1 November 2019 (Friday) - At the Eye Clinic
Being the first of the month we did the dogs’ flea treatments this morning. Fudge and Pogo were as good as gold and sat still for it; Treacle ran in terror and hid. The flea treatment involves having a few drops of stuff put on the back of the neck. It smells a bit odd, and Treacle really doesn’t like it. Silly girl.
As I looked at Facebook there was a lot of crowing from the anti-Brexit brigade because Brexit didn’t happen yesterday, and the forecast riots didn’t happen. Mind you I must admit to being rather sceptical about the latest Brexit deferment. For all that the UK has three months to sort it out, nothing is going to happen. With a general election in the offing, there will be six weeks of election talk which will form what will in all likelihood be a hung parliament, and in three months time the nation will be back where it has been for some time; supposedly wanting to leave the EU with no plan for doing so.
"er indoors TM" drove me to the local hospital where I had a couple of appointments for my iffy vision. I took my place in Clinic C and waited patiently whilst the family from hell raged around me. Mother was swearing into her phone whilst her two children ran round the waiting area shrieking. Periodically one or other brat would run up brandishing a surgical glove or a plastic syringe or whatever they had pilfered from one of the consulting rooms. Looking back I’m not sure what was worse; the brattish behaviour or the mother’s utter indifference.
I was called in (five minutes early) to see the orthoptist. I explained that I’d had double vision, that I thought it was probably caused by the ill-fitting new glasses which had now been rectified. The nice lady had me look at things as she covered my eyes in turn, and then had me watch as she waved a torch here, there and thither. She then waxed lyrically about my amblyopia; a condition that I knew I had some twenty years before she was born.
The orthoptist then sent me on to my next appointment which was half-way across the hospital. Not in the same clinic as I’d been told it would be. I found where I was supposed to go, and with nothing else to do I watched the rugby world cup on the big telly.
It was rather dull.
I know a lot of people get really excited about rugby; I wish I could see the attraction. After fifteen minutes I think I’d seen it all.
I was called in an hour after the time I was told that my appointment would be. I sat down and again explained why I was there. The nice man then started doing pretty much exactly what the nice lady had done a couple of hours earlier. After five minutes he looked at his computer screen for the first time, looked again, and asked if I’d already seem an orthoptist this morning.
He then put some drops in my eyes to dilate the pupils, and sent me to go and wait some more.
After fifteen minutes a consultant eye-doctor turned up, and apologetically asked if I wouldn’t mind walking with him to a consulting room some distance away (as everywhere closer was in use). For a third time I explained what I thought had been wrong with my eyes. The nice consultant shone a light into my eyes and had a good look. He then looked at me oddly, and exclaimed that my ears weren’t level.
His opinion was that I was right. I’d had double vision because of ill-fitting glasses causing eye strain, and now that the glasses are (supposedly) right, my eyes should slowly be going back to how they should be. He wants me to go back in a while once my eye muscles have recovered.
Because of the eye drops and dilated pupils I couldn’t see to drive, so "My Boy TM" collected me, and took me for McLunch.
I then walked the dogs round the park. It was a wet afternoon; I would rather not have gone out, but the dogs (Fudge in particular) insisted. As we walked we met Ralph the pug, but no other dogs. No one else was daft enough to get wet.
We came home; I watched the first episode of “Power”. I’m not sure I like it, but "My Boy TM" says to stick with it. I then played Lego for a while whilst video-calling on Facebook messenger with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM".
"My Boy TM" and Cheryl came round for dinner, then went off out to watch fireworks with "er indoors TM". I stayed home to look after the dogs. I didn’t want them home alone whilst fireworks might be going off.
As I dog-sat I arranged the family pre-Christmas get together. We’d planned to have a meal at a pub in Brookland. I phoned the pub; they didn’t take bookings; we should just turn up. I said there would a dozen of us. They said we should just turn up, and they might be able to seat us all, or they might not. I said I would take my money to someone who actually wanted it, and the woman at the other end of the phone had no idea what my problem was.
I phoned the Queens Head in Icklesham who were more than happy for us to have a table for twelve.
"er indoors TM" came home from bowling with a McFlurry. Result !!
2 November 2019 (Saturday) - A Nomination and a Muddy Walk
As I looked at Facebook over brekkie it reminded me that three years ago today I went to Tunbridge Wells for a job interview. I think that taking that job was perhaps one of the better decisions I’ve ever made.
I also had a message that I’ve been nominated to be on the committee of the Geocaching Association of Great Britain. I suppose they might well be a worthwhile bunch… I must admit I’m rather sceptical about them. I’ve only ever heard anything from them when someone from hundreds of miles away appears on the local Facebook page trying to get votes. Do I want to be on the committee? I’ve been on endless committees before; they are an ideal way to of avoiding making a decision by causing an argument.
And living in Kent is hardly an ideal location for being on a national committee. I posted on their forum (on which I was nominated) asking exactly what would be involved. As the day went on I got some wordy messages, but not one which actually said what they actually do.
We got the leads on to the dogs, and I drove us all down to Orlestone Woods. Not having driven for a week and having had iffy eyes I was a little daunted at the prospect, but all went well.
What I say “all went well” that was with the drive.
To be fair the walk went well. Very well. As is often the case in Orlestone Woods we didn’t meet anyone else. We had the place to ourselves, and the dogs had a great time. However when we were half-way round, the forecast rain hit. We got rather wet, and the dogs came home plastered in mud. Mind you, if nothing else it is a vindication of my entire “Boot Dogs” philosophy. The mess was contained in the boot.
We came home, and whilst "er indoors TM" conducted canine scrubbing, I nipped up the shop for almond croissants.
I scoffed my croissant with a cup of coffee whilst poring over two geo-puzzles that appeared on the map where (weather permitting) we are hoping to go for a walk tomorrow. After a couple of hours of brain strain (and one or two hints from the chap who set the puzzles) I worked out that the final location of neither puzzle cache is actually anywhere near where we are hoping to be going.
"er indoors TM" drove over to Margate to visit "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". I stayed at home with the dogs. I watched a few episodes of “Power”, then spent a little while researching the Geocaching Association of Great Britain. A lot of people seem to think it’s a good thing, but no one can explain what they actually do.
I fed the dogs, programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow, and watched some “Come Dine with Me” whilst the dogs barked at the fireworks.
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. I wonder what’s for dinner?
3 November 2019 (Sunday) - Willows and Hawks
Over brekkie I peered into the Internet. Pretty much nothing at all had happened on Facebook; I blame the awful weather we had yesterday.
I had a email reply from some chap on the committee of the Geocaching Association of Great Britain. He was keen that I stood for their committee, but also suggested that rather than being on their committee, I might consider being a “friend”. I’ve agreed to that to see if I can find out more of what goes on with the GAGB. At the moment no-one seems to be able to tell me how they are different from any other caching group.
And then my piss boiled when I read a “did not find” log on one of my geocaches. The log was dated a couple of days ago. Ironically dated the day before I saw it when I walked past it with the dogs.
When people write their logs to say they didn’t find a film pot which had been stuffed under a rock they really should say “I didn’t find it”. Saying “it wasn’t there” when clearly it was just wastes my time going out to check (luckily I didn’t have to this time), and can deter others from going looking for it.
We loaded ourselves and our gear and our luggage into the car and set off. Our first port of call was the co op where I wanted to use their cash machine. The car park at the co op winds me up. With space for thirty cars, no one parking there seems to realise there is up to thirty more cars there. Everyone drives as though they are the only person in the car park, and consequently you take your life in your hands as you go through the place.
As we drove up the motorway I had the munzee app open. People have put virtual munzees along the length of the motorway, and so I munz-ed all the way up to when we turned off at the M26.
It wasn’t long before we were at the designated parking spot for today’s walk. Karl, Tracey and Charlotte had beaten us there by a couple of minutes. And just as we were about to set off, the chap who’d hidden the caches pulled up to say hello.
We had a rather good walk. Bearing in mind my eye problems of the last week, it was good to be able to go out. We started off seeing a sight – what we were told was one of the biggest ant hills in the country. It was *huge*.
Treacle carried logs twice her size and climbed trees. Fudge disgraced himself by charging off after pheasants and rolling in fox poo. Pogo was remarkably well-behaved around the other dogs we met, but we did laugh when he tried to walk over a water trough and fell in. I laughed until I realised that the water trough wasn’t one in use, and was filled with stagnant slop. Then I realised why everyone else was laughing.
After a couple of hours we were back at the cars. We had a spot of lunch, then walked on. Bearing in mind that if we stopped for a pint we’d probably never start again, we walked past the pub into Apps Hollow where we had another rather good walk. Mind you I must admit that I was amazed to find an old armchair in the woods. Someone had taken the trouble to carry an old armchair half a mile into the woods. Surely it is easier to take it to the tip?
The second half of our walk was a tad hillier than the first, and there were quite a few pheasants (which wound Fudge up no end). Half-way round the rain started. Yesterday the rain had been torrential. We were amazed at how non-muddy today’s walk had been, and how glorious the weather was in the morning. But as the day wore on so the blue sky gave way to grey. I checked the weather forecast. Where this morning we’d had promises of a dry day, we now had predictions of a wet afternoon.
Weather forecasts are one of many things which annoy me. To be fair to them, a year or so the BBC’s weather forecast app on my phone was (usually) reliable. Nowadays the thing is basically pot-luck and whoever controls the app just changes what the short-term prediction is to fit with what the weather is actually doing.
The plan had been to sit in the pub’s beer garden for a pint or two after we’d walked. But the rain was getting heavier, and the pub looked to be a tad posh. Too posh for us to sit inside caked in mud and dripping wet. So we pushed on to the cars where we said our goodbyes and made our way home.
I took a few photos whilst we’d walked.
I munz-ed rather productively on the drive home. I’d set off this morning as a level thirty-eight munzer and came home as level fifty-two.
Once home I got out the rake and cleared up the sycamore leaves that were covering the lawn and filling the pond. There is a sycamore tree three doors down the road which is probably about twenty metres higher than any tree should be in a residential area. I filled a dustbin with the fallen leaves, then went and had a whinge at the people who live three doors down. They didn’t seem overly fussed until I pointed out that according to law I’m supposed to return to them anything which falls from the tree, so would they like me to dump a dustbin full of leaves in their front garden. I doubt the whinge will achieve anything; I remember our slightly insane next door neighbour having a go at them about their tree some years ago when the tree was quite a bit shorter.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, then set off bowling. I watched more episodes of “Power”; I hope our heroes get arrested and go to prison for a *long* time. The more I watch the show the more convinced I become that leading a law-abiding decent life is a mug’s game…
4 November 2019 (Monday) - Poggered Lawnmower
As I had my morning root around Facebook I saw that a family member was again posting pro-Brexit memes. This morning’s one was banging on about how Britain and the Commonweath had won the Second World War and liberated Europe from the Nazis, and so the EU should shut its rattle.
Isn’t there some logical fallacy here? Since the UK defeated part of Europe in a military action seventy-five years ago it should not be part of the European Union? By the same token since the UK obtained much of the Commonwealth by military action should it not have anything to do with the Commonwealth either? And what about the role of all the free French and Free Polish fighters in all this?
And what about all those who died in the battles between the various kingdoms in ancient Briton? Isn’t having a “United Kingdom” offensive to their memory?
Or perhaps the world has moved on, and the sooner that the jingoistic hoards realise that Britannia hasn’t ruled the waves for over seventy years, the better?
I took the dogs out. With rain forecast later (!) I drove them down to Orlestone Woods where we had a rather good little walk. We only met one other person. Mind you her three dogs were rather large and boisterous; both Pogo and Treacle ran in terror. Treacle screamed as she ran. There was no reason for her to have screamed in terror as she did; the nice lady with the other dogs was rather upset by it, and I had to reassure her that her dogs had done no wrong.
Pogo’s reaction to the other dogs was interesting. Having seen his sister was nowhere near them, he ran away. But when Fudge (straggling miles behind as always) met up with the other dogs he marched up to them as he does. It was then that Pogo started barking. Perhaps he just shouts at other dogs to protect his own pack?
As we walked through the woods on our own I could hear something huge crashing about in the undergrowth. Deer? Wild boar? I’ve no idea, but other walkers there have told me they’ve also heard big things crashing about in those woods.
We came home; the dogs had a bath. I put the dogs’ towels in to scrub, I ran round with the Hoover (my Hoover I made by the Dyson corporation), I filled the car with rubbish then went to the tip. On the way I collected "My Boy TM" and some of his tip-rubbish. He had a door to take to the tip, and had sawn it into two halves so it would fit in the car. I did wonder how he’d managed to have a door to throw away, but I’ve found it best not to ask in situations like this.
It was as we loaded up his stuff for the tip that the rain started.
With tip rubbish tipped I went round to B&Q. the bedroom lights have blown and we needed replacements. Have you seen the price of light bulbs recently? The ones I needed were five quid each. Each!!
I came home via the corner shop where I got some lunch. As a special treat I bought myself a tin of cherry and vanilla flavoured Doctor Pepper. The stuff was “limited edition”, cost one pound fifty, and wasn’t all that at all.
I hung out washing, I put more washing in, I scoffed lunch and fell asleep in front of the telly until "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned.
I hung out more washing, and seeing how the rain had stopped I went into the garden for a bit. I harvested quite a lot of dog dung, raked up loads of leaves, and then got the lawnmower out. Seeing it is a week since the lawn was last mowed, and it will be a week before I get another chance I thought that now would be the ideal time to scalp it.
Things went swimmingly until smoke came out of the lawnmower.
Faced with a lawnmower about to burst into flames I did what any sensible person would do. I put the news onto Facebook. Needless to say it generated quite a bit of hilarity.
I now have to get a new lawnmower, and have to dispose of the carcass of the old one. Ironically I was in B&Q and at the tip this morning. But with the lawn actually mowed (I got the job done before the smoke got *too* thick) I’ve got a week to chivvy up a replacement.
Can any of my loyal readers recommend a decent lawnmower? The one which has just gone west was a Flymo Hover Vac 280; having bought the thing on 29 August 2017 (keeping a diary is a useful thing!) it only lasted a couple of years. But in Flymo’s defence my previous lawnmower was the model down from what just went pop, and it lasted about eight years (I got that one on 5 April 2009).
Bearing in mind that having spent out on new specs (which will probably need to be replaced!), car issues and Fudge’s vet bill, shelling out for a new lawn mower is a “pain in the glass” (to quote "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" ). So I phoned the pet insurance people to chivvy up the insurance claim. Having had them send the paperwork back once I wanted to be sure there were no more problems with my claim. The nice man at the pet insurance company told me that they’d sent the claim back to the vets for more information. The initial symptoms with which Fudge presented were rather vague. They wanted more than “weight loss”. I politely pointed out that a dog is unable to explain the feelings and signs of renal failure that a human would be able to do so, and the nice man was forced to agree. He assured me that a payment of the fat end of five hundred quid would be in my bank account soon.
I could do with that.
"er indoors TM" came home, boiled up dinner and went bowling. I’ve put on a film. “The King” features the early part of the reign of King Henry V. According to Wikipedia it is based on a lot of the plays of William Shakespeare.
So far it is rather turgid…
5 November 2019 (Tuesday) - Bonfire Night
Finding myself wide awake far earlier than I needed to be I watched the end of “The King”. I’d started watching it last night and eventually turned it off about two-thirds of the way through. Like most “blockbuster” films, it went on for about an hour longer than it might have done. Mind you it made me think. Set six hundred years ago and based on true events, politicians of the time conspired to unite England by fabricating lies about a possible attack from the French.
And now history repeats itself.
I then had my morning peer into the Internet. It would seem my brother-in-law’s Facebook account has been hacked as he’d (apparently) sent me a video advertising some diet or other. Other than that, not a lot had happened overnight really. And with no emails worth having I spent a little while looking at lawnmowers on the B&Q website. I typed in “lawnmowers”, told it to sort from cheapest to most expensive, and all sorts of irrelevant nonsense came up. Strimmer blades, tins of oil… with one hundred and fourteen items found, the first actual lawnmower came in as the one hundred and third suggestion. Interestingly B&Q are still selling the same make of lawnmower that blew up yesterday; now some ten quid cheaper than what I paid for it in August 2017. The blurb on the web page says the thing comes with a two-year manufacturer guarantee. I suppose it lasted just over two years, so I’ve no cause to grumble.
There was a minor disaster as I got dressed; the new light bulbs took no notice of the dimmer switch and lit up at full power regardless of how much I twiddled the knob. So I just pulled the duvet over "er indoors TM" 's head and hoped for the best.
I drove to the early shift through a dark and dismal morning. Once I'd negotiated the road closures I was soon on the motorway and listening to the radio. Apparently lots of children are re-sitting their maths exams (GCSE?) today. One of the questions was "Anne is buying a car costing £1400. On top of this, tax is to be paid at 20%. Anne pays a deposit of £500, and pays the rest in ten equal payments. How much is each payment?”
Is this *really* the level of question for a school leaver? Really? I can remember answering this sort of thing at primary school.
There was then loads of political talk. With so much of importance facing the country, Parliament wasted all of yesterday electing a new Speaker. Surely that could have been done in a five-minute on-line ballot?
I got to work; I did my bit. And with my bit done I came home again. I eventually found a parking space. Once home I stood in the front garden and started at Treacle who was on the back of the sofa. I had thought she was on guard; she was actually fast asleep. I eventually got bored waiting for a reaction, and just had time to walk the dogs round the block before it got dark.
As we walked we heard one firework explosion. The plan for the evening had been to go down to Hythe for a family firework extravaganza, but I didn’t want to leave the dogs alone with fireworks going off.
As it happened there weren’t *that* many fireworks going off this evening (which was probably for the best). Part of me wonders if fireworks have priced themselves beyond the budget of most people, and part of me wonders if they’ve been superceded by the craze of Hallowe’en.
When was the last time you saw children doing “Penny For The Guy?”
6 November 2019 (Wednesday) - Before the Late Shift
As I scoffed brekkie I saw that a friend was posting on Facebook about the imminent advent of nuclear fusion power stations. Apparently it is thought that nuclear fusion will be a viable power source within twenty years. Clean cheap energy… it is a shame that nuclear fusion has always been about twenty years away for as long as I can remember.
It was even more of a shame that other people on Facebook were confusing it with nuclear fission (which is a very dangerous and dirty way to make electricity).
Other than that, not a lot else was happening on Facebook this morning.
I checked my emails. The government had responded to a petition to restrict the sale of fireworks to organised events. Apparently they see no need to do this as they believe that “the majority of people who use fireworks do so appropriately and have a sensible and responsible attitude towards them”.
I took the dogs for a quick circuit of the park. The walk went well; Pogo only shouted at one other dog. A shame it was OrangeHead’s dog, but there it is.
With walk done I set the dishwasher going, took laundry off of the clothes horse and radiators, harvested the crop of dog turds that had ripened in the garden, and spent half an hour writing up CPD.
With the dogs settled I set off in the vague direction of work. I drove round to B&Q first. Have you ever been to the car park of the Ashford branch of B&Q? Something odd is going on there. The shop doesn't have that many people working there. There is never that many customers. And the car park is always full. There are probably four times more cars than you could realisticallly account for.
Are people parking there and walking up to the train station? It's quite a walk.
I went in; I found a cheap(ish) lawnmower. And bearing in mind how much condensation there is in my car I asked the nice lady if they had dehumidifiers. The nice lady had no idea what I was talking about, and looked at me as though I was the stupid one. When it became clear I wasn't going away, she eventually suggested I went and asked the nice man who was standing at the other end of the store. I went and asked him. He gave me an odd look; when I told him that he nice lady had told me to ask him, he said a rude word, and suggested I might follow him. We walked past the nice lady where he said another rude word, and eventually I got my dehumidifier.
Just as I was setting it up in the car "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" rang. She seemed amazed that I should be in B&Q's car park.
I drove on up the motorway to Notcutts garden centre. My gaiters had developed holes since I'd last worn them and so I thought I might get new ones. The nice man at the shop asked if I wanted one of their loyalty cards. Quite frankly I didn't want yet another card, but when he said that if I took it, he'd knock a fiver off the price I felt I couldn't say no.
I then tried to get back to the car park.
Have you ever been to Notcutts garden centre? It is the sort of place about which I get nightmares. It is a maze which seemingly has no exit, and is filled with swarms of people blindly bumbling about; not a single one of them looking where they are going. And it was heaving with Christmas decorations too. I considered getting a singing reindeer's head, but it cost about thirty quid more than I was prepared to spend on it.
When I eventually got out I thought I might try for the two munzees in the car park. Both were there; neither worked. Both had faded over the years and both needed repair.
I went on to work where the car park was rather busy. But once I'd eventually parked I made my way to the works canteen. Pie and chips went down well.
Much of the afternoon was spent in a state of sulk. Apparently the Queen was visiting somewhere or something locally and had driven past, and we'd all missed it. We'd have welcomed the chance to have skived off for five minutes to go cheer at her cavalcade.
The late shift was busy; very busy…
7 November 2019 (Thursday) - Another Late Shift
I slept reasonably well, but was woken by the rain in the night. I got up, and saw Fudge was still sulking at me. He had the hump with me last night; I have no idea what I’ve done to offend, but that dog does sulk rather impressively.
As I scoffed toast I peered into the Internet. For once the thing wasn’t awash with adverts from people trying to sell that which they would otherwise take to the tip. Instead it was crawling with political posts… I say “political”. The trouble with British politics (and a lot of politics worldwide I suspect) is that for years power has been shared between well-established political parties, and many people have identified themselves as supporters of that party. Purely because they have always voted for “X”, with no real understanding of why they have done so. In much the same inexplicable way that one randomly chooses to give life-long devotion to a football team.
Many of the posts I read his morning were along the lines of “don’t vote for X because that would be a stupid thing to do” with absolutely no justification of why. Just because someone thinks a certain political party is brilliant doesn’t actually make it so (I wish more people would realise that). And quite a few posts were pointing out the personal failings of politicians of one colour, whilst totally ignoring that politicians of all colours have exactly the same failings.
I checked my emails. LinkedIn had thanked me for being an active member. I chuckled at that. My “activity” with LinkedIn mostly consists of deleting their emails unopened. If I’m an “active” member, I wonder how little everyone else does with that site.
I took the dogs out for a walk. As we walked Pogo found a tennis ball and was happily playing a game with it. He would let it roll, then chase it, and then set it off again. He was playing this quite happily for five minutes until Treacle pounced and stole the ball. She then carried it for the rest of the walk despite Pogo’s wanting it back.
As we walked we met other dogs. All three dogs played with some and barked at others.
We had to take a little diversion at the Chinese garden as the overnight rain had caused floods. That area regularly floods. It was a shame that dogs don’t see a flood as an obstacle, and all quite happily marched chest-deep into the water.
We came home. I set the washing machine going, then went out to feed the pond fish. That’s usually good for a barking session from the dogs. For some inexplicable reason the pond is clear all the way to the bottom. I then wrote up some more CPD,
With the dogs settled I set off in the vague direction of work. I drove up the motorway, as I went I was tail-ended by a succession of foreign lorries, none of whom seemed to have much interest in the speed limit.
I turned off at the Leeds castle junction thinking I might have a geo-adventure. The geocache I couldn't find a couple of months ago was still missing, but I did find another that wasn't a million miles away from it. And with geocache located and happy dance danced I went on to Sainsburys. I needed petrol. That stuff has got cheaper recently.
I then went in to the main Sainsbury's store. The nice poppy ladies from the British Legion were selling poppies and all sorts of other poppy-related stuff. I've wanted a metal poppy badge for some time, so I asked if they had any. The first nice poppy lady barked at me that they had. She announced that the things were two pounds each. She then (rather rudely) snapped at me that they didn't give change and said that if I was unwilling to give her a twenty quid note I should go get some change myself and come back when I had some. If it had been for anything else I would have taken my money elsewhere, but bearing in mind that it is (probably) bad form to tell the poppy ladies to get knotted, I went off into Sainsburys and got some stuff I really didn't want or need. When I came back to the poppy stall another nice poppy lady told me that nothing had any price; I should just give a donation and take what I wanted. I told her that her mate had told me that the metal badges were two quid each. This prompted the first nice poppy lady to come over and shout the price list at the second nice poppy lady.
Her mate then shouted back that nothing was priced; it was all donations according to what the punters wanted to give.
I got my metal badge and left as the nice poppy ladies started having a rather heated argument.
I then wasted fifteen minutes in the traffic queues trying to get out of the car park.
I got to work; I filled up on broccoli cheese and did that which I couldn't avoid. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned; apparently she had been going to church but had found the place was locked. I did wonder what she was going to church for. I can remember her brother getting religion some twenty years ago. It lasted for a day or so until he got chucked out of the church youth club. I can't see her getting religion somehow, but I suppose that she is bearing in mind the thirty-third Rule of Acquisition (It never hurts to suck up to the boss)
I spent much of the day thinking about Georgia Toffolo… but not in the way that the more beastly element might. She was on telly when I got home last night (in some celebrity babysitter show). She is on telly quite a bit these days. Last night (on the TV show) she said she was a “social media influencer”. There’s a totally meaningless phrase. Like no end of people before her she would seem to be famous for being famous. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking her. But she’s been on telly for quite a few years now. Most people of her age who are going in to my line of work are only just qualifying or still studying. It boils my piss that you probably lead a far more lucrative lifestyle being a “social media influencer” than you ever would doing what I do.
8 November 2019 (Friday) - Bit Dull
With no alarm set I usually sleep well. With an alarm set I was wide awake long before it was due to go off. I gave up trying to sleep, and over an early brekkie I watched the first episode of the new season of “The End of the Fxxxing World”, which was rather good.
I then sparked up my lap-top (as I do) to see what had happened in the world overnight. I hadn’t missed much, but B&Q had sent me a voucher. I get a fiver of the next thing I buy from them which costs over fifty quid. Such a shame they couldn’t have sent it a couple of days ago. I’m tempted to take that lawnmower back, and then use the voucher on buying another one.
Leaving "er indoors TM" and the dogs fast asleep I set off to work. I had a vague idea to take a rather significant detour via Coxheath to chase some First to Finds (it’s a geo-thing) but I came out to find it was officially winter. My car was iced up. By the time I’d scraped the ice off and got stuck in the diversions round Ashford I’d run out of time for any geo-nonsense, so I headed up the motorway to Maidstone.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the government’s immigration policy. With (apparently) one NHS worker in eight being an immigrant, the racial hatreds which have been stirred up by Brexit haven’t really helped those who like the idea of actually having a national health service. There was all sorts of talk and suggestions about how immigrant workers might be attracted to come to the NHS… Amazingly no one had even speculated on the possibility of improving the British education system so that we aren’t reliant on importing brains.
There was also talk of the Conservative and Labour parties pre-election promises. The ex-chief civil servant was wheeled on. Apparently there is talk among politicians of changing the law. A few years ago the law was changed so that the funding of proposed government expenses had to be explained. Governments and governments-in-waiting aren’t allowed to promise the moon on a stick when they don’t actually have a pot to piss in. This is something of a stumbling block to those (of all parties) who want to promise the moon on a stick so that they can get elected.
I got to work; the day wasn’t as busy as it might have been.
I came home a tad earlier than usual. I walked the dogs round a very wet co-op field. With "er indoors TM" off to Margate I binge-watched all the rest of “The End of the Fxxxing World” whilst doing the ironing.
Just as I’m ready for bed so the dogs have woken up and want to play…
9 November 2019 (Saturday) - Green Eggs...
I could have slept better I suppose. I could have coped with Pogo stomping round the bed in the small hours; it was Treacle snarling at him that was the most disturbing. And then when they both finally settled, Fudge’s snoring was a tad loud.
Eventually I nodded off and for once slept through until the alarm went off. I made some toast which I ate on my own. All the dogs were asleep. I expect they were tired.
I hosed out my sinuses (yuk!), made some toast and had a look at the Internet. Facebook seemed to be heaving with comments about a Mega-geo-meet in Belgium next year. Those Mega-meets can be good fun. Such a shame that they are so few and far between. There’s one in Sussex next August, and it looks like there are plans for one only twenty miles from home for Christmas next year. Bearing in mind these events are (for many people) a week-long camping event, I’m intrigued to see how this one pans out.
And friends who have been posting Labour party propaganda for the last few weeks were today singing the praises of the Green party on Facebook. What was that all about?
I had a few emails. B&Q had sent me another money-off voucher. I can get a tenner off of any purchase I make of over a hundred quid. At the moment I don’t intend spending a hundred quid with them, but you never know. It’s a shame that this voucher is only good for a couple of months.
If any of my loyal readers intend buying anything expensive from B&Q any time soon, let me know, eh.
With "er indoors TM" away I had to organise the dogs this morning. Fudge and Treacle refused to eat their brekkie. Needless to say Pogo wanted to scoff the lot. Eventually I wrangled the dogs and myself together and we set off to…
I won’t say where we went.
Karl and Tracey were preparing a new series of geocaches. The last time they did this someone got wind of what was happening, and went out and hunted the lot out before they went live, did the secret geo-rituals four days too early, and caused all sorts of upset. So I’m keeping quiet on that score.
We all met up, and soon were off on a walk. The morning was glorious bearing in mind that I’d left Ashford in thick fog. The first part of our walk was rather muddy; there is a reason why horses aren’t supposed to walk along footpaths. But we were soon past the mud. It had been cold when I left home, but it was warm enough as we walked. We hunted out several places where a rock might sit concealing a film pot.
We met some horse riders at one point. We started to move back out of the way, but the nice man on the horse said to stay in plain sight. Horses don’t like surprises. A bit like Pogo, really.
As we walked we let the dogs run free as much as possible. A couple of times we got them back on the leads when the F-birds (pheasants – dogs can’t spell!) were about. And there was one time where we weren’t quick enough. Treacle and Pogo aren’t really a problem with F-birds; they come back when called. Fudge however does not. But when he starts tracking his tail sticks horizontally straight out. If you keep an eye out for that danger sign, all is well.
Just as Karl commented that Fudge’s tail was horizontal he shot off like a bullet from a gun. Treacle and Pogo ran with him, but lost interest after twenty yards and came back. Fudge kept going. And going. I had little choice but to set off in pursuit. After about fifteen minutes I saw what looked like a small dog with a bright pink collar running off into the distance. Treacle? So I ran after her. I ran, and ran, and eventually got close enough to see that I wasn’t chasing a dog. I was chasing a pheasant. Some of them have bright pink rings round their necks.
It was at this point that my phone went. Fudge had lost interest in chasing F-birds and had gone back to find everyone else (who were about half a mile behind me…).
As I made my way back I slipped arse over head in the mud.
From this point on the dogs stayed on their leads.
There’s no denying that we struggled a tad towards the end. Perhaps rather than putting up very obvious signs saying “Private, Clear Off”, landowners might be better advised to signpost the footpaths and rights of way better.
Once back at the car we got out of muddy boots and walked across the road to the pub. It was a shame that I was driving as the ale selection was rather good. But I had a shandy. And a rather good bit of pate. And a very good burger.
I shall certainly go back to that pub again.
I took a few photos as we walked…
There had been talk of going on for more walk in the afternoon, but the weather forecast wasn’t good. We said our goodbyes, and as I drove home so the rain started.
Once home I fed the fish, and inadvertently trod dog mess through the house. Oh, how I laughed. I settled the dogs, and seeing how the rain had stopped I took the knacked old barbecue out of the garden and up to the tip. As I drove the rain started again.
I got to the tip and heard a familiar voice. I looked around and saw no-one, and then realised that the tip people had the radio on and were listening to the afternoon show on Radio Ashford. I was right – I *had* heard Steve. Seeing that no one had spotted my mistake I came home again and took the knacked lawnmower up to the tip.
After two tip runs I put the dog gate back into the car, and it was at this point that I realised that doing heavy lifting and two tip runs hadn’t been such a good idea. I think that when I fell in the woods earlier I’d hurt my back more than I realised.
I came home, had a shower, and thought about feeding the hounds. But with all three asleep I decided to let sleeping dogs lie.
I activated Netflix and watched a film. ”The Titan”. The story was done better forty-three years ago by Fred Pohl in his book “Man Plus”. Despite starring her who was in “Orange is the New Black” it was… rather rubbish. All drama works on having plausible characters, and this show didn’t. I then watched the first episode of Netflix’s “Green Eggs and Ham”. So far it’s not brilliant, but it is streets ahead of “The Titan”.
My back really hurts…
10 November 2019 (Sunday) - Remembrance Day
Another restless night. It is somewhat frustrating that the dogs have come to treat going out into the garden as an opportunity to play silly beggars rather than going to have a tiddle. So having chucked all three out at midnight and again silly o’clock, all three were whinging to go out about an hour earlier than I wanted to get up.
With dogs abluted I made brekkie and peered into the Internet. It would seem I missed Rye bonfire parade last night. Back in the day that was one of the highlights of the year; how did I forget that?
I had a few emails. Someone had been hunting out the geocaches I’d hidden in Kings Wood. One of them apparently needs a new piece of paper in it as the one in there is wet. I’ll sort it at some point, but driving there, walking a couple of miles and driving home means giving up a morning. If only the chap who’d posted the “Needs Maintenance” log had replaced it when he was there… But this is so often the case. Loads of people want to go running out looking for film pots under rocks, and expect them to be there and in pristine condition. Very few people actually want to contribute anything back to the hobby though…
As I rooted round the Internet I listened to Radio Ashford via the Internet, and then cleaned up dog sick. Fudge had “blown”. Mind you, all three were farting impressively (and have been for a day or so). I wonder if they’ve eaten things they shouldn’t.
I got the dogs organised for our morning walk. Rather than going round the park or round Orlestone Woods I had this ambitious idea to go do some geo-maintenance. We drove out to Badlesmere where I replaced two of "er indoors TM"’s geocaches. I did have a plan to walk on and replace another, but there were pheasants everywhere, and three dogs on leads pulling me in all directions wasn’t doing anything for the back I’d strained yesterday.
I thought I might go sort out that cache in Kings Wood about which I’d had a grumble, but we got there to find that the car park was full. So we headed home.
As we drove the radio was broadcasting the remembrance parade live from the Cenotaph. It sounded as though this year’s parade had been quite a show. It was amazing how the radio made me feel as though I was there when I could only hear the commentary.
We came home, and I assembled the lawnmower. There wasn’t much to assemble, but it took half an hour. And with it together I had a practice run up the garden. Just a very short stretch. With the lawn saturated I didn’t want to churn it up, but I wanted to check that the thing worked.
I then drove over to Margate to see my little girl, and four hours later came home again. I didn’t want to leave the dogs alone in case any fireworks went off near home. Some did. Not many, but enough to upset the hounds.
When I was a lad, fireworks were pretty. They lit up the darkness and were something to look at. Nowadays it is all about the explosion. If I knew who it was who was setting off such loud detonations so close to home I would put a banger through their letterbox at three in the morning. I really would…
11 November 2019 (Monday) - Why Aye Man
After laying wide awake worrying about that which I could do nothing I got up. As I hosed out my sinuses this morning they bled a little. Is that a good thing?
I made myself some toast and watched another episode of “Green Eggs and Ham”. It’s not bad I suppose, but taking a book made up of fifty words and spinning it out over a series of four ours is going to take some poetic licence.
I then had a look at the internet in case it had changed overnight. I saw that it was the thirty-sixth anniversary of the broadcasting of the first episode of a favourite TV show of mine; “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet”. Thirty-six years…
I had an email from Crosskeys. They run coach tours, and since I went to Bruges with them a few years ago I get daily emails advertising trips out. I quite like seeing where I might go and what I might do; today they suggested a coach trip to London to see a musical. I was all up for it until I saw the price… for two of us it would be close on two hundred quid.
Still, what’s money for if not to squander foolishly?
As I drove to work through the torrential rain the pundits on the radio were talking about the Video Assistant Referee systems being used in football matches. Back in the day referees would make erroneous decisions because they didn’t see whatever had happened in the football pitch, and everyone would be up in arms about the wrong decisions having been made. Now with the entire football game being watched and recorded on video from all directions, the correct decisions are being made, but still people are unhappy.
As I walked in to work I saw quite a queue of people. Probably twenty to thirty people were waiting their turn in a queue outside Costa. I can’t see the attraction of the stuff. It’s not bad, but the price of one cup of their stuff pays for a month’s worth of coffee from the works tea club.
I got on with work. As I did I looked at the rain and the cloud. Today there was a transit of Mercury. The planet Mercury crossed in front of the Sun, and with a proper telescope you would have been able to see it. The astro club used to have such a telescope. Back in the day there would have been a day off work to look at the transit (even if it was cloudy and wet). I don’t think they organised anything like that today. Such a shame…
"er indoors TM" has gone bowling. I shall watch some telly. There was a huge bag of crisps in the cupboard – I shall scoff them…
12 November 2019 (Tuesday) - Late Shift
I didn’t sleep well last night. What with phone calls in the small hours and Treacle upsetting Pogo by sleeping on his head I think Fudge had the right idea by dossing down on the sofa.
As I scoffed toast so Fudge asked to go out. I much prefer that he goes for a tiddle on his own; when all three go out it becomes a silly game of charging round the house and garden barking at each other. But as I unlocked the door Pogo clearly heard the sound and ran downstairs shouting as he came.
I had a little look at the Internet. One of the lakes at Hartley Lands fishery had been netted recently. Despite the lake having been drained two years ago and only carp having been put back in, they netted out over five hundred pounds (in weight) of roach and bream and other “nuisance” fish.
Where did they come from?
And I wasn’t best pleased by an advert from Viz magazine. My copy of the latest issue arrived in the post yesterday. Today the nice people at Viz were offering three issues for twenty pence. I’d like that bargain… I suspect I got it when I first subscribed, but that was some years ago.
There was also a lot of comment about allegations that Nigel Farage had been offered a peerage. Is this why his Brexit party isn’t going to contest the Conservative-held seats in the upcoming election? Personally I think this isn’t the case. I can’t help but think that if the Brexit party stood in all the constituencies in the UK they would have a chance of winning the election, and the last thing Nigel Farage wants is to be Prime Minister.
As Boris Johnson has found out (to his cost) there is a world of difference between standing on the sidelines shouting, and actually being expected to do something.
I took the dogs for a walk round the park. We met several other dogs, and we all played nicely. Mind you there was one “episode”. Some stupid woman was walking a small fluffy thing. On seeing my dogs she started screaming, picked her dog up and waved it around at shoulder height as though it was some toy, and then got really aggressive with me because my dogs thought she was playing some sort of game.
Some people shouldn’t have dogs.
I commented on this to other dog walkers; they’d met her too…
We came home; I settled the “Terrible Twins” and took fudge to the vet for his M.O.T. Part of the health insurance package is an annual health check. Despite his spondylosis (spine fused and not flexing) and ongoing kidney disease, he’s doing OK. He’s put on some weight which, as the vet said, is a good thing. I can’t help but think that no-one’s told him that he’s not well, and so he acts as though he isn’t.
I set off to work. Pausing only briefly to unload a bootful of rubbish at the tip I was soon going up the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about a "superhero shop" in New York where ostensibly superheroes go to get their supplies. In fact the thing is a somewhere that schoolkids go to be inspired to write.
It sounded a fun idea. I wouldn't mind doing something like that. I wonder if I might make any money out of it.
I took a circuitous route in to work via a church micro in South Maidstone (as one does), and then spent over half an hour in a traffic jam. Consequently I was too late in to work to get any lunch. I pressed on until tea break when I roughed it with a peanut butter sandwich.
I had a rather busy late shift… and my back still hurts..
13 November 2019 (Wednesday) - Swap My Vote (?)
Treacle spent much of the night coughing. When she wasn’t, she was sneaking into the bed and then getting rudely hoiked out by me. I don’t mind the dogs *on* the bed, but I can’t stand them *in* the bed.
When we finally got up she had a small drink of water, and the coughing stopped... for a while.
I made myself some toast, and read an advert on Facebook this morning that blew my mind. Swap my vote dot com (quite frankly) sums up all that is wrong with our so-called democracy. Its website is currently broken, but you can read about it here. Basically if you live somewhere where the standing candidate has such a large majority that you can be sure they won’t be voted out, you can “swap your vote” with someone in another constituency.
The idea is that… take me for example. A hat stand with a blue rosette would win any election in Ashford; the Conservative majority is so great. My vote makes no difference. But where my brother lives in Hastings the current MP has a majority of less than three hundred. Votes made there can count. So I could come to an arrangement with a voter in Hastings that I would vote Conservative and they would vote for whoever I suggested.
You might think that this would be an idiotic thing to do. It is. But in such a scenario I would know that my vote had actually counted for once, and the hypothetical person in Hastings would be happy that they had voted for the winner.
It turns out that a *lot* of people don’t really care who gets in; they just want to have voted for the winner.
"er indoors TM" refereed the dogs’ breakfasts (it can get heated), and I then took the dogs round the park. The walk went rather well I suppose; Pogo was only called “a horrible dog” once. Personally I think that (on this occasion) he was the injured party. If some silly woman is going to let her little dog go charging up to other dogs (barking and shouting), she really can’t complain when the other dogs shout back.
I came home, set my lap-top doing its weekly update, and watched an episode of “Green Eggs and Ham”. It was rather fun. I was glad I’d set my lap-top updating whist I was doing something else and not waiting for it; it took nearly twenty minutes to sort itself out.
I set off to work. Usually I'd get shopping and petrol in the Sainsbury's at Aylesford, but just recently the traffic there has been too much like hard work. So I went to the Ashford branch today where I very nearly smacked some silly old fool round the ears. With the entire world to stand in and stare into space for no good reason, why chose to do so right in the shop's doorway?
I got razor blades (not cheap!!) and then drove off up the motorway.
Usually I find a little adventure for the way to work, but not today. I just went straight there. Unlike yesterday when I took an age to park, today I parked my car within seconds of getting there.
I went into the canteen (as I had time to do so today). Dinner was good, but I made the mistake of having the spotted dick and custard. It was rather good, but it sat heavy. It sat heavy for the entire late shift.
And in closing today, it is now exactly a year since I got my Nectar card. In that year I’ve accrued four thousand and sixteen Nectar points which is worth twenty pounds and eight pence. Hardly a life-changing amount, but looking back it is far better that the Morrisons card I used to use when I worked in Canterbury. I only got a fiver a year with that.
14 November 2019 (Thursday) - Razor Blades and Kebabs
I got up after something of a restless night and had a shave with one of the new razor blades I bought yesterday. I am incredibly mean with razor blades; when you see the advert about buying them cheaply on-line I always laugh. According to those who should know about these things, a razor blade should be good for a week or so. Having bought eight of the things yesterday for twenty-four quid, that works out at a week’s shaving for three quid (not counting shaving gel). Stuff that - I usually get about two to three months from a razor blade.
Mind you I could feel the difference using a new blade.
I watched another episode of “Green Eggs and Ham”, then sparked up my lap-top.
A couple of days ago I read that a friend’s car had been stolen. Apparently last night it was found burning. I’m rather confused here. The car was reported missing a couple of days ago. It has been driven around roads where there are cameras which supposedly are capable of number plate recognition. So why weren’t the authorities able to locate the car whilst it was being driven about rather than waiting until the fire brigade had to go and put out the fire started by those who had stolen it?
I had an email from LinkedIn with connection requests from people I’ve never met. I had an email from Amazon suggesting I bought that I’ve already bought. But perhaps the most baffling email was one from the Lego corporation suggesting I might customise a Christmas present for a friend by randomly searching their catalogue until I found something they might like. How is that “customising a Christmas present”?
I set off to work on a rather cold and dismal morning. As I went up the motorway the pundits on the radio were interviewing that odious Nigel Farage. Having announced that his Brexit Party isn't going to field any candidates for the upcoming elections in three hundred constituencies where the Conservatives look set to win, he's removed any chance of the Brexit party ever actually getting any power. He wasn't at all happy when his party was described as a "pressure group" rather than a "political party", but he couldn't deny it.
There was also a lot of talk about the gender pay gap. In a lot of workplaces, men are still being paid significantly more than women. Even though that has been illegal for over forty years. So much for the rule of law (again!)
I got to work; I did my bit. At tea break "er indoors TM" sent a message. She'd taken Treacle to the vet to sort out his coughing. I thought the coughing was a *lot* less today than it had been yesterday, but dogs are a worry. The vet couldn't find anything wrong, so we're hoping for the best. I couldn't help but think she had a bit of fluff stuck in her throat. A bit of fluff from something she shouldn't have eaten. But this evening when walking the dogs round the road, Pogo seems to have developed a cough.
I’ve now got stomach ache to go with my back ache.
15 November 2019 (Friday) - Bit Dull
I suppose I slept well. I can’t help but think that had I not had an alarm set, rather than waking at five o’clock I might well have slept through till ten.
I got up, had another good shave with that new razor blade then made myself some toast. I scoffed it whilst watching another episode of “Green Eggs and Ham” and listening to my stomach gurgle. Last night’s kebab was still having things to say.
As I had my morning root around Facebook I saw something which made me think. A American company has been persuaded to resume production of vincristine. Vincristine is an anti-cancer drug. It is particularly useful in the treatment of childhood cancers and isn’t particularly lucrative for those who make it.
Here’s a suggestion for the upcoming election. Either vote for a party which wants to support the National Health Service, or only have illnesses from which the pharmaceutical giants can make a tidy profit.
I look at Facebook every morning to see what my friends have been doing. I see less and less of what friends are doing, and more and more of this sort of thing.
It was a very wet and dismal morning as I drove off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were drivelling on trying to make news out of nothing as they so often do. This morning much of the talk was of the Labour party’s plan to provide free high-speed broadband to everyone. The theory goes that a decent broadband is a necessity of life and so should be readily and freely available. I can’t help but feel that much the same could be said of water, electricity, gas and waste disposal to name but a few essentials.
I got to work; I did my bit. I had a good day, but… What with the vagaries of my shift system I work nights and weekends and have rostered days off here and there. Having worked for five consecutive days had taken its toll. I was rather glad when it was time to go home.
We had fish and chips for tea. Very nice. I then ironed some shirts, and had a bag of Brussels sprouts flavoured crisps. Have you ever tried them? If not, I wouldn’t bother…
You can tell when a day is dull when a bag of crisps is the highlight.
16 November 2019 (Saturday) - Challock
I slept well. Partly because a five-day week had worn me out, and partly because the dogs slept well.
I got up and tripped over Fudge who had made a nest out of an old duvet and had set himself up at the bottom of the attic stairs. I twisted my (already dodgy) back; he carried on snoring.
I made some toast; I had a look at Facebook. Unlike yesterday there wasn’t quite so much political stuff. There were a few knob jokes, and one or two posts from the works award ceremonies that took place last night. Every year NHS Trusts around the country have award ceremonies in which they celebrate the best people and teams, those who’ve gone the extra mile, those who’ve shown the most outstanding devotion to duty.
Personally I feel that this is an incredibly bad thing. Where I used to work had these awards and someone with whom I worked every day got an award for doing exactly the same thing that all of us did every day. But she was rewarded and we weren’t. By singling out one for praise, automatically all the others are sidelined. I thought about commenting on today’s posts with a little rant, but I’ve done so in the past to no avail.
I also had an email from the Geocaching Association of Great Britain. I was nominated for their committee a few weeks ago. I asked around to find out what they actually did and was totally unable to get an answer. This morning I was asked to vote in their committee elections. There were twelve candidates and I could vote for up to eight of them. I voted for one for the simple reason that I knew the chap.
I have no idea what is expected of him or what he might do… but that is democracy for you.
I activated my new credit card (that took some doing!) and started getting ready for the off. It wasn’t long before we met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte in Challlock, We had a little walk following the series of geocaches I set out (in a Wherigo) a couple of months ago. Despite the rather wet terrain we had a good walk. Admittedly Fudge did disappear for a little while, and pulling two-thirds of a dead mouse out of Pogo’s gullet wasn’t nice, but we rose above such inconvenience.
And with walk walked we went back to the Red Lion at Badlesmere for lunch. "er indoors TM" had missed out last week. Lunch there was rather good.
And I took a few photos too.
We came home, settled the dogs, and popped out to visit "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". We took her a McMilkShake, and after a little while came home.
"er indoors TM" boiled up omelettes; after a rather good dinner earlier neither of us were that hungry. We scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Junior Bake-Off”. I do like that show. So many talented children…
The backache I got when I fell over last week is still giving me gyp…
17 November 2019 (Sunday) - Lazy Day
I often talk of having an early night; I actually did so last night. Apart from a couple of trips to the loo I slept for eleven hours. It has been a stressful week.
I got up leaving "er indoors TM" and the dogs asleep, had my morning ablutions and made some toast. Fudge helped me with the crusts as I peered into the depths of the Internet. For once people had posted photos of what they’d been doing.
Some friends had been canoeing in Larkfield swimming pool. We really should get our canoe out… though maybe leave it until spring.
There had been a geo-meet yesterday afternoon – what with one thing and another I’d forgotten all about it.
A friend’s band had been playing in Ashford – I’ve not seen him in years and I’d forgotten about that too.
I saw quite a few adverts for Lego sets on some of the Lego-related Facebook groups that I follow. Lego is rather expensive; the stuff that I like (from the 1970s) particularly so. The vintage Lego Facebook pages can be quite comical. Those selling the stuff want a fortune for it. Those buying want it at bargain basement prices. And (seemingly) never the two shall meet.
I looked at a few sets I quite fancied, and can’t help but think that I could probably make something very similar out of my spares.
We took the dogs out for a little walk round the park. "er indoors TM" wanted to do some Munzee maintenance. The walk went well… Pogo was puzzling. We’ve been watching that “Dog Whisperer” TV show in an attempt to get an insight into what goes through his head. We met two other dogs with whom he was fine until they got too close to Fudge. Fudge didn’t care, but Pogo was being protective. Shortly after he was having a serious shout at a passing dog when another came past. He completely ignored the second dog.
If only I could figure out what goes through his head.
We got home to find that Cliff had popped round. We’ve not seen him for ages; it was good to have a little catch-up.
We then went on to Matalan. I specifically wanted shirts for work. But none of them had a breast pocket. I like a breast pocket as it gives me somewhere to put my phone. Oh well… Whilst I was there I got new slippers, jim-jams and a pair of trousers. Bearing in mind that not many people cater for the more rotund physique, I buy stuff when the opportunity arises.
We came home via the co-op. They do a rather good Belgian bun. Belgian buns and coffee did us for lunch.
I wrote up some CPD until "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" arrived with Sam. He seemed utterly disinterested in me; far more interested in playing the game on Sam’s phone. They all set off on a mission leaving me “Home Alone” with the dogs. I sparked up Netflix and watched (slept through most of) the last episode of “Parade’s End”. I then stayed awake through two episodes of “Green Eggs and Ham” after which "er indoors TM" returned.
She’s now boiling up dinner, I’m sitting in front of the telly in my new jim-jams and slippers. Despite an incredibly lazy day I’m wondering about having another early night…
18 November 2019 (Monday) - Rostered Day Off
I did have another early night last night. I slept like a log until I was licked awake at quarter past eight by one of my favourite ladies. It was a shame that the licks were dog food flavoured, but you can’t have everything.
I came downstairs to find "er indoors TM" on the phone. She hurt her foot a while back. It hasn’t got any better, and so a visit to the doc would be in order. She had phoned them at one second to eight to find the place closed. She re-dialed, and in that short time they had turned on the phones and she was twenty-third in the queue. By the time I’d got up she was down to sixteenth in the queue. I was reminded of my old GP in Hastings. He had appointments in the afternoons and evenings, but in the morning you just turned up before eight o’clock. On the stroke of eight o’clock the doors were opened, everyone walked in, and the doors were closed. He would then spend the morning dealing with everyone who’d walked in at eight o’clock.
And they try to make cuts to the NHS budget…
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. There was a lot of talk about last night’s broadcast of the BBC’s remake of the classic “War of the Worlds”; most of it being rather negative. I’ve recorded the show… I expect I shall watch it at some stage. I tried to see more of what had happened on-line but Treacle climbed on to the back of the sofa and dabbed at my head continuously; telling me it was walkies time.
Seeing that a new geocache had gone live I drove out to Rodmersham to see if I might get the First to Find. I was beaten by half an hour.
As I was about to do the secret geo-rituals a land rover pulled up and some bloke asked if he could help me. I said he couldn’t. He demanded to know what I was doing; I told him I was minding my own business on a public right of way. He wasn’t happy with this at all, but he grudgingly accepted my lie that I’d stopped for a tiddle. I suspect that if this bloke carries on watching passers-by, then this cache’s life might not be that long.
We drove on to Kings Wood. I opened the boot to find one or more of the dogs had been sick. There was a lot of dog vom.
We had a good walk; Kings Wood is a good place to walk. However there was a mild frustration. We’d chosen to walk in Kings Wood as one of my geocaches hidden there had a “Needs Maintenance” log on it. The paper log inside was supposedly wet. If I’d found a wet log I’d have replaced it myself, but that’s just me…
As the crow flies, that film pot was a mile from the car park. As the dog wanders, the round trip from the car to the cache and back was probably close on three miles. We got to the geocache to find there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.
We came home; I washed the dogs, then washed the last of the dog sick out the back of my car. Over a sandwich I then watched the first episode of the new series of “The Crown” – it has “Gavin” out of “Trollied” playing Harold Wilson.
Seeing the dogs were all snoring I slipped out to do some Christmas shopping. Bearing in mind that "er indoors TM" has got seriously into crafting recently I thought I might visit the craft shop on the road to Faversham to get some pressies for her. We drive past it so often…
I drove the ten-mile journey only to find it doesn’t open on Mondays. But I took a circuitous route home and got a couple of bits and bobs.
I wasn’t home that long before "er indoors TM" came home. She boiled up a rather good bit of gammon and chips and then went bowling. I sorted out the ironing whilst watching more of “The Crown” on Netflix.
For a rostered day off, I haven’t stopped…
19 November 2019 (Tuesday) - Tiny Toon Adventures
After a particularly restless night I made myself some toast and watched another episode of “Green Eggs and Ham” as I have done recently. I thought there were only eight episodes of that show, but I’m now up to number nine.
I then had a look at the Internet. With absolutely nothing at all having happened overnight, and with no emails at all, I downloaded a new e-book and I got myself ready for work.
It took over quarter of an hour to scrape the ice off of the car (outside and inside).
I set off for work. Narrowly avoiding being splatted off of the motorway by a Polish lorry I drove off in the general direction of Maidstone. As I drove I listened to the pundits on the radio who were interviewing some chap from the Green party. He had this revolutionary idea that people might want to use public transport *if* it was more attractive than having your own car. He's probably right. I spend about as much on petrol getting to work as I would on train fare. But I can get to work quicker and in much more comfort in my car. If it was cheaper to get a train and I didn’t have to stand about shivering on cold platforms waiting for trains which were running late or had been cancelled, I'd get the train.
Mind you I might need to get used to the idea of cold railway stations - the Green party haven't ruled out the compulsory purchase of all old petrol cars in order to save the planet.
I got to work; I did my bit. For much of the day I was humming the theme tune to "Tiny Toon Adventures" for no reason that I could fathom.
I came home and walked the dogs round the block. Christmas decorations are starting to appear in the local houses.
With walk walked I made a phone call. I’d had a letter about the house buildings and contents insurance renewal. The insurance company were planning to charge over sixty quid more for next year’s cover. I phoned them up, had a whinge, and got the same deal for an increase of only eight quid.
It pays to phone them up. I phone them up every time they send a quote through, and every time they reduce the quote by massive amounts of money.
I put the telly on and watched the live political debate between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. I shall be intrigued to hear what the informed opinion about the debate will be tomorrow morning on the radio as it seemed to my uneducated eye that Mr Corbyn ran rings round Mr Johnson (could you believe it).
"er indoors TM" came home. She’d been visiting "My Boy TM" and Cheryl, and came home with some home-made stew for me. It was rather good…
20 November 2019 (Wednesday) - A Teenaged Granddaughter
The dogs slept well last night, and consequently so did I. I had a shave, made toast, and watched another episode of “Green Eggs and Ham” in which the plot has taken a rather unexpected twist. As I watched, Fudge snored quietly on the sofa; I tried not to disturb him.
With absolutely nothing happening on the Internet I got dressed. Seeing another cold morning I popped out to the back garden and switched off the pond pump. The fish will hibernate until the spring... I hope. They have done so in the past. The ice got scraped off the car rather quicker this morning than it did yesterday, and I headed off.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing someone from the Aston Martin corporation. They've just launched a new car. Retailing at over one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, I'm now convinced that my choice of career as a professional blood tester was a bad idea. I'd love to have that amount of money to squander on a car.
Is it too late for me to become a Double-0 agent? Mind you I'm not sure that my back would be up to it.
There was quite a bit of talk on the radio about last night's debate between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn. The view seemed to be that both had fared equally badly. They probably had, but bearing in mind that one had come from a position of being the Prime Minister, and the other from being widely regarded as something of a joke, this must be a win for Mr Corbyn. Which is possibly something of a worry for the nation.
There was then a lot of discussion about how politics is no longer safe ground for comedians. Apparently a lot of professional comedians are losing audiences depending on which politicians they attack. Back in the day everyone took the rise out of Margaret Thatcher, and it was expected. Purely because there was no opposition worth mentioning. Which is exactly like it is today, so I can't see what's changed.
They wheeled on Alexei Sayle (of all people) who spoke rather eloquently on the matter. He felt that he had not experienced any backlash from attacking anyone;, to which a much younger professional comedienne replied "but you're Alexei Sayle!!"
He was somewhat taken aback by that.
It is somewhat amazing that he is now seen as part of the establishment when I can remember him singing "Hello John, Gotta New Motor?" and having the gimmick of being a "fat bastard in a tight suit".
I drove to Sainsbury and got petrol (before the place became gridlocked), and went in to work. I did my bit, and came home via "My Boy TM"’s house where there was a little birthday tea for Lacey. She’s now thirteen!!
21 November 2019 (Thursday) - Dull
"er indoors TM" got up at four o’clock. She let the dogs out for a tiddle as their shouting woke me and probably half the county. The dogs have this thing where going into the garden is one big shout which is led by Fudge, and if he doesn’t want to go out, the other two simply refuse to go out.
After an hour or so I gave up trying to sleep and watched another episode of “Green Eggs and Ham”. A colleague told me yesterday that her (pre-school age) children quite like the show too.
Very little had happened on Facebook overnight, but I had a few emails. Some people had been out hunting some of my Wherigos over the last day or so. Some people like the things; some say they don’t but won’t even try to do them. Some make a point of ignoring all instruction and then try to complain when they do it wrong… Ho hum…
I shall ignore what they say in their written logs. It never fails to amaze me that those people who’ve not hidden a film pot under a rock in over six years aren’t more encouraging to those that have.
It was rather cold again this morning. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the Labour party's plans to go back to the good old days of having local councils providing housing and social care and running the buses and doing all the sorts of things that a local council really should be doing.
There is a school of thought that these things can be done more efficiently by the private sector, but after many years of this, it is no secret that the private sector is doing all these things to make a profit, and making a profit entails doing it on the cheap. On the one hand, having councils do the work of a council will cost a small (large) fortune. On the other hand, no one uses the buses because there aren't anywhere near enough, and no one can afford the rents charged by private landlords.
Some good may come of the Labour party’s plans. Who knows?
There was also talk of the impeachment trial of President Trump. He's been accused of all manner of wrongdoing. The expert opinion on the radio this morning was that he is as guilty as sin, but because all those who get to decide his fate are terrified of him, he will get off scot-free.
Will he? Time will tell; it always does.
I got to work whilst it was still dark and did my bit. And with my bit done I came home. An early start made for an early finish, but by the time I’d been to Argos and then made a phone call I found myself bogged down in the rush-hour traffic.
Once home I walked the dogs round the block. Three dogs is hard work. I fed the dogs, then "er indoors TM" messaged with instructions on how to cook sausage and chips. I had a go at boiling them up; fortunately "er indoors TM" came home before I totally poggered them.
Today was dull… the highlight of the day was going to Argos… that’s pretty dull.
22 November 2019 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift
As I looked at the internet this morning I saw an advert for “Black Friday” deals. This “Black Friday” thing was all the rage over the last few years but people have got so over-excited about the thing that it was to be somewhat scaled back this year. Which would probably be for the best… but with a week to go the advert have started.
I took the dogs out rather earlier than I would usually do this morning. As we went Pogo barked at everything and anything. I wish he wouldn’t. He doesn’t do *anything* wrong when "er indoors TM" takes his lead, but he plays me up so much. I’ve been watching the “Dog Whisperer” programs on the telly, but it’s hard to try to do the special tricks with him when I’ve got two other dogs in tow.
Fudge was also less than angelic today; enthusiastically humping several other passing dogs.
We went round the park, and come home through the co-op field. Realistically I should stop walking through there until the spring; it is becoming quite a quagmire.
I then drove up to the town centre. It’s three weeks since I was at the hospital for the double vision. It has cleared up (mostly) but still recurs after having been reading my Kindle app for fifteen minutes or so.
I thought I would give SpecSavers one last chance to sort it out, and I very nearly walked out right away. I was seen by someone who introduced herself as a trainee. But (to be fair) once she realised my circumstances she went off and got the boss. Having checked the glasses three weeks ago, today they checked my eyes today. Had the person who tested me two months ago got the prescription right? It turned out she had, and after quite a bit of fiddling about it turns out there is still some residual weakness in my eye muscles from where they were strained when the glasses weren’t fitted right. The optician assured me it would get better with time, and to be fair to him they are improving.
Mind you, to be fair to myself, my next eye test will be with a proper optician.
I came home. Earlier in the week I’d shut the garden pond down for the winter. So this morning I cleaned out the filter so that when I start it again in the spring it will be clean and fresh and not full of fish dung that has sat there all winter.
Cleaning out the pond filter sounds such an easy thing to do. And it is. It just takes an age and smells of fish dung.
I had a croissant and a cup of coffee, and took myself off to bed for the afternoon. I didn’t sleep that well really. Pogo came up and slept on the bed with me, but Fudge and Treacle spent the afternoon shouting at passers-by.
I gave up trying to sleep, and then binge-watched the entire series of the new UK Gold comedy “The Cockfields”. It was better than I thought it would be; I expect it will be on a continuous loop on the telly from now on.
I’m off to the night shift in a bit…
23 November 2019 (Saturday) - Geo Meet
During a lull in the proceedings last night (on the night shift) I had a look at Facebook via my phone. There was a posting on the "Old Boys of the Hastings Academy for Budding Geniuses" page. There had been a school reunion yesterday evening. People who'd been at the Hastings Academy for Budding Geniuses over thirty years ago had got together to reminisce and pretend that the good old days had actually been "good" and not "rather crappy" as they really were. I'd forgotten it was on, but had no intention of going anyway. Of the one hundred and twenty boys in my year, I was close to maybe a dozen, and most of those are already on my Facebook friends list. With a couple of notable exceptions I didn't really have anything to do with anyone who wasn't in my year. I certainly wasn't going to travel thirty miles to make polite conversation with people I probably had never met.
Interestingly there was a video (on the Facebook page) of the attendees singing the School Song. The School Song of the Hastings Academy for Budding Geniuses is an odd one. During my six years there I never heard it sung. In fact before seeing the video today, the only time I had ever heard it sung was by my mother (of all people) who seemed surprised that I'd never heard it. Judging by the video I saw last night I'm rather glad that I never got to sing it. As songs go, it is (was?) rather dire.
Thinking about it, my mother also used to sing a song about "Shrimps and Leopards" which she claimed was the School Song of another seat of learning in Hastings. Years later I found out that the song was actually about "Nymphs and Shepherds".
With the shift done I came home on a rather wet morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Health Secretary. The chap wasn’t really answering any of the questions put to him; instead he was taking the line “we’re not as bad as Jeremy Corbyn”. Possibly true, possibly not, but hardly a plausible political position.
I got home to find "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" in residence. She was tidying up. I wasn’t getting involved, and went to bed.
I woke up to find here and her mother both gone, and that one of the dogs had eaten all the fish food.
I got the dogs organised and drove out to Quex Barn. This is somewhere that I’ve driven past a few times but have never visited. We met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and had a walk round (managing to avoid the rain). Quite frankly I was rather disappointed. I thought the place was a rather posh country estate; it is more of a series of industrial and commercial units. But we had a good (if rather short) walk.
We then went inside to the geo-meet. Stilton ploughman’s made for a rather good lunch, and it was good to catch up with friends.
I took a brief diversion for fish food on the way home, and once home set the washing machine loose on the laundry. I ironed trousers whilst watching an episode of “The Crown”.
I think an early night might be a plan… it usually is after a night shift.
24 November 2019 (Sunday) - Family Meal
After a couple of hours asleep I was woken by Fudge’s whining. Having refused to go out for a tiddle at a sensible time, he was bursting for a wee at midnight. I sent him out, and the other two followed; not for lavatorial purposes, but for a a quick bout of their favourite game of “silly beggars”. Fudge tiddled, Treacle and Pogo ran round the garden snarling at each other.
After five minutes we all went back to bed.
I got up eight hours later.
I made some toast and had a look at Facebook. A friend was talking politics and was questioning the Green party’s stance on nuclear power. On the one hand we all lead a lifestyle which needs rather large amounts of power, and nuclear is (currently) pretty much the only credible way to provide it. On the other hand when it goes bang, it goes bang big-time. When Chernobyl went bang in 1986, part of my job was to monitor radiation levels in the air conditioning filters at work as we used very small amounts of radio isotopes (for measuring vitamin B12 in human blood).
A month or so after the accident the levels of radiation we were detecting were *way* above reportable levels.
Nowhere is safe when these things go up.
Seeing that it was dry I put the leads on to the dogs and we went out. I drove down to Orlestone woods. The dogs can run off the leads for much longer there than when walking round the park. There are far fewer other people there, and those that are there seem to be far more understanding of the peculiarities of the canine mind.
We had a good walk. We only met two other dog walkers, and we had no “episodes”
Bearing in mind I’d need money later we came home via the cash machine in the co-op and got stuck in the car park for fifteen minutes whilst a lorry tried to get into a space which everyone (but the driver) could see it was never going to fit.
We came home; the dogs had a bath to try to shift the mud they’d accumulated. And with mud hosed off they had breakfast. I had this plan that a walk would work up the appetites of those that can be fussy feeders, and those that can be travel-sick would be better eating after the drive. It was a plan that seemed to work.
I ran round with the Hoover, wrote up some CPD, played a little Mahjongg, and got my glad rags on.
"My Boy TM" and Cheryl came round and drove us all down to the Queens Head in Icklesham where we met more family and had a rather good dinner. It was good to catch up; I scoffed far too much. I took a few photos; perhaps I might have taken a few more.
We skipped dessert; we said our goodbyes and came home. I went back with "My Boy TM" and Cheryl. They’d had a little disco party for Lacey last night, and having spent a couple of hundred quid on food, not a single child had eaten a thing. I had a cuppa and ate far too much pudding, then came home. I *really* don’t like leaving the dogs for long (even though they just sleep)
I spent the evening in front of the telly with a stomach ache…
25 November 2019 (Monday) - Bit Dull
I woke half an hour before the alarm was due to go off. A combination of a night shift a couple of days ago and having eaten far too much yesterday had me feeling a tad rough. I got up, made brekkie and shared the crusts with Fudge. In the past the vet has told me off about that, but he’s lost so much weight that I’m sure it’s not that much of a bad thing for him.
As we scoffed toast together I watched the last episode of “Green Eggs and Ham” in which everything turned out for the best (like we thought it would), then I had a quick look at the Internet. (My morning routine is so predictable)
I saw that my cousin (and some of her branch of the family) were off to EuroDisney. I’ve been there a couple of times (when I was a cub scout leader), I’d like to go back sometime myself.
I also saw there was a formal geo-meet being planned for this Saturday as a prelude to actually going off hunting Tupperware even though this is specifically prohibited in the rules.
With no emails of note I got dressed and set off for work.
It was wet and yukky as I drove to work this morning. Things weren't helped by slow moving traffic on the motorway. I say "slow moving"; the traffic was at a standstill for fifteen minutes then started again for no apparent reason.
As I drove (and sat and waited) the pundits on the radio were interviewing some scientist or other who was part of the British Antarctic survey team. I'm always interested in them... thirty years ago I nearly took a year out to go and work with them. Sometimes I wonder if I should have actually done it.
There was also a lot of talk about the recently released Conservative party manifesto. Yesterday as I drove to Orlestone woods the people who'd written manifesto for the three main parties were being interviewed on the radio. Apparently not one of them was actually a member of the political party for which they worked.
That speaks volumes, doesn't it?
I stopped off at Aldi to get supplies. In their "tat aisle" they had a christmassy light projector thingy for a tenner. I seriously considered getting it. Eventually I realised it would be a total waste of money.
I might go back for it tomorrow.
I got to work and did my bit. It was a rather busy day today; I was glad to come home. I came home via the vet’s. Fudge’s new tablets were ready to be collected.
Once home "er indoors TM" and I waked the dogs through the rain. They didn’t mind getting wet. I suppose I didn’t really mind that much. It goes with having dogs really (not that I ever wanted any).
With "er indoors TM" of bowling I watched a couple of episodes of “The Crown”. I can’t help but wonder just how realistic the show is… mind you I think I would have got on better with Harold Wilson than I ever wold have got on with Edward Heath.
Today was another of those dull days…
26 November 2019 (Tuesday) - Christmassy Light Projector Thingy
I slept well. As time goes on I find I am going to bed earlier and earlier… but still waking far earlier than I would like.
Over brekkie I watched more of “The Crown” on Netflix. Some of this morning’s episode had been filmed in Rye and Winchelsea. I do like seeing places I know on the telly; it somehow makes the show more believable. Mind you seeing what was supposedly Princess Anne “doing the dirty deed” wasn’t believable for the simple reason that she’d kept her undercrackers on. I’m no expert on the matter, but usually removing undercrackers is a prerequisite for “doing the dirty deed”.
I had a look at the Internet. A few weeks ago I mentioned that I’d turned down a nomination for the committee of the Geocaching Association of Great Britain for the simple reason that no one was able to tell me what they actually did. I saw that the results of their election were announced yesterday. A friend has been elected – he assures me he’ll tell me what they do… when he finds out himself.
I had one email this morning. Amazon were selling science-fiction and fantasy e-books for a quid each. I clicked on the link and was presented with a myriad of books; thrillers and mysteries…
Bearing in mind the amount of time I sat stationary on the motorway yesterday morning I checked the Google Traffic thingy before setting off for work. It claimed there were no delays on the way to Maidstone.
It had lied.
The Google Traffic thingy had totally missed a major traffic jam at the cows roundabout (not five minutes' drive from home), and by the time I'd got to Maidstone the motorway was so gridlocked that I came off of it early and took a diversion through Aylesford.
As I was driving past I popped into Aldi. Yesterday I'd forgotten to get any jam, and as I was back in there I bought that Christmassy light projector thingy that I'd seen yesterday. I was wondering if they might have sold out. I don't think they'd sold any. Perhaps I might have thought about that before I shelled out my hard-earned money?
That's a kind thing to do.
Some colleagues went running at lunch time. Apparently they ran for over two and a half miles. I commented that if we were supposed to run, then God would never have made buses, but my sage advice fell on deaf ears.
I also got my shift pattern for January through to March. I've got to work a few weekends and a few nights, but I'm not complaining.
I was a tad late getting out of work. I got home just as "er indoors TM" was taking the dogs out. We had a drier walk than yesterday evening, and I even got a “First to Munz” too. You can’t beat a Munzee.
Once home I tried out the Christmassy light projector thingy. I think it’s pretty sexy, but there is one major drawback. Billed for indoor use only, it comes with a ground stake for spiking it into the ground. There’s no way to stand it on a shelf. I’ve had a genius idea to put it in a flowerpot.
I must admit that I’m rather disappointed that the dogs have completely ignored it.
27 November 2019 (Wednesday) – Stuff
Over brekkie I watched the last episode in Netflix’s current series of “The Queen”. One bit made me think. Her Majesty was in bed asleep. One lackey came in and opened the curtains, another delivered the morning cup of tea, others were busying about in the background. I suppose the Queen is used to that; for myself I like getting up quietly (whilst everyone else is still asleep) and having some time to myself before I have to be civil.
Now that the series is over I wonder what I might watch next.
I sparked up my lap-top to see if I’d missed much overnight. I don’t think I had really. The on-line Lego community were very excited because the Lego corporation had bought out what had been a fan-run Lego website on which you could get designs of old Lego kits. Some saw this as a good thing, others saw it as a bad thing. But (as is the case with most hobbies) very few realised that their hobby is someone else’s business.
I had a dozen emails this morning. But not one that had actually been worth sending. I deleted the lot and got ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Labour Shadow Secretary for Justice. He seemed to take reports that Jeremy Corbyn had (last night) given the worst political interview in history as something of a challenge. He appeared to be determined to outdo his leader. The chap flatly refused to answer any question put to him, and tried to deny facts which have long been established.
This upcoming election is really going to be all about choosing the least worst option.
I was rather amazed at the "Thought for the Day" section which started off as a sensible and reasoned discourse, but after a couple of minutes (when most people would have stopped listening) the vicar presenting this bit just started repeating "blah blah Jesus".
It’s the sort of thing that most vicars do.
I came off the motorway early again this morning. As I drove through Aylesford I saw that petrol prices there were six pence a litre more expensive than what I'd paid last week. I got to Sainsburys where the prices were two pence a litre cheaper than last week. But that was eight pence more expensive than just a mile down the road.
It pays to shop around.
Amazingly when I came to pay I was asked for my Nectar card. That happens very rarely. When you are next shopping in Sainsburys, watch the till operatives. They always ask women shoppers about Nectar cards, but rarely (if ever) ask the men.
I got to work, and I had a rather paranoid day. It is no secret that if I make a mistake in what I do I could kill someone. That’s why I’m very picky in what I do, and if ever you hear that the hospital lab has rejected your blood sample, there is probably a very good reason for it. We’d heard of a case in a hospital in America where two people with identical names and rather similar dates of both had been confused, and one had received a kidney transplant by mistake.
I’ve made mistakes before. I hope I never make one on that scale.
I came home; "er indoors TM" and I took the dogs out (despite the rain). We all got rather wet.
"er indoors TM" then boiled up a rather good bit of scran which we devoured whilst watching an episode of “Junior Bake Off”. I do like that show; the children on it are incredibly talented. But it upsets me at the end of each episode when one gets knocked out (but it doesn’t upset me as much as it upsets them).
I then had a look at the monthly accounts. I’m far from skint… I’m just nowhere near as rich as I’d like to be…
28 November 2019 (Thursday) - Santa Shoots an Elf
Unfortunately the dogs had a restless night, and when they are restless, so is everyone else.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Man Down”. Originally broadcast some six years ago it was entertaining, and featured the late Rik Mayall.
I sparked up the lap-top and peered into the Internet. Not a lot was happening on Facebook really. There was quite a lot of political rubbish being posted. But for every post about how terrible the Conservatives are, there was another post about how awful Labour are. Both of the main parties seem to have as their election catch-phrase “vote for us – we aren’t as bad as them…”
LinkedIn had emailed me (yet again) asking if I knew random strangers.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the latest poll about the upcoming General Election. Our old friend Science has devised a really super-doper way of finding out how the general public are going to vote and has predicted that the Conservatives will win with a majority of about sixty-eight seat in the House of Commons. That struck me as a rather frightening prospect until it was pointed out that the margin of error in this prediction was so large that it was equally possible that the Conservatives wouldn't even win at all.
So why bother with the prediction in the first place?
There was then talk about Mr Corbyn's latest revelation. He's obtained over four hundred pages of secret documents which (he claims) prove that the Government are going to sell off the NHS. Interestingly every single expert who's *not* a member of the Labour party feel that these documents prove no such thing.
There was a lot of petty bickering on the issue.
A Rabbi was then wheeled on to give the "Thought for the Day" in which he suggested that the world might be a better place without all the petty bickering.
I got to work with no hold ups or delays today. Work was much the same as ever, but I did get to spend a little time with one of the trainees explaining to her the intricacies of human red cell metabolism and white cell function. I used to do that all the time... do I miss it? I miss the teaching bit. I certainly don't miss the paperwork that goes with it.
With my bit done I came home along roads which were nowhere near as busy as they were last night. I took the dogs round the roads for a walk. Some houses have had Christmas decorations up inside for some time; this evening I saw the first full-blown garden Christmas display with illuminated snowman, inflatable Santa, reindeer, lights and pressies.
Don’t these people realise that Santa shoots an elf for every Christmas decoration that goes up in November?
We came home, and it wasn’t that long before "er indoors TM" came home. She’d been Christmas shopping.
A good bit of tea, and episode of “Junior Bake Off”… I need an early night.
29 November 2019 (Friday) - Healthcare, Penguins...
I was fast asleep when my phone went off in the small hours. Someone had dialled the wrong number.
Oh how I laughed.
I shared my toast crusts with Fudge as I watched another episode of “Man Down”. It’s only the second episode, but I’m quite getting into the show. As I watched it I sorted the socks and undercrackers that I’d tumble-dried last night. As most of the world was still snoring I was organising my pants. There’s never a dull moment in my life!
Mind you the small part of the world near my house didn’t snore long this morning. Friday is bin day. The dustbin men *could* have been noisier if they’d tried, but it would have taken some doing.
With telly watched I turned on my lap-top to see what had happened overnight. As I read Facebook this morning I saw something which made me sit up and take notice. On one of the work-related Facebook groups I follow were some photographs of blood cells. Quite often there are such photographs of blood cells which are malignant or dysplastic (manky) or just “odd”. The idea is that by sharing such unusual cases we can all gain experience. The blood cells I saw this morning were characteristic of acute leukaemia, but the patient in question hadn’t presented at the GP as is usually the case. They had been brought into a trauma centre with massive gunshot wounds (which turned out to be self-inflicted).
This case was one from America.
In the UK if you are diagnosed with leukaemia there is often a reasonable chance of a recovery (look at Clive James and Timothy Spall) because although the treatment is very expensive, we have a national health service. Free health care.
In America you pay for your healthcare if you can afford it. And if you don’t you die. Realistically shooting yourself is a far quicker and cheaper way to treat leukaemia than to suffer a protracted death from an insidious cancer.
Bear this in mind when you are voting for a political party which is advocating for an American-style way of funding healthcare…
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were again drivelling on about political issues and the upcoming election. There was quite a bit of consternation being expressed about some interview panel on Channel Four last night in which the Prime Minister declined to take part, and so they use a melting block of ice as his stunt double.
There was also talk about how ecologists in Antarctica are monitoring penguin numbers and movements by satellites. This is far less invasive and disturbing for the penguins than having someone wander out to bother them.
And a sight warmer for the penguin counters too I dare say.
Compared to the traffic jams of earlier in the week I made good time to Maidstone. I stopped off at Aldi; yesterday we had our "Secret Santa" draw and seeing how I won't get many more chances to call in at Aldi before Christmas (I'm working at Tunbridge Wells for the next few weeks) I thought I'd better get the pressie today. I wondered about buying a "Kevin the Carrot" toy. They were selling three-feet tall "Kevin the Carrot"s - but who on Earth wants a three-feet tall "Kevin the Carrot"?
I bought a different pressie. I paid for it, and got it in a cheapo carrier bag. The cheapo carrier bags in Aldi can be used as bags in the food waste bins. I like that idea - that way I can re-use it. I don't tend to re-use the other carrier bags I get in Aldi - they just get stuffed into my locker at work. interestingly there are calls to increase the prices of carrier bags substantially (to over seventy pence each) as apparently the average family has already bought and used over fifty-five so-called "bags for life" this year.
I went into work. During a lull in proceedings I phoned Halfords in Ashford. As I drove this morning I saw the reflection of my car - it looked as though one of the headlight bulbs had gone. The nice man on the phone said he'd got a replacement, and would fit it for me on my way home this evening.
They did. And they only charged me eight quid for doing so. Result!!
30 November 2019 (Saturday) - Clowes Wood
Over brekkie as I peered into the Internet I saw that the astro club had had a meeting last night. Back in the day there would have been adverts about the meeting on all the local community Internet forums and websites during the week before the meeting, and Facebook would have been alive with posts and photos after such a meeting. This doesn’t happen any more; there were just a couple of mentions after the event on the club’s own Facebook page. Does that mean that the club is moribund, or just that no one there bothers with social media any more?
There were also whinges on one of the geocaching pages. Having found a film pot under a rock, some people haven’t been telling the world about it until months later. This is their right, but such late logging has actually been a problem for me on several occasions. Given a cache with a few “can’t find it – is it missing?” reports, I then got a “Found It” log. So I’ve automatically thought that the thing was there all along. However the “Found it” log was been dated from nine months previously and the cache was still actually missing.
With "er indoors TM" off to visit "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" I loaded the dogs into the car and set off to Clowes Wood. There is a series of geocaches there (would you believe it!) that in order to locate you first need to have solved a “Jigidi” on-line jigsaw puzzle. Over the last few months several people have grumbled about the puzzles… I must admit to a degree of frustration with the things. It wasn’t that long ago when I tried to set a puzzle cache using one of these Jigidi thingies. The reviewer at the time (now long gone) very rudely told me that Jigidi wasn’t allowed as it went against the rules. Geocaching HQ confirmed this. In the meantime the specific rule that they mentioned hasn’t changed, but loads of these Jigidi puzzles have appeared anyway. Perhaps it’s just me who isn’t allowed to use Jigidi?
Still, mustn’t grumble. They make for more caches to find, and with fewer and fewer people bothering to hide them, that’s never a bad thing.
We soon met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and had a rather good walk. We’ve been to Clowes Wood before; being Forestry Commission land the paths are rather good all year long so we didn’t get *that* grubby. Pogo was amazingly well behaved, only shouting at one other dog and either ignoring or playing nicely with the other hounds. Fudge was a little bit shouty, but he didn’t do his usual trick of disappearing in pursuit of pheasants and being missing for half an hour, so that was a good thing. And Treacle was quite content all the time Karl was throwing sticks for her.
We had a good walk hunting for our little pots; we found all of them even if at one point we’d transposed our co-ordinates and got a six and a nine the wrong way round.
I took a few photos as we walked. Interestingly if you look at the photos, have a look at the geo-tagging on the first two photos. Taken in exactly the same place, one is recognised as being in Whitstable, and one as being in Canterbury.
From Clowes Wood we drove into Whitstable. In February we’d called in to “The Monument” and had dinner in the garden. We thought we might go there again for food. It was a tad too cold for the garden today, but we had a good dinner nonetheless.
As we scoffed we listened to the pensioners on the next table quarrelling about politics. Bless them.
We said our goodbyes, and came home. It was a shame that one of the dogs had been sick in the back of the car on the way home, but they had had quite a few treats as we’d walked, and when in the pub I had been slipping them chips, and some of the steak from my baguette.
It didn’t take that long to clear up dog vom.
I spent five minutes fighting with a broken telly; finally fixing it by putting new batteries into the remote control, then spent a couple of hours doing the ironing until "er indoors TM" came home.
We scoffed tea, then "My Boy TM" and Cheryl came round. They brought cakes…