1 September 2017 (Friday) - Rather Busy
I had a rather good night shift. A busy night; and tiring for someone who thought he was giving up night work about ten years ago. But overnight (amongst other things) I counted blood, I clotted, I performed vitamin assays and ensured the compatibility of blood for a patient with complications of the MNS blood group system and for another patient who was bleeding. All in all, a rather productive use of my time.
I was going to say that I might whinge about work, but I don't think I do any more. I'm content in my current position, which is more than can be said for quite a few years.
I do my bit at night secure in the knowledge that in the morning someone *isn't* going to be going through everything I've done with a fine-toothed comb actively looking for fault.
Shortly after 1am my phone beeped. I had a friend request on Facebook. I have no idea who Jenna Pharis is, but I do know that she has legs all the way up to her bum, and judging by what she isn't wearing she must be very cold. I’ve put a photo of her on today’s blog entry so my loyal readers can all judge her.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were discussing the apparent failure of the first round of Brexit negotiations. And with no agreement, any talk on trade deals seems to be receding far into the future.
To my mind this is exactly where the entire Brexit concept is a rather nasty thing. The EU's priority is to sort out the UK’s outstanding unpaid debts, the rights of EU citizens who have been living in the UK for years, and to sort out the question of exactly what will happen on the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. They want to do the right thing for all the people involved. And rightly so. However the UK government wants to talk about trade deals and to sort out future money deals.
Personally I thought that human decency would come first every time, but clearly not.
Once home I walked the dogs round the park. There was a minor incident with a small brat in a playpark who started screaming hysterically when he saw my dogs. His mother (who could have been mistaken for a brick outhouse) told her brat not to cry and then announced (whilst looking me in the eye) that the dogs were doing on their leads. I played innocent, looked around, and then looked her in the eye and asked “some other dogs?” and we kept going. Silly cow.
I then took myself off to bed for a bit. Yesterday I slept well during the day. Today I gave up after two hours. The dogs were rather fractious; one would breathe heavily and the other would start barking. The first would then join in the barking, and so it continued.
Over a spot of late brekkie I saw that my SkyPlus box had recorded the first episode on the new series of “The Last Ship”; a post-apocalyptic story about a world devastated by plague. This first episode has started well. Here’s hoping.
I then had a look at the monthly accounts.
The most recent figures I can find say that the UK inflation rate is two point six per cent. Fudge’s health plan has gone up by twenty-five per cent and my car insurance has gone up by fifteen per cent. How do those in authority come up with the official figures which are so clearly at odds with reality?
I then unboxed my new lawnmower and had a go with it. What can I say? It mows the lawn. The grass collection thingy doesn’t collect quite as much as it could, but it collects more than the old one did. I mowed and strimmed, and strimmed and mowed, and just as I got to making the lawn look half-way decent Treacle marched up the garden, looked at me, and did one of the biggest turds she’s ever managed.
Having prived my new lawnmower’s bona-fido (!) I took the old one to the tip together with quite a bit of other assorted rubbish. The tip was amazingly quiet and fee of the usual idiots who infest the place. Maybe Friday afternoon is the best time to go tipping?
"er indoors TM" made a rather good bit of dinner and we caught up with telly. We watched the first episode of the new series of Bake-Off. It’s now on Channel Four; I quite like it. And we watched the second episode of Lego Masters. I say “watched”; I slept though that…
Bearing in mind I’ve just done two night shifts, I was rather busy today…
2 September 2017 (Saturday) – Brenchley
I slept well, I was woken at 7.15am by nice-next-door arguing with her cats. Bless.
I was pleasantly surprised to find I had no headache. Last night we had a bottle of plonk with dinner. I say “plonk”; a couple of weeks ago I splashed out on two cases of Pieroth wines. They weren’t cheap, but unlike after most red wines I didn’t wake up with a headache this morning. I might have the rep back in a few months; do any of my loyal readers fancy a wine tasting evening? (Bearing in mind this will be for half a dozen serious contenders and you’ll be expected to buy over a hundred quid’s worth of the stuff)
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. Facebook told me that a couple of ex-colleagues had significant birthdays today, and squabbles abounded as squabbles do. One thing the Internet has allowed is for people to fall out with other people they will never meet. Internet pages dedicated to kites, dogs, TV shows, geocaching, astronomy, cos-playing, saxophones, camping and all sorts of things were featuring endless petty bickering.
As the sun came out I had a vague thought about what might have been happening today. Earlier in the year there had been vague mutterings about going to the Faversham Hop Festival, but looking at their website I’m glad the vague mutterings came to nothing. The festival had been billed as a procession, some Morris Dancing, and over sixty live bands. Sixty! I suppose that (from the law of averages) one or two of them might be worth listening to. But the rest would be dire.
I get so annoyed with live music. Why do so many people watch a *proper* band on the telly and think they can do it? They can’t. Whilst one live band in a hundred is good, the other ninety-nine are shite and generally feel they can cover up their shite-ness by whacking up the volume.
I then spent a little while cleaning out my car. Over the last year or so I’ve used it to carry pergola ingredients and stone statues home and to take broken fence panels, knacked lawnmowers and scrap decking to the tip, The poor thing had got grubby to the extreme. I hoovered round inside as best I could, then emptied out all sorts of rubbish. (I wondered where my mole grips had gone). But despite my best efforts the car was still mucky, so I thought a proper valet-ing might be in order. I went to the carwash at Tesco. They wanted twenty-five quid. I didn’t mind the price, but they wanted me to stand around waiting for over an hour. I didn’t have the time to waste, so I got some Belgian buns and came home. I’ll get it valeted somewhere else.
With buns scoffed we got the leads on to two rather excited dogs and set off to Brenchley where we met Karl, Tracey and the girls. We had a rather good wander round the orchards and lanes hunting Tupperware. There was a rather dodgy five minutes when we lost Fudge; something in the undergrowth caught his attention and he was away. And just after we retrieved him Treacle shot off after the same thing. I wish the dogs wouldn’t do that.
And I had something of a surprise as we neared the end. Near the start the puppy unloaded. I bagged the poop and carried it with us. As we approached the second-to-last hide I realised I didn’t have the poop bag any more. I can remember hanging it on a fence near the third hide to take a photo. I think it must still be there…
Geocache-wise it was a good series to walk; the given co-ordinates for the various caches were good (so often they can be out) and there were helpful hints and route descriptions given. Personally I would have done two things differently. I would put the hides and the field puzzles at the points where there is a serious change of direction, (but we only went seriously adrift once). And I would have put out fewer tiny caches and more sandwich-box sized ones. Bigger hides give more room for swappabes and trackables and they need far less changes of the paper log.
But I’m not criticising; someone’s spent time, effort (and money) to provide us with a good afternoon. I wish more people would. If each of the people who subscribe to the Kent geocaching page on Facebook each put out one series of caches I’d have enough to keep me going for the next nineteen years.
After four hours and nearly six miles we were back at the cars. We drove down the road for two minutes to the Halfway House where we had a pint or three in the garden whilst the supposedly tired dogs ran riot. I quite like the Halfway House – we had three pints of decent ale and there were still several more we could have chosen from.
We came home; I’d taken a few photos as we walked. I put them on-line and then set about the ironing. It doesn’t iron itself you know…
3 September 2017 (Sunday) - Visiting Parents
I slept like a log last night. A couple of night shifts always has me sleeping well for a few days. Over brekkie I saw that the fruits of my loin were trying to out-do each other on an on-line “Can You Pass GCSE Maths” quiz. I had a go, beat the pair of them, and found that two of the questions were offering the wrong answer.
I then looked at a flyer we’d received from the Hazlitt Theatre only to find their run of “Little Shop of Horrors” ended yesterday. I wasn’t amused.
We then got readings from the leccie and gas meters, and sent them off to the leccie company (like they’d asked us to). Or tried to. The gas meter reading was unchanged since the last time I read it and their automated system wouldn’t have any of it. I went on-line and chatted with a robot called “Rita”. I gave her/it my particulars (oo-er!) and I got a message “Please allow me a few minutes”. After a few minutes I got a message “To confirm your gas meter is not advancing with us? I will help you with this”. “Help” turned out to be a phone number I could call tomorrow… and then Rita thanked me for my efforts and asked me if I’d like a SmartMeter. I thought that having one might have solved the problem of meter readings in the first place, but what do I know? Rita then apologised that the SmartMeter department was closed.
It was at that point that I gave up. The leccie company then had the gall to ask me to fill in an extremely detailed questionnaire about how Rita had done. I declined to do so.
We got the leads onto the hounds, collected "My Boy TM" and drove to Hastings to see my mummy and daddy. We took the makings of a light lunch with us, and within seconds of arriving Treacle piddled all over their carpet. Woops.
We spent an hour or so there putting the world to rights. My mum has been rather ill over the last year or so; she’s had heart surgery and had half a lung removed. She’s been having terrible troubles getting appointments at her GP surgery, and was recently told by one of the staff that the receptionist doesn’t know what she is doing. Usually I am the staunchest supporter of the NHS, but this can’t be right. I shall lodge another formal complaint about the surgery in the morning.
We then took a little geo-diversion along Priory Road where we found one of the most imaginative geocaches I’ve ever encountered in five years of hunting Tupperware and in over eight thousand finds. We found the cache pretty much right away, but getting the thing open took some doing. First of all we had to log in to the nearby geo-wifi (yes – geo-wifi) and then…
I won’t say what came next, but I will say it took some serious puzzling and after several false starts and near-give-ups we finally had the prize in our hands. And we got to meet the chap who’d devised the thing. I was glad we got to meet him; he’d created a work of genius. He was pleased to meet us; he’d never seen a trackable tattoo like mine before.
We then called in on mother-in-law and spent a little while rummaging in her Aladdin’s cave. Having run junk shops for years she’s now got a huge shed filled with so many wonderful odds and ends. We found a beer stein which could be worth a fortune; research will follow.
"er indoors TM" and "My Boy TM" then spent an hour or so looking at old photos whilst I dozed contentedly in a comfortable arm chair. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
We came home, and after a rather good dinner "er indoors TM" went off bowling. I did more ironing and then wrote up CPD.
CPD is dull stuff…
4 September 2017 (Monday) – Nutters
When the puppy sleeps at the foot of the bed all is well at night. Last night she decided to fight me for my space, and the entire night was somewhat fraught.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Dad’s Army” that the SkyPlus box had recorded for me over the weekend. The episode didn’t work. Tv shows only work when the characters are believable. This is how sci-fi and fantasy shows work; what would “normal” people do in unbelievable circumstances? Today’s episode of “Dad’s Army” had the platoon staging a mutiny to go play darts. This is utterly at odds with the characters which had been developed over the years. It didn’t work.
I turned it off to find that Sky Arts was broadcasting a performance of Sarah Brightman. Having lost her heart to a starship trooper some forty years ago she is now a leading light in the operatic world. She was howling like a banshee this morning, and wasn’t at all worried about flaunting a heaving bosom. Wikipedia told me she is four years older than me; on the TV performance she looked thirty years younger.
With nothing of note having happened on Facebook overnight and with no emails at all I got dressed; taking care to let sleeping dogs lie. I set off to work. As I drove through a dull wet morning the pundits on the radio were talking about the hydrogen bomb that the North Koreans had detonated over the weekend. There seemed to be uncertainty as to whether it was "just" a plain atom bomb (fission reaction) or actually a proper hydrogen bomb (fusion reaction). Does it matter? In many ways the exact nature of the weapon is irrelevant. The bottom line is that an uncontrolled manic has his hands on some rather dangerous kit.
Mind you in America much the same could be said of President Trump. The Chinese (of all people) are trying to mediate between the two nut cases and finding it hard work.
As a teenager I joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The bombs are dangerous enough; never in our wildest dreams did we think the bombs would end up in the hands of nutters.
Mind you I have to question the sanity of pretty much everyone in authority over this matter. Those being interviewed on the radio this morning were talking about the financial implications of nuclear armageddon as though the only impact of a nuclear holocaust would be on the world's markets.
Meanwhile workers in two branches of McDonalds have gone on strike.
I got to work early; there was a morphology training/refresher session this morning. Pyruvate kinase deficiency, malaria, lead poisoning... all good stuff (provided you don't have them). I then had a rather productive (if tiring) day.
Once home I walked the dogs round the park. Both were difficult as only dogs can be. And with "er indoors TM" off bowling I watched last night’s episode of “Victoria”. I wonder just how accurate that show is? I really should read more history. After all, I write enough of the stuff…
5 September 2017 (Tuesday) – Perfick
I slept like a log; I woke to find I was hugging the puppy like a teddy bear. When she sleeps well, so do I. Over brekkie I watched the last episode of “Time Gentlemen Please” and then sparked up my lap-top. After finding that absolutely nothing of note had happened on Facebook overnight, the McAfee wotsit told me to stop browsing so it could do its work. I’m not quite sure what it did, and whatever it did seems to have made no noticeable difference to the lap-top. But I’m sure that whatever it did, it had the best of intentions in doing so.
I then started browsing again to have a look at my emails. Having given the leccie company some meter readings at the weekend (even if the gas meter was playing up). Despite being in credit with them, they have put up my monthly payment by ten per cent. Ten per cent!
Mind you as I drove to work there was talk on the radio about the government removing the pay freeze on public sector workers. I could do with that.
The pundits on the radio were also introducing the Brexit minister. He said something which should make us all sit up and take notice. His department is currently moving every single item of European law into British law so that when we leave the EU, Britain doesn’t descend into lawless anarchy. The chap conducting the interview asked about the promises that had been made about getting rid of all the European laws. The minister made it plain that laws *might* be amended by future governments but there were certainly no plans to change anything. His implication was that the average pro-Brexit voter was happy enough with the various European laws, but weren’t happy about the European bit. He seemed to feel that the average pro-Brexit voter didn’t really care about any legislation; they just didn’t want Johnny Foreigner making that legislation.
Is that right? What a terrible world we live in.
I got to work, had a busy day, and came home via "My Boy TM"’s house. He’d bought me a swimming mask and a snorkel. That was kind of him.
I got home just as the heavens opened, and I got soaked walking from the car to the house. The dogs weren’t keen on a walk this evening. Probably just as well.
Over dinner we watched the documentary about the life and work of Sir David Jason. I’d forgotten just how many TV shows he’d been in…
6 September 2017 (Wednesday) - Before the Late Shift
Another good night’s sleep. Over brekkie my piss boiled as I looked on-line. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how Geo-HQ have decided to single out the top one per cent of hunters of Tupperware worldwide by giving them the chance to put out a certain type of geocache. I’m still sulking that I didn’t make the grade, and I’ve used the software to look at these new special caches (as they are being created) and from that I can look at the people who’ve been selected to be the top one per cent.
The criteria used to select people is secret. I’m not surprised. I would have thought that the people selected would have been those who have contributed most toward the hobby (or Geo-HQ’s business, depending on your personal perspective). I’ve now looked at a couple of dozen of the supposed top one per cent. Some are deserved. However most (but not all) have hidden less than twenty caches; many less than ten. People I know who have hidden hundreds and spent hours organising events haven’t had a sniff. I wonder if those singling out the top one per cent realise just how insulting they have been? And how this bad decision will impact their business as those of us who’ve contributed for so long sit back and stop doing so.
I put the leads on to the dogs and we went round the park. I did snigger as both dogs walked within a few feet of a squirrel who sat and watched them pass. For some reason the camera on my phone scared him far more than the oblivious dogs did. We then met OrangeHead’s chunky little friend and got chatting; her dog has been ill recently but he has had the metal supports taken from his leg and is now walking on his own. A couple of days ago I whinged about the increasing monthly direct debit for Fudge’s health care plan. OrangeHead’s chunky little friend pays one hundred and four pounds every month on her dog’s care plan. I wonder if Fudge’s will go up to that eventually? We got talking about vets. She didn’t have a good word to say about the vets we use. Interestingly she was singing the praises of a vet of whom I’ve heard terrible things said.
I suppose there is good and bad in all vets.
We came home, I spent a few minutes reading the most recent edition of “Viz” as both dogs sat on the back of the sofa and growled at imaginary things in the street. They must have been imaginary; I couldn’t see anything that might have upset them.
I then set off on a little pre-late-shift mission. Regular readers of this drivel may recall I tried to get my car valeted at the weekend. Today I actually got it done. I went to the car wash in Ellingham for the simple reason that they advertise that they offer the best hand job in town. Puerile things appeal to me.
It might not be the best hand job in town, but t is certainly far superior to what you can get in Tesco's car park. The surly bloke in Tesco's car park wanted me to leave my car with him for at least an hour, and wanted twenty-five quid for his troubles. The people in Ellingham wanted sixteen quid and offered "while you wait" service. I waited; it took just under twenty-five minutes and my car is gleaming as if new both inside and out.
I then drove into town to get some stuff for next week's holiday. I went to Sports Direct to get swimming shorts. Whilst I was there I got a couple of shirts too. It is odd that Go Outdoors and Matalan and most shops don't cater for fat blokes like me, but a sports shop does.
I spent ages at the till; the poor girl wasn't very efficient, and after every sale she had to radio through to the security guard to tell him what each punter had bought presumably in case the customers tried to snaffle anything on the way out. As she struggled to keep up with a growing queue, four members of staff were openly standing about gossiping about the supposed pregnancy of a fifth. Ironically there was a huge sign behind the tills advertising the shop's website. The sign asked us to go to the website as there was a link from it from which you can complain about how long you'd had to queue to get to the till.
I also needed some Euros. "My Boy TM" had told me I will need three hundred of the things for our upcoming holiday. Bearing in mind he also told me this holiday was "all-inclusive" I thought that three hundred Euros was a tad excessive, but what do I know? I went to the bank and stood for fifteen minutes behind some idiot who couldn't understand that if a direct debit is taken on ten months of the year, then there will be two months when it is not taken.
Eventually I got to the head of the queue; they'd sold out of Euros. In retrospect I think I might have been a tad impatient with the nice lady on the counter when I asked if the largest bank in the country had really run out of Euros. But just as she grovelled there was a minor commotion behind me. What I can only describe as "RoboCop" had arrived. The nice lady said that if i would wait for two minutes they had just had a delivery of money. Presumably from "RoboCop"?
After five minutes the nice lady was all apologetic again. The bank only sold Euros in batches of two hundred. I told her I would take two hundred, and asked about the little incident earlier in the year when they sold me fifty of the things (on two different occasions). But the nice lady wasn't having any of it; Euros come in batches of two hundred.
But she did say I might try Thomas Cook. They do lesser amounts. She didn't actually say "for the sort of peasant who can't afford Euros in two-hundred amounts" but her tone conveyed it very well.
I tried Thomas Cook... Oh dear. The trouble with Thomas Cook is that they are a travel agent. They don't just do money, they do holidays too. I found myself in a queue behind some old harridan who wanted to know every single detail of the hotel in Corfu she'd booked. Having had a full run-down of the layout of the hotel and of the menu and the meal times she then wanted the specifications of the hair dryer that the brochure said would be in her room. My patience was wearing thin - I left the shop.
I went to the post office. However their foreign currency counter also deals with passport problems. The half-wit in front of me in this queue had a son who was changing his name by deed poll; did he need a new passport with the correct details on it? Or could he travel on a passport that bore no relation to any other paperwork he might be carrying?
She didn't like the answer she got, and had a rant. Her and her tribe are going on holiday next August (August!) and she wanted the problem sorted now. Right now. But (ideally) she didn't want there to be a problem at all. She then stood and stared at the woman behind the counter as if offering her the chance to come up with a more acceptable response than needing a new passport.
After a couple of minutes I asked if she was done as I was in something of a rush.
I was only ten minutes late back to the car park; fortunately no traffic wardens had been round to check.
My lunchtime McDonalds was well deserved, and after a rather traumatic morning I went in to the late shift hoping for a rest…
7 September 2017 (Thursday) - Bit Dull Really
Bearing in mind I live at least ten miles from the closest coast I can’t help but wonder why there were so many seagulls squawking outside at 5.30am this morning.
Over brekkie I watched the second episode of the current season of “The Last Ship” which is so plainly an American propaganda show in which our heroes save the day from swarthy foreigners. It is in many ways a modern-day version of Noel Coward’s “In Which We Serve” (for those of us old enough to remember that film).
I then sparked up my lap-top as I do every morning. You never know what has happened in cyber-space overnight. Admittedly little usually happens but last night might have been the night in which something did. For the large part, it wasn’t.
I set off to work; as I walked up the road I could hear someone’s burglar alarm making a noise. Do these burglar alarms actually achieve anything? Nice-next-door was whinging the other day that their cats set off their alarm.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing the author John le Carre. In all honesty it was something of a waste of air-time. It could have been a good interview *if* I could have heard a single word that John le Carre had said. But all he did was mumble and mutter.
He was followed by some vacuous windbag spouting drivel on “Thought for the Day”. The BBC really should fact-check the vacuous windbags they allow to spout drivel on the “Thought for the Day” bit. This woman was trying to gloss over the terrible hurricanes that have recently devastated the Caribbean as being as much the fault of science as of her God. Listening to this woman would have been funny were she not actually being serious. She was quite clear that a nuclear explosion only kills humans; she was under the impression that all other life is oblivious to radiation. Why do they let these people on the radio?
I got to work and did my bit. I had my first formal appraisal in my new job today. It went well; the boss seems happy with me. I was pleased about that, but six years ago I had an appraisal which went equally well only a few weeks before getting the sack for (supposed) utter incompetence.
With my bit done I came home and walked the pups round the park. We met Mowgli; a fourteen-week old sprocker spaniel. He seemed friendly enough; I wonder if we will meet him again. I hope so. He was one of the very few dogs that Treacle played with (rather than running in terror).
We then slobbed in front of the telly watching this week’s episode of “Bake Off” whilst scoffing dinner. And drinking expensive wine…
8 September 2017 (Friday) – Wet
I had a good night’s sleep; if somewhat troubled by rather vivid dreams. Over brekkie I watched the first episode of “Henry IX”; a (supposed) comedy about a fictional king of England who has had enough of it. It was entertaining enough even if I did spend much of the time trying to work out in which other shows most of the cast had starred.
However my viewing was somewhat disturbed by the puppy who was having great fun in dropping heavy toys down the stairs, then sprinting noisily down the stairs to get the heavy toys and take them back upstairs only to drop them again. It seemed to be a really fun game; though perhaps not the best pastime for 6.30am.
I then sparked up my lap-top to see if I’d missed much overnight. The latest album by Sparks had been released to rave reviews across the world. I first heard their music in 1974; there aren’t many bands from back then that are still doing as well today. I’ve downloaded he album on MP3; a far cry from buying scratched vinyl Sparks LPs from flea markets in Brighton in 1982. Mind you I can remember buying their album “,,, In Outer Space” in Bromley in 1983 and then being late to college, and I took a day off work in 1997 to go to London to buy their album “Plagarism”.
As I drove off to work there was someone on the radio pontificating about the effect that Britain's leaving will have on the rest of the EU. It was rather thought provoking; did the interviewer really say "Thank you Jimmy Nail"? I wouldn't have thought him to be overly politically aware?
I took a circuitous route to the petrol station to fill the car. I had to take a circuitous route as the petrol station is inconveniently positioned along a one-way system. Just as I was finishing filling the car I watched a car coming the wrong way along the one-way system, enter the petrol station through the exit, and then try to do a three-point turn which eventually ended up being more along the lines of a nine- or eleven-point turn to get to the petrol pumps.
I paid for my petrol and walked back to my car scoffing a choccie bar I'd bought myself. The idiot middle-aged woman who'd driven so dangerously was filling her car with petrol. She had a go at me for eating chocolate so early in the morning. I told her it was my reward for driving the right way along a one-way system. "Oh, don't you start" she replied. "I'm fed up with everyone always having a go at me about that". And then she started a tirade about how she refuses to follow the one-way system as it would force her to make a two-minute detour to get from her house to the petrol station. Personally I'd take the two minutes and not get a driving ban for driving like a twit, but I decided to keep my opinion to myself.
I drove to work through the rain, and once at work had a rather good day. Work days are (mostly) all good days now I'm not being micro-managed within an inch of my life. Mind you I did have to go for a training session at mid-day which involved walking to another building. I should have brought a coat to work today; I got soaked.
I also got soaked this evening when we took the dogs for a walk round the park. The pups didn’t seem to mind the rain, but we got drenched…
9 September 2017 (Saturday) – Shorne
I had something of a traumatic start to the day – I went for a tiddle at 6am and trod in dog sick. That is the second time the puppy has blown after being allowed to finish off the fish batter. I didn’t really get back to sleep again after that.
I got up and had a look at the Internet. Overnight Jerry Pournelle had died. Perhaps not a household name, but he co-wrote one of my all-time favourite books as well as several others. “The Mote in God’s Eye”, “Footfall”, “Lucifer’s Hammer”, “The Legacy of Heorot”… It is because of him that every fishing and canoeing trip I take has me looking at the water just wondering if a Grendel will come flying out at me.
The corners of Facebook in which I lurk were full of praise for Sparks’ latest album (which I mentioned yesterday), but not a lot else was going on in cyberspace.
I then spent a couple of hours in the garden. The lawn needed attention. Firstly the dog turds had to be cleared, then I strimmed the edges and mowed the rest. I then wasted half an hour hacking at the overgrowth from not-so-nice-next door’s jungle. I stopped her in the street the other day and complained about the jungle, but she looked at me like I was the shit on her shoe.
I wonder if I might squirt weed killer over her fence?
I then spent the best part of an hour scrubbing out the fish pond filter. It is a simple enough job, but it has the drawback that (no matter how hard I scrub) my hands smell of fish turds for the next day or so.
"er indoors TM" came up with cake for lunch and then went off to take "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and Sid to the vet. He’s hurt his leg. I did say to "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" that setting up with a vet on the other side of town wasn’t a good idea.
Whilst she was out I got some spare house keys cut (just in case).
We got the dogs (and ourselves) organised and set off to Shorne where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we went for a six-mile walk. It was a rather good walk along well-marked footpaths along a variety of paths and roads. As we walked we heard parakeets and saw a possible UFO landing site. We lost the dogs a couple of times as they flew off investigating the sort of imaginary things that inhabit canine heads. We saw sheep wearing hoods for no apparent reason. Karl nearly fell in a river. We saw a warship sailing up the Thames towards London; we hoped it was one of ours.
Cache-wise this was a perfect walk. Well-maintained and easy-to-find caches with useful concise hints and clear directions. If only more cache series were like this.
After six miles we were back at the cars. We walked a hundred yards to the nearby pub. It looked a tad posh, but they let us bring the dogs in. As well as decent ale they had flavoured pork scratchings. Flavoured pork scratchings - have you ever heard of such wonders? It was only a shame that two of the three flavours were awful. But three pints of Otter ale slipped down nicely.
I took a few photos as we walked. Once home I transmitted then to a waiting world. With "er indoors TM" off out watching films I might just watch one myself…
10 September 2017 (Sunday) - Home Alone
With absolutely no reason to get up early today I was wide awake at 6am. After an hour I finally conceded I was just wasting time by laying in bed and got up. I set the washing machine going, had some brekkie and wasted time on the sofa instead.
I got my lap-top going and my piss boiled when I got a notification about a virtual geocache in Germany. The chap who’d hidden it has been singled out as one of the world’s of one per cent of geocachers. Guess how much he’s contributed to the hobby? He’s hidden seven caches. Seven. And of that seven, two have been archived and one is currently disabled. How on Earth does that put him in the top one per cent? And later in the day I got notification about another similar one. Seven…
(As a point of reference I’ve hidden nearly two hundred over the years…)
With nothing else happening on social media I set the washing machine loose on some whites then fiddled about with some old diaries I’d found. I had finally unearthed my notes from the time we took the scouts to Canada seventeen years ago, and I put together a little website of the event. You can see it by clicking here, but I doubt it is of any interest to anyone who didn’t go.
I hung washing on the line. I did more website, I hung more washing on the line.
I got the dogs organised, then went round to meet "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". Together with Pogo we went for a little walk to South Willesborough and came home past the river. As we walked the dogs generally had a whale of a time. We had a little episode when "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" ran up someone’s garden path and kicked over all their ornamental lights. Having done this, he then loudly announced to the world “Jakey break the lights”. Whilst his mother unleashed a can of woop-ass on him I fell about laughing.
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" returned Pogo home and walked with us as far as Asda. She had shopping to do. We came home where I got out the Hoover and tidied up a little. Looking at the black clouds I got the laundry off of the washing line, then realising it was already mid-day I realised I had to decide about lunch. I had thought about getting myself a pub lunch. But by the time I’d wandered over to Hythe Road and paid for lunch and a pint (or two)… So I got some scran from the KFC (for a third of the price of the pub) and devoured it watching an episode of “Plebs” which I streamed from You-Tube (or “lube-tube” as "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" calls it). And with lunch scoffed I got on with the ironing and watched more “Plebs” as the heavy rain fell outside.
I knew I was going to be at a bit of a loose end today. As a late birthday treat "er indoors TM"’s workmates were taking her to London for the party in the park event in Hyde park. I could have gone canoeing with the geo-crowd, but "er indoors TM" is the master canoeist. I’m just crew – it is her that has the licence. And with the car having been valeted in readiness for the airport run in a couple of days’ time I didn’t want to fill it with grubby dogs or fishing gear. But by the time I’d walked the dogs and done the ironing, sorted my undercrackers and fallen asleep in front of the telly it was 5pm, and it had rained for much of the day anyway.
Flushed with success at publishing my holiday diaries from the year 2000 this morning, I then created a similar website about the scouts trip to America and Canada which I helped run in 2004. You can see it by clicking here but again will probably only mean anything to those who were there. Creating the website kept me constructively occupied for an hour; I was only disturbed by the dogs barking at their own shadows.
I vaguely thought about a pub dinner, but I saw there was live music starting at 5pm. I say “live music”; some live music is good, but most is noise. So as the rain got heavier I turned the telly on again and got comfortable with my dogs…
11 September 2017 (Monday) - Packing, Glands
It was cold when I got up this morning. So cold that I turned the central heating on. Once it had warmed up I bled a couple of the radiators then had a look-see at the Internet. I found myself getting more wound up about the virtual geocache reward for the best cachers thingy. Take for example this one - the chap who got it has only hidden three caches; the most recent hide being five years ago. How much time, effort and money has this person contributed to the hobby compared with any of the wonderful people in Kent who put out enough caches that I have a several-mile-long dog walk (at least once every week), something to puzzle about most evenings, and something to do on the way to every late shift (and still have loads in reserve to be getting on with)? There are those who deserve these virtual caches, but there are so many people who contribute more and who haven’t been recognised. And I’m now getting more and more wound up that no one else seems in the slightest bit bothered about this.
The dogs and I hitched a lift with "er indoors TM" up to the Repton manor estate and we walked home (past a relatively new geocache). We came through the park just as the forecast rain arrived two hours early, and we got even wetter as I waited whilst Fudge played in the river.
Once home I settled the dogs and drove off to the cashpoint machine, then made a start on packing for our holiday. Due to a minor mix-up with pounds and kilogrammes I found myself wasting time stripping the suitcase barer than it ever needed to be. I’ve probably not packed enough; when I go away I usually pack far too much.
If I need more… I’m told that abroad has shops?
Jimbo called round to get instructions for the next week as he’s going to be house-sitting; if nothing else it will be a holiday for him as well as us. And with Jimbo suitably instructed on the dogs’ habits and the care of my monkey-puzzle tree he set off back to work and I took Fudge to the vet. He’s been worrying the base of his tail quite a bit recently. That is usually a sign that his anal glands “need doing”.
I must admit I keep myself deliberately in the dark as to what exactly “needs doing” with anal glands; I take him to the vets, the nice nurse takes him away, and five minutes all is done. The nice nurse told me that there was a lot to be “done” this time, and asked me all sorts of questions about things best not questioned.
I then spent ten minutes talking to the nice man at Hastings Direct. A little while ago I harangued a colleague for never posting anything on Facebook. Being a nosey sort of person I like seeing what everyone else is up to, and I never hesitate to tell the world my trivia. However my ex-colleague declined to do so. He was adamant that telling the world what he was doing was an open invitation to burglars, and that checking in to anywhere away from home invalidated your house contents insurance policy. This has been preying on my mind for a while, and bearing in mind I shall be a little way away from home over the next week I thought I’d get expert advice.
Let’s just say that the nice man at Hastings Direct laughed when I asked.
Pausing only briefly to repair the bathroom blind that collapsed at the most awkward time, "er indoors TM" boiled up dinner then went bowling. I settled in front of the telly with my dogs and watched “Victoria”. I think an early night might be in order…
I’m now off on my holidays for a week or so. To save weight I’m not taking my lap-top and blogging from my phone isn’t practical. So I’ll see you all in a week or so…
12 September 2017 (Tuesday) – Travelling
With James on his way to house-and dog- sit we settled the pups, collected "My Boy TM" and his tribe and (it has to be said) against my better judgement set off on holiday. I didn’t want to go. I *hate* travelling, I detest aeroplanes, I don’t like the heat, I get bored easily… If someone had offered to take my place this morning I would happily have stayed at home.
But this was part of "er indoors TM" birthday treat so I sucked it up and off we went.
We made good time to the airport, and dropped off my car in the long-stay car park. The idea was I left the car and the keys with the car park people; they would store my car and it would be waiting for me on my return. I wasn’t keen on this holiday, and the nice man at “Summer Special” (quite frankly) didn’t know his arse from a hole in the ground. I wasn’t keen on leaving my car with him, but by then it was too late.
We got on the shuttle bus and we soon started the performance that is airport security. Endless passport checks and armed police marching around. On the one hand the nation had to be vigilant… on the other hand anyone could rock up in a fishing boat at any beach in the country and not be challenged.
We met the rest of our gang (I seem to go everywhere mob-handed) and we were soon scoffing the Full English in the Wetherspoons, and washing it down with a couple of pints. Suitably replete we then mooched around the shopping mall. Gatwick airport seems to be designed for the sole purpose of separating people from their hard-earned cash.
I sat down and had a doze; usually I get fed up with more than an hour or so’s travelling, we’d left home five hours previously and still hadn’t got as far as the plane.
Suddenly there was excitement; our plane was boarding. We then trolled seemingly miles to bundle onto the plane. The first chap to get on walked half a dozen steps then started repacking all of his hand luggage in the aisle; effectively blocking everyone else’s way.
Eventually everyone was settled and we sat about waiting to be given the opportunity to blast off. Apparently all things aeronautical had been somewhat complicated by the French air traffic controllers going on strike today. But after another hour we were airborne.
Flying is dull.
Once you *finally* get into the plane you then sit about for ages waiting for take-off. There is two minutes of excitement, then hours of boredom spent squashed like sardines and unable to move. And the food… the in-flight magazine offered a cheese board. It looked wonderful. We got one to share; there wasn’t enough there to feed a mouse. What a rip off.
I read a rather rubbish book about London gangsters for four hours before we finally landed in Kos. But with the vagaries of international time zones a four-hour flight took six hours. We piled into our transfer coach, and after a little argument with the driver (who didn’t like people touching their own cases) we were on our way.
It was a shame that we went to everyone else’s hotels to drop them off before us; we’d landed in the early evening but it was dark when we got to our hotel.
Check-in went quickly, and we were in time for dinner. Having left home at 7am, we sat down to eat at 8.45pm. Dinner was very good; there was a huge selection. And after a little confusion in finding our rooms we thought we’d have a little drinkie and an early night. However an all-inclusive holiday with three cocktail bars was something like a red rag to a bull…
We went to bed at 1am having taken a few photos of the day.
13 September 2017 (Wednesday) – Exploring
I woke at 3am to find the bedroom effectively flood-lit. I lay awake getting more and more worked up about how bright the lights around the hotel pool were. After twenty minutes I got up and pulled the curtain.
A novel approach, but one that worked.
I was wide awake and raring to go at about 6.30am, but what with time zones and all that malarkey everyone else’s body-clocks told them it was only 4.30am. I opened our patio and was amazed to see the beautiful view; no one had told me there were mountains around us. I alternated between reading my book and looking at the scenery for an hour or so before I went round banging on people’s doors.
Brekkie was good. There was so much to choose from; toast, all sorts of breads and cheeses, fruit, cereals, omelettes, fry-up… I went for what I called the “Full Greek”; a bit like the Full English, but with olives and peppers.
We got our swimmies on, and had a little splash in the hotel pool before walking (for about five minutes) to the nearby water park. The “Aquatica” water park was one of the island’s major tourist attractions and we had unlimited access to it. There were water slides, there were water plummets, there was a water-spinny-round-go-down-the-plughole-thingy. And there were two rides that seemed to involve sheer drops. It was a shame that I went on everything but it was on the kiddies lazy river that I managed to give my head a serious clout.
We had a rather good Greek salad for lunch; but we could have had pretty much anything we liked. And with lunch scoffed we walked to the beach. We were spoiled for choice; our apartments opened onto a rather good pool. The water park was five minutes away and the beach was even closer.
I had a rather good go with my face-mask-snorkel that "My Boy TM" had bought me; there were so amny fish to see, and I watched a starfish fighting with a crab. And as the girls pedalo-ed, "My Boy TM" and I had a go on the kayaks.
Kayaking was hard work; we went and sat by the pool bar and admired the chest of a young German lady for a few minutes until the water polo started. Every afternoon the hotel staff organised a game of water polo. Two Greek lads organised an international gaggle of players; all of whom spoke to each other in English; the language of the country that is walking away from all of them. (Go figure!)
We then took a couple of taxis down to Kardemena (the nearby village) where we had a good mooch about. "er indoors TM" got a sun-hat and some sunglasses; I got a bandanna and an ice cream. We found a geocache outside a shop with was effectively being used by the shopkeeper to drum up trade. We chatted with a local travel agent who was originally from south London but had been living on Kos for twenty-five years.
Back to the hotel for a rather good dinner, then after a few gin and tonics we went up to the amphitheatre where scantily clad Greek ladies were performing the “Africa” show.
Most of our number walked out after a few minutes because it was so bad. "er indoors TM" and I stayed to the end. It was so bad it was actually quite good.
We then made our way back to the bar where we poured gin and tonic down our necks until midnight. Not a bad way to spend a day…
14 September 2017 (Thursday) - Boat Trip
I had something of a restless night, and a nose bleed too. Was it the gin and tonics yesterday evening, or was it the heat? Who knows?
We had rather good brekkie, and suitably replete we met up outside the hotel to await our coach. Last night we’d booked a three-island cruise for today. Our coach driver got us to the harbour in Kardemena with time to spare, and soon we were on what I can only describe as Captain Jack Sparrow’s very own pirate ship. Being first aboard we secured the prime seats in the bow, and soon we were off. We had a wonderful view of the beautiful scenery, and also of of two bikini-clad German ladies who seemed to be very friendly toward each other.
We sailed for about half an hour after which time we pulled into a beautiful lagoon. The gangplank was dropped and we had an hour on the beach doing whatever we liked. "er indoors TM" walked around the island and found a rather pretty little Greek Orthodox church. I spent the time snorkelling looking at the fish. I even found a couple of sea urchins too.
After an hour we were given a light lunch of a small Greek salad and some kebab. I really liked it.
From here we sailed to the island of Nisyros where we had a two-hour stopover. We all paid three euros apiece to take a coach trip. The entire island is one big volcano; the coach drove us up and up and up where we saw some spectacular views, and then down into the volcano. Whilst the rest of our party stayed in the taverna near to the coach park, "er indoors TM" and I took twenty minutes to walk down into the caldera. Oh it was hot and smelly, but how many people can say they’ve stomped about inside an active volcano? And as an added bonus the caldera was an Earthcache too. So without really trying we got our most southerly geocache, furthest geocache from home, and highest one as well all in one go.
We took the coach back to the harbour, and having wandered along the touristy high street we stopped in a little taverna for a pint.
We deserved it. As we drank it was interesting watching the locals. Some chap drove past on a moped (with no crash helmet) steering with one hand and carrying his dog with the other. The dog was clearly used to this. Yesterday we’d seen small children steering the mopeds driven by older people. Those people who blame excessive health and safety legislation onto the European Union are clearly wrong. Or the Greeks simply don’t care about it.
We got back on the boat and once Cheryl had emptied the sand from her knickers we sailed on to the third island. We didn’t land here; instead we moored up and those who wanted a swim got to swim from the boat in crystal-clear water.
After half an hour we sailed back to harbour. The wind was against us and we were half an hour later back than planned.
We took the short walk to the taxi rank and waited for a taxi. And waited. And waited. Eventually one showed up so we loaded up the girls and sent them on ahead. The blokes followed (much) later, but we arrived back at the hotel at the same time as the girls; their driver had gone for a cup of coffee.
We showered, had cocktails and then dinner. Everyone else had an early night; today had been tiring and "My Boy TM" was complaining about sea-sickness. But "er indoors TM" and I were still going strong. We walked up to the amphitheatre where there was a Hungarian magic comedy show. I’d never seen a Hungarian magic comedy show before, and (sadly) if I never see one again it would be no loss. It was one of those shows that was so awful that it was good.
A few more cocktails by the pool, and we staggered off to bed shortly before midnight, taking care not to disturb the kids (too much).
There were some good photos to be taken today; I’m told the temperature reached 36oC today… it was warm but I don’t think it felt quite that hot?
15 September 2017 (Friday) – Sunstroke
Yesterday there had been talk of getting up to see the sunrise. I woke with plenty of time to do so, thought I’d have a few more minutes asleep and woke up half an hour too late.
We scoffed a rather good brekkie; so far all the brekkies have been good. And then we spent an hour or so alternately messing about in the hotel pool and sunbathing before going over to the water park to play on the slides there.
Pausing only briefly for a light lunch we went to the beach for the afternoon where I snorkled for a bit. But only a bit. I felt dreadful. After two days in the sunshine I can only imagine this was what sunstroke felt like. I went back to our apartment and slept for a couple of hours.
Perhaps I should have stayed in bed? But after yesterday’s boat trip we had been offered a complimentary boat trip to watch the sunset at sea tonight. I didn’t want to miss out, and I was feeling a bit better so I went along.
We started off with a beer in Greg’s bar on Kardemena sea front before going for our sail. I actually enjoyed the ride. The sunset was beautiful to watch. We saw our hotel from the beach, and what looked rather like Hastings’ East Hill lift too.
Once back on shore "My Boy TM" found us a place to have dinner; we wanted to eat in one of the local places at least once during the holiday.
We went to the Skala bar… what can I say? To be fair the food was good. It was excellent. But… They’d seen that he first fruit of my loins had been putting away the beer, and they had identified him as the leader of our band. They gave him the bill.
It was as well that we didn’t let him keep the bill. They’d tried to charge us for eight beers that we hadn’t had. It was clear from the expression of the chap who’d presented the bill that he’d been caught out, and it was suggested that we pay as couples and families… I was feeling under the weather; the sunstroke had returned. I just paid up but in retrospect with beers at three euros each and meals at five euros each I calculated that I should have paid sixteen euros for what "er indoors TM" and I had had. To be fair, that would have been a good price for what we had. But they actually charged me forty euros and twenty cents (but they let me off the twenty cents).
I shall slate them on TripAdvisor when I get home. In the meantime if any of my loyal readers or their friends are ever visiting Kardemena, stay well clear of the Skala bar.
There was quite a bit of enthusiasm to go to a karaoke bar. Cheryl wasn’t keen so she had an early night. I wish I had too. I went along to the bar, sat in a corner and watched proceedings whilst feeling like death warmed up…
I took a few photos today; mainly of the boat trip. All else was something of a blur…
16 September 2017 (Saturday) - Lazy Day
Perhaps it was still the sunstroke? But I woke with something of a stomach ache, and was incredibly homesick. One of the (many) reasons that I don’t do holidays is that I do get very homesick.
We went up to brekkie and I found something that I didn’t like on the menu. Having sampled so much food over the last few days I was amazed to find that I didn’t like their scrambled eggs; far too salty. Others of our group weren’t happy with their breakfast either, having found half of a cocktail stick in the pancakes.
Today was something of a lazy day. With "er indoors TM" taken to her bed with a far worse stomach ache than mine, I got myself a crossword puzzle book and spent the morning sitting in the shade by the pool alternately swimming, watching swimming and crossword puzzling.
Being convalescent, this suited me; mind you I don’t know how some people do this for the entire holiday.
"er indoors TM" perked up after a spot of lunch and we walked down to the beach where some of the rest of our group had hired the UFO float for a ride. They’d haggled the price down somewhat so that they could get dragged about the sea behind a speedboat clinging to a rubber float for all they were worth. And all that for only fifteen euros a throw. Normally it would be twenty-five.
I was beginning to feel better, so I made a point of only staying in the sun for an hour or so; I had a shower and watched “Scooby Doo” (in German) on the telly until "My Boy TM" suggested a game of cards.
We played for an hour or so until dinner time.
For dinner today we went to the Italian restaurant. As well as having its main restaurant, the hotel had four other smaller dining establishments. Whilst still part of the all-inclusive deal, you had to book them in advance. We’d booked Italian for this evening.
The food was good. It was better than good. Mine was excellent; the red wine wasn’t bad, and the blue cheese was wonderful. But we were all rather disappointed. We’d been expecting something better that what we had been getting, and (in all honesty) they would have to be good to compete with the hotel’s usual fare.
We went to the beach bar for a few drinks, then with everyone else having something of an early night "er indoors TM" and I got some drinks and we sat outside our apartment listening to the singer in the next hotel. She was very good… and she gave me something of a revelation. It has been said that I don’t like live music. That is unfair; I like *good* live music. Most live music is awful because it isn’t music; it is noise. I have watched the musicians in so may live bands turning up their amplifiers so they can be heard over everyone else and rather than having a band you end up with a competition to create the most noise.
Tonight’s singer’s backing group were just that – a *backing* group. You could hear the singer over the music. It wasn’t noise.
A lot of bands could learn from that.
She gave up at about 11.30pm, and so did we.
I took a few photos today. A few more than yesterday…
17 September 2017 (Sunday) - Road Trip
I was up in time to see the sunrise today. To be fair I’m usually up in time to see the sunrise, but today I went and did it. Very pretty. And then I went back to bed for a bit.
Once we’d had our brekkie "er indoors TM" smuggled out some sausages to feed to the local feral cats. We then got ourselves organised and spoke to the nice buggy-hire man and hired three buggies. On Kos you can hire little petrol-driven death-traps and scoot all over the island. They wouldn’t come close to being road-legal over here, but (it would seem) that Kos has very little time for health and safety legislation.
We got our buggies and drove to the petrol station in Kardemena. The nice buggy-hire man had suggested we ought to put some petrol into the things.
There was a little hiccup coming out of the petrol station as the throttle cable on one of the buggies had got stuck at full power. We phoned the nice buggy-hire man and as luck would have it we were only fifty yards from his head office so he sent out someone to sort the problem. We got chatting with the Geordie fix-it man (so many Brits live on Kos) who told us that the buggies were all home-made out of bits and pieces of other vehicles.
We were soon on our way. We had the freedom of the island, and no real idea about the place. So (if all else fails) the geo-map usually finds the pretty places that the tourist information misses.
We started off at the bubble beach; where the local volcanic activity causes the sea to bubble. Or so we were told. Admittedly there were bubbles in the water; it did look impressive with the snorkel face-mask. But I was under the impression that the sea would appear to be fizzing like a jacuzzi; it wasn’t.
We then went to the far end of the island where we found a mountain overlooking the town of Kefalos. There were some rather pretty views including one of an island in the bay. We *could* have gone down and swum out to it…
Our next stop was in the village of Antimacheia. We hadn’t intended to stop there, but if we hadn’t stopped one of the back wheels would have fallen off of one of the buggies. Some of the wheel nuts on that wheel were gone, and the remaining ones were rather loose. We phoned the nice buggy-hire man and he arrived within a few minutes with another buggy.
In England a wheel falling off of a hire-vehicle would be a major issue; in Kos it just seemed to be a trivial inconvenience. It’s another world out here.
We then carried on to the nearby castle. I suppose I was a bit disappointed here. I was probably expecting something along the lines of English Heritage or National Trust. At the very least I was expecting some sort of information board. Instead we found an old fort which was slowly falling down, and an old bloke posing in Greek national dress in the hope that people would give him money for doing so.
But the old bloke recommended a restaurant in Kos Town that did a good dinner, so after five minutes in the castle we set off to Kos Town.
The Salt & Pepper bar lived up to expectations; excellent food with friendly service. And once we’d had dinner (and a discount because the man in the castle sent us) we had a look around the harbour.
But it was a hot day; people fancied a dip. So we got back into the buggies and set off to the thermal springs.
We parked at the top of the cliffs and walked down a track to the beach where volcanic action causes hot water to emerge from the base of the cliffs. There was a little pool being filled by the springs, and we played about in this pool. Or, to be accurate, we played in the edge which was being cooled by the sea water. The stuff coming out of the spring was just too hot.
We went back to the hotel for dinner, and realising we had the buggies until the morning we drove into Kardamena for the evening. We played tourist in the shops, I got a fake Levi belt. "er indoors TM" and Cheryl had a go in the fish-foot-spa thingy until the fish nibbled Cheryl’s foot. She screamed, and "My Boy TM" took her place.
We didn’t get *that* lost on the way back to base, and with everyone else off to the beach bar, "er indoors TM" and I sat outside our apartment ostensibly babysitting whilst listening to the same singer who had been on yesterday (and pouring brinks down our necks).
Having taken one or two photos today we finally rolled into bed at about 1.30am
18 September 2017 (Monday) - Bus Ride
Every day there was a bus trip from the hotel into Kos Town. It was only seven euros each, and I’d been toying with the idea of going on that trip all the time we’d been in the hotel. Today was our last chance, but we were still indecisive. We finally made up our minds to go with only twenty minutes to spare.
“Harriet Coach” arrived and off we went. Firstly we visited a few of the local hotels to pick up other passengers, and then it was a half-hour drive up to Kos-Town. Usually on such a trip in the UK you’d have a health and safety talk. There was none of that nonsense today. We got to the drop-off point and the driver told us (in broken English) that he was driving back at 3.15pm whether we were on the coach or not.
I programmed the location into my sat-nav and we went for a walk. We headed for the sea, then walked up alongside the castle. It was a shame we couldn’t get into the castle; it was closed on Mondays. We carried on along to the harbour. As we went we looked at the damage caused by the recent earthquake. Reading the tourist information signs I got the distinct impression that earthquakes happen a lot in Kos.
"er indoors TM" wanted to have a look round the agora to see the history. I was keen to have a look as there was an Earthcache in there. But we couldn’t get in as that too was closed on Mondays. We found the local McDonalds, but that was closed as well.
We found an interesting geocache… I say “interesting” – the cache itself was nothing particularly unusual.
It was just outside a local bar, but speaking to one of the locals in the bar (who knew all about it) I got the distinct impression that the thing was a thinly-veiled way of drumming up custom. It certainly worked for us; we stopped for a pint and a spot of lunch.
We carried on wandering; making our way slowly back to the pick-up point. We walked past a museum of local archaeology which didn’t open on Mondays (something of a theme here…) and got to the pickup point with time to spare. So we had a drink in the taverna over the road. The coach driver had pointed it out earlier and had recommended it. It was good, but it was possibly the only place on Kos where they didn’t speak fluent English.
We got driven back to the hotel where everyone else had spent the day by the pool. We joined them for a couple of hours before dinner, then went to the beach bar for a few drinks. We moved table fairly early on; someone’s cigar stank. There didn’t seem to be much of a no-smoking policy anywhere in Kos; it was just as well that few people smoked.
We took some drinks and went back to sit outside our apartments. We played cards and listened to the singer until midnight.
19 September 2017 (Tuesday) - Coming Home
One last brekkie at the hotel… I’ve rather got used to having a “full Greek” every morning. Having stuffed myself silly we went back to our apartments to pack. It was surprising how long it took to round up all my errant odds and ends and get them back into the case.
And with our stuff together we dumped it into "My Boy TM"’s room (as we didn’t have to be out of that room until much later), did the formal checking-out thing, and then spent the morning slobbing by the pool alternately swimming and doing crossword puzzles.
A late lunch was a toasted cheese sandwich at the beach bar, a shower, then we sat about waiting for the arrival of the coach to take us to the airport. It arrived, we loaded up, and we set off. Ten minutes early.
I wonder if anyone else had been hoping to get that coach?
Kos is a small island; we got to the airport in about twenty minutes and had done all the passport and luggage nonsense within another twenty minutes.
Then the boring bit started. Gatwick airport had lots of shops; Kos’s airport had three. One sold poncey perfumes, one was a vastly overpriced burger stall, and one sold pretty much anything you can get in the high street but at three times the price.
It was a shame that they were giving out comprehensive tourist guides; we could have done with those on the way in.
I slept in the waiting area for an hour or so until it was time to get onto the plane. There was then a frankly ridiculous system in which enough people were allowed through a gate to fill a bus. Said bus then drove a hundred yards to the plane, unloaded everyone and drove back again. It would have been far quicker to have everyone walk to the plane.
As we boarded the plane I did snigger. The aisle was blocked by some bloke who was standing with a shamefaced expression whilst his wife nagged from her seat. After a couple of minutes, the bloke in the queue in front of me swore under his breath then announced to the man very loudly “You! Sit Down!” And once the chap had sat the irate fellow then (equally loudly) announced to the wife “Now carry on nagging him!”.
I did chuckle.
To be fair we did get airborne a lot quicker on the way home than we did on the way out. After an hour or so spent reading a book about the Kray twins I needed a tiddle. As I walked to the loo I noticed that pretty much everyone on the plane was asleep. Once tiddled I sat back in my seat and woke an hour or so later to find the plane lights had been turned off. Everyone was sleeping.
We arrived at Gatwick on time; at 9.25pm local time. We had the obligatory passport and luggage performance and was out in fifty minutes. Far faster than on the way in.
Having said our goodbyes to everyone else we took the shuttle bus to the long-stay car park to get my car. The woman on the counter was far better than the idiot to whom I’d given my key, and I got the key back in seconds.
My car was a hundred yards away; I had been expecting the worst. But my car was fine. Mostly. From the mileage I could see that it had been driven from the drop-off to the storage bay and no more. But whoever had driven it had adjusted absolutely every single thing they could have adjusted. The seat’s position and posture were wrong for me, as were all of the mirrors. Bearing in mind it had only been moved a hundred yards was there any need to adjust anything?
Pausing only briefly for McScoff at Clackett Lane services we were home just before midnight. I was so pleased to see my dogs.
Fudge has lost weight…
20 September 2017 (Wednesday) - Back to Reality
Much as I liked being away, you can’t beat your own bed and your own toilet. Especially my toilet as you are allowed to throw bogroll down it. You aren’t supposed to do that in Greece. Why on Earth not?
I woke this morning to find myself in a rather awkward position. I had twisted myself into all sorts of contortions overnight in order to make the dogs comfortable. Over a rather demure brekkie (compared to what I’ve had over the last week) I sorted out my holiday photos. There was a minor problem in that the date on my digital camera is wrong. I managed to sort the piccies into the correct days; I wonder how I change the date one the camera?
I got dressed and walked (through a morning that wasn’t oh-so-hot) to my car and drove into town. A five-minute drive took twenty minutes; no one had told me there were major road works by the railway station.
I made my way to SpecSavers and was a tad miffed to be told I was late. I wasn’t late. I was five minutes early. But in their world they expect people to arrive ten minutes before the appointment for all sorts of pre-eye-test tests.
Still, I passed them, so that was good.
I then got in to see the proper optician at the time the appointment was booked for, and she did a lot less farting about than they have done in the past. She told me that my vision was totally unchanged since my last test two years ago, but she still recommended I got new glasses as my current ones don’t have an anti-reflective coating, and the frame is wearing through. I told her I’d think about it; if the prescription is unchanged I don’t *really* need new glasses, do I?
I then drove out to Park Farm; whilst I was away I’d had a report that one of my geocaches had gone missing. Would I replace it? I had a look; it had gone. Would I replace it? No. I’ve archived it. I’m slowly getting over my sulk about how Geo-HQ chose the top one per cent of geocache hiders, but only slowly. Clearly they appreciate people who’ve hidden hardly any so I shall slowly archive mine as they fall into disrepair.
As I was in the area I popped into Tesco to get a new pair of trainers, then came home and set the washing machine loose on laundry before walking the dogs round the park. Not much of note happened on the walk, which was probably for the best.
Once home I hung out clothes, put more in, and spent a couple of hours writing up blog notes from the last week. History doesn’t record itself you know.
"er indoors TM" came home and we drove round to see "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" has a new trick in which he does a poo into the potty. He was keen to show us this trick. He was nowhere near so keen to have his bum wiped afterwards, but then (at that age) who is?
Once home "er indoors TM" boiled up some dinner. It was rather good. We scoffed it and started to catch up with all that the SkyPlus box had recorded for us whilst we’d been away.
It had recorded a surprising amount…
21 September 2017 (Thursday) - This n That
I woke after six hours sleep, and lay in bed for a further hour desperately fighting off getting up for a tiddle. Silly really; had I got up, done what I had to and gone back to bed I could have had a restful time in bed rather than a rather painful one.
I eventually got up and since I was up I sparked up the lap-top to see what was happening in the world. It looks like quite a few people have waited for us to come back from our holiday before going off on theirs. I found myself reflecting on the last week. I didn’t really want to go, but I am glad that I did. I’m beginning to wonder where I can go next. I’ve done Greece; Turkey perhaps? I’m told that the touristy stuff in Egypt and the North African coast is dodgy; I’ve heard several tales of shopkeepers locking tourists in their shops until they buy something. There has been talk of the Dominican Republic (where’s that?)
I quite like the sound of a cruise up the Danube. Romania and eastern Europe might be good. But wherever it is, I need to scare up the money. By the time we’d paid for the holiday, paid for long-stay parking, and extra apartment hire (until the coach arrived), got some new swimmies and a suitcase, and squandered cash whilst out and about, the week away probably cost about a thousand pounds each. I need to make some serious economies elsewhere to find that amount of money again.
I took the dogs for our morning constitutional round the park. As we walked we met an odd couple we see from time to time. The husband of this odd couple carries their dog for the entre walk just in case they should meet other dogs (I once met them when my hounds were at home and they explained they didn’t want their dog mixing with the sort of dog that that frequents Viccie Park). The wife of this pair pointed at Treacle this morning, screamed, and announced to the world “that dog is eating something disgusting”. I tried to laugh it off; dogs *do* eat disgusting things. That’s what dogs do, as I told her. “Our dog doesn’t” she announced, looking at me as though I was the shit on her shoe.
We came home and I realised I’d not had any brekkie. I quickly boiled up some toast, then mowed the lawn. I soon stopped and cleared up seemingly tons of dog dung, then mowed the lawn properly.
I spent a little time looking through my fishing gear this morning; usually I find out that I’m running low on whatever at the lakeside, and promptly forget about it. Then when I am next near a tackle shop I buy what I think I need. And then I find I have ten thousand hooks but no floats. I also spent a little while overhauling some bite alarms that "My Boy TM" left in the shed years ago. The batteries had corroded away, but I eventually got two out of three of the things working again.
I settled the dogs and went shopping. First of all to Wickes to get a metpost and a fence post. One of the posts has rotted away and nice-next-door says if I get the ingredients he’ll do the work. I’m only too happy to take him up on his offer.
I also went to the tackle shop to get some odds and ends. Whilst there I met Gary (who did our attic conversion). He told me of a lake he likes in Somerset. It sounded really good, but Somerset?
Home again; I scoffed a quick lunch then set about ironing all that I washed yesterday. That took a little time; enough time to watch two episodes of “The Last Ship” and one of “Victoria”, and I was just dozing off when "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" arrived with "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and the dogs.
She had to collect some parcels from Beaver Lane; did I fancy the walk?
Personally I don’t like these home delivery services; I won’t order anything that doesn’t come by Royal Mail. Take the delivery we collected today. MyYodel delivered the stuff to a shop a mile away. If we wanted it delivered to home we would have to pay extra and wait in all day. So we walked for a mile to find that half of the delivery hadn’t actually arrived, and what had been sent was wrong.
As we walked back through the park Fudge’s lead broke, and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had a total melt-down when we picked up the poo that our dogs had just done. I kept giggling, and screaming “MUMMY LEAVE THE POO!!” at twenty second intervals.
Mind you it wasn’t all bad. Just as we were getting the dogs back onto their leads (and bodging Fudge’s) "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" asked me where "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was. Jokingly I said “In the pond, I expect”. There was then a scream. He *was* in the pond. He’d waded in. His mother went mental at him.
I had intended to do so much more today, but by the time we got home it was getting on for 6pm. I dozed for a bit more, then "er indoors TM" came home with fish and chips. We scoffed them whilst watching three episodes of a documentary about the making of “Only Fools and Horses”.
I stayed awake for most of it…
22 September 2017 (Friday) - A Day's Fishing
The puppy was restless last night. I don’t mind her being *on* the bed; but I draw the line at *in* the bed. She gets under the covers when I am asleep, then tries to push me out. I wasn’t having any of it last night though. Amazing how she never bothers "er indoors TM". I doubt she would dare.
I got up early, watched an old episode of “Dad’s Army”, then set off for a day’s fishing. I stopped off at the co-op to get a sandwich for lunch, then nearly had a fight. As I drove out of the car park a thug was in the way. I slowed, but he showed no sign of moving. I stopped, and waited for him to move. After a few seconds he realised I was there, and loudly and aggressively asked what my f… problem was. I explained that I was trying to drive out of the car park. He looked around and it was as though he had only just realised he was in the way and blocking the way on and out of the car park. He completely changed his attitude, apologised, and got out of the way.
I collected "My Boy TM" and together we drove out to Hartley Lands fishery at Cranbrook. We fished there a while ago and had a very good day. Our hopes were high…
We arrived, looed about and set up. After a couple of hours we moved because we were so cold. The last time we were there we’d set up in the sun, and moved because we were too hot. Today we were cold, and so moved into the sun. Mind you moving to face the sun was probably a mistake as I caught the sun quite seriously.
The fishing was quieter than we’d expected. In fact "My Boy TM" had something of a sulk because he was catching less than me, and I wasn’t catching much. The fishing was odd; I would catch three or four in fifteen minutes, and then nothing for over an hour. I probably ended up with about twenty catches by the time we packed up, and the first fruit of my loin had maybe a third of that.
I also had my biggest ever fish (thirteen pounds in weight) and my second biggest too (eleven pounds in weight), and there is no denying that I had a snigger when "My Boy TM"’s seat collapsed under him.
I had a rather good surprise half an hour before going home; by one of those random flukes it turned out that my old mucker Dave was fishing the next lake today. We used to go fishing together forty years ago; the rod rests I used today were the same ones I used when Dave and I used to fish around Hastings.
It was good to catch up and chat.
I got a selfie with Dave, as well as some other photos of the day.
Once home I unloaded the car, and put out the wet stuff to dry. "er indoors TM" had taken the dogs for a walk and so I got the gear away in five minutes where it might have taken twenty minutes.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good dinner and we scoffed it watching the final of “Lego Masters” whilst the dogs squabbled over their toys. They do that…
23 September 2017 (Saturday) - Birthday Parties
I had a frankly terrible night spent laying awake whilst the puppy stomped all over me, interspersed periodically with attempts to burrow under the covers. I thwarted her most of the time, but still had to hoik her out of the bed more than once.
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook whilst the dogs barked at what I can only imagine was the voices in their heads; the fact that there is absolutely nothing at all to bark at doesn’t stop them barking.
With "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" off at an interview we drove round to collect "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and Pogo and then went on to Little Burton Farm where Pogo and Treacle were having a dog family reunion. Five of the brothers and sisters of their litter met up with mummy dog and daddy dog (and several associated pooches) for a little get-together, seeing as it is their birthday on Monday.
It all went off as well as a dog reunion could be expected to; I took a few photos whilst we were at it.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of cheese on toast for dinner, and I spent a little while looking at the geo-map in preparation for tomorrow.
I did the monthly accounts, then had an argument with the bank. For years they have provided written statements for my current account and my credit card on the seventeenth of each month. However over the last year they have provided statements for each on seemingly random dates any time between the seventeenth and twenty-fourth. After fifteen minutues of listening to someone from Mumbai spouting incomprehensible gibberish I gave up.
I was feeling tired, so with "er indoors TM" off shopping I went to bed for the afternoon. I’ve not slept *really* well since we came back from holiday; it was good to have a few hours of sleep not disturbed by a restless puppy.
Suitably refreshed we walked up the road to the railway club where (after a little while) "My Boy TM" arrived to a surprise birthday party. Yesterday when fishing he was telling me about the meal that he had been led to believe he’d be going to this evening, and Cheryl’s cover story for what she was up to when she was actually preparing the party.
We had a rather good evening; my mummy and daddy were along; they were looking well...
24 September 2017 (Sunday) - Bewl Water
Another very restless night; when I wasn’t wrestling with the puppy my sleep was harried by nightmares about an old school friend who had turned up out of the blue wanting me to look after a pet tiger; in my dreams he’d heard about the puppy and so thought I was used to wild animals.
I had a little look at Facebook over brekkie. There were some photos from last night’s birthday party. There weren’t any more photos from the dog party though. For all that everyone was taking photos, only me and "er indoors TM" had posted any on-line. Such a shame.
We got ourselves and the dogs together and drove out to Flimwell. There are two series of geocaches around Bewl Water reservoir, and they made the basis of a rather good walk. In a novel break with tradition we arrived at the designated car parking space first, but soon our pals arrived, and we set off on a rather good walk. And after a couple of hours we were back at the car. We then drove a mile or so down the road and had another good walk.
We followed well laid out routes through beautiful countryside. As we walked we saw horses and cows and sheep and chickens. And a pair of buzzards circling over the chickens. We also bumped into friends who were walking the cache series in the correct order (we were going backwards), and met other cachers too. We rarely meet any other hunters of Tupperware when we are out; today we met loads.
I rather liked the stretches of the walk alongside the Bewl water reservoir; it was good to watch the people boating and fishing. Both dogs had a paddle, and we had a really good laugh at the silly normal people who’d walked into the mud and lost a welly boot. We spent a very entertaining ten minutes watching them trying to retrieve the boot. There is nothing as entertaining as other people’s misfortunes, is there?
Mind you the mud was probably there because reservoir did seem to be rather empty.
Cache-wise it was a good walk – caches were in good repair. The given co-ordinates were mostly spot-on; I thought a couple were a tad awry but helpful hints made for reasonably quick finds. I quite liked the ducks on the caches.
There was one that eluded us though; despite a thorough search we had to give up.
We did the first series of caches as the C.O. had intended; however looking at Google street view yesterday had put me off parking at the suggested parking location for the second part of the day. I don’t like parking in a pub car park and then clearing off for hours, and the street parking looked tight.
So we parked at cache #24 which was half a mile down the road from the start. We walked in reverse order which cleverly had us arriving at the pub toward the end of the walk.
Whilst sitting in the beer garden at the end of the day we had a phone call from friends we’d met earlier in the day and told them about our DNF. They’d found the cache…
I dozed much of the way home; once home "er indoors TM" boiled up some pizza, then went bowling. I posted up some photos I’d taken during our walks today, and then tried to set up a Netflix account. *Tried* was the operative word here; it wouldn’t accept any form of payment I offered…
25 September 2017 (Monday) - Birthdays, Netflix
After another frankly terrible night’s sleep (thanks to the puppy) I got up early and got angry. Last night I struggled and failed to set up a Netflix account. The thing wouldn’t accept any method of payment whatsoever. Finally it turned out that the bank wouldn’t allow any payments to Netflix. This is apparently their standard policy
After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with someone in Mumbai whose spoken English clearly wasn’t up to having a job which involved speaking English the bank explained what had gone wrong. It is a security feature for which I was supposed to be grateful. The idea is (supposedly) that you try to set up a Netflix account and when the payment is declined you phone the bank who then allow you to sign up. Eventually they assured me that all was good at their end. By then it was midnight so I went to bed and got up to find it was still not working this morning.
Over brekkie I phoned Netflix who told me that because I’d tried to join and failed, as a security feature they’d locked me out. The lock-out period ends at 9pm this evening (just as I start the night shift).
Bearing in mind that I need a Netflix account to watch the latest incarnation of Star Trek that was due to air at 8am this morning I wasn’t impressed.
There are those to whom watching Star Trek is a matter of the utmost triviality. I am not one of those people.
I drove round to the garage; one of the headlights on my car wasn’t working. They fixed it for free; that was something of a result. As it was on the way back I stopped off at "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"’s. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was claiming it was his birthday (it wasn’t; it was his dog’s) and we spent an hour doing tip runs to get rid of their old sofa.
I then drove into town. It took some doing what with all the road works, but eventually I got to the bank. I had intended to have a complain to them; no one was available.
As it was his birthday I called in on "My Boy TM" and got some birthday cake. We watched a bit of Dragon’ Den, then I came home and walked my dogs round the park. I then wrote a formal letter of complaint to the bank. I would have rather discussed the matter informally; I gave them the chance. I’ve not been happy with how they have messed about with statement dates over the last few months, and I’m spitting bullets about about the Netflix debacle. If they won’t honour my card with Netflix, what else will they choose to turn down for me as a “service”? I’ve also told then that NatWest have assured my it wouldn’t have happened with them.
I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. It never fails to amaze me how the little puppy can curl up and sleep peacefully with me during the afternoons, but she is so restless at night.
I got about an hour’s sleep before the bank’s fraud department woke me to ask if it was me who tried to pay for a Netflix account last night. They were mortified when I pointed out just how useless they had been over the last few hours.
I tried to get back to sleep; I didn’t really sleep much after that. I gave up trying to sleep at 4pm, and watched last night’s episode of “Victoria” as I quietly fussed the dogs. Treacle seemed completely oblivious that today was her birthday.
"er indoors TM" should be home soon. Hopefully she’ll boil up some dinner before the night shift…
26 September 2017 (Tuesday) - New Star Trek
As I drove home from the night shift the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Labour party’s spokesman for health. Sometimes I wish the Labour party would give a little more thought to who they allow to represent them. This bloke was being interviewed about the finances of the NHS and the various private finance initiatives in the NHS, and it was painfully obvious that the bloke didn’t have the faintest idea what he was talking about.
Once home I got the leads onto the dogs (easier said than done) and we went for a little walk round the park. As we went Fudge tried to pick a fight with a Dalmatian. I say “tried to pick a fight”; he did quite a good job of picking the fight. However it was good that the Dalmatian was on a lead; even being on a lead the Dalmatian handed Fudge his arse on a plate.
Fudge stayed really close to me after that.
As we walked my phone beeped; two new geocaches had gone live not too far away. Once home I settled the dogs, then thought I might chase a First to Find. I got one, and seeing the other cache was only a mile or so away I thought I’d see if I could get the FTF on that one as well.
I did. Happy dance.
In the past if two new caches go live relatively close together (apart from series of caches that form a walk) I’d only claim FTF on one; I’d leave the other for someone else. But more and more it seems that I’m one of a vanishingly small minority that does this. In fact chasing the First to Find has got out of hand in some quarters. I’ve heard of people who walk out with their mates who are hiding caches so they can get the heads-up for when they go live. I’ve heard of people who arrange for caches to go live at a certain time, then give their mates the co-ordinates an hour before. And I’ve even heard of people who have two caching accounts; one used to hide caches and the other used to claim the First to Find on what they’ve just hidden.
All rather sad…
I was just about to have a little sleep when my mobile rang – it was the man from Pieroth wines. Having spent a small fortune with them a few months ago I was (supposedly) entitled to a really nice set of gin glasses which the rep wanted to deliver. Could he hand them over on Friday? I said he could, and he started on about bringing some samples of their latest range of wines. But when I said we’d got enough wine to last for months (which we have) he said he’d put these gin glasses away until such time as I was ready to make another order.
So I only get the free gift when I spend money with them? Perhaps he might like to stick them where the sun don’t shne?
I got a few hours sleep, then got up and watched the most recent episode of “The Last Ship”. It is an odd show. It paints the world in very black and white terms. Americans are wonderful and save the world, everyone else is a total bastard and deserves to die, and the British are portrayed as being particularly evil.
Do Americans *really* hate the British as much as the writers of this show do?
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up some scran. Liver and onions – oh yes! We then drove down to Folkestone for the Tuesday gathering because (unlike me!) Jimbo has a Netflix account. We watched the first two episodes of Star Trek; Discovery.
It was… It was billed as a prequel to Star Trek. It wasn’t. It was a prequel to Star Trek: The Next Generation. I quite liked the show, but they were flying about in a space ship which was far more advanced than something which supposedly would come ten years later. Mind you I can’t help but feel they’ve made a monumental mistake. Star Trek; Discovery is set about ten years before the original series. And (like any prequel) you pretty much know all the back story and what is going on already. The most recent “official” Star Trek series (Enterprise) was also a prequel and it flopped.
I can’t help but think about the song “Star Trekkin’” – “Boldly going forward ‘cos we can’t find reverse” – unfortunately they have found reverse and are stuck in that gear. It would have been far better to have had follow-on series which could have been open ended rather than trying to fit in with a long-established story (and failing to do so).
However, they are now making more Star Trek, and that can only be a good thing.
27 September 2017 (Wednesday) – Volcanoes
The puppy slept well last night, and consequently so did I. I woke fifteen minutes before the alarm was due to go off. I’m now waking before it gets light; winter is on the way.
I then wasted ten minutes trying to find one of my slippers which had vanished overnight. I eventually found it; the puppy had curled up with it, and was fast asleep cuddling it.
Over brekkie I watched part of an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” that was playing on the Sy-Fy channel – “Peak Performance” has always been one of my favourite episodes.
I set off to work on a rather foggy and overcast morning. I stopped off at the petrol station on the ring road, and sure enough the old biddy on the till was snowed out with admirers. I can't work out why this is; I've mentioned before that the old woman who runs the petrol station is never short of fans. there is always one or two middle aged blokes hanging round the place trying to impress her. Today as I pulled into the garage there was a car parked awkwardly blocking the forecourt. I watched some chap come out of the petrol station shop, move that car to a marginally less stupid place to park, and then he all but ran back inside. When I went to pay for my petrol this chap was seriously sniffing round the old duck on the till.
I can't see the attraction myself...
As I drove up the motorway I listened to the radio for the first time in seemingly ages. However the pundits were still spouting rubbish as they have done most mornings. But one article made me think. There was a lot of talk about evacuating a volcanic area in Indonesia. A volcano was about to blow, and the authorities had declared a seven-mile exclusion area from which everyone had to be evacuated. I couldn't help but wonder about the volcano we went to in Greece. The thing was smoking when we were there. I wonder if it will blow any time soon? If Nisyros was to rumble, a seven-mile exclusion area would have meant the entire island would have to be evacuated. I wonder if there are contingency plans for that? Evacuating the residents would be tricky enough, but when we were there we saw loads of tourist boats coming and going seemingly unchecked in any way.
And (as usual) I got cross with "Thought for the Day". The vicar who was spouting drivel was remembering the recent terrible fire in Grenfell Towers in London and the shootings in Borough market as well as his own recent serious heart attack. For some inexplicable reason they all seriously proved the validity of his faith in a loving God that most people would have thought wouldn't have allowed such things to happen.
I got to work. Several people commented on what a good holiday I'd had. No one needed to ask about it as everyone had seen all the piccies I'd posted to Facebook.
"My Boy TM" says I post too much stuff on the Internet. Does he have a point?
28 September 2017 (Thursday) - This n That
The puppy slept well last night, and so did I. Even if I did have to hunt out my slipper this morning. Mind you I felt really rough when I woke; two pints of ale yesterday evening seemed to have done for me.
Over brekkie I had a little look at the Internet. My piss boiled a little when I saw that some people were trying to use geocaching as an educational tool for home-schooling children. Admittedly the activity might have some educational points, but how can you honestly justify a day’s caching as being part of a curriculum? Far better that the children learn maths and science and geography and do caching at the weekends and evenings as a hobby.
I get cross with the entire concept of home-schooling. I’m sure there are those who do manage to home-school their children well, and I’m the first to find fault with established schools. But I’ve never personally seen anyone doing home-school well. I’ve seen people trying to justify spending all day watching the Disney channel as being “schoolwork”. I’ve seen home-schooled children whose only topic of study is playing tennis constantly.
I’m intending to spend some time caching tomorrow. On a day off. As a hobby.
With my piss already boiling, as I drove to work there was something on the radio which wound me up. Some loonie-leftie from one of the London boroughs was whinging about a loophole in the law which allows builders to get lucrative contracts to build massive housing estates on the understanding that they will also build "affordable housing", but having got the contract they then don't have to build the "affordable housing" as there is no profit in doing so.
Whilst I agree that these builders shouldn't have carte blanche to print money, don't these loonie-lefties realise that housing isn't a social necessity any more? It is just another commodity to be bought and sold at the highest possible price? This was well established thirty years ago, to the nation's shame.
Surely the key phrase here is "affordable housing"; shouldn't all housing be affordable? Or and I just being hopelessly idealistic again?
I'd left for work early as I was on the early shift today. Heavy traffic on the motorway meant I got to work with only seconds to spare. I did my bit on a rather busy day and came home. An early start made for an early finish.
I took the dogs round the park and home through the co-op field. As we passed the allotments I had the dogs on the leads. When "er indoors TM" had taken them for their lunchtime walk they had seen a fox and had both shot off through the allotments in pursuit. Being less than a foot tall means they can both get under gates which "er indoors TM" could not. I’m told that they’d taken quite a while to be retrieved.
Once home I had another look at that Netflix account which the bank had so comprehensively stuffed up for me earlier in the week. I got the thing set up with no trouble at all today. It has several series on it that I’m after, so here’s hoping.
"er indoors TM" has taken "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" shopping this evening. I hope they come home soon – my tea won’t cook itself…
29 September 2017 (Friday) - Chartham, Netflix
Another good night. I wonder what it is that allows the puppy to sleep some nights but not others? Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. I had a friend request from some schoolchild who seemed to be wearing very little than a smile. I would have reported this to the authorities at Facebook but it seems that for all that they make a fuss about having “community standards”; very little seems to violate those standards.
Mind you I had received a good response to something I posted on one of the work-related Facebook pages last night. Recently people have taken to posting photos of work-related thingies on that page with no descriptions whatsoever, and the comments that follow are little more than guesses designed to show that no one has a clue what is going on. I suggested that as well as a photo, people describe what they are posting. Quite a few other people agreed with me.
I took the dogs for a quick walk round the park. As we went I met an old work colleague, and then Fudge tried to fight a dustbin lorry. I wish he wouldn’t do that sort of thing.
As we walked round the park we met several other dogs; the puppy is slowly getting better with other dogs but "Furry Face Senior TM" usually just makes a nuisance of himself.
Once home I settled the dogs, and went to meet Gordon. We drove out to Chartham where Kim was waiting for us, and we went on a five-mile geo-wander. Usually I would take my dogs on a walk, but I’d been advised not to take them on this series (independently by several friends). I think I was right not to have taken them. Norton went, but he is a bigger dog and more well-behaved.
The walk was… What can I say? It could have started off along a rather pretty river but instead it went off across an open field. It went past a church which was crying out for a church micro (it’s a geo-thing), it then came past one of the busiest stretches of the A28, and (ignoring several footpaths) took us along narrow lanes where we diced with death as cars hurtled past.
Judicious use of footpaths could have given us a really good stroll. For me geocaching is a good walk, with the caches marking out the way. I’m sorry but for all that I liked the time with my friends, this wasn’t a good walk.
Cache-wise they were mostly straightforward finds; the given co ordinates were good and the hints were more helpful than some have been in the past. But one cache was definitely on railway land. And I must wonder why they were so far apart. There were nineteen caches on this walk; there could have been forty.
I took a few photos as we walked; they don’t really show just how wet it was. Perhaps the rain coloured my view of the walk; we did get very wet. It started drizzling within minutes of the start, and by the half-way point we were soaked.
Once home I watched an episode of “Red Dwarf” over lunch (thanks to my Netflix account), then had a look at the monthly accounts. They could be a lot worse; I just wish they were a lot better.
I then Netflixed the first episode of the third season of “Gotham”, and dozed until "er indoors TM" came home. Over dinner we then watched “Avatar”, then on realising the puppy was watching it our attention was split between the film and the puppy.
I quite liked the film even if it was about an hour too long…
30 September 2017 (Saturday) - Got a Cold
I woke feeling like death warmed up; I think I’ve got a cold coming on. I hate having a cold. Not so much the physical grottiness of having one, but how so many people feel that having a cold is some sort of macho endurance test, and how no matter how ill you feel you are, you are actually nowhere near as ill as everyone else claims to have been.
Over brekkie I watched the second episode of the third season of “Gotham”. Much as I like the show it has one glaring plot hole; namely the windows at Wayne manor. Bearing in mind how many times various intruders have walked through them, don’t you think that Bruce and Alfred would have closed them?
I then had a quick look at the Internet. Little had happened overnight. Mind you I had an email about a supervisory job I might apply for. I say “might”; perhaps “could” might be a better word. I’ve done supervisory and management jobs before. Can’t say I liked them much.
I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing the new leader of UKIP. I was going to say that they were interviewing the country’s new chief racist, but this chap seems to have realised that you can be proud of your country (which is a good thing) without having to hate the rest of the world.
I got to work; I didn’t really do that much, and then I drove four miles to the Kent Life Heritage Farm Park. What with smallest grandson having a birthday we thought we’d have a birthday treat for him, and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" said that "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" liked the place.
Everyone else went for McLunch whilst I was at work, and we all arrived at the same time. We made our way in, and I spent much of the time winding up oldest grandson. Poor grandad supposedly couldn’t tell one animal from another, to Charlie’s amusement. However I confused him somewhat. Having been told that the difference between rabbits and chickens is that rabbits have four legs where chickens only have two, I announced that one rabbit was therefore the same as two chickens. Apparently I was wrong because two chickens is plural.
We saw (and muddled up) goats, horses, alpacas, sheep, pigs, owls, horses and donkeys. We had a mooch round several old houses and shops. And we even had a ride on a tractor.
I took several photos whilst we were there. It was a rather good afternoon.
There’s always a “but”, isn’t there? The place wasn’t cheap. In fact it was what I can only describe as “ridiculously expensive”. Our party was a family of four (one under three years old) with Nanny and Grandad too. I would have thought twenty quid would have been a fair price; perhaps a bit too much. But we paid nearly fifty quid to get in. Bearing in mind we saw the lot in an hour whereas at Wingham Wildlife Park last year seventy quid did us for the day.
And their café… I’ve never seen such a disorganised operation.
Mind you the car park was full and the place was heaving. They clearly have no need to lower their prices.
Once home we walked the dogs round the park. With "er indoors TM" along, Fudge didn’t dawdle anywhere near as much as he usually does.
After a rather good bit of dinner "er indoors TM" went off to the Saturday film night. I sat myself down in front of the telly and watched more “Gotham” and all sorts of other nonsense; all the time feeling sorry for myself.
I *hate* having a cold…