1 March 2017 (Wednesday) - Stuff
Despite having been banned from the bed, the puppy still woke me three times last night. When I turfed her out for the last time I realised I might as well get up at that point.
I had intended to watch more of the SS-GB series over brekkie but the third episode wasn’t ready to be downloaded. It hasn’t been broadcast yet. So instead I made do with “You Rang M’Lord” (now that the DVD player has been rebooted). As I watched it, my dog snored in his basket. He’s not come upstairs at night for some time. He comes up when I get dressed, but I think he’s realised that with the puppy being so restless he gets a better sleep I his own basket.
I sparked up my lap-top; absolutely nothing of note had happened on Facebook. One or two people were pretending to be Welsh in honour of today being St David’s day.
That winds me up. We live in Kent. You can’t get further away from Wales and stay on the same island. If people are really Welsh why have they never made mention of it before, why do they never visit the place, and why do they and all their family live within twenty miles of the south Kent coast?
I checked emails; other than adverts about jobs in which I wasn’t interested there was nothing so I set off to work.
I didn’t have to scrape ice off of the car today; that made me think. I always say the first day of winter is the first day I have to scrape ice from the car’s windscreen at the end of the year. But using that as a measure, when does winter end?
As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the latest revelation that end-of-life care is something of a postcode lottery. Surely this isn’t news. Surely everyone realises this? All the time hospices are funded largely by public donations how can it be otherwise? I’m sure people who fundraise for hospices have the best of intentions, but no government of any party is every going to fund anything properly all the time volunteers are going to raise the money for them.
Stopping only briefly at Aldi I got to work and did my bit. I’d like to be able to do more of a bit; learning new ways is a slow process. And with my bit done I came home. As I got home "er indoors TM" was walking up the road with the dogs. I joined them for a walk.
Once walked the dogs then wreaked havoc whilst "er indoors TM" went round to the scout hut. She is still the scout group’s secretary and they were having a meeting. I toyed with the idea of going round to meet old friends, but I know what the scout association is like; give them an inch and they really do take a mile. If I go round to say hello I will be emotionally blackmailed to get involved again. I’ve already got enough on my plate; I don’t have the patience for scouts any more.
"er indoors TM" came home via the chip shop and we watched the first episode of the new series of “Benidorm”. Good stuff…
2 March 2017 (Thursday) - World Book Day
Another rather restless night. Despite the puppy not disturbing me, I didn’t really sleep well, and gave up trying to sleep just before 5am. I watched an episode of “You Rang M’Lord” then sparked up my lap-top. Facebook told me that today is World Book Day. I googled “World Book Day” and rather than getting any literary search results I got a whole load of costume ideas for kids to dress up. What is that all about?
A little research has shown me that World Book Day isn’t an educational thing, it is a day of dressing up for the school kids. Mumsnet have created a web page which lists characters in children’s books that wear everyday clothes so mums won’t have to spend out on expensive costumes.
Why dress up at all? What’s wrong with reading a book? Take a look at that mumsnet web page – how many kids will be at school today wearing football kit or pyjamas claiming to be dressed as Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother or Willy the Wizard, but having never read the books? (And having no intention of reading the book either?)
To quote one chap’s posting on Facebook “F… world book day , when it costs you 60 quid for costumes for school , another day that's costs, utter b…s”
I had a couple of emails – suggestions that I apply for jobs in Essex. As the crow flies, Southend isn’t *that* far away. Linkedin was trying to get me to support ObamaCare (why?) And Amazon were again trying to sell me stuff which was of no interest to me.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the latest Brexit bombshell. The government’s plans have been scuppered by the House of Lords; the government doesn’t plan to guarantee the future of EU residents who have lived in the UK for years. This sucks; good friends of mine who have lived in the UK for over twenty years look to be ordered back overseas.
I got to work, had a rather busy day, and with work done I then spent forty five minutes queueing to get out of the hospital car park; the traffic was that busy.
Once I gone home my dad rang. Him and mum are at Guy’s hospital; she was due to have half a lung removed this morning. The surgery went well; the criteria for judging this was that mum didn’t have a stroke or a heart attack during the process…
3 March 2017 (Friday) - Aliens !
I woke to find Fudge had spent the night at the foot of my bed. He’s not done that for a little while. I saw that as something of a result.
As I shaved there was something of a commotion as "er indoors TM" and both dogs were swarming around the kitchen. They do that quite impressively from time to time. They then all went back to kip and left me watching my DVD. Mr Stokes was purloining Mrs Lipton’s cherry cake in “You Rang M’Lord” (!)
I sparked up my lap-top to see what was going on in cyberspace. Facebook told me that two friends had birthdays today. I say “friends”; one actually is a friend, the other not so. But other than that, very little else had happened on there. Facebook isn’t what it used to be.
The morning’s haul of emails was better than usual though. I had an invite to a book club. It turns out there’s a book club on the first and third Friday of every month in the local Wetherspoons. I didn’t know about that; if the opportunity arises I might just wander along.
And the astro club had an email from SAGAS (the Southern Areas Group of Astronomical Societies). Apparently someone who’s actually a proper astronomer (as opposed to a random nutter) has photographed a real live UFO in the Ashdown Forest area. You can see the photo above. They were wondering if anyone else has seen the same UFO in Sussex or Kent. For what it’s worth I was in Eastbourne last Sunday and didn’t see any aliens.
As I looked on-line my little dog sat with me. He’s not been his usual self lately; I think his back is getting more and more painful. He rarely sits on the sofa any more, and when I pick him up he clearly winces in pain. He needs to lose weight; perhaps coming upstairs last night and being on the sofa this morning was a good sign.
The puppy then came charging through the living room (like a thing possessed) with my socks in her mouth. I took that as a prompt to get dressed, so I did and then went off to work.
As I drove through the rain the pundits in the radio were interviewing some windbag from the Scottish Nationalist party. I can’t understand how this bunch stays in power up north. They are a one-policy party, and their one policy (Scottish independence) was rejected by the Scottish electorate a couple of years ago. The chap being interviewed this morning was talking about another independence referendum because the Scots want to remain part of an ever-more-integrated Europe whilst leaving the UK. It struck me that the chap being interviewed didn’t want independence at all; he just wanted rid of the English. A shame he couldn’t be open about this.
I stopped off at Sainsbury’s to get petrol. I say “stopped off” – I used to ”stop off” at Morrisons in Canterbury. I actually now “go out of my way” to get to Sainsbury’s. I filled the car with petrol. I could be wrong but I think the car’s fuel economy is much worse following last week’s service.
I then went on to work via Aldi where arguably the world’s most miserable checkout girl took my money. I’ve come to like Aldi if only for the utter disinterest exhibited by their staff.
Work was good; I now have a locker. And whereas yesterday evening it took three quarters of an hour to get out of the hospital car park, today it took less than a minute.
Once home we ran the dogs round the road. As we walked I looked at the clouds. I had something of a wry smile; there was total cloud cover. I’d had a Facebook invite to an astronomy event this evening at Downe House. Usually I would have gone to that, but having been told by the organiser of the Facebook event that (amongst other failings) I was lacking ambition and direction, that I was embarrassingly irreverent, that I was subversive, manipulative and a leader of negativity I thought I would give it a miss this time.
With dogs walked I phoned to get an update on mum’s progress. Getting an update isn’t easy as my dad isn’t the most clued-up person when it comes to using his mobile phone. It seems she’s doing incredibly well having had half a lung removed.
I put some shirts on to wash whilst "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scoff. She does that…
4 March 2017 (Saturday) - Visiting Mum
I was woken at ten minutes past two o’clock this morning by the sound of Fudge whimpering. I got up to find him looking at the bed. Clearly he wanted to get up onto it, but the jump was a bit much for him. So I lifted him up. Finding myself wide awake I went out and moved my car. Again I’d parked it in the restricted parking area round the corner. I can only remain parked there until 8am. That is fine on a work day, but not today.
With car moved I felt a tad peckish, so I scoffed some corn flakes whilst watching a very old episode of “Dad’s Army”. About a year or so ago the BBC ran every single episode of “Dad’s Army” and I watched the lot. They are re-running them and I’m sure they are now playing episodes they never played before.
I went back to bed and tried to make myself comfortable without disturbing my dog. It took some doing, but once settled I managed to sleep though till nearly eight o’clock.
Over brekkie I found myself reading the various comments on Facebook surrounding a pro-life video a friend had posted. The gist of the argument was that African people don’t want access to legal abortion, and the speaker was advocating banning legal abortions and was clearly ignoring common sense at every turn.
One of the comments I read summed up the pro or anti-abortion argument very succinctly: “You can't ban abortions from happening. You can only ban safe, legal abortions. And that's why talk like this is so scary and dangerous”.
However I was probably watching the video from an odd perspective. I know the speaker. I gave her a job over ten years ago (in another life when I was a manager), and she was one of the few people who stood up for me when I had a rather nasty episode five and a half years ago (when many so-called friends did not). The speaker is one of the most decent, likeable, and honest people I know. She is also one of the most intelligent and highly educated people I know. However she has also got religion in a big way. Time and again she would deny proven fact and common sense in favour of blatant nonsense that she’d heard spouted from her priest.
How can intelligent and educated people have their heads turned by witchcraft and mumbo-jumbo?
I took the dogs for a walk. As we went through Bowens Field I saw what looked like a white blackbird; I tried to get a photograph but was too slow. I wonder what it was. We then went on to the park (having forgotten that being Saturday, today was the Park Run). We got sworn at by one runner, and his mate loudly asked if anyone had tried kicking the dogs. Us dog walkers regularly get sworn at on Saturdays. I’ve watched mothers with push chairs being forced into the mud.
I complained to the organisers; they were understanding and polite. It is only a minority of the runners who are disagreeable, but the organiser summed up the problem when he said that they tell the runners to share the park with pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers. Realistically there are too many runners on a Saturday for the park to be shared. Either they should stop the run, stagger it into smaller runs, or close the park so the runners get exclusive use.
I wonder to whom I should suggest this… I’ve emailed the Park Run people.
Leaving the dogs in the care of "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" we took the train to London, and were soon at Guy’s Hospital visiting mum. Yesterday she was doing really well, but following intense pain on coughing they gave her morphine. Today she was not doing well at all. When she wasn’t asleep she was incredibly confused. We stayed until the end of morning visiting, then having settled her we left her for a while.
We had a quick cuppa, then went on a little walk along the river Thames and back. Not knowing the area at all we planned our route using various geocaches to guide us, and the route worked well. We saw St Pauls and Tower Bridge and the Globe theatre and the Golden Hinde and Borough Market, and the walk filled a two and a half hour break when otherwise we would be fretting about mum.
Afternoon visiting started again at 3.30pm; whereas in the morning mum had been confused, in the afternoon she was tired. She was rather tearful, but eventually we settled her. I collared a passing nurse who confirmed my suspicions. Mum is one of those people who react badly to morphine, and because she’s not been drinking she’s become dehydrated. Consequently her system is not clearing the morphine. She’s been put on a drip and hopefully by tomorrow there should be an improvement. There was talk of precautionary brain scans, but I’m going to naively hope that this is just precautionary and ignore all the warnings that the surgery might have brought on another stroke.
We stayed with mum for a couple of hours longer than we really needed to; and took the train home again. Once home "er indoors TM" went off to the Saturday film night. I stayed home with two rather quiet dogs. I think "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had tired them both out today.
I too was tired. Or, to be precise, drained. I want my mum back.
5 March 2017 (Sunday) - Rain Stopped Play
I slept like a log last night, eventually getting up just before 8am. I opened the living room curtains and Fudge charged up to sit on the back of the sofa. For all that his back is clearly hurting him, he like sitting on the back of the sofa and watching the world go by. It keeps him amused, but it doesn’t keep him quiet. He does bark (very loudly) at the most random things.
Whilst he guarded the street I had a look-see on-line whilst I had my toast. Yesterday I whinged about my experiences with the Park Run. This morning they replied to the email I sent them. They didn’t actually say “f… off fatso” but that was clearly the gist of their message. Totally glossing over the fact that their runners go eight abreast and force everyone off the paths (whilst swearing at them) they said they felt the park was quite big enough for all. They also claimed that a dog bit one of their runners yesterday. They didn’t actually say that it was Fudge or Treacle but I don’t think they needed to. It speaks volumes that they signed their reply as “Ashford parkrun team” and didn’t put a name to their missive.
Yesterday I found a few geocaches whilst in London. Today I had messages from various cache owners thanking me for going to find their caches. What was that all about? I should be thanking them for putting them out?
I then had a look on Facebook. It seems that loads of my Facebook friends were not only in London, but in the parts of London we saw. There were check-ins at St Paul’s cathedral, the Golden Hinde and the London Eye. Such a small world.
Usually Sunday would see an early start for us, and would be spent on a rather long walk. But the forecast heavy rain had started by 8.30am, so I set the washing machine loose on grubby clothes, and I wasted a little while writing up my CPD. It doesn’t write itself, you know.
I then did the monthly accounts; I hadn’t allowed for the fact that the night work I did in Canterbury was paid a month in arrears, and so I found I’d got a nice bonus wage I wasn’t expecting this month. It wasn’t earth-shattering, but effectively it paid off the recent car service. Every little helps.
Seeing there was a break in the rain we took the dogs for a walk round the park. As we went through Bowens Field we saw that albino blackbird again. I wonder what it is.
There were a few spots of rain, but they soon passed. And with dogs walked we settled them and went for a little mission. "er indoors TM" is a leading light in a tidy-up campaign at the heath-side country corridor and we needed to organise directions for the upcoming event. As we drove, the rain hit. The first shower only lasted for five minutes, but it was torrential, and so forceful that we couldn’t hear ourselves speak as it was bashing the windscreen so hard.
With the storm passed over and directions organised we drove out to Go Outdoors in Canterbury to spend the voucher I’d got as a present when I left working at the hospital there. Boots, socks and illuminous dog collars were soon bought, and we then went on to the pet shop in Chartham to try to get some hard-wearing dog toys. Fudge manages to destroy every toy we get him; we’ve got something which the nice lady in the shop said was hard wearing, but the nice lady did say that no dog toys were indestructible. I think it’s fair to say that Fudge’s jaws have proved this.
We stopped off for McLunch on the way home. McDonalds now does table service.
Jose and Maria popped round so’s Enrique could play with the puppy. Like most children I think he was more keen on the idea of a puppy than the reality. The idea of a puppy is a lot more fluffy; the reality has a lot more claws and teeth.
I then wasted the rest of the afternoon doing ironing. I say “wasted”; the weather was against our doing anything else and it was a job which needed doing. But I’d rather have the money to pay someone to do the ironing for me.
As the afternoon wore on, the puppy swallowed half of the chew we’d bought her. She swallowed it whole. She struggled to get it down, but it went down eventually. She didn’t seem too bothered by the ordeal, but I shall watch her like a hawk for the next hour or so just in case…
Mum’s better than she was yesterday.
6 March 2017 (Monday) - Waste of Money
I slept well, the night was only marred by my waking far too early (as I do). Over brekkie I watched the third episode of SS-GB. I think I will need to get the DVD of the series when it comes out as the plot is getting rather convoluted.
As I watched it Fudge sat with me and I combed him. He seemed to like that. And the puppy seemed none the worse after having devoured an enormous lump of chew yesterday.
Facebook was rather quiet this morning; I’m seriously considering leaving the Jack Russell pages on Facebook. Once they were a source of fun and amusement, but more and more there is just posting from people whose dogs are dying. Life can be quite depressing enough without this negativity.
The morning’s haul of emails also had very little of note. The only one worthy of mention was from email@example.com who had seen my profile (?) and would be very happy to be my good friend (!). I wonder exactly what sort of scam she had in mind. Whatever it was, I wasn’t having any of it.
I’ve decided to give up with this #walk1000miles thingy. To be on target to have walked one thousand miles in this year I should really now be at about one hundred and seventy miles and when I deleted the counter I was at seventy. Realistically I suspect I was probably on target, but having to manually update my score meant that I was always forgetting to do so. And its Facebook group attracted some rather odd types too. I think I’m better off out of it.
As I set off to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing some expert on counter-terrorism measures. The chap felt the best protection against terror attacks was vigilance on the part of the public. Apparently several attacks have been prevented by the public having overheard plots and having reported them. I found myself wondering about my looney next door neighbour. A few years ago he was ranting about how wonderful he felt Al-Qaeda was. He wouldn’t hear a word against them. I’ve not seen him for some months. I wonder if he just might be up to something. He *really* is mad enough.
I made good time to work, and once in the car park I emptied various odds and ends from my car’s glove compartment and put them into my new locker. I did my bit at work and came home. As I came home I narrowly missed being run off the road by a van of Crawley Insulations. As I have said before, driving like a twit is counterproductive when doing so in a clearly labelled works van.
Once home I phoned my dad; mum is *much* improved, and will be home in a few days. And with "er indoors TM" off bowling I gave Fudge the toy I’d bought for him yesterday. I’d spent good money getting a tough, hard-wearing toy for him.
He had the stuffing out within five minutes…
7 March 2017 (Tuesday) - Crap Cybermen
My dog spent the night on my bed last night. On the one hand I was glad he felt up to coming upstairs, on the other hand it gave me a restless night. Over brekkie I watched another episode of “You Rang M’Lord”, and as it finished I found the telly was playing the first episode of “Brideshead Revisited”. This is a series I’ve seen so many times that I know what is going to happen for the entire series, but still I love it.
As Sebastian threw up into Charles’s window I had a look-see on-line. There was absolutely nothing of note on Facebook (possibly because I’ve walked away from some of the more contentious sites on there). Linkedin had emailed me to suggest I might like to congratulate Ledino Mila on her three-year work anniversary. I decided not to as I have no idea who Ledina Milo is. And match dot com had emailed me to offer a three-day free trial. I decided against it.
As I drove to work the radio wittered on in the background. There was talk of calls for an early general election. This could be a double-edged sword. On the one hand the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn would effectively be wiped out. On the other hand the Scottish Nationalists would probably be given carte blanche to do as they please north of the border.
There was also mention of the return of the original cybermen in the upcoming series of Doctor Who. Personally I think this is a bad move; Steven Moffat (the bloke who makes the show) described the original cybermen as looking like “boys with jumpers pulled over their heads”.
And the pundits wheeled on the shadow education spokesperson Angela Rayner who flatly refused to answer every single question that was put to her. I can’t understand the Labour party’s aversion to grammar schools. Surely it makes sense to stretch the brighter children rather than to have them plodding along at the pace of the thickest child in the class? Or perhaps it is just part of the Labour party’s (rather obvious) ploy to make themselves unelectable at every turn.
With work done I came home and we walked the dogs. They like their evening walks. So do I, but I prefer it when we have the lighter evenings so we can go to the park.
We had a quick bit of scoff, then made our way round to Arden Drive for the Tuesday gathering. It was good to catch up, we watched an episode of Gotham… all good stuff.
"My Boy TM" wants to know if we fancy a week’s holiday in Greece. He’s not thought this through – he’s the dog-sitter. Does anyone fancy having "Furry Face TM" for a week ?
8 March 2017 (Wednesday) - Buying Bogroll
On that rare occasion when I was actually fast asleep at 4am the puppy started chewing my hand. That woke me up. I got up, emptied the dishwasher and watched another episode of “You Rang M’Lord”. Captain Dalby had been located, and Lady Lavender didn’t throw her porridge (which was seen by all as something of a result). When the DVD finished I again found thet “Brideshead Revisited” was playing. Charles was drowning in honey. He did that a lot in the late 1920s.
I’d had an email overnight from the Environment Agency telling me my fishing licence was about to expire and offering me the opportunity to renew it on-line. That saved a load of farting around.
I was just about to check Facebook when an enormous crash from upstairs told me the dogs had just jumped off of the bed. When they get up it sounds as though they are coming through the ceiling. Once I’d tiddled them they both went back to sleep, and I then managed to find that very little had happened on Facebook overnight. That was probably for the best bearing in mind their antics in the news yesterday.
In the past I’ve reported the various bits of filth that has been directed at me on that social platform and they’ve done nothing. Over the last few days the BBC have reported to Facebook’s own watchdogs one hundred pictures on their site featuring child pornography. In the first instance the people at Facebook claimed that eighty two of these depraved pictures didn’t breach any of their community standards, but when challenged by the BBC they then reported the BBC to the police over the very pictures that had appeared on their own web site. They quite happily run child porn but won’t allow me to use an alias.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing Michael Heseltine. The eighty-three year old chap is one of the longest serving politicians of our age and he’s been sacked from his position in government because he voted with his conscience rather than voting how the Prime Minister wanted him to. Whether he voted for the right thing or not is immaterial; he did what he felt the right thing was and openly defended his position on live national radio.
Personally I think it sucks that the Prime Minister didn’t have the guts to tell him he was sacked personally, but did it via some press release.
I stopped off at Aldi to get some bogroll. As I got out of my car I was harangued by a passing idiot. Did I know where Borough Green Railway station was? I said I thought it was about fifteen miles away. The idiot shouted that it was eight miles away and rammed his mobile phone under my nose to show it on Google Navigation. Sure enough it was only eight miles away. I conceded my inaccuracy. However the idiot was unable to follow the voice directions from his phone. To work out where he was, he wanted to know the name of the nearby road (Hermitage Lane) and was incensed that I was unsure as to whether the other road was the A20. He wasn’t impressed when I told him I neither knew nor cared what the road was; I knew the way to work and that was enough for me. He started ranting that he needed to get to the railway. I offered to lead him to Barming railway station (a mile up the road), but he wanted Borough Green railway station. I suggested he followed the directions of the very sat-nav app he was still thrusting at me; he seemed to take this very sensible suggestion as a personal affront.
I left him to it, and went to get my bogroll.
I got to work and did my thing. And with my thing done I came home. The pundits on the radio were discussing the afternoon’s budget, but it was clear that the discussions and pontifications were all rather spur-of-the-moment. Hopefully they will have a more considered view in the morning.
Sometimes they do…
9 March 2017 (Thursday) - Another Dull Day
Again I woke at 4am, and lay awake for over an hour before finally giving up and getting up to watch the telly. “You Rang M’Lord” gave way to the end of “Brideshead Revisited”; both are shows I’ve seen so many times, but still keep me amused.
As I watched telly Fudge snored in his basket. He wasn’t himself last night, he only had a few bites of his dinner, and wasn’t really that keen on any cheese. He seems to be down more and more these days. I alternated between the sofa and his basket; getting more and more worried about him.
(He later pooped out a two-inch lump of rubber from the supposedly indestructible toy he ate at the weekend, and was then as right as rain)
With nothing having happened on Facebook overnight and with no emails worthy of not being deleted unread, I set off to work. As I drove off, Radio Four was playing its two-minute sport item. Every morning at about half past seven Radio Four has an item about sports news, It lasts for two minutes, and as it plays so my piss boils. If there is one thing more tedious than watching sport it is listening to those who’ve never got of their arses in their lives to play any sports pontificating on the matter.
The pundits then turned their attention to yesterday’s budget. There is a lot of anger about the increase in National Insurance payments required from the self-employed. On the one hand why shouldn’t they pay the same as I pay? On the other hand shouldn’t they get some sort of break for trying to make their own way? I don’t know, but I do know that politics was much simpler when the various political parties stuck to their core values. When you had naked greed on one side, well-meaning incompetence on the other and woolly-minded dithering in between, everyone knew where they stood.
I got to work where I had a rather good day. I was again entrusted to performing haematinic assays. Today was my fourth attempt, and bearing in mind that on two of the previous three attempts I’ve had the engineer out to repair the equipment I think things are now looking up.
With work done I came home. I got back to Ashford in daylight; I liked that. We walked the dogs round the block.
We had a message from "My Boy TM" – the deposit has been paid for our holiday in the sun later in the year. I’m going to Kos.
I wonder where it is…
10 March 2017 (Friday) - Geo Meet
I was woken by the puppy chewing my hand shortly after 4am, and (try as I might) I couldn’t get back to sleep after that. I came downstairs and watched the funeral of a parrot in “You Rang M’Lord” and Sebastian’s descent in to alcoholism in “Brideshead Revisited”.
As I watched I had to turn up the volume as my dog snored. On Wednesday evening and yesterday morning I was worried sick about him as he would hardly leave his basket. Last night he spent most of the evening charging round the living room playing chase the puppy.
With telly done I had a look on the Internet (as I usually do). There had been some activity on Facebook overnight, but not a lot really. I had a few emails; one of praise from geocaching dot com (some people like my wherigos), one from YouGov about a survey I won’t complete, one about a gig at the church in the town centre, and an offer of a “Stargazing Skylight”. Apparently a Stargazing Skylight” is achieved by some chap speckling your ceiling with luminescent paint. It doesn’t show until you turn the light out, but when you do it is as though you are outside and you can see the stars. The chap sending me the email had this plan I might sell it (on his behalf) to the astro club. He can think again.
I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about change to British law regarding whether or not to resuscitate the elderly and infirm when in hospital. A particularly fraught subject with no right or wrong answer… but I will say that British law was particularly cruel in forcing two years of suffering on to the end of my grandmother’s life.
My piss boiled at the next item of news. It turns out that “the regulator” (whoever that might be) isn’t happy with the amount of money that BT spends (or doesn’t spend) on the nation’s internet infrastructure. I wondered what planet “the regulator” was on. For all that I agree that the nation needs a decent internet infrastructure that is available and useful to all, such socialist claptrap was abandoned thirty years ago when a greed-driven government sold off British Telecom.
I had a vague plan to go to a geo-meet in Ashford this evening, but several friends were doing a charity fire-walk in Tenterden, and having been offered a lift I thought I’d go watch the fire-walk. However as the day wore on events, changed my plans. (For all that I would like to have supported my friends) So I went back to the original plan and went to McDonalds for the geo-meet.
Half a dozen (or so) Dutch chaps had come to Ashford for a weekend’s geocaching, and had arranged a meet-up this evening. Talking with like-minded people is always good. I was rather amazed to hear they’d specifically come to Ashford to walk my letters and numbers cache walk. I was planning to do a little maintenance there in the coming week; I gave them replacement caches and some instructions, and now I have a day free on Wednesday.
I only intended to be at the meet for a few minutes; after an hour I made my excuses and came home.
In closing we have something of a disaster. Fudge has eaten Treacle’s teddy bear. He did that whilst she was licking my head dry after my shower. I expect I shall get the blame even though it wasn’t me that ate it…
11 March 2017 (Saturday) - Ide Hill
I slept like a log, but the call of nature could not be denied so I popped to the loo at 4am. I was rather dismayed to come back to bed to find what was once my space was now filled with sleeping dogs. Going against conventional wisdom I didn’t let sleeping dogs lie; I hoiked them on top of "er indoors TM" and went back to kip.
Over brekkie I had a little look on the Internet. There were a few photos of last night’s fire-walk. I would have liked to have seen more. Maybe next time I might do the walk myself. Or maybe not.
As I smurfed the net the dogs squabbled over the wreckage of Treacle’s teddy bear. She had been playing with it so nicely until Fudge ripped it open.
We got ourselves and the dogs together and set off. As we drove, Treacle was farting like a fruitbat. Serious farting; you didn’t so much smell them as taste them. Yuk!! And soon enough we were parked underneath a bridge under the M26. Together with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte we went for a little geo-stroll. I’d done the “where’s the 35mm” series before, but it made a good walk for the dogs. And for all that I’d done the walk before I managed to make geo-finds to which I had previously been oblivious.
We then adjourned to “The Woodman”; a nearby pub where we’d been before. We were rather disappointed to find it was closed. So we pushed on into Ide Hill where we had a crafty half in the Cock Inn. They had a “house ale”. Some places have a house wine, this pub has a house ale. I was impressed.
After the second pint we thought that if we didn’t move we never would, so we moved on. We drove up the road a mile or so where we had a rather good wander about. The “Brookes” geo-series was a very good one even if it did draw blood from me at one point.
With something of a sense of deja-vu we went back to “The Woodman”. There was a dodgy five minutes when Fudge was trying to attack a random chicken. As we sat in the garden outside the pub there was a chicken wandering about in the street (as chickens generally don’t) and my dog wasn’t happy about the arrangement.
As luck would have it there were a few geo-field-puzzles within a couple of minutes of where we were drinking, so Tracey and Karl spent five minutes getting the required information, and we solved puzzles and plotted co-ordinates as we sat and drank. It didn’t take long to plan a route to go collect these geocaches, and we went for a third stroll, getting back to the cars just as it was getting dark.
I took a few photos whilst we walked. I put them on-line and realised it was far too late to go see Alan. He is over from Guernsey and there was a vague plan to meet up with him today. But plans remained vague all week, and with nothing confirmed nothing happened. Next time we’ll meet up.
The original plan for the evening had been to iron some shirts, but by the time we’d got home I couldn’t be bothered. Similarly "er indoors TM" couldn’t be bothered to boil up dinner so we scoffed KFC whilst watching this week’s episode of “Benidorm”.
I’m wondering if our all-inclusive holiday in Kos is going to be something like this show…
12 March 2017 (Sunday) - It Didn't Rain...
I didn’t get out of bed until after 9am today. And it hurt to get up; I really ached. Over the last year I’d been doing at least two serious walks every week. What with hospital visits to London and wet Sundays and fixing fences and trips to Eastbourne and family meals it is a month since our last decent walk. I’ve rather got out of the habit of walking and it told on me this morning.
I was rather dismayed when I looked out the window to a bright spring day. The forecast had been for heavy rain; I’d not planned anything for today and felt rather cheated. I switched on my lap-top and had a look-see on-line. A new series of geocaches had gone live not fifteen miles away. However they were all puzzle ones so I spend a few minutes solving puzzles. Some were hard; some not so. However I’ve recently done a serious favour to the chap who’d set the puzzles so if I can’t get my head round the trickier ones I shall smile sweetly in his general direction.
As I puzzled my little dog sat with me. He rarely sits with anyone these days; I make the most of his soppy moods when he has them.
I hung some washing on the line, we got the leads onto the dogs and drove out to the Warren where we met "My Boy TM", Cheryl and Rolo. We had a rather good dog walk; we went round the warren and round to Eureka lakes where the dogs wreaked mayhem on two small boy who were fishing. As we were passing we did a spot of maintenance on one of "er indoors TM"’s geocaches. With five people having failed to find it, the geo-feds had issued a “sort it out” notice. We set the first fruit of our loin hunting. He found it in less than thirty seconds and he don’t do hunting Tupperware.
Pausing only briefly to play on rope swings we walked round past the lake where normal people were obviously trying to photograph something in the water. We had a look; there were loads of toads. It was a shame that the dogs had to look too. If they could have just looked, all would have been fine. But they didn’t just look; they had to spuddle chest deep in the stagnant mud.
We came home for dog bath time. And with dogs disinfected we had a cuppa, and I solved a few more geo-puzzles before going out. We again met "My Boy TM" and Cheryl and we went up to the Kennington Carvery for lunch. I can thoroughly recommend the Kennington Carvery; they do all you can eat roast dinners for only a tenner. We all had massive plates of food, and went back for seconds too.
Whilst there I met an old mucker; we bandied a few insults. It was good to see Paul.
We decided against having pudding there; instead we drove to McDonalds for McFlurries.
We came home, and spent quite some time feeling bloated. The trouble with an all you can eat menu is that I don’t stop eating. As I sat feeling stuffed my phone rang. It was my dad – mum had just come home. I was glad she was home. I was also glad we’d spent the day with "My Boy TM". We were going to be at something of a loose end today, and if "My Boy TM" hadn’t suggested today’s antics I had planned to get the train to London at 2pm to be at Guy’s Hospital for the afternoon/evening visiting. I would have arrived just as she was leaving.
The bloated feeling lasted most of the evening…
13 March 2017 (Monday) - Wowcher
Another good night’s sleep, and although the puppy was on the bed she didn’t fidget all night as she so often does.
I got up and watched an old episode of “Dad’s Army” which was entertaining (if totally predictable) before having a look-see on-line. Little had changed overnight on Facebook, but I did wonder about one posting I read there. A friend of a friend was asking for people to pray for a relative who was ill. I don’t understand this at all. They ask for their God to cure someone, but don’t seem to wonder why their God would have allowed the illness in the first place. As luck would have it the relative rallied today, and this person was then all over Facebook thanking everyone for their prayers.
Personally I suspect the patient would have got better anyway but I’m inclined to try a little experiment here… if my loyal readers could pray to the Almighty asking if I could “have a go on” her from the Wowcher advert we might prove a point one way or another.
And with no emails of note I set off to work.
It was a bright morning as I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing one of the leading lights of the Scottish Nationalist Party. This chap gave all sorts of reasons why his party wanted to leave the United Kingdom, and then gave *exactly* the same reasons for wanting to remain part of the European Union. A little later in the day the leader of the Scottish Nationalists declared they want to hold another independence referendum. She’s scored something of an own goal in that the Prime Minister gets to decide when such a referendum will take place, and it won’t happen before we leave the EU.
I got to work an hour early; a teaching session had been lined up and several of us spent a valuable while scrutinising sickle cells and malarial parasites before getting on with a rather busy day’s work.
As the day wore on "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned. Following a ding-dong with tele-sales she’s changed her mobile phone number.
I came home to an empty house; "er indoors TM" had taken the dogs for a walk. So whilst they were out I ran round with the hoover (neither dog likes the thing) and having emptied it I wasted twenty minutes trying to wrestle the thing back together again. Emptying the hoover is easy; re-assembling not so.
We scoffed a rather good bit of tea, and "er indoors TM" set off to her bowling league. I settled down in front of the telly to watch the sort of stuff she don’t like. The fourth episode of “SS-GB” was rather good, and I did like the second episode of “Mutiny”. Starring the chap who was in the documentary about SAS training, a group of nine people are following the route Captain Bligh sailed having been set adrift after the mutiny on HMAV (not HMS!) Bounty.
The third episode is broadcast tomorrow evening. I’m looking forward to it…
14 March 2017 (Tuesday) - We Like Cheese
Yesterday evening after I’d watched my fill of telly I wrote up a little CPD. As I did so the puppy jumped up onto the sofa with me, climbed all over me and made herself comfortable sitting across my shoulders behind my head. I should have moved her, but I didn’t. I ended up with a neck ache that was still with me when I got up this morning.
I came down to find Fudge by the back door. He was anxious to get out. I thought he needed a tiddle; he didn’t. He just wanted to run round the garden barking like a thing possessed at 5.30am. I wish he wouldn’t do that. I suspect so does most of the neighbourhood.
I set the washing machine loose on a pile of sheets and over brekkie I watched an episode of “You Rang M’Lord” in which the bishop was running a ball in aid of his distressed gentlewomen. He seems to have trouble with his distressed gentlewomen
I sparked up my laptop and had a look into cyberspace. I had an invite to a wedding reception from an old colleague. That could be a good chance to meet up with some old friends. A couple of friends had a birthday today, and with very little else of note on-line I hung the washed sheets onto the washing line and set off to work.
It was rather foggy as I drove. As usual I had the radio on. Today they were interviewing a chap who once worked for the prison service until he got caught smuggling mobile phones into the prisons for the prisoners. The fellow said he was being paid five hundred pounds for each phone he smuggled in. Being on little more than minimum wage this was quite a nice little earner. During the course of the interview it was mentioned that the official estimate of mobile phones illegally in the hands of prisoners was about twenty thousand.
Surely in this day and age it should be possible to identify the phones transmitting from prisons and have the service providers deactivate them. Or pay staff so’s that they aren’t so open to bribery and corruption.
I got to work and had a rather good day. I’m now on my eighth week at Maidstone, and today I realised that I’ve never once found myself clockwatching or finding the time dragging. I’m sure it will happen eventually, but for now all is good.
Once home we walked the dogs round the block, and in a break with tradition we didn’t have a Tuesday meeting; the laundry hadn’t been put away in Folkestone. Instead "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scoff. We devoured curry whilst watching “Emerald City” and an old episode of “Bake Off”. I thought I might round off dinner with some cheese. I had to share the cheese with my furry associates…
15 March 2017 (Wednesday) - A Day Off... ?
I had a very late night last night, and slept through till after 7am this morning. Not a bad lie-in. I had no reason to be up early; today was a day off work. I didn’t especially want today off, but bearing in mind “use-it-or-lose-it” (by the end of the month) I thought I’d use it, and the boss said today would suit the workplace for me to have a day off.
I got up, and set the washing machine loose on the laundry before settling to brekkie.
Checking my emails I saw I had a minor whinge about one of my geocaches. I’d set a series of caches for the New Year’s Walk (2016) and they still get done from time to time. One of them is a puzzle which ideally you’d solve before going on the walk. Many cache series have this. But one chap clearly hadn’t done his homework, did the walk first and then discovered the puzzle. And then had a minor grumble that he had to go back the next day and walk a kilometre to go find the puzzle cache and a kilometre back to his car. Had he done his preparation he would have realised he was walking straight past the thing when he walked the route the first time. I considered (politely) telling him the error of his ways but I thought better of it.
"er indoors TM" then told me my car had a dent in the passenger side door. I wonder how long that has been there.
I hung the washing out, set another lot scrubbing and took the dogs round the park. As we walked we scared several Nepalese people. At the risk of stereotyping an entire nation, pretty much every Nepalese person I meet over the age of twenty (and there’s a *lot* in Ashford) seems to be terrified of dogs. We also met OrangeHead in the co-op field. She was on her own, and (as she is when not surrounded by her gang of cronies) she was polite and civil.
Once home I got a bucket of water and washed the bird poo off of my car. I really should stop parking under the tree in the works car park. I hung out the second load of washing, put a third lot on to scrub, and drove into town.
I went to the bank to get some Euros. One Euro is currently worth eighty-seven pence. I wanted one hundred Euros; the bank charged me ninety quid. Now I have a degree in maths… the bank is on to a nice little fiddle here.
I then went round to the mother and toddler group. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" has taken to volunteering to be a leader at the group whilst Sam supervises "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". When I walked in I was hit by a sea of noise and it was mayhem as toddlers all ran riot. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" was organising the tea and coffee for the mothers (and three fathers) and seemed to be really involved and enjoying it. I had two coffees with them before the car park ticket ran out. I had to leave just as the singing was starting. I would like to have stayed. It seemed to be great fun.
I drove round to Matalan and got some sexy shirts, then came home. I put out the last of the washing and had a spot of lunch whilst watching the third episode of “Mutiny”. Our sailors are about to get shipwrecked on the Great Barrier Reef.
With lunch scoffed I gave the lawn its first mowing of the year. I mowed, strimmed the edges, and mowed again. And then I had a go at clearing the stuff hanging over the fence from next door. Over the years there has always been all sorts of jungle hanging over the fence as our nutty neighbour insists that having a fence covered in jungle keeps burglars out. However he seems to have disappeared. I’ve not seen him for months, and at the weekend his wife (who totally blanks me whenever I see her) cut back most of the climbers and ivy and roses hanging over the fence. She only left that which she couldn’t reach, so I spent an hour or so trimming that away.
Our brown garden waste bin is now completely full. I wonder when the council come to collect that.
No day’s holiday is complete without a major spell of ironing, and today was no exception. Having generated a ton of clean laundry I set about ironing it whilst watching drivel on the telly for a couple of hours.
I seem to do that a lot. (Iron and watch drivel on the telly)
"er indoors TM" came home and we drove to Tenterden. We met father-in-law at The Vine and had a rather good meal. Not all of the liver got eaten; it came home for two dogs to scoff…
16 March 2017 (Thursday) – Stuff
I think I might have overdone the gardening yesterday; I rather ached this morning. Over brekkie I watched “You Rang M’Lord”. His Lordship was having problems with his extruder. As I watched both dogs came downstairs, and I took them to the garden. A blue tit was sitting on the fence and singing; I’ve not seen that in the garden before.
As the dogs then charged back upstairs to bother "er indoors TM" I had my traditional look-see on-line. I had a friend request from one Nena Demetria Sturgeon. I’m not sure who she was; she wasn’t wearing much and she felt sure I wouldn’t last more than twenty minutes in bed with her. She did however suggest I clicked on a link which took me to a website filled with pictures of nudey ladies without any clothes on. I’ve been offered the same link before by other people. Their accounts are still active so I didn’t bother reporting Nena Demetria Sturgeon.
It never fails to amaze me that the authorities at Facebook are so against people using an alias on Facebook (and will shut down such accounts) but will allow porn-mongers free rein on their site.
With nothing else of note on Facebook, and nothing in my e-inbox I set of to work (in one of my new shirts) on a very foggy morning. As I drove the MP Sir Roger Gale was on the radio complaining about the unfairness of the new ruling that MPs can no longer spend public money hiring members of their own families as staff. Until recently MPs have been allowed to hire staff (at public expense) and Sir Roger’s wife has been his assistant for many years. She’s been paid over thirty thousand pounds every year because (as Sir Roger said on the radio this morning) no one else could do the job as well.
There are all sorts of rules preventing this sort of nepotism in the civil service and the health service. Nepotism is all very well when you are doing it with your own money…
There was also talk of the government re-issuing the “Protect and Survive” leaflet issued nearly forty years ago which advised the nation on how to cope with he aftermath of a nuclear attack.
I got to work and made a point of not parking under the tree (from which the bird poop originates) and had a rather busy day during which not one person noticed my sexy new shirt.
I came home and walked the dogs round the block. "er indoors TM" was rather late home. She’d been to Canterbury to collect a new power cable for her lap-top; the puppy had eaten the old one. But she came home with some Chinese for dinner so I wasn’t complaining.
I then spent the evening solving geo-puzzles… only one left to solve. A fruit-based soduku….
17 March 2017 (Friday) - Getting Jiggy
Normally I have no trouble dropping off to sleep but last night was an exception. Our new neighbours were “getting jiggy” and they are what I could only describe as “screamers”. Their excitement was rather off-putting, and not conducive to getting a bit of kip.
I had hot cross buns for brekkie. The packet said “best before 13 March” but they seemed fine to me. As I scoffed them I watched the last episode of “You Rang M’Lord”. I wonder what I shall watch next week in the mornings.
With a few minutes spare I tried to check if the solutions to the geo-puzzles I obtained last night were correct, but the checker website was still down. I say “down”; I’m not entirely convinced that the McAfee antivirus isn’t blocking it.
There was little happening on Facebook, so I had a look at my emails. Apart from the usual pile of spam and a notification about "er indoors TM" road tax (that I pay) there was nothing of note there, so I set off to work in another of my new sexy shirts.
As I drove t work the pundits on the radio were talking about the diminishing stocks of haddock in British waters. Apparently it is no longer sustainable as a food source. They wheeled on an expert on haddock to talk on the matter. I wish they hadn’t; the woman they interviewed was probably the most boring person I’ve ever heard on Radio Four, and that is up against some pretty serious competition.
There was also more talk about how the Scottish Nationalsts want another independence referendum and how the Prime Minister won’t allow one for some years. This is a squabble that will run and run.
I got some petrol and had another busy day at work; and another day during which not a single person realised I had a sexy shirt on. Sometimes these things need to be pointed out.
I came home and filled in the holes around the garden fence post we fixed a few weeks ago whilst "er indoors TM" took the wolf pack for a walk.
With dogs walked we had fish and chips… really should have an early night – got a big day tomorrow. Let’s hope the neighbours have got a headache.
18 March 2017 (Saturday) - Bruges
We were up rather early today. The dogs seemed rather over-excited. Perhaps they somehow knew that "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" were coming round with Sid and Pogo for a doggy adventure.
We left the dogs to it, and set off on an adventure of our own.
We drove down to Folkestone where we met “team Fernandez” and I wasn’t long before we were on the coach. I’ve not been abroad for years… checking the archive of this blog I think my last trip outside the UK was January 2008 (when I took the cub scouts to EuroDisney) but today we were off to Bruges.
It was only five minutes from the coach pick-up point to the Channel Tunnel terminal, and only five more minutes for our passports to get checked. But it was rather longer to get the coach onto Le Shuttle, and even longer to get under the channel. I’m not sure how long; I slept through that bit.
I quite liked the driving to Bruges; there are those who say the French countryside looks just like ours; it doesn’t. There are subtle differences. The pylons are the wrong shape (and the wrong colour), fence posts are different, and the houses have roofs that are at different angles to those in the UK.
After about three hours from when we started the coach pulled up and the driver gave instructions for when he’d pick us up. I wasn’t really listening; I was too excited. It was as well that Maria was paying attention.
We set off toward the town centre; I was rather concerned when we immediately met a sign warning us that the bridge nearby was slippery when wet and there was a danger of wedgies. Jose wasn’t convinced, but I told him that when it comes to languages he can do the Spanish and he should leave the Dutch to me. He went along with that (I suspect out of a curiosity about what might happen next).
What with a long drive and the time change (they have different time abroad you know) it was lunch time. There was no shortages of places to eat. We found somewhere that did waffles. I had a panini, and ordered a “slag room”. It was at this point that the shortcomings of my language skills became apparent. I suppose that what I had in mind for a “slag room” would have cost more than one Euro. In Bruges a slag room is a pot of whipped cream. One lives and learns.
We carried on walking round. We found saucy underwear shops, and I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to find Bruges had a Subway sandwich shop or a Pizza Hut. We found endless chocolate shops. I was seriously tempted to get some Belgian chocolate but the stuff is *so* expensive. I could make myself sick on a bar of Cadbury’s for a fraction of the price.
We stopped for a spot of lunch. Some of the locals were drinking beer from some kind of mini yard-of-ale (a two-feet of lager) so I had one of those with my dinner. I asked one of the chaps what the beer was called. He replied “Quack”, and I smiled sweetly wondering what he meant. But he was right – the beer was indeed called “Kwak” and at eight per cent proof it wasn’t to be messed about.
Lunch was excellent, but as always you can’t beat McDonalds for dessert. And you seriously can’t beat a Belgian McDonalds. I’ve never had anything quite like their “Parfait Chocolad”.
We had a minor episode on the way back to the coach. We’d planned to pop into a certain shop on the way back. It was right by where we ate first – where I had the panini and the disappointment. Jose and I walked up and down that street three times. The shop had gone. It had totally vanished. How can an entire shop disappear in only four hours?
I dozed off and on as the coach took us back. As I dozed I couldn’t help but listen to the vociferous twit who was sitting a few seats behind us. He’d apparently recently had a bust up with his girlfriend but wasn’t bothered. As he loudly announced, there’s “plenty more birds in the sea”.
"er indoors TM" went hysterical over this one.
Pausing only briefly at the Channel Tunnel terminal for some duty free we were soon home. I took loads of photos whilst we were out; I popped them on-line whilst the dogs quietly munched their bones. Both dogs were pleased to see us, but were both strangely subdued. Perhaps their adventure today had been as tiring as ours. I could do with an early night.
Mind you I can’t help but wonder when the next trip to Bruges is…
19 March 2017 (Sunday) – Rodmersham
Yesterday evening the puppy was rather subdued but it didn’t last. She spent much of the night fidgeting about all over me. She doesn’t dare disturb "er indoors TM" but has no qualms about bothering me. Fudge on the other hand just lays at the foot of the bed and doesn’t move all night long. (Fudge can do no wrong!)
Over brekkie I programmed “Hannah” for the day and had a look-see on-line. No emails of note, but I had a myriad of notifications about how people had liked the photos I’d posted of my trip to Bruges yesterday. Many people had commented too. I do like Facebook – it is the little comments that keep us all in touch.
Mind you I did get a little peeved at all the seemingly heartfelt tributes to Chuck Berry who died overnight. Who of us honestly didn’t think he died years ago?
We got ourselves organised, got the leads on the dogs and set off to Rodmersham where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and together we had a rather good walk marked out by a series of geocaches which had been published earlier in the week. The walk went through some rather pretty countryside; the orchards were scenic enough with only buds on the trees. In summer they will be beautiful. As we walked we heard the skylarks singing, we saw new-born lambs and alpacas and we found a bird box big enough for eagles.
The ground was rather dry; we were able to sit on the grass for our picnic lunch. And for all that today was rather overcast I caught the sun.
Cache-wise the walk was excellent. Mostly simple puzzles which were easily solved with some trickier ones and a couple which really stretched my abilities. The hides themselves were straightforward finds, and unlike many walks we’ve done recently the hides weren’t ridiculously far apart. We walked thirty-five caches in a little over six miles.
We ended up back where we started, and where we started was at a pub. I’d not been to The Fruiterer before. It was a rather good pub. It was a shame that he first beer was off; I say it was off. It tasted like every gone-off beer I’ve ever had before but the landlord insisted that it was supposed to taste like that. One lives and learns. I managed to drink half of it before throwing the rest onto the grass. It was only a shame that Treacle had to run underneath me just as I was throwing the beer and she ended up wearing most of it.
But the other beers weren’t too shabby.
We came home; I slept much of the way home. Once home I posted up the photos I’d taken as we’d walked. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good dinner, and I dozed in front of the telly for the rest of the evening.
I hate that. I shall be wide awake at 4am…
20 March 2017 (Monday) – Conspiracies
Having wasted most of yesterday evening zoning in and out of consciousness I spent much of the night wide awake cursing a restless puppy. Eventually I dumped the small dog on "er indoors TM" and she immediately curled up and went to sleep.
Over brekkie I watched the last episode of SS-GB. It was a good show… I say “good” – the premise was excellent and the show started well, but it all rather fizzled out in the last couple of episodes. I then sparked up my lap-top to have a look-see on Facebook. Not much had happened overnight, and neither were there any emails of note.
As I fiddled about Fudge sat with me. He’d struggled out of his basket and hobbled to the garden for his tiddle. But he made a great show of climbing back in through the back door afterwards. For all that he likes his long weekend walks, they do tire him.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were expounding all sorts of conspiracy theories. There is a rumour that the Labour party is about to be hijacked by the Momentum movement working in cahoots with the Trade Union Unite. And across the pond all sorts of people (including President Trump) are spouting all sorts of nonsense about bugging and electoral jerrymandering. There might be something in these theories, there might not. Who knows? But these two conspiracies filled the journey from Ashford to Maidstone.
I stopped off at Aldi to get more granola bars. I’ve taken to having them at lunch time. When I was at Canterbury I used to have an apple and a banana with my sandwich and I was hungry all afternoon. Now I have an Aldi granola bar and I’m not (as) hungry.
I got to work for what is my ninth week at Maidstone hospital. So far I’ve not found myself clockwatching once. Today was a good day; the time flew by, and soon it was home time.
"er indoors TM" was in something of a quandary about what to boil up for tea. She suggested KFC; I was happy with that idea. KFC went down very well. I was feeling rather light headed before tea; I feel a lot better now. I’ve known for years that late-onset diabetes runs in the family. I wonder if it is slowly coming on… ?
21 March 2017 (Tuesday) - ChromeCast Games
I slept reasonably well, but was still wide awake long before I needed to be. Ove brekkie I watched an episode of “BattleStar Galactica” – there are a lot of episodes of that; it should keep me occupied for a few weeks.
As I watched telly I combed my dog. He rarely wants to be a lap-dog these days so when he does I make the most of it. And he likes being combed. By the time the episode I was watching had finished Fudge was fast asleep so I settled him on the sofa next to me, and as he snored I had a look on-line.
With nothing of note happening on Facebook I checked my emails. I had the offer of a job in Inverness. Some time ago I signed up to an agency which guaranteed they could find me work. I have to admit they have had no shortage of job offers. However they’ve never had any practical ones.
It occurred to me that it is now three weeks since I ordered my new fishing licence and it hasn’t arrived yet, so I emailed the environment agency to see where it has got to. I wonder if they will reply.
I set off to work on a surprisingly cold morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the importance of teaching children how to use the Internet, and about how it works. I’ve been saying for years that the inability to use a computer is akin to being unable to read or write and it finally sees that officialdom agrees with me.
There was also talk about how the Labour party is in disarray again. Why is it that the Labour party attracts the nutters and the loonies whilst self-serving greed never seems to do so?
I stopped about half a mile before I got to work for geo-reasons; there is a geocache along Hermitage Lane. Put out by a Polish chap the cache is called “Stempel by Fence”; I think the word “stempel” is Polish for “heap of rubbish”. I followed my GPS into some hedges and just where the GPS said the cache was hidden was the biggest pile of broken toys and litter you ever did see. The bottom half of a sandwich box was off to one side, the lid a few feet away, and a geocaching log laying in between. I put it back together again and when I got home I went to log a “Needs Maintenance” but decided against it. After all, I’ve already fixed it.
We took the dogs round the block. As we walked some passing small children jumped back from the puppy. One pointed at Fudge and said “Blue collar – doesn’t bite”. Well, he was right about the not biting.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scoff and we set off to Folkestone. A couple of rather good beers and an evening playing some rather odd ChromeCast games.
Can’t be bad…
22 March 2017 (Wednesday) - Bit Dull
I read the Facebook with something of a sense of vindication this morning. There were several posts about how half of the junior doctors at the Kent and Canterbury hospital are to be relocated to other hospitals in that trust due to shortcomings in the availability of senior staff to oversee them. Implicit in the news was the fact that various members of the support staff would also be relocated. Perhaps I was right to move away from that place; perhaps it is only a matter of time until it closes.
But what amazed me most was how various people who work there (including rather senior managers) were posting all sorts of comments about the matter on Facebook. I once posted a selfie during the night shift with the caption “rather tired” and received a formal disciplinary warning for bringing the place in to disrepute. Perhaps I might have grounds for a constructive dismissal?
Yesterday I chased up my fishing licence. This morning I had an email saying they haven’t been posted out yet. And with nothing else of note on the Internet I set off to work rather earlier than I might have done.
It was a rather cold morning, but I’d seen that if I took the A20 to work (rather than the M20) I could stop on the way and hunt out six geocaches. So I did.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how Princess Anne has said that she feels that genetically modified crops are a good thing. Of course they are. The only people who thing they aren’t are idiots and people who don’t know what a genetically modified crop is. How do any of the crops our farmers grow today compare with their original form. Carrots never used to be orange.
I got to work and did my bit. I came home to an empty house. I had been expecting to go to an astro club committee meeting this evening; but events conspired against it. A shame really as "er indoors TM" and I had both planned the evening with my being at that meeting in mind.
23 March 2017 (Thursday) - Tra-la-laaa
Over brekkie I watched the fourth episode of “Mutiny” in which a gang of everyday blokes led by an ex-SAS commando were re-tracing Captain Bligh’s historic voyage. I thought I quite liked the show… but does every other word they say have to be “f…”? And having watched the ex- SAS commando in this show (and other programs) I don’t think I like him very much. He doesn’t come over an an ex-SAS commando at all. He seems more like a management consultant in a beard.
As Fudge continued to snore I had my morning look at the Internet. Yesterday evening I was supposed to be at an astro club committee meeting. I’d completely forgotten I’d been invited to a meeting of the South Ashford Community Forum. Woops. In my absence I’d been nominated to a position on that forum. Will I take it? Maybe. If it is a constructive body, then I’d be up for it. However if it is yet another squabble of opinionated and closed-minded bigots (like the other community discussions of my experience) then I shall give it a miss.
I was also amazed to see that there is to be a “Captain Underpants” movie. I can remember blogging about Captain Underpants many years ago. He was popular with the cubs. This movie has taken a while to get made.
With no emails of note I set off to work. Bearing in mind how successful yesterday’s pre-work geo-session had been I thought I’d do it again today.
Some days I can find cache after cache. Other days I can’t find my own bum with both hands. I started off with a DNF (did not find), slipped on a muddy bank in pursuit of a village sign, and ended up dropping a cache over a fence and spending twenty minutes trying to get the thing back again.
As I drove up the A20 I stopped at a roundabout in Charing. You have to stop at roundabouts because if you don’t, you crash into idiots who don’t stop at roundabouts. I met one such at the roundabout in Charing this morning. Having come down Charing hill far too fast he lost control of his car as he went round the roundabout (far too fast) and having recovered then drove rather dangerously for a couple of miles trying to overtake a lorry when it was patently unsafe to do so.
If any of my loyal readers should see a car with number plate GL54 ETZ I’d recommend giving it a *lot* of space.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the horrific terrorist incident in London yesterday. A nut case drove a car at speeds through a crowd of pedestrians killing and maiming as he went, and then stormed the Palace or Westminster where armed police shot him.
That, in a nutshell, was what happened.
Radio Four mentioned nothing else for the hour it took me to drive to work, and for the three quarters of an hour it took me to drive home. Has nothing else happened in the world?
Not much happened in mine today…
24 March 2017 (Friday) - A Game of Cards
Once I’d scoffed my brekkie and watched “BattleStar Galactica” I sparked up my lap-top and had a look at the Internet. Since the terror attack in London two days ago loads of people have added a union flag to their Facebook profile pictures because of the attack. I can’t work out why. The bloke who carried out the attack was British. His name was Adrian. Why the patriotism?
With nothing actually of note on Facebook I had a look in my inbox. There were no emails that weren’t spam, so with not much else going on at home I set off to work.
As I drove to work the radio made my piss boil. On the one hand apparently thirty per cent of all UK jobs will be taken over by robots over the next ten years. On the other hand loads of money is to be allocated for schools to deal with troublesome pupils.
Now does it *really* take a genius to see that the children messing about at school will be those who end up unfit for anything other than the dead-end jobs which are ripe to be taken over by robots? Surely the answer to both problems is clear. *Don’t* spend a fortune pandering to the brats. Equip each head teacher with a cane, and have them thrash the first brat to present with “challenging behaviour”. Having thrashed one brat, there won’t be another playing up for some time. I’ve seen it myself. The headmaster of my school had a cane and he used it. Occasionally. One brat would have a sore arse for a day and a thousand children behaved themselves for over a year.
And to those who disagree I will say that it has been my experience that those who disagree with corporal punishment for children fall into two categories; those with no experience of children, and those with the most ill-behaved brats imaginable.
I filled the car with petrol, and got to work rather early. I thought I might have another early morning geo-session. There are a few caches within a few hundred yards of work. One was clearly missing; I found the obvious hide and the remains of the camouflage. Another had been trashed; I repaired it as best I could. And a third was nowhere to be seen.
I gave up and went into work.
Whilst having a cuppa over a tea break I got some bad news. A family member had croaked. Admittedly a rather distant family member; "er indoors TM"’s cousin’s ex-husband. I’d not seen him for some years, but I had always found him to be a very likeable chap. From what I can work out he just dropped dead. He was only my age. Let’s hope I don’t follow suit.
And walking of following suit I had a game of cards this evening. Time was cards was a weekly event. I do like a game of poker. I really should play it more often; even if I am rubbish at it…
25 March 2017 (Saturday) - Fox Poo Flavoured Puppy Vomit
Anyone who knows me will know I have something of a liking for the band Sparks. There aren’t many bands which have been active as long as they have. I can remember taking a day off work (twenty years ago) to get a CD of their album “Plagarism” from the HMV shop in London. Yesterday they released a new single. As a life-long Sparks fan I can honestly say this is one of the biggest disappointments I’ve ever had… Today sees the launch of their new album “Hippopotamus”. On the strength of yesterday’s single I shan’t be going out of my way to get the new album.
I did have a wry smile as I read Facebook. One chap I know has been posting all sorts of selfish right wing propaganda for years. Recently he’s fallen head-over-heels in love with someone who’s very obviously at the other end of the political spectrum. Now he’s changed his opinion 100%. Bless him.
We popped the leads onto the dogs and drove out to Sarre. Following a straight line would have been fifteen miles shorter, but going the log way round bypassed Canterbury and saved twenty minutes. As we drove the dogs sat in the back seat, and as we arrived Treacle was sick. Just a little handful of regurgitated dog food. Charming!
We met up with Tracey, Karl and Charlotte and went for a little walk. The “Across the Marshes” series of geocaches runs in a straight line so we planned to walk the line, walk half way back to divert onto another circular series of caches, then make our way back to the cars. It was a plan that worked. We had an excellent walk; beautiful scenery; we heard chaffinches and skylarks, we met some very friendly alpacas. It was only a shame that Treacle persistently disgraced herself by continually eating fox poo, and then by falling into one of the drainage ditches. Still, it answered the question of whether or not she could swim.
I took some photos as we walked. I do that.
Cache-wise the hides were tricky. There was one that we were sure was missing. Once past the final and on the way back we met friends who’d been following us. They too hadn’t been able to find the missing one so I messaged the chap who’d hidden it, and as we walked back past it we replaced it. We are kind like that.
The plan had been to go for a pint in the pub after the walk, but time was against us. I thought we might be walking for about eight miles; “Hannah” said it was a shade over eleven. The puppy has never walked so far before. We said our goodbyes and set off home.
As we drove Fudge was soon fast asleep. But Treacle was restless so I pulled her onto my lap. She slept for a while (doing the stinkiest farts imaginable) but when we were only two minutes’ drive from home she blew. She blew big time. The morning’s sick was just peanuts compared to this one. She threw up, covering me in a pint of the foulest vilest black slimy mixture of half-digested fox poo and ditch water. We pulled up as quickly as we could. I got the car door open and chucked several handfuls of the stuff out of the car before standing up myself to scrape off as best I could.
I was rather glad to get home and get out of what I was wearing.
Once everyone was washed we settled the dogs (who were soon both snoring) and set off to Lyminge where “Access All Areas” were playing a gig We had a really good evening meeting up with loads of friends who were along. I was particularly pleased to meet an old colleague who was along to a hen party who were all drinking heavily there, and I was able to get all the girls to heckle the ban.
26 March 2017 (Sunday) - Mothers Day
The puppy seemed none the worse for her experience yesterday; she spent much of the night keeping me awake as she so often does.
On the other hand my dog seemed very quiet and subdued when I got up. Obviously feeling the after-effects of an eleven mile walk. He hobbled to the back door, clearly in pain when I suggested it was tiddle time. But once I opened the door for him to go out he sprinted down the garden barking at the top of his voice.
Over brekkie I spent a few minutes advertising the upcoming meeting of the astro club on various local internet forums. I did so with a feeling that I was (quite frankly) wasting my time. I don’t think hardly anyone who reads the adverts by chance would want to come to a club meeting, nor does anyone who sees the club’s stalls at village fetes. Those who come along to the club seem to either find out about the club from friends, or hunt the club out for themselves. But if I don’t make the effort to advertise I get all sorts of grief about it.
I had a *lot* of emails this morning; some people had come down to Ashford from London specifically at have a play with my Wherigos. They seemed to enjoy them. I really should get on with making more. Trouble is they take so long to create and now I’m no longer having three day weeks I don’t have the time.
I also saw that me and "My Boy TM" featured in a local fishing blog. That was something of a result. I thought that the first fruit of my loin had sent them the pictures they used. He thought I had. I wondered how they got them? It turns out that "My Boy TM" sent the photos in to them several months ago. Not everyone is as up to date with their blogging as me…
We settled the dogs and drove down to Hastings (via a couple of geocaches) to do the “Mother’s Day thing”. My mum, whilst still rather frail, was greatly improved on when I last saw her. Mother in law seems to be holding up well following the death of father-in-law, but she does seem to be at something of a loose end. Like all of us, she needs a hobby.
We drove back to Ashford and met "My Boy TM" and his branch of the family tree at the bowling alley, and we had a couple of games of bowling in the VIP lanes. I was rubbish; "My Boy TM" and his mother vied for first place. I think "er indoors TM" may well have won had the bowling alley staff not been plying the mothers with free prosecco.
And with bowling bowled we went back to their house where Cheryl made us a rather good bit of dinner whilst the dogs all ran riot.
As dogs do…
27 March 2017 (Monday) – Stuff
I did the monthly accounts last night. They could be an awful lot worse, but by this stage of my life I rather hoped that they would have been an awful lot better. Still, what is money for, if not to squander foolishly. What with card games and excellent walks and vomiting puppies and gigs and seeing mum and bowling and curry I’ve had a very good weekend. Far better than many people have had.
It’s just that I want more. It’s human nature, and the root of all of our problems.
What with the clocks having gone forward yesterday it was still dark when I got up this morning. As the rest of the family snored I watched an episode of “Battlestar Galactica” then sparked up my lap-top. I got a little bit cross with a post I read on one of the Jack Russell Facebook groups I follow. Basically someone was complaining about having to pay vet bills on a dog which subsequently died. Is it so unreasonable for a vet to charge for the work he’s done?
I had an email from Pinky of Nanchang Clothing Ltd. She was boasting that she had her own factory and had established long-term cooperative relations with the Disney corporation and with Warner Brothers, and was applying for cooperative relations with Walmart. Did I want to deal with her?
Not really. I’ve had more attractive offers recently.
I drove to work through a rather foggy morning. As I drove I couldn’t believe the Luddite who was talking out of her arse on the radio. Leaving aside the fact that it now seems that last week’s atrocity on London wasn’t so much a terrorist attack as the work of a lone looney, there are now calls (from the likes of this idiot) to shut down the Internet. Because the fellow who mowed down innocents last week had used WhatsApp in the hours before the attack, the woman talking out of her arse seemed to think that the use of WhatsApp and similar Internet-based methods of communication were helping terrorists. Her argument was shot down in flames when the chap that had been brought in to talk sense pointed out that terrorists used letters before the Internet had been invented, and no one ever closed the Post Office down. It was suggested that the Internet might be more closely monitored (in much the same way that MI5 operatives used to steam letters open). Personally I can’t see much of a problem in monitoring the Internet; I’ve hardly got any secrets.
Narrowly avoiding being run off the road by a van from Swale Heating I got to work very early, and I had rather an educational day. We started off with a tutorial about morphology covering G-6-P-D deficiency, sickle cell disease and supravital staining and at lunchtime had a presentation on anaemias (it’s a blood thing).
With the clocks having changed it was good to come home in full daylight. Once home I had a quick egg sandwich then went off to an astro club committee. As I parked I saw a car that had been clamped. There were stickers on it saying that no road tax had been paid on that car. I’d not seen that sort of thing before. Apparently it is not uncommon in the Medway towns or in Hastings.
One lives and learns.
28 March 2017 (Tuesday) - More Stuff
I slept well; it is amazing how when the puppy sleeps well so does everyone else. Over brekkie I watched “BattleStar Galactica” whilst my dog snored. I then had a little look at the Internet (to see if it was still there).
I had to chuckle at a thread on a Facebook group I follow. There is a group on there dedicated to the band “Sparks”. One chap yesterday made a posting that he didn’t like the merchandise that was sold by the official Sparks site; he didn’t like the designs and thought it was too expensive so he’d made a whole load of stuff he was selling cheaper. Needless to say, he got a veritable shitstorm of abuse for his blatant bootlegging but at the end of it all this chap honestly thought he was the innocent party. The poor simpleton couldn’t understand what he was doing wrong.
With no emails for note I set off to work… once I remembered where I’d parked my car last night.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the escalating costs of decommissioning Britain’s now-defunct nuclear power stations. The government has paid out a hundred million pounds in an out-of-court settlement to firms who were supposed to have been awarded contracts to sort out the disused power stations. It transpires that Britain’s nuclear power stations were built without a thought for how they might be disassembled after they’d come to the end of their lives and the costs of getting rid of them will run to tens of billions of pounds.
When I was a lad we were told that nuclear power was cheap power.
I stopped off at Aldi on the way to work. They had rather good shirts in my size which were going cheap. I got one, and also some stuff for unblocking the drains then went in to work.
There was a shock in store for us. One of my colleagues hadn’t turned up for a few days. He’d gone home sick at the end of last week and there was a vague feeling he was still off sick. It turned out he’d gone home and dropped dead. He was only twenty-three.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
I came home and we walked the dogs round the block then after a rather good bit of scoff went to the Tuesday gathering; this time down the end of Hythe Road. Together we watched a rather good episode of “Blake’s Seven” in which the spaceship was flown using the very same controls which had featured on Moonbase in “UFO”.
I’ve updated the software on my mobile phone. I hate it. Is there a rollback option?
29 March 2017 (Wednesday) - Little Bit of Politics
A few people have been posting on Facebook today about how they are sick of hearing about Brexit. I sympathise, but today will be one of those days that goes down in history as the United Kingdom formally starts the process of withdrawing from the European Union. Personally I think this is a bloody stupid thing to do. Regardless of the petty political whims of the day, we are better together in a union than apart and squabbling. Leaving the EU is a total leap into the unknown and I’ve yet to hear any reasoned arguments in favour of leaving. For all that those wanting to leave claim they don’t want to be subjected to ridiculous rules and regulations from Brussels, I’ve yet to hear any specific ones mentioned.
I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. But in the meantime those immigrant workers who do the jobs that the average Brit is either too lazy to do or is unqualified to do are going home in droves.
There are those who are calling for a second referendum. That would be wrong; we had a referendum. On the one hand the remain side (lead by Mr Cameron) said that leaving would be a total leap into the unknown. On the other had the leave side (lead by Boris Johnson) said the remain side’s fears were unfounded because they would be:
· Delivering the same benefits on trade as currently enjoyed by single market membership.
· Having new trade deals ready to be signed on the day of departure from the EU.
· Investing savings from Brexit in public services. including increasing NHS funding by three hundred and fifty million pounds each week.
· Having no changes to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
· Keeping full protection of rights currently guaranteed by membership of the EU, including on employment and the environment.
· Having a security deal that “maintains and enhances” such cooperation with the EU.
· Keeping the integrity of the UK protected.
· Having a strengthening of science and research partnerships with the EU.
· Ensuring a dramatic reduction in net migration while “keeping the UK open to the talent and skills that UK business need”.
Looks like I was worrying about nothing, doesn’t it… However the one about increasing NHS funding by three hundred and fifty million pounds each week turned out to be a total fabrication. Listening to Radio Four every morning has made it quite apparent that the trade deals are *far* from a done deal. What will happen with the Irish border is anyone’s guess. From my own experience the science and research projects are going down the pan.
It is now painfully evident that the likes of Boris Johnson not only said that black was white, they also said that shit was sugar. It is quite clear that those who voted to leave because of what they had been promised were lied to.
I wonder how it will all pan out… A second referendum would be silly and would undermine the whole concept of having a referendum in the first place. Who knows – it might not be an unmitigated disaster. It might actually turn out for the best. But if it doesn’t, perhaps those on the “leave” side who made these wild and unsubstantiated promises might be held to account for them.
30 March 2017 (Thursday) - A Day Off
The alarm woke me at 5am this morning. A day’s leave, so I am again up and about at silly o’clock. I scoffed some toast, had a quick look on-line and set off to collect "My Boy TM". I’d loaded up the car last night to save a little time but I was still not as prompt as I’d have liked to have been.
We were at McDonalds shortly before 6am. McBreakfast isn’t as filling as a full English, but there is nowhere else open at 6am where we can get fed. Once brekkied we set off to Biddenden. Rather than going to our usual haunt, we thought we’d fish somewhere else. We’d heard good things about Cackle Hill fishery and it only took half an hour to get there. We parked up shortly before 7am, exchanged pleasantries with the owner, and made our way to the lake.
It was very pretty. Very scenic. And absolutely overflowing with trees to catch with fishing rods. And it was not that much bigger than some ornamental ponds I’ve seen. But we set up and had a go. After five minutes I was wondering if we’d made the right decision in going to the place. After an hour and a half I’d had six tiddlers. For the non-piscatorial of my readers, six tiddlers in ninety minutes is what we anglers call “crap”. "My Boy TM" jokingly suggested we pack up and go to Shirkoak (where we usually fish). I jokingly said I’d thought about that over an hour previously.
We were in the car and on the road before 9am.
We got to the lake at Shirkoak with something of a sense of coming home. We found somewhere to fish, set up, and had fish within minutes. My second fish was a carp of about four pounds caught whilst I was trying for tiddlers. Within half an hour I’d lost count of how many I’d had.
The fishing did slow down; especially for me. But as my cousin once told me if you aren’t catching fish try something different. So as the day went on we changed baits and tactics with varying success. By the end of the day "My Boy TM" had caught far more than I had. It wasn’t the busiest day we’ve had at Shirkoak, but it was still a good way to spend a sunny day.
We came home just as the sun was starting to go down; I came home to an empty house. "er indoors TM" had taken the dogs to the park with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" . So having had a rather early start followed by a day in the sunshine I dozen on the sofa until she came home.
A rather good bit of dinner, an episode of “Benidorm” and I think I shall have an early night. I’ve had a busy day, I’ve caught the sun, and I’ve got another early start tomorrow…
31 March 2017 (Friday) - Another Day Off
Having spent much of the night listening to the rain I was rather surprised to get up to find it hadn’t rained at all overnight. I must have been dreaming. But what a vivid dream it had been. I set off to the co-op to meet "My Boy TM", and to get lunch. We then went on to Rocky’s café for a full English then on to Shirkoak for another day’s fishing.
The weather had been forecast as overcast in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. It rained in the morning, but the afternoon was rather bright. Fishing-wise the day started quiet, and stayed quiet. We’ve had some really good days at Shirkoak in the past. Today was (in all honesty) probably an average day’s fishing for most lakes, but compared to what we’ve had before we were rather disappointed. Mind you we both lost count of the fish we’d had, and we both had carp up to five pounds. Not massive as carp go, but on light tackle certainly put up an impressive fight.
We came home about an hour earlier than we might have done; "My Boy TM" was expecting a delivery of shopping. Usually on the last Friday of the month I would be off to the astro club. For some time the last Friday of each month has been a firm booking for me with the astro club. But over the last year the thing has (for me) rather lost its appeal. Over the years I’ve made great efforts to build up a sense of friendship and bonhomie amongst the regular attendees. I’ve arranged all sorts of events and activities for the regular attendees of the club, and included people I’ve met there in all sorts of family events.
I’ve had it all thrown back in my face by what I thought was one of the best of friends.
Things have been far from peachy behind the scenes at the astro club for a very long time. Having spent the best part of a year or so trying to work out what has gone wrong I think the problem is that I have dared to voice an opinion different to that which is being touted as incontrovertible fact. When I say “I believe differently for the following reasons” I am being seen to be deliberately giving offence. The many conciliation attempts on my part have just made bad feelings worse.
There is little point in rehashing the specifics of trivial squabbles which would mean little to anyone, but over the last year or so I’ve been told that I was actively excluded from the formulation of plans for the observatory project (that I suggested in the first place) because I was an embarrassment. Furthermore (apparently) I am “subversive, manipulative and a leader of negativity”. I have variously been told (quite nastily) that I don’t "live in the real world", that my opinion is one of a "no brainer" and that conversations with me are akin to banging your head against a brick wall. And then it became really personal when despite having spent years working all sorts of odd hours at nights, weekends and public holidays (including family birthdays and Christmases) I was told about just how little time I put into my professional life.
Finally, having been told of the things being said about me to friends and family I have decided that I have had enough I am distancing myself from all of this. If it means I have to leave the club to get away from it, then so be it. The astro club has stopped being fun for me. And from here on in if it’s not fun then I am moving on.