1 January 2022 (Saturday) - New Year's Day
My New Year’s resolution of getting a decent night’s sleep every night fell at the first hurdle when Treacle woke me with her whimpering in the small hours; she was having a bad dream. I wonder what had upset her. She soon settled, but I didn’t.
If anyone tries to tell you that animals don’t dream they are welcome to borrow my little “pain in the glass” for a night.
Forgetting to break out the new razor blade for the first of the month (woops!) I had a shave, then over brekkie I had my usual peer into the internet. “Name Tests” were still spamming me on Facebook so they got blocked. Other than that, Facebook was dull this morning. Loads of people had wished the world a happy new year, and loads of people had liked this, But there wasn’t much else going on. So I helped “er indoors TM” with a minor tidy up then got ready for the day.
Karl, Tracey and Charlotte arrived and we walked round to Newtown and Frog’s Island. Being New Year’s Day we usually have a geo-meet-up for a walk and a pub session for all the county’s hunters of Tupperware. This year I’d volunteered to organise something, but last Tuesday (with only four days to go) the pub cancelled on me. So what could I do? The place I had booked had a rather good outdoor marquee with plenty of ventilation. No other pub had anything to compare. So with no alternative but to cancel I decided to go ahead with the non-pub part of what I had in mind and hope for the best. About thirty of us met up in Frog’s Island to chat and to play Wherigo.
The Wherigos weren’t entirely without incident; some people had the app crash on them, and some struggled with the fiendishly difficult one. But I think it fair to say that once people figured out how to play the game we all had a laugh, and I think a good time was had by all. I particularly liked watching multiple groups of people playing my “Snakes and Ladders” Wherigo in which it didn’t take long for everyone who started together to find themselves scattered all over the field. And watching people try to figure out which of a pint of ale, a random geocacher and a tiger could be left together was fun. And it was good to spend time with old friends; many of whom I’ve not seen in person for nearly two years. And I got to meet new friends too.
Six years ago when I ran the New Years day event we had a very wet and cold day out, At the time I said about the day “I knew the terrain was muddy; but I didn't know it was going to be *that* muddy. It had certainly got a lot worse in the two weeks since I last walked the route” so I’d deliberately chosen somewhere for today with (mostly) tarmac paths. But the bits on the grass weren’t at all muddy, and the weather held out for us (it was the warmest New Year’s Day on record).
After three hours the glorious sunshine began to give way to clouds, and by then people were beginning to drift away so it was time for us to go too. It turned out that three people arrived just after we’d all gone home…
We came home and Karl and I saw off a bottle of “Obadiah” a ten per cent Imperial Stout from the Old Dairy Brewery. It was rather good, but at ten per cent you don’t mess about with it. Some pizza, a bit of “Snow Top”… hardly surprising “er indoors TM” fell asleep.
I took a few photos of the day, and as she snored I posted them on-line. But it wasn’t long before I too was fast asleep.
We woke in time to watch the New Year’s episode of “Doctor Who”. Over the years it has become traditional for me to rubbish the show, but I rather liked this one. The story wasn’t ridiculously complicated, the characters were (mostly) likeable. I hear Jodie Whittaker is leaving the show… she might be leaving on a high.
2 January 2022 (Sunday) - Feeling Grim
I felt like death warmed up when I went to bed at nine o’clock yesterday. I rather suspected I’d had sunstroke. No New Year’s Day? I shivered and sweated for an hour or two, then finally got to sleep waking some twelve hours later. with a bit of a headache.
I opened my new razor blade (that I didn’t open yesterday), and once I’d scraped I made some toast and as I scoffed I peered into the Internet. There were a lot of “Attended” logs from yesterday’s meet-up. Pretty much everyone was of the opinion that it was good to catch up with old friends, and we all want to continue doing so. There were quite a few “Found It” logs on geocaches that I’ve hidden (all saying good things) as well. That was a result.
With rain forecast for later we thought we’d walk the dogs early, so we went round the park. We had a rather good walk with no “episodes” whatsoever; “er indoors TM”’s idea of giving each dog a tennis ball to carry certainly seems to distract them.
It was only a shame that the rain came two hours early when we were only half way round the park.
We came home where (once we’d dried off) I ironed shirts whilst we watched the “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” documentary. It wasn’t what I thought it might be… just two hours of various actors saying how much they loved each other. I don’t know what I had been expecting, but I had been expecting more than that.
Although I was feeling better than I had been last night, I was still feeling a tad fragile, and so just slobbed on the sofa for the rest of the afternoon whilst “Carry On Girls”, “Carry On Dick” and “Carry On At Your Convenience” played on ITV2. Whilst they were funny back in the day, they’ve not stood the test of time, and I spent much of the afternoon fast asleep whilst the Carry On gang carried on doing their thing. I eventually woke to find that “er indoors TM” had turned the telly to the Food Network.
Still feeling rather listless I sparked up my lap-top and spent half an hour peering at Google Street Views of Folkestone Harbour trying to solve a puzzle geocache. I eventually got the right answer, but it took some getting.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the second episode of the new series of “Lego Masters: Australia” in which the contestants spent ten hours making some very good models which they then blew up. It was rather good.
I’m feeling better than I was but still feeling a tad bleugh. Perhaps a good night’s sleep might sort me out?
3 January 2022 (Monday) - Folkestone
I slept for eight hours last night which was a result. Over the last week or so I’ve been woken by backache which is actually a good thing; if I lie in bed too long I get backache, so it shows I’ve been sleeping.
I got up, set a COVID test incubating, and made brekkie which I scoffed whilst peering at the Internet. Someone had got a burger from the local McDonalds this morning, seen the bun had been sliced in something of a hurry (the bun wasn’t sliced symmetrically) and had posted the photo to the local Facebook group trying to say that someone had bitten a lump out of it before it was served to him. That group is always good for an argument but this morning the opinion was unanimous. Everyone saw a hurriedly sliced bun and told the complainant to get a life. And rightly so. Isn’t this just typical of our times? Rather than taking your complaint to someone who can do something about it, people just go straight to social media.
And a kite-making friend was telling the world how elastic is cheaper in Hobbycraft and strong glue cheaper in Dunelm (or vice versa). This reminded me of my grandmother who used to take me shopping when I was young when my mum was at work. She would take me to one store where she would buy nothing. Instead we would walk up and down all the aisles, then go to a pre-determined point where gran would meet her chums. Each of them would have checked out another supermarket before the meet-up. Then all of the gang would compare prices of every single item in every single shop in town. The gang would then disperse and we would spend all day traipsing all over the town getting the week’s shopping from half a dozen widely spread-out different shops; getting each individual item from where it was cheapest. We would also meet up with “Gran’s Gang” at least twice more during the day to give and receive price updates. Admittedly my gran (and her gang) might have saved a few pence (d pence not p pence) but would have spent all day doing it when it could all have been bought from the same shop in less than an hour.
I would say “happy days” but they were rather tedious.
And then I realised I’d left it too late to get involved in the litter-picking that was happening in Viccie Park this morning.
As I piddled about on “Cookie Jam” so someone from the Carphone Warehouse phoned trying to sell me one of their phones. Feeling evil I asked him how he decided which phone to get when he last got one. He made the mistake of saying he compared all the phones that were on the market at the time. I pounced on this. “So you *didn’t* but the first one the bloke on the phone tried to sell you?”
He had to concede defeat.
Also as I piddled about on “Cookie Jam” Treacle jumped onto the sofa with me and started a fight. She lulled me into a false sense of security by sucking on my pyjamas then started trying to chew my arm. I took this as my cue to get off my bum and do something.
As I got dressed so Pogo tried to pick a fight with me as well.
We drove down to see “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. Somehow or other we acquired a load of her dirty laundry and had been charged with sorting it out. And having sorted it out we also had the task of taking it back to her.
We stayed for a cuppa, but the dogs were a tad excitable so we said our goodbyes and took the dogs for a little walk. We drove on to the East Cliff where we parked up and had a good walk across the hill top down to the top of Tontine Street, then through Payers Park and down the Old High Street to the harbour, and back to the car. Coming along the stretch of beach just past the harbour was interesting – there were a lot of people with wet suits and surfboards. They looked to be having fun. I wonder if they make surfboards in my size?
As we walked things were “getting urgent” but all of the public conveniences were only going to open between Easter and September. What was that all about? Do Folkestonians only pee for half of the year? From the harbour we had a quick look round the Warren, but only a quick look. The mud was rather against us. I took a few photos of our outing when I wasn’t needing both hands to stop myself going arse over head in the mud.
As we came home I Munzee-ed like a thing possessed up the motorway. With surgery planned for a week tomorrow I’ve effectively only got a week in which to achieve great things.
“er indoors TM” did her trademark move of boiling up a rather good bit of scran, and we scoffed it (with a bottle of plonk) whilst watching “Richard Osman’s House of Games”.
I think I might have caught the sun today… maybe an early night?
4 January 2022 (Tuesday) - Petitions, Ranting
Having been sleeping well I had an alarm set last night… and woke just after two o’clock.
Over brekkie I started on the steroids and antibiotics (in readiness for next week’s surgery) and watched an episode of “Superstore” which was rather entertaining. That show features so many characters with whom I can relate.
I then sparked up the lap-top to see what had happened overnight in the world.
Yesterday afternoon I read a post on one of the local Facebook groups about our local postal sorting office. There is a problem with Royal Mail parcel post (or whatever it is called these days). I know from experience that the people delivering the parcels don’t bang on the doors or ring bells when they have a delivery to make. They just pop a “sorry you weren’t home” note through the letterbox and run away as quickly as they can. Like they did at our house on the morning of Christmas Eve. You then have to go to the sorting office to collect your parcel. There are a choice of car parks you might use. None are very near the sorting office, and none are cheap. Parking outside the sorting office isn’t practical as the traffic wardens hide in the private car park of the offices over the road and when someone parks up, they wait until they go in to collect their parcels then run over, ticket the car, and run away as quickly as they can (I’ve watched them do it). It had been suggested that three parking bays be marked on the road outside the sorting office for people to collect parcels. A petition had been started up in support of this. (You can sign it by clicking here) Such a sensible idea; such nastiness and bitterness had been stirred up on Facebook. Some people really do just want to argue.
However I did have an email which chirped me up. Over the weekend people have been out hunting for the geocaches I’ve hidden over the last year of so. Over thirty of them have received “favourite points” which means people like them. That was something of a result.
(Rant warning!) Oh how my piss boiled as I listened to the news on the radio this morning. I try not to blog about work, but seriously...
Elizabeth Holmes, founder of supposed blood testing firm Theranos, has been found guilty of several charges including conspiracy to defraud investors. Did it really need a high-profile court case to prove this? Wasn't it screamingly obvious that what she was claiming just wasn't feasible? I thought she was on the fiddle from the moment I heard about her business as did pretty much everyone who knows the first thing about blood tests. Her company had this plan that they would send out a blood testing kit to whoever would pay for one. You would stick in a few drops of blood, and their kit would tell you all about the state of your health.
Sounds too good to be true doesn't it?
Now I might now a tad more than most about the subject, but in its simplest terms any sort of test (be it blood or anything) is only as good as that which it is testing. You need a decent dollop of blood to get a good result. To get a good sample of blood for most purposes you need to stick a needle in a vein. You can't get it from a few drops nervously squeezed from the end of your thumb. Have you ever had a blood sample taken? Look at the colour of the blood that is in the bottles collected from a vein and compare that to the colour to what you see when you cut yourself. *Completely* different!!
Or take the UK version of this which is all over the telly adverts at the moment. The company offers all sorts of medical testing, and claim they won't make a charge if they don't find anything wrong. What a nice little earner(!) With people taking their own (frankly dreadful) blood samples we have *incredibly" poor quality blood being tested. Obviously the results are going to be squafty. And so the company gets their money as they have found something wrong.
And a terrified public goes running to their GP who does a proper blood test and finds all is fine.
It's not unlike the terrible reputation the lateral flow tests for COVID-19 are getting. So many false negatives? Is that the fault of the test kit or the fault of that which they are testing? How far up your nose do you shove your swab?
(Yes I know all about diabetic finger-prick testing and can bore you extensively about why that is the exception that proves the rule! – look up the terms “accuracy and “precision”)
I got to work, took a deep breath, and did my bit. Properly. In a laboratory governed by all sorts of regulations and control measures. As it should be.
As I walked out at home time I phoned my Dad. He said they’d had snow in Hastings today. And wasn’t it cold this afternoon? I’d arrived at Maidstone at quarter past seven this morning when the car’s thermometer told me the temperature was ten degrees. The same thermometer said the temperature at four o’clock this afternoon was three degrees. (there’s a hint there about the reliability of diabetic finger-prick testing if you are paying attention !).
Once home I walked the dogs round the block. It was *cold*. So much colder than this morning had been, but the dogs didn’t seem to mind. We had a good little walk, and didn’t woof at anything. As I walked so my phone beeped with a text message from the local hospital (where I’m hopefully getting my nasal re-bore next week). They’ve arranged for a PCR COVID-19 test kit to be delivered to me this week as they want a test result they can depend on when I do it this Saturday.
Didn’t I rant about that sort of thing earlier? And doesn’t their wanting a PCR test prove the validity of my rant? Go me!
Today is certainly something of a “valid laboratory procedure” day, isn’t it? Hope it warms up for tomorrow…
5 January 2022 (Wednesday) - Stuff and Things
As part of the run-up to next week’s nasal re-bore I’ve got to take a dose of steroids every day. It has been suggested that if I take them with brekkie then their side-effect of insomnia is diminished somewhat. I’m not saying that they kept me awake last night but it was one of those nights when I probably needed every bit of help I could get to sleep, and they probably didn’t help. After a very restless night I eventually gave up trying to sleep.
As I walked to the bathroom this morning I looked at the washing machine with a tear in my eye. It died yesterday evening. I’m not saying that the epic wash load that “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” sent up between Christmas and New Year did for it (I wouldn’t dare) but when it gave up the ghost last night I found that the waste trap was filled with fag filters. But despite hoiking them all out, the drum still didn’t turn. I formally declared that the washing machine was dead, salvaged the last batch of laundry from it, and “er indoors TM” got looking on-line for its successor.
Our old washing machine is old. My diary goes back nearly fifteen years and the only mention of a new washing machine was on Saturday 14 July 2007 when the old one gave Jose a poke (I can remember laughing at that), and there was talk of a new one coming on the following Tuesday. Is it really that old? Quite possibly. For many years I had a service contract with someone or other in which I paid far too much money each month and if and when the thing went wrong then the nice man would come and fix it. Which was all very well all the time the thing would go wrong. But over the years we have just kept a frankly knackered device limping along until the bitter end. And probably paid the cost of several brand new washing machines in doing so. Some time ago I decided to cancel that service contract and keep the money in reserve for when the time for a new washing machine came. That time has come… and I’ve got four hundred quid put aside for a new one. I’m not sure that will be enough, but it is four hundred quid that I’ve not given to someone else isn’t it? I’ll just add in the money I’ve got reserved for when my lap-top chucks in the sponge. I’d been looking forward to getting a new lap-top, but I think it fair to say I look forward to having my socks washed more.
As I scoffed toast, antibiotics and steroids I watched an episode of “Superstore” which was rather entertaining, then peered into Facebook where a row was kicking off about whether or not Gringotts (the Wizard bank in “Harry Potter”) was allegorical of Hitler’s Third Reich. Some people were insistent it was. Others saw this for the absolute stupidity it was. And quite a few were determined to have an argument.
I set off on a quite major trek to where I'd had to leave the car last night. Parking near home is always tricky and last night I'd had to park three streets away. Yesterday had been a rather warm morning. Today it was ten degrees colder and I had to spend a few minutes scraping the ice from the windscreen. Perhaps I might start wearing a scarf in the morning? After all if I don't wear one in the winter, when will I wear one?
I was soon driving up the motorway. As well as endless speculation about COVID-19, the pundits on the radio were also talking about how a New York judge was deciding whether to allow Virginia Giuffre (the Jeffrey Epstein trafficking victim) to pursue her civil case against Prince Andrew.
This woman might well be the victim in the case. But from what I can see this was all thrashed out when she was awarded a ton of cash in 2009 on the understanding that the payment was the end of it all. And that in accepting it she agreed that justice had been done. Having received such a payment, how can you come back and ask for more? If the judge decides in her favour he will be setting a dangerous legal precedent for anyone who has been given a settlement in the past and who now decides they might like some more.
Though I expect that Prince Andrew will remain on the hook for a little longer; after all what is the law if not made up as it goes along?
I took a couple of detours on my way to work today. First of all to Boxley. Karl had sent a message last night saying that one of his geocaches had gone missing. Seeing it was only a five-minute drive and a two-minute walk out of my way I thought I might be helpful and replace it. I had this plan to go before work. I thought it might be pretty to be there just as the sun was rising, and it was. And I didn't get muddy at all; the mud was still frozen.
I also stopped off for petrol at the Aylesford Sainsbury petrol station where the staff were smiling and helpful and *utterly* unlike the surly harridans lurking behind the tills in the Ashford branch. As I filled the car I played silly beggars. Usually I keep putting in petrol until the pump stops, and then give it a couple more squirts for good luck. I actually got over a tenner's worth more petrol into the tank after the pump had decided to stop for the first time this morning. What was that all about? I also got a sandwich too. In my sadness over the demise of the washing machine I'd forgotten to make lunch earlier.
I got to work a little earlier than I might have done, and treated myself to a croissant (from the work's branch of Marks and Spencer) which I had with a cuppa, and then spent much of the day (when I wasn't eating cake) peering down a microscope.
I wasn’t *that* late getting out, and one home I walked the dogs round the block. “er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of scran and we scoffed it watching the first two episodes of “The Larkins” – a re-make of “The Darling Buds of May”. Much of the program was filmed in places that we’ve walked. Whilst I didn’t see any geocaches, I certainly saw the seat which has the inscription you need to find in order to solve the puzzle of geocache “Church Micro 7904…West Peckham”. And the pram race went across the bridge crossing the river where Fudge once went for a paddle.
I think we might watch some more episodes if only to shout “I’ve been there” at the telly.
6 January 2022 (Thursday) - Adventure Lab, eBay Win
I managed a better night’s sleep last night. It would have been better had Treacle not fallen off of the bed and had a little tantrum at four o’clock, but you can’t have everything in this life.
Pausing only briefly to cut myself quite spectacularly whilst shaving I watched an episode of “Superstore” whilst taking antibiotics and steroids and scoffing toast. I then switched on my lap-top and had quite a pleasant surprise. Geo-HQ has given me a third Adventure Lab. The Brief Tour of Ashford that I made was a bit crap, but I was quite pleased with Church Micro Lenham. I wonder what I might do with this third one?
Facebook was relatively quiet this morning but there was some nastiness beginning to brew on one of the Hastings-related pages. There was an article featuring a newspaper cutting (from a few months ago) talking about how the town will be playing host to fifty Afghan refugees over the next couple of years. There was quite a bit of hate being vented… recognising some of the names of those venting the hate this wasn’t so much hatred of foreigners as hatred of anyone who might be seen as competition for their dole money. This observation had been made by others, and the professional dole-takers had taken great offence.
Having managed to park near the house last night I didn't have to go too far to find the car this morning. After a couple of minutes the ice was scraped away and I was on my way to work listening to all the drivel that the pundits on the radio were spouting. There was an interview with some leading light in the world of farming. Farmers aren't happy. It would seem that not one of them had the sense to realise that in voting to leave the EU they were all voting away the massive subsidies that the EU had been throwing at farmers for years, and now they were actually going to have to do something to warrant getting taxpayer's money if they don’t want to actually do any farming.
There was also talk about the James Webb telescope which has successfully been put into space and is on the way to the L2 Lagrange point. Usually the pundits on the radio are rather patronising about any space science, but in a novel break with tradition they wheeled on what I can only describe as a giggling idiot who could only answer any question with a very nervous snigger.
Why do they waste air-time on people like this? Don't they vet the interviewees first?
I arrived at work, and having narrowly avoided going arse over head down the icy car park stairs I got on with that which I couldn't avoid. As I worked so my phone beeped. I’d won an eBay auction. I got a job lot of Lego maxifigure bits. I only wanted the hands, but the rest might come in useful.
I had a busier day than I’d hoped for today, and was glad to come home.
“er indoors TM” boiled up bangers and mash and we scoffed that whilst we watched the third episode of “The Larkins”. I can’t get over just how good Bradley Walsh is in that show when I think about how I ranted about his performances in Doctor Who over the last few years…
7 January 2022 (Friday) - Early Shift
After several restless nights I had a rather good night’s sleep. I suppose (as I have said before) when the dogs are settled, so is everyone else.
I set yet another COVID test going as I made toast, and it incubated as I scoffed that toast and some medicine whilst watching another episode of “Superstore” before peering into the Internet in the desperate hope that something exciting had happened overnight.
I saw a friend was having her birthday today. She’d also changed her Facebook photo to one of when she was a teenager. I’d completely forgotten that having really known her best when she ran the local pet shop, I’d actually known her many years before then when we were both teenage religious nuts in Hastings (her father was one of the local vicars). This made me think… the religious nut scene in Hastings round about 1980 was quite a big thing; it was my entire life for several years. But I eventually saw the darkness as did most of my contemporaries. I wonder how many of them (like me) didn’t actually believe a word of it, but just desperately hoped it was true.
Two of my friends from the time are now paid ministers in the Baptist and Methodist churches. Presumably they believed it all.
With nothing else happening on-line I registered the negative COVID result and got ready for work.
There was quite a bit of traffic mayhem as the dustbin lorry blocked our road this morning. I would be a tad more sympathetic to the dustmen had they taken our rubbish once in the last month, but they aren't endearing themselves to me right now.
I set off to work (on a much milder morning than yesterday) and found a motorway full of equally unhelpful lorry drivers. If they are all going to be driving at the same speed, why can't they all drive one-behind-the-other in the slow lane? Instead of all driving at the same speed in the slow and middle lane leaving only the fast lane for people who want to go at over forty-five miles per hour?
As I set off I caught the end of an item on the radio about the Pope who has recently spouted bollox beyond the expectations of even his most staunch supporters. The twit has made an attack on having family pets and has announced "We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one, and that's it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children". Apparently doing so "is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity", he added.
Bearing in mind he has neither children nor pets of his own I don't see how he has any grounds to make any sort of moral judgement about either. Mind you he is in a job which required him to make great show of his imaginary friends, so I suppose talking out of his arse comes naturally to him.
I'm sorry - I have very little time for the Catholic Church. When my grandmother died the local priest crawled out of the woodwork and claimed her as one of his flock even though none of the family had any idea she was supposedly a catholic. And at my father-in-law and my brother-in-law's funerals the priest leading the services got their basic family details wrong. You'd think he'd know about two people who (unlike my gran) had turned up at his church weekly for years.
Work was work; we had a good day. As the day wore on I had a message about one of my geocaches. “Missing from location” was the simple message from someone who was unable to find this particular geocache last weekend, and was similarly seemingly unable to find it today. I stopped off on my way home from work to have a look-see. It was where it was supposed to be. I sent the chap a message saying that it was there, and politely asked what he’d been looking for. Bearing in mind the thing is magnetically stuck on to a roadside box and (in daylight) you can see it as you drive past, I can’t help but wonder what this bloke has been looking for.
I got home and took the dogs for a walk. Now that Twelfth Night has passed and most people have taken down their “house bling” the back streets were noticeably darker as we walked. It comes to something when you are dependent on someone’s fairy lights to be able to see the dog at the end of the lead when you are walking.
With walk walked both dogs were soon both fast asleep. I made myself a cuppa and went on-line and ordered some nanos and RUMS (as one does)
“er indoors TM” boiled up fish and chips and we watched more of “The Larkins”… I’m getting quite into that show. I wonder how many other gems like this we’ve missed?
8 January 2022 (Saturday) - Pre Operative Isolation
I didn’t want to be up quite so early this morning but as part of the work-up to Tuesday’s planned nose op I had to do a COVID PCR swab this morning. The instructions said to do it at seven o’clock. I’m sure that the time was utterly irrelevant, but following the instructions is always a good idea.
Once swabbed I scoffed toast, antibiotics and steroids whilst watching a couple of episodes of “Superstore” before having my usual rummage round the Internet. Not much was going on, so I sent out a birthday video and wrote up a little CPD.
By nine o’clock I was going stir-crazy. Another part of the work-up to Tuesday’s planned nose op is that I have to self-isolate for the three days before the operation. So that means I have to stay indoors and avoid everyone else. I’m apparently allowed to associate with “er indoors TM” provided that I keep her at arm’s length and she avoids plague pits.
“er indoors TM” took my swab to the priority postbox and I made a start on the improvised plan for the day. There is only so much telly I can watch, so I had this plan to clear some space on the shelves. I had two shelves filled with souvenir glasses from beer festivals we went to twenty years ago. Much as they are nice souvenirs, they just gather dust. They are now in a box awaiting disposal (of some form). I cleared the mess on the shelf behind the telly, re-organised all the clutter so that I’ve got a shelf clear for a Lego project I have in mind and suddenly two hours had passed.
“er indoors TM” came home and I watched some episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which everyone was everyone else’s mate right up until money was involved when it all got a little bit nasty.
“er indoors TM” then had a plan to sort the DVDs. It was a good plan. We’ve got two shelves of DVDs in the hallway and various other ones scattered all about the house. We’ve estimated the total as being somewhere over five hundred DVDs (possibly over six hundred) and they did rather need sorting. After a few hours we had sorted (about) three hundred and fifty feature films in the hallway, twenty kiddie DVDs on one shelf in the living room, and about sixty TV shows on DVD on a shelf behind the telly. We’ve not looked at the one hundred-plus DVDs of mine I’ve got upstairs.
As we tidied we found some sets of bunny ears and unicorn horns, and “er indoors TM” dressed up two very unimpressed dogs.
“er indoors TM” boiled up some dinner and we started a rather long-term project to watch all of the DVDs and chuck out those that we don’t like. The first one stays. “Avatar” was (is) a watchable film, but in many ways I found it reminiscent of the first “Star Trek” film; perhaps an hour longer than it needed to be with too much emphasis of the special effects.
I here there is to be a sequel to that film coming out next Christmas.
9 January 2022 (Sunday) - New Washing Machine
I knew we wouldn’t get a lie-in this morning. Yesterday we had a message that the new washing machine was being delivered between seven and ten o’clock. At eight o’clock we got a call to say the thing would be with us in fifteen minutes. It rolled up an hour later. As “er indoors TM” tried to shut the dogs up I went and hid in the attic room as I’m supposed to be isolating. I say “supposed”; I am actually isolating. It has to be said that it is a rather dull pursuit. I’ve now been isolating since Friday evening and I’ve not seen anyone other than “er indoors TM” (and the dogs)
It didn’t take long for the nice men to drop off the washing machine (and to vent the house afterwards), and as they went so my phone beeped. The PCR COVID test “er indoors TM” had only posted for me yesterday morning already had a result. Negative! Although this was entirely expected, it was something of a relief.
I made toast, and as “er indoors TM” cleared up the mess made by the washing machine’s installation I had some toast. I did offer to help with the clean-up but I am reliably informed that I get too stressy doing that sort of thing. In retrospect I’m glad I was well out of it; the shoe rack didn’t survive the ordeal and I’m glad I didn’t get the blame.
With toast scoffed I had a little look at the new washing machine’s instructions. As with any kind of electronic device it comes with far more capacity and ability that is ever going to be used. There are sixteen settings of which no one would ever use more than four. “Whites”, “Colours”, “Fast Wash” and “Tumble-Dry” is enough for anyone, isn’t it? Mind you there’s a minor issue in that the “Colours” setting seems to be about half an hour faster than the “Fast Wash” setting, but I’m sure I’ll figure it all out. I must admit I’m glad we didn’t splash out on the next model up that came with a Bluetooth attachment. It really did – you could control that one from an app on your phone.
I set it going on some T-shirts and left it to do its thing as I peered out of the window at a rather bright day. We could have had a really good walk somewhere today… but rules are rules. I had to isolate.
So… today was dull. The new washing machine really was the highlight of the day. I put it through its paces as it washed four loads whilst I sat on the sofa and watched the telly like a thing possessed.
I’m not allowed out of the house tomorrow either…
10 January 2022 (Monday) - Pre-Op Isolation Day Three
I had this naïve idea that the dogs might go downstairs with “er indoors TM” when she got up this morning, and I would then have something of a lie-in. It was an idea I persisted with long after it became clear that I was wasting my time. When the dogs weren’t running round shouting downstairs they were coming up and dabbing at me telling me it was time to get up.
I set the washing machine loose on a batch of undercrackers then set about the ironing. As I ironed I watched the last two episodes of “Superstore”. They were expertly made, and rounded of the series very well.
And then I watched a film I’d seen advertised on Netflix. “Mother/Android” which was… I would say “crap with a capital turd” but the review website Rotten Tomatoes describes it as ”… transcends its budgetary limitations on a visual level -- unfortunately, this sci-fi drama is less successful on the storytelling front” which is rather tactful. Have you seen it? If not, don’t bother. It starts off with the rise of the androids who go from subservient slaves to mad killing machines for no apparent reason. Just as they go ape we find our heroine is pregnant. She (and the baby’s father) then wait around in a tent until she goes into labour before heading off to a place of safety several thousand miles away. The labour lasts long enough for them to find an army base, pick a fight and then get kicked out. And then carries on long enough to find a motorbike in pieces, rebuild it and drive hundreds of miles through pine forests. It had to be said that the labour pains were beginning to kick in when heroine rescued boyfriend from the mad killing androids… and then in a totally predicable turn of events she then led the mad killing androids into the one place of safety left to humanity.
I rather lost interest toward the end. Sorry for any spoilers, but as I said, I really wouldn’t waste your time on it.
With ironing ironed I made a start on my new Coursera course “Astrobiology: Exploring Other Worlds” as the tumble drier had a go at drying the undercrackers. That new washing machine is odd… some numbers come up on the display when it is doing something. Those numbers look like a timer, but aren’t. When I set the tumble drier going the display read “4:15” but it was finished in just over an hour. I wonder what that is all about?
And with undercrackers dried and sorted I sat and binge-watched loads of episodes of “The Witcher” until “er indoors TM” came home and boiled up dinner. As she went off bowling I binge-watched more. The Witcher” might be far-fetched and have murderous elves and psycho-mages rather than mad killing androids, but it has believable murderous elves and psycho-mages and (something which is sadly lacking from a lot of TV shows) a plot.
It has to be said that this self-isolating is doing my head in. I shall be glad when it stops tomorrow. I shan’t be so glad about the surgery but there it is.
11 January 2022 (Tuesday) - Nasal Re-bore
I slept well once Treacle had stopped stomping all over my head. I did think I’d be a tad more restless what with worry about the day’s ordeal, but I woke feeling rather more miffed about the fact that I couldn’t have anything to eat what with a general anaesthetic coming later.
I had a message from work – do a COVID lateral flow test. Something of a waste of time and money bearing in mind that Saturday’s PCR was negative and I hadn’t left the house since, but rules are rules. I did the test, and half an hour later saw it was negative.
As it incubated I sparked up the lap-top and peered into cyber-space (without toast for once). There was a rather controversial post on one of the work-based Facebook groups. People were bemoaning the piss-poor pay rise the NHS staff received last year. Many were blaming the unions. Others were defending the unions asking what the critics had done to help the unions. I kept well out of it, but couldn’t help but remember the last time I needed anything from a union. The full-time-paid union official told me that any help I wanted should come from unpaid work colleagues and that her time was better spent being seen on the telly taking part in high-profile protests and marches. She was rather vague as to what my (at the time) monthly subscription of a tenner paid for.
As “er indoors TM” got on with work I did a little more of my Coursera course, and completed all of the first week’s lectures.
And then the time had come…
At half past ten we got into the “er indoors TM”-mobile, and as “er indoors TM” drove I Munzee-ed like a thing possessed all the way to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, and was soon in my bed on Kent ward for my third nasal polypectomy.
Once checked in I got out a puzzle book and tried to ignore the other two old chaps in the ward. One was thrilled at the prospect of having a “camera shoved up his arse” and the other was telling everyone and anyone about how he didn’t have to wear a face covering because he was ”exempt from COVID”. I had managed to tune these two out when what I can only describe as “The F*ckwit From Hell” ensconced himself in the bed opposite me. The chap immediately told me that hospital food was better than prison food, but I wasn’t to ask him how he knew. He told the fan of arse-cameras that he didn’t want a general anaesthetic because they knock him out for three days. And he told the nurse he was going home. After ten minutes of the poor nurse trying to placate him, he had a visitor. Wife? Girlfriend? Painted-Plastic-Barbie-Doll? The moment this fugitive from “Love Island” arrived so “The F*ckwit From Hell” burst into hysterical tears and announced that everyone in the ward (presumably me included) was part of a conspiracy to trick him into taking some obscure medication or other.
I made a point of ignoring him as best I could and got on with crosswords until the anaesthetist arrived. He told me what he was going to do (knock me out and keep me alive whilst the surgeon did his bit), and then the surgeon came and got me to sign some paperwork. The two of them then went over to “The F*ckwit From Hell” and I tried not to laugh out loud as this idiot tried to teach the doctors their jobs.
At ten to two I was taken down to the operating theatres. In years gone by I used to go in there once a week for professional reasons. As I said to the nurses, the place looked much the same, but as a patient seemed completely different.
They laid me down, put a needle in my hand, my arm went cold and suddenly it was an hour later and I was wide awake in the recovery area. It no longer felt as though there was a marble lodged behind my nose. The surgeon told me all had gone well, and that although he can’t say I’ll never need another polypectomy, he felt I should be good for a few years.
After half an hour it was clear that I was recovering to plan, and I got taken back to a peaceful ward. I took the opportunity to tell Facebook I was still alive and was reading “Harry Potter” on the Kindle app when I heard a commotion.
My heart sank.
“The F*ckwit From Hell” was being brought back to the ward. I’d been back half an hour and I hadn’t attempted to move from the bed. “The F*ckwit From Hell”’s bed hadn’t been put back into his bay when he was trying to get out of the bed. The nurses asked him if he’d like a drink of water, and by the time they’d got him one he had pulled out his cannula and was getting dressed. There was then an embarrassing ten minutes whilst his painted companion tried to reason with him; the more she calmly spoke sense, the more hysterical was his sobbing. After an embarrassing ten minutes “The F*ckwit From Hell” announced to the world that he was doing a discharge (!) then marched off the ward never to be seen again.
There was a general sigh of relief (not least from the nursing staff), and we all sat quietly. After half an hour I was given a pot and was told that rules are rules, and the nurse said she had to see that I’d pissed in said pot. I told the nurse that pissing in the ward was a tad feral, and asked if I could go to the toilet to do it. Permission was given. I took the pot to the toilet, pissed in it, handed the pot-full to the nurse and she was ecstatic. Some people are easily amused.
After having been back on the ward for two hours without any incidents (of my own) I was told I could go home, and it wasn’t long before “er indoors TM” was driving me home.
We had KFC for dinner. It was rather good. I’m feeling surprisingly chipper right now but I suppose that is to be expected with a nose full of cocaine. I wonder how I will feel tomorrow?
12 January 2022 (Wednesday) - Recovery Day One
I had an early night last night (which wasn’t entirely unexpected) and found myself wide awake at half past one. I had a tiddle, went back to bed and lay awake for half an hour. I was a tad sniffly so I wondered if starting the sinus wash-outs might be a plan. After sinus surgery you are supposed to squirt salty water up your nose to clear out the gunk (how delightful). Last time I did this (two and a bit years ago) I made the saline solution too strong and felt quite ill for an hour after each wash, but having eventually read the instructions I now make the stuff to the right recipe. So, suitably armed with a pot of saline and a syringe I stood over the bathroom sink and syringed away in the small hours.
I was surprised at how little gunk came out. Mind you looking at the photos taken at the operation yesterday there was a lot less chopped out yesterday than there had been last time, so here’s hoping.
However sinus douching isn’t really restful, so I watched an episode of “The Witcher” before going back to bed just after four o’clock. I dozed for a few hours, but probably never longer than fifteen minutes at any one time.
Unlike yesterday I was allowed toast this morning, and I scoffed it whilst peering into the Internet. I had a message from the hospital asking me to fill out a feedback survey form. I told them they did very well yesterday. I decided against mentioning the disruptive half-wit in the bed opposite. I suppose that he was probably as scared as I was, but we all show it differently.
The (attention seeking?) selfies I’d posted from the hospital bed yesterday had garnered over a hundred reactions from various friends and family, and a lot of rather good comments too.
Six Facebook friends had a birthday today. I sent out my birthday video to them all, and seeing that not a lot was happening in the e-world I got dressed. I was (and am) under orders to take it easy, but a short dog walk wouldn’t hurt… Would it?
We walked up to the station, along to the new cinema, back across the railway, once round the park and home. Not that I want to feel sorry for myself, but that might have been a tad keen; I was a sweating mass when we returned. But I was glad to get out. What with three days of isolation followed by yesterday in hospital it was good just to walk round the roads idly chatting to other dog walkers and to the young mothers as their toddlers fussed the dogs.
We only had one “episode”; there is a Red Setter who Pogo always shouts at, and he did again today. I wish I knew why. The Red Setter is a lovely dog. The chap with him is very friendly and understanding and treats it all as a great joke. But every time we meet, Pogo *always* has to shout.
Once home I sloshed out my sinuses again (yuk), made a cuppa and had a well-deserved sit-down. I tried to do some of my Coursera course, but the videos wouldn’t play. I eventually got to see then by downloading them, and then I had a little think about the geo-meet I’m planning in February. Do people want to meet inside or outside. Outside because of COVID worries; inside because February is cold. I have a plan… and once I’m allowed to drive again I shall make a start on it.
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” came to visit for the afternoon. Having had a scan this afternoon she is getting bigger every day.
We had a good laugh watching “Deadly Cuts” on Netflix. A rather good film – far better than the tripe I watched on Monday. And then we had a whale of a time taking the piss out of “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel in which pretty much everything in human history is put down to aliens.
“er indoors TM” then drove the most recent fruit of my loin home, and she herself vanished upstairs to Zoom at her chums. I shall do a little more Coursera, then I think a sinus wash-out (yuk!) and an early night might be a plan.
It is odd… where I had the surgery isn’t bothering me at all. But my lower lip is incredibly sore and bruised. Thinking back I can remember seeing other people coming out of the operating theatres yesterday with ventilation tubes in their mouths. Had my lip been trapped against the tube for the duration of my gassing? It certainly feels like it. And my left wrist is *really* painful. Did it get a clout whilst I was under the gas?
13 January 2022 (Thursday) - Feeling Grim
I didn’t spend pretty much all night downstairs last night which was a great improvement on the night before. In fact apart from a trip to the loo I slept for nine hours and was still fast asleep when Pogo started screaming for no apparent reason. I wish he wouldn’t do that. Most dogs bark when they feel they need to alert the humans to something or other. Pogo really does scream. Like a starlet in a horror movie.
I lay still trying to persuade myself it was all a dream, but it wasn’t. Treacle started dabbing my head to tell me to leap into action, and “er indoors TM” had long since departed the scene.
I got up, squirted saline up my nose to dislodge all the scabbing (yuk!), made toast and had a look-see at the internet just in case it was any different to how I’d left it last night. Eventually I got in by re-setting the browser which is simple enough if you know what you are doing…. But I’m not sure that I am. Mind you the thing kept on freezing. Has the browser had it? Has Firefox had its day?
Yesterday I’d set up a poll on the local geocaching Facebook page asking for what people wanted in the February meet-up that I’m hoping to run. I must admit I was a tad disappointed at the lack of response, but very few people do commit themselves to the meets; preferring to just turn up on the day if they can.
There was a lot of consternation being expressed at the revelations that whilst pretty much everyone was obeying the lock-down rules of the pandemic there *had* been an epic piss-up staged in Downing Street. But for every person who was expressing dismay there were plenty more cheering on “Good Old Boris”. Despite the chap being demonstrably well out of his depth as Prime Minister, the masses love him.
Have I ever mentioned that democracy is a silly idea?
And I saw that it is now six months since Terry died. Six months…
I took the dogs for a little walk. We took the same route we took yesterday and had a good (uneventful) outing, which is always a good thing. Mind you it was cold this morning, but I used this to my advantage. With walk walked I had a quick once-round the garden gathering up dog dung; dog dung always gathers better when frozen.
Just as I was loading the washing machine so postie arrived with stuff. That set the dogs off. One of the parcels was the job lot of Lego bricks I’d ordered. I had a little look, and wasn’t impressed to see the first brick out of the packet was fake Lego. So I went through all two hundred and fifty bricks. Four weren’t genuine Lego. The fake stuff doesn’t have “Lego” printed on it. There are those who don’t mind the fake stuff… I’m not keen on it.
I made a cuppa and then watched an episode of “The Witcher” and made myself feel quick sick through scoffing the tub of Quality Street that “er indoors TM” had got me as a “get well soon” pressie. I then tuned in to some of my Coursera course, but I struggled to pay attention to it. Too many sweeties, too much dog walk, or the after-effects of Tuesday’s operation? I felt rather grim today compared to yesterday. I suppose this is why I’ve been told to take two weeks off work.
I gave up and instead of trying to learn something I just slobbed in front of the telly and slept for most of the afternoon as the dogs snored around me.
“er indoors TM” came home and boiled up dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the last episodes of “Landscapers”.
I’m feeling like death warmed up now…
14 January 2022 (Friday) - Disappointment in Lenham
I slept for ten hours last night… I have a problem in that after eight or so hours asleep I just get backache and so staying in bed is somewhat counterproductive. I hurt this morning.
I got up, sloshed out sinuses (yuk!), made toast and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. With pretty much nothing at all happening I got dressed and got on with what I had planned. My car hadn’t been started in a week. I’ve got a series of Adventure Lab caches to set up. I needed a venue for the February geo-meet. And the dogs needed a walk.
The car started which was something of a result, but we drove out to Lenham to be faced with utter disappointment. My idea for a series of Adventure Lab caches there involved finding five reasonably spaced places of local interest. Each would have a plaque or a sign or something from which I could set up a straightforward question. I knew that the church would be out of bounds – I’ve already set one up round the church. But sadly the village was nowhere near as historic as I thought it might be. Half an hour’s searching found a derelict hovel that claimed to have once been a village gaol, and there was absolutely sod-all else of note. Bearing in mind that the Adventure Lab series would be the “thing” for the geo-meet I’m planning and that it had fallen at the first hurdle, I didn’t bother asking in either of the pubs about using them as a venue.
The dogs had a walk… I suppose. Both were pulling with all their might, and both were pulling in different directions, crapping like things possessed and spraying copious amounts of pee in every direction.
It was something of a relief to give up and go home.
Once home the dogs were soon snoring, and I got on with Coursera for an hour or so. Pogo snuggled up with me, and I dozed for a couple of hours. As I so often do, I spent the afternoon watching episodes of “Four In A Bed”; one of the competing guest houses had set themselves up running a course in how to run a Bed & Breakfast establishment. The chap who prided himself in (supposedly) knowing all about the hospitality industry really couldn’t understand why everyone else felt he as wrong to wear a rather ratty moth-eaten jumper full of holes when welcoming people to his hotel. As is so typical of our times this fellow knew all the catch phrases and buzz words but nothing of any practical use, and I rather sniggered as he came last by a clear margin.
I did some more Coursera until “er indoors TM”
came home. She came via “My Boy TM”’s house where favourite
oldest granddaughter Lacey had made far too much pudding. We got a rather
good kiwi-fruit and lemon pie.
15 January 2022 (Saturday) - Overdoing It In Badlesmere
I scoffed toast as my one hundred and fifth negative COVID test incubated and as I had my usual rummage round the Internet.
Last night someone had posted a picture of several boxed Lego sets to one of the vintage Lego Facebook groups that I follow. All but one of the sets were the models that I have on display on a shelf above the telly so I put up a photo of my shelf. A few people commented overnight that they liked my photo and felt that the figures (and the Lego Pugs) all added to the display. But the chap who’d posted up the first picture didn’t seem impressed. For him Lego is all about getting the set still unopened in its box and keeping it that way. I didn’t comment any more – each to their own.
As I peered into the Internet go Pogo came and sat with me and started a little fight as he does. Somehow or other he’s acquired a rather nasty scratch on his belly over the last few days. I wonder how he did that? I don’t remember him going anywhere where he might have got scratched.
We got the dogs organised, and went on a little outing. Rather than overdoing it today we had a plan for a shortish walk where it wouldn’t be too windy, and Badlesmere fitted the bill nicely. We met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and walked a little route we’ve walked a few times recently. In a novel break with tradition I wore wellies rather than my walking boots, and I was right to have done so. Although we started off with frozen mud, the mud soon melted and was quite deep toward the end of the walk.
Usually when we walk we take a picnic lunch with us. And a load of water. And tons of supplies for the dogs. We didn’t take luggage today which made for a much easier walk, but even so, I did feel that I was struggling somewhat toward the end. And at the end we stopped off in the Red Lion for a couple of pints and a rather good bit of dinner.
Much as I did overdo it today, it was good to get out of the house and spend some time with friends. I took a few photos whilst we were out. Today was good.
We came home, and once I’d emptied my sinuses of gunk and blood clots (yuk!) I spent a couple of hours fast asleep on the sofa with Treacle curled up net to me. I don’t know who was the most worn out today; the dogs or me.
I woke to find “er indoors TM” was watching a rather odd TV show about a young lad who wanted to be a drag queen. A strange program – it was rather predictable but still entertaining.
We then cracked out the post and cheese and had a rather good evening scoffing them and watching episodes of “The Great Pottery Throw Down”. Together with the various incarnations of “Bake Off”, “Sewing Bee” and “Lego Masters” we seem to be watching a lot of shows featuring the normal people doing all sorts of things that we could never do… though it has to be said I’d have a fair go at the Lego if I had access to the Brick Room with three million Lego pieces…
16 January 2022 (Sunday) - Brekkie in Folkestone
I lay in bed until my back hurt too much to stay there, then got up and sloshed out my sinuses (yuk!) I seem to remember sinus washing being rather more traumatic the last time I had my nose done; I can only assume this is a good thing.
I made toast and was rather intrigued as I peered into the depths of Facebook. Last night it told me I had six hundred and twenty Facebook friends. This morning that number was only six hundred and nineteen. Overnight someone had de-friended me. I had a little look through the list but couldn’t spot any name missing. I wonder who it was. And why. Being a very nosey person I like seeing what everyone else is doing via Facebook. And it would seem that people had been doing things yesterday. Football games, bike rides, walking in the countryside, learning the piano…
I had a few “Found It” logs on some of my geocaches too. I’ve been banging on for years that the ancient and noble art of hunting out Tupperware boxes is dying on its arse, and here was a perfect example of why. There’s a chap who is having a three-day geocaching holiday in Ashford right now. The chap obviously enjoys the hobby and gets a lot from it having found nearly fifty thousand caches. However he’s only hidden two caches in the last eight years.
I had an email. I got 100% for the essay I wrote in the week for my Coursera course (on the detection of exoplanets). That was a result.
We settled the dogs and drove down to Folkestone where spent the morning with Jose and Maria (and Jose’s mum). What with global pandemics it had been two years since we last actually met up (which is why I love keeping in touch through social media), and we put the world to rights over a rather good full Spanish brekkie before comparing Lego models.
We came home via Folkestone’s branch of “The Range”. An odd shop… As far as I can work out it seems to be to B&M Bargains what Waitrose is to Lidl in that it sells much the same tat but at far higher prices. I am reliably informed that I am wrong (!)
Once home we woke the dogs and took them for a little walk into the town centre where we Munzee-ed and Adventure Lab-ed and tried not to point and laugh at the normal people who clearly didn’t understand the concept of “breathing”. If you are going to take the trouble to go round wearing a face mask why not pull the thing up over your nose? They come with little metal strips in them; it takes less than a second to bend the metal strip so that the surgical mask stays up over your nose.
We came home thought the park where we had a few “episodes”; when “er indoors TM” is along Treacle gets rather gobby. I wish she wouldn’t.
With walk walked we returned home for a cuppa. “er indoors TM” sorted the craft stuff she’d bought earlier, and I did some more of my Coursera course as Treacle snored next to me. She can be a lovely little dog when she is asleep.
When my brain could take no more I popped upstairs to the attic and made use of the Lego deliveries that came in the week and put a few (over twenty) maxifigures together. I do like the maxifigures but (like all collectables) I’ve got too many of them.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Lego Masters: Australia” Certainly one of the better things on telly at the moment…
17 January 2022 (Monday) - Irene Came to Visit
I slept well, but woke feeling rather grim. Had I picked up a bug yesterday? I hope not. I made toast and scoffed it as I had my usual root around the Internet. Apparently someone was flying a drone not far away last night, and someone else had taken a photo of it and posted to the local Facebook group asking who was the peeping Tom. Needless to say that caused an impressive argument.
There was also a lot of consternation on-line about the reports that the government is planning to cut funding for the BBC in a shallow attempt to draw public attention away from the Prime Minister’s latest antics. Apparently at a hundred and fifty-nine quid a year the Beeb is rather cheap. Perhaps it is,,, *if* you are choosing to spend that one hundred and fifty-nine quid a year yourself as opposed to being legally obliged to hand it over.
I took the dogs round the park on a rather cold morning. There was a minor incident as we walked when a small child went absolutely mental at the dogs. I can understand that she might have been scared by them or scared of them, but screaming at the dogs just scared them, and of course they are going to bark.
The mother looked at me rather indignantly. I returned her stare and asked “seriously?”, and kept walking.
We got to the park where I got the tennis balls out. Treacle carried hers; Pogo played “catch” for a while, then carried his ball. He likes me to bounce the ball of off the tarmac so he can catch it in mid-air; he has a success of perhaps seventy per cent.
As we walked one of the local thugs came the other way with his massive dog straining on the lead and snarling at everyone and everything. I felt rather smug as my two just walked straight past and didn’t bat an eyelid. We also met OrangeHead and her posse. Her little dog is now being wheeled around in a push chair; it was rather sad as he is a lovely little dog. But he is getting old.
We came home where I had something of a tidy-up and ran round with the Hoover before setting about the letter rack. In amongst the utility bills from two years ago was a little package of Lego maxifigure hands that I had forgotten about. That was a minor result.
As I sorted (binned) old letters I was holding on the phone for the GP surgery. I had a vague idea that they were the ones who provide the sick note I need for the two weeks’ sick leave I’m currently having. Once I got through all the pre-recorded drivel I was told I was sixteenth in the queue. After half an hour I managed to speak to someone who (rather abruptly) told me that I can self-certify for a month before rather rudely hanging up on me.
I then phoned the bank as I was still waiting to be given the seemingly random list of dates on which they will send me my credit card bill each month. Eventually the automated system admitted they had a queue a mile long and wondered if I would like them to phone me back. I asked them to do so. They phoned back and someone who clearly couldn’t speak English gibbered at me rather incomprehensibly before hanging up mid-sentence.
The door bell rang; Irene had come down to visit for the morning. What with pandemics and one thing and another there are so many people with whom I’ve not spent any time for so long. We had a really good catch-up (with cake and pizza).
It was a shame that after a few short hours Irene had to go, but it gets dark so early and it was a long way home. I then emptied the shed of some of the stuff I want to take to the tip tomorrow; much as I do like my new car it is noticeably smaller than the old one was; I can’t get anywhere near as much rubbish into it when doing a tip run.
I then tried phoning the bank again. I eventually got through to someone with a marginally better grasp of spoken English that the one to whom I had spoken earlier. It transpired that obtaining a list of dates on which the bank would send me a credit card bill was rather difficult because "the app's got crabs". But despite the crabs I was eventually given a list of dates on which I will supposedly get a credit card bill.
With “er indoors TM” off bowling this evening I watched the last episode of “The Witcher”. It was rather good, but there’s no denying I watched it with something of an atmosphere of “WTF was that all about?”
I really need to watch it all again to work out what was going on…
I’ve had a week’s sick leave, and got one more to go. The idea was that it was supposed to be a good skive. It isn’t. I’m getting better, but my nose still feels as though it has been punched and I’d love to know what happened to my left arm whilst I was under the gas. It is incredibly tender and just a tad swollen.
18 January 2022 (Tuesday) - Great Chart
I didn’t feel particularly good when I woke this morning. A minor headache and a general feeling of “bleaugh”. Whilst I don’t think for one moment I’ve got COVID, there are (literally) millions of other viruses kicking about.
I made toast and had a little look at the Internet. I had an email – I got full marks on another essay I’d written for Coursera. Whilst I was pleased, the trouble with Coursera essays is that because the thing is a MOOC, it isn’t practical to have tutors (or anyone who actually knows what they are doing) marking the essays. Instead each student gets to mark three essays, and you get an average grade. This is all very well all the time your paper is marked by someone who isn’t an absolute idiot. I marked one such paper last night; in an essay about the potential habitability of a theoretical exoplanet some half-wit wrote an incoherent rambling diatribe about the importance of microscopes in science, and ended with a plea for a high mark because he was only ten years old and his parents had told him he was wasting his time doing the course.
Having loaded up the car with rubbish yesterday afternoon I took it to the tip. The tip was all but deserted, but even so the jobsworth checking my booking made a point of telling me I was ten minutes early. I really don’t know why the tip operates such a silly system by which you have to book your appointment. You can only unload one car’s worth at a time which is a pain. I rather wanted to go back home and got more rubbish.
I came home anyway and loaded up the car with dogs and we went to Great Chart. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that on Friday I had a look round Lenham to try and find points of interest for my planned Adventure lab series, and drew a blank. I found a few thingies that would go well in a geocaching Adventure lab today; alms houses, village signs…
And having sorted what I needed I then walked the dogs up to the river and back again. They were really well behaved; as we walked back I found myself chatting with another dog walker about places to walk dogs locally. He recommended the beach at Jury’s Gap – that might be somewhere to go when it warms up a bit. It was good to walk with the other dog; both Pogo and Treacle got to socialise a bit, which is always a good thing.
With walk walked I then started the admin work for the Adventure Lab cache series. After three hours I’d created most of the descriptions I will need, and most of the pictures. Finding myself at a natural stopping point I stopped and phoned the pub we’d walked past this morning. The Swan and Dog say they are very happy for us to have a geo-meet there, so I did all the admin for a geo-meet, and the geo-feds published it all less than five minutes after I submitted it all. That was rather efficient.
I then sat in front of the telly and binge-watched the entire third season of Ricky Gervais’ “After Life” which was rather good, then played Lego until “er indoors TM” came home and boiled up a good bit of dinner which we scoffed (with a very good bottle of wine that Irene bought for us) whilst watching “The Great Pottery Throw Down”.
I felt a tad grim yesterday; I’m still feeling rough…
19 January 2022 (Wednesday) - Kings Wood, Lego
My back wasn’t at all painful this morning, so as “er indoors TM” and the dogs clumped downstairs I thought I might take the opportunity of a lie in. After ten minutes the dogs came back upstairs and stomped all over me in an attempt to make themselves comfortable. They then shouted, barked and screamed intermittently for no reason at all, and after twenty minutes both decided I had been in bed long enough and both started licking my face and chewing my ears until I got up.
Once I was up they clearly felt their work was done and they both ran off to follow “er indoors TM” round like second shadows until she went to work.
I made toast, set yet another negative COVID test incubating, and had a little look at the Internet. It was still there, Two or three friends were posting links to a “Go Fund Me” campaign for a small child with incurable cancer whose parents had heard of some clinic Germany who claimed they could help. Maybe the clinic could, but I was reminded of an old friend who was losing his eyesight when we were both teenagers many years ago. The people of Hastings raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to send him (on multiple visits) to a clinic in Switzerland for treatments not offered on the NHS. The NHS didn’t offer those treatments for the simple reason that they did not work. The clinic achieved absolutely nothing (apart from taking the money) and was later exposed as a money-making scam preying on the desperate.
Another friend was posting twee inspirational memes. A lot of people do this and it really boils my piss. People who have never been handed lemons by life always advocate making lemonade. And those who post loudly and publicly about always being there for friends in need rarely are.
I turned the lap-top off and took the dogs out.
We drove up to Kings Wood where we had a rather good little walk. Not too far, and the dogs were good with the other dogs we met.
As we walked I saw something that caught my eye. A plastic contained wrapped in camouflage tape. And not just any plastic container wrapped in camouflage tape. One with a blue lid – a peanut butter jar wrapped in camouflage tape with a geocaching log inside it. One of my geocaches. I have several (fifty) of the things in those woods, but the closest one should have been at least half a mile from where we found this one broken open and laying on the ground. I’d replaced one reported as missing a few weeks ago, so was this that one having gone on a little walkabout? If so, how did it walk over half a mile?
My first thought was to blame local kids… but do kids ever play in the woods (like I used to) anymore. I go up those woods at all times of day and on all days of the week and the only kids I ever see are those being dragged round by their parents or the local scouts doing outdoor stuff.
As we walked I thought that it wasn’t *that* muddy really. But it was muddy enough for the dogs to need to be hosed down when we got home.
I did a little more of my Coursera course, had a lunch of a humungous bag of crisps that went out of date last November, then set about Lego. Yesterday I put together the set I got for my eleventh birthday – set 367 “Space module with Astronauts”. It took me just under an hour. Today I spent four and a half hours putting together what “er indoors TM” had got me last Christmas – set 10266 “NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander”. I’ve always wanted to see the two sets together. The old one is rather basic and chunky, and the new one… Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoyed making it, But there is so much detail in it. And much of that detail is inside the model where you can’t see it. There are controls and fuel tanks and all sorts of things inside that I spent ages making just to build them in never to be seen again.
I’ve got stickers I am supposed put on them, but I don’t like to put stickers on Lego. Will I put them on? I will have a think.
I took a few photos of the two models. “er indoors TM” says I can leave them out on one of the two shelves I have in the living room. She’s got over twenty shelves, but I don’t dare ask for more.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of “Junior Bake Off” which the host Harry Hill described as being “like real Bake Off but more fun”
And we ended the day with something of a result. I thought today was Thursday – it isn’t. Tomorrow is a bonus day.
20 January 2022 (Thursday) - Foundation
I had a shave this morning. I *always* have a shave every morning but somehow or other I forgot yesterday, and this morning it took some scraping.
I commented to “er indoors TM” that the dogs’ flea treatment was due, and without prompting both dogs quietly tried to hide. They really do understand what we are saying, and they hate the flea treatments with a passion. I don’t know why – we just put a drop of the stuff on their necks. It doesn’t hurt. Once it is done they soon forget about it. But they *really* hate having it done.
As I scoffed toast I peered into the internet and Facebook presented me with a memory from this time last year. A photo of Fudge. He wasn’t doing anything special; just sleeping on my lap, but it was enough to provoke a minor melt-down. I miss that silly little dog so much.
Facebook also told me that three friends had birthdays today. I say “friends”; they are on my Facebook friends list. I sent my birthday video to all of them but found myself wondering about them. I’ve seen one (albeit on a Zoom meet) in the last year, but as for the other two… I’ve not heard from one for five years and the other for fifteen, and neither has made any effort whatsoever to keep in touch. What is the point of social media if not to use it to be sociable?
I had an email. The nice people at Credit Karma told me that my credit rating has gone down by eleven points. I wonder why. What with slobbing round the house sulking about feeling poorly I’ve not actually spent any money for two weeks. Perhaps Credit Karma has just caught up with my having bought a new washing machine, a new living room fire and having paid the house building and contents insurance recently? I had a little look on-line and it seems my credit rating can be adversely affected by both using the credit card to buy things, and by not using it enough.
Whatever the reason for the drop in my rating, it all seems rather silly.
I also had an email about the final location I was hoping to use for the bonus for the Great Chart Adventure lab series of geocaches I’m working on. The location I chose was one which was fine six years ago when it was the starting point of a series of caches in the area. Now it is too close to a school… neither the location nor the school have moved in the meantime. Oh well…
Bearing in mind I’ve got less than a month to get this sorted I abandoned the plan to go to Kings Wood again and took the dogs out to Great Chart where after a few minutes I came up with another location for my bonus (!) We then walked up the Greensand Way to the river and back again. The walk was rather hard work today. Sometimes we take tennis balls along. Treacle carries hers and Pogo plays “catch” with his. Today Treacle just wanted whichever ball it was that Pogo was playing with, and in less than a minute managed to lose one of them. With only one ball in play Treacle then carried that one and wouldn’t let me take it from her.
Fortunately on the way back from the river we found the missing ball so Pogo got to play catch for a short while.
Once home I went into the garden for a few minutes. It was too cold to do much, but “er indoors TM” was concerned about whether Fudge’s remains were safe inside his memorial box. When we got his ashes back from the vet I made a memorial for him which we put by the pond (his favourite place) and we put his casket, collar and lead inside the box. I opened it all up and was very pleased to see that casket, collar and lead were all bone dry inside the waterproof plastic container inside the memorial.
Once I’d put that all back together I then had a look at one of the shelves in the living room. Somehow it had got itself incredibly crooked. It was really odd. The thing seemed to be jammed in place and would not budge, but once I’d shifted all the clutter from it, it took the lightest touch to move it properly into place.
As not-so-nice-next-door started playing tedious scales on her piano I told the geo-feds about my new bonus location in Great Chart, then made myself comfortable in front of the telly and binge-watched episodes of “Foundation” on Apple TV. Based on the classic books by Isaac Asimov from seventy years ago, (so far) the TV show has followed the story reasonably well; far better than most TV and film adaptations of other books have done.
After five episodes I had a break and did more Coursera, then went back to the Foundation.
“er indoors TM” came home and Treacle immediately started playing up. Having sat on the sofa with me all afternoon she then spent an hour running round with shoes and carrier bags and generally attention-seeking with things she knows she isn’t allowed to have. She does that. Pogo doesn’t…
21 January 2022 (Friday) - Getting My Leak Sorted
I woke with a vague sense of feeling rough. I’ve been doing that for a week or so which I suppose is only to be expected, but I’m getting a tad fed up with it now. I got out the syringe and blasted an impressive amount of scabby gunk out of my sinuses (yuk!), but that is the price of being able to breathe without the sensation of there being a marble lodged in my airways.
I scoffed toast as a headache set in, and I peered into Facebook. A friend who moved back home to Australia several years ago had posted photos of a recent trip she’d taken to the Blue Mountains. They looked beautiful. I’d like to go there… and then I read what another friend had posted and decided that I wouldn’t like to go there at all. The other friend had posted that “travel is the healthiest addiction”; and I remembered that whilst I like being at new and amazing places, I’m not very keen on the “travelling” bit. Take my (relatively) recent family holidays to Greece and Turkey. Home to hotel took over fourteen rather tedious hours. Or when I took scouts to America and Canada – over a day spent travelling.
I would love to be at the Blue Mountains in Australia. I just wouldn’t like the getting there and coming home.
Seeing the car was covered in ice I thought I’d leave it where it was, and I took the dogs to the park instead. We had a good walk; even if it was a cold walk. I took the tennis balls. Pogo played “catch”, Treacle tried to monopolise both balls. After a while both dogs lost interest and just carried the balls. I’ve discovered that a tennis ball to my dogs is like a dummy to a baby; it has a calming influence. Having had a woof at one dog on the way to the park, with balls in our mouths we ignored all the other dogs we met (including one slavering death-hound barely restrained by a local thug).
As we walked my phone beeped. A message. The geo-feds had looked at the new location I’d found for my new bonus yesterday and said it was too close to an existing geocache. I wasn’t impressed; I knew that there might be an issue with that existing geocache and I had specifically gone out yesterday, measured the co-ordinates of that existing cache and found that where I was planning was five hundred yards away.
I mumbled and muttered and grumbled all the way home, sparked up the lap-top and saw what had gone wrong. Having worked out the location of the cache that might be in my way I then put that location in as the location of my new one instead of its proper location.
Oh, how I laughed.
The dogs then went mad as there was a knock on the door. It was the plumber. There’s been a little leak from the bathroom radiator over the last few weeks. I suspect there are those reading this who will be rolling their eyes wondering why I’m getting a plumber in for a simple job (I know I don’t dare tell my dad that I got a plumber in) but I am convinced that in fiddling with the radiator I would do damage costing far more than paying the plumber to come round in the first place. The chap found that what with warming up and cooling down twice every day the valves had come a little loose. He’s tightened them, and said that if they continue to leak he will come back and replace them. I suppose I *could* have tightened them myself… *if* I knew what bit to tighten.
I did the ironing, and had something of a telly day. I finished watching the last episodes of “Foundation”. I suppose it was rather good really… without giving any spoilers it has to be said that from watching the big cliff-hanger in the ninth episode it is painfully obvious that whoever wrote the TV show *really* didn’t understand the entire idea behind the “Foundation” books. But it did make for good TV. I must admit that I’m looking forward to the second season… even if the show has now gone forward a hundred and thirty-eight years and (if it continues to follow the books) has missed out much of the good stuff of the story.
“er indoors TM” came home and sorted some fish and chips (or “chips fishun” as the first fruit of my loin used to call them) which we scoffed whilst watching more episodes of “Junior Bake Off” which is a very entertaining show but does seem to follow a fixed format in which two older children compete in a baking show whilst several younger children get food colouring all over their hands and clothing, and various flours and doughs all over their faces.
22 January 2022 (Saturday) - Kearsney Abbey
I slept for nine hours last night and woke feeling “bleaugh” with a backache and a headache. In the past I’ve grumbled about insomnia… am I sleeping too much at the moment?
Taking care to let sleeping dogs lie I got up. I don’t know why I was so quiet around the hounds – they never shift until “er indoors TM” gets up; there is no secret as to who they see as the pack leader.
I made toast and peered into the Internet and sent out birthday wishes to two friends. I saw I had an email – I had received full marks in the most recent essay I had written for my “Coursera” course, The essay was entitled “Imagining Extra-Terrestrial Life”; finding myself presented with quite a bit of information about a hypothetical exoplanet I was asked to speculate on what might live there. Bearing in mind the thing was speculation, the object of the exercise was to justify our speculation. Earlier in the week I’d marked one of these essays written by a child with a microscope obsession and this morning I had been prompted that there were two more essays for me to grade.
Ironically I was asked to grade the essay of someone who had graded my essay and given it full marks whilst commenting “I would have liked to have had more details”. I gave their essay full marks and made a non-committal comment but felt they could have communicated the same information in less than half the words they used. And I was also asked to grade the work of “Anonymous Learner”. Anonymous on a world-wide distance-learning course? Some people take cyber-security to ridiculous extremes, don’t they? Anonymous Learner” tried to make a case for the existence of the moon “Pandora” from the film “Avatar” but didn’t really make a good job of doing so.
We got ourselves organised and into my car. And immediately “er indoors TM” had to get out and read the Riot Act to the dogs. When I take them anywhere in the car they are as good as gold. When “er indoors TM” comes too their behaviour is terrible.
We drove down to Folkestone where we collected “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and her entourage, and then on to Kearsney Abbey where we met “My Boy TM” and Cheryl. I say “met”; “watched drive by” was a closer description of what happened, but they eventually came back.
Having arrived first we’d seen the signs and Pogo and Treacle were on leads. Cheryl hadn’t seen the signs and let Ro-Ro run up to us, and one of the normal people was a tad judgemental.
We had a rather good (if rather cold) walk round the gardens. We soon got out of the posh bits and all the dogs were running and having a great time. And whilst we were in the area I dragooned the kids into a little expedition to find a geocache which I’ve been meaning to go find for some years.
Kearsney Abbey used to be a favourite place to go on a Sunday (about fifteen years ago) when we would picnic, play with radio-controlled toys on the lakes, paddle in the streams, drink beer, read just published “Harry Potter” books, and sleep in the sunshine. It was a tad cold for any of that today, but next summer maybe…
With walk all but walked we went to the tea shop for a cuppa and a spot of lunch…
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had got something from them as we had waited for “My Boy TM” to arrive earlier. On both occasions today the coffee and hot chocolate were stone cold by the time the food came out. Over half an hour to make a toastie? Seriously? If this is what the place is like in the third weekend in January they really aren’t going to cope as it warms up.
We said our goodbyes and made our way home. We parked up two streets away (the closest to home that I could park) and I looked at the car’s dog-proofing. Pogo had been pulling at it the entire way today (since “er indoors TM” was in the car) and he has seriously bent it out of shape. I will have to fix it when it warms up a tad. But not today.
Instead we came inside. “er indoors TM” sorted the shoe rack; the bottom shelf had broken, so she’d got a new one and attached the remains of the old one to the new one and varnished it all. I kept well out of the way and played Lego. I had a rummage in my spares and made a 1975 Lego locomotive from the original instructions. I quite like the set, but from a purely mercenary point of view it is interesting how the value of this set varies. You can get it on eBay for nearly fifty quid, of for just over a tenner on the more specialist Lego selling pages. It certainly pays to shop around.
As “er indoors TM” snored and the dogs dreamed (and Treacle had a nightmare- bless her!) I did more Coursera work, then downloaded the reference material for the last essay in the course. It has to be said that downloading the reference material was a task in itself.
I then watched the first half of an episode of “Craig Charles: UFO Conspiracies” which was utter tripe. Apparently some airline pilot had seen a strange light off the coast of Ireland, and Craig Charles then (like a stuck record) kept repeating this. After thirty-five minutes it was quite clear that the program was going nowhere so I turned it off.
Over a dinner of Christmas pudding and custard followed by port and stilton we carried on our mission to watch all of our DVDs. We tried to watch the first “Austin Powers” film, but the DVD itself was rather poggered. We manage to see most of the film, but it pixelated quite a lot in many places. Sadly that’s one DVD in the bin now…
23 January 2022 (Sunday) - Flat Tyre (?)
I woke in a sweat in the small hours following a nightmare in which Captain Kirk (out of “Star Trek”) had been caught copying my Coursera essay on exoplanets as it had been found out that the only qualification Captain Kirk had was a “sistifitcat in porking foxy aliens” and he’d only scraped a bare pass mark. Somehow I was in trouble with Starfleet Command over the whole sorry mess even though I still haven’t got round to writing the essay in question yet. Waking came as a relief.
I went back to kip and stayed asleep until nine o’clock, then made toast and peered into the Internet as yet another COVID test incubated. Facebook told me that today was an anniversary. Five years ago I took a photo of me walking up to Maidstone hospital with the caption “”Right.... let's see how this pans out...” It has to be said that I walked through the door of that place absolutely terrified, but it turned out to have been one of the better decisions I’ve ever made. Where I’d worked before then had a formal “zero tolerance of bullying” policy, so (with such a formal policy in place) the manager bullied to his heart’s content safe in the knowledge that no allegation of bullying would ever be taken seriously by his superiors.
Whilst I am looking forward to retirement, leaving the workplace will be a lurch and I would want to go back for a few days each week. Where I am now is *so* different to where I was… I don’t feel physically sick at the thought of going into work anymore…
I had an email telling me of a new geocache not too far away. But it had gone live an hour previously and I was far too late to get the First to Find. Using the Munzee map you can stalk what people are up to. The new geocache had gone live at ten past eight, and the local FTF-hound’s wife had Munz-ed a Munzee on the way to that new geocache a few short minutes later.
We settled the dogs and set off to Hastings to visit parents. After a few miles the car beeped and announced it had detected a lack of pressure in the front left tyre. That was worrying. We stopped and had a look at the tyre and couldn’t see anything wrong. I didn’t want to take a chance so we drove back in to Ashford and to Kwik-Fit where the nice man checked the tyre pressures, said they were all a tad low, put some air into all the tyres and sent us on our way. I asked if maybe having a look for a nail in the tyre might be a good idea. He said if there was a nail in the tyre the alarm would go off again soon, and that I should come back then. I must admit I wasn’t keen on that idea, but with absolute faith in the Kwik-Fit man we went off to Hastings and got there without further incident.
My Dad was in good spirits. We had coffee and cake with him, and he was telling us about his new neighbours who sit at the end of their garden wearing coats trying to catch what sunshine they can in an attempt to get warm. The house they live in is a very open-plan one; clearly too open-plan.
Once we managed to find a parking spot we then found that mother-in law was also well, and then drove home again without the tyre pressure sensors going off. I never had any warnings about tyre pressure in my old car, but then again I never had tyre pressure sensors in the old car. I wonder if I was driving round for years with partially deflated tyres? How often are you supposed to pump up the tyres anyway?
We came home and took the dogs for a little walk. We got to the park, let them off of their leads, and after less than twenty yards they were back on their leads and being marched home in disgrace. Pogo reverted to his old “shout at everyone and everything” ways and I wasn’t having any of it.
I made a start on thinking about my Coursera essay (the one Captain Kirk copied!). I’ve been presented with a list of seven exoplanets and have got to choose the best one for humans to go live on. Two didn’t have liquid water and two probably had aliens already there, so they were easily ruled out. As for the rest… I decided to worry about those later as my brain was hurting.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a particularly good steak dinner which we washed down with a bottle of merlot before setting about a lump of Stilton all whilst watching “Lego Masters: Australia”. Not a bad way to spend the evening really…
24 January 2022 (Monday) - A Week's Leave
As two weeks of sick leave gave way to a week of holiday there was a minor disaster this morning at brekkie when I couldn’t find any jam or marmalade in the cupboard. As I munched on dry toast so “er indoors TM” pulled jars of the stuff out from where I’d just looked.
As I crunched dry toast I peered into the Internet. There were several posts about small businesses shutting, and the people commenting were doing so in a way that was clearly intended to make others feel guilty about the closures. Should I feel guilty? I have no interest in custom-made metal fairies for the garden, so why should I buy that which I don’t want? Or take the local family-run shoe shop that started up over a hundred years ago… Do I *really* have to shop there? Going well out of my way to an obscure part of town (and try to find somewhere to park) to pay over the odds for that which I can get from any of the dozen shoe shops in the town centre or have delivered to my door by Amazon? It’s a bit like the “family-run” petrol station on the way to work which charges way over the odds because it is “family-run”.
What particularly boiled my piss was that it didn’t take two minutes to see that the shoe shop was closing because the owner was retiring, and not being forced out of business at all.
I was up in time to get notifications about two new geocaches as they came out this morning, but I thought better of chasing after the First to Find. Both involved getting numbers from a telegraph pole or memorial stone and performing rather laborious calculations. However these calculations are rather hard work. Given that A+B*C=D, is that (A+B)*C=D or A+(B*C)=D. Anyone who knows anything about maths will realise that should be A+(B*C)=D, but many people setting these puzzles insist that you are supposed to start at the beginning of the sum and work your way through, and simply refuse to listen when they are told that this is not how it is supposed to be done. It is a trivial point, but one which can be the difference between being where you are supposed to be, or half a mile away.
I did a little more Coursera then took the dogs out.
We drove up to Kings Wood where we had a surprisingly good walk. Pogo’s behaviour was frankly terrible yesterday, but today he was a different dog. As I remarked to another dog walker I would love to know what goes on inside his head to provoke him. Kings Wood was busy today – we met loads of people as we walked. One elderly couple made me chuckle; we met them about as far from the car park as it was possible to get on today’s walk and they commented on how good it was to see dogs in the woods not on a short lead. They too have met countless dogs over a mile from the nearest road on the shortest of leads.
We came home and found that more geocaches had gone live while we were in the woods, but with poor signal up there we didn’t find out until it was too late. I suppose I should take consolation in having got a bumper crop of dog turds out of the back garden. I then spent a few minutes repairing the dog proofing barrier between the boot area and the back seat of my car. When it is just me and the dogs (like today) the dogs do “boot dogs” and are as good as gold. When we have passengers (like on last Saturday) they try to pull the barrier down. The poor thing was at forty-five degrees after Saturday’s episode, but with a little rearranging I got it back into place hopefully better than it was.
With a dog asleep on either side of me I watched a film. “Z for Zachariah” passed an hour, but it was rather crap. I only stuck with it as I was underneath sleeping dogs and the rules say you can’t disturb a sleeping dog (let alone two).
I then wrote my last essay for my Coursera course with a sense of having totally misunderstood what it was all about. I was presented with information about seven exoplanets All were different and I had to make a judgement which one “would likely present the most hospitable environment to human astronauts upon arrival”. Well… only one of the planets was a possibility. Only one was close enough to reach in a human lifespan. Was it a trick question, or had I missed the point entirely?
I then had a look at the monthly accounts. They were far better than I had any right to expect them to be, I’m far from rolling in money, but bearing in mind that over the last few weeks we had to pay to get the old gas fire removed, we had a new washing machine, we had to get a dripping radiator fixed… we could be a whole lot worse off.
And as something of a bonus we’ve only got two more mortgage payments to make.
Having said that, “er indoors TM” wants to pay someone to strip out the entire kitchen and put in a new one… or to be precise “er indoors TM” wants *me* to pay someone to strip out the entire kitchen and put in a new one, And the bathroom too. I can’t say I’m keen on the idea, but when has that ever counted for anything?
“er indoors TM” came home, sorted dinner, and went off bowling. I activated Netflix and watched an episode of “Norsemen”. The show was billed as “Monty Python meets Game of Thrones”… presumably by someone who has never seen any of these shows. It was utter crap, just like “Z For Zachariah”.
I need to find something else to watch… Something that isn’t crap.
25 January 2022 (Tuesday) - Holiday Day Two
What with “er indoors TM” having found the marmalade yesterday morning I put some on my toast and this morning’s brekkie was nowhere near as dry as yesterday’s. I sent out some birthday wishes on Facebook, and saw that there was a bit of a squabble kicking off on one of the local Facebook groups about which vaccines were being offered at one of the local centres. I wasn’t getting involved; I’ve done that too much over the last year and have found that in today’s society, no matter what the topic of conversation, any idiot’s spur-of-the-moment opinion on any given topic is as valid as that of someone’s with post-graduate qualifications and a lifetime’s experience on the matter.
I also had an email congratulating me on completing the Coursera course I’ve just done on astrobiology. I was expecting a rather curt email too, but that never arrived. As part of the course we have to grade other people’s essays. Yesterday evening I gave someone 2/15 for their essay. The two marks being for the clarity of their reasoning. They’d written a good essay all about the course they’d just done, but it never once mentioned anything that we were asked to specifically discuss in the essay. In the instructions we were given we were told to make allowances for people whose first language isn’t English. A fair instruction, but I’d made the comment that maybe they should read the instructions and start again not because of any language issues but because they hadn’t read those instructions.
I took the dogs up to Kings Wood and in a novel break with recent tradition we got to park in the lower car park. With a little time on our hands we walked rather further into the woods than we usually do, exploring new paths and chasing new squirrels. I was rather amazed at how little mud was in the woods.
As I walked I had a vague idea about putting out a new series of geocaches in those woods. Rather than adding to what is there I’ve got an idea for a greatly expanded series going across all of the woods. My current series there has realistically run its course having been found over a hundred times. And my current series is based on the lower car park where parking is always difficult. I’ve got a vague idea to have a massive series of two loops starting at the upper car park where people can (usually) get a parking space.
We came home and I spent a few minutes trying to secure the chodbin’s saddle. The toilet seat is a tad loose which can be a tad off-putting. After a lot of effort I’ve got the thing a tad more secure than once it was, but it still jiggles about at times of extreme stress,, which is never a good thing for a chodbin.
I made a spot of lunch, and spent the afternoon binge-watching episodes of “Kiss Me First”; a strangely good show in which several loners become good friends in a virtual reality… and then someone starts murdering them all. As I have said many times before about all sorts of films, books and TV shows, believable characters make the more surreal of situations appear plausible.
“er indoors TM” came home, and two dogs that had been fast asleep for hours instantly got very over-excited. We had a very good bit of dinner whilst watching “Junior Bake Off”. The children in that show are *so* talented, but I do feel for the losing ones that get bumped out each time; they do get upset.
26 January 2022 (Wednesday) - Watching Too Much Telly?
Every morning as I scoff toast I peer into
Facebook. Some mornings it can be fun seeing what everyone else has been
getting up to. Some mornings it can be rather dull. This morning I would have
described as “repetitive”. Some chap in America was selling a Lego set
and the same advert had appeared on half a dozen Lego pages I follow. A
friend of “My Boy TM” had bought far too much massively
overpriced fishing bait and was trying to sell most of it (on every
fishing-related group I follow). The same Sparks-related memes were on
every Sparks-related group… Social media can get rather dull sometimes, but I
wouldn’t be without it. Today marks fifteen years since I first set up my
Taking the dogs out isn’t quite as straightforward as it used to be. Back in the day Fudge would be raring to go and everyone else would be caught up in his excitement. These days Treacle is vaguely keen on the idea of going out (if she can tear herself away from “er indoors TM”), but more and more Pogo seems to be going off of the whole idea. He’s not quite as bad as Sid was (who used to scurry away and hide at walk times) but he certainly shows very little enthusiasm to get going.
We drove up to Kings Wood again mainly because of how little mud there was up there yesterday, and went for quite a long explore of the northern part of the wood. I’ve got a vague plan to replace my geocaches in Kings Wood with two loops of caches starting from the top car park, and with this in mind we had a rather good wander. I’ve not really explored the top of the woods before; today it was infested with normal people, but once we got over half a mile from the car park we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
I took my GPS unit “Hannah” along to record our track, and every so often I recorded where I might hide a cache… not so much an actual location but a minimum distance from the previous potential hide. There are those who delight in my producing these maps and use them to hunt out the geocaches I’ve hidden before anyone else can get close (they really do!!), but these ones will be something of a disappointment. They are more of a “proof of concept” than actual locations. I shan’t be looking for actual locations for some time.After two hours and five miles we were back at the car and heading home where I spent a few minutes getting a car load of rubbish together for a tip run in the morning.
Over a spot of lunch I finished watching “Kiss Me First”. The show started rather well, but left me with something of a feeling of “WTF was that all about?” I then popped over the road to the Polish shop and got a humungous tub of salted caramel Haagen-Das and scoffed it whilst watching “Wild Bill” which was a rather good film.
I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time staring at the telly these days… I suppose I’ll find more to do when it isn’t so cold outside. I should really make the most of it – I’m back to work next week.
27 January 2022 (Thursday) - Kings Wood Again
I had an alarm set for this morning and so had the worst night’s sleep for weeks. I gave up trying to sleep, got up, and made toast. Unlike yesterday there were quite a few people commenting on Facebook this morning. With the results of the formal enquiry into the Prime Minister’s conduct during lockdown (when he openly staged parties in Downing Street to which he has admitted) still awaited, it is being claimed that the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into the alleged Downing Street parties is estimated to cost one and a half million quid Bearing in mind that the maximum penalty for the alleged offence is a fine of a hundred quid, people were asking if all the fuss is it really worth it.
Specifically in this instance for me it’s more about the principle involved than the money. I wasn’t allowed to see my mother on her last birthday before she died whilst our joke of a Prime Minister was on the piss blatantly ignoring the rules he demanded everyone else followed. But in more general terms this shows the sad state of our country in that our Prime Minister can do what he wants when he wants, and is never held accountable for any of his actions.
There was also quite a bit of nastiness on one of the work-related groups that I follow. In the world of blood transfusion, pedantry is king… I suppose it is probably for the best as the most subtle mis-use of terminology might kill someone. The difference between K and k or D and d can be fatal.
I left home earlier than I have done for some time and drove round to the tip. Back in the day the queue for the tip at opening time would be two streets long. Today there were five cars. The tip opened (two minutes late), and within five more minutes we had all emptied our rubbish and were on our way. Ever since the local tip started operating an appointment system (rather than turning up and chucking your rubbish) there have always been far fewer cars there. I’m left wondering where all today’s rubbish goes. Are people just hoarding it at home, or fly-tipping it?
With the car emptied I came home and collected the dogs and drove round to the garage where we picked up “er indoors TM” (whose car was in for a service) and drove her to work. As her work is only a stone’s throw (with a BIG catapult) from Kings Wood I took the dogs up there and we found a path from the upper car park to the paths at the south side of the woods that we know well. We had a really good walk; taking “Hannah” to record our route it was interesting to find that the milestone that Fudge tiddled on (all those years ago) was three miles from the car park. Unlike yesterday we pretty much had the woods to ourselves; we only saw one other group of dog walkers, and that was at the five and a half miles stage.
Mind you they were an odd bunch. Two people, too many dogs to count. I used to find that three dogs were probably too many, and nowadays two dogs are plenty. How did these people cope with five or six dogs each?
We came home (via the petrol station) where I sat on the sofa and was soon buried under two snoring dogs. Bearing in mind that the rules say you can’t move a dog that is asleep on you (fact!) I spent the afternoon watching films on Netflix.
“Villain” was a very good film (if you like that sort of thing) sadly let down by the ending. “Screwed” was supposedly based on the books of the same title, but like most film adaptations had nothing in common with the books but the title.
I eventually managed to wheedle my way out from under the dogs and drove off to collect “er indoors TM” and drive her to the garage where her car was ready. As garages so often do, they found one or two things that needed putting right… It is odd how people lay an egg whenever I suggest getting a Lego set that costs a hundred quid, but no one bats an eyelid when the garage bill comes in at four hundred quid more than you were expecting.
“er indoors TM” came up with a rather good dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Junior Bake Off”. In a novel break with tradition as well as all the talented baking children, they’ve got one lad who is rather crap. Is it bad form to laugh out loud at what he boils up? I tried not to.
We’re currently watching “Schmigadoon!” on Apple TV – it is one of those shows that is so bad it is actually worth watching… *if* you’ve got Apple TV.
28 January 2022 (Friday) - More of The Same
I was having a rather good lie-in when Pogo started screaming for no apparent reason. He does that from time to time. I wish he wouldn’t.
I got up and spent an entertaining few minutes watching Treacle sulk at her brekkie. She’d eaten up the dog food she likes but was glaring at a bowl of biscuits in utter contempt. Pogo was tucking into his biscuits quite happily. When Pogo had finished his biccies and turned his stare in her direction so she started eating. Silly dogs.
I was invited to join a Facebook group today. “Lego Scammers” is for people who have been conned when trying to buy Lego over the Internet. Having been conned, you then publish all the details of the person who scammed you to warn others. It is a sad old world when people are making a living out of pretending to sell Lego. Apparently this is big business.
I also got the link to a friend’s funeral which is taking place in a couple of weeks’ time. Despite lifting of lockdown restrictions there is only space for seventy-six people at the crematorium and there are over a hundred family members wanting to go. Watching the thing on-line is the way to go. Interestingly when I logged in (to check it worked) I was offered the chance to download a video of the service after it had happened. For thirty quid (!) Bearing in mind how much a funeral costs, someone’s taking the piss here, aren’t they?
I got the leads onto the dogs who seemed far more enthusiastic about a walk today than they had been all week. As we drove we listened to “Desert Islands Discs”. Today’s castaway was the businessman John Caudwell who was the chap behind “Phones 4 U”. His life sounded rather interesting, but then doesn’t that of anyone who has done well for themselves.
We drove up to Kings Wood (yet again) where we explored more of the top end of the wood. We had a potential “near-miss episode” as we walked. Fortunately my two just walked straight on past with me, but… I blame the owner of the other dog.
If you’ve got a girl dog in season and you don’t want her having puppies with any other random dog, what do you do? Personally I would either keep her at home or walk her on a lead. I *wouldn’t* take her for a run in the woods whilst shrieking hysterically in panic at every other dog owner I met from a hundred yards away.
After three miles of mostly new (to us) footpaths we were back at the car. We came home to see not-so-nice-next-door in her from garden, making a point of pretending not to see us. I’m rather sad to say that such a sad state of affairs suits me just fine. She’s ignored us for years. I made a special effort to be civil to her last year and she made it abundantly clear she would prefer not to be on speaking terms, so there it is.
I washed the dogs’ paws (as they were a tad grubby), then took a mop and bucket to the car (it too was a tad grubby), then sparked up the telly and watched some films on Netflix. “Rise of the Footsoldier 3” was entertaining even if it did have the most shallow of plots. “Rise of the Krays” was good; even if I did have to keep rewinding it as I kept falling asleep.
“er indoors TM” came home and sorted out fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching “Junior Bake Off”.
This has been pretty much the theme of the week off – a walk round Kings Wood in the morning and the rest of the day on the sofa watching the telly with sleeping dogs. There’s something oddly satisfying about doing absolutely nothing with a dog asleep on top of you.
I did have an invitation for this evening – but I’m not going back to the Astro club. For the last year of so of my involvement with it there was one member (now on the committee) who would make a point of coming up, standing in front of me (as though I wasn’t there) and starting a conversation with whoever it was I had been talking to. And whoever I had been talking to would then also pretend I wasn’t there and talk to her instead. When I last went to the club it was up to me to send out invitations to every meeting, and there was quite a bit of nastiness directed at me from this person because I hadn’t sent her a personal invite; even though she’d set her social media settings to prevent me contacting her.
Ironically it is this person who’d sent me an invite to the meeting this evening.
I am reliably informed that she may well have had no idea that her deliberately blanking me (for over a year) might be construed as deliberate and calculated rudeness, and that in taking offence I was in the wrong for having been over-sensitive.
Isn’t this just typical of today’s society?
29 January 2022 (Saturday) - Weekend Walk
I did chuckle as I peered into Facebook this morning. Someone who rarely posts anything was grumbling about how many people were posting about playing “Wordle”. It’s a harmless enough game; I can’t see the problem with playing it. But this is what is wrong with Facebook, social media and society in general isn’t it. Everyone wants to take from it; not many are prepared to give.
I then had a bit of a rant which I will reproduce here… even though I’ve ranted it before. A friend had asked “why don’t the 99% who aren’t offended by everything stop pandering to the 1% who are?” It is a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree, but the reason is simple and obvious. It is because the one per cent who are offended by everything get off their arses and make their voices heard, whilst the rest of us don’t.
I’ve seen classic examples of this.
From 1984 to 1986 we lived in a flat the landlady of which was an
active member of a crackpot-lefty-greenie-tree-hugging-animal-rights-political-activist
bunch. Such groups were rife in the early 1980s and at the time everyone
laughed at them. I can distinctly remember a conversation with her when she
told me that her group would never have any respect from the public, that
they were seen as being a bunch of loonies, and that she and others of her
group were all going to seek office in various public bodies and use that as
a platform from which they would be able to get taken seriously.
Or look at how much NHS money gets spent per head on haemophiliacs compared to diabetics (LOTS more!). When I was at college in the 1980s I was told that anyone working in the NHS should go into the field of haemophilila as the nation’s haemophiliacs had got themselves organized, and there would be no cutbacks there.If the majority who claim to be sick of pandering to a vocal minority really feel strongly, they need to stand for election in councils and in voluntary organizations and in pressure groups and fight back !!!
They won’t though…
As my piss cooled we got organised and set off. As we drove we listened to Steve on Radio Ashford until the reception was so poor that he sounded like an angry dalek, but by then we were almost at Kings Wood (again). I like the place as (just like Orlestone) the dogs can run straight out of the car without their leads. But (unlike Orlestone) the place isn’t a sea of mud. We arrived, and after five minutes so did Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we had a rather good walk.
As we walked we found a pair of “Family Guy” slippers. Who loses a pair of slippers in the woods? Treacle climbed a tree (I wish she wouldn’t). The weather was glorious – we sat on dry ground to have our picnic lunch, and as we did, so a butterfly flew past. A butterfly – in January!
I took a few photos as we walked. Kings Wood is a beautiful place.
Rather than working out new walks up there, we walked a route past twenty-one of my geocaches to check that all was well with them. I was very pleased to find that very little maintenance was needed today. Over the last few months passing hunters of Tupperware have been good enough to sort any issues for me, for which I am very grateful. According to the rules it is down to me to sort any issues… according to common sense someone seeing a problem can sort it in less time than it would take them to tell me about the issue.
After six miles we found ourselves back at the car park where Treacle picked something off of the ground and ate it. No one was sure quite what it was she had; my money would be on a dead frog. Dogs are foul creatures, you know.
We said our goodbyes and came home where “er indoors TM” and both dogs promptly fell asleep. I had a little look on-line and apologised to the organiser that I’d completely forgotten about today’s geo-meet that had taken place in Deal as we’d been walking round the woods. Woops!
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching episodes of “Junior Bake Off”. Some of those kids are *so* talented… others not so.
30 January 2022 (Sunday) - Helping the R.S.P.B.
The nice people at Credit Karma sent me an email today congratulating me on having bought a new car. I only got it three months ago… Despite absolutely nothing having changed in my finances over the last week my credit rating with them has dropped by eleven points. I wonder why.
Mind you according to their information I have absolutely nothing outstanding on my credit card and have no mortgage either (both wrong) so I have to wonder just how good this credit-checking agencies actually are.
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” phoned as I was finishing brekkie with a question about relativistic physics. Most people would wonder what had provoked suck an obscure thought; I just went with the flow. What with all the lockdown and pandemic restrictions being abandoned (in a shallow attempt at vote-grabbing by a desperate Prime Minister?) her job has now evaporated which is something of a pain.
As I explained to the most recent fruit of my loin what happens when you approach light speed, “er indoors TM” cleared up dog sick. Treacle had blown. I blame whatever foul thing (dead frog?) she had been eating in the Kings Wood car park yesterday.
We took the dogs for a walk. Having been to Kings Wood for the last six days we gave it a miss today. We also avoided the park. Sunday is family park run – in theory it is like the Saturday park run but for children. In practice parents who like jogging force their unwilling children to run round the park. The last time we were there for family park run day, a lot of the children were crying as they were made to go faster by several sets of bullying parents who couldn’t understand why their children were sobbing.
We went to Frog’s Island and had quite a good walk. Treacle carried her tennis ball; Pogo played “Catch” with his. But there’s no denying it was cold; we certainly picked the right day yesterday for our long walk.
Once home I gathered a bumper crop of dog dung from the garden, then sat quietly at one end of the garden and shivered as I did my bit for the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. The idea is that people watch their garden for an hour and note the comings and goings of our feathered friends. After an hour we then have to report the greatest numbers of the various bird species that were seen together at any one time in that hour. According to the rules, for birds to count they had to have landed. Birds flying over were not to be added to the tally. For all that I could hear birds chirping about it was fifteen minutes before I actually saw one. But a fly-by by a seagull didn’t count, and neither did two crows who came overhead ten minutes after that. I was beginning to get rather disillusioned at the three-quarters of an hour point, but that was when it all got exciting. A collared dove landed on the tree overhanging from not-so-nice-next-door.
After about thirty seconds it shoved off, but it had landed (albeit on a branch). As it had been on the tree over my garden I decided that counted. It was as well that I did; that was all that I recorded. An hour out in the cold for one collared dove. What a load of rubbish.
Call me old-fashioned if you will, but I much preferred bird watching some thirty years ago when we had two young Australian ladies living next door who used to sunbathe in the garden in the nip.
“er indoors TM” and Cheryl went off shopping. Apparently we are getting a new kitchen (!) I can’t think of anything more tedious than trolling round kitchen showrooms, but Cheryl was keen, so I let them go and have a look-see and I’ll pretend to be interested in the shortlist they eventually produce.
I cuddled up with dogs on the sofa and watched episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which (yet again) the most critical person turned out to have far and away the worst bed and breakfast.
“er indoors TM” returned full of enthusiasm. I wanted to share her excitement, but… I realise that our current kitchen is over thirty years old, but it is still perfectly serviceable. She uses it to boil up (quite frankly) excellent dinners every day. Do we (I) really need to squander the fat end of ten thousand quid on a new one?
“er indoors TM” then scored something of an own goal by using the existing kitchen to boil up a particularly good steak dinner which we washed down with a bottle of rather good red wine whilst watching an episode of “Lego Masters: Australia” and an episode of “Junior Bake Off”. Mind you I didn’t dare tell her she’d scored an own goal…
31 January 2022 (Monday) - Before The Night Shift
I was hoping for something of a lie in this morning, but when “er indoors TM” got up so the dogs thundered downstairs after her making enough noise to wake the dead. Five minutes later they started a woofing fit. I gave up trying to sleep.
As yet another negative COVID test incubated I scoffed toast and peered into the depths of the Internet. There was a minor argument kicking off on the “Upstairs Downstairs” Facebook page as to just “how friendly” two of the housemaids in the show were. Some people don’t seem to realise it is a TV show, and quite a few people don’t seem to realise it is a TV show from nearly fifty years ago and were complaining about spoilers being given.
There would also seem to be consternation down on the Romney Marsh with the Facebook group “The Actual Marsh Watch” having sprung up apparently in competition with “The Real Marsh Watch”.
I had a look at my emails and saw that I’d been told about new Munzees seventeen miles away, then looked at the Munzee map and saw I’d not been told about the two new ones within two hundred yards of home. This happens all the time – I’ve emailed Munzee HQ to see if they will sort it out. I wonder if they will reply?
I took the dogs for a walk. We went to the park today, and it wasn’t one of our better walks. It started with both Pogo and Treacle flying into the road at a dog on the other side. Fortunately they were on their leads, but even so if a car had been coming, they would both now be dead. They flew at the dog with such force that my back was rather badly yanked, and it is still playing up now.
We walked round the park where we barked and snarled at everyone and everything. We came home through the co-op field. Sadly part of the co-op field has been given over to the “Queen’s Green Canopy” in which the local council is “co-ordinating and supporting projects across the borough and invites everyone from residents to businesses, land owners, developers, schools, villages and volunteer groups to help with this ambitious initiative.” The idea is to plant a hundred and thirty-five thousand trees locally, and they’ve clearly made a start in the co-op field. I wonder which land owners, developers, schools, villages or volunteer group planted these trees. There are hundreds of saplings packed into an area which was once a playing field; packed far too closely. Either the plan is that most of the trees are intended to die before maturity, or whoever it was that planted them doesn’t know much about planting trees. The Woodland Trust recommends planting trees two metres apart. Whoever got busy in the co-op field has gone for (at best) a quarter of that distance.
We came home; I emptied the dishwasher, set the washing machine going and did a little on-line survey about how much walking and hiking I do. As I surveyed, the dogs woofed; someone was at the geocache in the front garden, so I went out and said hello. We talked Tupperware for a few minutes then I went inside and wrote up a little CPD (not done that for a while!) before spending the afternoon in bed.
And now I’m off to the night shift. There’s no denying that I don’t want to go. What with two weeks sick leave, a week of holiday and today off before the night shift, this is the longest time I have ever had off of work in over forty years and I’ve got used to it. I don’t dislike my job, but I am tired of it. I shall see how tonight (and the next few weeks) goes… But more and more I am thinking about taking my pension and retiring.