1 March 2016 (Tuesday) - Rainy Day
I slept like a log last night - it is amazing how I do that after two night shifts and a tad too much ale. Over brekkie I reflected on last night's geo-meet. I had a good time chatting with old friends and meeting several (potential) new friends but I found myself taken aback by the comments left on-line by one person. They wrote: "I attended but did not feel welcome. As a newbie to this activity and making my first visit to a gathering I was surprised that there was not a welcome desk or a signing in register to record details of attendees. It just looked like a group of friends having a drink in a pub and as a lone individual I was not comfortable to just butt into someone else's conversation. Put me off going to this type of event in the future unless it is made more welcoming"
I was rather taken aback by this. Leaving aside the fact that there *was* "a signing in register to record details of attendees", I could have understood this attitude (partially) had we secured a private venue. But last night's event was in an open bar in the pub. For everyone walking into the place for the geo-meet there were half a dozen normal people coming in for a pint and/or a meal.
You can't randomly effusively welcome absolutely everyone to a meeting they aren't attending. I've hosted five geo-meets and I have made a point of approaching anyone who looks as though they are lost and/or lonely but in the majority of cases these people were nothing to do with the meet and I scared them off.
Having said that I met several people last night who were at their first geo-meet. All seemed happy and friendly enough to me.
I can't help but feel that anyone turning up to any new social situation has got to make something of an effort themselves. I'm not unsympathetic; I must admit that I was rather nervous when I went to my first geo-meet, but I found everyone welcoming. It's probably true to say that if there wasn't such a really friendly and welcoming geo-community I would have long since packed up with the hobby.
However I have been to geo-events (out of the local area) where people weren't quite as warm and effusive as the Kent crowd. In those cases it is realistically up to the individual; you can either go home and sulk (as this person clearly did), or make a point of joining in. I made a point of joining in. But then I'm the sort of person that does.
"My Boy TM" phoned immediately after brekkie. The plan for today had beeen to finish off the last section of fencing. But it had been raining all night and was still raining. So we thought bettter of fencing. Instead I braved the elements and took "Furry Face TM" round the park. There was an embarrasinng incident when he tried to mount a staffie belonging to one of OrangeHead's posse. I wouldn't have minded quite so much had it been anyone else. And with staffie mounted we came home to dry off. We were out for about half an hour and got soaked.
I set the washing machine to do its thing to a now-overflowiing laundry basket and then did the monthly household accounts (ouch!) and sorted out the astro club's money after last Friday's meeting.
Over a spot of lunch I watched last night's "Gotham" and last week's "Jericho" whilst my dog snored on my lap. I had a vague plan to spend the afternoon carrying on cutting back next door's clematis, but the rain hadn't let up so I thought I'd spend a few minutes putting the finishing touches to a Wherigo I have had on the drawing board for some time.
"A few minutes" became four hours. It is now ready for field-testing. I shall do that later in the week.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered; this time in Arden Road. We had a rather good evening talking and bandying insults and watching an early episode of "Gotham". Mind you it is a little while since I'd been round to Chris's. I'd forgotten just how low the sofas are.
It hurt to get down and then get up again.
2 March 2016 (Wednesday) - A Random Horse
I slept like a log until a certain dog jumped on me in the small hours. He eventually made himself comforable and just as I finally nodded off again he started thrashing about and growling. Did you know that dogs dream too?
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Not a lot had happened overnight really. It rarely does.
Bearing in mind what a grotty day it was yesterday, this morning was beautiful. Yesterday when "My Boy TM" and I were free we had to postpone work in the garden. Today when neither of us were able to do the fencing the weather was ideal for it.
Maybe I could have got the job done as I was on the late shift, but I didn't want to rush the job. It will keep. So as I had a few minutes I took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk round the park.
We went up to the park; as we approached the park gates I realised something was odd; the vehicular access gates were open. They are never open. And then I saw a police car driving slowly down the footpath. And then another police car on another footpath. In all there were (at least) five police cars in the park too say nothing of a couple of dozen police men and women. And then I saw the object of their attention. There was a horse loose in the park. A rather average horse. He had a bridle on a rope on him, so if you could get close enough to him, capturing him would be easy. Several of the police women got close enough to pet and stroke him, but every time they reached for his bridle he ran off.
I stood with quite a large crowd of onlookers watching this spectacle, but after a few minutes it became apparent that the horse wasn't going to be captured any time soon so we came home through Bowens Field.
Horses randomly appear in fields all over Ashford but I've never seen one in Viccie park before. The fields in which they randomly appear are usually secure ones. But for all that there is a gate for vehicles there is nothing at all to keep pedestrians (and horses) in or out of Viccie Park. I can't help but wonder if some felonious micreants had placed the horse there as a distraction to keep the police occupied whilst they perfored some major heist elsewhere.
And so to work. I had planned on visiting "Daddies Little Angel TM" and"Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" but they were in uproar having carpets laid. I thought I'd best steer well clear of that. So (being a geo-calendar day) I set off down the motorway to Junction 11 where there were several potential geo-targets. I hoped that even I should be able to find one of them.
Having got my geo-find for the day I drove up Stone Street to Canterbury. I stopped off at the garden centre on the way; their tea shop does a wonderful coffee and cake and has free Wi-Fi too. I had five minutes to myself whilst checking up on the world of social media.
I then carried on to work. As I drove my car made a rather alarming beep. The low fuel warning. I've not run it so low before; it alarms when it thinks it has less than fifty miles of petrol left. So we filled up at Morrisons, and having half an hour before I needed to be at work I had a look in Go Outdoors. I only intended to browse, but I came out with two pairs of trousers and a jumper. They were something of a bargain.
What with the vagaries of night shifts and weekend working and some days annual leave I've not worked a day shift for several weeks. I'd rather got into the mind-set of doing my own thing at my own pace. Having to work as part of a team came as something of a novelty today.
Shortly after I started work I looked out of the window. What had been glorious sunshine only hours before was now torrential rain. And five minutes after the rain came a brief snowstorm. Bright sunshine soon followed. And then rain again. The day was somewhat changeable to say the least. Probably just as well I was at work today....
3 March 2016 (Friday) - Moving a Fridge-Freezer
I nearly drowned in my coffee this morning. I was watching tthe first episode of the new season of "Raised by Wolves". Our heroes had gone to "poor woman's Ikea" where they found a broken statue. The statue had a breast missing and our heroes described it as a "tit cyclops". And they found a broken chest of drawers which "the rats have wazzed on but it wil wash up OK". It waas funnier on the telly, but I'm still sniggering hours later.
I then had a look on Facebook (as I do most mornings). I learned that lego is actually a better financial investment than buying shares or even gold.
I musst admit I then got a little wound up as well about the "discussions" about Britain's possibly leaving the European Union which are abounding on Facebook. Both sides are presenting facts about how much it costs Britain to be in the EU and/or how much we get from the EU. Neither sides figures agree. One or other is clearly wrong. I can't honestly say I know which side is right in that respect. However I will say that the out-campaigners do seem to have the easiest job in swaying the floating voters. Just listen to any interview with Boris Johnson for example. Pretty much every single thing which is less than perfect is being billed as the fault of the EU.
And so many people have no idea of what constitutes a "discussion". So many people offering their unsubstantiated opinions as incontravertible fact.
I'll make a prediction here. In a few months time Britain will vote to leave the EU. Not for any sensible reason but through fear and xenophobia whipped up by the out-campaigners. And consequently the British economy will suffer. That suffering will be laid at the door of the EU we've just left by all the politicians and pundits, and Britain as a nation will become more and more jingoistic and xenophobic.
There was a minor hiccup (literally and metaphorically) when both "er indoors TM" and I gave "Furry Face TM" breakfasts. He ate both without complaint though. I then spent a couple of minutes doing some last-minute checks on my latest wheri-project then we walked round to Asda where we had arranged to meet "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM".
We had a rather good walk down thrrough Park Farm and home again. Once home we settled "Furry Face TM" then drove out to Tenterden where "Daddies Little Angel TM" had found a rather good fridge-freezer for sale. She uses the shpock app all the time. I've never used it but there are rather good bargains to be had. Someone with more money than sense had bought a rather expensive fridge-freezer a fortnight ago and decided it wasn't quite expensive enough. So they sold it on shpock to the most recent fruit of my loin (for a pittance) on the understanding that the buyer would collect it. After a bit of fannyng about we squeezed it into my car.
With fridge-freezer delivered I came home and scoffed a bit of lunch whilst watching this week's episodes of Extant and Killjoys. Both were OK; they passed the time. And talking of passing time I then had a look at a wherigo I started working on some time ago. The time flew by.
The Rear Admiral arrived and we went round to McDonalds where we met "er indoors TM" and had one of their latest wraps. Very nice. Then on to the Swan and Dog for a pint of afters before the astro club committee. It is no secret that I've been a tad concerned about the astro club's direction just lately; I think it is back on the right tack again....
4 March 2016 (Friday) - Pre-Night Shift
I had a rather restless night. I lay awake for much of the night listening to the heavy rain. What sleep I did get was troubled by nightmares of what might have been.
Over brekkie I saw that the wherigo I submitted for publication yesterday had gone live, and then I had a look at my current wheri-project. Yesterday I started working on a wherigo I'd first started several months ago. Last night I managed to completely stuff it up. Howeverr this morning it appears that all I've done is to have wiped out the four houurs work I did yesterday. It could have been a lot worse.
I then had a look-see on-line. Facebook is heaving with all sorts of disparaging posts about what might happen if Donald Trump is elected to the White House. Do people realise that UK residents don't get a vote in the US Presidential elections? Reading social media I don't think they do.
"Furry Face TM" was keen to go out so we drove down to Bethersden. As we drove I was very conscious that there was a large red lorry not ten yards behind me the entire way. As I sped up so did that van, as I slowed down so did that van. At all times keeping a dangerously small distance between us. Eventually I lost my tail when I turned into Bethersden; I was amazed to see the van was an official Calor Gas one.
We parked up, and after my dog had tried to pick a fight with a lollipop-lady we went for a little walk. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that last September I put out a series of thirty-eight geocaches round Bethersden. Thirty-four of them have never caused any problems; however caches #3 to #6 have needed quite a bit of maintenance. Today we went out to have a look-see at problems reported on #3. Well... not so much problems as the thing actually being missing.
Having stomped through some rather swampy fields we found that it actually had gone missing. In retrospect putting it under a bridge was a silly thing to have done. It probably got washed away in the recent floods. So I put out a replacement at the base of a nearby tree and we stomped back through the flooeded fields to the car.
We stopped off on the way to replace the paper log of a roadside cache. The thing had been recorded as wet; it was actually missing. So I replaced the lot.
Once back and parked up I was conscious that for all that we were both covered in mud we hadn't actually walked very far. So we did a quick circuit of the park before coming home. And once home we both had showers. One of us was muddier than the other. I can remember having to fight with a previous dog at bath time. I would have to pin the dog down whilst "er indoors TM" scrubbed. "Furry Face TM" is very good at bath time. He lifts his legs in turn when I want to hose them; he never fights or struggles.
I then put my muddy clothes (and the dog towel) into wash whilst I had a spot of lunch, and then took myself off to bed for the afternoon.
I got up after three hours kip, and spent the afternoon repairing my latestt wheri-project after yesterday's stuff up. "er indoors TM" came home, boiled up a rather good bit of dinner.... and I'm off to the night shift now.
5 March 2016 (Saturday) - Greatstone & Audrey II
Last night's night shift was surprisingly busy. I was rather glad to see the releif arriving fifteen minutes earlier than he needed to. I got away promptly and took my car back to the garage to have the parking brake's erroneous warning fixed. Rather than coming home and waiting for their phone call I sat in the garage's waiting room reading my Kindle and drinking their (rather good) coffee until the job was done.
It was surprisingly peaceful. I might go and sit there again.
It took less than an hour for the garage people to sort my car, and I came home for a spot of brekkie. Over brekkie "er indoors TM" told me about Pug Fest 2016. Apparently in the same way that there are music festivals and geocaching festivals and beer festivals and kite festivals there are also pug festivals. Presumably they are to do with pugs?! One simply turns up with a pug and just soaks up the ambience?
The 2016 one is in Essex and "Daddies Little Angel TM" is telling the world that her daddy is going to take her and Sid.
I've pencilled it into the diary, and I'll wait to be officially told.
I fiddled about working on my current wheri-project until "er indoors TM" was ready. We then took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk. Being a geo-calendar day for both of us we drove down to Dungeness where we wandered about the dunes. We hunted out three elusive sandwich boxes whilst walking the pup. "er indoors TM" photographed my bum and posted the photo to "Crackwatch".
After an hour we were back at the car. We drove on a little to the chip shop and had sausage and chips in the car looking out to sea. And then the rain started. We had planned to then wander round Greatstone for a bit, but walking in the rain is more of a chore than an enjoyment so we came home. I slept all the way.
I woke a couple of hours later feeling like death warmed up so wasted an hour mooching on Facebook doing seeing and learning absolutely nothing at all until "er indoors TM" served up a cup of coffee and a hot cross bun.
After a good night's sleep I was rudely woken by a wet nose in my left armpit. I dozed for a few minutes as "Furry Face TM" made himself comfortable. However the call of the toilet could not be resisted. And having got up for my early-morning tiddle I went back to find my dog had made himself comfortable having spread out across what was once my side of the bed. So I had a bit of brekkie and had a look on-line.
As you might expect there was quite a bit of stuff about Mothers Day. For some strange reason I found myself getting rather wound up about all the posts from dog owners today. Perhaps I'm wrong (I usually am) but Mothers Day isn't a dog thing. Did anyone else notice all the women wishing themselves a happy Mothers Day because they have a dog?
I had a little look-see on-line. I struggled somewhat. Ever since using AVG's PC tune-up last night my lap-top has become slow to the point of being unusable. There really was a delay of two to three seconds for every mouse click or keystroke to register.
We eventually left home an hour later than planned and having collected "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" we drove down to Hastings. First of all to see mother-in-law and then on to see my mummy to do the Mothers Day thing. Whilst great grandmothers clucked over great grandson I took my dog for a quick walk then dozed for most of the afternoon.
We left Hastings just as the snow flurries were starting, and got home just as the neighbours who hate us started practicing playing their piano. Again. She first got the thing over ten years ago and every afternoon she spends over an hour playing scales. I think it is fair to say that in that time she really has shown absolutely no improvement whatsoever. In one of his rare talkative moments him next door once told be that she plays the piano badly purely in order to annoy him.
I must admit that for all I quite liked doing the family thing today I rather missed our usual Sunday walk. I spent a little while looking at the geo-map looking for walks for the next few weeks. "er indoors TM" then boiled up a rather good bit of scoff, and we watched episodes of "Benidorm" until I felt myself nodding off.
I slept like a log last night; finally being woken by a fidgetting dog. I say "fidgetting"; he was thrashing about so much I couldn't help but wonder if he was having a nightmare or a fit. But just as I was turning to see to him he jumped off the bed. I followed him to his basket from where he looked at me, wagged his tail and went to sleep.
After my shave I sat on the sofa for brekkie; he jumped up and sat with me. He seemed fine. After a little Googling I don't think he had a fit, but I can't stop worrying about the silly mutt. Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog?
I then took the dog that I never wanted for his morning walk round the park. As we walked I couldn't help but notice the cars were covered in what looked like melted and re-frozen snow; as did the footpaths. Had it snowed overnight?
As we walked we met a chap with a couple of larger dogs walking toward us. We've met this bloke (and dogs) before from time to time without serious incident but today was different. Fudge pushed right up against me and started whimpering in fear. Not really knowing what else to do I picked him up and carried him past the bigger dogs. He growled half-heartedly at them as they trotted past. I wonder what that was all about.
Once home "Furry Face TM" had his brekkie then I brushed his teeth. Last week I mentioned how good he is at bathtime. Bathing him is easy; he is *so* co-operative. Brushing teeth is a different matter. He wasn't keen at all. I shall have to enlist the assistance of "er indoors TM" to pin him down for the next teeth-brushing session.
With a little time on my hands I spent a few minutes organising a couple of geo-walks for next week. It is coming up to the end of the year for booking annual leave and if I don't take time off I lose it. Also I have a couple of geo-calendar days next week. I need to find a concealed sandwich box or two on those days, my dog will need a walk, and it is always good to meet up with friends.
Being a geo-calendar day I set off down the A20. A few months ago a fellow hunter of Tupperware hid some sandwich boxes along the A20 as drive-by finds. They are quite handy for filling the geo-calendar.
I made a quick find in the frozen mud then carried on to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking rubbish as usual. There was some bigoted idiot who was ranting about how important it is that everyone should be free to pursue their own religious beliefs. Even if those religious beliefs involve reducing all women to little more than slaves, and/or embarking on genocidal wars because someone else's crackpot religion is at odds with your own.
This chap was crystal clear on this point, and was so earnest in his belief. It *really* boils my piss that they give air-time to these crackpots. And it boils my piss even more that in the twenty-first century people still have unshakable faith in such stark staring nonsense.
I got to work rather earlier than I might have, and spent a little while reading my Kindle before starting to do my thing. I then spent an embarrassing five minutes trying to identify a strange noise emanating from a fridge only to find the noise was actually emanating from a seagull on the roof outside.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the block, had a quick shower and whilst "er indoors TM" took some luggage round to "Daddies Little Angel TM" I dozed for a little while. The original plan was gather with the clans in Folkestone this evening but it didn't happen; which was probably for the best. I wasn't really up to going out.
I wasn't feeling quite the full one hundred per cent last night; I woke feeling equally iffy this morning. Rather than laying in bed feeling sorry for myself I got up and got on with the day. My dog didn't get up, so I had my brekkie to myself, and as I scoffed it I watched this week's episode of "Killjoys". I think this show is now running out of steam; getting the main characters to have sex is usually a sign that the script writers have run out of ideas.
With a few minutes before work I had a look-see on-line. There was consternation on social media that today's solar eclipse wasn't visble from the UK. Mind you I rather suspect that those expressing the most indignation would honestly think we'd see it in the UK if we voted to leave the EU.
And so to work through the torrential rain.The pundits on the radio were interviewing a chap who is part of a team that has built a super-intelligent computer. This device can beat people in games of chess and go ("Go" is a fiendishly difficult game - one lives and learns.). However the so-called expert said that the device can only decide what moves to do in the game. A human has to then physically move the pieces on the board for the computer. Apparently getting a super-intelligent computer to understand game theory is relatively easy. Getting it to actually play the game is difficult.
Personally I thought this so-called expert needed to go and find out about his field of so-called expertise. Robots build cars easily enough. If they can put together the parts of a car then surely huffing a prawn can't be that tricky, can it?
I had a qualm of conscience as I got to work. The junior doctors were staging a picket line outside the hospital for their current strike. They were sarcastically waving at everyone driving in. As an ardent trade unionist I wondered if I should be crossing the picket line. And then I remembered I'm not an ardent trade unionist any more. I was, but when I needed the union the regional officer of Unite made it crystal clear that she was far too busy playing silly political games to do what I expected of a Trade Union. And much as I sympathise with the doctors' plight, when I had much the same terms and conditions imposed on me several years ago I didn't see anyone else standing up for me. So I went to work.
I got to work; the day didn't start as well as it might, but it got better. I had a minor bonus when getting a bag of crisps from the works vending machine; the machine had a brainstorm and gave me two bags for the price of one.
I came home and took "Furry Face TM" round the block. We had a relatively uneventful walk; even if he was jumping at every shadow. For some reason he seemed to be (very much) in "attack mode" this evening.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good dinner which we washed down with a really good bottle of cheap plonk. And then I cracked open the bottle of Dissorano I got as a Christmas pressie....
I didn't really sleep that well last night. Odd really, bearing in mind how much red wine and Dissorano I'd poured down my gullet. Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. The nice people at LinkedIn wondered if I wanted a job working as a senior explosives scientist. I wonder whatever possessed them to ask. I also had an email from Amazon recommending a book I'd already bought from them. They do this at least twice every week.
There was also a mention on Facebook about some woman in America who was (until recently) loudly and publically advocating the right of everyone to walk round carrying guns. Her toddler had got hold of her gun and shot her.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for our usual circuit of the park. As we came along the path from Bowens Field to Viccie park there was a minor incident. The path is clearly marked; one side for pedestrians, one side for bicycles. My dog however doesn't understand the difference. The poor girls on their bikes didn't actually run him over or crash into each other, but it was close on both counts.
Once home I gave "Furry Face TM" his brekkie then I set off to the local hospital for the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the lump in my neck. We now think that I have a blocked salivary gland (not entirely unlike kidney stones) and so today I had a sialogram. A sialogram involves filling the affected gland with various X-ray opaque dyes and then taking X-ray photographs of the area to assess the state of the blockage.
However there is a world of difference between reading those dry words and finding yourself flat on your back inside a scary X-ray machine with all manner of catheters and needles being painfully poked into your neck via the inside of your lower jaw.
Knowing a thing or two about human anatomy (not all of which I learned from nudey pictures) I was rather conscious of the fact that there are quite a few crucial things in the area where the needles were being poked. Windpipes and jugular veins for example. However if the worst had happened those who would have had to enact my will were under orders not to make any complaints about the surgeon who might have inadvertently killed me. In fact they were to assure the chap that I held him in no way responsible.
There was a press release about this very matter from the Minister for Health yesterday. He is trying to make the NHS more open and transparent about reporting errors, incidents and mistakes. These things do happen in the NHS. But in some ways the worst thing about these mistakes are the way those making the mistakes are treated. Those at fault are pilloried and crucified in the national media for an honest mistake. In his press release the Minister says "we need to unshackle ourselves from a quick-fix blame culture and acknowledge that sometimes bad mistakes can be made by good people." How right he is. Does anyone who works in a hospital ever go into the place at the start of a shift wondering whose life they can stuff up today?
The procedure took about half an hour. At the end of it I got to see a rather impressive shot of the inside of my neck. And in that shot I saw what looked very much like stones inside what looked like a little bag. Presumably that is what has been causing the pain.
The boss had told me to take the rest of the day off as sick leave. There is no denying I went to the hospital feeling that I'd pulled a fast one, and that after this examination I was in for a good day's skive. However the procedure hurt. Getting the catheters in had been painful. And the injected dye had swollen up my lump to the size of a marble. Far from having the skive I'd been planning, I went home and spent the day sulking in front of the telly feeling rather sorry for myself.
I spent the day catching up with stuff I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. "Extant" was good. "Raised by Wolves" hilarious. "Moving On" (a series of unconnected plays about people's everyday lives) was good.I then dozed through some fan-made Star Trek cartoon film. It would actually have been rather good had the male characters not been voiced by women. Or the female characters not been voiced by men. Or had the thing not been about two hours too long (literally - I turned it off half way through)
Over brekkie I had an email. Yesterday evening I spent a couple of hours solving geo-puzzles. One particular one had me foxed for some time. In the end I sent a message to the person who'd set the puzzle. I showed her the answers I'd come up with and also my sums and asked to be shown the error of my ways. She replied to tell me that I couldn't add twenty five to twelve without getting thirty six. Woops. (Did you know I have a degree in mathematics?)
I then wasted a bit of time failing to solve more geo puzzles before putting the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and going for our morning constitutional. We went round to Newtown where we met up with "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and carried on walking up to McDonalds for McBrekkie. We had this idea that "Daddies Little Angel TM" and I would have a sausage & egg McMuffin McBrekkie whilst "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" might like McPorridge. He turned his nose up at McPorridge, and when I asked if he liked it he clearly said "no!"
From McDonalds we went on a little voyage of exploration discovering a new footbridge across the Ashford-Folkestone train line. This (eventually) brought us out near Argos where the most recent fruit of my loin bought one or two necessities. And a venetian blind, a bedside lamp and a rather large dustbin. It was only at this point that we considered the logistics of getting them home.
After a little thought we loaded up the push chair and I carried the dustbin. We came home via Boys Hall; it wasn't that far really. On the way home we met some *really* stupid woman who got on her knees and pulled stupid faces at my dog whilst making strange noises at him. And then she got rather upset when he started barking at her. She took quite serious offence when I explained that she had frightened him. Apparently she acts like this to every dog she meets and they all love it.
We came home; I got changed, settled my dog, and I drove round to Steve's. Before long Jimbo and Denver had joined us. We drove round to The Gorge for a spot of lunch; then on to Down House where the astro club was putting on a show on behalf of English Heritage.
We started with a practical astronomy session; I was showing just how good binoculars are by pointing out features on the Moon, the Pleiades and the Great Nebula in Orion. And once everyone was frozen solid we finished off with a planetarium show.
I had a rather late night last night. By the time I'd messed about coming home from bringing astronomy to the masses it was after 11pm. I then had a complaint about how I'd not done some geo-homework properly and by the time I'd doone it all again (hopefully properly this time) didn't get to bed until 1.30am.
Last night whilst at Down House as the astro club's event was packing up I found myself browsing in the gift shop. One of the people working there made a great fuss of trying to open one of the tills even though I didn't want to buy anything. And having failed to open the till he made even more fuss by getting his mate to open another till. After all their faffing about I rather felt obliged to buy something. So I bought a jar of their all butter raspberry curd and had some on my morning toast at brekkie time.
Even with the ten per cent discount I was given, Morrison's raspberry jam is every bit as good, and is three pounds cheaper. It never fails to amaze me how suckers pay for this staff. (From the bloke who just paid for it...)
As I scoffed my vastly over-priced brekkie i had a look-see on-line. I discovered a website where you can tell the world about the crap drivers you see whilst out and about. I've often though about doing someting like this myself. I can see myself posting here in the future. In the meantime I had a look on tat website; fortunately I've not been reported. Yet.
We then went out for a little walk. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that on Tuesday I solved a geo-puzzle. Given an arial photograph of some disused structure we had to locate it. I solved the puzzle and today we walked out to it. I won't spoil the puzzle by saying where it was... but I will say that we couldn't park within a mile of the place.
We had a rather good walk out to this building. as we went we saw oystercatchers, blue tits, bullfinches andd some rather large unidentified mammal. Personally I think it was a rabbit but what do I know? There was a minor hiccup as we walked; the path ended at a river and the only way across was to traverse some pipes. But with pipes traversed we found ourselves only a hundred yards from our goal.
Soon enough we were at the building; I had got the right solution. We are still unsure as to what the building actually was; but from conversations with other people who've been there I think it was probably originally a Napoleonic ammunition storage facility. However now it has been left to rot.
Using expert geo-skills we found the hidden tupperware within minutes, and then spent some time exploring the place. It was quite interesting; however in many ways it is yet another part of our heritage which has been left to rot.
Pausing only briefly to wave at passing ships we found another nearby concealed tupperware box, then drove down to Teynham for the monthly geo-meet. Talking tupperware over a few pints with like-minded people is always good. A pub lunch is not to be turned down, and I learned a thing or two about the geo-software. Mind you I did have a minor stuff up with my raffle tickets, but if nothing else it gave us all a laugh.
Once home I had a shower and a pizza, and with "er indoors TM" off out with her mates I settled down in front of the telly with my dog at my side, After a rather busy day you can't beat staring at the telly. I stared at it for a couple of moments... and woke up hours later...
I spent most of yessterday evening fast asleep in front of the telly. I slept just as well for the remainder of the night. I got up just before 7am and hobbled downstairs. At some point on yesterday's mission round the Earth Engine I managed to bash my left leg; it was rather painful this morning.
Yesterday I whinged about the incredibly over-priced raspberry curd I'd bought from English Heritage. I had some more for brekkie this morning all the time hearing my cousin's words ringing in my ears "who pays over three quid for a jar of jam!?" I know I shan't do so again.
We put the lead onto a rather excited "Furry Face TM" and collected Suzy Woo (and her associate) and drove out to deepest Surrey. Funnily enough as we drove we saw some geo-friends doing their thing but I don't think either Wayne, Lynn or Dave saw us. We had to make a minor change of plan on the way; we received reports of "bible bashers" where we wanted to park. But we negotiated this ecclesiastical hazard, and soon nine of us (and two small dogs) were ready for the off.
We'd seen a geo-walk on the map, and some judicious cartography allowed us to expand our walk somewhat. What with weekend working and Mothers Days I've not been for a serious Sunday walk for some time. Today's walk was excellent. Beautiful scenery with great company, and we could see that spring is definately here; the leaves are budding from the trees.
The weather was glorious; despite all the recent rain we found ground dry enough to sit on for lunch time. Mind you we also found quite a bit of mud as well. I had been thinking of leaving my wellies at home; I was glad I didn't.
We started walking at 10am; thirty six geocaches and eight and a half miles later we found ourselves at the pub for a pint of "Kent's Best" straight from the barrel. You don't see that very often, so we had a second one.
I took a few photos whilst we were out; once home I posted them on-line, and then did the geo-homework for today's little mission. As I did this my little dog snored rather loudly. He is rather cute when he sleeps. Also as I did this I was rather conscious of my face glowing. For all that it is still only March I caught the sun somewhat today.
I then spent a few minutes preparing for tomorrow's walk. It would be as well to have some idea of what we'll be doing. And I think an early night wouldn't hurt right now. This walking lark can be rather tiring...
After yesterday's exertions I slept like a log. Unfortunately the rest of the household were feeling it too. If it wasn't the snoring of "er indoors TM" keeping me awake it was that of "Furry Face TM" .
I scoffed my raspberry curd over brekkie, then looked at the geo-map to make plans for next weekend. If anyone fancies a walk round Surrey next Sunday do drop me a line. I tend to forget to invite people; it's not deliberate, just absent-mindedness.
I then went and woke my dog (he needed his brekkie) and we drove up to Toys Hill. Being a geo-calendar day and needing to use up my annual leave, a week or so ago I asked if anyone fancied a small geo-wander. Some friends were free, and so five of us (and two dogs) met up in the car park at Toys Hill this morning. I'd had a look on the map and seen two seperate series of geocaches and a couple of stand-alone caches in the area. So last night I'd studied the ordnance survey maps and worked out what seemed to be the easiest route to walk to find all fourteen geo-targets.
Through the wonders of pinpoint accuracy sat-nav positioning it soon became painfully obvious that the footpaths marked on the maps toward the north of Toys Hill bore no relation whatsover to the footpaths that are actually there. For our second and third geo-targets we followed the sat-nav arrows blindlly through thickets and jungles. Fortunately for my nerves by the time we found our fourth sandwich box we were back onto footpaths. We were grateful for that...
We soon found ourselves walking through the National Trust land around Emmetts. Very unusually we found some toilets as we walked. We took advantage of those. From Emmetts there was quite a bit of upping and downing as we went along; I didn't realise that Toys Hill is one of the highest points of Kent.
After five miles and three hours we found ourselves back at the car park. It had been a rather good walk. We said our goodbyes, and made our various ways home. Once home I set the washing machine doing its thing and watched a rather thought-provoking play on the telly. If the chance arose would you steal thirty five thousand pounds?
I took some photos whilst we wallked. With lunch scoffed I put them on-line, then dozed on the sofa until "er indoors TM" came home. She boiled up a rather good bit of tea, then fought with the printer. Apparently wireless printers don't like Windows 10. She stressed with it until she gave herself hiccups, then went off bowling (as she does on a Monday).
Having been laying wide awake for what seemed like most of the night I gave up trying to sleep and got up shortly after 5am. My little dog was on the sofa downstairs; he looked at me as I turned tthe light on. He looked *so* tired. He heaved himself up and hobbled to tthe back door. I was feeling so guilty that I'd walked him too much this weekend, but when I opened the door he flew down the garden like a bullet from a gun, shouting and barking as he went.
I didn't eat all my brekkie; my inards weren't feeling right. Yesterday evenning I treated myself to a packed of dry roasted peanuts. This morning I wished I hadn't. I spent a few minutes in the smallest room wondering about phoning in sick, but just recently I've hardly been at work at all. I really shoulld turn up from time to time.
And so to work. Going to and from work is the only time get to hear any news. Today's was interesting; there is talk of all the local councils in the east of Kent merging into one super-council. I can't honestly say that I'm aware of having much to do with Ashford council. Some county-wide thing will be even more remote from me.
Once at work I didn't have a good day. Not only incredibly busy, buut I found myself wilting as the day went on. I ate nothing, and drank loads. But I managed util home time, and once home I went to bed for three hours.
What with three hours sleep immediately after work followed by an early night I probably had three times more sleep than usual last night. I woke feeling rather chirpier than when I went to bed. Mind you I didn't feel up to eating toast for brekkie so I settled for muesli. It was somewhat easier on a tender stomach.
I had a quick look-see on social media. Not much had happened really., so with a little time on my hands I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and took him for a quick run round the park. There was a minor incident when a passing toddler started crying when he saw my dog; he seemed to think Fudge might attack him. Fudge just walked past him in total oblivion.
Once home I still had over an hour to spare. Normally when on a late shift I go find something to do before work. But today I didn't really fancy doing much; I wasn't feeling quite one hundred per cent. Instead I set the dishwasher going and watched drivel on the telly for a little while until I got a message about ticks. Ticks are becoming a serious problem for dogs when out walking. Apparently babeosis (a tick-bourne disease) has been confirmed in Essex, and furthermore my dog's monthy flea treatment doesn't work against these ticks.
It started off with the latest theories about settling babies for a good night's sleep. All the so-called experts gave their learned and sage opinions,, and then it transpired that not one of these people telling the public how to care for their babies had any experience whatsoever of having had a baby to give them a sleepless night.
There was then an interview with some of the people who had been involved in the making of the recent TV drama "This is England". I quite liked that TV show; however it was a shame that the *only* aspect of the show discussed on the radio this morning was the hairdressing.
The next article on the radio was an expose on the craze for mindfulness meditation. Apparently if it is not done right it can have harmful side effects. They interviewed some woman whose mother had had to carry her home from a mindfulness session after the mediation brought on an attack of the screaming ab-dabs. The radio's mediation guru said that about a quarter of the people doing this mindfulness nonsense in the UK are experiencing various degrees of untoward side-effects.
I got to work, smiled a lot, and came home again. Once home I scoffed a pizza for dinner. Haivng cooked it I wouldn't waste it, but fennel in pizza? I suppose the fact that I could actually eat it means I'm on the mend...
I woke in a cold sweat shortly after 6am. I had been having a rather odd dream in which the King of Germany had invited me on a cruise around the Isle of Wight. Half way round the voyage the ship ran out of lager and things became particularly nasty. I wonder what that was all about?
I got up and had brekkie whilst watching the SkyPlus box's offering. "Dad's Army" usually amuses. Corporal Jones was having problems with people sneering at his brawn. I then had a look-see on-line. Social media wound me up (as it often does) with so many people pretending to have some Irish heritage so they can claim some sort of connection to Sant Patrick's Day.
I popped the led onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a walk. Usually on a day off we'd collect "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" for our walk but they had a better offer.
As we walked down to Park Farm we saw what looked like goldfinches. I've not seen them round here before. We also saw small children who cried in terror at the sight of my dog. That's happened two dayss running; what's going on.
On the way back we had a phone call. "Daddies Little Angel TM" s plans had gone west, and so she and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" were up for a walk. So we carried on up through Willesborough Dykes to find them. Together we had an hour's stroll; as we walked we met a dog which looked not unlike my one. Although the same age he seemed half the weight. This prompted me to weigh my dog, so on our way home we stopped off at Pets at Home where I popped "Furry Face TM" onto the scales. On the one hand he's lost 0.2Kg since his last weigh-in. On the other hand he is still three kilogrammes overweight.
I treated myself to KFC for lunch. After my "intestinal adventures" earlier this week it was quite nice to be feeling hungry again. And being at a loose end I then watched this week's episode of "Extant". This show blows hot and cold. It is quite enjoyable... but would any politician *really* set a load of killer robots loose? Apparently the show has been cancelled..
I drove the baby car seat round to "Daddies Little Angel TM" then collected "er indoors TM" from work and we drove up to Maidstone. There was a geo-meet this evening to celebrate one of our number's having obtained British citizenship.
We arrived to see a friend marching up the hill; obviously on a mission. Had a new geocache gone live for the evening? Pressing refresh on my NeonGeo app I chased after Matt. Sure enough he was chasing a First to Find. And I was chasing him. Rather cheeky of me, but a joint FTF is never a bad thing.
The plan was to have had dinner in the pub but.... Call me an old skinflint if you will, but the price of one meal in the pub was more than the price of two meals (plus desserts) in McDonalds. And I like McDonalds. So once the meet was over we went for McDinner.
I slept well; finally waking shortly before 6am in desperate need of the loo. I tried to go back to sleep afterwards, but I foundd myself laying wide awake fretting about what might be and what might have been. So I got up, had brekkie and nearly choked on it whilst watching this week's installment of "Raised by Wolves". This week Aretha decided to go to school. She chose the best school in the area; rated best as it had acheived the OFSTED target of one chair per pupil. The family then took on a home deliveries round and together almost acheived the efficiency of a single postman.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we drove down to Hawkinge. He needed his walk, I needed a to find a geocache as it was a calendar day. Earlier in the week I'd asked if anyone fancied coming for a walk with us. Five of us met up. I was expecting six; I wonder what happened to the sixth one?
On one of our regular walks we go along a clearly marked public footpath which goes through the South Willesborough and Newton Young Farmer's Club's farm. The animals in this farm can come right up to the fences which border this footpath.
This morning "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" were petting the sheep through the fence when one of the sheep butted the littlun. As luck would have it his mum was videoing him at the time. I've seen the footage. On hearing "attacked by a sheep" anyone's immediate reaction would be to laugh, but it was a rather nasty butt; especially when you are only a year old.
I try to be a law-abiding model citizen, but in all honesty I would have more confidence in self-appointed vigilantes than I do in the legally constituted local police force. In years gone by I was seriously injured by a kick from a horse which Kent Police refused to investigate. They refused to do anything about the security staff at the Ashford International station who assaulted my son (and the incident was filmed on CCTV). They flatly refused to come out when a family friend's car was smashed open. They arrested "My Boy TM" (and threw him in a cell for eight hours) on the grounds that a crime had happened along the route he walks to work, and when we complained about the arrest we were told (by the police) not to make complaints.
I drove to the hospital; littlun had stopped crying. His hand is (probably) not broken; just badly bruised (I must admit I agree with the decision not to needlessly X-ray) and the swellings on his face will go down with time.
The general consensus was that after his experience he deserved Chicken McNuggets, so we went for some McScoff. I quite lilked my McScoff even if my banana milkshake was a curious shade of green. However "Daddies Little Angel TM" took her pop back to complain. It tasted odd apparently.
We came home; I had vague plans to have been tackling the laundry this afternoon, and with laundry tackled I was going to dust off my C.V. But neither of these things happened. By the time I'd done the geo-admin from the morning's walk and put the photos on-line the afternoon was all but done.
I slept well, but woke feeling like death warmed up. I wondered if I was sickening for something? But (as ever) when not feeling quite on top form I have two choices; I can get on with life or I can sulk. So I got on with life. Or brekkie (to be precise).
Whilst the garage did their thing we came home. "er indoors TM" had a bit of a tidy up whilst I fiddled about with the astro club's accounts. I had quite a bit of cash to pay into the bank, and some bills to pay. Rather then mucking about walking to the bank and then getting cheques signed I thought I'd pay our creditors in cash. It is suprising how soon I ran out of that cash... I then messed about on-line until mid-day.
Being a geo-calendar we took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk. I'd seen three caches on the map in the general vicinity of Harrietsham that looked like they might make a good walk. They did; however they were somewhat "old skool". Only three hides along a route which could (in all honesty) have taken fifteen.
..."tried" was the operative word. When we took him on from "My Boy TM" the vet's staff refused point-blank to change any of the details about his keepers, address, etc. Apparently it is far too difficult to do so. When I asked why they rolled their eyes and reluctantly tried to do so on their computer. They obviously stuffed something up. *Every single time* we contact the vet they have terrible trouble finding his details. After fifteen minutes of trying to locate him on their system they gave up and said they would phone me back.
In the meantime I wasted some time working on (yet another) Wherigo. This one is quite involved, but it is now pretty much ready. I doubt it will get many takers at it will probably take two to three hours to complete. But here are those who seem to like the kind of nonsense that I create. And Ashford does need to maintain its reputation as the Wheri-centre of the country.
I suppose I slept well; there is no denying I would like to have slept longer. After the party last night I was rather late to bed, and today's plans made for an early start. Mind you I'd rather have plans and an early start on a day off; I did spend an inordinate amount of yesterday sitting around waiting for time to pass.
Over brekkie I had a look on-line. I do that most mornings. Not much had happened in the six hours since I had last looked; which was probably for the best. With brekkie devoured we collected Suzy and her associate and again set off for deepest Surrey. There is a series of geocaches in Surrey around the village of Outwood. Whilst there was only (only!) seventeen caches on that route, by starting at cache #10 and taking one or two judicious diversions we were able to increase this up to thirty-six targets.
As we walked we heard skylarks and stopped the dogs from seeing rabbits; even if Fudge did disappear down a hole or two. We met sheep who lived in a junk yard. We found plenty of mud, and the first bluebells of the year.
Cache-wise the day was mixed. But then we'd chosen a route we'd efffectively made up ourselves so we were rather expecting it to be somewhat variable. Some of the hides were works of genius. Some were twenty yards away from where we were hoping to find them; it did help having a Geo-Genius in our midst.
I surprised myself by staying awake for the drive home. Once home a certain dog had his bath and his tea and went to sleep. He does charge about like a thing possessed on our long walks, but it is all for dramatic effect. When his audience is not about to watch him he sleeps a lot.
Over brekkie I checked my emails. I had two emails of thanks. Yesterday when walking we found that two geocaches had clearly gone missing from along the route we had walked. They do that from time to time. When this happens you have two choices; you can either log "Needs Maintenance" together with a saga of how much precious time was wasted on a wild goose chase which tells whoever hid it to go sort the problem. Or you can do the decent thing for all concened and replace it yourself (and tell whoever hid it you've done so).
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little walk. On Saturday I put the finishing touches to my latest Wheri-project and this morning we had field trials. There were two minor tweaks I needed to make, but other than that all was good. I was pleased about that.
As we field-tested I needed to go from place to place on the map, and at each place stop and fiddle about. "Furry Face TM" wanted to stop and fiddle when I was walking, and he was pulling to walk on when I was stopped to fiddle about. If only I could explain to him...
As we walked we saw a rather odd-looking woman. Pushing a push-chair in her pyjamas she was pulling a facial expression which I can only describe as that of a duck with indigestion. I wonder what that was all about?
Off to work. A new geocache had gone live this morning not far off of my drive to work, and the call of the First to Find was too much to resist. I drove as close as I could and then found that the one day I'd not got my wellies in the car was the one day I actually needed them.
As I drove "Women's Hour" was on the radio. Apparently half of the women murdered in the UK are done in by their partner or ex-partner which is male pretty much every time. Interestingly lesbians don't seem do each other in that often. Also the pundits claimed that a third of men murdered in the UK are done in by their gay lovers (or ex-lovers). One lives and learns.
I stopped off at Morrisons and got some bits and bobs, and nearly committed murder myself. Why is it that with an entire supermarket in which to dawdle about, everyone has to stop dead in the doorways to do their staring into space?
I slept well until 4am, then on waking far too early couldn't get back to sleep again. I gave up trying shortly after 5.30am and got up. Over brekkie I watched Saturday's episode of Dad's Army in which the verger made sure there was no mis-use of the vicar's apparatus (!)
I then did my morning check of Facebook. Apparently a helicopter has been circling the town overnight. One of the more "educated" of the masses had posted that she thought "sum fink bad" had happened.
And then I got rather angry.. a distant relative was posting all sorts of left-wing socialist political stuff. Whilst I agreed with the sentiment of what he was posting, it never fails to boil my piss that the chap is *the* most ardent supporter of the Conservative party. He won't hear a word against the Conservatives, but disagrees with their policies at every turn.
After yesterday's debacle I then made a point of putting my wellies in the back of my car. There was a lot of ice to be scraped from the car this morning. Odd really as I had to wear my sunglasses as I drove; the sun was that bright.
It was as well the sun was out and had melted the ice on the roads. I had to use my brakes quite a bit this morning. One particular car; a BMW (with registration LR53 NCY) was swerving from lane to lane in a desperate attempt to get in front of everyone else. Having cut me up twice this car then drove through a red traffic light. However that did them no good whatsoever as I caught up with them in Kennington some two minutes later.
As I drove to work the radio was telling me all that was going on in the wider world. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was having problems. MPs are to vote on whether or not to approve his budget plans. It seems there is a groundswell of opinion against his plans. But it is not clear whether is is on sound financial rreasons, or for silly political reasons about his stance on Europe, or to scupper his chances of taking over from David Cameron as leader of the Conservative party. I would have thought the nation's finances were too important for silly political manouvering, but what do I know?
And controversy still rages as to whether men's or women's tennis is the most important. It seems there is a lot of bad feeling amongst professional tennis players as to who should have the most prize money.
I got to work; I did my bit and came home again. I got stuck in road works on the way. Apparently the road works in Kennington will be there for several months. I was delayed by eight minutes this evening so I can't really grumble.
Once home I walked "Furry Face TM" round the block and then after a rather good bit of scoff we drove down to Folkestone to visit Jimbo. A cuppa, a few insults bandied, and then we watched proper Star Trek with Captain Kirk.
Over brekkie I watched Ronnie Corbett in "Sorry". For all that I keep telling the SkyPlus box not to record the program, it keeps doing so. And it seems to have decided to stop recording "The Last Man on Earth". I must admit I tired of Ronnie Corbett and turned it off half way round. I then had a look-see at the geo-map. There is talk of a mission to Cornwall over the May Day Holiday. However I can't get the time off work. I do have the first week in May off work though. I'm vaguely thinking about a three day walking holiday in Devon taking in some twenty five miles. (But only vaguely).
The radio gave me a wry smile - a recent survey has shown that there are (on average) one hundred and sixty discarded plastic bottles along every mile of Britain's beaches. It has been suggested that to avoid this littering disposable plastic bottles might have a returnable deposit in future. You would get a few pence back whenever you return an empty bottle to the shop. Just like it used to be when I was a boy.
This is actually quite a good idea to shift the litter; when I was young discarded bottles were worth something. My and my mates would go in search of the things because we got paid for taking them back to the shop. Going round tidying up was quite lucrative. Mind you children these days never seem to leave the house... but that's another rant.
Most of the morning's news was about the terrible bombings in Brussels. I wish I could understand the mentality of these terrorists. What *do* they think they achieve by blowing up innocent people. Are they *really* that stupid that they know no better, or are they *really* that stupid that they honestly think God wants them to kill people?
I did my bit, then came home again. Usually when I come home "Furry Face TM" is fast asleep. I say "usually"; he is *always* fast asleep. But not today. I came home to find him on the back of the sofa watching the world going by.
I popped his lead onto him and we went for a wander round the park. My dog played nicely with several other dogs and didn't instigate any fights at all. That is to be encouraged. Mind you we did have a minor incident with a toddler. Said child kept approaching "Furry Face TM"; and every time he showed any interest in her she ran off in terror. I gave the little girl five minutes of our time, then we continued home.
I had a message... I'm now a published author. I've written two short stories which appear in an anthology. You can download it from Amazon, and I understand that it will be available in "proper book" format soon...
Maybe it was the excitement of my stories having been published. Maybe it wasn't. But I was wide awake at 4am. I gave up trying to sleep and got up. Over a spot of brekkie I watched this week's "Raised by Wolves" in which Aretha was given a present from her Grandfather - a coat he'd found under a hedge. It smelt of fox pee, but Granddad said it would do and she wasn't to expect a Christmas present for the next two years.
I set off from home just as dawn was breaking. Today was a geo-calendar day and I had a plan. On Monday a new Wherigo had gone live not *that* far from home. It was still unfound this morning so I thought I might get a calendar filler and my first wherei-FTF too.
I spent a few minutes fiddling about trying to find somewhere to park in Teynham, and then had a rather pleasant early morning stroll over the fields. The Wherigo I was hunting was billed as being one which would take ten minutes to complete; I think I took fifteen minutes between parking my car and signing the log. But it was a clean unsullied log. First to Find. Happy dance.
I then drove into Canterbury. As I drove the radio was featuring various so-called experts who were giving their sage views on the implications for national security should we decide to leave the European Union. And again there were many wise and reasonable reasons given for staying in the EU. And again all the reasons given for leaving the EU boiled down to the fact that those opposed to EU membership didn't seem to like foreigners very much.
Once in Canterbury I got petrol, and seeing how I still had an hour and a half before work I thought I'd have a celebratory fry-up; I felt that a Wheri-FTF on top of being a published author was cause to celebrate.
I went to Café Solo; I've driven past there many times. I shall drive past in the future. The brekkie wasn't bad; the place was clean. But it was a con. A three-piece brekkie was advertised in the menu at £1.99 with extras (sausage, beans, etc) costing about seventy pence. I had three extras (about £2.10) with my £1.99 brekkie.
I did my bit, and came home. Heavy rain was forecast for the drive home; it drizzled a bit. I walked round the roads and we got rather wet. Just as the rain had seeped through to my pants the phone rang. It was "er indoors TM"; had I got the message. (What message?)
Apparently the car seat was needed to transport "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" to Sainsbury's. The car seat was in my car. I was soaked. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" could stay at home with his dad.
I got home, towelled off a wet dog and had a shower. I filled the washing machine with seven shirts and then found a hot cross bun in the kitchen. Bearing in mind I was due an arse-kicking for the Belgian bun I thought I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb so I scoffed it whilst correcting geo-puzzle co-ordinates. I;ve now got sixty done. I have another three hundred to go.
A cold night; "er indoors TM" seemed to have acquired most of the duvet, and the weight of "Furry Face TM" (who had plonked himself in between us) took up what little slack was left. The two of them seemed reluctant to part with any duvet, and so I shivered until "Furry Face TM" decided to go to his basket (of his own accord) shortly before 5am.
Over brekkie I spent a little while looking at the geo-map to plan out some walks over the next few months. There are still quite a few long (ish) geo-walks to be done, but fewer and fewer within an hour's drive of home.
As I pootled "er indoors TM" got up and went off to move her car. The moment she left the house my dog started crying. He was practically sobbing, and he went ballistic on her return (less than two minutes later).
I took my dog round the park. As we walked we saw a rather attractive young mother in skin-tight lycra jogging alongside her small child (who was on her bike). However the effect was somewhat marred by her constantly gasping for air which was only interrupted by various swear words.
Once home we had a message. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had earache. I drove round to collect him and drove him up to the hospital. He had a little fight with the nice doctor, and the doctor prescribed antibiotics.
So we went to Tesco to their pharmacy to get his medicine. Littlun wreaked havoc with the medicines on the shelf whilst we scoffed the hot cross bun samples that were on offer. The nice lady on the hot cross bun stall made no secret that the quicker they got eaten the quicker she could go home, so we ate loads.
I came back home again to find that "Furry Face TM" had cornered a slow worm in the garden. I rescued the slow worm, did the monthly accounts (and wished I hadn't) then polished my shoes and set off for Hastings.
Kev got married today. I can't remember the first time I met Kev; but we were in the Boys Brigade and at school together. He was a year below me, so I would have met him for the first time some time in 1976. Apart from family I don't think there is anyone else with whom I am still in regular contact who I've known longer.
I wouldn't say I drank too much yesterday but... There's no denying that much of yesterday evening was a blur. I woke feeling like death warmed up at 3am. I do that after a serious drinnking session. The cure is to get up and drink a pint of water. So I did that, but then couldn't get back to sleep. So I got up again and had brekkie at 4.30am. Sometimes if I get up for an hour I then can sleep afterwards. So I got up, had a shave, posted the photos from yesterday's wedding and went back to bed.
I dozed fitfully until 7am when "Furry Face TM" declared "Red Alert". I knew Lacey was going to be with us today; but no one told me she was arriving at 7am. But I didn't mind. We spent an hour or so watching stuff on the Nickelodeon Channel.
Lacey seemed content watchinig telly and "Furry Face TM" was restless so I took him round the park. For once the place wasn't heaving with the Saturday morning jog-a-thon. He behaved himself (mostly) and as we walked we saw a Jay flying past. You don't see them very often in Viccie Park.
Personally I was rather disappointed to find that the event was aimed at the pre-school age group. It is possible we might have enjoyed it more if we had been able to hear anything of what the characters in the show were saying; I wouldn't say that I wanted my money back (mainly because "er indoors TM" had paid) but the entertainment was twenty quid down the toilet.
Mind you there were several stalls selling all sorts of stuff. We were rather taken with the magic stall and we all came away with magic tricks and magic wands and stuff. Pausing only briefly to have photos taken withh Minions we then went to the American Diner for a spot of lunch where Lacey started amazing us with her magical feats. I must admit I've always been taken with magicians, and I can do the bamboozing the public by talking loud and fast and confidently. I wonder if I might become a magician?
Cheryl joined us at the Diner, and we then went round to Asda to get the makings of dinner. Narrowly missing a "CrackWatch" opportunity we came home for a cuppa, made a few plans for tomorrow then drove round to Dan and Cheryl's. We played magic tricks, had a rather good bit of diner, then I slept through Ant and Dec on the telly.
Overnight the organiser replied to some of the comments. It made for interesting reading. Having set themselves up as a business offering family entertainment (and having fallen flat on their faces) they had been posting some rather odd messages. Overnight they seem to have changed from being a business providing a service (set up like any other business) to being a struggling charity event to which we are supposed to be sympathetic.
They claimed they had been overwhelmed by numbers at yesterday's event. What rubbish! When you organise an event for which attendance is only by tickets bought in advance you know *exactly* how many people are going
They didn't like all the negative comments on social media. What did they expect? Twenty quid is a lot of money to spend out to be packed like sardines into a poky room to watch a load of small children playing a few party games. There was an unused heated marquee not one hundred yards away which would have been far more suited to the event.
They took umbrage at my comments and asked me (I thought somewhat sarcastically) what I would have done differently. So this morning I sent them a list of nine ways in which they could have done things better. In the meantime someone else posted that a few less excuses and a few more apologies might go a long way to appeasing a disappointed public. To their credit they seemed to take this on board.
They responded to my suggestions in a rather civil way. I've now got the distinct impression that the organiser tried to put on a show with absolutely no experience whatsoever and has found out just how difficult this sort of thing is. In retrospect as a Scout leader I organised many such events over the years which were far cheaper and (quite frankly) far better.
As I scoffed brekkie I listened to the sound of the rain. We debated cancelling our plans for the day, but in the end decided to make a start but to be prepared to cry off once we'd got there. After all we've had many days in the past where early rain soon abated.
We collected Suzy and her associate, and took a minor detour into Pluckley to collect Cliff. We then went on to Surrey. There was an Easter geo-meet to which loads of the Kent hunters of tupperware were going. It was actually a rather good session; it is always good to meet new friends. I also met a new pug friend. Henry was dressed as an Easter chick. Pugs are such soppy dogs; they don't mind being dressed up.
From the geo-meet we walked for five minutes to a hole in the ground. Inside this hole in the ground was a disused ammunition store (from the second world war). And inside that ammo store was a geocache (no surprises there).
We crawled in (in pairs) through the mud and did the secret geo-thing in the dark. Jo lent me her head torch (for which I was very grateful) and I went first with Cliff. Having gone in and out I then took a few photos of everyone else going in and out.
We had several other geo-targets in mind for today, but as the last ones emerged from the hole so the rain started. It was torrential, and in two minutes became hail. We decided to go back to the cars and abandon our plans. Any hesitation we might have had about this went out the window when the thunder and lightening started.
We stripped out of wet clothes and drove round to a nearby pub where we sat and chatted for a couple of hours. We dried out, and so did the weather. After a leisurely two pints I looked at the map and plotted out a little walk round some nearby woods. So we went for a stroll. After one hundred yards the heavens opened and we were soaked to the skin. So we gave up and came home.
I woke raring to go at 1am. I got back to sleep, but was then plagued with dreams of having to protect random small children from an authoritarian church in a post-apocalyptic nightmare. I eventually rescued the children by bashing the head of of the Archbishop of Canterbury against a brick wall (when no one was looking), and it was then that I woke up in a sweat.
I got up and over brekkie watched "Dad's Army" which the SkyPlus box had thoughtfully recorded for me. In today's episode the bank had been bombed. It made for gentle entertainment until it was time to go to work.
The weather forecast for this morning hadn't been good; as I drove the pundits were telling horror tales of wind speeds of over one hundred miles an hour in the Solent. I don't know how fast the wind was going here in Kent, but it was an effort to walk against it.
I got about half way to work and had to turn round. The A28 was blocked by a fallen tree. I was grateful for sat-nav (once I got a signal) to take me through the back roads, but I found myself taking a very circuitous route to work along some rather narrow country lanes. These lanes also being strewn with fallen branches and small trees.
I got to work and did my bit. To be honest what with the wind having been so strong today I would rather have worked today and have the time off when it suits me rather than having had the day off and being sat at home sulking about how bad the weather was.
As the day wore on so the wind abated somewhat and the day became brighter. Until the stroke of going home time when the heavens opened and I got soaked walking trom the door to my car. Ironically the rain had stopped by the time I got home.
I came home to find "er indoors TM" had been staging a tidy-up. At the sight of me "Furry Face TM" got very over-excited. He associates my coming home with walkies time. So not wishing to disappoint him we tookk him round the park.
It was still rather windy and some chap was playing with a power kite in the park. Personally I wouldn't play with one in such a strong wind, or quite so close to the trees. I could have interfered, but I thought it best for him to learn these lessons for himself.
Once home we haad somehing of a lazy evening in front of the telly. On the one hand I would have liked to have done more with the evening; on the other hand I've had a busy few days. A little slob-about is never a bad thing...
I was rather tired last night and so went to bed earlier than usual and watched "Gotham" over brekkie this morning. Not watching it as it was broadcast last night meant it only took forty minutes to view as I could fast-forward through the adverts. This isn't news to me; I really should do it all the time.
I've often wondered exactly in which time period "Gotham" is set. Judging by the mobile phones the characters carry and the computer technology they use it is obviously not current-day, but sometime in the not-too-distant past. I'd say probably about ten to fifteen years ago.
I sat up and took notice at one point during the show; the action was taking place on February 21st; my birthday. It was mentioned that this was a Thursday. However this doesn't really help to date the show at all. February 21st was last on a Thursday in 1991, 2002, 2008 and 2013. 2002 sort of makes sense for the technology in the show. However if it was set in 1991 that would make Bruce Wayne thirty seven today; which would fit more with the Batman comics.
I set off to work. As I drove there was talk about the ongoing nationwide closures of libraries and how many are only being kept open by the efforts of volunteers. I realise I'm in a minority here, but is this a good thing? Whilst these volunteers mean well, should public services *really* be provided by volunteers?
It is a short step from this to having the entire medical care of the nation provided by volunteer first aiders, and having schools replace paid teachers with keen amateurs. Imagine what savings any government of any political persuasion could make that way.
There was also an article about the RSPCA in which it claimed they'd had a cat put down. Leaving aside the fact that the cat was perfectly healthy, the pundits made great show of the little-known fact that the RSPCA have absolutely no authority whatsoever to do anything at all. But the RSPCA have never let that stop them getting involved in whatever they like.
I stopped off in Morrisons for supplies. I got some fruit and also jam and marmalade. A pot of Morrisons marmalade costs twenty seven pence. A pot of the posh stuff costs exactly a quid more. It don't taste that different to me. Some people really do have money to burn.
I got to work and did my bit. During the day we had a visit from an ex-colleague. "Little Matthew" (who was bigger than the other Matthew) came back to see us today. He's currently at university in Bristol. He seemed happy; which is probably the best one can hope for from life.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. As we walked we met two girls not much older than Lacey. They wanted to stroke my dog. As they did so one of them told me "My mum says she wonders if I will have big tits". I muttered some feeble excuse and made a hasty getaway. As we came home past the horses so the heavens opened and we both got soaked.
We hadn't been home long when "er indoors TM" came home annd unleashed a case of whoop-ass on me for not getting margarine whilst I was in Morrisons this morning. No one told me we were short of the stuff.
In a change to the usual routine I took "Furry Face TM" for his walk before brekkie. We got up and went straight out. It was a tad chilly. We went round the park; we came home again. For once absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happened. It was a bit dull really.
We came home. I had my morning ablutions then we had brekkie. As I scoffed toast I watched the most recent episode of "Extant". I hear the show is not getting a third season; you know the thing is going downhill when the main character gets her kit off for a smut scene.
As I watched the phone rang. Someone claiming to be called David had phoned from Windows technical support becasue "my windows computer am got the virus". I wasted ten minutes of his time before telling him (quite literally) to f... off. This scam was quite imaginative and amusing when it first came out but they still keep trying it on after all these years.
I then had a letter from councillor Jenny Webb inviting me to a coffee morning next week. I did a little Googling and found that she is the local councillor. One lives and learns. I may well go drink her coffee and give her a hard time over local issues. Or I may not.
I emptied the dishwasher and promptly smashed a glass. I cleared up the carnage and set off to work. Once I remembered where I'd parked the car last night. As I drove to work "Women's Hour" was on the radio. I'm often less than complimentary about that program. I'm afraid it wound me up somewhat today. It had a feature on an international competition for violinists aged under twenty-two. They had one of the contestants on the show. Someone called Matild (*not* Matilda) from London came on and played the violin for five minutes. I can't deny she was far better than I could ever be (having played the instrument myself many years ago) but the sound of her music was shrill to the point of being painful.
There was then a frankly embarrassing interview with Matild in which the radio show's presenters effectively told her not to be ashamed of being a geek. I though they were rather rude to the poor girl.
I have done. It was not something I'd care to repeat. Those who know me well know that my life had something of a hiccup five years ago. It was no secret; it was rather obvious. The stress of the time made me lose a third of my body weight. At that time I found that many people who I thought were true friends were not. And several people who until that point had been rather peripheral in my life turned out to be wonderful people. Alistair was one such wonder. I won't go into detail about how he helped me, but I'll say that he went far out of his way to help me in ways that many other people I'd known longer and better (and thought would help me) did not.
Over brekkie I read something on the Internet which made me think. Salford City Council have banned people from swearing in parts of the city. There is an on the spot fine of a hundred quid for the foul-mouthed. On the one hand it is a flagrant breach of human rights. On the other hand I swear too much mysself and am getting rather sick of the torrents of profanities which seem to surround me. There is a particular f..! person f..! whose f..! every f..! other f..! is f..! the f..! F-f..! word. Literally f..!every f..! second f..! word f..! he f..! says f..! is f..! the f..! F-f..! word. I must admit I don't like it very much. Perhaps this might curb his excesses. Perhaps not.
There was then a discussion on Facebok about which was the better of two local gastro-pubs. Both seem to have peeople queueing up to get in. One seems to rely on the reputation garnered from the fact a national celebrity drinks in their bar. The other does very good food but vastly over-priced. Am I wrong to seriously prefer McDonalds over both of them?
I popped the lead onto my dog and we went for a walk. Being on a rostered day off I had time to myself and so I decided to do some geo-maintenance. For all that I go hunting down Tupperware as a hobby, it doesn’t hide itself. People have to hide the caches. And having hidden them, the hider is then responsible for the upkeep of the box… for all that you can upkeep a plastic box hidden under a rock.
Some people maintain their caches well; others not at all. Some check on them on a weekly (or even daily) basis. Some make a point of never checking at all. I suppose I am somewhat lax in my geo-maintenance. I honestly don’t think it is unreasonable to expect people hunting the boxes to do any required maintenance as they walk round. Like I do. But that’s just me…
Over the Christmas holidays I put out a load of caches round Great Chart. I’d had reports that several of the caches needed a little TLC so today I went to have a look-see. Some had gone missing as the result of hedge cutting and floods. And some were perfectly fine. But it was as well that I walked round. Many of the ones that were fine wouldn’t have been so for long. For a geocache to work it neds to be somewhat concealed; not sitting out in the open, bold as brass, visible from twenty yards away.
But, as I always say, the whole point of this geo-lark is to have a decent guided walk. And we had a good walk. It was a tad muddy in places. Fudge didn’t *actually* have to swim but it came close. As we walked we met friendly horses and saw blue tits and heard the woodpeckers. We walked for just under two hours; it is an ideal walk… but it will be better when it dries out a little.
We came home and a certain Patagonian Tripe-Hound had a bath. I then watched last night’s “Extant” over a spot of lunch. The show is clearly building up to next week’s grand finale. Mush as I’ve liked it I shall be glad when it is all over; it is becoming clear that the plot wasn’t really thought through.
I then sparked up the PC and put up the photos I took whilst we walked then did the monthly accounts. I had something of an annual tally-up. Every month I put a ton of cash into what I call the “Household Account”. It is from this account that I pay all the monthly household bills (council tax, gas, leccie, water, internet etc). I put a little more into the account every month than I need to; the idea being that should any unforeseen emergencies arise then I have some emergency cash. This comes in handy when (for example) the garden fence collapses. Being the end of the financial year I thought I’d see how the account had fared over the year. There is fifty quid less in the account than there was a year ago. Fifty quid over the year… that’s not bad.
Similarly I put money aside to pay for car insurance, road tax and car services. At the end of the financial year this account was actually twelve quid up on what it was a year ago. I was rather pleased about that.
I thought about mowing the lawn and hacking back next door's clematis and generally doing gardening. But I thought better of the idea. Instead I set the washing machine loose on my smalls and watched something I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. "God Bless America" was a rather odd film in which a middle-aged man and a young girl go off across America killing anyone they don't like. Whilst I could seriously identify with the lead character the film certainly made me appreciate the UK's policy of not letting the likes of me have a gun.
I then spent a littlle while looking at the map making vague plans in the West Country until "er indoors TM" came home. She boiled up a rather good bit of scran, then as we devoured it we watched Jack Black in "School of Rock". Not too shabby at all....