1 March 2018 (Thursday) - Guts Ache
I slept like a log last night; it was so good to be back home after the barracks of hospital accommodation. Mind you I was still wide awake shortly after five o’clock.
I got up and had a shave. I liked that. Having forgotten my razor yesterday I’d not shaved for a couple of days. I can never understand how people grow beards; I hate the feeling of not having had a morning scrape.
After a bit of telly (watched with my dog) I then had a look at the Internet via my lap-top. It is somehow better that way than doing it with my phone. I had notifications about jobs at Kings College Hospital in London and in Redhill. Bearing in mind the fun I’d had with snow this week I decided not to follow them up.
There was also some convoluted email from Geo-HQ about their latest nonsense about electronic souvenirs. A couple of weeks ago I was all set to chuck the whole geo-thing in what with the squabbles that were abounding, but I’ve decided to rise above the pettiness. I looked at the convoluted email… I’ve said before that Geo-HQ needs to sack all their staff and start again. I’ll say it again: Geo-HQ needs to sack all their staff and start again. You basically can’ do their hobby without using third-party software. They can’t do their business without the generosity of third-party providers. But still they fart about. This time they’ve come up with a rather complicated way of obtaining meaningless e- souvenirs when they could have improved their app, sorted out the clunky web site, devised some consistency in the way the so-called rules are applied…
I packed an overnight bag (just in case) and set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair who was spouting about… I don’t know what he was spouting about. I’d set the radio to call up the traffic updates. Every time something interesting happened on the morning news program it was interrupted with updates of the road conditions in Rochester, central London and Brighton. However at no time was there any mention of the stretch of Kent between Ashford and Tunbridge Wells.
I’ve turned off the traffic updates.
I had an odd day today; doing more work in the last hour than in all of the rest of the day. There was some sausaging, but no gassing (it’s a blood transfusion thing).
With work done I came home. The forecast snow hadn’t come today, and the journey home was nowhere near as bad as I had suspected it might be.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good plate of scran, and we scoffed it whilst watching the first episode of the new series of “Benidorm”. It was rather good. I just wish my stomach would stop hurting; it has been giving me gip all week. I’m not sure why; I *might* have pulled something when I took a tumble last Sunday…
2 March 2018 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept rather well; I was woken shortly after seven o’clock by Fudge’s whimpering. He’d got upstairs and wanted to be lifted onto the bed. I picked him up, but Treacle appeared and wanted to start a fight.
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook as I do. There were a lot of these memes thanking NHS staff for their efforts in getting to work through the snow this week. A *lot* of us had done like me and stayed overnight. However I took exception to one post which said we should he grateful to the nurses. Whist the nurses do a good job, hospitals cannot run without the contributions of pharmacists, physiotherapists, cleaners, cooks, biomedical scientists, podiatrists, speech therapists, cardiographers, electricians, dieticians, porters, secretaries, med lab assistants, biochemists, plumbers… many of whom also work round the clock. There are *far* more people that doctors and nurses who work in hospitals.
I also saw that Facebook was no longer running an advert for a pornographic game entitled “C*nt Wars”. Last night I saw a featured advert on Facebook for a fun new game. I clicked on the link and was immediately presented with cartoon depictions of rather saucy naked young ladies engaged in rather serious filth. Yet another triumph for Facebook’s community standards?
I also had several emails for jobs in Essex. I’d never apply for them as they would be utterly impractical even though the hospital in which they are based is closer to home than where I am currently working. It is easy to forget that the Thames estuary is in the way. A thirty-mile distance involves a seventy-mile drive.
I put the coats and the leads on to the dogs. Fudge sulked, but I ignored him. He doesn’t like wearing a coat but with temperatures four degrees below zero, I wasn’t going to give him a choice today. We went for our standard circuit of the park. When we walked on Tuesday it was rather pretty with the fresh snow. Today there was just ice everywhere. It was rather dangerous.
As we walked we met OrangeHead who was again surrounded by a posse. As usual Fudge wanted to go off with them; as usual the only way to retrieve him was to put his lead on him and drag.
We came back across the co-op field for the first time this year. Up till now it has been waterlogged; today the mud was frozen so we could get through relatively easily. Fudge rolled in fox poo, but frozen fox poo is but a shadow of its defrosted counterpart.
Once home I hung out the laundry that I’d put on before we went out and put more in. I emptied the dishwasher and looked at my accounts.
To be honest had I not spent nine hundred quid on new brakes for the car and a serious servicing I would be rather better off. But what is money for if not to squander foolishly?
I also made a start on emptying my letter rack. There was a letter from my dentist saying he was jacking it all in. He told me that in person a month or so ago. Why waste money on a letter? I wonder how many others he’s sent out.
There was the annual mortgage review. It has just over four years to run; there is a shade over five thousand pounds still to pay. We pay monthly (as everyone does) but one of these monthly payments isn’t enough to cover the annual interest. Borrowing money is expensive. I’ll feel a lot happier in four years’ time when it is all paid off.
I had a letter from my professional body. They’ve put their bill up. They sent a leaflet about all the money-off deals they offer. However it was all money off of stuff I’d never spend money on in the first place.
The warranty on the SkyPlus box had been renewed. It’s gone up by a quid a month, but they sent me a new bit without quibbling when it went west a few weeks ago.
There were two letters from the vets. Treacle was due booster injections. I phoned the vets and they seemed to have no record of the appointment she had with them in January. Our vets are really good with the dogs, but their record-keeping leaves much to be desired.
It was at this point that I put all the remaining letters back in the rack. I’ll look at the rest another time.
I then spent a couple of hours doing the ironing whilst watching episodes of “The Crown” on Netflix. It is a rather good series, but I can’t warm to the Princess Margaret character at all. With ironing done I wasted a little while doing some CPD whilst sorting my undercrackers.
It don’t do itself, you know.
I thought about taking the dogs out, but they were both snoring, and the snow was falling again. I asked if they wanted to go out; they both leapt up. We had a good little walk round the block in the snow and got home just as "er indoors TM" got home… What excellent timing…
3 March 2018 (Saturday) - Late Shift
I slept like a log last night. I did wake to hoik Treacle out of the bed in the small hours but if she had been still I wouldn’t have noticed her. (Note that’s “wouldn’t have” and not “wouldn’t of” – that annoys me!).
I would have had a rather good lie-in had Treacle not had a woofing fit at eight o’clock. That puppy barks at anything, and when there is nothing to bark at, she barks at that as well. When she barks, Fudge joins in, and when he joins in Treacle then thinks there is something to bark about, and the two of them wind each other up more and more. I got up if only to physically close my dog’s mouths.
I got up, my stomach was still tender. Over brekkie I peered into the Internet. Nothing much had happened on Facebook. Facebook is odd. I know that people are tuning in to it; when I post something it gets “likes”; but so often from people who do nothing but click “like” or just re-post stuff that is supposed to be witty or funny but isn’t. I wish people would post more original stuff. The whole point of Facebook is that I can be nosey.
I had a look at my emails. I had notifications of two jobs for which I would never dream of applying. Two more of the world’s top one per cent of geocachers had been announced. One deserving, one probably not. Amazon were trying to sell me that which I’d already bought from them, and I had an email from the power company. Now that (according to the forecasts) the worst of the weather has been and gone, they’ve sent out details of what to do in an emergency (!)
I put the leads on the dogs (no coats this morning) and we went round the park. I had hoped the Park Run people had cancelled today, and they had. We had a good walk, not slipping in the ice *too* much. Now that (hopefully) the worst of the snow had passed we now have the bit where there is ice and slush everywhere for a week or so.
The walk passed off relatively well, but Fudge did his usual trick of walking off with another group of dog-walkers just as we were about to leave the park. He *always* does that.
We got home just as "er indoors TM" was going out. I had a little time to spare. I would have watched “The Crown” on Netflix but I watched the last episode of that last night. It was a rather good series. Rather than starting something new I had a go at a few geo-puzzles. I solved some; I failed with others.
I settled the dogs and set off to work. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing the politician Jacob Reese-Mogg. Billed as being a potential Prime Minister he came over as something of a fatuous windbag in taking great pride in knowing just how much import duty there was on a pair of Nike Air-Max, whilst at the same time taking great pride in not knowing what a pair of Nike Air-Max actually was.
Windbag and friends were being interviewed on the tired old subject of Brexit. We all know that the country voted for it without knowing what it would actually entail. Not one person in a thousand knows what a customs union actually is... Can't we just accept we've made a monumental balls-up in having no idea what we were actually voting for and just get on with dealing with the consequences of that decision rather than just re-hashing the tired old arguments?
As I drove to work I was tailgated from Great Chart to Biddenden by a van of the UK Mail company. He finally flew past me at breakneck speed (in a 30mph zone) and overtook the car in front on a blind corner before flying off into the distance. As the Three Chimneys pub came into view I could see cars swerving to avoid this van. I thought about complaining to UK Mail, but I've complained about dangerous drivers in the past to no avail. Perhaps he was in a hurry?
I stopped off at Tesco to get some supplies; the place was heaving. So many people, not one looking where they were going, everyone oblivious to everyone else. Much like the driver of the UK Mail van, I expect.
Once at work I went to the canteen where I had a rather good bit of dinner. And from there I went on to have a rather busy afternoon. Busy but... I wouldn't say "enjoyable" but for the last year or so I've felt far more trusted to do my job than I had been for the previous five years. I knew that when I went home the person taking over from me wouldn't be double-checking everything I'd done looking to find fault.
I came home, a quick bit of scoff, and now it’s bed time. I’ve got to be at work before eight o’clock tomorrow morning…
4 March 2018 (Sunday) - Early Shift
I woke just before five o'clock with a pounding headache. It was as well I had to get up at that time anyway. Over brekkie I watched an episode of "F is for family", the latest thing I've taken to watching on Netflix. It is rather good... if you like that sort of thing. As I watched telly my Fudge snored in his basket. When I went to go upstairs he heaved himself out of his bed and looked at me as if to ask to be carried upstairs. I carried him to my bed where he settled whilst making strange squeaking noises. He does that when he's tired.
I set off to work shortly after six o'clock. In contrast to the week that has just gone, this morning wasn't cold or icy. I liked that. I stopped briefly for geo-purposes in High Halden just as dawn was breaking. The view was rather pretty.
I then made good time to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were wittering about iambic pentameter in historical verse and its connection to the human heartbeat. This was followed with some utter drivel about all the breeds of snowdrops that the Victorians bred only to have them all die of fungus infections. (Yes - I thought it was a waste of the licence fee too).
I turned the radio off and listened to my rather strange choice of music for half an hour. When I turned back to the radio there was a documentary about how it is disrespectful to chuck away worn and damaged copies of the Bible and the Koran. Rather than risking religious ire, a couple of rich nutters have obtained several miles of caves in the Middle East. and have made it their lives' work to respectfully entomb damaged holy tomes in said caves.
I wish I had enough money to go round the world gathering up old books and sticking them into my huge cave. If I had enough money to do that, actually doing that would be the last thing I would do with my money though.
Having far too much money is wasted on some people.
I got to work with twenty minutes to spare. I considered having a fry-up in the canteen, but this is becoming something of a habit and bearing in mind I'd been promised a carvery after work I gave it a miss. You can probably imagine my disappointment when I got a message shortly after I'd started work telling me the carvery trip was cancelled.
I sulked a little as I got on with work. But not that much. I had a rather busy day, and as I worked I felt rather worn out. I wasn’t feeling quite one hundred per cent today. I was glad when home time came.
Since we weren’t eating out (and there was no rush to get home) I took a little diversion into a village which was (sort of) on my way home. There are a few geo-puzzles in Horsmonden which require you to wander round the village to find out things. I *could* have found things out and then gone on to find the secreted Tupperware, but instead I just got the answers to the clues I needed and then came home. It was raining; farting about has some limits.
Once home I geo-puzzled a little. I say a little; a few hours is more accurate. I’m puzzled out now. I shall watch the telly for a bit. It don’t watch itself, you know…
5 March 2018 (Monday) - Another Late Shift
A good night’s sleep; it would have been better had Fudge not made himself *quite* so comfortable.
I had something of a sense of relief as I had my morning scrub; last night the water had been off for much of the county. With our only water reserve being the garden pond, I was rather pleased to find the taps were still working.
Over brekkie I sparked up my lap-top whilst the dogs had a scrap. They do like their play-fighting. This morning I didn’t have a single notification on Facebook. Not one. I had no emails worth mentioning either. I spent a little while on Google trying to find pond shops on my route to work, then took the dogs out.
As we walked up the road there was a rather large dog tethered outside the newsagents. Treacle gave him some serious attitude form the safety of the other side of the road. If she’d met him face to face she would have run in terror.
We wandered through Bowen’s Field and on to the park. We met some woman we’d not met before on a dog walk. She had six dogs with her ranging in size from something slightly smaller than a gerbil to one which would have won a fight with a bear. She seemed rather stressed. I find having two dogs to be difficult enough.
We came home. Whilst Fudge (finally) ate his breakfast, Treacle searched the house and garden for "er indoors TM" who had clearly gone to work. Being unable to find her, the silly puppy then started to cry. Both dogs make no secret of who their favourite human in the family is.
I spent a couple of minutes getting the fluorescent tube out of the fish pond filter (so I would know what one to get from the shop), settled the dogs and set off. I'd planned to get a new fluorescent tube for the garden pond on my way to work this morning. So (to brighten what might otherwise be a dull morning) I'd planned my journey to work via several geocaches which were (vaguely) on the way to the pond shop.
I started my little adventure with a double failure at Horsmonden church. There were supposedly two caches in the vicinity. I solved the puzzle for one to find it was three hundred yards away across a quagmire, and the other looked to have gone with a landslide.
Yesterday I'd been to Horsmonden village to get the information to solve three puzzle geocaches there. I say "there" - the information for the puzzles was there. One of the caches wasn't too far away so I went for that one. As I acted suspiciously by a fence I was being watched by a chap who was driving past at slower than walking speed. I gave him the sickliest of smiles, and he soon pissed off. I thought about hunting out the other two puzzles I'd solved yesterday but the final locations for them were some distances away in woodlands. I didn't fancy stomping through the mud today so I gave those a miss.
Mind you I did get another cache there which I found whilst visiting the municipal toilets. You don't see municipal toilets very often these days, do you?
I carried on up the road to my next port of call where I met with mixed results. I found one cache (in sad need of maintenance) on a post box, but couldn't solve the puzzle near the church as there were builders doing builder things right where I needed to be. Similarly a mile up the road I was thwarted by a cyclist. The given clue for the geocache at this place was "take a seat"; I got to the bench to find a cyclist disassembling his bike on that very bench. It was near there that I also couldn't get the clues for a puzzle based on an Oast house as I couldn't find anywhere to park.
It was with a sense of relief that I solved a puzzle in Matfield church and found a film pot not far away.
Four finds and seven fails; that's a piss-poor success rate.
Mind you from Matfield church it was only half a mile to Pelagic Aquatics. I went in to find a rather pleasant young lady cleaning out the snakes. She let me help; it was such fun playing with the royal pythons. And there was a rather huge Burmese python too. I got rather gooey-eyed with one pastel-shaded royal python. Do I want snakes again... maybe.
I spent so long in there that I nearly forgot to get the new bit for the fish pond filter.
I went on to work via the Notcutts garden centre. Overpriced and pretentious; I didn't hang around for long.
For the last year when on the late shift I would have McLunch, but with no McDonalds anywhere nearby I've taken to using the hospital canteen for dinner. It is reasonably priced, the good is good, and it is served quickly. Today's cauliflower, broccoli and tomato in cheese sauce was rather good. And I didn't have any chips either.
After my little adventure, the late shift was something of an anticlimax…
6 March 2018 (Tuesday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept like a log last night. I’ve been sleeping well for a few days now. I wonder why? I was woken by "er indoors TM"’s alarm which went off at half past seven. I got up, made my toast and as I started to scoff it "er indoors TM" went out to move her car (you can only park round the corner till eight o’clock). When she went out, both dogs jumped onto the back of the sofa, frantically worried about where she’d gone. I tried to console them both; they flatly ignored me.
As I scoffed brekkie I had a look at the Internet. I had a few emails. I was told about job opportunities in Croydon and Brighton. Netflix had told me about their latest offerings, and I had several messages about new geocaches. There had been issues with a nearby series and so someone replaced a third of their caches on that series with new ones. But only a third. Why not replace the lot and give us all a new walk? And as I scoffed an email came in about another solitary cache that had been added into the middle of an existing route quite a long way from the road to Canterbury.
I suppose these might make for something to do before a late shift but I’d rather have a decent dog walk.
Talking of which I popped the leads onto the dogs and walked round to find "Daddy’s Little Angel TM", Sid and Pogo. With "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" at nursery (or “brat club” as it is known) we walked the wolf-pack out to McDonalds for a toffee latte. I shared a sausage and egg McMuffin with the dogs. It didn’t go very far.
We came home, and I spent a little while in the garden. Together with "My Boy TM", I fixed the fence just before Christmas. Today I made a start at fixing the fixing. With the soil now settled I was able to put the anti-weed membranes back in place and put the edging stones back. However I didn’t re-gravel as I had been planning to. I needed more brindle chippings. I was sure I had loads of spare brindle chippings. I could remember putting them into the red garden bin and I could remember having spare bags of the things. But the red garden bin was empty and there were no bags of chippings to be found.. I shall have to get some on the way to work tomorrow.
I did put the new fluorescent tube into the pond filter. I was going to clean the filter out; it looks like I cleaned it out when I turned it off in the autumn. That saved a smelly job. So with some time spare I mowed the lawn and then came inside.
I hoovered whilst the dogs barked at shadows, then over lunch I watched a film on Netflix. “10 Cloverfield Lane” was odd. It started well; the first hour and a half were one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve ever seen. Without wishing to give the plot away, the last quarter of an hour was rather lame. It was as though the writers didn’t really know how to end the film, so they just played the end of another (utterly unrelated) film and hoped no one would notice what they had done.
I then spent a while farting around with Google documents. I made something vaguely C.P.D.- related. You can see it here (not that I would bother looking), and then had a little shock. The USB cable I use to charge my phone and watch had been chewed. I hadn’t chomped on it. That leaves three suspects in the house and judging by the look of angelic innocence on the faces of my fur-babies, "er indoors TM" is the prime suspect. I suppose I should go shopping for a new cable; I’ll do it tomorrow when getting those chippings.
I woke the dogs, and we went round the park for a little walk. They like going out, and it is all good exercise. We hadn’t been home long when "er indoors TM" came home. We had a good bit off scoff then, being Tuesday, it was round to Chris’s for the gathering. Rather a good turn-out tonight. It was good to catch up and put the world to rights.
As we drove home it was hard to believe that only a week ago the snow had me stranded in Pembury…
7 March 2018 (Wednesday) - Late Shift
Another good night… or most of the night I woke just after 6am with my CPAP machine blowing a hurricane into my nose. I heaved myself out of bed; “heaved” being the operative phrase. It is time for a diet again.
I get cross with the subject of diets. There are so many of them. Eat normally and go hungry for two days a week. Atkins. Go vegetarian. Eat granola. Slow release carbs… Everyone has a never-fail diet idea that simply doesn’t work. I’ve tried the lot. Some might work for others, but from bitter experience the only weight loss plan that works for me is calorie counting and a sense of being permanently hungry.
I got onto the scales this morning. Seventeen stone and one pound. According to the Internet I need to lose about a third of my body weight (again). So it is calorie counting for me (again)… Time to reactivate myfitnesspal dot com.
Over brekkie of jam on toast with coffee (one fifth of my day’s calorie allowance) I had a look-see at the Internet. Yesterday I posted up to one of the work-related Facebook groups I follow. What I’d said had been favourably received. Not much else had happened on Facebook.
I had an email telling me of two jobs in London; neither of which really appealed to me. And I had a glut of emails telling me someone had spent a day in Ashford finding (and not finding) my Wherigo caches. The finds told me the caches were fine; the “didn’t finds” told me I might need to do a spot of maintenance. Then I looked closer. These were all dated nine months ago. So… what looked fine might not be, and those with the issues have long been sorted. Leaving the logging for nine months was really helpful to me (he said sarcastically!)
I can’t understand why people leave it so long to sort out doing the logging of what they’ve found when hunting Tupperware. This chap had done “cut and paste” for everything he’d had to say. It is possible to automate the logging and to it all in less than two minutes.
I took the dogs round the park. We had a rather good walk; I saw OrangeHead and her posse before Fudge did so I was able to get him on his lead. He tends to join in with them if ‘m not careful. OrangeHead knows this and always keeps walking which makes it rather difficult to get Fudge back. As I was putting him on his lead, one of OrangeHead’s followers asked if he’d been naughty. I explained why he was going on the lead; OrangeHead’s expression was one of a smacked arse.
Still, if nothing else the walk burned off three hundred calories.
It was amazing how grubby I’d got on a circuit of the park. I put on clean trousers, settled the dogs and drove to the petrol station on the ring road to get petrol. I got there to find the amazingly (!) attractive grannie was without any suitors for once, but as I was walking out of the kiosk two middle aged men charged in as fast as they could. Both were clearly in a rush to get to grannie before the other. I wish I could see the attraction.
Usually I would get a bag of Cadbury's mini eggs from the garage which I would scoff as I drove. I didn't today. That saved two hundred and twelve calories. As I drove away I remembered they sold USB cables and that I had been planning to get one from them. Woops!
I drove on to Bybrook barn garden centre to get some brindle chippings. At least I remembered something that had been on my shopping list. I got there to find the car park was blocked. There was a huge lorry filling most of it, and the rest of the car park was occupied by some rather fat people who were seemingly waddling about in random circles. I had no idea what they were doing, but it was enough to make me give up and set off westwards. I'll get my brindle chippings tomorrow.
Yesterday I'd seen a new geocache had gone live not two miles from work. This morning the First to Find was still unclaimed so I went on a little mission. I drove to an obscure housing estate in Tunbridge Wells and found a footpath. I then waded through swamp and quagmire only to be beaten to my quarry by two minutes. Still, it was good to meet up with those who'd beaten me there; it was even better that this was their first FTF.
We chatted for a bit, then I went on to get "second to find". As I walked back to my car I again met up with the people who'd got the FTF. For some inexplicable reason they were counting the planks on a bridge. Apparently there were two new geocaches in the area. The one for which I was too slow, and one involving a field puzzle in which you had to count the planks on a bridge. I hadn't known about this second cache; that was something of a bonus.
After a little mucking about, and a little more wading through mud we soon found the right bridge on which to count planks. From there it was only a short spuddle to find the hidden Tupperware, claim a joint First to Find, and do the happy dance.
There are those who don't like sharing an FTF. I was only too happy to do so today. I was glad to have someone with me. Company is always good, as is meeting new friends. The puzzle involved doing sums with the numbers of planks we counted, and despite having a degree in maths, sums isn't my strong point so having someone who can add up is a bonus.
And it is always handy to have someone nearby (just in case) when (realistically) you aren't *that* far from retirement and you are sodding about in the mud like a man half your age.
We said our goodbyes just as I realised how grubby I was. Having put on clean trousers after the morning's dog walk I was now wearing trousers that were muddier than the ones I'd taken off.
I got to work with ten minutes to spare, apologised for all the mud, and got on with my work.
Seeing how I'm on a diet I decided against having lunch, and spent most of the afternoon feeling hungry. Mind you unless I'm stuffed to the point of feeling sick, I'm always hungry. If I could stop feeling hungry i wouldn't have this weight problem.
Mind you what with all the late shifts, having dinner at half past ten in the evening probably isn’t helping maintain an ideal physique…
8 March 2018 (Thursday) - Another Late Shift
I woke with a pounding headache. That’s twice that’s happened this week. I wonder what that is all about?
As the dogs ripped teddy bears to pieces I had my toast (three hundred calories!) as I looked at the Internet. Nothing revolutionary had happened on Facebook. Idiots idioted, trolls trolled. Mind you an ex-colleague had got guts ache, and my cousin had sinus pains. That’s the sort of thing I like from social media. Twee memes are all very well, it is in the petty details that the interest of existence lies (I like that quote!).
I had a look at my in-box. It was dull. Did I want to go work at Guy’s hospital? (No). LinkedIn suggested I might team up with people who have studied with the Open University. Bearing in mind the last studying I did with them was over twenty years ago, that would be something of a tenuous connection at best. Someone with an utterly inappropriate user name on geocaching dot com had said nice things about his experience with one of my Wherigos (from nine months ago). And I had a reminder that my fishing licence was due. I shall get that on-line again. I did last year and they never took the money. Here’s hoping…
Bearing in mind the amount of mud I found yesterday I spent a little while hunting out a pair of trousers and then took the dogs round the park. It was one of those mornings when it felt good to be alive. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, Treacle was eating something disgusting she’d found in a hedge…
We even got a “good morning” from OrangeHead who hadn’t yet met up with her posse.
We came home; Treacle hunted everywhere for "er indoors TM" and cried a little when she couldn’t find her. I spent a couple of minutes wiping the mud from my boots. My walking boots are in a right old state. A few days ago they were immaculate. There is nothing like snow for cleaning up your walking boots. But with the snow now replaced with mud the things are filthy.
I made myself a cuppa (no biccies), watched an episode of “F is for Family”, settled the dogs and went off in the general direction of work.
I thought about going shopping. Brindle chippings and USB cables don't buy themselves. But by the time I'd watched telly and cuddled with my sleeping dogs time was pushing on.
I drove out to Kilndown where I'd planned a little geo-mission. I started off by acting very suspiciously round a fire hydrant and a telegraph pole. It was the only way to get the information I needed for some puzzles. Having obtained the numbers I needed, I sat in a nearby bus shelter pretending to wait for a bus whilst I did some sums. It wasn't long before I had turned a telegraph pole and a fire hydrant into GPS co-ordinates, and after a short walk I had two geo-successes.
I say "a short walk"; there are those who would have taken a bus to go that far. but walking is good exercise.
I tried a third puzzle. I had to go to the nearby graveyard and find a family tomb. The family in question must have been rich; they had half a dozen tombs. I wasn't entirely sure which one I wanted, so I gave up and drove on to work for lunch.
When working at Maidstone I would have McLunch at the McDonalds up the road from the hospital. Whilst McLunch is served quickly, it does come with ten thousand McCalories. The hospital canteen at Tunbridge Wells does really good food just as quickly. And probably with less calories. Chicken and bacon, vegetables, and a portion of fruit for afters came in at just under four hundred calories. That's a sizeable proportion of my daily allowance.
Having scoffed, I went in to work to find home-made cake in the tea room. In the past i would have had a couple of slices. In retrospect that is probably why I've got to lose about a third of my body weight. So I was good and didn't have any cake at all.
Instead I spent the afternoon feeling hungry. Feeling hungry is God's way of telling you that the diet is working. A shame it works so slowly, but there it is.
And in closing did you know that today is the fortieth anniversary of the first broadcasting of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Radio Four?
Mind you that is hardly news to any hoopy frood who knows where their towel is...
9 March 2018 (Friday) - Bit Dull
I quite like the late shifts in that I can do things in the morning before work. But when the late shift is followed by a core shift… I got home shortly after ten o’clock last night. I had an hour then it was bed time, and if I didn’t leave for work by quarter past seven I would be stuck in the seriously slow-moving traffic up the A21. It was all something of a rush.
Nevertheless I was up half an hour earlier than I needed to be this morning. Last night the SkyPlus box had recorded the first episode of the new series of “Still Game”. It was rather good.
With brekkie scoffed I spent five minutes checking the Internet. Facebook was interesting; there are several people I keep on my list purely to watch their public squabbles. Another such squabble kicked off overnight; it made for minor entertainment as my stomach rumbled. Meanwhile other friends were off on their holidays.
LinkedIn has sent me an email telling me that Joseph Edwards had got a new job. I would congratulate him *if* I knew who he was. And with nothing else of note in cyberspace, I set off to work.
I had a vague plan to go for a puzzle geocache in Godinton on the way to work, but by the time I'd navigated around the dustbin lorries blocking the road I didn't have too much time to spare. You have to admire the bin men with the contemptuous way they slowly saunter across the roads. They know they are slowing the traffic to a seriously unreasonably degree, and they *really* don't care. I once complained to the council about an issue I had with the bin collections and the chap at the council told me that whatever my issue was, it was up to him to appease the contractors. If he didn't keep them sweet, they would simply refuse to collect the bins. But still get paid.
Nice work if you can get it.
As I drove I listened to the radio. I'd not heard the morning's news for some time. Apparently President Trump is to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
I doubt anything will be achieved by this meeting. Mind you is anything being achieved by either Donald Trump or Kim Jong Un? I suspect both are following the presidential model of Zaphod Beeblebrox who (when galactic president) didn't so much wield any power as drew the public's attention away from those behind the scenes who wielded the power.
There was also talk of a serious pay rise for NHS workers. Six and a half per cent extra, but we have to lose a day's holiday. That's no problem - I can live with that. I've got four days of this leave year's allocation I will probably lose as I've not taken it.
I stopped off at Tesco on the way to work. Getting in to the place was tricky as the car park was heaving with schoolchildren pulling wheelies on their pedal bikes. I got my shopping (ain't bum-wipe expensive!) and tried to get out of the place. "Tried" being an accurate description. The doors were blocked by over a dozen bicycles strewn over the floor by the schoolchildren who were standing around giving attitude to whoever tried to step over their bikes.
I complained to the manager. He didn't actually say "F... off fatso" to me, but his attitude certainly conveyed that sentiment.
I went in to work. There were cakes, but I was good and didn't have any. I did my bit on a rather dull day and came home. After all the late shifts recently it seemed odd to be leaving work in daylight.
"er indoors TM" is boiling up some diet scran. In the meantime I’ve got a stick of celery to chomp on. The dogs are eyeing it enviously…
Today has been rather dull…
10 March 2018 (Saturday) - Another Late Shift
As I scoffed my toast I looked at Facebook as I do. As well as following the gossip and the knob jokes, I follow some work-related pages. I find them very useful. They are invaluable for experience and keeping up to date. But I need to remember that absolutely anyone can join in and post any old rubbish. I’ve been following a case study about haemoglobin D-E disease… without going into too much detail, there is one idiot commenting on the thread who clearly doesn’t know his arse from a hole in the ground.
Bearing in mind this page is supposedly for people with post-graduate qualifications in a very specific line of work, his comments are rather worrying. Imagine your car’s engine was on fire, and the mechanic telling you that the problem was with the tyre pressure. Bearing in mind it is not really the done thing to call someone a f-ckw-t in polite company I asked a question or two. Either it will show him up or (quite possibly) show that it is me who is the thick one. Both eventualities have happened before.
Meanwhile back with the gossip and the knob jokes I saw that my grand-dog Sid has hurt his eye. I say “Sid has hurt his eye”; grand-dog Pogo is the prime suspect in this case.
We got the leads onto the dogs, and we took the dogs for a little walk. As we walked through Bowen's Field, Treacle did some poop and I picked it up. Fudge did some poop and I tried to pick it up, but I was too slow. Treacle ate it before I could stop her. Foul pup!
We walked on to Viccie Park where we saw Bernie in the distance. I set the dogs on him. There was a near-episode when a passing normal person thought the dogs were *really* being set on him, but he soon realised what was going on.
It was good to meet up with Bernie; he walked with us on our circuit of the park and we put the world to rights.
We came home, and leaving "er indoors TM" to tidy the house I set off to work. Apparently there is mud all over the leather sofas that she needs to wash off. I'm reliably informed that it is the same mud that was all over my trousers on Wednesday. That would be the mud from Treacle. I never wanted a dog... so it is only fair that those who did want a dog should clear up their mud.
As I drove to work I had the radio on for a while. Ex Labour leader Ed Milliband was spouting on saying how much better it is that he can now say what he wants because he's not leader of a political party any more. He was expounding this theory that those in public and political life have to watch what they say, and be very circumspect, tactful and diplomatic.
I wonder if he's ever heard of President Trump?
When Mr Milliband finished there was some other stuff on the radio. I've no idea what it was about; it didn't grip my attention so I turned it off and listened to my strange choice in music instead.
Mind you my attention was more on the road than on the radio. As I drove along the A262 from High Halden to Biddenden there were several near accidents. I say "accidents"; crashes would be more accurate. "Accident" implies "accidental"; these cyclists were seemingly deliberately driving like idiots. Why do cyclists ride down the very centre of the road with their heads down, not looking where they are going. Whilst I realise that these stupid cyclists are in the minority, there are enough of them to seriously question if the entire lot should be banned. If cyclists are to be on the road, then each and every one of them needs to be accountable for their actions. So many times this morning I watched cars swerving to avoid cyclists coming head-on at them. With some sort of registration plate you would know who to report for willfully dangerous cycling.
I was glad to turn off at Biddenden; whatever was attracting the cyclists wasn't attracting them towards Goudhurst.
I took a little detour at Lamberhurst for geo-reasons. I'd already taken one geo-detour to replace one of my missing caches in Great Chart. I spent fifteen minutes hunting out a couple of caches before going to the hospital canteen. They had a rather good bit of chili beef for lunch today.
And having scoffed my chili beef I went in to work. I quite like weekend and night work in that I can get on and do things in my own way and at my own pace, but today was rather busier than I'd have had it (given the choice). As I worked friends posted me pictures of pump clips from the bar, and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" was texting me about Fermat's last theorem. For all that there is now a supposed proof, I don't think Fermat himself ever had a proof.
I was quite worn out when the relief rolled in at nine o'clock.
Rather than going home I went to Singleton Barn where “Access All Areas” were playing their first gig of the year. Not getting there till ten o’clock meant I’d missed mist of the first half, but I did get to sing along to “Mr Blue Sky”. It was good to see that band again, and to see friends.
Next time hopefully I’ll be there for the entire performance…
11 March 2018 (Sunday) - Mother's Day
I slept like a log. I woke to the sound of heavy rain on the window. Depressing. Over brekkie I did my usual sweep of the Internet. There wasn’t much of note going on in cyber-space really; the most exciting thing I could find was a discussion on Facebook about how certain universities might be sued for a pro rata refund of university tuition fees on grounds of non-provision of academic services due to strike action. The subject itself was rather dull; the interesting part was that it was started by a chap who was a member of the Boys Brigade company of which I was a leader forty years ago. I follow this chap’s Facebook postings with interest. He’s done very well for himself; regularly posting from business trips to America and the far east, and from holidays in rather pretty ski resorts.
Looking back to my time in secondary school, he and several others (who weren’t as clever as me!) spent most of their spare time on schoolwork. Boys Brigade was only one night a week for them. Had I done more schoolwork and wasted less time on organizing and committee-ing and being a leader with the Boys Brigade back then, maybe I too could now be having business trips to America and the far east, and holidays in rather pretty ski resorts.
I often think “what if”...
We got the leads on to the dogs and set off to Hastings to do the Mother’s Day thing. But before we could Mother, we needed to walk the pups. There is a multi-geocache on the way to Hastings which I had had my eye on for some time. Billed as being a walk of a mile and a half along Winchelsea beach it looked just right for today. We parked up and made our way to the first place where we might solve a puzzle. We got some clues and made our way to the second point where neither of us were able to count to seven. The third point was near a disused lifeboat station. Who would have known it was there? From the lifeboat station it was but a short stroll to the final location where we spotted the Tupperware box from some distance away. The last time it had been “officially” found was in September last year, but in the meantime passing normal people had signed the log inside saying they’d found it by accident. I stashed it under a rock and camouflaged it somewhat better than how we’d found it.
It was at this point that I realized that the described walk of a mile and a half was actually from the car park to the final location. There was a walk of a mile and a half back again. Still, the dogs like a walk.
We lost Fudge on the way back. We found him on the beach rolling in something disgusting.
We went back to the car, and drove on to see my mummy and daddy. They were looking well. We hadn’t been sure about taking the dogs, but they fussed the pups. And after a while we moved on to visit mother-in-law.
It was at this point that I fell asleep for an hour.
We came home for a cuppa. I messed about buying my fishing licence on-line. Here’s hoping they don’t take the money for it. They didn’t last year. We did the dog’s flea treatment, gave them their dinner, then went on for Mother’s Day phase two.
"My Boy TM" and Cheryl had invited us round for dinner. I say “us”; it was "er indoors TM" they really wanted for Mother’s Day; I was just the driver. We arrived and made our choices of curry and phoned our order through to the take-away. They said there would be a three-hour delay. Bearing in mind it was Mother’s Day we supposed that this was to be expected. Cheryl and I took Rolo round Singleton Lake for a walk, and we watched a film. After a couple of hours we phoned the take-away to see how the food was coming along. They said it would be ready for us to collect in fifteen minutes. So "My Boy TM" and I went round to Dipa Tandoori where a near-riot was kicking off. It would seem that due to extreme staff shortages they had put the village idiot on the telephone. I watched her for a while. She was taking orders and writing them down. She was then putting the written orders into a basket which she was regularly shuffling so no one knew which were the recent orders and which were from ages ago. When people were phoning to ask about their food she would dig through the basket of orders, throw the order at the kitchen staff and shout “fifteen minutes” into the phone. Half a dozen other people had (like us) turned up to collect food that wasn’t ready. I felt sorry for the staff who were apologising for the village idiot.
After an hour’s wait we got (mostly) what we’d ordered.
We hurried back with the food. It was rather good, and put world to rights as we scoffed ourselves silly with it. So much for diet today; I’ve got quite the stomach ache. Lamb Madras – oh yes !
I took a few photos of what we did today… it has been a rather busy one…
12 March 2018 (Monday) - An Afternoon Off
We had a rather good curry last night, but one of the troubles with curry is the rice. It swells in the stomach overnight and I woke just before the alarm was due to go off feeling very bloated. The feeling lasted most of the day.
I got up and as I shaved the seagulls were being very noisy. They do that from time to time. I had a look at the SkyPlus box and saw it had recorded three episodes of “Dad’s Army” for me. The one up the clock tower, the one with the German U-boat commander, and the one where the Americans visit. Bearing in mind I probably know all three episodes word-perfectly I deleted them all and watched an episode of “F is for Family” instead.
With telly watched I sparked up my lap-top. A friend was having his birthday today… so why was he up and about and posting on Facebook before half past six? I also saw a *lot* of very odd posts from women who aren’t mothers who seemed to feel that yesterday’s idea of Mother’s Day was somehow discriminatory against them. And there were several comments from women who felt that because they had a dog or a cat then they too should have been considered to be a mother yesterday.
I set off to work, and the pundits on the radio were giving a *lot* of air time to the death of Ken Dodd He died overnight, and people were queuing up to come on the radio with their obituaries. It is sad that he’s gone, but that’s what happens. He was ninety years old; I honestly thought he’d died years ago.
There was also an interview with the Dribbling Democrap leader Vince Cable who is in trouble for implying that many people who voted for Brexit were racists. After quite a bit of discussion and evidence presented both to support and refute Mr Cable the eventual feeling of those on the radio was that Mr Cable had been right in his assertion, but wrong to have made it.
Wasn’t this what Mr Milliband had said about leaders of political parties on the radio the other day?
I got to work, didn’t do much, and came home at mid-day. I’d booked the afternoon off work purely because I could. I took a circuitous route home to see if getting home from Pembury might be any quicker if I drove to Aylesford and took the motorway.
Once home I took the dogs for a walk. As we walked we saw a nutter who was dancing along to the strange music that only he could hear. I tried to video him on Facebook Live, but there is no zoom function on the app. So I just waited until I got a bit closer to record him throwing some shapes.
When we left home it was a bright afternoon. By the time we’d got to the park it was pouring hard. We were all soaked by the time we got home, and the pups needed the mud hosing from their bellies. We all then huddled on the sofa to get warm as I ate some toast and watched the last episode of “F is for Family”. And with that watched I did some geo-puzzles in the London area with a view to going back in a few months’ time.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. I had plans to have a catching up with episodes of “Jamestown” during the evening, but despite Jocelyn’s bosom heaving at full power I fell asleep. I shall rewind and watch her bosom heave tomorrow.
13 March 2018 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
I stood on the scales today and weighed in at one hundred and seven point nine kilogrammes. In imperial terms that’s a loss of five and a half pounds in a week. I know from experience that a *lot* of weight comes off in the first week of any diet, but if I could manage to shed only a pound a week for the rest of the year I might just only be “overweight” by Christmas.
As I made my brekkie (toast and jam – three hundred calories) I wondered if maybe muesli might be a better brekkie for me. I might get some and find out.
Interestingly the people who provide my calorie counter emailed my today with some weight loss tips. Nor much as I admire them for the calorie counter and the database of the nutritional content of over two million different foods, I was rather dubious about advice being offered by someone by the name of Jackie S Womble.
There wasn’t much happening on Facebook this morning, but I saw that CAMRA had announced its “Dover pub of the year”. I wondered about asking how the decision had been made; for several years I was a member of CAMRA’s Ashford branch and never heard anything from them whatsoever from one year to the next. I used to get wound up when the local branch would declare its local pub of the year and claim that the membership had decided it when neither I nor any fellow members of my acquaintance had never been asked.
I set the washing machine going and set McAfee scanning my lap-top, then got the dogs organized and took them round the park. There was a minor disaster when we found our way blocked by some tree surgeons. I say “blocked”; we could walk round easily enough but it involved walking round by going through a swamp. Once past the swamp we met Oscar; a little pug who Treacle actually played with for a while. Fudge behaved himself mostly; there was a near incident when he tried to join in with OrangeHead’s posse, but one of their number stopped and caught him for me. She knows what a pain he can be.
We came home; both dogs had the mud washed from their undersides. I hung out the washing and put more in to scrub. "er indoors TM" had sorted some rubbish for the tip so I loaded that into the car together with four black sacks that (for no reason that I could fathom) the bin men didn’t take. I collected Cheryl and her mate (who were on the way home from town), got Cheryl’s old mattress, and took a car full of rubbish to the tip.
The tip was rather busy for a Tuesday morning. Things might have been easier for me had I not been followed by one of the staff who was constantly telling me that towels went in the household waste. I assured him that I had no towels, but he wouldn’t let it lie. I showed him the rubbish I had; old clothes, a broken vacuum cleaner, a cracked bowling ball… still he wouldn’t shut up about towels.
With rubbish unloaded it was only a short hop from the tip to the shingle shop where I bought four bags of red granite. It is surprising how heavy those bags of shingle are. I got them into the car easily enough but had to seriously strain getting them from the car into the back garden.
I hung out more washing, then put undercrackers in to scrub as I watched another episode of “Jamestown”. It was odd. The show started off being a period drama and it carried on like this for the first season and most of the second season. And Jocelyn’s heaving bosom was a little (not so little) bonus. Now it has suddenly become a zombie-horror show, and Jocelyn has put her bosom away.
What’s that all about?
I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. I slept reasonably well. I would have slept better had the dogs not been barking at random shadows for much of the time. I woke just after five o’clock and spent an hour devising a geo-puzzle which I might hide for the gratification of humanity (or that fraction of humanity which likes hunting Tupperware) later in the week.
Once "er indoors TM" has cooked my dinner I’m off to the night shift…
14 March 2018 (Wednesday) - Between the Night Shifts
I had a rather busy night; it never fails to amaze me how busy the night shifts are these days. Back when I first started night work in hospital laboratories (in 1985) we would be called in from home for specific cases, and it was not uncommon not to be called between midnight and nine o'clock the next day. Now the work is constant all night long. How times have changed.
Night work also plays havoc with the diet; if only for recording what food you have at what time. What do you call the meal you have at three o'clock in the morning? I'm going with "lunch" as I was asleep when I would usually be scoffing that. But what do you call the toast you have in the late afternoon after being asleep all day?
It was with a sense of despair that I took a phone call shortly after half past seven this morning. With only minutes till the relief was due to arrive, the chap on the early shift was stuck in traffic. Overnight a manhole cover had collapsed in Colt’s Hill and blocked the road.
I wasn’t *that* late in getting out; but it would be today that the barrier on the car park decided to be problematical. Eventually I set off homewards. I drove to work in darkness last night; I much prefer the drive home in daylight.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the death of Professor Stephen Hawking. As a young man he’d been given two years to live; he went on for over fifty.
I got home and took the dogs out. I guessed that the tree surgeons would have been finished in the park. I guessed wrong. But at least the mud through which we had to walk had dried out somewhat since yesterday.
And with dogs walked I went to bed for the day.
I got up after five hours sleep. More would have been nice. I spent a little while working on creating a geo-puzzle. After all, today is “Pi Day”; that fact might help in solving the puzzle. I wonder if it will get much interest?
I also had a few emails telling me that some of the geocaches I hid round South Ashford a few years ago are in need of attention. I shall look at those tomorrow during the dog walk.
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. With any luck I’ll get some dinner and then I shall be off to work for another night shift. There isn’t anywhere (other than the co-op) on the way to work where I can get scoff. I used to get myself a cheeky McDonalds before the night shifts in Maidstone. Usually only a McFlurry, but even a McFlurry is four hundred calories.
I’ve mentioned before that the day between night shifts is often very dull.
15 March 2018 (Thursday) - After the Night Shift
When I took over from the late shift last night I heard something which made me smile. People have been talking about me at work. When I was working week day shifts I had my shirts on. When working nights and weekends I wear polo shirts which are short sleeved. With these my tattoos are visible.
Apparently not only am I the most tattooed person in the department, I am also the person least expected to have tattoos. Despite one of the busiest night shifts ever, I chuckled for much of the night shift on hearing that.
And again, like yesterday, the early shift was stuck in traffic and I was late getting out.
Last night on the way in to work I hid a puzzle geocache. I drove home past the thing this morning in the hope of seeing someone going to find it. As I drove past I saw someone loitering around it in a very suspicious way. I considered stopping for a chat, but I didn’t recognize them and the rain was heavy so I kept going.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were all atwitter about the recent death of Russians in the UK. From what I can work out it looks like the Russian government arranged to have someone murdered in Salisbury. For all that the world is condemning Russia, it doesn’t look like the Russians care.
I got home and decided we wouldn’t go for a walk. Fudge decided differently. When I come home he just shouts at me until we go out. He was rather noisy this morning, so we went for a walk.
Bearing in mind that Bowens Field was a swamp yesterday and it has been raining, we walked a different way. Going into the park through the bottom rather than through the top meant I could have a look-see at one of my geocaches that had been reported to be missing. I originally put the thing out over five years ago; it was a little tube hanging (rather obviously) in a tree. I saw *was*; it had gone. I thought about replacing it but the thing had run its course; only half a dozen finds last year; everyone who was going to look for it had already done so. I created a whole new listing on geocaching dot com. I wish more people would do that rather than slowly strangling the hobby by keeping alive film pots under rocks that everyone has found years ago.
As we walked across the park so my shoes leaked and the rain started again. We were all rather wet and grungy by the time we got home. Mind you, Treacle has learned something. On the last few walks round the park we’ve got so grubby that the dogs have needed their bellies hosing off. Today when we got home Treacle went straight to the bathroom and jumped in the bath to be washed.
I hoiked Fudge in with her, scrubbed the dogs, then scrubbed myself and took myself off to bed.
After two night shifts I was hoping for a decent kip; I got two hours before fudge started barking at shadows. Having been woken I couldn’t get back to sleep. I had some toast, then did the ironing whilst watching the first episode of “Altered Carbon”. I’d heard good things about this show, but I’d been misled. It was yet another “whodunnit” police show. With the first episode watched I deleted it from my “continue watching” list. I shan’t bother with any more of that show.
Instead I started re-watching “Star Trek: Discovery”.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up some rather good scran. We scoffed it whilst catching up wth episodes of the current series of “Benidorm”. The Chuckle Brothers appeared in one of the episodes. I thought they’d retired years ago…
I expect I shall nod off soon…
16 March 2018 (Friday) - DNF Friday
I slept like a log last night; night working does that for me. I woke shortly before "er indoors TM"’s alarm was due to go off.
As I scoffed my toast I had a look-see at the Internet. It was much the same as it had been last night, but overnight a new puzzle geocache had appeared not too far from Faversham. I puzzled it out and got the “thumbs-up” from the checker. I was rather pleased with myself about that, and I was feeling rather smug as I took the dogs out.
Fudge tried to pick a fight with a bus as we walked up the road. We got rather soggy in Bowen’s Field which was a shame. It was shortly after this that we met Lacey and both dogs jumped up at her and covered her in mud.
As Lacey set off to school we went on for a quick circuit of the park. Treacle saw a squirrel; the poor thing ran like a bullet from a gun. Treacle had a fair turn of speed as she chased it.
With dogs walked I settled them. Back in the days before Treacle I would take Fudge for a geo-walk. But having two dogs is too much like hard work. One pulls like a train; one has to be dragged along behind like a sack of spuds. They were both soon snoring in their beds and with a few minutes spare I thought I might chase the First to Find on that puzzle I’d solved earlier.
I was soon at a very likely-looking spot near Faversham but could find nothing. After fifteen minutes I checked my calculations. I *was* in the right spot. I hunted some more, but to no avail. In desperation I messaged the chap who had hidden it only to find there had been a mini balls-up. This cache wasn’t supposed to go live until tomorrow, and consequently hadn’t been hidden yet. All the paperwork and websites were done, ut the sandwich box I was hunting was still in Matt’s car several miles away.
I drove on out (sniggering at myself) to Betsham. As I drove I recognized a number plate on a car. It was Dick’s car. I followed him to Betsham where we met Gordon and also the chap who had hidden all those boxes in Beckenham that we hunted for the other week. Together we had a rather good walk….
Let me qualify that.
I had a very good time walking with friends today, and I met a new friend too. I like meeting up with buddies; and we had a good catch-up today. But the walk itself was something of a disappointment. It was effectively a walk of two geo-series.
The larger walk was the one we did first; a circuit along roads and paths along roads. The cars flew along the part of the walk on lanes, and bit along the A2 was *very* noisy. We found human turds in a carrier bag in a rather nasty area where dozens of parked truckers had effectively trashed an area. (Someone *really* had crapped into a carrier bag and hung it from a fence)
Geocache-wise this part of the walk was rubbish. The chap who had hid them seems to have given up with the hobby. Many of the caches were missing with us being the latest of several people logging “did not find”.
A torrential rain shower half way round (soaking us all to the skin) really didn’t help. We were all set to go home, but reasoning that we needed to dry out a little we decided to carry on and do the smaller nearby walk. It was a straight line of four caches; fiendishly difficult ones of which we only found one.
Usually on a walk of twenty to thirty caches you expect to find the lot. Just one “Did Not Find” is cause for sulking. Today we logged DNFs on nine out of twenty-five. Probably my second- worst success rate ever
I took several photos as we walked. I still do that despite my camera having packed up.
We said our goodbyes, and I came home. Bearing in mind I was on a rest day today "er indoors TM" hadn’t come home at lunch time to walk the dogs. I took them round the park again. They like it, and (to be honest) so do I. We have a rather good park in Ashford.
With walk over I watched more “Star Trek: Discovery”. I’m hoping that by watching it all in rather quick succession I might get more “into” it. Having watched it all once, I was conscious that I was watching it because that was what trekkies do, rather than because I liked it.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up some fish and chips. It was rather good, but it put back on half the calories I’d walked off in over four hours’ walking earlier. That’s the trouble with these calories; they go in far easier than they come off…
17 March 2018 (Saturday) - Wedding Reception
I was sleeping like a log until nice-next-door started doing “noisy sex” just after seven o’clock. Interestingly amongst her squeals and groans she was shouting “Yes Oliver!”. Him-next-door is called Bradley. I wonder who Oliver is, and if he survived the ordeal.
Bearing in mind that my dogs bark at the slightest provocation I’m amazed that they just sleep through nice-next-door’s porno extravaganzas. I wish I could.
I had a look-see at the Internet as I scoffed my toast. Bearing in mind that today is St Patrick’s Day, seemingly everyone on Facebook was pretending that they were Irish. Everyone does on St Patrick’s Day. Everyone makes out there is some vague tenuous family connection to the Emerald Isle so that they can go get drunk in Guinness (which they also pretend to love).
My deceased father-in-law really was Irish. And I can’t stand Guinness.
I spent a few minutes doing the admin on my trackables. For those who’ve never “moved one on” a trackable can be absolutely anything. You attach a little tag to it, and people move it from one geocache to the next and record that they have done so. It is a bit of silliness to add to the already daft notion of rummaging under a hedge for a sandwich box. However, these trackables tend to go missing. People find them and keep them. Over the years I’ve released a dozen trackables into the wild. Seven had already been marked as missing, and this morning I marked two more as having gone, never to be seen again. Of the remaining four, I suspect two more have also gone – I’ve messaged the people who supposedly have them but my hopes aren’t high.
I’ve got all sorts of things I could set up as trackables, but the tags with which you record them cost a fiver. Spending a fiver on something which will just vanish… can’t be arsed.
Despite the weather forecast we took the dogs for a little walk. First of all into the town centre; there was a little shopping to be done. Treacle screamed as "er indoors TM" vanished into the bank for five minutes. She didn’t scream when I went into Boots.
From the town centre we went on to Bockhanger for geo-reasons. Whilst we were there Fudge decided to have a little dig at the base of a dead tree. As "er indoors TM" hunted for the geocache I videoed what Fudge was doing. It made for entertaining viewing.
We came home via Greggs for Belgian buns for lunch.
Once home I gave the dogs a warm shower; for all that they like a walk, it might have been a little cold for them today. And with them warmed up we had lunch. The Belgian bun put back over half the calories I had walked off earlier.
I spent much of the afternoon doing C.P..P (dull) then spent some time preparing a geo-puzzle to release on to the masses in the next day or so. I hut hope the masses are grateful for it. Bearing in mind the rather slow way they haven’t at all stampeded for the last film pot I put under a rock I can’t see something needing serious brain-strain getting that much interest but hope springs eternal.
We settled the hounds and drove up to Faversham. Some friends had got married recently in Antigua (where’s that?) and tonight was the wedding reception. It was a rather good party. The fish-and-chips buffet was a wonderful idea, and I even threw some shapes on the dance floor.
Mind you it was a shame that there weren’t more people drinking the red wine. The evening got rather vague towards the end…
18 March 2018 (Sunday) - Bit Dull
I woke up feeling like death warmed up. I rarely get hangovers but there is no denying that last night’s second (or was it third?) bottle of red wine was something of an error in judgement on my part.
I lay awake for a while, and when the room slowed its spinning to a rate at which I felt I could get up I staggered downstairs in the hope that some jam on toast might perk me up.
As I picked at my toast I tried to focus my eyes at my lap-top. Yesterday I somehow found myself embroiled in a petty squabble with the Sussex geocachers. On their Facebook page everyone had been telling me I was the villain of the piece, privately everyone was sending me messages saying I was the hero. These little spats get so out of proportion. Fortunately someone had deleted the whole thing overnight which was probably for the best.
I also had an email offering me free beer. “Free beer”… the small print said that that the offer was actually for ten quid off of the first monthly subscription to some beer club; monthly cost thirty quid. What a rip off!
After a couple of hours of slobbing I got off my bum, had another cup of coffee, and we took the dogs out.
We walked through South Ashford and met up with "My Boy TM" and Rolo and together we walked round Singleton Lake. I say “round”; we got half way round and found our way blocked by a swamp. We backtracked, and pausing only briefly for "er indoors TM" to find her lost glove and the dogs to shout at the ducks we walked on into the park, and home.
Once home the dogs had their bath. They get *so* muddy, and when we get home from our walks Treacle expects a bath; she jumps into the bath and waits to be washed. "er indoors TM" boiled up some cheese on toast for lunch, and I did a little geo-admin. Whilst we walked I’d replaced a couple of missing geocaches of mine. Rather than telling the world I’d done maintenance, I wiped them from the geo-map and created them afresh. That way those who get their kicks from rummaging in the undergrowth by a bus stop get something to do, and everyone is happy. Usually there is a delay of a day or so between creating a new listing and the geo-feds activating it; today the delay was eight minutes. I was impressed.
I then did something I’ve been threatening to do for ages; I tidied up my fishing tackle bag. Every time I go near a tackle shop I buy some odds and sods. I found a dozen packets of hooks. I found half dozen empty packets of lead weights. I also made a complete stuff-up of changing the line on one of my reels; I shall buy some more line in the week.
Looking out of the window I could see the snow was starting to fall again. So I slobbed on the sofa for a couple of hours watching “Four in a Bed”. I quite like the show; do people *really* spend that much money on a Bed & Breakfast? After this was several episodes of “Come Dine with Me”, and once "er indoors TM" had gone bowling I watched the latest episodes of “Still Game”, and then Jocelyn’s bosom geaved once more in “Jamestown”.
Today was rather dull…
19 March 2018 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
I had a terrible night’s sleep. When the puppy is restless we all suffer. I finally dozed off shortly after half past five only to be woken by "er indoors TM" alarm going off only two short hours later.
I got up and had a go on the scales. I was rather pleased to see I’ve lost another three pounds over the last week. I’m now sixteen stones and eleven pounds. Probably still far too heavy, but not as heavy as once I was.
Being conscious of the calories in what I eat seems to work as a way of dieting for me. Take yesterday for example. During the course of the day I had a few cups of coffee, and a total of five biscuits. These five biscuits had more calories than my entire breakfast.
As I scoffed my toast and jam (two hundred and eighty calories) I looked at the Internet. There wasn’t much going on; which was probably just as well. Mind you a nephew was reposting hateful crap from “Britain First”. It never fails to amaze me how many people believe the spiteful lies these people put out. I have a theory… most of the people I see re-posting the racist rubbish are professional dole-takers. Do they see refugees as competition for hand-outs? They shouldn’t as *all* of the refugees of my personal experience are hard-working people who generate the taxes to pay for the professional dole-takers.
Once my toast was scoffed Treacle swarmed all over me hoovering up toast crumbs. You’d thing that dog hadn’t ever been fed; she is *so* greedy. And with toast crumbs hoovered she then started a game which involved her trying to chew me.
I put her on the floor from where she went and had a mini-scrap with Fudge. They seem to like their play-fighting. I don’t like it; it sounds horrible.
I put the leads on the dogs and we went for a little walk round the park. As we went, Treacle cowered in terror from every other dog we met. Those that Fudge didn’t hump, he ignored. All things considered out walk passed off relatively uneventfully. It is always a bonus when that happens. We took a rather circuitous route home and eventually came home across the co-op field which was nowhere near as muddy as I thought it might be.
Both dogs came home rather clean; no post-walk bath today. I think Treacle saw that as something of a disappointment. As always once home she jumped into the bath. I lifted her out and she jumped back in. Does she like a bath?
As Netflix played “Star Trek: Discovery” I set the washing machine loose on some laundry, and got out a needle and thread. The pockets of a pair of trousers had worn through. It seems that the pockets are always the first things to go in a pair of trousers. Do I carry too much rubbish? I bodged the pockets back together as the dogs snored by my side.
After a second episode of Star Trek I took myself off to bed. I would have slept better if I hadn’t had a text from the boss just as I was nodding off. Problems with the early shift tomorrow - could I stay at work an hour longer tomorrow morning? Whilst I’d rather not, I am rather flattered to be asked to do so.
I then spent much of the afternoon fighting with Treacle; I get cold feet when I sleep during the day and had prepared myself a hot water bottle. She likes sleeping on top of it. I probably got a couple of hours of shut-eye.
I gave up fighting with her shortly after five o’clock when Fudge started barking for no reason, and watched more Star Trek.
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. I hope she cooks some scoff before I go to the night shift…
20 March 2018 (Tuesday) - Between the Night Shifts
I had another "night shift from hell" last night. I'm used to having the odd difficult night shift, but so far all the night shifts I've done recently have been problematical. Having got used to doing night work over the last few years I'd rather come to like the freedom of doing my own thing in my own way all night long.
I don't like it any more.
Having been asked to do the early shift I was an hour later getting out of work than I would have been, and so missed the morning news and current affairs on the radio. As I drove home there was a program about the psychology of how various empires and civilizations interacted with each other in the past.
It was nowhere near as dull as it sounded.
I got home and despite trying to be quiet, I woke sleeping dogs. Fudge got very shouty, so we went for a little walk. As it had been raining heavily we didn’t go on our usual route. Instead we did a “round the block” up to the station and back along the river, where the dog poo bin was overflowing. That poo bin is often overflowing. I’ve been given an email address for the people who sort it out; I’ve given up emailing them as they never reply.
Despite having gone round the roads, Fudge still came home with a grubby tummy. I gave him a wash, and I went off to bed for the day. After five minutes asleep the dogs went ballistic at shadows. After an hour asleep "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned fussing about borrowing a net. Four hours later nice-next-door’s burglar alarm went off again and I got up.
I don’t know why they bother having a burglar alarm. It goes off so often that no one takes any notice of the thing.
An episode of “Star Trek”, an episode of “Upstairs Downstairs”, a rather good bit of dinner and I’m off to work again.
Let’s hope for a better night tonight…
The day between night shifts is always a dull one…
21 March 2018 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
Last night’s night shift was amazingly quiet, which was probably for the best. Mind you I did feel rather worn out at the end of it.
I had a little smile as I drove home. Apparently the members of the Labour party are in disagreement. They’ve got plans for a policy that when creating shortlists of candidates for councilors or members of parliament they may well have all women candidates. Personally I think that idea sucks, but what do I know. However this idea is seen as discriminatory to the transgender community. Not to men at large (!) but purely to the transgender community.
I’m being politically correct here. There was some Labour party activist on the radio this morning that wasn’t. She went on Radio Four and said that if a man chooses to put on a dress, that doesn’t make him a woman. She went on to say that there is nothing in law to stop a bloke just announcing he wants to be a woman, putting on a dress, and going and sitting in the women’s changing rooms at the local sports centre to have a bloody good look. In fact stopping him/her/it from doing so breaches his/her/its human rights.
There was some transgendered Labour party member who rather than discussing the issue just kept parroting the phrase “transphobic”.
On the one hand some people are genuinely not at ease with their “birth gender”. On the other hand are men in dresses and those who are parroting the phrase “transphobic”. There is nothing like a reasoned discussion, and the squabble on the radio this morning was nothing like one.
I stopped off at the fishing tackle shop on the way home. What is it with fishing tackle shops? When you go into most of them you get the distinct feeling you are trespassing in someone else’s house. I’ve only ever rarely found a welcoming one.
I got the line I needed and hurried out.
I came home to find "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" at home. Once "er indoors TM" set off to work we went for a little walk up to the park where we had fun. Messing about in the playparks, chasing squirrels, paddling in the river… Jake nearly got pushed into the fountain. We had a rather good time in the park.
After a couple of hours we came home. I decided that life is too short to waste asleep and put on an episode of “Star Trek”. After ten minutes I felt myself wilting so I turned it off and went to bed for much of the day.
I got up in the late afternoon and watched the end of that “Star Trek” episode I started watching earlier, then made a video from the footage I’d shot with my phone earlier. When the children were small I bought a video camera. It cost the best part of a thousand pounds and never survived being borrowed by my sister-in-law. Now your mobile phone comes with a built-in video camera which is superior in every way.
I dozed for much of the rest of the day….
22 March 2018 (Thursday) - A Day's Fishing
I slept like a log. I got up and had this idea that if I set the kettle going it would be ready for my morning cuppa once I’d had my ablutions. As ideas go, it was a stroke of genius (even if I do say so myself). It was a shame that once I’d had my shave I came to a kitchen full of fog and the kettle had boiled dry. The thing seems to have a problem with the cut-off switch.
I watched an episode of “Star Trek: Discovery”, then got dressed and set off to collect "My Boy TM".
We went to the co-op for some pack-up lunch. I got two bags of crisps and a small bottle of pop, then we went over the road to Brookfield café for a fry-up. I didn’t tell the first fruit of my loin about my diet until I’d scoffed half of my brekkie. But at least I hadn’t had toast first.
Suitably replete we drove to Smarden and Sam’s Lakes for a day’s fishing. We’d had a rather good time there a month or so ago (even if it was in sub-zero temperatures) and thought we might have another go.
We found somewhere that *wasn’t* a mud bath and set up. Within five minutes I had a decent sized fish. I was rather pleased about that. I was less pleased that the second fish took three hours to arrive. The fishing today was… odd. We would both catch several decent fish within ten minutes (sometimes with both of our rods having bites at once) and would then go for half an hour or more with absolutely nothing happening.
Mind you "My Boy TM" caught one of the biggest carp we’ve ever had between us over the last few years, and I had a rather impressive bream (if you are impressed by bream – not many people are).
I took a few photos whilst we fished. You can see them by clicking here.
When the fishing was slow I enjoyed the view; Sam’s Lakes is a beautiful place. I expect it is glorious in the summer months. However it is incredibly noisy. There are trains that thunder by with annoying regularity. There are all sorts of aircraft that have incredibly loud engines doing aerobatics overhead. And when the planes and trains eventually shut up, there are all sorts of unsettling growls and screams from the big cat sanctuary next door.
By three o’clock everyone else who was fishing the lake had packed up. We gave it another hour. We would both have liked to stayed longer, but it was getting decidedly colder, the sky looked like rain was on the way, and we’d neither of us had a fish for an hour.
We came home.
I was pleasantly surprised to be able to park outside the house. I unloaded my tackle (as one does) and took the dogs round the park. Our walk was uneventful. Fudge didn’t try to hump or fight anyone or anything. Treacle didn’t cower in terror from anyone or anything.
With our walk done I had a shower, and sat myself in front of the telly until "er indoors TM" came home. She’s boiling up dinner now…
23 March 2018 (Friday) - Late Shift
I slept well, and came down to see my dog on the sofa. He looked rather knackered, and his tummy was rock-hard. I *think* that is a sign that his back is playing up. He sat with me as I devoured my morning toast; he seemed OK; perhaps he slept awkwardly?
As I scoffed brekkie I saw the photos I’d posted to Facebook yesterday (from our fishing trip) had attracted a lot of “likes”, and what I’d thought was a bream was actually a hybrid. On looking at the photos again I can see that it was. It’s all to do with the shape of the head.
I also had several smiles at the people washing their dirty linen on Facebook. There are several acquaintances I keep on my Facebook list purely to watch their tirades against specific individuals, ex-partners and the world in general.
I got rather frustrated reading some of the Ashford-based Facebook groups in which local people blame the local council for all the town’s failings. How can the local council offer reduced rents on buildings they don’t own? How can the council have any control over that for which they have no authority? It frightens me that the half-wits so openly demonstrating their ignorance are allowed (and encouraged) to vote.
Amazon were again emailing me to suggest I buy either things I’d already bought from them, or assorted women’s fiction (?), and the NHS Jobs website were again emailing me with suggestions of jobs which would be utterly impractical for me to do.
I took the dogs round the park for a walk. Treacle is becoming quite the bully; whilst she runs in terror from any dog her size or bigger, she thinks nothing of terrorising and chasing ducks and squirrels and anything smaller than she is. I told her off about it several times.
A week or so ago the council had some large trees cut down. The trunks are still laying where they fell; I wonder if they will stay there?
As we walked, Fudge straggled. He was the dog that wanted to go out; he *always* wants to go out, but he does straggle.
Once home Treacle jumped into the bath and looked at me expectantly. She's come to expect a wash after a walk, and both dogs had the mud hosed from their bellies. There was a lot of mud to hose off of them today. I was surprised at how muddy Treacle was; I thought she'd smeared all the mud off of herself and on to me as she'd leapt into my arms in absolute panic several times on our walk earlier.
Once bathed, the dogs settled and I watched an episode of "Star Trek: Discovery" then set off to work.
I went via the petrol station on the ring road. It was amazingly busy, and as I was paying for my petrol the people behind the counter were chattering about how it was time to put the price down. And they did so. It was a shame they couldn't have put the price down ten minutes earlier. Still, I mustn't complain; even at the price I paid, their petrol was still seven pence cheaper than the petrol station closest to work.
As I drove west I turned on the radio. Misandrist harridans were spewing their venom on "Women's Hour"...
Whenever I listen to Radio Four's "Women's Hour" I usually feel it to be vaguely threatening. I really can't explain exactly why, but whenever I listen to that show I get the distinct impression that I am personally responsible for absolutely everything that is wrong with the world, and that the world would be a far better place if I curled up and dropped dead. I'm sure that the producers of the show don't intend it to be that way, but that is certainly the vibe I get. So I turned the radio off, and sang along to my rather unique choice of music.
I took my usual route to work, but stopped twice in Biddenden. There were two geocaches there which I had been planning to pick up on one of my late starts, but bearing in mind I've not got many of those before I transfer back to Maidstone, I thought that it was now or never. I soon found my geo-targets and carried on to work.
With a few minutes spare I had lunch in the hospital canteen. The food there is rather good. Quiche and beans... probably not as healthy as it might be, but in my mind it is better for me than fish and chips, and I have a theory that a lot of weight loss is psychological.
I went in to work and did my thing. Having done a lot of night shifts recently it seemed off having other people around. I quite liked it. Not only was there help to do the work, night working can get rather lonely…
24 March 2018 (Saturday) - Another Late Shift
I was rather all-in when I went to my pit last night; such a shame that "er indoors TM" chose to fight with the puppy for much of the night.
Over brekkie I looked at the Internet as I do. Facebook was much the same as ever; the attention-seekers sought attention as they do. Mind you one posting caught my eye. My cousin had posted up an advert for “An Experience with Sylvester Stallone”; the idea being that you turn up at this event and Mr. Stallone stands on stage and entertains. I’m not sure how he does this; the accompanying video just had clips from his films. Tickets for the event started at over a hundred and thirty quid and went up to nearly four hundred quid. I suppose people must pay these prices or they wouldn’t be putting the show on.
There would seem to be money in having once been famous. There is a sci-fi convention in Folkestone every year. One hundred quid might get you four photographs with has-beens from thirty years ago. When I was with the astronomy club I looked at getting one of the British astronauts to give a talk to the club... five-figure sums of money were wanted.
I suppose that (at the end of the day) all the time people are paying them money, they will keep taking it. I would.
With no emails of note we got the leads on to the dogs and went to the warren for a walk. As we drove "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned to say she’d been selected to do jury service. It’s something I’d like to do, but I’ve head mixed tales of it. Some people have told me it’s dull. Another chap told of a jury he sat on in which the defendant was clearly guilty but a fellow juror would not say “guilty” as she didn’t want to be responsible for having sent someone to prison (regardless of his crime). Yet another friend told me of a fraud case on which he was a juror. It was pretty obvious that the chap was guilty but the rules are that guilt had to be proved. As not a single juror understood any of the evidence (despite several pleas for clarification) they delivered a verdict of “not guilty”.
I’ve told her to err on the side of caution and to go for execution. If nothing else it would serve as an example to the others.
We had a rather good walk round the warren; as we walked I met an old friend and we chatted. Her thirty-year old daughter was there too, and I felt old as I introduced myself and told her that I remembered her being born.
Last night a new geocache had gone live on the only road in and out of the warren. As we’d driven in there were normal people in the way, so we thought we’d have a look-see on the way home. The thing was called “Well of Doom” and was appropriately named. There was a manhole. It was covered by a heavy grating. The cache was hanging from the grating. Easy peasy… I lifted the grating to get to the cache and dropped the entire lot into the manhole. It fell about five feet into the most disgustingly stagnant mud.
Oh how I laughed.
After a couple of minutes I spotted a wooden stake on the nearby building site. I hopped the fence, grabbed the stake and was soon head-down in the hole. I managed to spear the grating with my stake, but as I heaved I felt myself slipping into the hole. The grating was stuck firm in the mud. I needed more leverage.
I had an idea.
"er indoors TM" sat on my ankles to give me some leverage. As I heaved I could hear her having a conversation with some passing normal people.
Eventually I recovered the grating (and quite a bit of mud) and with the secret geo-rituals done we came home for a wash, a cup of coffee, and I set off to work for the late shift. All the fun of the day was over and done with by eleven o’clock.
In closing today I think the blog’s hit counter has gone berserk; have my rantings *really* been read eight thousand times over the last week?
25 March 2018 (Sunday) - The Squirell's Stomp
I had a terrible night’s sleep. "er indoors TM" and the puppy had declared a truce and were both quiet, but still I saw every hour of the night; finally nodding off half an hour before the alarm squawked.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. I like looking at Facebook because I can be nosey. I can see what people have been getting up to. Today people continued to wash their dirty linen in public. Some of it was entertaining; some of it rather sad. There is nothing as entertaining as other people, is there? Meanwhile, I was seemingly bombarded with adverts about “All Natural Potty Pods”. I must admit I neither know no care what an “All Natural Potty Pod” is. I did a little research – I *think* it is something to do with how hippies clean their chodbins.
Facebook also told me that my download was ready. Yesterday there was a *lot* of fuss on Facebook about just how much personal information Facebook was storing on individual people. You can download a copy of what they have to see what they have found out about you. I have done just that; it is a *lot* of information – nearly three gigabytes worth of the stuff. And every single bit of it is stuff that I put up myself. I can’t see what all the fuss is about. So what if Facebook are keeping a record of everything I’ve done on their website? Is what I did and where I went ten years ago any great secret? If I have anything I want to keep quiet, I don’t use social media to broadcast it to the world.
I can’t help but think that having a permanent record of your life mightn’t be a bad thing. Given the cases of Rolf Harris and Jimmy Saville when people made allegations going back twenty or more years, this might be a way of coming up with evidence (one way or the other) about what happened so long ago that everyone has forgotten about it.
I programmed “Hannah”, we got the leads on to the dogs, and set off to Bobbing. We’d heard through the grape vine that there might be a new geo-series in the general area, and the rumours were correct. We found a couple of dozen hunters of Tupperware who had heard the same gossip, and as our phones went mad with emails about the new series we realized the gossip was correct.
Realising there were too many of us to play the game, we spilt into two teams, and set off on the new geo-series in opposite directions.
We had a rather good walk; it is always good to meet up with friends. As we walked we met horses and sheep, and some hills. We’ve not done many serious walks this year and I struggled with the “up”. And having divided our forces it was good to meet up half-way for lunch, and again at the end of the walk in the Three Tuns where we had a rather good pint of mild, a very impressive pint of “real lager” and (arguably) too much port.
I took nearly a hundred photos today…
I slept most of the way home. Once home the dogs had a good bath; both were filthy. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner (as she does) and as the dogs snored I turned the telly on. An episode of “Still Game” was good, then the last episode of the current season of Jamestown. Jamestown is a strange show; in two seasons very little has happened other than Jocelyn’s bosom has heaved quite a bit. You would think that a show would need more of a plot than that, wouldn’t you? No? I suppose it doesn’t really *need* more…
26 March 2018 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
I had a rather breathless night. Perhaps I *should* go get these nasal polyps cut out again? The trouble is that this is (from my own experience and from what I hear from others) such a short-term fix. For all that I could breathe so much easier after the polypectomy I had a few years ago, the polyps soon came back.
I got up and had my weekly weigh-in. Over the last week I’ve lost a further three pounds. Calorie counting seems to be a rather efficient method of weight loss. When you realise how few calories you need, and how many calories there are in what you eat, you *don’t* have that bar of chocolate when you get petrol, or that doughnut at tea-break, or that bowl of cereals at bed time.
On the flip side you are constantly hungry but that’s what weight loss feels like.
As I scoffed my morning toast (three hundred calories) I had a look at the Internet as I do. Yesterday evening I’d struggled trying to solve some geo-puzzles in the north Kent area. This morning I read that the chap who’d set the puzzles had made a few mistakes in setting them. That explained where I’d gone wrong (hopefully).
I set the washing machine loose on some grubby clothing and took the dogs for our morning constitutional round the park. As we walked I met an old colleague; I would have liked to have had a chat, but Treacle decided to have a fit of bravado and tried to pick a fight with her dogs. I wish she wouldn’t do that. We went through Bowen’s Field (which is drying out) and on to the park where Fudge tried to alternately fight with and hump every other dog we met. It was with something of a sense of relief that I found there no other dogs in the co-op field as we walked home through it.
Once home I had a rather busy morning. Once I’d hung out the laundry I fed my undercrackers to the washing machine, then turned on the garden pond’s filter. Hopefully it will be clear in a few days’ time. I turned on the garden water features. One was pumping out rather grubby water; I hope I don’t need to disassemble it and affect repairs. I spent a few minutes harvesting dog turds from the lawn. It never fails to amaze me how two small dogs generate so much dung. I then mowed the lawn, re-shingled the areas I’d been meaning to do since Christmas, pulled the weeds out of the shingle and gathered up loads of rubbish ready for a tip run later in the week.
Still, according to myfitnesspal (dot com) the dog walk and the gardening shifted over seven hundred calories. In the past I would have rewarded myself with a cake with a cup of coffee after gardening. Now I know how many calories are in the cake, I just have the cup of coffee and feel hungry instead.
Have I ever mentioned that I *hate* gardening? Over the summer I try to spend a couple of hours out there a couple of times each week. But if I let it slip, after a week or so it looks like I’ve done nothing for months. Still, it looks like not-so-nice-next-door have been cutting back the jungle on their side of the fence. “Nutty Noodle” (the one I honestly think is clinically insane) maintains that he must have a layer of think roses all round his garden to keep out intruders. Fortunately he seems to have gone missing for this last year and her-next-door is cutting all the roses back.
As I worked, both dogs barked at pretty much everything (including their own shadows) but totally ignored the postman’s delivery.
By mid-day I was gardened out. I spent a little while looking at my leave and work rota for the next leave year. I got a little confused about this last year’s rota and have had to carry some time over (hopefully). Next year I’d like to avoid any mishaps.
I watched an episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” then took myself off to bed for the afternoon where I dozed fitfully. I would have slept better had Treacle not spent much of the time pushing up against me. After three hours she had a woofing fit for no reason that I could see. I got up; more Star Trek, then had a quick look at the Internet.
I solved half a dozen geo-puzzles (with a plan for future walks) before getting stuck on runes. If any of my loyal readers might translate?
"er indoors TM" then came home. Hopefully she’ll boil up some scran before I set off to the night shift…
27 March 2018 (Tuesday) - Between the Night Shifts
After a rather busy night I came out of work to a rather damp and miserable morning. As I drove home I listened to the radio as I do. The pundits on the radio were talking about how many countries are expelling Russian diplomats in protest at their supposed use of nerve agents in Salisbury. Apparently the Russian Premier is going to announce his reaction soon. It is such a shame that the world is falling back to the old Cold War which we all thought was dead and gone.
There was also discussion about a waiter who was sacked for his rudeness. He’s claiming discrimination; he wasn’t rude. He was French. Apparently the two are easily mistaken?
As I came home I thought I might try the short cut through Pot Kiln Lane. As I turned into High Halden Road I noticed there was a car behind me. About five yards behind me with headlights on full beam. This car followed me at a distance of five yards for the best part of a mile, finally overtaking on a rather narrow blind corner. This car (GF67 PWL) then flew off up the lane going far too fast to be able to stop should anyone emerge from the side road.
I would tell the police, but I doubt they would be interested.
I find this so often when I drive. I have impatient drivers up my backside. When I let them pass they fly off far in excess of the speed limit (let alone what is safe for the road conditions), and ten minutes later I catch up with them at the next junction.
Once home I walked the dogs round the block. We didn’t go far as the rain was getting worse. In fact ten minutes was enough to get us all soaked.
I had thought about carrying on working in the garden for a while, but with the rain, I just went to bed. In between dogs barking for no reason I got about six hours shut-eye (which isn’t a bad thing).
I woke about four o’clock, set dishwasher and washing machine loose on their respective victims. It was something of a race to see who would finish the one-hour cycle fist. Dishwasher won by about five minutes.
As they scrubbed I watched more “Star Trek: Discovery”, then seeing that the rain had stopped I took the dogs round the park.
Usually Fudge dawdles about, doing his own thing. Today I made a point of walking behind him, herding him like a sheep. We might not have got round *that* much faster, but there was a whole lot less farting about.
I hope "er indoors TM" gets home soon. Tea would be good, but (other than work-related stuff in the small hours) I’ve not spoken to another person all day.
These night shifts make for a very lonely time…
28 March 2018 (Wednesday) - After The Night Shift
Yesterday evening as I drove in to work I had a little mooch around the village sign at Sissinghurst. I had to get some information to solve a geo-puzzle there. The idea was that I would go find that puzzle on the way home today. When I left work this morning it was raining so hard that I decided to save rummaging in a hedge for another day.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about a remarkable initiative that the government is planning to introduce. The price of many items will be slightly increased, but the packaging of those items will have a refund value. So… you buy whatever, you use it or scoff it, then you take the empty container back to the shop where you get money for returning it. Just like I used to do with bottles of pop at the corner shop fifty years ago.
Not a new idea, really.
When I came home this morning my piss boiled. I pulled up just up the road from my house and started reversing into a parking space. A white van (LY15 RNO) sped up the road, then reversed across the traffic into the space into which I was already reversing. I had the choice to have this van deliberately crash in to me, or to get out of its way.
I had planned to meet up with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" for a walk this morning, but the rain was against us. Instead I took my dogs for a quick walk round the block; we didn’t go far as the rain was getting worse.
I then took myself off to bed for the day. Or that was my plan. The phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Eventually I gave up and answered it. Someone calling from 0161 768 5221 was calling me from “the PPI money refund advice service”. I tried to explain I was asleep having been on night shift, but they wouldn’t shut up. In the end I asked them what part of “F… off” didn’t they understand; was it the “F…” or the “off”. Unfortunately either the sarcasm went over their head, or their spoken English was too poor for them to understand.
I looked this number up on “Who Called Me (dot co dot uk)”; it looks like they are a bunch of scammers.
I dozed off again, but I gave up trying to sleep when Fudge had his seemingly ten thousandth woofing fit.
I scoffed some toast, then watched the last two episodes of the first season of “Star Trek: Discovery”. I shall watch the second season purely because it has “Star Trek” in the name. It is pretty obvious that the special effects people have watched some episodes of Star Trek before. I just hope that the writers of this second season actually go do so. It is pretty obvious that they haven’t.
As I watched telly I did some ironing. A dull task, but it keeps me out of mischief.
I then had a look at my monthly accounts. Could be better, could be a whole lot worse. Realistically the trouble with money is that no matter how much I have, I want more. I might not *need* more, but I certainly want more.
Seeing how the rain had finally stopped I took the dogs round the park. As we walked up the road so Fudge tried to pick a fight with a moped. I wish he wouldn’t do that.
For once the dogs were reasonably well-behaved (mopeds excepted), but our walk was marred by some total idiots we encountered. One woman walking down Beaver Road jumped into someone’s front garden and started screaming. She claimed she was frightened of dogs. My dogs were frightened of her. And then we met another plank who blanked me and tried to fuss Treacle, then had a go at my poor dog-keeping skills because Treacle was scared of her. Perhaps the lack of sleep had clouded my usually sunny demeanor; I suggested she left my dog alone because if the dog didn’t bite her, I would.
I then drove across town to collect "er indoors TM". Her car had been serviced (I should be so lucky) and she needed a lift to the garage.
With cars collected we had a rather good bit of dinner whilst watching the charity edition of “Bake Off”. We also had the Tattoo Fixers special on, but I slept through that.
29 March 2018 (Thursday) - A Day Off
I slept like a log, but still woke feeling like death warmed up. An after-effect of the night working? Perhaps. Mind you I quite like the night work (for all that I whinge about it). Perhaps I might sleep better if I could sleep for longer and not wake utterly unable to breathe. I’ve often felt that I would be better having two sleeps a day of four hours rather than trying to do it all in one go.
I got up and saw a lovely day outside. I messaged "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" to see if she fancied taking the dogs for a walk, then made myself some toast. As I scoffed it I looked at the Internet and had a wry smile. Someone (I won’t say who) had posted one of those memes on Facebook about how stupid other people are. I felt this was rather ironic bearing in mind the frankly idiotic drivel this chap posts on a regular basis.
I then got a little cross with people posting rather nasty and hateful racist rubbish. So many times I read crap about how immigrant families live high on the hog at the expense of British families. Every single story posted about this on Facebook has been shown to be a malicious fabrication, but still people persist in propagating these lies.
I got the dogs organized and we went round to Newtown where we met up with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". We thought about all sorts of walks, but she had a dodgy neck, so we just had a short-ish walk to the play park in South Willesborough and back. As we walked I taught "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" the “Granddad Song of Aeroplanes” and we sang it together several times. For those of my loyal readers who don’t know this song, it goes “AEROPLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANE” (shouted *very* loudly).
With walk (and song) done we came home, and I got the strimmer out and finished the lawn mowing which I started on Monday. Or that is I started strimming. I had to give up and harvest the dog turds before I could do the job properly. Bearing in mind I cleared the garden of dog dung on Monday and have walked my hounds twice daily on the intervening three days (when they both crapped like things possessed), how is it possible for there to be so many poops in the back garden? Are other dogs coming along for a dump? I can’t think of any other explanation.
I then loaded up a car full of rubbish and went on a little journey. Firstly to B&Q for a new bucket (how do I break so many buckets?) and some strimmer cable. Hopefully this stuff will be a bit stronger. Mind you, what is it with the car park at B&Q? How can a shop which has so few customers have so many cars in the car park?
I then went to the tip to empty the rubbish, and came back via Matalan. I got a pair of trousers and a shirt and spent fifteen minutes chatting with an ex cub’s mum. I stopped off at the co-op for lunch, and as the rain started I scoffed my scran and watched episodes of “The Mighty Boosh” on Netflix until I fell asleep.
I woke, and spent an hour or so doing dull CPD until the nice man from Everest arrived. Having spent a small fortune on a new front door a few years ago the letterbox flap fell off a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t impressed, but being the sort of saddo who keeps a diary I was able to see exactly when we got the new front door. It was nearly nine years ago (5th June 2009) so I suppose nine years isn’t bad. I wonder if the thing was overworked with all the junk mail we get? Perhaps I should put up a sign saying we don’t want any.
The nice man from Everest fitted a new letterbox for me; it was still under warranty. The nice man from Everest did fart quite a bit too, but with the front door wide open it probably wasn’t as bad as it might have been.
"er indoors TM" came home and we drove down to Folkestone. Seeing it was Jose’s birthday we had coffee and cake and we put the world to rights….
30 March 2018 (Good Friday) - S V F X
Over brekkie as I checked my emails I was amazed to see the people with whom I do my diet stuff (myfitnesspal.com) had sent me an urgent email. They have been the victims of a cyber-attack; all my data is at risk, and they urged me to change my password immediately.
Does anyone care what I’ve been eating over the last few weeks? Is my weight *such* a secret? Bearing in mind there are far riper targets like banks and building societies, who on Earth would launch an attack on a dieting website?
We looked at the weather forecast, and looked out of the window, and decided to take a chance. We got ourselves and the dogs organised and drove out to Doddington where we met up with Noelle, Ian, Sarah and Dick. We got boots and gaiters on, and set off on the newly published SVFX (say it out loud) series of geocaches. We were beaten to the first two, but at the third cache we met a new friend. Our new pal Trevor thought there were other geocachers doing the walk, and he thought he’d wait for us to catch up and walk with us. I think he was glad he did; is hunting Tupperware *such* a well-kept secret?
We had a very good walk. Bearing in mind Fudge’s running off after pheasants last week, he stayed on the lead today. As we walked we net friendly horses, we found a flood, we had cakes and hot cross buns, and over twenty joint First to Finds too
The weather forecast gave a thirty per cent chance of rain for the morning; we got most of the way round before the drizzle started. But when it did, it was that fine rain; the sort of rain that you don’t think it’s worth putting a coat on for… and suddenly you realise you are soaked. I was rather sodden when we got to the pub for the Good Friday geo-meet.
The meet itself was excellent. We had a bar to ourselves; the resident normal people soon left, and the dogs were allowed off their leads. There was a minor incident when Treacle went off behind the bar in pursuit of the pub cat, but she was soon captured. There was a rather good stout on at the bar (I had four pints). "er indoors TM" had cheesy chips; I shared a pork pie with my dogs and then had a pickled egg to myself.
Talking Tupperware with like-minded friends is always good. I took several photos.
We came home via Pets at Home where we met the sweetest little puppy. Once home we all of us dozed in front of the telly. Fish and chips for tea (it *is* a Friday) and then the SU2C Bake Off on the telly.
As we watched the telly, Treacle was having rather vivid dreams. Hove you ever watched a dog dreaming? It can be rather sweet…
31 March 2018 (Saturday) - Ranting Before the Night Shift
I slept right through till half past seven this morning. I would have slept longer had Fudge not had a woofing fit for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
Over brekkie I looked at Facebook as I do. One post wound me up. Seeing how it is Easter, several people had posted a picture supposedly of Jesus struggling under the weight of the cross he was carrying. The picture bore the caption “Worst Kite Ever”. Amusing? Possibly, but in rather bad taste. What annoyed me though was that the people posting the meme were all self-proclaimed Catholics. They boil my piss. *Some* Catholics of my experience have looked into what their church teaches, but most have absolutely no idea what their supposed faith is all about, and spout absolutely ridiculous claptrap “because they are Catholic”. For example did you know that Catholics aren’t allowed to read the Harry Potter books or watch the Harry Potter films? No? Neither did I, but several so-called Catholics of my acquaintance have got rather irate on the matter.
And did you know that you *don’t* have to follow the Bible’s teachings and try to be a decent person to be a good Catholic? Apparently you can do what the f… you like, and have the entire lot forgiven by rolling up at a confession service every so often. Or so I’ve been told.
This business of “Worst Kite Ever” really sums up the fake Catholics. It rips the piss out of the most fundamental part of their religion, and it is not that they don’t care so much as they don’t even realise.
I also saw a few people had posted about a schoolteacher demanding a child remove a “Help for Heroes” band in case it offended Muslims. I was asked to re-post if I felt it was an outrage, I’m sorry but I think it is an outrage that this sort of hate-promoting stuff gets posted and that people lap it up. Who was the teacher? Where did it happen?
It has been my experience that pretty much all of these hate-mongering posts have absolutely no truth behind them whatsoever. All they do is serve to stir up hatred. When those who spread this rubbish have chased all the non-British out of the UK, who will run the hospitals and social services and generate the money to pay the dole for the British who demonstrably aren’t doing these jobs?
If my blood pressure wasn’t high enough, I then found out that a chap working where I used to work had been whinging to the world about what a rubbish shift system they operate. Looking back I’m wondering if I would have had grounds for constructive dismissal. Over the last year I’ve seen public postings on Facebook from people working there complaining about the out of hours system, the failures of the automation, and even managers boasting about the petty squabbles they have had with the medical staff. In every case senior staff have been clicking the “like” button.
And I got a formal warning for bringing the place into disrepute when I posted a selfie at 6am and said I was tired.
I always say I like reading what people post on Facebook...
Two hours later "er indoors TM" got up. Once the rain had slackened off a bit we took the dogs for a walk round the park where we met up with "My Boy TM" and Cheryl. We wandered round the park as the dogs did their own things. Little Rolo found an Alsatian with which to pick a fight, the dogs all ran themselves ragged. A rather good walk.
I came home to find I’d received a few messages about the astro club. I left it a year ago; having spent ages building up something rather good, I then spent a couple of years trying to keep the committee’s focus on the club rather than a commercial observatory which was clearly never going to happen. After being on the receiving end of several rather nasty bitter personal attacks on the matter, I eventually gave up the battle.
This morning someone of whom I would really have expected better was apparently publicly ranting about the club’s lacking talent and direction, and the committee being in disarray. Bearing in mind it was this person’s bitter personal attacks that made me feel I should step down from the committee, I felt it rather sad that he is still doing his best to destroy the club he worked so hard to help set up.
Still, I’ve been out of it for a year now. Not my circus; not my monkeys (as they say).
I had an afternoon asleep, and I’m off to the night shift now. Today has all been rather negative, hasn’t it?