1 November 2017 (Wednesday) - Bake Off Final
I woke literally one minute before the alarm was due to go off this morning. Over toast I watched the episode of "Red Dwarf" in which Duane Dibley appeared for the first time. After all these years it was still good.
I had a quick look at Facebook; it would seem that we were in the minority in not having trick-or-treaters coming visiting last night. But opinion on the concept of trick-or-treat was severely divided. Some saw it as fun for the children; others saw it as nuisance begging. I know what side I'm on in this debate, and will happily sing "sour-puss grumpy-face" at those who disagree with me...
I set off to work wearing a pair of my new pants (that I had rescued from the puppy). I went via the petrol station on the ring road; after all it does sell petrol four pence a litre cheaper than anywhere else in the town. As I filled my car a butcher came out of the kiosk. I say "butcher" - he was wearing a white coat and blue-and-white striped apron, both of which were heavily blood-stained. He was either a butcher or an axe-murderer. You wouldn't think he would wear that in public, wouldn't you?
Also as I filled my car another car pulled up in front of the kiosk (blocking everyone's way) and the driver hurried inside. When I went in to pay, the driver of this car was openly sniffing round the old woman behind the till; he clearly had no intention of buying anything. He had just come to chat to her, suck up to her, and generally "sniff". This happens a lot in the petrol station on the ring road. If they weren't so cheap I'd go elsewhere.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits delivering the news on the radio amazed me (as they so often do). My local MP has been accused of touching up a young woman during the course of his duties.
There was also talk about a Labour party activist who was bringing allegations having been raped six years ago, but had been told to keep quiet about the matter.
The people delivering the news were interviewing some crackpot woman who maintained this sort of thing goes on all the time in politics. I wish I could remember who this twit was; she maintained that victims of sexual abuse in the political world have no duty to report their experiences, but society at large has a duty not to allow it to happen in the first place.
How on Earth can anyone have any ability to stop something about which we know nothing?
The people presenting the news then announced that the Royal Navy has a serious shortage of spare parts, and the ships at sea are only kept at sea by cannibalising the ships in port.
I wouldn't have thought that telling the world about this was in the nation's interests, but what do I know?
I got to work; I did my bit. I had a horrible journey home. Firstly some twit tried to drive me off the road, then some other twit wouldn’t turn off his high-beam headlights. When I got near the house I couldn’t find anywhere to park.
And I came home to find the puppy had eaten one of my shoes.
Over dinner we watched the final of "The Great British Bake-Off". Mind you I knew the result already. Apparently one of the judges had mistakenly tweeted the result some time yesterday, and whilst ranting about how mean it is that spoilers are being given on social media, the people reading the news on Radio Four announced the result (as a spoiler) themselves.
And I must admit I was wrong. Over the years I’ve come to be a fan of "The Great British Bake-Off" and I *really* didn’t think it would work with a change to Channel 4 and the loss of three quarters of the regular cast. But I think this last season has been the best so far…
2 November 2017 (Thursday) - Pete Tranter's Sister
Yesterday I woke one minute before the alarm was due to go off. Today I woke three hours before, and then lay awake being alternately licked and chewed by the puppy.
I gave up trying to sleep, and over an early brekkie (spent with a dog that wasn't licking or chewing me) I watched the episode of Red Dwarf which featured Pete Tranter's sister.
I've read interviews with the young lady who played the part of Pete Tranter's sister in which she says that the thing she remembers most about filming that part in Red Dwarf was how cold it was.
I'm not surprised she was cold.
It was cold as I drove to work this morning. Again I marvelled at the idiots on the motorway. When driving along a motorway when I come to a junction, if I am staying on the motorway I pull into the middle lane to make space for people to join the motorway. I don't slow down so's to block everyone else.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were giving the shock news that following the Brexit announcement, the applications for nursing positions in the NHS from EU nationals are down by over ninety per cent on last year’s applications. Also many of the nurses who are EU nationals have left the UK and are going home, and most of them who are left are planning to leave soon.
Why are they going home? I've done this to death. I realise that there are those who voted for Brexit purely to achieve this. I sincerely hope they are happy now they have got what they wanted, but I would ask who they expect to run the country's health service now.
We might have shot ourselves in the foot by making them all feel so unwelcome. How many extra millions of pounds a week were we promised by the Brexiteers? Far from getting a boost to the NHS, we’ve lost loads of nurses. And (I suspect) all sorts of other health care professionals too.
I got to work early, which was just as well as I was on the early shift. I had a busy day, and came home. I collected Fudge, and together we went to the vet; he had his annual check-up and booster injections this evening.
Fudge doesn’t like going to the vets; he was pulling to get away all the time we were in the waiting room. I wish I knew why he hates the place so much; he’s never had a bad experience whilst I’ve been with him there. He never bats an eyelid when he has injections. The vet said he probably picks up on the pheromones from animals that are ill, or have had surgery. I suppose that is possible.
He had his jabs; the bet gave his back a really good going over (bearing in mind the problems he’s had) and says that all seems to be fine. The only problem was that they left it to me to get the worming tablet down his neck… I tried hiding in in cheese. He yummed up the cheese and sat the tablet out. Several times.
"er indoors TM" is off out tonight, so I shall see what I can find to watch on Netflix… “Peaky Blinders” sounds interesting.
3 November 2017 (Friday) - Bit Dull
I woke rather earlier than I had hoped to, and so with a little time on my hands I watched the third episode of “Peaky Blinders”. I watched the first two episodes yesterday evening; so far it’s a good show. I hope it carries on in the same way.
Letting sleeping dogs lie, I set off to work. There was a minor hiccup whilst I tried to find where I’d left my car. Many years ago (twenty-six) when we bought the house we didn’t have a car, and so parking wasn’t a priority for us. I’m wondering I moving house to somewhere with a drive mightn’t be a bad idea; so often I am having to park so far from home.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how President Donald Trump’s Twitter account had been shut down for eleven minutes yesterday by a disgruntled employee. I don’t follow him on Twitter (personally I can’t stand Twitter), and I don’t need to; Radio Four repeat most of his tweets every morning. From what I hear of him on the radio the fellow is a complete idiot; shutting down his spewing of drivel can’t be a bad thing.
Mind you, I can’t help but wonder who he’s upset in the media. Is he *really* the bigoted half-wit that the radio portrays him to be?
There was also talk of how interest rates are rising. From what I can work out I will be a couple of quid out of pocket every month. Not much, but I’d rather have more in my back bin; not less.
I stopped off at Aldi on the way to work. Being there ten minutes before they opened I went to look for that geocache which is supposedly in the bus shelter by Sainsbury’s. Despite several attempts, I can’t find it.
By the time I’d had a good look, Aldi had opened. I got jam and marmalade (the cheap stuff) and had a look at their bargains. I got some new jim-jams and a new shirt too.
Work was good; one of the bosses had sent a circular email asking if anyone was interested in doing longer working days. I’ve done those before; I’m keen on doing them again. I’ve volunteered; we’ll see what comes of it.
And so home. I parked a hundred yards up the road from home. As I got out of my car, another passing car slowed down and the driver asked if I was going. Are these people stupid?
As I walked down the road I met "er indoors TM" who had been walking the hounds. They all seemed pleased to see me (some more than others).
"er indoors TM" boiled up some fish and chips and with that scoffed she went off to a chocoholics party (even though she don’t like chocolate!). I put more “Peaky Blinders” on the telly and watched it whilst I ironed my shirts and the dogs barked at the fireworks…
4 November 2017 (Saturday) - Not Watching Fireworks
I was fast asleep when "er indoors TM" ‘s alarm went off at half past seven (for no reason whatsoever). I dozed for a little bit, then gave up trying to doze and had some brekkie.
As I scoffed I looked at the Internet as I do. Yesterday I’d asked if anyone on the Kent geocaching page fancied a day out in London in a month or so. Some did; some immediately replied “working”, some said they would see if they could get the day off. It could be a fun day; I plan to start at Trafalgar square and wander about in the general direction of Buckingham Palace ending up at HMS Belfast. Mind you I planned this six months ago and everyone cried off. Here’s hoping for this time.
I had a quick look at the geo-map of central London and discovered this geocache. It is a twelve-stage puzzle involving a five mile walk round a dozen London pubs. If nothing else crops up in the meantime, it might be something to do on my birthday next year.
I then got a little cross with what I read on Facebook. A friend of a friend had spent the last few months spamming absolutely everyone trying to sell stuff on-line. She’s now all but bankrupt. She’s taken orders from so many people and paid her parent company out of her own pocket. Now she’s seriously in debt and everyone has changed their minds and doesn’t want whatever it is that she is trying to sell, and there is a lot of ranting on the matter.
Personally I wouldn’t have ordered anything for anyone unless I had their money up front, but is this the future of Facebook? More and more people are using it as a way to try to sell their stuff. I want to use social media to see what my friends are doing, not to see what they are selling.
Having left it rather late to go very far for a dog walk we took the hounds round the local footpaths and home via Bowen’s Field. As we walked we found the dog poo bin by the station was full to overflowing. There is something about that poo bin; all the other dog poo bins are emptied regularly; either this one has extremely excessive use, or whoever it is who empties them keeps forgetting about it.
Once we got home I posted on one of the local Facebook groups about the matter. Partly to see if I could find out who it is that empties the dog poo bins, and partly to see just what people would find to argue about on the topic of dog poo.
I set off to work through the pouring rain. As I have often said, I don't mind going to work when it is raining.
I stopped off at the co-op in Brookfield Road for a bar of choccie and some lunch for tomorrow's planned fishing trip. Whilst I was at it I called in to the cafe to ask about their opening times tomorrow. I fancy a fry-up before fishing, and previously they have been closed on a Sunday morning. They assured me they would open at 8.30am. We shall see - they didn't last time I went there on a Sunday morning.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were giving a re-hash of the week's political news. I listened to that in the mornings and the evenings during the last week when it first came out, so I turned off the radio and listened to my choice of music on my MP3 player. I squalled along as I drove up the A20; I gave the motorway a miss as I thought I'd hunt out a crafty geocache before work.
I found the thing easily enough. Some are meant to be found easily; this one was. But still fun to do. It was stuck on a post box. How many hundreds of people have posted letters there, and how many postmen have collected letters; all totally oblivious to the thing being there?
I got to work with ten minutes to spare, and did my thing. As time wore on and darkness fell so the fireworks started. It was a shame I had to work this evening; there were several firework-related things I could have been doing this evening (despite the rain).
Mind you, many years ago fireworks were pretty; nowadays they seem to be all about the noise. I spent much of the evening in the blood bank which has a wonderful panoramic window; I didn't *see* a single firework but heard the bangs of dozens.
Mind you I wish I’d got down to Rye bonfire parade this evening…
5 November 2017 (Sunday) - A Day's Fishing
I slept well, and was surprised when I woke to find Fudge curled up next to me. Usually the puppy is the one who is close on the bed; Fudge generally stays at the bottom of the bed, and goes downstairs at the slightest disturbance.
I got up just before 7am, and over a cuppa I watched the episode of Dad’s Army in which Sergeant Wilson wore a lady’s girdle. I suspect it was funny forty years ago. Or perhaps it was a sergeant thing? Mind you I was once a sergeant in the Boys Brigade and I never wore a lady’s girdle.
I loaded my fishing gear in to the car and drove round to collect "My Boy TM". I was surprised to see Cheryl was with him. I suspected she was along to carry his tackle (!), but was even more surprised when she got into the car.
I didn’t believe a word when she said she was coming fishing with us. She’d heard we were going for a fry-up and didn’t want to miss out.
We went to the café in Brookfield Road. Yesterday I went to check they would be open this morning. True to their word, they were. I do like a fry-up before a day’s fishing. To be honest I like a fry-up at any time, but it is especially good before a day’s fishing; it sets you up for the rigours of the hunt (or something along those lines).
With brekkie scoffed Cheryl went home, and me and "My Boy TM" drove down to Shirkoak fishery. Once our favourite place to fish, just recently we’ve tried other places, but today we came back to our old favourite. We arrived to find that not much had changed; our photos were still on the notice board, the alpacas were still in the back field.
Fishing the place on a Sunday was odd. Usually we go mid-week and have the place to ourselves. Today there were several normal people about the place:
There were three laddy-lads whose f… every f… other f…word f…was f… the f… word. f… and f… that f…was f… shouted f… every f… time.
They got rather tiresome in the end.
There was a chap with a bite indicator which seemed to have a phone’s ringtone.
There was a rather obnoxious child who had brought his mother with him in much the same way that (if I was rich enough) I would bring my footman. Mother was obviously along to do the fetching and carrying and general dogsbody-ing, and from the way he was openly loudly lambasting her it was clear she wasn’t doing a very good job of it.
And then there were the visitors to the pond. Several people came to have a look around. One party had a small child (named Sebastian) who was rather rude because no one had caught anything in the two minutes whilst he had been there. He seemed to take our not catching anything during his visit as a personal insult.
There was one chap who pulled up in his car, walked to the pond’s edge, saluted, and then cleared off again.
Fishing-wise it was quiet. I’d decided to only use one fishing rod, but after an hour I set up a second rod. After another hour I converted the first rod to tiddler-bashing if only because it is easier to catch tiddlers.
I then managed to catch some tiddlers. And in amongst the tiddlers were a few bigger fish including my personal best fish from that lake.
"My Boy TM" had several fish; more than me, but still not as many as we had hoped for. In fact the one who seemed to do the best was the obnoxious child (ably assisted by his mother), but seeing how they were effectively a double-act I don’t think they should count.
We had a good time, but we knew it wouldn’t be warm (it is November after all). An hour before sunset the temperature fell noticeably so we packed up. It was only as I took my wellies off that I realised I was numb below the knees.
I took a few photos of the day; once home I put them on-line, and loaded the washing machine. With "er indoors TM" off to her works trip to Leeds Castle firework display I was able to do an “oh-sod-it” wash load. "er indoors TM" insists that the various laundry items are only washed with things of an identical colour and so we wait forever to get wash-loads together. When she’s not here I bung everything in together and no one is ever any the wiser.
I then scoffed the pasta bake that Cheryl had made for me. I say “made for me”; she’d made it for "My Boy TM"’s dinner, and he knew if he took it home uneaten he would be dead. So I offered to scoff it for him. I can be very kind like that.
As I scoffed it I watched another episode of “Peaky Blinders”, then another, and then the second episode of David Attenborough’s rather good nature documentary “Blue Planet II”. As I watched it Fudge snored, but Treacle seemed rather fascinated by it, which was as well. It took her mind off of the fireworks…
Yesterday I mentioned that I posted on a local Facebook group about a dog poo bun being full; some twonk has reported the post as being inappropriate…
6 November 2017 (Monday) - PC, FTF, Before The Night Shift
I slept well, I didn’t emerge from my pit until after seven o’clock. That was something of a result.
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook. Not much had changed really. A chap I know had posted up an article from the New York Times basically saying what a sorry state the UK was in. Financially knacked, a navy unable to even patrol our own coastline, self-imposed Brexit disaster looming… The article didn’t actually have any “news” in it; it effectively re-iterated what I hear on Radio Four every morning as I drive to work. But it was rather worrying nonetheless. To my mind mainly because it was presented as news. The average Brit has this naïve idea that Britain still has an empire and rules the world. As a nation we’ve lived on past glories for so long.
I checked my emails; I wound myself up again.I have mentioned how the experts at geocaching HQ set up an algorithm to choose the world’s best one per cent of geocachers and to reward them with a virtual gift. I’ve set up an alert to let me see these virtual gifts as they appear (or any within a thousand miles of home) and from that I can see the profiles of the world’s supposed top one per cent of geocachers. All I can say is that I don’t understand what these people have done to warrant singling out. I can name a couple of dozen people living locally who have contributed far more to the hobby than the three about which I was told this morning.
I look at the Internet every morning to hopefully start the day off well. This morning was rather depressing.
I got the leads on to the dogs, and we scrounged a lift with "er indoors TM". She took us half-way to work with her and dropped us off by Waitrose. I’d planned a little walk home via a couple of geocaches in the area. We found the first one easily enough and were on the way to the second when my phone beeped. An email notification of a new geocache… not three hundred yards from where we were. We hurried off, and were soon within a metre of the thing (according to my phone), but I couldn’t see it. Whilst the dogs scrubbled in leaf litter I widened my search, and after fifteen minutes I found it exactly where we first started. It had been hidden rather well.
We came home via the park where Treacle ran in terror from a Dachshund, a Bassett, and pretty much every other flavour of dog. Fudge on the other hand either ignored then or argued with them. But both dogs wanted to spuddle in the river.
Once home I went round the living room with the hoover, then tried to have a look at my accounts. I say “tried”: I keep the accounts on my desk-top PC upstairs. The poor PC was slow to the point of being unusable. I (eventually) got the thing going and managed to copy the excel spreadsheets out. I shall do the accounts on my lap-top from now on.
I’ve really got to go through the PC and copy out anything else I might need. Despite the best efforts of McAfee’s various attempts to clean it up, a combination of the thing being so slow together with the wireless network’s inability to broadcast through the brick walls have basically made it useless.
Yesterday I bought a Cornish pasty to eat whilst I was fishing. I scoffed it for my lunch whilst watching an episode of “Red Dwarf” on Netflix, then went to bed for the afternoon. I slept as best I could despite Treacle’s restlessness, and after three hours sleep I got up and watched an old episode of “Upstairs Downstairs” on the drama channel in which ‘er ladyship was having it away with a young airman. Rather shocking… however having seen the show so many times I know he croaks in the next episode.
"er indoors TM" should be home soon. I hope so. My tea won’t cook itself. Once I’ve scoffed that I’ve got to go to B&Q, then off to work. On the way I’m going to have a look for that geocache in the bus stop by Sainsbury’s in Aylesford. I’ve been told *exactly* where it is…
And if there is time I shall get myself a McFlurry…
7 November 2017 (Tuesday) - Between the Night Shifts
I spent much of last night's night shift giggling. Before I went in to work, I popped in to Aldi as I often do. There were two women conducting a rather loud conversation by the fruit and vegetables:
"We've no cat food"
"No cat food? What about the cat?"
"We've got food for him!"
This conversation begs so many questions. Why were they looking for cat food in the fruit and veg aisle? If they had no cat food, what does the cat eat? And if he doesn't eat cat food, why do they need the stuff?
Work was work; as I drove home this morning the pundits on the radio shut up for two minutes so that they could broadcast President Trump live as he gave a speech in Korea. His speech wasn’t remarkable; in many ways it was rather embarrassing. Does he *really* make these speeches up as he goes along? It sounds like it.
There was something about this in the news the other day; we in the UK can understand how ludicrous he sounds because we speak a version the same language. But across the world those whose job it is to translate what he says into other languages are having a hard time translating what he says; their translations aren’t being trusted. No-one can believe that someone who is supposed to be President of the United States of America actually talks such rubbish.
I got home, and after waving at "er indoors TM" in passing I took the dogs round the park. Fudge was rather quarrelsome today. He tried to fight with a bus, several cars, two postmen and quite a few dogs. Treacle on the other hand ignored pretty much everything except the dogs from which she would run in terror.
And there would seem to be a shift of allegiances in the Viccie Park dog walking community. Those who used to be OrangeHead’s second and third division hangers-on have formed their own little gang whilst her-with-the-Scotties (who once was a lone dog-walker) now seems to have usurped the role of OrangeHead’s Chunky Little Friend. The original Chunky Little Friend hasn’t been seen for some time. I hope her little dog is OK; he had been ill recently.
With walk done the dogs went to sleep, and after some toast, so did I. I slept for most of the day, waking just after 4pm.
I watched an episode of “Peaky Blinders”, hopefully I’ll scoff some dinner in a little while, then I’m off for another night shift…
8 November 2017 (Wednesday) - Bit Tired
During a break in the small hours last night I had a look at Facebook via the app on my phone. I like social media because it is social. I can see what family and friends are getting up to. I can see photos of friends and family, and their children, and their cats and dogs. I can see knob jokes, and I can squabble about pretty much every subject under the sun with people I have never met and never will.
Personally I like to use it to tell the world what I'm doing because I am ostentatious like that.
However what I don't want to see is endless adverts for stuff that I don't want to buy. If I want to buy something I will look for it on Amazon or eBay, or I will go to a shop. I'm getting just a little bit peeved with people who are using every attempt to communicate with me as a thinly-veiled ruse to flog whatever scam it is they are trying to foist this week.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were discussing a speech that the boss of the NHS was going to make today. Bearing in mind that all the pro-Brexit politicians were adamant that leaving the EU would give the country three hundred and fifty million quid a week extra for the NHS, and also bearing in mind that a lot of those politicians are now in high office in the Cabinet, he was going to ask for that money.
Whilst I admire his spirit, this figure of saving three hundred and fifty million quid a week by leaving the European Union has long been disproved. But it is time someone told these politicians to put their money where their mouth is. The pundits wheeled on a pro-Brexit politician who thought the whole thing was laughable; as he said, since when does anyone take seriously anything said by a politician?
Pausing only briefly to wave at "er indoors TM" in passing I took the dogs round the park. Fudge picked fights with two cyclists. Seeing how they both crashed I think it fair to say he was the victor. I blame the cyclists; they hurtle along at breakneck speeds and don’t give him any space. I’ve long thought his eyesight isn’t that good; the cyclists appear from nowhere and frighten him.
We also met a solitary OrangeHead who greeted Fudge by name.
Once home I changed the light bulb in the outside garden light. It still didn’t work. Hopefully it is the light fitting that needs replacing. I should be able to fix that myself.
I then went to bed. Ideally I would have stayed awake, but a night shift (or two) can be tiring. I got an hour’s sleep before I had a phone call from 07594 572100 who had details of all of my debts and wondered if he could consolidate them for me. I wondered if he would like to f… off, and I asked him. He got rather anxious when I told him that my phone records the numbers of incoming calls and that I would be reporting him.
I got a couple of hours more sleep, and got up in the late afternoon. I slobbed in front of the telly watching “Peaky Blinders” then the episode of “Upstairs Downstairs” in which “Hedward” got shell-shock.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good dinner. We scoffed it whilst watching the latest episode of “Star Trek: Discovery”. I quite like the show… but only “quite”. I’m not warming to any of the leading characters and (so far) they haven’t done any stories which haven’t been done better elsewhere.
9 November 2017 (Thusday) - Feeling Bleaugh
I slept like a log for half the night, and would have carried on sleeping had the puppy not decided to start marching all over me. I finally got up just after seven o’clock and had a little look-see at the Internet. Yesterday I had a little whinge about Facebook; this morning it wound me a little. I say “Facebook” did; really it was the people using it. There is a chap who lives in the Sevenoaks area who has been accused of interfering with children. He might be as guilty as hell, he might not. I don’t know. The case hasn’t gone to court yet. But there are those who are plastering his details all over social media.
So much for due judicial process.
Look at the furore over Sir Cliff Richard when he was wrongly accused. Or the Welsh MP who was hounded so much with accusations of sexual wrong-doing that he felt forced to kill himself. It is amazing how the public are so quick to assume the worst of anyone regardless of how unproven these allegations may be.
I took the dogs out for a walk. We went round to Newtown to meet up with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" didn’t come with us today. He was having a serious tantrum for absolutely no reason that anyone could determine (least of all himself) so he stayed at home with his daddy.
As we walked, the most recent fruit of my loin and I put the world to rights as the dogs fought and scrapped amongst themselves. As we walked we met two different women both with dogs they clearly couldn’t control. I can’t pretend my two hounds are perfect, but if worst comes to worst I can physically drag them away from where they are being a pain. Why do small women go out with huge dogs that are far stronger than they are, then find themselves nearly in tears of frustration when their dog wants to do its own sweet thing?
With walk done I went to B&Q to get the ingredients for a new outdoor garden light, but as I came out the rain started. I was planning to fix the garden light and mow the lawn, but not in the rain. So I went up the KFC and treated myself to lunch. I scoffed it whilst watching the new episode of “Detectorists” that the SkyPlus box had recorded for me last night. Series-link is a great feature. I had no idea there was a new series of “Detectorists”. I liked the first two seasons, but this one does seem to have gone a bit “hippy”.
I then set the washing machine loose on the contents of the laundry basket whilst I had a look at my accounts, Rather than using the upstairs PC I used my lap-top. I was amazed at how much quicker I got the job done. And then I had a little rummage through a pile of old clothes. I was amazed at just how many pairs of trousers and shorts I have. I think it’s fair to say I don’t need to buy any new ones for some years. Why is it that I always forget about this pile of old clothes? Whilst I rummaged in it I found four jumpers that I gave up for lost ages ago.
I then sat in front of the telly. My left knee was playing up a little, and I was feeling rather bleaugh (it’s a medical term). I watched an episode of “Peaky Blinders” – I’m getting toward the end of the second season and much as I like the show I could tell that the writers were running out of ideas as the tits had started to come out.
I then watched something of a classic. Seeing that Netflix had “Star Trek: The Animated Series” I watched some Star Trek cartoons. I can remember these. Absolutely brilliant stories utterly undermined by really poor animation and continuity.
"er indoors TM" came home with some tennis balls for the dogs. They usually play with them (or rip them to pieces) but they had a really nasty argument over them. No more tennis balls for them.
I had intended to go to the Windmill’s quiz night this evening, but I was feeling somewhat under the weather, so instead I stayed in. I think I might just watch more “Peaky Blinders” (just in case there is more tits) and Star Trek cartoons… and referee the dogs.
10 November 2017 (Friday) – Knockholt
Over the night an alliance of "er indoors TM" and two dogs captured most of the duvet. Despite giving it a seriously huge tug back my way I only got about six inches of the thing. Really I should have got up and gone somewhere else to kip rather than laying shivering for much of the night.
Over brekkie I peered into cyberspace. Not much had happened overnight really. As I messed about on-line I kept more than one eye on the dogs. Yesterday they had a couple of fights; not play-fights – they were really nasty with each other and I got mildly bitten trying to separate them. According to what I’ve read on-line it is all to do with the puppy growing up and trying to assert herself. I’m reminded of one of the cubs (quite literally) kicking seven shades of sh*t out of his brother. This morning they started playing nicely – Treacle was offering an old sock to Fudge so they could play “tug”. They played for a while, but Fudge does have to growl and snarl, and it is a short step from play-snarls to real snarls.
Being at a loose end today I’d looked at the geo-map and I’d located a particular geocache I wanted to seek out for D/T reasons (it’s a geo-thing). Bearing in mind how variable the traffic on the M20 can be I left early. If the traffic was bad I wouldn’t be too late. If the traffic was good, there were a couple of geo-puzzle caches I could collect on my way. The traffic was good; I collected a couple of puzzle caches on my way.
Soon enough I got to the church at Knockholt, and pausing only briefly to put my boots on, I was soon acting suspiciously in the graveyard. We had a field puzzle to solve; we had to locate four graves from which we needed to get various dates. Three were easy to find, one not so. I had this idea that I could collect all the information before everyone else arrived. It was a good idea; but I wasn’t quick enough. Pam and Brian were only a couple of minutes behind me.
We soon got the required dates, and did the sums, but before moving on, Pam sorted out coffee and cake for us just as Aleta arrived. And suitable coffee-ed and cake-ed we went on a little stroll. The final location was… I won’t give spoilers on the thing, but it was good fun.
Pausing only briefly to not be able to find a cache just down the road, we drove into the village of Knockholt and had a little walk around. We cobbled together a route taking in a dozen geocaches; one eluded us, and one would seem to have gone when the road sign to which it was attached had been replaced earlier in the year. It was a good walk; we even met a rather noisy dog which looked incredibly like Fudge.
I took a few photos as we walked about. Not as many as I usually do, though.
We said our goodbyes, and made our ways home. One I was home I popped the leads onto the dogs, and we went for a wander round the park. As we walked we met a young girl out with her puppy. Amazingly Treacle didn’t run in terror, but played with the pup. The young girl wasn’t sure what to make of the growls and barks; it was the first time she’d trusted her pup off of the lead. I got the impression that she was pleased to meet someone who seemed to like her puppy and would let him play with their dogs.
Shortly after this we met OrangeHead’s Chunky Little Friend who was out with her dog (without Orangehead). Her dog has been very ill recently; it was good to see he was on the mend. He and Fudge played a little.
Both of my dogs chased squirrels as we walked through the Chinese garden. They liked that (the dogs; not the squirrels)
As we walked home through the co-op field I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a chap squatting by the hedge. With his trousers round his ankles. He was having a crap in the hedge. Fudge was clearly about to go over and get involved; thankfully (for once) he listened when I called him (Fudge; not the bloke taking a dump).
With walk done I watched Star Trek cartoon on Netflilx until "er indoors TM" came home. Over a rather good bit of scoff we watched all sorts of stuff that the SkyPlus box had recorded for us.
I’m going to have a crap myself in a minute… but not in a hedge. I’m posh - I have a toilet.
11 November 2017 (Saturday) – Dull
I slept like a log; Fudge decided to spend the night in his basket, and that always makes things more restful. I got up, and tried to send the dogs out for a tiddle. They both looked at the torrential rain, and went back to bed. Perhaps I should have done so? Instead I made myself some brekkie and looked at the Internet. Not much had happened since I last looked at it only a few hours previously.
I did have a vague idea to take the dogs somewhere for a walk this morning, but the rain was against us. Instead I sat with my lap-top and solved geo-puzzles for an hour or so. I solved some using Google, I solved others by rummaging in the exif (as one does).
I failed miserably on several.
Looking at the geo-map I seem to have solved a couple of dozen puzzles for which I haven’t got to the final location to get the geocache. I’ve a few days off work coming up… I might just spend one of those days going to collect them (if nothing better to do comes up in the meantime).
Geo-puzzling can be rather frustrating; I’ve set a few puzzles in my time and they are intended to be relatively straight-forward. A sudoku puzzle, stuff in the exif data, a riddle, finding out local information, some simple sums…
However (as always) I would seem to be in the minority in intending that the puzzles be solvable. I’m compiling quite a list of puzzles which I have decided are insoluble. I’ve been told that in order to solve several relatively local ones I have to know how a certain puzzle-setter thinks. Brilliant!! – I’ve only ever spoken to the chap twice, and neither of those occasions lasted for more than a minute. I’ve also been assured that at least one of the puzzles within twenty miles of home has no solution – it has been put out purely to flummox the puzzle-setter’s mates.
After a couple of hours I turned the lap-top off and set off to work through the drizzle. As I drove I was frankly amazed at the lack of consideration pretty much every vehicle was showing to every other vehicle. I know that road manners usually leave a lot to be desired, but today everyone as jumping lights, lane-hopping; it wasn't safe on the roads this morning.
I got to Maidstone and took a little diversion to pick up one of the puzzle caches I'd solved this morning. This was one that has had me foxed for some months. To give my loyal readers a flavour of a puzzle cache, this was what I had to solve:
"Just do as you are told, Stanley... ...the contraction of a tiny unit of mass should help you avoid a shock.
Assuming the associated publication date is EFGH, the decimals are ABA and ACD where...
A = F - E
B = F - (G + H)
C = F
D = G / H"
The puzzle was difficulty level four (one being easy, five hardest). The cache itself was rather easily found. I won't say exactly where it was; but it was within half an hour's drive of work (that narrows it down!) And with it found and the secret geo-rituals done, I made my way to where I was supposed to be. At work (!)
I looked at McDonalds as I drove past. There were cars queuing to get in to the car park. With a heavy heart I decided I didn't have time for McLunch and instead got a sandwich form the hospital's league of fiends (sic) shop. This shop is a strange establishment; they get really funny with you if you don't have the exact change for whatever it is that you are buying, but have a till overflowing with change.
I did my bit at work. I had a few minutes spare, so I wrote up some CPD. I religiously record anything and everything that I might need to write up. Much of what I think might be useful isn't. However I make a list of what needs writing up far faster than I actually do the writing up. Today I managed to clear my backlog so that there is nothing form more than a week ago needing attention. I still have sixteen things in the list to review... I'll do them later.
What with rain and work, today was rather dull.
12 November 2017 (Sunday) – Coxheath
I slept like a log, but was disturbed by a pitiful whimpering at about 3am. I got up to find Fudge at the foot of the bed wanting to be lifted on to the bed. As I got up Treacle made herself comfortable where I had been sleeping, and by the time Fudge had got settled there wasn’t much bed left for me.
Over brekkie I had a quick look at the Internet. It hadn’t changed since last night, so I programmed “Hannah” for the day’s planned walk and we got ourselves together. I had a minor disaster in that I couldn’t find my gaiters. Or (to be precise) I couldn’t find a *pair* of the things. After a while I decided that life was too short to fart around, and no one would be checking my gaiters anyway. We loaded ourselves into the car and drove out to Linton where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and once I’d put on my non-matching gaiters (which no-one noticed) we set off for a little walk which (as usual) was marked out by one or two geocaches.
We had a good stroll through some rather pretty countryside.
We hadn’t been walking long when we were caught up by friends who were also walking this cache route, and in the end we were a party of ten (and two small dogs). The going was rather muddy as it had rained overnight, but the mud wasn’t deep; the ground was still rather firm, and the paths were well-marked. As we walked we saw chaffinches, and at eleven o’clock we stopped and had a little two-minute silence.
The walk was billed as one of nine kilometres. I looked at Google who told me that nine kilometres was the same as five and a half miles. My GPS unit “Hannah” measured the distance as six and a half. But I’ve always said the mileage on these cache routes is under-estimated (and there are those who say that “Hannah” over-estimates).
Geocache-wise it was an excellent walk. We found all our targets, and felt that the given co-ordinates were very good. I even got to use “really skilful geocaching” to find one cache, and I was insufferably smug for about two minutes as a result. Mind you I would have increased the difficulty rating on one or two of the hides; some were quite tricky to find.
Once back at the cars we scoffed our sandwiches whilst watching people driving round the car park. For a car park in the back of beyond there were a surprising amount of people driving about it. And not one was able to park a car with any proficiency.
With sandwiches scoffed we crossed the road to The Bull and had a couple of pints. I do like “Late Red”. It was a shame it was so cold; the views frim that pub’s balcony are spectacular. But even with the heaters on, we were shivering.
I took a few photos of the day, Once home I got them on-line after we’d hosed the mud off of the dogs. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner then went off bowling.
I stayed home with two sleeping dogs. They needed their sleep; it was a shame they were kept awake by the fireworks. I wonder how late the fireworks will go on for – they were still going off after midnight last night…
13 November 2017 (Monday) - This n That
After a relatively good night’s sleep I woke to a cold morning. Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Dad’s Army” in which Captain Mainwaring dreamed he was Napoleon. Don’t we all (from time to time)?
I sparked up my lap-top (whilst Fudge snored) and peered into the Internet. With pretty much nothing having happened overnight I turned off the lap-top and got ready for work.
It was rather cold as I walked to my car this morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about rumours of a plot being hatched by Conservative MPs to remove Theresa May from office. She's not been the most successful of Prime Ministers, but then she did rather inherit a mess when David Cameron jacked it all in. Is getting rid of her such a good idea? Who would take over? Boris Johnson?
The Archbishop of Canterbury has also come in for some stick. He's been given the blame for a directive issued by the Church of England saying that we as a nation shouldn't be getting involved with gender stereotyping. The papers are claiming he said that little boys should be free to wear tutus and tiaras and dress up as fairy princesses at Church of England school dress-up events. (Did he *really* say that?). The latest guidance issued by the Anglican church urges teachers to let children ‘play with the many cloaks of identity’ rather than conform to stereotypes.
Being all trendy is all very well, but one of the Archbishop's leading aides has resigned because what she calls a 'liberal' church is no longer 'anchored in the gospel'. Lorna Ashworth, (who opposes gay marriage), has quit over what she calls an 'agenda of revisionism'.
I think she's got a point.
Personally I think the Archbishop is right to be more accepting (even if he will end up with a lot of small boys being bullied for dressing as fairy princesses)... But as an Archbishop he is utterly wrong.
If you are going to be a leading figure in a religion that has been going for a couple of thousand years then you have an obligation to follow that religion's written teachings and values. You can't pick and choose what bits of the Bible you want to follow, and what bits to abandon as they aren't politically correct at the moment.
Meanwhile hundreds have died in an earthquake which warranted very little air time.
I got to work rather early. Yesterday evening I'd had a message. Could I cover the early shift? Yes please !! If I leave for work any later than 7.30am the traffic is a nightmare, so I'm usually at work super-early. And what with vagaries of the shifts an early shift means I get to the place about half an hour earlier than I would on a core shift, but get to leave nearly two hours earlier.
I like that.
I did my bit at work and came home… As I drove to work this morning it was getting light. As I drove home it was getting dark.
Me and my hounds walked round Bowen’s Field, but because it was now dark we didn’t go on through the park. Instead we came home along Chichester Close where I saw this year’s first Xmas lights. November thirteenth… that’s a bit keen.
And – did you know that no one born after 1935 has walked on the moon?
14 November 2017 (Tuesday) - Rostered Day Off
Over brekkie I saw that "er indoors TM" had posted some photos of Fudge onto Facebook overnight. I looked at them, then looked at him snuggled up next to me on the sofa. He has become very grey around the chin.
Over Facebook I saw mention of the Geocaching Association of Great Britain. I’ve heard rumours of this bunch before; good and bad. Since there was no charge, I joined. I saw they have an Internet forum – that should be good for several arguments. I also saw they were in the throes of electing a new committee. I know several of those who have been nominated; some are good friends, some have organised some really good caching events I have enjoyed, some don’t actually do the hobby any more, one goes round posting spoiler videos on You-Tube, and one is still at school.
I wonder what will come of this from my point of view? We shall see… I’ve managed for five years without them.
Whilst getting dressed I broke my shoe horn. Something of a disaster; when I got it I struggled to find a shoe horn; I wonder where I can get a new one from.
I drove round to collect "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and Sam and we went out to Lenham. She had an appointment. Business opportunity or money down the chodbin? Usually offers which seem too good to be true are too good to be true. Tme will tell. It always does.
We then went for some McDonalds as that is what we do.
I ran "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and Sam home, and then I took my dogs round the park. For once our walk was utterly uneventful (for which I was grateful), but as I walked my phone went mad with notification emails. I had received several comments on recent blog postings. Someone called “Jade Graham” was trying to spam me in a thinly veiled attempt to sell fences. I’ve now blocked her.
I had intended mowing the lawn, but it was raining. So, having a day not at work meant I did the ironing; it is a tradition. As I ironed I watched a few episodes of “Peaky Blinders”. I was surprised to see that Alexander Siddiq was in the show; he was Doctor Bashir in “Star Trek” and I thought he was looking rather old. Mind you that as twenty years ago. I was in rather better shape back then too.
With ironing done I then fell asleep in front of the telly until "er indoors TM" came home.
Usually Tuesday night would be gathering of the clans night, but a combination of not knowing whose turn it was to have everyone round combined with having several late shifts this week meant we had an evening in. And hopefully an early night too… I’ve not felt on top form today…
15 November 2017 (Wednesday) - Christmas Beer
I had a terrible night; whenever I finally managed to get any of the duvet, the puppy would then start stomping all over me. I woke feeling like death warmed up; seriously thinking about phoning work to say I was taking the day off sick.
Over brekkie I looked at the Internet (as I usually do); not much had happened overnight. I didn’t think much would have done.
I had a few emails; a friend had walked my series of geocaches in Challock. One of them night be missing; the one furthest from any road. I’m off work in a couple of weeks’ time. I might go have a look-see then. And I had a confirmation email about getting our new smart meters from the power company. I think it’s just a leccie meter; might be gas as well. We shall see…
I took the dogs round the park for a walk. Once in Bowens Field I let the dogs off of the lead, and Treacle ran straight out of the field in pursuit of another dog. Had I not screamed at her she would have run straight under a car. Why was she chasing another dog? She is terrified of other dogs.
Pausing only briefly to be civil to OrangeHead the rest of the walk was rather uneventful.
I set off to work rather earlier than I needed to this morning. At the weekend Karl had mentioned that the Black Cat brewery were selling gallon containers of stout for twenty quid. Last year I'd bought some stout for Christmas, but I did leave it to the last minute. Realistically most places would have sold out of the decent stuff five days before Christmas, which is why I ended up with a five-gallon tub of oyster stout (for seventy quid), and about half of it got thrown away. Five gallons was a bit much, but at five days before Christmas it was that or nothing. I thought I might be a little more sensible this year.
I soon found the brewery; it was right next to the National Fruit Collection in Brogdale. Who would have thought that the nation had a fruit collection, let alone having it less than fifteen miles from my house? Apparently they have three and a half thousand different sorts of fruit there. I had a little think and couldn't come up with more than twenty.
Needless to say there was a geocache not a hundred yards from the brewery...
I made my way to McDonalds (via another geocache) where I had a rather good lunch of Chicken Select and chips which was marred only by the curry dip. Usually I go for the sweet chili dip. Yesterday Sam had waxed loquacious about the curry dip, so I tried it today. Never again!
From McDonalds to work is a short hop, but on the way I stopped off. There is a puzzle geocache only a few hundred yards from work. I've spent most of the last year straining my brain over it and at the weekend (with a major bit of help from Kim) I figured out the answer to the puzzle.
I went hunting for the cache today; I couldn't find it. I don't think it is there. I think the recent building works have done for it.
I eventually found a space in the works car park, and I went in to a rather busy late shift. Such a shame the motorway was closed when it was time for me to come home…
16 November 2017 (Thursday) - Photogenic
The puppy slept well, and consequently so did everyone else. But I did wake with a headache.
Over brekkie I had a little chuckle. There is a chap on my Facebook list. I’ve never met him, but a combination of a tenuous family connection and his occasional geocaching was enough to count as a cyber-friendship. His wife has taken several such vague associations to try to spread word of her business of selling tat on-line. Over the last few weeks Facebook has (for me) become increasingly little more than a list of her current so-called bargains. But not this morning. This morning she was complaining that the powers that be at Facebook have shut her selling page down (albeit temporarily) because of complaints that she’s been spamming the thing at all and sundry.
I can’t say that I have any problem with what the powers that be at Facebook have done. If I wanted to see that sort of thing over brekkie I wouldn’t open up Facebook’s website; I’d look at eBay.
So rather than reading adverts about stuff I can buy cheaper in the local shops, this morning I read a rant from an ex-colleague about how she is kept awake every night by the neighbours doing their washing and hoovering on cheap rate electricity in the small hours.
I'd also been nominated on Facebook to post a photo of my dogs. I do that pretty much every day, but I thought we'd have a better-than-usual piccie for this. So as I took the dogs round the park for their (our) morning constitutional. As we walked I was looking for somewhere photogenic -
The fountain in the park makes a good backdrop in a picture, so as we came past it I tried to get a "natural" shot of them, but they wouldn't oblige. They rarely do. For every photo I have of their heads I have a dozen of their bums. So I sat them where I wanted them for a photo, and they both wandered off doing their own thing. I fetched them back, and after five minutes arguing with them they got the idea of what I wanted and they stood still for more than two seconds. I was quite pleased with the result, and comments were made on Facebook that the dogs were both looking in the same direction for once.
We came home through the co-op field where we met OrangeHead, and my two dogs disgraced themselves by trying to eat a dead sparrowhawk. (I say "sparrowhawk"; it might have been a kestrel). Matters were not helped by OrangeHead's dog joining in the feast.
We came home, and both dogs sat with me on the sofa and slept as I watched the last episode of the last series of "Peaky Blinders". I've now only got to watch one more episode of the show to have caught up entirely. And with telly watched I settled the dogs and set off to work.
I went via the petrol station on the ring road where the old duck behind the till was (for once) entirely without suitors and admirers. I think she might have been giving me the come-on, but I wasn't having any of it.
I drove off to Larkfield where I hunted out a geocache; the location of which I finally figured out from last Saturday's brainstorming session. And with that found I went for McLunch. Yesterday I had the frankly awful curry sauce. Today I had sweet chili. Far superior.
I headed in the general direction of work, but stopped off half way up Hermitage Lane and went for a little walk. Yesterday I couldn't find a geocache along a footpath off of that road; today I failed to find two more along a different footpath. Other people had also failed to find them. I logged that the geo-feds should wipe these absent caches from the geo-map. The chap who hid them doesn't seem to be active in the hobby any more, he hasn't replied to the several messages I've sent, and the geo-feds have pulled the plug on other caches of his that have similarly gone missing. With those caches wiped from the map there will be space for new ones to go out.
I got to work. It started slow, but picked up as the day went on. A bit like me, really…
17 November 2017 (Friday) - Stephen Hawking
The puppy had another good night. However I only slept until 3.30am, then lay awake for a few hours. I expect it was because I had an alarm set that I didn’t sleep well.
Over brekkie I watched the most recent episode of “Detectorists” that the SkyPlus box had recorded, then (with a little time on my hands) I watched another Star Trek cartoon before sparking up my lap-top.
It took a little while to start up; overnight my browser had upgraded itself to “Firefox Quantum”. Billed as being twice as fast, it was noticeably slower than it had been.
Mind you, even with Firefox Quantum, not much had changed with Facebook overnight. And with precious few emails of note, I set off to work.
I got to my car and realised winter is here; I had to scrape ice from my windscreen. As I drove to work I listened to the radio. What with late shifts and rostered days off I hadn’t listened to the news for a while.
It would seem there has been a coup in Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe is out on his arse. From what I can work out it would appear he has effectively been allowed to retire gracefully. Many (me included) would welcome that.
There wasn’t much else worthy of note on the morning’s news; most of my drive to Maidstone was frankly wasted by listening to some drivel about a recently appointed Bishop of the Coptic church in London. Surely the people at the BBC could have found something more newsworthy than that?
I stopped off at Aldi. I was getting low on deodorant; I’ve always found it best not to skimp on the armpits.
Once at work I had a surprisingly busy day. I was glad when home time came.
Once home we walked the dogs. Seeing as it was dark they sported their luminous collars. As we came past the Riverside I had a vague idea about going in for a pint and some dinner. On the one hand it is a bit posh in there and they probably wouldn’t have let the dogs in. On the other hand the place was completely deserted with not a single customer in there.
We didn’t go in.
We came home; "er indoors TM" boiled up fish and chips and we watched a film. “The Theory of Everything” was a docu-drama about the life of Professor Stephen Hawking. And like most films it went on for about half an hour too long…
18 November 2017 (Saturday) - On the Early Shift
The puppy came up to bed last night about ten minutes after I dozed off, and she fidgeted until ten minutes before my alarm went off.
Over brekkie I activated Netflix and watched the episode of "Red Dwarf" in which our heroes went back in time and got President Kennedy to assassinate himself.
Pausing only briefly to scrape the ice from my windscreen I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting something about the trials and tribulations of tenant farmers. I lost interest, and put on my dreadful music instead.
I'd left for work a little early so's I would be at the Aylesford McDonalds in time for McBrekkie. A sausage and egg McMuffin meal with a toffee latte went down very well. I particularly like McDonalds at seven o'clock in the morning at the weekends; there is such a sense of peace and tranquillity about the place. There are those (like me) on the way to work. There are those on the way home. And (much as I like children) all the screaming brats are still in bed.
I went in to work, and had a far better day than yesterday. As I worked I looked at the rain outside the window. It does seem to rain an awful lot when I work at the weekends. As I worked I managed to find a few minutes to spend writing up my ongoing continuing professional development stuff.
With work done I came home. The rain on the motorway didn’t make for the best of drives home, but once I’d got the car parked I set the washing machine loose on some shirts and watched “Thunderbirds are Go”. It’s on to its third season now.
I did have the option to go out to a post-wedding party this evening, but I thought better of the idea. I’d seen the invite list, and going along to be dramatically blanked wasn’t my idea of fun.
I sparked up my lap-top; it asked if I wanted I to do an update. I said it could, and left it to get on with it. We had dinner, I ironed my shirts… three hours later the thing was ready to go, and with no real noticeable difference.
Don’t you just love updates…
19 November 2017 (Sunday) - Sutton at Hone
Another night spent awake being trampled by a restless puppy. Mind you I did chuckle when she fell off the bed (with a resounding crash) in the small hours.
I got up and let Fudge out to do his thing in the garden. He did it, came in and was sick. He then sat with me on the sofa looking rather sorry for himself. Eventually he ate some of his brekkie.
Over my brekkie I turned my lap-top on. Eventually the thing booted up. On when finally ready I tried to activate the Firefox browser. Yesterday I waited for three hours whilst Windows had an upgrade, and last week the Firefox browser decided to swap itself for a new version. I really should turn off these updates; they never improve performance. In fact they usually slow the lap-top quite noticeably.
When the thing finally got going I had a little look-see on-line. I started off by sending an apology to the chap whose post-wedding party I missed last night. From the photos posted it looks like I missed a good party; I didn’t go as there was a certain person on the guest list was going. She fell out with me about five years ago when I dared to voice an opinion. Over the last few years she’s made a point of marching up to whoever I was talking to, and standing with her back to me and speaking to whoever I was just speaking with. I’ve yet to find anyone who isn’t so intimidated by her that they will say anything. When this has happened I’ve made sarcastic comments but she completely blanked me every time and it just got embarrassing.
It was one of the main reasons why I finally gave up with the astro club, and now avoid any situation where she might be present. Really I should tell her to get stuffed…
I then had a little snigger when I looked at the local geocaching page. One chap was whinging about the price of nanos (it’s a geo-thing) and had brought a job lot of a hundred of the things. He was offering them up for sale at a pound each plus a pound for postage. Making them two quid each.
I didn’t like to say you can buy the things far cheaper on eBay. I did just that this morning.
We got ourselves and the dogs together, and once we’d scraped the ice from "er indoors TM" car we set off to Sutton at Hone. (No – I’d never heard of it before either) Not knowing where this place was didn’t bother our sat-navs, and soon we met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and we set off round the “It’s all Greek to me” series of geocaches. We started off along a rather busy road, but soon headed off into the countryside. As we went we had an impromptu geology lesson, and talked how Fermat’s last theorem helped us solve a puzzle (as you do). We met a normal person wandering about in his slippers, we laughed as Fudge chewed a fence, we found a fox graveyard.
We had a dodgy few minutes as we met some rather over-friendly horses. Treacle didn’t like them, and nearly nipped one on the nose.
Billed as a walk of at least seven miles, “Hannah” measured it at a shade under eight miles. Once we were back to the cars we changed out of muddy boots and went to “The Ship” for a post-walk debrief.
I must admit that my heart sunk when we walked into “The Ship”; it was clearly a “local pub for local people”, but the beer was good, and the staff and locals were very friendly. We stayed for a second pint, and in a novel break with tradition I made it all the way home without needing to stop for a tiddle.
Geocache-wise we had a full day. We set off in search of forty-two targets. We found thirty-seven. We knew three had been reported as missing and so having discussed this with the chap who’d hidden them in the first place, we replaced them for him. There were two we couldn’t find; they were overlooked by houses and so we didn’t hang about for long as the normal people were watching us.
I forgot to take my camera today, so I took several photos using my phone. Once home I uploaded them, and then with "er indoors TM" off bowling I settled myself in front of the telly as my dogs snored. Sir David Attenborough’s “Blue Planet II” is on shortly, and after that is “Howards’ End”. I saw the first episode of “Howards’ End” last week. It was rather like “Poldark” but didn’t have quite so many heaving bosoms. Mind you, that was only the first episode. Things might perk up tonight.
Hope springs eternal…
20 November 2017 (Monday) - This n That
About an hour after I dozed off the dogs had a rather nasty scrap. They’ve taken to quarrelling over certain toys. They were soon separated, but having been woken I then lay awake for much of the night just in case they should argue again.
Eventually I gave up trying to sleep and got up. Over an early brekkie I watched an episode of “Dad’s Army” in which Private Walker shoved a few dozen stolen pigeons into the church organ. Form what I could work out he could only have done this for comic effect. I also watched an episode of “Star Trek: The Animated Series”; a show which, while entertaining, was made long before believable characters and plausible plots were ever used in a TV show.
I then had a look-see at the Internet. Again the Firefox browse took twice as long to get going as it did a week ago, despite now supposedly running twice as fast as it used to.
The photos of yesterday’s walk had got several encouraging comments, but that was about it for Facebook. And with no emails of note I set off to work. Slowly. I think I might have overdone it yesterday; my right knee was particularly painful. Arthritis, or just too fat?
As I drove to work (through a rather wet morning) the pundits on the radio were talking about the problems facing the German Premier Angela Merkle and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. A shame for the world to lose one, good riddance to the other.
There was a very interesting article on the radio this morning investigating the problems in the housing market. When we were buying our first house we needed to borrow three times my annual salary. Nowadays couples are finding that they need to borrow up to ten times an average salary to buy a house.
Furthermore the upcoming Brexit has pushed house prices through the roof. Many of the European workers who used to build the houses have gone home. And there is a brick shortage as those who used to make the bricks were also European workers who have gone home. Those who advocate “British jobs for British workers“ seem to have overlooked the fact that demonstrably the British workers don’t want these jobs (hence the need for European workers in the first place).
However no one is addressing the main problem with the housing market. The main problem being that it is a “market”. A house isn’t a place to live; it is a financial commodity.
Should it be…?
I got to work and had a very busy day. No gassing, but plenty of sausaging (it’s a blood transfusion thing).
With work done I came home; I had intended visiting Lacey as today is her birthday, but she was out with a gaggle of her mates. Instead we walked the dogs round the road and then had a rather good bit of dinner. "er indoors TM" has gone bowling. I’m going to sleep in front of the telly with my dogs…
My knee still hurts…
21 November 2017 (Tuesday) - Late Shift
For once the puppy slept well, and consequently so did everyone else.
Over brekkie I had a little snigger. A friend was using Facebook to whinge about the upcoming Black Friday deals in the shops. The whinge went along the lines that Black Friday is an American thing; why do we have it in the UK? It’s a sentiment I agree with, but it did seem odd coming from someone who is so vocal in his support of all things American and keeps telling the world that he wants to go live over there.
Pausing only briefly to whinge at "er indoors TM" that her dogs (!) were barking at nice-next-door and some magpies in the garden I took the dogs for a little walk round the park. I say “little walk” – the other day I used “Hannah” to measure the distance of our standard round-the-park jaunt. It turned out that walk is almost two miles. So we went for an almost two miles walk.
The walk passed off mostly without incident. As we walked I did notice that most other dog-walkers with more than one dog seem to have matching pairs. We met two French bulldogs, two Labradors, two Scotties. My two seem to me in the minority in being a mismatched pair.
As usual Fudge straggled. We were almost across the co-op field when we met Orangehead and Fudge then followed her dog all the way back across the field that he had been so slow to traverse in the first place.
I settled the dogs and set off for work rather earlier than I might have done. For rather complicated geo-reasons I needed to find nine geocaches before tomorrow evening. Yesterday (following an equally complicated problem with the staffing rota) the boss asked if I could do the late shift today, and so this morning I had a few hours spare. I could have gone hunting Tupperware., or I could have watched the telly.
I looked at the geo-map and saw a few targets which wouldn't be too much of a diversion on my way to work. So off I went...
As I drove the radio was on in the background. After a few minutes I realised that I had no idea what the pundits on the radio were saying. They really were going "blah blah blah" so I turned it off and put my music on instead.
I set off to Charing. "er indoors TM" had put three caches out there earlier in the year; they would do as a start for my hunt. If I couldn't find them and if all else failed I could ring her up for a hint. But I located all of them rather quickly. And so feeling rather pleased with myself I drove up to Hollingbourne where there were (supposedly) six caches in a loop. That would have suited me ideally had the third one not been missing. The hint was "under flint" but there was no flint to be seen. I found the obvious place in which I would have hidden the cache (up a tree), but there was nothing there. I resisted the temptation to put a new cache out for them, but I did find all the others I was hunting for, and after a little detour to a village sign I ended my little geo-session by finding the last part of a rather tricky puzzle (admittedly the puzzle did need a little nudge from a friend). This was my nine thousandth geo-find. Nine thousand finds in five and a half years; that's not a bad rate of caching.
There are those who take the piss, but it's not a bad old hobby. It has taken me all over the place and to all sorts of beautiful locations. I've spent hours straining my brain on some rather fiendish and cryptic puzzles. I've met some wonderful friends and had some really good adventures. I've gone canoeing, tunnelling and up trees in rope and harness. It has given me a different dog walk at least once every week.
I wonder how long it will be before I find cache number ten thousand?
With a few minutes spare (and as it was on my way to work) I drove to McDonalds for a celebratory dinner. There are those who take the piss out of McDonalds, but I like the place.
And with McDinner McScoffed I went in to the late shift. Work started quietly, but got progressively more busy. I was rather glad when the night shift arrived to take over.
It was a shame the motorway was closed between junctions seven and eight. It was even more of a shame that no diversions were posted. You would have thought someone would have thought to have directed the traffic…
22 November 2017 (Wednesday) - Gigabytes
I slept like a log last night. I was eventually woken by Fudge fidgeting shortly before the alarm was due to go off. I scoffed my toast whilst watching Star Trek cartoons, and because I couldn’t be bothered to get off the sofa I put on the episode of “Red Dwarf” in which RImmer became Ace Rimmer.
I allowed myself a few minutes to waste in cyber-space. Lookoing at Facebook I found myself rather humbled. Yesterday I’d posted up a little piccie of me finding my nine thousandth geocache. This morning I saw that thirty-three friends had posted congratulations, and sixty three-people had pressed the “like” button.
A couple of days ago a friend of mine was whinging on Facebook that Black Friday was an American thing and had no place in the UK. Today that same person was wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving (!)
I thought Thanksgiving was tomorrow?
I had a little look at my phone as well. A couple of months ago I realised that I was getting through my mobile data at quite a rate. I was originally give a gigabyte of data each month, and was (on average) using about eight hundred megabytes of it. I asked for more data (it never hurts to ask) and the nice people at the phone company increased my allowance. This morning I was half way through the monthly billing period and I had used three hundred megabytes of the fourteen gigabytes I now have. (That’s just over two per cent) I’ve always been very conscious not to go over my data limit… maybe I needn’t worry quite so much in the future.
I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the recent death of teen heartthrob David Cassidy. Apparently loads of women now in their fifties and sixties are heartbroken that he died yesterday. Even though most of them had never met him, or even seen him, or probably never even listened to one of his records for thirty years.
They wheeled Leo Sayer onto the airwaves to say nice things about Mr Cassidy. Leo Sayer... he was big in the 1970s. I thought he'd been dead for years - it turns out he lives in Australia now.
there was also a lot of speculation about what the Chancellor of the Exchequer was going to announce in the afternoon's budget speech. Apparently unlike with previous budgets, quite a lot of the detail has already been made public. Those on the radio were of the opinion that most of the budget was the brainchild of the Chancellor himself with very little input from the Prime Minister. It would seem that her position is so weak that the Chancellor can do what he likes and she's pretty much powerless to stop him.
Those on the radio were making great show of how the Chancellor was trying to juggle the books to keep the various wings of the Conservative party happy, and to be seen to be doing the politically correct hing. Interestingly at no stage was it hinted that he might have planned the budget with the national interest in mind.
I got to work, and we spent a little while playing with the boss's phone. She's got this gadget on it which doesn't need a password, or fingerprint recognition. instead you stare into it and it recognizes your eye. It worked for her, and it wouldn't accept me.
I remember seeing this in the film Star Trek II. When the film came out we thought this was amazingly sci-fi...
She finds this very useful - when out on her horse she can activate her phone by staring at it, and then tell it what to do using the voice recognition software. The technology is amazing, isn't it?
We also had a little disaster at tea time. A colleague had bought a packet of kettle chips for tea break time. In that packet were nine crisps. Nine - we counted them. That was nearly ten pence per crisp.
What a rip-off.
23 November 2017 (Thursday) - Minions
I was woken by the noise of the rain against the window a few minutes before the alarm was due to go off.
Over brekkie I watched the last night's episode of "Detectorists"; it was rather good. It had a guest appearance from Linda Lusardi. Famous for "flopping them out" in the 1970s I can remember when she retired from all that sort of thing. It was good to see she's s still alive. A shame she didn't "flop anything out", but you can't have everything.
However the program was rather marred by one minor point. At the end of the show out heroes were camping. In the late evening they were stargazing and were looking at the constellation Orion. If you can see that constellation in the late evening in the UK it is far too late in the year (and cold) to be camping.
I drove to work through the rain. I needed petrol so I went along a slightly different route. There has been major road works on the road in to the town centre; they've built a road island in *exactly* the wrong place. It confused me, and it confused several other people too.
I got to the petrol station. For all that the one on the ring road is the cheapest for miles, petrol has still gone up by five pence per litre over the last week. The grannie on the till was without admirers (for once), and because I wasn't openly trying to sniff round her, she made a point of making me wait until she'd finished whatever it was she was doing before she took my money.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the advertising of broadband internet speeds has got to be changed. The broadband providers are only going to be allowed to advertise something as "up to" a given speed if the public have a reasonable chance of actually getting that speed. At least half of the punters have got to be able to get the "up to" speed; as opposed to ten per cent as things currently stand.
Currently I’m running at about twenty per cent of what I was led to believe I might get.
There was also a lot of talk about yesterday's budget. The general consensus of those who know about budgets was that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did the best he could bearing in mind the economy is going down the toilet. From the way the various experts were talking it would seem that pretty much everyone is now agreed that financially Brexit was an incredibly bad decision, and the Chancellor has made the best of a bad job because of it.
The BBC have created an on-line budget calculator. According to the BBC after yesterday’s budget I shall be eight pounds forty-two pence better off every month.
Work was hard work, but being on an early start made for an early finish. Once home I walked the dogs round the road, then the three of us fell asleep in front of the telly whilst it played Star Trek cartoons at us.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner, and as we scoffed it we wondered what Netflix might have to offer. “The Minions Movie” was excellent. Why hadn’t we watched it before?
24 November 2017 (Friday) - Early Shift
Last night I saw something on Facebook that wound me up. Apparently ten out of twelve UK water companies employ dousing. Obviously dousing for water is nonsense. It has no scientific grounding whatsoever… but what winds my up is that those who rip the piss out of dousing have never actually tried it.
I can douse.
And the fact that it works when science says it is patently nonsense winds me up *so* much I posted about it on Facebook, and this morning I saw I wasn’t alone in knowing that dousing works when it shouldn’t.
I also posted a teaser for my upcoming Lego advent calendar album; that will be something to look forward to. Mind you there were comments posted on that from people who clearly had no idea about me and Lego advent calendars.
I set off to work on a very dark morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were saying that the Black Friday shopping madness has crashed the websites of the retailers John Lewis and Debenhams. This idea of a Black Friday is certainly becoming a "UK thing".
There was also talk about the new President of Zimbabwe. Following all the jubilation about getting rid of Robert Mugabwe (who was billed as being pretty damn bad) he's been replaced by the chap who was his right hand man for decades. The pundits on the radio this morning were giving a list of the atrocities with which the new President was denying any involvement.
So much for change...
I got to work; I think I was lucky to do so. A friend of mine is a lorry driver; he is often posting on Facebook about what a rotten time lorry drives have, and how under-appreciated they are. I think I would sympathise with him if fewer lorry drivers drove like cocks.
Take this morning as a typical morning on the M20. I was fortunate to find a gap in the stream of lorries through which I could get on to the motorway. Before now I've had to stop on the slip road and wait for a break in the lorries to get on. Once on the M20 I found there was a pretty much solid line of lorries all the way to Maidstone, all moving at much the same speed. However about half of them were trying to overtake the other half; effectively bunging up two lanes of a three lane motorway. When these lorries start to overtake, they just pull out with no indication (right in front of whoever is in the middle lane!), and the act of one lorry overtaking another goes on for a mile or so as the one who is overtaking is only travelling about one mile an hour faster than the one being overtaken. And having been overtaken, most lorries then try to overtake the one who's just come past them.
The motorways would be far safer if lorries all went at the same pace and didn't keep playing silly beggars overtaking each other.
Once at work I did some mandatory training; a refresher on the need for confidentiality and security on the data I use every day. Working where I do, I do deal with rather confidential information. A refresher about the need to keep quiet about the stuff I find out is always good.
I wonder if other hospitals might have their staff review the stuff I read today... I can vividly remember a little episode shortly after having had my vasectomy when the porter who had wheeled me into the operating theatre bellowed down a crowded corridor "Oi Dave, how's your bollox?". In retrospect I should have sued that hospital for thousands of pounds.
At tea break I saw some geocaches had gone live; several among the outlying villages around Ashford. One would be on my way home. It involved some puzzle solving, so over tea break I puzzled and solved. I had a hope to go for First to Find after work; being on an early meant I might get there before dark. It was a tad optimistic. At lunch I saw that those who specialise in hunting First to Finds had been out on a little road trip and found the lot. Had I been in a position to chase FTFs today would I have gone for the lot?
With work done I came home, got the dogs organised and we went for our walk. Because it is dark when we walk in the evenings the dogs have light-up collars. Blue for the boy, pink for the girl. As we walked we met a spaniel with a green light-up collar. Green? – We didn’t ask.
Several people commented on the collars including one young lad dressed all in black on an un-lit bicycle. I suggested he might benefit from having lights. He said he had some, but the batteries weren’t very good. I suggested he got new ones; he stared at me as though I was talking in a foreign language.
I’ve worked five consecutive days this week… I’m worn out.
25 November 2017 (Saturday) - Hoath
My piss boiled as I scoffed my brekkie. A rather huge project has just been completed in Wingham (about twenty miles away) to install otter-proof fencing around two huge lakes. Otters can destroy the carp population in any lake, and this fencing will protect the carp from them. However the fencing has been paid for (in part) by a grant from the Angling Improvement Fund. This fund is administered by the Angling Trust on behalf of the Environment Agency, with the money coming from fishing licence sales. The lakes themselves belong to Wingham fisheries who charge over eight hundred pounds for a year’s fishing.
So…the money I spend on my fishing licence is being used to subsidise a fishery I will never be able to afford to fish in, whilst the lakes us peasants fish in get sod all.
I’ve emailed a formal complaint to the Environment Agency. The automated reply says they will respond within ten working days. Ten of their working days are fourteen of mine… I wonder what they will say.
With brekkie scoffed Cliff popped in for a few minutes. It was good to catch up. "er indoors TM" then popped to the outlet centre on an errand and I refereed the dogs who were playing tug o’ war with pretty much anything they could get hold of.
"er indoors TM" returned, and we all set off to Hoath. Rather than meeting Karl, Tracy and Charlotte at Hoath, we managed to catch up on the motorway.
Regular readers of this drivel may recall we walked round Hoath over the summer. We had a good walk; and with that walk done we looked at carrying on along the lanes, but it was far too hot then.
It wasn’t too hot today.
Today was an ideal walk for wandering round the lanes. All on tarmac meant we wouldn’t get smothered in mud (for once). We had a good stroll. We saw sheep. Not many… how many sheep do you need to have a flock? Personally I don’t think four is enough. We saw pigs, we heard skylarks, we climbed trees, we found pubs.
The first pub was a result. It was perhaps a tad early in the route, but it was a cold day. The Gate in Chislet is a wonderful place. There was a roaring log fire to warm us, and a choice of ales straight from the barrel. One of which was the Whitstable brewery’s oyster stout. We had two pints of that.
The second pub wasn’t too shabby either – you don’t see Deuchar’s IPA in many places.
Geocache-wise it was an odd experience. Usually when we go out hunting Tupperware we follow a series of caches laid out in an order (numbered #1, #2, etc) put out by one person. When caching like this you soon get a feel for the sort of thing you are hunting, and where that person might hide things, and what that person had bought in bulk from the geocaching shop.
Today we cobbled together a walk along various lanes picking up caches seemingly put out at random. We managed a good walk, but by its very nature today’s caching was somewhat random. Some caches were hidden well with good hints and accurate GPS co-ordinates. Some were laying broken on the roadside. Some were found despite no clues being given whatsoever, some were found by pot luck (one was forty yards out on the GPS), and some were clearly missing. But I’m not complaining; as long as people put these things out I have somewhere to walk my dogs at the weekends.
We didn’t get all the caches in the area… by a wonderful stroke of fortune we could make a similar walk collecting a dozen or so starting from The Gate in Chislet…
We came home; "er indoors TM" drove and I slept. I took several photos as we walked. With "er indoors TM" out on a mission this evening I posted them up on Facebook (as I do) and then watched last week’s episode of “Peaky Blinders” as my dogs snored. I liked the first three seasons; the fourth is a bit lame. Which is a shame.
The SkyPlus box has recorded today’s episode of Thunderbirds; I shall watch that in a minute…
26 November 2017 (Sunday) - On the Late Shift
I didn’t sleep well; a night fraught with rather vivid dreams. I was eventually woken by Fudge dabbing at me shortly before 8am. He was awake and bored and wanted me to get up.
Over brekkie I looked at the monthly accounts. The way I tally up what I’ve spent every month really hinges on having statements for my credit card and current account printed on the same date. Over the last few months the bank have assured me that this impossible even though they managed it for thirty years, and all my mates who bank with them get this service.
I whinged at the bank (again) about this a couple of days ago and it seems they’d not looked at my email yet. They assure me they will have a look tomorrow. It must be nice to work somewhere that can just leave things for a couple of days…
I got my sums sorted eventually; it didn’t help that I’d mistakenly deleted last month’s figures. Woops!. I finally concluded that I’m nowhere near as poor as I was five years ago. On the other hand I am nowhere near as well off as I was ten years ago. Oh well… what is money for if not to squander foolishly and to piddle up a wall?
I then peered into cyber-space. Not much had happened overnight really. Mind you I did wonder about one article a friend had posted up. A popular music venue in Bristol has had to close because of complaints from the locals about noise. Another friend is having similar problems with his night club in Bournemouth.
I know that many of my loyal readers will disagree with me, but I have never understood why music in pubs and clubs has to be so loud that it hurts for you to enjoy it. Surely turning the music down a little so that the neighbours can hear their telly isn’t unreasonable?
Last night I discovered a little on-line project I started and forgot about; I dusted off “mankybadger’s guide to geocaching”, corrected one or two obvious mistakes, and thought about carrying on with it.
We popped the leads onto the dogs, and put a coat onto Treacle. Ideally Fudge would have had a coat on, but he hates coats. He won’t move with one on, so we don’t bother trying any more. We then took them for a little walk. As we walked through Bowens Field we saw that there were still two tents inside a little thicket. They’ve been there for a few weeks now; I wonder what that’s all about.
We continued into the park, meeting other dogs as we went. Treacle was her usual scaredy-cat self; Fudge tried to have his never-confused way with all the boy dogs (regardless of how much they towered over him).
The Park Run people were in the park today. There were a couple of dozen of them, and all passed off well. In the past there has been over two hundred people at the park run; far too many for the organisers and the park.
We came home for coffee and cake. "er indoors TM" set off out with her mates whilst Fudge slept and Treacle looked out of the window grumbling at passers-by (as small dogs do).
I settled the dogs and set off. The two-minute drive to "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"'s flat took fifteen minutes because of all the traffic queues blocking the roads round the McArthur Glen outlet centre. I suppose the queues at the weekends will get longer and longer there on the run-up to Christmas.
Mind you, I can't see the attraction of the place; they sell stuff you can get anywhere and they sell it at higher prices. For a long time I have harboured the suspicion that it is popular with people who like spending a lot of money needlessly, and I've never seen anything to persuade me otherwise.
Take their outdoor clothing range - you can get stuff which is pretty much identical to what the outlet flogs in Matalan or Go Outdoors for half price; the only difference being that the stuff in Matalan or Go Outdoors doesn't have the designer label.
I eventually got through the traffic to Newtown. Today was Sam's birthday. I handed over a card. Charlie was there - I gave him some pressies as we'd missed his birthday a couple of weeks ago. I also wound up their dog Pogo just a little. For all that he is Treacle's brother born only minutes earlier, he's a *lot* chunkier than she is. I forgot that as I picked him up, and nearly did my back in.
I fussed Sid a little too. Poor Sid - such a quiet little dog; always in the background, never pushing himself forward.
I got to work. Things started quietly so I took the opportunity to write up some CPD, but that soon palled. I did my bit, and came home. You'd be surprised how much traffic there is on the motorway at 9.30 pm on a Sunday night...
27 November 2017 (Monday) - Another Late Shift
When the puppy wasn’t stomping about the bed, "er indoors TM" was snoring. Add to that the sound of torrential rain against the window and I saw pretty much every hour of the night. Though (to be honest) had I got up and gone for a pee at 4am I might have slept for the last part of the night rather than laying there in some serious pain.
I gave up trying to sleep shortly after 7am, and sparked up the lap-top over a bit of brekkie. I saw that the results of elections to the committee of the Geocaching Association of Great Britain had been announced. There had been a major campaign all over social media to elect one chap on my Facebook list. I’m afraid I’m rather glad he didn’t get in. I’m sorry to the offended but a position on a national committee of this sort would supposedly involve the ability to speak with landowners and lawmakers and to be able to travel across the country. Realistically (and with no insult intended) I don’t see how a schoolboy based on the south coast would be able to do the job. And asking him to do the job wouldn’t be fair on him either. I was a couple of years older than him when I was elected to several committee roles in the organisation of the Boys Brigade in Hastings. Had I spent the time I wasted on Boys Brigade committees on doing my schoolwork I wouldn’t have failed “A” levels and could have achieved so much more in life.
However the chap who specialises in posting spoilers to You-Tube did get elected.
Despite the rain I took the dogs for a walk. Fudge had a half-hearted woof at a fire engine, but other than that the walk passed off without incident. We didn’t meet any other dogs, and we probably only met half a dozen people walking. The rain must have kept everyone inside.
Once home we dried off, and Treacle had a mad five minutes. She winds me up sometimes. We’d been for a two-mile walk round the park during which she barely left my side. Once home she charges round the living room like a bat out of hell. Why not run off all that energy at the park? That’s why we go there.
I hung out the washing I’d fed to the washing machine earlier, and I sorted out the undercrackers I’d washed and dried earlier whilst watching an episode of “Red Dwarf” on Netflix.
As I watched telly the dogs went berserk. The postman had delivered some letters. But for every letter there were two bits of junk mail. Flyers for estate agents, taxi firms, pizza delivery… I phoned Royal Mail and had a whinge. As I said to the nice lady, I don’t know how many genuine letters have been mistakenly thrown away with the junk mail I don’t want.
The nice lady (Mickey) explained how it was all my fault; I’d never told them I didn’t want junk mail from the postmen. She’s sending me a form to fill out so’s I won’t get it from them any more.
I set off to work via Westwell. A new geocache had gone live there this morning at brekkie time. There was a log on it; someone had been for the First to Find and hadn't found it. I thought I'd try for it; I might be lucky. I wasn't.
The clue was "big yellow"; I arrived at the specified place and found a big yellow roadside gritting bin. But I couldn't find any geocache.
I sulked as I drove on up the A20.
I stopped off at Notcutts garden centre; I had an idea I might pick up a Christmas pressie for "er indoors TM". I was mistaken. At thirty-four quid for a woolly hat, I couldn't get out of the place quick enough. I went to McDonalds for McDinner instead.
After McDinner I popped into Aldi. I needed jam and biccies. Whilst there I had a mooch through their bargain section; They often have all sorts of wonderful stuff there. I went in the other day for marmalade and came out with a pair of pyjamas. Whilst mooching today I found something which looked like it would make a good present for "er indoors TM" or "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". It was some strange girly fluid which was beautifully packaged. Was it perfume, make-up?... I had no idea, so I asked a passing assistant.
He gave the thing a quick glance then announced "that's women's shit, mate".
I didn't buy it...
28 November 2017 (Tuesday) - Iden Revisited
Somehow in the night an alliance of "er indoors TM" and two small dogs had pulled the duvet off of me and I woke shivering shortly after 5am.
Over brekkie I activated Netflix and watched another episode of “Red Dwarf” before staring into cyberspace. Not a lot had changed overnight really, but I had a message (via Facebook) from one of the administrators of a work-related Facebook group I follow. Several people have taken to posting medical pictures on that page with comments along the lines of “have a guess at what this is” and some of the responses are rather alarming; some akin to seeing a picture of a chicken and claiming it’s a three-piece suite. I suggested that people post some sort of description with their postings; if nothing else it might spare the embarrassment.
The administrators of the group agreed with me. Mind you I’ve made this comment to them before…
Also on Facebook was a communication to the Geocaching in Kent page from a newly-elected member of the committee of the Geocaching Association of Great Britain. Having spouted a few management catch-phrases it turned out this chap is in Tyne and Wear... He *could* be further away from Kent, but not by much.
Just as I activated my lap-top I had an email. Yet another of the world’s top one per cent of geoachers had just published their virtual reward. This team of Tupperware-hunters have found over ten thousand hides. However their contribution to the hobby is nowhere near as impressive. They have arranged three meet-up (two in 2013 and one in 2016), and have hidden a grand total of three caches; their most recent hide being published in 2009.
Hunting Tupperware as a hobby is entertaining, but the organisers have clearly lost their way.
I spent a few minutes scraping ice from my car's windscreen. It was rather odd that I'd needed to. When I'd looked out of my bedroom window when I got out of my pit earlier the cars were all ice-free, but in the intervening time they'd all iced up.
I drove to work along rather busy roads; where had all the traffic come from today?
As I drove the punters on the radio were spouting about Prince Harry's upcoming nuptials. In years gone by a divorcee of mixed race who has starred in a mucky video would *never* be allowed near the Royal family. How times have changed.
There was also talk of how every stillbirth that happens in the UK will be seriously investigated so that lessons can be learned to prevent future tragedies. An admirable sentiment; they interviewed someone whose child had died at birth who gave a tear-jerking account of their terrible experience.
However they then scored an own goal when the chap interviewed said their child had suffered from Edwards Syndrome, sufferers of which usually die before birth, and only a quarter of those who survive birth live as long as one year.
I did my bit at work. What with the vagaries of the rota, today will be my last shift when I've got a workmate for quite a while. I made the most of it.
I came home to an empty house; "er indoors TM" had already taken the dogs for a walk. They all returned eventually, we fed the pups and drove down to The Bell in Iden. Regular readers of this drivel may recall I’ve been there before -14th August 2010, to be precise. At the time I said it was a pub to re-visit; shame it took so long.
We met father-in-law, and had a rather good evening. The food was good, beer was not too shabby… I won’t leave it quite so long before going back again…
29 November 2017 (Wednesday) - Smart Meters
Another cold night spent shivering whilst everyone else had the duvet. I got up at seven o’clock, went downstairs and pulled all of the crap out of the way of the cupboard where the electric meter lives. It took a major excavation to get to that cupboard. Why do we have so much clutter?
I made myself some toast, and had a look at the Internet. I had a little chuckle when I read something on one of the Facebook pages devoted to the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery”. There had been some post on there about something or other and (as usual) someone took a totally innocent comment to be a perceived insult to the gay community, or to some race or other, or to the elderly, or to the left-handed or to anyone whose name begins with the letter “B” … I don’t know who was supposedly offended and don’t much care. It seems that there is always a minority waiting to be insulted when no insult is intended.
Anyway… one chap had posted “Star Trek fans are so disappointing ... before social media I lived with the happy illusion our fan community was intelligent and forward thinking and fun but dignified. That bubble has certainly popped.”
The bit “before social media” was what made me laugh. Long before the Internet I used to subscribe to a Star Trek fan-written magazine. It was printed on paper, published and posted to me every month or so, was one *huge* argument from start to finish, and that was over twenty-five years ago.
Before long the door-bell rang; the nice man from the power company had arrived to install our smart meters. For some time the old leccie meter has been broken. The reading hasn’t changed in months and the people at the leccie company said that a smart meter was the way forward. Bearing in mind that it is the twenty first century and anything with the word “smart” in it is in fashion, who was I to argue?
The nice man came in, got out his equipment (oo-er!), turned off all the power, and rummaged in the cupboard. After an hour he turned it all back on again and went outside to do whatever it is that he does to gas meters. We were told to allow four hours for his visit; he was done by half past nine. I was hoping he’d leave instructions for the new meters. He didn’t; he left a “literature pack” instead. What am I going to do with a “literature pack”?
I’ve installed the leccie company’s app on my phone. I wonder if I can use it to monitor my power usage when I’m not home?
Whist the nice man from the power company worked I kept the dogs out of his way by locking them in the kitchen. They screamed the whole time. Once he was done I took them round the park to calm their nerves.
Unlike yesterday we had quite the adventure today.
I knew it was going to be a difficult walk when Treacle had a “dump”, then sniffed the air, turned round and viewed what she’d just done as though it was a major discovery.
We scared the weirdoes who take their dog for a carry. They are an odd couple; they have a small dog not unlike Fudge which they walk round the park and pick up whenever any dog comes within twenty yards. I’ve spoken with them before; their dog isn’t aggressive or timid. They just don’t want him mixing with the sort of dog that gets walked round Viccie Park (!)
We met the Scottie and his owner; they were with a little group of dog walkers who know Fudge by name.
We met Ralph the pug (who looks as though he has put on three stone in weight). He has a new little friend; a chihuahua who Treacle managed to bully. Terrified of all other dogs, she picked on one who only wanted to play.
We saw a solitary OrangeHead. I can only imagine there has been some bust-up; once queen-bee of the Viccie Park dog walking scene, it is months since I’ve seen her with a posse.
Once home I had a shower, then sparked up the telly (if only to watch my smart meter get excited) and watched the episode of Howard’s End that the SkyPlus box had recorded for me on Sunday whilst I’d been driving home from the late shift. It was rather good; that Mr Wilcox would seem to have been a beast.
I then took myself off to bed for the afternoon. I didn’t sleep that much; I spent most of my time in bed trying (and failing) to push Treacle off of my hot water bottle I’d put in the bed earlier.
Why is it that I am so cold that I need a hot water bottle in the early afternoon, but don’t when I go to bed at night?
I got up, had a cuppa, and then saw that the smart meter display thingy had gone blank. It had crashed. That was good; it had lasted eight hours. I phoned the power company and was on hold for about a quarter of an hour before I realised I hadn’t turned on the power to the thing. Woops.
Once "er indoors TM" gets home she can boil up my dinner, then I’m off to the night shift.
Did you know that Treacle has now been with us for a year?
30 November 2017 (Thursday) - Between the Night Shifts
After a surprisingly busy night shift I found myself scraping ice from the windscreen of my car. The early shift who relieved me told me the cars in the car park were not frozen; my car was.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about the spat between Donald Trump and Teresa May. From what I can work out, Donald Trump made a tit of himself (again), Teresa May told him off for making a tit of himself, and Donald Trump told her to wind her neck in. It’s the sort of thing that goes on all the time. From the world’s playgrounds to the world’s leaders, squabbles abound.
Just as I got to Ashford the snow started. Just snow flurries, but snow nonetheless. My journey home was further hampered by a lorry having broken down in the middle of the roundabout coming off of the M20.
Once home I immediately walked the dogs round the park. They both shouted at passing buses; Fudge humped a Yorkie… business as usual really.
For once Fudge didn’t straggle though. It was so much better not having to stop to wait for him every few yards.
We got back from our walk almost exactly twenty-four hours after our smart meter was activated yesterday. In that twenty-four hour period our gas and leccie cost us three pounds sixty nine pence. That’s rather a lot; especially when you bear in mind we’ve not had the washing machine going yet, and the fish pond filter is switched off for the winter.
I think we need to economise somewhere…
I had a shower, and over brekkie watched Star Trek cartoons, then took myself off to bed for the day. Bearing in mind the trouble I had with Treacle yesterday I set the hot water bottle where "er indoors TM" usually sleeps just to keep the puppy off of me.
Treacle soon came up and made herself comfortable. Fudge wanted to stay in his basket. That was fine with me until I had to get up because he was barking for absolutely no reason whatsoever. After the fourth time in quarter of an hour I marched him upstairs and settled him on the bed, and we all slept peacefully for five hours.
I woke a little earlier than I had hoped, and seeing the time I thought we might just have time for a quick walk round the park before it got dark. The pups were up for a wander. We did our usual circuit of the park; this time clockwise (usually we go anticlockwise). This time Fudge did straggle.
As we walked so it got darker. I lost count of the amount of people on bikes who was dressed all in black with no lights whatsoever. How do they get away with it in these days of over-kill health and safety legislation?
Lacey is currently with her auntie just round the corner. I’ve been told that if I collect her and give her a lift home, Cheryl will give me dinner. I hope so; "er indoors TM" has gone to see “Bananarama” and if Cheryl don’t feed me, who will…?