1 July 2020 (Wednesday) - Late Shift
I had a shave with a new razor blade today. Those who sell the things advise it should be changed weekly; the old one did me for two months and was still perfectly serviceable yesterday.
Being a new month my lap-top proudly told me of how many cyber-threats it had thwarted in June. It claimed it had blocked a thousand risky connections and protected twenty-two thousand of my files (I never knew I had so many). An in the same spirit of helpfulness it then offered to shred everything on the hard drive just in case. Just in case of what was unclear, so I declined the kind offer.
As I peered into the internet I had a message from an old colleague. There was a vacancy in a supervisory role at one of the (relatively) nearby private hospitals; did I want her to put in a word for me? Quite frankly I didn’t. I’m quite content working where I am. Having spent thirty years in (what was in retrospect) a rather toxic working environment I’m very happy where I am. The travel might be “a pain the in the glass” sometimes but it is a small price to pay for not feeling sick at the thought of having to contend with certain people every day. I’m sticking with what I know for my last few working years.
I saw a family member was still posting stark staring nonsense about the supposed health risks of 5G technology. He seems to want to believe it is dangerous even though h there is no end of information disproving that which he is posting. There seems to be more and more people wanting to believe in crap which has long been disproved these days. Only a couple of weeks ago one told me that I could believe my facts and she would believe hers. Even though her “facts” were made-up bollox.
I kicked everyone out of the Munzee clan in readiness for a new Clan War, then together with "er indoors TM" I took the dogs out to Great Chart where we walked from the cricket club up to the river. The dogs do like spuddling in the water, but Treacle does get very over-excited. "er indoors TM" video-ed some of the fun. As we walked the dogs were very well-behaved, but we did have a “near-miss episode” – an idiot farmer had driven into his sheep field and had deliberately left the gate from the track to the field open. Fortunately I’d spotted that (and we got the dogs on their leads) and even more fortunately the dogs didn’t react to the sheep. You would have thought that the farmer would have taken a few seconds to close the gate, wouldn’t you?
Once home I made a cuppa, then chased up an outstanding Lego order I’d made. Seeing how I like the 1970s style Lego I’m having to order the stuff second-hand. I’ve found a website called Bricklink which is effectively eBay for Lego. So far I have only ordered a dozen or so items, but I’m getting about an 80% delivery rate. Compare this to eBay or Amazon who have never once failed to deliver in hundreds of transactions. Am I just unlucky? I was looking at getting some electrical connectors this morning. I found what I wanted and it was advertised as “from £0.14”. So I clicked on the link and saw it wasn’t “from £0.14” at all. It was actually “from £3.87”.
I played “Cookie Jam” on Facebook Games for a while then set off to work.
I picked up "Hannah" (my GPS unit) and set off to work. Earlier I'd read a minor squabble on one of the geocaching pages asking just how reliable is the mileage quoted by sat-navs when they record a route. I've always thought that "Hannah" over-estimates distances walked. Someone else was saying that their car's GPS never matched their hand-held one. But how can anyone know how accurate a GPS unit is? Bearing in mind that measuring stuff is what I do for a living I'd had an idea....
I got into my car, zero-ed "Hannah" and the car's journey trip meter and set off to work. I got there to find both were reading twenty-five point two miles. Google Maps said the journey from my house to the hospital's front door was twenty-four point seven miles, so allowing for a little farting around driving right round the hospital's orbital ring road thingy to the car park, I'd say both were about right. So "Hannah" (and my car's odometer) are accurate (get the right value), but are they precise (get the same value on multiple measurements)?
I re-set them and measured the mileage home – twenty-five point four miles on both… but then the one-way system out of the hospital does go a little further on the way out than on the way in.
I wonder just how many other people have done this measurement... I expect most people have better things to do with their few remaining years...
2 July 2020 (Thursday) - Four and a Half Miles
I slept well – when the dogs are settled, so is everyone else.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “F is for Family” (which has improved over the last few episodes) then sparked up the lap-top. Apart from my cousin having made a cake, very little had happened on Facebook overnight; in fact the most exciting stuff on social media this morning were the “likes” and comments on the videos that "er indoors TM" had made on our dog walk yesterday. However, despite my having unsubscribed from most of the local buying and selling groups there were no end of adverts for stuff for sale locally. Facebook seems to be fast becoming a rather chaotic version of eBay
I did have some emails though. Sixty-one “found it” logs on geocaches that I’ve hidden over the last year. People are getting something from my efforts, which is something of a result.
Yesterday I established that my GPS unit “Hannah” is both accurate and precise (with less than one per cent error in fifty miles). This morning I started the “drift” test. There is a theory that the things just add distance whilst sitting still and doing nothing, so I turned it on, sat it on the windowsill (where I would get a good GPS signal) and left it whilst I went to work.
Eventually remembering where I'd parked my car I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing some head teacher or other who was expounding his views on how his school is going to operate for the foreseeable future. Apparently the children will be "safely apart" if not "socially distanced" but this chap openly admitted that all of his plans will fall over if anyone actually goes down with COVID-19.
Not so much planning for the future as burying his head in the sand?
There was then an interview with Lord Heseltine. He was big in government thirty years ago, and he's apparently revitalized many of the northern cities. He was asked for his opinion on how the government should repair the economy after lock-down. He then proceeded to waste ten minutes of prime-time radio by making all sorts of unintelligible grunting noises (like many upper-class twits make) rather than speaking understandable English words.
I got to work; the new car park had opened, and the security staff were herding people about. What is it with security staff? I'm sure there must be some who are decent people and not officious little bullies, but I've yet to meet any.
I did my bit, and with my bit done I came home to an empty house. "er indoors TM" had taken the dogs out, so I fed the fish (inside and out), fed the washing machine, fed myself, and killed time until it was twelve hours after I’d set “Hannah” going.
"er indoors TM" assures me that she hadn’t been playing silly beggars. I suspected that the odometer would go up a little just leaving the thing where it was. But only a little. I was amazed to see that it thought it had travelled four and a half miles when in fact it had gone nowhere.
Interestingly that’s adding (about) a third of a mile an hour which (almost exactly) explains yesterday’s discrepancy between what “Hannah” and Google’s estimates of my journey to work.
Whilst I waited for "er indoors TM" to return I tuned into the weekly on-line geo-meet. It was good to catch up with people.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather god bit of scoff which we washed down with a half-way decent bottle of plonk whilst watching “Fun With Dick and Jane”’ a film I could distinctly remember as being far better than it was.
3 July 2020 (Friday) - New Blogger Publisher
Over a bowl of granola I watched the last episode of the current series of “F Is For Family”. Now that is watched I wonder what I can watch next in the mornings.
As it finished so Treacle came downstairs carrying a pair of socks. I ignored her. Some dogs (Fudge) destroy things; Treacle doesn’t. She just walks round showing off when she had something she thinks she isn’t allowed to have. If you ignore her she generally loses interest.
As always I sparked up my lap-top to see if I’d missed much overnight. More had happened last night than the night before. One friend was posting from a hospital (no idea why), it would seem to have been very hot in America, and there had been quite a bit of action on the Facebook group “Extreme Dishwasher Loading” where I seem to have become rather judgemental of other people’s dishys.
I saw that “Unknown” had made a comment on my blog entry of 1 January 2019. On that day I had a rant about how I don’t like people spouting motivational rubbish on social media, I talked about the walk we had around Burham, and I watched an episode of “Doctor Who”. On reading this “Unknown” somehow formed the idea that I would like to “do the dirty deed” with him/her/it. “Unknown” is out of luck today.
As I walked to my car I captured the Munzees down the road that I’d been saving. The new Munzee clan war started today and I’ve evos and jewels and resets to do. I’m quite getting into this Munzee thing – there’s a lot more to it than just randomly scanning barcodes that have been stuck on to lamp posts.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the disgraced Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. Apparently the American authorities are very keen to interview Prince Andrew about his alleged involvement in the case, whilst Prince Andrew’s lackeys have contacted the American authorities twice only to be ignored. One side is lying…
I got to work; I did far more than I hoped I might have to do and came home. I am reliably informed I drove past "er indoors TM" and the dogs.
I came home to find I had some post. Two months ago I ordered some Lego dogs which hadn’t arrived, so I ordered more on Monday. Today they all arrived, and unfortunately they are too small.
"er indoors TM" boiled up fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching Gordon Ramsey’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back (which seemed rather scripted), and then I ironed some shirts whilst celebrity Googlebox played. With a couple of dozen celebrities I’d heard of three of them, and one of them is famous for being famous. I could do that….
And when I came to publish today's entry I found that Blogger has a new publishing page. I don't like it... If I can't get to grips with it I shall be relocating the blog...
4 July 2020 (Saturday) - Late Shift
I didn’t wake up until quarter to eight – that’s something of a lie-in. I’d just had my shave when I heard my phone beep. A new geocache had gone live five miles away. With a little time on my hands I got dressed, ran down the road, drove out to Wye, and twenty-four minutes later I was doing the happy dance having been the first one to find it. There are those who delight in the FTF – I’m happy to get one a month, and that’s me now done for July. As I drove home I went via the main roads. I’d gone out along the back lanes to avoid getting stuck at the railway crossing, and as I drove home (I could be mistaken) I saw what looked to be the local predominant hunter of FTFs who had been stuck in the queue when the railway crossing had closed.
I came home and had a later-than-usual brekkie. I gloated on Facebook about the FTF. With “Unknown” still bombarding me with requests to “do the dirty deed” I’ve had to tweak the settings of this blog. I’ve gone from hardly any comments to having loads; all of them being rather unmoral.
My in-box had over sixty “found it” logs on geocaches I’d hidden which I saw as a result.
I had hoped to take the dogs to Orlestone Woods this morning, but with time pushing on we just walked the local roads scanning random bar codes on equally random lamp posts as we went. The dogs behaved themselves, and we came home past the corner shop where we got a couple of almond croissants which we scoffed with a cuppa.
The postie had been with the Lego I’d ordered on Monday; I quite like my Lego crocodile. I then ordered what I think I actually wanted when I ordered the wrong thing on Monday
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio really were saying "blah blah dull, blah blah dull". Sometimes Radio Four can be insightful, sometimes it is interesting or amusing, but sometimes it is tedious. So I turned it off and sang along to the strange music in my car.
I got to work and had a plate of macaroni cheese, then tackled writing up a little CPD. Whilst doing this I figured out how to re-set the Blogger editing software back to how it used to be (and back to how I liked it) from how the people at Blogger have changed it (yuk!)
I do wish IT people wouldn't fiddle with things.
With the rest of the country now able to go to the pub and go have a haircut, I got on with the late shift. I wasn't missing much; I suppose I am very lucky in that lock-down hasn't really affected me that much at all. I've been doing my own haircuts for twenty years now, so going to the barber doesn't feature in my life. And as for going to the pub...
We might call in on one tomorrow, but beer is nearly a fiver a pint in the pub, pubs are restricted to what beers the landlord has got in (often a rather basic choice) and you have to put up with the Great Unwashed swarming around.
I'm fast preferring to get a very good pint of a decent ale or lager of my own choice from the shops (for less than a third of the pub's price), and drink it with good company well away from the Swarming Hoardes.
Work was work, but as an added bonus there was cake. This was unusual for a Saturday. Being at work I did miss the Saturday on-line quiz, but that is something which isn't what it was. When I started the quizzes going (a few months ago) I mentioned on Facebook that I wanted to do a quiz, and the first one or two involved only the family and friends who'd responded to my suggestion.
As time has gone on, family and many friends have dropped by the wayside and the thing seems to have become something (exclusively?) for the Kent geo-gang. I can't honestly say that this is any better or any worse. It's different, and I don't do "change" very well...
5 July 2020 (Sunday) - Shoreham
I woke at half past four feeling like death warmed up. I popped to the loo, and went back to bed thinking that I would have to cry off from today’s planned walk.
I went back to sleep and woke two hours later feeling fine. What was that all about?
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook. A friend of mine was asking about why people were lighting candles in a cathedral. Supposedly for victims of COVID-19 it begged the question of why God wasn’t being seen to be doing very much. I’ve been asking this question since the mid-1980s. Back then I was a Steward in the Methodist church (I was one of four who hired and fired the vicar). After quite a few years I came to the realisation that I didn’t believe a word of the religion. Rather than believing, I was actually desperately hoping that it was true because the thought of a world in which the creator of it wasn’t my best friend was rather frightening. What finally made me see sense was that I was constantly making excuses for a God that was (at best) utterly disinterested in the world. I read posts from the religious to see if they have the answers I’m looking for. So far none of them have anything other than misguided desperation to offer, but hope springs eternal.
I then took umbrage with something that someone had written on a “found it” log on a relatively local geocache (not one of mine), so I posted a pointed comment on the local geocaching Facebook page. It never fails to amaze me (in all walks of life) that those who have very little experience of whether it is think they know better than those who’ve been doing it for years.
I checked my emails – another two comments had been posted to the blog from “Unknown” who is desperate for me do “do the dirty deed” with him/her/it. I can’t find any option to report “Unknown” to the feds for porn-mongering, which is a shame. However I did have another fifty “found it” logs gushing praise on my geocaches, so that was a result.
And there was another update from “Neighbourhood Watch”. Again my area remained crime-free whilst the supposedly posher parts of town seem to be as lawless as the wild west.
We got the dogs organised and into the car, and Munzee-ed all the way to Shoreham where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. We sparked up out sat-navs and set off on a rather good walk around the Shoreham area. We followed a well-marked route along the river and then back to the car park along some rather pretty footpaths. There was one stretch of lane which was rather busy, but I suspect that was a feature of the loosening of lock-down.
We were rather pleased to find a little ice-cream stall randomly along one of the footpaths. And in a sign of our times this little stall in the back of beyond only took card payments, and offered receipts by email. A tub of lavender ice-cream went down very well. The dogs shared a tub of vanilla ice cream – they seemed to enjoy it. In all the excitement of dogs eating ice creams none of the normal people saw me getting the geocache which was not ten yards from the ice cream stall, doing the secret rituals, and then stuffing it back in its hidey-hole.
At the end of the walk we had a look at the pub – it was rather heaving and there were no spaces at all. But we didn’t mind – we’d had a drink with our picnic (whilst the dogs enjoyed their rice) when we sat overlooking one of the most beautiful views you ever did see.
There were a *lot* of people out and about today. We smiled and greeted all the people as we went; perhaps one in four smiled back. The others pointedly ignored us or looked down on us as though I was the sh*t on their shoe. As we rummaged in the undergrowth we met another set of geocachers – they too were stand-off-ish to the point of rudeness. Such a shame – does it cause these people physical harm to be civil?
Geocache-wise this route is excellent. Caches hidden away from the normal people, but quite quickly found by us; all relatively big with many large enough to hold swappable thingies for the kiddies. What I particularly liked about this route was that we’d walked it at least twice before, The chap who’d hidden the caches (like me) thinks that cache routes have a fixed life span, and when they are only being found about once a month or so then it is time to replace them. That way people can have another visit to a rather pretty part of the world. You can see how beautiful it is from the photos I took today.
I slept all the way home.
Once home "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scran. She wasn’t impressed with what she’d boiled up, but I thought it was rather good. As we scoffed it we watched an episode of “Taskmaster”, then tuned into the Sunday evening Zoom catch-up.
I think I caught the sun today; I’m feeling absolutely all-in. An early night might be in order…
6 July 2020 (Monday) - This n That
I slept for over eight hours last night. That rarely happens. I made myself a bowl of granola and watched an episode of “Pure”. I watched the first episode a week or so ago and wasn’t impressed – the second episode was much better.
I then sparked up my lap-top… and rebooted it again. Eventually it started working properly. I had my usual rummage on Facebook including having a look at the identical postings on both of the local geocaching groups. Since the demise of the original local geo-group two new groups have sprung up. They aren’t in competition at all, but rather than using one group in preference to the other, most people seem to be posting the same stuff to both. It would be nice if we only had one, but better two than none, I suppose.
“Unknown” was still sending me obscene emails, so I’ve tweaked the blog settings. Hopefully I’ve put a stop to that nonsense.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the government have allocated one billion and a half billion quid for "the arts". A life-line has been thrown to the arty-farty theatres which looked set to go bankrupt because they are struggling to keep afloat what with the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions which forbid them from opening.
Meanwhile the government has published a list of acceptable holiday destinations.
It seems odd that people can sit next to each other on an aeroplane but can't sit next to each other in a theatre.
"Thought For The Day" was equally odd. Some leading light in the world of Catholic studies had been wheeled on to blather platitudes. Apparently the churches had all re-opened yesterday. This woman who was blathering was saying how it was nice to have someone else leading the God-bothering because it gave all the women a rest. It was claimed that over the last few months women had been taking on the role of "priest" (in various support bubbles) what with churches being closed. You would have thought that a leading light in the world of Catholic studies would have known that women are specifically forbidden from being priests in the Catholic church, wouldn't you?
Meanwhile with over a hundred earthquakes in the area recently the super-volcano in Yellowstone Park would seem to be about to go Ka-Boom... or is it.
The headline has you believe that an Earth-shattering (literally) event is about to take place but when you read the article one of the experts says "So in fact, we're sort of on the low side of average this month."
This is exactly the scaremongering that had no one take the COVID-19 crisis seriously, isn't it?
I got to work, and once i'd deployed (as one does) I spent much of the day peering down a microscope where I seemed to be using the word "anisopoikilocytosis" a lot. I suspect that I was in a minority by doing so. I wonder whether that had anything to do with the headache that lasted all morning.
As I worked I had an email. The bosses had thought that the entire workforce might benefit from reading "Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty".
At first it sounds rather hippy-tree-hugging nonsense, but there's one or two useful snippets in there. And reading it made a nice change from doing work.
With work done I set off to Aldi where the staff there were far more welcoming than they were the last time I visited. I got some vital supplies (wine, port and amaretto) then came home.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and we spent far too long sniggering at poor Treacle who was snapping at a particularly annoying fly…
I’m glad my headache has finally gone.
7 July 2020 (Tuesday) - Hic...
Over a bowl of granola I watched another episode of “Pure”. After a rather weak first episode the series has improved in leaps and bounds. It is a shame that the leading protagonist has to “do the dirty deed” quite so often, but at least both her and her “porking associate” both keep their pants on when they do so.
I then turned on the lap-top (which booted up far faster than it did yesterday) to see what had happened overnight. The unmoral emails from “Unknown” have stopped (for the time being), but other than that, not a lot had been going on.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Prime Minister has made an idiot of himself yet again. With the pandemic being seen to be on the wane, he is now looking to assign blame for the whole sorry mess. Having lambasted Public Health England last week, today he was blaming the people who run care homes for their failings. It is so easy to point out someone's mistakes after the event; even more so when at the time no one knew that what they were doing was a mistake.
When the pandemic started the Prime Minister excelled himself - his TV appearances were almost statesman-like. Faced with national disaster he had the opportunity to become one of the nation's best Prime Ministers. He could have been a latter-day Churchill, but as the crisis has gone on he’s had his chance and blown it. Effectively pissing on his own chips he's shown himself to be something of an embarrassment time and again.
There was also quite a bit of talk about the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The head honcho at the Royal Society has announced that people should wear then all the time. However it was intimated on the radio this morning that there is quite a bit of evidence to suggest the things have been of no use whatsoever in stopping the spread of flu in Asia on several occasions. Is this true? I don't know. But I suspect that truth is utterly irrelevant when up against popular opinion.
I got to work in good time and did what I had to do. I rather amazed myself at identifying an anti-M that only reacts with the homozygous (As they so often do)
An early start made for an early finish. I came home, collected "er indoors TM" and the wolf-pack and we drove down to Orlestone Woods where we had a rather good walk. Other dogs were shouting noisily; Pogo just walked straight past them. Fudge did disgrace himself by trying to play “dog piggy back” but his new-found friend wasn’t having any of it. The other dog’s owners were rather taken aback when their dog snapped at Fudge, and were very apologetic. But (as I said to them) if more dogs told Fudge off, he wouldn’t keep doing it. Ironically the other dog was called “Roger” (!), and having been told off, Fudge then totally ignored Roger.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a very good bottle of red wine, then we tuned into a virtual birthday party during which I made a serious dent in a bottle of amaretto.
It all became rather vague…
8 July 2020 (Wednesday) - Rather Dull
I opened a new load of granola this morning. Tropical fruits flavour. Quite possibly the highlight of the day…
As I scoffed it I watched another episode of “Pure” in which the characters all “did the dirty deed” with each other whilst keeping their pants on. Not that I wanted them to take their pants off, but telly programs do need a certain degree of realism.
I sparked up my lap-top and had a look at the Internet. Yesterday I saw something rather interesting at work. It was a well-known scientific phenomenon; antibody-antigen reaction affected by dosage. I know “what” it is. I was rather vague on the “how” and the ”why”. When I see things like this I ask a question in the work-related Facebook pages, and maybe one person in twenty has something constructive to offer. Everyone else with things to say seemed to be doing their re-sits in GCSE science and looking set for even more re-sits.
I had a message about a new virtual geocache. You don’t see many of those and so I thought I might have a go for the First to Find until I looked closely at it. It wasn’t *that* far away… as the crow flies. But with the Thames estuary in the way I wouldn’t get to Chelmsford and be back in time for work.
I didn't get *that* wet walking to my car; it was pouring hard this morning. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how that idiot Donald Trump has announced that the USA is pulling out of the World Health Organisation.
For years I have tried to use the title of the various world leaders when talking of their antics - out of respect for their office if nothing else. But declaring that he is taking his country out of the World Health Organisation when it is gripped by the ongoing pandemic... referring to him as "that idiot" is perhaps too kind.
But the real test of idiocy will be later in the year if (and when!) he gets re-elected.
Mind you, his niece (a clinical psychologist) has just written a book in which she describes the leader of the free world as "still a child, seeking attention". I expect the Trump family reunions are a bundle of laughs
Meanwhile the ambulance-chasing lawyers are trying to milk the NHS. Some surgical procedures and various medications which have been provided in good faith over the years have since been found to have unwanted side effects. Rather than accepting that there isn't a magic wand and the medical professions are doing best they can, there are those who are seeking to sue the NHS for not offering the absolute-top-notch-best treatment right away. It is rather difficult to offer the absolute-top-notch-best treatment right away since it probably hasn't yet been developed. But these vultures seem to think that the moment any new forms of treatment (for any condition) become available, those who had received the older therapies should automatically be eligible for compensation. Presumably because they should have been treated with drugs and surgical procedures that weren't even thought of at the time?
I got to work (where the rain had slackened off to a medium monsoon) and did what I had to do. Personally I would like less to do with malaria, but there it is.
I came home to an empty house. "er indoors TM" had taken the dogs out. I fed fish, gave myself a haircut, and generally pootled until she came home. She then spent the evening Zooming with her mates. I piddled around with the geo-map and the Munzee map and doing my accounts.
Today was dull…
9 July 2020 (Thursday) - Superoxide Dismutase
I watched another episode of “Pure” as I scoffed a bowl of tropical fruits granola. Both were rather good.
I then peered into the Internet in the desperate hope that something exciting had happened overnight. It hadn’t. Someone I don’t know had posted something I didn’t even try to understand to LinkedIn, but the highlight of the Internet this morning was a minor squabble on one of the Facebook Lego pages in which people were making utterly ridiculous boasts about how fast they could make certain Lego sets. Sets that they didn’t actually have and so were in no position to make those boasts.
I posted a little something to the Facebook ”Extreme Dishwasher Loading” page to rattle a few cages, and set off to work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the Chancellor of the Exchequer's latest brainwave. He announced all sorts of things yesterday including a bung for employers. For every worker that comes back from furlough (for a few months) the employer will get a thousand pounds.
The general opinion of those with an opinion to offer was that this seemed to be money down the drain. I'm no economist, but if a firm's position is that precarious that they aren't sure whether or not to take someone back, then that bung won't come anywhere near to covering the expense of taking someone back from furlough anyway. Will it? And if they intend to take someone back anyway why give them money for doing so?
There was also talk of the plan to offer everyone a half-price meal. It sounds good in theory. In practice, who's going to go out for dinner early in the week in August? Thinking about it... I might. It's something for nothing, isn't it?
The shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer was wheeled on and (like me) she found fault with what had been proposed without offering anything tangible in its place. It's quite easy to do.
There was then quite a lot of talk about what fun metal detecting can be. The idea was floated that you spend a few quid on some metal detecting gadget, wave it about and within five minutes you would have unearthed the lost treasures of the Incas.
But then they brought on some dull chap from the Guild of Spoilsports who took great pains to explain that you can't go randomly brandishing a metal detector without permission, mentioned that you*could* find a small fortune in gold, but if you did then you were legally obliged to give it to the nearest "Dull Museum Of Broken Pots", and finished by saying that respectable detectorists look down on those who sell their finds for financial gain. Looking back the bloke speaking seemed intent on sucking all the fun out of it. Such a shame.
He mentioned some website on which all the stuff found is registered but it was a disappointment. There was a lot of talk about where you can't go brandishing your metal detector, and very little talk of the riches that might be found
I got to work. Unlike yesterday it wasn't pouring down, so I continued my exploration of the local area. There's quite an extensive housing estate out the back of the hospital. I've found one or two places to put film pots under rocks, and there are endless lamp posts onto which I am sticking bar-codes on a daily basis.
As I walked I saw a squirrel. This one was as bold as brass; utterly unfazed by my watching his antics. My dogs would have gone mad.
Work was work. As I was doing my thing I had to look something up... the interactions of malaria with the human red cell membrane - blah blah blah.... and then I came across something new to me. "Superoxide dismutase" which has multiple forms; the most common of which are SOD-1 and SOD-2. I immediately envisioned these as the elder brothers of Dr Seuss's "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" and spent much of the rest of the day sniggering like an idiot. For some inexplicable reason no one else felt that SOD-1 and SOD-2 were absolutely hilarious…
10 July 2020 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift
I *had* missed something on the Internet last night. A squabble had kicked off (on one of the geocaching pages) which I missed entirely. From what I could work out there had been a rather bitter exchange about going out hunting for Tupperware in the dark.
This isn’t a new squabble…
It is obvious to me that going out hunting geocaches in hedgerows and woods in the dark is far more dangerous than doing it in broad daylight, but for some the call of being First to Find is too strong to resist.
I’ve seen First to Find logs signed at half past midnight on December days on caches on Wye downs. If anyone was to fall over up there on a December night they would be dead from exposure before anyone found them. On 1 September 2015 (together with Gordon) Fudge and I walked a new series of geocaches which had gone live the previous night. Someone else had been that desperate to be first that they had been out in the fields and woods from quarter to eleven at night until four o’clock the following morning. I can remember slipping in the mud several times in broad daylight…
"er indoors TM" and I got the dogs organised and we drove down to Orlestone Woods where we had a good walk. We usually have good walks there. The dogs can run (or straggle) off of their leads, and most of the times when we meet other dogs pass off without “episode”. We met one other dog today – I wouldn’t say that we had an “episode” but Pogo did play chase with that dog rather vigorously.
We did chuckle when we walked past the swamp – it was there that Pogo and Treacle caught a rabbit a few weeks ago. Every time we walk past they get very over-excited. They obviously remember the place and associate it with rabbit. Fortunately for the lagomorphic population there were no such problems today, but Fudge did shout at a squirrel which was watching him from the safety of a tree.
We came home where I had planned to mow the lawn but it was still wet from the overnight rain. So I ironed shirts for half an hour, then took Fudge to the vet. It was time for his regular blood test for his ongoing kidney problems.
As always he didn’t want to go. He dug his heels in when we turned of the path to go into the vet’s car park, and he was pulling away all the time we were waiting. I had to carry him into the consulting room. The nice vet gave him a once-over and quizzed me about how he had been keeping. She seemed happy with him; he’s lost a bit more weight (he’s now only nine point seven kilogrammes) but he looks healthy. Or so the vet told me. He looks like a bag of skin and bones to me, but I’m used to seeing him looking like a little barrel.
He had the right sulk when the vet picked him up and carried him into the back room where they took the blood sample.
We came home (a hundred and fifty quid lighter), and I then went up the road to the corner shop. For all that they have put up Perspex shielding round the counter and have all the staff wearing gloves, they had four people packed like sardines behind the counter.
Along the same lines I probably saw a dozen people all wearing face masks but with their noses hanging out today.
Some people *really* don’t understand how personal protective equipment works, do they?
I got home just as the vet phoned. Fudge’s creatinine was one hundred and thirty-three last time; it has gone up to one hundred and forty-four. His SDMA has gone up from seventeen to twenty-seven. Together with his physical condition the vet says he is still in stage II kidney failure, and we should keep an eye on him and do the bloods again in six months’ time.
I took myself off to bed where I slept for a couple of hours. Trying to sleep before the night shift is never easy but I had a go. I then spent an hour playing “Cookie Jam”, and hopefully "er indoors TM" will boil up a bit of dinner before I go to work…
11 July 2020 (Saturday) - In a Tent?
The night shift was rather busy; I was rather glad when home time and the relief came.
I came home where I had a vague plan to go out for a walk with "er indoors TM" and the dogs, but I gave up waiting for them and went to bed. I woke up three hours later to an empty house, and a message that the first fruit of my loin was on the way round. He was returning the pressure washer he’d borrowed. I’d forgotten that he had it; I will probably need that in a week or so. He stayed for half an hour until his mother (and the dogs) returned – it was good to catch up.
When he went I had a rather late brekkie and checked out the Internet. I’d watched it overnight and had seen not much had happened. But anything might have taken place this morning whilst I had been asleep.
A load of new geocaches had appeared along parts of the Greensand Way. That will form a day out at some stage. It’s a shame that they are interspersed with some really old ones, but there it is.
Not much had happened on Facebook. Despite having turned off all the “for sale” notifications I still had a load today. People were trying to get good money for that which I would have taken to the tip. Would you buy used and unwanted cuddly toys from some on-line stranger? I wouldn’t.
I then did a little gardening. Harvesting dog turds, mowing the lawn, pulling the weeds from the front garden…all very dull, but it passed the time until "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" arrived. They announced they wanted to camp in the garden overnight, so I got my old tent out. The one I used forty years ago… the one which has since been chewed by mice. Fortunately we had a backup small tent in the lock-up. I have no idea where that tent came from. It isn’t one I recognise, and we struggled to get it up (but we eventually figured it out). I can remember posting about this tent before – I’ve asked about whose tent it is several times. No one has replied – it is now mine.
We had a bit of dinner, "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" pushed Pogo into the pond before identifying a unicorn moon-whale in his animal book.
After four bottles of lager (for me) and more Horlicks than sense (all round) they’ve gone out to the tent. I suspect they will be upstairs in a proper bed within the hour…
I certainly will be.
12 July 2020 (Sunday) - Chislet
I got up taking great care to be quiet. "er indoors TM" came downstairs two minutes later, let the dogs into the garden then ran round shouting after them, and pretended to be surprised when "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" were wide awake two minutes later.
I had a look at the Internet – the photos I’d posted of "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" yesterday had got a lot of interest. Not a lot else had happened overnight so I programmed “Hannah” and as everyone started swarming about I got the dogs together and took them out. With everyone else visiting friends today I had better things to be doing.
I got the dogs into the car and off we went. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about “sport radio” stations in America where people phone in and argue about sporting events with the presenters. Apparently these radio stations have never been more popular even though all organised sport in America is on hold.
We drove out to Chislet where I met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. We set off on a rather good walk. There had been series of geocaches in the area before, but they had run their course and had been replaced with new ones. I keep saying it but I wish more people would do this.
The marshes are a rather beautiful place to go visit. As we walked we saw a heron, and a couple of buzzards. The dogs saw some ducks and tried to give chase. The ducks went up in the air at the very last minute and having left it to the last minute Pogo and Treacle didn’t have time to stop. They went head first into the drainage ditch.
This wouldn’t have been such a problem if the drainage ditch had actually been doing any draining. It wasn’t. The water in it was just standing there and was rather stagnant. Oh how it stank. And matters weren’t helped by the steep banks out of which poor Pogo couldn’t climb. Treacle got out but Pogo was stuck. I nearly went in myself when trying to rescue him.
As we walked we met some old friends. It was good to catch up and chat for a bit. The dogs’ reaction to them was interesting. The dogs greeted them as old friends, and we walked for a while. When we sat down for a picnic the dogs barked and growled at them… until they too sat down at which point we were all best buddies again. (So much so that “we” went and scrounged the cheese from Martyn’s sandwich).
Were the dogs guarding our picnic site? Did they see it as “home”? And when out friends sat down did that make them “part of the gang” again”?
I’d love to know what goes through the dogs’ heads.
Geocache-wise this was one of the better walks. Admittedly there was one stretch of overgrown footpath, but with good co-ordinates and helpful hints we were quickly able to locate that which we sought. The caches were a decent size, and were spaced pretty much as close together as is allowed. Definitely one to be recommended.
I took a few photos as we walked (as I do). Once I’d got home and bathed the dogs I posted them to the Internet. "er indoors TM" then came home, announced that the dogs stank, and bathed them all again.
"Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and I went out into the garden where he set about all the statues in the garden with his water pistol to show them who was boss. He then had something of a tantrum over his dinner, and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" is currently settling him down in the tent. He seems to like it out there. I just hope he doesn’t have any ideas about a “camping on a camp site” holiday…
13 July 2020 (Monday) - New Shoes
I came downstairs to find "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" watching “Spongebob Squarepants” on the telly and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" playing some noisy game on his pad-thingy. I fought my way through the carnage that was once a kitchen and made some brekkie which I scoffed amidst the chaos.
I had a little look into the Internet and saw that it was pretty much how I’d left it.
I took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods (if only to give them a break from "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM"). We had a very good walk. We only saw one other person, and they were in the distance. As we walked we heard a very odd squawking sound from up a tree. Was it a parakeet? I've no idea but I've not heard it in those woods before.
As we walked so Fudge straggled. Yesterday when we went for a geo-walk he led the way. Today he was rarely less than fifty yards behind, but he seemed happy sniffing everything, and having sniffed everything then tiddling on everything. Dogs are easily amused.
Eventually there was nothing left to tiddle on, so we came home where I popped to the corner shop to get croissants to scoff with a cuppa. They went down nicely, but as I was getting changed for work a very wet Fudge came upstairs to find me and I could hear mayhem downstairs. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had been chasing round the living room hosing down the dogs with his super-soaker. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" had tried to instil discipline and had received a super-soaking for her troubles.
I set off to work leaving them to it. As I drove "Women's Hour" was on the radio. From what I could work out, the lock-down had supposedly been a holiday for men but had just been double hard work for the women. I wasn't going to get involved in that so I turned the radio off.
I drove up to Notcutts garden centre. I needed new shoes for work. The last pair I had I bought on 16 February this year and now five months later they have all but had it. So I went to Mountain Warehouse and spent eighty quid on a pair of Salomon's walking shoes. The nice man in the shop says they should be good for a year's wear as work shoes. They seem a tad tight, but that would be the newness wearing off.
As I was there I had a little look round the rest of the garden centre. They had obviously sent someone to Whelan's to get a whole load of statues and were selling them at quite a considerable mark-up. That was a bit cheeky, I thought. Mind you they sell everything at quite a considerable mark-up in Notcutts. Bearing in mind I will need some food for the pond fish soon I didn't even look at their aquatic section but went to Aylesford Aquatics instead. I'd had this naive idea to support local businesses who might be struggling after the lock-down.
I got there to find myself being rather rudely ordered about. “Stand here”, “stand there”, “don't do this”, “don't do that”... I explained to the little Hitler that I had planned to help his business, but bearing in mind I could buy job lots of fish food on-line at about half his prices, I would save myself some money and help someone who *wasn't* treating his customers with such open contempt.
I got to work a little earlier than I might have done, and as a treat I got myself lunch form the nearby branch of Subway. It wasn't a bad lunch but it certainly wasn't nine quid's worth of lunch.
And with lunch scoffed I got on with work.
What with the rigours of having had a houseful this weekend it didn’t seem like a Monday at work at all…
14 July 2020 (Tuesday) - Before the Late Shift
With "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" no longer in residence the house was incredibly peaceful as I scoffed my toast this morning. I had a little look at Facebook as I do and found myself embroiled in an argument about the literary merits of the late JRR Tolkien. An advert for one of his books had appeared on my Facebook feed and in the comments someone had said that he was rubbish. I should have known better, but I chipped in and it all kicked off.
I can’t work out why the books of JRR Tolkien are so popular. The best and most spot-on review of “The Lord of the Rings” that I ever read was in Viz magazine (!) where the book was described as “ninety-five per cent adjectives, three per cent stupid names and only two per cent story” and having read the trilogy a few times I think that is a fair summary. The trilogy stretched to well over a thousand pages and really dragged. It would have made a much better read had it been about five hundred pages shorter.
Mind you, people like Woody Allen and Will Ferrell films too, so what do I know?
I sent out some birthday wishes, and with "er indoors TM" having emerged from her pit we got the dogs into the car and set off. We went to Orlestone Woods again. We got to the woods, walked our usual circuit and came home again. A rather uneventful walk, but it was good for what *didn’t* happen. We didn’t have to be on-the-lead-off-the-lead every five minutes. We didn’t have to be forever on the lookout for cyclists who weren’t looking where they were going. We didn’t have to contend with other dog owners who don’t have the faintest idea how a dog thinks.
Fudge did insist on playing “dog piggy back” with a passing hound ten times his size; I wish he hadn’t.
We came home, and I popped to the corner shop for a sandwich for work. As I paid (by card) I mentioned that I hadn’t been to the bank to get any cash since February. The nice lady behind the till said that they rarely took cash payments anymore; most people were paying by card nowadays, and we both laughed about the antiques we used to use; cheques. When did you last use a cheque?
Some chap in the shop overheard us and started a rant. He was going to pay with cash and he was proud of it. There was (inexplicably) some merit in going to the cashpoint machine in the town centre on a regular basis, and (somehow or other) by using a contactless card I (personally) was responsible for all the sins of the world. I smiled sweetly…
Once home we had a cuppa and I dug out my cheque book. I have written two cheques in the last five years.
I then had a little mid-month review of the accounts. I am far from destitute but… I started the month feeling relatively flush. But a trip to the vets and a new pair of shoes have made a dent.
I played “Cookie Jam” on Facebook games, and then got ready for work.
After that, the rest of the day was on the dull side…
15 July 2020 (Wednesday) - Rostered Day Off
Finding myself wide awake at silly o’clock I spent an hour trying to get back to sleep and failing. I got up and went off on a little preparatory geo-mission.
You would be amazed at how many people were out and about out in the sticks this morning. It was interesting – being out and about a lot earlier I met quite a few twitchers. The bird-watching fraternity were out long before the dog walkers appeared.
After six miles I’d completed what I intended, and came home where I collected the dogs and drove them down to Orlestone woods. I might have saved some time had I taken them out with me earlier, but geo-recce-ing goes much easier without canine assistance.
We had another good walk round Orlestone Woods. The car park was busy but the woods are big enough that we went round without getting close enough to anyone to cause (or be caused) any problems.
By the time I got home at half past ten I’d walked nearly eight miles and was ready for a rest. I got a pecan roll from the corner shop and scoffed it with a cuppa whilst having my morning look at the Internet (four hours later than usual). It was much the same as it ever is.
I set the washing machine going and pootled about on the Internet for a bit, then with washing done and hung out I washed some more before going up to the attic where I played Lego for a while. The Lego police station has never really been right so I made a new one, then wasted a couple of hours playing “Cookie Jam” on Facebook games.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching yesterday’s episode of “Bake Off: the Professionals”. I have become very judgemental about other people’s baking despite being utterly unable to cook anything more elaborate than a peanut butter sandwich…
We are now watching “Celebrity Gogglebox” – “celebrity”…? I’ve heard of two of them.
Not a bad day off…
16 July 2020 (Thursday) - Early Shift
I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go only to find it was half past midnight. I then saw every hour of the night. I did manage to doze off at one point only to find myself embroiled in a nightmare in which I’d somehow taken my car to Turkey and had absolutely no idea how to get it home again. The obvious way would have been the same way that I had got it there, but that never occurred to me at the time.
Over a bowl of granola I watched the last episode of “Pure”. I wonder what I shall watch in the mornings next?
I tuned in to the Internet and sent out some birthday wishes, and saw that an old friend had been in the area (ish) overnight. Had I known we might have met up. Or we might not… We were best buddies forty years ago but over the years we have gone our own ways. I googled his job recently – I estimate he earns about ten times what I do. It is commonly said that money doesn’t buy you happiness, but he seems to be smiling in most of the photos in which I see him. Don’t get me wrong – I’m pleased for him, but sometimes I wonder what might have happened if I’d made different life choices back in the day.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were spouting their usual drivel. All talk of coronageddon is now but a distant memory as the Great God "Economy" once again takes centre stage. Apparently the economy didn't much like coronageddon. I think it is fair to say that no one was particularly keen on it, but the economy is clearly the one whose opinion counts. Various people were wheeled on to speak about it including the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Anneliese Dodds and employment agency supremo James Reed. It is a shame that (having taken the trouble to seek the opinion of these experts) those conducting the interviews didn't let them offer that opinion. So often the pundits on the radio bring on a guest speaker, then talk over everything that speaker has to say.
I got to work, deployed a virtual crossbow onto the motorway (it's a Munzee thing) and got on with the early shift. It was surprisingly busy. Annoyingly busy. So much so that I couldn’t engage as much as I wanted in what has become my favourite work-related pastime.
In order to allow social distancing, the hospital has erected marquees and gazebos in the grounds where staff can go at break times. The one outside the blood bank window seems to me to be “the naughty step”. It only ever has one occupant at a time. The first one today was sitting on the grass inside the gazebo eating a hard-boiled egg and looking very miserable about it. She then went somewhere else and was replaced with someone who lay down and went to sleep, but slept so still I found myself wondering if she was dead. Either she woke up and went, or someone removed the body as I was too busy to see her go.
An early start made for an early finish. I did have a vague plan to take the dogs to the woods but "er indoors TM" was busy working, and by the time I’d had a quick cuppa the dogs were all fast asleep. So I did a little more pootling on the geo-map plotting and planning for my next geo-project, then spent a couple of hours re-writing an old Wherigo project to use again.
We tuned in to the on-line geo-meet and spent an hour chatting with friends.
"er indoors TM" boiled up pie and chips and I set the washing machine loose on some shirts. And with pie and chips scoffed I then had a little fight with the washing machine as I tried and failed to persuade it to open its door. To be fair to the washing machine it was the sensible one – it won’t open he door until all the water is out, and the water couldn’t go out until the drain was unblocked. It has happened before, and this time I managed to unblock the drain without flooding the kitchen.
I bet my rich mate don’t fanny about unblocking his washing machine, and I bet he has staff to iron his shirts… in another plane of existence there is another version of me that has staff who would do all this laundry-related fannying around.
I wonder what that version of me does with all the spare time that would generate…
17 July 2020 (Friday) - Holiday...
It was probably because I wanted to have an early start that I didn’t sleep properly. I gave up trying to sleep (as I so often do) and made myself some toast with some home-made jam. It was rather good stuff…
As I scoffed it I peered int the Internet. Facebook had decided it would upgrade itself and give me the all-new new-look screen. I gave it five minutes before turning it back to how it was. The nice people at Facebook immediately asked for feedback on why I’d changed it back. Unfortunately there wasn’t an option for “because it is bloody horrible”.
Once I’d got it back to how I was used to having it I had a little look-see. A friend had posted about how a computer game we all had (all those years ago) recently sold in America for over a hundred thousand dollars. You have to wonder who has got that much money to spend on a retro computer game.
As the rest of the household snored I drove out on today’s geo-mission. As I drove I listened to the radio. The president of the Girls Brigade did the “prayer for today” bit. Most people’s minds wander at that sort of thing; I pay close attention because usually these people talk utter rot. This morning was no exception. The meditation and prayer were basically along the lines of” the world has gone to pot because of coronageddon, but we should still suck up to God anyway. God might decide to make things better, and if we don’t suck up, God might make them worse (in a fit of pique)”.
I got to where I was going shortly before six o’clock, and had a little walk. A friend has decided that his series of geocaches have run their course. I’ve offered to replace the lot with a new series, and this morning I had a preliminary recce. Some of the hides are still good, some I will change. The route is a good one through woods and fields. There is some lane-walking, but the lanes are quiet. And there are no stiles and only one field of sheep on the way. In six and a half miles of walking I found thirty seven rocks under which I can stash a film pot, and in all that way I only saw one other person, and that was right at the end when I got back to my car.
I came home via Aldi where a minor squabble was kicking off. One of the spotty oiks that they use as supermarket managers these days was trying to persuade a member of the public just how good these face masks are. His argument wasn’t helped by his own one being tucked under his chin, and not another member of staff was wearing one.
Once home I had a cuppa, and took the dogs out. In a break with current practice I took them up to Kings Wood. Aleta and Dick were walking there today. I had hoped to bump into them; we didn’t, But it is a huge wood, and we had a good walk anyway.
With dogs walked I made a start on the admin for the new series of geocaches that I walked earlier. I’ve decided to have the whole lot as puzzles. Simple puzzles, but puzzles put the newbies off. I don’t get quite so many geocaches going missing because people have taken them home to show their mum when I hide puzzles rather than traditional ones. In the long run it is a whole less effort, but just plotting the icon positions on the map took a couple of hours. Creating the bare bones of the web pages took a few more hours, and I then wrote what must be the most basic and simple Wherigo I’ve ever made. That only took three and a half hours.
I’m worn out. And I still haven’t programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow yet…
Mind you I’m glad I had a productive day -it took my mind off of the fact that I was supposed to be flying out to Morocco today…
18 July 2020 (Saturday) - Crockenhill to Chelsfield (And Back)
"er indoors TM" spent an inordinate amount of time fighting with one of the dogs last night whilst I was trying to sleep. I wish she wouldn’t.
As I scoffed my toast I peered intently at my lap-top. Facebook had told me it had a dozen notifications for my urgent attention. I had a look at them – there wasn’t anything of note at all. The works Facebook page had asked people to post photos of their pets… I couldn’t be bothered. I did see (from the “memories” bit) that usually this weekend is Canterbury Beer Festival. That was always rather good fun back in the day. I wonder when the beer festivals will start again? But apart from that, there was very little on the Internet apart from even more adverts. People are posting unwanted tat for sale in pretty much every Facebook group these days. Years ago you’d give your unwanted rubbish to the scouts who would have a jumble sale and give the left overs to the rag-and-bone man. Nowadays you try to sell your cast-offs yourself and grumble because no one wants second-hand anymore.
We got ourselves and our luggage and the dogs into the car and set off up the motorway. As we do, we listened to Steve on Radio Ashford, but the signal failed far earlier than usual today. We were barely on the motorway when it got too fizzy to hear. So I contented myself by playing Munzee instead.
It wasn’t long before we were in Crockenhill where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we set off in the vague direction of Chelsfield; our route being set out for us by two series of geocaches.
As we walked we crossed woodlands and footpaths and lanes. The views of the London skyline were rather impressive. It was a hot day (hotter than forecast) but the dogs had their cooling collars and plenty to drink. We had a good walk, but more shade would have been nice. We met friendly horses, and I managed to get a geocache from twenty feet up a tree.
We walked past a couple of pubs but kept going and didn’t stop. Instead we had a rather good picnic with a couple of bottles of ale (and cider) and watched the dogs running riot with a branch. The dogs were rather well behaved today; the only episode was when they chased another dog that came too close at picnic time.
The day was only marred by Charlotte scratching her leg rather badly (there was blood – it *did* hurt!).
As I do I took a few photos today.
I amazed myself by staying awake on the way home.
This evening we tuned in to the weekly Zoom quiz… it was rather good. Based on the TV show “Only Connect” I rather impressed myself by coming joint fifth out of ten.
"er indoors TM" then went to get KFC for tea…
19 July 2020 (Sunday) - Blocked Plug Hole
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" stayed overnight; I got up and waded through all that she’d scattered through the house. She has a knack for just dropping things wherever she is, and then wondering why she can never find anything.
I set the washing machine going, made some toast and peered into the Internet. Last night I’d asked about corrected co-ordinates an a GSAK page (doesn’t everyone?) and this morning I got the answer to something which can be a serious problem when one is trying to find the correct rock under which to rummage for a film pot.
There were also some photos of the new comet. I tried to find the thing last night but I couldn’t see it. I think the house might have been in the way. I think that if I am going to see it I’m going to have to drive out to the countryside to see it. Can I be bothered? Back in the day I was, but nowadays I can’t be arsed.
I had an email from the geo-feds. The locations for the new geocaches I’m planning have been found to be acceptable. I was pleased about that.
I sent out some birthday wishes, hung out the laundry and got on with some gardening.
With "er indoors TM" and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" off shopping I did the lawn edges, using garden scissors trimmed round the stepping stones, and then lifted one of the stepping stones to sort out an ant nest. I mowed the lawn, pulled grass and weeds out of the patio and then cleaned out the fish pond filter.
To clean the fish pond filter I upend the entire lot into the bath and run the various bits under the cold tap to remove the sludge of carp poo and pond gunk. After a while it became clear that the bath wasn’t draining very well… When I say “very well” I mean “at all”. I cleaned out the pond filter as best I could, reassembled it and set it going again, then spent a fruitless hour going at the bath’s plughole with a plunger. When it finally became clear that I was achieving nothing I phoned the insurance people’s emergency line. After half an hour (I timed it) I finally got through to someone who said the plumbers would be in touch in the next two to four hours.
They actually called ten minutes later to say a plumber would come out today.
I found an old dustpan and scooped the yukky water out of the bath as best I could. Just as I was finishing "er indoors TM" and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" arrived. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had a tiddle, then the most recent fruit of my loin took S.B.O.D. out for an adventure. With them gone I showed "er indoors TM" what the problem was. Having lifted the outside drain cover we could see that absolutely no water at all was coming out, but when we flushed the loo we had quite a flow. (I can do science, me!)
"er indoors TM" then cleaned up the mess I’d made and had a go at the plughole with bleach, hot water and a plunger. It made some rather interesting noises come out of the drains (which fascinated the dogs), and after half an hour of vigorous plunging a small trickle of water came out into the drain. Enthused by this result "er indoors TM" gave it some serious welly, and as I peered into the drain so a huge clot of fish poo, pond slime and dog hairs plopped out followed by a major flood of water.
I cancelled the emergency plumber.
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" then arrived back with Sam and Charlie, and we had a rather good afternoon catching up. We fed the fish (and got our fingers nibbled), we played Pokemon on our phones in which Eric trounced Trevor then slapped his bum and called him Susan (!), and we saw the world’s biggest dragonfly in the garden.
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" set off homewards, and I set about ironing. As I ironed I watched a film. ”October Sky” started well, but like so many films it didn’t know when to end.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Taskmaster”.
I had a shower in a bath that actually drains, and I’m thinking about an early night. Today was rather stressful.
I really need to make a start on sorting out the web pages for my geo-series…
20 July 2020 (Monday) - Rolvenden to Benenden (And Back)
I slept like a log, only waking at six o’clock when "er indoors TM" got up. Though to be fair it wasn’t her waking me; it was the crashing of the wolf-pack chasing after her that made the noise.
As I shaved I filled the bath with cold water, then pulled the plug to watch it drain away. After yesterday’s debacle there is something very satisfying about having a working plug hole in your bath.
I made some toast and peered into the Internet as I scoffed it. (the toast, not the Internet). Someone was whinging on one of the Lego-related Facebook pages. Having sold a Lego set, this chap had received a complaint that the buyer had received a box of bricks rather than a completed model. So the next time he sold Lego he sent a completed model and got a complaint from a buyer who wanted a box of bricks.
I had some emails. Two hundred and thirty-three “Found It” logs on the various geocaches I’ve hidden over the last few months. All (well, those that I read) complimentary.
I sent out some birthday wishes and got on with finalising the web pages for my new geo-series. I got fourteen written in an hour and a half, and then the dogs came downstairs. Seemingly obsessed with running round the garden shouting I had to give up to go shout at them.
We got ourselves ready for the day… eventually. Setting off about two hours later than usual we drove out to Rolvenden. "er indoors TM"’s geo-series out there is two years old and each cache has been found about a hundred times. From experience we’ve worked out that this is effectively the lifespan of a geo-series, and so she had plans to replace it with a new one. I went along to assist with the dog-wrangling.
We had a good walk. "er indoors TM" has had two geo-series out there before; this time we walked round the opposite way to what we’ve walked before. The footpaths seemed much more obvious when walked that way. The dogs were able to be off the leads for much of the walk, even if they did disgrace themselves with the corpse of a dead rabbit (thankfully not one they killed this time). And (it has to be said) they all ate far too much sheep poo for their own good.
I took a few photos as we walked. After eight miles we were back at the car, and it was only a short drive home. It was a shame that the dogs had all spuddled in stagnant water only half a mile from the end, but it was nothing that "er indoors TM" couldn’t sort out with a bath (with a working plug hole)
We had aa rather good bit of dinner which we devoured whilst watching an episode of “Taskmaster” which was rather good.
I’m feeling a tad tired now…
21 July 2020 (Tuesday) - Visiting My Mum (and Dad)
I rather ached when I got up this morning. Having heaved my carcass out of my pit I made toast and peered into the Internet. There were fifty more “found it” logs on geocaches I’d hidden. Some complimentary, others not so. When you find a geocache you have to write something about it. I put a standard “copy and paste” on pretty much everything and wax more loquaciously on here. Some write quite an essay, and others write little comments which seem to be designed to make the hider of the caches feel sorry they bothered hiding the thing in the first place. I considered deleting everything in a fit of pique, secure in the knowledge that those who feel they could do better wouldn’t actually bother, but contented myself with rolling my eyes and moved on.
I saw a friend had seen the comet last night and had photographed it. I’d tried to see again last night, but had no joy. Astro-photography can be deceptive; with cameras that track, and incredibly long exposures you can get the most beautiful photographs of things that simply aren’t visible to the naked eye. I finally got a hint as to where to look for the comet; apparently from our back garden the house is in the way and the comet is now long past its best.
I spent a little while writing up the cache pages for my new geo-series and saw that I’d gone some of the numbering round the wrong way. Whoops. I think I’ve got it sorted now.
"er indoors TM" emerged from her pit, we loaded the dogs into the car, and set off to Hastings to visit parents. Mum was pleased to see us, but I’m not sure that Dad was happy to have Pogo crapping all over his prize blooms. But we had a cuppa and some cake and chatted for a bit. We then went on to visit mother-in-law who (clearly having had a better offer) had gone out for the day.
We came home via Winchelsea Beach where we spend a rather pleasant half-hour Munzing. As we Munzed I got chatting with a local who had a chain-link barrier across the entrance to his drive. He’d just installed it to keep tourists from using his garden as a car park. The cheek of some people!
Before we came home I spent the last of my cash on an ice cream for each of us. I now need to get some more cash. The last time I got cash from a machine was over five months ago; I’ve been using the card so much recently.
I got some petrol, and with "er indoors TM" off to get the shopping I gave my new Wherigos a quick once-over, and finalised the web pages for my new geo-series. I then rummaged in my spares and realised I’ve got enough pots for the new series. If I can find a spare half a day I can put them out…
"er indoors TM" came home from Tesco and boiled up a particularly good chicken chasseur which we washed down with one of the cheapest bottles of white wine ever. And as well as the cheapest it was one of the best. We followed that with some rather good cheese and half a bottle of amaretto.
I should sleep well tonight…
22 July 2020 (Wednesday) - Well... It Ain't Morocco
As I scoffed my toast I had a little look-see at the internet. In one of the Lego Facebook pages some chap had posted photos of something he’d made. It was supposedly a physics laboratory. It looked more like a workshop to me, but it was a rather good model, nonetheless. In the spiel he’d written he’d included a link. If you liked his model you could join his club, and for only five dollars a month you could help him buy more Lego so you could see more models that he would make for you (!) The cheek of some people…. But thinking about it (and reading the comments), some people are obviously quite content to pay others to make Lego for them to look at.
I saw that a new geocache had gone live ten miles away in Old Romney. It was one which involved traipsing around a graveyard to get answers to various questions. As I might have mentioned before, Section 18.1(e) of the Local Authorities' Cemeteries Order 1977 specifically forbids that. I posted a link onto the local geocaching Facebook page. It generated a few opinions on the matter…
I deployed a Munzee (as you do) and looked at the geo-map to see if I could get any heads-ups for tomorrow’s planned adventure. After half an hour’s failing to get an on-line photograph of a certain village sign I finally struck on the idea of Google Street View. Most people would probably have used Google Street View right away, but I’m not most people.
"er indoors TM" got up. I pretended to look hungry and got a second brekkie. I scoffed it whilst she argued with the dogs, then played “Cookie Jam” on Facebook games for a while.
We took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods for a wander. Rather than taking out usual route we had a little wander and found some rather pretty paths we’d not seen before. Fudge was funny – he straggled in the parts of the wood where we usually walk, but he stayed close in the areas which were new to us.
We came home and I phoned the dentist. They’d phoned me on Monday to say that because of COVID-19 they had cancelled my appointment (on 3 August) and couldn’t see me again this year. I phoned back and asked why I was paying for a private patient policy if I wasn’t getting anything for my money, and said I wanted to cancel it. I now have a dentist appointment booked for next Wednesday.
We then went round to the first fruit of my loin. The original plan was that we would all be on a week’s holiday in Marrakech this week, but events had conspired against us, So, not being unable to go to Morocco we had an afternoon in "My Boy TM"’s garden instead. Cheryl boiled up a very good bit of dinner (I ate too much), we (some of us) set about the lagers, and we even had scones. I put jam on my scones, and then put the cream on top. As God intended. Everyone else did it the wrong way and will probably burn in hell fire for that mistake.
I took a few photos today…
I think an early night might be a plan…
23 July 2020 (Thursday) - Tandridge to Godstone (and back)
Some of the Facebook Lego sites are becoming rather entertaining. Some chap was whinging on about how difficult it is to sell Lego on-line as potential buyers all insist on his posting stuff to them. He was rather vague about any other way in which his buyers would get their merchandise. I can’t help but wonder what this chap is thinking of. I got the impression that he would go to the toy shop to buy whatever, and then people would come to his house and buy it from him (and also pay him a mark-up).
There wasn’t a lot else happening on-line this morning, and with no emails of note I played a couple of rounds of “Cookie Jam” whilst Fudge barked at shadows.
We got ourselves organised and (pausing only briefly for petrol) we were soon on our way. Munzee-ing as we went we made our way to Tandridge in Surrey where we met Karl and Charlotte. Tracey was busy… or would have been busy had her works internet been working.
We set off up the aptly named “Jackass Lane”, and were soon off along footpaths into the countryside. We had a rather good walk, but the walk would have been better had the farmers not planted crops across the paths. We had to walk round the edges of three separate fields where the head-high corn had blocked the footpath.
It was a shame that Fudge had to give himself a dirt bath as we walked. And the dirt congealed when we all went wading in the river (there’s a video of that…)
At one point we found ourselves getting clues for a field puzzle from an incredibly well-kept grave. As we puzzled a passer-by told us that she knew what we were doing. The grave was that of her father, and she often met people going this field puzzle.
A tad awkward…
Half-way round we found ourselves over the road from a pub. I thought I’d try my luck and see if we could have a table in the garden for a crafty half. They did have a table spare, and we wound up having dinner there. Burgers and duck salad and fish finger sandwiches and a couple of pints of Doom Bar.
Geocaching-wise we had a good outing. Some of the hides were easier than others. It was only a shame that the walk was billed as being five miles, but “Hannah” measured the walk at eight and a quarter miles. Had we known how long it was going to be we would have given ourselves a little more time.
I took a few photos as we walked.
We were all worn out by the time we got back to the car. We said our goodbyes, and came home. We stopped off at the motorway services for a Trojan Unicorn, and I got burned by a flaming arrow (it’s a Munzee thing).
Once home we tuned in to the weekly Zoom geo-meet. It was good to catch up with people. "er indoors TM" boiled up some dinner and I fell asleep in front of the telly…
24 July 2020 (Friday) - Greensand Way (Hamstreet End)
It was a shame that the bin men had to make quite so much noise as they did their thing at half past six this morning, but they‘ve been making a racket about it for some years now. I got back to sleep after they’d been and finally got out of my pit at about nine o’clock.
Pausing only briefly to replace the blown light bulb I was soon nosing round the Internet. Last night I’d posted on the local geocaching page about the puzzle based on a grave, and someone had commented. Bearing in mind I’d posted on the “Kent” page, why was someone from Shropshire offering an opinion. We’ve now got two Kent-based Facebook geocaching pages… but when I say “Kent based” I’m rather confused as to whether they are for Kent people, about the hobby as it happens in Kent, or just yet another place where people go for a squabble.
There were one or two squabbles on Facebook today; particularly about how we now have to wear face coverings when going shopping. I find it rather depressing that the norm is that now any idiot’s spur-of-the-moment opinion on any given topic is as valid as that of someone’s with post-graduate qualifications and a lifetime’s experience on the matter in question.
A friend had posted to Facebook saying how her cat had clawed and bitten her. I see this from cat owners all the time. If a dog did it only once they would be put down right away, but with cats it seems to be expected.
I had a look at my accounts as I do every month. As always I am far from skint but I would like a lot more money. As always I accounted for every penny (I’m mean like that), and I found that payments I’d made to car parks, Munzee HQ, sellers of Lego and Amazon (twice) hadn’t gone through, leaving me thirty quid better off than I might have been. I shan’t squander that money just yet, but that car park fee goes back to last year. Will they ever take it?
We loaded the dogs into the car and went down to Ham Street. "er indoors TM" is hoping to put a few geocaches along the Greensand Way between Ham Street and Kingsnorth, but what with SSSI and one thing and another finding space for them looks like being an issue. But it made for a good walk for the dogs if nothing else. We only lost Fudge once.
I took a few photos as we walked; I was amazed at just how filthy the dogs got. And I forgot to deploy a Munzee too… But on the plus side I managed to get the name of the local head honcho from Natural England. I’ve sent him an email about putting out geocaches on SSSI land. I wonder if he will reply?
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good dinner which we scoffed whilst watching episodes of “Taskmaster”. I shall program “Hannah” for tomorrow, then I think an early night…
25 July 2020 (Saturday) - Eynesford
It was a shame that Treacle had to suck the duvet quite so noisily last night. It would have been rather sweet had she not kept me awake for quite so long.
I made myself some toast and peered into the Internet. “Khadija Bou” had sent me a friend request on Facebook. I have no idea who “Khadija Bou” is, but at least (unlike many other unsolicited friend requests I get on Facebook) she had kept her clothes on.
And talking of Facebook, my professional body has a Facebook page. Probably ninety per cent of the posts on there are from wannabe-blood-testers who have got the hump because they have spent several years (and several thousand pounds) obtaining utterly unsuitable qualifications. Last night I suggested that the professional body had a pinned post on that Facebook page telling wannabe-blood-testers what degrees are acceptable and what degrees aren’t. To be honest it is the sort of thing that you can find out for yourself in a few minutes on Google, but most people seem to prefer spending several years (and several thousand pounds) obtaining utterly unsuitable qualifications and then grumbling about it afterwards
This morning I was amazed to see that nearly sixty people had clicked the “like” button on my comment. I wonder if these were all people who had already spent several years (and several thousand pounds) obtaining utterly unsuitable qualifications.
I also saw that the company that makes our GPS units has been the victim of a cyber-attack. The hackers “…have had access to all their stored data. This could include personal data… location data, GPS Tracks etc for Geocachers..”. Well, they’ve had access to mine right from the start as I post it up on Facebook every time I go out. And talking of which…
We got ourselves and the dogs organised and set off on our weekend mission. As we drove up the radio we listened to Radio Ashford. The woman on the radio was (as usual) breathing so heavily into the microphone it was as though she was gasping for air. She’s been doing this for some time; you really would think that the big-wigs at the radio station would have had a word with her by now.
We got to the car park at Lullingstone Country Park and the dogs immediately started screaming in excitement. I wish they wouldn’t but it shows they have come to expect a good day after a long drive. The chap in the car next to us gave us some odd looks as they shouted..
Karl, Tracey and Charlotte soon arrived and we messed about getting parking tickets. Karl had the somewhat traditional idea of putting money onto the ticket machine but I tried to pay using my phone. To cut a long story short in the end Karl put some money into the machine for me, and (pausing only briefly to look at a frog) we were soon on our way. Our route took us along the river where we watched some trout swimming about. I was convinced there were pike there, but I didn’t see any.
After a while the route turned up and across a hil, and we got the most beautiful views of the Eynesford valley, and we caught up with some fellow hunters of Tupperware. We chatted for a bit, then they moved on whilst we stopped for a picnic lunch. Cheese rolls, a couple of bottles of ale, overlooking a beautiful view with good company. Not too shabby at all.
I took a few photos as we walked
Geocache-wise this was a good walk. Some of the hides were trickier than others. A couple were missing and (with permission) we replaced them.
We knew the weather would be against us, and the intermittent drizzle of the day turned to heavy rain just as we started the drive home.
We came home to emails which caused offence and upset, but also to several (lots of) messages of support. Earlier this week "er indoors TM" had hidden a load of geocaches locally. They went live this morning whilst we were out. A friend who went to try to be first to find them said that he’d not been first. Someone had seen that the old caches on the route had slowly been archived and had gone out in the week, spent a day hunting under every single rock and bush and had found most of them before they went live. Whilst that isn’t against the letter of the law, it certainly is against the spirit of the law.
Perhaps somewhat trivial in the great scheme of things,but being first to find a geocache is a big thing in some circles. It was also pointed out to us that the new series of geocaches that had gone live late yesterday afternoon had all been found. The “First to Find” on each of those caches had gone to the besties of the people who had hidden the caches. Are people really so desperate for a first to find that they either scrubble under any old rock on the off-chance that they might find an as-yet unpublished cache, or they get their mates to put one out for them? The general consensus was that there are those of us who contribute to the hobby of rummaging for film pots under rocks, and there are those who take from it. I’m wondering if I should stop being quite so generous.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner, then we joined in with the weekly Zoom quiz. We had a very good session – the questions strained my brain somewhat but with rounds including languages, flags, history & politics, nature, sci-fi books and food and drink there was something for everyone. I managed fourth place (with which I was pleased), and I discovered I now have a new favourite bird – the thrush. Purely because its Latin name is “Turdus philomelos”.
26 July 2020 (Sunday) - The Grrensand Way (Kingsnorth)
I got up, fed laundry to the washing machine, made toast and had a look at the Internet. I had an email from the nice lady at Natural England. She had refused permission for me to hide geocaches in Orlestone Woods because it is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). I asked her what an SSSI is all about, but she seemed utterly unable to answer. She couldn’t deny that it is demonstrably quite acceptable for the scouts to ransack the place to build camps and shelters, or that there is no problem with the local chavs zooming round on their motorbikes destroying the undergrowth. Similarly the Forestry England people fly round the tracks in their vehicles doing untold damage to the place. Commercial companies come along and chop down the trees indiscriminately.
But I can’t stick a film pot under a rock there?
I did see that Gordon had created a series of puzzle geocaches not too far away. As I scoffed toast I puzzled over them. Within an hour I had either solved them or figured out how to solve them; those unsolved will keep me out of mischief over the next few days.
We got the leads onto the wolf-pack and took them out. "er indoors TM" was keen to finish getting the geocaches along her stretch of the Greensand Way sorted. Being a linear route makes things particularly tricky, but having walked up from Ham Street to a randomly selected half-way point (and back again) on Friday, we walked from down from Kingsnorth to that randomly selected point (and back again) today. It was as well we did go there and back again on both instances; the Greensand Way as marked on Ordnance Survey maps is at odds with reality. It would seem to have been diverted following the building of the A2070 thirty years ago, but the maps don’t seem to have been updated. We felt it better to follow the Greensand Way as it is signposted rather than as it appears on Ordnance Survey maps. Not everyone uses Ordnance Survey maps, and once the geocache series goes live (in a little while) there will be those who will be only too quick to find fault.
We had a good walk; but whilst the route was very well marked and clear to follow, for a formally recognised national long-distance path the stretch we’ve been working on doesn’t seem to be walked that often. There was one bit where the path goes past someone’s house where we might have issues – there was a home-made sign about the dangers of coronavirus and a warning of naturists. I was looking forward to the photos to come until we met the chap who’d posted them. We commented on what a pretty garden he had; he didn’t actually say “f… off fatso” but that was his sentiment.
I took a few photos as we walked. Once home we had a rather pleasant little afternoon sitting in the garden. Reading my Kindle, drinking Lithuanian lager, eating Spanish crisps, occasionally barking at the neighbours, having a little doze. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
I solved a geo-word-search, then "er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Taskmaster”. I set the washing machine loose on my smalls, then started on geo-jigsaws.
I wonder if my undercrackers will be scrubbed by bed time…
27 July 2020 (Monday) - Back to Work
After something of a restless night I came downstairs and nearly trod in a pile of sicked-up swede. One of the dogs had scoffed far too much of the stuff last night.
Over a bowl of granola I watched the first episode of the new series of “The Young Offenders” (which was rather good) then had a quick look at the Internet. Yesterday I’d identified an issue with my GPS unit. I’d asked a question on one of the Facebook groups, and this morning I had one or two suggestions as to how I might sort it out.
I saw I had over seventy “Found it” logs on geocaches that I’d hidden. People seem to be enjoying the walks I’ve set. And with nothing else of note happening on-line I got ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were spouting their usual drivel. Today they were interviewing one of the Hairy Bikers about the government's initiative to combat obesity. As a porker myself I take offence at this sort of initiative. Anyone following this blog will know how much I walk. I don't sit on my arse 24/7 like some people half my size. I don't choose to be fat. I have tried every diet known to science, and I've found that the only way for me to lose weight is to be constantly hungry.
Perhaps it will come to that?
There was also some talk of the Mars 2020 mission, and talk of plans to return some Martian rocks to Earth. They could have done with more talk of that and less talk of victimising the overweight.
The "Thought For The Day" bit made me wonder what goes through some people's heads. Some bishop was talking about how a youth had been murdered with an ice-pick. Apparently the mother of this youth saw this as strengthening her faith in God. Can you believe it? Having your child murdered makes you more sure in your belief? This woman apparently claimed that "God is all I have left". Personally I'd rather not have a God that allowed a child to be killed with an ice-pick, but what do I know?
The roads were rather busy this morning; far more so than they have been for months. Finding myself snarled up on the slip road coming off of the motorway I suddenly remembered why I usually get to work so early.
I got to work, and despite going back after a week off, I had a good day. A few short years ago I used to feel sick at the thought of going to work, but those days are long past.
Perhaps the day was helped by being rather rainy; when it is pouring down outside I don't feel I am missing anything.
Once home I saw I had a pressie. Jose had got me the micro-blocks grand piano. Micro-blocks is like Lego, but each piece is about a quarter of the size of it’s corresponding Lego piece. Making it was fun, but it was a serious challenge. I had to have the zoom function on my phone’s camera at x4 magnification so I could see what was going on.
I would like to get the Lego grand piano. With over three thousand pieces the thing works, and you can program it to play music using an app on your mobile phone. It is released this weekend and only costs three hundred quid….
28 July 2020 (Tuesday) - Bit Dull
I slept better than last night – the duvet-sucking dog (I think it was Pogo this time) didn’t start noisily slurping until nearly getting-up time.
I made toast and peered into the internet.to see what had happened overnight. The new series of geocaches that went live yesterday evening had all been found. Some of them in the dark. Personally I like a pleasant walk in the countryside enjoying the views. Others like to dash from one film pot under a rock to the next at breakneck speed, actually risking breaking their necks in the dark. Each to their own, I suppose.
I saw that some of my geocaches that I archived last October had been found yesterday – a nice trick if you can do it(!) I sent out some birthday wishes, then "er indoors TM" and I took the dogs down to Ham Street to put the final touches to the last bit of the planning for the ongoing Greensand Way geo-project.
As we crossed the footbridge at Ham Street railway station some people who looked incredibly familiar waved to me from the opposite platform. There were two people there; both smiled. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I hope they don’t think I was being rude. I’m sure I know them, but I didn’t recognise them at all.
We had a good walk through the woods. The dogs didn’t disappear for that long really. Pogo did start shouting at a passing dog (I think that was a “lead” thing) and Fudge did try to play “dog piggy back” with a Labrador ten times his size, but other than that, the walk went well.
Once home I popped to the corner shop for a sandwich for later and croissants for brekkie. This was the first time out for my now-legally-compulsory face covering.
What a shambles.
I had mine on. The other people in the shop had theirs hanging from their ears and covering all sorts of parts of their anatomies except those through which they breathe. And the woman behind the counter didn’t have one on at all.
We had coffee and croissants, and I carried on geo-jigsaw-puzzling. I spent an hour and a half on it last night, and another two hours this morning. I hope the film pot I shall find under a rock will be worth it.
And that was it for today really. I went to work, did my bit and came home again…
Today was rather dull…
29 July 2020 (Wednesday) - At The Dentist
Being on a rostered day off I wanted to get my current geo-project over and done with, and so a very early start at it made for an early finish.
I then took the dogs for a walk. We went to Orelstone Woods where we met the chap with whom we’d had a run-in a few weeks ago. Rather than waving his dog around like a rag doll (like he did previously) he picked his dog up and tucked it under his arm as he walked past. He grunted “Good Morning” and busied off.
With him gone we had a good walk. The dogs played and ran and straggled as dogs do, and Fudge joined in the chase with Pogo and Treacle. Pogo and Treacle are really good to Fudge; when he chases them you can see them slow down so he can keep up, and when he loses interest they speed up again.
It was mid-morning before I got to peer into the Internet.
Amazon had given me a three months free trial access to Amazon music. I won’t be taking up that offer. They also suggested I might like to buy a book from them that I had already bought from them. Greg Williams (?) and Prateek Sinha (?) had both asked to by my chum on LinkedIn (does anyone *do* anything on or with LinkedIn?)
I also saw that my subscription to Project GC was about to expire, so I renewed it. It’s a rather useful thing to have when rummaging under a film pot is what floats your boat.
I ordered more food for the pond fish. Using the “order again” option I could be sure of getting the right thing, and the stuff is now a pound cheaper than it was in April. I saw that as something of a result.
I wrote up some CPD, then spent a little while on a geo-jigsaw puzzle before going down the road to the dentist. Last week they’d phoned me to cancel my appointment. When I told them that I wasn’t going to pay them for appointments they weren’t keeping they suddenly reinstated my appointment for me. They phoned me yesterday afternoon to confirm the appointment, and then phoned again half an hour later to cancel. When I complained they offered me an appointment with another dentist. When I told them that I didn’t care who I saw they were somewhat amazed.
I walked down the road to the dentist to find the place had a notice on the door saying that they were closed on the advice of the British Dental Association. Just as I finished reading and was about to come home so the door opened. The work experience girl came out (in *very* loose fitting surgical scrubs, full face mask and visor) and asked what I wanted. I told her I thought I had an appointment; she went in, got my notes and conducted the pre-examination interview in the street outside the surgery for all the world to see and hear. Mind you I wasn’t complaining; the loose-fitting surgical scrubs didn’t keep much secret. There was a dodgy five minutes when she measured my temperature as being at fever-pitch. It might have been brought on by the grandstand view I had of her rather epic unbridled chest (in all its glory), but was more likely to have been the result of her using a contactless thermometer in bright sunshine. Covering up to get a little shade brought the temperature down. She could have done with covering up her chest too, but I said nothing.
She then took me through to see the dentist. Everyone was in full disease-containment garb, and the dentist took maybe a quarter of the time they usually take rummaging in my gob before telling me I needed a filling, I needed to make another appointment, and he said he would arrange to have me escorted to the receptionist (presumably I couldn’t be trusted to walk ten yards). As I waited for escort, so the dental nurse methodically scrubbed everything with which I had been in contact. However she did not touch the overhead lamp the dentist uses to light up people’s cake-holes.
Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a blood scientist!) to realise that when the dentist rummages in my gob then adjusts the light, he is transferring whatever is in my gob to that light. And then when the next patient is in the chair, he then transfers whatever he put on that light into their gob.
I got taken to the receptionists who were wearing their face masks as though they were some kind of necklace. I tried to make an appointment, but was told that they didn’t know what dentists (if any) were working this week, and someone would phone me by the end of the day on Friday. Probably.
I smiled underneath the mask I had to wear; I’ve often thought about going to another surgery as they can be rather useless., But being just down the road from home puts them in a very convenient location, and I wonder how many other dental practices have as impressive chests on wanton display.
I came home and spent the rest of the afternoon ironing whilst watching episodes of “The Young Offenders”.
"er indoors TM" then boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the final of “Bake Off: The Professionals”. We washed it down with a rather good bottle of plonk.
I think I should go to bed before I fall asleep…
30 July 2020 (Thursday) - New Series Got Published
Over a bowl of granola I watched the last episode of the current series of “The Young Offenders” then peered into the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight. I hadn’t missed much at all.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how a quarter of the UK's mammal species are in danger of extinction. I listened with interest until I heard that this proclamation had come from the British Mammal Society, and then I stopped worrying quite so much.
A few years ago the British Mammal Society were on the morning's radio show. They said that no one really knew just what mammals were wild in the UK, let alone how many there were of them. They asked people to download their app onto phones. The idea was that people would use the app to photograph wild mammals and send photos to the British Mammal Society. Their experts would identify the creature you had photographed, and the geo-location ability of the phone would tell where the mammal had been seen.
That way they could establish exactly what animals were wild in the UK, and where they all were. A good idea in theory.
It took them about two years to respond to the first photos I sent in (squirrels), and I must admit I stopped using the app when they told me that some of my photos had been rejected. I'd photographed deer somewhere or other, but their experts said there were no deer where I'd taken the photo; the implication being that I was somehow playing silly beggars with them. I though the whole idea of the project was to find where these animals were? Why bother trying to find out what animals are where if they have already decided that they know the answer and won’t be told?
I've no confidence in this announcement.
There was also a lot of talk about how non-white children are more likely to get exclusions from school and all sorts of speculation was made about unconscious bias by teachers. A couple of non-white people were then interviewed. Both have made successes of their lives after leaving school. Both had many suspensions and exclusions whilst at school. And both said that when they were at school they were unruly little brats who got what they deserved.
Is it just me who sees all sorts or racial tensions being stirred up for no reason at all?
As I started the early shift so my phone went mad. The thirty-seven geocaches I'd hidden yesterday had all gone live. It wasn't long before I received messages that there were errors in the puzzles that I'd set. Some messages were polite, others not so.
Mind you there couldn't have been that serious a problem - it wasn't that long before I was told that all had been found for the first time (and more) - and not by the usual FTF-chasers. After the unpleasantness of last weekend (when we found we'd had our movements stalked so's someone could claim to be first to find a geocache), it was good to see someone else being first.
With work done I came home. I had planned to take the dogs to the woods for a walk, but as I pulled up outside the house the thermometer in my car said it was over thirty degrees; far too hot for dogs. So, as even more messages came in about the errors in my formulae I set about correcting my mistakes.
You write the formula and you check it. And you check it... and still mistakes get through...
And with mistakes corrected I tuned in to the weekly geo-zoom meet.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of scran which we scoffed whist watching an episode of “Taskmaster” (which was rather good), and then I started falling asleep in front of the telly.
31 July 2020 (Friday) - Before the Late Shift
I spent much of the night fighting Treacle
for space on the bed. When we finally arranged some sort of truce so the bin
men came crashing up the road, then the alarm went off.
I had a very interesting email from Geo-HQ.
I’ve been in correspondence with them all week following an episode at the
weekend. It is no secret that I plaster my every move all over the Internet.
"My Boy TM" once mentioned that he knows whenever
I fart because he reads it on Facebook. Someone was so desperate to get First
To Find on the series of geocaches that "er indoors TM"
hid a couple of weeks ago that our movements were monitored, and then our
footsteps were followed, and the caches all found before their formal
publication. I was a tad miffed about this, but according to Geo-HQ this is
within the letter of the law of hunting film pots under rocks. However as the
correspondence went on it became rather interesting. A geocache can be logged
*before* formal publication, and Geo-HQ told me this morning that if whoever
hides it wants to let a select audience know about it before that formal
publication then that too isn’t against the rules.
I sent out birthday wishes, then with "er
indoors TM" emerging from her pit we took the dogs out
before it got hot. We drove down to Orlestone Woods where we found the car
park empty. Mind you we didn’t have the woods to ourselves; we were just the
first ones there. As we walked we met other people and other dogs. Treacle
had a minor spat with a giant poodle, but the nice lady with the poodle
laughed it off. After all, that’s what dogs do. And that’s why I’ve taken to
driving for ten minutes to Orlestone rather than walking round the park.
People who walk dogs round Orlestone Woods realise what dogs are like, and these
little squabbles are just laughed off. At the park this would be seen as a
major issue. As we walked I used my PlantSnap app to identify a plant.
We came home; I took two minutes to wash the grime from my car’s windscreen, then popped up to the corner shop. They had a big signup saying that face coverings are compulsory but had two customers inside without any face covering. And as I shopped so another walked in not masked. No one said anything, but would anyone; are the small corner shops really going to turn trade away?
I got a sandwich for lunch and some pastries to scoff with a cuppa, then as I scoffed pastries (with a cuppa) I wrote up some CPD. It was as well that I did; not only is it a legal requirement for me to do so, the nice people at Blogger have updated the blogging software. I say “updated” – I mean “changed because they can”. In the past I’ve written this drivel as a word document and copied it over. Doing that now causes massive spaces between paragraphs, but I’ve now figured a work-around. I hope…
As I figured the work-around the food I’d ordered for the pond fish was delivered. It was a shame that the man from DPD chose to kick the front door rather than knocking on the door or ringing the bell, but I suppose that was his way of staying safe from coronoavirus?
At eleven o’clock I stopped CPD-ing and tuned in to the live feed from the big cat sanctuary in which we saw feeding time for the cheetahs. It was a shame that one of the keepers was wearing a face mask and one wasn’t; you would have thought that they would have decided that the things were necessary or they weren’t.
And , as always is the case when on a late shift, the day was effectively over by mid morning…