1 January 2016 (Friday) - New Year's Day
At New Year it is traditional to reflect on what has gone before and what is to come. Realistically for me the last year has been pretty marvellous compared to how I thought things might have been. Things could have been better; they could have been considerably worse.
Looking at social media over brekkie gave me pause for thought on the matter, Everyone else has been making such reflections over the last day. There are those who feel they have had a really good year. There are those who feel they have had a terrible year. Admittedly much of what happens to us is beyond our control; who knows when the rug is going to be pulled (viciously and nastily) out from under us. But in many ways life is a frame of mind. Those who weren't happy with 2015 as a year also didn't much like 2014 either and (quite frankly) seem to have already decided against 2016.
Life *isn't* what you make it; but your own frame of mind is. And that will be this year's New Year Resolution; a lot less sulking and being a miserable old git..
We set off to Great Chart; having been asked to organise the New Year event I'd put a series of twenty geocaches out around the area for a walk this morning. I'd posted that anyone who fancies an early morning geo-wander might like to meet us in Great Chart this morning. I was expecting a dozen people; I was hoping for twenty. In all we had thirty-six people (and four dogs). I knew the terrain was muddy; but I didn't know it was going to be *that* muddy. It had certainly got a lot worse in the two weeks since I last walked the route
Three trial runs of this route had each taken me a shade over two hours; today we took two and a half hours. And once we'd walked we made our way to the pub where a dozen other friends (old and new) were waiting to meet us. We had a rather good spot of lunch and a few pints and spent time chatting. In retrospect it was perhaps a little cold to be sitting outside; perhaps the people at the pub had over-sung the praises of the patio heaters. But I had a good time. I think the final head count at the meet was over fifty; I was well impressed.
We walked home throuigh the park just as the rain started. I'd taken a few photos of the mud whilst we'd been out. Once home (and with dogs bathed) I put the photos on-line and then promptly fell asleep.
I woke a few hours later to find that "er indoors TM" had boiled up a rather good bit of scoff. We devoured it whilst watching the ITV2 channel. There were a couple of films on; "Despicable Me" and "Skyfall".
I rarely watch TV as it is broadcast - do normal people *really* put up with all these adverts?
2 January 2016 (Saturday) – Joggers
After a rather good night's sleep I was woken by the noise of my CPAP device. It was rather noisy so I turned it off and then I got rather breathless. So I got up and (as "er indoors TM" and the dogs snored) had a mooch on-line over brekkie. Among other nonsense I'd had an email offering me a bargain; the option to buy an endoscope for only a tenner. With three and a half metres of cable I could shove the thing down the plug hole to have a good look at the inside of the drains and see the results on the screen of my phone.
Do people actually buy this stuff?
As I smurfed the net (!) "Furry Face TM" came and jumped up onto the sofa with me, plonked his chin on the hand I was using to type with, and went to sleep. For all that everyone else sees a noisy excitable little dog, he is actually rather soppy when he thinks no one else is watching.
With brekkie scoffed I took one half of our resident wolf pack for a walk (Sid was still asleep). What with one thing and another I'd rather forgotten about the joggers and their Saturday morning running round the park. As we dodged the joggers we met up with Orangehead and her Chunky Little Friend. Chunky Little Friend wasn't happy; she'd had a run-in with one of the joggers.
She'd been walking her dog through Victoria Park this morning as some of the joggers ran by six or seven abreast. The joggers swore at her for daring to be on the same path as they were. OrangeHead (being Queen Bee of the Viccie Park dog walking circuit) chirped up that all the other dog walkers also get verbal abuse on Saturday mornings from groups of joggers who insist on running together in such a way as to completely fill the paths and who expect everyone else to jump into the hedges to avoid them.
Apparently OrangeHead knows the particular jogger who had a go at her Chunky Little Friend, and OrangeHead is going to report said jogger to the authorities for child abuse. This jogger was forcing a small child to jog with him when clearly the child didn't want to.
I smiled politely and offered the observation that from what I'd seen over the last year or so I didn't think that people were allowed to jog round the park *unless* they were in groups six or seven abreast,(all with expressions showing they are in pain) swearing at passers by whilst forcing small children to run with them (whilst the children quietly cry that they want to go home).
We came home via Christchurch Road where something had happened. I don't know what it was, but there was a gaggle of people standing around asking each other if they knew what had happened. They asked me if I knew what had happened; I said that I didn't. They all started telling each other that I didn't know what had happened either. I asked what had happened to which a rather distraught woman exclaimed "we don't know".
I left them to it, came home and had a cuppa. My dog jumped onto the sofa with me and did something which amazed me, He stole one of my biscuits and munched it there and then. I didn't know what to say or do; he has *never* done anything like that before. I can't help but wonder if he was showing off in front of Sid.
"er indoors TM" wanted to do the weekly Tesco food shopping. I won't lie; I didn't. But the day before a night shift is often somewhat dull, so I went along on the off-chance that there might have been an adventure.
As well as all the dull stuff we got Belgian buns for lunch. Not that I'm an expert on the subject, but Tesco's Belgian buns aren't a patch on the Co-op's ones. And with bun scoffed I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. It was as well I was down to be working tonight (and so needing an afternoon in bed) as it was raining outside. I don't mind the rain when it is not stopping me from doing outdoor stuff.
I slept surprisingly well..... I'm off to the night shift now.
3 January 2016 (Sunday) – Goldfinger
Last night as I worked I listened to the radio. I do that on my way to and from work and on night shifts. I once found just how easy it was to get out of touch with current affairs so (much as it winds me up) I listen to the radio's news and current affairs programmes when I can.
Not having listened to any news for a week I was wondering what had happened in the wider world. It would seem the major event of news was the fact that he football team Manchester City had won a game. I heard about this in amny reports and articles all night long. I was going to ask "who cares" but it is quite clear that a *lot* of people must care for it to have had such a high profile last night.
After a rather busy night I came home and went straight to bed. Despite endless phone calls and dogs barking I stayed there for seven hours until I gave up trying to sleep. Over a rather late brekkie I checked social media. My niece was hit by a car last night. The incident wasn't (quite) as serious as it sounds; she was walking along a lane and she was clipped on the hand by the car's wing mirror. Her hand was rather seriously bruised; the car's wing mirror didn't survive the impact.
It is a sign of our times that she was ranting about the matter within seconds of it having happened, but she didn't think to take the number of the car that hit her.
I also confirmed something I had suspected yesterday. Toward the end of last year in the company of several hunters of tupperware I'd started on the Essex Way series of geocaches; a guided walk of over four hundred geocaches along a route of over eighty miles. Yesterday I heard reports that this series was being archived.
My first reaction was disappointment; with other caches to be found on the way this was a series of over six hundred finds which could be done in smaller easy segments. I'd only done two of them. It looks like this series had only been out for one year. Much as I advocate not leaving caches out for ever I can't help but feel that one year was perhaps rather a short time.
Having said that it looks as though no one has been out along the second stretch since we walked it some six weeks ago. And it also looks as if no one had walked the first stretch since we walked it back in October. Realistically there are only so many people who will walk a linear route; they need some preparation as you need to have a car at each end. Perhaps the route really had run its course? It would have been good to have gone back to Essex to finish the walk but with this walk gone the area is now clear for others. People are already talking about putting out new series.
As I scoffed my toast (with my wolf pack on my lap) I watched the telly with half an eye. I had been hoping that "Upstairs Downstairs" might have been on. It wasn't, but the James Bond film "Goldfinger" was. I was surprised at just how much Sid was watching the film; he was growling at the screen at least once every five minutes. As the afternoon wore on I found myself more and more captivated by the film. For all that it is an iconic film (actually as old as I am), it is rather crap really. Would Goldfinger *really* not have shot Bond dead so much earlier. And would he *really* have put up with so much nonsense from him?
And now I'm off to another night shift. These days between the night shifts are rather dull....
4 January 2016 (Monday) – Laundry
We had some blue cheese over Christmas. Last night "er indoors TM" boiled the last of it into an omelette for tea. It was really good. I *love* blue cheese in an omelette. But it doesn't love me. Invariably it doesn't sit well, and I never remember this until it is too late. And so I spent much of last night with something of a guts ache.
As I worked on the night shift I listened to the radio. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I commented on the sad death of Lemmy (of Motorhead fame) last week. There is a program on the radio every Sunday evening which runs features on the celebrities who have recently died. Obviously Lemmy was featured last night. I didn't know that he was sacked from the band "Hawkwind" having been caught smuggling drugs into America.
I know I'm getting old, but do we *really* make heroes out of drug smugglers?
I've found these last two night shifts quite tiring. I was glad when the relief arrived this morning. I came home and took the dogs for a walk. "Furry Face TM" was raring to go; Sid actually went and hid (again). Sid doesn't seem to want to go for walks but he had no choice today. We didn't go far; I was hoping to go round the park but a heavy rainstorm put paid to our plans. We cut our walk short and I went to bed. I slept like a log and was deeply engrossed in a dream about the importance of cartography in a post-apocalyptic nighmare when I was rudely awoken by the dogs barking. To hear the commotion you would think that it was the end of the world. Actually it was the postman.
I got up, put washing into the washing machine and then intended to look at the accounts but was unable to. The bank's on-line facility was kaput. I hope it is not serious. Instead I had a look at my plan to fill in my geo-calendar. I have some forty-two days (between now and 8 July) on which I need to log finds to complete this challenge. Due to the way in which my shifts work most of those days are days when I'm not working. Finding them on the days when I am not working shouldn't be too problematical.
However eighteen of these are days when I am working. Which means a cheeky find on the way to or from work. However over the last three and a half years I have pretty much found everything between home and work. I shall have to study that geo-map and see if I can't organise some circuitous drives to work.
Washing came out of the washing machine and onto the clothes horse; more washing went in, and I backed up December's blog entries. Followning the demise of my original storage I've set up a backup just in case the Blogger website goes west. Having backed up I then browsed some blog entries from eight years ago. In retrospect although life is a lot more peaceful now the fruits of my loin have left home, it is a lot less "danilicious".
I sorted my (washed and dried) undercrackers whilst watching "Upstairs Downstairs" until "er indoors TM" came home and boiled up some scran. And with her off bowling I made a start on the ironing. I got the ironing box empty, but realistically all that has done has made space to put the washed laundry. Once I've got it dry...
5 January 2016 (Tuesday) - Flooded Park
Despite being woken by the rain at some point in the night it didn't disturb me for long. I slept for over nine hours last night. Presumably the after-effect of two night shifts?
I put all the white landry into the washing machine and then fed the dogs. Sidney hoovered his food up; Fudge walked away, but at my insistence he came back and nibbled at it for a bit. He's been off his food for the last few days. I wonder what's bothering him. Mind you he's never been a greedy dog.
Over my own brekkie I saw three new geocaches had gone live nearby. The local "FTF-grabber" had been out and done the "FTF-happy-dance" on all three barely an hour after their publication and over an hour before I'd woken up. Whilst he is doing nothing at all wrong in charging out like that, I can't help but wonder if it would be good to give others a chance. Especially when the local "FTF-grabber" operates as a team of four. In many parts of the world many people enjoy the race for FTF; in these parts no one bothers trying any more.
Not much had happened on social media. A lot of people were sulking that the Christmas holidays were over. I must admit that I've had a rather good break; and (in many ways) what with a biopsy tomorrow and a night shift on Friday I've still got another week before I'm back to work "properly".
I then took my wolf pack (of two small dogs) for a walk round to the park. Today must have been "National Pick Up Your Dog Day"; everyone that we met who had a dog today picked their dog up as we approached. What was that all about?
We had to adjust our route through the park somewhat; everywhere we went was flooded.
We got home to find it was mid day already. Where had the morning gone? I popped up the road to the corner shop for a sandwich. Having looked at my blog archive yesterday I realised that my sandwich cost the same today as it did eight years ago.
As I scoffed my sandwich I watched the weekend's broadcast of "War and Peace". I've never read the book but what I saw was rather good. I quite liked the appearance of Adrian Edmonson as Count Rostov; it never fails to amaze me how the alternative comedians of the 1980s are actually rather good actors. Both Rik Mayal and Alexei Sayle have been excellent in straight roles. The actress playing Natasha looked very familiar; but it took an Internet search to show me she's actually been in Downton Abbey.
I got the second load of washing hung on to the clothes horse just as the torrential rain started and I then had (yet) another attempt to get proper maps working on my phone's geo-app. This is something I've been struggling with (on and off) for nearly a year. At Friday's geo-meet I met the chap who'd given me instructions to set it up in the first place, and he gave me one or two pointers. After a minute's twiddling I now have it working.
Now the burning question.... having got decent maps back on my phone do I still need a GPS unit? The geo-admin is easier with a GPS unit, and the GPS unit comes with a lanyard so it hangs round my neck. But with "proper" maps on my phone (and tablet) there *really* isn't much to choose between the phone and the GPS.
Whilst waiting for the laundry to dry I spent a little while solving geo-puzzles with a view to go for a walk at the weekend.
There's no denying that whilt the morning flew past, the afternoon dragged somewhat.
With the laundry basket *finally* emptied "er indoors TM" came home with a ton of washing generated by "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM".
What with the usual Tuesday crew being (nearly all) indisposed we had a rather good bit of scoff and watched "War and Peace". "er indoors TM" wanted to watch it, and I wanted to watch it again to figure out what had been going on...
6 January 2016 (Wednesday) - Back to the Hospital
Another good night's sleep; I was out for the count for over eight hours last night. I like that.
Over brekkie my piss boiled somewhat as I looked on-line. Last year at the General Election several people of my acquiantance were perhaps a little vocal in standing up for their favoured political choice and quite condescending to anyone who thought otherwise. This morning the same people are rather outspoken about being very unhappy about the obvious consequences of the policies of the government that they (loudly) voted in.
Voting at elections *shouldn't* about voting for your mate, or about voting to send them all back on the next banana boat. It should be about making considered choices for a better future. And to make those choices people *really* need to consider all the options on offer and hear *all* the policies of each choice; not knee-jerk vote for the first pundit to offer you free fish in your hand up-front now.
I would say that that people have made their own bed, now they must lay in it, but I too am laying in that same uncomfortable bed. Did I ever mention that I don't beleive in democracy?
I put the leads onto the dogs; Sid first ran away, then with his lead having been forcibly attached he went to his basket. He *really* didn't want to go out. Fudge however was bouncing about like a thing possessed.
I intended to go to the park, but with two approaches flooded I changed tack and we walked round by the river. As we walked we saw something odd. Two tramps had obviously been sleeping rough under the bridge by the railway station. They were politely sharing a bottle of red wine for breakfast, and both had new bicycles. I wonder what that was all about.
At the earliest opportunity I let both dogs off of their leads. Fudge did his own thing. Sid stayed at heel until he needed a tiddle then (realising I'd walked on) refused to move until I went back for him. He does that; whenever he straggles (for whatever reason) he *really* doesn't want to catch up. He would much rather I went back for him at which point he walks perfectly at heel.
I noticed that the river was quite full this morning. I wonder if it will burst its banks. A few years ago there were floods in Cornwall. Last year floods in Somerset. Now floods in Yorkshire. However once there has been floods the rivers get dredged and all is (relatively) well. Does it really take a genius to realise that some relevent authority should be scraping out the downstream sections of the Great Stour now?
Once home I settled the dogs and then went to the local hospital. It is now four and a half years since it and I had a somewhat acrimonious parting of the ways and even after all this time it still rankles. But leaving all that aside I had to go there for the next stage of the ongoing saga of the lump in my neck. Last spring I was urgently referred to the hospital under the two-week cancer referral scheme. I did write quite a long and in-depth tale about what has been going on; but decided against posting it up here. I expect my loyal readers will understand why I am loathe to do so.
I went back today, and again I had my neck ultrasounded. Whatever it was they found over the summer hasn't grown at all but they performed another aspiration on the side of my neck. I go back to find out what this revealed (or didn't) in a few weeks time. It might be a lymphoma; it might not. Personally I doubt it is anything to worry about at all.
Time will tell. it always does...
I came home and spent much of the afternoon slobbing about. I had been rather dubious about taking a day's sick leave on the day of the first aspiration but in retrospect was glad that I had done so. I had no qualms about doing so today.
As the anaesthetic wore off it felt as though I'd been punched in the side of my neck, and so I sulked in front of the telly. Last night I'd recorded a film to watch. "The Girl Next Door" promised to be quite a raunchy saucy way to spend the afternoon. It wasn't. It was rather dull and despite several jubblies having been "flopped out" the film was probably about an hour longer than it needed to have been.
"er indoors TM" came home; her beano with the other candlemongers had been cancelled so we watched a film which wasn't entirely lame.
7 January 2016 (Thursday) – Littlestone
Having had two good nights sleep was it really that surprising to find myself wide awake and listening to the rain from 3pm onwards today?
Over brekkie I saw I had a friend request on Facebook. If any of my loyal readers could remind me from where I know Ivy Repollo Caruyan (who seems to be a schoolchild from the Philippenes) I would be very grateful.
Also over brekkie my laptop had a low battery warning. It looks like the cable which powers the thing has gone west. I have temporarily blagged the one that "er indoors TM" uses. I wonder how long I will get away with that. I then phoned "Daddies Little Angel TM" to postpone our walk until after the rain had stopped. There is no fun in going out just to get wet. And then finding myself at a loose end for a while I watched the last episode of "Tripped". A good series; I hope they make another.
Once the rain had subsided I loaded the dogs into the car and drove round to collect "Daddies Little Angel TM"
and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". The most recent fruit of my loin wanted to take the dogs for a walk; I had a space on my geo-calendar to fill. So we drove down to Littlestone Beach where everyone could be happy.
We parked up outside of a house which I can only describe as looking like the sort of place where Herman Munster or Gomez Addams might live. As we got the buggy and dogs and littlun out of the car I sensed we were being watched. A rather ferocious-looking crone was watching us from this house with the sort of expression with which a hungry dog might use to view a distant bone. In a spirit of friendliness "Daddies Little Angel TM" gave this crone a cheery wave. Said crone was not at all happy about that.
We walked off along the sea wall; as we started walking the sun came out and it was a surprisingly warm day. The dogs sniffled as dogs do, I took a few photos whilst we walked.
I tried to encourage the dogs into the sea. Fudge played, but Sid wasn't keen. As we walked we chatted with other dog walkers; we met a pair of black pugs and spent quite a while "talking pug".
Having walked the length of the golf course we noticed it was getting colder and the sky was darkening so we turned round and walked back to the car. We got back just as the drizzle started, and as we drove home so the rain got heavier.
Once home bboth dogs settled on sofas and within minutes both were soundly snoring as I found myself engrossed in an episode of "Only Fools and Horses" which was first aired over thirty years ago. Mind you despite its age and despite my having seen it so many times it was still funny.
Jimbo called round and we went out to Wye. The idea was to have a crafty half in the Barber's Arms. It would have been a good idea had the place actually been open. Instead we had a pint in the King's Head and two halves at the Tickled Trout before going to McDonalds. And suitably McDonalded we went on to the astro club committee meeting.
A good meeting; always something of a laugh to be had. Plans for the future made, and we've even decided on another committee meeting in the not too distant future...
8 January 2016 (Friday) - A Dog(fish) on Sandgate Beach
I slept for quite a long time last night, but I can't say I slept well. Much of my night was spent wrapped up in a rather disturbing dream about trying to organise a public event in London the most important part of which was ensuring that everyone got their payments refunded because the event was doomed to failure before we'd even started taking money. Pretty much everyone I've ever met was in a queue wanting thirty quid from me (even though they'd not paid out anything) and for some inexplicable reason I was the only person who could see how daft this was.
I woke shortly after 7am feeling frankly exhausted.
Over brekkie I sparked up my laptop (still plugged in to "er indoors TM" 's charger). It immediately wanted to be turned off again as part of some updating process. After ten minutes of farting about it announced that the update had failed; it had encountered some problem with Internet Explorer. Does *anyone* still use Internet Explorer? I don't.
Pretty much nothing had happened on social media. And I was surprised at how llittle interest my compilation of last years blog pictures had aroused on You-Tube.
I saw a new geocache had gone live about a mile or so from work. My immediate thought was that the First to Find would have long since been claimed before my night shift. But caches near work will be very useful if I am going to fill in this calendar challenge thingy. I'm quite glad that new caches are appearing; a couple of years ago I would get a notification pretty much every day about a new one having appeared but now I seem to get maybe only one or two a week.
I got the leads onto the dogs and pausing only briefly to chat with the geocachers in the front garden we set off to collect "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". We drove down to Hythe and had a little walk. The plan was to go along the beach; we had to cut our walk short because of the biting wind. Mind you whilst out we did get covered in mud, found lots of other dogs and nearly had an incident with a dead dogfish. I took a few photos whilst we were out. I do that.
Once home "Daddies Little Angel TM" boiled up some toast and gave it to "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" who then smeared it everywhere before tormenting the dogs with what was left. They both then set off on their missions (taking Sid with them). Being on a night shift I then went to bed for the afternoon. For some reason "Furry Face TM" didn't take the opportunity to come up and sleep at the end of the bed; having been woen by an unwanted phone call from "Chase Alexander" I came down after a few hours to find him sulking on the sofa. Clearly he's wanted to go out with everyone else.
Shortly after I got up "Daddies Little Angel TM" brought Sid home "quietly"; I'd forgotten just how "silent" she can be.
I'm just watching the episode of Upstairs Downstairs in which Miss Georgina runs down some poor deaf bloke and then I'm off to the night shift....
9 January 2016 (Saturday) - Bit Tired
Over the last year I've been quite vocal about how I like the working pattern when I'm on nights. I like having large amounts of time off work, and I do like the independence that lone working gives me. I can listen to whatever drivel on the radio or on You-Tube I like as I work and no one complains. Ideally I wouldn't have to work at all, but all the time I am working, this isn't a bad way to do it.
Having said that I do find wondering if a twelve and a half hour overnight shift is realistically a younger man's game; last night was rather busy. After driving home after a night shift I was certainly good for nothing but a good kip.
I got home to find "er indoors TM" and Lacey were both playing with the "My Little Pony" drawing app on their tablets. They then went on to the morning cinema as I tried to sleep. "Tried" being the operative word. We were looking after Lacey's dog Rolo as well as Lacey and as I tried to sleep there were three dogs downstairs who kept finding things at which they could bark.
There is a dominance thing going on between Rolo and Fudge. Despite being half his size, Rolo is top dog over Fudge and keeps telling him. I feel sorry for Sid who is quite clearly bottom of the great pecking order.
After I'd had a kip and the girls had returned we drove out to the American Diner for burgers and chips and all day breakfasts and omelettes and bubble gum milk shake. Very tasty. As we were in the area we popped into Bybrook Barn; Fudge needed a new comb. Whilst we were there I got a bargain. I've been after a wine decanter for ages; they had some reduced from sixteen quid to four quid.
We then came home and took the dogs for a walk, and with hounds walked Cheryl arrived and took Lacey off to visit other grandparents.
I then had a cuppa and a hot cross bun. Actually a cold cross bun; I prefer them raw.
I had an email. An admin detail about the astro club, but it was in pdf format. My laptop has serious issues withpdfs. Whenever it tries to open them I get an error saying that WIndows 10 can't locate the relevent file. So I updated the reader and got the same problem. So I got another reader and still had the same problem. I then deleted all the pdf readers and... I *was* going to re-install but having nipped off for a tiddle I forgot that I hadn't re-installed them. I clicked on the pdf file and it opened perfectly in the web browser. Why couldn't it have done that in the first place?
With "er indoors TM" off film-night-ing I programmed "Hannah", my phone and my tablet for tomorrow's geo-mission as I listened to the rain. Although the forecast says the rain will stop, it is going to be very wet. I watched the first episode of "Jericho" which looks as thought it might have promise, and then watched a little "Doctor Who".
I think I shall have an early night; I've had guts ache for the last few days. It is becoming a little wearing now...
10 January 2016 (Sunday) – Hextable
Over brekkie I read something on social media which wound me up a little. Some friends are getting involved in running a "charity" event which will be raising money for a local hospital. Having raised an absolute fortune for their hospital, a cheque will then be presented to sone fat cat in a suit who will be smiling because he realises his six figure salary is now secure for a little longer. I *really* wish people wouldn't do that. People are so quick to complain about the cuts made to the budgets of schools and hospitals, and then they make those very cuts possible by subsidising the shortfall. No governments of any political party is *ever* going to fund public services (such as hospitals and schools) properly all the time they know that the public are going to fund it for them.
There are plenty of charities that need money that aren't given anything by the government that need our help. Perhaps it is ones like the RNIB or Shelter or Crisis at Christmas that we should be supporting.
As we scoffed brekkie we listened to the rain. We vaguely wondered if cancelling our plans might have been the sensible thing to do, but we rarely do sensible. So we carried on and in retrospect we did the right thing. One of our number had to cry off, but (taking ten minutes less than Google Maps had predicted) eight of us (and three small dogs) met up in Hextable to go hunt those elusive sandwich boxes. There was a minor hiccup in that having walked a quarter of a mile I realised I'd left the rucksack behind. Bearing in mind lunch was in it I nipped back to the car with some urgency. And on the way back just as I caught up with the rest of the team the elastic in my undercrackers threw in the sponge. I must admit that as I walked I wondered how many people just suffer in silence when their elastic goes. I don't.
But despite having to continually hoik up my pants we had a really good walk. We'd gone off hunting a series of caches based on the solar system; I'd actually solved the puzzles several months ago. Perhaps I should have gone out and walked this series at that time. Since solving the puzzles two of the hides had been archived, and several of those remaining were just a little in need of a little tender loving care. Perhaps the two archived ones had been pivotal in waymarking the route; we did seem to have rather a lot of to-ing and fro-ing as we went - there's no denying I was grateful to be able to use the decent map on my tablet again.
But after all is said and done there was a series of caches out there that gave us a guided walk. For that I was grateful.
As we walked we saw parakeets; they seem to be quite endemic in many parts of Kent. And the daffodils were in bloom. In January !! And talking of wildlife I feel I must say how impressed I was with Sid. For all that pugs can be delicate little blossoms, Sid kept up all the way and wasn't at all fazed by the mud. I wondered if I would end up carrying him; he held his own.
We'd set off in search of seventeen geo-targets; we found them all over the course of five miles; however there is no denying that we were rather grateful for the couple of hints we'd had from friends who'd walked in the area last weekend. After a spot of lunch we made our way back to the cars, said goodye to Aleta and drove up to the Ship. Hextable is renown for being a village with no pubs but there was a pub not too far away.
Ideally we would have walked more in the afternoon, but the weather had (to that point) been *exactly* as forecast. Heavy rain until mid-morning then a really bright day until early afternoon when heavy rain would return. Having reached the early afternoon stage we didn't want to tempt fate, and as we started the second pint so the thunder and lightning started.
I went for a tiddle and got a fit of the giggles. Every month Viz magazine has an update to its profanisaurus. This month had a new phrase: "Cubicle Clown". A "Cubicle Clown" is a person in the lavatory cubicle whose lavatorial noises sound as though he/she/it is making balloon animals in their cubicle. As I tiddled there was a real-life "Cubicle Clown" in full flow behind me.
I took a few photos as we walked. Once home I popped them on-line and had a look at simular photos from other friends who had been out geocaching in other parts of the county today.
As "er indoors TM" set off bowling I spent a little while messing about with GSAK (the prgram I use to do my geo-admin). It crashed earlier in the evening which worried me a little. I find the thing rather useful and the crash was a little worrying. It seems to be working now, but will only work with my GPS unit.
If only I could figure out what my phone or tablet do with the fieldnotes.txt file...
11 January 2016 (Monday) - David Bowie Died
Being back on to "routine hours" shifts I woke ten minutes before my alarm this morning; some two hours earlier than I've been waking for this last fortnight. It is odd how the body clock adjusts.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Dad's Army" that I haven't seen before. It was quite sad really; Captain Mainwaring had a love interest. However for light entertainment Corporal Jones was carrying on with Mrs Prosser. Corporal Jones was quite entertaining for once; probably because he wasn't shouting about not liking it up 'em.
As I watched telly I had a Patagonian Tripe Hound sleeping on my left and a pug sleeping on my right. Soppy dogs.
Despite the ongoing stomach ache I set off to work on a dark wet morning. The pundits on the radio were presenting an article about the sad state of the international Anglican church. Today the Archbishop of Canterbury was to be presiding over a major meeting of church leaders in Canterbury. One half of the world's Anglicans want to modernise their philosophies and teachings (and throw away the Bible); the other half want to stick with what the church is actually all about.
There was a very interesting interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury on the radio in which he blathered meaningless platitudes to every single question that was put to him, but the interview was rudely and suddenly cut short by the news that David Bowie had died. And that was the news for the rest of the drive to work. An interview with the Leader of the Opposition was also curtailed because David Bowie had died.
I got to work and did what I had to amid speculation that were I a girl I would be *very* high maintenance. I took that as a compliment.
As I drove home I turned on the radio. Normally I listen to the evening's news and current affairs show as I drive home. Tonight there was no news or current affairs. Instead there was forty five minutes of various celebrities, has-beens and vacuous windbags queuing up to say how much they loved David Bowie.
I got home to find social media simularly filled with postings from the apparently grieving and heartbroken.
Don't get me wrong; I've nothing against the chap, but (as I intimated last week) why do so many people wait for a celebrity to die before they actually show any interest in said celebrity?
I suppose that (if nothing else) his death has de-railed the Lemmy bandwagon...
12 January 2016 (Tuesday) - Guts Ache
A good night's sleep; waking only a minute or so before the alarm. I got up to find that overnight a whole load of laundry had arrived in the basket from "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" so I set that to scrub as I watched the latest drivel I've recorded on the SkyPlus box. Twenty years ago "Sorry !" (starring Ronnie Corbett) was hilarious. It hasn't really stood the test of time.
As I watched telly and scoffed brekkie I was conscious of the ongoing nagging pain in my stomach; I've not felt right for a week or so. I'm sure it is nothing that a good "quack" wouldn't cure, but it is uncomfortable.
And so to work, feeling rather uncomfortable. As I drove to work there was talk on the radio about opinion polls and how they generally seem not to be as reliable as one might hope. A good example of this was the last General Election in which the polls showed no difference in the public's opinion between the Labour and Conservative parties when in fact the majority had clearly been pro-Tory. There was concern expressed that opinion polls must be right for the democratic process to work. The pundits pointed out that there are a *lot* of people whose opinion actually depends on the result of the opinion poll. Having no opinion of their own, many people (lemming-like) go with what they think is the feeling of the majority. And these people feel cheated if it what they thought was the majority view turns out not to have been so. This sounds daft, but after every election I lose count of people who complain about having wasted their vote because they voted for a losing candidate. For many people expressing their own view is very much secondary to being seen to be on the winning side.
This *really* bothers me; not that I beleive in democracy, but I would have thought democracy was all about the Great Unwashed actually educating themselves and forming a considered opinion on the matters in question. But (as I often ask) what do I know? After all my opinion is usually that of a very small minority.
Perhaps I should try following the masses; I might get into less arguments.
Once at work I struggled to keep myself occupied; the junior doctors were all on strike today and consequently my reduced workload was something of a knock-on effect of said strike. With not much going on I spent much of the day complaining about my stomach ache to anyone who would listen. And as the day wore on the list of people who would listen grew shorter and shorter. If the doctors weren't all on strike I might have popped down to the emergency care centre and got myself told to take some guts ache tablets.
With little else on the agenda I looked at the leave diary and my shift patterns and booked some time off in May. Possibly a mid-week break, possibly some days out? Probably five days watching the telly and sulking. Who knows?
I came home (still feeling bloated) to find "er indoors TM" was already home. We took both dogs for a short walk then after a rather good bit of dinner Martin arrived and he and "er indoors TM" went off to the Tuesday gathering. I stayed at home this evening; ongoing guts ache had been tiring.
I slobbed in front of the telly and then I had a message. Last night I spent a couple of hours struggling to solve a geo-puzzle. After struggling to no avail I finally enlisted the help of friends. This evening the answer arrived. I had been on the right lines; I had all but solved the puzzle. However to get the final part of the correct answer it had been necessary to perform the sum 4+1+1. Despite (or because of) my degree in mathematics I had made the answer to be five. Woops.
As luck would have it, Stargazing Live was on BBC2 this evening. Not having been impressed with last year's efforts from the BBC the astro club had decided not to take part in this event this year. I was glad we hadn't; the show was utter tripe.
I'm off to bed now. My stomach still aches....
13 January 2016 (Wednesday) - Bit Dull
I slept for eight hours before finally waking to find that not only were my guts still tender but the tennis elbow seems to have returned.
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Little had happened overnight, and perhaps the only thing of note was a hint I'd received about a geo-puzzle which has had me foxed for some time. Mind you one of the disadvantages of email and soicial media and instant communication is the amount of spam emails and adverts with which we find ourselves bombarded. In years gone by I used to get adverts about the services offered by ladies of dubious morals. Just recently I seem to be getting more and more adverts for church management software solutions.
Why on Earth would I want to buy a church management software solution?
As I scoffed my toast a new posting popped up on my laptop screen. A chap I met through geocaching had been out doing a little astro-photography. I suggested he might be interested in joining the astro club. He had no idea that one existed locally and was immediately keen on the idea.
The astro club makes quite a bit of effort to advertise its existance, and still we aren't getting to the people who would want to join.
I also saw that today was National Rubber Ducky Day. Rubber ducky day.... who makes these things up? And how much do they get paid for doing so?
Having a little time on my hands I hought I might take the dogs for a walk. Fudge was raring to go; Sid ran and hid. But they both went round the park with me. As we walked we heard woodpeckers; rather early in the year for woodpeckers I thought. We also heard what I can only describe as a large dog losing a fight with a duck; there was very loud pitiful barking and whining and very aggressive quacking. I decided against walking in the direction from where that sound was emanating.
We also saw joggers. Some were typical joggers; one caught my eye. this young lady had the most skimpiest skin-tight lycra jogging bikini and might was well have been running stark naked for all that it covered. I would have thought that such attire was a little chilly for this time of year, but it brightened up an otherwise dull morning.
The rest of the day was rather dull in comparison...
14 January 2016 (Thursday) - Coffee and Cake
I didn't sleep well last night. I was awake for an hour or so in the small hours listening to the torrential rain. I finally dozed off only to be plagued by nightmares in which the kite-flying fraternity had declared war on the geocachers. It was all rather nasty and the Prime Minister had asked me to intervene because I have something of a foot in both camps. However both sides saw me as a traitor and it was with some releif that I was woken by a nuisance phone call just after 7am.
This call was from a new number; 001019, and when I answered it no one was on the other end. I say this was a "new" number; it is new to me. The number was well known on the "report your nuisance phone calls" web sites. I keep being told about how I can avoid these calls but it doesn't seem to matter what I do, someone from India always seems to be bothering my phone.
I took the dogs round the corner to where "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" are now living. And having collected them we went for a rather uneventful walk round the park. There is no denying I was hoping to see the (nearly) nudey jogger we encountered yesterday. She was nowhere to be seen, Probably suffering from hypothermia and frostbite I expect.
As I drove to work there was an article on the radio about the Cassini probe which is currently orbiting Saturn. Perhaps because I know a thing or two about space my expectations of the show were a little higher than the might have been. But anything space-related on the radio or the telly always seems to be very dumb-ed down to me. This show could have been so much better - did the presenter *really* think Saturn has a rocky surface?
I was taking a rather round-the-houses route to work today as I needed to find at least one geocache for this calendar thingy. I had my sights set on one in Sellindge; I eventually found it buried under some mud. Something had churned up the ground nearby.
I then drove on listening to an interview with the partner of Ricky Gervais. She was quite an interesting woman. The interview ended just as I was approaching a garden centre so I popped in for coffee and cake. there is something quite therapeutic in sitting alone in a garden centre cafe with a cuppa watching the world go by.
Whilst I was there I got myself a rubber duck. I needed a duck for geocachical purposes. I also need a brick too. I shall try to blag one from somewhere.
I got to work a little earlier than I needed to, and having driven round a very full cark park several times I eventually found an empty spot in which I parked my car. The only empty spot. Having parked I sat and listened to the radio for a few minutes until my peace was rudely interrupted by some silly old sod (wearing a rather stupid hat). He demanded that I drove away; if I was only going to sit in my car I could sit anywhere; he wanted to park his car.
I politely pointed out that I was in the staff parking area and in order to get there he had driven past two signs saying "Staff Only". He rudely announced that he wasn't going to pay to use the public car park when he could park for free in the staff car park, and bustled off threatening to report me for parking my car in a car park for which I pay to park.
I hope he doesn't report me; I know that if he does I will be in the wrong for parking my car in a car park for which I pay to park.
And so the excitement of my day was all over by 11.30am. All things considered another dull day really...
15 January 2016 (Friday) - A Retirement
The morning's haul of emails brough one from LinkedIn asking of I knew Callum Moffatt, Julie Hayes or Suzanne Foreman. The simple answer is "No". LinkedIn is rubbish. Supposedly about professional networking, I find it tries to connect me with people I don't know, and on that website people I barely know are commending me for skills I don't have.
As I drove to work there were some amazing figures being banded about on the radio. It is no secret that should I get squished in a car crash or some other such tragedy then I would like any and all salvageable organs to be offered up for transplants to anyone who might use them. Thousands of other people feel the same way and have registered such an intention. However forty per cent of such people don't have their wishes honoured. It turns out that their grieving families say no to allowing organs to be used. Over a thousand organs that could be used are wasted every year in this way.
If my nearest and dearest refuse any of my bits to be used (should I get scrunched) I will come back and haunt them!!
And then the Minister for Health was interviewed on the radio. He was outlining the changes he would like to see in the NHS. One of the changes he would like would be for hospital doctors to be able to get urgent blood tests done at the weekend.
My piss boiled.
What does he think I do for a living? I was under the impression that I was already providing that service when I work weekends... I can only imagine that he doesn't realise that this is already happening. And presumably he is making policy decisions being utterly oblivious of what is actually happening in hospitals.... I find that a little worrying.
I got to work, we all speculated about not having to work weekends any more, and then had something of a sad day. A colleague was retiring today.
Trev's been really great to work with, and today was the last day.
After work there was a meal in his honour. Everyone else went home first, but I didn't. I had a little bus adventure into Canterbury. I thought one pound fifty was a tad steep for a minute's ride but it was fun. I found a little back street pub where I had a pint of stout whilst checking the place out for a future pub crawl. The New Inn was quite a good place to visit; might just go back.
I then made my way to the meeting place; as I walked I found a pub call the the Jolly Sailor which claimed to be an ale house. It lied. It was a lager house. So I walked on to Parrots where I met someone with whom I'd worked five years ago. We had a drink, then another, then more old friends arrived.
As usual it was too late when I realised the mistake of having had three pints of stout before everyone else gets to the pub, but I certainly had a good evening. I think Trev did too...
I even took a few photos whilst I was out and about. Some are a bit blurred; just like my memories of the evening.
16 January 2016 (Saturday) - Geo-Meet
I felt decidedly grim as I scoffed my toast this morning. Can't imagine why !
My little dog seemed to realise that I was under the weather; he sat with me and generally looked soppy. As I scoffed I found myself reflecting on Trev's retirement yesterday. When I started working for the NHS (all those years ago) I was told very clearly that if I joined the pension scheme I could retire on full pension (i.e. half pay) after forty years service. That would be on 14 September 2021 which now isn't that far away.
A week or so later I was told that a mistake had been made; I wouldn't actually start paying pension until my eighteenth birthday and so retirement was put back until 21 February 2022.
Having spent several year planning to retire when I would be fifty-eight I was rather miffed to find that somewhere along the way one or other government had changed the rules and I wouldn't get a full pension until I was sixty. I whinged to the pension office and was told in no uncertan terms that I had effectively been done out of two years of pension contributions, and to suck it up.
So I stopped whinging and sucked it up.
The rules have changed again. I dare not consult them.I suspect that far from only having six years to go (which was what was promised) I probably have closer to fifteen years of working left to do. I hope that is not the case.
I *really* should start looking into the matter.
As I sat feeling sorry for myself I had an email. There is a geo-puzzle which has had me foxed for a few days. I won't say which one it is but I will say that I had figured out that the puzzle was about the Spice Girls and Geri Halliwell. With this in mind I spent hours struggling with their birthdays and chart positions of their records but had been unable to solve the puzzle. So a day or so ago I did the only thing which was left open to me. I looked at the list of people who had found that geocache and emailed the one who I thought was most likely to take pity on me.
It turns out that the puzzle wasn't about the Spice Girls at all; it was about telephones. Sometimes I hate trying to solve cryptic puzzles.
"er indoors TM" and I then drove out to Wingham for the monthly meeting of the Kent chapter of the Hunters of Tupperware. It was good to meet up with friends, but I must admit that the attendance was perhaps a little less than it might have been. But we had a rather good spot of lunch, and a good chat with friends. And after the walk we had a little stroll round the village. It was a good afternoon for a walk; even if it was a little cold.
We came home via the hospital to collect my car; I'd left it there last night. Once home we took the dogs round the park. Again it was still a good afternoon for a walk, but again it was cold.
"er indoors TM" set off to whatever it is that she was doing this evening, and I ironed shirts then settled down in front of the telly with my wolf pack. Rather a dull Saturday night, but after a hectic night last night and a rather busy day today I felt that I needed a rest...
17 January 2016 (Sunday) - Lazy Day
One of the many depressing things about getting older is the increasing need for trips to the loo in the middle of the night. Until we got our most recent house guest I wouldn't turn on any of the lights in the house as I made my way to "Trap One"; now I dare not walk in the dark. I was right to turn the lights on last night; there was a turd right in the way. Whilst I can't be sure which of the wolf pack dropped it I have my suspicions.
I couldn't get back to sleep after that. Despite my CPAP machine's best efforts I couldn't breathe, and I lay awake until 6.30am when "er indoors TM"s alarm went off. She was on an away-day with the candle-mongers and I got up shortly after she did. At least when being up I could actually breathe.
Over brekkie I read an article on the South Ashford Community Forum Facebook group. There are plans afoot to develop some local wasteland. This will involve building over six hundred new homes and some shops and a parking area and stuff. The plans are to build on land which has been left derelict for over ten years. It is a good plan too breathe new life into an eyesore.
However there are objections from locals. Victoria Road School is not that far away, and some people really do seem to think that building homes in the general area of a school will attract paedophiles. So (according to these stupid people) the obvious answer to this potential problem is not to put windows on the sides of these buildings that face the school.
You really couldn’t make this up. Many of the children who go to this school walk past my house in the morning. Presumably I should keep the curtains pulled until 9am in case I see a child and am gripped by unholy urges?
"Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" came round. We drove down to Tenterden for a little walk. Normally on a Sunday I would go for a really big walk, but a combination of "er indoors TM" being off doing her thing and a *really* cold day made me opt for something of a lazy day today. We needed to walk the dogs, so I though once up and down Tenterden High Street would fit the bill. As we walked "Daddies Little Angel TM" ranted about the futility of fish as pets, and we went into "The Secret Pantry" for coffee and cake.
They gave us some warm milk for "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM; I'm not quite sure how he managed it but he nearly drowned in the stuff. Whilst our coffee was acceptable, the cake was rather crap. Neither of us was sure what flavour it was supposed to be. But we were sure that whatever flavour the cake was supposed to be, it didn't taste of it. Two slices of rather rubbish cake and a nearly drowned baby cost over eight quid. I shan't be going there again.
As we walked I found one geocache (today was a calendar day) and failed to find two others. "Daddies Little Angel TM" claimed she saw snow flakes; I didn't but it was certainly cold enough for them.
We came home, and being "home alone" I got myself some KFC as a treat and (having devoured it) fell asleep in front of the telly for much of the afternoon; waking only to deal with the demands of the washing machine and dishwasher. "You Only Live Twice" gave way to "Bicentennial Man" and was followed by "War and Peace"; I slept through the lot.
Much as I quite liked my lazy day I couldn't do it that often - I'd go stir crazy.
18 January 2016 (Monday) - Bill and Wombles
Every night as I sleep I have air blasted into me from my CPAP machine. It takes the device a few minutes to settle and get the pressure right when it starts; as it does so I read my Kindle app. Last night I finished an e-book. The first volume of Alexei Sayle's autobiography made for very interesting reading even if it did only cover his childhood. I'm looking forward to the next volume which is to be published in a few months time.
Over brekkie I wondered what book I might read next.
Six years ago I published a list of my top twenty books. It is a list I might re-visit. Over the years I have read all of these books so many times. However until now one has not been available in e-format. But this morning I found it on Amazon. I can remember really enjoying "Earth Abides"; let's hope it is as good as I remember it.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were quoting some rather amazing statistics. Apparently some twenty per cent of British Muslim women don't speak English. Whilst this isn't news (I blogged about it on 12 February 2007) surely this is a problem which should be addressed. The pundits then wheeled on someone from the bleeding heart brigade who ranted for a few minutes about how inaccurate these figures are. He claimed the actual number of British Muslim women who don't speak English is closer to six per cent. But what ever the actual number the fact remains that there are thousands of women in this country who don't speak the language. Surely that can't be right.
I stopped off at Morrisons this morning. Having been driving through the most beautiful of sunrises this morning I had a plan to take a photo of the glorious red sky from Morrisons car park. By the time I'd got to Canterbury the sky had lost its wonderful colours and was just rather grey and drab.
I got fruit for the week; I also got various toiletries. (Sometimes my life can be so exciting). Mind you I was rather amazed at the price of shaving gel. The posh stuff from Gilette retails at Ł3.86, the same amount of Morrison's own-brand stuff costs eighty seven pence.
I wonder exactly who it is that buys the Gillette stuff?
I got to work where there was minor excitement. Today we got to log on to the works free wi-fi for our own personal use. It is a little perk which will be available all the time it is not abused.
We spent a little while speculating on what constitutes abuse of a wi-fi system. One of the more senior members of staff (who really should know better) assured us that the works wi-fi was good for most things but womble porn would be crossing the line.
No one was brave enough to try to look up womble porn to test that hypothesis.
Once home I ran the dogs round the world and then had a look on-line. There is a meme going round at the moment about being like Bill. A growing number of people are getting quite upset with Bill. Personally I don't mind the chap. But if we are getting rid of things from social media I'd rather see a few less hashtags.
I then settled myself in front of the telly. Gotham is on later...
19 January 2016 (Tuesday) - This N That
I slept like a log last night. I woke wonderfully refreshed and raring to go... at 1.20am. I then saw every hour of the rest of the night; finally giving up and getting up just before 6am. I watched Ronnie Corbett in "Sorry" over brekkie then had a look-see on line.
Over brekkie I saw some johnny-come-lately had posted on the Geocaching in Kent group rudely dismissing a cache walk in the Greenhill area. Apparently he felt the roads in the area were dangerous. Having walked the route myself my route didn't use much road at all; and I though the *footpaths* that the route followed were quite scenic.
The trouble with hunting Tupperware as a hobby is that (if done properly) it does pre-suppose a little knowledge with map and compass and of the Great Outdoors. A surprising number of people have never heard of footpaths, and it is amazing how many people buy a GPS unit from eBay and then follow it in a straight line regardless of what is in their way when walking that straight line.
I made a gentle comment that I'd had no problem with the route in question and thought no more about it....
"Furry Face TM" scrounged some toast whilst I gave him a good brushing. He likes that. He came upstairs with me when I went to get dressed; I noticed that he hesitated before running up the stairs. Is his back still hurting him?
I had a little scraping of ice to do on my car this morning. As I drove I seemed to (as usual) be in the minority. Today the minority was in ice scraping. I'd shifted the ice from all the windows of my car so I could see all round. Most other people had merely cleared part of the drivers side of the windscreen so they could see directly in front of them.
As I drove the pundits were discussing something I mentioned last week. Last year the pollsters had predicted the election results wrongly. Today they explained the reason for their failings; they hadn't asked the right cross section of the electorate and had polled too many people who claimed they were going to vote Labour (!) Dur !!
Bearing in mind I can use the works wi-fi I had a look-see on Facebook at tea time. The know-it-all who had been so rude on the geocaching site earlier had replied to my comment saying that I was wrong and he was right. I've had dealings with this fellow before; I thought of replying to him, but decided against it. It is generally not good form to be voted "Geocacher of the Year" and then start publically calling people rude names. Even when they've done their best to remove all possible doubt on the matter.
Mind you as the day wore on I had a few private messages thanking me for standing up in defence of the Grenhill loop. I got the distinct impression that several other people have had run-ins with this newbie before.
With work done I came home and walked the dogs round the roads. It was a cold evening but "Furry Face TM" was keen. Sid wasn't quite as up for it. And with dogs walked and tea scoffed we set off to Folkestone for the Tuesday gathering. new front door, sweeties to scoff, Star Trek on the telly... it was a shame to come home to find turds on the carpet.
20 January 2016 (Wednesday) – Inequalities
Having gotten into the habit of expecting to be waking constantly all night long it was with something of a shock that I looked at the clock for the first time last night only to see it was two minutes until alarm time.
I leapt into action, and over brekkie watched Ronnie Corbett in "Sorry". He was having trouble with Muffin the Mule, and was also trying his luck with the delectable Fenalla. Then, having taken an injured duck to church he then had a mishap with an inflatable dinosaur. (Comedy was different when the show was made in the 1980s!)
I scraped the ice off of my car, set off to work, and stopped after fifty yards to scrape again. An air temperature of minus seven degrees had once more frozen the windscreen. Whilst I realise that minus seven degrees is positively balmy to some, to me it isn't that warm.
Being a "calendar day" I drove to Sellindge in search of Tupperware. After one failure I tracked a sandwich box down. It had been lurking near the doctors' surgery. Previous finders had complained the contents had been wet. I had no such issues; I found them to be frozen solid.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the latest scandal; the inequality between men and women's shopping. Designer jeans of the same brand, waist and leg size can cost women fifty per cent more than they cost men. Women's disposable razors cost double the price of men's and the only difference is the colour of the plastic. Some consumer rights guru was wheeled on and he said that this has been going on for years; it is (apparently) no secret that women are prepared to spend more when shopping than men are. The pundits rightly accused this chap of being sexist; he didn't deny it. But he maintained his position. He even cited the very price disparities as evidence to prove his point.
I got to work and as the day wore on I received orders from "Daddies Little Angel TM". She'd bought a sofa. And so once work was done I came home via a fifty-mile detour to collect the thing from Rochester.
Once home the first thing I did once home was to walk the dogs. Whilst Sid could quite happily live without it, Fudge couldn't. He is quite fractious if not walked.
As we walked we had what can only be described as a near-miss event. Suddenly and without warning "Furry Face TM" darted at a parked car. I caught him almost instantly, but a car coming down the road toward us stopped immediately with a loud screech of brakes, and I saw a cat running off into the distance. The driver of the car didn't seem to notice me or the one who'd made that cat run out. Whilst no harm was done the cat could have been flattened. Part of me felt a little guilty about the episode, but chasing cats is the terrier's nature. And (am I wrong here?) should cats *really* be out on a main road when the temperature is well below zero?
Being home a lot later than planned we had a quick dinner (KFC) and watched a few episodes of "Benidorm"; I'd not seen it before; it was excellent.
21 January 2016 (Thursday) - A Few Whinges
Anyone who knows me will know I have a tattoo or two on me. I quite like the things... or to qualify that somewhat I quite like the things when they are done well. Over brekkie I saw an on-line photo of a tattoo which a friend has recently had done.
How do you tell someone their tattoo is frankly awful? This one looks as though a child has scrawled it. A tattoo gun is a precision instrument, not a toy.
I also saw the above meme on social media (I've censored it somewhat). It made me think. I consider myself to be an easy-going person, but the above is very true of me - it takes a while to get my back up, but once I decide against someone then I absolutely detest that person.
Having said that there isn't many people that I don't like. I spent much of the day compiling a mental list of those people. I won't publish it here, but suffice to say the list doesn't run into double figures. Nearly half of those people are ones with whom I've not had any dealings for years, and of the remainder most are people I've only ever encountered on-line and have never actually met in person.
Having scraped the ice off of my car this morning I set off to work. I kept worrying myself by glancing in the driver's mirror only to be unable to see anything because of "Daddies Little Angel TM"'s sofa which has taken up residence in my car. I am told it won't be there for long.
As I drove my piss boiled somewhat. The results of the inquiry into the poisoning of Alexander Litvenenko was published today. Having been poisoned with radioactive polonium in 2006 it has only taken ten years for the authorities to investigate the matter.
There was also consternation at leaks about an inquiry into what the late Jimmy Saville did or didn't do at the BBC many years ago.
These are yet more examples of what is wrong with British justice; how can these things take so long? In my line of work an hour is an unacceptable delay. I have trouble with a timescale of years rather than minutes.
Our old friend Science was also back in the news having announced the ever increasing likelihood of another planet in our solar system. Reports of this planet put it at being between four and ten times the size of Earth. That's quite a wide margin of error.
I got to work, and had a surprisingly busy day. But an early start made for an early finish. I came home to chaos. In theory "Daddies Little Angel TM" moves to her new home tomorrow. In preparation for this move she has lifted all of her luggage from storage (in our spare bedroom and attic) and put it where it would be more easily accessible when she loads the van tomorrow.
And having filled my living room with her clutter she's cleared off leaving me unable to get through my own house.
Some things never change...
Today was a bit of a ranty day. Must stop that...
22 January 2016 (Friday) - Not Breaking my Back
An odd sensation; I was pleasently dozing, drifting in and out of proper sleep (as one does) when "er indoors TM" alarm went off. At that point I suddenly realised I had the most excruciating pain in my back. Somehow I'd been ignoring it.
I heaved myself up, and over brekkie had a look-see on-line. A new geocache had gone live not far from work. Were I not on the late shift I might have chased the First to Find. But it will come in handy as a calendar filler. Other emails included other hidden tupperware; requests for caches to be archived, requests for me to finance home-made films, and ladies of dubious morals offering to sell me carnal favours. I had half a mind to ask just how much filth I would get for fifty pence, but thought better of the idea. I suspect I would get more than I bargained for.
And talking of getting more than I bargained for, a local pub is offering a belly-buster challenge. For fifteen quid you get a double bacon cheese burger, three sausages, two eggs, two bacon rashers, chips, chilli beef, half a rack of BBQ ribs, mushrooms, onion rings, garlic bread or plain baguette, and the choice of a pint draught or soft drinks. If you scoff the lot you get it for half price. "My Boy TM" is up for watching me having a go. Does anyone else fancy a trip to The Star?
I took the dogs for a walk; we met "Daddies Little Angel TM" on the way, and other than what I can only describe as a "near miss" event with a Beagle the walk passed off relatively well. We got home just as "My Boy TM" was arriving with a huge van. I helped him park it, we got the sofa out of the back of my car and into the van, and I then left everyone else loading up the van whilst I went off to work.
Ideally I would have helped "Daddies Little Angel TM" move house today but I couldn't get the leave. And I've already moved her several times over the last few months...
As I drive to work the radio was spewing some serious drivel about how women politician's careers are far more influenced by their dress sense than by their political stances. Apparently they really do get more votes for dressing smartly than for having sensible policies.
And then there was an article about a problem in Peterborough where infinity per cent of the Asian population are marrying their cousins and all sorts of (until now) rare genetic diseases are becoming more and more common. Apparently it is a cultural thing because marrying your cousin makes for a more harmonious marriage. Ironically where this is endemic in Pakistan they are well aware of the genetic problems and cousins have genetic testing and counselling before having children. Not so here in the UK though...
I got to work for the late shift. As I arrived the rain was getting heavier. Was it wrong of me to be glad that I was in the dry and not helping move house today...?
23 January 2016 (Saturday) - At The Theatre
I woke to the sound of paws. Sid was stomping about at 4am. Bearing in mind his propensity for midnight pooping I got up to let him out. As I got up he went back to bed. As I settled in my bed he got up again. So I got up again and he went back to his bed.
This carried on for an hour or so....
Over brekkie social media was somewhat depressing. A friend who has had a rather grotty deal from life found happiness a few years ago and moved away with her new husband. They had a lovely little family, but this morning I saw that not only had they split up but this chap who seemed such a fine fellow is now determined to ruin her life.
And several other friends have recently lost their good friends to cancer.
When I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" in readiness for our walk he got very over excited. Like most dogs the walk is the highlight of his day. Sid saw the lead and ran and hid; the walk isn't in his top ten things to do. But despite Sid's protests both dogs came with me for a quick walk round the block. It was a very foggy morning; probably for the best. With visibility down to ten yards no one saw what I was doing as I paused for a spot of geo-maintenance on one of my caches not far from home.
Once home I had a whinge at the broadband provider. Our home broadband has been slow to the point of being unusable for the last few days. The nice lady on the help desk fiddled about for a bit and then asked why we'd put restrictions on the line. We hadn't. She said that restrictions would slow the broadband, and if we were happy for her to do so she would remove the restrictions. But it would take a couple of hours.
We left her removing restrictions and pausing only briefly for "er indoors TM" to break her phone we went round to collect Cheryl and Lacey, and then went on to Maidstone Park & Ride where we met Glen and Matt.
I'd not done the Maidstone Park & Ride before. A bus with wi-fi. Will wonders never cease?
The bus soon got us in to Maidstone and it was only a short walk to the Hazlitt Theatre. Some time ago a good friend had stuck a geocache on that building. It is a particularly good one. I saw it straight away; but then I know what to look for. Thousands of people must walk past it every day without noticing it. And with geo-stuff done we went in to watch a show,
I've seen "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" twice before. Once in Eastbourne back in the days when I had religion (circa 1983) and once at the White Rock Theatre in Hastings (about 1988). Today's show was excellent, but then I've now seen six shows done by the Stage Theatre Society and they have all been really good. Mind you every time I've been to their shows the excellent efforts of the actors have been undermined by the sound system, and it happened again today. They really do need to have a word with whoever it is that turns the actors' microphones off and on.
After the show we took another wi-fi-enabled bus back to the car and drove out to the Harvester at the Running Hourse Roundabout. I don't think I've actually been to a Harvester before. I would certainly go again. Excellent food, decent bottled ale (and staff who know how to serve it), and not overpriced either.
And an added bonus was when we showed them Matt's twenty per cent discount deal they gave us twenty five per cent off by mistake.
Once home I checked our broadband. It seems to be working now. And with it working I then made a few plans for a geo-walk next weekend. Bearing in mind it involves premium caches and a few puzzles it probably isn't good form to open it up to absolutely everyone... but if any of my loyal readers want to come for a walk next Sunday just drop me a line.
I've had a really good day today... I feel exhausted now.
24 January 2016 (Sunday) - Family Get-Together
Yesterday started with depressing news. So did today. A friend's mother died yesterday. She'd not been well for a few months and she passed away yesterday.
I found myself thinking about this particular death. I've known this family for over forty years. They have always been particularly religious and regular church-goers. Their religion specifically states that death is*not* the end. Is their religion a comfort at times like this? Having been a religious nut in my youth and having then "seen the darkness" in retrospect I am surprised at just how many people don't get any comfort from their so-called beleifs in the darkest hours.
I spent a little while listening to the rain outside whilst solving virtual geo-puzzles. Virtual geo-puzzles are incredibly rare; a series of the things is even rarer. There is a series of seven in London; I solved six of eight this morning and then I took Fudge round the block. Sid didn't want to go so I left him behind. For all that he really should go for a walk I can't help but feel that I'm in some way bullying him in forcing him out.
With one dog walked "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" arrived and they came with me down to Hastings; "er indoors TM" followed with Cheryl and Lacey. We were soon at the Hollington Oak where the tribe gathered for a little celebration. It will be my Dad's eightieth birthday in a day or so.
An excellent meal with all the family together. And there are quite a few of us I took a few photos whilst we were out.
We came home via Brittania Lane; "Daddies Little Angel TM" wanted me to collect a table as we had the car handy. And then on to Beaver Court for a microwave. We took them to her new flat (which is quite good) and then drove out to the back of beyond to get a gas cooker. Having broken our backs getting the gas cooker into the new flat we then filled the car with most (but not all) of the rest of her stuff from the temporary accommodation.
I finally got to sit down in front of the telly about four hours later than I had been planning. I shall iron my shirts another time...
25 January 2016 (Monday) – Busy
I slept right through until the alarm went off this morning. I suspect carrying a gas cooker yesterday had taken its toll. Over brekkie I watched a rather lame episode of Dad's Army in which Captain Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson openly hated and despised each other.
The episode didn't really work; for any TV show, or radio show, or any story really the characters have to be believable. To have the main protagonists acting completely out of character purely for dramatic effect just doesn't convey plausibility.
I then had a look-see on-line. Yesterday posted up a few photos from the family get-together. All sorts of people have clicked the "like" button, including many people that I don't know. I suppose this is the power and the problem with social media; you really don't realise just how far the Internet spreads.
I drove to work; from Kennington to Godmersham (about five miles) some twit was driving about ten yards behind me. At the first opportunity he flew pas me like a bat out of hell, and then started tail-ening the car in front of me and carried on doing so for a further five miles. Being unable to overtake anyone else he actually got to Canterbury about ten seconds before I did.
Perhaps I should have squealed him up to the police for deliberate dangerous driving?
As I drove my piss boiled as I listened to the radio. Some opinionated windbag was ranting about what a waste of time it is prosecuting alleged paedophiles as they "always seem to get off". Personally I would call it "being found not guilty", but this woman wasn't happy. Apparently getting a conviction on an allegation of paedophilia is quite difficult (for all sorts of reasons that I've ranted about ad-nauseum). So it was being suggested that in such cases when witnesses have either died of old age or can't remember the specific and precise details of what happened forty years the law be changed. Rather than proving the accused was guilty it was suggested that it would be sufficient to show that the accused might have been guilty. That way a lot more convictions would be secured.
It bothers me that a *lot* of people are happy with this idea of so-called justice
I stopped off at Morrisons for supplies, then went on to work where I had a surprisingly busy day messing about with prolems arising from the M and K blood groups. (Most people think blood groups stop at "B"!)
And then with one load of work done I started another. "Daddies Little Angel TM" had given orders for me to collect another sofa, and who was I to disobey? Fortunately for my back loading the sofa was quite easy - I was able to park up very near to the house from which it was coming. However I did have three trips up and down the stairs when dropping the sofa off.
I came home and despite having (again) overdone the lifting I then had a rather busy evening. Monthly accounts, ironing, but I did get to watch "Gotham" ...
26 January 2016 (Tuesday) - A Poodle
Again I slept like a log. Pehaps a busy day at work followed by a busy evening at work and bed after mignight had something to do with that.
Yesterday I started making some geo-plans. With a current geo-score of 5968 (not that I'm counting) I would like to do something special for number 6000. There are only about a dozen geo-web-cams in the country. The nearest is in London. I have a plan to go there in a week or so. I've made up an event on Facebook for this. It seems to have attracted quite a bit of interest. If any of my loyal readers would like to come along please do. The more the merrier.
As well as the webcam there are several virtual puzzles to go and find (which I have already solved in theory) and half a dozen (or so) sets of geology homework to do as we walk around.
I worked (and completed) on one such geology excercise over brekkie. There are those that say that armchair logging is cheating (and have told me so!). I would agree... but all I'm actually doing is preparation. I can't help but think that the day trip to London will be quite rushed as it is. Fannying about on Google when out and about is unneccessary fannying about when you can do it at home, and we are going to actually visit all all the places in question anyway.
My little dog seemed particularly soppy and clingy this morning as I geo-puzzled. Sid went back to live with "Daddies Little Angel TM" yesterday; I wonder if Fudge is missing him. I thought that Fudge rather bullied him; perhaps I was wrong.
Yesterday I phoned the train time phone number (0345 484950) to ask them when the first off-peak train will leave Ashford on the day of our London trip. I got given a time, but bearing in mind how unreliable that phone number can be I phoned back and was told something different. So I asked to speak to the supervisor. Someone claiming to be called "Leonard" came on the line and gibbered incoherently for five minutes.
So having a little time on my hands before work this morning I walked "Furry Face TM" up to the train station's ticket office to talk to them. The nice lady on the desk spoke English (which was a help) and told me the earliest time at which she would sell me an off-peak ticket. A different time to both the times I was told yesterday.
As we walked we met an old lady with a poodle. The old lady was pleasent enough; it was a shame that "Furry Face TM" chose to mount the poodle and then got bashed up by said poodle.
We came home and I spent a few minutes doing a little more geology homework. As I googled and wikipedia-ed the letterbox rattled. Postie had been. I fetched the letters and had what I can only describe as a flashback.
It is a matter of public record that five years ago I had some rather unpleasent dealings with my professional regulator. It wasn't a good time, and I try not to dwell on it Today that regulator sent me a letter. Only a circular; nothing of real importance. But I saw their logo on the envelope and it brought back some rather nasty memories. I didn't quite throw up, but it was close, and I seriously considered phoning work to say I would be off sick today. But I didn't.
Perhaps I should have...
27 January 2016 (Wednesday) - Money, Soup
I slept reasonably well even if I did wake to find I was cuddling my dog as though he was a teddy bear. Leaving him snoring I had a bit of brekkie and watched last week's episode of "Extant". It is a good enough show I suppose, but there are many better shows that have been cancelled. I wonder just what it is that keeps this one on our screens.
I spent a few minutes looking on social media, but overnight absolutely nothing had happened. Probably for the best.
I then spent a few minutes trying to find my car. I completely forgot where I'd parked it last night. It would either have been up or down the road. I tried looking down. It was actually up. And having located the car I set off to work.
As I drove the news on the radio wound me up somewhat. The oil giant Shell was supposedly considering taking over some other company today. I don't know the details; frankly I don't really care. But what wound me up was the attitude of the Shell executive being interviewed. The takeover wasn't being judged for the benefit to the company in terms of its core business...
Or actually it was. I naively thought that Shell's business was all about drilling for oil. Apparently it is not. Its raison d'ętre is to make money. The chap being interviewed made it crystal clear that whatever the company did with regard to the takeover wouldn't be about what was best for oil production; it would be all about what generated most profit.
And this attitude is true of absolutely everything. Schools, hospitals, transport... all of life is now about turning a quick profit. The world would be a better place if a few more people were a lot less greedy.
I got to work and did my thing. Over lunch I spent a few minutes dusting off the talk I'm going to give to the astro club on Friday. I first did this talk some years ago and in that time it has aged somewhat. Several of the jokes have been blagged by others (quite a few times) and now just seem rather tired, so they got chopped. And (in order to appear to be current) I shoe-horned in a couple of articles that recently appeared on the club's Facebook feed to make it look as though I pay attention.
Hopefully the talk will keep the masses entertained; if I should it loud enough none of the punters will realise I'm making it up as I go along.
An otherwise dull day was lightened by a visit from an old colleague. the inestimable Soup Boy left to take up professional running over a year ago. He popped in to day to say hello. I was amazed how much I'd missed him.
I came home through the rain and walked "Furry Face TM" despite the rain. Perhaps I'm being harsh but the walk was so much easier with only one dog. Sid did dawdle so much.
The idea was then to have a pleasent eveniing in. But "Daddies Little Angel TM" has given orders to "er indoors TM" and sent her on a mission.
And I'm sitting here waiting. As usual...
28 January 2016 (Thursday) - Jack and the Beanstalk
Finding myself falling asleep in front of the telly last night I took myself off for an early(ish) night. After a rather vivid nightmare involving a rather fraught family Christmas dinner on the East Hill lift (in Hastings) I found myself then laying awake for much of the night. I finally gave up any attempt at sleep shortly before 5.30am.
Over a spot of brekkie I combed my dog (he likes that) whilst watching the Channel Four show "Crashing". I don't know whether I like it or not, but it fills the time before work.
I had a look-see on-line; I had an email from Amazon. they gave me a promotion code allowing me a free e-book because I had recently registered a Kindle app. Apparently. I don't remember doing so, but something for nothing is always a good thing.
It was as well that I was up early today. Being a "geo-calendar day" I wanted to go find a geocache before work. Pausing only briefly to scrape all the ice from my car I set off. I had a target in mind.
Some geocaches are bigger than others. Some of the bigger ones are called "Travel Bug Hotels" and are bigger so that there is space inside them for travel bugs. (Travel Bugs are things that travel the world from cache to cache and you can follow their travels on the geo-website). According to my information there was one such Travel Bug Hotel not far from Hythe...
I don't want to sound negative but I must admit I was rather disappointed to find what I can only describe as a rather small sandwich box thrown in amongst some rubbish at the roadside. The description of the thing specified "ground level" so I can only assume it was where it was supposed to be even though there was plenty of space inside the nearby (less than two feet away) crash barrier.
And I was also a tad miffed to find that two of the three travel bugs I'd brought along were too big to fit inside it.
Still, on the plus side I arrived at work to find that having detoured down the motorway I'd managed to miss the serious hold-ups which had blocked my usual route to work.
Once at work I did what I couldn't avoid doing. Over lunch I spent a little while working on tomorrow's presentation for the astronomy club. Despite quite a bit of effort this presentation isn't going to last more than ten minutes. Mind you I suppose that if it went on any longer the punters would only fall asleep.
I also phoned the vet and made an appointment for "Furry Face TM" . His booster against kennel cough is due. I want him to be vaccinated; I doubt he will appreciate that it is for the best. People rarely do when having needles rammed up their khybers.
Once home from work (and with dog walked) we went up the road where the local am-dram group were putting on a pantomime. I've been meaning to get along to this for years. It was a really good show - I cheered the heroes, I booed the villains. I laughed nearly all the way through. But the funniest bit must have been when my seat snapped half way through the second act.
Mind you I was a tad miffed to find the dame was being played by a woman. It should be a bloke in drag. I wonder if they are open to volunteers...
29 January 2016 (Friday) - Rather Negative Today...
I gave up trying to sleep after a rather restless night and was up and watching this week's "Extant" before 6am. The plot of the show seems to be being made up as the show goes along, but I found myself more and more being amazed bythe fact that Halle Berry is only two years younger than I am. The years have been much more forgiving to her than they have to me.
I quickly had a look on-line. Last night's on-line squabble seems to have died a death which was probably for the best. Why is it that whenever I disagree with someone I take the line of "I disagree with you for the following reasons..." but when anyone disagrees with me they take the line of "I disagree with you therefore you are a bastard"?
This is getting just a little bit wearing.
The morning's haul of emails brought a little frustration. Having spent out recently to replace my paper Ordnance Survey map of the East Kent area I am now told that had I waited a few days I could have got the map a lot cheaper by trading in my old map in part exchange.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. Four out of every ten teachers have received a slap (or worse) from their pupils. Apparently "A lack of boundaries at home was singled out as the top reason for challenging, disruptive or violent behaviour".
I saw red on this one.
When I was a lad I didn't see my father in the morning; he'd gone to work by the time I got up. Most mornings I would get up myself, scoff brekkie and go to school where I would spend most of the day. By the time I got home and had some tea and done some homework it was usually bed time. Dad would come home about two to three hours after I got home.
It was much the same when my children were small. Whilst my mum laid down the law (as did "er indoors TM") most fathers are working every hour God sends. It is the teachers with whom the children spend most of their time, and it is these same teachers who should be setting some kind of moral and social example for the children.
Four out of ten teachers have experienced physical violence from their charges. Teachers are leaving the profession in droves because they are afraid. Doesn't this tell us something? People don't like being hurt perhaps?
When I was a lad the headmaster had a cane. He didn't need to wield it very often; the threat was enough. But periodically some oik would cross the line and would get two (NOT six) of the best. One boy had a sore arse for a day; a thousand boys behaved themselves and did their lessons (and didn't dream of attacking a teacher) for two years until the next oik got lippy. I think that is a fair price.
However things have changed at my old school. The cane has gone and I have heard recent tales of children openly sniffing glue in the classrooms.
My children's headmaster didn't have a cane. He had a permanently shut door (behind which he hid) and employed a load of support staff armed with politically correct platitudes. Whenever "My Boy TM" misbehaved, the teachers never dreamed of punishing him; they would sit down and try to discuss his crimes. He openly sneered at them. And "Daddies Little Angel TM"'s misdemeanours were rewarded with being given time off school so she could "reflect".
I've always said both fruits of my loin would have benefitted from a sore arse from their teachers from time to time. And told them both so. And in retrospect "Daddies Little Angel TM" has told me she agrees with me.
I got to work,an d an early start made for an early finish. From work I met Stevey at the station and we went on for McScoff with Steve and Sarah. And having McSoffed we went on to astro club.
I'd not been looking forward to going tonight. In all honesty I've not really looked forward to any of the club's meetings for some time. On the one hand I get to meet with a dozen good friends and a couple of dozen of other really good people that I have come to know over the years. On the other hand I am made to feel very awkward by the attitude of three people who make no secret of the fact that they detest me. It is heartening to be assured by everyone else that they want me to remain a part of the club despite the bullies, but I find it difficult to ignore them.
Tonight I made a point of making a joke of their attitude, but it is wearing a little thin...
30 January 2016 (Saturday) - The Imperial War Museum
I slept surprisingly well last night, waking only minutes before the alarm. Over brekkie (shared with "Furry Face TM") I watched "Toddlers and Tiaras"; something I've not watched for a few weeks. Today's show seemed to be devoted to the children of the incredibly obese; not a single mother interviewed seemed to be less than thirty stone in weight. They all seemed very annoyed with life in general. (Somewhat like me over the last few days!)
I checked my emails; I had one from an employment agency (Black Belt Healthcare) asking if (with my scientific background) I'd ever considered doing the job I've actually been doing for over thirty years. I can't help but wonder if these people actually read the C.V.s that get submitted to them. Not that I've submitted one to anyone for a couple of years, and certainly never to Black Belt Healthcare. (Whoever they are)
Jimbo and Stevey arrived and having settled "Furry Face TM" (who was going to have adventures of his own with "Daddies Little Angel TM") we made our way to the railway station. We met up with the rest of our number and fifteen of us got on the train to Waterloo. As we travelled Stevey told us of a film he'd seen; a war-time romantic comedy set in a restaurant about two gay zombies (a nom-non bom hom zom rom com) and that rather set the tone of the day.
Despite what I read on-line every day the train service got us to our destination with no delays, and soon we were looking for brekkie. We found a place called "Ecco". I specifically mention it because if any of my loyal readers are in the area and want food I feel I should warm them. We ordered several full English breakfasts between us. The portions were rather small and the food was cold. the so-called "grilled" tomatoes were utterly raw.
From here we made our way to the Imperial War Museum. I took a minor diversion for geo-purposes (today was a calendar day) and once at the museum we broke up into smaller groups and all did our own things for a couple of hours. I had this plan to start at the bottom of the building and work upwards so me and "er indoors TM" made our way into the World War I exhibition. We played with the interactive displays; I dressed as an officer from a hundred years ago... and suddenly we realised we'd used up over half of our alloted time and had only seen half of the first floor. We had four and a half more floors to cover.
We moved on through exhibits from the Second World War; I had no idea the V2 rockets were so big. We found the actual civil emergency telephone which would have been used in Ashford in the event of a nuclear strike. We saw some of the wreckage from the 9-11 attack, and a suicide bomber's vest.
As we walked round we met, joined with, and wandered off from others in our group. Having made the conscious decision to all do our own things no one felt under any obligation to stick together, and everyone could do things at their own pace. That was a good thing. Some people want to read every work on every exhibit; I can see the entire museum in one glance. Today's plan worked well.
We'd agreed to all meet up for lunch at 1.30pm. We did so. Lunch was coffee and cake. Very nice coffee and cake. And as everyone chatted over coffee and cake I devoured mine and fell asleep for half an hour. I was finally woken by a phone call from "Daddies Little Angel TM" with a dog update.
We then went back into the museum for a bit. I made a point of not going to the section on the Holocaust. Perhaps it was cowardice on my part, but I don't think I want to know more about what happened. Instead we went up to the top of the museum where there were many displays about the careers of many individual heroes.
And then, pausing only briefly to have a look around the TIbetan Peace Garden we made our way back to Waterloo and Ashford.
As I walked I found myself in a rather thoughtful frame of mind. Did I like the Imperial War Museum? In all honesty I didn't like it. It was a really good museum; the dispays were excellent. It was thought provoking, and I had tears in my eyes on several occassions. I can thoroughly recommend it as an exellent place to visit. Everyone should visit it to see just how nasty people can be to each other.
But I didn't *like* it.
We were soon on the train to Ashford. Some of our number had to say goodbyes; the rest of us adjourned to the pub for a crafty half then on to the Imperial China for a spot of dinner. I don't think I've been in there before. the "all you can eat" buffet wasn't cheap, but we certainly got our money's worth.
I came home. I took several photos whilst we were out; I uploaded them and then sat feeling rather sorry for myself alternately farting and realising the fallacy of letting a greedy person like me loose on an "all you can eat" buffet.
31 January 2016 (Sunday) - Sole Street
Last night as I went to bed I saw my alarm was set. This morning I realised it was still set for yesterday when I needed to be up an hour earlier than I did today. So having been rudely awoken at 6am I lay awake for half an hour before giving up.
I got up feeling somewhat rough. We didn't actually walk that far yesterday; three miles at most. So I was at a loss as to why I ached so much this morning. Also my insides weren't quite what they might have been; I might think twice about an "all you can eat" buffet in the future.
I shared my brekkie toast with "Furry Face TM". He ate that happily enough but wouldn't touch his own brekkie until "er indoors TM" put a small piece of cheese on it. He then yummed it up.
I had a look-see on-line. Little of note had happened overnight so I programmed "Hannah" for the day's planned walk. I must admit had I been thinking I would have charged up my tablet last night and used that today. I was rather miffed to find it was only at twenty eight per cent battery life. Last night the old "GPS vs phone" row kicked off on Facebook. Having used GPS, phone and tablet extensively for hunting tupperware over the last three years I have come to the considered conclusion that the only advantage of a GPS unit is that it has a strap so you can hang the thing round your neck.
We collected Suzy and her associate and set off to Sole Street where we met the rest of today's geo-wanderers. Having spent the last few weeks solving several geo-puzzles the time had come to go find the caches.
I must admit I was a little disappointed with the morning's route. having had a look-see using Google Street View I planned our route along lanes which looked rather quiet and narrow. They turned out o be much wider and busier than I had thought.
After a couple of hours we were back where we'd left the cars. We'd left them by a pub. We had a pint of lunch and then went off on a circular stroll using (mostly) footpaths. I was much more pleased with the afternoon's route.
After some nine miles walking we found ourselves back at the cars. Some of our number had to get away; some of us stayed for a pint of Doombar followed by a pint of Dartford Wobbler.
I then slept most of the way home.
I took a few photos whilst we were out. Once home I got them on-line then scoffed a rather good bit of tea whilst watching yesterday's episode of "Dad's Army". They didn't like it up 'em. Whilst I waited for the washing machine to do its thing I had a look-see on-line.
I then got my shirts ironed and watched a little telly. I fell asleep half way through "War and Peace",