1 July 2014 (Tuesday) - An FTF, Stuff...
Despite a particularly vivid and disturbing dream in which "Furry Face TM" had been replaced with a mentally sub-normal air-breathing flying goldfish I slept reasonably well. My dog got up with me and helped me eat my toast as we watched Reggie Perrin's "Grot" empire grow from strength to strength.
As I checked my emails I saw a new geocache had gone live about a mile from work. Time was pushing on but I thought I'd chance my luck. It would have been nice to have had a bit more time to play silly beggars before work; I would have had more time had everyone else going to Canterbury this morning got a move on. I'm not advocating driving like a lunatic, but surely one could go faster than thirty five miles an hour in a sixty miles an hour zone? Also why did the car in front of me keep stopping in the middle of the carriageway (seven times) for absolutely no reason?
I got to the designated place to park for this geocache at 8am, and I had half an hour to get on with it. Being a five part multi I knew I would be lucky if I found it. I tried, I got all the clues; but I was not lucky - I couldn't find the cache itself.
So I went to work in a bit of a sulk. As I arrived I walked through the hospital's out patient's department as I do most mornings. I rarely mention work, but today I saw something of note. There was a little old lady and her husband in the out patients waiting area. both swigging from a hip flask they were sharing.
That's where all the money goes in the NHS. There's no denying I like a drink myself, but at 8.40am whilst waiting to see the doctor?
Interestingly once at work I got an email from the chap who'd hidden the cache that I couldn't find. He seemed worried that I couldn't find it. I wasn't worried; I explained that for all that my cache find number is high, some days I can't find my own arse with both hands. Nevertheless he wanted to go out to check the thing for himself as he thought that it might have gone walkabout (they do sometimes). He did so, and emailed me back to say that despite another person logging that they couldn't find it either, I had been in the right place and it *was* there - I had missed it.
I was intrigued by this; so much so that I abandoned my lunchtime sax practice and went to have another look-see. After half an hour I found the thing. It wasn't small, I have no idea how I missed seeing it for so long. But I found it, and got a First to Find into the bargain. Happy dance.
I went back to work feeling decidedly more smug than I did this morning. I did my bit at work, and then came home again. It was a hot afternoon to be driving home; I was very glad I'd shelled out to get the car's air conditioning fixed last week.
As I drove the pundits were discussing the day's news. The conviction of Rolf Harris was getting a lot of air time. Personally I was amazed to hear that Rolf was guilty; I'm still not sure that I believe it. And now loads of other people he allegedly abused are coming to light down under . Interestingly many complainants arern't taking their allegations to the police, but to compensation lawyers.
"Operation Yewtree" was then discussed at length; specifically has it worked? Has it brought sex offenders to justice? And if so, at what cost? Seventeen arrests, two convictions, fifteen innocent good names destroyed.... the implication was that if one guilty celebrity is brought to justice then it doesn't matter how many innocents are put through the mangle at the same time. After all, if they weren't guilty then "Operation Yewtree" wouldn't have accused them in the first place. Apparently!
Our system of justice isn't what it might be.
They are now investigating allegations about Leonard (Reggie Perrin) Rossiter who has been safely dead for thirty years.
Once home we had a quick dog walk, and then I looked at the astro club's account. Twelve quid more than we should have. Woops!
And beiong Tuesday the clans gathered for the last ever episode of Merlin. It had been a good show; a shame to see it come to an end now...
2 July 2014 (Wednesday) – Postling
I had set my alarm for 6am; I was awake shortly after 4am, and chasing a woofing dog round the garden at 5.20am. I *thought* his worrying at the door meant he needed a tiddle. It actually meant he wanted to chase the local cats.
We both scoffed toast whilst I watched "Reggie Perrin".
As I drove to work the Prime Minister was expressing his concerns about the growing problem of bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics. His solution was in theory admirable; he is keen to persuade the private sector to develop the next generation of antibiotic drugs. In practice it's not such a good plan. A leading doctor was then interviewed who explained that it is common practice not to prescribe antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary because of the problem of bacteria becoming resistant to them. How often does anyone get prescribed antibiotics these days?
Consequently antibiotics aren't quite so lucrative to the drug companies as drugs such as anti-rheumatics and statins and things that are taken by millions of people every day.
One of the directors of a leading drug company was then interviewed and he agreed that his company wasn't keen to invest in antibiotic research because there was more money to be made in other pharmaceuticals. So who *is* going to fund the research? Heaven forbid it might be done out of a sense of public decency rather than for financial gain.
The really worrying part of all this is that I personally knew full well about the dangers of antibiotic resistant bacteria twenty years ago. Why has it taken so long for this to become news?
Over my tea break a colleague told me of his friend's latest acquisition, a wi-fi kettle. Costing a mere one hundred quid this kettle can be activated remotely by a range of wi-fi enabled devices including one's phone. What an utter waste of money. Bearing in mind one cannot fill the thing with water remotely, or make tea or coffee via wi-fi, what on Earth use is the thing? It's a sad indictment of our society that even in these days of austerity there are people with far more money that sense.
The union rep was sniffing round work at lunchtime today. She clearly didn't recognise or remember me. I suppose it is now over two years since I asked for the services of the union. (And over two years since she told me she's rather get involved in silly political stunts than to help people needing said help.) I resisted the temptation to throw rocks at her, and went out to practice my saxophone instead.
Gettiing home took a little longer than expected due to the A28 having been closed. Once home the nice lady from MyYodel picked up my knackeredd walking shoes and said shee would pack them off to Cotton Traders for me. Let's hope she does - the refund is dependent on them getting the shoes back.
Once "er indoors TM" came home we put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and drove out to Farthing Common. We had a little stroll around the fields and footppaths. It was a tad hilly in parts, but such is life when walking the Downs. I took a few photos whilst we were out...
I think we deserved the curry we had when we got home...
3 July 2014 (Thursday) - Endoscopy
Yesterday evening's little stroll couldn't have been more than three miles; we were only out for two and a half hours. This morning I felt absolutely exhausted as I fed most of my brekkie to a surprisingly hungry "Furry Face TM".
I'd put some washing into the machine before brekkie; after brekkie I activated our eco-friendly solar powered laundry drier (aka I put it on the clothes line), and just before leaving for work I had a last-minute email check. A new geocache had gone live within two miles of home. But it was a puzzle cache. I didn't have time for caching; I certainly didn't have time for puzzle solving. But it looked like a straight-forward puzzle.
I got the First to Find in just over half an hour after getting the email; which I thought was rather good going.
It was at that point that I remembered that the road to work had been closed by the police yesterday afternoon.
Fortunately the A28 had re-opened in the meantime. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing the Government's plans to move a whole load of health care services out of hospital out-patients departments into purpose built community clinics. In a stroke of utter genius (!) it seems that hospital out-patients departments are to be closed long before the clinics to replace them have been built. One of the experts being interviewed about the matter made the very profound statement that the problem with health care in the UK is that demand far outstrips the available resources. Wow! Had no one else realised this!
There were then interviews with leading members of the Israeli and Palestinian Governments about the ongoing conflicts. The Palestinian official interviewed would not discuss the specific grievance which is causing this week's problems; he seemed more interested in ranting about mistakes made fifty years ago. The Israeli spokesman implied that one couldn't expect anything else from savages...
...and as I have said before, war will go on in that part of the world incessantly because (in all honesty) they don't seem to want to stop fighting.
As I drove I was wondering how late I would be. Normally I give myself some spare time in case of hold-ups. Today I had no spare time, but the roads were amazingly clear. I got to work with three minutes to spare. I didn't need any of the lame excuses I'd been thinking up on my drive in.
Work went much the same as ever; sax practice was uneventful for once, and then I had a phone call. The ENT people had got the results of my CT scan; I had rather large nasal polyps on the right hand side of my head, and could I come to the clinic this afternoon? A quick grovel to the boss, and I set off from work a little early so as to get to the clinic in time.
I got to the clinic - what a waste of my time. In a total triumph of the NHS's policy of moving out-patient services out of hospitals and into the community the clinic didn't have access to the CT scan results. So to get round this minor problem the specialist had one of his mates at the hospital take a photo of my scan and send it to his phone. I was then subjected to the indignity (and torment) of having an endoscope rammed into my nose and after a serious rummage I wasn't told anything I didn't know already.
I knew I had rather large nasal polyps on the right hand side; I've known this for ages. It constantly feels as though I have a golf ball wedged up my nose. This has now been confirmed by CT scan and endoscopy. All the sinuses on the right hand side of my head are bunged up solid with polyps. I need an urgent surgical re-bore, and they will let me know when I can be fitted in.
It was with a rather tender snout that I went home and took my dog for a walk round the park, and having backed up the last month's blog entries I set off to astro club committee (via McDonalds). I had a bit of a rant, and came home.
"er indoors TM" had been to a meeting of geocachers which had been called by Kent County Council. In years gone by paid members of staff of Kent County Council hid geocaches. they didn't look after them, the caches got trashed and archived. Now the council want someone to do their caches for them. For free. It was as well that I wasn't at that meeting. I might have had a proper rant...
4 July 2014 (Friday) – Blockheads
It was a hot night last night; I was rather restless, and was up and about having the washing machine doing its thing before 6am. My dog wasn't up though. I'm a little worried about him. Yesterday he seemed rather subdued; he seemed especially listless when we went round the park. I think the heat is affecting him.
With nothing new geocachical in the area I set off to work. Friday; the last day of the week. I really don't like a five-day week. I much preferred a three day working week. Even if I was working much longer days on the days I had to go and do something.
As I drove I listened to the news as always. Her Majesty was off to Scotland to name the navy's latest aircraft carrier.
I say "the navy's"; apparently there is still some three years until the ship is actually handed over to the navy. And then another three years until the thing is actually put into service. I can't help but wonder what will take six years if the ship is actually afloat and being named today.
And here's a thought... the ship was built in Scottish shipyards. If the Scots do go independent, what will happen with the navy? Will they get half a dozen frigates and a minesweeper, or will the fleet move to Portsmouth and the Scots have to start building their own fleet?
I did have a snigger when I heard about a fellow who has been labelled "Blockhead". This chap does the same job that I do, albeit half way round the world in Taiwan. He's a few years older than I am, and in a shallow attempt to get into the knickers of someone younger than my daughter he's given himself arguably the world's most stupid haircut. Fortunately the young lady in question has figured out what this fellow is up to, and has made a public statement. "...My friends call him blockhead, I can imagine he might have found someone as he had a good and respectable job as a medical laboratory scientist at the National Taiwan University Hospital. But he should act his age."
To be fair to "Blockhead" he is probably actually acting his age; if I had any hair left I would get an equally stupid haircut. Mind you in my case it would be because I could; not in any lame attempt to get into some bimbo's undercrackers.
Talking of people old enough to know better I spent a little while following the Internet's live feed of Rolf Harris's appearing in court for sentencing today. Found guilty of four counts of making indecent images as well as twelve counts of indecent assault he's been sent to prison for nearly six years.
Is this really justice, or just a modern day equivalent of watching Christians being thrown to the lions. Look at the public fascination in the recent trial of Oscar Pistorius or a few years of O.J. Simpson. We love watching the downfall of others, don't we?
I can't help but feel that the whole Rolf Harris case needs to be viewed with some historical perspective. I'm not defending him, but look at the re-runs of "Top of the Pops" from thirty years ago which are all over UK television. Scantily clad young ladies are openly all over whoever they feel is famous. And watch any television shows from the time when Rolf committed his crimes. "On the Buses", "Man About The House", "Are You Being Served", the "Carry On" films or the "Confessions" films. Even Fletch's daughter Ingrid in "Porridge" to name but a few. Men would regularly goose up women on stage and screen; it was regularly and constantly portrayed as socially acceptable.
It might not have been right, it certainly isn't seen as right nowadays. But that was how things were at that time. Can we really apply the morals of one generation to another? As his defence lawyer said this morning all of these crimes are from over twenty years ago.
Mind you the bit about making indecent images and child pornography on his computer is news; that hadn't been revealed before. That's entirely a different matter...
...but has anyone actually been harmed by his having this stuff? Just because we might consider him contemptible doesn't necessarily mean he should be punished for being contemptible does it?
I don't know.
5 July 2014 (Saturday) – Busy
Last night was a very hot and humid night. Whenever I did drop off to sleep "Furry Face TM" would wake me shortly after with a woofing fit. I finally gave up any attempt at a weekend lie-in shortly after 6am and got up to find we had had heavy rain overnight.
I chivvied "er indoors TM" out of her pit and we made our way to the Brookfield cafe where we met Steve for a spot of brekkie. The Brookfield cafe does a rather good fry-up, but it has two drawbacks. Firstly the place seems to be built inside an echo chamber; even one other person speaking in there makes the place painfully loud. And secondly the children of the staff... What is it with parents of small children these days? Everywhere I go seems to be over run by noisy brats the parents of whom are making no effort to keep the brats in check? With the cafe already incredibly noisy, the "delightful child" of the waitress was singing some tuneless dirge at the top of her voice just to add to the noise of the place.
The brekkie was very good, but next time I will go somewhere quieter.
From our fry-up we went out to Smarden to a certain farm where we collected assorted camping gear for an upcoming kite festival, and we came home via Matalan. I've had rather a high attrition rate on my socks recently, and the soles of my trainers had split. New shoes and new socks, and then home. With the car unloaded and camping gear stashed I had planned to mow the lawn, but it was still wet from the overnight rain.
Instead I set about the household accounts. They were not really very good, but they could be a whole lot worse really. I also had a go with the astro club's accounts. That has thirty two pence more in it than it should have. I wonder where that came from.
A belgian bun and a cup of coffee made for a good lunch. I then took my car to get petrol, and then on to my sax lesson. Teacher has given me some rather tricky passages to master this week. I've got to get to grips with semiquavers which is far easier said than done.
I did have a plan to then go up to the town, but all I had to do there was to pay one cheque into the bank, so whilst "er indoors TM" did that (and then some dress shopping) I made a start at getting the lawn mowed. It took some doing. The edges were especially troublesome. I didn't strim them; I ripped them out by hand. That will delay growth for a few days. Whilst in the garden I got the water features running again; "Furry Face TM" seemed to enjoy that, even if he did get soaked and nearly drowned himself in the process. I videoed that silly dog, and then videoed him again because I could.
"er indoors TM" came home with the shopping, and we then took "Furry Face TM" for a short walk round teh park. He was rather protective of his new ball, but we got it off of him eventually. We persuaded him to swim a little in the river; if nothing else that washed the smelly water-feature water off of him. He can have a proper bath tomorrow.
By the time we came home it was 6pm; the day was mostly gone and I didn't feel we'd actually done anything much.
A swift bit of tea, and then I set about what felt like a month'sworth of ironing. The plan was to get it all done so's I could be up at the Star with everyone else for 9pm. It was a good plan.... I finally got the last of the ironing done shortly before 10pm. But I had three quarters of an hour before the band was on, so I sat down to watch the last five minutes of "National Lampoon's European Vacation" before setting off.
I woke up an hour later...
I didn't stop all day......
6 July 2014 (Sunday) - Rain Stopped Play
Yesterday evening when I could have been out with friends watching other friends playing in their band I was fast asleep. This morning at 5.30am when I should have fast asleep like everyone else, I was wide awake.
The plan for the day had been a walk around Meopham, but overnight rain (which was still pouring down) had put paid to that idea. We can go back to Meopham another time.
We pretty much wasted the morning waiting for the rain to stop. I pootled about clearing rubbish files from my laptop whist in the background "Friends" dribbled on the Comedy Central channel in the background. "Friends" must be the lamest and most dire show in the entire history of television. My piss particularly boils every time a feeble joke is told and the entire cast all turn and griimace at the camera so that the viewers know that a joke has been told.
I soon got bored... how do people spend so long doing nothing. I've heard it described as "chilling"; I was bored senseless.
We had already abandoned plans for a day in Meopham. The backup plan was an afternoon in Faversham, but continuing rain scuppered that plan too. Instead we drove down to Folkestone to see "Daddies Little Angel TM". She's been flogging Kleeneze stuff recently. I say "flogging"; like me she's found it to be a rather futile pursuit. With an average income of about a pound an hour (before any expenses are taken into consideration) the whole thing is money straight down the toilet.
We stayed there for an hour or so, and as the rain had finally stopped we came home the scenic way through Saltwood. If I didn't get a geocache or two I would go completely round the twist.
"er indoors TM" went bowling, and with a small dog fast asleep on my lap I had a little look-see on-line. My piss boiled when I checked out one of the Facebook Geocaching pages. Designed to be somewhere where the mere mortals (like me) get to communicate with the Grand-High Pum-Bahs of the world of hunting tupperware, it's perhaps the rudest place on Facebook I have ever found (so far). And the rudeness doesn't come from "Joe Public"; it's those with a little bit of power who are full of rudeness annd arrogance.
I've said it before; I really shouldn't do Internet forums. They are not good for my blood pressure (or piss temperature).
A dull day, but I shouldn't complain...
7 July 2014 (Monday) – Stuff
Just lately "Furry Face TM" had taken to having woofing fits in the night. He had another one last night. I wish he wouldn't; especially when I've actually found myself in bed and asleep.
He grudgingly accepted the crusts from my toast this morning as I watched "The Mill" from the Sky's "On Demand" thingy; I hear there is to be a second series so I thought I'd remind myself of the first. It's quite a good show if you like that sort of thing. Which I do.
Off to work; as I drove I listened to the radio. There was talk about how people are making a fast buck on the international buying and selling of gold. Apparently every afternoon there is a conference telephone call made between a gaggle of top bankers who agree the day's price of gold. The accusation has been made that there are those who are getting rich by illicit means by this arrangement. If I could explain any better I would be getting rich myself.
I stopped off at Morrisons on my way to work. As well as apples and bananas I bought two bottles of port for the upcoming camping weekend. It's interesting how Morrisons aare happy to sell me port on my way to work wheras Tesco flatly refuses to do so.
Work was much the same as ever. At one point I did try to have one of the apprentices executed for blatent and wanton willful destruction of government property during a time of prolonged national austerity, but (apparently) throwing out rubbish doesn't count as " blatent and wanton..."
After work I popped round to see Matt; he had several of Malcolm's plants which needed taking to the allotment. My car looked rather liike a jungle as I drove round town.
I then ran "Furry Face TM" round the co op field, and with "er indoors TM" off flogging candles I found myself having to forage for my tea. I foraged in the general direction of the Hong Kong Kitchen only to find the place wasn't open.
KFC never lets me down...
8 July 2014 (Tuesday) – 96
I was reliably informed that "Furry Face TM" had two woofing fits in the night. I didn't hear him; I was asleep. I slept for seven hours last night. It was probably because of all his woofing that I breakfasted alone today.
Off to work; as I drove I listened to the radio. The pro-Scottish independence brigade were having a bitter whinge because, should they gain independence, the rest of the UK isn't going to throw money at them any more. Specifically shipbuilding; future Royal Navy ships won't be built in a foreign Scotland. The pro-independence bunch weren't at all happy about this revelation and tried to come up with historical precedents about how it is OK to trust your milatary capabiliities to someone else. And they weren't at all happy to be told by the Ministry of Defence's spokesman to suck it up; an independent Scotland won't get shipbuilding contracts (and that was the end of it!)
There was also concern expressed about the recruitment crisis in the caring professions (especially teaching). Bearing in mind that for every genuine case of child abuse which is brought to the police there seem to be several dozen taken to opportunistic compensation lawyers, fewer and fewer people want to leave themselves with any possibility of being sued by an ungrateful public.
I did my bit at work, blew my sax at lunch time, and came home. Our evening walk could have gone better; I wish certain other dog owners wouldn't try to round up every other dog they see. Having gathered my dog (and one or two others) into their fold these two women walked to the far end of the park with their canine entourage before realiseing that no other dog owner was following them. They shouted up the park to tell us that they were going that way. I shouted back to say we weren't, and would they like or dogs' leads?
Home again; I saw something which reminded me of the halcyon days of yore. Star Trek plimsolls. Take your average plimsoll, stick on a picture of a Star Trek badge. Eighty five pounds... Fools and their money are still soon parted.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered, today in Queen Street (oo-er!) Having seen all of Merlin we thought we'd try a new TV show. The 100 is... well, you can read all about it on-line. It has one or two (rather substantial) plot holes, and bearing in mind the show's name refers to how many of them there are, by the end of the first episode we were down to ninety-six.
But I've seen far worse on the telly. "Lost" and "Heroes" were far lamer...
9 July 2014 (Wednesday) - This n That
Another decent night's sleep. It might have been a tad better had my guts not been quite so rumbly. I'm not quite sure what I've eaten, but somethhing hasn't been sitting well since yesterday. I farted like a fruitbat as my dog ate most of my toast at brekkie time this morning. Having eaten his fill of toast he curled up on my lap and went to sleep. For all that most people see a hyperactive bundlle of excitement, he's actually quite a soppy dog when he thinks no one is watching.
And so to work. As always I listened to the radio; there is little else to do on a twenty mile drive. The Palestinians and Israilis continue fighting; they seem to like doing so. They must, as they are showing no incllination to stop. The newly appointed European president looks set to hand power from Brussels back to Westminster. Scottish Independence is becoming less and less likely.
Nothing of note seems to have happened in the wider world.
Mind you it would seem that JK Rowling has written another Harry Potter story; nothing major, but a few paragraphs. It could be amusing; I suspect that these few paragraphs will make it into print and be sold to those who like spending their money.
Work was entertaining - "Thumbs" was back from her Italian holiday. Whilst swimming in the Mediterranean she was stung by a jellyfish. Her brother wasted no time in tiddling on the swollen and painful area, and would you beleive it? That old addage about tiddling on a jellyfish sting is actually true. Apparently the pain releif was instant. One lives and learns.
After that revelation the rest of the day was something of an anticlimax.
I popped round to Farm Foods to help with getting the first batch of supplies for the upcoming kite festival, and then went round to see Denver to collect the astro club's event shelter. Once home (an hour later than usual) we took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. Our usual route was not going to happen tonight; a fun fair had set up in the park. Instead we played our strange version of "fetch".
We're having a bottle of plonk with tea tonight and I've no work tomorrow...
10 July 2014 (Thursday) - A Day Off
Last night's bottle of red wine was washed down by a bottle of "Bishop's Finger". I slept well. As did "Furry Face TM" who managed a whole night without a woofing fit.
I had a rather quick brekkie today and got on with the business of loading all the camping gear into the car. We seemed to be missing half of a kettle (got the lid!) and the entire turdis.
With most of the stuff I need to worry about loaded I got much of the stuff that "er indoors TM" looks after into the living room. I hope I have it all; I had this theory that she might give it all the once-over later. As I was loading up so my dog was getting progressively more and more over-excited. He knows that if I don't vanish off to work at sparrow-fart then he is up for a walk.
So we went on our walk. Down through the park. With the fun fair in residence the place has something of an air of a gypsy encampment during the day time. As we walked we met up with our old mates (!) "OrangeHead and her Chunky Little Friend". Fudge had a minor battle with the dog of one of their associates much to OrangeHead's dismay. I would have thought that an Alsation the size of a cart horse would have been able to stand up to a rather small Patagonian Tripe-Hound, but what do I know.
Pausing only briefly to steal the tennis ball of a passing cocker spaniel we carried on to Singleton and into Great Chart. A geocache I'd hidden over there in February had been reported as having gone missing, so I put a replacement one out there.
As we walked I posted a photo of "Furry Face TM" spuddling in the river onto Facebook, mentioning we'd seen "OrangeHead and her Chunky Little Friend". We came home to a message from a friend who knows both "OrangeHead and her Chunky Little Friend" of old. Apparently these two are single handedly responsible for the demise of the kingfishers from along the river Stour. I am reliably informed that "Chunky Little Friend" once fell in the river. Having phoned the Fire Brigade to get her chunky little friend rescued, "OrangeHead" then made an official complaint to the local council who re-landscaped that bit of bank. Consequently the kingfishers nests were disturbed and not one has been seen since.
It speaks volumes that these two need the Fire Brigade to get them out of a river which is three feet deep (at most).
I then spent an hour or so reviewing Earthcaches, and when "er indoors TM" got home we set off to the farm where we found the errant lavatory. As we were already half way to Maidstone we carried on; there was a geo-meet taking place there in honour of a chap who was over from South Africa on holiday. Geo-meets are always good; it's always good to get really nerdy with other people who understand why you are getting really nerdy. Normal people don't understand hunting tupperware.
We came home via McDonalds at the M20 junction eight services where some foreign-looking fellow wearing what I can only describe as his mother's pyjamas narrowly avoided having seven shades of sh*t punched out of him by a "delightful young lady". I have no idea what the squabble was about, but it was certainly entertaining.
Once home I showered, caught up with what had happened on-line, and patiently waited for "er indoors TM" to finish her packing before I could go to kip. In the meantime my dog played nicely with his new ball.
11 July 2014 (Friday) - Off to Brighton
I had a rather restless night, finally dropping off only to be woken at 6am by my alarm. Woken by the alarm - that never happens. I woke to a very wet and murky morning. But the weather outside didn't matter. The weather sixty miles away was what counted today. I checked the forecast for West Sussex; dry until an hour after we would be setting up camp. We'd better get a move on...
The Rear Admiral was only a little late, and after a quick trip to pick up Tony, an even quicker trip was made to Tesco for last minute supplies and following an altercation with a red traffic light we were in Stanmer Park where the weather bore no relation to the forecast. Andrew came over and helped us set up; he's always been a good 'un like that. After half an hour we had our communal tent "brown and smelly" up, and also the Coleman's event shelter which I had blagged from the astro club. The thing needed airing anyway (!) and if it worked out for us I will probably get one for myself, but at two hundred quid it seemed a rather expensive experiment.
Rather than putting up our own tents we reversed my car under the event shelter and unloaded whilst the rain had a particularly heavy downpour.
We soon had campsite set up, and during a lull in the rain we went for a little geo-stroll. Two First to Finds... two happy dances. We came back to camp to find that some normal people had set up camp relatively close to our tents. We smiled sweetly at the old couple, and as the in-laws arrived we suggested they might camp between the oldsters and us.
They oldsters and the in-laws argued all weekend long...
The rest of our number soon arrived, and we had a beer or two, a rather wonderful curry, and then I fell asleep for a couple of hours. I *hate* that. But being woken for a drop of port and some cheese is never a bad thing...
12 July 2014 (Saturday) - Brighton Kite Festival
I got to bed shortly after 1am, and since I hadn't brought my CPAP machine camping I woke several times during the night. Eveyone woke with me at 5.30am when the "delightful" children associated with the British Red Cross encampment decided to start running around the camping field whilst screaming and shreiking.
Brekkie was rather good; a fry-up when camping is always popular, and once I'd washed up I dozed off. I woke too late to take my regular spot making bridles in the kiddies' kite making workshop. Instead I helped out on crowd control for the workshop. If anything kicked off I was all set to steam in and knock heads together. Provided that they were under five years old...
Having done my bit I made my way back to our camp where we sat and watched the normal people flying kites. I say "flying kites"; like any hobby, skill or activity there is a knack to be mastered. Several of the normal people looked as though they had taken up semaphore rather than kite flying. But we offered sage advice. Sage advice which was even welcomed in a couple of instances. One lady even came and had a beer with us once we'd got her kite out of a knot and into the air.
Batty arrived with some Feigling. For those of my loyal readers who have never tried the stuff... it's not unlike vodka, comes in small bottles, it *has* to be drunk in a special way, and you end up with a sore (if not broken) nose.
Fajitas made for a rather good evening meal, and beer flowed as it does on these occasions.
13 July 2014 (Sunday) - Still in Brighton
After many years reflection I have come to the conclusion that (for me) the most depressing sound is that of rain on a tent. I woke several times during the night to hear rain. Mind you I wasn't woken by the wild children of the Red Cross Campsite. I was reliably informed that "words had been had". It was just as well they were quiet - Feiglong had taken its toll.
We breakfasted in the rain; the rain was a good test for the event shelter. The thing seemed to leak a little along the seams; I shall squander some of the astro club's money on getting it proofed. But the rain didn't last much after mid morning, and soon the sky was again full of kites. And having made a point of staying awake for the morning I was at the kiddies kite making workshop with plenty of time to take up my regular position of second bridler.
The kiddies were much the same as ever; forty five per cent are so painfully shy they will not say a word. Another forty five percent are vacant; seriously vacant. So much so that you could poke them with a needle and get no reaction. But ten per cent of the kiddies appreciated what we were doing and made it all worth while. Before long we could see loads of our home-made workshop kites in the sky.
I was rather shocked to hear that Birghton Kite Fliers have been unable to find a sponsor to keep the kiddies kite workshop going. If any of my loyal readers know of any potentian sponsors, let me know - I'll have a word with the right people.
After a minor altercation with a dalek I went back to camp. Quite a few people go home when the festival ends on the Sunday afternoon. We said our goodbyes; and then after a rather good bit of bit of spag bol for tea quite a few of those who who were staying joined us for a rather good evening. It all got rather vague (for the third night running) and we even had rice pudding...
14 July 2014 (Monday) - Home Again
The Red Cross people had stayed on for the extra night last night. they hadn't come up to be sociable last night; and their screaming shreiking children were especially anti-social from 5.45 am this morning.
I suppose that an early morning alarm call has its advantages when there is work to be done, and we soon had our tents down. In complete contrast to yesterday today was glorious. I always worry about going home with wet tents; there was no problem on that score today.
An al-fresco fry-up, some Jim'Ard with our brekkie and soon everything was packed (including the washing up - life's too short) and having said our goodbyes we set off for home. An hour or so was spent putting gear away, and then we did a tip run before collecting "Furry Face TM" from his holiday. Word is he was well behaved.
I then spent a little while sorting out my photos - I took a few photos of the weekend. You might not be able to see them as I've recently tweaked my Facebook account's settings. If you can't see them... sorry.
It's now back to my CPAP machine. Much as I dislike the thing, I'm looking forward to a decent night's sleep.
15 July 2014 (Tuesday) – Burwash
I usually take the Tuesday after the Brighton Kite festival off work just iin case. If we come home with wet tents I will need the time to dry them. Today I needed a day to do stuff - I had a myriad of things to do. I needed to chase the garage about my iffy air conditioning in the car. I had astro club cheques to pay into the bank. I had a weekend's worth of grungy laundry to do. The lawn needed mowing. I needed to chase the hospital about the planned surgical re-bore of my nose.
I decided that all of that lot could get stuffed and I went geocaching instead.
Steve called round shortly after 7.30am and we went for a fry-up. Steve said everyone else seems to go for fry-ups these days and he was feeling left out. e had a good plateful of sausages, bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms. And with those scoffed we popped home to collect "Furry Face TM" and we set off to deepest Sussex. Pausing only briefly to dispatch parcels to Cornwall we were soon in Burwash where we had a little stroll. We saw sheep, horses and cows. We found a minature village in the middle of nowhere. We found a beautiful gate leading to the middle of nowhere. We found random doors in the middle of fields. We even found someone's laundry on a rotary drier in a corn field half a mile from the nearest house. Fudge sniffed at (and was very good with) a very small calf, a donkey and a hedgehog.
We were hoping to see a TV celebrity; when "er indoors TM" did this walk last October she told me she'd met "you know - him of fthe telly. He's been in all sorts". We didn't see the celebrity,
It was a very hot day. Steve ran out of water; I took two litres for me and "Furry Face TM" to share; it wasn't quite enough. And despite the eminently superior mapping abilities of the Neon Geo app there's no denying we went adrift a couple of times. It's only when you go to foreign parts (like Sussex) that you appreciate just how good the signing of footpaths is in Kent.
Billed as a walk of twelve miles we walked up hill and down dale, and I think that the advertised twelve miles was probably about right. We went with fifty geocaches in our sights; we found forty-nine. We were both pretty sure the elusive fiftieth had disappeared. Probably trampled by cows.
I took a few photos whilst we wallked. I think you need to be on my Facebook list to see them though..
I did ache when I got home, but after a quick shower and a bite to eat we set out to the Tuesday gathering of the clans; this time in Arden Road. After a general natter we watched the latest episonde of "The 100". Following on from my concerns of last week that there seemed to be a high attrition rate among the protagonists, the writers would seem to have employed the old trick of bringing the dead back from the grave. I wish they wouldn't; it doesn't make anyone inclined to stick with hte show if such cheap tricks are to be employed...
16 July 2014 (Wednesday) - Back to Work
It was a rather hot and humid night last night; I had just over five hours' sleep. It's a lot better than I've been having, but not really enough. Rather unlike a certain small dog who has slept somewhat constantly since our little walk yesterday.
Over brekkie "Furry Face TM" dragged himself out of his basket, scoffed the crusts from my toast, and then went back to sleep on my lap as I watched the last episode of "Reggie Perrin". Billed as one of the classics, it's not really stood the test of time. The first series was entertaining enough, but the second wasn't as good, and this last one was really rather lame.
I checked my emails. A couple of years I wrote a couple of short stories, and in the meantime I've been tweaking and adjusting and totally re-writing them. I submitted them to a short story competition organised by Fantastic Books Publishing. Both have been reviewed by the judges, annd both have got to the first shortlist. I'm feeling rather pleased with myself about that.
Going back to work came hard; and it was rather obvious at lunch time that I'd been neglecting my saxophone lately. Whilst having a tootle I had a minor ding-dong with one of the normal people. Some woman didn't like the fact I was practicing my sax in the car park (as I do). She felt I was taking up a parking space unfairly. She conceded that I had a permit to be in that car park, and she also conceded that had I gone foor a walk at lunchtime or were reading a book then she would have no problem with my being parked there. But the fact that I had my car boot open (to get to my sax box) was boiling her piss. She had no problem with me takking my sax to work, or even storing it in my car. But if I was gong to practice the thing I should take it somewhere else. Apparently it stood to reasson that I was abusing my car park permit by practicing a musical instrument in the general vicinity of my legally parked car.
I can't understand it either...
Home, and I took "Furry Face TM" out. It was a hot evening so we didn't go far. Only as far as the co-op field where we lost his ball. We came home and I spent a little time updating the other pages of this blog (see the links above) until "er indoors TM" came home.
I then dozed off...
17 July 2014 (Thursday) - Goodbye Malcolm
On May 14 one of my Facebook Friends posted something about wine. He wrote "Cheap wine is good! It reminds me why I pay that bit extra. Wine is a living, breathing creation. It should not reek of sulphides and other chemicals. It should not be homogenised, acidic or a means to an end. It should be unique, reminding one of geography and history. It should explode in the mouth, should taste of sunshine and nature and love, and bring a smile to the face." Over last weekend whilst we were camping I had a glass of wine with him. I had ben looking forward to tasting a wine he recommended. It was a nice enough wine, but in all honesty I couldn't taste any difference between that expensive red wine and the bottle we had last night which cost £3.80 from Morrison's cheapo section.
A glass or two of plonk is usually somewhat soporific; but I did wake with a start when "Furry Face TM" had a woofing fit at 2.55am. I then dozed fitfully before giving up trying to sleep at 5.30am. Over brekkie (much of which was eaten by my dog) I watched a documentary about new recruits joining the Royal Marine Commandoes. I sometimes think I would like to have been in the armed forces... but re-read that. The operative phrase is "have been". I don't think I would actually have liked it at the time.
To work where I did a little work. We spent much of the time waiting for a phone call from the school; a colleague had sent her five year old off to school in fancy dress to comemmorate World War One. The children were supposed to go as soldiers or refugees. This lad had gone in his Spider-Man costume.
I came home early, and we set off to Hawkinge. Today was Malcolm's funeral. The afternoon started with an open-air burial which was surprisingly well attended. A short but moving service in glorious sunshine.
From the cemetery we adjourned to our old church in Folkestone for a service of remembrance. There was over one hundred and fifty people in attendance there. The service was really well done; led by an old friend. I was Best Man at the vicar's wedding some twenty five years ago. Over the years we've rather lost touch, but it was good to catch up again.
There was a wonderful spread in the church hall, and we sat and chatted and remembered Malcolm. A brief toast to him was had in the garden of the Royal Cheriton Hotel over the road from the church, and then we said our goodbyes.
"Furry Face TM" needed a walk, so this evening we took him on a circular stroll round Ivychurch on the Romney Marsh. By an amazing co-incidence our route took us past a couple of geocaches. One was actually good fun; however the other was a utter disgrace, the sort of thing which gives the hobby a bad name.
And so home. "Furry Face TM" now needed a bath. Over a rather good omelette we watched "Hoarding: Buried Alive". That program bothers me. It can only be a matter of time until our house is that bad.
I shall start throwing things away...
18 July 2014 (Friday) - Heatwave
I slept for nearly six hours last night, but had a lonely breakfast as "Furry Face TM" slept through toast time. I rather suspect yesterday evening's hike through the jungle was more wearing for him than it had been for me. I left him asleep and set off to work.
The plan was to get some petrol on the way to work as I had a few minutes spare. However my plan was thwarted as the cheapo-petrol shop was closed. I had time this morning. This evening I would have to make a special journey to get petrol. Or I could stick with my plan of re-fuelling before work and buy the expensive stuff from Morrisons. A dilemma.
I drove to work utterly undecided as to whhat I shoud do about petrol.
In the end I went to Morrisons. Buying the expensive stuff cost me forty one pence extra. Why do I get so wound up about petrol prices?
And so to work where the day wasn't as dull as it might have been; I got to see duck juggling which is actually not quite as dull as I thought it might be. I suspect duck juggling with real ducks might be more interesting, but plastic ducks were good enough to be getting on with.
Despite the heatwave I had a sax practice at lunch time. I must admit I didn't last long; it was too hot. We've actually got an official level two heatwave going on at the moment. I did a little research but couldn't find what constituted a level two heatwave; nor howw one differed from a level three or level four heatwave.
An early start made for an early finish; I came home and took my little dog for a walk. It was probably far too hot to be taking him out, but he doesn't understand level two heatwave alerts. We played "Fetch", we ran like a mad thing, and we flatly refused to come out of the river when we found how cool it was in there.
With "er indoors TM" off on a beano I foraged for work. Curry and chips might have given me something of a guts ache. And then whilst a serious storm raged I set about ironing shirts. Rather dull really..
19 July 2014 (Saturday) - My Brother's Wedding
I would have sleppt through last night's storms had "er indoors TM" not left all the lights on. It was that which woke me. And having been woken I couldn't get back to sleep. I was watching "Toddlers and Tiaras" at 7am. Have you ever seen that show? It's an eye-opener.
One thing on that show gave me pausse for thought. One mother on that show was banging on about her religion. Apparently her religion dictates that she should pray for absolutely everything she wants or needs or aspires to in her life. If she gets her way then that is part of God's holy plan for the universe. If she doesn't , then God has something else in mind. So if God has it all mapped out, why is she praying in the first place?
I then sat about frankly wasting time waiting for everyone else for a few hours. I *hate* this early waiting; by the time everyone else is getting up I am bored senseless. Taking "Furry Face TM" round to Singleton for his sleepover came as a blessed releif.
Ass I drove I was amazed at how many trees had come down in last night's storm; Tithe Barn Lane was blocked in two places.
Home to collect "er indoors TM", and then we went on to find "My Boy TM" and the rest of the tribe. With everyone gathered together the taxi soon arrived and we set off to Hastings for a family wedding. The womenfolk went to my brother's house to do whatever it is that they do prior to a wedding. We went to the Duke in Silverhill for a quick shandy to calm pre-nuptial nerves.
There's no denying that my final shot of whisky was something of a mistake; the four pints of ale and copious amounts of Sambucca were a carefully considered decision though.
To the church, where I met up with aunts and uncles I've not seen for ages. It was really good to catch up. After a little while the bride arrived with a gaggle of bagpipers and the service started. It all went very well; only a minor hiccup when one of the witnesses forgot he was being a witness (ahem!). Fortunately Cheryl realised what had happened and bellowed at me to take my place.
I then shouted at the assembled throng to organise them for photos; someone had to, and who better than someone with a big gob? And with everyone photographed we all moved on to the reception. A wonderful spread, good speeches, and a disco that was "none too shabby". A shame the ale was sour and the bar staff were short-changing, but you can't have everything.
I expect there are photos of the bash on-line somewhere; what with all the excitement I never actually took any myself. Well, I took one photo. I should have taken more...
20 July 2014 (Sunday) - Wasps
"Daddies Little Angel TM" stayed with us overnight last night; our not getting home till 1am made it the sensible thing to do. I heard her get up to the toilet six times during the night. When I finally did doze off I soon woke finding myself tangled in the hose of my CPAP machine.
Dog babysitters needed to be releived, so we took the Folkestonians home. As we were in the area we picked up a new geocache which had appeared there over the weekend, and then came home. As we drove we had a phone call from "My Boy TM" - did we fancy a fry-up brekkie. We met him, Cheryl and Lacey at the cafe.
With brekkie scoffed we rallied the plastic-hunters and set off to Harbledown for a geo-stroll. Only a short one of five miles, but a walk is always good. As we walked we could hear the thunder rumbling all around us, but fortunately the rain held off.
Mind you there was one very iffy incident. I was doing my thing hunting plastic. According to the GPS I was only five metres from my target when I suddenly felt as though I was on fire. Somehow I was attracting wasps, and in the space of some ten seconds was stung over fifteen times. Suzy-Dog was also stung. For all that I was in serious pain I felt for the poor pup. She couldn't understand what had happened. But neither Fudge nor the other four people in our group got stung.
It *really* hurt....
We got back to the car just as the rain started, and it was at that point that I realised that I hadn't taken a single photo of our walk.
Home again; where I hosed the mud from a very grubby Fudge-pup and then had a shower and a rub-down with germoline for myself.
I had all sorts of things I could have been getting on with this evening; I merely sat in front of the telly and sulked about the pain I was still suffering from a score of wasp-stings.
And on a less trivial note (after all what is a wasp sting in the great scheme of things) it is now forty five years since the first man to walk on the Moon actually did so.
Bearing in mind what a wonderful acheivement it was at the time and how excited I was as a five-year old, am I wrong to be somewhat disappointed with how the future has turned out...?
21 July 2014 (Monday) – Stuff
Last night I started watching UK Gold (or whatever they call themselves now)'s broadcast of Monty Python's last live broadcast. I started watching it, and I soon stopped. There were two reasons for this. Firstly for the same reason that I didn't like the most recent "Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" film; namely because there was nothing new or original; I'd seen it all before. And secondly Dara O'Briain's leading a gaggle of sycophantic celebrities just boiled my piss.
I then had a rather early night; the constant aching and itching of the wasp stings was rather wearing. I slept fitfully until being rudely awoken at 2.30am by the squawking of seagulls. One can't help but wonder what seagulls were squawking about at that time of night.
I got up at 5.30am, and watched the first episode of the new season of "The Mill". I do like a period drama. "Furry Face TM" had some of the crusts of my toast and then jumped up on to my lap to be combed. I've been a little worried about that dog; he's been incredibly quiet and subdued since his little holiday last weekend.
The morning's surf of the Internet wound me up. A month or so ago a couple of us were planning a geo-competition for a bit of fun. Twenty-four hour's geocaching with prizes for most finds, most distance travelled, etc. Having been rather rudely told that this was all against the rules, Geo-HQ in America has in its latest blog advocated setting up events just as we had planned (and had been told "NO!!")
And so to work. For all that I could remember the radio might just as well have been saying "blah blah blah" the whole way; there was nothing memorable said in the entire journey.
I stopped off at Morrisons for some fruit. I also got a bottle of cheapo Australian wine (for £3.80) and tried to get something for my still throbbing wasp stings. I asked an assistant; he stared at me with a blank expression (in much the same way that a corpse would). Eventually I got the concept of "wasp" through his thick head, and he knew exactly what I needed. He took me straight to the sun creams and smiled hopefully.
Mind you, look at the photo above; that was how they put out the fruit bags....
I suffered in silence through the day and went to the Boots pharmacy on my way home from work. Interestingly billed as a "midnight pharmacy" they don't open until 9am. I suppose that's because they are tired after their late night?
I got some cream which seems to be doing some good. Yesterday I was stung all over; today the stings have mostly subsided except for those half-dozen on my right thigh and ankle, both of which were red hot and swollen like balloons. They are slowly subsiding; if the cream hasn't got them completely under control by tomorrow morning I shall leave for work early and go to the Accident and Emergency department and see what platitudes they will blather at me.
22 July 2014 (Tuesday) - More Stuff
I fell asleep in front of the telly last night several times, and eventually gave up and had an early night. I slept through till 5am, and then got up and watched this week's episode of the documentary about trainee Royal Marine Commandoes. As I watched "Furry Face TM" scoffed the crusts from my toast, and I rubbed ointment onto my stings. As the most badly stung area on my right leg is getting less painfiul so I am discovering other stings here and there which I never realised that I had.
I have formally declared war on wasp-kind. In the past I have always had a "live and let live" attitude to them, but after last weekend I've had a change of mind.
And so to work. i listened to the news; the international comunity seems to have double standards. Russia faces all manner of sanctions for its perceived support of one war. At the same time Israeil is allowed to bomb children with impunity in another.
Once at work I did my thing. Apart from spotting the world's worst wig the day passsed off relatively uneventfully. I came home again along some of the roughest roads known to science; so much for road repairs.
I took my dog for a walk. In the Bowens Field Wetlands Fudge dropped fudge in a bramble bush, thereby making extraction of said fudge rather problematical. We then walked round to Viccie Park where two more Munzees had been secreted over the weekend. I soon did the Munzee thing with them, and we came home for a rather good bit of tea. You can't go wrong with a pork chop.
Being Tuesday we set of to the Admiralty where the clans gathered. Having put the world to rights we then watched the latest installment of "The 100"; or "The 93" as it should be retitled.
The show has promise, but so far I'm not finding myself warming to any of the major characters. Or disliking any of them either. I shall give it a little moore chance before totally dismissing it out of hand...
23 July 2014 (Wednesday) - Making Plans
I slept reasonably well. Most people wouldn't be pleased with only six hours sleep; for me that's loads. CPAP machines are wonderful things for blasting air through blocked sinuses. Of course I wouldn't need a CPAP machine were my nose re-bored. I'm getting a little hacked off with the whole "blocked nose" thing. Since I first went to my GP about it last November I've only actually got anything from the health service by constantly phoning them and chasing them and contacting the complaints department.
At the last time I met with the specilaist he promised I would have surgery withing two months, and it's now been three weeks since I saw him. I *really* don't want to make another formal complaint, but that seems to be the only way to get any results.
Off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were lambasting the Prime Minister. He's publically attacked the French for defying the international accords by selling warships to Russia. He was today somewhat embarrassed to find his own government was allowing over a hundred arms deals to be going on between the UK annd Russia. I don't suppose for one moment that he was trying to cover anything up when he said he was unaware of what was going an and that all these deals will be investigated. But I am reminded of the old addage that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. A Prime Minister is in many ways living in the biggest glass house of them all.
Apart from rescuing an errant sparrow from the workplace (which was then subsequently eaten by a cat - alledgedly!) my day was much the same as ever. And with my bit done I came home and walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. Apart from interrupting a couple of young Poles who were demonstrating their passion for each other al-fresco our walk was relatively uneventful. We came home, and whilst I was hosing the muck out of the fish pond filter a certain Patagonian Tripe-Hound fell in said fish pond.
The fish pond filter's doing quite well considering the plan was to have the thing replaced some three years ago.
I then spent a little while working on a survey for the members of the astro club; attendance is down. I wonder why. And then after a rather good bit of tea I had a look at the English Heritage web site. We're planning a little holiday in September; I'm thinking of something of a road trip. I need to plan a route...
24 July 2014 (Thursday) - An Eyeful !!
Yesterday I was whinging about the pond's fish poo filter being overdue for replacement. Last night we struggled to get on-line as the router was playing up. I think that thing's days are numbered too. I eventually bashed the router into action and carried on smurfing the net before not having quite as early a night as I was hoping for.
We had a rather restless night with "Furry Face TM" having two woofing fits at silly o'clock for no discernable reason.
After a bit of brekkie I had another look at the maps I was studying last night. I think I might have the beginnings of a plan for a road trip holiday - we will take two days to get to Tintagel in Cornwall and then take two days getting back home again. I'm now looking for places to visit on the way there and back. I'm vaguely thinking of stopping off at somewhere/something touristy in the New Forest on the way there and visiting Wookey Hole on the way back. Or that is I was thinking Wookey Hole on the way back until I saw the prices. I'm now thinking English Heritage places all the way (as we can get a joint membership and save a fortune).... providing we can find somewhere we actually want to go to that is an English Heritage place.
If any of my loyal readers know of anything or anywhere interesting in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset Devon and Cornwall, do drop me a line.
I stood on the scales this morning and gave myself a shock. I now weigh just over sixteen stone. Regular readers of this drivel may remember that a couple of years ago I lost over five stone in weight. In the meantime I've put half that weight back on again. Diet time!! I've dusted off my old MyFitnessPal accound and downloaded the app.
Everyone has a weight loss plan they swear by; and generally the less weight someone has to lose the more vociferous they are about the whole weight loss thing. Over the years I have tried all the diets and found that (for me) the only one which works is calorie counting and feeling constantly hungry.
Off to work; on the way I found a virtual mystery munzee which had appeared overnight in Kennington. Once at work I did my bit, and didn't have a Chomp bar with my lunch. That saved one hundred and ten calories.
Once home I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park; thereby shifting two hundred and fifty calories. Whilst in the park we spotted some hippies. What is the place coming to?
I then drove round to Malcolm's old flat to help move out the last few bits and bobs; a freezer and a large plant. Having unloaded them at Matt's flat I was waiting to drive off when a rather attractive young lady minced up the pavement toward me. Her blouse was rather loose and flowing and probably about three sizes too big. A freak gust of wind took the thing nearly (but not quite) over her head, thereby exposing both the fact that she had no bra and both of her more than ample charms.
I did smile. She didn't...
25 July 2014 (Friday) - Camel Leopards and Chicken Eagles
The router gave up the ghost again this morning over brekkie. Perhaps I'm imagining things but the thing did seem to be a little bit warm. Maybe it is on the way out? Having said that my mobile seems to be hot a lot these days and it's only a couple of months old.
As the pre-recorded episode of "Family Guy" finished I saw that the UK Gold channel was showing a televised version of the quiz show "Just a Minute". Featuring Nicholas Parsons and Paul Merton "Just a Minute" was hilarious as a radio show, but just cringeworthy as a TV program. So many things work on the radio but not on TV. Look at the Grumbleweeds for example. Well, don't look at them. Listen to them. The radio show was really funny; the TV show perhaps one of the worst programs ever made.
Off to work; as I drove I listened to the radio. The pundits were interviewing the founder of Wikipedia - apparently there are moves afoot to change the law regarding how history might be recorded on-line. There are concerns that major search engines might have the power to censor history. There wasn't a word of thanks about how these companies are recording it in the first place though.
I did my bit at work, and after a rather varied day I came home and met Stevey at the station. From there we went to McDonalds where we met "er indoors TM". McChicken McWrap was a couple of hundred calories less than a McBurger, but was still enough to push me over the day's calorie limit. Having eaten hardly anything today and still having eaten too much it's not surprising that I've put on weight.
Astro club; for all that we had a very disappointing turn-out we had a very good night. Loads of things of interest in the news; I learned lots about spectroscopy, I flogged raffle tickets. And I learned the difference between a constellation and an asterism.
Personally I feel that a chicken-eagle could easily have a camel-leopard in a fight, but apparently the matter is still a topic of astronomical conjecture...
26 July 2014 (Saturday) - Burp!!
I slept for over seven hours last night. Amazing!! I shared my morning toast with "Furry Face TM" as we watched "Family Guy" over brekkie. I then checked out the Internet and my piss boiled. A prominent Conservative MP is advocating that astrology be taken seriously and be incorporated into modern healthcare. I'm sory but David Tredinnick MP is talking out of his arse. I *really* cannot put this any other way. He is quoted as having said "there is no logic in attacking something that has a proven track record" whilst he is defending something which has long been exposed as wrong at best, and deliberately misleading at worst.
It's bad enough that the ordinary man in the street beleives this patent rubbish; but to have an elected MP spouting crackpottery in the twenty-first century beggars beleif.
Whilst I waited for "er indoors TM" to emerge from the pit this morning I mowed the lawn. It took some mowing, and I took the skin off of my knuckles whilst trying to put new line into the strimmer too.
We then set off to Sheerness. We've not been to Whelans for ages and I wanted to get my brother a garden bench as a pressie. Whilst we were there we got one or two other things as well including a stone skull for "My Boy TM". Cheryl says he's not allowed a skull. I'm leaving the thing on the living room table; I've told him where it is, and I'm not getting into this fight (!)
I also got myself a new water feature to replace a broken one.
Once back home I popped down the road to the chemist. I needed some campden tablets. The chemist down the road told me that "you can't get campden tablets any more - not since Millets closed". One lives and learns. Obviously no one has told that to the Home Brew shop where I then got some from.
Interestingly the Home Brew shop is closing down in three days time. They are moving to Folkestone; their lease on their shop is up and the landlord has told them to either sign a twenty-five year lease or to buy the place. So they are moving to somewhere in Folkestone which is bigger and cheaper.
I then went round for my sax lesson. This week I am mostly being Glen Miller. And having Glen Millered I came home and poured campden tablets into the garden's water features; they were getting a little whiffy. I got rid of the wreckage of the broken water feature and put the new one into place, and then we wandered round to Queen Street for a summer's afternoon and evening sat in the sunshine drinking beer and talking twaddle.As one does...
27 July 2014 (Sunday) - Pooh Bridge (Virtually!)
Despite a good load of ale having been sunk last night, a hot humid night interspersed by "Furry Face TM" having woofing fits put paid to having much in the way of sleep. I gave up shortly before 6am and came downstairs to find my dog in his basket, wide awake, looking suitably subdued.
Over a spot of brekkie I watched "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo". I've not seen that show for a while. Today Uncle Poodle was visiting. Uncle Poodle is gay, and apparently anyone who is gay is called "Uncle Poodle" by Honey Boo Boo. It turned out to be a term of endearment, which was nice for Uncle Poodle.One lives and learns.
I then spent a little while working on the membership survey for the astro club; these things take ages to compile.
We then set off to collect Suzy (and entourage) and we drove off to deepest Sussex where we soon met Dave. We found Pooh Corner (you know - as in Winnie the Pooh) and walked down to the actual bridge where (nearly a hundred years ago) A.A. Milne and Christopher Robin first played Pooh Sticks. I say "the actual bridge" - it looks like a new bridge to me; but the location is where it all actually started. Needless to say we played Pooh Sticks ourselves, and "Furry Face TM" upset the normal people by jumping in the river and grabbing their Pooh Sticks as they floated underneath Pooh Bridge.
As we walked I learned the difference between sessile and English oaks, we saw pheasants and partridges, we had a really good walk. After six miles we were nearly back at the start. We had lunch, looked at the clock, looked at the map, and organised another six mile hike. We then followed a disused railway line, found a nice lady fast asleep on a footbridge, and even exchanged pleasantries with two nice ladies who had matching bicycles (to go with their comfortable shoes!). I did wonder what term of endearment Honey Boo Boo would have had for these two - Auntie Poodle perhaps? But the highlight of the afternoon's stroll had to be our visit to the charming village of Balls Green. What a wonderful name for a place!
It was a warm day; we had regular water stops for the dogs, and we even had a pub stop for ourselves. A pint of Thatcher's Gold went down very nicely. For all that I make a lot of noise about ale, you can't beat a cold cider on a hot afternoon. We had a really good walk; it burned off (about) one thousand seven hundred calories, and we even found thirty six geocaches on what was a really good amble. We even found a virtual geocache, and for those of my loyal readers who roll their eyes at the entire concept of hunting plastic boxes, a virtual geocache is slightly more rare than rocking horse poo; there are only three of the things in both Kent and East Sussex combined. I've now found all three.
I even remembered to take some photos this time...
At the end of our walk we saw the village shop was open; we had ice creams. Even the dogs had some. We said our goodbyes and set off on our seperate ways home. For all that I kept nodding off in the car I couldn't help but notice that the closer we got to home, the wetter the roads were. Once home I went to get my washing in; it was dripping wet. We'd had a glorious day in Sussex; it seemed to have rained hard for much of the day in Ashford.
It didn't take long to pop the washing through the spin drier and hang it round the house. Mind you for all that it apparently rained today, it didn't top up the fish pond much so I ran the hose pipe out and left that running for a couple of hours. The pond's much fuller now; I shall put that hose pipe away tomorrow; it's all wet now...
28 July 2014 (Monday) - Oh Frack
I spent a little while playing with the maps this morning over brekkie. I'm still working on planning our road trip for later in the year; Dave had suggested Avebury in Wiltshire as a rather scenic place to stop off. Through the wonders of Google technology I have determined that Avebury is only three hours away. We could set off shortly after brekkie and be there for late morning. We could then spend an afternoon and an evening playing tourist, doss down somewhere overnight (Swindon or Devizes look good), and be in Tintagel in Cornwall for lunch the next day. All that remains is to find somewhere we haven't been in Dorset for the way back, and the plan will be complete.
Off to work; as I drove the talk on the radio was about how half the country is now fair game to be fracked. It would seem there are untold fossil fuels waiting to be had from a mile or so underground. Mind you the experts being interviewed were under the impression that current fracking technology is only good for getting about five per cent of the stuff to the surface. Another pundit pointed out that the sunlight falling on the planet in one hour is more than enough to meet our energy requirements for a year, and then went on to whinge about how inefficiently we are using solar panels.
It strikes me that common sense says it's better to use solar power and wind and wave power than to pollute the world by pumping up gunge which is best left buried, but what do I know?
I stopped off in Morrisons on my way to work, did shopping, went to work, and came home again. I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. Yesterday was the "Create" music festival in the park. In the past the park has been left in a terrible state; today it didn't look *too* bad. Last night's rains have gone some way to restoring the scorch marks left by the disposable barbecues.
We got home and I got the hose pipe put away just before the rain started. And with "er indoors TM" off bowling I had a rather busy evening. More work on the astro club's survey, sussing out the takings at last Friday's astro club, ironing shirts and generally skivvying.
Rather dull really...
29 July 2014 (Tuesday) - Making a Complaint
As it wasn't so hot last night the bedroom window stayed closed for the first time in a while. And for the first time in a while we had no nocturnal woofing fits. I wonder if the two were in any way connected. Mind you "Furry Face TM" seemed very subdued yesterday evening and he didn't get up for toast this morning.
As I scoffed all of my toast this morning I watched the latest installment of the documentary about Royal Marine Commandoes. There seems to be a load of shouting for no real reason at soldier school.
I spent a litle while solving a geo-puzzle for no other reason than that I could, and then set off to work. A relatively uneventful journey, and there was absolutely nothing memorable on the radio.
I hadn't been at work long when I had a phone call. Yesterday I complained about how long it was taking to get a date for the surgical re-bore of my nose. Today I had a rather snotty call from a rather snottier receptionist telling me not to make complaints. There are (apparently) thirty four more urgent cases than mine awaiting the knife, and was told (in no uncertain terms) to wait quietly until the snotty receptionist decides to make an appointment for me. "Snotty" then announced that I need an anaesthetic review and she's told me that it will be in two weeks time. I got the distinct impression that this is nothing but a delaying tactic on her part to prove that it is she who will decide the timetable of my operation.
I'm rather confused by all this. On the one hand I have a consultant ENT surgeon telling me I need urgent surgery by the end of August. On the other hand the one making the appointments for the surgery will do so in her own sweet time. And I can't complain; I've been told not to.
Sax practice went relatively well. I'm learning a very well-known jazz tune at the moment. I have no idea what the name of it is; it's that one that goes "da-da-da-da-de-dah-de-dah-dah". I've mostly got it right; just a tricky B-flat/C-sharp transition to master. Mind you on the way back into waork after sax practice I met yet another twit. This one was ranting at me about why all the signs directing people around the hospital are inside the building. Why does no one think about those people who want to find their way around the hospital from the outside? I smiled sweetly at the nice lady, suggested she asked a member of staff, and ran away.
"Furry Face TM" enjoyed his walk this evening; apart from running into a fence whilst chasing a cat the walk passed off mostly without incident.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered in Queen Street. We scoffed ice cream, guzzled lemonade, bandied insults, watched ironing being done, and after a mistaken download (oo-er!) I fell asleep whilst everyone else watched Star Trek Voyager...
30 July 2014 (Wednesday) – Flapjack
I was rudely woken at 5.30am by "Furry Face TM" who had declared "Red Alert" for no apparent reason. I went down to see what all the fuss was about; he was running round the kitchen clearly anxious to get out. I opened the back door and he sprinted down the garden; woofing all the way. I expect the neighbours loved that (!)
I went back to bed and through the wonders of CPAP hoses I actually got back to sleep. I got up shortly after 7am and came down to find my dog fast asleep.
A swift bite of brekkie, and then I took my dog for a walk. A while ago I hid a geocache round the road. I say "hid" - it's attached to a rubber duck floating in the river. Hardly hidden; the thing is rather obvious. No one's reported it as found or not found for ages. I went round to the river to find that you can't get within ten yards of the river because of six-feet high stinging nettles. Oh dear!
We carried our walk on to Frog's Island where we played "Fetch". I say "Fetch"; it's more like "Chase". I throw the ball; Fudge chases it until it stops bouncing at which point he either attempts to rip the ball to shreads or he just leaves it where it lands for me to pick up and throw again.
I took a scenic route to work. I finally remembered to deliver a cheque for the astro club, and I got some petrol. Whilst getting petrol I realised part of the reason why I'm putting on weight. Whenever I get petrol I get myself a flapjack. I like flapjack, and you would think it's healthier than chocolate. A slice of flapjack contains nearly four hundred calories (!)
I stopped off in Chartham on my way to work; there is a geocache there that I've been meaning to pick up for some time. Today I finally did. I then revisited old haunts by popping in to the cheapo-bargains shop. The staff there were all utterly oblivious to the needs of any of us customers; they were all wrapped up in their own private conversations.
I have missed that place *so* much.
The rest of the day was rather dull in comparison. A shame when the day has peaked by eleven in the morning...
31 July 2014 (Thursday) - An Anniversary
Over brekkie I watched something new (well new to me); a series called "The Trip" featuring both Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden. I've always been a big fan of anything with Steve Coogan; I'm afraid this was a disappointment.
As I drove to work the news was all of a-twitter about the profits being made by British Gas. The pundits were of the opinion that British Gas should lower its prices as that would be the decent thing to do. And my piss boiled.
As a card-carrying leftie during the Margaret Thatcher years I was rather vociferous about turning public services into profit-making businesses. In retrospect I backed the losing side. Public-spirited decency was comprehensively beaten by wanton greed some twenty years ago. It is now far too late to be bleating about what the power companies should and should not be doing. They are now there purely to generate a profit. If anyone feels they should be putting civic duty first.... (takes a deep breath....) there will be an election next year... ?
Once at work I did my thing. For no adequately explored reason my heart wasn't in it today. To be honest it rarely is these days, but today I was more morose than usual. Silly really; my job's not bad at all really...
I had another dietary revelation at lunch time. rather than my usual bag of Walkers crisps I had a bag of Sunbites. "Sunbites crisps are a whole grain crispy snack that makes a delicious easy healthy snack option for you during the day. Sunbites are bursting with 6% ... " blah de blah de blah. I *thought* they would be an ideal addition to my new diet; but they are only twelve calories less than my usual bag of Walkers crisps. This so-called "healthy eating" is rarely what you'd expect.
Sax practice went reasonably well; the afternoon dragged a little, but soon enough I was home and walking "Furry Face TM" round the park. We had a fun episode with a Red Setter; the Red Setter made off with Fudge's ball, so this dog's owner offered to give us his dog's tennis ball in exchange. I explained that Fudge needs a solid ball as he will eat a tennis ball. This idiot explained to me how a dog cannot eat a tennis ball, and then his mouth fell open as Fudge's jaws crushed the tennis ball flat.
We got our ball back...
And in closing today I'll remind my loyal readers of a blog entry from a couple of years ago. Two years ago today I went for a walk with my Ham Street Lover. As we went past Kingsnorth church he told me about a geocache which was hidden there. He'd been telling me about that hobby for months; I'd been telling him to get a life for about the same length of time. Grudgingly I agreed to go look for that geocache...
In the next year I found two thousand two hundred and ninety of the things, and a year ago today I wrote "I wonder how many caches I'll find in this next year". Now a year later I have my answer; it was one thousand four hundred and sixty eight.
It's not a bad hobby; it's kept me out of mischief for a couple of years.