1 July 2017 (Sunday) - Pulling My Own
Another good night’s sleep. I’ve got a theory that I sleep better when *on* rather than *in* the bed. I got up shortly before 6am and watched an episode of “Dark Matter”. It passed forty minutes in an entertaining way, but the “time loop” story is one which various genres of sci-fi have done to death before.
I sparked up my lap-top to see if I’d missed anything overnight. Looking at Facebook I realised I missed a meeting of the astro club last night. I say “missed”; I had no intention of going. Following years of behind the scenes nastiness I decided to walk away from the thing in February, and my decision was reinforced on 10 June at a party when a couple of astro club members turned up who (for at least three years) have been making a point of blanking me whilst being effusive around everyone else.
A crowded room can be really lonely sometimes.
Whilst most people in the club are aware of this, no one has been prepared to do anything. Having everyone watch this happening and then tell me how rude this pair had been and how their behaviour was unacceptable got rather old rather fast.
The roads were wet as I drove to work, it had been raining heavily overnight. As I drove I listened to the radio as I so often do, and I got a bit cross. . Following the resignation of the head of Kensington council there is some consternation that there isn't anyone in charge of what is going in in the aftermath of the fire, and there is speculation that the government will appoint someone.
The pundits on the radio were interviewing some woman who claimed to be representing the" Justice for Grenfell Towers" organisation. This woman was amazing; she was dead against the government appointing anyone. The area apparently needed someone who was representative of the locals. She was adamant that the head of the council hadn't represented the people of the area at all, and when the interviewer pointed out that this chap had won an election to get his post, it was obvious that this woman had no idea what local elections were all about.
Clearly democracy is wasted on the public.
There was an iffy five minutes as I drove up the slip road at junction five of the motorway. A mini flew past me at breakneck speed, closely followed by another. They might just have both been in a hurry, but it did look as though the driver of GF17 HHO was desperate to catch up with the first mini to win their race.
I stopped off at Aldi to use their cashpoint machine, and got to work with a few minutes to spare. With time on my hands I popped in to the hospital's Costa for a second brekkie. I had a coffee (overpriced) and a croissant (cold and stale).
Ironically just as I walked to the department I found a cashpoint machine not twenty yards from where I work; and it doesn't charge either. For months I've been going out of my way to get cash.
I did my bit, and came home. Slowly. There was a speed limit on the motorway, and five miles south of Maidstone the north-bound carriageway of the motorway had the traffic stopped and loads of police officers walking about the place.
I wonder what that was all about.
Once home we scoffed a piccalilli sandwich and then (in a novel break with tradition) *I* drove us down to Hastings to spend an hour or so wth my brother. I’d not seen him for ages; we put the world to rights.
On the way home I saw that petrol was six pence per litre cheaper in Sussex than in Kent. I filled my car up.
We had a quick bite to eat, then headed over to the Windmill. "My Boy TM" and Cheryl soon joined us. Anne and Chip have recently taken over the running of the place. The ale selection is definitely “not too shabby”, and I got to pull my own pint; I’ve never pulled a pint before.
We’d gone to hear “Access All Areas” playing; I do like them, but tonight they sounded better from a distance. They are a good band; they *really* don’t need to crank up the volume quite so much. As my head hurt I found myself wondering. The Windmill calls itself the home of live music. There is no other pub within a mile or so of the place, but the vast majority of the people in there were friends of the band who had gone to see the band play. I wonder if the music is scaring people away from the place?
Mind you I liked the pub. I shall certainly go back for a pint or two… but when it is a bit quieter…
2 July 2017 (Sunday) - Polish Lager
I made a point of not drinking too much last night. There are those who would disagree, but what do they know? I woke shortly after 5am and tried not to wake the dogs (or "er indoors TM") as I got up for my morning ablutions. As I shaved I wondered if I’d done the right thing. I had had the offer to swap today’s early shift for the late shift. Perhaps a lie-in would have been good? But after the lie-in, then what? I might have lain in bed until 9am (certainly not much later), but thenI would have fretted all morning about having to be at work shortly after mid-day and not actually achieved anything with the morning. By doing the early shift I could be home by mid-to-late afternoon.
I then had a look at Facebook. The photo of me pulling a pint had attracted quite a lot of attention overnight. I hadn’t seen Steve taking the photo; it was quite a good one. And then I realised I shouldn’t have looked at Facebook; I found out quite a bit about what happened in last night’s episode of “Doctor Who”. I wish people wouldn’t post spoilers.
Being on an early start I set off to work very early for a Sunday morning. As I drove there was a surprisingly interesting thing on the radio about a breed of bee which can be found in the general area of Cerne Abbas, and which makes its hests in discarded snail shells. Apparently naturalists are dumping empty snail shells around Cerne Abbas for the bees.
I got to work and had a rather busy day. I came home to find that "er indoors TM" had arranged for "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" to come round for a barby. Seeing it was a warm afternoon I rather fancied a lager; I went over the road to get some… I had no idea just how strong Polish lager is. Even making shandy out of the stuff still had a drink about as strong as the average UK lager.
We had a rather good evening. Burgers, piri-piri chicken, pork lions (!) cake, and Pogo even fell into the garden pond.
Bearing in mind I worked both days this weekend, it has still been a rather good weekend…
3 July 2017 (Monday) - Acer Spades
I would have slept better had the puppy not spent the night pushing me about. I should have done something about her, but I’m too soft with my dogs.
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook; not much had happened overnight other than more spoilers and nasty reviews about Saturday’s Doctor Who episode being put up. It was as well that we watched the show last night. I actually quite liked it.
Doctor Who (like Star Trek) has a cult following of people who’ve watched the show from the start (or since they were born; whichever is the longest) and consequently feel that they personally own the show, and that the BBC are vastly overstepping the line by creating episodes of the show which don’t fit with their mental image of how the show should go. Such negativity killed off Star Trek in 2005, and I can see it doing for Doctor Who as well.
I put the lead onto the dogs, and we went for a little walk. As we went up the road we met Lacey with Dan-Dan and Bella. The dogs had something of a woofing fit when they saw Lacey. Lacey went to school; we waved bye-bye and walked round the park. Some days our walks are rather eventful; other days not so. Today was one of the duller days. Other than exchanging pleasantries with OrangeHead in the co-op field, today’s walk was rather mundane.
We came home, and I hung out washing, gathered dog turds, and then got on with the business of the day. I’d booked today as a day’s leave so’s I could continue in the garden. My plan was to re-pot my monkey-puzzle tree. I had visions of this being something of an arduous task; it was all done in half an hour. Flushed with success I re-potted “Spades” (my Acer), and then had a go at tidying the shed. There is no denying that the shed had become somewhat messy. So much so that I couldn’t actually get into the thing; all I could do was lean in and hope.
I started off by emptying all the stuff that was littering the floor. I found four shovels and three rakes. How many shovels and rakes does anyone need? I found a fishing rod I didn’t know I had. I found three fishing rod bags, two bivvies (fishing tents), a decent fishing tackle bag, and half a roach pole. I found my old golf clubs and two sledges. I found the cushions for the garden chairs we couldn’t find yesterday. I found the electric drill I couldn’t find the other week (I now have two drills). I found a dozen three-quarter-empty tins of dried paint.
I found enough rubbish littering the shed floor to fill my car. I did a tip run, and whilst I was out I popped to the curtain shop by the vet’s to get some more curtains for the shed. The current ones were looking rather tatty.
No one told me the curtain shop had closed down years ago. It is a sofa shop now.
I came home and had some dinner. Stuff left over from yesterday’s barby went down very well as I watched yesterday’s episode of “Poldark”. Have you been watching “Poldark” recently? Those Methodists were quite the rebels back then. I was a Methodist in the early 1980s; Methodism was somewhat dull at that time. I wish I’d been a Methodist in the 1790s.
I then looked at the shed again. There was still no end of stuff cluttering up the shelves, but that is (mostly) clutter; not rubbish. It just needs tidying. I decided to do that another day. Instead I heaved some rocks and shingle about the garden until it hurt too much to continue.
I stepped back and had a look at the garden. For all that I’ve been working hard, it looks awful. The lawn is in a right state where Treacle has been tiddling on it. I did a bit of research. My theory was right – Treacle is to blame rather than Fudge because he tiddles a drop at a time all over the place whereas she puts a whole tiddle-worth in one place. Apparently I should go out with a bucket of water and dilute every time she tiddles, and re-seed the dead areas.
I might have a go at that. After all it is a shame to have put in such a lot of effort into the garden only to have it spoiled by a manky lawn. That might be a job for tomorrow.
"er indoors TM" came up with a good bit of dinner, then went bowling. I put “Star Trek: Nemesis” on the DVD player and did the ironing.
So much for a day’s holiday; I’m worn out…
4 July 2017 (Tuesday) - Pergola Ingredients
The puppy was particularly restless last night. But if she’s not allowed on the bed she just screams, and that’s not fair on anyone within a hundred yards at 3am. I got *some* sleep so the night wasn’t all bad.
After a bit of brekkie I got the leads onto the dogs (which is easier said than done), and we went round the park for a walk. Today’s walk was much like yesterday’s; uneventful. Which was probably for the best.
I popped up the road to Otford Builder’s Merchants. Their predecessor company was helpful when I was getting shingle ten years ago, so I thought I might get the ingredients for my pergola from them. They could sell me the timber, but nothing with which to stick the timber together. Against my better judgement I went to B&Q who (this time) were *really* helpful. I came out with six fence posts and sixteen planks and an assortment of screws, spanners and bolts and a receipt for just over two hundred pounds.
Getting the stuff into the car took some effort; getting it from the car to the back garden took *serious* effort. And with the stuff home I painted all twenty-two wood bits. It only took three hours. Seeing how the sleepers which will form the base of the pergola are a bit loose I went round to Screwfix Direct to get the fixing bracket that B&Q didn’t have. Screwfix Direct didn’t have it either, but Ashford Fixings did. Having got to the point where I *thought* I had all the makings of a pergola I got myself an ice cream from over the road (not a bad lunch) and devoured it whilst watching an episode of “Dad’s Army”.
By the time I’d given all the pergola timber a second coat of paint "er indoors TM" had come home. We had a quick dinner then it was round to Chris’s. Chris had got some free samples of Innocent coconut water. I’m sure there are some people who like the stuff; I shan’t be paying out for any.
And then we watched Jeffrey Combs in “Gotham”. He’s put on weight…
5 July 2017 (Wednesday) – Greenwich
There is something wrong with my lap-top. It is running oh-so-slowly. I set it going on an anti-virus scan last night at 11pm; this morning at 7am it was only a third of the way through doing it. I’ve been through the task manager and shut down what looks like unnecessary background jobs, but still it is nowhere near as fast as it might be.
Over brekkie I had a (slow) look at Facebook. Not much had happened overnight, but I saw that some friends had been out for a geo-walk yesterday, and others had been out hunting tupperware at the weekend. Sometimes I feel that I can’t so much as go to the toilet without attracting a stream of comments about “you didn’t say you were doing such-and-such” but the very people who whinge at me never think to ask if I’d like to join them on what they are planning.
"er indoors TM" took the day off today. What with a couple of days leave and some rostered days off I’ve had a lot of time off work myself recently, but I couldn’t face another day’s gardening.
We took the dogs round the park for a walk. The walk went well, even if Fudge did straggle. As we walked we saw the little tribute/monument to Countess Mountbatten of Burma was still there. Someone set the thing up a couple of weeks ago. It was a nice gesture, but now the flowers have died, the bits of paper have curled up; it is time for it to go. Have you noticed how people put out these public tributes but never clear them away. And because no one wants to do so, the things just go manky. Which is a shame.
We came home, settled the dogs, and set off to Greenwich. We found the car park we’d targeted easily enough, but didn’t have enough coins for the parking ticket machine. The machine had a phone number you could ring to use an automated system. I tried, as did several others. We would all have done better had some fat idiotic woman not been screeching about how difficult it was to use the automated system. All I needed was to be able to hear what the system was saying to me; I couldn’t hear anything over her shrieking. Eventually she shut her gob and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
And so with four hours on the parking machine we got busy. We’ve not been geocaching for a while so today we set ourselves a little challenge; not so much the numbers as the types. How many different sorts of cache could we find today? We once did eleven in a day and that was hard work. We thought we’d see how we got on.
Not thirty yards from where we parked was a virtual cache. What was the number of the house next to Starbucks? We then admired the Cutty Sark, and found a multi-cache not far from there. There was another virtual and a geology lesson to be had from the Greenwich foot tunnel. A foot tunnel under the Thames was quite an adventure.
We came up on the north side of the Thames not far from a little café; paninis made for a good lunch, even if the café was run by one of the dopiest women on the planet.
We rummaged a short way up a tree for cache type #4, then went back across the tunnel to do a Wherigo. This was a fun little GPS adventure which took us all around Greenwich. The views from the observatory were stunning; looking down across the river to where we’d eaten only an hour before. And as we walked we even found a puzzle cache too.
With six icon types found (and no more to be had in Greenwich) we went to McDonalds for iced coffee. They had none, so we went to Starbucks. "er indoors TM" had a simple iced latte. I had something with a six-word name, and after one sip I gave it back to them. It was the worst thing I’d ever tasted. But they gave me an iced latte without quibbling, so all was good.
As we sat in Starbucks we looked at the map. We’d found six icon types; a trip to Bexley would find us a seventh. Bexley wasn’t *that* far out of our way. And so we ended the caching day with a letterbox hybrid (as one so often does!). Seven icon types; not too shabby. I suggested driving to Leeds for the closest web-cam cache (to go for eight) but "er indoors TM" wasn’t keen.
It didn’t take long to get home; we came home to find the dogs asleep. I would have liked to have taken them with us today, but it would have been too hot for them. I’d taken a few photos as we’d walked about; once home I posted them on-line and then "My Boy TM" called. We spent half an hour reviewing our plans for “Operation Pergola”; we are pretty much in agreement for how we are going to progress. "My Boy TM" is going to do all the work, and I am going to make the tea.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. We scoffed it whilst watching last week’s episode of “The Crystal Maze”. The first episode of the re-booted show had been awful; this one was rather good.
I’ve got to go to work tomorrow…
6 July 2017 (Thursday) - Finding Sleepers
We had some sad news last night. Batty’s mother Pru died yesterday evening. Pru was a wonderful person; always happy to see us; always cooking up wonderful dinners. She got taken to hospital yesterday evening and died of kidney failure shortly after.
Such a shame… but it comes to us all.
I slept reasonably well. It would be nice if "er indoors TM" didn’t fight with the puppy quite so much, but the fault there must lie with the puppy.
As I made my morning toast I rescued the remains of "er indoors TM"’s slipper from the puppy. The slipper was destroyed beyond redemption. I really should get myself some new slippers too; she’s chewed the heels of my current pair so that they don’t stay on my feet,.
Over brekkie I sparked up my lap-top to see what I’d missed in the virtual world overnight. I had an email to confirm I’d started my passport renewal process on-line. The family is utterly convinced I need a new passport, so I’ve applied for one using the on-line process from my lap-top; I wonder how it will pan out.
I also had yet another email from LinkedIn updating me about people I don’t know.
And then my piss boiled.
I got so cross when I read Facebook this morning. One nutter was selling “alkaline water”. Basically “alkaline water” is bleach. Idiots drink bleach to counteract “unnatural stomach acid”; “unnatural stomach acid” baing the acid that is naturally in your stomach. And then I saw a status update: “There will a Past life regression workshop on Saturday 15th July with our Hypnotherapist David Finch at The Total Wellbeing Centre Pontypool from 11.30-2pm. £10 per person. Booking Essential”.
Neither of these were jokes or wind-ups. People actually believe this rubbish and pay good money for it. And they are allowed to vote and do jury service too.
"er indoors TM" weighed the dogs. Fudge has lost a tenth of a kilogram, and both dogs are now the same weight. I walked the dogs round the park; Fudge kept up with us for most of the way. He flew like a bullet from a gun to climb on to the back of our Irish friend's dog. I'm sure he straggles because he wants to rather than because he has to.
Once home I had a poop-patrol of the garden, settled the dogs and went on a little mission. It seemed daft building a new pergola on a ten-year-old base. So i thought new sleepers might be in order. B&Q had none. Wickes had none but said their Maidstone branch had thirty-five of the size I wanted. However it wasn't in the easiest of places to get to.
I thought I might try Boxley Timber as Google suggested it. It was a shame that Google was talking out of its USB port; Boxley Timber let me down. So Maidstone Wickes it was. I went round Maidstone's one-way system twice before I got into the right lane. I got to Wickes, went up to the counter and waited. And waited. A couple of members of staff looked me in the eye and contemptuously walked away. Had the sleepers been available anywhere else in Kent I would have gone there. But Wickes in Maidstone had me over a barrel. Eventually a member of staff told me where the sleepers were, and another member of staff watched me struggle to get the sleepers onto a trolley.
I then asked one of the members of staff (note I don't call them "assistants") about drill bits. It was clear this woman had never heard of drill bits. She fetched Brian who didn't know his chuck from his rotary. In the end I told Brian that I would have the drill bits that he was brandishing, and if they were wrong I would go to B&Q.
The irony was wasted on him.
I then struggled to get the sleepers into the car (as the Wickes staff watched).
I deserved some McLunch after all that. Aylesford McDonalds was only five minutes away. Chicken strips, Galaxy McFlurry and a strawberry milkshake made for a good lunch. And with a couple of minutes spare I had a look round the cheapo-bargain shop next door to McDonalds. They had vanilla coca-coal for sale.
Have you ever tried vanilla coca-cola? It is bloody awful.
And so to work for the late shift. I'd done a complete day's work by the time I got there...
7 July 2017 (Friday) - Preparing to Pergol
I had a terrible night’s sleep. After about three hours sleep the puppy decided that the best part of the bed was wherever I was, and as I moved about so she moved too. I tried to get some shut-eye, but gave up shortly after 6am. It was as well that I did; the dustmen came up the road shortly after that, and they are incapable of making a noise quietly.
Over brekkie I sparked up my lap-top and had a look into cyber-space. Little had happened on Facebook overnight, but I saw that a colleague had resigned to take up a postgraduate position at Canterbury university. I suppose it is a sign of the times that these announcements are made via social media. However this leaves a vacancy in a senior position at work. Should I apply? The money would be nice; money is tight at the moment. But I’ve been in these senior positions before. I didn’t like it much then; mind you it was for another employer under a very bullying regime. Things might be different where I am now. But on the other hand I’m reasonably content doing what I’m doing right now,
Will I apply… I doubt it.
I saw movement outside the house – a car had driven away. I drove my car down to that space so we could get the sleepers out, and as I waited for "My Boy TM" to arrive I wrote an email of complaint to Wickes about the abysmal service at their Maidstone branch yesterday. I doubt anything will come of it, but I felt better having had a whinge at them.
I got bored waiting for "My Boy TM" so I sent him a little chivvying message. That woke him up; he gave me instructions for what I might do until he arrived. He soon arrived, and we got busy doing some preparation for tomorrow’s pergoling.
We got the new sleepers into the garden, and got them bolted together and level. That took some doing, and then we attached the brackets for the pergola’s uprights. Thirty seconds to write; just over two hours to do. But I was quite impressed with the progress.
We could have done more work, but I’d heard reports that there was bad congestion on the way to work. I set off to Maidstone shortly after 11am. Two hours later I got to work…
I had a text message from the passport people this afternoon; they’ve received my old passport.
8 July 2017 (Saturday) – Pergoling
Despite the hot night I was sleeping quite well until the puppy kicked me in the goolies at 5.25am. I thought that was rather mean of her. I didn’t get back to sleep after that.
Over brekkie I saw some photos on Facebook and realised that this weekend was Brighton Kite Festival. For several years kite flying was a major part of my world, but like most hobbies it gave way for other crazes. But I kept going to the kite festivals. I stopped going last year; it didn’t seem right bearing in mind I hadn’t flown a kite for some years, and the weekend was (realistically) a cheap camping trip.
I spent a few moments writing up CPD (for those who like seeing what I learn about professionally click here), then I moved my car to where I *could* leave it all day. I then set up the ladder and the pressure-washer and waited for the first fruit of my loin to arrive.
My phone beeped; he was delayed. So I disassembled the pond’s splash pool and pressure-washed it to save a little time.
"My Boy TM" and Lacey soon arrived, and we got busy putting the pergola together. Now bearing in mind we’d got most of the heavy groundwork done yesterday I *really* didn’t think what was left would take very long. In fact I turned down several offers of help as I only thought we had a couple of hours of work (at most).
How wrong I was…
We got the last sleeper into place; that took forty minutes. Then we had a little hiatus. A friend was taking Lacey out for the day, and had arranged to collect her from outside our house at 10am. So we stopped work and stood outside the house and waited. And waited. Eventually we found out that this person was one who has no concept of time; to her 10am means “in the morning”.
We stopped waiting and went back to work; we got an irate phone call asking where we were at 10.45am.
With Lacey dispatched we got the uprights into place. The post supports were a worry; they had these bolts which prevented wood going into them. We took the bolts out; the wood went in. It was quite a snug fit. But with the wood in place the bolts wouldn’t go back. We wasted fifteen minutes before realising we didn’t actually need the bolts.
With all six uprights in place we built a frame at head height around the uprights. Just as we got the last part of the frame in place so the electric screwdriver went flat.
By now it was mid-day so we put the screwdriver on to charge, and drove over to the American Diner for a spot of lunch. I like the American Diner; I’ve heard some people think it is tacky. Personally I love it; built in an original American railway carriage the place oozes character. We had rather good chicken burgers and fries too.
With dinner scoffed we came home (making Matt Sullivan jump as we drove) and Dan sawed planks to shape as I buried electrical cables. The plan was that once all the sawing was done the electric screwdriver would be ready to go.
We then screwed nine planks and four cross-members to the frame we’d built. Two seconds to say; two hours to do. By the time we’d put on the final diagonals, been round with the paintbrush and tidied up it was nearly 5.30pm. I honestly thought we would have been done by mid-day, and I had got plans for another garden project for the afternoon.
"My Boy TM" went off homewards; he’d worked wonders today. I had a shower, then told the world what we had been doing. You can see photos of the construction of the pergola (from raw ingredients to finished product) by clicking here.
With "er indoors TM" off out with her mates today, I’d been left to forage for my food. We’d been out for lunch; for tea I had leftover chips. There are those who would turn their noses up at leftover chips – those who don’t mind cooking. Today’s tea was leftover chips or toast, and I’d had toast for brekkie.
As I scoffed tea I put a DVD on. After half an hour it stopped. I think the DVD player has died. Time to get a new one?
9 July 2017 (Sunday) - On the Early Shift
Ideally I wouldn’t have been getting up at 5.30am on a Sunday morning, but the alarm was set for 6am anyway. Over brekkie (the last of the strawberry preserve) I saw that absolutely nothing had happened overnight on Facebook, and I’d had no emails whatsoever.
So I set off to work a few minutes earlier than I might have done so’s I could hunt out a geocache. There was one in the general vicinity of a statue of a monk on the Pilgrim’s Way. I say “in the general vicinity of”; I found it laying on the floor in front of the statue. I’ve put it back in what I think was the right place. There was another cache nearby; I solved the field puzzle for that one; I shall go get the thing the next time I’m on an early shift on a weekend and sulking about what I might be missing.
As I drove the pundits on the radio started off with a little documentary about glow worms. A few years back at a camping event we had a song about a glow worm: “Bertie, Bertie, Bertie the wonder glow worm. He doesn’t burp, He doesn’t fart. He just drives about in a hovercraft”. I’ve never been able to take glow worms seriously after that.
There was also discussion about who will be the next James Bond. Daniel Craig looks set to play the part again. He was quoted as saying that if he did it, it wouldn’t be for the money. Bearing in mind he would be getting something in the region of sixty million quid for playing the part I’m sure the money might just have some small bearing on his decision.
And there was news from the general Synod who were discussing the pros and cons of holding blessing services for people who’ve just completed transgender surgery.
My piss boiled a little here. It must be wonderful to be a member of the Church of England. You really can believe whatever total bollox you want. These priests and vicars and bishops claim to be ordained ministers of the Christian Church. The mainstay of that church (the Bible) is crystal clear that God created men and women. Presumably God knew what he was doing when He did so? Personally I’m not sure about this, but I don’t profess to be a Christian. I just seem to know more about it that those ordained into the religion.
I got to work, and had a busy day. But I quite liked it. I was busy, and the time soon passed.
I came home to find "er indoors TM" sitting by the new pergola. She quite likes it, which is probably for the best. I also came home to an email. One of my geocaches has been stolen.
Or, to be precise, the log holder of one of my caches has been stolen.
The cache itself is a standard sandwich box in a crash barrier near Canterbury. The log however is inside it in a wooden puzzle box. Dead simple to find, rather tricky to open. It was a fun cache and had forty-one favourite points (that’s a good thing in geo-circles). But someone has stolen the puzzle box. They’d left the plastic box it was in, but stolen the puzzle box. Why steal it? – it wasn’t in the best of conditions, and you get bet brand new ones on eBay for less than two quid. If someone is *really* that poor, I’d buy them a new one.
I’m rather cross about this episode. This cache was in a rather obscure place; it *isn’t* the sort of place you would randomly walk past. Someone knew it was there. A geocacher has taken the wooden box; a passing normal person wouldn’t have left the plastic box as a functional geocache. I had pretty much the same thing happen to another of my caches which was not two miles from this one. Someone I’d probably consider a friend is stealing from the hobby.
Oh well, I knew that when I stopped working in Canterbury I’d eventually have to archive all my caches in the area. That’s another one gone…
We popped the leads onto the dogs and walked them round the park. As it was a warm afternoon we played about in the river for a while. As the dogs splashed I created the place as somewhere that you can check in to on Facebook.
We had a rather good bit of dinner, and then with "er indoors TM" off bowling I spent a little while farting around with the DVD player. It has had it. I’ll get a new one tomorrow…
10 July 2017 (Monday) - Paving Slabs, DVD Player
I had a wry smile as I scoffed my toast this morning. A Facebook Friend had written about her most recent place of work: "Tried to forget about this place but up pops an FB 'See Your Memories!" The memory was from a couple of years ago when she supposedly won a workplace lottery. She went on to say "Never did get the money. Just another example of how nasty and untrustworthy some of them are".
I can remember (about ten years ago) being co-opted onto a committee with this person. Where we worked at the time had recently installed a staff suggestion box. Me, her and a couple of others had to consider the merits of all the various staff suggestions. This person dominated the committee; rudely and patronisingly throwing out every single suggestion that was made. What goes around comes around?
As I’d worked yesterday I wasn’t working today. And so "er indoors TM" had taken the day off. We’d planned to go canoeing on the Medway, but the weather forecast wasn’t good for that. So as "er indoors TM" snored I walked the dogs round the park. As we walked Fudge straggled more and more until we saw our Irish friend and Fudge was like a bullet form a gun sprinting to try to hump his dog.
I wish he wouldn’t do that.
We came home to find that "er indoors TM" had emerged from her pit. Both dogs scoffed their brekkie. Treacle always does; "Furry Face TM" is far more picky, but going for a walk before brekkie dies give him an appetite. I hung out the washing and gathered the turds strewn around the garden. How can two small dogs create so much dung?
I’ve had some stick about the fact that we really do clear up the dog turds in our garden. Several people have said they just leave their dogs’ turds where they fall. Eeeww !!!!
We drove round to collect "My Boy TM"; with canoeing on hold we thought we’d go have a look in Whelans and the first fruit of my loin fancied coming for the ride. Having made the garden pond look good, the decking area in front of it looked rather tired. I had an idea to replace it with some paving slabs. Whelan’s is the place for that sort of thing.
We got to Sheerness and saw exactly the sort of thing I had in mind (as well as some random Whelan statues and stuff), we handed over the credit card, and brought the stuff home. "er indoors TM" took the dogs for a little walk whist we unloaded the car, and then we hoiked the decking out of the way.
I had rather hoped that the area under the decking was level. Having level ground was rather fundamental to my plans.
The ground was far from level.
I drove "My Boy TM" home whilst I pondered this setback. I needed a level surface… so I lifted the weed-proof membranes, dug the ground over, laid down some flat wood (the sort of thing you put in the back of a wardrobe) and put the slabs in place.
They looked bloody awful.
The problem was the flat wood. If it had been a lump two metres in each direction it might have worked. But having had to cobble It together out of smaller lumps didn’t work. They didn’t lay flat; they were all over the place. So I lifted the slabs, lifted the weed-proof membranes, and dug it all over again. It was at this point that he cavalry arrived; "My Boy TM" had come to see what I had been whinging about. We got the membranes back down, and laid the slabs. With soft ground and no silly bits of wood underneath, the slabs went into position far better. They were a little uneven, but we walked about on them to sort them out, and they will settle. Once they’ve settled I’ll sort any final irregularities.
Because the slabs covered a smaller area than the decking we needed more shingle, so we went to B&Q. They were selling the shingle we wanted with a discount if you bought ten bags or more. We needed six bags, but six bags cost nineteen quid. For twenty-two quid we could have ten bags.
We got ten bags, and having used the six we needed we have four in reserve (just in case). I anyone has the kind of emergency that needs four bags of shingle, I’m your man.
"My Boy TM" set off home, and I started carefully disassembling the decking, Rather than ripping it apart I really was careful. Some of it will go to the tip tomorrow, but I plan to build some little planters out of some of the left-over decking,
I then got a text message - "er indoors TM" was outside. I probably wasn’t dressed to go to PC World, but I squirted some deodorant in the general direction of my armpits and off we went. The nice man was very helpful, and following quite a bit of advice from people on Facebook I went for a HDMI upscaling DVD player which will automatically turn my DVDs into HD. Not that I can actually see any difference between HD and normal telly.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and then went bowling. I’m going to watch the end of the film I tried to watch on Saturday evening.
I’ve had a rather good day off today, but I’m still feeling rather miffed. It didn’t rain and I had been looking forward to canoeing…
11 July 2017 (Tuesday) - Getting The Kit Off
After a frankly awful night during which the puppy seemingly ran continual riot I woke to quite a lot of pain (more so than usual). I think I rather overdid the heavy lifting yesterday.
Over brekkie I had a look-see on Facebook. Little had changed overnight, but I did have a friend request from Caroline Jimen. Having absolutely no idea who she was I ignored the request.
I had a look in my email in-box. Last Friday I complained to Wickes about the abysmal service in the Maidstone branch. Overnight I’d received a bunch of platitudes from their head office with a reassurance that the manager of the Maidstone branch would be in touch.
I popped the leads onto the dogs, and we went round the park for a walk. In a novel break with tradition Fudge didn’t trail behind *too* much. Treacle ran in terror from pretty much every other dog we met, and we had fun with small children in the play park who liked dogs that were their size.
Once home Fudge had some more of his brekkie (that he didn’t eat earlier) and I strimmed the edges of the lawn and mowed the rest. The lawn is in a right old state; I think that should be the next part of the garden project.
I then moved the car closer to home, and loaded up all the decking fragments I can’t do anything with. As I loaded I saw that something the size of a pterodactyl had crapped on the car overnight; I spent five minutes shifting bird dung.
With the dogs settled I set off. I drove my car (full of scrap timber) to the tip. I got there, joined the queue and waited. And waited. After a while the chap in the car in front of me in the queue got out and walked to the front to of the queue to find out what was causing the delay. He said that the gate to the tip was shut for for no apparent reason. If the tip dudes had closed the main gate we could all have turned round and gone home, but closing the inside gate meant that we were all stuck in the slip road leading in to the tip.
After twenty minutes the gate was opened (with no explanation or apology), and everyone drove in, parked up *really* stupidly, and caused even more delays.
By the time I'd chucked timber and broken DVD players about my right elbow was in agony.
I then went to the petrol station on the ring road. I've mentioned before how the customers there sniff round the grandmother on the till. When I arrived, this grandmother was on a tea break; I went in to find a sting of people at the till; all of whom said I could go in front of them. All of whom were clearly waiting for the GILF's tea break to end. I knew this as the chaps queuing up told me so.
As I drove to work there was a discussion on the radio about strippers. Several strippers were being interviewed. One said she was doing stripping as a form of therapy for her mental illnesses (she had several); one claimed to be doing it as a political statement. But they were all in agreement that the most important part of the show was the music. They were all adamant that no one looks at the tits, everyone listens to the melody. Apparently.
It would seem I have had (for some years) the wrong idea about saucy birds getting their kits off. Presumably this explains why I wasn't overly impressed with my one and only trip to a strip club.
I took a little diversion into Aylesford to see if I could find a geocache. My first target had no hint or clue as to where it might have been. I tried the obvious places to no avail. I wasn't going to continue randomly rummaging in a thicket so I gave up after two minutes and found another one just up the road which was on the way to McDonalds.
Chicken McNuggets, strawberry shake, and into work for 1pm. Fortunately I was assigned to sit at a microscope for the first part of my shift. I appreciated that. What with building a pergola and then laying paving slabs, disassembling decking and tip runs the old joke about going to work for a rest had never been so true.
I sat at the microscope and quietly ached.
As I ached my phone beeped. A text from HM customs. They have approved the selfie I took as my new passport photo, and also approved my application for a new passport. They will let me know when the new one is on the way. I wonder when that will be…
12 July 2017 (Wednesday) - Neo-Feminism
Last night as I turned the lap-top off it told me it had some updates to install. I told it to “update and shut down”. I always make this mistake. “Update and shut down” means “do half the job” And so when I came to turn it on this morning the thing was effectively useless for fifteen minutes whilst it finished updating.
It finally sorted itself out, and over some toast I had a look-see into cyber-space.
Lots of people were posting about their latest runs and jogs. Am I the only person who has not taken up running recently?
I had an email from Geocaching HQ. They were touting some rather silly idea about trying to do something with the “geocaching friends” feature of their website. It is a bit like “Facebook Friends” but doesn’t actually do anything. Geocaching HQ really do need to sort themselves out. For a hobby which relies on state-of-the-art satellite technology they really are in the dark ages. Anyone trying to actually hunt out Tupperware using their software soon gives up and uses third-party stuff which actually does the job which theirs cannot. Why on Earth are they farting around with a “geocaching friends” when they could be sorting out their own software so’s I don’t have to pay GSAK and Project-GC to be able to do the hobby for which I am already paying Geocaching HQ.
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" sent a text - "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was under the weather and they wouldn’t be coming for a dog walk. But my pups were itching to get out.
The weather was against us; you know the weather is bad when the joggers have umbrellas, but rain doesn’t seem to bother dogs.
We had a rather embarrassing episode as we walked. As we went from Bowens Field to Viccie park a six (ish) year old simpleton jumped out from behind a dustbin screaming at us; presumably in an attempt to make us jump. I had no idea who this child was, or what was going through his mind. But he put the fear of God up the puppy and she bit him. It was at this point that the mother appeared and told her child he shouldn’t be jumping out at strangers. The brat seemed none the worse from having been fanged. I think he saw it as an occupational hazard.
The rest of our walk was relatively uneventful after that.
I got in my car, and after having driven for twenty yards an enormous lump of yellow bird crap dropped from the sky onto my windscreen. Fortunately the heavy rain washed it off. I'd spent enough time yesterday shifting bird dung from the car; I didn't want to do it again.
I drove round to Matalan; I've been throwing out old pairs of trousers recently; I really needed to replace some of them. I got a couple of shirts too. When they went through the till the prices that came up were in every case cheaper than that on the price tags. I kept quiet.
I then drove up the motorway. As I drove there was an article on the radio about current views in feminism. I don't want to give offence, but they were interviewing a looney. Apparently to be a "proper feminist" these days it is not enough to be an angry woman; you have to be of an ethnic minority too. For some reason that I really couldn't understand, white Caucasian feminists are seen to be counter-productive to the entire feminist movement. White feminists were twice told to f... off (live on Radio Four between 11am and 11.30am!) And, far from being a role model, having a female Prime Minister was perhaps the worst thing that could ever have happened to feminism.
I went to Aylesford Aquatics to get some chemicals to help clear the water in the garden pond; now the pergola is in place we should be able to get clearer water. I had a little chuckle when I looked in the farm shop by the aquatic centre. They were selling garden ornaments. Clearly ones they'd got from Whelan's in Sheerness (I recognised them) but were charging double Whelan's prices. I've often remarked on how cheap Whelan's stuff is; Holtwood farm shop is clearly profiteering from them. I wonder if I might go to Whelan's myself, load up the car with their finest, and sell the stuff at a boot fair at a profit.
Yesterday I mentioned I couldn't find a geocache in Ayelsford. I'd since been given inside information on exactly where it should have been. I went back and it wasn't where is was supposed to have been, so I replaced it (I'm helpful like that).
From the cache to work was a route which would take me past McDonalds, so a Happy Donald (as "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" would say) made for a good lunch. And as I was in the area I stopped off at Aylesford's cheapo-bargain shop for dog biscuits for next week's fishing trip.
And so to work. As I pulled up in the car park my phone beeped with a job offer. In the Orkney Islands. I deleted it, and right away I had another message from HM Passport Office to say my new passport is in the post.
I then went to work.
I quite like the late start as I get so much done in the morning. Can't say I'm keen on the late finish though...
13 July 2017 (Thursday) - Sad Cards
Many years ago (twenty-three to be precise) together with a dozen or so of my closer associates I collected playing cards of the Star Trek Customisable Card Game (or “Sad Cards” as we called it). You bought the cards in a sealed pack of a dozen. Being sealed you had no idea what cards you were getting, and with over three hundred cards in total you had to buy a *lot* of packs to get the lot. Getting a complete collection was further complicated by some cards being far rarer than others. Like everybody else I would buy in bulk in a desperate attempt to complete my collection.
I did complete the set; I still have it on a shelf somewhere. At the time it was common knowledge that a full set was worth over seven hundred pounds. No one wanted to buy a full set; you really couldn’t give them away. I offered my full set for a fiver and had no takers, but it was common knowledge that a full set was worth over seven hundred pounds.
Overnight Martin messaged me to say that for some odd reason these cards are becoming collectable again. Perhaps I might dig them out and dust them off.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Detectorists”, and with no emails of note and absolutely nothing happening on Facebook, I got dressed. I put on one of the new shirts I bought yesterday. I'd thought I'd got a bargain. I hadn't. I'd actually got a load of old rubbish. The body of the shirt may well have been size XXL; the arms were small (at most). I put the shirt on and simply couldn't move my arms. There must have been some cock-up at the factory. I shall take it back when I'm next on a late shift.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about a school in Derby. Recently its educational standards have gone through the roof. The headmaster has insisted that during lessons the children close their mouths and listen to the teacher. During lesson times the school is a quiet place; not noisy like it used to be. And they have instigated a somewhat radical policy in which children wandering the school during lesson times are challenged as to why they aren't in class.
Amazing what a difference a little common sense has made.
There was also talk about the Government's Repeal Bill in which all laws made by the European Parliament are to be absorbed into British law. I thought the whole (stupid) idea was to get rid of the laws imposed by the European Parliament, not to just change the heading on the paper on which they are written.
This whole Brexit thing isn't turning out quite how it was promised, is it?
I got to work and as I worked I got a text. A minor disaster... "My Boy TM" isn't available for next week's fishing trip. That's a shame... Do I go on my own (lonely) or see if anyone fancies a geo-walk. I've half a mind to go set some geocaches in the Chilmington area. I shall have a look at the map later.
On the other hand I really need to disassemble the biggest water-feature in the garden and give it a good clean-out. The paving slabs laid last Monday should be settling by then, and maybe I could make something from the decking I saved.
I *could* do the garden, but I still ache (and hurt) from Monday's garden work.
14 July 2017 (Friday) – Dull
After a reasonable night’s sleep I watched this week’s episode of “Dark Matter” over brekkie. I found myself wondering why I was watching the show. I have pretty much no idea what’s going on (as I’ve slept through so many episodes), and the show is *incredibly* derivative of other sci-fi shows. Evil duplicates, alternative realities, memory loss, it-was-all-a-dream was all done better in Star Trek years ago.
As I watched, the puppy came downstairs with one of "er indoors TM"’s bras in her mouth. She looked at me as if to challenge me about the bra. I wasn’t going to get involved. Mind you it was a different matter when she came back five minutes later with my shoe horn.
With telly done I sparked up my lap-top to see what was going on in cyber-space. Nothing much had happened on Facebook overnight which was a shame. Not much has kicked off on there lately. I have a few people I keep on the friends list purely for the dramas they post up, and they’ve been disappointingly quiet recently.
I put on one of the new shirts I bought on Wednesday. Unlike yesterday, this one fitted. I then wrestled my socks away from the puppy, and set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing some minister or other about the wages offered to university vice-chancellors. With the rest of university staff being held to a 1.1% wage increase this year (0.1% more than I'm getting), vice-chancellors are getting in the region of 11%. Nice money if you can get it. Apparently university vice-chancellors are worth paying extra for.
There was also talk about how Southern Rail has been fined for the abysmal service it provides when it is common knowledge that the abysmal service is pretty much due to the staff constantly going out on strike. Because they are constantly going on strike the average train driver earns more than double what I earn. Again, nice money if you can get it. Interesting how their union stands up for them but when I was a union representative my fellow union representatives were nut-cases and wannabe MPs, and when I needed the union they pretty much pissed on my chips.
Sometimes I wonder where I went wrong. Whilst money isn't everything, it does allow you to be miserable in comfort.
There was also an interview with an ex-anorexia sufferer, and lots of talk about healthy eating. I'm not saying that I want to be anorexic, but I'm certainly sick of being fat. If I'm not stuffed to the point of almost being sick, I'm hungry. I'm often so hungry that it hurts, and I'm eating to stop it hurting. And what really boils my piss is that most people who aren't overly fat don't have the faintest understanding of any of this. It really annoys when people tell me that I can't be hungry after eating a meal when I am actually still ravenous.
I got to work to find I'd left my watch at home. I was rather surprised to find how often I would look at my wrist only to find my watch wasn't there… Amazing how not wearing a watch can upset your entire day…
15 July 2017 (Saturday) - Up the River
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Time Gentlemen Please”; now that I have a working DVD player I might as well use the thing. I quite like “Time Gentlemen Please”, originally broadcast seventeen years ago (can you believe it!) it is something of a classic.
I then had a look at the Internet – not much had changed overnight.
I sorted out all the gear I would need for later, and set off to work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing a speech that ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair had recently made. The gist of discussion was that the general public aren't overly happy with the way that Brexit is going. The promised (weekly) three hundred and fifty million quid for the NHS hasn't appeared, and nether have the new trade deals promised the day after the referendum, to say nothing of Turkey not joining the EU as was threatened, nor of all the European laws (which were to be thrown out) being assimilated into UK law nor have all the European workers been sent home on the next banana boat. It seems that what has been delivered isn't what had been promised. All the chap being interviewed could offer was a rather nasty personal attack on Tony Blair.
Talk of a second referendum is becoming more and more fashionable in some political circles. Do we need a second referendum? When you consider that nothing which was promised is looking at all likely to be delivered, and pretty much all that was promised was lies and fabrications, perhaps we should go back to square one and think again with some realistic proposals?
As I drove past McDonalds I thought about having McBreakfast. But instead I drove to the works' Costa where I had cold coffee and the most odd-tasting Bakewell tart. I wish I had gone for a Happy Donald.
I did my bit at work, and came home in the opposite direction to the one I usually take. I’d arranged to meet "er indoors TM" at Teston Bridge Country Park. I got there a few minutes before she did and I bought car park tickets. We then set up her kayak and carried it down to the river. As we walked we went through the field in which we’ve camped so many times, and I had something of a revelation. Teston kite festival is often run *against* the locals rather than *for* the locals. As we walked through the field people were playing games, having barbecues and picnics, generally enjoying themselves. The field was full. Looking back, our camping and kite festivals have been in their way.
We got to the river; we got into the canoe (which is easier said than done) and set sail. We paddled from Teston lock downstream as far as Kettle Bridge, and paddled back again. A round trip of about three miles. On our way we hunted for seven geocaches; we found five. Hunting Tupperware in a kayak isn’t easy.
As we paddled a voice called out to us. It was a chap with whom I work who was out for a jog.
The last time we kayaked we lost the skeg half way. This time the skeg remained attached; even if it8 did get a bit weedy. I was amazed at the difference having a skeg made.
And I even took a few photos as we sailed.
Once home we took the dogs round the park for a walk. As we walked a bike screeched to a halt next to us. It was "My Boy TM" on his way home. He said he hadn’t recognised us, but had recognised the dogs.
There is one hedge in which Fudge usually has a very good rummage. As he was scrubbling in it today a huge rat shot out. In his day he would have caught that rat.
We came back home, and I spent a few minutes messing in the garden; watering plants, pruning jungles, adjusting paving slabs until my elbow hurt too much to continue. I was just about to forage for some dinner (being home alone again) when "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned.
She was confused...
Oh – and my passport’s arrived.
16 July 2017 (Sunday) - Samphire Hoe
I knew I would regret yesterday’s kayaking, and doing all that heavy lifting yesterday evening was probably something of a mistake too. The night was rather uncomfortable, and I woke in not inconsiderable pain. As well as the elbow that I knew would be playing up, my left knee was troublesome too. There isn’t really any comfortable way to sit in the back of a kayak.
I got up shortly before 7am and had a look at the Internet. I had been sent a little video from Facebook about how me and "My Boy TM" have been friends on there for nine years. I edited the video a little, then posted it up. Not much else had happened on Facebook. Not a lot does these days. I’ve noticed that when I post up a picture (which I do most days) I now get a little message thanking me and saying how many consecutive days I’ve been posting for. This message also tells me how many likes and reactions my previous posting got. Part of me wonders if this is because fewer and fewer people are putting stuff onto Facebook. With over five hundred friends on my list I’d expect to see a lot more activity than I do.
After a while I got bored staring at a screen on which nothing was happening. Despite the dodgy elbow I went into the garden and started sawing up the lengths of decking I salvaged last week. Cut into half-metre lengths I can make some decorative planter boxes for the garden. I did wonder if 8am on a Sunday morning was a tad early to be making noise in the garden, but then I positioned myself where only not-so-nice-next-door would be bothered. And (in all honesty) the day their piano falls silent is the day I’ll listen to any complaints they might have about noise.
Half-way through sawing my phone beeped. "My Boy TM" was up and about, so I drove the old sleepers round to him. I came home to find that "er indoors TM" had emerged from her pit.
I got one more length of decking sawed before my elbow finally gave up.
We took the dogs round the park in the opposite way to our usual route. On the way we met OrangeHead in the co-op field. Fudge went into the river when expressly told not to, and Treacle was generally difficult. With dogs walked we settled them and set off to Samphire Hoe. The weather forecast had been for a *very* hot day so a long walk was out. Instead we went to the beach with Jose and Maria. Whilst everyone else spuddled I had a little kip, and then we had a light lunch at the café. If ever there was an inefficient business it is the café at Samphire Hoe. They probably could have gone slower if they tried, but it would have taken some effort.
We had originally planned to go on to the geo-meet at Ramsgate after the beach, but time was pressing. We went to Tesco where I got new slippers. The puppy had chewed one of the old ones, and the other had vanished (probably down the puppy’s throat). From Tesco it was a short hop to the Windmill for a crafty pint. Anne and Chip have good beer on there now, but the volume of the music puts me off. Sunday afternoon was a safe time to visit.
Once home I carried on sawing decking. It took some sawing, but eventually I got all of it chopped up ready for making planters.
I then had a look at Facebook on my phone. This morning I was whinging that no one posts on there any more. This afternoon… The new Doctor Who had been announced whilst I was sawing, and so many people couldn’t wait to share the announcement. In all honesty I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid finding out who it was for long… In practice there are three people I’m tempted to spend the next few weeks spoiling as much as I can for them. I shan’t though as they would have no idea what they had done to offend.
And then to add insult to injury I was told what happened in last week’s episode of The Crystal Maze. I don’t need to watch that now.
I then spent half an hour writing up more CPD; I shall watch some telly now. It won’t watch itself.
17 July 2017 (Monday) – Spoilers
Yesterday morning I was wondering if Facebook was about to die on its arse. Yesterday evening the thing was more alive than it had ever been. Last night I found myself wondering. The new series of “Game of Thrones” was due to be broadcast at 2am this morning. Bearing in mind I’d seen spoilers galore about the new actor in Doctor Who and about last week’s Crystal Maze I knew I had to watch the show at 2am. But the burning question was having seen the show should I tell the world what happened? Is that now the new etiquette? It certainly seemed to be yesterday.
I woke shortly before 2am and watched the show. It was… something you’ll have to watch for yourself.
I went back to bed and tried to sleep. Eventually I dropped the puppy onto "er indoors TM" at 6am and told her to sort her out. I got a couple of hours sleep.
Yesterday I’d whinged on Facebook about people continually posting spoilers on Facebook. Over brekkie I received an apology from the of the spoiler-givers (which was decent of them) and I also received a very worried message from a friend who thought he might have been guilty.
However the main culprit (who spoiled every single episode of the last season of Doctor Who) obviously remained utterly oblivious to what she had been doing. Having dropped so many hints (that had been missed) I politely told the miscreant the error of her ways. I got a reply. "... I am sorry if it spoiled episodes for you. I can't help what my other friends reply and what else they gave away... I am aware that some of my replies to their comments may have given other things away... I can't not reply to my friends on the off-chance that one of my other friends hasn't seen the episode".
I disagree with this attitude. Not only can I not reply to people making spoiling comments on my Facebook page, I can also delete those comments and tell people off for giving spoilers. However it is incidents like this that make you realise if you want to continue an acquaintanceship. Or not. This is the person who demanded she didn't see any spoilers when she wasn't able to stare at the telly on Sunday afternoon; despite constantly posting spoilers herself. One comment (regarding Missy in Doctor Who) was posted up on-line within seconds of the incident being broadcast (whilst the show was still in progress).
I'm told that perhaps I might stay away from Facebook to miss spoilers. But when spoilers are being given several times a week every week about pretty much every show I watch (and there's not that much I do watch on telly) I decided to chuck her from my Facebook friends list, but when I went to do it, she’d already de-friended me.
I took the dogs round the park. As we walked we met an old friend who commented on how much weight Fudge had put on. Treacle ran in terror from every other dog we met, hoofing me in the pods as she tried to jump up.
We had to cut our walk short; there was tree felling going on in the park. A lot of people run Ashford council down, but they do a really good job with the park.
Once home I settled the dogs and set off for a little morning adventure. I went to B&Q to look at their electric screwdrivers; my elbow is just too painful to drive screws as God intended. The electric screwdrivers I would were about a hundred quid each. I asked the nice lady if they had any cheaper ones. The nice lady pointed me at the usual screwdrivers and in the sort of tone you might reserve for "F... off fatso" she told me that he cheap ones weren't electric.
I shall see if I can borrow one...
I went on to Matalans to take back the curiously shaped shirt I'd bought from them last week. The people at the till agreed it looked odd, and refunded my money.
I then drove up to Aylesford where I failed to hunt out a geocache, then went on to Aylesford cemetery where I got all the clues to find another geocache. I did the sums and worked out a location over a mile distant. I didn't have time to go find out; I shall email the chap who set the puzzle to see if I had it right.
I had time to go for McLunch, but there was a McDisaster. The milkshake machine at McDonalds had gone west, so I had to rough it with diet coke. Diet coke doesn't compare to milkshake and McFlurry.
I ran into the cheapo-bargain shop for half-price coffee and a cake, and then took the cake into work. We were having a cake-o-thon today. Always a good thing...
18 July 2017 (Tuesday) - Dig Dog Duster
I didn’t sleep well. It was a hot night made hotter by the puppy sleeping on top of me despite my turfing her off every few minutes. I finally gave up trying to sleep shortly after 5am, and over bekkie watched this week’s episode of “Dark Matter”. I think I’m only watching it because I’ve seen it from the beginning and it would be a shame to stop watching now.
As I watched it I sorted my undercrackers out of the laundry. The excitement of my life(!)
I checked my emails. Yesterday tree people had come to Ashford and spent the day doing my Wherigoes. They wrote nice things in their logs; I’m just glad that people enjoyed them. Creating them was a lot of effort, and not that many people seem to want to bother with them, which is a shame.
And I had an email about the geocache in Aylesford. I had got my sums wrong – I shall have another look when I’m next on a late shift.
I set off for work a little earlier than I might have done this morning. Yesterday I whinged that B&Q didn't have cheap electric screwdrivers. Overnight "er indoors TM" found what I wanted on the B&Q website, and it was only a tenner. B&Q's on-line thingy said the local branch had them in stock so I went there this morning, showed them what I wanted from the piccie on my phone, and I walked out with one in less than two minutes.
Such a contrast to what I encountered yesterday. Our local branch of B&Q is just round the corner from home - it is very convenient, but it can be so variable depending on which member of staff you get. Some of them are absolutely brilliant; others can't find their own arse with both hands (and with the manager shouting instructions through a megaphone).
From B&Q I went to the cheapo petrol station on the ring road. Usually the place is packed out with people sniffing round the amazingly attractive (?) grandmother behind the till. She wasn't there today. There was an odd-looking rather portly woman instead. Mind you she too had a following all of her own. What is it about the cheapo petrol station that brings admirers to the most unlikely of women?
Mind you, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I once worked with someone I (probably uncharitably) considered to be the most ugly woman on the planet. Her lower lip was three times the size of her upper lip; no two teeth in her head pointed in the same direction, she had a beard like Captain Birdseye, and she was a rather nasty person too. Men used to have fist fights in pubs for her affections.
I then drove off up the motorway to work. As I drove the radio featured a chap from the National Union of Teachers complaining about under-funding in schools. Perhaps I only hear the bad side of things, but as a profession, school teachers really seem to complain a lot. Admittedly their work is hard, but then again so is mine.
There was also talk on the radio of how the lifespan of the average Brit has been increasing, but seems to have stopped rising. All sorts of reasons were mooted about why we aren't living longer and longer any more.
Perhaps we *aren't* supposed to live forever?
I'd got out of Ashford at 7.30am this morning. I expected to get to work at about 8.15am. I got there shortly after 9am. There was a rather bad queue on the motorway. up to last year I'd been late for work once in thirty-five years. Since January I've been late twice in six months. But what with the motorway madness I wasn’t the only late one.
I did my bit and came home again. We walked the dogs round the park. As we walked Treacle trod in dog poo. Has anyone else’s dog ever done that?
And talking of dogs, my oldest grand-dog Buster went to sleep this afternoon. He’d been ill for some time. Nothing in particular, just getting old. His time had come. I’d never met a staffie before. I’d always been wary of them. He was the most gentle dog you’d ever meet. Always pleased to see me, always playing like a big puppy despite his being a big lump.
I keep blubbing…
19 July 2017 (Wednesday) - Rostered Day Off
I woke at 2am to the most odd noise coming from the back of the house. Whatever it was had upset the dogs and they were growling. I went to investigate; it was hail. The biggest hailstones were hitting the back windows with so much force I thought they might be about to come through.
And then the lightening started. That didn’t bother the dogs in the slightest, but the occasional rumble of thunder did. Strange how they reacted only to sound, and not to the flashes of light.
The storm soon passed (unlike elsewhere in the county) and I got back to sleep.
Over brekkie "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned. She seemed as well as can be expected after Buster’s demise yesterday, and was talking about driving lessons. If anyone can recommend a good instructor…
I then had a look on Facebook. There was a little conversation about my series of geocaches in Bethersden. Apparently someone was out walking them yesterday and the landowner has told him he doesn’t want them on his land, so the entire lot has to come in. This landowner actually doesn’t want people using the public rights of way on his land. Why anyone would tell any landowner about the geocaches is beyond me though. The unwritten rule is stealth. You keep quiet about what you are up to.
Hours (if not days) of preparation and maintenance and not inconsiderable expense all wasted... And now I’m on a five-day working week (as opposed to the three-day pattern of my last job) finding time to set a replacement series is going to be difficult.
Being on a five-day working week meant I was off today (in lieu of this coming Saturday). Originally I’d planned to go fishing but events conspired against me. So I started off as I so often do by walking the dogs round the park. As we came to the park gates there was a Sapphic pair of young ladies openly snogging in front of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I wondered if this was some sort of protest; I watched for a few minutes, then left them to it. As we went round the park both dogs missed seeing squirrels, Treacle ran in terror from every other dog, and Fudge trailed twenty yards behind. Apart from the lesbians it was much like any other dog walk.
We came home, I hung out the washing, cleared dog poo, and then did something I’ve been meaning to do for some time. My biggest garden water feature was a bit tired. The water was smelly, there was grass growing up through it. I took it apart, cleaned it out and reassembled it.
How easy that sounds.
Getting all the gravel up took some doing, and I didn’t lose *too* much blood lifting the various metal grilles that supported the gravel. I decided against taking up the buried farm gate that holds it all in place. I then angled the water feature to empty the reservoir, turned it all on and nothing happened. Eventually I managed to fix the pump, and stagnant water gushed out. Right in my face. There is a reservoir of a cubic metre of water, and it stank to high heaven. I angled the thing to empty the reservoir and soon a swamp formed. So I revamped everything so’s the water gushed into the little red dustbin and I used that to chuck water onto the parched bits of the lawn. In the process I nearly broke a toe, and actually broke the little red dustbin. We’ve had that little red dustbin for years. It was originally "My Boy TM"’s toybox. I was rather sad to find I’d broke it.
Eventually the reservoir was emptied. I re-filled it with the hose, and bunged in a bottle of citrus bleach.
Grilles went back in place, gravel went back, and Fudge was soon playing with it. I was a little worried about the bleach, but it is so diluted now it is less bleachy than a swimming pool.
I then got the bits of decking I sawed up on Sunday and screwed them together into planters. There was a minor problem in that my sawing had been a tad iffy, but what is a home-made planter without rustic charm?
I got the sides of the first one (sort of) together when my new electric screwdriver gave up the ghost. It is only good for forty-eight screws on one charge (bit like me, really).
So I set it charging and scoffed a spot of lunch whist watching Sunday’s episode of “Poldark”. It was rather good if you like that sort of thing. Personally I do, but I know I’m in the minority.
After an hour there was some charge back in the screwdriver so I made a start of assembling the second planter. Just as the screwdriver ran out I hit on this frankly genius idea of taking the charger outside and charging the thing whilst I was using the drill to make pilot holes. It was an idea which worked. I got the second planter together. There was a minor hiccup when I realised what I’d sawed for the bases wouldn’t fit, but I sawed up some more spare wood, and all was good.
A lick of paint, and they were ready to go.
By the time I’d then pulled weeds out of shingle, pushed shingle about, pruned back next door’s jungle, re-potted my antirrhinums and had a cuppa it was 7pm. My original idea was to have done with the garden by mid-day.
20 July 2017 (Thursday) - Bit Dull
I knew my elbow would be hurting this morning and I rather thought my foot would be tender too after yesterday’s exertions. I wasn’t expecting the pain in my ribs. I wonder what caused that.
Over brekkie I watched this week’s repeated episode of “Detectorists” then had a look at Facebook as I do every morning. The piccies and video I posted up yesterday had got some favourable comments. I wish more people would post up piccies of what they are doing; I’m nosey like that. It also looks as though canoeing is on for the weekend (weather permitting). If any of my loyal readers fancy sailing the seven seas you’ve got a couple of days to get a canoe and then you can join in. Argos do them rather cheaply.
There was a lot of talk about Ed Sheeran. Apparently he was in this week’s episode of “Game of Thrones”, and would seem to be despised by those people on my Facebook list. I don’t know who or what he is. Wikipedia says he’s a singer, and he appeared on the show to surprise one of the other actors.
I must admit I don’t buy into the whole “celebrity” thing. They are just actors in a TV show to me. The sooner people treat actors as any other profession and stop idolising them, the better.
There was also mention about a “poncey” wine web site. I think a friend of mine gets a bung every time he introduces a new customer. Well, he ain’t introducing me. Expensive wine depends on playing on people's pretensions. I've been to wine tastings and to me the cheap stuff tastes every bit as good (and/or bad) as the expensive stuff.
With no emails of note I set off to work. Bearing in mind Tuesday’s debacle I set off a tad earlier than I might have done.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing the ongoing Brexit negotiations. They've been doing this all week. One thing which is becoming painfully evident is that there never was any plan for what the UK would do having decided to leave the EU. Listening to what is being said on the radio it is becoming clear that both the EU and the British negotiators are making it up as they go along. I hope it doesn't end in chaos; I suspect it will.
There was also talk of increases to the age at which one gets a state pension. I'm incredibly pissed off about the whole pension thing. Having been promised retirement on full pension at age fifty-seven, retirement for me won't be until I'm sixty-seven at the earliest. Whilst I understand the country can't afford the pension bill, that is hardly my fault. Shortcomings in the system should have been addressed decades ago. The current debacle is akin to finding yourself half way through eating a bag of crisps only to have the shopkeeper chasing you to tell you he's just increased the price of what you bought (in good faith) half an hour ago.
I'd left home early; I was right to have done so. The A2 being closed had caused the M20 to be very slow-moving. It took me an hour to get to work. I got there, and did my bit. As I worked I looked out of the window at the torrential rain and was so glad I'd been off yesterday and not today. Also as I worked my stomach rumbled. Last night's curry didn't sit at all well today.
With work done I came home and walked the dogs round the park. The annual “Create” festival is on in the park this weekend, and already much of the park was fenced off. I was intrigued by the actions of one of the members of staff there; he was filling huge water butts with water from the fountain. Bearing in mind the chemicals that the council put in that water, and the fact that the local children swim in it, I was intrigued as to what he might safely be doing with that water.
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. There was talk of fish and chips. The grease might settle my rumbling innards…
21 July 2017 (Friday) - This n That
The night was cooler than it has been recently, and the puppy was a lot less active during the small hours, so a night asleep was on the cards. I spent much of it cuddling Fudge like a teddy bear; sometimes he has his soppy moments.
But despite a good night I was still wide awake shortly after 5am. I came downstairs and watched the first episode of “Uncle”. I remember that series when it first came out. Whilst I wasn’t paying attention the BBC have made two more seasons of the show. As I watched telly the puppy came downstairs and played her latest game of chewing my arm. I wish she wouldn’t do that. Perhaps I should stop encouraging her.
Both Facebook and email had been quiet overnight, and bearing in mind how the motorway has been bunged up all week I had a look on Google Traffic to see what the way to work was like today. Google said it was fine, but I left early anyway.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were still discussing the ongoing Brexit negotiations. Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade) says a Brexit deal should be really easy to sort out. Meanwhile David Davis (The Brexit Secretary) says achieving a Brexit deal would make the NASA moonshots look simple. So with the Cabinet obviously divided, things aren't looking good for us.
There was also an interview with a rather rich farmer/landowner who was rather hacked off. The chap in question was actually a Duke (I can't remember what he was Duke of). Up till now farming (or *not* farming) had been easy money for him. But following Brexit all the subsidies his farms get will go down the pan. He'll have to produce a crop that will sell, rather than being paid not to produce a crop of which we've got a glut. And he'll have to maintain rights of way on his land and generally look after the countryside at his own expense rather than at the public's expense.
Is this so unreasonable? After all I do my own gardening and pay my own way. The principle is the same.
I was a little perturbed to hear the news from the Mediterranean. There has been a rather major earthquake in Kos; it has killed two people. We're supposed to be going on holiday there in a few weeks’ time. "My Boy TM" assures me the hotel is still standing. Here's hoping.
I'd left home early hoping to miss the traffic; I did. I got to Maidstone with time to spare, so I went to look for the geocache for which I'd found all the clues on Monday. I couldn't find it, nor could I find the one near Sainsburys either. I'd gone to Sainsbury's to get some beer for tomorrow's planned barbecue. Six bottles of ale for eight quid should see me right.
As I worked "er indoors TM" emailed to say she was sorting out the holiday insurance. Am I being cynical in thinking it would have been cheaper *before* the earthquake.
I did spend a few moments looking out the window this afternoon. It was a bright afternoon; perhaps I might have booked the afternoon off (before everyone else got in first) and gone to Canterbury beer festival.
But Canterbury beer festival is not in the most convenient of locations. It is a pig to get to. And earlier I bought six pints of ale from the supermarket for eight quid. A similar amount at the festival would have sent me back twenty-five quid. Train there, train back, taxi to and from the station, bit of dinner... fifty-plus quid just to give myself a hangover? I'll content myself with a beer or two tomorrow after work, and be grateful I don't have to rub elbows with the Great Unwashed.
I came home and was about to walk the dogs when "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned. There had been an incident in a tunnel (!) and trains in and out of Folkestone weren’t happening. "er indoors TM" walked the dogs whilst I mounted a rescue mission.
I came home and did the monthly accounts. It would seem HM Government never took the money for my fishing licence. That’s a result…
22 July 2017 (Saturday) - Barby After Work
My dog Fudge snuggled up to me in the small hours and went to sleep, which was quite sweet. Shortly after he puppy came along and just wanted to chew my arm, which was annoying. She does this most nights, finally wanting to sleep herself just as I’ve given up trying to sleep.
Over brekkie I watched the second episode of “Uncle”, but there was a minor disaster in that the SkyPlus box seems unable to find the rest of the episodes of that show.
I got in my car and set off to work. The radio was playing "Farming Today"; there was some drivel about how farmers are getting holidaymakers to work on their farms. Holidaymakers see it as a novel holiday and farmers see it as cheap labour. There was then talk about bee-eaters (a sort of bird) and I lost interest, turned the radio off and listened to my awful music.
I stopped off at Aylesford McDonalds for brekkie. There were no other customers at all, and I spent five minutes listening to the kitchen staff screeching swear words at each other before the manager eventually noticed me. She asked if I was being served. I said not, and asked if I could join in with screaming the F-word at the top of my voice, but the sarcasm was wasted on her.
Brekkie wasn't too shabby at all, and I went on to work. Whilst a lot of people don't work at weekends, I quite like working the odd hours. With a reduced staff on, the weekend workload is varied.
I did my bit, and came home. Despite the rain the fruits of my loin had come round for a bit of a barby, We put up shelters and gazebos expecting the worst, but the rain held off. Friends joined us, smallest grandson fed lemon juice to oldest grandson, far too much was eaten and drunk.
I think it was rather late by the time we finished; it was all something of a blur…
23 July 2017 (Sunday) - Messing About on the River
I suppose it’s not surprising that I slept well. What was originally intended to be a rather small barby turned out to be something far more judging by the carnage I came down to this morning. I set the dishwasher loose on more plates and bowls and glasses, and had a spot of brekkie. It didn’t take long to program “Hannah” for the day’s outing, and then I checked the weather forecast for the river Medway. Mind you I’d spent all day yesterday intermittently checking the weather forecast for my back garden and whilst it was wrong in specifics it had been right in general. There had been rain showers during the day; they just didn’t come at the exact times the forecast said they would.
Whilst I waited for "er indoors TM" to emerge from her pit I stared into the Internet. Whilst I’d worked yesterday some people had been finding my geocaches. A few people had been out on my (soon to be archived) cache series near Bethersden and had said nice things about it. Despite my having been assured the cache I hid near the outlet centre had gone, a German chap managed to find it yesterday.
We settled the dogs, loaded up the car, and set off to Teston. As we drove I was speculating on getting a solid kayak (as opposed to an inflatable one) and I was wondering if we strapped it the roof rack of my car, would it go under the barrier at Teston bridge country Park’s picnic site. We arrived to find Sam and Mark taking the canoes off of their roof rack as they wouldn’t go under. That answered my question.
It didn’t take long to get the kayak inflated, and we were soon on the water heading upstream. Eight of us (in six boats) targeted eleven geocaches along the river which needed to be accessed from boats. The first four on our trip were ones I’d done from a kite festival at Teston a few years ago. We failed to find a couple of those, but of the seven I could claim, we found six. As we sailed we saw no end of yachts and power boats moored up along the Medway; hundreds if not thousands. There is no way even one per cent of those boats could all go sailing at once. I suspect for every one boat that is ever sailed up the Medway, fifty are moored there so’s the owners can sit on them whilst sipping Pimms in the sunshine.
As we sailed, other boaters passed us in various directions. All were civil *except* several dozen canoeists all bearing signs saying “London and SE Marathon”. All of these invariably flew past at breakneck speed, shouting at all and sundry to get out of their way. Some of them got less than effusive replies from us…
Despite scoffing gingerbread men as we went, sailing was hungry work. After three miles we got to Hampstead lock where we came ashore and had a picnic lunch. Coming ashore was not as easy as it sounds; as we’d paddled my legs had gone to sleep. When we came to the jetty I was completely numb below the waist.
Fortunately feeling returned, we scoffed lunch and we realised we were only a hundred yards from a terrestrial geocache. It would have been rude not to have gone to get it. Just as we were getting ready to sail back a little old lady asked if there were footpaths to Wateringbury; she’d just got off of the train a stop too early. Woops.
Sailing back to Teston was a tad easier that sailing out had been; we were going with the flow of the river on the way back. Once at Teston we played on the canoe pass – a series of two rapids to allow canoes to pass the lock. But again I’d gone numb. I am reliably assured I exited our kayak looking like a walrus.
We lugged the boats back to the cars and got tidied away. Nick got us all tea and coffee which was very welcome. Some of our party then when to hunt down the caches in the Teston area; we’d found them years ago so we came home.
I took a few photos as we sailed. It had been great fun. I wonder when we can go again?
Once home we walked the dogs. Usually we would go to the park, but the “Create” festival had taken the park over this weekend. So we walked along the paths to the Stour centre and back again. We were worried that this wasn’t enough of a walk for the dogs, but both seemed suitably worn out when we came home.
We then started to clear away the stuff still in the garden from yesterday’s barby. Most of it is now away; some is still wet.
And then we had burgers for tea. I suspect we’ll be having burgers for tea for the foreseeable future…
24 July 2017 (Monday) - Love Mondays
For some inexplicable reason the puppy had a woofing fit in the small hours which set Fudge barking too. I so wish they wouldn’t do that. I had only just nodded off, and I saw pretty much every hour of the night last night. I gave up trying to sleep shortly after 5am, and got up and watched the brand-new episode of Game of Thrones which the Sky-Plus box had recorded at 2am. I had considered waiting until this evening before watching it, but so many people watch the show that it is just impossible to avoid spoilers about the show.
The episode was quite good, blood and tits abounded. Perhaps too much blood. I’m struggling to know who is who in the show, and more importantly who has fought with or against who and who has porked who. Mind you the thing is obviously building up to a big climax; I just hope they give it a good ending rather than dragging it on for as long as there is money to be made from it.
As I watched it I combed Fudge. He likes being combed. The puppy came and bit me for a while before going off to do her own sweet thing.
I then sparked up my lap-top to see what had happened in cyber-space overnight. Not much really. Nor had I had any emails worth mentioning.
I set off to work on a wet morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were again raking over the death of Princes Diana. How long had she been dead? Surely it is time to move on? They then interviewed one of the top knobs at the airline Ryanair who are looking set to move all of their business from the UK into Europe as they are convinced that the British economy is about to go tin-pot following Brexit.
There was then a lot of hot air and bluster about Jeremy Corbyn’s supposed promise to wipe out student debt. Was his policy misrepresented or has he worked out how much it would cost? Who knows.
I got to Aldi. As I pulled up I noticed there were three police cars parked up by McDonalds. A gaggle of coppers came out, laughing and joking, and drove off. I would have thought that in these times of reduced police numbers, having the shift going for brekkie together isn’t a good idea, but what do I know?
I got to work. Work was good. It is mostly good these days. Today marks my six-month anniversary in my new workplace. It is not perfect; nowhere ever is. But for the last six months I haven’t felt physically sick at the thought of going in. There is no policy to have your colleagues go through everything you’ve done with a fine-toothed comb actively looking for fault. The bosses don’t stand over your shoulder watching your every move hoping to catch you out. I’ve not been asked to do the supervisory work for which I was turned down for promotion but the chap who was given the job was unable to do.
I’m happy at work, which is more than I’ve been for several years.
25 July 2017 (Tuesday) - Free Food
I slept well, I didn’t wake until nearly 6am which was something of a result. Over brekkie I watched an old episode of ”Dad’s Army” then sparked up my lap-top to have my usual morning rummage in cyber-space. With nothing going on in there I set off to work.
I went to get petrol; having filled the tank I joined the queue at the till. We waited. And waited. Rather than taking money the person on duty at the petrol station was sweeping an already clean floor. After a few minutes one of the chaps queuing with me asked how long she’d be. She looked up and did a double-take. Did she *really* have no idea how many people were waiting?
I got to work and did my bit. Yesterday I mentioned how happy I was at work; today I was rather surprised to hear that a chap who started only a few weeks before me was actively seeking work elsewhere. He isn’t at all impressed with the early starts and late finishes. It is a discussion I have had so many times over the years. Having a shift pattern which effectively covers every hour of every day is an integral part of working in a hospital. Surely people realise this when they first consider applying to work in one, and if that doesn’t occur to them, then don’t they pay attention when the working pattern is described at interview?
At lunchtime we had something of a treat… or so we’d hoped. A rep was coming to tell us the latest developments in the world of von Willebrand’s disease. The chap turned up, put up a PowerPoint presentation that someone else had made, and read the slides to us in a dull monotone. I slept through most of it. I’m told I didn’t actually snore.
Although we got free dinner, it was forty-five minutes of my life that I would like back.
As I came home my phone beeped with a Facebook notification. A chap with whom I’d once worked had died. I was rather amazed to read the glowing obituaries that some of his other colleagues had left for him. No one liked him, and now people who wouldn’t have pissed on him if he was on fire are now crying for the loss of their best friend in the world.
I realise it is bad form to speak ill of the dead, but is it really? Why paint the chap to be some sort of wonder-saint? He was a scout leader at the same time that I was. Scout leaders make a promise to keep the Scout Law. The very first part of it says “a scout is to be trusted”. I don’t think this chap said a true word ever. I certainly lost count of the amount of lies he fed us at work; I wouldn’t trust him to tell the time.
I still ache from the canoeing… Being in constant pain is making me *such* a misery-guts…
26 July 2017 (Wednesday) – Stuff
At the weekend I was whinging that the catch-up TV had forgotten every mention of the program “Uncle”. Overnight the Sky-Plus box recorded two episodes of the show. That was kind of it. I watched one over brekkie. As I watched, the puppy came downstairs looking very proud of herself; she was chewing on a plastic coat hanger. I got said plastic coat hanger off of her (before she hurt herself), but she saw that as the opening gambit in a game of “attack!” and I then spent ten minutes fending off a furry shark.
With a few minutes to spare I had a little look on Facebook. An old pub in Ashford (which has been closed for years and has had a fire) is to be demolished and a block of flats will be built on the site. Quite a few people were complaining on the local Facebook pages about how the town is losing more of its heritage. How does that work? The place was boarded up for years and looked frankly awful. And following the fire it looked like something awful that had had a fire. Is that the heritage that people want to preserve? Or are they talking about the pub itself? If people want local pubs they’ve got to use them. Much as I like a trip to the pub, it is a treat these days, not the regular occurrence it was for people all those years ago.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were still banging on about Princess Diana’s death. Today they were interviewing her brother about the eulogy he gave at her funeral, and asking if it really was a dig at the Royal Family. The poor chap was really in a difficult position; pointed questions from the radio presenters were trying to make him run down the Royals.
There was also a lot of talk about the Charlie Gard case. On the one hand are health professionals with years of experience of such cases. On the other hand are vulnerable parents egged on by foreign medics who had never seen the child until a day or so ago, and who presumably hoped to profit from the suffering of others. This case reminds me of so many other cases. The word is full of crackpots offering cures that proper medicine cannot offer. The chap who was best man at my wedding has a hereditary form of blindness. The NHS said as much, but when he was a teenager the people of the town raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to send him to a clinic in Switzerland (several times). Needless to say it achieved nothing, and the clinic has long been exposed as a scam.
I got to work and had a rather busy day. Ernie was fine, but Eric was troublesome. It’s an echoing problem…
I feel rather tired now. I seem to be getting more and more tired in the early evenings…
27 July 2017 (Thursday) - More Stuff
I slept well; over brekkie I watched the second episode of “Uncle” that the Sky-Plus box had found for me, then sparked up my lap-top. I had an invite to a party in a couple of weels time, but unfortunately I’m working that night. If only I’d had more notice about it.
I had an email from Geocaching dot com – apparently I got an e-souvenir last week. I’ve no idea how. And with nothing else going on in cyber-space I set off to find my car. Ideally I would have parked it outside my house, but someone else parked their car rather thoughtlessly there on Monday and has left it effectively blocking two parking spaces. I expect they’ve parked it there and gone on holiday on the EuroStar. Certainly a cheaper option than paying car park charges.
I got in my car and set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the Government’s announcement that they are undertaking a study to find out just how many EU citizens are working in the UK and to find out exactly what jobs they are doing.
I would have thought that this was something that the Government should have done years ago. There was an interview featuring some old windbag from the Government (don't know who he was) and from what I could work out, the general feeling of the Government was that the European citizens are probably doing the sort of jobs that the British simply don't want to do. The implication was that in a few years’ time the likes of Costa and Starbucks will close down and the hospitals will get dirtier and dirtier because the EU citizens will have been sent home, and the Brits don't want to work in jobs like that.
However (to be fair) I could have misunderstood what was being said; the chap speaking did mumble and mutter. You would think the BBC would sound-check these people, and if their voices are incoherent they wouldn't allow them on the radio.
As I had a few minutes spare I had another (third) look for that geocache for which I got the clues in Aylesford cemetery a little while ago. I'd had a hint from a friend, and I found the thing. Mind you my piss boiled. There was a playpark not twenty yards away from where the cache was hidden. I get so wound up by this sort of thing. I've tried to hide so many caches and had them turned down because a playpark was within a hundred yards, and now this is yet another one almost on top of a kiddies play area.
I got to work and did that which I couldn't avoid. I had a rather busy day; which was something of a shame. But on the plus side we all got a slice of home-made rocky road cake. Very good home-made rocky road cake too!
Once home we walked the dogs round the park. Treacle charged off into the distance as Fudge straggled behind.
I wonder what’s for dinner…
28 July 2017 (Friday) - Found a Dog
I slept well despite the dogs arguing over a bone (on the bed) at 3am. Over brekkie I looked into cyber-space. Several of my friends who work(ed) at EuroStar were having their last day at work today. New beginnings for them; always exciting. I wonder when my last day at work will be; originally it was planned to be Friday 10 September 2021. But changes to pension rules have put paid to that; realistically it will be some time in 2030 unless someone sticks the knife in (again) or if I get offered early retirement. I would take redundancy, but I once heard that the NHS doesn’t offer redundancy when you are over fifty. I wonder if that is still the case? Or even if it is true?
As I messed about with my lap-top the dogs continued arguing about bones. Mind you I say “dogs”; to be fair it was my dog who was at fault. The puppy had one bone which he wanted. I offered him five others, and still he obstinately demanded the bone she had.
I had a plan for the morning; I took the dogs for an early walk. Treacle ran in terror from every other dog we met. As we walked through the park we met a chap with whom I used to work seven years ago. I wasn’t happy when I worked there; he is still there and is thoroughly miserable with the place.
As we carried on through the co-op field we met another dog. I can only describe him as my grand-dog Rolo’s big brother; a sort of yorkie-chihuahua cross. He played very nicely with my two and followed us all the way across the field. And then on into William Road. I tried to chase him back into the field, but he wouldn’t go. I asked a couple of passers-by if they knew the dog; they didn’t. It was at this point that he ran into the road…
A passing nice lady (with small children) held up the traffic whilst we (eventually) captured the small dog. He took some capturing. And once I was holding him I then wondered what to do. He had no collar or any form of identification. So I carried him to the vets in the hope that he was chipped and that they might be able to scan the chip and find out where he belonged. He wasn’t heavy, but carrying him did my arm no favours.
Leaving our new friend at the vets I brought my two home through the pouring rain. We’d been home long enough for the dogs to eat their breakfast when my mobile rang. It was the vets; they’d contacted the missing dog’s family and he’d been collected already.
I looked out of the kitchen window. Torrential rain. So much for my plan. I had intended to get the walk done and the lawn mowed before the rain hit, and even some garden trivia done but no such luck. Instead I pootled about a bit before setting off to work for the late shift.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were wittering on about the latest developments in Aleppo. I didn’t really want to depress myself with an update on a war zone, so I turned off the radio and sang along to Kate Bush, Sparks, ELO, Carly Simon, BA Robertson and all sorts of stuff.
As I drove the weather cheered up somewhat, so I took ten minutes for a spot of geocaching. One cache was cleverly hidden on a pavement; the other had originally been idiotically hidden by a scout hut but had clearly vanished.
29 July 2017 (Saturday) - PARTY!!!
I started the day with an argument. Yesterday I went looking for a geocache in Ditton. In this case the location was in a seriously stupid place – you have to go up a drive marked “Private” then walk along a strip of land six feet wide between the scout hut and the fence marking off the scout hut. It is not possible to avoid looking suspicious. The hide is clearly described (albeit 17 metres awry), and the cache isn’t there. The GPS takes you to a mess of stinging nettles and brambles.
I had a whinge about it on the “Geocaching in Kent” Facebook page last night and some bloke from Suffolk had a pop at me this morning saying how I should offer the scouts who hid it help rather than criticism. He might have had a point when the thing went live eighteen months ago, but I did thirteen years as a scout leader. Time for someone else to give up their life. Perhaps this bloke in Suffolk might get off his arse and help the Ditton Scouts (I typed sarcastically).
But isn’t this entirely the problem with social media. From one or two throwaway comments we all make major judgements about each other. For all I know this chap might be really involved in local scouting where he lives. He might be a pillar of his local community. He might even be the leader of the Ditton scouts and hasn’t updated his social media profile. I just see some new name appearing on the Internet and after a few key strokes make all sorts of assumptions about him.
The phone rang; someone with an incredibly thick Indian accent claiming to be “Brian” gibbered on at me whilst conducting a survey about my new Hotpoint washing machine. I agreed to everything he asked about my new Hotpoint washing machine, all the time being fully aware that I had a rather old Hoover one. Bearing in mind I always talk rubbish to these surveys, you have to wonder just what value any of them have,
I then scrubbed out the food waste bin. Whilst recycling is a good idea in theory, in practice keeping food waste about for a week over the summer is a daft idea. If anyone can come up with a way of doing it that *doesn’t* need a bin full of maggots needing bleaching out every week, I’m all ears.
Knowing full well that the park run people would be monopolising the park this morning we walked the dogs round the co-op field instead. The walk passed off without incident; for which we were both grateful.
I then drove us out to Linton for the monthly geo-meet. It was good to meet up with friends and talk Tupperware. The dogs behaved themselves too (well, Fudge did). We came home, settled the dogs and went to Tesco for cupcakes, and having dropped them off at the Windmill for later we came home. I ran round with the Hoover; Treacle pissed on my bed in protest. Nice one (!)
Eventually we were ready; I drove us round to collect "Daddy’s Little Angel TM", "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and Sam, and soon we were at the Windmill. For some years I’ve been wondering about what we should do for "er indoors TM" big birthday. Anne and Chip had suggested a party at the Windmill, and it was an idea which worked beyond my wildest hopes. In retrospect we probably invited three quarters of the people we should have done. And there’s no denying that I was getting disheartened by the amount of people sending apologies. But we had a whale of a time. There was well over fifty family and friends along; we couldn’t have fitted more people in. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and Cheryl had made a really good job of preparing the room and Anne and Chip had done a wonderful spread for us. And the ale selection was not too shabby at all.
It all got rather vague towards the end… did we really do the “Baby Shark” dance?
30 July 2017 (Sunday) - The Day After
There’s no denying that I wasn’t feeling the full one hundred per cent this morning. Perhaps it was in some way connected with my having done each of the ale pumps three times over last night. Mind you I did have a better than usual sleep; having house guests overnight gave the puppy someone else to bother in the small hours.
Over coffee we played the “Baby Shark” (doo doo doo doo doo doo) video ad nauseum until it was time for brekkie. Knowing that there would be a few of us who would be up for a Full English I’d checked with Brookfield Café on Friday. They were under new management, and they assured me they opened at 8.30am on Sundays. I was just a tad pissed off to get there at 10am to find the place closed and the shutters down. But the town centre was only a few minutes away.
In Vicarage Lane car park we were harangued by a local tramp. This local tramp is famous on the local Facebook pages as she is often seen stealing bicycles. She gave me a sob story; I explained that everyone in the town knows she is a thief, and I suggested she might try another town where she isn’t known. (I’m mean like that). She muttered something about “bloody Facebook” and started begging from another passer-by.
We had planned to go to the Gorge for brekkie; we found ourselves in Café Express. A happy accident. They had set breakfasts, or you could have an “eat all you can of what you can” so being greedy most of us went for that. Perhaps that was a mistake; “all I can eat” is effectively one plate of the stuff, and the set breakfast came with a cup of coffee whereas on the “all you can eat” the coffee was extra.
As I shovelled fry-up into my face I had words to say about chips. Chips with breakfast? No! There are a lot of things you can have with brekkie, but chips? And bubble and squeak – should it have curry powder in it? And tomatoes – tinned (no!) or fried (yes!). And what sort of weirdoes do or don’t eat black pudding?
It was good to bandy insults with Terry and Irene and Mark and Sam and Jimbo; we don’t see them anywhere near as often as we might.
We said our goodbyes, then went round to the Windmill to collect my car. A cup of coffee, then we took the dogs for a walk on the Romney Marsh. We set off for a few geocaches as they marked out a route (if nothing else). Our first target would seem to have been long gone; we got to within ten yards of our second target before discovering we were on the wrong side of a drainage ditch. But we eventually found some Tupperware for which I was pleased, even if I did rick my back at one point.
There was a minor episode when the puppy was obviously chewing something. After a minor tussle we extracted a small dead rodent from her mouth. "er indoors TM" was of the opinion that it was a shrew; it might have been. I don’t know. I wasn’t keen on getting too involved, so we threw the corpse of whatever it was into one of the thickets. There was then another altercation as the puppy tried to go retrieve it. Disgusting creature !! (both the puppy and the dead rodent).
I took a few photos as we walked. You can see them here.
Once home "er indoors TM" set about hand-washing the duvet the puppy had tiddled on yesterday whilst I mowed the lawn. There was a minor hiccup when the handle of the lawn mower broke. I’ve not so much fixed it as bodged it back together again. And with the lawn given a serious hacking I then trimmed back the jungle coming over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door. I would have words with her about it if we were on speaking terms.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good but of dinner, and I then ironed shirts and trousers whilst watching last week’s “Dark Matter”.
“Poldark” is on in a moment. I hope I can stay awake; I’ve had a rather busy weekend…
31 July 2017 (Monday) - Five Years Later...
I slept reasonably well; waking shortly after 6am. Over brekkie I watched the episode of “Game of Thrones” which had been broadcast at 2am. I could have got up and watched it at 2am, but leaving it for a bit meant I could fast-forward through the adverts. The show was good but I’m still rather confused with who is who and what is going on.
I then sparked up my lap-top. There was something of a hiccup as the Firefox browser refused to open. After a little farting about it got going again but seemed to have lost all the personalisation I’d put into it. I wonder what had gone wrong. I suspect it has had an automatic upgrade. It’s an IT thing; i wish they wouldn’t mess about like that.
I eventually got on-line to see not much had happened overnight. I read that Peter Capaldi was hoping to star as “Blakey” in a re-make of “On The Buses”. It might be interesting; I doubt it would work. When “On The Buses” first aired, people used buses. I can’t remember the last time I took a bus anywhere.
I took the dogs for an early walk round the park. As always Treacle ran in panic from pretty much every dog we met. She actually screamed in terror twice and jumped (in a single bound) from floor to my shoulder purely because bigger dogs came near. Silly puppy. This is just another reason why walking the dogs isn't the pleasure it used to be. One is constantly charging off in front and then terrified of its own shadow; the other straggles twenty yards behind alternately fighting and humping all comers. I was glad to get home after today's debacle.
Once home I gave the hounds their breakfasts. They promptly swapped and ate each other's. I wish they wouldn't do that. We fart about getting "senior" food for one and specialist puppy food for the other, but they would both happily eat anything (including dead mice and fox poo) but their intended meals.
I then drove round to deliver "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" 's car seat which had been left in my car since Saturday. As I drove the radio was playing some documentary about partition in India (?) but the show's Bollywood howling was just so dire that I turned it off and I howled along to music of my own choosing.
I got to Newtown to find "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was running round in the nip, and Sam had the arse as Pogo had just eaten his shoes. I thought about relating the anecdote of when Fudge was a baby and he ate his own bed, but thought better of doing so. For all that Pogo probably needed an ally, I decided it was prudent not to hang about, and I set off on a little geo-mission instead.
Today is something of an anniversary. Five years ago I found my first geocache which was hidden in the graveyard at Kingsnorth church. It is still there now. It seemed like fun at the time, and since then I’ve found eight thousand three hundred and eighty-six more. In that time I’ve travelled over twenty thousand miles travelling from cache to cache. The silly game was had me camping in Cornwall on a Bank Holiday and seen me waving at webcams at Warwick university and at Banbury Cross. It has had me organising virtual ghost hunts around London and rescuing bats at Dover’s Western Heights. It has had me canoeing and climbing trees. I’ve been to eighty-seven formal organised events and met no end of new friends. Here’s to the next five years…
Some months ago I'd solved a few geo-puzzles vaguely on the way to Maidstone, so this morning I went to find them. Some were easy finds, one rather tricky. I did have a wry smile when I saw that in some cases the names on the paper log in the caches bore no relation to the names on the logs on-line. I shall watch and wait for the self-appointed geo-police to get involved. They usually do. You would never believe just how much bad feeling gets stirred up if someone has forgotten to write their name on a bit of paper.
As I was driving past it anyway I even fitted in a field puzzle which had me stomping round a rather scenic church (in some village I never knew existed) trying to count gargoyles. In years gone by I would never have thought I would be counting gargoyles as a prerequisite to rummaging in a bush. It was certainly never on any life-plan I might have made.
Life never quite turns out as you expect it might, does it?
With five caches found (one for each year I've done in this hobby) I drove up to Sainsburys for a spot of shopping. I was glad I did; they were giving away free bottles of milk shake. I guzzled my freebie, then went on to McDonalds for McLunch where I made a McPig of myself, and had McGutsache for the rest of the day.
My McDonalds before the late shift has been noticed; colleagues now all ask what I had for McLunch when I come in at mid-day. Some are rather jealous; one even mentioned she likes McDinner but wouldn't dare go into the place on her own.
I wondered why, I didn't like to ask though. I would suggest that she comes with me, but she might get the wrong idea. Perhaps *that* is why she don't go into McDonalds on her own.
Mind you if I was planning to "try it on" I'd suggest somewhere a bit more upmarket than Aylesford's McDonalds.... or would I? Probably not...