1 January 2018 (Monday) - New Year's Day
As it was New Year’s Day, over brekkie I had a little retrospective. In many ways one year is often rather like another, but here’s a flavour of 2017 (in my world).
· My father-in-law died (as did some friends).
· I left my employer of more than thirty years and now work somewhere where I don’t feel physically sick (every day) at the thought of what epic mountains the boss will make out of trivial molehills.
· I went on my first foreign holiday. I liked it.
· I’ve helped "My Boy TM" build me a pergola.
· Whilst fishing I broke my personal best fish record four times.
· We staged a few dinner parties. (Must do more).
· We had a road trip to the Isle of Wight.
· Having spent ten years building up the astro club and pretending all was peachy with it, I finally walked away from it. (I’m told this is for the best as ultimately I was very bad for the club!)
· I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve fixed the fence.
· I’ve been on day trips to Bruges and Cite Europe
· I’ve discovered afternoon tea.
· There has been a new series of Star Trek
· I’ve been to the theatre (twice)
· "My Boy TM" turned thirty.
· "er indoors TM" had a big birthday too
· There was a new album from Sparks which did surprisingly well in the album charts.
· I met some childhood friends I’ve not seen in years.
All things considered, my year wasn’t uneventful. It was certainly better than some have been. As for this new year?… Who knows – that’s what makes this life such an adventure. It is traditional to have New Year resolutions; I haven’t made any this year. Realistically I need to lose weight. I can do this. But having done so, the weight will just come back. Will I diet? Maybe.
With "er indoors TM" still snoring I did a little geo-puzzling and solved another of the fiendishly tricky puzzles that hopefully a gaggle of us will hunt out during a trip to the wicked city in a month or so. I then wasted an hour trying to solve an RSA encryption. I didn’t solve it.
As I puzzled the rain outside got worse and worse. The plan for today had been to join the geo-gang for a walk, but I’d heard that the walk went across ploughed fields, and I’d also heard that the pub in which people were meeting afterwards wasn’t overly dog-friendly. Turning up at a posh country pub with two mud-encrusted hounds wouldn’t go down that well.
"er indoors TM" eventually got up, and after watching a documentary about Laurel and Hardy we walked the dogs round the block. We came home after twenty minutes; all wet through.
I then spent a little longer working on the RSA decryption; I ended up with a negative mod function which is mathematically impossible. I’ve since been told that Excel isn’t up to mod 403 decryptions. If it isn’t, I shudder to think what is.
We took the dogs round the block; twenty minutes walk had us all soaked. We then settled the dogs and drove out to High Halden. There was a formal geo-meet after the walk (that we’d blown out of). The meet-up was rather good. I do like meeting up at these geo-events. Some people have been going for years; for others they have only been to one or two. It is always good to meet old and new friends.
We stayed chatting for two pints, then came home as it was getting dark.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good pasta bake. We scoffed it whilst watching the second episode of the Festive Bake-off. Not a bad show really.
2 January 2018 (Tuesday) - Late Shift
I woke early; later than I often do, but still too early. I lay awake feeling somewhat morose (I wonder why). Over brekkie I sparked up my lap-top.
Facebook was full of tirades from people complaining about going back to work. Many people have had a ten-day break and were complaining about the holidays having ended. I haven’t had a massive break (not that I’m complaining).
Treacle nibbled at her breakfast; Fudge turned his nose up at his. I took the dogs out hoping to increase their appetites with a walk.
We did our usual walk. I know Bowens Field Wetland Park is a “wetland” park, but more and more it is becoming little more than a swamp.
We walked on to Viccie Park where several other dog walkers wished us all a happy new year. That was kind of them. One group wanted to chat; they were pleased that I’d given a stray dog a home(!) It turned out that they’d seen Fudge in the park several times in the past but because he straggles so far behind they had no idea he was with me. They’d always thought it was just me and Treacle going for the walk, and Fudge was just a random stray doing his own thing.
We came home and the dogs yummed up their breakfasts. I made myself a cuppa and cut myself a lump of Christmas cake then watched an episode of “Still Game” before setting off to work.
I set off to work through the drizzle. Over brekkie I'd had an email telling me of two new geocaches vaguely on the way to to work. I wondered if I might get a cheeky First to Find. I had been beaten to the first one by some people of whom I'd never previously heard. They'd got there half an hour before I had. Oh, well, etiquette dictated that if they'd got the First to Find on that one, then they would not have gone for the other. It turned out that etiquette was wrong; they'd had both.
I drove on to Aylesford. I went to Sainsburys; I needed a new razor and some blades. I got some, and nearly had a fit at the price. Thirty-two quid. Can you believe it?
And to add insult to injury, having paid for the things in the self-service check-out, when I asked the one of the staff to remove the security tags, she looked at me like I was the shit on her shoe and (rather sarcastically) asked if I could prove I'd paid for them.
I then went on to the cheapo-bargain shop for some extra strong mints where I had a little chuckle. The delightfully pikey woman in front of me in the queue at the till was buying a large storage box. She'd filled the storage box with all sorts of stuff which she hoped wouldn't be noticed by the till staff. When the till staff tried to open the storage box, the delightfully pikey woman nearly had a fit, insisting that the storage box didn't need to be opened. There was nearly a fist fight over the matter. When the box was opened and all the stuff stashed in the box came to light, the delightfully pikey woman pretended to know nothing about it. "So you don't want this lot?" asked the woman on the till. "Yes I do" snarled pikey-woman. With the most sickly smile you ever did see, the woman on the till told pikey that she had to pay for them (in the tone you would use with a particularly stupid four-year old).
I didn't quite laugh out loud.
The rest of the day was rather dull in comparison…
3 January 2018 (Wednesday) - Another Late Shift
After a surprisingly good sleep (with no tiddle breaks in the small hours) I got up and tried out my new razor. It did rather well, but at that price I would expect it to.
Over brekkie I had a look-see at the Internet. Not much had changed overnight. Not that it does very often, but it is always worth staying alert. It is when you stop paying attention that things happen.
I put the leads on the dogs… well, I got Fudge’s lead on. At lead time Treacle plays silly beggars and runs off. Today I wasn’t having any of it. I just took Fudge off towards the door. Treacle came running like a shot not wanting to miss out.
We went through Bowen’s Field wetland park which is now no more than a swamp. Most of it is under water. The council really needs to send out “Aspire Land Management” to build up the paths so they are above swamp level. I considered posting on the “Ashford” Facebook page, but that is little more than a fight these days. Instead I posted to the “South Ashford Community Forum”; I wonder how long it will be until the fur flies about the issue.
We went on through Viccie Park where I lost Fudge. He was fine; just several hundred yards behind us. I wish he’d keep up. It was only when we were crossing to the co-op field that I realised we’d not seen any other dogs at all today. Where had they all gone?
I came home and had a look in the back garden. The fence which is my responsibility (apparently!) stood up to the overnight storm. The fence on the side of not-so-nice-next-door needs a little attention. However for her to get to it she will need to cut back her jungle. Perhaps I might as well just fix it and be done with it.
I had a cup of coffee with a lump of Christmas cake, watched an episode of “Still Game”, and set off for another late shift. I had this vague idea to find a geocache as part of a year-long streak of finding caches. There was one in Bearsted which (according to the map) looked as though it would be a straightforward find.
Having blown out there I went up the road to another one that I similarly couldn't find. I gave up and set off in the general direction of work.
Oh well; my year-long streak lasted two days.
To commiserate this failure I stopped off in McDonalds where I had a honeycomb caramel galaxy McFlurry. Have you ever had one of these? I can heartily recommend them.
I might have another tomorrow…
4 January 2018 (Thursday) - Car Service
I had my morning all planned out. Early start, quick bit of brekkie, load the dogs into the car, take the car for a service, then walk home. It was a good plan. It was a shame that I woke to torrential rain.
I left the dogs at home when I took the car for its service. I left my car at the garage and the nice man at the garage gave me a lift home again.
"er indoors TM" set off for work, and I spent a couple of minutes organising a Facebook event. Over the last few months I’ve been puzzling like a thing possessed over various geo-puzzles in London. We’ll go find them in a few weeks time. I spent a while wondering about how I might tactfully word the description of the event, but in the end I decided against tact…
There was a minor fly in the ointment on the last London trip. Most people who were there knew what was going on. One didn’t have a clue, but this didn’t stop her trying to give out the orders. This time I’ve insisted that people read the description of the day’s plan so we don’t have to waste time repeating ourselves constantly to someone who is clearly not listening.
The rain stopped (as the forecast said it would) so I took the dogs for a walk. Totally forgetting yesterday’s hiccup, autopilot kicked in and soon we were in Bowens Field swamp. The overnight rain had made the swamp deeper than it was yesterday.
We walked on through the park. Reality had ignored the weather forecast as the rain started again. That annoying fine rain that leaves you soaked right through.
We were all dripping wet when we got home.
I was just about to hang the washing round the radiators when my mobile rang. It was the garage with a list of problems with my car. I asked them to fix most of them, and with the chap from the garage saying they would phone me back when the car was ready (in a few hours) I took myself off to bed.
They phoned just over an hour later.
Bearing in mind the walk to the garage is an idea dog walk I decided to walk them over there to get the car. “Come on then” I said. Fudge ran to the front door; Treacle ran upstairs to bed.
Mind you that wasn’t how the walk turned out. We could have walked to the garage in half the time had Fudge not wanted to sniff *every* blade of grass we passed.
We got to the garage. Todays’ was a “big” service and consequently had a “big” bill. Although I budget for car services, spending hundreds of pounds is never good.
We came home and for lunch I scoffed yesterday’s left-over soup. It was *GOOD*!!
I then managed three hours in bed. I slept for some of them, but as soon as I got comfortable, Treacle would try to push her way on to the warm bit.
"er indoors TM" has just come home. Once she’s boiled up my tea I’m off to the night shift.
5 January 2018 (Friday) - Dull
As I drove home from a rather horrible night shift the pundits on the radio were spewing their usual band of drivel. There was a lot of talk about a scrappage scheme in which people can trade in their diesel-powered cars at advantageous terms. It makes sense to get rid of the diesel cars because of all the damage they do to the environment. But the question of who pays for the scrappage scheme remains to be answered. It strikes me that the answer is rather obvious. Diesel cars became popular because government information said how economical they were. Since the government made them so popular, it is only right that the government pay for the mistake.
There was also a lot of talk about a levy of twenty-five pence being put on each cup of coffee bought from the likes of Costa and Starbucks to pay for the cup they come in. Billed as recyclable, it turns out they are not.
I don’t think twenty-five pence is unreasonable. If someone can afford three quid for a cup of coffee then what is twenty-five pence to them? Three quid for a cup of coffee?! How do people afford this? At work we have a tea club. I pay two quid a month for two coffees a day. That’s five pence a cup.
Once home I took the dogs for a little walk. We bypassed Bowens Field because of the floods. But the route we were going to take was also flooded. So we went round the black alley. When we were half way round the heavens opened and we got soaked.
We came home where Treacle piddled on the carpet.
I got *so* cross with her. We’d been out for half an hour. Why couldn’t she have done that on the walk? She’d managed a rather substantial download whilst we were out. Why not go the whole hog?
I too myself off to bed. As I walked out of t he living room I saw a very sheepish Treacle watching me. She wanted to come up, but she knew I was cross with her. I told her she could come up, and (unlike yesterday) she settled herself on the side of the bed and didn’t fidget at all as I slept.
I managed five hours sleep (which wasn’t bad) before getting up an dozing in front of the telly until "er indoors TM" came home.
I’m off to another night shift now. The days between night shifts are dull…
6 January 2018 (Saturday) - Dr No
During a break in the small hours of the night shift I had a look at Facebook. One of the young lads on my Facebook list had pranged his motorbike. He’d also pranged himself; he was in hospital with several fractures needing surgery to put right (including a broken femur – and they take some breaking). I’ve known for some time that this lad is a regular church-goer, and several people were posting that the chap was in their prayers, and that they were asking God to bless him and to return him to health.
I don’t understand this at all?
The chap got blatted by a motorbike. Presumably God could have done something to stop this, but chose not to do so. This fellow will now be fixed by the NHS, but God will be given the credit for the repair job.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing someone who has recently written a book about President Donald Trump. The President isn’t pleased about the book as it claims he is absolutely mad as trousers and is unfit for office. I must admit that this is the image I have formed about Mr Trump. I’ve never met him, but the BBC news people to portray him as being a total looney.
Interestingly the bloke who wrote the book has a theory that Donald Trump never intended to end up as President. They whole election campaign was some sort of publicity stunt which supposedly went wrong when Hilary Clinton lost the election.
An interesting theory…
I got home and had brekkie and took myself off to bed whilst "er indoors TM" put the Christmas decorations away. I got up to a rather un-Christmassy house. We had some cheese on toast, then settled the dogs and went out.
A week ago "My Boy TM" told us that the local WyeVale garden centre was having a closing down sale. Everything was seventy per cent off. We thought we might pick up a bargain. I suppose a week ago we might have done so. Today there was very little left that was worth having. Still, it was nice to have one last look round the local WyeVale before it gets demolished.
We drove to Asda where we collected "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and her shopping, then went back to hers for a cuppa. It was good to see Jake and Charlie; Sam was put to work putting together Charlie’s Christmas pressies.
And then we took the dogs round the park; again unexpected rain poured down and again we got soaked.
After a rather good bit of dinner "er indoors TM" went off to the Saturday night film club. I thought about going, but ironing doesn’t iron itself you know. As I ironed I watched a film. The ITV4 channel was playing the old James Bond classic “Doctor No” featuring Sean Connery as James Bond and Ursula Undressed as the half-naked bimbo what he porks. It wasn’t a bad film; not least of which because of what Ursula Undressed wasn’t wearing.
I could have been James Bond 007. I’d give Ursula Undressed my best efforts if only my back wasn’t so iffy… Mind you I bet 00- agents don’t spend their Saturday evenings doing the ironing.
7 January 2018 (Sunday) - Sturry
Having done a couple of night shifts it is no surprise that I slept well last night. I managed nine hours asleep with no tiddle breaks. Not too shabby at all.
I came downstairs shortly after eight o’clock to see our smart meter said that we had already used ninety-one pence worth of gas and electricity. We seem to use an inordinate amount of gas and leccie without actually doing anything. I wonder where that ninety-one pence went this morning?
Over brekkie I had a little look-see at Facebook. I love Facebook if only because it lets me be nosey. Several people had been out and about going here and there yesterday. Interestingly most of these were the same people who complain at me when I don’t tell them that I’m going out anywhere.
We got the leads on to the dogs, and drove out to Sturry where we were somewhat dismayed to find that where we’d planned to park was actually a private road. But it didn’t take *too* much effort to find somewhere where we could park. Pausing only briefly to clear the puppy vomit from the car we soon met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and we took our wolf pack for a little walk.
I say “little” walk; “Hannah” measured it as six and a half miles.
What with one thing and another we’ve not been on a decent Sunday dog walk for over a month. It was good to get out and about today, even if the wind was rather strong and the temperature was *cold*.
Geocache-wise we set off intending to walk two series of caches. We walked them both. They were ideal for today, but I must admit they weren’t really the sorts of walks I like. Today we knew the countryside was going to be muddy and so we needed somewhere which was away from the mud. We got that. But being more urban meant the dogs had to be on their leads much more that I’d liked. Mind you I still managed to get some half-way decent photos, even if I did take them on my phone.
We got back to the cars, and from where we’d parked it was only a short ride to the pub. Over the summer we’d parked our cars at the “Thing and Wotsit” and thought we’d have a return visit. I have no idea what the pub was called; it was somewhere along Sweetchgate, and as pubs go, it is rather good.
We had a rather good bottle of Bishop’s Finger, followed by a pint of stout, and washed it down with a pint of Master Brew. There were one or two bags of crisps to be had (as well as peanuts and pork scratchings), and Fudge felt at home enough to fart as though it was about to go out of fashion. I don’t know what that dog had been eating; if I knew, I wouldn’t let him eat it again.
I slept much of the way home. For that I am blaming the after-effects of two night shifts and *not* three pints of ale.
Once home I dozed in front of the telly for a bit. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner then went bowling. I spent a little while wrestling with my camera. Whilst we were out earlier it hadn’t worked. It had come up with a “zoom error”, thrown in the towel, and switched itself off. Looking on the Internet the best fix for this is to send it back to the factory where they will charge the best part of a hundred quid to fix it.
Alternatively I can get a new one on eBay for forty quid; identical in every way (except it don’t have the “zoom error”). Or I might just muddle through using my phone for a few weeks until it is my birthday…
You can tell we’ve not had a really good dog walk for a while; both hounds are snoring as I write this…
8 January 2018 (Monday) - A Secondment
Over the last few weeks and months Fudge has been rather soppy at breakfast time; wanting cuddles.
Today as I watched “Dad’s Army” and scoffed my brekkie I had to turn up the volume on the telly so I could hear it over his snoring.
I set off to work earlier than usual; not knowing how long the journey would take. Today saw the start of a three-month secondment to the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury. As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing all sorts of topics; wage inequalities in the BBC, Oprah Winfrey’s latest speech, the Prime Minister’s cabinet re-shuffle. All of it was “blah blah blah”. On my usual trip I find driving up the motorway can be dull and the radio is a good distraction to the boredom. Today’s journey was country lanes in pitch darkness and I had to concentrate.
I get to new work, and… The job was good. The people are friendly and welcoming. The bosses are approachable. But it is all the little things. I soon found the lady who organises the tea and coffee and joined in. But there is always the uncomfortable “being the new boy” thing. People stop telling the knob jokes until they get to know me. I don’t know where anything is kept. And I’m not keen on an unfamiliar toilet - I can’t sit just anywhere to read my Kindle.
I expect I’ll get used to it. I don’t really have much choice.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scran this evening, then went bowling like she does most Monday nights. Being “home alone” I put on last night’s episode of “SAS: Who Dares Wins”. I do like that show; I’m *so* glad I never had to do National Service.
I also scoffed the last of the black forest and cream left over from Boxing Day. “Best Before” dates - Pah (!)
9 January 2018 (Tuesday) - 50 000
I would have slept better had I had the heart to move Fudge and Treacle. When I went for a tiddle at 3am they moved onto the warm spot where I had been sleeping, and I didn't like to move them. I dozed fitfully until ten minutes before my alarm was due to go off.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Dad's Army" in which Private Godfrey had a paramour. The beast(!)
I set off to work ten minutes earlier than yesterday; I suppose I will get used to the journey; it's not the easiest (especially in the dark).
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing yesterday's cabinet non-re-shuffle. The Prime Minister hasn't really re-shuffled her cabinet at all. I can't help but think this is for the best. Moving people about into different jobs purely because she can is no way for the Prime Minister to run the country. Surely people need some time in office to get used to a job?
Having said that maybe she might have moved the Health Secretary - I've never known a Health Secretary to be so hated by healthcare professionals.
the pundits were also discussing a recent seminar about the latest developments in artificial intelligence. they interviewed a robot which (in all honesty) made far more sense than many of the people they interview. For once they didn't bring up the tired old clichés about self-aware robots taking over the world.
Had they actually done any research on the matter they might have mentioned the science-fiction stories of Isaac Asimov in which the safeguards against robots harming humans were so effective that robots effectively sterilised the galaxy just in case aliens might harm the humans they had been built to serve.
Mind you, the "Thought for the Day" bit made me realise that humanity is in far more danger from itself than from robots or aliens. One of the UK's leading Sikhs was saying how Brexit has (in his experience) given rise to unprecedented xenophobia fuelled by wanton self-interest. Many of his fellow Sikhs feel frightened to walk the streets.
We are quite good enough at hurting each other; we don't need any help from robots.
I eventually got to work. There was a dodgy few minutes at a roundabout in Pembury when I found myself in the wrong lane and rather than letting me in, some arrogant twonk (in a BMW) tried to ram me. He beeped his hooter loudly. I hooted mine back, wound down the passenger window and shouted abuse at him. That made him sit up and take notice.
I got to work and did my bit. During a tea break my phone beeped with a notification from Facebook that the drivel that I post to the world has been “liked” some fifty thousand times. I suppose that’s rather good.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered this evening. We exchanged insults, and then watched a rather good episode of “Gotham”. And once home we watched the most recent episode of “Star Trek: Discovery”. This morning Netflix said it was coming out next Monday; this evening it was there to be watched. Up till now the show has been something of a disappointment; now it seems to be getting somewhere.
10 January 2018 (Wednesday) - Big Girl's Blouses
I slept like a log last night. Over another lonely brekkie I watched an episode of "Big Mouth". This is something I discovered on Netflix; it's not entirely unlike "South Park". It makes me snigger.
I set off for work; for some odd reason this morning was far lighter than yesterday. I have a rather pretty drive to work when I can actually see the scenery.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing an army general who was trying to talk down the furore caused by the latest army recruiting campaign in which potential soldiers are told that it is OK to be a big girl's blouse.The general said that it *wasn't* OK to be a big girl's blouse in the army; you could only be a soldier if you could kick ass big time.
Personally I'd rather have kick-ass soldiers than big girl's blouses looking after the nation's well-being, but is that politically correct?
Somehow I doubt it.
There was also talk of how President Trump's ex-advisor Steve Bannon has been sacked from his job with Brietbart News. Having made rather malicious statements about the President's family, is the chap *really* surprised when Mr Trump tells the bloke's bosses exactly who is the leader of the free world, and who is to get the bum's rush?
The moral of the story is surely to keep your trap shut.
Something we could probably all do from time to time...
I got to work and had a rather good day. I think. During the afternoon I took a photo of the view from the lab window. It’s rather a pretty view. I posted a photo of the view on-line, and quite a few people agreed with me.
I came home to find just Fudge. "er indoors TM" had taken Treacle to the vet’s (for a finger up the bum) and Fudge wasn’t too happy at being left alone. He wouldn’t have wanted to go to the vet’s, but you can’t reason with a dog. We walked round the block and came home just before the mission to the vet returned.
We had a rather good bit of dinner and with it we had a bottle of “Conquesta” which is possibly the worst wine I have ever tasted.
I think I might have an early night…
11 January 2018 (Thursday) - This n That
After a rather poor night's sleep I found myself lying awake waiting for the alarm to go off. With ten minutes to go I gave up waiting and got up.
Over a lonely brekkie (with both dogs fast asleep) I watched an episode of "Big Mouth" then set off to work.
Yesterday was a bright morning; today was dark and raining. The journey to work that I now do isn't the best, and there was a very dodgy five minutes as I went through Sissinghurst. With cars parked on both sides of the road, traffic was single file. A tractor driver wasn't going to wait his turn and just drove down through parked cars right at me. He didn't actually do any lasting damage as he scraped past my car, but the impact folded my wing mirror in. And to add insult to injury when I pulled up to sort the mirror, the queue of traffic behind me pulled up too; they were too close behind to realise why I was stopping.
Mind you I shouldn't complain; at least the traffic was moving at that point. I spend forty minutes in the morning driving twenty-five miles to the A21, from where I then spend forty minutes driving from the Lamberhurst roundabout to Pembury which is only six miles up the road.
Still... I've only got to do this journey another fifty times (in this secondment)
As I drove, the pundits on the radio were talking about Chris Hopson, (chief executive of NHS Services) who has publicly called for massively increasing the NHS budget, or a re-think of what is expected from the NHS.
With ever-increasing demands on the NHS, there is only so much that can be done with limited resources. Mind you I doubt there will actually be either any more money or any lowering of expectations. Just an ongoing series of whinges about how the NHS isn't achieving the impossible.
There was also talk of the Government's new environmental plans. With twenty-five years to implement them, there was (and will be) lots of talk, but seemingly very little action.
I got to work, spent ten minutes with a cuppa calming my nerves, then got on with that which I couldn't avoid. And then I gritted my teeth and came home again. I quite like the job I'm doing; but there's no denying that a combination of the A21, A262, A28 and various country lanes don't make for the world's best journey in the dark.
I came home to an empty house; "er indoors TM" and the dogs came home from their walk then "er indoors TM" went off to craft club. Being left “home alone” (again) I sparked up Netflix. Curled up on the sofa with the dogs I watch a film called “Infinity Chamber”. It started well and went rather odd. Perhaps my falling asleep twice didn’t help, but it was one of those films that once you’d watched it, you looked it up to see what it was all about.
In all honesty I couldn’t recommend it…
12 January 2018 (Friday) - Getting Petrol
The puppy had a restless night, but wasn't her fidgetting that kept me awake; it was Fudge grumbling at her that I found disturbing. The pair of them finally settled about five o'clock, and I got one hour 's rest before the alarm went off.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of "Big Mouth", then set the dishwasher loose on an assortment of crockery that I'd found and set off.
Needing petrol I went to the petrol station on the ring road. I would rather have stopped off at one of the petrol stations on my way to work, but being a meanie I went for the cheapest I could find. Petrol on Ashford's ring road is seven pence per litre cheaper than in Pembury. I saved nearly three quid this morning.
I got my petrol and eventually paid for it. The surprisingly attractive grannie was on the till and there was a gaggle of suitors at the counter all clamouring for her attention. Personally I can't see the attraction. When I finally got to the counter I asked if they had any Cadbury's mini-eggs (as I fancied some). She rather dismissively told me to come back in a month or so as they aren't available yet. I pondered about telling her that every other shop in the county has them, but decided not to rattle her cage.
I went back to my car. On Monday I'd reset the mileage calculator on my car. There is a gadget which tells me how far I can drive before needing petrol. It makes this prediction based on recent fuel usage. I used to get about four hundred and ninety-five miles from a tank of petrol when I was working in Canterbury. This was much the same for Maidstone, but (based on this week's driving) today it told me I could now get five hundred and forty miles from a tank of petrol.
Driving cross-country is economical, if nothing else.
Having got petrol I was about a quarter of an hour later leaving Ashford than I have been. The morning was *so* much brighter (even if it was foggy). And the roads were quieter too. Mind you I would imagine the quieter roads would be a "Friday thing" rather than a "time" thing.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing why President Trump has cancelled his planned visit to the UK. Clearly he doesn't see us as worth visiting. There are those in the UK who see that as an insult. Clearly he doesn't care. Perhaps those who've taken offence might consider that, and review how important they feel their opinion (and the UK) is in the eyes of Mr Trump.
The pundits on the radio also interviewed Nigel Farrage who now feels that a second Brexit referendum might be a good idea. He thinks it would be good to shut up the "remain" group once and for all. It was suggested to him that a second referendum might be a good idea as all that he promised has turned out to be a bunch of lies. For all that Mr Farage blustered, he never actually tried to defend the lies he made on the run-up to Brexit.
I can't see the appeal of the man; he is truly a nasty person.
I got to work where I had a rather good day. I was told that I looked too young to have children that have left home; and certainly looked too young to be a grandfather. I was pleased about that.
And I discovered a case of hereditary elliptocytosis; one of the few things that I can discover professionally without someone being rather ill.
With work done I came home. Fish and chips went down well, and then we watched yesterday’s episode of “The Orville”. It could have been a rather good story had Star Trek not already done it first and had the writers not tried to rip the piss from it…
13 January 2018 (Saturday) - Stourmouth
Having had a full week of early starts I had been looking forward to something of a lie-in this morning. I found myself chasing Fudge round the garden at four o’clock as he decided that the neighbourhood needed to be shouted at. And then with him eventually settled, Treacle wanted to play at ten past six.
I finally got some shut-eye; but suddenly woke in a cold sweat following a nightmare in which I had been promoted to the rank of “wotsit officer” on the starship ”USS Spasmo” and had been told we were off on a suicide mission to kick some furry yellow ass.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. Yesterday the pundits on the radio had told me that Facebook was changing its policies so that I would see far fewer adverts and far more of what my friends and family were posting. I called up that website hoping to see what friends and family were up to, and immediately found myself confronted with half a dozen pornographic Facebook pages.
Once I got through the smut I saw some snippets of what people were up to, but only a shadow of what I used to see. More and more there are just the same old memes and jokes circulating. I wish individuals would post more; I’m a nosey person. I like to see what people are doing.
Mind you, one friend was asking for advice. Her ex-husband was being very difficult about making plans for next Christmas with the children. He’d got a solicitor to take the line that seeing how he’d totally neglected his paternal responsibilities for the last five years it was only reasonable that at the next Christmas he have the children from the day before Christmas Eve till the day after Boxing Day. I’ve met the bloke, and have followed his Facebook postings. He only wants this arrangement out of spite. If he managed to get his way, the children would spend the entire time under the unwilling supervision of his mother.
I can’t help but wonder why no one has remonstrated with this chap with a large bat.
We got ourselves and the dogs together, and set off to Stourmouth. We went there geocaching three years ago and gave up as the place was flooded. Today we managed a rather good walk. We parked up at the picnic site, then (once Karl Tracey and Charlotte had joined us) went for a little wander.
We climbed trees, we navigated swamps, we found fields of cauliflowers, we found odd birds (that probably weren’t dodos), we argued with swans, we didn’t *quite* fall into rivers. As we walked we found a pub. A crafty half at the mid-way point is always good. And there was a pub at the end too.
I took a few photos as we walked.
Geocache-wise it was a mixed walk. We’d gone along to walk a specific circuit. The caches on that walk weren’t the easiest to find. But the suggested parking place was in such a place that we found ourselves going past geocaches hidden by other people before and after the main route. Several of those weren’t there.
Once home "er indoors TM" went to the Saturday night film night. Being home alone I foraged for my dinner (in the general direction of the KFC) and with dinner scoffed I spent most of the evening fast asleep in front of the telly.
Perhaps that third pint of stout was one too many…?
14 January 2018 (Sunday) - Lazy Day
When I went for my half past three tiddle I saw all the lights were on in not-so-nice-next-door. No matter what time I go to the loo in the night, that house always has all the lights on. Don’t they sleep? Or don’t they care about the leccie bill?
Over brekkie I had my morning look at Facebook. Yet another friend has taken up running. Everyone seems to be doing running. I wish I knew why. When you next see a runner, look at them. You never see a happy looking one. They all look thoroughly miserable. What *is* the attraction?
I also had a look at the geo-website and I had a little revelation. More and more geo-meets have their descriptions worded in such a way that it appears that the hosting venue has made special dispensation to allow dogs in as a gracious one-off offer (for which we should all be grateful). But in fact the places are dog friendly all the time. So… don’t people want dogs along to meet-ups?
I don’t see dogs as a problem at geo-meets (well, I wouldn’t) but in my experience the average geo-meet only has four (or less) dogs along, is dogs an issue? Aren’t they wanted?
Just as we were about to go out my lap-top told me it was going to have an update. Usually it asks it if can; this time I had no say in the matter. I left it sorting itself out, we put the leads onto the dogs and drove round to the warren. "My Boy TM" was there with Cheryl and Rolo and house-guest Marley, but not with Lacey. She’d announced that she didn’t want to go for a walk, and that was the end of it as far as she was concerned.
We had a rather good walk round the warren. For all that the weather forecast had said that yesterday was going to be the brighter day of the weekend, yesterday was cold. This morning was bright, and my nose wasn’t running anywhere near as much as it did yesterday. As we walked we saw squirrels (fortunately the dogs didn’t) and there were quite a few blue tits about.
There were a few iffy moments when Fudge got over-friendly with Marley (as only boy dogs can), but the urge soon went.
We came home, hosed off the mud, got changed, had a cuppa, wrote up some CPD, and with the dogs settled we set off out again. Usually Sunday is a big dog walk. As we weren’t walking (much) today we thought we’d copy the normal people and have a roast dinner. We met "My Boy TM" and Cheryl (this time *with* Lacey) and Cheryl’s grandad at the Kennington Carvery where we stuffed ourselves silly. The carvery is amazingly cheap – all you can eat for eleven quid. I had two platefuls and made myself feel rather ill.
Mind you their puddings aren’t cheap so we drove to McDonalds for McFlurries.
With a little time on our hands we then went clothes shopping in Matalan. Much as I like that place, they don’t cater for the fatter arse. "My Boy TM" had a minor problem in that he needed new undercrackers, but no one was brave enough to have a look at the label in the pair he was wearing to find out what size he needed.
I got a bargain. There was a pair of trousers on the rail for sixteen quid, and an identical pair on the bargain rail for seven quid. I got the bargain. Mind you I did get cross with the idiot on the till. Why didn’t he *fold* my stuff into the carrier bag? Did he really have to screw and shove them all in?
We came home. I set the washing machine loose on my undercrackers and spent an hour writing up more CPD, then had a cuppa.
"er indoors TM" has gone bowling. I shall sit in front of the telly and hope my guts stop aching soon…
15 January 2018 (Monday) - Blue Monday
I slept well, finally waking twenty minutes before the alarm was due to go off. I got up, even if my dogs didn't. Over brekkie I watched the fifth episode of "The End of the Fxxxing World". I discovered this series on Netflix yesterday evening and watched four episodes back-to-back. It's a rather good show once you get into it (You probably need to gloss over the first minute or so...). A bit gruesome in parts, but I can (mostly) live with that.
I thought about watching another episode, but bearing in mind the journey I now have to get to work I thought better of it.
I got dressed (putting on my new belt and one of my new shirts) and just as I was about to leave the house my phone beeped with news of a new geocache not two minutes from work. A shame that was "Maidstone work" and not "Pembury work"...
As I walked to my car it was still dark and the rain was rather heavy. Today was "Blue Monday"; supposedly the most miserable day of the year. As I left home I rather felt that it was. I had a rather horrible drive to work. It took me an hour and twenty minutes, which is about double the length of time for which I'm happy to drive. I have only done this journey six times now, and already I hate it with a passion. As I drove I was tailgated by an endless succession of idiots driving far too fast along dark narrow wet slippery country lanes with piss-poor visibility. I pulled over so many times to let these twits come past. Every time I pulled over was the same. Firstly they would pull over with me; being far too close they had no idea why i was pulling over. And when they realised why I'd stopped they would then fly past me (with a squeal of tyres). And within a hundred yards there would be another squeal of tyres as they nearly collided with cars coming on the other side of the narrow lanes.
I *really* like working at Pembury; but getting there and getting home is more like hard work than the actual job is.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the collapse of Carillion; a company which has all sorts of contracts with the government. The pundits on the radio interviewed some old windbag who said that other companies would take over the contracts, and the only difference those doing the actual work would notice would be that the corporate logos on their uniforms would change.
Doesn't this speak volumes about how government contacts are awarded?
There was also an interview with the leader of UKIP; Henry Bolton. Over the weekend he dumped his girlfriend because of all the racist stuff she'd been quoted as saying.
The interview with him made for good radio, though. Rather than discussing the political matters of the day, those conducting the interview got him to talk about the sordid details of his personal life. Apparently he'd only been with this girlfriend for a few weeks. The chap admitted that his wife found out about the girlfriend over Christmas, and has since taken his children to live with her in Austria. (Austria - is that why he's so anti-Europe?)
You would think that the leader of a national political party would have wanted to talk policies and newsworthy stuff rather than just admitting to all the sordid details of his recent affair, wouldn't you? Other politicians try to hide that sort of scandal.
Perhaps he's proud of having had a bimbo in tow?
I got to work where I did my thing. With my thing done I came home. Just as I got to my car there was another beep on my phone. Another new geocache. This one was reasonably nearby, but there were several stages to it, and it was raining.
I would have had a good run home had I not got stuck behind a learner driver who went at twenty-five miles per hour for the last fifteen miles of the journey.
"er indoors TM" did a rather good bit of dinner then went bowling. I’m going to watch the telly. My dogs are already asleep. I expect I shall be soon…
16 January 2018 (Tuesday) - Flu Jab
I woke feeling more tired than when I went to bed, having spent much of the night in a vivid dream in which my father had been promoted to “Eddie the Eagle”.
I *really* didn’t want to get up this morning, but I forced myself from my pit. Over brekkie I watched yet another old episode of “Dad’s Army”. It passed half an hour, but again the show had been written without an ending. Most of these shows just fizzle out rather than actually having a decent ending.
I had a quick look on-line just in case I’d missed anything overnight. It would seem that one of Treacle’s brothers has had some sort of seizure. That’s worrying. We shall keep an eye on her (and Pogo) just in case.
The environment agency had sent me an email. Last year I asked them for a breakdown of where the money allocated to the Angling Improvement Fund had been spent. Today they sent me a rather vague set of figures. A total of thirty-two thousand pounds had been spent on eight different “predation” projects. Three hundred thousand pounds had been spent on fifty-nine “getting your fishery ready for spring” projects. Seventy thousand pounds had been spent on forty coach bursaries (whatever that means).
I’ve asked for a properly detailed breakdown of where the fishing licence money goes. After all, this is public money they are spending here.
It was dark as I set off to work. Again I was tailgated for much of the way when on the narrow country lanes, but I've decided I'm not going to pander to the idiots who fly down pot Kiln Lane at breakneck speed. It takes seven minutes to traverse that lane; the idiots can slow down.
As I drove the pundits on the radio interviewed some of the executives from the failed commercial giant Carillon, and then they interviewed one of the leading lights of the HS2 project. No one being interviewed spoke English as I speak it; they all spoke some weird business-speak language which sounded impressive (to those who are impressed by that sort of thing) but didn't actually say anything.
I got to work and did my bit. During the early afternoon I skived off in the general direction of the occupational health department where (against my better judgement) I had the flu jab. I'm a great believer in vaccinations for the masses, but I must admit I'm not so keen when I'm on the receiving end of the needle.
Normally I wouldn't bother, but apparently I am now "of a certain age", and so I relented. I had a minor qualm when the nice lady brandishing the needle said that contracting Guillian-Barre syndrome was a possible (if rare) side-effect, but in the end I went through with it. I didn't like the cold I had a few weeks ago; flu would be even worse. The jab being brandished offered protection against the Aussie flu (H3N2), sweeping across the country as well as against Phuket flu and several other strains, so here's hoping it worked.
I then spent much of the afternoon imagining I had various side-effects of the injection, and left work loudly announcing that I would be off sick tomorrow.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered; tonight round at our house. Insults were bandied, dogs set on people, and we watched the first episode of the National Geographic docu-drama about manned landings on Mars.
We all agreed that most of us probably won’t live long enough to see manned landings on Mars….
17 January 2018 (Wednesday) - The Good Place
I woke shortly after 5am feeling incredibly confused having ha a rather vivid dream in which I was jintly running an antique shop with Daisy out of “Upstairs Downstairs”, but rather than actually selling antiques, I spent most of my time avoiding her “unnatural advances”.
Over brekkie I watched the first episode of “The Good Place”; a rather good show about a woman who dies and (through some administrative blunder) finds herself in heaven when actually should be in the “bad” place. The first episode was rather good.
I then sparked up my lap-top. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" had sent me a WhatsAp message. She’s found nice-next-door’s house’s details on an estate agent’s website. It looks rather nice in there. Mind you it looks far more like a show house than somewhere that people actually live, but some people like living like that.
I confirmed my interest on a geo-event planned for the weekend, and I got myself together and set off to work.
It has to be said I was feeling far more positive about the journey today than I was yesterday. It wasn't quite so dark this morning; I left ten minutes later today. I think I shall do so more often.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were still talking about the failed giant Carillion. The story of Carillion is a sad tale of our times. From what I can work out the Government tendered out all sorts of public jobs (cleaning of hospitals, running of schools and prisons, social services, etc) and awarded the contract to the company that said they could do the job cheapest.
It turns out that Carillion *couldn't* do the job cheaply, sub-contracted the work out, and went bust owing millions to its creditors. And so having forked out to pay for the public services the government has to fork out again to actually get the jobs done, as all the money that Carillion were given has somehow vanished.
It was mentioned that the top boss of this company was on a six-figure salary and he still is getting paid, and also that other bosses have been awarded bonuses even though the company has gone tits-up.
Personally I can't help but think that the public sector should just get a decent management structure in place and not have private sector fat-cats siphoning off the money, but what do I know?
There was also talk of how nurses are leaving the NHS in droves.I wonder what the situation is for pharmacists, physiotherapists, dieticians, biomedical scientists, radiographers... But then again, we aren't nurses. No on cares.
I got to work and had a rather busy day. I like that.
I had a quick look at Facebook during tea break. One of the "pages I might like" featured a first aid course for dogs. Presumably the course is for humans to learn to apply first aid to dogs, not for dogs to actually do the first aid? But at fifty quid I think I will give it a miss...
Once home "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. We scoffed it whilst watching this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery”. The show is now watchable; a shame that they waited until episode ten before taking this revolutionary step…
A bottle of wine, a decent swig of the amaretto… I might have an early night…
18 January 2018 (Thursday) - This n That
I had rather expected to have had a day’s sick leave yesterday as an after-effect on Tuesday’s flu jab. Yesterday I had no side-effects at all. This morning I woke feeling like death warmed up. Tuesday’s flu jab or last night’s wine and amaretto? Back in the day I really could drink a gallon of ale and not have a hangover the next day. Nowadays I am *such* a lightweight.
Taking care not to wake the dogs I got up and over brekkie I watched another episode of “The Good Place”. I liked the first episode; I wasn’t too sure about this morning’s one. The characters seem a little too formulaic. But I shall stick with it. The episode length is just right for brekkie time.
I then sparked up my lap-top as I do most mornings (my mornings generally follow the same rituals).
There was a pitiful posting on one of the geocaching pages. Someone had declared themselves too thick to do a Wherigo cache.
That annoys me.
It’s not just Wherigo caches, it’s foreign holidays, setting up a lap-top, driving a car, reading a map, downloading an e-book… most people take one look at a set of instructions, declare that it is beyond them, and give up without trying. Why are people so defeatist? People seem to take pride in declaring themselves too thick to do anything.
I had a look at my emails. My piss boiled there as well. Another of the world’s supposedly top one per cent of geocache hiders had been announced. This chap has hidden four caches; none in the last five years.
It is probably as well that the parent company of geocaching relies so heavily on volunteer efforts; their paid staff clearly aren’t up to the job.
It was quite light when I left for work this morning; and windy too. I took my usual route to work, wondering if Pot Kiln Lane might be blocked by fallen trees.
However, I suspect that road often gets blocked by idiot motorists losing control of their cars whilst flying over mud at break-neck speeds. I expect I shall find out.; hopefully not head-on.
As I drove I listened to the radio as I do. I'm more and more feeling that we should have a second Brexit referendum; not so much to reverse the decision, but just to be clear on exactly what the nation would be voting on. As time goes on it would seem we have been seriously misled. Far from getting millions of pounds every week to spend on the NHS, leaving the EU is costing about forty billion quid. All the talk about the UK being beholden to European laws is clearly rubbish as anyone can clearly see from a little holiday to any EU country. And now take today's news. One of the major reasons many people voted for Brexit was because they didn't want the British armed forces to be subsumed into a pan-European military force. Today there was all sorts of talk about British and French forces working together and being mutually dependent. French forces have been battling a jihadist insurgency for five years. They've asked for British help, and now they are about to get it. Britain is to send three RAF Chinook transport helicopters to support the French operation in Mali, along with fifty-odd support staff. For some time the French have helping the British effort in Estonia (I didn’t know there was one!) and the Royal Navy has been dependent on French aircraft carriers for years.
Is this what people voted for? I suspect not.
My journey to work was perhaps better than it has been for the most part. I did have to queue on the dual carriageway section of the A21 for five minutes, but you can't have everything.
I got to work and did my bit. Today I was helping out with an evaluation. it is good to be asked to do this sort of thing.
With "er indoors TM" visiting "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" I got the collars and leads onto the dogs. This is a tricky undertaking because as well as their usual collars they have to have their light-up collars too I we go out after dark.
As we walked I nosey-ed into people’s houses. Very few people in Francis Road pull their curtains. One house still had their Christmas tree (and decorations) still up.
As we came to the end of the walk we met up with nice-next-door who recognised the dogs long before they recognised me. The dogs are funny with nice-next-door. When they are going in and out of their house or are in the back garden, both Fudge and Treacle bark and growl at them. But when we meet them away from home, the dogs love them. Perhaps it is a territorial thing?
Nice-next-door were bringing their cat home from the vet’s. Moggie had recently had a spell of vomiting, and they’d paid the vet nearly two thousand pounds to be told that the cat had been sick.
I hope "er indoors TM" comes home soon. I want my dinner…
19 January 2018 (Friday) - Cake
Fudge’s growling in his sleep woke me at silly o’clock, and I lay awake until ten minutes before the alarm was due to go off.
Over brekkie I watched the third episode of “The Good Place”. I’m now on episode three, and things are starting to happen. I considered watching the fourth episode, but that will keep. Instead I thought I might check the Internet just in case anything revolutionary had happened overnight.
It hadn’t really.
A colleague had sent me some frankly pornographic pictures and videos on WhatsApp. He does that; it’s what men do (apparently) and I just go along with it. I think I’ve managed to turn off the notifications on that thing now.
Not much had happened on Facebook. The person who wound me up yesterday about being unable to load a Wherigo was still unable to do so. Why not? It’s a one-click operation (!) And there was one schoolboy complaining that someone was destroying geocaches in his area. I’ve seen this sort of thing before; I could be wrong but I suspect he’s had a squabble with someone at school and they are exerting payback.
I had a few emails though. The Nationwide building society had emailed me suggesting I went paperless for their AGM. I wonder why they bothered. And I had a notification about a supervisor job I might apply for. Do I want that sort of role again? There’s no denying I could do *far* more at work than I currently do, and more money would be good. But do I want the aggro?
As I walked out of the door into a rather noisy morning I reflected on how nice-next-door can't do so much as touch their garden gate without the sound setting my dogs into a frenzy of barking, but the dustbin lorry can trundle up the road (with the dustmen clattering and shouting) and the dogs don't bat an eyelid.
It was rather frosty as I set off; the car's dashboard thermometer read minus four degrees. I scraped the ice from the car, drove off, and had to pull up within a hundred yards as the windscreen had frosted over again.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the French premier's visit to the UK. Our Prime Minister has agreed to spend more on the refugee camps on the French coast, has agreed to take more refugees, and seems to have agreed to do whatever Monsieur Macron tells her.
This doesn't bode well for the Brexit negotiations.
The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has suggested the building of a bridge across the English Channel linking England and France. I can't see why this has come as a surprise; I can remember when the Channel Tunnel was first opened. The commentators at the time said that a second crossing would be needed by 2020.
I got to work rather quickly today; the roads were very quiet. Work was good; we had home-made cakes at tea time. I'm a great fan of cake.
I came home, and with "er indoors TM" off out I ironed shirts whilst watching a film on Netflix. “Nerve” was rather good. I’m sure I’ve seen a trailer for it somewhere. I wonder where…
20 January 2018 (Saturday) - Geo-Meet
For some time the plan for the morning had been a little wander round Faversham before the geo-meet. I woke to rather heavy rain. The forecast said the rain would get worse, so (as far as we were concerned) the walk was abandoned. There are those who say there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad preparation. There are those who see going walking in the rain as some sort of macho competition. To those people I would respectfully say “no!” I’ve done that in the past.
Turning up to a geo-meet after such a walk and having to go to the lavatory so you can wring out your pants isn’t something I’d care to repeat.
I checked my emails and had something of a shock. There was an advert for a supervisory position in.. well, I won’t say where. But if interested the person to contact was an ex-trainee of mine. I wrote quite the little diatribe about the chap, but decided against publishing it. You never know – I might want to be on his good side one day now he’s a senior manager, and I’m not…
There were also several new geocaches that had gone live, but none especially local.
Facebook amazed me – it invited me to join the Facebook group of the 1st Saltwood scout group. Why would I want to join that group? I did my bit with scouting for thirteen years (1996 – 2009).
I spent an hour writing up more C.P.D. – it’s a work thing. Everyone who is state registered is supposed to keep their skills and knowledge up to date, and to show they do so. Keeping up to date is easy but proving that you do so takes a little effort. You can do this however you like. I choose to write a blog. Getting the evidence together is easy enough. To be honest writing it up is easy enough too – I just have to find time to do it. In my last job I used to write it up during the night shifts. My current night shifts are too busy for that. I found an hour this morning. Currently everything is now written up. I’m pleased about that.
Despite the rain the dogs wanted a little walk. I thought I could get them walked then dry myself before going out later. Usually I like a walk with my dogs. Today’s was a misery. It started bad when Fudge picked a full-blown fight with a Labrador ten times his size. The poor Labrador just wanted to be left alone; I don’t think Fudge drew blood, but it was close. And then just when we were all soaked from the rain, after twenty minutes of slowly plodding a hundred yards behind, Fudge sprinted off to join in with another group of dog-walkers who made a point of hurrying off in the opposite direction to which we wanted to go.
He then had a crap. He can’t do it in one big pile. He has to spread it out; one turd every yard or so for ten yards.
I was *so* pleased to get home.
We settled the dogs and went out for the day. First of all to Matalan. One of the shirts I’d bought last Sunday had a rip in it. The nice people at Matalan replaced it without quibbling.
We then drove to Faversham. There is a geocache there I’ve failed to find three times. I failed to find it a fourth time.
From there it was a short hop to the Market Inn where the Kent hunters of Tupperware were staging their one hundredth meeting. It was a rather good meet-up. I chatted with all sorts of people about all sorts of things. Insults were bandied, plans were made, ideas were exchanged. It is always good to catch up with like-minded friends. It was a very good meet-up. If I can achieve half as much at the meet I’m staging in February I shall be well pleased.
A bottle of Brilliant ale was followed by a bottle of stout. Then a pint of Bishop’s Finger with a Master Brew chaser, and a bottle of Spitfire for afters.
Suitably refreshed we gave Karl and Tracey a lift back to the station; pausing only briefly to find a geocache which had previously foxed us. And then we went to the one we failed to find earlier. Apparently it was actually missing earlier; we soon found the replacement,
We came home, and I had a little doze; that fifth pint had been somewhat soporific.
"er indoors TM" boiled up some dinner, and then went off to the Saturday night film session. I stayed with the dogs, and watched a film on Netflix. “Allegiant”. It was tripe. I turned it off half way through.
21 January 2018 (Sunday) - Still Raining
I went to the loo at seven o’clock, and with nothing much planned for the day I thought I’d have half an hour more in bed. I woke up at half past nine. What a waste of a morning.
Over brekkie I had a little look-see on-line. There are mutterings of a road trip to the French geo-mega meet in Dunkirk in July so I solved a puzzle or two in the area from the comfort of my sofa. Some by traditional means, some not so.
I was rather pleased by something I saw on Facebook. Yesterday I wrote up some C.P.D., and being rather happy with one article I posted it to a work-based Facebook group I follow. It was accepted (they don’t accept any old rubbish) and by this morning it had received nearly thirty “likes”.
Despite the cold and the rain I took the dogs for a walk (hoping for a better result than yesterday). I suppose Fudge was better behaved than he was yesterday, but he inadvertently got me into a squabble. Just as the rain and hail was turning to sleet and snow I shouted for him to get a move on. I shouted that he was too slow. At this point he was about a hundred yards behind. You needed to be eagle-eyed to see him, and a passing big fat woman wasn’t eagle-eyed. She wasn’t happy at being told to get a move on and that she was too slow. I explained I was calling my dog; she pointed at Treacle who was at my feet. I pointed at Fudge; she couldn’t see him. I showed her my double-ended dog lead, but that cut no ice with her. Eventually she stormed off down the path, walking right past Fudge.
I was glad to get home.
Once home I puzzled a little more, then we settled the dogs and set off to Hastings to visit mums (and dad). Our first port of call was the Aldi in Hastings. I like their granola bars for lunch. A packet of those in Aldi is seventy-nine pence. But now that I’m on secondment to the hospital in Pembury I don’t go anywhere near an Aldi. The closest things I can find in Asda cost over two quid. We also bought some cake and took that round to see mum.
It was as well that we’d visited. Her phone needed some updates, and she was rather confused by it. Instead of reading the instructions and pressing one button, she’d decided to announce that it was all beyond her and just ignore it. In all honesty this is what most people do, and (to an extent) it works for most of the time. We hooked up her phone to my phone’s wireless hot-spot, and updated a dozen or so apps.
We then visited mother-in-law who was watching the snooker. I too watched the snooker, snoring gently until it was time for us to leave.
Once home I tried to geo-puzzle some more. Rather unsuccessfully. There was one particular geo-puzzle I wanted to solve as I will probably be walking right past it next weekend. I managed to decipher the code, but I ended up at a dead end. I emailed the chap who’d set the puzzle. He replied almost immediately, but he couldn’t remember how it was done.
With "er indoors TM" off bowling I watched the first episode of the new series on Sky Atlantic – “Britannia”. It is supposed to be about the Roman invasion of Britain in AD43. I studied this at school with a teacher who brought the subject to life. So far the show’s makers haven’t take too many liberties with the subject matter. However I’m struggling with the show. I’ve spent my entire life living pretty much where the early stages of the invasion took place. And even allowing for the passage of a couple of thousand years, Kent never had granite cliffs or huge waterfalls or weird rock formations like those seen in the show. If they had chalk cliffs and none of these utterly implausible rocky outcrops then I might be happier with it.
I think I shall just pretend the show is about the Roman invasion of south Wales (where it was filmed). That might work.
The SkyPlus box has downloaded the second episode. I shall watch that tomorrow.
Oh – today would have been "er indoors TM"’s great-grandmother’s one hundred and thirty-ninth birthday. An amazing woman. She once told me she stopped taking sugar in tea in 1916. There was a war on, you know…
22 January 2018 (Monday) - More Cake
I woke feeling full of beans and raring to go only to find it was only twelve minutes past one o’clock. I tried to get back to sleep but woke about every twenty minutes to see what the time was.
Yesterday I clouted my head on the boot of "er indoors TM"’s car boot. It was *really* sore when I eventually emerged from my pit this morning.
When I came downstairs my smart meter monitor thingy said we’d used sixty pence worth of power before six o’clock. How is that possible? I’m not at all happy with my smart leccie and gas meters. By ten o’clock last night the two meters between them had clocked up five quid’s worth of energy used. That works out to a monthly bill of getting on for a hundred and fifty quid. Before we got the smart meters I was paying a fixed rate of ninety quid a month. And now nearly sixty quid extra; an inflation rate of sixty-seven per cent.
There was a minor disaster as I sat down to watch “The Good Place” over brekkie. The Chromecast device (crucial to watching Netflix) couldn’t connect to the house network. After a lot of farting about I pulled the thing’s plug out, re-booted it, and all was fine.
I quite liked episode six of “The Good Place”.
I then had a look at the Internet. Facebook was first. I know I shouldn’t; I get so wound up. I found two particular posts rather ironic this morning.
A few of us were effectively bullied out of a social group a year or so ago, and the bully’s best mate was posting all sorts of anti-bullying memes.
And then the one who had spent the last couple of years posting up anti-cruelty stuff featuring animals in distress had the arse because others were doing the same.
With no emails overnight I went to get dressed. There was a minor disaster; the shirt I bought from Matalan on Saturday didn’t fit. It had been made so that the arms of the wearer were expects to emerge about ten inches below the shoulder, as opposed to at the shoulder (where arms usually emerge).
I put the shirt in a bag to exchange (again) later.
I drove into the town centre to get petrol. The filling station on the ring road is still cheaper than anywhere else.
Today the amazingly attractive grannie was nowhere to be seen. Instead there was a spotty oik who had never heard of Cadbury’s mini-eggs. I asked if he had any Cadbury’s mini-eggs; he pointed at the Cadbury’s crème eggs. I explained what Cadbury’s mini-eggs were; he pointed at the crème eggs and said they were the same. I explained that Cadbury’s mini-eggs were about a tenth of the size. He said they weren’t, and in addition to my petrol he tried to charge me for a Cadbury’s crème egg.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were all a-twitter about the senior general of the British army. General Carter was making a speech about how the Russian army could kick the British Army’s arse in a fight. Is anyone *really* expecting the Russians to invade?
There was also an interview with the chairman of the UK Independence Party. UKIP is in disarray; its leader has made several bad judgement calls recently (according to the pundits on the radio) but despite a vote of no confidence in him, he refuses to go.
The Chairman of UKIP was asked if the party even had a role in British politics any more; he failed to make a convincing case.
I got to work, and had a rather good day. We had cake again. I came home via Matalan where I got a replacement for my replacement shirt. I shall try it on in the morning.
"er indoors TM" boiled up some scran then went bowling. Treacle made herself comfortable in Fudge’s basket; Fudge and I curled up on the sofa and watched telly. The second episode of “Britannia” was rather good (despite the geological incongruities) and I watched last week’s episode of “SAS: Who Dares Wins”.
Much as I like that show, I can’t help but feel that a lot of it is staged…
23 January 2018 (Tuesday) - Stuff
I was sleeping like a log when Treacle stomped on my knackers at 1am. I wish that puppy would settle at night; she spends the evening fast asleep.
Perhaps that's the problem?
I didn't get back to sleep after that.
Over brekkie I watched "The Good Place" despite the Netflix app crashing. I hope it isn't going to make a habit of that.
I set off to work rather earlier than usual; I'd done all my morning stuff so I thought I might as well get going. As I drove the pundits on the radio were crucifying the leader of UKIP. The chap was interviewed about his personal life last week, and made quite the twit of himself. Today he was wittering on about how UKIP's national executive (the committee which runs the party) gets in the way of what he wants to do. He had this theory that despite pretty much the entire party wanting rid of him, if he could get rid of the ruling national executive, then he could do whatever he wanted which would clearly be in everyone's best interests (not least of which would be his).
They then wheeled on Nigel Farrage who agreed that UKIP's ruling national executive had been a thorn in his side when he was the leader of UKIP. Nigel Farrage likened the current leader to Jeremy Corbyn who (two years ago) was nearly chucked from his position of leader of the Labour party but eventually consolidated his position by a movement of grass roots rabble-rousing. Perhaps UKIP might have the same?
It was suggested to both Nigel Farrage and the current leader of UKIP (Henry Something?) that UKIP has but one policy (namely to send them all back on the next banana boat). Both categorically denied this, but both failed to actually come up with another policy.
As I was in the area and had some time spare I thought I might hunt out the geocache at Bo-Peep corner. I went to the right location, found out the post collection times, worked out how far I had to walk, and in which direction I should walk. I found the obvious target to which I would attach a small Tupperware box, but I couldn't find it.
I went in to work and sulked a little.
I got home to find "er indoors TM" wasn’t home yet so I took the dogs for a little walk. We met "er indoors TM" parking her car. As she had shopping to bring in we decided I would carry on walking the dogs and she would bring the shopping home.
The dogs disagreed.
They wouldn’t go on without her, and the puppy started screaming. So "er indoors TM" took the dogs. They trotted off with her without a backward glance as I took the shopping home.
"er indoors TM" came up with a rather good bit of dinner. Whilst scoffing it we watched this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” which was rather good, and last week’s episode of “The Orville” which could have been…
24 January 2018 (Wednesday) - Ice Cream
The puppy slept well last night. And when she has a good night, so does everyone else. It is just like having a toddler around the place again.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “The Good Place” – in this episode we got a first look at the “bad place”. It makes for entertaining viewing as I scoff my toast.
I then had a quick look-see at the Internet. Not much had happened on Facebook, and with no emails not going into the bin unopened I got myself together and set off to work. It was rather wet and very windy as I walked to my car. As I started the engine the pundits on the radio were relating the sad news that the renowned science-fiction author Ursula K LeGuin had died.
As a sci-fi enthusiast I'm rather ashamed that I've never actually read anything of hers. Maybe I should? I shall have a look-see what's on the Kindle store on Amazon.
As I drove to work along some rather slippery country lanes I was amazed at how many cars hadn't skidded in the mud and gone through hedges. I wasn't going to risk it; I took my time. As the queues of traffic built up behind me, Dr Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade) was being interviewed on the radio. He was spouting about why we should strike up new trade deals with various countries and why we should invest more money in health care, and why we should do this, that and the other. The more he spoke about what "we" should be doing, the more I realised that "we" was variously the United Kingdom's government, the Department of Health, the Conservative party, the UK Cabinet... At no point did he mention a "we" to which I felt that both he and I belonged.
There was also a *lot* of talk about the collapse of the rape case against Oliver Mears. Having been accused of of rape and sexual assault in July 2015 the case against him has been dropped in the last week or so. The pundits were fussing about the failures in the system which led to the case being dropped. I don't pretend to understand what went wrong. Was he unfairly accused? Was he guilty as sin and getting off on a technicality? I don't know.
But I do know that if he was accused in July 2015 then the trial should have taken place no later that August 2015. Why do all these court cases take so long to get sorted? Having had something vaguely similar I know how the uncertainty of these things can ruin your life.
I got to work and did my bit, and then came home again.
Once home I got the dogs collared and leaded, and we walked round the block. Not an excessively long walk, but they like to get out. Even if "er indoors TM" had taken them out at lunch time. The original plan had been a longer walk meeting up with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" but the weather really was against us.
I then boiled up my own scran. As it boiled I got a tub of ice cream from the shop over the road. "er indoors TM" had gone to a gathering of the tribes in Folkestone. Today was the Bat's big birthday. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have wanted any fuss to be made about it, and what with getting home from Pembury and walking dogs, I would have struggled to have got along in time. But it would have been good to have seen him. But I had sent my best wishes with "er indoors TM", and instead of going along I sat in front of the telly and with scran scoffed I shared my ice cream with my dogs.
25 January 2018 (Thursday) - Intestinal Discomfort
At Christmas we froze the left-over turkey curry. I had some for dinner last night. It wasn’t sitting well at half past two this morning, so I popped to the loo. As I walked to the chodbin so Fudge was walking to the back door. He looked so tired and slow and looked at me so plaintively as he stood by the back door.
That dog is *such* an actor.
I opened the door for him; he flew down the garden like a bat out of hell, shouting woofs and barks as he went. He continued shouting as loudly as he could until I found some clothes and went out to fetch him back in. He came back in with a very indignant expression; not at all happy at having had his fun spoiled.
I didn’t really get back to sleep properly after that.
I gave up trying to sleep at half past five, and over a brekkie wracked by guts ache I watched another episode of “The Good Place”. I found myself making some comparisons of this show with “The Orville”; why is it that the ridiculous and the humourous work on one show but not on the other?
I sparked up my lap-top and saw that the submission I made last night to one of the work-related Facebook groups I follow had been accepted. However the posting had received a comment warning me that I had left real patient data in it. I hadn’t. I had changed the name of the patient to “Lewis T. Duck”. Anyone with any sense knows that the “T” stands for “the”, and that Lewis T.Duck lives on the island of Merrytwit. (This *is* common knowledge, right?)
I also saw that people with whom I once worked were on holiday in Toronto. They’ve been there several times; if my money stretched far enough to have holidays like that I’d go to different places each time.
I had emails telling me of supervisor jobs at London hospitals. I can (just about) cope with an hour’s drive in the mornings. But a train journey?
And talking of an hour’s drive, I set off to work. I got into my car and was amazed at just how fogged up the windscreen was. I bought a thingy to stop that happening. I *really* need to get that thingy out of the car's door pocket and onto the dashboard every evening.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing how much plastic is wasted in making disposable bottles of water. There is a bright spark who has created an app which tells you where you can get free water. You use the app, find out where there is free water, then take your refillable bottle along. Result! A quid saved every time.
A minor problem is that I can't see the makers of "Highland Spring" and "Evian" being overjoyed at this.
I hope it takes off... I have visions of (in years to come) telling incredulous grandchildren about how people used to spend good money on water.
Mind you I expect bottled water will still continue. There are always those who delight in needlessly spending money. Look at the success of high street coffee shops. Or those granola bars in Asda for over two quid when Aldo do much the same thing for under eighty pence.
The rest of the day was spent farting. I shouldn’t have had that curry…
26 January 2018 (Friday) - This n That
I had hoped for an early night last night, but nice-next-door were having noisy sex. They seem to be quite the fans of that activity. I must admit I’m not averse to it, but I do prefer it somewhat quieter with a lot less shouting and screaming. Fortunately it didn’t last long.
I wonder if the shouts and screams had any bearing on how I then spent much of the night chasing round in vivid dreams?
Over brekkie I watched “The Good Place”; in just over a week I’ve watched the entire first season. Today’s episode was rather good – I didn’t see *that* coming !!
I then sparked up my lap-top (it doesn’t spark up itself, you know) to see what I’d missed overnight. I’d had a Facebook friend request from “Damien Von Blood” who seems to have something of a vampire obsession. I shall let that one pass. And the self-appointed geo-police had been out in force. Having sent "er indoors TM" a list of the various failings of the series of geocaches she’d put out just up the road, they were lambasting another series a little further up the same road. I’m planning to put out a series of geocaches next week… I wonder if I too will have my homework marked and be found wanting?
And Facebook themselves had sent me a message; I’ve been active on there for eleven years. I didn’t mention starting the account on my blog eleven years ago though.
I also got another email about another person who has been recognised as one of the world’s top one per cent of geocachers. Here’s their virtual reward. These people currently look after four active geocaches, none of which has been hidden in the last ten years, and they get rewarded for their contribution to a commercial concern?
This morning was one of those mornings where the time just ran away. I spent five minutes rescuing my socks from Treacle. And then I had to spend another five minutes scraping ice from my car. And another five minutes demisting the inside of the windscreen. That demister thing didn't work last night.
As I drove I listened to the radio and I couldn't help but ponder on the Prime Minister's plight. Earlier in the week she publicly told off the Foreign Secretary for the leaks he made to the press about his asking for more money for the NHS. Today she's telling off the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what he said at Davos. I can't remember any other Prime Minister washing quite so much dirty laundry in public. The pundits on the radio were speculating about how her days as Prime Minister might be numbered.
I got to work, and as I walked through the car park I saw that the fences were being replaced. But rather than having panels, these fences had uprights and struts and slats through which the wind could pass. I think I could do with this; the wind probably has it over a lot less.
I then had a rather busy day. What with having worked 9-5 for three weeks I'm worn out. The lates and the nights break up the routine. I quite miss them.
I came home, and walked the dogs round the block. They seemed to like the walk.
Once home I looked at the monthly accounts. If I hadn’t had to spend three hundred quid on the car last month and another three hundred quid on the car in the coming few weeks I wouldn’t be *too* badly off.
"er indoors TM" then came home. She was brandishing something that the estate agent flogging the house next door had put through the letterbox. The estate agent has apparently sold that house and was looking to sell ours too. I phoned the estate agent; not so much to sell our house as to find out what is wrong with next door. In the twenty-five years we’ve been here, there has been at least twelve different occupants next door, and the house has been empty for over a year twice.
Is that usual for a house?
The estate agent’s secretary took my call and said someone would phone me back. Whilst I waited I programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow’s walk. As I uploaded my GPX (oo-er!) my laptop told me there was a problem with the hard drive on the GPS unit and advised I scanned it. So I scanned it, and no errors were found. What was that all about? While it was all plumbed in I took the opportunity to do a software update.
I wondered if my GPS unit would ever work again as I ironed my shirts…
That estate agent didn’t phone back…
27 January 2018 (Saturday) - Addington, Waggon-at-Hale
I woke at three o’clock and nipped to the loo. When I came back the dogs had made themselves very comfortable in the warm spot where I had been sleeping. I curled round them as best I could and tried to get warm again.
Over brekkie I started watching the second season of “The Good Place”; I can thoroughly recommend it. And with telly watched I sparked up my lap-top. Facebook reminded me that I still had a friend request from “Damien Von Blood”. I was a tad miffed that I wasn’t allowed to use the alias by which I have been known for forty years on there, but some wannabe vampire can call himself “Damien Von Blood” and they don’t bat an eyelid. I squealed him up to the Facebook feds.
Interestingly the feds at Facebook had a look-see and told me that there was nothing wrong with pretending to be called “Damien Von Blood”.
I then strained my brain somewhat. At seven o’clock the smart meter said we’d used one pound and one penny’s worth of power since midnight. The central heating came on, I set the dishwasher going, and an hour later we’d only used five pence more power. I wonder if the things are working properly
There was a minor (major) commotion as our house-guest arrived. The Rear Admiral was having a minor crisis and with no one else available to look after the dog, we stepped into the breach. After all, how hard can it be having a third dog for a day or so?
We got the leads on to all three dogs and went off out. As we left the house we met Mr Nice-next-door. He’s now sold his house, and the replacement neighbours take up residence in May. Here’s hoping they are rather quieter when playing “hide-the-sausage”.
We drove up the motorway and were soon in Addington. I was just about to send a message to Karl saying where we were when they pulled up behind us.
Six of us (three humans, three furry) went for a little walk. There is a series of geocaches round Addington which we thought might make a good walk. We had to tweak our route slightly as the footbridge over the motorway had collapsed a year or so ago, but we had a good walk. We found all of our targets, and after three miles we were back at the cars.
We relocated to the Medway towns where the geo-brigade were having a meet-up in honour of Australia Day. A pint of mild and a pint of bitter and probably half a bottle of port (each) made for a rather good afternoon. In addition to the panini for lunch there were rather good prawns to scoff, some really tasty burgers, some wonderful mince pie thingies, and the most amazing ostrich sausages. My dogs *really* liked the sausages
There’s photos from the pub (and the preceding walk) on-line here.
I didn’t sleep all the way home, which was rather amazing bearing in mind how much port I’d guzzled. Once home it was rather miffed to find that he little gadget which connects the SkyPlus box to the Internet had died. I phoned the nice people at Sky; they are going to send me a new one. I didn’t realised the thing connected wirelessly. I hate wireless connections.
Even with the SkyPlus box knacked, Netflix still worked. Whilst that played, I spent the evening asleep in front of it…
28 January 2018 (Sunday) - Reculver
Our little house-guest was a tad restless in the night, and having three dogs did make things rather fraught. Dogs tend to bark at the most random things such as odd sounds, shadows, and the strange voices in their heads. One dog barking sets off another, and on hearing another dog barking the first feels vindicated in having declared “Red Alert”. With three of them randomly grumbling and growling I felt as though I was sitting on a powder-keg for most of the night.
Sadie got up when I did, and after wandering round the garden (leaving a turd every yard or so) she squeaked at me as I ate my toast.
Not much had happened on Facebook overnight, and with only one email of note I found my morning was somewhat dull.
As I scoffed brekkie I glanced at the smart meter. The thing read seventy pence. What was different about last night compared with the night before when we used thirty per cent more power in the same time?
"er indoors TM" and my dogs then came downstairs, and mayhem ensued. Fudge sat on the sofa with me to hide from it.
Once the dogs had calmed down I went upstairs to get dressed. All three dogs followed me. They sat nicely as I got myself organised, then suddenly Treacle flew off like a bat out of hell. It was at this point I realised my socks were missing. I eventually tracked them (and the puppy) down.
We got ourselves and the hounds into the car and went to the co-op for sandwiches. We hadn’t made any as we’d run out of margarine. As "er indoors TM" went into the shop so the dogs started shouting for her. I thought I’d do a “Facebook Live” to share the noise; they all shut up. But during the day the video was watched over a hundred times.
When we arrived at Reculver the dogs started seriously shouting; I recorded that onto Facebook Live too.
Karl, Tracey and Charlotte soon arrived, and after a minor hiccup with "er indoors TM"’s second phone we were soon off on a walk. Walk-wise it was *really* good. We wandered along the coast barking at the waves, watching the kite-surfers, exchanging pleasantries with the normal people. We came back along a track which ran parallel to the train line along which we saw swans and some rather beautiful scenery.
We had a minor dilemma at lunch time. Our little house-guest was crying and holding up her paw. We gave it a very gentle once-over in case it was broken, and then a more forceful check for thorns or scratches. We could find nothing wrong. Thinking a rest might help, and seeing how it was mid-day we stopped for lunch. In between having her own bowl of biscuits and getting scraps of cheese sandwiches Sadie’s hurt paw miraculously healed itself. She was fine for the rest of the walk.
As we walked we met some other people hunting Tupperware. They were quite new to the game; we chatted for a bit before making our way back to the car. It was at this point that I got a whiff of that delightfully fragrant odour that is unmistakably fox shit. Our little house-guest was smothered in it.
We had to sit outside the pub for our de-brief at the end of the walk; we couldn’t have taken her in the pub smelling like that. Mind you the pub was a little bit “council”. The pub at Reculver caters for the nearby caravan park. I think that as caravan parks go, it isn’t at the top end of the market.
This was one of the best walks we’ve had for a long time. A coast walk, a countryside walk, dogs off the leads continuously for over six miles. But geocache-wise… I can’t recommend it.
The Reculver Ramble series was put out about five years ago. That was a rather good geo-series put out by someone who knows a thing or two about the noble art of hiding plastic boxes under rocks. However those ones were rather spaced out. Last year someone new to the game thought he’d help by filling in the gaps. Probably done with the best of intentions, but clearly done with little experience. Why on Earth would you put out a series of piddly little things half the size of your little finger when there is room at every location for something the size of a tool-box?
And like so many people who get over-excited about hiding film pots under rocks, they flooded the area and seem to have now lost interest. A few weeks ago we did one of their series near Hoath and found them either in need of repair or missing. Today we replaced three before giving up trying to help.
I don’t like to be negative, but the geo-guidelines recommend that people should find quite a lot of geocaches before hiding their own. Today was a good example of why this guideline exists.
We came home and Sadie got a bath. To be honest she wasn’t alone in having a bath, but she was first. Just as we were towelling her off Jimbo arrived to collect her.
The house seems much quieter now she’s gone back to her home…
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner before going bowling. I spent the evening trying to watch episodes of “The Good Place”. The operative word here was “trying”; my dogs were snoring rather loudly…
29 January 2018 (Monday) - A Day's Fishing
I didn’t sleep that well really; I gave up trying to sleep at twenty past five. I came downstairs to see (from the smart meter) that we’d used fifty-five pence worth of energy since midnight. Yesterday at the same time it was seventy pence.
I made brekkie; but there was a minor disaster. We’d run out of coffee. I found a sachet of the stuff that I must have blagged from somewhere or other. It had gone past its “best by” date three years ago, but it seemed OK to me.
As Fudge snored on the sofa I watched an episode of “The Good Place” then sparked up my lap-top. I’d been tagged in a post on one of the geocaching pages. A teacher wanted to take her pupils geocaching and I’d been recommended as someone who might suggest a route. I pretended I’d not seen it. I’m not a great fan of doing this as a classroom activity as it was my experience as a scout leader that there are quite a few children who, on hearing about geocaching, make it their life’s work to destroy all that they can find. And (call me old-fashioned) I can’t help but feel that children should spend their school time learning to read and write and do their sums.
I then had a look at my emails. I had one of encouragement from the nice people at https://www.hematologyinterest.com/ who were impressed with the work-related blog I write. I was pleased about that.
I then realised what the time was, and thought I’d better get a move on. For once the car wasn’t iced up or steamed up. I drove to the co-op for lunch, then collected "My Boy TM". Together we went to the Brookfield café for brekkie. They do this “choose your favourite eight items” deal; it was good.
We then drove down to Shirkoak. We’ve fished other places; Shirkoak mightn’t have the biggest fish but it is relatively close to home and usually the fishing is good. We arrived to find we had the lake to ourselves; that was a result. I’d hate to be having a quiet fishing session then have me turn up.
We soon set up. We both set quivertips fishing on the bottom (stop me if I’m getting too technical) but after an hour we’d only had a couple of fish each. We swapped to float fishing the tiniest slivers of luncheon meat, and things picked up. The technique we were using would be ideal on a hot summers day for catching tiddlers; we both lost count of the amount of fish we had. There is no denying that we had some small fish, but the average fish must have been over three pounds in weight.
And (as I do) I took a few photos as we fished.
The plan had been to fish until mid-afternoon. The weather forecast said rain was due at three o’clock. A fine drizzle started shortly after two o’clock and we packed up. There are those who fish in all weathers; I have done, but neither of us fancied having to dry all the gear when we got home today, so we quickly packed up and went home.
Once home I walked the dogs round the block before the rain got *too* heavy, popped to B&Q for light bulbs, did a little shopping, gave myself a haircut, had a shower, and collapsed exhausted. I’d not been staring at the telly for more than two minutes when my phone beeped. Thirty new geocaches had gone live not twenty minutes’ drive from work. I might have managed a cheeky FTF if today hadn’t been a little holiday.
I hadn’t been sat down for long when "er indoors TM" came home, boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and went bowling. I thought I might prepare some geocaches with a view to going to hide them tomorrow…
Putting the boxes together took over an hour…
30 January 2018 (Tuesday) - The Warten Wander
I slept through till four o’clock, but after that I couldn’t really breathe any more whilst laying down. I tried to sleep, but lay dozing whilst struggling for air. Perhaps I should get another polypectomy (nasal re-bore) but I’m loathe to go through the surgery only to have the problem come back again after a few sort months (like it did last time).
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. There was a notification of a vacancy for which I might apply in Guys hospital. Must admit I’m not keen on anything involving trains to get to work. And I had a request to chum up via LinkedIn from someone I’ve never met.
LinkedIn is crap. It’s *supposed* to be about building a professional network. What can I possibly have in common with someone who is cabin crew for British Airways? He’s apparently got a “third” connection to me, which means he is an associate of a friend of a friend. But this is what LinkedIn is all about; when I clicked the “People You Might Know” link I got told about hundreds of people of whom I had never heard. And when I looked at my profile I saw I’d been endorsed for all sorts of skills by people who really don’t know how good (or not) I am at all sorts of professional activities.
Meanwhile on Facebook people I *do* know (who I *really* thought were good and decent and better than that) were posting up racist hate-provoking stuff. To all those who really would send them all back on the next banana boat, let me pose a dilemma (one I had to answer for myself on several occasions). You are on a recruitment panel to appoint someone to a responsible position. You have six applicants. Not one is a UK resident. You re-advertise again and again in all sorts of places. No UK residents apply.
What do you do?
I went outside to scrape the ice from the car. As I scraped so nice-next-door was scraping their car too. She said hello; I tried not to giggle. Whenever I see her, all I can think of are the screams she makes when “performing the dirty deed”.
With the ice scraped I got the dogs, and we drove out to Great Chart. A few weeks ago I’d planned a little walk with some geocaches along the way; today was time to hide the caches. The series is intended to give people something to do on the morning before the meet I’m running in a couple of weeks’ time. If I had any time off work closer to that meet I would have put them out then.
Me and my dogs had a relatively good walk…. Relatively. It started badly. In December I planned the route, and things were different then. Fifty yards into the walk we met with disaster. We went to cross a stile to follow a marked right of way. We found our way blocked by a slavering dog which was the size of a large horse. After it had snarled at us for two minutes a woman walked up. “I suppose you want to walk across the footpath?” she asked. I said I did; after all it was a public right of way. She conceded it was a public right of way, but she wished it wasn’t. It went across her field, and it was a nuisance having people on her land. I made a point of making her drag her dog away so we could pass, but at the end of our walk I came back and had to hurriedly re-organise the route. Unfortunately now there is far more road walking than I would like, but I’m not sure what else I could do.
But the rest of the walk went well. The dogs were off the leads for just under half of the walk. There was a dodgy five minutes when Fudge got onto the wrong side of a fence, and then a dodgier five minutes when we got him back and Treacle went there instead.
Mind you there is no denying that dog walks were better when it was just me and Fudge. Treacle pulls like a train every step of the way.
I took a few photos of the scenery and the dogs as we walked, and after two hours and three miles we were back at the car.
We came home. As I pulled up outside my house so the idiot who had been following also pulled up. On seeing us get out of the car they reversed, then carried on down the road. *So many* people do that; they are so close behind me that they cannot see what is going on ahead.
The dogs had a little bath; both had grungy tummies.
I settled the hounds and drove into town. I had a little discussion with a tattoo artist, then got petrol. In the past I’ve commented about the (apparently) sexy grannie at the cheapo petrol station on the ring road. She was on duty today and was excelling the expectations of even her staunchest supporters.
I pulled up at the only vacant pump. Every other pump had a car at it; no one was filling their cars, everyone was in the kiosk. When I went into the kiosk to pay I was shepherded through the masses at the till and I got to pay right away. No one else was in a hurry to get away. Everyone wanted to hang around the supposedly fit grannie.
I still can’t see the attraction.
I came home again and had a spot of lunch whilst watched an episode of “The Good Place”, then turned my sights to the geo-admin required for the new series of geocaches I’d hidden this morning. That took a while.
It is amazing how long it takes to prepare a little geo-walk. Every weekend I take it for granted that there will be a series of geocaches for me to walk. But take the “Worten Wander” series. A couple of hours poring over a map to come up with the route. Three hours on a provisional recce. Another three hours creating the cache web pages. An hour or so putting caches together. Two hours putting caches out. Half an hour submitting finalised cache pages…
This isn’t news to me; this is the sixth series of caches I’ve put out. But you forget just how much effort is involved.
My phone rang. It was the nice tattoo artist. He had something to show me (result!); we arranged for me to have a look tomorrow.
I got a bucket of water and sloshed the windows of my car, I gave the dogs a little walk round the local roads, I set the dishwasher loose on the crockery, and set the washing machine having a go at a woollen wash.
Time for a break… I made myself a cup of coffee and put “Plebs” on Netflix. Until the next episode comes out on Friday I’ve seen all the episodes of “The Good Place”
My phone beeped. There was consternation on the geocaching pages about the politics of who had been chosen to organise the UK-wide 2020 mega-meet. Quite a bit of nastiness and bitterness… Over the years I’ve done so many hobbies. Ale drinking and oil painting, astronomy and kite-flying. Reptile-keeping and cub scouts. No matter what I do, there is always someone trying to suck the fun out of it.
My phone beeped again. All those geocaches had been published. Less than an hour after I pressed the final button. Can’t be bad at all… It didn’t take long for the “found it” emails to come in. Not all the FTFs went to the same finder, but the first “First to Find” was timed only thirty-five minutes after the things were published. I spent quite a bit of time pressing the “refresh” button on my email gizmo to see that people had actually found all that I’d hidden. I was pleased to see finds registered on all but the puzzle one. Mind you the puzzle isn’t something that could easily be worked out whilst walking.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a pizza, and then (being Tuesday) the clans gathered at Matt’s. Having eaten far too many sweeties we watched an episode of “Mars” hen put the world to rights.
It was good to catch up this evening…
31 January 2018 (Wednesday) - Another Day Off
I was *so* pleased to have had a good night’s sleep for once; the puppy only woke me the one time. But on getting bread from the freezer for my brekkie I clouted my head on the freezer door and gave myself a headache which lasted for much of the day.
Over brekkie I had a look-see at the Internet. Other than a few photos of cocker-pugs, not much had happened on Facebook overnight, which was probably for the best.
I had a few emails. I saw the job I left a year or so ago was being advertised. Would I go back? No.
I say “no”; if I had to I would. When offered a choice between working for half the wages (and subservience to those I trained) or the push I swallowed my pride as I needed the money. If I *had” to go back or be out of work I would. I would prostitute myself again. But I would rather not.
I was rather surprised to see that only one more “found it” log came in overnight; putting out a series of caches yesterday has proved something I’ve been saying for some time. There are “geocachers” and there are “first to find-ers”. Of the four that logged FTFs only one did the entire series. It actually looks as though one of them had walked half a mile into the countryside, seen there were no more FTFs to be had, and had turned round and gone home. For some reason I find that vaguely insulting.
However I had an email notification to say that the one chap who did walk all of the series of geocaches I hid yesterday had awarded the route a favourite point. Favourite points are awarded by cachers to those caches they think are special in some way. For every ten caches you find, you get to award one point. I must admit I don’t really bother with them much; having accrued one for every ten finds, I have over five hundred still to give out (and probably never will). But it is always nice to receive one.
I then checked the weather forecast. The BBC have changed the layout of their weather page. I don’t like it. Not that there’s anything wrong with it; I just don’t do change very well.
I drove round to the garage near McDonalds to collect "er indoors TM". Her car has been making odd noises lately (apparently) and the nice man at the garage said he’d have a look at it. We left her car there and I drove her to work and then had a “me day”.
As I was in the area I had a little look-see at the fish section in Dobbies. They seemed rather helpful; I shall go back there when I need something.
I then drove in to town. I popped into the estate agent selling next door to ask why the place has changed hands (at least) a dozen times in twenty-five years. The nice lady passed me on to the manager who agreed it was excessive, but he said some houses are like that. He told me of one in Hythe Road which is on their books more often than it is not.
I went in to the bank. I had a cheque to pay in. Some officious busybody member of staff wouldn’t leave me alone, so I walked out. I need to go back with that cheque at some point.
I went to the old-fashioned sweetie shop hoping they would have Callard and Bowser’s chocolate toffee rolls. They didn’t.
I went to see the tattoo artist I saw yesterday. He’s come up with a design I like. I’ve made an appointment for a couple of weeks’ time.
I laid an egg when "er indoors TM" messaged me with the quote to have her car’s clutch fixed.
I came home, put the leads on to the dogs, and walked round to Newtown where we met "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" (together with Sid and Pogo). We had a rather good little walk to the playpark and back. As we walked "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" told me all about planets. He knows quite a bit about them. Also as we walked Treacle spent a lot of time biting Pogo’s ankles, and Fudge “gayed up” Sid (it’s a dog thing).
We got home about five minutes after the forecast rain had started.
No annual leave is complete without spending time ironing. So I spent the afternoon ironing. As I did I watched a film on Netflix. I can remember “The Martian” being really good when I watched it some time ago. Today it seemed to drag on interminably.
Just as it finished (and the ironing finished) the phone rang. It was "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". Sam had passed his driving test today; would I take them over to South Ashford so they could look at a car. Sam had a test drive…. I won’t say that the front half was a Ford Cortina and the back half was a Mini Metro, but the clutch was knacked as were the windows. Whilst the owner went in to get the service history we made a quick getaway. Personally I wasn’t even sure this car was the so-called owner’s car to sell.
I took "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"’s tribe home then collected "er indoors TM" from work. I thought about suggesting she walked… but then I was rather hoping for some dinner…