1 September 2019 (Sunday) - Bit Dull Really
Another good night’s sleep. I thought I heard a thump in the night; did one of the dogs fall off of the bed?
I got up and went to have a look at the pond. It looked a little clearer than it was. Perhaps that bulb is doing something? As I peered into the pond the dogs came and had a look, had their morning tiddle, and went back to bed.
I put a load of washing in to scrub, made myself some toast and looked at the Internet to see that not a lot had been going on overnight. So I spent over an hour fiddling about on my new Wherigo project. An hour and a half’s effort gave another minute of game play.
Once I’d hung out the washing (and harvested the dog turds) "er indoors TM" emerged from her pit. I ran a quick test of what I’d done so far on the Wherigo; realised a serious mistake and spent a little while putting it right.
The Rear Admiral then arrived to collect Sadie. Like all dogs she was no trouble on her own; but being the third dog in a pack just meant we had far too many dogs. Jimbo looked well; his two weeks in France seemed to have agreed with him.
We then went out. First of all to Badlesmere where there was a chance of a First to Find on a newly-published geocache. Had we chased off after it the moment the email arrived we would have been first. But because we’d waited for pup collection, we were beaten by fifteen minutes. Oh well… Hopefully there will be others.
We then drove down to Boys Hall where we had a little wander. We managed to find one of the geocaches that eluded me a couple of days ago, but the one by the railway bridge is still on my “to be hunted down” list.
We came home, and I spent a little while sorting my fishing gear. I really needed a huge bucket for all the baits. I couldn’t find anything in any of the shops and supermarkets, but today I unearthed an old plastic lidded dustbin that we used as a toy box in years gone by. That’ll do.
I also looked at the trolley I take fishing. Other fishermen laugh at my trolley for the simple reason that it has sides and keeps everything in. “Proper” fishing trollies are flat (with no sides), and everything is held in place by endless bungee cords. The perfectly sensible way to lug your tackle about is seen as laughable whilst the obviously impractical is seen as the way to go. I can only imagine that most people are taken in by the designer label on the flat trolleys.
If any of my loyal readers could explain the merit of a designer-labelled utterly useless flat plank, please do tell. In the meantime I’m sticking with what works.
"My Boy TM" phoned. He was building a pergola; could I pop round and help. By “help” he meant would I hold the bits of wood whilst he hammered and drilled. With "er indoors TM" off out with her mates for the afternoon I was at a loose end, so something to keep me occupied was a good thing. It only took an hour or so to get the thing in place.
I came home, and watched a couple of episodes of “Black Mirror”, then did more Wherigo. Another hour and a half’s effort gave another minute of game play.
As I gave up Wherigo-ing for the day I saw I had some emails. People had been out looking for the geocaches I hid three weeks ago. I knew that one specific friend was going out today, and so I’d asked him to report on any obvious problems or issues. Some people had said that some of my caches were in the wrong places, others said that the hints I’d given weren’t helpful. There are those people who, when finding a film pot in the forest, move it to where they think would be a better place. Consequently the co ordinates and hints immediately become useless. But I was told that all was fine with this geo-series.
That is an answer that suits me.
I watched an episode of “Space 1999”. Back in the day this was the best TV show ever. Unfortunately it hasn’t stood the test of time.
I shall play some Mah-jongg, then might have an early night. It’s not been a bad bit of time off work, has it?
2 September 2019 (Monday) - Doctor Who Books
I was up rather early today. Too early for the dogs, both of whom stayed in bed as I watched an episode of "Black Mirror" as I scoffed my granola. This morning's episode was rather good. What if detectives could harvest the memories of those who'd witnessed a crime and play them back to use as evidence in a court? Could you refuse to provide those memories? What if they incriminated *you* of something else? Is nothing sacred?
I got dressed. I could tell it was early as Treacle made no attempt to make off with my pants.
It was cold as I walked out to my car. I popped to the co-op where I got some biscuit bars for lunch, then drove off in the direction of Pembury.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing Chuka Umunna. I was going to describe him as "the failed politician Chuka Umunna", but like all politicians he seems to bounce back from disaster after disaster. Having narrowly avoided being hoiked out of the Labour party he then started his own party (which went straight down the pan), and now he's the drivelling democrap's Treasury and business spokesman. He's also a leading light in what is currently known as "The Rebel Alliance"; some bunch of politicians who are desperate to pull the plug on Boris Johnson's plan for a no-deal Brexit.
The pundits on the radio spoke at great length about "The Rebel Alliance" and their plans. All of them know what they don't want (a "no deal" Brexit) however no two of them can agree on what they do want.
They should send for Mrs Miller who used to help run the Boys Brigade camps when I was a lad. When faced with a load of boys who couldn't agree on what flavour of soup to have (some didn't like mushroom, some didn't like tomato…) she mixed it all up and served it out. The fact that before she started everyone liked something was irrelevant. Because when she finished no one liked anything, and since no one liked it, everyone was in the same boat and was being treated equally. Chuka Umunna's rebel alliance could learn from this.
There was also talk of how Japan has started commercial whaling again. Whaling - in this day and age. Why do we have a navy if not to torpedo this sort of thing?
As I drove through Goudhurst my phone beeped. A new geocache not three miles from work. I drove a little (long) way out of my way to the designated parking spot only to find that the final location was half a mile into the woods. I said some swear words and drove in to work.
The First to Find is still waiting to be had some twelve hours later.
Work was work; I did my bit and came home. Today would have been just another dull day, but today was the day that Terence Dicks died. He was one of my favourite authors when I was younger. Nowadays you can see endless re-runs of Doctor Who on the telly and you can but the DVDs. Back in the day the only way to see any sort of repeat of Doctor Who was to read the books that he wrote.
I had most of them… I wonder what happened to them?
3 September 2019 (Tuesday) - Adventure Labs
I was fast asleep when Treacle decided to start walking on my head. Having walked across it once, she walked back again. And again. I wish she wouldn’t do that.
I tried to get back to sleep; I eventually gave up and got up feeling like death warmed up. I made myself some toast and as I scoffed it I peered into the Internet. Facebook was heaving with teachers whinging about what a hard life it is having to go back to work. Doing a six-hour day after six weeks off must have come hard.
There were also posts about how the local council are planning to inspect the bins we put out and leave stickers on bins with the wrong sort of rubbish in them. It’s getting so you need a degree in dustbin studies before you dare throw anything away. Ashford council posted up to one comment on Facebook saying “We're not actually including blocks of flats and communal bins in this campaign”. Whoops! If my bins get the thumbs-down I know where I’m chucking my rubbish.
I had a load of emails telling me that people had been out visiting my new series of geocaches. All caches found; no issues reported. I’m relieved about that; the plan for today had been to go out and check all was well, but it would seem that all *is* well.
What do you do when you get two reports (on the same day) about the same film pot, one of which says “GPS co-ordinates twenty metres out” and the other says “GPS co-ordinates spot on”?
What with the vagaries of my work pattern I was not expected to turn up at work today. Seeing a new type of geo-adventure had appeared in Hastings Old Town I’d asked if anyone fancied a day out. As is so often the case, most people were busy, but Gordon was free. I took the dogs; we all met up on Hastings sea front and had quite a good time.
Geocaching Adventure Lab is a new thing. The idea is that you go somewhere, answer questions about what you find, and each answer you get right is the equivalent of finding a film pot under a rock. It has the advantage that whilst a film pot can (and often does) go missing, providing an answer should be a relatively easier way to claim a find.
The Adventure lab in Hastings was based on the blue plaques that you find on the front of houses marking where famous people once lived. Having lived in Hastings for twenty years and worked in the area where we were walking I found this little tour amazing. I had no idea that the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti had lived in Hastings. I didn’t know that Hastings had once had its own bank based only a few yards from where I often go on drinking sessions. As always geocaching took me to the quirky little places. And we got nine joint First to Finds too. Result !!
However from a technical perspective the thing has one or two issues. It has to be done in an “on-line” mode. When I go hunting Tupperware I either have a GPS unit, or a phone which I set up at home. The Adventure Lab app requires an active Internet connection and it eats the battery. My phone used up thirty per cent of its charge in half an hour. And because the game requires an active Internet connection, I did struggle a couple of times (interestingly Gordon didn’t). In many ways the thing reminds me of a Wherigo. Perhaps this will replace them?
I’d certainly go do more of these.
Having bought three hours of parking (just in case) we found ourselves back at the car after only half an hour. It was then that I realised I’d left the car windows open. Whoops!
We said our goodbyes and headed homewards. I stopped off on the way to pick up a geocache that I’d had my eye on for some time. Having finally figured out where this one actually was I managed to claim another geo-resuscitation. Go me!!
We came home, and I realised Treacle had stopped shaking her head about. Before we left home she’d been constantly shaking her head. I’d said that if she was still doing it when we got home we’d be going to see the vet. Thinking about it, the head-shaking had stopped when we walked out the door this morning. I wonder what that was all about.
I had a spot of lunch whilst watching more “Black Mirror” then got on with my latest Wherigo project. I amazed myself; in four hours I got the thing to a stage where I can test it out in the field, and I got all the cache pages written up.
Hopefully I can have it all live by the weekend.
"er indoors TM" is currently boiling up some dinner. We’ve got cheese in the fridge and a box of wine, and Bake-Off is on the telly later.
And in closing did you know it is eight years to the day since I first met Fudge…
4 September 2019 (Wednesday) - So Dull
Treacle was very restless last night. When she eventually settled down and stopped stomping about, she then (very noisily) sucked the duvet cover for an hour or so. I finally got some quiet about five o’clock.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. Again Amazon were offering me the Kindle edition of “Brave New World” for a quid, but on clicking the link they wanted a fiver. I’ve asked them what’s going on; I bet I don’t get a reply.
With no emails not getting immediately deleted I got dressed and took the dogs out. We got about fifty yards from home when the drizzle started. By the time we got to the park the rain was rather heavy. As we walked we didn’t see any other dogs at all; no one else was daft enough to be out. We were soaked by the time we got home.
Once home I towelled off the dog using a warm towel. Warm? The radiator was on. What was that all about? It turned out that the timer which controls the hot water and the radiators has gone west. I’ve messaged the plumber.
Usually when on a late shift I would go on a little adventure before work, but the rain had put paid to that. So I put the kettle on, and watched an episode of “Black Mirror” before setting off to work.
Having got soaked a couple of hours previously as I'd been out with the dogs I was rather miffed to drive through glorious sunshine.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the rise of slavery in present-day UK society. Rather worrying...
I got to work and had a rather busy late shift... and that was it for today. Yesterday was a rather good day. Today the highlight was finding that fixing my water heating is going to cost me a small fortune.
Still it's days like today that make me appreciate the other days that much more...
5 September 2019 (Thursday) - Fixing the Timer
I lay awake for quite a lot of last night. It wasn’t having four dogs (we were dog-sitting for "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"). I was revisiting the squabbles of three years ago which made me feel I should leave the astro club. Having been a member from the start, for some years I’d been increasingly worried about the direction in which the club was going. On the one hand was me and pretty much everyone else who wanted a friendly “by-us-and-for-us” club. On the other hand was one very forceful and vociferous individual who was trying to turn it into some sort of corporate entity, and would tolerate no dissent. Any attempts to offer opinions were firmly stamped upon. The phrase “I disagree with you for the following reasons” was seen by this chap as a personal attack. He told me that I was “lacking ambition and direction”, that I was “embarrassingly irrelevant”, that I was “subversive, manipulative and a leader of negativity”, and went on to personally attack me in front of family and friends. Random family members (who were nothing to do with the astro club) would turn up and ask what I’d done to offend him.
Consequently I walked away from the astro club two years ago.
Occasionally over the last two years I would hear that the club was still having troubles from this chap’s attitude. I had heard that the club has a new chairman. He is someone else with whom I have disagreed with in the past, but during those differences this chap seemed to understand the difference between “I disagree with you for the following reasons” and a personal attack. Now he’s on the committee the new boss has been able to see all the previous astro club committee’s on-line “discussions”.
He messaged me last night on behalf of the club offering a full apology for how I’d been treated, assured me that the problem had been dealt with, and asked if I would consider re-joining the club.
I shall have to think about that.
I made myself some toast and had a look at Facebook as everyone else snored. There were a lot of “back to school” photos this morning. There have been all week. I quite like them; it brings back memories of trying to herd "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" to school even if it was rather frustrating at the time. One chap had posted up some meme about how ugly the schoolchildren all looked. I thought that was rather nasty, but refrained from saying so. I’ve seen that sort of thing before; those being hateful to the “back to school” photos are invariably those who’ve never taken any.
My piss boiled somewhat when I read about the Woodchurch Wagon. Apparently Ashford council has spent a small fortune buying a minibus for the people of Woodchurch. Apparently people get very lonely when living in the back of beyond and a minibus will help counteract social isolation. Bearing in mind that those people living in the back of beyond in the Woodchurch area are living in houses worth hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of pounds, why don’t they sell up and move to somewhere less isolated?
I do get cross when my council tax money is used to subsidise someone who is demonstrably better off than I am.
As I looked at the Internet so Treacle sat with me on the sofa, alternately chewing my shirt and chewing my hand, all the time looking at her brother Pogo. I’m sure she was showing off that she felt that she was allowed to chew my shirt and to chew my hand whilst he was not. But it wasn’t long before "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" arrived to collect Pogo and Sid.
They all set off to the station, and I sat myself in front of the telly and watched “Black Mirror” until the nice plumber arrived. The dogs woofed a bit, the nice man did his thing, and ten minutes later we had a new timer for the central heating and the hot water.
I set off to work. It was a rather bright morning. I did consider having a little geo-adventure on the way, but the bosses had been good enough to let me take a couple of hours off at very short notice (to get the plumbing sorted) so I thought it best not to. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the utter shambles that is British politics.
As I understand it Boris Johnson has effectively sacked twenty Conservative MPs to get rid of what he sees as a load of troublemakers. He has then tried to call for a general election in order to get a whole load of new MPs into parliament who will do what he tells them to do. However in order to call a general election he needs the consent of two thirds of the House of Commons to agree to this, and they have said no. Effectively this leaves the Prime Minister comprehensively poggered.
And to think he wanted the job.
I got to work. The boss was glad to see me, and thanked me for coming in. I smiled graciously; it was clear that he thought that I'd done him a great favour by coming in late. I was of the opinion that he had done me a favour by letting me come in late.
But if he wants to think of me as being the one who's put himself out, I'm happy to oblige.
I did my bit; I even spotted a Mott cell, and with my bit done, I came home.
Once home "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed don with some of the red wine out of that box we got. As we scoffed we watched the documentary about women by Kathy Burke. Have you seen it? It is well worth watching. It certainly made us think.
6 September 2019 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
The internet seemed to be broken as I attempted to peer into it as I scoffed my toast his morning. It does that from time to time. I pulled the plug on the router and re-started it. The internet was soon fixed, but there wasn’t much worth looking at this morning.
There were a couple of arguments kicking off on some of the Lego Facebook pages I follow. What is the collective term for more than one Lego brick? “Lego” or “Legos”? I would ask “who cares” but demonstrably quite a few people do judging by the row that was going on. And what are Lego sets worth? People have been posting photos of sets they wish to sell with a comment along the lines of “make me an offer”. And then taking umbrage at what they see as insultingly low offers. Someone else pointed out that it takes seconds to find out the going rate by looking on eBay, and a very nasty argument ensued.
(Lego?! – some people will squabble about anything).
I got my bits and pieces and dogs together and we drove out to Ripper’s Wood. I once had some geocaches in there. I archived them six months ago so if anyone else wanted to hide caches there, then they could. No one took the opportunity, so I’ve used the area for something of a geo-experiment.
I like writing Wherigos. They are little adventure games that you play on your phone. As you play the game you move from location to location; finding a geocache at the end. People either love them or pretend they haven’t got the technology to play them. But one thing is true – compared to finding the average film pot under a rock, they can be a bit of a faff. So I’ve created a Wherigo adventure which takes less than an hour to play, during the course of which you get to find six film pots under rocks. If this proves popular I shall use this idea again.
We eventually got to Ripper’s Wood; the roads round Ashford were very congested this morning. And once at the woods we had a really good walk. I got to hide my film pots and test my Wherigo; the dogs got to do their own thing. And we didn’t meet another soul as we walked.
As I walked I had a phone call from the local hospital’s complaints department. I’m waiting for a nasal re-bore to get rid of these annoying nasal polyps. I was due for surgery the very week I was starting my new job (in 2017). I said I couldn’t make that date; the nice lady on the phone said she’d re-schedule. Because that hospital seems to have a policy of not answering phone calls I wasn’t able to get through to them for months to chivvy them up. When I finally got through they told me (rather rudely) that since I hadn’t been in touch they had taken me off the waiting list and if I wanted the surgery I could start again at the bottom of the waiting list. It took ages to get back onto their lists; in the meantime I’ve had two appointments, but I don’t want appointments. I want my nose fixed so that I can breathe. I formally complained yesterday, and today someone phoned to see what my problem was. I explained it all in great length and they said they’d look into it. I explained that when I had the camera up my bum all was fine, but the last time I had my nose re-bored, things only happened when I put in complaints. The nice lady on the phone said she was fed up with hearing that the ENT people don’t reply to phone calls.
That speaks volumes, doesn’t it?
We came home through traffic that was still very heavy. I made one or two trivial tweaks to the Wherigo cartridge, and sent the whole thing off to the geo-feds for their approval (or thumbs-down) and then set the washing machine going on some shirts and went up the road to get a sandwich from the corner shop.
As I scoffed dinner and then ironed I watched the last two episodes of “Black Mirror”. For a show which started so well and continued incredibly well, the last two episodes were rather rubbish.
With telly watched I set the washing machine loose on my pants, and took the dogs out. I had this idea that the traffic hold-ups in town would have cleared, we could go on a quick little geo-adventure and get petrol on the way home. We got petrol and had the little geo-adventure, but the traffic hadn’t cleared. What should have been a twenty minute outing took well over an hour.
Once home I started provisional programming on another Wherigo project. Two hours later "er indoors TM" came home. It was as she came home that Fudge started quivering and shaking. I’m hoping it was excitement at "er indoors TM" coming home; it didn’t last long but it was rather worrying at the time. He’s since charged round the garden shouting and has eaten his dinner so I’m going to assume all is well and keep an eye on him. But the slightest recurrence and he’s going to the vet. Mind you he is so scared of the vet that going there induced shaking and quivering.
I wonder if the vet does home visits?
7 September 2019 (Saturday) - Early Shift
I woke five minutes before the alarm was due to go off. I had a shave; I had the bathroom heater on as I scraped. Summer is on the way out.
As I scoffed toast I had a look at the Internet. I saw that during the night an eBay auction I’d been bidding on had ended. My bid had been the only bid, and I’d won a 1970s classic Lego car. I intend to find space for it on a shelf in the living room somewhere. "er indoors TM" will never notice. And by winning this auction I got twenty-five Nectar points too.
I saw I had an email from my web browser. Apparently the web site I occasionally use for dieting purposes has been hacked and it is possible someone has maliciously accessed my data. If anyone *really* wants to see my calorific intake for random weeks, they are welcome to it. Personally I would have thought that there were far more interesting things to find on-line?
I got myself organised and set off to work. Effectively my Saturday was yesterday. With only five more weekends off for the rest of the year, this is going to be the way of things for me for a while. People often give my stick about how always seem to be off work. I work just as much as anyone else… just at different times. Where most people do nine to five on Mondays to Fridays, I do the same about of hours but at random times at any time.
It was a rather cold morning today. As I drove the pundits on the radio were still talking about Brexit. I must admit that I was wrong in my predictions. I was confident that having poggered the matter up, Theresa May would have made such a mess that her successor (probably Boris Johnson – I got that bit right) would be hailed as a hero for having made the most of a bad situation.
Whilst I was right in that Boris Johnson did succeed her, it would seem that he is hell-bent on making a bad situation utterly crap beyond the wildest dreams of even his staunchest critics.
There was also talk about how India's Moon mission has gone west. But despite having presumably pranged the thing, the Indian Prime Minister was talking of having another go.
India having a mission to the Moon?
I've cancelled my subscription to ActionAid. I'm not giving aid to a country that can afford to send probes to the Moon when my own clearly cannot.
I got to work. I had a rather busy morning. I was glad when it was going home time. Once home "er indoors TM" and I took the dogs out for a little walk where I started provisionally working on my next Wheri-project. We had a good little walk. Once home I had a little look at the GPX file I’d generated on our walk, but decided against doing anything with it.
"er indoors TM" is boiling up a pasta bake. I wonder if there’s any of that red wine left in that box?
8 September 2019 (Sunday) - Another Early Shift
When "er indoors TM" wasn’t snoring last night, the sound of Treacle sucking the duvet kept me awake. Sometimes I wonder if my little girl dog is a bit “special”?
I got up (whilst it was still dark), and as I scoffed my toast I had a look at the Internet. A cousin had suggested I might like to follow the antics of his swimming club on Facebook. I clicked the “like” button out of politeness; it must be forty years since I was last in any swimming club. I had a little look and was amazed to find that my old swimming club is still going strong.
Not a lot else had happened on the Internet this morning, but it was only six o’clock on a Sunday morning when I looked.
As I got dressed I could hear next door’s dogs whimpering. They’d been crying all night; had they been left alone? Treacle wasn’t bothered; she carried on sucking the duvet.
It was rather cold as I drove to Pembury. I had the car's heating on. As I drove the radio was featuring some drivel in which some rabbi or other was showing the difference between good music, challenging music and bad music. It all sounded bloody awful to me.
Usually on a Sunday much of the talk on the radio is of a religious nature. It wasn't this morning. Again the Brexit debacle dominated. It would seem that the politician Amber Rudd is now in the limelight. Having survived being given the bum's rush as Home Secretary she's now resigned as Secretary for something-or-other (and also jacked it in with the Conservative party) in protest about Boris Johnson's being a knob (I present the edited version here). She described the Prime Minister as being "the life and soul of a party, but not someone you'd want a lift home with afterwards", and she said she feels she can no longer be a part of the Conservative party as it currently stands. From what I've seen of the Prime Minister, this sums him up entirely. As I once said about David Cameron, love the person or loathe the person, the office of Prime Minister deserves respect. I don’t think Mr Johnson’s premiership is commanding any.
I wonder if Ms Rudd has made a principled stand on something in which she believes, or if she is just posturing for future political gain? Time will tell. It always does.
I got to work; I did my bit. I came home again. "er indoors TM" and I took the dogs for a little walk out through the Godinton estate. Back in March I’d hidden a series of geocaches out there, and one of them had been reported as missing (three times). I didn’t think it was actually missing. We walked for half a mile to find it was exactly where I’d put it in March. Oh well… the dogs liked the walk. We made our way back to the car through a field full of very odd-looking sheep. I’ve never seen so many sheep with their ears cocked up.
As we walked we met a “rather delightful” woman with her dog. She ranted that we should keep our f…ing dogs away from her dog. I (very loudly) told her to f.. off, and everyone seemed happy with the arrangement. Her dog didn’t seem at all perturbed. If her dog really shouldn’t be bothered by other dogs then the mutt should have had a yellow collar or a yellow harness or a yellow lead or just anything yellow. That way other dog owners know there is an issue. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have dogs…
Once home Treacle refused to eat her dinner. She’s getting *very* picky just lately; quite often she’ll only eat if she is hand-fed every scrap. Fudge however seems to have become quite the gannet. He’s recovered completely from whatever it was that gave him the shakes on Friday.
We then had our dinner; "er indoors TM" had boiled up some rather good scran. As we devoured it, we watched a couple of episodes of “Timeless” via my phone’s app and the ChromeCast. The Amazon Firestick seems to be poggered. And I was hoping to start watching Amazon Prime stuff soon too…
9 September 2019 (Monday) - Stuff
A rather restless night; when Treacle doesn’t sleep, nor does anyone else. Ironically she settled just as it was time for me to leap into action.
Over some toast I watched the first episode of “Inside No. 9” which was rather odd. Mind you it was made by the same people who made “The League of Gentlemen”.
No morning is complete without a rummage round the Internet, One of the children from the kite festival days has had a little baby. I say “children”; Lucy must be in her mid-twenties now. Where have the years gone?
I had an email about a geocache I hid seven years ago. It was broken, but having been found over a hundred and fifty times, it has had its day. It had only been found three times this year; it was just in the way of another potential cache that might get found more often. I archived it.
I sent a birthday wish to my nephew (whose birthday I was sure was in December) and set off for work.
It was another cold day as I left the house this morning. And it was raining too. And the roads were very busy.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about Brexit yet again. Apparently despite having had the law changed so that the Prime Minister can't just say "sod it" and declare a no-deal Brexit, the general consensus is that he is going to do so anyway. There was then some discussion about how the country should proceed when the Prime Minister is just doing whatever he likes. Apparently Prime Ministrers aren't supposed to do whatever takes their fancy; I would have thought that doing so was one of the perks of being the numero uno honcho, but what do I know?
There was also talk about plans to eradicate malaria from the entire world within the next thirty years. Those talking about it seemed blissfully unaware that this had been tried before but hadn't worked.
I got to work; I did my bit. Whereas most people might be having that "Monday" feeling today, effectively today was my Wednesday. Mind you I still felt rather hacked off with having to roll up at work. I don't dislike my job, but I'm a tad fed up with it. I would like to retire and do something different.
If I had my time again I wouldn't choose a workplace that never closes, and certainly wouldn't choose one that has "red alerts" at regular intervals. Red alerts are all very well on Star Trek, but can be rather nerve-wracking in reality.
At tea break I had an email... well, lots of emails. My new Wherigo series had gone live, as had a couple of other series of geocaches in the county. I had emails about them, I could see the descriptions on my phone's app, but I couldn't see anything on the app's map. I need to see where these things are on a map. For a going out-and-about hobby, a map is rather crucial.
I fought with the phone for all of my morning's break and all my lunch break. It was just as I was heading home this evening that I had a stroke of genius. I disconnected my phone from the staff wi-fi and used my mobile data. The problem was immediately solved. There was something about the work's wi-fi that didn't like the geo-app.
I'm glad that problem's now solved.
"er indoors TM" has gone bowling. Now my Wherigo project has been accepted by the geo-feds I might just start on a slightly more ambitious one…
10 September 2019 (Tuesday) - Bake Off
I slept like a log and woke feeling full of beans and ready to go. I looked at the clock and saw it was only two o’clock. I saw every hour of the night after that. I gave up trying to sleep shortly after six o’clock, and after some toast watched another episode of “Inside No.9” which was watchable (I suppose).
With telly watched I had a look at the Internet. Pretty much nothing much had changed since last night.
As I drove to work I twice found myself behind different tankers; both of which were used by various companies to empty cess pits. I thought it rather odd that tankers carrying that which had been extracted from cess pits would also be bearing large logos saying "Non Hazardous Material".
If the gunge out of a cess pit isn't hazardous, what on Earth is?
As I drove I listened to the radio. The world would seem to be in uproar at the Prime Minister's having shut down Parliament. However everyone seemed to be glossing over the fact that he'd merely closed it four days earlier than it would have been closed anyway.
What amazed me today was the news reports of the latest Honours list. Outgoing Prime Ministers are allowed to give out honours and awards when they go (it is one of the perks of the job). I would have thought this would have been a golden opportunity to reward those who actively contribute to society. But I didn't hear mention of anyone to whom I would have given recognition. CBEs had been given to the two geniuses who'd overseen the most recent general election in which Teresa May's government was firmly kicked in the knackers. And a knighthood has been given to the bloke who devised that Brexiit deal that Parliament threw out three times. Who would have thought that such incompetence would be rewarded so well? On the strength of that, the Downing Street tea lady should have been made God-Emperor of the universe.
The chap who ran the Boys Brigade (for years) when I was a lad has never received anything from an ungrateful nation. The team who run our local scout group got nothing either. Meanwhile people ballsing up a job (for which they get paid more than I get paid) get honours.
Funny old world.
Work was much the same as ever. I did my bit, and came home as I do.
Over dinner we watched “Bake Off”. I absolutely love that show. When it first started all those years ago (like everyone else) I was wondering who would be bothered with a show about making cakes, biscuits and bread. Now I sit there intently watching the bakers' every moves, earnestly telling "er indoors TM" that they are about to make a pig's ear of that ganache.
Or I would if I knew what a ganache was...
11 September 2019 (Wednesday) - It Didn't Rain (Much)
I forgot to set the dishwasher going last night. There was a minor disaster this morning when the thing didn’t work. Eventually it turned out that "er indoors TM" had inadvertently pulled the thing’s plug when rummaging in the cupboard for a sponge. I didn’t like to ask what she wanted a sponge for.
As I scoffed my toast I peered into the Internet. There was quite a lot of posts on Facebook about remembering the 9-11 bombings that took place in America eighteen years ago. Mind you none of my American friends had posted anything on the matter; it was all from people who’d never been near the place for years.
I had some emails. Amazon were recommending that I buy that which I bought from them last weekend. I also saw that my new series of Wherigos had been visited five times over the last day or so. I was pleased about that. Those who hunt film pots either love or hate Wherigos; I’m pleased these ones seem to be popular. I might just make some more along similar lines.
I took the dogs for a little walk. We went round Viccie park – we hadn’t been there for a little while. As we walked we saw the nice ladies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses sheltering from the drizzle under a tree. It was good to see they were covering their charms. Far more in keeping with ladies of an ecclesiastical calling.
As we walked we only met a couple of other dogs. There were no “episodes”. Everyone played nicely. Much as I miss having Pogo with us, not having him along makes for much easier walks.
And as we walked out of the co-op field we saw OrangeHead in the distance. She waved nicely at us.
As we walked home my phone rang. It was the local hospital with a date for my nasal surgery. Having been waiting since January 2017 to get a date and not having phone calls returned, last Friday I put in a formal complaint. Amazing what a formal complaint achieves… I’ve been booked in for the op in just under three weeks’ time.
I immediately emailed the boss to see if that would be OK with work. She replied right away saying that it would be fine, and that she would arrange to cover the late shifts and night shifts…
I make a point of not blogging about work. I did so when I used to work “somewhere else” and got a formal disciplinary warning for saying that working all night made me tired. I won’t say very much about my current place of work only to mention that I wish I’d moved to work there years go. My previous boss wouldn’t have been anywhere near so co-operative.
The plan for today had been to go fishing. But with rain forecast, "My Boy TM" and I decided we didn’t want to get wet. So we drove out to The Foundry for a rather good bit of brekkie.
We came home via the tackle shop just for a look-see. I only spent forty quid, so I suppose that wasn’t bad. When I was a lad I used to finance my fishing from my pocket money. You couldn’t do that these days.
I came home, and set about working on my latest Wherigo project. This one is a re-hash of something I’ve done before. I created about five minutes of game play and it took pretty much all of the afternoon except when I slipped out to the vets with Fudge.
For some time the vet has been telling me that Fudge is overweight. He’s not overweight now. He’s lost quite a bit of weight over the last few months. I have no idea why; He seems fine; he’s just a shadow of his former self. The vet gave him the once over and could find nothing wrong. She recommended that we did blood tests to check kidney and liver function. I readily agreed; after all that is something with which I have a passing acquaintance.
As I got to the point of having done six hours Wherigo programming (and my head was about to explode) I had a message. A fellow Tupperware-hunter from Cambridge was planning to come to Ashford to play the Wherigos that I’ve written. There’s incentive to get more ones done.
"er indoors TM" flew in, grabbed some stuff, and flew out again leaving me “home alone”. I was still feeling rather full from that full English brekkie that I’d eaten this morning so I popped over the road for some crisps and a pot of dip for dinner.
The plan for today had been to go fishing but we cancelled because of the weather forecast. It didn’t rain that much today really…
12 September 2019 (Thursday) - Yus M'Lady
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Inside No.9”. It passed half an hour I suppose.
I sparked up my lap-top. Nothing much had happened on Facebook at all overnight, but I did see that the Gerry Anderson fan page I follow was advertising a bargain. You can now pre-order a 1:6 scale model of “Parker” (Lady Penelope’s manservant from “Thunderbirds). The manufacturers are taking orders and a deposit of “only” thirty pounds secures you one. Thirty pounds? I had a look at the website. They want two hundred quid for the actual thing. Apparently this is a limited edition… limited to as many as they can sell perhaps? It never fails to amaze me how people will pay good money for this sort of thing.
I had a look at my emails. A new geocache had gone live overnight. It wasn’t at all far from where I work when I am working in Maidstone; such a shame I’m in at Pembury this week.
I drove to work through a rather bright morning. It was far too beautiful a day to be listening to all the doom and gloom on the radio. The pundits on the radio were talking about "Operation Yellowhammer"; the government's worst-case disaster planning in case Brexit goes seriously tits-up. On the one hand it all seems rather worrying. On the other hand it is as well that some plans are being made.
They then wheeled on the Labour party's deputy leader who tried to savage the government for all the horror stories that are circulating about the Brexit planning, but the chap refused point-blank to say what the Labour party's stance on Brexit actually is. The implication was that they didn't have one.
There was also a lot of talk about how prosecutions for rape are going through the roof, but convictions for rape are at an all-time low. Are the guilty getting off? Are the innocent being charged? I don't know.
I got to work. I did chuckle when a colleague had to suddenly take an hour or two off. A minor family emergency. Having thought her son had run away from school it turned out that he hadn’t run away at all. The boy had had enough of the place and had announced that he had now left school. He’s only nine years old. I think the most recent fruit of my loins once tried the same trick.
Once home we took the dogs for a little walk, then "er indoors TM" went off to craft club. I shall do some more Wherigo programming… in a little while…
13 September 2019 (Friday) - Results
I slept reasonably well I suppose… I did wake with something of a sense of feeling rather pissed off. Today wasn’t just any old day. As a lad in the seventies I used to watch the TV show “Space 1999”. Set in a rather wonderful and fantastic future, the show followed the adventures of a bunch of people after a terrible accident happened on September 13th 1999. It is now exactly twenty years after that date and the future hasn’t turned out quite as any of us had expected.
I watched an episode of “Inside No.9” then looked at an Internet in which absolutely nothing at all had happened overnight.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. I caught the end of an article about how astro-turf is *really* bad for the environment. I'd been vaguely considering covering the garden in the stuff seeing how mowing the lawn is a pain, and how Treacle's tiddle kills the grass. Maybe I won't?
There was also talk about how the Speaker of the House of Commons is lambasting the Prime Minister, and the Speaker was saying how he will be using Parliamentary processes to thwart the government's plans for a no-deal Brexit. Bearing in mind that Parliament is now closed, he'll have a job.
This got me thinking. Parliament is now closed. When it is open, what does it actually achieve? MPs acting in government run the country (some do it well, some not so), but in Parliament? There is a *lot* of talk, and a lot of hot air generated but precious little else. Let's see how what difference Parliament's being closed for the next few weeks makes to the running of the country, and then ask if we really need it.
I did chuckle when I heard about a Norfolk pub's landlord had the arse because his pub was no longer in the Good Beer Guide. He's had a whinge at his regular customers about it. but do they have any say in the matter? When I was in the Campaign for Real Ale I never once had a say in which pubs were nominated for awards. The local committee would make their decisions and tell the membership what they'd decided later. I ranted about this on May 15th 2008.
Have things changed?
I got as far as
Goudhurst then had to take a little diversion. There is a very narrow and
sharp bend in the road by the church there, and some idiot lorry driver had
got his lorry wedged. Some might feel sorry for the chap; I don't. How many
huge signs had he driven past telling him the road wasn't suitable for
lorries of that size?
As I paid I rather upset the old bat on the till. They gave me a little voucher with which I could indicate which charity I thought Tesco should support. She wasn't at all happy when I told her that I didn't think that the air ambulance or the local hospice were charities. All the time do-gooders are funding the air ambulance and the hospice, no government of any political party is going to fund them properly. What wound up the old bat the most was that she couldn't disagree with what I'd said.
I went in to work and shared Quality Street with everyone. I thought I might be Mr Popular until they ran out... amazingly the tub was still half-full at going home time.
I took a little longer getting home than usual. Just as I was leaving work the vet phoned to discuss the results of Fudge’s blood tests. The vet said that she was glad that I had a medical background as the results weren’t conclusive but… I agreed with her. Provisionally it does look like early stage chronic renal (kidney) disease. The next stage will be to get some urine to confirm that the reason for the low protein levels in his blood is that he’s peeing it out. I shall do that in a day or so. From there it might be ultrasound examination, but at that stage we will have a treatment plan.
I only stopped the car twice on the way home to sob pathetically. Which is silly of me. I thought there was something wrong with him but I had no idea what. Now we know what is wrong we can come up with a treatment plan.
Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog?
14 September 2019 (Saturday) - Early Shift
It was rather dark when I got up this morning. Having spent quite some time fighting with my latest Wherigo project last night I'd got it to a point where I was ready for one final test before trying it for real. I did that test over brekkie this morning. The run through took about ten minutes. Fortunately for my nerves it all went well.
As I fiddled about so Fudge was snoring. Last night "er indoors TM" posted a video of him running around like a thing possessed. He doesn't know he's got chronic kidney disease, and even if he does he's certainly not letting it bother him like I'm letting it bother me.
Having successfully tested my Wherigo I saw that absolutely nothing had happened on the Internet overnight, so I got dressed and set off in the general direction of Maidstone.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. The morning farming program was on and was talking about fly fishing. As is so often the case, the fly fishermen talked about the coarse fishermen (the sort of fishing that I do) as though we were the dog turd that they had just trodden in.
Just as this finished I arrived at a post box in Maidstone. In theory there was a geocache there. There might well be; but I couldn't find it. I sulked and drove off to get petrol. Interestingly petrol is six pence per litre cheaper in Maidstone than it is in Tunbridge Wells. As I went from the petrol station to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how a couple of huge asteroids are narrowly missing crashing into Earth later today. It amazed me that those on the radio treated the whole thing as a matter of hilarity. Anything remotely science-y is seen as the radio presenters as a subject of ridicule, but the antics of the politicians (which are forgotten by the next day) are treated as matters of grave importance.
Just as I got to work so my phone beeped. The geo-feds had given my wherigo plans the once-over and had found two problems. Neither would seem to be insurmountable (I was pleased about that).
I got on with work and sulked. I had hoped to have been able to get to today's geo-meet. But having been off for most of the weekends in August, those who had covered me them were off on their weekends away today.
I was pleased when the relief arrived. I came home, and we took the dogs for a walk. Having done all the testing I could with my Wherigo we took it for field trials. There are one or two little hiccups to be sorted, but I can do that over the next few days.
I wonder what’s for dinner…
15 September 2019 (Sunday) - Another Early Shift
Having had a glass or two of wine last night I slept like a log. I woke to find "er indoors TM" and the dogs were still out for the count.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of "Inside No.9" and found myself thinking; what *would* you do if you realised that you'd killed the wrong person?
I sparked up my lap-top and had a look at the Internet. Using super-human restraint I didn't kick off on a squabble but... Recently on one of the geocaching pages someone had given notice that they intended to archive one of their series of geocaches and replace it with a new one. I said that I felt this was a good thing to do as (realistically) after eighteen months, most people would have done any geo-series in Kent. Another local hunter of Tupperware disagreed, and said that his series of caches was still being regularly found many years after it had been put out. I had a little look at the geo-website. That person's oldest series has only attracted two visits this year. Some of their other old series are equally rarely walked, and quite a few of their caches on the older series would seem to have disappeared. Some of these are up for resuscitation having not been found in over a year.
Why not archive and replace and give everyone a new walk to do? I drafted a reply and deleted it.
Taking care to let sleeping dogs lie (this time literally rather than metaphorically) I got dressed and set off for work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were broadcasting from a whisky distillery in Ireland. I wish I knew why whisky was so popular; it tastes horrible. it is my ambition to find a brand of whisky that tastes better than "vile".
There was also talk about ex Prime Minister David Cameron's recently released memoirs in which he has been somewhat vicious to the current Prime Minister. Those on the radio seem to have overlooked the fact that this is what ex Prime Ministers do. Edward Heath knifed Margaret Thatcher in the back several times. Mrs Thatcher could have been a lot more helpful to John Major...
I got to work and did my thing It was a surprisingly busy day. As I worked my phone beeped. A message from the geo-feds. Yesterday they’d told me that one of the locations that I was planning to use in my latest Wherigo was actually in someone’s back garden. Whoops. Yesterday evening we took the dogs out and on our walk I measured those co-ordinates again.
I was told that the new measurements were OK.
With work done I came home. "er indoors TM" had gone to some beano in Hyde Park, so I’d been left “home alone”. I loaded the dogs into the boot of the car (they seem to like being “boot dogs”), we collected "My Boy TM" and the fierce one, and we all went down to Orlestone woods for a little walk. The first fruit on my loin claims he’s never been there before. I think they will go again. We had a good walk and I took a few photos.
As we walked we met some other dogs. Big dogs. Great big dogs. Humungous great big dogs that could have a cart-horse in a fight. Tiny little Rolo (half yorkie-half chihuahua) tried to pick a fight with them. For all that he is tiny, he is very much the top dog in the family wolf-pack. I’d not realised this, but when the dogs are all together, Rolo gets aggressive towards other (non-family) dogs as he tries to protect his pack. Silly thing!
We came home; I got myself a bag of crisps for dinner and watched the first episode of “The i-Land”; a new thing on Netflix. So far it seems to be a cross between “Lord of the Flies” and “Lost”. And with telly watched I put the finishing touches to my latest Wherigo project.
That only took two hours.
I *think* it is now ready to go. The plan is to test it on Tuesday…
I wonder if I will actually do so?
16 September 2019 (Monday) - Taking the Pee
Having gone to sleep cuddling Fudge like a teddy bear, I was woken in the night by Treacle's crying. With him on the bed she was reluctant to jump up. So I picked her up, put her at the end of the bed and settled her.
I dozed off and woke to find Fudge had gone off to his basket.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Inside No. 9" which was set four hundred years ago in a witch trial. Did they *really* burn people at the stake for supposedly being a witch. Did it never occur to anyone that a *real* witch would be able to zap her accusers with thunderbolts and would have nothing to fear from a trial?
As I watched telly so I sorted out the pants that the tumble-drier had dried last night. What a riveting life I lead...
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about global warming. We all know it is happening. Opinion (of those who *aren't* entirely retarded) is pretty much unanimous on what needs to be done. So why aren't we doing it?
There was also talk of a government initiative to reduce knife crime. Schoolkids are being shown the consequences of knife crime. Good. A pilot trial in the midlands seems to be working, and there is talk of rolling it out across the country. Let's hope so.
I got to work for the early shift. For all that today is actually a Monday, what with having worked both days of the last two weekends and only having had one day off mid-week, today could have been anything to me. I got on with my daily round, and at lunch time realised I'd forgotten to make myself a sandwich. I eventually got one from the shop run by the league of fiends (!); I’m sure they mean well.
An early start made from an early finish. I came home and took the dogs out. While we walked I thought I might collect a urine sample from Fudge. The vet needs one to confirm the diagnosis of kidney failure.
Have you ever tried to collect pee from a dog?
It was surprisingly tricky bearing in mind that Fudge is a dog who is continually pissing. The vet said she wanted about five millilitres; I managed to catch three drops during the hour’s walk round the park.
With "er indoors TM" off bowling I put the finishing touches to my Wherigo project. The plan is to go stick the film pots under some rocks tomorrow.
I think I shall spend the rest of the evening slobbing in front of the telly… Today has been rather dull.
17 September 2019 (Tuesday) - Rostered Day Off
I didn’t really sleep that well; I spent most of the night fretting about exactly how I was going to obtain copious amounts of piss from a small dog who is renown for only doing a couple of drops of the stuff at a time.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Inside No. 9” which was set in a Samaritan’s call centre. I once volunteered to help with the Samaritans; after an initial chat I never heard from them again. Perhaps they didn’t want me? When I’ve mentioned this in the past the phrase “Lemming Tuesday” has been mentioned.
I then sparked up my lap-top to have a look-see at what I’d missed overnight. I was asked to like a local ice-cream van’s Facebook page. Looking at that page I was directed to the Facebook pages of other local ice-cream vans.
That really is a sign of the times, isn’t it?
I had a look at my emails. I smiled. The head honchos at geocaching dot com have given me five Adventure Caches to do with as I will. An Adventure Cache is basically a phone game in which you go to a location and ask a question. Getting the answer right gives you the geo-smiley-face. For those who speak geocaching, an Adventure Cache is effectively a virtual Wherigo. Having now completed my latest Wheri-project this will give me something to do over the next few weeks.
Fudge came downstairs and asked to go outside. I followed him, piss pot in hand. Every time he sprinkled I shoved the pot into the spray. I ended up with a good fifteen (or so) millilitres of dog pee in my pot, but I dread to think how much I got over my hands. As I tried to collect his pee, Fudge looked at me (several times) in absolute amazement. Sometimes it is *very* clear that the antics of humans leaves him completely baffled.
I went down the road to the dentist; I had an appointment with the hygienist. I took a seat and waited. And waited. My appointment time came and went. Just as I was about to ask if they’d forgotten me (again) some woman burst through the door (as if she’d been fired from a cannon, gibbered incomprehensibly and disappeared behind the desk. Ten minutes later this woman appeared in dental costume and made a fair stab at pronouncing my name.
She led me through to one of the dental torture chambers and started gibbering incomprehensibly again. I *think* she was saying something about having missed the train and that this was only her third day in the job, but I could have been wrong. She then spent ten minutes going through all the cupboards in the room before trying to drown me in the dentist’s chair. Usually there is a dental nurse brandishing some suction device. Today I just had this mad woman gushing water all over me. She would drench me for a couple of minutes, then go rummaging in all the cupboards. Twice she left the room for no adequately explored reason; leaving me laid back in the chair.
Perhaps she really is new to the job; I won’t complain just yet.
I then took Fudge’s pee to the vets. There was a minor kerfuffle as they announced that the pee had to be less than two hours old. No one had told me anything about that. They took the pee and said they would have a go. For a hundred and thirty quid I hoped they would have a bloody good go.
I came home, and took the dogs out to Challock. Having finally got the Wherigo project all done, it was time to hide the pots. We had a rather good walk; as we walked we didn’t meet up with anyone at all. As I walked I tested the Wherigo cartridge and it worked fine (again).
We came home and I told the geo-feds that it was all ready to go live.
I had a quick sandwich, then went out with "My Boy TM". He’d heard of a lake not that far from home that was new to us. We drove out for a little look-see. There are two lakes there. One has been recently dug out and looks like it has been recently dug out. But the established lake looks rather pretty. We shall have to have a day fishing there at some stage.
We came home, and I spent the afternoon ironing whilst watching episodes of “The i-Land” on Netflix. It seems to have got better as it has gone along.
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. Bake-Off is on later… I’ve been rather busy on a rostered day off.
18 September 2019 (Wednesday) - Covered in Mud
I slept like a log – I usually do after a couple of glasses of red wine. I woke to find both dogs on the bed, and for once they had arranged themselves so they weren’t taking up as much space as was physically possible.
Over brekkie I watched the last episode of “The i-Land”; I didn’t realise there were only seven episodes of it. Now I’ve seen the lot it wasn’t bad, but (like most things on telly) it wasn’t really an original story. It had ideas that were old in science-fiction before I was born.
I had a look at the Internet to see if the comment I made last night had received any replies. I’d been thinking about this Adventure Labs thingy that geocaching dot com had given me. There is one of these in Hastings based on the blue plaques that English Heritage put on houses. I walked it last week with Gordon. I was amazed at how many famous people had lived in Hastings old town. I thought I might shamelessly steal the idea and have a little tour of the blue plaques in Ashford. However I only knew of one, so last night I asked on one of the local groups if anyone knew of any others of these plaques in Ashford.
There are a few – possibly enough for me to use for this project.
As I browsed Facebook I also saw some piccies of the new house into which one of my son’s mates has just moved. It is beautiful. It is huge. He’s (apparently) paid a deposit of thirty thousand pounds, and is paying a mortgage of over a thousand pounds a month for the next thirty years. He earns double what I earn, and he drills holes in the road.
If I had my time again I would *definitely* choose a different line of work. Money might not buy happiness, but it allows you to be miserable in comfort.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about that idiot Jeremy Corbyn. As a life-long leftie it bothers me that I think of Mr Corbyn as "that idiot Jeremy Corbyn”. He's now announced that a future Labour government will come up with a Brexit deal of its own and offer the public a choice of his deal or of no Brexit. Bearing in mind that the best political minds of our time haven't come up with anything acceptable to anyone in the last three years, I can't see "that idiot" coming up with anything. Apparently he is going to remain neutral between his scheme and not leaving the EU. Whether this is because of impartiality, or because he hasn't a clue what he is doing remains unclear.
I stopped off at Aldi in Aylesford. I got there a couple of minutes before they opened, and (as usual) the toothless half-wit was acting as self-appointed doorman, and was rather disappointed that no one was taking any notice of him.
I went in for shower gel and came out with what looks like a lifetime's supply of bog-roll and some telescopic pruning shears. I am going to give not-so-nice-next-door's clematis a haircut it won't forget.
I went in to work. As I worked I got a message. The Wherigo project I created recently had gone live, and people had been out and had a go. All eight caches have been found, so I shall take that to mean that what I created works OK.
And then the vet phoned. Fudge's wee sample (that I took in yesterday) was full of protein. No surprises there; the level of the stuff in his blood is incredibly low. The stuff has to be going somewhere.
The next step it an ultrasound examination of his kidneys. It is unlikely that there is a kidney infection, but there might be a stone which is making the organs play up. That is booked for next week. In the meantime the vet suggested we carry on as we have been doing for the last few weeks and months. Fudge certainly has been doing just that; none of this seems to be bothering him very much.
As I drove home so "er indoors TM" sent a message. I met up with her at the river in Great Chart where the dogs had a spuddle. Treacle jumped up at me once or twice – those trousers I washed yesterday are going back in the wash again this evening…
19 September 2019 (Thursday) - Advent Calendars
I was woken at half past two when "er indoors TM" loudly announced “Treacle! Stop!” Ironically no one seems to have any idea what Treacle was supposedly doing.
Being on a late shift I got up a couple of hours later than usual. With no alarm set I slept right through. I made some toast and had a look at the Internet. It was much the same as it had ever been. A squabble was kicking off on one of the fishing pages I follow. There was a photograph of a fish. Was it a roach or was it a rudd? This has been an argument which has been kicking off for years. Opinion was that it was a roach/rudd hybrid. Roach/rudd hybrids have been a bone of contention in piscatorial circles for years because although everyone has seen them and caught them, they are actually impossible because roach (Rutilus rutilus) and rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus) are different species. Creating a roach/rudd hybrid would be akin to crossing a carthorse with a hedgehog. (Wouldn’t it?)
I saw my father-in-law had responded to something I’d posted last night on one of his Facebook posts. He claimed that Luxembourg got back thirty-three quid for every pound they contribute to the European Union. Leaving aside they don’t contribute any quids at all (they bung in Euros) they only get back six quid for every pound they contribute. His attitude to the European Union amazes me. He goes on major motorcycle tours round Europe on a regular basis. Until recently he’s rarely mentioned the EU except to say he likes his holidays there. Now you’d think Satan had raised Hitler from the dead across the channel.
I also saw a new geocache had gone live. "er indoors TM" had hidden it. If she’d arranged for it to have gone live when I wasn’t on a late shift I would have driven past it on the way to work and have had the chance of a First to Find. Oh well…
I took the dogs out for a little circuit of the park. It is a pretty walk, but we do meet the normal people as we go. Today we ran into… I won’t mention her by name, but we first met this woman thirty years ago at mother and toddler groups. Since then we’ve seen her at all sorts of places as her son and "My Boy TM" were at the same schools, and her sons were all cub scouts. In all those thirty years I have never seen this woman smile. Not once. Perhaps she *is* happy, but she just has the same expression that a bulldog would have when licking piss from a stinging nettle; she looks so miserable. And today she looked as glum as ever.
We walked past the Jehovah’s Witnesses stall. They’ve got new people on that stall; they seemed pleasant enough. They didn’t bother me, which was a result.
We came home through the co-op field where I field-tested a little idea I’ve got for a future Wherigo. It didn’t actually work, but in failing I saw where it had gone wrong.
We came home. I fed the fish. That new bulb I put in the filter seems to have done some good.
As I set off for work Women's Hour was on the radio. They were discussing a book of which I had never heard, and having listened to two minutes of their talking I don't think I will be downloading it any time soon. I turned off the radio. With a little time to spare I drove up to Bluewater. I'd had an email that this year's Lego advent calendars were available. I'd tried to get them via mail order, but PayPal would seem to be broken. When I tried to use PayPal on the Lego website I just got the blue spinning wheel of e-death. So I went old-skool and drove to the shop. The nice man in the Lego shop greeted me as I arrived. The last time I'd been to the Lego shop was in August when the place had been swarming with children. I mentioned to the nice man that I preferred the place when it wasn't heaving with kids. He agreed with me. Children in a Lego shop - what is the world coming to !!
I got myself a Lego advent calendar, and one each for grandsons as well. They like that sort of thing.
I got myself a rather overpriced caramel milk shake from the rather overpriced caramel milk shake shop, and (once I'd finally found where I'd left my car) I set off for work and the late shift.
Work was surprisingly busy. Just as we were coming up to (most people's) going home time, one of my colleagues said she'd rather be doing the late shift with me. Thursday night is sports night for her children. They have an hour at football club, then an hour's swimming lessons. I commented (sarcastically) that the swimming would save the need for a bath. She laughed, and said she'd planned it that way.
"My Boy TM" used to have his swimming lessons on a Saturday morning. He'd spuddle about for half an hour, then we'd go get a pastie.
I miss those days...
20 August 2019 (Friday) - Another Late Shift
I slept well; now that Pogo has gone back to where he lives I don’t spend all night with an air of waiting for a fight to kick off any more. Not that Pogo was to blame; Treacle was (is) the pugnacious one but she seems to kick off at Fudge far less than she used to have a go at her brother.
It was a shame that the bin men had to be quite so noisy quite so early.
As I scoffed my toast I had a look at Facebook. There is a page I follow about all the local crimes and villainy. It was posting about how the police’s counter terrorism unit had been raiding some house not five miles away. Everyone was up in arms whinging about what a terrible place Ashford has become. It strikes me that this page is full of doom and gloom and horror stories, but I have never seen any of the things they claim are happening on a daily basis. I’ve never had gangs of Kosovans on the doorstep demanding money. I’ve never had gypsies in the shed trying to steal the lawn mower. I’ve never felt the need to make the public aware of the danger of two teenagers sitting on a park bench. Whilst there might be some truth in some of the stories, I honestly feel that much of it is made up nonsense.
Interestingly this Facebook page has recently acquired a rival. I’ve joined the rival page out of interest. This new group is all about “freedom off speech” and it has only one rule: “please be polite other member's”.
Equally literate, I then had a notification of a new geocache. I read the description with interest. Apparently this one is “tided to the tree”.
And they say education is alive and well….
(This isn’t having a go at dyslexia. This is having a go at people being too lazy to take a few seconds to pause and re-read what they have written!)
I took the dogs round the park. We’ve not been round the park much lately, and today proved exactly why I’d rather go elsewhere. Orlestone Woods and Kings Wood don’t have many people there, and those who are there seem to understand dogs. Viccie Park seems to be attracting those with “furry precious princesses”. I lost count of the number of other dog walkers who shrieked in terror when Fudge wandered over to see their dog.
Mind you we made the most of our walk. And despite chronic kidney failure, Fudge showed the squirrels who was boss. One idiot squirrel jumped out of a tree not two feet in front of Treacle. Treacle and squirrel stared at each other; Fudge leapt into action. He very nearly caught it.
We came home. I spent a few minutes looking at the geocaching adventure lab thingy that I’ve been awarded. I’d like to be able to do something fun with it, but it doesn’t seem to lend itself to the sort of nonsense I like to do with Wherigos. The chap who put out the series in Hastings had a really good idea with the more obscure blue plaques. There’s a good tour in London of “Jack the Ripper” sites, but there isn’t a lot I can do locally. I’m really not that keen on ending up with a tour round the “Museum of Dull Bits of Broken Pots” which (unfortunately) so many of these Adventure caches seem to be.
I had a look round the Internet seeing what historical stuff I could find out about Ashford that wasn’t incredibly dull. I’m probably going to end up doing some history tour involving the old jail (that no one knows about), the house with a fake top floor (that no one knows about), the tank (that everyone knows about) and two other things which I will probably make up. I’ve got to pop into town on Monday to see the optician. I shall have a look then.
With the dogs asleep I set off to work. With a few minutes to spare I drove to Sainsburys to get some petrol. Just as I was about to pull up at the pump I had to slam on the brakes as some selfish prat flew past the queue, flew past the cars at the pumps, and straight to the pump from which I was only a few feet. Having slammed on the brakes I filled my car with petrol at the pump at which I found myself. Ironically I had filled my car and was in the queue in the kiosk before Mr Speedy. As he joined the queue I suggested that he might like to barge to the front. Several people who were queuing chuckled. Mr Speedy pretended not to hear me.
As I paid for my petrol I also got a sandwich; again I'd forgotten to make myself one before leaving home. I've done that twice this week.
I drove in to work, I parked up. As I got out of my car I nearly broke my neck as I fell over on a conker which was laying on the ground. Conkers on the ground - there's a sign of our times. Back in the day conkers were stripped from trees long before they would fall naturally my children who would play "conkers". Do kids put them on strings and clout each other over the knuckles any more?
21 September 2019 (Saturday) - Bekesbourne
I slept well again, despite a very rumbly stomach. I wonder what I’ve eaten to have set it making such noises?
As I looked at Facebook over brekkie I sent out a few birthday wishes, then after fighting with the printer (it doesn’t work!) I made some provisional plans for my next Wherigo project. Following on from the feedback from my two recent Wherigos (which have been entirely positive) I’ve got a plan to do “The Crystal Maze” in the co-op field. I can divide the field into the four zones. In each zone there will be four games. The player will be randomly given a game to play in each zone. If they win they get time toward the final task. And depending on how well they do in the final task they will be given the co-ordinates of one of three geocaches (gold, silver or bronze). If people want to find all three caches then they have to go through the maze again. Being randomly presented with four games out of sixteen should give a different game each time, and only taking fifteen minutes (maximum) to go through the maze should mean that people could do the lot in less than an hour.
It will mean a lot of programming, but what else would I do with my time?
We got ourselves organized and into the car. First of all we went to the post office in Singleton. I had a letter to send by recorded delivery. The woman behind the counter (rather aggressively) told me that “recorded delivery” and “signed for” are the same thing these days. As I was paying, the woman at the till next to me asked her customer if he would like “recorded delivery” or “signed for”.
I left the two women behind the counter having a rather heated argument.
We drove out to Bekesbourne. We listened to Ashford radio for as long as we could, if only to listen to the woman presenter. She..um… was a ….yeah… little… um… hesitant….yeah… and….yeah …. struggled … um …. to string… yeah… more…than…two…yeah….words…um…together.
We got to Bekesbourne where we went on a little walk which was marked out (as always) by geocaches. Today’s route was one we’d walked before five and a half years ago (on 26 January 2014). In the meantime many of the caches had been replaced, and so with about two thirds of the route being new caches we thought we might have a little walk.
We bimbled about. The route was mainly off-road and so ideal for the dogs. One of the paths we followed went right through the middle of Howlett’s zoo and it was rather fun to see the elephants. It was a shame that Treacle had to try to pick a fight with a wild pig (of some sort); it is amazing how brave she can be when there is a sturdy fence between her and that with which she is arguing.
We had a minor episode when one of the normal people latched on to us. I’m all for allowing dogs to socialize with other dogs, but within limits. If you *really* want a full-time playmate for your dog, get yourself another dog.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk. Caches were sensibly placed, and the hides weren’t overly difficult. One had us struggling for half an hour, but we’d got the wrong idea from the hint that had been given.
With walk done we drove up to a rather amazing place. There used to be a geocache there which I found in 2014 when I wrote “... It was actually rather scary. In a corner of a field there were about a hundred concrete pyramids; each about a metre tall. The pyramids were very old and whatever their original use was would seem to have disappeared into the mists of time. Many of these pyramids were now under stinging nettles and brambles. But many were still visible, and they all looked incredibly out of place. It was eerie - almost like something out of an episode of "Doctor Who".”
I’ve since found that those concrete pyramids are tank traps from the last war. The original geocache there had been archived, so we popped in to have a look and to find the replacement.
There was an issue with this cache. There wasn’t one cache there. There were three. The original from 2005 (which had been archived but was still there and was fine). The “new” one from 2015 (which was broken), and one which someone threw down recently. We tided things up. We took the dry paper log from the broken cache and put it into the unbroken watertight one, cleared away the rubbish and told the cache owner what we’d done. That took us about a minute. It certainly took me longer to type it than to do it. According to the rules we should have told the C.O. to sort it out, but why have him waste half a day when we had it done in seconds?
Similarly we’d seen one of the caches on the series we’d walked as being missing and before we left home we’d arranged to replace it as we’d be walking by anyway.
It never fails to amaze me that we are in the minority when it comes to fixing geo-problems. Most people just post a “sort it out dogbreath” log and walk away. Much like one chap had done yesterday (on both of these caches).
We came home; I posted some photos of our walk up on to Facebook. For some inexplicable reason Facebook tagged several of the photos as having been taken in Ramsgate.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner then went off to the Saturday film night where they were showing “Dumbo”. I stayed home with the dogs, and as they slept I watched “The Lego Batman Movie”. I’d not seen it before. It was rather good…
22 September 2019 (Sunday) - Late Shift
I slept for ten hours last night, finally emerging from my pit just before nine o’clock. That rarely happens these days.
I looked out at the rain, made myself some toast, and peered into the Internet as I do most mornings. Facebook was rather dull; had no one done anything yesterday? Mind you there was a row kicking off on one of the national Facebook groups. Yesterday I whinged about how few people help others out when hunting Tupperware. Today some chap was griping about how somebody *had* helped him out, and the world and his wife were jumping on the bandwagon about how people shouldn’t feel obliged to get off their arses and help out. Ironically it seems to me that (with a few exceptions) the less anyone has ever actually contributed to the hobby, the more they feel they don’t have to.
With no emails of note I carried on working on my crystal maze Wherigo project. I had a plan to have a game in it in which players have six weights (of differing weight) and three areas into which they put the weights. The idea is that to win you have the same amount of weight in each area. Creating the weights and the areas in the software took over an hour. I stopped at that point; I will figure out the programming of this bit later. (and that is just one game of sixteen)
We took the dogs for a walk. We were going to go round the park, but just as we left the house, the heavens opened so we decided to walk the pavements up to the station and come back through black alley. Treacle looked rather elegant in her girly-pink raincoat. She looked rather less elegant as she tried to eat the human excrement that was up by the old B&Q. It never fails to amaze me how the local crime-fighting Facebook pages are up in arms about “Foreign man eats chips” or “Teenagers sitting on bench” but no one bats an eyelid when the night-clubbers have a crap in the gutter on the way home.
We hadn't been back from our walk long when the doorbell rang. No one ever rings our doorbell! Brother-in-law and nephew had been in the area visiting a car show and had popped in. We chatted for a bit - they were lucky to have caught us as we are usually out and about on Sundays.
I set off for work. As I drove I listened to the radio. I caught the end of Desert Island Discs. Some musician called Thom Yorke (I've never heard of him either) was singing the praises of the song "Lilac Wine" by Nina Simone. They played a few minutes of it; I was glad they cut it short.
This was followed by the seventh episode of the eighty-fifth season of "Just a Minute", which never fails to entertain
And on a sadder note Aron Eisenberg has died. He was the actor who played “Nog” in Star Trek. He was five years younger than me…
23 September 2019 (Monday) - £500 Later...
I woke feeling like death warmed up. I’ve felt better after a gallon of ale. What was that all about?
Over a bowl of granola I watched another episode of “Inside No. 9” then on seeing that nothing had happened to the Internet overnight I got the leads on to the dogs and we went out. After fifteen minutes I found where I’d parked the car last night. We drove out to the garage and left the car there for a service. Walking home meant that our way was plagued with the morning school run, but it was quite entertaining.
There would seem to be a new “thing” with cyclists. You have to cycle along with really dark sunglasses (so you can’t see anything) and have those stupid huge headphones on (so you can’t hear anything). You don’t hold the handlebars because one hand is holding a cup of coffee and the other hand is fiddling with your mobile phone. And you have to have a surprised expression because you have no idea why you have just cycled into a hedge.
We saw this a few times as we walked home.
Once home the dogs ate their brekkie and I went down the road to the dentist. Unlike last week’s debacle, today’s appointment passed off OK. I was in the chair five minutes early, and the dentist was soon rummaging about inside my gob shouting out strange numbers and weird words. “Mesial three” and “proximal seven” and the like. I would have shouted “Bingo!” had I not had a mouthful of dental ironmongery,
With dentist done I went into town. I had a plan to have a provisional recce for this Adventure Lab thingy. But (to be honest) I couldn’t find five items of historical interest that weren’t either boring or dull or both.
I went on to the optician. They did some preliminary farting about measuring eye pressures and photographing my retinas, then the optician herself did it all again. The eye test itself lasted for maybe ten minutes. My prescription has changed quite a bit (apparently). I’ve ordered some new glasses – I collect them in two weeks.
I came home, and over a sandwich watched another episode of “Inside No.9” then fell asleep. I woke an hour later when the garage phoned. The car was ready. I got up, and the dogs immediately leapt up in excitement. I’d planned to walk them over with me to get the car, but how did they know that?
Our walk to the garage was far more dull than our walk home this morning; it was a shame we got caught in a rain shower.
It only took forty minutes to get to the garage. The service had found all sorts of things that needed an eye keeping on, but as the nice man said, the car is twelve years old. He also said that the cost of the service was peanuts compared to the cost of servicing the newer cars.
Oh well… as long as the car keeps going.
I’d set the washing machine lose on my shirts before we went to the garage. We came home just as it was finishing. Both dogs went back to sleep and I spent an hour or so ironing. As I ironed I watched the last two episodes of the current season of “Peaky Blinders”. For a show which started very well, it had started to flounder, but the last two episodes were rather good. I’m told there will be a sixth season.
"er indoors TM" came home, boiled up some dinner and went off bowling. Once I’d unblocked the dishwasher I watched the first episode of “Nightflyers” on Netflix. It was OK; I understand it has already been cancelled…
For a rostered day off, today has been rather busy. And expensive. I just hope that dishwasher is salvageable. And Fudge has got an ultrasound that needs paying for later in the week…
24 September 2019 (Tuesday) - Flat Battery
I made myself some toast, and as I scoffed it I started the week’s course of antibiotics and steroids as a run-up to next week’s surgical nasal re-bore. I also watched the second episode of “Nightflyers” which, although entertaining, is like most sci-fi in that it is clearly written by someone who’s good at the fiction but rather shaky on the science. Take the journey the spaceship is on. To quote Douglas Adams “Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space”. You can’t get out to where the aliens might be in just a few months. Or take the crew. Any crew of any spaceship is going to have to be educated. No spaceship is going to be carrying a load of gung-ho half-wit marines for no adequately explored reason. Nor are they going to be carrying a couple of sex-crazed lesbians who merely get jiggy with each other at regular intervals just to chivvy along an otherwise tired storyline.
With telly watched I sparked up my lap-top to see what I’d missed in the Internet overnight. “Esperanza Deeds” had sent me a friend request on Facebook. In fact it was more than a request for friendship. She suggested I might like to join her Whatsapp group “nudeysauceromp849”. I can only imagine that those of a more puritanical nature had seen to the closure of Whatsapp groups “nudeysauceromp1” through to “nudeysauceromp848”. I reported her to the Facebook feds, but I expect that she doesn’t breach Facebook’s community standards. However other than “Esperanza”, nothing much else had happened in cyberspace.
I drove toward Tunbridge Wells through a very wet and dismal morning. As I peered through the gloom the pundits on the radio were interviewing the leader of some union or other. This bloke was pontificating on climate change and Brexit and loudly presenting his personal opinion as though it were scientific fact. Speaking as someone who was a union rep for years myself, doesn't this just sum up what is wrong with today's Trade Union movement?
They then interviewed some MP or other who got rather cross when challenged about the Labour party's position on Brexit. Apparently they endorse both leave and remain and seem to feel that this is both sensible and reasonable. I can't help but think that seeing how neither side of the Brexit argument has a majority with the general public, having no fixed stance on the issue will lose them the least amount of votes.
Mind you nothing will lose them as many votes as their leader "that idiot Jeremy Corbyn" who today was announced to be the most unpopular Leader of the Opposition since records began. And that has been up against some pretty stiff competition.
They then wheeled on some vicar who talked utter tripe on the "Thought for the Day" section. Having admitted to having irrational fears over the silliest of things, she said that she overcomes her irrational fears from the confidence she gets from the church.
So she overcomes irrational fear by confidence in something else equally (if not more) irrational. Why does Radio Four present such stark nonsense as a rational position?
I got to the work's car park; I got soaked running from the car to work. Once there I did my bit despite the contents of my pockets falling out. I wish trouser manufacturers made pockets a tad more sturdy; it is always the pockets of any pair of trousers that wear out first for me. Mind you, on the plus side I got a custard doughnut.
As I worked I had a phone call from "the hospital". I glossed over the fact that I was already in one (that's where I work) and answered the nice lady's questions. She had all sorts of questions about what might have changed since I had my pre-med assessment several months ago. I don't think anything had changed at all, but we had to got through her entire list. That took some time.
With my bit done I went back to my car. My phone was down to only having five per cent charge. Why was it so flat?
Rather than going straight home we called in to see the first fruit of my loin. It is his birthday tomorrow, and Cheryl had boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. Boiling up good bits of dinner seems to be a feature in our family.
Bake Off’s on in a minute…
25 September 2019 (Wednesday) - Family Birthdays
On 1 November 2014 I wrote here “I didn't get to bed till nearly 2am. After an hour's laying awake I was watching "Toddlers and Tiaras" on the TLC channel before 6am. I *hate* these poxy steroids”. Despite only having just started taking this course, I think much the same thing is happening again. I was up far too early this morning. Over a bowl of granola I watched “Nightflyers”; like most sci-fi it is very good unless you think about what is going on. Everyone is familiar with the delays in communication when NASA control was speaking to the astronauts on the Moon. The delay in communication with someone who is out at the heliopause would be the best part of a day. Instantaneous communication just wouldn’t happen. And if a spaceship were to go out there, it is pretty unlikely that crew members wouldn’t have met each other before lift-off.
I suppose most people don’t think too deeply about the telly programs they are watching… or is this one of the reasons that the show got cancelled?
I had a look at the Internet; nothing much had happened, but I did roll my eyes at one story I saw on one of the local Facebook groups. A local father has died, and the family are trying to crowdfund the funeral. I’ve seen this sort of appeal on Facebook a few times recently. As a father myself, it annoys me. If there is one thing of which we can be sure of in life, it is that we are going to croak. It is often said that all insurance is something of a gamble. Having life insurance *isn’t* a gamble; who’s going to live forever? And life insurance isn’t that expensive really. Far cheaper than a trip down the pub each month.
I drove toward Tunbridge Wells through another very wet and dismal morning. As I peered through the torrential rain the pundits on the radio were interviewing Michael Gove (who is now secretary for something or other). He was being asked about yesterday's announcement from the supreme court that the Prime Minister's decision to close Parliament had been illegal. He said that he disagreed with the decision, but would respect it. When challenged to apologise for the matter (seven times) he refused. He implied that he feels no need for something he considers was the right thing to do even if it has been shown to be wrong.
I suspect the country's prisons are similarly full of people who disagree with the courts.
One part of the morning's news was worrying. There were interviews with members of the public concerning yesterday's momentous announcement that the Prime Minister misled the Queen; most of those interviewed didn't hesitate to show their ignorance.
How is it that this episode doesn't seem to have affected the Prime Minister's standing with the general public at all. A small minority see him for the dangerous madman that he is, but most see him as a well-meaning buffoon who is somehow standing up for the man in the street (even though he has absolutely nothing at all in common with the man in the street).
It amazes me that most people are blissfully unaware that Mr Johnson has (in the past) vehemently campaigned for both leaving and remaining in the European Union; his final stance being based on what would best suit his personal political ambitions.
There was also talk from across the Atlantic about moves to impeach President Trump. But concerns have been voiced that far from getting him out of office, an impeachment will be seen as sour grapes on the part of his political enemies and could well end up securing him a disastrous second term in office.
And they say democracy is a good thing...
I got to work; I did my thing. I had my phone in "Airplane Mode" today to see if it would conserve the battery power. It worked somewhat, but did leave me out of touch with the rest of the world for large parts of the day (specifically those parts when I should have been working anyway)
Bearing in mind the pocket of my trousers gave up yesterday I came home via Matalan where I got new trousers with an incredibly little amount of fuss.
"er indoors TM" has gone to the scout group meeting; she’s still scout group secretary. She’s supposedly coming home via the fish and chip shop.
Oh – and two members of the family have birthdays today.
26 September 2019 (Thursday) - Ultrasound Scanning
Having seen every hour of the night I gave up trying to sleep. Over a bowl of granola I watched more “Nightflyers” which kept me amused for forty minutes, then I peered into the Internet. Some petty rants I read last night had continued.
People were complaining about how poorly supported the local cinema is, and were afraid it might close if people don’t start using it. I *think* the last time I went to the cinema was in February 2018 when my seat cost me over a tenner. I had to sit through half an hour of adverts and put up with the Great Unwashed burping and farting all the way through the film. For the same money (actually slightly less) I can (and do) get a month’s worth of Netflix, and for the price of "er indoors TM"’s ticket we get a month’s worth of Amazon Prime on the telly. Would losing the cinema be such a loss? I don’t really think so.
One friend was banging on about how hard up she was. Having come back from a two-month tour of Europe she’s now complaining that she’s so hard up some friend of hers has had to pay the next two terms of her daughter’s school fees (about twelve thousand pounds). Personally I know I will never afford a two-month tour of Europe, and it was my experience that state-run schools were free.
I put on my new shirt and new trousers and (leaving "er indoors TM" and the dogs asleep) set off towards work through another murky morning. As I peered through the torrential rain the pundits on the radio were talking about the Prime Minister's appearance in Parliament yesterday. Having had the worst slating imaginable from the supreme court he was unrepentant and insulting.
There was also talk of the Duke of Cambridge officiating at the official naming ceremony of the Royal Research Ship "Sir David Attenborough". There had been a public vote to name the ship. The winning suggestion, “Boaty McBoatface" wasn't used for the simple reason that it was a silly idea. No one's quibbled about this *because* it was a silly idea.
You might think the same reasoning might be applied to Brexit and the Prime Minister...
I spent much of the day worrying about Fudge. He’d been allowed none of our dinner last night (and he loves fish). He’d been allowed nothing to eat or drink this morning. "er indoors TM" had left him with the vet at nine o’clock this morning. Today was ultrasound day. Having established that his kidneys aren’t right, it was time to have a look at them.
We were expecting to pick him up sometime in the late afternoon; we had a phone call at ten o’clock. All was done and could we collect him as he was being rather shouty and disruptive.
The ultrasound had showed nothing structurally wrong with the kidneys; no growths or stones. So far all the signs seem to be pointing to chronic kidney disease. The vets have directed us to the website of the International Renal interest Society and want to see him again in two weeks’ time. In the meantime, we’ll look at getting food which is low in phosphorus, protein, and sodium. And cheese is out (he won’t like that). The vet has advised some food to get. It ain’t cheap, and I bet he won’t like it.
I came home from work to an empty house. "er indoors TM" had taken the dogs to the park. Treacle had been her usual self; the one who is supposedly oh-so-poorly had chased squirrels and then porked several other dogs.
When they came home he charged into the house like a whirlwind, wolfed his dinner and then destroyed both his and Treacle’s new toys. Other than a shaved patch on his side, you wouldn’t think there was anything amiss.
27 September 2019 (Friday) - Retirement Seminar
Yesterday as I drove to work I charged my phone from my car. I arrived at work with a full charge, and by mid-afternoon the thing was at zero per cent charge. In a similar length of time overnight it only used eighteen per cent of its battery power. I’m blaming working two floors beneath ground level, even if I am getting warnings that the McAfee security is making unnatural demands of the phone.
I didn’t sleep well; over brekkie I watched another episode of “Nightflyers” in which pretty much nothing at all happened, then I had a quick look at the Internet. My cousin is on holiday in Cornwall and had posted up some photos. Being a nosey person, I wish more people would do that sort of thing. Someone else had posted a link to a rather interesting article which probably explains why the world is such a sad place. I replied with a link from the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio must have been short of news. They were interviewing the general public to find their opinions about current affairs. Perhaps they were rather subjective in the interviews they chose to broadcast, or perhaps they really did only interview half-wits. But there were no shortage of people ready to demonstrate their ignorance on national radio. One chap was saying that we should go for that really easy Brexit that he voted for, not this one with the backdoor (Irish backstop?) that isn’t working. Another one was banging on about how Parliament is full of traitors but was utterly unable to explain what he meant by that.
You have to admire stupidity.
And so to work.. I say “work”. I was at a pre-retirement seminar today. It was rather good. Fifteen of us sat down and a chap lead us through all sorts of things that we didn’t know about retirement and hadn’t even thought about; all with the caveat that what he told us was correct today, but anything might happen in the future.
We started off with that always unpopular thing they always do in these training sessions of being divided into small groups to discuss stuff. What would we miss about working? What would we do to fill the time when we used to work? What worries did we have?
We were then presented with some factual information about the state pension. It was at this point that the first idiot chirped up. He wasn’t happy that the state pension age had gone up. To be fair, neither was I, but no one had told this idiot that the bloke presenting the session wasn’t the government minister who made the rules. This idiot was not at all happy when the speaker told him “these are the rules; I didn’t make them”.
We eventually got back on topic; I didn’t realise that you can defer your state pension. Did you know that you don’t have to take your pension at retirement age? If you work another year you get five point eight per cent more state pension if you take it that year later. Mind you having lost out on the first year’s pension you then have to live seventeen years to make a net profit.
The nice man then spoke about the NHS pension. For me this was the bit I wanted to know about. He’s given me some web sites to check, and I need to speak to the boss on Monday, but my provisional plan now is to take semi-retirement in four and a half years’ time. (I’ve added a countdown timer to my blog. Four and a half years sounds rather more manageable that one thousand six hundred and seven days).
By now our heads were spinning. We adjourned for lunch. After lunch we had a rather depressing talk about wills and lasting powers of attorney (a job for "My Boy TM" should I go doolally) and funding long-term care should it be needed.
It was at this point that another idiot got angry…
The session had been very good. The speaker asked people to comment and ask questions as we went along. Most people did (I certainly did); most people’s questions were sensible and relevant, but there were a couple of half-wits in the group. I must admit I agreed with one of the half-wits that if you need long-term nursing care then it sucks that you have to pay for it. I also agreed that I would rather leave my house to the fruits of my loin rather than sell it to pay for massively overpriced nursing homes. But that is an argument to have elsewhere. The nice chap at the front could only tell us what was happening now; he had no power to change the rules.
We then spoke about inflation and savings and tax… and at this point my brain overloaded. Fortunately I think the nice man presenting the session realised this would happen as this was the end of his presentation. He’s given us some websites to review and will phone us on Monday to answer any questions.
Perhaps I should have gone in to work for the last hour, but I was down to be on the course all day, and to be honest my mind wouldn’t have been on the job. I had a *lot* to ponder. Seeing the glorious sunshine I thought I might ponder whilst walking the dogs round the park.
We got half-way round the park when the heavens opened.
We came home and dried off. I did have a vague plan to go to the geo-meet that was taking place this evening, but by the time "er indoors TM" had been shopping, it was all a little late. So following on from today’s seminar I tried to access my on-line pension statement. It only took an hour to do.
We had a rather good bit of fish and chips, then I looked at the monthly accounts… Bearing in mind I’ve had a serious fix to the water heating, a major car service, new varifocal specs and an epic vet bill all in the last month I’m rather pleased that I’ve actually got some money left.
After all, what is money for, if not to squander foolishly?
28 September 2019 (Saturday) - A Birthday Gathering
Having been wide awake for the best part of an hour I got up just after three o’clock and watched a rather disappointing episode of “Nightflyers”. The plot items in this episode had been done better years ago in “Doctor Who”, “Space 1999” and the Roger Mellie “Tomorrow’s World” episode in Viz magazine.
As I watched telly I charged my phone. I went back to bed with a fully charged phone, lay awake and restless for a few hours and found half the charge had gone, and had a message that the “McAfee Livesafe” app had been making excessive demands again.
I’ve uninstalled that app. No matter what it does, if it is so battery-intensive that I need to charge every few hours, it make the phone unusable.
I gave up trying to sleep and got up just before eight o’clock. I looked up prednisone on the Internet. I’ve been taking it as a run-up to next Tuesday’s operation. The idea I it will shrink the nasal polyps to make their removal easier. One of the known side-effects is that it stuffs up your sleep. It also gives digestive troubles (which is why I’m farting like a fruit-bat) and gives weight loss – my face is suddenly incredibly bony.
I spent a couple of hours working on my Crystal Maze Wherigo. I got to the point where I thought I’ve built the first game (of sixteen) which I thought worked *if* you do it right – It failed utterly in testing,
Pausing only briefly to snap my bootlace we then set off in the car. As we drove the Saturday morning local radio announcer was gasping for air. No longer hesitating over every word (clearly reading from a script) she was now puffing into the microphone. Does her script not have punctuation?
We drove out to Boys Hall. We’ve been there a few times recently trying to find the geocaches which were hidden there. We’ve finally now found the lot, but they took some finding.
We came home and I ordered new bootlaces from Amazon. Part of me wanted to support a local business and help the little man. Another part of me didn’t want to spend an hour buying a pair of bootlaces.
After a cuppa and a Belgian bun we wandered round the road to a little afternoon soiree. A fiftieth birthday party. We had a rather good time; far too much to eat and drink. Once I’d had an elegant sufficiency of ale I had a glass of whisky which wasn’t actually that bad at all. This was washed down by a (seemingly) gallon of gin. And then we started on the port and cheese.
I took a few photos as I do.
We came home with heads spinning… we’d had a good time but we’d had to make a choice. As well as the birthday party we’d had an invitation to a gig at which the band of some friends was playing. We’d missed a wedding. And we’d missed a family bash as well.
If only we could have got to everything…
My head really is spinning.
29 September 2019 (Sunday) - Early Shift
I think I possibly had one of my worst night's sleep ever last night. I lay dozing fitfully for two hours with my stomach rumbling constantly. I got up and watched a rather clever episode of "Inside No.9" and scoffed some granola before going back to bed just before two o'clock.
My stomach was now settled, but the noise of torrential rain kept me awake until five o'clock when I gave up trying to sleep. I got up, and over some toast watched another episode of "Nightflyers". The plot had leapt eight months forward. Characters who once hated each other were now best friends. Characters who hadn't really had much to do with each other were having a baby together (on a spaceship?).
This program hasn't been thought out at all.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking (amongst other things) about the Labour MP Patricia Hodge who now faces deselection. According to the rules a standing MP has to have the support of two thirds of those in the vote of the local party. She'd fallen short; she'd only got fifty-five per cent of the vote.
But only fifteen per cent of those eligible to vote had cast an "X". Doesn't that really sum up the state of our so-called democracy. No one can be bothered with it.
As I pulled in to the works car park my car beeped. I had a message from it on the dashboard display – “Oil Pressure Fault”. I needed that…
I got to work; my fourth consecutive weekend to be working. But as I always say, I don’t mind working at the weekend when it is raining. And "er indoors TM" has also noticed that it rains a lot when I’m working at the weekends.
Work was busy. And frustrating. But being busy, the time soon passed. And with a knackered car waiting outside I spent a little while sorting out the times of the train home.
Home time came… I went out to my car to leave my sandwich box in it (didn’t want to carry that home) and to pick up the packet of extra-strong mints that was in the car. And to get a raincoat too; there’s a spare coat in the car.
But in the time it took me to walk to the car I’d gone into auto-pilot. I’d completely forgotten about the oil pressure fault. And so had the car. We both drove off quite happily. It was a shame that the car remembered the oil pressure fault before I did. Half way down the M20 just as the traffic was being filtered into the fast lane (as the slower lanes were closed because of a car on fire down the road) I got the warning together with frantic beeping and the stop light came on too. Gripped by absolute panic I pulled onto the hard shoulder. I was so grateful that I’d listened to the man from the insurance company and put the breakdown number into my phone.
I got through to the breakdown people; they took down my particulars (oo-er!), told me the nice breakdown man would be along in forty-five minutes, and they texted me a link on which I could track where the nice breakdown man was. However, rather than having a countdown timer of when the nice breakdown man would arrive, the link seemed to be a random number generator. The expected arrival time went from less than a minute up to fifteen minutes a couple of times. The times in the piccie above really are in the order I received them.
Eventually (after a wait of an hour and three quarters) he rolled up. I was glad to see him; half an hour after my breaking down all the electricals had gone in the car too.
The electrical issue was easy… With the car’s engine off, I’d been charging my phone, I’d had the blowers clearing the windscreen, I’d had the radio on. I’d flattened the battery.
The oil pressure fault… The nice breakdown man checked the oil. The very end of the dipstick had gone. And then I remembered that the nice man in the garage did say at last Monday’s servicing that the end had dropped into the sump. He said that it *probably* wouldn’t be an issue. The nice breakdown man had a theory that the bit of dipstick was obstructing the flow of oil. He could see that the stuff was moving (I have no idea how, I just had utter faith in him), and when he started the engine he said he could hear it wasn’t poggered. The nice breakdown man suggested I drove home slowly and he’d follow, and that I should stop if anything seemed awry. We got to within two miles of home before the warning message came on again.
The car is parked outside. It can stay there. I’ll get in touch with the garage in the morning.
Once home I wanted a little rest, but the dogs were having none of it. We got leads on, and despite the rain went for a little walk round the roads. We came home just as "er indoors TM" arrived back from Margate having been visiting "Daddy’s Little Angel TM".
She boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Tattoo Fixers”; for someone who’s covered in tattoos, I can’t help but wonder what some other tattoo-ed people were thinking of.
I’m going to have an early night – I’m worn out. I barely slept last night, and I’ve got to be on the train at quarter past six tomorrow morning…
30 September 2019 (Monday) - Train to Work
I think I had another of my worst night's sleep ever last night. I woke up at two o'clock and couldn't get back to sleep. After half an hour I got up and emptied the dishwasher, and as I had a quick tiddle I heard the most amazing noises. Fudge's coughing has to be heard to be believed; he really does cough like a duck quacks.
I let him out for a tiddle, then spent ten minutes trying to round him up again. One of his favourite activities is playing silly beggars in the dark.
I went back to bed and lay wide awake until half past four. I got up then, and over brekkie took the last of these steroid tablets. I *really* don't like them; it is those that stuff up my ability to sleep.
As I scoffed brekkie I watched an episode of "Inside No.9" which featured crossword puzzles. Prophetic?
With my car being problematical I didn't fancy breaking down again, so I left home at twenty to six and walked to the train station. It was still very dark as I walked up the road, and the darkness was in no way abated by the pathetic street lighting. Ashford council has spent a small fortune replacing all the street lights with these LED things that don't actually illuminate the pavements. There was talk of them being installed back in the day when I was on the committee of the astro club, and what has been delivered is *not* what was promised. I have sent letters of complaint here and there in the past. Now winter is coming I might do so again.
I got to the train station; the ticket price bore no relation to the on-line information I’d looked up yesterday.
I got the six o'clock train. I had the carriage to myself, and as I headed westwards I did the crossword in the free newspaper. I just did the one with the straightforward clues: "Frozen water I-E; we like big ones T-TS". None of this cryptic rubbish such as "underwater steamer goes backwards to Newcastle we hear 2,4,3" which turns out to be "up your bum" for no reason that anyone can fathom (least of all the person who wrote it).
I changed train at Maidstone East. Having had a carriage to myself I found myself sharing a carriage with loads of the normal people. One of them had spread his office paperwork all over the table between us. It all looked rather interesting; especially the letters marked "confidential". He gave me the evil eyes when he realised that I was more interested in them than he was.
I got to Barming; I walked up a very noisy road to work. I could have walked faster had some idiot not been bimbling along at a snail's pace. Why do these incredibly slow people have to take up the entire pavement?
I arrived at work an hour and a half after I'd left home. Not bad time I suppose. I would prefer to have driven, but it wasn't a bad journey up. On arrival I went straight to the works canteen; I felt I deserved a cooked brekkie. I had one and was disappointed. The works canteen dinners are usually very good. Their brekkie wasn’t all that this morning.
By the time I started the early shift at quarter to eight I felt like the day was already half-done.
Work was rather busy; but I'd buttered up the bosses and they'd allowed me to slip out a few minutes early. With the train home leaving five minutes before the end of my shift, getting it was going to be tricky.
I got to the station to find that the on-line information was again wrong, but I didn’t have to wait too long for a train. As I came home I did the crossword in the free evening paper; I nearly got it all done.
Once home I walked the dogs round the co-op field. We didn’t meet anyone else, we didn’t run into any other dogs. We had a good walk.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner before going bowling. I spent a little more time on my new Wherigo project. After Saturday’s disaster I *think* I’ve got the first game working. That’s only taken about six hours programming.
I’m a bit nervous about tomorrow… I’m finally having my nose re-bored (again).