1 March 2015 (Sunday) - The Anne Boleyn Series
I slept like a log last night and woke feleing like death warmed up. My little dog spent the night on the sofa and he too looked absolutely shattered when I saw him as I got up this morning. As I pootled about my dog watched me (like a hawk) from the sofa, whilst all the time pretending to still be asleep.
I was rather miffed by something I read on social media this morning; there's been vandalism down at Dover's Western Heights. "Joe Public" is up in arms about the matter, and rightly so. But as I've said before, pretty much all of the Western Heights area has been abandoned and left to rot; the only surprise is that it's taken so long for this vandalism to happen. After all, look what happened to Corfe Castle in the past. It too was just left to rot, and the locals built a village out of the remains.
With a sizeable percentage of the "usual suspects" out of the country, rallying the troops didn't take very long this morning, and we set off to Wrotham where we met up with our geo-buddy "Fruitcake" and her followers.
Eight of us (and two small dogs) then set off on a geo-stroll. The "Anne Boleyn" geocache series took us up hill and down dale around the North Downs. We went through some rather beautiful scenery, and found some rather friendly sheep as we went too. We passed some rather nice houses on the way; and had our picnic lunch overlooking someone's estate. It was at this point that "Furry Face TM" tried to dig up a tree.
The girls took turns supervising the dogs; it can be no surprise that my dog needed most supervision.
We even met other hunters of tupperware as we walked too.
Billed as nine miles, we measured the route as being a shade over ten; we were out and about for just over six hours.
For a hike it was ideal; for a geo-series... the hides were great, but (not wishing to be critical) in all honesty I did feel that they were rather spread out. There were twenty eight caches in the series; there was probably space for over forty along the way. And we were rather confused about one of the hints. I maintain that the opposite of clock is haddock because you can't tell the time with a haddock.
I took a few photos whilst we were out too.
Once home a certain dog was bathed. It never fails to amaze me just how much mud can stick to such a small Patagonian Tripe-Hound. With him bathed and fed he fell asleep and was snoring; totally oblivious to a visit from "My Boy TM" who immediately harangued me about how was tiring that dog too much.
He then gave me some stick about the unavailability of torches and marched out to the shed in search of the fishing umbrella he'd left there several years ago. He's going fishing tomorow; I might pop along.
My piss then boiled at a post on the astro club's Facebook page. Some woman posted "...we got down there before 7.30 and spent an hour trying to park, couldn't find anywhere so came home... what time is it best time to get there?" I showed tremendous self restaint and didn't respond. But what does she want? Admittedly half the hall's car park has been blocked off, and also the place was busy on Friday because of another meeting in the other hall. However there was an entire street full of parking spaces not one hundred yards away.
Had she been prepared to walk for thirty seconds...
2 March 2015 (Monday) - Another Busy Day
After yesterday's walk it's not surprising I slept well. I would have slept better had "Furry Face TM" not tried to force me out of my pit in the early hours.
I got up earlier than I might have, and after a spot of brekkie took my dog for a walk. We went down to Park Farm for a spot of geo-maintenance. I had every intention of visiting five of my geocaches, giving them a bit of a clean-up, replacing the logs... someone else had already done it for me. It was rather good of them to have done that.
As I walked with my dog I lost count of the amount of idiots on bicycles who nearly crashed into me. So many of them were riding on pavements and were expecting me to jump into people's gardens to get out of their way. One such chap nearly garrotted himself on my dog's lead as he flew round a corner without looking where he was going. He saw the dog lead at the last moment, swerved, and wound up embedded into a hedge.
I suppose most cyclists are riding sensibly, but more and more are riding up the middle of roads thinking they are cars, or speeding along pavements expecting pedestrians to dive out of their way. A bike has a place as a child's toy, but as a form of transport it's becoming something of a pain in the arse.
We came home via Willesborough Dykes; I settled my dog (who went straight to sleep) and I drove up to town. I paid load of astro club money into the bank; I bought the makings of five gallons of ale.
I then drove down to Kingsnorth. "My Boy TM" was having a day's fishing with his mate; I spent an hour with them waiting for something to happen. But despite the sunshine it was a cold day, and there is only so much standing around a windy lake that I can do; especially when the fish aren't biting.
Mind you I was impressed with Charlie Rolf's Lake. The last time I was there, the lake was simply a pond. People would fish as and where they could; and the banks were dodgy to say the least. A lot of time and money has been spent at the place. There are paths all round the lakes; hardstanding paths. You don't need wellies at all. There are twenty or so platforms from which you can fish. There's a fee of fifteen pounds per day for fishing; but I can think of a lot worse places to go for a day's hunting haddock.
I came home via B&Q where I got a screw with which to effect repairs to the oven. With oven fixed I had a spot of lunch whilst watching "Dad's Army", then looked at the monthly accounts. They would be a lot healthier had I not bought a new back door.
I then put a film on the telly. "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" started off as a rather amusing and entertaining film. But it went on... and on... and (with a small dog curled up on my lap) I fell asleep. I woke up just in time for the end credits. I *could* have re-played the film. I didn't bother.
After a shower I then had something of a telly-o-thon evening. Blakey expressed his hatred for Butler in "On the Buses"; Captain Kirk did his thing wiith Nomad then there were four episodes of Big Bang Theory.
Before I could get "tellied out" I set about a few geo-puzzles. I solved a dozen space-related puzzles in the Brighton area.
Now to get myself invited down for a weekend....
3 March 2015 (Tuesday) – Politics
If it wasn't the sound of "rythmical breathing" keeping me aawake last night it was the noise of the rain against the window. The sound of heavy rain before the last day of my holiday was rather depressing.
Equally depressing was reading social media. More and more people are expounding the virtues of whatever political party because their pal, auntie, cat's mother, or neighbour's dustman is a vague acquantance of a politician (actual or prospective). The fact that these people don't actually agree with the stated policies of their professed political parties is neither here nor there. No one seems to be voting for policies; everyone is voting for their mates. Rather than running the country on the priniciple of sensible policies we seem to be having a popularity contest.
Do we learn nothing from history?
I put the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little walk. First of all we played postman; delivering Christening invitations. We then went on to the park where I met an ex-cub's mother who was walking a dog which was the size of a horse. Mind you my dog still tried to pick a fight with him. We carried on to Singleton Lake where a certain dog played "Goose Skittles".
Once home I hoseed the mud from "Furry Face TM" and then treated myself to KFC for lunch; it is the last day of my holiday after all. I scoffed KFC whilst watching a DVD. "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" is always entertaining; even if it's nearly twenty years old.
I then geo-puzzled for an hour or so before getting into an on-line political argument with a friend of my cousin's. She wasn't advocating voting for a personal pal, she was voting for the party which was offering free fish (up-front-in-her-pocket-now).
Apparently it makes sense to vote for personal greed rather than for any form of civic virtue...
I then listened to Internet radio until the clans gathered. At that point we played ChromeCast games and then watched an episode of "The 100". We would have watched "The Flash" but the SkyPlus box would seem to have eaten those episodes we'd recorded.
I wonder what else has vanished from the thing...
4 March 2015 (Wednesday) - Ranting Feminists
I looked at the clock at 7am this morning and was rather amazed that I didn't feel as miserable about having to go back to work today as I have been in years gone by.
I got up, had brekkie and checked out the Internet. After yesterday's political arguments there was very little of note this morning.
I took "Furry Face TM" for his morning constitutional round the park. It was a bright morning; and for all that it was cold I did see that many of the trees now have leaf buds on them. Spring is on the way.
As we walked my dog terrified several dogs ten times his size, then ran in terror from a rather soppy-looking poodle.
We came home; I thought about going on a geo-mission to Elham, but changed my mind. Instead I set off directly to Canterbury. As I drove the radio was playing "Women's Hour" with it's usual brand of man-hating tirades. I would have thought that in this brave new world of equal opportunities "Women's Hour" would have been a thing of the past.
This morning the opinionated harridans were shrieking about political inequality in Northern Ireland. Apparently life is not fair for women in Ireland because the women there vote for the politicians they want to vote for. Would you believe that in this day and age the average Irishwoman votes for the politician who advocates the policies she supports?
The squawking harpies felt this was wrong. Irishwomen should vote for other Irishwomen for two reasons. Firstly because they are all women, and secondly because they are not men.
I was glad to get to Morrisons. As well as some fruit and jam I also got myself a CD. "Number Ones of the Seventies" was something I'd seen advertised and it made for far better listening than "Women's Hour" did.
I got to work rather earlier than I could have, and I stayed in the car park for half an hour practising on my saxophone. I gave up when my music stand got blown over for the umpteenth time. I then went in and did some work. Only some; not too much.
I had another sax practice at lunch time. The wind had backed off somewhat. "Star Trek" is coming on nicely. The theme to Blackadder has too many sharps for its own good.
I hate sharps and flats. Why do we have eight note and then allow some (but not all) to have sharps and flats (which are effectively different notes)? Why not have fourteen (or fifteen) notes from A to L or M and be done with it?
I don't know who it was who came up with the way music is written down, but I think they could have done a much better job of it. Interestingly a little research came up with the name Boethius who (although he was probably working on existing musical scores) allegedly assigned letters to two octaves' worth of tones some time around 500 AD.
The fact that this chap was later executed for treason is completely unrelated...
5 March 2015 (Thursday) - World Book Day
In times gone by I was regularly awake at silly o'clock and so would be watching all sorts of series of TV dross. I'm not up early enough on a regular basis to do that any more. So this morning with no DVD boxed sets on the go, I struggled to find anything to watch.
I wound up watching Matt Hayes and his fishing programs on the Discovery-I'm-Bored channel.
Yesterday I said spring was on the way; this morning I had to scrape ice off of the car. As I drove to work I listened to the radio. The Prime Minister is causing consternation because he doesn't want to take part in live TV debates. I can't say I blame him. No current Prime Minister is going to look as good in a live debate as those who want his job.
Mind you there is talk of televised debates going ahead with an empty chair where a Prime Minister might have been sitting. That wouldn't be good for him either.
There is consternation (and rightly so) at an interview with a convicted rapist in India. This chap shows no remorse for his crimes, and says his victim is to blame. Apparently a "nice girl" would be at home when the rape took place; any woman who is within sight of a man is "gagging for it" and deserves all she gets. Furthermore she should just accept the rape and not put up any fight (!) The BBC have televised the interview and are planning to repeat it this coming Sunday. The journalist who recorded the interview was interviewed herself on this morning's radio when she said that that the rapist's words were pretty much echoed by many in India. She really felt that this was the sentiment of the masses.
To think it's only two day since I caused offence on social media by saying that most of the world is still in the dark ages.
Whilst I'm ranting, today is World Book Day. It's a yearly event organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright.
It's been incredibly well supported in schools, or so one is supposed to believe. However rather than actually being about reading books, judging by the ranting expressed on the radio this morning it would seem that the focus of the day has actually been about turning up at school dressed as one's favourite Disney character.
It's interesting that this coincides with a new system of exams for school leavers. Head teachers being interviewed on the subject feel the government's proposals are too radical; and want too much change far too soon.
Critics of these same head teachers pointed out that the average child elsewhere in the world is generally academically years ahead than their British counterparts.
Perhaps if UK schools spent a little less time dressing up and a little more time doing the three Rs...?
I got to work, did what I could (as usual), and despite the earlier frost had a much warmer saxophone practice than usual. And with work done I went on to the weekly sax lesson. Teacher made some sense of the sharps and flats.
And then home. "er indoors TM" had a cob because her new hoover was knacked. I seem to be the prime suspect purely based on circumstantial evidence (even though I've not touched the thing), and the leak in the chodbin has got worse.
If any of my loyal readers could suggest anyone who is reliable and who repairs toilets....
6 March 2015 (Friday) - Just Maybe...
Over brekkie I checked emails. There was one from the power company following my having given them meter reading a week or so ago. Back in the autumn they reduced my monthly payments (for gas and electricity) by about a quarter becuae I was paying far more in the monthly direct debit than I was actually using. Now they are puttng the amount payable back up to what it was because my power consumption has gone up.
Every year is the same. They reduce the bill after the summer and then put it back to what it was after the winter. Do they really not understand that one of my major expenses is the heating bill, and I don't heat the house over the summer?
I spent a little while securing the services of a toilet-fixer. I had been recommended someone who'd done good work for a friend before. However the work he'd done had been heating. Despite the claims on this chap's website, he maintainted he didn't do bathrooms. Neither did several others that I contacted.
Why do people have websites advertising that they fix toilets, and boast that no job is too small, only to then say that they don't touch chodbins, and certainly not for anything as trivial as a leak?
I finally got someone who said he'd tackle my cludgee; he says he will arrive on Monday afternoon. I had hoped to be asleep on Monday afternoon in readiness for the night shift, but I suppose in the great scheme of things getting one's dump-station restored to health must take priority.
I spent much of the day daydreaming. I've seen an advert for a job I rather fancy. It's doing the same thing I do now; but on a smaller scale and for a fixed term contract.
I would be working in a small hospital; the one I currently work in has nearly three hundred beds; this one has forty. Thhe only real drawback is that it is a little way away. It would mean working away from home for extended periods at the hospital in Jamestown on St Helena. Jamestown has a population of just over seven hundred; and St Helena has a total population of just over four thousand. (That's less than a tenth of the population of Ashford). It's a small island about ten miles long by five miles wide just south of the Equator in the Atlantic Ocean. There's noo airport; I'd have to go out with the mail boat.
Would I really want to work there? I don't know. If work could give me a year's leave of absence I'd be seriously tempted... The boss says it's not an unreasonable request...
After work I didn't come straight home; I went to Downe House (somewhere near London) wheere the astro club had been asked (paid) to put on a show for the punters of English Heritage. We started off with telescopes in the garden, then brought everyone inside for a presentation.
The punters seemed happy enough with what they got. It was only a shame I came home via the Dartford crossing...
7 March 2015 (Saturday) - Medway Towns
This morning's emails brought one from the island of St Helena. Yesterday I was quite fired up about the idea of going to the south seas for a year. I had this naive idea of swapping my white laboratory coat for a Hawaiian shirt. This morning I found that what was actually being offered was not that which had been advertised.
They don't want someone to do the work I do now; they want a manager. And it wasn't for a year's contract; it was to be an ongoing open-ended arrangement which could be ended whenever they felt like it.
I've been a manager before. I was one for ten years and didn't like it very much. And I'm not keen on an open-ended arrangement either. I have bills to pay and need some measure of security.
Oh well; it was a nice dream while it lasted.
I put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a walk. Bearing in mind that the park is filled with (bloody!) joggers on Saturday mornings we went round to Frog's Island. Leaving aside an impromptu game of "rabbit skittles" in the pet shop the walk was uneventful.
We set off to the Medway towns; the idea was to go to the Tiger Moth for lunch. Admittedly we were there a little early. Had they said "Sorry; we're not open yet" then maybe I might have waited. However they didn't. They didn't actually say "f@!k off we're shut" but that was certainly their implication. So we went down the road to the George. The food there was good, but the beer had gone off and the locals were rather scary. I actually left half a pint.
Gordon Tracy arrived, and we spent the afternoon going here and there round the Medway towns doing odd geocaches. Some were rather good; incredibly tricky. We managed two with the maximum difficulty setting. On the negative side we found one which seemed to have been drop-kicked into a thicket, and I found (yet) another playground-themed cache.
I had no idea there were so many hills in the Medway area; for no reason I seemed to wilt rather quickly today. I slept for most of the journey home.
With "er indoors TM" off to Folkestone for film night I had film night of my own. During the week I'd recorded a biographical film about Margaret Thatcher's early days. I suspect it was based far more on what would make a good film than on historical fact, but it made for entertaining viewing.
I also made a start on the laundry basket. I had that thing emptied only the other day. How come it's overflowing again?
I had a rather vivid dream last night in which I had been charged with running the local church fete for the simple reason that I was widely known to be a close personal friend of Superman (!), and consequently could get him to put in a guest appearance. My protestations that I'd never met Superman (and that I wasn't likely to ever do so because he was a fictional character) fell on deaf ears.
Eventually I fell on the idea of dressing my father in a superman costume from eBay and suspending him from a crane. I did just that, my mother went mental, and I woke in a cold sweat.
I got up, and over brekkie watched an episode of "Dad's Army". It's a good show; it fills an otherwise dull half-hour, but being recorded in HD it takes up rather a lot of space on the SkyPlus box.
I don't understand this fascination with HD. Everything in HD looks exactly the same as it used to in "normal telly", but that which was originally produced in "normal telly" now looks bloody awful on an HD screen.
I expect it's just another ruse to part us from our money.
Off to work. My piss boiled as I listened to the radio. Those who are paid to sit on their arses and spout drivel are worried that not enough medics are being struck off the medical register for their mistakes.
Isn't it bad enough that someone (having made an honest mistake) has to live with the knowledge of what they've done wrong? Do they really need the knife stuck in too? Just who do these radio presenters think they are anyway? What happens if one of them makes a mistake? After all, whatever they say is just forgotten about five minutes later anyway.
What amazes me is that it is these same vacuous windbags who rattle on at least once a week about how under-staffed hospitals are, and how shocking it is that no-one wants to work in a hospital any more.
The morning's radio also brought the worrying news that Boho Haram (a bunch of extremist African nutters) have sworn allegiance to ISIS (a bunch of extremist Arab nutters).
Apparently the Prime Minister has now announced a crackdown on such nutters here in the UK. From what I can work out this crackdown amounts to little more than asking them not to be nutters.
Perhaps it's time to start mass deportations of all those who openly stand up and say how crap the UK is and how we should go back to the dark ages... but what do I know?
Rather than focussing on how ineffective the Government's so-called purge on the extremists is going to be, the pundits focussed instead on the fact that today is International Women's Day. And being a Sunday they interviewed a woman vicar who gave fashion advice to other women of an ecclesiastical persuasion. She said that it had been her experience that she was never taken seriously as a vicar if she dressed provocatively "with it all flopped out". As one who was once a Steward in the Methodist Church I could go along with that advice.
I got to work, and spent much of the day looking out of the window. Whilst I quite like working nights and weekends (so I get more time off during the week) I did have a little hankering to have been out with my dog and the geo-brigade today. They were off doing a series of geo-puzzles in the Sevenoaks area. Admittedly I'd done this series a little while ago, but it would have been a nice day for a walk.
With work done I came home. Just recently on Sundays I've been watching Channel 4's "Indian Summers". It started weakly and got worse. Tonight "Poldark" started on BBC1; now that seems better...
9 March 2015 (Monday) - Fixed Toilet
I woke feeling rather rough; I wonder why that should be. Mind you I don't think I was as rough as my little dog looked. As I worked yesterday so he had walked. He looked shattered this morning and he didn't stir from his basket at all when I got up.
Over brekkie I showed remarkable self control. On the geo-forums people were (yet again) making snide comments about how crap mobile phones are when used for geo-purposes. After two years of regularly comparing the use of a mobile phone against several dedicated GPS units (and having seen both find several thousand caches) I have seen that for GPS purposes there is no difference between them. The phone screens are bigger and in colour; the GPS units are (supposedly) waterproof. Both have pros and cons. So why is the phone looked on with contempt? I have come to two conclusions about GPS units. I think my conclusions are mutually contradictory; I'm trying to work out which is the correct one.
Either I am right; a GPS unit is a rather expensive waste of money and those with them are covering up the fact that they have wasted a large sum of money.
Or I am wrong; there *is* something worthwhile about having a GPS unit, but there is a conspiracy amongst those with them in that having acquired such a unit you are then sworn to secrecy about what is so good about them.
I *could* have banged on again. But I didn't. People just announce "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND" to which I say "true..."
I looked out of the window. And sighed. There is a parking bay outside our house. It can take seven cars if parked sensibly. Usually only six fit in there. Last night when I came home there were four, as people had parked really selfishly and stupidly. There are a *lot* of parking bays like that round where I live. Having parked ten minutes away last night and walked home I think we could probably have parked another fity cars locally had people parked with just the teensiest bit of thought.
This morning all the cars had gone. Loads of parking spaces. And my saxophone was in the boot of my car several streets away.
I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We went round to the park where I met an ex-colleague. She asked after my dog; she'd heard he'd had a bad back. It's amazing how word gets about. We went on to the lake where a certain dog tried to fight ducks. Ducks cheated by going on to the water.
Whilst we were walking I had a phone call from the hospital on St Helena. The boss out there had been impressed with what he'd heard about me. I asked if the job advertised (which had seemed so interesting and appealing last week) was a "doing work" job or a management job. It was to be a bit of both. (Been there, done that, didn't like it.)
After a little chat the boss came to the conclusion that I was the man for the job; I came to the conclusion it wasn't the job for me.
We came home; collecting the car on the way. Once home I got five gallons of beer from the fermentation bin into the barrel in readiness for camping in May.
I then saxed for a few seconds, hoiked a howling dog into the garden, and then saxed some more.
I went to bed for a few hours. I would like to have slept a little longer, but toilet-fixit-man was due. He arrived early, gave my chod-bin a once over and did the requisite sucking-in of air. Apparently I've had the cowboys in (!) and, shaking his head he got down to business. The apprentice was sent out to the van at two minute intervals, before toilet-fixit-man announced he was going to change everything because it was all shit.
I tried to solve geo-puzzles whilst toilet-fixit-man did his thing, but his constant stream of invectives was too distracting. I say "distracting"; perhaps "entertaining" might have been closer to the truth.
After a lot of commotion toilet-fixit-man loudly announced he needed a piss. I hoped it wasn't going to be in the sink. It wasn't. It was in the newly-fixed-all-circuits-go re-fitted chod-bin. It's now got a button rather than a handle, and my rim needs de-scaling. But it's not leaking any more. Hopefully. Time will tell; it always does.
It had been suggested that I might save money by mending the cludgee myself. Judging by the fight a professional chod-surgeon had on his hands I was glad I hadn't tried to do so. Despite having been conned out of thousands of pounds over the loft conversion debacle, I must admit that when it comes to jobs like this I'm still a great beleiver in paying someone else to do the job. If nothing else they have the experience. People who are keen on D.I.Y generally have houses that look as though they are keen on D.I.Y.
I paid just under a ton this afternoon; I had two professional toilet-fixers; an hour of their time, all of their tools, and an entire new set of innards for the chod-bin. I think that's good value... provided it's stopped leaking.
I'm off to work now - via Morrisons for some de-scaler....
10 March 2015 (Tuesday) - A Day Asleep
I went to Morrisons last night on the way to work. I got the limescale removing stuff. But they didn't have any Doctor Thunder. Disaster!! Instead I had to rough it with Morrisons fruit berry drink.
There's no denying that I sulked during last night's night shift. I like Doctor Thunder. Mind you the taste of Morrisons fruit berry drink brought back intensely strong memories of Boys Brigade camps from nearly forty years ago. I wonder why that should have been.
As I worked I listened to the radio. There was an interview with Margaret Hodge who is head of the Government's Public Accounts Committee who was very vocal in her demands that Rona Fairhead, (the head of the BBC Trust) should consider resigning or should be sacked because of revelations about her role at HSBC. Apparently Ms Fairchild gets paid half a million quid a year for working for HSBC and is embroiled in a scandal in which the bank supposedly helped rich people evade paying tax. She was accused of being "either incredibly naive or totally incompetent".
I have no idea of the details of the case, but it made for a very entertaining squabble in the middle of the night.
There was also an article about the "Status Quo Bias". It was notable if for no other reason that the average person doesn't really like change, and this simple statement was dragged out for half an hour.
Then there was a couple of hours of infant's school singing programs. It was at this point that I resorted to Queen's Greatest Hits on You Tube.
Some nights I quite like listening to the radio; other nights I'm grateful I have work to do which takes my mind off of the radio.
I did my bit, I was glad to see the day shift arrive; I came home. I immediately took "Furry Face TM" for our walk. As we went he tried to fight with dogs ten times his size, tried to get jiggy with dogs five times his size, and (when off the lead) made a right nuisance of himself with any poor dog still on a lead. Somehow he'd evaded my hawk-eyed surveillance, so once home it was bath time to get rid of the fox poo.
With him bathed I set about unblocking the bath plug-hole. The water's been draining somewhat slowly. The plunging made some odd sounds from th drainpipe which passes through the toilet room, and "Furry Face TM" wasn't happy about that. As I watched "Extant" so he guarded the chod-bin, periodically barking at it, and (occasionally) trying to bite it.
The trouble with night shifts is you are up all night. It can be tiring. I was in bed by 11am an despite my dog declaring "Red Alert" twice during the day I slept for five hours.
I got up to find him still guarding the lavatory; I wonder what the attraction is?
I'm off to the night shift again now...
11 March 2015 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
I stopped off in Morrisons on my way to work last night. There was still no Doctor Thunder, but I got to meet the world's most miserable person. The young girl on the check-out had a serious sulk. She was so moody that it actually gave me a fit of the giggles which made her sulk even more.
I got to work; I did my bit on a surprisingly busy night. There was very little of note on the radio overnight. Between 1am and 5am Radio Four plays a (seemingly) random selection of programs from the World Service. Last night (like the night before) there seemed to be a focus on music programs for young schoolchildren. Shortly after 3am I finally gave up with the radio when some very cheery-sounding lady was singing the delights of pretending to be a dolphin. I went over to You-Tube for listening .
It was just as well I had stuff to do in the early hours other than listening to drivel.
I came home and took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. Gripped with indecision as to where to go, I let my dog lead us. He went straight to the wetland park at Bowens Field. On the way he tried to pick a fight with a dustbin lorry. He does that. He played, fought, and got jiggy with several other dogs as we walked.
There was a minor episode with a spherical pup in Viccie Park. I've never seen such a fat dog; it looked as though it was a cross between a corgi and a feather duster, and had had a bicycle pump shoved up it's jacksie and had been inflated to bursting point (and beyond). This rotund canine attempted a fight with my dog, but couldn't keep up when Fudge ran about. It's owner, who I can only describe as an economy version of Donny Osmond, seemed really upset that neither "Furry Face TM" nor I saw her lump of lard as a threat.
Once home I mowed the lawn. The first cut of the year is always a rough and ready one. I hung out laundry, and then saxed. With my dog sunbathing at the far end of the garden I thought I might get some sax practice in. But the moment I started so he ran into the house and started screaming.
After ten minutes I gave up and had a spot of lunch. For some reason the SkyPlus box has scrambled everything it had recorded over the last few days. That was a pain. Thank heavens for catch-up TV.
I downloaded last night's "Extant"; as I watched it, so "Furry Face TM" barked at the chod-bin. Ever since we've had the toilet fixed, there's been something in that area which has been bothering him.
Eventually he tired of barking at an unresponsive loo, jumped onto the sofa, and wormed his way beside me. We then just dozed together for much of the afternoon. Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog?
I had a look on the Internet. It was alive with talk about the allegations surrounding Jeremy Clarkson. Apparently his show has been dropped by the BBC after he (supposedly) assaulted production staff.
I can't work out why he's so popular. I can't stand him when he's on the telly. I wish I could see his attraction. Everyone else raves about the chap; to me he is an opinionated bigoted bully. He goes out of his way to deliberately cause offence. And today social media was alive with fans of Clarkson trying to copy his style. However his style is to deliberately offend. Clarkson don't care who he offends. You would think that people wouldn't be deliberately nasty to their friends and family purely to emulate a TV presenter who has had his day.
I'm rather disappointed by what I've seen on-line today. I can remember telling an eight year old cub scout that he shouldn't copy the bullies; he was better than that.
I ironed some shirts, then spent a little while looking on Google for a webcam that I can attach to "Furry Face TM"'s collar. I've been toying with the idea of "Fudge-Cam" for some time. The cheaper ones on ebay come from China, but apparently Curry's have got some. I shall go have a look tomorrow...
12 March 2015 (Thursday) - Being Ignored
This morning's haul of emails brought one from one of the "Grand Old Men" of the geo-world asking if I could give a hint towards solving a geo-puzzle. I was happy to help, and (to be honest) felt a sense of acheivement. You know you've arrived when those with the highest cache counts ask you for a hint.
This morning's dog walk was round to Frog's Island. As we walked we met a young mother and her small child who were having an argument which they asked me to settle. Small child was insistent that Fudge was a chihuahua. Mother didn't know wat he was, but she was sure she (!) wasn't a chihuahua. I explained that my dog was a Patagonian Tripe-Hound. Mother wasn't having any of this rubbish and asked if I was sure. Keeping a straight face I assured her I was, and asked if she was possibly getting confused with Australian or Hungarian Tripe-hounds. Mother then nodded sagely, and they both went on their way.
Once home I settled my dog, and went for a little drive. Yesterday I mentioned that Curry's had dog-cams. I went there, and was studiously ignored by all the staff. So I went round to PC World where they too ignored me, as did the staff in the Folkestone branch of Currys.
Being in Folkestone I went on to see "Daddies Little Angel TM" and the littlun. Baby Jake has got the snuffles. Bless. "Daddies Little Angel TM" was ranting about postmen. She too has a postman who would rather put a slip through the door rather than actually deliver parcels. So we walked round to the posting office to collect the delivery ourselves. It's been some time since I last pushed a push-chair.
On the way home I thought I'd give the Folkestone branch of Currys another chance. They thought they'd ignore me again. I popped into Sainsburys to get a pot of their lunch-salad-jollop-stuff. Whilst in there I found myself in the queue behind two young ladies who worked for the UK Border Force. I could tell that from their foxy uniforms; and I could tell they were "on the other bus" from the way they were constantly touching each other.
I considered both the uniforms and the touching to have been something of a result.
And as it was on my way home I thought I'd give the Ashford branch of Currys another chance. And like their Folkestonian colleagues they too thought they'd ignore me again.
Once home I then went on to eBay and bought a dog-cam for quite a bit cheaper than the price at which Currys had them advertised. The thing might take a day or so to arrive, but eBay seem happy to take my money.
I scoffed my pot of Sainsbury's lunch-salad-jollop-stuff; it wasn't very good. And with it scoffed I did the ironing whilst watching a film. "Layer Cake" was an all-action film about violence and gangsters who were getting violent with other gangsters. The film might have benefitted from the addition of a plot, but perhaps that's just me being picky.
Being Thursday I went to sax lesson. Some lessons go better than others; today's was one of the better ones. I learned exactly how to tweak my reed (oo-er!) and Blackadder went well.
I've now got a week to get to grips with "Moon River"...
13 March 2015 (Friday) - A Walk to Wye
I fancied a spot of geocaching with my dog this morning. When I first started hunting tupperware it was (relatively) easy to plan a walk to find a cache, Nowadays four thousand four hundred cache finds has made it somewhat trickier. The closest unfound cache to home is up a tree; I can see it, I just can't get to it. After that the next closest was just over five miles from home. So, with little else on the agenda today me and my dog set off on foot to Wye.
The route was rather straight-forward; a combination of my standard dog walks took us to the Conningbrook roundabout. From there we followed a couple of geo-trails.on to Wye. There's no denying I was expecting to have to turn back because of mud, but (unlike the last time I was there) we didn't encounter any. The ground was surprisingly dry.
I lost count of the times "Furry Face TM" got told off for rolling in fox poo. Fortunately evey single one was old and dry.
There was a near incident crossing a footbridge. You go through a gaate, then onto the footbridge. I let my dog through the gate, then I crossed. I got to the other side and looked back. He was on the other side looking at me. Despite being called, he would not cross. So I went back for him; and he scrambled away trying to crawl under the gate. He did *not* want to cross that bridge. I carried him over; as I did he was trembling in fear.
The walk to the foot of the Wye downs was relatively flat. However once at the downs there was a serious climb. I puffed a little; my dog flew up the hill. At the top we met a pair of posh old ladies who asked if we'd walked all the way from the bottom. I told them we'd walked out from Ashford. They seemed to take offence at that. Was it so hard to beleive?
From the top of the Devil's Kneading Trough we walked along the North Downs Way to our target geocache which we found straight away. We took a moment to do the secret geo-rituals, then followed the path down into Wye village. We both deserved a drink. The Barber's Arms had a bowl of water for dogs aand a pint of mild for me.
In one of life's great flukes we arrived at the railway station just as the train was pulling in. Mind you "Furry Face TM" had to be carried on to the train; he didn't want to get on. He seemed scared at first, but soon became entraced with looking out of the window.
From the train station we came home via the kebab shop. Dogs were bathed, and then we shared the kebab meat. My dog then wormed himself beside me on the sofa and snored for much of the afternoon.
I took some photos whilst we walked. It's a good walk. If any of my loyal readers fancy a stroll one weekend we can reprise the entire walk (as a prelude to a visit to the Barber's Arms) which would take about five hours, or we could just walk straight to the pub which would take about three hours...
I could have gone out pubbing tonight. I turned down an invitation reluctantly. But I have got to work tomorrow..
14 March 2015 (Saturday) - At Work
After yesterday's walk I had something of an early night last night and was sleeping like a log when at 3am a certain dog declared "Red Alert". I went downstairs to see what was the matter. He was pacing up and down the kitchen; I let him out. He then must have woken most of the neighbourhood with his barking.
Having woofed himself out he finally went back to his basket, curled up and went to sleep.
I went back to my pit, but didn't get back to sleep. I got up shortly before 6am and looked at the geo-map hoping it might have changed overnight. Today is "Pi Day" - if you write out the day's date wrongly you get 3-14-15 which is the start of the mathematical constant Pi. Because hunters of tupperware like these numerical oddities there is a special e-souvenir for anyone who goes out and finds a geo-puzzle today.
Having solved (and found) most (all) of the local ones, and being on a twelve hour shift meant that there weren't any of these puzzles left for me to get with my limited available time today.
I hoped someone might have put one out between Ashford and Canterbury overnight; no one had.
There are a couple of dozen puzzles I might have collected today, had I not needed to be in Canterbury for 7.30am. So that's one e-souvenir I resigned myself to not getting.
I drove to work via the petrol station. In the week I met a right misery-guts in Morrisons; this morning I met another at the petrol station. This sour-faced harridan was reading the newspaper as I tried to pay for my petrol. She didn't even look up as she announced how much I owed for the petrol. I commented that I also had some shopping I wanted to pay for. She sighed loudly and made it quite clear that turning away from the newspaper was a major inconvenience to her.
Just to stir things a little I told her that whilst her petrol was cheaper than anywhere else, her sandwiches were vastly overpriced. She didn't actually say "whatever!" but that was her implication.
I then drove to Canterbury with a van from Menzies distribution trying to drive up my bum the entire way. At no point was this van less than ten yards from the back of my car. I found their phone number (0844 742 4003) and complained. Like the sour-faced harridan in the petrol station they didn't care either.
As I drove I listened to the radio. My piss didn't entirely boil, but it did simmer somewhat. German Muslim teachers are now allowed to wear their hijabs in the classrooms. Canadian defendants aren't allowed to wear them in court. British councils are to be allowed (once more) to start their meetings with prayers.
Am I the only one who can see a problem here? We have the ability to transplant a living heart from a recently deceased person into a dying person to save their life. We can send space probes to other planets. We have built a globe-spanning computer network. And still silly religious trivia is seen to be important.
I got to work, did my thing, and came home to find my dog-cam has arrived. It's a shame the instructions are too small to be read. I need to find a magnifying glass...
Over brekkie I read something which went some way to restoring my faith in humanity. A German crackpot has been put firmly in his place.
Anti-vaccination campaigner Stefan Lanka (who describes himself as a biologist !) had declared that measles is actually all in the mind. He was on record as saying that "It is a psychosomatic illness," to a local newspaper Suedkurier. "People become ill after traumatic separations." He even went on to offer a cash prize of one hundred thousand Euros to anyone who could prove that measles was caused by a virus.
People who *aren't* completeley stupid have claimed the prize, and fortunately for my nerves a German court has ruled that the evidence submitted by these non-stupid people has proved what we've known all along. Measles *is* caused by a virus; and this twit has been ordered to hand over the prize money.
This fool is now trying to appeal the decision. I would guess that the reason is that he hasn't got one hundred thousand Euros to give. I hope the court enforces this ruling and this twit is bankrupted. I might sound harsh, but people like him are dangerous. With just the teensiest bit of science and a good dose of bullsh*t people like this do untold harm. Let's be clear on this; measles kills. Trying to actively stop vaccinations might not *actually* be cold-blooded murder, but is it that far off?
With brekkie scoffed we rallied the troops and set off to darkest Sussex where we met Dave at the Sussex village of Gotham. It really exists; it is alledged that the tales of the Mad Men of Gotham (based on where we were in Sussex) formed the basis of the Gotham in "Batman".
Once together six of us (and two small dogs) went for a seven-mile geo-stroll. I was in two minds about wearing wellie boots. I hadn't needed them for Friday's walk; I needed them today. It was very muddy; "er indoors TM" went base over apex in the mud at one point. I did laugh. Both dogs ate dung as we went (I wish they wouldn't do that), and we even found our signature on an archived cache we'd found down there two years ago.
Despite the poorly marked footpaths we had a good stroll. And a couple of geo-milestones were acheived today. Dave found his five hundredth cache; I found find #4444.
As I often do, I took a few photos whilst we were out too.
We took a rather circuitous route home to pick up a puzzle cache that I'd solved a while back and had been waiting to collect for some time. And with the geo-stuff done I then dozed for the hour's journey home.
Once home I bathed "Furry Face TM" who then went staright to sleep. We then had a rather good bit of tea, and with "er indoors TM" off bowling I settled down in front of the telly. I spent half an hour with needle and thread stitching up a split seam on my jacket, and then (having found a magnifying glass) had another go with my dog-cam. Now that I can actually read the instructions I can see that they have been translated into English rather badly. I've had another go with the thing; at first sight it looked like it was money down the drain but I have got videos out of it... after a fashion. I shall test it for real tomorrow...
Poldark is on telly in a minute...
16 March 2015 (Monday) - Dog-o-Vision
Regular readers of this drivel may recall that a year ago I got some walking shoes from Cotton Traders that lasted a few weeks before splitting. I was sent replacements and those too split. This morning's haul of emails brought one from Cotton Traders trying to sell me another pair of those very same shoes. Despite having been shown that the things are rubbish, they are still selling them.
I also received notification that last year's surgery had been unnecessary. Apparently nasal polyps can be cured by yoga provided one does not "do encroachment of power." Personally I'll stick with tried and tested medical science.
I then put two collars onto my dog and we went for a walk. One was his usual collar; the other had the webcam attached. Bearing in mind the fun we usually have on our walks, today's was incredibly dull. We didn't meet OrangeHead or any of the usual suspects. Buses, lorries and motorbikes passed by without provoking any reaction at all from "Furry Face TM". He pretty much blanked all other dogs. It was as if he knew we were recording and so had become incredibly shy.
There was however a minor (major) problem when we got to Singleton Lake. I lined up an action shot in which my dog would run to me coming down a slope. We were about to go for the first take when I realised a slight problem. The webcam wasn't on his collar any more. Despite having been securely attached it had fallen off somewhere. We went back along the route we'd taken; finally finding the thing laying on the pavement by the traffic lights about a quarter of a mile away. I was pleased to have found the camera. Whilst it was only twenty quid; I still hesitate to put the words "only" and "twenty quid" together.
I re-attached the camera firmly (as I had originally) but this time kept a closer eye on the thing. It managed to fall off again on our way home. If we are going to to this again I need to re-consider how camera will be attached to dog.
Once home I emptied the web cam and set Windows movie-maker to compile the videos into one blockbuster epic, I settled my dog in his bed and I popped into town whilst the computer worked wonders. Last week the CEX shop had six copies of Downton Abbey on DVD. Today they had one. Or that is they claimed to have one. When I tried to buy it they told me they could do season one or season five, but not the one I wanted. And to add insult to injury the milk shake shop was closed as well.
Mind you I managed to get a camera case from the pound shop (and a rawhide chew for "Furry Face TM") so my trip into town wasn't entirely wasted.
I came home and found Windows movie-maker had done its thing, so I uploaded the epic to You-Tube for the delectation and general benefit of humanity. The blockbuster took two and a half hours to upload, and then a further hour's post-production processing by You-Tube itself before it was ready for an expectant public.
You can see the video by clicking here. But I feel I should warn my loyal readers that you might be disappointed. I certainly was, and I feature in it (if you look hard enough). From an artistic point of view the video lacks a plot, and from a technical point of view, when the camera isn't focussed on the ground it dwells too much on the underside of my dog's chin.
I need to rig up a different way of mounting the camera.
I spent much of the afternoon in front of the telly. I've become quite keen in the ITV-Encore channel in the afternoon it kicks off with "Brideshead Revisted", then Anton Rogers stars as a TV vet in "Noah's Ark" and it ends up with "Upstairs Downstairs". It's a shame the whole lot is padded out with over an hour's worth of adverts, but such is television.
And with "er indoors TM" off bowling as she does every Monday I set about some geo-puzzles. There is a series of the things near Brighton. Supposedly made for children to solve easily, I've managed to figure out twenty five of the total number of thirty.
Five still elude me though....
17 March 2015 (Tuesday) – Stuff
I've found that the simple act of pulling the duvet up over my head helps me sleep longer. I didn't stir until 7.30am this morning. I came down to find "Furry Face TM" was still in his basket fast asleep; completely oblivious to the cat which was sitting on the window sill.
My piss boiled somewhat as I looked at social media over brekkie. Last week people who've never heard of the show "Top Gear" or ever read anything written by it's presenter were swearing undying loyalty to Jeremy Clarkson. At the weekend people who've never heard of the Great A'Tuin were distraught over the death of Terry Pratchett.
This morning (St Patrick's Day) seemed to be "pretend you are Irish" day; with people who've never been closer to Dublin than Clackett Lane making out that they love the Emerald Isle. Bearing in mind you can't get further from Ireland than Kent and still be in the UK, why do people feel they have to jump on bandwagons?
I took my dog for a walk. We went out through the park and went along some roads we rarely visit to get to Park Farm. I'd had a report that one of my geocaches had gone missing. Someone had reported "There was nothing here. If it was magnetic an where I think it should be it is now gone I'm afraid". I walked a mile (and a bit) to find there actually was something there. However it wasn't magnetic "an" I'm pretty sure the non-finder had the wrong place in mind.
Mind you for all that I'm being just the teensiest bit sarcastic I'm glad when people log that they couldn't find something. If nothing else it gives me a target for a dog walk.
We carried on into Park Farm where we met an old twat. Fudge went up to his dog and sniffed. Twat's dog sniffed Fudge. Dogs do that. Twat went hysterical, and started swatting and kicking at my dog. Apparently no one and no thing should ever get within twenty yards of this twat's dog; the fact that the footpath was only five yards wide was my problem and not his.
I politely suggested that I would not try to pick a physical fight with someone twenty-five years younger than myself, and even more politely explained the potential consequences of his attempting to harm my dog. I explained just how lucky he was that he'd not actually made contact with any of his attempted blows, and I walked away. It took a good twenty minutes for my piss to stop boiling.
What would I have done if he had actually kicked my dog? I think I really would have punched his lights out. Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog...
We came home via Pets at Home. We sat in the vets waiting area for a few minutes so's "Furry Face TM" could get used to the place. We do this at least twice every week. He's fine with the place *when* he's not got to see the vet. When he has an appointment I have to drag or carry him in. How does he know?
Whilst we were there I got him a bag of Baker's Weight Control food. Vet says he's overweight... despite our best efforts of reducing his food intake and going on walks that would kill a lesser dog he's still not losing any weight. The nice lady in Pets at Home told us that the dried foods (like the stuff he's been having) are full of sugar. That would explain a lot...
I came home and saxed for a bit. And after banishing a howling dog to the garden I saxed some more. I then got a zinger burrito from the KFC for lunch. Not too shabby at all (as "My Boy TM" would say) and scoffed it whilst watching the new series on Channel 4. The first episode of "Raised by Wolves" was quite amusing. I hope it continues in that way.
I then spent the afternoon solving geo-puzzles; I've solved two series of the things now in readiness for an upcoming jolly to Brighton whilst my dog slept.
This eveningg the clans gathered in darkest Willesborough where I stayed awake for an episode of "The Flash" (Zoom Zoom). It's quite entertaining, but we're up to episode ten and nothing's actually happened...
18 March 2015 (Wednesday) - An Afternoon Asleep
Over brekkie I checked the Internet. Cotton Traders were still trying to sell me sub-standard walking shoes, and several Facebook friends ins far-off parts of the world were joining in with (for us) yesterday's "pretend to be Irish" day.
Yesterday with all the excitement of having a near fight I completely forgot that I was in the Park Farm area to do geo-maintenance. I'd gone there to investigate a few reportedly missing caches and came home not having done what I went there to do. So I took my dog back down there to finish the mission. Sure enough the puzzle one was missing. I've replaced it for now. If it goes again I shall have to reconsider the hide.
Interestingly as we were walking we met an elderly couple (with a very fluffy sort of dog) who warned me about the aggresive twit I'd met yesterday. As our dogs played so the elderly gentleman told me of his set-to with the twit who tried to strike my dog. As we talked, the elderly lady exclaimed "that's him" and pointed at the very same bloke with whom I'd had the altercation yesterday. This bloke was a good fifty yards away, and on seeing us he stopped and hurried back the way he'd come from.
The elderly lady and gentlemen shouted a surprising amout of abuse at this chap as he toddled off; and me and "Furry Face TM" continued home.
Our walk today was odd. It is one we do at the very least once a month, but this time we did it clockwise (normally we do it anti-clockwise). We took about half an hour less to do the walk today compared to how long we usually take. I wonder what that was all about.
We came home to find a glass still on our garden wall. It has been there since someone left it there on their way home from the pub at the weekend. I've left it long enoough; I chucked whatever was in it and ran it through the dishwasher. If I left it there any longer some hooligan would only smash it.
I sent "Furry Face TM" into the garden annd had a little sax practice, then watched this weeks's "Extant". Yesterday I whinged that the TV show "The Flash" wasn't going anywhere. Exactly the opposite is true of "Extant"; I'm going to have to re-watch the lot to remind myself of what's happened.
Being pre-night shift I took myself off to bed and lay awake for an hour or so before finally noddig off. Even with my sleeping better these days I still nod off at times when I wish I wouldn't; and so it's rather annoying not to be able to sleep when I'd actually like to do so...
I'm off to the night shift now..
19 March 2015 (Thursday) - Little Bit of Politics
As I drove home this morning from the night shift the talk on the radio was all about yesterday's budget.
The pundits were of the opinion that it was a budget aimed at buying votes in the upcoming election. (As if we didn't see that one coming.) I *really* hope that the electorate can see through such cheap vote-grubbing, but realistically we've hardly got much of an election to look forward to.
Over the last few weeks and months several of my loyal readers have confided complete bafflement about the political situation in the UK, so I'll take this opportunity to summarise that for which we get to vote in only forty-nine days time.
In years gone by the vote was a straight choice between wanton greed on one side and well-meaning incompetence on the other. There were other choices (most notable was platitude-blathering); but they weren't ever going to amount to anything, and hadn't done so for the best part of a century.
However over the last fifteen (or so) years the wantonly greedy and the well-meaning incompetent have taken on board one or two elements of the other's policies. The differences between the main political parties aren't quite so clear-cut any more, but if you look closely one side still advocates self-interest and the other is still incompetent (but well-meaning).
Things really came to a head five years ago at the last general election. With no clear winner the blatherers of platitudes got to hold the balance of power. Despite having effectively come third in the election, they got to choose the government by deciding with whom they would form an alliance.
Leaving aside the entire way the blatherers of platitudes abandoned any and all principles they might once have had, they have however set the mould for the next election. It is highly unlikely either of the two major political parties will have a majority of seats in the House of Commons after the upcoming election. This means that everything any party might try to do can be outvoted by everyone else acting together.
So to get a majority in the House of Commons one or other of the major political parties will need to form an alliance with one (or more) of the smaller parties. (That's a "coalition" - what we have at the moment)
The trouble with a coalition govearnment is that in order to form a workable alliance the major party in the alliance has to accept at least some of the demands of the smaller party. This can have a moderating effect on the larger party's policies (as has probably happened with the current government), but will probably have dire consequences in the next coalition government.
Having abandoned too many policies and principles in order to gain power, the blatherers of platitudes are effectively now a spent force in British politics.
There are two small parties who will effectively hold the balance of power at the next election. Commanding a very small percent of the vote, they will hold sway over the future direction of the country. And both of these parties are single-policy parties and so will only have one thing to demand of a potential coalition partner.
I predict that the next government will be a coalition which will either have Britain leave the European Union (having first sent them all back on the next banana boat), or will (within six months) have made Scotland an independent country.
I hope I'm wrong, but this time it won't matter who we vote for. This time the minority will win.
Perhaps we need a whole new system?
20 March 2015 (Friday) - Eclipse and Cards
Sunrise this morning was (about) two hours before the end of my shift. Realistically the breaking dawn did little more than to show me the cloud that I suspected would be in the way of seeing the sun. Overnight (as always) I'd had the radio on; at least once every half-hour the pundits had proclaimed that the long-awaited solar eclipse was going to be hidden by clouds. I've said before that astronomy is a crap hobby. Most of the time it's too cloudy to see anything; and if you ever get that rare occassion when there is no cloud, then it's chuffing freezing.
But bearing in mind that I wouldn't get the chance to see another solar eclipse for many years I decided to go with the plan; the cloud might clear. After all, I had the astro club's solar telescope in the back of the car in readiness. And there was a geo-meet arranged especially for the event.
I *might* get to see a once-in-a-lifetime event. If nothing else I could talk tupperware-hunting with other geocachers and maybe drum up some interest for tomorrow's "Stargazing Live" show.
I was glad I did go to the geo-meet. For all that the clouds didn't part and we didn't get to see the eclipse, it was an excellent meet-up. I chatted with loads of people about this and that. Several people said very nice things about my Wherigos (I got *very* smug), and I now have ideas for two more Wherigos. Bacon rolls were provided for the hungry; and we even streamed live footage of the eclipse from the BBC who had goone to where it wasn't quite so cloudy.
Just as we were all leaving and making plans to see one another at the next meet-up, the family with whom I'd been talking asked about the next meet. Specifiically what was it?
After a little confusion and explanation it tuurned out that this family weren't geocachers at all. They were a little embarrassed to say that they'd seen me shouting at another cacher in the car park when I'd arrived, and they thought I might be important. So they'd followed me and watched me being very noisy at what seemed to be an organised group (which confirmed their suspicions). They were impressed with the solar scope that I'd set up (even if we didn't use it) and everyone seemed to be friendly, so they just joined in.
They liked the sound of geocaching, and said they might take it up.
I could have gone on from the meet to a caching mission; the optionn was there. People were going hunting tupperware. But I was a bit tired, so I came home. I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park, and then had a crafty kip. I'd only intended an hour or so's shut-eye; I was out like a light until the phone woke me shortly after 4pm. I slobbed about watching "Upstairs Downstairs" in my jim-jams for a bit, then got ready for the evening.
Apologies to any of my loyal readers who would have liked a game of cards tonight. Realisitically we can't have more than nine people playing as it gets impractical. I could easily think of thwenty five people I could have asked along. I invited eight other people based on relative proximity and how much people like cards, and the probability that they would turn up; and did ask that if people couldn't make it they might let me know so's I could ask others.
Eight of us eventually got round to Texas-ing and Omaha-ing; and in a novel break with past form I actually won. Whilst doing so I shifted getting on for a gallon of ale, and the Rear Admiral put his arse through one of the chairs.
There was a time when I would play cards on a weekly basis; I do like a game. I really should play it more often...
21 March 2015 (Saturday) - Stargazing Live
Last night at five to bed time I had some emails. One of which was telling me of a new puzzle geocache. I had a look at the thing. I had it solved in a few seconds, and went to bed. I woke rather earlier that I was expecting to, and couldn't get back to sleep. So I hopped in the car, went for a drive and soon had this new cache in my hand. First one to find it too. I was pleased about that.
Once home I collected "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little walk. We stopped every five paces so's he could sniff where other dogs had tiddled. That gets a little frustrating really; if all he wants to do is sniff tiddle then I might as well piddle up the garden fence and leave him in the garden for the day.
We had stale hot cross buns for brekkie. Stale, but they toasted up fine. And with brekkie scoffed we drove down to Folkestone to see the baby. He's getting bigger. For all that I like seeing the littlun there's no denying that I spent most of the visit fast asleep.
We came home with a rabbit (!); and when the rabbit was collected by its new parent I went for a brief bit of shopping before setting off to the astro club's annual "Stargazing Live" event.
In previous years this has been a really good evening; well supported by the public who have been enthused by a week's astronomy frrom the BBC. This year I think it would be fair to say we had ben let down by the BBC. The material they supplied us for the public was rather poor compared to previous years; and it was all about the solar eclipse which happened yesterday. It seemed odd that the BBC provided this stuff about what happened on one day but asked us to have the events the day after. And they didn't publicise the thing like they used to; despite our best efforts to advertise locally attendance was half that of previous years.
Mind you we still had over eighty people along. Some excellent talks, and a rather good bit of chilli too; most people seemed to like what we put on. The only fly in the ointment was a rather garrulous child who persisted in repeatedly asking trivial and pointless questions. This child wasn't expressing a genuine interest (which I would encourage) but purely liked the sound of his own voice.
When my children were younger I wouldn't put up with that behaviour and they knew it. I do hope this child doesn't show up again...
Between that little brat (who *really* boiled my piss) and managing to get myself locked in the hall when trying to close up at the end of the evening I had to stop and take a pace back to realise we'd actually had a good session. Next year we won't rely so much on the BBC...
22 March 2015 (Sunday) - East Peckham
I woke this morning feeling particularly miserable; but half an hour spent on the sofa wiith my dog perked me up somewhat. My phone rang rather earlier than you might expect on a Sunady morning. Whoever it was never actually spoke, but I could hear chattering in the background. Mind you with today's technology you get the caller ID displayed. I shall phone 07804 602107 tomorrow morning at 5am to see who it was.
We got ourselves ready and drove out to Paddock Wood. Or nearly Paddock Wood. There was a geo-meet planned for the evening so we thought we'd have a walk round the area beforehand. Eleven of us and two geohounds meet up in a pub car park at 10am and set off for a walk. And an excellent walk it was.
We covered nine miles; we found forty five caches. It might have been more had the field puzzles we solved been closer. Several milestones were acheived by various people on our walk; including Sue and Malcolm's five thousandth cache find.
I took a few photos whilst we were out and about.
The evening meet-up was scheduled for 6pm; we got back to the pub with two hours to spare. Fortunately we weren't too late for food. A plate of roast lamb slipped down very nicely. As did Shepherd Neame's ales straight from the barrels; to say nothing of a bottle of Brilliant ale and a bottle of Christmas ale.,
I'd spent the day walking with excellent company, and the evening chatting with even more excellent company. Not a bad day at all...
23 March 2015 (Monday) - At the Chip Shop
After a quite a lot of walking yesterday followed by an ale session (that I promised myself I wouldn't have) I slept like a log until a wet nose thrust itself into my left armpit shortly before 3am. As my dog then snored so I lay awake for the rest of the night.
I got up to find very little had happened overnight on social media, and I set off to work. The news was much the same as ever really. The pundits were up in arms that a prospective Conservative candidate for the next election had allegedly organised a race riot and then had it de-organised in order to make it look as though he was marvellous. Whilst what he has (alledgedly) done is despicable, it's the sort of cheap stunt that I for one have come to expect of politicians.
Mind you there's no excuse for what happened to Nigel Farage yesterday. Leader of UKIP, and potentially the worst thing that could happen to the UK, the poor chap and his family were hounded out of a pub by those who would oppose his politics. It's rather sad that those who would see UKIP fail in the polls have actually garnered sympathy for the UKIP leader by their actions.
Or is this another political publicity stunt? I don't know.
I stopped off at Morrisons before work. Having been there in the evenings just lately it seemed odd to do my own packing this morning. Just recently there have been Brownies at the checkouts doing packing as a fund-raiser. I don't mind the girls themselves, but I did feel obliged to give them a donation. I don't mind giving the donation, but I do mind being made to feel obliged to give said donation.
Work was work; at lunchtime I saxed. "Bridge over Troubled Water" is crossing some very troubled water. And "Moon River" is rather troubled as well.
As usual I'd parked at the far end of the car park so as not to disturb anyone. However when I went out at lunch time there was a chap in his car; ten yards from mine. He had all the doors of his car open and was sitting in the driver's seat revving the engine/ As I started saxing so he glared at me and revved the engine louder.
He did that for forty minutes. He must have money (as well as petrol) to burn.
After work I went home via the chip shop in Nunnery Fields. With "er indoors TM" off on a course in Southampton I've been left to fend for myself. It's possible I might not survive till Friday.
I'd bought a pasty in Morrisons this morning for tea, and thought some chips might accompany it well. (Gourmet dining here you know!)
It was a shame that whilst in the chip shop I was accosted by the village idiot's thicker sister.
Whilst another *one* (Beryl) was having a good old gossip with the woman behind the counter (and the queue grew and grew), the village idiot's thicker sister latched on to me and told me all about her operation, and how she can no longer "strut her stuff" until her tummy gets better. Apparently she lives in a box-room; and it would seem to be her life's dream to meet someone else who lives in a box-room. Mind you her pleasant manner soon evaporated when he got to the front of the queue and placed her order. She was going to have to rough it with a battered sausage because loquacious Beryl had had the last of the chicken nuggets. It very nearly came to blows.
It took twenty minutes for me to get a bag of chips. It would have been quicker to cook them myself.
I came home, and watched "Poldark" as I scoffed. I then set about getting the laundry done, and whilst the washing machine did its thing I had a look at the astro club's accounts.
And then there was a near disaster. The SkyPlus box had forgotten I'd told it to record "Gotham". It's forgetting quite a lot these days. Maybe time for a new one. A free new one. Or Sky can go whistle and we'll go with Virgin.
24 March 2015 (Tuesday) - A Smack in the Gob
I woke at 1.30am this morning following a rather vivid dream in which the river Exe (in Devon?) was about to flood the world. For no explicable reason only I could save humanity by somehow creating a huge milk churn out of the contents of the local branch of Curry's. It's amazing how shook up I was by this; I didn't get back to sleep properly after that shock, and dozed fitfully until brekkie time.
I blame the trauma of being left "Home Alone" and unsupervised.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of "Dad's Army" in which they didn't like it up 'em. As I watched I fed half my toast do my dog; completely forgetting that he's supposed to be on a diet.
I was on the early shift today; as I drove the pundits on the radio were lambasting the Prime Minister. In a recent interview the chap has said that should he win the upcoming election he'd be pleased with the result, but he has no intentions of trying for a third term in office. Personally I think that's a sensible decicion; however those who make the news have seen this as a golden opportunity to start speculation about his successor some five years preamturely. And an inordinate amount of air-time was wasted on the subject.
There was also mention about money being allocated to the University of Nottingham solve some of the most famous mathematical problems of our time.
One of the problems they are trying to sort out is to prove or disprove the Riemann hypothesis. I can remember having the matter explained to me as a maths undergraduate and I couldn't make head or tail of the matter. As I recall it had something to do with integration.
I respect and admired those who have an inkling of what it is all about. But (as usual) the presenters on the radio tried to make fun of the subject in an unconvincing attempt to cover their own ignorance. Why do they always ridicule anything they don't understand?
I got to work; I did what I had to, and at lunch time I had an amazingly successful sax session. I'm perhaps a little piccolo on my vibrissimo, but my "Moon River" is every bit as sexy as the current TV ad for chocolate.
An early start made for an early finish. I came home and ran "Furry Face TM" round the park where he expressed his physical love for a poodle. The poodle in question was a boy poodle; my dog was clearly never confused.
Being a Tuesday the clans gathered; this time without me. Several restless nights have taken their toll; being out late wouldn't be a good idea today... I had an early night instead.
And in other news "Daddies Little Angel TM" has been bashed up off of a seagull. The feathered fiend swooped from nowhere, slapped her firmly in the mouth with its wing, and made off with her cheeseburger. Personally I think it is hilarious, but she is distraught, and apparently in quite a bit of pain too.
It would seem that getting bashed up off of a seagull is akin to all of life's other misfortunes; only funny when happening to someone else.
25 March 2015 (Wednesday) - This n That
Another restless night; as I lay awake at 6am I had a sudden realisation that I sleep better in the afternoons before a night shift than I do at night. Was that because then I pull the duvet up over my head? I tried an experiment and was absoultely out like a light when a text message and a Facebook message both from "er indoors TM" woke me. All is well in Southampton. (Not so in Beaver Road, but I didn't let on)
By then it was getting on for 8am so I got up and had some brekkie.
After yesterday's memory lapse "Furry Face TM" was looking at my toast with a hopeful expression. But no toast for him today. As I selfishly had all of my toast myself I had a look on social media.
Following the publication of the formal investigation into his conduct, those who were rather nasty to anyone who dared to say anything bad about Jeremy Clarkson over the last few days and weeks are now realising that the man isn't a saint. It now turns out that Clarkson *did* assault someone because he couldn't have steak and chips for his tea.
However there is still a groundswell of opinion in favour of letting him continue producing his TV show "Top Gear". It would seem that to many that Jeremy Clarkson is a "colourful character" and "a bit of a lad" and giving out slaps is what those sorts of people do. And furthermore ignoring and forgetting the fact that he's assaulted someone is a fair price to pay for the continuance of a favourite TV show. Apparently.
With a little time on my hands I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We met OrangeHead's chunky little friend and her spherical dog. Chunky little friend had the nerve to greet Fudge with "Hello Porky".
We then had a minor altercation. Yesterday "Furry Face TM" expressed his physical love for a small boy poodle. This morning we met a larger boy poodle, and my dog again thought he would "brandish his lipstick". However this poodle definately did not "bake a moist sponge"; neither was he "good with colours." Said poodle made his disinterest crystal clear. Fudge soon ran away leaving me to sort it all out. It's rather embarrassing having to apologise for your dog's failed amorous advances.
Shortly after that we met OrangeHead who was polite and civil. OrangeHead and her gang make me chuckle. When you meet any of them individually they are polite, courteous; even friendly. When you meet them together they are like a playground gang and make a point of blanking you.
We came home; and then I settle my dog and I went off to the late shift. As I drove to work this morning I listened to "Women's Hour" (as it was on the radio). Sometimes this show is interesting and informative; other times it is little more than a platform from which men-hating harridans spew their bitter vitriol. Today wasn't a good day. Today's misandrists were particularly vicious. I don't know why the BBC puts up with them; I suppose that (unlike others I have mentioned) they haven't actually physically assaulted anyone yet.
There was also an interview with a spokesman of "Dark Justice". This bunch are a load of vigilantes who have decided to clear the streets of paedophiles but don't feel that they should be bound by such legal red tape as evidence or proof. It was rather worrying to hear their chap ranting on the radio. Clearly not over-burdened with brains this fellow felt that his deciding that some innocent was a paedo was enough to start hounding that person.
Before getting to work I discovered that there is a branch of "Go Outdoors" in Canterbury. Being an outdoors sort of person I thought I'd have a look-see. There's no denying they have an extensive range of stuff. But if I ever need to buy anything I will be sure to check their prices carefully. Some things were reasonably priced; others vastly over-inflated. I'm not paying over a hundred quid for a pair of trousers that I can get for fifteen quid in Matalan. The designer label isn't worth that much to me; but I'm sure there are those who will pay for it.
I got to work; I did my bit. At lunch time I blew my sax. It's coming on reasonably well. For all that I'd rather work weekends or nights, working day shifts does give me that lunch break which lends itself to saxophone practice.
And with my bit done I came home. In the dark. I hadn't realised how much longer the days have got lately.
As I drove home I wondered what I would have for tea. The decision hinged entirely on where I parked. If it was up the road from home it would be either KFC or kebab; if down the road it would be curry and chips.
In the end it was a pulled chicken burrito. It was a disappointment...
26 March 2015 (Thursday) - On the Telly
It's a shame that the noisy nights and mornings up Beaver Road never coincide with my restless nights. Had next door's musical alarm gone off any other day this week I wouldn't have minded. But it would wake me today when I was actually fast asleep at 4.30am.
I eventually got up shortly before 6am and did brekkie for both of us (me and my dog). He yummed his brekkie; usually he's a lot more picky. I'm wondering if "er indoors TM" has been feeding him stuff that I don't know about; he's certainly eaten better this week than he usuall does. Which is more than can be said for me. It's Day Four of "home alone" and the strain is begining to tell.
Over brekkie I watched "Secret Diary of a Call Girl". It's a good show; I could sell my body to strangers for cash. Or that is I'd be willing to. Whether I actually could do so is a matter of conjecture.
My dog took up his sentry post on the sofa from where he could guard the house, and I set off to work. As far as I was concerned the most important item on the radio's morning news was the launch date for the re-imagined "Thunderbirds" I'm quite looking forward to the return of the Tracy brothers. Mind you it's a shame that it's yet another re-make. There is so little on telly these days which is actually original.
I also had a wry smile about the Christian bakers who are facing legal procedings for refusing to bake a cake featuring a pro-gay marriage slogan. It's an interesting case. On the one hand is the pro-equality brigade campaigning for equality for all. On the other hand is the pro-religious freedom brigade campaigning for the rights of nutters to beleive there are fairies at the bottom of the garden.
Who will win this squabble will speak volumes about our society.
Work was much the same as ever; at lunch time I saxed, and after work I had the weekly sax lesson. My semibreves are more lke minims, and my rests are a little too active. But I could be doing a lot worse.
I then ran "Furry Face TM" round the block, and got a special curry from the Hong Kong Kitchen for tea. As I scoffed it I started watching a film I'd recorded. "Trapped in Space" started badly, and after half an hour I gave up with it. It was crap. Instead I ironed shirts and watched "Big Bang Theory" and then I watched the pre-election live televised interviews of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
Whilst Mr Cameron has acheived a lot, and he made many valid points, I cannot really have any faith in a Prime Minister who seems to be proud of the relatively recent proliferation of food banks in the country.
It was such a shame that the Leader if the Opposition then took the opportunity to come over as a bit of a tit. He hadn't so much had his hair done as had a wig nailed on to his head. and other than running down the Prime Minister (and was told off by the interviewer for doing so) he had very little to say. When asked if socialism was an important Labour party value he waffled of for five minutes without saying "yes". As the interview went on so he looked worse and worse.
It's ironic that the Prime Minister never wanted to appear on telly prior to the upcoming general election and the Leader of the Opposition was keen on the idea. The Prime Minister has made a life-long leftie think, and the Leader of the Opposition has comprehensively pissed on his chips...
27 March 2015 (Friday) - Shorne, Wombles
I could not beleive the morning news. Only fifty four per cent of people polled thought that the Prime Minister came out on top of last night's televised interviews; forty six per cent thought the Leader of the Opposition did best. Whilst my better nature and plain human decency want the Leader of the Opposition to look better, there is no denying that the Prime Minister shone last night, and that the Leader of the Opposition came over as a complete half-wit who looked as though he was going to cry.
I can't help but wonder who was actually polled. It certainly couldn't have been people who watched the interviews.
My piss then boiled when I saw something on social media about "Time Out Stools" where ill-behaved schoolbrats are sat. There was no such thing as a "Time Out Stool" when I was a lad. Instead we had "A Slap on the Arse" and consequeently far less ill-behaved schoolbrats.
To counteract the seriousness of the early morning I used my ChromeCast to stream Fat Slags claymation videos from You-Tube to the telly for an hour or so whilst my undercrackers tumble-dried and my boiling piss cooled.
I then popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we drove to Shorne. Last October me and my Ham Street Lover (and my dog) started walking a geo-series near Shorne and we got rained off. Earlier in the week I posted on Facebook to see if anyone fancied a trip to Shorne to walk with me whilst I finished the series. Three brave souls met up with us, and we had a really good morning's stroll. Thirty geo-finds is always good; and a minor tree climb was an added bonus. Added to which one of our number got his most cache finds in one day. The only fly in the ointment was Richard spiking his head on a tree; it drew quite a bit of blood.
Today's walk was really good, but it was a relatively short session. We started walking shortly after 9am; we were back in the car before 1pm. We came home where a certain dog had the fox poo hosed off of him.
I then had a little look-see on the Internet. Someone sent me a Facebook friend request because we both have nasal polyps. Admittely I do have Facebook friends I've only ever met on-line; but they are few, and they are people who I have cyber-encountered many times.
Why on earth would you send a friend request to someone with whom you've exchanged exactly one comment?
"er indoors TM" came home and immediately started shoving our biscuits down "Furry Face TM"'s neck. I *thought* she'd been doing that. I then wasted an hour or so solving geo-puzzles and playing Cookie Crush Saga before gettting myself ready for the evening. I put on jeans; I rarely wear jeans. I found three quid in the pocket. That was a result.
Suitably attired we went down to Park Farm. Having effectively had astro club early this month we had something of a soial evening tonight. Chatting with friends. Jacket potatoes and chili and artic roll - very tasty. And wombling songs on vinyl.... remember you're a womble?
28 March 2015 (Saturday) - A Letter
I slept like a log last night; finally getting up about 8am. Over brekkie I checked out social media; not a lot had happened overnight.
I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We went round to the park; I'd forgotten that Saturday morning is when the runners all do their thing in the park. Over a hundred runners; not one looking as though they are enjoying the run. Every single one looking as though they were in intense pain.
We came home through Bowens Field; on the way we met the poodle with which Fudge attempted a "dalliance" during the week. The owner glared at us both.
As we came through the wetlands park I did my good deed for the day (sort of). Someone had thrown a supermarket trolley into the pond. In a moment of being public-spirited I pulled it out. I was then faced with a dripping pondscum-encrusted supermarket trolley and no idea what to do with it. I had this genius idea to share the love. I'd done my bit by extracting the offending trolley from the pond. It would only be fair for me to let someone else share the "public-spirited" by letting them dispose of the trolly. So I left it by the pondside to dry off.
We drove down to Folkestone to see the baby. On the way we tried to get First to Find on a new geocache; we missed out by fifteen minutes.
We weren't too late arriving at the abode of "Daddies Little Angel TM", and after getting bashed up by a particularly weak grandson (who's a lot stronger than I'd ever admit to him) I fell asleep for a bit.
We came home via Maplins. I needed a new charger for my portable power pack. I've got one somewhere but I've lost it. I've spent months searching to no avail. I expect that having spent nearly twenty quid on a new charger the old one will soon turn up.
We got home to find the postman had been. I opened the letter without really paying attention to the addressing. I then nearly laid an egg. A demand for nearly a thousand quid from a debt collection agency for an unpaid vet bill.
I then re-read the letter a little more carefully. It was a letter about a vet bill owed to a vet we've never used and was adressed to people who don't actually live in our house. I phoned the vet in question; they didn't seem very interested. I shall have to phone the debt collection people on Monday; I'm not paying someone else's debts.
I spent the afternoon fast asleep in bed. It would have been good to have gone to the birthday party that everyone else is going to this evening, but that wasn't possible this time. Instead I'm off to the night shift now. And the clocks are going forward tonight. That's a result.
I wonder if I'll be docked an hour's money...
29 March 2015 (Sunday) - A Day Asleep
Last night I had to make do with the
original Doctor Pepper to drink (well, the diet version) as Morrisons would seem to have stopped selling Doctor Pop.
A shame really as I actually prefer the cheapo version "Doctor Pop"
to the original Doctor Pepper.
There was a play set in India in the 1970s
which was quite good. Mind you I can't help but wonder if it would have been
quite so good had it not been after the dire scouse accent show.
And in a novel break with tradition there
were no awful schools singing programmes at 3am.
We watched "Fawlty
Towers" DVDs, had shepherds pie for tea,
and then it was time to go to work.
30 March 2015 (Monday) - This n That
The night shift went as well as can be expected. Whilst not everyone would want to work nights I quite like it. To be honest the bit I *really* like is the amount of time I get off work when doing the shift pattern, and the work's not bad really.
As I drove home I listened to the radio. It would seem that the director-general of the BBC has been under a twenty-four hour police guard since he received death threats following the recent sacking of Jeremy Clarkson. Death threats? Who on Earth would make such threats?
On a much smaller scale I myself have received one or two pointed comments from various quarters about my not being in formal mourning for Clarkson's removal from our screens. Personally I can't say I like the chap's TV persona, and I couldn't help but feel some vindication when I heard that having been given the heave-ho from the BBC, ITV and Channel Four and Sky TV don't want him either.
Once home I took my dog for a walk. He seemed to be walking awkwardly. Yesterday he'd been taken out in the rain and his coat was a little tight. It would seem to have rubbed a bit. He has tender armpits. We'll need to keep an eye on that.
As we walked through the Bowens Field wetland park I saw the trolley I'd pulled out of the pond on Saturday. Someone had thrown it back in. I pulled it back out again.
We carried on to Viccie park where Fudge had "another go" at (on) a poodle. This one wasn't one he's climbed on before. Said poodle's owner went mental, and my comment of "Oh - your dog's a girl? My dog's gone bisexual then" *really* didn't go down well. The owner was shrieking about not wanting puppies; I explained that my dog had been "done" a couple of years ago. She repeated that she didn't want puppies, I repeated that he'd been "done". As she repeated again that she didn't want puppies I took a deep breath and explained about "the birds and the bees". (And "done" dogs). Judging by her reaction I think that the concept of a dog being "done" was entirely new to her.
I hadn't intended to go very far today, but we carried on to Singleton Lake where "Furry Face TM" chased several ducks. His sore legs are only sore when he's attention-seeking. He can still chase ducks with the best of them.
Once home I went to bed for a bit. Not as much of a bit as maybe I could have had.
I spent what was left of the afternoon looking at the accounts. As has been the case recently they are a lot better than they have been, but they could still be better.
On Saturday I mentioned we had a letter from some debt collectors about someone else's vet bill. I phoned the debt collection agency who'd written to us. I was fully expecting the conversation to be hard work; it was not. As soon as I said that the letter was addressed to someone who doesn't live here, the chap at the other end of the phone immediately said that he's fed up with people giving fake addresses and assured me we'd hear no more about it.
With "er indoors TM" off bowling I set about the ironing. As I ironed I watched yesterday's installment of "Poldark". Captain Poldark is getting lucky; his cousin not so. And then Gotham in which we met another super-villain in the making...
31 March 2015 (Tuesday) - Crockham Hill
I didn't think I was feeling quite one hundred per cent last night but it is difficult to be sure after night shifts. I had an early night, slept like a log and woke feeling like death warmed up. I *could* have stayed in bed feeling sorry for myself, but what would that have acheived?
Over brekkie I saw a new puzzle geocache had gone live not a million miles from where I was planning to go. I can't make head or tale of the thing. It's something to do with a song by the Psychedelic Furs. If anyone has a clue as to how to proceed on this one I'd be grateful for a pointer.
So with no idea for the puzzle I got my gear (and dog) together and we drove off to Crockam. As I drove the Prime Minister was being interviewed on the radio. Last week he was interviewed on the telly and came over very well. Today he didn't. He had only one thing to say, and that was that the electorate shouldn't vote for Labour, because they are rubbish. Interestingly this interview was followed by one with the leader of the Welsh Nationalists who ruled out any kind of coalition deals with the Conservative party because the Welsh Nationalists don't like them very much.
Rather than a General Election, we seem to be having a popularity contest.
I got to Crockham in just over an hour, and soon our little group was assembled. We met up at the first geocache, and three of us (and "Furry Face TM") went for a little stroll. There's no denying my piss boiled at our second port of call. A multi-cache; well planned and executed. But the final location was rather close to a school. Realistically not that close; but closer than the distance that I have (several times) been told is too close.
We then wandered onwards and upwards. Quite literally. We'd been advised there was a serious hill climb early on the route, and there's no denying that I did puff a little. But the climb was well worth the effort; the views from the top of the hill were spectacular.
From here we came down. We walked along well-marked footpaths; for once there was no question about where we should or should not have gone. I know where I would like to have gone, and I said so as we walked past the Westerham brewery. One of the staff was there and we got chatting. Unfortunately they didn't have any samples to give out.
As the day wore on so the forecast wind picked up. It was incredibly strong on the open stretches; but we found a sheltered spot for lunch.
For much of the route today I played "Cacher's Eye"; not so much using the GPS as guessing where I would hide a geocache and seeing if I was right. Sometimes I was correct, and sometimes I wasn't. Obvious clues such as well-worn paths to certain trees or lumps of rock four feet up a tree were dead giveaways for some caches; others weren't so easy to find. Many of the hides were ingenious; mind you the given clues were far too cryptic for my poor brain.Of the thirty-five caches we set out to find today we didn't find two. That's quite a high number really.
It was only a shame that there weren't more caches on the route. There was probably space for another ten, but it is easy for me to say that; I don't have to maintain them.
This time I remembered to take some photos. You can see them here.
We did the last secret geo-ritual of the day at 3.45pm; said our goodbyes and came home. It was at this point that I got cross. As I drove along the A25 (parrallel to the M26) there was a road sign giveing directions to Maidstone via the motorway. That would be exactly what I wanted; or so I thought. However it wasn't via the motorway I could see. Instead it took me onto the M25 and we went north for several miles. We finally picked up the M20 where we then sat stationary for over an hour. A journey which took me just over an hour to make there took three hours to get back.
When finally home I gave "Furry Face TM" his bath and his tea, and once "er indoors TM" arrived we had pizza and set off to the Admiralty. Rather than watching any telly we played ChromeCast games and had the occassional drop of port.