1 March 2014 (Saturday) - Dull...
I was awake rather earlier than I might have been today. Over brekkie I caught up with some TV dross I've been recording. I started off with the last episode of "The Midnight Beast" which was quite amusing, and then followed it up with the second episode of "Blandings" which was not. TV seems to have a penchant for putting on shows with actors who were funny twenty years ago and hoping they still are. To be fair to some of the big names of British comedy they have got scripts that are far lamer than those of "Jeeves and Wooster" (and that's saying something), but be it the stars or the scripts, Blandings is not working.
And so to work. As I drove I listened to the radio. There was little of note going on in the world. Civil unrest is rife in the Ukraine; President Obama doesn't want the Russians to get involved even though the beleaguered Ukrainian government has asked for Russian help and intervention. What are the Russians to do? Sit and watch?
The Labour party are trying to join the twenty first century by making sense of their relationship with trade unions. Whilst a good idea in theory, unions have had their day. Interestingly Tony Blair and the widow of John Smith have both applauded the move.
And being somewhat later than I usually go to work, today I got to listen to "Thought for the Day", a spiritual five minute radio slot which specialises in reducing reason to stark nonsense. Today's self-depreciating vicar spent the entire five minutes saying that some stories can be good.
The world was dull as I drove to work, but this was probably for the best. I stopped off on my way to work and filled the car with petrol. Over sixty quid's worth of the stuff; and then did my bit at work. As I did my bit I found myself looking out of the window at a rather bright day. I don't mind working when the weather is grotty, but bearing in mind how much it has rained recently I did sulk just a little at the dry day today.
As I drove home I again had the radio on. There was a play being broadcast; yet another adaptation of an old favourite of mine; "Pride and Prejudice". It was quite good. Once home I found "Furry Face TM" was in a particularly soppy mood. I wonder what's up with him...
I woke shortly after 5am to find the snout of a small snoring dog resting on my chin. I really should have taken a firmer line. But all I did was leave him snoring whilst I went and scoffed my toast while watching episodes of "Family Guy" before setting off to work.
As I drove to work the talk on the radio was of things spiritual; as it usually is on a Sunday. Today the pundits were discussing the state of religious education in schools. Apparently a religious education is vital to ensure that children don't grow up to be ruthless amoral villains. Various teachers, politicians and schoolchildren were interviewed on the matter; all of whom made reasonable arguments, but all of whom made the same logical mistake. Namely that one can have a moral and ethical stance without it needing religious overtones.
A teacher of mathematics or biology can impart decency to his charges every bit as well as can a teacher of religious education. I cannot understand how ethics and morality are seen to hand-in-hand with religion in today's society. Forcing this connection is akin to being unable to admire the beauty of a garden without insisting that there are magical pixies living at the bottom of it.
There was then a church service from a Welsh cathedral. A few days ago I heard something about cathedral choirs being under threat from a lack of funding. Quite frankly if today's dirge was anything to go by, than this can only be good news. Don't get me wrong: a good friend sings in a very good choir; and I like choral music (as with all music) *when* it is done well. But this morning's howling was just part of a classic example of all that is wrong with the Church of England. A religious service should be something beautiful and inspiring; not strangled wailing followed by inane platitudes recited by someone who sounds as though they are even more bored than the congregation which is sleeping through that blather.
The morning's news was worrying. Yesterday it seemed that the Russians were being misunderstood and were acting in the Ukrainians best interests and were on a peace-keeping mission. Now it would seem a full-blown invasion is taking place. The British Government has pulled out of the upcoming international G8 conference, and the Prime Minister has announced that UK ministers will boycott the paralympics being hosted in Russia.
And so to work. I've said before that I don't mind working at weekends; with a reduced staff I feel I can get on with the job more than usual. But there's no denying that I did have the odd stray thought about what else I might be doing. Fifteen puzzle-geocaches went live near home yesterday. I could have been solving those puzzles with a view to a day spent finding them. Or I could have been in Margate where the cream of the tupperware-hunting fraternity were gathering for the monthly meet-up.
And it didn't help that the weather was rather good too. I don't mind being indoors when its wet, but good weather makes me want to get out and about. I spent much of the day glancing out of the window; and I must admit I was rather miffed that the forecast rain didn't come until it was nearly time for me to finish.
Last night as I drove home I listened to a radio production of "Pride and Prejudice"; I'd been looking forward to the second episode of that on tonight's drive home. I was disappointed; there was no play; instead a rather dull program about money. It turned out the second episode had been broadcast at 3pm this afternoon (!) and the third episode will come out next Sunday afternoon. It struck me as rather odd scheduling; but what do I know?
I woke at 4am in absolute terror. I had no idea what I’d been dreaming about but I was absolutely terrified. I could have done with a tiddle, but I was so scared I would rather have wet the bed than have moved from the spot. I’m not sure ‘er indoors TM would have been pleased about that; but there it is.
I eventually dozed off again, and got up shortly before 8am to a glorious morning. I wasn’t going to waste time, so I popped the lead onto “Furry Face TM “ and we went for a walk. We did our usual walk to Singleton Lake, but in reverse. When we got to the far side of Singleton Lake, which is about as far from home as we get on this walk so the weather went from bright sunshine to rainstorm in about ten seconds flat. The heavens opened and I was soaked to the skin in minutes. And the rain continued most of the way home, pausing only briefly to make way for a hailstorm. Twice.
During a slight break in the rain I filmed a little of our walk for no reason that I could fathom. I just did. Once home Fudge made a bee-line for the bath and jumped in. He was cold – the shower warms him up.
I then spent a little time on the monthly accounts. Not good, but could be a whole lot worse. And I had a go at the astro club accounts. They are reasonably healthy; if fact fit to be embezzled. I must remember to grab a handful *before* I pay it all into the bank this weekend.
Over lunch I watched a film I’d recorded last week. “Escape from Mars” was one of the worst films I have ever seen. Scientifically wrong, with plot holes big enough to fly the spaceship through, it was ninety precious minutes wasted. I then wasted the best part of two hours trying to solve a puzzle. A series of fifteen puzzle-caches went live over the weekend. I had this idea to solve all the puzzles then go do the caches next weekend. I’ve got five done. Maybe I’ll have them done in time to walk this weekend?
Yesterday evening once I’d got the laundry done I carried on solving geo-puzzles till really late, and so consequently I slept well. I was licked awake by my Patagonian Tripe-Hound at 7.30am, and after a swift bit of brekkie we went for our walk.
We had fun at the lake. Someone with more money than sense had thrown several Domino’s pizzas into the lake, and many of the sections were floating quite near the water’s edge. I was amazed that the ducks hadn’t scoffed it. In retrospect I shouldn’t really have been amazed that “Furry Face TM “ tried (and succeeded) in scoffing loads of it. I eventually chased him away from the soggy pizza; it took some doing.
Home, where intensive bathing eventually removed all the frog gunge. And as “Furry Face TM“ scoffed the breakfast I intended him to eat, I carried on solving geo-puzzles/ One in particular nearly made my brain explode. Kakuro is a particularly fiendish form of soduku which I eventually solved by beating my head against the PC for an hour.
I’ve now got all the solving done that I can do for this series of caches. There’s still a few figures to get, but they have to be done on-site. I’m now ready to go get the caches. However there is a slight hiccup here. In a novel break with tradition the rest of my geo-posse have announced that they too are going to solve the puzzles before we go get them. Whilst that is “as God intended”, there might now be a delay before we actually head off to Teynham.
After a spot of lunch (and more “Pride and Prejudice”) I made a start on my next talk for the astro club. I say “my next talk” – I downloaded half a dozen PowerPoint presentations on galaxies, and used a combination of the slides in those presentations together with Wikipedia to blag a talk of my own. It’s about half way done now. I shall come back to it over the next few weeks.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered – this time at the Admiralty. We watched wonderful music videos, fussed the cats, and after a crafty glass of port watched Tom Baker star as Doctor who thwarting cyber-feloniousness.
And today is something of an end of an era. A couple of years ago my job was transferred to Canterbury, and shortly after that I was fortunate enough to be able to work all my weekly hours in three long working days. I’ve been given something of a professional advancement; however this necessitates going back to a five-day working week. Starting tomorrow. There’s more money and the chance of future advancements, but in the short term that pay increase will be more than made up for with increased petrol costs.
Yesterday I mentioned that today was the start of a new routine. Consequently I had a lie-in and didn't get out of my pit until 6am. Over brekkie (shared with my dog) I watched episode four of "Pride and Prejudice" in which Mr Wickham was exposed (!)
I had this plan that leaving for work at 7.30am would be about right. But by the time I'd mucked about scraping ice from the car and popping into Morrisons, a journey which used to take thirty-five minutes took an hour and a quarter.
As I drove I listened to the radio, as ever. Nigel Farrage, the leader of the UK Independence Party was being interviewed live on the radio. I say "interviewed", I mean lambasted. The fellow is a member of the European Parliament and his voting record isn't all that that it might be. A prominent Dribbling Democrap came on the show to claim that Mr Farrage had only voted in about half of the votes he could have. Mr Farrage loudly announced that this was due to the pressures of his being the leader of a national political party. He went on to say that his voting record was actually wonderful compared to the deputy Prime Minister who, through the various demands on his time, has only voted in a little over twenty per cent of the votes. Personally I felt that this voting record showed that both had been remiss in their parliamentary dutes rather than than both were very busy, but what d I know.
Mr Farrage also made great issue of a leaked Government report showing that the advent of every non-EU migrants to the UK causes twenty three UK citizens to lose their jobs. A worrying statistic if it were true; another leaked Government report showed that this was a load of old rubbish. Interestingly no one from Government seemed to want to deny either report; nor did they express any concern that their own so-called facts were contradicting each other.
Once at work I did what I could; and as part of my hew hours I had a rather longer lunch break than usual. So I went for a little walk. The cycle path went from the hospital past the Simon Langton School; a secondary school most of the pupils of which seemed to be sprawled across the cycle path smoking cigarettes. I wonder if I should tell the headmaster what was going on. I wonder if he would care. I know of a certain school in Lenham that wouldn't have cared less.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk - a shame it got dark as we walked, but that didn't seem to bother him very much. Hopefully over the next few weeks the evenings will get lighter so we can have longer walks; I'm not letting that furry f...ellow off his lead in the dark.
It's an excercise I do every so often (I have a list on Facebook), and it's a list which changes periodically. But as of today the best ten books in the universe are (and I'm still not sure about the order):
Another relatively good night's sleep; perhaps this is to do with being back into a regular routine? I had my brekkie all to myself as my dog slept through the last episode or Pride and Prejudice in which Mr Darcy declared his intentions and found they were no longer unwelcome to Miss Eliza Bennett. The hussy!
And so to work. As always I listened to the news. The Thought for the Day section made an interesting point about the impact of social media on schools; apparently absenteeism is far higher in schools on Mondays than any other day of the week. The reasoon for this being that schoolchildren have all argued over social media all weekend, have all fallen out, and don't want to face each other.
The news about today's strike made my piss boil. Barristers and solicitors are up in arms about the proposed cuts to legal aid. Without legal aid the kind of people who qualify for legal aid can't get free representation in court. This is a bit of a pain to the legal profession because they have priced themselves beyond the pocket of the average man in the street. i.e. me. Not that I speak from bitter experience or anything.
In the same way that the average punter can't afford his own health care or education and has to rely on the state to provide it, surely the time has come to pull the rug out from under the be-wigged gravy train and nationalise the entire legal system.
Just as I arrived at the work's car park my phone beeped. An email. A new geocache had gone live five minutes walk from home. That was a pain. So instead I played with my new app. SpecTrek costs less than two quid, and is absolutely brilliant. You use the GPS of your phone to track down ghosts, and you use the camera of your phone to catch them. I spent an enjoyable quarter of an hour chasing ghosts round the works car park; only nearly getting run over three times.
I was so enamoured with SpecTrek that I spent lunch time playing it as well; much to the bemusement of colleagues who are actually younger than my own children. What is it with youngsters these days - why don;t they want to play silly beggars?
er indoors TM" was supposedly dying to death of lurgy yesterday. That didn't stop her doing God knows what until the small hours; finally clumping to bed at 3am and waking me up. I then lay awake befire finally getting up shortly after 5am and watching drivel on the telly wishing I was asleep.
Eventually it was time to set off for the business of the day, and leaving er indoors TM" and "Furry Face TM" fast asleep I made my way to the town centre. The astro club was doing a display on the town bandstand as part of national astronomy week. I arrived to find Steve, Sarah, Denver and Jo getting ready, and I chipped in as I do.
And we saw loads of nut cases who taught me so much. I learned that the first meteorite to hit the Moon did so in 1969, and it is currently on display in a museum in Japan. Also I found out that America's sun has got a sunspot which is about to explode and spray solar material all over America. However there is no need for my loyal readers on this side of the Atlantic to worry; the British sun is fine.
The Rear Admiral had left his car outside the house, so I walked home with him via the milkshake shop where I had a Maltesers milk shake. The miilkshake shop has a very wide repertoire; they even offer milkshakes made from bakes beans or pickled onions. Tempted as I might be, next time I shall settle for one made from a Mars bar.
Being back on regular hours I don't have time mid-week for domestic trivia any more, so this evening I set the washing machine to have a fight with my smalls whilst I did this week's installment on my on-line course. Astoundingly I scored 90% on TCP/IP protocols. I think it's fair to say that the amazement experienced by my loyal readers on learning this fact is as nothing when compared to my own...
Another terible night's sleep. I was up and sharing my toast with a very sleepy "Furry Face TM" whilst watching episodes of Family Guy well before 6am. By the time er indoors TM" came down I'd been awake for over five hours and so was bored senseless.
We were soon ready for the off; and having collected Gordon Tracy we set off to Wye. Regular readers of this drivel amy recall a series of geocaches went live in Wye two weeks ago and although I First to Finded seveal of them, I failed to find several others. So we went back to Wye,. Whils we were at it we did another cache series as well. Everyone else added twenty one to their total of cache finds; I only added five as I'd been there before. But it's not always all about the numbers. Four of this five were particularly elusive caches that I was pleased to find; and one of them was something completely new to me. And when your cache find count is approaching three thousand, that's saying something.
Once home "Furry Face TM" jumped into the bath. He knows the price he has to pay for rolling in fox poo. And with various grunges washed off of my dog I popped round to Denver and Jo to pick up the astro club's Dobsonian telescope for tomorrow evening. Denver didn't look well. Like me, he would seem to suffer with a bad back.
er indoors TM" set off for her regular Sunday bowling fix, and I watched Family Guy and Big Bang Theory in between eavesdropping on the row that next door were having. I say " eavesdropping"; they were screeching louder than the television. He was bellowing at her to f*&! off back to Japan, and she was screaming at him him to give her the value of her half of the house.
I was wide awake at 3am and didn't get back to sleep again. I eventually gave up trying to sleep and got up. Last week I mentioned that I wasn't impressed with the BBC's comedy show Blandings. I tried another episode; it's not getting any better.
After a couple of episodes of Family Guy I set off to work. As I drove I listened to the radio. Despite a bright sunny morning it would seem that much of the country is still suffering from a very wet winter. So much so that the National Trust was suggesting actually abandoning some land to the sea. An interesting position to take; albeit probably very pragmatic.
Work was relatively good; I slipped out at lunch time for a quick bout of SpecTrek; I've now gone up a level. And once I'd done my bit I drove down to the Warren in Folkestone. The plan was to have an observing night for the astro club. It was a good plan; but the one hundred per cent cloud cover put paid to that idea. We four brave souls that had turned up waited for half an hour to see if the clouds would clear. And on seeing that they wouldn't we adjourned (via the chip shop) to the Admiralty (to eat our chips).
Having woken at 2.30am and looked at the clock every five minutes for the rest of the night I finally dozed off five minutes before the alarm went off. Over brekkie I saw a geocache go live. There's no denying I got a little bit precious over it. It was a direct replacement for a cache I'd blogged about on December 8th; one I'd tried to adopt.
The cache at the time was a rather good walk over some rather scenic countryside, but due to the way it had been set up it involved three hours effort to only increase one's geo-score by one find. I had a plan to replace this cache with a series of (about) a dozen themed caches. Some traditional caches and a multi-cache. A puzzle or two and a couple of letterbox hybrids. I'd found somewhere not too far off the old route which had a geological feature I could have used for an Earthcache, and I even had the software for a Wherigo cartridge cache to lead people along the dodgier parts of the route.
With the worst of the winter's rain gone and today being a day off work I had planned to go out today and get some geo-fixes along that very route to start planning this new series with a possible go-live to co-incide with a geo-meet over the summer which I would have hosted in Chilham. Seven cache types in one day was the plan; but I left it too late, and someone else got in first.
Oh well; it's not the first time I've missed out on a location. The fault (if there is any fault to assign) is entirely mine for not gettig my arse in gear earlier. I'd had three months to do something. It's just a shame that being mid-way between home and work made it ideally positioned for me.
So I had a little rant on Facebook. Perhaps I shouldn't have been quite so primadonna-ish. Perhaps this lack of sleep is getting to me. Perhaps two and a half years of ongoing hearings and court cases and tribunals have taken their toll. Perhaps being on half the money I was on when I was only half my age was preying on my mind again. Or perhaps my various problems that aren't a matter of public record were still winding me up.
Whilst I am one of the world's greatest advocates of social media, it does have its drawbacks. The entire problem with social media is that so many people feel obliged to make comment on matters about which they have absolutely no idea whatsoever. Still, those people that matter to me know why I rant from time to time, and they either made the right noises or kept quiet.
But a little on-line rant from time to time is a good thing. If nothing else it lets me know those people who shouldn't be on my friends list. And so I had a minor cull. Those that felt they were being clever by making smart-ass comments don't know me anyway, and have now got the chop.
Pausing only briefly to get the car MOT'ed I grabbed my dog and we set off to Chilham. Me and "Furry Face TM" parked up in Bagham Lane and were soon on our way round the route. The route had been mapped out with several waypoints; whilst useful I don't think they were really necessary; the way was along easy-to-follow footpaths. A bit muddy in a couple of places, but... let's just say the dog didn't need a shower when we got home.
None of the hides were "easy"; I only found one of the parts with less than five minutes searching. Some of them were rather well hidden, but good co-ords and hints taken together allowed me to find all parts; though they did take some hunting out. There's no denying I came close to giving up on a few of the hides. despite my better judgement I put all back exactly as found, resisting the temptation to make them slightly easier to find.
What can I say about this cache? I suspect that (like its predecessor cache) it will not be done very often. Why? Because it's a multi, and people generally avoid multis in favour of chasing numbers. Which is a great shame. This multi-cache is a really well marked out (and easy to follow) walk along some really beautiful scenery. Which is the very reason why I wanted to make so much more of the route.
Once home I spent some more time working on the presentation for the astro club until "My Boy TM" came round and helped me make a start in the garden. Now the rains seem to have abated somewhat we've manged to get broken fence panels and the like into the car for a tip run. We had a lot of broken fence panels; enough to make the back garden rather inaccessible. It's now clear and I shall carry on out in the garden later this week.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered; this time in Somerset Road. As we walked up there I couldn't help but look up at the clear sky. Last night when we had the telescope evening planned it was complete cloud cover. Tonight was a wonderful starry sky.
And with the clans gathered we watched the cliffhanger of season four of Merlin. A good episode; but it was a great shame that Sir Bigtits had to die. She'd only been in the show for two weeks and had made an impressive contribution to the storyline with her impressive assets. We will miss her. And her impressive assets...
I woke and looked at the clock and was amazed to see it was nearly 6am. I've not slept for so long for ages. I had a quick bit of brekkie and then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We nearly got run down by a cyclist who was riding down the pavement whilst busy fiddling with his phone; both ears bunged up with headphones from said phone. I made sure my dog was safe and kept walking, and at the last minute the twit swerved and ended up in someone's front garden. It wasn't that he didn't see me coming; he could see me all right. He just felt I should walk up the road to avoid him. The road is where he should have been.
We met an ex-cub's mother whilst we were out. She remembered me, and I recognised her. Greg and Georgie were good lads; one of them was an accomplished runner, and I remember him doing very well in a cubs cross country race at the Biddenden vineyard where I got several cubs' mothers drunk. She told me that Grag and Georgie are now in their early twenties. I remember them as being ten years old.
Once home "Furry Face TM" had his brekkie, and I drove round to the tip to get rid of all the rubish I emptied from the garden yesterday. And then, with er indoors TM" emerged from her pit, we set off on a day's hunting tupperware. First of all round Ospringe; a rather scenic village. It was here that we met a couple of people who spotted us caching and introduced themselves as fellow chasers of sandwich boxes. they gave us the low-down on one cache we'd been unable to find earlier in the day, and recommended a pub for lunch.
The Ship Inn in Ospringe is the sort of pub that you would look at and walk swiftly away from. It looks grim; the outside has probably not had a lick of paint since the mid 1970s. But looks can be deceptive. With three ales on the hand pumps, really good food and friendly staff I would recommend the place to anyone who might be in the area.
We then went into Faversham to track down elusive plastic. Whilst we were wandering here, there and thither my Munzee app died, which was a nuisance. However on the plus side we discovered a home brew shop which is streets ahead of the shop in Ashford.
We found a dozen or so caches, then came home to collect phones from the repair shop. We then spent a few minutes filling the car with another load of garden rubbish for another tip run tomorrow. The car is now pretty much full of rubbish (again) and I think I could probably fill it with rubbish again tomorrow.
After a quick spot of brekkie I took "Furry Face TM" for a morning walk. We went up past the railway station where someone had chained their bike to the railings. There were many bokes chained to the railings; this one had clearly been run over by something very heavy and the wreckage that was left was fit for the dustbin. So why on earth had it been chained to the railings?
Once home I settled "Furry Face TM" as best I could then went oin a little mission of my own. Firstly to the tip where I emptied all the rubbish we'd loaded up yesterday. Then on to Matalan for a new pair of trousers. And lastly to B&Q where I spend the voucher I'd got for my birthday. I got a car full of ingredients to make the garden better; I've been neglecting it recently.
Home again, where I finally got going in the garden. I removed the old washing line and put up the new one; another job which sounds a lot easier than it actually is. And after a spot of lunch I unloaded the car and made a start with a job I've been putting off for ages. Several months ago we replaced the fence at the back of the garden; today I laid the membrane and shingle. I'd worked out that I needed six bags of shingle. I got eight. I should have bought twelve. I didn't have enough.
I could have then scurried up another load of rubbish for the tip. I could have mowed the lawn. I could have made good the shed roof. But I'd probably overdone it by lugging all the shingle about so I sat and watched The Tomorrow People which I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. Another good episode.
And so to the Wagarium. The astro club had a committee meeting this evening, and as a prelude to committee we'd been invited to tea; complete with a rather good musical interlude. I've often wished I was more musical and listening to the violin tunes has made me more determined to have a go at an instrument. I *will* get that saxophone...
This morning's post brought news of my forthcoming oximeter test prior to seeing someone at the sleep clinic. Perhaps I might finally get something done about this infernal insomnia. Again I felt I'd been awake for half the day by the time er indoors TM" got up at what anyone else would call a sensible time to be getting up.
I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We went down through Park Farm where we bumped into Anita. She fetched Lizzie-pup and the four of us wandered round Park farm for a bit. Me and "Furry Face TM" then continued up to an area that "Daddies Little Angel TM" rather accurately describes as LegoLand (because the houses all look as though they are made from Lego). From here I did a little geocache maintenance; three of my caches lie along the same footpath.
The first cache is something to which I shall have to give some thought. The puzzle leading to it is quite tricky; few people have solved the puzzle. The actual location of the cache is currently fenced off with some sort of groundwork going on. The cache itself had been put by that fence, clearly having been deliberately smashed. Bearing in mind a combination lock and chain (now both ruined) were an integral part of the not insubstantial cache, that's over ten quid down the toilet. Shall I replace it or not? I shall give it some thought.
I didn't have the opportunity to replace the last cache; being a rubber duck tethered in a river I had been looking for a brick to use as an anchor. I couldn't find one. There is never an old brick about when you need one. Mind you my dog did find a huge bone which kept him quiet for ten minutes.
Whilst we were out I got a message via Facebook. (Mobile phones are wonderful toys). In early December I'd seen a saxophone for sale and had offered just under half the asking price knowing full well my offer would be turned down. It was, but today the chap asked if I was still interested in the sax. I've offered a hundred pounds (that I haven't got) and we'll seee what happens.
Once home I got out the lawnmower and strimmer and gave the lawn its first haircut of the year. Both lawnmower and strimmer sounded knackered (to put it bluntly). Let's hope that's not going to be more expense.
I could have done more in the garden. I could have gone to get more shingle to finish off the gravelling; but that is thirty-plus quid that can wait until after pay day. I thought about doing the shed roof, but that is really a two person job.
Instead I did more of my on-line course. Week seven of Internet History, Technology, and Security covered the application layer. I must have understood it because I was a bit of a smartarse and got full marks in this week's assessment. But on reflection I could not honestly say what the lectures had been about. http-something was mentioned; as were ports. I also got full marks in the second of the course's three optional essays. The essays are for extra credit and I don't have to do them. I've got full marks in the first two, but I think I shall choose not to do the third one; "Choose an element or aspect of the TCP/IP architecture and write a simple essay explaining how it works to a non-technical person. This is about writing for a non-technical audience." In all honestly I'm not entirely sure what an element of the TCP/IP architecture is. If pressed I would go with hydrogen or plutonium.
With this week's course coursed I then attacked the laundry whilst watching episodes of Family Guy. After four episodes of the adventures of the Griffin family my clothes were in a neat pile again. I then fell asleep until er indoors TM" came home. Over scoff we watched a film; "Run, Fatboy, Run". I didn't think I'd seen it before, but parts of it seemed quite familiar.
Yesterday I mentioned that a chap had contacted me about buying his saxophone. Having offered him half his asking price he got back to me this morning with a counter-proposal. He'd accept half the asking price plus some items in trade. Specifically any unwanted gold I might have. Unwanted gold !? Is there such a thing? Was I being hopelessly naive in thinking this was a little odd?
With er indoors TM" still asleep I took "Furry Face TM" for a short walk. Having obtained a rock to be used as a geo-anchor we went round to the river and re-floated my "luvaduck" geocache. Whilst we were in the area I got chatting with the people from the Environment Agency who were pulling a mattress out of the river.
Once home I sat about killing time on Facebook until er indoors TM" was ready for action. We went into Ashford for a mooch. We didn't buy much; just a few odds and ends from Ashford's Cheapo Bargains store. We met up with Bernie and Martin. We went into the girlie clothes shop to bother Cheryl, and we had a rather good spot of lunch in the Gorge. Feeling suitably stufffed we went round to Chill Time for milk shakes. I had a black forest gateau milk shake. That wasn't "black forest gateau flavoured", it was made with actual black forest gateau. I watched them chop a lump off of the cake, chuck it in a mixer with milk and ice cream and blend the whole lot into a milk shake. Very tasty.
I then spent a little while sorting out the shed. I was amazed at what I found in there; some stuff is worth keeping, some is rubbish, and there was rather a lot of staff which would have been worth keeping were it not absolutely sodden.
Over the winter the roofing felt has come adrift several times and despite quite a few repairs the rain has got in. There's been quite a bit of damage done. I had hoped to be able to completely re-felt the shed roof today, but my prime assistant had better things to do. Oh well, it's his fishing gear which was sitting in pooled rain water.
And so to Maidstone. The chap with the saxophone had relented and accepted my offer. His acceptence was rather grudging, but to be fair to him I wasn't paying anything like what the sax is probably worth. He said I could collect the thing this evening (from his mother). So I did.
I've got it home and have had a provisional trial squawk with it. I can get several notes out of it. I'm rather impressed with my impromptu seranade, and my dog sang along too. In fact I've got more notes out of it in five minutes than I did in five years with a bugle.
There's no denying that I have no idea which of the notes is an "A" and which is not, but in many ways figuring out the notes is just piddling details. I've found several You-Tube videos which will give me pointers, and if that don't work I'll take the unprecedented step of getting lessons.
I've unraveled the mysteries and intricacies of TCP/IP protocols, of oxidative phosphorylation, of blood group serology and of differential calculus. I've lectured on herpetology, cosmology and haematology. For all that I work hard to conceal it, there's no denying the fact that I'm a genius.
Over the last couple of weeks I've been frantically solving puzzles in readiness for today. Today we set off to Teynham where there is a series of fifteen puzzle caches. Having solved word searches and sudukus, kukuros and morse code, transcriptions and all sorts of brain benders we thought that going to actually find the tupperware would be the easy part. It wasn't.
We parked up in Teynham and set off. We found a clone of "Furry Face TM". Banjo (what a name!) was a little smaller all round than Fudge, but I suspect that's a feature of how much Fudge gets walked. We chatted with the nice people with Banjo for a bit, then carried on with our walk. It was a very good walk; especially scenic as it seemed to be "National Fit Birds go Jogging Day" (to be politically correct).
A little way round the route we turned off to go hunt out some other nearby geocaches. We had a minor incident with one. WIth no hides immediatly obvious we checked other people's logs of the find. Mention had been made about a new fence, and the clue did say it was ten feet high. So having impaled my "flowers and frolics" on barbed wire and having scaled about twenty feet up an old oak tree I wasn't impressed when er indoors TM" found our prey knee height along the footpath.
By now it was mid day so we stopped off at the Dover Castle Inn for a pint. The bar staff were happy for us to scoff our picnic in their garden, so we did. I suspect they were gald for the trade; the place looked empty. It was whilst scoffing lunch that an email came in; a new cache had gone live which was about half way home from where we were. We didn't really think about it very much, but carried on with our walk.
It was at this point that we met two other fellow unters of sandwich boxes, and we carried on with them for a while until we reached out forthest point north. Our friends carried on with the cache series; we took a slight detour to pick up an extra one; and we met up with them a bit later when we were rather struggling with one that was eluding us.
Once we were back to the car we had a little look on-line and saw that the geocache that had gone live over lunch time was still waiting for a find to be logged. The lure of a First to Find was too strong to resist, so we had a go. And were lucky. We were first to get there.
The cache was very near the Lady of the Woods; somewhere that I've blogged about before. It's a wooden statue in the middle of the woods that was thought to have been carved during the last war by Italian prisoners of war. It is supposedly a religious icon thought to be carved in the image of the Virgin Mary.
And so home, where we carried on washing up the camping gear that had got wet over the winter in the leaking shed. And with er indoors TM" off bowling I got my saxophone out. I had a trial squawk; but "Furry Face TM" wouldn't stop singing along. I the watched the first episode of the new "Cosmos" series. Billed as "weaving rigorous science with visual, emotional and spiritual elements, it will be a transcendent experience – a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale we know", I must admit I thought it was rather rubbish. It reminded me of some of the speakers we've paid to perform at the astro club in the past; it was all fancy graphics to impress the masses, but very little factual content. After twenty minutes I realised I was only watching it because I will be expected to comment on the show tomorrow at work and later with members of the astro club.
I would probably have had a decent night’s sleep were it not for the snoring that woke me shortly after 3am. I gave ‘er indoors TM a clout, but by then it was too late; I was awake. I got up after a couple of hours and watched episodes of Family Guy before setting off to work.
I went a little earlier than I might; I wanted to allow myself a little time to go to Morrisons. In the end I had plenty of time. I got to work early and watched the morning news on the works telly. The breakfast TV presenter was showing her ignorance. Apparently science has found that the planet Mercury has shrunk over time. “Twit for Brains” on the telly was disputing the fact. Apparently because Mercury is close to the Sun it would expand, not shrink, because heat makes gases expand and planets are made out of gas.
I spent much of the day waiting for a phone call that never came. I’ve been trying to get lessons for how to operate my saxophone. I naively thought http://www.musicteachers.co.uk might be a good place to find a teacher. I was mistaken.
Most of those people listed that haven’t either retired through old age or given up because the noise wakes their baby haven’t actually provided a valid phone number. I finally tracked down one chap listed on that site who seemed bemused that I should ask him for instruction; though he admitted he could play a saxophone. He said he’d get back to me. He didn’t.
At lunch time I went for a walk and whilst out and about I found a beautiful little spot that was just crying out for a geocache. So I hid one there. I’m seriously thinking of archiving off caches because I have hidden too many, and here I am putting more out.
Yesterday I mentioned my disappointment with www.musicteachers.co.uk and asked if anyone knoew of a music teacher. I asked in several places on the Internet, and as I checked out cyberspace over brekkie this morning (to my amazement) www.musicteachers.co.uk offered their services.
I also had a message from a friend asking if I knew about the Munzees that had gone live over the weekend. I didn't, and checking the map I saw they were within walking distance. With little else to do but watch episodes of Family Guy I took "Furry Face TM" for an early walk, and we got First to Find on five of them before 7am.
And so to work. As I drove I listened to the radio. The world is aghast at developments in Crimea. I am convinced I am missing something vital in this story. From what I can see part of the Ukraine has declared its independence and has asked to become part of Russia.
It seems very odd to me that the western world is all very pro-democracy all the time it is their (our) variety of democracy which is being touted. No one seems to have any problem with the Scots having a referendum for their own independence. How is the Crimean situation different?
I did my bit at work, and came home via the pet shop where I stocked up on "Furry Face Food TM". And having quicky run my dog round the block the clans gathered. Insults were bandied, and we watched another episode of Merlin. But there's no denying the show is suffering following the recent demise of Sir Bigtits...
Up with the lark, and after my morning fix of Family Guy I set off to work. The morning's news was not especially memorable. Mind you there was lots of excitement about the new-look pound coin to be released in three years time. The new coin is to be based on the appearence of the old threepenny bit because the old threepenny bit was incredibly popular. The chap on the radio went so far as to claim that the threepenny bit was voted most popular coin many times during its lifetime.
And so to work. I did my bit, and at lunch time went for a little walk. When I came back I sat in the rest room and watched the television news about today's budget statement. As with pretty much every other budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave with one hand and takes with the other. I've done a little research and I can't see that I will be noticeably any better or worse off.
With my bit at work done I came home. The evening's news on the radio was all about budget and Crimea. It would seem that the Russian takeover of Crimea is now all but completed; and all that is left is the empty posturing by the western governments.
Once home I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and took him round teh block. He was especially problematical this evening; picking fights with bicycles as well as the usual motorbikes and juggernauts. With the walk over I had a little sti-down to rest my nerves (they get frayed by that dog) and I checked my emails. I've had an offer of a free saxophone lesson; a "taster" to see how I get on. That will be something to do on Saturday afternoon.
"er indoors TM" came home with curry, and we scoffed it whilst watching episodes of Big Bang Theory and guzzling a bottle of Merlot. I dozed off several times. As usual asleep when I want to be awake, and so to bed where I shall spend most of the night wide awake...
I was up well before the lark this morning and watching the latest episode of the re-imagined "The Tomorrow People". For all that it's a really good series I can't help but find myself looking back over the last couple of months and asking myself what has actually happened in that show. And I must admit that the answer is "not much".
The morning's drive to work was dull. I listened to the news as always. And the news had very little to report. There was talk of the Russian annexation of the Crimea which is now a done deal. There was talk of the missing Malaysian air liner, but all the time it remains missing there are no actual facts to report. The Shadow Chancellor was intereviewed about yesterday's budget and upset the pundits by (surprisingly wisely) refusing to comment in depth until he's actually worked out what was actually in the budget speech.
Once at work I did work things until lunch time. My new working pattern gives me a much longer lunch break, and I've taken to going for a lunch time stroll. Today I found a field full of cows which on closer inspection turned out to be all bulls. I didn't realise you could keep bulls together; I thought they fought or squabbled? This bunch seemed surprisingly relaxed.
This evening I took "Furry Face TM" for his walk. There's no denying that he's far better behaved on morning walks than evenng walks. I wonder what is different that causes him to play up in the evenings.
And once home I checked my emails. Good news. I was planning to do a load of geocache maintenance this weekend; much of it has been done for me by some geo-buddies of mine who were in the area yesterday. I was pleased about that. There's no denying that I enjoy traking down a concealed sandwich box. And so because I hunt so many I feel obliged to make my contribution to the hobby by hiding caches too.
But with hiding them goes the responsibility of maintaining the ones that I've hidden. This isn't so much of a problem on caches that are nearby or on my way to work. But with the recent changes to my working pattern I have much less time mid-week to spend on replacing missing magnetic key holders and fake ducks; especially ones that are nowhere near where I would normally be going.
I was up and loading the washing machine before 5am this morning. And with time on my hands I watched a couple of episodes of South Park. It transpired that the pandemic of American celebrities who are getting up to all sorts of sexually-related shenanigans was due to aliens in the White House. One lives and learns.
I also watched a play I'd recorded from the Sky Arts channel (oh, lar-de-dah!) which featured David Tennant playing the part of an ungrateful little shit finding fault with all of his social circle. It was quite entertaining, and served as an example of how not to conduct one's self in society.
I checked emails and on seeing a new geocache had gone live on my way to work I set off; leaving "er indoors TM" orders to unload the washing machine. I found the cache easily enough; it was only a shame that someone else had already found it ten minutes previously.
I then carried on to work; listening to the radio as I went. The news this morning was all about proposed changes in legislation concerning what people can and can't do with their pensions. The Chancellor is taking the line that people will be sensible with their pensions and won't (as has been mooted) piss it all up a wall as quickly as is humanly possible. Whilst he may well be right in that few people are going to recklessly squander the lot, he's overlooked what people will probably do. Most people would take financial advice. That's what I did when I took out a mortgage. I was advised (in good faith) to get an endowment mortgage which ended up costing me thousands.
And so to work where I did what was expected of me. At lunchtime I went for my now customary walk; I'm quite getting to like this part of the day. Mind you I did find working five consecutive days something of a novelty; I've not done that for over two years.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for his walk. "er indoors TM" came too. We went down round Asda where for the last four nights I've been trying to find a particularly elusive geocache. Tonight I went straight to it.
I had planned to wash my shirts this evening; the new working scheme has played havoc with my laundry arrangements. But I couldn't be bothered. I watched telly instead. I say "watched" - slept through was a better description.
Being wide awake at 2am I thought I might load up the washing machine. So I did that, and went back to bed where I lay awake until the thing finished. I then lay awake until the tumble drier finished. I was sorting out my smalls whilst watching episodes of Family Guy beofre 4am, and had done three loads of washing before 6am. If nothing else I was using cheap rate electricity.
My little dog sat with me for six hours of total boredom. By the time "er indoors TM" emerged from her pit I was bored senseless. And it was at this point that a very sunny morning gave way to rain. I had planned to go out to Sevington to do some geo-maintenance this morning. I abandoned that plan. My next plan was to archive the entire Sevington Saunter series of caches as they are too far out of my way for me to maintain easily, but I was persuaded not to do that (for the time being).
I then spent a little time working of my presentation on galaxies for the astro club, and I did some of this week's course on the Internet. Eventually the rain slackened off enough so we could go out without getting totally soaked, so we walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. He made a nuisance of himself with every other dog he could find and then quite comprehensively rolled in fox crap.
With my furry associate having been bathed and a cream cake scoffed for lunch I set off to Henwood. Earlier in the week I'd been searching out saxophone lessons; today I had a free taster session. It was really good. It turns out that whilst my sax isn't the best in the world, it is far from the worst. And I would seem to have got it for a bargain price. It is an alto sax (!) and I am reliably informed it has a very good sound.
I had half an hour with a very good teacher who showed me what buttons to press and how to blow into it. For the time being I am sticking to the bare essentials of the thing, but in all honesty there is more than enough there for me to be getting on with. With a little effort I can get two octaves out of it all the time I remember "BAG FED" (it's a sax thing). There's no denying that I'm having problems with the note "C" but hopefully I can muddle through for the time being.
I was very keen to carry on with what I had learned, but "Furry Face TM" does like to sing along, and with "er indoors TM" off shopping there was no one to settle him. So I finished off this week's work for my on-line course about the Internet. I got ninety per cent on security and decryption protocols, and I then slept through "Carry on Constable" until "er indoors TM" came home. With an assistant to keep my dog amused I had a bit of a go on my sax. There's no denying that I am struggling with the upper and lower ends of the thing's range, but that will come with practice. I have a plan that every day I shall park up at the far end of the works car park and have a bit of a toot during my lunch breaks.
By the early evening I found today's early start was taking its toll. But my new routine doesn't allow me time mid-week for dull laundry any more. So with "er indoors TM" off out with the Hose Beast and assorted others for the Saturday film night I set about my shirts and my smalls.
I took myself off to bed around 11pm last night. There's no denying that I would have slept better had a certain Patagonian Tripe-Hound not jumped onto my chest and started gnawing his bone at 1.30am. And much as I like my furry associate, I can think of others whom I would prefer to lick me awake at 6.30am. But all things considered I had a reasonable night's sleep.
I watched an episode of Family Guy over brekkie and checked out the Internet. Not a lot had happened overnight. And so we set off on today's excursion. Pausing only briefly to pick up Gordon Tracy and another dog we made our way to Camer Park.
We'd seen there was a geo-series in Camer Park, but the walk listed was only one of a couple of hours. Patagonian Tripe-Hounds need more of a walk than that. So a quick peruse of the map showed that there was another nearby geo-series. Together the two would make a good walk for the day. I'd contacted people who'd done the route recently and found it wasn't too muddy, so I thought I'd give my new walking shoes (from Cotton Traders) their first proper try-out. I was quite impresed with them.
And so on with our walk. The weather forecast had predicted light rain showers. It hadn't said anything about hail. The hail was quite heavy. It only hailed a couple of times; but that was enough. The weather today was very changeable; going from bright sunshine to heavy rain (and back again) in minutes. We sat down for lunch in glorious sunshine and as we ate we watched the black clouds come over. One minute we were basking in the sun's glow, the next minute I was putting on coat and gloves.
We saw pigs whilst we were out. There were goats in a field, and there were pigs rummaginging in the woodlands next to that field. I don't know if the pigs were supposed to be there, or if they were wild pigs, but they seemed rather sweet (as pigs go). And as we walked round we met up with Chris and Scarlett who were doing the loop in reverse order. it was good to have them with us as I found what I later realised was my 2900th geocache.
We had a really good outing. We found some really clever puzzle ideas; but none of the hides were too difficult (I hate it when cache owners don't seem to want their hides to be found). I experimented with not logging as I went (to save battery power) and it worked to a degree. I tried using my camera rather than my phone (again to save battery power) and used it to take a few photos whilst we were out. Let me know if the photos are any better or worse than what I usually produce.
We could have gone on and collected a few puzzle caches we'd solved previously, and we could have gone on to get one cache which was some way up a tree. But time was pushing on, and with the threat of the car park being locked at 5pm we decided to call it a day and come home. After all we'd been out for over six hours and had been up hill and down dale for nearly ten miles.
Another terrible night's sleep; with me seeing every hour of the night. This appointment with the sleep clinic can't come fast enough for my liking. I eventually got up shortly after 5.30am and shared my toast with my furry associate watching yet more episodes of Family Guy. It's a bland enough show for my waking mind.
As I drove to work there was talk about the western governments getting together to talk about developments in the Ukraine and Crimea. I can't help but feel that it's all a little bit late now as Russia seems to have got its nose firmly in the Crimean trough.
There was also talk about a radical change to Labour party policy; leading lights in the socialist world had suggested that actually having some policies might be a vote winner. As the Con-Servatives and Labour are neck and neck in opinion polls a recommendation has been made that shouting "Don't Vote for Them; They are Crap!" doesn't inspire as much confidence in a potential government as saying what they would do given the current political and economic climate.
I stopped off in Morrisons for some shopping before going to work. How my piss boiled. I wanted sugar. Thos few of the staff who could be bothered to acknowledge my presence had never heard of sugar; let alone knew where it was kept.
And the self-service checkout was playing up. Wherever I tried to weigh my apples the computerised scales inside the thing would crash. A numbskull assistant came to help me. She announced that the scales worked better if you weren't gentle with them and smacked the apples down. The scale still didn't work. She bammed the apples harder. No joy. On the fifth smackdown the bag burst and sprayed apples everywhere. She then said she'd use a different scale. Her face was completely blank when I told her to leave the apples and go and get me fresh ones. She asked why I wanted fresh ones, and seemed oblivious to the concept that a dropped apple bruises. I asked if she'd ever actually eaten an apple, but the expression remained blank.
And so to work. At lunch time I took myself to the far end of the car park and had a little practice on my saxophone (which I’d brought along). I mucked about with scales; I’m still having problems with “C”. It was during a particularly vigorous toot that the elastic in my undercrackers gave up and I spent the rest of the day constantly hoiking up my pants.
Once home I put the lead onto “Furry Face TM “ and took him for a stroll. Whilst out we checked on one of my less-frequently visited geocaches; the thing seems to have gone missing. This was another one that had wasn’t cheap and quite frankly I’m inclined to archive it off and be done with the thing. I’ve mentioned before about needing to archive some of my more problematical caches. I shall make a start soon…
After a frankly terrible night's sleep I got up and on seeing "Furry Face TM" was also up and about I thought we'd have some fun. I got out my laser pointer and thought he might like to chase the laser spot. After all other dogs and cats enjoy playing that game. My furry associate had no interest in charging about after a spot of light; instead he started whining and crying. He wanted the actual laser pointer itself. Presumably he thought it was a stick he could chew.
I gave up with that idea and had brekkie instead. I watched a couple of episodes of Family Guy as I scoffed, but half an hour later had no idea what they had been about. I can remember enjoying them, but as for what happened...?
I checked my emails; a new geocache had gone live. Not only was it less than two miles from home it was also on my way to work. It had been out for nearly an hour, so I had no thoughts of getting a First to Find, but it would be something to cheer up what might be an otherwise dull morning. So I set off, and to my surprise on one else had charged out and I was first. That was a nice little bonus.
As I carried on to work the news was of the (apparently) scandalous behaviour of Malaysian Airlines who had formally told grieving relatives that they had abandoned all hope of their being any survivors of the missing flight MH370. It was considered bad form to make the announcement by text message. I can't help but feel that bearing in mind the hype that the media had stirred up about this, they were hardly in any position to take the moral high ground.
I had another saxophone practice session at lunch time. The idea of practicing in the works car park was that my dog wouldn't sing along. After only a couple of minutes spent squawking I realised I had an audience; a labrador had appeared from nowhere and was watching me intently. Eventually his owner showed up; I was told that he was interested by the sounds I was making. I suppose that was a result.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for his evening walk. We went to have a look for that geocache of mine that I couldn't find yesterday. I'm pretty sure it's gone; the area where it was has had a rather intense tidy-up. I shall archive the listing.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Tonight at Queens Road. We played Jelly Splash, we considered possible casting for the Carry On film that was never made, we watched (or slept through) Merlin. I wish I could have stayed awake through that program and had that sleep in the middle of the night...
Being so tired from the recent lack of sleep it's only really fair that I should have had a good night's sleep; I say "good" - I was awake for about half an hour around 3am, and got up shortly after 5am.
I checked out social media over brekkie. I know I shouldn't let it wind me up, but it annoys me how people are still being taken in by the untruths and deliberate misquotings being generated about Copenhagen Zoo. There was an article on the radio about this so-called scandal some time ago. Far from being heartless murderers, the zoologists at Copenhagen are doing the best they can under less than ideal circumstances. Species that are only being kept from extinction by zoos are obviously very low in numbers. therefore it is vital to maintain genetic diversity so as to prevent the problems of in-breeding. Such as is happening in certain breeds of dog such as pugs and dalmations.
Furthermore when animals breed they often don't just have one baby; they have several. And being commercial institutions (often ones which run at a loss) zoos don't have the facilities to keep loads of any given animal. So consequently they have to cull from time to time. They need to have the greatest genetic mix available in their breeding popuations. It might be a heartbreaking fact, but there is little alternative.
All the stories circulating on social media about there being zoos willing to take on excess zoo animals have been comprehensively debunked by many respected zoologists. The implication was that the so-called zoos wanting to take on excess animals are little more than people who fancy having a tiger in their back garden.
After all one needs to conserve a viable species; not force it to extinction by uncontrolled in-breeding. Does anyone seriously beleive that a major zoological institution is killing off animals for fun?
Why do people beleive these scare stories when they have shown not too be true? I'm reminded of the stories circulating on-line a month or so ago about KFC getting their chicken meat from genetically modifed birds with four legs and ten wings apiece.
Having watched the morning fix of Family Guy I set off to work. It lost count of cyclists on the pavements as I went; most of whom had i-headphones preventing them from hearing anything. Few were looking where they were going, and one had a haircut reminiscent of Cousin It (from the Addams Family) with face completely obscured by chin length hair.
And so to work. I did my bit, and again had a little sax practice at lunch time. There's no denying I need the practice. I set myself up at the far end of the car park and squawk away, and shall do until I receive a formal complaint.
Today during a bit of a scale I surprised myself by recognising what I'd just tootled. I tootled it again. It sounded just like the introduction to "Paint it Black"; which I have subsequenetly learned is a song by the Rolling Stones and not the Stranglers.
From my rather limited musical ability the song seems to start with an "E" note and then goes on with F - G - A - G - F - E - E (again) - D# (whatever the # is?) - E - F. I shall work on this during tomorrow's sax practice and see how it sounds.
I was up with the lark and watching the latest episode of the re-made "The Tomorrow People" shortly after 6am this morning. Having been marking time for a while, the plot seems to be going somewhere now. And once I'd watched the show I watched most of my brekkie toast go down my dog's neck. He likes toast.
My drive to work was dull; the news was not memorable. Work was unremarkable; but my lunchtime sax practice went well. I can now get just over half of the notes out of teh thing; even if "C" does elude me. And I got something resembling a tune as well.
There's no denying that my piss boiled as I listened to the news on my way home. A new dwarf planet has been identified, and irregularities in its orbit hint at a planet-sized object out there in the Kuiper belt. But rather than treating the discovery seriously, Radio Four wheeled on Sky at Night presenter Dr Lucie Green and openly and publically insulted her and the entire astronomical community. Rather than conducting a serious interview, they asked three schoolchildren to interview her. I'm not sure why they had children involved, but they asked some rather stupid questions. Does anyone really need to ask if a planet so far from the Sun would have life? And then having been given the obvious answer, who would then ask if the planet had oxygen?
I was also rather gripped by jealousy by the Norwegan chap with more money than sense. Having moored his rather expensive yacht he hen forgot about the thing. Few people could afford a yacht; fewer still could afford to forget they had one.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We weren't out for long; being caught in a thunderstorm rather put both of us off of the idea of a stroll. So we came home to dry off. I expect that shed is now awash again...
Another bad night's sleep; I finally nodded off five minutes before "er indoors TM" woke me by going for a tiddle, and was up and watching Family Guy shortly after 6am. "Furry Face TM" liked my toast; as he usually does. I then had a quick surf of the Internet and as I watched an email arrived. A new geocache had gone live not a mile from home. However it wasn't a standard one; this one's location could only be found by solving what looked to be a particularly fiendish puzzle.
However bashing my head against the wall and then trying random entries on Wikipedia soon gave me the clue I wanted, and after surprisingly little mucking about I had the cache in hand not forty minutes after it had been published. First to Find. Happy dance.
I carried on to work, listening to the radio as I went. The Government's bedroom tax would seem to have been an abject failure. Only six per cent of people in rented accommodation with spare rooms have moved on. The Government had been hoping for a lot more; the idea being that by taxing people living in houses with unused bedrooms, single people in multi-bedroomed houses could down-size to make room for larger families. In theory a good idea, but in practice it's not worked.
Nearly a quarter of the people affected by this tax are now in arrears with their rent where they weren't before. Furthermore they interviewed the leader of Wiltshire council who said it's their policy not to build one-bedroomed accommodation. So those who the tax is trying to force into one-bedroomed flats clearly have nowhere to go.
A Government spokeswoman came on and rubbished all of what had been said; it was all patent lies, the figuers quoted were all wrong. When pushed she reluctantly admitted that the percentage of those in rented accommodation with spare rooms who have moved on was not only six per cent; it was a rather impressive eight per cent. Big deal! And she had to concede that there are precious few single bedroomed houses or flats. Why do politicians go on the radio when they know they are in the wrong? Surely they'd get more respect by admitting when they'd made a mistake?
There was also consternation about how freely available filth is on the Internet. The pundits interviewed a sour faced harridan who seemed to think there was merit in hounding British smut merchants so much that they moved overseas. She seemed to think it was a good idea to have filth based abroad where there could be no UK control of it, rather than keeping it local and licensed.
A leading porn-monger then pointed out the obvious; there are plenty of cyber-tools to prevent kiddies seeing things on the Internet if only people would stop being so proud of being ignorant of how to use the technology.
I stopped off to get petrol on my way to work, and once there I did my thing. It was quite a good day. Not only did we have cream cake, but one of the lads has been nominated for the award of National Apprentice of the year. All rather exciting.
I had another sax practice at lunch time. As well as gettting a surprising amount of notes out of the thing, there was an entertaining interlude in which the introduction ot "Paint it Black" turned into part of "The First Noell".
After work I set off to McDonalds where I met Stevey and the Rear Admiral. We sneered at the antics of the Great Unwashed, then set off to astro club. Tonight's meeting was rather disjointed as our speaker had been delayed, but the meeting was nonetheless excellent. Interesting news, a good little chat on what there is of note in the constellation Bootes, and a really interesting talk on the Soviet space program...
A rather good night's sleep for a change. I was going for an early half asleep tiddle, but a phone call woke me up. Expecting disasterous news (why else would anyone be calling so early) it was rather frustrating to find it was nothing that couldn't have waited. I wasn't going to get to sleep after that.
Why do some people assume that if they are awake then everyone else should also be up and about? I shall start phoning selected people at 4am to let them find out how anti-social early morning phone cells can be.
"My Boy TM" arrived and we set about fixing the shed roof. The winter storms had all but trashed the felting, and so we set about replacing the felt. We decided that I should be the one actually on the roof as I am (probably) the lightest. But as our maxim we were chanting "don't fall through the roof, Dad". We got the job done in less than an hour; on my own I would have taken all morning.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We got as far as Bowen's Field. We would have gone further but the silly pup smothered himself in fox crap so we came home for bath time. With dog bathed I sorted out the astro club accounts and sent "er indoors TM" off to town to pay the cash into the bank for me. I then looked at my own bank accounts. I got a little bit cross.
In December the mobile phone people said they would reduce my monthly payments. I checked and saw that for the third consecutive month the payment has gone up. I phoned them to ask what was going on. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing I got through to someone in Mumbai who told me not to argue with their computer as it is never wrong. I have three months left on the contract, then I shall tell them where to stick their mobile phone.
And then it was time for my saxophone lesson. It went rather well, I thought. More tips on how to improve my technique, and faced with three tunes I'd not seen before (on sheet music) I didn't do too badly at all. Having my homework for the week. I just needed to see if I could get hold of a cheap music stand...
Argos had one according to their web site. Available at the local branch I could reserve it on line. I did. But when we went to collect it, young Spotty behind the till told me they didn't actually have them in stock. Despite what their web site said, it wouldn't actually arrive until Friday. So I went to the Folkestone Argos and bought one from there. Ironically as we were driving down the motorway to Folkestone I got an email from Argos to tell me my order had arrived in the Ashford branch.
Whilst in Folkestone we visited "Daddies Little Angel TM" and her associates. I spent an hour asleep on the sofa, I fussed the dogs, and played Crash Barbecue (!) on the Nintendo DS. And from there we made our way to Cheriton for a birthday bash...
What with a late night combined with daylight saving I crawled into my pit shortly after 2am last night. Despite a small dog crawling over me (I wish he wouldn't) I didn't actually wake until nearly 7am. Almost five hours sleep. That's unheard of.
I shared my brekkie toast with "Furry Face TM". I say "shared"; "gave it all to" might have been a more accurate description. I wasn't hungry, and I did have belly ache. I then spent half an hour looking at the geo-map planning next week's walk. Everywhere I looked seemed to have rather fiendish puzzle caches.
Why is it that whenever I can't solve a really hard puzzle cache everyone else gloats about how easy they are, but when I set one that involves a little thought I get told that what I'd set was insoluble and the only way that anyone could find it was through cheating?
We set off to collect Gordon Tracy, and then we drove up to Cooling. I didn't realise that I'd been there before. Cooling is the site of a personal best; I once drank twenty one pints of London Pride in one sitting there. Today however was dog walking and tupperware hunting. We parked up, and pausing briefly to read the village notice board we found out the designated keyholders for the village heart defibrillator. I can't help but wonder how many other villages have a defibrillator.
So, ably advised in case of a cardiac incident we wandered round the Cooling Crawl series of geocaches. It was a rather good walk. It was certainly muddy in parts, and I would have put one or two more caches along the way. But nevertheless it was a really good way to spend the morning.
As with all circular walks we soon found ourselves back where we'd started, and we walked into the village where we sat in the garden of the village pub and washed our sarnies down with a rather tasty pint of a local ale. From here we then set off for a much shorter walk in the other direction. Only three geocaches along this way, but one involved a bit of a tree climb, and another one was a "Pooh, Tig and La-La" hide.
And then we read the description for the next one on our itinery. "The Nest" said "...is what you would expect in that its high up. But there's a twist....You dont need to be an eggsellent climber but don't forget; no cache is worth losing your life over and more importantly no cache is worth the 999 call out". We thought it sounded too dangerous and we decided against it. But then we realised that "er indoors TM" had just found her 2699th cache. A special cache for her milestone would be nice. it wouldn't hurt to have a look-see at this dangerous cache, would it? After all, how bad could it be?
We soon found the cache. I say "found"; I could see the thing clearly from twenty (or so) yards away. the trouble was that those yards were up. It was rather high. Gordon Tracy was up that tree like a rat up a drainpipe (presuming, of course, that rats go up drainpipes). It was only when he got to the top that he realised he'd forgotten a pen to sign the cache log. So he came down again. "er indoors TM" scrambled up and down, and in a triumph of idiot enthusiasm over common sense I brought up the rear. I signed the log for everyone (One signature saves space!) and I even managed a selfie too. It was only when I was coming down that I wondered if I should still be climbing so high up trees at my age.
Was it dangerous? Yes. Was it that dangerous? Not really. Had I slipped there were so many branches that I wouldn't have dropped like a brick, I would have bounced my way down. Would I do it again? Most definitely.
We did have plans to go on elsewhere, but time had run out. We came home and "Furry Face TM" had a shower. If he will roll in fox poo he must pay the price. With "er indoors TM" off out at bowling I set the washing machine loose on grubby laundry, put some photos of our day onto the Internet, and then watched episode three of the new documentary "Cosmos". I wasn't impressed.
I stopped off in Bybrook on my way to work to collect a Munzee. It brightened up an otherwise dull journey. The radio was rather dull this morning; it was full of talk about how an independent Scotland will retain the pound as its unit of currency. All of the experts were adamant that in doing so would leave an independent Scotland still under the yoke of London’s control. Even the pro-independence lobby conceded as much, but for no explicable reason they thought this was a good thing.
Once at work we had cake. Home-made cake. Very nice. I spent the morning constructively, then went out to my car for the lunch break. Another saxophone practice session. I played with a bit of Dvozak; I thought my tune was recognisable. And my new music stand worked well too.
Once home, with ‘er indoors TM off bowling I sat through the last set of video lectures for my on-line course about the Internet. There is the big quiz to be done next week, then it will all be over. It’s been an interesting course but it’s dragged on. I wish they had made all the course material available right at the start then I could have got on with it and finished it all back in the days when I had time on my hands.