1 February 2020 (Saturday) - High Halden
I woke this morning and immediately peered out of the window to see the universe was still where I’d left it last night. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting after Brexit actually happened last night; I didn’t *really* think that a disgruntled European Union would launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike… but part of me did wonder.
I cleared up a little of the carnage from last night, then programmed “Hannah” for today as I scoffed my toast, and I then sent out a birthday message before having a look at the Munzee app. Following our rather good progress last month, both "er indoors TM" and I have been promoted into “The Cup of Cocoa Clan” for February. In many ways this is one of those “Dad!! – How old are you?” moments, but we both see this as something of a result.
We got ourselves and the hounds organised and drove down to High Halden where Karl, Tracey and Charlotte arrived less than a minute before we did. We got our wellies on and set off on a rather good (if rather muddy) five-mile wander round the local paths and lanes.
We’ve walked the paths and lanes round High Halden before; they are rather pretty at any time of year, but I’ve never known them to be quite this muddy. And muddy did make for slippery; getting over some of the stiles did take some doing. As we walked we found a mini-stonehenge-rock-thingy we’ve never found before. We found ourselves on the wrong side of a hedge and on an airfield. We found the dogs in fields they shouldn’t have been in (and retrieving them took some doing).
Geocache-wise it was an excellent walk; hides were findable with some effort, with one or two trickier ones thrown in. The given co-ordinates were all pretty good. There was only one that eluded us.
After three hours we were back at the cars. I scraped as much mud off of the dogs as I could; I think that today was probably the grubbiest the dogs have ever got. And having then de-mudded ourselves we crossed the road to the Chequers where we had a very good spot of lunch washed down by three rather good pints of ale.
I took quite a few photos whilst we were out
We came home; as I bathed the dogs so "er indoors TM" packed an overnight bag, and then set off to see "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". I put a load of washing into the washing machine and watched a film on Netflix. “Funny Cow” followed the life of a northern woman who wanted to be a stand-up comedian. It was quite good. I then watched a few more episodes of “Shitt’s Creek” whilst the dogs snored.
Today has really worn them out.
It’s worn me out as well…
2 February 2020 (Sunday) - Lazy Sunday
I had something of an early night only to be woken by one or other of the dogs stomping about the bed shortly after midnight. Treacle had a howling session at three o’clock, and at four o’clock we all wanted the toilet.
By the time seven o’clock came I gave up trying to sleep and took them round the park for an early walk; the idea being that an early start meant we might miss the idiots who usually make the walk round the park such hard work. In theory it was a good idea.
We got to Bowens Field and had a bark at the idiot who was walking his dog across the entrance. He was walking to and fro as we approached and was walking to and fro as we came out of the other end of the park. What was he playing at? I thought that the idea of a park was that you went into it?
We met another idiot who was chasing a spaniel all around the park, and we nearly had an episode with a jogger whose dog was on a massively long lead which was trailing as if to deliberately trip people.
It was with something of a sense of relief that we came home.
I refereed the dogs’ breakfast, then they all settled and were soon snoring. I went to find where I’d left my car on Friday night and drove round to the outlet centre where a geo-meet was taking place. The meet was in a coffee shop; I was first one there and had a rather good almond croissant with a cuppa, and it wasn’t long before people arrived. We had a good little catch-up, spending an hour or so chatting about stashing film pots under rocks.
I came home to find the dogs still asleep. Flushed with enthusiasm about the geo-meet I’d just been to, I started drumming up interest for the meet I’m planning in a couple of weeks’ time. I sent out personal invitations to well over fifty people, and I’m sure that there are people I’ve forgotten.
The plan for today had been a tribal gathering in Hastings, but with my mum being poorly that was put on hold. Instead "My Boy TM" and Cheryl came round and we drove up to the Pheasant for a spot of lunch. The Pheasant was… it was typical of a chain pub at Sunday lunch. It was far too loud with the lower orders shouting obscenities at each other whilst their ill-behaved brats screamed for the simple reason that they could. (And this is one of the better chain pubs for miles around). But despite the surroundings, lunch was good.
We didn’t have dessert there; we went for McFlurries instead.
We then went on to Bybrook Barn and to Pets at Home to look at the fish; "My Boy TM" has spent a small fortune buying a fish tank. I reminded him that the fish tank in our living room is his; he’d forgotten all about that.
I came home, and slobbed in front of the telly until "er indoors TM" came home. We printed off more Munzees, then with her off to bowling. I slept through a couple of episodes of “Schitts Creek”. Hopefully the dogs will sleep tonight…
3 February 2020 (Monday) - Goodbye Mr Mills
The dogs were relatively settled last night, but my CPAP machine managed to make my nose very sore. I took the thing off at four o’clock and lay awake for three hours.
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook; quite a few horror tales of rampant racism since Friday’s Brexit were being bandied about. Some were probably true, some were probably exaggerations, and some were probably blatant lies, but some of the rants I read did make me cross. A friend of a friend seemed to be rather confused in that now Great Britain had left the European Union he was wondering where the British Empire had gone. Another friend of another friend seemed utterly oblivious of the difference between the concepts of “Great Britain” and “England”. And one woman who had been born in Germany but had lived in the UK for over forty years was being deported.
I couldn’t help but wonder if the blatant idiocy being flaunted on Facebook this morning was in any way connected with the invitation I received to follow the official Facebook page of the government of Japan.
It seems odd that having had a weekend in which to do pretty much whatever you want to do, no one other than me appeared to have done anything worth posting on social media.
I didn’t have any emails worthy of note, so I got dressed and walked down the road to the dentist. My cake-muncher passed its MOT and I came home, put on a suit and set off to the train station and Hastings for something of a reunion…
The eighth Hastings Boys Brigade company was a very large part of my life during my formative years. Weekends away in all sorts of places. Taking part in all sorts of competitions from chess to marching bands. We learned so much; first aid, map reading, table tennis, cooking. I made friendships that have lasted over forty years.
The chap who ran it did so with very little help. Sometimes he would have an assistant; more often he would dragoon someone or other from the church if he needed anyone. Quite often he would be running the show single-handed. As well as running the Boys Brigade he grew prize-winning fuchsias, was a leading light in his local church, played in local table-tennis and football teams, and painted the most intricate and beautiful patterns on eggs… can you believe he painted eggs because he would get bored.
Today was his funeral.
The church was packed; and so many people were playing the rather embarrassing game of saying “you look familiar but it’s been forty years…” I soon found some friends from way back when, and we sat together and remembered the old days as you do with people you’ve not seen for over half a lifetime.
The service of remembrance was excellently done. We remembered our old leader and mentor and friend fondly and without tears. There was a particularly good eulogy given by the Reverend McCabe…(!) The Reverend Paul McCabe is (not counting family) the person I’ve known for longer than anyone else in my life. Me and Paul started together in the same class at primary school in 1969. At the point in Paul’s speech when he read out “The Object of the Boys Brigade” we all joined in and we all remembered it word-perfect even though it has been forty years since any of us have recited it.
There had been talk of going for a drink after the service, but there were so many people to see, and so many people to talk to. And it was at this point that I realised just how much my shoes had rubbed. A contemporary of my brother gave me a lift to the station, and once back in Ashford I got a taxi from the station to home.
Once home I spent a few minutes putting plasters on blisters, and putting best shoes in the bin. I walk for miles with no problems most of the time, but my best shoes did my feet in (to the limit and beyond) today.
We must have another get-together soon… before another of us passes away.
4 February 2020 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
As I came home on the train yesterday I could feel my throat becoming rather tender. I woke this morning with a sore throat and something of a headache. I picked up a bug at yesterday’s funeral. I wonder how many other people have also gone down with it?
As I scoffed toast this morning I saw that the few photos I took at yesterday’s funeral had received reactions and comments from all sorts of people. I often get stick from using my phone to photograph everything, but sometimes it is well worth doing.
I also saw that I had been selected to get a Gerry Anderson 2020 calendar at a specially discounted rate… Of course they are knocking them out at a discounted rate; it is now February and they clearly printed too many.
And talking of throwing money away there was a lot of talk on some of Facebook’s fishing pages. When going for a weekend’s fishing you can take a “bivvy”. “Bivvies” are popular among carp fishermen for the simple reason that not many who go fishing can spell or pronounce the word “bivouac”. The latest bivvy to hit the market retails for nine hundred pounds.
It takes less than twenty seconds to find a comparable tent for a tenth of the price, but the “proper” carp fishermen posting on the Internet this morning seemed to think there was some merit in spending ten times too much money.
I loaded the dogs into the car and we drove up to Kings Wood. A couple of weeks ago we’d walked round the top end, and I thought I might try that walk again. There’s no denying that the walk had been easier a couple of weeks ago when the mud had still been frozen, but we had a good stroll. We climbed trees, we ate horse poo, we had a warning from the Met Office, we played piggy-back (!) with other dogs; we had a good stroll.
I took a few photos as we walked purely because I could.
Once home the dogs had a bath and were soon all snoring. Despite having been thoroughly scrubbed, Pogo retained quite a bit of dried mud up his legs, but by the time I’d seen it he was fast asleep, and I didn’t fancy the rigmarole of scrubbing him again.
I popped up the road to get a sandwich, watched a little telly then went to bed for the afternoon. I slept surprisingly well; Treacle slept with me; Pogo and Fudge remained downstairs and held off having any utterly unnecessary barking fits for three hours.
"er indoors TM" has taken Treacle to the vet for her MOT in a minute (Treacle’s MOT; not "er indoors TM"’s) and I’m off to the night shift.
I still feel a bit iffy…
5 February 2020 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
It was with something of a sense of relief that I drove home this morning. The night shift had kept me busy, my sore throat had got worse, and the blister on my left heel was particularly painful.
Poor me (!)
As I drove home the ex-Prime Minister David Cameron was in the news. Apparently he’s turned down the job of running the show when the UK hosts the big climate change meet-up later this year. He says he’s got other stuff to do (which he might well have) and he says he feels that someone currently active in politics should really be in the hot seat. He’s probably right, but I can understand the current Prime Minister’s thinking. With the world leaders assembling the UK needs to be represented by someone who isn’t seen as a joke. Like him or loathe him, as a Prime Minister, like Margaret Thatcher (who I personally loathed) he commanded respect. Which is more than our two most recent Prime Ministers have done.
Mind you Mr Cameron must have gone down in the estimation of many people when one of his security detail left their gun in a toilet. Whoops.
I came home and collected the dogs, and we went out to Kings Wood for a little walk. But only a little one. The dogs can run off the leads more easily in Kings Wood, and there are generally less “episodes”. We had a good walk, if a short one. I found my dodgy heel was far less painful in wellies than it had been in trainers.
With walk walked we came home. The dogs weren’t that grubby that they needed a bath, so I just scrubbed myself and went to bed. We had a little ruckus as Treacle and Pogo wouldn’t settle, They wanted to be on opposite sides of me; pinning me down. Eventually I persuaded them that I wasn’t having any of it, and we all got a few hours sleep.
I woke to see that perhaps bathing the dogs might have been a good idea, and I wrestled the bedspread into the washing machine. It took some wrestling but I eventually got it in there.
With that scrubbed I put more washing in, and did the ironing whilst watching more episodes of “Schitt’s Creek”. Half way through the domestic drudgery Fudge got out of his basket and was sick. I wonder what that was all about. He then went into the garden, ate a load of grass, then went back to sleep. As did I once the ironing was done – once I’d chased all three dogs out of my chair.
"er indoors TM" is boiling up dinner which we will scoff whilst watching telly. I expect I shall fall asleep. Again.
And my sore throat and iffy heel haven’t improved as the day has gone on either…
On the plus side I think I got the bedspread back in place before "er indoors TM" realised what had happened…
6 February 2020 (Thursday) - Feeling Grotty
I woke feeling like death warmed up. Perhaps with the headache and sore throat and general aching I should have gone back to sleep and phoned in sick later in the day, but I put it down to the aftermath of the night shift and got on with life.
I made some toast and scoffed it as I sorted undercrckers whilst watching an episode of “Schitt’s Creek”. Sorting undercrackers is one of those jobs for which you have to pick your moments; ideally a moment when Treacle is somewhere else. She sees running off with undercrackers as being great sport. Fudge sat with me blissfully indifferent to my scrubbed shreddies. He was rather hopeful about the chances of a toast crust though.
With telly watched and undercrackers sorted I peered into the Internet. A friend had posted onto Facebook that applications are open for contestants for the fourth season of “Hunted”. I’ve often fancied being on that show, but I’d need up to a month off work to take part and I couldn’t do it with a cold,
I had an email from LinkedIn. They thanked me for being an active member (which I am not) and suggested I connected with someone of whom I have never heard who is a “Coastal Process Technician at Canterbury City Council”. Having no idea what a “coastal process technician” does, I looked up the job description, but was still none the wiser. You can read it here. I wonder if any of my loyal readers might be able to translate it into English? Mind you I couldn’t help but wonder what Canterbury city council is doing with a coastal technician – have you looked at the map of Canterbury?
I spent a few minutes scraping the ice from my car this morning. As I scraped there was a stream of normal people walking past. At first sight they appeared to be talking to the voices in their heads, but on closer inspection all had hands-free thingies for use with their phones. They all looked weird though... As does anyone talking to the voices in their heads.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about how President Trump got off on his impeachment trial. From what was being reported it would seem that he was acquitted because of party politics, not because of any evidence about what he might or might not have done.
There was also talk about Stanley Johnson. Famous for being the father of the Prime Minister he's in trouble because he's been involved in some top-secret government negotiation with the Chinese authorities, and he's mistakenly emailed all the details to the BBC.
Personally I can't help but wonder if he's more famous for the ongoing speculation about just how matey he is with Georgia Toffolo, but then that's the kind of guy I am.
I drove up to Sainsbury's in Aylesford where I got petrol, and also a sandwich for lunch (we were running short of bread at home and I didn't date use the last of it), and then I went in to work. I arrived a lot earlier than usual. With a new car park being built, car parking spaces are at a premium. Not fancying spending ages queuing for the park and ride I thought I'd beat the rush.
I then went for a little wander and found one or two places where I stuck some Munzees, then with a few minutes spare I went in to the works canteen where I had a rather disappointing breakfast. It looked good, but wasn't as hot as it might have been, and it did give me something of a belly ache which lasted rather longer than I hoped it would. Not that I would have hoped it to have lasted for very long anyway.
With work worked I came home. "er indoors TM" and I walked (hobbled) the dogs round the park. "er indoors TM" deployed hers (!), and pausing only briefly to loose Fudge in the dark we made our way home.
Once home our phones pinged. Our Munzee clan had reached the first level in this month’s challenge.
Having reached the first level we were rewarded with crossbows and maces and sapphires and stuff. Not bad for sticking a few barcodes onto lamp posts. It almost took my mind off my ongoing headache, sore throat, general aching and poggered heel…
7 February 2020 (Friday) - Before the Late Shift
I slept like a log last night now that I’ve swapped the CPAP’s “up the nose” attachment for a full-face thingy. It does make scratching your beak in the small hours something of a mission, but my conk is still too sore for the “up the nose” attachment.
It’s such a shame that I really don’t like my CPAP machine. On the one had it does help me get a better night’s sleep. On the other hand when I’m wearing it I feel like an old man on his death bed.
I slept for eight hours; I would have slept for longer had one or other of “the terrible twins” not had a stretch in their sleep and clawed me.
I made some toast (with the last of the bread) and had a look at the Internet. Despite my best efforts, Facebook was still showing me adverts for stuff in which I had no interest whatsoever. Amongst adverts for broken outdated IT, poggered table tennis tables, Aled Jones’ upcoming tour and rather unflattering women’s clothing was a suggestion that I should become a fan of a page devoted to the latest news and developments in Cornwall. Cornwall? I do like the place as a holiday destination, but it is eight hours away.
Why not Kent news?
"er indoors TM" came downstairs and had a rant that someone had stolen our orange food waste bin. She was rather fierce about the matter. I can’t help but wonder who would be so desperate for a storage container which has housed my leftover slops for the last week. There’s no denying that the thing was rather skanky; over the summer I’ve had to boil it out (several times) to get shot of the maggots.
With my heel still sore I spent a few minutes trying to find where I’d left the plasters, then drove (rather than walked) to the park. We had one rather minor episode with a “precious princess”, bit other than that the walk went well. We met Brian and Rachel as we went; they’ve developed a lucrative little side-line in taking dogs for a walk. I might do that in the future.
We came home; I had a cuppa and watched last night’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard”. It has no end of nods to what has gone before (if you look hard enough), but it’s odd. Star Trek has always been stand-alone episodes with very little ongoing storyline… but I quite like it anyway.
As I drove to work there was a documentary on the radio about the musical "Chicago". This is a film I've never seen; the pundits on the radio made it sound rather good. I wonder if it is on Netflix or Amazon Prime?
I stopped off in Aylesford to seek out some aquamarine jewels, but in the end settled for some barcodes stuck on lamp posts (it's a Munzee thing), and then flushed with success I stuck a few barcodes of my own on to random lamp posts.
There are some who might not consider this to be a constructive use of my remaining years, but each to their own. I've yet to encounter any small-minded backbiting in the Munzee world, and bearing in mind how quickly every other hobby had descended into petty squabbles I'm sticking with what seems to work.
I drove in to work. I'd been assured that there had been spaces reserved for the late shift in the now-much-reduced car park. I'd also been told of people having difficulties parking for the late shift. Once the new multi-storey car park has been built things will be much better, but building a new car park on top of the old one does make for difficulties when you are trying to actually park a car.
I drove up to the people guarding the entrance to the car park and told them that they had a space reserved for me. They asked which department I was in. I told them; I was parked up in less than a minute. My colleagues who had experienced problems had *asked* the car park staff; I'd *told* them. These people respect strength and authority... (he sniggered...)
I got myself a plate of fish and chips from the works canteen and got on with a rather busy late shift... By the time I got to work I was worn out…
8 February 2020 (Saturday) - Late Shift
Again I slept for nine hours; a combination of the aftermath of a night shift and still feeling under the weather. I was eventually woken by Treacle’s whimpering in her sleep. Don’t believe anyone who says that dogs don’t dream; they certainly do.
I got up and shared toast crusts with Fudge whilst I peered into the Internet. There wasn’t much to see this morning, but I did see that one of the better local pubs, The Honest Miller in Brook has closed down. Such a shame. Mind you it closes down every year and is taken over by new owners who can’t make a go of it. Perhaps the place has finally had its day?
I got out a mop and bucket. Yesterday I’d inadvertently parked my car under a tree. This morning I swabbed off quite a lot of bird dung. Mind you the car was filthy and it needed a scrub anyway.
We then took the dogs round the park for a walk. As we went we had a couple of episodes. Pogo got seriously told off by a poodle; the little old lady with the poodle was rather upset. I told her not to worry. I can’t help but feel that if more dogs told Pogo off then he’d be a little more socialised. As it is when he gets iffy people tend to chivvy their dogs away and he gets all cocky. If he gets a dog shouting back at him he seems to back down. Like most bullies do.
We also met Brian and Rachel as we walked, and we also finally went and found that geocache round the back of the park. It has been there for a month or so, and we went to get it today. For all that scanning barcodes is the craze at the moment, there is always a place for looking for film pots under rocks.
"er indoors TM" boiled up some soup which we scoffed with home-made bread then…Today was one of those days on which I could have done so much. I’d had an invitation to go on a rather serious pub crawl round the Medway towns. I could have rallied the troops and gone to Dover Beer Festival.I could have made a bit of an effort and gone to the sci-fi event in Southampton (they used to be fun – sadly rather commercial these days).
Instead I went to work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were saaying that most of the photos we now see of the Prime Minister are from Downing Street's official photographer (paid for by the tax payer) rather than from press photographers. It was claimed that Minister is being a bit more selective about his involvement with the press. I suppose that allowing the press total freedom does allow them to catch the Prime Minister in his unguarded moments, but I can't help but feel that if he doesn't want to be portrayed as a bumbling incompetent who looks as though he has been dragged through a hedge, then he shouldn't act as one, and should smarten himself up a bit.
Pausing only briefly to stick bar codes onto lamp posts I was soon at work and in the canteen for dinner where I had a rather good bit of chicken in cream sauce, then cracked on with the late shift. Given the choice I'd rather do an early shift that a late; I can't help but wonder why I never thought to swap.
I came in to the department and was surprised to see someone different to who I was expecting. The person who was originally on the early shift *had* swapped. Having been given two months' notice from her landlord, she, her husband and three children have got to pack up and move.
A friend once told me that he'd never want to own his own house as he doesn't want the worry of sorting the problems that go with owning a house. However when you own your house you never find yourself evicted at short notice.
I got on with my work and sulked. As I worked I could see a very bright day outside. I don't mind working at the weekends when it is pouring hard, but when it isn't I have a definite sense of missing out.
I hear the weather forecast for tomorrow is terrible…
9 February 2020 (Sunday) - Wind and Rain
Again I slept for over nine hours, and woke to a rather windy morning. As I scoffed toast so Fudge asked to go outside. I let him out three times in five minutes. I don’t like to ignore him when he asks to go out (for obvious reasons) but sometimes he just wants to play silly beggars. This morning he seemed to be going out to eat a *lot* of grass.
As I scoffed toast I peered into Facebook. I was rather hoping to see what people had been up to yesterday. Bearing in mind I’d missed several possible fun outings I was rather surprised to see so little. And not a single photo from Dover beer festival.
A friend had posted something from the Channel Four website. There was an interview with an ex-fruit farmer who, having originally been a staunch proponent of Brexit was now rather angry to find that the European Parliament hadn’t ever actually come up with any rulings that had worked against his best interests. I think this chap was looking for someone to blame; because of his anti-European stance, all of his immigrant workers had gone home. With no one to pick his crops, his harvest had rotted in the fields and the chap is now bankrupt. It was all very sad from one perspective, and all very satisfying from the other. Sadly I can’t help but wonder if this is the way forward for the Brexit squabble from here on in. Endless “I told you so” which isn’t helping anyone.
As I peered into the Internet I listened to Fudge’s stomach gurgling. He was a couple of yards away on the other sofa and still his stomach was incredibly loud. I knew he was ill as he didn’t want any toast crusts.
I was all for taking him to the vet, but "er indoors TM" talked me out of it.
Despite the wind and the rain we took the dogs for a little walk. We took a rather curtailed walk round the park where Fudge had perhaps the most impressive bout of dire rear that I’ve ever seen. Better out that in, eh? And better out half a mile from home as well, eh?
We came home, dried and settled the dogs, and went out into the rain.
We went to the sorting office where "er indoors TM" had a parcel to collect. Everyone parks on the double yellow lines outside the sorting office even though it is common knowledge that the traffic wardens lurk in wait. "er indoors TM" dropped me off and came back two minutes later so as to avoid the Yellow Peril (have you noticed that traffic wardens are known as the “Yellow Peril” even though their uniforms have had green rather than yellow for years?).
We went to Waitrose where their poor selection of overpriced wine was second only to their poor selection of overpriced beer.
We went to John Lewis. "er indoors TM" has got a John Lewis card. She rarely shops there, but if you have one of their loyalty cards they send you a voucher for free coffee and cake once every three months. I might get myself one since their coffee and cake was rather good.
We went to Sainburys whose beer selection wasn’t that bad at all.
We came home. Fudge seemed to have perked up an awful lot. A walk, getting “it” out of his system and a little sleep had done him a world of good.
"er indoors TM" got busy in the kitchen, and "My Boy TM" and his branch of the tribe came round for a bit of dinner. Carrot soup, Sunday roast, tiramisu, cheese and port… Not too shabby at all.
We then watched this evening’s episode of “Doctor Who”. I consider myself a fan of the show; I’ve been watching it for as long as I can remember, but the show has reached a serious low-point. With characters about whom I really don’t care and plots that just don’t catch my interest, I wonder if it is time to give up with it…
10 February 2020 (Monday) - Free Food
I’ve slept well recently, but with an alarm set last night I saw every hour of the night. I finally gave up trying to sleep and got up at five o’clock. I watched an episode of “Schitt’s Creek” as I scoffed toast, then peered into the Internet.
Six months ago I was invited to create an “Adventure Lab” geocache. The idea is that you go to five points in Ashford, answer simple questions and get points for the geocaching game. In theory you only get the points if you go to the places. But in practice people cheat. Low level cheating always happens, but yesterday I was shown a Facebook page which not only gave away all the answers but also told you how to fool your GPS into thinking you were in Ashford. I reported the page to the various Facebook Feds and Geo-Feds, but I doubt anything will happen.
Some chap from Sweden had obviously cheated yesterday. Having claimed to have found the adventure lab in Ashford, only a few short hours later he was running a geo-meet of his own in Sweden. Is that possible? I doubt it. I messaged him to ask if he’d be happy for me to fraudulently claim I was at his geo-meet. I also messaged other people about their blatant cheating; all have over eight thousand finds on the geo-profiles.
I then sent out a little reminder about this weekend’s geo-meet that I’m running, then had a little look-see to see what everyone else had been doing yesterday. Several people had had storm damage after yesterday’s high winds. Other people were remarkably quiet – a quick look at the relevant map showed the electricity was still out in large parts of the country,
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the national shortage of teachers in secondary schools. With so-called expert politicians wheeled on from both the Conservative and Labour parties it was suggested that teachers might multi-task. Apparently someone who teaches (say) chemistry or English and has a "A" level in maths can be trained up to teach maths to "A" level standard in only two months... or so it was claimed.
What utter rubbish.
I've got a degree in maths and I can't remember that much about it at all. I'd need a serious refresher to get back up to speed.
The pundits were also talking about widespread wind damage across the country with the transport networks in chaos. I got to work easily enough.
I found time to pop to Tesco, to deploy and capture munzees, and I even got a little e-badge for getting enough point to be a level one hundred Munzeer. I saw that as a result.
I went in to work where I spent a large part of the day peering intently down a microscope. As the morning wore on we got a message. A food truck was going to be outside the hospital at mid-day giving free tikka wraps to all hospital staff as a little thank-you for our being so marvellous. I quite like tikka wraps, and freshly cooked free ones are definitely a bonus. Such a shame that I had to queue up for nearly half an hour, and that it gave me a belly ache which lasted all afternoon.
With dogs walked and me fed, "er indoors TM" went bowling. I watched the last episode of “SAS: Who Dares Wins”. Unfortunately as the series had gone on, all of the interesting characters had been eliminated and all that were left were the rather dull ones. I slept through quite a bit of the show.
I think an early night might be in order…
11 February 2020 (Tuesday) - Cheese (?) Scone
I was sleeping like the proverbial log in the small hours when "er indoors TM" opened a can of whoop-ass on Pogo. She really told him off demanding that he settle down and be quiet. Odd really as he was snuggled up with me and was snoring at the time.
I shared toast crusts with Fudge as I watched another episode of “Schitt’s Creek” then peered into the Internet. There was a minor squabble kicking off on one of the geocaching pages on Facebook. Someone was posting on the page about the most high-tech aspect of the game. This chap wanted to take part but flatly refused to get a Smartphone to allow him to do so. When it was hinted that this fellow might like to join the rest of us in the twenty-first century, no end of other luddites crawled out of the woodwork.
It never fails to amaze me how such a high-tech hobby continues to attract those who want to play the game with prehistoric maps and compasses.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were banging on about what a total waste of money the HS2 rail link will be. Will it be? I can't help but feel that the rest of the world had had high speed rail links for years. I also can't help but feel that no matter what the subject, there is always someone ready to grumble about it. I quite like the high-speed link from Ashford to London; it saves endless farting about on a slow train. Mind you it also incurs endless farting about on the underground trying to get where you want to go (because the fast train only goes to St Pancras and who wants to go there?), but you can't have everything...
There was also talk about teachers' pay, Yesterday those on the radio were talking about how the country is short of some thirty thousand teachers. Today there were calls not to pay teachers during the school holidays.
That will solve the shortage of teachers, won't it?
Finding myself at work rather earlier than usual (so as to get one of the precious few parking spaces) I went for a little walk around the paths and avenues near work. I've never explored there before; I found no end of places to stick Munzees, and one or two places to hide a geocache as well.
I went into work and having heard wonderful things about the home-made fruit scones in the works canteen I got myself one, and was rather disappointed to find it wasn't a fruit scone, but a cheese and bacon one. I'm claiming that this was an easy mistake to make...
Once the dogs were walked round the block this evening "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. We washed it down with a bottle of plonk whist watching last Friday’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard”.
I expect I shall have a headache tomorrow…
12 February 2020 (Wednesday) - This n That
As I scoffed toast and watched the last episode of "Schitt's Creek" I heard movement. Fudge came downstairs in the hope of toast crusts. He got some, then went back to bed.
With telly watched I would usually spend a few minutes seeing what was kicking off on the Internet, but having had a text message from the boss at half past two (!) telling me I was working at Pembury today, I needed to get a move on this morning. Bearing in mind the travel time to and from Pembury, and also bearing in mind the mayhem of reduced parking spaces I wanted to be able to park in site and not to have to waste time on a park and ride bus. So I left home at six o'clock.
As I drove to work through some rather dark lanes the pundits on the radio were talking about the Commonwealth office. Once heralded as the future of the UK in a post-Brexit world, the government has announced it is no longer funding the Commonwealth's administration until such time as it sorts out its "financial irregularities". There have been those who regularly post on social media about how it is only a matter of time until Commonwealth one more becomes empire; I wonder how they will take this news.
I got to Pembury rather quickly. It is amazing how fast you can do that run when there isn't much traffic on it. I popped to Tesco for a bit of shopping, and wished I hadn't. Whilst none of the staff actually said "f... off baldy", they didn't need to. Their attitude said it all. I'm convinced that should any other supermarket chain set up in Pembury, then that branch of Tesco would go bust in a week.
I then went in to work. I thought I might have a scone with a cup of coffee, but the rather delightful (!) lady behind the counter told me I was an hour too early for that. So I had the full English. And again I ended up wishing that I hadn't.
I had a rather busy day today. Periodically youngsters ask my advice when they are considering their career options. I would offer two "no-no"s. Firstly never work anywhere that doesn't put up a "closed" sign, and secondly never work anywhere that has written procedures for formal "red alerts". We don't have *that* many red alerts really, but today I had three. They are rather traumatic; both metaphorically and literally.
I came home, walked the dogs round the road, and set the washing machine loose on my shirts. As I ironed them I watched the first episode of the second season of “Titans”. I can remember the first season being a lot better than this show was…
13 February 2020 (Thursday) - It Rained. Hard.
Despite a traumatic dream in which I was somehow trying to save a flock of horses who were being kept prisoner in a high-rise block by a Chinese triad (!) I slept well. Over a solitary brekkie I watched another episode of “Titans” which was better than yesterday’s instalment, then I had a little look at the Internet to see if it had changed overnight. It rarely does, but sometimes…
Today wasn’t one of those days.
Nothing had happened overnight on Facebook. LinkedIn had sent me an email asking if I knew some recruitment director or other. I didn’t know him, and judging by his frankly scary-looking photo I wasn’t sure that I want to either.
All three dogs (and "er indoors TM") were fast asleep as I left home. I ran down the road to where I'd parked up last night, but still got soaked. The rain was torrential.
As I drove through a very dark morning the pundits on the radio were still scaremongering about corona virus. Avoiding handshakes, wearing face masks... it all makes for sensational news. It never fails to amaze me how a new way of dying in a foreign country is always newsworthy, but something tried and tested isn't. How many people died of malaria yesterday? (it was in the thousands and no one cares!)
There was also talk about the future of the BBC; some BBC bigwig was sneering at the idea that the BBC might be funded by a monthly subscription in much the same way that Netflix and Amazon Prime are funded. But isn't that *exactly* how the TV licence already works?
And then they wheeled on Lisa Nandy who is hoping to be the next leader of the Labour party. With so much troubling the country (Brexit, storms, corona virus, international trade deals) all she wanted to talk about was the rights of trans-sexual people. A matter of the utmost indifference to the vast majority, I'm sure, and yet another example of how the Labour party are determined to make themselves unelectable.
I got to work. As I walked across the car park my wet trousers were clinging to my legs.
I went into the works canteen determined to have a fruit scone with a cuppa today. They had the fruit scones, but as I reached into my pocket for money I felt something. Some coins ran down my leg. My pocket had again worn through. It is always the pockets of my trousers that wear out first. I wish they wouldn't.
Mind you I did like the fruit scone.
As I scoffed it so my phone beeped. A new series of geocaches had gone live near the M25. Result! Each will need a puzzle to be solved before I can go hunt it down, but I was glad to see them. It's no secret that the ancient and honourable pursuit of hunting Tupperware is dying on its arse. Everyone wants to go hunt the things out; very few want to actually go hide the things. I was speaking with some woman at a geo-meet the other day. She asked if I hid them as well as searched for them. She said she only looks for them; she can't be doing with putting herself out to hide the things. She's only been playing the game for ten years; you would have thought that she's have wanted to contribute something back, wouldn't you?
I got on with work. As I worked I dried out somewhat, and wasn’t at all soggy by going-home time. I came home, ran the dogs round the block, and with "er indoors TM" off to craft club I had a look at the series of geo-puzzles that went live earlier today.
They are all part of a “South of London” series. There is a place given in each puzzle for which I have to come up with a three-digit number. Is the three digits the distance of that place from London, the post code, the number of letters in some nearby landmark… it really could be absolutely anything. I haven’t a clue how to solve them… but give it a week or so and lists of answers will soon start circulating…
14 February 2020 (Friday) - Stuff
Finding myself wide awake at silly o’clock I got up and watched the new episode of “Star Trek: Picard”. It was rather good.
I then had a little look at the Internet. A minor squabble was threatening to kick off on the local geocaching page. Yesterday’s publication of a series of puzzle caches had caused consternation. What was the theme? Distance from London? Minor nobility? Race horses? It really could be absolutely anything at all. Some were taking the line that geocaching is a treasure hunt, not an exercise in cryptography. Others were of the opinion that anyone who could be bothered to go stick a film pot under a rock could do it in whatever way they chose. The trouble with geocaching is that very few people can be bothered to actually contribute to the hobby. More and more people just go sit in the pub and talk about it, and so it is slowly dying. Such a shame.
I had a look at my emails. I had loads. Not one worth having though. I sorted the tumble-dried undercackers and set off to work.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about a Mexican butterfly farmer who has been murdered. The most likely culprit is the local gangster chief who makes a profit out of his logging operation, and the butterfly farmer had been campaigning against deforestation. Apparently this sort of thing is rife in Mexico where only three per cent of the reported murders end in a conviction of a murderer. With such a low conviction rate, murder is commonplace.
Makes you think, doesn't it.
There was then talk of an ex-policeman who is in all sorts of trouble because of his “hurtful and hateful” posts on Twitter aimed at humiliating the trans population. Apparently he caused endless upset by saying that he was born a mammal but identifies as a fish.
Is that hurtful? Really? It's odd that in today's society you dare not say a word about someone who wants to change their gender, but you can be as rude as you like about the fat and the bald and if I take umbrage then I'm the snowflake
I got some petrol in Aylesford (for the same price that I might have paid in Ashford) then went on to Sainsburys where I got some cakes for everyone at work (it’s my birthday soon). The staff there were friendly and helpful; the staff in Pembury’s Tesco could learn a lot from this bunch.
Whilst I was there I deployed a Munzee in the car park. There was a minor hiccup as the app thought I was half a mile away. The sat nav on my phone is od. It works perfectly well in some apps, and not at all in others.
I went in to work and had a relatively good day. There were one or two difficulties with peculiarities of the M and D blood groups, but that’s why we do blood tests.
And with work worked I came home.
"er indoors TM" had beaten me home and had already taken the dogs out. She reported their behaviour was far better than anything I ever get from them.
We had fish and chips, then watched a film on Amazon Prime. “Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans” was “not too shabby at all” to coin a phrase…
15 February 2020 (Saturday) - Geo Meet
Our toaster is a temperamental old thing. I like my toast “cooked” whereas "er indoors TM" likes hers “slightly warmed”. This morning when my toast popped out I saw the toaster had been set to “slightly warmed”. I stuck it back in for a few seconds only to get incinerated charcoal come out. I wish the toaster wouldn’t do that.
Facebook was interesting this morning. Yesterday I’d had a whinge that geocaching was dying as only maybe one hunter of Tupperware in twenty actually hides and film pots under rocks. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was talking out of my backside, and that there are three million of the things for me to go and find. The fact that there was not a lot left for me within a couple of hours’ drive of home was neither here nor there. Since then some other people had chipped into the squabble agreeing with me.
Overnight three series of caches had gone live. Nearly a hundred new caches – but all put out by the same person. I did laugh when she suggested that others might put out series for her to do – she’s got a point.
I spent forty-five minutes trying to solve one of the new geo-puzzles by doing an on-line jigsaw puzzle, then turned it off half-way through in frustration. I *really* detest jigsaw puzzles. But if that is the only way we can have new geocaches…
We got ourselves and the hounds organised and drove out to Badlesmere. "er indoors TM" had organised a series of geocaches to go live this morning. We’d stashed the film pots under rocks a couple of weeks ago, and today we went out to find them. Nine of us braved the weather forecast and went for a little stroll.
There was a minor hiccup at the first cache. "er indoors TM" had put the thing at the base of a large tree, but the recent storms had brought the tree down. Whoops!
We pushed on, and had a rather good walk catching up with friends we don’t see that often.
The weather forecast for the day hadn’t been good, but it had been accurate. A windy morning (which we had) with rain coming at mid-day (which it did). The rain started just as we arrived at the Red Lion. Again the Red Lion came up trumps for us. I’d arranged with them to have an area for the monthly geo-meet, and we had about twenty people turn up for a really good meet. We chatted, we drank, I had the sea bass for dinner; I’d decided on this from the last time we were there, but there is so much on the menu that I’d like to have next time.
I took a few photos today.
After five pints, two glasses of port and a gin (and tonic) it was time to come home.
I woke up a few hours later… I expect I shall have a headache tomorrow…
16 February 2020 (Sunday) - It Rained
I woke in the small hours in desperate need of the loo but just as I was about to get up, one of the dogs put his/her chin on my leg, gave a very contented sigh and started snoring. So, not wanting to disturb whoever it was, I lay there for half an hour until they moved.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet and saw that the photos of yesterday’s geo-meet had been well received on-line. In retrospect I think the meet went well. I’d sent out personal invites to well over sixty people. Many replied, many did not. Several of those who said they would attend didn’t, several just turned up anyway. But bearing in mind the dreadful weather forecast, I’m pleased with how it all went.
I then had a go at solving a puzzle geocache. I had to do a one hundred and thirty piece on-line jigsaw puzzle. In only took me three quarters of an hour (an improvement on last night’s hour and twenty minutes).
Flushed with success I tried another. That only took me an hour.
Once "er indoors TM" had finished tidying her sock drawer (or something – I wasn’t paying attention) we went shopping. It was too wet to walk the dogs, and “Go Outdoors” had sent me a voucher for twenty per cent off (terms and conditions apply) so we went to the Canterbury branch of “Go Outdoors”. If nothing else I needed a new pair of trainers.
I found the shoes I wanted on the display stand, and eventually the assistant wandered over. I told her what I wanted. She slouched off, and came back five minutes later to ask what size I wanted. I told her; she went off again and came back a further ten minutes later to tell me they didn’t have any.
I found myself a pair of shoes.
Whilst I was at it I got some welly socks as well as some T shirts for "er indoors TM" and some dog cleaning fluid. We went to the check out; I brandished my voucher for twenty per cent off (terms and conditions apply). The nice lady took the voucher, scanned my stuff… Every single thing I wanted wasn’t included in the remit of the voucher.
Feeling a tad peckish we went on to McDonalds for McLunch. As we scoffed we watched the world go by. There were families having dinner; there were grandparents struggling with recalcitrant grandchildren, there were teenagers trying to make a bag of chips last all afternoon.
We then went on to Matalan for a couple of pairs of trousers. “Go Outdoors” have two ranges of trousers. One range is mink-lined trousers made of solid gold. The other rips when you so much as fart in them. Matalan has half-way decent trousers at a decent price.
We did have a plan to take the dogs out this afternoon, but the rain had got worse. As we walked from the car to home we met Brian and Rachel who had got absolutely soaked walking round the park. We decided that the dogs could miss going out for one day. So I sat down and spent an hour doing yet another on-line jigsaw, then set about solving some geo-puzzles for later in the week.
"er indoors TM" boiled up some rather good carrot soup which we scoffed with bread fresh from the oven. Very nice! As we scoffed it we watched today’s episode of “Doctor Who”. It was… It was a very good story which was let down by characters about whom I simply couldn’t care less. Such a shame…
It was raining hard when I got up… it rained all day… and it is still raining as I’m off to bed.
17 February 2020 (Monday) - Week Off - Day One
For once Fudge spent the night on the bed next to me. He rarely does that these days.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of the new series of “Inside No 9” which starred Sarah Solemani. She seemed to be incredibly familiar, but looking on Wikipedia she hasn’t been in anything I’ve ever seen. Why do I think I’ve seen her in other stuff?
I also had a look at Facebook and at my emails. There was absolutely nothing at all of note on the Internet this morning.
I got the dogs onto their leads and we set off. We drove over to the garage in Willesborough where the car was booked in for its annual MOT. My car is something of a worry; the original plan was for me to have traded it in sometime in 2014 but events conspired against that and I found myself not in a position to be able to afford a replacement car back then. So I made the decision that I would run the car until it died and worry about a replacement some time in the distant future.
Six years later…
The car is old. I don’t really know the first thing about cars. How long will it last? Should I bite the bullet and get a new one? I can’t help but think that my car is now thirteen years old and so has no resale value at all, and all the time that it is running it is saving me the cost of another car (which could just be trouble).
We dropped the car at the garage and started walking home. We hadn’t gone more than a couple of yards when the dogs all went mad. They’d seen a rabbit on the verge. The poor rabbit had its head stuck in a discarded crisps bag. What could I do? I couldn’t leave the rabbit, but bearing in mind what happened the last time that the dogs got near to a rabbit I dared not get any closer to it. Fortunately one of the normal people was walking past, so I got her to pull the crisps bag off of the rabbit’s head.
After that, the rest of our walk home was rather dull.
The weather forecast had been dry until nine o’clock when the rain was due to start. And the weather forecast wasn’t that bad. We got home just before half past eight, and we beat the rain by minutes.
I gave the dogs their brekkie, set the washing machine loose on the laundry, and my phone rang. It was the garage. My car had failed its MOT. There were several advisories (they will keep) but the burning issue was that I needed two new tyres.
The nice man in the garage arranged to have them fitted.
As the dogs snored I got the ironing board out. No day off work is complete without doing a spot of ironing. I ironed for a couple of hours whilst watching a film on Netflix. “Wine Country” passed the time and kept me amused as I sorted the laundry.
I then played Lego for a bit. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that a week before Christmas I got a job lot of Lego. I paid ninety quid for a load of stuff. The maxifigures in that package were worth more than ninety quid. Today I had another look at that load and made up a little Shell filling station following the instructions that came with the job lot. That same Shell filling station set is currently for sale on eBay for a hundred and fifty quid.
Just as I finished Lego-ing so the dogs went mad. The postman had been. Amongst the mail was a letter from the British Blood Transfusion Society (you never knew there was one, did you!). They’ve officially declared that I am an associate of the British Blood Transfusion Society and am entitled to use the letter “ABBTS” after my name. I wonder if that should go before or after the “BA” and the “FIBMS” that are already there?
I then dozed in front of the telly until the garage phoned to say the car was ready. I walked over with the hounds to get the car.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner then went bowling. I watched an episode of “Titans” which I really didn’t understand, then had a look at solving some geo-puzzles.
I didn’t solve many…
18 February 2020 (Tuesday) - Walk, Shopping, Telly
Fudge again spent the night upstairs on the bed. He makes the most odd squeaking grunting noises as he sleeps.
I made myself some toast and peered into the internet as I scoffed it. I saw that The Boy Scouts of America have gone bankrupt. When I took scouts to America we stayed on an American scout campsite for a week. They were a very weird lot. Not at all like scouts in the UK; they were far more like the army cadets. After a day or so I realised that everywhere I went, at least one of their leaders was nearby. One of their leaders later told me that word had gone out that “the Brit with the tattoos” wasn’t to be trusted near the children for the simple reason that I had tattoos. It was politely (but firmly) pointed out that I wouldn’t be accepted as a scout leader in America because I had tattoos.
There wasn’t much else of note on-line this morning so I took the dogs out.
We went up to Kings Wood as there aren’t usually that many “episodes” when we walk up there. Today was a particularly good walk; we met three other groups of dogs; each time we all just walked past each other with no squabbles at all. Fudge didn’t straggle quite as much as he usually does, and although there was some mud, it wasn’t as muddy as it might have been.
As we walked we saw there was a lot of forestry operations going on. Coppicing happens all the time, but today there were two gangs who were cutting down trees and burning them. There were some serious fires burning. Burning the trees? That’s new in Kings Wood.
With walk walked we came home for a bath. The dogs weren’t as muddy as they sometimes have been, but with all the scare stories of Alabama rot circulating, I wasn’t taking any chances.
I settled the dogs and went shopping…
Or that was the plan.
As I locked the door some chap came past jogging. He had huge headphones on and was singing along (very loudly) to whatever music it was that he was playing through those headphones. His singing was that bad that all three dogs started howling, and I had to spend ten minutes settling them again.
I drove to Angling Direct. I had a voucher to spend there, and "My Boy TM" had told me that they had discontinued their loyalty card. He advised me to get whatever credit to which I was entitled as quickly as I could.
The last time I was there (9 August 2019) I was sure they told me I had nine quid’s worth of credit on their loyalty card. Today I was told that they’d had to abandon the loyalty card because their parent company is listed on the stock market, but they could offer me two pound fifty in-store credit. Together with my voucher this paid for some of a thermal upper layer jumper thingy (and I paid the rest). You can probably get the same thing for a fraction of the price in any outdoor-type shop, but sticking the logo of any angling company onto anything does triple its price.
I went on to Tesco where I got lunch (and a bottle of port). My piss boiled somewhat as I queued up. When you are watching the nice lady on the checkout running your myriad items through the till, why wait until the last thing has gone through before searching through your twenty pockets and a handbag the size of a suitcase desperately trying to find your purse?
I came home via B&Q where I got some bits and bobs with which to bodge the fence, then came home and bodged the fence. It’s isn’t wobbling quite as much as it was now, and I’ve fixed the hole through which our dogs shout at next door’s dogs. I’ll mend it all properly later in the year when the ground had dried out somewhat.
I had a sandwich whilst watching an episode of “Inside No 9” then programmed “Hannah” for the end of the week. Programming a sat-nav isn’t as easy as you might think.
I settled myself in front of the telly and turned on Netflix. “Red Joan” was a rather good film. I managed to stay awake for all of it then dozed until "er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a really good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of the new series of “Hunted” in which members of the public have to evade surveillance for twenty-five days. Channel Four is looking for people to take part in the next season of the show…
I’m up for that *if* I can get time off work.
19 February 2020 (Wednesday) - Off To Molesworth
Another good night’s sleep. Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. There were a lot of people talking on Facebook about the sad death of Caroline Flack. It would seem that everyone except me knew who she was. Yet again I was having to do some research to find out just who this person who's all over the news actually is, and why she's all over the news.
Did she do it? Did she not? I don't know and quite frankly I don't care.
With one of the Prime Minister's closest aides being sacked for his blatant racist views, much of the country flooded, the Prime Minister having backed down in the first round of trade talks with the EU, attempts to quarantine corona virus having failed and the entire world about to go down the toilet as the climate goes west, the nation's attention is focussed on someone who is famous only for being famous.
There was also a report from America where some bunch of Christians were trying to promote their God-bothering agenda by creating a poll on Twitter. “Do you believe America would be better off if more Christians served in elected office?” With one hundred thousand people having voted, the result was ninety-five percent against what they wanted to hear. This was seen as proof that Satan is meddling in day-to-day America, and more proof that there should be more Christians in elected office (!)
They let these people vote, you know…
Not wanting to have grubby dogs today we went round the park for our walk. Yesterday in Kings Wood we had a really good walk where the dogs could run free and we didn’t meet any idiots. We only had one “episode” today but it was a good one. Some twit saw us coming. Rather than taking any of the other paths in the park that he might have taken, he picked up his small dog, held it at arms’ length and started screaming. Of course Pogo saw this as some sort of game and ran around like a thing possessed, and of course Fudge and Treacle immediately joined in.
In between his screams this idiot shouted that his dog doesn’t like other dogs. When I suggested that he shouldn’t wave his dog around as though it was some sort of toy you really could see the cogs turning in the bloke’s head. It had never occurred to him that all he was doing was aggravating the situation. When it became apparent that he was holding a dog and wasn’t playing some sort of game, my three soon lost interest.
We came home. I spent a few minutes packing a suitcase, then went to Pets at Home for dog food, and to the bakery for human food. I then polished up my walking boots whilst watching another episode of “Titans” which has suddenly got to be worth watching again.
I listened to the latest single from Sparks – not their best but certainly not their worst.
"er indoors TM" came home at lunch time. We scoffed the Belgian buns I’d bought from the bakery down the road. You’d think that a local bakery would make Belgian buns that were better than those you might get from Tesco or the co-op, wouldn’t you?
We loaded up the "er indoors TM"-mobile and Munzee-d all the way to Cambridgeshire. I managed to Munzee so successfully that I got an e-badge for doing so. In fact I got over tent per cent of my total Munzee points in this session. Go me!!
We arrived in Molesworth and managed to walk the dogs until they calmed down. Karl and Tracey arrived with Jessica and Charlotte and the dogs became as excited as they had ever been.
We went into the Cross Keys, got our room keys, unpacked, and were soon scoffing a rather good bit of dinner. We had a rather good bit of pudding too, And after dinner we played skittles Northampton-style.
I took a few photos of dinner.
The weather forecast for tomorrow isn’t good…
20 February 2020 (Thurdsay) - Rain Stopped Play
The first night away with the dogs is always something like the first night of cub camp. Over-excitement and not sleeping. Fudge was having a sleepover with Charlotte so in theory a third of our problems were gone. In practice being across the courtyard just increased the range over which all three dogs could shout. The last time we were in Molesworth there was a crowing cockerel which wound up the dogs. There was no noisy chicken last night, so I have no idea what kept setting them off. But "er indoors TM" was telling them to be quiet every ten minutes.
I managed some sleep. I might have slept better had I not forgotten to bring my CPAP machine along, but I did get some shut-eye.
Eventually Treacle and Pogo got up and worried at the door. I thought they wanted to “do their business”. They didn’t; they just ran across the courtyard to worry at the door of number five where Fudge had had his sleepover with Charlotte. They wanted to go make nuisances of themselves.
It wasn’t long before we were all up, and with dogs breakfasted we went in for our own brekkie. I had the full English. It was rather good,
We then got into our wet weather gear and set off to the nearby village of Glatton. There was a couple of series of geocaches there which we thought might make a good walk for us for today. We set off on the first series, and within minutes "er indoors TM" had gone arse over tit in the mud.
We waddled on; the weather forecast had led us to believe that the weather would be good until mid-afternoon. It had lied. As we walked so the rain got heavier and heavier. Just at the point where the rain had soaked through to my pants I realised that the rain had washed he mud from the dogs, so the morning wasn’t a complete wash-out (to coin a phrase).
The route we were walking was a figure-of-eight; the plan had been to walk one look in the morning and the other loop in the afternoon but when you are wet through to your pants you know it is time to quit.
We drove back to base (where the courtyard was flooded) and changed into dry clothes. With the dogs towelled off and dried we spent a rather good afternoon in the bar by the fire. Playing triangular Blokus, playing pool…
The country pub became *incredibly* busy as the afternoon wore on. Who would have thought so many people would be going for a beer at four o’clock on a Thursday afternoon?
After a rather good bit of dinner we watched an inter-pub skittles competition. This was a Northamptonshire version of skittles in which the wooden skittles are lined up on a table and three lumps of wood are lobbed at them. It’s not as easy as it seemed…
I took a few photos of the day. As I do…
21 February 2020 (Friday) - Happy Birthday to Me !!
The idea was that the dogs would need a good night’s sleep. They slept until about half past one when some Cambridgeshire creature started squawking. Cat, fox, chicken or yeti; whatever it was it upset Treacle and Pogo who started barking, and within seconds we could hear Fudge joining in from across the courtyard.
After half an hour the anonymous animal shut up. But then the pub’s landlord called his dog in, which provoked more barking. In fact we found things to bark at every half-hour of the night.
As we went in for brekkie we got chatting with the landlord. The strange overnight squawking had been a deer being attacked by a fox outside the pub where we were staying. The landlord had been in in the thick of it. He’d gone out to see what was happening, and was unable to chase the fox away; it was that brave. Eventually he and his wife dragged it off of the deer, but the fox kept trying to get at the deer. It even tried to nudge the humans out of its way. The landlord had the idea to put the deer in his downstairs bathroom until the RSPCA arrived, but the fox just prowled about shouting until the nice man from the RSPCA took the deer away.
With a very good full English breakfast scoffed we drove out to Alconbury. We then set off on a double geo-stroll following two sets of geocaches. Half of the “WestUpton Circambular”, all of the “Coppingford Crackerjack”, and then the second half of the “WestUpton Circambular”. A round trip of eight miles. Eight miles in Kent is a respectable distance. In Cambridgeshire it is easier because it is a lot flatter, but the strong winds and thick mud more than made up for the lack of any hills.
The mud was impressive. The dogs were absolutely filthy. However as we came to the end of our walk we found a ford. Usually open for traffic to pass, today it was closed. It was too deep and the water was flowing too fast. To the dogs’ absolute disgust I used this opportunity to scrub the worst of the mud off of them.
When we got back to base we got out the dry shampoo and had a little dog scrubbing session. Bearing in mind how mired the dogs had been, they ended up remarkably clean.
We went into the pub where we had a pint; we played triangular Blokus. I do like triangular Blokus even if I was ganged up on and lost with a score of forty-seven. (For those of my loyal readers who have never played Blokus, a score of forty-seven is akin to Liverpool FC losing fifty-nil at home).
We had another game of Blokus in which I did better; I had another beer or two. Then we had dinner. I fancied the steak and chips. Oh – it was good. And my ice cream came out with a birthday candle and a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday to Me”
We then withdrew to Karl and Tracey’s chalet. After what looked like half a pint of port I staggered off in the direction of bed.
I took a few photos of the day. As birthdays go, it was rather good.
22 February 2020 (Saturday) - Coming Home
After the excitement of the first night and the shouts of the deer and fox fight on the second night the dogs were all-in last night. I don’t think Pogo and Treacle moved all night, and Charlotte assured me that Fudge had been similarly exhausted.
We had our last full English of the holiday. Oh – it was good. Fudge was so funny. Usually he loves toast crusts. Today he totally refused them; he knew there was sausages and bacon on the plates.
We paid our bills (*very* reasonable!), we packed our bags, and after just the teensiest diversion we were in Hauxton. Rather than having a long drive home we thought we might break up the journey and have a little dog-walk. And if we found one or two film pots stashed under rocks on that walk, then that would be something of a result.
We found thirty-seven.
I didn’t like to say anything before we started, but my back had been twinging a bit. Yesterday I’d nearly snapped my ankle in a rabbit hole, and in trying to avoid falling flat on my face I’d twisted something in my back. And so I had a choice… I could walk with backache or I could play the “sick note”. But either way my back would ache, and I’d rather go for a walk than sulk. My back held up for pretty much most of the walk. It only started giving my serious gyp toward the end of the walk.
And we had a good walk.
Over the last two days we’d walked through some of the thickest mud ever. Today we could have walked in trainers; there was so little mud. It was still rather windy, but we managed.
The Hauxton Hip-Hop was a very good walk of six miles. Some followed main roads, much of it was cross country. We did chuckle (!) when we found a road sign clearly saying “Access to the Footpath”. It lied. Someone had paid good money to have a road sign made that was deliberately misleading. The footpath was a further hundred yards up the road.
I took a few photos of the day (as I do)
The plan had been to finish walking at three o’clock, and we weren’t far off. We finished just as the rain started. We said our goodbyes, and we Munzee-d all the way home.
Bearing in mind the seriously high winds of the last few days I had been fully expecting to come home to garden disaster. The first thing I did when we got home was to have a look in the back garden. All the fences were still standing. The bodge I’d applied on Tuesday had held. I was rather pleased about that.
We unpacked and made a start on the laundry. First of all we needed to re-waterproof the coats that had let trough rather more rain than we would have liked.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of curry which we scoffed whilst watching yesterday’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard”. As a life-long trekkie I’m sorry to say that I’m fast going off this show. When I was eight years old I used to love watching Star Trek. This most recent episode would give an eight-year-old nightmares.
It was a shame that we missed the Cheriton Festival of Lights which was on this evening. If we’d been told that it was actually the Festival of Lights which was taking place rather than some dull fairy tales thing in the library, what with the dogs being absolutely all-in, we would probably have made the effort to go.
Oh well… maybe next time…
23 February 2020 (Sunday) - Bit Dull Really
I slept for ten hours last night. Probably the result of a combination of my own bed and a CPAP machine. Leaving "er indoors TM" and two dogs fast asleep I came downstairs where Fudge was equally out for the count.
I had a shave in a sink which drained away a lot faster than the last one I used, and set the washing machine going, then made myself some brekkie. Two slices of toast has just been a starter these last few days.
As I scoffed toast I had a look at Facebook. Not a lot was going on, but a new geocache had gone live five miles away. Some friends had birthdays today; I sent out messages as I do. I wonder if they will walk eight miles through the mud before scrubbing three filthy dogs and think they had a rather good time (like I did).
I wasted far too long peering into the Internet. I hung wet washing on the clothes horse, put Treacle’s harnesses in to scrub, and thought I might just chase the First to Find on the new geocache. I was beaten by ten minutes. Had I gone out right away I would have been first one there.
Mind you, as geocaches go, this one was amongst the oddest I’ve ever seen. It was a medicine pot taped (upside-down) to a metal bar and will probably not last a month. It had been put out by someone who had only found two caches and (sadly) it showed. Mind you this is the way of the noble and ancient art of hunting for film pots under rocks these days. Fewer and fewer of the people with any experience are hiding the things. Those few which are being hidden are by the inexperienced and are (sadly but frankly) “on the crap side”.
We took the dogs round the park for a little walk. The walk passed off reasonably well in that we didn’t end up in a barking match with any other dogs, which is always something of a result. We came home for cheese on toast, and I then filled out the questionnaire for Ashford Borough Council’s resident’s survey. I was one of ten thousand lucky residents who had been chosen to share my views. The questionnaire was odd. What did I think of this council service or that council activity…? I had to tell them that I was blissfully unaware of much that the council does. I got in a dig about the utterly inadequate street lighting, so I suppose the questionnaire wasn’t a total waste of time.
The plan for the afternoon had been to collect "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and take him to the Museum of the Moon exhibit in Rochester cathedral, but he declared he didn’t want to go. So we just delivered a birthday card and went to get dog food instead. As we drove down the bypass so two boy racers flew past. We were travelling at forty miles per hour; they must have been going at eighty. Just as I was about to swear about them there was a frantic roar of sirens and flashing of blue lights. The car behind us was an unmarked police car. It flew off after them and caught one of them at the roundabout. Oh how I laughed.
With nothing else planned for the day, "er indoors TM" announced she was going to do some cleaning. I could also have done some cleaning. Instead I played Lego. The train which runs round my Lego world was particularly noisy, and the battery cable was a bit of a mess. So I swapped out the motor for a quieter one and re-built a carriage so as to hide the cable. It looks a bit better – you can see it by clicking here. I think the next stage will be to take out the clear Lego windows on that carriage and put in some minifigure passengers.
As I Lego-ed my phone beeped. I had a message. Two weeks ago I whinged here about my Adventure lab geocache. Having caught some Swedish chap who’d blatantly cheated at it, I’d messaged him to ask him to delete his shenanigans. I’d had no reply, but today he was running a geo-meet in Sweden. I posted on there (for all the world to see) that if he was going to cheat and log my adventure lab in Ashford from six hundred miles away, I was going to log his meet from six hundred miles away too. Several other people followed my lead, and we shamed the chap into deleting his cheat-ery.
All rather petty and trivial, but there it is.
I then spent a little while struggling with geo-puzzles. Geo-puzzles are… I won’t say they are difficult. Calculus of imaginary numbers is difficult. Geo-puzzles involve finding the most random of connections. There was one I’ve been fighting with for years, and eventually today I asked a friend for a pointer. It turned out that a puzzle supposedly about respiration, breakfast, dogs and kites was actually about a toddler’s TV show.
This one was doubly frustrating in that the puzzle icon on the map was quite close to somewhere that we will probably be walking in the not too distant future. But the actual location (once solved) is over a mile away. So there was a *lot* of brain-strain for a cache I will probably never actually log.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this evening’s episode of “Doctor Who”. I want to like the show, but I don’t actually like any of the main characters in it at the moment. Perhaps I might have liked the episode if I’d stayed awake for more of it?
And in closing today, did you know that Jens Nygaard Knudsen, the chap who created the Lego minifigures, has died?
24 February 2020 (Monday) - Back to Work
I slept well, but soon found myself getting back into old habits. Making toast, watching Netflix, checking out the Internet.
Fudge slept and snored as I ate toast.
I watched another episode of “Titans”; after a rather lame start, the second season has improved quite a bit.
And absolutely nothing had happened on the Internet overnight.
As I drove up the motorway it was raining. A very dismal morning. The pundits on the radio were talking about how the Austrian authorities are considering closing the Italian border because of the worries of corona virus. If the Austrians can close their border (and they have a land border), how is it so difficult for the UK to keep all the illegal immigrants from sailing twenty miles of sea?
There was also a lot of talk about the Home Secretary Priti Patel who would seem to have lost the confidence of her senior civil servants and the intelligence services. It was hinted that the bigwigs in MI6 didn't feel she was up to the job of Home Secretary. There's an admission...
And as the rain continued to fall there was a lot of talk about the floods currently blighting the nation, and the radical idea of not building hundreds of thousands of houses on flood plains was even suggested.
I got to work and parked up, then (with the rain having slackened off to a slight drizzle) I went for a little wander and stuck a bar code onto a lamp post. I'm creating quite a little forest of Munzees on the streets around where I work. It's a shame that the bar codes are starting to fade on some of the older ones, but there it is. Perhaps I might see what other Munzers do; I might be using the wrong colour ink or something like that. First world problems, eh?
And so back to work after a week off. I can’t pretend I was raring to get back in the harness, but I didn’t feel physically sick at the thought of going back there. I’ve not felt that way for the last three years; it is *so* good to work somewhere where the managers *don’t* rule by bullying and intimidation.
Before I made a start I checked my work emails. There was a notification of a vacancy somewhere where the managers certainly used to rule by bullying and intimidation. I messaged the chap whose job would seem to have become vacant; from the job description it could only have been one of two people. Someone I’ve known for thirty-five years told me that he was retiring; he’d had enough and wanted to escape.
This made me think… I’m looking forward to retirement. Or semi-retirement at any rate. But I certainly don’t feel like I “want to escape” any more.
I did my bit; an early start made for an early finish. As I walked out to my car my phone beeped. A new series of geocaches had gone live near Doddington. That was doubly good… another weekend walk is now sorted, and the pub at Doddington is dog-friendly and does good ale too.
I looked again at my phone. Those geocaches had gone live only seven minutes before I’d seen the notification. They weren’t *that* far out of my way on the journey home. Could I get a first to find?
I did… fifty-eight minutes after they went live, and fifty-one minutes after I’d seen them, and just as the sun was setting.
I only went for one of the First to Finds. I’m rather peculiar in that I realise that a lot of people want to do a streak of one FTF per month, and bearing in mind just how few caches go out these days, I thought that I only needed one, and would save the walk for another time. And also considering how slippery and thick the mud is at the moment, piddling about in the countryside after dark is just plain dangerous.
Mind you, there was one who did go out piddling about in the countryside after dark. For some, the lure of having all the FTFs is too strong to resist.
Having found what I was looking for (and done the happy dance in a swamp up a country lane) I came home and walked the dogs round the block.
Once "er indoors TM" had boiled up some dinner she went bowling. I sat in front of the telly and fell asleep. What a waste of an evening…
25 February 2020 (Tuesday) - Bit Dull Really
I spent much of the night convinced I could hear the dogs barking when they weren’t. Perhaps next door’s dogs were shouting? Perhaps I was dreaming?
Over toast I watched another episode of “Titans” then had a look at the Internet. Admittedly I was up rather early, but pretty much nothing at all had happened overnight on social media.
As I walked down the road to find where I'd left my car so my piss boiled. In the distance I could see there was some silly cow standing at the bus stop shrieking into her mobile phone. I heard her before I saw her. As I approached I realised I shouldn’t just stew about it, so I told her that she didn't need to scream into the phone. That confused her and she stared at me blankly. I repeated: she didn't need to scream into the phone because whoever was at the other end of the line could hear her perfectly. I also reminded her that it was six o'clock in the morning and a lot of people nearby were sleeping. All of this came as a revelation to her; she apologised (I was amazed at that) and she carried on her conversation at a near-whisper.
I got to my car and was then tail-ended all the way to Matalan (a journey of a couple of miles) by a van, the company of which has received a rather pointed email this morning. As I've said before, if you are going to drive like an idiot, it is best done anonymously.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about a supposed outbreak of corona virus in Iran. The World Health Organisation are sending a team to assist, but apparently religious leaders there have taken umbrage at the suggestion that the virus might be passed around in crowds at religious centres. Presumably God will get involved to dish out vaccinations?
I got to work, deployed a Munzee, and wasted ten minutes trying to photograph a rather beautiful sunrise (my phone camera wasn't up to it) and a pair of squirrels (who wouldn't keep still).
As I worked I couldn't help but look out of the window at a glorious morning. I did sulk a little as it was so lovely. A group of colleagues decided it was such a bright day that they went for a five-mile run at lunch time. Ten minutes after they started so the heavens opened with perhaps the most impressive downpour I've seen for some time. Torrential rain with some sleet as well. Ironically the downpour stopped as quickly as it started just as they arrived back at work at the end of their run.
I didn't laugh *that* much.
I came home and walked the dogs round the block then set a load of laundry scrubbing (as I do) and watched another couple of episodes of “Titans” before doing some CPD.
CPD is rather dull… Rather like today was.
26 February 2020 (Wednesday) - Late Shift
I had an early night last night an slept like a log despite not having that much of the duvet. There are issues with the duvet in that Pogo keeps getting stuck inside the thing (that’s “inside”, not “under”).
Over a couple of slices of toast (shared with three dogs) I had a look at the Internet. I had a request to follow Karen Gillan on Facbook. Karen Gillan had announced that she was finally on Facebook, and that I should follow her page to stay up to date. I did wonder what I was supposed to be keeping up to date with; a quick Google search showed me that Karen Gillan had been in Doctor Who seven years ago when she played the part of one of the less-crappy sidekicks. I would have thought that the time to try to create a large following on social media was when you actually were famous, not seven years later, but what do I know?
I also saw that someone I used to know years ago has gone to Kuwait to the international kite festival only to find the event has been cancelled for fear of corona virus. That’s a long way to go to be let down.
I got the leads onto the dogs and we went for a little wander. As we walked up the road we met Dan-Dan (niece-in-law is probably the closest description) and little Bella. Realistically Bella will be the one bossing everyone around at my funeral – she is definitely a family matriarch in the making. She bossed the dogs round for a bit, then carried on to play-school.
As we walked into the park we met a Fudge-look-alike. The resemblance was uncanny, but the dog was much smaller. Just a puppy. I expect we’ll see this one again.
We had a good walk. It was a bright sunny morning and we had no “episodes” at all. There were a few other dog walkers, and we all passed each other without incident. I did smile when I saw a couple of dog walkers who used to be part of OrangeHead’s posse who were walking without Orangehead. Has there been another schism there?
We came home, and once I’d set the washing machine going I harvested the dog dung from the garden. Bearing in mind how much they dump when out, it amazes me how there can be quite so much poop at home. I wrote up some CPD, then watched the last episode of the current season of “Titans”. It was rather good, but I think the entire lot needs re-watching before I embark on the third season (if there is one). I wonder what I can binge-watch next on Netflix?
I hung out the washing, and set off to work.
It seemed something of a novelty to drive to work in daylight. As I drove there was an article on the radio about NHS prescription charges. Several people with various conditions came on and ranted about how much they pay for their prescriptions, and how they sometimes have to choose between medicines and food as money is so tight. Without wishing to appear unsympathetic I couldn't help but wonder how these people would cope in an American-type health care system where there is no NHS and they would have to pay every time they saw the doctors as well as pay for their medication.
Mind you one of them made the point that there is (apparently) a lot of evidence suggesting that people who have to choose between eating or medicine end up in hospital more often than those who don't, and that costs the NHS far more than giving free prescriptions ever would. Free prescriptions for all is actually a cost saver (or so it was claimed).
I don't know who is right and who is wrong; I'm just glad that I don't have to make these decisions.
This was followed by half an hour of Alexei Sayle. I spent the duration of his show laughing out loud at what were actually serious political points about the sad state of our country. As Alexei says, show me a millionaire and I'll show you nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine people who are short of a quid.
I got to Pembury, had a rather good vegetable fajita wrap thingy, and went into work where we had more cakes than sense. One of the girls was leaving today to have a baby in the not too distant future. As I said goodbye to her this evening I found myself thinking about when the fruits of my loin first appeared (all those years ago).
I can't help but think that if I could do it all over again I'd make a much better job of it now than I did then. I’m told that "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" has taken up boxing…
I got up at five o’clock this morning, and as I fussed Fudge I saw that the smart meter was showing that we had already used one pound thirty-one pence worth of electricity and gas. In five hours. How is that possible? The thing barely reacts when I spend an afternoon washing and ironing and mowing the lawn, but goes mental we are all asleep.
I made toast; Fudge had the crusts. As I scoffed the rest I watched this week’s episode of “Inside No 9” (which was rather good) then sparked up my lap-top to see what had happened overnight. I’d not missed much. There was talk of several new series of geocaches being set, there were whinges about the Munzee software.
My email in-box was equally dull. LinkedIn wanted to know if I knew Andrew Jones (MD at A.M.J.Mechanical Contractors). As it happens I don’t. And whilst I’m sure that Mr Jones is a sterling fellow and we would probably get on like a house on fire, I find myself wondering just what is LinkedIn all about. Is it really just some random friend-finder?
I walked through the rain down an incredibly poorly-lit road to find my car, and set off towards Pembury. As I drove the pundits on the radio were scaremongering about the Corona virus and about the floods that are blighting the nation. A lot of people were asking why the Prime Minister wasn’t showing his face in the flooded areas. I had to laugh – it wasn’t that long ago that people were carrying cards saying they didn’t want to be visited by the Prime Minister if they were in hospital (following a terror attack) but now people *do*want to see him.
Perhaps the public might make its mind up?
There was also talk about how the Apple corporation have contacted most of the major film-producers saying they don’t want the villains of films to be seen using an I-phone. Apparently having an on-screen baddie using an I-phone is bad for business. This was laughed at until some media-type person (who was being interviewed) asked when you last saw a baddie in a film or TV show drinking Coca-Cola. Apparently the Coca-Cola corporation put a stop to that some years ago.
I stopped off at Tesco in Pembury where I deployed a Munzee and got some shopping. I now find I’m going to Pembury’s Tesco just to remind myself that my day isn’t that bad when I compare myself to the miserable people who work there. A dozen staff; all with faces like a slapped arse.
I went in to work where the day wasn’t that bad really. We had a couple of Red Alerts, but they weren’t as bad as they might have been.
I came home; "er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whist watching last week’s episode of “Hunted”; I really would like to have a go at that show. And ten we watched “Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly” which (if nothing else) makes me realise that Pogo isn’t *that* bad…
28 February 2020 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept like a log. Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. I read on Facebook that Geo-HQ are trialling a new idea. It’s only happening in two US states at the moment, but the idea is that anyone who has stuck a film pot under a rock but then hasn’t done any geocaching for five (or more) years gets a message. Are they still keen on the noble and ancient art of sticking film pots under rocks? If so, all is fine. If not, then Geo-HQ will clear the old ones off of the map. Not only does this get shot of the rather manky nasty smelly crappy geocaches (and the ones that have been missing for years) that give the hobby a bad name, it also clears up space for more geocaches.
The weather forecast said there was a ninety-two per cent chance of rain this morning. But seeing that it wasn’t raining I took the dogs up to Kings Wood anyway. There was a minor hiccup in that just as we were arriving a dozen deer ran across the road. I hadn’t noticed until the dogs all kicked off, and by then it was too late to brandish the camera.
We had a good walk. We met other dogs and played nicely (there are no “precious princesses” in Kings Wood). We did get a bit muddy, but that is only to be expected. We walked our usual circuit of the top end, but in reverse and used the Munzess I put out recently to guide our way.
The rain held off until we were only fifty yards from the car.
We came home; I washed the mud off of the dogs. For all that the nation is crapping its collective pants about the negligible concerns of corona virus, Alabama rot is a much more serious and pressing concern to me.
With mud hosed off I had a look at the monthly accounts. Bearing in mind we’ve had a holiday away and an MOT failure, I’m far better off than I thought I might be. Not rolling in money, but I could be a whole lot worse off than I am.
No day off work is complete without a major session of ironing. I ironed for a couple of hours whilst watching “The Bounty” on Netflix. A favourite film of mine; I’m sure Netflix have edited it somewhat as I’m sure there were some scenes missing. Mind you that’ not a bad thing as that film does go on a bit.
I then put my birthday pressie together. "er indoors TM" had bought me the 1976 Lego Renault model which I’ve been after for some time.
You can see a stop-motion video of the construction by clicking here. The video is a tad jerky; I need to work on rigging up the camera somehow.
"er indoors TM" came home; we settled the dogs and went round to the Riverside Inn where we had a rather good catch-up with friends. It was good to catch up, but we could do it cheaper at home where it would be a lot less noisy too…
29 February 2020 (Saturday) - Leap Day
I had three pints of ale last night and woke feeling like death warmed up. Is this how things now are?
Having seen the last episode of “Titans” I had a little look at Netflix to find something to watch. There is a third season of “Uncle” so I started watching that from the start. It was rather good.
I then got myself organised and went to find my car.
I got some petrol and drove down to Folkestone. As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the latest scaremongering about corona virus. The most theory is that the whole thing might just be a thinly veiled ruse to boost the fortunes of the pharmaceutical industry. Apparently the mere thought that a certain company has an angle on a vaccine is enough to massively increase the value of the company on the stock exchange. People really are getting rich on the strength of a rumour.
Am I the only one who feels that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way our financial system works?
I got to Folkestone. Seeing it was Leap Day I thought I might get the e-souvenir that you get for finding a geocache today. I couldn’t find the first one I went looking for, but I came up trumps on the second.
I then went on to find Jimbo, and got on with the business of the day. Emma was moving house. She’d got it all packed. All we had to do was load all the furniture and boxes into the cars and vans, drive them half-way across Folkestone, unload, and go back for more.
Simple to type; rather hard work to do. But after six hours we had most of it done.
Having got to the stage where all the luggage had been moved from one place to another I left them all to it. They could do their own unpacking.
I came home, and together with "er indoors TM" we took the dogs round the park. As is so often the case, a walk in the park is far from “a walk in the park”. Pogo tried to pick several fights.
As we walked we met OrangeHead who would seem to have recruited a whole new posse. We also saw one of Cheryl’s mates with whom we went to Turkey last year. We were totally blanked; I think there has been some falling out there.
I played Tetris for a bit, then we settled the dogs and drove down to Hastings for a family party. Brother-in-law has had a fiftieth birthday; nephew is about to have a twenty-first birthday. There was a joint party which passed off rather well. Mind you, in years gone by I would have been in with the younger element at the bar at this sort of thing. Nowadays I’m sat with the uncles and the grandparents. At least when the nieces and nephews took turns to make polite conversation at the old ‘uns they just grinned at me and moved on to a more deserving cause.
Driving home was interesting. We came along the A259 and A2070. These roads have the old-style sodium vapour street lights and consequently they actually light up the streets unlike the lights up my road.
This is something I’ve been banging on about for some time…
My back hurts… can’t imagine why…