1 May 2013 (Wednesday) - Busy
With no desperate need to be up early I was licked awake shortly before 7am. I wish that dog would stay in his bed. I got the laundry into the washing machine, had brekkie and then got the laundry on to the washing line.
As I pegged the stuff out I saw that the roofing felt on the shed was hanging off.
Sid arrived; with his mummy off on holiday I was on dog-sitting duty. Together with Fudge we cadged a lift to Kennington where we failed to find a geocache, then walked down across the golf course. As we walked Fudge found a golf ball. He picked it up, carried it for a few yards and then dropped it. I don't think the golfers noticed. I hope not.
We then walked on into the woods where I let both dogs off their leads. Sid stayed right next to me the entire time; Fudge ran about like a thing possessed. We came on through past Waitrose where we did find a geocache, and then walked through the park. Again I let the dogs off the leads. Again Sid didn't move from my side whilst again Fudge ran riot.
Perhaps Sid walks slowly. We didn't finish our walk until nearly mid day. I had a quick sandwich whilst i worked out the monthly household accounts. Could be better. Could be a lot worse. Mustn't grumble. And then I spent a few minutes taking coats off of the living room chairs and putting them away before running round with the hoover.
Having run round the living room with the hoover I then ran round the garden with the lawn mower. It was at this point that I realised both dogs were fast asleep so I drove round to the tip to empty the garden waste bin. It's amazing how quick the grass clippings accumulate. On the way back I popped in to see "My Boy TM"; I could remember him saying he was buying some roofing felt a week or so ago so I blagged some.
Back home again, and I used the blagged felt to mend the shed roof. As I looked down the garden from the shed roof I saw red. I had finally had enough of next door's roses and clematis overflowing the fence. So I got the electric shears and cut a swathe the length of the garden. All of his bushes are now seriously unbalanced and are leaning onto his side quite noticeably. But that's not my problem. My problem is that my garden recycling bin is now full again. I'll do another tip run in a day or so.
I got the laundry in from the line and had a quick cuppa. I had quite a list of other trivial chores I wanted to get done, but the door bell went. The Rear Admiral had arrived to collect Sid. It was gone 5pm. Where had the day gone? Wasted on domestic trivia. And I had so much else planned that needed doing. I have several homework exercises that need writing up. I have my smalls that need sorting. I need to tidy up the shed. There are several water features in the garden that need maintenance. Oh well; it's not as though I had anything else planned to do with my spare time...
2 May 2013 (Thursday) - Voting
Last night I whilst my beloved was preparing tea we opened a bottle of sherry we'd received as an Xmas pressie. I developed quite a taste for it. We then had a bottle of plonk with a rather decent curry and I fell asleep whist watching episodes of "Big Bang Theory". I woke up far later than I had intended; going to bed still feeling rather refreshed and consequently forgot to upload yesterday's instalment of my life. Apologies to anyone who had been waiting for it.
I slept for a while, but was awoken at 4am by the gentle rhythmic breathing of my beloved. I lay awake listening to that gentle rhythmic breathing for an hour before going downstairs to find that Fudge was also snoring like a warthog.
I had my brekkie, watched my DVD, and set off to work. As I drove I listened to the radio. Having had one national mortgage crisis (I fell foul of that one), it would seem that the country is heading for another. As the pundits explained the financial problem I couldn't believe my ears. Do people learn nothing from the mistakes of the past?
Where I got into difficulties with my mortgage was that I took out an endowment mortgage. I borrowed thirty six thousand pounds and arranged to pay interest on that money for twenty five years on the understanding that I would make other financial investments which after twenty five years would pay off that which I had initially borrowed. My "other financial investments" went pear-shaped, but that's another rant.
Modern mortgages are done differently. Rather than arranging a form of borrowing which is more likely to be repayable, about three million people have over the last ten years taken out "interest only mortgages" in which they borrow far more than I ever borrowed. They then pay interest on that which they have borrowed for twenty five years (but don't actually repay anything), and after twenty five years they hope for the best. Under this "interest only mortgage" scheme there seems to be no incentive to make people pay back that which they have borrowed; all they have to do is pay the interest on that sum until such time as the twenty five years are up. Then it's payback time. And that's where the problem comes.
After twenty five years people with such a mortgage are expected to have paid back the money owed. They could either pay it off as they go along, or make financial investments to pay back that which they owe. (Like I did !) Some people have made arrangements to pay what they owe. Sensible people. However others would seem to be waiting for a rich relative to die in the hope that they will inherit money, or are desperately hoping to win a fortune on the National Lottery. Apparently there are over a million people all owing an average of seventy thousand pounds, none of them with any hope of ever being able to pay off what they have borrowed.
There was a leading banker on the radio this morning who was expounding on this problem. Over the next twenty years the banks are going to want thousands of pounds back from these million people who have borrowed with no hope of repaying. Apparently there are "a range of solutions available". On the one hand the banks might re-possess the houses to clear the debts. On the other hand the banks might write off the debts. This banker then went on to say that either of those solutions would be unlikely, and the radio dropped the matter.
I suspect one million people owing seventy thousand pounds are hoping that he banks will also drop the matter.
And so to work. Having done my bit I came home. As I drove I pondered. Today was election day. I must cast my vote. For whom should I vote?
The Conservatives had sent me leaflets for two different candidates for two different wards. That didn't inspire confidence. Both leaflets ranted about how terrible the other political parties were and both expounded how cheap the Conservative controlled county council was; all the time glossing over the fact that a Conservative run council is always cheap as it is their policy not to actually provide the services (that cost a fortune) that one expects of a council . The Democrap candidate had sent two leaflets both saying that I should vote for him in order to keep the Conservatives out. Apparently voting for him is the only way to keep the Conservatives out because (according to Democrap propaganda) Labour doesn't have a chance in Ashford. The independent candidate's leaflet effectively said that everyone else was a bastard, and the Labour candidate (if indeed there was one) hadn't even bothered sending me a leaflet. Which was a shame because if he had then I would probably have voted for him.
After weeks (months and years!) of having tried to decide for whom I should vote I made my mind up. I wrote "none are suitable !" across the ballot form and stuck it in the box. Mind you it's easy to say "none are suitable !". Getting a politician I would vote for is rather trickier...
3 May 2013 (Friday) - Busy Busy
I was up and out of bed a little earlier than I might have been today. A quick bit of brekkie and I had a rummage in the astro club's accounts. Having decided that I had far too large a float in the money box I blagged a lift into town and paid three hundred quid into the bank. I could have had a mooch round the shops. I didn't. Instead I came home and put the leads on Fudge and Sid (who was with us again) and took both dogs for a walk. Out through Newtown to the Swan Centre and on to Frog's Island where the dogs could have a run. I say "could"; I let them both off their leads. Fudge took of like a thing possessed. Sid stayed by my side, haunting my every movement. He had a little play with Fudge, but the moment he realised I'd walked on a further five yards he was gripped by panic and ran to my side.
I wish he'd give me some space. He's a lovely dog but very clingy. Once we got home he was under my feet so much that I actually fell face-first onto the floor where he wouldn't get out from under me.
On Wednesday I mentioned that I'd slaughtered the clematis and roses hanging over the fence. Having walked the dogs I then took all the generated garden rubbish to the tip. The tip was surprisingly busy for a weekday. Pausing only briefly to deliver two astro club cheques I then went on to Tesco's. There was a new geocache in their car park. I felt rather conspicuous rooting about, but it rather goes with the game.
I then went into Tesco's. Bum-wipe doesn't buy itself you know. I then came home via B&Q as I needed a new combination padlock. A geocache I hid recently had (as part of the puzzle) a padlock combination to be solved. This morning I had an email from someone who'd solved the puzzle telling me that they found the padlock had been forced. I've bought a somewhat sturdier lock. Let's see how this one holds up.
Once home I did some more gardening. My garden waste bin is nearly full (again). And having gardened I did an hour's homework. Dull, but needs must. And with homework done I did some more gardening. I hacked back more of next door's overgrowth. As I did Fudge and Sid would periodically start barking for no apparent reason. After an hour I found out what was upsetting them. Relations with one of our next door neighbours has never been good. Someone in that house was deliberately provoking the dogs by rattling and banging their back door until the dogs barked. I proved this by bringing the dogs in and keeping them quiet and watching next door's back door from an upstairs window. Their back door handle rattled and shook, and the door banged opened and closed until I let the dogs bark. It then stopped. I got the dogs quiet again, and watched the door again. Sure enough someone rattled and banged the door until the dogs started making noise. Then they stopped with the door for a few minutes.
After the fifth or sixth time of them intentionally winding up the pups I shouted over the fence that the game was getting boring, and perhaps they might leave the dogs alone and wind me up instead by playing scales on their infernal piano. The door banging stopped.
I then cleaned out two water features which over the years had got clogged up with leaves. Both are serviceable if I can get new pumps for them. And then I gave Fudge a bath; having played with him and the fountain he had got rather soaked in smelly water.
And with er indoors TM" out flogging candles I went out with Lisa for an evening's caching. It was a really good evening to be out and about. And I wanted to try my NeonGeo app in off-line mode. It sort of worked, but not quite how I was hoping it would. Which was a shame...
4 May 2013 (Saturday) - Star Wars Day
Over a spot of brekkie I tried solving some puzzles. One involved semaphore flags and was relatively straight forward. One involved number substitutions and still has me foxed. GPS + HUNT = CACHE. Clearly C=1. G=8 and H=9, but the rest could be anything.
We then went down to visit the Rear Admiral. A spot more brekkie was in order so we called in at the Black Bulll cafe. The all day breakfast was good - when it arrived. I do think that half an hour's wait was somewhat excessive.
We then moved in to Folkestone to see the Star Wars exhibits; for some months I've been seeing all sorts of adverts about the May 4th events which were planned to be taking place all over Folkestone. To cut a long story short I was disappointed. The highlight of the day was that which we found first - a dalek and a cyberman outside the HMV shop. I'm not quite sure what a dalek and a cyberman have got to do with Star Wars, but it made my day when the cyberman said "hello Manky Badger". It turned out that the cyberman was on my Facebook list. We exchanged pleasantries then made our way to the Chambers bar.
The Chambers bar is one of my favourite pubs, and all the information about the day had advertised that the Chambers was running a Star Wars Cantina event for the day. The advertising had lied. There was absolutely nothing out of the ordinary at all. Certainly nothing sci-fi related. We had a pint of stout and moved on.
By now it was raining so we hurried to The Grand Hotel for the main event of the day. Hidden away at the back of the hotel were two rooms packed with people selling overpriced sci-fi tat, two daleks, a tardis, a weeping angel, and some people dressed as various incarnations of Doctor Who. If you looked closely there were a couple of stormtroopers and a Darth Maul, but they took some finding.
I don't think I'm being unfair when I say that I went along expecting to be entertained but came out feeling that I'd wasted my time. I saw everything that was there in five minutes. Having been to this sort of event before I realise that in order for it to be successful it needs to be more than just a shop. People want to see a show, people want something which is interactive. Today's event was not what had been billed.
As we walked back along the Leas we were asked for directions to the Grand Hotel by several people. Was I being unfair to the event's organisers when I told these people how unimpressed I was?
Leaving the Hose Beast and er indoors TM" shopping, me and the Rear Admiral went into the Pullman for a crafty pint of Red Top. And then home via a pet food stall in the market and Iceland.
Fudge liked the bone we got for him in the market, and spent the rest of the afternoon very noisily crunching away at it.
We then adjourned round to see Steve and Sarah for an evening's batby. It was a shame that he evening wasn't as nice as yesterday's had been, but it was good to sit outside with friends and have a decent bit of tea al-fresco. It would have been good to have stayed later, but my little dog had been left alone quite a bit today and I was fretting about him. We came home to find he was quite happy. We could have left him longer...
5 May 2013 (Sunday) - Steam Rally (?)
Several of the kite fliers are spending the weekend at Merton farm's steam rally. Originally we'd planned to go up to visit on Friday evening but events conspired against us. Originally we were going to go for a walk round the Bexhill area today,but events conspired against that as well. So today we went out to Merton farm.
We'd arranged to meet Dave at 9am, so I shouldn't really be that surprised that we didn't get there until 9.40. We did pop in to a geocache on the way. There is one cache I've had my eye on for some time - the location and the key to get into the cache are on a travel bug which moves from cache to cache around the county. This morning I got the heads-up where the key was to be found - in a cache not ten minutes from where the kiters were camping. So we picked it up whilst passing.
We found our way to Merton farm - site of Canterbury beer festival. Soon we were enjoying bacon sarnies with Dave & Tracy. We met up with a few old friends. Not many - I was surprised at how few kiters were there.
We then had a mooch round the steam rally. I say "steam rally" - it was billed as a steam rally. There were half a dozen small steam engines, quite a few vintage army vehicles, several old cars and motorbikes, and an up-market boot fair. Being with the kiters we'd got in for free. Had we paid the £5.50 entrance fee (per person) I would have been disappointed. But it was as well that stuff was being sold. We got a new dog lead from the guide dog stall; Fudge had managed to snap his extending lead.
Back to base, and then Rhiannon and Dave came with us on a little circuit of nearby geocaches including the one for which we'd got the key. With no wind there was no kite flying gong on and it was a lovely day for a walk.
We were out for an hour or so, and when we came back Tracy had put on a rather good lunch. Very nice! As the wind slowly picked up so some kites went up. Fudge was allowed off the lead and was incredibly well behaved (apart from ripping open someone's football). I think we might trust him at camping.
Home, and after a rather good bit of tea er indoors TM" set off bowling. I had intended to get the ironing done, but the evening was too good for that. So I got Fudge's collar and new lead and we went for a little walk. For two and a half hours...
6 May 2013 (Monday) - Jack in the Green
Over an early brekkie I had a look at my emails to see if the geocache I'd hidden had gone live. It hadn't. The reviewer had emailed me though. The cache I'd hidden wasn't straightforward. There was a puzzle to solve and the reviewer wasn't sure (didn't know) what the logic was behind my thinking. I explained; he was happy. An email came through telling me me new cache had gone live. and also others telling me that I wasn't the only one hiding caches yesterday. Both Jose and Lisa had been busy too. It would have been nice to have gone for a "first to find", but I'd just made brekkie and we had plans for the day. Fifteen minutes later with brekkie scoffed and er indoors TM" still in her pit I put Fudge's lead on him and we set off.
With four new caches too choose from we headed to the closest new one. We were soon at the location given for the cache, and after a little hunting about the log sheet was in my hand. First one to find it. Happy dance(!) The cache had gone live at 7.20am, and I'd found it forty eight minutes later.
There is great kudos for some in geocaching circles to be the first one to find a cache. I'm pleased if I get a "first to find", it's good. If the chance for one come up I'll have a go (if it doesn't put me out), but the chance doesn't really come up that often. I had a look at my geo-profile; have I really been "first to find" on twenty five occasions?
Home to find er indoors TM" still in her pit. Eventually she emerged and we collected "My Boy TM" and his entourage. Admittedly we were delayed by a road traffic accident on the way, but I am getting just a little bit sick of always being later than planned. We arrived in Hastings just to see the very end of the Jack in the Green procession disappear.
Being at the seaside we had an ice cream and met up with Simon and Corinne which was good. Living fifty miles apart I never get to see them as often as I'd like. But we had a good chat and catch up as we strolled the prom. There were tens of thousands of motorbikes in Hastings today, and lots of stalls catering to them. I bought myself a new leather waistcoat. I probably spent far too much money on it, but I'm also sick of this new world order of austerity.
Whilst looking round the bikes I met "Fatley's little Bruvver". We were mates together in the Boys Brigade thirty something years ago - it was good to catch up. And as I strolled back up the prom I was shouted at from a beer garden - an ex-cub had recognised me.
We had chips outside the chip shop. Four sausages, four portions of chips, two tins of pop, twenty three quid (!) Having said our goodbyes to Simon and Corinne we made our way back to the car. Via the FILO for a crafty pint of the pale ale in the hope that Kev would be in there. He wasn't. We came home via my mummy's house for a flying visit.
Home, and after a quick cuppa we took Fudge for a walk. We'd found some woods near Hamstreet we wanted to investigate. Having been really well behaved yesterday we let him off the lead and didn't see him for over half an hour. We eventually tracked him down in some private woods (over a barbed wire fence) over three fields away. He was desperately excavating his way into a rabbit hole...
7 May 2013 (Tuesday) - Stuff
Last night we caught up on the episodes of "Doctor Who" we'd not seen over the last couple of weeks. To its credit the show is more and more harping back to its origins "Brave hearts" and cloister bells abounded which was good. But on reflection the program has gone from being an exercise in gay rights propaganda to being very much a children's show. These days I find I watch it out of a sense of duty rather than because I want to. The two most recent episodes were entertaining, but in each case the plot was somewhat noticeable by its absence.
Having had a reasonably good few night's sleep I was wide awake for much of the night last night; laying bored before finally giving up and getting up at 5am. Fudge was particularly soppy this morning. Perhaps he's taken yesterday's telling-off to heart?
I would have watched more Babylon 5 DVDs over brekkie but on Friday I watched the last one. For a very good series the ending was rather lame. I've started watching a series called "Derek" (starring Ricky Gervais) that I recorded on to the SkyPlus box. I quite like it.
I set off to work slightly earlier than usual today. I needed petrol. I seem to need petrol more often than I did a few months ago. I shall check the car's tyre pressures to see if that might improve efficiency. However I suspect the fuel economy has gone down since I put the seats back into the car. Driving heavy seats here and there must burn fuel. Still, the price of petrol's gone down two pence over the weekend. Every little helps (!)
As I drove this morning I listened to the radio. The latest celebrity to be accused of molesting small children has been announced. It's Jimmy Tarbuck. Apparently he abused a child some time in the late 1970s, which is approximately thirty five years ago. Whilst what he did was wrong, it must also be wrong for his accuser to wait so long before saying anything. (If indeed there ever was anything to mention).
Tarby is consequently comprehensively stuffed. Having been accused of vile crimes, he can't possibly provide any defence whatsoever other than just to deny it and appeal to a jury to believe him. After thirty five years how can he provide any alibi for where he was and what he was doing at the time of any alleged incidents. Do any of us know what we were doing (for example) on the evening of 7 May 1978?
There was something on this matter on the radio the other day. The police are noticing a lot of people making baseless allegations against celebrities on the hope of getting some money out of the poor celebs. The government has putting a limit on mis-sold PPI and telling people that if you haven't claimed by now then it's too late. In much the same way the government should put a time limit on how long someone can wait before making these allegations.
And so home. The clans gathered at our place tonight. It was good to bandy insults and to watch "Merlin" with friends. Fudge certainly enjoyed the company...
8 May 2013 (Wednesday) - Psychology
Furry Face sneaked upstairs last night whilst we were asleep and made himself comfortable at the bottom of the bed. We realised this when er indoors TM" rolled over in the night and hoofed him on to the floor. Poor dog.
After brekkie "Daddies Little Angel TM" and Sid arrived. Once Sid had crapped on the carpet (again) we went round the block. Just a short walk as "Daddies Little Angel TM" had lacerated her foot and wasn't up to a long walk. As we went so the rain started. A fine rain which soaked us all to the skin. Once home we gave the dogs a shower to warm them and I left "Daddies Little Angel TM" watching telly whilst I did some accounts, did some more homework, and I started on my new course. Coursera offer hundreds of free courses on all sorts of subjects. I've enrolled on an introduction to psychology. So far it's quite interesting.
Just as "Daddies Little Angel TM" set off shortly before lunch on her travels so the sun came out. I made the most of the good weather and mowed the lawn and took Fudge for another walk whilst the washing machine had a go at the laundry. With Fudge walked I then did the hoovering and ironing. Dull, but hoovering and ironing don't hoover and iron themselves. Doing this filled three hours I might otherwise have spent productively.
And with tea scoffed and er indoors TM" off out wit the candlemongers I sat down with Fudge. I watched more of my on-line psychology lectures whilst Fudge farted seemingly continuously. He has a foul bottom...
9 May 2013 (Thursday) - Bit Dull...
Over a spot of brekkie I watched another of my psychology course lectures. Quite interesting, but I am rather sceptical about how this course may turn out. The lecturer today was very clear on the fact that some parts of psychology are science and are experimentally valid whilst others are based on conjectures that are unprovable and are (at best) mere speculation.
Just as I was ready to leave for work Fudge wanted to play. He always wants to play at the wrong times. When I have hours I could spend with him he sleeps.
And so to work. Being on a late shift I missed most of the morning's news program; which was probably for the best. Instead was a documentary-style show about Icelandic mythology of a thousand years ago. It turns out that the folk stories of a millennium ago aren't that much different (in principle) from the stories of many of today's TV shows. Psychology in action, I suppose.
I went to work via Pets at Home where I got Furry Face his next few meals, and I also got him a replacement extending lead. This one is a super-long version which should be good for getting into tangles. I also popped into the cheapo bargains shop. One of my colleagues brought some peanut brittle into work the other day and had given me the recipe. The cheapo bargains shop is always the best place to get cheap ingredients. Today there were no errant porkers getting in my way and I was in and out in two minutes.
And so to work. I'd had a phone call yesterday asking if I wouldn't mind doing a 10pm finish. I didn't really mind; even if it is rather late. er indoors TM" and Lisa had cone out for an evening's crafty cache so I would have come home to an empty house had I been on a normal finish so events turned out for the best really. As I was about to drive home my mobile rang - the er indoors TM" -mobile had gone west. The nice breakdown man suspected the crankshaft sensor. I didn't know that cars had crankshaft sensors.
Today was one of those dull days...
10 May 2013 (Friday) - Into Darkness
As I scoffed my brekkie today I surfed the net and that most volatile of fluids boiled. It would seem that the police have exceeded the expectations of even their fiercest critics by cautioning a ten year old girl that marking out a chalk hopscotch grid on the pavement constitutes causing criminal damage.
Over the years I've pointed out several such instances where police officers blow trivia out of all proportion whilst ignoring far more serious issues. I can't help but feel that being a police officer is a serious business. And I also can't help but feel that anyone wanting to be a police officer probably isn't the sort of person who should have that responsibility. Perhaps we might select our police officers in the same way that we select jurors? People might get called up to do the job for a year or so. Everyone would get a go at doing the job. Perhaps this might just give more nutters a free rein, but the current system leaves a lot to be desired.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" soon arrived with Sid and we took both dogs for a walk. Today we explored and found a new picnic area near Park Farm. Amazingly some pikeys had sawn the back off of a bench. Cleanly sawn it and then sanded it too. What was that all about?
Once home I took the ingredients I'd bought yesterday and made my peanut brittle. I'm not entirely sure that it's turned out right, but once cooled I put it all into the fridge to set. I hope it worked. Time will tell - it always does. I then spent a few minutes doing more of my psychology course. It's an interesting course and the speaker is very keen and enthusiastic, but so far he has said a lot without actually saying anything.
And so to the cinema. The astro club had been invited to put on a show to entertain the punters going to see the new Star Trek film. In all honesty we did a brilliant show. Lots of telescopes to see, a solar scope with a sun to look at. The public were entertained; several showed interest in joining the club. And I met so many people that I knew who were going for an evening out - ex colleagues, people who knew me but I didn't know from Adam; even Morgan and Jose were there seeing the new Iron Man film (!)
The cinema had also asked the sci-fi club from the University if they might like to come along in Star Trek costumes. In years gone by we'd done this with a turn out of dozens. Five of them turned up. Only five. Mind you one had a rather impressive chest which (in all honesty) kept me entertained for much of the evening.
After skiving off for a few minutes for some McTea with Stevey and the Rear Admiral, we enjoyed the last of the sun. The evening did get very cold very quickly. We packed up, and I very nearly came home then. We'd been offered free tickets to the new Star Trek film, but I had an early start in the morning and I'd seen trailers for the film. In all honesty the trailers made the film look terrible and I had no interest al all in seeing the show. But I stayed - after all it was a freebie.
I was glad I stayed. The trailers were nothing like the film. The film was really good. It worked as a film on its own merits, but there was loads of continuity for the sad trekkie-types to pick up on including references to Dr Bashir and Malcolm Reed (if you paid attention). The 3-d effects worked well.
It was just a shame it finished so late as I did rather have to rush away at the end...
11 May 2013 (Saturday) - Into Dullness
Yesterday I mentioned that I was a bit dubious about the consistency of my peanut brittle. Having stuck it in the fridge overnight to set, I was rather disappointed this morning to find it wasn't so much "peanut brittle" as "peanut soggy." But rather than throwing it out as a mistake I decided to give it a little longer to solidify with a view to eventually eating it with a spoon.
Any future batches will have less water and more boiling in the recipe.
Fudge was particularly soppy this morning and he cuddled on my lap whilst I watched more on-line psychology lectures. This morning's talk was interesting -the chap speaking touched on an interesting experiment done in 1973 where psychological workers investigated mental hospitals. The basic premise of the research was that sane people faked serious mental illness to see if they could get locked up for being doolally. The ruse was to pretend to hear voices in their heads which is apparently a symptom of being crackers. (I can't see what's so mad about hearing voices,but what do I know?) And once locked up these actors then started acting sane to see if they could get let out again. Presumably their being sane wasn't pretending?
It turned out that it was far easier to get diagnosed as "being round the twist" than it was to be diagnosed as "not barking mad". Interestingly the so-called expert psychologists were completely taken in by the people pretending to be shot away, and then had all sorts of excuses and reasons about why a mad person would exhibit absolutely no signs of madness at all. However real nut cases saw right through the ruse straight away, thinking these people were actually journalists doing an expose on the nut houses..
This research (understandably) upset those who make a living out of diagnosing people to be mad, and the superintendent of one such nut house challenged the people doing this research to send him some "make beleive loonies." He wanted to prove that his establishment could sort the genuinely mad from those faking it. This nut house then proclaimed that forty of the next one hundred patients were stooges pretending to be mad when in fact the researchers hadn't actually got round to sending anyone along to play at being "bow-wow-wow".
It all rather leaves me somewhat dubious about the entire concept of diagnosing mental illness.
Once I'd done my learning I set off to work. And then came back home again to pick up my phone before setting off again.
I took a rather scenic route to work today via Wye where I found a geocache which for some odd reason I hadn't looked before. It was easy to find and was in a rather beautiful location. Flushed with success I stopped off in Thanington to find another cache - this one came to light under a bridge by the river. I was quite pleased with myself for having found two caches, and went into work feeling rather chuffed.
The feeling of chuffed-ness lasted most of the day, which was surprising. I wasn't actually supposed to be working today. I'd swapped into this weekend to get out of working another weekend (the planned camping for which has since been cancelled), and I was also missing out on a curry night and the chance to meet up with Terry who was down for the day.
Mind you as the day wore on so the rain started and got particularly heavy. I'd rather be at work when it's raining...
12 May 2013 (Sunday) - Still Dull
Over brekkie I watched the last episode of "Bob Servant - Independent" which I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box a while ago. The reviews had been good, and it was rather watch-able I suppose. But it wasn't the best show I've ever seen. I don't think I'll bother with the re-runs. As I watched it I had a snoring small dog sprawled out on my lap. He wasn't impressed with Bob Servant either.
I then had a quick look on line to see if I could find a geocache on my way to work. There was one at Boughton Aluph church (hidden by my beloved as a matter of fact). It was a multi-cache in that the clue took me to a notice board where I had to get the vicar's phone number and then do some sums with that phone number to get the longitude and latitude for the cache. Being a lazy beggar I looked up the vicar's number on the internet and set NeonGeo to take me straight to the cache.
As I parked the car I could see the obvious target a hundred yards away - a huge tree. As I got closer my sat-nav angled me away from the tree into a random hedge. After some fannying about I decided I was in the wrong place. I had checked my sums at home several times so the obvious problem was that I had probably had got the vicar's phone number wrong. I went to the notice board and recalculated. No - I had the number and my sums right. So I tried again and giving up with sat-nav and looking for where I would hide the cache I eventually found it some fifteen metres away from where my phone was telling me.
Do I dare tell the cache owner (!)
I must admit to having had a snigger about the vicar in question at this church. Look him up for yourself in Google - he really is the Reverend Ravi Holy. He either didn't think it through or he thinks it is a great joke. With the ease of deed polls no one would choose to be the Reverend Ravioli would they?
There was another cache I might have picked up on the way to work, but I had spent rather longer than I had intended at Boughton Aluph so I went straight to work. As I drove I listened to the church service on the radio as I do when working on a Sunday. Today's service was odd; it was broadcast from a cathedral in Oxford and was celebrating two hundred years of Grimm's fairy stories. This struck me as a rather strange thing for a cathedral to be celebrating; especially as the actual anniversary was some months ago. But it was an Anglican service and it's been my experience that they will witter on about absolutely anything in order to sound popular and to curry favour with the masses. That's why I'm leaning more and more to Catholicism. They stick to what they beleive; no matter how unpopular they feel their beleifs might be.
As I drove I also looked longingly at the weather. It was a beautiful morning. Had I not been working this weekend I'd had the offer of a weekend's camping at Dover with the county's geocachers. Much as it looked like a good idea as I was driving in my warm car at 8am, it had been rather nippy whilst I'd been rooting round the church a few minutes previously. And reading the comments on social media it seemed that the campers had experienced hail and sleet yesterday. I think I shall stick with my general prejudice of never going camping before the end of May - it's always too cold. And as the day wore on so the rain came down as well.
I had a phone call during the morning. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that the er indoors TM"-mobile west belly-up during the week. Having shelled out good money to get the thing fixed, neither of us were especially impressed when it died again today. It's going at the moment, but it remains to be seen for how much longer.
Having done my bit at work I came home. It was somewhat frustrating to find that half an hour after I'd arrived at work a new geocache had gone live; one I'd actually driven past on my way in to work this morning. Had the reviewer got out of bed just a little earlier I might have had a First to Find.
It was even more frustrating to find that this cache remained unfound for most of the day; only being found just as I was about to leave work.
And so home where we watched yesterday's episode of "Doctor Who". Last week I was rather disparaging about the show. This most recent episode was actually rather good. I like the latest cyber-redesign and the new cybermats we good too. A plot might have been good, but the episode worked without one...
13 May 2013 (Monday) - Walk, Muzzle, Lego
I slept well last night, and after a spot of brekkie I was disappointed to find that the most recent fruit of my loin wasn't visiting today. So once I'd got the washing on the line it was only me and Furry Face that went for a walk. But it was a good walk nonetheless. From home we went up past the International station, along the footpaths into Hythe Road and over the motorway where I took today's photo. From here we came across the fields to the Quest factories where we followed the paths through Little Burton Farm past the rugby club down to the Stour Centre and home again. About five to six miles; a good way to spend a couple of hours.
Whilst we were out Fudge made a friend. He charged up to another small dog and they instantly started playing. I got chatting with the people with the dog who told me that he was a rescue dog. He'd been found wandering the roads in Charing, emaciated with a lot of fur missing and covered in scars. He was wearing a muzzle today because when found he used to lash out at anything that scared him. And a lot did scare him. Poor pup. He seems OK now, and only wears the muzzle on the advice of the rescue home.
We all walked together for a few minutes towards the motorway bridge. As we were walking some random twit stopped us all and asked us what we were playing at. Apparently it was people like us who give decent dog owners a bad name when we take obviously feral and dangerous animals out of our homes. I had no idea what he was talking about as Fudge and his mate were happily playing and rolling in fox poo. "Prat" was happy to elaborate; apparently decent people wouldn't have a dog that needed to be muzzled. The fellow with the muzzled dog asked "Prat" if he would like the muzzle shoved up his arse, and as I shook this chap's hand, "Prat" scuttled off.
I came home and ran round with the hoover and then unpacked my parcel. My belated birthday pressie had arrived - a 1970s lego train set. I've been after one for ages. It didn't take long to put together, and I had a fun five minutes running it round the track. Fudge seemed fairly interested in it, and I put a video of the thing on Facebook. I've been looking on eBay and have got some ideas. If I can find some table space in the house I might just make a train layout. Neither fruits of my loin use their rooms that much any more...
I then sat down for a spot of lunch and as I finished my sandwich I remembered with a bit of a shock that I had a dentist appointment in fifteen minutes. Woops. I got there in time though; and with my mouth having had it's six-monthly service (and my chipped tooth fixed) I came back home again and spent much of the afternoon doing more of my on-line psychology course. This week we're doing about how the brain works. Or doesn't...
Apparently over ten thousand people have signed up to do this course.
And here's something to make you think. The local elections were a week or so ago. In our area there are over twelve thousand people registered to vote. Only three and a half thousand of those turned out.
The chap who won got some twenty eight per cent of the votes cast. With an electorate of twelve thousand seven hundred and seventy nine, the winning candidate had amassed nine hundred and seventy two votes. Do the sums. Only seven point six per cent of his constituents voted for him but he got elected.
People wonder why I don't believe in our so-called democracy.
14 May 2013 (Tuesday) - Defiance
Over the last few weeks the Sy-Fy channel has been advertising it's new series "Defiance". I'd set the SkyPlus box to record this and last night I watched the double-length first episode. Admittedly I slept through the exciting battle scene, but what I saw wasn't too sad.
I watched another episode over a spot of brekkie this morning. The program shows promise, even if I am getting vibes of "Harry Potter" from one of the leading protagonists. Mind you the leading hero of the piece is a policeman (of sorts). I do hope that this doesn't end up as being yet another cop drama. There are quite enough of those on the telly already.
And so to work. On Sunday I mentioned that half an hour after I'd arrived at work a new geocache had gone live; one I'd actually driven past on my way in to work that morning. Had the reviewer got out of bed just a little earlier I might have had a First to Find. As I drove home on Sunday night it was dark so I wasn't going to mess about. But this morning I set off five minutes earlier that I needed to so I could pick this one up on my way.
It was a nice enough little cache - actually not that little really. It was in a place where I'd been contemplating putting a cache for some time. Not ten yards from the cache is a bridge under which would be a very good place to hight a higher difficulty cache. I can't use that place now. If nothing else this should prompt me to get my ass in gear and not leave things in future.
To work where I did my bit and came home again. As I drove both ways the talk was about the promised referendum as to whether Britain should stay in the European Union. Obviously having seen how well UKIP did in recent elections the Government have seen that narrow-minded jingoism is a vote winner.
I do hope that someone in a position to do so can educate the masses. A vote to leave the European Union is the thin edge of the wedge. Look at the lessons of history. If the U.K. leaves the E.U. there will be war within ten years...
15 May 2013 (Wednesday) - History, Ping Pong
As I scoffed my brekkie I read something on the Internet that made me think. I have often said that we don't actually have a very balanced view of history because all the first hand eye-witness evidence we have from days gone by is from people who could be bothered to write it down. And people who can be bothered to write it down will colour what they write down according to their personal prejudices. I certainly have done this over the last few years.
Mind you, without eye-witness reports we can infer from historical evidence. Over the last century TV and radio and newspapers provide a lot of the historical record. Much of it has disappeared (like a lot of Doctor Who episodes) but archaeologists are used to piercing together from the scraps that they find. But now the historical record is being edited. The BBC has decided to expunge "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" from history. It was a rather dire comedy. It was bigoted and racist. But it was very much a show of its time. The show speaks volumes about social attitudes of the time that the show was made far more than it does about the time in which the show was set. To remove it and to make it not available too future generations will not allow our children and grandchildren to get a better view of where they came from. Do we have the right to edit our history in this way?
With brekkie scoffed and some of the laundry on the line and some more in the tumble drier I took Fudge for a walk. I had a letter to post for the astro club and since the post box up the road went missing some time ago we went to the town's post office where I knew there was a post box. Whilst in town I looked for a new geocache which had gone live yesterday, My beloved had looked for it last night and had given up. I found it in a matter of seconds. Sometimes these things are glaringly obvious; sometimes they are not.
We continued our walk exploring some paths round the back of Godinton Road and followed down Chart Road, past Matalan and into the back of the park where we met "Orangehead" and her chunky little friend. We exchanged pleasantries; the chunky little commented that Fudge is well known in local dog walking circles because (apparently) he is the one which is "one dog high and two dogs long". That made me snigger.
We then saw some strange woman being dragged along by an evil animal which I can only describe as a set of snapping jaws on a lead. She hysterically screamed that we should get away from her dog because it was wild and she couldn't stop it. We went the other way where I warned other dog walkers about the vicious thing. A couple of chaps told that they'd been savaged by it previously; but that it responded favourably to being kicked in the balls. Perhaps those balls should have been removed years ago.
As we came across the park I saw that someone has installed an outdoor table tennis table in the park. That's nice. I shall get a ping-pong bat and an opponent and have a go.
And so home, where I found some geocachers in my front garden looking for the cache. They found it and after we'd chatted for a bit I made myself a cuppa and did some homework before embarking on more of my psychology course. I'm a little bit unimpressed with the course so far. Last week was a *lot* of on-line lectures that didn't actually say anything. This week there are a *lot* of lectures which are all about biology and physiology rather than psychology. And the on-line laboratory experiments that we are supposed to play with don't work because the server keeps crashing because too many students are using it.
I then got the underwear sorted and my shirts ironed. And I then got the laundry off of the line and put in into the spin drier. Whilst I'd been fiddling about the rain had started and it was quite torrential. A pain as I had plans for the late afternoon which rather depended on it not raining. So I watched more drivel which I had recorded onto the SkyPlus box whilst Fudge sat on my lap and farted continually.
By the time er indoors TM" got home the weather had chirped up quite a bit, so we went out for a walk for the evening. To Larry's Wood and then on to Challock. As the evening wore on it got rather nippy, but it was good to be out.
16 May 2013 (Thurday) - A Day's Geocaching
By the time we got home last night and had some tea we had rather a late night. I slept well, and over a leisurely brekkie I got a message from the Hose Beast. He was at a loose and and if I was free did I fancy going for a walk with him around the Hawkinge area. My plans for the day were rather fluid, so I scoffed brekkie, got Fudge's lead on him and we set off for Folkestone. We were only ten minutes later than I expected; having set my own mental sat-nav for the Admiralty rather than the Hoseyarium. I realised this as I drove past the motorway junction at which I should have turned off. Woops.
But we soon met up with Jose and not long after that we were in Reinden Wood. Being a wood I didn't let Furry Face off of his lead. He doesn't run away so much as he doesn't come back. But we had a good stroll, and found a few geocaches on our way. And after the wood was walked we went looking for one or two other local caches. They were all good caches; they were for the most part rather imaginative hides. One in particular warranted special mention. There was one cache in Mackie Lane. From the clue we knew it was randomly in a hedge somewhere. Our sat-nav couldn't narrow down to more accurately than ten metres. We were on the point of giving up when I just shoved my hand deep into a bush and there it was. A total triumph of pot luck. To celebrate we had a crafty pint of shandy in the nearest pub - "The Cat and Custard Pot".
And so home to find that another geocache had gone live minutes after I'd left home this morning and had only just been found. Had I not gone out with Jose I would have been First to Find. Several people commented on the fact today and asked me if I felt at all miffed. In all honesty I don't. I had a really good morning out in the sunshine. I can go looking for that local cache at any time.
After a quick spot of lunch I got on with the day's chores. The lawn got mowed, I finished the week's psychology lectures, I did some homework, and then with er indoors TM" hone from work we waited for the arrival of Jose before going out for an evening's caching round Charing and Hothfield. Some good caches including one on an island. The instructions did say not to use the rope swing. Telling me not to use the rope swing was akin to waving a red rag at a bull....
17 May 2013 (Friday) - This n That
Over a spot of brekkie an email pinged up - two new geocaches had gone live locally. I say "locally" - they were in Great Chart; which is only an average dog walk away. Or, to qualify that statement, it's an average walk for me and Fudge. I'm told that some might baulk at the idea of walking that far.
But seeing how I was due to leave for work within the hour I wouldn't walk it today. I hopped into the car and off I went. The first cache I tried for was a multi-one. It was a work of genius, but I think I stuffed the sums up as the location seemed a long way off. As time was short I didn't hang about but set off to the second one. With a difficulty setting of three (rather hard) and a pile of ivy (never good) my hopes weren't high but I found it after a few minutes. First to Find; and I drove off to work feeling rather smug.
As I drove I listened to the radio. The leader of the UK Independence Party was being interviewed. And was talking patent rubbish. From what I could work out the chap was totally against the UK being in the European Union, but entirely against Scottish independence. How does that work? How is Scotland being free of the UK any different in priciple from the UK being free of Europe?
Being on a late start I popped into the Cheapo Bargains shop. I pulled up outside to find three unshaven thugs in Cheapo Bargains uniforms smoking cigarettes on the doorstep. I soon realised they were shouting at me so I got out of the car to see what they wanted. They were very vociferous about the fact that the shop wasn't yet open. So I smiled politely, but they weren't happy. They insisted that I told them what the time was, and added the proviso that it wasn't nine o'clock yet. I checked the time - it was 8:57am. They were very pleased about that, and crowed that the shop wasn't open until 9am in a rather confrontational way. Just as their manager was coming out to see what all the commotion was about I politely asked them if I might be allowed to wait the two and a half minutes, or should I go over the road to Morrisons.
With the door having been opened by the manager I went in and left them to their richly deserved arse-kicking.
Mind you, I do like the Cheapo Bargains shop. As well as the entertainment provided by the lowlife, they have some bargains. I got five curlywurlies for a quid. Perhaps that's why my weight loss has stopped?
However not everything is as cheapo as you might think. One hundred and fifty of their dog-dung bags cost eighty nine pence. Exactly the same as two hundred and fifty of their nappy sacks. And double the price of three hundred nappy sacks in Asda. It pays to shop around.
And then on to work. As it was now (demonstrably) after 9am the news show had finished on the radio. They were now playing "Desert Island Discs" in which some celebrity was choosing his eight favourite records. In my humble (!) opinion he'd chosen some right old rubbish. But it made me think. What eight records would I choose if I were on that show. I don't know. I spent a little while today pondering, but came to no real decision.
And so home. er indoors TM" was out bit I found a bag of parsnip crisps on the table. They'll do...
18 May 2013 (Saturday) - Caching in Stansted
A late finish at work last night made for a rather late night. But I was wide awake at 5am. With not a lot else going on I thought I'd have my morning shave and then see if I could get back to sleep again afterwards. Shaving was easy enough but in the meantime Fudge had sneaked upstairs. Fighting him for bed space took some doing.
I eventually got up shortly before 7am. As I opened the curtains I saw Martin going up the road. I wonder what he was up to so early in the morning. I had some brekkie and took Furry Face for a walk. Up the road to Bowens Field, round the park and home again. The walk was relatively uneventful. Fudge was allowed off his lead; he came back when called, and only once tried to roll in anything disgusting.
Whilst we were out we met "Orangehead" who iis looking more and more like Ronald McDonald's mother on a daily basis. Today she was without her chunky little friend but had another associate, which was probably nice for her.
With Fudge walked we collected the team and set off to Wrotham for the monthly county geocacher's get-together. On the way we found a cache we missed when we were last in the area (6th January), bet despite this stopping off we were soon at the meet. The meet was in a pub that we'd walked past back in January. With four ales on the hand pump I was settled for the day. Mind you the pub was rather odd. On the one hand there was us; poised ready to go up hill and down dale. On the other hand was a wedding party in their best finery. None of whom were especially quiet. I pitied the poor normal people who were stuck in the middle trying for a quiet meal.
We had a rather good plate of pie and mash and met up with people who I now regard as good friends even though I've known them for less than a year. We chatted for a while, and then set off for a gentle stroll around the local woods finding caches which had been set in honour of the day. Traditional sandwich box caches, tiny magnetic ones, rather larger ones, letterbox hybrids, we miscalculated the multi, and we even did the sums based on the Wacky Races, We walked for a couple of hours and came back to the pub for another crafty half before saying goodbye to everyone.
We came home via something unusual - an Earthcache. I'd not done one of these before. It was in many ways a geology lesson. But it gave us six different types of geocaches found in one day. My record for different types so far was four in one day.
And so home. As er indoors TM" set off to watch films I settled down with my dog. He'd been left alone quite long enough today. Not that he was bothered. He slept most of the time whilst I watched "Defiance" on the SkyPlus box. And there's no denying that I slept quite a bit too...
19 May 2013 (Sunday) - The Kent Mega Series
Yesterday's walk was really good, but it wasn't physically anywhere near as challenging as some walks I've done over the last few months. So I can't help but wonder why I was so tired yesterday. I fell asleep through every single thing I put on the telly last night and on going off to my pit I slept like a log.
"Furry Face TM" sneaked upstairs some time in the night and woke me with his fidgeting and scratching at 5.15am which was a shame. If not for that I may well have slept on through till morning.
Over a spot of brekkie I checked emails, did the secret e-preparation for the day (known only to initiated geocachers) and shouted at my grand-dog to shut him up; he was having a hysterical woofing fit because someone had dared walk up the other side of the road.
And so off on the day's mission. It would be on the only day that we get out early that everyone else thought we were on a 10am start (rather than 9am) but such is life. Soon we were all together in the right car park and after going to the toilet (for geocachical purposes) we set off on a walk. A series of thirty caches put out because of next year's Kent mega-geocaching event. A dozen of us set off and once I'd lead the team into a swamp (woops!) and redeemed myself by climbing up a tree the rest of our number arrived. In total sixteen of us (and two small dogs) followed on and completed the ten mile route. It was a warm day, but a good day to be out. Walking in the sunshine with good company and finding little plastic boxes too. Can't be bad. Whilst we were out I got my cache count to over 1700. Another mucker got his to over 1500, and a new friend who's only been playing this game for three weeks found her one hundredth cache. The only bad thing I could say about the day was that it was a shame that I had to sit on a stinging nettle.
We finished the route shortly after 4pm and said our goodbyes to our friends. But rather than coming home we drove a few miles further down the road and spent an hour doing a small loop of caches. A few months ago we'd spent a day caching round Malling and we'd not had time to do the series in Offham. We did those on our way home.
Once home I had a count-up. I'd done forty caches today. I was impressed. Fudge wasn't so much impressed as worn out. He had a bath as he'd been chest deep in a manky river and the mud was still peeling from his belly. And once he'd been scrubbed and he'd scoffed his tea he took himself off to his bed and was soon soundly snoring.
As always there are photos of the day on-line... I'm thinking of having an early night.
20 May 2013 (Monday) - Stuff
I slept reasonably well last night, but there's no denying I would have slept better had I not sat on a stinging nettle yesterday. Over a spot of brekkie I checked my emails and saw that a new geocache had gone live the other side of Canterbury. I toyed with the idea of chasing after it and thought better of that idea. This game can become obsessive, you know(!)
Instead I consoled myself with hunting out a cache which was (sort of) on my way to work. It was named "Tranquil Valley View" which reminded me of something Bob Ross would have painted. However the view is probably far more tranquil when there's not low cloud and drizzle. Bearing in mind the glorious weather of the last couple of days,today was rather horrible.
As I drove on from "Tranquil Valley View" to Canterbury I had a twit driving his car not five yards behind me for most of the way. Having ignored all the opportunities to overtake along the A28 this fool nearly caused a multiple car pile up by flying past me and at oncoming traffic in Thanington. And it did him no good because I then caught up with him at every set of traffic lights.
As I drove the news was all about the fact that Parliament is debating whether or not to allow gay couples to be married. Surely if anyone wants to be married, be they heterosexual, gay, polyandrous, polygamous, fish, fowl or Martian, and all protagonists involved are happy with the arrangement then is up to the individuals concerned. Haven't our Lords and Masters anything better on which they might waste their time? Or the news commentators? A lot ot radio time was wasted on this topic today when something worthy of note; the first British astronaut funded by the UK Government warranted a few moments at best.
And so to work. It was probably for the best that I was at work today; whilst I was out a bus ran amok outside our house and trashed several parked cars. Apparently the "My Boy TM"-mobile missed this trashing by a matter of minutes.
On my way home I saw that rare sight these days - a hitch hiker. I stopped and gave her a lift to the station. I have been told that I was silly to have given a lift to a stranger. I disagree. If more people helped more complete strangers the world would be a much better place...
21 May 2013 (Tuesday) - More Stuff
Yesterday whilst stopping off at the Cheapo Bargains shop I hid a geocache nearby. This morning over a spot of brekkie I saw that Jose had been the first person to find it. No one else has been near it today though.
I then had a quick look through the news and saw something I couldn't believe. Some woman claims she's a victim of harassment at work. Because she's so good looking (!) all the blokes at work are constantly sniffing round her, and all the women hate her. And so she's forced out of her job. Apparently. She's not worked for two years, and lives off of the charity of her parents who are giving her over fifty thousand pounds a year. Surely this story is a load of made-up rubbish. It can't be true, can it?
With washing on the line and smalls in the machine I then put Fudge's lead on him and took him for a walk. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I worked out the location of a multi-geocache last Friday. Today I went to find that cache. After a silly ten minutes spent up a tree (for no adequately explained reason) I soon had the cache in my hand. It is one of the better local caches with a fun start and a good hide. It richly deserved the favourite point I gave it.
Whilst out I heard a sound, turned suddenly and did something to my neck. I don't know what I did; I do know that I don't want to do it again. It really hurts.
Back home, where I spent an hour or so doing homework, and then I started on this week's psychology lectures. This week we're covering perception. Quite interesting really. I did a couple before going up the road for lunch. I'd thought that as a treat I'd have kebab and chips. It was a good idea, but the kebab shop was closed so I roughed it with a sandwich and a can of Dr Pepper.
With lunch scoffed I set about domestic trivia. House hoovered, dustbins dustbinned, and ironing done. Whilst I ironed I watched a favourite film of mile - Lindsey Anderson's "If...." It's a brilliant film. It starts off as "Jennings Goes to School" in a 1950s upper-class public school sort of way and ends up in a bloodbath.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Having bandied insults we watched the season finale of "Merlin". I didn't fall asleep at all which was good. Must do that more often
22 May 2013 (Wednesday) - Monkdown
Yesterday I mentioned that I'd ricked my neck. It was still a tad painful at brekkie, but not as bad as it has been. Over that brekkie I checked out the Internet. It was much the same as it had ever been. I then put the ladder into the car, put Fudge's collar and lead on him and we set off to fetch Cassie.
Earlier in the week I'd mentioned on Facebook about the possibility of walking the Monkdown Meander; a series of nineteen geocaches about half an hour's drive away. A lot of people had already done this series, but Cassie hadn't and said she fancied a day out.
Only taking one wrong turn along the way we soon parked up at Bredhurst church and found the cache there. And then we were on to the Monkdown Meander. Bearing in mind that Chris was the cache owner of the series we had the option to "phone a friend" if we should need to. Having fallen at the first hurdle that was exactly what we did at thee first cache. But after something of a false start we saw off the rest of the walk without incident. Our GPS readings were a bit squafty at times, but that is to be expected under trees. We found all of the caches on the route,, and I picked up four trackables which was something of a personal best. A good walk with excellent company in beautiful surroundings. Can't be bad.
With the five mile walk done (pausing only briefly to nearly demolish a fence) we stopped off at a nearby playpark to find a cache attached to the play equipment (yes - I know that's against the rules) and at another one which was up a tree. Having found a total of twenty-three caches we decided to call it a day and we came home. Having had a little look at my numbers it's vaguely possible I might qualify for the three hundred finds in one calendar month challenge if I make something of a concerted effort. If I'm to do this I need to find another one hundred and sixty two caches in the next eight days. That's do-able.
I then rolled up my sleeve for the tattoo needle. It's been a while since I was last taattooed; you tend to forget how much it hurts....
23 May 2013 (Thursday) - The Leigh Loop
I was up earlier than most people would normally have been on a day off, but we were on a mission. Once brekkie was scoffed Steve arrived and we all set off to Surrey for a day's geocaching. We'd found a series of caches to give us our furthest west caches and also (possibly) our highest daily total of caches found.
The Leigh Loop has sixty four caches, and as we went round we came across half a dozen others that we tried for. As we walked the weather was incredibly varied, ranging from glorious sunshine to hailstorms. We met all sorts of animals. As well as the usual cows, sheep and horses we saw alpacas and deer too.
Lunch was in the beer garden of the Three Horseshoes; a pub which is certainly doomed to closure in the near future if the attitude of the landlord we saw today is typical of how he conducts himself.
We'd started walking shortly before 10am, we finished just before 8pm having walked fourteen miles and having achieved our target of getting our best ever day's cache count - sixty eight caches found. We failed to find three. One really wasn't there, one was there (in a log) but we couldn't find it, and one was in ivy so wasn't worth the effort to find (!) One cache involved me climbing up into a tree, another had er indoors TM" being sent down a tunnel in her welllies.
I found a trackable coin in one of the caches and (quite frankly) I wish I hadn't. Within an hour of logging that I now had the coin I got an email saying "Thank you for picking up our geo coin from LL47....We look forward to seeing where the coin goes next." from the coin owner. I then "visited" it to the next dozen caches that I went to. I came home to find that the coin owner has deleted all the "visited" logs. What was that all about?
We got home shortly after 9am, and then in between a rather good tea and episodes of "Big Bang Theory" I attempted to get my phone's spare batteries charged up. Geocaching does eat the batteries...
24 May 2013 (Friday) - Raining
Yesterday we walked for about fourteen miles. We were out walking for about ten hours. I finally went to bed at 1am. So why on Earth was I wide awake at 5am? I tried to get back to sleep, but it wasn't happening. After an hour I gave up and got up, made some brekkie and watched more of my Introduction to Psychology lectures. Today we were learning about how the brain (usually) perceives where things are in the world. Or sometimes doesn't. And then with it still being far too early on a day off I did the monthly accounts. They aren't too bad really. They could be a whole lot worse.
I looked out of the window at 7.30am to see it was raining hard. I had mixed feelings about that. On the one hand it didn't bode well for the day off. On the other hand I smiled. The original plan for this weekend was camping. We would have set up the tents yesterday morning and would have been camping last night waking to a very wet and cold morning. Perhaps things have turned out for the best after all?
After a bit of mucking about we made sandwiches and put Fudge's lead on. the weather forecast was against us, but a day off is not to be wasted. We collected some partners in crime and drove up to Birling where three of us and two small dogs went for a geo-walk. We started well, but after a while found ourselves stymied on a golf course. We racked our brains, solved the puzzle and found the cache. We did struggle with some others though. One was supposedly in ivy; we couldn't find it. And the presence of a nest of baby birds made us give up a search. We didn't want to disturb them.
Having found twelve out of fourteen caches in the rain we found a sheltered spot under a tree by a river where we had picnic lunch. We had a dilemma. We had done one of the circuits of the walk. We were wet through. The car was nearby. Should we carry on with the walk or should we give up and goo home. I was keen to continue -- as I said before I am on a mission to get three hundred this month. You don't get a high score by giving up and going home. er indoors TM" and Hurksy were already wet through to their pants and both proudly boasted that they couldn't get any wetter. So we decided to carry on.
It is possible that (with the benefit of hindsight) we might have made the wrong decision. By the time we got as far from the car as we were going to get we were all rather cold and wet. "Furry Face TM" looked far more like a sea-lion than he looked like a dog, and er indoors TM"'s notebook had been reduced to mulch. I think it's fair to say that we reached a low point at cache 22. Fudge was whining and grumbling; his tail was between his legs. He *never* does that on a walk. And cache 22's description was all about a trig point in a field which simply wasn't there. Resisting the urge to cry for my mother I suggested that we left this cache and moved on to the next one. As we walked I checked the clue for cache 22. I won't say what the clue said, but it described a hidey-hole. I suggested that as we walked on to cache 23 we looked for trampled down undergrowth near anything matching the clue's description. Would you believe it - just as we found something matching the description the rain stopped. And as er indoors TM" pulled the cache from the hidey-hole so the sun came out.
I won't say that he weather was glorious from then on. It wasn't. We were wet, but we started to dry out. Both dogs' tails lifted up and started wagging. We DNF'ed one more cache along the way, but despite the dreadful weather we ended up having found thirty three out of thirty six caches. The descriptions of the route had told us that the route was one of six miles; our sat-navs registered a distance of ten miles. It had been a wet walk, but it had been a good walk for the dogs with good company.
I was a little concerned about how late we had finished the walk, so abandoning the plaans to go on to more caches we set off homewards. I sent off a message of apology to the astro club. I was going to be late. I got a message back. I wasn't going to be late. I was going to be a week early. Woops! We could have gone on to have done some more caching after all. But perhaps it was for the best that we'd set off homewards. Once home we got wet waterproofs drying, and bathed Fudge. He needed a bath.
Whilst we were out postie had been. He'd brought a letter from the council telling us about refuse collection arrangements. There's going to be far fewer rubbish collections, and we will be expected to recycle a lot moire stuff. I expect that will be a good thing once everyone gets used to the idea...
25 May 2013 (Saturday) - Hawkinge
Yesterday we walked for about ten miles and came home early for astro club only to find I'd got the dates wrong. It was probably for the best. We spent the evening drying out my mobile phone and er indoors TM" 's undercrackers whilst listening to the rain, and realising that having cancelled the camping weekend had been the sensible thing to do.
I woke early again, and as I got out of my pit something happened that hasn't happened for ages. I had a nose bleed. I used to get them all the time. Now they are very rare. A nuisance though, as I scoffed by brekkie with toilet roll bunged up my nostril.
We then set off to collect the troops and four of us and two small dogs went for a walk around Hawkinge. Regular readers of this drivel might expect that there would be a geocache involved. There was. Twelve on this route. Some of them weren't the easiest to find, but that's not a bad thing. We messed about in a graveyard looking for a gravestone when we should have been looking for a tree; we picked up another geocacher on the way, we had a good walk. As we finished the walk at mid day we met up with Hosey and we all adjourned to the Cat and Custard Pot for a pint to wash down our sarnies.
And then with the weather being so much better than yesterday we cached on for the afternoon. We found the two hides that me and Hosey couldn't find the other day. We found one right at the bottom of the Downs (having walked down from the top). We all trod in cow poo. Suzy-pup got allowed off the lead and she seemed to enjoy running. We had a really good time out.
We ended up just north of Folkestone at the bottom of Sugar Loaf Hill looking up. For those of my loyal readers who don't know the area, Sugar Loaf Hill is where they got the idea for Mount Everest from. Understandably we decided against going up there. We came home for a really good bit of pizza, cake and custard for tea.
And with er indoors TM" off for an evening's bowling and "Furry Face TM" snoring, I settled down for more of my on-line psychology course. Self awareness.... fascinating!
26 May 2013 (Sunday) - Chelmsford 123
We were up before the lark, breakfasted and out of the house before 7am this morning. Troops rallied and on to the motorway before 7.15am too. We were on a mission to Essex. I've been going somewhat excessively at this geocaching lark this last week in an attempt to complete the three hundred finds in one calendar month challenge. And if anyone seriously wants to achieve this, then a relatively (!) easy way to do so is to go for a walk in Essex. The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Series is a series of 112 geocaches laid out along seventeen miles of the The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation canal.
There is the minor problem that the walk is in a straight line and you end up seventeen miles from your car, but that is merely a piddling detail. The obvious fix is to find like-minded friends and take two cars, meeting up at one end, leaving one car there and then all driving to the other and walking back to where you started. And that's what we did. We arrived in Chemlsford shortly before 9am and found a cache whilst waiting for our partners in crime, then left our car behind and set off to the other end of the canal. We started our canal walk just before 9.30am, and finished just before 8pm. It was a glorious day to be out; following a canal meant that the going was very flat. The dogs were very well behaved; it had been suggested that the distance would be too far for the dogs. I seriously considered leaving Fudge behind, but I knew it would be a long day and that he would rather be with us than left at home. I watched him closely - if he showed any signs of flagging I was going to carry him, but he did better than I did.
Most of the caches were easy finds; as we walked we picked up a few extra ones along the way, including one in a multi storey car park.
As well as going for three hundred caches in a month there was another milestone I might hit. If we found one hundred and twenty three caches today that would take my total found up to two thousand caches. We ended the day on one hundred and twenty one caches; the last one of the day being the "300 caches in one month" challenge cache.
We'd left home shortly before 7am; we got home just after 10pm. I was rather tired, but came home with something of a sense of achievement. Today was my most caches in a day, longest cache walk (in distance and in time) and I found my furthest north cache.
I need a rest now.
As always, there are photos of the day's outing on-line
27 May 2013 (Monday) - Bank Holiday
I've had a good few days off of work, and so it was with a heavy heart that I dragged my carcass out of bed shortly before 6am this morning. I'd woken over an hour before that, and had lain there trying to get some more sleep. It wasn't happening. I got up and vaguely speculated on taking Fudge for an early walk. He was still fast asleep and wasn't showing much interest in moving about.
I spent a few minutes pootling on the Internet and then set off to work. I put the radio on (expecting the worst) and was disappointed. There was very little of note going on in the world. Those who make money out of fomenting discontent were trying to stir up a furore about the Prime Minister taking a holiday.
His deciding to take a short break was (apparently) rather badly timed in view of the recent terror attack in South London. Whilst what happened was terrible, those that deal with the aftermath of such events are on the case. There is little that the Prime Minister can do himself that others could not do better. Without wishing to downplay what happened, there are always crises and catastrophes that could prevent a Prime Minister from taking a break. Is he supposed to go the entire five years of his tenure without a day off?
Whilst on the way to work I got some petrol. I had this theory that petrol stations wouldn't be busy at 8am on a Bank Holiday. The one I went to wasn't. It was very quiet. I brandished my Morrisons card at them (as I always do) and they told me that I had accrued enough points to get a voucher. Having been spending over sixty quid a month in the place for the last year they've given me a voucher worth five quid off stuff in their store. I shall buy a bottle of port.
And so to work. After the major hikes I've been on for these last four days I quite enjoyed the rest that I had today. For all that I was busy, it wasn't arduous physical effort which did come as welcome relief; even if I did spend some time looking out of the window at the glorious weather wishing that I was outside in the sunshine with my dog.
I wonder if he likes being out in the sunshine quite as much as he used to?
As I came home I was shocked to hear the news. Bill Pertwee has died. Famous for his part of Warden Hodges in Dad's Army, it's a shame that he's gone. However I must admit I thought he died years ago...
28 May 2013 (Tuesday) - This n That
Whilst fusing Furry Face this morning I noticed that his fur is looking rather grey around his muzzle. He's a little young to be going grey. Over a spot of brekkie I started on this week's psychology lectures. Today we were doing... well, on reflection I don't really know what we were doing. there was a lot of talk about natural selection and selective breeding of dogs. There was talk of eugenics and historical attempts at selective breeding of humans. The speaker touched on studies involving identical and fraternal twins. But I have no idea what point he was trying to make out of it all.
And so to work. After the glorious weather of the last few days today was wet. As I walked to my car another car sped through a puddle and I got wet. Only splashed, but it was enough to wind me up for the day.
With a few minutes to spare I did a spot of shopping. First in the pet shop to get a bulk load of dog food. I wonder if he might prefer the packet stuff rather than the tinned? And then I went into the cheapo bargains shop. This morning the door was open and there were no surly staff guarding the entrance. I bought a packet of Poppets to fuel me through the day and then set off to work. Which was the same as ever.
Being Tuesday I would like to have been at the gathering of the clans, but a 10pm finish made that somewhat impractical. So instead I came home and slept through all sorts of stuff on the telly...
29 May 2013 (Wednesday) - 2000
I had a reasonable night's sleep I suppose, and seeing that the weather was good I got some washing into the machine. Lisa arrived and I forgot all about the washing.
We went out to play geocache and I got my two thousandth find. Not bad in just under ten months. Mind you we completely failed on one that went live a day or so ago. To qualify for a find we had to spot a trig point near Ham Street. We had the co-ordinates of the trig point, but we couldn't find it. After twenty minutes searching we wondered if we had the instructions wrong so we gave up, collected her mum and Cassie and drove off to pick up a few caches as drive-bys. As we pootled about so the weather deteriorated, and as we came home so the heavens opened.
Shortly after coming home we checked out our geo-stuff-up on line and found that we had ben in the right place after all, but that the trig point was under thick stinging nettles. Woops (!) I spent a few minutes terrorising the dog, and then got a bucket of beer on the go in readiness for Brighton Kite Festival. It's still a little way off, but preparation is everything.
And with little else going on I watched more psychology lectures. Today we covered Pavlov's dogs in which Pavlov demonstrated how dogs learn. Conditioned reflexes are great - there's a good video of the concept here Give it a go - it'll raise a smile. Basically the theory is what I did with "Furry Face TM" and the whistle. Whenever I give Fudge a treat I blow a whistle. Whenever he hears the whistle he expects a treat and comes to find me. I say "whenever" - I blow the whistle when I give him a treat about ninety percent of the time. He comes when he hears the whistle about fifty per cent of the time. But it's a good theory.
The phone rang - it was Tina Poole from National Moneysavers asking if I would do a three minute survey for her. I was a bit bored so I agreed. I made out that I had everything she was selling and didn't want to change. After three minutes she thanked me and said that some Argos vouchers would be in the post. I wonder if they will be. We shall see.
And just as I'd had my evening's ablutions and settled down for the evening so the rain stopped. We could have gone looking under the stinging nettles near Ham Street, but they will keep. Instead we had a rather good chilli and a bottle of plonk. Hic... !
30 May 2013 (Thursday) - Operant Conditioning
I woke shortly after 4am this morning and lay awake listening to the sound of the rain on the window. After an hour or so I realised that I'd been stroking Fudge whilst laying in bed listening to the rain. When did he sneak upstairs?
I came downstairs to find the batch of beer I'd set off yesterday was bubbling nicely. Hopefully it will do the trick for Brighton Kite Festival. Over a spot of brekkie I watched one of my psychology lectures. Today we touched on operant conditioning . It sounds dull, but is actually quite interesting. There's an example of conditioned learning in action here which demonstrates the point quite nicely.
The radio made for interesting listening as I drove to work. It featured an article about how the government plans to combat childhood obesity by making it illegal for a fast food outlet to be open before 5pm if it is within four hundred yards of a school. An novel concept which should put more than a few people out of work.
Ironically the spokesman from the National Obesity Forum who was being interviewed rejoiced in the name of "Mr Fry".
I got to work and then realised I'd left my phone at home. I then felt rather lost for much of the day. Whilst I rarely use it to make calls or to send text messages, my phone is also my camera and my book. I didn't realise how much I use the Kindle app until I didn't have the phone with me. This made for dull tea breaks at work. But I made the most of it, did my bit and came home again. As I drove there was a program on the radio about how accident and emergency departments are in crisis. It always boils my piss that people in hospitals do the best that they can only to be taken as easy targets for a media looking to stir trouble...
31 May 2013 (Friday) - Mote Park
Sometimes when faced with insomnia I lay in bed and get wound up. Other times I get up and do something. This morning I had my morning shave at 4am, then out the recycling box out, I then did the washing up and put some laundry into the washing machine. I went back to bed after forty minutes in the hope that having done something I might then be a bit more tired and might sleep. It didn't work. I lay awake until giving up shortly before 7am.
Over a spot of brekkie I watched another psychology lecture. Today we were covering the principles of successful flirting and why gambling is so addictive. I then spent half an hour playing Bubble Witch Saga whilst waiting for a second load of laundry to wash, then got the lot on to the line to dry in the hope that it wouldn't rain.
Lisa arrived and we set off on a geo-adventure. First of all to Ham Street. On Wednesday we tried for a virtual cache and gave up after half an hour. Today we found it within two minutes. We then carried on through Tenterden to Headcorn where we found a couple more caches and on to Sutton Valance where we had two failures.
Pausing only briefly in Maidstone for a fifty per cent success rate on a few caches we made our way to the main target of the day - Mote Park. There is a multi-cache in Mote Park of extreme difficulty. We found the first part easily enough. I say "found" - we could see it up a tree, but couldn't get close. Therefore we were stuffed for the second part. However by the use of some judicious cheating we figured out that the third clue was hidden under a bridge somewhere. So we scouted out the park until we found a likely looking bridge and sent Lisa in the river. There's no denying that she could have done a better job. She came out with both boots full of water and no cache found. We shall have to go back and do it properly.
So in the face of failure we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves down, emptied the water out of our boots, wrung out our socks and found the ice cream stall. And then walked back to the car. I am reliably informed that one kilometre is a long way to walk barefoot.
Once at the car dry socks and trousers were put on, and we made our way back to Ashford. Via one or two more caches on the way.
Once home I got the laundry in from the line, got the undercrackers in to scrub, and set off to astro club. Attendance was really down tonight. Perhaps only half the usual turn-out. I wonder if that was because tonight was a telescope workshop. But those of us who were there had a good time. And in a novel break with tradition the clouds pulled back, and for the first time in about eighteen months we were able to get the telescopes out and do some astronomy.