1 June 2020 (Monday) - Late Shift
There was an interesting question on the all-new Geocaching in Kent Facebook group last night. One of the old hands is doing some on-line discussion thingy about public perception of COVID-19 and wanted to know whether people would be happy using the government’s track and trace app when it is launched.
Bearing in mind that Facebook tells you how many people had read any post, less than twenty per cent of people who had seen it had bothered giving a response. Of those that did, three quarters were happy to be tracked and traced.
Personally I don’t have an issue with it. Anyone who reads this drivel or sees my Facebook feed will know that my life is an open book. Whilst I suppose that people do have the right not to be tracked and traced, I can’t help but wonder what these people have in their lives that they want to hide. Particularly those posting on a geocaching-related page which is a hobby all about openly and publicly recording your movements.
But even if you don’t indulge in GPS-related hobbies, Google is already tracking pretty much anyone with a Google account and a mobile phone. Have you ever wondered where you’ve been? Log into your Google account and call up Google Maps. Click on the “more” button (three horizontal lines) on the top left corner, then click on “your timeline” and use the calendar to view a particular day.
Or Google a local business or tourist attraction and Google will tell you when you were last there.
I was rather amazed when I discovered this.
Having said that, the tracking isn’t perfect. Take yesterday for example – Google Maps thinks I was at the goat sanctuary at one point. I wasn’t, but I was within a few hundred yards of the place. And that near miss was streets ahead of its attempt of August 4th last year when it thought I was at Southern Microscopes in Dumfries when I was actually wandering around Loose.
I had a message this morning. What did I think…? When you go hunting Tupperware the golden rule is that you sign your name on the paper log inside the thing. All else is immaterial, and not signing the paper log is grounds for having your on-line log deleted (and your tally reduced – fighting talk indeed!).
Some people go hunting Tupperware in teams; that is understood and allowed. We do it, and sign as a team when we go. But we sign. The signature is all-important.
But what about the team (lets call them) “Fish and Chips”. Yesterday a friend was out caching. He saw the names “Fish and Chips” written on several paper logs, but when he caught up with those hunting Tupperware in front of him he only met “Chips”. “Fish” was nowhere to be seen. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’ve seen Chips” out on his own before with “Fish” not there, but “Fish and Chips” written on the paper logs. And with the name on the paper, the on-line claim can then be made Clearly “Fish” has the opportunity to be claiming when he shouldn’t. The burning question is does he do so?
Does it matter? In the grand scheme of things it is incredibly petty and trivial, but your geocaching profile has a number on it – how many film pots you’ve fund under rocks. The higher that score the more regarded you are by those who respect that sort of thing. “Fish” has a score over three times mine. (And I’m doing well -I’m in the top three hundred).
But I suppose they are only cheating themselves… not my circus, not my monkey…
With a little time on my hands I took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing the business secretary. I have no idea what he was saying; he was being constantly interrupted by some alarm on his phone. If I was being interviewed live on national radio I’d put my phone on silent before I started.
We had a good walk; as we walked we saw a black squirrel. I’ve seen grey ones before. I’ve seen red ones occasionally. But black? That was a new one to me.
We only had one “episode” today. We walked past one dog quite nicely (having seen that one coming from a hundred yards away), but Pogo kicked off when another jumped out at him seemingly appearing out of thin air. I’ll let him have that one.
We came home; I put laundry in to scrub, got a bumper harvest of dog turds from the lawn (despite having cleared them all yesterday evening), and went round with the lawn mower. It was a shame that Fudge wanted to sleep in the very bit I was just about to mow. And despite my moving him out of the way, he just kept coming back into the way. Time and time again.
I chased the bank to see where my credit card statement had got to – that wasted half an hour.
Bearing in mind that Matalan was open I thought I might get myself a couple of new shirts on the way to work. I arrived in their car park to see a couple of members of their staff (in high-vis jackets and hazmat gear) organising members of the public into an orderly (and socially distanced) queue and bossing them about. My time is precious, and I am getting sick and tired of being told (in a very patronising manner) that which is screamingly obvious, so I turned my car around and set off to work. I shall order some shirts on-line later, and let's not anyone be surprised when the Ashford branch of Matalan goes bust.
I got to work; I did my bit. As I worked my phone beeped. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that last week I was the first one to find a particular geocache… I say “geocache” today – last Friday I was rather more accurate when I called it a soy sauce container which had been drop-kicked into a hedge. The leader of the guides who hid it has got the hump and has deleted my log. She has (somewhat patronisingly) given me her regal permission to re-log if I lie and pretend the thing was marvellous. She also claims to be an experienced geocacher herself and admits that the hide might have been less than perfect. It took thirty seconds to find out who she is… she’s logged hardly anything cache-wise this year so clearly is rather out of practice at the game.
I’ve referred it all to Geo-HQ in Seattle. They can sort it out.
2 June 2020 (Tuesday) - Another Late Shift
I’ve found that sleeping *on* the duvet rather than under it gives me a far better night’s sleep. It worked again last night.
Over brekkie I peered into the internet. Not much had happened really. And there wasn’t anything in my in-box either. A new geocache had gone live which wasn’t a million miles from my route to work. I’ve I’d not been on a late shift I might have chased the First to Find. But I wasn’t, and so I didn’t. Instead I waited for "er indoors TM" to get ready, and we had a look for that cache on the way to a dog walk in the Warren and missed being first to find by twenty minutes. I must admit I was a tad miffed. Not so much at being beaten to the first to find as being beaten by someone who has now claimed over one thousand eight hundred FTFs but has only hidden three caches (and none of those in the last seven years).
Narrowly avoiding a collision with another car (the driver of which was paying no attention to the world around him) we parked up and took the dogs round the Warren. It was a relatively good walk; there was only one “Pogo episode”. There were quite a few squirrels about the place; two of which were “doing the dirty deed” whilst clinging to the side of a tree. Treacle soon put a stop to that shenanigans; I’mglad someone took a moral stance.
We came home, I set the washing machine going, and then carried on with geo-preparations. I was intending to make up some containers, but it would seem that I’d run out of tape to disguise my film pots, so I went on-line to order some more.
I packaged up the SD card from my CPAP machine to send to the local hospital. They should have been reviewing the thing on an annual basis… this will be the first time they’ve had a look in years.
And after an hour and a half the washing machine finished it’s one-hour cycle. Perhaps it is time to get a new one? I hung the washing out – might as well make the most of the bright weather.
I set off to work. As I drove there was some frankly insulting thing on the radio about how the term "everyman" is perfectly acceptable to refer to any generic male person who may be portrayed in literature, on radio or on screen. But the female equivalent "everywoman" is utterly unacceptable because it is demeaning to lump all women together. The shrieking harridan presenting this on the radio went on to say that the concept of an "everywoman" was devised by a middle-aged white man, and so was somehow my fault.
Even though it isn't.
This isn't entirely unlike the "Black Lives Matter" campaign which is gaining momentum. This afternoon during a break I read that anyone who counters the slogan "Black Lives Matter" with "All Lives Matter" is part of the problem.
I'm sorry but that whilst equal rights for all is certainly something I support wholeheartedly, the inequalities in all societies are something that have been going on for hundreds of years. Why am I being made to feel responsible for something over which I have no control whatsoever?
Perhaps working where I do I have a more cosmopolitan outlook on the world? None of my managers are white caucasian males; I don't see that they should be. That doesn't bother me at all. In my world racial and gender equality just isn't an issue.
So why am I being branded racist and sexist purely because I'm a white middle-aged man?
3 June 2020 (Wednesday) - Bit Dull
My mornings usually have some sort of a routine to them, but today started differently as I spent ten minutes clearing a pile of dog sick from the upstairs landing.
I made toast, and watched the last ever episode of “Schitts Creek”… the series started well, but like many shows it went on perhaps two or three seasons too many. Three of the four members of the main family were rather self-obsessed narcissistic shallow people who you instantly disliked; in this final season they got very much worse.
As Fudge snored I sparked up my lap-top to see what was going on in the world of cyber-space. There had been some “turn your Facebook profile black” thingy yesterday which I’d totally missed, but from what I could see, anyone of Caucasian decent who had done so had merely upset those who felt that they alone had the right to be upset by racial intolerance. It strikes me that this “Black Lives Matter” campaign is just stirring up problems where previously there were none. However I am reliably informed that the new racism is to deny that racism exists… Am I racist? I really don’t think so.
I sent out some birthday messages and checked my emails. There was one from neighbourhood watch. Neighbourhood watch has turned out to be something of a disappointment. I thought I got to be a vigilante going round squealing up all sorts of imagined infractions of the law to a disinterested police force. But instead I just get emails about burglaries in distant parts of the town where friends who are very rude about my street live.
I set off capturing flat friends as I walked down the road to my car (it's a Munzee thing). As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing the head honcho of some university or other who has made preparations for a socially distanced autumn term with distance-learning and video lectures so that the students can resume their studies safely. There was then a couple of interviews with students who weren't interested in distance-learning and video lectures as they were irrelevant. Apparently the whole point of going to university is the student lifestyle, and as far as they were concerned if there were no bars open which were selling cheap alcohol then they might as well go and get a job. As they said, why else would anyone want to be a full-time student...
Which is exactly the reason why I was never a full-time student (and I quite like a drink!).
There was then talk of that idiot Sir Kier Starmner. Within days of becoming leader of the Labour party he effectively ended lock-down single-handedly by demanding details of the government's plans to end lock-down, and in starting the conversation about ending lock-down, so people started ending lock-down. Everyone had been quite content staying put until he opened his mouth.
Now he is having a go at the government for ending lock-down too soon, even though this is what he was advocating only a few short weeks ago.
Yet again the Labour party chose a twit to lead them to ensure that they can freely criticise the way the country is being run whilst never having the responsibility of taking the big decisions themselves.
I got to work, I did my bit. I came home via Aldi which was swarming with normal people and I completely forgot to look at the tat aisle.
And that was the highlight of today – going to Aldi… rather dull, really…
4 June 2020 (Thursday) - Early Shift
I woke in a cold sweat having had a nightmare in which I had been given the god-like power to create islands in the sea, and I was having no end of arguments because it turned out that no one actually wanted islands in their seas (ungrateful peasants!).
I wonder what sparked that off?
Having got some milk at Aldi yesterday I had a bowl of granola and watched the first episode of the second season of “Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series”. I’d forgotten how good that show was.
I was up a tad earlier than usual, but there was absolutely nothing of note at all as I perused the Internet this morning, and seeing that the treehouse and the Skyland were bereft of bouncers (not good from a Munzee point of view) I set off to find my car.
Yesterday I captured some flat friends as I walked to my car; today I deployed one (it's another Munzee thing). As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Some thirteen years after she vanished the German police now have a suspect. This suspect, while anonymous, is apparently already in a German prison and has two previous convictions for "sexual contact with girls", according to the German police.
Whilst I do feel for the parents (who *really* haven’t had a good time of it), after thirteen years the trail must be rather cold. I can't help but wonder if anything is achieved by pursuing these historic cases; whilst justice needs to be done, don't the police have more pressing matters to deal with?
I was particularly amazed by the media's attack on Sweden today
Only a few weeks ago the pundits on the radio were holding Sweden up as a shining example of how to deal with coronageddon as they had very few cases and weren't having a lock-down. Now, not having had a lock-down, they've got the world's worst death rate (per capita) anywhere in the world.
Heroes the other day, villains today. Today's headlines wrap tomorrow's chips. Public opinion is very fickle. Is concentrating on today's ephemera and not looking at the bigger picture *really* the way to go for the media?
I got to work and did my bit. But as well as starting early, an early shift finishes early too. I came home, and "er indoors TM" and I took the dogs round the park.
I wish we hadn’t.
Pogo was the worst behaved dog ever. He has never been worse than he was today; shouting at every dog we met. I was so glad to get home… where he immediately transformed into his usual loveable self.
I had a cuppa and solved a geo-jigsaw (I *really* hate those) and completely forgot the virtual geo-meet was on this evening. Oh well… I managed to tune in just as it was ending.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good curry which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s instalment of “Bake Off; The Professionals” and an episode of “Ricky & Ralf’s Very Northern Road Trip” as well. We washed dinner down with a rather good bottle of plonk and chased that with a lump of Wensleydale (about which we won’t tell the vet!)
The creme caramel liqueur for afters was definitely a mistake… But I suppose that you can’t really complain when it only cost a fiver in Aldi…
5 June 2020 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Trailer Park Boys”; it was rather good. I sparked up my lap-top to find a rather dull Internet. Not much had happened at all overnight, but someone had captured my butterfly – I never knew I had one (it’s a Munzee thing…)
We took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods where we had an incredibly good walk… I say “incredibly good walk”; it was nothing special, but after yesterday’s Pogo-disaster, today’s outing was excellent. We did our standard shorter route round the woods and didn’t meet anyone else at all. Maybe not that good for Pogo’s socialising, but certainly good for my nerves.
Once home I got on with my planned chores. I wanted to pull the grass out of the shingled areas in the garden and I wanted to wash the smeared remains of dead insects from my car’s windscreen. Amazingly I had that all done by half past nine. So I set the washing machine loose on my shirts and solved a geo-jigsaw.
With jigsaw solved I ironed shirts, and then made up geocache containers whilst watching and old favourite film of mine. I first saw “Aces High” at a cinema in Orpington with a cousin. It was rather good forty years ago – it has dated somewhat in the meantime.
As I watched the film so the doorbell rang a couple of times. Various postmen had arrived with the last of the Lego baseplates and also with the non-magnetic Lego train couplings. And the head honcho of neighbourhood watch called with some stickers for the wheelie bin. It’s a shame that "er indoors TM" says I can’t put any stickers on the wheelie bin because she has some gnome ones in mind, but such is life.
Seeing that the Lego that had arrived had been ordered long after another thing I’d ordered I thought I might chase up the outstanding package… only to find I hadn’t actually paid for it.
"er indoors TM" boiled up some cheese on toast. She ate hers in peace; I was harangued by a trio of dogs. You’d think they hadn’t been fed for weeks judging by the fuss they made.
I then went up to the attic room for a couple of hours to play Lego. I put in the new base plates, swapped out the old train couplings for the new ones, and took the windows out of the train’s carriage so that it could have some passengers. Amazingly those simple little things took over two hours to do.
I made a little video and posted it to Facebook.
With the rain still coming down I solved another geo-puzzle and failed to solve several more, then had a look at the map and pondered walks we might do and places I might hide caches until it was time for tea.
As we scoffed tea we watched the last episode of “Ricky & Ralf’s Very Northern Road Trip” and then a documentary about a railway trip from Vancouver to Banff. The railway trip across the Rockies from Vancouver is one I’d love to do. "er indoors TM" isn’t up for it… if any of my loyal readers have a spare fortnight (and a few thousand quid)…
6 June 2020 (Saturday) - Late Shift
As I peered into the Internet I was rather perplexed by some of the posts I saw on a few of the Lego-related Facebook pages I follow. As well as some rather good Lego creations having been made, a growing number of people are just sorting their boxes of Lego bits into piles of similar bits, and were posting pictures of parts. Twenty Lego windows in one photo, a dozen sets of wheels in the next, then fifteen flags, and then ten doors… what’s that all about?
I also saw that a family member was posting about a poor woman suffering from “electro-hypersensitivity” and was having to live in her car (parked in a car park in Bexhill) because exposure to electromagnetic radiation makes her ill…
I nearly choked on my coffee…
Seriously? Just Google “electro-hypersensitivity” and you’ll find no end of reports from reliable sources that there is no evidence for it at all. Take the case reported – if this woman was *really* made ill by electro-magnetic fields then she’d live in a tent in a field, not a in car park full of intense electro-magnetic fields that a car generates (particularly when the engine is started). Mind you, the article said that she was a reflexologist, so I suppose that speaks volumes.
We took the dogs down to Orlestone for a little walk around the woods. The car park was the busiest I've ever seen it since I staged a geo-meet in there all those years ago (9 August 2014). But for all that the car park was full we only saw three other groups of people as we walked. It was a shame that Pogo had to be so confrontational with the dog of the first bunch we met.
He was on his lead (which is never good for his frame of mind) *and* "er indoors TM" was with us. His little "episodes" only ever seem to happen when she is along. He never gets quite so bad when it is just me. Is he protecting her when he kicks off?
Once we were away from the normal people the rest of the walk was rather uneventful (apart from Fudge playing "dog piggyback" with the dog of the last bunch of people we met).
We came home; I left "er indoors TM" feeding the fish (feeding the fish food to the dogs!) and I set off to work a little earlier than I might have done. As I drove someone called James Veitch was presenting a show on the radio about the feasibility of time travel. In the past whenever Radio Four presented anything scientifically it was usually with an air of condescension. Recently they seemed to have got out of that habit, but today they went right back to it with a vengeance. With stupid sound effects, deliberately misunderstanding the most basic of scientific concepts, treating all of science as though it was some childish joke, and time-wasting cameos from Sylvester McCoy (who kept telling us that Doctor Who is fictional), yet again the BBC threw away a golden opportunity to present something worthwhile.
I'd left home early to chase a First to Find in Bredhurst. Over brekkie I saw a new puzzle geocache had gone live there, and having read the associated puzzle I used Google Street view to determine that the puzzle was all about a sign on the side of the nearby pub. I couldn't zoom in on Google Street View enough to read the sign, but I knew what I had to do...
I got to Bredhurst, parked my car, and was rather disappointed to see that the pub was *not* a Grade One listed building and that the sign was of no help to me. So much for my great idea. But I had a little nosey around the area and by the time I'd had a good look at the bus stop, the school, the village map and gone back to my car in disgust I realised I had figured out the first part of the puzzle.
But only the first part.
After ten minutes my brain was about to explode, so I gave up and deployed a Munzee. I was just about to set off to work when I saw a pair of geo-friends who were also struggling to solve the puzzle. We banged our heads together, and within a few short minutes we had found the elusive film pot.
I got a geo-souvenir too. Result!!
I went on to work where I had a particularly good dinner of beef chili. Hospital food traditionally is held up as something of a joke, but I must admit I find the works canteens (both of them) to be generally extremely good.
Suitably replete I got on with the late shift. I seem to have worked a lot of weekend lately, but what with lock-down I haven't missed much by being at work, and as I looked out of the window I saw it was raining for quite a bit of the afternoon. I did miss an on-line quiz and an on-line silver wedding anniversary party today (about which I had a minor sulk), but realistically that goes with the territory when you work in a hospital.
I’ve now got three days off…
7 June 2020 (Sunday) - Monkdown
As I opened the curtains at quarter to seven this morning I saw some chap pushing a child in a push-chair up the road. As he went he was swigging from a can of lager. I like a drop myself, but I did think that he was being a bit keen.
I watched an episode of “Trailer Park Boys” then sparked up my lap-top to see what I’d missed overnight. As is so often the case I hadn’t missed much. All talk of coronageddon on social media was now very obviously completely out the window and very much yesterday’s news as everyone is now swarming together in protest marches and campaigning for racial equality. An admirable sentiment; such a shame that everyone has to swarm together in mobs to express it. These protest marches amaze me; I know of people who go on them not out of any heart-felt feelings or convictions, but because it is something of an adventure to do.
With no emails at all I kicked "er indoors TM" and the dogs out of their pits and we got read for the off.
There was a minor delay before we could start driving. The dogs would not settle in the car; eventually "er indoors TM" located the remains of some chips that "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had managed to drop under the driver’s seat.
We set off up the motorway listening to Steve on Radio Ashford for as far as the signal held out (to about Lenham), and it wasn’t long before we were at where we’d arranged to meet. It took a little longer to find somewhere to park though; seemingly everyone was out in force today.
We met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and set off on a little walk. About six months ago they put out a series of geocaches in the nearby woods, and today a maintenance check was in order, so we thought we’d come along for the walk. There used to be a series of caches in those woods which I walked on 22 May 2013. Over the years pretty much everyone who hunts Tupperware had found those ones, and when the opportunity arose, our pals archived them and replaced them.
I wish more people would do that with these series of geo-walks.
When the old series was finally archived it was being found once a month or so. When a series of caches gets that few visits it is a sign that everyone who is active in the hobby has done it, and it is time to clear the map to make space for new. The new series has had more finds in the last six months than the old series had in its last two years.
I’ve got three larger series of geocaches active. I fully intend to replace two of them in the next few months and the third within the year.
There were a *lot* of people out walking today; we met far more people than we usually do when out. We met a few other dogs and Pogo was well-behaved. He came when called when we met horses and bike-riders. He totally ignored the donkeys. It was a shame he had to bark at the cows, but you can’t have everything.
As we went we met “William” - a fourteen year old wire-haired dachshund who (to the disgust of his mummy) seemed to be quite happy eating the horse poo that he found on the ground. We also saw a rather unmoral young lady airing her “puppies” (to the delight of her paramour). She put her “puppies” away rather quickly when she saw us coming(!)
We had a good walk though. Monkdown woods had no stiles or fields of animals to traverse. The dogs ran off their leads for most of the way. And we had a very good picnic lunch at the bottom of a large meadow. As we scoffed (and downed a couple of pints) we chatted with a couple of “normal people” who were photographing flowers. Those little pink things were orchids…? One lives and learns; I always thought orchids were big things. We chuckled as the cyclist came down the hill announcing their brakes didn’t work. Everyone was enjoying their own way to spend the day.
I took a few photos as we walked.
Despite the BBC’s weather app assuring us there was only a one per cent chance of rain we got caught in a downpour, but it quickly passed. We didn’t get *that* wet. Something odd has happened to weather forecasting over the last couple of years; it has certainly got a lot less reliable.
We got back to the cars; we said our goodbyes, and I slept most of the way home.
Once home I strained my brain to the limit (and beyond) on a geo-puzzle. If any of my loyal readers fancy a challenge, click here and see how well you do. Mind you I did have just the teensiest bit of help.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we devoured whilst watching Joe Lycett (the twenty-first century’s version of Esther Rantzen) before tuning in to the Sunday night Zoom meeting.
I think I caught the sun today…
8 June 2020 (Monday) - Rostered Day Off
I woke rather early this morning, but rather that messing about (like I usually do) I turned this to my advantage. I made some toast and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series” (in which our heroes tried to get rich on Dragon’s Den and came off worst with a glitterbomb).
And then rather than sparking up my lap-top I got on with my plans for the day.
Having (some time ago) planned a new geo-series to go out in Kings Wood, the whole thing went on hold with the lock-down. But now that lock-down is easing I thought I might finish that little project before embarking on the next two geo-schemes I have in mind.
I drove up to Kings Wood. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the “Black Lives Matter” protest marches that took place over the weekend. The BBC said the marches passed off peacefully. Other news sources mentioned twenty-seven police officers being injured (and a police horse had a brick thrown at him). A statue of Winston Churchill was defaced, and a statue of some chap in Bristol (who made money from the slave trade) got hoiked in a river. If that is “peacefully” …!
From a purely personal point of view, all these protests seem to have done in my world is to stir up bad feeling where there never used to be any.
I got to Kings Wood and got on with what I wanted to do. With fifty new geocaches planned I had to actually hide the pots today. I did have a series of geocaches up there before so I was able to re-use thirty of the old pots.
I walked round, hid a film pot under a rock walked on a bit, hid another… and so on. It was a shame the weather was against me; it was rather overcast and drizzly. But I didn’t get *that* wet really, and Kings Wood is a good place to walk. You can go for miles without seeing anyone. In fact I didn’t see anyone until the six-miles point (and then I saw three different people within a couple of hundred yards).
I started walking shortly after six o’clock; I got back to my car just after eleven o’clock having walked nine and a half miles.
I came home and spent quite a while sorting the last bits of the geo-admin for the new cache series, then emailed it all to the geo-feds for their consideration, then we took the dogs out for a little walk. They have got used to mid-day being walk time.
We came home via the corner shop for a cake, and I slept in front of my lap-top for most of the afternoon.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Celebrity Gogglebox” which featured one of the (quite frankly) most ridiculous haircuts I have ever seen, and a couple of episodes of “What We Do In The Shadows”; an odd show, but I quite like it…
I wonder what the geo-feds have made of what I did earlier?
9 June 2020 (Tuesday) - Another Rostered Day Off
I had something of a restless night; I gave up trying to sleep, set the washing machine loose on some laundry and watched an episode of ”Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series” which was rather good.
I then had a look at the Internet. I was hoping my new geocaches would have gone live. They hadn’t. There was an issue with one of them. When I wrote the listing I mistakenly said it was in “South West England” rather than “South East England”. You’d think that (bearing in mind the entire thing is GPS based) the software would know where it was, wouldn’t you? For all that geocaching relies on high-tech twenty-first century technology, the software it uses is years out of date.
I sent out a couple of birthday wishes through Facebook, captured a cyclops which was in the skyland and chivvied a banshee out of the treehouse (never a dull moment in the Munzee world), got the leads on to the dogs, and took them for a walk.
We went out to Great Chart where I made a start on my next geo-project…
There are plans to have a major series of geocaches along the entire length of the Greensand Way. Putting a film pot every one-tenth of a mile for the one hundred and eight miles from Ham Street (just down the road) to Haselmere (in Surrey) is a bit much for anyone to do, so the task has been divvied out. I’ve got the stretch from Hothfield to Great Chart, which is rather handy for me as I’ve already got a series of caches along three quarters of that stretch of the Greensand Way anyway. I’ve done the hard part of finding the locations and getting GPS co-ordinates already, as well as having a return loop too.
This morning we walked up to find half a dozen more locations for caches along the trail from the village to the river.
We had a good walk. Mind you I did get frustrated by the other dog walkers. They were leaving turds everywhere. One bloke’s dog was crapping, and when I offered him a black bag he turned down my offer. He was polite, but just said “no thanks mate”. When my dogs dumped I picked up their “deposits” and brandished my bag of turds at every passer-by (and ranted too) to let them know it wasn’t us crapping all over the place.
Having sussed out some locations we came home. I popped up to the corner shop to get milk and some croissants (for morning coffee) but unfortunately yet again my idiot magnet was on full power. Some silly postman was at the head of the queue. Rather than paying, he was waving his credit card about as though trying to swat a fly with it. He was insistent that this was how a contactless card worked, and flatly refused to hold the thing anywhere near the card reader.
Oh how I and everyone else in the queue all laughed.
I scoffed my croissant with a cuppa, and started on the geo-admin for my new cache series. By half past one I had the first bit of the process done, and I was going cross-eyed, so I stopped and did some ironing.
As I ironed I watched a documentary about the life of John Le Mesurier. It was rather interesting, but it featured several interviews with Michael Palin. Every time he spoke there was a *huge* poster behind him advertising his diaries. I thought Mr Palin was above that sort of thing.
With ironing ironed I cracked on with the geo-admin. There’s still a couple of hours (or more)’s work to be done, but the end is in sight. I could have this series live in a week *if* work didn’t get in the way.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good curry which we scoffed whilst watching “Bake Off: the Professionals” and an episode of “What We Do In the Shadows”.
These two rostered days off have been rather tiring…
10 June 2020 (Wednesday) - Twins ?
I woke up feeling full of energy and raring to go only to find it was two o’clock. I then lay awake for much of the rest of the night.
As I scoffed a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series” then peered into the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight. I hadn’t missed much really. In fact I’d missed nothing at all, so I got myself ready for work and set off.
As I drove out to Pembury the head honcho of the British Union of Pubs (or whatever it is called) was being interviewed on the radio. He had the arse because the formal re-opening of pubs in the UK has been delayed (yet again) whilst theme parks and zoos are opening next week.
The argument was made that it is easier to infection-control people swarming about outside a pub than it is to infection-control people swarming around a theme park or a zoo. It strikes me there's space to spread people out in a zoo, but the queues and rides at a theme park do squeeze the people in, and has anyone ever tried to infection-control anyone or anything in a beer garden?
It was alleged that the Prime Minister's father had something to do with it all. Did he? I don't know.
There was also talk of how the statue of Robert Milligan has been removed from the London Docks that he had built because of his connection to the slave trade. There's now talk of removing statues of Oliver Cromwell and Sir Francis Drake because their actions don't sit well with current standards.
I'm not defending the slave trade, but it happened. I'm not sure that censoring history like this is a good idea. There are already a lot of people who don't realise that the Moon landings actually happened. How long will it be before holocaust-denial will be expected rather than vilified?
The pundits on the radio then interviewed an ex-boss of OFSTED who was talking about how rather than sitting exams, children's marks will be awarded (guessed at) by their teacher based on how well they've done over the last year or so.
It was admitted that this is a less than perfect system. This chap was of the opinion that it would be guesswork at best.
If my children were at school now I would be worried. A teacher friend of mine once told me that in a class of thirty, he knows the brightest two children and the thickest two children, and all the rest are just a sea of indistinguishable faces.
Some fatuous windbag was then wheeled on who rattled about how children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds will fare badly in this system because everyone knows that society is biased against anyone who is not from a white Caucasian background, and why should teachers be any different?
Just recently there have been those who are taking every opportunity to stir up racial divisions. I wish they wouldn't.
I got to work; I did my bit. At tea break my phone beeped with a message. I'd made a silly mistake on the admin for the geo-series I was finalizing on Monday so I put that right, and it wasn't long after that when I saw that all fifty geocaches in that series had gone live.
I was pleased about that; I can now start thinking about my next geo-project.
After lunch I skived off for a few minutes to have some blood taken. I'm having the COVID-19 antibody test done (purely because I can). I wonder what the result will be.
And in closing today, it has been suggested that when at work in my laboratory coat I bear a passing resemblance to Dr Bunsen Honeydew… can’t see it myself…
11 June 2020 (Thursday) - Before the Late Shift
I slept reasonably well despite a nightmare in which I had rented out laboratory space at work to the guide dogs people (so that they could have somewhere to train their dogs) and was spending all my time gathering up errant dog turds before the bosses found out what I had done. What was that all about?
I made some toast, and then achieved far more in five minutes than I did in two hours last night. Yesterday I realised I hadn’t received a single email from geocaching dot com for a few days. Bearing in mind that people had been finding the caches I’d hidden and that I’d had a geo-series of fifty caches go live yesterday I should have had between three and four hundred emails. I hadn’t had one. It is very difficult to do a hobby which (for the large part) relies on email when your email doesn’t work. Somehow my email provider was blocking anything from geocaching dot com. No one else with the same email provider was having that problem, and bearing in mind that I pay Microsoft for Office and I get email with that I thought I might swap to that email account.
I spent a couple of hours last night getting really angry being unable to set up rules in Outlook. The screens on my laptop bore no relation at all to the pictures in the “how to” guides.
This morning it occurred to me that I might log in using a browser rather than the email app, and I had the rules working in minutes.
I had a look at the Internet and saw that others were also having issues with geo-emails. But other than that there wasn’t a lot going on in cyberspace. One of the emails I did receive was from Amazon recommending I bought the very e-book I am reading at the moment (that I bought from them last week).
I sent out birthday wishes and took the dogs for a walk.
We drove out to Great Chart and walked from the cricket ground out to the river and back. This might well become one of our “standard” walks; there aren’t that many “normal people” in the way, the dogs can run off the leads, and the other dog walkers there understand what dogs are like.
We had a fairly good walk; it was a shame that Fudge had to try to play “dog piggy back” on several dogs three times his size; you would never believe that with his spondylosis his spine is effectively fused together at his hips.
Treacle and Pogo were good; they were playing their usual chasing-fighting games, and whenever Fudge tried to join in they would slow down so he could keep up.
We walked up to the river, we had a spuddle and came home again.
Once home I cleared the garden of dog turds (a never-ending job), and spent a little while fiddling with my latest geo-project; nineteen geocaches along a stretch of the Greensand Way and another nine on a return loop. This morning I ordered the cache containers I will need and some placcie bags for the paper logs (that was another twenty quid…).
The doorbell rang. Our face masks had arrived. I’ve been a tad sceptical about the whole “PPE in public” thing but seeing how it is to be compulsory from next week I’ve taken the line that if you can’t beat them, join them.
I went to Sainsbury's to get petrol. I must admit I wasn't impressed when I went to pay. The woman behind the counter pointed at the barcode scanner, told me (rather abruptly) to scan the sandwich I'd just bought, demanded to know what pump I'd filled up at, and told me I could pay using a contactless card. She tried to make some comment about how this new scheme (in which I did her job) was so much easier for everyone. I asked her if she'd been to B&Q recently. She hadn't. I suggested she did; for the large part checkout staff there are a thing of the past with most people using the self-service tills. I also suggested she started looking for a new job before the inevitable happened. She said they would never get rid of the checkout staff... I pointed out that the last time I got petrol from that branch of Sainsbury's there were three staff behind the counter. Today there was only one (and a long queue).
Clearly this had never occurred to her.
As I left the petrol station the "range" readout on my car said I could go five hundred and twenty-five miles before needing to re-fuel. As I'd done quite a bit of motorway driving recently I re-set it to see if cross-country driving was more economical. As I drove out to Pembury I watched the "range" readout going up and up (rather than down and down). Having left Ashford with five hundred and twenty-five miles of petrol in the car, I arrived at Pembury with five hundred and seventy-four miles worth of the stuff.
And again, as is so often the case when on the late shift, the best part of the day was over and done with by mid-day.
12 June 2020 (Friday) - Zesty and Vibrant
I scoffed a bowl of granola whilst watching an episode of “Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series” (which was rather good) then quickly sparked up my lap-top.
In amongst the nonsense and the drivel on Facebook I saw a post from my cousin. Her cat has lymphoma. That will cost a fortune to treat. I automatically thought that she should cut her losses, it is an old cat… but if it was my Fudge I would think differently…
I had a “sort of” invite to one of the “Black Lives Matter” rallies that are happening tomorrow. Apparently the League of British Racists have arranged to turn up at one of these rallies. I was asked (along with a *lot* of other people) to turn up at that particular one on the pretext of supporting the rally (which I do anyway) but to be prepared to kick seven shades of sh*t out of the League of British Racists should they try anything. Fortunately I’m working tomorrow so I could turn the invite down without giving offence.
I made my way to my car, weaving through the recycling bins that the bin-men had discarded across the pavements.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the economy has shrunk by twenty per cent. Bearing in mind how everyone's been on furlough, is this any surprise?
There was then a lot of talk of Brexit and how a no-deal crash-out is looking more and more likely supposedly... because of coronageddon (a handy excuse?!)
With time on my hands I went to Tesco in Pembury for some odds and ends. The last time I went there pretty much everyone was walking round in full-on haz-mat suits. Today there wasn't a single face-mask or rubber glove to be seen. The public clearly have lost interest in the pandemic.
Mind you there was some rather aggressive member of the staff there who wasn't afraid to give out the orders. She (very rudely) told some chap which aisle he could walk up and which aisle he could walk down (even though there were no directing arrows.)
And she then had the right hump with me because I went to the till once I'd got what I needed rather than walking to the end of the shop and following the tortuous route she had in mind for me.
I got to work and did my bit., As I worked so I had a phone call from the sleep clinic. A week or so ago I sent them the SD card out of my CPAP machine so that they could review the data the thing had collected about my sleep patterns over the years. The SD card hadn't collected anything since September 2016... That was useful (!)
The nice lady said she would send the car back to me and could I try again. Somehow it was my fault that the device hasn't been recording anything...
We then had a "Code Red" which really made my day. I don't dislike my job but… other than Captain Kirk, how many other people do you know who really do have "Red Alerts" at work? Having Klingons on the viewscreen is just peanuts to what we sometimes contend with.
Just I got home "er indoors TM" was taking the dogs out. We had a good walk; for once I took Pogo, and he had no “episodes” at all. Not one. With me holding the lead he clearly feels he has no need to protect anyone.
Fudge straggled, but Fudge does that.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of white wine. The plonk was called “Zesty and Vibrant”; whoever named it lied. But dinner was good, and we all liked the cheese we had for afters…
13 June 2020 (Saturday) - Early Shift
As I scoffed a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series” in which Ricky was having an argument with his brain, before finally outsmarting it.
I then sparked up my lap-top. It went berserk as (literally) hundreds of mails came flying in. All of those emails that I had expected to receive on Wednesday but never came. There was also one from geocaching dot com HQ which told me that my email provider had been blocking emails from them. I sent a snotty email to GMX asking why they had done this, and asked what assurances they could give me that they wouldn’t randomly block anything else that might be important.
Nothing much had happened overnight on Facebook so I sent out some birthday wishes and got ready for work.
As I drove to work there was an article on the radio about a blind chap who has taken to walking the country's long-distance footpaths. That's quite an undertaking for a blind person. I have enough trouble getting three dogs along the Greensand Way - he was saying he walks these paths with his guide dog. I'd be fascinated to see how he manages.
There was also quite a bit of talk on the radio about the current fad of pulling down statues of people who seem to be offensive to those with no understanding of history. Quite a few of London's statues have been fenced off today so that the protesters can't deface them. As well as endless protesters marching in London this afternoon there are apparently all sorts of other groups going to London as well. Some are going to fight with the protesters. Some are going to fight with those who want to fight with the protesters (I was asked to join one of these groups). Some are going to guard the statues and fight with anyone who goes near (I was asked to join one of these as well)
There was an interview with a leading policeman today. He said that whilst people can protest as much as they like, they must do so along the route which has been marked out for them, no one should fight with anyone, and they must all go home at five o'clock. Back in the day I was all for civil liberties... however more and more I can't help but feel that everyone has "rights" but no one has "responsibilities". If any riots kick off the coppers should sort it out. Give 'em a slap.
There was also talk of how the BBC has un-banned the episode of "Fawlty Towers" in which Basil Fawlty was supposedly so offensive to Germany. The BBC would seem to have listened to common sense rather than the pathetic whinging of those who are going through the archives looking for things about which they might take offence.
Personally I feel we should bring back "It Ain't Half Hot, Mum", "The Black and White Minstrels" and Alf Garnett. Not to giv offence, but as a reminder of just how things were in the past. We achieve nothing positive by censoring what has happened, and history has shown (time and again) that those who don't learn from the mistakes of the past just go on to make them again.
I got to work where a colleague was yawning a lot. So much so that she set me off. She was pleased about that - I'd passed the test. She's taken to yawning at people, and if they don't yawn back then they are probably a psychopath. It says so on the internet so it must be true.
At tea break I had a message from Facebook. Last year "Dana Cleveland" sent me a friend request as well as an invite to join her rather unmoral Whatsapp group. I posted a picture of her on my Facebook feed, and reported her porn-mongering to the Facebook feds. Last year they told me that her porn-mongering didn't breach their community standards, but today they told me that my posting a picture of her did.
The weather had been glorious as I’d been at work. The moment I got home so the heavens opened. But regardless of the rain I ran out the hose pipe – the garden pond needed topping up.
We had a very good bit of dinner, then tuned in to the Saturday Zoom quiz. "er indoors TM" was running it today… I came second to last…
14 June 2020 (Sunday) - Marden and a Barby
I was sleeping like a log when Treacle started grumbling. I *think* she was telling Pogo off for some vague and unspecified crime.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet which was one big argument.
There was quite a squabble kicking off on one of the work-related Facebook pages I follow, In order to be a professional blood tester you need to have a degree in biomedical science before you start. But not just any old degree; you need one which is specifically accredited by the league of blood testers. Time and time again people start doing any old degree, complete the course and then find that their qualification isn’t actually what they thought it was, they find it isn’t actually worth having, and they have to spend a couple more years doing top-up modules. I made the observation that choosing the right degree in the first place was in itself some sort of a test, and that hadn’t gone down well with several people who’d made that mistake.
Over the years I’ve met so many people who’ve got to the stage of having a biomedical science degree (that has taken four years to obtain) that isn’t fit for purpose, Or they’ve got a “good” degree only to find they have no idea what a professional blood tester actually does. Or they actually want to do forensic pathology or research and didn’t realise that neither is what happens in the hospital setting.
I despair for the future of professional blood testing. Back in the day you entered the job aged seventeen having done reasonably well at your “O” levels. The laboratory in which you worked then sent you to college one day a week for the next four years and then you were qualified. If you wanted it, there was the option to do a further two years day-release to get an MSc equivalent degree (which I did). Nowadays you are expected to go get all the qualifications in your own time and at your own expense. You apply for a job *after* you qualify (*not* four years before), and by the time people have farted around having gap years and the like, they don’t start looking for work until about ten years later in life than I did.
And a twenty-seven year-old has far more expectations than a seventeen year old.
There was also consternation on one of the geocaching websites. Yesterday I’d asked for help with the geo-software on the dedicated geo-software Facebook page. Leaving out the specifics, when creating a new geocache listing given that you have performed action “A”, you then perform action “B”. I’d figured out (totally by chance) how to automate action “A” using the geo-software and wondered if I could similarly automate action “B”. So I asked that question.
Several people had posted overnight telling me that it is impossible to perform action “A” using the geo-software (even though I had done so), and others felt there was some merit in spending an hour or so performing action “B” manually rather than automating it so it could be done with one key stroke.
No one answered what I had asked; everyone was looking for a fight.
We got the dogs organised and drove out to Marden. As we drove we listened to Steve who was broadcasting on Radio Ashford. He played some song or other at five to nine. I must admit that to me it was just a noise but "er indoors TM" assured me that the song played was the version that shouldn’t be played at five to nine on a Sunday morning.
I tried to text him, but there was no signal as we drove through Smarden.
We got to the car park in Marden where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. Once the dogs calmed down we met a Fudge look-alike, then set off on a little walk following a relatively new series of geocaches. We had a good walk... we started off by meeting a little dog that looked just like Fudge. And with pleasantries exchanged with that dog we carried on along lanes and orchards and lanes and footpaths.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk. It was good to see a new walk in an area in which there hadn’t previously been any caches. I must admit I would have put more caches along the route; Fifteen caches over four miles wasn’t *that* many. And one or two of them were rather overlooked. But I am in no way complaining. It was good to see a new series of caches – if only more people would take the trouble to put out new cache series…
I took a few photos as we walked.
We came home, settled the dogs, and popped round to see "My Boy TM" for a socially distanced barby. An afternoon in the sun drinking beer and scoffing ourselves silly was a good way to spend the afternoon. Perhaps most of a bottle of bubbly after five bottles of ale was a bad move…
We came home again, and joined in the Sunday Zoom catch-up. Apparently there was an on-line role-play game yesterday…
It would have nice to have been invited… (!) Still, as I have often said, no good deed goes unpublished.
The sad thing is that when I tell these people that I was offended by not being included, they will be mortified because it really never occurred to them that I might take offence at not being included…
15 June 2020 (Monday) - Iffy Innards
As I scoffed a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series”. In today’s episode, once Ricky had had his nasty attacked by a seagull and lost a fight with his brain, our heroes joined a cult by mistake.
As I checked out Facebook I read something profoundly depressing. Yesterday I wore a brightly coloured shirt for a socially distanced afternoon in the garden with family. I’ve been wearing these sorts of shirts at summer barbies for as long as I can remember. But it would seem I have inadvertently dropped a clanger. In amongst all the “Black Lives Matter” furore, it turns out that wearing a Hawaiian shirt (like I very regularly do) is now widely recognised as a sign of the white supremacy movement.
Do I just ignore this stupidity or do I throw all my shirts in the bin?
I couldn't help but notice just how busy the motorway was this morning. The traffic was back to how it used to be before the lock-down. As I narrowly avoided being run off the roads (time and time again) the pundits on the radio were talking about how the shops are re-opening today. To stop viral spreading, the idea is that when shopping the punters look at what they might buy rather than picking it up and mauling it about. However this radical change is expected to be rather difficult for the shop staff to implement. I was reminded of taking cub scouts into shops years ago when I would shout at them that they must look with their eyes and not with their hands. It was through ignoring my instructions that most of the children managed to break their potential purchases before they got to the till; breaking them after they had paid for it and had left the shops was always an unachievable ambition.
I got to the work's car park, deployed a Munzee (as one does), and got on with a rather busy day. Thalassaemia, haemoglobin C and a dysfibrinogenaemia... Never a dull moment. Mind you I did spend an inordinate amount of time nipping to "Trap Two" today. Yesterday as the first fruit of my loin slaved over the barbecue I jokingly commented on what a gastric lottery barbecues can be. I suggested that to take the element of chance out of it, he might cook the meat in the oven for those who just wanted their dinner, and that he might provide a bucket of stagnant ditch-water for those who wanted dire-rear. Whilst what I scoffed yesterday was rather good, in retrospect maybe I should have gone for the "oven" option?
Once home we ran the dogs quickly round the roads, then "er indoors TM" went to Aldi for shopping. I set the washing machine going on some shirts and had a look at some geo-puzzles until "er indoors TM" arrived with dinner.
I feel rather worn out – too much sun and too much beer yesterday has taken its toll…
16 June 2020 (Tuesday) - Stuff
I slept well. For some inexplicable reason I woke feeling that I really had to put laundry into the washing machine, and as the thing started churning so I felt a strange sense of completion and relief. What was that all about?
Over a bowl of granola I watched the last episode of "Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series” before sparking up the Internet. Not much had happened overnight really, but I had another email from geocaching HQ in which they assured me that they had sorted out their squabbles with my old email provider.
I played an on-line jigsaw puzzle whilst I waited for the washing machine to finish, hung the washing out and then got ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how many people have got into serious debt through on-line gambling during the lock-down. Some woman was on the radio saying how she'd blown thirty thousand pounds on the on-line slot machines. Having lost a *lot* of money she'd then thrown away far more trying to gamble it back again and has now exhausted all her cash and all avenues of credit.
There was an interview with some other woman who was (supposedly) a big cheese in the regulation of on-line gambling. Whilst she sympathised for all those people who now can't afford to eat because they have blown every penny on the horses, she felt that the public had to realise that the gambling industry is vital to finance the sport that the nation loves. As this woman wittered on, it was revealed that through sponsoring big sporting events and getting their names on the telly, the names of the big on-line bookmakers are now more familiar to children than the names of many high-street retailers.
Yet again I found myself getting rather cross. I've often ranted that sport is something that is *done*, not *watched*, but it would seem that I was wrong on both of those options. Sport is (apparently) primarily something to be gambled on.
I can't help but think that the regulation of gambling should be seriously increased, and if greedy bookmakers go out of business, then that is a shame. And if watching sport is such a big thing (which for many it clearly is), why not do away with the on-line gambling sponsorship and have sporting events as "pay per view". After all, that is what the TV companies have done with Star Trek.
I got to work and deployed some mysteries (it's a Munzee thing) then got on with work. Half-way through the morning I was called into the boss's office. Apparently I have been identified as being more at risk from coronavirus than many of my colleagues as I am a white middle-aged porker.
It was shortly after this when we peered out of the window watching the antics of an amorous pair of young ladies who were laying on the grass outside. Far from socially distancing, they were enjoying squeezing each other's spots.
And they say romance is dead...
My phone beeped. The official app of the Met Office had declared a Yellow Alert, warning me of expected serious amounts of rain in the next few hours. The BBC's weather app said there was (at worst) a six per cent chance of rain today. One of them has been making it up.
By the time the evening came I had decided that the BBC’s app was the right one; the evening was glorious. We did “boot dogs” and drove down to Orlestone woods where we had a rather good walk and met no ne at all. We just walked and enjoyed the peace and quiet.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a decent plate of gammon and chips which we scoffed whilst watching “Bake Off: The Professionals”. I wish I could cook good enough to end up on a show like that…
17 June 2020 (Wednesday) - More Stuff
I scoffed a bowl of granola whilst I watched the first episode of the new season of “F is for Family” which wasn’t that funny really. There is only so much comedy to be milked from a caricature, and I think the well might have run dry. But I shall watch another episode or two before giving up.
I had a quick look at the Internet. Pretty much nothing at all had happened on Facebook, but I had an email or two. Two hundred and eighty in fact; people had been finding the new geo-series I’d put out in Kings Wood.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how footballer Marcus Rashford managed to persuade the government to provide free meals for children during the school holidays. That's good of him.
There was also talk of how fake news on Facebook is being banned as it has influenced government decisions in the past and hopefully the ban will prevent this from happening again.
I felt it was odd how a footballer is lauded but social media is derided when both are unelected and are influencing a democratically elected government. And I felt it even more odd that no one on the radio had made the connection.
I spent ten minutes in a traffic jam at Goudhurst this morning watching a rather huge lorry (with an equally huge trailer) trying to get round a tight corner which was far too small for it to actually be able to get round. I found this particularly annoying because the idiot driver had driven past several signs warning him that his lorry was too big to get through Goudhurst, but still he had kept going. Like so many others do.
When I eventually got past the lorry I drove past a very long queue of traffic in which were two other equally huge lorries which weren't going to get round that corner either.
I needed some shopping, but being utterly fed up with the (frankly appalling) attitude of the staff in Pembury's Tesco, I went to Asda. I'd looked at the map and seen there was a branch of Asda about as far from work as Tesco was, albeit in the other direction.
On the one hand Asda has a far better selection of beers and wines, and they sell a lot more other stuff too. On the other hand the staff there seem equally utterly disinterested.
Oh well... I got my bogroll, a decent bottle of plonk and something with which to unblock the plughole, so it wasn't a wasted journey. It was just a shame that their trousers department doesn't cater to the more rotund physique.
I got to work and won (or should that be lost) a "who's the fattest" contest with a colleague who is six months pregnant. We also had a minor altercation with "malfunctioning apparatus", which caused a chuckle or two.
"er indoors TM" is boiling up some scran, I’ve uncorked the plonk… here we go. I wonder what’s on telly?
18 June 2020 (Thursday) - Late Shift
I slept rather well; I had plans for the morning and was rather disappointed to wake to find it was raining. But in (yet another) triumph of idiot enthusiasm over common sense I carried on regardless. I kicked "er indoors TM" out of her pit, got the leads on to the dogs, and we all drove down to Orlestone Woods where we had a very good little walk and didn’t get anywhere near as wet as I thought we might.
As I was taking a “boot dogs” photo in the car park, some hairy-scary chap sitting in the car opposite called out that the “boot dogs” pose was the most adorable thing he’d ever seen.
There were quite a few cars in the car park, but apart from the chap sitting in his car we didn’t meet anyone else at all as we walked (that’s the attraction of the place for me!)
The hairy-scary chap was still sitting in his car three quarters of an hour later when we came back from our walk. I wonder what he was doing.
As we drove home "er indoors TM" laid an egg. There had been a bouncer in Orlestone Woods (it’s a Munzee thing) and we’d walked past it twice without realising.
Once home I ran over my head with the trimmer (lock-down haircut – I’ve been doing my own for twenty years!) then had a later-than-usual look at the internet. I saw a friend had been made redundant. I sent a message of consolation; I wish there was more that I could have done. But from a personal (and very selfish) point of view this will make for interesting times in the geocaching world. The hours my friend worked gave him time to hide endless series of geocaches. If he ends up doing something nine to five, will anyone else pick up the slack?
I also had an email from geocaching HQ. Recently I’ve had a few people telling me that they’d walked my various series of geocaches but hadn’t signed any of the paper logs for fear of catching COVID-19. I didn’t actually laugh out loud, but… seriously?... When you go geocaching you scrubble (on your hands and knees) in tree roots and under dead shrubs in leaf litter (up to a foot deep) looking for a mould-and-bacteria-encrusted pot which has been festering in the mud for several months. But now everyone is hygiene-crazy and people won’t touch these little pots for fear of a virus with which they have (very likely) already been in touch. If people want a hygienic hobby then there is knitting or making a model railway…
(this is a rant I’ve done before…)
But leaving aside all of that, the rules say that to claim a find you have to sign the paper log. I messaged geocaching HQ last night for clarification, and they said “Caches may only be logged when the logbook was signed. This is still in effect”.
This puts me in a quandary. On the one hand I don’t want to delete the logs on what should be a fun little game. On the other hand there are half a dozen people who will be messaging me asking why I allowed this to happen…
I spent half an hour geo-puzzling then set off. The rain which had stopped just after we finished our walk earlier started again as I walked out to my car. I drove round to the petrol station at Sainsburys where there was a *massive* queue for the free air. What was that all about - had everyone got a puncture today?
Apart from nearly being splatted by a car delivering shingle to a bungalow in High Halden I had a rather uneventful journey to work; I even had time to capture the Munzee in the Odeon cinema near work.
I didn't know there still were Odeon cinemas. There used to be one in Hastings in the 1970s which specialised in mucky films (not that I ever went in there...)
I went in to work; I did my bit. As the afternoon wore on so I had an email. I had the results of my COVID-19 antibody test that was taken last week. It was negative; I haven't had it.
I was rather disappointed about that.
19 June 2020 (Friday) - Emigrating?
After a rather restless night I watched an episode of “F is for Family” which was so-so, then sparked up my lap-top for a rummage round the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight.
I hadn’t missed much, but one chap on one of the Lego Facebook groups was suggesting a novel idea. He wondered if people might lend out their Lego sets to others to build, but for some reason he wanted people to send the things to him already made. Was that so he could claim he had built that which he hadn’t? I didn’t get involved with that one.
I spent five minutes on a geo-jigsaw puzzle (nearly three hours wasted on that jig-saw so far…) then got ready for work.
The roads were rather busy this morning. As I came home from the late shift last night I couldn't have seen more than a dozen or so cars coming back the other way; it was a different story this morning.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Bank of England has issued an apology for how some of its directors had been involved in the slave trade some three hundred years ago. There is talk of removing all pictures, images or mention of any of the directors who made their money that way.
This winds me up. I'm in no way supporting the slave trade, or making a case for it, but the slave trade happened, and no one alive today can possibly be held responsible for something that took place three hundred years ago. Surely it is better to recognise what happened and be aware of it and learn from the mistakes of history, rather than trying to pretend it never happened?
There was also an interview with one of the leading lights of the Labour party who has co-authored a report into why the Labour party did so badly at last year's elections. It can be no surprise to anyone that being led by an unelectable looney whilst making utterly undeliverable promises wasn't a vote winner.
While their election strategy worked in that they have successfully avoided the responsibility that comes with being in government, it would seem that they have realised that they've got to be *slightly* less crap if they aren't going to disappear into obscurity at the next election. Having finally worked out that they have lost the support of thousands of life-long lefties (ahem!), they have decided to do something to try to get back their traditional voters, or they will soon be playing second fiddle to the tree-huggers and the shouty-racists in the corridors of power
Some bishop was wheeled on to drivel inanely for a couple of minutes in the "Thought For The Day" bit. He mentioned that our old friend science reckons there may well be about thirty-six other planets with intelligent life in our galaxy.
This isn't news - back in the day I lectured about this several times. There are all sorts of starting assumptions that you can make which will affect the final estimate of alien numbers, but thirty-six isn't an unreasonable estimate.
Having given a vague and confused outline of how the number was arrived at, the bishop then claimed this was yet another self-evident proof of how wonderful his particular brand of superstition was.
Just as I pulled into the works car park I suddenly (and for no apparent reason) was gripped with a sudden urge to emigrate to Australia. I have no idea what prompted that, but I then spent much of the rest of the day thinking "what if"... even though it only took ten seconds on Google to see that the Australians wouldn't have me because I am too old...
I did my bit; I came home. We took the dogs round the park for a walk. When we saw potential disaster we were able to capture Fudge and Pogo and put them on their leads. But Treacle was too fast and made a bee-line for the picnic. You have to wonder what kind of half-wit feeds half their picnic to a passing dog before the dog’s supervisor can intervene. I was rather short with the picnic-ers… I suppose they thought they were being kind in feeding the dog. When I saw the chocolate and the pickled onions I got rather excited. They had no idea that those are poisonous to dogs.
"er indoors TM" went to Asda and I carried on geo-jigsaw puzzling. After three hours I’d solved the jigsaw and then had absolutely no idea at all of how to proceed...
Eventually inspiration came (via Facebook messenger)… Oh how I laughed when I thought of what fun I’d had doing that jigsaw puzzle…
20 June 2020 (Saturday) - Edenbridge
I slept reasonably well despite a nightmare in which one of the young ladies of the geocaching fraternity was getting overly friendly with me at a geo-meet. I found it rather awkward, and it was with something of a sense of relief that I woke in a cold sweat.
Over brekkie I peered into the Internet to see what I had missed overnight. Again not much had kicked off overnight really, but I saw that the geocaches I’ve hidden have accumulated eleven more favourite points since yesterday. There are those who go mad for the favourite points… personally I don’t. I’ve only used about half the favourite points I have to give out – I’ve still got several hundred I could award but haven’t.
I captured four bouncers (it’s a Munzee thing) and got ready for the off.
As we drove up the motorway we listened to Radio Ashford in the hope that Steve was on. He wasn’t. His stunt double wasn’t that good. She’s got over the hesitancy and stammering, but now she needs to move the microphone away when she breathes; it is rather off-putting to have the presenter of the radio show gasping for air.
We would have got to Edenbridge quicker if not for all the cyclists in the way, but we soon met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte in a random lay-by not far from Edenbridge. Ignoring the car which had clearly been abandoned there, we set off on a little walk following the new “Edenbridge Bimble” series of geocaches.
The route was rather good; we walked through fields of sheep. We chatted with the nice lady on the bench in the high street. She loved the dogs and completely missed our finding the geocache on which she was nearly sitting, doing the secret rituals and putting it back. We struggled to find our way through the golf course (why do golf courses never clearly mark the public footpaths?). We met some friendly cows who weren’t at all fazed by Pogo shouting at them. We had a very good picnic in the sunshine. We found office chairs thrown in hedgerows and fridge-freezers abandoned along country lanes (the people of Edenbridge do like to fly-tip)
After nearly eleven miles we found ourselves back where we’d started.
Geocaching-wise… I don’t want to be negative. Someone has clearly gone to a lot of time and effort to hide a rather extensive geo-series. And we had been told this wasn’t an easy series.
I have always said that people who hide geocaches fall into two categories; those who want their caches found and those who don’t. This series is definitely in the second camp. There were some fiendishly difficult hides with seriously under-scored difficulty rating. And whilst the hints given were supposedly “tongue-in-cheek” we found them either very misleading or of no help whatsoever. It says a lot that whilst sixteen people before us had started off walking the series, we were only the sixth to get to the final cache.
For the experienced cachers this is a good challenging series. However to the newbies and the families out for a bit of fun this will be disheartening. We found and signed the log of every cache, but we had been following another group who hadn’t been anywhere near as successful as we had been.
As I usually do, I took a few photos as we walked.
We Munzeed on the way home, and then I came second to last in the Saturday night Zoom quiz.
Daddy’s Little Angel TM" arrived with McDonalds, left us babysitting Sid and went off to visit her mates. Sid is looking well… I’m feeling rather rough. Too much sun today possibly?
21 June 2020 (Sunday) - Feeling Iffy
I slept like a log; perhaps I had had too much sun yesterday? I cleared up the mess that "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" had scattered through the living room then (as I scoffed toast) peered into the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight.
My comment on the Facebook group “Extreme Dishwasher Loading” had caused a few chuckles. Social media needs more groups like “Extreme Dishwasher Loading”; they are fun and it doesn’t have the bitter squabbles that usually plague Facebook groups.
My in-box was full to bursting this morning – nearly three hundred “Found it” logs on my new geocaches in Kings Wood; all with rather favourable comments. I was rather pleased about that.
I had a little look-see on one of the geo-websites and I found out that for every geocache I’ve found, two and a half other people have found one that I have hidden. Effectively I’ve giving the hobby two and a half times that which I am taking from it… I was rather pleased about that. This “2.5” number is called “Caching Karma”; you can calculate it for yourself and for others by clicking here. I did write a rather judgemental little rant on the subject, but decided to delete it…
I then sent out a few birthday messages… one chap was having his twenty-fifth birthday today; I remember him being born.
The plan for the morning had been gardening, but it was raining. I got the dog turds gathered up before giving up. Instead I spent the morning sorting out the geo-admin and creating caches for my the new geo-series that I am planning. As I geo-plotted "My Boy TM" called with a Fathers’ Day card and a bottle of decent beer.
When the weather perked up we took four dogs down to Orlestone Woods where we had a really good walk… right up to the part where my three caught a rabbit.
I took a few photos as we walked, but not of the rabbit…
Once home I got on with the gardening chores. More turd-harvesting, then I mowed the lawn, and cut back all the overgrowth pouring over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door.
Once I’d eventually got the gardening done I sat out and had a beer with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM".
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" then disappeared out with her mate “Skinhead”.
I’m thinking about another early night… I’m still not feeling right.
22 June 2020 (Monday) - A Day in the Life
I had an early night, and was sleeping like a log when Sid sounded as though he was trying to wake the dead when he walked down the stairs at half past one. After we’d sorted him out I dozed fitfully. I’d just got back to sleep when Treacle had a barking fit at four o’clock.
Over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “F is for Family” then had a look at the Internet. There were a few photos of people enjoying yesterday’s sunshine, but not many. Mind you I did have over two hundred more “Found It” logs and fourteen favourite points on my Kings Wood geocaches; I’m seeing that as something of a result.
I quickly captured some bouncers (it’s a Munzee thing) and got ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing some twelve-year-old child who is the world record holder in playing the violin. I found myself looking back to my schooldays when I too played a violin. I can remember being particularly crap at it; so much so that my mother banned me from practicing the thing at home, and so I got into a vicious circle of getting further and further behind everyone else in violin class before finally packing it all in. Looking back this was rather silly of my mum as she'd paid good money for that violin. I wonder whatever happened to it; have I left it too late to become a world record violiner?
Mind you the novelty of the saxophone soon wore off too. Drum and bugle were never my forte in the Boys Brigade (although I did clang a mean set of cymbals) Perhaps music isn't my thing?
This was followed on the radio by the "Thought For The Day" bit. I have no idea what today's platitudes were all about; they were so vacuous I'd forgotten about what she'd said even as she was saying it.
Pausing only briefly to deploy a Munzee I went into work where we've all been issued face masks to wear (now that the hospital is opening more to the general public). After the initial novelty of the things wore off, we all felt them to be something of a nuisance. It was good to drive home with the thing gone and without my glasses steaming up.
I came home to an empty house… empty of humans that is. "er indoors TM" was taking "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" home. I fed the pond fish and we had the usual over-excitement from the dogs; they *love* fish feeding time as they try to snaffle the fish food. I left them watching the fish intently and went to harvest the dog dung (they’d done a *lot* today). Just as I was gathering up a rather gigantic turd so I heard a rather loud splash. Fudge had fallen in the pond. Pogo fell in last week, and I expect Treacle will be in it next week.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up some pizza and garlic bread which we scoffed whilst watching the telly. It’s not a bad thing to watch…
23 June 2020 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
I slept for eight hours – that was rather good. I made some toast and peered into a rather dull internet for a
few minutes until "er indoors TM" got up.
We got the dogs on to their leads and went down to Orlestone Woods. I was rather concerned that we might have a repeat of Sunday’s “rabbit incident” (even though the rabbit that they killed was the only rabbit I have ever seen down there). As we walked Pogo and Treacle were obviously hunting; they were sniffing and swarming and chasing into the undergrowth far more than they usually do. They didn’t find anything, but they definitely remembered the “kill zone” and swarmed there for some time before moving on.
As we walked we met a couple of other dog walkers; one large Labrador jumped up at me. I was rather pleased about that – it is not just my dogs that make nuisances of themselves.
One home I popped up to the corner shop. I was rather annoyed to see parking tickets on a couple of cars that weren’t in anyone’s way. Commuters can park on the double yellow lines and go to London and come back twelve hours later (leaving their cars causing serious obstructions) and the traffic wardens don’t have an issue. But there is a little area round the corner where you can park two cars out of harm’s way. For no apparent reason the council have painted double yellow lines there, and the traffic wardens give tickets to the residents who park overnight.
I spent ten minutes watching the antics of a huge lorry who had got himself stuck in the local back streets. Back in the day our road used to be the main road in and out of Ashford, but the bypass was built about twenty years ago. Surely word would have got out about that by now?
I got a couple of croissants for our coffee break and a sandwich for the night shift, then turned on my lap-top. After an age it finally updated itself and told me that I would now be smurfing the net (!) using Microsoft Edge as my browser. I told it I would not, and after a little while I managed to undo most of the damage that the update had done.
I wish it wouldn’t do that.
I then started going through all the card receipts in my wallet. The trouble with contactless payment is that it is easy to spend a fortune without realising that you’ve done so. I chased up a Lego order which hasn’t arrived, then fiddled a little with the admin for my new geo-series. All that remains is to go hide them all.
I spent a little while playing Lego. The vicarage was never really to scale; it was a bit small. I enlarged it a bit and gave it a balcony and a gazebo-pergola thingy on the top. I’ve got a clock face to put on it somewhere… if only I could remember what I’d done with it.
"er indoors TM" boiled up some cheese on toast which I scoffed whilst the dogs watched intently, then I went off to bed for the afternoon where I dozes for a couple of hours. It was a bit too hot to sleep well.
I played a little “Cookie Jam”; why is it that Facebook games are seen as a waste of time where a jigsaw puzzle is not?
"er indoors TM" is boiling up some chicken and chips, and then I’m off to the night shift…
24 June 2020 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
I was rather glad when the relief showed up this morning; the night shift was rather hard work.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Business Secretary; I say “interviewing” – “slapping his arse and calling him Susan” might be a more accurate description. Having been asked all sorts of questions on the easing of lock-down, the chap was clearly reading out statements that someone else had prepared for him, and he wasn’t convincing anyone. And he just went to pieces when asked about what the housing minister has been up to. Mind you the housing minister has been a bit cheeky – he went out on the beer (champagne) with a load of his rich mates, and then overturned an official decision to allow his mate to make a small (large) fortune.
I should have gone into politics. There is far more opportunity to misuse public office as a minister than as a blood tester. There’s very little scope for embezzling in a blood bank.
Once home I was greeted by Treacle and Pogo who were pleased to see me. Fudge was in the garden; when he saw me he ran into the house to where we keep the leads, and he then started shouting. I took the hint and took the dogs out.
I drove them down to Orlestone Woods. I spent a few minutes getting the dogs to pose for a photo (it takes some doing), and just as I had them all in the perfect pose some coiffured effeminate minced right through the middle of where the dogs were posed, loudly fussing about our being in his way. Matters weren’t helped by his holding a small fluffy dog at arm’s length in front of him and waving it around. Obviously my hounds thought this was some sort of game and started jumping up. Up to this point I could have shrugged it all off as just another dog-owner who knows nothing about dogs, but I’m never at my best after a night shift. When he shrieked “Get down you brute!” I saw red. Pogo is many things; a “lump”, a “stoopid dog”, a “Pogey Bear”… but a “brute”? This chap then started clucking that his dog had been attacked by an Alsatian and seemed to be implying that Pogo was to blame. I replied that I wasn’t surprised his dog had been attacked since he clearly didn’t know that waving a small fluffy dog about as though it was a toy would make other dogs think it *was* a toy. He then shouted that his dog had been attacked by an Alsatian (in case I didn’t hear it the first time). I’d had enough by then and suggested that judging by his behaviour, the attack was entirely of his causing and that maybe he should have learned a thing or two about dogs before he got one of his own causing. This didn’t go as well as it might have done, and he then flounced off into the distance demanding that he had to be in front.
I did chuckle when I got back to the car; another dog walker described the chap with whom I’d had the run-in. He’d had a set-to with him as well.
I came home and went to bed. I managed to stay in it for four hours. Treacle came and slept with me… perhaps “guarded me” might be a better description as she flew off in a barking fit with annoying regularity.
Once awake I made some toast and went through the monthly accounts. I like to account for every penny because it is amazing what I never get billed for. Having paid for parking at the hospital in Hastings and buying a Smargard and several Amazon purchases over the last few months, I’ve spent over forty quid that has never come up on any statement.
Again I’m not poor; just nowhere near as rich as I would like to be,
I then got the ironing board out and ironed for an hour or so whilst watching “Guest House Paradiso” on Netflix, then with ironing ironed I played “Cookie Jam” on Facebook games. There was talk of going to the beach for a walk with "My Boy TM" and his tribe, but it was too hot to go out. I had thought about sitting in the garden but it was too hot to even do that.
"er indoors TM" sorted dinner which we scoffed whilst watching yesterday’s episode of “Bake Off: The Professionals”. She’s now taken the dogs out; I would have an early night if it wasn’t so hot…
25 June 2020 (Thursday) - Hot
I slept like a log - night shifts are good for that. Apart from having to shove Treacle over at some point in the small hours I was out for eight hours. Result!
Over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of "F is for Family" which is becoming more of a soap-opera than a comedy, then (taking great care to let three sleeping dogs lie) I got myself ready for work.
Narrowly avoiding being run off the road by a van from RSR Drainage of Bethersden I again found myself wondering why people don't take a little more care when driving their company vans about. If these idiots can't be seen to drive safely down a road...
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the post-Brexit trade deal with America is about to go down the pan. It transpires that the British food industry has standards, and it was implied that the American food industry does not. Chlorinated chicken was the least of the worries of the people who were talking of acceptable levels of maggots, mice and other such vermin in the food they are looking to import. I almost laughed out loud when some pompous windbag claimed that no one said this would happen when he voted for Brexit.
I stopped off in Pembury to deploy a Munzee (as one does). One of the houses nearby had the window open (it was a rather warm morning), and I faffed around for quite a while as I listened to the family drama which was being broadcast from those open windows. There is never anything as interesting as other people's business.
I got to work; I did my bit. At tea break I finished my e-book with something of a sense of disappointment. It was the fourth in a series. The first three had been rather good, but this last one didn't live up to my expectations. I must admit I was put off by the factually inaccurate medical science in the early part, but I can't help but feel that the book's proof readers have let it down. I spotted several spelling and grammatical mistakes. The world described in this fourth book wasn't consistent with that described in the previous three, and with characters who are double-hard one minute and pussies the next, the book could have been so much better. Still, e-books are far cheaper than physical ones.
I also heard that Apple TV are in the throes of making a TV series based on Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series. Everyone has heard of it; not that many people have actually read it. The three books in Asimov's (original) series were comprised of what was actually eight short stories written for magazines in the 1940s; the eight short stories telling a tale over some three hundred years. I'm not sure if that will translate to telly very well, but I'm hoping for the best. Annoyingly it is going to be on Apple TV; that's another TV subscription I shall have to take up.
With work done I went back to my car, opened the doors and waited for a few minutes for it to cool down; I’d worked in the air-conditioned lab all afternoon. Outside was rather warm.
I came home via Matalan where the “special people” were out in full force. One pair of half-wits made me chuckle. Both were wearing rubber gloves which were far too big for them and were full of holes. Mother was constantly shrieking at the child not to touch anything for fear of death. The child was constantly shrieking that it was not touching anything despite clearly mauling everything within reach, and chewing on at least half of that which it had mauled.
I got myself a couple of shirts and a new pair of slippers… and some t shirts… and socks… and some trousers whilst I was at it… and a set of sexy jim-jams. My NHS bargain voucher gave me a tenner off, but I still spent over ninety quid. It was a shame that the chap on the till demanded I used the self-service thingy. Don’t they realise that’s how they end up out of a job?
I came home and fought to get the door open; it had swollen in the heat. Once in I contended with canine excitement as "er indoors TM" was engrossed in the weekly in-line geo-meet.
We had a very good bit of scoff whilst watching a couple of episodes of “What We Do in The Shadows” then "er indoors TM" took the dogs out. I’m thinking about another early night…
26 June 2020 (Friday) - Very Hot !!! (Woof!)
I was woken by the torrential rain rather early this morning, and lay awake listening to it for some time. Two minutes after I gave up trying to sleep and got up, so the noisy downpour stopped. I came downstairs to where Fudge was asking to go out. I thought he needed a tiddle so I let him out only to find that he thought he needed to run round the garden shouting. I'm sure the neighbours loved that at half past five this morning.
I got him in and got him settled and then the thunderstorm started. Now there was something that *did* need a small dog to shout at it.
Over a bowl of granola I watched another episode of "F Is For Family" then had a quick look at the Internet. There are some people I keep on my Facebook friends list just for their comic value and one of them was kicking off this morning.
He was ranting on Facebook about the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey. The leader of the Labour party has sacked Ms Long-Bailey for her supposed anti-Semitic activities. This chap I know was ranting that the leader of the Labour party had sacked her on a whim with no evidence or hearing or trial. This chap's political opinions amaze me, and sum up all that is wrong with British (so-called) democracy. The fact that political leaders of all parties change their ministers and shadow ministers regularly and for no reason was neither here nor there; the Labour leader had done something he felt was questionable and so he was going to blow it out of all proportion. This chap shouts from the rooftops whenever the Labour party are anything less than squeaky-clean, but never says anything when the Conservatives do the exact same thing. He always has an excuse for whatever failings the Conservatives might have, and his fall-back position is that no matter how much of a cock-up that the Conservatives make of anything, it is a self-evident truth (not needing any evidence or proof) that the Labour party would do worse.
To him a political party is like a football team. You pick one (seemingly at random) and then sing their praises and vilify all others for evermore; regardless of anything that any of them actually do. He also rants about rugby in the same way; after the regular defeat of his favoured team (they are all the same to me) he maintains that had his team scored more and the opposition scored less, then his team would have won, and he somehow sees this as a victory.
I got ready for work; I put on one of the new shirts that I got in Matalan last night. It is OK I suppose, but it is billed as "slim fit". Really? How can any shirt in XXL size be a "slim fit"? XXL is way beyond "slim". The sooner Matalan start catering for the more rotund physique the better.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were spouting their drivel. They were talking about how the health minister is threatening to bring back lock-down if there is a second wave of COVID-19. Photographs and TV footage of tens of thousands of people flocking to the beaches is making him (and many other people) worry. Will this cause a second wave of the virus? Possibly. Do we avoid this second wave by cowering inside our houses, too terrified to set foot outside ever again... That is the big question, isn't it?
There was some chap being interviewed on the radio; his job is to make vaccines. He claimed that the average vaccine takes about eight years to go from the "let's make a vaccine" stage to the "here it is" stage. So far those working on a vaccine for COVID-19 have had about four months. The chap went on to point out that some viruses seem to be particularly difficult to vaccinate against (take the common cold for example), and he intimated that there might never be a vaccine against COVID-19.
Are we *really* going to cower in our houses desperately hoping that science might come up with a vaccine some time in the next decade? Or are we just going to carry on with life and take our chances?
I don't know...
I got to work, I deployed a Munzee, and then got on with it. As I got on with it a colleague was playing with a new app on his phone. What would I look like as a woman? Pretty damn sexy as it turned out. The photo generated was rather well received, and inflamed more than one hot blooded male's passion. I saw that as something of a result. Or would have done had it been "passion" that had been inflamed rather than "un-natural desires". As the afternoon wore on I received several rather un-moral propositions.
Being on an early shift meant for an early finish. I had planned to take the dogs to Orlestone Woods after work, but it was too hot. Whilst the pavement wasn’t burning my hand, it was too hot to have my hand on it for any length of time. I came home, and after the initial excitement the dogs were all soon fast asleep. They didn’t like the hot day either.
I ran out the hose pipe and started re-filling the fish pond. A *lot* of water had evaporated from it over the last few days. Whilst it filled I played “Cookie Jam” on Facebook.
I’m playing that quite a lot at the moment…
27 June 2020 (Saturday) - Visitors
I slept well. Over brekkie I peered into the depths of the Internet and saw a question had been asked on the “Geocaching in Kent” page. I answered, and was immediately told that I was wrong. A short but civil correspondence followed with me eventually giving up. Effectively I said “my experience was X” to which someone else said “that was impossible”. Short of asking if he was calling me a liar there wasn’t really anywhere further to go. Amazingly the chap who was looking for a squabble lives five hundred miles away in Lanarkshire. What is he doing posting on a Kent-based “local group for local people” Facebook page?
I also saw the update from my old church… back in the day I was rather religious, but despite “having seen the darkness” I still keep up to date with what the old gang are doing. The church itself closed down four years ago but the congregation now meet in a community hall. There are not many people left (about twenty), but they seem to keep going. Reading this morning’s little missive made me think. Was I really that much of a religious nut back in the day? Today’s update gave thanks to God for everything that was brill in the world, and blamed themselves for all that was crappy. It really was along the lines of “Well done God for putting so much money in the collection plate, and I’m sorry I made it rain this morning”.
I saw that our Munzee clan had achieved our monthly goal. Nowhere near as much as other clans, but in the six months that I’ve been doing the Munzee clan thing I think I’ve found a level that (for me) allows the thing to keep being fun without turning it into a chore. I saw I’d been awarded a Trojan Unicorn which had been immediately deployed for me in the vicinity of San Antonio International Airport.
With "er indoors TM" still in pyjamas I took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods for a walk. We did our usual circuit of the wood; as we went we met a few other dog walkers. And as is the case with dog owners who *do* know the first thing about dogs we got on famously. A little woofing, a little bum-sniffing, and some playing.
Once home I had a cuppa, then with "er indoors TM" off to collect "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" I spent a little while straining my brain on geo-puzzles. I managed three all on my own but needed a little hint for the fourth, and then fell asleep.
I slept for a couple of hours.
Once awake I spent a little while pootling in the garden until "er indoors TM" arrived with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". SBOD helped me with some of the weeding, then we went and played Lego for a while before taking the dogs to the park to meet up with Auntie Cheryl and Rolo. As is always t he way when Rolo and Pogo meet up there was disaster; Rolo picked a fight with a dog the size of a carthorse.
We came home and had a rather good chicken dinner. You can tell when it is a good dinner – there is more than one dishwasher load to be scrubbed. SBOD had a bath, then played “I’m A Naughty Goose” on the I-pad.
As I write this, he’s having a squabble with his mother and grandmother. They say it is bed time; he says it isn’t. I’m not getting involved….
28 June 2020 (Sunday) - Coxheath
Treacle woke me with a woofing fit at half past one, and once I am woken I don’t really get back to sleep again. I saw every hour of the night, and gave up trying to sleep at half past six.
I made some toast and peered into the Internet. It would seem I hadn’t missed much overnight. Some people had walked round Kings Wood looking for the geocaches I’d hidden there, found the lot and had said nice things about them.
With nothing else happening on-line I got ready to take the dogs out. It would have been nice to do the family thing today but Fudge and Pogo just try to play “doggy piggy back” on Sid all the time, and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" won’t leave Pogo alone.
We drove round to Sainsbury’s to get petrol; their petrol station was closed, as was the one on the ring road. I went to the petrol station in Hythe Road where my idiot magnet worked again. Some chap was wanting to cash in a scratch card or something. The chap behind the counter was having to tell him each word to write onto the requisite form, and how to spell each word. After ten minutes the chap behind the counter told him to get out of the way so that he could deal with the customers, and the idiot trying to write got rather stressed with trying to lean on a bottle of milk as something on which to rest his bit of paper.
We drove out to Linton Church where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we set off on a rather good walk which effectively orbited the village of Coxheath. With only a little of the walk on lanes (and those lanes were rather quiet), and no cattle at all, the dogs were able to be off of their leads for a large part of the day. The owner of one house had been kind enough to put out a bowl of water for the dogs, and with only one real exception, the dogs were as good as gold. The exception being when another dog came past at picnic time; heaven help any other dog who goes near my dogs’ rice.
Yes – rice.
The dogs love rice; Karl had made some for them, and they loved it. They had their rice, we had some bottles of ale; a day in the sunshine… you can’t beat it. As we walked we found that Pogo likes playing “Fetch”. Treacle likes a stick, but in the past Fudge has never played “Fetch”; he just rips up tennis balls. But Pogo was chasing after kicked apples and fetching them back to be kicked again. We shall play this more often.
Not long after we started walking a young couple overtook us. They smiled politely and walked on in front, then rummaged in the very hedge we had targeted for a rummage. We got chatting; they too were devotees of the noble art of looking for film pots under rocks. We walked for quite a way with them; they’d never met any other geocachers. It was good to meet new friends; it would be nice to run into them again.
Geocache-wise this was an excellent walk, and with the added bonus of some lab caches too.
Good co-ordinates given with helpful hints made for a good time. Far better than last week’s walk round Edenbridge which was rather hard work. Perhaps we walked a little further than we needed to today by parking at the church, but the path through the orchards was rather pretty.
I took a few photos as we walked.
Once home the dogs were soon fast asleep; had it been too hot for them today? I don’t think so really. They had plenty of water, and seemed happy the entire way round. As the dogs snored so I posted photos to Facebook and did the on-line geo-stuff that people do until "er indoors TM" came back from taking "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" home.
"er indoors TM" boiled up pizza for dinner which we scoffed whilst watching a bit of telly. Possibly I ate too much; possibly I should have worn a hat today. But either way an early night might be a plan…
29 June 2020 (Monday) - Early Shift
As I scoffed my brekkie I watched an episode of “F Is For Family” with Fudge sitting on my lap. I’d got the comb out, and gently but firmly raked quite a lot of moulting fur out from his back. He seemed to like it; he really loved it when he was younger, but doesn’t seem to be so keen on it these days. After a few minutes he lost interest and went back to his basket, and I had a look-see at the Internet.
Looking at Facebook it didn’t seem that many people had done very much over the weekend. There were lots of things for sale, and one or two arguments about the best places to go fishing locally, but other than that, no one had posted much in the way of photos of what they had been up to. Mind you I had over a hundred “found it” logs on geocaches I’ve hidden. A shame none of them had posted any photos to Facebook; being a nosey person I like seeing photos of what others are up to.
As I drove up the motorway this morning the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Mayor of Leicester. There has been a spike of COVID-19 there, and the Home Secretary had announced that she was threatening to put the place back into lock-down. The Mayor was asked his opinion. He said that he'd had an email from the Home Secretary at four minutes past one this morning suggesting that the lock-down restrictions which are being eased even more this weekend might remain in force in Leicester for two more weeks, but he’d been told nothing about going back into full lock-down. The Mayor said (quite rightly) that since national government clearly has his email address they might like to correspond with him directly rather than letting him find out their intentions from the radio. I think the chap had a point.
There was then talk about how the leaders of Islamic State are now referring to COVID-19 as "God's Little Soldier" as they are claiming it is scourging everywhere in the world except their bit. Really? Strange stuff, religion...
I got to work; I did what I had to do on a rather busy day. But an early start made for an early getaway.
I came home via Aldi in Aylesford as I needed to get some shopping. As I walked up to the shop, some thug in an Aldi uniform made a point of blocking up the door and not letting anyone in. He grunted something and stood there glaring at the queue which had started to form behind me. After a few minutes I commented to the woman behind me (rather loudly) that it was me who was doing Aldi a favour by shopping there; it wasn’t Aldi doing me a favour by eventually allowing me in. I said that I would take my money elsewhere and walked back to my car. Everyone else who had been queuing up walked away too.
I drove to the Aldi in Ashford where they couldn’t have been more helpful and friendly.
As I came out of the shop I saw something that amazed me. A young mother was pulling down the tailgate of her car. As she did so, her idiot child leapt up to try to head-butt it. She pulled the tailgate down rather vigorously, and caught the idiot child in mid-air. Needless to say he came down a lot faster than he jumped up. I left them both shrieking at each other and came home.
"er indoors TM" and I got the dogs onto their leads and took them down to Orlestone Woods where we had a rather good walk; even if Fudge did straggle.
Once home we had a rather good bit of dinner – I can thoroughly recommend Aldi pork chops…
30 June 2020 (Tuesday) - Another Early Shift
The dogs slept well last night, and when they sleep well, so does the rest of the world.
As I scoffed a bowl o granola I watched an episode of “F is for Family” in which our heroes featured in a musical celebrating the life of the chap who invented the electric chair, then I sparked up the Internet (as I do most mornings). Facebook was rather quiet, but I did have over a hundred more “found it” logs on the geocaches I’d put in Kings Wood.
I rather took my life in my hands as I drove up the motorway this morning. There was a miles-long stream of lorries going at about forty miles an hour in the slow lane; every so often one of them was being overtaken by another lorry going at about forty-one miles an hour (and consequently taking over a mile to overtake). Most of the non-juggernaut traffic was dancing around these lorries weaving in and out of the fast lane up which the usual speed freaks were still speeding. Had the lorries all stayed in the slow lane we would have all been so much safer. As I danced in and out of the lorries I listened to the pundits on the radio who were interviewing some head teacher or other. This woman was trying to speak "posh" rather than the English she spoke every day, and as always when people try to speak "posh" they just sound silly. There was talk of children forming "isolation bubbles" in schools - the idea being that you can restrict how many people anyone comes into contact with. The school in question had "up to twenty-two support bubbles". "Up to"! What is that supposed to mean.
I got to work; we had cake at tea-time; I also finished my e-book. I'm currently having something of a literary retrospective and am re-reading stuff by John Wyndham. Today I finished "The Kraken Wakes" which is a book I can thoroughly recommend; when I last came up with a "top ten books" list (in March 2019) this one came in fifth. I've downloaded "Day of the Triffids" and am re-reading that one now.
As we worked and chatted this afternoon something came up that might have a bearing outside of work. Have we been breaking the law when pursuing the ancient and honourable art of rummaging under rocks looking for film pots? A *lot* of geocaches are found by first locating a gravestone, and using what is written on that gravestone to solve a puzzle. Dates of birth, dates of death... all feature in geo-puzzles. But Section 18 (1e) (Offences in cemeteries) of The Local Authorities' Cemeteries Order 1977 clearly states "No person shall... play at any game or sport in a cemetery." Does this include solving geo-puzzles? I wonder if I should squeal this to the geo-feds before someone else squeals me up?
I had hoped to take the dogs out this evening (being on an early shift) but it had been raining most of the day, and with the rain forecast until seven o’clock I decided against it. Instead I had a look at Bricklink and ordered up some bits and bobs. Ideally I would have gone to the Lego shop in Bluewater, but until some semblance of normality is restored, I think I shall be avoiding that place.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed along with a bottle of Aldi’s best red wine whilst watching “Bake Off: The Professionals”. Blue team lost tonight; they should have gone two weeks ago…