1 September 2016 (Thursday) - Late Shift
Another restless night. No matter how tired I get and despite the best efforts of my CPAP machine I simply cannot sleep for long enough because I cannot breathe. I lay awake for much of the night and when I should be up and about and doing things during the day time I find myself falling asleep. I *really* hate that. And everyone takes photos of me asleep and plasters them all over Facebook as though it is some great joke. Would people do the same if I was having an epileptic fit or a diabetic coma?
Hopefully more surgery up the nose will cure the problem; even if only temporarily. The appointment with the ENT specialist can’t come soon enough.
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Lots of people were posting pictures of children in school uniforms getting ready to go back to school. I glossed over them as quickly as I could before I started experiencing “Swadelands flashbacks”; I had one or two letters of complaint about "My Boy TM" over the years (including one when he was snogging when he should have been doing lessons) and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" was never the ideal pupil.
I had hoped for an email telling me of a new geocache on the way to work but my morning haul of emails was rather dull. So I checked out the news – The Crystal Maze is to come back to the telly; this time with David Tennant running the show. Personally I always liked Ed Tudor-Pole in that role, but doesn’t this just sum up what is wrong with TV at the moment? With Star Trek and Red Dwarf due for new series soon and Poldark coming back on Sunday (to say nothing of Are You Being Served), there are so many re-makes. Let the old stuff go. Make new programmes!
I took "Furry Face TM" for a quick walk round the park. He humped a small fluffy dog to the consternation of some silly old woman who wasn’t at all impressed by my telling her that he had been “done” three years ago. She could tell he hadn’t been “done” because of the expression on his face. I tried to show her his lack of “flowers and frolics” but she was having none of it. Apparently you can tell if a dog has been done because it has a chubbier happier expression. One lives and learns. I suppose my little dog has lost a lot of weight recently after his illness, but he still doesn’t have any “flowers and frolics”.
We also saw a very odd jogger. Her legs seemed to be outracing the rest of her, and were a good foot (if not two) in front of her top half. She didn’t look to be at all comfortable.
As I walked my phone beeped with an email from the pet insurance people. They weren’t happy that I hadn’t filled in their questionnaire which they claimed they’d emailed me last week. So once home I had a look on-line. I’d asked the insurance people to pay the money from my claim (after "Furry Face TM"’s stay in dog hospital) into my bank account. No payments had been made. I felt physically sick and, expecting the worst, I gave them a ring. I *need* that six hundred pounds.
I got through to a really helpful chap who looked up my details and said they’d only received the claim form yesterday. He went through the details and saw a lot of information (that the vets were supposed to supply) was missing. He said he’d need to contact the vet before he could even begin to look at the claim. And furthermore it usually takes twenty-five days between receiving the claim and paying up (or telling the client to get knotted).
The nice man was at a loss to explain why I’d been sent the questionnaire. I filled it in; entering “don’t know” for most of the answers.
I then spent a few minutes on my latest project. In September 1998 a gaggle of us spent a weekend camping at a certain farm in Smarden. Over the years we’ve camped there a few times and I for one took photos. I did have a website of memories of those camps, but when mankybadger dot com was wiped (cheers EE!) they all went west. However that website hadn’t been updated for years and so it’s prompted me to re-make that website. It is still all in the early stages; in fact so far I’ve only got the camp from 1988 done. If any of my loyal readers have any photos or memories from any of those camps please do email them to me. In the meantime I’m ransacking everyone’s Facebook photos. I’ve made the decision that any photo I can find on-line is fair game to use. From personal experience I’m pretty sure I have the legal right to do this, but if anyone objects… don’t make your photos public (dur!)
I’m off to work now. I’d rather not have done the late shift today; there is a session of watching bats at Singleton Lake this evening. I suppose I could have got myself organised and swapped my shifts, but I never got round to it…
2 September 2016 (Friday) - Sevenoaks, Fishing
I was wide awake and breathless after only three hours sleep, and so was sitting up watching “South Park” ay 3am. After a couple of rather lame episodes I was able to breathe relatively easily so I went back to bed only to find my side of the bed had been hijacked by a small dog. I worked myself around him, and slept until 6am.
Over brekkie I watched this week’s episode of “Dark Matter”. For all that I like the show I have absolutely no idea of which character is what, and have no idea what is going on. Perhaps I need to watch the lot again from the beginning.
I then had a look on-line. There was something on Facebook which made me sigh. Apparently research has now found that smacking children when they are badly behaved actually makes them better people. This is something I’ve been saying for years; it has always been my experience that those who advocate against corporal punishment either have no experience of children or have the most ill-behaved brats.
I watched one such ill-behaved brat shove its small sister over in the park the other day. The father tried to reason with the brat and explained how the smaller one’s feelings had been hurt. The one that had done the shoving just did it again. A crack on the arse would have been far more effective; and would only need to be applied once.
I then spent a little while going through photos of myself which people had posted onto Facebook in which I was asleep. I’m sure my habit of nodding off at inopportune moments is really amusing to some; to me it is a matter of extreme frustration. I’ve untagged myself in all the photos I can find.
I then popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we drove up to Sevenoaks Weald where seven of us (and two dogs) had a rather good walk round the beautiful Kentish countryside. Some rather wonderful views, pretty woodlands… it was only a shame that I had to finish off the rabbit that one of our pups didn’t quite kill cleanly. But that is survival of the fittest for you. And I even took a few photos as we walked. Today we wandered for about four hours. We covered a shade over five miles and made twenty five geo-finds; finishing just as the rain started.
I do like the mid-week walks. I find a geo-series that I haven’t done that looks as though it will fill a few hours, solve the nearby puzzles just in case we might be walking past them, then I just ask who fancies going for a walk. Sometimes no one is free, and other days (like today) there are several of us. Someone else has done the hard work in organising the route; all I do is ask who wants to go for a walk with me and my dog.
We made our way home, and arrived home just as "er indoors TM" was pulling up. I helped her load her car (she’s off to geo-camp with Fudge) and I loaded my fishing gear into my car and went round for "My Boy TM". We then had three hours tiddler-bashing at Singleton Lake. We soon lost count of the amount of fish we’d caught (but both agreed I’d had most) so we decided to have a competition based on who caught the most species of fish. I won – Dan didn’t catch any bream.
By seven o’clock the light was failing and we were both rather cold so we gave up. I dropped "My Boy TM" home, then I got myself a kebab and chips for dinner, and settled down in front of the telly. “Game of Thrones” doesn’t watch itself…
3 September 2016 (Saturday) - Blasts from the Past
Another restless night; I woke feeling rather lonely. With both "er indoors TM" and "Furry Face TM" at geo-camp the house seemed rather empty. I made some brekkie and was scoffing it whilst watching “Killjoys” before seven o’clock.
I then thought I might do some laundry. I’ve been unable to locate any tea towels recently. I found them all in the washing basket. So I set the washing machine loose on them and had a go at emptying my letter rack.
First of all was bank statements. I knew they wouldn’t be pretty, and they weren’t. The bank has also sent me a contactless credit card. I’ve not had one of these before. I wonder if I will ever use it.
I then had the 2016 Federation of Astronomical Societies handbook. A rather well-produced booklet. It doesn’t look as though it was cheap to make, I doubt anyone will ever actually read the thing, and it had the wrong contact details for our astro club.
Having heard the washing machine was done I hung out all the tea towels and ran out of pegs. I’d had this plan to mow the lawn, but heavy rain overnight meant the grass was soaking so I carried on sorting the contents of the letter rack.
Car insurance renewal documents, house insurance renewal documents, dog insurance renewal documents. And I found two dog insurance claim forms. I’d been waiting for those and having given up waiting in the end I’d downloaded one. The claim forms were partly filled in for me; they said Fudge’s birthday was 28 August 2010. I wonder if that is right?
I had an offer of insurance on the water pipes coming in and out of the house. I’m hoping that is covered on the house building insurance; it was last time. And I had a voucher for fifteen pounds off of the next car service. I could have used that last week (!)
I had a letter from the Halifax building society telling me of changes to an account that I don’t think I have.
And there were three Ordnance Survey maps in the letter rack. I wonder what they were doing there.
With the letter rack sorted and once again empty I then cracked on with the Bat-Camp archive. I must admit I’m finding it rather hard work. The more recent years will be easier as I’ve kept regular diaries since 2006, but so far I’ve done the first three camps. Admittedly they are now over sixteen years ago, but surely someone must remember something from way back when. It would be good if they did because I don’t. Which is why I started writing this diary.
Mind you I did find something of a treasure trove; loads of photos from the August 2000 camp, but all in .cam format. With a little fiddling about I turned them into .jpeg and then I posted the lot up to Facebook. I shall use some of those later. I then had a rummage and also found a hoard of piccies from 1998 and another from 1999.
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned. Did I want to drive her out to Headcorn to watch s friend doing a parachute jump? To be honest I didn’t. I’ve had this annoying cough and cold for a day or so and a morning spent slobbing about was what I had in mind.
My laptop then asked if I would mind if it had a little updating session. Bearing in mind that it was nice to be asked I said it would be fine. It was at this point that it told me the update might take an hour and a half, so I left it to get on with it, and despite the grass being damp I mowed the lawn and watched another episode of “Killjoys”. The show is somewhat like “Dark Matter” in that although I quite like it, I have no idea who is what, and what is happening.
I then spent the afternoon in bed. The original plan had been to go to geo-camp, and the backup plan had been the beer festival at the rugby club. But a colleague needed to swap his shifts so’s he could get married and so I felt I ought to oblige.
After three hours sleep I got the washing in, had some scoff, watched a documentary about the Kray twins, and now I’m off to work…
4 September 2016 (Sunday) - End of an Era
I had a rather busy night shift. I must admit I was looking forward to listening to the radio on the way home. For all that I’m hardly the most pious of heathens I do like listening to the church services on the radio on a Sunday morning. Sometimes… However today was not one of those days. Today’s service was a celebration of the Great Fire of London (why would anyone celebrate that?) and rather than having uplifting hymns they just had awful caterwauling and howling instead. Apparently such wailing passed for music in the seventeenth century.
Mind you talking of things ecclesiastical I see my old church is up for sale. When I was a lad I went to the Boys Brigade at St Helens Methodist in Hastings, and for a while I got quite wrapped up in that church. We got married there, the children got christened there… I’d heard it had closed. But to see it up for sale is rather sad. I can remember we had a rather major fundraising bash to rebuild the place some thirty-odd years ago. We raised tens of thousands of pounds (in the 1970s!)
I wonder if it is too late to get a refund?
I had planned to go to geo-camp for brekkie, but it would have added nearly an hour on to my drive, and if I’d gone I would have got chatting and involved in whatever was going on, and I’d already been up all night. So I was sensible and I came home. I stuck some whites into the washing machine, and over a spot of brekkie I had a look at the geo-map. I’ve sorted out a little walk for in the week. If any of my loyal readers would like to join in, you’d be very welcome. Especially if you know who Soter, Hyginus, Anacletus, Linus, Telephorus and Eleuterus are. The names feature in a puzzle and I’m pretty sure they were Popes.
With washing hung on the line I went to bed at 10am. I slept thought till shortly before 4.30pm.
I had a late brekkie, and wrestled with some geo-puzzles as I slowly woke up. Usually I wake raring to go, but I’m often a little groggy when I wake up at 4.30pm. I got the washing in, and "er indoors TM" and "Furry Face TM" came home from their adventures.
And I missed an anniversary – yesterday was five years since we first met my little dog…
I’m off to the night shift now.
5 September 2016 (Monday) - After the Night Shift
After a rather busy night I was rather disappointed to see it was raining this morning. I’d planned to take "Furry Face TM", "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" for a little walk round Great Chart this morning. Geocaches don’t maintain themselves you know. But where I had in mind is liable to flood, so we abandoned that idea and walked round the park and out to Singleton Lake instead. We got some bread and flung it to the ducks. I say “to”, little Jake was trying to throw it “at” the ducks. The ducks were entertaining; each duck that actually got any bread immediately got bitten on the backside by all the other ducks that didn’t get bread. Ducks can be rather nasty to each other.
As we walked the fine rain persisted. The annoying fine ran that doesn’t look as though it is enough to worry about, but after five minutes leaves you absolutely soaked.
We came home, and I set an alarm for a few hours and went to bed. I woke shortly before that alarm was due to go off because someone’s car alarm was going off outside. So I had a late lunch (whilst watching South Park”) then had a look-see on-line. There were a lot of posts on social media about people “going back to work” today. Sometimes teachers boil my piss. They get *very* touchy whenever it is implied that they work less than twenty-five hours every day, but have made great show of having just had six weeks paid holiday over the summer. Do they realise that this one holiday is far more time off work than most people get all year?
I also saw there had been absolutely no takers whatsoever for the astro club’s event which is planned for this Saturday. The astro club’s been asked to help out with a stargazing event at Dungeness. Admittedly I’ve got other plans, but the membership has been asked if they might like to take part. No one’s replied. On the one hand this might seem discouraging. On the other hand should we expect people to be getting involved. When they join the club what exactly are people signing up for? I’m fast coming to the conclusion that all the punters want is a once-a-month show. That is something we do very well. Maybe we shouldn’t be trying to do any more than the monthly meets?
As is always the case after a couple of night shifts I found myself feeling rather tired, so I sat quietly and carried on working on the Batcamp Archives. I got stuff about three more camps up, including another archive of photos, this lot from 2005.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and with her bowling I managed to stay awake through some of yesterday’s TV that the SkyPlus had recorded for me. “The Last Ship” was OK, and I quite liked “Poldark”.
And in closing today, did you know that as well as this diary, I write another blog. For professional reasons I am legally obliged to keep a record of all the ongoing extra-curricular studies I do which are work-related. I have to read journals, reflect on case studies, read professional newsletters… it is all rather dull really but every year one out of every twenty registered biomedical scientists is required to prove they are actually doing continuing professional development. I find writing what I do as a blog works for me. Every time I do something worthy of note (which is three or four times a week) I make a few notes, then every so often I write up my notes and publish them. I’ve made the blog public; when I first started the thing I did so as an example to the trainees. Now things are rather different (I don’t supervise the trainees any more) but I’ve never bothered to change the privacy settings. And over the years the thing has developed a cult following. I published a few entries on Saturday, and yesterday ninety-eight people logged on to read them.
I wonder what people expect to get from that blog; it is rather dull.
6 September 2016 (Tuesday) – Bidborough
The aftermath of two night shifts is that I do sleep well. I woke to find "Furry Face TM" fast asleep on my bed. He looked comfortable so I left him be. Hence the expression “let sleeping dogs lie”.
Yesterday I mentioned my work-related blog. In total ninety-eight people looked at it on Sunday, and a further seventy-four yesterday. It seems popular. I might do more with it if my heart were in it…
I’ve had a message from one of the avid readers of that site asking how best to progress as a professional bloodologist. How should I respond? Like all jobs it’s not a bad one but being extremely specialised and with opportunities so few and far apart, unless you are prepared to up sticks and move half way across the country for a job it it is difficult to progress. And by the time you’ve made friends and settled somewhere who *really* wants to abandon everything for a job?
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Apparently the end of the world is coming next summer. That will be nice. I remember the first “end of the world” that I lived through in 1980. It was something of a disappointment as have been all the subsequent ones.
We eventually persuaded "Furry Face TM" to eat some brekkie, then as "er indoors TM" went off to work me and my dog went for a walk. I’d been looking on the geo-map to find a short(ish) walk, but that map is quickly filling up with places I’ve been. But a few days ago I realised that with a little creativity and map-reading I could cobble a route starting at Bidborough church down into Southborough and back in a rather pissed circle. I’d posted on the local geocaching page to ask if anyone fancied a stroll. Most people were working today, but not everyone. I arrived at where we’d agreed to meet to find Dick rummaging in a hedge. Gordon and “Norton- scourge of rabbit-kind” soon arrived, and we set off for a little walk.
Bearing in mind we weren’t following a specific geo-trail but were effectively making it up as we went along we were rather dependent on the GPS units. There’s no denying they were all playing about somewhat today. I had a theory about a Tonbridge geo-magnetic anomaly. Everyone else had a theory about power cables and tree cover. But we navigated our route without too much difficulty
Mind you there was a *lot* of upping and downing involved, and it was a humid day; I was glad for the bottle of water I was carrying.
Geocache-wise it was an odd walk. Usually these geo-series are all put out by the same hider and you soon get into that person’s way of hiding Tupperware in the forest. Being a route we’d bodged together the caches were hidden by various different people. Some were in excellent repair. Some were in a right old state.
We got back to the cars having been out for three hours; “Hannah” said we’d been walking for two hours and stood still for one hour, and had covered a shade over five miles. That sounded about right.
I took a few photos as we walked. I do that sometimes…
Once home my little dog took himself off to his basket. It is easy to forget he’s not long out of dog hospital and he shouldn’t be overdoing it. Over a lunch of a stale cheese sandwich and Tizer (haute cuisine!) I watched last night’s episode of “Dark Matter”. It was very entertaining but I had no real idea what was going on. When the season ends (which it will soon) I shall watch the lot again from the boxed sets section of my SkyPlus box to see if I can make any sense out of it.
With a little time on my hands I then sorted out the Batcamp archive for 2006. My Batcamp archive is slowly coming together; I managed to find quote a few photos for this one.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good omelette for dinner, and the clans gathered. We bandied a few insults, then watched an episode of “Supergirl”. Have you ever seen the show? It is quite good, but as super-heroes go, she is rather crap…
7 September 2016 (Wednesday) - Before the Late Shift
I slept through the night, which wasn’t a bad thing. Even though my sleep was plagued with odd vivid dreams. I woke to a nose bleed; I’ve not had one of those for a while. It does make shaving tricky.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Dad’s Army”. Private Pike had been called up to join the RAF but was turned down because of a rare blood group. The episode was somewhat spoiled for me by the trivial detail that “rare blood groups” hadn’t been discovered in the time in which the show was set; to say nothing that a rare blood group is generally no obstacle to having a transfusion.
I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park. I did snigger; just lately the Internet has been awash with pictures of schoolkids looking immaculate in their new school uniforms. As we walked we saw many schoolkids, all of whom looked as though they’d slept in their school uniforms having worn them for three weeks and having climbed through a hedge in them.
Mind you for all that the mothers on social media are grumbling about school uniforms, they do serve a purpose. I see that a local headmaster is in trouble for insisting on a standard for school uniforms. I think he’s right to do so. I can remember the “fun” we had at cubs with uniforms. All the time kids stuck to the uniform, all was fine. However the moment we eased up on the insistence on cub uniform the kids immediately started coming in the most expensive designer clothes, and there would be a competition to see who was in the most fashionable clothes each week. And those kids from the poorer families who couldn’t afford to spend a week’s wages on a T-shirt were made to know just what paupers they were by the other kids.
A school uniform has its uses.
Remembering the trouble I had getting to work when on the late shift last week, I left home rather early this morning. Having failed to find a geocache in Kennington I then drove out to the pond shop in Challock. I’ve found them to be rather arrogant in the past but I needed flocculant. Bearing in mind their arrogance I suppose it is no surprise that they’ve now closed.
I then set off work-wards, but seeing I still had a little time I stopped off at the garden centre in Chartham. You can’t beat a cup of coffee and a slice of cake…
After cake the rest of the day was a tad dull.
8 September 2016 (Thursday) - Bit Bored
My piss boiled somewhat when I had a look-see on-line over brekkie this morning. The official geocaching blog made a howler of an admission.
When I go geocaching I use third-party software on my GPS unit and then use more third-party software to do my geo-admin. Or I use an app on my phone which a private individual developed. I *don’t* use the official app because it is not fir for purpose.
I go out looking for sandwich boxes which were put out by the public, and were reviewed by volunteers. Just recently a decision was made to only allow challenges on the geocaching website which were administered by other volunteers. Today geocaching dot com’s official blog admits that the app they have made to do the hobby they own isn’t anywhere near as good as apps made by other people. And have you seen their website; I leaves a *lot* to be desired.
I can’t help but wonder what goes on at geocaching HQ; they are entirely dependent on volunteers and third-party hobbyists to keep going, but they seem to have loads of paid staff, What do these people do with our money?
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we set off out early. The idea was to get to Badlesmere before the rush hour traffic picked up, and to be finished with our walk before the heat of the day set in. Just as we were leaving the phone rang. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" wondered what we were up to. She wanted to come on the walk, so we drove round and waited about for her and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM".
We eventually got to Badlesmere, but only got fifty yards into the planned walk before giving up. I blame myself; I should have paid more attention to what they were wearing. Flimsy shorts and T shirts don’t stand up to stinging nettles. Being totally unprepared we abandoned and came home. The plan was to get long trousers and try again, but as we drove she got a better offer. We arrived back in Ashford at about the sort of time I’d actually planned to be finishing the walk, so I just took "Furry Face TM" round the park and sulked a bit.
With nothing else to do I went up into town to have a look around. I only look round Ashford once every few months. Today I came to the conclusion that the town now is nothing but tattooists, hairdressers and charity shops. I’d got a two-hour parking ticket; I was on my way home after half an hour.
I came home via the vets. They’d sent me a letter saying that I should pick up flea treatment and worming treatment for Fudge. I got there to be met by blank faces; he wasn’t due for either. Apparently their system randomly tell people treatments are due when they are not.
Ironically I then got two texts from the vets during the afternoon asking me to collect flea and worming medicines…
Over a spot of lunch I watched one of the episodes of “Game of Thrones” that my SkyPlus box recorded yesterday, then ironed for three hours before spending an hour or so dozing on the sofa. I don’t like doing that, so I forced myself awake, and spent a little while looking at my website. When mankybadger dot com died (actually was killed by EE) a lot of stuff went with it. Although most was backed up, some of it was probably best left to die… I spent an hour this afternoon bringing back the most relevant stuff (although I’m still working on the batcamp bits). But I’m in two minds about the kite and the snakes and the bike ride stuff. That was from ages ago; it isn’t really relevant anymore is it? On rummaging I found *loads* of stuff from way back when. Once I’ve sorted the batcamp archives I might put up some of the old stuff just for fun.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we devoured whilst watching “Tattoo Fixers”. I’ve decided exactly what I want for my new tattoo… when I can afford it.
9 September 2016 (Friday) - Seeing My Mum (and Dad)
After a surprisingly long time spent asleep I watched an episode of “South Park” over brekkie. Randy was being laughed at by all and sundry because he’d bought a branch of the once-popular video store “Blockbusters”. For all that I sniggered it made me think. Hiring videos was all the rage once.
I then found myself embroiled in a petty squabble on Facebook. These petty squabbles all go the same way:
· Me posting in a discussion: “I disagree with you for the following reasons”
· So many other people posting in a discussion: “You are wrong and you are stupid and I will give you personal abuse for having an opinion different to mine”
It is getting a little bit tiresome now… Sill on the plus side I see that “Yonderland”’s third season is starting soon.
"er indoors TM" set off to work. "Furry Face TM" and I drove round to collect "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM", and we went down to Hastings to visit my Mum and Dad. They like seeing the littlun. I’m not sure why, he comprehensively destroyed everything he could, and had a very good go at that which he either couldn’t or was stopped from destroying. Mum and Dad seemed well; they fed us to bursting with coffee and cakes. The plan had originally to come home via McDonalds, but I was too stuffed for that.
We got home shortly after mid-day, and as is so often the case before the night shift I was really tired, so I went to bed for the afternoon. Sleep would have been nice but between the phone ringing and my dog woofing it was a rather noisy afternoon. I dozed off and on, and finally gave up and sat through this week’s second episode of “Game of Thrones” before setting off for the night shift.
I’d rather have stayed at home though…
10 September 2016 (Saturday) - Steam, Cake, Stuff
I made my way home after a surprisingly quiet night shift and was surprised to find I was driving home behind our nutty neighbour. What was she doing in Canterbury at 8am this morning? If we were on speaking terms I would ask her. He got home and I made a point of laughing at her attempt to park her car. She is an odd woman; she seems utterly unable to learn. She simply cannot park her car to save her life. When parallel parking she often has he car at (quite literally) right angles to the pavement. And her piano playing is abysmal. She has been playing the piano and parking her car for over ten years, and she is as bad at both today as on the first time she tried either.
I was rather pleased to see my little dog sitting on the back of the sofa when I got home. For all that he’s getting better he still is reluctant to jump. I’m taking his having jumped onto the back of the sofa to be a good sign. Mind you on seeing me he wouldn’t stop barking until we went for a walk.
We went round the park. As we walked I got talking with a Polish chap. He was casing the river to find a good fishing spot. I think that river would be difficult to fish; for him doubly so as he was using a sea fishing rod. (For those of my loyal readers who are not of a piscatorial bent, a river fishing rod is a gentle thing of elegance. A sea fishing rod looks like a broomstick with a rope tied to the end).
I’d forgotten about the Saturday jog-a-thon round the park but we seemed to have been early enough to miss most of it. As the joggers started we adjourned to the co-op field where we narrowly missed OrangeHead.
We came home to find next door was clanging her piano. I scoffed a bit of toast, then took myself off to bed for the morning. After a couple of hours I got up, we had cake and coffee then we took "Furry Face TM" out. "er indoors TM" had some geo-maintenance to do, and me and my dog came along for the ride. Whilst we were out we popped in to visit Cheryl and Lacey. Cheryl wasn’t happy – they’d been swimming at Ashford International Hotel’s pool. It was cheaper than the sports centre, they had the place to themselves, but they’d left in a hurry when they found a turd floating in the Jacuzzi.
We then went round to spend the afternoon with Drew and Anita. They were having a garden party to raise money for some charity or other. We had a good afternoon chatting with friends, eating cake, and playing with small model steam engines. Small model steam engines are surprisingly good fun.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of tea, then shoved off to the Saturday film night. I stayed home and polished walking boots and programmed “Hannah” whilst watching “Star Trek: Insurrection”. I’d not seen that film for a while, it was rather good. “Alien” is on now. I shall go to bed; that film frightens me…
11 September 2016 (Sunday) - Crawley Down
I slept well; I do for a few days after a night shift. Over brekkie I spent a few minutes working on the 2008 entry for my Bat-Camp archive. I say “a few minutes”; it was the best part of an hour. It is amazing how long these things take. I then had quick look-see on-line. Not much had changed overnight, which was probably for the best.
I then hung the washing on the line, and pausing only briefly to collect Suzy-pup we set off for Surrey. We would have got there quicker had there not been fifty cyclists in the way; all of whom thought they were cars. As a nation we need more cycle paths; it would be better for everyone.
We soon met up with Karl and Tracey and the girls, and we walked up the road a little to find Dave, and nine of us and two small dogs set off on the Crawley Down Crawl which was billed as a series of twenty-four geocaches over six and a half miles.
We had a rather good walk; the weather was glorious. Our route went through woodlands and bridleways and footpaths. Mostly clearly marked; we didn’t take too many wrong turns. We saw horses and buzzards, and had a rather good picnic. I even got to try out my new stool; ideal for picnic-ing. And we finally decided the definitive difference between a cottage and a bungalow and a house.
We picked up a couple of extra caches as we walked, and at the end we tried for a couple of mulitis. Bother were missing. We’d got permission to replace one of them (and we did). We replaced the other one and sent the C.O. an email telling him we’d been helpful. Some people appreciate the help; others don’t. Let’s hope we were appreciated.
We got back to the cars to have “Hannah” tell me we’d walked about ten miles.
We then drove for a mile or so to “The Curious Pig in the Parlour”. It is a rather good pub. We found ourselves a table in the garden and had a couple of drinks and then had some dinner. I had pizza; I’d certainly have it again. The burgers looked excellent; the child’s portion burger looked to have been more than enough for me. And "er indoors TM" had a rather good plate of fish and chips.
I slept most of the way home…
I took a few photos whilst we were out. I do that.
And in closing, yesterday was something of an anniversary. It marked ten years of my continuous blogging. You can read all of it here as the first three years were recorded on the now-defunct Yahoo360.
Ten years… I suspect in years to come "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" will wonder what his Grandad did for his first forty-two years.
12 September 2016 (Monday) – Squirrel
I slept like a log last night; I think I rather caught the sun a little on yesterday’s walk. Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. I had an email from the chap whose geocache we replaced yesterday; perhaps I’m being over-sensitive but I got the distinct impression he wasn’t happy about our being helpful.
I also saw the BBC are in the throes of making an animated version of the lost Doctor Who story “The Power of the Daleks”. It looks rather good; they did something similar with a lost Cyberman story. It is only a shame that the BBC require you to register before sharing any more details.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little walk round the park. The cycle path from Bowens Field to Viccie Park was heaving with schoolkids, but once we got to Viccie park we hardly saw anyone. Mind you there was a dodgy five minutes with a squirrel; as we walked into the Chinese garden I heard an odd sound. For a moment I thought a duck was stuck up a tree. But it was a squirrel who was quite obviously shouting abuse at Fudge. My dog got quite stressed trying to get to the squirrel, but the tree rat was quite safe up the tree. I’ve not seen squirrels do that before: I wonder what that was all about.
I went to work via Matalan this morning; I wondered if they had any trousers that I liked. They did. In the past I've always got my trousers from them. But just lately I've gone to Go Outdoors. On reflection I don't really know why I've made this change. I shall go back to Matalan for trousers from now on. They have decent trousers that aren't either so thin that they split after a good fart, or cost the Earth. Go Outdoors have had their chance in the trouser department and blown it.
I also had a look in Morrisons. I got some apples from them. They aren't cheap.
As I drove the radio was spewing its usual drivel. This morning was "Women's Hour". They started off by interviewing schoolchildren who were taking up apprenticeships rather than going to university. As one girl said "if you aren't doing what you love, what's the point?" She seemed a very wise young lady, unlike the next interviewee.
They then wheeled on some mad Welsh hippy who was saying what a wonderful language Welsh was, even though she admitted that no one in her circles actually spoke it. She was saying how poetic it was, and then burst into song. In English. I wish she hadn't; she sounded awful.
I got to work, my heart wasn't in it as I did my bit. I found myself constantly hearing the words of the young girl on the radio this morning. A very wise young lady.
And with my bit done I came home. The nights are drawing in; it is now dark when the late shift finishes…
13 September 2016 (Tuesday) - Bit Dull Really
I went to the loo shortly after 4am this morning; as I was about to get back into bed I tripped over my little dog who was sleeping on the bedroom floor. Just as I dozed off he started coughing. I say "coughing"; it was more like a duck's quacking. I was about to take him for a drink of water when "er indoors TM" leapt up, grabbed him and unceremoniously dumped him on me.
We both lay in terrified silence after that.
Over brekkie I watched Sunday's episode of "Poldark". It was rather good. I can remember my Grandmother and various aunts watching a version of the show in the 1970s and thinking it was utter rubbish. Either this version is far better, or I'm just getting older.
With neither "er indoors TM" or "Furry Face TM" moving from their pit I left them both and set off to work. As I drove I caught up with the news. there is talk of shaking up Parliament by getting rid of sixty MPs and re-arranging the constituencies so that they all have about the same sized electorate. A sensible idea... if you believe in democracy.
Apparently Jeremy Corbyn is one MP whose seat would disappear. That might solve a problem or two.
And there is going to be a by-election as David Cameron is to resign as a Member of Parliament. It will be interesting to see where he goes and what he does. What does a deposed Prime Minister do once given the heave-ho?
And I was rather amazed to hear that one of my favourite TV shows; The Great British Bake-Off will no longer be on the BBC after the current series. Apparently the BBC can't afford the show and it will be moving to Channel Four. The pundits discussing this said the BBC offered fifteen million quid to the makers of the show, but they wanted twenty-five million.
Will it work on Channel Four? Here’s a thought - the BBC does not run adverts. Channel Four does. Will each episode now be twenty minutes shorter?
I got to work, and came home again. Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a walk. Fortunately for my nerves he didn’t misbehave at all. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. And hen we went round to deepest Willesborough where the clans gathered, and I nearly (but not quite) stayed awake for an episode of “The Flash”
14 September 2016 (Wednesday) - An Anniversary?
Yesterday was the hottest day of the year and the hottest September day for over a hundred years. Consequently it was a rather hot night; I didn’t sleep as well as I might have done.
Over brekkie I watched Monday’s episode of “Dark Matter”; now the show is coming to the end of the season it is getting rather good. I then checked out the Internet to see what had happened overnight. Not a lot, it would seem.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were saying how the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has decided to blame David Cameron for the terrible state of affairs in Libya. Following a military intervention of a few years ago things have gone seriously tits-up in Libya, and David Cameron now seems to be a rather good scapegoat. Isn’t it a sign of our times that people are more interested in assigning blame than solving problems.
And so to work. Today was something of an anniversary. It is thirty-five years to the day since I first started working for the NHS. During that time I’ve worked in a variety of positions in seven different hospitals. I’ve had good times and bad. (And some which even now I gloss over…) I’ve seen some changes, some for the better, some not so. I used to quite enjoy it, and after thirty-five years I can only say that it is not a bad job. There are a *lot* worse things I could be doing.
But I can’t help but wonder “what if”.
I did my bit, and came home. Once home I took my little dog round the park. I took a photo as we walked, and when I went to post it to Facebook (as I do) my phone didn’t choose Viccie Park as the default location. Instead it chose “Pure Pleasure Zone”. It does that a lot. I did a little looking, and it turns out that “Pure Pleasure Zone” is a random house along Jemmett Road. It is listed on Google as a “gift shop”. However it is lacking in any customer reviews. I can’t help but wonder what “gifts” it supplies.
I did notice "Furry Face TM" seemed rather subdued as we walked. I do hope he’s not sickening for anything again.
Bake-off’s on in a minute….
15 September 2016 (Thursday) - Up The Creek (well - Medway)
One of the “features” of my new lap-top is that it automatically backs up my data to some unknown place on cyber-space. A good idea in theory; in practice it does that at the expense of everything else it is supposed to be doing, so for the first half-hour after boot-up the thing Is practically unusable. I’ve turned this “feature” off. Why do I.T. types insist on calling such troublesome ideas “features”? “Disadvantage” might be a better description.
Over brekkie I read the news with a sense of “WTF”. The Secretary of State for exiting the European Union has told the House of Lords EU select committee “I may not be able to tell you everything, even in private hearings” when referring to the negotiations he will be conducting on the nation’s behalf. He’s told members of parliament (on Monday afternoon) that full transparency would not be in the country’s best interests.
Now why are all those who voted to leave the EU because they felt that the European Parliament was forcing rules onto the UK (supposedly without our say-so) happy with this?
"Furry Face TM" seemed a little excitable, so I took him for a walk round the park. On the way he tried to pick a fight with a bus, and he had a respectable attempt at humping a Red Setter and a Labrador. I put him on the lead as OrangeHead hove into view. She is an odd woman. When I met her when he is on her own (as I did today) she is polite, civil and friendly. However when surrounded by her little gang she doesn’t even deign to acknowledge my existence. She asked if I’d seen Lynne. Presumably Lynne is her Chunky Little Friend; I hadn’t seen any of her posse this morning.
Once home we settled the pup in his basket, and "er indoors TM" drove us out to Teapot Island. We’d both taken a day off work today to go out in the canoe. We soon parked near the water’s edge and got the canoe inflated. There was another group getting ready to go sailing. We said hello, and I politely and jokingly told their four-year-old (named “Bloomer” apparently) that the golden rule of sailing was to watch out for the sharks.
I didn’t know she’d spent the last few weeks in terror of actually being on the receiving end of a shark attack in the Medway…
Leaving “Bloomer” to her family we set off. It was a lovely day for a sail up the river; partly because of the wonderful weather and partly because no one else was sailing up the river. I don’t know what happened to “Bloomer”’s crew (perhaps a shark *did* have them?) but we only saw two other sailors all day.
We went up the river; the first half was easy enough but suddenly something changed. Where once all really was plain sailing, suddenly we were all over the place and spinning in circles. We eventually got to the lock where we came ashore for a picnic, and we pulled the canoe out of the water and we gave it a once-over. Disaster! The skeg had gone missing.
(For those of my loyal readers who are not of a nautical disposition the skeg is a sort of fixed rudder. For those of my loyal readers who are *really* not of a nautical disposition, if you haven’t got a skeg then the canoe just keeps going in circles).
The idea was that we would paddle upstream to begin with, then paddling back to the car would be going with the current and would be easy. Without the skeg it wasn’t as easy as it might have been. Once we’d got back to the car I consulted my GPS unit “Hannah”; we’d done a total of five miles sailing.
A day out isn’t a day out unless we hunt for geocaches – we found three along the river. There were others we didn’t find. One such failure may well have been responsible for the loss of the skeg.
Mind you I quite liked the sailing, but there is no denying that it did nothing for my tennis elbow. There is talk of taking "Furry Face TM" canoeing. We’ve got a life jacket for him, but I think he’d get bored, and then do a “dog overboard” chasing ducks.
I took a few photos as we sailed. Once home I posted them on-line as I so often do, and then once "er indoors TM" had showered off the river water (I didn’t bother) we drove round to McDonalds. We soon met Steve and Steve and Sarah and Jimbo and had a rather good McDinner. "er indoors TM" then went crafting, and the rest of us went round to visit Denver for a meeting of the astro-committee. Lots talked about, lots planned, maybe changes, maybe not… all good stuff.
I’m off to bed now. I’m worn out. Today was a holiday?
16 August 2016 (Friday) - This n That
Yesterday was a rather demanding day and with a rather cooler night that we have had recently I slept like a log. It was only a shame that my dog had to start shouting at the dustmen at 6am. I didn’t get back to sleep after that.
Over brekkie I got another year sorted on my Bat-Camp archive. So far the thing seems rather biased toward my recollections simply because no one else has offered any. I then made a start on writing up the minutes of last night’s committee meeting, but soon got bored so I updated the astro club’s website a little instead. There has been a few changes to the program for the next few months; some at rather short notice. And the list of astro events (which was my idea) was now a little out of date. But the website is now current. For a while.
My laptop then decided it wanted to have a little updating session so I took "Furry Face TM" for his morning constitutional. As we walked up the park we met a rather strange child. He insisted on making a fuss on Fudge, and told the world at large that this small dog was his cousin. His mother didn’t seem at all fazed by this announcement; one wonders what goes on in that family.
We also had another run-in with a squirrel in the Chinese garden. At almost exactly the same place where we were on Monday, a squirrel was squeaking abuse at my dog. I wonder if it was the same squirrel. Shortly after that it started raining.
As we walked my phone rang. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned with a torrent of abuse and profanity because she had left the baby’s car seat in my car. It was as well that I was on a late start today.
I spent a few minute having a look-see on-line, then set off to deliver the car seat. Littlun seemed pleased to see me, but soon got irate when he realised that I was just paying a flying visit and he wasn't having a ride in granddad's blue car. (He calls my car "blue car")
I then carried on to work; as I drove "Women's Hour" was on the radio. That show annoys me. It so often features aggressive man-hating harridans shrieking about how women are brilliant and all men everywhere are conspiring to piss on women's chips by portraying them as bimbos who should stay at home and do housework. And so today the show completely undermined itself by wasting twenty minutes whilst the presenters clucked about the latest clothing fashions.
I stopped off at Morrisons to use the cashpoint machine. I was pleasantly surprised to find I had forty quid in my wallet where I thought I only had a tenner. Result!
I then got petrol, and popped into "Go Outdoors". My shooting jacket has been wearing thin. Looking back the thing is now six years old; I got it from a rather dodgy market at Portland Bill on 3 May 2010 (a diary is a wonderful thing!), so I've had my money's worth out of it. I've treated myself to a new one - I wonder how long this one will last.
As I left the place the rain started.
I got to work just as the torrential rain started, and I spent most of the day listening to the rain against the window, and watching it out of that same window. I had a wry smile about "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". They'd gone on a day trip to Bodiam Castle. I did tell them that they would get wet, but "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" was insistent that all the attractions were inside. I bet she was cursing...
The plan had been to go out this evening after work but by the time I’d navigated the detours because of the closed A28 I couldn’t be bothered…
Maybe next time…
17 September 2016 (Saturday) - Ryarsh to Trosley
I didn’t sleep that well last night. I’d parked my car round the side road but there are parking restrictions there – I can only leave it until 8am. So I lay awake for much of the night listening out just in case one of the cars parked outside my house might drive off. None had by 7.50am, so I moved the car a lot further away than I would have liked.
In retrospect I should have bought a house with a drive.
I then had a look-see on-line. Alan Rubins has asked me to add him to my LinkedIn network. I have absolutely no idea who this chap is. Have I ever met him? Do we have mutual friends? If any of my loyal readers know who he is, please let me know.
Annabella Richard wanted me to forward her all my banking details so she could carry out some elaborate scam. Do people still fall for that old rubbish?
Amazon were recommending books I’ve already bought from them.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and set off. "er indoors TM" was off to a CITO event in Rye. That involves physical labour, and my elbow was still painful from the canoeing on Thursday so I thought I’d give that a miss. Instead I set off for Ryarsh. There are three series of geocaches up there. Last year in a fit of bravado I thought we might do all three circuits in one day. We didn’t. We sort of did part of each of three circuits. It turns out Matt had done something similar and was going back to do those he hadn’t and had asked if anyone would like to join him. With no better offer at the time I’d said I’d go along, and despite the drizzle we set off hoping for the best.
The rain soon stopped as we were soon in Ryarsh. It wasn’t long before we were all together, and we set off on a rather good stroll. There was a dodgy five minutes with Fudge; I let him off the lead and he flew at a cat. However the cat stood its ground and just sat and glared at him. My dog didn’t know what to make of this, and just barked at the cat until I chivvied him away. In comparison the three squirrels he chased later paled into insignificance.
We had a good walk; beautiful scenery and views with excellent company. It turned out that all of us had done varying parts of the geocaches in the area; we probably visited about sixty. Thirty were ones I’d not done before. And as time was pressing we ended up cutting our walk shorter than it might have been. Bearing in mind we ended up having walked over twelve miles that’s rather good going.
I took a few photos as we walked. Once home and showered I popped them on-line then we went out for a birthday celebration, Charlotte is now twenty-one, and so a meal at the Riverside was in order. Wonderful food with wonderful friends; I really should go round to the Riverside inn more often.
Mind you that fourth pint might have been one too many…
18 September 2016 (Sunday) - Hanningfield Reservoir
A combination of having walked twelve miles yesterday together with that fourth pint last night made getting up at 5.30am seem to be not the best idea I’d ever had.
As I scoffed my brekkie I checked out my emails. I had another scamming email; this one from Mrs. Fadhilah Hassan who was writing to me “with tears and pain in her heart”. She can get stuffed. I spent a few minutes writing up more minutes of last Thursday’s astro club meeting, then got myself ready for the rigours of the day.
We collected Suzy and her entourage. Apparently Suzy had disgraced herself overnight as only a dog can. We then set off for Hanningfield in deepest Essex where we soon met up with Jo, Sam, Mark and Martin. Boots were put on, loins girded and we set off on a geo-stroll.
The NoCMoC (Nuisance of Cats - Murder of Crows) walk was billed as a series of seventy geocaches over fourteen miles. We knew time might be tight so we’d arranged to start walking at 8.30am. And walk we did. Near Hanningfield there is a humungous reservoir – this walk follows around the reservoir. But not closely enough so you’d see much of it
We had a rather good walk. Beautiful scenery, and we even saw a hare. You don’t see many of those. And we all laughed when Suzy-pup jumped into the smelliest and most stagnant water I’ve ever smelt. And the church with the floral depiction of the burning of Joan of Arc was really impressive.
However after a mile or so I had to stop. My boot felt uncomfortable. I took it off to find an AA-size battery in it. How did that get there?
And it was shortly after that when I became slightly miffed. On Friday I bought a new jacket, and in Friday’s instalment of this drivel I actually wrote (about this new jacket) “I wonder how long this one will last”. It lasted about two and a half hours. The stitching on one of the pockets had unravelled before 11am. That will go back to the shop tomorrow.
And we did have a dodgy five minutes at the Hanningfield reservoir visitor centre. We’d parked at the north of the lake so the visitor centre would be about half way round. Ideal for an ice cream we thought. And it was. Having had an ice cream at the café at the easterly part of the centre we then walked through the grounds of the visitor centre. There were some wonderful forests. A couple of miles, an hour or so. The *ideal* place to walk a dog. The two dogs in our party seemed to think so. But now I come to think of it we didn’t see any other dogs there. It was only when we got to the gift shop at the westerly extreme of the forests that some irate old biddy told us in no uncertain terms that dogs were banned from the Hanningfield reservoir visitor centre’s grounds. And we found ourselves being thrown out. It was probably as well that we were thrown out just as we were leaving.
Despite the hound problem, geocache-wise this is a walk I would recommend. Billed as seventy caches over fourteen miles I ended the day with a total of seventy-two finds. There was one DNF, but we could probably have squeezed in another half dozen caches without too much diversion. Billed as fourteen miles, “Hannah” measured it at 15.8 miles. Mind you none of our sat-navs agreed that closely on the distance walked, and I have always said that the lengths of these geo-series are always under-estimated. (I myself have three such series which are always reported as being far longer than I think they are). Having read fourteen miles on the route descriptions I actually went out expecting to walk eighteen miles.
There was a variety of cache types and hides. Some fun ones, some rather more challenging. There was a chirp cache on the route; these are really rare. In over seven thousand geo-finds I’ve only seen three of them. This would have been the fourth - it was a shame none of our GPS units picked up the chirp. I suspect the batteries of the thing need changing. This happen from time to time (or so I’m told).
Mind you Sam did hit a milestone – she got her eight thousandth find.
After ten hours (nine hours fifty-three minutes to be precise) we were back at the cars. Boots were pulled off; goodbyes said.
Within half an hour of setting off homewards it was getting dark.
I took a few photos as we walked. Once home I posted them on-line. I do this a lot. Being home rather earlier than anticipated "er indoors TM" set off bowling. I didn’t. I collapsed in front of the telly and scoffed pizza whilst watching “Dad’s Army” as my dog snored.
It wasn’t that long ago he was in dog hospital..
19 September 2016 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
A good night’s sleep; hardly surprising having walked nearly thirty miles this weekend. I set the washing machine loose on lots of trousers, then had a look-see on-line.
The astro club has had an email asking us to talk about stars to a bunch of brownies. I’m not sure this is something we can (or should) realistically do. As a one-off it might be fun. But word gets out in those circles that people are doing star talks and the requests from brownies, rainbows, guides, scouts, cubs, beavers, woodcraft folk, schools et cetera become endless. It involves taking time off work, time in loading equipment into the car, and unloading after the event. Many years ago I once took a sack load of snakes to a scout group. Before long I was asked to turn out once a week to all sorts of places, some as far away as Gatwick airport. It was expected that I would show up at the most inconvenient times, and great umbrage was taken whenever I said no. And to add insult to injury I was giving up lots of time and effort for a load of kids most of whom openly showed utter boredom and contempt with what I was trying to do for them.
I then finished writing up the minutes from last Thursday’s committee meeting. It took a while to do. Now they are finished I just need to proof-read them, and have someone check that what I wrote reflects what actually happened.
I also had a message about my geo-series in Bethersden. Apparently someone has had yet another run in with a landowner down there. However this is in an part of the series where we’ve not had a run in before. There are also (apparently) electric fences blocking footpaths.
It always amazes me that people present me with a list of complaints and criticisms and problems about that Bethersden series but seem oblivious to the fact that other people get round it fine. Yesterday there were supposedly endless problems. Two weeks ago a group complemented me on how good and trouble-free the route was.
Interestingly all the complaints are on the southern half of the walk. I might just see if I can’t re-work it. I’ve got some time off work coming up.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we walked round to see "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". We walked out through the farm in South Willesborough to the playpark where the littlun ran riot on the swings and slide. He quite liked the roundabout too, though it is just possible I might have spun it too fast.
With walk done I came home. I should really have mowed the lawn, but I decided against that. My now the washing machine was on to its third load of the morning, so whilst it did that I watched an episode of “Game of Thrones” as I scoffed a bite of dinner. I spent the afternoon asleep, then watched “Poldark” and “South Park” over a spot of dinner.
I’m off to the night shift now. Via “Go Outdoors”. I wonder what they will say about this jacket that only lasted a couple of hours.
20 September 2016 (Tuesday) - Between the Night Shifts
Last Friday I bought a jacket from "Go Outdoors"; I took it back to them last night. I was rather nervous about taking it back but they were brilliant - they didn't quibble at all. The nice man agreed that It should have lasted more than two hours and I was offered a replacement immediately. It was only a shame that they didn't have any more in my size so I was given a refund.
I got to work, did my bit, and came home again. I didn't really want to do the night shift last night but it wasn't that bad really. I like the time off work mid-week that the night shifts give me; I just don’t like doing the work.
I had planned to go out for a dog walk with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" this morning, but they had had a bad night so it was just me and "Furry Face TM". He was his usual troublesome self, causing mayhem as we went.
The funfair was setting up in the park as we walked. They come to the park a few times every year; I really should go to see it at some point. I’ve not been to a funfair in years.
Over a spot of brekkie I realised that I'd missed something. Yesterday was "Talk Like a Pirate Day". It was a fun thing once, but realistically it is now something which has had its day. A shame perhaps?
I then had a little look on social media. There have been a lot of memes circulating recently about ridding your life of the toxic people who bring you down. There were a few too many of those on my Facebook friends list so I thought I'd have a clear-out. However the very moaning minnies I'd decided to de-friend this morning had already de-friended me when I hadn't been paying attention.
I suppose that is no loss on either side.
I spent the rest of the day asleep despite my dog’s barking at every little thing, and I’m off to another night shift now.
The day between two night shifts is usually rather dull, and today was no exception...
21 September 2016 (Wednesday) - Bit Tired
I bought a packet of wasabi nuts to eat with my scoff last night. I say “scoff” - I often have this lunch/dinner argument, but what do you begin to call the two meals you have on the night shift (one at 11pm and one at 4.30am)? I like wasabi nuts, but they gave me stomach ache which lasted all night until the relief arrived at 8am.
I came home and saw "er indoors TM" fleetingly as she left for work. My little dog seemed happy to see me, and we went for a walk round the park. He was rather taken aback when a small ball of fluff tried to do to him what he tries to do to most other dogs. I did laugh.
I had all sorts of things to do this morning, but instead of doing any of them once our walk was done I went to bed for a few hours.
I woke shortly after 2pm, and popped down to the fishing tackle shop. I needed maggots, and I had this idea that they might sell shooting jackets. With all their pockets I do find them to be really useful. The shop had none. The nice man there was of the opinion that no one makes the things any more. I find that difficult to believe. “Go Outdoors” has them even if they fall apart.
I came home, nd ordered one from eBay at half the price of “Go Outdoors”.
I then scoffed some dinner whilst watching “Game of Thrones”. In this episode there was not a single willy or tit to be seen; quite a rarity. I then spent a few minutes fixing the DVD player. It hasn’t been working properly recently so I pulled out all the plugs and put them back in again and now it seems to be working fine. I tested it out by playing “Little Shop of Horrors” as I did some ironing.
I should really have then mowed the lawn. It is getting rather long. But I was tired. It is strange – on Saturday I walked over twelve miles. On Sunday I walked nearly sixteen miles. Neither of those were as physically draining as doing a night shift. So instead I carried on with updating the Bat-Camp archive. I’ve now got as far as 2010. I did the 2010 entry this afternoon. You can read it in about two minutes; it took about an hour to prepare. I thought about cracking on and doing the 2011 entry as well, but that will keep till another time.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner; lamb chops washed down with a bottle of red wine. We devoured it whilst watching “Bake Off”. Sometimes I think I could be on that show… if only I could cook.
22 September 2016 (Thursday) – Fishing
I slept like a log last night and was busy in the midst of a nightmare about our mortgage provider becoming a political party (what was that about?) when the alarm woke me. I scoffed some toast whilst watching “South Park” then had a quick look-see on-line.
Other than more scamming emails from allegedly deposed African royalty needing my help to regain their fortunes, and more emails from Amazon trying to sell me what I’d already bought from them, not a lot had changed.
I drove round to collect "My Boy TM" and we went on to The Foundry for a spot of brekkie. You can’t beat a fry-up. And suitably replete we made our way to the Royal Military Canal at Appledore. We’d been thinking of going fishing for a while, and the canal would be somewhere different. We’d not fished there since "My Boy TM" was about eight years old.
We weren’t entirely sure who owned the fishing rights so we parked by a sign that said “Day Tickets Available” and thought we’d get a day ticket *if* the bailiff came round. If he didn’t we wouldn’t.
We were soon fishing; I had a dace within seconds of setting up. We had a rather good time. The sun was out, we heard frogs, we watched a kingfisher fly by. We even saw a small grass snake. We even caught fish. To be honest the fishing wasn’t that good. In fairness it was sporadic. We’d catch several then go half an hour without a bite.
Just as the wind was picking up to make fishing a chore Dan coughed and I looked up. We had a visitor. A chap with an “Environment Agency” T-shirt. We both looked at each other – it was as well we’d both bought rod-and-line licences. But the nice man from the Environment Agency wasn’t interested in seeing our licences. He just sat and chatted with us for half an hour and told us of a stretch of the canal where you don’t need day tickets. Bearing in mind how the wind was against us we packed up and relocated five miles up the canal to Warehorne.
We soon found the canal, and after two minutes we found a far better spot to fish. The fishing itself wasn’t any better than it had been near Appledore, but it wasn’t any worse. But there was no wind and there was no bulrushes in our way.
After an hour or so "My Boy TM" asked me to get the landing net. He had a rather large rudd. He declared it was his “P.B. rudd.” I smiled sweetly; thinking it rather nice that he’d named the fish “Paddington Bear”. After a few minutes I found out that a “P.B.” is a “personal best”.
One lives and learns.
Eventually it was time to come home. The fish had stopped biting; the sun was going down. It was noticeably colder. So I took "My Boy TM" home and came home to a very excitable little dog. I immediately took him for his walk. We went through the wetlands park. I would have carried on into Viccie Park butu I’d forgotten the funfair was in town. "Furry Face TM" barked at it to tell it off.
I took some photos whilst we were out fishing earlier. While "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner I posted them on-line. We then had gammon steaks. Not too shabby…
23 September 2016 (Friday) - Wye to Boughton Aluph
Yesterday I had an early start (what with the fishing) so I set an alarm. However I forgot to turn it off. I wasn’t impressed when it went off at 5.30am this morning when I could have slept a lot longer.
I didn’t really get back to sleep after that.
I checked out the Internet over a spot of brekkie. Little had changed really. So with a little time on my hands I mowed the lawn. It hadn’t been done for a couple of weeks and was rather out of hand. As is all the overgrowth pouring over the fence from next door. I shall deal with that another time.
I then carried on updating the website of the various bat-camps we’ve had over the years. I’m not that far from completion now – until next year’s camp.
With the lead popped onto my dog we stood outside and waited for the arrival of Gordon and Norton, and then we all drove out to Wye where we soon met Mark. Three of us (and two dogs) then walked a series of geocaches from Wye up into Boughton Aluph and back again. It was a glorious day for a walk; we saw lapwings and a woodpecker. There were fish in the rivers; there were spectacular views. Norton did disgrace himself by wallowing in some rather stagnant water, but that is what dogs do.
There were two pubs on our walk; at the half way point we had a pint of “Trout Pout” at Boughton Aluph’s Flying Horse. We had our sandwiches there too. I’m not sure if we were allowed to scoff sandwiches in the pub’s garden, but no one said we couldn’t. And we had a pint of “mad cat red ale” at the end of the walk at the Tickled Trout. It was good to sit in the beer garden at the water’s edge and watch the dogs playing in the river. Mind you we did get a few odd looks from an old biddy in the beer garden. It was only as we were leaving that we saw the notice about dogs having to be on leads.
I took a few photos whilst we walked. It was somewhere I’d certainly walk again. And being very close to home I may well do again.
Geoaching-wise… I’m sorry to be critical but… The geocaches were excellent. Straight-forward hides, and mostly large caches big enough for travel bugs and stuff. But in all honesty I personally felt there were nowhere near enough of them. The rules say that the caches can’t be closer than one tenth of a mile apart. In new money that is one hundred and sixty one metres. I’ve put out five similar geo-series (two since archived) and I realise that sometimes things like open fields stop you putting caches out. But on average I aim to have caches about every two hundred to two hundred and fifty metres (or so). Much as I really enjoyed today’s walk I personally feel that caches half a mile apart is too far apart. Today’s walk was a series of fourteen caches over six (or so) miles. It could have had thirty or more caches.
I noticed that our group was only the third finders of one of today’s caches; the thing had been out for a month. Is it its isolation which has put people off of going for it? - my series in Challock (not five miles away) which went live at about the same time has had three times as many hits.
Having said that, some people prefer them more spaced out. Each to their own…
We came home, and I spent an hour slobbing in front of the telly watching “Game of Thrones”. It is a good show; it really doesn’t need the amount of graphic nudity which its makers put into it. Sometimes I really feel I’m watching a porno version of “Lord of the Rings”.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up fish and chips for dinner. Not too shabby if you like fish and chips (which I do).
I should really have an early night. I’ve got to work tomorrow…
24 September 2016 (Saturday) - A Day at Work
I watched last night’s “all-new” episode of South Park over brekkie. It was entertaining enough but I didn’t think it was *that* funny. Perhaps after twenty seasons it has run out of steam?
I then spent a few minutes advertising the upcoming meeting of the astro club on social media. I would also have added it to the upcoming events on “Town Talk – Ashford” and “My Tenterden” but both websites seemed to be broken. I must admit I’m not entirely sure that we achieve much with this advertising, but it doesn’t hurt to be seen to be doing something.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing the day's news. There was an interesting discussion about the UK's decision to leave the EU. The decision to leave was made by a small majority, so leave it is. However no one really seems to be in agreement as to exactly how amicable this separation will be. On one extreme there are those who advocate sticking two fingers up at Brussels and waving our arses in their general direction. The other extreme favours desperately sucking up to Brussels in the desperate hope we will be able to maintain the relatively favourable trading position we currently have. And there are all sorts of positions being suggested between these two radical positions.
Personally I think it is a bit late in the day to start worrying about this sort of detail. Surely this should have been thought about months ago? Another failure of democracy?
Meanwhile Facebook's boss Mark Zuckerberg, Russian millionaire Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking are listening out for aliens. They have an idea there might be aliens on Proxima b. Personally I doubt it, but Proxima b has the advantage of being the closest rocky extra-solar planet to home which might have the right conditions to harbour life
I can't help but wonder how these three got together in the first place.
I got to work and I sulked. It was a lovely day outside. For all that I had a really good day's fishing on Thursday and an excellent walk yesterday, the flip side is that I had to work today. There's no denying I would rather have gone to the monthly geo-meet today. Instead I was at work. Until such time as I can retire I'm not going to be master of my calendar.
As I worked my phone pinged intermittently with polite (and not so polite) thanks-but-no-thanks messages.
I've planned a little walk for Tuesday and I've invited the world and his wife along. If any of my loyal readers fancy a walk on Tuesday everyone is welcome. However most people will be working. I realise that but I make my movements known anyway. Because if I don't I get all sorts of people saying they would have liked to have joined in with whatever I was doing that they didn't know about.
Mind you we had a rather good surprise at mid-day. We had a visitor. Someone with whom we used to work a few years ago called in to say hello. It was good to catch up with Uju - I'd not seen her for a while.
She brought pizza with her. That went down very nicely.
Pizza went a long way toward cheering me up…
25 September 2016 (Sunday) – Stuff
I had a frankly awful night’s sleep. Despite a relatively early night I found myself wide awake and struggling to breathe at 3am, and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I put the finishing touches to the first draft of my archive of memories from Bat-Camps then watched “Dad’s Army” over brekkie.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about a thinly-veiled attempt to re-write history. The current Prime Minister has effectively one task; to lead the country out of the European Union. However it has been questioned if she is right for the job as she was never actually in favour of leaving.
Or so we were once told.
Now stories are emerging that the previous Prime Minister was not at all impressed with Mrs May's commitment to the "leave" camp. It is now claimed that she let the "leave" side down over a dozen times by refusing to speak out in public on the matter. Was she a Brexiteer all along? I doubt it, but this is what we are now supposed to think.
Just wait - give it a week or so and history will say she was in favour of leaving all along.
I'm sure he means well, but the media have decided against him. And what about this "Momentum" political party within a political party of his?
Is this idiocy on one side or conspiracy on the other?
And I then did my bit. As I often do I found myself looking out of the window and thinking about what I was missing. Today is "My Boy TM"'s birthday. The family were getting together and going out for Sunday roast dinner. And a beer or two. Still, we'd had a good day's fishing together on Thursday.
I really should organise another day on the canal…
26 September 2016 (Monday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept like a log, but woke with a rather painful elbow. What on Earth could have set off my tennis elbow whilst I was fast asleep?
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line (as I do). Not much had happened on Facebook for once. I had an email from Amazon which made me wonder what that company is playing at. For a successful world-wide business selling pretty much everything, their I.T. leaves a lot to be desired. Not only do they try to sell me stuff I’ve already bought from them, they are now asking me to review e-books that I have already reviewed on their site.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little walk. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" had a better offer today, so instead I took my little dog out to Great Chart where we walked along my geo-series for a couple of miles. I'd h’d reports that two geocaches I’d put out there were missing so we went to have a look. Sure enough they were missing, so I replaced them.
Great chart is a good place for a walk. My Patagonian Tripe-Hound was off the lead for over a mile without getting into mischief, we saw a wren and a buzzard, we had a good walk.
Once home I fixed the washing line. "er indoors TM" had broken it a little while ago. And with the washing line fixed I hung out washing. I then trimmed back more of the jungle which pours over the fence from next door. I really should have a word with him about his fixation on roses and clematis, but in all honesty I’m not sure he wouldn’t physically attack me if I did.
With more washing put on the line I then had a look at the monthly accounts. Oh dear… I have had a small pay rise and the mortgage payments have gone down by a pound each month. And there’s no denying that the finances are *far* better than they were a couple of years ago. But they are still a lot worse than they were a couple of years before that. Perhaps Is should start actively job-hunting again?
Over lunch I watched an episode of “Game of Thrones”. My SkyPlus box is odd. When I watch “South Park” it makes me type in a secret code before it plays the show. It feels that an animated show with all the swearing bleeped out shouldn’t be watched by just anyone. However it makes no such restrictions when I want to watch “Game of Thrones” which is in many ways little more than a pornographic bloodbath.
As I watched nudey-dragon-girl incinerating her victim I polished up my walking boots. They positively gleam now.
I then watched “Poldark” – another series which I am sure would be better if I knew what was going on, and with the tumble drier having done its best with my smalls I then folded up my undercrackers whilst watching “Upstairs Downstairs”.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and once she’s gone bowling I did a bit of sewing before programming “Hannah” for tomorrow.
For all that I need a job that pays more, I like having a job which gives me so much free time…
27 August 2016 (Tuesday) – Matfield
I slept like a log; eight hours sleep last night. How about that!! Over brekkie I was pleased to see (via Facebook) that a colleague was having a birthday today; I could post up my new You-Tube birthday video that I’ve made. The previous one was over six years old. I shan’t post a link to the new one here; it will be a nice surprise when a birthday comes along.
My little dog wouldn’t eat his brekkie today; he always knows when I’ve got a walk planned for him. So eventually I gave up trying and told him he could go hungry. We got in the car and set off to Matfield. I arrived early, but Dick was already there. Aleta and Gordon soon arrived, and we set off hunting geocaches. We do that from time to time.
We had a really good walk. The weather was nowhere near as cold as I thought it might be; I took my fleece off right at the start. The walk was a tad hilly though. But just over six miles was just right for today.
It was a good first outing for my new shooting jacket. After the last one fell apart after a couple of hours use I actually got a far better one (at half the price) from eBay and I did the trick today.
And I think I might be getting used to geocaching in imperial units. I’ve always liked to measure smaller distances in metres, but longer distances in miles. “Hannah” (my sat-nav) does either/or.
I took a few photos as we walked. If nothing else my mum likes to see them.
Cache-wise it was an odd walk. I’d seen the geo-map and had suggested we make the walk up as we went along, and that was pretty much what we did. There didn’t seem to be any logical order or sequence to where we were going, and despite having worked out what seemed to be a “best route” there was still a lot of back-tracking. The individual caches were in reasonable order (because previous finders had done all the required maintenance), but the GPS co-ordinates were up to twenty metres out. And there is no denying that we could just have done with some instruction or guidance from whoever it was that had hidden them.
It turns out that they were hidden by a scout group some two years ago. They were put out under a geo-profile which has never logged a find, and which hasn’t been active in over a year. The series was *far* better than that put out by some local scouts, but even so could have been so much better.
Once home I slobbed in front of the telly catching up on what the SkyPlus box had recorded. Sunday’s episode of “The Last Ship” was rather good. However (as I’ve said before) the show does suffer from most of the action happening quite a bit away form that ship.
And yesterday’s episode of “Dark Matter” was quite good; it was the end of season cliff-hanger in which all of our heroes were blown up on an exploding space station. Apparently there will be another season of the show so I’ll be interested to see how they get out of that one.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. This evening in Arden Drive. Insults were bandied, news swapped, and an episode of “Gotham” watched. I’d forgotten how good that show was.
And my lego advent calendar has arrived…
28 September 2016 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift
I wouldn’t say I slept well last night. I slept for quite some time, but was plagued with rather vivid and troublesome dreams. So much so that I was quite unsettled for most of the day.
Over brekkie I had a look-see on line. Not much had really changed overnight. In the news politicians continued doing what they do, on social media various pots continued to accuse kettles of being black. In my inbox was an email from LinkedIn suggesting I might apply for various jobs in Manchester and there was an email from Amazon suggesting I buy that which I’ve already bought from them. Some things never change.
I did see that someone had posted (on Facebook) that old chestnut about not responding to letters through the door about parcel deliveries and 0906 phone numbers. Whilst it was once an active scam, it was shut down eleven years ago. I thought about pointing this out but thought better of doing so; I’m sure that someone along the line would make a point of taking offence if I did so.
Bearing in mind that Wednesday is Brat Club (or “Mother & Toddlers” in the more select circles) we didn’t go out with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" for our walk today. Instead me and "Furry Face TM" made a quick circuit of the park. As we walked my dog tried to hump another dog. Unfortunately it was the dog of the silly old bat who thinks that neutered dogs have a happy chubby smile. She started shrieking before Fudge had got within ten yards of her dog. I felt rather sorry for her dog; he was straining at the lead and obviously wanted to play. I suggested the dog be allowed off the lead; she looked at me as though that was the weirdest thing she’d ever heard.
After that even exchanging pleasantries with OrangeHead paled into insignificance.
We came home. I hung the washing out, mowed the lawn, had a rake-up, and cleaned out the fish pond filter. How easy it is to type that out… it took two hours to do and left me smelling of fish poo.
I then slobbed in front of the telly watching stuff from the SkyPlus box. I do this – it has the advantage of being able to fast-forward through the adverts. Does anyone actually watch adverts any more?
I then spent the afternoon in bed.
I would have liked to have slept longer, but that wasn’t happening so instead I watched more telly. And now I’m off to the night shift… still bothered by the nightmares *and* smelling of fish poo…
29 September 2016 (Thursday) - A Day Asleep
Last night’s shift was surprisingly quiet. Odd that I should have been more tired than usual after a night shift. I came home just as "er indoors TM" was going out, and I put on my new shoes and took my dog for a walk. I got some new shoes from Go Outdoors last night. They are summery walking shoes. Perhaps this might not be the right season for them, but they were half price. I took a photo of the shoes on the table and posted it to Facebook. "er indoors TM" has this idea that shoes on the table is unlucky, so I often put shoes on the table to wind her up.
As we set off on our walk so the rain started. I think everyone else must have seen the weather forecast; other than Orangehead and her Chunky Little Friend, we didn’t see anyone as we walked.
Once home I poured dangerous chemicals down the bath’s plug hole. I’m pretty sure I flushed out all the gunge from the pond’s filter, but it never hurts to pour dangerous chemicals down the plug hole just to be sure.
And I put a different load of dangerous chemicals into the dishwasher to give that a good scrubbing out; I thought it was a bit whiffy yesterday.
I then went to bed. Six hours later I got up and watched an episode of “Game of Thrones”; and now I’m off to work again…
30 September 2016 (Friday) - Astro Club
I did my bit on the night shift; I was glad when the relief arrived at 8am. However I was rather dismayed as I drove home. For some years there has been two scarecrows in a field near the A28 in Chilham. These two regularly change their clothes. Once they were done up as a bride and groom; sometimes they are in in hunting garb. At Christmas they are Santa and an elf.
This morning they were gone. I hope they are coming back.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park. He was a good dog; only trying to hump one other dog as we walked. It was only a shame that it was OrangeHead’s dog that he tried to hump.
We came home and I then went to bed for a few hours. I would have slept longer but for someone from Mumbai phoning claiming to want to claim PPI refunds on my behalf. I swore at him quite vigorously but he didn’t take the hint, so I explained in works of one syllable exactly what “F- you and F- the horse you rode in on” meant until he took the hint and hung up.
I have always maintained that when insulting someone if you insult their horse then they know you mean business.
Over a late brekkie I watched the most recent episode of “Game of Thrones” that my SkyPlus box had recorded. I think the machine made some sort of mistake; there was no jugs or willies to be seen.
I looked at the housekeeping bank account. Not only has Fudge’s medical policy monthly payments doubled, but the insurance people still haven’t paid up for his recent illness. I phoned the insurance people. Apparently they sometimes take two months’ money in one go (!), and they are still waiting to hear back from the vet about why the policy documents show a recent change of address. I explained (again) that the dog’s change of address was three years ago and it has taken the vets three years to finally update the records, but they wanted to hear this from the vets. They’ve only been waiting for a reply for three weeks…
In the meantime I’m still six hundred pounds out of pocket.
And so to McDonalds where I met up with Stevey. Steve, Sarah and "er indoors TM" soon joined us, and we had a rather good McDinner. And with that scoffed we went on to Woodchurch for Astro club. With our speaker stuck on a Eurostar somewhere near Lille the evening could have been somewhat disastrous, but Ibouight along a backup lecture just in case he couldn’t make it. In the end the chap did arrive. We had a very good meeting. One or two I.T. hiccups, but to my mind that was all part of the fun.
The club has had its ups and downs but with over sixty people along tonight I think it might be back on track. It’s now moving away from being an austere polished professional business and back towards being a fun club to which all are welcome. A move for the better.
Now to watch bake-off… once "er indoors TM" comes home with the shopping.