1 May 2014 (Thursday) - Bit Dull
The theory behind my CPAP machine is that when I put it on it gently blows air up my nose. As the night goes on and my sinuses contract (decreasing my breathing), the device senses taht I'm taking in less air and increases its pressure.
When I woke at 5am this morning the thing was blasting a hurricane up my conk. Surely it would make more sense to surgically re-bore my nose thather than to fart around pumping air up a contanatly decreasing beak.
I watched the latest episode of the Tomorrow People. The plot is getting convoluted to the point of silliness now. Mind you there's still a few episodes left in the season to make sense of what's going on. There's still no news about a second season. A second one would be good.
To work through the rain. A rather miserable morning. As I drove the talk on the radio was simularly dull. The politician and alledged terrorist Gerry Adams has been arrested in connection with a murder that took place forty two years ago. The UK legal system really needs to grasp the concept of the statute of limitations - for justice to have any meaning there must be a time limit in which retribution for a crime has to be made. How can anyone provide any reliable evidence in a case which happened forty two years ago? Those who haven't died can hardly claim to have any decent memory of what happened when I was eight years old. I certainly don't.
I didn't have long for sax practice today; unfortunately rain stopped play. Rather heavy rain; torrential in fact. However as consolation I had an email to say that the geocache I'd hidden on Tuesday morning had finally been accepted. If I'd hidden it near Ashford it would have been found within an hour of going live; being in Canterbury there's no one with any interest in the thing at all...
And so home. I would have put stuff into the car had it not been raining quite so hard... and if I'd not been feeling just a little under the weather.
(Today was rather dull)
2 May 2014 (Friday) - Off to Geo-Camp
I had a reasonable night's sleep, but woke to find the CPAP machine was blowing air out of my mouth. That was a rather strange experience. After a quick brekkie I loaded the last of the bits and bobs into the car and drove to Tesco for a sandwich for lunch. From there I set the sat-nav to Paddock Wood and drove straight into a traffic jam where I then waited (whilst my piss boiled) for an hour and a half.
And so the the Hop Farm at Paddock Wood for the Kent Mega - a weekend of geocaching activities. The Hop Farm is a huge place, and some of the local cachers had arrived last night and set up camp. Being given instructions of where to find them I thought I'd soon be in the right place. In retrospect we'd set up just a little too far away from everyone else on the site. But as the idea was for the Kent cachers to be together I just went with the flow.
I arrived at 10am to find everyone else was still in bed. It didn't take too long to have camp set up, and after a quick sandwich for lunch the rain started. Just drizzle on and off, but enough to be a pain.
As the afternoon wore on so more Kent cachers arrived to join our camp. And one or two others joined in as well. I found myself chatting with a couple of new friends, and the three of us made our way to the pub where there was to be a formal meet-up geo-event. On the way we met a lady from Germany who was over for the weekend, and we chatted with her for a little while.
"er indoors TM" and Gordon Tracy arrived, and we made our way back to camp for a spot of tea and a beer or two. And as the beer flowed we decided that we were "camping" - "tenting" being little more than cottaging with canvas. And then we played cards; forfeits involving eating a paper bag.
The evening became rather vague at that point...
It's no secret that I was reluctant to go geo-camping this weekend. One of the main reasons was that I thought it would be rather cold in May. It was cold; we woke this morning to find a thick frost on the cars.
We had a rather early start today, we collected Lisa from Paddock Wood railway station at 7.30am, and then got on with the business of the day.
There are twelve different geocache types. Some are sandwich boxes, some don't actually exist, but require people to spot and report on something they find. Some are meetings of cachers. The rules forbid two particular meetting types to be held on the same day, so the most cache types anyone can find on any one day is eleven. Today four of us were going to do eleven cache types.
I'd planned the specific caches and the order in which we would do them.
We started in Camer park for a meeting cache - a "Cache In Trash Out" tidy up of a park in North Kent. We spent an hour and a half gathering rubbish, pausing only briefly to collect two other cache types. A traditional cache wihich was up a tree, and a puzzle cache which was in a thicket. It was at this thicket that we met one of the elite group of people who adjudicate on the validity of potential geocaches prior to their being accepted and made live. He said he'd been present when his mate had found this puzzle cache a couple of weeks ago, but couldn't help us with any hints as he'd not been paying attention at the time.
From here we drove to a nearby church where we easily found a multi-cache, and then on to another church where we struggled to find a letterbox hybrid cache. This one was rather difficult to track down, but had we failed I did have a backup plan. Fortunately for my nerves we didn't need the backup plan.
And then to Holly Hill where we did a virtual geocache; we did have some problems here. The find was easy enough, but the cache owner decided to delete the logs we made because they weren't in the correct format. Whilst the fellow was well wiithin his rights to do so, part of me did feel it was a needlessly pedantic thing to do; especially when we were on a mission. I eventually managed to get my phone to sort out an acceptable report; even if the phone was overheating by the time I'd done so.
By now it was mid day. With six cache types under our belt we had equalled our previous best score at this game. So we went on to Yalding for a pub lunch in the sunshine, and then half ann hour was spent playing GPS games to get our seventh cache type - a Wherigo. Wherigos are rather obscure and can be time consuming. I was pleased to have got success here; failure on this one would not have been disastrous, but would have involved a rather time-consuming Plan "B". Having got the thing we went back to the pub for a pint and to watch everyone else doing the GPS game. I even shouted a few helpful (!) comments at one of two cachers.
The day's eighth cache was the one which *had* to work. In Tunbridge Wells there is a webcam cache. We had to stand in the right place (with our hands in the air) and then use our phones to get a webcam image. It took a little fiddling to get the webcam picture, but it was fiddling we had to do. Had we fallen at this hurdle we would have had a problem; webcam caches are very rare. If we had drawn a blank here the next closest webcam cache is in North London.
Whilst in Tunbridge Wells we went to Toad Rock for a geology lesson, and with the Earthcache completed we went back to base.
Cache type ten was something rather special. Geocache HQ are experimenting with new types of geocaches and forr the first time in the UK we had the chance to do a Lab Cache. In fact we had the chance to do ten. We did one today. Given a list of names of cachers attending the mega-event we had to spot the fake one.
Back to camp for tea, where we were joined by Dave who came up for the Mega. and with tea scoffed we went down to the pub for a crafty half and the eleventh cache type of the day. Cache eleven was a meet; and after the meet was a spot of night caching. I'm normally not a fan of night caching; but being guided by the C.O. and with several hundred people along for the ride, tonight's night hike was an experience I wouldn't have missed.
By now we were cached out, so it was back to base where we drank beer and port roound the camp fire until bed time. It was a rather cold evening, and by midnight Lisa had rather cold toesies; a fact which was broadcast far and wide...
4 May 2014 (Sunday) - The Kent Mega
Although there was was no frost on the car this morning, last night was rather cold. Incredibly cold. And I was tired. In the past I've done geo-walks of twenty miles, of one hundred caches. But nothing was quite as wearing as yesterday's eleven icons in one day challenge.
After everyone had (eventually) emerged from their pits and brekkied we went for a little geo-stroll. Nineteen geocaches, all letterbox hybrids. All with simple puzzles to solve, and all with a rubber stamp insiide. We solved all the puzzles and got all the stamps.
By now it was mid day, so we made our way back to the Hop Farm where the Mega - Event was in full flow. Over one thousand people were in attendance. There were cachers from all over the UK, from Europe, and people from Africa and America. Even My Boy TM" had come over for the day. There were all sorts of things going on, goodies to buy, and (literally) tens of thousands ot trackables to be found.
We then went back to the Lab Cache woods and finished off doing the first ten of these available to people in the UK, and having said godby to Dave we then sat about activating our new trackables. Not an easy task on a phone.
Pausing only briefly to laugh at someone stuck in the mud (so much for a 4x4) we drove into Padddock Wood for some shopping, then drove out to Maidstone for the Barn Dance event. It was here that we realised we'd acheived minor celebrity status; not only had I obtained a series of groupies (that was a result), but we weren't the only people to have tried for eleven icons in one day this weekend. However we were among a small minority of people who had been successful.
I'd seen this challenge coming and had specifically not done the Tunbridge Wells webcam before, and had solved puzzles in advance and had picked the easiest Earthcache and virtual. Others hadn't been quite so pro-active.
With hog roast scoffed we drove back to camp and sat round the camp fire for a while. Others stayed longer than I did. I was falling asleep and soon went to bed. I was tired out...
5 May 2014 (Monday) - Roundabouts, Home...
Despite not being too cold at all last night, as I drove to the shower block (yes, drove!) I saw that the thermometer in the car was registering 1oC. I was surprised by that; it certainly felt warmer.
Having used the facilities I made myself a cuppa and watched the world go by from our gazebo. It was really peaceful watching the mist burn away at 6.30am.
After a while the chap in the next tent emerged, smiled, took his tent down and was gone by 7am. I felt rather sorry for this chap; he'd arrived on Friday morning and asked if he could set up near my tent. I was fine with that, and as he set up he said he'd come down on the train from London and was on his own. Bearing in mind that many of the attractions of this weekend were a car drive distant, the chap was at at disadvantage already. Unfortunately having the rest of the Kent cachers arriving to be loudly told that there was an intruder in our midst (and having him pointed out) seemed to scare the chap away.
I only saw him maybe a couple of times during the entire weekend. I hope he had a good time wherever he'd been during the daytimes.
We had a rather good fry-up for brekkie, and then together with our new friend from Derbyshire we went off geocaching. After all, what else do you do at geo-camp. Only a small walk of a couple of miles today; on the way we met an old friend who walked with us till we finished our circuit.
The weather was glorious and we got back to camp to find that the tents were dry, as we'd hoped. The plan was to have all the camp packed away by 4pm in readiness for the closing event. We were packed away by 2.30pm, so we went geocaching. First of all to a cache based on Nigel Molesworth. I can't beleive that no one seems to have heard of Molesworth. We then got a river-based cache which was supposed to be done from a canoe, but with a bit of effort we did it from a bridge, and then we took our lives in our hands finding a cache on a frankly dangerous roundabout on a dual carriageway. It's odd that a cache on a roundabout on a local housing estate was removed by the geo-authorities for safety reasons, but one which sees cars speeding by at over fifty miles per hour is quite acceptable.
And so back to base where we said our goodbyes and we came home. Packing away didn't take too long, and once we'd retrieved "Furry Face TM" from "My Boy TM" we crashed out in front of the telly.
Roll on the next mega geo-camp...
On reflection... It's no secret that I didn't really want to go to this weekend's camp. It was too early in the year (read "going to be too cold to camp"), and very few of our number were up for it. But as it turned out our immediate party was nearly double what I expected it to be, and the vast majority of people at the event were warm and welcoming. More so than at the kite festivals which I have attended for over ten years. I feel unsure when inviting anyone to a kite festival, but I wouldn't hesitate to suggest that people might like to geo-camp.
In retrospect I would have liked to have camped a lilttle closer to the main action (we *were* several hundred yards further than we might have been but that was my fault(!) ), and it was a shame that with many of the planned activities being up to ten miles away, anyone without the use of a car would have missed out on a lot of fun.
But it was (for me) a great weekend. I hear there are plans to do another next year; I have already volunteered to help.
And (as always) there are some photos of the weekend here.
6 May 2014 (Tuesday) - New Phone
I'd booked today as a day's holiday, feeling I might need a rest after a weekend away. It was odd sleeping back on the CPAP machine; I think I do get more sleep with that thing blowing air up my nose; but perhaps only an hour or so more sleep than I used to get.
I had intended taking "Furry Face TM" for something of a long walk today, but he was really badly behaved; refusing to acknowledge me when he was off the lead. He was back to his bad old self of being missing for too long; I lost him for over fifteen minutes so when he finally appeared (looking really frightened that he'd got himself lost) I put his lead back on him and brought him home.
I then went up to town. "er indoors TM" had a parcel that needed collecting, and as I was passing I went in to the phone shop to talk about my upcoming mobile upgrade. I came out with my new phone. I've only ever heard one person who actively dislikes the Samsung Galaxy phones, so I got a Galaxy S4.
Whilst I was at it I stopped off at the Sky shop and upgraded the TV package so I can now get all the "On Demand" stuff too.
And as a celebration of the New World Order of technology I treated myself to a black forest gateau milk shake and KFC for lunch. I've been going into that branch of KFC since before "My Boy TM" was born and in that (nearly) thirty years they have never employed anyone who speaks even half-way decent English. Today I conveyed my order by a series of pointing and shaking my head as the assistant recited the menu.
Once home I scoffed my KFC, then despite the nice man in the phone shop having copied all my data over, I spent an hour (or three) re-installing all the apps and reconfiguring the phone to how I want it to be. I've still got a lot to do.
I then went through the monthy accounts. Not too good, really. Stag weekends and camping weekends have taken their toll on already stretched finances. But I keep smiling. I have been told that I can't take it with me when the reaper comes knocking. My immediate reaction was that if I couldn't take it with me then I wouldn't go, but I am told that this is not an option.
And then I mowed the lawn. I say "mowed"; the grass was over eight inches long, so I just gave it a cursory haircut.
I then had a look-see at the geo-map. Every weekend we go for a walk; but we don't just wander aimlessly; preparation is key. I have an idea for a rather serious walk this weekend; seventeen miles over several hours. If any of my loyal readers would like to join in, feel free to drop me a line for the details.
Before I knew what was happening the day had gone, and it was time to adjourn to Arden Drive for the weekly gathering. Apparently whilst I wasn't looking Sir Token croaked. It's amazing what happens when you aren't paying attention...
7 May 2014 (Wednesday) - Cats in Boxes
Much as I'm not keen on the CPAP machine, it seems to be doing the trick; last night I got an unprecedented six hours sleep. I woke shortly before 6am, and set the dishwashed going (a job I forgot to do last night) then watched a bit of telly. "Life's Too Short" (featuring Warwick Davies) was rather entertaining, and "Pramface" shows promise. As I scoffed my toast "Furry Face TM" helped me with the crusts. I'm not sure I should be encouraging him to eat crusts, but he is such a fussy eater that it's good to see him eating anything.0
The morning's radio news was interesting. Yesterday I ranted about the poor standard of spoken English in the local KFC. Today the pundits highlighted the poor quality of spoken English in immigrant care workers employed in UK care homes. The elderly, infirm and vulnerable are struggling to be able to communicate in any way with those who are supposed to be looking after them. Because the only people applying to work in care homes are immigrant workers who have only a cursory grasp of the English language.
Also the local Kentish health authorities are looking to recruit 500 temporary staff to bolster their overworked staff. Many of these people will also be immigrant workers. Possibly with poor language skills too? Who knows?
As I've said before I can't help but feel that if the media weren't so actively hunting for honest mistakes and oversights in a very overworked and underpaid section of society then just perhaps there might be more people seeking employment in the care industries. Just perhaps there wouldn't be such a recruitment crisis; perhaps there might be candidates who *could* make themselves understood.
At lunchtime I had a saxophone practice; I've been neglecting that lately, so once again I set up my music stand at the far end of the works car park. My teacher says I am to play "On Top of Old Smokey" *really* loudly, so I was giving it full blast when a woman came running toward me screaming for me to stop. She glared at me, went to the car next to where I was playing and opened a box in the boot of that car. She fussed about inside this box and then told me how evil I was because the noise I'd been making had terrified her cat. Presumably her cat was in this box; I never actually saw a cat, but I did notice that all the windows of that car were open an inch or so.
I listened to her ranting for five minutes, then suggested we called the RSPCA and let them decide which of us was the villain.
She said nothing more, but drove off rather promptly.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park. Apart from a minor contretemps with a bulldog our walk was mostly uneventful.
With "er indoors TM" off candlemongering I watched the first episode of "Game of Thrones" on my newly upgraded SkyPlus box. So far it is all swords and tits and precious little story, but it is still early days...
8 May 2014 (Thursday) - Ranting
The CPAP machine might not be overly comfortable, but with it doing it's thing I had another night with six hours sleep. I'm rather keen on the device.
Over brekkie I watched teh latest episode of "The Tomorrow People" as "Furry Face TM" scoffed the crusts from my toast. I do like that show - the plot is now going somewhere and I don't fall asleep whilst watching it. I also spent a little while clearing rubbish from the SkyPlus box. Having set the thing on series link for a few shows it seems to have recorded the same episodes a dozen times. I've now cleared about a fifth of its memory.
I checked my emails: a new geocache had gone live along Church Hill, which is less than two miles from home. Twenty minutes later I was parking my car along that lane and chatting with Martin who was cycling past on his way to work.
I don't like to give spoilers about finding caches, but I will say that in this case the map can appear deceptive; this cache looks like a find which can be done easily as a drive-by. It can be *if* you aren't averse to forcing your way through the undergrowth. So a quick dive through a hedge saw me with the cache in my hand and I had scored another First to Find only thirty minutes after the cache went live. Happy dance...
If nothing else this has proved that I've set up all the geocaching stuff correctly on my new phone. Which is a result.
And then on to work. The radio was all abuzz about the latest scandal to rock the supermarkets. Apparently several of them have been selling Halal meat without labelling it as such. I'm no expert on the subject, but from what I understand, Halal meat comes from animals whose throats have been slit and have then been left to bleed to death. This is done because those of various superstitions feel that God has told them to do it. Whilst I'm very happy to eat dead animals, I see no need for them to suffer needlessly in this way before I eat them. As far as I'm concerned this cruelty is just another thing on my list to discuss with the Almighty when I get chance; I won't eat Halal meat. And I can't understand why anyone would insist on the stuff.
It would seem I am not alone in feeling this isn't a good thing to do, and one of my loyal readers has got himself banned from Tesco's Facebook page for telling them the error of their ways.
Something else on the news which boiled my piss was the news that antibiotic resistance is becoming acutely serious. It's no secret that as time goes by, so bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. So to counter this problem our old friend science makes new and better antibiotics. However it seems that the pharmaceutical industry isn't really putting a lot of effort into developing new antibiotics any more. The reason why? - there's not enough profit to be made from it.
Sometimes I wonder what goes through the minds of my fellow man.
At work I sulked. No sax practice this lunchtime. I had a go, but a combination of cold, wind and rain made things just too impractical to spend forty minutes tonguing the Volga boatmen on top of their old smokey.
It was just as well the rain had cleared up in time for "Furry Face TM" to have his walk this evening. And with him walked I popped round for some McDinner with the Rear Admiral. From there we went on to the astro club committee where in between bandying nonsense we made five minutes worth of decisions in an hour and a half. It's only been twenty minutes since that meeting and my mind has gone blank. I do hope Jason sends out minutes of what happened...
9 May 2014 (Friday) - Telly
Yesterday evening "Furry Face TM" wouldn't settle; he kept wandering about and whimpering. It turns out that the cheeky pup had found a left over Easter Egg. I've heard that dogs shouldn't have chocolate; he'd given himself a belly ache.
Mind you he was well enough to scrounge the crusts from my brekkie toast this morning. As we sat together on the sofa I watched "Derek" in which the residents of the care home were getting jiggy with each other, and then in "Ade at Sea" Adrian Edmonson spent a day helping in the construction of an offshore wind farm near Liverpool.
I drove to work through a rather sunny morning; something of a contrast to yesterday's rain. As always I listened to the radio. There was precious little of note today. Mind you, yesterday I whinged about the scandal of Halal meat being foisted onto an unsuspecting public. Perhaps more worrying is the fact that most people I've encountered today have no idea what Halal meat is all about. There's far more to it than just saying a prayer over the animal. The method of slaughtering animals involves of a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the throat, cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries of both sides but leaving the spinal cord intact. If done correctly the animal dies instantly. If botched then the animal suffers whilst it bleeds to death. Opinion varies on how often the process is done correctly.
Click here to see the wikipedia entry on the subject. Why does no one seem to know about this?
With my bit done I came home and walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. "er indoors TM" was off out on a hen night. I had the option to go out for Chinese, but I was feeling a little under the weather so I stayed home and once I'd ironed seven shirts I watched two more episodes of "Game of Thrones".
The show has promise; but it would benefit from exchanging a few of the tits for a bit more plot...
10 May 2014 (Saturday) - This and That
Through the wonders of continuous positive airway pressure I slept till 9am this morning. That's unheeard of. Over brekkie I solved a geo-puzzzle (with just the teensiest bit of help) and then saw something on-line which made me cross.
A local branch of the Pilgrim's Hospice is to close. The public are up in arms and all sorts of campaigns to save the place have been launched on Facebook. But as Mr Fenn (my old English Teacher) used to say "fine words butter no parsnips". The hospice openly says on their website "More than 75% of our funding comes from our hugely generous local community". Obviouusly the local community isn't so generous any more.
Those who are full of indignation aboutt the closure of the hospice have become accustomed to free health care but they don't seem to realise that not all of it is government-funded. I have maintained (for over thirty years) that the best way to maintain public services such as this is *not* to subsidise them by voluntary donations. No government (of any political persuasion) is going to fund anything that someone else is already paying for. The Health Service is under incredible financial constraints; why would they use very limited resources on hospices and air ambulances and blood deliveries when someone else is willing to pay for these services?
I then spent the morning failing to solve more geo-puzzles, and then we went on something of a mission. To town for assorted shopping. We got the makings of five gallons of beer for £7.50, which was something of a bargain. We went to Dobbies for a crafty munzee, and then round to the Riverview Diner at Bybrook Barn for lunch. For those of my loyal readers who've never been there, the Riverview Diner is an authentic American diner which was shipped to Ashford from the US fourteen years ago. I'm reliably informed (from those wwho know) that the menu is "American as the Brits would imagine it to be". There's no denying the place is rather gimmicky, but I love it.
From there we popped round to the music studios. The music shop has relocated there and I needed new reeds for my sax. I got chatting with the chap on the till, and when he realised I was a student at the music studios I got a ten per cent reduction.
We then went on to visit "Daddies Little Angel TM", who is blooming. We took her to Folkestone's equivalent of the Cheapo-Bargains shop. Something of an eye-opener. We would have gone on to the Admiralty, but time was pressing.
Home, and Martin visted. He's been to the Folkestone Geek Fest which had taken place today. I'd considered going, but had decided against it. I was right to have done so. Having paid a fiver to get into the place there was nothing to do except to spend more money. Many years ago when a group of us used to frequent the fandom scene there was all sorts of stuff to see and do at sci-fi conventions. Nowadays they are just places where you buy overpriced merchanidise and buy expensive autographs from people who were famous many years ago. Apparently sci-fi stars of twenty years ago were littering Folkestone's Geek Fest today. Charging (on average) fifteen pounds per autograph they couldn't keep up with the demand.
And with "er indoors TM" off to film night and "Furry Face TM" chewing on his new bone I tried out my new saxophone reeds. There is still an occasional bum note, but far fewer than I have been experienceing. Mind you at £8.50 for three, as opposed to ten for a fiver from eBay, I would hope for a noticeable improvement.
I'm now going to watch more of "Game of Thrones"; if nothing else the blonde one gets her kit off and flops them out with entertaining regularity...
11 May 2014 (Sunday) - Crockenhill
After a good night's sleep I woke shortly before 6am. Not bad really. Over brekkie I started watching something new I'd recorded: "Almost Human". I gave up after a few minuutes. I'd seen it all before; it was just yet another TV show about police. When will the makers of TV shows realise that there is more to the world than police.
So I watched another episode of "Game of Thrones"; for the first four episodes the fit blonde girlie had been getting her kit off. Not so any more. Just lately there has been a preponderence of choppers (of more than one sort).
And so off on a walk. I'm just getting the teensiest bit pissed off with people taking the piss of the walks I go on. Admittedly hunting plastic boxes with GPS equipment is hardly the worthiest pastime the human race has ever devised. But by the same token neither is sitting on one's arse shouting abuse at a TV screen broadcasting sporting activities which one is never going to attempt in real life; said sporting events featuring teams representing places hundreds of miles away.
I'm sorry - I'm getting just a little bit sensitive at the moment. Every pastime I take up (scouting, archery, geocaching, power kiting, writing, you name it) is fair game for ridicule, but when I say the slightest word against sitting on one's arse doing absolutely F! all with one's life people take bitter offence.
Our walk today was round Crockenhill in north Kent. Rather beautiful scenery, but close enough to London to see the Crystal Place radio mast, Canary Wharf and the Shard.
The walk was going to be a long one, so we made an early start. As we walked we met friendly lambs and over-familiar horses. The walk was billed as being seventeen miles; we did take a couple of diversions to pick up some challenge caches and we ended up with a total distance walked of just under twenty one miles over twelve hours. We left home hoping to a hundred cache finds; we got one hundred and eight. Not bad really.
I took a few photos whilst we were out.
After a quick cuppa (once we'd got home) I suddenly realised just how tired I felt. I wonder if I will be able to move in the morning...?
12 May 2014 (Monday) - Stuff
Not a bad sleep compared to nights before the CPAP machine; but bearing in mind the walk we did yesterday I would have expected a better night. Mind you "Furry Face TM" seemed to be feeling it; he didn't stir from his basket when I got up, and he made no attempt to scrounge the crusts from my toast.
Over brekkie I watched more "Game of Thrones"; after a dubious starrt it's getting better. Mind you I don't see how far they can take the story if they will keep killing off the main characters.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. There was an interview with a correspondent who was out in the jungle with the international search for the hundreds of children abducted by the extremist group boko haram. There were fears that these children will be sold as wives to uneducated savages and wouldl be little more than slaves. I really thought that slavery would have been abolished internationally by the twenty-first century. I was wrong.
However as the day wore on so news of half of these children emerged. Just over half have been filmed; apparently having now subscribed to the superstitions of their captors. These girls are now hostages to be exchanged for convicted murderers and terrorists.
Mind you no news has emerged of the rest of the children. There is speculation that these ones are not kow-towing to their captors and consequentlly will be sold into slavery.
And so to Morrisons. The queue for the automated check-outs was growing. Purely because only one person was operating a till; a dozen other manned till stations were empty. Self service checkouts are the way forward apparently. Not only are they cheaper than paying someone to take your money, they are allegedly becoming better at spotting potential shoplifters.
Now this is what I expected the future to be; high tech, not barbaric.
Lunch time sax practice went well; but there's no denying that I'm getting bored with Daisy and Smokey. Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park where we met a nut case. Originally I thought he was doing sparring practice; but as I got closer it was apparent that he was having a full-on fight with an invisible opponent; said invisible opponent seeming to be getting several good blows in. I watched for a couple of minutes, but the fight was so uneven; the one I could see was having his arse handed to him on a plate.
After a rather good bit of tea I popped round to the music studio for sax lesson. My fortissimo isn't quite as forte as it might be. But I seem to be making progress.
I then set about "Furry Face TM" and the washing machine. Being the twelfth of the month one needed monthly descaling and one needed monthly flea treatment. I hope I did the right procedure to the right one..
13 May 2014 (Tuesday) - More Stuff
Despite (or perhaps because of) over six hours sleep with CPAP nozzles up my conk I woke shortly before 6am with a rather sore nose.
Over brekkie I started watching the second season of "Game of Thrones"; I still can't work out what "Blondie-dragongirl" brings to the plot other than her two impressive attractions (which she flops out with entertaining regularity). But it passed a bit of time whilst I scoff my toast. With toast scoffed "Furry Face TM" moved from his basket (where he was sleeping) and jumped onto my lap (where he carried on sleeping).
As I drove to work the morning's news on the radio wound me up. There was a spokesman from the National Association of British Midwives (or whatever they call themselves) who claimed that the latest Government directive was a wonderful thing. The most recent advice for mothers-to-be is to have their babies in midwife-led centres or at home because (according to the latest research) the risk of complications is just the same as having a baby in a hospital, and the implication was that these were cheaper than traditional hospitals.
The radio then wheeled out another expert (I didn't catch who it was) who claimed that this same research actually said no such thing. This chap argued that this report showed that there was actually double the risk of serious harm to newborns and mothers delivered in midwife-led centres or at home compared to those born in hospital wards. The Government-sponsored pundit experts then glossed over the details of this report, and tried to rubbish his critic; all the time seeming to be oblivious to the fact that having babies is a dangerous game. Clearly no one had told him that mothers to be are not interested in dry Government reports; people just want what's safest for all concerned.
I have no idea which of the two theories was right or wrong; all I can say is that if I am going to do anything with the potential of being life-threatening (like having a baby) I'd rather do it in the general vicinity of lots of medical assistance. And as for having a baby at home... anyone who advocates that has clearly never seen a baby being born. It's a messy process.
(Over the next few months I will have something of a vested interest in the subject of squeezing littluns out).
And then my piss really did boil about the news that many fraud trials are about to collapse because barristers claim they aren't getting enough money to make it worth their while getting off their arses and rolling into court.
Apparently the judicary are up in arms that because people can't afford barristers and bearing in mind that legal aid won't stump up, many people are unable to get competent legal defence when accused of crimes and misdemeanours.
I could see that the pundits were missing the point here; the point being that the whole judicial system clearly needs a serious review and shake-up so that it is actually available to the average man in the street. We need a scheme which doesn't necessitate being beholden to over-paid wig-wearers that none of us can afford.
As it was on my way I got some petrol from Morrisons in Canterbury (which is once more slightly cheaper than Ashford's cheapest) and then went on to work. I say "work"; perhaps I could have put myself out more than I did. Mind you, there's no denying that in the last week or so that I have been getting more sleep I've also been a lot more tired during the day.
Sax practice went reasonably well. I've got to get better at slurring notes (when required); teacher says I'm rather lax on that issue. I started on two new tunes today; I'm reasonably happy with the start I've made on "Joshua", but "Yankee Doodle" needs more work. After forty minutes squawking away in the car park I realised I'd actually given myself jaw-ache. I don't know it that is good or bad in sax-playing circles.
Home, and I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. It looked like it had rrained heavily; theere were puddles everywhere. But it stayed dry for us; it was a lovely evening.
Then it was on to the Admiralty where the talk was of which lady sci-fi actresses had maintained moral standards, and which ex-Cylons had "flopped them out for artistic reasons". I was shocked. I was even more shocked as we watched old episodes of "Doctor Who"; as I've mentioned before it's not a show which has really stood the test of time.
Oh, and Binks made himself comfortable on the laptop...
14 May 2014 (Wednesday) - 10p
Another good night's sleep; I'm slowly getting used to having air forced up my conk for most of the night. I go to bed and put on the CPAP machine and it gently wafts air into my beak. As the night goes on and my airways close up so the thing gradually increases the air flow. When I wake (seven hours later!!!!) the thing is blowing at seemingly hurricane force. Bearing in mind that when I woke today the thing was blowing harder than I ever could, it's hardly surprising I was waking every night.
I watched more "Game of Thrones" over brekkie. It's a good enough show; the plot and acting are good. Does it really need all the nudity and sex scenes as well? (Or am I just getting more and more puritanical as I get older?) And with my toast alternately scoffed and fed to "Furry Face TM" I checked out the Internet.
I've had a friend request via Facebook. A rather attractive young lady by the name of Therese Tierney wants to be my cyber-friend. On the one hand I like to be sociable; after all there have been so many times when I have taken a chance, said hello to someone new, and started many special friendship.
On the other hand I don't recognise this person's name or face, and I have absolutely no idea who this person is, or in what way she might know me.
I seem to have no friends in common with her; and from what I can work out she seems to be based in Southern Ireland. I wonder who she is...
I stopped off in Asda on my way to work. A few years ago I would pop in to Asda on my way to work every day; now it's months since I was last there. But needs must; as I was scoffing brekkie earlier I'd realised that my "flowers and frolics" were cold. The material of my jim-jams had worn through in a particularly vital spot and I was "hanging out". New jim-jams were needed. Urgently.
I got some new undercrackers as well; I've had something of a high attrition rate on the elastic of those recently.
And then on to work. As I drove there was an article being broadcast about and from one of Google's new robot cars. Still experimental, the car was doing all the driving, taking the developer and the interviewer on a tour around somewhere or other (I didn't catch where). The car was generally reacting as it should to road conditions, and has apparently been judged safer than a human driver (by various independent tests).
The chap being interviewed seemed to think that driverless robot cars would be commonplace within ten years. There was then an interesting question posed.... given that a robotic car is demonstrably safer than the one I drive about (because it's me driving it as opposed to a computer) how much cheaper would the insurance on one be? Or more realistically given that robotic cars will probably be insured at much the same rates as cars of today are, how much more will we have to pay for the insurance for a traditional "self-drive" car in years to come?
Personally I'm amazed that self-driving cars weren't developed years ago.
This article made my piss boil. Apparently not content with the abysmal standard of behaviour and attainment in our schools, the crackpot educational theorists have decided that asking children to show respect to their teachers is making the brats depressed. It's been suggested that children no longer call teachers "Sir" or "Miss", but should address teachers by their first names.
Call me old fashioned if you will, but the sooner we get back to proper discipline in schools the sooner we'll have school leavers who can read and write, and we'll have a decent society again.
I did my bit at work, blew my sax badly, and came home. For a change of scenery me and "Furry Face TM" went round Frog's Island for our evening walk. It took much the same time, and as we were walking I found a ten pence piece on the pavement. That was a result.
Once home I gave "Furry Face TM" his tea, and I got five gallons of best bitter on the go. There's a camping weekend on the horizon. In years gone by I've spent over eighty quid on a weekend's beer. Now I spend less than a tenner and get more for my money. More quantitatively; qualitatively is arguable...
15 May 2014 (Thursday) - Rants and Pants
Last night I set a bucket of beer fermenting; this morning I was very pleased to find fermentation was in full flow. I did dull chores, then fed most of my toast to "Furry Face TM" as I watched my early morning fix of telly.
I didn't watch "Game of Thrones" over brekkie this morning; instead I caught up on this week's episode of "The Tomorrow People". There's no denying that his show could learn from Game of Thrones"; if Tomorrow People are going to do nudey prod-games, they would do them far more effectively by removing their pants first like they do in Game of Thrones". Not that I'm advocating nudey prod-games.
I also had enough time for this week's episode of "Derek"; another show which most people seem to have missed, but is not too shabby at all.
After brekkie-telly I checked out the Internet; social media again amazed me. Intelligent and reasonable people were once more posting frankly nonsensical gibberish about the supposed efficacy of crackpot pseudo-medical remedies. If sucking kiwi-fruit or drinking bleach really did cure cancer, then cancer would never be the terrible problem that it is.
(If anyone thinks I'm being facetious about drinking bleach, see my rant on 18 April 2011which was inspired by a relative who, having been taken in by the crackpot herbalists, actually was drinking bleach on a regular basis for alleged medicinal reasons - even though every mouthful made him throw up)
And as for the conspiracy theories which suggest that these herbal (so-called) remedies are being suppressed by the pharmaceutical industry... (takes a deep breath). If rubbing pineapples on your arse really did prevent cancer, then the pharmaceutical industry would never have been created in the first place. It would be arse-pineapples rather than pharmaceuticals which would be a billion pound industry. (Dur !!)
And so to work; in my new undercrackers; I quite like them. It's rather sad when new undercrackers are one of the highlights of an otherwise dull day. Mind you I'm not sure that my new socks are of quite the same calibre; they look rather flimsy and insubstantial.
The morning's news on the radio was rather worrying As part of the ongoing international posturing over events in the Ukraine, Russia has raised the possibility of its withdrawing its involvement with the International Space Station. That's an interesting position to take; does the rest of the world realise that at the moment (and for the foreseeable future) Russia is the only country with the capability to actually get to the I.S.S.?
Am I being cynical in wondering if Russia actually realises this.? They could annex the I.S.S. and no one could do a thing about it..
I did my bit at work; and at lunchtime I had my sax practice. I'm trying the tunes teacher set me; I'm struggling a little. "Yankee Doodle" is supposed to be a fast and uplifting melody; I've transformed it into a dirge. And squawky notes are getting more and more commonplace.
But, as they say, practice makes perfect. Eventually.
Home, and with "Furry Face TM" walked I came home and nearly collapsed. I don't feel particularly well; I wonder if I'm sickening for something. I think I might have an early night...
Perhaps some of my loyal readers might be able to suggest a herbal tonic...
16 May 2014 (Friday) - Sore Nose
Not too good a night's sleep last night. Whilst certainly better than nights gone by, the CPAP device is making my nose painfully sore. I wonder how much longer I can put up with the thing. There was talk of referral to an ENT sugeon to re-bore my sinuses; I shall have to chase that up.
Over brekkie I watched "Game of Thrones"; there was no sign of "Blondie Dragon-Girl" or of her ample bosom in this morning's episode. Mind you the latest actress to join the cast "flopped them out"; there seems to be no shortage of that in this show.
And for once I got all of my toast to myself; "Furry Face TM" was busy with his bone.
As I drove to work I couldn't beleive what I heard on the radio. As India elects a new Prime Minister there was consternation expresed by the Indian Muslim community because the new Prime Minister has allegedly got a strong anti-Islamic bias. Apparently a sizeable proportion of the Indian population are fearing serious reprisals for their religious beleifs.
But before anyone gets too upset for these Muslims, in other parts of the world a Government made up of other adherents of Islam have given a death sentence to a pregnant woman. Her crime - she's decided to change her religion.
A matter of piddling triviality in civilisation is (quite literally) a matter of life and death out in the boondocks
I've said it before; I'll say it again. how can educated people in positions of authority in the twenty-first century still give such importance to religion?
And I must admit I was just a little bit annoyed at the reports from Turkey. Hundreds of miners are trapped underground. Government ministers are being pelted by rocks over the matter. Why? If it were a state-owned mine then it would be fair to hold the Government to account. But it's not; the mine is run by a private company. Do people still not understand the vital difference between state ownership and free enterprise?
At lunchtime I went to the far end of the car park and squwarked on my saxophone. there are rather too many bum notes. Teacher says it's due to my loose embouchure (!)... I wonder if I could get a flatter mouthpiece that I could get my trap round easier.
Once home I popped round to collect my strimmer; "My Boy TM" had borrowed it. And with strimmer collected I found myself home alone. Needing something to scoff I went foragiing in the general direction of the KFC, and then spent the rest of the evening on dull domesticity whilst watching more episodes of "Game of Thrones"...
17 May 2014 (Saturday) - The Devil's Dyke
An early start saw us on the road by 8am. Had I realised that Ditchling was only aa stone's throw from Brighton we would have gone cross country, but we trustede the sat-nav and went the long way via motorway.We were making good time until we met road works on the A23. We were only a few minutes late meeting Dave.
We met up at the Devil's Dyke; one of the highest points in Sussex. And we went for a little walk. Some wonderful scenery, breathtaking views. And a couple of geocaches too...
We walked down into the valley where we found a rather posh pub; the Royal Oak, annd sat in their garden for a beer or two. We then climbed all the way back up the hill (it was a *long* clmb) only to find we't taken the wrong path. So we came back down again.
Once finally back at the car we had ice creams and flew kites for a bit before making our way (albeit rather circuitously) back to Dave's for a few beers and a barby. Simon and Corinne joined us for the evening. The beer flowed and it all became rather vague...
18 May 2014 (Sunday) - Happy as a Pig in ...
Being on holiday I'd not brought my CPAP machine. Perhaps I shold have. Despite a belly full of beer I slept for less than four hours.
I read my kindle app for a bit, but everyone was soon awake, and after a rather good brekkie scoffed in the garden we set off to Shoreham for a guided geo-walk. Road works meant we had to adjust our starting point somewhat, but we were up hill and down dale. As we walked we saw skylarks and hawks, foxes and peacocks. We even rescued a lost rambler (the Bread Pudding Man).
There was a minor hiccup as I mistook a pig farm for an airport, and a rather good two pints of ale to be had in the Red Lion at Shoreham's toll bridge, and all too soon it was time to come home. With keys finally found we collected "Furry Face TM" from "My Boy TM" and came home for a rather good bit of curry...
I took one hundred photos whilst we were away
19 May 2014 (Monday) - Never Confused
Despite a rather physically challenging weekend spent going up and down the South Downs I didn't sleep as well as I thought I might last night. But I slept better than I have done over the last year or so; I suppose in the New World Order of CPAP blowing air up my nose, five hours sleep is good.
I got up, cleaned out a beer barrel and got it sterilising in readiness for later, and then watched more "Game of Thrones" over brekkie. It's quite a good show with plausible characters, but it's getting rather tricky to keep count of who has porked who. And I do wonder just how long they can maintain such a high death rate among the leading characters.
To work; I listened to the news as I drove. My piss boiled whe I heard that crackpots are going to allow children (some as young as nine years old) to choose to take drugs which will delay the onset of puberty so that they can decide whether to grow up as they were born to, or whether they want to undergo gender reassignment procedures before hormones make nature's choice for them.
You really have to question whether whatever half-wit came up with this idea has ever actually spent any time in the company of nine year old children. Whilst I am all in favour of non discrimination against anyone over matters of gender and sexuality, the idea of trying to ask such serious questions of a nine year old is frankly ridiculous.
There was another rather laughable article about a competition/challenge (with a ten million pound prize) prize being launched to solve one of the greatest scientific problems facing the world today. That problem being.... well, the competition organisers don't know what the greatest scientific problems facing the world today actually are. But (to their credit) they are going to stage a public consultation to get some suggestions.
Bearing in mind that the public being asked is the same public which holds "X-Factor" and "Britain's Got Talent" in such high regard, I dread to think which matter of piddling triviality will be declared to be the greatest scientific problem facing the world today.
However I suspect that if the public are to be asked, it will involve Ant and Dec.
The Leader of the Opposition was then interviewed live on the radio. He was blathering on about proposed increases to the minimum wage. In years gone by (as a confirmed leftie) I would have applauded his every word. Nowadays... I suppose he means well. But I've no idea what he was actually saying; I wasn't paying attention. He didn't hold my attention.
On reflection I suppose the Prime Minister also means well and he doesn't hold my attention either. (I won't extend my leniency to the Deputy Prime minister...)
I stopped off in Morrisons for some apples and bananas. I got some armpit-squirt too. Morrison's own stuff was less than half the price of the posh brands, so my pits will be Morrison flavoured for the next few weeks. Shaving gel was BOGOF so I got loads of that. We all like a bit of BOGOF.
To work, where I did some (work, that is). At lunchtime I went off to the car park and had my sax practice.
As I got my sax out I was harangued by a gaggle of passing Eastern Europeans who demanded to know why I hadn't got a parking ticket stuck on my car. I explained that we were in a staff car park and that I had a staff parking permit. My foreign friends demanded to be told where they could get a staff parking permit. I told them. They didn't like what I said. They weren't at all impressed by the fact that the permits were only available to staff; they really didn't like that you have to pay for said permits. It transpired that these people resented having to pay to use the regular car park, and they thought it discriminatory that those who didn't want to pay to go in the regular car park couldn't park for free in the staff car park.
I suggested they might whinge to senior management and sent them off in the general direction of the other end of the hospital. I then practiced various tunes rather badly for half an hour, and just as I was packing up I got a torrent of abuse from a young mother with a toddler. She claimed that the toddler had just toddled all the way (she never did say from where) to come to listen to me, and how dare I pack up just as the audience was forming.
I took a deep breath and explained politely that I was only practicing; not performing. And also that my sax playing is rather dreadful at best. However in the interests of keeping the pubic sweet I offered to give the littlun a private rendition. I asked the kiddie if he would like that and he burst into tears and buried his head in his mother's skirt.
It was at that point that I walked away.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. It was a beautiful evening; today had been the hottest day of the year so far, and Ashford had been the third hottest place in the UK today. We went round the park.
Once "er indoors TM" set off bowling I got the latest batch of beer into the barrel, and sat down to watch more "Game of Thrones". "Blondie Dragon-girl" is long overdue a flopping-out...
20 May 2014 (Tuesday) - On The Radio
Over brekkie I watched more "Game of Thrones"; I'm now on to the third season. Mind you I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with the way the plot is going. It started off as a medieval punch-up; now it's becoming more and more "The Adventures of Harry Potter's many-greats Grandad".
As I drove to work the news told of how the terrorist cleric Abu Hamza has finally been found guilty of his crimes by a court of law.
This chap has been a prominent terrorist and advocate of terrorism for many years, and finally justice has been done. However it does seem odd that having delivered a "Guilty" verdict, the court won't actually do any sentencing until September.
It is also rather strange that there had to be a legal wrangle taking many years to get him to stand trial in an American court for his crimes of having murdered British people. I suppose that bearing in mind the shambolic nature of British courts (about which I have blogged countless times) the fact that he is clearly guilty of several atrocities means that a British court would let him off without question. And would then award him damages as a compensation for his inconvenience.
Every morning I gripe about what I hear on the radio. In the mornings I hear some of the radio show on Radio Four; as I drive home in the evening I hear hardly any of it; the reception is terrible along the A28, and has been for some time. Oddly the problem seems to be confined to Radio Four - I've never had a problem tuning in to any other radio station along that road. I've noticed this on the radios of four different cars over the last ten (or more) years.
Today Radio Four's reception was particularly bad; I could hardly hear a thing. I twiddled the dial and found half a dozen other radio stations from which I got perfect reception. I wonder what is the problem with Radio Four. I phoned the BBC to let them know that there is something specifically up with the Radio Four transmitter. They couldn't care less.
I would change my radio allegiance in protest if not for the fact that most of the other radio stations are just not the same.
I received an email. And my piss boiled. (It does that) Every month the local geocachers have a meet-up which is usually in a pub somewhere in the county. I've volunteered to host the August meet-up and thought that rather than going to a pub we might meet at Viccie Park and have a picnic.
After all the pub's not cheap, and a picnic in the sun would be fun.
Geo-rules say I need to have formal permission to use Viccie Park, so I sent an email off to the council. They replied. They are happy for us to use the park, but if I put up a gazebo to keep the sun off, or put up the county geo-banner I must first show them my public liability insurance.
I've been trying to think of somewhere that isn't council land. The Forestry Commission people won't reply to my overtures. We'll go back to the pub, eh?
With Furry Face TM" walked we set off to Somerset Road for the weekly gathering where I slept through an episode of "Merlin". I used to like that show; it's geting to be rather samey now...
21 May 2014 (Wednesday) - The Two Year Mission
I had booked a day off work today. So with no need to be up early I was watching "Game of Thrones" and "Life's Too Short" before 6am. I suppose I shouldn't grumble; in days gone by it would have been before 4am. With this CPAP thing blowing air up my nose I am getting (probably) two more hours sleep every night. Mind you I am feeling far more tired now I'm getting this extra sleep.
I then spent a little while doing a little maintenance on my lap-top. It's not the fastest of machines, and for all that I am so quick to tell everyone else to scan for .tmp files and to defragment regularly, it turned out I'd done neither on my lap-top for over a year.
To the dentist; after all this was the reason for my having a day off. Just a check-up today; I sat in the hot-seat to find that the dentist has instigated a new scheme. As part of the check-up you get a little bit of paaper giving you your "oral health score" (whatever that is). I got 94% which I am told is quite good.
I quickly mowed the lawn, and we then made the most of our day off. First of all a quick drive out to New Romney. A mult-geocache had gone live yesterday and was still waiting to be found for the first time. After a quick search we got to do the happy dance as we claimed joint FTF bragging rights. If a "normal" cache goes live locally it is found within minutes. But no one bothers chasing First to Find on multis.
We then drove up to Peasmarsh where we took "Furry Face TM" round the woods and found another ten geocaches. They were rather beautiful woods; somewhere we'd never have found if not for the hunt for plastic boxes.
From there we made our way to Four Oaks where we had a rather good spot of lunch in the Rose and Crown.
We then went on something of a mission. There was a puzzle geocache nearby. I'd spotted the conundrum nearly two years ago. It was Star Trek - themed. I'd been trying to solve this one for nearly two years, and last week (after just the teensiest hint) I figured out the answer.
So as we were in the area we had to go get this one.
As we walked back to the car so the rain started. The rest of the plans for the day went out the window and we came home. Via the cake shop.
Once home I had an email. Yesterday I said that the Forestry Commission weren't replying to me. I was being hasty. They have replied and they are very happy for me to stage a geo-picnic in Orlestone woods.
I'm pleased about that. There's no denying the whole geo-picnic subject boiled my piss last night.
I'd mentioned the problems I was having on a geo-forum, and several people gave reasonable and sensible replies. That really wound me up; everyone was utterly missing the point. The point being that there is no room for common sense when dealing with petty bureaucracy. Over the years I have come to find out (the hard way) that if someone with a rule book says that black is white, then you should just grit your teeth and accept it. There is no point in trying to reason, argue or discuss. When dealing with that person, black *is* white.
But nil desperandum; the day is saved and we are "all systems go" for geo-picnic.
22 May 2014 (Thursday) - Election Day
I had a terrible night's sleep; the CPAP machine is all very well for pushing air through constricted airways, but it can't do anything when those airways are completely blocked. So I was up and watching "Game of Thrones" before 5am. I then watched "Derek", and nearly cried; it was rather sad when his dog was put to sleep.
To work; as always listening to Radio Four through the crackling and fizzing of the bad reception. The opera world is up in arms because the latest star of Glyndebourne is (apparently) too fat. She's only fifteen years old; I would have thought that the critics would have had the common decency not to have been so personal and nasty about the poor girl. The star of the opera world Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was interviewed about the matter on today's radio show. She was furious; and I agreed with her. There are enough youngsters going anorexic for no decent reason without pompous privileged windbags upsetting more of them.
And the Police Federation weren't very happy either. The Home Secretary has made a speech to them telling them that one person in three actively distrusts the police, and that if they don't get their act together, then Parliament will do it for them.
I've often said that the motivations of anyone seeking to join the Police Force should be seriously questioned. Whilst there certainly are good coppers, there is a school of thought which says that anyone who actively wants to be a policeman shouldn't be allowed that power. Long ago I came to the conclusion that the best way to police the country is like they do in the Channel Islands where there is a very small permanent police force which is bolstered by members of the public each effectively being "called up for National Service" and acting as a police officer for two years at a time.
Much the same "call-up" system might be a better way to run the country rather than the current way we choose our politicians. After all just consider how many of those have recently been shown to be in power only to feather their own nests. And (perhaps more worrying) consider just how many people went into the polling stations today with no idea at all of for whom or what they were voting?
Something which has become rather painfully obvious over the last few days is that the vast majority of the electorate had absolutely no idea about the choices for which they had to vote at today's election. Here's a brief summary of what I could have voted for.
I had the choice of no less than fifteen political parties:
I'll let my loyal readers work out for themselves which was which. And I hope my loyal readers decided for themselves which to vote for. However I'll relate a few observations which influenced my vote.
As for myself I certainly voted. I seriously considered spoiling the ballot paper again, but instead I went with my heart. Racism and joke parties were out. As were wanton greed and unashamed opportunism. I seriously toyed with the tree huggers, but it's only been four days since several people told me of four people they honestly beleived to be dead as a direct result of tree-hugger policies. In the end I went for the less militant variety of well-intentioned incompetence. I hope I made the right choice.
History has shown that it rarely has been in the past..
23 May 2014 (Friday) - A Wedding
There was a minor disaster this morning; only three slices of bread left. So I made my sandwich for lunch with two of them and had the slice left over for my toast. When "er indoors TM" gripes about where all the bread went I shall tell her that "Furry Face TM" ate it and let him take the flack. That dog can do no wrong in her eyes, so everyone will be happy.
Having watched telly and checked out social media I navigated my way to my car. Being dustbin day the recycling bins had been intricately strewn across the pavements in such a way as to ensure maximum inconvenience to all pedestrians. It's actually easier to shove the bins back where they came from rather then putting them here there and everywhere, but the bin men delight in leaving carnage in their wake. They also seem to enjoy scattering loads of litter from the bins that "accidentally" falls out along the way.
To work. The pundits on the radio were holding a post-mortem on the results of yesterday's election. The parties of wanton greed and shameless opportunism had their arses handed to them on a plate. Well intentioned incompetence did better than had been expected, but the overall winner would seem to be racism.
The pundits were questioning whether racism was actually a winning policy, or whether it was just a form of protest. I cannot help but hope that this current trend of voting for blatant racism is just that - a protest. Mind you it's a protest that I hope that won't be repeated at next year's elections (which actually count for something). This form of protest vote could end up being akin to crapping the bed in protest at something which is going on three streets away, and then having to lay in a crapped bed.
And to those of my loyal readers who think I should shut my rattle about things political... I sympathise, but cannot help but see several historical parallels between these elections and what went on about ninety years ago. (What am I on about? - Read some history !!)
The radio also featured an interview with Stewart Copeland, drummer of "The Police"
Apparently he's not only a drummer but he's a composer too. And he was talking about becoming a conductor too. After all, as he said, a conductor is only a drummer using just one stick.
He gave quite an interesting interview really.
Home, and with "Furry Face TM" walked we put on our glad rags and went up to the Elwick Club. There was a rather serious gathering of the clans for a wedding reception. It was a really good party; the band were rather good; and I am reliably informed their guest vocalist was in a field of his own (and sounds better in a field on his own). After a little while it all became rather vague, as is always the case when one or two are gathered together.
I shall be rough in the morning...
24 May 2014 (Saturday) - 40th Party
Despite CPAP technology blasting air up my nostrils at huricane force and despite the soporific effects of six pints of Doombar (supplimented by a couple of bottles of light ale) I was wide awake and watching boobie-dumplings annd weeners in "Game of Thrones" shortly after 5am this morning.
I was on the G.P.s doorstep as they opened at 8.30am. The reason I don't sleep is because I have sleep apnoea; I stop breathing whilst I'm asleep. I do that because I can't breath because my nasal passages bung up. The CPAP machine does its best, but it is only palliative. The cure for my problem is to have an E.N.T. surgeon rebore the bit from the top of my conk to the back of my throat. I told the G.P. that on 29 November. She sent me to the sleep clinic (which was all very good) and the sleep clinic agreed with me. They actually wrote to the G.P. andd said I should be referred to an E.N.T. surgeon. The G.P. claimed never to have seen that letter. Fortunately the sleep clinic had sent me a copy, so I gave a copy of the copy to the G.P. today, and reminded them that under NHS guidelines and standards I could expect to see an E.N.T. surgeon within six months of my first approaching the G.P. I also reminded them that they had five days left, and three of those were in a long Bank Holiday weekend.
I don't like being rude and obnoxious, but sometimes being "Mr Nice Guy" just doesn't work.
"Robin Huss" arrived, and we made our way to the Brookfield Road cafe where we met up with Sarah and Steve, and (after having done a tour of Ashford) by Terry and Irene as well. We all had a rather good fry-up. You can't beat a good fry-up after a night on the beer.
It was really good to meet up with friends we see all too infrequently; but goodbyes were said, and then Steve and I went down to the Denverarium to put up the astro club's new event shelter. I say "new"; it arrived last October and has stayed in the bag in one of the lock-ups until now. We got the thing up in a surprisingly short period of time. It looks good; I'm pleased with it.
It was then time for this week's sax lesson. Teacher seems reasonably pleased with my progress; this week we've broached the tricky subject of E-sharp and the little finger. And with sax lesson saxed we went up town for a little bit of shopping. Whilst there a thunderstorm hit, and we did our good samaritan bit. A wheelchair-bound little old lady was trying to get a taxi home. Every taxi driver refused to take her, and left her in the torrential rain. It was more than their jobs were worth to take someone in a wheelchair (apparently), so we gave her a lift to Kennington. We came home via posh shopping in Sainsburys and a flying visit to "Pets at Home" for dog requisites.
Once home we had coffee and cake for tea; being still rather stuffed from the earlier fry-up. I checked out the internet; I lost count of the comments about "typical English weather" which had been prompted by half an hour of rain. Has everyone really forgotten the glorious weather we've had recently?
And then it was back down to Park Farm for a fortieth birthday party. Ale was sunk, insults bandied... two consecutive evenings of excess; can't be bad...
25 May 2014 (Sunday) - Family Day Out
Despite CPAP technology blasting air up my nostrils at huricane force and despite the soporific effects of six pints of assorted ales last night I was again wide awake and watching boobie-dumplings and weeners in "Game of Thrones" shortly after 5am this morning. For all that CPAP technology does give me more sleep, it's still nowhere near enough. After three hours of telly I went back to bed for a couple of hours. I can't usually do that.
"My Boy TM" arrived with his entourage and we set off to Folkestone where we met up with "Daddies Little Angel TM" at the coastal park. A picnic in the sunshine, a spuddle in the sea, fun in the play park, an ice cream and then home. As we drove home we became aware of a rather foul odour. "Furry Face TM" had the aroma of a three-week dead cod. Presumably he'd been rolling in one on the beach.
We came home via Orlestone for geo-reasons. Without wanting to go into too much detail, much of the Wheri-Planning I'd done in the week was based on what I thought was a public car park. It turned out that what looked like a public car park on aeriel view maps was actually someone's back garden, and all my calculations were hundreds of yards out. Woops!
Home; where a certain dog was bathed. And having then fallen in the fish pond he was then bathed again. "er indoors TM" set off bowling and I watched more "Game of Thrones" whilst ironing shirts and sorting undercrackers.
I'll be off to bed in a miinute. My infernal nose is still blocked on one side. It has been all weekend. I shaan't sleep much agian.
This is becoming a nuisance...
26 May 2014 (Monday) - Nineteen Point Two Miles Of.....
After two terrible nights I slept from 11pm last night right through till 6.30am this morning. I was rather pleased about that. For the first time in ages I wasn't wide awake and wasting time watching telly for hours whilst waiting for the rest of the world to wake up.
I did have a quick look at the news this morning. The election results are in. The winner is.... well, I think the polls are deceptive. With only one third of the electorate bothering to vote, I can't help but feel that the resounding winner of the recent European election is apathy. Why did so few people vote? Were there no candidtes worth voting for, or did people *really* not understand what they were voting for? After all, how many of the noisy UKIP voters actually realised that sending them all back on the next banana boat goes hand in hand with privatising the NHS?
And so on with our walk. Every weekend we go off geocaching with the dogs. It's a good hobby; it's always a clearly marked guided walk. Today was different... Should the Cache Owner of today's series ever read this I'm sorry for any offence caused. It is not my intention to be rude. I realise a lot of effort goes into preparing a geo-walk. But...
We drove quite a long way away today. We went to the furthest reaches of Essex to do a series of fifty geoocaches. Billed as "a core circular walk of about 8 miles ..... For the more adventurous there are also two loops", I looked at the map. The two loops were quite small in comparison to the main walk. And so bearing in mind that the distance of geo-walks is always under-estimated I expeected a total walk of about ten to twelve miles.
So we set off. We saw an adder. We listened to skylarks. We admired quite beatiful scenery. But... despite GPS technology we struggled to find our way. Footpaths were not maintained on today's walk. We found several footpath signs pointing into jungles which were over six feet high with weeds and nettles. Many of the geocache sites were found today by blindly following the GPS arrow rather than attempting to use non-existant footpaths.
And the geocaches themselves... I'm all for a tricky hide. But fifty of them in one series? A series of caches along a path should be just that - along a path. Under a rock, in the bole of a tree. Not ten yards deep in inpenetrable thickets. Especially not when there are plenty of obvious hides. For example when faced with a footpath signpost, the obious place for a cache is at the base of that signpost. Not six feet away under a brick which is surrrounded by nettles which are four feet high.
There's no denying that the raiin didn't help; we did get rather wet. We got back to the car rather later than planned; the car being at the start of one of the optional extra loops of the series. In retrospect we should have gone home there and then. But I for one wanted to see all of the series; surely it couldn't all be that bad... So we did the final loop. (And got soaked)
Part of finding a cache involves a hint. "Up a tree", "under a rock". One cache described as being "waist height" was in the roots of a tree. Another described as being "low down" was chest height in a tree. One of them involved me forcing my way through one hundred yards of jungle with no paths to be seen anywhere.
We went expecting a walk of ten to twelve miles; the recorded distance at the end was nineteen point two miles. I'd hoped to finish sometime in the late afternoon; we got home at 11pm.
I realise that someone somewhere put a lot of effort into preparing today's walk. But (I'm sorry to say) I cannot recommend it to anyone...
But, as always, I took a few photos whilst we were out. If nothing else it was rather scenic.
27 May 2014 (Tuesday) - Squawking
Despite a rather arduous day and a late night yesterday I was still awake at 5am this morning. Finding our walking boots still rather damp from yesterday's hike I popped them all into the tumble dryer for an hour. They didn't make quite as much noise as I thought they might. I wonder if the tumble dryer will be good for anything now.
There was a minor hiccup over brekkie; on Saturday I'd bought a new load of jam (I like jam); today I couldn't find the stuff, so instead I roughed it with marmalade on my toast. "Furry Face TM" didn't help me eat the crusts; he didn't stir from his basket at all. He too was feeling the burn after yesterday's miles of walking.
As I scoffed brekkie I watched "Game of Thrones". There's not may episodes of that left in the Sky-box's box set selection. Probably just as well; today's episode saw the death of pretty much all of the good guys.
And so to work through a rather damp morning. The news bore little of note. The Prime Minister is sulking after his drubbing at the recent elections, but nowhere near as much as the Deputy Prime Minister is sulking.
The Pope is again apologizing for the failings of the Catholic Church and is promising that the child abuse scandals won't happen again. One of his critics was being interviewed who claimed that a convicted paedophile is still in office as a bishop somewhere in America. If this is true then it looks like His Holiness has a golden opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.
I stopped off at Morrison's on my way to work; as well as the errant jam I'd also run out of coffee and sugar. Since I was last there Morrison's had moved everything about in their store. I wish they wouldn't do that. And then on to work for an early start. I've not had one of those for a few months; I quite like the early start.
Over lunch time I had a sax practice. Rain meant I was practicing whilst sitting in the car. Something wasn't right; there was far too much squawking. Sometimes my sax is really squawky, and other times not. I wish I could figure out what causes the racket.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were discussing the first appearence of Rolf Harris in court defending himself. Among the allegations levelled against him are misdemeanors he supposedly committed whilst filing the celebrity "It's a Knockout" in 1975. In his defence Mr Harris pointed out that he wasn't actually involved in that show. I did smile about that. If I was going to cry in court and pretend that some celebrity had fiddled me forty years ago, I'd at least have the sense to find a celebrity who'd been in my general vicinity during the time about which I was going to make up stories.
Are we going to see yet another celebrity sex case to be exposed for the shallow attempt to extort money from the famous? I expect so.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a quick walk, and then I got my sax out again. It went incredibly well. I have now formulated a theory. I rarely squawk at sax lessons. I get to lessons early and suck my reed for quite some time before. This evening I was sucking like a good 'un for some time before blowing. At lunch times I have very little sucking time. I shall take my reed into work tomorrow and suck it on the way to the car at lunchtime.
Let's see what a good suck can do.
28 May 2014 (Wednesday) - This n That
I had seven hours sleep last night. That canít be bad. After a swift brekkie I took "Furry Face TM" round the park. I had two intentions in doing this. Firstly walking "Furry Face TM" is always a good thing to do as that dog does get fractious if he is not walked to destruction. And secondly I wanted to see if my walking shoes had survived two separate episodes in the tumble-drier yesterday. At first I thought they might have shrunk a little, but they seem none the worse for their ordeal; even if the heel of the right one does seem to squelch a little.
Whilst we were in the park we met Bernie. In a spirit of well-meaning camaraderie I set my dog on him. "Furry Face TM" woofed for a bit and ran in circles. That dog really needs to work on his "attack mode"; he's not very good at it.
We came home and I had a go at the monthly accounts. Not good; not bad. There is an overspend of an odd £18.66 that I canít explain, but such is life. I did dull laundry, and then spent some more time on next monthís presentation for the astro club. Itís so long since I put the thing together that I canít really remember much of what I had in mind, but it is too late in the day to start a major re-working of the slides.
I shall just blag my way through, and at the parts where I have no idea what the slides are about I shall allude to "space rock thingies" and shout "Uranus". It usually works; it has done so far.
And so to work some three hours later than usual (as I'm now doing early and late shifts). I went via the home brew shop to get the makings of a fruit beer for the summer party. The shop was closed; and it was a quarter of an hour after the time they were supposed to open. Looking through the window they didn't seem to have much stock. I wonder if they've closed down for good? I suppose all the time you can buy the basic beer-making stuff in Wilkos at half the price they are charging they won't stay in business for long.
Realising I'd forgotten to make a sandwich for lunch I popped into the Cheapo Bargains shop. I've missed that place. They do some quality tat.
I then went on to work; and being a few minutes early I set up my music stand at the far end of the car park and had a practice squawk before I went on duty.
After a few minutes of making a rather awful racket an officious-looking chap (brandishing a clip board) marched up and asked if I knew that I was in a designated staff car park. I assured him that I did, and I carried on practicing my saxophone. After a few seconds he stomped off.
Perhaps I should have told him I had a parking permit.
I also had a second practice session over my lunch break (just before the rain started). I'm quite pleased with my rendition of "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain"; even if my E-flats leave a little to be desired.
I took a rather scenic route home - "Soup Boy" needed a lift to the girls' school. He had some story about taking part in a fun run, but I was rather dubious about fun runs at girls schools at 8pm. He wasn't fazed, and seemed glad that someone was taking a moral stance. After all, if I didn't, who else would...?
In the meantime I would seem to have developed a rash...
29 May 2014 (Thursday) Ė Fetch
Another night with more than six hours sleep. This is becoming something of a habit.
Over brekkie (shared with my dog) I watched last night's episode of "The Tomorrow People". As well as having implausible sex, the show also featured rather implausible science. Admittedly scientific nonsense is the main premise of any sci-fi show. However for it to work beleivably, the trick is to have a scientist write much of the techno-babble; that way the scientific jargon used might just be remotely plausible. If the thing is based on fact it may have just the teensiest credibility. Trying to create dialogue from words read (but not understood) on Wikipedia doesn't do the trick.
I watched the latest episode of "Derek" too; Derek went on a date. It was really sweet.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for his walk. On the way we saw Frankie-Doodle; an ex- best friend of "My Boy TM" and an ex-cub scout of mine. He's done well for himself over the elast few years; he's now richer than my entire family combined.
I took my dog to the park. Yesterday I'd bought him a new toy - a tennis ball complete with throwing stick. Today we tried it out. I flung the ball into the distance. He woofed, ran after it, destroyed the ball completely and brought me back the remains. Oh well, that was seventy pence down the toilet. If any of my loyal readers have any tennis balls they don't want, I still have the throwing stick...
I had trouble getting him to come back to me at one point. A passing normal person was feeding "Furry Face TM" (and all the other dogs in the park) with dog-treats. I wish people wouldn't do that. As I put the lead on to my dog (who didn't want to be dragged away) I asked the chap with the treats if they were lactose-free diabetic-friendly low-salt treats. The chap's jaw dropped. He had no idea. I gave him and the assembled throng of other dog-walkers a sickly smile and suggested that we should all hope that those dog treats were harmless as I for one didn't know which dogs were diabetic or had allergies.
I'm sure this chap meant well, but I wish other people wouldn't feed my dog without asking first. I maintain that a previous cat of mine died because I couldn't get her in at night because a well-meaning busybody wouldn't stop feeding her (despite having been asked not to countless times)
Once home I mucked out the washing machine's filter. I had this idea it might have been the worse for the mud that had been on two pairs of walking shoes that I fed into it a day or so ago. It wasn't; for which I was grateful. I then did an hour's ironing whilst watching "Game of Thrones". Unlike Tomorrow People this lot have real sex because they take their clothes off first before getting jiggy. The beasts (!)
And with ironing ironed something rather unusual happened. My perfect precious little puppy got a smack.
He had been worrying at the back door. I knew he didn't want the toilet. I knew what he wanted. I warned him, but I gave him a chance... Once I'd opened the back door he ran down the garden, shouting all the way, and started throwing himself at the fence trying to upset the dogs next door. Exactly how I knew he would. He's been told off so many times about that, and today I saw red.
He certainly took notice this time.
Feeling quite the bully I set off to work for another late shift. The home brew shop was open today. They had the fruit beer I was after. At three times the price of a beer kit in Wilkos )and making less than half of the volume too). Needless to say I didn't get any.
Another rip-off was the price of sandwiches in Morrisons' petrol station. Again I forgot to make lunch, so I thought I'd pick up a sarnie whilst getting petrol. Sandwiches were £2.50. The same thing (in less fancy packaging) in the Cheapo Bargain shop was 99p. So I drove round to the Cheapo Bargains shop. They were also doing bags of Walkers crisps for fifteen pence a bag. You can't say no to a bargain like that.
The rest of the day went relatively well; sax practice was good. "Yankee Doodle" is coming together, and two other tunes I only ever squawked for the first time some five days ago are now reasonably recognisable.
I came home; the radio featured a religious service broadcast from the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square to celebrate Ascension Day, marking the moment when the risen Jesus ascended into heaven, leaving his disciples with the joyful promise of the gift of his Holy Spirit (apparently). In a novel break with tradition they had dispensed with dirge-music and were employing jazz instead. it didn't do it for me...
Oh - and my rash still itches.
30 May 2014 (Friday) - Nasal Polyps
I've now watched all of the "Game of Thrones" episodes on the Sky-box. The thing doesn't have season four yet. I shall have to find something else to watch before work. So in the meantime today I roughed it with more "Family Guy" as "Furry Face TM" helped me scoff my brekkie toast.
The morning's news boiled my piss. Teenaged girls have been raped and hung in India because ignorant and superstitious locals disapprove of anyone who doesn't subscribe wholeheartedly to their variety of barbaric morality. The news went on to say that this sort of thing goes on all the time.
And France faces civil unrest from a vocal minority who didn't like the results of last week's elections. I can't say that I was overly impressed with the results of last week's elections, but this is the main drawback with democracy; namely that reasonable and educated people have to put up with the consequences of the misguided decisions of the stupid, ignorant and misguided.
Both these articles of news made me think. As a child I had no idea of what the future would hold. But I was pretty sure that it wouldn't be this sort of thing. I expected so much more. Is humanity never going to improve?
And so to work. I did my bit for a while. When I had a minute I phoned the G.P. to whinge about the delays to my referral to an E.N.T. specialist; having my right nostril feeling as though it has a golf ball stuffed up it is rather painful. The G.P. was clearly sick of the sound of my whinging, and they suggested I phoned the E.N.T. specialist myself. So I did. After a little judicious whinging I found myself seeing the specialist a couple of hours later.
The specialist confirmed wht I've been saying for some months; I've got a huge nasal polyp blocking the insides of my right nostril. It needs to be surgically removed, but before I go under the knife I need to have a scan to see if the polyp is straight-forward, or if it has entwined itself round my right eye, brain, and/or other assorted bits of my head. It's all quite exciting really.
I met Jimbo and Stevey for McTea, and then it was on to astro club. A demonstration of the latest space-simulator software; Stevey gave a planetarium show, and there was even telescopes involved...
31 May 2014 (Saturday) - Going Underground
Even though I had a decent night's sleep I was still up and watching "Family Guy" a couple of hours earlier than I would like to have been. Mind you the jollop the doc prescribed for my nose has done some good. I've only had one squirt and I can feel a difference.
I had a go at the household accounts (could be better) and also the astro club's account. And then with"er indoors TM" still firmly ensconsed in her pit I popped into town to pay some of the astro club money into the bank. The bank used to have a decent, efficient, organised, modern queuing system. Due to popular demand (!) it has been replaced by the old-fashioned standing in a line waiting your turn. I registered my disdain for this nonsense with the "customer service representative". She wasn't interested.
I got some Belgian buns for lunch from Greggs, and then went round to the milk shake shop. I had a bakewell tart milk shake. I watched them make it from two bakewell tarts, milk and ice cream. How cool was that !!
With buns scoffed I was then off to sax practice. Teacher seems pleased with progress so far; this week I have "Z-Cars" and "Last of the Summer Wine" to master. "Z-Cars" is reasonably straight-forward, but "Last of the Summer Wine" is rather tricky; there's slurs, flats and all sorts of musical wotsits to accommodate.
I came home and fell asleep. Lisa and Earle woke me when they came round, and together with "er indoors TM" and "Furry Face TM" we went to a rather obscure country lane near Canterbury where we hid a geocache. Several yards underground and a couple of dozen yards into a tunnel which allows a small river to flow under a hill. The water was only ankle deep, but it was a tad cold.
And with caches hidden we came home via the Artichoke in Chartham where we (I) had a couple of pints of Shepherd Neame's finest.
After a rather good bit of tea "er indoors TM" set off to film night. I ironed some shirts and dozed in front of the telly. I wasn't feeling especially well. I hope I'm not going down with a bug...