1 May 2015 (Friday) - At Camp
Last night was COLD... I got up shortly before 6am to see is a warm shower might improve matters. One of the benefits of a proper camp site is a shower block.
Having had two of the three morning "S" I went back to camp where I made myself a cuppa (without waking everyone else) and then sat and watched the world go by for an hour or so until the rest of our crew woke.
Luke Warm had had a strange night. He's apparently too tall for his new sleeping bag and whilst his bottom ninety per cent was warm enough, his top half was cold. An impressive mathematical feat.
We then had a rather good full English breakfast and then went into Maidstone for a little geocaching. After all we were at geo-camp. We found a few, we didn't find a few, we destroyed one (woops) then adjourned to The Bull in Barming for a spot of lunch.
After a beef sandwich we went for a little more of a geo-stroll. Totally underestimating the abilities of my phone's batteries I found myself rather stumped at one point, but we had a good stroll.
We went back to camp, and had a beer or two. The Brightonians arrived and then we got to do that really rare geo-phenomenon; a Wherigo cache.
After a flying visit to an evening geo-event chicken curry made for a very good tea, beer flowed, and I finally woke up alone in the mess tent at 2.15am.
2 May 2015 (Saturday) - The Kent Mega
Despite a rather late night last night I was wide awake and showering by 5.45am. I noticed that overnight the washing-up fairies had not visited, so bearing in mid the old maxim "If you want a job done, do it yourself" I did it myself. I can't complain really; I'm quite happy to have everyone else cook my dinner.
I made myself a coffee, settled down in the mess tent and fell asleep for an hour or so.
After a late brekkie we went for a little geo-stroll. Being on geo-camp we found ourselves part of a seemingly endless stream of walkers also all geocaching. It would have been nice for there to have been a break in the seemingly endless stream of walkers; by the time we got back to base I was bursting for a tiddle.
We put on silly glasses and then went to the actual Mega-geo-event where I won a rubber chicken in the tombola. Result(!)
After a few minutes shut-eye we walked up to a nearby wood where the lab caches were waiting fo us. Lab caches are geo-experiments tested out on attendees at Mega-events; they were good fun.
We then went back to base where marshmallows were being toasted over the fire pit, and as the afternoon passed so people came and went.
We went round to the Brightonians' awning for tea; chicken fajitas were excellent. And once replete we walked to the event centre where a barn dance was in progress. I had intended to dosey-do; but my back wasn't really up to it. Mind you I was rather pleased to realise that the home-brew I'd made for the weekend was streets ahead of what they were selling from their bar.
After a very busy day I found myself falling asleep and in a novel break with tradition I took myself off to bed before midnight.
3 May 2015 (Sunday) - Still at Camp
I have mentioned before how depressing I find the sound of rain on a tent. Despite being incredibly tired it wasn't long before I was laying (wide awake) listening to the rain. I went for a tiddle at 2.50am, and finally gave up trying to sleep shortly after 5.30am. I got up, saw last night's washing-up still waiting to be done, and had a shower. Once scrubbed I managed an hour's sleep in the mess tent before doing the washing-up myself (again).
We had a rather late brekkie; the ongoing rain meant that most of the morning's plans were off. So we slobbed about. The Rear Admiral left us at mid-morning, and shortly after that the rain stopped. The forecast was for a fine afternoon, so pausing only briefly to collect Lisa from the train station we went out to the village of Penshurst for a little walk. As we walked we saw World War II pill boxes and deer.
After a quick bit of rather good tea we walked down to the evening's event; a quiz. With thirty-odd teams taking part I think it's fair to say we didn't disgrace ourselves.
And again the beer flowed till midnight; somehow or other I wound up modelling my onsie. The garment seems to have developed something of a cult following...
4 May 2015 (Monday) - Home Again
After yesterday's rain I was hoping for a better day in which to break camp. I wasn't disppointed. Bright sunshine combined with ongoing strong winds meant that the tents were all dry before 7am. So we took full advantage and cracked on with getting camp packed away.
Despite half an hour's geo-diversion we were still packed away by shortly after mid day. How easy it is to write that..
We said our goodbyes to all, came home and it wasn't too long before everything was back in storage. We collected "Furry Face TM" from his little holiday with "My Boy TM". Apparently he'd mostly behaved himself apart from an episode in which he'd dug up the cucumber plants. Woops.
Fish and chips made for an excellent tea, and then as "er indoors TM" caught up with episodes of "Gotham" I uploaded the photos I'd taken over the weekend. And then snored quite a bit...
It's been a busy weekend...
5 May 2015 (Tuesday) - Lawn, Nettles
After four terrible nights sleep during none of which (despite a serious drinking session before each) I managed more than four hours, I slept for nearly nine hours last night. The wonders of a CPAP machine. Realistically I need a battery pack for that device, or I can only camp where there is electrical hook-ups in future.
Despite a rather damp start to the day I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk; he tends to get rather fractious if we don't go first thing in the morning. Today we went on a rather longer walk than usual (and we are used to long walks). We went down to Coleman Kitchen Wood. There is a geocache up a tree in that wood that I can't reach. I can get to within four feet of the thing, but no closer.
I'd heard tell that it had blown down in the recent storms. Taking the line that if it's not been officially disabled it remains fair game we set off and claimed our find.
We came home via Singleton Envirnment Centre where we had the place to ourselves. I liked that. We continued past Singleton Lake where my canine associate got overly familiar with a terrified labrador, and came home via Viccie Park where we met a mad woman picking stinging nettles. She asked me if I wanted any; apparently there was plenty for everyone. She'd heard on the radio that you can make very good compost from stinging nettles. I asked her from which radio station she had gleaned this pearl of wisdom. I suppose it would come as no surprise to any of my loyal readers that she picked this up from Radio Four.
I did mention that she shouldn't beleive all that she hears on there, but she was sold on the idea of stinging compost. She had some wierd notion it would keep the cats away.
Before we'd gone out I'd fed some laundry to the washing machine. I hung it on the line in the garden and realised the grass was about a foot high. I spent an hour attacking the lawn; and eventually gave up when three quarters of the way through. My back was hurting too much. I had a plan to go back later but never did. Instead I put more washing on the line, put more washing into the washing machine and had lunch. I grated the left-over stilton from camp over some left over nachos that I found in the cupboard. The packet said they were best before last January, but what does the packet know? Over lunch I watched last night's "Game of Thrones" in which Nudey Dragon-Girl remained obstinately clothed.
I then washed out the barrel in which we took beer to camp, and set about the household accounts. For some obscure reason I've not been billed for the last two months insurance on the "er indoors TM"-mobile. That's a nice little result.
In between times I also washed out water containers that we never used, and then looked at the remaining uncut quarter of the lawn. As I looked at it so my back twinged a little. It will still be uncut in a few days time.
Having Wherigo-ed over the long weekend I found myself again Wheri-enthused and activated the software. There was an embarrasing few minutes in which the anti-virus kit identified the Wherigo-writing software as malware, but I think I've got it all going again. I'm working on a virtual game of noughts and crosses; but after a while I hit a rather serious stumbling block.I sat and started at it for a few minutes, and decided to come back to this idea later.
The Rear Admiral visted to collect his tent, and we sat and gossiped for a few minutes over a cuppa. "er indoors TM" came home and helped me with getting the top-box off of my car. She then "politely enquired" about the state of the lawn. I suppose I'd better finish it off or she'll be on my case.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered in Willesborough. We put the world to rights, speculated on immoral buses, and then slept through "The Flash".
6 May 2015 (Wednesday) - Back to Work
Another decent night's sleep; I got up and over brekkie watched the first ever episode of Dad's Army which the SkyPlus box had recorded for me (even though I don't remember asking ot to do so). I then watched "Later with Jools Holland". I wouldn't usually watch that sort of thing but they were featuring F.F.S. (Frans Ferdinand - Sparks). Even after all these years you can't beat the Mael brothers.
The show also had something from Alabama Six which featured some bloke in a dress. However the novelty value was all in the appearence; certainly not in the sound. There's no denying that I fast-forwarded thrrough much of the show.
Just as I was about to set off for work the rainn started. As I drove the weather went from torrential rain to glorious sunshine and back again every five minutes.
As always I listened to the radio as I drove. There was an interesting interview with one of the top nobs at the posh supermarket Sainsburys. Apparently their profits have fallen and they are now losing money. The reason: other supermarkets are flogging food cheaper, and non-perishable items can be bought at more reasonable prices on the Internet. The chap being interviewed had a whinge that as the economy improves people eat in restaurants rather than at home, and few restaurants get their ingredients from Sainsburys. He also seemed to feel that the government should intervene with legislation that would make it more difficult for anyone else to undercut Sainsbury's prices.
For myself I've always tended to avoid Sainsburys because I can generally get everything they sell cheaper elsewhere. In fact (to my mind) the only thing they have going for them is a rather good beer selection. But then there's always better off-licences.
I stopped off at Morrisons (cheap is good), and once equipped with coffee, jam and bumwad I went in to work where I did some. At lunch time I got out my saxophone for the first time in a week. I tootled for a bit, but the wind kept blowing the music stand over.
After a rather dull afternoon I came home and took my dog for a walk, and then mowed the remaining quarter of the lawn. The edges still need doing, but they will keep.
With "er indoors TM" off to "unit training" (?) I was left home alone. I say "home alone"; my dog was there but he spent most off the tiime chewing something. I wonder what it was.
I checked my emails; one was interesting. A young lady had been to the Kent Mega geo-event to which I went last weekend. Whilst there she'd heard that I was "Mr Wherigo". Wanting to have a Wherigo geocache of her own, she has asked if I could give her one (!)
She goes by the sobriquet of "FittyUK" so I see this as something of a result.
And in closing today I'll make the observation that it's the General Election tomorrow, and over the last few weeks I've heard that many people are rather unsure as to for whom they should be voting. For myself I've got to choose one out of five possibles. Rather than getting bogged down in a myriad specific policies, let's take the choice down to first principles:
One of those choices is the right one... I'lll let my loyal readers work out for themselves which it is. But I will say that you really should vote. Because if you don't we'll end up with a government under which it will be illegal for me to post stuff like this...
7 May 2015 (Thursday) - Election Day
When austerity forced itself upon me one of the economies I made was at brekkie time; cheap jam. However cheap jam only comes in one flavour - strawberry. For a change I splashed out in the supermarket yesterday and this morning I had blackcurrant jam. A rather trivial thing to repoort, but as I've got older I've become a creature of habit. It felt wrong. It was the wrong colour, and the wrong taste. Even my dog had an odd expression about the stuff as he scrounged the crusts off of my toast.
We theen had our morning walk round the park. When we go early we seem to meet two elderly men who insust on feeding every dog they meet with... well, I don't know what it is they are feeding to the dogs. I've asked them several times not to do so. I got rather angry with them about the matter this morning. It's very difficult to get a dog to go with you when some interfering busybody is teaching him to to sit for a treat.
I then went to cast my vote for democracy. I say "democracy"; how can the process work when an intelligent reasoned person who has carefully considered all the options only has as much say as a scratter who's voting to send them all back on the next banana boat on the promise of more dole money? I encountered one such shrieking harridan who was screaming that she had the wrong ballot paper. She didn't want to vote for any of the "w*nk*rs" who were standing locally; she wanted to vote for Nigel Farage personally.
I then drove down to Folkestone. After half an hour wasted trying to find somewhere to park I spent another half an hour playing with my grand-son. I can tell he's growing up because for the first time ever he didn't fart on me.
I then drove on to work. As I drove Radio Four was having its Women's Hour. Today's show featured some rather tired-sounding hippies. I wish it hadn't.
Work kept me out of mischief for much of the day; lunchtime saxing went well, but being on the late shift meant I missed out on my sax lesson today. I should really have gone to an astro club committee after work, but I was a little late getting out, and I could see little point in arriving ten minutes before the end so I came home.
And finally... by now the polling stations have closed. I'm hoping my loyal readers all excercised their democratic franchise. I'm hoping you all made the right choice.
And here's my prediction for the long-term outcome... My vote was worth diddly-squat. No party will get an overall majority. The Scottish Nationalist Party will opportunistically bolster either the Labour or Conservative parties in some form of coalition; the price being no end of wonderful deals for Scotland and another independence referendum six months before the end of the Parliament.
Having milked the rest of the UK for five years the SNP will be riding high in popularity in Scotland and the Scots will vote for independence in late 2019...
8 May 2015 (Friday) – Appledore
I had a vague idea to stay up to watch the election results as they came in last night. But only a vague idea. I had a simular idea at the last General Election; at the time I was in a caravan in Weymouth.
But realistically with no news likely to be forthcoming until the small hours I decided to go to kip and turn on the telly if and when I went for a tiddle in the middle of the night. That tiddle happened shortly after 2am when only thirteen results had been declared. I was glad I'd not stayed up, and went back to bed where I had a rather restless night. I had a very odd dream in which following a rather messy car accident my dog (in "Doctor Who" style) regenerated into a black horse. Going through my daily round with a large horse in tow proved somewhat problematical, and it was with something of a sense of releif that I woke tangled in the air-hose of my CPAP machine.
I got up and had a look at tthe telly. Locally the election result had been announced. At Parliamentary level (as expected) the Conservative candidate had got more votes than all the other candidates combined.
And the electorate made the wrong decision at local level too.
The pundits were still offering sage wisdom about what the national position might be. Until all the results were in, so-called "sage wisdom" was little more than hot air and so I put on some light entertainment. "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" is usually witty and amusing, and unlike political commentary it usually involves Billie Piper running round in saucy undercrackers. This episode didn't disappoint.
After a little while I got the lead onto my dog and we set off for a walk. There is a small geo-series in Appledore I fancied visiting today, and earlier in the week I posted on the local geo-forum asking if anyone fancied coming for a stroll. A dozen of us met up and we had a little wander. The series I had in mind was only an hour's walk over a mile or so. It was really good to be walking with friends, and for the first time on one of these walks "Furry Face TM" didn't run off.
Mind you he did get absolutely smothered in fox poo.
After an hour our short walk was done. Sadly some of our number had to set off home at this point; those of us with time on our hands relocated to Appledore Village Hall. It was only a short drive, but my dog did stink. We had a swift lunch and cuppa, and then set off round the Appledore Amble geo-series. I'd done the secret geo-thing on most of this series before, but I wasn't going to turn down a decent walk through beautiful scenery with some rather good company.
And half way round I had the chance to "encourage" "Furry Face TM" to take a dip in the canal. That shifted a large amount of the fox poo.
Amazingly the rain didn't start until literally thirty seconds before we got back to the car park. We said our goodbyes, and we came home for bath time. Despite having had a dip in the canal, my dog certainly got a good scrubbing.
I took a few photos whilst we were out; I uploaded them then turned on the telly.
My prediction that I made yesterday was wrong; we have a Conservative government. One with a majority in the House of Commons... but for all that have we *really* got a majority government? Look deeper into the results.
It's odd that the Tories have more seats in the House of Commons than all the other parties combined when they only got (just over) a third of the total votes cast.
Simularly the Scottish Nationalist have (about) a tenth of the seats in the House of Commons having secured (just under) a twentieth of the votes cast, and UKIP only got one seat despite having twelve per cent of the electorate behind them.
Meanwhile the Green Party got (just over) six times more votes than the Democratic Unionist Party but have only one seat compared to their eight.
Mind you I'm still sulking....
9 May 2015 (Saturday) - Hay Fever
Yesterday's walk (and roll in fox poo) must have been more wearing for my little dog than I thought. Not only did he spend most of yesterday evening snoring, he spent the night in his basket and didn't stir at brekkie time.
I watched a whole episode of "Are You Being Served" without once having to pause to comb him or share my toast.
Yesterday was a good day off; but the price of days off in the week is having to work at night and at weekends. I don't mind really. On reflection it's a rather good deal.
And so I set off to work. As I left home I was rather amazed to see someone walking up the road in full evening dress; bow tie and all. Mind you on closer scrutiny I realised that the chap's bow tie was at a less than rakish angle, his shirt was untucked, his vacant eyes were looking in different directions, and he wasn't so much walking as staggering. Ten seconds after I noticed his disarray he was sick into the neighbour's wheelie-bin.
He glared at me as I laughed out loud.
As I drove to work the pundits were discussing the recent election; specifically how wrong the recent opinion polls had been. Having had another hung Parliament predicted for so long, despite the odds the Conservatives have managed to form a majority government. Various reasons were suggested for why the opinion polls could have been so wrong; interestingly one of the leading suggestions was one that had (perhaps uncharitably) occurred to me. The theory was mooted (on the radio) that the opinion polls were wrong because many Tory voters were afraid to admit that to the pollsters.
Having spent much of the recent weeks discussing the nation's politics, prior to the election I only met one person who said he would (and did) vote Tory. But now, having won, Conservative voters are ten-a-penny.
As I so often do I stopped off at Morrisons for supplies before work. Being unable to locate what I wanted I harangued a passing assistant. Disaster; Morrisons would seem to have stopped making "Doctor Pop"; I had to rough it with their home-brand diet cola instead. Have you ever had Morrison's home-brand diet cola? It's foul.
I then spent most of the rest of the day with something of a sniffle and constantlly sneezing; either I've got a cold coming or I've developed an allergy to something.
I do hope I'm not developing hay fever; that would be a nuisance...
10 May 2015 (Sunday) - Tommy Cooper
After a surprisingly good night's sleep I was up shortly before 6am and put on the telly for some light entertainment over brekkie. I noticed that there were re-runs of the Tommy Cooper show on the ITV4 channel. I gave it a go...
It was possibly the worst thing I have ever seen on the telly. It simply wasn't funny at all; it featured all sorts of straight-men trying to be entertaining whilst Tommy Cooper himself grimaced at the camera. I watched it for twenty minutes out of a sense of amazement; how can something so bad get air-time?
After this I watched a few minutes of Toddlers and Tiaras; how can such sweet children have such horrible parents?
As I drove to work the Sunday morning news was of an ecclesiastical bent; as it is on Sundays. There was discussion of something the Pope said a year or so ago which at the time seemed to pass un-noticed. Apparently he feels that having been a do-gooder is sufficient for a (dead) sinner to get into heaven. Atheists as well as beleivers can get redemption through doing good.
So much for what it says in the bible...
I got to work and had a surprisingly busy day. During a tea break work I had a little look-see at social media and again was amazed by my fellow man. It was as well I only had time to read and didn't have time to write anything. I may well have given offence.
The gist of what I read from so many people posting was that apparently those whose preferred political party didn't get elected are (understandably) somewhat miffed by the result. But their feelings are viewed as a matter of triviality to those whose choice won.
Those who voted for the government are seemingly getting rather sick of the whinging from the also-rans, and are telling them to shut their rattle, man up and grow a pair.
I suppose that eventually I will shut my rattle, man up and grow a pair. But in the meantime.... leave me alone... and if you did vote Conservative, please don't tell me. I *really* will think the less of you for having done so.
11 May 2015 (Monday) - Busy Day
For some odd reason I had a strange dream that I spent much of the night hanging off the edge of the bed. I woke to find I was not. I wonder what that was all about.
I got up and had brekkie; "Furry Face TM" got up two minutes too late to get any toast. "Last of the Summer Wine" was on telly. It passed a few minutes. I narrowly avoided yet another squabble on Facebook, then took my dog for a walk.
The plan was to take the new path to Willesborough Dykes, cross the railway and come home through Newtown. On the waay I was planning to do a little geo-maintenance on two of my less-often-found geocaches. It was only when we were nearly home that I remembered that plan.
Mind you we did meet up with a scantily-clad young mother who maade a point of stopping and fussing Fudge. The littlle that her meagre attire did keep covered was more than flopped out when she bent down to see my dog.
Here's hoping we meet her again(!)
Once home I put some washing in, and set about mucking out the fish pond filter. A smelly job, but one that needs doing. And having raised a stink I then mowed the lawn. One load of laundry went onto the line; another load went in the machine, and I had a look-see in the shed. I was amazed at how much rubbish I managed to muck out. With less than a quarter of the shed's contents investigated I already had a car full of rubbish to take to the tip. So I did a tip run.
The tip was surprisingly busy for a Monday lunchtime. It would be a lot less busy if people just threw their rubbish inn the skips. But people don't; so many people feel they have to kiss goodbye to every scrap they take to the tip. Why can't they just bung the bag in the skip? Why do they have to throw each bit in piece by piece, reminiscing as they go?
More laundry went onto the washing line; undercrackers then went in to scrub. Over lunch I watched the last episode of "The Stand". The SkyPlus box said it would play for two hours; by the time I'd fast-forwarded through the adverts it was much less than that.
The lawn still looked scrappy, so I gave it another mow, and sorted more rubbish out of the shed. I was amazed at whaat I found; I had no idea I had so much in that shed. Scoobies, frisbees, roofing felt, dead mice; I've another car load for the tip tomorrow and I've still only sorted out less than half of the shed's contents.
Having found frisbees I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk to see if he could play frisbee. He eats tennis balls, and several people have commented that we might get on better with a frisbee. We tried; it was a disaster. He would chase the frisbee, but on catching it he would then try to eat it. He got rather possessive over the thing and was very aggressive to other dogs when they came near it. I had to have serious words with him.
We won't be playing frisbee again.
What with having had such a busy day I was rather exhausted by the time "er indoors TM" went off to bowling. But Monday night is telly night. Gotham is on soon, and then it will be time for Game of Thrones.
12 May 2015 (Tuesday) - Back to the Tip
My dog is supposed to spend the night in his basket. Usually he creeps upstairs and I wake to fiind I'm holding him. If he's quiet I really don't mind him coming up. But last night he wasn't quiet. He was restless and wouldn't settle. I gave him until 3am to quieten down then I carried him to his basket; I wanted *some* sleep.
I managed a few hours sleep, got up, and after a rather swift brekkie got on with the business of the day. Today was very much a continuation of yesterday. First off me and my pup went for our morning constitutional. And this time I remembered to do the geo-maintenance that I didn't do yesterday.
At the risk of having a whinge I did wonder why I bothered. Both caches that I maintained today need a bit of effort on the part of the finder before being able to complete them. One was last found six months ago; the other over a year ago. For all that the general tupperware-hunting fraternity publically look down on a film pot stashed under a rock, it's the simple film pots under rocks that get found more often. Over the last year or so I've put out caches which need a bit of effort to complete (Wherigos annd puzzles), and each one is rarely found more than once or twice a month.
Yesterday I mentioned the scantily-clad young mother we met. We didn't see her today. Instead we found ourselves followed by a rather sour-faced young mother who followed our steps from home to Park Farm; all the time shrieking at little Ronnie about how late they were going to be.
I felt rather sorry for poor little Ronnie.
We came home via the vets; my furry associate was due flea treatment and worming tablets. Whilst there I booked his M.O.T. for tomorrow,, then we came home. Yesterday afternoon I'd got another car-load of rubbish ready for the tip and so I took it to the tip.
I didn't quite point and laugh whilst at the tip, but I must admit it came close. Have you ever been to the tip? I'm sure you get the general gist of the concept. You've got a lot of messy rubbish to chuck into some rather grubby skips. You don't go in your Sunday best. Leastways I don't.
One rather silly woman was there clothed in radiant white; trying to hold her rubbish at arms length. She was getting visibly grubbier by the second. She knew that she was getting visibly grubbier by the second, and she was getting rather cross about it.
Over lunch I watched a film I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. I can remember "The Virgin Soldiers" being rather entertaining. My memory isn't what it once was; the film was dire. I turned it off after half an hour, and went back into the garden. It wasn't long before I had another car load for the tip.
This tip load had come from clearing the patio. I then had a hankering for giving that patio a serious scrub, so I went to B&Q to get a jet-washer. The nice lady assistant was very helpful, and helped me choose exactly what I needed.
I then took my £150+ worth of kit to the checkout. There were three checkouts in use, so I joined the queue. No one else joined the queue after me, and when I got to the checkout the girl at my till got up and walked away. The other two checkout girls then started gossiping and made a point of ignoring me. I waited for two minutes and then walked out; leaving my potential purchases on the counter.
As I walked out the gossiping checkout girls asked if they could help me. I told them they could have, but they had had their chance and had blown it.
I dozed for much more of the remainder of the afternoon than I would have liked to have done, and after turning up too early in Arden Drive I went round to Steve's to borrow his jet-washer. I shall play with that tomorrow...
13 May 2015 (Wednesday) - The Vet Says...
I woke up shivering at 4am; an alliance of "er indoors TM" and "Furry Face TM" had stolen all the covers. I hoiked then back, and got sworn and growled at for my troubles. I eventually got warm again, and got up shortly after 7am to a glorious morning. I had a look-see on social media to see what was new. Very little, really.
There's been an odd smell about the house lately; I had a theory it was the carpet in the back lobby so I hung that carpet out on the washing line to air and then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. As we came past the lake a startled squirrel shot up a tree and from the safety of height he glared at my dog. Fudge was blissfully unaware of the squirrel. However he had seen a family of ducks and he flew at them. There was a male, two females and a gaggle of baby ducks. They didn't run from the dog. They stood their ground, and Fudge skidded to a halt as he realised that something wasn't quite right.
He looked at the ducks in amazement and they returned his gaze. I thought they looked quite threatening; I suppose they were protecting the babies. The stand-off lasted for a few seconds before Fudge lost interest and ran off to harrass the local fishermen.
We did encouter one nutter who warned my dog to beware of trees because they are bigger than him, but otherwise todays' walk was one of the less eventful ones.
We came home and with a few minutes to spare I got out Steve's pressure washer and with no obvious way to connect the water inlet to the mains water supply I flooded the bathroom. I then had a vague idea that he thing might suck water from a reservoir so I filled the bath but that didn't work either.
The obvious answer is to buy a proper connector so's I could bodge the hose pipe onto the tap. but with little time to spare I put it all away. I'll have another look tomorrow.
I then took "Furry Face TM" to the vets for his check-up. Not entirely the clean bill of health I was hoping for... Regular readers of this drivel may recall his slipped disc of last year and his subsequent visit to SuperVet.
The vet was concerned that whilst not any worse, his back isn't actually getting any better. Our long walks aren't hurting him, but vet says that (with immediate effect) he's not allowed to go up or down stairs any more. And he's not to jump up or down either. This puts paid to his coming up in the night and sleeping on our bed. With that in mind I settled him in his basket and took myself off to bed as ssomething of a prelude to the upcoming night shift.
I went to bed at 1pm with the alarm set for 6pm. I woke at 3.20pm. I shall be tired later. It's a shame I can't sleep to order.
I came downstairs and watched vintage episodes of Doctor Who. I stopped Fudge from jumping up and lifted him onto the sofa next to me. As Patrick Troughton did battle with Ice Warriors so my dog snored unaware of the peril. I then realised we hadn't programmed the SkyPlus box to allow for our new router. That took far longer than it should have done.
I'd forgotten I put put the lobby carpet out on the line to air; I put that back where it belonged, had a spot of tea, and now I'm off to the night shift...
14 May 2015 (Thursday) - End of an Era...?
After a surprisingly busy night shift I listened to the radio on the drive home. Occasionally (just occasionally) the news of the day boils my piss. A few such story raised the temperature of that volatile fluid today.
Prince Charles is in a no-win position. If he does nothing but open supermarkets and hospitals whilst blathering platitudes he is lambasted as a vacuous windbag. If he expresses opinion he is accused of wielding unfair influence.
However it seems that Charlie had valid points and concerns which were expressed politely and respectfully, and the machinations of the Republicans have been thwarted.
I came home and took my dog for a walk. He had some fun games with other dogs, and got bashed up by a small thing which took exception to having his tennis ball stolen. Perhaps Fudge will learn the error of his ways.
With our walk done I thne spent much of the rest of the day in bed; such is the down side of a night shift. Mind you it rained pretty much all day so I didn't miss much.
Thursday is saxophone lesson day, and so I went to the music school. For the last time. I've decided to give up the lessons. Realistically whilst my saxing isn't bad, it's not getting any better. I'm struggling to find time to practice, re-arranging shifts to allow for the lessons is a pain, and giving them up will give me fifty quid a month which I can squander on something else.
Saxophoning was fun, but the novelty has worn off. I wonder what I can do next...
15 May 2015 (Friday) - Pressure Washing
I listened to the news on the night shift last night. Our old friend Science has been getting a load of stick. Every so often the issue of antibiotic resistance in microbes makes the headlines and the punters announcing the news lay eggs about the matter. In essence the problem is that the bacteria that cause disease become immune to the very drugs which are supposed to eradicate them. It's not news; it was a very well known problem thirty-plus years ago. The obvious answer would be to put effort into developing new antibiotics. However it would seem (surprisingly) that there's not enough profit in it to make the pharmaceutical giants want to put in the effort.
Calls have come for a fund to be set up to finance research into new antibiotics. Governments have called on the pharmaceutical giants to stump up the money. The pharmaceutical giants have called on governments to come up with the readies.
Meanwhile children die...
In another field of science, NASA have denied rumours that they are close to announcing the development of a working warp drive.
They *are* looking into the possibilities offered by Em-Drive technology, but in the mind of the average punter a plausible technology and cloud-cuckoo-land are rather indistinguishable in outer space. Are tehre really so few of us that can tell the difference?
The radio also told me of two birthdays. Kermit the Frog is sixty today, and the fast food chain McDonalds is seventy-five. I shared this news with the day shift releif when they came in at 8am. They weren't impressed. In fact they said that Kermit the Frog doesn't have a birthday because *it* (!) is a puppet.
I might just bring cakes in to work to celebrate on Monday and remind them that since they are puppetbirthday-ist they can't have cakes.
And so after another night shift I came home. I was somewhat gripped by indecision as to where to go for our walk this morning. Most of our walks lead to or through Viccie park. And the dog-walking fraternity in Viccie park boil my piss. Leaving aside the silly old sod who flatly refuses not to feed treats to "Furry Face TM" and the rather rude bunch who seem to be having their own private agility class, the nice lady with the black pug and the nice lady with the two Scotties have both recently joined OrangeHead's posse. And so consequently are obliged to make great show of blanking me when their leader is about. In fact out of all those who regularly lurk around the park there's only really the Irish chap with the strange furry thing on his lead with whom I'm still on good terms.
But as I drove home my decision was made for me; the town was awash with posters advertising a fun fair setting up in Viccie Park. So we went round the roads for a short wander.
A couple of days ago I mentioned that I'd borrowed Steve's pressure washer and couldn't get it to work. I had another go after our walk. This time successfully. I scrubbed down the patio and the front garden. Both jobs were rather rushed; but as a "proof of concept" I didn't do too badly at all. I'm amazed at how clean the floors came up.
The plan was then to have an hour's shut-eye; after all I had just done the night shift. I took myself off to bed shortly after 11am; "er indoors TM" woke me when she sent a message at 6pm. One of the best night's sleep for years. It was only a shame it was in the afternoon.
I then spent the evening doing what I had planned for the afternoon. After all, ironing doesn't do itself. And with the tumble drier seeing to my socks I returned the pressure washer to Steve.
I might just get myself one; I can pay for it with money I would otherwise have spent on saxophone lessons..
16 May 2015 (Saturday) - Geo-Meet
Much as I like the night shifts, they can mess with my sleep pattern. I suppose that having slept like a log for much of yesterday it would be no surprise that I didn't sleep very well last night. I went to bed shortly after eleven and lay awake for ages. I was woken by a ferocious barking from "Furry Face TM" shortly after 1.30am; he'd discovered the gate blocking him from coming upstairs and he wasn't happy about it. I then only dozed fitfully after that, and was up watching "Toddlers and Tiaras" at 5am. There is something grotesque about how such small children are derssed up; who in their right mind puts fake boobs on a four-year old?
But I do like watching the thwarting of greedy avaricious parents.
After a few hours I took my dog for a walk. Yesterday I mentioned that we avoided the park because we'd seen posters advertising the fun fair. Having forgot about that we went to the park by mistake. It was only when we got there that I saw there was no fun fair. But there's still posters advertising it. I wonder what that's all about.
Mind you the Saturday morning jogging club was in full flow. Over a hundred joggers running round the place; not one looking as though they were enjoying it.
We also saw OrangeHead, but took a swift diversion before she saw us.
Once home I fiddled about on-line for a bit, then we set off for the monthly geocacher's meet-up. This time we were meeting at the Chequers Inn in Petham; just south of Canterbury. We started off in the beer garden. Excellent company, sunshine, beer from the barrel. After six pints (I counted) we went for a little geo-walk.
An excellent afternoon. It's inspired me to get my arse in gear and sort out the meet for August.
I slept for most (all) of the journey home. Once home feeling somewhat lazy I plonked myself in front of the telly and watched Spider-Man 3. On reflection it was one of the worst films I've ever seen; it perked up in the last twenty minutes (bit like me, really) but by then I'd really lost interest in it. Surprisingly I stayed awake for all of it; unlike my dog who was snoring on my lap...
17 May 2015 (Sunday) - Home Alone
Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Dad's Army" which the SkyPlus box had recorded for me. There's something odd about the way in which the BBC is currently broadcasting "Dad's Army". Two weeks ago they showed the pilot episode. Last week was the last episode ever. Today was the second episode. So much for continuity.
The plan for today had (for some time) involved a family trip to the zoo. But with most of the family having forgotten the plan, backup plans came into play. "er indoors TM" is doing a rather serious sponsored walk next weekend, and she took advantage of fitting in an extra practice run. I didn't much fancy that, so as she set off with "Furry Face TM" I did my own thing.
Yesterday we had the county cacher's meet. I'm in the frame to be hosting the one in August so I sorted out a venue for a summer picnic, and also did the first trial run for a little geo-stroll to go with the August picnic.
The summer picnic will be a picnic in a field. Absolutely no facilities whatsoever; just a field and whatever the punters want to bring along. The cache walk I've devised to go along with it seems a pleasant enough one; I shall sent the route to the reviewer and just check I'm not taking people where they are not supposed to be. I'm pretty sure its all OK, but I've thought that before.
I came home via Asda where I heard they had cheap pressure washers. They did; but Asda's home brand ones. I didn't fance one of those. Instead I went to Wickes and got a Karcher one. Sometimes it's worth paying a little extra. You can get accessories for teh Karcher ones.
I then mowed the lawn and pressure washed some of the back garden. Our Whelan's windmill didn't survive. "er indoors TM" will lay an egg when she finds out.
I then started doing some of the geo-admin for the morning's walk. But with only two cache hides left to register, geocaching dot com crashed on me.
With most of the afternoon gone and "er indoors TM" still twelve miles from her intended goal I decided to forage for tea. I foraged in the direction of the kebab shop. It was rather hard work. All I wanted was meat and chips. Is that so hard to understand? Did I want pickles? Did I want salt and vinegar? Did I want curry sauce? Did I want chilis? After shouting "JUST MEAT AND CHIPS" for the umpteenth time the two-thumbed assistant (he actually had two thumbs on his hand) stopped trying to foist unwanted stuff on to me.
I scoffed my kebab and chips whilst watching "Clockwise"; a film with John Cleese. I don't remember having seen it before, but some parts of it seemed vaguely familiar.
The phone rang. It was my brother. Someone had visited, and claiming to know a thing or two about computers they'd trashed my nephew's laptop beyond redemption. As I've told my brother so many times he and my nephews cannot break it, but letting so-called experts fiddle with it *will* break it. After an hour or so we got the thing working again. When I said *don't* download dodgy software I rather hoped they would take that sage advice.
I then watched "The Great Escape". A quality film; I've seen it so many times... "er indoors TM" still isn't home. The house seems empty without my dog...
18 May 2015 (Monday) - Not Much Happened
I slept like a log, finally waking just before the alarm was due to go off. I came downstairs to find "Furry Face TM" snoring in his basket. Whilst I did this and that yesterday, he'd gone with "er indoors TM" on her practice walk yesterday, and nineteen miles had tired him somewhat. He didn't stir from his bed, and made no effort at all to scrounge toast. As I scoffed my toast I watched an episode of "Are You Being Served" in which Mrs Slocombe was having her fiftieth birthday. I suppose it's a sign of the times that forty years ago she looked far more haggard at fifty than I did last year (!)
Before I set off to work I had a little look-see at my amazingly clean jet-washed garden. There was something odd half way up the lawn. Closer investigation revealed it was a dead bird. Or, more accurately, the fragments of a dead bird. The head was a little way from most of the body, as was one of the wings. I blame the local cats.
I cleared up the carnage before my dog got involved in it. I'm not sure exactly what he might do with it the components of a dismembered blackbird, but I wasn't taking any chances.
As I drove to work there was an interview with the Health Secretary. He was discussing the Prime Minister's plans to have full NHS availability round the clock. Key to this scheme was to recruit another five thousand G.P.s. A leading G.P. was on the show explaining how it's not possible to fill all the current G.P. vacancies; let alone create any more positions. The Health Secretary wouldn't actually address this point, which effectively cast doubt on the entire philosophy behind the latest re-jig of the NHS.
It strikes me that the Health Secretary should stop fiddling with the NHS and leave it to do the job. But what do I know?
There was also an interview with a a leading Trade Unionist concerning the rumours that the union Unite are considering severing ties with the Labour party. About time too.
I got to work, did some, and at lunchtime I didn't blow my saxophone. Now that I've given up lessons I don't feel the need to spend every lunch break playing the thing. I expect I will still have a tootle from time to time, but today I didn't. It was raining so I started off reading my Kindle app, then fell asleep.
As I drove home the Prime Minister was on the radio refusing to answer questions about how he would fund his plans for the NHS. And once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We played fetch, we saw only a couple of other dogs, and the whole walk passed off without incident.
After a rather good bit of tea "er indoors TM" went off bowling, I checked emails. Yesterday I mentioned I'd done the preliminary stages of preparing a new geo-walk. I had an email from the geo-feds to give me the thumbs-up on what I'd done so far. I was pleased about that.
And it's Monday night. Telly night. Gotham and Game of Thrones. #getyourtitsoutdaenerystargaryen
Oh - and "er indoors TM" is doing a sponsored walk this weekend. Twenty six miles (I think) If you click here you can sponsor her.
19 May 2015 (Tuesday) - Crackpot Nonsense
Over brekkie I watched "Are You Being Served". Following getting his blow-tickler shut in the stock room door, Captain Peacock was kicked in the men's department. They don't write them like this any more; which is probably for the best.
I was a bit disappoijnted with what I read on social media this morning. I find out much of what's happening locally from a group on Facebook. But the South Ashford Community Forum is abandoning social media in favour of their own website. I like to see what they are up to when it's in amongst my Facebook feed. But there's no denying that I won't be making any effort to follow their website; life's too short to take the trouble
As I drove to work the radio spewed it's usual brand of news-related drivel. Little was memorable today, but the platitudes spouted on "Thought for the Day" stuck in my mind. Usually when there's a Islamic Imam or a Jewish Rabbi they seem to talk reasonable sense. However Christian vicars seem to spout stark nonsense, and today's vicar was no exception. His meandering and dribbling witterings were supposed to somehow justify suffering, and the fact that the disabled are disabled was somehow proof of God's love for the world.
(To be honest it didn't make a lot of sense to me either)
Whilst in a queue of traffic waiting to turn left I watched a cyclist get knocked off of her bike. She sped up the left hand side of the queue of traffic, then ride round the front of the car actually turning left in an attempt to go right. She then got knocked off. Whilst she seemed to suffer no injury, the same couldn't be said for her bike.
Hopefully she will learn from this episode and not cycle in such a stupidly dangerous way in future
I went for a little walk at lunchtime; I was planning to walk down to the nearby church and case the joint (in a geo- sort of way) but the weather was against me; when I was half way there a thunderstorm started.
So I contented myself with checking up on one of my caches on the walk back to work. It was missing. It's a keyholder magnetically stuck to a roadsign. Someone had moved it from one side of the road to the other. I moved it back.
Once back at work I learned something. We were discussing geographical and racial variations in the frequency of certain subtypes of the Rh blood group system (that's what you do in a blood bank); did you know that whilst fifteen per cent of the white British population are Rh-negative, less than one per cent of Chinese people are?
Now there's simular variations in the distribution of the Duffy blood group system, but that's due to malaria. None of us could remember the cause of the variation in the Rh system so we had a look on-line. I learned something...
Apparently blood doesn't mutate, and there is no scientific explanation for Rh-negative blood. Therefore Rh-negative blood comes from space lizards from the planet Nibaru. Look at the article we found by clicking here. It's years since I found such utter crap. It is so bad it's actually hilarious...
The author's been really slated on Wikipedia... can't think why.
(Oh - and as a matter of fact the blood group is Rh; Rhesus is a sort of monkey)
I drove home through the rain and once home took "Furry Face TM" for a rather short walk round the block. We didn't go to our usual haunts; he would have got filthy and muddy in any of the fields or parks.
After a rather good tea "er indoors TM" set off to the Tuesday gathering. For once I gave it a miss. I was feeling rather (very) tired and this evening everyone else would be turning the telly on at about the sort of time I planned to take myself to bed...
20 May 2015 (Wednesday) - Caught in the Rain
I was really tired last night so I took myself off to bed sortly after 9pm. I was out like a light and slept for over eight hours. I woke, brekkied, watched the antics of Mrs Slocombe's pussy on "Are You Being Served" and then had a look on the Internet.
A few days ago I saw a photograph on Facebook which I thought was in bad taste. It was on a family-friendly site about Jack Russell dogs. The photo showed a Jack Russell together with the fragments of a rabbit which that Jack Russell had rent asunder. I though this wasn't really appropriate on a site which is regularly viewed by children so I reported it to the Facebook authorities. After a few days they got back to me.
Apparently photographs of small terriers ripping rabbits apart doesn't violate their community standards. I can't help but wonder what *would* violate their standards...
As I drove to work the radio spewed it's usual brand of news-related drivel. Again there wasn't much of note. Internationally man still fought man because of silly superstitions. At national level defeated politicians were squabbling. The Labour party are selecting a new leader because they feel it is the right thing to do, and UKIP are not because their leader has told them not to.
I stopped off at Morrisons; they were doing a bargain on red wine so I got a half-price bottle. Reduced from ten quid to a fiver I'm hoping for great things (but in all honesty not expecting much).
I went to work, bit some, and came home. "Furry Face TM" was pleased to see me. We went for a walk round the park. Just as we reached the half-way point the drizzle started. After fifty yards the rain became torrential. We were soaked by the time we got home. Not that I think rain bothers dogs much.
I came home and dried off. And then I checked my emails. Four new caches have gone live in Bethersden. On the one hand it's a good thing because going hunting tupperware is always fun. On the other hand... it's put paid to all the plans I've been making about a forty-plus cache series in the area. I suppose it's my own fault; I should have got myself organised earlier. But I'm still a bit pissed off about it.
I shall open that bottle of wine in a minute...
21 May 2015 (Thursday) - Visiting the Baby
I slept like a log last night. I've been *really* tired these last few days; I wonder if I'm sickening for something?
Over brekkie (shared with my dog) I watched an episode of "Are You Being Served" which I hadn't already seen a hundred times before. In this one our heroes had been transferred to the toy department. Mrs Slocombe was bemoaning the inadequacies of a mechanical pussy (Captain Peacock preferred the real thing) and Miss Brahms kept interfering with Mr Humphries' Wibblie-Wobblies.
As I took "Furry Face TM" for our morning walk I was rather disheartened. Over the weekend I pressure-washed the front garden. I shifted all the grubbiness from the concrete paving and the garden looked pristine. Overnight we'd had heavy rain and the paving was back to its old black self.
Apart from losing our tennis ball our walk passed off relatively uneventfully for once. Mind you there was an interesting five minutes as we walked up Beaver Road. One young lady with a particularly defiant expression (seemingly on her way to school) was wearing a completely transparent blouse under which was a rather saucy red bra. There are those who would leer at such attire. Me - I just had "Swadelands flashbacks" remembering when as a father of a daughter I was hauled before the schoolteachers at Swadelands school to listen to a tirade of crimes committed by a difficult child.
Even now I have trouble going anywhere near the village of Lenham where the school was (and still is)
And with that daughter in mind and having a few minutes before the late shift, I drove down to Folkestone to see the baby. The last time I visited I had to park several streets away; the parking was so tight. Today was different; I parked right outside the house.
Littlun is growing *so* fast; he's over a stone in eight now. And he's crawling. I say "crawling"; he's mobile. He shifts about the floor using both legs and one arm. When he figures out how to use all four limbs there will be no stopping him. Mind you he was intrigued with my shoe-laces. I lost count of the amount of times he deliberately undid them.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" is apparently teaching him sign language. She has this theory that babies naturally use Maketon.
I can't see it myself...
22 May 2015 (Friday) – Greenhill
Yesterday I went to Folkestone to see my Grandson. Less than a day later the news feeds were abuzz that the place had an earthquake overnight. Not an particularly major one, but an earthquake none the less. Whilst hardly "San Andreas", Folkestone's something of an earthquake zone; there was one in 2007 the tremors of which I actually felt at home somme fifteen miles away.
Word is the family all slept through the (literally) earth-shattering event. And after a little research it turns out that the earthquake wasn't actually in Folkestone at all but closer to Ramsgate. A piddling detail perhaps, but the bottom line is that it wasn't actually that close to nearest and dearest. This time... even if Folkestone did get tremors.
Over brekkie my piss boiled. As I checked out social media I saw I'd been asked to join a campaign to stop the oil company Shell from drilling in the Arctic. A laudible sentiment I suppose, but the chap who asked me to sign this petition is one who regularly posts photos of himself zooming round in a petrol-guzzling sports car. Perhaps if he swapped that car for a bicycle, Shell wouldn't be drilling in the Arctic?
With the vagaries of my shift system today was a rostered day off. My days off are usually extended dog walks; earlier in the week I posted in an obscure corner off the Internet asking if anyone was free to come for a walk with us. Seven of us (and two dogs) went off to explore the geo-mysteries of the countryside a mile or so inland from Herne Bay.
We didn't really get off to an auspicious start; managing to lose (and effectively destroy) the first geocache within seconds of finding it. And it was shortly after this that we lost the (full) bags of dog poo. But despite a couple of minor hiccups we had a really good walk. There was a range of caches to be found; some rather straightforward; others rather tricky. I was rather unbearably smug when I found the most difficult one of the day. I was rather pleased that (by one of those odd coincidences) that one was something of a milestone for me; find number four thousand nine hundred. And I had a sniggering fit when I mis-read the village sign of Bullockstone.
It was a really good day to be out; no mud, and the sun shone on us all. All too soon the walk was over. Sam had kindly arranged sausage sandwiches for all, but I slipped off home. Kiraly-pup and "Furry Face TM" had already had one ding-dong and it wouldn't have been fair on Kiraly-pup to take Fudgey back to where she saw as her territory.
I took a few photos whilst we were out. Once home I uploaded these, and the phone rang. "Daddies Little Angel TM" was hysterical. In an attempt to teach her pug (Sid) to "be more dog" she somehow managed to rip off her fingernail. After I finished laughing I told her to go to the local minor injuries unit at Folkestone hospital (I once worked there you know).
Her finger's been bodged back together and she's to go back on Monday to get the dressing changed.
I then spent a little while doing some geo-preparation. Last Sunday I mentioned that I went out round Challock planning a route for the monthly cachers' meeting I will be hosting in August.
I spent five hours this evening doing some of the e-paperwork to go with the event...
23 May 2015 (Saturday) - Back to Challock
"er indoors TM" got up at 3am to go off on her sponsored walk. She clumped about the house for half an hour or so before clumping off. The baby next door then started crying. I gave up trying to get back to sleep shortly after 6am and over brekkie watched "Are You Being Served" until the washing machine finished doing its thing with my grubby T shirts.
I hung the T-shirts on the line, then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. I've mentioned that I'm working on a geo-walk in the Challock area. Having planned it all out last Sunday we went back to day to check the measured co-ordinates for the sandwich boxes I shall stuff under rocks. Some co ordinates were spot-on; some were twenty yards awry. But we had a good walk; and it wasn't round the park for a change.
I even took a few photos whilst we walked.
We came home, hung out more washing, and then I mowed the lawn. Unless I mow it (at least) weekly it gets seriously out of control. Gardening is such an ultimately futile pastime.
I then got into a conversation with the neighbour we don't especially get on with. For once he wasn't ranting; he was quite approachable. He was concerned that the weight of all the stuff he's got growing up his fence is pulling it over. I've been telling him that for years. He wonders if I might like to help him bodge the fence back together.
As he spoke he had a noticeable slur, and his face seemed to have fallen. I wonder if he's had a stroke; I wouldn't be surprised what with the amount of ranting he's done over the last few years.
I didn't like to ask.
I scoffed a sandwich for lunch, updated my squafty co ordinates then set about the monthly accounts. Could be better, could be worse. Not as good as they were four years ago; certainly better than they were two years ago.
I spent the afternoon fast asleep in bed. It's odd how yoou get into a routine like that. When I know I'm going to sleep in the afternoon (prior to night shift) the sort of tiredness I usualy get at 11pm comes on at 1pm. I slept for four hours, scoffed a bit of tea, got teh washing in from the line and now I'm off to work.
The word from Brighton is that "er indoors TM" is well past the half-way stage. It's not too late to sponsor her. Click here if you've got a few pence spare...
24 May 2015 (Sunday) - Between The Night Shifts
In many ways I was glad to have been rota-ed to do last night's night shift. Not only did it give me a valid reason for not doing a thirty-mile sponsored walk during the day, it also gave me a reason for why I didn't watch the Eurovision Song Contest (this year featuring Australia?). Personally I can't stand the Eurovision Song Contest; but the rest of humanity seem to lap it up. When I say I'd rather watch paint dry than watch it, people look at me as though I'm the strange one. People will understand why I didn't watch it if I tell them it because I was working. If I say I didn't watch it because I honestly think it's crap, I just get confused stares.
Apparently Sweden won....
Mind you being working meant that I did miss an astro-opportunity last night. Saturn was at opposition and made for good viewing. Some of the astro bods had toddled off to Hastings (of all places) to do the telescope thing. Why go all that way? Because someone down there had actually organised something for the occassion.
Perhaps we should have organised our own event. What with the eclipse earlier in the year that's two major astro-events this year that we in the astro club have done nothing about. Maybe if I hadn't been working...
As well as meteor showers and even a supposed comet there's a lunar eclipse in a few months time.
Maybe we could sort out an astro club meet-up for that.
Talking of which, it's astro club this coming Friday; I'd ask about to assess interest in an eclipse-o-thon if I was going to be there. I'm not though. I'm scheduled to be on a night shift then.
Had anyone else been speaking this Friday I'd have made the effort to swap the shift. But the speaker is one who's made a point of deliberately rudely blanking me so many times. I'd rather not give her the satisfaction of doing so again.
As I worked overnight I listened to the radio. I usually have Radio Four on during my night shifts; the articles are usually interesting and thought-provoking; if sometimes piss-boiling. Last night was no exception. Some alternative comedy (or as a call it - an alternative to comedy), a play or two, and the shipping forecast.
I don't like the shipping forecast. I find it somehow sinister. I don't know why; I can't explain it, but it scares me.
And at 1a.m. Radio Four plays the National Anthem. I stand to attention throughout the performance. There's no one there but me, but I still stand to attention.
At 8am the day shift arrived, and I went home. I'd seen dawn break just before 4am, and it was a lovely morning then. But by home time it had clouded over somewhat and it was rather overcast as "Furry Face TM" and I went round the park.
We don't usually go to the park on Sunday mornings; we met a whole load of new dogs and their walkers w've never met before. And on the way home the Polish drunks on the street corner were drinking Lambrini. I wondeer if that's because we are now attracting a more up-market class of drunk, or whether its because the drunks are making an effort because its Sunday.
I then went off to bed for the day, and whilst I slept it would seem the rest of the family had a bit of a get-together whilst other friends were camping, walking or at beer festivals.
I found out about all of it third-hand from Facebook after everything had happened. I know I wasn't up for anything but a day in bed today, but it didn't stop me having a major sulk about all that I'd missed.
Off to work again...
25 May 2015 (Monday) - Biting the Bullet
On Saturday evening when I got my shopping from Morrisons a chap in a suit with a large "Morrisons" badge assured me that the supermarket would be open on Sunday evening. So imagine my dismay when I arrived at Morrisons at 7pm last night to find the place was closed. A rather aggressive "jobsworth" working just inside the locked door came out and snarled at me that they'd actually closed at 4pm.
Fortunately Sainsbury's was open so I wasn't hungry overnight...
I tried to make a complaint using Morrison's on-line complaints website. It told me I'd already made a complaint in the past (I had), and that it wouldn't take any more complaints from me.
I got to work, put on the radio and did my overnight thing. And with my thing done I turned the radio off and came home. This morning's journey home was so easy compared with yesterday's. Yesterday a cycling club was having a road race, and for ten miles of the A28 every fifty yards there was a cyclist with head down, arse up and swerving all over the road. They weren't there today; not having to swerve to avoid oncoming cyclists on the wrong side of the road was so nice (compared with yesterday's fun).
Once home I went to bed for a bit. I didn't put on the CPAP device, and dspite having been awake all night I only slept for two hours. I spent an hour or so messaging the world via social media whilst "er indoors TM" cleared up the carnage that "Furry Face TM" had made of his teddy bear. How can one small dog spread the fragments of an even smaller teddy bear over so much of the house?
We then went out for a bit of a road trip to look at GPS units. For so long I've been able to use ordnance survey maps when we go out walking. You don't realise how much you come to depend on something until its not there any more. Ordnance survey have put paid to free access to their maps via geo-aps. After a couple of months of struggling I decided the only way forward was to pay for the e-maps. After all when the paper map shows for footpaths and the openstreetmap just shows a wood you know there's going to be problems.
Firstly we went to Cotswolds in Maidstone. They didn't have what I wanted and they clearly weren't interested in helping me. So we went to Go Outdoors in Canterbury. I went there the other day and wasn't impressed. Today was very different; The staff bent over backwards to help; they had the GPS unit I've been looking at; with thirty per cent off, and two hundred quid's worth of ordnance survey maps thrown in too.
So I've turned to the dark side of GPS geocaching... purely for decent maps. In many ways it's a backward step from what I've been doing so far. But I shall give it a try before dismissing it out of hand.
Now to read the instructions..
Seven and a half hours sleep last night. Can't be bad. Mind you I was still up and about shortly after 6am. I put some washing into scrub, and with another rostered day off I thought I'd try out my new GPS gadget. The were three geocaches in Charing that I thought I'd test it on. So I spent a little while setting the thing up. And as a comparison did the same with the phone.It's actually slightly quicker to download what you need onto the phone app; but the phone app has crap maps.
Bearing in mind I had a GPS unit to test we went up to Charing where there were three caches I'd not found; all about half a mile apart. I stopped at the station as it was an obvious place to park. The car park was empty; all the nearby streets were full of parked cars. So I paid two pounds and parked up. As we walked off someone in British Rail (or whatever it's called these days) uniform marched up to the car and made great show of checking the ticket we'd just bought. His face went crimson when I shouted and asked what he was doing near my car.
As for our walk... The GPS unit worked as a GPS unit without fault; I do like hiking with the use of an on-line ordnance survey map. However it's geocachical ability leavs much to be desired. I know I'v a lot to learn about it, but so far it seems that the on-board geo-app is inferior (in every way) to what I'm used to. And at the moment I have absolutely no clue about hints and corrected co-ords. But I expect I will get the hang of them.
Mind you it was a lovely walk. Beautiful scenery, wonderful views. My little dog was off the lead for much of the way. And with five minutes left before we got back to the car my little dog covered himself from nose to tail in fox poo.
We came home, a certain dog got bathed and I used the filler to bodge repairs to the bannister. With that done I then did the geo-admin from the morning's walk. Admittedly it's rather straight-forward, but there's no denying that it's not really any easier than what I'm used to, it does actually take a little more time and (so I'm told) the third-party uploading software is only free for a certain length of time.
Over lunch I watched yesterday's episode of "Game of Thrones" in which although she didn't flop anything out, Nudey Dragon-Girl was nudey. I then broke my back heaving the seats back into the car and I went on to spend a little while pulling the grass out of the paving in the front garden until my back could take no more.
Being Tuesday we had the weekly gathering. This time in Folkestone. After I lost ChromeCast games quite comprehensively we watched the pilot episode for the new "Supergirl" series. It's quite good; I wonder how long it will be before other episodes are leaked on-line...
On the way I stopped off at Morrisons to get some rechargable batteries for my new GPS toy. I came out having bought all sorts of other stuff, but it wasn't until I got into the car to come home this evening that I remembered I needed batteries.
As I drove home I again forgot about batteries as I listened to the radio. The Prime Minister has got the Queen to explain his plans for the next few years. In broad principle it all sounds very impressive. In practice it might not be quite so acheivable. For example a fully functioning NHS seven days a week rather involves solving the ongoing chronic recruitment crises which have been all over the news for years. The promised welfare reforms (according to the experts on the radio) are based on wishful thinking rather than on solid financial plans.
Once I got home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We went round the park, and came back via the co-op field. Our walk was amazingly uneventful for once. And once back home I nipped down to the Hong Kong Kitchen for some crispy shredded beef with chili for tea. "er indoors TM" had gone off flogging candles and I'd been left to forage...
Right now I think I'm still catching up on sleep from the two night shifts last weekend. Yet another reason why I like the night work. As well as actually preferring the work format at night, I get time off mid-week to do my own thing, longer shifts mean fewer and so I save on petrol, I get a little extra money, and now I realise that when on nights I seem to sleep better.
Over brekkie I watched Billie Piper in "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" in which she was discussing (and demonstrating) the merits of a boob job. Needless to say this was one of the better things that I've seen on telly recently.
Earlier in the week I'd been told (by the chap who'd put it out) that the Otford Hills geo-series had run its course, and he'd said that if I was going to walk the route would I please fetch in the caches for him. He would then archive them all and replace them with a new series. I'm only too willing to help out with something like this, and being on another rostered day off today I'd put out the word to see if anyone fancied coming on a geo-dog-stroll with me.
There had been some interest, and six of us (and three dogs) met up in the hills outside Otford for a stroll. Beautiful scenery made all the better by the wonderful weather. The only fly in the ointment was... I blame myself. The clue was in the name of the cache series. "Otford *Hills*" There was some serious ups and a couple of rather iffy downs.
Clear instructions for the route were given in the cache descriptions. There was only one point where we didn't actually read them and we did go just a little off-course. My excuse is a lack of familiarity with my new GPS toy. Talking of which...
I had a trial run with the thing on Tuesday. Today was it's first *serious* outing. Setting the thing up before leaving home is still a bit of a faff. But once in the field... I think it's fair to say that out of everyone on today's walk I got the most out of the day. My five fellow geo-comrades had far more experience of the Garmin technology than me and I learned an awful lot. Next stages and hints are no longer mysteries to me.
After four hours we were back at the cars. Some of us had other things to do; four of us carried on into Otford where we did that oh-so-obscure geo-phenomenon; a Wherigo cache. It was a fun little guided tour round Otford. It only took half an hour, and it brought my total of found Wherigos up to thirteen.
Once home I uploaded the photo or two I'd taken as we walked, and then struggled with the geo-admin program. It's still not doing what I want but I think I now know where I've been going wrong. I then fell asleep and was out for the count until Steve popped round to collect some bits and bobs for tomorrow's astro club as I'm not going to be there.
"er indoors TM" then boiled up a rather good bit of scoff which was only let down by a rather grim bottle of wine. We've no idea where a bottle of Morada Real white wine came from; but it's one I won't be buying again...
Yesterday I mentioned that I'd been sleeping better. I should have kept quiet. I was woken by the most odd chirping/squeaking noises this morning shortly before 2.30am. I lay awake wondering if a bird was trapped in the roof space. After quarter of an hour the noises were getting louder and seemed to be coming from outside. I opened the curtain and was amazed. There were two foxes laying on the pavement right outside my house playfully squalling and howling at each other.
Eventually the foxes wandered off of their own accord and I got back to sleep only to be woken an hour later by next door's baby. I don't mind the littlun crying; I think it's rather sweet. But I could have done with a little more sleep last night.
Being off work this morning (and up bright and early) I took myself off to the doctor's. Regular readers of this drivel may recall I went there in January with a lump in my neck. The doc gave me some penicillin and said to come back if it didn't clear up. I don't think that doc has ever tried to come back. The lump didn't clear up, and after weeks of phoning only to be told they had no appointments I turned up on their doorstep at opening time today and said that I'd have their first appointment.
I saw the doc at 8.30am. She took my blood pressure; it was 110/70 which is really good. Especially when you think I'm just a pound or two over my ideal weight. She then asked all the questions she asked last time, and had a rummage around my head then announced that she couldn't feel anything amiss. So I took her hand away from my chin and put in on the lump in my neck. Her attitude changed then...
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. I'd had reports of one of my geocaches in Park Farm being broken so we went to have a look-see. Sure enough it was broken. We replaced it with a new one, and then came home via Willesborough Dykes where my dog played with frogs and fox poo. As we walked we met a small child who pointed at my dog and shouted "Look mum it's Scooby Doo!"
We got home to find the postie had been. I'd ordered a lanyard for my new Garmin. It's quite sexy. I was glad we'd got home before the forecast rain hit, and when it did I was tucked up snoring in my pit. Some of my colleagues tell me they have trouble sleeping before a night shift. I don't.
And so off to work for that night shift. I do feel a tad guilty that I'm missing astro club tonight. But the department in which I work isn't a large one and so swapping shifts isn't really easy. And with the vagaries of the rota, swapping Fridays can be especially problematical. Mind you I must admit I made no effort to swap the shift this evening; were the speaker one who *doesn't* make a point of treating me like the sh*t on her shoe then perhaps I would have done so.
Yesterday I mentioned that being on the night shift meant I'd missed going to astro club. As it turned out I was rather busy in the early evening and so didn't actually realise what I was missing. But after midnight I managed to sneak a break. I got out my trusty Samsung Galaxy S4 and (thanks to the wonders of Android technology) I managed a crafty peek at the astro club's Facebook page. Usually after an astro club meeting that page is overflowing with glowing approbation about how wonderful the meeting had been. Not last night. There wasn't a single word of praise to be seen.
However that same Samsung Galaxy S4 had a few messages for me about the astro club. The topic of the evening had been billed as "Women in Astronomy" but apparently it had actually been a ruse to present a misandrous diatribe.
Having been on the night shift really meant I should have gone to bed for the day, but the chance to go for a geo-wander presented itself. Eight of us and two small dogs mooched for several miles around Staplehurst. Despite rather thick nettles, deep grass and over-familiar horses we had a really good time. The girls and the dogs enjoyed walking each other about, the dogs diddn't get *too* smelly, and with seven miles of walk walked we had a couple of pints of Spitfire before sleeping all the way home.
I suppose that after a full day's geo-wandering (ended with a couple of pints of Spitfire) after a night shift it's no surprise that I slept like a log last night. I finally woke just before 7am when it hurt to swallow. I got up, and over brekkie watched "Dad's Army" which the SkyPlus box had recorded for me. It's good to me in that way. Just recently BBC2's been running the very old "Dad's Army" episodes which were made in black and white; I don't think I've seen these old ones before.
My dog sat with me as I watched telly. I say "sat with me"; he heaved himself onto my lap and then slept. "er indoors TM" got up, and fixed my broken GPS in less than two minutes. She said it helped being able to look at her one. I would have needed a magnifying glass to see the fiddly bits.
At 9.30am we collected "My Boy TM" and his entourage. Several of them are off for a family holiday in Turkey. We had the option to go with them but... I don't do abroad. There's too much farting around in the journey to get there. Too much time is wasted in the travelling and time's precious. Take today's journey. We left Ashford at 9.30am, and they expect to finally get to their hotel at 1am tomorrow morning.
The original plan had been to stay in the Gatwick area and go for a walk round there. But heavy rain put paid to that idea. Instead we came home. I had a quick look on-line and took serious offence at the aggressive feminist crap which was appearing in my Facebook feed. I understand that historically the lot of the average woman has been less than ideal. And in parts of the world it still is. But (and let's be crystal clear on this) I am not personally responsible for that, and to imply (or say outright at a public meeting behind my back) that I am is rather piss-boiling.
Bearing in mind it's only a few weeks till our summer garden party we popped into town to get the makings of forty pints of beer; if I don't get it on now it won't be ready in time. And seeing how we were at something of a lose end at lunch time we thought we'd eat out. We *could* have gone for a pub carvery somewhere. We *could* have gone for a posh restaurant's mid-day deal. We went to McDonalds. The food's far cheaper, it comes out a lot quicker, and I actually prefer it to a lot of the over-priced poncey stuff.
We then went on to visit "Daddies Little Angel TM" and the baby and I slept on the sofa for an hour before coming home to take "Furry Face TM" for his walk. We went round the park, and he wore his new coat. He *hates* wearing coats and he walked round sulking. To prove a point we took his coat off and he immediately perked up and ran round like a thing possessed.
For all that its the sort of thing people go for, the geocaching community are usually very dismissive of the standard film-pot-under-a-rock hide. Bearing this in mind, generally when I put out a geocache I've previously spent an absolute age devising a clever puzzle or intricately programming a GPS game. But those ones only get found maybe once a month, and I lose count of people telling me how they hate puzzles and Wherigos.