1 May 2019 (Wednesday) - Cheeky FTF
After a rather early night last night I slept for over eight hours, but (as is usually the case after a night shift) I was plagued with rather vivid dreams and woke up feeling as though I could do with a rest and some peace and quiet. Is It just me that has nightmares about picking a fist fight with the Women's Institute? (what was that all about?)
I watched a couple of episodes of "Trailer Park Boys" as I scoffed my granola then got dressed. I put on my new shirt that I'd bought in Matalan the other day. I've very good at buying new clothes - I'm just not that good at chucking out the old threadbare ones. I must start dinging the knacked ones.
I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing one of UKIP's M.E.P.s. Apparently UKIP's leader (whoever he is) has refused to come on to the radio, so they were interviewing some bloke named Agnew. He was rather aggressive, and not at all afraid to show his ignorance. When questioned about the anti-Islamic tendencies of UKIP he ranted that Islam was a religion that was actively trying to spread itself across the world, and that was a very bad thing. Christianity had never done that (so he claimed). Clearly his understanding of European history of the last several hundred years leaves a lot to be desired.
Interestingly the "Thought for the Day" featured some Hindu bloke who commented on what a treasure trove of literature the Bible is, and how few Christians have ever actually read it. As a “lapsed sunbeam” myself, it never fails to amaze me how little so-called Christians know about their professed religion.
It was shortly after this radio article that my watch wobbled. (I do like my SmartWatch). There was a new geocache not a million miles from Leeds Castle. I was almost driving past the place, so I thought I might take a slight diversion to see if I could get the First to Find. I diverted, I was first. Happy dance.
Mind you the diversion (at rush hour) meant I didn't have time to go to Aldi for shopping. Ho hum.
I got to work and realised I'd forgotten to make myself a sandwich. I went to the hospital's League of Fiends (!) shop and got a sandwich and a bag of crisps. The nice lady on the till said what they cost, and said if I had a bottle of water as well I would pay fifty-five pence less in total. I effectively got a bottle of water for free. I saw that as a minor result.
I did my bit at home and came home to an empty house. "er indoors TM" had taken the wolf pack out. I thought I might spend five minutes in the garden watering the new plants.
Oh how I laughed.
The old shower-mixer tap had this feature that when you turned it off it automatically went back to the “water from the taps” setting so that you don’t accidentally spray everywhere with the shower. Our new shower-mixer tap doesn’t hold with this theory, and I managed to get water everywhere (and a *lot* of it over myself). If it had been anyone else it would have been hilarious.
"er indoors TM" and the hounds returned. We had a bottle of rather iffy plonk with dinner. “Junior Bake Off” and “Big Bang Theory” were entertaining.
I’m thinking about another early night…
2 May 2019 (Thursday) - Polling Day
I slept like a log; over brekkie I watched the last episode of “Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series”. It was rather good, but I’m now at something of a loss for what to watch over brekkie.
I then had a look at the Internet. Little had changed on Facebook really. I spent a few minutes looking at some of the local groups. Anger and idiocy prevailed in equal amounts. Some people go on social media to argue, others to express their ignorance. Such a shame… In many ways the Internet is just like the Babel Fish: by effectively removing barriers to communication between all sorts of people it has caused more squabbles and discontent than anything else in the history of humanity.
With no emails of note I went up the road to cast my vote in the local elections. Local elections aren’t like national elections. For the national elections I will need to think about what is best for the country. For the local elections I have to think about what is best locally. I had a choice of four candidates. I got to choose between wanton greed, well-intentioned incompetence, tree hugging and sending them all back on the next banana boat.
Blatant opportunism and naïve do-gooding wasn’t standing in my ward this time.
So… who to vote for?
Over the last few months I’ve had dealings with the Conservative candidate. Whilst at no stage in our correspondence did she actually say “f… off fatso”, that was clearly what she had in mind during our communications.
I seriously considered voting for the tree hugger, but every other candidate gave their address on all the election information. This chap’s address was “(Address in Ashford)” and his personal statement said he was “proud to be the youngest Ashford Green Party candidate standing in the local elections…. and works in the town centre in a catering role”. Had I not formed a mental image of “Johnny-No-Stars; the trainee McDonalds cook living in the dustbins behind B&Q” I might well have voted for him. The local Green Party have a serious problem with the image they project. “Victorian Dad” (out of Viz magazine) was standing in a nearby ward.
So who is left?
If we do send them all back on the next banana boat there won’t be that many workers left.
In the end I voted for the only candidate who had taken the trouble to come to my front door to ask for my vote. I don’t believe in democracy, so this was as good a way as any to decide who I should choose. I told the chap as much when I met him outside the polling station.
I can’t see why we needed elections today anyway. What was wrong with the last ones? (an argument which seems to be used far too much?)
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were broadcasting from the University of East Anglia (for no reason that I could determine). They interviewed ex-tennis champion Martina Navratilova about her recent comments about allowing transgender women to compete in women’s sporting events. She described doing so as “insane and cheating”, and she went on record as saying: “You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.”
Needless to say this had caused quite a bit of upset, and she had subsequently promised to keep quiet on the subject until she had done some research on it. She’s now done her research… “and, if anything, my views have strengthened” she said.
She’s got a point… And so have those who disagree with her. Perhaps if those who were once men decided not to compete in events for which they clearly had an unfair advantage then this whole sorry mess might be cleared up?
There was also talk of the ex-defence secretary Gavin Williamson. Having been accused of being behind the leak in the Huawei scandal, he's loudly proclaiming his innocence.
Did he do it? Was he innocent? The pundits on the radio were saying it was odd that a leak inquiry should ever actually come up with a finding. Personally I think the Prime Minister has thrown the chap to the wolves in a shallow attempt to bolster her own rather fragile position.
Despite heavy traffic on the motorway I got to Aldi in time for a bit of shopping. Jam, peanut butter, granola, armpit-squirt... I also got a little bug house too. The bird box in the garden is completely knacked so I shall replace it with a bug house.
I'm reminded of a chap who used to go to the snake club back in the day. He kept pall manner of insects in custom-made containers in the shed. The police called when his daughter told the teacher about her father's buggery.
I'm reliably informed that once it was all resolved they all had a jolly good laugh.
I had a rather odd day at work, and came home to find that "er indoors TM" had already walked the wolf-pack and was off out with her pals. Being “home alone” I took the opportunity to write up some CPD.
I think I shall see what I can find on Netflix…
3 May 2019 (Friday) - This n That
Last night I discovered “Santa Clarita Diet” on Netflix. I’d heard good reports of the show. Over brekkie I watched the third episode. It is “not too shabby”, as the first fruit of my loin might say.
Once telly was done I had a little look at the Internet. Several friends were off for a little break over the long weekend. I had a pang of jealousy. I wish I knew why – I’ve got stuff to do over the Bank Holiday weekend. But I’m still jealous of what everyone else is up to.
With no emails at all I got myself ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about yesterday's local elections. It had been a terrible result for the Labour and Conservative councillors across the country. Hundreds have lost their seats on local council as the electorate turned to the smaller parties in protest about how the government has handled the Brexit debacle.
Which totally proves my contention that democracy is a stupid idea.
Local government has never had anything to do with Brexit. No local councillor has ever had any bearing on the Brexit process at all. Basing any kind of voting decision for local government on Brexit (be it leave or remain) shows an utter ignorance of the entire political process. Blaming hard-working local councillors for the Brexit shambles is like blaming me for the pot holes in your local street. (i.e. absolutely no connection whatsoever)
There was also talk of the government's promise to retain the penny and two pence pieces even though (apparently) six out of ten coppers are used once then end up in a jam-jar somewhere.
I got to work and had a rather busy day. As I walked out of work I looked up the results of my local election. With a turn-out of less than thirty per cent I think it fair to say that the winner was apathy.
Driving home from Pembury took a while, but it was a pretty drive. I came home to find "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was already in residence. We played a little “Plunk” (until Treacle ate most of the marbles), he then wreaked havoc underneath the table, and he is currently feeding pretty much everything he can find to the dogs.
He seems happy enough. As do the dogs…
4 May 2019 (Saturday) - Colgate and St Leonards
I woke early (as I hoped I might), and after watching an episode of “Santa Clarita Diet” I persuaded Fudge to eat his brekkie. With "er indoors TM" taking "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" off to visit relatives today, I thought I was well off out of it.
Fudge and I drove up the motorway. As I drove “Farmer’s Hour” was on the radio. They were discussing invasive species in Britain’s waterways and lakes, and were making great show about how anglers should disinfect their nets. Whilst it is probably worth doing, I get sick of the emphasis which s put on this. Has no one ever thought about ducks flying from lake to lake and river to river? Your average duck will transfer far more biological contamination far faster (and therefore in a far more viable condition) that I ever will.
We got to junction four of the motorway and soon met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we decamped into their car. It wasn’t long before we were at Pease Pottage services for another spot of brekkie. And with second brekkie scoffed we drove a couple of miles up the road to the village of Colgate where we went for a little walk.
We had a rather good walk along (mostly) well-marked footpaths and lanes. There were a few more hills that I would have liked, but there were some rather spectacular views to be seen. And some rather special houses too. How on Earth do people get to live in houses like some of the ones we saw today? There was one such house – we estimated that the three cars parked on the drive alone cost over a quarter of a million pounds.
As we walked we saw small rodents and large deer. We saw kestrels and buzzards. We saw friendly cows and lazy bulls. We saw some pine cones which had been gnawed in different directions depending on whether they had been scoffed by a left-handed or right-handed squirrel. We had a picnic under a rather precariously-leaning tree.
And the weather – we really did have four seasons in one day. I caught the sun and sweated, and I got rather cold too. There were blue skies, and there was rain and even hail. The weather would go from not a cloud in the sky to heavy rain and back again in ten minutes.
Geocache-wise it was a rather good walk. Even though we did half a loop of caches, and then went to do another loop, then went back to the first loop again, our route was well marked. We only really had any problems with one cache, and that was one for which we took a diversion and wasn’t really part of the main part of what we were doing anyway.
And we found an ammo can too.
We found fifty caches. I must admit I thought they were (perhaps) spaced out just a tad too far apart? There was (arguably) space for eighty, if not more. But that’s just me being picky. We walked two rather good (and well-maintained) series. Someone had clearly taken a lot of time and had gone to a lot of trouble to prepare the walk for us, for which I am very grateful.
We walked for about fourteen miles; in a novel break with tradition Fudge only ran amok once, and that wasn’t for very long. I took a few photos as we walked. We’d walked in some rather beautiful places today.
Once back at the car we took off boots, and drove for two minutes to the pub up the road. It was a shame I was driving today as I’d never before seen “firsty ferret” on the hand pump. We sat down, and had a well-deserved shandy (or I did at any rate!)
We went back to the car to find that the heavens had opened whilst we’d been in the pub. And they opened again a couple of times as we drove back home.
I came home to find "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" doing artwork. Having made his pictures, he then used his grandmother’s best glittery sticky tapes to stick them to the walls. Oh well – the living room walls needed painting anyway.
We then had a rather good bit of dinner. Well, I thought it was good. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had asked for mince with red peppers and pasta. Having been served with what he’d asked for, he took one mouthful and announced he didn’t like it.
We then watched videos of dogs being frightened by cucumbers (it’s actually a thing – look on You-Tube) before he went to bed probably two hours later than he might have done.
I hope he don’t get up too early tomorrow morning…
5 May 2019 (Sunday) - S.B.O.D.'s Visit - Day Two
On my way to the loo in the small hours I somehow slipped at the top of the stairs. I didn’t actually fall down them, but I did manage to put my back out somehow. I went back to bed and dozed uncomfortably until "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" woke screaming at half past seven.
He wreaked mayhem whilst I tried to have a bit of toast and some coffee. His grandmother tried to offer him all sorts of things for brekkie; he contented himself with a packet of Jaffa cakes, and had the hump because he wasn’t allowed to take a bowling ball up to the park. He then fed pine cones to Treacle until she was sick. All sorts of stuff she shouldn’t have eaten came up. That dog’s constantly chewing what she shouldn’t is becoming a problem.
I went out to the garden and spent a little while tidying up. Trimming the edge of the lawn, mowing the lawn, sorting out the overgrowth from not-so-nice-next-door. I then run out the hose pipe and started topping up the pond, and as it topped I sorted the shingled areas. The dogs seem to kick the stones everywhere.
"Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" came out and we spent a few minutes getting our fingers nibbled by the fish before putting out the new insect house. I suspect it won’t last long, but what do you expect for a fiver from Lidl?
We then went on a little shopping trip. Tesco for this and that, McDonalds for dinner, Matalan for trousers. It was rather hard work. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" would go from placid and happy to being full of rage and hysteria, and then back again seemingly for no reason whatsoever and at the flick of a switch.
I’m afraid to say that I don’t have the patience for any of that nonsense. I was glad to get home.
I left him and his grandmother, and took the dogs for a quick walk. We didn’t go far. Just to the co-op field where Pogo rolled in a dead slow worm. I wish he wouldn’t.
I came home to find "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was hunting for bugs in the garden. He does that. We had a quick cuppa, then all played Lego for a couple of hours. Lego is good stuff. It’s a shame that one or two of the bricks have been chewed.
"er indoors TM" boiled up some dinner which some of us scoffed whilst watching “Mighty Mike”; a pug who now stars on the “Boomerang” channel. With dinner scoffed "er indoors TM" was giving scraps to the dogs in the kitchen when Pogo got over-excited, jumped, and landed on Fudge. Poor Fudge – he did scream. Looking at him it is so easy to forget about just how painful his back can be.
Fudge soon settled after his ordeal, and whilst "er indoors TM" had a shower, "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and I watched “Cats vs Cucumbers” on lube-tube (as he calls it) until it was his bath time.
I was well out of that. It sounded like he and his grandmother were having quite some fight in there. He’s currently physically stuck in the laundry basket. He climbed in and can’t get out. I’m not getting involved; my back still hurts.
It has been quite a full-on day…
6 May 2019 (Monday) - Family Barby
Finding myself wide awake at three o’clock I thought I might watch the new episode of “Game of Thrones” before all the spoilers came out. Mind you what with the current season being rather disappointing (and last week’s all-time low) my hopes weren’t high. But I was pleasantly surprised. It was rather good, but I did miss the Starbucks cup. Apparently if you pay close attention there is a Starbucks cup on one of the tables,
I then went back to bed until Pogo and Treacle jumped on me at eight o’clock.
I peered into the Internet as I scoffed toast. I was glad I’d got up earlier – I saw “Game of Thrones” spoilers within minutes of turning the lap-top on.
I soon found myself thinking about something that a colleague posted yesterday. A few of us had made some joking comments, but… Basically there was a job advertised on Facebook. A single thirty-nine year-old man living in Dubai was looking to employ a nanny to look after his children. He was looking for “an open-minded nanny who is open to having fun on the side”. The job description actually said that “intimacy is expected”. The job paid four thousand pounds per month. I found myself wondering whether this bloke wanted to pork the nanny, or whether he wanted a prostitute who would look after his kids in between porking sessions. Either way it was rather dubious. And again it shows Facebook’s community standards for the joke that they are. But for four thousand quid a month I suspect he won’t be short of applicants.
I had a look at my emails. Yesterday I’d seen that a colleague was doing a charity run. I donated a tenner. The confirmatory email that came this morning told me I’d donated eleven pounds sixty-eight pence. What was that all about?
"Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and his grandmother soon emerged from their pits. Littlun spent a few minutes hunting for woodlice in the garden before any attempt was made to force some brekkie into him. Eventually he conceded defeat and (under protest) ate half a bag of Pom-Bears before using various books to look up the details of the various bugs he’d caught in the garden.
We took the dogs for a walk round the park. It didn’t really work. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" wanted to go in the playpark where dogs aren’t allowed. He went in there, and the moment the dogs were off the lead they went in there too. I managed to drag them out, and I dragged them round the park, but they weren’t happy, and clearly wanted to go back to the playpark.
We all came home and got organised for the afternoon. I got out the event shelter and the barby and all the chairs. It wasn’t long before the tribe were gathered and we had quite a good family barbecue. Today we had a rather small gathering. Just my side of the tribe. but that made for over a dozen of us. As time goes by we all have gone our own ways, but it was good to get together for an afternoon in the garden today. It could have been warmer, but we had a good time nonetheless. I took a few photos, we really should do this more often.
Amazingly I stayed awake for the clear-up. When did that last happen for any sort of party at our house?
7 May 2019 (Tuesday) - Feeling Iffy
I woke up feeling full of energy and raring to go only to find it was twenty past midnight. I then dozed fitfully, seeing every hour of the night, and most of the half-hours too. I eventually gave up trying to sleep, and was a tad miffed to find we'd run out of coffee. So I just had granola as I watched the first episode of the second season of "Santa Clarita Diet". I'm ploughing into that show – it’s rather good!
I got dressed, found what I'd done with my car and set off to work. I needed petrol and wanted to allow time to go to Sainsburys in Aylesford. As well as getting Nectar points, petrol is seven pence a litre cheaper there than it is locally.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the government is publishing a report today about how schools use exclusions when dealing with problematical pupils.
This is something which boils my piss. Had Swadelands school told the most recent fruit of my loin to shut her rattle and do her schoolwork (rather than excluding her for the most trivial of reasons) then I'm sure her life would have turned out differently.
Can you believe that eighty-five per cent of schools don't even use exclusion?
There was also talk of the new royal baby. I didn't even know that the duchess of Sussex was expecting. It is amazing what you miss when you are not paying attention.
I got to the petrol station and got fuel. I also got a sandwich having realised that what with all the excitement of having no coffee at home I'd forgotten to make one earlier.
Work was much the same as ever, but I was twenty minutes late getting out this evening. Once home I had a bit of a doze until "er indoors TM" came home. She boiled up a pasta bake and we scoffed I whilst watching last week’s episode of “The Orville”. It was rather good. I then slept through whatever else was on telly… I’m thinking I need an early night…
Yesterday had been rather good… I think I paid for it today…
8 May 2019 (Wednesday) - Home Alone
A large contingent of the family's women went to the airport for the hen weekend in the small hours this morning. "er indoors TM" set off shortly after two o'clock. Fudge slept through it, but her leaving upset Pogo and Treacle who whimpered and howled and cried for about an hour before finally settling.
I got up just after five o'clock, did my morning routine, and over a bowl of granola watched last week's episode of "Lee and Dean". I then woke the dogs and sent them all outside for tiddle. Bearing in mind the rain, not one of them was very keen on going for a tiddle. They had their brekkie, all looked at me with quizzical expressions. They knew that something odd was going on, but all happily settled and were all soon asleep again.
I set off for the early shift. As I drove through the rain the pundits on the radio were spouting their usual brand of drivel. There’s not enough doctors to go round, Iran is trying to pull out of the agreement by which is stops trying to make an atom bomb, the Prime Minister is in the shit again…much the same as it is every morning.
I got to work, did half a day’s work, and left. What with "er indoors TM" not being about to see to the dogs I’d asked for the afternoon off to come and be with them.
I walked out to the car park and saw that someone had parked their car right across my car’s parking space; blocking it in. Whoever it was had left their phone number written on the dashboard. I phoned it. And phoned it again. After twenty minutes someone answered. I explained that their car was blocking me in. He asked if I could wait until his lunch break. I said that if he was busy I could probably use my car to push his car out of the way. He said he’d be right there.
Ten minutes later he turned up; gabbling into his phone about how bad the parking is in the car park. He was so busy talking on his phone that he never once acknowledged me.
I got home about half an hour later than planned.
Once home I put leads onto the dogs. We walked down the road to where I’d parked. I opened the back of the car and said “Boot Dogs!”. This is a trick the dogs have learned. All three hopped into the boot.
We drove up to Bells Forstal. There is a geocache there on the old airfield. It made for somewhere different to walk the dogs. Pogo especially seemed to like the run. I soon found the plastic tub I was after, and we took a circular walk back to the car. As we walked there was a minor commotion in a hedge and a pheasant flew out. Fudge and Pogo took off in hot pursuit. Treacle looked at them and looked at me and sat as if to say what a good girl she was.
We walked back to the car past a geocache that "er indoors TM" had hidden a year ago. Someone who’s never actually found a geocache had claimed the thing was missing. It wasn’t.
We came home, and I spent a little while bagging rubbish before foraging for some dinner. I foraged up at the KFC, and once home I shared my dinner with the hounds whilst watching last Sunday’s episode of “Victoria”.
I never knew that Prince Albert was the brains behind the Great Exhibition.
I then got the ironing board out and started watching a film on Netflix. “The Wandering Earth” was a sci-fi story about a group of astronauts guiding the Earth away from an expanding Sun, while attempting to prevent a collision with Jupiter… and if that wasn’t lame enough the whole thing had been filmed in Chinese and dubbed (rather badly) into English.
I turned it off half way through and watched “Santa Clarita Diet” instead.
"er indoors TM" and all the women have all arrived in Lanzarote safely and would seem to be fine. If only I could explain this to the dogs; they are all guarding the front door and are plainly waiting for her to come home.
They’ve got some wait…
9 May 2019 (Thursday) - Sandhurst
We had something of a terrible night. I went to bed earlier than usual leaving Fudge guarding the front door waiting for "er indoors TM" to come home. Treacle and Pogo came upstairs with me and settled on the bed. I was woken ten minutes later by their barking. I came downstairs and found them at the window barking at passers-by (Fudge was still guarding the front door). I marched the twins upstairs, settled them, and was woken by their barking again ten minutes later. This went on until midnight when I struck on the idea that if I shut the bedroom door then they couldn’t go looking out of the window for "er indoors TM".
They then stomped round the bedroom whining to be allowed to go look for her. Eventually everyone settled about three o’clock.
I got up to see posts on Facebook from Lanzarote. "er indoors TM" had slept very well. I saw another friend has started a new hobby – “medieval combat” (sounds interesting) and another friend was having a birthday.
I then saw something which made me rather sad. A friend was asking for hints about a puzzle geocache in Berlin. Apparently there is a seriously major meet-up of hunters of Tupperware there next weekend. There was a similar one in Hamburg a couple of weeks ago. A few years ago the local hunters of Tupperware would have organised a minibus trip out to one or other (or both) of these events. Nowadays people just do their own thing and post up the photos afterwards.
Such a shame. I’m busy in the weekend of the Berlin one but presumably this was planned some time ago. Had I known the thing was taking place (or had I known about the Hamburg one) I could have sorted something.
I got the dogs onto their leads and we drove to Sandhurst. I fancied walking somewhere different today and I’d looked at the geo-map. There was a geocache by the clock tower near where we might park, and there was another one a mile into the countryside. This one hadn’t been found for over a year so I thought I might go for a resuscitation.
We found the footpath we needed, and after traversing fields of sheep and cattle and horses I let the dogs run. It was at this point that the heavens opened. But my geo-app said we were closer to the geocache than the car, so we carried on. We got to within ten yards of the thing only to find we were on the wrong side of a barbed wire fence… but this didn’t stop us. After a short detour I soon had the cache in hand. Not been found since April ’18. Another resuscitation (that’s forty-three) – happy dance.
The last chap to find it wrote in his on-line “found it” log “Amazed and pleased to find a cache in such good condition, log book bone dry, container in good nick too. Noted the log book is the original too. Why only 30 finders in the 7 years this has been out ??” A good question – I think I know why. This geocache is somewhat “old skool”. Back in the day you’d go out looking for *one* cache. These days people want the numbers. There was room for half a dozen (or more) geocaches along the route I walked today. Most people won’t walk a round trip of nearly two miles just for one cache. But for me this was ideal. I could park the car, and with a little judicious map-reading I had a walk for the dogs. And a good walk too.
The dogs behaved themselves with the cattle and sheep and horses… but then had a complete fit about a pheasant. I wish they wouldn’t.
I took a few photos as we walked.
We came home. I managed to park near the house, so I dragged out the hoover and gave the car a bit of a scrub (I’m expecting passengers this weekend!) then gave the gas barbecue a scrubbing too. I had planned to clean out the fish-pond filter, but time ran out.
I went up the road to the corner shop to get a sandwich, and on the way back I stopped at "er indoors TM" car. She told me that there wasn’t enough dog food in the house to last till she came home and that there was a big box of it in her car.
I gave up after fifteen minutes of ransacking the car, only to find she’d brought it into the house before she left.
I went to bed for the afternoon, and in a novel break with tradition my dogs were quiet. In fact they only barked when next door’s dogs kicked off for no reason that I could see.
I got up and cooked up some burgers that had been left over from Monday. They had been in an unopened packet in the fridge, and the best before date was only yesterday so they couldn’t have been *that* bad.
And then my phone beeped. A message. A friend had just walked the geo-series I’d put out in Kings Wood. One of the caches was missing. Because I’d hidden it, it was up to me to replace it. And (as is always the way) this missing cache is about a mile and a quarter from the nearest place that I can park my car. Oh well… I chose Kings Wood as it is somewhere nice to walk the dogs when doing geo-maintenance. That’s tomorrow morning’s walk sorted then.
Once the washing machine stops I shall hang out my smalls (!) *If* the rain stops I shall walk the hounds round the park. The first fruit of my loin is looking after them this evening. I had hoped to tire them a little before taking them round to him. But I think he’d rather have un-walked dogs than wet dogs.
And then I’m off to the night shift. Must remember to pack stuff for tomorrow morning’s dog walk and to put the dustbins out. This being left “home alone” is hard work…
10 May 2019 (Friday) - After the Night Shift
This morning’s Google Doodle was of Lucy Wills; the discoverer of the importance of folic acid in the human diet. I thought that rather apt as I’d spent much of the night performing a couple of hundred folate assays.
And with folate assays (and quite a lot else as well) done I left work and got into the car.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about the US-Chinese trade negotiations which aren’t going well. President Trump had declared a twenty-five per cent tariff on all new Chinese imports into the US, and the Chinese had implied that they may well reciprocate.
Trade tariffs are crap. If a company has to (effectively) bribe a government to allow its product into their country (where before no bribe was needed), it is simple economic sense to pass the cost of that bribe onto the end customer. All that President Trump has achieved is to put the price up for his own countrymen.
Rather than going home, I drove to "My Boy TM"’s house to collect the dogs. I had considered leaving them at home overnight last night, but had soon thought better of that idea. So I planned to take them for a sleepover with Sid, "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". But the first fruit of my loin had offered to have them. That saved a sixty-mile round trip out to Margate.
When I collected them tis morning "My Boy TM" assured me that the dogs hadn’t been *too* badly behaved, but he did say that they had been rather excitable. Well… what did he expect? They had gone for a sleepover with Rolo – it was going to be like the first night at cub camp for them, wasn’t it? Mind you he wasn’t impressed that they hadn’t settled until eleven o’clock, and that they had woken him at six o’clock. He’d had seven hours’ sleep. I’d love that!!
However it spoke volumes that as I drove up, he was already standing outside his front door with all three dogs already leaded up and ready to go.
Bearing in mind that the dogs needed a walk, and also bearing in mind reports that a geocache of mine in Kings Wood had gone missing, we drove up to Challock to sort it out. The missing cache was seven tenths of a mile from the car park as the crow flies. And bearing in mind that there is no way that you could walk the straight line that the crow would fly, I thought a round trip of three miles would make for a good dog-walk.
And it did.
People who’ve walked my Kings Wood series of geocaches have commented on how quiet and peaceful the place is, and how you can walk miles without seeing another soul. We saw a few people (two) in the car park and (apart from the men doing the logging) we saw three others as we walked. It was a shame that one of them was officiously bumbling about with a clip board *very* near to where I needed to replace the missing geocache. I have no idea what this chap was doing, but he was trying to look incredibly dignified and impressive. I thought I might have a problem trying to stealthily replace the missing cache, but muddy dogs soon chased off the well dressed fellow in his three-piece suit (who wears a three-piece suit a mile into Kings Wood?), and it wasn’t long before the missing geocache was replaced.
I was going to say “let’s hope the punters are grateful”, but on reading what people write when they walk the Kings Wood geo-series I get the impression that they are.
We came home. By then the dogs were ravenous; I didn’t realise just how late their breakfast would be. And with them fed I went off to bed. I didn’t set an alarm; I always wake when I set an alarm. I thought I might just find out how long I could sleep. I slept for three and a half hours. I was rather disappointed by that.
I made some toast, and then got the ironing board out. I spent a little while doing laundry, and then thought about cleaning out the fish-pond filter. And decided against it. Night shifts are tiring, so I watched the telly instead. It don’t watch itself you know. “Lee and Dean”, “Santa Clarita Diet”… me and the dogs had kebab for tea.
I shall program “Hannah” for tomorrow and then I think an early night wouldn’t be a bad idea.
11 May 2019 (Saturday) - Balcombe (and Ardingly Reservoir)
I did get an early night last night, but it wasn’t a good one. Pogo and Treacle lay very close either side of me on the bed which was very constricting and very hot. And when I came back from visiting the loo in the small hours Pogo had something to say about being disturbed. When I finished telling him (in no uncertain terms) who was “the main mumma” and who was “the bi-atch” Fudge came up and wanted to be on the bed too.
I finally dozed off half an hour before the alarm went off.
I took the dogs out for a tiddle, made everyone some brekkie, and as I scoffed it I had a look at the Internet. GSAK was still playing up, which was an issue for those who hunt Tupperware. Looking on-line it would seem to have been a world-wide issue. Fortunately it now seems to be fixed.
The main problem with geocaching as a hobby is that for all that it is a very high-tech hobby, those who run the show don’t seem to be very tech-savvy. Without two or three other I.T. plugins the hobby is incredibly unwieldy, and those at geo-HQ keep fiddling with the software which just renders all the plugins (as well as the stuff with which they are fiddling) unusable.
The obvious answer is to employ some I.T. people who *are* any good.
I also saw a squabble kicking off on Facebook on one of the local groups. People were running down Ashford town centre as being rubbish for shopping. What with the recent closures of Debenhams, Marks and Spencer and the pet shop they might have a point. I’ve not been shopping in the town centre for months. But then… shopping? What is it all about? When I go “shopping” I know what I want to buy and I can either go to one of the larger shops around the outskirts of the town (with its own free car park) or I can order on-line and have it delivered to wherever I want it delivered (usually) in a day or so.
However for some people “shopping” is a way of life. They pay a fiver to park up, then walk for five minutes to a load of shops. They then spend the afternoon randomly buying any old things that the shops might have in stock (and that they don’t actually need or want) despite not actually having had any need to go “shopping” in the first place.
I got our stuff together and got the leads onto the dogs. We went out to the car; I opened the boot and announced “Boot Dogs!” All three hounds immediately jumped into the car’s boot.
We drove to Leybourne where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. Since I had the full wolf-pack it made sense for me to drive us all to today’s adventure. There were seats for humans and a boot for the dogs. After a few hundred yards Fudge and Treacle were in with the humans, and Pogo was sulking.
We broke our journey at Clackett Lane services. You can’t go wrong with McBrekkie. Whilst Karl and Tracey got supplies, Charlotte and I sniggered at the weather forecast. Have you ever used the BBC weather app on your phone while at Clackett Lane’s westbound services? It thinks you are in a place called Titsey. Rather puerile, but it amused us.
As we scoffed our McBrekkie we watched a hawk flying by whilst being mobbed by a crow. The crow was definitely attacking the hawk. I’ve heard of this happening, but only ever seen it once before.
With McBrekkie scoffed we set off to Balcome. It was at this point that Pogo also abandoned the idea of “Boot Dogs”. We got to Balcombe without any dogs in the boot, and the back seat being rather crowded.
We arrived, parked up, and it wasn’t long before we were off on a little wander. Today’s walk was along quiet country lanes and across fields and footpaths. Through woods, and a mile or so walking along the shore of the Ardingly reservoir. I did laugh at a sign at the reservoir. Dogs aren’t allowed to go in the water as the reservoir is a source of drinking water. It is obviously fine for fish and ducks to crap in the water, but dogs can’t swim there. Go figure (!)
We originally planned to walk more of the shore of the reservoir than we did. There was another series of geocaches on the east side that we had planned to include in our walk today. But on looking on the map we saw that they could easily be incorporated into another geo-series which we shall walk in a couple of weeks’ time. And we thought we’d better not walk too far today as the weather was against us.
The weather – it was odd. The forecast had been for “showers”. One moment I was in a T-shirt feeling rather warm; the next we would all be in waterproofs huddling under a tree sheltering from torrential rain. For all that we have had rain before, I think that today may well have been one of the wettest walks we’ve had. Fudge looked like a seal on several occasions.
I took quite a few photos as we walked today. I do that.
We had a minor episode toward the end of the walk. When we stopped to rummage in a hedge (we do that rather a lot) Charlotte noticed that Pogo was worrying his paw. I wondered if he’d hurt it; I had a feel of it, and my hand came away covered in blood. He’d somehow cut his paw somewhere. As I worried about what to do, he wandered off. He’d clearly forgotten that he’d pranged his hoof, and he didn’t worry it again at all. I can’t see anything wrong with it; I wonder what that was all about?
Geocache-wise, today’s was a rather good walk. For all that the caches were mostly rather old ones, we found all of them except one. Ironically the missing one was one of the newest. They were all well maintained, and quite a few were rather large too. There were a couple that had issues; we found one almost (but not quite) in the cow poo. We replaced that one where we thought it should have been (i.e. *not* in the cow poo). Another had the hint “footpath sign”. The footpath sign had snapped off. I found the cache laying on the ground, so we put it back where the sat-nav said it should be, and put the footpath sign on top of it.
There’s no denying that had I put a load of caches along this route I would have put more, and had them closer together, but that’s just me. We had a rather good guided walk today for which I am very grateful.
Once back at the car we insisted on “Boot Dogs” because they were filthy. But the didn’t have to “boot dog” for long. We drove half a mile up the road to a rather good pub. We sat outside for a pint; we sat in the sheltered area and it was rather pleasant until the rain started. The rain chased those smoking all sorts of noxious things into close proximity so we went inside the pub where the dogs barked at pretty much everything that they possibly could.
We piled back into the car, and drove home. As we drove the weather was just like it had been all day. Glorious sunshine giving way to torrential rain; then after five minutes the rain stopping.
We stopped at Leybourne to unload passengers. I wondered if the dogs might like to “unload” as well, but they didn’t. So we came home…
Once home the dogs had a bath, and had their tea. All three were soon snoring. Treacle took a little longer to settle than the others; she was clearly rather over-excited. I then cooked myself a pizza. It was a failure; it was raw. I put it back in the oven for a bit and incinerated it. But I ate the cinders and have learned from my mistake. Next time I will go straight to the KFC.
"er indoors TM" will be home from the hen weekend soon. She’s due home at three o’clock tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to her return before I starve to death…
12 May 2019 (Sunday) - This n That
I was awoken by a frantic woofing shortly after three o’clock as excited dogs flew downstairs to greet "er indoors TM" who was back from her little holiday.
I said hello and went back to kip.
Over a bit of brekkie I perused the geo-map planning more adventures, Fudge emerged from his basket and lay on the back of the sofa watching the world go by.
With brekkie scoffed I drove out to Tyreweb. My car’s front tyres have been getting progressively more and more worn (as tyres do) so it was time to do something about it. I got to Tyreweb fifteen minutes before they opened and was first in the queue. The nice man took my details and the car key and said he’d make a start once they opened. By the official opening time there were half a dozen people waiting. I was right to have got there early.
I had a cup of coffee whilst I waited. I started to read my Kindle app, but soon found myself watching the antics of the feral children of the aggressive pikey-woman. She’d burst through the doors of the place and announced to the assistant that her “f..ing car’s f..ing tyres were f…ing f…ed, and could he f…ing fix them?” I got the impression that the poor chap didn’t dare say no. Having ordered repairs be done to her car forthwith she plonked herself down in the waiting room and bellowed profanities into her mobile phone whilst her feral children ran amok. They actually needed to be told not to climb on the displays, and seemed to be surprised when she screeched at them to “f…ing get down before I f…ing break your f…ing necks”.
The nice man soon sorted out my new tyres and fixed an issue with the tracking (whatever that is) and I came out two hundred pounds lighter. I got out as quickly as I could before pikey-woman realised I’d been served before she had.
I came home, and "er indoors TM" drove us all up to Reculver. The dogs needed a walk, I wanted to get a new rucksack from go Outdoors. The monthly county geo-meet was in Reculver today so we thought we could walk the dogs from there and come home past Go Outdoors.
The dogs got rather over-excited as we drove, and I’m afraid my piss boiled when I tried to get a ticket for the car park. The machine was dead simple. You stick the money in, you press the button, and the ticket comes out. Some idiot woman took ten minutes to do this; she was almost in tears by the time she got her parking ticket. The next one in the queue was equally stupid. And the next two weren’t even in the queue at all – they were just standing in line watching everyone else.
My life is too precious and too short to waste like this.
The monthly geo-meet was an open-air one. It was rather well attended. We didn’t stay long as Pogo was a tad fractious but it was good to catch up with old friends. And it was also rather good to go for a little walk along the sea front with the baby twins too.
From the meet we drove to Go Outdoors. It took an age as we had to drive through Canterbury. I always advise against driving through Canterbury, and again I reminded myself what a silly thing it is to do. But we eventually got to Go Outdoors. I saw the rucksack I wanted. It was already reduced, and with my loyalty card it was reduced even more. And they gave me another ten per cent off as well because I asked for it.
I say I asked for it – it is widely known in geocaching circles that if you are a member of the local group then you get ten per cent off of things in Go Outdoors. Or (to be more precise) it is widely known to everyone *except* the staff of the shop. I’ve asked for the discount many times, and every time I am met with a blank stare. I again got the blank stare today. The chap giving me the blank stare asked his colleague, who then called others over. Not one had heard of this discount, but they gave me ten per cent off anyway.
My receipt said I’d spent forty quid with them, and had saved fifty quid with all the discounts. I sometimes wonder how Go Outdoors stay in business.
We came home; I had a cuppa, then disassembled the fish-pond filter and scrubbed it all out. People see my pond which is rather pretty (even if I do say so myself) but what they don’t see is me with my arms up to the elbows in carp poo in the bath tub. The bath tub is a handy container for scrubbing the innards of the pond filter, but I had a minor mishap today. As I was scrubbing, the bath’s overflow collapsed. Presumably in the aftermath of having had the shower fixed the other day? It was easily fixed, but for a moment panic set in.
With pond filter scrubbed and reassembled I had planned to mow the lawn, but my back was aching, so I contended myself with harvesting the dog turds and called it a day.
"er indoors TM" boiled up some rather good mushroom soup which we scoffed whilst watching last week’s episode of “Young Sheldon” and a couple of episodes of “Junior Bake-Off”.
Pogo’s paw doesn’t seem to be bothering him after yesterday’s injury but there is a cut on the pad. I shall keep an eye on it…
Today has been rather busy.
13 May 2019 (Monday) - Off to Work...
I woke shortly after three o'clock and considered getting up to watch "Game of Thrones". The program had started an hour before, and I *could* have watched it before all the spoilers came out. But then... I've done this for the last four weeks and (quite frankly) the episodes haven't been of a quality worth getting out of bed for. Realising that it would keep I went back to sleep.
I got up three hours later, watched an episode of "Santa Clarita Diet", fussed Fudge, and set off to find where I'd left my car.
I had intended to get petrol yesterday when getting the new tyres, but I'd forgotten. I went to Sainsbury to get petrol. As I paid I brandished my Nectar card. For two years I was asked if I had a Nectar card every time I refuelled in Sainsburys. Now I've got one, no one ever asks about the thing.
I set off along the A28 in the general direction of Tunbridge Wells; I've been seconded to work there for three weeks. What with the vagaries of my shift allocations, this was my first routine Monday working for some time.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the company that runs the country's search and rescue helicopters has gone bankrupt. I can't pretend to understand this one - how on Earth can you run a search and rescue helicopter as a profit-making business?
There was also talk of a tax being put onto the likes of Amazon and other mail-order businesses. Apparently people who sell stuff on the internet or by mail order have got an unfair advantage over traditional shops in that they don't have all the costs that go with having a traditional shop.
Of course they don't. That's why they don't have a traditional shop in the first place and why they operate by internet or mail order.
What amazes me is how this is presented as news. My mother was acting as an agent for a mail-order catalogue company fifty years ago.
The roads were surprisingly quiet this morning; I got to work rather early, and had time to read my Kindle before the rigours of the day. And the day had some rigours. I was glad when home time came… or (more precisely) quarter past home time as I had to stay a tad late as there was something of an emergency kicking off.
I came home, and "er indoors TM" and I walked the dogs round Bowens Field. We than had a rather good bit of scoff before she went bowling. With all three dogs asleep with me on the sofa I watched last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones”. It was probably the best of the most recent episodes, but that wasn’t saying much. I was right not to have got up in the middle of the night to have watched it.
Next week is the last episode of “Game of Thrones” ever. My hopes are high, but my expectations aren’t.
14 May 2019 (Tuesday) - Bit Dull
I slept like a log last night finally waking just before six o’clock. Over seven hours asleep. Good times.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Santa Clarita Diet” then had a quick look at the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight. I hadn’t missed very much. Pretty much nothing at all on Facebook, and absolutely nothing at all on email.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing the chap who is giving next week's Reith lectures. He was talking about how the average Brit has absolutely no idea about politics in general, and was taking the line that this is in large part why the country is in the state that it is in. This got me thinking... for all of the talk of Brexit and doom and gloom, my daily round is continuing much as it ever had. For all that the Brexit negotiations are a mess, the world hasn't ended (yet).
I'm reminded of fifteen years ago when I was in a relatively senior management position (I hated it!!). It had been declared from "on high" that managers were spending too long in meetings and that every managerial meeting would henceforth "have a guillotine". This meant that each meeting was time-limited, and after the allocated time the meeting would end, and everyone involved would walk away and do some proper work. Whether or not the meeting had come to any conclusion would have no bearing on the fact that meetings were to be of a fixed duration.
This "guillotine" policy was abandoned after eighteen months. It was decided to get rid of it before anyone realised that the actual business of the place was carrying on fine despite no managerial decisions having been made for over a year.
Much the same is happening with the Brexit negotiations.
I got to work; I did my bit. I came home again. I came home to a rather odious letter from Nigel Farage who had sent some propaganda about the upcoming European election. Loathe him or detest him, you have to admire him. He's effectively killed the political party he started (UKIP) purely by starting another. His new party isn't a political party you can join; it's listed as a company. As for its policies and manifesto... it doesn't actually have any. Whatever they are will be announced *after* the European elections. Allegedly only a few days ago Nigel walked away from the scene of a car crash in which he was supposedly involved... and *still* the masses vote for him.
This evening we started watching the new series of “Bake Off – the Professionals”. This started a couple of weeks ago. It is listed as season two. Which it is… bearing in mind the show moved to Channel Four last year…
As we watched we scoffed a very good but of dinner which "er indoors TM" had boiled up. I do like liver. We also had a bottle of low alcohol cabernet sauvignon. Have you ever tried low alcohol wine? Vimto is cheaper, and tastes better.
15 May 2019 (Wednesday) - Still Dull
Another good night – I like those. I wish they happened more often. Perhaps if and when I get my nose re-bored they might. It is now two months since my ENT appointment; you’d have thought I might have heard back from the hospital by now. Mind you when I last had to have surgery, nothing happened unless I chivvied things with a formal complaint. Perhaps I need to start whinging again.
I had a look at the Internet. A chap with whom I went to college in the 1980s was again banging on about how good Brexit is. He was taking the line that those wanting to remain in the EU have always used insults as arguments, because they have no actual facts as to why we should not leave the EU, whereas Brexiteers have always given facts as to why we should leave the EU. One thing which never fails to amaze me about life is how everyone’s experiences are different… In my experience on social media the remoaners seem to post endless lists of reasons why leaving is a good thing in the hope that no one will see that many of those reasons are rather nonsensical. Whereas the brexidiots usually seem to present the validity of Brexit as a self-evident fact which is clearly not needing any justification. Today my old mate was using that old argument of saying that “X is clearly the case because I say so. And because I say so, it is correct”.
I made the mistake of telling him that our experiences are different.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing the recent shutting down of the Jeremy Kyle TV show. Some chap who had been wheeled on to shriek and argue had failed a lie detector test during the filming, and has since gone on to kill himself.
On the one hand it is rather sad that this has happened. On the other, it is *exactly* the sort of thing that large swathes on the public want and is the reason why the show is so popular.
I'm reminded of my classical studies when I learned about the Roman poet Juvenal who talked of "Bread and Circuses".
Two thousand years later and nothing has changed. Such a shame.
There was then an interview with the leader of Plaid Cymru (the Welsh nationalists) who are simultaneously pushing for Wales to be independent of the United Kingdom, and to be an integral part of the European Union. However seems to be unable to explain the obvious contradiction here.
As I drove I was rather amazed by the amount of dead animals on the roads. A dead badger on the A28. Several assorted flattened mammals on the A262, and a dead deer on the A21. Surely something could be done to save these poor creatures.
I got to work. During a break I was sitting in the rest room reading my Kindle app when the boss remarked that absolutely everyone was staring at a mobile phone. A lot of people comment when this happens. No one bats an eyelid when everyone is reading a book or a newspaper though, do they? What is it about reading something by using a phone that so many people find upsetting?
As I drove home there was another dead badger on the A28. I came home to an empty house as "er indoors TM" had taken the dogs out. Once they were back we had a rather good bit of dinner and watched more “Bake off – The Professionals”.
Today was dull…
16 May 2019 (Thursday) - Cheeky FTF
Fudge decided to spend the night on our bed last night. I worry about him on his own when he sleeps downstairs, but when he sleeps upstairs there is even less room for me.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Santa Clarita Diet” then had a little look at the Internet to see if I’d missed much. I hadn’t. I then checked my emails - there were two new geocaches which had just gone live which were not too far off of the way to work. So (pausing only briefly to sit on Fudge as I put my socks on) I got dressed and set off for Sissinghurst.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how President Trump has effectively banned the Chinese tech giant Huawei from the USA. This made me think... President Trump is taking the line that being a Chinese firm, allowing Huawei to build much of a country's communication infrastructure means that said country would have access to pretty much all communications, and would have the ability to turn it all off whenever the mood took them.
He's probably got a point.
But isn't this true of buying any such product from anyone? Much of the UK's electrical generating ability is owned by the French government. At the moment France and the UK get along reasonably well. But who is to say that this state of affairs will last? Conceivably the French may well pull the UK's plug at any future time when doing so would be to their advantage. It's the old public sector versus private sector argument, isn't it? Trying to get something cheaply by offering a private party the chance to make a quick buck isn't always the bargain it might seem to be.
I turned off of my usual route at Sissinghurst and headed to where my sat-nav told me the new geocache was. As I drove along a rather narrow lane I wondered if I was in the right place; the lane I was driving along looked rather like someone’s drive.
I was in the right place for one of the geocaches. And I was the first to find it too. Happy dance. I *could* have gone for the second one, but I chose to leave it for someone else and share the love.
As I drove on to work I found that my suspicions were correct - I'd just driven half a mile down a private road. Woops.
I got to work with plenty of time to spare (even allowing for my geo-diversion). If I leave home at seven o'clock I have a journey of just over an hour. If I leave much later I have a journey of an hour and a half.
Work was a bit different today. With a colleague leaving to have a baby we had cake (and lots of it) but we also had one or two emergencies too. People watching the soaps and TV dramas get a rather odd idea of what hospital work is like. Let's just say that it wasn't fun...
Driving home wasn’t fun either. There were road works causing serious delays on the A21. I diverted cross-country to try to avoid them, abut as I drove along a lane there was a rather loud bash as something clouted the side of my car. (I wonder what it was). And then once I’d bypassed the road works I found myself stuck behind a *very* slow-moving tractor.
I came home just as "er indoors TM" was going out. She’d left me sausages and chips, and I devoured these whilst watching a film on Netflix. “Passengers” was a film we watched at the cinema on 2 January 2017. Reading my diary of that day I was quite scathing about the film then. I quite liked it this evening…
17 May 2019 (Friday) - A Day Off
Last night I saw that there is an on-line petition for HBO to re-make the last season of “Game of Thrones” since (with only one episode to go) this last season hasn’t been anything special. I posted a link to the petition on Facebook and this morning I saw that quite a few people agreed with me.
The writers really have thrown away seven years of excellent plot lines and rather clever character development. The trouble with “Game of Thrones” was that (like many TV shows) it started well, but there obviously was no clear end in mind. Such a shame.
Also last night I had a message about the Wherigo I put out in Kings Wood a couple of months ago. There was a typo in what I originally did. I put that right over a month ago. Last night I was told that the typo was still there. I couldn’t find it. I spent an hour last night going through the programming and half an hour this morning fighting with the thing. In the end I just uploaded the latest version again to keep the critics happy. As one does. I then got the leads on to the dogs and we drove up to Kings Wood where I tested that Wherigo again. And again it worked fine.
But we had a good walk while we were there. We saw two or three normal people, but not many really. Pogo didn’t fight with any other dogs which was something of a result. He and Treacle did eat horse dung though. For a place which has signs up saying no horse-riding, there is an awful lot of horse poo in Kings Wood.
We came home – eventually. We had to wait for the dustbin lorry to get out of the way. We were stuck behind it for a while. Perhaps I should have made a video – the bin men were emptying the green recycle bins into the lorry, then just throwing the bins out of their way in the vague direction of the pavements. When we were finally able to park I made the pavement near home passable.But there is only so much tidying up after the bin men that you can do.
I then settled the dogs and drove up to town. I needed some Euros for the weekend. In a novel break with tradition my bank actually had some. I then tried to get some brown boot polish for my walking boots. Eventually I got some in Timpsons. Can you believe that the shoe shops in Ashford don’t sell shoe polish?
I’m told that we need shoes for tomorrow evening in case the stag party goes somewhere posh. I don’t actually have any posh shoes any more, so I thought I might scrape the cow shit off of my walking boots and buff them up as best I can. It seems to have worked.
With Euros bought I came home and fed laundry to the washing machine, then spent half an hour in the garden. I harvested the dog dung and then mowed the lawn. I would have done more, but the drizzle was getting heavier (and my back was playing up too) so I gave up. I had a spot of lunch whilst the washing machine chewed my shirts, then I got the iron out.
I then had a minor episode with the washing machine as refused to disgorge the shirts. After a little fight I got them out only to find they were wringing wet. I remonstrated with the appliance, and eventually (under protest) it spun some of the water out of them. Thinking it might be bunged up I used much of the dogs’ bedding to line the kitchen floor, and I opened up the waste trap of the washing machine.
There wasn’t *that* much of a flood really.
"er indoors TM" insists we use “colour catchers” in the wash. These are sheets of papery-cardboardy stuff which supposedly stop your pants going pink. Personally I don’t care if my pants go pink, but (like the biblical centurion) I am merely a man subject to authority. However as well as stopping your pants going pink, these “colour catchers” also bung up the output pump in the washing machine. I fished out the sodden remains of quite a few of them, then rebuilt the washing machine and used it to scrub the now-sodden dogs’ bedding. I expect I’ve now bunged the machine up with dog hair.
I eventually got to iron my shirts. As I did I sparked up Netflix and watched “The Beyond”. It seemed vaguely familiar; I’m sure I’ve seen it before.
"er indoors TM" came home and went out on a mission. I did my packing. I might have an early night – I think I might need it to survive this coming weekend…
18 May 2019 (Saturday) - On the Beer
I didn’t sleep well. With all three dogs upstairs, space on the bed was at a premium. I eventually gave up trying to sleep and came downstairs only to have all the dogs follow me down. They don’t usually do that. And then I found out why. "er indoors TM" was going to the loo, and so her entourage had to follow. Most of them went back upstairs, but Fudge stayed with me in the hope of getting some crusts from my toast. He got some. A few years back I used to worry about giving him scraps as he was a little barrel, but now he’s getting rather thinner. I’d like to take him to the vet’s but he seems to be all right in himself, and visiting the vet’s does stress him.
I set off up to town where everyone had arranged to meet for brekkie. The County Hotel might not do the world’s best fry-up, but you can get a beer there at eight o’clock in the morning. Seeing how this was the start of the stag do for "My Boy TM" we thought we might start as we meant to continue. We started with the first fruit of my loin dressed as a banana, and that was pretty much how the day continued. Ten of us had a couple of pints (well… nine of us did as Andrew was driving) then we moved on to Tesco to get supplies for the drive. We all had a beer or two on the way to the services at Junction eleven where we picked up the last of our group (and had a tiddle).
From here it was only a short hop to passport control at the channel tunnel terminal. We were told we had a couple of minutes to have a quick look round the terminal. I got the beers in. But we had to rush them as le shuttle was loading. Still… we had more beer waiting for us in the minibus.
The channel crossing was a rather raucous affair. We were soon in France and having a tiddle in a lay-by somewhere off of the A16. Having a tiddle was something of a feature of the day.
It didn’t take long to get to Le Touquet, and once we’d dropped off our stuff at the hotel we went on something of a pub crawl. A banana suit gave way to a cowgirl costume, and beer gave way to more beer. As we drank we toasted passing hen parties and the gilet jaune rally (all twenty of them). We had lager and wheat beers and fruit beers. We had whelks and plates of oysters. We had pretty much every flavour of ice-cream known to science. Some of us ("My Boy TM") even had a little snooze.
Before it got too dark and before we got too “oiled” we went for dinner. I had steak… to be honest I was rather disappointed with it. I’d asked for rare and received charcoal. But it was OK.
With dinner dinnered things became rather vague. There were a *lot* of bars within a hundred yards of our hotel. I *think* I had drinks on the go at multiple bars as our groups divided and re-formed and went here and there. Trying to keep everyone together was akin to herding cats, and we didn’t try. I believe I even has Sambuca – and that doesn’t happen often.
It was actually pouring hard with rain by this point, but we didn’t care.
By midnight my nephew was clearly wilting. I was wilting too, but had managed to keep a brave face on it. Leaving the youngsters still drinking we went to bed…
19 May 2019 (Sunday) - Hanging
Our party had four rooms in the hotel. Our room had three beds. I’d very quickly bagged the single bed leaving my brother and nephew in the double bed. We were all very soon in bed last night, but everyone’s snoring kept everyone else awake, and everyone’s farting made everyone else giggle. We hardly slept at all.
At half past seven I sent a message to the communal WhatsApp group that we’d set up to see what time people were going for brekkie. By half past eight I’d not had a single reply so the three of us went for brekkie.
Brekkie was OK; croissants and pain au chocolate and coffee. I would have liked a fry-up but I’m not sure if my stomach would have thanked me for it. And the French don’t seem to go for a fry-up.
With no sign of anyone else in our party moving about we went for a little walk to try to get ourselves feeling a little more human. We wandered up to the beach where we found a geocache (can you believe it?) and came slowly back to the hotel via some local woods and a Carrefour.
Just as we were getting to the hotel we met some of our group. Those who had survived the night were “hanging” outside a little café. We joined them and “hung”. There was a *lot* of water and fruit juice being drunk. Anyone who has ever “hung” will sympathise.
Eagle-eyed readers might notice that I’d implied that not all of our party were present at this stage. One had gone shopping to get a replacement T-shirt (his T-shirt had been covered in some strange red concoction in an obscure night club in the small hours). And "My Boy TM" had been delayed following a minor episode with the gendarmerie. Having gone back to his hotel room at four o’clock in the morning he’d been unable to rouse his room-mate. He’d tried (unsuccessfully) to pick the lock of the door and having failed he decided to sleep in the corridor outside his room. There was however one rather major flaw in what he’d done… he’d gone back to the wrong hotel.
Eventually after being breathalysed, the French forces of law and order conceded that there isn’t actually anything in French law which prohibits anyone from sleeping in a hotel corridor dressed as a banana, so he was let off. I would say “let off with a caution” but as the police’s English was only marginally better than "My Boy TM"’s French, no one really knows what the gendarmes had to say on the matter.
Eventually we were all together, and we went for a light lunch. We found a rather good open-air café. I think the lads were rather taken with the chest of the waitress, but what do I know? Everyone ordered what they wanted. I wanted (and had) a chicken curry panini and a bottle of Chimay (9% abv).
From here we wandered up to the beach. One of our number had bought some French fireworks, and we amused ourselves blowing up the sand dunes.
Half of our group then went for a beer. Half of us hired segways. Have you ever had a go on a Segway before? They are great fun. They are basically a pair of wheels. You stand on them and lean forwards and it goes forwards. You straighten and it slows. We had a five minute session getting to grips with the things, and then segwayed round the town on them. Great fun. At one point the tour guide chap put out plastic cones and we had a little slalom race. I quite liked it – I hear you can hire segways at Leeds Castle. I’d be up for a session on them.
After an hour or so we joined up with the rest of our group for a pint. If you ever find yourself in Le Touquet, I’d recommend pretty much everywhere for food and drink *except* Jean’s bar. Admittedly my spoken French isn't perfect, but did the bar staff really have to show such contempt when pretending not to be able to understand me? And ten Euros for a pint of sour ale? The beer had gone off. Any decent cellarman would have realized this. Had this been in England I would have complained. But they had already made it quite clear that they were going to pretend that they didn’t understand me, so I contented myself with telling TripAdvisor about them instead.
I was rather amazed at the ten Euros for a pint bit. This morning eleven of us had had a sandwich or a panini or a snack as well as a drink, and it worked out at ten Euros each (for drink *and* food). It pays to shop around.
Having seen quite a lot of Le Touquet we thought we might have an hour or two in Cite Europe as it is very close to the shuttle terminal. We got there to find it was closed. Apparently Cite Europe doesn’t open on Sundays.
Pausing only briefly for one of our number to be sick (amazingly this only happened once all weekend!) we went to Burger King because… well… it was the only place which was open.
Yesterday’s shuttle crossing was a very high-spirited and lively affair. When we were half-way across the channel I woke up. Absolutely everyone in our group was fast asleep. The weekend had taken its toll.
It is a *long* time since I’ve been on a lads’ weekend. It wasn’t cheap, but it was fun. Must do it again…
Oh, and there are photos of the weekend here.
20 May 2019 (Monday) - Still Hanging
I slept like a log last night; but my nose does get very sore from the CPAP machine. After three or four hours it is rather tender. It was *very* sore this morning.
As I scoffed my toast Fudge sat on the sofa with me as we watched Treacle. Treacle usually pootles about doing her own thing and not bothering anyone *until* "er indoors TM" shows up. Then she is continually running off with stuff she shouldn’t have. She will ignore a bottle of perfume on the table for hours until "er indoors TM" comes along. Then she jumps on the table and runs off with it. And if there is no reaction she keeps showing off what she’s got and dabs people to provoke a reaction. It’s quite amusing really.
I sparked up my lap-top and had a look at Facebook. The photos from the weekend had got quite a lot of favourable comments, and I had a couple of friend requests from friends of friends who had seen them. I also had a friend request from a rather saucy looking young lady with a particularly epic chest but I didn’t respond to that (the friend request or the epic chest).
I sent out some birthday wishes, then checked my emails. Someone had logged finds on a geo-series that I archived months ago. Some people do take an age to do their geo-paperwork, but something seemed odd about this one. I had a look at this person’s geo-profile. They are a premium member of geocaching dot com (so they’ve spent money on it). But they’d supposedly found caches a hundred miles apart on the same day in April?
There are those who delight in policing other people’s geocaching finds. I wonder how long it will be before the geo-police get involved with this one?
I was wondering about where to walk the dogs today. In the end I went with our usual route round the park. Over the weekend a new geocache had appeared not far from the dog beach in the park, so walking there and back made for a good route. We got to where we were going; we soon found the cache. But as we turned to walk back I could see that Fudge wasn’t happy. He likes a circular walk. Walking somewhere then turning round and walking back really throws him. He always has a “WTF?” expression when we do that.
We were on the home stretch in Bowens Field when I was just thinking how well Pogo had been when an Alsatian attacked him. It was all shouting; he wasn’t hurt. The Alsatian just came from nowhere, pinned him down and snarled. I physically threw the Alsatian off of him and snarled at it. But the episode did for all the socialising training we’ve done over the past few weeks and months. Whereas earlier in our walk Pogo was ignoring other dogs or playing with them, he started woofing at them (obviously defensively). Oh well… such is dogs. I shall just persevere with him.
We came home and hung out one load of washing, then fed another load to the washing machine. I loaded a load of rubbish into my car and set off on a tip run. I went via “Pets at Home” where I met an idiot. Sometimes it worries me that no one else seems to find these people. Have you ever been to “Pets at Home”? It is a huge self-service supermarket. I queued up at the tills to pay for my fish food. When the twit in front of me got to the till he pulled out his shopping list and announced his requirements. He wasn’t at all impressed when he was told where the various things were. He had no intention of going off and getting them, and felt that there was nothing wrong with everyone standing around waiting whilst the assistants went and got his shopping (whilst everyone else got their own). Presumably he used to go to the pet shop in the town centre which used to pander to the likes of him? (It closed last week)
Fortunately another till was opened to which everyone else went. The chap who had been working on idiot’s till announced that he was going on a break, leaving the idiot standing on his own.
I went on to the tip via two geocaches (that weren’t there). I got to the tip to find a new development. They now have local radio playing at deafening levels. I wish they wouldn’t.
Once home I hung out more washing and fed the last of it to the washing machine. I had managed to get the laundry basket empty. I like it when that happens. I scoffed a quick sandwich then ironed shirts whilst watching last night’s last ever episode of “Game of Thrones” which was nowhere near as bad as you might have thought it would be, bearing in mind just how awful the most recent episodes have been.
I did have plans for the afternoon. I did a bit of gardening (but only a bit) until the grey clouds put me off. I spent a couple of hours catching up on episodes of “Jamestown” in which Jocelyn’s bosom was rather obstinately not heaving in the slightest. Seeing that the forecast rain hadn’t happened I got a bucket of water and washed the bird turds from my car. They had accumulated somewhat.
"er indoors TM" came home and mopped the kitchen floor with her new mop and bucket which she managed to break on their first outing. She wasn’t happy.
Once she’d boiled up a rather good bit of dinner she went bowling. I watched last week’s episode of Victoria which tried to end on a cliff-hanger with Prince Albert collapsing. But bearing in mind that they had just walked out of the Great Exhibition (May 1851), history tells us that Albert’s good for another ten years.
It’s not been a bad day’s holiday today. I booked the day because I thought I might need it to recover from the weekend.
21 May 2019 (Tuesday) - Late Shift
I was rather worried that my lap-top would never start this morning. Last night I’d told it to do an update, and this morning it took an absolute age to get going, and it is now noticeably slower in every way. This *really* sums up any kind of I.T. upgrade. The software may well be doing amazing things in the background, but in the foreground the hardware is actually less able to do the job.
I eventually got the thing working and had a look at the Internet. A lot of people were grumbling about the last episode of “Game of Thrones”. Working on the principle that people have (probably) had long enough to see the episode it strikes me as rather odd that the one who came out on top was the one who was dropped from an entire season as his character was so boring.
I had a little look at the geo-map to see if there were any potential geo-resuscitations that might not be too far off of my way to work today. I saw there was one or two.
I then took the dogs round the park. Pogo amazed me. I was expecting the worst after his little altercation yesterday, but he was fine. He sniffed other dogs nicely, and even played with one or two. There were no scraps at all. Having Pogo sit to have his lead put on and taken off, and when crossing roads, and to watch big dogs go by seems to be working.
As we came home we met an ex-cub’s mother. One of my ex-cubs is now nearly thirty years old and is running a pub in Cornwall. His mother has acquired (been left with) both of his dogs and the associated vit bills which are currently running at over four thousand pounds.
We came home. I’d had an election communication for the upcoming European elections from UKIP. It was an A5-sized piece of paper which said nothing but how UKIP will fight for Brexit. Now it is a simple matter of fact that whoever wins the European elections can have no effect on Brexit whatsoever, so clearly whoever wrote this rubbish is playing on people’s ignorance. It bothers me that people will read this and vote for them; utterly oblivious to the fact that those for whom they have voted are unable to deliver what they have promised. Democracy, eh?
Leaving the dogs fast asleep I drove south. I'd swapped geocaches with Chris a couple of months ago only to find that the one in Park Farm that I'd given him wasn't actually there. It was only fair that I replaced the thing.
I then headed off for that geo-resuscitation I'd spotted earlier. As I drove "Women's Hour" was on the radio. They were talking about bowel cancer; I listened with interest. What with my upcoming appointment at the arse clinic (to say nothing of intermittent blood in the chuff department) I found it was all rather relevant to me.
There was then an article about how difficult it is for a pregnant woman to get a job. Despite there being all sorts of laws and legislation, no one wants to employ someone who is about to go off for months of maternity leave. I was getting ready to shout at the radio (as I do) but amazingly no one pretended to be surprised about this. Mind you, one or two of the panel being interviewed really did try to blame it on Brexit.
I got to Staplehurst; I eventually added another one to my list of geo-resuscitations. And as I was in the area I took a slow drive along the country lanes picking up another four geocaches as I went. One was rather poignant, placed at the spot where Pilot Officer John Kenneth Grahame Clifton's Hurricane P5185 crashed, having been shot down by enemy fire on 1st September 1940. He was only twenty-one years old.
After four geo-finds I realised that time was pushing, so narrowly avoiding pranging the car in Goudhurst I set off in the general direction of work. As I drove I realised that my car's journey trip-meter and predicted miles-of-petrol-left-ometer had reset itself. I wonder what that was all about? I do hope the car's on-board electronics isn't on the way out. I'm desperately hoping I mistakenly pressed the reset button whilst fiddling with the windscreen wipers.
I got to work easily enough, then spent an age trying to park the car. Finding a parking space at mid-day is always tricky.
Being on a late shift I went to the works canteen for lunch. Vegetable lasagne and blackberry tart (with custard) set me up for the late shift.
As late shifts go it wasn't that bad really. Certainly better than some shifts I've had recently. It was only a shame that I finished the shift so late in the day and so far from home. But I'm not complaining; I knew this would be the case when I applied for the job. And I'd far rather be where I am now than where I was (both figuratively and literally).
22 May 2019 (Wednesday) - Another Late Shift
I woke to find I was cuddling Pogo as though he was a teddy bear. He seemed to like it. Silly pup.
I got up and went to move my car. The trouble with getting home after ten o’clock is that usually the only places left for parking are those in which you can only leave the car until eight o’clock.
With car moved I sparked up my lap-top and peered into cyber-space. Not much had happened really. Those few people posting odd memes were mostly re-posting what others had already put up. And with no emails of note I got dressed and (pausing only briefly for Fudge to be sick) took the dogs for an early walk.
We went round the park. Pogo was again far better than I had expected. Regular “sit” to watch other dogs go past seems to be working. Fudge however disgraced himself twice by trying to pork passing hounds. As we walked we met OrangeHead’s Chunky Little Friend. There would seem to have been a falling-out there.
We also saw loads of children who were on their way to school. School must start earlier these days. It never fails to amaze me how many mothers take children to school with the children on bikes and scooters but the mothers themselves walking. Obviously the bikes and scooters go faster than walking pace, so the mothers are constantly shrieking for the children to slow down, and the children are constantly falling off and crashing into fences, parked cars and passers-by because it’s not possible for a five-year-old to cycle at walking pace.
I did tell a couple of children off for screaming at my dogs. As I said to the mothers, if they are frightened of the dog, then they should ignore the dog. Screaming at the dog is going to provoke a reaction. It was rather clear that this had never occurred to the mothers.
We came home. The dogs had there usual mad sprint up the garden. Fudge leads the mad sprint; if he doesn’t, Pogo and Treacle go to fetch him. We fed the fish, and I wasn’t long before the dogs were snoring.
I went to Sainsbury's to get some petrol. I arrived to find my way blocked by some old idiot who was making a great show of being unable to work the petrol pump. As my piss boiled I watched the fool making a complete twit of himself until the chap at the adjacent pump drove away. I was then able to get to the pump in front of the idiot where I filled my car with petrol.
Just as I was about to go to the kiosk to pay, the idiot loudly announced that he was ready to go and that I was in his way. I didn't actually say anything out loud, but I nearly did. He didn't have to wait *too* long for me.
And again no one asked if I had a Nectar card.
Yesterday I spotted some geocaches which were up for resuscitation. Once I'd got petrol I drove out to Hawkhurst to see if I might find some of them. These ones looked to be ideal candidates for a successful resuscitation. One (which hadn't been found for over a year) couldn't be found until you solved a field puzzle which was inside a second geocache (which also hadn't been found for over a year). That second one hadn't been found for over a year for the simple reason that it was a mile's walk from the nearest road, and there were no other geocaches near it. I parked up as close as I could, put on my wellies, and had a rather good walk across the fields and woods to where my GPS said to look. The clue said to look deep into a hole in a tree. At the designated spot was a tree with a great big hole in it. I looked- I saw what I sought, Happy dance.
I got the information I needed to solve the field puzzle, and soon had the GPS co-ordinates for my second target. It was the best part of a mile away, but I had this idea that rather than following the footpaths I might follow the farm tracks to save some time.
In retrospect I should have known better. This is an idea I've had many times over the years, and it has *never* worked. Today was no exception. Eventually I scrambled over some barbed wire and waded through a quagmire to eventually find myself half a mile south of where I wanted to be. After a *lot* of effort I finally got on to the public footpath that I needed. It went through the gardens of a very posh house; the owners of which clearly wished it didn't. As I walked up the path, two Labradors flew out of the house and started barking at me. I could see I was being watched by some crusty old woman nearer the house, so I knelt down and made a very noisy fuss of the dogs (which they loved). I then called out to the woman to tell her what lovely dogs she had, and that they would make sure I stayed on the path. She had a face like a smacked arse as I walked up the public footpath and straight past her with the dogs following me (with something of a look of adoration in their eyes).
Leaving the dogs and the old bat behind I soon found my second geo-target, and then followed the path back to my car.
As I sat in the back of my car pulling off my wellies I watched a car go past. It had a bike on a rack on its boot. The bike fell off just as the car came past me. It fell on the road and was immediately flattened by the car coming behind it.
On the one hand the bike should have been secured properly. On the other hand, the person coming up behind shouldn't have been so close to the car in front. As an independent witness I could see that there was blame on both sides, but as voices rose and tempers flares, I realised that it wasn't my circus; it wasn't my monkeys. And I was running out of time and had to get to work.
I got to work to find the car park was full. I drove about and found the hospital has got an underground car park. I never knew that. And the exit from the car park into the main hospital takes you right past the canteen. I had some rather good stuffed mushrooms and chocolate pudding with custard.
The rest of the day was something of an anticlimax...
23 May 2019 (Thursday) - Not on the Night Shift
As I looked at Facebook (over brekkie) this morning several people were posting their reasons for their choices in today’s European elections. One or two of the people posting seemed to understand what they were voting for; most didn’t. Why on Earth would someone who retired early on the grounds of ill health (and whose social media posts mostly emanate from a hospital bed) vote for the candidate who advocates doing away with free health care for all. Didn’t they realise that?
Looking at the choices for the European elections we got to choose between:
· Those who’ve currently ballsed it all up
· Those who’ve historically ballsed it all up
· Those who would say shit was sugar for the chance to balls it all up
· Tree huggers
· A bunch of commies
· The official party of sending them all back on the next banana boat
· Those with no plans at all other than that they hate foreigners
· Some bunch who like the EU, but no one’s ever heard of them
· Well-intentioned do-goodery.
My heart said to vote for the tree huggers, but my head realised that many of them hadn’t looked at themselves in the mirror. Call me old-fashioned if you will, but first impressions count. You cannot take anyone seriously if your first impression is “WTF do you look like”.
I looked at my emails. I was told there was a problem with one of the Wherigos that I set four years ago. Despite the thing working fine in testing, and sixty people since successfully getting on with it, because one chap couldn’t do it, it must have some glitches.
I sighed, got dressed and took the dogs out.
We had a surprisingly good walk round the park. We played nicely with the other dogs. Three of us porked a passing Pug (poor Oscar). Mind you I did get a little frustrated with Fudge. He’d been walking round at the pace of an asthmatic snail (who was feeling a bit tired) when Pogo and Treacle shot off at full speed in pursuit of a squirrel. I looked for Fudge to see him going even faster, but going back the way we’d just come.
As we walked we were befriended by a young mother. She seemed rather taken by the dogs, and she seemed incredibly lonely. We chatted for a few minutes; I got the impression she would have talked all day long. It never fails to amaze me now many lonely people there are in such large towns.
We came home past the voting station where I finally cast my “X” for the party which (on reflection) I thought would do the least harm.
As I drove off towards Pembury, "Women's Hour" was on the radio. Today they were talking about women who have become successful graphic novel authors. The woman conducting the interview was rather angry at how few women write graphic novels, and how It is a male-dominated field. The (woman) author being interviewed caused consternation by saying that there are as many women as men writing graphic novels.
Graphic novels... I can feel my piss boiling.
Have you ever read "graphic novel". Once upon a time we had novels and comics. Nowadays people look at the pictures of a comic book, call it a "graphic novel", and pretend that they are reading classic literature up there with Tolstoy and Dickens.
Don't get me wrong - I like a comic book. I've always been a fan of "Batman" and "Superman" comics. But they are comics, and calling them novels changes nothing.
I had a relatively easy drive to work. Finding myself at Pembury half an hour earlier than I expected meant I had time on my hands. So I looked at the geo-map and had a little walk into the woods to find a sandwich box stashed by a holly bush.
I got in to work; I went to the canteen. I had a rather good lunch od spicy chicken and chips which I followed up with pudding and custard. And, pausing only briefly to laugh at an irate cleaner, I got on with another late shift. As late shifts go it wasn't bad. It was far better than the alternative - I was originally scheduled to be working the night shift today, but earlier in the week a colleague had asked if he could work my night shift today. I was quite happy to get out of the night work.
It did make for another late finish though…
24 May 2019 (Friday) - Half-Day
I had a bit of an iffy night; my stomach was gurgling like a thing possessed over brekkie. I blame the rice pudding I scoffed last night; it was only eighteen months past it’s “sell by” date.
Over brekkie I watched the first episode of “Sliced”, It wasn’t too shabby. I then sent quite a few birthday wishes on Facebook (quite a few friends had birthdays today) then got myself ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Labour spokesman on something-or-other. She was banging on about the importance of teaching "Climate Change" as a subject in schools. Now I've chosen my phrase rather precisely. She wasn't "discussing" or "advocating" much as you would expect anyone on national radio might do. She really was "banging on". It was suggested to her that children be taught to read and write and do arithmetic as their first priority, but I think that this concept went over her head. Such a shame... The more I hear of the Labour party on national radio these days, the less impressed I am with them .
There was also a lot of talk about the demise of the Prime Minister and my MP Damien Green was wheeled on to give a ten-minute political obituary on her premiership even though she didn’t actually throw in the towel until mid-morning (some three hours later).
Again my journey to work was delayed by a huge lorry which was stuck at the narrow chicane at Goudhurst. I thought lorries and buses had special sat-navs which showed which roads weren't suitable for them? But I still got to work early enough to have had a cooked breakfast had I wanted one. I thought about it but decided against the idea. Instead I had a cuppa, then got on with a morning's work. Having given up last night's night shift I had an odd amount of hours to make up. I'd worked some of them yesterday. I did the rest this morning, and set off homewards at mid-day.
I got home, and my first priority was to see to the hounds. We did our trick of “boot dogs” and drove down to Orlestone Woods. We had a rather good wander about; we only saw three other people. One young lady we met thought she’d disturbed deer or a wild boar. She asked me what did I think it was? I smiled sweetly and speculated on the putative identity of a creature I’d never actually heard or seen.
Eventually I made my excuses and got away.
We came home; I cleared the mess. One or other of the dogs (probably Pogo) had been shredding rubbish.
I then mowed the lawn. A simple enough job, but one which needs doing regularly. And I then planned to doze in front of the telly whilst the washing machine had a go at my shirts, but I stayed awake and watched the last two episodes of “Sliced” whilst the dogs snored.
With shirts ironed I then had a fight with my lap-top trying to organise the list of what I’ve been reading (since this year’s “World Book Day”) into some semblance of order. Once I finally got it straight, I realised I’d trashed mankybadger.co.uk by mistake. That took some putting right…
"er indoors TM" came home with a bottle of red wine. She then boiled up an incredibly good bit of scran which we devoured whilst catching up with episodes of “Bake Off: The Professionals”. As someone who worked in a kitchen for two years I often wonder if I might have done better in life had I stuck with that line of work.
The dogs liked sharing cheese with me, but perhaps finishing the bottle of port was a mistake?
25 May 2019 (Saturday) - Late Shift
I was sleeping like a log when I was woken by the sound of new-next-door’s dogs screaming. Presumably new-next-door had gone to work? The noise wasn’t loud but I was worried that it might set our dogs off. Our dogs slept through it, but I lay awake waiting for our dogs to kick off.
They were far more upset when "er indoors TM" went to move her car shortly before eight o’clock. When I go out they don’t bat an eyelid. Usually they just carry on snoring. But they are devastated when "er indoors TM" leaves the room for a few seconds.
I saw a new cache had gone live nearby. There was a puzzle to be solved to get the location. An on-line jigsaw puzzle. I *really* dislike these. I once tried to set such a puzzle. The local geo-feds said it was against the rules. I complained to geo-HQ in Seattle who also said it was against the rules. Strictly speaking these on-line jigsaw puzzles were against the rules back in the day, and in the meantime the rules have not changed (I had a look this morning). However since that little spat, hundreds of these types of puzzles have gone live. Perhaps it is just me who’s not allowed to use on-line jigsaw puzzles?
I solved the puzzle, got the location, and saw that the local FTF fiend had already been there and found the co-ordinates were about thirty metres out…
With "er indoors TM" off to Margate to visit "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" I was at a loose end, so I thought I might take the dogs out to see if we could find this new geocache. We did the sums – it was over towards Singleton. We used to walk round the lake all the time. It was such a good place for a dog walk. We got there… The place *stank* of “funny cigarettes”. We met several other dog walkers. I smiled and said hello to all of them. Most rudely blanked me. One little weasel didn’t. He proudly boasted of how his dog would bite my dogs. I told him in his own language (interspersing every word I uttered with the F-word so that he might understand) that it would only bite one of my three dogs. With a rather cocky expression he asked why. I explained that if the other two didn’t then immediately attack his dog, I would. It was at this point that Pogo started barking.
He’d clearly never been spoken to like this before. He picked up his little rat of a dog, and hurried off as quickly as he could, shouting profanities as he went.
I followed my sat-nav until it said I was about thirty metres away from the new geocache. Using the hint given I immediately spotted where I would have hidden the thing. We found it perhaps twenty-five metres from where the GPS would have had us look. I sent a message to the person who’d hidden it.
We came home. As the washing machine chewed more laundry I did more geo-jigsaws, then got ready for work. With the dogs all snoring I quietly escaped and drove to the co-op to get a sandwich. From there I drove to work. Being at Maidstone today was something of a relief. Much as I like the variety of a change of workplace from time to time, the journey to Pembury isn't always an easy one. It was good just to drive twenty-odd miles straight up the motorway today rather than negotiating the twisting country lanes through all the "-hursts" (Goud- and Sissing- to name but two).
Mind you I would *far* rather drive to Pembury *every day* rather than drive to where I used to go...
I got to work; I went to the canteen where the normal people had also decided to have some lunch. Oh, it was painful. The nice lady serving had various other things to do, so we waited patiently for her for about five to ten minutes. Most people would use this time wisely by looking to see what was for dinner and deciding what to have.
Not the idiot in front of me.
The nice lady finished her chores and came and asked him what he wanted. He asked what she had. She did a double-take, then pointed out all the food spread out and said "this lot". Idiot then did a double-take; acting (for all the world) as though he'd never seen any of it before. He then had to be talked through everything that was on offer before finally deciding on the first thing he'd been offered.
And then (as my blood pressure went through the roof) his equally idiotic associate went through the entire performance again. He too had been seemingly oblivious to both all the food on display and his mate having been talked through it.
When I finally got to scoff my macaroni cheese I saw the first idiot was again causing problems for the nice serving lady. Having totally failed to put the coffee powder into his cup he was whinging that he wanted coffee but only got a cup of hot water.
The nice lady was far more patient with him than I would have been.
I then got on with the late shift which was far better than some I’ve had recently… I wonder if my day will be filled with idiots tomorrow…
26 May 2019 (Sunday) - Ardingly
I think I slept well. I had a vague recollection of one dog standing on my head overnight. Mind you I did wake to find that "er indoors TM", Treacle and Pogo had all decamped to the attic bedroom. Something must have kicked off overnight.
As I looked at Facebook over brekkie I couldn’t believe my eyes. Some bloke in Ashford was having a new kitchen fitted. He was offering the handles from the old units up for sale. For ten quid. Ten quid?! I would have chucked them straight into the bin. If anyone *really* wanted them I would have given them away. Mind you I suppose he’s lost nothing by advertising the stuff, and stands to gain a tenner.
I also saw I’d missed quite a few events yesterday. If I’d realised that yesterday wasn’t going to be quite so dull I could have re-arranged my working schedule. “Access All Areas” had been playing at Lyminge yesterday. There had been mutterings about this some months ago, but I’d forgotten all about it.
There had also been what looked like a rather fun duck race organised by the Sussex geocachers yesterday. I’d completely missed that. Perhaps I’m being paranoid, but it seems to me that more and more these days the social side of geocaching is becoming a rather closely-guarded secret. Yesterday’s duck race. Two giga-events in Germany recently… I’m feeling rather left out.
"er indoors TM" and I got the dogs together, and we set off to Ardingly. I would have gone via the motorway, but "er indoors TM" said to take the direct route. Fifteen minutes longer, but fifteen miles shorter. We got to Ardingly to find that Karl and Tracey were already in the car park. But no Charlotte. She was feeling under the weather. It was a shame she wasn’t along – she has a way with the dogs. Dog-wrangling is always a large part of our weekend walks.
Talking of the dogs – they were rather well behaved today (if we gloss over whichever one had the stinky bum). Treacle had her trademark huge stick, and Pogo only barked at one other dog. He was really good with the sheep and horses. Mind you there was a bit of an episode by Ardingly reservoir. One of the normal people was trying to keep their dog away from ours as it had just had a fight with another dog. Having come off worst in the tussle, Fudge then porked him. That can’t have done much for the poor mutt’s self-esteem.
As we walked we saw pigs and buzzards, and the largest herd of wild deer I think I’ve ever seen. There must have been over fifty of them. We also saw *loads* of scarecrows in Ardingly. I think they were having some sort of scarecrow festival?
As usual our route was dictated by the local geocaches. We did three separate loops of caches and picked up a few odd ones that were on our way. We found all but one of our targets; the one we didn’t find mentioned about being hidden in ivy. We didn’t find an ivy-covered tree. We found a freshly-cut stump.
But those we did find were all in good repair. Mind you… we found thirty-eight and they were rather spaced out. There was probably space for ninety. But I’m not complaining; we had a rather good walk of fourteen miles today. I took quite a few photos.
It was only a shame that Pogo was sick on the way home…
27 May 2019 (Monday) - Bank Holiday Early Shift
Despite a rather strenuous day yesterday I didn't sleep that well last night. With all three dogs on the bed, space was at something of a premium. I finally managed to roll Fudge into a position so that I too could have some space, only to see that the alarm was about to go off. I got up and as I staggered to the bathroom I saw the freezer door was ajar. I thumped it closed hoping "er indoors TM" wouldn't notice. I hadn't left it open, but as this was something for which the dogs weren't responsible, I would get the blame.
I made some brekkie, and scoffed it whilst watching the latest thing on Netflilx. Bonding is about an American psychiatry student who makes money as a dominatrix, and who has dragooned her gay friend in to being her (unwilling) associate. The first episode seemed entertaining enough.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing the results of last week's elections to the European parliament (which had been announced overnight).
For all that it is being seen as gauging the nation's opinion on Brexit, there was no clear message from the result. Nigel Farage's Brexit party would seem to have won most of the seats that were available for the United Kingdom in the European Parliament. But they only won because of the "first past the post" way in which the election was run. With UKIP dead on its arse, the Nigel Farage show was effectively the only pro-Brexit party. There were four different parties which were actively pro-remain. Together they polled more votes, but the votes were spread between them, and so no individual party could beat the Nigel Farage show. (Both the Conservative and Labour votes had collapsed into insignificance).
Mind you the (so-called) winning pro-Brexit party only got thirty-five percent of the vote. And the (so-called) losing pro-remain parties together only raked in forty per cent. So there is no really clear majority for or against Brexit. Especially when you bear in mind that less than forty per cent of the electorate could be bothered to get off their arses and waddle up to the polling stations anyway.
Those presenting the morning news wheeled on Nigel Farage for an interview. He came over as magnanimous in victory. He seemed quite reasonable in what he was saying. Mind you he did evade any mention of any policies other than sending them all back on the next banana boat. Mainly because sending them all back on the next banana boat really is his only policy. He hasn't got any others. And (clearly) for a large part of the electorate, he doesn't need any others.
Personally I feel that the public should watch him very closely, and should read more history. The Brexit Party *isn't* a political party. It is a cult woven around one person. Look at all the *really bad* leaders that have plagued human history. They all seemed to be rather charismatic and appealing when they first rose to power.
I got to work and did my bit as one does. And after a surprisingly strenuous early shift I came home to find "er indoors TM" wasn’t happy. She couldn’t find the peg bag. She’d spent hours looking for it. In retrospect I did myself no favours by finding it in less than a minute.
"er indoors TM" then vanished off on a mission to Margate to do "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"’s bidding. As the dogs snored I looked at the household accounts. As I’ve said a few times over the last couple of years, I’m far better off than I have been, but I would like to have *lots* more money.
I then watched Friday’s episode of “Jamestown” in which Jocelyn’s bosom was something of a disappointment.
"er indoors TM" returned, and shortly after "My Boy TM" came to visit. He’s got a new hat. I’m reliably informed that he paid a fiver for this hat. I think he was over-charged. One day I will be old enough to wear a hat like that…
28 May 2019 (Tuesday) - This n That
Over brekkie I watched the second episode of “Bonding” which featured the actress who played “Janet” in “The Good Place”. It was a rather good episode. Netflix is certainly worth eight quid a month. And now that “Game of Thrones” has finished I find myself asking what I get from Sky for forty quid a month that I wouldn’t get from a Freeview box.
I’m also hearing good things about “Now TV”. I shall wait for the upcoming family wedding to pass, then I will seriously review my telly provision.
I then sparked up my lap-top to have a quick look-see at the Internet. Someone with whom I used to work had been in Edinburgh over the weekend taking part in the marathon there. Since he’s taken up running he’s lost weight to the point of appearing quite gaunt. Bearing in mind I probably cover more distances on my walks than he does on his runs… perhaps I might walk a tad faster?
I sent out a birthday wish to a friend.
And with no emails at all I got ready for work.
I finally found where I'd left my car. It had rained overnight, so that went some way to washing the smears off of the windscreen. Sooner or later I was going to have to do something about that.
Navigating the (hopefully) temporary traffic lights at the bottom of the road I was soon on my way to Pembury. As I drove there was all sorts of drivel on the radio about last week's elections for the European Parliament and their implications for the upcoming Brexit negotiations. It was something of a shame that no one having anything new to say on the matter didn't stop people wittering on ad-nauseum about it. They even wheeled on some religious-type who tried to claim that Brexit was God's will; likening the European Union to the Tower of Babel.
The pundits on the radio also interviewed Diane Abbott who (again) came over as a very good reason *not* to vote for the Labour party, and with the announcement that there are now a dozen people itching to take over as Prime Minister I was glad to get to work and turn the radio off.
I did what I couldn't avoid at work. At a tea break I saw the news that one of our favourite pubs to visit when walking has had the thumbs-down from the health inspectors. And somewhere we visited (and I felt was one of the most pretentious pubs ever) has been billed as the best pub in Kent.
I also saw that there's going to be a "Gavin and Stacey" Christmas special. I hope that doesn't turn out to be a disappointment...
Having made rather good time coming home I thought I might spend a few minutes getting petrol. I got to the petrol station, put the nozzle into the hole, squeezed the trigger… and nothing happened. Looking round the forecourt nothing was happening for anyone else. Then I saw all the people in the kiosk banging on the door.
One of the Sainsbury’s staff arrived. There had been a power cut. We couldn’t get petrol; those that had just got petrol couldn’t pay for it, and couldn’t get out of the kiosk either.
I came home.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of white wine. It has to be said that the wine was “a tad bleugh”, but wine so often is. As we guzzled we watched this evening’s episode of “Bake Off”. I didn’t guess the winners, but I certainly predicted the loser.
I do hope those dogs let me sleep tonight…
29 May 2019 (Wednesday) - Bit Dull
Over brekkie I watched the third episode of “Bonding”. It was rather good.
I then sparked up my lap-top for a quick look to see what I’d missed on the Internet overnight. Last Friday I’d rated a bottle of wine on Vivino as being “better than a kick up the arse”. Overnight someone had posted that they liked my review. I see that as something of a result. Mind you, other than that, pretty much nothing else had happened on-line overnight. So I got dressed and set off for work a little earlier than usual.
I got to the petrol station to find that power had been restored (after yesterday's debacle). I got myself sixty quid's worth of the stuff and went to pay... What is it with the people behind the counters in petrol stations? This one was so busy giving the "get *it* here" at the workmen loitering round the coffee machine that she didn't actually bother speaking to me *at all* as I paid for my petrol.
You'd think that with so many petrol stations round Ashford she could at least have managed to grunt at me before I start taking my money elsewhere?
I then set off to Pembury listening to the news as I drove. The pundits on the radio were talking about the aftermath of last week's European elections. It would seem that the election has resulted in quite a serious shake-up to the European political position. France and Germany are squabbling over who will get the number one job, and what with the entire European political structure up in the air it would seem that no one has any time for the British in-fighting. Apparently European leaders are now just rolling their eyes when questioned by British journalists. Generations yet unborn will look back on these days as some of the most momentous in British and European history, but certainly for me it is all getting a tad tedious.
I got to work, I did my thing. I came home through rather heavy rain. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the last every episode of “Big Bang Theory”. We’d recorded it some time ago but only just got round to watching it. It was… OK. It was a good end to the show, but I wonder if the program didn’t run for several years longer than it might have done?
Today was rather dull…
30 May 2019 (Thursday) - Busy Late Shift
I slept like a log despite a rather vivid dream in which I had to help various Z-list celebrities escape (on motorbikes) from Northern France which was under the relentless rule of a zombie apocalypse led by the late Sid James. Sometimes I wonder what goes through my head.
Over brekkie I peered into the Internet to see what I’d missed. I hadn’t missed much. So I got dressed, got the dogs organised and we drove out to Kings Wood to do a spot of geo-maintenance. Over the weekend some bunch of people walked my geo-series and found one of the caches was broken.
I say “broken”; apparently the actual cache had gone missing but the paper log (in its bag) was still there. A replacement cache was needed.
This has happened on pots I’ve hidden under rocks recently a few times recently. The pots aren’t missing; just broken.
Admittedly according to the rules it’s up to me to maintain caches I’ve hidden, but surely maintenance of caches is a community responsibility to keep this hobby going? How many people go out looking for caches compared to how many make the effort of putting the things out? So many people get *so* much* from the hobby. Is it really unreasonable to expect people to contribute something back? It’s not the money – a replacement pot costs pence – you can get packs of six from the pound store. You can get free film pots from Boots in the High Street. It’s the time that you (I) have to take out of a busy life to sort it that is the issue. What with work schedules, family weddings, cameras up the jacksie and one thing and another, time is at something of a premium for me right now. Anyone finding a broken pot might pop out a replacement in less than a minute. Demanding that I go out to do it takes me a couple of hours.
Last night I had a whinge about this on the “Geocaching in Kent” Facebook page. I intended it to be a general whinge, but the bunch of people who’d seen the problem at the weekend took offence and things got rather nasty.
In the end I deleted the thread.
The social side of hunting Tupperware used to be such fun. Back in the day I organised at least one geo-event for the local geocachers every month. We had some wonderful walks here and there. Great fun out on boats, and in the deepest countryside, and some rather good trips to London.
Now it is just one big argument. The sad thing is that through this silly hobby I’ve met a *lot* of good friends. Those who cause the nastiness are all “keyboard warriors” who live miles and miles away.
Such a shame.
But in the meantime maintenance needed doing… We drove up to Kings Wood, and despite Fudge’s straggling we had a rather good walk to and from the problematical pot and back again. As we walked we met one cyclist and a couple of runners. You can walk for hours in Kings Wood without meeting anyone else.
We came home. As the dogs barked at their own shadows I hung out the washing until they fell asleep, then I set off towards work. Narrowly avoiding being run off the road by a bus I negotiated the new traffic lights at the end of my road. I felt it rather ironic that the bus had huge signs all over it saying about the driver being under instruction. Don't bus driving instructors cover traffic lights?
I headed west as I do when heading for Pembury. Yesterday and a couple of days ago some new geocaches went live on my way to work. I took a mile's diversion to see if I could find them. I did.
I then went to Tesco where I got some money so I could pay for for dinner, then went into work where the canteen let me down. Usually the food is rather good. Today they were having a "burger day". I could have whatever I wanted for dinner provided it was burger and chips. I got a sandwich and sulked until it was time for work.
The rest of the day passed in something of a blur…
31 May 2019 (Friday) - Another Late Shift
Over brekkie "er indoors TM" weighed the dogs. Two of them are little lumps. But Fudge came in at under ten kilograms. This is the lightest he’s ever been. He seems to be his usual wilful grumpy independent self, but I’m a tad worried about this weight loss. Trouble is, taking him to the vet’s will just stress him out. I shall keep an eye on him…
I then had my usual look at the internet to see what had changed overnight. Very little had. As I tried to see what was going on. Treacle came and chewed me. She does that from time to time.
I wondered about driving somewhere for the morning walk, but we ended up doing our usual circuit of the park. The walk was (relatively) uneventful. There was one minor incident when some old woman started hysterically screaming at Pogo. But he’d done nothing wrong; he was just bumbling down the footpath, and this old bat had reacted in much the same way that anyone else would when confronted by a tiger.
As we walked we saw the fun-fair was in the park. There had been talk of the fun-fair on the local Facebook groups this morning. Some people had claimed to have been short-changed by the fair’s staff. Had they been? Possibly. Was it deliberate? Who knows? All I can think is that whoever takes their lives in their hands on those death traps gets all they deserve.
We walked on into the co-op field where we exchanged pleasantries with OrangeHead (who is now completely grey). It was here that the dogs had a really good run about. Fudge looks really awkward when he runs; his joints don’t seem to flex anything like they used to. And Treacle has the perennial Pug issue that her back legs go faster than her front legs, and consequently her rear end starts to overtake her front end.
We came home, and I had a look at my credit card bill. It would seem I’ve not been billed for the McDonalds that we had in Whitfield in January, or the cable I bought for my sat-nav in February. Oh well… I can remember that McDonalds as being somewhat akin to feeding time at the zoo, and that cable has never worked properly anyway. So that’s fifteen quid in my back bin.
I spent a little while struggling and failing to solve geo-puzzles, then got myself organised and set off to work.
Last night I'd had to park with my car facing up the road. Rather than going round the block this morning I thought I might do a three-point turn to save two minutes. After all, there was no traffic about... By the time I'd got to the point of blocking the road (it took about five seconds for me to do that) there were half a dozen cars queuing impatiently in all directions.
Before I'd left home I'd been looking at the geo-map. I'd found a little puzzle cache I might do in Cranbrook on my way to work. I followed my sat-nav to a phone box in Cranbrook, found the numbers I needed, did some sums, found the latitude and longitude of the film pot I sought... and then spent ten minutes searching the phone box because I'd not actually put the GPS co-ordinates into my phone. Dur!
Once I'd realised my error I walked a hundred yards and soon had the cache in hand.
I drove in to work and was soon in the hospital's canteen. Fish and chips was on the menu. I had fish and chips and a yogurt. For some odd reason it cost a pound less than yesterday's sandwich and bag of crisps had done. However (much as I enjoyed it) it also gave me a guts ache which lasted for the duration of the late shift. But it was a better late shift than some I’ve had recently.
I came home to find Fudge was sulking at me. I wonder what’s up with him?