1 February 2022 (Tuesday) - Oh, My Back Hurts
Many years ago (forty-two) when working as a general dogsbody in the Harbour Restaurant in Hastings' Old Town I once tried to pick up far too many dirty plates (to carry to the dishwasher) and tore something in my back. I compounded the injury on my twenty-eighth birthday by digging my sister-in-law's garden too vigorously, and did further damage to it a few years after that when emptying a heavy tea urn where I used to work. The strangest and silliest things can now play on that poggered back... like when Pogo and Treacle suddenly yanked on their leads yesterday. I spent much of last night's night shift unable to move without serious pain. Had I not just been off work for three weeks I would have phoned in sick, but I really didn't like to do so.
Yesterday I whinged that I didn't want to go to work last night; the night shift wasn't bad really. I shouldn't grumble about the night work. I had yesterday at home. A good morning fiddling about with the dogs, and an afternoon sleeping with the dogs. And a night shift in which I had clearly been trusted to get on with the job unsupervised; a level of trust I never really achieved from the micro-managing regime where I used to work.
But it was still with something of a sense of relief that I greeted the early shift when he came in.
I hobbled out to my car and drove home. As I drove I listened to the morning news on the radio for the first time in ages. It was much the same as ever. As I headed toward the motorway there were reports that our old friend science had underestimated the amount of tree species there are on the planet, with nearly ten thousand more species of tree wating to be discovered. I might whinge about my job from time to time, but after the shift I go home. I don’t have to go into the jungle for months at a time trying to tell one tree from another.
The pundits on the radio then wheeled on the deputy prime Minister Dominic Raab who rather embarrassed himself. When questioned about the Prime Minister’s conduct in Parliament yesterday he wasn’t as decisive as he might have been. Having been caught red-handed staging piss-ups in Downing Street the Prime Minister has said that “we got it wrong”. The allegation was made that the use of “we” rather than “I” showed that Mr Johnson was looking to unload blame on someone or other behind the scenes and took no responsibility himself; an allegation that Mr Raab would neither deny nor confirm. And then Mr Raab flatly refused to confirm the Prime Minister’s allegation that the Leader of the Opposition (when he was the director of public prosecutions) was behind a failure to prosecute Jimmy Savile. When questioned, Mr Raab said ““I can’t substantiate that ... I’m certainly not repeating it. I don’t have the facts to justify that.”
I can’t help but feel that the Prime Minister will just ride this latest scandal out; he has a proven track record of being a liar and for many people that is all part of his laddish charm. But I hope he will get his come-uppance. Openly having parties with his cronies whilst some of us sat in the hospice waiting room, so far he has kept himself in power because he is clearly less crap than the alternative. And (it has to be said) up till now the Labour party have done their level best to help him in this regard. But up till now the only alternative than which he is less crap has been the opposition. With today’s news talking of former Tory chair Baroness Warsi who attacked the “false and baseless smears” from the Prime Minister saying they “cannot be defended”, and former Chief Whip Julian Smith saying “The smear made against Keir Starmer relating to Jimmy Saville yesterday is wrong and cannot be defended. It should be withdrawn,” it would seem that just possibly he is now fighting a battle on two fronts.
I hope he falls flat on his face.
I got home to find “er indoors TM” had already gone to work. I went to bed until mid-day, and now have something of a tactic to thwart the dogs. Yesterday afternoon was cold in bed so this morning I took a hot water bottle. The dogs immediately made themselves comfortable on top of it, so that is the plan. Put the hottie-bottie on the other side of the bed to decoy the dogs, then get another one for me. Mind you the tactic only works when they want to sleep. I need another plan to counteract Pogo when he decides it is time to get up and he starts clouting me on the head.
I got up to find the postie had been with the latest copy of Viz magazine, and a pin badge I’d won on a competition on Facebook. Some time ago (November 11th) there was a competition on one of the work-based Facebook groups I follow in which a question had been asked about the intricacies of the Kell blood group system. The world was asked to give an answer, and one of the people giving the correct answer would win a pin badge. Having absolutely no idea what the correct answer was I looked through what everyone else had said and copied the most popular one. Now the pin badge is here I have to say I’m sorry I bothered with the competition.
After a quick and thankfully uneventful trip to the co-op field with the dogs I came home. The dogs somehow knew my back was iffy as they were as good as gold. I then had some toast, and as the washing machine did its best with my undercrackers I had a go at the ironing. In retrospect ironing whilst my back spasmed probably wasn’t a good idea.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner and suggested I tried some ibuprofen. I hope they sort my back out. At the moment I am fine provided I don’t move…
2 February 2022 (Wednesday) - Before The Late Shift
As I scoffed toast my lap-top’s anti-virus thingy told me that it had got its January repot ready. It claimed to have blocked nearly four thousand risky connections in that month. Did it? I have to take its word as I have no way of knowing. I’ve not knowingly gone anywhere near a “risky connection” so I must admit to a degree of scepticism. I wasn’t aware of it blocking anything this morning as I perused Facebook as I scoffed brekkie. Facebook was the same as it ever was. I sent out a birthday wish, then got dressed and (despite the back ache) took the dogs for a short walk.
Apart from an unwarranted and utterly unnecessary frenzied shouting at a dog daring to walk past our house (on the other side of the road) the walk passed off rather well. We went up to the co-op field, walked a circuit and came home again with only a minimum of pulling. We didn’t play “ball” as my back was too painful.
Again as we walked round I looked at all the trees that had been planted in the co-op field, presumably as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative? As I said the other day, according to the Woodland Trust trees should be planted about two metes apart. I carry a tape measure, so I unwound it and pushed it over the fence. These ones were about a quarter of that distance apart. Is the expectation that most of them will die? Apparently planting trees like this is the “Miyawaki method”… will it work? We shall see.
It was a shame that as we walked the low sun was tight in my eyes and I walked head-first into a low branch. It hurt a bit, but I don’t think the scar will last for long.
Once home I ran (hobbled) round the garden harvesting dog dung, then had a quick game of “Sweardle” before getting changed ready for work and then taking Treacle to the vet.
We got to the vets a few minutes earlier than originally planned so as to have a couple of minutes with the veterinary nurse, as Treacle has been worrying her bottom recently. Having a dog doing what I can only describe as an "arse carousel" on the carpet is something to be avoided wherever possible. We took our place in the waiting room where Treacle immediately started whimpering and trying to get away. We only had to wait a couple of minutes until the nice nurse came out and took Treacle into the treatment area. Squeezing of the anal glands isn't something that "doggy daddies" are supposed to see. Mind you I say "took Treacle into the treatment area" - she didn't go willingly. once I'd handed the lead to the nurse, she pulled away with all of her might and eventually had to be picked up and carried in.
After two minutes her ordeal was over, and both of us went in to see the vet. Treacle was equally unwilling to see the vet though, and I almost had to pin her in place as the vet gave her the once over, a syringe full of vaccines in the neck and a drop of something up the nose. The vet seemed quite pleased with her, but said she was a tad overweight.
Being told everything was covered on the payment plan we walked out. As we walked out I remembered how much Fudge used to cost us at the vet; I would rarely come out with a bill less than three hundred quid. It was that which caused my melt-down - I don't think anyone saw me blubbing as I hurried Treacle out. You'd think that after all this time I wouldn't still be in tears several times each week about that silly dog, wouldn't you?
With dogs settled I set off to work and the late shift. With absolutely nothing worthwhile on the radio I sang along to my MP3s as I stop-started my way through several sets of road works on the way to Pembury. I would have made good time if not for those. I've often said that I like working at Pembury, I *really* dislike going there. the journey can be terrible. But I knew what it would be when I took the job and (in all honesty) I would rather have a two-hour drive to Pembury (and the same back again) every day rather than the five minute drive to where I used to work.
Work was work... I did my bit. I rather confused the new boy with an offer of help. Having assisted him with one or two technicalities I offered to do his tea break for him. I don't think he quite understood...
3 January 2022 (Thursday) - Rostered Day Off
I was woken by both dogs licking me awake at half past eight this morning. Clearly I had been in bed quite long enough for their liking. I came downstairs to something of a shock; “er indoors TM” had staged a major tidy-up in the kitchen. How would I find anything with it all tidied up?
I made toast and had a look at my Munzee app. The new Clan War started this morning so I took a crowbar to my Qrate and magnetised both the Skyland at the Tree House effectively getting me the daily goal of three thousand points before I’d even got off of my bum.
I peered into Facebook and it presented me with a video I made at Dover Beer Festival some years ago. Back in the day the first weekend of February was always Dover Beer Festival; one of the highlights of the year. Sadly it isn’t happening this year as the Maison Dieu is having major refurbishments and they can’t find another venue.
Facebook also had a poster from the UK weather forecast people saying not to start garden tidying too early, and to wait until temperatures are constantly over ten degrees so as not to disturb hibernating insects. I had planned to spend some time in the garden today (bad back allowing); I changed my plans.
Seeing how everyone else was playing “Wordle” I had a go at “Sweardle” and “Lewdle” (and failed at both) and then got ready to take the dogs out.
Just as I was getting dressed the phone rang. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was distraught. She’d had a phone call from the hospital saying that something had been found at her scan yesterday and she should go to the day unit at the hospital as a matter of urgency. I settled the dogs, flew down to Folkestone to collect her then flew back up the motorway and took her to the day unit.
We sat down with everyone else, and soon some busybody woman chased me and all the other friends and family out of the place. Apparently there is a lot of confidential information being bandied about in a hospital and that is not for friends and family of patients to hear. However it is quite acceptable for patients to hear confidential information about other patients (apparently). Would it *really* hurt the medical staff to take patients into a side room to talk to them?
As everyone in the day unit’s business was being announced to everyone else I went to the hospital’s canteen and paid way over the odds for a cup of coffee, and spent a few minutes deploying bastets (it’s a Munzee thing).
Eventually “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” sent me a message. She was ready to go. After a lot of farting about it seemed that yesterday’s scan-ologist had been concerned that the baby is rather small. Well… so is the baby’s mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. No surprises there.
I had to chuckle as we eventually walked out; the blood-taking department is still in the hospital’s main reception area, and there is no confidentiality about who is having a blood test either. Go up and have a look - if you don’t recognise the people sitting waiting to have their blood taken, just stick about and their names will be bellowed out for all to hear. I complained about the blood test area on November 10th 2021… I see nothing has been done about that. I’ve complained again…I bet nothing will be done again.
We came home since “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was keen to see the dogs. They were very excited to see her; so much so that Pogo went “ham”. Apparently getting incredibly over-excited is known as “going ham” these days. One lives and learns.
We then took the dogs up to Kings Wood for a little wander, and again Pogo “went ham“ when we got out the tennis balls. We had a good walk, albeit a tad muddy. The place has certainly got muddier since last week.
With walk walked I took “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” back to Folkestone, then came home and over a lunch of toast watched “Once Upon A Time In London” which could have been a good film had it not dragged on for quite so long.
“er indoors TM” came home and it wasn’t long before someone from the kitchen shop came round to measure up the kitchen with a view to stripping it all out and replacing it all. I wasn’t overly interested… and actually fell asleep. I expect I will pay more attention when the quote comes in.
4 February 2022 (Friday) - Before Another Late Shift
I slept well despite a surprisingly scary nightmare in which I was somehow legally responsible for breaches of copyright caused when Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy came back from the dead and opened a rather successful off-licence selling stouts and porters in Appledore. It was with something of a sense of relief that I woke in desperate need of a tiddle.
I made toast and sparked up the lap-top and had quite the fight to get the thing to start peering into the Internet. More and more the lap-top seems to be doing all sorts of amazing “IT things” in the background whilst being utterly unable to do anything actually useful. Eventually it got going.
One of the local hunters of Tupperware had died recently and it had been her funeral yesterday. What with the hospital wasting our time yesterday I hadn’t been able to get along, but I was pleased to see that she’d had a good send-off.
There wasn’t much else happening on Facebook this morning so I sparked up the Munzee app (which was just as reluctant to start up), Munz-ed that which I could from the sofa and took the dogs out.
We took a different walk to our usual route going out to Frog’s Island and home via Newtown Munzing as we (I) went. Being near the start of Munzee clan wars I had hoped to get a Qrate; I got two.
As we walked we had a little “episode” with some silly woman with a poodle. She made a point of bringing her dog up to us even though we were trying to walk away from her, and then she acted surprised when Treacle snapped at her dog. I explained that when I’d said “don’t come any closer because my dog will snap at your dog” I’d meant that she shouldn’t come any closer because my dog would snap at her dog. This explanation came as something of a revelation to her… How is it that I always find these idiots?
As we walked the hospital phoned. Yesterday I’d complained about the lack of confidentiality in that place. Today some idiot wanted to know specific details of what confidences had been breached, and seemed utterly unable to understand the difference between a general observation and a specific complaint. I suggested that if you are weighing a patient then the scales shouldn’t be in a corridor with a dozen people standing watching. I suggested that a pre-MRI questionnaire be conducted in a secure room, not on the footpath leading out of the car park with everyone listening to what was being said. I suggested that people waiting for blood tests not do so where everyone can see their business.
Apparently a general complaint was no good to them as there was no specific manager to deal with it. I suggested the hospital’s chief executive, or failing that the Minister for Health might like to get involved. They said they’d get back to me.
We’d left early to avoid the rain; the rain started just as we came past the Outlet centre about ten minutes from home. We didn’t get *that* wet.
Taking care not to disturb “er indoors TM” (who was working from home this morning) I wrote up a little CPD, then got ready for work. The drive to work was odd. The weather alternated between blustery showers and bright blue skies seemingly every ten minutes.
I got to work where I did my bit on the late shift. I was rather glad to see that I didn't have to take the moral high ground today. Apparently today is National Work Naked Day in which everyone supposedly does their bit whilst running round in the nip. The official website was giving some old drivel about getting away with working naked when doing it at home, but I know a total collapse of public morality when I see one.. and was glad that I didn't today.
Mind you I wonder how many people did do their bit today in the all-together today. Not many, I hope...
5 February 2022 (Saturday) - Eagle-Horse-Thingies
I slept for over nine hours last night, which was a result. I finally emerged from my pit when my back was aching too much.
I made toast and peered into the Internet. There was a minor row kicking off on Facebook about the local hospital (the one I’ve been whinging about the last few days). A few weeks ago much of the car park was given up to build a huge “Nightingale” hospital, and it was only once central government had spent three million quid on building the thing did anyone realise that they haven’t got enough staff for the existing wards, clinics and departments, let alone for a whole new hospital. Apparently there are also issues with building regulations and I.T. It was claimed that at a Trust board meeting last Thursday the Trust's chairman said: "At the time of writing this report we are still considering whether and how the building could be used".
I’m reminded of a colleague (Julian) whose aunt once saw an amazing blood test machine on the telly (many years ago), and wouldn’t be dissuaded from fundraising a small fortune to buy one and present it to her local hospital (near Birmingham). But already having a device that did the same job, and with no money for consumables, reagents, training or service contract for the new machine, it went into a cupboard and stayed there.
The nice people at Credit Karma had sent me an email telling me of three things I could do to improve my credit score. They said I could get a cheaper car loan whilst telling me about more expensive ones. They said I could improve my credit factors, but when I clicked for more information there wasn’t any. And they suggested I corrected the incorrect personal data on my credit history… All that they showed me looked to be right.
I’ve asked the bank to double the credit limit on my credit card purely because the nice people at Credit Karma say it will improve my credit score… the bank gave me the thumbs-up, so let’s see what Credit Karma have to say about that.
I saw that a friend had started creating a Munzee garden nearby; I spent an age trying to contribute to it. Deploying from a sandbox is tricky.
I failed on today’s “Sweardle” but got “Lewdle” right on the second go, then we took the dogs out.
We went up the road and took a rather circuitous route to the park. As we walked so Pogo was playing “catch” rather than “fetch”. He likes “catch” and it distracts him from anything else around him (mostly). We got to the park to find it heaving; I’d forgotten that the “Harry Potter” event was on today. Kids were invited to turn up, walk round looking for posters of “Harry Potter” stuff and fill in their worksheets.
I had an entertaining few minutes with some little girl who was telling the world that what I thought was a hippogriff was actually an “eagle-horse-thingie”.
We came home, settled the dogs then pausing only briefly to collect Cheryl drove up to Maidstone. A couple of days ago I saw a super Lego bargain on Facebook marketplace and once I’d put in an offer was amazed to see it was being sold be a chap with whom I used to work yen years ago. He’d arranged to have it delivered to where I now work (or at least show up periodically) but bearing in mind I wouldn’t be showing up there for over a week I collected it today.
From work it was only a short hop to the kitchen shop where “er indoors TM” and Cheryl had arranged a three-hour appointment with the nice man and the 3-D kitchen simulator. We had a little look round the showroom and once we’d ruled out the obviously hideous I said I liked that which I was told to like. And then we sat in front of a rather humungous PC screen whilst the nice man simulated that which “er indoors TM” told him to. The chap came up with a design that looked not too shabby. “er indoors TM” will be tweaking it over the next few days and weeks, and in the meantime I’ve put down a deposit of a sizeable proportion of my spare akkers.
We came home and had a rather good kebab whilst watching the final of “Junior Bake Off”. I’m quite looking forward to the next series… and the new kitchen.
6 February 2022 (Sunday) - Rain Stopped Play
I was wide awake at silly o’clock this morning, and seemingly unable to get back to sleep I got up and watched a film on Netflix. I can vaguely remember being disappointed with ID2 in the past, but I quite liked the film this morning. As the film went on so the forecast rain started.
I then sparked up my lap-top and saw that four Facebook friends had birthdays today. I saw that one hadn’t done anything at all on Facebook since she got a load of birthday wishes last year, I didn’t really know who two of them were… but one got the birthday video.
I had a message (via Facebook Messenger) from Jhenny Cruz who had said “Hi”. Perhaps rather restrained when compared to what strange people usually say to me in their Facebook messages, but bearing in mind how little clothing he, she or it was wearing, he, she or it didn’t need to say anything else. I thought better of replying.
And the nice people at Credit Karma had sent me an email overnight. Yesterday I mentioned that they had suggested that I might ask the bank to increase the credit limit on my Gold Card. This morning they told me that my own bank had done a credit check on me. As I have said before, my bank has no idea about bank-customer confidentiality.
I then failed on “Lewdle”, but got “butt” on the third attempt on “Sweardle”, and then wrote my two thousandth professional blog post (which was incredibly dull). With the wind blowing the bins up the street and the rain being torrential we decided against taking the dogs out. The rain had really put the kibosh on today. Our planned weekend walk was (again) cancelled because of the weather forecast. We had considered braving the rain to visit brother-in-law who was at the car park of a nearby café this morning for a classic car meet (I was up for the brekkie!), but there is only so much rain that anyone can brave.
I went upstairs and started sorting out the job lot of Lego I got yesterday. As I sorted the weather outside went from monsoon to glorious sunshine back to monsoon seemingly every fifteen minutes.
With Lego sorted I then had a little look-see at borrowing a squillion quid to pay for the new kitchen. Amazingly loans from the bank I have been with for thirty-four years are far more expensive than loans from pretty much everyone else.
With the dogs sleeping we popped round to see “My Boy TM”; Cheryl had boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed, then I promptly fell asleep in front of the winter Olympics on the telly. I’d found out that the winter Olympics was on when Untappd gave me a badge for it before lunch. It is amazing what you miss if you don’t pay attention.
I woke after a couple of hours and was rather disappointed to hear that Rupert Something who had been Team GB’s great hope in the bobsleigh-thingy-race had only managed twenty-third place.
We came home rather earlier than I might have liked, but this is one of the reasons that I never wanted dogs. I simply don’t like leaving them for any length of time. We came home… and woke them up. They were both fast asleep. Like I would like to be… having done pretty much nothing all day I’m feeling worn out. And my back is a bit iffy too…
7 February 2022 (Monday) - On the Dull Side
I woke feeling a bit iffy, but what could I do? Sulk or get on with it. I actually did a bit of both, and as I did I made some toast and peered into the Internet. It was still there. Facebook was rather dull today; like me, hardly anyone had seemed to have done much over the weekend. Mind you one group of friends had gone out geocaching round the series of caches I’d hidden in Brook some time ago, and had seemed to have liked what I’d done there.
There was a minor argument kicking off on-line about which local vet is cheapest for removing dog teeth; I remember “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” having to get quotes from local vets when Sid had dental work done. Needing a lot of teeth out, various vets were quoting between five hundred quid and two thousand quid for the same job. Having a poorly animal really makes you realise just how marvellous the NHS is, doesn’t it?
There was also a plea for help on one of the pug-related Facebook groups I follow; someone had taken on a pug seemingly unaware of how much vets cost, and was trying to crowdfund a seriously prolonged stay in dog hospital. Bearing in mind that as a day case Fudge would run up bills of hundreds of pounds, this woman had some fundraising to do.
I then commented to “er indoors TM” that I was going to t-a-k-e the d-o-g-s for a w-a-l-k to the p-a-r-k and Pogo’s ears pricked up. It sounds daft, but that dog really has learned to spell.
We went for a w-a-l-k to the p-a-r-k and had a rather good time. Pogo played “catch” with his ball and Treacle carried hers, and although other dogs barked at us, we didn’t bark at any other dogs. We did bark at a roll of carpet that some woman in Christchurch Road was having delivered, but I suppose it deserved to be barked at.
As I walked I did think it something of a shame that we didn’t have this glorious weather yesterday…
Once home I made a cuppa and had a bit of out-of-date Christmas cake, then set up a virtual dog pack. You can have virtual dogs in Munzee which go fetch things for you. So I’ve now got three virtual dogs. Bearing in mind pretty much everything in Munzee begins with the letter “Q” (Qrates, Qrowbars, Qrew…), I’ve got Qudge, Qreacle and Qogo. I’m not entirely sure what benefit this will be to my scanning of bar codes stuck to lamp posts, but we will find out.
I read the official Munzee page about Rovers (as they are known) but I didn’t understand a word of it so I asked about them on the Munzee Clan’s Facebook page, and was given a link to that official Munzee page. Ho hum… Fortunately other people chipped in too
I unleashed Qreacle and Qogo this morning but decided to keep Qudge with me for now. Qugo was unleashed very near where a Munsee-ing friend works. I’m hoping she will do something with him… though I have absolutely no idea what.
And with a few minutes to spare I had a look at another GPS-based silly game and started sorting out my DNFs. Every time someone logs a “Found It” on one of my geocaches I smile because the thing is obviously still there, However every time someone logs a “Did Not Find” I sigh a little. Did they not find it because they are new to the game and don’t know what they are looking for, was it because they simply didn’t see it, or was the thing actually missing? I have a folder in my in-box into which “Did Not Find” messages automatically go. There were quite a few emails in that folder today… there were twelve geocaches of mine that had been reported to be problematical. Eight of them had “Found It” logs after the “Did Not Find” so I knew those were OK. But there were four which might be missing.
One is in Hemstead Forest. Getting to the cache from the car park involves traversing a sea of mud.
One is on the Greensand Way and (when I last saw it) was cable tied head height in a tree.
Two are in the arse end of nowhere at opposite ends of a walk I’ve appropriately named “Out In The Sticks”.
I’ll have a look-see over the next few weeks. If nothing else this will give me some dog walks.
One of the main reasons I never wanted dogs was that I have got far too attached to them, and I *seriously* dislike leaving them unattended for any period of time. But when we’d come back from our w-a-l-k earlier both had gone straight to sleep, and both were still snoring an hour and a half later as I set off to work.
Pausing only briefly to cap some Points of Interest (which were actually rather dull) I made my way to the petrol station at Sainsburys. I got petrol, and wasn't overly impressed with their choice of sandwiches. I picked up the only one that didn't make me go "YUK!" and then had a major argument with the woman on the till who wanted me to get a different sandwich as all the others were cheaper. She wouldn't be told that I would rather have "non-yuk" than "cheap".
I then headed west through the -hursts and the -dens (and through half a dozen sets of road works) to the late shift. I seem to be doing quite a few of these at the moment.
I got to work... I did my bit. At tea break I checked on my virtual dogs. Qreacle had been picked up and taken for a walk. It speaks volumes about my dull life that this was far and away the most exciting thing that happened today...
8 February 2022 (Tuesday) - Even More Dull.
I again woke feeling like death warmed up. I can’t say I’m keen on that. But I got up and got on with my usual morning.
As yet another negative COVID test incubated I sparked up my lap-top and had a look to see what had happened overnight. It would seem there was a fire in a local park last night. The general consensus of opinion from the keyboard warriors of local social media was that it was the local teenagers who (so it would seem) are getting rather cocky as the local police are demonstrably not interested in doing the job of a police force. There was again mention of setting up a vigilante team. Will it ever happen? I doubt it. Whinging on Facebook is easier than getting off of an arse.
There was also a lot of indignant consternation being expressed about the closure of Britain’s oldest pub. After over a thousand years “Ye Olde Fighting Cocks” is closing its doors… for all that the locals want to live in the vicinity of Britain’s oldest pub, they don’t want to spend their hard-earned cash in there. Much like pubs everywhere, really.
There wasn’t much else happening on Facebook. I sent out a couple of birthday wishes and checked my emails. I had yet another friend request from someone via LinkedIn. Yet another someone I don’t know who works for a recruitment agency. LinkedIn is a bit rubbish, isn’t it? Does anyone do anything with it other than accept or reject offers from recruitment consultants?
I took the dogs out for a little walk up to the park and back again. We had a very good walk. Treacle carried her ball; Pogo played “catch” a few times, then carried his ball. The dogs carrying balls is not unlike a baby having a dummy; it has an amazing calming influence on them when we are out.
As we walked we met OrangeHead’s posse, then five minutes later we met a solitary OrangeHead. Has there been another falling out in the Viccie Park dog walking mafia?
We came home where I made a cuppa and had another slice of that out-of-date Christmas cake, then bought two more Rovers from the Munzee store. I got three yesterday, but there were always five dogs in the family wolf-pack, so this morning I got Qid and Qolo because I felt oddly guilty for not having done so yesterday.
I posted something rather normal to a work-based Facebook group, then got ready for work.
I drove into town and parked at the railway station where I capped some rather dull Points of Interest then set off to work. I stopped in Sissinghurst to get some bottles of beer for our next walk, got seven bouncers out of a Skyland (there should only ever be six!) and...
...Quite frankly that was it for today. The morning had been rather dull, and the afternoon was no better.
9 February 2022 (Wednesday) - Dancing Knickers
With an alarm set I had a terrible night's sleep. I eventually gave up trying to sleep, got up and made brekkie which I scoffed whilst watching telly. Not having been up silly-early before work for weeks I've not been watching any mind-numbing drivel on Netflix in the mornings, so today I started watching "People Just Do Nothing" again which was rather entertaining. Watching it again I saw quite a few little bits I'd clearly forgotten about.
Taking care not to wake the dogs (or “er indoors TM”) I got dressed and set off to work... I started the car and disaster struck. Last month as I drove to Hastings the car suddenly told me that one of the tyre pressures were low. Today it told me all of them were low. And then I remembered it had told me that last night as I’d driven home, and I’d forgotten all about it.
I drove round to Brookfield Road and put some air into all of the tyres, pressed the "I've put some air in" button, and then drove to Pembury expecting the warning to come on again at any point. Not having had a car with tyre pressure sensors before I can't help but wonder just how long I drove around in the past on under-pressured (flat?) tyres.
As I drove I listened to the pundits on the radio spouting their drivel. Having had two weeks off sick, a week of holiday, a night shift and four late shifts I've missed the morning drivel.
There was talk about calls for the Elgin marbles to be returned to Greece as Boris Johnson’s final act in office.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has been appointed as Minister For Brexit Opportunities following claims that all the outcomes of Brexit have been negative, and that it is high time something positive came from it.
And there was an interview with billionaire John Armitage who having given millions of pounds to the Conservative party now thinks it is high time Boris Johnson was chucked out.
He might have a point.
Despite piddling about at the garage and with road works I made good time to Pembury, and with a few minutes spare I went into Tesco. I've whinged about the Pembury branch of Tesco before... It is a special place. Today all the staff were wearing face coverings *below* their noses. Did none of them understand the concept of breathing?
I got to work where we had a rather busy morning; something of a shame as that hadn't been my plan for the day. Though we did have a chuckle as the day went on. A colleague had a message from her grandfather who had just come back from his pensioner's square-dancing session in which a "young 'un" (in her late sixties) hadn't been wearing "dancing knickers" and during a particularly vigorous twirl had shown the world a rather racy thong. Let that be a lesson to us all - be sure to have the correct underwear for the correct occasion. There is a place for racy thongs… and it ain’t at the pensioner’s square-dancing.
I then headed home again watching my car's warning displays like a hawk worrying about tyre pressure alerts. Once home I saw I had a pressie; “er indoors TM” had got me one of those car tyre pump thingies that plug into the lighter socket. I suppose I really should be having a go with it every week or so to keep the alar at bay.
And then we had a minor disaster – the supermarket didn’t have any tins of “Doctor Pepper” so I had to rough it with a tin of raspberry flavoured diet Fanta with my dinner… I can’t say I’m keen on the stuff.
10 February 2022 (Thursday) - Remembering Old Friends
I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go… at ten past two. I then lay awake listening to “er indoors TM” snoring. After an hour she stopped when one of the dogs (Pogo?) stomped across the bed, lay between us, and pulled all the covers off of me.
I made toast, watched an episode of “People Just Do Nothing” and had a quick look at the Internet. There was quite a squabble on one of the Lego-related Facebook pages in which a disagreement about the most trivial of matters had been blown out of all proportion by keyboard warriors who were safe in the knowledge that they would never have to face their protagonists.
I then sent out a couple of birthday wishes, and thought about another friend whose birthday was today. Forty years ago there was me and one other lad at college in a group otherwise full of girls, Me and Dave (we were both Daves!) became firm friends – pub lunch every day… but when we left college we drifted apart. I’ve not heard from my old mucker since 1984. If anyone knows of a (part Canadian) Dave Ferrier who was a major fan of “The Damned”, lived in Brighton in the 1980s and might have moved to Surrey in the 1990s, do let me know.
I had a little Munzee session from the comfort of the sofa and was rewarded with a Cactus Cubimal, set the dishwasher going, and set off to work.
I headed off to work listening to drivel on the radio as I went. There was a lot of talk about the piss-ups that had happened in Downing Street over the lock-down period.
Apparently fifty people are to receive questionnaires through the post from the police about their involvement at the alleged parties. (Mind you I say "alleged" - it was claimed that the Prime Minister has admitted to having been at six of the twelve that are being investigated). These questionnaires are apparently legally much the same as being interviewed under caution, so telling a porkie isn't an option (yeah, right!) People getting one of these questionnaires have to reply within a week, and if it turns out that COVID regulations have been breached “without a reasonable excuse”, they will get fined. There is apparently one fine per event, and it was claimed on the radio this morning that the Prime Minister is looking at a fine of about ten thousand pounds.
I can't help but wonder about the “without a reasonable excuse" bit... If there is a works booze up and your boss invites you or suggests you go, to many people this has the same bearing as a formal order. And given an opportunity to suck up to the Prime Minister... surely there's a "reasonable excuse" to many? Who defines "reasonable excuse" - apparently the Metropolitan Police's "special enquiries team" does... And there’s another rant in itself!
Meanwhile the Labour party's finances are looking iffy as the union "Unite" is threatening to stop funding them in a row involving dustbin lorry drivers paid by the Labour-controlled Coventry council.
On the one had Labour gets its money from the unions... on the other hand (as I ranted yesterday) the Conservatives get their funding from billionaires with money to burn... whoever gets elected is beholden to someone or other. Isn't it high time the country sorted out its political system?
I got to work where I found a Smuggler Cubimal waiting in the Tree House (Munzee is another world!), then got on with work. I wasn't really supposed to be at work today, but I had been asked to take part in a convoluted swap in which I would work today rather than this coming Saturday... which suited me fine.
Work was work - not as hectic as yesterday. As I worked I found myself thinking of another friend from years ago. I'd not seen her for a couple of years, but Michelle died a little while ago, and today was her funeral. I had planned to go along (as I had been scheduled to be off today) but with only seventy-six places at the crematorium and over a hundred family members supposedly wanting to get along I thought it best I didn't show up.
We've got a link to a video of the service; there were a couple of empty seats…
11 February 2022 (Friday) - Not Getting Cake
I slept like a log last night; it’s amazing what a bottle of red wine and a couple of glasses of port can do.
I made toast and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “People Just Do Nothing” before having a little rummage through the Internet. Today’s amazingly petty trivial on-line argument in which people got really aggressively over-excited was about how Daleks make space-ships. You wouldn’t believe the hatred and venom that such a stupid question generated. And there was quite a bit of talk on one of the NHS staff Facebook pages where again it was made perfectly clear that if you are not a nurse then you can f… off. Generic NHS staff Facebook pages are like that.
A friend was complaining on one of the Hastings-related Facebook pages about the utterly inadequate street lighting down there. I suppose I’m glad it isn’t just Ashford with the problem. Back in the day I was on the committee of the local astronomy committee which was consulted on these L.E.D. street lights. What was promised is certainly not what was delivered. The street lights in Ashford give tiny pools of light whilst leaving most of the street in darkness. So much so that you can’t see a black dog on the end of a lead. And no one at local or county council wants to take responsibility for it, or claims to know who would be the people to put it right. It’s a rant I’ve done to death… perhaps I should start harassing the local councillors again. I wonder when they are up for election?
I set my lap-top updating itself (as it likes to do so every Friday) and set off to find where I'd left my car last night. It didn't take *that* long to scrape the ice from the car, and once I'd done so I saw I had a very clean windscreen. All the grime and dirt from the road had gone with the scraped ice.
As I drove west-wards the pundits on the radio were talking about the resignation of the Metropolitan Police's Commissioner Cressida Dick who jacked it all in overnight. Her resignation was rather odd. Only a few months ago the Mayor of London extended her contract by two years, then yesterday announced he had no confidence in her. There was an interview with some leading light in the Police Federation who said that Ms Dick's departure will in no way affect any ongoing police work. If that is true, then what did she do all day long, and what is the point of looking for a replacement?
There was then an interview with Brandon Lewis who is the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who didn't really answer any question which was put to him. I couldn't see why they'd bothered wheeling him on, to be honest.
As I parked my car so “er indoors TM” sent a message to say that my lap-top had finished preparing its update and had turned itself off. That had only taken an hour and a half.
I went in to work where I completely failed to convince anyone that today was actually " Give Dave A Cake Day". Mind you next time if I do some preparation I might just manage to get some cake from the gullible. I think I might have done better had everyone's attention not been on one of the trainees whose rabbit apparently was being unruly and had a bad attitude. I am reliably informed that belligerency is not uncommon in rabbits.
With my bit I came home. Whilst I do like working in Pembury, and whilst I knew that travelling there would be a part of the job when I took it, I can’t pretend I like the journey… Or (to be more accurate) don’t like the journey when it is dark. In daylight it is a rather pretty drive.
I got home at the same time as “er indoors TM” who had been out with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” . I had a quick shower, then as “er indoors TM” ran the dogs round the block I checked I’d corrected my co-ordinates properly (doesn’t everyone?) and then programmed “Hannah” in readiness for tomorrow’s planned excursion.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of the new season of “Celebrity Hunted”. Neither of us knew who any of the so-called celebrities were, so we treated it as just any other season of “Hunted”. It was rather good… I’ve said before I reckon I could do well on that show…
12 February 2022 (Saturday) - Mersham to Aldington (and back)
I slept well despite a nightmare in which a gang of thugs were having a picnic in the back of my car because it was warmer than my front garden.
I set another negative COVID test going, made toast and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. This morning’s Facebook argument was a strange one. Someone was on the “Upstairs Downstairs” Facebook group asking for money for a friend who was supposedly stuck in China. The friend had a brain tumour; the chemotherapy had worked but the tumour was still there (?) and because of the tumour the airline officials won’t allow this friend to fly home. So there is a fundraising campaign to fly her home. Presumably the fundraising is to bribe the airline officials? However this request for money for getting a friend with brain cancer home suddenly became a request for money to decorate her house, and in a totally inexplicable turn of events became an argument about the ethics of trading in stocks and shares.
I checked my emails and sighed. Someone had been out locally and found some of my Wherigo geocaches and had written in the “Found It” logs “Found but forgot pen”. On the one hand according to a strict interpretation of the rules I should delete their log and insist they go back and sign it. On the other hand the hobby is demonstrably dying on their arse and do I really want to be discouraging people who are new to the silly game? Personally I’m not that bothered if someone assures me they took a photo of what they found, but on the New Year’s Day Wherigo session I had some people claiming that others were logging finds they hadn’t made and strongly suggesting I deleted logs there and then.
Geocaching is supposed to be fun… I shall hope that those who take the moral high ground didn’t see these logs.
Pausing only briefly to find “er indoors TM”’s trousers (!) and to bark at every bird seemingly within a five-mile radius we got ourselves organised and drove out to Mersham where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and went for a little walk.
The “Mersham/Aldington Walk” series of geocaches were originally published a couple of years ago but what with one thing and another we’d never got round to going to walk the series. And then several of them had fallen into disrepair. But last week some friends of ours walked the route and had done some maintenance for the person who’d originally put the series out (why don’t more people do that ?!), so seeing the geocaches were as good as they were ever going to be, we thought we might go for a walk round then today.
We had a good walk despite a biting wind and being helped by one of the normal people. To be fair the chap who’d set the walk had said it wasn’t especially dog friendly, and we did have to throw the dogs over a couple of the less well maintained stiles. And it has to be said that in some places the paths weren’t as well marked as they might have been, but nothing that a bit of map-work and idiot enthusiasm couldn’t overcome.
Geocache-wise it wasn’t a bad series. Some of the caches are rather spaced out, but what can you do when there is a humungous field with nowhere to stash a Tupperware box? I must admit that some of the hides weren’t where I would have put them, but I am in no way complaining. Several of the hints given don’t match what is there now, but these things really do evolve when you aren’t looking. But the bottom line was that someone had taken the trouble to plan out a day’s walk for us, and I am very grateful.
After six miles we got back to the cars. We’d parked by the Farrier’s Arms, and so we thought we might have a craftly half. With their own home-brewed beer on the hand pump together with two from the Ringwood brewery we stayed for three pints.
I took a few photos as we walked (and drank). Once home there was a minor disaster when I saw that my phone had saved them as .heic files rather than jpg. With absolutely no idea what to do I just pressed the “upload” button and they seemed to work.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the second “Austin Powers” film… it was a shame I fell asleep half way through…
13 February 2022 (Sunday) - Wet Sunday
As I scoffed my toast this morning I read something on the Internet which really sums up the world we live in. There is a school in Lancashire which has banned meat products from the meals it provides, and has demanded that all the children’s packed lunches be vegetarian ones. Personally if one of the fruits of my loin were at the school I would be telling the head teacher to get knotted, but it would seem that I would be in the minority. The article I read says (“it” being the school in question) “… it has hasn't received any complaints about its meals, Facebook is full of unhappy parents”. Isn’t this social media in a nutshell? Never *ever* complain properly in a reasoned manner to someone who might be able to address the issue. Instead just dash out a poorly-written rant on Facebook.
I then spent a little while sending out invites to the geo-event I’m staging next Saturday. So far it looks like there will only be a handful of people showing up, but in previous events I’ve run half a dozen people come along for every one that logs that they will turn up, So here’s hoping.
As “er indoors TM” got busy sorting the grouting in the bathroom I took the dogs for a walk to the co-op field. As we walked we had a near “episode” when a passing child got to two feet away from us then decided to scream and shout and have a complete melt-down which (of course) set the dogs barking and going frantic. Her father was with her and said that she didn’t like dogs. Well… she doesn’t have to like them; why not just walk straight past? Did she need to make such an attention-seeking fuss? I asked the father this question… he asked the child. It had never occurred to her.
We played “ball” in the co-op field. Treacle carried hers, but Pogo soon lost interest. He likes me to bounce the ball so he can catch it in mid-air, but tennis balls don’t bounce very high from wet grass. Mind you I suspect those in the allotments were bouncing high… no matter what time of day (on any day) we go there, the track into the field reeks of whatever it is that those in the allotments are smoking
With walk walked we came home and I went into the garden for a little pootle. I harvested a bumper crop of dog turds, got the lawn-mower out and gave the lawn its first scalping of the year. In the past I’ve always waited until Easter before starting in the garden, but these days I daren’t leave it that late. Bearing in mind how good the lawn looked last year I went round with the lawn food, then scraped all the mud off of the walking boots (that got encrusted yesterday) and put everything away. I was closing the shed door (and just about to come inside for a nice cuppa) when the shed door fell off in my hands. Woops.
It didn’t take *that* long to fix but was a pain in the glass that I could have done without. Especially bearing in mind how cold it was today and that the rain was trying to start.
Just as I finally got that cuppa so the phone rang. Father-in-law had been admitted to hospital this morning with a suspected thrombosis. Sadly due to that hospital’s interpretation of the COVID rules he isn’t allowed any visitors.
I spent the afternoon ironing whilst watching episodes of “People just Do Nothing” whilst “er indoors TM” cleaned out the kitchen cupboards (ably assisted by Treacle and Pogo) until “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” came to visit. Her and Big Jake were on their way to visit “My Boy TM”. She looks like she really has swallowed a spacehopper.
After a few minutes Cheryl arrived to give them both a lift. She’d been shopping for Yorkshire puddings and couldn’t find any. We offered her some, and she went berserk… best before 2018? They’ve been in the freezer. How “off” can they be…
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very
good roast dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Lego Masters :
Australia”. Tonight’s was the Star Wars episode… I wouldn’t mind being in
that show – such a shame the UK version got cancelled…
14 February 2022 (Monday) - Back to Work
I woke in the small hours to find that an alliance of “er indoors TM” and two small dogs had captured most of the duvet. I had just enough to cover myself, so rather than launching a retaliatory campaign I resigned myself to being grateful that I’d got any duvet and made myself as comfortable as I could.
I went into Facebook looking to kick ass this morning. Over the last few weeks and months and years I’ve mentioned about the trivial squabbles that get blown out of all proportion; most recently ones (amazingly) on the Facebook “Upstairs Downstairs: The Original Series” page. Following a squabble over the weekend (which I missed entirely) there was a call for volunteers to help police the group. I’ve volunteered and have been appointed “moderator” and “group expert” on there. Go me!! Armed with the power to moderate I cruised in there… and everyone was behaving themselves. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Mind you I’ve been helping to moderate the Julian May Sci-Fi books Facebook group, and that one (for the most part) has been rather uneventful.
I did have an advert on my Facebook feed for some T-shirt company operating out of Whistler in British Columbia. Apparently Facebook showed me the ad because the ad is aimed at people with an interest in skiing (!) and Facebook (not me) decided to add “skiing” to my list of interests. I pressed the button to see what else was on my list of interests on my Facebook profile. It would seem I was also interested in “cosmetics”, “fleet command”, “yoga”, “dresses”, “funny nurses”, “marathons” and “home schooling”. I wonder where they got those ideas from.
I had a look at my emails. A new geocache had gone live on the other side of town. If I hadn’t been on a late shift today I might well have been driving past it at the right time and might well have had the chance of a First to Find. As it was I didn’t see that it had gone live until about half an hour after I expected the local FTF hound would have got there. I had emails telling me that quite a few people had awarded favourite points to the series of Wherigos that I put out in Brook late last year. That was something of a result. And I saw that despite having doubled the credit limit on my credit card (at the suggestion of the nice people at Credit Karma), my credit score at Credit Karma has remained unchanged.
I took the dogs up to the park where we had a relatively good walk. Pogo seems to be losing interest in playing “fetch” or “catch” though.
With walk walked we came home; I carried on getting mud off of the walking boots and sorted undercrackers whilst watching an episode of “People Just Do Nothing”, then with a little time on my hands wrote up some CPD and sent out a load more reminders to people about the weekend’s geo-meet before getting ready for work.
I took a rather circuitous route to work; perhaps more circuitous than it might have been had I not taken the wrong turn shortly after junction four of the motorway. After seemingly herculean brain-straining I'd solved a geo-puzzle some time ago, and today was the first time that I was (vaguely) in the area so I thought I might winkle it out of its hidey-hole and do the secret geo-ritual to keep me occupied on the way to work. Bearing in mind how much effort I'd put in to solving the puzzle, finding the final film pot came as something of an anti-climax.
And with geocache found I went in to work. What with surgery, holiday and secondments to Pembury I'd not been in to work for five weeks. It was still there, and was much the same as when I'd left it. I did my bit on another late shift (I seem to be doing quite a few of these at the moment). I quite like the late start, but I can't say I'm keen on the late finish. Mind you, I'm in no way complaining, but the drive home straight down the motorway is *far* easier (and forty minutes quicker) that the tortuous cross-county drives through the lanes in the pitch darkness that I was doing last week.
15 February 2022 (Tuesday) - Another Late Shift
I asked a question on one of the work-based Facebook groups yesterday, and was rather amazed by some of the replies that I read as I scoffed my toast over brekkie. Work-based Facebook groups are something of an eye-opener. Many of the people appearing on these groups are students quite forcefully offering the wrong answers. Quite a sizable proportion of people on there claim to be doctors, but the lack of understanding of basic principles in what they write shows that most are no more a doctor that either of my dogs. And most of the American members participants approach everything from a financial (rather than medical/technical) perspective.
There was a petty squabble on one of the “Blake’s Seven” Facebook pages. Reading that page is in many ways not unlike the “Upstairs Downstairs” Facebook page. Whilst one TV show is about the landed gentry who lived a hundred years ago and the other a sci-fi series set thousands of years into the future, both are TV shows from forty-odd years ago than many people don’t seem to realise are from forty years ago.
And then I saw an advert for these two dogs. Just like Fudge and Sid would have been had they lived; A very old pug and a very old jackshund needing to be re-homed as a double act. Could we take them on? I seriously considered it.
After an “old dog induced” meltdown I then refereed our remaining dogs’ breakfast time. Dog breakfast time is frankly silly. They both get a bowl of food. Pogo tucks into his whilst Treacle watches. When he’s scoffed the very last bit of his, Treacle starts eating hers and Pogo watches her eat. But if she doesn’t start eating right away Pogo eats hers too. Hence the need for a referee.
With rain forecast in an hour or so I took the dogs out earlier than I might have done. Ideally we would have gone after the schoolkids would finished swarming about on their way to school… There were no schoolkids swarming about today. Is it half term? Seeing how it is over fifteen years since schools and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” parted company (not on the best of terms) I’ve rather lost track of school holidays.
We walked to the park, played “fetch” and “catch” and came home again without a single woof at anyone or anything.
I harvested yet another bumper crop of dog dung from the garden, and was very pleased to see the shed door was still in place following my fixing of the thing two days ago. And as the rain started we all came inside and watched episodes of “People Just Do Nothing” until it was time to set off work-wards.
The morning's walk to the park and back with the hounds had been very quiet; there had been very few people about. Things were rather different as I drove to work. Both lanes of the M20 (it only has two lanes London-bound thanks to "Operation Brock") were ram-packed with traffic.
I eventually got to the petrol station in Aylesford where the queue was backing out of the forecourt.
And that was my day today. A mooch on the internet, a dog walk, a bit of telly, got petrol and did the late shift. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from today, but I think it fair to say that I was expecting more than I actually got.
16 February 2022 (Wednesday) - Worst Dog Walk Ever
I woke in a cold sweat in the small hours in which one of the most likeable gentle geocaching friends of mine had become Mr Big, had the entire geocaching community thrown into prison and was demanding money with menaces. Only having forty pence meant I was in big trouble.
Being awake I popped to the loo, and came back just as Pogo fell off of the bed. As it was pitch dark I couldn’t see that it was Pogo, but judging by the crash it was either him or a rhino. Like me, that dog needs to go on a diet.
I dozed for an hour or so then made brekkie and scoffed it (as yet another negative COVID test incubated) whilst watching an episode of “People Just Do Nothing”, then sparked up my lap-top in the forlorn hope that something might have happened in cyber-space overnight.
My lap-top laid an egg as it told me that my data was on the dark web having been involved in four data breaches. However the only breach it wanted to tell me about was when the diet website “MyFitnessPal” got hacked four years ago. I wonder what the other three breaches were? But that was the only excitement this morning. With nothing else at all happening I got dressed and set off for work.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were jabbering on about the latest development in the Prince Andrew saga in which whoever it was that had the arse with him has now agreed to an out of court settlement even though she'd already received a bung of half a million dollars. And now the scandal isn't whether or not he sexually abused her, rather exactly where the money to pay this woman is coming from. Is the Queen paying it? Is he paying himself? It is all good gossip though, isn't it?
The Bishop of Burnley was then wheeled on to present "Thought for the Day". He started off about how the Russian army looks set to invade Ukraine, and how terrifying it is for the thousands of innocent people caught up in the potential conflict. And just at the point when my (and presumably everyone’s else too) attention started to drift, the Bishop started drivelling on about how nice Jesus was, and how although the Russian army and the Ukrainians might have a fight, we don't have to, and we can be nice to each other instead. As though I was intending to go out and punch someone up the throat today...
Having left home rather later than I would usually have done the roads were rather busy, but I got to work with a little time to spare. I spent much of the day peering down a microscope and had something of a "virusy" day; when looking at blood you really can see when someone's got a virus infection.
There was a minor disaster as I drove home. A week ago the car’s tyre pressure warning went off and I put in some more air. And this evening on the way home the warning went off again. That was a pain in the glass. Fortunately I was able to get home and park the car right outside the house so I had this idea to leave the car for a little while so I could check the tyre pressures on cold tyres (like you are supposed to) and come back to it once I’d walked the dogs.
I got the hounds onto their leads, got their light-up collars on, and had the worst dog walk ever. We went round the block via Christchurch Road, Francis Road and Bond Road, and were about a hundred yards from home when the dogs saw a Bassett hound over the road. In their sudden inexplicable immediate need to attack this dog they flew at it, and as Pogo sprinted with all his might so the lead came behind my ankles and pulled my legs out from under me. I hit the ground like a rubber duck (to coin a phrase), but fortunately for the dogs I still had hold of their leads, and they span completely round as they nearly pulled my arm out of its shoulder socket. I say “fortunately for the dogs”; they missed getting run over by inches.
Once the passing postman picked me up I ranted somewhat hysterically at the dogs, and they were as meek as lambs for the next hour or so.
“er indoors TM” took over ranting at the dogs, and I checked the car’s tyre pressures. One was a tad low. It isn’t now.
My right knee and right hip really hurt…
17 February 2022 (Thursday) - Leg Really Hurts
Treacle’s whining to get back on to the bed woke me at two o’clock, and I then lay awake for the rest of the night with a dull throbbing in my right leg. When the dogs had me over yesterday I must have hit the ground harder than I realised.
I got fed up with laying awake sulking, so I hobbled downstairs, made toast, and just as I was about to make my coffee I realised I’d forgotten to switch on the kettle. Again.
With telly watched I sparked up my lap-top, sent out three birthday messages, and seeing nothing of note on Facebook I had a look at my emails. There was nothing worth looking at there either, so I hobbled back upstairs, glared at the sleeping dogs who had completely forgotten about what they’d done yesterday, got dressed, and hobbled to my car. I was so glad I’d managed to park it outside the house last night.
I was rather pleased to see that my car was happy with its tyre pressures this morning. Mind you it did tell me that it was due for a service in the next month. I saw this as something of a result. My old car wouldn't give me any warnings; it would just wait until the service was due before saying anything. Having some notice is useful as it gives me time to book an appointment somewhere. I say "somewhere" - I'm going with the main Skoda dealer for now. The garage I've used for the last fifteen years have been very good, but are victims of their own success. If I had tried to book an appointment today they wouldn't have anything for three weeks. And because they service all makes of cars they are something of jacks of all trades... I think it fair to say that on over half the times I collected my car after they had had it, I would start to drive the car away only to find a fault with the parking brake which had been of their causing. And every time this happened they would say "oh yes... Renaults do that, don't they?" And I would wait for twenty minutes whilst they sorted the problem they openly admitted they had caused.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the latest scandal to befall the Royal family. Some chum of Prince Charles is alleged to be selling honours.
Honours... Some people really will pay for one (cunningly disguising the cash as a bung to a charity). When I was a lad my ambition was to have done something worthy of getting an OBE as I thought an Honour was worth having. But now I know of many people who have run scout groups and Boys Brigade companies and kite clubs and done all sorts of voluntary work for most of their lives and had sod-all formal recognition. Meanwhile loads of others get a gong for doing the job for which they are massively overpaid.
I ranted about this years ago (4 January 2007 to be precise), and still it continues.
There was also a lot of talk about paedophilia among Italian priests. It was claimed that as many as one in twenty Italian priests have tried it on with children. I thought that figure a bit high, but apparently this was true in Australia ten years ago.
There was an attempt to interview one priest who is still an active parish priest in Italy despite a court having told him he's not to be trusted anywhere near children. He wasn't keen to talk, but his bishop was, and the bishop said he saw no reason to dismiss the paedo. You'd think the paedo's flock would have said something though. Wouldn't you? Or are they still terrified of parish priests much like a bunch of medieval peasants would have been five hundred years ago? It never fails to amaze me how the average Catholic is so much in awe of their local parish priest. I used to work with a woman who was Catholic in name only, *never* went to church, but was frankly terrified of the local priest and would hide if she saw him in public.
I went in to work for the early shift and spent much of the day peering down a microscope. I was glad I didn’t have to move about too much today – my leg wasn’t up to much. When the boss went for a cuppa I quickly phoned the garage and told him the car had asked if it could have a service. The nice man has sorted that out for next week.
And then I phoned the Swan and Dog in Great Chart where some weeks ago (January 18th) I arranged to stage the monthly geocacher's meet-up. I wanted to confirm the arrangements for this weekend. It was as well that I phoned them. To begin with they claimed to know nothing about my booking... then they asked what my phone number was, and the manager then came on and said she had wondered what that number was that was written in their diary. She said she could reserve me a table for six people. Bearing in mind I've already got over fifteen people saying they are up for it, this came as something of a blow. So while the boss went for lunch I frantically phoned around desperately trying to scare up another venue. I managed to get somewhere…
An early shift meant an early finish. I was home early enough to walk the dogs in daylight. We did a very quick walk round the block. The same one we walked yesterday; this time with no “episodes” whatsoever for which I was grateful.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of scran which we washed down with a rather good bottle of plonk whilst watching more of “Celebrity Hunted”. I have no idea of who these celebrities are, but one of them has no hesitation in waggling her bare arse at the camera (which on its own makes the show worth watching!) However if you ever get the chance, watch this show in the company of “er indoors TM”; she certainly gets over-excited…
And in closing, today is one year since my mum died. I mentioned this on Facebook this morning. So many people have reacted to that post…
18 February 2022 (Friday) - Storm Eunice
I barely slept last night, finding myself wide awake at two o’clock and then waking every few minutes from then on. What was that all about? I gave up trying to sleep at five o’clock and watched “People Just Do Nothing” as I scoffed toast, then had a look-see on-line. It was probably too early to have seen much this morning, but what I did see was mostly people preparing for the forecast storm… I say “preparing”; spreading panic-inspiring memes is probably a better description.
With no emails worth having I ignored the invitation to a sale of bondage equipment (!) and got ready for the off.
I left home whilst it was still dark. The wind was picking up, and the pundits on the radio had a lot to say about the wind. They have a lot to say most mornings, but this morning there seemed to be something of a theme... They had a lot of interviews with people in all sorts of places where the forecast storm was due to hit. No one had anything to report; just to say that they were all expecting the worst. And they also had a lot of interviews with people in all sorts of places in the Ukraine where the Russian army is supposed to be invading. And these people also had nothing to report; just to say that they too were all expecting the worst.
I'd left home early to go to Sainsburys. The place was rather quiet, as you might expect at seven o'clock. I bought far too many doughnuts, and took them in to work. Doughnuts were appreciated by all at tea time. Both jam doughnuts (as God intended) and custard doughnuts (an abomination).
At tea time I finished my e-book. On 6 December last year I downloaded the first of the "Harry Potter" books to my phone's Kindle app. Today I finished the last one. Those seven books kept me occupied for two and a half months. They were rather good; starting as very much a child's story they got progressively darker as they went on. Part of me would like to know what happens to Harry Potter next, but like all stories, it is best to end it on a high, rather than dragging it on for evermore ("Last of the Summer Wine" and "Doctor Who" spring to mind).
I've now downloaded an old favourite book of mine. I've read "Brideshead Revisited" so many times... if you've never read it, give it a go.
As the day wore on so the wind picked up. The forecast had been for the worst winds since “My Boy TM” was ten days old, but the pundits on the radio over-exaggerate so much that I hadn't taken them seriously. But I think it fair to say we did have the worst winds for years, with bridges closing and all the county's buses stopping as the day went on. Perhaps the road closures might have been better taking place earlier? But (like me) no one really expected the winds that came today.
I blame the media. I can't help but feel that they should be held to account for their scaremongering. People might have taken the ongoing pandemic more seriously at the start had the last twenty years not been an endless merry-go-round of end-of-the-world horror stories of mad cow disease and AIDS and zika virus and bird flu and swine flu and whatever.
An early start meant an early finish. I drove out of the works car park and got a hundred yards down Hermitage Lane before having to do a U-turn because the road was blocked. Thinking myself very clever I took a detour which would go past the DFS shop, and was stuck in a traffic jam for half an hour whilst the police chain-sawed the fallen tree that had come down from outside the DFS store.
Once home I walked the dogs round the block. Pogo started to kick off at another dog… then suddenly realised what he was doing, shut up and looked at me in a very apologetic sort of way.
I’d walked the dogs immediately on getting home. And with dogs walked I had a look in the garden fully expecting the rickety fence between our garden and not-so-nice-next-door to be matchwood. I was rather amazed to find no storm damage to the garden at all (so far). I shall have another look in the morning.
“er indoors TM” came home with a job lot of shopping, and boiled up fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching “Celebrity Hunted”.
I really do think I could do that show… when my leg stops hurting.
19 February 2022 (Saturday) - Geo-Meet
Having been awake for a few hours I gave up trying to sleep, got up and watched an episode of “People Just Do Nothing” as I scoffed toast.
Rather than sparking up my lap-top I got dressed and took the dogs out to Great Chart. I’d planned to activate my Adventure Lab series over there today, and the geo-feds had assured me they would be doing their bit at 11am. I could have put the physical bonus cache out during the week, but I’d deliberately left it to the last minute.
We had a good walk. Despite one or two fallen trees (and a blown-away shed) our way wasn’t blocked to the point of impassability like I thought it might have been. As we walked, Treacle carried a large stick and Pogo played “catch” as we went from the top-secret cache location up to the river and back again.
We came home. I took a hammer to my walking boot to repair a broken eyelet, then had another look at the garden to assess storm damage. Our garden seems to have got off unscathed but most of the fruit trees hanging over the fence from nice next door have gone. I see that as a result as they only drop over-ripe plums onto the shingle and they are a pain to move (unless you are Pogo and you carry them into the house). I went up the garden to have a closer look and tried not to laugh as I saw where the fallen trees were. They were blocking the drive at the back of our house, and the new owner there was sawing the wreckage away. He was nearly finished, but told me he’d been at it for two hours.
I gave myself a quick haircut, then “er indoors TM” served up a cuppa and some hot cross buns and all the power went off. That was a pain in the glass. I was just about to get off my bum and check the fuses when it all came back on again, so I asked on one of the local Facebook pages if anyone else had had an outage. It would seem that power had gone out for two minutes across most of Ashford.
With power restored I spent an hour or so trying (and failing) to solve geo-puzzles.
We settled the dogs and drove round to Singleton Barn where I was hosting the monthly geo-meet. Having been let down at short notice by the Swan and Dog in Great Chart, Singleton Barn did us proud today, They gave us a dedicated area which we filled, I was rather pleased with how the event went; I got to meet up with old friends and I got to meet new friends. And I got more beer than sense too. I took a few photos of the day too – you can see them by clicking here. I had fifteen people who said they would be along – we ended up with twenty-six. I was rather pleased about that.
I’ve got several really good “attended” log of the meet – one of them read “…it was great to put some faces to geonames and meet like minded folk. Bar menu was good and company friendly…” which was *exactly* what I was intending for today.
“er indoors TM” then drove us home, and I put the heating on and prepared for the onslaught whilst she fetched “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” . “My Boy TM” and Aunty Chel came to see littlun and we had a good couple of hours until “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” had to be home.
“er indoors TM” drove him home, and came home with Asda’s Chinese for tea. I ate far too much, and now have a belly ache…
20 February 2022 (Sunday) - Family Get-Together
After a really busy day yesterday I slept like a log last night; finally emerging from my pit just before nine o’clock. I made toast and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. Quite a lot of people had said good things about yesterday’s geocaching meeting which was pleasing. Bearing in mind I’d been let down with only two days to go, Singleton Barn did us proud yesterday.
I also saw that “Margaret Tello” was still active on Facebook. “Margaret Tello” had sent me a friend request on Facebook last night. She appears to be a young lady with more tits than sense and was exhorting me to join a Whatsapp group in which “hot women” would do the dirty deed without wanting to be paid. I squealed her up to the Facebook feds, but as we know only too well, offering free filth on-line doesn’t breach Facebook’s community standards.
As another negative COVID test incubated I scoffed hot cross buns and wrote up some CPD. A year or so ago a colleague said she’d like to start writing up a CPD blog of her own. The most difficult bit was getting started, and now she’s writing quite a bit on her blog. She doesn’t write quite as much as I do but I think it fair to say that what she does write is of *far* better quality than what I do, and so I have no hesitation in shamelessly blagging her work.
Leaving “er indoors TM” getting jiggy with the hoover I took the dogs round to the co-op field where we walked round once, taking care not to get involved with the game of football that was going on. We got muddy enough walking round once; they were playing football in a swamp.
We came home and had a bath (well, those of us covered in mud did).
The dogs soon settled, and pausing only briefly to collect Nick’s coat from Singleton Barn, “er indoors TM” drove us down to Folkestone where “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had excelled herself making Sunday dinner for the family. Eleven of us sat down and scoffed a very good dinner. It was good for us all to meet up, and we had a really good bit of dinner… probably far too much.
“My Boy TM” left a few minutes before us, and just as we were about to leave Folkestone the phone rang. He was stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway; could we go get Lacey from her work? Avoiding the blocked motorway we got to within a few hundred yards of collecting her when we met a “Road Closed” sign. We didn’t have to go too many miles to get to where we needed to be.
And with Lacey safely delivered home I then spent the evening fast asleep on the sofa clutching a very stuffed stomach…
21 February 2022 (Monday) - Bit Dull Really
I slept reasonably well, though having eaten far too much yesterday did leave a bloated feeling which didn’t go away.
I got up to see my bereaved friend was having a little anti-religion rant on Facebook as today marked two months since his wife of over thirty years had died. This made me think… I met Graeme in 1975 when we were both in the Boys Brigade, and we both stayed in it until I left first in1984. Looking back, although we had a wonderful time there, the whole raison d’etre of the Boys Brigade was to force religion onto kids and it took me many years to realise that I had been brainwashed, I didn’t actually believe any of what the ministers had been preaching, but I just desperately hoped it was true. Even though I realised that the idea of the God with which we had been presented required far too many excuses.
Now over forty years later I find myself looking back to see that the church in which we met has closed down, with one exception none of the old crowd goes to church any more, and (by and large) the Boys Brigade failed in its mission. I was confirmed in my disbelief at the funeral of the chap who ran the Boys Brigade group for many years when the one person of our old gang who stayed with the church (and is now a vicar himself) gave a little speech/sermon in which he praised our old leader for having a strong “faith” – this “faith” being a stubborn pig-headed insistence on clinging to a set of beliefs which had long since been shown to be frankly wrong.
I also saw I had a load of birthday messages on Facebook, which was rather kind.
“er indoors TM” and I then went for a cheeky McBrekkie… back in the day I seemingly lived in McDonalds. I can’t remember the last time I was in there. McBrekkie sadly wasn’t all that good. We then took the dogs round the park for a little walk, and I then, pausing only briefly to iron some shirts, spent the rest of the day slobbing in front of the telly nursing an ongoing guts ache on what was probably the crappest birthday I’ve ever had…
Mind you the weekend had been good, so I can’t complain. Mid-February has always been a bad time to have a birthday.
22 February 2022 (Tuesday) - All The Twos
I got up to a wet morning. None of the weather forecasts had predicted rain overnight, and none of the weather forecasts has predicted rain for the morning, with the BBC only giving a ten per cent chance of rain as I looked out of the kitchen window at the downpour.
I sighed, and made toast.
Over brekkie I saw that Facebook had again reviewed “Margaret Tello” (the porn-monger who sent me a friend request) and again confirmed that sending links to mucky websites didn’t go against their community standards. They did however give me the opportunity to appeal to their Oversight Board, so I’ve sent them a message. We’ll see what comes of that, Not much I expect.
And we had an email from the power company saying that the combined gas and leccie bill is going up by sixty quid a month to over two hundred quid. Do any of my loyal readers get gas and leccie cheaper?
I shall need to make some economies, I think…
Being up early I set off on a rather circuitous trip to the aquatic shop in Rolvenden via a geocache based on the war memorial in Beckley and one in memory of a spitfire pilot who crashed in nearby Northiam. I got to the pond shop. I needed a new fluorescent tube for the pond’s filter, so I took the old one, and said “one of these please”. I always take the old one as if I don’t I am convinced I will come out with the wrong thing. It was as well I took the old one in today; there was quite a conference behind the counter trying to decide which bulb was the one I needed.
As I drove home my car’s trye pressure warning came up again. Bearing in mind that this is the third time it has done this in a month I thought that (just maybe) I might get someone to give it the once-over. The nice man in Kwik-Fit said he might be able to fit me in this afternoon, but the nice man in ATS said he’d sort me out right there (result!). The tyre with the warning had a tear in it which was irreparable, and another one was on the poggered side too.
It was quite ironic really… I’d taken a little detour this morning to find two geocaches so’s I’d get a souvenir for finding two geocaches on 22-2-22 and ended up spending 2 hundred quid on 2 new tyres.
Once home I took the dogs out (much later than I’d intended). We went to the park. I won’t say we had a good walk, but I will say that my dogs’ behaviour was impeccable. We played “fetch” and “catch” for a bit, then both dogs walked perfectly at heel as we went round the park. As we walked along by the river we were joined by another dog. I have no idea whose dog it was; there was no-one else to be seen. My two didn’t react (which I saw as something of a result) even though the other dog was charging about like a thing possessed. It was a shame that this dog decided to charge almost but not quite underneath a cyclist coming the other way. After a screech of brakes and a lot of shouting whilst the errant hound sprinted off into the distance, the irate cyclist told me I should keep my dogs under control. I pointed at my two (with some pride) who were both still at heel and said that they were under control, and walked off. As we walked the cyclist sped off in pursuit of the dog who had caused the “episode”. I wonder if he got the fight he was so clearly looking for Still… not my circus, not my monkeys.
After this, the passing vagrant telling me the new council shed was made of liquid cocaine came as something of an anti-climax.
With walk walked I went into the garden and cleaned out the fish pond’s filter. I used to do this in the bath, but it stinks, and the last time I did it in the bath I blocked the plug hole, so now I’ve got a rather good (if somewhat Heath-Robinson) arrangement with a hose pipe and a huge flowerpot that I stand over the drain. It didn’t take *that* long to clean out, and with clean filter innards I put the filter all back together again (with the new fluorescent tube), turned it all on, and the whole lot leaked like a sieve with water gushing out in all over the place. Oh, how I laughed.
I had intended to carry on in the garden for the afternoon, but it had clouded over and was rather cold. So I put the screwdrivers and saws away (the filter had taken quite a bit of fixing!), reeled in the hose, and thought about a late lunch as the rain started.
I spent the afternoon watching “Downton Abbey: The Movie” and then dozed until “er indoors TM” came home and boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with a decent bottle of plonk whilst watching “Lego Masters: Australia”.
After the stomach ache of yesterday, today was a rather good (if busy and expensive) day.
23 February 2022 (Wednesday) - During the Car Service
As I scoffed my toast I saw I had a message about a Wherigo I’d put out in Canterbury which had been giving people some trouble. I created the thing seven years ago and had thought about archiving it when I stopped working in Canterbury five years ago, but it seems to have been OK up until now. The software seems to have developed a bug in which it throws up random QR codes where it shouldn’t. I wish it wouldn’t.
And the nice people at Credit Karma had emailed me to say my credit score has gone up, They’d suggested I ask the bank to increase the limit on my credit card so over two weeks ago I did just that, and now they have increased my score by eleven points, which has taken it from “Good” to “Excellent”. I suppose this is worth having? After a little farting around on-line I found that the people who make these scores won’t say what the national average credit score is for the UK, but they did say that area with the highest score is Kingston-upon-Thames which has an average score of five hundred and forty-seven. I suppose you’d expect no less from Kingston-upon-Thames, would you?
And there was a lot of talk on Facebook on the work-related groups in which an American blood tester was gloating that she’d just had a cut-price birth. Apparently because yesterday was the midwife’s birthday (or something) the cost of the medical expenses that went with the birth was only thousands of dollars, rather than tens of thousands of dollars. There was then quite the debate (squabble) among the American blood testers about the going rate for a birth, and the consensus of opinion was to shop around before deciding to go into labour. Doesn’t this make you realise just how wonderful the NHS is…
I went down the road to the dentist. As always I’d had no end of messages from them about COVID precautions and the need for face coverings, and as always not one of the receptionists had a face mask over their noses as well as their mouths.
There was minor panic there as their computer system had crashed, but I got to see the hygienist right away as hygienists apparently don’t need computers. She had a rummaging in my gob, told me it was mostly OK, and said to come back in six months. In the time it took her to do that, the computers had been fixed, so the dentist could see me. I’m not saying he didn’t do a thorough job, but I was in and out in less than two minutes.
I collected the dogs and drove out to the Skoda garage. The nice people in the garage seemed rather taken with the dogs, and they suggested that seeing how my car had no service history, maybe a full service might be a good idea. I left the car with them; they said to give it a couple of hours.
I had a plan to put out a Church Micro geocache at Sevington, then walk out to Mersham and back. We got to Sevington church where we met with something of a disaster. The footpath I intended to follow has been diverted seeing how the inland border facility has been built across it. So rather than following the old footpath, we explored the new ones. Bearing in mind it is February that was probably a better plan as the new paths are all on hard standing. From the church we followed a loop round the inland border facility up to the new(ish) green footpath over the motorway, and then walked up past the hospital, over the motorway again and down through Boys Hall back to the garage. Thirty seconds to type, two and a half hours to walk. I took a few photos as we walked; apart from Treacle going rogue and picking a fight with a swan it was a good walk.
I got back to the garage with something of a sense of dread. What would they have found on the service? Surprisingly little, really. There were a couple of advisories… I shall get those done in the next month or so. And we got out having spent about two hundred quid less than I had been expecting. And whilst they hadn’t given the car a full valeting, someone had scraped out a lot of the mud which was something of a result.
We came home and it wasn’t long before the dogs were both snoring after their exertions. There was no end of stuff I should have got on with, but there is something strangely satisfying about having a dog sleeping on you, and the rules are that you cannot disturb a sleeping dog, so I watched two series of “Trailer Park Boys”.
I stopped Trailer Park Boys” to nip to the loo, and when I came on “Married At First Sight: Australia” was on, and I found myself captivated by it. The premise is that total strangers get married and then… well, from what I could see they then immediately regretted having been so stupid.
I found myself thinking of someone who was once a good friend who I haven’t seen for years. This someone has spent the last twenty-odd years throwing himself head-first into one disastrous relationship after another. Having moved in with an utterly unsuitable partner in less than a week, he then had months (if not years) to regret the decision… only to go and do it again. I’ve not seen him for some time as the last-but-one disaster forbade him from associating with any of “his geek mates” of which I am apparently one.
“er indoors TM” came home with a ton of KFC. That was good. If “er indoors TM” were to croak I certainly wouldn’t be on a “Married At First Sight” show; I’d want to know I was setting up shop with someone who would feed me.
24 February 2022 (Thursday) - It Rained. A Lot
I didn’t have the best of nights. I woke in a cold sweat after only a couple of hours sleep having had a nightmare in which I’d had an owl telling me I’d been accepted into Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There was an apology that it was fifty years late, but Dumbledore himself said I’d got “sod all else to do so you might as well”. Having got to the school I soon found that I’d been invited under false pretences; pretty much all of the students were dead following a mishap with a “f*ck the f*ckers up” jinx and Dumbledore was looking for a stooge to take the blame. And that was when I woke in a cold sweat. Sometimes I wonder about what goes on inside my head.
I went to the loo to calm my nerves and came back to find no space in the bed at all as the dogs had made themselves comfortable.
“er indoors TM”’s alarm woke me shortly after seven, and with her showing no signs of moving I went back to sleep and was blissfully snoozing when the dogs suddenly had a “Red Alert” for absolutely no reason whatsoever at eight o’clock.
I made toast and scoffed it while yet another negative COVID test incubated, and as I had a look on-line. The Internet was still there, but not really much of note was going on in people’s lives. Everyone was up in arms about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but what can the likes of us do about it?
As I rummaged in a rather dull Internet I listened to the sound of the rain against the window. This rain had been forecast; it was a shame that the forecast couldn’t have been wrong today. But what could we do? As always we had two choices. We could sulk, or we could get on with it. The dogs were asking to go out; Pogo was trying to herd me to the front door, so I put on a coat and thought we’d have a walk round the block. But seeing the rain had stopped I thought we’d have a proper walk.
We drove up to Kings Wood and set off on our walk. I slipped in the mud to begin with, but the mud wasn’t *that* bad. It wasn’t that long before we came to a fallen tree. I took a photo of it; I took a few photos as we walked. I had a plan to create an album of photos of the damage caused by last week’s storm. Bearing in mind the carnage of the great storm of 1987, there was disappointingly little damage to be photographed today.
When we got about as far from the car as we were planning to get so the sky darkened and the heavens opened and we got soaked. So much for the rain stopping. We squelched our way back to the car and got home to find glorious sunshine.
As the washing machine scrubbed the mud out of the trousers I’d walked earlier I listened to that idiot of a Prime Minister we’ve got who was addressing the nation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He comes across so well in these speeches, and then goes on to embarrass himself very soon after, doesn’t he? He was banging on about the sanctions that the UK is going to impose on Russia… doesn’t he realise how much the price of the gas we import from Russia has gone up? Sixty quid a month for me alone! Whilst I do feel for the Ukrainians whose country is fast going back to being a Russian satellite, what *can* the UK realistically do? Until such time as the UK is not utterly dependent on Russian gas, the sad fact is the UK needs to think very carefully before pissing on its own chips.
I got out the ironing board, and tried to sort the laundry as Pogo made himself a little nest out of what I was trying to iron. As I fought with ironing and Pogo I watched an afternoon’s worth of “Four In A Bed” which started off with the first contestant crying about how lovely everyone had been to her, and ended up with her crying because everyone hated her. I do like that show (as I have said before), but watching it as it is broadcast is a silly thing to do. I could probably have saved nearly an hour by pre-recording and fast-forwarding through the adverts.
Also as I fought with ironing and Pogo I kept glancing out of the window at the weather which was alternating from glorious sunshine to (not forecast) torrential rain and back again with regularity.
With ironing ironed and telly watched I had a look at the monthly accounts. They are a lot better than they might be, but nowhere near as good as I wish they were. I just want to have far too much money. Is that so much to ask?
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed as she yelled abuse at the telly as it showed us the last episode of “Celebrity Hunted”. I won’t give the game away, but I will say that two of the contestants were incredibly unlucky.
As we scoffed it we necked perhaps one of the best bottles of white wine that I have ever had. At less than four quid a bottle it gives the lie to the pretentious, doesn’t it?
25 February 2022 (Friday) - Watching The Telly
I woke feeling rather unsettled and restless for absolutely no reason that I could work out. I made toast, turned on my lap-top and peered into the Internet as I do most mornings. The situation in Ukraine is bad for the people who live there, and in a typical sign of our times everyone and his wife were expressing solidarity wit the underdogs by sticking a Ukrainian flag on their Facebook profile picture.
As the situation in the Ukraine continues to deteriorate I can’t help but find myself wondering about what’s been going on in the world in the last thirty-odd years. I can remember the failed coup in the old USSR in 1991. I was at an Open University summer school at the time, and we thought it was a resounding victory for the West. The Cold War had been going on for as long as I could remember. I’d spent nearly thirty years in the shadow of nuclear Armageddon, and the Russian threat was finally receding. From that failed coup the USSR started to falter, and eventually fell apart… and then what happened in the meantime?
Whilst we in the west learned to become offended at pretty much everything and anything and started to re-write history to expunge anything that is not politically correct, and to exponentially increase the amount of genders that there may or may not be, the Russians licked their wounds and re-built their army. And here we are again facing the threat that the world faced when I was a lad, sadly this time having nothing with which to actually face it.
The Russian invasion of the Ukraine will continue. And then where will he invade next? Who is going to stop him? With total control of much of Europe’s gas supply, and facing a generation whose greatest asset is to take offence, what is to stop Mr Putin achieving that which his predecessors dreamt about.
There was also talk about some trivia on an episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” that was on telly last night. Mind you when I say “on telly” I mean “on some obscure pay-per-view channel that very few people are aware of, let alone pay for”. Back in the day everyone loved “Star Trek”; these days the makers sell the show to the channel that bids the highest, and hardly anyone sees it anymore.
I had a look at my emails. NHS Jobs has randomly decided to start sending me notifications of vacancies that might interest me. It was only when they arrived today that I realised I’d not had any of those for years. It would seem that there are still vacancies for blood testers all over the place; if anything the shortage has increased.
I also had a suggestion from LinkedIn that I might like to congratulate someone I’d never heard of on her promotion to “Senior Bimbo” or some other meaningless title. I have no idea who this person is… much like most of the people on my LinkedIn contact list.
Not wanting to take the dogs out during the rush hour I had a go on “Sweardle” and got it right on the third attempt with “turd” but struggled with “Lewdle” where the answer was “thicc”. “Sweardle” is a bit of fun, but I am convinced that “Lewdle” makes its own words up.
Seeing a bright day outside I got the dogs into the car and we set off. I listened to thirty seconds of “Desert Islands Discs” in which some mad woman was going on about never turning up the opportunity to commune with goats (!) before turning to my wonderful choice in music. We drove past the petrol station in Brookfield Road where the queue for panic-buying of petrol was starting to build up, and we drove on up to Kings Wood where we had a very good walk. From the car park we followed the paths until we were a mile and a half from the car as the crow flies (according to my OS app), and then followed other paths back. Again we saw quite a few dogs on leads over a mile from the nearest roads. Do they *all* have recall problems? My two didn’t react at any of the other dogs; I was so pleased with them.
We also saw quite a few birds of prey too. If the predators are out in force, then the prey must be doing well too.
We came home past Sainsburys where the panic-buying queue wasn’t as long as it has been in the past.
With walk walked some of us had a quick bath, and then I ran round the garden with the lawn mower. The ground was a tad soft, but the lawn needed mowing. And by then it was mid-day. I popped up the road for a sandwich but seeing the kebab shop open I came back with meat and chips to share with the dogs.
I had intended to carry on in the garden but finding myself underneath a pile of sleeping dogs I just watched the telly for a bit. “The Gentleman” was a rather good film about gangsters which passed a couple of hours as the kebab meat digested, then after a little sleep I hung out washing and watched “Trailer Park Boys” which is always fun.
I watched quite a lot of “Trailer Park Boys” today…
26 February 2022 (Saturday) - Far Far Ago
As I scoffed toast and peered into the Internet it
was all very negative this morning. There was a lot of talk about the ongoing
situation in the Ukraine in which the Russians are effectively doing what
they want whilst everyone else sits back and wrings their hands. I saw that
whoever it is that runs Rochester Cathedral had arranged for the colours of
the Ukrainian flag to be shone on its spire as they pray for peace. Isn’t
this just a concrete example of the futility of what they preach?
Shining different coloured torches whilst their god is unwilling or unable to
stop the suffering?
I had a flurry of messages and emails from the Isle of Wight branch of Halfords. Someone with the same name as me lives there. He must have a similar email too as I periodically get messages from wherever the chap has recently visited on the Isle of Wight. His building society were emailing me last year.
And I got told about a new puzzle geocache up near Thanet. Based on types of curry, the thing kept me occupied for a few minutes before I decided to give up as I doubt I’ll be going anywhere near it any time soon.
We got ourselves and the dogs organised and walked to the “er indoors TM”-mobile, and set off. We saw that the queue for petrol at the BP garage was nowhere near as long as we might have been led to believe. It wasn’t long before we were at Badlesmere from where we met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and had a rather good walk. There was a horse in one of the first fields we crossed; as we crossed it the horse vaguely sauntered in our general direction but never got closer than twenty yards away. As we crossed the next field we met a chap with a dog who said that the horse hates his dog and was waiting for him, and a few minutes later there was quite the commotion kicking off behind us.
We carried on through the woods and into a field in which a load of animals had clearly recently been trampling through. We had quite the discussion as to whether it had been sheep or deer until Charlotte hit on the (frankly genius) idea of having a look around and spotted a load of sheep.
After a couple of hours walking we were back where we’d left the cars… right outside a pub. Strange, eh? We had a pint or two and a very good bit of dinner.
As always I took a few photos as we walked and scoffed.
I slept most of the way home; I am reliably informed there were four cars queuing outside the petrol station in Brookfield Road.
Still feeling very stuffed from a very good dinner we slobbed in front of the telly and spent the evening watching episodes of “Yonderland”. If you’ve never seen it, it’s on the Sky catch-up thingy… It’s not too shabby…
27 February 2022 (Sunday) - Now I Ache...
I woke rather earlier than I would have liked and lay awake with a vague feeling of restlessness, guilt and vaguely sulking for no reason that I could fathom. Had I forgotten to do something? Had I done something wrong? This strange nagging feeling stayed with me for much of the morning.
I made toast and peered into the Internet, and Facebook immediately presented me with the last photo I took of all four dogs in the car when we drove over to Great Chart and did a little litter picking. I had a little melt-down, and then carried on peering into the Internet. It was still there. I sent out birthday wishes to four people whose birthday it was today, and was rather disappointed to see that so few people had seemed to have done anything yesterday. One friend had been to a car rally and another to the RHS gardens at Wisley, but that was it.
I took the dogs for a very quick walk round the block, then as “er indoors TM” set off to collect “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” I went into the garden and did a little tidying up. I flushed through the water features, ran out the hose and topped up the pond, and pulled weeds out of the shingle. That only took an hour, so with a little time on my hands (and a house full of mayhem) I went to get the pressure washer out of the shed only to find that “My Boy TM” still had it. Whilst I waited for Cheryl to deliver it, I pulled the weeds from the front garden.
Cheryl delivered the pressure washer, and I scrubbed up the stepping stones in the lawn, and the stone benches and the stone flowerpots and the patio by the shed… and in doing so reminded myself why I so rarely get the pressure washer out. Whilst it is good fun, and whilst it does scrub things up very clean, it throws a *lot* of water about and soon turns the garden into a swamp.
I lifted the drain cover, swept as much of the flood into it as I could, then had a look at the tree overhanging from the drive at the end of my garden. The tree is a plum tree and in the autumn it drops plums onto the shingle. Fat wet plums which splatter and attract wasps. I’ve done some research and found out that I can’t help myself to the plums before they fall, and once they’ve fallen I’m not supposed to do anything with them but offer them to the chap whose tree it is. But I *can* cut back overhanging branches. So I did. I’m technically supposed to offer them to the chap whose tree it is, but I chopped the branches up really small and stuck them into my green waste bin. And then decided I ached too much to continue.
Before coming inside I looked up the garden, and reminded myself about why I don’t like gardening. I took the left-hand photo above shortly after ten o’clock this morning and took the right-hand one just before four o’clock this afternoon. Can you see the difference? I can’t. I’m not being big-headed when I say I have a good back garden; it looks OK, I’m very pleased with the pond and water features; the shingled areas and statues are good, But I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time just keeping the garden as it is.
I came inside where “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” was playing with several marble-run games and watching Raa Raa the Noisy Lion on Lube-Tube (as he calls it). It seems SBOD is uncertain as to which of Granddad or Raa Raa the Noisy Lion is cleverest. But he did tell me a joke. What do you call a goat that gets run over? A dead goat…(well, I laughed!)
“er indoors TM” took “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” back from whence they’d come while I set the dishwasher and washing machine going, and spent an hour fighting with a geo-puzzle that had been published during the afternoon.
Over a rather good dinner we watched the penultimate episode of “Lego Masters: Australia”. It was rather good, and watching it having recorded it earlier we were able to fast-forward through all the adverts and cut a two-hour program down to less than an hour and a half.
I ache… and I think I caught the sun today.
28 February 2022 (Monday) - Before The Night Shift
“er indoors TM” went to the loo in the small hours, and it was a good twenty seconds before either dog charged after her. What was that all about? Needless to say no one charged after me when I went a few minutes later.…
Over toast I peered into the Internet. It was still there. And dull. Every morning I have a look at Facebook to see what friends and colleagues and acquaintances have been doing, and most mornings I am disappointed. This morning there were a couple of photos from the weekend, a few pictures of flags and sunflowers to show unity with Ukrainians, and one friend had got a new cat, but the vast majority of posts on my feed this morning were advertising some rather overpriced brand of dog food. Most of the six hundred and twenty people on my friends list had very little to say which was a shame. As I’ve said before I am a very nosey person and I want to know what everyone else is up to.
I had a flurry of emails; people had been out finding geocaches I’d hidden; Over fifty “Found It” logs including one on a cache which has been missing for some time and I had been intending to replace on Wednesday on my way to work. I was pleased that one had been replaced. From what people had written it was clear that the cache was missing, and the people walking past did in thirty seconds that which would have taken over an hour for me to do.
I then played “Sweardle” which I got right on the third attempt and “Lewdle” which I got on the second, registered another negative COVID test and rolled my eyes. This was the one hundred and sixteenth COVID test I have registered on-line. I have done one every four days with monotonous regularity ever since I was first told to do one every four days… and the website tells me that my reporting performance is only eighty-eight per cent. How does that work?
I took the dogs to the park with our clean and washed tennis balls. Recently there have been squabbles over both dogs wanting the cleaner ball, but having put both tennis balls through the washing machine, today we had none of that.
We did stop a squabble though; two male blackbirds were having a full-on fight, and it was only when Treacle nearly had the pair of them that they broke up. We also saw OrangeHead who now has a whole new posse; there were six of them. Mind you one of the newcomers to the group had a dog which was “playing dog piggy backs” with another newcomer’s dog, so I doubt those two will stay the course.
We came home to find postie delivering a parcel. As well as some Munzee stickers I’d ordered a small piece of trackable Lego. Sadly the people at the on-line shop had bored a keyring through it. As a piece of Lego it is now only fit for the dustbin. I shall send the thing out as a geocaching trackable and fully expect it to go missing within a month. I emailed the shop to ask if the do any trackable Lego that they haven’t destroyed before selling it; they replied claiming that the product was clearly labelled as having a key ring attached… I had another look at the product description… they were right. Oh well…
I then wrote up some CPD like I usually do before a night shift (I am a creature of habit!) and was rather amazed to see that my CPD blog has been read over four hundred times in this last week, and spent a while struggling with a geo-puzzle. The thing went live yesterday afternoon and I couldn’t solve it then, so I’d asked for a pointer only to be told there was an error in the puzzle description (even though someone had already been out rummaging round all the places that met the given hint and had presumably struck lucky). I couldn’t solve it this morning either, but by the afternoon a soluble version was available.
I spent twenty minutes in increasing panic trying to find Treacle only to eventually see she was on the bed laying on top of the hot water bottle I’d put in there earlier.
I went to bed for the afternoon and didn’t really have a good sleep. When “er indoors TM” is there, both dogs settle immediately (they don’t dare not). Treacle was still this afternoon, but Pogo was not. I gave up trying to sleep after a few hours and watched some episodes of “Trailer Park Boys”.
“er indoors TM” will be home soon, and will hopefully feed me, then I’m off to the night shift… via Sainsburys for shopping and petrol. I wonder if the stupidity of queuing for petrol is still going on?