1 September 2020 (Tuesday) - Early Shift
I slept like a log, and found I was actually able to move when I woke. It was something of a shame that this ability diminished as the day wore on and as my backache returned.
Over a bowl of granola (with not-gone-off
milk) I watched an episode of "Good Girls" in which our
heroes were in desperate need of a *lot* of money. I'm sure the show
would make a lot more sense if I knew why they were so skint. I had a very
quick look at the Internet to see it was much the same as ever, then set off
There was also talk about how working from home has trashed the economies of Britain's inner cities. Those who cater to the commuters have lost their target audience. This got me thinking. What do we as a nation now do? Do we go back to the old ways of working in which people make (demonstrably) unnecessary expensive journeys to offices miles from home when they can clearly do the same job from home? Or do the people who charge a fiver for a cup of coffee go the same way as the gas lighters and the milkman and the rag and bone man and find another job more befitting to this day and age?
Harsh, perhaps. It does seem odd that people who are working from home are being criticized for saving their money and not squandering it.
Once home I put the dog-proofing into my car
and took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods.
2 September 2020 (Wednesday) - Stuff
Again I slept like a log; it is amazing the difference the full-face CPAP thingy makes. Such a shame it doesn't do anything for a bad back though. I hobbled downstairs and saw Sid waiting by the back door. When Sid needs to go, he needs to go right away so I didn't hang about in letting him out.
With absolutely no milk at all (gone-off or otherwise) I made toast, and watched an episode of "Good Girls" in which one of our heroines was decidedly unmoral. The hussy!
Did I ever mention that I once met an unmoral woman? It was in 1990 in Reading. Happy days...
With everyone else still fast asleep I set off for work whilst it was quiet. As I drove I listened to the pundits on the radio pontificating on the events of the day. They do that.
There was quite a bit of talk of the Government's "kickstart" scheme in which people aged under twenty-five will be offered jobs by various private companies, the wage of which will be paid for by the government.
It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to work out that what with the government's furlough payments drying up, it makes sense for employers to sack their current staff and employ youngsters for whom the government will pay. The government spokeswoman being interviewed said that she hoped that employers wouldn't do that, but there was nothing to stop them from doing so.
There was then talk of President Trump whose bizarre behaviour is exceeding the expectations of even his most severe critics.
The fellow is clearly barking mad, but still half the American electorate love him.
And house prices are at an all-time high, which is wonderful news for those who want to sell up and go live in something else. Personally it bothers me that people can get rich by buying and selling houses as a financial investment. So much for their being places to live? "My Boy TM" is talking about buying the house he lives in - the mortgage would be less than the rent he pays.
I got to the work's car park with my back in agony. I thought a little walk might loosen it up. Despite deploying a Munzee and catching a fairy (it too is a Munzee thing) my back didn't loosen.
I could have gone home and called in sick, but I didn't. I got on with my lot. As I had a cuppa at tea-time my piss boiled. One of my family was still posting utter scaremongering bollox to social media despite The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (which was set up to assess the impact of electromagnetic and acoustic waves on people and the environment) having spent seven years to show that there is no evidence that 5G mobile networks pose a threat to human health.
But still these crackpots post their debunked theories.
I suspect they stand to have phone masts being built near their houses and spoiling the views.
But on the plus side we had choccie biccies. Not that I was ungrateful for yesterday's apples, but choccie biccies are far better with a cuppa.
3 September 2020 (Thursday) - More Cake
I woke shivering; "er indoors TM" had formed an alliance with Pogo and Treacle to capture most of the duvet. Knowing when I was outnumbered and outgunned I got up.
Sid was pleased to see me when I came downstairs; he's having a little holiday with us. I helped him out of the back door, and after a few minutes I helped him back in again. He's a bit unsteady on his back legs, bless him.
Actually having milk today (loads of it) I scoffed a bowl of granola as I watched an episode of "Good Girls" before setting off work-wards.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about President Trump. The chap seems dead-set against postal votes in the upcoming elections, and seems to think that everyone who casts a postal vote for him should also cast one at the ballot box. He spouted some drivel about "testing the system" but it is quite apparent that he is advocating electoral fraud in a desperate bid to cling to power.
I stopped off in Maidstone before work. With a little time on my hands I thought I might have a little Munzee adventure. As part of this month's clan war we need to get some Munzee resuscitations. Last month we needed a hundred and fifty; this month we need ten. Ten is a tad more manageable. I got five today.
As I scanned random bar codes on random lamp posts I found myself walking through an estate of bungalows. I quite liked the look of some of them; I wonder if I can persuade "er indoors TM" to move to a new house?
I also found a bakery, and was seriously tempted to feed my face, but herculean self-control came into play.
I got to work and found we had home-made chocolate brownies
Work was much the same as ever; it was a shame that the disaster had to happen right on going home time. I was only half an hour late getting out. But (to be fair) it doesn’t happen that often, and staying late when required goes with working in a hospital.
Some days there’s quite a bit going on in my life… other days are rather dull…. even with cake.
4 September 2020 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept well; over brekkie I had a look at Facebook and didn’t quite laugh out loud. One person I know was posting about how there is a reiki course locally this weekend run by one of her mates. This course supposedly has a dog grooming element, and is a bargain at only a hundred and forty-five quid for the day.
According to reiki.org reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. I must admit I would be a lot less cynical about it if the partner of the one promoting the event wasn’t always posting to Facebook about their constant life stresses and being in continual pain.
With brekkie scoffed I went down the road to the dentist… The place was closed. I knocked on the door. As I waited a few other people arrived too. Eventually my knocking was answered by the girl who was brandishing her chest the last time I was there. This time she’d made some effort to conceal her charms, but not that much of an effort. She pulled out a load of medical questionnaires, and asked us all questions that would be better asked with a degree of privacy, not bellowed in the street over the noise of passing buses.
I was the first one to be allowed into the building, and once in I had to empty my pockets of everything. Phone, wallet, keys and watch all had to go into a rather large plastic box “for hygiene reasons”. I was then escorted to the dentist’s room, and my box of possessions was brought with us, and left in the corner of the room so that I could keep an eye on it. I was assured that any covid-19 virus on my possessions could bite through my pockets but couldn’t get anyone from inside a box. Go figure.
The dentist had a look inside my gob and told me that I was there for a filling on a front tooth. I knew that. Apparently he didn’t, and there was a five-minute delay whilst he and the dental nurse went and put on different personal protective equipment before doing the filling. He did the filling without any fuss, but once it was done he wanted to show me something. He got out a mirror, and showed me that the filling on the tooth is very noticeably a different colour to the tooth it is filling. With the job finished, the dentist told me that (if I want) he could replace it with a filling that matches the tooth’s colour, but I would have to pay extra for that. If I was the dentist I would have said all that before starting work, but what do I know. I said I would like it sorted so that I don’t feel incredibly self-conscious every time I open my mouth, and he said I should make an appointment to have it done at some future date.
So I was escorted to the receptionists (I couldn’t be trusted to walk ten yards) who were unable to make an appointment as they had no idea what the appointment was for, and because the dentist was removing his personal protective equipment they were unable to talk to him.
They said they would phone me. he last time they said that it took them a month to do so.
Amazingly for all the over-the-top covid-19 precautions that were going on in the surgery, both receptionists had their face masks pulled down under their chins. I’ve said before that if I could find another dentist that was as conveniently located I would leave this lot in a heartbeat.
I took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods where we had a good walk. Fudge humped the tail of a passing dog and got told off, and me and the other dog owner had a good laugh about it. In Viccie Park that would have been a serious incident with name calling and shouting; at the woods it is seen for what is is. Dogs being dogs.
Once home I popped up to the corner shop for croissants to scoff with coffee. And with croissants scoffed I put washing in to scrub then went out to the garden. I harvested a bumper crop of dog turds, then mowed the lawn. And in between hanging washing out and putting more in the machine I got four and a half fence panels painted and three wash loads done. Less than a minute to type; most of the day to do.
"er indoors TM" took a car load of luggage down to "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"’s new abode whilst I then cracked on with some ironing. She came home via the chip shop – did you know it is national fish and chips day today?
A rostered day off? I worked harder than I have all week.
5 September 2020 (Saturday) - Late Shift
I would have slept better had "er indoors TM"’s phone not been bleeping constantly all night long.
I made myself some toast and peered into the Internet to see what I’d missed. It would seem that pretty much everyone bought their children guinea pigs yesterday. And there were one or two petty squabbles kicking off on Facebook, but that is Facebook for you. It never fails to amaze me just how nasty an argument people can work up over Lego or watching “Star Trek” or keeping a dog. There was also quite a lot of bitterness expressed in one of the Facebook groups about Ashford. Interestingly the local geocaching, munzee-ing, fishing and dog-walking groups seem free from squabbles. People only seem to want to get aggressive with those they know they will never actually meet.
But I got a reply to the question I’d asked on one of the Lego groups. I can get small Lego pugs, and large Lego pugs. I want a medium sized Lego pug (well, I want two of them) but it seems that the Lego corporation doesn’t make them in medium.
I sorted my undercrackers which had tumble-dried overnight (my life is so dull that sorting pants is one of its highlights) then we took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods for a walk. As we walked another dog walked right into me. The people with her told me she was blind. Poor pup. But she seemed to be enjoying sniffing about as she went.
Our dogs played nicely as we walked. To anyone watching you would think they hated each other; their play does sound rather worrying, but that's how they like it. Having jumped a ditch Fudge was guarding it and stopping Treacle from crossing. Both were seriously shouting at each other. When she eventually got over she yapped (it really was very sarcastically) at Fudge and charged off. Fudge then set off in hot and noisy pursuit of her, with Pogo generally charging about in the thick of it all. All three were snarling and growling at each other. When they've done this in Viccie Park we've had passing normal people trying to get involved and separate them when they are actually quite happy and playing.
They do like their trips to the woods.
Once home I spent a little while levelling up a section of shingle; "My Boy TM" then came round and helped me relocate our "Neptune" statue on to it. It is too heavy to move on my own. We chatted for a while about possible garden plans, then I set off for work. I didn't really want to go to work today. The weather was fine and there was a wedding blessing taking place that I would have liked to have gone to. But there it is.
I got to work and did my bit, spending much of the time peering out of the window. I don't mind weekend work when it is pouring with rain outside, but I'm not so keen when the weather is fine. Today's shift wasn't the easiest. Ideally I would have done the early shift. That was the original plan, but I was asked if I would swap, and if I help out for others, they will be more inclined to help me out when I want to swap.
6 September 2020 (Sunday) - Holly Hill
I got up and cleared up Sid’s “overnight accident” and chased him outside so he could do a tiddle in the garden. He didn’t, then I found that he’d done that inside too. We shall have to review his sleeping arrangements.
I made toast. We would seem to have obtained a jar of “Happy Shopper” raspberry jam from somewhere. At one pound and nine pence a jar, the shopper can’t be that happy. The same stuff costs less than forty pence in Tesco. There was a whinge on Facebook yesterday about supporting local businesses – I’m all for supporting local businesses but when they are charging nearly three times the price of the supermarkets, there is only so much “supporting” that anyone can do.
As I scoffed toast (and Happy Shopper raspberry jam) I had a look at Facebook. A friend was posting up on behalf of another friend who is currently banned by the Facebook Feds for posting something that “didn’t follow our Community Standards.” I would love to know just what he posted that was so bad to warrant a ban. I’ve reported photos of sexual abuse of children and of animals being abused but Facebook had no issues with those.
With the "er indoors TM"-mobile full of "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"’s tat we loaded our gear and the dogs into my car, and in a novel break with tradition I drove us out to Holly Hill. Karl, Tracey and Charlotte soon joined us, and we set off on a little wander guided by the “Holly Hill Revisited” series of geocaches.
We had a good walk; despite being called “Holly Hill” there wasn’t that much “hill” involved. Although there was some lane walking, most of the lanes were quiet enough that the dogs were able to be off the leads.
I took one or two photos as we walked; you can see how pretty the area is. With well-marked paths and beautiful views the day was only marred by my being kicked by a horse and Treacle having caught (and killed) a pheasant. I suppose I should be cross with her; is it wrong that I have a sneaking sense of pride? My little girl dog is still wolf after all these centuries.
Geocache-wise it was a rather good walk. However…
Whenever I set a series of geocaches I want to be the one who sets them. I don’t want any other caches by other people on the way. About half-way round this series you find yourself in a village where there are three field puzzles (set by other people) which send you off in random directions including the one from which you have just come. But having said that, we chose to do those extra field puzzles.
Billed as a series of five miles, “Hannah” recorded it as a shade under seven miles. Once back at our cars we said our goodbyes and came home to find Sid had escaped the kitchen. Bearing in mind he wasn’t up to today’s walk, and also bearing in mind his “accident” we’d secured him in the kitchen. He’d climbed the barricade and was waiting for us in the living room. I see it as a positive sign that he must be getting better if he was able to climb over the barricades we’d set to keep him in.
And an added bonus was that there were no “surprises” waiting for us.
I spent a little while posting photos up to Facebook, and logging our geo-movements on-line then sent some friends a wedding pressie. Or tried to. The bank certainly doesn’t make it easy to transfer money.
And I then reported the horse that kicked me to the Public Rights of Way people at Kent County Council. Whilst my leg still hurts, if the horse had kicked one of the dogs it would have killed them. I wonder what (if anything) the PROW people will do?
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Taskmaster”, then she tuned in to the Sunday night Zoom meeting. There wasn’t much of a turn-out for it. A few months ago Zoom meetings were all the rage, but now it would seem that these things have run their course.
My leg hurts… if nothing else it takes my mind off of my back.
7 September 2020 (Monday) - No Cake
I woke in a sweat following a rather traumatic nightmare in which a heavily pregnant colleague was continually jumping from the roof of a double-decker bus purely because she could. When I woke it was half past midnight, and I didn't really get back off to sleep again after that.
I came downstairs to see our latest plan to keep Sid from peeing on the carpet had been a qualified success. "er indoors TM" had put Sid in the kitchen (which has no carpet) and had put the dog cage blocking the way from the kitchen to the living room, but in such a way that he could get inside it to sleep. Like all the dogs Sid likes sleeping in the dog cage. I came down to find Sid fast asleep in it, but with him in it, the dog cage was too heavy to move. And it is too big to climb over. And he'd not done "anything" anyway.
I eventually prodded him out of the cage and took him up the garden where he did several "somethings", then over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of "Good Girls" which turned out to be the last one. The story didn't so much "end" as "fizzled out" with my having no idea what had happened, what was going on, or what might possibly happen in any potential next season.
I didn’t quite laugh out loud as I then peered into the Internet. A chap I’ve known for nearly forty years had posted something to Facebook which was knocking religion. The thrust of his argument was why should he respect anyone’s religious beliefs purely on the basis of “that’s what I believe” with absolutely no empirical evidence to back up their position. It was somewhat ironic bearing in mind this chap is continually posting political rants to social media which are equally unfounded in any tangible or measurable way. I thought about pointing this out to him… but decided I didn’t need to.
Someone else I’ve only known for ten years had posted one of those “I’m here for you” memes to Facebook. I don’t post that sort of thing. I know (from bitter experience) that many of the people who make a loud song and dance on social media about always being there for others rarely fulfil the promise.
I set off to work on a rather cold morning. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the government is planning on going back on what they agreed with the European Union; effectively there is effectively no Brexit deal and the Prime Minister is making out that this is a good thing. Am I the only one who sees that far from saving the UK over three hundred million quid per week, Brexit is increasing the price of the weekly food shop by about forty per cent? (figures quoted on the radio this morning). And is it any co-incidence that now the UK is out of the EU, the amount of illegal immigration goes through the roof as it is in the French national interest to send them our way? And just wait for the newspapers to catch on to one of the reasons for hospital waiting lists to be getting longer is all the non-British healthcare professionals are going home in droves because they don't feel welcome or safe in the UK any more.
I know it is now far too late to do anything about it, and I know what the result was, but this Brexit hasn't lived up to the hype, has it?
Once my piss had cooled down I popped into Tesco. Being short of marmalade I thought I might get some. I also got some grey flower pots which might well be idea for a rockery project I have in mind, some pens, and wine and beer (just in case).
Pembury's Tesco has improved beyond all recognition since I was last there. On my last visit we were bossed and ordered around the shops, being treated live recalcitrant five-year-olds by officious harridans. But today the staff were helpful and polite. Perhaps they've realised the advantages of not pissing off your customers?
I got to work. there was no cake. I would find it difficult to choose whether I prefer working in Maidstone or Pembury, but (it has to be said) there is more cake in Maidstone.
And with my bit done I came home. The traffic was rather less busy that usual this evening – I wonder what that was all about.
I also wonder what’s for dinner…
8 September 2020 (Tuesday) - Whistle Training
Sid spent another night in the cage facing onto a lino-ed floor, and again he’d not done “anything” overnight. "er indoors TM" had taken him to the groomer for claw clipping yesterday, and although still a bit wobbly he did seem better on his legs this morning than he did yesterday. Poor old boy.
I made toast, and peered into the Internet. A friend had been on a climbing wall yesterday and had posted photos to Facebook. It looked fun. Another friend was posting soppy twee memes. It rather boils my piss that people who post to social media about “when life gives you lemons…” have generally had nothing but gold-plated roses handed to them by life. Life is like that though. I’ve had my ups and downs, but nothing compared to the hardships some people have faced whilst others seem to lead charmed lives.
Facebook also told me about three friends having birthdays today. “Friends” being “Facebook Friends”. I sent birthday wishes to the one I still see regularly, but didn’t to the ones who have made no effort to contact me in years. Was that petty of me?
I took three of the dogs down to Orlestone Woods where we had a little walk. As we went I tried “whistle training”. What with Treacle having had a pheasant at the weekend and the other two being less than keen to return when called I thought I might work on recall. The idea is that as we walk I blow a whistle and give the dogs a treat. They come to associate the whistle with getting a treat and come to me when I blow the whistle. Eventually we dispense with the treats and they just come back to the sound of the whistle. Or that’s the theory.
Fudge was good at this in years gone by and he quickly remembered.
Pogo sort-of got the idea, but since food was involved he was reluctant to leave my side.
And Treacle was utterly oblivious to what was going on anyway.
We came home; as I was deploying a Munzee my phone rang. The nice people at the Public Rights of Way were investigating my complaint of having been kicked by a horse. They claimed that I had given them the wrong location, and in any event the chap on the phone claimed to know the farmer in question and this chap has very nice horses(!) I deployed my Munzee and sent them a detailed map of where it happened, but my hopes of their doing anything aren’t high. The chap at the PROW office didn’t actually call me a liar, but it was clear he didn’t believe what I had told him.
I spent a little while painting the fence. I can distinctly remember painting a fence in years gone by when (on average) it took me an hour and a quarter to paint one fence panel. I got two and a half panels painted in an hour and a half today. Go me.
Having got all the new fence in the same colour I stopped garden work. The next job is to rebuild the water feature for which I bought a new bowl the other week, shift all the concrete cores up to beyond the pond to make a rockery, make a cover for the pond filter, and plant the monkey-puzzle tree. But that will all keep to another day.
Over a sandwich I watched the first half of the first episode of “Away”. Set in the near future, the show follows an American astronaut who leaves her husband and teenage daughter behind in order to command an international space crew embarking upon a three year-long mission to Mars. As I have always said, sci-fi works if you have believable characters. Having a commander who would much rather be staying at home with the family just doesn’t ring true. Especially when her husband has a known medical condition which means he is less likely to survive three years than she is (and she’s going to Mars). And having the crew squabbling and arguing when they are going to be cooped up together for three years?
I shall give the show a try before giving up, but my hopes aren’t high.
I took myself off to bed and slept for a couple of hours until "er indoors TM" came home. She came home as quiet as a mouse, but the dogs did herald her arrival somewhat.
I then spent a little while working on geo-puzzles. A friend has created a series of geocaches a few miles to the east. To find where they are there are two separate puzzles to be solved; one for the northings and one for the eastings. Each pair of puzzles takes about ten minutes to solve, so to solve the lot will take me a shade over eleven hours. I suspect I will be trading answers with friends before long… stranger things have happened.
Soon be dinner time – then off to the night shift.
9 September 2020 (Wednesday) - Tired
After one of the busiest night shifts I’ve had for a long time I came home. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the government’s frankly ridiculous proclamation. We can have loads of kids in a classroom. I can continue to work in close proximity with up to thirty other people. We can all travel on crowded trains and buses and even airplanes with hundreds of people breathing the same recycled air. We can go down the pub or to the supermarkets with the Great Unwashed. And eating out at restaurants is not only fine but is our patriotic duty.
However having seven family members or friends in the same house is far too dangerous. Go figure. The Health Secretary was on the radio who failed to make any sense of the obvious mixed messages here. He also failed to make any sense out of the Government’s apparent threats (or promises) to go against international law with the Brexit arrangements. However in that instance the chap really is stuck. The Brexit agreements mean there must be a border between North and South in Ireland. The Irish peace agreements mean that there must not. The two are mutually exclusive. Did no one see this coming?
I got home, and went straight to bed. I slept for a couple of hours, had a late brekkie then took the dogs down to the wood where we carried on doing our whistle training. It seems to be working in that the dogs have learned to come back when I blow the whistle. Mind you so far they have returned when there isn’t anything else more interesting going on I need there to be something happening from which I can distract them. I wonder if any pheasants or squirrels might volunteer?
With dogs walked I then ironed through three episodes of “Away”. Bearing in mind that it is a sci-fi show you would have thought that the writers might have got a science advisor involved, or at the very least done the teensiest bit of research, wouldn’t you?
I then spent a little while carrying on with the puzzles of the new geo-series that went live yesterday. Many of the puzzles feature jigsaw puzzles of prominent local hunters of Tupperware. It is interesting that a lot of those that I might describe as “The Old Guard” don’t feature, and there are a couple of faces I don’t recognise at all. But me, "er indoors TM" and our wolf pack are all there.
"er indoors TM" has gone to deliver parcels to "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and then it is dinner time. I hope I stay awake…
10 September 2020 (Thursday) - Before the Late Shift
A combination of being post night shift and a bottle of red wine meant that I slept like a log last night. I came downstairs and chivvied Sid into the garden where he did his tiddle, and I helped him over the back door step where he did his poop. I say “did his poop”; he didn’t so much “do” it as it sort of plopped out. I don’t think he has that much control down there any more. Poor thing.
I made some toast and peered into the Internet. People were raging about the government’s latest restrictions on civil liberties. Basically it is OK for me to work in close proximity with thirty people all day long, but if I invite half a dozen of them home for a pint after work that is unsafe and I risk a fine of a hundred quid. What *really* made my piss boil though was that intelligent people were looking for sense and reason in these latest restrictions. There is no sense and reason in pretty much anything that any government (of any political persuasion) does. There never has been.
I checked my emails. There were none of note. Someone called “Cory Doctorow” (!) thought I might like to give him/her/it money for their kickstarter campaign. “Cory Doctorow” was sadly mistaken.
We took the dogs down to the woods where we had a vindication of whistle training. Fudge tried to play “dog piggy backs” on a passing pup and Pogo kicked off twice as Treacle became ridiculously terrified of totally innocent passers-by. Each time the potential “episode” was nipped in the bud as I gave three blasts on the whistle, and the dogs abandoned their mayhem and obediently ran to me and sat.
Once home I spent ten minutes fixing the water feature that I’d had to disassemble to get the fence painted. Once assembled it didn’t work. It didn’t take long to find that the pump’s control had been dialled down to the lowest setting. I’m thinking "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" might well have been meddling, but I have been chastised for casting aspersions onto the innocent little darling (!)
I drove round to Pets at Home for goldfish food and some small dog treats. That is the treats were small; not the dogs. Well, I know my dogs are small, but I wanted small treats as the hounds scoff quite enough already. This whistle training is certainly getting through the goodies.
I then had what was realistically a rather unnecessary journey. A while ago I hid a series of geocaches in a wood on the way to Pembury. One of them had gone missing. Over the last few weeks several people had noticed it was missing and just added to the "did not find" reports. Were it me finding (or not finding) such a missing geocache I would have contacted the person who hid it and asked if they'd like me to replace it for them. In fact I do this quite regularly. I wish more people would. Everyone wants to go hunting Tupperware; very few actually go hiding the stuff, and even fewer think to assist in keeping the game going.
Admittedly the rules do say that it is up to the hider to sort any maintenance issues, but someone who would be walking the woods anyway could do in twenty seconds what took me on something of a diversion from my usual trip to work and then on three quarters of an hour's walk this morning. It is always the caches which are over half a mile from the nearest road which go missing.
I got to work, and as is always the case when on the late shift the day was effectively over by the time I'd scoffed lunch…
11 September 2020 (Friday) - Before Another Late Shift
I slept well despite a rather odd dream in which I’d exchanged my car for a frankly crap moped (which had a top speed slower than walking pace).
I came downstairs and helped Sid into the garden where he did his thing(s), then I peered into the Internet as I scoffed brekkie. A friend was posting to Facebook asking people to share something about having cancer being OK as it is God’s will, and God loves you even though he allowed you to have cancer. It didn’t make a lot of sense, but then religious stuff rarely does. I gave up on religion in the mid-1980s when I realised that pretty much any concept of a caring God needs far too many excuses.
We took the dogs down to the woods for a little walk. We all seem to like the woods, and we get to walk around without being bothered by the normal people. We did some whistle training. Pogo has certainly got the hang of it. Treacle is picking it up, but Fudge seems to have lost interest, He really does seem to have a “been there, done that” attitude to it.
With walk walked I spent ten minutes in the garden moving the boulders (which will form the rockery) from one end of the garden to the other. I moved all but the heaviest four; I’ve sent for "My Boy TM" to help with the lifting, but I can’t see him being very keen. I could have carried on in the garden, but having had a bad back for much of last week I was very reluctant to set it off again, so I stopped there.
I got us pastries from the corner shop and I scoffed mine whilst writing up some CPD. Whilst it is a legal requirement that all HCPC registered people must continue their ongoing education, sometimes I wonder if anyone else makes quite as much effort to do so as I do. Still, if nothing else, when the assessors ask me for evidence, I’ve got plenty.
I spent half an hour solving geo-jigsaw puzzles. I’ve now done a third of them, and then got ready for work.
The journey to work was rather problematical today.
As I drove out of Biddenden along the A262 there was a cyclist in the road ahead of me. Cycling for all he was worth the chap was red in the face and probably managing to get up to fifteen miles per hour. Dressed as a fugitive from the Tour de France, this idiot was cycling along the white line in the middle of the road, and he was determined that I wouldn't pass him. He kept glancing back at me, and swerving across into the oncoming lane to be sure I stayed behind him. Eventually as the road widened I managed to pass. As I looked in my rear view mirror I saw he was giving some rather unfriendly hand gestures. I wonder what his problem was? I expect he has had a run-in with some other car driver. Most cyclists are (probably) OK, but there are definitely some who seem determined to provoke confrontation with every car driver they meet.
As I got to Goudhurst I saw the traffic was queued back. A passer-by told me that yet another juggernaut had ignored all the signs about the road being unsuitable for long vehicles and had got itself stuck fast at the chicane by the church. Fortunately I was able to take the back lanes to avoid the lorry. Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea. It only added ten minutes to my trip.
Pausing only briefly for a point of interest and a virtual sapphire (its a Munzee thing) I was soon at work and (apart from an owl crapping on the windscreen on the way home) my day was effectively over by the early afternoon. Again.
12 September 2020 (Saturday) - And Another....
I was woken in the small hours by snoring; I’m not saying whose. I eventually nodded off, but was woken by "er indoors TM" having a set-to with one of the dogs. I expect it was Treacle; it usually is.
I gave up trying to sleep and came downstairs to let Sid out. He pootled a bit and did what he’d been sent out to do, more through luck than judgement though. He seems to have lost nerve control “behind”. Poor pup.
I made toast and peered into the Internet. Facebook was much the same as ever. People were trying to sell unwanted tat. Those with anything to say which was related to any specific theme had posted the same thing to every single group related to that theme. People were picking arguments with others that they knew they would never have to face. It was a shame that very few people seemed to have *done* anything though.
I had a look at my emails. I had a message. Regular readers of this drivel may recall I replaced a missing geocache two days ago. This morning came a message that someone would be walking past it today – did I want them to replace it for me?
I solved five more geo-jigsaws until "er indoors TM" emerged from her pit. We drove down to Orlestone church where "er indoors TM" had once hidden a geocache, but successive hunters of Tupperware had drawn blanks. There was a reason for that – there was a bulldozer vigorously bulldozing the exact spot where she’d hidden the thing.
We then had a quick wander round Orlestone Woods (where whistle training was more of a failure than a success) then came home for a cuppa, and I set off for yet another late shift.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the ongoing Brexit negotiations so I turned the radio off. I'm sick of hearing about it. Instead I sang along to some rather obscure tunes as I drove west. I took a little diversion just before I got to Biddenden this morning. Bearing in mind it will be a little while before I went this way again I thought I might treat myself to some supplies from the vineyard shop. I got a couple of bottles of Wantsum's "Imperium" ale for tomorrow, a bottle of their own red wine, some local honey, and no change out of twenty-five quid. It is commonly said that we should support our local businesses and craftspeople... but charity begins at home. I suspect that I could have got better stuff for a third of the price at Tesco, but time will tell. It always does.
I also took a little diversion at Pembury to do a couple of Munzee resuscitations. One of the Munzees had faded beyond recognition (so I replaced it) and one just hadn't had anyone come near in two years. But it was two hundred Munz points for me, and two more Munzee resuscitations to the current clan effort.
I got to work and had a rather typical shift. Periods of tranquillity were interspersed with periods of hyperactivity. If the work were to be evenly spaced out through the shift it would have been far more manageable, but that's hospital work for you.
A night shift (on Tuesday) followed by
three late shifts… I’m worn out…
13 September 2020 (Sunday) - The North Downs
As I scoffed toast I watched another episode of “Away”. Whoever made the show should sack their scientific advisors. If you watch the old footage from the Moon missions you will see there was a noticeable communication lag between the astronauts saying something and Mission Control replying. A spaceship half-way to Mars would have a communication lag of about five minutes. There wouldn’t be instantaneous replies from Earth.
And gravity – there isn’t any half-way to Mars. The show has spectacular zero-G scenes when it suits the special effects people to show off, and full earth gravity when they forget that there is no gravity in space.
I then sparked up my lap-top and chivvied specials out of the tree house and Skyland (it’s a Munzee thing) then had a look at Facebook. It was heaving with all sorts of grievances against the government. I’ve ranted against governments before, but this bunch seems to have hit an all-time low. Led by a chap who has previously been sacked twice for lying, won’t say how many children he has, and doesn’t use his real name, this government would seem to be the worst we’ve had, and that is up against some pretty stiff competition.
Pausing only briefly to tell some half-wit to get knotted (I can do the keyboard warrior thing too!) we settled Sid, and got the other dogs and ourselves into the car and set off to Hastingleigh.
We soon met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte who’d beaten us to the Village Hall by a few minutes, and once we’d got our boots on we set off on a little walk guided by the “North Downs Discovery Trail” series of geocaches.
I must admit that I’d been a tad dubious about the walk – I’ve walked the North Downs before. But there was surprisingly little “upping” or “downing” involved really. There were some rather pretty houses, and the footpaths came rather close to them. That was fine for me to be nosey, but I’m not sure that if I had a lovely country cottage I would want me walking quite so close. One cache was very close to a farmhouse, but we cunningly hid our activities from the normal people.
As we walked we met a group of young girls doing their Duke of Edinburgh award hike. They seemed in fine spirits. We saw sheep and horses and didn’t bark at any of them, and we watched a buzzard circling as we scoffed a picnic lunch in the sunshine. As we scoffed, another hunter of Tupperware came by. The dogs charged off in full attack mode, but three short blasts of the whistle immediately brought them back. Everyone was impressed, but no one more so than me.
The whistle training worked again later when we lost Fudge. Three blasts brought him running back to us; a shame he came back carrying half of a long-dead crow, but he came back and that was the main thing.
Geocache-wise... The hides weren’t as straightforwardly easy as I would hide them, but I do put out very easy finds. Each to their own. A slightly trickier hide is never a bad thing. I did feel the three field puzzles were a tad too complicated, but again that is a matter of personal opinion. However I did think the given hints were somewhat spartan. “Tree” is of little help when you are surrounded by the things. “Multi-trunked” or “left of path” added to “tree” would have helped.
But I’m probably just being picky. It was a very good series; we found all of our targets. And (as always) I was grateful that someone had taken the time to prepare something for us to do today.
I took a few photos as we walked. You’ll see from them just what a pretty area we walked in.
We got back to the
car and the little old lady in the house over the road asked if we’d like
some apples. She gave us a carrier bag full from her tree. We came home and
spent a little while in the garden reading. Or that is "er indoors TM"
was reading. I fell asleep.
14 September 2020 (Monday) - An Anniversary
I watched half of an episode of “Away” as I scoffed a bowl of granola, polished my walking boots then had a quick look at the Internet. Despite having had a weekend, not many people seemed to have done much with it as hardly anyone had posted up very much. In fact all that seemed to have happened overnight on-line was an argument about the price of Lego minfigures.
I had a look at my emails. Overnight I’d had over two hundred logs on geocaches I’d hidden. This many is too many to read, so I just skimmed through looking for logs on the first and/or last of the series of caches I’ve hidden looking for one specific thing. I saw the phrase I was looking for: “All caches found”. That’s all I need to know.
I set off to work via the petrol station. Getting petrol passed off without incident for which I was very happy. "er indoors TM" claims I have an "idiot magnet" and perhaps she has a point; I do tend to attract them as I go about. But today's refuelling passed off quietly. Mind you I did have a chuckle at all the signs in the petrol station demanding that customers must wear face coverings when not a single member of their staff was doing so.
Narrowly avoiding being run off the road by a foreign lorry driver I headed westwards along the motorway to work.
As I drove the Minister For Anal Loquation (look it up!) was being interviewed on the radio. This morning a law came into force by which seven people can go to a classroom or play a sport together. They can sit in the same pub or cinema, but if they all go round to one of their houses for a cuppa then they are all liable for a fine of a hundred quid. The minister completely failed to explain the reasoning behind this stupid idea but did go on to say that councils will be sending out COVID enforcement teams to make sure the law is obeyed. These teams would supplement the police efforts to enforce the prevention of social gatherings, but he totally failed to explain who would be paying for them. It wasn't denied that rather than having paid officials, interfering busybodies might be encouraged to volunteer to squeal up their neighbours.
I love the morning radio show - they get all sorts of politicians and public figures on, they crucify them live on national radio, and the stupid politicians and public figures just keep coming back for more.
There was also consternation being expressed about how some British computer firm was being sold to an American firm.
The government weren't keen on the idea and were planning to block the sale. I must admit I don't understand how that would work. Certainly the government can have a say in what goes on in a nationalised business, but it has been government policy (of all parties for years) to sell off all commercial concerns, and part of selling something (or not owning it in the first place) is not having any say in the running of that something.
I got to work and did my bit.... but my heart wasn’t in it. Don’t get me wrong – I am now working in a place where I am appreciated, and I don’t dislike my job at all. But today marked exactly thirty-nine years since I first started testing blood. It hasn’t been a bad old life really but my biggest gripe is that thirty-nine years ago today I was sold a pension. I have paid for it with a not insubstantial amount of my wages every month since September 1981 and the agreement was that after forty years I could retire and take that pension. Or I could retire earlier and take a reduced pension. My plan was that I would have retired by now. But “they” changed the rules so that I couldn’t get the pension until I am sixty years old. And then “they” changed the rules again so that I can only get *some* of the pension when I am sixty years old, with the rest coming at state retirement age.
Having been paying good money for years on the understanding that I would have long been retired by now, I’ve now got to wait for (at least) ten more years for that pension. It’s not unlike buying a bag of crisps from the corner shop, walking down the road scoffing them, and then having the shopkeeper chasing after you saying he’s just put the price up.
I think pretty much everyone is sick of hearing this rant…
15 September 2020 (Tuesday) - Feeling Under The Weather
Just recently I've been sleeping with the full-face CPAP attachment. Last night I thought I'd try having a kip with just the nose-thingy. I woke with a very sore beak.
I came downstairs and watched more "Away" as Sid sat at my feet farting. Fortunately the other three pups were still upstairs and fast asleep. For all that they are small dogs, they really do have stinky backsides. Just one gassing me out was quite enough this morning.
Once the telly programme had finished I struggled to turn it off. The Netflix app can be rather troublesome at times; today it flatly refused to stop. Turning the phone off stopped it though. If all else fails, pull the plug.
I had a quick look at the Internet. I have often said that people will argue over anything, and this morning there was quite the squabble which had kicked off over the TV show "Blake's 7". Some chap had posted to the Facebook "Blake's 7 Fan Club". He'd written quite a savage review of the first few episodes. What he said was factually correct. Paul Darrow was acting more as though he was in pantomime than in sci-fi. Blake really was a wet weekend. The props really were made of cardboard. And the sets did wobble. For me (and for many), that is the attraction of the show. But others had taken umbrage and there was a full-blown row going on. Despite having been a member of that Facebook group for over two years, this bloke was claiming that he'd only watched the show for the first time this week. He was clearly trolling, and many people had taken the bait. But then, most people only tune in to social media for the quarrelling, so everyone was happy.
I set off to work on a very foggy morning. As I drove there was a lot of consternation being expressed about the Prime Minister's Brexit plan. Having won a General Election on the strength of having a plan, it would seem that no one (least of all the Prime Minister himself) has actually had a look at the thing. Like pretty much everything to do with Brexit, it has all been left a little too late to do anything about it now.
There was also talk with the headmaster of some school whose coronageddon plan has fallen at the first hurdle. The idea of having all the kids in "bubbles" works very well all the time they stay in their "bubbles". But when they leave school the kids mix with their brothers and sisters who then mix with their "bubbles", and before long the virus has spread pretty much everywhere. Like it would anyway, and would seem to have done at his school. Having teachers giving the lessons remotely by video-link is all very well for more mature students, but schoolkids need someone on-hand to referee the fist fights.
With a little time on my hands I took a small diversion for two Munzee resuscitations. I've now done the entire clan effort for Munzee resuscitations for this month. Go me.
I then went into work for the early shift. The day went well, but not as well for me as for the chap we watched who was on the lawn outside the window. Wearing only his pants and swigging from a can of lager the chap was enjoying the sunshine. He wasn't alone... well. He wasn't alone in sitting on the lawn enjoying the sunshine but he was alone in his pants. But he wasn't bothering anyone, and lay there (in his pants) for much of the morning.
After work I went to Aldi. I needed rinse aid for the dishwasher and came out with two huge bags of stuff, but forgot the rinse aid.
As I drove down the motorway I could see smoke. A huge column of smoke coming from the general direction of home. It was rather unnerving. It turned out that a tyre warehouse next door to where Cheryl works had gone up in flames. You could seen the smoke from ten miles away up the motorway, or from the same distance to the south from the Romney Marsh.
Once home "er indoors TM" announced she was going out for dinner with her Dad. Did I want to go? So much for the twenty quid I’d spent on stuff for this evening from Aldi, eh? Bearing in mind she works on the living room table till half past six I went and had a little sleep. I wasn’t feeling well; maybe I’d be up to going out after a little kip. The dogs woke me with their howling at ten past six; she’d gone out without me…
16 September 2020 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift
I slept like a log last night; I thought I wasn’t on top form yesterday. Having slept rather later than usual we skipped brekkie and took the dogs down to Orlestone for a walk round the woods. The walk went well – we only met one other person and that was when we were nearly back at the car. On seeing them I did the whistle thing and all three dogs immediately came to me. I was impressed.
As we drove home the ex-Minister for Health Jeremy Hunt was on the radio banging on about how the nation needs to quadruple its ability to test for the COVID-19 virus. Bearing in mind the ability of the average journalist to dig dirt it amazes me that no one has made the connection between the current woeful inadequacy of the nation’s medical microbiological laboratories and the fact that Mr Hunt closed down loads of them during his tenure as Minister for Health.
Once home I popped to the corner shop for croissants and over a late brekkie peered into the Internet. Facebook was its usual self with the same half-dozen things being constantly re-posted, and the cowardly ranting at the world from the anonymity of their mum’s spare bedroom.
I then went into the garden to pootle.
First of all I harvested dog dung. Now we’ve four hounds crapping like things possessed there is a lot of dog dung to harvest. But it needs doing as the first lawn-related job, as anyone who has ever mowed a dog turd will affirm. I then strimmed the lawn’s edges. There was a minor hiccup when I found that the strimmer had actually fallen into two pieces since I last used it, but it was soon fixed. And with strimming strimmed I mowed the lawn.
The pond’s filter needed a clean out. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I’ve always cleaned out the filter by upending it into the bath, and the last time I did it I blocked the drain quite impressively. Since then I’ve obtained a rather large flower pot which I cunningly positioned over the (opened) manhole cover. I upended the filter into the flower pot and gave it all a squirt with the hose pipe. I got the job done in half the time, and "er indoors TM" didn’t have to spend an hour plunging at the plug hole.
I then had a general sweep round and tidy up. I tried to move the potted palm as a prelude to planting the monkey puzzle tree, but it was incredibly heavy and I just managed to break the pot it was in, so I gave up. There is only so much garden work you can do.
I solved five geo-jigsaws, had a shower and went to bed. I slept like a log until the DHL man came hammering on the door. Most people ring the doorbell, but I suppose hammering on the door is more eco-friendly. Especially when the door bell isn’t working.
I spent half an hour fixing the door bell. Fixing went a lot quicker once I determined which of the two door bells was the one with a flat battery, and which was the one we were hoarding because we never throw anything away.
I’m off to the night shift soon. Via Sainsbury’s… if I get there. Operation Stack is in full flow again apparently.
I started the day feeling iffy and I’m not feeling fine now. I wonder if I’m going down with something?
17 September 2020 (Thursday) - After the Night Shift
As I worked I had a couple of messages in the small hours from friends who’d been looking at the Internet. Some relatively local woman who used to be into geocaching, had given up and re-started, had made a rather pointed attack at me on Facebook’s national geocaching page. On re-reading it was cleverly written, but those who know me recognised the dig. At three o’clock this morning during a break I sent in a reply defending myself against one accusation and flatly denying the other.
I took an age to get home; the traffic on the motorway was going at thirty miles per hour all the way. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the nation’s inability to cope with the demand for COVID-19 testing and how the (probable) next American President has told the government to sort themselves out if they want a trade deal. Both were problems entirely of the government’s own making.
Feeling not entirely dead I took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods for a little walk. Seeing my wolf pack tangling with some other dogs I blew the whistle to call them away. However the other dogs also did whistle training. My three came running and sat at my feet. Another dog (the size of a cart horse) also came running and jumped up at me. Standing on his hind legs with his paws on my shoulders he wanted a treat too.
His mummy came running after him; she was so embarrassed. I laughed.
Once home I went to bed for a couple of hours. Over a very late brekkie I had a look at the Internet and saw that the woman who’d been digging at me overnight had had another (if more restrained) go. I could have replied in detail, but decided against it. Most of the people who hunt Tupperware with whom I associate enjoy it and make a fun hobby of it, and I have become part of a growing network of friends. Though this group I’ve had some wonderful walks and some rather good holidays and been invited to parties and weddings.
However there are those who don’t actually seem to want to socialise or just go out looking for Tupperware very much. Some prefer to just argue about it over the Internet; picking fights with people they hope will never meet.
I’ve had a (petty and trivial) run-in with this woman before. She once made a total mess of walking a series of geocaches that "er indoors TM" hid. Despite forty people having got round the route successfully, from what she’d logged on-line it was clear that she’d taken the wrong path, but she was oblivious to the fact that others had got round without issues.
Personally I’d keep quiet about that sort of mistake, but clearly it has festered; I can’t think of any other reason why she’d come out with such an attack at me.
With toast scoffed I wasted fifteen minutes trying to remotely deploy a Munzee (the Internet wasn’t having any of it), and went out into the garden. The plan was to plant my monkey-puzzle tree in the ground, and that’s what I did.
It took some doing.
Having identified where the tree was going I then scraped all the shingle out of the way, and pulled back the anti-weed membrane whilst trying not to utterly destroy it (so that I could re-use it once the tree was planted). Measuring the depth of the pot the tree was in I realised I needed a hole which was effectively half a metre cubed – or one eighth of a cubic metre. Not half of a cubic metre – work it out if you don’t believe me.
So I started digging. The shovel bounced off of the ground.
The ground was so hard that I could barely scrape it with the shovel. After a few minutes I went into the shed and came out with a hammer and a chisel. I really did have to break the soil with the chisel, and I used the shovel to scrape up what I’d chiselled. As the hole got deeper I swapped the shovel for a trowel. As it does, the compacted soil expanded as it got chiselled out, and by the time I was ready to plant the tree I’d got two dustbins and two large pots full of soil.
It was at his point that my plans went west.
I hoiked the tree out of the pot it was in only to find that the root only extended twenty centimetres down. Not fifty. So I put two thirds of the soil I’d so laboriously dug back into the hole, put the tree in the hole, and tidied it all up. I’ve given the tree water and plant food, and all I can do now is hope that it survives the ordeal.
I was spending a little time solving geo-puzzles when the DHL man came. Despite having spent an age fixing the doorbell yesterday he hammered on the door again. Pausing only briefly to tell him to press the dinger I carried on puzzling until it was time to tune in to the weekly geo-meet. It was good to catch up with friends.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Celebrity Bake Off”. "er indoors TM" says we’ve seen these episodes before – I don’t remember them. Mind you if I’d had as much red wine and amaretto when I saw it first time as I had this evening, it is hardly surprising that I don’t remember.
18 September 2020 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
I was woken by the noise of the bin men as they came crashing up the street shortly after six o’clock. The local bin men certainly take the attitude that if they are up and about, then so should everyone else be. "er indoors TM" leapt out of bed in panic; she’d forgotten to put out the recycling. I heaved my carcass out of my pit. I really ached. I blame re-planting that monkey-puzzle tree yesterday.
I made myself some brekkie and as I scoffed it I peered into the Internet. Bitter and nasty arguments were kicking off on Facebook on the Geocaching UK page, the Adult Fans of Lego page, the Doctor Who in the 70s page, several pages about Jack Russells, the Kent Carp Talk page and several pages about Ashford. If nothing else, the Internet has given people the ability to squabble to their heart’s content.
As I waded through the squabbles I saw something that made me think. Brexit has (supposedly) already cost more than the International Space Station cost. So much for saving three hundred and fifty million quid per day…
We took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods. It is a little way away, but after a ten-minute drive (nine, actually) the dogs can jump out of the boot of the car and run, walk and straggle for as long as we can spare. We had a good wander today; we only met two other people, and the meetings passed off without episode. Fudge did try playing “dog piggy backs” with some mutt ten times his size, but three blasts of the whistle had him come running.
We came home; "er indoors TM" got on with working from home. I drove up to Whelan’s. As we’d driven back from the woods the pundits on the radio had been talking about a return to national lock-down so I thought I’d get a decent stone tree-pot (for the palm) before the nation shut down.
I drove to Whelan’s got the pot (and a few other things), deployed a Munzee, and even found a geocache whilst I was at it. Mind you there’s no denying that I’d forgotten just how far away Whelan’s is. A round trip was over two hours.
Once home I had a cuppa then unloaded the car. Fortunately Martin was walking past and offered to help with the heavy lifting. We had another cuppa with him and chatted for a while; it was good to catch up. I suppose in these days of coronageddon perhaps we shouldn’t have done so, but there it is.
Martin went off shopping, and I spent a couple of hours in the garden. I re-potted our palm tree out of the pot I broke on Wednesday and into its new one, re-located the stone bench by the pond, painted our digging dog ornament, put out the ornaments I’d bought from Whelans and generally tided up. The garden looks better than it did now that I’ve had a little tidy-up, but I’m no fan of gardening. Today after fifty quid and two hours of back-breaking effort the garden looked pretty much the same as it usually does.
I stopped after two hours; my back was playing up. But there is still more to do. I need to have a look at the rockery area behind the pond, and having found a water pump in the shed I’ve plans for another water feature (you can never have too many of those!) I’m thinking of another Whelan’s trip in the near future.
I collapsed onto the sofa and geo-jigsawed for an hour or so until "er indoors TM" boiled up some fish and chips.
I’ve got an early start tomorrow – I think an early night might be a plan…
19 September 2020 (Saturday) - Barrington (D'oh!)
Having an alarm set and having Pogo taking up most of the bed I hardly slept. I eventually gave up trying to sleep and came downstairs where I chivvied Sid out into the garden before making myself some toast.
Fudge scrounged for the crusts. Bearing in mind he ate hardly anything yesterday I saw this as a good sign and gave him (probably) far too much.
I settled him and Sid, and taking care not to disturb "er indoors TM" I set off on a little mission. Usually geocaching is a dog walk for us, but today’s plan was far loo long a distance for Fudge, and we had far too much planned to be having any “Pogo episodes”, someone had to stay at home to look after Sid, and Treacle just goes looking for her mummy when "er indoors TM" isn’t along. So today it was just me from our tribe.
I left home early; so early that the BBC World Service was still on the radio. The so-called news was little more than sycophantic sucking up to America, so I turned the radio off, and once I’d narrowly avoided being run of the road by yet another lorry driver who wasn’t watching what he was doing I made my way to Sittingbourne. I took a wrong turn but wasn’t *that* late getting to Karl and Tracey’s house.
We set off just as it was getting light and made our way north along some rather busy motorways. It wasn’t long before we were at the Duxbury McDonalds where we had a socially distanced and COVID-19 secure McBreakfast. You really can’t beat sausage and egg McMuffin.
Whilst everyone else used the facilities I quickly deployed and capped (you dare not let the geo-brigade know about the Munzing, you know), and then we carried on to Barrington where we parked up and set off on a rather ambitious geo-mission following the “D’oh” series of geocaches (and twenty others which were on our route). We had a good walk. We followed well-marked footpaths and lanes. There were some small sections on busier roads, but that was unavoidable really. But at no stage did we have to contend with farm animals or use any stiles.
As we walked we saw squirrels and buzzards and deer. The deer were odd – my photo didn’t come out that well, but they didn’t look at all like the deer we get here in Kent. We saw Jake’s bee hive. We saw a rather impressive radio telescope. And I am still chuckling at the two young ladies who cycled past. They were *loudly* discussing how the padding of their saddles was perhaps not what it might be as both were getting “excited” where the saddles were doing quite what they’d not been expecting.
As well as unmoral cyclists we met quite a few fellow hunters of Tupperware. Some were chatty; some not so. I did keep smiling about the young couple we saw. He was dead keen on rummaging for film pots under rocks; she was utterly disinterested. I can’t see that relationship lasting. Perhaps she too wasn’t keen on the wasps nest that we fell foul of.
Geocache-wise we had a good walk. We’d gone up having agreed with the chap who’d set most of the geocaches that we would do any necessary maintenance (to save him a job) and he’d warned us that he’d had reports that most of the paper logs were over half full.
People seem to be unable to write on the back of a sheet of paper for some reason.
Having gone out armed with loads of spare log sheets and replacement caches and stuff we found all of the caches we looked for. Maybe a third of them needed new paper logs, and one needed a minor repair. But all are good now.
I took a few photos as we walked. We walked a shade over sixteen miles in just under nine hours, and found a hundred and twelve geocaches as we went, including my thirteen thousandth find.
We made good time home. We would have made better time had there been a few less idiots on the motorway. For some reason everyone wanted to be in the fast lane regardless of what speed they were going at.
I think I shall have an early night… I caught the sun today, I’m feeling rather worn out and I’ve got to work tomorrow…
20 September 2020 (Sunday) - Stuff
I was woken by the sound of a dog whinging. Pogo had fallen off the bed and wanted to come back up, but he didn't dare as Treacle was guarding the high ground. I pushed her away, lifted him up, settled them both, and found myself wide awake.
I came downstairs and left Sid sleeping; he looked so peaceful. I got myself a bowl of granola and watched another episode of "Away" in which our heroes had started endlessly squabbling. It makes for good TV, and I suppose any people in close proximity for so long would wind each other up. But would NASA mission planners *really* send so many quarrelsome and argumentative people packed in like sardines on a three-year mission to Mars?
I then had a quick look at the Internet. There was a lot of nastiness kicking off on several of the Facebook groups about the American band "Sparks". The singer has announced he's not a fan of Donald Trump. Some fans have backed him, and other fans have attacked those fans who backed him. One of the posts amazed me - it was claimed that one can support Donald Trump whilst not supporting his attitude, the things he says or the things he does or any of his policies. (I couldn't work that one out - democracy - you can't beat it, can you?)
I checked my emails to see I had over a hundred "Found It" logs on geocaches I'd hidden, all of which were glowing with praise. But I had one "Did Not Find " log which rather boiled my piss. Someone who has found over twenty thousand geocaches had announced that because she couldn't find the thing it must be missing. There is an arrogance amongst some hunters of Tupperware in that if they cannot find a cache they feel it must be missing. She also felt that because someone else hadn't found it several months ago I'd clearly done nothing about it in the meantime and that was very remiss of me. She felt I should have disabled the listing and sorted it out.
I get "did not find" logs on many of my geocaches with annoying regularity. They are usually followed by "found it" logs because the person who originally did not find it simply did not find it. It was there all along, but they didn't see it. If I chased after everyone who can't find what is there I'd never do anything else. If I get two or three "did not finds" on a particular film pot then I'll go have a look.
Perhaps if this person hid more caches themselves they would get "did not find" logs of their own and would realise what is involved with them. It was a shame she had to be so arrogant in what she wrote in her log.
Leaving everyone fast asleep I staggered down the road to my car. Perhaps sixteen miles yesterday was a few too many? I drove a mile down the road (much easier than walking) to see that the geocache which was supposedly missing was still hanging where I'd left it. I sighed, then went round to the petrol station. I arrived just as they were opening; at first my heart sank when I saw the road cones closing off the forecourt but then I saw a chap removing them. I tried to exchange pleasantries with him; he didn't actually tell me to f... off. Some people just don't do mornings, do they?
I then set off in the general direction of Tunbridge Wells. As I drove the radio was all of a vaguely religious and spiritual nature (as it is most Sundays). Having been incredibly religious in the past I find it amazing that once I would have sympathised with the stark nonsense that was being broadcast this morning.
A wheelchair-using vicar was going on about how the ongoing pandemic has been a good thing since having scuppered much of society it has made people more appreciative of those in wheelchairs (no - I didn't understand that). Said vicar was also saying how her church now transmits on-line services because they *don't* have access to the Internet (no - I didn't understand that either).
And then there was an ex-scientist who packed in his job in research and became a policeman. God had (apparently) told him that because he was of African extraction he would be the ideal person to combat the institutional racism inherent in the metropolitan police. And so he spent thirty years being despised by those with whom he worked... because it was God's will (!)
Pausing only briefly form Munzical purposes I was soon at work and doing my thing. I wasn't that keen on having to work today, but it kept my mind off of an aching body. And it wasn't that long before I was on my way home again.
Once home "er indoors TM" and I drove out to Challock. Some chap had set up a stall in his garden selling various garden pots, planters and statues. There were hundreds of pots and planters; all hideous. And most of the statues had lumps bashed off of them.
We then went on to Dobbies who were selling all sorts of tat. Why is it that people will quite happily pay vastly inflated prices in a garden centre? Mind you they had half price cake and half price ale, so the trip wasn’t entirely wasted.
We came home and had some of that cake with a cuppa whilst I struggled with a geo-jigsaw. I woke up an hour later when "er indoors TM" came home from shopping. I didn’t hear her go out.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with that bottle of red wine I bought from the Bidden Vineyard a week or so ago. Dinner was excellent – the wine was a disappointment. At twelve quid a bottle I’ve had far better from Aldi at less than half the price…
I wonder if I will still ache as much tomorrow…
21 September 2020 (Monday) - Early Shift
I slept like a log right up to the point where I woke far too early. I came downstairs and chivvied Sid into the garden to do what Sid does in the garden. He’s still rather hit-and-miss in that area and so we just walk him round until “things drop out”. He’s getting old, and this is how it is.. bless him.
Mind you he can get in the back door now. I’ve put a stone slab by the door – the extra inch is all he needs to be able to get in on his own.
I sorted myself a bowl of granola and watched more “Away”. Again the show was let down by complete ignorance on the part of the show’s technical advisors. Given that our heroes have drilled a hole in the side of their spaceship, it makes for dramatic viewing to have them fleeing along corridors and up ladders to get to safety before all the air goes. However, wouldn’t any such spaceship have pressure doors at very regular intervals so that any mishap (like drilling a hole in the wall) *wouldn’t* render half the ship uninhabitable?
I then had a little look at the internet – today’s nastiest squabble was on one of the Lego-related pages. Some people like to buy Lego as a financial investment and keep it sealed in boxes. Others like to play with the stuff. Why can’t one load of people just accept what the other lot does without having to take major offence that someone else does something differently?
I drove to work through a very foggy morning. The lorry which nearly drove me off the road today was one of a fork lift rental company. Fork lift rentals? I had no idea that was a thing.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were (again) spreading scare stories about coronageddon. I wonder if they have ever considered listening to what they are saying. On the one hand they were threatening the imminent economic collapse of the country as the UK's finances are supposedly going tits-up. On the other hand there were reports of many employers giving furlough money back to the government since they didn't need it as their businesses were doing OK.
Which is it? Business booming or business collapsing?
I stopped off on my way to work to hide a film pot under a rock. After the lock-down eased there was a flurry of new geocaches being hidden but that seems to have slowed somewhat, so here's another one to keep people rummaging under rocks. This is one with what I hope is a rather tricky puzzle to be solved before it can be found. Mind you I've done this sort of thing before and it didn't get many finds. I wonder if this one will. I expect there will be a little delay until the puzzle is solved, and then the (supposedly secret) location will slowly be shared as its GPS co-ordinates get swapped for the final locations of other caches that other hunters of Tupperware have found.
I drove on to work and did my thing. Today’s thing involved external quality assurance on Rh phenotyping which is nowhere near as exciting as it sounds. As I phenotyped there was a lot of consternation being expressed at work about the local schools today. Many of the nurseries are only allowing children to be dropped off and collected by parents. Previous arrangements whereby aunts, uncles, grandparents and carers are no longer allowed to go near the nursey for fear of COVID-19. And "COVID-19" has been given as the reason why several local schools have announced that they are now closing at mid day every Wednesday and having the afternoon off.
And talking of afternoons off, bearing in mind the weather was good and no one else at all was off, I took the afternoon off. I got a quick bit of shopping, took the dogs round the woods, and spent three hours pootling in the garden. Pulling weeds, trimming lawn edges, moving rocks and shingle about…
I gave up pootling when it hurt too much to continue, went upstairs to get changed, and "er indoors TM" woke me an hour and a half later…
22 September 2020 (Tuesday) - Another Early Shift
I really shouldn’t have done all that gardening yesterday; getting out of my pit this morning took some doing. I came downstairs and put away the washing up. The dishwasher died last night; the “on” switch has had it. (well, actually "er indoors TM" stoved it in, not that I’m assigning blame.) I’m wondering of the cost of parts and labour to get it fixed will be more than the cost of a whole new dishy. I’ve asked the Facebook group “Extreme Dishwasher Loading” for advice, but my hopes aren’t high.
I scoffed a bowl of granola whilst I watched more “Away” which was entertaining enough all the time I didn’t think about what was going on. I suppose the show was made for mass interest as opposed to those who’ve got the first idea about how science actually works.
I drove over to Singleton where I deployed another Munzee. Back in January I had this idea that I would get the Munz-badge for capping and deploying a Munzee every day for a year. This is now becoming rather tedious.
I drove up the motorway with no one trying to drive me off of it (for a change). As I drove the Minister for Talking Out Of His Arse was on the radio pontificating on what a load of rubbish science is. Back in April we all listened to the scientists. We all self-isolated (as far as we could) and we had a lock-down, and the incidence of COVID-19 dropped right off. But now we've stopped this silly lock-down the virus is coming back. So if it is coming back... what was the point of the lock-down earlier in the year he asked? Mind you this chap acknowledged that it is easy to criticise, not so easy to come up with practical ideas, and he had a practical idea. He felt we should get the armed forces involved. He admitted they weren't expert virologists, but the Army is good at dealing with crises, he said. Perhaps the soldiers will shoot the virus?
(People voted for this idiot, you know but he made for entertaining listening)
There was also a lot of talk about how much people pay for insurance. Yesterday I was talking about this very thing. A friend of mine pays twice what I pay for car insurance. I get fully comprehensive insurance with breakdown cover and windscreen fixing. For double the price she gets third-party-fire-and-theft on a car which is four years older than mine. Yesterday I suggested she looked at getting a different insurer. This morning the pundits on the radio announced that insurance companies aren't going to be allowed to rip people off any more, but were rather vague on the specifics
I got to work and had a busy day. But an early start made for an early finish. I came home, loaded the dogs into the car and drove down to the woods. We had a good walk; we didn’t meet anyone else at all. The dogs had a good run and a good sniff. They chased squirrels, and we explored a new path which adds five minutes to our route.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a particularly good bit of dinner which we washed down with black lager and porter whilst watching the new series of “Bake Off”. I wondered how Matt Lucas would fare in the show; so far he’s doing OK…
23 September 2020 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift
Apparently Sid has taken to barking in the night whenever he wants to go outside “to do what dogs do”. Apparently he does it at least twice a night. I sleep right through it.
I had a look at Facebook as I had brekkie. There had been a squabble on the local geocaching page yesterday evening. I say “squabble”, “outright personal attack” was closer to the truth. This happens quite a bit on Facebook, but the local group isn’t like most geocaching Facebook pages on which people pick fights with random strangers safe in the knowledge that they will in all likelihood never have to face the person to whom they are being hateful. The local group is mostly filled with people who all know each other and are good friends. The chap from a hundred miles away who tried to kick off has been kicked out.
If only the admin of other Facebook groups acted so decisively.
As I shared toast crusts with dogs so "er indoors TM" fixed the dishwasher, and gave me a lecture on being gentle with the “on” button. I found that rather ironic bearing in mind who had stoved it in, but I didn’t dare say anything.
I got the leads on to the dogs and we drove out to the back of beyond. One of my geocaches which I had hidden out in the sticks had reports that it had gone missing. We drove for half an hour, parked up and walked three quarters of a mile to find that the thing had indeed gone missing. I replaced it, and we walked back to the car. Much as I grumble about having to do the geo-maintenance that I agreed to do, it can make for a good dog walk. The issue I have with it is that my work schedule doesn’t always allow me a couple of hours (in daylight) to do it. I will have two weeks when I have plenty of time (like now), and I will have three weeks when I do not. And then those who advocate not lifting a finger to help anyone get all impatient that the caches are missing. If only those passing by could have popped out a film pot then they could have done in two minutes that which took me two hours this morning.
But we had a good walk. We met no other dogs, we came back when called (mostly), we didn’t have the chicken that nearly came too close.
Once home I popped to the corner shop for a sandwich for the night shift and come pastries to scoff with a cuppa. As I scoffed pastry (with a cuppa) I wrote up CPD, then did a few geo-jigsaws. I could have carried on in the garden, but I ached somewhat.
I went to bed for the afternoon where I slept for three hours, then carried on geo-jigsaw-ing. Hopefully "er indoors TM" will boil up dinner soon. I’ve got a couple of geocaches to replace, then I’m off to the night shift.
I shall leave her to deal with the dishwasher…
24 September 2020 (Thursday) - Bit Tired
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Minister for Health and were giving him a hard time about the end of the furlough scheme. Just as the government has again announced everyone should be working from home so their furlough scheme is coming to an end. I rather thought they should have wheeled on a minister with responsibilities for that scheme rather than inviting the Minister for Health on to talk about something else and then quizzing him on something for which he wasn’t prepared.
Mind you they did let him talk about the government’s new Track and Trace app. He jabbered on about it and suggested that everyone should download it. If nothing else it will save a whole load of farting about whenever a public venue wants you to give them your contact information.
This was followed by five minutes peak-time air time which was completely wasted. On Monday Esther Rantzen had been on the radio talking about the value of speaking to people on the phone during lock-down (as opposed to sending text messages). To illustrate this, Radio Four broadcast a telephone conversation between two Scottish vicars. Listening to two people wittering about their superstitions (in barely comprehensible accents) was a shameful waste of the money that I pay for the BBC.
I parked up, got all my shopping and went in. "er indoors TM" wasn’t impressed that I’d got more toilet roll. Did we need it? Well, quite frankly we did. We were getting low. But with another panic-buying-of-bogroll season approaching, buying the stuff is seen as very bad form (whether the buyer needs it or not).
I had planned to take the dogs out, but the rain which had been waiting for me when I walked out of work in Maidstone had moved to Ashford, so I went to bed where I slept until the early afternoon.
Once awake I made toast, and downloaded the government’s new Track and Trace app. There are those who will bang on about invasions of privacy, but anyone reading this will know I don’t keep very much secret. And for anyone who is concerned about their privacy, have a look at your timeline in Google Maps.
Seeing the weather looked a bit brighter than it had earlier I took the dogs down to the woods where we waked for a couple of miles without meeting any other dogs. We met some of the normal people though. The first set were odd – who goes for a walk in the woods (after heavy rain) wearing your Sunday best, and then acts surprised when dogs jump up at you to say hello? And we met a little group on bicycles. The chap was older than me and was obviously pretending to be about forty years younger, and the two girls looked as though they should still be at school and would have been dressed more demurely had they been stark naked.
We got home just as the rain started. I geo-jigsaw-ed for a bit, then looked at the monthly accounts. For all that I would like a *lot* more money, I could be a whole lot worse off than I am.
I wonder what’s for dinner… I’ve got a bottle of “Laughing Llama” to have with it…
25 September 2020 (Friday) - A Birthday
I slept like a log. A night shift, a bottle of “Laughing Llama” (very nice!) and half a bottle of amaretto yesterday did help. Over brekkie I looked at Facebook; for once there wasn’t a lot going on. I sent out a birthday message to "My Boy TM". I also saw that someone had solved the geo-puzzle I set. Having been live for two days, only one person has got the thumbs-up from the geo-checker, and no one had been out to find it yet.
We had planned to take the dogs out this morning, but it was raining too hard. For all that the dogs wanted to go out the front door they were all refusing to go out the back. So we settled them and went on a little mission.
Firstly up the motorway to Sheerness and Whelans. We got another humungous pot for one of the shrubs. We another humungous pot, a smaller pot and a “rabbit tableau” with which I shall make a water feature. And we got an assortment of garden ornaments just because we could.
From there we went to Pizza Hut where we met "My Boy TM" and Cheryl. We are far too much of a a really good dinner and it was good to catch up. Especially as today is "My Boy TM"’s birthday. But Pizza Hut itself…
Have you been there recently?
As we arrived we were told that they are very COVID-19 aware and so they are operating this scheme where you use your phone to order your food and pay for it, and they then deliver it to your table. Like most of today’s technology it is a brilliant idea in theory, but in practice fails to live up to what was promised. But after twenty minutes we finally managed to get the starter brought out.
The chap serving us was quite a laugh – every time he spoke he took his face covering off so we could hear him better. And the nice lady bringing the pizza to the table apologised that she was only allowed to slice the thin crust pizzas. We had to slice up the ones with the thick crusts ourselves so as “to reduce cross-contamination”.
As I said at the time there is no point in looking for any sense or reason in any of the COVID-19 (so-called) precautions. You just need to take the line of least resistance and go with the flow.
We came home and emptied the car of all that we’d bought from Whelan’s. It took some unloading. And seeing how the rain had stopped we took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods for a rather good walk. The dogs ran free and had a whale of a time. No squirrels or rabbits were bothered at all; the dogs were quite content chasing shadows.
With walk walked we had a cuppa then went up to Lidl for a spot of shopping. It was dull..
"er indoors TM" is boiling up some dinner… I hope.
Oh – and today is Treacle and Pogo’s birthday too…
26 September 2020 (Saturday) - Early Shift
I got fed up with laying in bed wide awake watching the clock so I got up, sorted myself a bowl of granola, and as I scoffed it I watched the last episode of "Away" in which our heroes made it to Mars, but as the show had gone on it posed all sorts of questions that remained unanswered. I suppose now that the series has finished, who cares? I wonder what I can watch next?
As I watched I found myself struggling to hear the telly over the sound of Sid's snoring. Foe a small dog he snores quite impressively.
I had a quick look at the Internet and was amazed to see that some ardent feminist was kicking off on a Lego-related Facebook page. She had the right arse about rampant sexist myths and attitudes being propagated by Lego minifigures. Apparently human women are capable of mowing lawns, and human men are capable of sewing even if Lego minifigures of those genders aren’t. Not many people cared, but those that did had blown the matter out of all proportion.
I set off up the motorway on a very cold morning. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the death of Metropolitan Police Sergeant Matiu Ratana who had been shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre by someone who (so it is now claimed) had both hands handcuffed behind his back at the time of the shooting.
I can't help but wonder how the criminals have got a gun in a custody centre, but what do I know?
With a few minutes spare I popped in to the petrol station. I got petrol, and as I walked out of the kiosk (after paying) I saw some rather nervous-looking chap mincing toward the kiosk. Wearing a rather thick face mask and rubber gloves he made a point of giving me a wide berth. I sort-of went the wrong way to move round him. He didn't actually run but he certainly backed off with some alacrity. I think that had I chased him he would have run down the road screaming.
Some people do take this social distancing to extremes.
I got to work and did my bit. And with my bit done I popped to Aylesford Aquatics where I got some filter pads for the pond filter and a hose for my planned water feature. I then drove straight past Stonecraft Paving Centre completely forgetting I wanted some large stones from there.
I collected "er indoors TM" and the hounds and we drove down to Orlestone Woods where we had another good walk. Two miles along which the dogs could run to their hearts’ content and not have to worry about upsetting any of the normal people.
Once home I spent a little while bleeding some of the radiators. Quite often there are contents on Facebook in which people compete to be the last to turn their heating on. I’m having none of that – if I’m cold, on it goes.
I’ve programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow, and "er indoors TM" is boiling up dinner… it smells rather good… I hope it is. It might chirp up what was a rather dull day.
27 September 2020 (Sunday) - Linton
Just as I’d made my toast and poured out my coffee so Fudge appeared and asked to go out. My toast and coffee then got cold as he played his favourite game of “silly beggars” as he marched round the garden checking to see if it was all as he’d left it yesterday.
As I ate cold toast and drank cold coffee I peered into the Internet. There was a rather tedious squabble kicking off on geocaching dot com about the official sizes of geocaches. What is “small”, what is “micro”? Does it matter, and who cares? It would seem that it does matter… Had I discovered the Facebook “Geocaching UK” page before I had discovered the Kent geocaching community I would long since have given up the hobby. It is supposed to be a bit of fun.
I also saw a friend had been to an event at Leeds Castle yesterday which was specifically for NHS staff. I knew nothing about this. One lives and learns. I wouldn’t have gone, but it would have been nice to have known about it.
We got ourselves organised for the day, we had our bags packed and the leads on to the dogs who were coming with us. The planned walk was far too much for Sid so he was staying behind. We were just about to settle him down when he sharted. It has to be said that Sid doesn’t muck about in the toilet department, and when he sharts, he sharts to the limit and beyond. So we spent ten minutes clearing up dog diarrhoea. With dog dung cleared up we then found some more… We weren’t *that* late getting out, but it would be today that the road was closed at Leeds Castle.
We eventually got to the car park at Linton Church where we met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we set off on a little walk. During the week a new series of geocaches had gone live in the area, and we thought that they might make for a good walk.
Have you ever walked round Linton? Admittedly it is rather hilly, but it is beautiful. Our route took us along rather quiet country lanes and along footpaths through very pretty countryside with amazing views. A lot of the route went through orchards, and the dogs could run off of the leads for much of the walk. There’s no denying the weather could have been better; it was spitting with rain as we started, but the rain soon cleared up.
About half way round we spotted a couple of people walking behind us who looked as though they’d stopped at the previous geocache. And then my phone rang. It was the people behind us – it was Aleta. We stopped and waited for her to catch up, and we walked the last part of the walk as a (socially-distanced) group.
The wind was quite strong, but we found a sheltered spot in the woods where we had our picnic. The dogs had rice with broccoli and carrots and stilton (in honour of two-thirds of them having had a birthday on Friday), the ladies had flavoured cider, and I had a bottle of Gadds’ No5 and a bottle of Badger’s Golden Champion.
Geocache-wise this was an excellent walk. Straight-forward hides on an easy-to-follow route. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who fancies finding out what it is that I do with the dogs most weekends.
I took one or two photos as we walked too…
I dozed much of the way home. I wasn’t at all sleepy a week ago having walked sixteen miles; today I was all-in after five miles. What was that all about?
We came home, and immediately bundled all the dogs into the garden so that we could clean up what I can only describe as diarrhoea central. Sid had been confined to the non-carpeted bits of the house while we had been out, but still had made quite a mess of his blankets. He seems to have very little control of his rear end these days, and he is a delicate little blossom. The other dogs can eat pretty much anything and just fart a lot, but Sid’s constitution isn’t quite as robust.
I watched three episodes of Bob Ross’s “The Joy of Painting” whilst "er indoors TM" boiled up dinner, then we scoffed a very good dinner washed down with a good bottle of plonk. As we scoffed we watched two episodes of “Richard Osman’s House of Games”. Have you noticed how all the celebrity contestants clap themselves in these TV quiz shows? I wish they wouldn’t…
28 September 2020 (Monday) - Early Shift
A rather restless night; between dogs whinging and "er indoors TM" snoring I didn’t sleep much. But on the plus side Sid hadn’t crapped all over the kitchen floor, so I’m taking that as something of a minor victory.
As I scoffed a bowl of mixed berry muesli (it wasn’t all that good) I watched the first episode of “The Duchess”, a thirty-something show with a difference. The difference being it is pretty much the same as all the other thirty-something shows. But it passed half an hour.
I then peered into the Internet. I saw an advert on Facebook that made me snigger. Apparently my strange dreams might actually be messages from God, and I was invited to a five-day course to interpret what Big G wanted from me.
It always strikes me that the Almighty has something of a problem with communication. If he wanted anything from me he could shout instructions from on-high, couldn’t he?. I would have thought that sending me screwed-up dreams and then having to get some Internet crackpot to explain them wasn’t the most efficient way to communicate, but what do I know?
Pausing only briefly for Munzical reasons I was soon driving up the motorway listening to the drivel spouted by the pundits on the motorway. Finally Donald Trump's tax history has come to light. Apparently he's paid next to no tax whatsoever over the last fifteen years, but the American electorate see this as something to aspire to. There was also a lot made of the fact that his opponent in the upcoming presidential election is well into his eighties, seems to forget what he's talking about mid-sentence and probably won't live out a term in office. Perhaps the orange idiot will stay in the White House for another five years. That would be a shame purely because of the attraction he is for those whose job it is to keep the world appraised of current affairs. As I've said before, Donald Trump is very much like Zaphod Beeblebrox in that he doesn't so much wield power as draw attention away from those who do.
There was also a lot of talk about Michael Gove (Secretary for State for who-knows-what) who is off to Europe to negotiate the post-Brexit deal. Apparently there is still a lot to sort out. Bearing in mind that Boris Johnson won a landslide victory at the last election on the strength of already having a deal ready to go, I have to wonder just what else the Prime Minister has lied about.
I stopped off on my way to work to check on that geocache I hid last week. Six days and still no one has found it....
I got to work and did that which I could not avoid. But an early start made for an early finish (which is why I like the early shifts). And this time I remembered to stop off at Stonecraft Paving Centre as I came home. I knew exactly what I wanted, and asked the nice man for some cobbles. He laughed, and told me that since lockdown there has been a national shortage of cobbles, shingles and all manner of loose aggregates. It has been some months since he has had anything larger than pea-sized to offer to his customers. I smiled sweetly and went to B&Q where they had every sort and every size of decorative stone known to science (and several others too).
I got what I needed, came home and took the dogs to Orlestone Woods where I saw another black squirrel. A passer-by told me there are white squirrels down there too.
A little later on our walk I saw a couple of old ladies. On seeing us they frantically started blowing on a rather crappy whistle. I wasn’t sure what they were doing, so I gave three blasts on my whistle and got my dogs on their leads just in case. One of the old ladies looked at her dog running amok and asked me how I did it. Apparently she saw me doing whistle training a week or so ago and was so impressed she got her own whistle. But her dogs just ignore it. When she blows it they carry on doing their own thing. No one had ever explained to her that the dog has to associate the sound of the whistle with getting a treat; that was a revelation to her. She went on to say that she’d lost a dog, described her missing dog and asked me to keep an eye out for it. Ten minutes (and several hundred yards) later I saw a “white barrel with a black head” sauntering down the path without a care in the world, quite happily doing his own thing.
It is rather refreshing to meet dogs that are worse behaved than mine.
With walk walked I painted up that part of the planned water feature that needed painting. "er indoors TM" boiled up a good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching quiz shows on telly. I’m getting quite into those… such a shame I fall asleep half-way through.
29 September 2020 (Tuesday) - Another Early Shift
"er indoors TM" woke me in the small hours when she and Treacle had something of a contretemps. I'm not sure what it was about, but I wish they wouldn't fall out in the middle of the night quite so often.
I nodded off, and slept through until the alarm went off. That rarely happens.
I came downstairs. When I come downstairs I do so in the dark and turn the light on when I get to the living room. Some people might say it was a sixth sense that prompted me to turn the light on before I got to the bottom of the stairs; I would say it was my sense of smell. I came downstairs to find a turd bonanza. Having been out in the small hours, EI thought Sid could be trusted out of the non-carpeted areas of the house. That was a mistake. There was a trail of twelve turds scattered from the front door, through the hallway, through the living room and the kitchen, culminating in a rather spectacular dump by the back door. Ranging in size from pea to (splattered) cricket ball, it all took some clearing up. And it was rather disconcerting to end up hoping that I'd got it all rather than being certain.
Over a bowl of disappointing muesli I watched another episode of "The Duchess" in which the main characters "did the dirty deed" whilst fully clothed. This seems to happen quite a lot on telly; I can't help but wonder if that is how "the dirty deed" is supposed to be done (it's been a while...)
Just as I was about to leave for work, Pogo appeared and wanted to "go" outside (as thankfully the majority of dogs in our house do). However he does have to "go outside" on the shingle. Another garden project will be fencing off the shingled areas. Dung is much easier harvested from a lawn than it is from stones.
Having had a (quite literally) crappy start to the day I set off to work through a rather wet and foggy morning. Pausing only briefly to stick a bar code to a lamp post and capture a Trojan unicorn (it’s a Munzee thing) I was soon driving up the motorway. The pundits on the motorway were talking about the state of professional football. Despite lockdown and no matches having live crowds watching, the top-notch players are still commanding ridiculous wages even though the smaller clubs are struggling. Apparently Macclesfield football club is being wound up over debts of half a million quid, whilst footballer Gareth Bale is being paid over half a million quid a week.
It was suggested that the clubs that can afford to pay players millions of pounds might subsidise the struggling clubs. Some of the clubs that can afford to pay players millions of pounds have made the observation that you don't see Amazon bailing out the corner shops. They might have a point - it's called "captialism" (or screw-you-mate-I'm-all-right), but that is a rant I've done to death.
There was then all sorts of drivel about the Brexit negotiations, but I laughed out loud when some COVID-denier came on the radio. Incensed about pubs having to close early he admitted that his views were in a minority. But he insisted that a fundamental principle of democracy was that society must respect the views of the minorities.
I wonder where he got that idea from?
I got to work; I did my bit. there was cake, so the day wasn't a bad one. Once home, with a little time on my hands I took the dogs to Orlestone Woods where things soon went pear-shaped. As we walked along a path we use several times every week Pogo and Treacle were chasing each other and ran past a couple of people who were walking along the path toward us. I’d seen them coming and had thought nothing of it until one started screaming and started kicking out at the dogs even though neither dog came within five yards of them. Needless to say Pogo started barking, and before I could get my whistle from my pocket the non-screaming one had yanked up a length of bramble and was trying to whip the dogs with it. I had the dogs with me within seconds, and made the observation that if either of them hurt my dogs then I would hurt them. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said this, but I’m a bit soppy where my dogs are concerned. The older of the two screeched that the younger was autistic, and so that (apparently) gives him carte blanche to kick out at anyone and anything he cares to kick out at (dogs are a favourite target of his). He then screeched that my dogs should be on leads (even though the autistic one would have kicked at a dog on a lead). He said he was going to report me for having dangerous dogs that had attacked him (even though it was him and his autistic associate that had done the attacking). And he finished off by threatening me with physical violence. All of which was interspersed with the f-word between every other word.
I would have thought that picking a fight with someone twice your size who has three (supposedly) dangerous dogs wasn’t the cleverest thing to do, but what do I know?
The rest of the walk was rather dull after that.
Once home I posted to the local Facebook dog walking page to warn others about these two, then posted out some birthday wishes. I’d not had time this morning. As the evening wore on I received a message from a friend of the family of the people with whom I’d had the earlier altercation asking me to remove the photo I’d posted on the local Facebook dog walking page. Hopefully they’ve seen the error of their ways.
And then the admin of the local Facebook dog walking page posted saying that he himself was autistic and that I was supposed to allow an autistic person to hit my dogs. And one or two others agreed with him.
Funny old world… I thought I was providing a public service by warning the dog-walking community. Oh well… no good deed ever goes unpunished.
We had a rather good bit of dinner (washed down with a mediocre bottle of plonk) while watching today’s episode of “Bake Off”. Last week some American friends mentioned that Matt Lucas hadn’t gone down well with the American viewers. Last week I wrote “I wondered how Matt Lucas would fare in the show; so far he’s doing OK…” And he is doing OK… but only “OK”. He’s not brilliant…
30 September 2020 (Wednesday) - A Day's Leave
After the tirade of abuse I got on Facebook last night I was rather pleased to see that the thing was far more quiet this morning. Saying anything at all on any public group on social media is usually a mistake. A good example of this was on one of the Lego pages. As I scoffed toast I read a rather bitter exchange between two people. One had bought Lego by mail-order and the box had got a bit squished in transit. You wouldn’t believe the hatred and bile that was being spewed over the matter. But not spewed at the delivery service; spewed at the chap who’d dared to mention the matter.
Despite the altercation at the woods yesterday I took the dogs back there today. We had a far better walk this morning. I mentioned yesterday’s episode to a couple of other dog walkers I’ve come to recognise. They both immediately recognised my description of the pair I met yesterday and said they’d had issues with them too and recommended I should contact the dog warden at Ashford council.
Once home I went into the garden. With rain forecast I wanted to get the garden jobs done. Last week I’d bought the makings of a water feature and had taken today off work just to get the thing built. The electrics were in place from a previous water feature, and it took far less time than I had expected to wire the thing in. I’d been expecting that building the water feature would take all morning; it was done in less than an hour. So with time to spare I re-potted a shrub and painted a couple of garden ornaments.
I took a few photos as I pootled. The next garden project must be to sort the lawn out. It is *so* patchy.
With rain forecast I retreated to the sofa where I wasted half an hour trying to register an account with Ashford Council so that I could let the dog warden know about yesterday’s episode. In the end I gave up, and spent almost as long trying to deploy a Munzee somewhere in Canada.
With Munzee deployed I then had a look at my work pattern for the next few weeks. It never hurts to check that I think I that am working (and have taken as much leave) as the boss thinks I’ve done. I geo-jigsaw-ed for half an hour then got on with the ironing.
As I ironed I watched a DVD (now that "er indoors TM" has fixed the DVD player). “Power of the Daleks” was probably state-of-the-art sci-fi fifty years ago, but it has lost something over the intervening years. It has to be said that daleks are crap. They are totally oblivious to anyone hiding behind the sofa, and they have the mentality of a football hooligan; being only to ready to join in with whatever hateful chant is being shouted.
I then geo-jigsaw-ed some more until "er indoors TM" boiled up dinner.
Today was a day’s holiday – I’m worn out…