1 January 2014 (Wednesday) - Walking in the Rain
Last night I spent much of the evening with back ache. Overnight the back ache subsided only to give way to gut rot. I'm not sure which is worse.
I got up early to chase an FTF for which I had been primed. And in a classic example of poetic justice in action I did not get that FTF. In retrospect I am pleased about that, even if I did have a rant at the time.
I came home, sulked, and then we rallied the troops and set off to Little Burton Farm. A new series of geocaches had gone live in honour of it being a new year, and the lady who had set them had made the offer of bacon sarnies at her house for anyone who fancied some brekkie before the walk. That was a kind offer which I was not going to turn down.
Eventually with sarnies scoffed we set out to the designated meeting place for the walk. The forecast bad weather had put a lot of people off, but seven of us set off. "Team Peter" (no - I don't know why either) made a good start. I certainly did. I found the first cache, popped it out of its hide, and when the rest of "Team Peter" found that hide I showed them the cache that was once on it.
And I was amazed to see that we were First to Find, despite two hours having passed since publication.
The second cache gave us a problem. We'd missed the footpath we needed to take, and found ourselves faced with a small river. One of our number thought he might jump the river, and so he did. "The Hurks" jumped, landed on the opposite river bank, slipped, and fell backwards straight into the drink. Oh, it was so funny. He was laying on his back, stretched out in the river. It was one of those moments that was hilarious; all the time it was happening to someone else.
Once I'd finished laughing, claiming a second FTF came as something of an anticlimax.
Despite a serious effort we couldn't find the third cache of the series, and by the time we'd claimed FTF on the fourth cache the rain was coming down rather heavily.
We were soon in Wye; which is a lot closer on foot than you might think, and it was here that we found that other people were goecaching too. We'd been beaten to these caches, but we didn't mind (really). We made our way through the village, and on past Perry Court farm to the A28. I drive past that place on the way to work, and have often seen the footpath signs. Today I was walking those footpaths. It was a shame that I was wriniging wet, but you can't have everything. It was shortly after this point that three more of our party threw in the towel and went home. What was once a team of seven was now only three.
We had a dilemma in Boughton Aluph. We found the geocache. It was quite obvious. It was just a long way up a tree. It will keep till another time.
It was at this point that others walking the route caught up with us, and with insults exchanged we had a rather soggy walk back into Kennington.
We then drove home to change into dry pants, and then went back to the Conningbrook where a meet-up of cachers was in full flow. We met friends old and new. We were pleased to see that "Gordon Tracy" had dried out (and had got the beers in). And we talked "hunting plastic boxes in the rain" for well over an hour. I had gone there with the naive idea to just have a glass of coca-cola; I ended up shifting three pints; including one of Shepherd Neame's Christmas Ale which (at 7% abv) isn't to be guzzled lightly.
And so home where I spent much of the rest of the day sleeping off the Christmas Ale...
2 January 2014 (Thursday) - FTF in the Mud
After a week or so of reasonable sleep I was wide awake at 4am, and watching episodes of "Family Guy" by 6am. Some episodes of that show are really amusing and entertaining; today's (in which Stewie attempted to murder Santa) was just lame.
And so, after a really good Christmas break, it was back to work. As always I listened to the radio on my way there. For all that the show often winds me up, I do like the morning's radio show as it makes me think. Even if I disagree with it.
Today's morning news,current events and discussion show had a guest editor (they do that over the Christmas break) and consequently the show was absolutely terrible. I can't actually remember anything worthy of note being on the program. Instead they concentrated on what I can only describe as "leftie-hippy-ism" with far too much hippie singing and too much bad poetry.
The show was so dire that I actually turned the radio off.
Yesterday afternoon I saw that a new geocache had gone live in the Canterbury area. In Ashford the things are hunted down like wild animals. In Canterbury no one really bothers chasing First to Find. This morning over brekkie I saw the thing was still waiting to be found for the first time, so I set off a little early to see if I could get a cheeky FTF before work
The cache was in Harbledown. I found Harbledown easily enough, but it was at this point that my sat-nav app gave up the ghost and refused to do anything. Three or four re-boots seemed to achieve nothing, so I asked locals for directions to Duke's Meadow. No one had heard of the place. I drove about for a bit, and was on the point of giving up when sat-nav burped and told me I was one hundred metres from my destination.
I could see where I was supposed to be; and I plodded through a swamp to get there. I solved the small puzzle, and found that my final target wasn't too far away. So I swam through more swamp, and braved jungle before finally getting to my prize. FTF - my fifty-fifth FTF, and my first on a multi-cache.
I would have done a little celebratory victory dance if not for the fact that I was ankle deep in sloppy muddy leaf litter.
Back to the car, where I scraped off the worst of the mud. By now I was running a little short of time so rather than going to a supermarket I stopped at the little corner shop in Martyr's Field for the makings of lunch. I asked them if they had any fruit. The chap behind the counter looked blankly at me. I tried being more specific; the fellow had no idea what bananas were, but he had heard of apples. He didn't sell them though.
From his attitude you would think I'd asked if he sold anthrax or firearms; he seemed so shocked to be asked for fruit.
Once at work I did my bit whilst looking out of the window. After ten days of storm-ridden holiday today I was at work looking out at glorious sunshine. Once dried I brushed most of the mud off of my trousers and did my bit until my bit was done.
I came home to find Rab C Nesbit was on the telly. I like him...
3 January 2014 (Friday) - Dishwashers
I had a rather traumatic dream last night in which (at very short notice) certain denizens of Queen Street staged a pantomime. The box office of this pantomime took a *lot* of money with which I had been asked to deal. I spent most of the night carrying piles of assorted coinage and notes with absolutely no idea what I was supposed to be doing with it.
I woke feeling more tired than when I went to bed. I got up to find "Furry Face TM" fast asleep on the sofa. He didn't stir at all as I came down; and I got just the smallest wag of his tail when I stroked him. He too seemed to have had a bad night.
Over brekkie my piss boiled. After one bright day yesterday the storms had returned with a vengeance. The Prime Minister was whinging that the insurance companies hadn't done enough for victims the current floods.
And victims of floods nearby were complaining to the Prime Minister that not eniugh had been done. Why bother? What do they honestly expect from a Conservative Prime Minister?
It is at times like this that the stupidity of the general public wind me up. Leaving aside the blatent opportunism of the Dribbling Democraps, the UK's political arena is one in which the electorate has two choices: a strong controlling government which sticks its nose in everything, or a weak laid back government which does nothing but lets industries and privitised companies do it for them (whilst profiteering).
Vicitms of floods are finding out the (very) hard way that socialism isn't always as black as it's painted.
Normally when not working I take "Furry Face TM" for a walk almost immediately after breakfast. But not today. The dishwasher was being delivered. We had a message; a reminder that it was being delivered between 7am and 10:59am (rather precise!) so I stayed in and waited. My little dog didn;t understand and he got rather fractious as we waited. And waited. I had a phone call shortly after 10am to say they would be along in twenty minutes time. Eventually they arrived shortly before mid day. They announced that they wouldn't take the old one away (which we'd paid for them to do), that they wouldn't plumb in the new one (which we'd paid for them to do) and that the new one wouldn't fit anyway (which it didn't).
They suggested that they might take the dishwasher away with them, and that we should argue it out with Currys in the morning. They also gave us the warning that Currys are a bunch of idiots who don't know what they are doing anyway.
Filled with confidence with sales and delivery teams I think the best thing we can do is get a refund and go to another company.
We eventually got our walk round the park rather later than usual. Much of the park was flooded. At one pount I lost my dog. I found him stranded on a grassy outcrop. Normally just a little patch of high ground, today it was an island in a swamp. Two of our usual paths were completely blocked with floodwater, and the river looked very high so we gave up on the idea of a long walk.
Once home I did the Hoovering (with a Dyson) and then ironed. As I ironed I watched the recent Sky TV adaptation of the novel "Moonfleet". "Moonfleet" was based on a novel I was forced to read in my second year at the Hastings Academy for Budding Geniuses; and I can remember that book being awful. Today's TV adaptation wasn't awful; but it was dull. It went on for two hours and nothing really happened at all.
I then fell asleeep for much of the rest of the afternoon...
4 January 2014 (Saturday) - Pantomime, Daleks
I was woken by the dustmen doing their thing at 6am this morning. A shame they couldn't have done it quieter. I came down to find four rolls of bin bags through the letter box and a letter telling me to make them last until July. The letter also mentioned food waste bags, but none had actually been delivered. I shall have to whinge to the council on Monday.
I checked email and Facebook, then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. Bearing in mind the floods at the park yesterday and the Saturday fun(ny) run, I thought we'd walk round Frog's Island this morning. We couldn't get close as the river had burst its banks and had flooded the footpaths. We came home via a rather convoluted way (just to give the dog a walk) and I played Candy Crush Saga until "My Boy TM" came round.
We drove down to Folkestone for a spot of McLunch were some of th e clans gathered. Then we went round to the Leas Cliff Hall to meet up with the rest of the party for the annual dose of pantomime. Cindarella was a good show; the Dames were entertaining, Buttons was dim. All rather good; especially the choruses. I do like the panto. Last year I was wondering if I might join an an-dram group to be in a panto. I'm still wondering if there is a group I might join. I think I'd be good ono the stage.
After the show we drove round to visit "Daddies Little Angel TM". We had a cuppa, fussed Sid and "other dog", and came home. I had a shower, and er indoors TM" went round to Curry's to read them the riot act and it's relevence to sales of dishwashers. Apparenntly they are going to try to deliver another dishwasher on Wednesday afternoon.
Oh well, it's not as though I was planning to do anything other than play Candy Crush on Wednesday afternoon.
I then wasted an hour mucking about with the settings and photos on my Facebook page, and with er indoors TM" off out to a meeting of fellow candlemongers I found myself home alone with a small Patagonian Tripe-Hound asleep on my chest. So I got out the left-over Stilton and cheese straws and put "Escape to Victory" on the telly. I'd recorded it on to the SkyPlus box over the holiday; a standard film that gets trotted out every Christmas. I've only ever seen bits of it before; I'd never seen it in its entirety.
It was something of a disappointment.
Just before I went to bed I checked out a geocaching group on Facebook where someone had gone looking for a geocache and had found a dalek. I've found several things when out and about, but so far none of these...
5 January 2014 (Sunday) - Hawkinge
"My Boy TM" was something of the hero last night (apparently). Whilst having his late-night fag he saw someone breaking into a car parked nearby and he squealed them up to the pigs. It turned out that the car they were breaking into had already been stolen and was abandoned up his street.
I aam reliably informed it was all rather exciting.
After a relatively late brekkie we collected "Gordon Tracy" and three of us (and two small dogs) made our way to Hawkinge for a stroll through the mud. We had a good outing. Those of our party who enjoy eating turds of various flavours (there were two of that ilk) had their fill. Those who like hunting plastic hunted to their hearts content.
We had a really good walk before lunch just north of Reinden Wood; meeting a family who had only just taken up geocaching. We gave them some pointers and some warnings. We met a strange couple of chaps who were obviously out ferreting. And we found mud. Lots of it.
After a couple of miles we were back at the car where we lunched in relative warmth before driving a mile or so to Acrise to make our way round a second series of caches.
This second series of caches gave us a harder time than the first. One of the caches was especially tricky... let's just say that it took an hour to find. And two of them were in positions that were just the teensiest bit cheeky (if a small plastic box can be cheeky).
As always I took some photos of the day. Several of my loyal readers have sommented that they might like to come along on some of these weekend walks. Everyone is welcome; The more the merrier..
Next week (weather permitting) we are going to a place with a wonderful name - "Rough Common". If anyone wold like to come along just drop me a line. And don't be put off - having a small dog or a propensity for seeking out sandwich boxes isn’t compulsory.
6 January 2014 (Monday) - Tired
I had perhaps the worst night's sleep ever last night. I went to bed with guts ache, having spent much of yesterday evening sharing left-over cheese with my dog and then having a farting contest with him (which I think I won)
er indoors TM" came home from bowling five minutes after I nodded off, and she clumped about until 2am, and which point she snored until 6am. I don't sleep much, but I need *some* sleep, so at 6am I kicked her awake and told her that it was now my turn to sleep.
She took no notice. I don't blame her. I wouldn't have done. But I did spend much of the day feeling extremely tired. Perhaps I shuld have phoned in sick? Were I not seriously sucking up to management I might have done so.
I checked out the world of social media over brekkie. There were several independent discussions (rants) aboult the concept of "spoilers". What one person sees as a general and non-specific comment on any given topic, another sees as having completely explained the matter and having ruined any element of surprise. This made me think; I do hope I've never given any spoilers about anything in this blog; if I do, I hope someone would tell me.
And so to work. The roads were very wet; the rivers flooding the fields. Had I been able to have parked along the A28 I would have photographed a flock of horses which were knee deep in flood water. But I couldn't so I didn't.
As I drove I listened to the radio. For no adequately explained reason much of the morning's current affairs show was being broadcast from Nigeria. Things are tough over there; I'm not entirely sure the entire thing wasn't a government plot to make the UK population (or Radio Four listeners at least) grateful for what we have got.
And so to work where I had a surprisingly good day despite feeling worn out. During my mid afternoon break I had an email. A new geocache had gone live only half a mile away from where I work. The next five hours did drag somewhat; and I was checking my email as I walked out at home time. Thatt geocache was still unfound. A two minute drive and a three minute search soon had me with thee log in my hand. An unsullied log - First to Find. Happy dance.
This morning I'd seen a lot of people getting worke up about spoilers. I'm not going to give any about this new cache; I shall content myself with saying that it was rather unusual...
7 January 2014 (Tuesday) - Malingering
I woke with something of a headache this morning. It got worse as I had my morning scrape. I then settled down to a lonely breakfast as my dog was still asleep.
I still cannot get my head round the fact that he is not a greedy dog. Every other dog of my acquaintance has been a gannet; wolfing down any food. My Patagonian Tripe-Hound is not at all like that. He is very fussy about what he eats. if he doesn't like something he makes it plain and simply doesn't eat it. That twenty quid I spent on the bargain Trophy pet food was money down the drain; and much of the tinned food I buy him goes to waste. Sardines however he hoovers up in seconds.
Over the last few weeks "Furry Face TM" has been more and more reticent about sharing the crusts of my morning toast. Last weekend he would only lick the marmalade off; and now he won't even bother with the toast at all.
Over brekkie I watched a couple of episodes of "Family Guy"; the SkyPlus box seems to be recording them at double the rate I can watch them. It's amusing enough, but like all American TV shows I have the distinct feeling that I am missing half of the jokes.
In a novel break with tradition the pundits on the radio were talking sense for once. There are calls for people to be charged to be seen in hospitals Accident and Emergency departments.
Apparently one such department has announced that twelve thousand people accounted for two hundred thousand A&E consultations; with some of these malingerers presenting over four a week (every week) with absoluely nothing wrong with them.
The idea is that people hand over money before they are seen by medical staff, and if they are truly unwell then their money is refunded. In theory this will discourage time wasters. And it would save money; maybe even generate a little income to hospitals. And perhaps it will make the time-wasters realise there is nothing wrong with them.
Interestingly as I drove home the bleeding hearts were on the radio complaining about this proposal. Apparently it discriminates against those who are so stupid that they cannot distinguish between a fart and rectal cancer (!)
The radio also had mention about possible cuts to the Environment Agency There was consternation about this as there was concerns about funding of flood defences; something rather dear to many people at the moment as the country slowly sinks under the waves. There was a politician (of some sort) being interviewed who seemed to think that the private sector might do more to help with the nation's flood defences.
Personally I can't see how a privatised sea wall or shares in the Thames Barrier would work; but what do I know?
I did my bit at work, and came home a little earlier than usual. We had time for a quick walk so we went round the block, with my dog barking at pretty much everything and anything. Once home again I wrestled the carcass of the old dishwasher out of it's hole and (with some help) dragged it into the front garden.
Matt came round, and we made plans for the birthday party. There is a birthday party in the offing; if any of my loyal readers haven't had their invite in a week or so remind me to send it.
We then had our Tuesday gathering; albeit with somewhat reduced numbers. With no "Merlin" discs to hand we watched old episodes of Star Trek. You can't go wrong with a bit of the old final front ear...
8 January 2014 (Wednesday) - New Dishwasher
I could probably have done with an earlier night last night; having spent far too long dozing on the sofa before finally going to bed at 1am.
Over brekkie I read something which... what can I say. Read the article here. Some young lad has been seen on telly sobbing his heart out becuse his favourite football team lost. The managers of that club are trying to find that lad to offer him VIP tickets as an apology for the upset caused.
Shouldn't the police and social services be trying to trace the lad to put him with parents and carers who could help the boy to realise what does and doesn't matter in life?
And before anyone posts in hate mail, I know in advance that nearly everyone who does feel strongly about this young lad's tears will feel that it is only wrong because he is sobbing about the wrong football team.
What is it about football that instills such passion? If you watch ten minutes of the sport, (be it the world cup final, or half a dozen children kicking a ball round the park) you really have seen all that the game has to offer. Don't get me wrong - I don't dislike football as such; I just don't understand what's (apparently) so good about it. And despite over forty years of asking that question no one has ever given anything approaching a reasoned explanation about why such a simple sport arouses such high feelings and emotions.
After brekkie I set off to the MOT shop to collect er indoors TM" and to drive her to work whilst her car failed its MOT. And with her safely ensconced at the workhouse I came home to find that the dishwasher that I helped carry to the front garden last night had been stolen from our front garden. I was quite pleased about that - one less thing to have to lug round to the skip.
I put the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and took him for a little walk. We went through the park where we ran into (literally) Orangehead and her chunky little friend. Over the lasst few weeks Orangehead has been losing the orange hue and had been becoming somewhat grey, but she must have had a re-spray for Christmas. She's back to her usual colour. We walked on past Singleton Lake and out to Great Chart. Over the Christmas break "Gordon Tracy" told me that one of my Wherigos had gone walkabout. There is nothing more disconcerting than an errant Wherigo so I went to check on it only to find it was where I'd left it three months ago.
Oh well, "Furry Face TM" needed a walk anyway.
I had a text message. The er indoors TM"- mobile had inded failed its MOT. But only on one tyre. If I could collect her from work and drive her back to the MOT centre she could then sort out the necessaries. So I collected her and did what I was told. I know my place.
I was home just in time for the delivery of the new dishwasher. Following last week's debacle, this time we were taking far more of a D.I.Y. approach; all we wanted from the shop was for them to deliver a new dishwasher. And that was what it did.
I could have spent the afternoon plumbing it in, but er indoors TM" said she was going to do that. So I took her at her word, and left tthe thing in its packaging in the kitchen. I then Hoovered (with a Dyson) round it, cleaned the mud off of my wellies (in the bath), and then started watching "Death comes to Pemberley"; a sequel to "Pride and Prejudice" which I had recorded onto the SkyPlus box. The first episode was watchable.
I worked on the party guestlist for a bit, then listened to the latest Total Ashford podcast. It was quite interesting; with job hunting tips, news about all sorts of local stuff, and even an article about the astro club. Then the doorbell went. Some arrogant little scrote was trying to sell double glazing and wouldn't take "shove off" for an answer. Apparently only his double glazing has any thermal insulating properties at all, and when I eventually shut the door on him he shouted through the letterbox that he would leave me to carry on wasting heat through my windows. I wish I had taken his leaflets; I would at least know which company I could publically run down.
Then the phone wouldn't stop ringing. Half a dozen calls which could have been about absolutely anything; the Indian accent was so thick I could not understand a word. Alan from lifestyle choices with a survey which (apparently) I was obliged to complete for him; I hung up. And finally Debbie called from Wills-4-U. I asked her how many calls it was reasonable for me to expect in one afternoon. She was quite pleasant, and said that company policy was to phone anyone who hadn't specifically asked them not to phone.
I wonder how that would stand up in court. I expect it's probably the truth. But it prompted me to review my will. I reviewed it. You can read it if you want - there's a link to it at the top of this page.
er indoors TM" came home and installed the dishwasher. I say "installed"; she did so in a supervisory manner. you can guess who did the donkey work. I took some photos of the assistant. The thing is having sea trials before we trust it entirely. I'm expecting leaks. Better to expect the worst and have your expectations exceeded than to hope for the best and be disappointed...
9 January 2014 Thursday) - Malware
I had a reasonable night's sleep (for a change) and came down to find the newly plumbed-in dishwashed hadn't leaked overnight. er indoors TM" set off getting the er indoors TM"-mobile through its MOT and I set all the washing machines to scrubbing dishes and undercrackeres and took my dog for a walk. We went on a rather circuitous walk today' through the park to Gaswoks Lane, then past the Foundry and along Victoria Road to the ford. From here we came back through the park, and home via Oak Tree Road. As we went I couldn't help but nosey through people's windows. a lot of peple still have their Christmas decorations up you know.
Whilst we were out we ran into several old friends, and had quite a few good old gossips. What woould normally have been just over an hour's walk took us nearly two hours. Once home I found I'd not actually set the washing machine going. That was rather a waste of time.
Whilst the washing machine did have a go at my smalls I send out some invites to a birthday party. If any of my loyal readers haven't recevied an invite (and would like one) could you please let me know.
I then backed up the last week's worth of blog entries and was rather ashamed of all the spelling misstakes. Unfortunately OpenOffice doesn't have a spell checker. So I downloaded what seemed to be the official OpenOffice dictionary (from the OpenOffice website) only to find it was a conduit hack package. I then spent an hour or so trying to get one thousand (or so) suspect files off of my laptop. Perhaps I'm naive, but I never expected a link from OpenOffice's startup screen to take me to a hacking download site.
I suppose this is the trouble with open source software - you never really know who's giving you something for nothing.
Whilst countless scans ran and re-ran on my laptop I watched the last two episodes of "Death comes to Pemberley". I watched the first episode yesterday; it was slow. However the show picked up somewhat in today's two episodes. Mr Wickham was something of a beast; but then he always was. Mind you I wwasn't entirely sure that Colonel Fitzwilliam's intentions to Miss Georgiana weren't entirely honorable.
With the D'arcy family once more happy I wondered why the laptop scanniing was taking so long. Eventually I realised that what I thought was a PC scan was yet another scam. Any downloaded conduit removal tool merely claimed to find hundreds of files and then asked for money to removel them. In the end good old AVG and Windows Defender came to the rescue. And these people helped too.
After quite a loot of farting about I think I've got my laptop fixed. if anyone gets any iffy messgaes from me then clearly the spybots have eluded me. And if anyone knows how to get a spell checker into OpenOffice I would love to know the secret...
10 January 2014 (Friday) - Tomorrow People
Over brekkie (shared with my dog) I watched the first episode of the re-vamped "The Tomorrow People". The original TV series was something that I loved as a child in the 1970s. It was brought back to our screens about twenty years ago and was rather awful; and it's been done again by an American company as a far more adult-based show. I actually quite liked it; there are a *lot* of nods to the original series, and I'm reliably informed that some of the original cast are going to make cameo appearances.
However... (and there is always a "however" in my world) in many ways it may well end up as just another story about superheroes trying to fit into a "normal" world; a story which was original in 1975, but now has been done to death by shows such as "X-Men", "The 4400", "Lois and Clark", "No Ordinary Family" and countless other shows.
Once I'd scraped the ice from my car I set off to work. Today the talk on the radio was all about a possible referendum for the UK's continued membership of the European Union. One of the senior Euro-crats was calling for the British media to start gving a fair coverage to all things euro-related.
I think the lady might have a point. the BBC is hardly impartial; after all I cannot remember the last time they said anything positive about Islam, to give but one example of the media's bias.
After the current affairs program was "Desert Island Discs". And unlike the show's standard way of operating, tehy had someone interesting on the show; the well-know survivalist Ray Mears. Listening to him was rather interesting.
I filled the car with petrol, and finally I've accrued enough Morrisons petrol points to get a money-off voucher. it was only worth a fiver, but that is a fiver of my money that I won't have to squander on squirting my armpits.
And as I had a few minutes before work I went round to the cheapo-bargains shop. For some time I've been looking for a USB phone charger that I can plug into my car's cigarette lighter. Today the cheapo-bargains shop had some. Result !
And then to work, and very little of note happened from then onward....
11 January 2014 (Saturday) - Double Booked
I was woken by the sound of (not forecast) rain against the window this morning. It's got to stop raining soon!
Over brekkie I checked out social media amd my piss boiled. Why are intelligent people taken in by crackpot nonsense? Someone rather close to me was posting good things about Rife machines. For any of my loyal readers who are unfamiliar wityh the things, Rife machines are crackpottery. The claims made about them which allude to "the human cancer virus" show a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of the disease. The claims made about them concerning microscopy show a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of viruses and microscopes.
Let's be clear on the matter - Rife machines are evil in that they offer false hope to desperate people who pay money they can ill afford on a treatment that won't help them. There may well be a placebo effect in some cases, but the use of Rife machines has been blamed for the deaths of cancer patients who may well have been cured by conventional therapy (Hills, Ben (2000-12-30). "Cheating Death". Sydney Morning Herald. to give but one of many examples)
That was very serious and sensible wasn't it?
After that little outburst we rallieed the troops and set off to Gillingham where the monthly cachers meet-up was taking place. Rather than hunting tupperware I got chatting with fellow hunters of tupperware. Time flew (almost as fast as the ale flew down my throat), and suddenly I realised we were two hours late for "Stargazing Live".
We arrived half way through procedings, suitably anaesthetised, and made the most of what was left of the evening. A clear night made for opportunity for telescopes; the chili potatoes were good.
Next year hopefully the two events won't co-incide...
12 January 2014 (Sunday) - Rough Common
For some inexplicable reason my innards weren't right last night. Is it just possible that a surfiet of chili wasn't sitting well on top of a gallon of ale?
I checked ot Facebook over a bit of brekkie. Last night's "Stargazing Live" seemed to have gone down well. It usually does.
And then we set off (a little later than planned) to collect "Gordon Tracy". Three us us and two smal dogs made our way to Upper Harbledown. We were soon in Rough Common Woods which, contrary to first impressionss, is a rather posh part of a rather posh area. The car park in the woods was incredibly buisy, with a small car selling a range of fresh-made coffees at exhorbitant prices.
We walked a circular route round the woods; picking up about twenty geocaaches as we went. It was a good day to be out. The rain held off, but the ground was muddy. The dogs got filthy.
I've never been to Rough Common Woods before, and if not for hunting tupperware I doubt I would ever have gone there. It was a good place for a day out.
After three (or so) hours we were back where we started, but with a couple of hours of daylight left it was too early to go home, so we drove down to Lower Harbledown where, after another hour's walking, we found another half a dozen caches. On this walk "Furry Face TM" was allowed off of his lead, and (for a change) he was really well behaved.
I took a few photos whilst we were out.
Once home a small dog had a bath; being so low to the ground he really accumulates the mud. And after a rather good bit of tea er indoors TM" set off bowling. I set the dishwasher doing its thing, and set the washing machine doing it's monthly de-scale. I would also have done my dog's monthly anti-flea treatment but we would seem to have run out of the jollop. We'll go to see the vet in the week...
13 January 2014 (Monday) - Road Trip
A little while ago a colleague got a new job in Southhampton, and mentioned that moving might be problematical as he didn't drive. I said that if he paid for the hire of a van in which we could load all his stuff I would drive it for him. Today was moving to Southhampton day.
I went to pick up the van. I knew there would be a delay. We'd booked the van some weeks ago, but still the company wouldn't get the van ready in advance. Instead it is their policy to phone around at opening time to see which of their nearby branches had the long-base van we had booked.
Once they located it they went to get it. They had guaranteed they would have te van we had bokoed; but they had no idea how far away it would be. As luck would have it they had the van within half an hour. We had been warned that there might have been a two hour delay if the van had been a long way away.
I then drove over to Canterbury and found th house we wre emptying and we loaded up. How eeasy it is to type that. Loading up was back-breaking and took the best part of two hours. Once loaded we had to take the keys of the house that was being left back to the letting agents. It only took a few minutes, and we got to see two rather demonstrative girls who were obviously in love (with each other) being rather expressive about the matter in the High Street.
The van came with built-in sat-nav so we programmed it for Southampton and set off. To begin with the sat-nav was impressive; warning us of road works and re-routing us around the A249. But once we got as far as the A3 it decided to take us cross country, put us onto a rather straight A-road with no posible turning points, and then changed its mind about where we should be going. It was at that point that the torrential rain gave way to intense hail. Trying to do a U-turn in that weather wasn't an experience I'd like to repeat.
Eventually we found ourselves on the M3, and as Fleet serrvices loomed up through the black clouds we realised that we were both rather hungry. Burger King Chicken McWotsit slipped down very well, and as we made or way back to the van I had a quick look-see on my geocaching app. There was a cache not a hudred yards away, so we went and did it. Or, that is, I did it. My colleague looked on in amazement; I won't say where the cache was, but tens of thousands of people go right past this thing every day and have no idea that it is there.
I think I might have another convert to the cause.
With cache found and lunch scoffed we made our way onto Southampton. At Junction 13 of the M3 the Sat-Nav was insistent that we should turn off. So we did. As we came down the slip road off of the motorway the Sat-Nav changed its mind and wanted us back on the motorway. Oh how we laughed.
But soon enough we were at Imperial Avenue. As we unloaded the van so the rain started. It only rained heavily for five minutes, but that was enough to get us absolutely soaked.
Funily enough, despite moving to an upstairs flat we managed to unload the van in about half the time it took to load the thing. We then paused for a little while to catch our breath, and then on realising there wasn't a lot more that I could do we said our goodbyes and I set off. I activated my geo-app and found a relatively nearby geocache. My first geocache over a hundred miles from home. One huundred and one and a half miles to be precise.
For all that we go out every weekend, I don't actually go very far away. This is probably the first time since our last holiday in Weymouth (four years ago) that I have been more than one hundred miles from home.
Having got a geocache in Hampshire my plan was to then come home a rather convoluted route through Wiltshire and Hampshire to colect a few more geocaches in a few more counties. But as the rain got worse and worse so I went off of the idea of night caching. I've never been a fan of caching at night, and I can't pretend I was completely confident driving that huge van about round strange roads. So instead I came home. I stopped off for a McFlurry at Cobham services, and by the time I'd re-filled the van wth diesel I was eventually home by 9pm.
I quite enjoyed today's road trip.
14 January 2014 (Tuesday) - This n That
Yesterday I drove a round trip of over three hundred miles. I carried a whole load of stuff from one house into a van, and then out of the van, up a rather steep flight of stairs and into another house. I then had a rather late night. So why on Earth was I waking up at 2.35am?
Even my dog was more tired than me this morning and he didn’t get out of his pit at all whilst I watched episodes of “Family Guy” over my brekkie. I then had a rather earlier start than usual. I had to do the paperwork with the return of the van I hired yesterday. I’d actually parked the thing on the forecourt of the vehicle hire company last night, but no one was there to accept return at 9pm.
Doing the “returning the van paperwork” went relatively painlessly, and as I’d brought "Furry Face TM" up to “rentacardotcom” for the walk, we continued our walk. Along the ring road, then down Hythe Road. Woofing at every single vehicle in the rush hour as we went. We then went across the railway by the North School into Willesborough and into Frogs Island where I let him off the lead. He was as good as gold.
We popped into the vets at “Pets at Home” on the way. As I walked in there was a small chap outside the shop desperately trying to control what I can only describe as a “Death Hound”; this dog was snarling, barking and trying to bite everything in its sight. Including the small chap desperately trying to control said dog. At the vet’s counter was an incredibly large woman loudly telling the receptionist that her dog was loveable and was as meek as a lamb, but for everyone’s safety all the animals in the vet’s waiting area needed to be evacuated before her "Death Hound” was brought in to see the vet. The incredibly large woman was not happy to be told that it was not company policy to remove all the animals before admitting one problem case. And the offer of the use of a muzzle didn’t go down at all well.
I picked up "Furry Face TM"'’s flea treatment stuff; after all that was why we were there. Before I did, "Furry Face TM" had to be weighed. He’s now ten point four kilogrammes, which is two pounds heavier than he was. Both of us need to go on a diet.
Once home "Furry Face TM" had a quick bath. Not a full blown scrub; I just hosed the muck from his paws and belly. He’s getting quite used to this and now jumps into the bath for his wash. I then Dysonned, but didn’t like it very much, so I Hoovered with a Dyson. Much more fun. Washing went into both machines (laundry and crockery) and I had a look at the astro club’s accounts. The recent Stargazing Live event came in slightly on the plus side financially. I then chased up the doctor’s about this referral to a sleep clinic. They’ve done their side of the paperwork and are waiting to hear back from the clinic. I shall have to be more patient.
And my new phone battery arrived. One of my old spare batteries had given up the ghost. So I got a new one. When I got my phone, the new batteries were over a tenner on eBay; now they are only three quid. It’s a shame they can’t make generic “one size fits all” batteries. I then ironed for an hour or so, and then spent several hours trying to solve geo-puzzles. I am reliably informed that I was wasting my time with all that work on the Fibonnacci series.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered - this time at Queen Street. We listened to the radio for a litle, and heard tales of a local driving instructor havingseen a UFO. Oh we did chuckle. And then we watched more of "Merlin". Good stuff...
15 January 2014 (Wednesday) - Dull
I was awake over an hour before my alarm was set to go off this morning. In the past I have killed time in the morning by doing the washing up. Now we have a dishwasher this seems to be something of a waste of time. So I watched more "Family Guy". I really should find a DVD boxed set to watch; "Family Guy" is just a little mind-numbing.
This morning was especially dark and damp. As I drove to work I listened to the radio. The pundits were complaining about how much of a bonus staff working for the state-owned banks are likely to get.
There was talk of bonuses of almost double the bankers salaries being bandied about. On the one hand this is rather (extremely) excessive; especially for a state owned bank. On the other hand if staff don't get such bonuses then the better and more able amongst them will secure jobs in the private banking sector where they will get such bonuses. Thereby leaving the state owned banks in an even worse position than they are currently in.
Once at work there was no danger of a two hundred per cent bonus. So I jusst did my bit, and then came home via a crafty visit to see "The Man With No Alias (patent pending)" to geet his autograph.
After the highs of the last few days, today was rather dull. But the dull days serve to highlight how good the other days are..
16 January 2014 (Thursday) - Falling In
I had a frankly amazing night’s sleep last night. I went to kip shortly after midnight, and despite a swift tiddle at 3am I was still snoring when ‘er indoors TM got up. I was eventually licked awake at 8am by a small dog wanting his walkies.
Having a letter to deliver in Newtown I thought we might walk out through Frog’s Island and back through Newtown this morning. However the overnight rains had made the river burst its banks again. Anyone else would have walked round the long way; and would have put up with adding five minutes to their journey. However one of the louder voices in my head is that of idiot enthusiasm. It told me that I could walk up the left hand side of the footpath, climb down from the red brickwork and shimmy along that little raised concrete ledge you can see on the left hand side of the underpass.
Usually I find my friend idiot enthusiasm to be very reliable. Today he let me down.
I got onto that little concrete strip easily enough. I’d never before realised how narrow it is; it’s only about six inches across. But that would be enough for me to be able to shimmy along. So there I was, hunched over shimmying sideways along a very narrow ledge with a small dog swimming along beneath me. I’d got about half way through the tunnel when hunching over became too much for my poor back and it went into spasms. I lunged forwards; missing a soaking by grabbing that brick wall on the right hand side.
I found myself hanging over the flooded river, with my back in agony, unable to move. It was at this point that I realised how funny it all was and got a fit of the giggles. Then I fell in.
The water wasn’t that deep, and I was soon back on dry land. Note that *I* was back on dry land. “Furry Face TM “ wasn’t. He had scrambled out of the water onto that concrete ledge and was running up and down it in panic. He does this; he swims himself into various predicaments from which he can only escape by swimming, and then he forgets that he can swim. Fortunately a passing normal person who clearly knew of the flood had come along equipped with wellies. She waded in and rescued him. As she picked him up he looked terrified.
We came home, got dried, then went out again. It was time to try out my exercise in canine psychology. Every week for the last few months we’ve been walking into the vets so he gets used to going there and he doesn’t think it’s somewhere of which he should be frightened. The theory is that he sees the place as part of our general walking route and so whenever he has to go in there for vetinary purposes we won’t have the trauma that a lot of pet owners go through.
It is a very good theory.
“Furry Face TM “ was to have his claws clipped today. Somehow he knew that today was different. As we walked in we bandied insults with a friend who was fish-shopping, and we took our seat and waited. “Furry Face TM “ was not at all his normal boisterous self; he was cowering under the chair, and when the nurse opened the door to call us in he ran as fast as he could to get out of the place.
It was a shame that the nurse clipped several claws a little too short. A shame because it hurt my dog, and a shame because it will only make future visits more traumatic.
Home again, and housework. Hoovering and washing and tidying and shoe polishing. Over a spot of lunch I watched the second episode of “The Tomorrow People”. It’s getting quite good now. But I do wonder if I’m liking it for the various references to the original series rather than liking it for its own merits.
I then fiddled about on the computer; chasing party invites, updating my calendar, this and that. I had half a mind to actually do something in the garden; there is still some storm damage to fix but the constant rains recently have put me off gardening. As I looked out of the window I saw it had started raining yet again. So another afternoon and evening was wasted on Candy Crush Saga…
17 January 2014 (Friday - Backache
I had been sleeping relatively well until a small dog jumped on me shortly before 5am. Well, today was to be another early start; I had set the alarm, and I was only woken half an hour or so earlier than I needed to be up. Something of a result, really.
I was helped to eat my toast my a dog who wouldn't be so hungry if he ate his tea. I have been told that if cats are akin to teenagers then dogs are toddlers. My one certainly fits the bill.
And I then set off to work on a very dark morning. Again I nearly (but not quite) mowed down a succession of cyclists who made a point of having nothing bright or luminous about themselves.
As I drove I listened to the radio. The pundits were discussing the role of banks in society. Apparently control of the world's financial concerns is a very important matter. Governments are now wondering if it is wise to have handed over such control (in its entirety) to independent commercial institutions such as the banks.
Only a few years ago a future controlled by international corporations rather than by elected governments was firmly in the realms of science fiction. It would seem that today's politicians are getting worried. As should we all. I suppose I could do the rant about this being what you get when you don't vote in a sensible and considered manner, but I've done that to death over the years.
There was also concern expressed over the fact that it hasn't stopped raining for weeks. Parts of America are freezing, and the Australians are facing one of the most serious heat waves ever. Apparently whilst human activity has undeniably caused "global warming and climate change", no one in the meteorological world was prepared to state whether or not the current extremes were part of what we should expect in the future, or just a random one-off occurrence.
And so to work where I really shouldn't have been today. In retrospect I should have phoned in sick. Yesterday when I had my little episode in the flood I would seem to have seriously bruised something in my back. It was incredibly painful today. And as the day wore on so all the muscles around my stomach began to ache more and more. It really hurt; and I did play for sympathy. Not that any was forthcoming...
18 January 2014 (Saturday) - The News
I shared my toast with my dog as we watched the latest episode of South Park. Whilst it was amusing, like Family Guy, I get the distinct impression that not being up on current American affairs I am missing most of the jokes in the show.
Leaving er indoors TM" fast asleep I set off to work. The original plan for today was not for me to be working. The original plan featured a serious booze-up in Canterbury. But there is a limit to how far up I can booze these days without feeling seriously under the weather. And with money being tight the opportunity for a little extra is not to be turned down lightly.
As I drove I couldn't help but admire the sunrise. Leaving a little later than usual meant I was not driving in the darkness, which was a good thing.
As I drove I listened to the radio. There was talk about the effects of post traumatic stress disorder on servicemen; especially focussing on the recent case of a soldier who killed his toddler.
Apparently PTSD is far commoner in the USA than here in the UK, or so it was alleged. The expert being interviewed disputed that claim. It was then claimed that PTSD was a contributory factor for so many ex-servicemen being in prison. And then my piss boiled. The interviewer quoted (from somewhere or other) that ten per cent of the UK prison population are ex-servicemen. The expert being interviewed disputed that figure; claiming the actual percentage varied depending on how it was calculated. How does that work? You add up the number of ex-servicemen in prison and divide by the total prison population. Both figures should be matters of public record. How could there be any question on the matter?
Something else which should be beyond question are the allegations against the disc jockey Dave Lee Travis. Apparently there is video footage of him shoving his hand up the skirt of some bimbo who was foisting herself on to him whilst he was introducing the Smurfs during an episode of "Top of the Pops" in the mid-1970s. If the video footage exisits then one can't help but wonder if the same sequence contains the protests of this now grown up bimbo. Perhaps if she didn't want to have sex with a radio presenter, had she complained at the time then the complaint might have been recorded. It's either on record or it's not.
Co-incidentally I watched an episode of "Top of the Pops" (from 1979) the other day. The DJ presenting the show seemed to be being mobbed by nubile bimbos. I can't help but think that those bringing allegations against Dave Lee Travis are applying today's social standards to the 1970s. Things were very different then.
Over the last few days and weeks I have grumbled about the constant rain. If nothing else I have now found the cause of the rain. The Prime Minister is to blame. Apparently this spate of bad weather has been sent by God to punish the Prime Minister because he has supported the princuiple of gay marriage. Or so says a leading crackpot councillor.
What can I say? God may well be punishing the Prime Minister. However I can't help but feel it unfair that everyone else has to suffer with him. Couldn't the Almighty have smited him with a boil on his bum or something that wouldn't have bothered all the innocent bystanders. I can't help but wonder how many weddings between same sex couples have been postponed because of the bad weather. I suspect that there weren't many.
Once at work I did my bit on a surprisingly busy day. The aching back and stomach muscles didn't help much. And with my bit done I came home. And fell asleep in front of the telly. Again...
19 January 2014 (Sunday) - Fordwich
After a surprisingly good night's sleep I shared my brekkie toast with my dog whilst we watched a frankly incomprehensible episode of South Park. I am sure it was hilarious to most Americans, but I suspect the rest of the world will watch that episode with the same level of "wtf" that I did.
We then popped round to Singleton for Fudge's pal and "Gordon Tracy", and then went out to the far side of Canterbury for today's helping of hunting tupperware. The "Woodland Walk" series of geocaches has only been in place for a few months, but in that time the chap who hid them would seem to have given up on hiding and hunting sandwich boxes. The series had several caches that hadn't been found for some time, so we went fully expecting to have a hard time. But if nothing else it would be a guided walk along new (to us) footpaths.
The first two caches we hunted for weren't there. So we replaced them. Were we right to do so? What do you do when someone's hidden caches and given up on them. Some feel the wider caching community should take on maintenance. Others think the things should be archived to make space for someone who can be bothered to do the job. There are things to be said for both points of view.
The fourth cache on our list wasn't there either, and bearing in mind we had by now run out of spare caches I put up a request that the thing be archived as it wasn't there.
Finding ourselves on the wrong side of the fence for another cache we thought we'd come back for that one later and we carried on into Fordwich. Yesterday at work I'd mentioned to a colleague about our planned walk. He'd told me tha the place might be wet underfoot. It was. Fields and footpaths were under six inches of water. Fudge was chest deep. As we walked into the village many of the houses still had sandbags at their doors from the recent floods.
We carried on our walk which was then along a large circle through some woodlands with rather spectacular views. We had a picnic lunch on tables at the rugby club; no one was there to stop us. The mud was quite thick in parts, but before long we were back in the village of Fordwich and on the return leg of our journey. Back through flooded fields to the car.
We came back on the right side of the fence for the cache we'd missed earlier, and after sending er indoors TM" into a flooded deep ditch we found the cache in question a few yards away from that ditch. Oh how we laughed.
And then I had something of an embarrassement. As we were passing we thought we'd have one more try for that geocache that clearly wasn't there (and on which I'd logged "Needs Archiving"). We found it. Woops! So I logged an apology.
We ended up finding all of the "Woodland Walk" caches. Some were quite hard finds. The series is there; it is do-able, but needs a little care and attention. But don't we all? However with an absentee C.O. I can't help but wonder how long this series will be do-able. Perhaps it might be better to take the bull by the horns and archive the lot? I'm glad I don't have to make the decision.
Back to the car. It would have been good to have done more walking today; it was only 3.30pm. On summer days we would have five more hours available to us. Being January we didn't. We came home via two drive-by caches and once home I hosed the mud from a rather wet and filthy Patagonian Tripe-Hound.
As always I took some photos whilst we were out. I then put them on-line.
With er indoors TM" off bowling "Furry Face TM" fell asleep on my chest as I watched a documentary about the late John Le Mesurier. It's amazing how loud a small dog can snore...
20 January 2014 (Monday) - In The News
I had another good night's sleep. I must be doing something different to be acheiving this; I just wish I knew what it was. Over brekkie I watched Family Guy. I'm getting rather fed up with that now; must sort out another boxed set of DVDs to watch in the mornings.
Once I'd scraped the ice off of my car I set off to work on a rather cold morning. The morning's news featured an interview with the deputy Prime Minister who was having trouble with one of his underlings.
Lord Rennard has apparently allegedly been rather offensive to the ladies. I don;t know the full details, but it's claimed that he has caused upset. Lord Rennard denies the allegaition, and an eminent QC found that although the women's claims were “credible” they could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt. I can't understand what the deputy Prime Minister is up to here. How can he force someone to apologize if they deny the allegatio, and the weight of legal opinion is on their side?
There was also mention of the Rosetta space probe. Unuusually the pundits did not treat the matter as something deserving of ridicule as is their usual way. Rosetta has been in switch-off mode for nearly three years and it's now nearing its destination comet. the switch on signal has been sent. Has it worked? Has Rosetta reactivated? Let's hope so.
And there was a worrying claim made by the British Retail Consortium. If one beleives what one reads it would seem that crime is on the decrease. Apparently it is not. Apparently it is soaring; the figures are misleading because no one has any confidence in the police and so no one reports crime any more. It's not just me who isn't their greatest fan then...
In the meantime a word of warning to anyone who might consider plugging their fridge into the Internet. It would seem that the average fridge doens't come with anti-virus software; hackers and spammers are targetting smartfridges to get them to then start spamming an unsuspecting public.
All utterly irrelevent to my daily round, but it just goes to show that there is more to life than my petty concerns....
21 January 2014 (Tuesday) - Great Chart
I felt rather smug as I woke this morning and looked at the time and realised that often I would be in Morrisons in Canterbury at that time of the morning. I like this "sleeping"; it's far better than laying awake for most of the night.
After a swif brekkie I had the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and we were off on our walk before 8.30am. It was a damp foggy morning, but he likes to go out straight away. If I don't take him out immediatly after brekkie he gets fractious.
We had a minor episode when we walked past Singleton Lake when some woman I have never seen before came up and asked how "she" was after "her" ordeal. I smiled politely and this woman pointed at my dog and said "yes - after she went missing". I then found myself embroiled in a convoluted argument in which this woman was demanding thanks for her having found and rescued my dog after "she" had been missing for several days; eventually being found (by this woman) near some pumping station. This woman flatly refused to beleive that my dog has never been missing for anything like that length of time (his record absence is just over an hour in Kings Wood). She implied that my denials were trying to cover up the fact that I was a bad dog-owner, and she would not beleive that Fudge was a boy and not a girl. Were I a vulgar person I would have waved his nasty at her; but it is his nasty, and not mine to wave.
As we walked into Great Chart I met an ex-cub and his mother. I remembered both, and both remembered me. We chatted for several minutes, and then I got on with the main business of the day. At the Christmas meeting of the Kent chapter ot tupperware hunters I'd entered the raffle and won a bumper set of plastic tubs. Today I thought I'd release them into the wild. And I did.
I set out a trail of eleven geocaches; along muddy footpaths, through smelly cattle yards, and through some rather boggy swamps. It will be a lovely walk once the ground dries up a little; it's somewhere I walk from time to time and normally it *is* a rather wonderful stroll.
Whilst we were out we met some woolly ponies. "Furry Face TM" didn't bark at them at all, which surprised me.
Once home my dog jumped straight into the bath, and with the mud hosed off of him we both had lunch. As I scoffed I watched "Kick Ass"; a film I'd been intending to watch for some time. It was good, but perhaps half an hour too long.
And with film watched and lunch scoffed I did the admin work for that series of geocaches. I've set them up as puzzles; it only took five hours to do the on-line paperwork. Let's see if the reviewers are happy with what I've done.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Having locked ourselved out of Somerset Road we descended on Arden Drive for an episode of Merlin. Good stuff...
22 January 2014 (Wednesday) - Stuff
My piss boiled over brekkie this morning. Yesterday I spent hours preparing a set of puzzle caches. This morning the entire lot were turned down. I only had to make a small change to each one to make them acceptable. I was asked "Can you remove the business name "Google" from all the cache pages as names of businesses are not allowed on cache pages". As a hint to solving the puzzles I'd set I'd written "Google is always helpful". I changed the wording on eleven cache pages to read "The Internet is always helpful".
It's not a big deal, but what winds me up is the inconsistency in the way that the rules of geocaching are applied. There is a nearby geocache which went live a year ago. The cache description is one big advert for a local business. I received an email from Geocaching dot com today telling me about a meet-up of tupperware hunters which will take place in a couple of weeks time. That meet's web page has a company name openly displayed.
I'm now compiling a list of geocaches which have companies mentioned in the cache description; especially Google. If any of my loyal readers know of any, please drop me a line to boil my piss some more. In the same way that some people are allowed to put caches in playgrounds and some people are allowed to put caches on roundabouts, it would seems that only some people are allowed to mention the G-word. And as always I'm on the "no" list.
The weather was rather yukky, but small dogs want their walks regardless of the weather. We went out round the park and down past Singleton Lake where we had a minor altercation with a postman. "Furry Face TM" doesn’t like postmen. We walked past no end of people today, but it was the postmen with whom he wanted to pick a fight.
We then went on to Singleton shops. It is there where we meet Suzy and “Gordon Tracy” when we are going on our weekly Tupperware-hunts. When we drive there my dog goes ballistic at the sight of the place. When we walk he hardly bats an eyelid. Perhaps it looks different from a car?
It was at this point that he chased a squirrel up the tree. He got a surprisingly long way up the tree before tumbling back down. The squirrel was obviously used to being chased up trees by passing Patagonian Tripe-Hounds, and it stopped and mocked "Furry Face TM" from a height of about twelve feet.
From here we came home. Once home I hosed the dirt from my dog, and we both had a bite of lunch. I then had a bit of a tidy up, hoovered with a Dyson (it’s the only way to Hoover), and then ironed whilst watching “Snatch”. I then sorted my undercrackers and I did the monthly accounts. I could do with a little more money; I would be rather better off if I didn’t have to go to London next week.
23 January 2014 (Thursday) - References
I shared my brekkie toast with a very tired dog this morning as I watched the latest episode of "The Tomorrow People". I do like this series, but featuring the utterly unlikely scenario of a somewhat geeky teenaged lad (with super powers) with loads of rather attractive girls as platonic friends, it's covering TV territory that Smallville did to death years ago.
I drove to work through thick fog. As I drove I listened to the news. There was very little of note really, which was probably for the best as far as my blood pressure is concerned. I really should stop getting worked up about things over which I have no control.
I stopped off at Morrisons for some fruit for lunch; one day I will find one of their self-service checkouts that actually works without needing the intervention of their helpful (!) staff.
And so to work. As I arrived the fog cleared, and I spent much of the morning looking out at glorious sunshine; sulking that the last two days were very wet for dog walking. There's no denying I had a wry smile when the rain came at lunchtime just as a colleague was saying goodbye as he took the afternoon off.
I don't mind working when it rains. But I was glad the rain had stopped before home time.
Lamb chops for tea. Very tasty.
I've had an email. In a previous life I used to be a manager. In that capacity I have been asked to provide a reference for someone who I employed through a temp agency several years ago. The chap in question was employed for two months some six or more years ago. And despite such a short tenure such a long time ago, I remember him vividly.
He was specifically employed to work at nights and weekends but didn't actually do so. I would find it difficult to quantify the amount of sick leave he took in only two months. On several occasions I received cryptic third hand reports that he had phoned in sick due to ongoing hay fever, only to be told by him (on his return) that he had not been off sick; he had taken leave which he insisted he had previously discussed with me.
As for leave, he would not ask permission before planning or booking it. He would instead announce that he was taking time off. He seemed oblivious to the fact that we were short staffed (for various reasons) and the sole reason for his employment was to shore up our short-handedness. Also he did not take agreed amounts of time of leave. Instead he would go on leave for a few days, and return when he felt like it.
He took rather a lot of leave in just two short months.
His telephone manner was abrupt and abrasive. His timekeeping was abysmal. His social skills were non-existent. He offended most of the staff during his short tenure, and those few he didn't actively upset didn't like him much either.
Whilst at work (and between leave and sickness he didn't actually show up much in those two months) he spent an inordinate amount of time on his mobile phone (despite having been asked not to carry the thing on several occasions).
He is best summed up by his departure. He left giving little notice (just before he was going to get the bum's rush) to take up a job in London, announcing very loudly into his mobile phone to everyone within earshot that “being in f***ing country bumpkin land is doing my f***ing noddle in”. His arrogant and unreliable nature soured me against him, and I told his temp agency I would not want him back.
Now, years later, this chap now wants a reference so he can go work overseas. He's after a "skilled migration Visa" because he wants to go and live in Australia. I can't help but wonder if I should pretend I've never seen this email.
24 January 2014 (Friday) - Spring Clips
I felt rather grotty last night, and so had an early night. I think that might have been a mistake; I slept very badly, seeing every hour of the night.
I gave up trying to sleep at seven o'clock, and ate half of my morning's toast; my dog having the other half. As we scoffed I watched an episode of Family Guy. Some of those episodes are rather saucy. Lois had her kit off. I was shocked (!)
I left for work a little earlier than I might normally have done. I needed to obtain a spring clip for geocachical purposes. B&Q were selling four for £5.25. I thought that was rather expensive and told them so. Homebase in Canterbury had the same thing for £1.79. Admittedly Homebase didn't have quite as fancy packaging on theirs, but packaging is just going in the bin anyway.
The icing on the cake for me was that they had a split pack on the shelf. I only wanted one clip, and they had an odd one for sale for 50p. Result.
As I drove I listened to the radio. The pundits were talking about the life sentences given by courts to murderers. Should a life sentence mean the murderer spends their entire life in jail? It is so easy to make blithe pronouncements from one's ivory tower. Murder is a terrible thing. Premeditated multiple murder done in a rather sadistic way is one thing. Two drunken lads having a girlie-slapping squabble and then one slipping on a discarded kebab, cracking his head on a kerb stone and dying is quite another. But both are to be treated the same - as "murder".
How can there be justice when laws are absolute?
Being Friday the radio also had "Desert Island Discs". Today the Queen's chaplain got to choose her favourite eight records. Because I needed to get to work I only heard half of the show; but that was enough for me to realise that I wouldn't want to be stuck on a Desert Island with her.
Some people have a terrible taste in music.
And much as I might whinge about the news, I am grateful that censorship in our news isn't quite as blatant as it is in Malaysia. The poor pigs are covered up for fear of offending religious sensibilities.
25 January 2014 (Saturday) - Tracked Things
Another grotty night; having seen every hour of the night until 5am I finally dozed off only to be licked awake by an excitable small dog at 7am. I had some brekkie and was a bit miffed as I read my morning emails. A new geocache had gone live not far from Canterbury. Had I been working today the opportunity for a crafty First to Find would have presented itself. But I do that journey often enough; I didn’t want to do it again. And petrol’s not cheap.
As ‘er indoors TM set off to an extraordinary meeting of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Candlemongers I was left home alone. I’ve known that this was coming for some time. I could have gone out on the beer; but money is tight; especially with a few other sessions on the lash looming over the next few weeks and months. So I had what was intended to be a rather dull day at home.
I took “Furry Face TM “ for a walk. The recent floods haven’t abated so getting to Frogs Island is problematical so we went round the park. I forgot that on Saturday mornings the park is monopolised by the runners.
It has been said that my urine is a very volatile fluid; my piss boiled this morning. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject of running but I do have very firm views on the subject. It is an activity which should only be used in one (or both) of two very specific circumstances. Either one is running after a bus, or one is running away from a dangerous wild animal. I can see no other reason why one should run.
But if anyone should run, you would think they might learn how to do it before having a go in public. Today’s runners were running in much the same way that the fruits of my loin first took to bicycles (when four years old). They were all staggering and swaying from side to side of every path, pouring with sweat and gasping for air. As I walked through the park I could see a constant stream of breathless joggers (all on the point of collapse) falling over all the other dogs in the park.
We turned round and came home.
I did a little housework. Washing up (which is now automated) and laundry. In a fit of boredom I stripped out the glassware cupboard and put all the household glasses through the dishwasher (it does bring them up a treat!). I’ve often wondered why I can never get that cupboard to close; it’s got twenty five pint glasses inside. Including one from the 14th Luton beer festival (where did that come from?). And that’s not counting the two shelves of commemorative beer glasses from beer festivals in the living room.
If any of my loyal reader need a pint glass, I’m your man.
I then spent a little while playing with my ongoing Lego train set project. The extra bits of track I ordered arrived some time ago. So I laid the track out, and it is now complete. All I now need is a better connection between batteries and motor and a table big enough to have it all set up. And then I start looking for 1970s Lego buildings to go round it. If any of my loyal readers have any old lego buildings in their attics, or a rather large table, think of me.
After a quick spot of lunch I popped round to see “My Boy TM ”. I’d acquired a marble track and took it round for Lacey. She lost interest in building it after about three minutes (certainly less than five), but the two biggest kids had fun making it and playing with it.
It seemed to have been a day for tracked toys.
A new geocache went live late in the afternoon. I ran for a First to Find; I got to where the sat-nav said to park. I got within twenty yards of the cache and the worst rain I have ever seen hit. I was soaked to the skin in the twenty yards run back to the car. The winds were incredible, and there was lightning too. I’d driven down without problem; driving back involved doing slaloms round branches and trees that had just come down in the wind.
And so on to Sevenoaks. CA had her belated birthday bash, and it was good to catch up with friends of whom we see far too little. A few beers went down very nicely.
And on the way home we found a geocache or two…
26 January 2014 (Sunday) - Bekesbourne in the Rain
Having anaesthetised myself with a gutful of ale last night I was hoping for a good night’s sleep. I would probably have managed it if a small dog hadn’t decided to fetch his bone up to my bed last night, sit on my legs and start chewing it.
It wasn’t his bone-gnawing that woke me; it was ‘er indoors TM sending him packing that did.
The weather forecast for today had progressively got worse all week; and today looked as though it was going to be a wet one. So we had a dilemma. Do we stay in and sulk that we hadn’t gone for a walk, or do we go out and sulk that we were wet.
We decided to go out.
Three of us and two small dogs drove out to Bekesbourne to do the “Bug Hunt” series of geocaches. Most were there, some need a little bit of maintenance. One was completely missing. The walk was a good one; it took us right through the middle of Howletts Zoo. We saw river hogs and elephants. It was a shame that the weather was against us; we might have seen tigers given better weather.
It was muddy in parts; very muddy. The first part of our walk featured a footpath which had been formally closed by the council because of the floods (we walked it anyway). And the day was cold and wet. We started off with two small dogs; by the end of the walk they looked like sea-lions. We were finished within three hours; normally we would have found somewhere else to carry on walking; today we just came home to get warm and dry.
I took a few photos whilst we were out.
Once home I realised a mistake I’d made. A couple of weeks ago we’d had “Stargazing Live” with the astro club. Today I was told I’d not paid the hall hire costs. Woops. I’d written out the cheque and had it signed. The cheque was dated from over two weeks ago. I just forgot all about it.
And with ‘er indoors TM off out with her mates I sat with my dog in front of the telly and dozed. I wish I could sleep when I am supposed to do so…
27 January 2014 (Monday) - Pigs, Scotland...
Having slept in front of the telly for most of yesterday evening I wasn't expecting a good night's sleep. However it was going better than usual until I had a particularly vivid dream in which we had been given a large pig as a pet. In my subconscious it would seem that large pigs are the companion animal of choice for Patagonian Tripe-Hounds; the only reason we had this pig was to be company for my dog.
In my dream pigs did not do well on leads; nor did they respond to whistles. And we won't even mention toilet training. I was having a rather traumatic time with said pig when I found myself almost leaping from the bed in panic. After such a rude awakening I didn't get back to sleep again.
Consequently I was watching Family Guy shortly after 5am this morning. On my own. My dog didn't stir from his bed at all. I think yesterday's walk had worn him out somewhat.
I scraped the ice from the car and set off to work. As I drove there was talk on the radio of Burns Night which took place over the weekend. Some of my colleagues had been to Burns Night events this weekend; many of them claiming some vague Scottish connection.
This is something which perennially boils my piss. Whilst I can see a place for mention of Burns Night on national radio, why do people born and bred in Kent try to claim some sort of Scottish heritage. And come to that why are there so many fiercely patriotic Scots living in Kent. I've never been to the place; mainly because from where I am it's the furthest place to which I can get without crossing the sea. But if it is as wonderful as it is billed to be, why do all its advocates choose to live as far away from the place as is physically possible?
Co-incidentally (or not) as I drove home there was an article on the radio exploring the possibility of an independent Scotland aligning itself politically with the Scandinavian countries. An interesting concept. Amazingly those who want a Scotland independent from the rest of the UK want to be subservient to Norway and Sweden. And ironically the Scandinavian countries don't much fancy taking Scotland on.
I had a message from "My Boy TM" . After Saturday's fun with the marble track he's now put it away. I wonder if the thing will ever see the light of day again? I hope so.
Once home I boiled up the scran that er indoors TM" had left me, and with er indoors TM" out at bowling I settled down in front of the telly and slept through an episode of Jeeves and Wooster; which was a shame. I quite like the antics of Bertie...
28 January 2014 (Tuesday) - Have a Banana
I set my alarm for 7am this morning, and woke only two minutes before it was due to go off. That was good. I watched Family Guy over toast. It turns out that Brian the dog has a gay cousin, and he married his boyfriend in today's episode,which was nice for all concerned.
As I walked to my car this morning I had a wry smile at a large black and white cat which was walking up the middle of the street, seemingly oblivious of the traffic going up and down past it. I wonder whose cat it wasl and whether the cat survived the day.
The morning's radio was entertaining; as ever. There was an article on ear worms; that annoying thing when you get a song or tune stuck in your head. Apparently advertising firms are looking at the possibility of pushing their messages more actively via earworms. I would have thought that they would have done that years ago.
Also on a musical theme Pete Seeger (who?) died today. He was the chap who wrote a lot of the archetypal hippie songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Whilst I can't say I'm a fan of his music I did chuckle when the pundits played a snippet of what they called "the unmistakeable voice of Pete Seeger" only to apologise five minutes later that they'd actually played something by Peter Paul and Mary.
I popped into the cheapo-bargains shop on my way to work, and as I did I had something of a shock. A good friend was walking out out the place. I looked again; what was Tracey doing fifty-odd miles from home? I was about to ask her when I realised it wasn't her; it was a look-alike. But a very close look-alike. It was only her not recognising me that really gave it away.
I've heard tell that everyone has a double somewhere; I wonder if there is another me...?
And so to work. I did my bit, and we heard mention of our old friend science. It would seem that there is a new scientific unit in regular use; the banana equivalent dose
which is a measure of radiation. Specifically that amount of radiation equivalent to the exposure one would get from eating a banana. Apparently bananas are more radioactive that you might think.
That is unless you think they are extremely radioactive...
29 January 2014 (Wednesday) - Busy, Busy...
Over brekkie I got cross with my lap-top. From time to time the thing becomes unusable because of warnings about a problem with the cooling system. Last night I got as much of the back off of it as I could to blow out any dust. I gave all the vents a good puff as well.
I’ve looked up the problem on the Internet. Apparently these warnings are a known glitch in this make of lap-top. Or, to be more precise, known to everyone but the manufacturer. It would seem that there is some software fault which makes this alert come up randomly, but the manufacturer ignores all reports about it. Presumably because they can’t fix the problem. If any of my loyal readers are thinking about buying a new lap-top, look at my one and buy one made by a different company.
An early start today; I’d arranged to have my car serviced at 8am. I took “Furry Face TM “ with me for the drive. The idea was we could then go on for a walk. Maybe geocache maintenance out Sevington way; maybe a mooch round Willesborough.
Seeing the pouring rain we just came straight back home again. As we walked “Furry Face TM “ took the opportunity to bark at nearly every car that drove past us as well as two buses, a white van and two trains. Some mornings he just gets on with his walk; sniffing as he goes. Other mornings he feels the need to bark at the universe and every single one of its contents. I often wonder why.
I saw something on line that made me think. Bearing in mind the utter fiasco that was made by the badger culls last year, perhaps I might get my loyal readers to have a look at this petition and see if we can’t stop any possible culls in Kent.
Following on from that I found myself reading a lot of the politics of the local Green party. It’s no secret that I honestly believe that voting Conservative is a fundamentally evil thing to do. (Sorry!) It’s also no secret that I have no time for the Dribbling Democraps. And despite being a life-long leftie, I can’t help but feel that the Labour party are not as good in practice as they are in theory.
Is voting Green purely because you fancy the local candidate a sound political decision?
It wasn’t long before the garage phoned to say my car was ready – and they even sent someone out to drive me to collect the car. I was billed one hundred and fifty quid; and that was including the discount because the garage had sent us a Christmas card with a fifteen quid off voucher. I was the teensiest bit miffed at the price because they’d given me an estimated cost of one hundred and thirty quid. Still; I shouldn’t grumble really.
I then drove down to Stanhope to collect a table, and came home to load up with all sorts of other bits and bobs and drove them down to Folkestone to deliver them to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM ”. She seemed chuffed with her haul.
Home via a crafty geocache in Sandgate (that I couldn’t find) and a petrol station. I then did the monthly accounts. No money was taken last month for Fudge’s service plan since Christmas. Apparently I get a month free in January. That’s a result.
I then put the lead onto “Furry Face TM “ and we walked up to the sorting office; the postman had been whilst we were out and had left a parcel that by rights I should have received about a month ago.
‘er indoors TM set off to arky-ologee club. I could have gone. I suppose. But I’ve not been for over two years; whenever I went I used to sleep through it. And she was having a committee meeting afterwards so I would have had to hang around. So I stayed home and watched more “Jeeves and Wooster”. I wonder where I can get a Jeeves…
30 January 2014 (Thursday) - Dull
Another good night’s sleep. I went to bed shortly before midnight and was licked awake by my Tripe Hound at 7.30am.
After a swift bit of brekkie I got washing on the go (laundry and crockery) and took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. I thought I’d take a firm line. Every time any kind of vehicle came close I firmly told him “No!” and he didn’t bark at anything. Until I forgot as a lorry came close and he went mental at the lorry. I then went mental at him. He *really* doesn’t need to bark at anything on the roads. I wish he wouldn’t.
I had this idea to pop to the market stall that is always in the town centre. He sells cheap clothes, and I fancied a new pair of “scrat-about” trousers. Today that stall wasn’t there. We then carried our walk along Godinton Road. I had a plan to walk round to the ford and come back through the park, but a phone call meant I had to cut our walk short and we came home. Unnecessarily as it turned out.
I spent much of the remainder of the morning in domestic drudgery vacuuming and cleaning. I even got a mop and bucket and washed much of the muck off of my car.
I had a text message; did I want some bread rolls? Cheryl had acquired far too many of the things, and came round with some. I now have a freezer full of the things.
As Cheryl set off on the school run I fell asleep in front if the telly; waking just in time for a committee meeting of the astro club. Plans for the future; speculation on the recent UFO sighting (!), and home via Tescos for curry.
Yesterday seemed a far more productive day; I didn't really acheive anything today.
31 January 2014 (Friday) - Being Evasive...
I didn’t sleep a wink last night. That would be stress. And after a brekkie I didn’t want (stress again) I set off to the train station. For once the price of a ticket to London as charged at the ticket office agreed with the price quoted by the web site. As the train went through the Kent countryside I soon lost interest in my Kindle app and stared out of the window. So much flooding. I know we’ve had a lot of rain recently, but I had no idea how flooded so much of the county was.
Once at Waterloo East I walked (via three geocaches) to Kennington where… One day I will blog at great length about why I went to Kennington today and why I now work in Canterbury, and why I am so skint these days, but not today. However I will say that after an ordeal which I would not wish on my worst enemy a blot has been expunged from my escutcheon.
I made my way back to Waterloo via another geocache. The rain started so I thought I might take a bus. I didn’t though. I tried. The surly git driving the bus grunted that the fare was £2.40. I offered him a fiver. He refused to take it as he wouldn’t give me any change. He claimed that it was company policy only to accept correct money and not to offer change. What rubbish! So I walked up Kennington Lane in the rain, and shall make a formal complaint about the driver of bus DW279 when I get a minute.
I got on the rush hour train, and got back to Ashford to find torrential rain. But time was pressing so I pushed on to astro club. Bearing in mind the success of “Stargazing Live” a couple of weeks ago the turn-out tonight was disappointing. I expect the weather was to blame. But we had a good meeting; it was only a shame I had to leave early. I couldn’t stay as late as I would have liked; I’ve got to work this weekend…