01 May 2007 (Tuesday) - A Poll

It has to be said. There’s no denying the fact that with the pond all but finished, I am BORED !!!!!! So as I see it there are but two options open to me. But which option to pursue is a dilemma which I am finding very difficult to resolve. So I shall take the advice of my loyal readership.

What should the fat bloke do with his spare time ?

Dig another pond  2 votes

Perform more videos on YouTube 3 votes

Get a life  2 votes

 

02 May 2007 (Wednesday) - .....The Plot

02 May 2007 (Wednesday) - .....The Plotmagnify

The photo and the title should be the other way round…

Once, the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 had a certain aura of mystery about them. Now I couldn’t care less about them. Or “Lost”, either.

When it started it was good – taking time to introduce the characters, making you wonder what was going on, weaving a subtle plot….. but there’s only so far you can go with mystery. Mystery is an old thing – crime & detective novels are as old as history, but at the end there’s always an explanation for what’s happened. “Lost” is sinking further and further into incomprehensibility.

The second season opened with interesting new characters that (along with most of the original cast) soon drifted into obscurity. Having effectively reduced the cast to the three most boring two-dimensional characters imaginable, the program is now dull beyond measure. I have no idea what the wooden characters are up to, what is happening to them, and I don’t much care. My remaining few years are too precious to waste by sleeping through this drivel.

I hear it’s been confirmed for a fourth season.

 

03 May 2007 (Thursday) - Politics

It’s Election Day today. Who shall I vote for?

When I was a lad we had a choice of political sytem for which we could vote. The Conservatives stood for low governmental involvement, preferring people to pay their way - private schools, private health care, local services provided by local firms advertising on dustbin lorries, etc. Labour, on the other hand, felt that government should provide everything you need. Low tax, but high expenses with one lot, high tax but everything else free with the other lot. In the middle were the liberals who were all for woolly-minded fence-sitting. All three options would all cost the same in the long run, but you had a choice of political system.

And so it went on for years until the capitalist extremes of the Thatcher years which in retrospect even the hardest Conservative supporters felt went too far. So the Conservatives adopted many of Labours' policies. At the same time the "loony left" had made themselves unelectable with crackpot policies and so they adopted many Conservative policies. And, as ever in the middle were the liberals who were still all for woolly-minded fence-sitting.

Today the two main political parties have stolen each other's ideas so much that were they to run a picnic, both parties would offer you cheese & onion crisps. The only choice being one packet was made by Walkers, the other by Golden Wonder. The luxury of having Salt and Vinegar, or Ready Salted crisps wouldn't be an option, nor would anything as radical as Monster Munch or Wotsits. And you'd not have a hope in hell of a sandwich or piece of fruit. And, as ever in the middle would be the liberals who are still all for woolly-minded fence-sitting.

This is the dilemma facing the voter today. There is no choice. There are the two main parties who are pretty much indistinguishable, and the liberals who will get in because by standing for prevarication they haven’t actually committed themselves to anything that might be a vote loser.

In the meantime I've decided I need a new shed. Ashford Freecycle seemed a good place to get one, but they won't let advertise for something wanted until I've offered up something of my own to them. I'll try the free papers.

And in the meantime, I'll carry on with You-Tube featuring an uncredited appearance from "The Voices In My Head TM"

To view this multimedia content, please click here

 

04 May 2007 (Friday) - Science, Goats & Fish 'n' Chips

04 May 2007 (Friday) - Science, Goats & Fish 'n' Chipsmagnify

To quote Slartibartfast: “I’m a great fan of science”. Some of the myriad of letters that (in my saner moments) follow my name stand for “Chartered Scientist”. However I’m afraid my fellow scientists sometimes let the side down. Rather than maintaining the mystique that surrounds our sacred calling, they spoil it by pointing out the bleeding obvious. This week’s snippet of “bleeding obvious TM” is that a tendency to being porky is hereditary, and scientists (other ones, not me) have identified the gene that turns a mouse into a fat bastard. http://www.labnews.co.uk/ And they wonder why universities are closing science departments.

However a fat animal is better than a dead animal, especially one that you’ve married. Last year some sheep-shagger (literally) got caught in the act and rather than facing prosecution he married the goat in question. Today’s newspapers carry the sad news of the animal’s death. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6619983.stm It apparently choked on a plastic bag, but whether it was eating the bag or whether the bag was part of some strange sexual depravity best confined to the marital chamber remains a subject of speculation.

Me – I came home from work, did the ironing and together with “er indoors TM” went to Rye for fish, chips and a crafty pint

05 May 2007 (Saturday) - Snargate RL-1

05 May 2007 (Saturday) - Snargate RL-1magnify

The day started badly when I broke a tooth on a pork scratching. I say I broke a tooth on pork scratching – I was scoffing a bag (of pork scratchings) and had one particularly crunchy pork scratching, and once the bag was scoffed my gob felt odd. Half a tooth had gone. I can only imagine that it was the tooth that I found needed especially vigorous chewing. I then had a bit of a dilemma. Spend the day getting my gob fixed, or go out on the hike that had been planned for a month or so. As the gob wasn’t hurting I decided fixing it would keep till later, and I went off to the Romney Marsh. I expect tomorrow’s blog will feature tales of dental agony.

Eight of us set off on the 11.30 to Brighton – in years gone by the Marsh Link service went as far as Hastings and the train was busy if it had more than half a dozen passengers. Now it goes all the way to Brighton it’s standing room only. But only for nine minutes. We piled off the train at Ham Street and followed the Saxon Shore Way to the Woolpack at Warehorne, a particularly friendly pub with three ales on the hand pump, and the landlady was only too happy for us to scoff the first half of our picnic in the beer garden. There were two ales on that I didn’t know, but using amazing resources of self discipline I rationed myself to only the one pint – our next port of call wasn’t open all day long.

The plan called for us to go along a country lane as far as Bridge Farm and then take the footpath off to the left. Unfortunately the local farmer hadn’t marked the footpath at all. We could have stomped our way across the fields, but if the first path wasn’t marked, the chances are that subsequent footpaths wouldn’t be marked either. So we followed the lane until we found the (rather old) Star Gate pictured above and then turned left at the dead badger to find the Red Lion.

Some of us have been to the Red Lion before. Those that hadn’t were amazed at what a little gem the place is. We took our pints of stout (thick and black as treacle) into the garden where we had the rest of our picnic. And then a pint of the mild. It’s a wonderful pub – the beer comes straight out of the barrel. I love the place – it has such old-world charm. And the toilet - not so much a urinal as a wall that you piss at. Classic! And part of it’s old-world charm is it keeps traditional pub hours and closes after the lunchtime session. Which, bearing in mind the day’s activity was billed as a hike and not a booze-up, was probably just as well.

The last stretch of the hike was a mile along the lane to the train station. Well, not so much the station as the pub next to the station. The Railway Hotel used to be a regular haunt until it changed hands some three years ago and went downhill. It’s recently changed hands again, and seems OK. We didn’t have very long there – just time to teach Chip the fundamentals of darts (watch what I do and do the opposite). OK, so if we are going to score the game on purely a points basis then it must be said that I could have done better, but it we take into consideration how many darts were thrown at the floor then I think I can at least claim a tie.

We took the train home, a quick one in the Riverside (which seems to get incredibly busy in the late afternoons) and home in time for a quick dose of Lee Evans before Doctor Who.

 

06 May 2007 (Sunday) - Garden and the Offspring

06 May 2007 (Sunday) - Garden and the Offspringmagnify

A few weeks ago Chippy & Sam took us to Whelan’s – THE place to get stone garden stuff. Today I took the seats out of the Espace and set off. It’s only forty-five minutes away, and it’s SO cheap. I’ve been looking for water features for some time, and last Sunday I griped on about how expensive water features are. Today I got a brill water feature, and a garden bench, an otter, half a dog and some gnomes all for less than the price of one water feature elsewhere.

We came home and were joined by Katy. An amazing squabble-free day ensued. After a quick detour to B&Q for an outdoor switch for the pump in our new acquisition (and to the pet shop for some minnows to go in it) a pleasant afternoon was spent watching “My Boy TM” setting it all up whilst Katy painted the gnomes. And now I can feel my cheeks glowing. It’s been overcast all afternoon and I’ve got sunburn.

 

07 May 2007 (Bank Holiday Monday) - BORED !!!!!!

07 May 2007 (Bank Holiday Monday) - BORED !!!!!!magnify

I’ve had a brill weekend. Saturday was a great walk in the countryside. Yesterday we achieved so much in the garden. Today I was planning to pop round to Brian’s to help in his garden. Today we had something we’ve not had for weeks. It’s a bank holiday – it rained!

I activated Windows Media Centre & fell asleep to Filthy, Rich & Catflap. A lazy day every so often is OK, but it’s BORING !!! Even when the sun came out for a bit it’s still drizzling. I was planning to mow the lawn and paint the shed today. It will have to wait until next weekend now.

 

08 May 2007 (Tuesday) - Dealing with a Prat

We took the cubs to the allotments tonight. They had fun digging, weeding and hoeing. On the way home one of them walked for two paces on the lawn of 29 Barn Platt. As I walked past a few seconds later the person who lived there started ranting and raving about how terrible scouts are, how we are noisier than the local drunks, how he’s going to complain to the local council.

I listened to a few minutes of his rant, and then recommended that he carry out his threat to complain to the local council. I apologised for my being community minded, I assured him that I would from now on mimic his attitude and have thoughts only for myself. As I walked away I commented in a very loud voice to a fellow leader that it’s a shame I no longer have a dog because if I had, I would bring it round to crap on this fellow’s lawn.

It is total gits like him that make the world such a miserable place.

 

09 May 2007 (Wednesday) - Dentists, Teachers....

About ten years ago (at my dentist’s recommendation) I took out a private dental insurance policy. Tooth broke – Saturday. Appointment to fix it – Wednesday. And they advocate private health care over the NHS.

I must admit I felt rather “Billy-mo-mates” in the dentist’s waiting room – everyone else had brought husbands and/or wives for consecutive appointments (how sweet). I patiently waited my turn – it was something of a relief to find they hadn’t confused me with the other chap of my name like they usually do. It was however rather worrying to find they’d not dragged out my dental notes, but my daughter’s. One keeps smiling. The obvious mistake was soon spotted, and a cursory poke in my gob revealed the tooth was beyond redemption, and a crown is needed. To add insult to injury my insurance policy doesn’t cover the laboratory work involved. “Stuff that” I exclaimed “I work in a lab – I’ll do it”. Apparently it’s a different sort of lab (how different can it be?) and the practical upshot is that the (my) money “My Boy TM” was going to spend on a huge Koi is now going on “lab work”. The dentist sent me packing with instructions to make another appointment. So I did. The receptionist booked me in for tomorrow morning, for a ten minute appointment. Ten minutes! – Why couldn’t he have done the ten minutes worth this morning and saved a whole load of time?

And so to work. To find I had a visitor. One of the girls with whom I studied haematology (all those years ago) was having a blood test. She’d given up full time work some time ago to have a family, and when the youngest of three children was in full time education (about five or so years ago) rather than taking up bloodtestology again she decided to be a teacher. In that short time she’s now become a deputy head teacher. Another colleague who jacked in hospital work to become a teacher became head of department in less than two years. Perhaps I should be a teacher. Short working days, long holidays, life would be sweet.

And then a couple of hours of cubs once a week does my head in….

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10 May 2007 (Thursday) - Dentists, Meetings...

Yesterday the dentist gave me a temporary filling. Very temporary, as it fell out last night. Let’s hope today’s effort lasts a little longer. To be honest I’m not quite sure what he’s up to – four injections, rummaged about inside my cake-muncher (like they do), got me to bite on a lump of plasticine and then told me to bugger off for a fortnight. I expect he knows what he’s doing.

And so to work. In the “My Boy TM-Mobile”. If you arrive at the hospital after 8 a.m., it’s not worth trying to park. The car park is always full, so I scrounged a lift. Following the untimely demise of the Network Haematology DCW (may it rest in peace) I had a meeting with Jesal (Fergus’s stunt double) to “discuss progress on the primary build prior to Event Two”. This bloke seems quite approachable, and I actually got a lot done with his help, but I’m rather concerned about the concept of an “Event Two”, bearing in mind the aggro that followed “Event One”. During the morning we got a message from Fergus who is currently in America, where they don’t have “Events, they just get on with the work instead. Oh, brave new world!

And then I walked home (This walking lark is catching on!). The evening featured the scout group’s AGM. I attempted to pass a motion (!) but failed. Every month there’s a monthly collection & recycling of newspaper from 1400 local houses for which the council pay us recycling credit. A lot of our group's expenses are met by this fund raising. At last year's figures this brings in about £5,000 per year for the group and pays for "group" expenses - running costs of the hut, capitation, coach trips, subsidises sections, Xmas treats, etc. The trouble is that it's the same old faces who do the hard work for this collection i.e. the leaders and maybe three or four parents out of a possible 150 (ish). Its bloody hard work and I refuse to do it any more. I’m too old and too fat for such manual labour. (I’m management, me!) Following the incipient departure of one of our leaders we will be without a large trailer to lug the paper around. I proposed we gave up the idea and doubled the subs from £1.50 to £3.00 per week. I was unanimously shouted down on the grounds that I was discriminating against those with as many kids as times they’ve had sex who live in that huge house and drive a better car than I do and whose children run around in designer trainers. They (apparently) have an inalienable right to take advantage of other people’s generosity. The paper collection continues.

On the plus side I got the go-ahead to use the scout hut for a poker tournament. I shall find a Saturday afternoon when everyone’s free and we shall play cards…

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11 May 2007 (Friday) - Over-Priced Rubbish

11 May 2007 (Friday) - Over-Priced Rubbishmagnify

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to have something I wrote published in a ground-breaking trend-setting magazine. There would be those who would claim that I had undue influence with the editor of said publication, but that would be sour grapes on the part of those who didn’t reach the required literary standard. Anyway, in the late 90s an issue of “Energize News” carried an article by “Yours Truly” prompted by a trip to the “Star Trek” exhibition in the Science Museum. The souvenir stall was selling such over-priced rubbish that I was incensed enough to rant on about how the community of general science-fiction fans does itself no favours by wasting its hard earned cash on the piss-poor standard of extortionately priced merchandise. Star Trek pencil cases from £25 were one example, skanky placcy phasers & tricorders were another. I wasted a fortune on Sad Cards, and how much did that twit in the town centre want for those showroom dummies’ heads?

But nothing changes. The demand for over-priced tat remains high. Today’s bout of emails brings news of the new Scouting 50p coin. You can see it above in its presentation case. I thought I might get half a dozen of these coins in their cases - they would make ideal gifts for my scouting friends until I realised the cost. £31.45 each (including P&P). Over thirty quid for a fifty pence piece!!!!! But I expect they will sell out in a few days. I think they are overpriced, but there are enough people who are happy to pay that price….

In the meantime as the rain slackens off to a medium monsoon there’s an email from the astronomy club – does anyone fancy a spot of star-spotting tonight.

 

12 May 2007 (Saturday) - Rain, France and California

Bit of insomnia again. I was up for an hour from 4am till 5am watching a Bob Ross double bill as the rain was so heavy it was keeping me awake. Still, it’s stopped now. Mustn’t grumble about the rain – I’m reminded of my old French teacher. A funny chap. He had this way of setting a test which would last for half an hour, and every mistake made would deduct a mark from your initial total of twenty. So, as you can imagine, starting at twenty and with a mark off for every mistake, after half an hour still being in positive figures was a result. Anyway, he once told me the French have a saying about England – “il a pleut, il pleut, il pleurait” – “it rained, it’s raining, it will rain”. He also told me it’s not based on any meteorological observations, just the fact that we English seem to do little else but moan about the rain. Last night’s shower was probably the third time it’s rained in two months but I expect everyone today will be complaining about it.

Anyway, enough drivel. Last summer a good friend informed me of a wonderful fact of anatomic geography of which I was hitherto unaware:

“Up your bum and round the corner

That’s the way to California

By a strange quirk of fate, thirty seconds after learning this I was struck in the nasties by an Indian fighting kite, and as I lay on the floor clutching my goolies Charlotte told me I’d been whacked in the Louisiana. With the USA in mind, let’s visit You-Tube.

To view this multimedia content, please click here.

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13 May 2007 (Sunday) - Gardening in the Rain

13 May 2007 (Sunday) - Gardening in the Rainmagnify

I woke up to find I had the house to myself. Everyone else had shoved off. Probably just as well - for some inexplicable reason I had a bit of a headache. Can’t think why!

I scoffed a quick bit of brekky and made a start on my next garden project. And then it rained, so I came back in again. And then it stopped raining, so I went out again. And this was the format for the day: in and out like a fiddler’s elbow depending on the rain. Every time I went out I first changed into my scratty gardening troosers, and when I came in out of the rain I changed back. I must have changed my troosers twenty times today (!)

The next area to be gravelled has been dug over, I’ve painted a shed (something I did this time last year!), and I’ve nearly got all the ingredients for my D.I.Y water feature. I just need to “acquire” half a metre of hose pipe. I shall go “on the pikey” tomorrow.

 

14 May 2007 (Monday) - Painting in the Rain

I’m on a late start today so I thought I’d carry on in the garden – there are a couple of trellises that need painting so at 8 a.m. I was out there, painting like a thing possessed. And then it rained, so I came back in again. And then it stopped raining, so I went out again. And back in. And back out. Each time again changing in and out of scratty painting clothes. I’m beginning to sympathise with Clark Kent – there’s only so many quick changes you can do before you get fed up with it.

And then I knocked the paint over. Fortunately it was on the lawn, but I’m taking that to be God’s way of telling me to stop farting around. I shall waste an hour in NeverWinter then set off to work. We’ve got two temps starting today – One hopes for the best, but expects the worst……

 

15 May 2007 (Tuesday) - Yes, It's Still Raining !

15 May 2007 (Tuesday) - Yes, It's Still Raining !magnify

I was on an early start today, so taking the afternoon off meant I was home by mid day. After a quick belt of KFC I had this idea that if I pressed on in the garden, when “My Boy TM” got home he could do the heavy lifting. First off was the job to sink the reservoir for the new water feature. So I dug about a cubic metre of soil out. Then the whole area looked a bit “high” so I levelled it by removing another cubic metre or so of soil. And this time I was determined not to fart about diving in and out of the rain, but carry on regardless. I've got a few cubic metres of topsoil spare - I'm told it will be useful to fill a tree-pot (!)

When “My Boy TM” got home I was knackered and soaking wet. Funny how when he arrived the weather brightened up! We had words – to ensure the reservoir for the water feature was level I must admit I turned to the dark side and used that forbidden evil – the spirit level. I forgot to put it away and he found it. He was not amused – Good lad! We laid membrane, put down the bamboo edging and I then spent an hour filling buckets of brindle chippings which Dan then laid down.

I had this plan to put up the fence panel (pictured above) more permanently, but now I’m not sure about the idea. I’m thinking more in terms of a large statue in the corner between the fence and the shed. And I know just the place to get one. I seem to remember a conversation at the weekend when a good friend wanted to go back to get a water feature. And I'm told we need a tree-pot

Anyone up for a trip to Sheerness this weekend?

 

16 May 2007 (Wednesday) - Electrickery

16 May 2007 (Wednesday) - Electrickerymagnify

Yesterday I noticed that (from the right angle) you can see that the fence behind the shed hasn’t been painted. “I’ll just nip in there & bung on a quick coat” I thought. As you can see it was rather a tight fit. And then it started raining, so I gave up and did the electricals instead. Inside our shed is a veritable cat’s cradle of electrical cables, some having been in place for at least fifteen years. At the moment only two things are actually powered from the shed – a fridge and a multi-adapter into which the water features are plugged. Though to look at the spider’s web of cables you’d think half the street was plugged in. It’s all a bit tidier now, and all four water features are powered from a single switch.

The lawn needs mowing, but it’s a bit wet….

 

17 May 2007 (Thursday) - Sheds

17 May 2007 (Thursday) - Shedsmagnify

Good news, my sweet” I simpered.

Wot?” (Dripping suspicion)

We don’t need to go to Sheerness this weekend” I smarmed

And the catch is?” (Seeing straight through my little scheme)

Well…. I’m demolishing a shed” (!)

I’m bored again. It would be more You-Tube, but someone’s hidden the cow puppet. There are several suspects.

So it’s Garden – Phase Three. The plan was originally to get shot of both sheds and replace them with one that is slightly smaller than the two of them put together. But “My Boy TM” says that if we ding out the Wellington boots that don’t fit us, the box the trampoline came in (that has now gone soggy), the box that Colin came in (that has also gone soggy), the paddling pool (which is growing mould), the left over rolls of wallpaper from fifteen years ago, the garden canes from twenty years ago, the boxes the Koi came in (that are taking up half the shed on their own), the concrete, sand & cement I bought last summer to make pennies (the mould of which has gone mouldy) and take the recycling to be recycled, then there’s not going to be more than a shedful left.

So, it’s somewhat akin to eviction time in the Big Brother House. Which shed gets the chop? Is it the home-made, rather lacklustre thirty years old heap that, despite its age and lack of maintenance, is still holding up after all these years? Or is it the professionally manufactured and constructed shed whose roof blew off after only two years and currently has a blue tarpaulin (that me and Katy tied onto it) to keep the rain out? No contest, really. The old one might need a lick of paint, but I can do that. Ding out the scrat, clear out the yard, bash the red shed down, couple of runs to the tip, sweep round a bit and then voila! A patio area – and I know just the stone furniture I want to put there.

Perhaps we will be going to Sheerness this weekend after all..

 

18 May 2007 (Friday) - Dinging Out The Scrat

Yesterday I wrote “ Ding out the scrat, clear out the yard, bash the red shed down, couple of runs to the tip, sweep round a bit and then voila! A patio area

How easy it is to type those words. But a good evening’s work has seen the “scrat dung out”. The yard is cleared. “The scrat” is currently in the Espace, waiting for a tip run first thing tomorrow. The shed, rather than having been bashed down is being carefully disassembled. I’ve got this theory that if I get all the nails out as I go we can use it as firewood at cub camp. I’ve also got this theory that if I leave the base of the shed and paint it up it will be on a par with decking. And everyone knows decking is sexy!

And despite the pressing need for shed disassembly, we will be going to Sheerness this weekend after all.

 

19 May 2007 (Saturday) - Carefully Disassembling the Shed

19 May 2007 (Saturday)  - Carefully Disassembling the Shedmagnify

This morning I was up with the thing that gets up early. Can’t remember what the thing is that gets up early. If the fun and games at the tip is anything to go by, the thing is “twit”. The tip was full at 8am, full of people with only one small carrier bag of rubbish. And each of the twits felt the need to kiss goodbye to each and every item of rubbish in their carrier bags. And people wonder why it can take an hour to get into the tip some days.

Yesterday I wrote “The shed, rather than having been bashed down is being carefully disassembled”. Carefully disassembling takes for ever. After half an hour I got bored and went on a wrecking spree with the hammer. That got the job done! And I even salvaged the floor to turn into sexy decking!

After a quick aside to Sheerness I carried on in the garden. Now the shed has gone I found a whole new expanse of fence to paint. And then the sexy decking got painted. Twice. There’s a minor hiccup with the sexy decking in that it’s a bit rotten. But I’m reliably informed that judicious placing of some of the shed’s original uprights will sort that out.

Must mow the lawn….

 

20 May 2007 (Sunday) - Sexy Decking

20 May 2007 (Sunday) - Sexy Deckingmagnify

I like keeping a diary. It concentrates the mind on the day’s events, it helps one focus on what one has learned – after all, a day when nothing is learned is a day wasted. But most of all I like writing a diary because it’s so EASY!!!! Today I finished my current garden project. Easy – it took less than ten seconds to type that.

Now compare that with the reality of completing the project. I was out painting shed & “Sexy Decking TM” before 8am. I then rummaged through the pile of shed debris and extracted all the strips of 2 x 4 that I could find. I then sawed them into various sizes to reinforce the “Sexy Decking TM” and put it all in place. Then I realised the “Sexy Decking TM” took up rather a lot of space, and the ends were crumbling. So I cut a few inches off each end. (How easy it is to type that!). Then I found that the reinforcing struts were now too long. So I trimmed all of them a bit, and put the decking in place. By now it was well past mid day, so “Er Indoors TM” stumped up some sarnies and it was on with the next job. I’d been using the old blue garden chair as a saw-horse during the morning, and as the morning wore on, the old blue garden chair was beginning to collapse. It was rotten in several places, so I adjusted its intricate mechanism with my hammer. More firewood! But it was only rotten in parts. Other parts were still quite solid, and that took over an hour to demolish.

Pausing only briefly to watch the pigeons mating on the fence (how rude!), I gave the “Sexy Decking TM” a squirt of decorative filler and found that the gravelled area behind the “Sexy Decking TM” hadn’t survived the advent of the “Sexy Decking TM”. So I repaired that and then mowed the lawn. With the stepping slabs up the lawn, mowing is now quite a task. A task I should really be doing weekly. I then put down the stepping stones I’d bought yesterday, gave the “Sexy Decking TM” another coat of paint, gave the shed another coat of paint so that it wouldn’t feel left out, swept up the assorted mess I’d generated during the day and then Jose arrived for bowling. It was 6pm – where did the day go?

It was good that Jose arrived when he did. “My Boy TM” is away this weekend so he’s not around to do my heavy lifting. Good old Jose! As a special treat for putting his back out, I let him set about the statue with a spirit level to check that no rustic charm had crept in. It hadn’t, but I can always add some when he’s not looking. The garden is pretty much done now – it needs a bit of a tidy up, and we didn’t get that tree-pot. We shall have to go back to Sheerness.

 

21 May 2007 (Monday) - Global Warming

21 May 2007 (Monday) - Global Warmingmagnify

I got sunburn yesterday. Sunburn - in May! There are those who say global warming is a load of old twaddle. They might be right. Certainly temperatures seem to be going up at the moment – increasingly hot summers, and more mild winters. But is this all mankind’s doing? Mars has got global warming too:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1720024.ece
http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=17977
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=edae9952-3c3e-47ba-913f-7359a5c7f723&k=0

So, is the sun getting hotter? That would be a bit of a bugger!

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22 May 2007 (Tuesday) - Bored Again

Last night's turn-out for astronomy club was rather low - let's hope that's not died a death before it's even started. Still, for an "astronomy "club we've done precious little astronomy. I know the old maxim - if you want a job done, do it yourself, but I seem to get too involved in clubs and things. This one is one I shall sit back and let others do the hard work. Or sit back and watch it fold.

It's only been two days since the latest bit of garden was finished, and I'm bored. With the central heating on the blink I'm loathe to leap into new garden projects as I suspect I'm going to get a nasty bill to fix the heating. Still, You-Tube is free.

To view this multimedia content, please click here.

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23 May 2007 (Wednesday) - Everything's Relative

I'm on lates this week, and much as I like the late finish - I don't have to queue for half an hour to get out of the hospital drive - I feel REALLY tired and generally knackered. Either the hours don't suit me or I'm sickening for something. Also there's not a lot to do in the mornings. Fortunately for humanity I plan to mow the lawn tomorrow morning and do the ironing on Friday morning. But today it's request time. I lay the blame for today's contribution at the feet of the Green Man, who asked for Sparks. And me & my bovine associate were only to happy to oblige with a ballard loosely based on one of the greatest geniuses the world has ever known. And remember - if you think the video is bad, as Albert once said, everything's relative. My You-Tube video of "Brown, Blue and Violet Sky" has a five-star rating!

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And don't forget - booze up this Saturday. Minor change of plans - as I'm working Saturday morning, the general consensus is we'll arrive too late for the Crabble Mill beer festival. So this Saturday is a day out to Camber Castle. But the drive there can be very thirsty work, so I expect we'll have a drink or two in Rye on the way there.

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24 May 2007 (Thursday) - all too beautiful

Guess what - the central heating's fixed itself. The nice fix-it man was coming anyway, so he had a poke about and serviced my boiler(!) That saved me some time. The plan for this morning called for me to be mowing the lawn, but I had this theory that this morning would be hot, but the lawn still wet with dew, so I mowed it last night when it was cool and the lawn was dry. Which left me with some spare time on my hands…..

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25 May 2007 (Friday) - Law and Order

25 May 2007 (Friday) - Law and Ordermagnify

A rant – I’m sorry, but what are the police playing at?

http://www.newkerala.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=33108 tells the sad tale of a taxi driver who was murdered. A murder which other taxi drivers claim was inevitable as the police refused to listen to the concerns of the taxi drivers. The local chief superintendent has apparently advised the public that “This is not an issue where individuals or groups should take the law into their own hands'.

It’s a sad sign of our times that the public should need to be told that. And an even sadder sign of our times that if the public feel that if they don’t do something about it, no-one will.

My experiences of the police haven’t been marvellous over the last few years. I remember the evening after Canterbury beer festival when the police were “arresting” a young lad at Canterbury railway station. I have absolutely no idea what this chap had done wrong, but he was quiet and peaceful when the police arrived, remained quiet and peaceful whilst the police “tackled” him, and remained quiet and peaceful as the police dragged him away, with blood pouring from the wounds the police inflicted on him.

Is this an isolated incident? I would like to think so, but a few years ago we had problems with a paedophile who was fixated on my daughter. My last dealing with the police on the matter was their formally cautioning me to stop my harassment of the paedophile. Last year “My Boy TM” was arrested on totally trumped-up charges. I wrote to the local MP whose answer seemed to say that the police can do whatever they like. I wrote to the chief constable whose office sent back a standard reply, and a few months later a local sergeant phoned to tell me to mind my own business. When the car of My Boy TMs bird” got broken into recently, the police flatly refused to show any interest in the matter.

So what’s this rant all about? On the one hand I complain the police are too heavy handed. On the other I complain they don’t actually do anything. What do I want from the police? I want them to treat everyone and everything the same. At the moment they do what they like at the time. The sergeant who told me to mind my own business last year admitted this much in conversation. If they were to adopt the American police’s motto “To Serve and Protect” then perhaps they wouldn’t have to caution vigilante taxi drivers.

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26 May 2007 (Saturday) - Rye

26 May 2007 (Saturday) - Ryemagnify

According to the weather forecast today is the only day it won’t be raining this bank Holiday Weekend. The original plan for the day had us setting sail for Camber Castle, but once en route it transpired that some of the party weren’t suitably shod for the mile walk from car park to castle, so whilst the castleophiles set off to Winchelsea, others were left to their own devices in Rye. As luck would have it, one of my most reliable devices is a pub detector (who would have believed it?!?!), so we embarked on a minor pub crawl. There was a minor disaster when the Old Bell no longer served “Level Best”, but all was resolved when we found “Copper Ale”, (the latest offering from the Rother Valley Brewery) in the George. A swift detour was made to the chocolate shop, only to find that it was now a fishing tackle shop. The chocolate shop had apparently decamped to Bexhill some two years ago. After four pubs the phone rang. The castleophiles were back in Rye, and I gave them directions to get to the Ypres Castle pub from their car park. Imagine my surprise, five minutes later, when I watched them walk past the window of the pub we were currently in. They’d either totally stuffed up the directions I’d given them, totally ignored the directions I’d given them or (heaven forbid) done the best they could with sub-standard directions.

Pints were guzzled, FFPs performed, and it was off to the car park. Via Rye Castle which, as luck would have it, was having an open day. ”Cuthbert” and “Dibble” stood outside, talking to the normal people, and I photographed “Gruff” in the castle gardens. And also via the Ypres Castle, which has gone downhill in the last two years. At this point the afternoon was still young, so it was off to Appledore where there is a choice of pubs. Or so we thought. When we arrived there were Morris dances in the garden of “The Swan”, so it was off to the “Black Lion” where they had black lager (!)

And then home for Doctor Who. What was that all about?

 

27 May 2007 (Sunday) - Work all night on a drink a'rum

It's raining. There is so much we could do over a bank holiday, but it's poring hard. It could be worse - we could be camping. We met up with those that are camping at mid day at the outlet centre, and drove to the fish shop at Tenterden to see the Koi. And then we went, via the scenic route back to where they were camping. It looks like it could be a lovely place to camp, but it was cold, wet, and I was glad it wasn't me staying there in the tent.

In the meantime - You-Tube have got a competition. Download the MP3, use it to make an advert for Malibu rum, and win thousands of pounds. So, here we go - don't be a daft begger, vote Badger!!

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28 May 2007 (Bank Holiday Monday) - Wet Bank Holiday

28 May 2007 (Bank Holiday Monday) - Wet Bank Holidaymagnify

As I have often said, if all else fails, read the instructions. Rule one of the You-Tube contest states that the competition is “open only to legal residents of the United States”. Rats!!!! The Cow has got a right cob-on over that. That was a waste of fifteen minutes yesterday.

Yesterday it rained, today it’s still raining. There was a minor disaster when we found we’d run out of light bulbs. It would have been quicker to walk to B&Q, there was so much traffic stacked back from the Macarthur-Glen outlet. What’s the attraction of the place? They sell the same tat you can buy elsewhere, and it’s much cheaper elsewhere. So why do people travel for miles to go to the place? I only ever go there when family or friends are visiting. And then it’s just to charge around the kiddies play park or to scoff in McDonalds.

My Boy TM” came home mid-afternoon and suggested a trip to the fish shop at Tenterden. I’d been there yesterday and seen the fish I wanted. But it was a ”hand-picked” Koi and so cost a fortune. Today the same fish was there, and after staring longingly at it for ten minutes I found a different assistant and asked him about the fish. This bloke claimed it wasn’t a ”hand-picked” Koi at all. He claimed it was a “Grade-A” Koi. I’ve often wondered what is the difference between ”hand-picked” Koi and “Grade-A” Koi. There are those who claim the difference is in the amount of colours in the fish. There are others who claim it is to do with eye colour. As far as I’m concerned, the practical difference is £60. Today’s assistant quoted the price of the fish as £60 less than yesterday’s assistant. So, pausing only briefly for Emma to destroy a windmill, we made off with the bargain before they realised their mistake. I’ll be rather strapped for cash for the next few weeks, but what’s money for, if not to squander foolishly?

29 May 2007 (Tuesday) - Royalty

29 May 2007 (Tuesday) - Royaltymagnify

One of the joys of being an assistant Cub Scout leader is that one learns so much. Today’s gem of citizenship, for example: I am reliably informed that when he feels sufficiently patriotic, a true Englishman is moved to song - the National Anthem: “Guts Ache – our grape nuts Queen”. However, the patriotic German is not so fortunate. He does not have a national anthem. Instead, together with his fellow countrymen, he stands, saluting the Union Jack (!) whilst shouting “HITLER!!!!” because (apparently) Adolf Hitler is King of Germany.

I have (on occasion) been accused of confusing the Cubs with some of the drivel I sometimes spout, but not even in my wildest dreams do I come close to the rubbish they “learn” at school.

Still, back in reality, I’ve won second prize in the fish shop’s Whitsun raffle. Later in the week I’ll pop down to Tenterden to pick up my 10kg bag of fish food. Some might say luck, but I think its God’s way of compensating me for being ineligible for the You-Tube competition.

 

30 May 2007 (Wednesday) - Bored

Sometimes I lead a wonderful life, full of fun and excitement. Other times it can be rather dull. Today was “dull”. I went back to the dentist today to get the crown fitted. I was expecting all sorts of dental torture, but I was in and out in ten minutes. The dentist stuck the new tooth in place, got me to bite on a bit of tissue for a minute, and that was it. It feels a bit odd now. I’m reminded of the latest Doctor Who just after the regeneration – “New teeth. That's weird!”

With time on my hands I thought I’d mow the lawn (as it needs doing weekly) but it was raining. So I opened up the waste trap in the washing machine and found all manner of strange artefacts (and flooded the kitchen). Now we know why the poor thing wasn’t spinning off. I’ve saved the artefacts for “Er indoors” – she thrives on that sort of rubbish when Tony Robinson digs it up. Let’s hope she’s grateful.

Then I spent two hours in NeverWinter. I could mow the lawn now because it’s stopped raining, but the enthusiasm has passed.

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31 May 2007 (Thursday) - Retards, Weather and Fish Food

31 May 2007 (Thursday) - Retards, Weather and Fish Foodmagnify

I had a meeting in Canterbury this afternoon. From now on I’m going to go to Canterbury via Challock. That way I won’t have to go past the WyeVale Garden Centre. I always think I’ll pop in while I’m passing, always forgetting that is the place is where the retards go to work. They had a nice 3 metres square framed gazebo in there. So I asked the “spazzy assistant TM” how heavy it was. She remembered me as the potential axe murderer from last time (see entry from 29th March) and immediately sent for “Steve”. “Steve” ambled over and I asked him how heavy it was. “Quite heavy, but not that heavy” he informed me. That was almost as helpful as his response to my asking how small the gazebo folded down. Guess how small it folds – that’s right – “quite small”. I told him that it looks a nice gazebo, but I couldn’t take a chance on buying one as I had no idea of the size or weight of the thing when packed. It was quite sad to watch the brain creak into action. “l can get a packed one from the storeroom” he announced, in much the same tone that I would imagine Albert Einstein once announced the discovery of Special Relativity. “Oh, could you” I asked, struggling to keep a straight face. “That would answer my questions, wouldn’t it” I added for good measure. And, would you believe it, when packed it’s not that heavy and it’s quite small. It will have its inaugural outing this weekend at Woodchurch beer festival where we shall use it to keep the sun and/or the rain off.

Which leads me to my next rant. Old sods and the weather. Yesterday at work, all the old people who clutter up hospitals were griping about the rain. Today they are complaining that it’s too hot. Last week they didn’t like the wind and, before that, it was too cold for them. In fact, over the last few weeks they have found fault with every single meteorological phenomenon known to science. I can’t help but wonder what kind of weather they do like.

On the plus side I went to Swallow Aquatics to collect my raffle prize. Eighty quid’s worth of Koi food. And the fish like it. That was a result. Far from being the greedy things that I’ve been told fish are, my lot seem quite fussy about what they will eat. This tub should last a week or so…..

Oh – and I mowed the lawn.

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