1 June 2014 (Sunday) - "Repo puteus vel..."
I *really* don't like my CPAP machine; sleeping with a great big breathing hose attached to my face makes me look and feel like I'm a very old man on his death bed. But the thing is giving me over two more hours asleep every night. I'm still waking early, but nowhere near as early as I was.
I had brekkie and as always offered the crusts to my little dog. He didn't want them, and he did seem rather subdued. He jumped onto my lap and slept for a while. As he slept his stomach was making the noisiest of gurgles and he was farting as though it was going out of fashion. In fact I've only every heard noisier farts once, and that was when "Daddies Little Angel TM" was only a few weeks old and was admitted to hospital for excessive trumping.
I wonder if he's eaten something he shouldn't have.
I then did some exercises. I've signed up to the "30 Day Ab Challenge for those who need some motivation like me"; the idea being to sort out my gut. It probably won't lose me any weight; but it might tighten things up a bit. There's no denying that I had to do a bit of Googling to find out the difference between a sit-up and a crunch. But I gave it a go; even if it did confuse "Furry Face TM" who spent much of the time trying to lick my nose.
The Rear Admiral arrived, and we drove round to collect Gordon; and then it was off to West Sussex. There was a series of geocaches being archived iin the next week or so, and so we thought we'd do the walk whilst we could. We met Dave and Martin at the start of the walk, and off we went. We met a landowner who wanted to know what we were doing walking across a public footpath. She reluctantly admitted that we had the right to use a public footpath, but was adamant that no one would dare put a geocache on her land. We didn't tell her what we had just found...
We heard (but did not actually see) another landowner who was shouting at us. She didn't like the fact that we were walking along a public right of way behind a hedge from where her horse was grazing because we might upset her horse. We didn't tell her to get knotted; which I thought was rather polite of us.
We met a flock of very over-friendly cows; I got cow-licked. If any of my loyal readers have never been licked by a cow, all I can say is that it is an experience unlike any other.
We found someone's stash of "herbal tobacco"; they will be disappointed that they dropped it.
At pretty much every step of the walk we were under the flight path of jet planes flying in to Gatwick Airport. The planes were huge; and rather low too. And were coming in at the rate of one every two miinutes.
After five miles we reached the end of today's planned walk. A short(ish) walk; but fun. We sat in the garden of the nearby pub and enjoyed a pint of cider in the sunshine. Pausing only briefly for a quick geo-challenge we then drove up to nearby (!) Surrey. There was a Church Micro geo-cache in a fenced-off building site. Fortunately the fencing off wasn't as badger-proof as it might have been.
I often get told that geocaching is rather lame. I challenge anyone who thinks it's lame to have a go at this cache and then tell me "LAME!!!" Some caches are easy to find; you get to know what to look for. Some are cleverly hidden, and finding them gives you a sense of acheivement.
This cache is the easiest to find that I have ever encountered. The description tells you where it is, and describes what to look for. I could see the cache from a distance of twenty yards away. However the cache was (and is) a rather large container firmly tied to the girders under a bridge. Above the bridge (and the cache) is the London orbital motorway; the M25. Below the bridge (and the cache) is a not insubstantial river; one of the tributaries of the River Thames.
All we had to do was get up onto the girder; shimmy out twenty yards or so, do the secret geo-ritual, and shimmy back again. Ideally without falling into the river. It took the best part of an hour, but eventually two thirds of our party got there and back again. I won't say how I did it; but I will say that I didn't fall in and my bum feels like I've been sitting on an angry crab.
I did have a moment on the way back from the cache to (relative) safety when I realised that I am probably far too old to be doing daft things like shimmying over rivers under the M25. But the feeling soon passed. Funnily enough it was "Furry Face TM" who was the most upset by this silliness. He wouldn't stop howling whilst I was going across, and when "er indoors TM" did her shimmy I had to pick him up as he wouldn't stop crying.
I took a few photos whilst we were out, including a few taken under that bridge.
After the excitement, coing home and scrubbing pond scum and fox poo out of my dog's fur came as something of a let-down...
2 June 2014 (Monday) - Bit Dull Really…
I had seven hours sleep last night; I was finally woken by the sound of "Furry Face TM" having a nightmare. By then it was well past 6am, so I got up and came downstairs to find "Furry Face TM" was fast asleep in his basket. I was sure I'd heard him whimpering upstairs. I wonder what that was all about.
Over brekkie I watched Warwick Davies seeing a psychic in "Life's Too Short". I do like that show. In a novel break with tradition I had my toast to myself as my little dog was still asleep. I then did my bit for today's ab challenge. Twenty sit-ups, eight crunches, eight leg lifts and twelve planks. I'm not entirely sure there's much difference between a sit-up and a crunch, but I'm having a go.
After brekkie I took "Furry Face TM" round the park for our walk. There was a very amusing five minutes when he got the scent of a squirrel and was tracking it. His nose was right down, tail straight up. He was following the squirrel’s path very closely. Had he looked up he would have seen the squirrel was only a few yards in front of him.
There was an embarrassing five minutes as well when my dog jumped on the back of a passing pug and humped like a thing possessed. I wish he wouldn’t do that.
We had a minor result when the nice man emptying the dog dung bags gave me a large wodge of dog poo bags. That will save a few pence on the monthly shopping bill.
I then did a little research to see about sorting a hike for next weekend. I think I have a plan for a walk of about ten miles. If any of my loyal readers fancy a stroll through the Kent countryside and you haven't already had a formal invite, it’s because I had no idea you’d be up for it. Drop me a line if you’d like to come along.
I then spent a few more minutes on my presentation for the astro club. It’s only four weeks away. It’s amazing how something which only takes up three hours once a month is such a large part of my life.
Off to work. As I drove the radio was broadcasting an interview with Winston Churchill's last surviving child who died over the weekend aged ninety-something. Obviously recorded a while ago, she was relating anecdotes about her personal experiences of Lawrence of Arabia and Stalin. Far more interesting than the usual rubbish broadcast on my way to work.
On my way to work I stopped off at Morrisons where my piss boiled. I wanted a USB memory stick and had to wait ten minutes for all the staff to stop gossiping about babies before anyone would serve me. When someone finally did they were rather embarrassed to admit that thyey did have USB memory sticks for sale, but they shouldn't have. They could sell me one *if* I kept quiet about it.
What a way to run a business...
3 June 2014 (Tuesday) - CPAP; Not Feeling Well...
Having spent a little while organising a walk to deepest Sussex yesterday evening I was woken after half an hour's sleep by a text message reminding me I'd planned it to clash with something else already in the pipeline. Woops. I cancelled an evening's planning and then despite the best efforts of my CPAP machine I hardly slept, and saw every hour of the night. Having had a month of reasonable sleep, a night like I used to have came hard.
I got up shortly after 5am and shared my toast with "Furry Face TM". I lay sideways on the sofa as I watched "Family Guy" so the jollop I have to apply to the inside of my nose wouldn't run out. And then I did today's installment of the thirty day Ab Challenge. Twenty five sit ups, ten crunches, ten leg raises and fifteen planks. I'm not entirely sure it's helping as my gut muscles really hurt now.
Just as I was about to leave from work I had a message to say that the event which I'd forgotten about and for which I had then cancelled my arrangements had now been cancelled.
It's often been said that God laughs when we make plans.
I had a wry smile at the news as I drove to work. Sales of colouring-in books have gone through the roof as astute printers have announced that colouring-in books are actually a therapeutic form of stress relief. It may well be; it's certainly a nice little earner for someone.
And so to work. I did my bit for a while, we had cakes for tea time. And I slipped out for a few minutes to an out-patients appointment to review my progress with my CPAP machine. I've been using it for just over a month now. I don't like the thing at all; but it does (usually) give me better sleep than I have been getting for some years.
I took my place in the queue in the respiratory department. There were six "delightful people" (pikeys) filling the waiting area; all waiting for a seventh to emerge. Eventually I was in with the nice lady. I took my CPAP machine in; she took out a memory card. I didn't realise the thing would tell them how much I'd been using it. The nice lady seemed to think that the card showed I'd been doing well with it, and said to come back next year.
I then went out and blew my sax in the car park for half an hour. Unfortunately there was resurfacing work going on in the car park; and those who should have been doing that resurfacing stopped and listened to me. It was probably for the best that today was one of my less squawky days; the assembled throng seemed reasonably impressed with what they heard.
Once home I took my dog round the park where he got into a fight with a pair of dogs and stole their ball. he was not happy when I finally caught him and got the ball off of him before he utterly destroyed it.
And as "er indoors TM" and Martin went to the weekly gathering I stayed home. The other day I mentioned I wasn't feeling well; I was feeling especially rough this evening...
4 June 2014 (Wednesday) - Off Sic
I had an early night last night as I wasn't feeling well. I then spent much of the night in "Trap One" where I was alternately pointing front and rear end into the porcelain. Needless to say I didn't roll in to work today, but instead phoned in sick. Having (hopefully) emptied myself I went back to bed until 10.30am when I was woken by someone from Mumbai trying to sell me something. And as the day went on I had phone call after phone call trying to sell me stuff.
I downloaded "The Devil's Whore" onto the SkyPlus box; it's quite a good show. Featuring the actor who plays the next Doctor Who and Percy from Blackadder the first episode passed an entertaining hour until I went back to bed at mid day and slept till 4pm when "Furry Face TM" had a woofing fit for no adequately explored reason.
I watched the second episode of "The Devil's Whore" until Cheryl and Lacey popped round to drop off a Moses basket for the double-act which is "Daddies Little Angel TM" these days (bless). I then stayed in front of the telly until "er indoors TM" came home.
I really should try to eat something now; I haven't done so all day...
5 June 2014 (Thursday) - On The Mend
I've never been one for prologed lie-ins; before I got chronic insomnia I found that if I lay in bed for too long I got serious back ache which prompted me to get up. This morning after some nine hours sleep (!) I woke with one of those back aches. Result!!
Mind you I suspect yesterday's intestinal unpleasentness had something to do with my tiredness.
Brekkie, and then on with another day of doing very little. Having had the dodgy guts on Tuesday night the boss told me I was not to return to work for two clear days after my symptoms had abated. So being under orders not to go to work I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park. We went via the charity shop where I got a hard rubber ball for his ball-chucking stick. We played with the rubber ball in the park. We saw "OrangeHead and her Chunky Little Friend", we ("Furry Face TM") rolled in fox poo, we came home for a rather serious bath.
Once home and once "Furry Face TM" was bathed I mowed the lawn. I could have done a *lot* more in the garden, but my heart isn't in gardening any more. I watched a film I'd recorded a while ago. "Looking for Eric" is a British film; quite a bit of violence... I liked it. And with film watched I had a look on-line. A new geocache had gone live. Just over a mile away. I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we sped off. I arrived to see a couple of friends already there. At first my heart fell; I'd been beaten to the First to Find. Then I realised one of the assembled throng was the person who'd hidden it. She'd been called up to check co-ordinates. A quick search (followed by a prolonged search) assisted by astute use of the experience cacher's eye and "Furry Face TM" rooting and snuffling soon gave us the cache in our hands. First to Find. Happy dance.
And jsut as I was leaving we were joined by the chap who claims First to Find on 99% of the local caches. Don't get me wrong - that chap is a really good, decent and likeable fellow, but I did feel smug that for once we'd beaten him.
Home again, and I had a quick sax practice. "Furry Face TM" sang along with me. I wish he wouldn't. I went particularly squawky at one point; my reed had split. Mind you I've had a few weeks' use out of it; I can't complain really.
I'm feeling a little better now - I suppose I really ought to show up at work tomorrow...
6 June 2014 (Friday) - Before Work
At 3am I felt "Furry Face TM" jump onto the foot of the bed. I should have taken him back to his basket, but if he settles I don't really mind him being there. Often when he sneaks up, he soon goes to sleep. This morning he didn't; he stomped about, and fidgeted, and was generally restless until I finally took him to his basket at 4am. But by then I was wide awake and didn't get back off to sleep again.
I was up and watching telly by 6am; the last episode of "The Tomorrow People"; this was the last episode ever. Which was probably just as well really. What started out as a promising series soon lost its way with baddies and goodies swapping sides with amazing regularity and often for no discernable reason.
Today's series finale ended in farce.
I was feeling a lot better than I have done for a few days and so went back to work. Being on a late start I had a little time to spare.
On Monday some new geocaches went live near work; being on a late finish that day I didn't go for them. Because I was feeling ikky on Tuesday I didn't go for them then either. And being off sick on Wednesday and yesterday meant I wasn't in the area. I couldn't believe that when I looked this morning I saw that four of the six still hadn't been found for the first time. So with four spare hours before I had to be at work I thought I'd take a walk round this geo-series and try my luck for an FTF or two. I got First to Find on all the available four. Happy dance indeed. I found one of the other two caches in the series, but had no joy on the sixth. To be honest I didn't try very hard on that sixth; I was being watched from the children in the nearby school's playground. I thought there were rules about geocaches being near to schools... but that's a rant which has been done to death.
Mind you it was a good morning to be out for a walk; scenic views, loads of Red Admiral butterflies, and I even saw a little lizard basking in the sunshine.
As I was in the area I popped into the Sturry Road McDonalds for McBreakfast, and with two more hours before I was due at work I went on another geo-mission. There is a puzzle cache relatively near work. The exact location of this cache is concealed in another cache near Howletts Zoo; we got those co-ordinates over the winter. Today I finally went south of Canterbury to get this puzzle cache.
It was as well that I did so today; the owner of the thing has moved away, and it is now in a rather sorry state. With no one to look after this sandwich box it can only be a matter of time until it is archived.
As I walked back to my car I was amazed to see some old friends standing next to it. By one of life's amazing co-incidences Tim and Laura were considering buying the house just by where I had parked. We chatted for a few minutes until a rather smarmy estate agent appeared. I took that as my cue to go to work.
Being a few minutes early I used the time for an extra sax practice to the delight (!) of the workmen re-surfacing the works car park.
I'd done a full day before I ever got to work...
7 June 2014 (Saturday) - Burp!!!
A relatively good night, but I was till awake and watching rubbish on the TV by 6am. Bearing in mind the fact that the park fills with joggers on a Saturday morning and that the weather forecast was terrible I was up the park with “Furry Face TM “before 7am. I took his new ball and throwing stick. I thought we’d play “Fetch”. “Furry Face TM “ thought we’d play “try to get the ball from the dog”. I threw the ball once; he fetched it, and wouldn’t hand it over. He’d drop it and as soon as I went to get it he’d snatch it away. He then carried it for fifteen minutes and then dropped it in the river.
After that fights with squirrels and geese came as something of a light diversion.
We came home via the bakers, and once home kept the noise down as ‘er indoors TM was still fast asleep. Whilst the forecast thunderstorm did its thing I spent a little while playing with geo-puzzles and once ‘er indoors TM had emerged from her pit she boiled up a rather decent full English breakfast. Very tasty.
Being Saturday I had sax lesson. It went reasonably well; I never feel I do myself justice at sax lessons.
And then it was off to Dover. The Rear Admiral had suggested a booze up; with over twenty people invited along, two of us went for a serious session. We started off in Dover’s “Rack of Ale” ale house which was heaving; the local weirdie-beardie club was having something of a do. From here we adjourned to Blakes… and things got progressively more vague as the afternoon wore on into the evening.
I had this idea that I would have been home by the late afternoon; I got home shortly before 11pm...
8 June 2014 (June) - A Long Walk Round Linton
A day's heavy drinking usually makes for a reasonable night's sleep, and I woke this morning to find I didn't have hours to kill beffore the off. After a spot of brekkie we were soon on our way to collect Gordon Tracy. We didn't have to drive for long to get to today's walk, and soon we met up with Kim and Andy.
I shall have a little aside here - a little rant.... I often get told by all sorts of people that they would like to come on walks and strolls. Everyone is *very* welcome to come along, and it bothers me that I've missed letting people know about these walks when I am told "I would have loved to come along.." or "You never asked me...".
I usually organise walks as Facebook events for the simple reason that I find that this is the easiest way to organise such events. I invite anyone that I think might be interested (but generally don't invite geo-bods who've already done the geo-walk where we're going).
On today's Facebook event page there were five people who told me they couldn't come or had other plans. Five of us went out today. But the majority of people invited either didn't see the invite or didn't bother replying.... which was it..?
Anyway... today was a lovely day for a walk. Glorious sunshine, geo-fun, some wonderful views. We walked along and over a river. The dogs went in the river a few times. As we walked we saw a small frog, some deer, a few llamas, and a young couple having sex on a fence. I did laugh; especially when we saw her bum as she hurriedly pulled up her trousers before they ran away. The young fornicators were more easily spooked than the deer; which was surprising.
We met a couple resting by the side of the road who had a tandem. They sang the praises of the tandem. I wasn't impressed; it looked broken to me. We met some normal people with an ordnance survey map. They lambasted me for having the map on my phone rather than on paper as God intended.
They then asked me to use the sat-nav technology on my phone to show them where they were on their map.
After thirteen miles we were rather hot; finding the pub was rather good. We would probably have had a second round had the people in the garden (there were hundreds) been exerting any control over their feral children (there were thousands)
I took a few photos whilst we were out; we came home and I uploaded them. Unusually for a Sunday we weren't that late getting home. A rather good plate of lamb chops went down very well. The pudding not so; yesterday I'd bought some fresh cream cakes from the bakers. Despite having been kept in the fridge they were still rather stale thiss evening.
I then sent out over thirty invites for next weekend's geo-stroll. Let's see if anyone's taken any notice of my little rant..
9 June 2014 (Monday) - Goodbye Rick
Over brekkie I watched the antics of Warwick Davies in "Life's Too Short". He was making a fool of himself in front of Sting and Cat Deeley today.
"Furry Face TM" slept through most of brekkie; he did come over when I waved the brush at him; he likes being combed. But, as is often the way on a Monday morning, he did seem to still be tired out from the Sunday walk.
To work; as I drove the news told that for the first time a computer has been built that passes the Turing Test. Basically in a Turing Test the person conducting the test sits in one room; a computer or another person in another, and the two communicate. For a computer to pass the Turing Test the first person must be unable to determine whether they are conversing with a person or with a machine.
On the one hand the development of artificial intelligence software that is indistinguishable from human behaviour is amazing. On the other hand I've met several people who wouldn't have sufficient wit to pass a Turing Test. Perhaps the standard has been lowered since Alan Turing developed the idea.
The pundits also announced that serious research is taking place in the field of improving the lifetime of the batteries in our mobile phones. It's no secret that our mobiles are amazing devices, but their ability and computing power has fast outstripped our ability to power the things. Apparently there is big money to be made for a battery which last longer.
Who would have thought it?
I once again stopped off in Morrisons to get some fruit for lunch. I was once again amazed at the rudeness of the staff who (yet again) were more interested in their petty gossiping than in dealing with the paying public.
Lunchtime sax practice went reasonably well. I have three new tunes to master. "Row, row, row your boat" is relatively straight-forward. "In dulci jubilo" is getting there, but the third tune (a nursery rhyme medley) leaves a little to be desired. I'm hoping that the sax mouthpiece cushioning I bought on the way home might help.
Once home I walked my dog round the park; we played our curious version of fetch in which I throw a ball and he eats it. With "er indoors TM" off bowling I spent a little while ironing shirts. Dull...
And in closing Rik Mayall died today. Bearing in mind he's been the funniest thing on the telly for the last twenty years he'll be sadly missed. Mind you I'm showing my age on this one; most of my younger colleagues had never heard of him...
10 July 2014 (Tuesday) - Too Little; Too Late
After an early brekkie spent watching "Family Guy" I set off to work for an early shift. As I started my drive the radio was playing the National Anthem in honour of Prince Philip's ninety-third birthday which I thought was a nice touch. And perhaps a sign of the times, maybe.
Is this a welcome resurgence in national pride or just symptomatic of the current trend of extremist jingoism?
The very next item on the radio featured the need for school governors to have training in what is expected from them in being a school governor following the scandal in Birmingham. Mind you, I blame the Government entirely. If a Government washes its hands of all responsibility of what goes on in schools, one can hardly be surprised when religious crackpots use schools as training grounds for their own personal versions of crackpot-religion-inspired lunacy. And then be even more surprised when the right-wing racists start getting ahead in the opinion polls.
I was rather worried about the subsequent announcement from the Education Secretary that all schools are now to promote "British Values". Don't get me wrong - I'm all for it in theory. However this is something which should have been done years ago. With many of our schools facing pupils for whom English is a second language, promoting "British Values" is going to be something of an uphill struggle for those faced with doing the promoting. "British Values" is going to appear to be stark nonsense to those who've been living in Britain all their lives without knowing anything of its language or culture. And the whole thing can only fuel the preconceptions and prejudices of the ever growing racist minority in Britain today.
Ten years down the line we might have a better society for this initiative, but for now it will be hard work for all concerned.
It's just rather frustrating that all this nastiness was predicted fifty years ago.
11 June 2014 (Wednesday) - Kearsney Abbey
My dog woke me at 5.30am with a minor woofing fit. Something was worrying him; he seemed keen to get outside so I let him into the garden where he ran round the pond a few times before coming back to the house with something of a satisfied air about himself.
He then settled on my lap and slept whilst I watched "Family Guy" until it was time to go to work.
Today's news on the radio was a tad dull in comparison to yesterdays, which was as well for the volatility of my piss. The medical community are up in arms about statins. Those who make and sell the things have announced that they are the best thing since sliced bread. Those who deal with the nasty side-effects of those drugs aren't so sure. Are they wonder-drugs? I don't know, but I'm certainly not going to put up with the unwanted side effects of headaches, muscle pains, cramps, vomiting, dire rear, rashes and difficulty sleeping (!) just on some vague and unsubstantiated suggestion that I might or might not have heart problems ten years down the line.
Neither was I overly impressed with the news that whilst my gas and leccie bills are going through the roof, the wholesale prices of gas and electricity have fallen.
Since last year the power company is getting gas for nearly forty per cent less than they had been paying. Leccie is twenty per cent cheaper too. Or, to be more precise, it is twenty per cent cheaper to them. It's actually dearer for me.
The lunchtime sax practice went well. As always I set up at the end of the car park and make a noise on my saxophone. There are resurfacing works going on in the car park at the moment, and part of the car park is fenced off. As I was wrestling with a rather difficult B-flat a passing normal person started haranguing me. He wanted to walk through the car park (as part of a short cut to somewhere) and he wasn't impressed that his short cut had been fenced off. How long did I intend keeping my fence up? My protestations that i was a saxophonist and nor a car park resurfacer fell on deaf ears. Obviously the fence was my responsibility; why else would I be in a car park?
In the end I told him that I was on my lunch break; and perhaps he might pretend he hadn't seen me. He smiled and climbed through the fence. As I carried on "In Dulce Jubilo" I watched him being stopped by the genuine car park resurfacers who were taking none of his lip.
Once home we put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and took him for a drive and then a walk. First of all we had something of a geo-mission. At the weekend I'd solved a geo-puzzle using the old "hot or cold" game in which you get told whether you are hot or cold in relation to how close you are to whatever it is you are trying to find. It's rather tricky on a web page, but a concerted effort with an Excel spreadsheet and a couple of hours of effort gave me the location. This evening I thought this might make a suitable geocache to be my three thousand five hundredth find. It did.
From here we went on to Kearsney Abey for a little wander. Fudge fell in the river whilst chasing ducks. I didn't laugh much...
12 June 2014 (Thursday) - Bridge
Being on a late start I took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a walk. As we made our way there we avoided a small child (several times) as she wobbled all over the path on her pedal bike. Whilst she did this her mother screamed abuse at her for daring to be wobbling about. I felt rather sorry for the littlun; after all as anyone who's ever cycled will know, cycling at walking pace is very difficult. You do need to go a bit faster to avoid wobbling and/or falling off. And every time this poor child tried to speed up, so her harpie mother started shrieking at her to slow down.
But harpies notwithstanding our walk went well; Fudge enjoyed playing fetch with his new rubber ball. I say "fetch" - when I throw the ball he runs after it and chews it until I catch up with him. What was once a nice ball now has some serious teeth marks in it.
And so off to work for the late shift. I've had this idea that when on a late shift I might lighten the morning by going on a minor geo-mission before work. It was a plan which certainly worked last week. Today I thought I might go on a little geocaching stroll round the village of Bridge. I had a wander of a couple of miles around some rather beautiful scenery. Not a bad way to spend a morning.
As I drove to Bridge there had been an article on the radio about the seventeenth century scientist Robert Boyle. What at first might sound rather dull was actually surprisingly interesting. It would have been better had they interviewed an expert without a speech impediment. Stammers do not make for good radio shows, especially when when when every third word word word is repeated three three three times during the interview interview interview.
As I drove from Bridge there was a program on the radio featuring the unsung heroes who are the wives of those in the diplomatic service. I listened to this with some fascination; but wondered if there was much truth in what they were saying. I shall have to find out from a reliable source. I will be seeing one such in a few weeks time.
My phone rang. The first fruit of my loin was free to take my garden waste to the tip. He seemed somewhat crestfallen to hear I was on the way to work. But I told him where the lawn clippings were, and said he didn't need me to supervise him taking them to the tip. He's got his instructions...
And as I walked from the distant car park towards work there were two unshaven simpletons having a heated conversation at a bus stop. One was shouting "you don't know what the trouble is" to which the other was replying "I'll tell you what the trouble is"; both were repeating their phrase like stuck records.
Personally I didn't know what the trouble was, and I would like to have known what the trouble was; but I didn't have the heart to ask...
13 June 2013 (Friday) – Curry
After a reasonable night's sleep "Furry Face TM" allowed me most of my toast as I watched "Family Guy". And leaving the dishwasher doing its thing I set off to work. My piss boiled as I drove to work. I listened to the news. There is yet more conflict in the Middle East; Sunnies are fighting with Shites again. Part of me knows that thousands of innocents are caught up in someone else's battles. Part of me wonders if it wouldn't be best to just let them fight it out until they've all killed each other off.
Work was busy; sax practice went well. I came honme to find we'd had a copy of the Sun newspaper delivered. I'd heard about this on the telly at work; because of the football the publishers of the Sun paper had decided to give a copy to pretty much everyone in the UK. I wish they hadn't; it was rather jingoistic rubbish.
Apparently the citizens of Liverpool are up in arms at the audacity of the publishers of the Sun newspaper for daring to do this becuse of some indiscretion of the newspaper some twenty-odd years ago.
Why can't anyone make any effort to get on?
We then went into town for a birthday meal. A few beers, a curry, another beer, insults bandies, "woof"s shouted...
I woke up in front of the telly at 4.30am this morning and then went to bed...
14 June 2014 (Saturday) - To Church
It sounds like some new people have moved in next door; I heard voices at 7am; then I went back to sleep for a bit. I finally got up shortlly after 9am and took "Furry Face TM" round the park where we played with his ball. He's still struggling to understand the concept of "fetch"; he either tries to eat the ball, or runs off chasing it until it stops bouncing at which point he looses interest and goes off sniffing after whatever else he can find.
On our walk today we attacked Bernie, played with Ralph, chased a squirrel up a tree, fought with another Patagonian Tripe-Hound, and scared a "duckie" who looked like he was "good with colours" and/or "baked a moist sponge".
This "duckie" was rather precious: every time Fudge (or any other dog) went near his dog (which looked somewhat like an effeminate feather duster) the "duckie" shrieked, picked his dog up and minced in circles until the offending pooches went away. I do hope this "delightful fellow" won't be a permanent fixture in the Viccie Park dog walking scene. There are enough "plums" there already; we don't need any more who feel that their pampered pooch should be the only dog allowed in the park.
I did have something of a sulk tooday; by rights we should have been camping this weekend. The second full weekend in June has traditionally been the first Teston kite festival of the year.
But for various reasons (which I have blogged to death in the past) June Teston doesn't happen any more; which is a shame.
Last night Jason gave me a cheque for the astro club; I thought I'd pay it into the bank so I drove to town. At the very last minute I remembered that I still had the roof box on the car. Woops. Haivng narrowly avoided smacking the box off of the car I went to a car park without height barriers which I could get into. I paid the money into the bank, I got a McBanana milk shake for lunch, and I got myself a sexy new hat too.
Whilst out and about I got petrol. For over two years I've been getting petrol in Canterbury as it's cheaper there than in Ashford. A new place has opened on Ashford's ring road doing the cheapest petrol for miles around. I coulnd't turn that down.
On to my sax lesson which went well. My intermittent squawkiness is due to my embrochure. Apparently. I'm not getting a consistent seal of my gob around my mouthpiece. Teacher's sax has a much flatter mouthpiece. She gave me a website of a place in Crowborough which does all sorts of saxohone bits and pieces. But nothing on their website is cheap. A new mouthpiece looks to cost more than my entire saxophone cost me in the first place. But Crowborough isn't *that* far away. I could go for a day out, if nothing else. Looking at the map it's not a million miles away from Telescope House; I might blag the asto club into a day trip.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" came to visit; she'd had a twenty-something week scan. Her and "Spudgun" (the baby's latest name) seem to be doing well. I played my sax at her until she said it sounded nice, then we drove her home.
And so to church. Enrique was being confirmed. The service was interesting; it was conducted by the Bishop's stunt double, the Bishop himself having recently croaked. His sermon was wonderful to hear. He started off with some serious sensible and reasonable propositions and slowly introduced aspects of religious uncertainty. So slowly and insiduously were they introduced that suddenly complete gibberish was being presented as plausible fact. Mind you I did have more than a passing snigger at the alter-boy who looked just like the TV detective Columbo.
However as easy as it wold be to ridicule the entire thing I found myself watching the priest and the lance-Bishop intently. No matter how nonsensical their propositions, from their expressions it was clear they fervently beleived in it.
Afterwards Maria had put on a buffet. Very tasty...
15 June 2014 (Sunday) – Hollingbourne
Over brekkie social media was all abuzz. Apparently we lost last night. I wasn't aware of anything being missing. After a little research I sorted out the misunderstanding. "We" was (is) the English football team and *they* were beaten by the Italian fotball team last night.
Once again I fiind myself being amazed by the popularity of football. For such a simple game it is amazingly popular. I just wish it wasn't rammed down our throats at every turn. No matter with whom I speak, every time I make the slightest comment which isn't overly enthusiastically effusive about how wonderful football is, I am faced with rather offensive personal bitter abuse about how lame my personal interests are. I agree the world might not like oil painting, sci-fi or playing poker. But the world isn't currently faced with mindless hysteria about these activities at every turn.
And talking of pesonal interests, today was spent on one of these. Seven of us (and two small dogs) met up in Hollingbourne and we off for a little stroll. Usually our routes are laid out along geo-trails; today's routes was cobbled together from two small trails so some judicious map reading was in order. Only taking one wrong turn iin twelve miles, I don't think we did too badly.
We found all twenty of our target geocaches; including one which was in an underground bunker. We even found a pub half way round the walk for a crafty pint. You can't beat a pint of Spitfire after several miles. The beer garden featured a family happily using the play equipment. The young boy of the family had tiddled himself; mum and dad hadn't noticed and I wasn't going to tell them.
Today's walk was also a trial run for "The World's Sexiest Hat" which (it has to be said) exceeded the expectations of even it's most ardently enthuusiastic supporters. The hat will feature in more of our Sunday walks; which will be something to which we can all look forward.
As always I took some photos whilst we were out. Including some of the hat.
With "er indoors TM" off bowling I settled in front of the telly, put on "Doctor Who - Death to the Daleks" and promptly fell asleep. It was a disappointment...
16 June 2014 (Monday) - This N That
I spent a few minutes yesterday evening and this morning looking at the calendar for the next few weeks and months. I had several plans in mind which I hadn't actually written down; I've now updated my calendar for the summer months.
Bearing in mind how few camping events we have this year I'm also looking to next summer to get some camping events pencilled in. There's a Kent Mega geo-event at the first bank holiday in May next year, and a simular event in Essex at the end of July. In the past I've been to kite events, but they can be rather dispproving of people who aren't actually flying kites for every hour of every day.
And then brekkie. "Furry Face TM" was apparntly worn out from yesterdays walk and snored through tis morning's episode of "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin"; a classic episode in which Reggie went to a safari park.
Off to work. As I drove I had a wry smile at the rain. I had been rather conscious that had things gone to plan we would have been camping this weekend. Monday morning would have been "take-down" when we put the tents away. Had we actually been camping this weekend, this morning I would have been faced with the job of taking home a load of wet tents and then struggling to get them dried out. I was glad I didn't have that worry today.
Once at work I phoned the CT scan people - they'd made an appointment for my nose scan at a time I could not do. I've managed to reschedule it for rather early on a morning when I am on a late shift. That will leave me at a loose end in Canterbury for a couple of hours. I suppose I could either have a sax practice or go off on a geo-mission. Both would pass the time.
Talking of sax practice, today's went rather well. With minimal squawkiness I've made a good start at "You Are My Sunshine" and "Once in Royal David's City". Maybe not appropriate for this time of year, but I'm pleased with how it's turned out.
Whilst I was tootling away today I slowly realised that I was being watched. Some posh-looking chap in a suit was walking toward me. He was all smiles and announced that I was "an inspiration". He was very impressed with my tunefulness; he looks forward to hearing me play every lunchtime (he must he hard of hearing!) and asked how I found the time to practice. He was amazed when I told him that I practiced at lunchtimes; it was my practicing that he hears every day. He seemed shocked that I wasn't "doing proper playing" with my sax but just practicing.
It turned out that this chap was under the impression that I found time to practice at home and then spent my lunchtimes serenading a mostly empty car park as some sort of a voluntary public service.
I smiled politely whist wondering what goes through some people's heads. What kind of a twit did this fellow take me for?
An early start made for an early finish. It would have been good to have taken "Furry Face TM" for an extended walk this evning, but the fine persistent rain got us both soaked after only five minutes. Instead we came home and put laundry into the washing machie. And with "er indoors TM" of bowling the rest of the evening was spent ironing that laundry. As I ironed I watched "The Forsyte Saga"; I do like period dramas...
17 June 2014 (Tuesday) – Tetrahedral
I was woken this morning by the sound of "Furry Face TM" being hoofed off of the end of the bed as "er indoors TM" rolled over in her sleep. I felt sorry for the poor pup and went downstairs with him. I combed him (he likes that) and fed him most of my toast as I watched Reggie Perrin being beastly with his secretary (he likes that - Reggie, not "Furry Face TM").
Being on a late start I had some time to spare so I took my dog for a walk. I'd had a report that one of my geocaches had gone missing so I thought we might walk out and have a look-see. Needless to say the thing was exactly where I'd hidden it all those months ago.
Whilst we made our way into into Newtown we found ourselves walking just behind a gaggle of rather "council" young mothers. They were "discussing" (shrieking about) the current World Cup football matches. One of them had announced that she wasn't supporting England any more; she was supporting Italy from now on. After the other three had made protestations of patriotism (all using the F-word) the first explained her reasoning. "Shaddap, Shaddap" she started, and in much the same delightful tone she went on to say that you *have* to support a team (apparently) so you might as well support one that has a very good chance of winning.
On hearing this the other three harpies actually "shad ap" and after a moment's reflection realised that the logic was inescapable. It was a shame that at this point me and my dog turned right whilst they walked straight on; I would have liked to have heard them prove that black was white.
We met a cat which was sitting on the path. Before I could stop him, "Furry Face TM" flew at the cat. The cat wasn't fazed; it just sat where it was and glared with contempt at my dog who was completely nonplussed by a cat that didn't run away. He gave it a couple of experimental woofs before I could get his lead on him and drag him away. A little later I let him off the lead again and after we played "fetch" (he's getting better at it) he puddled in the river.
I left for work a little earlier than I needed to; with a beautiful morning I thought I might do a spot of geocaching before work. I set off to Bekesbourne where I tracked a couple down. One was on the site of an old airfield used during the war. The other... It was actually rather scary. In a corner of a field there were about a hundred concrete pyramids; each about a metre tall. The pyramids were very old and whatever their original use was would seem to have disappeared into the mists of time. Many of these pyramids were now under stinging nettles and brambles. But many were still visible, and they all looked incredibly out of place. It was eerie - almost like something out of an episode of "Doctor Who". The geocache I was after was concealed at the furthest end of these pyramids, necessitating making my way through them all.
It was rather nerve-wracking going through them; I was half-expecting to be physically attacked by the inanimate concrete objects. Perhaps I watch too much sci-fi...?
After that excitement the rest of the day was rather dull in comparison.
18 June 2014 (Wednesday) –Stuff
Over brekie I watched more of the adventures of Reggie Perrin. Today he was having hanky-panky willy-nilly. CJ wasn't impressed - he didn't get where he was thirty-odd years ago by having hanky-panky willy-nilly.
Whilst still eminently amusing over an early brekkie, the show has lost a certain something with the pasage of time.
Off to work. As I drove I listened to the radio. I always do so ; the reception is usually terrible, and most of what I can make out through the crackling boils my piss. But if I don't listen to it I end up so out of touch with reality.
There are those who wouldn't see that as a bad thing...
Sir John Major has added his voice to the "Vote No" campaign about Scottish independence. He's talking sense. Why on Earth would any Scot vote for independence? Misplaced arrogant pride and incomprehensible hatred of the English would be the only reasons that I can see. And the really daft thing is that having given the two-fingers to the rest of the United Kingdom, it's no secret that the first thing an independent Scotland would do would be to submit itself to whatever terms the European Union might dictate so Scotland could retain EU membership. Where is the logic in that?
And the NHS is under financial pressure again. Apparently with a projected overspend of two billion pounds the pundits are up in arms about waste and savings.
Well here's one way to cut the shortfall. According to official figures missed appointments are a serious problem in the health service. Twelve million GP appointments were missed last year. If I miss a dental appointment I am billed for it. Why not let the same happen with GP appointments? Charging the pundits twenty five oncers a go for each missed appointment (and that's cheap!) would raise three hundred million quid every year.
And nearly seven million hospital outpatient appointments are also missed. According to the same official figures each of those missed appointments costs the system (i.e. the taxpayer) just over one hundred quid. Why should we pay? Billing those who don't show up would raise seven hundred and forty five million pounds on an annual basis.
There's one billion of the shortfall found, and it only took me five minutes to work it out. Only another billion pounds to find... I'll leave that to the so-called experts.
There was a minor catastrophe with my lunchtime saxophone practice; my music stand has broken. The screw adjuster on the bottom section has gone squafty. At the moment I am able to bodge it in place; but I can't say I'm impressed with the thing. I spent twenty quid on it and it's only lasted a couple of months.
And so home again. I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk; I only wish I'd remembered to change my pants first. The elastic had gone in them earlier in the day which hadn't made for the most comfortable of days, and certainly didn't make for the most comfortable of walks. Supervising a recalcitrant Patagonian Tripe-Hound is tricky enough at the best of times; it is positively hard work when one's undercrackers are randomly diving south at every opportunity.
19 June 2014 (Thursday) - New Shoes...?
Last night wasn't a good night's sleep; a few months ago I would have been well impressed having slept through to 4.30am, but in these new halcyon days of positive-pressure-enhanced sleep 4.30am is a little early to be waking.
My dog didn't stir as I watched Reggie Perrin finally flip, and having checked out social media and seen absolutely nothing happening in the world I set off to work for an early shift,
As I drove the news droned on in the background. It would sem that one half of the denizens of the Middle East are doing their level best to murder the other half.
It's terrible; it really is. But I'm afraid that from the bitter experience of having listened to the news for the last several years, that really does seem to be how things are in the Middle East. So many people there seem determined to kill each other (and anyone else within striking distance come to that), and recent history has shown that there's not much that can be done to stop them.
Realistically the Western world needs to realise that forcing western values (of not killing everyone else) isn't really going to work in this part of the world.
What does he expect? Brain chemistry is a fiendishly complex area, and there are far more easier profits to be made elsewhere. It's no good having politicians making announcements that dementia will be cured within ten years and then expecting the pharmaceutical industry to spend their money to come up with the goods. In a field like this it needs public sector commitment of cash, and that's not going to happen.
Talking of spending cash in the public sector, and following on from yesterday's little rant about overspending on health care, today there are calls from the Health Secretary for the banning of boob jobs on the NHS.
Not just boob jobs, but a blanket ban on all taxpayer-funded cosmetic surgery such as breast implants, nose jobs and tummy tucks. Makes sense - if anyone wants (or doesn't want) epic tits then they can fund their own (or the removal of them) themselves.
That should save a few bob. Following on from yesterday's little rant the NHS is now back within budget.
And so on with work. I didn't tell the boss I've solved the firm's financial worries; I don't like to overstep the boundaries (any more). I did my bit, and at lunchtime I blew on my saxophone. As I did I had a revelation. I'm sure the accomplished musicians among my loyal readers are well aware of the fact, but in music sharps and flats are different things. I've only really today made that conscious realisation. It has explained several bum notes along the way. Now I've only got to figure out how to get a sharp or a flat out of the sax.
And so home. As I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park I thought I felt my walking shoe was't right. I bought a pair of waking shoes in March. After a few weeks the soles split. I was given a replacement pair free of charge, and after another few weeks this pair has also split.
This time I'm getting a refund...
20 June 2014 (Friday) - Blean Woods
I do like having a series of TV shows which I can watch, one episode at a time, over brekkie. At the moment it's "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin" which I am recording from UK Gold. This morning as "Furry Face TM" ate my toast I watched Reggie trying to come back from beyond the grave before falling headlong into raw sewage. Hardly hilarious slapstick, but it passes an otherwise dull half-hour.
Being on a late start we had our walk before work today. I took my dog over to the co-op field where I found a large stick. He likes to carry a stick about, and today I used that to my advantage. This stick was ideal for my purposes. "Fetch" as a game is improving, but still leave a lot to be desired. So this morning every time when he wouldn't give the ball back I waggled the stick at him. He would them immediately drop the ball and go for the stick. I could then get the ball into the thrower, chuck it again, and off we would go.
It certainly made playing "fetch" easier and quicker; it's just a shame we have to have quite so much over-excited barking and woofing.
And so to work. As I drove I listened to "Desert Island Discs" in which the Palestinian author and human rights activist, Raja Shehadeh (who?) listed the pretentious music he'd like to be thought to listen to. Wagner, Dvorak, Shubert, why does no one on that show ever listen to anything which isn't actually dreadful.
One day I shall publish my eight Desert Island Discs. I wonder what they will be? ELO and Sparks will be in there as will (I suspect) Kate Bush, Gloria Gaynor, Sinitta and Ivor Biggun.
I had a little time to kill before I was needed on duty, so as I was nearby (sort of) I drove up to Blean woods. There were four geocaches in those woods that had been hidden since I was last there, and also three munzees to be found as well. After a little to-ing and fro-ing I found the lot.
Whilst in the woods I also found (and was chatted up by) a rather fit bird with an Alsatian. I think she might have been "up for it" (the fit bird; not the Alsatian), but I've never really been a good judge of that sort of nonsense. Which is probably for the best.
And so to work. I did my bit. At lunch time I blew my saxophone. And I came home again. There was a little good news during the day; about five years ago I was in a lottery syndicate. The syndicate was losing money hand over fist, and as the thing folded the little remaining cash in the account was invested in premium bonds. One of those has come up trumps; I recevied a cheque for thirty quid. Not an Earth-shattering amount, but it is better than a kick up the bum.
Once home I went to the Chinese take away; with "er indoors TM" off out with her mates I was left to forage for tea. I got myselff curry and chips.
It's not sitting well...
21 June 2014 (Saturday) - FTFs and Strippers
Continuous positive airway pressure machine only work when they can blast air into airways. With a completely obstructed conk I only slept for about three hours last night. I gave up trying to sleep and was ironing my shirts shortly after 5am.
The plan for the day involved picking people up at 8.45am. Most people feel that is an early start. For me the day *really* seems half-gone by then. This surgical re-bore of my nose can't come quickly enough.
I added the trackable number to "The World's Sexiest Hat" (it's a geocaching thing) and with ten to go minutes before we set off on our planned geo-mission before today's geo-meet a whole load of new geocaches went live. So we abandoned our planned walk and thought we'd chase the FTFs.
We got to say that we were the First One to Find It on a few ocassions today; for which we were rather smug. There were one or two we didn't find, including one up a tree which was rather higher thaan we'd been led to beleive (or so we have been told). We shall go back next weekend and have a look-see.
After our stroll we wandered down to the nearby pub for the monthly geo-meet. An afternoon spent sitting in the sunshine chatting with friends is always good. It would have been good to have stayed longer, but other plans had been made.
I rounded up the women of the family and took them to Hastings for a hen party. I then went over the road where the men of the family were having a crafty barby; periodically visited by women for whom the hen party was just a lttle too much. We had a good time scoffing burgers and chatting. I am reliably informed that the ladies had a good time with meat as well when the stripper arrived. There were some rather alarming shrieks when he started waving his nasty like a lasso (apparenlty). I was asked if was at all concerned that some bloke was benig paid over a hundred quid to brandish his cock at my aunt, mother, wife, sister in law, daughter and daughter in law. The only concern I had was that if he was getting so much money why couldn't I get paid to wave mine about too...
22 June 2014 (Sunday) - Haywards Heath
After driving various inebriated womenfolk home last night it was gone 1am before I got to bed. I was wide awake at 5.30am this morning feeling as though I had the world's worst hangoover. How is that possible? Over a spot of brekkie I checked out the Internet. Rik Mayall died a wek or so ago. Another comedy genius had died as well. Patsy Byrne who played "Nursie" in Blackadder has died. It turns out she was born in Ashford. It's a small world!
The Rear Admiral arrived, and we were soon off. Collecting another small dog and her associate we were on the motorway by 8.30am. Today being the longest day of the year we had planned a rather long walk which was a rather long way away from home. We were eventally in deepest Sussex and were walking the GFW series of geocaches; billed as eighty caches along sixteen miles oof Sussex countryside it finally turned out to be eighty six geocaches over nineteen miles and eleven hours. Many of the placs we walke and caches we founnd seemed very familiar. Do Sussex cachers archive caches and then put out new ones in *exactly* the same places? It certainly seemed so. Interestingly reading my blog comments from a year ago (when we were last in the area) I said exactly the same thing then.
As we walked we saw deer. We saw pretentious prats pretending to be cultured at a village open day. We got rather hot; it was a very hot day. Even my dog felt the heat. He rarely drinks when offered water, but when Suzy started having a drink from the water bowl, rather than ignoring it (like he usually does) he stood patiently next to her and cried. It was so sad.
We nearly cried at the second pub on our walk. Four small glasses of pop cost over ten quid. They don't give the stuff away, do they?
Bearing in mind how good "Furry Face TM" had been yesterday he was off the lead for most (nearly all) of today's walk and he was as good as gold. He was walking awkwardly at one point; I think he's trodden on a stinging nettle, and at another point he stopped dead and held up his paw. He'd got a dead holly leaf stuck in his foot.
A tiring walk, but a good one. We did take a couple oof wrong turns along the way. But only a couple. I even took the occassional photo whist we were walking.
There's no denying that we finished a lot later than I was expecting, and so we stopped off at Clackett Lane services for some McTea. As we scoffed I had the car windows open. I closed them for the journey home. Or that is I tried to. The passenger side window had broken in the "open" position, which made for a rather cold, noisy and windy journey home.
I've bodged it up with sellotape and cling film. I supposse I should phone a garage in the morning..
23 June 2014 (Monday) - Cling Film for a Window
Yesterday we walked for nineteen miles. By the time we'd got home, washed fox poo off of the dog, bodged the car window shut and phoned the insurance people (to be told that windows wasn't their problem) it was gone midnight before I got to bed. The CPAP machine did its best, but by 5am my nose was completely bunged up and I was wide awake.
"Furry Face TM" came downstairs with me; he'd sneaked upstairs during the night. Being a small dog I don't really notice him at the foot of the bed. He didn't want any toast today; he just jumped onto the sofa and went to sleep.
The drive to work was noisy this morning with the cling film (which was supposed to double up as the window) blowing in the wind. Consequently I couldn't hear a thing on the radio; which was probably for the best.
I stopped off at Morrisons for some fruit; they were playing Christmas tunes over their loudspeakers. What was that all about? As always in Morrisons I used the self-service checkout. For the first time in nearly three years the machine worked with no problems and I didn't have to ask the nice lady for help.
And so to work; when I found a spare five minutes I telephoned the garage. They said to drop the car with them this evening and they would have a look when they could; but it probably wouldn't be until Thursday.
So I then spent a few minutes checking train times for this week. The trains seem to run a reasonable service; far better than the buses. It's only a shame that the train station is so far from where I work. Google Maps tells me that the distance is a mile and a half, and that it will take me thirty five minutes to walk that distance. I did nineteen miles yesterday; I can do a mile and a half tomorrow morning.
I slipped out of work a few minutes early and came home. I collected "Furry Face TM" and took him and the car to the garage. I left the car there with the nice man, and we came home via Frog's Island. It seemed daft for me to take the car straight to the garage, walk home for over a mile and then be faced with a small dog who wanted a walk.
With "er indoors TM" off bowling I watched the latest episode of "The Forsyte Saga". If you like period dramas it isn't too bad at all.
Bearing in mind I need to be on the 6.30am train tomorrow I should really get an early night...
24 June 2014 (Tuesday) - Taking the Train
It was a really hot and uncomfortable night last night. I needed an early start, and I got one. I was watching Reggie Perrin getting sacked (again) before 6am.
With my car in the garage I found myself at the railway station and on the wrong train before 6.30am. As is always the case when I need to take a train I did my research for the train journey on-line. Once again I found that the price quoted by the official website http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ was wrong. It always is; every time.
I got on the train. Fortunately I realised I was on the wrong train before it went anywhere and so got myself onto the right train in time. As we trundled along the twenty minute journey to Canterbury I checked out my emails. Mobile technology is wonderful stuff.
Cotton Traders had sent me an email to say they weren't going to publish the review I'd written about my walking shoes because it "didn't conform to their guidelines for publication". I'm not surprised - the shoes didn't conform to my guidelines for being worth having in the first place.
I saw someone had found one of the geocaches I'd hidden. Not content with where I'd hidden it they told me they've moved it to where they think it should have been. This isn't some newbie making an understandable mistake; this is someone who's been playing the game for years and has found thousands of caches. You really would think that someone like that would know better. I do wish people wouldn't "help" me like this; I've now got to go out of my way to make a special journey to put right the damage they've done.
I also had a message to say that the log on another of my geocaches was full. Another person was being "helpful". By chance I was walking past this cache this morning on my way to work. As I had a spare log in my pocket, I changed the supposedly full one for a new one, even though it was only half full. Literally half full. It would have been fine for another few months.
The walk from Canterbury West to work is one of just over half an hour. I took about forty five minutes, but I did go via several munzees (some of which were actually there) and a McDonalds banana shake.
Once at work I did my bit. My phone rang - it was the garage. My heart sank as I expected the worst. They'd found the problem with the window. It wasn't not an uncommon problem, but it was over four hundred quid's worth of problem. They did say that if I wanted they could put the window into the "closed" position and bodge it permanently shut with a lump of wood. But a window that never opens is not going to be practical, is it? Oh well, what's money for if not to squander foolishly.
The nice man from the garage said he should have the car ready by tomorrow; soI can't really complain too much...
And talking of my car I found myself at something of a loose end at lunch time; I couldn't do my usual sax practice. I'd left my saxophone in the boot of my car which was at the garage. Instead I read my book on my Kindle app until I fell asleep.
An early start made for an early finish. Faced with a mile and a half walk to the railway station I took a rather circuitous route via two more munzees (that *were* there) and most (but not quite all) of a multi-cache. By some strange qurk of fate I got to the train station just asb the train did, so I didn't have to wait around.
Once home I chased "Furry Face TM" around the garden for a bit. He seemed to like that.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered; this time in Somerset Road for the penultimate "Merlin". It's been a good show, but has lost a certain something since the demise of Sir Bigtits.
25 June 2014 (Wednesday) - Not a Good Day
"Furry Face TM" had a woofing fit at 2.30am this morning. He was barking wildly at the front door. Something must have spoooked him. Knowiing I wouldn't get back to sleep I trudged back to bed, lay down, and woke up again at 7.30am. I was well pleased with that.
Over breekkie I checked out my emails. A new geocache had gone live in Folkestone, and with half an hour the First to find had gone. To the Rear Admiral. For someone who's only recently returned to the dark side he's doing rather well at this silly game.
Being on a late start I had a little time to spare, so I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk over to Frogs Island. We played his version of "fetch" as we walked. Rather than coming home we carried on to the garage to collect my car. They'd done a wonderful job getting it ready in so short a time; it's just a shame that there was so little change out of five hundred pounds.
We drove home and I revised the monthly accounts (now rather dire), and I nearly became embroiled in a squabble on social media.
I maintain that those who quote twee platitudes about "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" have clearly never once been given a lemon by life. In the same vein I am convinced that those who loudly brag that that one can achieve absolutely anything by hard work and determination have absolutely no idea how fortunate they have been.
Perhaps I should stop being quite so sensitive and develop a thicker skin, and stop seeing offence where none is probably intended (even if actually given).
And so with my piss boiling I set off to work. As I drove I used my newly serviced air conditioning. Very nice. Just the thing for cooling boiling piss.
I got some petrol from the cheapo-petrol shop in Ashford; it seems there's a price war. It is now is only slightly cheaper than Canterbury. I had planned a geo-target for my journey today, but an incessant stream of temporary road works along the A28 put paid to that idea.
And so to work where I didn't have the best of days. But at least with my car nearby I was able to have a saxophone practice at lunch time. Sharps and flats remain synonymous, but other than that slight detail the practicing seems to be going reasonably well. Just as well something is... these infernal nasal have swollen so much that they are rather painful.
26 June 2014 (Thursday) - A Smack in the Gorb (!)
I woke relatively early, and after "Furry Face TM" ate most of my breakfast over an episode of Reggie Perrin I dealt with my credit card bill that came in yesterday. On the one hand I have a garage bill of nearly five hundred quid I wasn't expecting. On the other hand it looks like the round of drinks I bought on that card in deepest Sussex a month ago hasn't gone through. I can remember commenting at the time that I thought the chap behind the bar didn't have a clue about what he was doing with the credit card machine. If he's not done his bit right then the cost of that round of drinks will never appear on my bill.
I'm not complaining.
I took my dog round the park for a walk. We played "throw the ball and chase it and chew it"; a far better description of what actually happens than "fetch". Whilst we were out we encountered a delightful young family. A small child was simulating an epileptic fit in its push chair whilst the mother continually asked if said small child would like a smack in the gorb. I couldn't help but smile, and mother gave me a glare. We beat a hasty retreat in case I got a smack in the "gorb".
Off to work. As I drove there was an interesting article about public parks. The pundits were commenting on how public parks have improved beyond all recognition over the last ten years. I was walking through a small park in Canterbury only last Tuesday and I was thinking how good the place looked, and how many people were using it. However this national improvement is mostly due to funding from the National Lottery, and as people are stopping buying lottery tickets, so the funding for our parks is drying up. The take-home message was (supposedly) to buy more lottery tickets.
Personally I feel that public amenities should be funded properly in the first place and not be dependent on charity, but what do I know?
Being on a late shift I had some spare time, so I drove north of Canterbury and had an impromptu geo-mission. I found one puzzle cache, the puzzle of which I had solved months ago. I found another cache laying in the middle of a footpath; I hid it properly before I went on.
And then I met yet another idiot. How do I attract these people?
I decided to go for a geocache in the middle of nowhere. The closest point to it at which I could park my car was half a mile away. I walked along one of the most poorly marked footpaths I have ever seen (and I've walked in Essex!) until I got to the geo-location which was by a footbridge. I soon found the cache, did the secret geo-ritual and was about to head back to the car when I heard a voice.
A rather pompous and obnoxious twit wanted to know when I was going to replace his bridge for him because he was fed up with everyone else walking over it. He immediately put my back up, and I suggested that as it was a public right of way everyone was perfectly entitled to walk over it. Furthermore if it was "his" bridge then he should look after the thing's upkeep himself. "Obnoxious twit" replied that it was up to "you council johnnies" to maintain the right of way.
I told him that whilst the "council johnnies" might maintain bridges and stiles, landowners had a legal obligation to maintain the rights of way. He didn't like that, and he started a tirade about how everyone walks all over his land with no one using the proper footpaths. I looked the fool in the eye, asked him if he was serious,and defied him to show me a proper footpath. He mumbled a bit and waved an arm in the direction of grass which was four feet high.
I asked him to excuse me, and left him blustering. Silly twit.
The rest of the day was somewhat dull in comparison...
27 June 2014 (Friday) – Galaxies
I didn't sleep especially well last night; far better than I have in the past but rather poorly by today's standards. I found myself abluted, with the dishwasher loaded and was watching Reggie Perrin launching his "Grot" empire before 6am.
I then checked out social media, and again my piss boiled. Twee slogans are irritating enough, but platitudes about how people achieve so much through hard work are all very well for those who have got lucky, but are frankly insulting to those who actually worked hard to no avail.
I saw that there was a wedding today. A distant cousin was getting married to her girlfriend. I wish the pair well; even if they do stuff their lesbianism down everyone's throats. I've always been a staunch supporter of gay rights, and I am very happy for them. But this morning as I read all the messages of support and congratulations on Facebook I saw one from one of the bride's mothers. She seemed delighted about the arrangement.
This made me wonder how I would be reacting had "Daddies Little Angel TM" or "My Boy TM" "taken the other bus" or "was good with colours" or even went so far as to "bake a moist sponge" or to "bowl from the pavilion end".
I'm rather ashamed to say that I don't think that I would not have been quite so sanguine about it as these two's mothers seem to be.
As I drove to work I couldn't help but notice how empty the roads were. Why was hardly anyone travelling today?
As I drove I listened to the news through the constant crackling of interference. The Welsh police have been accused of failure as a couple of Welsh lads have run away to fight in the never-ending religious conflicts in the Middle East.
I don't see how the police can be held accountable. If anyone is responsible we should blame the society which allows such religious brainwashing to take place. And as for those lads who've run off to fight, let them go.
We shouldn't let them come back (if they survive!), but we should let them go.
And I couldn't beleive my ears when the cost of the recent phone hacking trial was revealed. Sixty million quid. Regardless of the outcome, justice costs too much.
I don't know how the costs can be reduced, but justice is certainly beyond the budget of all but a very exclusive elite.
I gave the usual sax practice a miss over lunchtime and instead spent some time working on the evening's presentation for the astro club. And with work done I then went on to said astro club via a minor McDiversion for some McDinner. You can never go wrong with a quarter-pounder, fries, banana shake and a McFlurry.
Astro club went well. A reasonable turn out; even if numbers are noticably down on what they once were. My talk on galaxies went quite well I thought. I wonder what I shall talk about next time...
28 June 2014 (Saturday) - Stag Do
"My Boy TM" was on the doorstep at 7.30am and we set off to Battle (via a couple of geocaches en route). My brother's stag day was starting with a round of golf. We'd been told to get there for 8.30am; we did. Everyone else arrived at 9am. Beer was handed out, and after a slight altercation with an exploding golf ball we set off on a round of eighteen holes which in theory should have taken about four hours. It took six.
I was caddying; and our group was last to set off. I'd not met the rest of our group before, but they were all good blokes and we had a good laugh as we went round. We met up with my cousin at the third hole; he had a bottle of rum. Very nice if you like that sort of thing. Personally I do. And the rum did help with the golf.
Don't get me wrong; we had a good fun time. But I was put off golf. Battle golf course was chosen for our day because it is a quiet golf course; hardly anyone else uses it and so we could be raucous without upsetting any normal people. But the reason that no other golfers use the course is because it's so dreadfully maintained. There were no golfing greens on the course at all; they were all browns. And we spent so much time searching for lost balls in unmowed grass and un-raked-up grass clippings.
I think it's fair to say that searching foor lost balls added two hours to the time it took us to go round; other groups gave up. Mind you as we went round we were finding shot glasses of rum which had been left for us. They went down nicely.
Once back at the club house I polished off the last of the rum and we all had a plate of ham egg and chips each; I washed mine down with a bottle of ale. We then adjourned to my brother's house to get changed, and then went on something of a pub crawl around Hastings Old Town.
We started off in an old favourite pub of mine - the First In Last Out. A couple of pints there whilst most people arrived, and then we moved on to the Jenny Lind where the star of the show attempted to have sex with a statue of a mermaid. Some Samuel Smith's in the Hastings Arms got guzzled whilst we staged an arm wrestling contest. And a pint of Whitstable Bay went down very nicely in the Pump House.
By now we'd had an elegant sufficiency (burp!) and being a stag do it was decided that we would go to the strip club. There's no denying that this had been on the cards sincce the start of the evening. There's also no denying that I was hoping we wouldn't.
Hastings strip club was.... well, the only word I can really use is "dire". It cost five pounds each to get in. And the strippers... well, there weren't any aactual strippers. There were half a dozen young girls (who barely looked old enough to have left school) standing around in skimpy saucy bras and knickers (and absolutely nothing else) all trying to entice the punters to give them twenty quid for a lap dance. Once such young lady came up to me, started rubbing her tits up my chest and asked me if I would like to go to a private booth with her. I told her (in all honesty) that I had a daughter who was at least five years older than she was, and that for all that she was a very attractive young lady all I actually waanted was a kebab and a bit of a kip. I donn't think she was at all impessed with that.
I then fell asleep whilst two bare chested teenaged YTS girls licked each other whilst pole dancing.
I was woken to find that I hadn't actually missed much, and we went for that kebab. I do like a kebab. And after completely failing to hail a taxi we walked back to my brother's house where we sat in the garden talking rubbish until after 2am.
29 June 2014 (Sunday) – Hangover
An incredibly late night after a serious overload of ale had me asleep untiil 7am this morning. I woke and lay for an hour listening to everyone else snoring. Periodically I would fart, which would give "My Boy TM" a fit of the giggles whilst he was pretending to still be asleep.
We got up shortly after 8am, and after a cuppa and a Belgian wash we wandered down the road to the cafe for a fry-up. Whenever I've had far too much to drink the night before I always find a Full English geets me going again. It did today.
We came back to my brother's house, and after a quick game of Yabba-Dabba-Darts (don't ask) we came home. I do like going away, but I do like coming home afterwards.
Everyone else went to their home to sleep, I made my way to Chilham where I caught up with the now traditional Sunday geo-expedition. Having been to some places I've already done during the morning, this afternoon we wandered found a relatively new geo-series in Chilham.
We found the lot; mostly through geo-brilliance, but in a couple of cases through pot luck. And rather unusually for us lately we were home by 6pm.
"Furry Face TM" had his bath. I say " had his bath"; "was bathed" is probably a better description of what happened. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good but of tea and I set the washing machine to do battle with my smalls. I had this idea to get going with the laundry, but I instead kept dozing off during the evening. I wish I didn't do that...
I hope I feel better in the morning.
30 June 2014 (Monday) - CT Scan
I didn't sleep at all well last night. I always know when I am up far too early as my dog is still asleep at that time. Today I got all of my toast to myself as I watched "Family Guy".
I set off to work far earlier than I might have done, and as I drove I listened to the radio. According to the pundits the recent appointment of Herr Juncker to the position of president of the European Union (riding roughshod over the wishes of the British Prime Minister) means one of two things. Either as a compromise Britain will get the reforms to the EU charter for which Britain has been hoping. Or as a demonstration of his new-found power Herr Juncker will tell the British to get knotted (and good riddance to us). I wonder which way it will go
I stopped off at Morrisons on my way to work and (as usual) the self-service checkouts broke. I gave up using the one that was randomly flashing at me and moved to the next. A rather irate member of staff bustled over and demanded to know what was wrong. I told her it was the same thing that has been wrong with that particular machine for over a year, and that she knew the problem very well as she is always grumbling about that machine.
As I walked off, said assistant had a face like a smacked arse.
I arrived at work three hours earlier than I might have done, put my lunch in the fridge, and went down to the CT suite to get my long awaited sinus scan done. My appointment was for 8.30am; I got there at 7.55am and was seen instantly. The CT machine was like something out of "Star Trek", and it soon had my head scanned.
I just hope the images are of use to the ENT people. I shall ring them in a day or so to find out where we go from here.
With a spare couple of hours before I was due "on deck" I went into Canterbury. I had a cheque to pay into the bank, I had a geo-puzzle I'd solved last week to go find, and there were a few caches and munzees to be tracked down as well. I found one out of the three caches I went for, found about half the munzees I was after, and completely forgot to go to the bank.
On the plus side I did get a McBanana milk shake and a Greeg's bacon twist.
And so to work where I did my bit. I had an interesting episode during my lunch break. As I walked to my car so some fat woman followed me in her car. As I opened the boot of my car to get my sax out; she wound down her car window to ask how long it would be before I left. I told her it would be about five hours as I was on my lunch break and wouldn't be finished until 8pm. She sat and glared at me as I started practicing. After a few minutes she called over to ask if I might like to go practice somewhere else so she could park her car. I shouted back that I wouldn't. She then got really irate and went off on a rant about how she needed to park her car and how I could practice a saxophone anywhere. I told her that whilst I *could* practice a saxophone anywhere, she couldn't park a car anywhere; and specifically not in a designated staff car park. Said fat woman then told me that I was lying when I claimed that we were in a staff car park, got out of her car, marched over to the signs saying that it was a staff car park, glared at them, marched up to me and told me "this is all most irregular" and then drove off.
I wish all of my other problems would do the same...