1 May 2020 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift
Being the first of the month I got myself a new razor blade from out of the cupboard. That made for a much more comfortable morning’s scrape. I made toast then peered into the depths of the Internet.
Yesterday I posted a little rant onto Facebook about the Thursday evening clapping. If people want to clap, that is up to them. I was a little concerned that if people don’t want to clap or are unable to do so (for a myriad reasons) then that is no longer up to them. It is now seemingly up to a growing self-appointed jury who judges them and advertises their non-participation in social media. This morning I was amazed to find that over eighty people had agreed with me.
I posted up my third choice of film… today’s was a particularly obscure one.
I then had a message from the local Munzee group. April’s clan war was over and I’d been elevated to clan leader. Whilst geocaching is currently dead in the water, what with Munzing being something that can be done whilst walking the dogs or going shopping it seems to be having something of a resurgence.
We settled the dogs and I drove "er indoors TM" up to Gillingham. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that the "er indoors TM"-mobile went belly-up on March 22. The car has had a good innings, but it had reached the point where replacement was cheaper than repair, and what with her firm talking of opening up their office very soon, a replacement car was very much needed.
She’d spent quite a bit of time looking on-line to find what she wanted (to me all cars are the same), and the car of choice was in Gillingham.
We got there, we had a test drive. She bought the thing. I must admit I was amazed at how quick it all went.
I was also amazed by the salesman’s face mask. I stopped myself from rolling my eyes when I saw that he was wearing a rather ill-fitting one. For much of the time he had the thing under his nose so that he could breathe, and he took it off several times so as to use his phone. So many people are wasting these face masks in this way. These things would all be far better off in hospital wards and in care homes where they would be used properly.
Having driven up in one car, we came home in two. There’s no denying that I nearly came back in a different car. I’d liked the look of one of the cars that I’d seen there, but I thought better of getting it right now. My car has been recently serviced and MOT-ed, and with a re-sale value of (about) only five hundred quid I’m realistically better off driving it until it dies.
Once home I walked the dogs round the block. I would have gone further but the rain was against us. I scoffed some cheese on toast and took myself off to bed for the afternoon where I slept for a couple of hours.
I woke to see I had a message on Facebook. A month ago I gave my Geocaching Adventure Lab a bit of an overhaul. Some cowardly anonymous person from Australia had published all the answers on-line together with instructions on how to blag the thing. I changed the questions and answers so that they couldn’t be found out from Google Street View, and whoever it was who gives out all the spoilers didn’t like it. There was quite a nasty little rant about me on the geo-spoilers page.
I’ve not replied; it just encourages him…
Hopefully "er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner soon, and then I’m off to the night shift…
2 May 2020 (Saturday) - After the Night Shift
Apart from a rather unusual D-group in the small hours (it’s a blood banking thing) the night shift passed off rather peacefully. I commented about the obscure blood group on Facebook, and all sorts of people commented (which was fun).
As I drove home I kept looking at the “range” thingy on my car’s dashboard. Having got a full tank of petrol before work yesterday, my car’s estimated range (until more petrol was needed) was about fifty miles higher than usual on a full tank. Travelling cross-country to Pembury has been far more fuel-efficient than going up the motorway to Maidstone.
As I drove home I listened to the pundits on the radio who were drivelling on about coronageddon. Despite a daily death rate still over seven hundred (and anyone with any sense realising the need to continue lock-down for quite a while yet) the politicians were all talking about easing restrictions. You might think that this a rather stupid thing to do, but the politicians realise that although lock-down is very necessary, it is very unpopular, and the one who makes the most noise about ending it will be the one who gets the most votes at the next election.
I got home, had a shower and went straight to bed where I managed to sleep for just under three hours. I came down to find "er indoors TM" (still in pyjamas) had stripped the kitchen and was having a major spring clean.
I made myself some toast, and scoffed it whilst telling the world about my fourth choice of film (for the ten films Facebook thingy) and then sent out some birthday wishes. I then wasted some time doing some of my latest Coursera course. “Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life” seems a bit “tree-hugging” but it might be interesting. If nothing else I got a free app out of it.
With the spring cleaning still in full flow I took myself out into the garden where I sat for a couple of hours reading Alexie Sayle on the Kindle whilst having a pint or two. Once "er indoors TM" was ready we took the pups round the park for a walk. We’d had reports that our Munzees had faded (it comes to us all!) so we did a little Munzee maintenance as we walked. There were a couple of “dog episodes”, but as another regular dog walker said to me, the problem really does lie with those who don’t walk their dogs from one month to the next and don’t know how dogs brains work. It spoke volumes that one half-wit we met in the co-op field didn’t know how to undo his dog’s lead.
We came home; I did more Coursera whilst "er indoors TM" tried to find her locking nuts. I expect they are in the car somewhere. Failing that, there’s always eBay.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner. We devoured it then tuned in (via Zoom) to what is becoming a regular feature of lock-down – the weekly on-line quiz. Some easy questions, some not so easy. I rather amazed myself by coming second. These quizzes are really good fun, and a good way to catch up with friends.
It was a shame that I was rather distracted this evening. Fudge seems to have hurt his front right leg. I’ve given it a good going over and can’t find any source of pain. I think he’s strained something. I shall keep an eye on him…
Did I even mention that I never wanted a dog? This worry is *exactly* why…
3 May 2020 (Sunday) - Poorly Dog
After a restless night I got up rather early. Fudge snored on the sofa as I scoffed Tesco granola and watched an episode of “After Life” then sparked up my lap-top.
I told the world about my fifth choice of movie (Dammit Janet!) and sent a birthday video to a nephew. If asked I would have said he was sixteen or seventeen… He’s twenty-nine today. Twenty-nine (!) Where do the years go?
With nothing seeming to have happened overnight I spent a little while working on my Coursera course “Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life”. This morning I was presented with seven questions:
I set off to work, and as I drove and as I did my bit at work I found myself thinking about those seven questions my Coursera professor had asked this morning. What is my purpose? What do I want from life? All rather "big" questions, aren’t they?.
What matters most? – I really don’t know.
Who relies on me – the dogs maybe?
Who inspires you – local community leaders mainly. The chap who ran our Boys Brigade when I was a lad for one.
What causes do I care about? I don’t really know – it changes quite often.
What am I grateful for? I have a lot to be grateful for… but I’m not when I should be.
What gets me out of bed? – The backache if I stay in there too long.
How do I want to be remembered? – I really don’t know.
I *think* the idea of the course is that if I know what I want out of life I’ll end up a whole lot happier. Personally I just want everyone around me to be happy, because generally when everyone else is happy, then so am I.
Mind you I can't pretend to have been very happy today. I kept thinking about Fudge. When I came downstairs this morning he'd been fast asleep on the sofa. He must have moved awkwardly in his sleep as he suddenly sat bolt upright squealing in pain. Within seconds Pogo had flown down the stairs and was licking him in an obvious display of concern.
"er indoors TM" took him to the vets this morning. After having been given a once-over the vet couldn't find anything obviously amiss. He did have a minor set-to with another dog yesterday. I can't help but think he jolted his back somehow, and that is playing him up again. He's been prescribed tramadol and rest; he's not keen on either.
I also spent a little time peering out of the window at work today. I do that a lot when working at the weekends; often sulking about what I might be missing. But with the world in lock-down I was missing nothing today. I had been peering out of the window watching a pair of goldfinches bathing in a puddle on the flat roof outside. They were having a whale of a time right up until the point at which I tried to take a photo. That scared them off a few times before I finally got a (blurred) photo.
With work done as I walked back to my car I had a look at one of the Munzees I'd stuck on a road sign there a month or so ago. It had faded to the point of being unreadable, so I replaced it with a new one. Having put out over fifty Munzees near work I suspect they have all now faded. I shall replace the lot eventually when I can.
Once I got home "er indoors TM" took the terrible twins out, and I sat with Fudge. He was very upset that he wasn’t going for a walk, and he was hurting himself more by getting stressed. I eventually settled him.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. With that scoffed we had another Zoom video-meet-up. It was good to catch up. But there’s no denying that an early night might be in order…
Fudge is sulking... the pain killers seem to have helped but he’s not happy. And consequently neither am I…
4 May 2020 (Monday) - Still Poorly Dog
The vet had given strict instructions that Fudge was to sleep on a bed which would give him support. Having been settled into his basket last might I came down to find him laying on the floor. I spent a little while trying to help him get comfortable before insisting that he went back to his basket. He would seem to prefer not being in there, but when in his basket he wasn’t quivering in pain. Eventually he nodded off.
I watched an episode of “After Life”; I say “watched”. It was on the telly but I was watching Fudge mostly.
With telly done and Fudge asleep I had a look at the Internet. Geocaching HQ were giving out an e-souvenir for anyone who’d found a geocache yesterday. Many of those who only a few short weeks ago were advocating staying indoors and had lambasted me for taking the dogs out had gone out hunting under rocks for film pots.
I told the world about my sixth film choice, I sent out a birthday message, and then spent fifteen minutes on my Cousera course. What motivates people? Wanting to help others or self-interest?
As I left home I paused briefly to log a couple of virtual Munzees. Overnight some had appeared outside the house as if by magic (thank you my Munzee clan pals!) and a touch of the phone gave me some vital points (vital if you like that sort of thing!)
I set off towards Pembury. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about a possible easing of lock-down. I can't help but feel that the government has got to do something decisive. The roads are getting noticeably busier and with talk of easing of restrictions and talk of schools and workplaces going back and with talk of only the olduns being left in quarantine, lock-down seems to be little more than a social craze which has run its course. The public have lost interest in it and are clearly now moving on to whatever is the next big thing. The government needs to enforce the lock-down properly, or the pandemic will have a second peak which will make what's gone before seem like peanuts.
There was also an interview with some farmer or other who was banging on about how lock-down has done for his business. His business being the only UK-based supplier of nitrate-free bacon. "Nitrate-free bacon" indeed... it never fails to amaze me how the public go for these crackpot schemes. You really could put bottles of water on a supermarket shelf, tout them as "dairy-free milk" and sell them at a fiver each.
Despite nearly being run off the road several times by various maniac drivers (there were a lot of them about today) I got to Pembury and popped into Tesco. Having bought no end of jam, marmalade and peanut butter recently, I'd not got any honey. So I got a couple of jars, and some more beer and wine too. I did have a plan to support the little shop in Goudhurst for beer as they have some stuff that you don't get everywhere. Tesco also had some obscure ale at two quid a bottle cheaper than the little shop. There is only so much supporting the little shop you can do.
As I wandered round Tesco I met some old chap who was inadvertently and obliviously walking against the direction proscribed by the arrows on the floor. Several normal people were glaring at him and tutting.
They boiled my piss.
I went up to the old chap (as close as social distancing would allow), smiled, and told him about the arrows and told him that you can only walk in only one direction round the store because (at this point I raised my voice) if you don't then you upset the idiots wearing ripped gloves and ill-fitting masks. I'm glad to say this shamed several of the idiots (with masks under their chins and gloves riddled with holes), and they shuffled away looking suitably embarrassed.
Work was work; today we had more free Easter eggs and free coffee, and also some rather odd-tasting supposedly melon-flavoured water. At the risk of appearing ungrateful I would have preferred cake. I would also have preferred a pay rise, but I've done that rant before. The public's love affair with the NHS won't last long enough for a pay rise, so I shall settle for whatever freebies I can get. And I shall be grateful because a *lot* of people who deserve recognition aren't getting anything.
Once I got home "er indoors TM" took Treacle and pogo for a walk. The idea was that I would sit with Fudge, but he was very fractious and not at all happy that he’d been left behind. I took him for a short walk; up the road to Dan-Dan’s (niece-in-law is the closest I can describe her relation to me) and back. It was a round trip of about two hundred yards which he seemed to manage well, but once home there were some whimpers and yelps. The trouble is…
I’ve seen this before with Fudge. He soon learns that I’m a soft touch and immediately respond when he cries. But he’ll have a great walk, pulling on the lead clearly in no pain when we are out and once home be whinging all the time.
Is he crying because he overdid it on the walk, or is he seeking attention?
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching a TV show in which Paul Hollywood went around various restaurants in Tokyo. It was far better than you might think…
Fudge has been asleep for over an hour…
5 May 2020 (Tuesday) - Before the Late Shift
After a rather good night’s sleep I came downstairs to see Fudge laying on the floor. I fussed him a little, but that disturbed him so I left him dozing.
I put some honey on to some toast (which was rather good) and scoffed it whilst peering into the Internet. I was rather disappointed to see that very little had happened in cyberspace overnight, but bearing in mind that little other than arguments ever seems to happen, that was probably for the best. I told the world about my seventh choice of film, and sent out some birthday wishes. Two of the people having birthdays today asked if I would like to support their charities. I would have done *if* either had nominated a charity to support. I’m sorry but subsidising a government-funded hospital isn’t a charitable act. (I’ve done that rant to death many times before).
I had a little look at my emails. Someone claiming to be called “Sophie” had commented on something I wrote elsewhere last November in which she showed a complete misunderstanding of the nature of human disease and made a rather pitiful attempt to peddle her crackpot herbal medicine. Now let’s be honest, if “herbal medicine” actually worked it wouldn’t be called “herbal medicine”, it would be called “medicine”.
I marked her comment as spam. Google can sort her out.
Fudge was anxious to go out, so "er indoors TM" distracted the Terrible Twins and I walked Fudge up to Dan-Dan’s and back again. With his back playing up, I thought a five-minute outing was plenty. I then took Pogo and Treacle round the park where the walk went relatively well. There was a minor incident when Pogo sniffed the bum of one of the “never-walked-before dogs”. Bearing in mind that (like all of the “never-walked-before dogs”) this dog was on a lead I felt that we’d got away lightly. But the old bat at the other end of the lead turned to her mate and started clucking about how some people just let their dogs off the lead. I suppose she’s got a point. Some people *do* let their dogs off the leads. That would be me.
With walk walked we came home. I opened the back door and Fudge led the charge up the garden. The dogs have this thing where they all run up the garden (all shouting) with Fudge in the lead. If Fudge doesn’t lead, the other two aren’t interested in going out.
For a dog with serious back issues he ran down the garden rather speedily and noisily.
I trimmed the lawn’s edges and got the lawn mowed. It was a shame that the strimmer collapsed half-way through. I say “collapsed”; “snapped in two” is perhaps a more accurate description. I think I’ve bodged it back together again. Let’s hope so; what with the queues at B&Q it would be quicker to get a new one delivered from Amazon than to go round the corner to the shop.
I had a quick shower, and did a little CPD. As I perused the intricacies of the Cw blood type (!) I had an email from Neighbourhood Watch. So far (it has to be said) Neighbourhood Watch has been something of a disappointment, but today there were reports of a theft of a motorbike from near a friend’s house. It turned out that this friend’s doorbell had seen something suspicious in the small hours and had actually video-ed the theft as it happened (a doorbell – can you believe it!). The footage has now been squealed to the pigs.
Perhaps that hundred quid spent on a doorbell wasn’t the waste of money I’d said it was?
And so to work, and by half past eleven the day was effectively done…
6 May 2020 (Wednesday) - Five Thousand
As I peered into Facebook this morning, it suggested I might like a particular page. “Love Zone” alternated between posts which advocated either crackpot religion or child pornography with a little animal cruelty thrown in. For all that I find Facebook very useful, the thing does leave a lot to be desired.
I sent out a few birthday wishes, and with no emails at all I did the morning dog walk in two stages.
Firstly I walked Fudge round to Brian and Rachel’s where we delivered a birthday card. Fudge pulled like a train the whole way. I wish he wouldn’t. This is why he has a bad back; he hurts it, and as soon as it starts getting better he overdoes the pulling and hurts it again.
With Fudge walked I took Pogo and Treacle round the park. It is amazing how fast we can go round the park when we are not waiting for Fudge who straggles up to a hundred yards behind us. We met a couple of “never-before-walked” dogs. The owner of one had the dog on an extending lead and was using a ball-thrower to lob a tennis ball into the distance. Needless to say their game wasn’t working.
We also saw another dog which was about the size of a cart-horse which was dragging two teenaged children about. They were trying to restrain the dog by pulling on his collar; they were nowhere near strong enough to do so.
As we walked home I actually did point and laugh at a couple who drove past in their car. The windows were all up, but both occupants were wearing these surgical masks.
This craze for wearing surgical masks is just stupid. Surgical masks are worn to prevent the wearer spreading infection onto anyone else. That’s why the staff of operating theatres wear them and the patients don’t. The only time I’ve ever worn one was when I was in an operating theatre (assisting with a bone marrow extraction). Going round wearing the things achieves nothing for protecting yourself. Have you noticed that the things are being billed on eBay as “fashion accessories”?
We came home; I again harvested a bumper crop of dog dung from the lawn, then spent an hour scrubbing out the pond’s fish poo filter. It’s a messy smelly job, but one I would rather do at a time that suits me, rather than waiting until the thing is blocked solid and leaking with the backflow and needs doing right away.
I set off to work. With a rather lame play being broadcast on the radio I turned over to my frankly strange choice of music, and howled along all the way to Pembury.
Just as I got to work so my phone beeped. I had a friend request on Facebook from a young lady. Her blouse was unbuttoned and was revealing a rather saucy bra. She'd sent me a message in which she'd said that she wanted "it" badly. Judging by her attire in the photos on her Facebook profile I can only assume that "it" would be "clothing" as she didn't seem to be wearing very much in any of them.
She had also sent me a link to her "Whatsapp f... site" through which I could contact all sorts of young ladies of dubious morals. I decided not to follow her link.
I went straight to the works canteen where I had a rather good bowl of tempura vegetables with chili sauce which I chased down with far too much rhubarb crumble and custard. Belly-aches which last all afternoon don't make themselves, you know.
As well as a belly ache I also had a general muscular ache for much of the afternoon too. When full of fish poo, that filter can be rather heavy. I think I might have overdone it this morning.
Feeling somewhat under the weather I did as little as I could get away with today until the relief arrived. The late start does give me time to do stuff at home, but the late finish can be something of a "pain in the glass" (as "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" would say). Especially when the A21 is closed and going cross-country through the winding lanes in the dark is the only option.
And in closing, today is my five thousandth blog entry. The first thousand entries were recorded on Yahoo who haven’t hosted blogs for years. I’ve got an archive of my ramblings here.
I first started recording history in September 2006 when seemingly everyone was writing blogs. The novelty soon wore off for everyone else, but I’ve kept it going. Kite festivals, beer festival, holiday with friends, holidays with families, walks, dogs, grandchildren… it’s amazing what has happened over the last fourteen years. And it is even more amazing that so many people tune in every day to see what has boiled my piss this time.
I just wish more people would blog; I’m a very nosey person. I’d love to see what everyone else gets up to..
7 May 2020 (Thursday) - This n That
I slept like a log until half past two from when I just dozed fitfully. After a few hours I finally gave up trying to sleep and watched an episode of “After Life” as I scoffed a bowl of Tesco’s muesli.
I then sparked up my lap-top to peer into cyber-space as I do most mornings. Nothing really exciting had happened overnight, so I told the world about my ninth choice of movie and had a look at my emails. Netflix were recommending that I might like to watch “The Vicar of Dibley”. I loathe and despise that show.
I spent a few minutes on my Coursera course “Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life”. This morning I was taught a “Loving Kindness Meditation”, but it wouldn’t let me do the end of week assessment unless I paid forty quid. Oh well…
I set off to work listening to the radio as I went. The pundits on the radio were talking about the possibility of lock-down coming to an end in the next few days. Judging by the huge amount of traffic on the road today, lock-down is already well and truly already over.
There was also talk of how the government recently bought close on half a million surgical gowns from Turkey. After endless delays the RAF were sent to fetch them only to find that the things aren't actually fit for purpose, and they are now languishing in a warehouse somewhere whilst the government haggles to get its money back. Good luck to them - have you ever haggled with a Turkish salesman? They don't muck about.
But this is the problem that the health care sector faces at the moment. The market is being flooded with all sorts of personal protective equipment from legitimate suppliers, unscrupulous fly-boys and well-meaning well-wishers, but much of it simply isn't fit for purpose. There were those on the radio who were sneering at the requirements of British Standards, but those requirements are there for a reason. There's no point in wearing a surgical gown if the thing falls off half-way through the operation, is there? And surely everyone has seen the diagrams of how to bodge the face mask ties with paper clips because the home-made ones are giving people sores behind their ears?
The pundits then wheeled on some financial expert or other who seemed obsessed about the recession that coronageddon will invariably cause. It would seem that we are on course for a financial melt-down the likes of which the world hasn't seen since the days of the South Sea Bubble three hundred years ago. I can't help but feel that this just shows the ultimate futility of the capitalist system which is based entirely on greed. It doesn't really work at a time when we need something more compassion and care based, does it? Or am I still just a naive old leftie?
For some reason I headed off to Maidstone this morning when I should have been going to Tunbridge Wells. Woops! But I turned the mishap to my advantage by stopping a few times to remotely zap "Points of Interest" Munzees which I needed to zap as my contribution to the ongoing team (clan) effort as I came down the A26.
I got to work with a few minutes spare, and thought I might treat myself to scrambled egg on toast in the works canteen. I had the last of it, much to the dismay of the chap in the queue behind me. He was not happy I'd had the last of the batch. He flatly refused to wait for two minutes for more to be brought out, and made a point of glaring at me as he ate a bowl of dry cornflakes to demonstrate his chagrin and disgust.
As I got on with my work so my phone beeped. "er indoors TM" wasn't happy. I'd left the margarine out and one of the dogs (Pogo?) had eaten it. Not just had a lick or a nibble, but had scoffed the lot. Woops!
My phone also beeped with a message from "er indoors TM" as I drove home. She’d been to the vet’s to get more tablets for Fudge, and when she went back to her car so her battery had died. That was a pain in the glass. I arrived with her just after the nice man from the RAC got there. Fortunately he carried spare batteries. Unfortunately they weren’t cheap.
As I got home I was surprised to see that some scratter had dumped a broken vacuum cleaner in the front garden. That was nice of them. When once all the locals would stand out there clapping the NHS workers on a Thursday, now one of them has dumped their knacked vacuum cleaner into the garden of one of the people they used to be clapping.
The NHS workers didn’t get a clap this evening up our street; the novelty has worn off. But it has been revealed that those in the prison service have had pay enhancements of up to four thousand pounds each during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Being clapped and getting about-to-expire Easter eggs was all very well, but I for one would rather have had four thousand pounds in cash. (Is that ungrateful of me?)
8 May 2020 (Bank Holiday Friday) - An Afternoon in the Sun
When I came back to bed from a trip to the loo in the small hours Fudge was pacing the bedroom restlessly. I laid down on the floor with him and after about half an hour he settled. I lay on the floor for another half an hour (whilst he snored) to ensure he really had settled, then spent about five minutes trying to get up.
I went back to bed where I lay awake listening for him, but (unlike me) he slept. Amazingly he slept through the noise that the bin men made. Making enough racket to wake the dead they still left that fly-tipped Hoover that we had dumped on us yesterday.
We got up at half-past eight and left him sleeping. We barricaded the top of the stairs (so he couldn’t come down on his own), but after a few minutes I could hear movement. I carried him down, and he scoffed his brekkie right away.
He’s got tramadol from the vet’s, but this spell of bad back seems to be lasting longer than others have done. The vet said yesterday that if he’s not right in five days’ time they will do X-rays.
Over my brekkie I peered into the Internet. There was quite a bit of fuss being made for today’s VE day. A lot of people had put out the bunting in readiness for celebrating.
I didn’t… and it is a sign of the times that I feel I have to justify this.
If people want to celebrate and be proud of their country, then that is fine. I don’t have any problem at all with that, and I respect their doing so. I would suggest that (as a scout leader) I have probably formally saluted the nation’s flag more than most.
But… in my experience there is a very short step from honest patriotism to narrow-minded jingoism. There is a small but vocal minority who aren’t content to have a team to support; they also need a team to beat as well. I’ve been told many times by friends and colleagues of non-Caucasian appearance that they have been frightened to walk the streets whenever the England football team loses.
I was rather concerned that claiming victory in a war that was over decades before they were born might have encouraged that element. (There are members of my family who really do have serious issues with anything vaguely related to Germany, and have ever more serious issues with me because I don’t).
I walked round to Pets at Home to get dog food. The place wasn’t so much a pet shop as a plague pit. I work in a laboratory where I regularly handle blood samples contaminated with the COVID-19 virus and I am advised to wear less personal protective equipment than the girls in the pet shop were wearing. There is “taking sensible precautions” and there is “ignorant paranoia”. The two are very different.
As I came home I met a friend in the street. He too had seen similar in other shops; we were both ranting about this when two more idiots came past. One’s protective face mask was under her nose, the other’s was tucked down under his chin. And then I did chuckle though when in the local shop. Some woman asked if they had face masks, and when told they didn’t she tried to sell them her home made ones. The chap behind the counter said he wasn’t interested and that she should give them (NOT sell them!) to the local hospital.
We had a cuppa as we watched the morning’s live broadcast from the Big Cat Sanctuary at Headcorn. We spent a rather enjoyable half-hour watching the snow leopards whilst the keepers told us all about them. Apparently they do this every Friday. I shall tune in more often (when I can).
We spent the afternoon in the garden. I drank beer and read my Kindle in the sunshine until I fell asleep; "er indoors TM" got a net and dredged the pond to the delight of the dogs.
"er indoors TM" suggested we had kebab for dinner. Having it delivered was only took a few minutes longer than going up the road to get it. We scoffed it whilst watching last week’s “SAS – Who Dares Wins” and a show in which Paul Hollywood was touring Japan.
Today wasn’t a bad day at all. Having worked for the last eleven days I needed a day off…
9 May 2020 (Saturday) - Another Afternoon in the Sun
I think I might have overdone the sitting in the sunshine yesterday; I slept for over ten hours last night, only waking when my back hurt too much too lay down any longer.
I came downstairs to see everyone else had been up for ages. Fudge seemed better than he has been. He didn’t scream in pain at all yesterday (which was a definite step in the right direction) but his belly was tense, and he flinched when I stroked him this morning. And as the day went on so he visibly got worse, and was crying in pain again by the early evening.
If only he would stop sprinting down the garden to chase sparrows away from the pond. He can achieve the same result with a sedate stroll, but there’s no telling him that.
I peered into the Internet over brekkie. Having put up my tenth choice of film yesterday it seemed odd not to have to post one this morning. I saw I’d got an invite to a Zoom quiz; I’d been hoping there would be one this weekend.
I also saw I had a friend request from “Anna Cantoro” on LinkedIn. I have no idea who she is, but much as LinkedIn is rather dull, the random young ladies who want to be my friend over there actually have clothes on. On reflection I won't add her as a friend... she might take them off.
I then tried to deploy a virtual Munzee for friends in Faversham. That took some doing; there’s thousands of the things over that way. Finding a space on the map took some time.
With a little time to spare I spent a little while hunting on-line for a Lego Fudge model for my Lego town. Hopefully the base plates I’ve ordered for it should be arriving soon, and then I can get going on the town in earnest. Mind you I can’t help but wonder just how long I should have to wait for these plates. I realise they are coming from China, but having ordered them two months ago they should be here by now? I’ve heard all these horror stories about how post offices are swamped, but stuff I’ve ordered recently has arrived within days. I do hope the plates haven’t been sent by Yodel or Hermes; if that is the case I shall give up on them, write off the money spent and order new ones.
At mid-day the nice man from the fencing company popped round to have a suitably socially distanced look at our back fence. Over the years I’ve bodged it and bodged it, but it needs fixing properly. I suspect that the cost of a proper fix will mean that I shall just continue to bodge it, but we shall see.
Once the nice man had gone I cracked open a bottle of beer and got out my Kindle, and having learned nothing from yesterday I spent another afternoon in the sunshine.
This evening we had a rather good Zoom quiz in which I did reasonably well… but it was good to catch up with friends.
I’m feeling rather tired now…
10 May 2020 (Sunday) - The Weather Turned
I didn’t sleep at all well. Fudge wanted to come upstairs last night so "er indoors TM" carried him up, and I lay awake for most of the night listening out for his cries. He made quite a few slurping sucking noises, but other than that he had a peaceful night.
I eventually gave up trying to sleep and lay on the floor with him until the pain in my back got too much, then I came downstairs for toast and my usual rummage round the Internet. Pretty much nothing had happened overnight, and with no emails of note I spent half an hour writing up CPD.
Bearing in mind that the wooden sleepers round the pond were looking a tad shabby I gave them a lick of paint, and flushed with enthusiasm I popped round to B&Q to get more fence paint. The queue was rather horrendous, but judicious brandishing of an NHS staff card got me in the place right away. Amazingly they had trollies that had been cleaned to which I was directed. I’d not seen anywhere else do that.
I got three tubs of fence stain. For all that the stuff claims to be “one coat – lasts up to five years” it has been my experience that one coat lasts about eighteen months before the fence looks as though it needs going over again.
I came home and went into the garden. Fudge lead the charge of dogs up the garden, and looked incredibly sheepish when I shouted at him. He doesn’t help himself. As I painted fence panels so "er indoors TM" put a coat onto Fudge. He hates wearing a coat, and the subsequent sulk slowed him right down.
I got two panels done. Over the years I’ve found that I can (on average) paint one fence panel per hour. I use a paintbrush (as God intended); I’ve got one of those spray gadgets but it’s been my experience that it sprays paint everywhere except on the panel you are trying to paint.
"er indoors TM" dished up a very good lunch of a cuppa and home-made Chelsea buns, and having scoffed them I spent an hour or so re-arranging my Lego town. We then set off to Folkestone to collect "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and transport him to Margate. Now far be it from me to cast aspersions on my most recent grandchild, but the driver side rear window of my car was working fine when we left Folkestone, and it was utterly poggered when we reached Margate.
Oh, how I laughed.
We came home via Faversham for virtual Munzee-ing purposes. The munzee-ing was virtual so we didn’t have to leave the car. I didn’t want to leave the car – I’ve spent the last two days in the garden in the baking sunshine; today was overcast, cold and raining.
Once home we had a rather good bit of dinner washed down by a frankly disappointing bottle of wine. Having shelled out a fiver for some rather good bottles of the red stuff recently, I was expecting more from the stuff that set me back a tenner.
Once we scoffed we had a Zoom meet-up with friends. For all that the world is in lock-down I’m seeing a lot more of some friends than I have for years.
Oh – and the Prime Minister made a proclamation about the ongoing coronageddon crisis this evening. He spoke for ten minutes without actually saying anything.
I can’t help but wonder if the Prime Minister has pissed on his chips; having been seen as the saviour of the nation after the Brexit debacle he was ideally placed to go down in history with Churchill and Lloyd George. He should (and realistically could) have laid down the law and would have been respected for it. (Margaret Thatcher did it when she kicked the unions in the knackers). But tonight’s broadcast was all “please please please” where he should have said “do as I say, dogbreath!”.
I’ve mentioned before that Mr Johnson fulfils the office of Prime Minister in much the same way that Zaphod Beeblebrox carried out the office of Galactic president. Not actually wielding any power, but drawing attention away from power…
11 May 2020 (Monday) - A Day's Leave
I slept well; Pogo eventually woke me at six o’clock. He wanted a tiddle. To be fair, so did I. We both did our thing and went back to bed. He was soon snoring; I wasn’t. I gave up trying to sleep and watched the last episode of “After Life” which was rather sad and not at all funny, then I sparked up my lap-top to have a look at the internet.
A rather epically breasted young lady (and her chest) had sent me a friend request on Facebook together with a link to her video. Against my better judgement I had a look at it – it was a tad on the risqué side… To be fair to her she did say that it was “indeed not suitable for some Facebook users”. It wasn’t really suitable for anyone or anything. I reported her to the Facebook feds.
It was at this point that "er indoors TM" emerged from her pit and announced that Treacle had been sick. I cleared up a pool of semi-digested swede. Yuk. And as the dogs went in to the garden so Treacle brought up quite a bit more.
I also saw that the fence on not-so-nice-next-door’s side had blown down in the wind. I bodged it back up whilst not-so-nice-next-door glared from an upstairs window. I called up that the fence was broken; she looked away. I wonder if she will do anything about it? It is rather difficult having a neighbour who flatly refuses to speak to us.
I took Fudge for a short walk round the block, then took Treacle and Pogo for a longer one round the park. As we walked I saw a young couple walking their dog toward us on a lead. I quickly got my two onto a lead and had them sit so they could watch the dog go past. (This is actually working with increasing success…if the other dog just goes past). But the bloke brought his dog up to Pogo so they could say hello…
As I calmed Pogo I commented to the other chap that he obviously doesn’t walk his dog much. The implied sarcasm went right over his head. “No” he said. “Only since lock-down came in really”.
I had planned to paint the fence today on a day off, but the wind was rather blowy and it was rather cold. So I wrote up a little CPD for an hour or so until a row kicked off on the “Geocaching in Kent” Facebook page. The chap who started the group and promptly disappeared crawled out of the woodwork and started throwing his weight around. Amazingly those I felt would have made a stand took the side of the chap of whom no one had ever heard. I got the hump and left the group in a fit of pique. Within two hours I was invited to join a replacement group which had been set up by an exodus of like-minded people who weren’t going to be dictated to by this idiot.
I drove "er indoors TM" round to the garage, then I went up to the attic room where I re-arranged my Lego layout. There’s a video of what I did here.
I did as much as I could, but I really do need those new base plates (that I ordered two months ago) to arrive soon. I’m not really sure what I can do about them – they should have arrived a month ago, but the seller keeps moving the expected delivery date, and until that date passes, eBay don’t want to know.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of scran which we devoured whilst watching a Cameron Diaz film. “Bad Teacher” was rather good – I wonder why I’d not seen it before…
12 May 2020 (Tuesday) - Another Day's Leave
I woke shivering; an alliance of "er indoors TM", Treacle and Pogo had captured most of the duvet. I tried to get some back, but found myself fighting a losing battle, gave up, and got up.
Over brekkie I peered into the Internet. The Facebook page of the epically-chested porn-monger that I reported to the Facebook feds yesterday was still up and running. Whoever it is that runs Facebook has some very dubious standards. They will suspend users for using a name by which they are known rather than their birth name, but are quite happy to allow animal cruelty and pornography on their site.
There was quite a bit of politics being bandied about on Facebook too as people were trying to understand the Prime Minister’s proclamation that he made last Sunday. There were those who said that it was all perfectly clear and there were those who said it was all very contradictory. In these very uncertain times whatever the Prime Minister says will be wrong, but I can’t help but feel that if he’d made a point of speaking for a much shorter period of time, and re-recorded the message a few times to take out all the hesitancy, ums and ahs, and upper-class grunting noises, he would have come over a lot more convincingly.
Fortunately all the squabbling on the geocaching pages seemed to have died down.
I only had one email today. On 15 May 2018 I wrote about how the British Mammal Society were trying to survey the UK’s mammals and had created an app. The idea was that you photographed a mammal, said what it was and told them. Their experts would have a look and see if you got it right and using the GPS location on the photo they could build up a picture of the UK’s mammal population.
This morning they told me that I had correctly identified three squirrels in the park in July 2018.
"er indoors TM" distracted Fudge, and I took Treacle and Pogo round the park. We had a good walk; we had no “episodes” at all. We met other dog-walking acquaintances who all asked after Fudge. Several of them commented on all the other never-before-walked dogs that are infesting the park. I smiled – it isn’t just me who has noticed this.
With dogs walked I strimmed the lawn edges and mowed the lawn. Arguably it didn’t need mowing, but I’d rather keep it short and easily mowed (once a week) rather than breaking my back trying to hack down a jungle (any less frequently). I got the lawn mower and strimmer out, set them all up… and then went round with the poo shovel. Despite having already cleared the garden, my furry associates had again left their mark.
How can three small dogs produce so much dung?
I popped to the corner shop. As I got there I saw a “rather delightful family” outside. The young mother (with earphones in each ear) shrieked at the four children (all coughing profusely) to stay outside the f…ing shop.
Three of them stayed outside the f…ing shop, but the fourth tried to follow her mother in and got her hand shut in the door. As she cried so her brother yanked her hand out and made her cry more. I told the young mother about this when I went in. She glared at me for making her take an earphone out, announced “whatever”, bought forty cigarettes, and then went out and screamed at the small child who was crying.
She’d got her cigarettes; I got two packs of self-raising flour. A month or so ago toilet roll was like gold dust; now it is baking ingredients.
"er indoors TM" seemed pleased with the self-raising flour. Even more pleased than I was, which was odd. She’s the one who does the baking. Mind you she’s getting good at it.
After a quick cuppa I took Fudge to the vet for a blood pressure check. As we waited so another “family from hell” arrived with some sort of killer-murder-hound in tow. The receptionist politely reminded them that only one person is supposed to come to the consultation. The mother of the tribe laughed contemptuously, pointed at the father who was fighting with the dog, and loudly announced “well, I can’t drag that f…er about, can I?”
Bearing in mind Fudge’s problems of the last week we got seen by the vet rather than the nurse (as had been planned). She could find nothing obviously causing him pain, so said to carry on forcing him to rest. His blood pressure was one hundred and fifty-two (vets don’t measure the diastolic pressure) which is pretty much what it was last time, which was good. However having seen the vet, the bill was twice what I’d expected to shell out.
Oh well… I didn’t want that Lego lunar module model anyway (!)
With yesterday’s wind having gone I spent the afternoon in the garden painting fence panels. I got four and a half done before the blister I’d generated burst and it was too painful to carry on. I pootled a little in the garden. Not-so-nice-next-door was in her garden. I thought about mentioning her broken fence, but bearing in mind she always pretends to ignore me I just shook it and loudly told the dogs not to go through the wreckage.
Talking of fences I wonder if I should chivvy the fence man. He had a socially distanced look at my fence on Saturday but hasn’t given me a quote yet.
I distracted Fudge whilst "er indoors TM" took Treacle and Pogo up the park. When she brought them back I had the job of bathing Treacle; the foul creature had rolled in something disgusting.
Did I ever mention I never wanted dogs?
13 May 2020 (Wednesday) - Back to Work
Over a bowl of Tesco granola I watched the first episode of “Pure”. It was more “funny oo-er” than “funny ha-ha” but it was entertaining enough.
I then had my morning look at the Internet. The page of the epically-chested porn-monger I mentioned two days ago was still active.
The geo-squabble that kicked off a couple of days ago was settling down with effectively everyone who wants to talk about hunting under rocks for film pots having moved to a new Facebook page. It would seem that the chap who sparked the whole sorry mess has now got the hump because several people have been sending him nasty messages. I haven’t, but will quite happily get the drinks in for those who have. I can’t help but feel that bearing in mind the chap runs a small shop and is dependent on local trade, pissing off his customers is a silly way to proceed.
I also saw that the geo-feds have reactivated geocaching as a hobby, and Forestry England have opened their woods.
I set off up the motorway to work. The roads were the busiest they have been in weeks as the country has been ordered back to work today. As I drove I listened to the radio as I do. The pundits on the radio were talking about how coronageddon has affected the economy this morning. Several people spoke and were interviewed; it was rather worrying how it is crystal clear that the consensus of opinion of most people being interviewed was that we'd had a good holiday in the lock-down, but making money is *far* more important than people's lives and so it is back to work for everyone. And the implication was *everyone*. If you couldn't go to work, you could work from home, and anyone not serving the Great God Money clearly wasn't trying hard enough.
However there was an interview with the head honcho of Northern Ireland where they are continuing the anti-virus measures, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was quoted as having extended the furlough scheme for a further four months
There's certainly a lot of mixed messages coming out.
I got to work and did my bit. I've just had a five-day break before which I worked for eleven consecutive days. Some would complain; It can sometimes work against me, but I quite like this seemingly random pattern.
Despite the traffic being busier than it has been recently I made good time home. We took the dogs round the co-op field. I didn’t want to go too far with Fudge; he’s clearly on the mend but he does tend to overdo it.
With geocaching now officially allowed and the Forestry Commission woods open again I re-enabled my geocaches on Forestry Commission land (all fifty-six of them!).
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good curry which we scoffed whilst watching last week’s episode of Bake-Off.
I’m now going to start on my latest little project – to compile a website of all the events and activities of the Kent geocaching community from the last ten years bearing in mind some twonk is about to delete the original records of them…
14 May 2020 (Thursday) - Early Shift
Just as I was about to scoff brekkie I saw that the new series of Schitts Creek was available on Netflix. It was rather good. Better than what I’d watched yesterday.
I then sparked up my lap-top and waited an age whilst the thing did its updates. Eventually I was able to get on-line. I had been expecting a load of abuse about having reactivated over fifty geocaches yesterday, but no one had commented (for which I was grateful). If people want to go hunting them, unless I completely scrap the things I can’t stop them, and there’s no point trying to stop anything which I can’t actually stop so I might as well allow it. Mind you I have noticed that those who were the most vocal about staying at home and not leaving the house at the start of lock-down are now those who are quite publicly out and about.
I had an email from the Environment Agency – fishing is now allowed again. Having stopped it was frankly ridiculous; if there was anywhere that you could isolate yourself it was when fishing. Though reading what some of the local fisheries managers are posting they are going to make it as difficult as possible for people to actually go fishing. I realise that not everyone understands the intricacies of how a virus works and moves and lives and does its thing. I realise that not everyone has studied human physiology and medicine to a post-graduate level. But it would seem that (having been told to stay alert) most people are treating the virus as though it were a tiger.
I set off to work on a rather bright (if cold) morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how parliament is trying to function with most MPs logging in remotely. You would think that what with MPs having responsibilities both in their constituencies and in London, video conferencing would be something they had been doing for years, wouldn't you?
Apparently some of them are OK with the technology, but quite a few simply can't work the video calling. And so are so thick that they have actually clicked the wrong button(s) when casting their votes on-line (and then bleated about how hard it is to the Speaker of the House afterwards).
This winds me up.
This is the twenty-first century. I can do Zoom conferencing. Six-year-olds can do Zoom conferencing. The inability to use I.T. is akin to being unable to read and write. And these are the leaders of our country.
There was also talk of the oncoming recession. It would seem that our country is on course for the worst economic recession in history. It has been suggested that all public sector workers get a pay freeze (or even a pay cut). That's a good idea... when I need to pay any bills I shall just drag a few neighbours down to the bank and they can clap into my account.
Despite the roads getting progressively more and more busy I made good time to work. Pausing only briefly to deploy a Munzee I was soon in and doing my thing.
An early start made for an early finish. I came home, and spent a little while working on my Kent geocaching archive. I got a first draft together. Very much a work in progress and it has still got a lot of work needing doing, but it’s a start.
I then tuned in to the virtual geo-meet that took place this evening. After all the aggro of the last few days it was good to catch up with friends. And then after a spot of dinner we video-whatsapped with Karl and Tracey.
I don’t think I’ve ever done quite so much keeping in touch since this lock-down kicked off…
15 May 2020 (Friday) - A Smaragd Race
I woke feeling like death warmed up with the mother of all hangovers. Odd really as all I’d had to drink yesterday evening was a couple of glasses of Doctor Pepper.
Completely failing to find where the jar of honey had gone, I spread peanut butter on my toast and had a look at the Internet. It was much the same as how I’d left it last night. I rolled my eyes at a Facebook friend’s video of last night’s Thursday clapping which was showing just how much fun and excitement the clappers were having. With video footage clearly showing one entire family in another family’s house, social distancing was clearly out the window. Do these people *really* support the key workers when having their little session, or is it (as my nephew so succinctly said) “… starting to turn into a mini carnival”. I wonder just how many of the revellers (they weren’t just clapping – the video really did show a full-on street party) will write a letter to the Prime Minister protesting against the public sector pay freezes that are coming?
I mentioned my plans for a geo-archive on the new-look Kent Geocaching Facebook pages in the hopes of getting some more contributions, got dressed, and took the hounds round the park.
We had a rather good walk in which (amazingly) Pogo was held up as a shining example. As we came through Bowens Field there were two small children impotently shouting at their dog who was going berserk in a hedge. Pogo went up to see what was happening so I called him away. He stopped, turned and came back to me. The smallest child then shouted at the eldest “Why can’t we have a dog like that?”
We came home; had a cuppa and a croissant, then I cracked on in the garden getting four and a half fence panels painted. Somehow Fudge got covered in white paint; a clever trick as I was putting brown stuff on the fence.
With fence painted I drove "er indoors TM" round to the garage to collet her car. When I came home there was an odd family outside the house. One was sitting in a car, the rest were socially distanced around, and all were having a picnic on the pavement.
What was that all about?
I could have done some landscaping in the garden, but until I get a date for the fence replacement (*if* it isn’t too expensive) I can’t really do that much more. And I ached from the painting. So I went up into the attic and sorted Lego. Not so much “played with” as sorted. Over the last year or so I’ve had quite a few deliveries and not thrown out the envelopes and stuff, so I had a little chucking-out before working on a little park area in which several people dressed as Santa were having a fun-run. One of the Santas was being sick, and there was an axe-murderer in the crowd.
As I Lego-ed I listed to the latest album from Sparks which I’d downloaded. I won’t say it was crap, but I will say that I’ve not been so disappointed since I listened to their last album. Having said that, as I write it is in sixth position in Amazon’s top selling albums so (again) I would seem to be in the minority.
I popped over the road to the shop to get some milk. I spent twenty quid on beer too; they do have a rather good selection. And once home both "er indoors TM" and I bought a smaragd from the Munzee store. We’ve having a smaragd race. As you do…
(As I write this, Microsoft Word is quite happy with the word “smaragd” but wants to change the spelling of “Munzee”)
After a rather good bit of dinner we tuned in to a live performance by Hazel O’Connor. She got going some ten years or so after Sparks… Like Sparks I was dead keen on her music forty years ago…
I suspect that if the software wasn’t continually buffering I might have enjoyed it more, but how often is it that you can be seriously disappointed by two of your musical heroes in the same day?
16 May 2020 (Saturday) - Hemsted Forest and a Quiz
Over some toast I was rather pleased to see that my smaragd had been captured overnight whereas "er indoors TM"’s hadn’t. Oh how I gloated.
There was a minor row kicking off on one of the work-related Facebook groups I follow. The BBC had released a little thingy on a web page “Coronavirus: How Exposed is Your Job” in which members of the public type in their profession and the BBC tell you how likely you are to die from the virus. Amazingly the questionnaire hadn’t heard of biomedical scientists; the very people who actually do the lab tests for the stuff. All the keyboard warriors were kicking off about how unrecognised blood testing is as a job. I took the novel step of sending the BBC an email on the subject. I wonder if they will reply?
I also had another email from the nice people who created the “Mammals” app. I saw a rat on 15 June 2018; they agreed it was a rat.
"er indoors TM" popped to the shop where seemingly the world and his wife was buying picnic stuff for a trip to the beach. So with the rules regarding lock-down being somewhat incomprehensibly somewhere between relaxed, ignored and abandoned we thought we’d walk the dogs. A maintenance run on my geo-series in Hemsted Forest seemed like a plan.
As we drove we listened to the local radio. The presenter who only a few short months ago was um-ing constantly seems to have stopped that, but has now developed an annoying habit of not so much breathing as desperately gasping for air into the microphone.
I wish she wouldn’t.
We got to Hemsted Forest where we were surprised to find Karl, Tracey and the girls. They thought they’d abandon their plans for marching up the North Downs, and we had a rather good socially distanced walk. Not having met up for a couple of months, it was good to catch up.
We hunted out the series of geocaches I hid in those woods last year. Over the last few months I’d had several reports of how bad the GPS co-ordinates of my caches were. Using more than one GPS and a few Smartphones I was rather pleased to see that my original GPS co-ordinates were pretty much spot-on. The problem was that the people who’d found the caches had put them back where they felt would be a better place to hide them. Some up to fifty feet from where I’d put them.
Which is rather annoying…
Mind you I did chuckle at the normal people as they came past. There were quite a few people in largish groups clearly not distancing but judging others that they passed.
And (as always) I took a few photos as we walked.
Seeing as we were half-way to Hastings we drove on and had a couple of socially distanced meet-ups with parents. It was a shame Pogo had to dump on my Dad’s petunias, but such is life.
I slept most of the way home; once home we had a rather good bit of dinner, then tuned in for the Saturday Zoom quiz… A really well thought out quiz in which I came fourth from last. Not too shabby I suppose…
17 May 2020 (Sunday) - Early Shift
After a rather bad night in which I saw every hour of the night I was finally fast asleep when the alarm went off. I watched an episode of “Schitts Creek” whilst scoffing a bowl of granola, and as I scoffed so my phone was seemingly going frantic with a stream of notifications and messages.
I was hoping for great things to have happened on the internet overnight, but most of the messages were that people had found geocaches that I’d hidden. Some people had posted up some photos of what they’d been up to yesterday which I was glad to see (as I’m a rather nosey person). I sent out some birthday wishes to people having birthdays today, and seeing how "er indoors TM" had put a Skyland in the garden I captured it and three bouncers too (it’s a Munzee thing).
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how ex-President Obama had publicly expressed his lack of confidence in President Trump's ability to handle the Presidency. It does seem odd that the USA have gone from one of their most respected presidents to one of the most internationally-laughed-about in a single bound.
There was also talk of how the Prime Minister has acknowledged that his speech to the nation last Sunday didn't quite come over as he had intended. He's admitted that had he been a little more clear then the public wouldn't be as confused as they are now.
Perhaps if he'd prepared a little more... or at all...?
Being a Sunday a lot of the talk on the radio was of a religious nature. Apparently a lot of the open-air drive-in cinemas in America are being used by churches during daylight hours now. You can't socially distance in a church, but at a drive-in cinema you can stay safely sealed in your car (away from the quite literally plague-ridden Great Unwashed) whilst the vicar shouts the platitudes at you via the loudspeakers that at night are used for the films.
It is a scheme which has proved to be rather popular if for no other reason than that the congregants don't have to pretend to be polite to each other as they never actually meet up. Unfortunately the delivery of the Holy Sacrament is proving to be problematical though. Experiments had been tried in which the righteous drove their cars up to the altar to receive Holy Communion through the driver's window (much like a McDonalds drive-through). However the Archbishop of Wisconsin and Milwaukee has put a stop to that as it "lacks reverence". It probably does, but since you can get a drive-through McDonalds but not a drive-through Holy Communion, there are those who've taken offence at having had their religious freedoms restricted and are suing the church leaders.
(You couldn't make this up, could you?)
There were several other stories of stark nonsense (that's religion for you!), but amazingly no one has asked the glaring religious question of the age. With humanity facing the worst pandemic in a century, where is God in all of this? Given that God exists (and that's a leap of faith in itself), God is demonstrably either unable or unwilling to do anything about this pandemic.
So I find myself wondering why do the righteous continue to suck up? I was religious in my past. I was a born-again happy-clappy Christian. I was a Steward in the Methodist church. But one day I realised that I didn't actually believe a word of it, and that I was having to make a *lot* of excuses for God.
I got to work and did my bit. Half way through the morning my colleague asked if I wanted her to mind the shop whilst I slipped off for the free brekkie that was available in the staff canteen. Always being up for free food I took her up on her offer and set off for a plate of scrambled egg and beans on toast. However I was told that I was too late for toast, so the nice lady slapped beans and scrambled egg on a slice of raw bread. Totally mistaking my look of utter amazement, she asked if I'd like a second slice of bread to make up for the lack of toast; she assured me it would be free. I thanked her, but declined her kind offer.
Beans and scrambled egg on raw bread wasn't as bad as it sounds.
As I forced it down so my phone beeped. The nice people in China from whom I'd yet to receive those Lego road plates I ordered months ago were rather upset to hear I'd not received anything and offered me a refund. I took them up on the offer - I wonder if they will actually stump up the money?
With work done I came home and took the dogs for a little walk round the park. As we walked we met Chrissie and Ethan; I was almost on top of them before I recognised them; I was miles away. It was good to catch up.
Fudge got told off by another dog for attempting to “do the dirty deed”, and each time that we did “sit” to cross a road, someone or other would comment on how well-behaved the dogs were. Not a bad walk.
I came home and promptly fell asleep… I’m not feeling on top form…
18 May 2020 (Monday) - 98.5%
I slept like a log last night, but I still wasn’t feeling on top form when I woke. I made myself a bowl of granola and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Schitt’s Creek” in the hope I might perk up.
With telly watched I had a little look at the Internet. This time last week I mentioned that I’d reported a porn-monger to Facebook. A profile linking to mucky sites asked to befriend me, so I squealed them up to the Facebook feds. A week later that site is still active. Amazing how advertising graphic sex doesn’t go against the Facebook “community standards”, isn’t it? But other that his/her/its non-removal, not a lot had happened on Facebook overnight. I sent out four birthday greetings, then had a look at my emails.
They too were equally dull.
I captured bouncers in the tree house and the Skyland (it’s a Munzee thing) and got ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing the head honcho of some airline or other. This bloke was banging on about how all the public should be wearing face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Apparently wearing masks reduces the risk by ninety-eight point five per cent (or so this bloke claimed).
They then wheeled on professor doctor someone-or-other who asked what specific risk had been lowered by ninety-eight point five per cent (spreading the virus, contracting the disease, getting run over by a bus... it could have been the risk of absolutely anything), and what evidence there was to support this utterly unsubstantiated claim. The airline bloke didn't know; he'd just heard something somewhere that mentioned ninety-eight point five per cent. Presumably he'd totally misunderstood what was going on and seemingly made up the rest. But he was insistent that because he'd heard it somewhere, it had to be true.
This was followed by an interview with some transport manager (it was a bit vague as to exactly what it was that he managed) who said that he'd heard that there was no real evidence that wearing face masks actually achieved anything , but since everyone else was wearing them, he would as well. Apparently that "stood to reason" and "made sense".
I took a deep breath.
For thousands of years it was common knowledge that the world was flat because that too "stood to reason" and "made sense". I've mentioned before that the stupidity of my fellow humans never fails to amaze me; and none more so than that which is broadcast live on national radio.
This was followed by the "Thought for the Day" section which I thought was rather apt considering my rant of yesterday. Some leading Methodist went on (very earnestly) about seeing how God had failed the righteous in countless historical disasters in the past, why should God do anything about Coronageddon? Apparently standing idly by and watching calamity unfold is what God does best, and anyone who expects anything more doesn't really understand what God is all about. It would seem that completely letting down a believer's faith is in itself a test of faith
One lives and learns... the convoluted logic that the righteous employ to make excuses for the failings of their God have to be heard to be believed...
I got to work; I deployed a few Munzees and got on with my work. And with work done I came home again. As I do.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Ricky and Ralf’s Very Northern Road Trip” which was rather good.
I think I’ll have another early night – yesterday I mentioned I wasn’t feeling that good; I’m still feeling a tad ropey…
19 May 2020 (Tuesday) - Bit Dull
I slept like a log. Over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “Schitts Creek” then had a quick look at the Internet to see if I’d missed much overnight.
There was quite a bit of nastiness being banded about on the Geocaching UK Facebook page. For a hobby that can be quite fun and through which I’ve made a lot of good friends, it never fails to amaze me just how horrible and nasty the people who post on the national page can be. I can’t help but wonder why.
I chased up the refund for the Lego plates which never arrived, and got ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the effects of the pandemic on the economy. Pretty much every so-called expert who was wheeled on seemed to be crystal clear that whilst all the deaths have been sad, the detrimental effect on the economy is far more serious and far more concerning. Pounds over people every time...
A very sad reflection on our society...
Thre was then talk about how President Trump is openly and loudly advocating the use of hydroxychloroquinine as an anti-viral agent (even though its only advocate of the stuff is him). He told the world how he's taking it to prevent him getting the virus. There was a lot of discussion about why he's making such a song and dance about the stuff; it is claimed he's got no vested interest, so what is going on?
I thought about popping to Sainsburys before work, but "er indoors TM" now has a working car, and I would seem to have spent several hundred quid over the last month on shopping we didn't need, so I decided against it. Instead I went in to the works car park, deployed a Munzee (as one does) and did my bit at work.
Work was much the same as ever, but as the day wore on I wondered if I shouldn’t have gone shopping after all.
I came home via Aldi, which was the quietest I’ve seen it for a long time. I bought some uncooked bread stuff (I like that) and a couple of bottles of red wine (I like that too) and came home to an empty house. "er indoors TM" had taken the hounds out. But some of the Lego that I’d ordered at the weekend had arrived. Lego Fudge and Lego Sid together with Lego "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and a shovel for the Lego turds.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with one of the bottles of plonk that I’d bought on the way home. I followed it up with a couple of glasses of salted caramel vodka.
I’m not sure the last glass was a good idea…
20 May 2020 (Wednesday) - A Day Off
Whilst everyone else snored I made some toast and peered into the Internet. I chuckled a little as I read the ranting on Facebook. I have various Facebook friends who are staunchly Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party supporters. All were accusing the BBC of being biased against their choice of political party and being biased in favour of their opponents. I thought better of making any comments; all of these people are rather odd. All really do feel that having their choice of political party in power really would have us living in a utopia *until* their party gets elected. At that point there is a lot of noise about just how crap the world would be if the opposition was in power. All seem oblivious to the fact that all parties have had a go in power (nationally and locally) and all have succeeded and failed to various extents.
Pausing only briefly to delete a friend request from Sanjoy Sarkar (who?) I sent out birthday wishes, and again chased up the refund for those Lego plates that hadn’t come.
I got the dogs onto their leads; for the first time in two months we did “boot dogs” and drove up to Kings Wood. We had a rather good walk; for the first few minutes we were followed by a rather noisy normal person. Walking in flip-flops, everything he said to his pal came out as a shout, and I could clearly hear his conversation from two hundred yards away. But he and his pal soon turned off and left us in peace. Which is more than they did for the wildlife; only a few minutes after they went so a dozen deer came running past from the direction in which they’d gone. The reaction of the dogs was amazing; I was expecting them to be shouty and maybe give chase; instead all three stared in frank amazement.
The main reason for going to Kings Wood today was to finalise plans for my new geo-series which was put on hold when lock-down closed the woods. I got the last set of GPS co-ordinates that I needed, and we came home where I showered the fox poo off of Fudge. I wish he wouldn’t roll in the stuff.
I then drove round to Wickes where I collected the wood that "er indoors TM" had ordered to fix the arbour, then my phone beeped. I had an email. I’d got the refund for those base plates. That was a result – I was about to just give up on that.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a surprisingly good ham sandwich which I devoured, then I spent much of the afternoon painting more fence panels.
The nice fence man has given me a quote to replace the fence between our garden and new-next-door… well… not so much the fence as the uprights. This are the bits that rot through and are back-breaking to replace. He says he can swap them out for concrete uprights into which the existing fence panels can slot, and I can then replace the panels later when money permits. Having the nice man fit new concrete uprights won’t be cheap, but he’s quoted about a thousand pounds less than I thought he might, so here’s hoping. Salvaging the existing panels will save a few hundred quid so that’s why I’ve got handy with the paint brush. He says he can start in a couple of months.
The fence between our garden and not-so-nice-next-door is a different matter though. It is lower, but many of the uprights have rotted through and they’ve done nothing to repair any of them. A lick of paint made it look better, even if it didn’t address the actual problem. The actual problem being her-next-door’s problem.
After I’d got eight panels painted I found I couldn’t actually move any more, so I sat in the sun and read my Kindle for a bit.
We had a very good bit of dinner whilst watching more of “Ricky and Ralph’s Very Northern Road Trip” which is a very good show. However it does totally ignore the fundamental difference between Northerners and Southerners which is that the Southerners don’t care that Northerners come from the North.
"er indoors TM" joined in with the bi-weekly Zoom chat. I didn’t tonight... I’m beginning to get fed up with these Zoom chats. More and more no one talks of anything but the ongoing pandemic and I find that despite having spent nearly forty years studying and working with human disease and having one or two post-graduate qualifications in the subject, I’m being very superciliously told that everything I’ve learned is completely wrong by garden centre till operators, telephonists and McDonalds chip-fryers…
I think I spent too long in the sun today…
21 May 2020 (Thursday) - Busy Busy...
As I scoffed my toast so Treacle was stomping round the living room proudly showing of the carrier bag that she wasn’t supposed to have. She loves having things she shouldn’t have – she doesn’t damage them in any way, she just loves showing off that she has stolen them.
Fudge was a worry this morning, turning his nose up at his brekkie. Last night he tucked into his boiled swede and the night before he yummed up a bowl of rice. Eventually we got him to eat some biscuits. Has he gone vegetarian, or does he just not like the really expensive special kidney-friendly food we’ve bought for him?
There wasn’t too many squabbles kicking off on Facebook this morning and my in-box was pretty much empty so I sent out a couple of birthday wishes and took the dogs out. With the Forestry Commission woods open we went down to Orlestone Woods. Since we were last there someone has fixed the pot holes in the car park (which was a result).
We had a very good walk round the woods and only saw one other person. It strikes me as frankly ridiculous that during the peak of the pandemic I was forced to walk the dogs round a crowded park when (had the woods been open) I could have walked for hours without having met anyone.
With walk walked we came home, had a cuppa and a Bakewell tart (without a cherry!), I hung out the washing and got on with painting fence panels. I got five and a half done before it got too hot to continue.
I came in, had a bit of cheese on toast, then cracked on with the ironing until my phone rang…
A couple of weeks ago I had a letter from the hospital telling me of a telephone appointment with the sleep clinic to see how I was getting on with my CPAP machine. (Five years too late, perhaps?) The letter said where I had to attend, who I would be seeing, and that I should take the CPAP machine for a service. And then I re-read it. A telephone consultation but I had to go to the hospital? I phoned them and was told that it was a telephone consultation. The specialist would phone me. The nice people at the sleep clinic admitted that the letter was confusing, but apparently the secretary lacked the ability to modify the letter template. I was told that it was easier all round for the clinic to send out a confusing and misleading letter and tell people what was happening when they phoned in confusion, rather than training the secretary on how to use Microsoft Word.
I would put in a complaint, but I’m getting sick of complaining about that hospital.
My telephone consultation was planned for half past two – I was an hour into a rather huge pile of ironing when the phone rang (ten minutes early). I was glad that I had a telephone consultation; had I taken the time to go to the hospital I would have put in a formal complaint. Some secretary-type asked me some questions from a list, said they needed me to send them an SD card from my CPAP machine (she said they should have asked for that four years ago), and in two minutes it was all over and done with. I had hoped to speak to the specialist about whether or not I should still be doing night shifts. I shall ask next time.
After another couple of hours I had the ironing done, and it had cooled down outside. I got another couple of fence panels painted, and also got a coat of paint onto some of the trellises. I was about to pack up when "er indoors TM" started sawing wood for repairing the roof of the arbour, so I helped there. I suggested that by painting the wood then she would save time later, so I picked up the tin and gave it a good shake. It was at this point that she told me she hadn’t put the lid on properly when she finished with it the other day…
Oh how I laughed…
It didn’t take that long to brush the paint down the drain.
Being Thursday we tuned into the geo-Zoom meet from the garden. Or "er indoors TM" did. I listened in the background (as I said yesterday I’m being a tad sensitive at the moment).
As I listened I tried unscrewing the roof panels from the arbour that "er indoors TM" wants to replace. They took some unscrewing, and half the screws snapped as they had rusted through. Mind you bearing in mind that I (actually Jose) put the thing together on Easter Sunday 2007, it has lasted well. All that is wrong with it is that a few of the roof slats need replacing, and the thing needs a coat of paint. I cost a couple of hundred pounds, but I think that was money well spent…
For a day’s holiday I haven’t stopped…
22 May 2020 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift
I slept like a log last night. This morning as I checked Facebook there were quite a lot less videos of the Thursday clapping from last night. There wasn’t any of it up our street last night. There would seem to be a growing sentiment against this Thursday clapping thing; the novelty is finally wearing off. Mind you, those that are doing it are doing it big-time. The video footage of the clap in my nephew’s street showed they all had their mates round to join in and social distancing was out the window as a mini-carnival was being staged. I pity any of the key workers that they were clapping who were trying to sleep in that street.
I got the dogs leaded up and drove them down to Orlestone woods where we had a rather good walk without meeting anyone as we walked. We came back to the car park to see something odd though. There was a family of four in a car. With their windows open I could hear them chatting about the birds they could see and the alpacas in the paddock nearby. They were excited at seeing the dogs, and the “boot dogs” trick really impressed them. I drove off rather slowly watching them in my mirror. They were showing no signs of leaving their car. Had they just driven to the car park for a bit of sightseeing?
I dropped the dogs at home and popped round to B&Q for some bits and bobs. Coronageddon-panic had subsided somewhat since I was last there, but they had a sign up saying NHS workers should show their ID badge at the till so that B&Q could show their appreciation. I showed my badge and jokingly said “please don’t clap; we’ve had enough of that“. With a straight face the woman behind the till said “yes – I think we all have”.
But they gave me ten per cent off of what I bought. Over the years the panels on the shed have warped and twisted, and there are a few baps between them. Rather than farting about replacing them, I got some filler, and once home I bodged the holes full of the stuff. Fortunately the holes were all at one end, and I got a coat of paint on to the other end of the shed. I could have painted the front as well I suppose, but I ached somewhat (presumably from the previous two days of painting?)
I took myself to bed for the afternoon. I didn’t sleep well. It was too hot, but I dozed fitfully for three hours before getting up and doing a little more painting. I’ve pretty much got all of the fencing done; just half of the shed to go now. I seem to have got it done far quicker this year than in previous years.
I fed the fish (to the delight of the dogs), and had another look-see at the Internet in case I’d mossed anything during the day.
With any luck "er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner in a bit, then I shall set off to work… The day before a night shift is always rather dull as I just loiter about waiting for time to pass.
23 May 2020 (Saturday) - Chicken Sh*t Bingo and Extreme Dishwasher Loading
After a rather good night shift I listened to the radio as I drove home. The Prime Ministers’ lackey Dominic Cummings would seem to be in trouble for having broken lock-down rules. Rather than self-isolating at home when ill, he travelled half-way across the country so that he’d have family nearby to look after his children. Or so he claimed. The lock-down rules are vague (at best) – did he did wrong, or was the media having a slow news day? Who knows?
I stopped off at B&Q where the queues to get into the place were already forming at half-past eight. And (unlike yesterday) the place looked like a plague zone. It never fails to amaze me that I wear less personal protective equipment when dealing with virus-ridden blood samples than the Great Unwashed do when going shopping.
I got some more paint for the fences (I might run out half way through the shed) then went home and took myself off to bed.
I got a couple of hours sleep before the dogs barking got too much. I came down to find the living room in uproar as "er indoors TM" was having a tidy-up. Over a cuppa I peered into the internet to see if I’d missed much. I hadn’t really, but I had been accepted into the Facebook group “Extreme Dishwasher Loading” (which seems to be good for a laugh).
As I perused, so "er indoors TM" was playing episodes of “Top of the Pops” from thirty years ago. There was some crap music in the early 1990s. It was with a sense of relief that I turned it off and we took the dogs round the park for a walk.
We left home in glorious sunshine and had a rather good walk in that there were no “episodes” at all. However there were no “episodes” because the thunderstorms kept everyone inside. And the thunderstorms were rather impressive. We were soaked to the skin by the time we got home, and by the time we got home it was glorious sunshine again.
We put on dry clothes, sent into the garden, got out the chairs… and ran them all back into the shed quickly as a hailstorm hit.
After a couple of hailstorms and thunderstorms we finally got to spend an hour in the sunshine with a pint and the Kindle and I dozed off; the night shift and a couple of pints had taken their toll.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and with it scoffed we tuned in to the Saturday Zoom quiz. Based on “Richard Osman’s House of Games” we had a very good quiz (even if I did come second to last). And the evening was rounded off with a quick game of “Chicken Shit Bingo” – a game which might well be modified for canine participation…
24 May 2020 (Sunday) - 12 345
I slept like a log; night shifts do that. Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet and sent out five birthday wishes. It’s odd how there will be no birthdays in my life for a week, then five people have a birthday all at once.
I saw a friend was doing that “ten albums” thingy on Facebook that I did a few weeks ago. One of his albums was by the band Transvision Vamp; A chap I met whilst I was studying with the Open University told me he’d once slept in the same bed as the singer of that group. Admittedly he was in it the day after she was, but that was his lame to fame.
I met some really good people through the Open University all those years ago… being pre-Facebook and pre- all other social media I’ve lost touch with all of them. Such a shame.
With no emails at all I made the mistake of letting the dogs out for a tiddle. On the strength of last night’s “Chicken Shit Bingo” I had planned to make a video for a game of “Pogo Piddle Pot-Luck” but had forgotten all about it until it was too late.
We got our gear together, and spent half an hour trying to find the extending dog leads. Eventually we gave up searching and decided we could manage with their usual leads.
We made good time up the motorway, and were soon at Fawkham Green where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte who (by some strange co-incidence) just happened to be walking the same route that we had planned. There are those who might say we weren’t completely fulfilling the letter of the law today, but how can I control where other people choose to go for their legally-permitted exercise? We made a point of keeping the legally proscribed distance apart as we walked, and (quite frankly) if the Prime Minister is quite happy to have his chief aide openly flaunting the lock-down rules then he has effectively declared lock-down is over anyway.
Our walk followed the Fawkham Green series of geocaches and it was a (mostly) good walk. We did find ourselves coming a tad adrift as we walked across a golf course. I’m sure that two of the caches there were on parish boundaries rather than on footpaths, but speaking to some toffee-nosed twit on one of the greens it would seem that the golf club owners have tried to redirect the footpaths away from their legally proscribed courses so that they don’t have the lower orders (like me) getting in their way. But by knocking down the official footpath signs and not posting where they want us proles to walk, the golf course people have just caused chaos.
As we walked we found a surprising lot of these painted rocks that are getting ever-more popular. And we saw two very large trampolines which were just randomly set up in a field. As we walked we saw from the paper logs in the geocaches that others were out walking and geocaching today. We actually caught up with two friends and walked with them (at a distance) for half a mile or so until we found a rather good picnic spot. They carried on, and we sat down for half an hour.
Usually we like to find a pub on our walk, or end at a pub. Although it is heavy, I quite like taking a couple of beers with us; we can stop where we like and not have to worry about the normal people who might be swarming around in a pub garden.
We had a very good picnic lunch; we sat in a quiet field far away from everyone else. It was a bright sunny day; just twenty-four hours previously we’d been cowering under a tree in a thunderstorm.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk. Some of the co-ordinates were a tad iffy, but no more so than couldn’t be attributed to tree cover or power lines, and all the hides had rather good clues to help us. And we found five different geocache types today as well (which is rather impressive if you are impressed by that sort of thing).
Toward the end of the walk I found my twelve thousand three hundred and forty-fifth geocache. Not an officially recognised milestone or achievement, but one I was happy about.
As always I took a few photos.
I slept most of the way home.
Within seconds of getting home "er indoors TM" found the missing extending dog leads. They were where she’d put them. Oh well… they will do for next time.
I then went out to the pond to feed the fish. Despite having a seriously bad back and despite having just walked nearly nine miles, Fudge flew up the garden like a bullet from a gun to bother the fish. He *loves* trying to get the fish food before the Koi get any.
We had a good bit of dinner, then tuned into a Facebook Live quiz run by a pal of "er indoors TM". It was all going well until the the world’s longest river was revealed. The Nile is actually the world’s longest river, but the Amazon is wider and deeper and therefore bigger by volume. The question-master hadn’t realised this subtle difference. We had, but personally when doing on-line quizzes these days I take the line that someone else has made the effort to entertain me, and therefore I accept whatever they say (even if it’s wrong). It would seem that not everyone else is as accepting as me…
25 May 2020 (Monday) - Hic !!
With an alliance of Pogo, Treacle and "er indoors TM" having claimed most of the duvet and having turned on the bedroom fan I gave up laying in bed shivering and came downstairs for brekkie. A row was kicking off on the national Facebook geocaching page in which “Karen from Facebook” was ranting that some people had gone geocaching recently and hadn’t sterilised pretty much everything in their wake as they went. I didn’t get involved; but it amazes me that the less anyone knows about matters microbiological, the more vocal they are on the subject. It also amazes me that there is now (supposedly) such an expected high quality of hygiene expected in a hobby which is all about scrubbling under rocks for film pots that have been left in the dirt for months and years.
I had a look at my emails and saw another series of geocaches had gone live. Thirty-odd new ones had appeared yesterday evening in Coxheath, and fifteen more appeared this morning near Marden. And there could well be more coming, for which I am grateful. A prolific hider of the things has announced that he’s finding the walking all a bit too much these days and (bearing in mind his caches are all rather old) he’s asking for people to put out new ones in his area at which point he will archive his old ones. I’ve offered to take on a short-ish series in the back of beyond if no one else will, and I spent a little while perusing the map of that area. The route is already in place, but finding somewhere to park a car on that route takes some doing…
And I had an email from Amazon. Based on my recent activity (of buying the latest album from “Sparks”) they thought I might be interested in buying the latest album from “Sparks”.
I went into the garden and got the paint brush out. I finished painting the shed, got a coat of paint onto the wooden barrel which houses one of the water features, and spent an hour or so painting trellises. As I painted so “not-so-nice-next-door” was busying about on her side of the fence. The stupid woman had spent half an hour reinforcing a post which her strange ex-husband had put in years ago to reinforce the fence. Ironically the post she reinforced is fine as it is, but it in no way contributes anything to the integrity of the fence. The fence is still flapping about just as it was before she started fannying about. When Fudge started barking at her I told him to be quiet as he will see plenty of her when the fence falls down later. Hopefully she took notice of that.
I painted until it got a bit too hot for that, so I came in, had a quick shower, and looked at the monthly accounts. As always they could be better, but as always they really could be a whole lot worse. If I’m looking to replace the entire fence supports (for more than I’ve spent on a car before) I can’t be *that* hard up, can I? It’s just that I’d like a lot more money than I actually have.
Using twenty-first century technology we spent the bank holiday afternoon enjoying the sunshine with the first fruit of my loin and his tribe. A couple of bottles of Polish lager, a pint (or so) of salted caramel flavoured Baileys, several vodka-infused strawberries and I am reliably informed that "My Boy TM" had “blown”…
Me - I’m feeling raring to go… Which is more than I was this time twenty-four years ago when I can remember getting particularly unwell on a combination of white wine and Harvey’s Best Bitter
26 May 2020 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
I was rather disappointed as I peered into Facebook this morning. Being a nosey sort of person I had been hoping for photos of what people might have been up to at the weekend. But I suppose lock-down has put the tin lid on doing most things. There was pretty much nothing but adverts for stuff for sale on Facebook this morning.
I had a few emails this morning; several more geocaches had gone live overnight. Some near work – had I been working this morning I could have chased a First to Find. But I wasn’t, and so I didn’t.
Instead I leaded up the dogs and took them down to Orlestone Woods. Usually we have the place to ourselves; today was the busiest I’ve ever seen the place. We must have met a dozen other dog walkers; all of whom commented on how busy the place was.
We came home, and I then spent half an hour cataloguing my souvenir beer glasses. Over the years I’ve amassed quite a few, and they just sit on shelves gathering dust. I advertised the lot for sale before Christmas, and I’ve had someone express interest in some of them. I put the lot through the dishwasher (in two loads) whilst doing a little more admin on my new geo-series which will go live in Kings Wood at some point over the next few weeks.
I took myself to bed for the afternoon. I slept reasonably well apart from a rather vivid dream un which a rather surly Prime Minister invited me to a formal dinner at which we ate rather bad fish and chips. What was that all about?
I got up, and spent an hour and a half struggling with the geo-admin for the four new Wherigoes I have in the pipeline. As I got more and more angry with the recalcitrant software so the doorbell rang. Those Lego plates I’ve been waiting for have finally arrived. Having ordered them originally on 18 March I received a refund for their non-arrival six days ago. I promptly ordered others from somewhere in darkest Europe, and they arrived today.
I shall fiddle about with them when I have more time.
I’m hoping "er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner soon – then I’m off to the night shift…
27 May 2020 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
As I was walking out of work this morning my phone beeped. Over forty new geocaches had gone live including a rather large series of the things not five miles from where I was. I looked on the map to find one which I could get to in the car and do as a drive-by, and I thought I might try for a First to Find. Less than half an hour after my phone beeped I was driving home having done the Happy Dance for my first FTF for some time.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about how Twitter is cleaning up its act. Facing quite a lot of criticism for their website being used to peddle lies and inaccuracies, they’ve taken the bull by the horns and labelled the tweets of their biggest problem-client as “unsubstantiated” and “false”. Needless to say, Donald Trump is furious about having his output described this way, but surely there is something wrong with the world when the President of the United States really is making “unsubstantiated” and “false” tweets.
There was also talk of how today NASA is sending two astronauts up to the International Space Station having paid a private company to take them there. I can’t see why NASA can’t spend the money building the rocket themselves rather than paying Elon Musk to do so and allowing him to make a profit on top. But them I’ve never really understood capitalism… Well… let me clarify that. I understand it all too well. I’m just not sure that I agree with it.
I got home, and together with "er indoors TM" took the dogs to Orlestone Woods. It wasn’t as busy as yesterday, but we did have an “episode”. I’m not saying Pogo is completely blameless, but he doesn’t like other dogs on leads. And the idiot taking his pampered princess round the woods on a lead (who does that? – really?) just fuelled the flames by picking the dog up and waving it round like a toy.
But other than that, the walk went well. Fudge kept up far better for "er indoors TM" than he ever does for me.
I made myself some toast and had a look at the Internet. It was much the same as ever it was. I captured a polar bear in the Skyland (as one does) and went off to bed where I slept for a lot longer than I usually do on a hot day after a night shift.
Feeling rather tired I went up to the attic room and unpacked those new base plates. I spent a little while fiddling about. After an hour or so I made a short video of my Lego world. You can see it by clicking here.
There is still a lot to do in Lego world - I need to:
· Make platform 2 smaller to install a car park
· Do more with the park (where the fun-run is happening)
· Extend the pond
· Change the train’s couplings (magnets aren’t strong enough)
· Put passengers into the train and bus
· Swap out the two light grey plates (that’ll cost over £30!)
· Get Lego Treacle, Pogo and Rolo (on order)
· Find some panoramic backdrop
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the last episode of “Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins”.
I’m told that the ISS and the Space X will be visible from the back garden in a bit. I might go have a look, or I might just go to bed.
28 May 2020 (Thursday) - 5G Bio Shield (!)
I slept for a good eight hours last night – not surprising really. Night shifts do that to most people. I scoffed a bowl of granola whilst watching an episode of “Schitts Creek” then sparked up the internet.
A row was kicking off on the work-related Facebook page. The Prime Minister is blaming NHS laboratories for delays in testing for corona virus. His criticism is unfounded, the NHS laboratories are providing results within hours. But historically the medical laboratory has always been someone to blame. Consider a visit the GP for example. They will take a blood sample and tell you to come back for the result in a month. The result will be available the next day but they say to come back in a month because they don’t have any earlier appointments. But the implication is clearly made that the delay is because of the laboratory. The Prime Minister is doing the same over corona virus testing…
As Oliver Hardy one remarked “twas ever thus”.
I checked my emails. The Bricklink site (it’s a Lego thing) I found for those last two base plates had sent me their invoice. LinkedIn had suggested that I chum up with someone with whom I had absolutely nothing at all in common.
I quickly Munzee-ed from the sofa (capturing a leprechaun and a banshee as one does) then got myself ready for work.
I set off to work on a bright morning up a rather busy motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking rubbish as they usually do. I didn't really take much notice of what they were saying; it was mostly blah blah blah; pretty much repeating the same old stuff. We are in a pandemic the likes of which we've not seen for a century. What does the future hold? No one knows, but everyone speculates.
Mind you the "Thought for the Day" bit was laughable. Some Rabbi was banging on about how people are looking out for each other during the pandemic, and because some people are being nice to each other, this proves that his God exists. The reasoning went along the lines of God had said for people to be nice to each other - people are being nice to each other - people are being nice to each other because God said so - therefore God exists. Usually the Rabbis on the "Thought for the Day" don't talk such utter claptrap. Personally I prefer to think that people are being nice to each other because it is the decent thing to do, rather than for fear of being zapped by a thunderbolt.
As we did our bit at work we had a chuckle. Someone somewhere is taking advantage of the gullible. There is a growing concern (amongst those who don't actually know anything about it) about how dangerous 5G technology is (even though it isn't). Some chap has been selling anti-5G devices which will protect you from their supposedly insidious emissions. An electronics engineer took one of these things apart and found that it is no more than a five-quid USB memory stick with a blue sticker on it.
Mind you all the time people are paying over three hundred quid for rubbish, other people are going to sell them rubbish (for over three hundred quid). If any of my loyal readers would like to get themselves s a 5GBioShield I can supply them at a bargain mates-rates price of only two hundred and fifty quid – and I’ll throw in a free tin-foil helmet too.
I got home and found "er indoors TM" bathing Treacle and Pogo who had both stomped in stagnant mud on their walk, and we then joined in the weekly geo-Zoom meeting in which I could hardly hear a word that was said.
I wonder what’s for dinner…
29 May 2020 (Friday) - Help the Goats
Yesterday some chap bought seven of those beer festival pint glasses I’ve been wanting rid of. This morning as I peered into the Internet I had a message asking about the rest. It would be good to send them to someone who wants them rather than send to the bin.
There was also quite a bit of talk on social media about the end of the Thursday clapping for the key workers. As a key worker myself (NHS) I really never wanted anyone to feel under any obligation to go out and clap me. I've yet to find any other NHS staff who weren't embarrassed and just a little insulted by the whole thing. The general feeling was that it was like clapping a bus driver for not crashing...
I also saw that this year’s Rye Bonfire Parade has already been cancelled. Such a shame – I’ve not got along for a while, but it was always fun.
Pausing only briefly to retrieve the bins from where the bin-men had flung them I set off to work on another bright morning but today I didn't have to brave the motorway. Instead I went cross-country to Tunbridge Wells. The roads weren't *that* busy and it wasn't a bad drive at all. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the government's furlough scheme is slowly being phased out, and they were interviewing some young half-wit about how she is being affected by this. Her job as a delivery driver is entirely self-employed, and she claimed she stood to lose all her income from that. She told quite a heartfelt tale about how her and her mother were desperate for income and struggling to maintain their previous lifestyle without that money.
However she then (somewhat idiotically) went on to say that her money earned from working in a petrol station was still secure, and that the money her mother gets for being her carer is unaffected (!)
I couldn't help but wonder if this woman knew she was telling the world (via national radio) about all her little moonlighting schemes?
There was also talk about how Donald Trump has again shown his unsuitability for high office. Having got the hump that Twitter have labelled one of his outbursts as being of dubious veracity he is threatening to make social media beholden to the same rules as newspapers. He is suggesting that their content must be fact-checked or they will be liable for any inaccuracies or outright lies.
However it was pointed out (with several examples) that if this is actually brought into law then his Twitter account has fallen at the first hurdle.
As I drove to Tunbridge Wells I again drove past the little independent petrol station. Again I felt a pang of guilt that I don't support them. But again I'm not going to support them when I can get petrol fourteen pence a litre cheaper elsewhere.
I got to work. I did my bit. There was cake. Happy days.
I took a little detour on the way home. This morning at tea break I saw a new geocache had gone live. As I left work seven hours later there was still no find logged on it. I set off hoping for a First to Find and I arrived at the point where my sat-nav said I should be at exactly the same time as a mother and daughter. When they realised what I was doing they became quite chatty. The daughter told me that her older sister had hidden the geocache as a Guide activity…
I tried to be encouraging but…
The thing hadn’t so much been hidden as drop-kicked in the general direction of a hedge. And rather than using a half-way decent cache container, the hider had used the sort of thing you’d expect to find filled with sweet-and-sour sauce at a Chinese take-away. None of which is the fault of the hider… Again a Guide leader has seen there is a geocaching badge and has thought they’d have a go with absolutely no knowledge or experience of the hobby. All their caches will be up for archiving by Christmas… Such a shame…
And in closing today the local goat sanctuary is in financial difficulties. You can help them by clicking here.
30 May 2020 (Saturday) - Early Shift
I slept rather well, but woke feeling like death warmed up. I got up feeling rather grotty, and wasn’t helped by the smell of the somewhat rancid milk that I nearly poured onto a bowl of granola.
I made some toast instead, and watched an episode of “Schitt’s Creek” then peered into the Internet to see if much had changed since last night. "er indoors TM"’s fundraiser for the goat sanctuary had raised over fifty quid overnight (which was a result for the goats), but other than that I hadn’t missed much. I sent out birthday wishes, then pausing only briefly to capture a nymph and a mermaid in the tree house and a flying horse and a Puffle in the Skyland (it’s a Munzee thing) I got ready for work.
As I drove off to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing some farmer who had the arse about how a very wet winter and a very dry spring had played havoc with his ability to plant anything. Whilst I sympathised for the fellow, I got the distinct impression that he was looking for someone to blame for the weather. I also got the distinct impression (that for some inexplicable reason) that person was me.
What was that all about?
There was also talk of how some vegetarian crackpot was claiming that the recent pandemic was just peanuts compared to what will happen if we all carry on eating chickens. He might have a point; he might not. Personally I'd rather eat a chicken than a lettuce.
I got to work; I did my bit. And with a few minutes spare I wrote up a little CPD.
Having woken up feeling rough I didn’t get much better as the day wore on and came home feeling decidedly iffy. I spent an hour or so sitting quietly working on solving some geo-puzzles that had gone live during the week. I solved some; others foxed me.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a good bit of dinner, then we tuned in to the Saturday Zoom quiz. This week we had multiple choices for each question. I knew what a gharial was anyway, but we chuckled about nuns chasing llamas, but alcarraza, barchan, carcajou, demiurge, elision, felucca, hafiz and impasto could have been anything on the “Call My Bluff” round.
Usually we would have stayed chatting, but we said our goodbyes and turned the telly to the BBC news channel and watched the launch of the SpaceX taking astronauts up to the International Space Station. The first time that people have been taken to orbit by a private company…
It’s amazing… and quite possibly it could be the worst thing that will ever happen to humanity as the keys to the universe are handed to rich individuals.
31 May 2020 (Sunday) - Sutton Valance to Wierton (and back)
I slept like a log, and woke feeling rather better than I had felt yesterday, which was something of a result. I made myself some toast, then peered into the internet to see what had happened overnight. Very little had happened on Facebook… I say “very little had happened”; my feed was filled with all sorts of quotes and memes from mindfulness websites and groups. I’ve always been rather dubious about “mindfulness” ever since some consultant psychiatrist was interviewed on Radio Four who said that mindfulness was actually rather dangerous as it was being practiced by all sorts of people who don’t actually know how to do it properly. Some of these were (so she claimed) doing more harm to people’s states of mind than good. She might have had a point… I once went to see a counsellor. I went in feeling a tad miffed and came out feeling positively suicidal. I’ve been wary of any of that sort of thing ever since.
We got ourselves and the dogs together (finally persuading Fudge to eat something) and set off. As we drove we listened to Steve on Radio Ashford until the reception became too poor.
We didn’t have to go *too* far out of our way because of the road closure at Leeds castle, and soon we were in the car park at Sutton Valence where the dogs started their howling/screaming concerto. They know when we are going on an adventure and once we arrive at where we are going to start walking, the excitement becomes too much for them.
We should really do something to stop it…
Karl, Tracey and Charlotte soon arrived, and we went for a rather good (if socially distanced) walk. Earlier in the week a series of geocaches had gone live following the Greensand Way from Sutton Valence up to Wierton and back in a circular route. The views were spectacular, the countryside beautiful. We walked past some rather impressive houses; we walked past one tumbledown shack which was up for sale. "er indoors TM" looked it up – half a million quid would secure you the tumbledown shack of your dreams (nightmares).
We watched a hawk fly into a tree, then swoop out and after vanishing from sight for a second it flew to a post where it perched. We managed to get to within fifty yards of it; it had clearly caught something and was ripping its prey to pieces. Yuk!
As we walked we found a little pond. It was rather pretty so we stopped and had our picnic. It was good being able to stop by water; the dogs all had a spuddle, and Treacle and Pogo both had a swim. I had worried that today might have been too hot for the dogs, but it wasn’t as hot as it might have been, we were able to have the dogs in the shade for quite a bit, they had plenty of water, and were able to swim in a pond. And their blue cooling neckerchiefs worked wonders. They were still damp and cold at the end of the walk.
It was a shame that Fudge had to roll in quite so much dirt and ash, but that’s the kind of dog he is.
Geocache-wise it was a very good walk. Aleta had done a sterling job in putting out this series. With caches packed closely together and good hints we didn’t really have any problems at all. There was one iffy cache – but that had been hidden by someone else. I posted “Needs Archiving” on it. But that one was a perfect example of why when I hide caches I don’t want anyone else’s caches nearby. People will walk this excellent series but remember the one crappy cache for which someone else is responsible. (Hopefully that one will soon be gone)
Today’s was a good walk - I took several photos.
We got back to the car park; we said our socially distanced goodbyes. We came home cross country to avoid the road closure.
Once home we had a cuppa then "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching a TV show that had been recommended to me. “The Secret World of Lego” was rather rubbish really. It was all about what goes on the Lego headquarters in Denmark, and because the company guards its secrets (you can’t blame them for doing so) it was rather out of date.
I only watched it because people at work would expect me to pontificate on the show tomorrow. I wish I hadn’t.