1 October 2018 (Monday) - Geoffrey
Despite having intentions to spend yesterday evening watching all sorts of drivel on the telly I fell asleep five minutes into the first bit of drivel I put on the telly and so had an early night. Mind you I was wide awake at five o’clock this morning.
Over a bit of brekkie I watched the most recent episode of “Vanity Fair” in which Becky’s bosom heaved a little. Not much but she was having a go, which was the main thing. Captain Dobbin is showing some interest in sniffing round Amelia; it won’t end well.
I sparked up Facebook and saw that “Maria Tensriana” was still flaunting her wares on social media despite my having complained to the Facebook feds that graphic pictures of her hobby of (pork) sword-swallowing wasn’t perhaps the most suitable of things to show.
The photos I’d taken on yesterday’s walk had received a few “likes”, and I got to see photos of what other people had been up to at the weekend, which was always good.
Other than Amazon suggesting I spent good money on e-books I had already bought from them, there were no emails of note in my in-box, so I got ready for work. I could tell that Treacle was tired this morning; as I got dressed she showed no interest whatsoever in trying to steal my socks. "er indoors TM" woke, said goodbye and went back to kip, and I set off to work.
It was rather cold as I walked to my car; as I drove to work the pundits on the radio were broadcasting about the ongoing Conservative party's conference.
British politics is in a very sad state; the Prime Minister is *still* trying to rally support for her "Chequers" Brexit plan even though very few people in Britain believe it has any merit and the European Union leaders have unanimously (effectively) wiped their bums with it and flushed it down the toilet. But despite her refusal to stop flogging a dead horse, the Conservative party are unanimous in not even speculating on the possibility of hoiking her out in favour of a new leader. After all, who would be dumb enough to want to be at the country's helm right now? I *could* be wrong here, but I am convinced that the actual (if unstated) view of the Conservative party is that Brexit is going to be an unmitigated disaster, and Mrs. May is being groomed to be the scapegoat.
In other news the Large Hadron Collider is to get an upgrade even though the Astronomer Royal thinks it might all end in tears as scientists meddle with things they shouldn't. I suspect he's got the hump because he's not got a Large Hadron Collider of his own, and Brexit has put paid to his getting his greasy mitts on the European's one.
I got to work and phoned the Dogs' Trust. When "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" took over her Emporium there was a collection tin on the counter for some obscure overseas charity; the registered office of which is a residential address in Margate. Whilst it may well be all above board, it certainly seems rather dodgy. I suggested that maybe a tin for a charity closer to home might be a good idea. I was told that if I thought it was such a good idea...
After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing the people at the Dogs' Trust have said they will send out a collection tin. I wonder how much it will rake in?
There was a *lot* of talk at work today about the hospital just up the road. Following what was being billed as "an attempt to improve turnaround times" about two thousand blood tests have had to be repeated. On the one hand this is terrible. On the other hand I'm going to say "told you so".
This is just one of many mergers that was discussed over twenty years ago. At the time I said it wouldn't work... Usually I don't blog about work-related things, but this is now utterly unconnected with me, so I've no axe to grind (for once).
I did my bit at work; as the day went on there were two celebrity deaths reported. It was a shame that he death of the renown and celebrated French crooner Charles Aznavour was overshadowed by the death of Geoffrey out of “Rainbow”. I once saw Geoffrey out of “Rainbow” live; he was rather good…
2 October 2018 (Tuesday) - This n That
A few months ago I watched the first two seasons of “The Good Place”; a rather good Netflix original show. This morning I started watching the third season. I was disappointed… I’m hoping it will perk up; a shame they are only releasing one episode per week; I’d rather binge-watch the lot.
I sparked up the lap-top to peer into cyber-space, and I had a thought (it happens from time to time…). Cast your mind back a couple of years. The year 2016 was universally hated and despised and somehow felt to be in some way responsible for no end of celebrity deaths. Yesterday both Geoffrey Hayes and Charles Aznavour died; people were posting about Geoffrey Hayes this morning. Quite a few people have croaked this year, and no one has seen it as in any way out of the ordinary. Why was celebrity death such an issue two years ago?
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Prime Minister who didn't come over very well. She was blathering on about her recently-announced immigration policy which would seem to have already blown up in her face. Bearing in mind that a *lot* of people voted for Brexit as a sure-fire way to send them all back on the next banana boat ("Them" being pretty much anyone who might plausibly be sent back anywhere), the Prime Minister wanted to do something about immigration. However (demonstrably) the average Brit won't work for minimum-wage jobs such as in the service industries and in agriculture. And furthermore (equally demonstrably) the average Brit doesn't seem to be very interested in doing skilled jobs such as I.T. and medical stuff. So the Prime Minister's new policy makes allowances for this. Immigrant workers will be allowed in to the UK to do the jobs that the Brits won't or can't do.
And so this morning it was claimed on the radio that after Brexit there will be *more* migrant workers in the UK in the future; not less.
The Prime Minister didn't actually deny this revelation...
The "Thought for the Day" today made me laugh out loud at its idiocy. The vicar giving the talk started off blathering on about how difficult dieting can be. As a life-long porker I can relate to how hard it can be to lose weight, but with a determined effort you can shed the pounds. In an amazing feat of talking twaddle this idiot vicar then likened the effort of dieting to the effort of believing in a non-existent God. No one can deny that if you stop eating cakes and use massive amounts of will-power you'll lose weight. Therefore it is self-evident (apparently!) that by exactly the same reasoning if you believed hard enough, God would exist.
How do these people ever get taken seriously? By the same logic I can murder and rob banks If I *really* believe it is the right thing to do...
I stopped off at Aldi before work. I needed some armpit-squirt. Having got the stuff I then stood behind a sign saying that if I was behind it they would open another till, and I waited for ten minutes for the three members of staff to finish their gossiping before one of them (grudgingly) opened said till.
I got to work and did that which I couldn’t avoid. I was beaten home by "er indoors TM" for once.
We watched “Bake-Off” over a rather good bottle of plonk…. Hic!
Today is "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" ‘s fourth birthday. We did a video call. Four – where has the time gone…?
3 October 2018 (Wednesday) - Late Shift
I slept well up until tiddle time at four o’clock. From then on my sleep was plagued by rather vivid dreams of a place where once I worked. There are vague talks of workplace mergers and I’m desperately hoping I don’t get transferred back. I wasn’t overly happy with the working environment when I left the place, and the other day I bumped in to one of the senior managers from there (who ironically I once trained). She told me the atmosphere was worse than ever…
I have a naïve hope that in any possible merger I might get paid off with an early retirement. Somehow I doubt it, but hope springs eternal.
Over brekkie I had a look-see at the Internet. A whole load of new puzzle geocaches had gone live near where I sometimes work in Pembury. That might be something to do in a month or so when I am next there. Facebook presented its usual brand of stuff; pictures of fluffy animals, knob jokes, attention-seeking rants, utterly wrong so-called facts… I wish I had invented Facebook; I’d be coining it in.
I got the leads on to the dogs and we went for a little walk round the park. As we walked I nearly laughed out loud at Treacle. She’d seen a cat. She was watching it intently, and she kept glancing at Fudge. Whilst she wanted to chase the cat, she wouldn’t be anywhere near brave enough to chase it alone. Fudge hadn’t noticed the cat. The cat however had seen the dogs and was watching them with great interest. As cats do.
We carried on round the park, and met OrangeHead and her posse. We exchanged pleasantries; it was a shame that Fudge tried to mount her mate’s Scottie. It is some years since the vet removed Fudge’s “apparatus” but still he tries it on with other dogs.
Once home I settled the dogs and set off in the general direction of work. I went off to get an anniversary card for tomorrow. Why is it wedding anniversary cards are filled with soppy twee nonsense? Why don't they make cards that say something along the lines of "yeah whatever - here's a card"?
As I often do before the late shift I thought I might have a little geo-adventure. At the moment I seem to have appointed myself to be a branch of the geo-police, and am checking the local geocaches which haven't been found for ages, and (mostly) reporting that they are missing. Either by mentioning to the person who hid them (if they are still actively looking under rocks themselves) with a gentle suggestion to have a look-see at their missing pot. Or by squealing to the geo-feds (if they are not) who will then dispatch the thing to obscurity.
But sometimes these supposedly missing caches *are* there. Today's first one seemed to have gone walkabout, but the second one soon came to light after I'd had a little rummage in a hedgerow. I got so excited at finding a cache which hadn't been found for over a year that I completely forgot that I'd climbed into a hedge and had got myself firmly wedged in, and I nearly did myself a mischief when (without thinking) I tried to stand up and walk away. It would have been rather amusing to anyone who might have been watching. It also would probably have looked incredibly suspicious to anyone who might have been watching.
I drove in to work, and once I found a parking space (there weren't many today) I went to the works canteen. On Monday a colleague said that the canteen had started cooking pizza to order. Yesterday another colleague had said how good they were. Today I tried one. At just under four quid a pop they aren't too shabby at all.
And so to work. The boss was grumbling that her children have announced that they have gone vegetarian and she now has to cook two separate dinners every evening. I suggested that she might tell them that the vegetarian alternative is that the fruits of her loin cook it themselves. Unfortunately she wasn't keen on starting that fight. I say "unfortunately" - it is unfortunate for her; not for me…
I had a rather busy day today, even If I did rather disgrace myself by falling asleep whilst the trainees were having a little lecture. I would have got away with it had one of the trainees not started giggling as I nearly fell off my seat.
I was rather glad to see the relief arrive at nine o'clock.
4 October 2018 (Thursday) - Thirty-Two Years
I slept reasonably well; just as I was about to start scoffing my toast "er indoors TM" had a mini-rant. A little while ago she and I spent an entire day setting up a series of geocaches. With her being busy last weekend I walked it with Karl, Tracey, Charlotte and the dogs on Sunday. There was one minor issue which was soon rectified. Others have walked it and all seemed well. However I thought there would be problems when earlier in the week “found it” logs came in from a particular pair of hunters of Tupperware. And I was right. This morning "er indoors TM" had emails of “found it” logs from the next person to walk round who was saying how difficult it was to find the caches on the series.
My piss boiled. They were *not* supposed to be difficult. The golden rule of hiding a film pot under a rock is to put it back as you find it. I’ve been out walking before, found several caches, had this pair overtake me, and suddenly what was a two-second find becomes searching for a needle in a haystack.
Oh well… Rather than going to bed tomorrow after the night shift I might just walk the eight miles and put all thirty-three caches back as they are supposed to be.
Mind you I did snigger when I read Facebook. There are several people I keep on my “friends” list purely for the entertainment value of the drama and attention-seeking. This morning one of them was clearly “in lurve” and was rather sickly in singing the praises of whoever it was whose turn it was to be her boyfriend this week. I’m now waiting for her bitter rants about this same person which will surely come in the next week.
I took the dogs for a walk round the park. It was rather dull and foggy this morning. As we walked I saw OrangeHead and her posse. Bearing in mind yesterday’s debacle I hid in the Chinese garden until they’d passed by. However my attention was on OrangeHead’s posse; I should really have been watching to see just what it was that the dogs had been scoffing; they had found something rather disgusting on the floor and were yumming it up as quickly as they could before I noticed.
As we came past the playpark we saw a nutter. Some woman was using the children’s climbing frame to do rather vigorous exercises whilst wearing a rather thick rain coat and hijab. She smiled sweetly at the dogs; I hurried them along. Nutters are one thing; nutters with a keep-fit fixation are *quite* another.
With our walk done I mowed the lawn. It was probably far too wet to mow it, but as I once said to our seriously mental neighbor “not-so-nice-next-door”, I cut the grass at a time that suits me, because life is too precious to schedule around gardening.
Talking of our “seriously mental neighbor” I found myself wondering about him. He’s not been seen for a couple of years now. The police won’t tell me where he is… I wonder what he’s up to. I would guess he’s either in a prison or a mental hospital. I wonder which.
I put a hot water bottle into my bed, and watched some telly over a spot of lunch. With the bed warmed for me I took myself off to bed for the afternoon and found I couldn’t get anywhere near the warm bit as Treacle had made herself *very* comfortable on top of it. But I managed a few hours shut-eye.
"er indoors TM" should be home soon. She says she’ll do an early dinner as I need to get to the motorway before they close junction ten at eight o’clock.
Ideally I wouldn’t have been on the night shift today what with it being our wedding anniversary, but you can’t have everything…. Looking at my diary I did that last year as well.
Thirty-two years, eh?
5 October 2018 (Friday) - Bit Tired
I didn't drive straight home after the night shift. I stopped off at the garage where I'd arranged to have a new cam belt fitted. I usually go elsewhere to get my car serviced and sorted, but I’d found somewhere which is far cheaper for cam belts. Mind you "cheaper" is relative - it is still a *lot* of money. I did wonder about saying "sod it" but not maintaining the car isn't an economy in the long run and I am nothing if not parsimonious. (That's a big word – it is posh for "tight as a duck's arse"). I did wonder about calling it a day with my car and getting a newer one, but decided that whatever I do about a car is a gamble, so although my car is eleven years old, I am sticking with what I know. I'm hoping that the new cam belt will see the car for a few more years yet; ideally long enough for me to need another one.
Is that hopelessly idealistic of me?
I did had a vague idea about going all tree-hugging and getting an electric car, but there was a feature on electric cars on Radio Four the other evening featuring Robert Llewellyn (Kryten from "Red Dwarf"). Apparently the average electric car does two hundred miles from a full charge, so I would be charging it twice each week. And not being able to guarantee parking outside the house would be an issue; it turns out that not only is there nowhere near as many places to charge an electric car as there is to get petrol. And pretty much every charging point is owned by a different outfit and each of these requires prior access to your credit card. And (as demonstrated on the radio broadcast) they don't always work. Also, when you bear in mind that the average electric car costs about three times what I will shell out on something that will bugger up the ozone layer, it's greenhouse gases all the way for me, I'm afraid.
"er indoors TM" met me at the garage; she’d brought the dogs over. I had this plan that I might walk them home from there. It was a good plan. We came home through the park and played in the river at the ford and at the dog beach. Whilst we were running amok at the dog beach I suddenly found several other dogs joining in the game. OrangeHead and her posse were standing on the bank watching me entertain all the hounds as though I was some sort of street entertainer.
We came home; I went to bed from where I shouted at the dogs to stop barking. After fifteen minutes of continual woofing at shadows I got up and (metaphorically) kicked some canine ass. I went back to bed, and then couldn’t get comfortable as both dogs kept walking all over me trying to find the warm spot that a hot water bottle would have made. They didn’t understand I didn’t have a hottie-bottie today.
I slept for a couple of hours, then got up and did some ironing. As I ironed I carried on watching "Alien Encounters" that I've recorded from the Discovery channel. I found the series by chance; it is actually rather good. But (like all sci-fi) it is far from original. It is a re-hash of concepts first voiced years ago in Olaf Stapledon's "Odd John", Arthur C Clarke's "Childhood's End", Isaac Asimov's "Second Foundation", Jack McDevitt’s “Moonfall” and Red Dwarf’s “”Better Than Life”. Effectively it is a tale of what would have happened in John Wyndham's "The Midwich Cuckoos" if the cuckoos hadn't had an atom bomb dropped on them. (Having an atom bomb dropped on you tends to put the tin lid on most things).
After two hours of ironing I had a text message from the garage. The nice man who took my car had told me that they would give it a good once-over whilst it was up on blocks. Every garage does that – I’ve always considered it to be a crafty way to milk more money out of me. But rather than just telling me what was wrong and having me think “yeah – whatever”, they actually sent me a little video clip showing just how bald the front tyres were. And there was a link where I could authorize them to replace the tyres without me having to fanny around talking to anyone. Being a sucker for technology I thought that was wonderful, and I clicked away.
And then the nice man from the garage phoned to say the car was ready, and he’d not done the tyres as they weren’t as bad as the man in the video had said, and they were OK for a few more months yet…
I popped the leads on to the dogs and we walked through the park and up to the garage where the nice man was waiting for us. He was a very *nice* man; clearly being “good with colours”. I would hazard a guess that he “baked a moist sponge” and would certainly “bowl from the pavilion end”. As I collected the car the nice man noticed some oily fingerprints on the car’s bonnet and he laid a very precious egg over the matter.
With "er indoors TM" off out for the evening, once home again I foraged for dinner. It didn’t take long to hunt some KFC. I scoffed it whilst watching last week’s episode of “Vanity Fair” in which Becky was blatantly using her bosom to its best effect. The hussy!
I really should have gone to the meeting of the “Friends of Victoria Park” this evening but by the time I’d woken up (having fallen asleep watching last night’s rather weak episode of “South Park”) the meeting was already half-way through. I felt rather guilty about missing it but…
Part of me thinks that “Friends of Victoria Park” is a brilliant idea. Part of me wants nothing to do with it. Chippy once told me that I can’t just be a member of anything, and he is right. Over the years I’ve been to a meeting of so many things and ended up on a committee. Kite-flying, astro club, snake-herding, cub scouting, trekkie-ing… they all go the same way. I express a vague interest in something or other, it takes over my life, and then descends into one big argument.
And, in closing, today is Russell Mael's seventieth birthday. Is this town big enough? I think so...
6 October 2018 (Saturday) - Late Shift
I woke up feeling like death. I was all-in after a surprisingly long day yesterday, and finding myself constantly nodding off in front of the telly I had an early night…
The moment my head hit the pillow the dogs started barking. I got up, settled them, went back to bed, and they started again. This went on until nearly eleven o’clock; they were fine all the time I was in the living room but the moment I went upstairs they would go berserk. Eventually I had a rather intense shout at them (which you probably heard) and they finally shut up.
I came downstairs where both dogs were rather pleased to see me. Over brekkie I had a little look-see on the Internet. With the possibility of a crafty half next Saturday I had a look on the Internet to see if there were any new micro-pubs locally. I wasn’t really surprised to find that the CAMRA guide was *very* incomplete. I can remember going on a pub crawl with Brian and being told by the landlord of one of the best pubs I’ve ever visited that his pub would never be on any CAMRA list as he wouldn’t suck up to the local committee. Looking at the CAMRA website I saw that Blakes of Dover was missing, as was Kipps’ alehouse from Folkestone and a rather good place in Canterbury that I once found and would like to find again.
I sparked up Facebook which didn’t disappoint. There is one chap on my “friends” list. To be honest I barely know the chap. He’s an acquaintance of a friend that I’ve met in a pub three or four times, but he makes for such entertainment on social media. His girlfriend clearly hates him and is often “entertaining other gentlemen”. This chap puts all the sordid details on social media for all to read. Who needs the TV soaps when you have this!
We took the dogs for a quick walk round the park. As we walked we met all sorts of other dogs that we had never met before. Going round Viccie Park at the same time (as we do) means we miss all sorts of other dogs (and people).
I was a tad disappointed when I walked out to my car to find a bird turd on the bonnet. Yesterday (as part of the cam-belt overhaul) the nice people at the garage had given the car a really good clean-up. Such a shame to find its gleam marred by avian foulage. Mind you, if all I can find to grumble about is a starling's dump, life can't be *that* bad, can it?
With utter drivel on the radio I turned it off and listened to (and howled along to) my rather awful music as I drove up the motorway. I took a little diversion to Sainsbury's to get some petrol and did have a little chuckle as I paid in the kiosk. As well as petrol, I got a sandwich for the evening. The chap at the counter told me that the sandwich wasn't part of the meal deal even though the sign on the shelf and the sandwich's label said it was. I said that I wasn't overly fussed either way, but this bloke wouldn't let it go. He kept on and on about how if I wanted the meal deal I would have to get another sandwich. As I explained that I didn't care, so the queue behind me grew and grew.
I got to work with a few minutes to spare, and my heart sank when I saw there was half a dozen normal people infesting the servery. As I arrived one asked for pie. She got given a pie on a plate. She handed the plate back and asked for runner beans as well. She got given the plate back with runner beans. She then passed it back again asking for chips to be added. And then did the same with her mate's meal.
The rest of the idiots were randomly blundering about; noisily shouting that they wanted sandwiches but seemingly unable to walk up to the counter (not two yards away) where the sandwiches were obviously on display.
Eventually I got myself another of those rather good pizzas. I had spicy beef today; I liked it. As I scoffed it the normal people (who had eventually been fed) were loudly complaining about how expensive the food was. Expensive? - eight of them were having a serious pig-out for less than forty quid. I considered telling them to shut their rattle, but "not my circus; not my monkeys".
How do I attract these idiots? I don't intend to... does anyone else find their life full of these "delightful people" or has God (in his wisdom) given me everyone else's share?
I went in to work and had a rather busy shift. Still, being busy keeps my mind off of sin. I'm too old to be thinking of that sort of thing anyway. As I worked I looked out of the window at the rain. It had been dry this morning; this afternoon was a very miserable day in Maidstone. The ideal weekend day to work really.
As I drove home I turned on the radio hoping for great things; there was a dull play about soldiers in the first world war, so I carried on squalling along to my music. The roads were very wet, and for some odd reason the police were blocking our road. I joined a queue of traffic at the end of the road, and after ten minutes the police then let us pass.
I wonder what that was all about?
I got home to find "er indoors TM" had bought me a snow-dog key ring…
7 October 2018 (Sunday) - Merle Common
Finding myself wide awake at two o’clock I got up and watched an episode of the new series of “Big Mouth” on Netflix. Whilst they are putting out the new episodes of “The Good Place” one each week, Netflix have put out all of the new “Big Mouth” episodes at once. I prefer that…
The voice of the “Shame Wizard” was rather familiar – it was supplied by the chap who played Remus Lupin in the “Harry Potter” films.
I went back to bed and eventually nodded off. The alarm went; I got up again. I came down to find a light bulb had blown. I *hate* these halogen light bulbs – they don’t last.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. I had a friend request on Facebook from “Ryan Gunawan” who (like “Maria Tensriana”) uses social media to share his interest in hard-core pornography. I’ve reported “Ryan” to the Facebook feds, but I reported “Maria” over a week ago and he/she/it is still posting pictures of unspeakable acts of hedonism with her boyfriend’s willy.
On a slightly more demure note, Amazon was offering me two quid off of the prices of books I didn’t want; that was a bargain.
We wasted a little while trying to find what we’d done with our gaiters, then had an early start. Partly so as not to be late, partly not to get stuck in traffic (with Ashford being closed for a 10k road race) but mostly so we could collect Rolo. Cheryl says he needs more exercise and as we were going on an epic walk anyway…
With Rolo aboard the car we set off up the motorway. As we drove "er indoors TM"’s sat-nav had an episode. With some traffic congestion half way along the M25, it tried to divert us ten miles north up the M20. The diversion was just adding miles onto the route which would still lead us back to the congested area – what was the sat-nav thinking of? Still, it did better than Karl’s sat-nav which (for no adequately explored reason) had them approaching the car park in Staffhurst Woods from *entirely* the wrong direction.
But errant sat-nats notwithstanding we were all soon together and set off on a rather good stroll through the Surrey countryside. The countryside was rather pretty; the fields and lanes and wood were beautiful. We played in the river. And there were no hills. We saw horses and sheep and alpacas and what looked like llamas. Unlike last week we only saw one buzzard. And when rooting in a hedge I found a rather large slow worm. We found one or two footpaths which were rather overgrown, but such is life.
As we walked we crossed the Greenwich meridian, the line at which “east” on a map changes to “west”. We spent some time playing silly beggars and trying to get screen shots on the change on our phones.
Geocache-wise it wasn’t *quite* what we’d been expecting. We’d set off with all good intentions of walking the SWHC series of caches and then diverting off to walk the TAN series as well. But I must admit my heart sank when I read the description of the cache series and saw mention of something which was archived three years ago. As we walked we were somewhat slowed by the number of stiles we encountered. Getting three dogs over so many stiles slowed us considerably. And the cache hides were somewhat tricky. It wasn’t long before we decided that the TAN series of caches could wait for another day. We logged “did not find” on two caches; I’m pretty sure both were missing.
After seven miles we found ourselves at “The Grumpy Mole” where we had a few pints of Grumpy Mole best bitter, and the dogs tried to pick a fight with “Dorothy” – a rather sweet bulldog.
I took several photos as we walked. Once home I put them on the internet and over a rather good bit of dinner realized that the new series of Doctor Who had started and we’d forgotten to set the SkyPlus. Reading all the comments on Facebook I get the distinct impression that we didn’t miss anything. Which is a shame…
8 October 2018 (Monday) - Down the Toilet
I slept like a log last night, eventually waking only quarter of an hour before the alarm was due to go off. Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Big Mouth”, and then sparked up the lap-top to have a look at cyber-space. Unlike previous years there weren’t *that* many spoilers about last night’s episode of “Doctor Who” (that I missed), but (for once) there wasn’t really *that* much anything on Facebook this morning. And with no emails of note I got myself ready for work.
As I drove to work on a rather cold morning the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Shadow secretary for talking rubbish. They were discussing how it is now official that the environment is going down the toilet at an incredible rate. The Shadow secretary for talking rubbish was continually being asked for specifics on what the Labour party would do to rectify the situation, and he flatly refused to give any concrete or specific answers.
He was very good at talking rubbish, and very good at spouting soundbites and catchphrases. When eventually backed into a corner he admitted that it wouldn't be the job of a Labour government to actually do anything; they would tell "big business" to "sort out the environment" and then all would be well.
And the Labour party wonder why they too are going down the toilet at an incredible rate.
The pundits on the radio then wheeled on Nicola Sturgeon; the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party. Bearing in mind the SNP got their arses handed to them on a plate in the Scottish independence referendum four years ago you would have thought that the Scottish Nationalist would be past masters at going down the toilet at an incredible rate. But they are amazing. Despite being a one-trick pony with its only trick having been firmly rejected by the electorate they are amazingly still (effectively) calling the shots north of the border. And what with the debacle that the Prime Minister is making of Brexit, they are looking very well placed to call (and soundly win) another independence referendum.
Mind you I *really* don't understand how or why they want out of the UK whilst also wanting to be in the EU. Perhaps "independence" means something else when you wear a kilt?
I got to work and had a rather busy day, and came home again. With "er indoors TM" off bowling I downloaded yesterday’s episode of Doctor Who featuring the latest (first female) incarnation and…
As a child I loved Doctor Who. I never missed an episode. I had all of the paperback books. And no one was more delighted than me when Christopher Eccleston took on the role in 2005. And I can remember sitting in my nephew’s bedroom on Christmas Day that year watching David Tennant take over. At the time I thought he was doing a fair impression of Christopher Eccleston, but that was before I wrote drivel every day. However on 3 April 2010 I wrote about the show “… . I’ve now seen the leading character change eight times (I’m not old enough to remember the first two changes) and it has always been a change for the better. I think Matt Smith is brilliant. If you’ve not seen the episode yet, do watch it. You’ll love it.”
What an odd thing for me to have written… I can’t remember liking Matt Smith as Doctor Who. When Peter Capaldi took over the role I wrote (on August 24 2014) “I was interested to see how Peter Capaldi would do in the role. After all, I was sure he couldn't have been any worse than Matt Smith. He probably wasn't any worse, but he certainly wasn't much better.
Since the show came back to our screens we have seen four actors playing the lead role; all of whom seemed to think they were playing the part of the village idiot.
Oh well, I shall have to wait patiently for the fifth one...”
And doesn’t that sum up the last thirteen years of the re-boot of Doctor Who. Yesterday’s debut of Jodie Whittaker had her doing yet another passable impression of Christopher Eccleston’s version of The Doctor. Back in the day when the actor changed, so did the character. Not any more… William Hartnell wasn’t that brave, Patrick Troughton was an enthusiastic amateur, Jon Pertwee was an upper-class toff, Tom Baker was eccentric, Peter Davidson tried his best, Colin Baker was full of himself…
Nowadays they are all copying Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal of a simpleton.
I watched the episode to the end purely because it was called “Doctor Who”. I watched it out of a sense of duty. I shall watch the next episode too – desperately hoping it improves…
9 October 2018 (Tuesday) - Half Rice, Half Chips
Over brekkie I watched the last episode of “Vanity Fair” in which Major Dobbin finally plighted his troth and Becky got her hooks into Mr. Joss. It was a rather entertaining series. I wonder if the book is anywhere near as good. I suspect it is even though I would never have considered reading it. I suspect it would be yet more rather good “literature” that I would never dream about reading having had the entire concept of “literature” killed stone-dead by a succession of English teachers forty years ago.
With nothing much happening on Facebook, and no emails of note I got myself ready to go to work. As I drove to work on another cold morning the pundits on the radio were interviewing some politician or other who was supposedly a Tory rebel. He was being questioned about whether he would vote against the Government's fabled Brexit deal when (amazingly) he said something sensible. He said he wasn't going to commit to voting either way on the matter until he'd read what he was being asked to vote on. He then went on to intimate that the time for rhetoric and posturing has passed, and realistically everyone should shut their rattle about Brexit and wait and see *exactly* what sort of crappy deal is on the table before summarily dismissing it out of hand.
They then wheeled on some Rabbi to witter on for the "Thought for the Day". This Rabbi started off with a little spiel about what a beautiful princess her daughter was when she was born, but now (thirty years later) this daughter is no longer a daughter. He, she or it has unilaterally opted to become genderless.
Call me old-fashioned if you will, but to my mind this is a load of nonsense. Gender is a matter of biology. You've either got a cock or you haven't. You either grow tits or you don't. Whilst it is possible to put on a dress or have your meat and two veg surgically removed, that in no way changes your chromosomal makeup which fundamentally determines what you are.
Having said that, how you choose to be *perceived* is a different matter... Arguably...
The Rabbi's "thought for today" was that there are some closed-minded people who feel like I do, and society should be tolerant of those of us who *really* don't understand this whole transgender thing.
I suppose the Rabbi has a point. I wish I could understand why so many people are trying to be something they aren't (or weren't). This whole "gender reassignment" was never a "thing" back in the day.
I got to work and had a rather good day. I say "rather good" - it was an improvement on yesterday when I went most of the day with the elastic in my undercrackers having snapped. So any day with pants not constantly slopping down would be an improvement.
The traffic was rather bad on the way home; by the time we got to walk the dogs round the park it was dark. There was an *amazing* contrast between the old-style lights in the park (which lit up the paths) and the new-style lights on the streets (which might as well not have been there). I’ve whinged about this before – why on Earth have street lighting that demonstrably isn’t fit for purpose?
10 October 2018 (Wednesday) - Late Shift
My laptop took an age to start up this morning. Overnight it had done its weekly software update and again finished the process in a slightly worse place than where it started. I’m reliably informed that this is a “feature”.
Once it finally got working I used it to have a look at the Internet. A row was kicking off on one of the fishing pages on Facebook. That page is constantly filled with photos of people brandishing a large fish that they have recently caught and asking for opinions on the thing’s weight. It had been suggested that anglers purchase a small set of scales with which they might actually weight the fish themselves. I thought it a sensible idea, but there were others who had taken offence.
Still, what is social media for, if not to give and take offence?
Amazon had emailed me. Again they were suggesting I buy that which I had already bought. For some odd reason about half the emails they send me get marked as “spam” by my spam filter. I wonder why. Some emails are accepted by the software, some are not. All are (effectively) the same.
I took the dogs for a walk. We left the house with a flurry of barking as Fudge announced to the world that he was on his way. As we walked into Bowen Field we were approached by a rather odd-looking man who seemed to be wearing his wife’s spectacles (each to their own). He seemed to be fascinated by the dogs having walked up the road and then both having decided to have a pee on the same piece of grass. I smiled sweetly and got away as quickly as I could.
Once we were in the park Treacle chased a squirrel for about ten yards, and we saw the heron that sometimes lurks round the river. I wish I could get a photo of that heron – for all that they devastate the fish stocks, they are quite spectacular.
As we came home through the co-op field we met a new looney. This one was playing “fetch” with a golf ball and golf club. He was clouting the golf ball some fifty yards, shouting “fetch” to his dog, and then would go and fetch the golf ball himself whilst the dog watched. However he didn’t seem to realise the dog wasn’t interested in fetching the ball, and he tried again and again.
I’ve played a variation of that game myself…
With the dogs settled I drove out to the Godinton estate. As I drove “Women’s Hour” was discussing the lack of pastoral care in today’s universities. For all that the students have a designated tutor who they can turn to in times of need, in reality they never even know who this so-called designated tutor is; let alone ever meet them. With a quarter of all students now claiming to have had mental health issues at one time or another and student unions calling for more pastoral support surely this is something that needs to be sorted?
“Women’s Hour” then had a feature on what I can only describe as “women’s things” and I turned the radio off.
I got to the back of beyond and parked my car. As I got out a police community support officer came past on her bicycle. What on Earth was a CHIMPS (Can’t Help In Most Police Situations) doing on a pedal bike on an obscure country lane literally miles from anywhere? The CHIMP asked me if I was all right. I said that I was. She asked if I needed any assistance. I said I didn’t. She seemed rather crestfallen at that and cycled off in something of a sulk.
A proper policeman wouldn’t have farted around and would have demanded to know what I was up to.
Truth be told, I too was having a bit of a sulk. A geocache of mine in the back of beyond had gone missing and it was up to me to replace it. Whenever I go out looking for film pots under rocks I check the on-line logs before I leave home and if any seem to be missing I arrange to replace the if necessary. It never fails to amaze me how it is fine for me to replace other people’s errant Tupperware, but there are very few who are prepared to sort mine.
I drove in to work. Rather than pizza I had a curry. The canteen is on Day Three of a curry week today; the curry was rather good and it set me up for a rather busy shift. So busy that I was rather late getting out. It was a shame that today would be the day that the motorway was closed when I came to try to get home…
11 October 2018 (Thursday) - Another Late Shift
I slept well, for which I was grateful. I came downstairs and said “Good Morning!” to Fudge as he lay on the sofa. He looked up with one eye and continued to doze. He didn’t budge when "er indoors TM" and Treacle came down five minutes later. As time goes by he is becoming less and less a “morning” dog.
I sparked up my lap-top and peered into the abyss of cyber-space. I saw a cousin and a colleague had a birthday today. They share it with Nicola Bryant; arguably the best reason to have ever watched “Doctor Who”. She could teach Jocelyn and Demelza a thing or two about heaving bosoms!
Pretty much nothing was kicking off on Facebook this morning so I had a look in my in-box. I had a few frankly meaningless emails from LinkedIn. Have you ever read the drivel they post out? Do people *really* lap up this corporate bollox? Management-speak really is “the emperor’s new clothes” of our age.
I did have an email from “Go Outdoors” but now they aren’t on my way to work I very rarely go there any more.
And I had an email from ViewRanger. About five years ago (when things weren’t that good in my world) I signed up with ViewRanger. I published a few walks on their website. The idea was people would pay to download them, and I would get rich. Five years later I have made an astounding fifty-seven pence from the deal.
I got the leads onto the hounds and we went for a little walk. We had a minor episode just up the road. One of the normal people was doing some sort of building work and had set up a cement mixer in the middle of the pavement and had comprehensively blocked the way with bags of cement and sand and shingle. As I and a mother (with push chair) walked past (in the road) the chap was full of profuse apologies, and he said he didn’t realise he would be in everyone’s way and he had no idea how many people walk up and down the road on a regular basis. I smiled sweetly; there’s not much else you can do with idiots of that caliber.
We walked round the park (mostly) without incident. We met OrangeHead in the co-op field. We came home. Once home I got some boot polish onto my boots; you know you are old when there is something strangely satisfying about polishing boots.
I then played a little “Bubble Witch Saga”, settled Treacle and took Fudge to the vets.
Some dogs have problems with their anal glands; some never do. Periodically Fudge starts worrying at his bottom; sometimes biting the base of his tail bald. At these times he has a very distinctive odour. It is all because his anal glands are full of gunge and his poops aren’t solid enough to empty them. The cure is for the veterinary nurse to shove a finger up his bum and empty them manually. Eeeeww!!!
We got to the vets; Fudge tried to escape because he don’t like being there. We didn’t wait for long before we were called in. Sometimes they “do” him without me. Today I got to go in with the nurse and I got to hold Fudge. I prefer that – it is more reassuring for him. He didn’t struggle *that* much, and it was soon all over.
All over the nurse that is.
Her nice uniform was obviously spattered with dog anal gland juice. Eeeeww!!! The nice nurse tried to keep a straight face as she told me his glands were rather full. I tried not to giggle as I said I could see that. Fortunately for all the nurse laughed it off. I suppose getting spattered with dog anal gland juice is an occupational hazard of shoving a finger up a dog’s bum.
We came home; I settled both dogs and set off to work. As I drove west up the motorway past fifteen miles of road works with not a single person actually doing anything I could see gangs of workmen closing off the slow lane of the east-bound carriageway. And after a rather busy day at work (and another curry) I was faced with serious delays as miles of motorway had only one lane open for no apparent reason.
What half-wit came up with this idea? Why is there any work at all being done on the eastbound carriageway where there is still clearly fifteen miles of work still in progress on the westbound one? Surely it would make sense to concentrate the effort on one job at a time rather than knackering both lanes and delaying me both going to and from work?
12 October 2018 (Friday) - Bit Dull
I slept reasonably well but was still wide awake at half past five. I got up and said good morning to Fudge who continues to snore on the sofa. He seemed *so* content this morning.
I watched an episode of “Big Mouth” (good old Netflix) then peered into the abyss of cyber-space. There wasn’t that much kicking off over there this morning really. I had an email from the nice people at Coursera suggesting I launch my career in computer science… I suppose it isn’t *too* late for a change in direction, but realistically the only career change I really fancy at the moment is to retire. I think I would be good at being retired.
The sky was a rather spectacular shade of pink as I set off to work this morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing my local MP on his views of the Brexit deal which (over one short week) has gone from pie-in-the-sky to being pretty much a done deal. He spouted a lot of platitudes and catch-phrases without actually saying anything. He was then quizzed about the ongoing argument about universal credit.
Whilst some people are hard-working and need a little help, others abuse the system. Surely there is something wrong with our society in which hard-working people simply have more expenses than they have income? You'd think someone in authority might address that, wouldn't you?
There was then some stake nonsense from the Bishop of Norwich whose "Thought for the Day" started off about how terrible early-onset dementia could be and ended up likening not recognizing God as being like having early-onset dementia.
I wonder just how he worked that one out? Perhaps having early-onset dementia helps the thought processes required to be a bishop?
I stopped off at Aldi on the way to work. I’ve not been there for a while. They had some very oddly-shaped pet toys; I actually said “Good God – dog dildos” out loud to the surprise of the nearby normal people.
And then t work where I had a rather busy day. The day might have been better if not for the ear-worm – for some odd reason I couldn’t get the theme to “Huxley Pig” out of my head…
Today was rather dull…
13 October 2018 (Saturday) - A Crafty Half
Finding myself wide awake at half past one I got up and watched an episode of “Big Mouth” then went back to bed where I slept right through to Treacle’s woofing fit at eight o’clock.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. A petty squabble was kicking off on one of the geocaching Facebook pages I read. For the uninitiated, once you’ve pissed about finding a broken sandwich box under a rock you then have to tell the world of your adventure by writing about it on-line. Personally I put the same spiel pretty much every time as no one ever reads what you’ve written. This is very much frowned upon by the elite. It is thought to be rude and disrespectful to those who put a sandwich box under a rock and have no idea that it is now broken (and has been for six months). Instead it is suggested you write a unique little sycophantic paragraph (every single time) or two to show respect.
However those who advocate this literary effort also write the same old spiel pretty much every time but change a word or two (so they can claim its not “copy and paste”) knowing full well that no one ever reads what they’ve written.
I couldn’t resist stirring the pot just a little.
With a few minutes on my hands I had a go on my disaster simulator. The idea is that the software presents me with the sort of thing I might find myself faced with at work and I see how I did with the added bonus that any mistakes are a learning experience and not a catastrophe….
In one of my favourite episodes of “South Park”, the anti-hero Eric Cartman is approached by a camp counsellor…
Rick: “Hello Cartman, how are you today?”
Cartman: “Well I'm pissed off Rick, how are you?”
I ended up feeling just like Eric. I was*not* happy with how it went. To be precise, it was an interesting scenario. I did *exactly* the right things given the limitations of the software, but it has wound me up because (without getting too technical) it malfunctioned. Have you ever been on the wrong end of a malfunction? It’s a pain in the arse. And this isn’t the first problem I’ve had with the emergency simulator. Recently I watched a colleague also have similar problems. Am I to be judged by this…. Oh well, that will be a fight for Monday.
We took the dogs for a wander round the park. Fortunately we’d left it late enough to miss the park run. As we walked we met a few dogs and a few normal people. As we came home we found a nutter walking up and down our street picking up rubbish and dropping it in the public bn. At first I thought it rather public-spirited until I saw her pulling stuff from people’s gardens. She can stay out of ours.
Leaving "er indoors TM" to take the hounds off to Margate I wandered up to the train station and it wasn’t long before I was in Folkestone with the Rear Admiral. It has been a while since we last had a crafty half…
We started off at the Firkin where we had three pints and a pickled egg.
We moved on to Kipps for a pint of the black stuff.
On to the Pullman where one of the ladies was rather demonstrable with a boobie
Then to the Weatherspoons with the “delightful folk”
And a half of cider at the Red Cow.
We even found a geocache in the library (whilst drunk)
It was a shame that I fell asleep on the train home, but (in all honesty) falling asleep and broadcasting to the world (via Facebook) whilst drunk has become “de rigueur” in my world. I eventually got home (via the kebab shop). Once home I shared photos of my antics with the world. And I shared a kebab with my dogs.
We all like a kebab…
14 October 2018 (Sunday) - Feeling Under the Weather
Despite a few trips to the loo in the night I slept far better than I might have done. I staggered up at about half past eight and over brekkie I stared into Facebook and was rather amazed at just how many people had been following my adventure yesterday. Going live on social media is great – I wish more people would tell the world what they are doing.
I saw I had an email from Amazon offering me two quid off the price of books that I didn’t want. "er indoors TM" fought with the dogs for no apparent reason, and I wasted some time playing “Bubble Witch Saga”.
We got ourselves sorted, and being at a bit of a loose end today we drove down to the Sene Valley golf course where three geocaches made for a rather good dog walk; especially when two of them hadn’t been found for over a year. Two more resuscitations; not too shabby. It was a rather good little walk. Rather short, and it would have been a better walk had it not crossed the golf course where we tried not to upset he normal people.
With walk done we drove up to Hawkinge. The monthly geo-meet was taking place today. The monthly geo-meet used to be a regular fixture on the calendar; I’ve let it sip recently but today I wasn’t feeling on top form (can’t think why!) and so slobbing about drinking coffee and talking Tupperware fitted the bill quite nicely.
Mind you, for all that it was a rather good meet, the things aren’t what they once were. With less than twenty people along today I wonder if the whole “monthly meet” thing needs a re-boot.
With the meet done we took the hounds for another short walk, and then came home where I promptly fell asleep. Eventually I woke and ironed my shirts. "er indoors TM" boiled up a good bit of dinner, and as she went off bowling I watched this week’s episode of “Doctor Who”. It was marginally better than last week’s. I liked the reference back to Jon Pertwee’s Doctor. But it still hasn’t quite got there yet…
I too haven’t quite “got there” yet either. Perhaps another night’s sleep might help. Back in the day I could handle the after-effects of far too much beer much better…
15 October 2018 (Monday) - Early Shift
I gave up trying to sleep at five o’clock and got up. Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Big Mouth” before sparking up my lap-top. Pretty much nothing had happened on Facebook, and I had no emails… but was it too early?
There was an embarrassing five minutes whilst I tried to remember what I had done with my car, but soon I was on my way to work through a rather dark, wet and foggy morning. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing some hippy-type about the start of fracking somewhere up north. The hippy-type was probably right about how fracking goes utterly against all the green initiatives announced by the government last week. It is somewhat annoying how despite their usually needing a wash and a shave, hippy-types are generally right about what a stuff-up humanity is making of the environment.
But all the time the punters want to use so much leccie, the power has to come from somewhere. If only the hippy-types could come up with an answer for that one...
There was also talk about the cost of drugs to the National Health Service. Apparently a course of treatment for hepatitis C which costs the NHS thirty-five thousand pounds can be purchased in Australia for eight thousand pounds. I would have said that this shows that it pays to shop around, but some financial analyst windbag was on the radio explaining that this is market forces in action. People pay as much for any given item as they think it is worth. This (somehow) justifies charging an absolute fortune for something that costs pence to make because people value their health so much. And furthermore justifies why you can charge more for healthcare for children (!)
Logic is a wonderful thing. I wish I had money to invest in the pharmaceutical industry. Or in spouting rubbish live on national radio.
And there was talk about Boris Johnson's throwing rocks at the Prime Minister's attempts to salvage something from the Brexit negotiations (which took a turn for the worse at the weekend). Bearing in mind just what a large role Mr Johnson played in getting the country into this state both in the Brexit referendum and then as Foreign Secretary I would really have expected more from him. Or perhaps not, now we've seen his true colours.
I got to work despite awful traffic on the M20. Today was an early shift. I like those. I would have liked it better had I not walked in to something of an emergency. But things eventually calmed down.
An early start made for an early finish, and with an early finish I was able to walk the dogs round the park whilst it was still light.
As we walked a passing cyclist asked I’d seen the little stray dog and did I know whose dog it was… It’s not the first time that Fudge has been taken for a stray as he bimbles so far behind. And then a passing six-year-old went hysterical because (he claimed) both dogs were trying to bite him. I was intrigued as to how they could be trying to bite him from twenty yards away when they were both ignoring him. I thought about asking but decided it best not to get involved.
And with "er indoors TM" off out for the evening I caught up on watching the telly. I’ve now seen all of the second season of “Big Mouth” and the most recent episodes of “South Park” and “The Good Place”.
I really need a new series to watch on Netflix…
16 October 2018 (Tuesday) - Late Shift
This morning Facebook told me I had a friend request from “Vanessa Bridge”. She seemed to have quite the epic chest, but unlike other people who have recently sought my on-line friendship, she seemed to have her chest under some (if limited) control.
I spent a little while following the on-line postings of a chap I barely know. I’ve met this fellow a few times in the pub. He added me as a Facebook friend some time ago, and I am *so* glad he did. His life is one big rollercoaster of adventure as he tells the world every sordid little detail of his disastrous love affairs. Having been goosed up by his ex-best friend (who everyone but him knew was gay), he’s now sulking because this supposedly gay ex-best friend is now podgering his ex-girlfriend. He is posting screenshots of email after email about this sad state of affairs. Apparently his ex-best friend and ex-girlfriend are both applying for a court injunction to stop him harassing them. Somehow he sees this as evidence that they are podgering each other and he says can’t wait until the police return his phone so he can prove it all.
I can’t wait either… We might even find out just why the police have got his phone in the first place.
Once I’d wrestled my socks back from Treacle we went for a little walk round the park. We met a Labrador; we’ve met him before. He’s got a very bad leg and now has to have hydrotherapy. Poor pup. But he still likes his walks. If only Fudge wouldn’t try to hump him.
As we came back through the co-op field the dogs played “chase”. Treacle is *so* good with Fudge when playing “chase”. She is very much faster than he is when they run, but when she is being chased you can see she deliberately goes slow enough for Fudge to keep up. And when she is chasing Fudge she deliberately doesn’t quite go fast enough to catch him.
As I drove to work Women's Hour was starting. My heart sank, but they said they were going to have an article aimed at the older listeners to explain all about "the trans thing". I don't understand "the trans thing" at all, and so listened hoping I might learn something. I don't want to be reactionary and closed-minded. I *want* to understand, I get loads of friend requests on Facebook from them, but I got *so* confused with it all...
There was a panel of various so-called experts. Each of these would present a so-called fact about trans people, and all of the other experts would then disagree with it, dismiss it out of hand and generally argue about it.
Things started badly when it was revealed that the entire "trans" concept has been dealt a rather serious blow. Up until recently in order to be "properly trans" you had to have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, but the World Heath Organisation no longer recognises it as a condition (apparently). And the whole thing soon became nonsensical
Apparently deciding what gender you are is as simple as just announcing what you are... *but* if you are married then your partner has the right to veto your decision.
A rather strident feminist claimed that a lot of trans people are just doing it so they can sit and perve in the changing rooms of the opposite sex.
She claimed that if you identify as a woman you have the right to get changed in the women's changing room in the gym. And if the sight of your hairy cock and arse frighten the ten-year old girls then that is *their* problem and not yours. (Apparently some woman was recently taken to court for being discriminatory. She was wrong to suggest that some such trans person not change in the ladies changing rooms in front of the children).
People who are physically male have gone to women's prisons claiming to be women, then raped the women prisoners.
It was claimed that about eighty per cent of what we would call "trans" people are just carrying on as though they have changed gender, but still have whatever naughty bits they were born with and have no intentions of physically changing.
As the program went on I became more and more confused. The only thing that really came out of it all was that the whole thing *really* hasn't been thought through. I was rather glad when it ended.
I drove out to the middle of nowhere for geocachical reasons. I'd been looking at the geo-map and had seen mention of a cache which hadn't been found for eighteen months. A quick rummage in the hedge and I was soon doing the happy dance in some mud. Another geo- resuscitation. Go me !!
I'd also seen two other possible geo-resuscitations nearby but my hopes weren't high on getting lucky with them. They were part of a series of caches about which I'd heard many bad reports. Perhaps that soured my outlook; if I'd gone expecting to find something I might have found something...
One seemed to me in a hedgerow, but the overhead power lines may well have been scrambling the GPS signal.
The other was in the general vicinity of a second world war pill-box some fifty yards from the nearest path. Fortunately there were no crops to trample, so I just trespassed out there, had a rummage and trespassed back again.
I blanked at both. Either they have both gone, or the difficulty rating is too low.
Time was pushing on, so I made my way to the petrol station to re-fuel, and then on to work. Today the canteen was doing steak and kidney pudding. Not too shabby at all.
I had a rather busy shift, and then psyched myself up for the journey home. Having been told that the motorway was closed I was expecting the worst. I was only half an hour later home that usual. Not too late to watch today’s episode of “Bake Off”…
17 October 2018 (Wednesday) - Another Late Shift
Over brekkie I looked at the Internet. For once no transsexuals had sent me friend requests on Facebook which was probably for the best. The attention-seeker whose supposedly gay ex-bestie which was porking his ex-girlfriend had removed all the attention-seeking posts he’s put up over the last week. That was a shame really; it made for such entertaining reading.
I did have an email which boiled my piss somewhat. There is an odd arrogance among those who rummage in hedges for film pots regarding their GPS technology. Having compared many over the years I’m pretty sure than generally they are all of a muchness, and none are accurate to more than a few yards. However everyone who brandishes any sort of sat-nat device will demand that theirs is infallibly accurate and that everyone else’s is crap in comparison. Furthermore the less experience any given hunter of Tupperware has with a range of devices, the more vocal in their own infallibility they become.
This morning someone told me that they went out yesterday and couldn’t find one small sandwich box I’d hidden. He’d followed his GPS unit to some stile somewhere (God knows where – there are no stiles in the area) and found nothing. But when he read the logs of people who *had* found the thing he read mention of a huge tree and saw photos of a huge tree (which foxed him). With sixty-odd people having found this tree (it’s big enough!) you would have thought that I’d given the correct GPS co-ordinates, but he’d strongly suggested I went out and checked them as it was rather unlikely that he’d ballsed it up as his device is spot-on (!)
I took the hounds round the park for our morning constitutional. In one of life’s small bonuses both dogs crapped at the same time within a couple of feet of each other. There are those who wouldn’t see that as a bonus at all, but it made the clearing up their turds that bit easier. Clearing up their turds also has the added advantage that you can (within reason) see what they have been eating. Treacle’s dung was full of small bits of black plastic this morning. That would be from my old slippers. I said I didn’t want her shewing those…
As we came through the park I was amazed at what an eyesore the new flats overlooking the park have become. The old gas works really was preferable. I suppose it is too late to start a campaign to have them knocked down?
As I set off to work I was hoping that "Women's Hour" might try to explain the "trans" thing a bit better. They didn't; instead they had some dull stuff about women prison officers. So I turned the radio off and squalled along to my dull music.
I drove out to Tenterden as I could remember there being a rather god off-licence there where I might get some decent port. But I was wrong. What I could distinctly remember being an off-licence was actually a gun shop.
As I was in the area I drove out to Sandhurst where I thought I might try for some geo-resuscitations. I'd got four caches in my sights.
The first was a rather straightforward film pot which really was under a rock. I soon found it. Happy dance.
The second involved scrambling up a steep bank and then clambering up a tree. I scrambled and clambered and got to within two feet of my target but couldn't quite get to it. I can't help but feel that if I hadn't been on my own but had a gaggle of like-minded idiots cheering me on at the base of the tree I might well have plucked up the courage to go for it.
The third target involved wading. I think I could see where I had to go, but the water looked a bit too cold and a bit too deep to go in wearing just my pants.
The fourth involved solving a puzzle based on a war memorial. It was a rather beautiful war memorial, and with puzzle solved and cache found I realised I'd made a mistake and I'd not intended to go for this cache at all.
Suddenly realising that time was pushing on I drove to work. As I do when on the late shift these days I popped into the hospital canteen for work. There was something of a hold up as two "delightful people" had the concept of "canteen" explained to them.
Oh, my piss boiled.
It ain't difficult; you point to what you want, the woman behind the counter slaps it on a plate, you pay for it, you eat it. How hard can it be? These two idiots pointed at each item on the counter and demanded a full description of what the foods were, how they were prepared, what they cost... It was with a sense of relief that I finally got my chicken pie and chips.
The rest of the day was rather dull…
18 October 2018 (Thursday) - School's Out
Over brekkie I started watching season five of “The Last Ship”. The first season was very good. The second wasn’t too bad. I watched the third and fourth purely out of a sense of duty having watched the first two. I gave today’s episode five minutes then turned it off. It was rubbish. The basic premise of the show is that patriotic flag-waving Americans are saving the world from mad foreigners who are hell-bent on world domination. The mad foreigners in the show are hell-bent on world domination for two very good reasons. Firstly they are foreigners, and secondly they are mad.
I sparked up my lap-top and had a look-see at the Internet. Last night I’d had a bit of a rant on there. With Remembrance Day coming up I was already rather fed up with seeing all the lies about poppies being banned. It amazes me how people are so quick to believe this crap especially when it takes less than ten seconds to find reliable evidence to show it is all crap. Overnight no end of people had clicked the “like” button on my little rant.
I had an email suggesting I apply for jobs in central London and Redhill, and The Kent Wildlife Trust had emailed to tell me all about the recent re-introduction of beavers into Kent, and also to ask me for more money. (Presumably for the beavers)
I’d also got a message about that geocache up a tree from the chap who’d hidden it. He said that as I’d got that close I could log it as found, but I’ve declined his kind offer. I’m going to go back with a climbing strap and do it properly, and then do the wading cache just up the lane. If any of my loyal readers fancy a day of rather adventurous (or just plain daft) hunting Tupperware…
I left for work rather early this morning bearing in mind the chaos that has been reported about the M20 motorway in recent days. The motorway was bad; it took over an hour to get to work.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the ongoing Brexit negotiations. I say "negotiations" - the UK government don't want a border in the Irish Sea and *won't* have a border at the north-south Irish border. But rules is rules - there must be a border somewhere. After all, the whole point of Brexit was to have borders, wasn't it?
The EU have offered to prolong negotiations by up to a year. That has gone down like a lead balloon with those who we all knew wouldn't like it.
And so the debacle continues... No one thought this through, did they?
There are those who say they don't like or understand politics. To them I'd say give it a go. It would be hilarious if it wasn't tragic.
I got to work and found I have a new colleague. Another person has joined us from "where I used to work". Since I started in Maidstone nearly two years ago there's been a few people following me. Am I a trend-setter?
I did my bit; it wasn't a bad day. We had cake. Bearing in mind I'm off on holiday tomorrow, today had something of an "end of term" feel for me.
With “term ended” I came home. I walked the hounds round the block and did some packing. I chucked some spare pants and some dog food into a suitcase, I programmed “Hannah” and that should do.
Over dinner we watched the first episode of the new (and supposedly last) season of “The Big Bang Theory”. I didn’t turn this off after five minutes…
There will probably be a few days’ delay before I get chance to update this drivel again….
19 October 2018 (Friday) - Off to the New Forest
I was poised like a coiled spring ready to go this morning; "er indoors TM" not quite so. So to save time I went on a little errand for her to the post office. There was a minor hiccup when the traffic lights by the catholic church weren’t working, but nothing that driving through a red light couldn’t cure.
With errand run, we loaded the car having first locked two very excited dogs in the kitchen. We packed them last of all and set off on our holiday.
We got to Maidstone, turned around, and came back for "er indoors TM"’s mobile.
Listening to the CD of “Return to the Forbidden Planet” we drove through various traffic jams to Reigate. It was somewhere that we could stop to break the journey, allow the hounds a tiddle, and (as luck would have it) there was a relatively straightforward Earthcache there. We found a sandstone wall, we did our geology homework, and "er indoors TM" got to claim her nine thousandth geo-find. Result!
We drove on through more traffic jams to Cobham where we found some McLunch. We all had McLunch. Some more than others, and Treacle was sick. Too many McChips.
Our next port of call was seventy miles on into Winchester. I had this naïve idea I might get some beer for the evening from the Red Cat Brewery…
I got to their brewery shop. I stood and was pointedly ignored by several members of their staff for ten minutes. When they finally deigned to acknowledge my existence they wanted pint prices for half-pint volumes. So I stormed out in a huff.
We found a little farm shop near Beaulieu where I got half a dozen bottles.
We got to the holiday cottage which Karl had booked at five o’clock, and soon unpacked. We had a cuppa and explored. There was a minor hiccup as I couldn’t find any of the keys to any of the doors. Eventually I found them all hanging on a huge set of hooks labelled “keys” which were rather prominently displayed in the kitchen.
Karl, Tracey and the girls soon arrived, and mayhem ensued as the dogs got incredibly over-excited. Everyone was soon unpacked, and we had a very good bit of dinner. Chicken and broccoli with pasta all in a stilton sauce. I got to finish "er indoors TM"’s portion; she’d had the cheddar sauce which was every bit as good.
The beer flowed as "er indoors TM" taught the girls a favourite game. “Blokus” was quickly learned by all, and as things got rather competitive the ale flowed. Earl’s RDA, Wight Knight, and Pumpel Fester all went down well. For some odd reason we couldn’t register them on out favourite beer app; Untappd seemed to be broken.
And then the port and stilton came out. The dogs loved the stilton (as they do); Fudge curled up on Karl’s lap and farted contentedly for a while.
And so to bed with a spinning head just before midnight…
20 October 2018 (Saturday) - Busy Day
I lay awake for some time last night being unable to sleep; all the time with a nagging feeling something was awry. I suddenly had inspiration, activated my CPAP machine, and slept like a log despite a rather vivid dream in which "My Boy TM" had taken up jogging and had jogged down to join us in the New Forest and was insistent that I might jog back with him.
I was woken by the loud crash of one of the dogs falling off of the bed at five o’clock. Minor mayhem ensued, and as they were up I thought they might want to “use the facilities”. Fudge obediently headed to the back door; Treacle shot upstairs and came back looking very pleased with herself having stolen someone’s socks.
As I was up I thought I might as well have a shave. As I finished my scrape Treacle came and showed me the slipper she’d stolen.
I boiled the kettle, and over a cuppa tuned my lap-top into the cottage’s wi-fi. I managed to tell the world about yesterday’s exploits but for some inexplicable reason I was utterly unable to post up a photo album of what had happened yesterday. Odd… I eventually posted it from my phone. I wondered why the lap-top wasn’t having it? The untapped beer-logging app hadn’t worked yesterday either. Eventually I found it all worked if using my mobile data. Presumably the cottage’s wi-fi wasn’t having it.
It wasn’t long before everyone was up and about, and after brekkie (bacon sarnies – oh yes) we set off. Trying very hard not to run over the horses, ponies and cows that were all over the roads (fences are banned in the New Forest) we made our way to one of loads of little parking spots, and we took the dogs for a rather good wander through the forest.
We had a good walk; the dogs had a rather good spuddle. Treacle found a swamp. I’ve never seen mud quite as thick, gloopy and stagnant as that in the swamp she fell in.
We wound the windows of the car down as we then drove to the quaint little village of Burley. I’ve heard good reports of the place; it would be good to go back when all the tourists (like me) have gone somewhere else.
We sat in the beer garden of the Burley Inn and had a couple of pints as the local chickens mocked the dogs. Have you every seen a dog which has been mocked by a chicken? The chickens are harsh, and the dogs take it to heart.
Our next port of call was the Ringwood brewery. I’ve not been there before, but I’ve tried their beer. We chatted with the brewer and came out with a couple of gallons of ale.
Whilst everyone else then did the shopping, Charlotte and I took the dogs for a little stroll.
Once back at base it was dog-scrubbing time.
In retrospect the dogs had dried. It might have been as well just to brush them down. They both got a serious scrub in the shower (complete with baby shampoo) and once pristine they were both allowed into the garden to shake off. Both ran to the end of the garden and rolled in the dirt that they had been digging earlier. Once "er indoors TM" had laid an egg she washed them again.
A couple of points of Ringwood’s best washed down a rather good curry. And as the dogs snored on the sofa we played “Who’s In The Bag” – a game in which you have to guess the celebrity that someone is describing. An odd game – it *really* hinges on having heard of the celebrities in the first place.
Today was rather good. There are a few photos of the day here.
Bearing in mind tomorrow’s early start, the second glass of port might not have been a wise move…
21 October 2018 (Sunday) - Cranbourne
I slept reasonably well. Apparently Treacle was off bothering others at half past two this morning. Oh well – it’s all part of “The Great Dog Experience” I expect…
With adventure planned for today I was up and about shortly after five o’clock. It wasn’t long before others were also about. We scoffed brekkie (I say “we”; Fudge had to be hand-fed every morsel) and we were in the cars and on our way long before dawn.
We had a rather good drive out to Cranbourne; as we drove the sun slowly came up and lit up a beautiful misty morning. As we drove we saw the horses doing whatever it is that they do, and we even saw a deer too.
Once in Cranbourne we booted up and set off on a little walk.
The Cranbourne Chase Circular is a series of over ninety geocaches over some sixteen miles which was only a short hop from where we were staying. It was a major factor in our coming to the New Forest and was a rather good walk. With only one dodgy part the route followed well-marked paths and lanes. We saw friendly cows. As the early mist lifted we saw rather spectacular views. There’s no denying that the grass was rather damp, but I should have worn my gaiters. And things did get a bit iffy when Fudge charged off into the distance in pursuit of a pheasant (I eventually captured him some five hundred yards later). We started walking at about eight o’clock and got back to the car just as the sun was setting.
Geocache-wise... I don’t want to be negative but… Quite frankly it is a very old series of caches which has had its day. Having read the “Found It” logs we knew there were going to be problems with the caches. I’d messaged the C.O. before we left to ask if they wanted us to do any maintenance for them, but not had a reply. Are they still active in the noble pursuit of sticking a film pot under a rock? I think not.
We found all of the caches but one. Some of the hides were straight-forward. Some clever. There were a couple of ammo cans on the way which was nice. But if the day had a theme, the theme had to be “randomly drop-kicked into a hedge”.
We replaced several paper logs which over the years have become mush. We replaced a few of the caches which were broken. It was evident that previous relatively recent finders had also had to perform running repairs. It was also evident that the names of recent finders on the paper logs (that were legible) bore no relation to those who had logged the thing on-line. In the blacker reaches of the world of hunting Tupperware there are lists of series of geocaches that you can log on-line with impunity as the C.O.s don’t bother with the game any more. Is this one such circuit?
We deliberately didn’t visit the pub at the half-way point on our way round. I know what I am like. If we were only meant to have “a quick drink” God wouldn’t provide the stuff in great big barrels. One pint so easily becomes two and then three, and by missing the lunchtime pint(s) we managed to find the last cache with seven minutes of daylight left before sunset.
With walk done we found the Cranbourne Inn where a pint of Badger’s Best slipped down rather nicely followed by a pint of Red Rambler.
As we drove back to base through the dark we played a game of “Animal Cricket” which is a far more family-friendly version of “Roadkill Cricket” that the fruits of my loin would play on car journeys.
And once at base I had a shower. Oh, the luxury of a wash and clean pants after walking sixteen miles. More Ringwood beer, some rather good pizza, and a few hands of cards before bed.
Not a bad day at all…
22 Octover 2018 (Monday) - Exploring
When you are on a holiday do you forget to turn of your alarm for Monday morning? With my random pattern of working I set an alarm as and when I need it. I really should have suggested that "er indoors TM" turn hers off last night.
Despite her alarm everyone carried on snoozing. I got up, wrote yesterday’s history and had a look-see at Facebook to see if the world was still turning without me. It was. A friend had got married yesterday; it looked as though all had gone well.
It wasn’t long before everyone was up. We had bacon sarnies all round, and then set off on the day’s business. After yesterday’ rather epic walk we thought a more gentle day would be in order. The New Forest has loads of little car parks from which there are rather pretty walks. So (ably assisted by the geo-map) we thought we’d use these as a way of exploring.
We started off at a little ca park just up the road from where we were staying and had a little stroll round Hawkhill woods where we found the remains of a wartime bomb and ammunition store.
From there we relocated to Minstead where regular readers of this drivel may recall that Fudge and I visited a virtual cache on the grave of Arthur Conan Doyle (and Fudge tiddled on it) on the first of August 2016. At the time I liked the look of the local pub. Once everyone else had done the secret geo-ritual we went to that pub for a spot of lunch. The food and beer in “The Trusty Servant” were excellent. The service was a tad slow but not so slow that I didn’t leave a tip… or try to. I paid by card. The nice man asked if I would like to leave a tip; I said to bung on fifteen per cent. He didn’t bung on anything. Awkward!
We then drove a short distance to Acres Down for a little stroll, and then on to Millyford Bridge where we spent a little while hunting for a Portuguese Fireplace (not to be confused with a Dutch Oven).
By then time was pushing on, so we headed home. On the way back to base we stopped at the car park at Bolderwood Aboretum as we spotted an ice cream van. A whippy with monkey blood went down very well as we looked at the deer and wild pigs.
And as it was on the way home we stopped off for one last cache at Woosons where the dogs paddled in stagnant ditchwater.
Once back at base I fell asleep for an hour. Fortunately I woke in time for dinner. We had a rather good lasagna, and then played Blokus for an hour or so.
You can see photos of our day by clicking here. For all that today was intended to be a restful one, it was a rather tiring one...
23 October 2018 (Tuesday) - Exbury Gardens and Calshot Beach
Last night just before bed I’d had an email from one of the people who looks after the series of geocaches we hunted out on Sunday. I’d thought that being a series it would have only one person looking after it. It turns out that it is owned in sections. When I whinged that the C.O. hadn’t replied to emails, I’d only tried to contact one person.
Oh well… perhaps the route might get a quick once-over now? Ideally it needs taking in and replacing with a whole new series (if only to give us another reason to come back here for another holiday).
There are cattle grids all over the New Forest to keep the horses, cows, pigs and ponies from running riot (too much). There is one just outside our cottage, and it made quite a noise when a lorry drove over it just before seven o’clock. Mind you it wasn’t as much of a noise as Fudge made in response, and nowhere near as much as "er indoors TM" as she lambasted Fudge about the error of his ways.
After a bit of brekkie we set off to a local beauty spot. We had minor delays from horses blocking the roads (they do that a *lot* down here) and a five-minute diversion for geo-reasons we were soon at Exbury Gardens. We started off on a Halloween-themed steam train with ghostly guides “Boney and Batty”; a camp skeleton and an equally camp vampire. They charged around and amused the punters, and as we tootled through the gardens we saw all sorts of ghosties and even a ghoulie or two. With the leaves changing colour for autumn it was a rather beautiful place to be. The dogs had to be on leads which was probably for the best; we saw several squirrels which mocked them.
After a coffee and sandwich we went to feed the carp. One lake which usually was heaving with fish was devoid of them. We wondered where they’d gone as we walked to another lake which had several carp for Fudge to attempt to terrorise. I even got one to nibble on my hand.
Pausing only to fail to find a Church Micro we took a rather pretty drive down to Calshot beach where we walked along the beach and out to the spit to look at the castle. It was closed. But we had a good walk along the beach. Both dogs chased stones into the sea; Fudge chased seagulls.
Back to base; I hosed the sand from the dogs. There was a *lot* of sand to hose. And then we had a short drive to the Turfcutter’s Arms; a rather good pub. Ringwood best, poppy ale, forty-niner, rather good scampi and chips, strawberry mess, even a Drambuie or two.
And then the evening was rounded off with a pint of \king \goblin (6.7%!), a glass of port, a wedge of stilton, a couple of rounds of “Blokus” and a few hands of “Cheat”; a game at which I am not very good on account of the fact that I cheat so much.
We staggered off to bed just before one o’clock. I took quite a few photos today.
24 October 2018 (Wednesday) - Hatchet Pond... and home.
As I emptied the dishwasher this morning the dogs came to see me. Treacle was carrying one of "er indoors TM" trainers. Once I’d had my morning ablution I saw that Treacle was carrying one of Charlotte’s shoes and "er indoors TM"‘s trainer was laying half-way down the garden.
During the few minutes before everyone else got up I had a quick look at the Internet. As I perused cyberspace Treacle brought me one of Karl’s shoes.
I was rather sad to see that the first geocache I ever found had been archived through neglect. I sent an email to the geo-feds to see if I can take it on, and it was then that people got up and brekkie started in earnest. I scoffed my toast, loaded as much as I could into the car, and then we all went for a little wander. Our cottage was right next to Hatchet pond (what a wonderful name – was it named for an axe-murderer?) and we thought that an hour or so wandering round the pond would be just right for out last day.
The walk didn’t start well with Treacle picking a fight with a herd of swans, and then both dogs found a muddy swamp which exceeded the expectations of even their staunchest fans. Having packed the dog towels, I wasn’t overly keen on getting them out for dog bath time, so we chucked stones into the cleaner bits of the pond until the hounds washed themselves clean. Treacle does get over-excited and tends to nip when playing stones and water; we need to do something about that.
As we walked we met more wild ponies and horses and going completely against all the signs and warnings "er indoors TM" stroked one.
And with horse stroked we had ice creams. I had monkey blood on mine. Does no one else call the strawberry sauce “monkey blood”?
I took a few photos as we wandered round the pond. It was beautiful. On reflection so is Viccie Park, but I know Viccie Park and go there all the time.
A quick sandwich for lunch, and we said our goodbyes. Everyone else is staying till the end of the week, but "er indoors TM"’s works leave calendar was tight and she’s back to the grind tomorrow.
The drive home was straightforward, if dull. We’d broken up the journey down but we came straight home so as to avoid most of the traffic. Six or seven hours there; two and a half hours home.
We’ve had a *really* good holiday. I miss the New Forest already…
25 October 2018 (Thursday) - Ironing and Murderers
Having turned her alarm off on Monday morning, "er indoors TM" nearly overslept this morning. Woops!
I set the washing machine loose on more laundry, and over brekkie had my usual look-see at the Internet to find out what I’ve missed.
It would seem that the Ashford Snowdogs have been incredibly popular, with over a hundred thousand more people visiting Ashford in September than in August (according to the local council’s figures).
On a more serious note there are rumours of the local accident and emergency department closing. A petition has been started to keep the thing open. Much as I agree with the sentiment in theory, in practice are three A&E departments across the local health Trust sustainable? Contrary to what the public thinks there are *far* more people than just doctors and nurses involved in an A&E department. For many years these roles (as well as the doctor and nurse roles) have been entirely dependent on immigrant workers filling them; especially in the skilled professions such as theatre technicians, pharmacists, biomedical scientists to say nothing of the porters and cleaners. And it is no secret that these people are now all going home in droves.
What *do* we as a nation do when every single application for a highly skilled position comes from overseas or when there are no applications at all? Do we implement something like National Service where people are forced to undertake up to six years training and then do these jobs when they can get twice as much money driving a train? Or do we tell the current staff that they are expected to work overtime and not be allowed weekends or evenings off?
Here’s a suggestion (not that I’m bitter) - those that seriously oppose the hospital closure take a pay cut and be prepared to work nights weekends, bank holidays and Christmas and spend years training for a job in which the slightest error has them sacked and then crucified by the local press and social media…
The closures aren’t about saving money… they are about pooling very limited resources. No one seems to realise that.
Almost exactly sixteen hours after getting home from holiday the dogs finally got up and went to the garden for tiddle time. As they had got up I got their leads on and we went for a walk. The road looked odd; with the road markings being re-painted today there were “no parking” restrictions. Where normally there are dozens of cars parked up our road, this morning there were three. And they all had parking tickets.
Our morning walk was equally lonely. As we went round the park we only met one other dog and a handful of people. Where was everyone?
With walk done the dogs scoffed their brekkie, and I settled them and went on a little mission. Firstly to the fishing tackle shop for supplies. Whilst there they gave me a loyalty card; I get one penny credit for every pound I spend there. It might not sound much but I’ve whinged before about how much fishing tackle costs. Just a few odds and ends sent me back twenty quid today. Bearing in mind I put my arse through my fishing seat the last time we went I really needed a fishing seat. The ones in the tackle shop were nearly a hundred quid. Stuff that! You can get folding garden chairs for a tenner…
Let me re-phrase that.
Folding garden chairs cost a tenner. But neither B&M, Argos, Bybrook barn nor Dobbies had any. I tried all of them. As I drove round town I narrowly avoided being run off the road by an arrogant twit of a lorry driver who flatly was *not* going to give way to an ambulance with lights and sirens going.
I couldn’t find a new chair anywhere - I’ve dug an old camping chair out of a lock-up. That will do.
Once home I hung out more washing and put more in to scrub, then mowed the lawn. That took some doing. Bearing in mind it is October it hasn’t stopped growing. I had a quick spot of lunch, then spent the afternoon doing the ironing whilst watching “Full Metal Jacket”.
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned this evening. She’d just had a customer in her shop who was in a serious rush. The chap said he had a cab waiting but needed a beer right away as he had just murdered someone. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" made light of it, but something in the fellow’s eyes frightened her, so with the chap gone off in his cab she phoned me. I’d know what to do.
Not really having had *that* much experience with murderers I said to phone the police and tell them.
She phoned me back an hour later. She’d phoned the police, and two coppers were in the shop before she’d put the phone down. Literally. They took a statement and a copy of the CCTV footage.
Was there a murder…?
26 October 2018 (Friday) - Getting Wet
I slept rather well. I knew I was tired as the alarm woke me. That rarely happens. Over brekkie I watched this week’s episode of “South Park” in which Butters was selling vaping juice to the kindergarten kids.
I got myself organised and set off to my car. I came back for my watch and set off again. I collected the first fruit of my loin and we drove to Rocky’s café for second brekkie. You can’t beat a fry-up. And then on with the business of the day. Fishing!!
We’d decided to try Charlie’s Lakes today. You can see what we got up to by clicking here. "My Boy TM" likes it there. I’m not entirely sure. The place has more rules than you can shake a stick at. When I mentioned where we were going in the tackle shop yesterday no one had a good word to say about the place; or (more specifically) about the pedantic jobsworth attitude which prevails there. I don’t like the “don’t do this – don’t do that” which characterises the lakes, but "My Boy TM" says he prefers fishing somewhere which has that ethos. Apparently it encourages the serious angler and discourages the idiots.
I am reliably informed that I am neither serious angler nor idiot. I (apparently) am “borderline”.
We arrived, we handed over our money and were issued with landing nets. We were not to use our own, nor were we to use our own unhooking mats. We were to use the ones provided. I must admit this suited me. I got to try out an unhooking cradle (I liked it) and at the end of the day the car didn’t stink of fish.
It wasn’t long before we were fishing, and I had a rather good carp on the bank within minutes. And then another. And another. The fish weren’t huge, but on the light tackle we were using they put up a good fight.
Yesterday the weather forecast had said there was a twenty per cent chance of rain between mid-day and two o’clock. The heavens opened just after eleven o’clock. I got my brolly up, but my tackle got soaked. When the rain stopped it dried out somewhat, only to get sodden again in the next deluge.
The rain finally stopped at two o’clock by which time everything was wet through. Bearing in mind we were cold and our tackle was wet (and so was our fishing apparatus) we moved across the lake to a spot in the sun where we might dry out.
This wasn’t quite the brainwave it might have been. I found myself facing the sun and was blinded every time the sun came from behind a cloud. I did hook a *really* big fish, but it got away. That boiled my piss.
So I decided to go for quantity rather than quality, stuck a maggot on the float and went for the silvers. If ever you find yourself thwarted piscatorially I can heartily recommend sticking a maggot on a float and going for the silvers. I caught loads,
Eventually we dried out. "My Boy TM" had received orders from home, and so we packed up and came home. I left my tackle strewn around the shed in the forlorn hope that it will dry out, and I took the dogs for a walk.
For no reason that I could fathom Treacle kept going into the “sit” position every ten yards. Eventually she stopped; I wonder what that was all about?
Just as we got to the Hubert fountain the heavens opened again. Getting wet was certainly something of a theme for today. We came home, I gave the dogs their dinner, and with "er indoors TM" off to a works do this evening I went up the road to forage for my dinner.
Oh, I got cross.
I thought I might go to the kebab shop and get kebab and chips. And as I would be sharing it with the dogs I would get an extra portion of meat. Kebab and chips and an extra portion of meat. How difficult is that? First of all the people in the kebab shop had a go at me because the meat portion comes in one size. Eventually they got the idea that I wasn’t asking for extra for free, but they couldn’t comprehend the concept of a portion of kebab meat with nothing else with it. I suggested I had kebab and chips twice, but only had chips with one of them. It was when they eventually made it clear that they would do this as a special favour to me (on the understanding that I should be eternally grateful) that I saw red. I told them not to bother and that I would get my dinner from the KFC. “KFC?” they asked. I pointed to the KFC over the road, went there, and waved to them as I walked in.
The people in the KFC had no trouble whatsoever with a Mighty Bucket for One and two extra mini fillets. As I walked out I again waved to the doom-brains in the kebab shop who were looking at me with the most blank of expressions.
We all enjoyed our KFC. I then sparked up my lap-top and started my latest Coursera course. Archeoastronomy. Rather interesting stuff. I found it rather ironic that I should be doing this on the last Friday of the month. Time was I would have been at the astronomy club on the last Friday of the month. I’m learning astro stuff again, but this time without having to smile sweetly at those who make no secret of their contempt for me…
27 October 2018 (Saturday) - Margate Again
I slept like a log again but woke up feeling rather unsettled. What *have* I achieved with my life? I narrowly avoided something of an existential crisis by reminding myself that my fifty-odd years haven’t been entirely wasted, I had a cuppa and snapped out of it. A *lot* of people have these existential crises from time to time. Mind you, judging by the attention-seeking I read on Facebook this morning (and most mornings) I don’t think everyone snaps out of it as readily as I did.
We got ourselves together and went out. We did have a vague plan to go to a geocaching mega-event today. The Geo-lympix was taking place. I’d seen on Facebook that it had kicked off last night with a torchlit procession. But with a two-hundred miles and five hours round trip I found myself asking “what is there for the day visitor”? And when I say: “what is there”, (not wishing to sound rude or flippant) I couldn’t help but wonder what *actually* was there for the day visitor as opposed to what was intended for the people who were resident and camping out? I’ve been to five geocaching mega-events and each has effectively been intended for geocachers who thought they had joined the caravan club. Earlier in the year we went to the French Mega. We had the most excellent road trip, but the actual mega event itself was rather pitiful. It really was half a dozen stalls of people selling stuff and some broken lab caches. I *really* didn’t want to spend over half the day driving just to go to somewhere selling stuff I didn’t want to buy. I’d asked friends about the geo-lympix thing, but with no one having a good word for it we decided against going.
Instead we drove out to Margate.
We arrived just as "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" were going out. They wanted to take the bus to town. "er indoors TM" went upstairs to help with housework, and I got in the way in the shop. There was a seemingly constant stream of punters coming and going (which was probably for the best). To help promote sales I tidied the crisps; a job which took far longer than you might think it would.
The most recent fruit of my loin returned and Sam went to get supplies. Once he had returned from his errands we all took the dogs for a little wander along the promenade. I took some photos. We did tell "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" *not* to go on to the beach. It was as well that I had my camera poised. He went from being ten yards from the water’s edge to being arse-deep in the sea in the blink of an eye. He didn’t like it very much and ran like a scalded cat. I didn’t *quite* piss myself laughing, but it could have ended badly had those waves had any more force.
Hopefully he might listen when given advice in the future but somehow I doubt it. It is a truly wise person who learns from other’s mistakes without having to learn them for themself.
We came home; on the way we stopped off to check a geocache that "er indoors TM" had hidden some time ago. The thing had reports that the last four people who tried to search it out couldn’t find it. Admittedly it was broken, but I found it laying on the floor in plain sight within seconds.
Once home we had a cuppa and a cold cross bun, and as "er indoors TM" had a doze I looked at the household accounts. I’m nowhere near as impecunious as I thought I would be only a few short years ago. And whilst not exactly having money to burn, I’ve certainly got money to tiddle up a wall (in moderation).
We had had a vague plan to go out this evening. We’d had an invite to a party in Folkestone, but by the time we’d got there and paid an entrance fee (!) we would have spent twenty quid before we’d done anything. So instead "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good curry and we activated Netflix. “Gnome Alone” was worth the monthly Netflix fee itself…
28 October 2018 (Sunday) - Afternoon Tea
The clocks went back an hour last night. They do this every year, I can’t help but wonder why? The mornings are lighter (for a few weeks) but the evenings get darker earlier. The total length of daylight remains the same. What does it actually achieve? Realistically everyone is just out of sorts for a few weeks.
If we *really* could turn the clocks back I would turn them back to 1981 and try a bit (lot) harder at school.
Over brekkie I looked out of the window. The heavy overnight rain had given way to a rather bright morning. I was rather sad that we’d not arranged a walk for today, but the BBC weather forecast said it would rain later. And (it has to be said) the BBC weather forecast is definitive. In cases of discrepancy, reality has it wrong.
As I devoured my toast I had a look-see at the Internet. I think we were right not to have gone to yesterday’s geo-event all those miles away. From what I could see and read I formed the distinct impression that the whole thing was some sort of macho competition to see who could endure the cold the longest. They had near-freezing temperatures and sleet.
Even the shops and stalls were in open-air event shelters.
I got the leads on the dogs and we went for a walk round the park. As it was cold I put on a coat I’ve not worn for a while. There was a packet of mints in the pocket that had a “best before” date of last week.
We got to the park just as the children’s park run was finishing. I forgot that happens every Sunday. I don’t often go round the park when the children’s park run is happening, but when it does, it follows the same format. Various jogging enthusiasts cajole, bully and force two or three dozen children to run round the park The children make no secret that they don’t want to run round the park and are (this time of year) clearly very cold. Today was no exception; the poor kids *really* didn’t want to be forced to run round the park.
We also met another child as we walked. This one (on seeing my dogs) screamed “sausage dog sausage dog sausage dog” in a rather shrill voice and sprinted at them. Treacle ran in terror, and before I could do anything she tried to seize Fudge. I shouted at Fudge not to react, and it was only at this point that the idiot child’s mother (who seemed equally idiotic) seemed to feel that I might have anything to do with the dogs. I politely explained that if you shriek at a dog, run at it and then grab it roughly, it is not unreasonable to expect to get bitten. This revelation had clearly never occurred to the mother.
I wonder if the child got home without being bitten?
Once home "er indoors TM" made me a cuppa and gave me some choccies that had a best before date of six months ago. Chocolate is wasted on "er indoors TM". The whole point of chocolate is to keep eating it until you feel sick. When she gets some she has one bite a week until the stuff is six months past its best at which time it gets fed to me. And I then scoff the lot in one fell swoop.
As I scoffed choccie and drank coffee I fought with my lap-top. The anti-virus kept turning itself off. The suggested cure was a re-installation. After a lot of re-booting I *think* all is now well. The acid test for an anti-virus is to have a look at websites of nudey ladies without any clothes on… I think I’ll pass on that.
We left home just after the hailstorm passed. The BBC had said the weather was going to take a turn for the worse. And it did. Torrential rain started within minutes of driving away. Pausing only briefly in Boxley to get the number of an electrical sub-station (as one does) we drove out to the Waggon at Hale in Chatham. Sometimes in my world we have a crafty half. Sometimes we have a good old fashioned booze up. Today was Nick’s birthday bash and we had afternoon tea. Posh sandwiches – smoked salmon, cucumber, ham and mustard. Scones and jam. All sorts of petits-four. And even coffee for those of us (me) who aren’t overly fond of tea.
It was odd – the sandwiches and cakes and stuff really were oh-so dainty, but I scoffed enough to make myself feel quite stuffed. I’m very greedy like that. Everyone else was showing restraint and there was me (probably) oldest one there shovelling food into my face in much the same way as my grandsons would (granddaughter wouldn’t !!)
We came home through the dark and the rain. Once home "er indoors TM" set off bowling and I did some more of my archeoastronomy course, then sparked up Netflix and watched something that "My Boy TM" said I might like. “Prison Break” is entertaining enough. So far it is not unlike “Orange is the New Black” but without the seemingly endless gratuitous lesbianism.
It will do until something better comes along…
29 October 2018 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
Treacle had a restless night last night, and when she is restless so is everyone else. When she finally settled, my phone randomly started giving me all sorts of notifications even though its wi-fi and mobile data connections were turned off. I wish it wouldn’t do that.
I eventually got up just after seven o’clock feeling like death warmed up.
Over brekkie I saw that the photos I’d put on to Facebook from yesterday’s tea party had received lots of “likes” from friends of friends. It is quite amazing how easily people you don’t know can find out all about you via Facebook. Or (to be more precise) can find out what you choose to let them know. I seem to be rather open with what I share.
I also saw that other people had clearly been having fun this weekend. Some had had a fight with the in-laws and were using social media to tell the world. I try to avoid telling the world that sport of thing.
I got the dogs organised and we went out for a little walk. There was a nerve-wracking ten minutes when Fudge was missing; he eventually turned up in a hedge where he’d been doing his own thing as he does. We walked through the park; the dogs wanted to play in the river and both had something of a sulk when I told them it was too cold for swimming.
We carried on out to Singleton Lake where one of my geocaches had supposedly gone missing, After a rummage around a tree I concluded it had gone missing, and replaced it. I wonder how long that one will last?
I tried (and failed) to get the dogs to pose nicely for a photo by the lake, and we got caught in a rain shower.
As we came home the dogs managed to upset a
cyclist who told me to keep my dogs of the cycle path. I told him to get
knotted. And then Fudge disappeared again. After ten minutes searching for
him a nice lady coming down the path said he was a hundred yards ahead and
was obviously waiting for us to catch up.
By the time we got home we had been caught in several rain showers so I decided against mowing the lawn. Instead I settled the dogs and went on a little shopping trip. I wanted a new fishing tackle box and a large bucket for bait. I got a tackle box from B&Q for a fraction of the price that the fishing tackle shop charges, but I couldn’t find a huge bucket anywhere.
The cheapo-bargain shop near work might have one… or a large fermentation bucket might work. Where’s the nearest home-brew shop?
The cheapo-bargain shop in Ashford were putting up their Christmas decorations this morning. Too early!!
I came home and over a spot of lunch watched another episode of “Prison Break” as the dogs snored beside me on the sofa. I then took myself off to bed for the afternoon. Treacle came up too, but this time she settled, and I got a few hours shut-eye before heaving myself out of my pit and watching another episode of “Prison Break”. As shows go it is rather far-fetched. But then isn’t every TV show… and life in general.
I then spent half an hour doing Week Four of my latest Coursera course. Archeoastronomy. Unlike many of the courses the people running this one have been sensible and made all the course material available right from the start so it is possible to get ahead of the game. This week’s stuff (well, actually the stuff of the week beginning November 26) was all about the Incas and Mayans.
I’ve got this rather daft idea that I would like to visit Machu Picchu… it would only set me back three thousand quid…
"er indoors TM" will be home soon… a quick bit of dinner and then I’m off to the night shift. Today has been rather lonely with only the dogs for company.
30 October 2018 (Tuesday) - Between the Night Shifts
After the night shift I listened to the radio as I drove home. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was being interviewed on the radio about the budget statement he announced yesterday. I say “interviewed”; they were giving him serious stick. It strikes me he’s taken limited resources and spent some money here and saved some money there. No matter what he does there isn’t enough to go round so he does what he thinks is for the best. Mind you he didn’t deny that everything he’s doing will go to pot next year (one way or another) depending on what happens with Brexit.
I got home and walked the dogs round the park. The light rain seemed to be enough to keep everyone else indoors; we got round the park without meeting hardly anyone at all. As we walked I kept a close eye on Fudge; yesterday he vanished three times. Today he didn’t.
With walk done I went to bed. You’d think that having done a night shift I’d sleep like a log; generally I don’t. I got five hours asleep. Finding myself wide awake far earlier than I had hoped I was faced with a choice. Lay in bed or get up. I got up and watched “Prison Break”; not too shabby so far.
It was rather late in the day today before I got round to looking at the Internet. For once there was pretty much nothing kicking off on Facebook really. I felt that was something of a disappointment.
My credit card bill arrived in my in-box. I thought about complaining to the bank again, but what would be the point? When I first took the thing out the bill came on the seventeenth of every month. Being regular meant I could organise my finances easier. For the last couple of years statements have been random, and the bank have got the cheek to say it has always been random.
I checked it; it was correct to the penny. Sometimes it isn’t.
One of my blog posts received a comment yesterday. The comment was a shameless plug from a funeral company operating out of Florida who were trying to use this drivel as a way to advertise their business. I would have thought that posting to a Kent-based diary about Florida-based funerals wouldn’t be *that* productive, but who knows?
In any event I marked the comment as spam.
The day between the night shifts is usually dull. Today was no exception.
It’s the Bake-Off final tonight whilst I’m at work. I hope no one tells me who won.
31 October 2018 (Wednesday) - Halloween
Having spent much of last weekend sulking at the prospect of two night shifts, they weren’t that bad at all. Last night’s featured a weak D. Weak Ds are a rather rare peculiarity of the human erythrocyte and are pretty much a matter of the utmost indifference to most of humanity. But they do it for me.
As I came home I couldn’t help but look at the traffic queuing up for miles along the west-bound carriageway of the motorway. It was bad yesterday as well. I shall have to bear that in mind when I’m next on day shifts. I also listened to the radio where the pundits on the radio were openly laughing at the Foreign Secretary’s latest brain-wave. It’s no secret that Jeremy Hunt isn’t the nation’s favourite politician. He was universally despised as health secretary, and now his latest move has exceeded the expectations of even his staunchest critics.
He has an idea that rather than having career diplomats heading up Britain’s embassies and filling ambassadorial roles, we might have businessmen instead. On the one hand there are career professionals who have spent a lifetime learning the ways of other countries and how best to interact with their cultures. On the other hand we have fly-by-night wide-boys trying to make a fast buck out of Johnnie Foreigner. I know who I would think would have the nation’s best interests at heart.
Mind you the last brain-wave the Foreign Secretary had was when it said goodbye, so perhaps we were expecting too much of the fellow?
Just as I got home my car told me it wanted servicing (don’t we all!)
I took the dogs round the park for our usual walk. Yesterday it was raining and we met hardly anyone. Today it was a bright morning, but again we met hardly anyone. In fact the only difference was that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had their stall out by the park gates today where they didn’t yesterday. Either jo-bos don’t like the rain, or God told them to do it. Mind you (to be fair to them) we see them most mornings; they are kind to the dogs and have never once (in many years) tried to bother me with their crackpot ideas. Perhaps if they knew what I do for a living they might have a word or two to say?
For all that we didn’t see many people, we saw quite a few squirrels. I say “we”; Treacle saw them and shot off in hot pursuit several times. Fudge didn’t notice any of them.
Some mornings our walk is eventful. Some mornings our walk is an unmitigated disaster from start to finish. Today’s was one of the better ones; in fact the only way in which it could have been better would have been for Treacle not to have crapped on her own tail as she took a dump.
Once home I washed Treacle’s tail, then made a few phone calls. I’ve got a rostered day off in a couple of weeks’ time, and so I arranged for the car to have its service and for Fudge to have his annual M.O.T. Part of the deal we have with the vet’s is an annual health check when he has his vaccinations. They usually follow the same format; the vet (who usually looks as though she should still be in primary school) will tell me he’s too fat as I struggle to stop him making a bid for freedom as he is terrified by being there.
I then had a rummage in the shed. I’d remembered that ages ago I bought a seat box for fishing. That would be ideal to carry bait round in and would save me having to get a great big bucket. I spent a little while re-organising my tackle (oo-er!) and sent a photo of my new-look layout to the first fruit of my loin. I don’t think "My Boy TM" was impressed, but when I explained (rather curtly) that I’m *not* going to spend a small fortune on buying some designer-branded bucket when I’ve already got a box which will do the job he saw my point of view.
And with my tackle sorted I mowed the lawn then had a bit of a kip.
I had hoped to sleep for longer, but the dogs decided to bark at absolutely nothing at all. By the time I’d got up and shouted at them I was wide awake again so I watched more “Prison Break” on Netflix. My app seems to have lost its casting icon ever since its most recent update. I wish people wouldn’t update these things.
As it was starting to get dark outside I put a Halloween candle in the window to let the Trick or Treaters know they would be welcome. There are those who look down on the whole “trick or treat” thing. To those people I would sing “sour puss grumpy face!!” rather loudly. Realistically trick or treaters are very small children (escorted by their parents) who (like me) think it great fun to be allowed out after dark; let alone to go out dressed up.
The first ones arrived shortly after six o’clock; two small girls wonderfully dressed up and made up with mothers watching over them from the pavement. The second arrived three quarters of an hour later – a very small lad with his dad. Two slightly older boys came (with their mum) at quarter past seven, and that was it.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and as we scoffed it we watched last night’s “Bake Off” final. What am I going to watch for the next year until next year’s “Bake Off” starts?