1 October 2012 (Monday) - Fudge's Follies
For once I had a good night's sleep. At one point in the night I heard a thundering coming up the stairs, and what felt like a ton weight landing on me. Fudge had worked out that if he throws all of his weight at the baby gate at the kitchen door he can force the gate open. I let him sleep on the bed for no other reason than that I wasn't going to get up to put him back where he belonged.
After a swift bit of brekkie "My Boy TM" came visiting. He adjusted the baby gate at the kitchen door. That seems to have fixed the pestilential pup's antics. He also sorted out the pile of fleeces, jackets and coats that were cluttering up the house. He was going to throw a lot of them away for no other reason than that he didn't want them any more. But there was a lot of wear left in most of them, and now that I'm a mere shadow of my former self they fit me quite nicely. So I now have several new fleeces, jackets and coats.
He spent a bit of time grumbling about having toothache. I told him to see the dentist, but he never listens to his old dad. He then set off on his way; giving me a lift to the town. I had money to pay in to the astro club's account. Quite a lot of the stuff. Again in retrospect I've missed a golden opportunity to embezzle. Whilst in the town I popped into the traditional jeweller. Since I lost a third of my body weight my wedding ring has become a tad loose. Several sizes loose. So the jeweller is going to make the ring somewhat smaller. I collect it on Friday.
Home again, to find the dog-proofing on the kitchen door had worked, much to Fudge's chagrin. I made myself a quick sandwich, then I geared up with waterproof coat and trousers to take Fudge for a quick walk round the block. The rain was torrential, but Fudge wanted a walk, and I get bored if I stay in the house. Whilst we were out I laid a series of four geocaches to celebrate my up-coming four hundredth cache find (I'm currently on 399 finds). The "Fudge's Folly" series is a group of easy-to-find caches across South Ashford which went live this evening; and have all had their first finds already...
2 October 2012 (Tuesday) - Worrying
Up with the lark as always on a work day. Fudge wasn't very enthusiastic to see me today. Either he knew that our term of dog-share has ended and that he was going back home, or he knew that today was "B"-day (!) Today was his appointment at the vets to have his bits removed.
Having already charged a small fortune for frankly unnecessary vitamin shots the vet has now announced that because Fudge appeared to be uni-knackered he had to make a separate incision to have a rummage inside to see if the second goolie was inside somewhere, and went on to charge us extra for the privilege I can't say I'm impressed with the vet. This is the second visit I've paid for, and both times the cost has been double the estimate.
Mind you I still spent much of the day worrying about the pestilential pup.
Yesterday the first fruit of my loins was grumbling about toothache. He took pain killers and hoped it would get better. The pain went and he ignored the problem. Today his face was seriously swollen. He couldn't get a dental appointment anywhere. I phoned my dentist and they said they could see him within a few hours. I spent much of the day worrying about him as well. I'm reliably informed he had an abscess (we knew that!) and he's now on antibiotics and pain killers.
Much like the dog I expect...
3 October 2012 (Wednesday) - Missing the Dog...
I've been sleeping a bit better lately. I was woken this morning by the sound of the dustbin men and the realisation that I'd not put my rubbish out. Oh well - it will have to keep until next week. We came down to a house which seemed very empty. Fudge is back with his mummy and daddy on their part of the dog-share, and it's amazing how much I miss that little dog. Which is exactly why I never wanted a dog in the first place.
I did a quick on-line survey over brekkie and watched the sun come out. I had worried that today would be wet. It looked promising. The most recent fruit of my loin came to visit, and brought my other grand-dog Sid with her. He’s a stocky little thing, and just as adorable as Fudge. I left them at home and went out with Steve for a day’s searching in the undergrowth for Tupperware.
We found some geocaches, couldn’t find others, and realised some had actually gone missing. One was quite entertaining – a section of dead bark had been removed from a tree, cache concealed under the dead bark, and left to be found. In the intervening month the tree had sapped around the dead bark and incorporated it into its trunk making the cache utterly irretrievable.
It did seem odd not having a small dog in tow today.
The idea was to have gone out for the morning; we came home shortly after 5pm. I went straight out to check up on a geocache I’d hidden. On Monday I hid a geocache. Yesterday it was reported as missing. Fortunately it wasn’t, so whilst I was out I hid two more caches. Once they are accepted I shall think about hiding a bonus puzzle cache; something I’ve not done yet.
Home, where in a novel break with tradition we had KFC for tea. Once upon a time I used to eat that stuff on a weekly basis. Once upon a time I was nearly nineteen stones in weight. We haven’t had KFC for over a year. It was nice; but not really that special. I’ve not missed it.
And with my beloved out at a congregation of the honourable order of candlemongers I found myself home alone. So I settled down in front of the telly. The living room is a lonely place without Fudge about…
4 October 2012 (Thursday) - Heigh Ho Pip and Dandy
It's certainly getting darker in the mornings now. Not only is it dark when I get up, it's now also dark when I leave home for work. And cold too. The years have always been like this; but for some reason I seem to be noticing it more just lately. I can always remember parents and grandparents in the past commenting on nights drawing in as winter approaches. Perhaps it's an age thing. Perhaps I'm getting old?
To work where I had a good day, then home again. A bottle of plonk over a curry to celebrate twenty six years since we walked up the aisle, then we watched the first episode of the new series or "Red Dwarf". I must admit that my hopes weren't high, but I was pleasantly surprised. However the flight deck of Starbug looks just a little too high-tech for my liking. But there's no denying that I'm looking forward to next week's episode.
We then started catching up with some of the backlog of the episodes of Doctor Who we have on the Sky Plus box. They weren't too bad either...
5 October 2012 (Friday) - Puzzle Caches
The recycling binmen came today. I suspect that had I any loyal readers on the planet Mars they would have heard said binmen. And they took the recycling *and* put the bin back where we could get it. In the past I've grumbled about how the binmen are too lazy to actually come any closer to my house than the pavement to collect the bin. I've since been informed that the reason they won't come any closer to the house than the pavement is because of insurance reasons. What nonsense(!) How about meter readers and postmen? Whatever insurance a postman or meter reader might need to encounter the hazards in my front garden would surely be applicable to a binman.
Once brekkied I went up to town (calling in on a recently activated geocache on the way) to collect my ring. I’d taken it to the jeweller to have it made smaller on Monday, and today I got it back. It’s not falling of my finger anymore; which is a result. I’d hate to lose it after twenty six years of it being there. On the way I walked past a bunch of nutters in the park doing open-air aerobics to music. But they seemed happy, so I left them to it. Whilst in town I was surprised to see that what used to be a book shop is in the process of being replaced with a Tesco Express.
I finished in town, then made a circuit of the geocaches I put out earlier in the week. I wanted to make a bonus cache which would use questions which the punters would solve by visiting the existing caches. Whilst I was doing this, a voice chirped up “Its mister Badger”. I looked to see a total stranger grinning at me. But I’m used to this. What with my involvement in the past with the snake club and scouting and my current involvement with the astro club I find that absolutely everyone knows me. But being absolutely awful with faces I never recognise who people are, or remember where I should know them from.
Fortunately this chap introduced himself. A fellow geocacher. We’d corresponded quite a bit via email, and he recognised me from my photos on Facebook. We’d never me before, but it was good to finally meet up, and we chatted for quite a while.
Since I was in the area I popped into the Fudgery to see how the pestilential pup was doing after his operation. He seemed pleased to see me, as did the first fruit of my loin and Cheryl. And I got given pancakes and jam for my lunch, which was very nice.
Home; where I worked out all the puzzles for the cache I then put out. If any of my loyal readers are feeling in a problem-solving mood, then they might like to download a GPS app (they are free) and find the cache that I’ve hidden at N 51° 08. (A+1)(B-3)(C+5) E 000° 52.(D-1)(E)(F-5); where A,B,C,D,E and F can be found from the associated Fudge’s Folly caches dotted around the neighbourhood. I then did the same with the other series of caches I've put out. And then gave up as my PC started making very odd noises and crashed.
"er indoors TM" came home and wanted to go geocaching. The fact that it was an hour after sunset didn't dampen her enthusiasm, so we went out. In retrospect night caching is a silly thing to do. Most geocaches are difficult enough to find in the daylight; let along in the dark and in the rain. We found six before my nerves could stand no more and we came home...
6 October 2012 (Saturday) - Now then, now then...
I woke this morning raring to go, and checked the time. 3.20am. I then lay awake for a couple of hours, finally dozing off just before my alarm went off. I then spent an annoying few minutes fighting with the alarm on my phone. Although I set it whenever I need to be up promptly, I so am so rarely woken by the thing that when it does get to make a noise I really struggle to be able to turn it off. I fought with it for what seemed like an age at 6.30am this morning; probably waking half the street whilst I was at it.
A swift bit of brekkie: over brekkie I saw that the geocache I set up yesterday still hadn't been found. There's a chap who lives locally who prides himself on finding the things as soon as he can after publication: sometimes finding them within fifteen minutes of their going live. This one went unfound for over twelve hours until this same chap found it this morning. He sent me a nice little email thanking me for my efforts, and said that last night's rain put him off.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio with a sense of amazement. Abu Hamza the allegedly hate-mongering cleric has finally been deported to face charges in America. I don't know what he's done, or supposed to have done. And at this stage in time I doubt if anyone ever will get to the truth. It's apparently taken about seven years to bring this bloke to court, and so how can any of the witnesses at the trial have a clear memory of what happened (or was alleged to have happened) so long ago.
Similarly now that he's safely dead there would seem to be a queue of people lining up to make allegations against the late Jimmy Saville. He's alleged to have had his wicked way with several naive young ladies over the years. One such was interviewed on the radio this morning. Perhaps I'm the naive one here, but what do these people hope to achieve? Maybe he was innocent? Maybe he was actually the worst kiddy-fiddler of his generation? Personally I neither accuse nor defend him; I simply don't know anything about the case. But (just like Abu Hamza), from this remove in history it's a safe bet that he won't get a fair trial.
And the weather wound me up too. I set of to work in the rain; I don't mind going to work in the rain; I know I'm not missing anything. But as the day went on so the weather brightened up. I checked the weather forecast to see what the weather might be like on my next day off. The BBC has a frankly amazing weather forecasting web site. When I checked it the forecast for Monday was white cloud. But when I went into the detailed forecast for Monday it was predicting rain of varying severity all day long.
There was a get-together today for anyone who goes geocaching in Kent. Lisa went along and had asked me to go along too. It was as well that I was at work today. I tend to stand for elected positions on things such as that, and having seen what's happening on the Kent geocaching Facebook page I'm not sure I want to get too involved on a formal basis. Most hobbies have insider squabbles and internal politics. I have had too many arguments about kite flying and snake keeping in the past. One of the things I love about the astro club is that it doesn't have this aspect to it.
The Kent geocaching community seems to be currently staging a war against some bunch operating from the north Kent coast who have been accused of all sorts of malpractices against small plastic boxes hidden in clandestine locations. Emails and letters are flying about between the protagonists and the international organisers of geocaching. I don't want to get involved with either side, even though I've even had a minor run-in myself with this lot. They accused me of falsifying my claim that I'd found a particular cache; their reasoning being that if they couldn't find it then nobody could, and so anyone who did claim to have found it was demonstrably lying.
Geocaching is a silly enough hobby as it is. Does it really need to be squabbled about?
As is always the case the important stuff is ignored. Caches in Folkestone have been found contaminated with drugs, and no one in the establishment is saying anything.
I did my bit at work, and came home and watched "Auf Wedhersehn Pet" DVDs for an hour or so. I would have liked to have gone to tonight's film night with everyone else, but by the time I'd got back to Ashford it was gone 9pm. I could have arrived in time for the second film of the evening, but had I done so I wouldn't have got to my pit until gone midnight, and with another early start tomorrow I thought better of the idea. Maybe next time...
7 October 2012 (Sunday) - On The Radio
Yesterday I mentioned in passing about how easily a hobby can be marred by squabbling and disagreements. This morning as I drove to work I found that such petty bickering goes far beyond trivial pastimes
Today's news touched on the round of political party conferences which are currently ongoing. . It speaks volumes about the state of our society that the leading political figures of the time are so reticent to actually say what they feel would make for a better Britain; instead they just run down their political opponenets in mud-slinging matches.
This doesn't help the average man in the street to make an informed political decision. Who on Earth should I vote for? On the one hand there is a political party which has a traditional reputation for advocating self-interest to the detriment of everyone else around. On the other hand is a political party with a traditional reputation of stuffing things up. And in between is sheer opportunism which will demonstrably say that black is white in order to get into bed with the winner.
None of these parties seem to have any clear goals or objectives other than to win the next election by making their candidates look not quite such a bad person as the others. "Vote for me - I'm not as bad as him" was the gist of what I heard on the radio today from leading politicians of all flavours.
After the news was the religious bit. It started with an interview with someone who apparently knew the Pope when he was a mere stripling of a vicar. This someone had clearly been wheeled on so that the interviewer could try to dig the dirt on His Holiness, and said interviewer got quite worked up when the chap they were interviewing refused to say a bad word against Benedict.
And then there was a live church service. In the past I've found such live services to be quite uplifting. Today's wasn't; the featured vicar seemed to be banging a drum about the upcoming national mental health day. I suppose she has a point; the profile of mental health needs to be raised. It was a shame that she had to get on her soapbox quite so obviously. I would have quite enjoyed a few traditional hymns this morning.
As I stopped at the traffic lights in Kennington I noticed that the woman in the car behind me was talking. I assumed she was singing along to her music. She was still jabbering away ten miles later at the road junction in Chilham, and when she pulled up alongside my car at the traffic lights in Wincheap I saw that she was holding her mobile phone in her right hand and was shouting at it. She'd driven one-handed for fifteen miles whilst talking on her mobile. I thought there were rules against doing that sort of thing?
And so to work where I did my bit; and then came home again. It's quite amazing how many other people are about early and late on a Sunday. So much for the "day of rest". I watched Downton Abbey over tea. Good stuff!!
8 October 2012 (Monday) - The Gypsum Gyratory
Up with the lark, a swift bit of brekkie, and with a bit of time to kill I wasted it doing some on-line surveys until Steve arrived. Last Friday I'd seen that a whole new series of geocaches had gone live near Robertsbridge in Sussex. One hundred caches in two loops covering over twenty three miles. We'd had this plan to do the lot in one hit. However Steve had to pop into town so with discretion being the better part of valour we thought we'd settle for doing just one loop of eleven miles and fifty caches.
We arrived at the suggested parking spot and set off at 10.30am,confidently expecting to be done by mid-afternoon. We fell at the first hurdle. We couldn't get to the first cache. There was no footpath crossing the hedge that was in our way, so with idiot enthusiasm we found a point where hedge gave way to thicket and we bounced to where we thought we should be.
This proved to be a feature of the day. Having been an active walker since my days in the Boys Brigade over thirty years ago, I'm afraid to say I've never seen such poorly marked footpaths as those we struggled with today.
We found the first cache, struggled with the second, and found ourselves relying more on GPS and ordnance survey far more than footpath markings. But we had a good time, even though the heavens opened. Several times. The GPS co-ordinates for the seventh cache were a bit squafty, but we found it. And we found the scarecrow too. At the eleventh cache we each picked up a travel bug, and I dropped one off.
In fact it wasn't until the twelfth cache that we failed to find. Don't get me wrong - the Gypsum Gyratory is a wonderful set of caches, and I will not hear a word said against anyone who has made such an excellent guided walk. But rummaging in a hedge looking for a bit of wood is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.
We could have stayed looking for a lot longer, but by now it was 12.30pm and we were only a quarter of the way round. So we conceded defeat and pushed on. By now we were rather wet, and the rain was getting more persistent. We abandoned the idea of stopping for a picnic; scoffing our sandwiches as we walked. Despite the rain and the mud we were quite successful with our hunting, and found all the caches from then on up to cache seventeen. And then it all went pear-shaped.
I won't regale my loyal readers with chapter and verse of all the wrong turns we took, the swamps we traversed, the times we gave up and went back to cache seventeen to start again. Suffice it to say that if t he local council had marked the footpaths it would have saved us the best part of an hour and a couple of miles of wasted effort. And to add insult to injury, when we got to the designated co-ordinates there was nothing resembling the hint we'd got, and we couldn't find the cache.
We pressed on. The nineteenth cache was a multi-cache. The GPS took us to a sign from which we counted the words, did some sums and worked out the co-ordinates of where we needed to be. And worked them out wrongly. had we more time we would have gone back and checked our calculations, but time was pressing. We called up the information for the twentieth cache, found we were only a few yards from it, and found it almost immediately. Finding that cache restored our enthusiasm. To be honest, most people who are soaked to the skin, tired and lost tend to get somewhat down-hearted, but in my world idiot enthusiasm usually triumphs over common sense. And again it did so. We pressed on; finding the next dozen caches with little problem.
Cache thirty three was a problem. I've claimed it as a "find" because the last chap there did so. The instructions told us to find the tool we would need to get the cache. We found the tool. We found the cache - we could see it. But the tool broke in our hands. Well, Steve's hands (not that I'm assigning blame here!). I shall email the nice man and tell him what happened.
Cache thirty four was another failure. As I mentioned earlier, I don't relish rummaging in hedges. and it was now about the sort of time that we had thought we'd be finished, we were wet, and we were little over half way done.
We pressed on. Cache thirty seven was fun. It was in a field with pigs. Pigs! I've never seen them loose in a field before. They were really friendly, and they had a good sniff of Steve's bum as he looked for the cache. We made our way on along what wee thought was a footpath, and were pleased to find that it was. And so the general standard of footpath marking (which was already rather iffy) deteriorated. On the way to cache forty four we entered Darwell woods. Perhaps we took a wrong turn. Perhaps we completely missed where we should have gone. Suffice it to say that we were in "Indiana Jones" territory with bracken over my head at one point.
Caches forty five and forty seven eluded us too. Had we more time and more daylight and if we weren't soaked to the skin we might have been more inclined to have tried for longer. But it was getting dark, and the earlier light mist had become thick fog. We found cache fifty at 6.30pm, and, having done half of the Gypsum Gyratory and being within five minutes of the car we decided to call it a day. I had naively hoped to have done all one hundred caches today...
If any of my loyal readers would like to try a day's geocaching, having done several cache routes I feel that I can't recommend the Gypsum Gyratory highly enough. Beautiful scenery, a range of terrains, very varied caching along the way. We shall do caches fifty one to one hundred as soon as is feasible. Which bearing in mind the mud we faced today will be next year. And bearing in mind how long today took us we shall have an earlier start too...
9 October 2012 (Tuesday) - Golf
Yesterday I had a wonderful time out with Steve; even if we did get wet and muddy. I did ache when I got up this morning. The morning was rather dull. I cleaned out a beer barrel, ironed some shirts, washed some undercrackers, and carried on drying out the shoes which got rather wet yesterday. I had planned to muck out the fish pond filter and mow the lawn, but the garden was all very wet so I thought better of that idea. A spot of lunch and I then popped to the post office to send a parcel Brighton-wards before making my way round to see the first fruit of my loin. He'd said to arrive about 2.45pm, and I was rather early so to kill some time I did a quick geocache.
I arrived chez "My Boy TM". He opened the door and Fudge promptly escaped. My inclination was to chase after the dog but apparently that just encourages him. When he gets out they leave the door open and after a couple of minutes he gets bored and comes home. I watched him charge past the garden gate a dozen times and then, sure enough, he got bored and came home.
We then set off to the driving range. "My Boy TM" had suggested an afternoon's bashing golf balls about and with nothing better on my itinerary I thought I'd give it a go. It's not as easy as it looks. Apparently it's all about technique and not at all about "bashing the granny out of it". The trick is keeping everything straight and letting the golf bats do the work. Keeping your feet still is quite important, and after an hour or so I started to get the hang of it.
I always thought golf was a rich man's game; it was quite reasonably priced. I might just go back again. Mind you when I came out I did ache. My shoulders and hips were hurting. I'm blaming yesterday's over-exertions for that.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered in the evening. We're watching "Merlin" now. It's quite entertaining so far...
10 October 2012 (Wednesday) - Purple Chocolate
It was pitch black outside when I got up this morning. i watched a bit of Bob Ross over breakfast - an episode I'd not seen before. For all that Bob made over thirty seasons of "The Joy of Painting", there only ever seems to be the same dozen episodes ever shown on the telly. It was good to see something different.
And then I wasted ten minutes watching re-runs of "Treacle People". Quality!
The news boiled my
piss this morning. Apparently the chocolate giant Cadbury's have claimed dibs
on the colour purple. Having successfully won a legal battle to prevent other
chocolate manufacturers from using the colour purple in their product
wrappings there was an article on the morning's news about religious
types being scared to wrap their advent choccies
in purple paper in case they fall foul of the legalities.
And so t work where I did my bit and then came home. And again my piss boiled as I listened to the radio. There was a rather self-congratulatory program on radio 4 about how frankly marvellous the BBC was because of it's being a public broadcast service. The presenter tried to big up how wonderful the Beeb was, and tried to play down the systemic biases that the BBC so obviously has. And if anyone honestly believes that the BBC gives the news impartially I challenge them to listen to radio four and see how long it is until they imply that Muslims are to blame for all the ills of the world.
And so home where we had a bottle of plonk (and some port) over a rather nice spot of tea and an episode of the Spoke and Jim show. Hic....
11 October 2012 (Thursday) - Pree
I was reliably informed that I had a restless night; apparently shouting "Stop !!! Thieves!!!" very loudly in my sleep. I can vaguely remember a dream about a three-wheeled car getting a puncture, but have no idea what else I might have been dreaming about.
I woke up still feeling rather fragile. I think I might have overdone the walking on Monday and I certainly overdid the golfing on Tuesday. A quick bit of brekkie; and I saw that the geocache that I planted last night on the way home from work had already been found. That was quick.
I then popped up to town. "My Boy TM" had a parcel to be collected and "er indoors TM" had an errand for me in the bank. Whilst in the bank there was an entertaining five minutes as someone was attempting to shove cash into the cash dispenser. When the nice bank lady asked what he was playing at, this chap loudly announced that he was trying to get change, and he didn't want to waste time queueing up.
I came home the long way - i thought I'd have a walk whilst the weather was good. Rain was forecast from mid morning onward, and after an hour's walk I got home just before the rain started. I do like my work pattern, but why does it always seem to rain on my days off and be sunny when I'm indoors?
Once home I checked my emails. Several new geocaches had gone live, but I'd already got soaked once this week so I settled in front of the telly and watched "Auf Wedhersehen Pet" DVDs for the afternoon until "My Boy TM" came round to collect his parcel. He'd been out looking at wedding venues. Apparently weddings are cheaper if they take place on a Thursday. I never knew that. One lives and learns.
And then we watched the second episode of the new series of "Red Dwarf". It's not bad - I hope we see more of Pree.....
12 October 2012 (Friday) - On the Radio
There was an embarrassing five minutes this morning as I walked the streets desperately trying to remember where I'd parked my car. Eventually I found it more through luck than judgement. I then drove to work with a lorry from Sims Milling Ltd seemingly five yards behind me all the way. Had I stopped sharply at any point this lorry would have crashed into me.
It always strikes me as daft that people with their firm emblazoned all over their vehicles would drive in a patently unsafe way.
The news was interesting today. Someone has been trampled to death by cows. Apparently. This seemed odd to me. Cows of my experience hae always been inquisitive, yet rather timid beasts. I have no qualms about walking through a field of the beasts. If they are now killers, this could be either a worrying development, or evolution in action. Perhaps they have finally realised the advantages of being at the top of the food chain.
Also gas prices are to go up. British Gas are talking about a six percent price hike. It's just as well I don't get gas from them. If my bunch follow suit I shall have to start shopping around for a bargain. Fortunately I got an email from NHS discounts about cheap gas today. Maybe they might have a bargain for me. Mind you the gas still comes through the same pipe so I can't see how the price can possibly vary from one company to another. Perhaps I'm being thick again.
And then as the morning's news finished it was time for "Desert Island Discs".One of the traditional institutions of British life even if the average Britisher has never listened to it. The concept is that various people get to choose the eight records they would take with them onto a desert island were they to have notice of their being stranded on a desert island beyond the hope of rescue for an indeterminate period. The show has been running for years; in between the music choices the various potential castaways are interviewed. The show can be quite interesting at times.
What I can't work out is why so many people on this program choose operatic records. This morning's choices weren't musical at all; they could only be described as a cross between caterwauling and shrieking. Presumably people on this show don't want to be thought of as the kind of person who listens to the music that appeals to the masses. I've always felt that opera is only listened to for the inherent snob value it imparts. Perhaps I'm just overly conscious of my lower-order nature?
The rest of the day was rather dull...
13 October 2012 (Saturday) - Hastings Bonfire
I wanted to be up and out of my pit by 7.30am this morning. I woke at 7.50am. I overslept !! That never happens. I had the weekly weigh-in. More weight has come off - my weight is now at thirteen stone eight pounds. My BMI is now 27.5; which is half way through the "overweight" range. Not well into the" obese" range where once it was. Since the dieting lark started a year ago I have now lost over five stones. I've probably got just over a stone to go before I can think about stopping weight loss.
The doorbell rang - Steve and Sarah had arrived, and once the Bat was in tow we set off to Maidstone. We swapped the Prius for a pick-up truck and then went on to Crayford for a fry-up. (I'm allowed a little binge from time to time). We popped into Maplins to do some early Christmas shopping, then on to Bexley to move some rocks. Relatives in Bexley didn't want the rocks; Steve did. A fair exchange is no robbery so we loaded the pick-up with assorted boulders and then drove them to Ashford where we unloaded them into Steve's garden.
How easy it is to type that compared to actually doing that.
Home, where I dozed in frint of the telly. The door burst open and "Daddies Little Angel TM" came to visit. As well as having Sid with her she also had Skinhead in tow. I'd not seen Skinhead for ages. She seemed well. We spent a few minutes on the "Cats that look like Hitler" website before they set off on their way.
We then popped round to collect "My Boy TM" and Lacey and then went down to Hastings for the bonfire parade. We met up with family and friends and had a wonderful time. The procession was excellent; the fireworks spectacular.
We are now into the bonfire season. The year is going by so fast...
14 October 2012 (Sunday) - Rye and Winchelsea
Over a spot of brekkie I had a look on the Internet and found one or two bonfire events taking place over the next few weeks. Hopefully I might get to some of them; I'm thinking Staplecross and Hawkhurst should be on the itinerary.
We then set off on the day's adventure. We left a little earlier than we needed to; the idea being to do a spot of geocaching on the way. We picked up Lisa and made our way to Warehorne where we did a few caches, then on to Kenardington where we did a few more. We stopped off at the toilets in Rye for a tiddle, and as we were in the area did some more caching. We eventually found ourselves at a seafood stall where I had a bowl of cockles covered in pepper and vinegar. Very tasty.
We moved on to Winchelsea where we scoffed our picnic in the garden of the New Inn. And we had a pint of their ale - it would have been rude not to. We then made our way over the road to the church where we met up with the rest of our posse. Ten of us posed for photos at Spike Milligan's grave. We felt Spike wouldn't have minded.
We then moved on to the meeting point. We'd arranged to go on a guided tour round Winchelsea; the tour focussing on the cellars of the houses. There must have been over a hundred people along, and the assembled throng was divided into three groups. We were in group "C", and our tour guide was a wonderful lady who really brought the history of Winchelsea to life. Two hours flew by.
We said our goodbyes and then made our way home. The scenic route via some more geocaches. We failed to find one which was supposedly in the politically correctly named "Dumb Woman's Lane". And as it was on the way we stopped off in Rye and did some more caches there. I've now done all the caches in Rye; which is something of a shame - I was hoping to go there over the winter and do them. Oh well, there's plenty of other places to go to.
And so home, caching all the way until my phone battery finally gave up the ghost. "er indoors TM" set off bowling; I set myself in front of the telly. I quite like doing that from time to time...
15 October 2012 (Monday) - Geese
Yesterday I mentioned that I'd found a website advertising bonfire events. I've been trying to find one of those for years. Now that I have found what I've been looking for I've spent a little while updating my calendar with one or two bonfire parades for the next few weeks. I do like a good burn up and a firework show.
On the theme of bright lights in the sky I've also pencilled in an observing session for an upcoming meteor shower as well: I bet it's cloudy that night. It usually is when anything astronomical is going on.
Why not click on the "Dates for the Diary" link above and if you're free you might want to come along to some of these? Wrap up warm if you do.
To work. The roads weren't as busy as sometimes they can be when I'm on a late start. There was fun and games at the farm shop. As I pulled up there was a herd of geese performing what I can only describe as military manoeuvres in the car park. They were clearly not going to move for anyone; and driving round them took some doing. I got my fruit and veg and came out to find the geese all lined up with what looked like a boss goose inspecting their ranks. I wonder what they were up to.
I also wonder what the collective term for a herd of geese is; and what is the correct terminology for a boss goose.
The morning's news was somewhat contradictory. There was all sorts of spiel about it being twenty years since the formalising of the European partnership into a political and economic entity. And for all that the average man in the street hates "Johnny Foreigner" there were no end of pundits being wheeled on to the radio to sing the praises of the European ideal and to say what a good idea the European partnership is. Unity is far better than dissolution, and we were given loads of evidence to support this standpoint.
There was also news about the formal referendum for Scottish independence. And all sorts of pundits spouted all sots of reasons why Scottish independence would be a good thing. Not that I'm any expert, but it did seem that the reasons why Scotland should become an independent country were exactly the same reasons why forming a closer European union is a good idea.
Interestingly it would seem that the vast majority of our Caledonian cousins want to remain as part of Great Britain. It is odd that Scottish independence should figure so highly on the Scottish political agenda when all the opinion polls show the majority of Scots are against independence and that any referendum will probably be a foregone conclusion.
It never fails to amaze me how isolationist jingoism can remain a viable proposition.
16 October 2012 (Tuesday) - A Day's Caching
I lay awake for a while last night listening to the rain. It wasn't supposed to be raining. I sulked about what the rain might do for my plans for the day.
A spot of brekkie, and Steve soon arrived. In a novel break with tradition I was driving today. Having got rather damp in Robertsbridge last week, today I'd planned a geocache trail that should keep us out of teh mud. Out to Bethersden, on to Tenterden, then Newenden and Northiam; then coming home via Oxney and Woodchurch. I thought this might fill the morning.
We started off at a phone box in Bethersden, Then into the church yard and along the start of one of my favourite walks. We found a cache in a place I've walked past twice this year. We moved on to what was once a favourite pub of ours: the Royal Standard. This became an Indian restaurant some time ago, and featured favourably in a blog entry six years ago. Today it is still a restaurant, and marks the starting point of a multi-cache that we couldn't find.
We moved on to High Halden. Steve went on to the Play Store and downloaded a geocompass which he put to good use at two premium multicaches. We were again lucky in St Michaels, but we couldn't find the cache at Tenterden church. Having parked the car in Tenterden we were reluctant to move it so we thought we'd stroll down the road to the next cache. We should have driven; it was miles away.
Rolvenden was our next port of call. And I was hungry. We popped into the local shop who made us a sandwich while we waited. We ate our lunch in the sunshine and then did a couple of caches nearby; one of which was in the most beautiful of surroundings.
On to the cat sanctuary by the pond shop to find a cache covered in rat poo. Yuk! And on to a phone box in Newenden where we were again lucky. Northiam saw out luck begin to change. We found two out of three. Beckley was disaster - total failure; but we did find some very friendly horses who gave us an idea for a geocaching challenge.
It was with a sense of relief that we again started finding caches on the Isle of Oxney. One of which was at the church - a church I've walked past a few times over the years. This one was my five hundredth geocache. Five hundred in two and a half months. That's not bad going.
Up into Woodchurch where we sort of failed. I say "sort of" - this was a cache that I'd done before but Steve hadn't. We could see it, but not get to it. I flagged it as needing maintenance and we came home. What I thought might be a morning's outing covered fifty miles and over six hours. Must do it again.
And so home to find our period of dog-share has started again. Fudge was pleased to see me, but after an initial bout of excitement he soon settled down. I also found a washing machine full of wet stuff I'd set going this morning and forgotten about. Woops! Whilst Fudge charged round the garden woofing at next door's dogs I sorted out my smalls. I then checked Facebook whilst playing "tug o war" with the pestilential pup. I'd forgotten how rancid his bottom can be.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. This time at the Admiralty. It was a shame that the Rear Admiral didn't realise we were all coming, but a good time was had by all. Even is Fudge did disgrace himself by destroying Sidney's toy...
17 October 2012 (Wednesday) - Stuff
I was rather late to bed last night. Having been out I checked my emails just before bed time. I saw that a new geocache had become active in the previous hour. It was hidden somewhere near B&Q - not two minutes walk from my house, and had not (at the time) been found. In the sad geocaching world there is great kudos attached to being the first person to find a cache, so we got dressed, put the lead on Fudge and set off. We were lucky - after rummaging about in a hedge for a few minutes we were first to find (FTF) at 11.38pm.
My first FTF and my five hundredth geocache both on the same day. I am allowing myself to feel quite smug about that.
I wasn't especially worried about being late to bed last night - what with insomnia I figured it wouldn't make much difference. And I was wide awake before 5am as I thought I would be. But I was still rather tired all day. Mind you I suspect that is more to do with the cold I seem to be developing than anything to do with acting in a very surreptitious manner at midnight last night.
Over brekkie I watched a documentary I'd recorded a day or so ago and had been looking forward to seeing. Billed as being about how the life size model of the blue whale in the natural history museum had been built, the program turned out to be a great disappointment. For every minute about the model there were five minutes spent on the contemporary history of the time.
It was also depressingly dark this morning. I'd got used to waking in the dark, and it becoming light by the time I set off to work, but today it was still dark when I got to Canterbury. The news didn't do much for my mood either. Apparently on average there are fifty people chasing each job vacancy at the moment. That doesn't bode at all well for my long hoped-for change of career. Mind you, realistically I've all but given up with the job hunting. It's rather disheartening, and what do I want with a new job anyway?
I did my bit at work, and I came home to find the postman had been. He'd delivered my copy of Viz. Over the last year I'd rather stopped reading that magazine. One of many austerity measures. But one of life's daft facts is that it's far cheaper to have the magazine delivered by post than it is to buy the thing in the shops. So I'm now again getting my monthly fix of nonsense. I've quite missed Viz. If any of my loyal readers haven't read it, I'd suggest giving it a try. For non-stop knob jokes it takes some beating. That is - if you like knob jokes....
18 October 2012 (Thursday) - More Golf....
Oh, the rain was loud last night. The guttering about our bedroom window gets overloaded with rain from the roof and it then overflows against the window. It doesn’t do that quietly at all. For once I was having a decent bit of kip and I wasn’t much pleased to be woken.
After a swift bit of brekkie I set off to collect "My Boy TM" and together we went to the golf club. Last week we had a go on the driving range. It wasn’t as easy as it looked, and today we had another go. I did something wrong on my first swipe and pulled a muscle in my right arm. We were there for about an hour. I would like to have stayed longer, but my arm was playing up.
Home, where I put the lead on Fudge and we set off for a quick walk. I’d had reports that one of my geocaches needed some maintenance. I found it and the log inside was soaked. So I replaced it, and we then came home again. "Daddies Little Angel TM" phoned. I had been expecting to see her today, but something or other had come up. She was off to London on some errand or other. I did ask her to keep me appraised of what she was doing, but I didn't hear anything more. I can only assume she's OK.
I then did a spot of washing and ironing. I could have done something in the garden, but it was too wet and my arm was hurting too. My arm carried on hurting for much of the day, so I rested it. Fudge rested too.
The day's news was unusual. In a novel break with tradition it didn't feature the latest fleeting trivialities of today's politicians who will be forgotten tomorrow. Nor did it feature digging dirt on long-dead celebrities. Instead it was actually something worthy of mention for a change. Six years ago the New Horizons space probe set off to fly past the planet Pluto. (Pluto *IS* a planet!!). However the recent discovery of several moons around the rather small celestial body has given NASA cause for concern. Since there's quite a lot of rather large space rock thingies where there weren't expected to be many has made the boffins wonder if there's also one or two smaller space rock thingies out there too. And if there is, that might be a problem. Having New Horizons prang into a space rock thingy (of any size) at fourteen kilometres per second is going to make quite a dent in said space probe.
And talking of space related things I set off to the astro club's committee meeting. I was perhaps earlier than I might have been; no one told me we were meeting at 8pm and not at 7.30pm like the email said. But we had a good meet-up. Plans for the future, a new year's series of talks planned, Stargazing Live, all sorts of stuff planned...
Friday 19 October (Friday) - Stuff
Yesterday I mentioned that I'd pulled something in my arm whilst golfing. It was the pain in that arm that woke me this morning. And a dull nagging ache continued all day; exacerbated every time I forgot myself and used my arm in the way that arms should be used. I wonder what I've done to it - if I ever find out I certainly won't do it again.
The "Treacle People" were on ten minutes earlier than usual this morning. Much as I enjoy the antics of the treacle miners in Sabden, this minor change put my entire routine out. And then the rain started. A very wet black dark drive isn't very motivating in the morning.
The morning's news was tedious; for all that I listened to it for forty minutes on my way to work, I have to admit that not a single item of so-called news actually remained in my head. I suppose it's to be applauded that the media seemed to have given the ghost of Jimmy Saville a rest. My nerves need a rest from the constant muck-raking, even if Jimmy's ghost doesn't.
As I put my sandwich into the fridge in the works rest room the national weather forecast was on the telly. I listened to the nice man wittering on about low pressure coming from the west, then went to put my jacket in the locker. As I walked back up along the corridor as I passed the rest room I saw that the regional weather forecast was on. The nice lady's predictions were completely at odds with what the same channel had been broadcasting not five minutes previously.
Whilst it would be nice for the weather forecasts to be spot on, I don't expect them to be. But I would expect that any given TV channel would be consistent in the guesswork it broadcasts.
Much of the day was spent talking about "dog-cams" - web-cams that can be attached to a dog's collar so's that you can see photos and movies from the dog's perspective. I got quite seriously into the idea of Fudge-o-Vision and Sid-Tube until I saw the prices of dog cams. Cameras billed as dog cams are extortionate. Surely we can do something cheaper?
My phone beeped. I'm no longer with the people with whom I took out a contract. I'm now part of the UK's largest 3G network. I bet I still struggle to get signal when I'm in the back of beyond looking for sandwich boxes in the undergrowth.
And so home. Via the petrol station where I treated myself to my monthly chocolate fix. I used to wolf choccie down like it was going out of fashion. I used to be nearly nineteen stones in weight. I don't really miss the choccie; and I prefer being thinner...
20 October 2012 (Saturday) - The Shipbourne Stroll
The weekly weigh-in; another pound gone. Exactly five stones have gone since I first started watching what I shove down my neck. It's been a long slog, but probably worth it.
My mobile rang. Having been surfing "informative and educational web sites" someone I know turned on his PC this morning to find that rather than booting up properly, the thing just gives a message that he's been looking at filth, he's been reported to the rozzers, and that said rozzers will let him off if he gives a hundred quid to an obscure e-cash account operating out of Nigeria. We're hoping that it's nothing that a quick dose of AVG won't sort out.
And then on with the business of the day. We'd originally been invited to go on the "Shipbourne Stroll" some time ago. The Shipbourne Stroll is a walk of about ten miles taking in some fifty geocaches along the way. When first asked I was working. And it turned out everyone else was busy too on the planned date. What with one thing and another the event kept getting postponed, but today we did it. We met up with our new geocaching friend and set off to the farm for the Bat. Then on to Shipbourne where we met another new friend.
Five of us (and a small dog) had a great time. The mud was quite intense at places, and the hills were rather steep at one point. But if any of my loyal readers have got thoroughly sick of reading about geocaching in this blog and feel the time is now ripe to actually try it, then I can't recommend this walk highly enough. There were standard old dull film canister caches; there were sandwich box caches. There were dustbin sized caches. Caches padlocked needing puzzle-solving to open them. There were caches cunningly disguised as all sorts of things. The organiser of this stroll cannot be praised highly enough.
On the way round we found and dropped off several trackables. And (in yet another triumph of idiot enthusiasm over common sense) we tried letting Fudge loose off of his lead. I can't in all honesty say that he was as good as gold; there was one dodgy five minutes when he was half a field away (past a sign saying that dogs should be on leads) busy chasing pheasants. But on the whole he wasn't too bad. He came back when called (usually). We might just let him off the lead again.
As always, there's photos of the outing here.
And so home to find that it's the end of an era. Time Team has been axed. After twenty years Channel Four have pulled the plug on the program. Which is a shame....
21 October 2012 (Sunday) - Wet Sunday
The weather forecast had predicted rain overnight till about midnight, but a dry day today. So we thought we'd put the planned walk back to mid day to allow the world to dry out a little. I emerged from my pit at 9.30am to see torrential rain outside. I sulked.
Much of the morning was then spent trying to figure out what's going on in the geocaching world. In the past whenever I've taken up a hobby I've found myself getting involved in organised clubs and (quite frankly) whenever people are involved it becomes a squabble. (Which is why I am so pleased with how the astro club has turned out).
There is a geocaching group on Facebook for the county. I've been following the postings on there lately, and quite a few posts have been very derogatory about a certain person. As a newcomer it strikes me that said person could probably have Facebook close this group down on the grounds of cyber-bullying should this person wish to make a complaint. I asked one or two people (who would seem to be in the know) what was going on. It seems that this person is (arguably) reaping what they have sewn, having been winding the geocaching community up for years. Originally their only crime was to be rather rubbish at geocaching; and other people didn't like getting emails asking for hints about where their caches actually were, and not being able to see the patently obvious.
This was some time ago. In the intervening years it's all got silly. All sorts of squabbles have gone on. Posters on the local Facebook group have advocated the deletion of electronic logs featuring this person. The same posters have then acted surprised when this individual has recently reporting geocaches as being unsafe and has formally appealed for the caches to be closed. And these people who've posted against the individual have acted even more surprised when this individual was allegedly seen destroying geocaches hidden by those with whom they have fallen out.
This morning I heard that this individual had published a "dick list" featuring the names of those they feel they have a grievance with. This "dick list" also has the names of one or two innocent bystanders who are understandably miffed to find themselves drawn into somebody else's arguments. And these people (who until this morning were neutral in the fight) are now understandably taking up arms and joining in with the squabble themselves.
Those who published the "dick list" apparently run a pub. How long will it be before their business is made to suffer by those they've quarrelled with? Why can't humanity just get on without the bickering?
We had planned to take the pestilential pup for a walk round the Godinton estate this afternoon. But the weather was still damp. The ground would just be a swamp underfoot. So we abandoned our plans and instead we teamed up with the Bat and Chris and went for walk up to town; across to the cinema, and home via the Matalan roundabout. Fudge liked the walk, and was again allowed off the lead whenever possible. He was very good, coming back when called (this time). Since it was on the way we stopped off at a few geocaches. It would have been rude not to have done so.
With "er indoors TM" out bowling I sat in front of the telly watching DVDs. As Fudge sat on my lap and dozed I took photos of him sleeping. Unlike most dogs (!) he's quite cute, really....
22 October 2012 (Monday) – Democracy
On Friday my routine was put out by the Treacle People being on a few minutes earlier than usual. Today they weren't on at all. I didn't like that. With satellite TV boasting hundreds of channels of drivel, it's amazing how little there is worth watching at any time; let alone at 6am. So, over a spot of brekkie, I went on-line where (not surprisingly) not much was happening there either.
The morning was foggy. Foggy and dark, which didn't make for easy driving. As I drove I listened to the news. The Jimmy Saville saga is now getting silly. The media has taken to raking dirt against those who didn't rake the dirt against Jimmy earlier. Surely this is a dangerous route for our so-called "news" providers to be taking. In future any hint of potential scandal against anyone will have to be front page headlines purely to prevent future allegations of cover-ups against those who produce front page headlines of dirt and allegation.
The news also railed against a cover-up of police corruption during the miner's strike of 1984. It's no secret that there were problems in the police forces of those times. History has recorded what went wrong and the riots that came as consequences. Surely there must be something more news-worthy than raking up stuff from thirty years ago?
In fact there was very little worthy of note in the news other than the surprise revelation that he ex -head of the metropolitan police has announced that he feels that the general public should boycott the upcoming elections for the positions of police commissioners. Apparently police forces are now to be accountable to elected officials. It's a good idea in principle, but it has the problem of all democracy in that will the right people get elected. Who is standing for the position of police commissioner in my area? I didn't know so I found out.
Surprise, surprise. I don't know of any of them. I've never heard of any of them. And most (but not all) are standing on the basis of their political affiliation; making the same tired promises that we have come to expect from all politicians.
I don't believe in democracy. It's a good idea in theory but in practice it's rubbish. It doesn't work. We never have the choice that the whole thing promises. Has anyone ever voted for the elected official that they actually want? Don't we actually just kid ourselves into feeling we have a democracy when in fact we just get to choose between (probably) unsuitable candidates that someone else has chosen for us.
Surely in this day and age we should have the technology to be able to select a list of suitable candidates on the basis of personality profiling and career/life experiences.
As it is I for one will be using random guesswork to hopefully select the least unsuitable candidate to be our police commissioner.
Work was dull. Quite often when Steve and I find our days off co-incide we go off geocaching together. Today I was working but Steve wasn't. I got an intermittent stream of texts as Steve walked wound South Ashford finding the "Fudge's Follies" series of geocaches I put out a few weeks ago. It would seem that the logs in some of them are rather damp. Replacing them will give me something to do on this week's day off.
23 October 2012 (Tuesday) - Stuff
An old friend got married yesterday. I can vaguely remember there being some talk of a wedding a while back. But the memory is very vague - if there was any talk it was a long while ago and I'd forgotten all about it in the meantime. It came as something of a surprise this morning when I found out about the wedding. I had a text message from a miffed friend who was also surprised by the news. In a typical sign of the times the announcement was received via Facebook.
There are various theories about weddings. There's no denying that they aren't cheap. And certainly they are for the people getting married. And if people want a ceremony just for themselves then that is entirely their choice and I respect it. But I still feel that I would like to have been a part of what happened yesterday. After all the chap's been quite a major part of my life for a long time and he has featured on quite a few blog entries over the years.
And so to work. I stopped off at the farm shop to get some veg (well, it is on the way). Whilst there, I thought I'd get myself a chocolate frog for my way home. I do get a bit peckish when on the 10pm finish. They didn't have any chocolate frogs but they did have chocolate Milky Bar Kids. I quite like white chocolate, but I would have preferred a chocolate frog.
Finding myself driving to work in daylight (a novelty these days) I found myself looking for places where I might hide geocaches. Three phone boxes are obvious candidates for future hides. Mind you I can't help but wonder how long phone boxes will last. Only the other day Lacey asked what a phone box was all about.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Being on a late finish I didn't get to go along. Usually in such circumstances I would go home to an empty house. But not today. I came home to find the pestilential pup fast asleep. He looked up and wagged his tail when he saw me, and slowly dragged himself out of his basket. All very cute.
I then spent a few minutes clearing bone fragments from everywhere. My Boy had been round with a lamb bone for Fudge, and he'd chomped the bone to destruction. His jaws are quite powerful. My other grand-dog's gob isn't quite so strong - as "Daddies Little Angel TM" has found out. Whilst she playing tug-o-war with him, Sid let the rope go, and "Daddies Little Angel TM" now has a black eye. Unfortunately photos are not forthcoming.
Meanwhile some Italian scientists have been found guilty of manslaughter. The so-called experts led the public to believe that a predicted earthquake wouldn't be anything to worry about. So the public didn't worry, and a major quake hit. People died. The crux of the matter was summarised in something the Daily Telegraph wrote: "At the heart of the case was a question of whether the government-appointed experts gave an overly reassuring picture of the risk"
There is a school of thought that the scientists are not guilty of manslaughter because earthquakeology is not an exact science. There is another school of thought that if so-called experts don't actually know what they are talking about then they shouldn't talk about anything. The general public believe experts; and if so-called experts are making pronouncements which they shouldn't then they are undermining the entire concept of science.
There was a lot of discussion on the Internet about this topic. As usual I'm in a minority of one. Perhaps I'm too close to the subject of scientists being held accountable for their mistakes. But why is it fine for me to be crucified whilst it's fine for everyone else to stuff up?
Not that I'm bitter or anything...
24 October 2012 (Wednesday) - Walkies
A relatively late start, and then I did the monthly accounts. A spot of Christmas shopping and the car's road tax have certainly made their mark on the bank account. Still, what's money for if not to squander foolishly. I just wish I had more to squander in that reckless fashion.
To the dentist for the six-monthly check-up. Before the dentist did his bit the nurse spent five minutes going over what I eat. She could see that I was half (well... two thirds) the man I used to be, and so I think I got the thumbs-up from her. The dentist then had a rummage around inside my gob and seemed pleased with the state of it. He then gave it all a bit of a scaling and ten minutes later I came out feeling as though I had a new mouth.
Home to the pup. I put his lead on and we went out. On Monday I'd been told that one of my geocaches needed some attention so we set off to have a look. Geocaching (if done properly) entails an element of stealth, and having a dog in tow can be useful. The normal people think you're doing dog-related stuff when actually you're mucking with the caches. However there were normal people loitering by the cache I needed to get to. Rather than mucking about I thought I'd come back later. So I took Fudge on a little walk. Six miles and two hours later we came back and sorted out that geocache.
Whilst we were walking we found four other caches. I say four; it was actually three and a carrier bag. Geocaches come in all sorts of containers, but I've never seen a carrier bag used before. All the standard contents were there; the log with the official logo. All in a carrier bag. that can't be right. I've sent a message to the cache (carrier bag) owner asking them to sort it out. Whilst out we also saw a nice lady taking a cat for a walk. I commented that I'd never seen a cat taken for a walk before. The nice lady smiled at me as though I was mad, and looked at Fudge as if to ask what he was.
Whilst out Fudge did some fudge. With six miles and woodlands and parks and countless places to unload, he chose the only garden which had people sitting in it. Oh how I laughed.
We came home, and after a spot of lunch "My Boy TM" came home. He helped me with some heavy lifting that needed doing, and we talked about going to the driving range. Talked about it, but both being skint put paid to that idea. There was talk about actually trying a round of golf. I'm not sure that I'm up to that yet.
In the evening we set off delivering bargains to the masses. It took a little longer than we were hoping...
25 October 2012 (Thursday) - The News
I had planned to leave a few minutes early this morning to look for a geocache that my beloved had hidden yesterday. But having wasted half an hour mucking about with the dog I didn't actually get to leave early. And hunting for those caches in the dark is just silly. So I didn't bother. For some inexplicable reason I got to work fifteen minutes earlier than I usually do. I wonder how that happened?
I can hardly claim to be a staunch supporter of the Prime Minister, but he has a thankless lot really. This morning's news was slating him because he'd apparently made comments about some statistics that were due to be released this morning. Apparently releasing official figures ahead of when they should be released can affect the international money markets, can allow unscrupulous operators to make a fortune, is illegal, and is rather naughty too. The pundits were slating the P.M. for allegedly jumping the gun over the news that the recession is officially over.
What the P.M. actually said was a vague off the cuff comment about there being some good news. "Good news" could have referred to anything, really. And painting a bright future is what Prime Ministers are supposed to do. The poor chap can't win either way.
He's come in for a lot of criticism, and rightly so. Presumably the chap's never heard of on-line security, or phishing, or common sense. Or is his encouraging the use of fake aliases a tacit endorsement of cyber-bullying? (coming from someone who never uses his real name on-line!)
There are those who don't like to see this happening. One wonders if these bleeding hearts would be happy to pay upwards of a hundred quid to go to see the new Bond movie at the cinema. Making films isn't cheap, and product placement is a sign of the times. It's how film making is funded these days.
26 October 2012 (Friday) - Caching, Astro Club...
I was woken by a frantic barking at 2.20am this morning. I ran downstairs thinking something serious was going on only to find one of the local cats was pulling faces through the kitchen window at Fudge. When the cat saw me it shoved off. Fudge wanted to charge up the garden after the cat but I wasn't having that. I eventually got back to kip, and surprisingly stayed in bed before waking shortly after 8am.
A spot of brekkie, then I ironed shirts whilst watching a documentary about the private life of Hattie Jacques. I knew she was once married to John Le Mesurier. I didn't know she's been having it away with her driver. There's nothing as interesting as what other people get up to. Whilst I was in the thick of this domestic trivia "Daddies Little Angel TM" phoned with a potential plan for the day. A shame she couldn't have come up with this plan earlier as I already had a plan.
Lisa arrived, and then we set off to collect Steve, Maria and Cassie for an afternoon's caching. Fudge liked being again allowed off the lead (wherever possible). We found several caches, we had a good walk, Fudge rolled in something disgusting. A good time was had by all; even if it was cold.
We came home to find "Daddies Little Angel TM" and Sid in residence. Fudge and Sid ran riot for an hour or so. I left them to it and set off to the astro club. Regular readers of this drivel might recall that much earlier in the year there was a talk at the arky-ologee club about archeo-astronomy. It was a good talk, and I had asked the presenter if she might repeat the talk at the astro club. She did that tonight. An excellent talk, much appreciated by the seventy-odd people that were in attendance. It was only a shame that the skies were cloudy.
So much for the weather forecast...
27 October 2012 (Saturday) - Chartham to Canterbury
The weekly weigh-in. Another pound gone. Having held constant for a couple of months I now seem to be losing weight again. I'm thinking that it must be a consequence of all the extra walking I'm doing with Fudge. Nothing else has changed recently.
We got ourselves organised and made our way to the train station. I t must be a year since I last got on a train, and today eight of us took the train to Chartham. It was only twenty minutes late leaving. The journey passed off uneventfully enough, and once at Chartham we met up with the ninth member of our party, and walked along the river path into Canterbury.
Amazing! I drive along this way to work, and I didn't realise the river was there; nor how pretty the area is. It was only a shame that the weather failed to live up to the forecast. We went expecting a sunny, if cold, day. We got rain. But the rain wasn't that heavy. I was surprised how quick the time passed. It only took just over an hour to walk from Chartham into Canterbury (and that included finding a crafty geocache on the way).
One in Canterbury we soon we at the Foundry where we had a table booked. Excellent food with beer brewed on the premises. A pint of the porter slipped down very nicely, as did a pint of black lager. You don't often see black lager. The menu spoiled me for choice - I eventually settled for a half rack of ribs followed by banoffee pie.
There was a time when we would eat out every weekend, but in this new era of austerity eating out has become the treat it should really be. It wasn't cheap, but what is money for if not to worry about?
I would certainly go back to the Foundry. In fact the only fault I could find was the dog at another table was rather loud. I didn't so much mind the volume as the fact that the dog was there at all - I'd phoned earlier to ask about dogs and had been told that they had a no-dogs policy. I have a hound that would have liked the morning's walk that had stayed at home because of the supposed no-dog policy.
We then had a little pootle round Canterbury. I went into WH Smiths and wasted my voucher on some lego. I like lego, but I would rather have had cash that I could have spent anywhere rather than have had credit in a shop which doesn't actually sell anything I want. As we pootled back to the train station I slipped in another cheeky little cache find before dozing on the train home.
Once in Ashford we said our goodbyes and we popped into HomePlus. It was on the way home and they sell fireworks. I bought the rudest shaped large rocket they had. It's called "The Destroyer". I hope that lives up to expectations when the thing goes off next weekend. We picked up the pup (who was fast asleep) and took him round the park for a walk. It was sheer co-incidence that our walk went past three recently activated geocaches.
Steve and Sarah came round to collect the banana beer I'd made for next weekend. I do hope that stuff turns out OK. Whilst they were here they took "The Destroyer" with them. Soon after they left, "er indoors TM" went off to watch films. Fudge had been alone all day so I didn't want to leave him. I'd recorded "Platoon" onto the SkyPlus box during the week, so rather than going out I slept though that instead...
28 October 2012 (Sunday) - The Ashford Amble
I was rather late to bed last night and woke with some confusion this morning. The clock said shortly after 9am. Had I put the clock back last night or not? I couldn't remember. It turned out that I hadn't. I wish that we didn't have to mess about putting clocks forwards and backwards.
"My Boy TM" came to visit at 9am (the proper 9am). He'd stashed all sorts of fishing baits in our freezer and having got us to defrost them last night he was collecting them. It turns out that Cheryl won't have that stuff in her freezer. Sensible girl. While he pootled about getting fishing gear together I set about mending the shed roof. Somehow the felt had torn so I clambered up a ladder and bashed it back in place with some clout nails. I hope they stay put.
I then checked out Facebook and exchanged insults with loyal readers in Kuala Lumpar where the temperature is some thirty degrees higher than here.
A quick bit of cheese on toast and then the Bat called. we set off for Lisa and pausing only briefly to check out the geocache not five yards from Lisa's house we made our way to Godinton Park. One of our new friends we've found through geocaching had set up a guided walk of twelve caches. With two caches in Godinton, two random caches half way round the amble, and two puzzle caches off of amble cache10 it was a wonderful way to spend a bright (if cold) afternoon.
Eight of us (and a small dog) soon found the first Godinton cache and once the dog had finished rolling in something disgusting we made our way onto the Ashford Amble. Again geocaching took me to some rather beautiful places to walk. Fudge liked being allowed off the lead (wherever possible). As usual Fudge whined when we stopped to sign the geocache logs. For all that he is a trackable himself, and he has a series of caches named after him, he doesn't seem to join in with the spirit of geocaching. I blame his aunt's influence.
At the half way point of the amble we took a slight detour. Firstly to "The Drop", which featured a clever conundrum by a rather pretty waterfall, and then on to "Hog's River Copse" (a cache owned by "er indoors TM"). We then picked up the Ashford Amble again, and met an organised group of ramblers coming the other way. We exchanged pleasantries. As they wandered off behind us I reflected that the groups I so often organise must look like that bunch looked.
Ashford Amble cache 10 had us foxed. Several people had logged that they couldn't find it. Nor could we. However after a major search "er indoors TM" came up with the cache and a round of applause. It was at this point that we again put the amble on hold and did a couple of puzzle caches that were in the area. One involving astronomical expertise (good job we had Dave and the girls along!), and one involving scanning quick-codes. Both were works of genius.
Back to the Amble for the last two caches. And once back at the cars we drove round to Chestnut Grove. We could have walked, but it was four hundred yards and it was getting dark. And with the nineteenth cache of the day found and the log signed we said our goodbyes and made our way home.
Fudge slept all evening...
Settiing up a series of geocaches like today's takes a lot of effort. Full marks to "The Hurks" for such an enjoyable walk.
29 October 2012 (Monday) - The Gypsum Gyratory (Part II)
With the team assembled we took the short cut to Robertsbridge. Regular readers of this drivel might recall that three weeks ago Steve and I went geocaching on the first half of the Gypsum Gyratory. Today we went back to do the second half. The Gypsum Gyratory is a series of one hundred geocaches laid out in two loops across the Sussex countryside. Going along lanes and paths, through fields and woodlands, up hills and down dales. The Gypsum Gyratory in its entirety covers twenty three miles. Having survived (just) the first loop we thought that we'd have a go at the second loop today.
We started walking shortly after 10am. the first cache of the day (G.G.#51) was actually my six hundredth geocache. There are those who say that finding six hundred in three months is somewhat obsessive, but what do they know? The second and third caches were both good; it was at this point that the geo-hound was allowed off the lead.
We then had a moment's panic. With the clue to the next cache being "base of tree" we found a major area where forest clearance had been taking place.
We failed to find the sixth cache of the day, and possibly spent too long searching. From there we found one of the hills that we'd been warned about. And some of the mud. When we did the first half of the Gypsum Gyratory we'd got seriously muddy. But that was absolutely nothing compared with today. The mud was chest deep on poor Fudge.
Last time we'd been gyratory the weather had been against us. The weather (pretty much) held out today. Once a third of the way round we stopped for lunch and had a rather pleasant pic-nic in the sun by G.G.#66. Mind you, just before G.G.#72 the rain did start. Fortunately we could see a pub, and so stopped for a crafty pint. In Sussex one drinks Harvey's, and it slipped down very nicely. The barman was very friendly, and plied Fudge with dog biscuits (which he enjoyed).
After fifteen minutes the rain stopped so we ploughed onwards. The next cache (G.G.#72) was.... well I won't spoil the surprise, but let's just say that I've given it a favourite point.
When we walked the first half of the Gypsum Gyratory three weeks ago there were two points where we got seriously lost and wasted hours. That never happened today, but there's no denying that we think we may have gone a bit awry at G.G.#80. We never actually found anything resembling the description in the clue.
It was shortly after this that Fudge went missing. He was only gone for maybe two minutes, but that two minutes seemed like an eternity. And when he did appear, charging through the forest, there's no denying that you could see the panic on his face.
As we went on so the terrain got more and more muddy. And the sky got darker and darker. We'd forgotten that the clocks had gone back. It was getting noticeably dark at 3.30pm. Perhaps if we'd had more time we might have found G.G.#85 and G.G.#86, but time was pushing.
A word of warning to any potential gyrators. For all that I can't recommend this series of geocaches highly enough, caches 91 to 98 are spaced out along a sea of mud. Rather deep mud as well. By the time we'd traversed the mile of quagmire the light had failed entirely. We were grateful for the light from the fires of the charcoal burners. In fact that gave us an idea for a geocaching challenge.
We didn't find cache 99. From the description it sounded straight-forward. But it was dark. Mind you we did find G.G.#100. We found it with quite a sense of achievement.
So we have survived the Gypsum Gyratory. In its entirety. However of the one hundred caches we have only found ninety. Ten have eluded us. We will have to return...
30 October 2012 (Tuesday) - Hard Core Geocaching
With laundry needing washing, ironing needing doing, lawn needing mowing and all sorts of domestic trivia pending I had a full day ahead of me. Over a spot of brekkie Lisa messaged via Facebook saying she wanted to do a special geocache to be her six hundredth find. So domestic trivia went out of the window.
With "er indoors TM" off to work I left Fudge in the care of his Mummy and Daddy and was soon in the Lisa-mobile. We went to Hoads wood where a new cache had gone live. We had hoped to be first to find it. We were second. We stopped at the toilets at Hothfield common for another cache, and a third at Hollingbourne church before on to part of the main business of the day.
Geocaches are rated on a scoring system for difficulty to find and the terrain on which they are hidden. The scores go from (easy) to five (nearly impossible). Most of the caches I've hidden are rated 1.5/1.0. Generally I think seriously about going for a cache rated 3 or higher on either criterion. Too difficult!
"Arachnophobia" was rated 4.0/4.0. It took us a little while to find the entrance to the tunnel, but eventually we found the cover. I suppose that for most people going into disused tunnels is rather nerve-wracking. And it can be. But what with my experiences of being a hardened tunnel rat I must admit that this wasn't too bad. We climbed down a rather rickety ladder to find two rooms and a short tunnel. The geocache was soon located, and I then scrambled along the tunnel to see what was down there. (Unky Bear would not forgive me if I hadn't). It turned out that there wasn't much down that tunnel at all.
The cache as called "Arachnophobia". Admittedly there were spiders down there, but as many as you would expect of any comparable tunnel. It was a fun cache to do, incorporating two of my hobbies, but a 4.0/4.0 rating? I'm not sure about that.
Whilst in the area we did a few local caches then moved into Maidstone to do some more.
One of the things which really boils my piss about geocaching is the inconsistent way in which rules are applied. A good friend of mine had one of his hides disallowed because it was too near to a playpark. We came across one that was actually in a playpark. We also found another one with a high rating (2.5/4.5). We felt rather pleased with ourselves for that find; even more so when we realised that the Bat had tried for it unsuccessfully. I shall gloat at him when next I see him.
A few more caches, then we collected Earle from the station. We would need him for the day's finale. A cache with a 4.5/5.0 rating. "Shrek" is so named because like Shrek from the films, it lives in a swamp. Earle's job was to run "mission control" from dry land, take photographs, guard the clothing we'd taken off, and phone the coastguard if required. And because he was wearing his hi-vis work clothing he'd make it look like we had a bona-fido reason for being goolie-deep in a swamp.
We were soon goolie-deep in a swamp. Or that is those of us with goolies were goolie-deep. The cache was found within five minutes; cache was signed and we were back on dry land within ten minutes. And for all that it was fun I couldn't help but feel that the difficulty was over-rated. The terrain (a swamp) wasn't really anywhere near as challenging as the ponds into which I've assisted floating duck houses. And the cache wasn't that well hidden. I can see it would be a challenge for most people. Most people don't relish going goolie-deep in swamps.
But as I'm sure my loyal readers now realise, I'm not like most people...
31 October 2012 (Wednesday) - Samhain
I had a wry smile at the morning's news. I see that the Disney corporation have acquired the rights to the Star Wars franchise and are planning on making a seventh Star Wars film. I can predict the film's reception already. The general public will love it in the way that they love all of these films. The (so-called) fans will hate it on general principle in the way that (so-called) fans always do.
And Disney will keep churning out more films in the genre all the time the money keeps pouring in because that's the business they are in.
The Internet was awash with comments on the subject this morning. A friend of a friend rather said it all when he commented that he loved the last film and can't wait to see the next voyage of the starship Enterprise. "Trek" and "Wars" are very different things to those who care about such trivia.
It is a very special person who knows the difference between RU12 and a Klangon, and who knows that ICUP has never been beamed up by Scotty.
Today was Hallowe'en. I had been rather vaguely looking forward to seeing loads of little trick-or-treaters coming knocking on the door this evening. But being on a 10pm finish meant that wasn't going to happen. However little Lacey had come round trick or treating last night (for some reason), and that had gone a long way to make up for my missing out on tonight's fun. Rather than asking for sweeties when she called, she showed me the haul of sweeties she'd already accrued, and she gave me a small bag of Maltesers. That choked me up. It was a shame we didn't have any sweeties to give her, but as a treat I told her to come in and play with Fudge. She seemed very happy with that.
Also being on a late finish tonight meant I got to miss the arky-ologee club. Which was a shame. For all that I run the club down, it gets me out of the house on what might otherwise be a dull evening. Tonight there was a talk on the practicalities of geophysics. I would like to have been along to that.
Today was also Samhain. Plenty of people were posting about it on Facebook and wishing everyone a happy one. Apparently Samhain is a Celtic/Gaelic traditional celebration. It always amazes me how many of the people whom I know are mad-keen on everything Gaelic/Celtic when they are all based in Kent.
You can't actually get further away from Celtic/Gaelic-land than Kent without crossing the sea...