1 November 2015 (Sunday) - Longfield Hill
I got up this morning and was just a little disappointed to see the huge bag of Haribos still untouched. The idea was to have something for the Trick or Treating kiddies we had been expecting last night. But none came. Not one. "er indoors TM" has this theory that we are supposed to put out a pumpkin or something as a signal that they are welcome?
Over brekkie I found I was suffering. Perhaps I should go see the doctor about his self-diagnosed tennis elbow? I think I overdid it on Friday at astro club putting the chairs out and then putting them away again. And carrying a small grandchild yesterday didn't do it any good. I've also been having a few twinges in my back from an old washing-up injury I sustained in 1981 (really!)
I'm getting a bit hacked of with this getting older lark. I'm not entirely decrepit but as time goes on these aches and pains are becoming rather troublesome. And I *want* to put the chairs out at astro club. And I *want* to carry my grandson about.
Totally ignoring physical discomfort we collected Suzy and her associate, and then drove up to Longfield Hill which is somewhere in North Kent. (I'm a little vague as to exactly where). We soon met Martin, Claire and Rob and set off on a little geo-stroll. The day was very foggy; the fog did lift for a while, but only for a while. Mind you for all that it was foggy it wasn't cold. We were walking in T shirts for much of the day.
Our walk started off along the main road but we were soon walking through wet crops. Today was the first outing of my new gaiters; they worked well. Mind you having spent out on new gaiters I've found the old ones, but such is life.
We had an excellent walk; according to "Hannah" we walked just over five miles. At one point of the walk we were up a tree, at another we were playing the popular board game "Guess Who" (actually playing it in a wood!). In all we found thirty caches. We were walking for two hours and stopped for one and a half hours. It never fails to amaze me just how much standing about there is in this geo-caper.
We arrived back at the cars at 1.30pm then drove a little way down the road to where the monthly Kent Cacher's geo-meet was in full flow. We arrived to find many of our friends and soon were chattering away. I quite liked the pub which had been chosen for today's meet-up. Not only was the ale good, they did a cracking roast dinner, and the place was dog friendly so I could sit and pass scraps under the table to a waiting "Furry Face TM".
With roast dinner devoured I had a pint of afters, and some cake. We said goodbye to Martin, Claire and Rob, and (as is the way at these monthly meets) teamed up with Tracey, Carl, Victoria, Jessica and Charlotte. Whilst we'd been scoffing dinner so three new geocaches had gone live near the pub, so we went to find them whilst walking off the third pint.
As we walked we had a minor geo-success. We found we were having to walk what seemed to be a long way to get to the latest concealed sandwich box; we wondered if this was because there might be a geo-puzzle in the way. (Geocaches are not allowed to be hidden very close to each other because they fight).
With that in mind as we walked, we found... well, I won't say what we found, but I will say that it at was exactly the sort of place where I would put a geocache. Tracy hit on the idea of looking at the hint for the closest geo-puzzle (even though the icon on the map was half a mile away). The hint fitted exactly with where we were, and within a few seconds we had the cache in hand. The thing even had the cache name on it, so we logged it as a find with a clear conscience. Perhaps an unorthodox way of finding a cache, but we did so without cheating.
By now the light was fading and it was getting dark, so we made our way back to the car and I slept for much of the way home. As always I took a few photos whilst we were out. Once home I put those piccies up onto Facebook, did the geo-admin, and then tested out a Wherigo (in simulation). A friend has been working on his first one, and I've been actively encouraging him. It is no secret that they take a lot of effort to set up, and it is also no secret that there are only four people locally who make this effort (and I'm one of them). If I can encourage more people to get involved with this icon type I can have more fun myself going out and doing more Wherigos.
After the exertions of the day an evening in front of the telly was very much in order...
2 November 2015 (Monday) - Still Foggy
I can distinctly remember intending to feed grubby trousers into the washing machine last night, so I was rather surprised to see them laying where I left them this morning. So as I scoffed my toast and watched "Dad's Army" the washing machine did its thing with them.
Regular readers of this drivel may recall that over the last few months I put a lot of effort into putting out a series of geocaches around Bethersden. This morning I had an email telling me of a "Did Not Find" on one of the cache hides. Has it gone missing? For all that I enjoyed the setting up of the series I now have the ongoing mundane routine maintenance. Do I wait for someone else to go out and also be unable to find it (and effectively be wasting their time) or do I go out and find it is exactly where I left it (and be wasting my own time)?
"Furry Face TM" was itching to get outside this morning. Usually he needs to be actively turfed out; this morning he was pawing at the door. Naively assuming he was as desperate for a tiddle as I usually am, I let him outside. He flew into the darkness barking for all he was worth. I wish he wouldn't do that before 6am.
Mind you the neighbours on one side were already up with the baby, and the day the neighbours on the other side refrain from clanging their piano or from drunken ravings at all hours (or both) is the day I listen to any of their complaints about noise.
I then spent a few minutes trying to remember where I'd left the car. Eventually I fouind it some way down Christchurch Road; there had been nowhere closer after astro club on Friday night. At the time I'd intended to move the car closer during the weekend but never got round to it.
Once in the car I set off to work slowly. I'd allowed myself a little extra time to get to work this morning. Yesterday had been a day of thick fog, and today looked to be much the same. Unusual weather conditions have apparently blanketed the country in a thick fog which looks set to stay for a little while.
As I drove to work the radio spewed its usual stuff. Much of the world are squabbling. Much of the world does that. And those that aren't squabbling are apparently using phone apps to secure easy sex. This is apparently causing something of a mini-epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases and is a major cause for concern for those who have to deal with that sort of thing. To say nothing of those who wanted a cheap trill and have had their nasty turn green and fall off.
I got to work, did my bit despite feeling very tired all day, and came home through the dark. I don't like these dark evenings. Once home I ran "Furry Face TM" round the block then came home and fed my shirts and smalls to the washing machine.
"er indoors TM" came in, swore, and then took what she'd just bought back to the shop. Fish and chips made for a good bit of tea, then as "er indoors TM" went bowling so I started ironing my shirts whilst my undercrackers tumble dried.
And in closing there's going to be a new Star Trek series in a year or so...
3 November 2015 (Tuesday) - Not Foggy
Despite a rather early night last night I was still wide awake this morning at 4am. I woke to find myself cuddling my dog as though he was a teddy bear. Mind you he didn't seem overly bothered by the arrangement.
I lay awake for an hour, then got up and watched last night's episode of "South Park" in which Tweek and Craig were outed as being gay. Apparently this was a decision made by the Japanese. One learns so much from that program.
And then with a little time before I had to go to work I watched more "Toddlers and Tiaras". In today's show one mother was ranting at the camera about how much her child likes doing the pageants whilst the child was ranting that she didn't want to be there. This mother went on to extol the virtues of home schooling as it fits in with the pageants whilst her daughter complained that she missed her schoolfriends. Another mother likened the entire thing to a dog show and one of the judges then said how it is good (and rare) to see a genuine smile on any of the children.
I *love* that show; the whole thing is so fake.
As I watched the thwarting of the overpowering mothers I had a quick look-see on line. Preparations are going well for the New Years Day event. The actual event itself has been published and already has a dozen people signed up for it. And the first draft of the walk I have planned has got the thumbs-up as well. I just need to get new (non-leaking) wellies and go out and have another recce.
My car was parked right outside the house this morning. As I started the engine I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. What looked like a very large cat was walking past. I looked again; it was a fox. Bold as brass marching up the pavement.
And so to work. Yesterday the pundits on the radio were talking about how the thick fog had settled in for the week. This morning as I drove off to work I noticed that the fog had gone.
Much of the talk on the radio this morning was about the broadcaster Peter Donaldson who had recently died. Whilst any death is sad, I can't help but feel that there was rather too much air time spent on the matter. Perhaps I'm just a miserable old git, but I listen to Radio Four because it is about the news and not about the celebrity presenters.
There was also consternation about the house-building crisis. It turns out that nowhere near enough houses are being built in the UK.
There was an interview on the radio on this subject with one of the country's leading builders. The show's presenters tried to make big issue of the fact that the government has been hoping for tens of thousands of houses to have been built near Ebbsfleet. Actually there have only been about six hundred built. The builder being interviewed took no responsibility for the housing crisis. He said that if the government wants tens of thousands of houses he will build them. At a price. He made the observation that as a private company they were out to make money, not to provide a service at a loss. And (at the moment) there is not much money to be made from building houses.
He rather implied that this is (yet another) failing of running a country by market forces rather than by social decency. I might have remarked on this occasionally in the past.
I got to work for the early shift, and did my bit. And then came home again. Even on an early shift it is now dark when I get home. I took "Furry Face TM" round the block, and quite enjoyed nosing through the windows of all the people who haven't realised it gets dark earlier now and had left their curtains open.
Once walked "Furry Face TM" had his dinner, and (under instruction from "er indoors TM") I put our dinner on to boil. It didn't turn out too badly. And with dinner scoffed we set off to Somerset Road where we watched budgies squabbling and had some rather good cheese crisps. Whilst we were there the landlady from the Queens Head in Kingsnorth phoned me. On Saturday when I called in they grudgingly took my phone number and said they might get back to me (for which I was clearly supposed to be grateful). They got back to me this evening and were rather vague as to whether they would even be open on New Year's Day. But still seemed shocked that I had already booked with another pub that wasn't openly dismissive of me.
Oh - and here's another date for your diaries...
4 November 2015 (Wednesday) - New Wellies
After an hour of laying awake I got up and was watching "Chewing Gum" shortly after 6am. A rather overlooked series; it is actually quite good.
I then spent a little while having a look-see on Amazon (dot com). "Daddies Little Angel TM" has recently shown an interest in post-apocalyptic fiction and I was seeing what was going cheap in the genre. There are quite a lot of rather good books of that type by John Wyndham and Edmund Cooper. I wonder what she will make of Triffids and the Kraken?
It was raining as I set off to work. That reminded me I needed to get new wellies so I went to B&Q. I got there and asked where the wellies were. I was rudely directed to the garden section by some old battleaxe who clearly didn't like being at work at 7am. I'd already tried the garden section - the door to that area was locked. So I told that to the old battleaxe who sighed and marched over to the automatic doors which were indeed locked. Using brute force she wrenched them open and told me that if I got locked in I should shout and someone would come and let me out.
I found the wellington boots in a heap. Some had sizes on them; some did not. So I forced open the doors from the garden section to the main store and walked out.
On 7 January of this year I blogged about how rude the staff in B&Q are. I keep forgetting what a crap shop it is; every time I go there I always end up wasting my time and then going somewhere else.
The morning's news boiled my piss (as it so often does). The Health Secretary is offering junior doctors a stonking great pay rise. Or so it seems. He's actually offering a pay rise on the one hand whilst cutting overtime rates. Been there, had that shoved down my throat...
But it speaks volumes that no one cares what is he offering physiotherapists, pharmacists, optometrists, biomedical scientists, audiologists, transfusion practitioners, painters, gardeners, porters, cleaners, cooks, electricians, plumbers, secretaries, radiographers and all the other NHS workers who aren't doctors and nurses.
I got to work, did some, and came home via the garden centre in Chartham where I got my wellies. Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for his walk. He then had his tea, and with "er indoors TM" off flogging candles I had mine. Before 8pm which was really good.
Mind you being home alone means I'm bored. And next door has been clanging the same irritating scales on their f@*@ing piano for three hours now. It is Mrs next door who does it. She does it purely to irritate nutty Mr next door.
His drunken screeching will start soon...
5 November 2015 (Thursday) - Bonfire Night?
Being on a late shift I didn't have an alarm set for this morning and so I slept a while lot better. And it is amazing how much warmer the house is at 7am rather than at 5am.
Once brekkied I took "Furry Face TM" round the park for our walk. I think I confused him a little by not following our usual route. I had this plan to get a photo of him in front of the fountain so I went on one side of the hedge whilst he went on the other. When he realised what had happened he tried to run through said hedge. And got just the teensiest bit stuck.
With walk walked I then drove down to Folkestone. As I drove there was a program on the radio which could have been rather interesting. It started off trying to explain the way in which algorithms can be used. I say "trying" because the presenter didn't like the term "algorithm". He would have preferred "estimate" or "best guess" and wasted five minutes of air time making a big fuss about it. He then seemed to get rather stressed when the experts being interviewed told him that (bearing in mind how little he understood of basic maths and science) the application of prime number factorisation to DNA analysis and cryptography simply couldn't be dumbed down enough to be explained to him in thirty seconds.
It rather amazes me that Radio Four presenters expect the listeners to be conversant with the most obscure books and plays, but don't understand the most basic mathematical or scientific concepts.
I'd gone down to Folkestone a little earlier than I needed to because last night I'd solved a geo-puzzle. I had this naive idea to go find it today. I didn't find it. I found myself scrambling up a muddy slope to rummage in a jungle; I gave up after five minutes and went round to see the littun.
Littlun was watching a new (to me) TV show. "Paw Patrol" is best described as "Thunderbirds done by dogs"; I quite liked it. I would have watched more, but work was calling.
As I drove toward Hawkinge I felt rather peckish so I stopped off at the roadside burger van. The fact that there was a geocache not ten yards from the van was neither here nor there. I had a rather good saugage in a baguette and got fried onions all down my shirt.
I called in to Sainsburys as I was passing. Normally I wouldn't go there but time was pressing and it was the only supermarket I was passing. I needed supplies so I got a jar of their own-brand strawberry jam and a jar of their own-brand marmalade. Both costing nearly three times the price of what Morrisons charge for their own-brand stuff.
I got to work and had a rather horrendous day. For those who understand such things I had a case with a serious haemmorage with a concomitant anti-Fy(a) followed by an anaemic anti-M. For those to whom this is akin to the application of prime number factorisation to DNA analysis and cryptography, let's just say it was something of a brown alert (like a red alert but needing fresh pants).
In fact the shift was such that despite working overlooking (sort of) the county cricket ground I didn't get to spend hours staring out of the window watching their firework display. There's no denying that I was rather vocal in my complaints on the matter.
Mind you once home I did watch the Rocky Horror Show Live which was being broadcast on the Sky Arts channel. What with that and the landscape artist of the year competition that's twice I've watched the Sky Arts channel this week.
I must be getting cultured...
6 November 2015 (Friday) - Wet Day Off
I've whinged about the bin men before. Today they excelled themselves. They actually did empty the recycling bin (because we'd left it blocking the pavement because they won't walk two steps into the front garden to get it). But having emptied it they then abandoned the thing on the pavement closest to where the bin lorry was at the time. Admittedly I only had a round trip of fifty yards to retrieve it but it was as well that "er indoors TM" had put lame daffodil stickers on it so I knew which one to fetch back.
I had intended to go out on a second recce for my planned New Year's walk today but the weather forecast had put me off. So instead I took "Furry Face TM" for a shortened walk.
About two months ago someone did one of my Wherigos and said the actual cache itself was in a sorry state. I never got the message, and only found out by chance a day or so ago. So I replaced it this morning, and having done so we carried on with our walk round to the park where we picked a fight with a staffie. You would think my dog would have learned his lesson from the last staffie who handed him his arse on a plate.
We got home just as the rain started, and as "er indoors TM" set off to work so I put some washing in to scrub. I then phoned the washing machine fixer people. Our washing machine has a dial from which you can select twenty or more programs. Now you can *select* them, but whatever you select, it just does a quick wash cycle.
The fix-it man is coming on Monday morning.
I then spent a little time working on my presentation for the next astro club meeting. It won't be as long as it might be but hopefully it will entertain the masses. I also tried to get in touch with the nice lady who does the bookings for the hall in which the astro club meets. (It's been decided that we should try to change the date of the December meeting). The nice lady wasn't in all day.
Seeing how the bin men had done their thing this morning and the bin was now empty, I then bleached the recycle bin; it had been getting a little bit whiffy. I also tried to do some hoovering but despite "angle-able head rollerball technology" I couldn't get it to work. It was as floppy as the neck of the pheasant that Fudge had the other week, and after a few minutes I gave up with the thing.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" and Fia arrived with the littlun and Sid. Chesse on toast was scoffed all round, then Fia went off. I then met Cheryl at the KFC and we brought home second lunch.
The girls then set about a mini tidy-up of the kitchen. That was nice of them. They also gave the hoover a once over. The thing was as dead as the pheasant that Fudge had the other week so we took it (and some rubbish) to the tip. We then collected Lacey from school; she stays late on Friday for German class.
I took the girls back to Cheryl's where we had coffee and Rolo expressed his love for Sid as only a boy dog can. It was at this point that I left the girls to it and came home,
I dozed through "Upstairs Downstairs", and then slept through episodes of Star Trek and Bug Bang Theory until "er indoors TM" finally came home. Apparently she's been driving "Daddies Little Angel TM" home. had I known I could have taken her home and saved three hours waiting around.
Bearing in mind I'm working the next two nights I wouldn't have minded going out and doing somthing this evening. Fireworks would have been a good choice, but the constant rain of the last two days rather put paid to that plan.
So instead I sulked...
7 November 2015 (Saturday) - Before the Night Shift
I slept well last night even though I was woken in the small hours by a small dog trying to get comfortable. I resisted the temptation to take him back to his basket, then rolled over and slept through till after 8am.
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Little had changed. Squabbles and knob jokes abounded on social media in equal proportion. I laughed at the knob jokes and resisted the temptation to join in with the squabbles.
I looked out of the window; the day was overcast. With heavy rain forecast within the hour I decided against going out route-planning for my New Year walk, which was a shame. I like to do something "special" on the day of a night shift before going to bed, if only to give me something to blog about.
Instead I took "Furry Face TM" for a shorter walk. We took a rather circuitous walk round to the back of the park to (hopefully) avoid most of the joggers who infest the park on a Saturday morning. We did avoid most of them, but we were almost forced off the path by a swarm of forty joggers who were doing a bonus lap.
To their credit they stopped and apologized for jogging ten abreast. I was tempted to ask why they bothered jogging because not one of them looked to be enjoying it, but I kept quiet.
We came home, and I spent a couple of hours emptying unwanted tat from my back room into dustbin bags and then did a tip run. It never fails to amaze me just how much rubbish I have hoarded. (If it were not rubbish then I wouldn't be so surprised to realise I hadn't thrown it away years ago).
As I came back from the tip so the drizzle started. This rather boiled my piss; we *could* have gone out for that longer walk before the rain hit after all.
I finally managed to get hold of the nice lady who organises the hall bookings for the hall in which the astro club meets. She said she'd seen all the calls I made yesterday but because she didn't recognise my number she hadn't answered it. (Oh how we laughed).
I've managed to change the date of the December meeting. It's now planned for a date which I can't make because I made my arrangements based on a date which was originally decided upon in a formal committee meeting over a year ago.
As "er indoors TM" set off to today's geo-meet I had a shower and over a spot of lunch watched this week's episode of "Detectorists". I then took myself off to bed for the afternoon. I slept as well as I could for a couple of hours despite next door's clanging their infernal piano.
I'm off to the night shift now. Much as I say I like the night work I actually like the fact that working longer shifts means I work less of them and consequently have more days off in the week.
But I'm coming to actively dislike the day time before the night shifts. I spend the morning desperately wanting to actually do something so the day isn't wasted and the afternoon trying to sleep whilst next door clangs their piano.
I've got another tomorrow...
8 November 2015 (Sunday) - Between the Night Shifts
Last night as I worked the radio was playing its usual mix of interest and banal.
There was a discussion about the use of the death penalty in British justice. Arguments were made on both sides; pro and con. I can quite understand that the death penalty is irreversible; in the cases of miscarriages of justice (and there are quite a few) one cannot say sorry after the event.
However would there be many (or any) such miscarriages of justice? Would the death penalty act as a deterrent? I don't know but I am reminded of a chap I once knew who thought nothing of leaving his six-year old daughter eating in a public restaurant whilst he nipped off on errands. When I told him of the dangers of doing so he explained that where he came from (mainland China) his village still had a public stocks in which various criminals could be imprisoned and be pelted with all manner of things. Mind you it didn't happen very often; the threat was enough to make people behave themselves.
Consequently he came from a much safer place. People really did think twice before performing criminal acts.
There was another radio discussion about the rate at which the human population is rocketing. What with increasing birth rates and increasing life spans there are seventy million more people every year on this planet. Various fatuous windbags pontificated on the matter. The general consensus of the fatuous windbags seemed to be that "the lower orders were breeding like rats and decent people (like them) weren't". I couldn't help but wonder if what was seen to be "decent people" weren't the sort of people who would get the chance to breed in the first place.
For myself I realise that there are only so many people who will fit on this world. Having made a conscious decision to stop breeding when I did (and having had my nads cut) I would nevertheless have liked more children.
As well as death penalties and overpopulation the night's radio featured quizzes, plays and an expose on a chap in India who was publically killed by a mob for eating beef. The radio was actually quite interesting for once.
And having listened to all sorts of stuff overnight I'd actually been looking forward to the church service on the radio as I drove home. I was disappointed. Billed as " a celebration of music" it was actually rather awful howling. I turned it off.
Once home I checked social media over brekkie. It would seem that as I slept yesterday afternoon and worked last night so everyone else had had a whale of a time. Those that hadn't been watching bands or karaoke-ing had been out watching fireworks at various events.
"er indoors TM" soon set off with "Furry Face TM" on a geo-maintenance mission. "Geo-maintenance" is one of life's really unneccessary things in the geo-world. People hide geocaches; others go find them. Having found them, these others then do the secret geo-thing and are supposed to put the caches back how and where they found them.
In practice they don't. They don't always close the things up properly. They don't always hide them as they found them. And so a sandwich box which was hidden only a few months ago is soon either waterlogged or missing (or both). But (if nothing else) geo-maintenance is a walk for my dog.
I then took myself off to bed for the day; I would have slept much longer had I not recevied a succession of phone calls and texts in the late afternoon. After the umpttenth I gave up trying to sleep and got up.
The house is lonely when my little dog is not here.
Off to work again...
9 November 2015 (Monday) - A Day Asleep
As I drove home after the night shift. I couldn't believe what I heard on the radio. The country's most senior general has publically expressed concern at the thought of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. It is no secret that Mt Corbyn came to office under the suspicion that he was a bit of a twit, and it realls seems that he has done his level best to remove any doubt on the matter. It comes to something when a serving military officer now publically expresses concern about the bloke.
At the time of his becoming leader of the Labour party there was concern about how many people had seemed to have joined the Labour party purely to vote in the leadership ballot. Was the election really fixed? Did tens of thousands of Conservative voters *really* effectively make the Labour party unelectable?
As I arrived home I saw a van outside our house. But not just any old van. A van from the Acme Lawnmower, Washing Machine and Dangerous Toy Corporation. It was at that moment that my phone beeped with a text message telling me that the nice man from the Acme Lawnmower, Washing Machine and Dangerous Toy Corporation was coming to look at our washing machine.
By the time I got in he had already worked his magic. The programmer had indeed gone west and he'd fitted a new one. He also made the observation that we'd had the thing set to do cold washes only. If nothing else we've been saving money all these years.
I had vaguely planned to take "Furry Face TM" out to plan the New Year walk today, but I was feeling rather too tired to wrestle with navigating new (to me) footpaths so instead we did one of our standard walks round to Singleton Lake and back. Whilst at the lake my dog was busy snuffling in the undergrowth (as dogs do) so I thought I'd photograth the geese who were looking particularly scenic. It was at that point that Fudge decided to pick a fight with a goose.
Once home I had all sorts of plans about what I might do with the day; but feeling rather tired I thought I'd get an hour's sleep then spend the afternoon doing all sorts of little errands.
I woke up and looked at the clock. I expected it to be early afternoon; the clock said 4.30pm, so I decided to do the petty errands another time.
"er indoors TM" came home and in a novel break with tradition was n't bowling tonight so instead we caught up with watching stuff off of the SkyPlus box.
Can't beat an evening of rubbish telly and grim red wine...
In the meantime the washing machine is making rather seriously bad noises. Perhaps we need the nice man back?
10 November 2015 (Tuesday) - In The Mud
I slept like a log last night. Perhaps the night shifts had taken their toll. I woke just after 7am which for me is something of a lie-in. I got up, had a swift brekkie and checked the weather forecast. It wasn't good, but time was pressing; I really did need to firm up my plans for the New Year's Day walk which I'd offered to organise. So I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and drove out to Great Chart.
I'd provsionally worked out a route in my mind and (would you beleive it) my plan pretty much worked. Unlike my Bethersden route (which needed some serious re-routing and several re-visits) today's walk went nearly one hundred percent as planned. There was one minor hiccup out near Daniel's Water where the landowner seems to have deliberately blocked off a footpath. But to their credit they have made all the other footpaths crystal clear with well marked signs.
As we walked we met horses and goats. "Furry Face TM" chased squirrels, rabbits and "f-birds" as best as he could whilst being on his lead. Mind you despite being on his lead he did get muddy.
We did do a little back-tracking as we walked; but we've got nineteen potential places in which to hide tupperware along a route of four miles. We walked for a shade over two hours which I am hoping will be just right for New Year's day.
I took a few photos whilst we were out. Once home (and dog bathed) I put them on-line. Perhaps I shouldn't have had KFC for lunch, but it was tasty. And with lunch scoffed I then did the geo-on-line-thing to see if the potential hides I came up with earlier were acceptable. They are now in the hands of the geo-feds. Here's hoping.
As I fiddled about on-line so the washing machine did its thing with some sheets. Last night when tumble drying it sounded as though it was chewing on sheet metal. Today it sounded fine. Perhaps it has a problem tumble-drying or perhaps it doesn't like my smalls?
It struck me that I could do with some more film pots so I wandered up into Ashford to get some. Whilst there I thought I'd go into the mobile phone shop and have a whinge. The signal I get with EE is generally frankly terrible if I'm not in an urban area. "er indoors TM" gets excellent signal with Vodafone in places where I get no signal at all. I've phoned and emailed the people at EE and been fobbed off with being told to take my phone to one of their shops to have it tested. So I went into the shop and stood and waited. After fifteen minutes of waiting I walked out. Ashford has two branches of EE so I went to the second branch where I again stood and waited for another fifteen minutes before walking out again.
Mind you the milk shake shop was open (for once) so I treated myself to a battenburg milk shake. Not too shabby at all (!) It was a *real* battenburg milk shake. I watched them make it. They chucked two large lumps of battenburg cake into a mixer with ice cream and milk and mashed it up before my eyes. They make milk shakes out of pretty much anything. I've had shakes from black forest gateaux, bakewell tarts and even werther's originals in the past.
"er indoors TM" phoned. She was going off candlemongering this evening. Did I fancy some KFC if she brought it home for a quick bit of tea? KFC twice in one day? Can't be bad. However I didn't tell her I'd had KFC for lunch. She will find out by reading it here.
And with "er indoors TM" off candlemongering I was left "home alone" with my dog. Usually on Tuesdays the clans gather but today people seemed to be busy.
I'm going to spend the evening staring at the telly and hoping that this KFC-induced guts ache subsides soon...
11 November 2015 (Wednesday) - Cookie Monster
I was out for the count last night when suddenly (and for no good reason) "Furry Face TM" declared "Red Alert" at 3.33am. He flew round the house, barking like a thing possessed then took himself back to his basket and went to sleep as abruptly as he had woken.
As I scoffed my toast at brekkie time so my dog jumped onto the sofa, put his chin on my left hand and fell asleep looking absolutely worn out.
Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog?
As I took said dog for his walk we saw that something had ripped open the dustbin bag in the front garden. Perhaps that was what had upset him in the night?
We were out for our walk a little earlier than usual this morning; loads of kiddies were on their way to school. Most of the smaller ones had nagging mothers in tow. I can't remember my mother ever whinging and griping as much as this lot seemed to be nagging this morning. Every single thing that every single child did was wrong.
Once home I tidied up the ripped bin bags and took them to the tip. I went via the YMCA charity shop; I'd gathered together a box of books that I hadn't read for years but were too good to throw away. I thought I'd give them to the YMCA as it it easier to park there than it is near to any other charity shop.
I certainly shan't take anything to the YMCA charity shop ever again. They were disinterested to the point of rudeness. It would have been churlish of me not to leave the books with them, but the old harridan on the counter made it clear that they were doing me a favour by taking the books from me.
I had a little while before work so I popped down to Folkestone to see the littlun. He seemed a little under the weather. Whilst there I got to see a new TV show; The Furchester Hotel. It features Elmo and Cookie Monster (of Sesame Street fame) running a hotel. In today's episode they had a visit from a very important porcupine. TV don't get better than that.
In a novel break with tradition I showed up at work today. Word is that there will be a vacancy for a senior position coming up at the labs at the Maidstone Hospital soon. I'm tempted to apply....
12 November 2015 (Thursday) - C.V. Writing
i seem to be somewhat obsessed with the possibility of a promotion to the Maidstone Hospital. I lay awake for much of the night speculating on the "what if"s of the matter. Do I *really* want to go back to a managerial position? Despite the "unfortunate episode" that led to me being in my current position I actually do like my job at the moment. I feel it rather suits me, and I've not once in the last four years felt physically sick at the thought of going into work (a welcome change from how things used to be).
However... These days I do wander in to work on the dot of starting time, spend much of the day spouting purile banter, and am gone like a shot the moment the clock gets to home time. I make no secret that at the moment I am just coasting to my retirement in (about) eight to ten years' time. I particularly like my current shift system (which gives me days off like today). And I don't miss the problems and difficulties of command at all. Nowadays no one phones me to tell me they are going sick just an hour before their shift starts. When equipment has little hiccups I can pass the problem over to someone else with a clear conscience.
But I do feel I could contribute so much more.I've been "the boss" before; whilst I'm not a natural manager I don't think I was *that* bad at it. I particularly miss the formal training and mentoring of the trainee staff. I would like the opportunity to feel that I'd actually done something positive from time to time.
And a couple of hundred more quid each month wouldn't go amiss.
Do I want to go back to being a boss? I don't know. At the moment it is not a decision I have to make. I shall wait for the job in Maidstone to be advertised and see exactly what is on offer and then think about applying.
And (you never know) - they might not even want me.
One off the advantages of my current job is that what with the vagaries of the shift system I do have quite a few days off mid-week. I used one of those days (Monday) to get the washing machine fixed. Tuesday was another such day when I got my New Year walk (provisionally and hopefully) sorted. Today was another day off and so I'd arranged to get the boiler serviced. In a possible New World Order I might have to use annual leave for that sort of thing.
The nice boiler man soon arrived and was pleasantly surprised at how clean our boiler was. It didn't take him long to do his thing and he was soon on his way. And so "Furry Face TM" and I were soon on our way too; a walk round to Frog's Island and back.
As we walked Fudge did his fudge (as we all do). I was just bagging it up when a passing looney stopped and announced that it was making him feel really hungry. I did wonder if I should hand the bag of poo over to him; instead I just smiled sweetly and got away as quickly as we could.
We carried on into South Willesborough where I did a little geo-maintenance and we came home past the outlet centre where a certain dog rolled in a dead sparrow. (What a delightful dog I have). It was shortly after this that we again encountered the passing looney we'd met earlier. He was now munching on a Cornish pasty and on seeing us he beamed and loudly announced that he's told us that he was hungry.
Over lunch I watched last night's episode of "You, Me and the Apocalypse"; the series started well and has had some interesting plot twists but it seems now to be in danger of not actually going anywhere. And with lunch scoffed I had a little look at my C.V. Once I seemed to do nothing but constantly re-write it to no avail.
I then re-vamped my LinkedIn profile. I can't help but wonder if anyone actually looks at those things but I suppose it can't help to have the thing up to date. If anyone would care to give it the once-over I'd be grateful for any comments or suggestions.
Over a rather late dinner we watched last Saturday's episode of Doctor Who. It was rather good...
13 November 2015 (Friday) – Sandhurst
I slept well. Over brekkie I checked out social media. Nothing much had changed in the world overnight. I finally made a decision and spent a few minutes pruning the list of people I follow on that social media. I seem to get endless notifications about the antics of people I once met (for an hour) five years ago and absolutely nothing about people from whom I'd actually like to hear.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we set off on today's mission. Earlier in the week we'd seen a posting on the Sussex geocacher's page from our good friend Gordon asking if anyone fancied a walk round Sandhurst. That is only forty minutes away (traffic allowing) so I thought that might be something to do for the morning before an afternoon asleep.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing prominent policemen. There are calls for the police force to become a graduate-only profession. There were arguments on both sides... all I can say is that I've seen this happen to my own profession and it has not been an unqualified success.
"Desert Island Discs" came next - Lord Indarjit Singh was the castaway; he was rather interesting.
We soon arrived at Sandhurst church and it wasn't long before everyone arrived. I'd not met several of the people on today's walk. There are those who would think twice about teaming up with total strangers in this way, but I love it. What had (up till now) been random odd names on a geo-log sheet are now new friends.
We had a good walk; there's no denying that the weather was against us today. The remnants of a tropical storm soaked us on three occassions. The mud was slippery; one of our number was on his bum at one point, and I certainly needed a helping hand to be pulled out of a stream and up the bank. But a walk in the countryside with good company is always worthwhile.
I took a few photos whilst we walked too.
Mind you I feel I must be honest. As a geo-walk I cannot recommend the one round Sandhurst. One of the caches was missing; with a C.O. who's not logged in for nearly a year I doubt it will be replaced. The walk was billed as being one of four miles. Admittedly we did start at the church, but that can't have added much to the final distance walked; I measured it on "Hannah" as being a shade over six miles. And we started at the church as the recommended parking wasn't really the sort of place any of us wanted to leave a car.
Once home both "Furry Face TM" and I had a shower. I then took myself off to bed. Sometimes I can get some sleep before the night shift; other times I can't. Today I couldn't. After two hours I gave up laying there and came downstairs and watched an episode of "Upstairs Downstairs". Thomas (the chauffeur) had had his wicked way with Sarah (the nurserymaid). His Lordship was rather shocked.
As I watched the telly so my dog was snuggled up on the sofa next to me. He seemed to be shivering. Perhaps walking in the tropical storm this morning didn't agree with him. If he is still iffy in the morning I shall take him to the vet.
I'm off to the night shift now...
14 November 2015 (Saturday) – Raining
Overnight the radio was full of talk about yesterday's terror attack in France. Details seemed somewhat vague, but.... what can I say? Why?
I also found myself asking "why" when I saw all the postings on social media saying we should pray for the victims? How does that work? Do we pray that something worse doesn't happen? And to what are we supposed to pray? To a God which could have prevented it all in the first place? I'm not sure I want anything to do with a supposed God which clearly *could* make this such a better world but obviously chooses not to.
This is the twenty-first century. We can take the heart of one person and tranplant it into another. We can put people onto the Moon and bring them back safely. And still we act like a bunch of superstitious savages. Sometimes I wonder about what sort of a world we are leaving for our children.
With the night shift done I popped out to get a crafty geocache; today was a blank day on my geo-calendar. I then drove round to the Foundry for a bit of brekkie. Yesterday I only ate toast, and with "er indoors TM" off flogging candles to the masses at a school bazaar (or a bizarre school) today I really felt I should have more than just toast again.
I then took "Furry Face TM" round to the park. I again forgot it was Saturday and therefore jogger day. Skin-tight lycra and bouncy boobies was clearly in vogue today. Result!!
As we were walking home so the rain started. We were rather soggy when we got home. I then spent a little while in bed. But not as long as I would have liked. After a couple of hours my mother phoned with some news. She was rather excited. Her and my dad have made their wills and have paid for their funerals and wanted to tell me where all the documents were. I'm actually rather glad they've done that; it makes a lot of sense to have all these details sorted in advance. But I didn't get back to sleep again after that. Instead I spent much of the afternoon in front of rubbish on the telly with a sleeping dog at my side.
"er indoors TM" came home from selling candles to the masses and brought cake with her. She was just a little sodden. The rain had got worse during the day so we abandoned plans to go to Rye bonfire parade. Instead we had a rather good afternoon and evening in front of the telly sinking beer and wine whilst catching up watching stuff recorded onto the SkyPlus box.
I think I might have an early night....
15 November 2015 (Sunday) – Cranbrook
Last night as I was waiting for "er indoors TM" to finish her tiddle I was channel-hopping on the telly and I found a wonderful program on the Discovery Channel. You can watch the show on You-Tube if you want. It is worth watching if only to see how the program-makers go from "vaguely possible" to "stark nonsense" in a matter of seconds but in such a way that you don't actually notice the transition.
The basic premise of the show was that aliens have established one or more bases on our Moon to mine the helium-3; and that the Apollo missions stopped because the aliens told NASA to clear off. Several obviously falsified photos were offered up in support of these claims, and Buzz Aldrin's denial of having ever met an alien was offered as conclusive proof that there was an alien base on the Moon. If there wasn't why would he deny it?
Over brekkie a quick Google search on the matter revealed a difference of opinion on the on the part of those who beleive in such stark staring nonsense. Some theories hold that the mining is still going on, other theories suggest that this mining was something that happened a long time ago and NASA has since nuked the mining sites to hide the evidence. Also only about half the nutcases beleived every word of the alien mining/bombing conspiracy; the other half maintained the Moon landings were all faked.
These people are allowed to vote you know. Have I ever mentioned that I don't beleive in democracy?
We collected Fudge's friend Suzy (and her entourage) and after a quick diversion to a church near Smarden (for geo-reasons) we made our way to Cranbrook where we met up with friends. Eleven of us (and two small dogs) then spent the morning wandering the countryside to the south of Cranbrook in search of elusive sandwich boxes. We came into Cranbrook itself for lunch; we found a rather nice beer garden and washed our sandwiches down with a pint of ale. And then we walked northwards to see what the geo-hunting was like round there.
We didn't hang around; time spent talking in a field was time spent wasting VDT (valuable drinking time), and I learned the difference between "ground" and "floor". For those of my loyal readers who've never realised the distinction, one is indoors and one isnt. We also found "Quaker Lane" and had a minor difference of opinion as to how it was pronounced. All I shall say on the matter is to ask if any of my loyal readers have ever experienced an earth-quack.
As we walked we were passing some puzzle caches that I'd solved previously; there was one that has taken me about two years to solve; I was rather disappointed it find it wasn't there. However it was the only one we didn't find. We did find thirty other caches as we walked.
The vague plan had us going west (after north) if time allowed. Unfortunately it didn't. The light was failing by the time we'd completed the northern circuit so we made our way back to the cars, said our goodbyes and set off on our various ways home.
I'd taken a few photos whilst we walked. Once home and my dog (and me) was bathed I put the photos on-line. As I did so "er indoors TM" voomed round with the new Hoover. Apparently the cable isn't as long as the one on the old one was. I formed the distinct impression this was somehow my fault. And the thing fills up quicker with much finer dust than the old one ever did. Again something which would seem to be my fault. I apologised for both failings which seemed to go some way to placate her. There was a minor hiccup when after taking it all apart to empty the thing when it wouldn't go back together again. But after half an hour's struggling (and reading the instructions) she finally sorted it out. I hope.
With "er indoors TM" off bowling I set the washing machine loose on some towels and my undercrackers and looked at my calendar for the next few weekends. It seems there's rarely a dull moment in my life.
I then checked emails; the geo-feds have given me the thumbs-up for my plans around Great Chart. So now I can now go ahead and start putting in some proper work on the planned geo-series. I thought about doing so, but instead I sat with my dog and watched fan-made episodes of Star Trek whilst my dog slept.
He seems worn out after today's walk. As "Furry Face TM" snored I dobbed his monthly flea treatment onto his neck. He didn't even notice...
16 November 2015 (Monday) - A Day's Holiday
As well as having rostered days off I also have annual leave. Today I thought I'd use up a day's leave. If nothing else I needed the opportunity to take the car to the garage; the parking brake warning light keeps coming on ever since the people in the garage serviced the car a few weeks ago. The plan was to drive over and walk back with my dog. It was a plan I carried out; it was a shame about the rain. We got rather soaked on the way home. Once home the garage phoned to ask what the problem was...
I then had a crack at the ironing; that's what I do an an actual leave day. Whilst I ironed I waatched a film. I've been meaning to watch "Bend It Like Beckham" for years. I must admit I found it somewhat predictable, and when the garage phoned to say the car was ready (about two thirds of the way through) I gave up watching.
Me and "Furry Face TM" walked back to South Willesborough to get the car. The garage had fixed the problem and didn't charge us anything. Basically the manual release switch for the parking brake is on the blink; using it causes an alarm when it shouldn't. I can either have the thing replaced (for about £170) or not use it. I don't need to use it as the brake releases automatically and I've never actually used it for years. I only fiddled with it because I could. I shan't do so again.
By now the rain had stopped and the day was chirping up so I took Fudge over to Great Chart to finalise arrangements for the New Year walk. I acheived what I had planned to do, but despite the fact that the day had brightened up it was still *very* muddy. A little dog had to have a bath when we got home.
Pausing only briefly to watch an installment of "Upstairs Downstairs" I spent much of the afternoon updating twenty web pages for this New Year walk. Or that was what I told "er indoors TM" when she woke me up when she came home.
We had a bit of tea; she's gone bowling. An evening in front of the telly beckons...
17 November 2015 (Tuesday) - Back to Essex
A few weeks ago (in the company of some gallant souls) I set off to walk the first part of the Essex Way. Today, depite the weather forecast, we decided we'd go back and walk some more of it. Bearing in mind the winter days are shorter we knew we'd need an early start.
Fudge's expression had to be seen to be beleived at 4.30am.
We had a quick brekkie of coffee and Belgian buns and set off. Firstly to Singleton to collect Fudge's pal (and her associate!) and then on to Teynham; Matt's car was in the garage. As we drove we had competing sat-navs shouting instructions. "er indoors TM" was sticking with the tried and trusted Google whilst the back seat driver was using an app called Waze. Initially my money was on Waze because it was confidently predicting a shorter journey time. However my confidence was shaken when it transpired that Waze was aimed at where we starting walking (which was ten miles closer than Google's target of where we were actually meeting).
Despite Waze's machinations we made our way through the hamlet of Margaret Roding and along Wiggly Bush Lane to the Church at Good Easter. Once assembled everyone piled into my car and we drove ten miles away to Chipping Ongar.
Seven of us (and two small dogs) then walked back to where we'd left the cars. A simple enough proposition...
It was a really good walk. We started walking at 8.30am and finished just over seven hours later having tracked down over seventy elusive geocaches over a distance of about eleven miles. As we walked I fell over (with a heavy thud) in the mud, and Suzy-pup ran off for half an hour. And we had our picnic lunch in the porch of one of the churches in Willingdale whilst overlooking the other. The village has two chuches which share the same churchyard. How weird is that?
We set off expecting a wet afternoon, and within minutes of finishing lunch so the rain started. It was heavy, and we did get wet. But on the positive side it didn't rain for *that* long really and we were soon at the chosen end-point.
I must admit I was expecting the walk to have taken a lot longer than it did. We were all planning to be finishing the walk in the dark; as it was we could (probably) have gone on to have found another dozen caches in the remaining daylight.
But instead we piled into the two cars we'd left at Good Easter and drove back to find my car in Chipping Ongar. Just as we got there so the really heavy rain started.
As we drove home I realised just how much I prefer not driving. What with the logistics of getting from A to B we needed my seven-seater. There's no denying that I was rather wilting from the driving by the time we'd got home.
Once home we washed the mud from the dog then washed the mud from our boots. And with a rather good pasta bake we had a rather disappointing bottle of porter.
I took a few photos whilst we were out. Mostly when it was dry but a few in the rain I put those on line then thought about an early night. I'm on the early shift tomorrow...
18 November 2015 (Wednesday) – Calendars
I was rather tired this morning; perhaps an early shift after yesterday's exertions wasn't such a good idea? As I scoffed my toast I watched this week's episode of "The Last Man on Earth" on my own. "Furry Face TM" didn't stir at all. He was still worn out.
Bearing in mind I'd been the driver of a car full yesterday, the car felt noticably lighter as I drove to work this morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were again sticking the knife into Jeremy Corbyn. Perhaps the bloke is just well-meaning but a little misguided. Perhaps he's the best leader the Labour party has ever had but somehow made an enemy of the press. Perhaps he really is a clueless imbecile. I don't know; all I know is what I hear about him through the media. And (in all honesty) I'm yet to hear anything positive about the bloke.
I can't help but wonder if it might be better for the Labour party for him to resign in favour of a leader against whom the press haven't obviously taken a grudge.
I stopped off at Morrisons who had no bananas. Not one. Can you beleive it? And then I took a five minute diversion to Harbledown for geo-purposes. One of the things that "real" geocachers are supposed to do is to have found at least one cache on every day of the year. I'd managed three hundred and thirteen out of a possible three hundred and sixty six days. Now I've done three hundred and fourteen thanks to a young lad who started filling Canterbury with caches a few months ago. It is a shame that he seems to have given up; he was actually contributing to the hobby.
I got to work for the early shift, did my thing, and at lunch time I stayed awake through a commercial presentation. To be honest it was really only fair that I did so; the nice people presenting had brought in posh sandwiches for us.
An early start made for an early finish. I went home via the petrol station at Morrisons, and once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk. We might have gone further, but it was dark and raining. So we came home and after a rather good bit of tea "er indoors TM" went off to flog candles to Charlotte and her mates.
I stayed home and in between fussing my dog I polished boots, de-mudded wellies and sorted laundry. What an exciting life I lead...
19 November 2015 (Thursday) - Before the Late Shift
I spent much if the night feeling incredibly cold. In the early hours I finally hit upon the idea of pulling the duvet over myself and suddenly I was warm again. The rest of the night was spent in vivid dreams in which I had hit on the idea to move into sheltered accommodation because it "made sense" (for no apparent reaason). However because the place didn't hold with wild parties I was then taking bus-fulls of geriatrics on major pub crawls.
It was with something of a sense of relief that I got up shortly after 7am; albeit feeling as though I'd never actually been to sleep.
Brekkie was preoblematical; we seemed to have run out of margerine. This was my fault as "er indoors TM" hasn't actually used the stuff since the weekend. So I smeared marmalade onto dry toast and had a look-see on-line. Apart from my cousin having squirted her armpits with hairspray rather than deodorant, not a lot of note had happened in my world overnight (I love social media!).
I took my little dog for a quick walk round the park. He was well behaved; unlike a small child in the playpark. As this child was going to and fro on the swing he shouted "look Mummy - it's my willy". Mother replied "is it darling?" to which said darling responded "Yes Mummy it's my willy". The conversation continued noisily in this vein; we hurried off.
As we came home I saw a hand written notice haad been stuck under the windscreen wiper of a nearby parked car. Commuters regularly park along the local roads because the parking is free. It makes parking for residents somewhat difficult, and clearly one such resident had taken umbrage.
Having a little while spare before work I thought I'd go see my grandson. As I drove the pundits on the radio were wittering on about the literary merits of PG Wodehouse's daughter. Or I think that was who they were wittering on about. I didn't really know, and it didn't really grip me. So instead I put on a favourite album: "Initial Success" by B.A. Robertson. A rather obscure album from 1980; I remember spending my first wage packet from the Harbour Restaurant on a vinyl version.
I got to Folkestone and in a novel break with tradition I was actually able to park near where I wanted to be. I spent a few minutes playing with littlun (and associated dogs) whilst "Daddies Little Angel TM" ranted on about courts and estate agents. She does that.
And so off to work for the late shift. Don't you just hate it when the day is effectively over by 11.30am...
20 November 2015 (Friday) – Cold
Another night spent semi-consciously shivering having escaped from the duvet. I finally woke enough to cover myself about half an hour before I needed to get up.
Once abluted I was surprised to see my little dog anxious to get outside. He flew round the garden as if chasing something then havinig worn himself out he helped me with my toast before taking himself back to bed. As I scoffed those bits of toast he allowed me I watched this week's episode of "detectorists"; a gentle comedy that I quite like.
I then checked out the Internet. As I started to smurf I got an "Update Java" prompt. Whilst I'm all for updating Java I do think it is rather cheeky that you need to be very careful to make sure the thing doesn't change all your internet settings for you. Whilst the nice people at Java might think settinmg Yahoo to be my home page is a good idea, I'd rather make the choice for myself.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were expressing surprise that it's been confirmed that the terrorists who had committed the atrocities in Paris last week had got into Europe hidden amongst the thousands of recent refugees; and once in Europe had then had free rein to go wherever they fancied.
Apparently there is a high-level meeting of European leaders today to review the open borders policy. Despite the fact that this has demonstrably helped the terrorists, European leaders seem determined to keep the policy. I would have thought that any such open borders policy was clearly going to work in the favour of those who want to avoid detection (for whatever reason). But apparently not having such a policy goes against the "fundamental right of freedom of movement".
Perhaps those who make such policies might realise that a "fundamental right of freedom of movement" is actually a rather silly thing to have. But what do I know...
I stopped off at Morrisons (who now have their Christmas tree up), did a little shopping then phoned Lacey to wish her a happy birthday. I got to work for the early shift and did my bit. One of the trainees was doing her homework today (or do she said) I tried to take a moral stance; there is a fine line between "biology diagrams" and "nudey pictures".
I'd arranged an early finish for today so's I could get to the astro club's presentation to the punters at Downe House; English Heritage was charging then fifteen quid each for us to witter on about the stars and space and stuff. We actually had cllear skies to do the telescope thing, but it was *so* cold. After an hour of shivvering whilst people queued to look at the moon we went inside and we then gave them a few shows and talks and things. They seemed to lap it up; punters usually do.
Mind you in retrospect I'm not sure why I went along. I don't think I actually contributed anything to the event, I shivered in the cold, slept through the talks and (in all honesty) I can't help but wonder if would have been better spending the evening with my granddaughter. ..
21 November 2015 (Saturday) - A Birthday Meal
I must have been tired yesterday: I slept for over eight hours; finally being woken by the backache I get when I've been iin my pit for far too long. I got up to find a very rainy day outside. Over brekkie I saw on social media that people had seen some snow earlier.
The rain must have been bad; "Furry Face TM" knows that when I'm not working we go for a walk immediately after brekkie. He wasn't at all interested in going out until I got dressed.
We went for a little walk round the park. There was a pheasant in Bowen's Field; fortunately my dog didn't see it. As we'd left home the morning was brightening up; as we walked the weather was going from bright sunshine to rain and back again on a minute by minute basis. And it was *cold*; winter has definately arrived.
Once home, being at a loose end, my thoughts turned to matters geocachical (as they do from time to time). I've got half a dozen caches in the Park Farm area that have been there for three years. A couple would seem to be in need of fixing. I thought about going out and replacing them (again) but pretty much everyone who is going to find them has found them by now. So rather than leaving them blocking up the area it is time to think about making room for something else. So I started working on a new Wherigo.
I have effectively all but abandoned the Dungeons and Dragons one I was planning for the Viccie Park area; it is far too complicated. People want easy. So I started working on an easy one with a view to putting it in the Park Farm area. It will replace one of the caches there leaving half a dozen places for others to put things out.
After three hours I had come up wiith about thirty seconds of game play.
We took a little time out for a spot of shopping at the outlet centre. Mountain Warehouse were having a "fifty per cent off" sale so we went round to the outlet for a look-see. Mind you Mountain Warehouse's fifty per cent off still made their prices double that of Matalan.
I really can't see the attraction of the McArthur Glen outlet centre. People travel hundreds of miles (literally) to go there just to pay vastly over-inflated prices.
We contented ourselves with a festive bevarage from the festive beverage stall (they actually had one) and then went round to Matalan. I got a couple of pairs of trousers for less than the price of one pair of trousers from Mountain Warehouse; the only difference being the ones I bought didn't have the brand name on them.
Once home I had a bit of Lacey's birthday cake with a cuppa. I checked out emails whilst I did so. Isn't LinkedIn a load of old rubbish? Do people *really* use it as a professional network? I saw I had been endorsed for my skills in management, quality assurance, medicine and research by a couple of people who have never even met me, and I had been asked to give a professional opinion on a chap I've met (fleetingly) on less than half a dozen occassions. I was also asked to add Dean Quinn, julie Hayes and Katherine Hibberd to my list of connections. If any of my loyal readers know who Dean Quinn, julie Hayes or Katherine Hibberd are, perhaps they might let me know. And perhaps they might tell julie Hayes about the concept of capitalising a forename.
A couple more hours were wasted making the Wherigo until "My Boy TM" came round and eight of us went into Ashford for Lacey's birthday meal.
The Paper Duck does an "all you can eat" buffet. I didn't quite eat as much as the young lady on the opposite table who really did eat until she was sick. But there's no denying I ate far too much. Having scoffed ourselves silly we then want back to Mark and Lisa's where we watched Christmas songs and I tried to settle my stomach with a couple of pints of Bishop's Finger.
It didn't really settle...
22 November 2015 (Sunday) – Brenchley
My stomach wasn't right last night. I hoped a good night's sleep might help. It didn't. Between "Furry Face TM" woofing and "er indoors TM" snoring I farted through every hour of the night.
I say "farted"; it was more akin to a transimittion in morse code.
Over brekkie I had a look-see on line. Last night in the restaurant I saw Mr Stephen Crowhurst. For those of my loyal readers who have never encountered the fellow he is a local tradesman who we once employed to do our loft conversion. To cut a very long story short he did about half of a rather shoddy job then just walked away, costing us thosands of pounds to put right. (Needless to say "the proper channels" were of no help to us). There is no denying I contemplated going up to him and giving him a slap, but realistically what would that acheive? It is a well-established point of law that people are legally permitted to defraud others.
Isn't private enterprise a wonderful concept. Caveat emptor !
With brekkie scoffed we rallied the troops and set off for the Sunday geo-wander; today to Brenchley. It is in the vague direction of Tonbridge - I didn't know where it was either. Eleven of us (and four dogs) had a rather good walk of some seven and a half miles. The day started rather cold, but the sun came out and it brightened up. As we walked dogs chased squirrels, woodpeckers flew about, sheep were inquisitive and we even saw birds of prey being flown. There was beautiful scenery, a disused glof course, and there was even an impromptu chorus of "Into the Valley" (originally performed by the Skids) as we walked into the valley.
There's no denying the mud was quite slippery in places but it was a good walk; it sums up why I like this silly hunting tupperware game. Again it took me somewhere beautiful where I wouldn't otherwise have gone.
In fact the day was only marred by my ongoing guts-ache. I *really* shouldn't have pigged out at last night's all-you-can-eat buffet.
Geocaching-wise this walk rather demonstrated a point I've been trying (and failing) to make for some time. As we walked around some twenty-odd cache hides we found ourselves solving a field puzzle. We found several today, but one of them involved our having to back-track for a couple of hundred yards. Not a major problem; it was actually a good puzzle, and a good hide, but in the weeks and months to come whenever anyone asks about the Brenchley walk we will remember it as "that one where we had to back-track".
Now the cache which involved the back-tracking *wasn't* put out by the chap who put out all the other caches. But it is the one over which he has no control which is the one which will be remembered about his walk.
I've been asked to run my new series in the general direction of pre-existing caches. I don't want to do so for this very reason. If people are going to remember a walk I've set out I would like it to be because of what *I've* done or not done.
After the walk we felt we deserved a glass of weak shandy. But the two pubs in Brenchley had both closed down. So we drove down the road for two minutes to the Halfway House. What a find! - it is the sort of place that you would probably drive straight past without giving it a second thought. But they had eleven ales on; all poured straight from the barrel. Family-friendly and dog-friendly, and although we didn't eat there the food looked rather tasty.
We were good; we only stayed for two pints. I could have stayed longer.
On the way home we stopped off at "My Boy TM" to drop off a car seat. As always I took a few photos today. After a rather good bit of tea I posted them on-line. "er indoors TM" set off bowling and I had a look-see on the Internet...
My stomach is still every bit as iffy as when I woke up. An early night might be a good idea...
23 November 2015 (Monday) – Cold
Another restless night; I shall have to steer clear of these all-you-can-eat buffets in future. Rather than laying in bed with stomach ache I decided to get up and have stomach ache instead. A brekkie of coffee and toast went some way to settling things.
As I scoffed I watched an episode of "Dad's Army" which the SkyPlus box had thoughtfully recorded over the weekend. Much as I quite llike that show I'm coming to the conclusion that it would have been a lot better if it had not had Clive Dunn as Corporal Jones in the cast. There is a limit to how many times that they don't like it up 'em.
It was rather cold as I left home this morning. For the first time this year I had to scrape ice off of my car. That means that winter has officially arrived.
As I drove I listened to the radio. And I got just the teensiest bit wound up. Apparently hospitals are now not allowed to pay the extortionate fees that locum agencies charge for staff. Payments to agencies will be capped. At first sight this seems a sensible idea because these payments cost the NHS a fortune. However the NHS needs locum workers because it can't fill the vacancies it has. Jobs are advertised; no one applies for them. And so agency workers are used to do the jobs that demonstrably no one else wants to do. And these locum workers are (in large part) coming from overseas attracted by the good money. But this money is not going to be there any more. If the money isn't offered then people won't travel half way round the world. And so there vacancies won't be filled.
The obvious solution is to pay a wage that attracts staff in the first place. Why should someone study for five years to attain a post in a hospital which only pays half the wage a trainee train driver gets after six months.
There was also an interview with Ed Milliband (the previous leader of the Labour party). He seemed to appear to be very good in that he didn't run down Jeremy Corbyn in any way. But he was strangely silent when asked to comment about how the Labour party is effectively dead in the water.
He was also rather non-committal when it was mentioned that he's apparently said to his critics “I bet you didn’t think things would actually get worse”.
The Labour party annoys me. they could do so much better.
Last week I mentioned about having a vague plan to fill my geo-calendar. Today was a date on which I'd not previously logged a find, and so locating a sandwich box was on the cards for something to do before work.
According to the geo-map there was a large cache hidden not very far from work so once I'd visited Morrisons I went for a look-see. According to the instructions on-line the cache was near (but not in) an old derelict shed. As I walked up to the shed I saw a large plastic box with an "Official Geocache" sticker. This box was laying upside down in the middle of a field. I collected it, and followed my GPS to where the cache was supposed to be. The lid and cache contents were strewn around the area. It had obviously been deliberately trashed. Bearing in mind that the nearby derelict shed was exactly the sort of place where I would play when a youngster I can't help but think that kids have found it and wrecked it.
I went on to work and did my bit. And then came home again. The evening wasn't quite as cold as the morning had been, for which I was grateful.
Steve and Sarah delivered chocolate (which was to be encouraged), and then "er indoors TM" went bowling. I ironed shirts and spent a little longer fiddling with my new Wherigo...
24 November 2015 (Tuesday) - Feeling a Bit Iffy
I slept like a log last night, finally waking to the cries of next door's baby shortly before 6am. Over brekkie I watched last week's episode of "South Park" and then a documentary about the lifeguards on Brighton beach (the one in Sussex). I used to go to college in Brighton and had one or two enjoyable days on Brighton beach. There weren't lifeguards on that beach when I was last there.
When that show finished there was a little countdown of the top ten movies currently in the cinemas. I've never really had much interest in going to the cinema. It looks like there's quite a few films out at the moment that I'd like. No one told me there was a Charlie Brown movie !!
My aunts used to go to the cinema once a week (every Tuesday) and take pot luck as to what was on. Thyet were rarely disappointed. Once a week might be a bit much. Once a month maybe?
Today's drive to work wasn't as cold as yesterday's. It was actually ten degrees warmer. Seven degrees (celcius) this morning; minus three yesterday. As I drove the radio spewed its usual blend of drivel. The most memorable part of it was that it didn't actually go fizzy and lose reception for several miles around Godmersham. Dodgy atmospherics or a new transmitter?
Once at work I carried on organising the troops. The hospital has advertised a competition for Christmas; participants have to create a nativity scene out of vegetables. Rather than carving a parsnip myself I've decided to mastermind the scheme. I have a team poised to create. All we need is the instructions. The flyer we found said to email for details. We have emailed; we wait expectantly.
I came home to find "er indoors TM" was home. She'd taken the day off sick today. She'd been whinging about being a bit under the weather for a few days. I must admit I wasn't feelin quite one hundred per cent today; I wonder if I'm going down with the same bug?
Perhaps an evening in front of the telly might sort me out?
25 November 2015 (Wednesday) - Shaddap You Face
I woke rather early this morning from a particularly vivid dream in which I had recently moved to a rather salubrious part of town called "Posh B*stard Estate" and had been forced to make emabrassingly polite small talk with a whole load of chinless wonders. It was horrible.
On waking I could hear next door's baby gurgling and people singing "Happy Birthday". One of the sad things about the fruits of my loin having grown up and left home is that birthdays don't start before 5am any more. Mind you one of the sad things about having a Patagonian Tripe-Hound is that most days seem to start before 5am.
Said Patagonian Tripe-Hound was sitting with me as I scoffed my brekkie. He was half asleep; dozing contentedly (as he does) when suddenly and for no reason he leapt up and ran around barking. I often wonder what goes through his head.
Talking of what goes through heads, for some reason the song "Shaddap" was stuck in my head this morning. It didn't seem to want to go anywhere. So I posted it to Facebook and took "Furry Face TM" for his morning constiutional. Yesterday I mentioned I wasn't feeling on top form; this morning I was certainly feeling a bit under the weather as we walked. It was probably just as well that nothing much of note happened this morning.
Shortly after coming home the phone rang. The phone display said "International" so I knwo it was someone trying to con me. I answered the phone fully intending to waste their time (I do that) but the person at the other end of the line merely shouted "Carling" half a dozen times and then hung up. I wonder what that was all about.
This is a "clever cache" it took loads of brain power to devise and cost me over forty quid to actually create. It's been found less than ten times and is now broken. I shall squirt the lock with WD40 but I suspect it is not going to come off unless I use bolt cutters.
As I drove to work there was an interview on the radio. The pundits were talking to some supposedly famous historian who was discussing his biography. He referred to one stage of his life as "bleak" because at the time he had small children. That annoyed me; small children is the best of times. So I turned the radio off and sang along to Ivor Biggun's rude songs instead.
Braving the traffic jams I finally arrived in Folkestone where I spent a little while with grand-son before making my way to work. Work wasn't especially taxing today; in fact it was rather dull. But eventually it was home time.
For the last couple of years I've been sleeping with a CPAP macine blowing air up my nose. It keeps me asleep by ensuring I don't have quite so much trouble breathing whilst I am sparko. It has worked fine all the time I'm not sleeping for *that* long but I have noticed taht the longer I sleep so the harder it blows. The thing woke me shortly after 6am this morning when it was trying to inflate me like a balloon.
I took "Furry Face TM" for his morning walk. Oh dear. Yesterday's passed off without event. Not so today. As we walked through Bowens Field he shot into a thicket. There was a *lot* of commotion and after a minute or so a huge dog came running out. I say "dog"; the animal looked to have been the love-child of a cart horse and a grizzly bear. This giant beast looked terrified of Fudge.
We then went round to Viccie Park where he got into a scrap with a very large fluffy Alsatian. I have heard the expression "the fur flew" used in relation to a fight; I had never actually seen it before. But this morning it actually happened. The fur really did fly. Not Fudge's, but the fur of the fluffy Alsatian. Mind you the nice lady with the Alsatian seemed to blame her dog entirely. I was pleased about that.
It was with something of a sense of releif that I came home and (having settled "Furry Face TM" ) set off to Canterbury a little earlier than I might have done. As I drove there was an article of the radio about the Salem witch trials. On the one hand it is amazing that so many people were killed because of crackpot religion. On the other hand it's not really surprising at all bearing in mind how religious crackpotism is clearly alive and well in the Middle East. Perhaps in three hundred years time they too might have grown out of that nonsense.
I got to Canterbury, found a geocache as a calendar-filler then treated myself to McBreakfast. As I queued for McBreakfast there was a gaggle of students (all apparently pissed as farts at 10am) arguing with the counter staff that they wanted Doritos.
I was still up and about before 6am though. "Furry Face TM" went mental round the garden for a little, and then over brekkie I watched last night's episode of "Detectorists". This show has come up in conversation so many times recently. For a gentle nondescript show it seems to be something that everyone is quietly watching.
I then had a little look-see on-line. Last night I saw that the Ashford Herald had published the news that the local council was in negotiations about building a new observatory. Bearing in mind the Ashford Herald has a reputation for not quite getting it right I took what they said with a pinch of salt. It did occur to me that they seemed to know about as much as I did and probably found out at about the same time as I did.
I'd suggested that the astro club might like to cancel the talk I was due to give tonight in favour of a discussion on the new observatory but my thinly veiled ruse of getting out of having to turn up tonight failed.
As I drove to work that idiot Jeremy Corbym was in the news. He's apparently all against bombing the IS murderers because doing so goes against their inalieanable human rights to murder (or some other politically correct claptrap). Apparently several of his front-bench shadow cabinet chums are now publically disagreeing with him, and finally there are now calls for him to resign. Surely it is quite plain to everyone that he was put in place by a Tory plot to trash the Labour party. No sane person would want to go back to the stupidity of what passed for socialism in the 1980s.
There was also a lot of fuss made on the radio about the so-called "Black Friday" sales that are happening today. Many stores in the UK are copying the US tradition of having major sales on the day after Thanksgiving. But it doesn't seem to be universally welcomed. There was consternation in Scotland when one branch of Tesco turned away people not wanting to buy sale stuff.
I got to work and did that which I couldn't avoid. As the day went on so I had some bad news. The father of my grandson has been run over. He was knocked off his motorbike by a stupid woman who drove through a red light. His foot is broken; his bike is a write-off. At least the driver has admitted responsibility.
There's no denying I didn't want to go tonight. I've really enjoyed it for some years but over the last year I've not been feeling welcome there. There's a few people there who've decided they absolutely hate me and make a point of publically blanking me. On more than one occassion I've been chatting with people and these "delightful folk" have just barged into the conversation as though I wasn't there. On one occassion making a point of standing in front of me with their back to me.
Fortunately not one of them was there this evening and I actually had a surprisingly good time. I went along having actually decided that this would be the last time; I'd even written a resignation letter. But I came away thinking I might give it another chance. Why should they spoil it for me?
Following on from which... this morning I saw a little joke on Facebook which poked fun at the rampant politically correct aggressive (frankly nasty) feminist attitude which has brought me to the brink of leaving the astro club. So I re-posted it.
I was rather late to bed last night. I managed about four hours sleep. After having been wide awake for seemingly ages I got up to find it was only 5.30am. But being wide awake I thought I'd get some laundry on then watch some telly. "You, Me and the Apocalypse" was rather good; only eight hours till the apocalypse now.
I had a little look-see on social media. Having seemingly offended the universe yesterday I would appear to have managed not to have wound anyone up overnight. Mind you I must admit to being somewhat offended myself. Over the years I've inadvertently caused offence on-line several times. Why is it that those who are so quick to take offence at what I see as humourous whilst they themselves and their nearest and dearest post racist and sexist claptrap? Why is it acceptable to poke fun at me because I am fat, bald and always falling asleep? (three things I *really* don't like)
Perhaps I'm just a little over-sensitive? Bearing that in mind I had a little cull of my Facebook list. It would seem that one of those who wouldn't have survived the cull had already blocked me. Oh dear.
With brekkie scoffed I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and took him out. I’d had reports that one of my Bethersden geocaches had gone missing so we drove out to Bethersden for a look-see. Sure enough it wasn’t there. Someone had trashed the hide I’d made for the cache, so I made a new hide and put out a new sandwich box.
We came home to an empty house; "er indoors TM" had gone off to the candlemonger's winder extravaganza. A certain dog had a bath, and the washing machine worked its magic on my smalls as I did some dull household paperwork.
First of all I had a look at the household accounts. They’ve been worse. I did notice a payment of nine quid to Genes Reunited. I’ve not used that website for at least four quid so I asked the bank to stop payments. They’ve referred it to the “disputes team” who don’t work at weekends.
I found the renewal letter for the washing machine insurance cover. On the one hand I could pay out for a new washing machine. On the other hand for less than the price of a round of drinks once a month I can have the nice man come out to the house and fix whatever is wrong with the old machine. I shall stick with what I know.
Having a few minutes spare I had a look on-line to see how my geo-trackables are doing. For those of my loyal readers who have better things to do with their lives a geo-trackable can be absolutely anything. You put them in a geocache and someone finds it and moves it on (and logs on-line that they have done so) and you can follow the progress of the things are they go round the world.
And then I took the train down to Folkestone. The train ride was fun. there was a rather attractive young lady (with legs all the way up to her bum and rather kinky boots) pontificating to an audience of admirers. She came out with some howlers: "I always wanted a dog. I wanted a polecat" and "if I don't persevere I will give up".
I'd arranged to have a weak shandy with Jimbo. We started off in the Firkin which is getting busier and busier. After two pints we made out way to the Pullman for a pint of "Mister Chubb". We had then planned to go to the British Lion but it was closed so the Guildhall (and smoked porter) is always a good back-up plan. Half an hour's catching up with an old friend in Kipps was then followed by an investigation into the Red Cow. I've walked past this place so many times over the last thirty years and had never gone in, I won't go in again. And then a farewell pint in the Park Inn before a kebab and the train home.
I woke several times in the night needing the loo. I have no idea why that might have been. There is no denying that I might have slept better has a certain dog not been so fidgetty. I *really* should have taken him back to his basket so I have only myself to blame.
I spent a little while fiddling about on-line over brekkie and then waiting whilst "er indoors TM" got ready. There didn't seem to be much of note going on in cyberspace. We were only a few minute behind schedule when we drove down to Folkestone to collect "Daddies Little Angel TM" and the littlun.
As we drove on to Hastings we went through New Romney. Earlier I'd had an email about a new geocache having gone live there. Despite "Daddies Little Angel TM"'s vociferous protests we thought we'd try for a First to Find. We found the cache; we were first. Happy dance.
And so on to Hastings where we had a quiet "family" afternoon. I say "quiet"; now that my grandson can walk he has become "Stormaggedon; Bringer of Destruction". He emptied out his great-grandmother's cupboards and demanded to be allowed to play with the christmas ornaments. My mum actually encouraged him to break them. I'm told it's a great-grandmother thing.
We took the younger generations back to Folkestone, "Daddies Little Angel TM" and littlun slept most of the way. There was a minor hiccup when "Daddies Little Angel TM" realised she'd left her keys indoors and was locked out, but it didn't take long to sort that problem.
Once home "er indoors TM" decided against her usual Sunday bowling; instead we had a quiet evening in. Over a rather good korma we watched last night's episode of "Doctor Who". Bearing in mind how good some of the recent episodes have been, I was rather disappointed...
After two bad nights I slept well. I was rather pleased about that. Over brekkie I watched a rather awful episode of "Dads Army" then had a look-see on-line. Checking out the Internet it seems that several people watched a program on telly last night about the last flight of the Vulcan XH558 bomber plane. Over the years many of my friends have raved about this plane. And (as always) I am in a minority of one. I've reseached and looked-up, and I can't see any reason why this plane should have attracted such interest. I can't find anything of historical importance with which the plane was involved. I have asked before, and just had "you don't understand" shouted at me. Which is a fair summary. I didn't understand then and I don't understand now.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the United Nations summit on climate change. The general consensus seemed to be not so much trying to stop global warming but arguing about just how much global warming the planet can realistically cope with. Expert opinion seemed to feel that a two degree rise in mean global temperatures would just about be manageable and so that seemed to justify everyone pretty much doing nothing to stop carbon emissions.
There were also calls for there to be a twenty per cent tax on all sugary drinks to try to stop kiddies from becoming quite so fat. The idea was that the tax would not be at all unfair as there are always non-sugary alternatives. For myself I drink the sugar-free alternatives as I actually prefer the taste but that doesn't stop me being fat. Personally I would think that this would scupper the scheme but apparently not. The pundits on the radio wheeled on some shrieking harridan who ranted that such a tax worked in Mexico where it reduced childhood obesity by six per cent. And to give both sides of the argument equal air-time the pundits then wheeled on someone from the CDSD (Council for Drinking Sugary Drinks) who pointed out that the Mexican government had actually abandoned their sugar tax as they had found that it hadn't worked.
I stopped off at Morrisons before work. I got some fruit, I got a paper packet of coffee for a fraction of the price of a glass jar (thereby doing my bit to save the environment). And I got a new ironing board cover. I shall use that in a day or so. It will be something to which I can look forward with anticipation. (Never a dull moment in my life).
I got to work shortly after 8am. Three quarters of an hour earlier than I needed to be there, but I am usually a little early. I have found that I can either get to work early and read my Kindle or I can leave home a little later and spend half an hour stuck in queuing traffic burning petrol. And sometimes (just occasionally) being at work early means that if there is a problem with the early shift I can step into the breach, start work early and therefore go home earlier.
The bank's "disputes team" phoned me as I was working. I didn't hear the call, and so on seeing a missed call I rang them back. My request to them was quite straight-forward; stop all payments to Genes Reunited for the simple reason that I've not used teh website in years.
The chap to whom I was speaking was (to be frank) a total cock. He said they could do nothing to help because I hadn't answered their initial call. He went on to say that even if they did stop the payments and cancel the direct debit that wouldn't stop payments being made in future. He then pretended not to be able to speak English any more, and after a few seconds the line went dead.
Once home I ran "Furry Face TM" round the roads then I spent a little while whittling a parsnip. My employer has organised a competition to build a nativity scene made out of vegetables. A team from my department is seriously up for this. The creation of various nativity characters has been assigned to individuals and it falls to me to make the Christmas Dalek out of a parsnip. It came as a surprise to me to find that not that many people had actually heard of the Christmas Dalek. I thought everyone had heard of it; it made its way to Bethlehem by following "Yonder Star".