1 February 2017 (Wednesday) - A Reunion
For the first time in seemingly ages the puppy was quiet and slept all night. Instead my phone kept me awake. I have the thing close by as I use its alarm, but despite the wifi, mobile data and Bluetooth all being turned off somehow it was beeping about notifications of emails and Facebook messages all night long.
I came downstairs a few minutes before the alarm was due to go off to find "Furry Face TM" had spent the night in his basket. He seemed very tired, and he didn’t stir once as I watched “The Darling Buds of May”. I worry about that dog; perhaps too much. I wonder why he was so subdued; perhaps the puppy keeps him awake too and he also just needed a good night’s sleep.
I had a quick look-see on-line. Very little had really happened on Facebook overnight, but I had an email from PayPal. They are changing their terms and conditions and are legally obliged to tell me so. I read what they sent; I did admire their cheek. “You do not need to do anything to accept the changes as they will automatically come into effect on the Effective Dates shown below. Should you decide you do not wish to accept them you can notify us before the above date to close your account”. Basically the gist is that they are unilaterally deciding to do whatever the hell they like, and if we don’t like it we can get knotted. I must admit I respect anyone who takes that stance. I might not like it, but I respect it.
And so to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how Parliament is wasting time debating whether or not to actually allow the Prime Minister to formally start the Brexit talks. Whilst it may well be a legal requirement for Parliament to have to give permission, does it really have to take up more than five minutes. The decision has been made; all the nastiness was done and dusted six months ago. Why drag it all up again?
There was also talk of how scientists have managed to communicate (with seventy per cent success) with patients in long-term vegetative states. One chap even managed to convey his displeasure at his daughter’s choice of boyfriend.
If ever I end up in a long-term vegetative state let’s not mess about with science. If it happens to me and it looks like being permanent, I want the plug pulling.
Just as I got to work my phone pinged. An email. On Monday I’d hidden a geocache at the base of a tree. The geo-feds had given it the big thumbs-down. There is the final stage of a puzzle cache too close nearby. But I was tol which puzzle was in the way do I shall have a go at solving it later.
I went in to work where I met a friend. A chap who I trained seven years ago is now a colleague again. It is a small old world in my business…
2 February 2017 (Thursday) - This n That
For the first time in ages I slept like a log; waking only five minutes before the alarm went off. Over brekkie I watched an old episode of “Dad’s Army” that the SkyPlus box had recorded for me, then I had a look on-line.
In addition to the stuff from LinkedIn which I never read I had an email which had been sent to my astro club account from Mike Tulisa. He said “My name is Mike Tulisa, I am writing to find out if you have any accommodation available for one week from the 22nd April to the 29th April 2017, it will be for me and my wife. Please kindly send me the details of the cost and your availability for that period or if you have anything close to that period as my schedule is a bit flexible and i could change dates”.
Mike Tulisa isn’t the only person who’s emailed the astro club recently trying to book accommodation. I wonder where these people get the idea that we are running a hotel?
I set of to work; I had a good run up the motorway. As I drove the pundits were talking about “health tourism”; they cited the case of a Nigerian mother of quadruplets who went into labour on a trans-Atlantic flight. Having had fertility treatment on the NHS she was then refused entry to the USA because she couldn’t afford American health care and on her way back to Britain she went into premature labour. Two babies died, and she ran up half a million pounds worth of medical bills that she can’t afford because she’s not a British citizen…
Well, what do we as a nation do? On the one hand we can’t afford to treat the world. On the other hand do we just let them die?
Yesterday I mentioned that my new geocache had received the thumbs-down from the geo-feds. In order to be able to put out a new cache I had to work out where the final location of a nearby puzzle cache was. Last night after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and wracking my brains I came up with the answer by a non-standard way of solving the puzzle. There are lots of non-standard ways of solving geo-puzzles; last night’s method of choice had Gordon and Lisa both telling me the answer to the puzzle. So once in the works car park I went to have a little look for the thing. I couldn’t find it, but knowing where it was allowed me to relocate my new cache to somewhere that the geo-feds might allow.
It is in quite a scenic location with squirrels and blue tits to keep it company.
I went in to work. Having started in a new place last week I rather assumed the cold that I’ve had for a week or so was something I picked up there. But today several people were coughing and spluttering. Perhaps I’ve infected everyone else? I hope not.
I did my bit and came home to find that "er indoors TM" had beaten me home and taken the dogs for a walk. That saved me a job! We then scoffed a rather good bit of dinner whilst watching the latest episode of “Taboo”. It started well, but it doesn’t seem to make much sense now…
3 February 2017 (Friday) - Unions, Mortgages
I slept like a log; finally waking just a few minutes before the alarm was about to go off. I noticed my little dog wasn’t on the bed; is it him that gives me restless nights? I found "Furry Face TM" asleep on the sofa. He seemed content, and as I scoffed brekkie and watched the antic of Pop Larkin on the telly, so my dog snored.
I set the washing machine loose on my undercrackers, then had a quick look at the Internet. I had the usual haul of emails including Amazon trying to sell me that which I’d already bought from them, and supposedly dethroned African royalty trying to scam me.
Not a lot had happened on Facebook, and so I set off to work.
As I drove the pundits on the radio did their level best to boil my piss. They were interviewing some official or other of the rail union RMT. The RMT have been embroiled in some dispute with train operators for months and the official was furious that the dispute has been resolved without them. In fact the chap seemed determined to carry on negotiations over a problem that had been solved.
I don’t know who this bloke was, but I’d like to meet him, if only to offer a slap. In theory trade unions are a brilliant idea. In practice they attract troublemaking twits like this who clearly was more interested in the sound of his own voice than in resolving the very problems that the union was there to solve.
There was also talk about houses aren’t selling anywhere near as much as they used to. All manner of rubbish was being spouted about why houses weren’t selling. However the so-called experts were adamant that falling house sales was in no way related to house prices.
When I took out my first mortgage it was standard to offer two and a half times your annual salary as a mortgage. Now it is up to five times your salary. Clearly the average man in the street can’t afford a house.
I made good time getting to work, and once there I did my thing. My Ham Street Lover moved house today; ideally I would have helped him move. But taking leave on my second week in the place seemed a little bit cheeky.
And with work done I came home via the petrol station. I have a gauge in my car which tells me how far I can go before refuelling. When I worked in Ashford I could do four hundred and twenty miles on a full tank. When I moved to Canterbury that became five hundred and twenty miles; presumably because my car is more efficient on “A” roads than it is around town. I had hoped for even more efficiency from motorway driving; but today’s refuelling gave me the same range that it always has done for the last five years.
I came home and watched an episode of The Crystal Maze. I could be wrong, but I think this episode had the worst team ever. At one point they had two team members locked in; at the end they had one crystal, and their final score was minus thirty-seven.
Oh, how I laughed…
My dog’s just been sick….
4 February 2017 (Saturday) - The British Museum
I slept reasonably well; I was conscious of the fact the puppy was sleeping on the bed, and that did keep me from being as relaxed as I might have been. She isn’t so much a puppy as a furry shark or crocodile and I was expecting a fang-attack at any minute. But I dozed until the alarm eventually woke me.
Over brekkie I had the obligatory look-see on-line. Very little had changed overnight.
Jimbo and Stevey arrived, we settled the dogs ("Daddy’s Little Angel TM" was coming to play later) and we made our way to the railway station where we met the rest of our number, and soon we were on the train to the wicked city.
We arrived at Charing Cross without incident. Jim’s sciatica was giving him grief, so half of our team took the tube to the museum; and half of us walked. We had a rather good walk through London, we found the obligatory geocache, and after fifteen minutes we were at the British Museum. Fifteen minutes later those who’d taken the tube caught up. I don’t know London very well, but I’ve always had this theory that it is quicker to get round the central bits on foot than by public transport.
We found a rather good restaurant over the road from the museum where we had a spot of brekkie. A very good spot of brekkie. And suitably fuelled we crossed the road.
The obligatory security check only took five minutes, and soon we were in the British Museum. It’s a rather interesting place but now having been there twice at weekends I think I’d like to go back mid-week when it is not heaving with tourists. We were in there for about three hours; we probably only saw about half of what was there. If we weren’t having to fight our way through hoards of utterly bemused foreigners I might have had a tad more patience.
Whilst there I saw something which made me think. There has been a lot of controversy recently about whether or not the burka should be banned in the UK. Should it? I don’t know. But I watched one burka-clad woman go arse-over-tit down the staircase because she couldn’t see where she was going.
We adjourned to the Museum pub over the road where a pint of “Old Peculiar” slipped down nicely, then we all wandered slowly back to Charing Cross. We went via an old haunt of mine: “Forbidden Planet”. Twenty years ago “Forbidden Planet” was *the* place to buy anything sci-fi-ish or geeky. Before the Internet the place was the best comic and book shop anywhere. Nowadays the comic and book section is non-existent, and the place is full of window-shoppers who were openly looking at the goods on the shelves then calling up the items on the phones to buy them cheaper on-line.
As we carried on I was stopped by an American tourist at Leicester Square. Would I take a photo of him using his phone? Of course I would, but I did tell him off for trusting a random stranger. I wouldn’t trust my phone to any random passer-by in London.
Once at the station I bought a hog-roast baguette, and then slept most of the way home. Compared to some of our trips to London today was rather short, but I did find it rather tiring.
We got back to civilisation, said our goodbyes, then we came home to chaos. I can always tell when my grandson "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" has been round to visit. We cleared the mess, then took the dogs for a walk. I’d had a message that the dogs’ worming treatments were ready to collect, and I’d confirmed with the vets that the dogs’ worming treatments were ready to collect. We got to the vets to find they had sold out of the stuff. I gently suggested that when they confirmed they were ready and I said I would be along to collect them, they might have put the stuff to one side. After all the tablets are a named prescription. The nice receptionists blamed the system. Personally I would sort out a better system…
"er indoors TM" boiled up some pancakes and set off to the film night. I devoured the pancakes and set about ironing shirts. Something of an anti-climax after such a good day in London, but shirts don’t iron themselves…
5 February 2017 (Sunday) – Hackington
Another good night’s sleep. I like those. I came downstairs to find my dog asleep in his basket. I did my morning things and had a spot of brekkie, and then perused the geo-map
A week ago I put out a new geocache near work. After a couple of days the geo-feds gave it the thumbs-down so I moved it. Last night I got a message that the place to which I’ve moved it is equally unacceptable as it is too close to another nearby puzzle cache. I spent a little while puzzling, and after getting a little hint I soon solved the puzzle. Sure enough my hide isn’t within the rules. Looking at the map it doesn’t look like there is anywhere near my new place of work that would be suitable for a new cache. Oh well..
I then spent a little while weeding out my Facebook friends list. I had 478 people on the list. Many are friends with whom I desperately want to keep in touch. Some are ex-colleagues, some are people I’ve met here and there, and some are family and friends I rarely see but with whom I want to keep in touch.
But on that list are also there are people who I added because they once (many years ago) came to the astro club, and people I met at kite festivals ten years ago, and people who added me back in a previous life when said people wanted to suck up to the boss. There are so many people about whom I get notifications about whom I find myself asking “who on Earth is that?” So I had a little weeding-out. The list is still rather long, but it is better than it once was.
I was a little dismayed to see that today was the Ashford 10K road race. Not content with making it crystal clear that we are not welcome in our own park once a week, the jogging community today effectively closed the town down. Fortunately we’d planned to be away before the road closures came into effect, and by mid-morning we’d met up with our geo-buddies and were wandering the lanes and footpaths found Hackington.
We had a rather good walk; a week ago the mud was frozen. Today it had thawed out and was rather squelchy. As we walked I saw a few rabbits, and the pheasant-shooting community were out in force from what we heard. It was only a shame that the day noticeably got colder as it wore on.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk; the paths were clearly marked, and the stretches on roads were either on incredibly quiet roads, or roads with good pavements. The hides were good even if one did fox us. Personally I felt they were rather spaced out; there were twenty two along a route which could probably have had thirty, but that’s just me.
I took a few photos as we walked; and with the route walked we retired to the Golden Lion in Broad Oak for a pint (or two). Once home we hosed the mud off of two rather grubby dogs who then both went to sleep.
As did I…
6 February 2017 (Monday) – Daleks
I had something of a restless night last night. I blame the dogs. I was awake a little while before the alarm, and over brekkie I watched the Darling Buds of May doing what Darling Buds of May do. Charlie got more than he was bargaining for from Primrose’s teacher and Mariette wasn’t happy.
I had a quick look-see on the Internet. Amazon suggested a few random e-books, but other than that there wasn’t a lot of note in my in-box. Facebook however had invited me to join the Bala Sailing Club. Based in North Wales, it would take me six hours and three hundred miles to get there. It looks like the Bala Sailing Club have paid to have themselves advertised. I would suggest they’ve not got to their target audience.
I also saw a friend had posted some complete rubbish about how the pension of a UK war hero is only six thousand pounds per year whilst illegal immigrants get thirty thousand pounds. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" posted a link showing that this was all lies, but it was too late. Sixteen other people had already shared the post. It amazes me how people take such lies at face value and spread them with no regard to the truth.
I set off to work; as I drove the talk on the radio was all about how President Trump’s latest scheme had been kiboshed by the American judges. Whether his scheme is good or bad is immaterial; what bothers me is that he communicates his contempt for the judiciary to the world via Twitter. I believe David Cameron also tweeted when he was Prime Minister? I can’t help but feel this somewhat lacks dignity.
I got to work and retrieved the geocache I put out last week, then had a rather busy day. I’m now on the third week, and…. I’m quite enjoying it, but there’s a *lot* of differences between what I’m doing and what I used to do. On reflection I probably made the right decision in moving, but there is no denying that retirement can’t come quickly enough.
I was twenty minutes late getting out this evening, but being twenty minutes late getting out gave me a clear run from work to the motorway, and I was home at 6.30pm.
So far it seems to make no difference what time I leave work in the evenings; I always seem to get home at 6.30pm.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scoff, then she went bowling leaving me with the puppy. My dog is no trouble; the puppy is a tad demanding. As she ran riot I watched a Doctor Who DVD. Starring William Hartnell, “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” is a classic. In order to fake a deserted London, many of the scenes were filmed in the very early hours of the morning when there weren’t many people about. But if you look very closely you can see the odd pedestrian going here and there. After a while I found myself looking for the people who weren’t supposed to be on screen rather than watching the actual program.
And then I realised that one of the heroes was a very young Mr Rumbold from “Are You Being Served”…
7 February 2017 (Tuesday) – Stuff
Not a bad night’s kip I suppose. It would have been better had my phone not told me about a Facebook Messenger message at half past midnight and an email at 5am. I wish I knew how the thing gets these notifications when all its Internet connections are turned off.
I got up, and watched the Darling Buds of May buy a brewery and win an election, then I thought I’d best see what that message and email were all about. The message was a rather cute picture of a dachshund, and the email was my leccie bill. The dachshund picture was cute, and the leccie bill has gone up by seven pounds each month.
I was rather amazed by the leccie bill. A couple of days ago I had a message from the leccie company telling me they were putting up their prices, and my bill would increase by about fourteen pounds over the next year. But an increase of seven pounds each month works out to an increase of eighty-four pounds a year?
I also saw there was news from Geocaching HQ. they’ve appointed a new head honcho. I wonder what difference (if any) that will make to hunting Tupperware.
I had a hunt round the Internet for mention of yesterday’s Sapphire jubilee. Yesterday was the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Queen’s ascension to the Throne. No other British monarch has reigned for so long. I would have thought the occasion would have been marked in some way. But it looks like absolutely nothing had been done for the event at all.
Something of a shame, really.
I set off to work; it was a cold morning, and I was nearly driven off the road by a rather arrogant Audi driver. Personalised number plates are especially good when you want to remember someone’s bad driving; if any of my loyal reads see a white car with registration “2 MSE” I’d suggest keeping your distance.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the Speaker of the House of Commons. Speaker John Bercow doesn't want President Trump to address Parliament and he has said so quite forcefully and publicly. It is quite unprecedented for a Speaker to make such an opinion known; the Speaker of the House is meant to be politically neutral. Whether he thinks President Trump should be invited or not is *not* something he should be voicing opinions about.
But if he does feel strongly, why did he previously allowed the Emir of Kuwait to address Parliament (Kuwait allows the imprisonment of homosexuals, doesn't punish domestic violence and allows marital rape) and why has he invited the President of China to address Parliament? (The list of human rights abuses of which China is accused is too long to list)
I got to work, had a rather good day really and came home. I left work on time, but didn’t get home any earlier than yesterday (when I left twenty minutes late).
I ran the dogs round the road, and then we had a bit of scoff. The usual suspects were mostly unavailably for the usual Tuesday meet-up, so we had a rather good curry and a bottle of plonk instead.
8 February 2017 (Wednesday) - Bit Dull
I had a little fiddle about with my phone last night and discovered I can set the thing to automatically keep quiet between certain times. I can’t stop it getting notifications from the Internet all night long (despite its Internet connection being turned off) but I can tell it not to tell me. I *think* it mutes the ringtone as well, so if anyone phones me in the small hours it won’t go off, but being phoned in the small hours hopefully wouldn’t happen anyway.
But for all the phone was silent last night, the puppy was incredible restless and so either way I didn’t really sleep. "Furry Face TM" had the right idea; he spent the night downstairs in his basket. Over brekkie he sat with me as we watched the Christmas episode of “Darling Buds of May” in which our heroes harboured an escaped convict.
I then had a little look-see on-line. I had several emails: the Oriental bank of Commerce (who?) were trying to scam me, Match dot com wondered if I was “up for it”, and some cheeky bunch were offering a free hearing test. Nothing much had happened on Facebook, so I set off to work.
It was a cold morning, and narrowly missing being rammed by a taxi I was soon on the motorway to Maidstone. As I drove the punters on the radio were talking about Parliament’s discussions about the Brexit deal. Basically Parliament want the power to veto any deal the Prime Minister makes, but given that Parliament doesn’t like what the Prime Minister comes up with, exercising their veto would just give the nation an even crappier deal.
Didn’t *anyone* think this out before the referendum?
I stopped off at Aldi before work to get some scoff; whilst there it struck me that I might hide a geocache there. So once at work I used the wi-fi to look at the geo-map to see if it might be possible. It tuned out I’d parked within yards of a cache. I shall have to go look for it.
I did my bit at work, and came home to walk the dogs round the roads. With "er indoors TM" off bowling I was home alone with the dogs. Fudge was no trouble, but the baby was somewhat troublesome. One minute she would be calm and placid, the next she would be nipping and biting. I wish she’d stop doing that…
Today was another rather dull day…
9 February 2017 (Thursday) – Stuff
I slept like a log until 4am when the puppy started walking all over me. That little dog really needs to start spending the night in her own bed. I tried to get back to sleep, but the puppy wouldn’t settle, so I gave up and got up. I had a quick look out of the window; the forecast frost hadn’t happened, which was something of a result.
As I scoffed brekkie I watched the last episode of “The Darling Buds of May”; did you know they only made twenty episodes of the show? I’m now at something of a loose end for what to watch in the mornings before work. Being something of an early bird I need something to keep me out of mischief for the best part of an hour each morning. As it looks like I shan’t be doing nights and odd hours for a few months, I need to find something with more than a few episodes to keep me occupied in the early mornings.
I’m thinking about going through “Battlestar Galactica” again, or possibly “You Rang M’Lord”
I set off to work, and as I drove my piss boiled as I listened to the radio. The news alternated between how hospitals are continually missing various targets and how things are getting worse in the NHS, and talk about Brexit.
Have you been to a hospital recently? Hospitals are places where the average Brit is either unqualified to work or unwilling to work. Consequently they are staffed by non-UK nationals; many of whom are feeling more and more uncomfortable with the aura of xenophobia which has swept the nation since the Brexit vote. Many have already gone home.
Sooner or later someone is going to make the connection…
I got to work and tried parking in a slightly different place to where I have been parking. I rather thought I’d been parking at the wrong end of the car park and having discovered a new back door to the hospital, this evening I got away five minutes earlier than I have been doing so.
I got home just as "er indoors TM" was taking the puppy to puppy class (the vets run a free puppy class) and so this evening’s dog walk was just me and "Furry Face TM". I quite liked it just being me and my dog this evening.
As we walked I kept looking at the sky. Some of the astro club were supposed to be running a stargazing event for the sixth form of a local school. There was no way I could have got there in time, and in retrospect I’m glad I didn’t go. The idiot teacher organising the event didn’t actually tell any of his students about it until this morning, and it turned out that all the students had gone to some other sixth form event which *had* been publicised…
10 February 2017 (Friday) - The Wizard of Oz?
Finally I had a rather good night’s sleep. I don’t think the puppy bothered me at all, and I woke a few minutes before the alarm to find I was cuddling my dog as though he were a teddy bear.
Over brekkie I watched a couple of episodes of “Chewing Gum”. I hadn’t been that impressed with this second series, but now it seems to have picked up somewhat.
I then had a little look on Facebook. Trivia and squabbles abounded in equal measure. And in my email in-box was the offer of ten quid’s worth of Gala bingo. I declined the offer, and set off to work.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing the boss of some plumbing firm. One of his contractors was suing the firm because he seemed to want all the advantage of being self-employed as well as all the perks of being an employee. I couldn’t quite understand the ins and outs of the case, but when it was mentioned that the chap in question was earning eighty thousand pounds per year I realised how this chap could afford to take his boss to court. Courts are beyond the pockets of the average worker.
I made good time to Maidstone, and thought I might save time in the evening by getting petrol in the morning. I wonder why I didn’t think of that last week. It is much easier navigating a petrol station in daylight than in the dark.
I got to work, and had a rather good day. And I got my name badge too.
Having made good time to work in the morning I made good time home, and was soon walking the dogs round the road. Yesterday I only had to walk Fudge; I had both of them today. It is certainly easier walking just one. As we came home so the snow started.
"er indoors TM" eventually came home; she’d been visiting "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM", but she brought home fish and chips. We scoffed it whilst watching the first episode of “Emerald City”; a twenty-first century re-make of “The Wizard of Oz”.
It was rather good, but I don’t think Dorothy had to be *quite* so “chesty”…
11 February 2017 (Saturday) – Dinner
I have made a decision. Whether "er indoors TM" likes it or not, the puppy is no longer sleeping in our bed. On it, maybe. In it, no. I finally saw red when she shoved her nose up my arse crack for the twelfth time last night.
Being wide awake I thought I might as well move my car. Parking is at a premium round our way, and yesterday evening the only place I could park was somewhere where parking isn’t allowed after 8am, so at 4am I thought I’d sort the problem. There had been a light sprinkling of snow overnight but it felt warmer in the snow at 4am than it had felt at 7.30am earlier this week.
I soon parked up and went back to bed for a couple of hours.
Over brekkie I had a look on-line. One or two people had commented about the snow; rather more were making sarcastic comments about social media becoming the Weather Channel. I felt it was rather ironic that those making snide comments were the very people who *never* have anything positive to say for themselves.
Mind you if Facebook is turning into anything, it is turning into eBay. More and more people won’t even flush the toilet without first seeing if they can sell it on Facebook.
I drove round to "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". Regular readers of this drivel may recall a Sunday in August last year when I drove the most recent fruit of my loin to Ramsgate. She paid good money for a second hand wardrobe and at the time I broke my back loading it into my car and lugging it to her flat. Today we took the fragments of that wardrobe to the tip.
If anyone else has anything they’d like me to collect from forty miles away and take to the tip…
With the tip run done I had a cuppa with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" whilst "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was watching some odd kids program which seemed to be about a load of hippy-tree-hugging-kung-fu elves. Kids TV ain’t what I used to be.
I then walked the dogs round the park. The snow had given way to drizzly sleet, and the paths and fields were damp and muddy, and the puppy insisted on continually jumping up at me.
We came home, "er indoors TM" then set off to take "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" to the shops and I had a look at the contents of my letter rack. This is the sort of job I used to do on mid-week rostered days off, but it will be a while before I get those again.
I had a reminder about getting the boiler serviced (dated last November)
I had reminders about my professional registration and my professional body. I needed to tell them that I now work somewhere else.
I had a letter about my tax codes. I often get those; they mean nothing to me. I also found my P45; that too meant nothing to me. And there was even a letter about claiming tax relief on the uniforms that I have to buy and launder for work. (What uniforms?)
There was the annual mortgage statement. Just under seven thousand pounds still to pay off.
Legal and General sent some rubbish. I wish they wouldn't. I have no accounts with them, and their letter just takes up space in my dustbin.
There was a reminder about next week's car service, and a money-off voucher for it. That was a result.
There was a letter about renewing the insurance on the SkyPlus box, and a similar one about the washing machine. I need to think about whether it is cheaper not to pay it and just buy a new one when the old one dies. But that's the gamble with all insurance.
There were some Christmas bargains from the Internet company which have now long since expired.
There was the house buildings and contents policy from The Policy Shop which I cancelled in favour of Hastings Direct, and there was the house buildings and contents policy from Hastings Direct.
And there was the parcel of geocache supplies which I'd ordered... which contained totally the wrong things.
I then ironed my shirts. Just as I finished ironing the last one "er indoors TM" pulled up outside and my phone beeped about a new nearby geocache. We made a minor diversion on our way to Tesco and got a cheeky First to Find. And with shopping at Tesco done we came home and got the house organised.
Kev and Jane arrived, and we had a rather good evening. We meet up so infrequently that we’d been saying we’d organise an evening for ages. We did so tonight. Really will have to do so again soon…
12 February 2017 (Sunday) - Milton Regis
I slept reasonably well now that the puppy has been banished to outside the bed. I would have slept better had my cold not returned with a vengeance; I got up shortly after 7am being unable to breathe, and spent half an hour or so coughing and snotting.
I scoffed brekkie whilst seeing that nothing much had happened on the Internet overnight, then we got ready for today’s adventure.
Today’s adventure was a walk wound Milton Regis country park where a new series of geocaches had recently gone live. We met up with a whole load of friends, and eight of us took the dogs for a rather good walk. Much of the walk was on hardstanding and on decent footpaths; for all that I wore wellies I didn’t really need them.
We had “dog episodes” as we walked. The puppy was limping at one point; we extracted two really nasty hawthorn spikes from her paw. "Furry Face TM" was limping at another point; we never did find out what that was all about. His limp came and went, and eventually went for good. (This happened to him the last time we went to Milton Regis).
Both dogs found rather stinky mud; I can’t say I was delighted to see them covered in the foul slime, but they both seemed happy. And (after all is said and done) the Sunday walk is something which is to be enjoyed.
Geocache-wise I rather liked the walk. I’d been told that the person who’d hidden the series had taken over several caches in the area and had got rid of the old ones and replaced them with new ones. I can remember going round the area a couple of years ago on a geocache-walk and at the time I rather thought we were rather randomly going from cache to cache, making up our route as we went along. Today’s walk was much more structured. I must admit there was a stretch along the main road which wasn’t as scenic as the rest of the walk, but in order to make a circular walk going up the main road was unavoidable.
There was another point at which we found ourselves presented with a locked gate. We found the way round it, and had we actually read the written instructions provided we would have seen that directions had been provided here.
After six and a half miles we found ourselves back where we started. It would have been nice to have slipped off for a pint, but we were all cold (the puppy was intermittently shivering) and the dogs were a bit whiffy. So we came home and the dogs got scrubbed. Once scrubbed "Furry Face TM" went straight to his basket and to sleep. The puppy fought sleep for a while, but she was soon enough snoring.
I took a few photos as we walked; once I’d done the ironing I posted them on-line whilst we watched “Carry On Matron”. There is always some dire film on telly on Sunday afternoons. "er indoors TM" then boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and we scoffed it whilst watching the latest episode of “Taboo”. I think I need to watch the series from the beginning; I haven’t the faintest idea what is going on…
13 February 2017 (Monday) - Freebie Telescope
I woke shortly before the alarm was due to go off to find I was holding "Furry Face TM"’s paw. I got up being careful not to disturb my dog, and over brekkie watched the last episode of “Chewing Gum”. I suspect that much of the show went over my head, but it kept me amused for half an hour or so.
Despite having had no Internet connection all night my phone had still received all sorts of notifications. But now that it spends the night in “Do Not Disturb” mode it doesn’t shout about them all night long, which is something of a result.
I thought I really should see what my phone had seen overnight. I had a couple of emails which weren’t really of any interest at all. Facebook was similarly uninspiring; there was talk about comet 45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdušáková. But only talk. The thing is too dim to be seen with the naked eye, and those people who’d got up at silly o’clock to look for it found an intermittently cloudy sky and a bright moon stopped them seeing anything.
"My Boy TM" messaged me; by brother’s in-laws are having a big family party to which we are all invited. My brother’s in-laws are a very friendly and welcoming bunch, but only seeing them once a year (at most) means I hardly know any of them.
"My Boy TM"’s also got work worries. The local news is full of stories of his firm going bust, and he has no idea of what is actually happening. Worrying times.
I then played “Genies and Gems” for a while before setting off to work. I had been told that the roads would be quieter today because it is half-term week. As I drove, the pundits on the radio were talking about how Tesco have been overcharging customers as they haven’t been taking down signs advertising offers which have long since passed. Is it a series of mistakes or a deliberate conspiracy? I don’t know about Tesco, but if it were Aldi I would say it was. The Maidstone Aldi is conveniently placed for me to visit on the way to work, but the staff in there are perhaps the most surly and uncooperative people I’ve ever met.
The roads *were* quiet on my way to work; I made good time. I had a very busy day, and then came home through *very* heavy traffic. The cars which weren’t on the roads this morning were out in force this evening.
I made a little detour on my way home from work; over the weekend the astro club had been offered a telescope. A chap had been given a Celestron Astromaster 130EQ but didn’t feel he could use it, and wondered if the astro club could make use of it. I collected the thing this evening.
I’ve posted on the club’s Facebook page; the membership have been offered the use of it. I hope the thing gets used, but in all honesty my gut feeling is that the thing will still be in its unopened box this time next year.
We have *loads* of kit that never gets used…
14 February 2017 (Tuesday) - Lemony Snickett
Not a bad night’s sleep really. The banishment of the puppy from under the covers continues. So rather than rummaging about under the covers she does spend an inordinate amount of time marching about all over me. But she’s still a baby really.
Over brekkie I watched a very old episode of “Dad’s Army”, and when it finished I found the telly was tuned to “Off the Hook: Extreme Catches”. It was a disappointment; supposedly a fishing show, the wrestler who presented the show gave up with rod and line and dived into the water to wrestle with a catfish. For no reason I could fathom he enlisted the help of two bikini-clad bimbos to wrestle with the catfish too. He then went in search of sea urchins; apparently each sea urchin has five gonads, and you eat them raw.
I had a quick look-see on the Internet; I had an email telling me that Russian women are still hot for me. I would post the link they sent, but puritanical values and a desire not to spread viruses made me decide otherwise. Over on Facebook I had another friend request from some woman I don’t know (who wasn’t wearing much).
I did have a wry smile at some of the Facebook groups I follow. There is to be a new Star Trek series; reading what is being posted on the Internet it would seem that most so-called Star Trek fans have decided against the show before it has even been made. Why do people do this?
I wrote out a hand-made thank you card for the chap who’d given the telescope to the astro club, and set off to deliver it on the way to work. I’d thought about posting it but by the time I’d farted about getting a stamp and finding a post box it was quicker and easier to deliver the thing myself.
Narrowly avoiding being run off the road by a French Norbert Dentressangle lorry I made my way to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how Rolls Royce are losing money hand over fist. The general consensus was that if they stuck to engineering all would be fine; their losses were all to do with currency deals. Personally I think there is something morally wrong where you sell pounds to buy euros, sell those euros to buy dollars, sell those dollars to buy yen, sell those yen to by zlotys, and when you sell those zlotys to buy pounds you end up with more money than you started. But enough other people seem to make a living doing it with no moral qualms.
Work was busy; again the roads to work were empty and the roads home were incredibly busy. I got home just as "er indoors TM" was taking the dogs out. Perhaps I should have gone with them. I didn’t; I had a little doze. I was feeling rather done in.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered; tonight in Somerset Road. Matt provided loads of sweeties, and we randomly watched the first episode of “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. It was a rather good evening; and then we got the news that my father-in-law had died…
15 February 2017 (Wednesday) - Out For Dinner
I slept reasonably well; I would have slept better had I got up and had a tiddle at 2am rather than laying in pain. I do that so often.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Dad’s Army” whilst the washing machine set about some jumpers, then I checked out the Internet. Not much had changed overnight, and I’d had no emails at all. I hung out the jumpers and set off to work.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio (as always). Amazing as it may seem, the theory that Donald Trump is a Russian agent seems to be gathering credence. I can’t pretend to be an expert on the matter and I’m sure he’s getting a very bad press, but the bloke does come over as a bit of a twit.
A Russian agent? Time will tell…
Once at work I had a rather busy day, but nowhere near as fraught as "er indoors TM" and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" who were in Hastings following yesterday’s family bereavement.
Once home we walked the dogs, then we went out for a meal with "My Boy TM". We went to the Harvester; I’ve walked past the place so many times over the years but had never been there before. It was rather good. Might just go back again…
I’ve spent quite a bit of time today thinking about my father-in-law’s death yesterday evening. When I first met him in 1982 he was active and full of life; there is no denying he liked a drink from time to time. But over the years he slowed down; so much so that for the last ten years or so he was always in “his” chair when we went to visit. His health hasn’t been at all good for years following all sorts of scares.
We went to see him when he was in hospital on 8 January. At the time he was chirpy enough, but was clearly struggling for breath. Over the last few weeks he’d got worse and worse. There is no cure for pulmonary fibrosis and his time was up. The last few days were terrible for him and all those around him.
There are those who are against euthanasia. I can’t say I’m without reservation on the matter. A blanket policy of putting them all down once they hit retirement (a la “Logan’s Run”) is clearly wrong. And there are loads of people who have been written off by the medical profession who then go on to live for years (I know one such person).
But some people are clearly terminal and want the pain to stop, and forcing them to suffer is just wrong.
Let me be crystal clear - if I end up like Frank, I want the plug to be pulled.
16 February 2017 (Thursday) - Cornish Aid
A very good night – the puppy didn’t march about the bed, and Fudge spent the night in his basket. Over brekkie my dog stayed in his basket, and snored quite a bit. He has seemed rather subdued these last few days; "er indoors TM" says he’s lost weight but he still looks like a little barrel to me.
I sparked up my lap-top and had the obligatory check on-line. I had an email from Ms Evelyn Adams (?) who addressed me as “My Dearest Beloved in the Lord”. She wanted to give me six million pounds because she was dying and there was “no hope for her to be a living person again”. If she was really dying I would have thought she would have been far better spending her money on medical treatment rather than randomly giving it to some stranger. I also had emails from Nuffield Health and Health Insurance First who were both offering to sell me what I get for free from the NHS.
I had a friend request on Facebook. Sarah Carla Haddix wanted to be my friend. She also wanted to “share naked with naughty boys!” My back wasn’t up to any of that nonsense so I set off to work.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing several angry Cornishmen. They were very forthright in their opinion that Cornwall gets very little out of the UK Government, and they cited all sorts of examples of local projects and initiative that had been funded by EU initiatives. They were rather worried that the EU funding was going to dry up after Brexit, and at that point they felt that Cornwall would be akin to a third world country.
Ironically the next article on the radio was all about how much money (in overseas aid) the UK gives to India and China. The point was made that should we be giving aid to countries that have successful space programs. Personally until such time as Cornwall launch their own moon shot I think we should be keeping the money more in-house.
Work was good; though I must admit I sulked a little. Several friends were off on a mid-week geo-walk today. A few months ago I would possibly have been in a position to have joined them. Oh well, the opportunities will come again.
I came home and walked "Furry Face TM" round the roads; "er indoors TM" had taken the baby to puppy class. We had a good walk, and came home to play “tug”. “Tug” is a game in which my dog destroys as many teddy bears as he can before "er indoors TM" catches him. "er indoors TM" came home and caught him, then went off out to craft class; leaving us all “home alone”.
I watched more episodes of “You Rang M’Lord” whilst the dogs ran riot. As dogs do.
And in closing today I’d like to say hello to my new readers. Every week this blog gets read about four hundred times (on average); over the last week that has gone up to over two thousand. That’s a lot..
17 February 2017 (Friday) - Windscreen Repairs
Last night I set the washing machine loose on my undercrackers. I got up a few minutes early this morning with a plan to sort them out only to find that "er indoors TM" had already dealt with them. That was brave of her.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “You Rang M’Lord” before doing my morning check of the Internet. I’d had no emails of note and Facebook was equally dull so I set off to work.
It was foggy as I drove to work; as I drove the pundits on the radio were lambasting President Donald Trump again. Whilst it is still early days for him, he seems to be making something of a hash of being president. I can’t help but feel that the trick to holding any elected office is pacifying all sorts of competing factions. Mr Trump has never before held an elected office, nor has he done any military service (in which he would have to take orders). Instead he’s always been his own boss, and having had a lifetime of giving out the orders hasn’t prepared him for an office which he *can’t* effectively run as a dictatorship.
I got petrol, then went on to Sainsburys where I got doughnuts for work. In my last workplace fifteen doughnuts would have been plenty. I’m now working in a much bigger place. I bought forty; next time I’ll get fifty. But getting doughnuts was a good move; people who until now have only nodded politely are now chatting to me.
I took an extended lunch break. There was a chip in my windscreen and National Windscreens were only a couple of miles away. They fixed the chip whilst I stood and watched. I was fascinated. I’ve never seen a chip fixed before. The nice man also repaired the iffy window trim too. I can’t recommend National Windscreens highly enough. Especially as they fixed the chip when Autoglass said it was not repairable and wanted to replace the entire windscreen for several hundred pounds.
I was only ten minutes late back to work.
I was a little late out of work this evening; I wanted to make up the time. I came home and walked the dogs round the block, then advertised next week’s astro club meeting all over Facebook.
"er indoors TM" came home with a curry. That got scoffed, then I got the ironing board out. Shirts don’t iron themselves…
18 February 2017 (Saturday) - Car Wash, New Collars...
I slept surprisingly well in between jumping in and out of bed to check for car parking spaces outside the house. Yesterday I’d parked on the double yellow lines round the corner in Whitfeld Road and I had to move the car before 8am. A space became free at 7.15am.
Having moved the car I set the washing machine loose on some whites then did some CPD (it’s a work thing). Continuous Professional Development is easy to do; all of us in every walk of life do it all the time. Some of us have to record it though. Recording it is also easy, but that does take a little effort. I made that effort this morning. The rules say we can record our CPD in whatever format we like; some people have reams of paper stuffed into folders. I prefer to blog. I originally started blogging CPD in a previous life when I was a training officer; I did so to demonstrate to trainees how easy it was. Over the years the thing (like this blog) has developed a life of its own; the hit counter remains dormant until I update, and when I update it goes through the roof with hits from all over the world.
I hung out the washing to dry, and took the dogs round the park. Fudge was itching to go out; Treacle didn’t seem overly fussed about going. As we walked we saw a chap fishing in the river near Bowens Field. I know a little bit about fishing; one of the best tips I could give would be not to fish over the brambles. Ideally you should go to where you can get right to the water’s edge. If this chap hooked anything he would have a terrible job getting it over the thicket behind which he was fishing. He’d also set up his rods as though he was beach-casting so he obviously had no idea what he was doing.
I speculated about pointing out the error of his ways but decided to leave him to it. He will learn from his mistakes, or he will not.
We came home, and I then spent over an hour cleaning up my car. It had gotten rather grubby inside and out over the last few weeks, and I had this (admittedly simplistic) theory that a clean car is more likely to pass its MOT on Monday morning. Also I needed to get all the dog hairs out; we can’t arrive at the funeral on Wednesday covered in dog hairs.
I actually filled a dustbin bag with all sorts of rubbish that I’d been carrying around in the car (that should improve the fuel economy) and I swept and Hoovered the inside before giving the outside a good scrub. It is a shame that it still looks like it needs cleaning. I might take it to a car wash tomorrow,
As I scrubbed I noticed that my car has euro-number plates (I’ve never really paid attention to them before). I wonder if they will have to go with Brexit?
"er indoors TM" mate arrived with new collars for the dogs, and we then cleared up two puddle of puppy tiddle. I had vaguely been hoping to help a geo-pal move stuff into storage this morning, but it was mid-day before I’d finished fiddling about. I’d intended to sort out my fishing gear today, but time had run out. We had a quick bit of cheese on toast and set off to Kings Wood where we met Tracey and the girls. Together we all walked the dogs round some rather pretty woods (finding a few geocaches as we went).
We only had a short walk, and with the walk done we then relocated to a nearby pub where the monthly geo-meet was in full swing. It is always good to meet friends; it was only a shame the pub was so hot. After an hour or so I was feeling rather ill, so we said our goodbyes. That took an age as everyone wanted to say goodbye to the puppy. Perhaps she too was feeling the heat as she was sick on the way home.
I then pretty much wasted the evening dozing in front of the telly…
19 February 2017 (Sunday) - Family Dinner
I was dozing when I was awoken by a text message at 745am. Despite having cancelled them three days ago, Autoglass had confirmed that they were on their way. I phoned them back to remind them that I’d cancelled them, and during the course of the conversation the woman I spoke with contradicted everything the previous two representatives had said to me.
I pootled about on the Internet for a bit, then decided I’d lazed about enough. I took the dogs for a walk round the park. The Park Run people were there, but fortunately hadn’t started their run so we were able to get round without too much trouble. When they run, they do so six abreast and swear at everyone else daring to walk along the paths. I know they use the park on Saturdays, I didn’t realise they did on Sundays as well…
With the dogs walked we drove to Tesco’s at Park Farm, and on finding it closed we went to the Tesco by the hospital. Whilst the nice people gave my car a good valeting (as opposed to the poor one I did yesterday) we got the makings of dinner. We then went home and "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good lunch. As she cooked so the family arrived. We had a rather good time, a really good dinner; loads of puddings, port and cheese. Then I tried to stay awake as we played cards.
All too soon the littluns had to go home the smallest ones have got school tomorrow. Jake managed to lose one of his shoes; that took some finding.
We need to do family dinner at home more often… after all nine of us ate for what it cost two of us in the Harvester in the week,
20 February 2017 (Monday) - A Day Off
I had a bit of a lie-in today. But only a bit of one. I was up shortly after 7am and once ablated and breakfasted I got the dogs breakfasted and we set off.
I had a day’s leave today because my car was booked for its MOT and service today so we drove out to the garage and left the car there. We walked through Newtown where we met up with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM", Sid and Pogo, and we went for a little walk. We wandered all around South Willesborough; finally ending up at McDonalds of all places (would you believe it?). The humans had a cup of coffee each, and some of a sausage and egg McMuffin. But only some of it; dogs like sausage and egg McMuffins.
We’d vaguely hoped the car wouldn’t have been long in the garage so we’d stayed in its general vicinity hoping to pick it up, but there is only so long that you can loiter, so we eventually went home. As I came past Asda I made a quick geo-find - a geocache had appeared there a couple of weeks ago, and I’d not had chance to go look for it until today. I soon find it and did the secret geo-rituals.
Once home Treacle had a quick bath; she’d got very muddy playing with Pogo whilst we’d been out. I then settled the dogs and walked into town. "er indoors TM" wanted some money bags and I had a cheque to pay into the bank. Whilst in town I popped into the mobile phone shop; apparently I get 500Mb of data every month that can be used overseas. That will come in handy for my upcoming trip to Bruges.
I then made my way home past the Chill Time milk shake shop. In a novel break with tradition they were open (they are usually closed whenever I pass), and I got myself a Battenberg milk shake. Very nice.
I came home again; I had hoped the garage would have phoned whilst we were out, but they didn’t. I was piddling about waiting for the garage to ring when "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned in high dudgeon. She’d applied for a job as a recruitment administrator. The company had emailed her wanting to know specific details of her childcare arrangements. I thought that employers weren’t allowed to ask that sort of thing. I know I wasn’t when (in a previous life) I used to interview potential recruits.
I put on a “You Rang M’Lord” DVD and slept through it until the garage rang to say the car was ready. I thought about getting a taxi, but by the time I’d waited for a taxi it would have been quicker (and cheaper) to walk the two miles to collect my car. So I walked.
My car had passed its MOT, but by the time they’d MOT-ed, replaced a couple of bulbs, re-gassed the air-con and done a service the bill was a little more than I’d been expecting. I was naively hoping to pay just under a hundred and fifty quid; it came out at two hundred and forty quid. And to add insult to injury they reminded me that in eighteen months’ times I shall need to replace the cam belt (about five hundred quid).
As I drove home I got a message. Pogo has been limping ever since our morning walk. I felt guilty – I’d trodden on one of his front paws when he ran underneath me earlier. But he was having problems with his back paw. I was off the hook.
I had a shower, and then video-ed the aftermath. *Every* time I have a shower Treacle has to lick my head like a lollipop. Once she’s done that she falls asleep behind my head and snores. She makes for a comfortable pillow, albeit a noisy one.
With "er indoors TM" off to the bowling beano I was left “home alone” for the evening so I watched a DVD I’d bought whilst in town earlier. ID2 was very good (if you like that sort of thing). I will need to watch it again at some point when the dogs aren’t making such a noise…
21 February 2017 (Tuesday) - Happy Birthday to Me !!!
I decided not to take my birthday off work on my nineteenth birthday. The first birthday I had whilst at work was a Saturday, and the second was a Sunday. However my nineteenth birthday (21 February 1983) was a Monday. I didn’t think to book a day’s leave, and I can remember that day; it sucked. I have booked a day (or week)’s leave for the subsequent thirty-four birthdays.
However the trouble with having a birthday in mid-February is trying to do anything to celebrate that birthday. I always do all sorts of things around my birthday but finding stuff to do on the day itself can be problematical; most local places are closed, and it is usually rather cold and everyone else is at work. Looking back at my last ten birthdays I see I did the following:
2007: Went to The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum
2008: Went to the Shepherd Neame brewery
2009: Went to the London Dungeon
2010: Went out for dinner with friends from Brighton
2011: Went to see my mum
2012: Went for an interview
2013: Went to the zoo
2014: Had fish and chips in Rye
2015: Had a serious booze-up
2016: Had a rather good pub lunch
There’s no denying that I was probably going to be at a loose end today. "er indoors TM" couldn’t get the day off work, and with her step-father having died we weren’t really feeling like doing much anyway. "My Boy TM" was similarly rather down in the dumps with the local news carrying the sad story of the demise of the firm where he works. But he was off work today, and so we decided to go fishing. We both like fishing.
We started off at Rocky’s café for a fry-up; we were there before they opened. It was a good fry-up and once it was scoffed we set off to Shirkoak. Not only had the car park been opened before we got there, the chap who owns the place let me fish for free as It was my birthday.
It was a rather good day to be out; we saw a woodpecker doing his thing. It was a tad cold, but not *too* cold, and the rain didn’t last for long. I got to try out my new fishing chair (that I rescued from the tip) and I was pleased to find it was ideal. I even got to use my new net too.
Fishing-wise we had a good day, but (to be honest) we both had the quietest day at Shirkoak we’ve ever had. I suppose that isn’t really surprising bearing in mind it is mid-February. But because the days are now longer than they are in December we got to stay out for a couple of hours longer than we did last time.
You can see what we did by clicking here.
We came home shortly after 5pm; I out my tackle away and walked the dogs round the road. As always Fudge was raring to go on his walk, and Treacle didn’t seem fussed whether she went out or not.
"er indoors TM" came home, and we went to the local Wetherspoons for a bit of birthday dinner. Compared to previous birthday dinners tonight was a rather quiet do, but what with what’s on the cards tomorrow a quiet do was ideal. Ten of us had a rather good dinner.
Must do steak night more often…
22 February 2017 (Wednesday) - A Funeral
We buried my father-in-law today.
I first met Frank some time in 1982 in the bar of the Regent hotel in St Leonards. I’d just started going out with "er indoors TM" and it was time to meet her (step) father. I’d been told his Irish accent was rather thick. He seemed friendly enough; he bought me a pint, I am reliably informed that he was cheeky about my coat (I wore a very distinctive coat at the time), but I didn’t understand a single word he said at the time. I smiled politely; hoping for a translation.
That really set the scene for the next thirty-five years. I always got on well with him; but never understood a word he said.
Over the years the fruits of my loin would go and stay with him. They both loved him. They would help him in the kitchens of the various bed-and-breakfasts he ran. On one of the occasions I understood him he was shouting “oh sweet Jesus” as the toast under the grill had caught fire.
On another occasion he got an allotment. Not to grow anything but so various grandchildren could play (under his strict supervision) with a petrol-powered rotavator he’d acquired. In later years he had a mobility scooter which I never saw him use. I’m told he went to the park in it, but I am sure that this too was a toy for the younger members of the family.
As time pushed on so Frank’s health deteriorated. He recovered from cancer of the throat a few years ago, but that was but one of his problems. Last Christmas he jokingly showed us a list of all his conditions. After a recent bout in hospital he’d asked one of the doctors to write him a list of what was wrong with him; it filled an A4 sheet of paper.
Today was the funeral. There was a minor disaster as the road outside his house had been closed for resurfacing, but the contractors stopped work to allow us in and for the funeral procession to leave. We made our way to the Catholic church in the Old Town, and the priest gave a very good service. Frank had been a churchgoer there, and the church had looked after him in his last days.
From there we relocated to Hastings cemetery for the burial. Again the priest gave a good service at the graveside. Short and sweet, which was what was called for on a cold windswept afternoon.
From the cemetery we moved to Hasting sea front for the wake in the sea angling society’s social club. The wake went as well as a wake can go.
I was rather relieved to get home. Today had been rather tiring…
23 February 2017 (Thursday) - Not in the News
I had a rather early night last night and slept like a log. Yesterday had been rather tiring. I got up just before the alarm this morning. Over brekkie I watched an episode of “You Rang M’Lord” then had a look-see at what was going on in cyber-space.
It seemed that very little had happened on Facebook overnight; that was probably for the best. Things have been rather fraught on there over the last few days. Maybe one day I’ll elaborate on that at some point; maybe not. One of the good things about being autobiographical here is that I can dwell on the better things in my life and gloss over the rest.
I had an email from LinkedIn. Unlike their usual stuff, this one was interesting. It linked to a rather interesting article which was talking about how in this digital age employers are expecting their staff to be available (via mobile phone and internet) all day every day, and how there is now legislation in France to allow staff to have “the right to disconnect”. I can remember back when I was in a supervisory role I didn’t seem to have that right. Looking back I was effectively on duty all day every day from the summer of 1988 until the autumn of 2011. I would regularly get phone calls at all hours of the night, and be expected to go into work to solve problems at a moment’s notice. Even when I took the scouts for extended holidays in Canada I was still hounded with questions and problems from work via email.
I also had an email about a supervisor vacancy where I now work. I considered applying for maybe two minutes…
As I browsed my lap-top had a visual C++ runtime error. I wonder what that was all about?
Usually I take the entire week of my birthday off work. This year I didn’t; I’d only booked three days off. I thought it was rather cheeky asking for more only having been in the new job for a month, and I’d (rather pessimistically) thought to save a few days in case Monday’s MOT had gone badly and I needed more time off over the next few weeks for some vague unspecified car-related reasons.
As I drove to work I wondered if those on the radio would give any air-time to today being the fifty second anniversary of Stan Laurel’s death. They didn’t; neither did they make mention of the star discovered to have seven earth-like planets. Instead they wittered on about political trivia which will be forgotten by tomorrow.
I stopped off at Lidl’s for supplies, then went in to work. I had a good day, and because of various hiccups I was over an hour late getting out. But I didn’t mind. In fact I was rather pleased about it.
The bosses were very appreciative of my efforts. It is some years since I’ve felt I’ve done anything worthwhile at work…
24 February 2017 (Friday) - Long Day
Storm Doris hit yesterday. After a spot of brekkie I checked the back garden for damage. We lost a couple of fence panels. I say “lost”; fell down is a more accurate description of what happened. I suppose I’d better sort it out at the weekend. The panels look fine; I just need a new upright and a way of keeping it up (ooer!)
I then had my obligatory check of the Internet before work. Edna Haviva Tse had sent me a friend request on Facebook. I don’t know her but she assures me that her sexy breast and her naked body will make me really hot! That’s something to which I can look forward…
But seriously though. This person is advertising pornographic sites. I went through the reporting process and the powers that be at Facebook said that this pornmonger was not breaching any of their rules. They ban people for using an alias but allow the promotion of pornography. There is something wrong there.
With no emails at all having turned up overnight I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the state of the Labour party. Two of their prominent MPs have resigned and there were by-elections to replace them yesterday. The Labour party held one seat (with a seriously diminished majority) and lost the other seat (which has been a safe Labour seat for over fifty years) to the Conservatives. Much as it pains me to say so, the Labour party is clearly rapidly going down the toilet and its so-called leader Mr Corbyn is pulling the flush himself. And again the fellow takes no responsibility for the state of his party.
I stopped off at Sainsburys for petrol, and went to work where I had a rather frustrating day. I was working in a part of the lab where there was a notice board with various photographs of staff parties and staff families and the like. There was a photo of one of my new colleagues with a woman who looked incredibly familiar, but I couldn’t identify her. After a few hours the chap walked past; I asked him who this woman was with whom he’d been photographed. He giggled nervously, and said he had no idea. Apparently she was some celebrity from the telly. I wonder who this celebrity was?
I had hoped to get some McScoff after work, but time was against me. I went straight to Woodchurch to find I was the first member of the astro club committee to get to the hall, but not the first person. Half a dozen people (who had never been to the club before) had turned up incredibly early. I got the keys, asked them to give me a few minutes, got set up, and then had a row with them. One silly old bat had set herself up as their ringleader and refused point-blank to pay two quid to come to the meeting. She’d lived in Woodchurch all her life and why should she pay to come to a meeting of the astronomy club when she had no interest in astronomy. She was actually looking for the meeting of the parish council in the hall next door.
This boils my piss. Every single meeting of the astro club is plagued by locals who make a grand entrance only to find they want the parish council meeting taking place next door. Surely anyone going to something as local as a parish council meeting would know where the thing is taking place?
Once we’d got rid of the parish council the astro club meeting went rather well. We had several new people, and it was standing room only when we started.
Mind you I was glad to get home. I arrived home shortly after 11pm; only sixteen hours after I left home this morning…
25 February 2017 (Saturday) - Fence Fixed
It was well after midnight before I got to bed last night. I slept like a log, and was pleasantly dozing when "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" woke me with a text saying how they’d hardly slept.
I made myself some toast and had a look at the Internet. I found myself looking at a geocaching-related group called “geocarping”. The whole idea of the group is that you go there to whinge and moan about all things Tupperware-related, but it is rather depressing. I have rarely read such a load of nastiness (and being on the Internet it is up against some rather stiff competition).
But on a more positive note I had a message from someone who’d been to Ashford to do some of my Wherigos. They sent a rather nice message. I really should see about making that Crystal Maze themed one I’ve been planning for months.
But "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" were on the way, so I got dressed and made a start in the garden. Before long the most recent fruit of my loin (and her branch of the family tree) were with us. As "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" wreaked havoc inside, Sam and I fixed the fence. The old fence post had been cemented in place; over the years the post had rotted and Thursday’s storm had proved too much for it. The post had snapped at ground level. Fortunately, the fence panels were still intact so today’s job was dead simple. We had to move the fallen panels out of the way, dig out the concrete core in which the old fence post had been buried, replace the post with a new one, and put the fallen fence panels back in place. Dead simple to type out. Straightforward to do… To be honest it *was* a straightforward job. I’d moved the panels out of the way before anyone had arrived. Sam and I did struggle to get the old concrete core out. It took some digging, but after forty minutes we managed to get a rope around it and heaved it out. We then reviewed the situation. We knew we needed to go shopping for a new post. We decided to get a Metpost rather than concreting again, so we went to B&Q. We got the post (it was on clearance sale – result!) and we got a new club-hammer and a screwdriver set, but B&Q didn’t have a Metpost. We asked the staff but… Have you ever asked the staff anything in B&Q? They are all pleasant enough people, but know absolutely nothing about that which they are selling.
So we went to Wickes. Not only did Wickes have what we wanted, but the journey back home took us right past McDonalds. We paused briefly for a cheeky McBreakfast before coming home to finish the job. We stuck one of the fence panels in place, got the new post into the ground square to the fence panel, then put the final panel in place. So easy to type, not so easy to do. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" came out to help and offer sage advice and film the operation. In retrospect, the job would have gone quicker had one of the dogs not fallen in the pond (about five minutes twenty seconds into the video).
After two hours the job was done. Sam worked wonders with me this morning. Replacing fence panels is something for which you need some help. By this time Cheryl, Lacey and Rolo had arrived, and we all took the dogs for a walk round the park, then had KFC for lunch before the family all went their various ways.
We went to Tesco for a little shopping, then came home and had a minor tidy-up. I then emailed the BBC… A nice lady from the BBC emailed the astro club a couple of days ago. They wondered if we might like to do help create an intro link for them which they would show between programs. You can see what they had in mind by clicking here. This idea was put to the membership last night and there was quite a bit of interest. So I emailed the nice lady from the BBC to discuss how we might proceed, and I immediately got an automated email reply saying “Hi there, I have now finished at the BBC. Many thanks”. I suspect the project is now dead in the water, but we shall see.
I was rather late crawling out of my pit this morning; I ached from the fencing work yesterday. Dog breakfast was entertaining; the puppy has decided that the biscuit bowl is now a toy. She now drags the bowl around the living room and has taken to chewing lumps out of it.
Just as I sat to scoff my toast we got the news that Jose had a hangover. I smiled. Despite the copious quantities I consumed last night my head was rather clear. Mind you I had enough pain from the aching.
I checked the Internet as I had brekkie. Ongoing Facebook squabbles seemed to have quietened down overnight. I’m getting rather sick of Facebook squabbles; they *always* take the same format. One protagonist has a grievance about something another has done. However rather than saying “I am unhappy because…”, they say “I hate you” and the whole thing descends into bitter nastiness. The original problem remains unresolved on one side and a mystery to the other. I’m getting a little fed up with the squabbling.
However on a more positive note, emails told me of a new geo-series in the general vicinity of Sevenoaks. That may well be a plan for next Sunday; I spent a few minutes solving geo-puzzles in the area (just in case).
With a few minutes to spare I did the monthly accounts. There is no denying that not having done any night or weekend shifts (with enhanced payments) for a while has left me short. And an MOT and a broken fence have also made a dent in the finances. But I expect I will survive; after all what is money for if not to squander foolishly?
We set off for Hastings where we collected mother-in law, and then drove on to Eastbourne to meet sister-in-law. There was a minor hiatus whilst we cleared up puppy vomit (Treacle gets travel-sick), but we were soon back on schedule. Whilst everyone else pored over the paperwork from the solicitors following father-in-law’s death I took the dogs for a walk through Princes Park and along the sea front. I managed to find three geocaches (can you believe it?) The walk was only marred by "Furry Face TM" attempting to hump a passing pug.
Our walk didn’t take long, solicitor’s paperwork took a little longer, but we were soon on the way home. It would have been good to have spent longer with family, but Eastbourne isn’t the easiest of places to get to.
We came home via my mum’s house. Following a trip to Guy’s hospital a couple of days ago she’s been booked in to have half a lung taken out in four days time. Mind you she seemed rather chirpy bearing in mind she’s not well.
We came home; for all that the dogs hadn’t had a major walk they both were soon fast asleep. I then had a look at the geo-map around Guy’s hospital. The visiting hours there are frankly ludicrous. They chuck visitors out for two and a half hours over lunch time, so I thought I might try to plan a little geo-wander to pass the time whilst she has her dinner.
I slept well, but was still awake two hours earlier than I needed to be. I had a vague idea to watch an episode of “You Rang M’Lord” over brekkie, but the DVD player wouldn’t switch on. It does that from time to time. To get the thing to work I have to pull its plug and start the thing off again. But getting to the plug is a bit of a stretch and I couldn’t be bothered, so I watched an episode of “Dad’s Army” instead.
I set off to work; the roads were really busy. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about all sorts of stuff (as they do). Jeremy Corbyn was under fire again. He amazes me; whether he is a good leader for the Labour party or not is irrelevant. The media have clearly decided against him and have persuaded the public that he has made the Labour party unelectable. The public clearly believe this. But still he refuses to go.
The national child abuse enquiry finally got going. I got cross. I do feel for the abused children; what happened to many children over the years is terrible. But what on Earth can be achieved by interviewing a victim who is now seventy years old?
I got to work; today I was learning how my new place of work measures levels of Vitamin B12 in the blood. I used to do that with radioactive isotopes in years gone by. The technology is rather less dangerous these days, but even so I managed to get an error out of the analyser that no one had ever seen before.
I left work whilst it was still light this evening. I got home after dark, but I left work in the light. Once home I ran the dogs round the roads, and then told "er indoors TM" we need to revise our will. What happen if both kids croak before us? What if we all croak? Could a hereditary grandchild’s guardian make a better case for what I leave than an acquired grandchild’s guardian might? And what about my dogs? I need to leave money to over their food and vet bills.
I slept well; over brekkie I watched the second episode of SS-GB; a “what-if” fantasy about what might have happened if Germany had won the Battle of Britain. It is quite a good show so far; I hope it keeps up this standard.
In a novel break with tradition both dogs were up and about as I watched morning telly. I chivvied them into a cold garden to do what dogs do; for all that the puppy is getting better she is not averse to peeing on the carpet when the mood takes her.
Once tiddled, both dogs ran upstairs to sleep on top of "er indoors TM" whilst I had my morning’s sweep of the Internet. I had a friend request on Facebook from someone I should really have added months ago. I also found I’d been de-friended by someone I was intending to de-friend. And I had emails offering me compensation for flight delays I’ve never had.
I scraped the ice from my car’s windscreen and set off to work with the car’s heater doing its thing. As I drove the pundits were discussing Sir John Major’s recent speech in which he seemed to be having a grumble about Brexit. I can’t help but feel the chap had a point. At the time I was against it; I had heard all sorts of reasons to vote against Brexit, and not a single (verified) reason to vote for it. Today the New European website poses forty-eight questions that still remain unanswered about the matter. For example, far from getting back three hundred and fifty five million pounds each week from the EU, the UK will have to shell out far more.
I ws surprised to find I made good time to work; just before I left I’d seen a message on Facebook saying the A249 was at a standstill. I don’t know why that was; the M20 was moving fine. Similarly on the way home the motorway signs were saying that the journey time to Ashford was half an hour and it only took fifteen minutes.
After a quick bit of scoff we went out to the Tuesday gathering. Chippy had moved house and we went to have a look-see. A rather nice house, and a rather nice lady friend too. Over a pint (or two) of rather good beer we cheered on the first ever episode of Blake’s Seven.