1 January 2015 (Thursday) - Bluebell Hill
What with New Year booze ups it was a late night last night. Waslking home was something of a shock; as a leading light of the astro club I've felt I ought to support the local council in their recent turn-off of the street lights. It reduces light pollution and saves money. And I've been one hundred per cent behind the idea all the time I was safe and sound in my own house.
I regularly walk from "My Boy TM"'s abode to home in daylight. The way I go is along back streets because it is far quicker than following the main roads. However at 1am last night I had a choice. A far longer walk at sub-zero temperatures, or risking life and limb on ice-covered pot-holed roads and pavements in pitch darkness.
I've had something of a re-think on the matter of turning off the street lighting. Any savings on the leccie bill made by turning off the lights will be more than offset by the medical bils resulting from people going arse-over-head on the ice and into pot-holes. I know for a fact that the ideal solution would never be accepted; the ideal solution being to only light those streets along which I am walking (and only at the times when I am walking them). So perhaps downward pointing street lights might be the way forward.
I got to kip shortly before 2am, and five pints of the black ales ensured I slept like a log. I got up rather later than might have, and being the first of January I put up my new calendar. I've mentioned it to a few people, and I must admit that I am rather disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm for Goats in Trees. But with eleven months until the next Lego calendar, it's goats (in trees) all the way.
We then set off on the day's geo-mission. In certain circles it's traditional to go looking for tupperware whilst nursing a hangover. We decided to leave "Furry Face TM" at home for this one; he likes the walk, but after the walk when we're all in the pub he becomes a tad excitable. In the summer we can sit outside where he's less of a pain, but in the winter he has to sit it out. And finding that he'd thrown up down the stairs made me rather convinced he needed a day's rest. We left him with his huge bone; he seemed content gnawing on it.
We drove up to Bluebell Hill where we met up with quite a few other hunters of tupperware. There was a formal meet-up arranged for the afternoon, and before this there was the opportunity for a mass geo-stroll. Mass geo-strolls are quite an experience; forty(-ish) of us set off on a trail of geocaches. As we approached a geocache, the ones at the front would find it and the ones at the back had the opportunity to log a very easy find. If the ones at the front couldn't find it, they had the back-up of several more pairs of eyes coming to help them look. And so on such a walk if there are any caches logged as "not found" it's a safe bet that they are actually missing.
For myself I just like the opportunity to walk and talk with like-minded people. And today was excellent for that. We walked for about four hours over about five miles. We found caches, we chatted about hunting tupperware. And there was a very embarrassing couple of occassions where I found myself being regarded as leading the walk.
I took a few photos whilst we were out; and the walk finished back where we started; at a pub. More hunters of tupperware joined us at the end of the walk; pints of reserve ales were downed. An as a special New Year treat we had a pub lunch. Gammon, eggs, burgers and chips all went down very nicely.
And so home for a lazy evening in front of the telly...
2 January 2015 (Friday) - Back To Work
Last night I wasted ages messing about with a geo-puzzle. I couldn't solve it. This morning I woke and suddenly realised that five times five is not twenty-three, and went on to get the thumbs-up from the geo-checker in a matter of seconds.
I came downstairs, mopped up the small puddle of dog tiddle (I never wanted a dog) and over brekkie watched an episode of "Game of Thrones". A fully-dressed Nudey DragonGirl appeared fleetingly, and for all that there was a lot of bloodshed no pork swords were wielded in today's installment.
I set off to work; a new geocache had gone live nearby. I didn't think I'd get the FTF; I didn't. I then went on to Junction 11 of the motorway for another quick geo-church thingy. From there I made my way to Morrisons. Before Christmas they had gadgets for hoiking the hair out of your lug-holes and nostrils (it's sad to grow old!). They've now sold out. I shall have to try eBay
As I drove Ray Winstone was being interviewed on the radio for "Desert Island Discs". Having been on telly for years playing assorted tough men I didn't realise he was actually an ex-boxer; and a rather successful one at that. I've always liked Ray Winstone as an actor; I particularly liked him in "Scum" and in "Henry VIII". Mind you I did think his choice of records this morning was a little pretentious. But I seem to think that of everyone who is on "Desert Island Discs".
Perhaps if a few more people went for records by Sparks, ELO and Ivor Biggun I might respect their choices a little more.
I got to work for the late shift; the car park seemed rather empty. I suppose a lot of people are still on holiday. I had thought about taking the day off; but I've just had a week off. Going back in for just one day might ease me back into work gently. So I eased myself back into work gently. At lunchtime I also eased myself gently back into sax practice. I'd let that slip over the last week. Having spent a week playing what I want to play, and then a week playing nothing at all I felt I really should get on with the set homework.
Homework this time involves "improvising". It seems that what at first looks like random improvisation actually follows rather clever musical rules. You can't just play any old note in any old order - that just makes a noise.
I'm getting the hang of it, but it's not easy...
3 January 2015 (Saturday) - Rainy Day
With nothing special really planned for today I could have had a lie-in. But "Furry Face TM" does like to sleep on the bed. And he likes to nuzzle up to me. And in doing so he pulls the covers off of me, and so I woke with a shivering arse about two hours earlier than I had planned. As anyone who has had a shivering arse will sympathise, getting back to sleep with one isn't easy.
So I got up and watched more "Game of Thrones". Nudey DragonGirl is now Queen of Nudey DragonGirl Land and (despite keeping her clothes on) is finding that management isn't easy. If I was Queen of Nudey DragonGirl Land I would take a lot less lip from the peasants. Meanwhile elsewhere ladies of loose morals were wandering around in the nip (as ladies of loose morals are wont to do).
After an hour "Furry Face TM" came downstairs, and I took him for a walk; despite the rain. After ten minutes we were both soaked and so we came home. With little else to do on a wet morning I set about the astro club accounts. There was a worrying half-hour when I realised that I was missing seventy pounds. Eventually I found a twenty quid note in the lower part of the club's cash tin and remembered that I'd asked "er indoors TM" to pay a cheque for fifty quid into the club account yesterday.
With "er indoors TM" still snoring I thought I might make a start on devisinig yet another Wherigo geocache. For all that I whinge about all the effort I put into making them only to have very few people bothering to go look for them, I do like making them. It's a little project that keeps me occupied for a week or so. I spent a couple of hours working out the basic plot and blagging some piccies for it from the Internet. If nothing else it will keep me out of mischief over the next week or so when I go back on to night shifts.
We then went to Folkestone. Pausing briefly for geo-reasons at Newington Church we made our way to McDonalds. Despite the rain the place was heaving, so we went over the road to Subway instead. I've not been to Subway before. I won't say it was better than Maccy D, but it was different. Steak & cheese sub with tomatoes, peppers and pickles; I liked it !!
We got pet supplies, and took them round to see the baby. He's now three months old, and getting bigger all the time. We watched "Nearly Naked Animals" on CITV, and together with eldest grand-son I fell asleep on the sofa.
We came home via Tesco. In the trolley park in the car park we saw something odd; someone had left their handbag hanging from a trolley in the rain. Inside the handbag was a purse and a phone and all sorts of things that shouldn't be left in the rain. I took the phone, and looked through the contacts. "Home" seemed to be a good number to ring, and it wasn't long before I was able to return the bag to a distraught owner.
Once home, after a rather good bit of scoff, we spent another evening in front of the telly. This is becoming something of a habit....
4 January 2015 (Sunday) - Seven Miles of Mud
I made a New Year's resolution not to get embroiled in petty trivial on-line squabbles. It didn't last. Once again I've found myself arguing over trivia on the Internet with people I've never met (and never will). I really shouldn't, but as regular readers of this drivel will know, my piss is a volatile fluid which boils so easily. This particular squabble was about.... well, it doesn't really matter what it was about.
What does matter is that I shouldn't do it.
I had a frankly awful night. I woke at 2am, rull of energy and raring to go. I saw the time and tried to get back to sleep. However I didn't sleep for more than fifteen consecutive minutes from then on and finally got up shortly before 7am feeling really grim.
I scoffed brekkie, and on checking the Internet I had several personal messages egging me on in my latest on-line squabble. People should know better (!)
We rallied the troops, and set off for deepest Sussex where we met Dave and then six of us (and two small dogs) went on a geo-stroll round Battle Great Woods. I'd chosen these woods as somewhere equidistant for us to meet; in retrospect we should have met somewhere else and walked round pavements and cyclepaths. Don't get me wrong - we had a good time. But there's no denying this walk was seven miles of mud. Deep mud.
We did struggle finding our way in places; some of the footpaths were somewhat indistinct. In several places it was evident that the logging activities had taken no notice whatsoever of designated footpaths.
We had a worrying five minutes when "Furry Face TM" disappeared. Panic set in; but he hadn't run off. We found him walking towards us along the path we'd just walked along. Being off the lead he was taking his time and was struggling to get through mud which was deeper than he was tall.
Wading in the river did help to wash him off.
The geo-aspect of the walk (finding the concelead tupperware to the laymen!) was good; easy enough hides to find. One was... I won't give spoilers. I will say that it was a good cache; a good idea. But the cleverer a cache the more fragile it becomes. I fixed what I broke, but I suspect it will break again. Mind you I again used my tablet for doing the geo-stuff, and again (after an initial hiccup) it worked rather well.
And I took some photos whilst we were out as well.
We finished the walk just as it was getting cold. "er indoors TM" flattened a pheasant on the way home, and once home "Furry Face TM" had a bath. He was particularly grubby. I then washed off our boots and with everything then sparkling I spent a little while unblocking the bath plug hole.
After a rather good roast dinner we settled in front of the telly and got more stuff watched from the SkyPlus box. We've now get twenty per cent of the space on it clear again. Can't remember how long it is since we last had that much space clear...
5 January 2015 (Monday) - Late Shift
Over the last few days we've been watching "Gotham". I first watched it as it was broadcast over the last few months, and I saved the series on the SkyPlus box so's "er indoors TM" could watch it at some future date. That future date was the last few days, and I watched it with her. Much as I enjoyed watching it originally an episode each week, I was amazed to find just how much of the plot I missed. Watching the entire series over a few days made me appreciate the writers work so much more.
I'm finding much the same to be true in "Game of Thrones". In this morning's dose (over brekkie) Nudey DragonGrirl was playing nudey prod games with someone or other. I'm pretty sure this chap was a major protagonist, but I had no idea who he was. Also this morning's episode saw the advent of Sir BrickShithouse. I can't see him lasting long as he's due to have a fight to the death with one of the major wielders of the pork sword soon. But I have no idea why said wielder of the pork sword should be getting into a scrap with Sir BrickShithouse.
On Friday I mentioned that I went to Morrisons to get a gadget to scrape the excess hair out of my ear holes (it's an old man thing). I'd seen these things for sale in Morrisons before Christmas for eighteen quid and they'd sold out last Friday. I looked on eBay this morning; exactly the same thing was up for sale for four quid with free postage. I also ordered a cheap pair of shoes for work. I really should go back to using eBay more often.
I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round to the park. The walk was (for once) rather uneventful; as we walked home I saw something which made me stop and think. There was a young mother with toddler in push chair standing on their garden path looking at a slightly older child. This child was sitting on the path, sobbing his heart out that he didn't want to go to school. I later heard on the news that a lot of people didn't want to go to work today either. We are all stuck in a world we didn't design; there must be a way for us all to spend our time not having to do that which we really don't want to.
And talking of doing things we don't want to, after a little pootle about I went to the dentist. Today's trip involved a visit to the hygienist. After a few minutes I found myself in the hot-seat and the nice lady said she would just be giving my fangs a good clean. She rooted about inside my cake-muncher for over half an hour. And for all that she was full of glowing praise for my gob, when I rinsed out I felt I was spitting out rather too much blood for my liking.
I then set off to work. Via the cheapo petrol station in the town centre, Morrisons, and the Cheapo-Bargains shop. There was a minor delay getting into Morrisons as a gaggle of half-wits were having a conversation in the doorway. Right in the doorway. The manager had to come to shoo them away so people could get in or out.
I've often wondered what it is about doorways that seem to attract half-wits. Why is it that pretty much every door I want to walk through is blocked by a half-wit?
And so to work. It wasn't a bad day really...
6 January 2015 (Tuesday) - Various Rants
Yesterday I mentioned that I didn't hold out much hope for Sir BrickShithouse's chances in "Game of Thrones". He didn't make it to the end of this morning's episode, but in a surprise turn of events he lasted longer than the one who was supposed to be killing him. His protagonist, Sir Wielder-of-the-Pork-Sword, ended up with a burst head, which was messy.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. There is tension in Germany as the Dresdenians (or whatever one calls a denizen of Dresden) are getting worried about the influx of immigrants. The woman interviewed on the radio this morning claimed that when she walks down her street she never hears native German being spoken; just various foreign languages.
Much the same as English in Ashford, then.
However Ashford (so far) isn't facing the rise of neo-Nazis and anti-Nazi rallies. But let's not be surprised when it happens all across Europe. Again. I can remember whinging about how crap history lessons were when I was at school, and the French teacher telling us that if we don't learn from the lessons of the past we will be doomed to repeat them.
How right he was.
There was also allegations being made about Prince Andrew and his friends having interfered with children. I suppose having persecuted everyone else in the public eye it was only a matter of time until the spotlight turned on the Royals. Interestingly those making the allegations were on the radio this morning claiming that the onus should be on the accused to prove their innocence; not on those making the allegations to come up with any proof of their misdemeanours.
This is what is entirely wrong with the whole child-abuse-allegation debacle. How is it now suddenly acceptable to make up a pack of lies which someone else then has to disprove from some great distance in time?
I've spent a little time trying to find out who was starring in pantomime in Hastings in 1972. There is no mention of it on the Internet; it might have been anyone. I have half a mind to claim that some now-rich celebrity played Mother Goose at Hastings White Rock Pavilion forty-three years ago and enticed me to his dressing room. Demonstrably it's a nice little earner.
I then had a strange geo-experience. Yesterday I replaced a geocache of mine. Stuck to a sign near Canterbury's Park and Ride, I'd had a message that it was missing. It was, so I replaced the lot. Yesterday evening I got a message that someone had found it, but that there was no paper log inside and that I needed to go put one in there. Shortly after that I got another message saying that this same someone had actually replaced the paper log himself.
So I went back this morning to have a look-see. Sure enough the cache was where I'd put it. And someone had replaced the paper log I'd printed off with their own scrap of paper.
So I'm left wondering why anyone would steal just the paper log and not the entire cache. And why someone else would ask me to replace the log when they'd already done so themselves.
I got to work; I did my bit. Despite the cold weather I blew my sax at lunch time. This week's homework is improvisation and jazzing up an otherwise dull tune. I'm not finding it easy.
With work done I came home. I found my nose and ear de-furrer had arriived. I was glad I'd not paid eighteen quid to get it from Morrisons; it was overpriced at four quid from eBay.
I then took "Furry Face TM" round the roads for a little walk. It was mostly uneventful apart from chasing a cat out from under a parked car. I wish he wouldn't; one day he's going to chase a cat into an oncoming car.
We then went to the Admiralty where the clans gathered. Sweeties were scoffed, and we watched the first episode of the new series of "The 100". It's been some time since I saw the first season of that (I say "saw" - "slept though" would be more accurate) so I really had no idea what was going on.
Once home I spent a few minutes in the garden with my binoculars trying to see the latest comet. Every year in January there is talk of a comet. All the experts always predict it will be brighter than a lighthouse. These so-called comets never amount to anything. Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 looks set fair to be this year's disappointment. I spent fifteen minutes shivering in the garden with my trusty binoculars and I can assure my loyal readers that (contrary to popular opinion) it is not currently in the general vicinity of Orion. It might be in a week or so; personally I hope it is. But for now; forget it.
If there is a comet that can be seen with the naked eye by the layman over the next few weeks (or indeed ever in my lifetime) I will eat the astro club's raffle.
7 January 2015 (Wednesday) - A Day Off
I woke this morning with the feeling of pressure on my chest. I opened my eyes very slightly to see "Furry Face TM" laying on me with his nose not six inches from mine. I feigned sleep for as long as I could fool him, and for ten minutes or so he continued to watch me in hawk-like fashion. But the moment I let slip that I wasn't asleep he embarked on a licking frenzy.
I was somewhat amazed to find it was nearly 8.30am; I'd woken over two hours later than usual. but I had no real reason to be up early. Today was a day's holiday. I didn't really need or want the day off but bearing in mind it's "use it ot lose it", I used it.
After a swift bit of brekkie I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. It was a cold day; we took the back streets to Singleton Lake where he stole another dog's ball, and then as we came home through the park he picked a fight with the various hounds of OrangeHead's hangers-on.
Once home I put laundry into the washing machine and popped round to B&Q. As I went to pay for my light bulbs, a rather obnoxious old git (in B&Q uniform) was having a serious row with a customer. From what I could see the customer was clearly in the right, and the old git (in B&Q uniform) wasn't accustomed to being in the wrong. As the customer stormed off in disgust, the old git (in B&Q uniform) shouted "Bloody ignorant" after her. In a spirit of wickedness I told the chap that if he was going to be openly obnxious it's not a good idea to do so in works uniform with his name badge obviously on display. He then started ranting again; knowing that my work was done I left before his blood pressure hit quadruple figures.
I hadn't been home long when the door bell rang. Postie had delivered my new shoes. He asked if I'd take a parcel for the nutty neighbours. and before I could say anything he said that if he were in my position he wouldn't do anything for them. He then told me that he's sick of trying to deliver to them; he knocks on the door and can see them inside watching him through the window but refusing to answer his knocking.
Postie then went on his way without waiting for my answer. Not that I would have taken their parcel anyway.
I then planned to spend an hour or so working on my next Wheri-project. I actually spent six hours on it; the time just flew by. And with "er indoors TM" off candle-mongering I settled downn in front of the telly with my dog and watched the last two episodes (so far) of "Game of Thrones". The penultimate one was crap; fifty minutes of fighting between a bunch of savages who no one cares about and a strange monastic order made up of all the dull characters exiled from the rest of the plot for being too dull. The final episode was odd. Nudey DragonGirl had the cob because her dragons were getting out of hand, but after four complete seasons she still seems to have nothing at all to dowith the plot. Sir Looks-Like-a-Girl had a fight. The dwarf chap (who's the best character in it) shot his father whilst he was in Trap One; and suddenly zombies, giants and elves have sprung up from nowhere.
I think that (realistically) I need to watch the entire lot again from the beginning before season five airs in the spring...
8 January 2015 (Thursday) - A Rant
I woke in a panic after a rather traumatic dream about old women driving dangerously becuase the most recent fruit of my loins had taken up playing the cello. I wonder what provoked that nightmare.
Amazingly I'd woken only one minute before the alarm was due to go off. I got up (letting a sleeping dog lie) and over brekkie watched an episode of "Dad's Army" (they don't like it up 'em).
As I drove to work I listened to the morning's news. There was anger from all sides as funding to supply anti-cancer drugs has been cut. Most vociferous amongst the campaigners was the drug manufacturers themselves. I can't help but think that it is the drug companies own fault that have priced themselves out of the market. I can remember going for an interview with "a major pharmaceutical company". Their establishment was huge - it would have taken an hour to walk round the perimeter of the place. I was shown one very small lab in which a certain drug was made, and I was told that it was that one lab which paid for absolutely everything else.
A little less profit might make their products a little more affordable.
There was also talk about the shootings in Paris. Basically some journalists have upset some Islamic extremists who have then seen it as their God-inspired duty to go on a killing spree.
I can't help but wonder if as a society we are doing the right thing by taking religions seriously. If religion was treated with the mild disdain afforded to other forms of unsubstantiated crackpotism (such as astrology, palm reading or homeopathy) by mainstream opinion, would it still be giving society the problems that it currently does?
Once at work I voiced this opinion and had an "interesting discussion" on the matter. One of my colleagues said that as a Christian she was offended by my opinion. I didn't offer any apology, but I asked her which church she attended on a weekly basis. She replied she didn't actually go to church regularly (or at all). When I pointed out that it says in the Bible that you should regularly meet up with others of your faith she admitted that she hadn't read all of the Bible. I asked her about her stance on gay marriage. She was for it (as am I) but when I pointed out that the Bible is very clear on the fact that it considers homosexuality to be wrong, she admitted that she hadn't read any of the Bible at all. I then asked her if she believed that God had taken on human form and had died on the cross for her personal sins. She didn't actually believe that. "Not as such..."
She wasn't happy when I summed up her position. She claimed to be Christian, but hadn't read the sacred texts of her religion and didn't believe its basic tenet of faith. In her defence snarled that she tried to be a "good person". I asked her why. She had no real answer for that, but seemed to think it was in some way connected with her version of religion.
Isn't this true of so many people. They adamantly claim to be of a certain religion but what they believe, say and do has no bearing whatsoever on the actual religion to which they purport to be an adherent.
Don't we all try to be "good people"? Do we need a God to frighten us into being so?
In an interesting epilogue to this episode this same person stopped me at mid day and said that whilst she believed that God created the universe she also believed in the Big Bang theory as well. So I asked her how she reconciled the idea of a Big Bang with the First Law of Thermodynamics. She had no idea what I was talking about, but she still believed in the Big Bang theory anyway.
If nothing else, it proved that some people believe absolutely any old twaddle that they hear.
If only people were to think for themselves...
9 January 2015 (Friday) - Another Day
I was woken by my alarm this morning; that rarely happens. I got up, and so did my dog. That rarely happens too these days. He helped me eat my toast as I checked out the Internet. Little of note had happened overnight.
I set off to work. The journey was slow; very slow. There were several places that the chap driving the lorry of http://www.crucial-trading.com could have pulled over to stop, but he didn't. He drove all the way from Ashford to Chartahm (about ten miles of "A" road) at twenty-five miles per hour with a huge queue of traffic behind him.
Advertising on your lorries can be a double-deged sword; I for one shan't be using http://www.crucial-trading.com for whatever it is that they trade crucially.
As I drove I listened to the radio. I had a wry smile when the Circle group announced that they are pulling out of their involvement with Hitchingbrook Hospital in Cambridge.
They'd taken on running the NHS hospital as a private concern but it would seem that the unsustainable cost of “unprecedented A&E attendances” made their business model unviable. Or, in layman's terms, there was no money to be made from it.
There are those who claim hospitals are under-funded, and are using this to back their position. I'm not sure that hospitals are underfunded. The problem is that they have limited resources to provide unlimited services. Anyone can turn up at the A&E department as many times as they like and expect to been seen by medical professionals. Who needs an appointment with a G.P. when you can see a doctor at the hospital whenever you like? And bearing that in mind how do you budget for such?
One of the people being interviewed on the radio about the matter was a leading light in accident and emergency medicine. He recounted the tale of the A&E department where he works where a certain patient has attended (because he apparently has nothing better to do) twenty times in the last month.
This sort of thing doesn't happen in private health care. Private health care knows what it's going to get. People go private for a specific one-off operation or consultation in order to jump the NHS queues. Then they go back to the NHS for all their ongoing and never-ending general maladies.
I stopped off on my way to work to check on a geocache I'd hidden a couple of years ago. I'd not had anything reported on it for some time and was wondering if it had disappeared. I hoped not; it was a rather expensive puzzle box. It hadn't exactly disappeared; but it was ten yards away from where it was supposed to be.
Why can't people put these things back where they find them?
And so to work where I did my bit on a rather busy day. At lunch time I saxed. "Blue Moon" has promise, but the Bach minuet needs a little work. Mind you Johann Sebastian did write his minuet over a hundred years before Adolphe built the first saxophone, so that is my lame excuse and I am sticking to it.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the block. For all that it is now four days since Twelfth Night there were still a few houses with Christmas trees up. And with my dog walked I set about ironing a few (six) shirts. It's surprising how long it takes to iron a shirt or six...
10 January 2015 (Saturday) - Out for Lunch
I would have had a better nights sleep had I been allowed any of the duvet. But I lost the tug o' war and spent most of the night with a cold arse. I eventually gave up the fight and came downstairs. I tried to check out the Internet over brekkie; but it was dead. Periodically our router packs up and needs re-booting, but when this happens the internet connection isn't re-established until the third or fouth re-boot. It's becoming a nuisance; perhaps it's God's way of saying get new router.
After twenty minutes I gave up with the router and used my phone to have a look-see on-line. That connnected without a problem. My piss boiled over trivia, then I toook "Furry Face TM" for a walk.
As we walked he woofed, barked and snarled at pretty much every single object we encountered. Sometimes our walks are enjoyable; usually they are. This morning's walk was tiresome with his constantly picking fights. And I'd forgotten that Saturday is "Joggers in the Park Day". That lot seriously boil my piss. Why is it that the average jogger cannot seem to take one step forward without taking (at least) three to either side. Do they *really* need the entire five yards width of the paths? And why do they do it anyway? No one is forcing them to go jogging. This morning there must have been well over a hundred of them. Those that did not look decidedly miserable looked to be in serious pain. I remarked about this to one of the chaps marshalling their run, and together we watched the joggers for a few minutes. This marshall-chap said that he had to agree with me; not one of the joggers looked as though they wanted to be there.
We came home to find the router still wasn't talking to the Internet. After a llittle pootling about I suddenly realised the router and the Internet were back on speaking terms. This time the thing had been out of action for a couple of hours. I really should replace that router. When it did come back on-line I had an email from Amazon saying I had a free e-book. I had to choose between six books I didn't really want; I went for "Starburst" by Neil Gaiman. I wonder what it's like.
Andy and Kim came round and we went into town. A couple of pints at the local Wetherspoons the we went for lunch. I'd not been to Amici before; I'd certainly go again. Rather good scoff, and the wine wasn't too shabby either. A couple more pints on the way home and I then fell asleep on the sofa...
11 January 2015 (Sunday) – Pants
A wet nose in my armpit woke me shortly before 5.30am; not that I'm saying anything against my perfect pup. I got up, abluted, and watched an episode of "Dad's Army" I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. It's harmless enough entertainment for silly o'clock on a Sunday morning; even if they still don't like it up 'em.
It was just beginning to get light as I drove to work; there was a surprising amount of traffic on the roads at 7am. As I drove I listened to the radio. On Sunday morning the talk on the radio was of a religious bent. On some Sundays the talk can be quite spiritual and uplifting; today's' was little better than half-baked claptrap. Apparently the Church of England is reviewing the rules about whether those who have committed suicide are allowed a full Church of England funeral. Ecclesiastical thinking on the matter is divided.
There was some fatuous gasbag being interviewed who was adamant that those who had committed suicide should not be allowed a church funeral because they had committed a sin. At the same time this prat was quite happy for extortionists and murderers to have church funerals. Apparently the logic behind his position was quite obvious; doing ones self in is (apparently) far more heinous in the eyes of the Lord than doing in some innocent bystander.
(And people criticise me for saying that religions shouldn't be taken seriously!)
I got to work; I had rather a busy day. I did periodically look out of the window. It might not have been the best of days outside; but it was far from the worst. The weather would certainly have lent itself to a decent walk somewhere.
Still, there's always next weekend.
I came home; as I drove I listened for a strange sound that my car has developed. I think something's working itself loose under the dashboard. i'm not quite sure what it is though.
Seeing the place was dogger-free I stopped at a rather dark lay-by and had a look for this comet. Apparently the thing is now fourth magnitude (which means you should be able to see it with the naked eye. Clouds got in the way this evening; but I've tried on two very clear evenings over the last week and seen nothing.
Comets are crap.
Once home as I got ready for a shower I realised I'd got my pants on inside-out. I'd spent much of the day feeling something wasn't quite right; now I know what it was...
12 January 2015 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
A reasonable and uneventful night’s sleep is not to be sniffed at. I woke shortly before ‘er indoors TM alarm went off. Over brekkie I checked out cyber-space; a photo I’d posted three months ago had attracted comment. It’s odd how these things from ages ago sometimes came back to light.
I also had a message that a geocache I’d hidden over near the park and ride in Canterbury has had an obscene message written in it. I can’t help but wonder what that message was; I suppose I’d better have a look-see on my way to work later.
I took “Furry Face TM “for a little walk. We stopped by the bus stop and pretended to be waiting for the bus. A “delightful young lady” was bellowing into her mobile phone about her experiences yesterday evening. Her boyfriend had apparently “got leary” in the pub and had received a slap for his behaviour. He came home, sulked, fell asleep, then woke up and went out. Whilst he was out he threw a rock through the window of a house and of a car. He intended to chuck rocks through the windows of the people who’d given him a slap, but apparently he missed. Needless to say he then received another slap and it was at this point that the “delightful young lady” waded in with fists flying. She was adamant that had the innocents (who’d had rocks thrown through their windows) “let it lie” then there wouldn’t have been a problem. It would seem that in her world getting a rock through your window is just part of life’s rich tapestry and that reporting throwers of rocks to the police just isn’t cricket.
It was at this point that the bus arrived and I had to pretend I was waiting for a different bus. I would like to have found out what had happened next.
With the scum element safely ensconced on the bus I took “Furry Face TM “ round to Bowens Field where we walked through the park. I had intended going right on to Singleton Lake, but the drizzle had developed into proper rain so we cut our walk short and came home. As we arrived home I saw the people two doors down were moving out. I knew they were going; having retired they are moving to the West Midlands.
I’ve known them for twenty years. You would have thought they would have said goodbye.
I then got my sax out and had a practice. And having chucked my dog out into the garden I practiced without his accompaniment. I’m sure his singing is worse than my saxing. “Blue Moon” is coming along slowly; the Bach minuet isn’t. I then had a quick look at my finances… could be worse.
And I had a bit more of a fiddle with my latest Wheri-project. I *think* it’s now ready for its first field testing. I shall do that tomorrow.
I then spent much of the afternoon fast asleep. I’m off to work now – via a minor detour…
13 January 2015 (Tuesday) - Between the Night Shifts
I had a minor road trip before work last night. I popped down to Hythe for a crafty geocaching session which was near the supermarket Aldi. My geo-find went without incident, but I shan't be going to Aldi again. I asked three different members of staff where the sandwiches were only to have them vaguely waving their hands in an "over there somewhere" gesture. And whilst the check-out girl didn’t actually say “f… off baldy” in words, her manner conveyed the message eloquently enough.
I'd gone to Hythe so that I could then go on via Folkestone where I could visit my grand-baby. Littlun is growing now, and he grins and gurgles when he sees his old granddad. I spent an hour playing with him and exchanging insults with the most recent fruit of my loin.
From Folkestone I went to Canterbury. Yesterday I'd had a message to say that the logs of one of my geocaches had an obscene message written in it. The cache itself was broken, so I swapped over the entire cache for a new one.
I had a look for the offending message - I wouldn't have thought the log “obscene”; I'll let my loyal readers judge for themselves. Personally I like the style of the people leaving the message. I might try it myself.
I got to work; things started surprisingly busy. But being busy isn't necessarily a bad thing. If nothing else it keeps the mind off of sin.
As I worked I had the radio playing in the background. Overnight Radio Four plays programs from the BBC World Service. There was very little of note going on in the world (service) last night. As I worked I also checked my emails from time to time. During the early evening I got notification of a new geocache which was (sort of) mid-wa between work and home, so after work I thought I’d chase the First to Find; after all this one was in the back of beyond so I doubted if anyone else would be chasing it. And also the weather forecast said that the rain would have stopped by the time I would be out and about..
The weather forecast lied. I got the First to Find, and did the happy dance in the rain. And seeing how I was wet, once home I took “Furry Face TM “ out right away.
I had planned to field test my latest Wheri-project; I shall do that when the rain stops. Instead we went round the roads, and it wasn’t until we walked into Pets at Home that I realised that it hadn’t been me who was leading the walk. So I bought him the bone he obviously wanted, and we came home to dry off.
I pootled about on the computer whilst some washing washed, and once it was done I hung it out and then took myself off to bed. Night shifts can be tiring. I slept from 10.30am right round to 5pm.
I’m off for another night shift now… I shall miss the Tuesday tribal gathering tonight,,,
14 January 2015 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
A rather worrying episode happened on the way to work last night. I came to a T junction in Canterbury (as I often do) and was waiting to turn right. A car coming the other way was also wanting to turn right. That car had right of way, but the driver waved me out. He seemed quite insistent, but as I started to move he flew forward clearly trying to ram my car. I slammed on the brakes, narrowly missing that car. The other driver glared at me, and then flew off at seriously high speed.
I've heard of people doing this; deliberately causing an accident in which they can claim they are the innocent party; I've never seen it actually happen before. I should really have made a note of his registration number.
I got to work; for all that I do like doing the longer shifts at the more obscure times, there's no denying that tonight's shift was hard work. I had the radio playing in the background but I can't really remember anything of note. I was too busy to let it boil my piss.
I came straight home his morning with no geo-detours. Once home I put the lead onto “Furry Face TM “ and took him for a walk. A dry day was ideal for me to test out my latest wheri-project. The thing was basically sound but needed one or two tweaks before a final field trial in a day or so.
As I wheri-projected “Furry Face TM “ was off the lead doing his own thing. Unfortunately he’d found some fox poo, and before I could stop him he’d ground in well into his collar, neck, shoulder and left ear.
We came home for a serious session with the bath and some soap.
With dog bathed I then tweaked my Wherigo, and after a short doze I sat through the last video lectures in my current Coursera course. “Origins - Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth and Life” was an odd course. It sounds interesting but it went off on many tangents, and with a variety of lecturers whose spoken English wasn’t what it might have been, I found it rather hard going.
I then spent a while looking at a geo-puzzle. And didn’t get very far, If anyone can think of any form of logic in which the element rhodium equates to zero and the element copper equates to one, do let me know. However on the positive side I solved puzzles involving soduku and dogs.
With tea scoffed I then dozed as ‘er indoors TM monged candles. It’s what candlemongers do..
15 January 2015 (Thursday) - Busy Day
After a rather busy few days I slept like a log last night. I would have slept longer had I not woken with my CPAP device's air hose tangled all around me. I got up shortly after 7am and was rather amazed to find "er indoors TM" had got up too. She had a plan to make egg muffins from bananas; apparently they are made from bananas. Not eggs. One lives and learns. I lurked about and looked hopeful and my efforts were rewarded with an egg muffin. It was ratheer flatter than I would have expected, but I'm not complaining.
I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We got as far as the wetlands park, but it was more than wet. Flooded to the point of being impassable, so we diverted to pavements and then the rain got so heavy we gave up and came home.
I gave my latest wheri-game a final once-over and then submitted it for review. Let's hope it gets the thumbs-up. I have an idea for what I might wheri-do next.
I set off to Folkestone; pausing only briefly on the way for geo-reasons. I picked up "Daddies Little Angel TM" and her associates and we went for McLunch, and then on to the hospital where littlun had an out-patient appointment. We were in and out in less than twenty minutes; all was fine.
Mind you my piss was boiled by the half-witted scratter in the waiting room. Openly admitting her child was under the specialist for ongoing chronic malnutrition, this half-witted scratter was demanding to know the symptoms of all the other children and then offering her advice on what foods these kiddies should be eating. I didn't actually tell her to get knotted, but I think she got the message.
Back to Folkestone for a cuppa; aand then home again. As I drove home I realised we'd done right in avoiding the motorway when we left the hospital. Operation Stack was in full force; traffic was queued back for over five miles.
Once home I had another cuppa with my dog curled up next to me. He didn't seem cold, but he was shivering. I hope he's not sickening for something. We both dozed in front of the telly for an hour or so until it was time for sax practice.
Sax practice went well, then I popped to Tesco to get some ingredients. Whilst there I was chatted up by some chap. He struck up a conversation and on seeing all the makings of curries I had in my trolley he commented that he wouldn't want to kiss me after eating that lot. I said he'd have to kiss me before, and I minced off coquettishly. I'm taking that little episode as a definate result (!)
We then had astro club committee; we've planned the year's programme. We also watched bellowphone videos. And I was told exactly where to look to see this comet. I couldn't see it from Park Farm, but once home in my darker back garden and with my binoculars I focussed in on the sky just below the Pleiades. After a few minutes I found it. it looks like a rather indistinct blurry smudge.... (engage rant mode)
As a child I can remember the total disappointment surrounding Comet Kohoutek in 1973. Billed as the comet of the century, it never amounted to anything. At the time my grandmother told me that when she was a girl there were loads of comets. She was right - in 1910 there were five comets visible to the naked eye; and visible in daylight too.
If you go back through the historical record as well as lots of rather mediocre comets all the time there is (on average) one really bright comet every ten years. On average(!) In the last fifty (and a bit) years only I've only seen four comets. None of them visible in daylight, two of them not visible at all to the naked eye.
Comet Lovejoy is a disappointment. I'm not asking for something to light up the sky in bright daylight. I'm not asking for something brighter than the full moon. But a comet should be obvious; you should be able to look up and see it *without* having to know exactly (to within a degree of arc) where to look and *without* needing binoculars. And according to wikipedia comet Lovejoy is "one of the brightest comets located high in a dark sky in years".
Over on the astro club's website you can see I'm pencilled in to give the lecture in November. Currently the title is "TBC" (to be confirmed). The title is actually confirmed. It will be "Why Comets are Shite".
All that remains is to defeat the censor...
16 January 2015 (Friday) - Cooking Dinner
It would be today that the dishwasher blocked up. Despite my best efforts I couldn't un-bung it. Not that I am pointing the fiinger of blame in any way, but I do wish that "er indoors TM" hadn't tried to wash jelly with it.
Over brekkie I saw something that made be think. The latest government initiative Choose Better is aimed at trying to get people wiith minor ailments and maladies to seek medical ssistance from places other than the local accident and emergency departments; the idea being to reduce stress on those places an allowing truly urgent cases to be seen quicker.
It's a good idea in theory. In practice the whole "having a GP" scheme should be madeto work or scrapped entirely. I can see "Choose Better" putting people off going to accident and emergency departments and having them dying at home unnecessarily becase they didn't want to bother anyone.
I took "Furry Face TM" for our morning walk. There weren't many other dog walkers about (which was probably for the best), but one camp-looking chap with a rather effenimate-looking mutt asked if I'd seen a loose labrador. Apparently his "chum" had lost one. This fellow seemed rather talkative; and far more familiar than I think I would have been had my "chum" lost a labrador. That's now two days running that I've been ghatteed up. Result (!)
Again the rain cut our walk short; but we got home before it got too heavy. I theen spent much of the day knocking my ingredients into shape, tidying the living room and setting the table. In years gone by some of us used to have a "Come Dine with Me" thing going, and I decided that my turn was long overdue.
People seemed to enjoy what I boiled up; it wasn't bad I suppose. But I've never liked anything I've made myself.
And it would be today that the dishwasher went west...
17 January 2015 (Saturday) - Cold, Working...
I had a rather late night last night, but was awake at 5am. I thought I'd lay there for a few more minutes, and then I was woken by the alarm. I'd nodded off. Result (!)
I got up, abluted, did a little more of last night's washing up, and then over brekkie checked out the world of social media via my phone's mobile data; the house router had gone west again.
I should have left for work earlier than I did; the car was covered in ice this morning; it was minus five degrees as I drove off to work. And having wasted ten minutes de-icing the car I then found mysef stuck behind someone driveing along the very middle of the A28 at thirty miles per hour for the entire way.
My piss also boiled as I listened to the radio; the pundits were talking about the hospital in Hinchingbrooke. Recently privatised, the company running the place is trying to pull out of the contract and the Care Quality Commission (the hospital watchdog) has given the place the thumbs-down.
It seems that everyone's initial thoughts that privatising the NHS is not a good idea was wrong. It would seem that Labour party activists and Trade Unions have conspired to put the skids under the place.
This is just another example of what is wrong with health care in the UK; health care professionals cannot do their jobs because of people in authority playing silly political games.
I got to work, parked up, and as I walked into work my phone beeped. I'd actually driven past two new geocaches on my journey this morning. And my latest Wheri-project had been temporarily turned down until I tweaked it a little. I tweaked it remotely (because that's the kind of guy I am) and am now hoping for the best.
I then got on with what turned out to be a very busy day, and came home to find that "er indoors TM" had sorted the dishwasher. Apparently it's outflow pipe was bunged up with rather foul gunge. I'm glad she fixed that little problem and not me...
Now to wash dishes like a thing possessed.
18 January 2015 (Sunday) – Sandwich
Unusually I woke a few times in the night tangled in the hose of my CPAP machine. It's surprising how little I actually tangle myself in the thing. Mind you for all that it does allow me uninterupted sleep I don't like the device. As I put it on every night I feel like an old man on his death bed.
Over brekkie I fought with the router. It wouldn't work at all, so I tethered my laptop to my mobile phone to get on-line and I looked at the weather forecasts for various places around Kent. The forecast for Sandwich was light rain for much of the day, so I wondered about rescheduling our planned trip and going elsewhere. But the forecasts for everywhere in Kent had rain except for Ashford. The forecast for where we were was fine all day. But bearing in mind it was actually raining I decided to treat the weather forecasts with the contempt they deserved and continue with our plan.
We rallied the troops and five of us (and two small dogs) went on a geo-mission to Sandwich. Don't get me wrong - I liked our walk round Battle last week, but I really fancied somewhere mostly on tarmac and off of mud for today. Sandwich fitted the bill. On the map we'd found a geo-series of ten caches laid out around the town (with four church micros as an added bonus). It turned out to be a really good walk. We covered about six miles without ever being more than about a mile away from where we'd left the car. Being on roads and footpaths the going was easy.
I had hoped to pick up one or two puzzles that I'd worked out were in the area. On going to the locations that I'd calculated that we needed to visit it became apparent that I'd calculated wrongly. I shall try again.
With the walking done we went into the Red Cow for a crafty pint. As well as having public toilets with attendants, Sandwich isn't short of a pub or two. I may well organise a pub crawl round there at some stage. It was actually quite a scenic place to visit; it's only a shame I forgot to take my camera.
We came home via Kim & Andy's where we had a few bottles of home brew (hic!) before coming home with a replacement router. On arrivall at home the exisiting router seemed to be working, so we are keeping the new one in reserve for the time being.
There was a worrying episode when my PC wouldn't start. After a few minutes of doing nothing it then launched a startup repair screen. After ten minutes I got a message that the thing was utterly beyond repair and iit turned itself off. I wasn't taking any old lip from it so I turned it on again and all was fine. I wonder what that was all about.
With "er indoors TM" off bowling I spent a few minutes giving my expert opinion and advice (ahem!) to a novice wheri-writer. Someone on the wherigo forum had asked for people for advice and suggestions on her first Wherigo.I'm no expert, but I offered to give her first effort a quick look-over; if nothing else I thought I would probably learn something myself.
I then dozed in front of the telly with my dog. He seemed worn out; our Sunday walks do seem to take it out of him. I keep forgetting what short legs he has...
19 January 2015 (Monday) - The Bermuda Triangle
I slept like a log last night. A fidgeting dog woke me shortly before 9am and I got up to find an empty house. I sulked a little, and then had brekkie. I checked out the world of social media. I discovered that today was “Blue Monday”; allegedly the most depressing day of the year. Consequently I carried on sulking for a bit, and then took “Furry Face TM “ for a walk.
As I was gathering up his “eggs” a car tooted at me. Cheryl and Lacey were driving by. It was shortly after 9.30am; I wonder what Lacey was doing out of school. I shall find out.
We then walked up to Singleton Lake where we chased a squirrel up a tree. I say “we”; it was my furry associate who did most (all) of the chasing. We came home through the park where we didn’t see any of the familiar faces of OrangeHead’s Gang (which was probably for the best)
Once home I set about the laundry and the washing up, and then spent a large part of the day working on yet another Wheri-project. This one is loosely based on the Bermuda Triangle and features a randomisation feature about which I’m feeling rather smug. I’ve got to do a little field test tomorrow, but all being well it should be ready to go by the end of the week.
Three hours was the spent slaving over an ironing board, and with ‘er indoors TM off bowling I set about sorting my undercrackers. They don’t sort themselves…
20 January 2015 (Tuesday) – Birds
How can they stop this? Girlies flopping out their jubblies on page three is a British institution. I knew I was grown up when I was older than the girlies who were flopping them out, and I knew I was old when my daughter was older than the girlies who were flopping them out.
I remarked on social media that it was the end of civilisation, and took my dog for a walk before the world ended.
We walked past where I intend to hide the final part of my current Wheri-project, and then on into the park. As I walked a passing normal person asked for my ornothological opinion. She'd spotted a strange looking bird. My get reaction was to advise her to tell it (in this new world order) to put its tits away, but I was polite, and had a look. She had spotted something unusual. It looked like an albino heron; being very heron-esque in shape, but being completely white in colour. (Herons are usually shades of grey). I then spent fifteen minutes trying to take a photo of this unusual avain only to find that whilst my back was turned "Furry Face TM" had been rolling in fox poo.
I put a photo of the bird on Facebook and was told that it was actually an egret. One lives and learns. Mind you wikipedia says that egrets are the same as herons (only white) so I'm claiming a victory for my bird-watching skills.
I then spent much of the rest of our walk remembering happy days at Red Lake Primary School's bird club. As a child I spent many a happy lunch walking the fields around the Red Lake part of Hastings; Mrs Wright would take twenty or so of us out bird-spotting. Making enough noise to wake the dead we never usually saw more than a few sparrows, but after "bird club" we would all report sightings of eagles and albatrosses. In fact on one occassion even an ostrich was alledgedly sighted by a keen-eyed nine-year old.
We walked on to Singleton Lake and then came home. As we got back so the snow started. I say "started"; there was one flake but it was enough to start an avalanche of panic on social media. No more page three *and* snow really was seen as the end of the world.
As the world reeled in terror I gave my dog his brekkie, and I settled down to solve a rather tricky geo-puzzle. In the past I've found some geo-puzzles which make reference to other geocachers by name. I've instinctively disliked them; feeling them to be cliquey and elitist. However I was told that a geo-puzzle which went live yesterday mentioned me by name. I didn't see how it might, but after an hour's head-scratching I found that it did mention me.
Now *this* geo-puzzle isn't in any way cliquey or elitist. It's actually rather good... unlike the ones that *don't* mention me specifically (!)
I practiced my sax for a minute, then having chucked a singing dog into the garden I practiced for several minutes. "Blue Moon" is coming along nicely. "Blueberry Blues" isn't.
The nice man from Everest then came to give us a quote for a new back door. His quote was about double what I was hoping to pay, but after all is said and done I need a new back door. I had considered a cheaper brand but the cheaper brand had the "advantage" that if I ever locked myself out I could kick the thing open. And what is money for if not to squander foolishly on expensive doors.
I treated myself to KFC for lunch, and scoffed it whilst watching a DVD. "Bonded by Blood" is based on a true story about Essex gangsters. With KFC scoffed I watched the end of the film with my dog asleep on my lap. I then fiddled about with Wherigos for a bit before doing more ironing and a bit more saxing.
After a rather goood bit of tea we went round to Somerset Road where the clans gathered. Sausage rolls were scoffed, toilets tiddled into (!) projectors set up, and we watched another episode of "The Flash". I do like that show - I have yet to fall asleep during it....
21 January 2015 (Wednesday) - FTF, Snow
A rather good night's kip was marred only by laying half-awake for over an hour in excuciating agony because I didn't want to get up for a tiddle. If I get up and tiddle, with the wonders of CPAP technology I can be asleep again in less than five minutes. But I don't. I lay there in serious pain because I don't want to actually get up. Which is silly.
I finally got up shortly after 7am and spent a few minutes checking out the e-world. Not much had happened overnight really. As I scoffed I had an email. A new geocache had gone live only a mile away. I *could* have jumped in the car and sped off chasing the FTF, but from the map it looked like the cache was not too far from the route of our morning walk. So I got dressed, put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for our walk. We got to where the cache was, and after quite a bit of searching I discovered that I was the first one to find it after all. Happy dance.
We walked on to Singleton Lake, and as we walked so the snow started. It only lasted for a few minutes, but it was quite heavy and rather scenic.
As we walked we met several other dogs; all of which were wearing coats. "Furry Face TM" seemed to be the only dog in town without a coat. I wish he'd wear one. We came through the park where I again saw the white heron, and as I watched it flying about, so my dog stole another dog's ball and ran off with it. I wish he wouldn't. Thankfully the dog wasn't one of OrangeHead's pack so I was grateful for small mercies. As luck would have it we met up with OrangeHead as we walked along Christchurch Road. When she's not surrounded by lackeys, synchophants and assorted hangers-on she's actually quite civil, as she was this morning.
Once home I washed the dirt from my dog's belly and spent a few minutes looking for the charger for my telecope's power pack. I've a vague idea to suggest a few observing sessions over the next few weeks, but need the power pack charged first. I can't find it; this will be the second one that I've lost. If it's not here by the weekend I'll go to Maplins to buy a third.
I found out too late that there is a huge toy fair going on in London this week; I suppose I could have popped up yesterday if I had known. Or possibly swapped shifts about. Still, such is life. Sparks were playing in the UK only a couple of months ago. It's rather frustrating to find out about these things after the event.
I watched a DVD, had an early lunch and spent much of the rest of the day in bed. I'm off to the night shift now...
22 January 2015 (Thursday) - A Day Asleep
I've taken to having the radio on during my night shifts; on night shifts I'm working on my own for much of the time and the radio can be company. When I drive to work the radio boils my piss for half an hour or so; night shifts have hours of urinary vaporisation.
Last night there was a documentary on Josie Cunningham. Her agent was making great show of how it's good that she is hated by so many people as that makes for good publicity, and how her tweets (on Twitter) are read by millions.
No - I didn't know who she was either. I had to look her up on the Internet - I had no idea who she is. Apparently she's famous for having had a boob job on the NHS, and having thus achieved a moderate amount of fame she now generally acts outrageously in order to self-promote.
As my favorite periodical once described her, she is FFFA (Famous For F... All). But for all that she is FFFA, it pays her bills. The sad part of her sorry tale is that the general public have nothing better to do than to lap up her antics.
There was also talk about a call from Sussex Police for men in a Sussex village to come forward to provide DNA samples to eliminate themselves from a murder investigation.
This case made my piss boil. Not so much the case itself as the reaction to it. Surely it makes sense to have everyone's DNA on file? Given that there is blood at a murder scene (or "other fluids" at a rape scene) with the entire population's DNA on file it would be a simple matter to eliminate the innocent. And (more importantly) a difficult matter for those whose DNA was found at the crime scene to explain what it was doing there.
So why were the bleeding-heart-civil-liberty brigade whinging about this? Is it such a problem to have one's DNA record on a police file? After all, other than using it to eliminate or incriminate what else are the police going to do with this data?
And a few minutes air time was devoted to a prospective UKIP MP who has announced that the jobless should not be allowed the privilege of being allowed to drive a car.
Lynton Yates, the party's candidate for Charnwood in Leicestershire believes the jobless should catch buses rather than clog the roads with traffic. In a campaign leaflet handed to constituents, he argues that all those who claim benefits should automatically have their driving licences suspended. Presumably this twit feels he can get more votes from those in work than those not in work. And (in true UKIP fashion) this chap is rather vague about the specifics of how this policy would be put into practice.
It was with something of a sense of relief when the day shift arrived and I could turn the radio off. I came home via a geo-diversion to Wye. Once home I walked my dog round to Frog's Island and back home via Pets at Home where I bought him a huge bone. The idea was that the bone would keep him occupied whilst I slept.
It didn't really. He must have jumped on and off of the bed a dozen times during the day. Added to that the phone didn't stop ringing. It made for rather poor sleep.
I'm now off to another night shift... via sax lesson. I don't think this one will go very well...
23 January 2015 (Friday) - Works Outing
Last night's sax lesson went surprisingly well; and I learned something. It turns out not all notes have sharps and/or flats. Mine certainly don't, but some of them aren't actually supposed to have them at all. Apparently there isn't actually a note called "E-sharp". When you see E-sharp in the music you are supposed to play an F instead (go figure!). I asked why they don't just write "F" on the stave in the first place; teacher assured me there is a valid reason for making the entire process needlessly complicated.
As with alll things musical I took it on faith and kept my (non-sax-related) noise down.
As I drove from the music school to work I listened to the radio. There was an alternative comedian on the air. Let me qualify that - Bridget Christie isn't so much an alternative comedian as an alternative to a comedian. I suppose some might find her feminist rantings offensive. I didn't. Mind you I didn't find them funny, entertaining or amusing either. I listened to the show for half an hour wondering what it was supposed to be. Comedy? Satire? Feminist Politics? Listen for yourself and tell me...
Would I be really out of line by putting in a formal complaint about the show to the BBC? Now so much about the show itself as about why the BBC isn't running stuff which is worth listening to instead.
I called in to Morrisons for a bottle of Doctor Pop. A 100ml bottle of branded fizz is over a pound. Two litres of Morrison's own Doctor Pop is fifty pence. I know what I'm drinking(!)
And then on to work where (in between actually doing stuff) I listened to the radio some more. There were news programs, documentaries, plays. Readings from novels and interviews with Australian footballers. All sorts of trivia was aired overnight.
But most importantly in my world is the revelation that nudey jubblies are to return to our newspapers. Hoorah(!)
I do like the night shifts, but last night's did seem to drag. I was rather glad when the day shift turned up and I could set off homewards. Getting home was easier said than done; with road works at Chilham and no real alternative route home (without going well out of my way) I was half an hour later home than I might have been.
Once home I realised I'd lost my aastro club woolly hat (again), andd so got a cold head as I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round to the park. As we walked we tried to pick fights with several mopeds, a dustbin lorry and a shop. Other than that the walk was relatively uneventful. I was pleased about that - I was rather tired after two night shifts. as we walked I replaced two of my geocaches which had gone missing. they sem to do that.
WIth the walk done I set my alarm and went to bed. It was a shame tthat my dog declared "Red Alert" for no discernable reason some two hours before I actually wanted to get up. So with time on my hands I took the train to Canterbury and wasted some of it on a seven part multi-geo-thingy. I must admit I wasn't expecting much from this particular multi-geo-thingy; the chap who first hid it (several years ago) hid many others around the county at the same time and left most of them to fall into disrepair. So much so that when I see his name I expect to put a "Needs Archiving" log. But not this time. This one featured a well thought out walk round the town ending up with a decent cache in a rather scenic place.
I treated myself to a McFlurry then made my waay to the Wetherspoons to await the arrival of my colleagues. Unfortunately the inestimable Soup Boy (patent pending) is leaving for pastures new. He's decided to take a year to build up his physical fitness in order to attract commercial sponsorship. He wants to be a professional runner. Some see this as rather brave or foolhardy; I admire him. Better to have a go (and maybe fail) than not to try.
People soon arrived, and had the odd half-pint of shandy. Personally I went with six pints of "Cocky" (no surprises there) and pausing only briefly over a case of mistaken identity in the gents we then went for a curry.
I had a phall...
24 January 2015 (Saturday) - Sprivers and a Geo-Meet
In retrospect last night's phall was a mistake. After six pints of "Cocky" it seemed like a good idea. After half an hour spent sitting on the loo at 4am I might just have seen the error of my ways.
Rather than wasting the day staying within sprinting distance of a toilet I decided to stick wiith the original plan. The valiant band of tupperware-hunters gathered (only half an hour later than planned) and we drove out to Sprivers; a little area of woodland owned by the National Trust. Seven well-placed geocaches led us on a good walk on a rather bright (but cold) morning. The caches themselves were good; some what we might expect; some rather tricky and well hidden. And some which were rather genius. It was a shame that my being somewhat heavy-handed broke one of them. I've sent an email to the chap who hid it begging forgiveness.
I took a few photos whilst we were out; these were rather pretty woods.
With walk done we then drove up to the Hop Farm for the monthly geo-meet. This was the formal lauch of preparations for the Mega-meet in May. I spent a few minutes chattting with the organisers about the astro club's involvement in the stargazing event on the first night, I had a rather good plate of fish and chips. I got one or two hints for some geo-puzzles which have (till now) eluded me, and despite having less than full reliability in the guts department I still shifted four pints of Spitfire.
I then proceeded to sleep all the way home, and once home I tried to put the hints I'd been given to use in solving geo-puzzles. And failed... I shall try again later.
"er indoors TM" set ooff flogging candles and I put on a DVD. "Essex Boys" is a film I've seen before; I quite like it; it was ideal viewing for a quiet evening spent waiting for my guts to settle....
I think I'll have an early night.
25 January 2015 (Sunday) - So Bored...
I woke in need of a tiddle shortly after 4.30am. When I emerged from Trap One I saw my dog was standing by the back door. “What a good dog” I thought and opened the door so’s he too could go for a tiddle. He flew down the garden shouting and barking at the top of his voice.
I got a torch, a coat, a pair of wellies and chased him back inside where he looked most indignant at having his woofing disturbed.
I went back to bed where I shivered for a while before getting back to sleep, and was licked awake at 8.30am by a small dog who was acting as though nothing at all untoward had happened overnight.
Over brekkie I saw my plans for the day had gone awry. I’d turned down other offers for the day and not organised any outings so’s I could help sort out a garden, only to find the gardening day had been cancelled.
With ‘er indoors TM off candle-mongering I found myself at something of a loose end. Mind you she had left me cake, so I scoffed the one that didn't look like a penis and then took “Furry Face TM “ for a walk. We went round the park and on to Singleton Lake. Half of the lake was frozen over; the part that wasn’t frozen had loads of fishermen doing their piscatorial thing. They must love it, it was really cold.
We then went round to see “My Boy TM ” but he wasn’t in. I had a cuppa with Cheryl and Lacey before coming home for lunch. Being “Home Alone” I treated myself to KFC and watched the first episode of “Extant”. It shows promise even if I think I can see where the plot is going.
I then spent much of the rest of the afternoon at the PC. I did the monthly accounts; they would have been rather healthy had I not just bought a new back door. And then I bashed my head against the floor to get my brain working and did some programming. Over the last few months I’ve published several Wherigo geocaches. The Wherigo is a GPS-based game played on the SmartPhone. If you know where to look on-line you can get the base programming and then tweak it to make your own Wherigos. I’ve done that quite a bit recently, but now I thought I might have learned enough to write one from scratch. I’ve made a start on a guide round Ashford. It’s amazing how long it took to do so little…
After several hours getting cross with .lua codes I had a shower, turned on the telly and watched a James Bond film. "The Man with the Golden Gun" is a film of its time. Racist, sexist; it was relatively entertaining when first made, but now its rather dated. Did Britt Ekland *really* need to be running round in a bikini quite so much?
It speaks volumes that the sort behaviour celebrated and glorified in that film is the very behaviour for which celebrities of that time are now being prosecuted.
"er indoors TM" came home with curry and we settled ourselves in front of the telly to catch up watching episodes of "Big Bang Theory" we'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. They were more entertaining than James Bond but i can't help but wonder if that too is a show that has run its course.
Today was dull...
26 January 2015 (Monday) - Still Rather Dull
I've heard good things said about the TV show "Mr Selfridge" so last night we watched the show. I don't think I'll be watching any more. It just didn't hold my attention. As the TV drivelled on my phone rang; it was work. Would I do the early shift tomorrow? I agreed; I'd rather have an early or a late start. Mind you I'd rather do the longer night and weekend shifts if possible because there are less of those and I get more whole days off. What with the vagaries of my shift system I've now got to work for the next four days. Four consecutive days(!)
I was just about to go to kip when the door crashed open. "My Boy TM" and his new beard were visiting after a heavy day's drinking. He talked rubbish for a few minutes then staggered off into the distance.
Unusually for me I took a while to get to sleep. And then I had a rather restless night. I think I saw every hour on the clock. I blame our new mattress. This "memory-foam" doesn't mould itself to the shape of your body at all. It just has a crater where I sleep, and I can't get comfortable because I'm just rolling into that crater all the time. I suppose this is the disadvantage of buying a hooky mattress from a dodgy bloke I met by chance in the street.
I got up a little while before the alarm was about to go off, and had all of my toast as "Furry Face TM" was still asleep. And so to work. As I drove I listened to the news. An election in Greece has seen a victory for the "Stick It Up Your Bum, Europe Party". They've come to power by promising an end to austerity. So either they really will tell the EU to "stick it up their bum" and the Greek economy will collapse, or they will (like every other politician) moderate their promises in the light of reality. Either way it's not going to be good for Greece. And consequently the rest of Europe.
he Prime Minister had a phone call. Some chap, in a moment of drunken bravado, phoned Downing Street and after a little to-ing and fro-ing got put through to the Prime Minister. Personally I can't see what the fuss is about, but the pundits were all a-twitter on the matter.
And after nine years of travelling, the New Horizons probe in about to start taking photographs of the planet Pluto.
I got to work; I've got used to lone working at night over the last few weeks. It was odd to have the place filled with people. I did my bit; at lunch I went out to the car park and did sax practice. My Mexican Hat isn't too shabby at all.
An early start made for an early finish. I came home, turned on my PC, got shirty on social media and defriended someone. Defriending on Facebook is a serious thing to do (!) but I'm afraid sometimes I take offence. Because I'm a scruffy noisy messy tattoed thug-looking ruffian people tend to overlook the fact I have more letters after my name than sense.
I do get miffed when someone dismisses something I say about a subject on which I have years of professional experience and extensive post-graduate qualification in favour of uninformed opinion... and then tries to tell me I know nothing
Perhaps I'm just too full of my own importance...?
I'm going to eat my penis-cake now...
27 January 2015 (Tuesay) - A Sulking Dog
I had a terrible night's sleep. When I finally wrestled some of the duvet back for myself and when the dog finally stopped trying to push me out of the bed I was beset by the most vivid dreams. I seemed to spend an eternity trying to shave with washing-up liquid and a tea-spoon whilst avidly watched by "The Man with No Alias (patent pending)" and his entire entourage.
Not content with having my bed, my dog then had a large proportion of my morning toast whilst at the same time blanking me. He's been in an odd mood since I told him off last night for various crimes. He rarely (if ever) gets told off, and when he does he seems to develop something of a cob about the matter.
Cobs notwithstanding we then went out for our morning walk. We went round to the park. Last night I did some serious Wherigo-writing and wanted to test out my efforts. I want to write a SmartPhone-based GPS game in which.... well, I won't give the game away. But I will say that my first effort had mixed results. On the one hand it does do what I told it to do. On the other hand it doesn't do what I want it to do. A quick posting on the Wherigo UK forum and within five minutes the thing was working fine (in the emulator). I do like the Wherigo UK forum. There's never any nastiness or arguing there. Mind you my having total admin power does help.
As I drove to work there was all sorts of drivel on the radio. The problems faced by people in mixed race relationships, the problems of period pains... nothing which gripped my attention.
With time to spare I went over to Kingsbrook to do some geocaching; there is one there that I'd failed to find three times before. But now I had some inside information and I found it after only a few seconds searching. It's actually a very good cache; excellent in fact. However the listed GPS co-ordinates are about fifteen meters awry. And I felt the hint given was rather misleading. But I've finally found this one now.
I still had a few minutes before work, so I had a little sax session; despite the fact it was on the cold side. I then did my bit, and over lunch saxed some more. I would have liked to have saxed all afternoon, but it wasn't to be...
Home rather later than usual to find the clans had gathered. More of The Flash. Zoom! Zoom!
28 January 2015 (Wednesday) - Feeling Tired
I slept like a log last night; finally being woken by my alarm. I woke surprised to find "Furry Face TM" wasn't crashed out next to me as he usually is; I found him in his basket looking rather sheepish. I couldn't work out if he was embarrassed about his sulk of last night, or embarrassed about the recent damp fresh dog-tiddle stain on the carpet.
Rather than watching telly this morning I spent some time clearing up dog tiddle instead.
Off to work; as I drove the radio spewed its mixed bag of gems and drivel. Our old friend science has discovered the oldest star known to have planets. Great show was made of the fact that this has tremendous implications, but no show at all was made of what these implications might be.
Some vacuous old windbag was wittering on "Thought for the Day" about how the original version of the Lord's Prayer had relevence to the Greek financial crisis. And researchers showed that pregnant members of the lower orders are more likely to give up smoking if they are paid to do so. Personally I can't see how anyone can afford to smoke these days - ten fags a day costs more than one hundred quid each month.
I got to work, I did my bit. I went out to practice my sax at lunch time. or that is I went out to do so, but didn't. It was too cold, so I sat in my car and surfed the net on my phone instead.
I also treated myself to a Cadbury's creme egg. There has been a lot of fuss recently about how the creme egg recipe has changed. It didn't taste any different to me.
With my bit done I came home. I was planning to go visit my grand-bub. I had an offer to go out to dinner with father-in-law as well. I did neither. Instead I spent the evening at home; a few rough nights recently had taken their toll. I just wanted a bit of peace and quiet.
I didn't get it. My dog sat on the sofa with me and spent the evening whinging for me to play tug 'o war and fetch. For most dogs that would be two seperate games; not for my dog...
I spent a little while on my new Wheri-project. I've programmed "the thing". Those of a geocaching persuasion will be able to have a go with "the thing" in a week or so. I hope.
29 January 2015 (Thursday) – Cold
I had a stroke of genius last night; for a change I slept in the middle of the bed and my dog slept on the edge. This arrangement worked well; or that is it worked well for me. I woke to find "Furry Face TM" stil snoring so I suppose it couldn't have been too bad for him either.
We shared toast, then went for a walk round the park. Two days ago I mentioned my first attempts at programming GPS-based games had had mixed results. This morning I tested the Mark II version which works. It might not be working perfectly but it's doing what I want it to do.
As we walked I could see a dog-debacle in progress so I got "Furry Face TM" onto his lead. Two mutts (of dubious lineage) were having what I could only describe as a "handbags at dawn" episode. The owner of one dog, an elderly chap, was ranting at the owner of the second dog about how well behaved his dog was and how it had never attacked another dog before. The owner of the second dog, a woman of indeterminate age, was just crying pathetically. Meanwhile the two dogs snarled and snapped at each other; neither actually doing any harm to anyone or anything.
With my dog on his lead I could be sure we wouldn't get embroiled in the squabble, and we left them to it.
Often when I'm on the late shift I'll go for an hour's geo-mission before work. It was cold today so I stayed in and carried on working on my latest Wheri-project. It's amazing how much effort goes in to producing so little result.
I set off to work; listening to the radio. I have no recollection of what was being discussed. Whatever it was, it wasn't memorable.
I got to work, and worked. At lunchtime I saxed for ten minutes. I would likee to have saxed for longer but it was too cold. And talking of saxing I missed my sax lesson today as I was on the late shift. The late shift was surprisingly busy, and I was late leaving as we had something of an emergency going on.
I was dubious about coming home; the word was that Ashford had been the recipient of snow. But I came home to find that it had all been a false alarm. I then spent the rest of the evening alternately playing tug-'o-fetch with my dog and trying to watch "Forrest Gump". I can vaguely remember writing a blog post about the film once...
30 January 2015 - (Friday) - A Day Off
The night before last I slept well with "Furry Face TM" on the outside of the bed and me in the middle. Last night "Furry Face TM" wanted the middle, and I spent much of the night battling with him. The obvious answer would be to have him sleep in his basket...
I had brekkie, and despite the snow I took my dog for a walk. I tried to get him to wear a coat. He ran and hid. I finally forced him into his coat and he flatly refused to move. So I let him have his way.
We went out and completed the final Wheri-test of my Mark II Wheri-attempt, and the first Wherigo that I have written from scratch (with no help of blagging whatsoever) now works fine.
After half an hour the snow stopped, and with testing done we came home via Park Farm, the Willesborough Dykes and Pets at Home where I had an episode.
Pets at Home were selling small bones for eighty pence. The sign on the shelf said so. When I got to the till I was charged over two quid. I queried this and some chap was sent off to investigate. He wandered off in another direction to pick up a clip board, went to the bones shelf, replaced the original price label with the correct price label from his clipboard, then announced that the price was correct.
I put the thing back and got one twice the size for half the price, and as Mr Clipboard was watching he couldn't quibble that price.
Home; I gave my dog's tummy a wash to get the worst of the dirt off, then left him scoffing his bone whilst I went out to Sainsbury. I re-fueled the car, then got a deli-bowl. I like those.
Whilst in Sainsburys I saw that a film crew werer recording an advert for Activia. Whatever that is. So when you next see an advert for Activia (whatever that is) look out for me in the background grinning like a loon.
I came home to scoff my deli-bowl. As I scoffed it I watched "Extant". Like much sci-fi it seems to concentrate on the "fi" to the detriment of the "sci". For example, given that one is on a space station which is rotating to simulate gravity; the areas with such simulated gravity would be those bits furthest from the axis. You wouldn't be walking about seemingly in full gravity in the axis areas only to climb to the extremities where you would be floating about. Basic physics tells us that.
I then spent a few hours farting about with about my latest wherigo adding some bells and whistles, submitted it for publication, and got the thumbs down. Apparently I'd put the cache on the edge of "a Heritage site which is a Scheduled Monument (Romano-British roadside settlement and World War II pillbox)". I thought I'd put it on a road sign on a pavement on a road which is a public right of way.
I took a deep breath. The alleged Romano-British roadside settlement is actually a fenced-off clump of brambles where gypsies perioically leave their horses, and the World War II pillbox (which is a couple of hundred yards away) has long since been left to collapse.
So I nipped out and retrieved the cache I'd hidden and put a different one on the other side of the road; all the time grumbling about the matter. How can one side of a suburban street be a Heritage site and the other not?
I collected Stevey from the station annd we went for McScoff. I had a McRib and now wished I hadn't. Not only was it the McMessiest thing I've ever eaten, it gave me McGuts ache too.
We then went on to one of the best astro club meetings we've had in a long time. A really good turn out, clear skies for stargazing, and an excellent talk and practical session on making your own comet.
I've now got to re-write that Wherigo. Should only take an hour or so...
31 January 2015 (Saturday) - Before the Night Shift
By the time I'd re-programmed my Wherigo I didn't get to bed until gone 1am. Consequently I slept like a log last night.
Over brekkie I saw that my Wherigo had received the official thumbs-up. I was pleased about that. Now I can start thinking about making the next one. I then sorted out the astro club's money. In a novel break with tradition, in my post-club-meeting tallly up I had exactly as much money as I thought I should have on the first counting. Usually it takes several attempts to sort it out.
For all that I have a degree in mathematics, I can't actually count.
I then went down the road; I had an appointment with the doctor. I've had a lump in my throat which has been slowly getting bigger and bigger. I went along expecting the worst, and the doc didn't actually say it wasn't the worst. She's given me some antibiotics and if the thing doesn't right itself in a week I'm too go back to see her.
I came home via the chemist (for antibiotics) and the bakery (for Belgian buns).
I collected "Furry Face TM" and we went for a walk. As we went along Christchurch Road we found a supermarket trolley blocking the pavement. It was from Asda (over half a mile away) and it contained a fire extinguisher. What was that all about?
We carried on through the park; we met an Irish Wolfhound. Surprisingly my little dog didn't show his usual "little dog syndrome"; instead he was scared. The big dog did nothing in any way threatening, but Fudge wouldn't leave my side. Mind you I say he was scared. Perhaps he was feeling under the weather.He'd had several bouts of dire rear whilst we were out. (I blame the squirty-cream I gave him yesterday)
Just as we came past Singleton Lake my phone beeped to tell me a new geocache had gone live. As luck would have it we were actually walking in the thing's general direction. The chance of a First to Find had appeared. It meant going a mile out of our way (and a mile back again), but what are FTFs for if not to chase?
We waddled round to try to find it; we took fifteen minutes to get to the cache site and another half an hour to actually have the thing in my hand. I was about to give up and sulk when inspiration came from a most unusual source. I was the first one to find it. Happy dance.
Five minutes later as we were walking home we met someone else who had been chasing the FTF...
On our way home I noticed a footpath near Singleton school that I'd not seen before. This path seemed to go in the general direction in which we neeeded to go, so we explored. We discovered Singleton Manor; a rather posh moated manor house. I had no idea that it was there. And it was only a mile from home. It's amazing what you miss.
As we came home we also discovered a private hedge. One can only wonder what prompts someone to put up a notice to tell the public that a hedge is private.
Once home "Furry Face TM" had a shower to wash the dirt from his tummy, and I had my Belgian bun for lunch. It wasn't the freshest I've ever had. And then I went to bed at 1pm.
I had been given the opportunity to go to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich with friends today. I could have gone to Hastings with "er indoors TM" and"Daddies Little Angel TM" to visit my mummy. But being on the night shift tonight meant for a relatively quiet day; so bed it was.
I slept surprisingly well, and woke to find tthat it was as well I'd spent the afternoon in bed. While I'd been fast asleep the weather had turned, and there was heavy rain outside. I then spent a little while learning more about .lua codes for my next Wheri-project.
I'm feeling rather ambitious and ahve a plan to devise a GPS game which will take a couple of hours, involving all sorts of tasks and activities and is (quite frankly) well beyond my .lua coding skills. But I shall have a go. Idiot enthusiasm usually trumps common sense.
I'm off to the night shift now (via Morrisons)...