1 July 2015 (Wednesday) - A Day Asleep
Bearing in mind "Operation Stack" was in force last night I set off to work a little earlier than I might have done and still took ages to get to work. Traffic in Ashford was at a standstill as the motorway was blocked by the traffic as a knock-on from the congestion in Calais.
Apparently the British Government have told the French the situation is "completely unacceptable".
The answer to this problem is obvious; when the Fire Brigade go on strike the Army step into the breach. If the French aren't prepared to operate their ports then the British Army should go and do it for them. After all isn't this what the European Union is all about?
All the terrible congestion made for terrible driving. I suppose people were getting frustrated at having been stuck in endless queues, but driving like a twit isn't a good idea when your company's name and logo is emblazoned all over your vehicle, as the employees of JMK electrics and Currie European might bear in mind.
I got to work with seconds to spare, and set about the night shift. I had to work one second longer than usual last night. I had intended to make a point of watching last night's leap second which had been scheduled for just before midnight - to keep the clocks right last night the digital clocks actually went as far as 23:59:60 (rather than stopping at 23:59:59) before going back to 00:00:00. But unfortunately I got busy and missed the excitement.
For all that the pundits had been predicting disaster I don't think anyone actually noticed.
With the night shift done I came home (a second later than usual) and found the roads still congested. What usually takes just over half an hour took over an hour. Once home I popped the lead onto my little dog and we went round the park before it got too hot.
He had a little spuddle in the river to cool off; and spent a little while trying to catch the minnows that were swimming past. Some of them weren't especially small. As my dog spuddled Orangehead came past with a posse. OrangeHead herself blanked me. The chunky little friend was vaguely rude to my dog as they passed. Chunky little friend does that. Her comments are rude enough to make her look good in OrangeHead's eyes, but could be construed as being cheeky and friendly to me. Clearly the woman is trying to be everyone's friend.
We only had a short walk - another hot day had been forecast so we came home. I put the washing on the line and had a shower. I then did something I've been meaning to do for a long time. I weeded out my Facebook friends list. I'm getting a little fed up with weird comments from people who've never met me. If any of my loyal readers didn't survive the cull... woops -sorry.
I had an early lunch whilst watching a fan-made Star Trek episode, and then the idea was to close my eyes and have a little doze for half an hour or so. I woke up shortly after 7pm...
2 July 2015 (Thursday) – Eccles
It was a very hot night last night. I was rather restless, and didn't sleep well. After an hour and a rather traumatic dream about using the toilet as a dishwasher (what was that all about?) I woke and then dozed fitfully for the rest of the night.
I gave up trying to sleep shortly after 6am and watched Billie Piper doing her thing in "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" then found an episode of "On The Buses" on the ITV+1 channel. It's a sad fact that despite paying nearly forty quid a month for SkyTV and despite having nearly a thousand channels of telly, forty year old repeats of "On The Buses" was the best (only) thing worth watching at 7am.
I then set off for my planned walk. A little while ago a new geo-series had been published just the other side of Maidstone. According to Google Maps the journey should take about forty minutes. Bearing in mind the French have effectively stuffed up the county's road network by blockading Calais I allowed myself over two hours and took a rather circuitous route which took me about twenty miles out of my way to get there.
As I drove it looked as though everyone else was following my idea of giving the motorway a wide berth.
The French really have a lot to answer for. I have no idea what their complaint is. I don't really care, but whatever it is they will not get my support by making my life seriously inconvenient. This is now five consecutive days on which my journey has been needlessly made longer. I'm sure a lot of other people are in the same boat. I do hope no one starts publishing photos of the protestors because if they did aggrieved members of the public might know with whom they might remonstrate in the future...
Despite the best (or worst) effort of the French I got to Eccles with a little time to spare and so I pootled about the village collecting information for a couple of nearby geo-field-puzzles.
Pootling took a little longer than I expected; it was rather difficult to be inconspicuous outside the local church when three "rather council" young mothers were seeing who could shriek the "F" word loudest and with most feeling. But I got all I needed to solve the puzzles and made my way to meet up with everyone. It wasn't long before we were all assembled and five of us (and two dogs) soon found ourselves at the designated start point. The first cache was a puzzle. A puzzle I couldn't solve; but the word was that you didn't need to solve the puzzle; the cache would be obvious on passing to the experienced tupperware-hunter. And (sure enough) my amazing badger-senses soon located the elusive plastic.
There's no denying I'd been in two minds about brining my dog along. It has been very hot recently; possibly too hot for dogs? In fact as we walked one well-meaning (I'm sure) yokel asked if the dogs were all right on the pavement. He clearly couldn't see they were both on the grass verges. But whilst it was warm today it wasn't as hot as it has been, and we actually had quite heavy (albeit very warm) rain for much of our walk.
People who'd walked this route at the weekend had told us they took three hours to get round; that was about as long as it took us. It was a good route; one i would recommend. I took a few photos whilst we were out. But not many; it's difficult to work the camera and steer "Furry Face TM" away from fox poo at the same time.
At the end of the walk the ladies left us; the lads went to the pub (for a pint of pop!) where we spent half an hour looking at a seriously difficult geo-puzzle. We didn't solve it, but we've got a few more ideas about thye puzzle now.
Despite the traffic chaos I got back to Ashford in relatively good time. And then because of the traffic chaos it took me the best part of an hour to get from where "er indoors TM" works to home.
Once home I did the secret geo-on-line stuff. Much as I resent having to pay for the third-party software which makes Hannah functional, there's no denying that the stuff works well.
I then had a look on-line. There is a little consternation in the astro-fraternity. It is just possible that the astro club might be attracting a nutter. Apparently there is someone who actually beleives all the faked Moon landings conspiracy theory rubbish and goes out of his way to push his views even though even the most feeble-minded simpletons laugh at him.
I suppose that one of the drawbacks of a democratic society and the right to free speech is that these people are allowed to spout their twaddle. If he comes to astro club he'll get a chance. A chance to keep his mouth shut, that is.... I might have mentioned that for one don't beleive in a democratic society and the right to free speech.
I had the option to go round to see "My Boy TM" this evening; he was having a barbie. Instead I fell asleep. I woke just as "er indoors TM" came home. We had a rather good bit of scoff which we devoured whilst watching downloaded episodes of "Yonderland". I'd forgotten how good that show was... If only it was on at 6am...
3 July 2015 (Friday) – McBrekkie
I would have slept a lot better last night had I remembered to turn off my alarm. I had no reason to be woken at 6.30am this morning. But I was.
I tried to doze off again, but to no avail.
I got up and checked out social media over brekkie. Not a lot had happened really, which was probably for the best.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for his morning's constitutional round the park. As we met we saw a dog with a yellow collar. I wondered it was a fashion statement or if this really was a "yellow dog" requiring some space. We soon found that the dog was indeed a vicious animal that tried to savage me and it took the owner's full force to get said ravening creature under any semblance of control. I think that *was* a proper yellow dog. If only more people were aware of the whole "yellow dog" scheme...
We then saw two newcomers to the South Ashford dog-walking scene; a vicar with a "powder puff on a lead" and a rather foxy lady with what I can only describe as a Transylvanian Death-Hound. It played with my dog nicely enough but tried to murder every other dog it saw. The foxy lady said she liked my little pup as it was rare to find a dog with which her Transylvanian Death-Hound would play nicely. I smiled sweetly, and wondered if I should broach the topic of a yellow collar and lead.
Two days ago a new geocache had gone live in Canterbury. This one involved a little puzzle solving to find it; I did the puzzle solving last night (with the aid of Google Street View) and set off to work a little earlier than I needed in the hope of getting a First to Find. My puzzle-solving skills amazed me; I soon had the geocache in hand and I was indeed the first one to find it. In celebration I drove round to McDonalds for a spot of McBrekkie. Personally I quite like McBrekkie. There are those who might feel a second brekkie is being greedy. I woul say those people are just jealous they didn't get a First to Find on a Church Micro.
As I drove aruound Canterbury I listed to the radio. "Desert Island Discs" was on. Harry Rabinowitz was on the show. Apparently he is (was) big in the music and film industries, and when he was married, Sid James (of "Carry On" fame) was his best man. I can't say I'd ever heard of the chap, and there's no denying that I doubt he'd like my choice of music either.
I got some petrol, then went in to work. I did what I had to, and then came home again. As I drove I listened to the radio. "Any Questions" was being broadcast. Once it was an entertaining show; these days it's more about pompous windbags talking rubbish. Which is a shame for a national radio station...
4 July 2015 (Saturday) - Being Grumpy
I slept well despite another hot night. Over brekkie I checked out social media and (as it so often does) my piss boiled. Having struggled to understand what several people were writing about (on such diverse topics as immigration and thunderstorms), on a couple of utterly unrelated websites (geo-photography and small dogs) I thhen found whinges about how people should be more tolerant of poor grammar and spelling in social media.
Whinges like that annoy me. Bad spelling is bad enough; it shows people can't spell and can't be bothered to press the F7 button. But when people's posts are simply incomprehensible I can't help but wonder why they posted anything on social media in the first place. Is it *really* that hard to re-read what you've written (to see if you've written nonsensical gibberish) before pressing the "send" button?
I seriously considered posting "Im think socal meedier culd improv effort from ussrs. U agre?" on my Facebook page to make a point, but in the end I couldn't be bothered. Probably in much the same way that those who aare boiling my piss can't be bothered to check what gibberish they are posting.
(And yes... I know all about dyslexia. People who suffer from that condition make the efforrt with the written word).
The early rain soon stopped and I spent a little time in the garden. It was rather frustrating. The strimmer's strimming cable kept breaking off inside the spindle of the machine meaning I had to disassemble it about once every twenty seconds. The gadget I got to join lengths of hose for the pressure washer leaked so much as to make the thing unusable. At every single footstep I tripped over "Furry Face TM" who was determined to get in the way as much as he could.
I then started to repair the broken tent poles of our tent. It was only after I'd fixed them that I realised I hadn't sawed the new sections to the correect length, and that I hadn't got a hacksaw with which to do any sawing.
I gave up at this point and had a shower.
We had advertised our old coffee table on the "Get Rid of your Old Rubbish" Facebook page. Someone in Singleton wanted it so I drove it over to them. They recevied it without a word of thanks, and (narrowly avoding being run off the road by a Royal Mail van) I came back home to get the blame for the Dyson not working (again).
We went down to Folkestone for the afternoon. Operation Stack seemed to have finished, and after a rather good steak and cheese baguette in Subway I got a hacksaw from Screwfix Direct. I'd never been to Screwfix Direct before. I shan't be going back again either. I think its fair to say they couldn't care less about my custom. What's one small hacksaw to them?
We spent much of the afternoon with "Daddies Little Angel TM" and her tribe. Charlie's obviously been playing Dungeons and Dragons at some point, and we played a live-action variation of the game this afternoon in which Sid the pug was the princess. I saved the day by casting a "bird seed of death" spell.
We came home, walked "Furry Face TM" round the park and then I put the hacksaw to use in sorting out the tent poles. It was at that point that I found the hacksaw I'd actually bought last time I'd broken a tent pole.
"er indoors TM" then set off to a birthday party. I went to McDonalds where I met Steve and Leanne. A McFlurry and a McMilk shake went down well, then we went down to The Star where "Access All Areas" were playing.
Perhaps I'm a tad biased but they weren't too shabby at all...
5 July 2015 (Sunday) - Rain, Geo-Munzee Meet
I spent half an hour last night laying in bed silently cursing whosever it was that was noisily running their car engine outside my bedroom window at 3am. Eventually I got up to tell them to be quiet only to find the noise was coming from the fan I'd set running earler. Woops!
The heat of the night stopped me getting properly back to sleep. I got up shortly before 7am and spent a little while programming "Hannah" for the day's geo-mission whilst watching Patrick Troughton's Doctor Who rummaging about in the tombs of the cybermen.
We set off for the traditional Sunday walk despite the rain. Part of me wanted to cancel today's walk, but so often early rain doesn't continue. Four of us and two small dogs met up at Ridley in North Kent. We togged up in our waterproofs and marched off in search of tupperware in the wet.
We had a good walk. Some easy finds; some tricky ones. A rather serious tree climb too. It was a rather good walk and after an hour or so the rain stopped. It actually became rather warm. So much so that I was wishing I'd brought my back-pack along so I could stick my coat into it.
We'd thought the walk would take about three hours; it actually took a little longer. We said goodbye to Aleta and after lunch we drove on to Maidstone where the sat-nav utterly failed us. There was a geo-meet planned for the afternoon in Mote Park. I set the sat-nav to the published parking area and (for no apparent reason) the sat nav tried to navigate us along the paths that cross Mote Park. We eventually found a car park more through luck than judgement (even though it was half a mile from where we were supposed to be) and walked. We were only an hour late, but we finally found where we were supposed to be.
Today's geo-meet was unlike any other I've been to. It was a joint meet with the Munzee community. For those of my loyal readers who've never encountered them before Munzees are two-dimensional bar codes for which you go hunting. To the uninitiated there doesn't seen to be a lot of difference between hunting out a sandwich box or a bar code. butt having hunted both I can confidently say that hunting Munzees is on the dull side.
But the sun had come out; it was a glorious afternoon. And fortunately we met up with fellow hunters of tupperware and had a little geo-mission round Mote Park until it was time to make our way home; "er indoors TM" had to get back for bowling.
Being left "home alone" I devoured my sausage and chips and had an evening of domestic trivia. Washing up, sorting underwear, washing and drying wet muddy coats and trousers from today's walk.
As I domestically trivialled I had the telly on. I started off watching something I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. Desppite an all-star cast "The Importance of Being Ernest" was rubbish. I turned it off after only half an hour. "The History of Mr Polly" was better; however it was marred by my prejudice against the star Lee Evans.
"Sense and Sensibility" is on in a bit. Let's hope that's better...
6 July 2015 (Monday) - This n That
I slept like a log last night. Over brekkie I checked out social media and emails and saw that not a lot was going on in cyberspace.
With brekkie scoffed I took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk round the park. We were out rather earlier than usual, and didn't meet many other dogs (which was probably for the best). I took a ball and ball-thrower with us today. We've tried playing with those before; it was never really a success in the past. Today's go wasn't really a success either. I threw the ball, my dog chased after it and ran past it leaving it for me to collect twice. On the third attempt he picked up the ball and wouldn't give it back.
As we walked I couldn't help but notice the mess that was Viccie Park. Normally a really good place to be, over the weekend some hooligans had emptied every bin and scattered litter everywhere. Why do people do that?
We were back home shortly after 8am, and I pootled about doing some dull chores. My phone beeped; a new geocache not a million miles from work. Had things been diffferent today I would have chased an First to Find. But I had other things to do today so instead I watched "Upstairs Downstairs" on the ITV Encore channel until it was time to go to the dentist.
I say "dentist"; my appointment was actually with the dental hygienist. I didn't have to wait long, and soon the nice lady spent half an hour scraping round the inside of my gob. She then announced my cake-muncher was in excellent condition.
Judging by the amount of blood I then spat down the mouth-rinsing plug-hole I wasn't so sure. She assured me that copious amounts of blood was a good sign. I suppose she knows what she's talking about. Blood always seems more when it is mine.
And so to work. As I drove there was a documentary on the radio about how in the olden days test match cricketers would sail to Australia (presumably they fly these days?) It was rather dull, and didn't really grip my attention. And when they wheeled on the cricketers who made the voyages (now in their nineties) I turned off.
Even though I was running late I popped into Morrisons for some lunch. I also got a five litre can of "Hobgoblin". Five litres in one tin; would you believe it? That will take some necking.
I could have deployed a Munzee. I had one in my pocket, and a location in place. But I was already late for work so I hurried in and did my thing until home time. (I do that, you know)
I could have deployed the Munzee on the way home; I didn't. Instead I went home to my telly. Once Monday was an excellent telly night with both "Game of Thrones" and "Gotham". It's not what it once was. Mind you this evening I watched the first episode of the new series of "The Last Ship" and then the first Star Trek film. Not all bad...
And in closing today did you know that today is International Kissing Day? Time for a firm moral stance perhaps?
7 July 2015 (Tuesday) - New Shoes
I woke a little earlier than I had intended, so used the time to catch up with some telly. I watched last night's episode of "Dark Matter" over brekkie. It's rather entertaining but I can't help but feel I'd be better off watching the entire lot an episode a day. With a week betweeen each of the episodes I seem to forget who is who and what's been going on.
I set off to work rather earlier than usual; partly to miss the busiest traffic and partly to get to "Go Outdoors" before work. I made good time and I got to "Go Outdoors" before work only to find that they didn't actually open until after I start work. Woops.
With some time to spare I popped into Morrisons for a look-see. Yesterday I bought a five litre can of Hobgoblin for fourteen quid thinking it was a bargain. Five litres for fourteen quid works out to about £1.50 per pint which isn't especially a bargain. Particularly not when you bear in mind that I don't actually like Hobgoblin very much. The Badger brewery was actually doing eight bottles of better ale for eight quid... (You can tell I have a degree in mathematics!)
Once I've drunk this tin of Hobgoblin I shall buy some bottles. Or I might just chuck the tin away... I wonder if it's got any second-hand resale value?
As I drove about I was listening to the news on the car radio. There was talk about the tenth anniversary of the 7-7 bombings in London. And also talk about how the Islamic State crackpots are getting upset when they are called "Daesh"; apparently they are threatening to cut out the tongues of anyone who calls them that.
Why does the international community put up with such barbaric behaviour?
The results of the Greek referendum were also causing consternation.
Having spent weeks predicting disaster if the Greeks do decide not to repay their debts the Greeks have had a national referendum and have decided wholeheartedly not to repay their debts.
There were a whole load of so-called experts on the radio who were trying to make the enormous disaster not to appear quite so serious as it actually is. Apparently a debt is only a debt if you admit that it is one. From what I could work out there are moves afoot to pretend the Greeks don't actually owe anything like as much as they do.
Needless to say those owed the money aren't having any of it whilst others who also owe billions are hoping not to have to pay their debts either ...
I went in to work, and after a while came out again. As it was on the way home (almost) I went to the now-open "Go Outdoors". The walking shoes that "er indoors TM" had got me for my birthday leaked quite spectacularly at the weekend. I've have walking shoes from Cotton Traders and from Mountain Warehouse; both pairs leaked. I was hoping that "Go Outdoors" might have some walking shoes that might last a little longer. I'd had an email telling me they had a sale on so I thought I'd try my luck. I found some walking shoes which had been reduced from ninety quid to forty quid so I bought a pair. Let's see how they fare.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk and nearly had a fight. I wasn't really watching where I was walking in Bowens Field, and some fat oik cycling along a footpath that he shouldn't have been cycling on nearly mowed me down. He'd seen me before I saw him and he'd skidded to avoid me. He started ranting at me (every other word was "F") and I was't taking any of his lip. The more I told him that whatever he said didn't change the fact he was wrong the more aggressive he became. After ten minutes I got a bit cross myself and told him "either smack me in the gob or f*ck off, f*ckface".
He f*cked off. Which in retrospect was probably for the best.
Usually on a Tuesday the clans gathered. But a combination of "Operation Stack" and an outbreak of "the two bob bits" in Folkestone put paid to that idea so we had a quiet evening in. A bit of scoff, a bottle of plonk, "Humans" and "Yonderland" on the telly. Can't be bad...
8 July 2015 (Wednesday) - Kebab and Chips
I had a rather traumatic night fraught with nightmares about my having been elevated to the role of President of my professional body purely becase said professional body wanted to (en masse) go geocaching and my role in the new world order was to supervise the punishment of the dissenters in a rather barbaric prison.
I woke up in something of a cold sweat half an hour before my alarm was set to go off.
Over brekkie I watched the episode of "Yonderland" that I'd slpet through last night. I also saw that the SkyPlus box has started recording episodes of "Family Guy". I didn't set it to do that. I wonder what's going on there.
I set off to work; listening to the radio as always. There was little of note on the news. Speculation about what will happen with the Greek debt crisis. speculation about the Chancellor's budget. No actual facts but a lot of guesswork.
I got to work a lot easier than I got home last night and once at work I pootled about spending much of the day keeping my head down. Coming home wasn't easy though. Much of Kent is still blocked up with Operation Stack. Every time the French workers in Calais get the hump, all of Kent grinds to a halt. I wonnder if the lorry drivers might use another port in future and put Calais out of business?
Once home (with a little help from the Rear Admiral) I got much of the camping gear out of storage and into the living room. We'll load the car tomorrow.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. Other than having to stop him from rolling in a dead sparrow the walk passed off reasonably uneventfully. We came home via the kebab shop; with "er indoors TM" off out tonight I had to get tea from somewhere.
We scoffed the kebab (and chips) whilst watching one of the episodes of Family Guy that the SkyPlus box had decided to record for me, and then I had a look-see on-line. A couple of weeks ago I ordered some leather insoles. The wrong things arrived, the seller wouldn't answer emails, eBay gave me a refund and I gave the seller a negative feedback. Today they've written to me begging to send me the correct insoles if I will amend my feedback. I've told them that if they send me what I asked for then I will amend the feedback. I wonder if they will assume that means I will remove the negative? I hope they don't think that, because I won't.
This morning as I'd driven to work there had been speculation about today's budget. By this evening the details had been announced. There is a calculator available on-line. It says that I shall be eighty quid a year better off. But then I'm old, the kids have left home, the house is (mostly) paid for. Those who are young, with children at home and still paying a mortgage (or rent) won't have a pot to piss in.
Why are so many people who (only a couple of months ago) voted in such a way to allow this budget to have happened now posting their surprise and amazement all over social media?
9 July 2015 (Thursday) – Busy
I woke up at the sort of time I usually do for work, then realised I won't have to show up there for a week so tried to get back to sleep. Amazingly I nodded off only to be woken by the phone shortly after 7am. An extremely accented voice was worrying me about "my windows computer am sending the messages virus".
We had someone else from New Dehli asking me to do a lifestyle questionnaire after 10pm last Monday. I've tried all the recommended ways to get shot of these nuisance phone calls. There is only one option left open to me. I shall pull the phone's plug. If anyone wants to get hold of me I have a mobile phone on which I can be phoned, texted, IM-ed and emailed. I shan't be bothering with the landline any more.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we scrounged a lift with "er indoors TM" to her work. It is a good place to start a dog walk; from there we have an hour's walk home and a choice of routes home. We went via the golf course (for a geo-reason) then home via the Warren and (eventually) Viccie Park where my dog made a point of bullying another small dog. He got told off about that.
Once home I then popped up to town. I nearly forgot I've got the roof-box on the car; I nearly bashed it off. I remembered in the nick of time and instead went to a car park which I *could* get into. I then went to the mobile phone shop to collect my free charger (they are giving them away) and I also went to the town centre Tesco to stock up on beer for the weekend.
My piss didn't actually boil, but it did simmer a lttle.
I asked the woman if she had any ale. In a rather disinterested way she waved at a display of lagers and ciders. So I asked if she had any beers that weren't lagers or ciders. She looked at me as though I was talking a foreign language, and then looked at the lagers and ciders as though she'd never seen them before. I asked her if she or anyone in the shop knew the difference between ale, lager and cider. She looked as though she was about to cry, clearly not having a clue how to answer the question.
So I drove to the out-of-town Tesco and stocked up.
Once home I mowed the lawn and then got a few more bits out of the shed ready to load into the car. The Rear Admiral arrived to help with the fetching and carrying and soon the car was loaded up. I then popped round to Sweatman's Mowers to get more calor gas; narrowly avooiding being run off the road by some twit driving a Roalco van. I've mentioned before that if people are going to drive stupidly or dangerously it is best not to do so in the works van.
With gas bought I came home to find I couldn't park anywhere near the house. So I parked down the road, walked home and watched an episode of fan-made Star Trek whilst scoffing a sandwich. I surprised myself by not falling asleep, and then packed my clothes for the weekend.
By now it was gone 5pm. I treated myself to a Magnum from the shop over the road and put the telly on. In the late afternoon there is often episodes of "Upstairs Downstairs" on the ITV Encore channel. There was today; Mr Hudson was shocked that Rose was thinking about marrying Gregory. Hr Hudson didn't like Gregory much. Personally I quite liked him, but having seen every episode of "Upstairs Downstairs" a dozen times I know that Gregory goes on to get shot in the Dardanelles.
Over a rather good bit of dinner we watched the last episode of the first season of "Yonderland"; roll on season two next week....
10 July 2015 (Friday) - Off to Brighton
With less than an hour to go, one of those supposed to be coming away for the weekend with us cried off. So with no need for a pick-up, once the Folkestone contingent arrived we made really good time to Brighton. As we drove I listened to a memory stick of dire music; I got as far as "B".
We made our way to our usual place up the hill at Stanmer Park; some of those staying the weekend in their caravans were already there. Despite being a bod down we got our campsite up in very good time, and were soon having a bottle of ale with (for) lunch.
There was talk of going for a crafty geo-stroll. As I had already found most of the local geo-stuff I stayed at camp and had a little kip until Terry and Irene arrived.
Soon the geo-contingent returned, and being at a kite festival we played kites. We got the parachute out and played silly beggars with it. And then we played with Jimbo's NASA. It is ages since we last played with the big kites. We really should get them out more often.
We had a rather good goulash for tea, and in a novel break with tradition I wasn't on washing up duty. Dave came to visit and we drank beer, whisky, rum and even Kazak Vodka (which is not for the faint-hearted). We converted our multi-tasking camping table into a cheese table and scoffed some rather good cheeses. We sat chatting; I lay down on one of the benches. As I laid there so a fox appeared and came up and sniffed me. He was only a few inches away; as I turned round so foxy wandered off.
We moved all the makings of brekkie into the back of my car before we went to bed....
11 July 2015 (Saturday) - Sunny Day
It transpired that when my brother-in-law went for a tiddle last night (he was camping ten yards up the hill from us) he left the tent open. Whilst he was out the fox came into their tent, ate seven of their scones, curled up and went to sleep on his sleeping bag.
Having been last to bed last night I seemed to be first one up this morning, and had a peaceful wash at 6.45am. Simon came to visit, everyone else got up and we got brekkie shortly before 10am. Some of our number went on a shopping run; others whinged about a broken flip-flop. The flip-flop in question had lasted for about a day. However what can one expect for only four quid?
I made myself a cheese roll, and went down to help with the kiddies workshop. I quite like helping at the kiddies workshop. We help the children make simple kites which they then fly. Some of the children are fun and I enjoy winding them up. Some are painfully shy, but eventually come round.
And some really do seem to be brain-dead...
The two hours on the workshop flew past, we were really busy. I then went back to camp to find Steve and Sarah had joined us for the afternoon. We got the parachute out again and played about with it, and then had some rather good fajitas for tea. Then as the light faded various friends joined us for a beer (or two).
Things became rather vague, and we staggered off to bed shortly after 1am after an impromptu astronomy session.
12 July 2015 (Sunday) - Rainy Day
There is nothing more depressing than the sound of rain on a tent. That sound woke me at 3am. I dozed off again. Yesterday the bright sunshine made the tent too hot and light to sleep in by 6.30am. That didn't happen today. I got up shortly after 8am, and after a wash watched someone flying six crow kites. The crow kites were rather clever in that (so I was reliably informed) each crow was higher than all the others.
We had brekkie (finally) at 11.30am, and as we washed up so the rain eased off. Yesterday had been glorious; today was damp. Mind you there were still several brave souls braving the kite field. I again went to help at the kiddies workshop. We weren't as busy as yesterday but we still made lots of kites for lots of children.
After two hours we closed the workshop. I walked around the festival watching what was going on. Several campers told me they were going home as the weather forecast wasn't good. I was tempted to go home a day early, but the tents were already wet. they weren't going to get any wetter. And they might dry.
So (as we do in these situations) we declared Emergency Plan "B" and settled down for an afternoon pouring beer down our necks whilst we watched the brave souls struggling to fly kites in a monsoon.
Tea was rather good; curry always is. After tea we played a game; "Dirty Minds" is always good for a laugh. But I found myself nodding off so (at the risk of seeming anti-social) I took myself off to bed.
13 July 2015 (Monday) - Home Again
Last night at 11pm I was falling asleep when I wanted to be having fun with friends. I woke at 2.30am and with nothing going on lay awake for the rest of the night. I heard someone go for a tiddle (and a fart) at 5am. I'm not sure who it was, but I have my suspicions.
The weather forecast had predicted dry overnight with rain starting at 6am. I heard the rain start falling on the tent at 5.57am. Another bunch camping down the hill from us must have heard the same weather forecast; I heard them taking their tents down the moment dawn broke. They were long gone by 6am; but their tents would still have been wet with the morning dew.
One of the worst things that can happen when camping is rain when you are taking the camp down. That happened today. Despite my fervent hoping for things to be different, the tents were soaked but they had to come down. We worked hard, got everything packed and got the cars loaded up, said our goodbyes and were off the site shortly after mid day.
We made good time getting home. I arrived home shortly after Cheryl had delivered "Furry Face TM" back home; he too had had a holiday this weekend.
And once home we then spent a little while (three hours) putting the camping gear away. I managed to get the toilet tent and the banners on to the washing line this afternoon and then spent a little while posting up blog entries and photos from the weekend to the Internet.
After an hour in the wind the banners and toilet tent were dry, so I put them in the shed (I will put them away properly in the week) and put out the carpet to our tent as that was damp. I then put loads of stuff into the dishwasher and washing machine and set them doing their things whilst we had a rather good bit of scoff. Just as "er indoors TM" set off bowling I got the (now dry) tent carpet in. There is still a lot to be dried off during the next day or so (even if the weather forecast is against it) but I'd rather not do it overnight. I then emptied dishwasher and washing machine and gave them both more to chew on and put the telly on.
There was quite a lot of stuff on the SkyPlus box to catch up on; I watched it with a rather soppy dog crashed out by my side.
Much as I do like going camping there's no denying I do get rather homesick; and I certainly miss this silly little dog...
14 July 2015 (Tuesday) - A Trip to London
For all that I probably look like an old man on his death bed when using the thing, my CPAP machine does help me sleep. After three nights without it (and three nights of very little sleep) I was out like a light last night.
I was up rather earlier than I might have been this morning. Last night I'd made geo-plans for my trip to London today, and I realised I might sneak in a cheeky Wherigo (it's a geo-thing) so I got up early and had a Wheri-download.
I set off to the station with plenty of time to catch the 6.20am train to London. Had the chap on the ticket office not been quite so disinterested I would have got that train. As it was I missed it with seconds to spare. The platform staff didn't actually laugh out loud. Neither did they actually say "tough luck baldy-fat-face" but their attitude made doing either unneccessary.
Consequently I got to London half an hour later than planned. I had intended to do a little geocaching around Trafalgar Square before making my way to where I was actually supposed to be today; but being late put the kibosh on that idea. Instead I walked up Tottenham Court Road to look for a geocache near a branch of McDonalds. The clue explained exactly where it was supposed to be; as I surrupticiously rummaged a tramp loudly announced "it aint there; I threw it away" and then demanded the price of a cup of tea from me. I told him if he'd put it back I'd stand him a full English breakfast. I walked away as he then started an argument with the voices in his head.
I then failed to find another cache supposedly near the Eisenhower centre, and decided geocaching was a silly hobby and (in a sulky mood) went off for the main business of the day.
I was In London for a course at the University of Westminster about the microscopic examination and identification of blood-bourne parasites. It's a subject about which I've never claimed to be expert. I can confidently recocgnise the presence or absence of the things, and I got a lot out of the day. I'm not sure others did. The girl sitting next to me in the practical session was grumbling that what she was seeing down the microscope was shaking. She was genuinely surprised when I pointed out that everyone's microscopes were shaking because she was rythmically bashing the bench in tune to the strange music in her head.
Another woman was employing a novel way to identify blood-bourne parasites. Rather than attempting to recognise salient features and elicidate a clinical history, she was making moral judgements. Apparently it stood to reason that God wouldn't allow humanitarian aid workers to contract malaria (!) and she got quite irate with the lecturer who dared to say it happened on a regular basis.
We finished shortly after 4pm; I then went on a little wander round London on my planned geo-mission. In complete contrast to my utter failure this morning I had a successful session in which I found caches of six different types; ending with a geo-meet at Picadilly Circus.
Some Belgian cachers had arranged a little meet-up; there was only a dozen of us there but it was quite the international affair. There were only three British cachers there. There were Belgian, German and even a Finnish lady. One German lady asked how far Ashford was from London as she'd heard there were lots of very good Wherigos there. Oh how smug I became.
By now I was beginning to wilt. I said my goodbyes to my new-found friends and came home to find a certain dog had fallen into the garden pond.
Oh - and the New Horizons space probe flew past the planet Pluto today.
15 July 2015 (Wednesday) - Busy Day Off
Over brekkie I did the geo-admin which I didn't do last night. Far be it from me to expose the hidden mysteries of hunting tupperware to the masses, but suffice it to say that there is a lot more farting about involved with logging Earthcaches and virtuals than there is with traditional lumps of tupperware.
I was pleasently surprised to find that after the abysmal start to my geo-mission yesterday I'd gone to London hoping to find a dozen targets and I actually came away with eleven successes.
I then had a look on social media. Nice words had been said about the random photos I took in London yesterday, and there was a shitstorm flying on Twitter. I rarely twit; I really shouldn't, and probably won't much more.
Having slobbed about long enough I decided to get on and do stuff. Usually the day after a weekend away is spent tidying and recovering. Yesterday I had my impromptu day in the wicked city, so today was to be the day of work I put laundry into the washing machine, got a wet tent over the washing line and took "Furry Face TM" for a walk.
I had hoped for a decent walk out to Singleton Lake; just as we left home the drizzle started. By the time we got to Bowens Field we were soaked. My dog didn't seem bothered so we kept going. The rain eased up, and started again, and eased up and started again. After half an hour I cut the walk short even though the rain had stopped; I was wet through. Narrowly avoiding OrangeHead (and only one hanger-on) we cut through the Chinese garden and came home.
The tent I'd hung out to dry was as wet as when I'd hung it out, but I took a chance and put out the laundry I'd washed whilst we were out. I put another load in to scrub and then phoned EE to complain.
Last week I'd got a free power pack from EE with a promise that if I used the thing to the point of exhausting it I could pop in to any EE store and swap it for a fully charged one. Yesterday when in London I'd exhausted the charger by the early afternoon. As I wandered round London I passed several EE stores. Each one was very dismisive of my request to swap the charger for a charged one; none of them actually bother charging the returned empty chargers. Apparentlythey were all too busy to mess around.
After a little farting around today I finally got through to "Richard" who actually did seem interested and he said he's kick some arse.
I also posted on their Facebook page. They replied to say it was down to the managers of the individula stores.
I intented only to be on the phone for a few minutes; I hung up just as the washload finished. I got that lot out and put in some shirts to wash then had a bite of early lunch whilst watching the episode of "Dark Matter" I'd recorded yesterday. I then got the shirts ironed and brought in a dry tent from the washing line and put out a wet one. I then re-laced my new walking boots. Why do shoes always come with the laces put in the most stupid way? With boots laced I wore them for a little until "er indoors TM" came home and we then went out for a little walk round Little Chart Forstal.
It was a lovely evening for a walk. My new boots show promise. And I've only got two tents left to dry out...
16 July 2015 (Thursday) - Having A Whinge
I did a little survey on Facebook this morning. Apparently I should be a Quaker. From what the survey said they seem to be a likeable bunch, and I will need to find a new outlet if and when I jack it all in with the astro club.
I then got a little bit cross. Several people were posting on Facebook about the proposed overturning of the ban on foxhunting. They were all pushing a website where you can find out where your MP stands on the subject. It amazed me how so many people posting this website were so vocal about voting Conservative recently and are now so surprised to find that pretty much all of the MPs voting to overturn the ban are Conservative ones.
Everyone seemed keen to try to pretend that this isn't a party political issue and is in no way connected with anyone's having voted for the wrong candidate a month or so again.
Does no one actually examine what the candidates views are before voting them in? Don't people understand what voting is all about? We don't tell a prospective MP what we want and he then changes his mind to suit us. We don't vote for the obvious winner and then find we don't agree with a thing he says.
We choose between several people trying to find the one with whom we have some empathy.
I then rather hurt my back struggling to get my tent onto the washing line to dry off. It was as well "er indoors TM" was there to help me. I then put on my new boots and took my dog for a walk. As we walked there was a rather pretty woodpecker just sitting on the path. I got my phone out, lined up the photograph and just as I clicked so "Furry Face TM" chased the bird away.
Iy was shortly after that when we met a young mother with a gaggle of children. My dog started sniffing the bum of their dog. One young girl loudly announced "that means they are friends" and immediately started sniffing the bum of a nearby small child.
Once home I remembered someone's monthly flea treatment; it was only four days late. And braving "Operation Stack" I set off to see my Grandson before work. Yesterday "Operation Stack" had the motorway closed for over thirty miles from Maidstone to Folkestone. Today it was clear. as I drove I was listening to some amazing feature on the radio about Body Integrity Identity Disorder in which people want bits of their bodies to be removed. There's a lump in my neck I'd be glad to be rid of, but in this condition people actually want healthy limbs removed. There was an interview with some woman who'd been pretty much doing nothing except grumbling about her leg for years. Having finally persuaded surgeons to chop it off below the knee she'd taken up ski-ing and sky-diving and has a whole new lease of life. It turns out this is a recognised medical condition; there really are people who are mentally better off having had arms and legs removed.
I got to Folkestone in really good time, and spent a little while playing with littlun. He has more toys than sense but his favourite ones are the dog food bowl and the broom.
He was nearly sick on his Grandad, and then I set off to work (via a geocache which has been there for eleven years). As I drove my piss boiled. There was a feature interviewing male teachers of teenagers who felt uncomfortable with their female charges. They weren't at all happy with the way that young girls are coming to school dressed more to be going out on the pull in night clubs than to be going to school. I could sympathise with their feeling of unease. However the radio presenter then wheeled on a "Professor of Gender" (!) who told the teachers that they should be ashamed of themselves for being so discriminatory. This crackpot went on to say that if the male teachers actually found the girls attractive then they (the teachers) were no better than wild beasts. And she added that if they (the teachers) had any shred of a moral compass they would start fancying the young lads in their care as well. To do otherwise would be sexist.
To quote Richard Littlejohn "You couldn't make it up". I would laugh... but there is far too much of this kind of bollox in society. More and more it is actually being taken seriously by people who are allowed to vote and do jury service and have an opinion which counts.
I got to work and did my bit despite a nagging ongoing backache which lasted all day. When I came home and looked at the tent on the washing line I sighed. Fortunately for my back that tent was still a little damp. I shall have another look at it tomorrow.
Hopefully I won't be whinging quite so much then...
17 July 2015 (Friday) - Wherigo-ing Round Tonbridge
Last night just before I went to kip "er indoors TM" was watching the (so-called) comedian Sarah Millican. I've seen her on the telly before but never really paid much attention. I did last night. She seemed (like so many comedians) to have abandoned actually being funny in favour of crudity and excessive swearing. Having been subscribing to Viz magazine for well over ten years I can hardly claim any moral high ground, but (to my mind) there is a *lot* more to comedy than just shouting the F-word continually.
I whinged about this on Facebook and went to sleep. I got up this morning to find that overnight a lot of people had agreed with me. That's rather unusual - I'm normally in a minority of one.
I had a quick brekkie then had a little look-see at the tent I'd left on the washing line overnight. It was still wringing wet. I spread it out some more then spread out the next tent to dry on the patio area. Camping is all very well all the time tents go away dry.
I popped the collar and lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we then went for a little outing. On Tuesday I did a Wherigo geocache and quite liked it. I fancied having a go at another so I asked on the "Geocaching in Kent" Facebook page to see if anyone else was up for one. Wherigos are something of an acquired taste, but two of us (and my dog) had a little wander round Tonbridge answering questions and finding clues until we were rewarded with the secret location of our prize. We made our way to.... I won't say where it was but I will say the area was fenced off with building works. We had a clue; we knew where we should be. We could see where we should be but barriers prevented our getting there. Fortunately "Furry Face TM" saved the day. Or (to be precise) he would have done had anyone cut up awkward wanting to know why we were the other side of a "Keep Out" sign. I took the line that no one was looking as we went in, and if anyone caught us red-handed I would say I was just retrieving an errant Patagonian Tripe-Hound.
As it happened no one saw us at all and we got thee find and the happy dance.
We then had a little geo-wander round Tonbridge before saying our goodbyes and making our ways home. Like a twit I completely forgot the motorway was closed and got tangled in a queue of "Operation Stack" traffic at Maidstone before taking a rather circuitous trip home via Headcorn and Pluckley. (For those of my loyal readers who aren't familiar with the area, going from Maidstone to Ashford via Headcorn is akin to going from London to Brighton via Birmingham)
Once (finally) home I saw the postman had been. Only one letter; addressed to one Andy Mills. There's no one of that name here and I've never heard of anyone of that name. Not knowing what else to do I opened the letter and saw it was Andy Mills' tickets to the Weald of Kent Steam Rally.
I then wasted half an hour trying to do the decent thing by this Andy Mills (whoever he is). The phone number listed on the tickets went straight to answer-phone (several times) so in the end I found the event's Facebook page and posted on there to tell Andy Mills I have his ticket.
Over a spot of rather late lunch I watched the first episode of the second season of "Dominion" which I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. I can't remember much about the first season of the show other than that I liked it. I woke up an hour after the program had finished playing so I re-started it and fell asleep again.
I shall give the second episode a go next week, but so far this second season isn't gripping me.
I could have done so much on this day off, but havinig spent so much time fast asleep the afternoon was mostly gone by the time "Upstairs Downstairs" came on the ITV Encore channel. And after an hour of Mrs Bridges being shocked at Ruby's news (she's gone to work in the munitions factory but will be bombed out in two episodes time) I went out to the garden and spent nearly an hour packing away camping gear.
I've now got three of the four wet tents (from last weekend) dried out and put away. Mind you the last one is huge and still *very* wet. I spread it out a bit and then realised I should have waited for "er indoors TM" to have come home to help with all the tent packing and shifting. My back *really* isn't what it once was.
I shall spend the evening watching telly and whinging that my back hurts. "er indoors TM" will like that...
18 July 2015 (Saturday) - Solar Scoping
More and more these days I have vivid dreams in which I live in a much larger house than I currently have,and half way through realise (with a strong sense of disappointment) that it is all a dream. I had one such last night and woke feeling really down shortly after 5am.
I wonder what that is all about; I actually quite like my little house.
I tried to get back to sleep, but it wasn't happening so I got up and over brekkie watched the bitchy mothers getting really nasty on "Toddlers and Tiaras" whilst I mooched on-line. A new geocache had gone live in Willesborough only two miles from home. I didn't even consider chasing First to Find.
I also had an email from the power company telling me that there were three companies who could supply me with leccie cheaper than they currently do. That amazes me; after all the leccie and gas come down the same pipes and cables regardless of to whom I pay the bill. How can different companies charge different amounts when the stuff clearly comes from a communal supply?
I looked out the window and saw it looked to be a bright day, so (despite an iffy back) I went and dragged canvas around the garden in a desperate attempt to get the stuff dry before setting off to town.
The astro club was putting on a stall at the church fete today. I've been feeling a little bit iffy about the astro club lately, and today was a golden opportunity to get re-enthused about it all. We met up at St Mary's church and (after a quick brekkie) set up an indoor display. I then found myself looking after the solar scope outside. We had a steady stream of punters looking at the sun. Not as many as we might have done, but church fetes rarely attract anyone other than those who attend that church.
It was much the same back in my scouting days; you find yourself extorting money from the same old punters.
I gave the event until mid day. Then I came home, dragged the wet tent about a bit to help it dry, had a glass of Doctor Pepper for lunch and took myself off to bed for the afternoon. Despite the heat I slept for three hours; finally waking to the dlucet tones (!) of next door's piano. To be fair she's not bad, but after ten years she really ought to be better than "not bad".
I had a look in the garden and found the last tent finally dry. I dumped it in the shed to keep it that way, and after yesterday's left-over chips for tea I'm off to the night shift...
19 July 2015 (Sunday) - A Day Asleep
Yesterday I was chatting with a friend about the wrongs of the world, and was told that the Health Secretary had been talking sense. At the risk of appearing cynical it is something of a novelty for a politician to be doing that, so last night during a tea break I looked up what he'd said.
Basically he's calling for a 24/7 hospital service in which health care professionals are expected to provide a round-the-clock service. My piss boiled at that. Doesn't this chap realise that people in hospitals are already working every hour God sends? Mind you I suppose that as a politician he's being rather clever. The general public have no idea what goes on in hospitals. If the Minister for Health declares that staff are going to have to work round the clock and then (a few weeks later) makes some big announcement about having implemented his plan no one's going to be any the wiser that hospitals have actually been working round the clock for years.
Interestingly a Twitter campaign has been launched using the hashtag #IminworkJeremy in which health care professionals post selfies of themselves during the night shift to show the Health Secretary that they actually are at work at night.
I did something simular a few years ago just to prove I was working at night and found myself subject to disciplinary action for doing so. I wonder if the hashtagers will simularly get an arse-kicking. I must just squeal them up...
I did my night shift, and came home through rather heavy rain. As I drove I listened to the church service on the radio. I gave it ten minutes then turned it off. It was awful.
Once home I waved goodbye to "er indoors TM" and "Furry Face TM" who went out concealing (as opposed to hunting) tupperware and I settled in front of the telly to watch Peter Davison's Doctor Who having a fracas with Daleks. I soon lost interest, it was dull.
I went to bed, slept like a log, and after five hours again woke to the terrible clanging of next door's piano playing.
Over a spot of tea I watched another black and white episode of "Dad's Army" that I'd not seen before, and now I'm off to work again. I quite like the night shifts but days spent asleep are rather dull.
20 July 2015 (Monday) - After the Night Shift
After the night shift I listened to the radio as I drove home. The Home Secretary was being interviewed on the radio. Much as it pains me to say so, she seemed to be talking sense. She was discussing dealing with terrorism arising from the UK's home-grown malcontents and how the government was proposing legislation to deal with it. However her whole point of view was hampered by the fact that those who would blow up the nation would seem to have the legal right to peddle their hateful views.
Whilst I'm not advocating a wholesale totalitarian police state, should every fool really have the legal right to do whatever the *F!* they want with no regard to society at large?
Once home I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little walk. I'd been told that one of my geocaches needed a little TLC so we took a little stroll down to Kingsnorth to sort out the errant film pot. As we left home the morning looked dismal; as we walked so it started raining quite heavily. I took a chance and kept going and after a while the rain eased up.
We soon got to the site of "Sidney's P-Mail" and I eventually found the cache. It wasn't where I originally hid it. and it wasn't the cache I'd originally hidden either. I replaced the thing with a whole new cache and we carried on with our walk. I had intended to carry on along one of our usual walks, but chest high wet crops put me off the idea. Instead we took a rather circuitous diversion and came home via Singleton Lake and the park.
There was a rather interesting sight as we came though the park; Fifteen (or so) skin-tight lycra clad young mothers were jogging en-masse; each one with a small child in a push chair. I smiled sweetly at them as they all happily bounced past.
Once home I gave my little dog a bath; he'd got rather grubby. Letting him swim in the lake had rather attracted the pond scum.
I had a vague plan to go up the KFC for lunch but I found a pack of cheese scones in the kitchen which were three days past their sell-by date. I gave them a minute in the microwave and scoffed them as I watched last night's episode of "The Last Ship" which I had recorded onto the SkyPlus box.
Feeling a little bit tired I thought I'd have a little lie down. I took myself off to bed and woke five hours later...
21 July 2015 (Tuesday) – Pluckley
Over brekkie I saw one of those "Please Share" things that flood Facebook. But this one made me think. There was a photo of a chap who had supposedly acted in a very threatening way and had supposedly done criminal damage to a car. But rather than reporting the incident to the police, the alleged aggrieved party splashed it all over Facebook. The person who'd been threatened and had her car damaged had a photo of the chap who supposedly was the vilain of the piece. The photo featured the chap's business name, his landline phone number and his mobile phone number.
So why wasn't this passed straight to the police? Something doesn't add up here.
I'd suggest we all be very careful about what we share on social media.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a walk. With none of the usual suspects available for a walk today I took my dog to Pluckley. Three new geocaches had appeared over the last month or so, and using the GPS they make for a rather good guided walk. I found two of them; rather good ones. I didn't find the third; i came away under the impression that the thing had probably been drop-kicked into a hedge.
But even though I didn't find it, Pluckley is always good for a walk. I even took a few photos too.
We came home, and I found a certain dog had lost the name tag from his collar, so I went round to Pets at Home where I got one done at twice the price they do the same thing for on eBay. Over lunch I watched the most recent episode of "Dark Matter". The show started well, but we are now up to episode six and it's losing its initial promise.
I had a little doze, then spent a little while preparing a new geocache. It's something I've been working on for a while. Dead simple to find but rather trickier to open. It is surprising how long it takes to set up these things. I then watched "Upstairs Downstairs" on the ITV Encore channel before falling asleep until "er indoors TM" came home.
We then got the last of the tents back into its bag, scoffed an omelette, then rallied the troops and set off to Folkestone where the Internet had gone west. We watched an episode of "Star Trek: Enterprise"; I stayed awake. Can't be bad...
22 July 2015 (Wednesday) - What's in a Name ?
I slept well, and over brekkie I checked my emails. The geocache I spent so long working on yesterday had recieved the official thumbs-down from the geo-feds. Mind you they'd listed it's specific failing, so after thirty seconds more effort I re-submitted it and it was live two minutes later. You can see the thing by clicking here.
Seeing the washing basket was overflowing I set the washing machine to do its thing and then took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk. As we went up Beaver Road there was a whole load of small children on the other side of the road on scooters and bikes. They seemed quite happy, but that is more than could be said for the mother running after them who was shrieking and shouting.
I can never understand this about parents. Scooters and bikes allow the children to travel faster than they would if they were walking. So if the parents want the children to stay with them, why do they allow them to take their scooters and bikes?
We had a "near miss" incident in Bowens Field. There was a squirrel minding its business on the grass. My dog set off in hot pursuit. The squirrel narrowly escaped up a tree, and as the squirrel turned round (clearly to gloat) it lost its footing and fell out of the tree landing inches from a rather surprised "Furry Face TM". Fortunately for all concerned the squirrel got back up the tree safely.
We came home; I put the washing on the line and put another load in to scrub. I checked out the Internet. Two people had solved the first part of my new puzzle cache. I'll be honest - that was two more than I was expecting.
I could have gone to Folkestone this morning to see the baby. But the motorway was again closed due to whatever nonsense the French are up to this time. Instead I messed about on the Internet until the second wash load was ready to hang out. I hung that out, gave myself a quick haircut, and out of interest I weighed my dog. He looks a bit thinner than he has been; according to the bathroom scales he's eight kilogrammes. That's three down on what he was. That can't be right. We shall walk round to use the vet's scales when I remember.
I went to work, did my bit, stayed an hour late (because that's the kind of guy I am), and on the way home tried to log into Facebook. Tried and failed. I've been on Facebook as "Manky Badger" since 2007. Someone squealed to the Facebook feds that a different name appears on official documents and I had the choice to change my name or quit Facebook. I know others feel differently but unlimited photo storage, instant communications and social media all for free is something I quite like. So I've put up the name I was born with. It's a cheap price to pay.
Mind you I'd like to know who squealed me up though...
23 July 2015 (Thursday) – Benenden
After a rather late finish at work last night and a fairly stressful evening I thought I'd sleep like a log. But today's plans called for an early start. And, as is so often the case for me, an early start means a sleepless night. I would probably have slept better had "er indoors TM" not been thrashing about for much of the night. I did wonder if she was having nightmares but I've found it best to let sleeping "er indoors TM"s lie.
Yesterday I mentioned that the Facebook-feds had forced me to change my name on social media to something they felt was more recognisable. Over brekkie I saw that I had recevied more than thirty messages of support. I was rather pleased about that.
But for all that I would rather be "Manky Badger" on Facebook, it is their toy they are letting me play with.
"Furry Face TM" had a little woofing fit shortly after 6am, but (in a novel break with tradition) he ate his brekkie. He did look rather knackered, and I contemplated leaving him at home today. But when he saw my rucksack he went mental. So (with "Hannah" programmed) we set off to Benenden. A new geo-series had gone live there earlier in the week. There are those who might feel I would have the inside story on these caches; after all it was "er indoors TM" who'd hidden them. But we cache seperately in that respect. I knew nothing about the series. In much the same way that there is a geo puzzle box in our garden. The thing is three feet long and two feet high. You need to work out a fiendish puzzle to get it open; she don't know the secret and I'm not telling her (!)
I got to Benenden where I soon met up with Cliff, Gordon and geo-pup Norton, and we set off hunting out plastic boxes. There are those to whom I cannot explain the fascination of geocaching. I wish I could; we had an excellent day. Excellent company for a really good walk over (about) seventeen miles, and being guided by GPS we didn't go more than fifty yards down any wrong paths. We managed three pub stops on the way; it was a hot day and those stops were appreciated. As we walked we found a field of Christmas trees and got mobbed by a herd of cows. We saw squirrels and woodpeckers, more butterflies than we'd ever seen before, and an odd bird with a yellow head. I thought it was a Patagonian Chicken-Eagle, but I might have been mistaken.
Today was also the first serious test for my new walking boots; I'm rather pleased with them. Mind you it remains to be seen how long they will last. I would like to be able to report detailed statistics of our moving time and stopping time and distances covered and maximuum and minimum elevations acheived, but in a triumph of pressing the wrong button I managed to do a factory reset on my new GPS unit about a third of the way round the route. It was a shame I did that; I'm finally getting to grips with the device.
We started walking at 8am; we finished a minute or so after 5pm having found over fifty caches, not having had any elude us, and totted up fifteen First to Finds into the bargain too. We did mistake a multi for a traditional, but that will be our little secret. Both Cliff and Gordon got their highest cache count for a day which was something of a result too.
If you know where to look on Facebook you can see some photos of the day.
We said our goodbyes (for now) and came home. "Furry Face TM" snored most of the way. Once home I hosed the dried fox poo of off my dog (wish he wouldn't roll in the stuff), had a shower myself and then did the secret e-geo-thingy known only to the cognescenti.
"er indoors TM" arrived home, and with "Furry Face TM" completely worn out and fast asleep we had a bottle of plonk and watched "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" on the DVD. Party on dude !!!
24 July 2015 (Friday) - Rainy Day
Bearing in mind the rather long walk we had yesterday I would have thought I might have slept better than I did. "Furry Face TM" went straight to his basket when we got home and slept for twelve hours without moving. I had somethng of a restless night being wide awake by 5.30am.
I gave up trying to sleep, got up and watched Billie Piper in "Secret Diary of a Call Girl". In today's episode she had some rather racy undercrackers and had a fight with her sister. And I had to turn the volume up to be able to hear it over the sound of dog snores.
I then had a look at a geo-puzzle which has had me foxed for some time. If nothing else these puzzles keep my brain working (after a fashion)
I then went over to the hospital for the results of the aspiration of the side of my neck. Pausing only briefly to find a nearby geocache I then sat and waited patiently for a specialist who was stuck in the traffic delays caused by Operation Stack.
I finally got in to see the chap and was told that there was nothing to worry about, all was fine, but since there was nothing to worry about and that all was fine they couldn't rule out the possibility of things actually being very bad indeed.
So I've got to go have a full-blown biopsy some time in the next couple of weeks.
I came home via Matalan; having ripped the crutch out of two pairs of trousers recently I thought I'd best get some replacements. And also via the cake shop for a bit of elevensies. These days the cake shop is run by Lee Davies; I remember him from when he was one of my cubs. He's now got the lumberjack-beard that all young men seem to have these days. He seemed well and we reminisced on old times for a few minutes.
With cake scoffed I looked at the household accounts. A weekend away after getting new boots and a GPS unit has taken its toll on the finances. I have been worse off but I've been better off too.
Sill I won't complain. There's light at the end of the tunnel. It wasn't that long ago that things were far worse.
I spent the afternoon in bed, and then spent an hour working on another geo-puzzle. If any of my loyal readers can't make sense of it please feel free to let me know so I can gloat. I've been looking at this one (on and off) for two years.
Brian popped round for a few minutes, and then after a rather good bit of tea I set off through the rain to the night shift. I always say I like the night shifts; I wonder how this one will go...
25 July 2015 (Saturday) - Garden Party
During last night's night shift I had a tea break in the early hours and I checked out what I had been missing on social media. There had been seriously heavy rain overnight, and Facebook was alive with comments grumbling about "typical British weather". Oh my piss boiled. Thursday had been a glorious day. Last weekend had been wonderful. There have been so many good days over the last few weeks, but it only takes a speck of rain to make everyone forget the good weather.
I also saw I'd missed something. Amazingly I didn't realise it was the Canterbury Beer Festival yesterday and today. In years gone by this has been a major event in my annual calendar; this year the thing completely slipped my mind.
I also checked out the news a little later in the night. Apparently the United Nations have decreed that the smacking of children in the home must be banned. It transpires that smacking an unruly child contravenes its human rights.
Both fruits of my loins had good hidings when I felt it was appropriate. In one case it worked; in the other it was water off a duck's back. But I will say that it's been my experience that there are two types of people who advocate against corporal punishment for children; those with no children of their own, and those with the most ill-behaved brats.
Bearing in mind the difficulties of getting across the county at the moment I came home from work via Folkestone where I collected "Daddies Little Angel TM" and her entourage. We came home and after a couple of hours kip i woke to find teh family all hard at work preparing for the afternoon's party. The weather turned out to be far better than expected; the home brew wasn't too shabby at all, "My Boy TM" did a wonderful job on the barby and I had an excellent time with probably about forty friends and family.
It all got rather vague towards the end.... And I forgot to take any photos.
26 July 2015 (Sunday) - Rainy Day
I woke at 4am feeling like death warmed up. I got up and had a tiddle, and looked at a little dog who seemed to be incredibly sheepish. Then I saw why he was incredibly sheepish. He'd obviouisly scrounged too much barbecue meat yesterday. I cleaed up his little mess and went back to bed. I slept through till 8am when I had a surprisingly lonely brekkie with everyone else still asleep. I set the dishwasher doing its thing and bearing in mind the weather forecast said that the wonderful sunshine would only last for a couple more hours I went out to clear the aftermath that was the back garden.
I soon got the chairs away and set the dishwasher chewing the grime off of its second load. After a while Fudge and Sid came out to see what was going on, and everyone else got up just as the rain started.
It wasn't long before we were driving the Folkestonians home; we took a rather circuitous route via Bilsington so as to avoid the motorway chaos. (There's an on-line petition about the thing that everyone should sign). We had a cuppa and "er indoors TM" played with littlun whilst I dozed on the sofa until it was his nap time and our home time.
We had cancelled a geo-walk today because of the rain, so on the way home we stopped off for a crafty geocache, and having done the secret "found it" dance we came home to carry on feeding stuff into the dishwasher.
After a hot-dog lunch (we'll be having a few of those over the next few days) I took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk. A spot of geo-maintenance, then we walked past the park. We couldn't go in the park; it was fenced off for Ashford's "Create" festival. Every year the council spends about ten thousand pounds of our council tax money on putting on an open air music festival. It's surprisingly popular. Mind you I'm put off attending by the need for a compulsory body search performed on all attendees by hired thugs masquerading as security operatives. Is it *really* necessary to body-search young families? And it it is, is this the sort of event we want in our park?
Mind you I think we at the astro club here have missed an opportunity. The "Create" festival would have been the ideal place for us to have put on a stall to advertise the club.
Our walk took us about twenty minutes; we both came home soaking wet. I put a load in the washing machine and fell asleep in front of the telly. A night shift followed by a day's heavy drinking had taken their toll. I then spent much of the rest of the day sitting quietly in front of the telly whist the washing machine and dishwasher both did their things.
My little dog also spent the rest of the day sitting quietly too. Perhaps the excitement of yesterday was a bit much for him, or perhaps he is a little under the weather.
27 July 2015 (Monday) - Busy, Busy
I got up a little earlier than I might have this morning. I was worried about "Furry Face TM"; he had been so subdued and quiet last night. After we came home from a rather wet walk yesterday afternoon he took himself to his basket and didn't move from there from about 3.30pm through to bed time. I took him out to the garden for the sort of thing for which dogs go into gardens, but he just went straight back to his basket. This morning he still seemed quiet but when I opened the curtains he climbed onto the back of the sofa and started guarding the house. Something of a result...
I set the washing machine going, and I had brekkie whilst checking out the Internet. Not a lot was going on really. I had posted on the Facebook "Geocaching in Kent" page to see if anyone fancied a stroll today, but the thread had been somewhat taken over by someone who was making plans to do a walk I'd already done. I've put up plans for two more walks thhis week; here's hoping.
I then put washing out on the line to dry and took my dog for a walk; he'd perked up quite a bit.
I'd had reports that some of my geo-hides in the Newtown area needed a little TLC. One was entirely missing; one was absolutely fine. We came home via the vets from where I got more flea treatment stuff for "Furry Face TM". I also got him weighed; he's lost half a kilogramme since his last weigh-in.
Once home "Furry Face TM" had his teeth brushed. He diddn't like that very much. And as he chomped on the bone I'd got him for his brekkie I took the top box off of my car and put it away. It would have been easier if I had some help, but I managed. I then emptied out one of the garden storage boxes. I found a whole gazebo I never knew we had, and I found a whole load of tent fragments which I took to the skip together with loads of other assorted rubbish. I was amazed at just how quick I gathered together a car load of stuff for the skip.
By now the seccond wash load was finished so I hung that out and had a spot of lunch whilst watching "The Last Ship". I liked the first season but the second season doesn't really seem to be quite as good.
The trouble wiih post-apocalyptic fiction is that the whole premise is that most of humanity has died; and it doesn't help that having a military theme our heroes have a propensity to keep blowing everyone else away. And so to keep the show going the writers have to keep producing more and more baddies seemingly out of thin air. It is now beginning to stretch credibility just a little.
A day's holiday isn't complete without ironing, and bearing in mind how long it is since I last did any I then spent about three hours ironing like a thing possessed. As I ironed I watched a film. "St Elmo's Fire" is supposed to be iconic. I thought it just dragged on too much.
I then got the last of the stuff from the weekend's garden party put away. Or that was my plan. The gazebo poles were full of rain water, so I've had to leave the poles out to drain overnight.
By the time "Upstairs Downstairs" came on I was feeling as though I needed a break. I thought I'd reward myself with a cup of coffee and a Belgian bun. After fifteen minutes of searching it turned out that "er indoors TM" had scoffed the bun for her brekkie.
By the time "er indoors TM" got home from work I was feeling quite worn out. We had burgers for tea; there's a few of those to be eaten up. "er indoors TM" is off bowling now. She don't know about the chocloate eclairs I found in the fridge...
28 July 2015 (Tuesday) – Doddington
I slept well, and over brekkie watched an episode of "Dad's Army" that the SkyPlus box had recorded. If the BBC are playing them in order we are now past the black and white episodes and on to the colour ones. I had no idea so many had been made in black and white.
I had a little look-see on-line. Not much had changed in cyberspace overrnight. Mid you the nutters at MessageToEagle (dot com) were pushing a theory that ancient aliens visited Earth to steal all the gold to make black energy. (No - I have no idea what black energy is either)
However in reality there was consternation. Overnight Kent Police had activated Operation Stack again. For those of my loyal readers who aren't aware of the fun we're having, "Operation Stack" is occurring seemingly all the time now. Whenever it is not possible to cross the channel (for various reasons) the local motorway is closed and used as a car park for all the traffic which is waiting to cross the channel. It is incredibly annoying to those stuck in traffic, effectively stuffs up the entire county's traffic, and in true British fashion people have a good old whinge about it on social media.
Personally I feel they'd do far better by following the French example by actually doing something; after all to express displeasure at their misfortunes the French cause Operation Stack for us.
Mind you I'm not sure exactly what we could do. Maybe blockade the M20 at Junction 1 southbound to stop the lorries coming our way in the first place maybe?
Bearing in mind the traffic chaos I set off a little earlier than I might have done for today's little walk. A couple of days ago I'd posted on a geo-forum asking if anyone was free for a stroll in the week. I suggested a few possible routes, and there was some interest in a little walk near Doddington. The geo-series was one I'd originally seen go live on Good Friday. But I was working then. Today seven of us (and one dog) had something of a geo-toddle. Rebecca and Chrissie and four under-fives came with me on a Wheri-wander. I had this idea that the Doddington Wherigo would be ideal for the littluns. It would be fun and appealling to them as it was based on helping the Easter bunny, and because it was billed as an hour's walk it wouldn't be too much for little legs.
Our plan was to do the Wherigo, and pick up any geocaches we walked past on our way. Perhaps I'm an old softie, but I absolutely loved walking with the littluns. I had to consciously slow myself down; I tend to race ahead at the best of times, but I managed to walk at a sensible pace for much of the time. A combination of SmartPhones, wheri-compatible Garmins and a tablet kept the littluns attention and despite a rather biting wind I think the littluns had fun. They enjoyed the geocaching and the hunting out of clues for both a multi and the wherigo.
We found seven geocaches (four icon types) over three and a half hours, (I even took a few photos whilst we were walking). Not the most prolific of days, but I really enjoyed being out with the littluns. If only the fruits of my loin would be more keen on walking (and hunting sandwich boxes) I could take the grandchildren up hill and down dale occassionally.
All too soon it was home time. I took a rather circuitous route hme via Hothfield just to make sure I would be nowhere near Operation Stack's overflow, and having got some petrol we came home. "Furry Face TM" went straight to sleep and over a spot of lunch I watched last night's episode of "Dark Matter" in which our heroes discovered a rather saucy sex-android. They all then did what those of dubious morals would do to sex-androids. Personally I wasn't the least bit surprised when the sex-android went haywire and tried to kill everyone. Possibly I've watched too much sci-fi over the years but most androids tend to run amok shortly after discovery. It seems to be a feature of androids. Hopefully scientists yet unborn will solve this problem when eventually they start making the things for real.
And hopefully they will have enough of a moral compass to just say no to the entire concept of sex-androids.
As the sex-android went haywire for the umpteenth time I had a phone cal from "First Solutions" who wannted to speak wiith me about the loan I took out at some unspecified date during the last thirteen years. Soometimes I just hang up on these nuisance phone calls. Other times I deliberately waste their time for as long as possible; I see this as a public service saving others from the harrassment.
Today I strung them on for at least ten minutes before telling them I had been deliberately wasting their time.
"er indoors TM" came home, woke me up, and told me a new geocache had gone live only a mile away. We popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM", flew out chasing the First to Find and pipped Smidge (or Smudge?) to the post. FTF - happy dance.
With our usual Tuesday plans on hold we then took "Furry Face TM" down to Ham Street for a little walk. I ache a little now...
29 July 2015 (Wednesday) – Aylesford
I slept well until 4am; then lay awake feeling rather restless until getting up and watching episodes of "Family Guy" a couple of hours later. I then had a look-see on the Internet. There is consternation that Tesco have decided to stop selling Ribena and Capri-Sun on the ground that they are sugary drinks which contribute to obesity.
Am I the only one who thinks it odd that they have no plans to stop selling Coca-cola?
I programmed "Hannah", popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and set off to Aylesford where seven of us (and two dogs) met up for a little geo-stroll. There's no denying that in places the scenery wasn't quite that of some of the other walks I've been on, but nevertheless we had a good time. We found disused railway tracks and giant hogweed. We found a priory and a riverside walk that I never knew were there. We mistook a multi (its a geo thing), completely failed to find the letter "A" and even did a little geo-maintenance too.
I took a few photos as we walked. I do that.
After a few hours we found ourselves back at the cars having walked a little over eight miles. Normally I would have had a straight run home down the motorway but what with "Operation Stack" I was forced to take a rather convoluted route home via Sutton Valance and Headcorn.
Once home "Furry Face TM" took himself to his basket and started snoring. I put the tellly on and watched "Upstairs Downstairs". Virginia has appeared on the scene, and I nodded off until "er indoors TM" came home,
A rather good bit of gammon, Yonderland on the telly....
Just got to decide on a plan for tomorrow and Friday now.... My original plan went west some time ago. My backup plan's fallen through. And Operation Stack has now closed the motorway in both directions and put all the traffic onto all the "A" roads.
If all else fails the lawn doesn't mow itself and the laundry basket's getting very full again.
30 July 2015 (Thursday) - Traffic Chaos
I woke about two hours earlier than intended, and I lay awake sulking about what might have been today.
Some months ago I had a vague plan that today would be day five of an eighty-one mile hiking/camping extravaganza but I didn't get myself organised in time. So the backup plan was that today would be day five at the national geocaching megaa-event, but again I didn't get myself organised in time. The third plan was a family day with "My Boy TM" but he was called into work. The fourth plan (visit "Daddies Little Angel TM") and fifth plan (geocaching in Blackheath) both were kiboshed by "Operation Stack" so found myself at something of a loose end.
I brekkied, got washing on the line, put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and scrounged a lift with "er indoors TM" to her work. I then took my dog for a little walk exploring North Ashford, and we came home walking past several traffic jams. I took a few photos of our walk if only to show that parts of Ashford are quite scenic and to prove to those who've not seen it what a pain Operation Stack can be.
Once home I put another wash load in, sorted the astro club's accounts and then took several hundred quid to the bank. I had this plan to treat myself to a chocolate eclair milkshake from the Chill Time Milkshake Bar. I got there to find the slowest assistant in the histroy of shop assistants who was painfully trying to serve six rather thick children (and two thicker parents); each of which was struggling to read (out loud) the menu. After ten minutes none of the thickies had got past the first of the six boards listing the various milk shakes on offer.
I gave up and set off home. As I walked I had yet another call on my mobile from Wiiiiiiiinstooooooon from "First Solutions". Wiiiiiiiinstooooooon got surprisingly aggressive when I reminded him that I had already told him to piss off three times so far this week.
I got home, got all the washing off of the line and started ironing it all. As I ironed i watched an episode of "Dominion". A week or so ago I mentioned that this second season was rather dull. Today's episode was an improvement on what had gone before. After "Dominion" I watched "Upstairs Downstairs". The war was finally over, but Hazel succumbed to the Spanish Flu.
It was probably rather sad, but I knew it was coming. Have I ever mentioned I've seen all the episodes before?
Brian called round to collect some bits and bobs left over from last weeekend. We got chatting. Over the years we've chatted about so many things. Today we were discussing Brian's recent retirement and my hopes for early retirement. and then we had one of those moments when we both suddenly realised we were old.
And talking of being old, as I sat watching telly my heart had a funny five minutes in which I felt it beating but nothing seemed to be happening. A rather odd sensation; I do hope it's not about to pack up...
31 July 2015 (Friday) - Another Busy Day
I slept like a log last night; finally waking shortly before 9am. Over brekkie I had a look on line to see if 'd missed much whilst I'd been sleeping. The local motorway is now open London-bound. Which is better than it was, but would still be causing huge traffic problems. Apparently the Prime Minister is chairing crisis talks about the problems in Calais which are causing these delays on the motorway. The news reports say that the Army is on standby. However these reports didn't say what they were on standby for. Bearing in mind the problems are caused by thousands of refugees fleeing a war zone, whatever the Army is asked to do has got to be worse for the refugees than facing a war zone to make these people turn round.
I had a Facebook message from Jennifer Shepherd who said "Hello Dave and Cath, How are you both, and the doggies? Life here is fine, but the damp weather is not doing our joints much good. Our first week here was great, but now the weather is really awful. We have been out visiting our friends. Harvey and Sophie took us to IKEA last Sunday, it was very interesting, we bought a couple of bits, but I think it is more for the youngsters, I have the time of the flights here for you Dave, departure time 17.00 and arrival time 20.45pm. Hope that it is still ok for you to pick us up. Will say goodnight, and we both look forward to seeing you on Monday 10th August. Lots of love Charles and Jennie XXX "
I can't help but wonder where I am supposed to be picking them up from, or indeed wonder who Jennifer Shepherd actually is.
By the time I'd scoffed my toast it was 10am. Seeing we had another fine day I went into the garden and got busy. Lawns don't mow themselves. I also mucked out the fish pond filter. They don't muck themselves out either. It has been a little while since I did that and it is a job best done when *I* choose to do it rather than waiting until the thing blocks up with pond scum.
Over lunch I watched "Toddlers and Tiaras". "Alyssia" (aged three) looked quite obscene, and her ambition was listed as "wanting to get potty trained".
The Rear Admiral then called, and we took "Furry Face TM" for a little geo-stroll round Bethersden. It was a sunny afternoon, and an hour's walk went down very well. We then came home and with the arrival of Stevey we went for McDinner. MsDinner went down very well and seeing how we had time to spare after a visit to the Tesco CashPoint we had a frappucino and cake in Costa.
And so to Astro club. I wasn't going to go to Astro club tonight; my heart wasn't in it. To be honest it hasn't been for the last few months. But seeing how I'd been told the meeting was going to be somewhat lacking in committee members, and with two hours to go I was asked to be prepared to step in for a possibly absent speaker I was convinced to put in an appearence.
Was I glad I went? Well, I like meeting up with friends. But as for the club itself.... Perhaps my mood wasn't helped by the phenomemal guts ache that the evening's pig-out had induced.
Let's just say that for all that I'm the treasurer and have been a member since the very first meeting, I really don't feel part of what's going on any more.
As I drove home I had such a strong feeling that I wouldn't ever drive out of that car park again...