1 October 2020 (Thursday) - Before the Late Shift
I came downstairs. Sid was rather pleased to see me, and in his excitement so half a dozen turds popped out onto the lino. I chivvied him outside, but it was too late. Pogo came out too, and before I could stop him so he dire-reared all over the shingled area I’d been working on yesterday. I wish he wouldn’t do that. I suppose I should be grateful that half of the dogs dump on the lawn which I much easier to cope with. People have this idyllic idea of a dog being a man’s best friend, but the reality is somewhat different.
With rain forecast later in the morning I took three quarters of the wolf-pack down to the woods where we had a rather good walk. We met quite a few other dog walkers, and the walk passed off without incident… right up to the point where we were about to drive home when a warning came up on the car’s dashboard.
The garage said it was OK to drive, and I’ve got an appointment to go see them in the morning to have the thing checked.
We came home and over a late brekkie I peered into the Internet. A favourite point had been awarded to the geocache of mine that went live last week. It was found for the first time yesterday; eight days for a First to Find. That was quite something. I saw that I had (again) been appointed Clan Leader for the upcoming Munzee Clan War. My internet provider has given me another four months unlimited mobile data. LinkedIn had suggested I chum up with a “confidence coach” whose specialty is “helping non-native speakers to communicate effectively in English.” I’m sure this person is a delightful soul with whom I probably have a lot in common. But LinkedIn is a professional network. What could I possibly want from a “confidence coach”?
I then spent a while stalking a friend on Facebook. Facebook is good in that you can keep up with friends who you only actually meet once a year or less. But you only see what that person wants you to see. The friend in question was on holiday in Greece. Her husband and children were nowhere to be seen in any of the myriad of photos, but she seemed to be very friendly with a rather swarthy-looking chap. Has she left her husband? Her photo still appears on his Facebook profile.
I could send her a message and ask… but that would be rather obvious.
I then posted to Facebook asking for advice about the lawn. Our lawn is a disaster. It has no end of bald patches. How can I fix it? (bearing in mind I’ve got more dogs than sense piddling over it at regular intervals). I’m pretty sure the obvious answer is not to let the dogs piddle over it quite so often, but if there is anything else I could do I’d rather try that first.
I got quite a few suggestions. It was suggested that I go over the lawn with a watering can with a couple of tablespoons of baking soda added to the water to neutralise the dog tiddle. I shall try that and try re-seeding the bald bits.
Just as I was about to walk out of the house I realised I'd not made a sandwich for lunch. I popped up to the corner shop to get one, then drove to B&Q. They had quite a range of grass seeds and lawn fertilisers, and quite a range of prices for the things too. I ended up going with something which was lawn seed and fertiliser all in one purely to save ten quid on the deal.
And I got a watering can too. Let's hope this does something for the lawn.
I then popped round to Smyths for Lego Advent Calendars for me, "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and Charlie. I got there, picked the things up, and walked out again. In my world something going so simply straightforward is something of a result. This was a saving too. Being a sad act, I keep a record of what I spend on this sort of thing, and I saved over five quid on last year's Advent Calendars. Result!!
I drove to work, and thought I might have my sandwich in my car. I parked up, opened the windows, got my Kindle app going and got scoffing. As I scoffed and read, I saw movement. There was some little old lady walking round the car park peering into the windows of all of the parked cars. She peered into the car next to mine, came up to my car and clearly hadn't seen me as she stuck her head through the passenger side window. She seemed quite entranced by the bag of crisps on the passenger seat. When I coughed and asked if I could help her she jumped, cracked her head on the car roof, and bolted off at a speed more appropriate for an Olympic athlete than for a little old lady.
I wonder what that was all about?
The rest of the day was rather dull after that.
2 October 2020 (Friday) - Award Winning
I slept well; it was a shame to wake to the sound of torrential rain. I did plan to drive my car to the garage with a boot full of dogs and then walk the dogs home. Instead I drove the car over myself, left it with the nice garage people, and "er indoors TM" collected me before brekkie.
As I scoffed toast (rather later than usual) I peered into the Internet and was frankly amazed at the attitudes being expressed on one of the work-related Facebook groups I follow. The group has a predominantly American membership, most of whom are very loud in their constant condemning of President Trump; both politically and personally. The level of hate and vitriol expressed at Mr Trump has been quite impressive. But following this morning’s revelation that he has tested positive for COVID-19 he is now officially “a patient”, and consequently is now the subject of pity, concern, care and prayers. Over the last few (thirty-nine) years I have seen this time and again. Heath care professionals (of all flavours) have varying tolerances for the general public but won’t hear a word against “a patient”. Aren’t they the same people?
And prayers? What is that all about? Presumably asking God to sort out a problem that God probably set going in the first place?
I then found myself at something of a loose end. The dogs (and I) didn’t fancy going for a walk in the monsoon that was outside. The areas of the lawn I wanted to re-seed were under water. And I couldn’t go to the Lego shop before work as my car was up on blocks.
So I spent an hour writing up CPD. Dull, but it needs doing. It is a legal requirement that all formally registered healthcare professionals keep themselves up to date on professional matters and be able to show that they have. Keeping up to date with your job is easy enough. After all, everyone does that. But providing evidence does take some doing. But I live in terror of being one of the five per cent of people who are asked to provide that evidence every year. I’ve been writing that work-related blog for years. I wonder if I will ever have to use it?
With the rain showing no sign of easing I geo-jigsaw-ed for a while until it was time to go to work.
With no news about my car from the garage and "er indoors TM" needing her car today to go visit the birthday boy ("Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" is six today - six! - where do the years go?), "er indoors TM" drove me up to the train station. I got my ticket. Twelve quid. I'm sure that if I were to do the journey more often I could get a cheaper weekly or monthly ticket, but it looks to be far cheaper to get to work by car than by train.
As I waited on platform one for the Barming train so there was an announcement. The Barming train had been delayed by ten minutes and was currently somewhere between Chilham and Wye. It was exactly as this announcement finished that a train pulled in to the platform, and another voice came over the loudspeaker announcing that the Barming train had just arrived (which it had).
Whoever it is that runs the trains does themselves no favours.
I had been looking forward to doing the crossword in the free paper that you find on the trains, but there weren't any free newspapers today. Do they still do those, or are they another casualty of the pandemic?
I got to work and di my thing. As I worked one of the top bosses came round. I (and several others) got an award for "Exceptional Service during the COVID-19 Pandemic". I must admit I don't think that I did anything exceptional; I just showed up at work when I was supposed to. But nevertheless the bossess pinned a medal to my chest.
I did *far* more for where I used to work, and the bosses there thanked me with a knife in my back... but we'll draw a line under that (one day...)
3 October 2020 (Saturday) - Sandbanks
I slept well right up to the point where I woke shivering as "er indoors TM" had grabbed all the duvet. I lay there freezing for a bit, then went downstairs, “dealt” with Sid’s deposits, and did my morning things (as I do).
Bearing in mind the garage was supposed to phone me at lunch time yesterday and I’d heard nothing I phoned them. They’d been too busy to look at the car yesterday. Oh well… The garage I use is usually busy and rarely has an appointment with less than a week’s notice, so I’m grateful that they said they would fit me in. There are those that say I should go elsewhere where I’d get seen quicker… having experienced the less popular garages I’d rather go somewhere that clearly has a good reputation and if I have to wait a bit, such is life. They said they’d phone me back later… they didn’t.
I had a message. Recently I’ve put out geocaches as puzzles and creating art on the geo-map. If you put out a “traditional” geocache (which is easiest to set up) this immediately tells the masses exactly what rock your film pot is under. This makes it extremely easy to find, but does attract the newbies who then take the thing home to show their mum, and put it back “in a better place” and generally tend to stuff the thing up. If you make the punters solve a puzzle to find the final location, then you generally only get the hard-core hunters of Tupperware coming out as no one else can be arsed. And consequently you don’t have endless (utterly unnecessary) maintenance runs to do.
I’d been asked how to create the geo-art that goes with many of these puzzles. I replied. Hopefully someone is looking to stick more film pots under rocks. I wish more people would. More and more geocaching is becoming something that people squabble about over the Internet and less and less something that people actually do.
We got ourselves and the dogs together and drove out to Sandbanks where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. What with possibly collecting the car and the weather not being that good we thought a shorter walk might suit today better, and it did.
As we got boots and gaiters on we couldn’t help but see the big sign protesting against the proposed solar farm. Projects like this get a lot of protests about them. Mostly from the locals. I suppose if I lived there I wouldn’t want something huge being built nearby. But the solar farm isn’t there yet, and we had a good walk (whilst we still could) along well marked lanes and paths. Some were rather waterlogged, but that was hardly surprising bearing in mind how much rain we’ve had recently. But the lanes weren’t busy, and the dogs could run off of their leads on the footpath, which is always good.
As we went we were amazed at how many strawberries were being grown. Strawberries – in October? A lot of them were in poly tunnels. It was a shame that the dogs had to go nosey-ing in the poly tunnels; even more of a shame that Fudge got stuck inside and had to be rescued.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk. Perhaps the hides were a tad trickier than the usual ones, but that is never a bad thing. Compared to some series of caches we’ve walked, this was one of the shorter ones, but for today that was ideal.
We went knowing that some of the cache weren’t there. We’d messaged with the friend who’d hidden them and had arranged to replace any that were missing. We were happy to replace to of them; the third one that eluded us had been found a week ago so we left that. But I expect that this act of helpfulness will cause a squabble. One of the missing caches had a written log from a previous didn’t-find-er saying “We don’t agree with throwdowns even with permission as they are strongly discouraged by Groundspeak” (Groundspeak being the proper name for Geo-HQ). Personally I take the line that Groundspeak would far rather people carried on promoting their livelihood rather than let it die a slow and painful death.
I took a few photos as we walked. Being a short walk we were back at the cars far earlier than usual. Stopping only briefly in Badlesmere for gaming points (it’s a Munzee thing) we were soon home. I washed mud from the dogs whilst "er indoors TM" drove off to Folkestone. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" needed a lift to the pet shop. Apparently I am about to become great-grandfather to a pair of rats. Bearing in mind how rough "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" can be with Pogo I can’t see these things lasting the weekend, but I am assured that all will be fine.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Taskmaster” and “House of Games” on the telly.
I’ve got guts ache now…
4 October 2020 (Sunday) - Thirty-Four Years
I slept through till after eight o’clock today. That rarely happens. I came downstairs, fussed Sid, gathered up his turds, and tried to chivvy him outside just in case he was holding anything in reserve. He wasn’t keen on going out, and looking at the rain outside I wasn’t keen on going out either.
Once I’d had a shave I made some toast. I had some of that expensive honey I’d bought at the vineyard shop with it. It was… in all honesty just the same as every other jar of honey I’ve had except that Tesco are knocking out jars of the stuff for one pound thirty-five pence a go, and this stuff cost over six quid. Ever been had?
I had a look at Facebook as I scoffed toast. The nice people at Facebook had made a video for our wedding anniversary. That was nice of them. I posted that on-line, and soon quite a few people had pressed the “like” button.
"er indoors TM" appeared and fed the dogs. There was a little quarrel between Treacle and Pogo over brekkie as there so often is. But what might have been a petty contretemps soon became a full-blown punch-up as Sid came in on Pogo’s side and launched an all-out attack on Treacle. It was all over as quickly as it started (as dog squabbles so often are) but it was rather exciting at the time.
During a lull in the rain I quickly walked the dogs round the block, then we settled them and went for a little drive to Hastings. As we drove through Brookland we saw signs advertising a new farm shop. The Old Tractor Shed Farm Shop has only been open for a few weeks, and unlike other little countryside shops I could mention (!) they don’t seem to be selling stuff at ridiculous prices. We got some cakes and veg and cheese, and carried on.
We drove to visit mother-in-law who was having trouble with a leaking roof. She’d had the roof fixed relatively recently, and yesterday another builder had looked at the roof, crossed his arms, tilted his head, sucked air in through his teeth, and told her that she’s had the cowboys in. Most builders do this, but I think this builder might have had a point.
We had a cuppa and cake with her, then drove up to see my mum and dad. They too were well. We had a cuppa and cake with them too before coming home.
Once home we had yet another cuppa, and with a little spare time I geo-puzzled. It was rather good to find some geo-puzzles that weren’t jigsaws. And after a little puzzling we’ve now got a few more walks for the next few weekends.
It smells as though "er indoors TM" is boiling up a rather good bit of dinner for our thirty-fourth wedding anniversary… Here’s hoping… ideally we would have gone out for dinner somewhere, but what with all the COVID restrictions I’d rather not. As we found at Pizza Hut last week eating out is a chore now, rather than a pleasure.
5 October 2020 (Monday) - Late Shift
Once I’d cleared up Sid’s turd bonanza I made myself some toast and peered into the Internet. The most impressive petty squabble this morning was in one of the Seventies Facebook groups I follow. Having been asked “what was your favourite song video of the seventies” someone mistakenly posted an Abba video from early 1980. Did it really matter? Cleary it did judging by the bitter vitriol that was being spewed. Almost (but not quite as much) hatred as was being shown to the admin of one of the “Adult Fans of Lego” groups who had just let a ten-year-old join.
I had an email from Netflix. They were pushing a new series. I say “new” series – all the hype implied that it was new – “Aliens” was released on Channel Four over four years ago. I thought that was rather cheeky of them. But nowhere near as cheeky as the three emails I had telling me that three of the geocaches I’ve hidden need new paper logs. What boiled my piss was that the chap who’d logged these “Needs Maintenance” has found over thirty thousand geocaches and has only ever hidden one. Would it cause him physical pain to contribute something to the hobby?
On the plus side I found a chap who is making fan videos of Sparks songs; I liked those
With the rain finally stopped it was dog walk time. But with the car still in the garage it had to be round the park. We’ve not walked round the park for a while, but this morning’s walk was a delight. We just walked round the park. We didn’t fight with other dogs, we didn’t roll on muck or scrubble in filthy ditches. We came back when called (Go whistle training!)
We got home just as the rain started.
I popped up the road to the corner shop to get a sandwich for later and pastries for right that moment. We scoffed our pastries with a cuppa as I had a little look at my accounts, then I peered into the Internet again. I solved a couple of geo-puzzles, did a little CPD, then blagged the key to "er indoors TM"’s car. With my car still in the garage I drove hers to and from work today…
I was a tad nervous, but at least we had cake at work…
6 October 2020 (Tuesday) - Grumbling and Whinging
"er indoors TM" woke me as she got up. I thought it was still the middle of the night; it was eight o’clock.
I got up, and over brekkie had a look to see what I’d missed overnight in the World Wide Wubbish. For once I’d not missed much. There was an attempt going on to stir discontent on a Lego-related page, but no one was really interested in whatever bit of pettiness was being bandied.
I checked my emails, and I rolled my eyes. A geocache I hid earlier in the year is broken. The chap who announced “This one needs replacing” has found three thousand of the things and hasn’t contributed anything at all to the noble sport of rummaging under rocks for film pots. Would it have caused him physical pain to have fixed it himself? I whinged about something similar yesterday… and I’ve had the same happen with Munzees recently. Having stuck out (at least) one Munzee a day every day this year, I’ve been getting stick from someone who has only hidden one all year. In years gone by exactly the same happened in the astro club and in the snake club. So often it is “why don’t you..” and so rarely “why don’t we…” I’m fast coming to the conclusion that I’m being taken for a mug. It seems that no matter what the hobby, there are those who give to it and those who take from it. It is very easy to say “stuff it, I’m just going to take”, but I couldn’t do it. I can’t understand how these people can be so selfish as to not contribute anything at all to something they so clearly enjoy, no matter what it is.
I took the dogs for a walk. Yesterday’s went well. Today’s was a disaster. It started badly when we stopped at the kerb. Some idiot in a van demanded that we crossed the road and took umbrage that I was teaching the dogs *not* to run out in front of cars.
It was only when we got to the co-op field that I realised I’d left the whistle at home, and all three flatly refused to come to me when called. I eventually got them all back on their leads, but bearing in mind they were being wilful I didn’t want to let them off the leads again. I cut the walk short and we came home. As we walked home Pogo flew at a passing huge dog with such force that he spun himself right round as the lead went tight, and I heard (and felt) the bones in his neck crunch. Stupid dog. I wish he wouldn’t do that.
I got home and the garage phoned. It looks as though there is a wiring issue with my car. The nice man says he might have it fixed by the end of the week.
I then wrote up some more CPD then geo-puzzled for a bit before setting off work-wards.
"er indoors TM" said her car's petrol tank was half full. Not that I doubted her for one minute, but when I got to her car I fiddled about and saw that the thing had only eighty miles worth of petrol in it (half a tank - pah!) So once I'd established it took petrol and not diesel, I drove to the petrol station. There was a minor hiatus whilst some old chap dithered about at the pump for which I was queuing. Some people are able to pull up at the pump, fill the car, pay for petrol and clear off. Others aren't quite so efficient. Some have to fart about, get in and out of the car half a dozen times, walk round the car wondering where the petrol goes, stare at the petrol pump as though they have never seen one before, stare into space for five minutes, eventually blunder into the kiosk where they scrutinise every single thing that is for sale, and just generally boil my piss. How is it possible to take so long over such a simple task? Once this old chap had finally cleared off out of the way I filled the petrol tank (with petrol) and saw that the dashboard display said that the car now had a range of five hundred and five miles.
I then drove up the motorway with ten miles of slow lane cordoned off (despite only two gangs of half a dozen people working two miles apart). I got to work where the car then had a range of five hundred and forty-five miles. A trip up the motorway had generated forty miles worth of petrol. I saw that as something of a result, and got on with another late shift. I seem to have done quite a few of these recently.
I seem to have done nothing but grumble and whinge today…
7 October 2020 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift
There was quite an argument kicking off on one of the local Facebook pages this morning. Someone had posted a link to a local news agency which had reported that a thirteen-year old boy had announced that today he was going to wear a skirt to school even though he’s been told that he would be excluded for doing so. There were those who commented that this was his right to do so and anyone who disagreed was wrong. There were those who pointed out that back in the day all the other boys would have given him a good kicking for doing so. No one seemed to have actually read the article in which the boy in question was described as “he does not identify as transgender but likes expressing himself in feminine clothing”. Nor had anyone realised that the boy had approached the news agency before any possible disciplinary action from the school. Was he trying to make a transgender rights issue? Or was he was just stirring trouble? Or was he looking for a few days off school?
There was also talk of an incident in Sussex at half past ten last night in which a ten-year old child was knocked off his bike by an elderly motorist, What was a ten year old doing out on a bike at half past ten last night?
Making sure I had my whistle I took the dogs round the park. Unlike yesterday they were little angels… which was probably for the best. As I walked my phone rang. It was the police. They’d been round to our house, and "er indoors TM" had told them I was out with the dogs. They wanted to talk to me about the episode in Orlestone Woods a few days ago in which the dogs barked at a passer-by and the passer-by then attacked them. I told the policeman where in the park I was; he told me where he was. I could see him, and I waved. I blew the whistle to get the dogs to me and walked over to see what he wanted.
It turned out that the youngster who had tried to kick the dogs last week really was autistic, and the chap who’d tried to whip the dogs with a length of bramble and had then followed me for several hundred yards shouting verbal abuse and threatening physical violence really was a professional carer. Apparently if these carers have little episodes like this, they are required to report them to the police. I told the nice policeman my side of the story (i.e. what happened). But because I couldn’t be completely sure that I didn’t actually utter a swear word I probably committed an offence under Section Four of the Public Order Act (1986). Mind you there is no denying that the supposed carer actually did commit an offence under that act.
The policeman seemed very sensible and reasonable about the whole matter, said it had been dealt with under the Community Resolution scheme, and as far as he was concerned the whole thing was over and done with.
It *really* helped that he’d seen the dogs come immediately to the sound of the whistle, and that all three waited patiently whilst he and I chatted.
Just as we got home so another policemen was popping the paperwork for the incident through our letterbox. We chatted some more; the matter is now resolved…
Or is it? I’m intrigued as to how the police found it was me who was involved in the squabble (not that I have anything to hide). And on looking at the paperwork for the incident I can see the address of the chap with whom I had the run-in. He lives just round the corner. That was a bit silly of whoever designed the paperwork, wasn’t it? And for all that the matter is over and there is no conviction or no criminal record, the incident resides on a police computer, and will come to light if ever I apply for anything which requires information from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
It was clear that the policemen involved want the matter laid to rest; I’m sure they have far more urgent and pressing matters. But… looking back at what happened… I took my dogs for a walk. They got attacked and I got verbal abuse and threats of physical violence. And somehow I’m now the villain of the piece with my details recorded? Bearing in mind that I’m the victim in this (well, my dogs are) I wonder if the chap who followed me for several hundred yards shouting verbal abuse and threatening physical violence has had the same recorded about him on the police computer? Part of me wants to stir it up to find out, but I think it best to let it go.
I then harvested a bumper crop of dog dung from the garden, mowed the lawn, emptied flood water from the various redundant pots, and sprinkled the grass seed I bought last week. I wonder if it will do anything? I’m hoping the ground being already wet and the forecast rain will work wonders on the lawn.
As I sprinkled grass seed so the dogs came out and pooped some more. How can they generate so much dung?
I could have done more gardening, but I couldn’t be bothered. I came in, dealt with a virtual blood group discrepancy, and geo-puzzled for a bit before taking myself off to bed for the afternoon where my sleep was plagued by nightmares in which I had been unjustly imprisoned; even the warders felt I’d been treated unfairly. I wonder what that was all about (!)
Being fed up with geo-jigsaw puzzles I then installed a bit of software which would automatically solve them for me. I’m not quite sure what went wrong, but something did. It only took an hour to put my lap-top back to how it was… and even then it still doesn’t work quite as it used to… a bit like me really.
I’m off to the night shift in a bit…
8 October 2020 (Thursday) - After the Night Shift
Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I've been driving "er indoors TM" 's car recently, and it is magic. That's not magic as in "very good", it is magic as in "Harry Potter". When I filled it with petrol two days ago the thing told me it had a range of five hundred and five miles before needing refuelling. I then drove to Maidstone where it told me it then had a range of five hundred and forty-five miles. A trip up the motorway had generated forty miles worth of petrol. When I got into the car last night it again had a range of five hundred and five miles before needing refuelling, but by the time I had driven it to Sainsburys in Aylesford this range had increased to five hundred and sixty-five miles.
Whilst at Sainsburys I totally forgot to buy that which I had specifically gone to get (armpit-squirt), but I came out with all sorts of other stuff including coffee bags. I'd seen them advertised on the telly - just like tea bags, but with coffee. Have you ever tried them? You could get a pack of Kenco instant coffee for three quid which made one hundred cups, but I got ten coffee bags for one pound fifty (and these were the economy ones). These things aren't cheap - it doesn't take a genius to see that each cup of coffee they make is five times the price of the Kenco stuff.
During a lull in the proceedings during last night's night shift I tried one of them. They are certainly better than instant coffee, but five times better? I think these probably appeal to the sort of people who like to spend six quid on a jar of honey from the farm shops which is no different to the stuff for a quid in Tesco.
During that lull in proceedings I was also told about issues with a Munzee I'd deployed. I asked which one; I wish I hadn't. Despite having put out over two hundred of the things this year I was supposed to have instant recall of each and every one of the things.
With the shift done I spent a few minutes figuring out how to get "er indoors TM"’s car radio to tell me the morning news rather than the morning’s inane blathering from Heart FM (not that I have anything against Heart FM).
The pundits of the radio were talking about how (apparently) President Trump has had a miraculous total recovery from coronavirus all thanks to some totally untested drug which he is now promising to distribute free to the masses. Those who realise that he is talking out of his arse have said so However reality has no bearing on public opinion, and he may well have just won the election on this promise. And anyone who feels I’m being cynical might look at how Brexit was won on the strength of promises of savings of millions of pounds when the truth of the matter was completely different.
There was also an interview with Prince William and Sir David Attenborough about an environmental project with which they are both involved. From what the interviewer was saying it sounded interesting and laudable, but I couldn’t understand anything that either of them was saying.
I got home, and went to bed for a bit. Over a rather late brekkie I had some toast and geo-puzzled for a bit whilst my shirts washed. I had intended to take the dogs out, but it was raining, so instead I got the ironing board out. I set about a week’s ironing whilst watching “Bottom Live 2001: An Arse Oddity”. Now that "er indoors TM" has fixed the DVD player I might as well make the most of it.
And with telly watched and ironing ironed I geo-puzzled for an hour or so whilst keeping an eye on the weather. The drizzle didn’t let up, and the rain was torrential when the nice lady from Amazon called. She delivered some gadget which makes an odd noise; the idea being that when the dogs start barking we give the thing a go and the noise distracts the dogs from barking. We had a couple of goes; it seemed to work.
9 October 2020 (Friday) - Goldfinches
I came downstairs and chivvied Sid outside where he did absolutely nothing. It is worrying when he does nothing outside as he then usually craps on the kitchen floor ten minutes later.
I watched a little telly then sparked up my lap-top. In a novel break with tradition there wasn’t any arguments kicking off on Facebook this morning. It won’t last. There wasn’t much news in my in-box either so I got dressed and headed work-wards.
"er indoors TM" had been in her car and had re-tuned her radio. Turning it to Radio Four yesterday was the work of seconds - it took an absolute age to do the same today.
Once I'd finally tuned it in, I drove off. Some rabbi was having a rant. Apparently science has discovered that what was originally thought to be type one diabetes in very young children is actually not the same disease as type one diabetes in adults. Science has also discovered a better treatment for them. This rabbi wasn't pleased that science has taken so long to work this out. I would have thought that this rabbi might have had a word with his boss for allowing diabetes in the first place, but what do I know?
I drove up the motorway, not knowing I'd driven straight past two new geocaches in Hollingbourne that had gone live just as I'd left home. But once I'd parked the car I went for a little walk and deployed a Munzee whilst I was at it. As I do. I've deployed quite a few near work; so far not a single person has gone out looking for them, but I remain hopeful.
Work was work; I had my appraisal today. Work seems to be happy with me... which was something of a victory. I also spent a minute or two too long watching the antics of goldfinches bathing in the puddles on the flat roof outside the window.
As the day went on I heard a name that I'd not heard for a while. I won't say who it is, but if you are thinking of getting any building work done, the cowboy who stuffed up our attic conversion twenty years ago is currently active in the Maidstone area where he is still taking people's money and running. It is a funny old world; I get the police call round because someone wasn't happy with me when he tried to whip my dogs, but rogue builders can carry on taking people's money with impunity.
With work done I popped into Aldi. It seemed as though pretty much everyone else had as well. And about eighty per cent of those in the shop seemed to be dragging an ill-behaved breakdancing brat with them. The badly behaved children weren’t just shrieking and swearing and throwing things around the shop, they all really were thrashing about as though in the grip of epilepsy. What was that all about?
I brought shopping home; we scoffed some of it. I really should be thinking about going to kip soon – I’ve got an early start tomorrow.
10 October 2020 (Saturday) - Early Shift
Seeing Sid was fast asleep I left him snoring. I wasn’t keen on chivvying him round the garden at six o’clock and he looked as though he would rather stay in bed. I made toast, watched an episode of “The Job Lot” then sparked up my lap-top. I had a non-message from the Leas Cliff Hall who had supposedly replied to a recommendation I’d made about them. I can’t remember ever recommending them (either in a positive or negative way); I suppose it was some sort of a scam; there’s a lot of it about.
This morning’s bitter squabble on Facebook was from one of the admins on one of the American-based Lego groups I follow. Apparently some people had been asking what their Lego sets were worth, and others were giving them deliberately low estimates so as to get themselves bargains. I suppose it is a bit cheeky really, but if I want to know the value of anything I have a little look-see to find out what the going rate is on eBay. Surely common sense tells us that we are going to get very low estimates of worth when we ask our potential buyers?
I didn’t have any emails of note, but I do think I should update my Coursera profile. They send me all sorts of emails about advanced computer programming courses related to python. According to wikipedia “Python is an interpreted, high-level and general-purpose programming language. Created by Guido van Rossum and first released in 1991, Python's design philosophy emphasizes code readability with its notable use of significant whitespace.” According to me pythons are rather lovely and misunderstood large snakes. I have no interest in the computer language, but if I didn’t have a houseful of dogs, I might just have a houseful of snakes (again).
I tried to get dressed without disturbing "er indoors TM" but doing so in the dark was tricky. Moving about in the dark meant I didn’t see the myriad of dog toys that Treacle had littered over the bedroom floor. “Falling head over heels” is a polite expression, but one’s head is usually over one’s heels. “Going arse over tit” is a far more accurate summary.
It was a rather chilly morning - I had to mess about trying to work out how to activate the heaters in the "er indoors TM"-mobile. As I drove to work I caught the end of the "Farming Today" slot on the radio. There was an interview with some rural-type minister who was claiming that the government was now able to do something-or-other (I had no idea what it was) now that the government is not bound by EU regulations. The chap was very embarrassed and utterly unable to reply when he was told that whatever it was that he was ranting about had never been regulated by any sort of EU ruling. In his bluster he all but conceded that he had been wrongly using Brexit as a (rather lame) excuse for the government's failings for some time (I expect this happens a lot in all walks of life). This was followed by some utter drivel on the radio about how some gay rugby player has become the head honcho of the national association of young farmer's clubs, and how the LGBT community is under-represented in farming.
What does anyone's sexual preference have to do with whether or not they want to be a farmer (or anything else, come to that)?
I don't usually listen to the farming news. I don't think I will again...
In the more general news there was a lot of talk about the re-introduction of lock-down in some parts of the country, and the pundits on the radio were interviewing some idiot who claimed that lock-down was all very well for the soft southerners, but it was different for hard-working northerners because they don't get as much furlough money. Even though they do.
I got to work. Before I started I peered out of the window through which I saw goldfinches yesterday. The puddle in which they had been spuddling had frozen overnight and the goldfinches were nowhere to be seen. Mind you I did see a green woodpecker swooping about. Fifty years ago I was in the Bird Club at Red Lake Primary School where I learned quite a bit about bird recognition. Bird Club at Red Lake Primary School was quite good fun. Once a week we'd go for a walk round the local fields looking to see what avian life we could find. Every week at least one child would see an eagle. I can distinctly remember one girl named Karen something-or-other who had no interest in birds, but never missed a single meeting of Bird Club. She came along because everyone else had sandwiches, and if she brought nothing and looked hungry, the teacher would make everyone else give her one of their sandwiches. Every week she got quite a feast whilst everyone else went short.
Thinking back I can also remember an old mucker named Nicholas something-or-other who set up a rival Bird Club at the time, and got detention for all the nudey pictures he was bringing in to primary school for his entirely different sort of "Bird Club".
I still remember quite a bit of what I learned back then (about the feathered ones); maybe I could take up twitching again? I've got a pair of binoculars somewhere.
As I worked this morning so my phone rang. It was the nice man at the garage. Apparently there was a broken wire between the ABS sensor and the control unit. He's asked his chum to fix it. I did wonder how the wire broke, but apparently these things happen. The nice man also told me that my plenum chamber's drain was blocked, and his chum will sort that out too. I didn't even know I had a plenum chamber. One lives and learns.
Having told the garage that I really did need to have my car back by yesterday morning at the latest, they've told me that it will probably be ready on Monday. Oh well - I'd rather go to a busy garage. Presumably being busy means that a lot of people use and trust the place.
And then as I was walking along one of the corridors I was accosted by a travelling flu clinic. Did I want a flu jab? These people apparently roam the hospital in search of anyone who might like a flu jab. What with the vagaries of my work pattern, getting to pre-scheduled flu clinics can be tricky, so this worked fine for me. I suspect that this scheme probably works very well for a lot of other people too.
Within five minutes of having met them I was jabbed and they were on their way hunting out their next customer.
I came home (because I live there) and helped "er indoors TM" change the bedding. She’s got a new pillow (I haven’t!), and I learned that the stripes on the duvet go down the bed, but the striped on the duvet cover go across it. Who would have ever guessed?
I then carried on geo-puzzling for a bit (in between falling asleep) until "er indoors TM" boiled up some dinner which we watched whilst watching a film. “The Hunger Games” would have been far better had its makers thought about making a a film that *didn’t* have endless plot holes. It all looked very good all the time you didn’t give it any thought.
It could have been so much better…
11 October 2020 (Sunday) - Bossingham to Stelling Minnis (and back)
It was with something of a sense of relief that I found the kitchen floor wasn’t awash with pug turds when I came downstairs this morning. Fudge was itching to get into the garden, Sid wasn’t keen, but he got turfed out anyway. Fudge did what dogs are supposed to do in the garden first thing in the morning. Sid stood by the back door looking grumpy, then sulked because I wouldn’t let him into anywhere with carpet.
I made toast, and had a look at the Internet. Those who have only put out one Munzee all year were finding fault with the two hundred that I have put out. In life some give and some take, and those that take want to take more and more. It gets a little wearing sometimes.
There was a minor squabble on one of the Lego-related Facebook pages about the cost of posting Lego. Those buying felt they were already paying over the odds. Those selling felt that postage was just another thing on which they could make a legitimate profit. You wouldn’t believe how much people can quarrel over Lego.
I spent a few minutes looking at an Earthcache in Canterbury. This weekend is “Earthcache Weekend” – if you log a find on one you get a souvenir. Back in the day I’ve organised outings and get-togethers of the Kent Geocaching community in honour of Earthcache Day. But now…So far not one of my three Earthcaches has had a find logged this weekend. Is it just because everyone has already done all that are close(ish) to home, or because people can’t people be bothered with Earthcaches? Other icon types don’t get their own “day” and souvenir….For me it probably doesn’t help that there is only one Earthcache within an hour of home that I haven’t done and that is in the middle of Canterbury. I looked at the requirements of the thing. It would be easy enough to blag from home, but I decided against doing that.
I posted on the local geocaching Facebook page asking opinions about “Earthcache Weekend” – a lot of people replied; it seemed there was pretty much zero interest in hunting earthcaches .
We got most of the dogs onto their leads, settled Sid, and drove out to Bossingham; Munzing as we went. We were soon parked up in the village hall car park where we met Karl Tracey and Charlotte, and we were all soon off on a little walk. A series of nearly eighty geocaches had gone live in the area recently. They had been put out in two overlapping loops; one following lanes and one following footpaths. We went rogue and did one half of each loop so we had a walk which was half lane and half footpath, and we will have something similar for next time too.
We started off walking half of the loop on lanes, but in reverse order (seriously rogue!) I must admit I was a tad worried that having the dogs on the lanes might have been problematical, but the lanes were mostly quiet. There was one minor episode when we met a car, two horses and a flock of cyclists all at once, but other than that the lane walking was fine.
The section across fields was also good. It was a shame that some of our party had to eat sheep poo as we walked, but some of our party do that anyway. As we came across the fields we saw some metal detectorists. I was hoping that the beep of my GPS might have made them sit up and take notice, but none of them heard it (which was a shame). There were some rather stupendous holes. Rabbits? More like subterranean dinosaurs; I wonder what it was that had dug those.
Geocache-wise we had a very good walk. I suspect that this was in no small part due to the fact that in order to know where to look for each of the caches you had to first solve a puzzle at home. Putting in this extra step discourages a lot of people (specifically the sort that re-hide the thing where they think would be a better hide once they’ve taken it home to show their mum), and so the things you are looking for are treated with a little more consideration. We felt that the co-ords were maybe a tad out on one or two of the hides, but they couldn’t have been very far off since we found all of our targets within a few minutes each time thanks to rather helpful hints.
The puzzles to solve had been jigsaws of pictures of local hunters of Tupperware. Each of the dogs had been the subject of a jigsaw puzzle; you can see them here, here and here. It was a shame that Fudge almost (but not quite) tiddled on his one.
As luck would have it, the cache named for Karl, Tracey and Charlotte was their twelve thousandth find. (The ones named for "er indoors TM" and me are on the next loop)
I took a few photos as we walked; we got back to the car and met friends who were just off on their walk. What with lock-down we hadn’t seen them for ages; it was good to have a socially-distanced catch-up before all saying our goodbyes and heading home where I alternated between geo-puzzling and dozing until "er indoors TM" served up a rather good bit of dinner.
She does that.
The dogs are all fast asleep… I could really do with joining them.
12 October 2020 (Monday) - Apple Crumble
I woke from a rather vivid dream in which I had been appointed Donald Trump’s stunt double and was facing all sorts of criticism as I was unable to talk rubbish to the degree that the public was expecting.
I made toast, watched a little telly, then peered into the Internet to see what had changed since last night. There had been an interesting development on one of the Lego Facebook pages. People have been advertising pristine complete sets and sending out half a dozen random broken Lego bits, so now when selling stuff via that page, any photos of what you are selling now have to have your name on a scrap of paper to prove that what you are advertising is what you are actually selling.. Some people (buyers) liked this development, others (sellers) weren’t convinced.
I managed to get dressed without falling over any canine-related obstacles and set off to work on a rather dark morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking to one of the head honchos of the food industry who was up in arms about the threat to the UK posed by American chlorinated chicken. Having loudly announced that she didn't trust the ministers involved with the ongoing negotiations about food deals with the US, this woman flatly refused to explain why she didn't trust them. "Do you trust them? I don't" was her refrain. Does she know something we don't? Being given her chance to express herself live on national radio she just made a twit of herself. It happens quite a lot on the morning news program - which is one of the reasons I like the show so much.
Also making a twit of herself was some northern GP who was ranting about the threatened local lockdowns for the north of the UK. She felt that the pub closures were wrong. Going to the pub (seemingly constantly from her description) is apparently the only pleasure in life for many people up north. She felt that the amount of coronavirus spread in pubs was just a drop in the ocean compared to the amount spread in taxis. This woman then ranted for five minutes about the danger to life and limb posed by taxis which (she claimed) breed far more virus up north than they do down south. As I listened to the radio I somehow felt ashamed that I live within ten miles of the south coast. If nothing else, coronaggeddon has *really* aggravated the north-south divide.
Pausing only briefly in Sissinghurst to deploy a horoscope Munzee (it cost me over a quid, you know) I was soon at work where we not only had cake, but we had apple crumble and cream too.
I was rather pleased when I heard that I was going to spend the afternoon on a Microsoft Teams meeting taking part in a distance-learning course about blood-borne parasites. But I was disappointed. The meeting.... let's just say that having done a post-graduate certificate in distance-based learning a few years ago it struck me that the speaker did pretty much everything I'd been told not to do. I shall blog about it in another place in a day or so.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and with it scoffed I slept in front of the telly through most of the rest of the evening. I hate it when that happens…
13 October 2020 (Tuesday) - This n That
As I scoffed toast I kept glancing at our smart meter which (supposedly) records our gas and electric usage. I’ve thought there was something wring with the thing ever since we had it. It seems to think that we have used half our day’s ration before six o’clock every day.
I rolled my eyes as I peered into the Internet this morning. There was quite a squabble kicking off on one of the Lego-related Facebook groups again. You’d be amazed how nasty it gets on those pages of the Internet. One person wanted to know why Lego don’t sell glue with their kits and was asking for advice on what glue everyone else used. Was it a wind-up? Possibly. But there was a lot of nastiness being bandied about. Much like there is just three miles down the road.
Events just three miles down the road are making headline news half-way round the world. There was an article in the Los Angeles Times talking about the digging up of much of Sevington to build a lorry park where lorries will wait now that the Brexit regulations are coming into effect and causing hours of delays for traffic. The article interviewed locals who were up in arms; they didn’t vote to have their village dug up to build a lorry park…
I wonder what they thought would happen when the open borders closed? Did people *really* not see this coming?
I walked down the road to capture a Smaragd (it's a Munzee thing), then walked back up the road to find "er indoors TM" 's car. I got to where I thought I'd left her car only to find that where I thought I'd left her car yesterday was actually where I'd left it the day before. It turned out that her car was just where I'd captured that Smaragd. So I walked back down the road again, and set off.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking drivel as they usually do. President Trump seems to have staged a miraculous recovery from coronavirus and was staging an open-air meet-up of his supporters. But despite dishing out face masks to the masses at a political rally he wasn't wearing one himself, nor were any of his followers. From what was broadcast it didn't seem to be a political rally; more of a rabble-rousing. But that is what the rabble want, and it is the rabble that do the voting.
There was also talk about next year's school exams. They've been put back a few weeks and will now take place in August which was being portrayed as one of the worst things to have ever happened to the British educational system. Endless experts and headmasters and teachers were wheeled on. All of them were unanimous in loudly declaring that postponing exams by less than a month was detrimental to pretty much the entire universe and everyone who inhabits it.
Is this *really* a bad thing? I can't see the problem, but am I being cynical when I say that I'm used to working in August.
As I drove to work so my phone beeped. Our Munzee clan has reached level one, which was something of a result.
Work was work. I had the last of the apple crumble, then did my thing. There was a lot of talk of CPD too. And with work and thing done I came home where we watched this week’s episode of “Bake Off”. It was rather good – even if we had to re-wind because I fell asleep half-way through.
14 October 2020 (Wednesday) - An Extra Night Shift
I came downstairs and chased Sid into the garden. He stood on the doorstep viewing the garden with utter contempt before going back inside. I had a shave and chased him out again (to no avail).
He then shouted his disdain quite loudly when I wouldn’t let him into any of the carpeted areas of the house and had a serious sulk.
I made toast, and (with Fudge by my side) scoffed it whilst having a look-see at the Internet. This morning my Facebook feed was filled with adverts for cat food. It turned out that the cat food manufactures were wanting to reach “people like our target audience”.
I found myself spending much of the day thinking about something my cousin had posted this morning. “Right. We had lockdown, we closed schools pubs etc....we all (mostly) wear masks sanitize our hands.... this has been going on for MONTHS. Now we're facing it all again.
Hello? Am I alone in thinking this disease is here to stay?
Yes I know there is no vaccine yet but all the precautions we have taken thus far have proven fruitless.
Let businesses trade, leave the bloody kids in school and get on with living.
I'm not making trivial the disease, but I fear we will lose a lot more if we don’t get on with life.”
This is something that I suspect we’ve all been thinking for a while now. Until a vaccine is developed (and when that might be is pure speculation) we currently have two options. We can either cower in terror and run up huge bills. Or we can get on with life and run the risk of getting the virus. I am fast coming to the conclusion that the problem here is the “run up huge bills” bit. There was a chap being interviewed on the radio the other day. The government has ordered him to close his pub, but he still has to pay five thousand pounds every month in rent and various associated taxes. We as a nation have to choose between the public’s health and the economy’s health. Our leaders have made that choice for us, and have decided that the economy is more important than people.
Our current economic system sucks. It has done for some time.
I had a message about one of my geocaches. Someone who has found twenty thousand of the things (and only hidden three in the last few years) had found one of my caches which seemed to have been put back in the wrong place. If you are presented with a multi-trunked tree and a beech tree, the hint says “multi-trunked tree” but you find the thing at the base of the beech, where would *you* put it back? Personally I’d put it back where the description said. I wouldn’t put it back in the wrong place and then message someone else about it and expect them to give up half a day and go move the thing a few yards, but that’s just me.
I got the leads on to the dogs that were coming out with me, and then we had a little “episode”. At times of high excitement (pre-walk, when dinner is being served, when the doorbell goes) Sid craps all over the place and Pogo and Treacle play-fight rather intensely at Fudge. This morning’s play-fighting was too vigorous, and it took a while to calm everyone down.
We walked out through Frog’s Island where we had a near-miss. Some local half-wit was coming past with a red setter and some other nondescript mutt, so I walked away from the path and blew the whistle. My three dogs came away from the local half-wit and came to me and I gave them all a treat for coming away from a potential incident. Clearly not knowing the first thing about how a dog’s brain works, the local half-wit loudly announced to his dogs that we had dog treats, and they all came over looking hopeful.
Fortunately we managed to escape without incident, but did he *really* think that any dog would share food with an unknown dog? My three (four) quarrel enough over scraps and they all live together.
We got to the garage; I got my car back. I half-jokingly said to the chap behind the counter that the thing was getting old. He agreed and said there was probably another year left in it. Perhaps it is time to think about a new(er) car? Bearing in mind that I only ever intended to have this car for four years and it has lasted me for eleven, it has done well. The mortgage will be paid off next year (hopefully) so maybe that might be new car time? But what car? Do Renault still make Scenics? And how much do they cost nowadays?
Whatever car I get really needs to be a hatchback (so that the dogs can jump into it) and needs a contained boot area (so that the dogs stay put).
We drove home. Much as I’m grateful for the loan of the "er indoors TM"-mobile it was good to have my own car back again. I then drove Sid to the groomer to get his claws clipped. That was a waste of time – the groomer now only clips claws by appointment. And despite my having post-graduate qualifications in the science of human physiology and disease and having worked in the area for nearly forty years I was subjected to a technically inaccurate ad-hoc lecture on advanced immunology from a spotty child who has a sistifikat in combing dogs.
I geo-puzzled for an hour or so, then took myself off to bed. Going to bed in the afternoon is odd. When I go to bed at eleven o’clock at night I fall asleep within seconds. When I go to bed at one o’clock in the afternoon I lay awake for twenty minutes desperately trying to get warm. It might be over thirty degrees outside; I might have a hot water bottle; I just cannot get warm in bed in the afternoons; at night it is never an issue.
I got to sleep and slept for three hours until some delivery or other came for the home-worker and the dogs went mad. Hopefully "er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner, then it is off to the night shift. I volunteered for this one…
15 October 2020 (Thursday) - Tired, A Puncture
The night shift was much as night shifts are; I was glad to see the relief arrive. As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing the business secretary. Some government advisor or other has attacked the government as many people simply cannot afford to live on the payments they get under the latest lock-down arrangements. The minister felt that the allegation that people were being forced to prostitute themselves was all very sad, but nowhere near as sad as the effect that coronageddon is having on the economy. The minister seemed somewhat frustrated that the public at large can’t seem to grasp the (supposed) fact that the economy is far more important than people.
Doesn’t this sum up all that is wrong with our society?
I got home and went to bed where (despite having been awake all night) I lay awake for an age before finally nodding off. Again I couldn’t get warm. What is it with trying to sleep during the day? I scoffed some toast, and then as it was "er indoors TM"’s lunch break we took the dogs out. The plan was to go out to Great Chart…
We got to my car to find it had a flat tyre.
The dogs were excitable and the car was parked, so the tyre could wait. We walked the dogs round the park where we had a mostly good walk. There was one minor episode when Pogo got overly friendly with a passing ball of fluff, but that passed off without too much fuss.
Once home I thought I’d better sort out the puncture. Having been driving motor vehicles since 1980 this is my first ever puncture so it was all rather a big adventure for me. I googled “tyre repairs within half a mile of me”. The first place that came up was in Providence Street. Whilst it is more than a stone’s throw away, if I was to shout, you would hear me in Providence Street. I could walk there in less than two minutes. If you were going to drive anywhere at all from Providence Street you would go past my house. The nice lady at “Mobile Tyres” told me that I was “outside their area”. I did ask how they could possibly stay in business with such a small area of operation, but the sarcasm went over her head.
I phoned a few other local tyre repair people only to find that the phone was always being asked by the same people in Providence Street.
I finally got through to a company whose phone wasn’t being asked by the lady round the corner. This chap said he would normally be only too happy to come and help me, but his big end had gone and he was waiting for help himself.
Halfords advertised tyre repairs on-line. When I phoned them they said they didn’t do tyres.
Eventually I hit on the idea of using the breakdown cover that comes with my car insurance. I should have done that first. The insurance people sent out the RAC who were with me within an hour.
Have you ever had a tyre changed? I was amazed. The nice man jacked up the front of the car and soon had the front wheel off. He then got the spare (I never knew my car had a spare) and put it in place, but was insistent that this was only a very temporary fix and I should go to a proper tyre place as soon as possible. He stuck the wheel with the punctured tyre in the car’s boot and went off on his way.
It was with something of a sense of relief that I then had a functional car again, but it needed a proper fix. I phoned the tyre people up the road (the ones who don’t do call outs) and they said they sort me out right away. I drove round at a snail’s pace. Perhaps the spare was up to greater speeds, but I wasn’t going to chance it.
And half an hour and twenty quid later the tyre was fixed. In retrospect it was all a big adventure, but at the time it was all rather stressful. I suppose any tyre can get a puncture at any time, but having been without a car for two weeks it seemed odd that it should go only a day after it had been in the garage for a fortnight.
A rather good bit of dinner; a bottle of red wine and a decent helping of amaretto… I should sleep well.
16 October 2020 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept through till after eight o’clock this morning. That rarely happens. Over brekkie I peered into the Internet to see what had happened in the world. The Brexit negotiations are going more and more pear-shaped. According to official government figures more and more people are now coming to the conclusion that Brexit was a big mistake, but it is a mistake that has been made, and there is no point in harping on about it (even though that’s what I’m doing). With the final unequivocal Brexit-means Brexit deadline for an agreement having been passed (yesterday) there’s now to be a further couple of weeks talking. I wonder if it will achieve anything? There has already been four years of talking. As I said on 13 July 2016 “We've voted to leave the EU. It's time to either crap or get off the khazi”
A friend was posting on Facebook about supporting small businesses in the run up to Christmas, and he was encouraging the world and his wife to tout their wares. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for supporting the little guy… but when they are selling petrol at ten pence a litre more than other garages, when their honey is five pounds per jar more than the corner shop, when their home-made wine tastes of vinegar and is twice the price of the stuff in Tesco… Mind you my eyes rolled at one local business. Are you too busy to write Christmas cards? Someone locally was offering to hand-write and post Christmas cards (with hand-written envelopes) for people who are too busy to write the things themselves. Really? Once you’ve farted about deciding on your festive message and sending through the names and addresses of those you can’t be bothered to send a card to, how much time have you actually saved?
I popped the leads on to the dogs, and with a car that works we drove out to Great Chart. I drove with a feeling of “what will go wrong with the car next”; I do get rather paranoid. As we drove, Floella Benjamin (of “Play School fame) was the castaway on the radio on “Desert Island Discs”. She said that her lame to fame was that before she became a TV celebrity she was the first woman employee of a British bank to be allowed to wear trousers to work.
We got to Great Chart and had a little walk. I say “little”; it was about three miles. We walked down to the river, then across the fields almost out to Ripper’s Wood, and back again. A geocache of mine had gone missing. I get the odd “DNF” (Did Not Find) report on caches from time to time, but with four consecutive didn’t-finds from hunters of Tupperware (with finds totalling over forty thousand between them) I thought I should go do something. Sure enough the cache was missing. It was soon replaced, and going there and back did make a good dog walk. But it was as well that I had a spare morning to go walking today. I’ve mentioned before that although the rules do say that it is up to the hider to sort any issues, when I go out hunting Tupperware I do my homework and ask the hider if they want any missing ones replaced.
As we walked we met other dogs. An elderly couple had a gaggle of hounds who barked and growled at my dogs who then barked and growled back. And we then all walked together with all dogs playing happily for over a mile. It was *so* good to meet other dog owners who understand what dogs are like and what dogs do. After the initial shouting, all the dogs were best of buddies. It really is a dog thing.
Also as we walked I realised my foot felt damp. There was a split in the leather of my boot; it was half an inch long. I suppose I can’t complain – my boots get some serious use and this pair have done me for over two years (I got them on 15 April 2018)
With damp dogs returned to "er indoors TM"; I drove out to Go Outdoors in Canterbury where after a little standing around waiting, the nice lady helped me sort out a new pair of boots. They weren’t cheap, but (like with most things) you get what you pay for. They come with an interesting guarantee: “… we guarantee every product for its lifetime. This is the length of time any piece of kit can be reasonably expected to keep delivering the same great performance as when it was new.” So they are guaranteed not to fall apart until such time as they do fall apart. That’s useful.
I came home to find "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" in residence. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had a McBurger that he didn’t want to eat and was getting very stressed because the dogs did want to eat it. If he would only have put it out of their reach, all would have been well. But he was adamant he would put it where they could get it, and then got more and more angry as the dogs tried to get it. In the end I ate it.
After an hour or so they had to make tracks; I drove them down to Folkestone, and came home to find it was nearly five o’clock. I had so much planned for today.
Being Friday we had fish and chips which we scoffed watching the first episode of the new season of “Star Trek: Discovery”. As a life-long trekkie I could write a major dissertation on why I thought the episode was less than stunning, but I’ll just gloss over the fact that the Andorians were brandishing the guns that Sea Devils used in Doctor Who, say that it was utter crap and leave it at that.
17 October 2020 (Saturday) - Back to Bossingham
I felt a little light-headed when I got up this morning. I do hope I’m not sickening for anything. I came downstairs and cleared up the turds that Sid had done overnight. At least they were by the back door – he’d made some attempt.
I made toast and peered into the Internet. I wasn’t the only one to have been less than enthusiastic about last night’s new Star Trek episode. If you had paid close attention there were all sorts of little things in the background which had been popped in for the fans. I didn’t notice all of them; I think I need to watch the show again to see if I can spot all of them, and to give the show a second chance. Having thought about it overnight, it bothers me. As a life-long trekkie with trekkie tattoos and having founded a Star Trek fan club myself it bothers me that the makers of the show are now pandering to the likes of me. There are endless little bits of “fanwank” instead of a plot.
Also it doesn’t help that the makers are flooding the market to maximise their profit. I got a Netflix subscription purely to watch “Star Trek: Discovery” and then the next show came out on Amazon Prime. There’s a new cartoon series exclusively on CBS (which would cost me too). I wonder if that will ever come out on DVD? I won’t ever see it otherwise.
With nothing else of note in cyberspace we got ourselves and the dogs organised and drove off listening to Steve on Radio Ashford as we went. The radio signal didn’t quite follow us all the way to Bosingham village hall where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. Last weekend we’d walked the first half of a series of geocaches out that way. Today we went back to do the second half.
Having gone rogue on the order in which we cached last week we also went rogue again today, following the sequence from two to eleven, then in reverse order from sixty-eight back to thirty-eight. But again in doing so we go a mix of lane and footpath walking. Some of the lanes were a tad busy, but that can be true of any road. But the footpaths took us through some pretty countryside, and there weren’t *that* many pheasants that the dogs chased. As we walked we found a couple of rope swings. One was a tad flimsy, but we played on the other. I say “played”; Charlotte had a go for a few seconds and then we swung it about and Pogo chased and jumped at it. He would have stayed there all day.
As we walked we found something of a novelty in this day and age – an open pub. I pulled a face mask from my pocket and went in and got a round of drinks. And as the ladies were savouring their drinks I got me and Karl another. Whilst it was rather good to sit in the beer garden and have a pint or two, there’s no denying that I’ve had better pints than those served at the Rose and Crown in Stelling Minnis. The first was a tad iffy; it tasted OK but had a faint odour of manure about it. Seeing that the second ale was being put on I thought we’d try that. I thought that you can’t go wrong with an ale that has just been put on; this one had bits of stuff floating in it.
As we walked we met other hunters of Tupperware. We’d met them yesterday when they were finding the cache in our front garden. It was good to catch up again.
We walked seven miles today. Perhaps that was a bit much for the first outing of my new boots? I’d had to take them off in the car as we’d driven to the start. They were so tight it was like having my foot in a vice. But a combination of swapping to thinner socks and squeezing the boots about seemed to have done the trick, and the boots were OK.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk with straightforward finds. All with helpful hinds and all with good GPS co-ordinates. Thought I must admit that walking the entire series of seventy-nine caches in one go would be something of a mission. Walking it in two halves (as we did) made it much easier.
I took a few photos as we walked. It wasn’t a bad place to walk.
We came home, and all of us had a little doze – that walk took it out of us all.
I really should have an early night – I‘ve got an early start tomorrow…
18 October 2020 (Sunday) - Early Shift
I woke feeling full of beans and raring to go, looked at the clock, and my heart sank when I saw it was only quarter past one. One of the dogs then dared to fidget, and "er indoors TM" spent much of the rest of the night in a pitched battle with fidgetting dogs. When she wasn't fighting with dogs she was snoring. I gave up trying to sleep shortly before five o'clock.
I was rather pleased to see that the kitchen was a turd-free zone, but I suppose it had been too early for Sid to have "done" anything. I made toast, and watched an episode of "The Job Lot" before peering into the Internet. Not a lot had happened overnight; to be honest it was probably far too early on a Sunday morning for much to be happening. But I was rather sad to see all the memories that Facebook was posting up for my perusal. If not for coronageddon, this weekend would have been the Hastings bonfire parade. We've had such fun there over the years. I suppose this year's entire bonfire season has gone west.
I was rather relieved to have been able to drive away to work this morning. Partly relief at not having to blag "er indoors TM"'s car, and partly relieved that the roads were clear. Yesterday all sorts of rumours were spreading that our road was to be dug up this morning and that there would be no vehicular access either to or from the roads round home. Back in the day the council would stick signs to lamp posts and pop leaflets through your door about this sort of thing. These days you just get third-hand rumours via Facebook.
As I drove the farming news was on the radio. There was a lot of talk about a horse-riding school in Brixton. The people being interviewed made a great fuss that the place wasn't just a riding school; it did all sorts of other things too. But no one seemed to be able to list a single activity that this place offered other than horse riding. The people running the place made great show of the huge running costs that the place has, but how they bent over backwards to make the place affordable to all. As I listened I was reminded of my time as a scout leader when we too made enormous efforts to subsidise what we did for people with far more money than we had. And (from what I've heard) scouting still does that.
As I drove through Biddenden a car flew past me (at probably double the speed limit). Driving like an idiot is all very well, but it is best not done in quite such a memorable car. If any of my loyal readers see a rather huge car with the registration "W 8EAR", give it a wide berth.
I got to work. There's no denying I hadn't wanted to work today, but apart from a simultaneous double whammy from both the Kidd and Kell blood group systems the day wasn’t a bad one. An early start made for an early finish, and with a few minutes spare I popped up to Paddock Wood where I did a little Munzee resuscitation. But only a little. When the sticker has faded beyond only recognition there is only so many that you can replace before you run out of Munzee stickers. Another reason why I’m leaning more to Munzee over the old Tupperware game is that they actively encourage you to be helpful to each other in replacing missing things and keeping the game going.
I came home to find "er indoors TM" in the garden gathering turds. In a house with more dogs than sense, gathering turds is a full-time occupation.
She’s also got herself a new plant. It is purple.
Wonder how long dinner will be…?
19 October 2020 (Monday) - Another Early Shift
This morning I woke at twenty past one. I lay awake for a while, and was just nodding off when "er indoors TM" went to the loo. She went as quiet as a mouse, but the dogs had to follow her and they thundered down the stairs. Dogs don’t do “stealth mode”.
Over a very early brekkie I watched another episode of “The Job Lot” then had a quick look-see at the Internet as I do.
I was pleasantly amazed at the response I’d had to something I posted onto one of the Munzee Facebook pages. Yesterday I replaced a few missing Munzees and wanted to be sure that this was the done thing. There was one hundred per cent universal agreement that this was not only the done thing, but was to be applauded. I couldn’t help but compare this to geocaching where the majority opinion is never to do anything to help anyone else for fear of condemnation and vituperation from the self-appointed geo-police.
More and more I’m finding that Munzeeing is fun whereas geocaching isn’t what it once was.
And on the geocaching front I saw that over the weekend I’d had more than two hundred “Found It” logs on geocaches that I’d hidden. I didn’t read all of them, but I skimmed through, and one made me roll my eyes. Four and a half years ago I wrote a Wherigo cartridge which (after a *lot* of testing) formed part of a series of geocaches I put out near Challock. The cartridge was played seventy-six times then, and it received twenty-six favourite points. I then adjusted the locations in the cartridge (and nothing else) and have incorporated it into one of the new series of geocaches I’ve put out this year. In its second incarnation it has been played thirty-four more times (and got ten more favourite points). But yesterday I got told that the cartridge has a bug in it. No details were forthcoming; just “a bug”. A bug which hasn’t come to light despite a *lot* of testing and a hundred and ten successful completions? Is there a bug? If so, I’d like to know what it is, but somehow I doubt it. I suspect it is easier to claim the thing isn’t working than to admit that you might have pressed the wrong button?
This morning’s Facebook squabble was about an advert that appeared on my Facebook feed. Ostensibly selling crisps, there was a feeling that the young lady in the advert was brandishing far too much chest. Personally I’m a fan of chests. I was tempted to make a comment about nibbling on her tasties, but the sexists and the feminists were already getting quite aggressive enough. I didn’t need to wind anyone or anything up.
I got myself ready for work and said goodbye to everyone. Some grunted at me, some wagged their tails. Fudge turned away and ignored me. He seems to have a little sulk when I go out without him. Perhaps he wants to come to work?
There were quite a few people walking dogs up the road at six o'clock in pitch darkness as I walked to my car. I then nearly flattened a cyclist and a teenager on a scooter; both dressed all in black with no lights at all. I've said before that the utterly inadequate street lighting in Ashford certainly isn't what was promised when it was installed. And now that it is installed, no one in authority seems to want to take responsibility for it.
As I drove to work there was a lot of talk on the radio about how central government is giving tens of millions of pounds to the councils in Liverpool and Manchester. Not because they need the money, but as some sort of bribe to get them to accept the lock-down conditions.
I must admit to a degree of confusion here. I always thought that local councils took orders from central government. The Prime Minister is the boss, not some tin-pot mayor of some tin-pot council? So what on Earth is going on? If some local council is refusing to toe the line, this is tantamount to secession, isn't it? If I was Mr Johnson, I'd declare the council disbanded, have direct rule from Westminster for the area, send in the army and have the so-called mayor stuck in prison. After all, that's what the Spanish did when the Catalans got arsey, wasn't it?
I go to work and did my bit. And with my bit done I took a little detour on my way home to go find a geocache. This was one the puzzle of which I’d solved a while ago, but I never seemed to be in the right place with time to go hunt for it. Today I had a spare few minutes. I parked up somewhere between Ashford and Tunbridge Wells, and after a few minutes the cache was in my hand. Happy dance. The cache was…
I won’t give spoilers, but I will say that a lot of time, thought and effort had gone into making what I found. But as is so often the case with these special ones, they are fragile. Whilst the thing doesn’t actually need maintenance just yet, part of it is already broken and I am only the eighth person to have fiddled with the thing. Which is why I stick to putting film pots under rocks and do my clever bits in the programming (and creating bug in!) wherigoes.
Pausing only briefly to deploy a Munzee I was soon home. Fudge had got over his sulk, and we all charged down the garden to feed the pond fish. The pond is rather clear at the moment. The clarity of my pond is something that I’ve (quite frankly) given up worrying about. I will clean the filter, bung in all sorts of flocculants, replace the UV bulb and the pond will have the texture of mud. I’ve done nothing with it for a month and it is crystal clear. Go figure!
Much as I like the early finish of the early shift (it gives me time after work to do something), two early starts have taken their toll… I’m worn out.
20 October 2020 (Tuesday) - A New Friend (?)
This morning I slept through till quarter past four. That was a result. I would have slept longer had Treacle not been crying. She wanted to come up on to the bed but wanted to be picked up; she didn’t want to jump. She rarely wants to jump up – I think she is frightened of landing on a sleeping Pogo.
I lay awake for a while, then gave up trying to sleep. I came downstairs and chased Sid round the garden in the forlorn hope that he might “do” something out there. He didn’t.
I watched an episode of “The Job Lot” then sparked up my lap-top. “Le On (mistress kattie)” had sent me a friend request on Facebook. He, she or it claims to be looking for “an obedient, honest loyal and understanding male slave submissive to be my property to own.” If any of my loyal readers can do as they are told and are up for a portion I’ll pass on your details. I don’t think my back is quite up for a chest of that calibre.
I posted something to that effect on my Facebook page this morning; I've posted things like this before. I expect that once again I will be told that this post breaches Facebook's standards whilst “Le On (mistress kattie)” continues to brandish her wazzo jubblies to the world.
There wasn’t much else on the Internet to compare with “Le On (mistress kattie)”’s chest, so I got myself ready for work.
As I drove to work there was a lot of talk about the total collapse of the Brexit negotiations. I was going to sarcastically write "as if no one saw this coming" but unfortunately it is quite plain that not that many people *did* see this one coming.
There was also a lot of talk about lock-downs in Wales and Ireland to try to halt the spread of the corona virus. A lock-down is needed to stop the virus, but as we've seen before the virus comes back when the lock-down is eased. And as endless politicians keep pointing out, the economy is far more important (to those who make the decisions) than the nation's health. We really need to have a completely different economic system in which people don't have to decide between being unable to afford to live or spreading a killer virus.
There was a little bit of chat about today being World Statistics Day, and there was a rather basic lecture presented on just exactly what statistics are, and how you *can't* prove anything with statistics.
There was also talk about NASA's plan to capture a lump of an asteroid. You would have thought that this might have captured the public's interest, wouldn't you.
I stopped off at Tesco where I got some bits and bobs. Despite being hermetically sealed away behind plastic barriers, the till staff were all still wearing disease-spreading gloves. And then it was on to a rather busy day at work complicated somewhat by the vagaries of the Kidd blood group system.
I came home, and "er indoors TM" boiled up a particularly good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of plonk whilst watching “Bake-Off”. And with dinner scoffed we had some cheese. "er indoors TM" got her roule to herself; I had to share my blue brie with four dogs. It is odd how they know who will give them cheese and who won’t…
21 October 2020 (Wednesday) - Bit Dull
Sid was rather lively this morning when I got up, but he flatly refused to go outside. I had my shave and came out of the bathroom to find he’d crapped on the lino. He had a major sulk when I refused to let him into anywhere with a carpet.
I watched another episode of “The Job Lot” then had a look at the Internet. There was yet another squabble kicking off on one of the Lego-related Facebook pages. If you go into a Lego shop you can buy a pint of the Lego bricks for a tenner. You can get thousands of the little Lego flowers into a pint pot and lots more besides. Some chap was selling fifty of these flowers for three quid, and others were giving him stick for blatant profiteering. Mind you a lot of people do this. One of the chaps working on the Lego shop at Bluewater once told me there are people who come in to their shop every day and buy loads of the little bits; far more than anyone would ever use. He said he challenged a few of them; they openly admitted they were selling them on at a profit.
With nothing else of note going on I braved the rain and went to find where I’d left my car. I’d left it quite a way from home, and I was rather damp by the time I found it.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing Nottingham City Council leader David Mellen. Overnight the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary had both mentioned ongoing talks with Nottingham city council, but the leader of that council was adamant that no talks had taken place. So…
Either one side or the other doesn’t know what is going on and should be sacked for incompetence (is it too much to ask that our leaders know their arses from their elbows?)
Or one side or the other is lying and should be sacked for deliberately misleading the public. I have no idea which it is, but the Prime Minister does have a track record of telling porkies.
And that is entirely what is wrong with our country right now. The Prime Minister “tells porkies”. It is expected of him; everyone expects him to be disingenuous. Perhaps if we as a nation held our elected officials to a higher standard or if he were held to account like any public figure should be, might things be different?
As I drove to work it slowly got light. Or “lighter”, with the ongoing rain it was rather dismal when I arrived. It didn’t really brighten up all day, and was again dark when I got home. That’s the trouble with working at Tunbridge Wells; for much of the year when I am based there I leave for work in the dark and get home in the dark.
Gammon and chips, a tin of “Doctor Pepper”, an episode of “Taskmaster”… today was rather dull really.
22 October 2020 (Thursday) - Late Shift
With no alarm set I slept through till five past eight this morning. I came downstairs (hotly followed by three dogs), and Sid then tried to go the way from which we had all gone. Sid then watched Fudge, Treacle and Pogo race into the garden with a “WTF do you want to go out there for?” expression. Despite frog-marching him outside he didn’t “do” anything. Sometimes I despair over Sid. Short of picking him up and squeezing there’s not a lot I can do to get him to “go” outside.
Again he sulked when he then wasn’t allowed anywhere with a carpet.
Pausing only briefly to work out where "er indoors TM" had hidden the jam I made myself some toast, then peered into the internet as I scoffed it. This morning things were relatively peaceful. No immoral young ladies were brandishing their chests, no one was quarrelling about the price of Lego. Some chap was asking if anyone would sell him a dalek at far below the going rate, but no one was taking the bait. I did have an email telling me about a new geocache that I could possibly have gone for (had I been on a core shift at Maidstone today). But I expect the bloke up the road had already been there. Back in the day I used to try to get one “First to Find” on a geocache a month. But with one local hunter of Tupperware who really does drop everything and run the very second a new one is released, and another seemingly scouring the countryside hunting out all likely locations hoping to find them before they are released, much of the enjoyment has been sucked out of what was once a fun game. Much the same happened with the astro club, and the snake club. Such a shame.
I got the leads on to the dog and we went out for a walk. The plan was to drive out to Great Chart, but what with an ambulance coming round the corner I had to turn left where I should have turned right. Autopilot kicked in, and we ended up at Orlestone Woods. Over the summer that was our go-to place for a walk, but after the unpleasantness of September 29th and the subsequent waste of police time on October 7th I have been reluctant to go back there. But we arrived to find an empty car park. No one else was there. What could possibly go wrong this time?
As it happened nothing did go wrong (apart from Fudge rolling in something foul). We met a couple of other dog walkers. One lot arrived after us; another had parked on one of the lanes which go round the edge of the woods. I’ve seen their car parked before. I can’t help but wonder why they would park on a narrow lane when there is a perfectly good car park nearby, but what do I know?
Both groups of dog walkers said hello; both mentioned that we’d not been to the woods for a while. I mentioned our encounter with the autistic walkers (and subsequent attack on the dogs). One chap said that he’d had something similar happen to him a while back. I wonder if it was the same people that I’d met?
We came home. There was an “episode” as we parked when a rather huge dog saw us (from inside his house) and started throwing itself at the window in an attempt to get at us. We didn’t hang around. I got the dogs in, got changed and set off to work, and after half a mile I did a U-turn. Brookfield Road (the main road heading west out of Ashford) was closed. I followed a rather epic queue of traffic back the way I'd come.
I eventually navigated my way to Sainsbury's where I got petrol, and having forgotten to bring lunch I got a sandwich too. The woman on the till had me scan in all of my purchases myself, seemingly oblivious to the fact that in doing so she was making herself demonstrably redundant. No one operates the tills in many stores; it won't be long before she too is out of work.
With enough petrol to get to work I headed for Tunbridge Wells. I had a pang of guilt as I drove past the family-owned petrol station in Biddenden. There were all sorts of signs up about how we should support the little shops and small businesses. But I did a few sums in my head. The petrol that I'd bought from Sainsbury's would be over a fiver more expensive from them (to say nothing of getting a sandwich). I'm all for supporting the little people, but charity begins at home (sorry!)
I nearly got to Goudhurst when I found myself in another rather epic queue of traffic. And nothing was coming down the road the other way. Was the road blocked at the church again? Sure enough yet another juggernaut had ignored all the signs and got itself wedged in the tight bend in the road. Fortunately I was able to take a minor diversion through some incredibly narrow lanes, and it wasn't *that* long before I was in the works car park. Pausing only briefly to deploy a Munzee in the general vicinity I scoffed lunch and had a look at the Internet via my phone. One of the local Facebook groups had just published a notice about Brookfield Road being closed. As I said last Sunday, back in the day you would know in advance about road closures.
Work was work; but hard work. What with the vagaries of my shift pattern I rarely work more than three days without a break. Doing five consecutive days (like everyone else does) has come as something of a shock this week…
23 October 2020 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept well again, waking shortly after seven o’clock finding myself cuddling Treacle as though she was a teddy bear. Yesterday I was chatting with one of the bosses at work who was complaining about his insomnia; laying wide awake worrying about work-related problems over which he had no power to put right. I can remember spending many years doing the same; I don’t miss that at all.
I made some toast and peered into the Internet as I do most mornings. A friend who is an IT professional was bitterly complaining about the new-look Facebook layout. Admittedly it looks awful and is vastly inferior to what came before in many ways, but that is IT for you. Those who work in the field are forever fiddling with it; after any upgrade what happens behind the scenes is a wonder of technology, but whatever it is that has been upgraded is left less able to do the actual job for which it is required.
I took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods for a walk. We had a good wander. As we walked we met some people that we’ve met before. They told me that they too had met the couple with whom I’d had the run-in a few weeks ago. And they too had received a visit from the police. Apparently they had “looked at the autistic chap in a funny way”.
You really would think that the police would have better things to do with their limited time and resources, wouldn’t you?
Taking great care not to look at anyone in any sort of way at all we walked with these people. Usually we walk alone, but it does Treacle good to walk with other dogs.
With walk walked I took the dogs home, then drove out to Cheeseman’s Lane. A geocache of mine had been reported missing. It probably is missing. The thing is under a bridge across which a country lane crosses a river. Seeing the water was a lot deeper than I remember it being I thought I wouldn’t chance my wellies. I shall blag a pair of waders from "My Boy TM" and go back next week.
I came home via Newtown Green for Munzee purposes where my barcode-related activities were rewarded with a briefcase and a spyderbot. If you are into sticking barcodes on to lamp posts, this is rather impressive; if you aren’t a Munzee-er this is probably rather trivial.
I came home myself to find that "er indoors TM" had spent quite some time clearing up dog sick. Whist I was out, Pogo had brought up his brekkie. I wonder what that was all about? He’d been fine when out on his walk.
I got busy in the garden. The lawn had grown quite a bit recently. The lawn “feed & seed” has certainly fed the lawn, but once it was mown I could see the bare patches were still there. It hadn’t seeded much.
And then my phone beeped.
Regular readers of this drivel may recall that on August 25th I received a rather unmoral invitation (via Facebook) from “Shawn Bearden” who wanted to be my friend on Facebook and had invited me to an exclusive WhatsApp sex group. I commented about this at the time on Facebook when I wrote “I bet Facebook will delete that post... but won’t do anything about the porn monger in the picture...”
This morning Facebook told me they have deleted my post and have given me a formal warning for going against their community standards on suicide and self-injury (!) Someone advertises pornography on Facebook. I highlight the breach of standards, and I’m the one in trouble.
Despite several messages with their automated system, Facebook are adamant that I am the villain of the piece. I’ve posted screenshots of their warnings onto my Facebook page. If that doesn’t get me banned, nothing will.
Meanwhile the porn-mongers continue to peddle their filth.
Another friend got a warning from the Facebook feds for asking if someone could get her some paracetamol whilst she was shielding as that went against their drugs policy.
"er indoors TM" took a lunch break and we popped down to the carpet shop. The hall carpet is (at least) thirty years old and needs replacing. We’ve found something which shouldn’t show the dirt (too much) and the nice man will come and fit it next month.
As the rain fell I ironed shirts and trousers, and then pootled about with my Lego city. I’m wondering if I might do away with some of the custom-build houses in it and replace them with ones more akin to the designs of 1970s Lego. That will give me something to do over the long winter evenings.
"er indoors TM" went to the fish & chips shop to get dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” which was streets ahead of last week’s episode. We followed this with an episode of “Taskmaster”, and as it passed nine o’clock some idiot started setting off fireworks.
24 October 2020 (Saturday) - Late Shift
I slept through till after eight o’clock this morning. I came down and Sid headed straight for the back door (which was good) dropping turds as he went (which was bad).
Once I’d sorted the pup I had some brekkie and peered into the Internet. I’d received a lot of messages of support about yesterday’s little warning from Facebook. Last night I logged my Facebook warning as a fault on their “report a problem” page, but had received no reply this morning, so I spent a rather vengeful and bitter five minutes logging quite a few of their adverts as “sexually inappropriate” (as they were).
A lot of people were posting on Facebook today complaining about the government’s refusal to provide free school meals for the next six months. I was a little confused. Those who openly advocated against socialist values on the run-up to the last election were now demanding them from the Conservative government who make no secret of their love of the capitalist approach. Holding those in need in contempt is all very well all the time it is someone else who is in need, isn’t it?
As everyone else snored I looked at the monthly accounts. Bearing in mind I spent far too much on garden ornaments and new boots before having an unexpected car calamity last month, and then bought a carpet yesterday, I could be a whole lot worse off. I suppose seeing that the gas and leccie bill is thirty quid a month cheaper is something of a bonus. Or is it? I didn’t think the SmartMeter was working properly. I’ve been watching the thing recently. How can we have used nearly half of the day’s leccie and gas by five o’clock each morning? I contacted the on-line help thingy through the leccie company’s website and found myself talking with either an automated bot or someone who was determined to follow a pre-prepared script. After a little to-in and fro-ing and fiddling with the meter I got told that “I see that your smart meter are giving us the incorrect reads and it seems that your smart meter need to be commissioned”. The next utterance was “It seems that there is some interruption of Bluetooth devices, router or any other equipment which is creating a signal issue between smart meter and Inhouse display”. And because the SmartMeter hasn’t been right for months (!) they’ve been estimating the bill for months.
They’ve referred the matter to their dedicated SmartMeter team who will be in touch over the next few days.
The plan had been to walk the dogs before I set off to work, but it was raining and we’d run out of time anyway. Since I'd made toast with the last of the bread I thought I'd better get myself a sandwich on the way to work. There had been some decent sandwiches in Dobbies when we were last there, and some rather unusual beers too. I got to Dobbies to find their food section had been taken over by Marks and Spencer. They had all sorts of poncy food, but not a single sandwich. And a rather good selection of tinned lager (!)...
So I headed west-wards thinking I might try the little shop in Bethersden. I got there and found that they might have sandwiches - the little girl behind the till looked a bit vague on the matter, but she was confident that they had a good selection of ales. Personally I call four different tinned lagers a piss-poor selection of ales, but what do I know.
I eventually got to drive away from this place. Some arrogant idiot had stopped his car in the middle of the road behind my car whilst his wife went shopping. He assured me he wouldn't be long, but he people who were trying to drive up and down the road that he was blocking persuaded him to move.
It was shortly after here that I nearly ran over two idiot children. Pulling wheelies on their bikes they were utterly oblivious to traffic and didn't seem to be at all bothered that they were on the wrong side of the road cycling head-on directly at me.
Finally I found sandwiches and some bottled beer (for tomorrow) in Sissinghurst.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing some chap who had given away a small fortune recently. Having started following some scammer on Instagram, this chap was rather jealous of the scammer's lifestyle. The scammer offered a similar champagne-and-fast-cars lifestyle to anyone who wanted it. All you had to do was subscribe to his stocks and shares portfolio scheme. The chap on the radio handed over twenty-eight thousand pounds, and others handed over sums of money totally over four million pounds. The scammer has now vanished, and so has the four million pounds.
The chap on the radio was amazed that he is now widely regarded as a twit, and was desperate to prove that he wasn't stupid. He wasn't convincing anyone.
I got to work and di my bit on a particularly busy day. I’ve always said I don’t mind working when the weather is bad, but the weather was particularly bad today. Driving home through the wind and rain took some doing, if only because of the swerving about blown-down branches.
I came home to find "er indoors TM" had baked a loaf. It was rather good.
As I’m typing this, the rain is so heavy that the telly keeps stopping as the rain on the Sky dish is blocking the satellite signal.
I hope my new fence stands up to this wind…
25 October 2020 (Sunday) - Rain, Lego, Dinner
What with the clocks going back I got to sleep for nearly nine hours. This “clocks going back” thing is a load of rubbish, isn’t it? Officially it is called “daylight saving”. I looked it all up on-line. All the reasons for it seem rather nonsensical. Moving the clocks about doesn’t actually save anything, does it? All it does is move the hours of daylight from the evening to the morning. Personally I’d rather have the lighter evenings. Quite a few people were saying the same on Facebook this morning.
There were also quite a few posts on Facebook from local businesses all of whom were offering free meals for schoolchildren since the government won’t. On the one hand this is a good thing. On the other hand, having the general public randomly sorting out that which central government should be doing rather makes the entire concept of a government somewhat redundant, doesn’t it?
I did chuckle when I checked my emails. My Microsoft Outlook had decided that an official email from Microsoft was spam and had stuck it in the “junk” folder.
The plan for the morning had been a very quick walk round Tenterden, but the rain was rather against that. And as is always the way when it rains, the dogs refused to go out through the back door into the back garden (because of the rain) but still wanted to go out of the front door for a walk. We had a very quick round-the-block and all got rather damp. It was as well we didn’t have our usual weekend walktoday – the weather was terrible.
I then spent a little while fiddling with my Lego town. I’ve re-vamped the right-hand end to incorporate Darth Vader’s riding school and moved the pond-side house a bit. There’s a video of what I’ve done here.
There’s still quite a bit to do with it. The double-decker bus needs passengers, there’s three houses I don’t like and may re-build or replace, and I’d like to add lights to the train. Adding lights is easy enough… getting leccie to the lights isn’t. I’ve found some Lego leccie plugs which I’ve ordered from Italy, but they don’t come with any cable. I shall try B&Q when I get a minute.
With "er indoors TM" delivering a telly to "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" I pootled on the Internet for a bit watching all sorts of stuff on You-Tube. And with telly delivered we went round to "My Boy TM" where Cheryl had boiled up a very good bit of dinner. I scoffed far too much, then we watched David Attenborough and Blue Planet II.
It would have been good to have stayed longer, but clocks having gone back had made for hungry dogs. We came home and with dogs having scoffed we watched “Taskmaster”.
Having done very little other than playing Lego and eating today, for some odd reason I’m worn out.
26 October 2020 (Monday) - Late Shift
I had a stroke of genius this morning. Fudge rarely eats all of his breakfast in one go; preferring to finish it after our morning walk (when he is hungry). But by then all the other dogs have forgotten that they finished their brekkie earlier, and they get the hump. Finding myself awake at really silly o’clock (what with the clocks going back) I had this idea that if we went for our walk before brekkie, Fudge might eat all of his brekkie when we came back.
We drove down to Orlestone Woods where we had a really good walk. It was pretty much the walk we usually have, but good in that we didn’t see another soul, and had the place to ourselves.
As we walked I saw something which made me think. Paw prints in the mud. Whatever had left them had been big. Deer? Wild boar? One of those big black cats? It was probably a big dog, but before I could take a photo of the paw print a game of dog-chase (featuring Pogo and Treacle) charged right through the thing destroying it completely.
As we drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about the hijacking of the oil tanker Nave Andromeda. From what was said and from what has been reported, something seems odd. The hijackers stowed away on the ship in Nigeria and hid until the ship was five minutes away from the headquarters of the Special Boat Service when they sprung their hijack. The commandos of the SBS had the tanker re-captured in less than ten minutes. And the hijackers are supposedly asylum seekers hoping to get into the UK.
If I was hijacking an oil tanker, I’d do it on the high seas, not within sight of a commando unit. And if I wanted to seek asylum in the UK I wouldn’t hijack an oil tanker on its way there.
Either the hijackers are a bunch of half-wits, or there is more to this story than meets the eye.
We got home where Fudge only ate half of his brekkie. So much for my stroke of genius.
As I scoffed my brekkie I peered into the Internet. In less than a month there’s a whole new Animaniacs series coming to our tellies (together with a resurrection of “Pinky and the Brain”). I say “our tellies” – there is if your telly is hooked up to Hulu. But seeing how Hulu is an American subscription video on demand service not available in the UK, that is something else I shan’t be seeing. I’ve whinged about this in the past, haven’t I? Back in the day there was God’s own BBC. Then those common oiks from ITV got in on the act, but using advertising their channels were free to the public. The thin end of the wedge was almost thirty-four years ago when BSB kicked off (remember their squarials?), and Sky TV followed them four years later. And now the pay-per-view market is getting silly. If you want to watch the new episodes of “Star Trek” you have to subscribe to three different pay-per-view outfits, and I will probably never see the new episodes of “Spitting Image”. I suppose I am lucky in that I lead quite an active life and telly isn’t *that* important to me, but there are a lot of people (I used to work with quite a few) whose entire life revolves around watching the telly and incessantly talking about it with their equally TV-obsessed acquaintances.
With a few moments to spare I did a little CPD. The blood transfusion simulator gave me an ABO discrepancy combined with anti-s, but I rose to the challenge. I was rather pleased about that. I then added to a Munzee virtual garden (which was easier said than done).
I set off in the general direction of work. Pausing only briefly at Leeds Castle for a flat friend (it's a Munzee thing) I then went to Notcutts garden centre with the vague idea of getting "er indoors TM" a Christmas pressie or two. It was a shame that seemingly the rest of the human race had had the same idea. The place was heaving.
I had a little look-see at what they had for sale. They had all sorts of things, but nothing cheap. To be honest when I saw the artificial Christmas tree which was up for sale at five hundred pounds I turned round and walked away. I went to Aldi hoping they might have had something in the cheapo-bargain aisle, but there wasn't anything worth having. They had some bottles of red wine though... I got one of those.
I drove on to work and did my bit. Having a late start means I can do stuff before work... but I don't like the late finish.
27 October 2020 (Tuesday) - Not on a Late Shift
I was sleeping like a log when the most enormous crash woke me. Pogo had fallen off the bed. I’m surprised he didn’t go through the floor judging by the noise he made as he hit it.
I lay awake for a while, then gave up trying to sleep and got up. Over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “The Job Lot” then tuned in to the Internet to see if much had happened overnight.
There was quite a bit of sadness being shown on many of the fishing-related Facebook pages as today saw the release of the last-ever edition of the ”Angler’s Mail”; a weekly magazine featuring articles about all sorts of fishing. A lot of people were sad to see it go, but seeing how not one of them had actually read the thing in years is it surprising that it is packing up?
I deployed a Munzee into the Christmas garden that is being prepared near Sevenoaks, and checked my emails. Someone had a hunt for Tupperware in Challock a couple of days ago and said nice things about my Kings Wood Munzees, and he also liked the Wherigo series I hid in the area. “We were really enjoying the walk and have never done a Wherigo quite like this before”… I think that was the reaction I have been hoping for.
I also had an email from Amazon who have been reviewing that which I've bought from them recently. They felt I might like to buy Doctor Who DVDs that had been dubbed into German?
With "er indoors TM" and all the hounds still asleep I set off to work through a rather overcast wet morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing some religious-type who was wittering on about how both President Trump and his opponent in the upcoming election have tried to seize the religious high ground, and somehow have both succeeded. There was some amazingly convoluted reason as to why this is possible; it was something to do with religion being all things to all people, and it can be whatever you want it to be. Strange stuff, religion.
There was also an interview with the head honcho of the Royal College of Surgeons who was calling for all COVID-19 positive patients to be put into certain hospitals, and all COVID-19 negative patients to be put into others. Whilst this is an eminently sensible idea I'm sure there are laws against this sort of segregation. In a not utterly different way, when I was a cub scout leader we got told off for sticking all the bed-wetters in the same tent.
Work was work. Not one of the better days, but looking back over forty years certainly not one of the worse ones either. But I was still glad when home time came round. And once home I cornered my furriest little girl.
I spent a few minutes last night squeezing a rather purulent zit on Treacle’s belly. The soppy little girl didn’t seem at all bothered by what I was doing, even though I was giving it some stick. This evening her tum looked fine for which I was pleased.
I then spent a few minutes writing up a case study about leishmaniasis; a particularly nasty disease which is spread by some dogs (NOT mine!!!)
Hopefully "er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner in a bit. Bake Off is on soon.
28 October 2020 (Wednesday) - Rather Dull
For some reason I woke feeling like death warmed up. I hoped I might chirp up over brekkie, but Sid just whinged at me constantly as I scoffed granola and tried to watch an episode of “The Job Lot”.
With telly watched I wasted ten minutes trying to add to the Christmas Munzee garden that several of us Munzers are trying to create in Knowle Park. What could have been a ten-second job took an age; why is IT never straight-forward?
I then peered into Facebook. I am still on a warning for highlighting breaches of their community standards, but those breaches continue to abound. And with no emails of note I sent out birthday wishes and set off work-wards
As I drove to work there was a lot of talk of coronageddon on the radio. There were all sorts of people being wheeled on who were insisting that the Prime Minister should change the COVID-19 restrictions at Christmas time. Some professor or other was saying that (by the strict letter of the law) many older people were now having to choose between physical and mental health. Should they avoid the virus or avoid their family?
But as the various discussions, reasonings and ranting went on it became very apparent that this was the minority viewpoint. Most of the (so-called) experts being interviewed were very much of the opinion that (what with the law having changed so often and so quickly) it is possible to make a case that you haven't got a clue what is going on, and many are doing so when challenged. Apparently most people now see the laws about how many people can meet and where they can meet (the rule of six and other such rules) as being vague confused suggestions at best, and not in any way binding. It was suggested by several of those on the radio this morning that the general public are going to have their usual Christmas this year regardless of anything that the Prime Minister might say.
Isn't this what's wrong with the country right now? The laws of the land are being seen as something that we can obey or not (depending on our whim), and then we can act surprised (with a clear conscience) when the pandemic surges back with a third wave in the New Year.
I got to the works car park, and (in a spirit of anarchy) walked round the neighborhood sticking bar-codes onto lamp posts as I went before getting on with my daily round. My daily round was a rather busy one today; I was glad when home time came round.
Pausing only briefly in Marks and Spencer (where the staff were all using face coverings as neck warmers) I came home, and "er indoors TM" then slipped out to walk round the neighborhood sticking bar-codes onto lamp posts as she went. I’ve taken to walking round another neighborhood when I stick my bar-codes to lamp posts; perhaps I’m being petty but there are those locally who are taking advantage of my good nature (if you can call sticking bar-codes onto lamp posts being good-natured).
Hopefully"er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner soon.
Today was incredibly dull…
29 October 2020 (Thursday) - Still Dull
As the credits ran at the end of today’s episode of “The Job Lot” I was amazed to see that the show had a dialect coach. What on Earth does one of them do? I looked it up on Wikipedia, and whilst I was at it, I saw that they earn far more than I do. Ho hum…
I had quite a flurry of messages this morning. There is serious consternation in the geocaching world. Apparently one of the First to Find brigade went out randomly looking for unpublished geocaches last week and found one. When the things got published, this chap claimed to be First to Find. I can’t say I’m happy with that myself, but it is within the letter of the law, if not the spirit of the law. But when someone else went out to find the thing (properly) it was apparent that the person who’d claimed to have found it previously hadn’t (as the paper log inside was unsigned). A rather trivial episode? Perhaps, but for those of us who are into this sort of thing, to say this was a bit cheeky is an understatement.
Meanwhile in Bexhill a local councilor is getting stick about his Hallowe’en decorations. Hundreds support what the chap has done with his house, but a vanishingly small minority disapprove,
I’m reminded of my time as a Cub Scout leader. We had Hallowe’en fun for years until an American missionary got involved, claimed we were encouraging the kids to be devil-worshippers, and the whole thing got the kibosh. Such a shame.
But this is what is wrong with society these days. One or two vocal crackpots make a noise, and the majority stay silent at the time, then grumble afterwards when the minority have got their way.
I took a little diversion to the park on my way to work this morning (for Munzee reasons) then set off up the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the pandemic is affecting the homeless. One homeless chap who was interviewed seemed quite chirpy and was adamant that he was actually far better off than a lot of people who had homes. Apparently his “faith in the Lord sustains him”.
Perhaps it does? I was talking with a colleague today who mentioned that “everyone has to worship something” and had trouble understanding how many people really do seem to manage without having any sort of religion.
There was also all sorts of discussions on the radio about the effectiveness of lock-downs, what with an estimated one hundred thousand people contracting COVID-19 every day in the UK. That sounds a lot, but even at that rate it will still take close on two years for the entire population to get the virus.
I got to work where I had another busy day. I’m getting fed up with these. Yesterday I’d told everyone that my plan for today was to be taking it easy but that didn’t happen. I was non-stop all day and was glad when home time came.
Once home I sparked up the lap-top and tuned in to the weekly Zoom geo-meet. I’ve not been joining in with these for a while; it was good to catch up. I must admit I’d rather given up on those recently; the blatant racial hatred had been somewhat off-putting. But tonight those who previously prefixed their every utterance with “I’m not racist but…” were somewhere else.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, then slipped off out, Her daily Munzee challenge will take some doing. Compared to hers, my one was rather easy this morning
I think I might just have an early night, if only to see if that might shift today’s ear-worm. The theme to “Parsley Boobs” has been stuck in my head all day long today. It has been rather annoying…
30 October 2020 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift
I was fast asleep when the bin men came crashing up the street at half past six this morning. If the crashing hadn’t woken everyone, they then started shouting up the street to each other (just to be sure). Finding myself wide awake I took the dogs for an early walk.
We drove down to Orlestone Woods where we found an empty car park. We walked our usual circuit and didn’t see another soul. Fudge straggled behind, sniffing everything as he bimbled. Treacle and Pogo chased each other and had a whale of a time. Remembering the tracks I saw in the mud on Monday I looked to see if anything huge had been prowling overnight. I saw a few of what might have been deer tracks, but there were no monsters today.
We walked for nearly an hour and didn’t meet anyone else; we came back to a car park which was as empty as when we’d left it.
As we drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about how Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the Labour party over the ongoing row about anti-Semitism. Is it rife in the Labour party? Has Mr Corbyn done wrong? I don’t know, but I do know that Mr Corbyn has done something to offend the media. When did you last hear anything positive about the chap? Anything at all? Ever? If he said that the sky was blue and grass was green, there would be headline news denying it. But this is not just about Jeremy Corbyn. One of the top union leaders has announced that this latest debacle could well cost the Labour party the next election. Will it? I can’t help but wonder if this is a deliberate ploy by the Labour party to do just that. Over the years they have bent over backwards to make themselves unelectable, and when you look at what the Conservatives have done over the same time period, making the Labour party a worse choice must have taken some doing.
Once home I made some toast then peered into the Internet. I used it to send out birthday wishes, to capture a cyclops and help build a reindeer (it’s a Munzee thing), and to see what I’d missed overnight. I hadn’t really missed much.
I then wrote up some CPD and ironed shirts before going into the garden to clear up all the fallen leaves. There is a huge tree in the garden of the house three houses down the road. In the summer it blocks out the sun; in the autumn it fills the back garden with fallen leaves. I’ve whinged at the people who live there (many times) who assure me they’ve told the landlord, but nothing gets done. I emailed the council about it this morning.
I then went through my letter rack. There were letters going back nearly two years. Whoops. Perhaps if people sent less “crap” letters I might take more notice of the ones I did get. I saw that I had over a year’s worth of bank statements even though I get my bank statements on-line. I logged into my bank account and sure enough the thing was set to on-line statements only (and has been for some time). I asked their automated system why they were still sending me paper statements. It replied “Unfortunately your query is slightly too complex for me to understand. Please ask me again using a single sentence, bearing in mind I work best when I am asked one question at a time”. So much for technology, eh? So I phoned the bank and spoke to some woman. Over the noise of her baby crying in the background she assured me that I don’t get paper statements.
Oh, how we both laughed.
I programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow (hoping the weather holds out) and took myself off to bed. I managed to stay there for four hours despite dogs barking for various trivialities during the afternoon. One advantage of having "er indoors TM" working from home is that she can quieten the dogs when I’m trying to sleep before work.
I woke to find that the council had replied to my earlier email. However they aren’t going to do anything as the tree is on “privet land”. I considered writing back to say that the tree in question was a sycamore and not a privet bush but thought better of it.
I’m hoping "er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner, then I’m off to the night shift… Not keen on night shift on a Friday, but to be fair I’m even less keen on night shift on a Saturday, so I can’t grumble…
31 October 2020 (Saturday) - After the Night Shift
I was glad when the relief arrived this morning. Last night’s was one
of the busier night shifts.
I collected "er indoors TM" and those dogs that don’t go and hide at walkies time, and we went down to Orlestone Woods. There were quite a lot of cars in the car park, but we only met one other group as we walked. It was a lady and two dogs that we have met before; her dogs are very friendly, but huge, and Treacle is terrified of them. One of the huge dogs bounded up to me and jumped up. I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if the people who called the police on me ever met a dog of this size.
With walk walked I went to bed and slept like a log. Eventually the noise of the torrential rain woke me. Over a rather late brekkie I peered into the internet to see the entire world was distraught. Sean Connery had died. The chap was ninety years old so it can’t be really unexpected, but the postings on social media were rather telling.
Seemingly the entire universe saw the death of Sean Connery as the death of James Bond. But less than a minute’s research shows that Mr Connery didn’t like the Bond association. He once told Time magazine that he was ”fed up to here with the whole Bond bit" and was quoted in the Observer as saying "I have always hated that damned James Bond. I'd like to kill him". In Mr. Connery’s biography Michael Caine is quoted as saying "you didn't raise the subject of Bond. He was, and is, a much better actor than just playing James Bond, but he became synonymous with Bond. He'd be walking down the street and people would say, "Look, there's James Bond." That was particularly upsetting to him."
It is a funny old life being an actor. Despite a varied career of many years, so many people find themselves remembered for just one role out of hundreds. Take Ed Tudor-Pole for example. He *hates* the Crystal maze, but who can name anything else he’s ever done (even though he’s done a *lot* of other things). Or take Robert Pattinson, star of the “Twilight” films he despised.
I wasted half an hour trying to solve a geo-puzzle. Despite having been told that the puzzle was based on tropical cyclones I got nowhere. Was it based on the intensity force? The year of the cyclone? Wind speed? Barometric pressure?
I then struggled (and failed) with some other geo-puzzles involving post offices, Sir Thomas Smythe, and random street names in the Otford area.
Some geo-puzzles are put out to be solved, and some aren’t. I must admit I’ve hidden one recently which seems to have the punters foxed. Do people enjoy trying to solve these things? They aren’t so much “difficult” as just require people to keep randomly guessing and guessing until they hit on whichever random thing you’ve chosen.
With all sorts of rumours abounding that the Prime Minister was to make a statement to the nation we sparked up the telly and tuned in to the news. All sorts of pundits were making all sorts of sage announcements whilst the nation waited for Mr. Johnson to finally show up on screen.
After nearly three hours he came on with a couple of advisors. His advisors droned on for twenty minutes or so. It was a shame that they were incredibly boring and that the slides they used to illustrate their points were confused and only half-visible on our TV screen. Eventually the Prime Minister spoke. It took him nearly fifteen minutes to say that basically we’re having a lock-down again. He started taking questions from the press; all of them seemed to be trying to big themselves up and embarrass Mr. Johnson rather than asking anything relevant.
I can’t help but feel that Boris Johnson has blown a golden opportunity for himself. Given a national crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen before he could have been decisive and gone down in history with Churchill or Lloyd-George. Instead he’s waffled on, been indecisive, wishy-washy (and in desperate need of a haircut) and is now seen as something of a national embarrassment. Such a shame.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we coffed whilst watching this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery”. The season started very badly, but has improved beyond all recognition. I think I’d like the show more if I could warm to the leading character. To be honest if the writers killed her off in the next episode it would improve the show no end…