1 January 2012 (Tuesday) - Here We Go Again...
Yesterday I mentioned that I didn't feel too good when I woke. I felt rather rough this morning too. Some of my loyal readers may be surprised to find that it was disease and not hangover. Despite the mankini, I didn't actually drink that much yesterday. I tend not to these days. Not so much a resolution as just the way I seem to be hanging. And talking of resolutions, perhaps I should make some for this year? Or perhaps not. I shall continue with the vague plan of general weight loss; if only to shift what I have put on over the last few days. But other than that? Life changes enough around me in my world without me having to try for change myself. Look at this last year. Despite not actually liking them, I've acquired a dog. Despite several months of telling Stevey how lame it is, I've taken up geocaching. I've shifted several stones in weight. I've taken up golf (sort of). I wonder what the future holds for this year?
In previous years I've been quite good in keeping my diary of planed events up to date. I've been told off for letting the "Dates for the Diary" slip recently, so this morning whilst "er indoors TM" slept off the wine and Furry Face barked at anything that passed the house I spent a little while updating the diary with possible future events for this new year. I've got dates for the camping and bonfire events. I've got astro club dates. I need dates to go underground again, dates for the drop redoubt's open day, and anything else that might be fun. If any of my loyal readers know of any events which should be on it, please let me know.
I had a message - did we fancy taking dogs for a walk? Fudge always likes a walk, so we set off to Sheldwich and did a circuit up to Selling church and back (via nine geocaches). The going was seriously muddy, but it was a dry bright day and we were all glad to get out into t countryside.
Once home we hosed the worst of the mud off of the pup, and as he slept we went down to see Lisa and Earle. They had cooked far too much roast beef, and so we helped them scoff a roast dinner. Very tasty. We then tried out the 3-D TV. I could make out some of the 3-D effects, butt (it would seem) not as much as everyone else could. I've been told that I can't see 3-D effects; magic eye pictures never work for me. We then watched "Spiderwick Chronicles" until it was home time. And then after a quick shower we watched TV drivel whilst Furry Face slept on top of me...
2 January 2013 (Wednesday) - On The Buses
Over the last couple of days I've whinged about feeling grotty. I think I've developed a chest infection. Can't say that I'm keen on it, but such is life. I slept well last night; which is probably due to this illness (!) Over a spot of brekkie I watched an (incredibly) old episode of "On The Buses". For those of my loyal readers who are unaccustomed to Butler and Blakey, "On The Buses" was rather dire sit-com from the 1970s. It used to be hilarious when I was a child. Sadly the years haven't been kind to it.
Interestingly the actor who played the morose ticket inspector is still going strong, but the one who played the chirpy bus conductor finally successfully gassed himself after several failed attempts. And the actress who played the fat ugly sister was once a professional stripper and went on to to be the fall guy for Roland Rat.
I suppose there is a moral in there somewhere...
Before I leave for work in the cold winter mornings I always look out of the windows to see if the cars are iced up. They weren't this morning. That is the cars outside the house weren't iced up. My car fifty yards down the road was covered in ice. What was that all about?
And so to work. A cold morning; and as I drove I listened to the radio. Trivia abounded on the news; Christmas was only a week ago, but it's now receded to a distant memory.
I was chatting with a colleague today; he was telling me that he retires in a couple of months time. He's quite looking forward to it. I had a quick think and worked out that if all remains as it currently is, then I have another eleven returns to work after the Christmas break until I can retire. It doesn't seem *that* long, does it?
Mind you, I have heard it said that God laughs when we make plans.
And with that in mind I projected my shift pattern forward in time until this coming September. And then booked holiday around the year's standard kiting and camping events. This may well be rather presumptuous as I'm not sure if any of them are going ahead this year, but it is as well to make plans as not.
And so home. Fudge was in an odd mood. He was in the garden when I got home, and wouldn't come i. When I eventually chased him in he seemed really sheepish. His ears were right back, and he looked incredibly guilty. I wonder what he's done. Once tea was scoffed (Tesco take out curry - very nice!) he jumped on my lap and slept. He was absolutely zonked out all evening.
I wonder why that dog seems so guilty and is so tired....
3 January 2013 (Thursday) - Busy, Busy...
As "er indoors TM" set off to work I snuggled down for a serious lie-in. I managed five minutes before the phone rang. Tony wanted a lift to work. He was out of luck today.. So I got up and during my morning ablutions I heard the dulcet tones of "Daddies Little Angel TM" who had arrived and was haranguing Fudge.
We then took both dogs for a walk. On the way I intended to post some letters. Disaster - the pillar box had gone. How can a pillar box go missing? It was at this time that we met up with a fellow dog walker who told us that the thing had been taken away a while back as local vagrants were using it as a dustbin.
We then walked up to the park where I refused to look for a new geocache. My scrat-nav told me that it was yet another one which was breaking the rules by being rather close to a play park. This really boils my piss; I've had two cache hides refused by the establishment because they are within (distant) sight of play parks whereas other people are allowed to hide caches on the railings of play parks, in the hedges surrounding them, and even actually in the play equipment.
Instead we walked on to find a different geocache which had gone live recently. On the way we met Dave the Dachshund, and then Hurksy. Between us we found this cache. It was a crafty one which made us think. Whilst we were finding this one we met up with one of the chaps from astro club, and Fudge stole another dog's tennis ball which was embarrassing.
We then wandered on past the lake, and up into Singleton for another new geocache. And then we made our way home via the environment centre where we met some spaniels: Frodo and Eric. I was amazed at Fudge's attitude with the other dogs. A few months ago he would fight with every dog he met. Now he's far more playful. There are occasional spats, but he's far better than he ever was.
Once home I hosed the fox poo off of Fudge (I wish he wouldn't roll in that stuff!), and it was time for housework. Washing mud from shoes and wellies, washing what was in the laundry basket, hoovering. The time flew and soon the Rear Admiral visited over a lunch break.
After a swift bit of lunch I set about the ironing. It only took three hours. Whilst I was at it I watched a film I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box over the Christmas break. "Silent Running" is a classic sci-fi film. I can remember it being really good when I watched it in my youth. Today I was disappointed. It's a film that hasn't stood the test of time. With far too many plot holes, far from being a classic it was sad. "Hippies in Space" would have been a better title.
And then we all went to Folkestone for the evening. Fudge went off with Sid for a walk round the beach whilst we visited the Hoseys and had a rather tasty bit of Chinese take out and several episodes of "Big Bang Theory". Must do that more often.
A really good day - it's only a shame I feel so grotty....
4 January 2013 (Friday) - Feeling Ill
Astronomy is a rubbish hobby. Last night there was a wonderful meteor shower; the Quadrantids. Or there would have been if there wasn't complete cloud cover. I've mentioned before that every time there is anything of astronomical interest going on there is always a sky full of clouds.
Over the last few days I've griped that I've not been feeling quite one hundred percent. I felt particularly grotty today. I considered phoning in sick, but out of a sense of duty I persevered. I really don't know why - I've never liked the idea of phoning in sick. I think I've done so twice in all the years I've been blogging.
I thought I might get some cough sweets on the way to work, so I went to the shop over the road. Over the years this place has had a variety of businesses operating from it; none of which seem to pass the test of time. And I doubt this one will last. Clearly ready for business, with the door unlocked and complete with a bored-looking chap behind the till, the place still had a "closed" sign up. But I went in and asked if they had any cough sweets. The chap behind the counter said no. Just as I was about to walk out I saw about a dozen different varieties of cough sweet. I commented on them. The chap looked at them as though he'd never seen them before. Mind you they didn't have my favourite brand - given the choice I'd always prefer to suck on a fisherman's friend.
As I drove to work there was an interesting article on the radio about endowment mortgages. It's now eighteen months since ours finally let us down completely. When it happened we were several thousand pounds out of pocket on the deal, and apparently about now is the time when the vast majority of everyone else's endowments mature. Or fail to mature to be more precise. Despite countless warnings and predictions about the things not being what they were promised, it seems that thousands of people have ignored all the warnings. They have apparently done nothing about making alternative arrangements to pay off their debts, and are all now out of pocket to the tune of an average of seven thousand pounds each.
Whilst I sympathise with their predicament, it's a bit late to start worrying about the problem now. We took out extra policies to cover the predicted shortfall years ago. Other people would seem to have ignored the problem and now that it's too late to claim about allegedly mis-sold products they are trying to claim compensation.
Having been stuffed by the things myself I have to admit that endowment mortgages were a gamble. We were told that we would make a killing on the basis of predicted interest rates. We were also told that interest rates were not predictable. We were sold our endowment in good faith by my father in law. So I know that it was sold in all honesty and with no malice. We took a gamble. We might have won. We might have had thousands of pounds profit. However we lost. So has everyone else. But this cannot possibly come as a surprise to anyone?
Being on a late shift today meant that I travelled to work at the busiest time. For some reason the roads were deserted, so I got to Canterbury far earlier than I expected. I spent a little while mooching round the bargain shop I'd spotted a week or so ago. It has some good deals; but nothing that I really wanted. Perhaps it didn't help that there were normal people bumbling about. They wound me up - there weren't many of them, but those that were there had the uncanny knack of getting in my way no matter where I tried to go.
I also went into Pets at Home to get some tins of scoff for Furry Face. I'm trying to persuade everyone else who feeds him to only give him a third of a tin of food at each meal rather than half a tin. He never eats all that is put down for him. Unlike most mutts, he's not greedy and we throw so much dog food away.
I also got some treats. I shall stick those in my pocket and dish them out when he least expects it. That might make him less inclined to wander off when he's off the lead.
The phone rang - an employment agency had a job offer for me. Super-sciency stuff; just the sort of thing I would like. However it would involve a relocation. To Denmark. Apparently the fact that i don't speak Danish wouldn't be a problem as everyone there speaks very good English (!)
I turned the job down. I don't think that I will regret that somehow...
5 January 2013 (Saturday) - Panto
This morning's post brought an interesting letter about the refund I am due for all the council tax money I've been paying at too high a rate over the years. Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? Some bunch in Manchester (who presumably have never seen Beaver Road in their lives) would have me believe that (for a fee) they can get my council tax reduced; and get that reduction backdated. They claim I'm due a refund of over a thousand quid in overpaid council tax. All I have to do is give them cash to cover "expenses". I suppose enough people fall for these scams to make it worth their while trying it on.
The post also brought the new spare batteries for my mobile phone. Or so I thought. I have a Samsung Galaxy Ace 2. The batteries are for a Samsung Galaxy Ace (no"2"!), and they don't fit. You'd think that as well as standardising chargers for mobile phones they would standardise batteries too.
To the park where we met Cheryl and Lacey. They had heard good reports on Fudge's progress at being off the lead and wanted to see for themselves. So we took Fudge round the park where he excelled himself. Whilst we were at it I thought I'd see what Lacey thought of geocaching. To my delight she absolutely loved it, and we would seem to have another convert in our midst.
Time was pressing, so we went back to Beaver Lane where "My Boy TM" arrived with the makings of lunch, and after a rather good bit of bread and cheese (I *love* that stuff!) we made Disney princess snow globes. And then home. Via Godington Road where we heard that another new geocache had gone live. In the geocaching world there is great kudos in being first to find. We missed being first by twenty one minutes. We were sixth and seventh; we arrived to find quite the party was going on, and spent a little while chatting with fellow hunters of small plastic boxes.
A quick cuppa, and then we collected first fruit and his entourage and set off to Folkestone. McDinner slipped down very nicely, and then we wandered along the Leas to the Leas Cliff Hall for the pantomime. In years gone by we would always go to Folkestone to see the pantomime. I've not been for a few years, and I have to say I was disappointed. It was a good show, but in the past the theatre would be packed. Today only half the seats were put out that would usually be out, and a large proportion of them were empty. The sound system left much to be desired, and the blatant advertising throughout the show was rather off-putting.
I'm told that pantos of old were amateur productions, but nowadays they are professionally staged events. Whilst tonight's show was good, I preferred the old-style panto...
And then home where I found myself frankly amazed. Despite this cold getting worse and worse, I'd had a wonderful day, and it all went very sour. Earlier in the day there had been a post on the astro club's website about a website purporting to debunk crackpot conspiracy theories. A laudable goal, but this website made quite a lot of unreferenced claims, and prominently featured a link about "debunking BS" . Far from supporting a pragmatic scientific view it made the website seem to be as inflexible and closed-minded as those crackpot theories it sought to expose. Surely there is a difference between the phrases "Employing the Scientific Method" and "Detecting BS".
I'd made a comment to that effect earlier, and suddenly found myself embroiled in a rather confusing tirade of messages. The more I tried to explain my point, the more unfounded aggressive and personal abuse I received until I suddenly found the entire thread deleted from under me.
I'm still wondering what happened. Clearly I've somehow given offence but I don't see how.
Why does life always have to be one big argument?
6 January 2012 (Sunday) - The Wrotham Ramble
I probably went to bed too late last night, but I slept well despite the lurgy. It seemed a shame to be woken by the alarm when (for once) I was actually sleeping, but I can sleep later (or at least I will have the opportunity to do so later). I had a spot of brekkie which I enjoyed with Furry Face sitting on my chest. I checked to see what was going on in the world; or at least on the Internet. The previous six hours had been reasonably uneventful. Which was probably for the best.
Perhaps I should have stayed home today as I was still under the weather. But I didn't want to miss out on a day out. And I'd not seen "Team Wakey" for ages. We set off to Wrotham. There was debate as to how the place was pronounced. I was told that it was "Root-ham" (in a posh accent), but I was sticking to a working-class "Ruffum".
But regardless of how it sounded, eight of us (and three dogs) met up by the church there at 10am and followed a rather good walk. There was a dodgy five minutes when Fudge found his way through a fence onto the M20, and another dodgy five minutes shortly after that when he did exactly the same again. But he eventually got the idea of behaving himself.
We followed a well laid out series of geocaches; the Wrotham Ramble. There was a lot of up hill, and a lot of down hill too. Along the way we found half a dozen other caches too (and failed to find one other). Two of the caches had been hidden by my favourite caching team; Pooh, Tig and Lala. I've never met Pooh, Tig and Lala, but I can't help but feel they've chosen a wonderful name.
We found magnetic geocaches the size of my head that I couldn't see; we miscalculated mutli-cache co-ordinates by hundreds of yards. We found enormous sheep; the biggest you ever did see. We had great fun carrying wet dogs over stiles. We met one bunch of normal people several times who were walking a route of their own in an opposite direction to ours, and another bunch who mistook our geocaching for entymology. We even had to re-track a little bit to retrieve a forgotten walking stick.
This series would make a splendid walk in summer. However being January the elements were somewhat against us. The mud was rather thick in places, and it was chilly. Although the rain held off, the day was overcast and as the afternoon wore on so the mist rolled in. We were amazed at the speed the mist came. We saw tendrils of fog coming over a slope at the fourteenth cache; in the two minutes it took to do the secret geocache ritual (known only to us) the for was seriously thick.
We had started walking shortly after 10am; we got to the end (the bonus cache) shortly after 3pm. The route had been billed as six and a half miles; our technology told us we had covered eight and a half. But an excellent eight and a half miles. And it was another triumph of geocaching. Left to my own devices I would take Furry Face walking on the same old dozen walks. Today we had been guided along a well-laid out route that I'd never walked before; a route I would like to revisit. As always there are photos of the day on-line.
And so home. I dozed in the car a little on the way back. And once home the pup was bathed, muddy clothes were washed and after a little bit of tea "er indoors TM" set off bowling. Eventually Fudge settled down to sleep. I rather think he might have overdone it today; he seemed very fractious and despite not being cold he was rather shivery. Perhaps he's got my cold...
7 January 2013 (Monday) - News
The most recent fruit of my loin was visiting early this morning; I was still in my jim-jams when she arrived. Probably just as well that she was about: I was keen that Fudge had company today. He'd been in an odd mood since yesterday evening and I was somewhat worried about him. He's probably just overdone yesterday's walk (much as we all might have done), but he was very unsettled yesterday. And I have been wottying.
This worrying is yet another reason why I never wanted a dog.
As always the news boiled my piss. More so than usual today. Read this story: "The owners of a Suffolk petting zoo have been found guilty of failing to adequately look after their animals" and so it continues in that vein. The average reader is going to think the worst and give up after a paragraph or two still thinking ill of the place. If they are ever in Norfolk they might remember the place and avoid it. they might mention this story in passing to others, and so bad feeling about the place would spread.
But I know that zoo. I know the owners. These charges are just wrong. This sort of thing wouldn't happen there.
And it didn't.
When you actually get into the details of the case all cruelty allegations turned out to be utterly unfounded. What the zoo keepers were guilty of was administrative failures. Trivial paperwork hadn't been completed in the right coloured ink. The fine imposed on the zoo was the lowest that the judge was allowed to give, and in summing up the judge said to the keepers. "Ladies, a lot of people get a lot of pleasure from your animals. Keep up the good work" One wonders why news agencies didn't publish that bit.
I suspect that all of the news that we hear is like this; we are given a rather biased version of one side of every story.
Mind you I had a smile at one of the pundits who was on the radio today. Apparently the Prime Minister and his puppet Nick have been making speeches about how well the coalition government is doing now that they are at the half-way stage. I can't pretend to be a fan of this coalition, but the pundit was right when he said that there has probably been a lot less public squabbling between members of this government than any of the previous governments in recent history. I suppose the Con-Servatives and the Dribbling Democraps have to be seen not to be at odds with each other.
Meanwhile I have made some more progress with organising my diary. One or two more events have appeared in it. However I'm still awaiting dates for astro club outings, and I really need to pencil in dates for some serious hikes.
I'm awaiting developments with the two Teston kite festivals. The most recent communication that I've had from the management makes me rather sceptical about the June festival going ahead this year. Or ever again. I'm not sure that I would miss its going. once a year is enough; personally I'd like a repeat performance of the small camp that we staged last June. Maybe this time with one or two of the "Teston faces" along. I might just start smiling in the appropriate direction to get this one rolling...
8 January 2013 (Tuesday) - This n That
I had a bit of a lie-in this morning; a shame Tony had to ring the house phone so early. But such is life. As I got my toast going so both fruits of my loin arrived. From years of experience i dread seeing them together, and even now it seems really odd when they get on and don't argue constantly.
Whilst "My Boy TM" did his thing, me and "Daddies Little Angel TM" took the dogs for a walk. Up to Bowens Field wetland park which was extremely wet. Sid is always good off the lead, and I let Fudge off expecting the worst. But he was good, running about enjoying himself, and coming back when called. We walked along into Viccy Park and Fudge was excellent; I didn’t even need to have him on the lad as we went from one park to the next. Mind you he did get over-excited when he met up with lots of other dogs in Viccy Park. But, to be fair, the other dogs got excited too. We walked right through the park, along Knoll Lane, replaced an iffy geocache, and continued up to the Singleton Environment Centre. We seem to end up there an awful lot. But it’s a good place to be and they put out bowls of water for dogs so it saves us a job.
On the way home my phone rang. It was the first fruit of my loin – did I fancy going to the driving range? Yes I did, but we soon worked out that he didn’t have time before work. We’ll go next week.
And so home again. We then had a bit of a tidy up. Having savaged the living room in the run-up to Christmas it didn’t take too long to get that room into shape. And flushed with success we then had a go at the kitchen. We scared ourselves - fourteen jars of stuff past their best including some mulled wine spices that went west in March 1996.
Skinhead and her posse came to visit. I left them all to it and pootled about on the computer. The blog archive needed to be updated with December’s rantings, emails needed attention, and I spent a little time fiddling with the presentation I shall be giving on Saturday at Stargazing Live. It’s probably not as up to date as it might be but I shall tell the punters that, and hope they will be amused by the pretty pictures. I certainly will be.
As I pootled there was a commotion in the garden. Skinhead’s dog was one of the visiting dignitaries and in some dog-related shenanigans this mutt had somehow fallen into the pond. Woops. Mind you none of them could explain how Fudge was wet as well.
And so to Folkestone where the tribes gathered at the Admiralty. A few knob jokes, a glass or three of port and an episode of "Firefly" with friends. A wonderful evening...
9 January 2013 (Wednesday) - Geocaching in Lambeth
Today featured an even earlier start than usual; I was up and shaving at 5am. A quick episode of "South Park" and then I was off to the train station and on to the 6.13 to London. I don't like early morning trains - there is something soulless and impersonal about them.
I had a minor episode at Waterloo when I found myself stuck. I could not get out of the station. Eventually I found an exit, but it took some finding. I didn't fancy taking the tube; for all that it was drizzling, the tube at rush hour is horrible, so I walked into Lambeth to the day's business.
One day I will blog at length about what I was up to; but not today. (That's very cryptic of me, isn't it!)
I finished what I was up to at 4pm, and for want of anything better to do I activated my geocaching app. I was surprised at how few caches there were in the Lambeth area; far fewer than in Ashford. But enough to make the walk back to the station interesting. I found a cache celebrating Prince Albert in a park bearing his name. I found a cache in what I can only describe as "Albert Square". I found a cache celebrating Captain Bligh's birth place. I found a cache hidden in honour of a "Dexy's Midnight Runners" video. In all I found half a dozen of the things in an hour. All magnetic - there are those on the Facebook Kent Cacher's group who would lay eggs about that!
Having had problems getting out of Waterloo railway station this morning I then had problems finding the place this evening. I hate walking round the busier parts of London. No one is ever looking where they are going; randomly blundering wherever they fancy. I crashed into two people who just randomly stopped and then started walking backwards for no apparent reason. Fortunately I arrived on the platform only minutes before the train was due, however the train was full, and it was standing room only for half an hour until we got to Sevenoaks.
And following such an early start I spent much of the evening dozing. I hate that !!!
10 January 2013 (Thursday) - London Again
Another 5am start, another episode of "South Park", but today I took the 6.45am train to London. Half an hour later than yesterday. I took the scenic route to Lambeth along the Thames. Wonderful views of the houses of parliament and the London Eye as I went; and I found three geocaches along the way.
I got to my destination with quarter of an hour to spare. I shall again be cryptic as to exactly why I was in London. But I will say that it was worth going, and I read two James Bond books whilst I was at it.
As a teenager I was quite the fan of James Bond books. But I'm afraid that they haven't stood the test of time. James Bond was a character of his age. And now (fifty years later) the character comes over as patronising, sexist, and generally not likeable.
And the gadgets.... What was high-tech and mind-blowing in the 1960s is frankly antiquated today. Whilst I enjoyed reading "Thunderball" and "The Sky Who Loved Me" today, they came over more as reflections on life in the 1960s rather than the thrillers they were intended to be.
There's no denying that I had expected to be finished with my business in Kennington by 11am. So I was somewhat amazed when we didn't start until mid day, and were still going at 6pm. I had intended to walk from Kennington to Victoria during the late afternoon, picking up some geocaches as I went. But the late finish put paid to that idea, so I went straight to Waterloo as the train connection is quicker from there.
Home; where we had a rather good bit of curry and a bottle of "Good French Wine". You have to admire the cheek of whoever decided on the name of that wine. Hic...
11 January 2013 (Friday) - Me and my Girl...
The original plan for today was a third day in London. Fortunately I concluded my business there yesterday. That gave me today free, and saved me fifty quid in train fares which will pay for a fun trip to London in a couple of week's time. So, with a day to myself I set the laundry washing whilst I had some brekkie. I checked out what was going on in the world, and was alarmed to find that in another blog and in another plane of reality and half way across the world Gary was having difficulties with his knob. Gary has my sympathies; knobs can be troublesome at the best of times.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived with Sid. I thought she was in her jim-jams, but apparently it was a "onesie". I'm reliably informed that they are all the rage. What do I know?
We got Fudge ready for the off, and we went for a walk. Down to Park Farm, up along my new short cut into South Willesborough, Frog's Island and home. We suspected it would be muddy after Park Farm so we blagged some carrier bags to make makeshift wellies. We had an episode when Fudge wouldn't stop shouting at the horses, and then my phone went mad and randomly phoned "My Boy TM" who spent five minutes listening to me and the most recent fruit of my loin chatting.
Home; a quick cup of coffee, and we tidied the living room some more. I got behind the sofa and had a muck-out. I found six cushions we never use. I found two old lap-tops that I never knew we had. I found loads of escaped socks and loads of jigsaw puzzles. It's amazing what accumulates behind sofas when you aren't staying alert.
I then took the Dyson apart in an attempt to get the thing to suck again. I put my telescope into the bag I got for it last July. And then with "Daddies Little Angel TM" off out visiting friends I sat on the sofa with both dogs and we all fell asleep and stayed asleep until she came home. It was late and dark when she got back; she got her things (and Sid) together and set off back to whence she came. And with her and Sid gone, Fudge sobbed. It was pitiful; he ran to all the doors and the windows looking for them, and he actually sobbed.
I carried on tidying, and "er indoors TM" came and went. Not being in London today I had hoped to spend the day in front of the telly. I got to slob in front of the telly about 8pm in the end...
12 January 2013 Saturday) - Stargazing Live
Yesterday evening with the house to myself I had a telly-o-thon. I turned the telly on, activated a whole load of stuff I'd recorded onto the Sky-Plus box, and woke up at 2am with neck ache. I then had a relatively good night's kip. It would have been better if I didn't need the early morning tiddle, but I suppose that is down to my age. The main problem with the early morning tiddle is that it disturbs Furry Face.
I eventually got up about 8.30ish, abluted, and watched Fudge guard the house. He likes to sit on the back of the sofa looking out of the window. Should a burglar climb in that window Fudge wouldn't mind, but he goes mental when a house fifty yards down the road gets a visitor. He went berserk this morning when the postman walked down the other side of the road, but didn't bat an eyelid when "My Boy TM" came to visit.
Today was one of those days when I had to choose between various options. I could have gone to the Kent county geocachers meeting. I would like to have been there; "er indoors TM" and "acquired child" went leaving me behind. To be honest I'd committed to being part of today's "Stargazing Live" event months ago. So I put Stargazing Live" on the telly. I'd recorded one of the TV shows in the week and thought I ought to see what it was all about. I lasted twenty minutes. It was a good show for the masses, but like all telly it was very superficial, and after twenty minutes it hadn't actually said anything.
I then took Fudge for a walk. He was in an odd mood today, and wouldn't stop pulling. He eventually settled down though. Whilst out I met an ex-colleague and we chatted for a bit, I completed my circuit of the park and we came home. Over a spot of lunch I watched the last of the BBC's drama about the end of National Service. It was quite a good show, and I only dozed off twice. And then I spent a little while putting the finishing touches to tonight's lecture on Mars. Based on a talk I originally gave to the astro club four years ago it's amazing how our knowledge about the red planet has changed in that time.
And so on to Woodchurch. I arrived a couple of hours before the punters so's I could help get the hall ready. I lugged the chairs and tables about whilst others did their bits. It was a shame the evening was cloudy and wet for an astronomical event, but we had a great time. Jason got his globes out - all three of them. Drew's talks was good. The "ask an astronomer" panel worked well. I'm not sure my talk on Mars was as good as it might have been, but is it ever? And the ladies (and the Rear Admiral) worked wonders in the kitchen. The weather was against us, but we had a turn-out of about one hundred people. It was certainly worth putting the event on. As always there are photos of the day on-line.
and then home to do the astro club accounts. We would seem to be ninety quid adrift somewhere. Woops...!
13 January 2013 (Sunday) - A Birthday Party
Over brekkie we watched "Celebrity Come Dine With Me". I say "Celebrity" - I had no idea who any of the so-called celebrities were supposed to be. I spent a little time playing with my new toy: an early birthday pressie, Jose got me an Android tablet. I'm struggling with it. Trying to get some apps on the thing is tricky. It alternatively thinks it's my Samsung phone or an iPad. I expect I'll get the hang of it eventually.
Whilst "er indoors TM" abluted I took Furry Face for a walk. The entire street was awash with sheets of newspaper, with pages scattered everywhere. Yesterday was the scout group's paper collection. They clearly didn't collect as much as they might have done. Whilst out we met so many small people being physically dragged about by huge dogs they couldn't control. One even hollered to us from fifty yards away asking us to go the other way so his dog wouldn't drag him after us. Why do people have dogs that they cannot control? I know Fudge can have his moments, but if it did come to a fight, I would win. Today's people wouldn't.
And so round to collect "My Boy TM" and his entourage. He wasn't quite himself having had a disturbed night's sleep. He'd apparently had a nightmare in which I was had off of a gremlin(!) He'd also had the disturbing news that one of his old muckers was consorting with a lady who was best described as "half man half hippopotamus". I think he was glad of an afternoon out to take his mind off of the stress.
We then made our way to Hastings for a birthday party for my nephew. Tom had a good party, everyone had a good time; there was quite a decent spread, and having eaten far too much we then played musical statues - gangam style. This was apparently good fun if you like that sort of thing.
It would have been good to have stayed longer, but little ones were getting tired. So pausing only briefly to admire the patriotic flag planted in a local dog turd we made our way home. As we drove we were asked if we fancied Sunday roast. A gammon joint and all the trimmings sounded rather good, so once at the residence of "first fruit" we stayed for dinner. As dinner was being cooked I made dinosaurs with Lacey. The super-glue did get everywhere, but that's what super-glue does.
And then diner. Gammon, potatoes, leeks, pease pudding. And the gravy! However we'd already eaten far too much at the afternoon's buffet. Having a roast dinner on top was perhaps rather greedy of me. But it was good.
I would like to have slobbed about after dinner, but "er indoors TM" had to go bowling. So we came home where I sat with Fudge in front of the telly for the evening.
Fudge was soon snoring rather loudly...
14 January 2013 (Monday) - Stuff
Last week I was in London for a couple of days. It was as well that my business there didn't over-run because yesterday was International No Pants Subway Ride Day in which people around the world made journeys on tube trains with no pants. Fortunately (or not) the American definition of "pants" was used. In my world that means "trousers". Personally I would have thought that if you were planning to flop it all about, then January wouldn't have been the best time to do so. But what do I know?
Bearing in mind that I was back to work today I had something of an early night last night, only to be woken by "er indoors TM" coming to bed at 2.35am. I then lay awake until finally giving up on sleep and emerging from my pit at 5.30. After my ablutions I watched an episode of "South Park" with Fudge asleep (and snoring) on my lap. Today's episode was a classic - Cheesey Poofs and the Planetarium.
And then to work. Five minutes earlier than usual because I needed to brush the snow off of the car. We had snow overnight. A light dusting, but snow nonetheless. The mere mention of the word is enough to make the country grind to a halt. As I drove to work more snow fell. Not much, but as it fell it was freezing to the windscreen, which was a nuisance.
The day's news was somewhat depressing. the World Health Organisation has failed in it's mission to eradicate polio. There are still parts of the world where it is endemic. And to add insult to injury it seems that the people most in need of the polio vaccine are refusing the treatment because they see it as part of a western plot to take over the world. You couldn't make it up !
I spent quite a bit of the day looking out of the window wondering what would happen with the snow. My main worry was that it would melt and then freeze, and I would be driving home on sheets of ice. As the day wore on rain fell and washed most of the snow away. And so home via Stanhope - an old friend had advertised on Facebook that she wanted rid of some old dining chairs. periodically when we have dinner parties we never have enough chairs. Two more wouldn't hurt, so I popped round to collect them on my way home.
Being unable to park anywhere near home I've left the chairs in the car for the time being. But they will come in handy...
15 January 2013 (Tuesday) - Yes Prime Minister
I was absolutely all-in when I got home last night and I went to bed almost straight away. I opened the hall door before I put Furry Face to bed and he took the opportunity to sneak up the stairs when he thought I wasn't looking. I pretended not to notice him, and we were both soon fast asleep. And again I was woken at 2.30am. This time by a car alarm going off. I did notice that Fudge wasn't on the bed at 2.30am. He must have been busted by his nanny. She's mean to him like that.
The alarm went on for a little while - I was just on the point of thinking that it might have been my car alarm, and was wondering if I should go and do something when the noise stopped. I eventually nodded off again, and woke at 7am with backache. I always seem to have a backache if I am in my pit for too long. This backache is probably the result of an old rollerblading injury (!) - it comes on from time to time, and lasted all day today.
As I drove to work I saw that most of this current load of snow had gone, but I did see one car which (for some reason) was completely covered in snow apart from a little "port-hole" that had been cleared so the driver could see dead ahead. The rest of the car was encased in snow and ice. Dangerous!
And then there was a traffic jam. Two buses were passing each other in the narrowest part of the road, had stopped, and the drivers were having a natter.
The news of the day was focussing on the collapse of the HMV group. Future readers of this blog will look on HMV in the same way that they will look on Woolworths, Comet, Rumbelows, Plummers, VG, Grace Brothers, and the East India Company; historical names. But for those of us who grew up with these companies, their passing is a shame.
Mind you can we really be surprised that HMV has gone west? On their shelves are DVDs and computer games that can be bought for a quarter of the price in any supermarket.
HMV's management blamed the internet culture for their demise. They may well be right. Personally I can't help but feel that within my lifetime shops as we know them will become a thing of the past. Fresh produce and groceries will remain in Tesco and Asda, as will whatever durable goods they choose to put on their shelves. But it will be the groceries and perishables which will keep future shops going. Everything else will go mail-order via the internet because that's the cheapest way for the seller to operate.
Once I was at work I realised that I'd forgotten to pick up my lunch. And I had very little choice for where I could get some emergency back-up lunch. My having little choice meant that the retailer had the upper hand, and I ended up paying way over the odds. I paid far too much for rather manky food and fruit which was grudgingly sold to me with a complementary bad attitude.
I did my bit at work, and came home. Normally being Tuesday I would gather with the clans, but because I was on a 10pm finish I missed out. Which was a shame - I like the weekly gathering. And whilst I don't mind the 10pm finish, the drive home is a pain. I always find myself stuck behind a car which drives for fifteen miles at 25mph in a national speed limit. And just to really boil my piss this one drives right down the centre of the road so I can't overtake.
Once home we watched the first episode of the re-made "Yes Prime Minister". It was quite entertaining; I liked all the characters; they were (in varying amounts) true to the original. Even if Bernard Woolley needs a haircut.
I shall be interested to see how the series pans out...
16 January 2013 (Wednesday) - Horse Burgers
Today's social media was all a-twitter with the (apparently) horrific revelation that traces of horse meat have been found in various meat products in national supermarkets. Personally I can't really see what the fuss is all about.
As for the carnivores amongst us, either one eats meat or one does not. Can one really be selectively carnivorous for any reason other than taste? I'm reminded of a cub who once claimed to be a vegetarian but would eat pork and beef because he didn't like pigs and cows, but he liked sheep so wouldn't eat lamb. I've eaten horse before - it was quite tasty. Other than somehow claiming the moral high ground, vegetarians are unaffected by this news, whilst glibly overlooking the fact that carrots are supposed to be purple - who of us really knows exactly what it is that we are eating?
Personally I can't help but wonder how horse meat was found in the burgers in question; how many burgers are tested for horse meat on a regular basis? The DNA testing that was done isn't cheap. How many other food substances are tested for other random (and harmless) food substances? And in these austere times how much it all costs?
It was very cold this morning so I insisted that Fudge wore his coat when we went out for our walk. He wasn't at all happy about wearing his coat; he would rather have shivered. But he had no choice in the matter. I forced him into his coat, and eventually he stopped sulking. We had quite a good walk despite the freezing fog. I think the cold weather had put other dog walkers off, and we had the park mostly to ourselves. Which was good. Mind you he seems to have forgotten his whistle training. Must work on that...
And then home where I continued tidying the living room. We have far too many candles. And then I stripped out all the clutter from under the stairs. I couldn't believe what I found. Brand new roller blades still with the shop tags on them. "Daddies Little Angel TM"'s painting overall from several years ago, and a dozen pairs of her shoes. More carrier bags than Tesco's have got. Kites and kettles. Odd gloves and odd socks. Paddling pools and picnic baskets. Several scarves. I have put back that which might be worth having, binned some of the more unwanted rubbish, and filled the table with stuff that "er indoors TM" can kiss goodbye at her leisure.
"My Boy TM" came round, and after a quick school run we went to the driving range. It was the first time I got to try out my new golf bats. I've not been to the driving range for a few weeks, and it showed. I'll get the hang of it again.
Back home, and once "er indoors TM" had returned home we set off to Folkestone to deliver shoes and overalls. We then took the dogs to the beach for a walk. They had a good run around, but Fudge disgraced himself by picking fights with two other dogs. I wish he wouldn't do that...
17 January 2013 (Thursday) - Frabious Day
I slept well last night. Very well. I didn't hear "er indoors TM" getting up this morning, nor did I hear Furry Face sneaking upstairs and jumping on the bed. Mind you I certainly heard him when he had a woofing fit for no adequately explored reason. Rather a rude awakening - there was no dozing off after that. So I got up , did my morning round and intended to take Fudge for a walk. Being a cold day there was no way he was going out without his coat on. He took one look at that coat and ran off. I spent five minutes chasing him round the house before I could catch him. In retrospect maybe I should have just left him unwalked today if he didn't want to go out.
We got out eventually, and Fudge was slow. So slow - stopping and sniffing everything. He seemed particularly fascinated by other dog's eggs today. Normally if we find a Richard III which has been left by another mutt he'll give it a sniff and move on, but today he was totally enamoured with them. I suspect it was something to do with them all being frozen. We eventually got round our standard walk and came home again. Once home I then put him behind the dog gate and I loaded cardboard and rubbish into the car and set off on a tip run. I've blogged about the tip before. It never fails to wind me up. And it did so again today. The usual tip is currently closed. It has been for some time - it's being re-built. But I noticed new road signs giving directions to the tip as I drove. These new road signs took me to the old tip which is little more than a closed building site. It was just as well I knew where to go - I found the emergency back-up tip a couple of weeks ago (whilst out geocaching!) Unusually no one else had any rubbish to unload this morning, and so I was done very quickly.
I came home via the co-op. I felt I deserved my lunch from there today. The car park was a nightmare, but eventually I got parked. I fought my way through the scrum in the shop, got what I wanted, and joined the queue to pay. The queue wasn't short. I found myself standing in front of some old git who was huffing and puffing and getting redder and redder because other people had dared to be in front of him. Silly old bugger. The more he moaned at me about his having to wait, the more I tried to wind him up. I think I succeeded very well. By the time I got to the till he was a rather pronounced shade of crimson.
And so home, where I scoffed my lunch. And then went through my letter rack. All rather dull. Bills for the astro club, updating bank details for the astro club. I would seem to have stuffed up my personal accounts and have a hundred quid more than I realised. That will come in handy - I expect I will be presented with unexpected bills before too much longer.
I spent a few minutes taking up a pair of trousers, and then no day's leave is complete without laundry, so I wasted an hour ironing before falling asleep in front of the telly. "er indoors TM" came home and in novel break with tradition joined in my on-going tidying up campaign. She unearthed some really expensive chocolate five years past its sell-by dye which had semi-liquified and was growing mould. Eeeww!
Over a rather good curry we then watched the Johnny Depp version of "Alice in Wonderland". It is arguable that I sank too much port during this film.. hic!!.
18 January 2013 (Friday) - Bit Bored, Really...
Another good night's sleep. Possibly something to do with the two thirds of a bottle of port I shifted last night. I got out of my pit shortly after 9am and tuned in to the Internet. Cyber space was all a-twitch about snow. Some places had a light sprinkling overnight, others had the threat of a light sprinkling. And everyone was on tenterhooks about snow. I'd been hoping for a major downfall so's I could go sledging. We'd had none overnight.
I took Fudge for the standard walk, and gave up half way round. I like to let him off the lead, but when he blanked me for the second time and wouldn't come back I saw red. I caught him more through luck than obedience, so he went straight back on the lead and we came home. As we came I felt bad and wondered if I'd been too harsh on him so we came through the co-op field where I tried him off the lead again. He was fine. He only runs amok when other dogs are about.
Once home I was bored. I had half a plan to walk over to Godington to do a spot of geocaching, but I didn't want to go with just Furry Face. So I watched "Danger UXB" DVDs whilst Fudge sat on the back of the sofa and barked at the universe as it passed our window. In between episodes of nostalgia I continued with my mission of bringing order to the chaos that is the living room. Today it was the turn of the area round the wine rack. I've not been happy with the tangle of cables round it for some time, so I had the whole lot out. The wine rack had somehow stuck to the shelf it was on, but I eventually prised it loose, re-wired everything a whole lot tidier, and put everything back. This little job only took an hour, but it looks better for having been done. Whilst I was at it I found some rather nice bottles of Biddenden cider (still unopened) which expired in September 2008. I'm hoping cider don't go off. If it does I'll either mull it, or save it for when everyone is suitably refreshed at camp over the summer.
As I pootled so the snow started to fall. By the time it was dark there was almost enough snow to cover the ground,, and panic was reigning supreme across the Internet. Mind you for all that it's easy to be flippant, and whilst I do realise that other parts of the world cope with deep snow for months on end, the simple fact is that with two inches off snow, England does stop. I can't help that it's all gone by the time I have to go back to work.
"er indoors TM" came home and we had a "Grimm-o-thon"; clearing episodes of "Grimm" from the Sky-Plus box. An odd series - the first season started well, but it didn't seem to go anywhere, and the beginning episodes of the second season don't seem to be going anywhere either. Or perhaps they are but I'm not paying enough attention. It's certainly not gripping me. But we need to get them watched - we've also got the entire series of "Sinbad" to watch as well...
19 January 2013 (Saturday) - Woo Woo
I hate days like today. There was (at most) half a centimetre of snow on the ground, and the world has come to a halt. The macho element was loudly deriding everyone else for being so wimpy. And was doing so from the comfort of its warm arm chair. The macho element does that. Those who loudly gripe about how Antarctica copes with heavy snows, and about how they lived through the ice age when they were younger never actually go sledging or make snowmen. The pitiful amount of snow we did have wasn't enough to play in, but it was enough to make everything and everywhere cold and wet and muddy. I'm all up for sledging and making snowmen, but I can do cold, wet and muddy at any time (and regularly do). I felt rather sorry for my cousin's children - I saw photos of them (on Facebook) with their sledge and nowhere near enough snow to sledge in.
We had the option to go on an organised geocaching expedition today, but at the last minute I saw through the ruse. Billed as a geocaching event, it was actually an outreach event organised by a local free church. Whilst I hesitate to use the phrase "crackpot religion", over the years I've been caught by these sort of things so many times. In fact (before I saw the darkness) I used to organise such events myself (family picnic, sponsored walk, quiz nights) in a thinly veiled attempt to convert people to my particular version of crackpotism.
With little else planned for the morning we took Furry Face to Pets at Home. We'd been meaning to sign him up with their vet plan for some time. For twelve quid a month he gets free check-ups, injections, worming and flea treatments. This saves fifty quid over the year.
He had been biting the skin at the bottom of his tail rather a lot lately so a trip to the vets was on the cards anyway. The vet did unspeakable things with his anal glands, squirted stuff up his beak and told us to brush his teeth. The thing with biting his tail was probably to do with his anal glands (yuk!), and we brought him home where I applied the flea juice to the back of his neck. Fudge promptly rolled over and tried to rub the stuff off, and then spent fifteen minutes barking at the dogs next door.
Despite the weather we went out in the afternoon. Lisa wanted to do some geocache maintenance, and I wanted to do something with the day. We relocated a cache somewhat higher up a tree, and then went on to find nine more caches. And a swarm of sheep which came right down the road at us. We gave up when we were so cold we could no longer feel our feet. So we came home just as it was getting dark, and I spent an hour giving the fish tank a serious clean-out. I totally dismantled everything, tool all of the water and all of the gravel out, scrubbed the lot, rinsed the gravel until the water stopped running black, and then put it all back together. There's no denying that I've been neglecting the fish tank recently. With only three fish left in it I need to either shut the thing down or re-stock it. Snow permitting we'll see what Bybrook Barn have to offer tomorrow.
For the evening we went round the corner to a birthday party. As well as drinking too much ale I had some green stuff, liquid cola cubes, and was introduced to "Woo-Woo". I quite liked Woo-Woo" - I might brew a barrel of the stuff if only I knew how..
20 January 2013 (Sunday) - Snow
I felt a little under the weather this morning. I wonder if that Woo Woo that I was pouring down my neck last night wasn't actually the nectar I was led to believe it was?
A swift bit of brekkie and then we set off to Viccie Park. Perhaps there wasn't quite enough snow to go sledging, but we thought we'd give it a try anyway. "My Boy TM" Cheryl and Lacey met us there, and we had a few zooms down the incline by the play park. But not many - a combination of not enough snow and not enough slope was against us. We went into the Chinese garden and had a go there. The sledging was slightly better.
The trouble with Ashford (as far as sledging is concerned) is that the place is too flat. We had a vague idea to walk out to Jesus Hill to try there, but we got cold, and when we got close enough we diverted to the Lacey-arium and made snowDaves in the garden. We made some rather good ones. Fudge did disgrace himself by tiddling up Lacey's snowDave, but Lacey didn't notice. Which was probably for the best.
As we walked home we saw that a lot of people had been making snowDaves of their own. And other snow sculptures. Some local herberts had made a four foot tall anatomically correct set of male "bits" which made me snigger.
Once home it was good to warm up. Much as I like playing in the snow, after four hours I was rather cold. A text message - was I going geocaching? The original plan for the day involved a geocaching session in Medway. But the threat of snow meant that we'd postponed that. I had vaguely suggested that I might do a couple of Ashford caches, but by the time I'd got frozen, all I wanted to do was to warm up. And geocaching is all about stealth. You can hardly be stealthy when you are leaving tracks in the snow behind you.
Other plans for today had included restocking the fish tank. So after a trip to the Family Bargains store we went round to Bybrook Barn. They were shut, as were Dobbies. Oh well. Their loss.
Fudge seemed to be in an odd mood this afternoon. He was incredibly restless, and wouldn't settle. The vet did say that he might react to yesterday's kennel cough booster in the same way that we might react to a flu jab. Perhaps that was the explanation. Something was bothering him. He did feel warm, and in his restlessness he managed to destroy Dave the Cactus. There was talk of giving him dog-paracetamol. Just as well we didn't have any.
When "er indoors TM" went off bowling Fudge fell asleep on my lap and snored for quite some time. Let's hope that sleep did him some good...
21 January 2013 (Monday) - More Snow
Today was the last day of my little break, and I woke with something of a sulk. My hopes weren't high for today. Having had snow at the weekend we are now in that horrible stage. Other parts of the world have snow for months on end and cope well. That's because they have snow. Powdery stuff that stays frozen and powdery. What we have doesn't stay frozen. It melts during the day time and re-freezes at night. So we now don't have snow any more. We have sheets of ice everywhere.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" and Sid came to visit, and after a bit of brekkie we went on a dog walk. And the world was just as I thought it would be. The parts where few people had walked were fine - Viccy park, the co-op field, Bowen's Field were lovely. But Christchurch Road and Beaver Road were like ice rinks.
Once home we had a quick cuppa, before "Daddies Little Angel TM" and Sid went off on a mission. Fudge and I dozed in front of the telly for a while, then in a fit of feeling public spirited I got a shovel and broke and scraped the ice from the pavement in front of the house. No one else seems to have done this, but it only took half an hour, and it was something I could do. I then wandered round to Asda to get some shopping. Dull, but it needed doing. I say "wandered" - "slipped and skidded" would be a more accurate description. On the way I popped in to Pets at Home to look at their tropical fish. I thought they were rather expensive, but I suspect that tropical fish are expensive these days.
Back home, where I got tea on the go. Cooking isn't my strong suit, but I can boil up scran when I have to. I'd rather not, but I can. And I had a look on Facebook. It would seem for every child that has taken the opportunity to enjoy the snow, another has taken the opportunity for uncontrolled thuggery. There is a world of difference between lobbing loose snow in the general direction of your mates, and deliberately targeting innocent bystanders with compacted ice. One such innocent bystander has apparently harangued his assailants and was seriously assaulted for his troubles. And this happened locally.
On reflection I can't say I'm surprised. Shocked, definitely. But surprised? The thug element must be having a field day. It's easy to make an ice ball at the moment. And there is nothing to stop them hurling it where they like. There was a brat flinging ice balls from the church garden up the road at passing traffic yesterday. These thugs do whatever they please. And get away with it with no fear of retribution.
I haven't seen a copper down my road since the Olympic Flame came through last July. The community support CHIMPS (Can't Help In Most Police Situations) are no good - (they came to a community meeting a few years ago and were almost reduced to tears). Schools are demonstrably powerless (and unwilling) to discipline the brats.
When vigilante groups start up and these brats go home having received serious slaps, I for one won't be surprised...
22 January 2013 (Tuesday) - This n That
I had an early night last night and was in my pit by 10am. I woke at 1.15am, and saw every hour of the night from then on. There was a rather loud vehicle which came past shortly after 2am. There was a lot of shouting up the street at 3.40am. I gave up trying to sleep and got up at 5.15am. Fudge was in such a really deep sleep that he didn't hear me coming down. I did feel a pang of jealousy, but didn't wake him. He eventually woke as I was watching "South Park" over my Bran Flakes, and he came and sat with me. And he went back to sleep on my lap and was soon snoring.
I scraped the frozen snow off of the car and set off to work. Despite the recent snows, the roads were clear. However there was very thick fog as I drove this morning. The news was all a-twitter with Prince Harry's revelations that he had killed insurgents during his military service in Afghanistan.
Personally I feel he's been a bit daft to have made this admission. Surely the Royals are a big enough target for these extremists without him giving them more reason to take a pot shot at a family member as some sort of a revenge killing?
And then I couldn't believe what I heard. Researchers have found that patients are ten per cent more likely to die when there are fewer medically trained staff about. Can anyone be surprised by this revelation? How is this newsworthy? Isn't this why we have hospitals rather than leaving ill people just anywhere? Interestingly as I drove home there was an article on the radio about trying to have consultant grade staff available in hospitals at all times for this very reason.
"er indoors TM" will have the hump over another snippet of news. For Christmas she was given a book "Fifty Ways to Cook Mackerel" and has been looking forward to boiling some up. I've never been a mackerel fan, but if I didn't like it, Furry Face could scoff it. Or so I thought.
For years mackerel were the vermin of the seas. You only had to mention the phrase "mackerel fishing" and the finny fellows would walk up the beach. But not any more. Their numbers have dwindled so much that apparently the international bunch who says what we can and can't eat have decreed that mackerel stocks are unsustainable, and mackerel fishing should stop. Apparently herring and sardines make an adequate substitute. One lives and learns..
And then I read something which on reflection has come as a surprise. The news that asteroid mining is to be taken seriously.
For myself the surprise is that it's taken so long for anyone to decide to make a go of it. For all that the Chinese are having a go at space exploration, and for all that this will provoke the Americans, the long term future of space exploration will be commercially driven. Which is... if not a shame, certainly not how as a child I imagined it would be...
23 January 2013 (Wednesday) - Ranting...
On the radio this morning I heard about a project taking place over the next eleven months in which eleven accomplished authors will each write a short story about the eleven incarnations of "Doctor Who" as a run-up to the fiftieth anniversary of the show in November. These might be interesting. Each story is only about five thousand words long and will cost a couple of quid. I was a tad surprised to see that these stories are being published by Puffin books, but after all, Doctor Who is a kid's show (!)
But the main news of the day was the Prime Minister's speech. The radio commentators and TV news spoke about very little else today. My piss boiled on so many levels. Firstly with the constant references by the various pundits to "Cameron". I can't pretend to be the chap's biggest fan, but he is the Prime Minister, and should be addressed as "the Prime Minister" or "Mr Cameron" or "Sir". I'm always running him down, but I respect the office he holds.
And as for what he's done.... He's promised a referendum as to whether the UK will be in or out of the European Union. Personally I feel we should remain in, but that's irrelevant. What's annoyed me is the way that this move is billed as being a triumph of democracy. It is not. When you actually analyse what he's said, he is actually offering (if elected) the choice to vote for whatever specific plans he will cook up for a Europe that suits him, or to unilaterally leave the European Union if he don't like the look of it at the time. I'm reminded of a small child demanding its own way before going off in a sulk. A true democratic process would give me personally some input into devising any revised Union treaty.
But is this about the British membership of Europe at all? The Prime Minister has said that he feels that the UK should remain part of the European Union. I can't help but feel that the Con-Servatives have stirred the Euro-debate in order to do the dirty to their political opponents in UKIP, and to appeal to the jingoistic vote by winding up the other European leaders.
And what with the Prime Minister boiling that most volatile of fluids by his performance on the radio, my blood pressure went through the roof at the antics of my fellow road users. Traffic was stacked three miles back out of Wincheap as everyone seemingly celebrated "National Drive Up the Middle of the Road Day". Traffic was at a standstill as so many people were blocking the roads by driving right up the middle, rather than keeping to the left hand side of the road. On the back streets there was even a chap in a mobility scooter following the white lines; seemingly desperate not to be left out.
I can understand his not wanting to be on icy pavements, but did he really need to be following those white lines?
Being on a late start gave me a little time before work, so I did some shopping. A tankful of petrol (not cheap), and then to "Pets at Home" for Furry Face's food. On Saturday we got a card from the Ashford branch of "Pets at Home" where (I am sure) the nice lady said it gave us ten per cent off of all purchases in any of their stores. The nice lady in the Canterbury store wasn't having any of it, but said that we could use the card to accrue points which we might redeem at some vague future point. Oh well - every little helps, I suppose. Mind you it doesn't help that Furry Face doesn't seem to be overly fond of Pets at Home dog food. But it's (relatively) cheap, in these austere times he'd be even less fond of going hungry.
And so to work, which was much the same as ever. I spent a little while looking to swap shifts about when my phone rang. The most recent fruit of my loin wanted to use my PC. She needed it to make a presentation about eroticism in modern art (!) Personally I'd rather she made a presentation about modern art's need to take a firm moral stance (preferably in stout hessian undergarments), but what do I know? And then in a fit of boredom I decided to unleash my savage vengeance onto an ungrateful and unsuspecting universe. However I found myself somewhat thwarted. An ungrateful and unsuspecting universe is rather a large thing onto which to unleash savage vengeance, and I was rather at a loss as to where to start. If any of my loyal readers might like to offer any suggestions on the matter...
24 January 2013 (Thursday) - Home Alone
Having had two restless nights I slept like a log. I'm convinced that I don't sleep if I have an alarm set as I slept like a log last night. "er indoors TM" woke me when she went off to work, and I got up, did my daily round and tried to enjoy a peaceful bit of brekkie whilst Fudge continually barked at the world as it went past the window. He wouldn't shut up, and ignored my shouting at him. So I chucked my slipper at him which did the trick. He shut up instantly, and came and sat on the sofa with me. And had the most sheepish expression you ever did see on a Patagonian Tripehound.
We then went for a walk. The same walk we did on Monday. Three days ago, with snow everywhere, we had a fine stroll, but now with the snow all but melted we found ourselves walking through quagmires and swamps. Whilst out I tried whistle training with Furry Face. He seems to have remembered what the whistle is all about now, but there's no denying that he responds to the whistle in his own sweet time. He could certainly do it faster if he tried.
Once home I did the monthly accounts which could have been better, but certainly could have been worse. I then did an hour's homework (which was dull) until Cheryl phoned. At the weekend we took Fudge to the vets and effectively took out a service plan on him. All the paperwork had arrived with Cheryl. She also mentioned that Lacey was poorly and was having a day off school, so I thought we might pop round to collect the paperwork and visit the littlun too. So we did. I got given a rather good sausage sandwich for lunch, exchanged a few insults with the first fruit of my loin, and then we came home having forgotten to collect the papers we went round to collect.
With "er indoors TM" off on her travels and me left "home alone" (with Fudge) I then spent the rest of the day slobbing in front of the telly catching up with stuff I'd recorded onto the Sky Plus box. A film based on the early life of Madonna, and then possibly the worst film I'd ever seen. A post apocalyptic tale called "The Lost Future" which was about a bunch of cavemen fighting with zombies. Total rubbish....
25 January 2013 (Friday) - Reflections on Teston
Yesterday evening and this morning social media in my world was alight with news, concerns and worries about this year's kite festivals at Teston Bridge picnic site. There was no festival there in June last year, and at the August festival last year there was a meeting of "interested parties" to discuss the future of these festivals. The organiser was also invited, and he made it quite clear that he was the organiser, and he would organise future events. So I for one took him at his word... Perhaps we all should?
Recently all manner of scare stories and misinformation has been bandied about concerning the kiting weekends in Teston. The festival in August this year is apparently going ahead, with the organiser expecting to make a loss on the deal. There now seems to be an on-line ad-hoc campaign being launched to support a possible festival in June. A year ago I would have been one of the leading lights in keeping this festival going. Five months ago I was on the point of taking on the organisation of the event. But what do I think now?
The financial outlay required for the event is unclear (to say the least). It's certain that Kent County Council want a fee for the use of the field. However the required cost varies between two hundred and fifty quid and five hundred quid depending on which person you speak to. (And this is from people "in the know", not just random guesses). But what do we get for that fee? Absolutely nothing! I would have thought that having paid for hiring a field we would be given exclusive use of it. But this is not the case. The "normal people" still get to use the site as they do at any other weekend. We get to pay money to be in the same field which the general public are using for free. It's just a nice little earner for the council.
The apparent cost of the public liability insurance varies between two hundred and fifty quid and five hundred quid depending on which person you speak to. I was personally quoted nearly five hundred quid from a specialist insurance agency. A local kite club insist they have been quoted far cheaper for the same cover. And what liability is there anyway? Any kite-caused damage is covered by the flier's personal household liability. I can't see how anyone can be held liable for anything that the general public get up to as the council have said that the public can be there anyway. If they hurt themselves then their issue must be with the council like it would be at any other weekend.
First aiders want a couple of hundred quid just to turn up. Hiring first aiders a prerequisite for hiring the field. First aiders! I don't want any first aider anywhere near me or anyone I hold dear - I know the damage they can do. I've left written instructions for first aiders not to be allowed near my children in the past. If a plaster can't fix the injury, there is a hospital not five minutes up the road. I don't doubt that there are some first aiders who do sterling jobs. However the ones of my experience are those who watch "Casualty" on the telly, believe it, and get silly ideas from it. But first aiders are compulsory, and are another drain on the limited finances.
(Stops and takes a breath. Teston kite festival has always been one of the high points of my year. This rant is all rather negative...)
So we are now in the position that what was once free is now costing about a thousand pounds. And having shelled out all this money what do we get? Most kite festivals take place in designated areas as "kite festivals".
That's what they are. You go there for the kites.
The events at Teston are very different. They are weekends of trying to fly kites in a picnic site where many people are very accustomed to having picnics, walking dogs, playing football, and generally doing their own thing every weekend. It's made quite clear by these people that the kites are very much in their way. The swarms of normal people do not like having the kiters around. I've had my tent ripped open in the past by the locals, and other friends have had children's bikes stolen.
The consensus of everyone I've spoken with is that the Teston weekend is good from when we set up our camp on the Thursday until the Saturday morning when the swarms arrive. We then wait for the swarms to go home before we then enjoy the evening, and then they come back again on the Sunday morning to spoil it. Sunday evening is good, and we then pack up and go home on Monday morning
However it would seem that there is a feeling from the establishment that camping is to be curtailed. We can only camp from the Friday until (possibly) the Sunday evening. We get to lose the bit we actually enjoy. And talking of the camping brings me on to something which boils my piss. Every year on the Sunday morning a collection is made from the campers to contribute to any expenses of the event. In the past I've bunged in ten or twenty quid, and others camping with us have done the same. On the basis of this I would expect the collection to raise in the region of two to three hundred quid. It (apparently) raises less than one hundred quid. What's that all about?
And now to add insult to injury the consensus view is that future Teston weekends will be largely financed by stinging those who camp. The implication has been made that we should pay our way. I rather resent that implication. We've been paying our way all along. If the event is paying the council for the hire of the field, then the cost of the event should be passed on to anyone using the field for that weekend. Charge a camping fee by all means, but surely it makes sense to charge an admission fee to anyone at the kite festival as well?
It has been suggested that traders and caterers be invited and charged for their pitches to offset the costs. Leaving aside the fact that the council have said they won't allow caterers, we've had traders in the past. They don't make enough money to make it with their while to turn up.
We've been told that we may lose the Teston kite festivals. Much as I've enjoyed them over the years, I'm not feeling as positive about the idea as I might be. Regular readers of this drivel may recall my witterings from last June when the planned Teston weekend was cancelled and a group of us did our own thing. We went camping on private land which cost one thousand pounds less than a weekend at Teston would have cost, and we were away from the normal people.
Everyone who went to this alternative event enjoyed it immensely. Personally I'm wondering if I wouldn't rather do my own thing again.
26 January 2013 (Saturday) -- A Family Day
After a rather good evening at the astro club I was rather late to bed last night. The morning was rather depressing. Having organised an extended family swim in honour of my father's birthday I spent a lot of time receiving messages from several people (including the guest of honour) backing out. So I took Furry Face for a walk to cheer myself up, and my piss boiled.
I've taken to blowing a whistle whenever I give Fudge a treat. He associates the sound with the goodie, and when he's off the lead the idea is that the whistle will call him back. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. It gets better with practice and reinforcement. We were practising this today in Bowens Field - it was working fairly well until some passing prat stuck his nose in. This twit called Fudge away and started fussing him when I was trying to call him myself. I politely suggested that the fellow shouldn't interfere when people are clearly doing dog training. The bloke seemed amazed that anyone wouldn't want their dog interfered with. Being already in a bad mood I'm ashamed to say that I saw red and told him the error of his ways. I felt a bit better for having vented my spleen. I should do it more often.
We came home, and then went round to Tesco's where it seemed to be "National Stare into Space Day". People were randomly stopping anywhere and just staring blankly. I got my shopping done, but if I had been there for five minutes more I would have taken to shoving these twits out of the way.
Home to unload shopping, and then to the sports centre for the planned family swim. I've not been in the family pool at the Stour Centre since it was rebuilt, and I must say I'm impressed. It's not the biggest pool, but it's really good. I especially liked the Lazy River. We swam and played for an hour or so, then came home where both fruits of my loin were waiting for us. We all had a really good hour or so swapping insults. Must do it more often.
And as the last of family set off into the sunset we went round to Bybrook barn to get fish to re-stock the tank. A ruby shark and some platys to be getting on with. They weren't cheap - four fish came to nearly ten quid.
"er indoors TM" went off to watch films, and I settled down in front of the telly when the phone rang. "My Boy TM" was in the pub up the road and wondered if I fancied a pint? Mild and a pickled egg went down very nicely. There's no denying that the fifth pint might have been a mistake though...
27 January 2013 (Sunday) - Gravy - Send.. (!)
I felt a little fragile when I woke this morning. Can't imagine why that might have been. We had some brekkie, and rallied the troops. We had plans for the day - plans that had been abandoned last week because if the snow. And despite the rain we went ahead with our plans.
The sat-nav had some difficulty with local place names, but we think we knew where it meant by "Gravy-send" and "Ro-ches-tor" and we soon parked up in Higham railway station's car park. Shoes were swapped for boots and we set off. A country walk - a walk for the dogs, and one or two geocaches along the way. Smif's stroll, Lumi's loop, and one or two other caches as we were walking past them. Some were quite straightforward to find, some were trickier. Some on roadsides, some up trees, some in hedges, and some nearly having us in small rivers. But we came up trumps on most of them. In fact we only failed on one, but that was one that had been washed away in recent floods, and we met up with the cache owner who confirmed that we'd found the correct hidey hole and told us to log it as found as we signed the log of the replacement cache.
The earlier rain had given way to a bright, if rather windy day. Our geopositioning apparatus (oo-er!) told us that we'd covered some seven miles by the time we got back to the car. As we arrived there something upset the dogs who had a serious woofing fit for no adequately explained reason.
We then came home the scenic route via a few more geocaches. One church micro saw me ripping my new trousers. These were a Christmas pressie - I wasn't impressed. Another church micro had us finding a rather obscure hidden obelisk which had been built in honour of an MP from years ago.
Just as we found a cache at a pub known locally as the "Wonky Donkey" so the rain started. Rather heavily. And bearing in mind that the light was failing we decided to call it a day and come home. A good day's walking and exploring. And we'd increased our geocaching tally by another thirty as well.
And so home. We dropped off the troops at their homes and came home. Fudge was bathed as he was filthy. He'd picked up rather a lot of mud during the day. I then stitched up the hole in my trousers - they will live to fight another day.
I was rather worried about Fudge. He seemed incredibly clingy, following me like a shadow. But when I sat down he sat with me and was soon snoring. The day's walk had worn the poor dog out.
If truth be told it had worn me out too. But it was a good walk. Geocaching is a seriously good way to find new places for walks in the countryside. And, as always, there are photos of the day on-line.
28 January 2013 (Monday) - Back on the Diet
Despite being rather tired after yesterday's walk, I didn't sleep well last night. I was in bed by 10.30 yesterday evening but woke shortly after midnight, and saw every hour of the night from then on. Some nights I sleep, other times I don't. Laying awake is dull. I got up about 5.30am and once I'd done some boring chores I watched an episode of Babylon 5 with Furry Face over a bowl of Bran Flakes. I've taken to watching my Babylon 5 DVDs again, if only to give me a reason to brush the dust off of them.
I then stepped on the scales. My weight seems to be holding constant - but over half a stone what it was before Christmas. Bearing in mind how good I was at weight loss last year, I really need to get back on to the weight loss campaign again. Realistically I want to get back to where I was a month ago, then lose at least another stone in weight, and probably two in total. So it's no more choccy digestive biccies for me. From now on it's Rich Tea all the way. And I shall go back on to MyFitnessPal dot com and start logging what I shove down my neck. Just recording what I eat seems to make me more conscious of what I'm scoffing. On the flip side I will feel permanently hungry, but then that's what weight loss is all about.
And so to work. I scraped the ice off of my car. Ice! The weather forecast didn't show the overnight temperature to be getting below freezing point. I follow weather forecasts religiously, and I know that more often than not they will get it wrong. I really shouldn't bother.
As always, as I drove I listened to the morning news on the radio. And in a novel break with tradition there was barely anything worthy of note on the show. In fact much of the time was spent discussing the proposed high speed rail link to go from London to various places up north. Would you believe that there are people who are against the project? It amazes me that in this day and age anyone would feel that it was acceptable to have trains that run at less than half the speed of what is considered to be standard for train travel in the twenty first century.
Once at work I did my bit, and came home again. I see on other social media that Friday's blog entry has inadvertently given offence. This was never my intention, but it's not given as much offence accidentally as was given to me deliberately on Saturday.
Regular readers of this drivel will know that for years I have been the first person out of bed every morning and last person to bed every night at previous Teston kite festivals to keep the thing running. I've spent a lot of my own money for the events (where did that go...?). I've acted as on-site liaison many times for all sorts of people and reasons.
Somehow all of this seems to have been ignored or forgotten. Or (which is far more likely) not known to those who feel that daring to voice dissent is akin to heresy.
I'm waiting for an apology which I doubt I'll ever get...
29 January 2013 (Tuesday) - Stuff
I logged all of what I'd scoffed on MyFitnessPal dot com last night, and was suitably under my calorie allowance. Lets see if I can keep this up.
I woke this morning with a terrible backacke and over a spot of brekkie I saw that the Teston squabble was still going on. The whole sorry tale was summed up this morning on Facebook: "For Sale - Something. Size - indeterminate. Colour - unspecified. Price - to be announced after you've bought it".
I'm now getting to the end of my tether with this whole sorry story, and I've emailed the organiser to find out what's going on. He seems to be rather oblivious of everyone's organising the event around him, but the official line is what we've all been told all along - there might or might not be an event at Teston in June. We know the possible weekend, but not the duration of the possible event. And we have absolutely no idea of the cost.
I like to organise my life as far in advance as is possible. There are other events going on that weekend. Folkestone airshow and geocache camps amongst others. To say nothing of staging a camp of our own. Any possible event at Teston in June is fast going to be left by the wayside.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived with Sid, and as "er indoors TM" set off to work so we took the dogs on their morning constitutional. Bowens Field was still very flooded, and as we walked I took the opportunity to wind up the most recent fruit of my loin by searching for a geocache which had gone live in the area recently. “Duck in Distress” had been hidden by "er indoors TM" in memory of a little episode I had in the area some six years ago. Some of the more hardened of my loyal readers might recall the incident, but (as always) if you know where to look you might care to call up the entry for 20 September 2006.
Let’s just say that I was grateful not to be in the river this time.
We would have taken the dogs further, but the fields were waterlogged, so we came home, had a cuppa, then went up into town. With "Daddies Little Angel TM" taking the bus off to big school, I paid the astro club’s takings into the bank. Again I missed the perfect opportunity to embezzle the funds. I went to Wilkos to get the makings of some mild – I’ve committed to brewing eighty pints of the stuff for various episodes in April, but could only find enough ingredients to make forty pints. Oh well – they did say I can use the Internet to have them order the rest. I shall do that.
I then went looking for duck decoys (for no adequately explored reason) but was unable to find any. I shall have to rough it with a yellow bath duck.
Home, where I wound the dogs up a little, and then did a tip run. Over the years we’ve accumulated a load of computer components. We went through them the other day. The vast majority of them are now obsolete, so I’ve recycled them.
And then I had a quick spot of “diet lunch” whilst watching more Babylon 5 DVDs whilst both dogs slept on me. They are fine when asleep, but having two dogs awake proved to be hard work. Whilst they did what dogs do, I got that first batch of mild out of the tin and into the barrel. We all then had a crafty snooze before the Rear Admiral arrived to collect Sid and all his accessories. It was only after they'd gone that I realised that Sid's bed had been left behind.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered - this time at the Chrisery where we started season two of "Merlin". We played "spot the historical inaccuracies" (there were several), bandied insults, and then came home again. Good times.
30 January 2013 (Wednesday) - More Stuff
Another terrible night's sleep. I was woken by the gentle breathing of my beloved shortly before 3am, and despite me giving her a light shake, a more forceful push, and even a straight kick up the chuff, her snoring continued. One of my more vigorous attacks earned me a punch up the bracket accompanied by the warning to leave her alone as she was asleep. Which was nice for some.
I gave up trying to sleep, and sat with Fudge watching Babylon 5 DVDs. That is I watched the DVDs. Furry Face didn't. He snored too. He knows which is the winning side. Eventually it was time to set off to work. As I drove the weather was awful, and I consoled myself with the fact that the rain would have spoiled the day if I had not been working. Imagine my reaction when the rain stopped shortly after 8am and we had a lovely day.
The radio featured another article on the proposed high speed rail link to connect London with strange places known only in legend. Places such as "Birmingham" and "Leeds".
It would seem that one of the major obstacles to the proposed high speed rail link is that whilst a lot of people are in favour of in in a theoretical way, no one actually wants the rail line anywhere near their house.
NIMBYism rules, OK!!!
And the news went on to boil my piss again. The results of the most recent census are in. There are one hundred and thirty eight thousand people in the UK who can't speak English.
That's not "speak English badly" - that's "can't speak English at all". The number that speak English badly is over seven hundred thousand. There's free English lessons for anyone who wants them. What's going on? How can anyone live somewhere where they don't speak the predominant language? And in a sign of the times, the second most used language in the UK today is Polish...
I checked my emails - more constructive criticism about a series of geocaches I put out a couple of months ago. Mind you it was very constructive and polite, for which I was grateful.
Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I recently hid a series of geocaches to the south of the town. They were in a circular pattern, but were multi-caches. The idea is that you go to a certain point, solve a clue and then go on to the geocache proper. I also staggered the caches so that here would be an element of doubling back on yourself. I had this idea that it might be fun.
From the feedback I've received it seems that I was mistaken. Only the hardened cachers are bothering with my "Manky's Multi March". The clues seem to be rather tricky, and the amount of walking involved is off-putting to a lot of people. In fact it would seem that the word on the street is to avoid these caches altogether.
I've decided to revamp the series. My idea originally was to have a staggered series of caches. That's clearly not worked. I shall re-order them to be more logical; with one leading on to the next. And maybe pop some traditional caches in between them. That will give me something to do on my next day off whilst I'm walking Furry Face. If it's not raining...
31 January 2013 (Thursday) - Under the Sea
Last night we watched the third episode of the new and re-made series of "Yes Prime Minister". A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the show had promise. I'm not so sure now - I think I'm going off of it. The original's humour stemmed from the fact that the two main protagonists might have been at odds with each other, but were never in the open warfare that the new Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey appear to be. The show lacks the subtlety that made the original so great.
And so to work where I did my bit, and then came home again. As I drove I listened to the radio (as always). It would seem that staff at HMV had done the dirty on management by using the firm's official Twitter account to unveil that which they probably shouldn't have.
Access to immediate mass communication is fine, but it can be a double edged sword. Especially when you are trying to sack the person to whom you have given such access. I did smile when I read on Twitter: “Just overheard our Marketing Director (he's staying, folks) ask "How do I shut down Twitter?" "
Meanwhile a dog walker (and his dog) has found that which a sperm whale has spewed up, and he stands to make a tidy profit from this.
Sperm whale vomit (ambergris) is a vital ingredient in making perfume, and this lucky chap has already been offered over forty thousand quid for the lump of vom. But he's holding on for a better offer - the expert opinion is that he'll get twice that amount.
It's amazing what goes on under the sea, and it's a cruel fact of life that some people's dogs find ambergris whilst others find what foxes have left behind. If fox turds were worth anything, Fudge would have made me a millionaire.
And I'll end with Teston again. Most people might as well give up reading here.
Over the last few days I've been whinging about the proposed kite festival at Teston which has been mooted for June. On perusing the various Internet forums it seems that the waters have now been seriously muddied.
The event would no longer seem to be under the auspices of the Kent kite Fliers, but now is apparently being organised by some random committee of interested parties which aren't prepared to make any decisions about the event until March.
In the meantime some of the regular Teston-ites have announced that they are staging their own camp that weekend on a private field which is free to camp and is open to anyone who wants to show up. Many of the kite fliers who might have supported a Teston event have said they will be there. It's a lot closer to where a lot of people live, they can camp when they like, and it's free. The only drawback for me is the distance involved in travelling, but I know that I am in the minority in this case. It's a lot closer to Sumners Ponds than it is to Teston for a lot of people.
There's also a geocaching camp in Sussex planned for that weekend, but being on a formal campsite, advance booking is a must. And a lot of "the usual suspects" fancy us doing our own thing like we did last year. Or we might even forget camping that weekend and go to Folkestone Air Show.
Alternatively there might or might not be a festival at Teston Bridge picnic site. We don't know the exact timings or cost, or even if it is going to happen, but that is (apparently) just piddling details.
It would seem that any potential kite festival at Teston in June is now dead in the water.