1 February 2021 (Monday) - And Another Late Shift
I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go only to find it was seven minutes past two. After what seemed to be a pitched battle with Pogo to secure some bed space I finally got back to sleep.
I came downstairs to find Sid had already crapped on the lino so I cleared his turds and left him asleep whilst I had a shave. I came out if the bathroom to find he’d crapped some more. I sighed…
After I’d wasted ten minutes trying to find what “er indoors TM” had done with my sandwich box I wrapped today’s lunch in tin foil then peered into the Internet as I scoffed toast. There were a few memes about Monday and going back to work and the weekend being over. One advantage of my seemingly random work pattern is that finding myself often working weekends, I rarely get that “Monday feeling”; in fact having just had a “normal weekend” in that I left work on Friday and went back today was something of a novelty.
I drove the dogs over to Great Chart where we had a little walk up to the flood and back again. It was flooded when we last walked there a few weeks ago, and that flood hasn't subsided at all. I'm not complaining though; it seems to be putting people off of walking in the area, which means for a much less stressful walk for us. We only met one other person over there today, and none of the dogs were bothered by her at all.
Mind you Fudge struggles with our Great Chart walk - mentally, not physically. Our standard walks are basically one of two sorts. Either vaguely circular , or linear there-and-back-again. Fudge cannot cope with the linear walks; clearly they mess with his brain. Take today's walk for example. We walked from the village up to the flood where Pogo, Treacle and I turned around and came back again. Fudge stopped at the water's edge. He alternately looked forward into the water and backward watching us going back the way from which we had come. He looked at me with a "WTF are you doing?" expression; he *really* doesn't understand a there-and-back-again walk.
We came home; the dogs devoured their brekkie. Getting Fudge to eat takes some doing; the walk worked up an appetite.
I then drove down to Hastings to visit mum. She's now got a hospital bed in her front room. She seemed rather tired and sleepy; I stayed with her for an hour or so, then headed off toward Maidstone.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about newspapers and social media and the power these things have to influence public opinion. The idea was floated that maybe newspaper publishers and social media platforms might be more public-spirited and socially aware; they might like to report more on fact and less on speculation and fake news. The idea didn't actually get laughed at, but does no-one realise that the whole point of Facebook and Twitter and the morning newspaper is to make money? It isn't to give a balanced and factual view of today's world. It is to turn a fast buck for the owner. And consequently the more radical and extreme their output, the more the newspapers sell and the more the on-line advertising gets seen.
It has been this way ever since the first ever newspaper was printed.
We've left it rather late to expect impartial coverage, haven't we?
I got to work, and half-way through a rather busy shift I got the news that mum has been admitted to the hospice.
2 February 2021 (Tuesday) - Candlemas
It seemed that I spent much of the night fighting for duvet, but I still managed eight hours in my pit. I woke up with something of a pain in my right knee. My right knee has been playing up for a little while now. I suspect that I am just too heavy for it, and I suppose I really should start the old diet game again. But (quite frankly) I’m fed up with diets. Over the years I’ve done the lot. Low carbs, Atkins, five-and-two, watching the sins, massive amounts of exercise, no farting on a Thursday… You name the diet, I’ve tried it. They may work for other people, but for me the only way to achieve weight loss is to strictly watch what I eat and record all of the calorie content; all the time remembering that my cake hole is bigger than my “other” hole. I’ve lost massive amounts of weight before, and every time I have done so whilst being constantly hungry.
I set the washing machine loose on some laundry, then made brekkie and a sandwich. Yesterday I wasted far too long trying to find where “er indoors TM” had hidden my sandwich box. This morning I found it where I’d left it on Friday.. As I scoffed toast I peered into the Internet to see what had happened overnight. There wasn’t much happening today, which was probably for the best.
“er indoors TM” distracted Pogo; I hurried Fudge and Treacle out of the house. They both had appointments at the vet. Fudge was going in for the day for blood pressure monitoring; Treacle just had her annual boosters. We arrived and got on the scales; Fudge had lost more weight whilst Treacle was officially a “lump”. Treacle got a one-over and the thumbs-up from the vet, and was as good as gold as she got injected. Fudge wasn’t overly impressed at being left there for the day.
Once home I popped to the corner shop to get a sandwich for later, then phoned Dad to see how things were going. Mum is as well as can be expected in the hospice; Dad is struggling somewhat as his boiler “went” overnight. He woke to find the house awash with the ceiling hanging, telly flooded and the carpets ruined. Fortunately my brother was on hand to help; by the time I found out, all was as sorted as could be.
Pausing only briefly to deploy a Munzee I set off to work. the pundits on the radio were broadcasting some rather depressing drivel about deaths in the family, so I turned it off and sang along to my choice of rather iffy music. Mind you doing that is becoming rather problematical these days as the slightest bump in the road upsets the car's MP3 player.
I got to work and had a rather better day than yesterday.
Half way through the afternoon “er indoors TM” sent a message. Fudge *had* calmed down during his day in dog hospital and the veterinary nurses were able to get a blood pressure reading which wasn't through the roof because of his being stressed out. He hasn't got massively high blood pressure. So that was a result.... or was it? If he had really high blood pressure then that could be medicated and would ease his kidney issues. But as he hasn't got high blood pressure he stays on the same medications.
He's currently at stage two kidney disease which isn't as bad as it might be... really
I came home to pancakes for dinner. Apparently today is “Candlemas” and you scoff pancakes on Candlemas. And we discovered that dogs particularly like pancakes.
One lives and learns…
3 February 2021 (Wednesday) - Pants, Red Wine
I slept fine until two o’clock when “er indoors TM” and the dogs came to bed. They all made themselves comfortable with no regard for anyone who might already have been resident in said bed. And having made themselves comfortable I then re-organised them so I got some of the duvet.
I dozed until six o’clock when I got up, and once I’d gathered Sid’s turds I set the washing machine loose on my undercrackers and had brekkie. As I scoffed I watched an episode of “Superstore” which was rather entertaining, then I sparked up the lap-top. This morning was the start of the February Munzee clan war, so I did a little Munzing from the sofa before seeing what was occurring elsewhere in cyberspace. There wasn’t much going on today, so I turned off the lap-top, set my pants tumble-drying and got ready for work.
As I drove through torrential rain the pundits on the radio were remarking on how the bad weather was restricted to the north of the country today. Sometimes I wonder if BBC weather forecasters might benefit from sticking their heads out of the window from time to time.
Not having heard the morning news for a week I did wonder if I'd missed anything. It would seem that pretty much nothing at all had happened over the last seven days. Speculation still abounds about the COVID-19 pandemic. Are the vaccines working better than predicted? Do they work against the new strains? One of the idiot presenters was talking with some expert or other, and he seemed to be implying that mutation of viral strains was something that the experts were creating themselves. Are these presenters really as ignorant on scientific matters as they appear to be?
There was a lot being said about the recent death of Captain Sir Tom Moore who sprung to fame last year having raised so much money for the NHS. Everyone was singing the praises of the fellow. I know I'm in the minority here, but I'm not sure he did the right thing. The chap had the best of intentions when he tried to raise money for the NHS, but is raising money for the NHS a good thing to do? All the time the public are raising the funds, no government of any political party is ever going to fund anything properly, are they? Take the hospice where my mum is currently staying. Only thirty-two per cent of their money is paid by the government; they are dependent on voluntary contributions for two thirds of their income. And we think nothing of paying for fundraisers for text books for schools, do we?
When did we last have a sponsored walk or a jumble sale to buy a new battleship for the navy? I can't help but think about the goat sanctuary. Entirely dependent on public contribution they seriously faced closure during the first lockdown when voluntary subscriptions and contributions and assorted hand-outs dried up.
Do we really want public services to be so precariously funded?
I got to work where we had a rather busy day. It has to be said that I'm getting a tad fed up with those. But on the plus side we had a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of red wine…
But (it has to be said) tumble drying my pants was probably the most exciting part of a rather dull day…
4 February 2021 (Thursday) - Early Shift
Last night I had a stroke of genius. When “er indoors TM” and the dogs come to bed I get shoved over and spend the night hanging on the edge of the bed. So I had a plan. If I started in the middle of the bed, when they all came up I would get shoved into the bit where I usually start off in. So I went to kip square in the middle of the bed, and sure enough had a rather good night, finally waking about where I intended to be (i.e. not hanging off the edge and with some of the duvet).
Cheered by this minor victory I got up and had something of a double-result when I discovered that I had a turd-free downstairs. I made myself a celebratory bowl of granola and scoffed it as I watched another episode of "Superstore" before getting ready for work.
Today was rather foggy and rather cold. Eventually I found where I'd left the car, and set off up the motorway to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were reviewing what had happened in Parliament yesterday. It sounded to me as though the nation's leaders had done nothing but petty bickering all day yesterday. Surely there must be a better way to run the country than electing vacuous windbags to bandy insults with each other?
Mind you judging by the (so-called) expert comments it would seem that the new Labour leader Sir Kiers Starmer is held in almost as much contempt as his predecessor Mr Corbyn was. Another triumph for socialism, eh?
There was also talk about the United Kingdom's border with the European Union in Northern Ireland. Discussions are still ongoing, and still failing to come to any decision... much as we all knew they would many years ago.
I got to work for the early shift, had a reversed ratio sort of day, and being on the early shift I was able to get home before dark. We had a cuppa and a Whitby bun, and with “er indoors TM” off out on an errand I did a little more Lego sorting until she came home with an armful of KFC. You can’t go wrong with KFC… We scoffed it whilst watching “Junior Bake Off” and “My Cat From Hell” which is a show about various people with cats from hell. It is presented by someone who claims to be called “Jackson Galaxy”, but Wikipedia says is actually called Richard Kirschner.
Today was a tad dull too…
5 February 2021 (Friday) - A Day Off
I was woken by the sound of Sid’s barking. He always shouts to tell when he wants a tiddle… he just has no control over the turds. Bearing in mind that he does shout about the tiddle it is obvious that he is trying.
I made toast and peered into the Internet and rolled my eyes. On Wednesday the nation was invited to stand of the doorstep and clap for Captain Tom who had raised money for the NHS. This morning quite a few of those who had been clapping were active on Facebook publicly shaming their neighbours who had not done so.
I also saw I had a message from some scantily-clad hussy. I ignored it. Interestingly I also had a message from Facebook asking how they could improve their services. I told them about this hussy.
And postie arrived with two magazines. “The Biomedical Scientist” and “Viz”. I wonder which will provide hours of entertainment (whilst I am sat on the loo) and which will go into the recycle unopened?
As I peered into the Internet Fudge sat with me and ignored his breakfast that had been put in front of him. After ten minutes we swapped it for a bowl of biscuits which he yummed up. He was obviously hungry, but very fussy about what he would and would not eat.
And he continues to lose weight…
I drove down to Hastings to see how my Dad was doing after his boiler leaked earlier in the week. Having been told there was loads of tidying up to do I was rather surprised to see that pretty much all the tidying had been done. But I had a cuppa with him and spent an hour or so there. Whilst I was there we phoned the hospice to see how mum was doing. She’d had a good night (what does that mean?) and was as well as could be expected.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing the founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company; a company which started with pretty much nothing and now makes millions selling what appears to be vastly overprices satchels to people who seem to like paying vastly over the odds. As is always the case with companies like this, the radio was singing the praises of one success story, and glossed over the thousands that failed. Mind you it was an interesting listen. You can hear the program by clicking here; it is well worth the half an hour.
I was amazed by the bit when the woman in charge said she was advised to get a C-suite for her company; a C-suite is a load of executives with the word “chief” in their title. Each one of these cost the company about seven times as much as anyone who actually did any work, and after a while she sacked the lot and increased the company’s profitability in doing so.
Once home we took the dogs out to Great Chart for a bit of a walk. Some dogs walked more than others; some dogs rolled in more fox poo than others. Such is dogs.
And once home again I had a reply to an enquiry I’d made – I’d seen what looked like a rather good Lego bargain on Facebook earlier. Was the bargain still available? It was. I drove out right away to pick it up, then came home and had started ironing shirts when my brother phoned. Mum had taken a turn for the worse. Leaving the ironing I drove down to the hospice in Hastings expecting the worst. So much for the good night she’d supposedly had.
I spent half an hour with mum; she didn’t want me to go, but she was falling asleep constantly. My being there was wearing her out. When she nodded off for the umpteenth time I just quietly left; taking care not to disturb her.
The plan is to go see her again this weekend… snow and her still being with us allowing…
6 February 2021 (Saturday) - Family Things
I slept like a log last night – what with all the driving about and one thing and another, yesterday was rather stressful. As I had a shave I heard Fudge whinging – he wanted to go out. He seemed rather subdued this morning, and didn’t bother me for any toast scraps as I peered into the Internet.
As I peered I saw that my father-in-law had shared a photo on Facebook. It was a picture of a van that had been stolen together with a whole load of tools. The caption read “The police told me to post photos, please help by sharing far and wide and make it too hot to handle......” – isn’t this entirely what is wrong with the police? By making it “too hot to handle” the police are hoping that the thieves will abandon the van so it can be recovered easily. But by then the thieves will have had the van’s contents, and would probably just set light to the van.
With ANPR cameras everywhere the police could probably find that van in minutes, but they don’t want the hassle, do they?. Since they clearly haven’t done so, why don’t they hand over the information to the general public who could go round and show these thieves the error of their ways? Possibly with some cricket bats?
It is like my old school where the headmaster had a cane. There were never wholesale floggings – but one boy might have a sore arse for a day and a thousand boys would behave themselves for a year. I once chatted with a chap from the deepest parts of China where his village really did have the stocks into which thieves were put. It was used about once every five years – the threat was enough to keep people in line.
If these scumbags knew that society wouldn’t tolerate their thieving, they would think twice about doing it.
I’ve said before (many times) that having a police force was something of an experiment that has now failed. We need to run society differently.
Another friend was posting on Facebook about the permanent closures of some pubs and restaurants in the Medway towns, and was wondering how many pubs and restaurants will survive lockdown. Many will go during lockdown, and I suspect many more will not survive in the New World Order which will follow the pandemic. Consider my pub visits of the last few years. When walking in a group every weekend we’d go to the pub at some point. A couple of drinks each and a few nibbles would cost the thick end of forty quid. Obviously we can’t walk right now, but when we last did we’d take some drinks with us in bottles and a few crisps in our bags and spend maybe a quarter of the money. We could have the beers of our choice (not whatever has been laying stagnant in the pub’s barrel for a month) and enjoy it where we pleased (*not* listening to the lager louts shouting at the television), safe in the knowledge that the dogs weren’t bothering anyone.
I’m certainly in no rush to go back to the pub on a weekly basis.
We took the dogs for a little walk up to the park (but not in it) and back home following the river. As is always the case at the weekends the park was heaving with normal people, and the path along the river wasn’t much better. I would rather have gone elsewhere, but time was against us.
We came home, settled the dogs, and I drove down to Hastings again to see mum. She’d supposedly had a good night (whatever that is supposed to mean). I arrived just as my brother pulled up with Dad. Dad went in first, then me, then my brother.
Mum seemed pleased to see me at first, but within seconds became very confused, then nodded off. She didn’t really make any sense in the time that I was with her. Again it soon became clear that I was tiring her by being there. I wish there was something I could do or say for her… but there isn’t.
I came home, and dozed in front of the telly until it was time for the weekly family Zoom quiz. We had a rather good quiz… mind you I still maintain I was robbed. Alan Shepherd’s golf ball on Apollo 14 *was* the fastest ever moving item of sporting equipment – when it was on its way to the Moon.
Much as I’m rather embarrassed to admit it, I probably see family more often these days when we make the effort because of lockdown that I did before…
7 February 2021 (Sunday) - Snow
I woke to find the forecast snow had arrived. A blanket of white as far as the eye could see (if only half an inch deep). Very pretty, but rather cold. So cold that Sid didn’t want to go out to “do his thing”, but having got up to a turd-free downstairs, I wasn’t going to give him the option,
Sid “did his thing” on the metal manhole cover just up the garden, and in the few minutes it took me to come clear it, his “things” had frozen.
I made toast and peered into the Internet. It seemed the snow was intermittent across the South East. Some places had half an inch of the stuff (like we had), other places had nothing. Quite a few people were being rather sarcastic on Facebook about preparing for the onslaught of obligatory snow photos. As is always the case, the sarcasm was coming from those who generally contribute absolutely nothing at all to social media. I resisted the urge to point this out to them; being a nosey sort of person I like seeing other people’s photos.
With the snow falling rather heavily there wasn’t much that could be done today. I phoned Hastings for an update on Mum – no change. My brother and father were going to see her today, but they had no snow in Hastings. I didn’t fancy driving through the blizzard, and mum would have no idea that I was there. So I went up to the loft room and got on with a Lego project that I’d had in mind for some time. It took my mind off of worrying.
Four hours later “er indoors TM” asked if I fancied a little dog walk. The snow had abated somewhat so we walked the hounds up to the co-op field where (after Pogo had barked at all the snowmen) the dogs had a good chase around in the snow. Fudge rolled in the stuff… that is I hope he’d rolled in the snow and not in frozen fox turds.
I took a few photos of the dogs in the snow.
We came home for a warming cuppa, and I then continued Lego-ing in the attic room. After seven hours of intense effort I got a reasonable attempt at what I had in mind. You can see it by clicking here. I shall probably add to this project too as time goes by. I have plans to make some custom-built maxifig-sized cars and things…
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the final of “Junior Bake Off” and swilling a bottle of red wine.
Today was something of a lazy day… Judging by the weather forecast there will be more of these over the next week.
8 February 2021 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
I slept like a log last night – I was asleep for nine hours. Making a point of pulling a foot or more of the duvet over my side of the bed probably helped though. I came downstairs some time after “er indoors TM” had got up to find out that Sid hadn’t done his signature move overnight. Does he crap just for me?
I had my usual peer into the Internet as I scoffed toast. I sent out a couple of birthday messages via Facebook and saw there were quite a few photos of the snow on Facebook too. In many places the snow has become ice. This is the big problem with snow. It looks pretty for a few hours, then becomes ice which is just dangerous.
I was pleasantly surprised to see I hadn’t had an offer of porn via Facebook messenger overnight. I get a few of these every week. Back in the day I would post a picture of the pornmonger and a jolly little quip to my Facebook profile, but I’m still on a warning from the Facebook feds about doing so last year. I can’t work out why it is that I get a formal warning for saying that I was invited to a porn site via Facebook, whilst those doing the inviting are still operating with impunity.
Fudge seemed to be itching to go for a walk this morning. I can’t pretend that I was keen on the idea, but we went up to the park and home through the co-op field. The pavements were sheet ice; I was amazed at how many people were out and about on those pavements on bikes. We got to the park where Pogo barked at a snowman which was being built by a team of Ghurkhas, all of whom backed off seemingly in terror.
We met OrangeHead who seems to have formed a new posse. We made a point of not going anywhere near the children who were sledging on what is probably the only slope for miles around.
We came home after about three quarters of an hour. Even though he had his coat on, Fudge has lost so much weight recently it was too cold for him (not that he would admit it).
We came home where Fudge started shivering, so we towelled him down. All dogs then yummed their brekkie and were soon snoring. Being the morning before a night shift it is traditional for me to write up CPD, so I did.
After nearly an hour of dullness I finally got up to date with CPD, so I popped up to the attic room. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that on Friday I picked up something of a Lego bargain. I sorted through that bargain and took the stuff out of the carrier bag and into the relevant boxes (having spent a small fortune on boxes for Lego a week or so ago).
I went to bed for the afternoon and dozed fitfully until my brother phoned. My mum is much the same… she has little if any idea of what is going on.
I then sorted Lego for an hour or so until “er indoors TM” boiled up dinner. I‘m now off to the night shift – through the ice and snow. Here’s hoping…
9 February 2021 (Tuesday) - After the Night Shift
The night shift went rather well; the late shift didn’t leave me any work at all, and the workload was noticeably down. Did people *really* stay home and not come to hospital because of the snow?
The early shift arrived; I put on jumpers and scarf and coat and spent ten minutes excavating my car out of the snow.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio spouted their inimitable brand of drivel. There was endless speculation about COVID-19 and ongoing travel restrictions. Apparently internationally about two hundred travel restrictions change every day as the pandemic progresses, so it is anyone’s guess whether or not anyone will be travelling much this year.
And there was a lot of talk about a firm which, having spent years exporting shellfish to the European Union, has now closed. The recently agreed Brexit deal has generated so much extra paperwork that the firm needs two more secretarial staff to do it all, and they can’t afford to employ anyone else. There was an interview about this with some minister or other who clearly loved the sound of his own voice, but the minister basically said that the extra paperwork is a good thing. This is what the public wanted (he said); a definite and tangible benefit of Brexit is having two different sets of import and export regulations (one of the UK’s and one of the EU’s). As the minister said, if these UK-based firms wanted barrier-free trade, why have Brexit?
I had planned to walk the dogs this morning, but the thermometer in my car said the temperature was minus four degrees when I got home, and the pavements were sheets of ice. I got in to see Fudge wearing a woolly jumper. He had spent quite a bit of time shivering yesterday so “er indoors TM” had decreed he was to wear his jumper. Sadly I agree with her; he has lost so much weight recently he really feels the cold.
I took myself off to bed and slept till mid-day when the dogs woke me with an utterly unnecessary barking fit.
Being the afternoon after a night shift I got busy with the ironing whilst watching some episodes of “Four In A Bed”. Today’s contest was won by a vegetarian Bed & Breakfast establishment in Broadstairs. Like many vegetarians, the people running this place were rather needlessly confrontational about their vegetarianism. They demanded everyone else offered a vegetarian alternative for brekkie, but when it was their turn to host, the non-vegetarian option they offered was to go hungry.
I sorted Lego until my brother phoned. No news from mum. I don’t know whether that is for the best or not. I’ve arranged to pop down to see her tomorrow on the (rather circuitous) way to work. I’ve got to get to the hospice early so’s they can do a COVID-19 test, even thought I did one today (which was negative).
“er indoors TM” baked some pasta (very tasty) which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “You’ve Been Framed” in which Harry Hill presented a cavalcade of people falling flat on their faces. There’s nothing as entertaining as other people’s misfortunes, is there?
10 February 2021 (Wednesday) - Before the Late Shift
I can't remember the last time I overslept; but I would oversleep on the morning when I had so much to do. I scoffed toast, skipped dog walk (it was too cold for them anyway) and headed off to Hastings.
As I drove along the A259 the pundits on the radio were doing a thought experiment. If you were to take all the COVID-19 particles in the world and stick them in one place, how much volume would they take up? A swimming pool full? Twenty football stadiums full? The thought experiment considered how many people are infected with the virus at any one time (lots), and how many viruses they would have in them (lots). It considered animal vectors and viruses laying about here and there. It then considered how big the average virus is (not very) and put all the numbers together. Estimates the volume taken up by all the world's COVID-19 viruses ranged from about half a glass of wine to a full can of coca-cola.
Makes you think, doesn't it? I would have thought it would have been far bigger than that.
Despite the slow-moving lorries I got to the hospice with a minute to spare. Today I had to have a COVID-19 test before being allowed in to see mum. The woman testing me was using me as a demonstration for her colleagues. I didn't mind really; it was only a shame that they couldn't have believed the result of the exact same test that I did yesterday. I'm not complaining about them in any way, but I will make the observation that the people there have had completely different COVID-19 protocols every time I've visited.
I got tested, I sat and waited for half an hour to be told that I had tested negative, then I got to see mum. She was far more lucid than the last time I saw her, but was very miserable (as you would expect). She is laying in a bed in a hospice, pretty much on her own, waiting to die. There should be a law *against* it rather than a law *for* it (as there currently is).
I stayed with her for half an hour, then set off work-wards. I stopped off in Cranbrook to visit the bank. There wasn't a branch of my bank in Cranbrook, even though Google would have me believe there was.
Since I was running short of time I thought I might get a hot pie for lunch from the bakery in Cranbrook. When I'd driven past the place ten minutes previously I'd seen quite a queue outside the bakery. As I walked up, the chap who had been at the head of the queue as I drove past was still at the head of the queue. In a rather pissed-off tone of voice the chap loudly explained to me that the shop was operating a one-in-one-out policy, and the old bat in the shop was a notorious local gossip. He then he opened the shop's door and shouted that she would be in the shop gossiping for at least another half an hour.
I left them to enjoy the squabble that ensued.
I got back to the car park, went to drive my car away, and went nowhere. I tried again. After fifteen minutes I persuaded a passer-by to help push my car off of the sheet ice on which I had got stuck.
I then got stuck behind a tractor pulling hay bales seemingly at walking pace. This tractor effectively blocked my way all the way from Cranbrook to the traffic jam just south of Maidstone.
Up to this point I'd had a relatively good journey. Apart from an iffy fifteen minutes in an icy Cranbrook car park the roads had been clear and the day had been bright and sunny. But just as I hit the traffic jam in Maidstone (a few miles away from and leading up to a lane closure in the town centre) so the snow stared to fall. In five minutes the weather went from a bright crisp day to utter blizzard.
I got to work with less than a minute to spare, and started the late shift feeling as though I had done a full day already. Within minutes I heard that a colleague who also lives in Ashford had been stuck on the motorway for four hours following a three-lorry-crash. I'd got to work via Hastings and so hadn't gone anywhere near the motorway this morning, and then spent the next eight hours worrying about how (or if) I would get home.
The motorway was open – if a tad icy in parts. I got home about fourteen hours after I first set out this morning. It has been a tiring day…
11 February 2021 (Thursday) - Before Another Late Shift
I slept like a log again, waking after nine hours asleep. I made toast, and today I had time to peer into the Internet as I scoffed it.
I saw two ex-colleagues had birthdays today and I sent out my standard “birthday video” via Facebook. One was a chap that I helped move house a few years ago. Having made the offer to drive the white van he was hiring even though he couldn’t drive, just me and him together loaded up all his stuff (and he had a *lot* of stuff) and took it to Southampton on a little road trip.
The other chap was a trainee who I’d seen had finally passed his qualification exam yesterday. About four and a half years ago I’d applied for the post of training officer; one of my duties would have been to train this chap up to the qualification exam. I was turned down in favour of someone who management openly admitted couldn’t do the job of training him, and I was then asked to oversee this chap’s training anyway. Needless to say I resigned. Had I stayed and overseen the training I honestly think the chap would have passed his qualification exam two years ago. Not that I’m bitter…
There were quite a few photos of the snow on Facebook too. Some were rather pretty, but I’ve had enough of the snow now. With no more snow forecast but sub-zero temperatures expected for the next few days, we’ve now got to the point where the roads and paths are just sheets of ice.
With that in mind I didn’t take the dogs out. Fudge came in shivering after just going out for a tiddle, and Pogo would have me over on the ice where he pulls so much.
Instead I sat on the sofa and wrote up CPD. Dull, but a necessary task. Whilst I wrote up so the dogs snored.
I drove round to B&Q. On Monday night I went to Sainsburys and got entirely the wrong light bulbs. I got the right ones today. Whilst I was at it, I got some more plastic tubs for sorting Lego, and spent ten minutes staring at the tubs trying to judge whether two three-litre tubs were bigger or smaller than one ten-litre tub. Dur! And I've got a degree in maths too!
From there I drove up to the Vicarage Lane car park and risked life and limb on the ice as I walked up to the bank. The bank had their door locked, and some woman came and unlocked it every time they had a customer. What a frankly stupid thing to do; it really boiled my piss far more than such a trivial thing should have done. Mind you in retrospect it wasn't so much the unlocking and locking of the door as the patronising obviously-fake sickly-sweet greeting the woman on the door gave out to all and sundry.
And with banking banked I set off to work. The motorway was open, and I made far better time to Maidstone than I did yesterday. So much so that I had time for a bit of shopping in Aldi, which is usually good for a laugh.
Aldi was heaving with normal people at lunch time today. I found myself following one chap who was constantly telling his lady friend about that which was winding him up. I suppose that having got so wound up at the bank over such a trivial matter I was in no position to judge, but I was chuckling as the bloke was picking up random objects (at five-yard intervals) and announcing "this makes me so angry". Things which made him angry included jam, granola, chocolate, cheese and shaving foam to name but a few of the myriad items that rattled his cage.
I got to work and parked on sheet ice. Fortunately after yesterday's debacle I'd loaded a shovel into the car just in case. I did my bit at work and came out to find I didn’t need the shovel at all. Result…
12 Febuary 2021 (Friday) - Visiting Mum
I slept well, got up and cleared Sid’s turds. There didn’t seem to be that many this morning. A few minutes later Pogo came down and sniffed out the rest of them. He’s good at that . He’s even better in that having found them he just alternately looks at them and looks at me. Other dogs might try to eat them. Dogs can be foul creatures.
I made toast, peered into the Internet and (apart from one friend having had a birthday) absolutely nothing had happened in cyberspace overnight.
I took the dogs round the block for a walk. Pogo nearly had me over in the ice once or twice, and there was an iffy moment when some half-wit (and his dog) just blundered straight out of his front gate into us. You would have thought he would have taken a moment so see if anyone was coming, wouldn’t you? You really could see the chap suddenly wake up as Pogo started shouting at his dog. I did a brisk left turn, announced “fuksake!” and dragged the dogs to the other side of the road.
There are so many people like this chap though; they really are walking round in a daze.
We didn’t walk far; it was too cold. I brought the dogs home, settled the and set off to Hastings. As I drove, “Desert Island Discs” was on the radio. Today’s castaway was George McGavin, To my shame I’d never heard of him; he is an entomologist, author, academic, television presenter and explorer. As I listened to him he seemed really interesting; he’d led the sort of life so many of us might have liked to have led. And then he let himself down as he introduced his eight music choices. Bagpipe music, classical dirges, and operatic howling. Does anyone *really* like opera? Really?
This was followed by “Woman’s Hour”. The program started off with talk about systemic racism in the NHS. Having never seen any racism in the NHS at all I was rather intrigued by this, but after two minutes my piss boiled when it was made clear that all the faults of the world are down to white men in general and (so it seemed) me in particular.
I turned the radio off and sang along to my “Ivor Biggun” CD, and pondered on what my eight desert island discs might be.
I soon got to the hospice and had yet another COVID-19 test. I again tested negative and went in to see mum. She seemed far more alert than she has been; I helped her with her lunch as she couldn’t manage. Having to do so was perhaps one of the most upsetting things I have ever done, but I didn’t let her see that.
After she’d had lunch she dozed off, and I slipped out. Dad and brother were in the lobby, and I spent a few minutes with Dad as my brother went in to see mum, then put the world to rights with my brother as Dad went in.
I drove home still singing along to “Ivor Biggun”; but much as I like him, he didn’t make the final cut of my desert island discs. Once home I spent a few minutes sorting Lego, then actually came up with my desert island discs, I’ve listed my choices here, but I suspect they will change with annoying regularity.
“er indoors TM” sorted out fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of “Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig”. In this episode Sandi Toksvig and Alison Steadman stayed in some rather impressive holiday homes in Suffolk including a Martello Tower, a moated cottage, and a priory. The show was rather good – well worth watching on catch-up.
I didn’t realise that Alison Steadman played both Gavin’s mum in “Gavin and Stacey” an the hysterical Mrs Bennett in “Pride and Prejudice”. I shall have to watch both again…
13 February 2021 (Saturday) - Scoffing Things
It was rather nippy when I got up this morning. Being on an early shift I was up before Sid had shifted his carcass; a turd-free lino is always a good thing. Leaving him snoring (rather loudly) I made some toast and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of "Superstore", then had a little peer into the internet. There was a row kicking off on the Radio Four Facebook page. People were arguing about the pronunciation of "Tutankhamen". Staging a written argument about a pronunciation took some doing, but there were those who were having a good go at it. One chap congratulated the person who'd started the row, commenting that she had successfully "out-pedant-ed the pedants", but that was just a red rag to a bull.
Some people really will squabble about anything.
I set off to work; my car's thermometer said the temperature was six degrees below freezing. That was nippy, but seeing how the temperature hadn't got above freezing since I parked the car yesterday, the windscreen was ice-free. I saw that as something of a result.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were interviewing a sheep farmer whose flock was having babies this week. In the snow. That's a tad keen.
I got some petrol, and was soon doing my thing on the early shift. As I worked “er indoors TM” sent a text. Yesterday she'd helped “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” move house and had hired a large van. This morning she took the van back to the garage, and as she was waiting to complete the paperwork so one of the van-hire staff reversed a van into a customer's car. Woops! I was just glad it wasn’t her car.
Work was rather dull today, but was brightened by a Whitby bun at tea time.
I can thoroughly recommend Whitby buns.
With work done I went out to my car to see that its thermometer had registered a rise in temperature. It was now merely zero degrees.
One home I took the dogs round the block. Because it was so cold I insisted Fudge wore a coat. In protest he did his “statue thing” and I dragged him for ten yards before giving up and taking off his coat. He then walked quite happily, even if he did shiver for an hour or so once we’d got home.
The door bell rang. The nice Amazon man had a parcel for me. Jose had sent an early birthday pressie – a box of seventy-one biccies that may well last until Monday.
“er indoors TM” then boiled up a rthaer good curry which we washed down with perhaps the worst bottle of wine I’ve ever had (and that is up against some pretty stiff competition). If ever you are tempted to try a bottle of Jammy Red by Barefoot wines, don’t bother. It tastes like gone-off Haribos.
As we scoffed diner we watched “The Dig” on Netflix. Unlike the wine, it was rather good….
14 February 2021 (Sunday) - Valentine's Day
“er indoors TM” had dealt with Sid before I got up this morning, for which I was grateful. I made some toast and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Superstore”. One of the characters in it made me think. Universally hated by all her colleagues, this woman didn’t care and deliberately made no effort to make friendships at work seemingly relishing being despised by all and sundry. I used to work with someone just like that; she resisted all attempts to include her in any social events, rejected all overtures of friendship and deliberately acted in such a way as to alienate herself from all and sundry. And I am reliably informed that (ten years later) she is still just the same. Hated by all, hating all, and seemingly quite content with that. Some people are odd…
At completely the other end of the spectrum I saw mention of my old French teacher as I peered into Facebook this morning. When I left school I became quite a good friend of Mervyn Clark (and his wife Gillian). Looking back he was perhaps the most decent and good person I have ever met. He would do anything for anyone, and he was in totally the wrong job as generations of schoolboys were merciless to him. He deserved far better than just being labelled as “Mez” (a nickname he hated) and treated with condescension at best.
He died sixteen years ago. I didn’t get to the funeral but I’m told it was well attended.
I saw this morning that Facebook had invited me to set up a fundraiser for my birthday. My initial reaction was to ignore it, but then I had a little ponder. I had a few minutes spare whilst “er indoors TM” was farting about in the shower, so I set up a little fundraiser for the goat sanctuary. I decided that it might raise them a little money; it might not. At best they get a bung, and at worst no harm is done to anyone. It didn’t take long to set up - you can donate to it by clicking here if you want to.
I spent a little while sending out personalised invites to the thing to people on my Facebook list of friends, then stopped for a moment. As well as there being a lot of people that I don’t actually know on that list, quite a few of them are dead. What’s the etiquette for dead people on social media?
We settled the dogs and drove down to Hastings. Pausing only briefly for Munzical reasons we were soon at the hospice where I had my second COVID test of the day. I then spent half an hour with mum. I don’t think she realised I was there, seeming to spend most of her time fighting with her blankets. I came out, and asked the nurses to help her, and then “er indoors TM” went in and I spent a little time with dad.
One of the staff there told us that she’d been off duty since Thursday and hadn’t expected mum to still be with us today… Is that good or bad?
We came home; “er indoors TM” went shopping whilst I played Lego. A few weeks ago I bought a little Lego ice rink, and today I finally got round to putting it together. The thing is rather good – it has moving parts and with a little thought I might just be able to motorise it.
“er indoors TM” sorted out a rather good bit of dinner, then we tuned in to the weekly family Zoom quiz and bingo session. I did reasonably well I suppose – but here’s a poser for you. The letters in the word “allergy” can be re-arranged into three other seven-letter words. Do you know what they are?
Oh – and in less than a day we’ve raised seventy quid for the goats…
15 February 2021 (Monday) - Feeling Iffy
I woke shivering at quarter past two as the chap next door was shouting in in sleep. I suppose it is an improvement on listening to the neighbours “doing the dirty deed” I woke to find that an alliance of dogs and “er indoors TM” had captured most of the duvet and weren’t going to give it up without a fight. I dossed down as best I could and shivered until six o’clock.
I came downstairs and over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “Superstore”. Half-way through “er indoors TM” and the dogs came down, made loads of noise at me, and then all went back to bed again.
With telly watched I had a little look at the Internet. Not much had changed overnight really, but I did see from my memories that a year ago today I staged the February meet-up of the Kent geocaching community. This was the last meet that got held locally before coronageddon put paid to any sort of social events. I do miss meeting up with geo-friends.
I set off to work through a rather wet morning. Wet, but nowhere near as cold as it has been recently. It wasn't long before I hit the traffic jam on the M20. A broken-down car blocking the carriageway two miles before a rather nasty smack-up on the two-lane "Operation Brock" section of the M20 added an hour to my journey this morning.
As I sat in non-moving traffic I listened to the pundits on the radio spouting their drivel. There was an interview with some woman who was volunteering at a COVID-19 vaccination centre who was talking about how everyone was saying that the pandemic reminded them of the hardships of the second world war. Really? Bearing in mind anyone born at the start of that war would now be eighty-one years old, just how good a memory did people have of their toddler years?
And there was a lot of talk about sending children back to school. Listening to the experts it would seem that educational theory and political correctness were far more important than any practical concerns about children spreading the virus about.
And there was a lot of talk of Prince (is he still a Prince - didn't he resign?) Harry who is now expecting a second child. Apparently his mother Princess Diana announced her pregnancy (with him) on the same day many years ago, about which many people have got rather over-excited. Bearing in mind that his wife has made a great song-and-dance about wanting to avoid publicity, I can't help but wonder what this announcement is all about. Am I being cynical in wondering if his dad decided to stop funding him?
Or perhaps seeing how there will be media interest anyway perhaps they just decided to bite the bullet anyway?
To be fair to the bloke, I'm probably just a little bit jealous that he doesn't actually need to ever work to be able to lead a lifestyle far better than mine.
I finally got past the accidents on the motorway, and got to work where I did my bit. I seemed to spend a lot of the day farting like a fruitbat. I bet Prince Harry didn't do that today. As the day wore on my innards got progressively iffier; so much so that when I got home I went to bed for an hour.
I hope I feel better tomorrow… I feel decidedly dodgy right now.
16 February 2021 (Tuesday) - Rostered Day Off
I wasn’t feeling on top form yesterday. I slept like a log last night and felt better this morning; if not actually one hundred per cent. I was woken shortly after seven o’clock by the sound of Sid barking so I was up like a shot to see if I could beat the turd. I did, which was no small victory.
Over some toast I peered into the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight. There was talk on the Facebook “Upstairs Downstairs” page about the episode in which Mr Hudson porked Lily (the beast). Half way into a rather harmless thread of speculation, some woman made a point of reminding everyone that it was just a TV show. I’ve often said that some people will argue over anything, but it never fails to amaze me when I see it happening.
There was also talk on my old school’s Facebook page about my old maths teacher “Fred Bread”. It turns out that the chap was only about ten years older than me. He would have taught me when he was in his late twenties – looking back he looked as though he was in his forties then. The job must have aged him. Someone had met him shortly before he died. Having taken early retirement he was quoted as having said he "wanted to teach maths, not tell fourteen-year-olds how to add up" which certainly speaks volumes about the decline of our country’s education system.
And I had a friend request on Facebook from Jacqueline Diaz who wondered if I wanted to join her Whatsapp group which apparently features many beautiful women who need warm love (!) I’ve squealed her up to the Facebook Feds, but I doubt they will do anything. The pornmongers who sent me Facebook friend requests last month are still in business despite my squealing on them too.
I took the dogs out. With the snow and ice and sub-zero temperatures finally having gone (for now) we drove out to Great Chart. The drive along Brookfield Road was easier than it had been yesterday since the traffic lights were working today. We got to our usual parking place, I put on my wellies, and we walked up to the flood and back. The flood at Godinton has subsided an awful lot, but still remains impassable if you haven’t got wellies on. Mind you I say “still remains impassable if you haven’t got wellies on” but several people came down the path toward us having walked though it in trainers.
Fudge did his usual trick of going in the same direction as us at a snail’s pace and running back the wrong way at breakneck speed.
We came home, had a cuppa, and I left the dogs in the charge of “er indoors TM” nd drove down to Hastings and the hospice. My sixth visit in sixteen days, and again there was a slightly different process. After I was COVID-tested I went in to see mum. The nurses said they’d topped up her medication, and (quite frankly) I might as well not have gone along today. Mum was completely oblivious to everything around her. I sat with her and held her hand for half an hour before going out and sitting with dad whilst his COVID test incubated.
Dad went in to see mum, and I came home. I spent the afternoon ironing whilst watching some episodes of “Four in a Bed”. Today’s contestants were a half-way decent bed and breakfast from Anglesey, somewhere in Norfolk catering for travelling businessmen, a rather grim Blackpool guest house and a place (not an hour’s drive from home) with the lame-to-fame that it was once the home of Charles Dickens. Apart from the proprietor of the place in Blackpool wanting to pork the two who ran Charles Dickens’ house, every contestant clearly hated every other contestant. Everyone was criticising everyone else for that which they were doing themselves. The show was a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black.
“er indoors TM” sorted out a rather good plate of curry each which we washed down with a bottle of malbec whilst watching Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”. I’d forgotten just how good a film that was.
17 February 2021 (Wednesday) - My Mum Died
I slept well until just after one o’clock when an alliance of three dogs and “er indoors TM” captured the duvet. But this time wasn’t having any of it. I leapt up, yanked the thing three feet in my direction, pushed the dogs back on to “er indoors TM” and went back to sleep. I don’t think any of them noticed.
I didn’t sleep that well after that though.
I got up and did another COVID test. I do one for work every four days, and I’ve done one every time I went to the hospice. A bit excessive? Actually it’s a bit wasteful, but there it is. I watched an episode of “Superstore” until I tested negative, then peered into the Internet where there wasn’t an awful lot happening. The pornmonger who’d sent me a friend request was still in business. I sent out three birthday messages, then had little look at my emails. A few days ago I tweeked the blog settings to make commenting on blog posts somewhat easier. This morning I had comments on blog posts from 2014 trying to advertise home security, a comment (on something I wrote in 2018) which was trying to sell Viagra, and a comment on a blog post from last year which was advocating a most unmoral (and unhygienic) activity. (The comment – not my blog post).
I set off for work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting their usual band of drivel. None of it registered with me – I was far more interested in watching the trailer on the car in front of me. The stand had fallen down ad was dragging on the ground and sending up some rather impressive sparks.
Just as I got to work for the early shift, so my mobile rang. It was my brother – the time had come – I had to get to the hospice right away. I quickly told the boss I wouldn’t be in today and drove down to Hastings.
I spent a few minutes saying goodbye to mum, had a cuppa with my brother and dad… and the rest of the day was something of a blur…
18 February 2021 (Thursday) - The World Keeps Turning
I slept like a log last night – yesterday had been rather stressful. I watched a little telly as I scoffed brekkie, and then had a little look at the Internet
Yesterday evening “er indoors TM” posted on Facebook to tell the world about mum’s passing. Isn’t this a sign of our times in that after having told immediate family, a general announcement of this sort is made over Facebook. Is this good or bad? Personally I think it’s a good thing – social media keeps us all in touch; even if only to tell us how many of us are left.
Overnight over a hundred people had reacted to er indoors TM”’s post and over eighty had made kind comments. And I lost count of people who had sent me messages yesterday. But peering into cyberspace it was clear that the world had kept on turning. No matter what the subject (writing science-fiction, drinking beer, walking dogs, making Lego cities), squabbles abounded.
And realising that the world would keep on turning I got ready for work.
I set off to work and listened to the radio. A day or so ago the pundits on the radio were interviewing someone or other who was adamant that the various COVID-19 vaccines were making a measurable difference to the progress of the pandemic. Today they were interviewing someone who was equally adamant that it was too early to tell. I wish they'd get their story straight.
There was also an interview with the shadow chancellor of the exchequer Annalise Dodds. She was being asked about the (relatively) new labour leader Sir Kier Starmer. Having had a few months to settle into the job he's pretty much done nothing, and today he was supposedly making a speech which would (according to reports) be all fart and no turd (much like me, really). The Labour party are at best a disappointment, aren't they? You would think that having a Prime Minister who is clearly making it all up as he goes along during arguably the worst crisis the nation has faced since the last world war would be a godsend to the opposition parties, wouldn't you? But the Labour party offer no practical alternatives at all, do they? "Vote for me - I'm (probably) not as bad as him" is hardly a sound policy for a better Britain, is it?
There was also talk of Keith Hann who until recently had been the PR chief of the supermarket chain Iceland. He'd been sacked when he described the Welsh language as "incomprehensible" and "gibberish". Perhaps a bit tactless? However in his defence I'll just make the observation that I have only ever heard welsh being spoken "for real" once. It was at the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu caves near Swansea during a family holiday twenty-two years ago. Some chap was talking in Welsh to two small children, the eldest of which replied to him "Please don't talk in Welsh Granddad, no one understands you".
I can't help but wonder if the days of having seven thousand languages in the world have long passed. Surely there is something to be said for having everyone speaking the same language and being mutually comprehensible. But then again, as Douglas Adams once wrote "… effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation."
I got to work where the bosses were surprised to see me. But (as I said to them) I'd rather be at work where I could keep active. And I did keep active on what turned out to be a rather busy day.
With work done I came home and tuned into the weekly geo-Zoom meeting. It wasn’t that well supported. The physical actual geo-meets used to work because they only happened once a month. Having weekly on-line meetings is possibly too much.
er indoors TM” sorted out fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching the second episode of Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig. In this episode Ms Toksvig stayed in some rather good holiday houses in Benenden, the isle of Sheppey and on Camber Sands. The place in Benenden looked vaguely familiar, and I’ve a vague plan for a family and friends weekend at the place at Camber Sands.
This was followed by the first episode of the Great British Dig in which Hugh Dennis oversaw the digging-up of a housing estate, and pretended that manky bits of broken pot were actually archaeological artefacts. One rather shabby bit of coal was passed off as a Roman coin.
I’m off to bed now – I’ve an early start tomorrow. I’ve again lost count of the kind messages I’ve had from friends today.
19 February 2021 (Friday) - Cake !!
er indoors TM” and I were up in the night several times (each) to see to Sid who spend much of the night yapping for no apparent reason. It was rather annoying that I then had to poke him (several times) as I scoffed brekkie as the noise of his snoring was louder than the noise of the telly.
I sparked up my laptop and peered into the murky depths of the internet. My piss boiled somewhat when I saw that my bank was offering a bung to new customers. They’d put an advert on Facebook saying that anyone starting a new account with them gets a hundred and twenty five quid cash up front – no questions asked. I’ve been with them for thirty-five years and I get nothing. Interestingly amongst the comments whinging about that advert was one from a chap who said: “They took money off me for over five years that I was unaware of and now I’ve finally noticed they have point blank refused to give me it back”. I was intrigued by that – how could any bank take money without anyone realising? Don’t people check their bank statements?
I had an email to say that someone had commented on Wednesday’s blog entry. I must admit I was expecting it to be spam, but one of my loyal readers – someone I’ve never met – said some kind words. Thank you Nurgul – I can be quite the cynic, but I’ve been so amazed at the kindness that so many people have shown me over the last few days.
Bearing in mind er indoors TM” had been up quite a bit during the night with Sid (like I had been) I tried not to disturb her as I got ready for work.
I made my way to my car, navigating my way through the recycling bins that had been carelessly abandoned by the bin-men earlier. Back in the day the bin men collected your dustbin from your back door, emptied it into their dustbin lorry and returned the bin to where it came from. These days we have to leave the bin on the pavement outside our house (as the bin men aren't insured to set foot in our gardens). The bin men empty the bins in the general vicinity of the dustbin lorry, and they then leave the bins (completely blocking the pavements) wherever the bins fall when they drop them.
When I complained to the council the chap with whom I spoke told me (in no uncertain terms) that he had no intention of passing on any complaints as he needs to "appease the contractors".
As I drove to work there was a lot of talk on the radio about how the developed world has ordered about fifty per cent more COVID vaccines than they need, and that it would be nice to give the extra vaccines to the countries that can't afford them. It would be nice to do that. It would also be nice for some people not to make such an absolute fortune from selling medicines too, wouldn't it?
I can always remember discussing free healthcare with some Americans when I was staying on a scout campsite near Seattle. All the Americans with whom I spoke saw free healthcare as a serious insult to their entire way of life, and they would (in all honesty) rather be bankrupted to pay for healthcare rather than get it for free like a bunch of "commie pinkos".
I was called a "commie pinko" quite a bit when I was in Seattle.
There was also a lot of talk of the Perseverance rover that landed on Mars yesterday. Up until four years ago I would have been all over that news. Now... I'm still interested (I suppose...)
I took a diversion to Sainsburys on my way to work where I got far too many doughnuts and biscuits for everyone at work (in honour of my upcoming birthday). I also got a new light bulb for the one in the bathroom that died this morning.
As I queued at the checkout I could feel my piss boiling. The idiot in the queue in front of me was brandishing his Nectar card, and was making a point of not being able to get it to register. Deliberately blocking the bar-code with his thumb he was delighting in the thing not working. One day I am going to say something to these half-wits that seem to plague my life.
Eventually, armed with far more doughnuts than sense I got to work where I was rather popular. I did my bit, and half-way through the day er indoors TM” sent a message. Had I seen the garden waste bin recently?
Some pikey has stolen our garden waste bin. Bearing in mind that the bin men have a list of who pays extra for garden waste recycling, just having the bin is no good as the bin men will only take the bins that are on their list - and they can be serious jobsworths when they want to be.
With my bit done I came home to a very interesting smell emanating from a parcel. Tracey, Karl and the girls had sent me a rather good chocolate brownie as a birthday pressie. At the rate I’m scoffing I don’t think any of it will last until Sunday.
W scoffed some of it whilst watching a film. “Songbird” was set a few years into the future following the ongoing pandemic having taken a serious turn for the worse. If any of my loyal readers are considering watching it, I’ll just make the observation that watching paint dry is marginally more entertaining…
And, in closing, it has been two days since Fudge has brought up everything he’s eaten. Having been *very* sick for a week, he seems to be keeping his food down now, which is something of a result…
20 February 2021 (Saturday) - Getting Nicked
I slept well but woke with something of a sulk. The plan had been that we would have been waking up in a little room at the back of a pub in Cambridgeshire this morning and would be having a weekend break (like we did this time last year). But Coronageddon put paid to that, like it has put paid t so much else.
As I scoffed brekkie I saw I had a message (via Whatsapp) from the power company. Having finally agreed that there is an issue with the gas meter that they refused to believe for months, they still won’t tell me what I should be paying. But they are now offering me a fifteen quid goodwill payment. I’ve not actually said for them to stick it up their arse, but I think they could infer that from the tone of my reply.
I peered into Facebook. There was a minor squabble kicking off on a Lego-related page. Some chap had the hump because a Lego boat he’s acquired didn’t float in water like he hoped it did. He’d planned to sail his Lego pirate ship round the local duck pond. Whilst the thing didn’t actually sink, it floated on its side looking rather shipwrecked. Anyone with any intelligence would have realised the obvious fix would have been to stick a weight underneath the boat to pull it upright. However no one thought to tell him that. Quite a few people thought to tell him that he was daft to try to sail a Lego boat in a duck pond though. I don’t think the advice was taken as well as it might have been though.
I took the dogs out to Great Chart for a little walk from the cricket pavilion up to the river and back again. As we walked back so my idiot magnet was obviously at full power. There was a rather nice man (who obviously bakes a moist sponge and bowls from the pavilion end) who was walking a be-ribboned-and-immaculately-groomed little pampered princess of a dog toward us. You just know that when you meet such a dog which is so far from any road and still on the lead that there are going to be issues. So I marched twenty yards off of the path and blew my whistle. All three of my dogs immediately came to me (they know that whistle means treat). I was just insisting that Fudge sat like the other two when this rather nice man minced up to us (with his dog still on the lead) loudly asking his dog what was going on. My three dogs will just about tolerate one of the family wolf-pack getting a treat, but there is no way they will allow my box of treats to be shared with any other dog. Needless to say it all kicked off and we then had the “episode” which I had hoped to avoid.
We came home. I had a cuppa whilst er indoors TM” and Cheryl went shopping. They came home, we had a spot of lunch and then (with dogs settled) we drove down to Hastings to see how Dad was doing. We spent a couple of hours with him; he seemed OK, and had all the necessary paperwork in hand.
It came as something of a shock to be stopped by the police as we drove home. The blue lights flashed, we were stopped and we were told we were driving an uninsured car. I was rather miffed as I check every month that the insurance has been paid. The nice policeman gave us seven days to take the requisite paperwork up to the local police station and then asked (in a rather officious manner) what we were doing out of the house during lockdown. He seemed suitably contrite when I told him that we had been visiting my father whose wife of sixty-tree years had died three days ago. Perhaps I might have had more respect for the copper if he had not had a Thomas the Tank Engine key ring dangling round his neck.
Once home we dug out the insurance details, and I popped over the road to get a couple of bottles of stout. I guzzled one of them during the weekly family Zoom quiz (as well as a bottle of Tuborg and a bottle of wheat beer) whilst “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” ate meringue at me. Family Zoom quizzes are goof fun – especially when we have a round of “Dirty Minds”. Have you ever played “Dirty Minds”? It’s rather good fun… Unlike being stopped by the police.
21 February 2021 (Sunday) - Happy Birthday To Me!!!
I was woken by the sound of Sid barking; I came downstairs to find a sea of turds. He got chivvied into the garden to do his tiddle, then I tried to go back to bed only to find that Fudge had been sick.
I gave up any thoughts of sleep, and made myself some toast, and had a rather self-pitying brekkie. Ever since I’ve had my own phone (1985) mum has phoned me at half past seven on my birthday. Obviously she didn’t today. And opening the birthday card she’d written for me before she died was rather upsetting too.
Feeling rather sorry for myself I peered into the Internet. There was a squabble kicking off on one of the local Facebook groups. I must admit if I was looking to move to Ashford, reading any of the local Facebook groups would put me right off of the idea. You’ve never seen such a nasty backbiting petty group of people as those who lurk in that small corner of cyberspace. This morning someone was complaining that a local bus had nearly run him off the road. Had anyone witnessed the incident? No one had, but that didn’t stop anyone offering their opinion that whoever had posted was wrong purely so they would have someone with whom they might argue.
Mind you it isn’t just Ashford that has this. There was a lot of grumbling in the Hastings Old Town Facebook group about the demise of the farmer’s market that used to take place in Hastings Old Town; mostly from those who seem to delight in paying far too much money. Several people seemed to think there was some merit in buying one meal from the farmer’s market when for the same price you could eat all week if you shopped in Tesco. There was some particularly vocal chap who felt that his marmalade (at three pounds per jar) was far better value that that which Sainsburys sell for twenty-seven pence.
Pausing only briefly to cap the several birthday card Munzees which had appeared (virtually) outside the house overnight I set off on today’s mission. Collect a flat-packed wardrobe and deliver it to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. How easy to type those words…
I almost fell at the first hurdle by turning up to collect from the wrong address, but I eventually got to the right place. I was naively expecting the flat-packed wardrobe to be flat-packed, *not* a pile of loose wardrobe ingredients, but such is life.
I won’t say that the wardrobe bits were too big to fit into the car as they did fit. But it was close. Maybe half an inch (literally half an inch) to spare.
I took my time driving to Folkestone; there was a worrying cracking sound at one point. It later turned out that was my plastic box of car stuff that didn’t survive the weight of the wardrobe fragments on it.
I arrived where I was supposed to be, pulled up on double yellow lines and wondered if I was where I was supposed to be. There was a dog in the window of one of the flats. I didn’t think dogs were allowed in those flats. It turns out that they aren’t; this dog is being kept a secret from the landlord. Personally if I was keeping a dog a secret I wouldn’t let it parade around a first-floor window, but what do I know?
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” appeared at the door; wildly enthusiastic about having a wardrobe… until she saw the size of the bits. She hadn’t realised just how humungous it was. We unloaded the bits, moved the car to somewhere legal to park, and then did one of those things which is so easy to type but so hard to do; we moved the bits up to her second floor flat. I nearly dropped only one of the glass doors down two flights of stairs, and I think I deserved the cuppa I got given.
I left her with the wardrobe fragments. I’m not sure if there were any instructions, but (quite frankly) that’s not my problem. I’ve told her she can either assemble the thing or have the council take the bits to the tip.
Having washed my hands (figuratively and literally) of her furniture I came home, had a shower, and then got on with the business of the day. February isn’t the best time of year to have a birthday at the best of times. Add on a lock-down and a recent bereavement and you might understand why my hopes for the day hadn’t been high. But er indoors TM” and Cheryl sorted out afternoon tea for me. Far too many sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, far too much cake, and then far too much cheese…
er indoors TM” bought me a dozen strawberry daiquiris as a pressie. I might just have one in a moment…
22 February 2021 (Monday) - Cars
With an alarm set I didn’t sleep well. I got up just before the alarm, made some toast, and watched an episode of “Superstore” before getting the dogs into the boot of the car. We drove out to the garage where we left the car for its MOT and walked home. As we came home I did my usual thing of making the dogs stop and sit every time we needed to cross a road, and to wait until all the cars had passed. Unfortunately my idiot magnet was again at full power, and one driver stopped and demanded we walked across the road. I explained that the dogs were learning *not* to walk in front of cars, and he saw that as a personal affront.
There was no reasoning with the chap. We turned round and went back the way we’d come until he went away. The dogs are learning (slowly) and I don’t want to undermine any good that they have learned. I particularly want to avoid the behaviour that we saw from two small children who were waiting at the pelican crossing to cross the road with their mother. As they waited for the green man to light up, so they ran round her in circles; each circle taking each child three feet into the road.
We had another minor episode when the dogs ran up the wrong footpath into the car park at Asda, but a blast on the whistle brought them all back. Several passers-by commented how impressed they were with my dogs’ obedience. I smiled – when it works, whistle training is rather impressive to watch.
Once home I made a cuppa for me and er indoors TM”, and got us a cake each. We seem to have a lot of that right now. I then had my morning’s peer into cyberspace (somewhat later than usual). Between Whatsapp messages, emails, LinkedIn messages and Facebook, nearly two hundred people had sent me birthday wishes yesterday, and the appeal for the goat sanctuary has currently raised over a hundred and eighty quid.
I did chuckle when I read a thread on Facebook on the Hastings Old Town page. The people of Hastings have suddenly realised that the recent Brexit deal was rather bad for professional fishermen. Having been very loudly pro-Brexit since the moment the thing was first proposed, many of the people of Hastings were (rather pathetically) whinging that this was not the Brexit they voted for, and were shamelessly looking for someone to blame for having misled them.
I can’t pretend to be an advocate of Brexit, but surely this isn’t to blame here. The fishing industry of Hastings has been dying on its arse for years. I can remember a primary school outing to a fishmonger in Hastings fifty years ago when we were told that most Hastings-based fishmongers got their stock from Billingsgate as it was cheaper to do so. And that was fifty years ago.
I went upstairs and got on with a little Lego project that I’d had in mind for some time until the garage phoned. My car had failed its MOT for want of a light bulb. They said they would sort it by the time it took me to walk over to them, so I got the dogs onto their leads and we walked back to the garage.
Having been a model of good behaviour earlier this morning, Pogo was then an absolute nightmare. He saw another dog that he didn’t like the look of and yanked hard back on the lead whilst shaking his head. He immediately pulled his collar off and ran straight across the road. As cars brakes screeched I screamed at him, he stopped dead in his tracks, and sheepishly came back to me.
He got seriously told off.
After that, the rest of fetching my car was something of a disappointment.
I must admit that I collected my car with a sense of “now what?” The thing is fourteen years old and has done a lot of miles. I was rather expecting a catastrophic MOT failure today, and to spend the rest of the week sorting a new car. But as the nice man in the garage said, I’ve had the car regularly serviced, I know what issues it has, and I am better off driving it until such time as it finally does have its catastrophic failure. The alternative is to get rid of a perfectly serviceable car and exchange it for (quite frankly) an unknown quantity.
I came home and finished my Lego project. You can see it in the piccie above. The white car on the right is Lego set 395-1 “1909 Rolls-Royce” from 1976. You can get it on eBay for seriously silly amounts of money (like over a hundred quid!). The yellow one on the left is one I made today (mostly) to the same plans with odds and ends from my box of spare Lego. I wonder if I might sell that for seriously silly amounts of money? I could use the profit to buy more Lego….
We turned on the telly and watched the Prime Minister’s announcement of how he intends the country to come out of lock-down. He plans to move slowly and cautiously, which is a sensible thing to do. If only he would brush his hair he has the potential to go down in history with Churchill and Lloyd George. I suspect he won’t realise that potential though.
er indoors TM” sorted out a rather good bit of dinner and we scoffed it whilst watching some episodes of “The Great”. They were rather good.
23 February 2021 (Tuesday) - Delivering Furniture
I was woken by the sound of Sid shouting, so I came downstairs and chivvied him outside. He wouldn’t go, so I had to physically drag him out where he grudgingly did a tiddle.
I made toast, and spent ten minutes fighting with my Munzee app (which wasn’t working) until er indoors TM” came down at which point Sid (quite literally) crapped himself in excitement. This was excitement I could do without so I took the other three dogs out for a walk. I thought we might try Orlestone Woods today, but it was something of a mistake. Whilst we managed a two-mile walk with only seeing one other group of people (and them at quite a distance) it was really muddy. So muddy that when we got home all three dogs failed inspection and had to be bathed. Mind you that was something of a good thing in that whilst scrubbing I discovered that Fudge had rolled in fox poop when we’d been out.
I then got some petrol, and drove down to Hastings. The people from the hospital had taken away the hospital bed from Dad’s living room that mum used (if only for a few short days), and my brother and I got Dad’s sofa out of the shed and put it back into place. Dad was also rather keen that I took a chest of drawers which Mum had promised to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. Moving the sofa took ten minutes, and loading up the chest of drawers took five minutes.
Leaving Dad gardening (he was keen to get busy in the garden) I then drove to Folkestone to give the chest of drawers to the most recent fruit of my loin.
As I drove I saw someone dressed as Father Christmas walking their dog in Guestling.
I got to Folkestone, dropped off furniture and came home. I spent the afternoon watching episodes of “Four in a Bed”. I do like that show, but it does leave a lot to be desired. One woman in today’s episodes was constantly banging on about her high standards of cleanliness when the cameras revealed that her B&B left a lot to be desired. One of the participants ran a hostel offering beds at twelve quid per night, and another was a spa charging two hundred quid per night. I would stay in either, depending on exactly what I was doing at the time. One would be good for a weekend break. One would be an ideal place to stop on a weekend’s forty-mile hike. You can’t realistically compare the places.
With telly watched I took Fudge to the vet to use their scales. The vet had said I might use their scales if I was worried. I was worried, so I used their scales. Fudge is all skin and bone. He brings up his brekkie most days, and in the three weeks since his blood pressure check he’s lost just over a kilogram in weight. I’ve made an appointment for him to see the vet on Thursday.
er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner. Just as we started to eat it so Fudge threw up his dinner. I did get him to eat some bits of cheese later in the evening though…
24 February 2021 (Wednesday) - Skint
Over brekkie as I peered into the murky depths of the Internet I saw I had a friend request on Facebook from Jacey Rameen Prabhnoor. He, she or it had sent an accompanying message to tell me that he, she or it was a prostitute from United Kingdom dropbox masturbation videos, and the message also included a link which I decided against opening. I considered posting a screenshot on my Facebook wall to take the piss, but the Facebook feds don’t like me doing that. Much as I do like the services I get (for free) from Facebook, it strikes me as odd that other people can openly advertise their prostitution business, child pornography and animal cruelty websites. But when you complain to Facebook about it, you get the formal warning.
I also had an email. I’d finally got a gas and electricity bill. Having spent months trying to get it sorted, the nice people at the power company have decided that my monthly payments were about right all along.
Bearing in mind how muddy the woods were yesterday, and also bearing in mind that Fudge is being sick a lot I thought we might have a little walk at Great Chart before dog brekkie (rather than having another car boot full of dog sick). I pressed the button to unlock the car… and nothing happened.
We walked the dogs round the block.
While I waited for the breakdown people to arrive I had a little look at the Internet . Having given me a gas and electricity bill, the power company had also told me my annual power consumption. Howling “Go Compare” like a banshee I called up the U-Switch website(!) After five minutes I saw that I could save forty-five quid a month by leaving EDF and getting my gas and leccie from Scottish Power. Bearing in mind the gas still comes though the same pipes and the leccie still comes down the same cables I’m a tad puzzled at how it works, but forty-five quid is forty-five quid.
To be fair to the bunch I’m with, I sent them a message to offer them the opportunity to match that price.
I then looked at the monthly accounts as today was pay day. They could be a whole lot worse, but to be fair they weren’t as bad as they might have been…. Or they weren’t at ten o’clock this morning.
With accounts done but still no sign of the breakdown people I played Lego for a bit. I rummaged in my spares box and put together a Formula 1 racing car. It isn’t a perfect model, but it does it for me. Just as I was finishing so my phone rang. The nice breakdown man had just finished a job in Ham Street and was on his way.
He gave my car a good going over. I explained how the thing has been doing random beeping recently, and he told me that might be connected with the fact that the battery has had it. Or it might not be. Either way the battery was kaput and I needed a new one anyway. Fortunately the nice man carried spares. Unfortunately he wasn’t giving them away.
Equipped with a new battery I went back up to the attic room and caried on rummaging in my spares box and came up with a fair copy of a Lego brick yard from forty-five years ago. I then rearranged my Lego world to make space for the brick yard, and made another video of it.
By then it was time to take Fudge to the vet. I drove down to see if my car would make any random beeping noises. We arrived; we went in pretty much straight away. The vet seemed quite concerned about how much weight Fudge has lost and how quickly. She had several ideas as to what the problem might be, but in order to be sure she needed the results of blood tests.
Fudge was as good as gold as she carried him away to where they took the blood. And she didn’t hang about; Fudge was back with me in less than five minutes (and she’d given him an anti-emetic injection too).
As we drove home I reflected on how (only six hours previously) I had been reasonably well off this morning. But by late afternoon that was four hundred and fifty quid ago.
We hadn’t been home that long when the vet phoned. Fudge would seem to have pancreatitis which has aggravated his ongoing kidney problems. Both his calcium and phosphorus levels are high, and he is booked in for a day in dog hospital tomorrow.
25 February 2021 (Thursday) - In Dog Hospital
Sid’s barking woke me up. I woke finding myself hanging off of the edge of the bed. All three “upstairs dogs” had lined up to take up pretty much all of the bed space that er indoors TM” had left. Who’d have dogs?
I came down, chivvied Sid outside, made toast and watched a couple of episodes of “Superstore” as I scoffed it.
I then did my COVID-19 test and whilst it incubated I had a little look-see at the Internet. The pornmongers who had tried to peddle filth via Facebook yesterday and last week were both still active. You have to admire Facebook’s so-called “community standards”.
I also had a look at the Facebook page for Hastings Old Town. Hastings Old Town really is a step back in time – not just for the old buildings but for the completely outdated mindset that lives there. Several people were posting on that Facebook group making it crystal clear that anyone whose family hasn’t lived in Hastings Old Town for several generations isn’t welcome in the place, and they should move out. There is even a new hate-term in use in that part of the world “DFL”. Quite literally it means “down from London” but is being applied to anyone who is felt to be in any way an outsider.
Hastings Old Town was incredibly insular when I worked there forty years ago and it has got worse.
I also saw that a friend had posted to Facebook about a dog which was snatched from his owner whilst walking in Lydd. There have been several reports of this sort of thing recently. This is happening far too often. Clearly the police are unable or unwilling to do anything. I honestly think it would only take one dog-napper to be seriously broken by decent people to make everyone else sit up and take notice. Am I advocating that we all become vigilantes? Not really - I’m more interested in having a police force that is fit for purpose.
There was also talk of the word “bodacious”. I thought it was invented for the Bill & Ted movies. The word was in use over a hundred and fifty years earlier than that. One lives and learns.
I had a couple of emails. LinkedIn had excelled itself in suggesting I chum up with the boss. I thought about it… but LinkedIn is odd. Does anyone ever do anything with it other than sign up for an account and then wonder why they bothered?
I took Fudge to the vet. Yesterday I’d managed to get an emergency appointment for him, and it was as well that I had. Today he needed a day in dog hospital for fluid infusions to sort out the pancreatitis that he has developed. The nice vet showed me the results of yesterday’s blood tests and, knowing a thing or two about them, I could see that the results weren’t good. I left Fudge there, came home, and took Treacle and Pogo up to Kings Wood for a walk.
We had a good walk and (it has to be said) we certainly made better time without Fudge straggling like he does. It isn’t that he can’t keep up with us; he just won’t keep up. He’d far rather rummage about in bushes sniffing about than actually get on with the walk.
Once home I made a cuppa. The postman arrived with a couple of cards of sympathy following mum’s passing last week. People have been kind.
er indoors TM” decided that since Pogo is to be with us for the foreseeable future she’d look at getting him insured. She contacted the people who do Treacle’s insurance who quoted half the cost of what we are paying for Treacle. Brother and sister – born the same day… insured by the same company. Go figure(!)
And with talk of insurance being bandied about and with the vet bill for the week running at the thick end of five hundred quid I dug out Fudge’s insurance policy to see about claiming some of the money back. I had something of a shock. The policy says: “Conditions are only covered for a 12 month period and up to your vet fee limit. After 12 months or once you've reached the vet fee limit, whatever comes first, the condition is permanently excluded”. I phoned the insurance company who confirmed this. So… since his renal failure was diagnosed eighteen months ago and his back went over five years ago, I’m not covered for the main reasons why I’m insuring him? (spondylosis and renal failure). I’m currently spending £835.68 a year just in case anything else goes wrong, in addition to the ongoing spondylosis and renal failure costs. I suppose I’m lucky that he’s not had pancreatitis before? The vet assures me that this little episode is covered under the insurance. I hope so – in two days I’ve run up a bill of six hundred quid with probably another three hundred to come tomorrow.
Am I probably better off not having a policy and putting that amount of money aside each month…?
I spent the afternoon ironing, and once I’d taken Sid to the groomers I collected Fudge. The vet said he’d been good as gold, but he’s got to go back tomorrow for more fluids. In the meantime he has to wear the cone of shame as he has a cannula in his leg and he keeps trying to chew it.
Treacle’s reaction to Fudge was odd. She could clearly see he wasn’t right, and she spent quite some time alternately sniffing at Fudge and whining at us to tell us Fudge was ill. Fudge seems rather spaced out (probably the drugs) but has eaten and not been sick so I’m seeing that as (at least) six hundred quid well spent. Let’s hope tomorrow’s day in dog hospital sorts him out…
26 February 2021 (Friday) - The Cone of Shame
I rolled my eyes somewhat as I read on Facebook
that the “Mr Potato Head” toy has had a re-branding. In order to
appeal to today’s children the thing is becoming
gender-neutral. My immediate reaction was that this isn’t to appeal to
children at all but to pander to some politically correct agenda. But then I
remembered a conversation with favourite granddaughter who told me there are
several children in her class at school who insist on using gender-neutral
pronouns for themselves. And there are also a couple of children who were
little girls a year or so ago who now claim to be young men.
Expecting the worst I walked down the road to the
dentist. Being a hundred yards away they are convenient, but I do have issues
with the place. I had an appointment with the hygienist booked for today as a
prelude to an appointment with the dentist next Tuesday (as the dentist
wants me to see the hygienist first). Late yesterday afternoon the
surgery phoned me to say they’d had to cancel next Tuesday’s appointment, and
could I come in to the dentist today *before* I saw the hygienist. I
said I could *if* they could tell the dentist that seeing him first
was their idea.
I was only five minutes late getting Fudge to the vet. The vet gave him a once-over whilst I was there, and seemed pleased with his progress. Fudge didn’t seem pleased to be left there for another day on fluids, but it was for his own good.I came home, and took Treacle and Pogo out.
We went to Kings Wood where we did the same walk as yesterday, but in reverse. Again not having Fudge along meant we got one so much quicker. Pogo and Treacle were incredibly well behaved, which was just as well. I think today must have been “National Keep Your Dog An A Lead” day. We met loads of dogs in the depths of the wood. All on leads, and the people with them all glared at me in a very pointed way.
With walk walked I went through my letter rack and found all sorts of old rubbish that I didn’t need or want. Bank statements from ages ago, raffle tickets for the goat sanctuary from Christmas, old premium bonds (are they worth anything?)
I then had another look at my household accounts and bearing in mind my rant about insurance yesterday I had a look-see at various insurance policies I have. I was spending eighteen quid a month on a policy which supposedly would pay for repairs to the washing machine. In the time I’ve had the policy going I could have used the money to buy two new washing machines. That policy got cancelled. I’ve also been spending seven quid a month on a policy for fixing my lap-top. The lap-top is now five years old and (according to those who know) now beyond repair should it go west. That policy got cancelled too.
Whilst I was obsessing with money again, er indoors TM” suggested I might have a look at creditkarma dot com. They told me my credit score was excellent. That was nice, but I can’t help but think the vet bill will sort that out…
I spent the afternoon slobbing in front of the telly, then went to fetch Fudge. The vet said he’d been good as gold, and was hopeful. He’s got another appointment in the morning for a review. In the meantime he’s had his dinner, and is now sulking about having to wear the cone of shame…
27 February 2021 (Saturday) - Klabian Pelf
Yesterday Sid produced a turd the size of a cricket ball whilst he slept and (on waking) followed it with a medley of dung that exceeded the wildest dreams of even his most ardent fans. I woke to the sound of him barking at six o’clock and came downstairs expecting the worst. I was pleasantly surprised to see he just wanted to go out for a tiddle. I let him out and went back to bed.
My knee has been playing up over the last few days. When I got up to see to Sid it was fine. When I got up a couple of hours later it was really painful.
Fudge sat with me as I scoffed toast and he scoffed some of the crusts. I saw that as a good sign, but wasn’t too keen on his continually trembling. I sent out quite a few birthday wishes via Facebook, and then saw that I had an email. The nice people at the power company had got back to me to say that since they were taking far too long to deal with such a simple complaint, I had the right to complain to the ombudsman.
So I did.
I have a smart meter that they won’t fix, and they are charging me way over the odds. Let’s see what the ombudsman has to say.
I then took Fudge to the vet for a once-over. The vet seemed happy with him, and took some blood to check his renal function.
We came home where I took off the last of Fudge’s bandages (before he ate them) and I then spent a little while pootling in the garden. I pulled a lot of grass out from between stones and out of the gravel, then put my sundial to the right time. You wouldn’t believe just how much time the sundial gains and loses.
er indoors TM” and I then loaded all four resident dogs into the back of my car and we drove out to Great Chart where we did a little geocaching. Geo-HQ have created a new thing – a locationless cache. The idea is that you do a little tiding up somewhere in the Great Outdoors, post a photo of what you’ve done on-line, and you get the geo-smiley-face.
We just did our standard walk from the cricket pavilion up to the railway and back again, picking up rubbish as we went. A lot of the rubbish was bags of dog poo. This rather mystified me – why bag the dog poo if you are just going to leave it laying around? There were also quite a few beer bottles in the ditch along the footpath, several discarded face masks laying around, and copious amounts of general rubbish too. As we walked several people thanked us for doing the clear-up. Quite a few people commented on how messy it was, and one chap had a bit of a rant about the mess made by dog walkers whilst glaring at my dogs. Cheeky sod!
I took a few photos as we walked today. I haven’t done that for a while.
I can’t help but think that if everyone took the trouble to clean up (even if only once a year) just one of the stretches along which they walk, then the world would be a much tidier place.
As we walked so the vet phoned with the result of Fudge’s blood tests. His kidney function had massively improved since Wednesday. The results still weren’t what I’d like them to be, but they won’t be - he's got renal failure...
We came home, and er indoors TM” went shopping. I slept in front of the telly for the afternoon until I was woken by a text message. er indoors TM” had written a shopping list and left it at home. Could I tll her what was on the list? I read the list out and got in trouble. I must admit I have no idea what “Klabian Pelf” is; I just read out the shopping list.
With shopping shopped er indoors TM” came home. I thought about asking of she’d acquired any Klabian Pelf, but thought better of doing so. She boiled up a rather good dinner, then we tuned in to the weekly family quiz night. We kicked off with three rounds of bingo (in which I won twenty quid), and followed it up with a frankly brilliant game of “The Price Is Right” in which my score was about ten per cent of that of the second-lowest scoring person.
It really is daft, but we see far more of family during lockdown Zoom than we ever did before Coronageddon.
28 February 2021 (Sunday) - End Of The Holiday
I was again woken by Sid’s shouting that he wanted to go outside, and again came down to a turd-free downstairs. I saw that as something of a victory.
Fudge came downstairs too, and then spent far too long bumbling round a cold garden before sitting next to me shivering for a while, He has lost so much weight recently he seems to be suffering from the cold far more than usual. I did wonder if he was shivering as a reaction to all the medication he’s been on this week, or whether he’s eaten something he shouldn’t, but the shivering eased a lot as he sat cuddled up with me. Perhaps he needs to wear a coat more often?
He helped me with some of the crusts from my toast as I peered into the Internet. There was a particularly nasty squabble kicking off on one of the local Facebook pages. The exact cause of the squabble was irrelevant, but some of the people spewing their bile on the matter (according to their Facebook profiles) lived in Birmingham, Aberdeen and Ramsgate. Why should they care what goes on miles from their homes if not to just have a good argument?
I then had a little look at the price of railway sleepers for my next garden project. Some time ago (probably in 2007) I dug up the edges of my lawn and put down decorative red chippings. I got a load of edging stones from Whelans to keep the shingle in place, put those edges weren’t the tallest and over time they have sunk, and as fence panels got replaced and the area tramples the edging stones have migrated. And (in all honesty) I doubt they went in very straight in the first place.
Now they are now barely visible over the grass and are pointing in all directions. Seeing that the fence has been made good, I have a plan to replace the lawn edges with wooden sleepers which I could paint to match the fences, and with sleepers in place I could get more of a depth of decorative red chippings. As always it pays to shop about. B&Q were charging twice the price of a garden supplier in Northiam.
Mind you it is all theoretical until such time as the insurance pays up for Fudge’s recent little episode…
I got the pressure washer together and spent a little while zapping paving slabs in the garden. The pressure washer does clean things up impressively, but it does leave a lot of water slopping about the place. Having turned the lawn into a swamp I decided it was time to stop, and not to carry on any more.
I then sat by the pond watching Fudge stalk the Koi. He’s still not right, but he was obviously feeling well enough to bother the fish. As I watched him so the seat of our garden arbour collapsed under me. I spent a few minutes fixing that.
We then got the dogs onto their leads for a little walk. Usually Sid isn’t keen on going for a walk, but he was today. So much so that he crapped himself in excitement (quite literally). Pausing only briefly to clear up the turds, we did the same walk we did yesterday. Usually when I walk the dogs on my own, I get out early and we have a better walk because we avoid the masses. Today the world and his wife seemed to be walking up and down the Greensand Way in Great Chart. I much prefer avoiding the masses as there are far fewer opportunities for Pogo to disgrace himself.
With walk walked and Pogo disgraced we came home and spent an afternoon slobbing in front of the telly. Slobbing in front of the telly is all very well, and is probably for the best at the moment what with my dodgy knee, but I do miss the long weekend walks.
er indoors TM” sorted a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching more episodes of “Upload”. Not a new idea in sci-fi; until I saw this show I rather thought virtual reality worlds had been done to death, but this is a rather good take on an old idea.
Back to work tomorrow… in another (non-COVID) plane of reality I would seriously be considering pulling a sickie and talking to my GP about knee replacement surgery tomorrow. But we are where we are… I might just give him a ring and ask to be put on a waiting list to see an orthopaedic surgeon.
I should also chase the ENT people too about the appointment I had cancelled for me a month ago…