1 November 2021 (Monday) - Rather Tired
When I have an alarm set I usually wake up far too early. And what with this frankly ridiculous daylight saving clocks going back I woke up an hour before far too early this morning. I wondered which idiot thought the thing up. It turns out that the idiot was one George Hudson who was an entomologist from New Zealand who had a plan to mess the clocks about so he could play silly beggars hunting insects (as a hobby) in daylight before his proper job started.
Why on Earth did anyone in authority listen to him?
According to Wikipedia “proponents of daylight saving time argue that most people prefer a greater increase in daylight hours after the typical "nine to five" workday” but daylight saving means it get dark an hour earlier now than it did a week ago. Perhaps they mean during the summer? No matter how you mess it about, it is still the same amount of daylight.
I made toast and watched the last episode of “Inside Job” then had a look at the Internet. It was still there. I chucked everyone out of the Munzee clan (as it is time for a new Clan War) sent out a birthday wish to a niece (who is approaching thirty but in my mind is still twelve) and posted on Facebook asking of anyone wanted the top-box that went on the old car. We’ve not used it in years, and it is in the way of the lock-ups in the garden. I soon got a taker for it.
I got dressed; putting on a winter shirt. I have summer and winter work shirts (the winter ones being thicker) and I switch from one set to the other as the daylight saving comes and goes. And then I set off to work with something of a sense of trepidation. In all honesty I didn't much care about the old car. I suppose I liked it; it was an old friend. But it was old. It had done a hundred and fifty thousand miles. It had scuffs and scratches. I wasn't bothered when I reversed it into the wall of the works car park the other day. But my new car is new. It has that (rather yukky) new car smell. It isn't filled with mud and dog hairs (yet). And as yet it is unscathed.
Being rather amazed at how quickly the screens cleared of condensation I was soon heading off down the road on a bright morning. I stopped off at the garage to check the pressure of the iffy tyre. It had only lost four psi since Saturday (which probably wasn't a good thing). I put some more air in.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were all a-twitter about the COP26 climate conference in which the world leaders will talk a lot without doing very much. Boris Johnson finally announced he doesn't like coal-fired power stations but says that the one being built up north is nothing to do with him, and permission for its construction rests with the local planning authorities. Really? If this is true, then I have to ask what power a Prime Minister really has. If this isn't true, that would come as no surprise whatsoever bearing in mind his track record. Last night I heard that the Wombles were going to be at COP 26. I have more confidence in their ability to get things done than I do in our Prime Minister’s.
As I drove so the travel news sprung into life. I turned it off by pressing the "cancel" button which had appeared. I wonder how I will turn it back on when I want it?
I got to work and rather than parking just anywhere I found myself looking for a parking space that wasn't under a tree full of crapping birds. I then spent five minutes looking round the car to see how many hidden pockets and compartments it had. Nowhere near as many as the old car, which can only be a good thing bearing in mind the amount of rubbish I used to carry round in it.
As I worked I found time to phone the car warranty people who told me to take the car to a tyre place and let them know what the tyre people said. So I arranged to take my car to the Aylesford branch of ATS after work. And then the warranty people sent me a message through their app saying that they would only accept reports from Kwik-Fit or Halfords. I sighed, cancelled the appointment I’d made for today and contacted Kwik-Fit who can see me tomorrow.
Work was work. Being on an early meant I got out early, but I thanks to daylight saving got home at sunset. Too dark for the co-op field. Instead I walked the dogs round the roads.
We had a mostly good walk. Mostly. As we stepped out of the front garden so some small child ten yards gave a blood-curdling scream and bellowed “doggies – doggies-doggies” seemingly on a loop. I saw this as reason enough to walk the other way, and within five seconds I could hear this child having a complete meltdown behind me because it wanted to stroke the dogs.
Calm and controlled children can stroke Pogo and Treacle. Hysterical screaming brats cannot. Was I being harsh?
Once she’d made dinner, “er indoors TM” went bowling. I settled in front of the telly with a dog on either side and started watching the second season of “Another Life”. Apparently I’d seen the first season two years ago. I didn’t remember it, it was almost as bad as last night’s episode of “Doctor Who”, and I soon fell asleep.
What a waste of an evening.
2 November 2021 (Tuesday) - Got The Tyre Fixed
Again I woke early. I made brekkie and had a look at Netflix. Having finished "Inside Job" yesterday morning and given up on "Another Life" yesterday evening, I had planned to watch the series "Vikings" as “My Boy TM” was insistent that I would like it... but it isn't available on Netflix any more. Netflix did suggest the fourth series of "Good Girls". Having watched the first three series and enjoyed them I thought I'd give this a go. The first episode of the new series wasn't too shabby at all.
I had a very quick look at the Internet - there wasn't much going on so I got ready for work. I stepped out into a rather cold morning and sighed. When I came home yesterday I'd had to park three streets away as there was nowhere closer to home to park. This morning there were two spaces right outside the front door. I've said before that I'd like to move house if only to have somewhere with my own dedicated parking space.
As I walked down the road I saw that the house by the hairdressers had filled the front garden with shingle and small trees and shrubs all in pots. A possible project for me for next spring? I can't help but wonder if the things would be safe in the front garden. Anyone could nick them... but then again the potted plants in the back garden weigh a ton, and no one has messed with the shingled area which has been there for some years.
As I nervously drove off to work slowly getting used to the new car I nearly fainted as an alarm went off. The car told me to look out for icy roads. That was considerate of it.
The pundits on the radio were all a-twitter about the news from the COP26 conference in which world leaders promised to end deforestation by 2030. And then the self-congratulatory hot air was followed by an interview with a South American chap who had been caught in the act of illegally cutting down trees in the Amazon rain forests. As a local farmer he needs space for his crops and animals, and no one in authority has (so he claimed) said anything to him about not clearing field space
There was also talk about the ongoing Anglo-French row about fishing rights. At the last minute the French have decided not to impose sanctions against the British over the ongoing argument about rights to fish in British waters; preferring to have discussions and negotiations instead. I can imagine the masses seeing this as a victory for the UK, and not as the huge concession from the French which it actually is. Just recently social media has been alive with one particular meme about the French being able to see one British trawler but not seeing endless boats full of illegal immigrants. Don't people realise that these so-called illegal immigrants aren't "immigrants" to the French. Across the channel they are "emigrants" and the French are glad to be rid of them. Why is it that the British and the French seem to be utterly unable to get on? Mind you if not-so-nice-next-door's house caught fire, I'd pour petrol on mine, so I suppose there's my answer.
I got to work and did my bit. At tea break I phoned the opticians. When I got my new glasses almost (but still a few days to go) a month ago the nice lady said that if I didn't like them I could bring them back and change them any time within the first month. I've given the things three weeks and I hate them with a passion. I can see fine through them. They fit well. But whenever I look in a mirror I don't see me. I see the love-child of Brains (from "Thunderbirds") and Joe 90. I told the people at the opticians that I'd like to change the glasses. They told me to get knotted; I've got them and I am stuck with them. Oh well - that's five hundred quid down the toilet. I'm off work next week; I shall see if I can sort out a relatively cheap new pair of specs from Boots, then I might just do what I have been threatening and take a hammer to the current pair (that's how much I detest them).
With work worked I set off to Kwik-Fit. They soon found the cause of the tyre pressure sensor warning – there was a nail sticking out of the tyre. The nice people checked all the other tyres too and pumped them all up a bit. I can only assume this was covered on the warranty as they didn’t charge me.
Having driven across Maidstone through the after-school traffic I then navigated my way through Maidstone’s (frankly horrendous) one-way system to the motorway. Having done seven motorway drives it was time for something a tad more ambitious. I survived it, as did the car. Mind you, I had another near heart attack when the engine cut out the first time I stopped. After a little trial and error I worked out that this was a feature. Whenever I put the car in neutral with the hand brake on, the engine switches off. And when I press the clutch so the engine starts again. I could get used to that.
Bake-Off is on the telly in a bit. There’s stilton and red wine and no need to be up early tomorrow… Here we go.
3 November 2021 (Wednesday) - Boot Dogs 2.0
As I perused the Internet over brekkie this morning I saw I had a message request on Facebook from Jonas Jason who said “I'm horny, I need sex today. Do you want to come with me? My private videos and your private room are here” and then gave a link on which I didn’t really feel like clicking. Instead I squealed him/her/it to the Facebook Feds.
There was quite the argument kicking off on one of the local Facebook pages about a local vet who hadn’t been able to work wonders on a dying pet. All of the local vets were getting praise and abuse in equal measure, with none seeming to do any better than any of the others. Interestingly the vets which came in for the most praise and least abuse were those who were furthest away from Ashford. With a dozen or so vets within striking distance of home, why would anyone drive for over an hour to an independent vet in a distant country village? I was reminded of a chap with whom I used to work who wouldn’t use any shop within forty miles of his house. Even his weekly food shopping came from somewhere miles away for some reason he was never able to convey.
I had a few emails from someone who had visited Ashford yesterday and seemed to have been impressed with some of my Wherigos, which reminded me I’ve still got an ongoing Wherigo project to finish.
“er indoors TM” set off to Asda to collect the shopping she’d ordered, and I finally had a look at the humungous box of rubbish I’d emptied from the old car. I was (and am) determined not to carry round quite so much unnecessary clutter like I did in the old car. One such utterly useless thing I’ve been driving round with is a very old ordnance survey map of the East Kent area. Why do I need it? I have an interactive one on my phone, and the old one is so old it doesn’t even have Samphire Hoe on it and that was made nearly twenty-five years ago. And the power cable to the air-bed pump. We’ve not been camping for over four years, and the pump for the air beds is long lost. But I’ve still got the cable for it and have been driving it fifty miles to work and back every day.
Am I the only person who does this? Look in your car’s glove box. Go on – have a look. When did you last use anything in there? I’ve decided that my car’s glove box will have the car’s instruction manual, the locking nut for the wheels and a pair of sunglasses. And nothing else!
Getting the dog-proof rail across the back seats took some doing. There isn’t a central head rest to attach the thing to, and it is too tall to go there anyway. So I’ve bodged one bar of it into place. If the dogs wanted to, I think they could jump over it but it seems to act as a deterrent for now.
I then bit the bullet. Up till now the car has been pristine. Immaculate. Quite literally just out of the showroom. I got the dogs into the boot and we drove to Orlestone for a walk. Is that Boot Dogs 2.0 or Boot 2.0 Dogs?
The dogs took to the new car well in that they stayed in the back.
As we drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan about the ongoing case in the courts in which a serving police officer pleaded guilty to having taken photos of two murdered women, and made degrading and sexist insults about them on these photos which he shared with more than forty other police officers via their WhatsApp group. Love him or loathe him, Mr Khan made a very good point when he said that our country’s police forces look after the country with the consent of the public, and incidents like this do nothing to inspire that consent. As far as I’m concerned this is just another example of the failure of the current police forces, and it is high time we had another system.
We got to the woods and had a good walk. We barked at the same dog we barked at the last time we were there; the other dog’s mummy had a laugh. Which is why I like going to those woods. Most of the other dog walkers know what dogs are like, and there are never any squabbles about dogs doing what is in their nature to do.
As we walked it was so apparent that autumn had arrived. Fallen leaves were everywhere covering the paths, and because of this we missed one of our usual turn-offs. I wouldn’t say we were lost; how can you get lost in such a relatively small wood and with maps on your phone? But we did have a ten-minute detour.
Once home I had a look at the lawn. I suppose it was too wet to mow; in my mind I could hear “Nutty Noodle” the (in all seriousness) probably insane husband of not-so-nice-next-door shrieking at me not to mow the lawn. I’ve not seen him for some years (where is he?) but one of his many obsessions was not to mow wet grass, and on many occasions he formally ordered me to put the lawn mower away as the grass was too wet. But despite it being sodden it was long. Too long. The lawn needs to be short so that we can find (and clear away) the dog dung. In retrospect I didn’t so much mow it as scalp it, but it is now at a length that the dog dung is obvious and doesn’t require searching for.
It is little things like that which no one tells you about when you get your dog…
I did a little CPD, watched an episode of “Good Girls”, and went to bed for the afternoon. The dogs did declare “Red Alert” once, and despite the phone’s mobile data and wi-fi being switched off, the phone did shout about pond filter bargains on eBay. But I managed to doze off and slept for perhaps the longest I have ever managed to sleep before a night shift.
“er indoors TM” is currently boiling up a pizza, and then I am off to the night shift. There are those who pity me and wonder how I do it. I do find them tiring, but there is something satisfying to be trusted to get on with the job utterly unsupervised.
Here we go…
4 November 2021 (Thursday) - After the Night Shift
The first night shift I ever did was in August 1985. Things were rather different back then. Effectively blood testing shut up shop at five o’clock every evening and we all went home having completed the entire day’s work. One of us would then be available for emergencies. If one arose out of hours then we would be phoned (on our landlines at home) and if we agreed a blood test was needed, then we would come in and do it. If we didn’t have a car (like I didn’t) then a taxi would be sent for us, would wait around and then drive us home again when we were finished. We would be paid for each time we were called in, and on average we would be called in four times between five o’clock in the evening and nine o’clock the next morning (though we were rarely called after midnight). On my first night I had five calls, and on my second I had seven. Before my third night I was taken to one side and told that if I kept claiming at such a high rate I would draw the attention of the finance watchdogs.
Last night I started a routine shift at nine o’clock in the evening and (apart from finishing off that which the late shift hadn’t had time to do) had urgent blood samples from over seventy patients by eight o’clock this morning. That’s more than one every ten minutes. How times have changed.
I was glad to see the early shift turn up this morning. As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing Kwasi Kwarteng (the Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth) about the ongoing Owen Paterson scandal in which Mr Paterson has been accused of abusing his position as an MP on behalf of firms which have allegedly given him over twice my annual salary. I wasn’t that interested in the talk about how MPs are not supposed to abuse their positions. Of course they are going to make the most of being an MP. Who wouldn’t? I certainly would. I was more interested in listening to Mr. Kwarteng squirm as the pundits mercilessly crucified him live on national radio. Anyone who hadn’t previously listened to Radio Four in the mornings would think the interviewers were rather harsh. But Kwasi Kwarteng is the David Blunkett of today. A few years ago the Labour politician David Blunkett came on the morning radio show at every opportunity he was given, and every time he never gave a straight answer to the straight questions being asked of him, and the interviewers would hound him mercilessly. Every time the interview finished with him appearing to be either evasive or incompetent. The pundits on the radio lost one of their best stars when Mr (now Lord) Blunkett retired from government, and they must be rubbing their hands with glee now that Mr. Kwarteng has stepped up.
I got home and saw a rather small space outside the house. I wouldn’t have even tried to have got my old car into it, but I did it first time with the new car’s parking sensors.
Waving at “er indoors TM” in passing, I had my morning ablutions then went to bed. Thirty seconds later both dogs came and made themselves comfortable on top of me, and we all slept very well until the postman came two hours later. I wasn’t going to get back to sleep after that “Red Alert” so we went up to the co-op field for a game of “fetch”. “Fetch” has been a bit of a disaster recently, but “er indoors TM” had a theory that I was throwing the ball too far for the dogs. So I tried chucking the balls a much shorter distance, and this held Pogo’s attention far longer than usual.
With walk walked both dogs were soon snoring. Over a brekkie/lunch I had a look at the Internet. I had an email from the nice people at Credit Karma. It would seem my credit rating went up substantially in the last week. I wonder if that has anything to do with buying a car?
I don’t understand finance. I’ve taken out quite a substantial loan over the next four years and blown most of my savings… and that makes me more credit-worthy. How does that work?
I then got my usual post night shift fix of “Four In A Bed” in which the contestants got particularly nasty with each other. It was during this that the electrician came and fitted the new bathroom heater; a job which took him a few minutes but would have taken me most of the day. I am a great believer in paying an expert to do a job which I would probably only ever do once. I can remember the bitter couple who used to live next door being incredibly keen on DIY, and not-so-nice-net-door’s (frankly insane) husband saying that when he moved in, the house looked like they had been incredibly keen on DIY. And once the electrician was off on his way (and the telly had finished) I bodged a waterproof boot liner into the back end of the car. It will hopefully contain the filth that the dogs pick up. However the old dog grille thingy doesn’t fit at all now – I will have to get a new one. I’ll have a look in Halfords tomorrow.
“er indoors TM” came home and boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Taskmaster”, and then an episode of “Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly” which gave me one or two ideas about Pogo’s continual pulling when on the lead. Something I wish he’d stop.
5 November 2021 (Friday) - Late Shift
Despite a particularly vivid nightmare in which I had been sentenced to run a dog-washing boutique I slept for over eight hours last night.
Over brekkie I sparked up my lap-top (as I do most mornings) to see what I’d missed overnight. I rarely miss anything worth bothering about. Despite twelve notifications on Facebook, again I hadn’t missed much. The only thing of note was a posting on one of the local geocaching pages from someone saying that they would be staging a geo-meet in December (as usual)(?) but not a Christmas party as they thought it best for everyone to “keep safe”. The local annual Christmas geo-meet is usually good fun, and I was rather sad to see it had been cancelled. Especially because of some COVID misunderstanding in which a virus spreads at a party but somehow not at a meeting of people? But then why was this being announced by someone of whom I’d never heard. After a little stalking on the Internet it turned out these people were from Berkshire and were presumably talking about events taking place (or not taking place) a hundred miles away. What was that all about?
Mind you there was a fair bit of consternation being expressed over the death of Lionel Blair who passed away yesterday evening. Any death is sad, but the chap was ninety-two. I thought he’d died years ago.
Yesterday “er indoors TM” bought me mats for the footwells of the new car. Risking life and limb I managed to separate the mats; they had been fastened together with some of the most vicious and sharpest staples you ever did see, And with them in place in the car I drove the dogs down to Orlestone for a walk.
We got to the car park and I opened the boot to see that the boot liner I installed yesterday was in something of a state. I suppose it lined the boot, but the tape which secured it in place wasn’t as adhesive as it might have been what with fidgeting dogs. Oh well… it will suffice until I find better (at a decent price).
We walked a very good walk. It was a bit cold, but not that bad. And there wasn’t that much mud. As we walked I took care not to miss the turning we’d missed a couple of days ago. When we found that turning I stared at it. It was obvious. How had we missed that?
With walk walked we came back to a completely empty car park. There had been three cars in it when we arrived. We’d seen no one as we walked, and everyone had gone home by the time we’d finished our walk.
As we drove home “Desert Island Discs” was on the radio in which the footballer Peter Schmeichel was talking about his experiences as a carpet fitter working in a prison. The chap was interesting, and didn’t pretend to enjoy pretentious classical music that no one really listens to (like most people on that show do). I don’t get to hear that program very often, and usually when I do it is rather dire. This ten minutes was rather good.
I settled the dogs; they didn't need much settling as they were fast asleep within minutes of getting home. As I drove off there was some rather aggressive woman on "Woman's Hour" ranting about the way women were portrayed in the James Bond books. There's no denying that she had a point - have you ever read any of the James Bond books? The women in those books are portrayed as those things on which James Bond would wipe his feet before he went down the pub. But the books were (mostly) written before I was born. Things were *very* different back then and Ian Fleming (the writer) has been dead for over fifty years. Quite frankly whoever that aggressive woman was, she'd left it a little late to take offence.
Or are we to retrospectively censor the James Bond books along with most of British history?
I soon got to the car showrooms where I gave them the V5 and the spare key for my old car, and they sorted the seemingly broken key to the new car. It is amazing what a new battery does.
Pausing only briefly in West Malling and Mereworth for geocachical reasons I made my way to the Sainsbury's petrol station in Aylesford where despite the massive increase in petrol prices I seemed to fill my car rather cheaply. I was pleased about that. I also bought lunch. In the absence of Walker's crisps (after bogroll and petrol, Walker's crisps seems to be the next great shortage) I got myself a packet of kettle crisps to scoff with lunch, and they gave me quite the stomach ache which not even posh biccies at tea time could sort out. The posh biccies were *very* good though. Am I being ungrateful in wishing they had been cake?
6 November 2021 (Saturday) - Bit Tired
The fireworks eventually stopped last night.
Back in the day we’d have a few fireworks in the garden when Dad came home
from work. This slowly gave way to going to organised public firework
displays, but I’ve not seen quite so many of those advertised recently (I
suppose COVID has had a hand in that) but over the last few years it
seems that thing with fireworks is to let them off later and later. Four
years ago I posted on Facebook about fireworks going
off late into the evening, and that was certainly happening last night.
Incredibly thoughtless half-wits were setting off fireworks well after bed time. And not the ones that look pretty; the ones that
just make loud explosions; there were three detonations shortly before one
There was a minor incident at five o’clock when I went to the loo and had to have a pitched battle with the dogs on my return to secure any bed space at all.
Consequently I was rather tired and just a tad grumpy today. As you can probably tell by reading this rant.
I got rather frustrated over brekkie. Having finally sorted the past of the paperwork with the car dealership yesterday, last night I went on-line to tell the DVLA all about it. After going through quite a few web pages in which I filled in no end of trivial details they eventually told me they were closed and I might like to try again in the morning. After filling in a lot more web pages this morning it finally told me it that I had the wrong number on the V5C scrap of paper. On the third attempt it finally accepted the number. They then had the cheek to present me with one of those “how did we do” questionnaires. I don’t like those; so often a score less than perfection leads to a formal reprimand for an innocent individual who is utterly unable to correct the corporate failure.
I then spent a minute solving a couple of geo-puzzles. Yesterday I’d taken a little detour to get the information to solve a puzzle as part of planning for a future geo-walk. Having solved the puzzle it would seem the final film pot is nowhere near where we will be walking… ho hum…
I rolled my eyes as I read Facebook this morning. Someone with whom I used to work was complaining that they had waited for an hour and a half for a bus to take them home when they could have walked it in fifteen minutes. This was the same person who once tried to tell me they couldn’t get to work because of the snow when I’d walked past their house on the way to work that very morning. Can people seriously not walk any more?
And I did have a message from “Morgana Leslie” who seemed very keen to show me photos of her *bits*. That was nice of her… (!) I’ve squealed him/her/it up to the Facebook Feds but I suspect that the automated processes that their bots use won’t see anything wrong with it. Again.
I took the dogs to the co-op field. I would usually go for a more ambitious walk, but being a Saturday, Orlestone Woods and Kings Wood fill with the sort of people who only take the dog out once a week and the sort of people who detest dogs. The park fills with the park run people who in the past have tried to kick dogs. The co-op field was ideal today. No one else was there, and we played “Fetch” with a surprising degree of success. Treacle fetches the ball and (with only a little encouragement) drops it too. Pogo prefers to catch the ball, so I chuck one ball to get Treacle going, and then bounce another for Pogo. After a couple of minutes it became a tad tedious for me, but the Terrible Twins seemed to love it.
As we walked home so another dog started barking at us from twenty yards away. My two looked over the road at that dog and didn’t seem bothered. I had them sit, and we watched the dog as it went away. I was very pleased with how they reacted this morning, but the relaxed attitude was more through luck than judgement. It has to be said that our dealing with other dogs is a tad hit and miss at times. I’ve read up a lot on dog training and watched all the videos and telly programmes. Perhaps it is time we went to dog training classes?
Seeing the dogs were both fast asleep I set off quietly. “er indoors TM” had gone to a craft day event thingy, and wanting to get more used to the new car (driving in daylight is a novelty right now) I drove up to Detling where I got the information needed for a field geo-puzzle that we might (or might not) pick up tomorrow.
As I was there I saw some woman with a GPS unit bustling about where I knew a geocache had been hidden. I know most of the active Kent geocachers well, but had never seen this woman before, so I thought I'd introduce myself. I've done this several times before and in that way have met lots of people who have turned out to be such good friends, and they too have welcomed being introduced to a wide friendly group of people.
So I went up to her and (with a large smile) announced "I know what you are doing". She didn't actually say "F... off Fatso" but that was certainly the attitude she conveyed. Oh well... there are some who go out hunting Tupperware in the company of friends and who go to regular meet-ups. And there are those that don't. Each to their own, but I know in which group I most definitely am.
I then drove on to Aldi if only to navigate a busy car park. Aldi itself was rather busy (heaving) with not one person in twenty looking where they were going or what they were doing, and in amongst the scrum were half a dozen of "The Terrified". In their thick masks and face shields and rubber gloves they were desperately cowering away from everyone else, failing to do so, and getting more and more stressed. And all seemingly oblivious to the fact that every item they had in their shopping trolley had been mauled around by countless shoppers before them.
I'm told I am too intolerant of other people... perhaps I am. But if someone really is frightened of contracting COVID, then going to a crowded supermarket at peak time *isn't* such a good idea, is it? In this twenty-first century surely "The Terrified" can get all their shopping delivered, can't they? Actually, probably not. From my personal experience of them, I suspect "The Terrified" wouldn't have a clue what the Internet is; let alone how to get your shopping through it.
I got my shopping, and carried on to work. Last Saturday I got a rather good dinner in the works canteen. I did the same again today, but got about twice as much for my money. The woman on the servery today told me (and anyone else who would listen) that the portion sizes were too small, and she was giving out double helpings. I saw that as a minor result.
And so to work for a rather fraught shift. In our twenty-first century the computer is king. And a computer-controlled state of the art blood sciences laboratory isn't really the place to be whilst the computer that does the controlling is out of action having an upgrade. I was reminded of the halcyon days of 1981 to 1984 when I worked in a blood testing laboratory that didn't have a computer that ran the show. And I don't miss those days one bit.
7 November 2021 (Sunday) - Detling to Boxley (and back)
I couldn’t sleep, so I got up far too early, made brekkie and had a look at the Internet. Now that it is all over, the local police had posted a link to Facebook on which the public could report fireworks being set off after midnight. Seriously? What do they want me to say? “There were three loud explosions somewhere in the South Ashford area at a quarter to one last night” What could they do about it? I actually went through their link for reporting this, and gave up when I got to “Do you think the thing that’s happened has something to do with race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or transgender identity?”
This was followed by a begging post from someone whose mother had died and she had no idea just how much a spectacular funeral costs. Seriously? I’ve got a policy to pay for my final expenses… after all, about the only thing of which we can all be sure is that we are going to croak.
Fortunately before my blood pressure went through the roof, Treacle started dabbing at me, started chewing my pyjamas, and then had a fight with me. Silly dog.
With “er indoors TM” off doing whatever it was he was doing today, I got myself and the dogs organised and into the car, and we were soon on our way to Detling. We arrived a few minutes early, and it was quite comical watching the dogs staring at every car that came past in the desperate hope that it contained Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. The dogs got more and more wound up at each false alarm, and even though there were only a dozen or so false alarms, Treacle and Pogo were at bursting point when the right car pulled up.
It wasn’t long before we were off on our way. We had a rather good walk along well-marked paths with only a little lane walking. And they were very quiet lanes. Admittedly there were some incredibly serious “up” bits, but that’s the North Downs for you. (That’s why we chose this route when “er indoors TM” was busy elsewhere)
As we walked we had one of those laugh out loud moments when both dogs mistook a statue of a cat for a real cat and flew at it. Both got nose-to nose with the statue before realising their mistake. And I chuckled when the rest of our gang found a geocache that we’d seemingly already signed. I went to it yesterday on my way to work and signed it in advance for a bit of a laugh. Up to that point of our walk I’d had amazing trouble not to giggle about what I’d done. I suppose this sounds rather sad to those who don’t hunt Tupperware (and those that do!), but it kept me amused.
It wasn’t far from there that a phone box had been decked out with poppies; I’d not seen that sort of thing before – it was rather well done.
It was only a shame that Pogo got a thorn in his paw. But with Charlotte holding him up (that took some doing!) we soon got it out, and in doing so got muddy Pogo paw prints all over my GPS.
We also saw stickers on various metal posts for “Augustine Camino” – it turns out this is a week-long pilgrimage from Rochester to Ramsgate. A pilgrimage… these still happen.
As I do, I took a few photos as we walked. Despite the uphill, this was a very good place to walk. I’d certainly take the dogs back again.
Once I’d got the photos onto the Internet Stuart arrived to collect the old car top box. We got it into his van but it took some doing.
I watched a little telly, then “er indoors TM” came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this evening’s episode of “Doctor Who”. There wee quite a few nods to what had gone before (if you were watching the show in 1973), and it was far better than last week’s rather disappointing instalment. I’m hoping things continue in this vein next week…
8 November 2021 (Monday) - A Day Off (?)
There were no fireworks last night; none that I heard anyway. I got up shortly before seven o’clock, made toast and peered into the internet. It was still there… mostly. Facebook wasn’t though. The thing didn’t seem to be working right, and after a minute or so came up with a “Quack Quack Oops” message. After a little while it came back, but I was rather lost without the ability to see what had been going on in the world over the weekend. It was just a shame that very few denizens of the world had chosen to share what they’d been doing with the world.
I got the leads on to the dogs and eventually got them into the back of the car. Some idiot had parked his van far too close behind my car. We then went for an early morning constitutional around Orlestone Woods. As we walked we met three other people with dogs. Treacle quivered in terror from the first two, and Pogo barked at them. Treacle wasn’t at all bothered by the third, and so neither was Pogo. Had this happened in Viccie Park no end of offence would have been taken, and sarcastic comments about feral dogs would have appeared on the local Facebook pages. But things are different in Orlestone Woods. It probably helped having met all the other dogs and people many times before, but we all had a good laugh about it.
We came home, and I put a load of whites in to wash. My washing machine is getting old; really I should think about a new one. I might treat myself to a new iron and ironing board at the same time. But I won’t mention anything to “er indoors TM”; that might be my Christmas pressie if I do.
With washing machine doing its thing I took Pogo to the vet for his booster jabs. There was a minor altercation in the reception when one of the “special” people had the hump as the staff wouldn’t allow her dog to use the weighing scales because it hadn’t had any vaccinations. Apparently this woman didn’t believe in vaccinations (!) When the reception staff asked her why she was at the vets where vaccination is a major part in animal healthcare, she had no answer. You really could see her thinking it through, and then she asked if the reception staff thought she should get her dog vaccinated. I got called in just as they were making the arrangements for the dog to get jabbed.
Pogo got jabbed. I also got told off (on his behalf) about what a porker he is. Weighing in at a shade over twenty kilogrammes, the vet says fifteen should be more realistic. They’ve suggested we persevere with his diet until the New Year and then bring him back for a weigh-in. There was talk of seeing a nutritionist (which is covered on his health plan) and high fibre dog food.
I then spent the best part of an hour sorting rubbish for a tip run. As I moved all the rubbish from the garden to a humungous pile in the hallway so the postman came. Both dogs flew to the door having no trouble leaping over the piles of rubbish. However they were both rather stuck when they tried to get back again.
With the dogs out of the way I then set about loading the rubbish into the car. It took some loading. One of the disadvantages of a smaller car is that it is smaller (dur!)
With the car loaded I sat down with a cuppa. By then it was only eleven o’clock and I felt knackered. I turned on the telly and fell asleep.
Fortunately I woke in time for the tip run. The tip now offers half-hour slots rather than two-hour slots. I arrived dead on time to find I was the only car there. I unloaded my rubbish under the gimlet stares of several tip staff who were very keen to make sure I got the right rubbish in the right receptacle. But they did seem perhaps a tad too interested – what did they think I was going to chuck in their skips?
From there I went to Halfords. Last Thursday I put a boot liner into the car, and on the next day I commented that the thing hadn’t stayed in place. Having given it three try-outs I have concluded that it was a load of rubbish. I’ve reviewed it on Amazon saying “This was perhaps the most useless item I have ever bought. Utterly unfit for purpose it made no attempt to line the boot. The adhesive tape made no effort to stick to anything, and having wrapped itself round the dogs three times it is now in the bin and has been replaced with something far superior from Halfords”.
I got a far better liner from Halfords together with a mat-thingy and a new dog grille. The parcel shelf does ride up the dog grille somewhat, but this grille doesn’t rattle like a thing possessed. I might need to take the parcel shelf out of the car to be able to see better through the rear-view mirror though. We shall see (figuratively and literally).
I then got some Chrimbo pressies for “er indoors TM”; I shall keep quiet about where I went and what I got, and I then went on to the hospital where I was greeted by not-so-nice-next-door who seems to have a job there directing the public about as they arrive. I nearly didn’t recognise her as she was smiling, and what with the face mask and the new glasses I don’t think she recognised me at all.
I took my place in the ENT clinic’s waiting area and amused myself listening to the ranting of another patient who was furious to have arrived for an appointment booked months ago only to find the hospital had cancelled it without telling her.
I was only ten minutes late getting in to see the specialist. I say “specialist”. I’d gone hoping to see a consultant ENT surgeon; I got fobbed off with a registrar. He had a look up my nose and then contradicted everything the last chap said. On 24 May 2021 I was told that although the polyps had returned there was no sign of the papilloma. Today I was told there is no way of knowing if the papilloma has returned because the polyps are in the way. Back in May I was told that papilloma was no cause for concern. Today I was told I would be booked for urgent surgery just in case… Perhaps there is cause for concern…
I came home via B&Q where I got a new light for the kitchen. I took the old one with me as they come in all shapes and sizes. I had this naïve idea that if I got one with the same words as were written on the old one then all would be fine.
After fifteen minutes of brain-strain with two assistants helping me I managed to come home with the right replacement bulb. But these days the tubes are LED and need new starter units too. Nothing is simple, is it?
“er indoors TM” came home, sorted a rather good bit of dinner then went off bowling. Bearing in mind no day off work is complete without a dose of ironing I set about the laundry whilst watching a couple of episodes of “Good Girls”.
For a supposed day off, today has been rather hard work…
9 November 2021 (Tuesday) - Lydd (in the rain)
With no need to be up early, why did Royal Mail send me a text message to say they would be delivering a COVID testing kit this morning? Bearing in mind the thing goes through the letterbox there was no need to bother me, was there?
I found myself thinking for much of the day having read a post on a “Hitch Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy” Facebook page I follow. An American follower of that page had posted “My sister and I are planning a trip to England and Scotland next year and we are looking for authentic not traditional touristy stuff to do”. England *and* Scotland in a week? I was reminded of the biography of a policeman I once read who said that most American tourists seemed to think that the UK was the size of a small provincial town. He went on to say that he’d lost count of the amount of American tourists he’d found over the years in Borough High Street (in Southwark) who were distraught. Having arranged to meet their friends in “London High Street” it came as a shock to all of them to realise London has over six hundred “High Street”s.
Where would you want to see in England and Scotland though? The Tower of London for sure. Bath with its Roman history would be a must (and Stonehenge as it is only thirty miles from Bath). Hampton Court really should be on the list. We found a guided tour round Oxford was a cracking day out. There’s loads to see and do in Canterbury. Dover Castle and the White Cliffs are always good. Cornwall is spectacular…
There’s a week… most of it would be spent travelling and you’d not be getting out of the south of England…
“er indoors TM” was off work today as well, so we got the dogs organised and drove down to Lydd. We’d had a really good walk round there doing a Wherigo a few weeks ago and went back today for a combined multicache – Adventure Lab – Munzee mission. We hadn’t expected the drizzle, but as always we had two choices. We could make the most of it, or we could sulk. So we made the most of it. As luck would have it we had parked almost on top of the first stage of the Adventure Lab GPS game, and we followed the stages from the old courthouse on a rather good little guided tour through the churchyard up the High Street, past the Garden of Remembrance to the fire station. We paused at the Garden of Remembrance to have a look, and to answer some questions which led us to a geocache. And with multi-geocache and Adventure Lab games done, we followed a trail of twenty or so Munzees back to the car. If nothing else, GPS-based games stop you getting lost on a dog walk. Even if we did get a little wet from the rain. Rain which had only a two per cent chance of happening as we drove home through it.
My plan for the afternoon had been to get busy in the garden, but the rain put paid to that idea. So instead I cleaned out the fish tank. So easy to type, not so easy to do. But after a couple of hours the thing was clean.
“er indoors TM” then set off to visit “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. I stayed home and nursed a backache whilst watching episodes of “Good Girls” until she returned. Once back she boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s episode of “Bake Off”.
Today wasn’t quite as busy as yesterday… but my back aches now…
10 November 2021 (Wednesday) - Another Day Off
Despite a rather aching back I slept very well last night, which was something of a result. I came downstairs and spent a few minutes looking at the amazingly clean fish tank. It did look good… I really should have a go at it more often. It looks so much better for a little attention – and the little fish deserve it too.
I sparked up the lap-top and peered into the Internet as I scoffed brekkie. It was still there, Overnight a posting had appeared on one of the local Facebook pages about an incident which happened at three o’clock in the morning a few days ago. Some youngsters were seen supposedly assaulting another, and the local neighbourhood watch organiser had posted about it starting with “Still trying to pin point these youths”… I can’t help but think that had the person who saw this contacted the police right away rather than posting to a Facebook argument site a few hours later, then (just possibly) the guilty might have been caught.
With absolutely nothing at all seeming to have happened in cyber-space I got dressed and took the dogs out.
As we drove to the woods Sajid Javid (the Health Secretary) was being interviewed on the radio. Having been asked about the practicality of his brainwave to force all NHS staff to have COVID vaccinations he simply didn’t answer any question put to him. He was equally reticent with questions about ongoing sleaze allegations levelled at several Conservative MPs who seem to be getting a year’s salary for a day’s work.
We got to the woods and had a good walk. Pogo barked at quite a few sparrows (for no reason I could fathom). As we walked we met the little old lady with the poodle and the Jack Russell. She commented on me having changed my car, which made me think. Today was only the fourth time I’d taken the new car to the woods and she knew I had a new car. In the past people at work had commented on my having a blue Renault scenic. In all honesty I have absolutely no idea what car most people drive. If pushed I could probably tell the colour of maybe three of four people’s cars. Does everyone but me know all about everyone else’s cars?
With walk walked we came home. I settled the dogs and went out on a little mission. Firstly to Hastings. I stopped off at the farm shop in Ickelsham where I got some cakes, and Dad and I scoffed them as I visited; I’d not been down to see him for a while and he was keen to see the new car. The car got his seal of approval, and then he showed me his garden. It has been dug up by foxes. He’s watched them doing it. An aunt has an idea that she can get some lion poo which will scare of the foxes. If it was anyone else I would roll my eyes with a “yeah, right!” but I would not be at all surprised to see that aunt come up with a job lot of lion poo.
From Dad’s I came back to Ashford then had a little drive around. For all that I’ve lined the car’s boot, the lip of the boot needs a cover pulling over it each time the dogs go in and out. They have been in and out half a dozen times and they don’t understand the need for a cover. The nice man at the Skoda garage says they can fit a firm plastic cover to protect the paintwork, and he quoted a price which was about half that which I expected him to quote. He’s ordered the part.
The next thing to do was to batten down the boot cover thingy which was blocking up the view out of the rear window (as the thing came half way up the dog grille). All I needed to sort it was two humungous paper clips to hold it down. I could get them from any decent stationery shop so I drove round to Staples… only to find it had shut down about a year ago. It’s amazing what happens when you aren’t playing attention.
I popped next door to Home Bargains to see if they had paper clips. I think it fair to say that the chap I asked didn’t even know what a paper clip was. Fortunately Sainsburys had some.
And then I went for a blood test… before I get more nasal surgery I have to get a scan of my sinuses done. This involves having a contrast medium injected, and we have to be sure my kidneys are up to shifting this contrast medium… hence the blood test.
As I sat and waited to be called in I almost laughed out loud at the sign I read on the phlebotomy department’s door. It mentioned not going inside until invited as this “can impact on patient confidentiality”. If this is an issue (which it is!), why has the hospital put their phlebotomy waiting area in the hospital’s (very busy) foyer where the world and his wife can see who is waiting for a blood test? I don’t know if not-so-nice-next-door saw me, but if she didn’t that was more through luck than judgement . And if being seen waiting for a blood test isn’t enough, the phlebotomists have to bellow out the names of the next patient to make themselves heard over the ambient noise (which was so loud as to be rather painful). Several acquaintances smiled at me as I waited for the needle.. So much for patient confidentiality, eh?
I’ve not only removed the name of the NHS Trust in question from the photo, but also the name of the person who authorised that sign about patient confidentiality. However that person is someone who is on my Facebook list and was one of my trainees many years ago. I sent her a message expressing my chagrin, and words don’t exist to express the disappointment I felt when she replied in management-talk rather than in English.
Suitably needled I came home and spent the afternoon on the sofa watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” whilst cuddling dogs. Today’s episodes of “Four In A Bed” were more entertaining than usual. With five minutes till bed-time, one set of contestants announced that they couldn’t stay in a certain B&B because of the overpowering smell of vomit in their room. They then left, and all the other contestants went to the room in question where no one could smell anything. That made for a good argument.
“er indoors TM” eventually came home and we watched the first few episodes of “The Cockfields” on UK Gold. Featuring her from “Alan Partridge”, “Betty” from Frank Spencer and Rab C Nesbitt himself, they was rather good. As were the three bottles of ale I sank whilst watching them.
11 November 2021 (Thursday) - Another Wherigo Series
I slept like a log despite “er indoors TM” having a set-to with the dogs in the small hours. Pausing only briefly to unblock the bath’s drain I had a shave, made brekkie and peered into the Internet. Apparently last night the local police decided to do something about anti-social behaviour in the Newtown area of Ashford. Several people were posting on one of the local Facebook groups asking what all the blue lights were about, and the local Neighbourhood Watch organiser pointed out the link to the local police’s pages about combatting anti-social behaviour. I suspect that the more streetwise thugs will use this to plan their thuggery at times when the local coppers are elsewhere.
I spent a few minutes getting “Hannah” ready for the off. The dogs needed a walk, and a couple of months ago I’d done all of the hard work of setting up a new geocache series. Quite frankly I wasn’t really keen on setting up a new geo-series since I’ve got quite enough out there already (nine series with over a hundred and fifty caches) and they can be hard work at times. Everyone is very keen to walk the series I put out, and most people are even keener to point out any problems. Even though they could fix the problem themselves quicker than they could tell me about them. And there’s no denying that one particular person’s arrogant way of sneering at the rest of the geocaching community in general and me and “er indoors TM” in particular had really left me disinclined to carry on hiding caches.
But having done pretty much all of the work involved in creating a new series already (except having put the film pots under rocks), and having two dogs needing a walk I thought I might as well see this little project through. If it becomes arse-ache I will get rid of it - after all, archiving a geocache is just the click of a button.
We went out to the top-secret location. I’ve kept it quiet as there really are people who go out blindly hunting for the things desperately hoping to be there before anyone else, and then when the geocaches are formally published they go back to wait to tell potential First to Find-ers that they are a couple of days too late. (No - I wouldn’t believe it either unless I’d actually had it happen to me!)
The area was far muddier than it had been a month or so ago, and I nearly went arse over tit on the slippery stiles a couple of times, but we had a good walk.
Once home “er indoors TM” got the dogs bathed whilst I sorted out all the geo-admin for the new series of geocaches we’d hidden, then “er indoors TM” set off to collect “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. I cuddled dogs on the sofa whilst watching episodes of “Good Girls” until they all arrived home. Having been scanned, “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” is nearly as porky as her father. I then drove them all home, and left the dogs with them. The dogs are having a little sleepover, and the house seems rather empty without them.
12 November 2021 (Friday) - One Day in London
With the dogs having a little sleepover with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” I slept like a log. I doubt she did, but am I bothered?
Over brekkie I had my usual rummage around the internet. I love Facebook; if only to watch some of the arguments which abound on there. Yesterday a chap with whom I went to college (forty years ago) was having a particularly impressive squabble with someone with whom I used to work (fifteen years ago). Without going into the details of the squabble, one had the hump and was feeling particularly poorly treated. The other was claiming that this chap had merely received the same treatment from officialdom that he had previously arranged to be dished out to others.
And on a bird-watching (feathered variety) page I follow was a rather strange yellow sea-bird that had evaded all attempts at identification until a small child pointed out it was a seagull covered in curry sauce.
I had an email from Credit Karma. Despite my credit rating having gone up last week, it has plummeted by twenty-three points this week. I think they have realised I’ve bought a car. But nil desperandum (as they used to say). I can recover those lost points and there are two things that they recommend I might do. Firstly having taken on a loan they suggest I don’t take on any more. However they do recommend I increase my credit limit to over fifteen thousand pounds. So I should both not take on more debt and take on more debt… how does that work?
I also had an email from the people who look after the house buildings and contents insurance. In the past I used to go with Hastings Direct. Every year they would write to me in mid-November and say that the policy would cost a hundred quid more in the following year, I would then phone them up and haggle, and we’d agree on a far more modest increase in price. The current people have said that next year’s policy will be five quid less than this year’s. I’ll take that.
With no dogs to settle we set off on today’s mission. We walked to the railway station and found no queue at all, so soon got our train ticket. Which is more than people will be doing tomorrow it would seem. With Rye’s busiest day of the year tomorrow, the trains aren’t going to be stopping there tomorrow. I wonder how much that will increase the bonfire parade’s carbon footprint?
Two stops into our journey Joe joined us on the train, and we put the world to rights as we travelled up to Charing Cross, then on the Circle line to Tower Hill where we’d arranged to meet up with Pam, Brian and Irene. As we were in the area anyway we thought we’d give a shout out to see if any other hunters of Tupperware would be in the area and would like to meet up to say hello. A few people were able to come find us, and we all chatted for a few minutes before everyone else went their ways and we went ours.
The plan for today was a quick sortie round St Katharine’s Dock. then to follow the various stages of a multi-geocache “One Day in London”. This would take us on an epic hike from Tower Bridge round the Tower of London, across London Bridge, through Borough Market to the Millennium Bridge, up to St Paul’s then on to the London Eye, the South Bank, Parliament Square, St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and on to the British Museum.
In retrospect this was perhaps a tad ambitious, but in London that doesn’t matter. When we plan a geo-walk in the countryside we have to finish what we start as we need to get back to the cars. In London there are tube stations all over the place, and if we don’t finish what we have planned then we can just come back another day.
We had a really good catch-up with friends as we wandered across Tower Bridge where we found two of the most ingenious caches I’ve ever seen, and we then carried on past and round the Tower of London, taking our time and enjoying an all-too-infrequent catch-up.
Irene, Pam and Brian had to leave us when we got to Borough Market, and together with “er indoors TM” and Joe I wandered up to St Paul’s where we did a little geology homework and rolled our eyes at the cost of getting into St Paul’s. t would have been good to have had a look inside, but twenty quid? Each?
By now time was pushing on and the (completely not forecast) rain was getting a tad heavy. So we decided to blag the clues we needed at St Pauls from the Internet, and had a little wander up to the Barbican where two surly chaps in hi-vis jackets wouldn’t let us in to the grounds of St Bartholomew the Great’s church. We needed to go in there to get the answer to one of the questions for the Adventure Lab we were doing. We knew the answer was a type of tree, and after guessing (wrongly) the name of every tree we could think of, I sneaked in to find the plaque which held our answer.
If you ever have to think of a random tree, I bet you wouldn’t think of a Persian Ironwood, would you?
Finding the nearest pub to the Persian Ironwood had stopped doing food we found a rather good pub (the Fox and Anchor) for a rather good late lunch.
From here we started heading back to Charing Cross… slowly. On the way we got rather lost (were we trespassing?) in the Barbers’ Physic Garden? And having gone into Bank tube station, how on Earth did we manage to actually get on to the train at Monument?
We Munzee-ed like things possessed at Charing Cross, and had a good chuckle at the drunk teenagers on the train home who thought they were oh-so-subtle when they all went into the toilet together to drink their White Lightning.
Saying goodbye to Joe at Headcorn we were soon home where we got car keys and drove to Folkestone to collect the dogs from “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” who assures us they behaved themselves.
I doubt it somehow…
I took quite a few photos today. Today was rather good, if tiring. “er indoors TM” has gone to bed before me, and that very rarely happens.
13 November 2021 (Saturday) - Chuck It Out The Window
Despite the dogs being back from their little holiday I slept like a log last night. I woke, made toast and had a minor battle with the lap-top. Every week it has an update. Sometimes this is a minor inconvenience which just makes it a little slower to start. Other times like this morning I really was left wondering if it would be quicker to walk down the road to Curry’s and buy a new lap-top rather than waiting for it to fart around only to end up being exactly the same as it was before (in every respect). My car has a fancy computer, and unless the garage update it, it will stay the same as it was when I got it until the day when I get shot of it.
Eventually I got on-line and had a little look-see. Last night I sent a message asking for a hint about one geocache which had evaded us in London yesterday. The thing had a four and a half (out of five) difficulty rating so it wasn’t going to be easy to find. The chap who’d hidden it replied today saying that we had been looking in the right place, and the thing was in plain sight with “Geocache” written on it. I’ve asked for a bit of a hint(!) We also did two earthcaches yesterday and having sent in the answers to our geology homework (as well as to another question we had to answer) I’d had no replies overnight, which was a tad disappointing.
I had a look at Facebook. Quite a few people had clicked the “like” button of the photos I posted of yesterday’s geo-trip to London. There was a lot of discontent about people scamming in the Ashford area. Claiming to be running a dog rescue they were actually running a “get rich quick” scheme which is all very well for the person getting rich quick, but not so good for everyone else getting poorer.
Two people were having birthdays today. I added both onto my Facebook friends list over ten years ago, and it is over ten years since I’ve had anything at all to do with them. Neither seem to post to Facebook from one month to the next, and I decided the connection was too tenuous to warrant sending a birthday video. Getting one of those is akin to a Paul Hollywood handshake in “Bake Off” in my world !!
There had been vague plans to go to a geocaching film show today (it’s an annual thing), and also Rye Bonfire Parade had been suggested, but “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was moving house today. With “er indoors TM” not quite ready I drove down to Folkestone, listening to Steve on the radio. I got as far as the Channel Tunnel turn-off before the signal gave out.
I arrived at the current abode of the most recent fruit of my loin, and we carried loads of stuff down four flights of stairs, loaded up the car, went back for more until the car was full, and drove the hundred yards to her new flat. It was a shame that we couldn’t drive straight there; what with the one-way system we had to go round the houses (quite literally) to get there. Whilst “er indoors TM” and Jake did the paperwork with the new landlord I fiddled about with the car’s connection to my phone, and used it to ring “My Boy TM” who didn’t seem that impressed.
We then went back to the old flat, carried no end of stuff down four flights of stairs, loaded up the car, drove round the houses… you get the idea. It was all far easier to type than it was to do. Eventually I persuaded “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” that it would be far less arse-ache to chuck it all out of the window to where the car was parked below. Admittedly there is a limit to what you can chuck out of a second storey window with any hope of it surviving, but we saved quite a few trips up and down the stairs by doing that.
After a few hours of
this “er indoors TM” arrived to join in. She timed her
arrival well, getting there only seconds after the Deliveroo lady had dropped
Once we’d McScoffed we took another load down the road, and then we were at the point for heavy lifting. The furniture is scheduled to be shifted tomorrow when “man with van” will be there for the heavy lifting. I intend to go along to generally offer sage advice and get in the way whilst lifting nothing at all myself.
“er indoors TM” and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” then wanted to go shopping for mops and curtains and all the sort of stuff you buy with a new house (supposedly). I came home and took the dogs to the co-op field where we had a rather good game of “Fetch”. Interestingly the area of the co-op field which had been sprayed with weed killer is now cordoned off.
With walk walked I made a cuppa, and had quite a few plans for the garden, but Treacle and Pogo had jumped up to be either side of me on the sofa. So I slobbed watching telly all afternoon with a dog on either side. As I watched so my phone beeped. Someone had been out and done my new Wherigo series. All worked well, which was something of a result. Despite no end of field trials there is usually something which goes wrong when the things are used in earnest for the first time.
“er indoors TM” came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with bottle of plonk and then (as I cracked open the stilton) we followed up with a bottle of port. As we scoffed and guzzled we watched the fourth “Harry Potter” film. Not a bad evening really…
14 November 2021 (Sunday) - Moving House, Curry Night
I had something of a terrible night spending much of the time shivering with no duvet at all. I suppose I should really hoik the dogs off of the bed, but there it is.
I burned some toast (which took some doing with our toaster) and had a look at the Internet as I do most mornings. I had a message. Yesterday someone had done my new Wherigo series and had claimed they were first there. Someone else had also claimed to have been first on some of them. It seemed that the second chap had figured out where to look from the map I posted on here last Thursday, and had done so on other maps I’d put on here in the past. That would have taken some doing. I was glad to have been told this; I thought I was being physically stalked.
I also saw I had an invite to a Munzee clan which was good. Munzing (for me) works better when part of a group, and is more fun that way.
Quite a few people were posting remembrance day stuff to Facebook. I thought about doing so, but not having anyone that I know directly who died in any war, I didn’t feel it right to do so.
I drove down to Folkestone again for Day Two of “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”’s moving house, and in a rather fortuitous bit of timing I arrived just as the last of the heavy lifting had been done. Mind you there was still a *lot* of not so heavy lifting to be done, and very little that “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” would allow to be chucked out of a window. Personally I would have thought that pillows, duvets and rugs would have been ideal candidates for a lobbing from the second storey, but what do I know?
There’s no denying that had Folkestone’s one-way system been designed by someone who wanted to do the same journeys as me, then the moving would have gone better. You can see the new flat from the old – it can’t be more than a hundred yards driving back from new to old. But when driving from the old flat you get to about twenty yards from the new flat and are faced with a “no entry” sign and have to go (quite literally) all round the houses to get there.
After half a dozen trips the old flat was finally empty. I left “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” organising the new flat and “er indoors TM” scrubbing the old one, and came home.
I took the dogs up to the co-op field for a little game of “Fetch”. This is a game which is played with varying degrees of success; today’s was one of the better ones. My state of mind was helped by our only meeting one other set of dogs on the way there, and it was those dogs that kicked off, and my two that looked on in amazement.
With walk walked the dogs slept as I worked on my next little Wherigo project. I’ve been working on this for a couple of weeks now; it would be churlish of me to just abandon it. I got quite a lot done this afternoon; so much so that I’ve been able to ask the geo-Feds if the locations I have in mind are acceptable.
I then spent an age trying (and failing) to download some of the albums that I’ve bought from Amazon over the years. If any of my loyal readers know how to do that, do let me know…
With “er indoors TM” having returned and the dogs fed, we went for something of an evening out. We went up to Cinnamon Spice to meet up with the first fruit of my (our) loins. With a message that they were running late we stocked up on poppadums and dips and scoffed ourselves silly until “My Boy TM” and Cheryl arrived, and they were soon followed by Matt and Glenn. We sat and chatted and scoffed. The food was excellent, and it was good to catch up with family. It was just a shame that the place was so noisy I could hardly hear a word.
I’ve got such a bellyache now… and “er indoors TM” had got the hump. Pogo just licked her phone’s screen and the thing seems to have gone west.
15 November 2021 (Monday) - Late Shift
I had an early night last night hoping my stomach would settle. It didn’t. I woke at one o’clock and then saw every hour of the rest of the night.
I made some toast in the futile hope of settling my innards and sparked up my lap-top to see what had happened overnight. Last night I posted on the “Upstairs Downstairs” Facebook group. “Upstairs Downstairs” is a favourite TV show of mine despite it being so old, and talking of old, over the thirty years of history that the show covered, the characters never aged. I’d not really realised that before, and I pointed it out. A trivial little point, but my posting attracted a lot of comment; all positive and not a single negative bitter comment which so often plagues social media.
There were quite a few spoilers on-line about last night’s episode of “Doctor Who”. We were out last night when it aired, and didn’t think to watch it when we came home. I was on a late shift tonight, and tomorrow night (quite frankly) I really would rather watch “Bake Off”. Such a shame for someone who went to school with Doctor Who both figuratively and literally. Quite literally – one of the boys in our class thought he was Doctor Who. With “The Doctor” written on all his school books rather than his given name (to which he would not answer) I wonder what ever happened to him?
As I peered into the depths of the Internet so the letterbox rattled. A handful of junk mail. Estate Agents, fitness classes… Is physical junk mail still a thing? If nothing else it woke the dogs who both declared “Red Alert”.
I sent out a few birthday wishes, got dressed and drove round to the Skoda dealer. Not wanting the lip of the boot of the car to be scuffed up by dog claws I'd arranged to have a cover fitted over the paintwork bit today. I got to the garage, handed over my keys and took a seat. After fifteen minutes the nice lady asked if I knew that there was a recall notice that had been issued on my car. I didn't... Apparently the car needed a software update. So (feeling as though I had no choice) I agreed to let them get on with it. And I continued to sit and wait. And wait. When I was there last week the nice man said that the job would take about twenty minutes, and would be quicker if I could clean the paintwork first (which was what I'd done). After forty-five minutes the nice lady told me that the part they had ordered was the wrong part, and they would get another one. I booked another appointment for later in the week, and when the software update was finished (twenty more minutes later) I went home,
“er indoors TM” and I took the dogs out. We went to Great Chart where we did our usual walk from the cricket pavilion to the river and back, and Pogo utterly disgraced himself by incessantly barking at another dog. Fortunately that dog wasn't bothered, but I was; particularly when he was actively running away from me as I tried to restrain him. When I finally got him back on the lead he was incredibly subdued. He knew he'd been bad... So why did he do it?
Leaving “er indoors TM” and dogs at home I set off in the general direction of work, planning a route via "points of interest" Munzees. I need to Munz sixty of the things in this month's clan war. I got ten this morning which was something of a result.
I went to work via the petrol station. When I took my car to the garage earlier it had a range of a hundred and fifty miles. After the software update it had a range of seventy miles (that upgrade took a lot of fuel!). As I paid for the petrol I got myself lunch. The petrol station was selling vanilla flavoured diet coke. Who would have thought such things were possible? Have you ever tried vanilla flavoured diet coke? I can't say I was keen... For all that the stuff was something of a novelty, “er indoors TM” assures me I regularly get a bottle of vanilla flavoured diet coke and remark on how I don’t like the stuff.
And so to work for a rather busy late shift. It was… much the same as it ever was. But I enjoy it these days; for many years I didn’t.
As I type this so Pogo is snuggled up to me as close as he can get. He thinks I’m still cross with him…
Today was rather dull…
16 November 2021 (Tuesday) - Radar (!)
The dogs didn’t keep me up all night with their fidgeting but I still woke feeling rather grim. Almost as though the hangover I should have had on Sunday morning arrived two days late.
I made toast and watched an episode of “Big Mouth” as another COVID test incubated, then had my usual root about the Internet. As the lap-top eventually got itself going it told me that McAfee had something to say. I always though the McAfee thing was just an anti-virus but apparently it is much more. This morning it told me that my information was available on the dark web. There have (apparently) been breaches at myfitnesspal and Kickstarter. So if anyone wants to see my periodic attempts at dieting or wants to make charitable donations in my name I am powerless to stop them. Unless I change my passwords. Not that I can remember what those two passwords were…
Facebook was relatively quiet; someone who lives not too far from me was telling the Ashford Facebook page of the troubles they were having with their neighbours. I was rather glad to realise that it wasn’t just me who has a not-so-nice-next-door. Having made a concerted effort to get on with the neighbours (even offering to pay a thousand quid replacing her fence), I’ve given up trying. It is easier just to ignore her like she ignores me. Such a shame, really.
With no one having a birthday I had no birthday wishes to send, so I got ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing some windbag or other who was talking about how the NHS is facing the toughest winter in its history. No news there - every winter would seem to be the NHS's toughest; it always has been up till now. But today's prattling came up with something which hasn't been mentioned before. "NHS Providers" (whoever they are) is urging the government to offer cash bonuses of about five hundred quid to stop social care staff leaving for jobs in "hospitality, supermarkets, or online firms such as Amazon". It's good that someone in authority has realised this. Me - I've been saying it for years. Just think it through... on the one hand you can work at all hours of the night and day clearing up other people's shit (figuratively and literally) and risk being sacked without any references if you do anything wrong. Or you can work for more money doing a weekday nine-to-five and have evenings and weekends to yourself...
There was also talk about the Prime Minister's father who was accused of touching up Caroline Nokes, the Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North. Did he? Quite frankly I neither know nor care. I suppose it made for good gossip, but surely there were more pressing things in the news than an alleged goosing from ten years ago?
And it would seem that Science actually found Planet Nine years ago. I suppose back then Pluto was still a planet and this would have been Planet Ten (or in Roman numerals X) that science found… hence the confusion?
I planned my route to work via "points of interest" Munzees. I need to Munz sixty of the things in this month's clan war. I got eleven more this morning, and I've now got all that I need to get (until next month). I also had something of a shock too this morning.
As I drove an icon appeared on my car's display thingy - a cartoon depiction of two cars with what looked like an exclamation mark between them. Apparently this is the "front assist" warning. According to Skoda's website it is a collision-alert safety system monitoring the situation in front of the vehicle via radar. I suppose that when I saw the thing flash up, another car had just cut in front of me a bit sharpish. I didn't know my car had radar. As I read the article it would seem that the radar gives the car the ability to slam on the brakes itself if it thinks I'm driving like a lunatic. I wonder what else there is to find out about this car...
I got to work; there were chocolate rolls. Not cake, but not bad. Either way it was better than the carrot and pasta the dogs have just had for their dinner. They’ve each eaten all the pasta and left the carrot… until the other came to see what was left in the bowl then they scoffed the lot. Rather eat something you don’t like, than let your brother or sister have it…
17 November 2021 (Wednesday) - This n That
The dogs slept well last night, and when they sleep well, so does everyone else. I was rather pleased about that.
I made toast and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Big Mouth” which was rather good. I think I probably missed an awful lot of the jokes, but that is probably true of most American comedies. I then had a look at the Internet.
I had a message from some woman who wants to revisit dog licences. Last night she posted to one of the local Facebook groups. She’s started a petition suggesting that people undergo psychological testing before being allowed to have a dog. I made the mistake of commenting that it is a good idea in theory but somewhat impractical. Her post got no end of hate comments (as does pretty much everything posted to the Ashford Facebook groups). This woman wanted to answer my question and sesnt me a personal message, but again said a lot of impressive sounding things whilst not saying anything practical. How do you psychologically assess if someone should have a dog? Who would do it? How much would it cost? How easy would it be to blag the test?
There was also a frankly amazing posting to one of the work-based Facebook groups from someone in America. Having taken one of their departmental analysers apart (for some obscure reason) she was having trouble reassembling it. Could someone send photos of the innards of a working analyser so that they could see what goes where. Seriously? Is a service contract *that* expensive? The regulators would lay an egg if this happened in the UK.
I wandered down the road collecting gnome helmets (it’s a Munzee thing) as I wondered where I'd left the car, and was approached by a woman who was walking her dog. I say "walking her dog"; "being dragged by her dog" was a more accurate description. She recognised me having seen me out and about with my two hounds, and wanted to ask me how I got them to stop pulling on the lead. I didn't actually laugh out loud, but I couldn't help but wonder at what split second it was that she'd seen me *not* being dragged about by Pogo and Treacle.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the recent terrorist bombing in Liverpool. An awful lot was being made of how the bomber had converted from Islam to Christianity. I couldn't see how any religious conversion had any bearing on the matter. Have you ever read the Bible or the Koran? Both advocate (in spirit if not explicitly) *not* blowing people up. But I was wrong… religion has a major part to play with asylum seeking. Apparently many asylum seekers coming to the UK and pretend to become Christians. They can then claim they will be persecuted in the country from which they have fled… persecuted for the religion they didn’t have when they fled !! There was an interview with a vicar who was talking about how impatient the average asylum seeker is to get baptised.
I got to work. I did my bit. There was cake.
Just an average day in Paradise, really. And like any average day in Paradise I got an offer of free filth as I perused
Facebook on my phone at tea time. Heagneya Elisa
suggested that if I wanted a vulgar woman by my side
I might join her Whatsapp group as "everything
is free without money".
Also at tea time I made a phone call and sorted out a venue for the Kent Geocachers' New Year's Day event. In the past the new year's day event was one of the highlights of the geo-calendar, but much of the social side of geocaching died with lockdowns. There have been a few social events since formal meet-ups have been allowed again and the ones I've been to have been rather fun - two major hikes round London and an afternoon in the pub in Badlesmere. Hopefully we can get this going again, and with it re-start the hobby locally.
I did chuckle as I came home. When I filled the car with petrol on Monday at the filling station near work the display told me it had a range of four hundred and five miles before it would run out of petrol. Since then I have driven one hundred and twenty-eight miles as I went home and back to work two and a half times. The car now has a range of four hundred and thirty- five miles before it runs out of petrol. Driving over a hundred miles has used minus thirty quid’s worth of fuel.
“er indoors TM” is out with the dogs right now. I wonder if they are pulling? And I wonder what’s for dinner…
18 November 2021 (Thursday) - Fuel Gauges
I was wide awake from three o'clock this morning. I wish I hadn't been. It was rather nippy this morning; I was glad we'd got the bathroom heater fixed.
I made toast and scoffed it whilst watching what turned out to be the Christmas episode of "Big Mouth". The new series started well, but like most TV shows that get to season five it seems to be running out of steam. Today's episode was certainly the weakest so far. Much of it simply wasn't funny.
Finding myself up too early for anything much to have kicked off on Facebook I set off to work. I wandered down a rather dark road again collecting gnome helmets (It’s a Munzee thing), and got to my car who told me that it was only three degrees, and I should watch for icy roads. Rather ironic as the pundits on the radio were remarking on what a warm day it was.
The morning's radio focussed on yesterday's Prime Minister's questions in Parliament. Apparently Boris Johnson and Sir Kier Starmer had been squabbling like schoolchildren with the Speaker having to have words with the Prime Minister at one point. Is this any way to run a country? Various windbags on the radio were making mention of how few Conservative MPs had shown up to Parliament for Prime Minister's questions and this has been seen as a sign of how Boris Johnson is losing the support of his party. Is he? It has to be said he's not one of our better Prime Ministers, is he? But what other options do we have? Isn't it sad that in British politics we rarely get the best choice, just the least worst option.
There was also a lot of talk about the Government's proposals to prevent MPs from taking on second jobs. Bearing in mind the piss-poor turnout of MPs at yesterday's Prime Minister's questions you have to wonder why they weren't where the nation pays them to be. Where were they all, and just what were they all doing with their time? Were they actively showing their discontent with Boris Johnson, or doing something that paid better?
To be fair to some of the moonlighting MPs, someone was on the radio this morning saying that MPs are only elected for five years at a time and they need to keep up their professional skills for when they lose the next election. I suppose that's a valid point; they don't want to end up high and dry, do they?. I know that there's laws against me shoving off for five years and then just carrying on doing what I do as though nothing had happened. But how many of our MPs are keeping up professional skills, and how many are opportunistically selling their influence (as has been alleged)?
Just as I got to work so my phone beeped. My geocaching Community Celebration Event had been published. Stage Two of the New Year's Day plan was all circuits go.
I then got on with the early shift. It was quite exciting – I saw some trypanosomes. You don’t see those very often. In fact most people go their entire lives without seeing any.
I came home via the Skoda garage. On Monday they ordered the right part to protect the back of my car from Boot Dogs, and they fitted it this evening. Yesterday I mentioned about how my car's range until refuelling had gone up during this week. As I got to the garage this evening I saw it was still holding constant, and that the fuel gauge said I still had a full tank of petrol even though the trip meter said I’d done a hundred and eighty miles since re-fuelling on Monday. I had wondered if the sensor is a bit iffy and I’d had a look on-line. One or two of the Skoda forums seemed to think that you can do about a hundred and fifty miles on a full tank of petrol before the sensor wakes up. I asked the nice man at Skoda if he could have a look at the fuel tank sensor. He said it all appeared to be fine, and said that his Skoda usually does about two hundred miles before the fuel gauge drops below the “completely full” line.
Once home I put the leads and light-up collars onto the dogs and we had a little walk round the block. Two houses in Francis Road have got their Christmas decorations up already. That’s a bit keen.
The walk wasn’t one of our better ones. We didn’t have so much of an “episode”; more of a “Box Set including Christmas Special” as a local cat realised that its very existence was annoying the dogs and so it deliberately stalked our movements until I finally shouted a swear word at it.
I made a cuppa as I pootled on-line planning for New Year’s Day. As I did so I had a text telling me about a hospital appointment. I opened up the link and it told me all about an MRI scan on New Year’s Day that I had apparently agreed to by opening that link. Odd really as I thought I had an MRI scan at Canterbury tomorrow as a prelude to an appointment with the consultant in a couple of weeks’ time. I tried phoning the out-patients department but they had all gone home. I wonder if this means tomorrow’s appointment is cancelled? Oh well… I shall drive to Canterbury in the morning and either spend my time with the MRI people or with the complaints department. Over the last few years I only seem to get anything done at the local hospital by going through the complaints department…
I’m getting a little bit fed up with this…
19 November 2021 (Friday) - CT Scan
I wasn’t allowed anything to eat or drink this morning so I skipped the telly and went straight to the Internet. As always my Facebook feed was filled with posts of dead dogs. I’ve joined a few dog-related pages on there, and more and more postings are from people saying that their dog died. The dog sites are supposed to be fun, and they are just depressing. I then had another little melt-down about Fudge (I get those most days).
There were also a few people trying to sell milk shakes on-line as some sort of a diet. The same thing was supposed to aid in weight loss and weight gain. How does that work?
I then spent a little while going through my emails and unsubscribing from all the emails that I just delete unopened. There were quite a few. I also saw I had an email from SpecSavers telling me it was time for my eye test. Bearing in mind I had a week off sick with double vision after their last effort, did they really think I would be going back to them?
And so off on a journey I used to take quite a lot. I worked at the Kent and Canterbury hospital for quite a few years and the A28 was never a good road. With speed limit changing every mile or so (and no one taking any notice of it) there were still just as many temporary traffic lights along its length. And the junction of the A28 with the A252 was as horrendous as ever. But I saw that the relevant authorities have taken steps. There were signs up saying that the junction has a poor record for traffic collisions. I read that as saying “We know there is a problem and we are ignoring it”. And the roads round Nunnery Fields were every bit as bad as I remembered them.
I got to the car park which I could always remember as being full to capacity with queues to get in, and was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of spaces. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that my car’s fuel gauge had started working. With the trip reader telling me I’d gone two hundred miles since re-fuelling, the fuel gauge needle had finally moved off of the “full” level and the range it felt it could do until re-fuelling had dropped..
It wasn’t long before I was in the waiting area for the CT scan department. There were two or three patients, and half a dozen hangers-on (as is always the way). I sat and read my Kindle app until I was called in. Or “out” to be precise. The nice lady called my name, told me I was hers (result!) and took me outside to a large shipping container in the car park. The CT scanner (and two more members of staff) were in this container. (I’ve noticed that quite a few hospitals have the CT scanners in shipping containers outside. Why is that?)
I confirmed who I was, answered a few questions and laid down on the scanner’s bed thingy. The nice radiographer stuck a needle in my arm, injected something or other, and the CT scanner made a noise like an arthritic helicopter. Just at the point when I thought the machine was going to do explode it suddenly stopped, and the nice lady told me that it was all done and that I could go home.
I don’t honestly know what I was expecting from a CT scan, but quite frankly I had been expecting more, and was rather disappointed. I made all the staff laugh when I told them so.
Co-incidentally Facebook reminded me that I had a CT scan five years ago yesterday. Looking back I think that was something of an anti-climax too.
I came home and collected the dogs and we drove down to Orlestone Woods. Pogo had a few woofing fits. One was at some dogs in the distance; the others were barking for barking’s sake. I wish he wouldn’t do that. But the protective rubber strip over the back bumper seemed to do the trick. Paw prints are now on that and not on the paintwork.
We came home and by the time I’d fiddled about and made toast the morning was gone. I had a quick shower and went off to bed for the afternoon. I slept as well as I could with a dog snoring on either side.
After a few hours I got up and caught up with CPD. I rather suspect I do far too much of the stuff, but I’d rather do too much than not enough. Every year five per cent of blood testers have their CPD efforts formally reviewed, and I live in terror of that happening to me.
“er indoors TM” will be home soon. I’m hoping she will boil up some dinner, then I am off to the night shift. I expect I’ll go via Sainsbury’s as shower gel, peanut butter and red wine doesn’t buy itself.
I wonder if I will get into an argument with one of “The Terrified” again. Have you ever been to a supermarket at about eight o’clock in the evening recently? They are full of people who are so scared of the germ-riddled world that they really should do all their shopping on-line… if only they weren’t too thick to actually do it. (Harsh? Possibly. Fed up with them? Definitely!)
20 November 2021 (Satuday) - Bit Tired
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about the ongoing illegal immigrant crisis. Apparently a thousand illegal immigrants came ashore across the Kent coast this week, and the Prime Minister is said to be “exasperated” as the Home Secretary is coming up with scheme after scheme which fails to stem the tide of rubber dinghies rocking up on the beaches. There was an interview with a rather nasty-sounding woman on the radio this morning who described watching the refugees come ashore every day. Given her way she would have set mines a mile out to sea… and sadly that is the attitude of most people. I don’t know what the solution to the problem is…but how about seeing asylum seekers as less of a problem and more of an opportunity? Let them work for the benefits they get?… Most of them do already (I work with some!). Why doesn’t the media show the hard-working refugees doing the jobs that so many Brits simply won’t do?
As I got closer to home I rather got sick of the narrow-minded jingoism on the radio and pressed the button to call up Radio Ashford. It called up a *lot* of interference. I had to get surprisingly close to home before I could hear Steve on the radio. And I did wonder why my car didn’t see him as “Radio Ashford”; it just came up with “107.1”. All the other radio stations come up with a name on the display and a little picture too. Is that something the radio station transmits or something the car does?
I got home and went to bed for the morning where I slept for a couple of hours. Once I woke “er indoors TM” set off to deliver stuff from the lock-up to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. While she was out I did the ironing whilst watching the second season of “Tiger King”; five episodes with the main protagonist still in prison took some doing. It was an odd show really. Pretty much everyone involved in the show was either trying to kill everyone else or suing everyone else for trying to kill them.
“er indoors TM” returned with a bone each for the dogs from “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. I’m not keen on the dogs having bones; they are allowed them with one of us holding the bone to strictly supervise them. After half an hour’s chewing we decided enough was enough, but I was a split second faster in taking Pogo’s than “er indoors TM” was in taking Treacle’s. Treacle thought Pogo was going to have hers and a rather nasty quarrel ensued. I wish they wouldn’t do that.
“er indoors TM” is boiling up what smells like a rather good bit of dinner. I might crack open that bottle of red wine I bought in Sainsbury’s last night…
Like most days after a night shift, today was oh-so-dull. Today was also granddaughter’s birthday. Back in the day we’d all go out for dinner. These days she goes out with her boyfriend…
21 November 2021 (Sunday) - Badlesmere
Despite a rather vivid dream in which Jose persuaded us to take a day trip to Canada I slept for over nine hours list night. I sleep well after night shifts, but they clearly mess with my head; why else would I have thought that I could have started up a bureau de change in Vancouver selling seventy-five pence for a quid? To be fair it would have been a nice little earner.
I made toast and rolled my eyes as I read Facebook. Someone living locally had another car bash into her parked car yesterday and was asking if anyone had any dashcam footage of what had happened. She also offered whoever it was who did it the chance to own up before going to the police. Whilst having your car damaged isn’t fun, this woman did herself no favours. Why wait a day or so for Facebook to pass its judgement before going to the police… And then I remembered my endless ranting of the past. This is Kent police isn’t it… the same lot who told me not to waste police time by formally complaining when they arrested and imprisoned an innocent member of my family with no evidence whatsoever. I doubt Kent police would do anything with dashcam footage. I saw the dashcam footage that they were given when “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” ‘s father was run over by a car going through a red traffic light. If they refused to do anything over that, I can’t see them getting off their arse for a bashed wing mirror.
I programmed “Hannah” then got ready for the day. We drove up to Kings Wood. Hoping to meet with Tracey, Karl and Charlotte, we met with disaster. The car park at Kings Wood can sometimes be a bit busy but once we get a few hundred yards from the car park we can walk miles without seeing anyone. But this morning we not only found the car park full with stalls but there were cars up and down the lanes for as far as the eye could see. Apparently today was an annual triathlon event. Even if we had managed to park the cars, the woods would have been filled with runners. I would have thought that the organisers might have publicised their intention to monopolise the woods; if only to let the likes of us know to go somewhere else.
Fortunately Badlesmere wasn’t too far up the road so we drove a few miles and wandered round exploring (as we do). Starting from the Red Lion there are some wonderful walks to be had there. And there’s not too much in the way of hills either. There are pheasants everywhere though, which can be a problem. But the dogs got to be off of their leads for much of the way, and we had a very good walk. The weather was odd though. We sat and had a really good picnic lunch, but an hour later we sat in the beer garden at the Red Lion and shivered. How can the temperature change so quickly?
I took a few photos as we walked. Once home I showed them to the world, and we had a cuppa with scones, jam and cream. Very nice. Pogo snuggled up to me and I then snored for an hour or so in front of the telly.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching tonight’s episode of “Doctor Who” which was a lot better than what has gone before in the current series and was a lot better than anything the show has put out for a few years. I want to like it…
22 November 2021 (Monday) - Bit Dull
I slept like a log until “er indoors TM” and the dogs came to bed shortly after midnight, Ninety per cent of the duvet then went east and once Treacle finally settled so the torrential rain started. After several concerted attempts to reclaim some duvet I eventually gave up trying to sleep and got up.
As I do most mornings I made toast, watched whatever I was following on Netflix (this morning an episode of “Big Mouth”) then sparked up my lap-top to see what the Internet was doing. It was still there. The piccies I’d posted of yesterday’s walk had got quite a few likes. I was rather interested to see a colleague had taken her family to a chocolate-making day-out-thingy. That looked like fun.
There was a post from the moderator of a Sparks-related Facebook group who (following a petty squabble yesterday) was saying that he had better things to do than babysit a Facebook group 24/7. Whilst I sympathise with the sentiment, the way to run a good Facebook group is with a rod of iron. With so many keyboard warriors looking for a fight, make it crystal clear that people should play nicely.
I saw that the new series of geocaches I created a couple of weeks ago had been visited over the weekend and had been given some favourite points (which was nice). I also saw that three of them didn’t get found (which was not so nice). Have they gone missing already? Seriously?
I had a quick Munz and was rather pleased to see that I’ve done all I need to do for the month’s clan war (team game) and all the team goals have been achieved. All that remains are for one or two others to complete their individual requirements. A good bit of silliness achieved again!
I did smile at the weather forecast as I drove to work. As my windscreen wipers were frantically trying to clear the rain so the weather forecasters were talking about a dry day for everyone. Sometimes I wonder if they might just stick their heads out of the window to see what the weather is actually doing before making idiots of themselves.
As I left home the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Shadow Minister for Health who was finding no end of fault with the government's social care and health policies whist flatly refusing to come up with any better suggestions of his own. The "vote for me because the others are crap" argument only works when the others are demonstrably more crap than you are.
Sadly there wasn't much else of note on the radio this morning. I listened to it for forty minutes on the way to work, and can remember nothing of what was said. Mind you the display on the car’s radio did have a funny five minutes. The setup button flashed green, the pre-set station list moved across to the right and the thing called up the setup screen all on its own. I wonder what that was all about?
Work was work. Not a bad day really, but it would have been better if there was cake. there were biscuits, but they aren't the same.
And with work done I came home. As I do. “er indoors TM” set off bowling and I slobbed in front of the telly watching a couple of episodes of “Good Girls” as my stomach ached. It’s been doing that since the curry of a week ago…
Today was on the dull side…
23 November 2021 (Tuesday) - Matilda
Treacle thought I didn’t see her in the darkness as she quietly sneaked into the warm spot I left in the bed as I got up. I made brekkie and watched the last episode of the current series of “Big Mouth”. Apparently it has been renewed for another season.
I then spent a few minutes stalking someone on-line. Yesterday I found a list of famous people who went to my old school. There were twenty people on that list of whom I’d heard of two. Interestingly the one who had been an MP for Brighton and must have been in my year at school rang no bells whatsoever, but I think I walked to school once or twice with the chap who was the British ambassador to Kazakhstan; he lived twenty doors down the road from where I used to live. He’s apparently now retired.
Other than endless adverts for stuff which in the past would have been given to the scouts’ jumble sale there was very little of note on Facebook this morning so I sent out four birthday wishes and I got myself ready for work… thinking of the ambassador who has retired. I don’t dislike my job. I really do like it. But… after working full time for forty years and two months (and in various part time jobs for three years before that) I think I might like to retire.
It was particularly nippy as I walked to the car this morning, and as I drove off through a bright (if cold) morning so the weather forecaster was drivelling on about showers in the South East which never came.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how Prince Charles had opened a major new Astro-Zeneca facility. They got the bit about Prince Charles right, but the chap conducting the interview get pretty much every other aspect of virology and immunology wrong. You'd think they'd spend a few minutes priming hm before the interview, wouldn't you?
There was also a lot of abuse directed at the Prime Minister over his rather abysmal speech which he gave to business leaders yesterday. A clip of it was played on the radio; it was painful to hear.
And some vicar or other seemed to think that no matter how difficult a life an abused child or an asylum seeker had, Jesus had it worse, and was somehow attempting to claim a moral high ground that no one else was claiming.
Work was much the same as ever until the early afternoon . As I was putting blood into the blood bank (awaiting collection to take to one of the wards) so I met a new colleague. "Matilda" is a self-directed cleaning robot. Inadvertently I'd got in the way, and it (she?) said hello, cracked a joke, and waited for me to move before carrying on cleaning the corridor.
There are those who worry about the rise of the machines. Personally if I was a self-aware robot bent on world domination I wouldn't start off scrubbing my corridor.
Getting home took some doing; the motorway was rather busy and the roads locally were heaving. Pausing only briefly to argue with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” I had a little look on eBay at Lego maxifigures and got a couple of bargains. The price of those things is amazing – the stuff which is commonplace can be ridiculously expensive; if you look carefully the obscure parts can be picked up ridiculously cheaply… when I get bored I might just post up a piccie of what to look for in Lego maxifigures – if only so that my loyal readers know what to get me for a pressie…
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and we cracked open a bottle of plonk to wash it down as we watched the “Bake Off” final. Starting watching twenty minutes after the start of the show we could fast-forward through the adverts. Or we could have done had the Sky-Q box recorded the show.
We’ll try again on the +1 channel in half an hour…
24 November 2021 (Wednesday) - Red Alert
Over brekkie I watched the last episode of “Good Girls”. For a show which seemed to lose its way toward the end, the last episode was rather good up until the last five minutes then ended leaving me thinking “WTF was that all about?”
As I watched so another COVID test incubated. This one was negative. I would say “as usual” but with much of the family currently testing positive I did wonder how it would turn out. The entire family (except me) had something big planned for Friday; that’s cancelled now. Such a shame.
I had my usual root around the internet. Not a lot was happening on social media. I had an email to say that someone had liked the Wherigo I intend to archive in a week or so. I had an email from Credit Karma saying that I was paying far too much for my car loan, and offered me the chance to get a cheaper loan. All of their offers of cheaper loans were about thirty quid a month more than I am paying now.
An ex-colleague was having a birthday. I sent her the usual birthday video and saw one or two other ex-colleagues had sent her birthday wishes too. This left me in something of a pensive mood; for many years I spent more time with these people than I did my own family. Now I haven’t seen any of them for over ten years, and I could be dead for all any of them know.
I wandered up the road to where I’d left the car last night, and set off to work. As I drove out of Ashford the pundits on the radio were talking about “Soccer Without Borders”l an initiative to help girls and young women across the world play football. Personally I can’t stand the sport, but there really are great swathes of the planet where women are forbidden to play football. When I was a lad I had such high hopes for the future, and instead we seem to be on the verge of a new Dark Age.
They then wheeled on the Labour MP Yvette Cooper who was talking about the government’s failure to address the armada of dinghies carrying refugees across the channel. Whilst she was right in saying that something needed to be done, despite being given ample opportunity to do so, she suggested absolutely nothing herself either as her own idea or as Labour party policy. That’s twice this week that Labour MPs have rubbished the government whilst having nothing of their own to offer instead.
Then it was time for “Thought for the Day” which was frankly laughable. The vicar blathering the platitudes today started off his spiel by likening God to a midwife, he then waffled several disjointed and utterly unconnected sentences, then made the assertion that since everyone loves midwives, that makes his God really really brill and trif.
I got to work and did my bit. And as is so often the case I again got more evidence for the careers advice that I offer to children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and anyone who will listen. My advice is simple; never take on a job that has “Red Alerts”; they are never as exciting as they appear on the telly. If today’s job was an episode of “Star Trek” we would have had a lot of Klingons on the view screen. If today’ job was an episode of “Doctor Who” we would have had Daleks all over the shop.
Having got our emergency to the stage where I felt confident to hand it over, I headed home (only a few minutes late getting out) and again seemed to spend as long driving round the local roads looking for a parking space as I did driving the twenty-five miles from Maidstone to Ashford.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Taskmaster”. It was very good, but like so many shows it features no end of celebrities who seem to be famous for being on that sort of show.
I then had a little look at the monthly accounts. I’m nowhere near as skint as I was a few years ago. Amazingly the old car was costing me more each month for road tax than the new car costs for a whole year.
And then I had a message. Could I do the night shift tomorrow night? I suppose so…
25 November 2021 (Thursday) - Not on the Early Shift
As I scoffed my brekkie I peered into the Internet (as I do) and saw several of the same sort of advert on many of the Lego-related Facebook sites. One of them read “So I have 4 lego harry potter calenders left due to timewasters and holding them for people who suddenly then ghost me” and the others were in the same vein. All ended with a little tirade about how the Advent Calendars (which had been bought to make a profit) are now being sold at a loss. It would seem that in the past there has been quite the market in selling Lego Advent Calendars but now people are asking themselves why they should pay over the odds for something they can buy themselves direct from Amazon. And those who have made profit this way in the past have been left high and dry.
There was someone else asking what was the best way to take payment for second-hand Lego as they felt that Paypal was taking too much of a slice of their profit. There really is a growth industry in selling Lego. Perhaps this is a bandwagon on which I might jump?
The plan for today had been to do the early shift but what with a colleague’s children going COVID-positive (I have grandchildren that have done that!) I was asked to do the night shift. I don’t mind doing nights… I get the day time to walk the dogs.
We walked seemingly miles to where I’d left the car and set off. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about who the guest editors of the morning news program will be over the Christmas period. Every year when everyone else is on holiday and I’m still working, the morning news show is hijacked by various people of whom I have never heard, all of whom have their own personal agendas to push. It would seem this year is no different – I’ve only heard of one of the people they’ve got lined up – and I thought he died years ago.
They also rather worried me when it was announced that the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport didn’t realise that TV’s Channel 4 wasn’t publicly funded.
We got to Brook. A couple of weeks ago I hid several Wherigo caches over that way. Over the weekend I’d had reports that three of them had gone missing. Two of them would seem to have disappeared; one was still there.
With caches located or replaced we then had a rather good walk. It was amazing just how muddy the area had become in a couple of weeks, but the dogs seemed to like the walk. And they didn’t seem to mind the bath they had to have when we got home. Both mud and fox poo had to be scrubbed away.
Just as we were settling down so there was a sound at the door. The postman had delivered a couple of letters and the dogs were going berserk. The commotion seemed to be lasting for far too long so I went out to see what was going on. Postie was standing right at the door seeming to be deliberately provoking the dogs. As I chased the dogs into the living room so postie hurried away. I opened the door to see postie actually running down the street. Had he been deliberately provoking them? It would seem so.
The postman had brought a letter from the local hospital. Apparently there was some issue with some CPAP machines in which they would overheat if used in tropical climates. The hospital wondered if I had one of those, and also wondered if I could give them a ring as they had absolutely no information on exactly which model of CPAP they’d given me. However the phone number they gave me went to an answer machine which told me it was unable to take any messages. I’ll try again tomorrow.
I made a cuppa and logged what I’d done on our walk the geo-website. If I don’t do that I only have people whinging at me about it, then I spent a little while copying old CDs onto the USB music stick I use in the car. The old car’s MP3 player was rather special and didn’t recognise half of what was on the stick. I’m hoping the new one MP3 player will.
I watched a couple of episodes of the new season of “F is for Family” then went to bed for the afternoon. Despite having a hot water bottle, I shivered. Have you ever tried to sleep during the afternoon? I am always *so* cold. Perhaps if I had hoiked Treacle off of the hot water bottle things might have been better?
After a few hours of shivering I got up and did the final on-line preparations for the New Years’ Day geo-event. That’s pretty much ready to go now. Rather than going for an extremely muddy walk we’ll play a couple of Wherigos at Frog’s Island then walk round to the Riverside for a pint.
I’m hoping that “er indoors TM” will be home soon to sort some dinner, then I shall be off to work.
I wonder if that MP3 stick will work?
26 November 2021 (Friday) - Bit Tired
I got some petrol last night before work. The old car was good for five trips to work and back (plus a bit of driving here and there) on a full tank of petrol. This car did eight trips. The range thingy said it still had a hundred and thirty-five miles before it would conk out, but the trip meter said I'd done four hundred and seventy miles since I'd filled it the last time, and once I'd filled it, it said I had a range of four hundred miles. I wonder if there's a way to get it to re-set the range estimating software?
I did my bit on the night shift and with my bit done I went out to the car park where the car was waiting... and realised that it is now "the car" and not "the new car". Today marks four weeks since I got it and in that time we've gone for many dog walks and brought back the mud and fox poo which goes with a dog walk. I've done a tip run, and endless house-moving runs for “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. We've been to Kwik-Fit to get one of the tyres sorted, and even had a software update. It has lost the "new car" smell and now has a faint whiff of wet dog and fox poo; which is as it should be.
I drove home through a rather dark and dismal morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting their usual brand of drivel. This morning they were talking about the latest row between the British and French governments. The specifics of the row are immaterial, but the French Premier in absolutely right when he says “You don’t communicate via tweets and open letters”. Boris Johnson seems to be taking the lead from that idiot Donald Trump. Clearly Boris Johnson is more interested in appealing to the electorate via Twitter than he is in achieving international diplomacy.
When the whole COVID thing blew up Boris Johnson appeared on telly seeming very statesman-like. He had the chance to firmly lead the nation and be a latter-day Churchill. It seems he’s deliberately thrown it all away. Is he *really* the incompetent idiot that he seems to pretend to be?
And talking of COVID there is another strain on the way. By all reports a nasty one. Is it? When COVID was first announced I was incredibly sceptical since the end of the world had been announced so many times before. A couple of years ago I was wrong. COVID *was* serious. So… what about this new strain. A serious concern or more media scaremongering?
I got home, said goodbye to “er indoors TM” as she went out, had a shower, then poured a whole load of drain unblocker down the plughole and went to bed. Two minutes later the dogs came up and made themselves comfortable on me, and we all slept till mid-day when I flushed the drain unblocker jollop away. The plughole seemed to flow rather better than it had been doing.
I set the washing machine going on some shirts, and seeing a break in the rain I took the dogs for a quick walk round the roads. I wasn’t going to go far as the sky looked black. The woods were out as we’d got filthy yesterday and we’d had a lot of rain since. We had a really good walk up until we got home. I unlocked the front door, opened it, and was about to let the dogs in; we have this thing where the first dog to sit gets to go in first. It sounds daft but they both seem to understand the game. It was at this point that some odd woman who had been walking her dogs down the road loudly announced that they were going to say “hello” and marched up our front path. Pogo and Treacle hadn’t seen her coming and were suddenly confronted with a stranger and two large dogs on their territory and bearing down on them.
The idiot woman had no idea what she had done wrong…
I made a bit of late brekkie, then spent the afternoon ironing whilst watching episodes of “Four in a Bed” in which the pretentious prats were trounced by the decent contestants.
As I ironed and watched telly so the phone rang. Some shyster was trying to get me to take out a service contract on my Sky-Q box. I say “my” Sky-Q box; it is Sky’s Sky-Q box. I owned the old Sky-Plus box and so if it went belly-up it was my problem. However one of the selling points of the Sky-Q box is that it is theirs, and if it goes west it is their problem. After a little farting around I got through to Dan in their help centre who assured my that Sky did in fact own the Sky-Q box which was on loan to me.
The postman then arrived with my latest eBay bargain. Twelve quid for a job lot of Lego. At least four of the bits in that job lot were worth twelve quid each; it pays to shop around.
I could have gone out this evening. The Rear Admiral’s band was playing in one of the pubs in the town centre. I thought about going… but it is cold and wet outside. And I’m feeling tired after the night shift. And going to see any live music in a local pub always goes the same way. You meet up with a load of friends but can’t hear a word they say and end up spending the fat end of fifty quid to get a headache. Instead we slobbed in front of the telly.
Time for an early night…
27 November 2021 (Saturday) - It Rained
Apart from a trip to the loo in the small hours I slept for ten hours last night, and woke to the sounds of Pogo having a nightmare. He was squeaking and making the most odd noises. I lay awake for a few minutes listening to him and to the sound of the rain against the window, then got up and made brekkie.
As I scoffed my toast I had a little look-see into the Internet. It was still there. I sent out a couple of birthday wishes then had my usual rummage round Facebook. Someone claiming to be Ashford-based was selling Lego on one of the local groups. Used and unboxed sets for not much more than you can get the things new and boxed on Amazon. Someone else was selling a job lot collection-only in East Sussex. I sent a message asking what was in the job lot but heard nothing back. I’m not sure how I get all these adverts in my Facebook feed as I’ve turned all the selling notifications off.
Other than the adverts and a few whinges about the bad weather there wasn’t much happening on Facebook. I had a few emails telling me that three people had visited some of my Wherigos yesterday. Rather than using the “found it” logs to comment on how much time and effort I’d put in to creating the software, there were gripes about how the paper logs were wet and they weren’t going to keep replacing them for me. I composed a little reply but thought better of sending it. In theory it is up to the person who hid the geocache to replace a wet paper log. In practice if you find a wet log you can replace it in less time than it takes to type out a report that it is wet. And you can get ten paper logs from one sheet of A4 paper, and you can get two thousand sheets of A4 paper for less than ten quid. So… you can replace the logs in every geocache I have ever found, have over six thousand strips of paper left, and still have change out of a tenner. My last package from NE Geocaching supplies (for the camo tape and the plastic bags for the paper logs) cost me over thirty quid.
As I have said before, there are those that give to the hobby and there are those that take.
I got dressed in something of a sulking mood. I had such high hopes for what was only my second full weekend off since July, but the rain outside was torrential. I went up to the attic room and had a little sort-out of the Lego I’ve been buying recently. As always when buying second-hand Lego, with every bit that is worth having are a dozen bits that no one really want or needs. After an hour or so I made up another dozen more maxi-figures including three yellow-bodies ones, and quite a few red-headed ones. I really need to count up how many more hands I need (those are what I am missing). I suppose that (like rummaging under rocks for film pots), obscure Lego from fifty years ago isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it keeps me happy (or if not happy, not ranting about trivia).
Seeing a break in the rain, “er indoors TM” and I took the dogs round the block for a little walk. We didn’t go far, and other than having a poo (not me!), not a lot happened on the walk, which was for the best.
“er indoors TM” then went into town to post a parcel. Back in the day when the Post Office was in the business of posting letters and parcels there was a little post office just up the road in the corner shop. But now they are in the business of making a profit we have to go into town to send a parcel. I say “we”; I let “er indoors TM” go on her own. She wanted to go round all the shops and I would rather stay at home with the dogs. I suppose that’s just as well; after all what are dogs for if not to be with?
I spent an hour or so trying to get the telly to pick up Pluto TV (since that’s where Star Trek: Discovery is to be broadcast in the UK) but the telly wasn’t having any of it. I downloaded the Pluto TV app to my phone and couldn’t find Star Trek on Pluto TV either there or on the lap-top either so perhaps I’m not missing out after all?
With the rain showing no sign of abating I played “Cookie Jam” on Facebook Games until “er indoors TM” came home. She boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the sixth “Harry Potter” film and washed it down with a bottle of plonk.
Not a bad evening but the rest of the day was rather dull.
28 November 2021 (Sunday) - So Cold.
I slept like a log right up to when my phone beeped with a text message from work reminding me to take a COVID test. I sent the relevant department a rather pointed email saying that bearing that this is only my second complete weekend off work since July, is it too much to ask to not be woken far too early on a Sunday morning.
Finding myself awake I got up and did another (negative) COVID test, then made brekkie and had a look at the Internet.
There was more consternation about the Prime Minister’s announcement (yesterday) that in response to the new COVID variant, people coming in to the UK will be required to take a PCR test on the second day in the UK and then self-isolate and self-test until they get a negative result. Self isolate… having been squashed like sardines through a crowded airport and shuttle coach to their car or taxi? And masks are again compulsory in shops but not pubs or restaurants. I’m not belittling the crisis at all, but my concern with the mask-wearing is that it lulls people into a false sense of security. Find a vaping friend and have them take a suck on the vape, pull up a mask (correctly fitting from bridge of nose to under the chin) and then have them breath out normally. You will see clouds of vapour coming out in all directions. Admittedly a lot more vapour than in a normal breath, but this will visualise where the normal breath goes, and it is this which would be carrying virus. The mask contains coughs and sneezes, but I’d question how much reduction to viral spreading they do for people who are breathing normally.
I played “Cookie Jam” on Facebook games as “er indoors TM” got ready. We’d decided that today was going to be too cold, too windy and too muddy for a long walk so we settled the dogs and went to visit parents.
Getting out of Ashford took some doing. The road we would normally use to avoid the outlet centre was closed, and the traffic was queued up in all directions to get in to the place. Have you ever been to the MacArthur Glen outlet centre in Ashford? You can see the place from our attic window and I’ve not been there for two years. There is nothing that they sell that I can’t get from Amazon, but the public love it.
Pausing only briefly in Ham Street for geocachical reasons we were soon in Hastings. First of all we called in to see Dad who seemed well. He showed us his mouse traps – he caught a mouse in his kitchen on Thursday. Just the one, and since then there hasn’t been any tell-tale signs (mouse turds) but he’s got traps ready.
From there we went on to mother-in-law. She too seemed OK not having fallen off of any more ladders recently (!) Sister-in-law and nephews were also about, and “er indoors TM” chatted with them whilst I found myself engrossed in the snooker which was on the telly.
Once home we took the dogs round the block. As we’d sat with parents I’d been glancing out of the window at the bright day and wondering why we’d cancelled our planned walk. After thirty seconds of our dog walk my nose was running and I was shivering. Today was a bright day, but oh, it was cold!!
With walk walked we had a cuppa and a Belgian bun and with a near-Herculean effort I managed to organise a family pre-Christmas dinner. Finding a day that everyone could make took some doing.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we watched whilst watching tonight’s episode of “Doctor Who”. Unlike quite a lot of people we are still watching the show. Over the last few weeks I’ve been rather scathing about it, and I think I’ve worked out why. Leaving aside the fact that I can’t warm to any of the main characters, the writers are trying too hard. Back in the day Doctor Who specialised in the hero averting rather simple minor disasters. But since the re-boot every season tries to out-do the previous in scale of disaster to be averted and complexity of incomprehensible plot. And (apart from yet another end of the universe) does anyone know what was going on?
Having said that, there was a lot of nods to what had gone before in tonight’s show. I quite liked the reference to the War Machines which I suspect went over the heads of the vast majority of viewers. I suspect that the viewers of today’s show would laugh at the simplicity of the props used in the War Machines, but back then the writers knew the special effects weren’t up to much so they had a decent story instead.
29 November 2021 (Monday) - Sorting the DNFs
I slept like a log. Over brekkie I sparked up the lap-top as I do, and sent out a couple of birthday wishes. Judging by the lack of anything much of note on social media it would seem that I hadn’t been alone in having had something of a dull weekend. There was quite a bitter tirade on one of the Hastings Old Town Facebook pages; apparently over the weekend there had been a two-minute silence for the asylum seekers who had recently drowned, and quite a few people had posted racial hatred about it on that page. The page’s moderator had a little rant saying how shocked and surprised she was. I was tempted to point out that had she ever done any moderating of that page she wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest but thought better of commenting.
I had a quick fight with GSAK (it’s a geocaching thing) and got myself ready for this morning’s mission. Having had reports of missing geocaches in Kings Wood I found out which ones needed a look-see. And as is always the case, the two which needed my attention was one which was about as far from the car park as was possible to get on the north edge of the wood, and one which was right down on the south edge.
We went out to the car to find that winter had officially arrived. The start of winter is the first time when I have to scrape ice from the car’s windows, and that was today. With ice scraped we drove through rush hour traffic up to Kings Wood where we had a very good (if cold) walk. It would have been too cold for a proper geocaching outing with all the stopping and starting that would entail. And it would have been too cold for poor Fudge who used to dawdle at a snail’s pace. But Treacle and Pogo ran about like mad things and didn’t seem too bothered by the frost. In fact the only problem was that they were thirsty and the puddles were frozen over. But Pogo soon worked out how to stamp through the ice.
As we walked we met four and a half other groups of dog walkers, and each encounter passed off without incident. We all had a little sniff and kept going which was for the best. The half of a group of dog walkers was one chap whose dog had disappeared into the woods. I did sympathise; Fudge once vanished for an hour in those woods in pursuit of heaven only knows what.
Our plan was geo-maintenance. The cache at the north of the woods was clearly missing which was odd. It was definitely there when I walked past it two months ago. We popped a new one out. The cache at the south of the woods wasn’t missing. I found it right away which was also odd as three other people had logged that they couldn’t find it. I wonder what was going on there.
I took a few photos as we walked – it was rather pretty today. a bright winter’s day can be very pretty, if very cold.
With walk walked we came home, and within minutes both dogs were curled up and fast asleep. I then had a look at my in-box to plan our next geo-maintenance walk. Every time someone logs a “Did Not Find” on a geocache that I’ve hidden an email goes into a specific folder in my in-box so I know if there are any issues. This morning there were sixteen such emails (I’d not looked at that folder for a couple of weeks which was remiss of me!). Five of them were about the two caches I sorted today. Four were about the ones that we sorted last Thursday. Five were on ones that other people have found in the meantime (and so don’t need me to do anything). All that I have left to sort are two possible issues on my “Out In The Sticks”. Needless to say these two are at opposite sides of a six-mile circular walk. Still, never mind. I created the series with dogs in mind and sorting the issues might make for a dog walk next weekend (weather and mud permitting).
I filled a hot water bottle and went to bed for the afternoon. Why is it the bed is so cold during the daytime? When “er indoors TM” is having a kip she doesn’t realise the dogs sneak under the covers with her. They know I won’t have it though, and don’t try with me. Instead they lie on top of the duvet on either side of me and pin me down. I managed a few hours sleep, then spent half a rather claustrophobic hour being utterly unable to move.
I’m hoping “er indoors TM” will be home soon to boil up some dinner, then I’m off to the night shift.
And in closing, today marks five years since we got Treacle and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” got Pogo…
30 November 2021 (Tuesday) - Bit Tired
As I drove home from the night shift the pundits on the radio were interviewing the head of MI6 who apparently goes by the code-name of “C”. The interview lasted from pretty much all of my drive home from Maidstone and was frankly something of a disappointment. Apparently MI6 does have a “Q-Branch” but any special gadgets they use aren’t made by their boffins but are bought in. And if anyone in MI6 gets a memo on green ink, then that memo has come directly from “C”. “C” himself likes the James Bond films but took great pains to point out that James Bond is seriously in the realms of fiction. He was rather reticent about exactly what it is that MI6 actually does. I got the impression that he didn’t want to cause widespread panic by admitting that there really are evil super-villains in hollowed-out volcanoes planning world domination.
Once home I had a quick scrub then went to bed for a few hours; waking to find a snoring Pogo with his head on my shoulder and his nose in my ear.
We went for a quick walk round the block; a good walk with no “episodes” at all. It was only a shame that when the normal people stopped to fuss the dogs, whilst Pogo was up for the attention Treacle cowered away in obvious terror. Twice. She really is a nervous little dog.
With walk walked we came home, and I set the dishwasher and washing machine going and spent the afternoon wrapping chrimbo pressies whilst watching episodes of “Four in a Bed”. Today’s episodes featured a particularly vindictive woman. If two contestants rate the cleanliness of a bed & breakfast at ten out of ten, how can the third rate it at four out of ten with any conviction?
It was late afternoon before I got round to having my usual trawl of the Internet. I had a dozen notification on Facebook; none for anything of note. Credit Karma told me that several people had been checking my creditworthiness, but clicking to find more details (like they suggested) achieved nothing.
I finally got through to the CPAP machine people at the hospital. I say “got through”; I was able to leave a message for them as their answerphone was taking messages (which it hadn’t been since late last week). Apparently they want to know what CPAP machine I’ve got. I would have thought they would have known?
It doesn’t really inspire you with confidence, does it?
I then created the Facebook album for this year’s Advent adventure. I wonder what this year’s will be about. Over the years my annual Advent story has developed life of its own. It really does have a cult following with dozens of people tuning in to see what happens next. And (I think it is fair to say) no one is more surprised by each day’s instalment than me. Every year I get the calendar in September and it sits unopened on the shelf for a couple of months. I opened the lid of the box this afternoon and took photos, but each actual window doesn’t get opened until that day arrives. Most days in December are the same for me. I open the window of the Advent Calendar when I get up and then spend all day thinking “WTF can I say about that“. I really don’t make it easy for myself. Anyone else would open the thing up and have a look-see, but I won’t. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the Christmas episode of “Gavin and Stacey” (from 2008) which is memorable for Stacey being in the shower in the nip. I suspect Christmas specials from years gone by will be infesting the TV screens for the next few weeks. However I suspect Stacey in the nip won’t be doing the same…