maintenance. Whilst my back as turned he found (and smeared himself in) the most humungous pile of fox poo imaginable. We then walked a furter two miles through the mud and rain with the stinkiest dog imaginable.
The dog in question seemed happy enough though.
We came home and stinky had a bath. Three seperate shampoos and hose-downs to remove the worst of the smell. We then wrapped him in a blanket and settled him down and went to Folkestone. A quick bite of Subway for lunch (chicken tikka; very tasty) and then on to visit "Daddies Little Angel TM". Smallest grandchild was cute; his big brother claimed to be very strong and attempted to beat me up. I claimed he was very weak, and we wrestled for much of the afternoon. He wasn't that weak really, but I would never admit as much to him.
Home; a quick tidy-up, and then we had a game of cards. Three rounds of Texas; three rounds of Omaha. I was knocked out of both. Things mightt have been different had there been a nine in the putative straight, but you can't have everything...