1 October 2021 (Friday) - Bit Tired
As nights go, last night wasn’t that bad really. I slept for most of it, which was something of a result.
I made toast and watched an episode of “Drifters” then had my usual root around the Internet. I saw an ex-colleague’s partner had a baby yesterday for which he was thanking God on Facebook. I had several conversations with this chap in the past. Everything which is good in his life is more evidence for his unshakable belief in a loving God. Everything which isn’t good is just random chance and nothing to do with his God. How does that work? I asked him that many times – he told me that I didn’t understand.
I saw a posting from Ant Middleton (him out of SAS: Who Dares Wins) who was pointing out that despite having been sacked by the bleeding heart brigade, his photo is still being used in adverts for the show from which he was sacked.
I set off for work (Pembury today) on a rather damp and dismal morning. I had half a plan to get some petrol from the Gulf petrol station near Biddenden. They are always putting up signs saying that they are an independent family-run business needing the business, and I thought that in the current climate they might be struggling.
How wrong I was.
There were one or two other cars outside the garage so I joined the queue and waited. And waited. After a few minutes a surly looking bloke came out and pootled about. I asked him if they were opening soon. He snarled that he would be opening in half an hour, and it would be longer if I didn’t stop bothering him. I told him I wouldn’t bother him, and I would ask all my friends and family not to bother him either. He looked rather taken aback at this, and I drove five miles into Cranbrook where I queued for less than ten minutes and (after queueing for less than ten minutes) got half a tank of petrol at a fraction of the price he was advertising from smiling and helpful staff.
If any of my loyal readers are ever in the Biddenden area I would suggest driving straight past that Gulf garage.
I also stopped off in Sissinghurst to get some decent beer for our (now postponed because of forecast rain) Sunday walk, and I went to Tesco too where I saved some chap over a pound. As I was getting a jar of the twenty-nine pence jam so this fellow was picking up a jar of the seriously expensive stuff. “Rich man?” I asked with a smile. In a rather embarrassed tone he suggested they probably tasted the same, and put the expensive stuff back and bought a jar of the cheap stuff.
I hope he likes it.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how Facebook has shelved its idea to have an “Instagram for Kids” and various experts were pontificating about social media isn’t good for children. Talking with friends and colleagues who’ve got youngsters it would seem that the main purpose of social media in the younger age group is to continue and exaggerate any petty squabbles that would usually have died a death at the end of the school day and have been forgotten about by the next morning.
There was also talk of the European space probe BepiColumbo which flew past Mercury today. Amazingly the thing wasn’t treated with sarcasm and disdain (like most space-related articles on the morning radio are).
I got to work where I had a rather awful day. I had to do work and everything! I was glad when home time came. As I came home I gave the Gulf garage in Biddenden the V-sign as I drove past.
Once home “er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching last night’s episode of “Taskmaster” and before falling asleep in front of the telly. I woke from time to time to find “er indoors TM” was watching a film. “Sing” seemed quite entertaining… what I saw of it.
I’m worn out.
2 October 2021 (Saturday) - Early Shift
I slept like a log last night for which I was grateful. I have a vague memory of Treacle whinging then jumping on my head, but it might have been a dream.
Over brekkie I watched more “Drifters” then sparked up the lap-top wondering if I’d missed much. Yesterday a new Facebook group started up and I joined it. This morning “Kent Fuel Info” had ten thousand members. The idea is that one of them posts the location of where petrol and diesel are available, and nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight then go stampeding (lemming-like) in the desperate hope that each will beat the other in the rush to get fuel. Me – I’m just waiting for the arguments to start.
I saw a couple of Facebook friends were having a birthday today. I posted birthday wishes to the one who has actually spoken (or communicated with me in any way) during the last ten years, then got ready for work.
I was a few minutes late getting out of the house this morning. As I walked out, in a moment of absent-mindedness I looked down at the dog basket (which Treacle and Pogo have now taken over) to say goodbye to Fudge. And then had a complete melt-down. I really should be getting over that little dog by now.
As I drove to work the weekly farming show was on the radio. Apparently pigs, cattle and chickens are mounting up in the farms as the abattoirs don't have the staff to cope. Some chap was saying that there will be a major shortage of the pigs in blankets that we all buy for Christmas dinners this year. Apparently they are prepared and frozen in July (can you believe it!) but so far this year none have been prepared at all due to staff shortages in the abattoir. And once again the same old spokesmen were wheeled out and said it is all the fault of Brexit chasing the immigrant workers home. And once again the same old government officials were wheeled out who said that as a nation we shouldn't be reliant on cheap immigrant labour. I read something on Facebook last night about how the average Brit wants a first world lifestyle for a third world price... Ain't that the truth.
There was then talk on the radio about the fuel crisis. The BBC's website has a photo of a queue for petrol taken only a couple of miles from home - this photo is the queue that my daughter in law was in (for five hours) the other day.
I'd had to take a minor detour this morning to avoid other queues of traffic (in Brookfield Road). Presumably the petrol station there had fuel; perhaps I should have told the Facebook “Kent Fuel Info” about it and fuelled the queue?
Work was work; a rather good day (especially when compared with yesterday) and there was jam roly-poly with custard at lunch time too. I wasn't keen on working yet another weekend, but watching the torrential rain and howling winds outside I was pretty sure that I hadn't been missing much today.
Mind you the weather was really bad. My car got pushed about by the wind several times as I drove home down the motorway about twenty miles an hour slower than I’d usually go.
Once home I sparked up the lap-top and sat with it on my lap as I dozed in front of the telly. Usually after an early shift I’d take the dogs out, but the rain had put paid to that.
“er indoors TM” made dinner and we scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Dogs Behaving (very) Badly”. Watching that show makes me realise that our two dogs aren’t *that* bad really.
I hope this rain stops for tomorrow…
3 October 2021 (Sunday) - Kings Wood
As I peered into the Internet this morning it seemed the world has but one thing on its mind – where can we get petrol? With queues of cars following tankers (only to find they are carrying concrete) something needs to be done. One obvious thing that would help everyone would be for every fuel station that has run out to turn off the illuminated boards outside.
What with all the rain yesterday no one seemed to have done anything worth posting to Facebook. One friend did go to an Oktoberfest session in Tunbridge Wells, queued in the rain for an hour only to be told by the organiser that the event was cancelled. She then went home to get no end of messages from her mates who were at that Oktoberfest event which the organiser decided to run after all. She’s hoping to get a refund on her ticket.
As I scoffed toast so I got a couple of emails. Some new geocaches had appeared on the route we walked a couple of weeks ago. Oh well… no FTF for us today. In fact it turned out to be no FTF for anyone – no one logged a find on them. I suppose people are loathe to use petrol.
On Friday we’d cancelled our plans to go for a walk today because of the awful weather forecast. Yesterday the forecast changed quite a lot, so we decided to have a major hike today after all. Not wanting to go too far from home we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and went for a wander round Kings Wood. Rather than following any of our standard routes round the woods we rather went rogue and made a new one. Partly following the paths we’ve walked before and partly exploring new places we had a good walk. As we went round we met another dog walker whose dog was on a lead “because of the deer”. We saw fresh deer poo, but didn’t see any deer. We heard pheasants and even saw one or two (fortunately the dogs didn’t).
Kings Wood is always good for a walk. There are one or two hills, but nothing too strenuous. The dogs can run off of their leads straight from the car.
As we walked we called in at some of the geocaches I’d hidden in the woods there. But for all that we walked for seven and a half miles, we only visited less than half the caches I’d put out there. Plenty to do on another day.
I took a few photos as we walked today. I was so glad we went ahead with our walk. I *really* love our weekend strolls, but clearly nowhere near as much as Treacle who actually squeals in excitement every time Karl throws a stick for her. She really does squeal; it is so sweet to hear.
We came home and just as we’d finished bathing the dogs so the heavens opened. We’d got home just in time. We had a cuppa and the buns that I’d bought at the works branch of Marks and Spencer yesterday, then “er indoors TM” and the dogs both fell asleep on the sofa.
We did a “Just Eat” for dinner getting an Indian from the local curry house and opening a (sadly disappointing) bottle of rather expensive wine. Whilst we scoffed we watched a film. “Pride” was a rather good film set in the mid-eighties and was all about how the gay communities raised money for the striking miners.
Sadly I don’t think the curried mixed grill is sitting very well…
4 October 2021 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
Despite two trips to the loo during the night we all slept well last night; the dogs especially. They really do enjoy their big walks so much. It was a shame that “er indoors TM” had a splitting headache this morning. I blame the bottle of wine she drank almost single-handedly yesterday evening. Having opened a bottle of rather expensive stuff I took a couple of mouthfuls and realised that I far preferred Sainsbury’s own stuff which sells at a quarter of the price. She had mine. The rep who sold us the stuff said that because it was “first pressing” it didn’t give you a hangover. He lied.
Over toast I peered into the Internet. The “Kent Fuel Info” Facebook page was a microcosm of the world we now live in. Some people were posting about where petrol is available (which is what the page is all about), others were lambasting them for doing so. And pretty much everyone was bitterly arguing with everyone else with everyone safe in the knowledge that they would never have to actually face any of these people in real life.
I posted up a photo from our wedding to Facebook – today was our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. Perhaps we should have gone away for a long weekend to celebrate? We have in the past, but what with one thing and another we never got round to arranging anything. And it can be tricky with dogs. It was probably as well we didn’t arrange anything. If we had it would have been dog-friendly and so a lot of dog-walking, and the weather has rather been against that lately.
I was rather glad to see that the rain had stopped just as I finished brekkie. I got dressed and walked up into town, Munzee-ing as I went. I got to the opticians and rang the bell. The receptionist came to the door and (in all honesty) treated me like a plague victim. Had I tested positive for COVID? Had I been in contact with anyone who had? Did I have any symptoms?... Grudgingly I was allowed in to the place, immediately told to disinfect myself and ordered to sit next to a sign which (rather rudely) told me not to go any further until called and supervised.
Eventually I was called forward and a very helpful chap did his best to counteract the distinct impression that I wasn’t wanted there. To be fair the chap fitting the glasses was friendly and welcoming, but someone really needs to tell the receptionist that people who’ve spent over five hundred quid with them shouldn’t be treated like the shit on her shoe.
Maybe next time I won’t go to what turned out to be the most expensive optician for miles around.
I came home via the corner shop, and then took the dogs up to the park for a walk. Seeing the rain had given way to glorious sunshine I left my coat at home and didn’t get *that* wet when the rain started when we were at the furthest part of the walk from home.
But the dogs were as good as gold. We saw other dogs in the park and we walked past them with no “episodes” whatsoever. We had a couple of goes at whistle training partly just to reinforce it and partly to impress other dog walkers whose dogs’ recall wasn’t as good as Pogo or Treacle’s (not that I was showing off).
I was mostly dry when we got home. I made us both a cuppa and we scoffed the pastries I’d got from the corner shop. I did a little CPD which didn’t go as well as it might have done, then I phoned the local hospital to re-schedule the ENT appointment I have in three weeks’ time. Having been on hold for half an hour I got through to a trainee who said she couldn’t help me but gave me the phone number of someone who could. That phone number went to a recorded message which directed me to yet another number. This one went to voicemail so I left a message.
Unfortunately over the years it has been my experience that the only way I ever get anywhere with the ENT people is by making a formal complaint… I shall give them a day or so before doing that.
I then went to bed for the afternoon, and amazingly the dogs didn’t bark once. I woke after three hours, fiddled about on my latest on-line project (more about that later) and then was rather horrified to find that Facebook was broken. I couldn’t get to it either through my lap-top or from my phone.
It was with something of an “end of the world” feeling that I set off to the night shift…
I suppose I shouldn’t be doing the night shift on my wedding anniversary… but like a weekend away I rather left it all a tad too late to do anything about swapping shifts.
5 October 2021 (Tuesday) - Bit Tired
Just before midnight as I was busy night-shift-ing my phone went absolutely bat-shit-mental as Facebook and WhatsApp came back on-line and I instantly caught up with a myriad of messages and comments from people asking if Facebook and WhatsApp were broken. The news websites said that the head honchos at Facebook and WhatsApp remained rather reticent about what had gone wrong (as I suppose they might) but with it fixed I didn't feel quite so cut off from the world - you'd be amazed how much petty triviality goes on in social media in the small hours. Nothing at all worthy of mention, but you miss it when it is not there.
At three o'clock I had a sandwich and a packet of the new Thai Green Curry flavoured crisps. Have you tried them yet? If so did they give you a stomach ache too?
Getting home after the night shift was rather troublesome this morning. Finding that my car wouldn't start last night I borrowed the “er indoors TM”-mobile to get to work. Driving her car makes me nervous. Partly because it is different to my car (the gearstick is in the wrong place and it has a handbrake). And partly because if I prang it she will break my face. As I drove Radio Kent was droning on in the background. Have you ever listened to Radio Kent? I wouldn't usually bother; I would have re-tuned the radio if I was brave enough, but I wasn't. there was some dribble on the radio about the second coming of Jesus which will be in a few months time apparently. There is some comet on the way and some crackpot has figured out that pretty much every spectacular biblical event was heralded by a comet. These events include the great flood of Noah, the destruction of the Tower of Babel, the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues of Exodus, the Red Sea crossing, the Long Day of Joshua and four events associated with Jesus. In fact the only event which didn't have a comet associated with it was the Second Coming and so since there is supposedly going to be a comet at Christmas, this must herald the Second Coming. Rather odd logic really... what have all the comets of the last couple of thousand years all been about then?
As I drove down Brookfield Road I saw a queue of traffic for the petrol station where a humungous tanker was delivering petrol. Seeing the queue was only about twenty cars long I did an about-turn and joined the queue. As I waited the ENT people phoned me back and re-scheduled my appointment. Just as I hung up so the tanker left the filling station’s forecourt and the traffic slowly started to move forward. There was a minor hiccup when a car in front of me broke down and in the time it took for a few blokes to start pushing the car a gap in the queue appeared. A passing car moved as though to go in that gap when a very loud voice rang out. “You Can F… Right Off!!” bellowed that voice, and the car which looked as though it was going to jump the queue really did f… right off.
About forty minutes after I’d started queueing I got to the one petrol pump that was working. Unfortunately the garage was offering a maximum of thirty-five pounds worth of petrol to each customer. Other places have avoided the panic buying by having a minimum payment of thirty-five pounds. Oh well… if I can only half-fill a car I will have to go back twice as often.
Having stayed at work an hour later than usual, and having queued for petrol I was rather tired by the time I got home. “er indoors TM” told me that she'd had the breakdown man out last night. He tried my car and it started right away. How embarrassing. He did find there was some problem with the cam chain sensor though, and gave the details of a garage he could recommend to sort it. Bearing in mind my usual garage is booked up for weeks these days, the recommendation of a decent garage can only be a good thing. It was a shame that they too were booked up for weeks, but we’ve found somewhere that can have a look at my car next Monday.
I went to bed feeling like death warmed up and woke two hours later. Usually after the night shift I spend the afternoon doing the ironing whilst watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” and today was no exception. Today’s show featured a particularly stupid pair who thought the height of sophistication was laminated notices, and who felt that the breakfast they offered was far and away the best since no one else had provided hash browns.
“er indoors TM” sorted out a good bit of dinner and we scoffed it whilst watching the last episode of “SAS: Who Dares Wins”. The last episode was all about resistance to torture and interrogation and in all honesty wasn’t anywhere near as gripping as the rest of the series had been. I suppose it was more realistic when you bear in mind how the Special Forces are trained… but I want entertainment.
I’m really tired. An early night is in order. I wonder if my car will start in the morning?
6 October 2021 (Wednesday) - Early Shift
As I scoffed toast I watched an episode of “Drifters” in which our heroine couldn’t decide if she was psychic or psychotic. I think it fair to say that the jury is still out on that one.
I then sparked up the lap-top. The Facebook “Upstairs Downstairs” group had a minor squabble going about how unfairly the servants of the upper classes were treated a hundred years ago. It amazes me how many people are discovering that TV show for the first time after so long. I suppose I’m discovering all sorts of things through Netflix, but when “Upstairs Downstairs” first came out there were only three TV channels.
Apart from being bombarded with begging posts about dying children (this seems to be a “thing” on Facebook right now) I also had several posts from some odd-looking woman who seems to make money from spouting meaningless management-style catchphrases to people who lap up that sort of old bollox. Apparently her mission is “to empower others to get to that soul-centred business they crave” but how you get empowered from paying her to spout silly buzz-words remained something of a mystery.
It was still rather dark as I left home. I wasted a few minutes going up and down the road collecting tridents, beach towels and gnome hats (it's a Munzee thing) before being rather pleased to find that my car started right away.
I drove past the filling station in Brookfield Road to see they were open but had no queues. Was that no queues because the fuel stupidity had stopped, or no queues because of no fuel? With four-fifths of a tank of petrol I didn't bother looking to find out but kept going.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the next shortages to come - Christmas stuff. Christmas puddings and turkeys are already flying out of the supermarkets, along with pretty much everything else Christmas-related which has a long shelf life or can be frozen. Apparently the French are planning to blockade the ports and the Channel Tunnel soon because of whatever it is that they have got the arse about this week. On re-reading this does appear to be somewhat patronising and maybe even xenophobic, but any student of history will realise that Anglo-French relations have always been strained at best, and the French seem to block the ports and the Channel Tunnel at the drop of a hat. As I know only too well finding my journey to and from work seemingly constantly being stuffed up by "Operation Stack" and "Operation Brock" and "Operation What Are They Sulking About This Time".
There was also a lot of talk about how the Prime Minister wants to transform the country's economy into a "high wage" one starting with a rise to the living wage. He has called on employers to increase the wages of all staff... but as yet seems rather reluctant to raise the wages of the public sector employees. This strikes me as something of a daft move. From my own experience why would anyone spend years to get post-graduate qualifications and then spend years gaining experience to become a senior blood-tester only to find that a train driver gets far more money after a few months.
Where's the incentive to get on?
And Facebook are facing no end of aggro from the American congress amid allegations that what they provide harms children and weakens democracy. "Weakens democracy" - it was claimed that Donald Trump got elected on the basis of a whole load of lies that were posted on social media. As I've said before democracy is a flawed concept. It assumes that the electorate are capable of making rational decisions. And if they are swayed by the half-baked drivel they read on-line then clearly they are not. Democracy - the process by which the considered opinion of an educated person is equal to the whim of a half-wit.
I've done this rant before, haven't I?
I got to work and parked up... wondering if the car would start again at home time. I went in to the early shift. As early shifts go it wasn't too bad at all. No cake, but there were biscuits. Whilst I prefer cake, I will happily scoff a biscuit (or two). And rather than working, I probably did spend far too long watching the antics of the resident flock of goldfinches who were spuddling about in the puddles on the flat roof outside the blood bank window, And was that a woodpecker in the tree out the other window?
With work worked I went back to my car which started right away. And having collected the dogs the car started again when I drove to the woods, and it started again when we drove home again.
7 October 2021 (Thursday) - Marginally Better Photo
After a night racked with rather vivid dreams in which I was trying to feed boa constrictors and Burmese pythons with jam sandwiches (they don’t eat jam sandwiches!) I woke two minutes before the alarm was due to go off.
As I scoffed toast I watched an episode of “Drifters” in which our heroines were going to a school reunion to prove that they were “the cream of the crap”, then sparked up my lap-top as I do most mornings.
My Facebook feed these days is filling up with adverts for stuff which is of no interest to me whatsoever, but the comments on these adverts can be quite amusing. Take today’s advert for “Reiki Level I, II and Master Certification in Energy Healing”. Originally going for sixty quid this has been reduced to the knock-down price of fifteen quid (presumably because no one is interested in quackery) but in the comments following the advert was quite the squabble. One chap was adamant that on-line reiki courses were a load of old rubbish but ones delivered face to face actually worked. Another chap made the claim that “Your insurance is invalid if you haven't been taught and attuned in person, by a Reiki master. This is why it's cheap”. Someone had asked what the insurance was all about; apparently it was a “legal requirement”.
There was also a row kicking off in the comments for an advert for “Christian Art”. The people who were advertising Christian Art had some website into which you put all your personal details and every day you supposedly get emailed a picture of a biblical scene. Quite a few people were rather unhappy that they hadn’t received any pictures. Was it all a data-harvesting scam? You think? I wonder if any of the enraged had ever considered typing the phrase “biblical scene” into Google Images each morning?
I resisted the temptation to laugh out loud, but they let these people vote, you know.
Pausing only briefly for Munzical reasons I was soon heading up the motorway to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were pondering as to why no one at all seems to be able to explain why the wholesale price of gas is going through the roof. It was claimed that much of the UK's gas comes from the North Sea where nothing has changed over the last few months, but two minutes on-line shows that the UK imports an awful lot of its gas. There was an interview with someone or other who was big in the energy world who made the observation that allowing people to make a profit out of a vital necessity of something like heating your house wasn't such a clever idea. Why not? Because if the Great Unwashed had to pay me to heat their house, they certainly wouldn't get it cheap. It's called "market forces" (or "screw you Jack, I'm all right, depending on your personal perspective). The observation was then made that none of this would happen under a nationalised power system. I seem to remember sitting in the darkness in the 1970s as the country didn't have enough power to run the national grid 24/7 under a nationalised system, but perhaps I misunderstood?
Capitalism, socialism. Neither seem to work that well, do they?
There was then a short preview of a program being run on the radio later in the week in which young farmers were being interviewed. One didn't like being called a "farmer" and wanted to be described as a "land manager". Doesn't that sum up all that is wrong with the world?
I got to work and did my bit on another early shift where the prospect of anti-Lu(b) raised its ugly head (as it does from time to time), but I did get a better photo of the goldfinches on the flat roof.
As always an early start made for an early finish and I made the most of the early finish by taking the dogs to the woods. We met three other groups of dog walkers… I’ll just say that Pogo is still a work in progress, and that two out of three ain’t bad.
Mind you I have got a potential issue with Treacle. Whenever I have a tiddle in the woods so she then tiddles on the spot I tiddled on. Opinion is divided as to what this means. One school of thought is that she is showing solidarity with me and showing we are all part of the same pack. Another school of thought is that she is drowning out my smell with her own and showing me that she is the top dog. Most people I’ve asked seem to favour the second theory… can’t think why.
8 October 2021 (Friday) - Late Shift
As I peered into Facebook at brekkie time this morning I was presented with a memory from exactly thirteen years ago when I packed up being a scout leader. Was it really that long ago? I was a leader for thirteen years so I must have got something from it. I can remember most (all?) of the kids. But what I remember most was standing in the noisiest cacophony that anyone had ever heard waiting to get the attention of thirty-odd kids who had no intention of shutting up. The over-riding attitude of all the other leaders was that we should not enforce any disciple but wait until the kids were ready to listen to a leader, no matter what they did no child would ever be thrown out, and that the activities must be available to all. And so consequently I gave up so much of my free time to entertain and subsidise the most ill-behaved brats of people far wealthier than me.
Looking back, what made me realise I was wasting my time was when I visited another scout group in Folkestone. When the leader said “shut up and listen” the kids shut up and listened, and in one night they got far more activities and games done with their group than we did in six months with our unruly brats.
I hear the group scout leader in my old group is very ill. Sometimes I wonder about going back and helping. Perhaps that might be a retirement project? This time I could teach them how to close their mouths and listen?
I got the dogs into the car and we drove to the woods. As we drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing the vice-chancellor of the university of Sussex over the treatment of one of their professors. Kathleen Stock (a professor of philosophy) has caused consternation by trying to make a distinction between a person’s biological sex (which is determined at the moment of conception) and a person’s chosen gender which isn’t (apparently). Professor Stock is facing a hate campaign (which is seeking to have her sacked) run by a masked gang of anonymous cowards who (somehow) see her as disrespectful to the trans community.
From what was said, no one brave enough to be named really seemed to understand the protestor’s point. To me it seems that they are confusing two completely different things. Perhaps if they were brave enough to actually have a conversation with anyone then they might make more sense.
I wish I could understand this whole trans thing. There’s some person who rants about the matter on the Radio Four Facebook group; not only does that person make no sense to me, (s)he seems quite offensive to anyone who can’t see her/his points (whatever they are). I once tried asking him/her for clarification; never again.
We got to Orlestone Woods. The BBC’s weather app had told me there was only a one per cent chance of rain this morning. It lied. Fortunately I keep a coat in the car; we didn’t get *that* wet. As we walked we met a woman with a whippet on a lead. Pogo kicked off as he often does when another dog is on a lead. The woman said that she would let the dog off the lead and let him run away. She let her dog off the lead and he walked up to my two and they were all the best of buddies. I explained to her that Pogo (and many other dogs) seem to react badly at the sight of another dog on a lead. She replied that I wasn’t the first person to have told her that… I smiled sweetly and resisted the temptation to ask why she hasn’t listened to any of this advice.
We walked round the woods in an anticlockwise direction today. Usually we go clockwise and the woods seem relatively flat. Going anticlockwise there seemed to be a *lot* of uphill involved. What was that all about.
As we drove home Desert Island Discs was on the radio This morning’s castaway was Tom Ilube (of whom I had never previously heard). Mr Ilube had clearly not grasped the idea of Desert Island Discs as he was choosing records that he actually liked rather than pretending to like dismal classical dirges (like everyone else seems to do). I then spent much of the rest of the thinking about my eight Desert Island Discs. I’ve done this before. On 20 June 2014 I wrote “One day I shall publish my eight Desert Island Discs. I wonder what they will be? ELO and Sparks will be in there as will (I suspect) Kate Bush, Gloria Gaynor, Sinitta and Ivor Biggun”. After quite a bit of brain strain I came up with this list with which I will probably disagree tomorrow.
Cuban Boys – A Song That Sings Itself
ELO – Concerto for a Rainy Day
Sparks – Do Re Mi
The Enid – Heigh Ho
Kingdom Hearts - Hymn
Kate Bush – Them Heavy People
Piranhas – Tom Hark
Etolie Vipe – When Do I get To “Sing My Way”
Mind you it speaks volumes about my musical tastes in that five of those songs are cover versions.
I put some polish on my walking boots and then walked seemingly miles to two streets away where I'd parked my car when we came home from the woods. When we came home from the woods there were no spaces anywhere near home; our road was full of spaces as I set off to work.
I drove off listening to some absolutely dire (supposedly) comedy thing on the radio. Not so much alternative comedy as an alternative to comedy; it simply wasn't funny. It soon got turned off so I could sing along to my (frankly wonderful) choice of music.
I drove past the petrol station just up the road (where I'd filled the “er indoors TM” -mobile on Tuesday morning) to see a big sign up saying "No Fuel", but when I got to Aylesford I drove straight up to the pump at the petrol station there and filled my car. One filling station empty, one with no problems. Mind you as I filled my car the chap at the pump next to me was saying how he was desperate for petrol and that was the first petrol he'd got into his car for four weeks. Presumably he doesn't have a sixty-plus miles round trip to work every day like I have?
Work was work. As well as watching the goldfinches there were pied wagtails and woodpeckers today. The department wasn't quite so much a blood bank as an ornithological hide this afternoon; mind you a cake-free an ornithological hide (about which I was not pleased). I did that which I couldn't avoid, then came home in the dark - you know you are old when you comment on the nights drawing in.
9 October 2021 (Saturday) - Geo-Meet
I slept reasonably well, even if I I’d had to hoik Treacle out of the bed in the small hours. I don’t mind having the dogs on the bed, but not *in* the bed.
I rolled my eyes as I read Facebook this morning. A particularly troublesome nephew was having a very public row with his half-sisters as to who was most entitled to use the family name and therefore control their dead father’s Facebook account. I stayed well clear of that one.
There were several rows kicking off on the “Kent Fuel Info” Facebook page. There were reports of people paying massively inflated prices and queuing for hours for petrol in Aylesford yesterday… which was where and when I got petrol at seven pence per litre cheaper than it was going for in Ashford and where and when I drove straight up to the pump with no waiting at all. I’m sure there is a lot of mischief-making going on with that Facebook page.
And there were some frankly amazing comments on the myriad of Facebook pages showing discontent about the (frankly piss-poor) pay rise that NHS staff got this year. Loads of people were commenting that they were seeing a three per cent pay rise as an insult and were going to get a job elsewhere. Were they really? Good luck to them. Most of the people who post to those Facebook pages are nurses and so presumably can get equally well paid jobs as carers? I’ve looked into it and leaving aside the sad fact that no one will ever take me on at my age, a professional blood tester has very few transferable skills that will get a job at much more than minimum wage. Not that I’m sulking.
We got ourselves organised and drove out to Badlesmere. As we drove we listened to Steve on the radio until the signal gave out at Challock… almost at the point where a little old lady come out of her shed carrying a job lot of toilet roll (what was that all about?)
A couple of weeks ago Karl, Tracey and Charlotte archived a series of geocaches in the area and the plan for the morning was to go fetch the pots in. And that was what we did. We had a rather good walk as the mist cleared. I certainly enjoyed being out and about in the countryside. The dogs did, and again Treacle showed that she can be a worry when she wants to be. For all that Pogo can be the shouty one, Treacle is the one that will disappear when there are pheasants to be chased.
After a couple of hours we were back where we’d left the cars… near the pub in Badlesmere. I went through the ale selection, then we had a particularly good lunch. The lion burger was especially good, and in retrospect I was rather glad for the misunderstanding over dessert. Having asked for crème brule I got rhubarb crumble and custard and it was rather good.
Having scoffed ourselves silly we went outside and joined the monthly geo-meet. It was good to catch up with old friends and to meet new friends. I must admit I went along wondering if the whole social side of geocaching was on the way out, and I came out rather re-enthused about the whole thing.
I took a few photos whilst we were out.
I slept the whole way home, and for a few hours once we’d got home… As did the dogs. I’ve missed these monthly meets.
10 October 2021 (Sunday) - Before the Night Shift
I must admit to being rather disappointed when I turned on my lap-top this morning and peered into the Internet. Several people had clicked the “like” button on the photos I’d posted yesterday, and I had two emails. And that was it. “er indoors TM” ‘s phone had been buzzing and rattling with notifications all night long. She either is far more popular than me or has subscribed to far more notification alerts.
I did see that the Chinese are thinking about making a space station ten times the size of the ISS. That will be interesting to see. I also saw the teaser trailer for the third season of Netflix’s re-make of “Lost In Space”. I can remember the first season being good and the second not so good but can’t remember any of the specifics. Perhaps I should re-watch them before trying the new stuff.
I then launched my latest e-project; a guide to Wherigo; a rather obscure branch of geocaching with which pretty much everyone gives up before they even try.
Pausing only briefly to capture a cactus cubimal (it’s a Munzee thing) I popped up the road to the shop to get a sandwich for later and some pastries for lunch. I was glad that I did as I found my car was parked near the shop and not two streets away in the other direction where I remembered leaving it.
We got the dogs on to their leads and drove out to the Warren (Munzing like a thing possessed) where we met “My Boy TM” and Cheryl. We walked into the depths of the woods to investigate a pond and a huge shed-thingy that they had found on a previous walk. I rather suspected that what they had found was actually someone’s garden; the giveaway being his comment that you had to climb over a fence to get to the place. In the meantime whoever’s garden it was had fixed their fence, which was probably for the best all round.
But we had a good walk through the Warren and out the back into Hoad’s Wood. Whilst we were there we had a little look for a geocache which had previously eluded us (on 29 November 2020). After quite a bit of looking in totally the wrong places we found the thing.
We made our way back to the cars, some along footpaths, some through the muddy streams (it’s a dog thing) and came home where I got out the shears and gave myself a quick haircut before scoffing pastries for lunch and taking myself off to bed for the afternoon.
I didn’t really sleep very well, and gave up trying to sleep after a couple of hours. I got up and wrote up some CPD (about which I was rather scathing).
“er indoors TM” is boiling up dinner then I’m off to the night shift. I wasn’t originally down to be working tonight but the need arose, and working tonight means I don’t have to work tomorrow. Let’s hope I don’t regret volunteering…
11 October 2021 (Monday) - Vet, Car, Daleks
Last night’s night shift ( the one I volunteered to do) was rather busier than I might have liked. But it could have been a whole lot worse.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing Prince Charles about his passion for environmental concerns. In the past the chap has often appeared as something of a tree-hugging leftie when it came to environmental matters, but now it would seem the rest of the world has caught up with him and now shares his views and worries. And then… Am I being uncharitable in thinking Price Charles wants to be a laughing stock? He announced he’s had his fifty-year-old Aston Martin converted to run on white wine. I thought this was some weird joke, but he really has had a vintage car converted to run on wine.
I drove my car through a very crowded town to the garage and left it there. The plan was that they would find out why it wouldn’t start last week. “er indoors TM” picked me up and fetched me home, and after a quick bit of toast I took Pogo to the vet for an MOT.
Diet time for Pogy Bear.
As I was making an appointment for his next load of injections so a rather “council-looking” thug came up to the counter. Apparently the vets had vaccinated a litter of puppies his dog had recently had, but he had lost all the vaccination paperwork. Could the receptionists give him replacement paperwork? They asked for the chap’s name so that they could look up the details; he flatly refused to give a name. After having been told (several times) that without a name they had no idea which of their records to examine the chap finally announced that it was all in his wife’s name. But he didn’t know what name she might have used. Eventually the chap went away; convinced that the reception staff were just being awkward. I can’t help but wonder what was going on here – who gives a fake name to a vet?
I went to bed, but after a couple of hours the nice man from the garage phoned me. He had a couple of ideas about what might be wrong with my car. Had I had the timing belt replaced recently? No – it was replaced on 5 October 2018. Did the car make a lot of noise when started? No.
That rather stumped the nice man at the garage. He said he’d have another look.
I did a little bit of ironing then slobbed in front of the telly watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which (yet again) the most critical person was the one whose B&B came last. And then the nice man from the garage phoned again. He had several more ideas of what the problem with the car *might* be, but they were guesses at best, and he was reluctant to run up a bill of hundreds of pounds without finding out what the problem actually was. He suggested I carried on driving the car until the problem happened again.
I walked the dogs over to collect the car. The dogs were as good as gold despite some particularly stupid children. We met one child who didn’t like dogs; he screamed and stamped and pointed at the dogs, who fortunately ignored him. Another brat ran up to Pogo, waved a fist in his face and announced “I don’t like dogs”. As a passing cyclist remarked, the brat will like them even less when he gets himself bitten.
We walked past a group of three children; as we came close one just moved to the other side of his mates, and as they walked past I heard one ask him “don’t you like dogs?” to which he replied “they frighten me”. What a sensible attitude this chap had – he’s scared of dogs so he just moved away.
We collected the car and had a little chat with the chap in the garage. As he said, my car had done a hundred and fifty thousand miles; it is getting old. But all the time it is going, every day is a bonus.
With “er indoors TM” ‘s Monday bowling league starting again I took the opportunity for some serious telly time. A couple of weeks ago I bought the DVD of “Doctor Who: The Evil of the Daleks” and this evening I sat and watched the lot. I’d been looking forward to seeing this for years…
That’s three hours of my life wasted…
12 October 2021 (Tuesday) - Rostered Day Off
There are those people who say that dogs don’t understand what we say. They are clearly wrong. As I came into the kitchen this morning I suggested to “er indoors TM” that we might do the dogs’ flea treatments. We looked round… and there were no dogs. As “er indoors TM” got the stuff out I went upstairs and chased them out from where they were hiding under the bed. They don’t like having the Advocate dropped on their necks. It doesn’t hurt them, once it’s done it clearly doesn’t bother them, but they run and hide every time the stuff is mentioned. It never bothered Fudge, but Treacle doesn’t like it and Pogo has learned from her.
And as for the worming tablets… Fudge used to just eat his tablets. We would offer them to him and he would scoff them down. Getting tablets down their gullets was a serious mission this morning.
As the dogs sulked (with damp necks) I scoffed toast as I peered into the Internet. Not much had happened overnight really. There was something of an argument kicking off over on the “Kent Fuel Info” page; now that someone’s local garage has got petrol again, that someone was calling for the page to be shut down as it was clearly no longer required. Others whose local petrol stations did not have petrol were seeing that as a personal affront. Still more were claiming petrol shortages was not the Brexit they voted for, and even more were gloating that this was the Brexit they’ve got. I’ve mentioned before that it never fails to amaze me how so many people never turn down the chance to quarrel.
I took the dogs out to the woods. As we drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing Chi Onwurah, the Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne Central. Having a degree in electrical engineering, she worked in hardware and software development for over twenty years before becoming an MP, and was making the point that very few of the country’s decision makers have any real-world experience. She’s got a point.
We got to the woods where something was going on. At the end of the car park furthest from the woods were loads of cars and loads of people standing around, al looking set to go for a walk. What was that all about? They must have gone in a different direction as we didn’t see them as we went round the woods. In fact we didn’t see anyone, which is how we like it.
With walk walked we came home and I spent the morning in the garden. I harvested the dog turds, got out the lawn mower, gathered up more turds, started mowing the lawn, found more turds… You’d be amazed how much dung our dogs produce. As I mowed so not-so-nice-next-door came into her garden and made a deliberate point of ignoring me. As civility is clearly beyond her, that was probably for the best.
With lawn mowed I cleaned out the fish pond filter, and as I heard the sound of her piano-ing so I cut back some of the overgrowth coming over the fence from her garden. The rose brambles reach more than half-way across our garden but when I whinged about it some months ago she could see no problem with it.
As “er indoors TM” took the dogs on an impromptu Munzee mission I went up to the attic room and played a little Lego. Some time ago one of the very first things I created in my Lego town was the church, and for all that there was quite a bit going on inside, you couldn’t really see inside. So I took out all the stuff from inside, moved the steeple to the other end and made some stained glass windows. When I was done I posted a video to Facebook then fell asleep for over an hour.
After a rather good bit of dinner “er indoors TM” tuned in to a Zoom meeting with her mates whilst I slobbed in front of the telly watching the first two episodes of “Squid Game”. So far it is rather good…
13 October 2021 (Wednesday) - Brekkie, Boosters
This morning’s shave seemed to be hard work; what with all the excitement of dog flea and worm treatments yesterday I forgot to have a shave then. That rarely happens. Over toast I watched another episode of “Squid Game” which was rather good. It would have been better if not for the rather iffy translations from the original Korean into English.
I then sparked up my lap-top. There wasn’t much of note on Facebook this morning other than religious organisations begging for money to do what they saw as God’s work. These adverts were just wrong on so many levels. Can these people not do the right thing without some supernatural entity telling them good from bad? And why does some all-powerful entity need financial help from me?
As I walked out the door on a rather cold morning so the bloke from up the road was walking to his car which was parked outside our house. He got into it, drove it twenty yards to park it outside his house, then went back indoors. What was that all about?
As I headed off toward Pembury so the pundits on the radio were interviewing one of the leading lights of the shipping firm Maersk who was talking about how their company is directing their ships away from Felixstowe and sending them to European ports as Felixstowe (like all UK ports) is full to overflowing. Apparently there is usually a delay of a day or so between a ship being unloaded and the containers being driven away, but at the moment this delay is ten days in the UK because there aren't enough HGV drivers to shift the stuff. Apparently this isn't news - this delay has been the case for nearly two years (or so it was claimed). Having been told (on the radio many times) that there is a Europe-wide shortage of HGV drivers it now seems that European ports have no shortage of drivers to clear the cargo from ships which unload there (!)
And today there was a lot of talk about WIlliam Shatner (who was the original Captain Kirk) who was getting ready to blast off on Jeff Bezoz's "Blue Origin" rocket and so become the oldest person to have been to space.
I got to work where I tried to deploy a Skyland (as one does - it's a Munzee thing). Having been spending out on magnets I realised that getting a second Skyland might be a cheaper option (scanning bar codes ain't cheap). I bought one last night and had a plan to deploy it in the car park at work where I could Munz it before or after work. Since I already had one there I thought I might double my Munz-ing activity each day. But it turns out that the Munzee software won't allow any Skyland to be deployed within three quarters of a mile of any other. Had they told me that in the first place I wouldn't have wasted my money. So I deployed a Tree House and had a bit of a sulk instead.
I was at work early today, but not where I usually work. One difference between the two places is where I usually work is directly opposite the staff canteen, and I rarely (if ever) smell the food. Where I worked today was the far side of the building from the staff canteen and I usually walk in to the smell of the brekkie there. So with a few minutes to spare I went and had the brekkie. Hash brown, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, scrambled eggs and baked beans all washed down with a cup of coffee. Can't be bad; it certainly stopped my sulking.
On the minus side I had my COVID booster and flu jabs today. But the nurse's insistence that I sat and rested for twenty minutes after the jabs did effectively made for an extra coffee break. Result!
Both my arms ache now…
14 October 2021 (Thursday) - A Pressie for the Pups
I slept like a log and woke feeling full of beans and raring to go… at quarter past midnight. I then saw every hour of the rest of the night and couldn’t get comfortable because of my sore arms. The arm that had the flu jab was a tad tender, but the one where the COVID vaccine went in really hurt.
I made toast and watched another episode of “Squid Game” (which was rather good). I hear that there’s a lot of concern about children watching this show. It’s not really a children’s thing at all. It is certainly rather gory, but I suspect any child watching it would soon get rather bored with it; if you don’t pay attention you soon lose track of what is going on.
I had a little look at Facebook; someone had asked for help in setting up a GPS, and before long several people were using the opportunity to be rather nasty. They could have helped… they chose not to. Such a shame.
I spent a few minutes getting my car out of its parking space this morning. There are a few people who live locally who delight in taking ages to-ing and fro-ing their cars back and forth to get then into the tightest of parking spaces which is all very well all the time it is them who has to get the car out again. If only the highways people would mark the parking bays properly, then I wouldn't have to fiddle about like this in the morning.
I drove off to work through a rather misty morning listening to the radio as I drove. The pundits on the radio were talking about how the World Wildlife Fund are looking for volunteers to help with a walrus survey. They aren't sure how many walruses there are on the planet. They've got quite a few photos of herds of walruses taken from satellites and they want people to count the total amount of walri (?) If any of my loyal readers find themselves at a loose end, I suspect counting walruses is preferable to watching paint dry. I might just have a go myself.
Mind you I am reminded of the British Mammal Society's survey of three years ago when I signed up to tell the British Mammal Society of any mammals that I encountered on my travels. I would take a photo of a mammal and the app would upload it to their servers. Using the photo and the GPS they would know what I'd seen and where I'd seen it. But I told them to get stuffed when they rudely they rejected my offers since they said there weren't any deer where I saw them. Even though there were and I had on 18 June 2018.
There was then an interview with a GP who was up in arms about the government's latest plans for the delivery of general practice. This was followed by an interview with the Health Secretary Sajid Javid who (like most politicians) spouted a whole load of buzz-words and catch-phrases in a thinly veiled ruse to cover his ignorance on the subject. The whole point of a GP is that they are extremely highly trained people. You can't just announce that we are going to recruit loads of them and then ask the job centre to send a few thousand off of the dole queue, which was how he seemed to think he would deal with the shortage.Is it too much to ask that the NHS have a leader who knows something about health care. But then again I suppose we get the politicians we are given. If decent people don't stand for public office then we *will* get the self-serving and the idiots.
Pausing only briefly to get some decent ale from the shop in Sissinghurst (and to cap my new Skyland there) I was soon at work. One of my colleagues had a pressie for me; her friend has an incredibly fussy dog, and rather than throwing out the food her dog won't eat, she periodically brings it in for my two gannets.
With work done I came home to see what my two gannets thought of it. They weren’t impressed on posing for the photo, but certainly scoffed up some of their pressie. Pogo would have had the lot… but he is on a diet – whether he likes it or not.
15 October 2021 (Friday) - Some Ranting
I slept through till twenty past two this morning before waking up full of beans and raring to go, then laying restless for far too long. After a while I gave up trying to sleep and got up. Over toast I watched another episode of "Squid Game" which is now explaining what I thought were some of the more obvious plot holes.
I had a quick Munz-session from the sofa in which I was rewarded with a candy-corn which I traded for a magnet. There's never a dull moment with Munzee, you know.
I considered re-sitting the walrus test before I went to work but thought better of doing so. Last night I signed up to the walrus survey that I mentioned yesterday... and got the thumbs-down. The nice people from the WWF presented me with twenty aerial photos of various beaches and I had to say if there were walruses present. It turns out I can't tell the difference between a walrus, an oil-drum and a rock. Oh well... their loss.
I set off to work rather early this morning. Bearing in mind that I had to be in Pembury at quarter to eight and that the journey home took over an hour and a half yesterday I left home just after six o'clock and did the trip in less than an hour.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking their normal doom and gloom. Shortages of GPs, shortages of lorry drivers, shortages of abattoir workers, shortages of pretty much everything that used to be done by all the immigrant workers who have all now gone home. Did no one see this coming?
I also rolled my eyes when it was announced that at least forty-three thousand people may have been wrongly given a negative COVID test result. The UK Health Security Agency said this as they also announced the suspension of operations at a privately run lab in Wolverhampton. On the one hand I had to spend years qualifying to do what I do, and have to keep my skills up to date, and can get sacked if I make a mistake. On the other hand anyone can just set up a private lab and off they go? Am I missing something here?
Whilst at work today I saw that the Trust has won an award: "Public Sector Employer of the Year". That's good. I must admit I've been far happier here than I was under my last employer who were in the news today facing allegations that the deaths of babies were connected with staff being forced to work up to twenty-hour shifts. With two hundred families giving evidence the the formal enquiry, you have to wonder what went wrong. I suppose the place never really recovered from the debacles of Rodney Ledward or Clifford Ayling.
I did my bit at work; for some reason the Ivor Biggun song "My Grandfather's Frock" was stuck in my head today. I have no idea why...
At tea break a colleague told me of the sad death of someone with whom I used to work. I say "sad death" - I can't pretend to be distraught. I worked with the chap on a few occasions during the late 1990s when seconded to the Buckland Hospital in Dover from time to time, and since that time the chap made no effort to keep in touch whatsoever. In fact when I had my "little episode" ten years ago when I really did find out who my friends were, this chap was one of the vast majority of people who kept their distance.
And now he's gone... Oh well... such is life. And death.
Doing the early shift made for an early finish. With nothing much on the radio I sang along to my Ivor Biggun CDs as I drove home. I decided against going to B&Q for felt for the shed roof; instead I came home, and as “er indoors TM” took the dogs on her Munzee mission I set about some ironing. It don’t iron itself, you know…
16 October 2021 (Saturday) - Early Shift
I was awake far too early again this morning, and used the time to watch another episode of "Squid Game", then sparked up the internet and had a look at Facebook. One or two people have been posting rather nasty memes about being proud to say “Merry Christmas” and not wanting to have to say “Happy Holidays”, and telling anyone taking offence to leave and offering help with their packing….
Now let’s give that some thought… has anyone *ever* actually personally known of anyone who has taken offence at Christmas? No? I suspect the whole thing is a fabrication by those trying to stir hate but on reflection I suppose I might well be one of the supposed offended as I really am an accredited minister of the Church of the Apathetic Agnostic, and my winter holidays are nothing at all to do with anything religious. But I’m not offended enough to do anything about it (that’s what apathetic agnosticism is all about).
As for my leaving… anyone posting these memes is welcome to help me pack, but where am I supposed to go? I’ve lived here Ashford for over half of my life. Originally I came from Hastings but I can trace my paternal line back to 1760 when my family were brickmakers in Essex. I suppose either of those would do?.
However I suspect I’m not the target of those memes. I suspect this is just more factually incorrect racially motivated hatred. Those posting it are those that don’t to go to church from one year to the next.
I must admit I was rather surprised to see that sort of thing on my Facebook feed; I thought I’d purged my Facebook list of these sort of people ages ago. Obviously not…
I quickly capped a Munzee from the sofa then set off to work. As I drove the farming program was on the radio. There was a load of talk about how gene technology was creating new strains of tomato plants. This was being done pretty much in the same way that nature breeds new strains, but in a fraction of the time. But the phrase "gene "technology" had frightened those who didn't understand it, and some of the crackpot questions being asked on the radio were frankly laughable to anyone who has spent more than five minutes reading up on the subject. Of course gene technology and tomato plants is just a microcosm of the whole world. Incredibly few people spend more than five minutes reading up on anything any more. Everyone seems to prefer to continue spreading lies and misinformation that they read on-line. Fear of tomato plants, finding Christmas offensive... it's all a sign of our times.
There was also talk about Sir David Amess; the Essex MP who was stabbed in his constituency yesterday. This is now being seen as an act of terrorism, and there were other MPs on the radio this morning saying that now is the time to stop the general public having direct access to their MPs. I can't pretend that I'm an ardent supporter of democracy but this is perhaps a step too far.
I got to work and had a surprisingly busy day. As I worked “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” phoned. She's been looking to move from her attic flat for some time, and she'd found an ideal basement flat just down the road from where she lives. All she needs now is a team of mugs to fetch and carry all her stuff from one flat to the other for her. If any of my loyal readers find themselves at a loose end over the next couple of weeks and don't mind humping all of her tat up and down the road... please contact her directly. Leave me out of it.
With work worked I came home to an empty house. “er indoors TM” and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had gone down to Hastings for the bonfire procession. I gave it a miss; what with having been at work today, by the time I would have got there I wouldn’t have been able to park within an hour’s drive of where it would all be happening. Instead I took the dogs to the co-op field (where we had a good game) then came home where I set about more ironing. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had left cold KFC in the microwave. The chicken warmed up OK, but chips don’t re-heat any sense.
As I ironed and scoffed I binge-watched the last three episodes of “Squid Game”. Now I’ve seen it all… it started rather slowly, get very good in the middle, and ended with very much a feeling of WTF was that all about with quite a few unanswered questions. I suspect it lost an awful lot in translation.
I hope “er indoors TM” and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” are quiet when they come home. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” left her phone here by mistake and I can’t see them getting home much before midnight… and I’m worn out.
Oh – and today marks six months since Fudge died. There have been a few days when I haven’t pathetically cried about him… but not many.
17 October 2021 (Sunday) - Farningham
Over brekkie I peered into the depths of the internet and saw that someone with whom I used to work was having a birthday today. I’ve not seen the chap for years, but ten years ago when I needed a friend he stood up when many others didn’t. He’s an interesting chap and I’ve often wondered about his lifestyle. Twenty years ago we were both of equal grades (and therefore equally paid). I lived in a terraced house in central Ashford; he lived in a palatial detached almost-mansion overlooking the sea. At the time I drove round in a rather knackered third-hand Austin Maestro (which eventually quite literally blew up) while he sped about in a little sports car which am reliably informed cost about four times our annual salary. He was part of the Worshipful Company of Something-Or-Others who had the right (and used it) to drive sheep over London Bridge once a year, whilst I was a cub scout leader and would periodically shiver in a tent.
How did he live like he did? Were the fruits of my loin *really* that expensive? Did he just run up massive bills?
He’s not the only person I know who seems to lead the champagne lifestyle on a brown ale income either. I’ve often wondered where I went wrong in life… I suspect I’ve left it a little too late to find out.
This morning’s Facebook squabble really was one that you really couldn’t make up. When poor Sid’s time was up earlier in the year we contacted Cherry Tree Gentle Farewells and their vet came to our house and helped Sid pass peacefully. Their service was caring, and professional and I would recommend them whole-heartedly.
A couple of days ago Supervet (off the telly)’s dog died. This was mentioned on Facebook and the vet from Cherry Tree posted a message of condolence. Some rather stupid woman immediately accused the Cherry Tree vet of using the dog’s death to drum up trade and wrote a rather nasty review of Cheery Tree on the Facebook review site. And then it all kicked off.
I then had a little fight with GSAK (as one does from time to time). GSAK (geocaching Swiss army knife) is a rather useful bit of software for people who like rummaging in the undergrowth hunting for hidden Tupperware. This morning I gave it the longitude and latitude of where we intended to park the car for today’s walk and told it to get the information of the thousand closest geocaches. Bearing in mind that we were parking (at the top of the M20) at cache #1 of a series of twenty-five, asking it to find a thousand should have meant it would have got all the caches I needed for the day. It was as well that I checked. Out of the twenty-five caches I actually wanted to know about it had found out about seventeen of them. It hadn’t bothered with remaining eight, but had got information on geocaches in central London and Maidstone.
On the third attempt it finally did what I had asked of it.
With “Hannah” (my GPS) finally programmed for the day we loaded our luggage and the hounds into the car and set off. Now that all the fuel stupidity is over we dared to drive a little way today, and we went up to Farningham. We’ve walked there before a few times, and the views are rather good.
We met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and we set off on a little stroll. We started off walking along a the side of a river where we saw trout swimming. Our route took us through fields where we saw horses and ostriches. We went along lanes and crossed over the motorway (I got photos of the bridge from as we drove under and as we walked over). We could see the Shard and The Toaster and much of the London skyline. We walked through a field of alpacas, and one came up to me to say hello.
Our route today was (as always) guided by a series of geocaches. We found all but one of them; the one we didn’t find had a rather incomprehensible field puzzle to solve. But I did think that the given co-ordinates of the ones we found were a bit off. Were they *really* awry, or was the problem with my GPS? The on/off switch seems to have worn through and needs fixing.
I’ll see if I can find a contact for Garmin…
As we walked I found a plastic coin-thingy in in one of the caches. It had a hashtag on it - #suffolksickle24. It said to log it on Instagram (I think) but the inscriptions weren’t very clear. So I logged it in my second-ever post to Instagram. You can follow me on Instagram if you want. One hundred and seventeen people do; I don’t know why as I don’t post anything over there.
As always I took a few photos today and they are on Facebook. I post stuff there because… because I always have done. I’ll stick with Facebook for now I think.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching telly. We watched the first episode of Prue’s Great Garden Plot in which Prue Leith and her husband showed off to us mere mortals what a wonderful house they’ve just had built for themselves in the Cotswolds; having sold her old house for a mere ten million quid. I’d been looking forward to watching this show as I’ve always liked seeing her on “Bake Off” but I wish I’d not watched it. I rather resent her now…
18 October 2021 (Monday) - Bit Dull
I woke feeling like death warmed up this morning. I made brekkie and watched an episode of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” which was surprisingly good and had quite a few nods to what had gone before (if you paid attention).
I had a very quick look at the Internet to see if I’d missed much. The hate-filled review about Cherry Tree Gentle Farewells had been removed (which was for the best), but I was rather disappointed to see hardly anyone had posted anything at all about their weekends to Facebook. Being a very nosey person I like to see what everyone else has been up to, and this morning was something of a disappointment.
I got dressed quietly as “er indoors TM” and the dogs snored. I thought about making the sort of noise they make when they come to bed but thought better of it and was soon off on the way to work.
It was cold, dark and foggy as I drove to Pembury this morning. As I drove there was a lot of talk about the death of Sir David Amess, the MP who was murdered last week. Whilst his death was tragic and should never have happened, several things came up on the radio this morning which made me think.
It was mentioned that parliament had reconvened today having shut up shop for a few weeks so that all the MPs could go to their party conferences. Is it necessary for *all* the MPs to go to the conferences? Are they all taking part? I doubt it very much. Couldn’t they just watch the edited highlights on the news? When my workplace has professional conferences we send maybe one or two people but the work carries on regardless.
It was also mentioned that parliamentary business was suspended today so that all the MPs could pay tribute to Sir David Amess. I don’t doubt the fellow deserves many glowing tributes, but can’t these be made in MP’s own time? What was parliament doing today that was so trivial that it could wait?
This got me wondering just what hours MPs actually do work. The official website is rather vague on the matter, but it does mention a three-hour lunch break.
I got to work and did my bit on a very busy day; I was glad when it was time to go home. It is a shame that it takes so long to drive home from Pembury but there it is.
Once home I took the dogs out for a walk. There was a minor episode when they both barked at a small girl. The child’s mother wasn’t vey pleased but saw my point when I explained that the dogs were frightened of the strange howling-screaming noise the child was making. Apparently it was some sort of song (?) but as soon as she stopped sounding like a cat in pain so the dogs stopped barking at her.
We went up to the co-op field. As we walked the drizzle got heavier, and was a full-on downpour by the time we were playing “fetch”. We weren’t totally soaked by the time we got home, but we weren’t far off of it.
Being a Monday night “er indoors TM” went bowling… I say “being a Monday night”. Back in the day every Monday night was bowling night and I would get to watch my drivel on the telly. This is only the third bowling night in the last eighteen months but I’m getting quite used to an evening of cuddling up with the dogs and watching the sort of stuff I want to watch.
Two more episodes of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” kept me occupied whilst Treacle snored… and cheered up what had been a rather dull day.
19 October 2021 (Tuesday) - Red Wine and Blue Cheese
I slept rather well; even if my night was plagued by nightmares in which Pogo wouldn't stop stealing bacon. For some inexplicable reason pretty much everyone in the world was eating a cooked breakfast with their plates on the pavements and Pogo was the only dog in the world doing that which you would expect from pretty much every dog in the world.
I woke with something of a sense of relief.
I made toast, and as another COVID test incubated I scoffed the toast and watched another episode of "Star Trek: Lower Decks" which Amazon Prime had warned me contained nudity. Nudey cartoons - what is the world coming to?
I looked at my COVID test and was pleased to see it was negative. I thought it would be as I had the booster jab last week, but there is quite the upsurge in infections going on at the moment. Seeing not much was happening on-line (again) I got dressed and set off for work.
As I drove through the rain the pundits on the radio were talking about how so many companies are making all sorts of claims about how environmentally friendly they are, but it transpires that talk is cheap, and (as yet) there is no reliable way to monitor these claims. So some group is being set up to verify the claims of companies to prove if they are as green as they say they are. For some inexplicable reason this regulatory body is being headed up by the pension department of the Church of England.
My eyes rolled as it was then announced that it was time for the sports news. That is usually incredibly dull. But rather than a continual droning of "blah blah sport" there was a dull crashing sound, and a muffled "oh shit" followed by a rather embarrassed silence. I did chuckle.
There was then talk about gas boilers being phased out over the next few years, and talk of government subsidies to help us all buy heat pumps. I say "help us all" - for all that there was talk of a five thousand pounds subsidy being promised, the total amount of money earmarked is but a drop in the ocean of what is required for everyone to get one. So do I jump in early and got one cheap, or wait a few years and spend more to get one that works better?
I popped to the Sainsbury's petrol station in Aylesford before work. With the national petrol stupidity having ended I'd let my tank get rather low before re-fuelling. But add an empty tank to the increased petrol costs (following all the panic-buying stupidity) I spent more on petrol this morning than I had ever spent in one go before. Seventy quid (!)
I did have this naive idea to get myself a sandwich form the petrol station as well, but they didn't have any. The chap behind the counter suggested (in a rather patronising way) that I should have made my own one at home. I told him I thought I didn't need to as I thought that I was going to somewhere that sold them. He (rather sarcastically) suggested that I might go over to the main Sainsbury's store to get one. I thanked him for that suggestion and made the observation that whilst I was over there I might find the store manager and complain about the piss-poor attitude of some of their staff.
That made him sit up and take notice.
I went over to the main store. I didn't complain, but did chuckle at the three or four of the Sainsbury's staff who were all standing at the newspaper section loudly "WTF-ing" at the fact that Sainsburys now sells the New York Times.
Work was work… I failed to get a photo of the goldfinches having a bath in the puddles on the flat roof, and apart from a passing strange person having a conversation with the tree outside our window, the day was rather dull.
Together with “er indoors TM” and the dogs I went down to the woods for a little walk. We didn’t see anyone else which is always for the best. And with walk walked we came home where “er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching Joe Lycett (the Esther Rantzen of the twenty-first century) and this week’s episode of “Bake Off”.
Some of us had wine and cheese too. The dogs didn’t. they had biscuit, but seemed happy to be included…
I realise I am hardly impartial, but Pogo is a seriously handsome dog.
20 October 2021 (Wednesday) - Missing Out (?)
I was sleeping like a log when I awoke to the sound of the rain on the window. Somehow the rain manages to hit our bedroom window louder than it seems to hit any other window on the planet. When it finally abated I nodded off for ten minutes until the rain started again.
Eventually I conceded that the rain was going to win this battle and I got up to find we'd run out of peanut butter. Not even a dose of "Star Trek: Lower Decks" could chirp me up after that.
I got ready for work hoping that the rain might subside enough for me to get to the car without getting *too* wet. It didn't.
As I drove through a very dark and wet morning the pundits on the radio were interviewing someone or other about the crisis facing the nation's care homes. A government whose underlying principle is the free market was rather surprised to find that care workers are leaving the caring professions in droves because they get more money working elsewhere. I've said before that I wonder why anyone would spend six years training to qualify as a blood tester when they can get fifty per cent more money driving a train after spending less than a tenth as long in training.
There were also claims from the leaders of the country's health care providers to get the country back into some sort of lockdown as COVID infection rates are going through the roof. Does this mean the vaccines aren't working, or (as I suspect) not enough people are taking the vaccines. It was mentioned this morning that only a third of the nation's over seventies have signed up for their COVID booster.
I got to work early as I so often do. I have always found that if I get to the roundabout on the A21 at Lamberhurst before eight o'clock then I have a straight six-mile drive to Pembury, but if I get there after eight o'clock them I am stuck in a six-mile traffic jam. I got there at ten to eight this morning and so drove straight to work. And with time to spare I went to the canteen for the cooked breakfast.
Work was surprisingly busy, but I felt old. None of my colleagues had heard of WIlly Wonka or the theme to "Goldfinger" when I mentioned that the chap who had written them (Leslie Bricusse) had died today. And none of them knew who I was talking about when I mentioned that Jane (out of Rod, Jane and Freddie) had a birthday today and (can you believe it!) the names of Bungle, Zippy, George and Geoffrey just got a sea of blank faces too.
They’ve missed out on so much…
21 October 2021 (Thursday) - Late Shift
I woke a couple of times in the night because of the rain, but I did sleep better than I have done for a while. I suppose not needing to be up silly-early helped.
I had quite a few notifications on Facebook this morning following on from a post I’d made last night. I made something of a decision yesterday as I drove home. Bearing in mind I had intended to trade in my car eight years ago I think it fair to say I’ve had my money’s worth out of it. When I found myself unable to replace it as planned in 2013 I had this idea to put money aside, run the car into the ground and then replace it when it finally went belly-up. Over the last few months I’ve had to take the car to the garage for intermittent problems with an oil leak, the alarm, the parking brake and the starter, and (it has to be said) I’m not so much wondering what will go next as wondering if the bit that goes next will be terminal. I’d like to think I’ve got a few months before that happens, so I’ve got a few months to think about a new car. I’d rather replace it with a bit of thought than replace it in a panic.
What do I want?
My current car is a seven-seater. Do I need something that big? No I don’t. My current car is a Renault as were the last two. Do I stick with what I know - am I being *that* silly in thinking (from watching Anglo-French relations deteriorating on a daily basis) parts for a French car will be prohibitively expensive in the not-too-distant future? I’d like to do my bit to save the planet, but with no practical way to charge an electric car, maybe a hybrid might be a good idea?
My only “must have” point is I want a car with a back end into which the dogs can jump in and out.
So not knowing the first thing about cars I asked for the opinions of friends. I had hoped that everyone else would be far more knowledgeable on the matter and tell me what they would get. However most people told me their good experiences with the car they already had… which realistically confirmed my theory that all brands of car must be reasonably reliable, or they wouldn’t still be in business. Interestingly those who did speculate on cars they didn’t have all seemed to say good things about Ford; a brand I’d never really previously considered.
One thing which did bother me was when looking at some of the finance deals. When calculating the excess milage I really did need a calculator to multiply ten pence by four thousand miles. So much for that degree in maths that I really have got…
I had planned to take the dogs to the woods this morning but bearing in mind the constant rain of the last two nights the place would be a swamp, so we stayed locally where we would be walking on tarmac. We did a quick circuit of Viccie Park, and apart from Pogo barking at OrangeHead the walk passed off without incident.
Mind you there were a lot of “a certain sort” in the park today; Young mothers in fluffy pyjamas stinking of cannabis swearing at the sea of children with them that they were going to be late for school. We saw quite a few of those today.
By the time we got home the washing machine had done its thing so I hung out the laundry, and whilst the dogs snored I wrote up a little CPD, then “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” phoned asking if she could have my old car when I get a new one.
With a few minutes spare I settled the dogs and drove over to the local Ford dealership to have a look at the cars they had there. Having heard great things about the Ford Kuga I was rather disappointed to see that they started at thirty thousand pounds. The Ford Focus was another make that seemed popular, but the rear end wasn't overly canine-dynamic with quite a lip for the dogs to jump over. I quite liked the look of the Ford Mondeo (and the price) but the chap selling them said they were too small for me. Mind you judging by his taste in suits I think I will ignore his comment. It has to be said that the only other suit I've seen like his (apart from on clowns in circuses and on the telly) came in for a lot of ridicule at a scouts jumble sale many years ago.
In all honesty I have been entirely put off of Ford cars by that rather abysmal suit that the salesman was wearing. I'd like to think he was wearing it for Red Nose Day or for a dare. It was *not* the sort of thing that anyone has worn intentionally for over fifty years.
I drove on to Tesco to get peanut butter. I came out with lunch and wine and having forgotten all about the peanut butter, and then headed in the general direction of work. I had to take a detour at Goudhurst though. Finding myself behind two huge lorries which had ignored the signs saying that the road was unsuitable for lorries of that size, I detoured at the Goudhurst Arms to bypass the sharp corner that I knew the lorries would not be able to negotiate. My detour brought me out just below that sharp corner, and I looked up the hill to see not only was one of the lorries stuck, but its way forward was blocked by an equally huge lorry coming the other way (which had also ignored all the warning signs).
I got to work and did my bit. It wasn't a bad bit, as bits go and it had the added advantage of cake too. But as the day went on so I rather wilted, and felt like death warmed up by going home time.
I hope I’m not going down with the bug which laid low so many other people at work…
22 October 2021 (Friday) - Feeling Grim
I slept well, but woke feeling like death warmed up. Realising that I could either lay in bed and sulk, or get on with it, I got on with it.
I made toast, and had a look at the Internet. I roll my eyes at an advert on Facebook for “Vegan Fried Chicken” that had appeared on my Facebook feed. I hadn’t asked for their advert and neither had thousands of other people, and the owners of “VFC” (as they called themselves) were getting increasingly rude and abusive with everyone and anyone who commented on the unwanted advert. I can never understand why vegans make the claim that their food substitutes taste just like the real thing when it simply doesn’t. On what basis do they make these claims? Do they actually eat the meat-based stuff to compare?
It turned out that I’d been presented with the thing on my Facebook feed as the Facebook feds had randomly added “veganism” to my list of interests. They allowed me to remove “veganism” from that list, but it wouldn’t let me see the list. I’m sure there are a lot of things on that list I’d like to remove.
I had an email from the nice people at Credit Karma telling me that my credit sore had gone up eleven points this week. That reminded my that I’ve still not heard back from the bank about why they are disclosing confidential information about my finances to the likes of the nice people at Credit Karma. I’ve been told this happens all the time, but this is akin to my telling the nosey neighbour why someone-or-other was in the hospital out-patients department the other day.
I took the dogs for a little walk round the park, and again reminded myself why I don’t like walking there. This morning the place was full of what I can only describe as “precious princesses”; dogs whose owners shrieked in terror at the sight of Pogo just ambling along the path. And there were quite a few middle-aged Nepalese women who were… jogging? They were going faster than walking pace, slower than running pace, and their awkward gait made each one look as though they had just shat themselves.
It was something of a relief to get home.
I came home to hear the boiler doing its thing… at half past nine? I had a look at the timer, and the timer was twelve hours out. It thought it was half past nine in the evening. I put that right, then as the dogs snored I wrote up more CPD. That CPD blog has a life of its own it has been viewed over two hundred times in the last week, and (it has to be said) it is dull in the extreme.
It was a shame that the dogs had to bark at the postman just as I was getting ready for work, but they soon settled again.
I popped into the corner shop this morning to get lunch and the peanut butter I'd forgotten yesterday. That saved twenty minutes fighting in Tesco. I then called in at two car dealerships doing a little more car research. The Nissan Qashqai (which “My Boy TM” reckons) has a boot which is far too high for the dogs to jump into, and the Skoda whatever-it-was (that the boss reckoned) had a lower boot but looked like the van that my Dad used to drive for the gas board in the 1970s.
With two more cars added to the "no thank you" list I headed off westwards to Pembury, singing along to my strange choice of music as I went.
Work was much the same as ever... these days that means "rather good". Only five short years ago that was very different. We had cake today, but having woken feeling grim, I stayed feeling grim for most (all) of the day. Not even cake could shift that.
23 October 2021 (Saturday) - A Day Off
I was enjoying not having to be up for work when my phone beeped with a message to do a COVID test. I’ve asked the people who send those messages not to do so quite so early in the morning, but to no avail.
Finding myself wide awake when I had no need to be I got up, did that COVID test (negative), made toast and peered into the Internet. A friend had had a birthday meal last night – it was good to see photos. Another friend had been invested as a scout leader. Had I known he was going to do that I would have offered a word of caution. I was a scout leader for thirteen years. I was promised it was only a couple of hours a week and all the other leaders laughed about that… Slowly but insidiously scouting really did take over my life. Pretty much every bit of free time I had was not so much given over to it but taken by it. I was expected to be available pretty much every evening and weekend, and made to feel guilty when work and family got in the way. If any of my loyal readers are thinking about becoming a scout leader I’d start as you mean to go on and set strict limits on how much time you give over to it or it will take over your life.
There was also a rather panic-ridden posting from someone in an American blood bank asking for advice on a rather tricky case. I know what I would have done in her position and that would have been to refer to the National Blood Service and *not* to ask on Facebook. Are American blood banks that poorly backed up that the only route for them is to ask on Facebook?
I drove round to B&Q to get the ingredients for the morning’s project. Not seeing any shed roofing felt anywhere I asked the chap behind the till where it was. The bloke said he didn’t know, and that he didn’t work for B&Q… I did think about asking what he was doing behind the till wearing what looked to be a corporate uniform but then thought that maybe B&Q’s security might be the better people to ask that question. I collared a passing assistant who showed me where the felt was, but she seemed quite proud that they didn’t have any clout nails to secure the stuff with.
Wickes had some, and it was only an extra five-mile journey to get them.
I got home just as “My Boy TM” and Rolo arrived, and we cracked on. A week or so ago “er indoors TM” spotted that a sheet of roofing felt was flapping loose on the shed roof. We took off the torn sheet, cut a new piece to size, hammered it in place… job done. It was one of those jobs that I could have done on my own and taken all morning, or with a little help get it done in an hour. We would have got it done in much less than an hour had the dogs not kept getting in the way.
Leaving Rolo with us, “My Boy TM” went off fishing. We took the dogs out for a little walk. We got to the park and suddenly remembered that today was Ashford Scarecrow Day. We’d intended to have a look-see at the scarecrows anyway, and so we did. Some of the scarecrows were very well done. Some looked like a small child had spent five minutes on it before loosing interest. But I suppose (like all these things) it is a work in progress, and the ones that this year were included to make up the numbers won’t make the grade next time.
We took a little diversion from the park over to Singleton Lake to do a little geocache maintenance as I’d been told some needed doing. As I’ve said before I found myself giving up a morning to do what the person logging “Needs Maintenance” could have done in less time than it took to log that “Needs Maintenance”.
I could have mowed the lawn when we got home… I couldn’t be bothered. We spent the afternoon slobbing in front of the telly watching the first “Harry Potter” film. It was rather better than I remembered it. And after a rather good bit of dinner we watched the second “Harry Potter” film too.
There’s a lot to be said for slobbing in front of the telly…
24 October 2021 (Sunday) - Ham Street to Kingsnorth
Facebook told me today was my nephew’s birthday. It lied; presumably he lied to Facebook. I wonder if the youngsters today are taught to give fake birthdays to social media as some sort of security thing or whether he has just been playing silly beggars? This cyber-security thing is a pain in the glass – it has effectively made my phone useless as it takes (seemingly) an age to get the thing to work every time I pick it up.
There were also a few memes on Facebook this morning about not letting dogs onto the sofa… what’s the point of having a dog if they can’t come up on to the sofa with you? I once went to the home of an acquaintance whose dog wasn’t allowed on their sofa – I sat on the floor with the dog.
I also saw that there is one of these new geo-meets (Community Celebration Event) happening in Margate next month to celebrate the geocaches which have been put out as part of the Creative Coastline project. I might go, if only to find out more about these geocaches – a series of twenty-one geocaches stretching from Eastbourne to Ipswich. But bearing in mind this is in the function rooms of the Turner Contemporary I doubt we’d be allowed in.
That is two geo-meets in November which aren’t dog-friendly… I realise I’m paranoid but is this deliberate?
We got ourselves and the hounds organised and drove down the car par in Kingsnorth in separate cars. We left my car there and drove on in the “er indoors TM”-mobile to Ham Street where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. Today’s plan was to walk the entire stretch of the Greensand Way on which “er indoors TM” had put out geocaches starting at Ham Street railway station and ending up where we’d left my car. There had been reports of issues with some of the caches and other hunters of Tupperware had been rather abusive in some of their logs, and so “er indoors TM” wanted to have a look-see.
We’ve walked this part of the Greensand Way before, but in sections. We’d never walked all the way from Ham Street to Kingsnorth in one go. It was a rather good walk. Mostly flat and all on mostly well marked footpaths. And at about the half-way point some kind soul had put out a picnic table so we could have our lunch in comfort. As we walked we met a very cowardly bull; the cows weren’t bothered by us but this bull was running in terror. And Pogy got something stuck in his paw – minor surgery extracted it, but getting him to keep still took some doing.
There was a dodgy five minutes when we appeared to have acquired a third dog; we met a pup (all on his own) standing in the middle of the path in the woods looking rather forlorn, so we fussed him. We could find no tag on his collar, and as we moved on so he followed us at a distance. After a hundred yards we came past a house and it turned out he lived there. That was something of a relief; I would have brought him home with us rather than leaving him on his own out in the woods.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk. I have to say that or “er indoors TM” will unleash a case of whoop-ass on me. But it *was* a good walk. Mostly footpaths with one or two quiet lanes and so ideal for walking dogs. And we dealt with most of the reported (supposed) issues. One or two caches had rather iffy given co-ordinates. But I’d used my GPS to help with those co-ords when the things had been hidden. Back then there were no leaves on the trees. Today there were a lot of leaves, and that made a lot of difference. Caches which were more in the open were spot on; those in the woods were somewhat awry. One of them giving a location twenty yards away from where it told me earlier in the year.
We had had reports of someone having removed a cache as he didn’t want it on his land… Bearing in mind none of the caches were on private land we did wonder what this was all about. About three quarters of the way along the route the Greensand Way goes across someone’s land. That person really doesn’t like the fact that people can walk it, and there are all sorts of signs making that clear. There were also signs saying he was a naturist… I’ve seen him – I wish he wasn’t.
But the cache which was supposedly removed was actually where it had been placed.
We couldn’t really do anything about the more patronising and sarcastic logs that had been written though. There’s a relatively local pair of Tupperware hunters who (judging by what they write in their geo-logs) seem to look down on the rest of the world. Having found over twenty-six thousand caches between the two of them they clearly get a lot from the hobby. Sadly they also seem to get a lot from the attitude they put into their written logs too. I suppose we’ll always have the keyboard warriors with us though…
But it is a shame that (together) these two have hidden less than forty caches, and only two of those have been in the last six years. And people say I’m being pessimistic when I say that geocaching is dying on its arse.
I took a few photos as we walked, and after six and a half miles we were back at my car. We piled in, and what had taken us five and a half hours to walk only took five and a half minutes to drive, and we were very soon back where we’d left two thirds of the cars.
We said our goodbyes and came home. “er indoors TM” went via Tesco so I took the dogs with me. They were distraught that “er indoors TM” wasn’t with us, and they both cried until she came home. I suspect that had I gone shopping and “er indoors TM” taken them home they would have gone straight to sleep, and slept very peacefully with no concerns at all.
Whilst “er indoors TM” boiled up dinner I had a look at the monthly accounts. To be honest I am far from skint, but I am even further from rolling in money. Is it *that* greedy to want to have far too much money?
We’ll have dinner in a minute… I hope.
25 October 2021 (Monday) - Beware of Imitations...
I slept like a log last night; probably a tad tired after yesterday’s walk. Much as I do love going for a long walk at the weekend, there’s no denying that I ache somewhat afterwards. Especially around the knees. Maybe the poor things are carrying too much weight. Again.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” then had a very quick look at the Internet. Over the weekend someone had come to Ashford and done a lot of my Wherigos and had written nice things in their written logs which was good of them. And I had an email from the bank about the question I had asked them. Why had they told Credit Karma all about my financial dealings? Because (it turns out) the bank is legally obliged to tell them. It seems that my dealings with the bank aren’t confidential at all…
I sent out birthday wishes and set off for work. Just as I got to my car a "Highways Maintenance" lorry pulled up in the road next to me. The chap in the passenger seat got out and went to the litter bin over the road. From it he pulled out a rather long length of metal-coated hose pipe (the sort of thing you have in a shower only about five times longer) and a car battery. He then put them both into the lorry, got back in the lorry and drove off. What was that all about?
I drove to work through a rather foggy morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement that he has allocated six billion quid to clear the NHS's backlog. Well... that's very generous of him, but extra money doesn't sort out extra clinics does it? What is needed is more NHS staff time. And bearing in mind I've just had my first complete weekend off work in three months (not counting two weeks of booked annual leave) I for one am not keen to take on many more extra shifts. There is a limit as to just how much more we can all do. Quite frankly I'm looking to spend less time at work and maybe even retire.
The long-term plan for the NHS is *so* obvious... Fill the vacancies (as there are quite a few). How do we do that? By turning the clock back forty years and taking on school leavers and training them and paying for their formal qualifications (like they used to do). And stop hoping that graduates will come into the NHS having paid for their own educations when they know full well they have massive debts and can get far more money elsewhere (like they aren’t doing these days).
Under one scheme the NHS had applicants for jobs. Under another the NHS does not.
There was also reports that the average GP thinks that he average over-55 is incapable of operating health-related apps on their phones.
Should I take offence at that? I shall take that to mean I am smarter than the average over-55
I got to work where we had cakes. Lots of them. Perhaps not as enjoyable was a case of malaria. And as I worked a couple of colleagues asked if I was OK. They were worried about the messages I'd sent them over the weekend.
It turned out that over the weekend someone had copied my Facebook profile picture and cover photo, created a new Facebook account using my name, and was sending out messages about crackpot religions. I squealed them up to the Facebook feds and within an hour the fake profile was gone... but it gave us all something to chuckle about.
With work worked I came home. Just as I parked the car so “er indoors TM” and the dogs walked past. We walked home where “er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner then went bowling. I got out the ironing board and as I slaved away I watched a film on Amazon Prime. “Adventures of a Plumber’s Mate” is free to watch on Amazon Prime and for all that it features quite a few nudey ladies without any clothes on, in all honesty the kids of today should watch it in their history lessons so as to realise what the 1970s were like.
The snowflake generation really would lay an egg…
26 October 2021 (Tuesday) - Bake Off Day
I slept well last night; when the dogs are settled, so am I.
I made toast, and scoffed it whilst watching the last episode of the second season of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” which was surprisingly good for a cartoon which just takes the piss out of the show. With a few minutes to spare I had a look at the Internet. One of the fishing pages I follow on Facebook had posted a weather forecast, and one or two people were lambasting them for it. Apparently fishing-related Facebook pages should stick to what they are set up for…. Some people just look for arguments.
I sent out a quick birthday message and set off and walked seemingly miles to where I'd left the car. I really do think it is time to move house - somewhere a tad smaller with off-road parking. It's a shame “er indoors TM” isn't interested.
Getting round the dustbin lorry in Brookfield Road took some time, but before too long I was on the way to work. The pundits on the radio were talking about tomorrow's budget; not so much the details of the budget (which are apparently now common knowledge) but about why they are common knowledge. The Speaker of the House of Commons has got the arse because the newspapers have heard the budget plans before the House of Commons did. He's even alluded to Hugh Dalton who in 1947 resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer because he blabbed to the newspapers before talking to Parliament.
It just strikes me as being yet another example of what a redundant institution the House of Commons really is. Take for example the recent scandal about raw sewage being dumped in our rivers. Parliament wasted time debating it. The House of Lords also wasted time debating it. Then all the MPs voted the way their party leaders told them to vote, and the government got to do what it had been planning all along because that's the way the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Government operate.
Time for a new way of running the country, perhaps?
I got to work just as it was getting light and smiled at the security guards... Does a hospital *really* need a security force? Seriously?
But we had cake today. I say cake - we had shortbread biscuits. But they were excellent. The young lady who'd made them had her contestant knocked out of last week's episode of "Bake Off" and so she had to make cakes (or biccies) for us all. I must have missed the “Bake Off” draw, but there's too many of us at work to all be in it. And not being in the draw means I get to scoff the cakes without having to make any. Win-Win!!
Being on an early I got to come home whilst it was still light, and I took the dogs to the co-op field for a little play… Or that was the plan. As we got there so two other dogs were waiting to come out. They were accompanied by a rather dopey-looking teenager who was seemingly staring into space, utterly oblivious of the world around him.
Treacle started snarling at these other dogs and immediately Pogo flew at them. I yanked him back and forced both dogs into the sit position. I had this naïve idea that the grinning half-wit with the dogs would walk his dogs away and we might then go into the co-op field. Unfortunately the grinning half-wit just stood and grinned, and after a few seconds Treacle started growling which set Pogo off. I saw red and yanked them both back and loudly told them that they had had their chance, blown it, and were going home. At this point the grinning half-wit seemed to wake up, realised what was going on and said that he would get his dogs out of the way. I told him that his idea might have worked ten minutes previously and that we would try again tomorrow.
I marched the dogs home in disgrace; I was furious with them both… well – furious with Treacle. Again to anyone watching it seemed that Pogo was the villain of the piece, but in reality he was taking his lead from Treacle’s reaction. He doesn’t have a problem with other dogs all the time his sister is happy. But she has taken a dislike to pretty much all the other dogs on the planet.
We came home and the time we could have spent playing in the co-op field was instead spent doing CPD. As I wrote stuff which was dull in the extreme, poor Pogo sat on the sofa looking at me realising I was cross. But I wasn’t cross with him. What wound me up was that the dog who had spoiled our walk was blissfully unaware that she’d done anything wrong and was laying next to him sleeping the sleep of the just.
“er indoors TM” came home and boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s episode of “Bake Off”. I won’t say who lost, but I will say that whoever it was that lost means that someone at work will be bringing in cake at some point over the next week. Result.
As I write this, Treacle is cuddled up on the sofa next to me… I’m still cross with her.
27 October 2021 (Wednesday) - This n That
I didn’t have the best night’s sleep; spending much of it fighting Treacle for bed space. When I finally conceded defeat I got up, did another negative COVID test and made brekkie. As I scoffed it I started watching a new series on Netflix. “Inside Job” kept me amused whilst I scoffed brekkie and rather struck me as a cartoon remake of “Men In Black” – there really is nothing much original on telly these days is there? (That’s probably why “Squid Game” was so popular). A review of the show says 'Inside Job “provides a few hours entertainment but not much else” which made me wonder just what else a cartoon show is supposed to provide.
I registered my COVID test on-line, sent out three birthday wishes and had a little look-see on-line. The people of Ashford were seemingly up in arms about some dog which had been running off of its lead in Willesborough yesterday. I was glad it wasn’t either of my dogs getting the abuse, but the “Ashford Kent Read All About It” Facebook group isn’t a good one. It is full of incredibly cowardly people who wouldn’t dare to even open their mouths when out and about in public but are full of vitriol and nastiness when safely behind their keyboard and behind a locked door.
I also saw that yesterday evening Kent Police ran a public engagement meeting to tell the world about the measures they are taking to safeguard women and girls whilst out and about locally. I can’t help but feel that Kent police would inspire a lot more confidence if they’d told the world what they were planning to do before the event rather than letting us find out afterwards. I found out from the Facebook page of the local Green party parliamentary candidate who didn’t seem to be overly impressed with what she’d seen at that meeting and had asked for comments from locals. I considered pointing out that the utterly inadequate street lighting throughout the town needs to be removed and replaced, but thought better of saying anything. It is always a good idea to avoid posting to that part of the Internet; you so easily find yourself embroiled in an argument you never started.
Pausing only briefly to collect my rewards (our Munzee clan reached our monthly goal overnight) I got dressed and again walked seemingly miles through effectively unlit roads to where I'd left the car (three streets away) and set off to work.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the NHS Track and Trace scheme. Having cost the nation thirty seven billion quid the thing has turned out to be something of a shambles with less than fourteen per cent of over half a billion lateral flow device tests issued ever having had a result registered. So what is the answer? Personally I'd look at what other countries have done and copy their (far cheaper) schemes.
There was also a lot of concern expressed about the Queen's recent stay in hospital and the announcement that she won't be headlining at the upcoming international COP26 summit in Glasgow. All sorts of speculation abounded... Why is anyone speculating about Her Majesty's condition? She is forty years older than me and I'm knackered. I expect she just needs a rest as she's been overdoing it lately. In any event Prince Charles will probably show up (as her stunt double) as this will probably be his chance to shine. It has to be said he needs one. Climate change might just be the making of him. For years many people have seen him as a bit of a joke and have dreaded his taking the Throne. It may well be that he really will be the right man at the right time?
Despite being rear-ended in the hospital car park I got to work relatively unscathed, and was rather disappointed to find there was no cake for once. But work was work (as it usually is), and an early start made for an early finish (as it usually does).
I came home and took the dogs to the co-op field hoping for a better walk than yesterday. There was a minor episode on the way to the field as some passing mad woman started shrieking “doggies – doggies” at the pups and started making weird kissing sounds at them. Fortunately I managed to get the dogs away from her before she upset them too much, and we did a quick circuit of the co-op field. Pogo got incredibly over-excited at the prospect of a game of “fetch” but lost interest after two chucks, but Treacle seems to be getting the hang of the game.
With walk walked I then fell asleep on the sofa and dozed on and off for a couple of hours. Fast asleep when I want to be awake, and wide awake for much of the night…
28 October 2021 (Thursday) - Buying a Car
Treacle dossed down on the other side of the bed last night. I heard “er indoors TM” and her fighting a few times, but slept far better than I have done recently.
I made brekkie and rolled my eyes as I read Facebook. Someone with whom I used to work (and who really does know better) was posting all sorts of factually wrong anti-vaccination crap to Facebook. Why do people do this when they can find out the error of their ways after less than twenty seconds using Google? I suppose the problem is that this would be the same Google they used to find the factually wrong crap in the first place. This woman was trying to tell me about the massive changes that she claimed happen to human red cells in vaccinated people. Presumably she’s forgotten what I look at through a microscope for much of my working day. (if anyone is in any doubt here – the COVID vaccines DO NOT change the shape of your red cells. I look at them every day and would see if they did!)
And then I read about the Community Ownership Fund; one hundred and fifty million quid of taxpayers’ money. It has been set up to help communities take ownership of assets and amenities at risk of closure following the pandemic and will run for four years. One of the first recipients were the good people of Bethersden who’ve been given a quarter of a million quid to re-open their local pub.
I was going to rant about how Bethersden is a village only five miles from home. The average house there costs about twice as much as the average house here in Ashford, I can’t afford to go out on the razz and they are having a pub paid for… but then I remembered a rant I ranted on 25 November 2017 when I was spitting bullets about a local fishery which charged nearly a thousand quid membership per year who got a massive charity bung… purely because they asked for it when no one else did. Very few of these community grants seem to go to the people who deserve or need them; they all seem to go to the people who ask for them. A subtle difference.
I got the dogs onto their leads and we drove down to Orlestone for a walk. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the French authorities have impounded a British trawler for illegally fishing in French waters. Someone or other was being interviewed who was saying how important it was to de-escalate the situation… War with France in my lifetime? I’ve said before that it will happen.
Wars with France aside we had a good walk. Pogo barked at one dog, and another dog barked at us. People who walk their dogs at Orlestone realise this happens and where there would be a load of arse-ache in Viccie Park, we just had laughs and smiles today.
With walk walked both dogs fell fast asleep, and I drove round to the local Sainsburys petrol station where fuel was two pence per litre more expensive than in Aylesford, but not having enough fuel to get to Aylesford rather put paid to that economy. As well as petrol I also got my lunch. Eventually. The silly woman on the till was adamant that I didn't want the sandwich I'd chosen and was insistent that I had the one of her choosing. Eventually I got my way, and then drove up to West Malling. Last night “er indoors TM” had seen a car advertised on the internet which was in a showroom there, and it looked to be what I was after.
I drove up to West Malling where I agreed to let a trainee saleswoman have a go at me (under strict supervision). To be honest she didn't really have to do a lot. She showed me the car I'd seen on-line, we had a test drive, I liked it and said "yes please".
There was endless paperwork to fill in; I rather confused the issue for them though. Having been putting new car money aside for years I only wanted to put half of the cost of the car onto their finance deal. But the paperwork was done in less than an hour. I left them spraying the new car’s upholstery with dirt repellent (dogs, eh!), told them I would be back tomorrow to collect it, and drove off in the general direction of work.
I stopped off on the way to buy a rather humungous box, and once safely in the works car park I started the rather mammoth task of unloading all of my tat out of the car and into the box. I expect much of it will get thrown away when I come to sort it out; have a look in your own car - how much petrol do you waste carrying so much rubbish round with you in your car?
I then had an argument with the bank. I phoned them to tell them that tomorrow there would be a huge payment going out of my account, and could they make a note to allow it to proceed. They said they couldn't, and that I had to phone them within half an hour of my making the transaction tomorrow. I told them that would not be convenient; they didn't care. I told them moving my account to the Nat West wouldn't be convenient either but I would do that too if they didn't buck their ideas up. The chap on the other end of the phone pretended not to understand. I've deliberately gone with a finance company and not my bank as I don't think I will be staying with them for much longer..
Let’s hope they don’t stuff up the payment tomorrow…
29 October 2021 (Friday) - Getting the New Car
I was woken by the sound of a dog whimpering and stomping round the bedroom. I got up and Pogo seemed to be rather frantic. He ran to the back door and was in the garden for some time. He went out again as I scoffed brekkie. I wonder what’s upset his stomach.
I watched another episode of “Inside Job” then had a look at the Internet. One of my ex-trainees (from fifteen years ago) was selling her house… for over a million quid. At the time she made a couple of comments about her job being more of a hobby as her boyfriend (now husband) was keeping her. If I had my time again I would follow his example and be a plumber. The photos from the estate agent blurb made her place look like a palace. I sighed, and looked round my (rather small) living room. They say money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does allow you to be miserable in extreme comfort.
Driving to work was rather sad this morning as my old car did that journey one last time. As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting their drivel as they so often do, expelling so much hot air saying so much whilst saying so little which was actually worth saying. The most memorable part of a particularly unmemorable forty-minute drive was Pope Francis talking on the "Thought for the Day". He droned on (literally droned) in his native language whilst a translator repeated his words in English spoken with a frankly ridiculous put-on accent. I'd like to think that the Pope's speech lost a lot in translation as it really was "blah blah blah". I've got this theory that all the clergy know that whoever they are speaking to soon looses interest in them, and so they don't bother trying to make sense as they know no one will be listening after the first thirty seconds.
Work was surprisingly varied today; rather than having an allocated duty today, I was shifted from pillar to post as the need arose. In all honesty I quite liked it.
I managed to skive off an hour early, and drove up to West Malling. I arrived in the car dealership’s car park and phoned the bank. After what seemed like an age I got through to someone who (quite frankly) barely spoke English and after several misunderstandings she then transferred me to an English-speaking person who told me I had half an hour in which to buy the car, after which time they wouldn’t let me have my own money. So I went into the dealership and asked if we could do the money bit right away. The nice lady laughed – they were clearly used to the bank being difficult.
Once it was all paid for I then had to tax the car. Another lady helped me with that. I don’t know what was the most impressive – the fact that the new car’s road tax is only twenty quid per year, or her chest. With her blouse unbuttoned to her navel, her norks were certainly set to full power.
There would be those who would accuse me of being a reactionary sexist about that last sentence. I would challenge those people to sit where I sat for quarter of an hour…
And then I was given the keys and sent on my way. With the dashboard display telling me the car had a range of ten miles I drove a few hundred yards up the road to get petrol. As I drove, all the other cars were flashing me… The new car didn’t have automatic headlights. How did the headlights work?
I went back to ask.
I set off again, and realised there was an odd scraping noise, The rear windscreen wiper was on. How did I turn that off?
I went back again to ask.
From the dealership it was only a short distance to the motorway. I had a plan that thirty miles driving down the motorway would give me a feel for the car. As I drove I heard all sorts of strange noises… that all came from passing lorries.
Once home “er indoors TM”
came out to have a look at the new car. Eventually she got in
to the car – only the driver’s door can be opened from the outside. I
need to work out how to change that. I’ll look at that tomorrow, eh?
30 October 2021 (Saturday) - Early Shift
Finding myself awake far too early (again) I made toast and watched an episode of “Inside Job”. It kept me amused for half an hour, but I got the distinct impression that (like so many American shows) if you aren’t American you miss an awful lot.
With nothing happening on Facebook so early in the morning and no emails at all having arrived overnight I got ready for work as everyone else snored.
Taking care to turn the new car's headlights on this time (unlike yesterday) I set off to work through a dark morning via the garage in Brookfield Road. The new car told me its back left tyre pressure was a tad low so I put some air into it. Not knowing what the pressure should be I stopped at thirty psi. It turned out that wasn't enough, but bearing in mind I'd started at seventeen I saw that as being better than it had been.
Being rather proud of myself for having figured out how to tune the radio to Radio Four I drove to work listening to the farming program on the radio. Usually I sing along to my rather strange choice of music, but at that point I'd not seen the car (properly) in daylight and didn't know where the MP3 input was.
The pundits on the radio were talking about climate change and methane emissions. Apparently British farmers are responsible for most of the country's methane, and the Prime Minister has pledged to radically reduce the methane output of farms. The farmers being interviewed didn't actually say "tell Boris to get knotted", but that was their sentiment. They were quite clear that they didn't feel in any way bound or constrained by anything that Mr Johnson might have said.
There was also talk of fertiliser prices. Apparently the cost of the stuff has trebled in the last year, and one farmer was saying that having bought a job lot of the stuff last year he sold it this year at a far greater profit than any profit he might have made by actually using the stuff to grow crops.
As I drove so the rain started, and I got to turn on the windscreen wipers (having found out how to operate them yesterday). Unfortunately I'd arrived on the motorway just at the same time as a ferry-load of lorries was heading up it. As always both lanes were filled with lorries. There seems to be a new thing with lorry drivers in that they seem to be flashing their headlights (with the intensity of lighthouses) randomly and for no reason. As I drove, the lorries going off into the distance in front of me and behind me and over on the opposite carriageway were flashing like things possessed. They've been doing this for a week or so now - what's that all about?
I got to work just as dawn was breaking, and it was with a sense of relief that the car park barrier opened for me. I'd updated my details on the works car parking website last night and it would seem that the update had taken. And as I reversed into a parking spot I discovered that the car has reversing sensors too. Result!!
Work was much the same as ever. I don’t mind working at the weekends when the weather is bad, and there were torrential downpours for much of the day today. Being the weekend I popped to the hospital canteen for lunch. Sausage roll and chips followed by apple pie and custard. Not too shabby at all.
And then it was time to come home. Apart from the test drive this was the third time I’d had a go in my new car, and the first time in daylight. Being able to see the USB slot I plugged in my MP3 stick and the thing worked. And I can play my strange tunes in random order too – something the old car couldn’t do.
I stopped off at the garage in Brookfield Road on the way home. The tyre pressure was still what it had been this morning so I suppose that is a result. I put some more air in, but again probably not enough.
I arrived home to find Cliff visiting. Whilst we keep up on Facebook, I don’t think we’ve met in person since before the pandemic kicked off. It was good to catch up.
And then I went and sat in the car and read the instructions. Or some of them. Having pumped the driver’s seat up I’ve now adjusted the steering wheel so I can see the dials and things. I’ve put the time (and date) right. I’ve set it so that all the doors open when I unlock the car (not just the driver’s door). I’ve programmed some radio stations into the music thingy.
I’ve still got to sort out the tyre pressure issue, and the spare key thingy doesn’t seem to work (even though I’ve replaced the battery) but I shall worry about those tomorrow.
“er indoors TM” sorted out a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the third “Harry Potter” film. I’ve not seen that for a while; it was rather good… As was the bottle of rioja and the bottle of amaretto we saw off too.
31 October 2021 (Sunday) - Lazy Day
I woke to the sound of the rain hammering on the bedroom window; we did the right thing in not planning a walk out today. I popped to the loo, and in doing so left an opening which Treacle immediately exploited. Having slept well for a few hours, the next few hours were something of a battle for bed space. Ans just as I finally got to sleep so my phone beeped with an automated message from work telling me to do a COVID test.
I made brekkie and as I scoffed it I had my usual trawl of the Internet Facebook presented me with a memory - was it really twelve years since I was in the world record time warp?
I spent a few minutes looking at the paperwork for the new car, activating the warranty and generally farting about before looking at You-Tube videos about tyre pressure sensors. One of the videos featured one of the screens I’d seen on the car’s display yesterday. I *think* that once the tyre pressure warning sensor activates, it has to be manually reset. I can do the re-setting; I’ll go to a tyre place tomorrow and check all the pressures are right before I reset anything though.
I had some emails – a new series of geocaches had gone out not too far from home – that will be something to do over the next few weeks. However the things are quite spaced out. Looking at the geo-map that’s probably because there’s some puzzle caches in the way.
There are two sorts of puzzle geocache:
The sort I hide has a very simple puzzle to solve which takes people to the final location of the film pot you’ve hidden. This has the advantage of not having the complete newbies finding it – the sort who take it home to show their mum (they really do – I’ve had it happen!)
And there are the other sort (of which I have set two) with a frankly insoluble puzzle which would take people to the final location of the film pot you’ve hidden *if* they could solve it. Which they can’t. This has the advantage of making you feel incredibly smug because you think you are oh-so-clever but has the disadvantage of making you rather unpopular in geocaching circles. There are those who try to out-do each other in setting fiendishly difficult puzzles, and I know of one such puzzle (now archived) which had no solution at all. You found that geocache by asking for the location and promising not to tell the person who this puzzle had been set to thwart.
You can probably guess which sorts of puzzles are in the way of this new series. I wasted the morning struggling trying to make sense of them and got nowhere really. One of these puzzles has only been solved eight times in six years. So frustrating.
As the rain continued “er indoors TM” went to get some shopping and I put away the CDs that came out of my old car (there was a pile of CDs eighteen inches high - I measured it!), then I got on with some ironing.
By mid-afternoon the rain had stopped and the sun had come out, so with ironing ironed and “er indoors TM” still shopping I took the dogs for a short walk. We went to the co-op field where we played “fetch” for a while. A very short while. Treacle soon became rather quarrelsome and wanted both balls. Poor Pogo wasn’t allowed a ball at all and he’s nowhere near as fast as Treacle who managed to get both balls every time; even when they were thrown in completely different directions. On the plus side we didn’t argue with any other dogs or people on today’s walk, so the walk wasn’t an entire disaster.
We got home just as “er indoors TM” arrived home. She had brought cake home, and we scoffed that with a cuppa whilst failing to solve more geo-puzzles.
Over a rather good bit of dinner we watched the first episode of the new series of “Doctor Who”. And following on in the same vein of the last few years it was utter tripe. Without wishing to give away too many spoilers, pretty much every episode of the show these days features the end of the universe and the plot is getting somewhat repetitive. Admittedly the writers have got rid of two of the show’s most tedious characters, but Jodie Whittaker isn’t cutting it in the role of The Doctor. Rather than trying to make the most of rather bad scripts, she is doing an over-enthusiastic imitation of Christopher Eccleston.
Such a shame…