1 October 2013 (Tuesday) - Mr Samgrass
I was up with the lark as usual this morning and was watching the third episode of "Brideshead Revisited" well before 6am. Sebastian has turned to drink despite the machinations of Mr Samgrass. I have seen these episodes so many times and still I love them as I love all period dramas.
I set off to work, but didn't stop off for any geocaches on my way today. Two months ago I thought I'd try for the "cache a day for a month" challenge in August. I had serious doubts as to whether or not I would be able to keep a finding streak going for such a long period of time as a month. But having done the month I thought I'd keep on going. I've done two months, and that is enough. There aren't many more caches to be done. Or, to be more precise, there aren't more caches to be done that don't require me going a long way out of my way to get them. Being a mean sort of person I keep track of my expenditure; I have spent forty quid more on petrol that usual for these last two months. I can't justify the expense. Not when I am still recovering from the vet's bill.
This morning over brekkie I'd read about some young boy racers who had been vooming round the ring road (as they do) and had had a rather serious crash near Somerset Road. As I tried to drive past there at 6.30am this morning the road was still closed.
According to the local news it seems rather serious - someone died. Mind you it can't really be a surprise - the ring road has been a race track for years. Perhaps now the police might do something about it.
As I drove I listened to the radio. My piss boiled when there was talk of the failure to balance the books in the American budget. People who work in the American public sector have this morning been sent home from work unpaid, and are facing uncertainty as to whether or not they will have a job.
The pundits on the radio described this state of affairs as "American fun and games". Hardly fun and certainly not a game for anyone faced with no income and no likelihood of one.
I stopped off in Wincheap for petrol. The young lady at the till in the filling station seemed particularly morose. And then it was on to work ou il y a un tatou dans l'arbre. Il se tombe sure la tete de l'oiseau. L'oiseau est aussie demente com pantalons maintenent.
As I remarked to my colleague who is learning so much French from me, when he goes on his holiday to France, as long as he goes up a tree he will do fine.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Today in Queen Street where I slept through an episode of Merlin. A shame – I quite like that show…
2 October 2013 (Wednesday) - New Hides, Dinosaurs, Laundry
I slept well, surprisingly, and woke just before 7am to the sound of torrential rain against the bedroon window. There's nothing like a good downpour to stuff up any plans that may have been made. I scoffed brekkie and then checked the weather forecast. The rain outside had cleaerd up, and with a predicted window of about four hours until the rain would come back I thought I'd take "Furry Face TM" for a walk.
We went out through Viccie Park and Singleton Lake to Great Chart. I hid two geocaches in the area; the Wherigo I'd been working on for two days, and a letterbox hybrid. Both of which are particularly obscure forms of small plastic boxes. No one else in Ashford has hidden these. You might think that cachers would be interested in these for the novelty value. We shall see.
Normally the chap who gives caches the thumbs up or thumbs down is very quick in doing so. He's taking his time over these; I suppose I get so used to the chap's efficiency that I overlook the fact that his is a volunteer and he too has a life of his own to lead.
We came home from our walk just before mid day. My little dog had been really well behaved whilst out, and once home he yummed up the food I put down for him. He then made himself comfortable on the sofa and snored for much of the afternoon.
I had planned to clear rubbish from the garden and to mow the lawn but not only was everything still wet from the earlier downpour, but it had started raining again. So I resigned myself to cracking on with the ironing. there was lots of it. As I ironed I watched more episodes of "Brideshead Revisited". Sebastian had gone out on the sauce somewhere in the middle east whist Charles and Julia were having it away on an ocean liner in the Atlantic.
Also whilst I ironed next door clanged on their piano. Whilst not totally abysmal, the standard of their piano-ing leaves a lot to be desired. And despite over two hours of clanging every day for many years they make absolutely no improvement in their musical ability whatsoever.
With ironing done, despite their clanging I dozed off in front of the telly until er indoors TM" came home for tea. And then went out again. Apparently there was a meeting of candlemongers this evening.
Finding myself at a loose end I had half a plan to go down to Folkestone to investigate this pub of which the Rear Admiral had been singing praises recently, but judging by his Facebook updates he seemed to be busy in London. So instead I sorted out more laundry and did this week's installment of my dinosaur course whilst my dog slept on my chest alternately snoring and farting...
Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog...?
3 October 2013 (Thursday) - National Poetry Day
I had an early night last night. I woke feeling refreshed and raring to go. I had almost decided that early nights would be the way forward for me and then I noticed the clock. 2.30am! I lay awake listening to the snoring and farting of my dog (who had again sneaked upstairs) for an hour or so before I gave up on sleep and got up.
I was again watching "Brideshead Revisited" at 5am. Charles was in a gay bar; the saucy devil. I don't think he intended to be in one - it just sort of happened, as so often it does in life.
I then checked my emails. Overnight I had received the thumbs-down on my letterbox hybrid. But not disheartened I resolved to try again; this time harder. This failure is my own fault really. I put the thing too close to an exisiting cache. I should have checked at the time when I shoved it into the undergrowth; after all it would only have taken one click of the appropriate app. But I didn't click.
I could have put things right before work this morning but there wasn't really enough time. Fortunately I had had the all-clear on the Wherigo I had put out, so yesterday hadn't been completely wasted. In fact I was very pleased to find that someone had actually gone out and done my Wherigo this morning, enjoyed it immensely and had found the actual cache shortly after 11am. I was particularly happy about that as it means that all the programming and coding I did on the software involved has actually worked. While all was fine on my field trials I couldn't help but wonder how the thing would fare when used properly.
To work. As I drove I sulked about the weather. Yesterday morning had seen torrential rain when I was hoping to walk my dog. Today was glorious. However the pundits were forecasting storms so I spent much of the day looking out of the window hoping for such a storm. Interestingly the BBC's weather web site made mo mention on any storms. Again BBC radio didn't get it's weather forecast from the BBC web site.
Whilst at work we spoke little (if any) French today. French wasn't a language we could say; because it was National Poetry Day. And so to celebrate that time; today we had to talk in rhyme.
I tried to keep it up, but many of my colleagues had given up by 9.30am; which was a shame. Or was probably for the best, depending on your personal perspective and/or poetic bent.
I had my flu injection today. In the past I have alway turned down flu jabs because I have always maintained that people who don't have the jab don't get flu whilst those who have the injection get ill from having had it. But I was coaxed, cajoled and generally harrassed into having the injection. It didn't hurt, and I suppose it must be a good thing really. Time will tell - it always does.
After work we had the meeting of the astro club committee. Plans for the future are looking good, and possibly feature a rather impressive mount. Woof!
As I came home I drove through a thunderstorm. Rather impressive...
4 October 2013 (Friday) - Wedding Anniversary
It's no secret that I don't often sleep well. Last night was particularly bad. I got up and was watching DVDs at silly o'clock. I felt rather grim this morning as well. I wonder if it's all in the mind or whether it really is the after-effects of yesterday's flu jab that I never actually wanted.
If I had been due in at work today I would probably have phoned in sick. I spent much of the day feeling rather light headed and generally "bleagh". In the past I have always declined flu jabs on the grounds that people who have them are ill having had the injection. I have confirmed my prejudice against the things.
The morning's haul of emails brought something which boiled my piss somewhat. The Federation of Astronomical Societies (of which our club is a member) have formally recommended that we (and all astro clubs) should have a formal child protection policy. They sent through a template document which was eighteen pages long. Eighteen ! - I counted them.
On the one hand I suppose they are right. On the other hand it speaks volumes about the sad state of our society that they are right. But why do we actually need such a policy? To protect children at the club? Hardly. All children that come along (and there are quite a few) come along under the care and supervision of their parents. We need the policy as a legal box-ticking excercise to protect the committee members against unscrupulous opportunistic types who may see a chance to make easy money by making baseless allegations against the innocent for financial gain.
So I have written a draft child protection policy: "All parents must watch their children like a good parent would.". I think that covers all eventualities.
er indoors TM" was still snoring as "Furry Face TM" was getting more and more restless, so as she slept I put the lead onto him and (despite the rain) we went for a walk to the sports centre. I bet none of my loyal readers could guess what had sprung up in that general vicinity overnight. We soon found the new cache. Whilst there we met another cacher and had a good chat about the special log inside that cache.
With the rain easing off we came home again hoping that er indoors TM" would now be up and about. She wasn't so I chivied her from her pit with a cup of tea and a wet dog.
We got ready and drove down to Ham Street where we walked a rather scenic circular walk of five miles (and nineteen geocaches). The Ham Street Hamble is a walk I have been intending to do for some time; mainly because I had been hassling the C.O. to put that series out for months. It was a really good walk. Along the canal, through the woods. We walked for three hours and then (having redeployed my letterbox hybrid) came home again.
We changed, then went to the Smarden Bell for dinner. The Smarden Bell is somewhere I haven't been for ages. It was once the best pub for miles around. The last time I went there was about five years ago and it had gone downhill. This evening we were very impressed with the place. Good food without waiting for too long. It wasn't cheap, but as a treat I would certainly go back again.
It was only a shame I was feeling rough...
5 October 2013 (Saturday) - London
I woke at 2.30am, and bearing in mind the relative success I had the other night I got up and had a shave. I then pootled for a bit and went back to bed and slepth through until I was woken by my alarm. I can't remember the last time I was woken by an alarm. I would like to think that this is a success of doing something in the night and going back to bed. However I suspect that this is just related to by being under the weather with this flu jab.
We got up, and it wasn't long before the doorbell rang. The Folkestonians had arrived and we made our way to the railway station where we met up with the rest of our party. Eight of us set off to London on the Javelin. The plans for the day were rather fluid, and fluid was the watchword of the day. We started off at the Natural History Museum in the dinosaur galleries which suited me fine. This fitted in very well with the course I am currently doing about dinosaurs. We then went into the gardens to do the Earthcache, and then thought we might have a pint of lunch.
What a good idea that was(!) A pint of lunch. We asked the nice lady on the museum door where the nearest pub was. She said it was just up the road. So we went up the road. And krpt going. We found a pub just over a mile and a half up the road.
We took the tube back to the museums. We came the scenic way having taken the wrong train and having ended up in Earls Court,
In the afternoon we went round the science museum. I say "museum"; many of the exhibits were things I once owned. We also had fun playing with a futuristic toilet game. And then leaving some of our party we went on to follow others of our party. We made our way to Leicester Square's Brewmaster pub for a couple of pints before walking over the road to the Bear and Staff for a couple more pints. Whilst here we played "Spot the Lesbian" (there were several) and we cheered the dancing drunkards until the rest of our party arrived.
We then made our way into Leicester Square for dinner at Ed's Diner (very tasty) and having scoffed some really good scoff we perused the saucier shops.before sleeping all the way home.
A day out in London doesn't come cheap, but it's always a good day. Must do it again...
6 October 2013 (Sunday) - R.E.
I woke feeling rough,and carried on feeling rough all day. Was it the excesses of yesterday or the aftermath of that flu jab? hangovers rarely last more than an hour for me. I am not going to be pressured into having any more flu jabs.
I brekkied whilst watching an episode of "Early Doors" - the third episode I've seen. I love it. And then I checked the Internet. Little had happened overnight. It rarely does.
Leaving er indoors TM" and "Furry Face TM" in their pits I set off to work. So as the day wouldn't be all work and no play I went via Little Burton Farm to try for a geocache. Two weeks ago I'd tried for this very one. The thing was clearly not there then. And it wasn't just me being useless - other experienced cachers hadn't found it either.
I'd since looked at the on-line logs for that cache and seen that someone had found it recently; their first and only find. So this morning on the way to work I thought I would have another try. The cache was obvious, and on opening it up I could see the signatures of people who had found it over the last couple of months.
It really hadn't been there two weeks ago, but here was evidence that this was the original and not a replacement. Had this newbie taken it home to sign the log and to show his friends? What was going on here? I suspect I shall never know.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the (supposedly) shocking news from OFSTED that over half the schools in the country are failing to deliver Religious Education as a subject.
Apparently the problem is that no one, least of all the R.E. teachers, really knows what is expected from R.E. lessons. Are they to be the history of the world's religions? An academic study of the tenets of the world's religions? Perhaps to deliver a sense of morality? Or even (just possibly) crackpot nonsense? Certainly I had all four when I was at school. Mr Groves would have us draw pictures of selected scenes from the Old Testament. Mr Storey would lead all sorts of discussions. And once a week we would sit through the ranting of an angry old vicar. This chap would aggressively spout the most ridiculous and farcical propositions as though they were logically valid arguments, and would regularly reduce common sense to gibberish.
There was a head teacher interviewed on the radio who gave the impression that she was sick of these stunning revelations. Apparently she is already contending with allegations that her school does not have enough focus on teaching music, drama, hockey, flower arranging and morris dancing. She maintained that there was only so much time in the day and that schools should focus on teaching kids to read and write and do sums rather than to waste everyone's time on fringe nonsense such as half-baked religion. Personally I think she might have had a point.
The radio show then wheeled on someone from the national committee for religion in schools whose committee is due (in a few weeks) to give the government a formal report on what an R.E. syllabus should contain. This chap clearly had no idea what R.E. was, should be, or could be about. But he spouted platitudes with the best of them.
There could be so much more to religion than spouting platitudes.
Meanwhile the news also told of Britain's first free Muslim school which has been shut down amid all manner of allegations.
]Apparently the teachers are being forced to wear hijab; female students told to sit at the back of classrooms so the boys can see what's going on better...
Here's an idea. Why not let school be about teaching academic lessons whilst imparting moral guidance from a reasoned and reasonable ethical standpoint, and leave the supposed pronouncements from invisible imaginary friends to everyone's spare time.
And so to work. I did my bit, but felt progressively more grotty as the day went on. There's no denying I was glad when it was time to call it a day. Were it not a Sunday I might have been inclined to have phoned in sick.
7 October 2013 (Monday) - In The River
I slept in till gone7am this morning. I was still feeling grim. Mind you nowhere near as grim as er indoors TM" has turned. She’s not well at all. I suggested she should phone in to work to say she was sick, but she went in to work regardless.
I put the collar and lead onto my little dog and we went for a small walk down to Park Farm, back up to the Ashford Orbital park and home again. It was really foggy as we started, but the day brightened as we went. Once in Park Farm we stopped off near the top for the day’s geocache. It would have been daft not to. “Gunners” is one I went for a week or so ago and couldn’t find. Over the weekend I read that others had gone for it and failed to find it. Today I saw the thing right away. It was obvious. Truly obvious. I saw it from fifty yards away. I say “fifty yards” because I measured the distance.
On the way home my dog did his signature move of rolling in fox poo. I wasn’t cross. It wasn’t that long ago that he was too ill to go for a walk, and I’m so pleased that he is well enough to roll in the dung. My piss did boil as we came to the river by Asda. Someone had thrown a sofa into the river. Why? In order to throw a sofa into the river at that point someone would have had to carry it for several hundred yards. In fact lugging the sofa would have had to have been a team effort. Surely there would have been easier and more environmentally-friendly places to throw a sofa?
And so home. As I got within yards of home I saw a chap struggling to control his dog as he walked down the path toward me. On seeing me the fellow started shouting orders at me directing me away from him and his dog. The dog didn’t seem to be aggressive in any way; just seeming to want to pull its owner about. The chap loudly announced that he was going to get out of the way, and that I should cross the road and pass them on the other side of the road. He got out of the way by going into my front garden and standing in the middle of it; shouting orders at me as he did so.
I (and my dog and his dog) ignored him completely as I walked up my front path, unlocked the door and went in.
Over a spot of lunch I watched the last instalment of Brideshead Revisited. I always thought it was a shame that Charles never married Julia. Was he really gay? I never thought so. And did he really get religion in the end? The commentaries on the book think so.
After lunch I spent a little time on my next presentation to the astro club. At the end of the month I shall be ranting about what a load of rubbish comets are. I tried to upload to my blog archive, but the software was having a sulk. I shall try again later. And I had a look at the household accounts. I wish I hadn’t. I then intended to spend a few minutes on Wherigo software. I actually spent a few hours. ANd with er indoors TM" off bowling I continued my "Jeremy Irons on the telly" theme by watching him in the film of "Lolita". A good film; even if it was about an hour too long...
8 October 2013 (Tuesday) - Manticores
er indoors TM" is not well. After a night's serious snoring she staggered off to work. She should have phoned in sick. Mind you I am the same; I rarely if ever take a day's sick leave whilst others will take a week off having farted twice in five minutes.
I couldn't beleive the morning's news. The BBC are planning to make a one-off Xmas special of that oild TV show "Open All Hours". If they do I shall put my foot through the screen and send the BBC the bill.
"Open All Hours" was an amazing show. Featuring some comic geniuses such as Ronnie Barker, Kathy Staff, Sir David Jason and Lynda Baron, it was amazing just how terrible that programme was. It was arguably the worst TV show ever made. It was simply not funny in any way, and how that tired predicable formula was dragged out for twelve years has always amazed me. When the show was finally axed in 1985 I for one breathed a sigh of relief.
I have already formally complained to the BBC. It's a shame that their automated reply said:
"Thank you for taking the time to send us your views. We appreciate all the feedback we receive as it plays an important role in helping to shape our decisions.
It isn't possible for us to respond individually to comments, so this is an automated message to let you know that we’ve read your feedback and will log the details (removing any personal details) so they can be reported back to the wider BBC, including programme makers, commissioning editors and senior management.
Thanks again for contacting the BBC.
BBC Audience Services."
I did laugh at the bit about " we’ve read your feedback" as their email arrived less than a second after I'd sent mine. Still, I suppose they must get loads of crackpots like me whinging at them.
"Furry Face TM" amazed me this morning. He is not a greedy dog, and is rarely (if ever) hungry before our morning's walk. Today he was in the kitchen asking for his brekkie before 8am. That was very unlike him. I wonder what that was all about. But he wanted his morning walk just the same. We went up past the sports centre and came home through Frog's Island. In a novel break with tradition we managed to avoid all traces of fox poo.
Home; where having mowed the lawn I hung out more ironing and did a little homework and this week's dino-course. All about the process of fossilisation. I learned loads and scored 80% for my troubles. I'm quite impressed with this dino-course. For a freebie it's really good.
er indoors TM" came home and despite her obvious suffering we went to the weekly gathering; this time in Arden Drive where Merlin was facing Manticores, screw-topped bottles and expanded foam props...
9 October 2013 (Wednesday) - Badgers, News, Stuff
Having had some half-decent nights I was wide awake before 4am this morning. I got up at 4.30, and having done the washing up and my morning ablutions I put on a DVD. I've finished "Brideshead Revisited"; the next boxed set on my DVD shelf is "The Charmer" - based on a Patrick Hamilton novel of some years ago it stars Nigel Havers as a con man. Whilst what con men do is utterly despicable, there is a macabre fascination in watching how they do it.
Leaving everyone else fast asleep I set off to work. It's now rather dark when I leave for work at 6.30am. As I drove I listened to the news. Today there was talk of the badger cull.
Those who advocate culling badgers want an extension on the culling period; they claim they haven't culled enough. Those providing expert figures on the matter aren't so sure. Havng originally thought there was well over two thousand badgers in West Somerset, these so-called experts no feel that there might only have been just over one thousand of the creatures. It would seem that their original figure was an over-estimate of about one hundred per cent.
Perhaps all culling should stop immediately until such time as we can get accurate figures on the badger population; let alone realise that there is actually no scientific basis for the slaughter in the first place.
Another abject failure was epxposed in the government's border control software. Intended to keep tabs on who is entering and leaving the country, and supposed to keep known criminals out, the computers apparently only actually track two thirds of the people entering and leaving the UK. In fact some criminals who have been deported have flown straight back again and have not been picked up by the system.
With my piss suitably simmering I stopped off at Morrisons for some fruit for lunch. As always I wrestled with the self-service checkouts. Today I noticed something odd. The machines bore notices that they do not accept the two-pound coins. Punters should not put two-pound coins into them as they will just get rejected.
How is it then that this very machine gave me a two-pound coin in my change?
I did my bit at work and came home. I see I have finally got my geocaching event accepted by the powers that be, It took some doing to persuade the reviewer that an astronomical evening for the geocaching community was actually an activity for the geocaching community, and not something that would be taking place without them.
All that remains is for me to persuade the geocaching community to actually show up for it. Mind you I am pleased that the event is on. Actually counting as a geocache type I think I now am cache owner for six different sorts of geocache. I'm working on a seventh...
10 October 2013 (Thursday) - Domestic Trivia
I woke early with no need to be up early. So I got up, had a shave and went back to bed where I fell into a very deep sleep and had a dream that I was being seriously savaged by my dog. It was so unnerving. Partly because I don’t think my dog would ever savage me, but mostly because it hurt. Physically. I really thought it was really happening because I could feel his teeth ripping into my right hand. I must have reacted strongly in my dream to this because I suddenly found myself sitting bolt upright in bed, nursing my right hand which now didn’t hurt at all. I’ve never felt pain in a dream before.
Needless to say I didn’t get back off to sleep after that little episode.
After a spot of brekkie I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We went down to Frog’s Island where we went here, there and thither before concealing my fourth Wherigo hide. Whilst we were out I saw that the sofa is still in the river. Someone has taken the trouble to turn the thing up the right way. I can’t help but wonder who is going to take a seat in the river, but what do I know?
We came home via the vets where the staff are coming to recognise us. The vet suggested that when we are out we might walk in to the surgery, sit for a bit and then go again just so FF gets the idea that the vets is just one of the places we regularly visit. The idea is that he won’t associate the place as being somewhere he goes only for injections and fingers up his bum.
As we walked we bumped into an old mucker. It was good to catch up – we should do that more often.
Home; where I then checked emails. One caught my eye; the life assurance I’d recently taken out wasn’t what I really needed. I had this idea that I should have a policy to pay for a funeral. That way I would feel justified in leaving instructions for when I croak. Funerals cost a fortune, and if I was paying for someone else’s one, I’d want to do it the way *I* wanted to do it. So I had this plan that if I was footing the bill I could call the shots. I will say what those shots are another time; I digress…
Anyway, it turned out that the policy I had would only cover me up to the age of eighty; if I lived past that age it wouldn’t pay out. That’s no good to me; I want a policy which will stump up regardless of when I go. I’ve got one now.
Another email made me chuckle. Yesterday I mentioned I’d organised a meet-up for geocachers. The event will be an evening’s stargazing. Today I had a message from a caching chap who cannot come to the evening, and asked me (in all seriousness) if I might reprise the event during daylight hours.
Yesterday I also mentioned that I was working on a seventh cache type. I spent a little while on that project today before lunch.
Over lunch I watched more of “The Charmer” and then tidied up a little, did the washing up, took out the recycling, hoovered (with a Dyson!) and then ironed eight shirts. I then spent some more time working on the presentation I’m giving to the astro club in a couple of weeks. It’s supposed to be a light hearted educational and informative lecture on comets. At the moment it’s more of a bigoted rant. I think it needs a little fine-tuning.
With er indoors TM" home we sat down and caught up with the goings-on at Downton Abbey. Shocking !!
11 October 2013 (Friday) - Stuff
Over brekkie I watched the last episode of my current DVD set - "The Charmer". Our anti-hero Ralph Gorse went too far today and got strung up. Literally. Which was probably for the best. I have always enjoyed "The Charmer"; I always thought it a shame that it only lasted for six episodes.
A sequel would have been good; but it's difficult to make a sequel when the main character has been killed. Having said that, they strung Blakes Seven out for two more years after Blake (apparently) croaked.
I then activated social media. Excellent news. Some of the missing Doctor Who episodes have turned up. For no adequately explored reason most of the original tapes of the Doctor Who episodes broadcast in the late 1960s have been deliberately destroyed. Occasionally odd copies turn up here and there.
A dozen episodes featuring Patrick Troughton have recently come to light in Nigeria; including the story of the Yeti in the London Underground.
And so to work. As I drove the news was all about the government's selling off of Royal Mail. I should have invested in that floatation. People who bought seven hundred and fifty quid's worth of stock yesterday were selling it for over a thousand quid this morning. Instant profit. Such a fast buck should really be criminal if it weren't for the fact that this is actually how our entire economic system works.
After the news was Desert Island Discs. Today's guest was someone who is apparently a high-flier in the business world. I'd never heard of her. I didn't hear all of the show, but what I did was frankly unbelievable. Her supposedly favourite music was little more than screeching, howling and wailing. Does anyone really like opera that much? Or do the sort of people who get to be interviewed on Desert Island Discs feel they shouldn't admit to liking the sort of music that us mere mortals enjoy. Does anyone actually enjoy opera?
I stopped off for a spot of shopping. Firstly in the Canterbury branch of "Pets at Home" where I got some dog food. For all that the stuff that I get delivered to the door is very cheap; "Furry Face TM" doesn't actually seem to like it very much. I am currently eking that stuff out by mixing it in with food that he does seem to like. Buying food cheaply only to have my dog not eat it is no economy.
And then I had a look in the Cheapo-Bargains shop. A little while ago I got a couple of bottles of half-decent plonk for a fiver from them. They hadn't got any left. I also thought that I would get some fireworks for the upcoming celebrations in Barnberry Close; they don't do fireworks. It was only when I arrived at work that I realised that I'd forgotten to pick up the tins of armpit-squirt; the very reason I'd actually gone to that shop in the first place.
I phoned the garage. The morning's post had a letter from Renault saying that the timing belt on the car needed replacing and they could do me a deal for several hundred quid. Their cut price bargain was still a lot of money so I thought I'd shop about. The garage I normally use couldn't get cheaper than twice the price of what the main dealer was quoting. They were very dubious about that price, and gave me a list of questions to ask the main dealer about exactly what would be replaced. As well as the cam belt, I had to ask about the auxiliary belt, tensioners and ever the phaser belt (!)
My usual garage were actually very good and were honest with me. they said that they couldn't compete with the price, and that they honestly thought that he main dealer must be doing this offer at a loss to themselves. And they were quite understanding when I told them I'd not be using them this time.
Once at work I did my bit, et parlet le Francais encore un fois. Le singe et l'oiseau est tous le amis n'est pas dans l'arbre aujourd'hui. Ils sont en vacances. Ils sont departe pour la plage. Il pleut sur la plage. Porquoi il pleut sur la plage? Parce que l'oiseau est un batard.
Having done my bit I came home through torrential rain. It rained for most of today. i wonder if that will stuff up the plans for the weekend...?
12 October 2013 (Saturday) - Pluckley
Last night's rain was terrible. I looked oout to a very bright morning as I scoffed my brekkie. Whilst "Furry Face TM" woofed at a world which was doing nothing to offend him I worked on my latest project. Once it's ready I shall tell the world what it is. But not yet. I'm mysterious like that(!)
Chris arrived, and we set off to Singleton for the rest of our party, and then it was on to Pluckley for a geo-walk for four of us and two small dogs. The Pluckley Plod is one of the county's better geo-walks; but then I might be a little biased in thinking this. We set off along Chris's stretch of the walk. Starting at the Dering Arms we went cross country alons some rather pretty footpaths, then up through several orchards. It was sad to see how few apples were on the trees compared to how many apples were laying on the floor. Surely they should have been picked by now? Having said that it was obvious that it was apple picking time as there were many empty apple crates stacked about waiting to be filled. Interestingly the crates were all labelled differently; some Gala, some Golden Delicious. And all labelled as produce of South Africa.
We walked down through an orchard of plum trees (is "orchard" the right word?) and came to the Swan pub in Little Chart. It was lunchtime so we thought we might eat our sandwiches in the pub's beer garden and have a pint. We found both the beer garden and the pub were empty. That's not "not many people" - that's "completely empty - no one there at all". I went to get a couple of pints (etc) to have with our sandwiches which we were planning to eat at the far end of the garden. The sour harridan behind the bar told me they were running a pub, not a picnic site.
We took our money elsewhere; and I would advise all my loyal readers to do the same.
It was shortly on from here that I thought that "Furry Face TM" might like a run off of the lead. Will I never learn? I let him off the lead; he ran about a bit, rolled in fox poo, saw a pheasant and was off like a bullet out of a gun. I eventually captured him fifteen minutes later several hundred yards away, wrapped in brambles and stuck in a river.
He went straight back on the lead after that.
With dog captured we carried on our walk. After the excitement of hunting down an errant tripe-hound the rest of the walk was relatively uneventful. We got back to the car after five hours walking; a good stroll. And so home where "Furry Face TM" had his bath. Such is the penalty for fox poo. I then checked my emails. earlier in the week I hid two Wherigo caches. A Wherigo cache involves downloading a package, playing a GPS adventure on your phone, and finding a cache. Neither of these two Wherigo caches had been found despite there having been over twenty downloads. Either people haven't got round to them yet, or there is a problem with them. I do hope not; both worked well in field trials.
Saturday night found me "home alone". er indoors TM" was off out watching films; and seemingly the rest of the universe was out on the beer in Folkestone. I settled down with my dog (who was snoring after his walk) and watched "American Beauty"; a fiilm I'd been recommended some time ago. It was really good. How many other gems are still waiting my discovery...?
13 October 2013 (Sunday) - Rain Stopped Play
The plan for today had been to go for a rather long walk, if for nothing else to wear out "Furry Face TM". But I woke to see that the weather forecasts had been right. Heavy rain was in full flow. Whilst it's quite possible to dress for the weather and carry on regardless, I didn't fancy several miles in the rain. So we postponed our plans for another time.
Mind you others went ahead with walks today. One brave band did the eight mile trek around Pluckley that we did yesterday. They must love it. As must those brave souls who did the Ashford 10K road race.
Social media made my piss boil today. One of the old chestnuts was doing the rounds - reading several friend's statuses it would seem that apparenlty Facebook was going to sell everyone's personal details to the highest bidder unless you copied and pasted some viral drivel and fiddled with settings. As ever it was completely groundless; these rumours always are. But what got me was the amount of people posting in response who were boasting that they didn't know how to copy and paste. And adjusting settings was clearly in the realms of rocket science or brain surgery.
Would anyone boast that they can't read or write? So why do so many people feel that computer illiteracy is something of which they should be proud?
As the rain continued I played Candy Crush Saga all morning, then we went round to Dan and Cheryl's for Sunday lunch. It has to be said that Cherly boils up a particularly good Sunday lunch. And trifle for pudding too before we settled down to watch telly for the afternoon.
For all that I lead a very active life, sometimes I like to slob about with family
Yesterday I mentioned that two of my recently created Wherigos hadn't been found. This morning I had an email to say that one of them had been found. I was pleased about that; in the Wherigo I program a downloadable doobrey which when installed into your SmartPhone guides you from one localtion to the next; only letting you move on when you have solved certain puzzles. Any failure to solve the conundrum means you are stuck and cannot progress. Simularly any stuffing up of the programming on my part means the poor chap who's downloaded the doobrey is stuck and cannot progress. Even though I field-tested both, I knew the solutions to the puzzles. it was good to find that one of my Wherigos has actually worked when tested in anger.
Mind you the other one hadn't been found by lubch time. And it was rather worrying to receive an email from someone who has got part way through and can proceed no further. I sent him a little hint, and then mid-afternoon I got a second email from someone who had braved the elements and met with failure. Then I had some phone calls from people struggling with the thing.
With er indoors TM" off bowling I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round to Frog's Island to field test this Wherigo again. It seemed I had stuffed up. But just as I was getting started I met four friends who had just completed it. They had taken rather longer than I had hoped people might; but I suspect that I didn't take long when testing as I knew the plot. With this one now found I know that the software works. That was a relief. There's no denying that my meagre programming talents were stretched to the limit in coming up with these Wherigos. I suspect troubleshooting would have been be beyond me.
I then settled myself down in front of the telly for a "Jeeves-and-Wooster-a-thon"...
14 October 2013 (Monday) - Earthcache
It has been said that cats and dogs are often regarded by many as "furry children". It has also been said that whilst cats are akin to teenagers, dogs are more like toddlers. I was certainly reminded of the nocturnal activities of the most recent fruit of my loin as a toddler this morning. At 2am Fudge jumped on the bed next to me, and pushed and pushed until I was hanging out of the bed. It was at this point that he started snoring. Much as the most recent fruit of my loin used to do when she was two years old.
Over brekkie I watched two more episodes of "Early Doors". Quality television(!) And then I set off to work. I left a few minutes earlier than I had on Friday as I found I had run short of time then. Today the roads were really busy; I could see no reason why.
As I drove I listened to the news, as always. I don't think anything had happened recently. All of the news was of events and happenings from long ago. A whistleblower in America was telling tales of when a mishap on an American Air Force bomber in the 1960s which resulted in a nuclear bomb being accidentally dropped on Carolina; and only a faulty switch stopped the thing detonating.
I think that justifies my membership of C.N.D. in my youth.
Spanish victims of the drug thalidomide were taking the manufacturers to court to claim compensation. And doing this some forty years after their UK counterparts. I couldn't help but wonder why they had waited so long. No one on the radio seemed to feel this delay was in any way significant. I did. Surely these people would have wanted compensation forty years ago?
I got an email. I've been working on an Earthcache recently. An Earthcache is a virtual thing in which people visit a place of special geological significance and answer some questions about what they see. I've set one up on the Downs at Wye at the Devil's Kneading Trough. After quite a lot of work on my part I managed to get the thing accepted. I'm quite pleased about that - on my geo-profile I now own seven different cache types. (lame!)
Anyway - the idea behind my latest brainchild is that people park up at the car park at Wye Downs, answer a few questions, walk down to the bottom of the slope and then answer some more. And then email the answers to me in order to claim a find. The concept isn't difficult.
Someone logged this Earthcache within an hour or so of it going live, but with no email coming from them someone else got the official First to Find three hours later. The one claiming to get there first sent their email during the early evening.
So far no one has quibbled about "official FTF" but I suspect this trivial little episode will generate a serious squabble in the fullness of time. There are those who can get quite defensive and aggressive about First to Finding. It's the sort of petty triviality that on occasion gets blown out of all proportion.
And so to work where I did my thing. Bearing in mind the dreadful weather yesterday I sulked quite a bit today as I kept looking out the window at the wonderful sunshine until it got dark.
I came home to find that my laptop's playing up again...
15 October 2013 (Tuesday) - Busy...
I was woken by my alarn this morning. An unusual change - I quite liked it. I checked out the world via social media whilst scoffing brekkie. Little of note had happened in the global scale of things. Some friends had played games on line, some had been on holiday, some had argued with others. Nothing really newsworthy, but I like social media if only to see that other people are still doing things. After all, at heart I'm a nosey person.
Today's news was interesting. The BBC are bringing back the Clangers. Set on the Moon, the Clangers was a kiddies show from forty years ago which featured the antics of moon-mousey things, a dragon and a chicken. Will the re-make work? Somehow I doubt it, but here's hoping. After all, as I have said before it's fairly obvious that as a genre television has now done absolutely everything it possibly can and remakes is the only option left open to it.
I took the car to the garage for its belts to be sorted. I have no idea what goes on under the car's bonnet. Mind you with modern cars there's not really much that one can do at home with them any more. It's all computer diagnostics these days. I took "Furry Face TM" with me, and leaving the car at the garage we walked home through the park. It was rather cold as we walked.
Home, where I settled down for half an hour's domestic drudgery. Washing up, hoovering, laundry. I then spent an hour preparing another Earthcache; this on on the tides at Dungeness. It has been said that there are far too many "easy" geocaches round and about. And there are not enough that involve a little bit of effort. That may be true, but from my experience of having both sorts of cache for every time a tricky cache gets found an easy one gets found a dozen times. But nonetheless I've cobbled another Earthcache together.
The garage phoned. As a courtesy they had done a free twenty five point check on my car and had found all sorts of problems. Interestingly when I paid good money to have the brakes seen to last month, the other garage had only done the rear brakes even though the front ones probably needed doing at the same time. So I agreed to have the brakes done. They are rather important, after all. Similarly the problem with the steering got fixed too, as did a few broken light bulbs.
I put washing on to the line, then over a spot of lunch did this week's dinosaur course work. Today we covered all about what constitutes a species. I got full marks in the test. And then the phone rang. My car was ready for collection. For all that the timing belt was done on a special offer, by the time I'd paid out for all the other problems they'd found, I was seriously out of pocket.
One of their recommendations was to replace the front tyres. They could do that for eighty quid per tyre. In the past All Sparks Tyres have seen me right for twenty quid per tyre so I went round to see them. They have closed down. That was useful.
After a little mucking about I found out about Ashford Tyre Centre, who didn't have any tyres of the right size. After some more phoning about I found somewhere who could do me right tomorrow morning. That will have to do.
I then spent far longer than I really intended playing "fetch" with "Furry Face TM" and a tennis ball. I don't think my dog has quite grasped the concept of "fetch"'; and there is a seriously high attrition rate of tennis balls. To my mind in a game of fetch" I should throw the ball and the dog should fetch it. In "Furry Face TM"'s opinion in a game of fetch" the human should watch whilst the dog sits on his lap and eats the tennis ball. He actually told me off every time I managed to get the ball and throw it. I would say "throw it for him" but I got the distinct impression that he regarded chasing the ball to be something of a nuisance.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Tonight at the Admiralty where after insults were bandied we watched Doctor Who. Sylvester (the real) McCoy was never my favourite Doctor; and it was rather obvious that at the time the BBC were trying to kill off the show. But watching "Silver Nemesis" with friends was a really good way to spend an evening. Must watch more Doctor Who soon...
16 October 2013 (Wednesday) - Skint
I don't like getting up whilst its still dark outside; preferring it to be light. Our bedroom curtains aren't thick and so if I get up when I would like to get up, I can see what I am doing. I got up after dawn this morning, but it was very odd. The room had a distinct reddish hue. I looked out of the windows and the sky was red. Very distinctly red. Within ten minutes it had gone back to it's usual self, but I can't help but wonder what that was all about.
A quick bite of brekkie, and I drove round to Tyreweb for two new front tyres. The nice took one look at the car, pulled out his wotsit, had a poke, and told me I didn't need two new tyres. I needed four. And I needed the wheel alignment sorting as well. I went in expecting to spend about a hundred quid; I came spending over three hundred.
A few days ago I received a letter offering me a new cam belt for under four hundred quid; I ended up spending over thirteen hundred quid on that car. Oh well, what is money for if not to squander foolishly.
Whilst out I popped into Tesco if for no other reason than to save a trip to Morrisons tomorrow. I got tomorrow's lunch. I had intended to get a new pair of trousers, but that was one economy I could make right away. And then I went on to Home Plus, or "Hopeless" as it sounds on its adverts on local radio. They sell fireworks, and I got a rather huge rocket for an upcoming firework extravaganza.
I then came home, put the washing on, and whilst that was cooking I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park. We didn't go for much of a walk; we would have gone a lot further but the forecast rain came an hour or so earlier than forecast. So we cut short out wander and came home. I then spent a couple of hours ironing whilst watching a film I'd recorded last night. "Sirens" was billed as a film about a young vicar and his wife being shocked by the immorality of an Australian artist. Starring Hugh Grant it was thinly veiled smut. Much like most art really.
Lunch, and I got a little ahead with my on-line dinosaur course. I did next week's lectures and got eighty per cent in the test. i was rather pleased with that. And then more laundry. Sorting undercrackers whilst watching something I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box a while ago. The Mill is a period drama about life in a nineteenth century Lancashire cotton mill. I quite liked it. And with undercrackers sorted I sat on the sofa and watched the second episode with a small dog asleep on my lap. It would have been good to have gone out for a walk with said small dog, but the rain was still against us.
As we watched the telly, next door clanged their piano and strangled their violin. For all that they practice regularly (and practice lots) they don't show any signs of improvement whatsoever.
er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of scran for tea. I then slipped off out for an hour or so. Astro club committee. The Ashford International Science Centre (or something) is becoming more and more a practical proposition.
I came home to find I was in serious trub. er indoors TM" 's favourite jumper didn't survive my attempts at laundering it...
17 October 2013 (Thursday) - This n That
Last night we were given a dog Christmas stocking for "Furry Face TM". I told er indoors TM" that we had soemthing for him. My dog actually understood what was said as he then spent over an hour whining and squeaking at the Christmas stocking obviously wanting to destroy it.
I slept surprisingly well last night, waking just before 5.30am. Over brekkie I watched the third episode of "The Mill". I do like this series. This morning's episode featured the rise of the trade union movement. It's amazing how things change with time. In the early nineteenth century trade unions were a force for good; stopping the exploitation of children and the poor. It's a shame that now, two hundred years later, they have been overtaken by the unelectable who abuse the authority of the trade union movement to play silly political games to the detriment of those they should be protecting.
Not that I'm bitter or anything...
And so to work. It was still dark when I left home. I drove slowly today. Very slowly. Some idiot drove all the way from Ashford to Canterbury at thirty miles an hour. Well below the speed limit. I wish people wouldn't do that; or if they must drive slowly they might pull over regularly to let others pass. I was several cars behind the one causing the problem, and it was scary to see so many other idiots overtaking so dangerously.
Talking of idiots, the radio broadcast some of the proceedings in Parliament yesterday. On the one hand broadcasting from Parliament is a good thing as it allows the public to see and hear what our lords and masters are getting up to.
On the other hand is a shame that our lords and masters behave like an undisciplined rabble.
I stopped off on the way to work to fill the car with petrol. After all I seem to have done little else over the last few days but throw money at the vehicle; I might as well use my last few pennies on it. I must admit that having spent a small fortune on it, it doesn't seem to feel any different at all. Perhaps that's a good thing?
And then on to work. Yesterday whilst at home it rained most of the day. Today was glorious sunshine, and I looked at it through the window and sulked for most of the day.
I did my bit at work, and then came home again. As I drove I listened to the radio. I know I shouldn't. This evening the Attorney General was spouting rubbish.
Mind you I did have a wry smile when I checked my emails when I got home. A couple of days I set another Earthcache. This one was all about the tides at Dungeness. The idea is to be at Littlestone beach an hour before low tide; walk to the sea, answer some questions and then come back. The cacher then wastes two hours and goes to the low water at Dungeness an hour after low tide, and compares the differences between the two beaches.
The cache went live last night after low tide. The first low tide that anyone could have done the requisite stuff on was at 4.30am this morning. And one hardy soul did. This chap was walking across a mile of wet mud at Littlestone Beach in the dark at 3.30am this morning.
This race to be first to find these caches has now got silly...
18 October 2013 (Friday) - Dull
My alarm woke me this morning. I like sleeping through till the alarm goes off. Over brekkie my dog got off his bum and sat with me while I watched the last installement of "The Mill". Supposedly based on real-life incidents, when I see how working conditions used to be I feel a little more accepting about my lot in life.
It was foggy as I drove to work today, and I listened to the news as I drove. When I arrived at work I realised that there was nothing in the days news that was at all noteworthy or memorable. Or that I could even remember.
And so to work where I did my bit, and came home again. As I drove home I had the radio on; in the hope that there might be something more memorable than was on this morning. There wasn't. "Any Questions" featured ill-informed windbags ranting about current affairs. In many ways it was reminiscent of this blog.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk, and with er indoors TM" out on the razzle with her mates I got myself a kebab and we settled down in front of the telly and watched a DVD.
My dog seems to like kebab.
Today was one of those dull days...
19 October 2013 (Saturday) - Hastings Bonfire
I don’t know why after having a spell of sleeping well I was wide awake at 3am. I got up, shaved, did the washing up, and thought that I might then get back to sleep. I didn’t; and was solving on-line puzzles before 6am. Amazingly I solved it right.
Brekkie, and then I took "Furry Face TM" for a quick walk round the park. The Normal People were the in force unfortunately. There was one prize plum with a dog no larger than a small rat on (about) fifty yards of lead which said rat had wrapped around most of the objects in the park. Trying to negotiate my way past tangled leads, trees and benches took some doing.
I then got into a conversation with a bunch of passing Gurkhas. Normally they are all terrified of dogs in the park, but apparently they recognised Fudge because they had seen me doing whistle training with him, and they thought he was incredibly well trained. I smiled politely and hurried off before my dog disgraced himself. After all, whistle training isn’t anything really clever; I blow the whistle and when he comes at the sound of the whistle I give him a treat. He’s learned that whistle equals treat, and so when he hears the whistle he comes for a treat (about seventy per cent of the time). But it seems to have impressed some onlookers.
We continued via the co-op field where in a slight altercation with a wolf Fudge nearly had his head bitten off (quite literally). I have tried to tell him not to fight with bigger dogs but he never listens. And when he does, he doesn’t speak English anyway.
We came home where for no explained reason the silly dog went into his auntie Kat’s room and spent half an hour barking at a poster. I did wonder if he was disturbing our delightful neighbour in the bedroom the other side of the wall. But then it was probably no more of a disturbance than their clanging their infernal piano so I left him to it.
Lisa came round and we set off. Firstly to find that puzzle cache I'd solved earlier, and then we did another cache as we were passing on our way to the monthly Kent cachers meet-up. It was a good meet - probably over fifty people there. All good people with a common interest in hunting tupperware. I'm helping organise a meet next year - I would be pleased if we have half the turn-out that today's meet attracted.
We had lunch, chatted, swapped insults, swapped trackables and even did the secret geo-ritual. My Wherigos received favourable comment; no one mentioned Earthcaches.
For all that we met in a pub I didn't have beer. Instead for the price of half a pint of beer I had a "bottomless coke"; a glass of pop which when empty I just re-filled. And because it was freee I had far too much. I think I had between ten to twelve pints of the stuff. I won a caravan TV arial in the raffle, and we even had cake with the birthday boy.
Home, and then we rallied the troops and set off to Hastings for the bonfire parade. We did find one cheeky cache on the way, but soon we were at my old stomping ground (the FILO) where we met up with more of our number. HSL, the competition, uncle Kev; we chatted all night whilst flaming torches, chips, huge bonfires and spectacular fireworks went off all around us. Hastings bonfire is one of the year's high points. When we moved away from the town in 1984 it was run down and going downhill. Now it's on the up-and-up. Much as I like Ashford, there's not a lot that goes on for the public compared with Jack in the Green, the carnivals and bonfires that happen in Hastings...
Five pints of ale meant that I would probably sleep well...
20 October 2013 (Sunday) - More Rain
Like last Sunday the plan for today was a serious walk with the dogs and to find a cache or two as we walked. But the rain yesterday afternoon would have left everywhere soaked, the weather forecast was predicting heavy rain all day, and er indoors TM" didn't get out of her pit with any alacrity, so we put the stroll round St Mary's Hoo on hold again.
This was intended to be for the best. As I sat scoffing brekkie I looked out of the window and watched the sky going from bright sunshine to black clouds and back again on what seemed to be a five minute cycle.
"Furry Face TM" was getting restless though. With er indoors TM" still in her pit I took my dog for a walk. Yesterday I mentioned how well behaved he was on his walk. Today was a different story. Whistle training was an abject failure as we upset a spaniel in the co-op field, ran amok with other dogs on the football fields, had to be captured by Orangehead by the river, shagged another Jack Russell in the park, had a full-blown fight with a labrador along the cycle path and rolled in fox poo in the Bowens Field Wetlands. I was glad to get home; if only to wash the fox dung off of my dog.
He seemed oblivious to any misdemeanors he might have committed, and having been thoroughly scrubbed he sat on the back of the sofa and barked at the world as it went by.
er indoors TM" did bowling paperwork. To waste time I played Candy Crush Saga until she was done then we went shopping. We both were rather sulking as the forecast rain hadn't come.
Firstly we went to Wilkos for all sorts of stuff including the makings of some beer for Christmas. I'm hoping this stuff turns out good - it works out at just under twenty two pence a pint, about eight per cent of the price I pay for beer in the pubs.
We then went on to Bybrook Barn. Christmas had arrived there. I was hoping to get some garden membrane to make good around our new fence, but they didn't seem to have any. Their shingle looked rather expensive too. I shall see how much that stuff is in the builders merchants in the week.
And just before coming home we went to the family bargains shop who had arguably the worst christmas decoration I have ever seen. But they had cake, so the trip wasn't entirely wasted. As we came out of there so the rain started. Rather heavy rain. Perhaps we had been right to cancel our walk?
We came home and scoffed the cake and listened to the rain which was really loud against the window. "Furry Face TM" set about his new toy. Being a destructive sort of dog he gets through toys at an impressive rate. We'd bought him a flavoured nylon tuggy toy. But rather than tugging it about he just wanted to chew it. Whilst he chewed it I bandied insults across Facebook.
With er indoors TM" off bowling, and "Furry Face TM" asleep on my chest I settled down for a Jeeves and Wooster-a-thon. As I watched the exploits of Bertie I thought that Totleigh Towers looked familiar. And tthen as I watcheed Downton Abbey I realised why. It's odd that we never see Sir Watkyn Basset in Downtoon Abbey - after all they live there too,,,
21 October 2013 (Monday) - Munzees
Last night saw a return to insomnia, with me waking after only three hours sleep. I was up and washing up at 5am. To pass the time I watched a couple of episodes of a show featuring Timothy Spall sailing round the British coast in a barge. I found the show quite entertaining, but couldn't help but remember my brother's dislike of the actor. Apparently the fellow wasn't too impressed with being raucously greeted by my brother at the boat show at Earls Court a few years ago. Personally I sympathise with Mr Spall.
And watching the show gave me a mild surprise - I never knew that Timothy Spall had leukaemia nearly twenty years ago. A lot of people do survive that terrible disease nowadays.
And so to work. In the dark and the rain. As I drove I listened (as always) to the news. The deputy Prime Minister was speaking out against his own government's education policies. The pundits on the radio felt that this was a sign of current political times; with the Con-servatives falling in the public's popularity, the dribbling democraps are angling for position in the next government in which (apparently) they plan to be in a coalition with the Labour party. To that end they are now sucking up to the Labour party.
You have to admire their obvious opportunism if nothing else.
There was also a feature on changes to legal aid. Legal aid is no longer available to people fighting for access to their children following divorce.
Instead of legal recourse, such people are to be offered "mediation". It would seem the public are treating "mediation" with the contempt it deserves and are representing themselves in court to the consternation of seasoned legal professionals. Apparently the legal profession don't want us mere mortals representing themselves in court because us mere mortals tend not to fart around with legal jargon; preferring to apply common sense to our arguments. This is not held in high esteem by those in legal professions. The implication was made on the radio that perhaps their gravy train was about to be de-railed.
I couldn't possibly comment other than observing that it's a shame that justice isn't something the average man in the street can afford any more.
As I drove into Wincheap there was talk on the radio about the amount of waste in supermarkets. I went to Morrisons today and bought two apples and two bananas. One each for today and one each for tomorrow. This morning's radio featured the revelation from Tesco that four out of every ten apples they sell is wasted. The same is true for one banana in ten, half their bakery output and most of their bagged salads.
They were rather vague about whether people bought it and wasted it at home, or whether it went manky in the shops. But either way it's a lot of waste. Which is why I count the fruit I buy, and buy what I need and no more.
On reflection my grandmother always had a bowl full of fruit in her living room which was going manky.
While I was parked in Morrisons I left the car in the car park and walked over the road to the park & ride. there was a Munzee there. Munzees are the latest "this week's novelty". They are a bit like geocaches in that they are secreted all over the place and you use GPS technology to find them. But rather than tupperware boxes, Munzees are QR codes. Often very obviously on public display (stuck to lamp posts or public bins) and ignored by all. Today's one was blatantly obvious from twenty yards away. When you find them you scan them with your phone, and then clear off to find the next one.
For some reason they aren't anywhere near as common (locally) as geocaches. There are hundreds of geocaches in Ashford. there are no Munzees at all. Yet. there's a few in Canterbury, but not many. I shall have a hunt round the map and see if it's worth carrying on with this game.
I did my bit at work and came home via a geocache I had hidden in Chilham some months ago. The word was that the cache had gone. The word was right - it had vanished. So I replaced it with a spare I'd brought along just in case.
I wonder if Munzees get muggled?
22 October 2013 (Tuesday) - Toblerone
Despite a rather good night's sleep I woke with rather a bad back this morning which gave me grief all day. In retrospect I should have taken a sickie. Sometimes it seems to me that I take far less sick leave than the rest of the universe. Perhaps I should look after myself from time to time?
Over brekkie my dog sat on my lap and chewed his new toy whilst I watched the next DVD set on my shelf - "Earth 2". At first appearance it might seem a rather run-of-the-mill sci-fi show but it has one major difference to most of the other shows on telly. There are no military characters, nor is anyone in any police force.
Perhaps that is why I liked it, and why the show was cancelled. But it was entertaining enough whilst I scoffed my toast.
Being on the late shift I left for work rather later than I usually do, and I met all the rush hour traffic. As I drove the Foreign Secretary was being harangued on the radio. He spoke for ten minutes about the current situation in Syria without actually saying anything. That is a good trick if you can do it; I would imagine it is invaluable in a politician.
Apparently today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the National Theatre. To commemorate the occasion the pundits on the radio staged a telephone interview with an old luvvie who had been in the first ever performance staged by the National Theatre. The talk was all of "how lucky we are as a nation", "the envy of the world", but no one seemed to pick up on the fact that the one being interviewed had long since upped sticked and moved to America from where she was telephoning.
Today also marks the two hundred and sixteenth anniversary of the first recorded parachute jump.
Being before aeroplanes, this jump was from a hot air balloon.
I would like to have done a parachute jump. Now let's read that sentence carefully. I would like to have done one. I certainly would not like to actually do one.
To work where I did my bit. Last night I made my lunch and I put it in the fridge overnight. When I opened the box this morning I found that a toblerone had appeared in it. That was a welcome surprise.
And with my bit done I came home. I dislike the A28. This morning as I drove there was a fool in the car behind itching to overtake me. He eventually flew past on a dangerous bend only to find the queue of traffic that was holding me back. I followed this twit for the next eight miles. This evening I was again in the thick of the drunken drivers; driving down the centre of the road at twenty five miles per hour.
One wonders about the entire concept of traffic police...
23 October 2013 (Wednesday) - FTF and Beer
I was woken at 7am by a small dog sitting on my chest licking my nose. He does that. I got up and had brekkie. I checked out the “Geocaching in Kent” Facebook group and sighed. There were a few threads griping about various problems in caching which are entirely the making of using GPS units.
I wish I knew why people hunt Tupperware with a GPS unit. They aren’t designed for that job. And those who advocate doing the job the long–winded way also advocate the unnecessary use of software (which no one seems to understand) as though making the job into hard work was a clever thing to do.
I usually take my dog out immediately after brekkie, but the weather was against it. He didn’t understand, and he looked like he was going to cry when he saw I wasn’t going out. Whilst I waited for the rain to stop I got the makings of forty pints of brown ale on the go, and then did the monthly accounts. They didn’t look very good, but then bearing in mind the hammering that they received from car repairs a week or so ago I wasn’t really surprised.
The rain had eased off, so I put “Furry Face TM “s lead on him and we went round the roads through Newtown and into Frogs Island. Whilst there I looked for one of my own geocaches. Several months ago a rather good geocache (that Jose had made for me) went missing and I replaced it with a magnetic key holder. I had received a report that someone had found two caches when looking for that one so I thought I’d have a look. Sure enough the original cache had returned. I wonder where that had been.
And then Fudge woofed at a passing scratter on its way home from Asda. The scratter dared to be disrespectful to my dog and I saw red. I offered to shove said scratter’s shopping up its arse. The scratter soon hurried off.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have done that; but he shouldn’t have been rude to my dog. We carried on with our walk, popping in to Pets at Home; if only so “Furry Face TM “ sees the vets as part of our walk and not as somewhere he should be scared to go.
Once home I put some washing in the machine, made a cup of coffee and checked my emails. Red Alert! A series of a dozen geocaches had just gone live (fifteen minutes previously) and so with the chance of a First to Find I stuck the lead back onto my dog and we zoomed off to Appledore.
The Appledore Amble is a series of caches in a vaguely circular walk out of Appledore, through some wonderful scenery and comes back along the canal. We arrived in Appledore, parked up within yards of the first cache and could see no one else was caching yet. I pulled my boots on and soon had the first cache in hand. I was the first one there. Happy dance! FTF. Oh yes!
We carried on along the walk, FTF-ing as we went. At the third cache I had a shock. I found what looked like it might be a geocache in a sock tied to a bench post. As I undid it I saw the actual cache a foot away, but I was intrigued. Someone had tied a sock to a post, and inside that sock was a note saying that this was the Saxon Shore Way sock #7. I wonder what that was about? Presumably some rival form of geocaching in which one hides socks?
We failed to find the fourth cache; the brambles were too thick for my liking. I say “we” – my dog has very little interest in geocaching. Fox poo is another matter as he proved whilst I searched.
We pressed on through ploughed fields and thick mud. Despite missing cache #4 I continued finding caches that no one else had. Usually where a load of caches go live I tend to share the love and only take one FTF. But this was a series of caches; designed to be done as a series. Those that chase FTFs could have driven round if they were in a rush. Me and my dog walked. And FTF-ed with clear consciences.
We had a minor hiccup at cache #8. The route then went along the canal. There were marked footpaths along both banks. When I found I couldn’t get within forty metres of cache #9 it was clear I’d chosen the wrong bank. As I was walking back to the bridge ‘er indoors TM sent the news that other cachers had started the cache series from the other end and had FTF-ed some. I managed one more FTF, then met “The Three of Us” (there were two of them) at cache #10.
We chatted for a bit. It was odd. I’m sure I’ve not met them before, but they recognised me. Or to be precise they recognised “Furry Face TM “; their first words were “This must be Fudge”.
I then gave up FTF-ing and started geocaching. The two are very different concepts. I found three more caches, and having got all of the clues to find the bonus cache I couldn’t find what I was supposed to do with these clues. Usually the clues give you co-ordinates of the bonus. These ones didn’t. After twenty minutes of head scratching I logged that I hadn’t a clue and came home.
I came home to find that the chap who had hidden this elusive bonus cache had since posted an apology. He had overlooked publishing the instructions on what to do with the clues. Some might see that as being rather frustrating. I saw it as a relief that I hadn’t overlooked something obvious.
To Folkestone. I’d heard reports of the Firkin Ale House so I went there with the Rear Admiral. They did a nice drop straight from the barrel. And cheese too. And a wonderfully decorated lavatory. We had an elegant sufficiency and moved on to Kipps Kipps is another alee house of which we’d not heard such good reports. It seemed OK to me. They had Dogbolter, which can’t be bad. From there we wandered and staggered to Wetherspoons who were doing something nutty. We then staggered off for a kebab, kissed goodbye and I found the train station. I got there at the same time as the train so didn’t have time to get a ticket. The ticket inspector on the train laughed when I told him I didn’t have a ticket, and he said that he thought I looked honest and I should buy one when I got off. I would have if I had seen anywhere open to buy one from.
When I got home I found these photos on my phone…
24 October 2013 (Thursday) - A Walk, and a Lazy Day
I felt rather rough this morning when I woke. Can’t imagine why. Once I would drink a gallon of ale and be fine the next day. Not any more. I got up, thought about having a shave, and went back to bed. I eventually arose just before 9am.
This time we found the elusive bonus cache; and also cache #4 that I couldn’t find yesterday. This had been found for the first time this morning and it would seem that the co-ordinates I used yesterday were about one hundred metres adrift. Again it was a good walk; a certain small dog seemed to like it.
25 October 2013 (Friday) - Astro Club
Over brekkie I watched the next instalment of "Earth 2". Today's episode featured Tim Curry (of "Rocky Horror" fame) as the arch-baddie; a part he played very well. I'm quite "getting into" this show; so far it's rather good really. I know I've seen it before, but I don't remember much about it. I can vaguely remember brrowing it on video cassettes recorded from the telly many years ago.
And then before leaving for work I checked social media. There is a major meet-up of geocachers planned for next May - a "Mega Meet". From what I can work out a "Mega Meet" is not entirely dissimilar to a village fete. Along the lines of Challock Goose Fair, or the fun days at Gilwell we used to take cubs to.
There were postings on the Geocaching in Kent Facebook group suggesting that people might like to offer help and assistance in running this event. I fought the urge to say anything.
A few weeks ago I looked at offering the services of the astro club for this. We could have staged solar observing for the punters during the daytime and stargazing at night for those camping out at the Mega. We could have put on planetarium shows for anyone and everyone. It's the sort of thing that the astro club does; and does well, and does without asking for anything in return.
I made the offer, and was asked for fifty pounds for my suggestion to be considered, so I abandoned the idea. On reflection I can't help but feel that whoever is organising this Mega-Event has totally misunderstood what I was offering. I also wonder how many other offers of help they are turning away like this.
This morning's drive to work was rather depressing. Heavy rain and pitch darkness. As I drove through Chartham there was a near accident. I very nearly flattened a cyclist. The idiot was cycling along the busy A28 at 6.45am. It was still night; there were no street lights, and this fool was dressed entirely in black with no lights on his bike at all.
The news gave me cause for a wry smile. Apparently American secret agents have been monitoring the private communications of European governments including personal phone calls made by the German Chancellor. Am I the only one who doesn't find these revelations surprising? I was under the impression that every government spied on every other government.
There was an ex-First Sea Lord interviewed on the radio who said quite candidly that from his personal experience he assumed his every movement was under the surveillance of various international organisations.
I stopped off in Morrisons to get some lunch, and some tea for later. I got what I wanted and took it to the self service tills where I was met by a rather grouchy old biddie (in Morrisons uniform) who announced that all the tills in the shop were closed and I would have to try somewhere else. I was about to ask her whether she would recommend Asda or Tesco when she grudgingly conceded that they had just opened till number twelve. I went there and was met by someone pretending to be happy in their work. They asked me if I needed help in packing my items. "All five of them?" I asked. My sarcasm went unnoticed, which was probably for the best.
I did my bit at work, and came home. I left a little earlier than usual because tonight was astro club. I could have listened to the news as I drove. Usually I do, but tonight I didn't fancy it. Instead I put on a CD of "Ivor Biggun" and sang along to rude songs.
And so to astro club. Not a bad turn out. It might have been better, but it was half-term week. I gave a talk (rant) on comets which seemed to be well received, and in a novel break with tradition we had clear skies so we got the teleescopes out and stargazed.
I don't do that anywhere near enough...
26 October 2013 (Saturday) - Quack Quack (Oops!)
I awoke after a surprisingly good night's sleep to find it was 7am. I liked that. Whilst er indoors TM" snored I watched more "Earth 2". Frankenfurter was spreading discord, as is the wont of most baddies. He was doing quite well until True saw through his ruse. Interestingly the actor who plays True's father was the sergeant in "Starshp Troopers" and does the voice of Mr Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants.
I then had a go at (or with) the astro club's accounts. This time they agreed. We have as much money as we are supposed to have. Probably a million and a half less than we need; but we are working on that.
We put on old clothes and set off to a certain farm. Over the summer during a camping weekend we helped get some duck houses out of ponds. These duck houses have since been cleaned, varnished, proofed and generally refurbished and were ready fo re-floating. There was a minr hiccup when the tractor wouldn't start, but fortunately there was an emergency back-up tractor on hand to provide a bump start. Having provided a bump start we had problems findng neutral (such is life!) so we reverted to the emergency back-up tractor to drag duck houses to ponds. Mud, cow poo, smelly pond water, rancid ropes; I love doing the duck houses. I've been involved with floating and retrieving them for years and wouldn't miss it for anything. I'm told that "Dreadnaught" (the latest duck at the farm) is particularly pleased with the floating of his house.
We came home, and after hosing the mud and cow poo off of "Furry Face TM" we had coffe and a Belgian bun for lunch. I was tempted to got for a McDonalds; in years gone by I would have done so. In years gone by I was nearly twenty stone in weight.
er indoors TM" then had a hissy fit. Whilst out this morning she'd taken some rather scenic photos of me and a small dog both covered in assorted farmyard gunge. Fiddling with her phone over coffee she managed to delete the photos. Woops!
Lacking any decent waterproofs er indoors TM" wanted to get some. She went to the Outlet Centre. For want of anything better to do I went along too. I've not been to the Outlet Centre for ages; and it will be ages before I go again. The shops there sell stuff that you can buy in Tescos or Asda for a fraction of the price. I saw one wooden child's toy for sale at twenty quid which was identical in every respect to something I saw last week for sale for six quid in the Cheapo Bargains shop in Wincheap.
I have long maintained that designer outlets appeal to people who have money to burn, and have again proved my prejudice. Mind you judging by the crowds there seem to be a lot of peoople with money to burn.
Finding myself at a loose end I thought I'd get ahead with my dino-course. I watched three lectures on how continental drift has confused dino-ologists, and then got full marks on the subject. I was rather smug about that. I then put Candy Crush Saga on the PC and slept in front of it for an hour. And then I had a stroke of genius. It's always easier to iron shirts when they are wet straight out of the washing machine. So with er indoors TM" off to the film night I put shirts in to wash.
The washing machine is still going. It shows no sign of stopping. I think it's gone mental...
27 October 2013 (Sunday) - Hoo
That washing machine needs a good service. I put it on for a quick wash last night and put a film on whilst I waited for it to stop. It scrubbed all through "Wayne's World", "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and most of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" before it gave up on my shirts.
With the clocks going back woke earlier than usual, and following a 4am shave I went back to bed. But any chance of an extra hour in bed was wiped out by a small dog with no understanding of Daylight Saving. I watched more "Earth 2" over brekkie, remembering this morning's arch baddie (wearing rags) in last night's film (in racy underwear).
"My Boy TM" phoned shortly after 8am. He was up and about and wonderred if I fancied going for a fry-up. I did, but time was short so reluctantly passed the opportunity this time.
And then on with the business of the day. Having foolishly listened to weather forecasts for the last two Sundays (and wasted the days) we decided that we were going out today. Three of us and two small dogs set off to Hoo on the Isle of Grain. Plumbus's Hoo Massive was billed as a series of twenty eight geocaches over five miles, and we felt that would do the trick for today. It did, but...
Over the last year I've done many geocaches series, and invariably they are listed as being shorter than they actually are. Today was no different. All the information said this was a walk of five point two miles. Two sat-navs independently measured the distance at six and a half miles.
And the various cache descriptions were odd. Each cache bore a title number, one to twenty four (!) but the decriptions following the title had a different number, one or two higher. For example the verbals for cache #21 all referred to cache #23.
Most of the caches needed new logs. many were completely full.
And the last four caches were missing. That's not "we couldn't find them"; the verbals all referred to a series of twenty eight caches, but there were only twenty four for which listings could be found.
But that all sounds rather negative, doesn't it? I don't mean to be so down on the series; it was a very good walk in somewhere that I would probably never go if not for this silly obsesion with hunting plastic boxes.
Our walk finished rather earlier than we expected, so we did a couple of other nearby geocaches. At one I turned on my Munzee app and (completely at random) found we were leess than ten yards from the only Munzee on the Isle of Grain. We also found that we were within striking distance of a cache which was in a disused milatery bunker, so we scrambled into that and spent a very entertaining ten minutes tunnel-ratting. We picked up a couple more caches as we drove home; finishing the day in church (literally) with my cache count at two thousand four hundred and ninety nine. I really should find a special cache for my upcoming milestone.
Home; and after a rather good bit of tea er indoors TM" set off bowling. I watched a couple of episodes of "Jeeves and Wooster". Bertie was using treacle to steal a painting. Apparently that is what art theives did eighty years ago.
Meanwhile in Downton Abbey there was consternation as Lady Edith found out that she's gotten herself "in the club". Not to be outdone, cousin Rose can caught in flagrante in the kitchen with the jazz singer. And there was disturbbing news from Uncle Harold.
I'm looking forward to the next installment...
28 October 2013 (Monday) - After the Storm
Last night I went to bed feeling vaguely annoyed. We had been promised (or threatened with) the worst storm for twenty five years. It had been windy yesterday, and there had been heavy rain during the evening. But I slept well; normally heavy rain is noisy against the window. It wasn’t last night.
Extreme weather is often akin to bright comets; never lives up to expectations. It’s the unexpected ones that take us by surprise. Last night’s storm was a bit of a disappointment. We’ve had one fence post break and two panels fall down. Or, to be more precise, next door have had one fence post break and two panels fall down. It’s their fence. Mind you the dustbin lid seems to have vanished. I wonder where that has gone.
I took my dog round the park immediately after brekkie so we could see the damage to the surrounding area. There were a few branches blown off of trees in the park, and a couple of footpaths were blocked as we walked around Singleton Lake, but hardly the promised apocalypse. Whilst pootling my phone rang. the most recent fruit of my loin had the cob. Having travelled half way across the county to get to Big School she had a message to say the University was closed as the lecturers couldn't get there. And she'd hurt her neck too.
We came home and I popped down road to the chemist to get some Vaseline for beer-related purposes. Whilst in the area I had a look in the bakery. They did french sticks and cake at three quarters of the price of the local corner shop. It pays to shop around. I then voomed round with the Hoover and put washing onto the washing line. Or half of the washing line – the other half had come down with the fence overnight.
I was just about to make a cuppa when the door bell rang. It was the plumber. he was early; that suited me. The boiler needed its annual service. I have been told that not having a boiler serviced is an economy I might easily make. But I've seen what happens to unmaintained boilers. The chap did his thing whilst "Furry Face TM" woofed at him, and was soon on his way. I then made my cuppa and had my cake whilst watching a film I'd recorded the other day.
"F" was... well, it was rubbish. Supposedly a horror film: it was about an alcoholic teacher who found himself in a school after hours with various pupils and teachers all of whom were being murdered by rather elusive hoodie-wearing thugs. I think the film was supposed to be allegorical. Though it could have been allegorical of absolutely anything.
I then got busy with the home brew. Last week I started some brown ale off for a Christmas party. That is now in the barrel, and my own Christmas stout is in the bucket hopefully fermenting. I then did this week's dino-course; dinosaur evolution. I only got sixty per cent in the test. I should have paid more attention. I would have played Candy Crush Saga, but the computer wasn't having any of it, so instead I found some FTP freeware that actually worked and backed up all of September's blog rantings. I seem to have missed an anniversary; whilst my little dog was busy being ill in early September I missed the seventh anniversary of my first blog entry. It wasn't anything special (much like the following two thousand five hundred and fifty-odd entries), but I've blogged every day for the seven years since early September 2006.
I heard a commotion in the back garden. "Next Door" have fixed the broken fence. With new panels. I shall have to paint them. And there are gaps at the bottom of the new fence panels. I shall have to get more brindle chippings. I'll do that another time, eh?
I then had a look at a project I started a while back but rather let slip. My lego train set is almost complete. I've ordered the last few bits I need to complete the track. Next I need to find somewhere to set it up permanently and to do some landscaping...
29 October 2013 (Tuesday) - More Rude Songs
I didn't wake until 4am today. With the clocks having gone back, a week ago that would have been 3am. I see this as something of a result.
Over brekkie I shared my toast with my dog and watched the latest antics of the colonists on Earth 2. Like most television programmes the plot doesn't stand up to any serious scrutiny, but it is entertaining nonetheless. Today our heroes were after water; it was in short supply in the desert where they were doing their thing.
With the clocks having gone back it was light when I set off to work. It won't be for much longer, but I am grateful for what daylight there is. As I drove I listened to the radio as always. There was consternation at the beleaguered industrial plant at Grangemouth where the unions seem to be hell-bent on destroying everyone's livelihood in the name of silly politics. This morning's news featured the revelation that union officials at the plant had been spending a lot of their time on party political issues. The only real surprise in this snippet of news is that it is considered newsworthy. When I was a union representative twenty-odd years ago I can distinctly remember going to a meeting of representatives in London and finding that out of twenty or so people in the meeting I was one of only three who wasn't an active Labour party councillor with much higher political aspirations.
My journey to work was rather quicker than usual today for no reason that I could see. Some days the journey takes only twenty five minutes; other days the trip is nearly double that time with no apparent diffence in road conditions.
I did my bit at work and came home. As I drove home the radio was dribbling about the increased deaths in recreational drug users. There were various theories being expounded by the pundits, but rather than listening to prudish righteous indignation I turned the radio off and sang along to rude songs sung by Ivor Biggun. I've looked him up on Wikipedia. Apparently he's still playing the pub circuit in Suffolk. I wonder if I might organise a trip out to see him playing?
Home - where the clans had gathered. More Merlin. I do like the show, but I'm not sure I can take the King seriously. The actor playing the King was the Prime Minister in "Little Britain", and is currently playing the lead sad-act in the especially lame "You, Me and Them". If you've not seen this show yet, don't feel that you should watch it. It's gone to one episode so far, and for me that is more than enough.
30 October 2013 (Wednesday) - Crocodile
Yesterday morning as I scoffed my toast and watched the telly the stars of "Earth 2" were dying for lack of water. In this morning's episode they were camped next to a rather large river. No one commented on this; least of all my dog who was intent on eating the crusts of my toast.
Winter is officially here as for the first time I had to scrape the ice off of my car's windscreen. I say "scrape" - it's nothing that pouring a bottle of cold water can't shift. But it is still cold.
As I drove to work I felt rather sorry for the boss of the power company Eon. He'd been daft enough to come on to the radio to be interviewed, and the interviewers weren't especially kind to him. Bearing in mind his company is one of the few not to have announced a serious price rise I thought they were somewhat mean to the poor chap. However like everyone else in the power business, he was utterly unable to explain how anyone can actually physically change electricity or gas supplier when the stuff you use comes down the same cables and pipes (you just pay someone else).
The morning's news also featured an interview with Chas and Dave who have (apparently) now been a double act for fifty years. Personally I prefer the dulcet (and ruder) toner of Ivor Biggun, but I have never been known for my musical bent.
I stopped off in the Cheapo Bargains shop as I had a few minutes spare. Last night "Furry Face TM" didn't eat his tea. I had flashbacks of the last time he was off his food. But he wasn't ill this time. He was just being fussy. he's not too keenon tinned dog food. Last night when he thought no one was looking he would quietly scoff some of the dog food he was pretending to ignore. He just didn't like it as much as he likes sardines. You wouldn't have thought that a dog would like sardines, but Patagonian Tripe Hounds are not your average mutt.
I thought I'd see how much the sardines were in the Cheapo Bargains shop. I expected, or at least hoped, that the Cheapo Bargains shop would live up to its name. It didn't. Their sardines were eleven pence per tin more expensive than Morrisons. It pays to shop about.
Last week I saw they were selling USB speakers. I quite liked the idea of having one; I saw the price. Twenty quid. I thought better of that idea.
And so to work where the burning question of the day was "Would you rather be a crocodile-sized fish, or a fish-sized crocodile".
For those of my loyal readership who cannot spot the blindingly obvious I will merely say that there is a correct answer and a clearly stupid answer.
I will not insult anyone's intelligence by pointing out which is which.
31 October 2013 (Thursday) - Hallowe'en
I was absolutely all-in when I went to bed last night. I was wide awake and having my morning shave at 4am. My morning DVD fix of "Earth 2" was quite entertaining; featuring the bald one out of "Lost" as the latest baddie.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for his morning constitutional. It was raining, so we didn't go as far as perhaps we might have done. The rain was that annoyingly fine rain - fine enough to make you think it;'s not actually raining, but wet enough to make everything soaking wet.
Lisa came round and we set off to Maidstone. A while back Lisa had arranged to do some extreme caching. Having found myself on the verge of a milestone cache I thought I might tag along. Steve had been wonderful in offereing to get us up the tree; Joe and Ian were marvellous to offer their advice and assistance. We arrived in Madstone to find ropes already in place. Ropes - this was no amateur muck-about.
This geocache wasn't especially difficult to find. In fact I could see it from forty yards away. Trouble was those forty yards were "up". The cache was clearly visible towards the top of a tree. Fortunately for us Steve showed us how the ropes worked, and as young Jesse made his ascent (to his one hundredth cache) Lisa and I practiced (under expert supervision) on lower branches.
Pulling yourself up a tree takes some doing; in theory it is simple, in practice it is physically hard work. In retrospect those who had been up the tree before me had gone about eighteen inched too high up the rope and had not given themselves enough slack. Being last up I learned from their mistakes and once I was half a mile off the ground I found the tree-bit and cache signing relatively straight forward. I must admit that I felt I did choose a rather good cache for #2500 as I did the secret geo-ritual at the top of the tree.
I amazed myself on the descent. I shoulted down to ask for instructions. I was told to but all my weight on the rope and to get off the tree. Scary? Funnily enough it wasn't. I have been scared in trees before when I was only a few feet off the ground. But I was so high that I knew that if anything went wrong it wouldn't hurt; I'd be dead. And knowing that somehow gave me an inner calm. I just did as I was told and came down (mostly) under control. But certainly far faster than I went up.
We then went on to another cache up another tree. I went on to the tree, but not the cache. My baack was still playing up from doing the duck houses at the weekend, and my arm was still in cramps from the first tree ascent. But it was good to watch others going up. And with everyone up who was going up we adjourned to the local pub for a crafty half. Again, many grateful thanks to Steve, Joe and Ian for sharing their skills, abilities and kit. Despite the cold and the wet it was great fun.
Home, where I shaved my head and painted it silver before going round to Lacey's Hallowe'en party. Staging a Hallowe'en party for fifteen seven year old girls is a brave thing to do. Personally I quite enjoyed the performance. I was quite impressed with llittle Sasha; her mother had warned us that she was very quiet and rather shy. The child was the life and soul of the party, and on several occassions had to be restrained from showing off her "business" to all and sundry.
And then once all the fur had stopped flying we went round to the WIndmill in Hythe Road where the clans had gathered to support "Access All Areas"; a local band with whom several of us feel we have a connection Good tunes, good company. And I even scared someone in the lavatory too...