1 April 2022 (Friday) - Sulking
I’d forgotten just how much space Pogo takes up on the bed. After a rather fraught night I woke wondering if six inches of bed space was so much to ask for. I set yet another COVID test going… and it was positive. How appropriate for April Fool’s Day.
I then looked up the regulations for what I have to do… and found that the official government advice for whatever it is that I am supposed to do changed today so I read that and read the instructions issued by work, and booked a PCR test (because I could), and then carried on looking at the rest of the Internet (as I do).
The admins of the “Lego Instructions: Share or Sell” Facebook page had deleted the rather immoral event which someone had created for followers of that page (which was a result for decency everywhere). It was only a shame that I’d actually reported the blatant pornography two days ago and it had taken them that long to respond.
And then my piss boiled. Kent County Council are having a public consultation about whether or not they should enforce long-established traffic laws, rules and regulations. Seriously? If the law says you don’t drive in a bus lane, then you don’t drive in a bus lane. End of!! You don’t ask the masses if they mind if the law is enforced. And my piss absolutely vaporised when I filled in the “equality and diversity” questionnaire. How on Earth does the colour of my skin, my sexual preferences, or whether I see myself as male, female or hatstand have any bearing on my ability to follow the law of the land?
Despite the snow I took Pogo and Treacle out for a walk. We got to the park, but the rain and sleet made for a bitterly cold walk, and on finding pretty much all of our usual route blocked by the council’s gardening people we abandoned our walk and came home.
The dogs settled pretty much right away, and I set off to Tunbridge Wells for a PCR COVID test. As I drove the weather went from glorious sunshine to heavy snow and back (several times) via hail, sleet and torrential rain, and the temperature (as measured by my car’s thermometer) varied from two to eleven degrees depending on what the weather was doing.
I got to Tunbridge Wells where I swabbed myself (yuk!) and was back on my way home in less than ten minutes.
Being at something of a loose end I put “Four In A Bed” on telly and watched in absolute amazement as some woman was incredibly critical of everyone else’s cleanliness when she herself ran a camping site which seemingly hadn’t ever been cleaned. How can you lambast someone for their toilet being only marginally less than one hundred per cent perfection when you yourself only offer one bucket (between six people) to crap in?
I then read my Kindle for a bit… and got rather wrapped up the worlds of Arthur C Clarke. The hours literally flew past. Again forgetting diets, “er indoors TM” got fish and chips. Very nice.
She’s now packing for holiday. Having spent some time looking for loopholes in the rules, there aren’t any. The rules say she can go away on holiday and I can’t.
I shall sulk for a bit…
2 April 2022 (Saturday) - Still Sulking
It was ironic that I should wake this morning feeling the best I’ve felt all week, wasn’t it? But such is life.
“er indoors TM” and the dogs set off on their adventure leaving me home alone and sulking, so I made toast, sent out some birthday wishes, and had a look at the Internet.
Over the last few days I have been rather critical of the weather forecast… perhaps unfairly as I’ve only ever looked at what the BBC’s forecast has to say. This morning I looked at both the BBC and the Met Office’s guesses; one felt the current temperature outside my house was just over freezing point; the other felt it was five degrees below. If they can’t agree on something they can actually measure, what hope for that at which they have to guess.
And it would seem that the general public’s love affair with the NHS has come to an end as public satisfaction with the NHS has sunk to its lowest level since 1997, with only a third of voters content with the way the health service is being run and is performing. Public opinion is such a fickle thing, isn’t it? Only a year ago the masses were standing on the doorstep clapping like demented sealions for the NHS; now they think it is rubbish. I can remember saying that the novelty of loving the NHS would wear off, and that would seem to have happened.
Before getting on with the dull housework I was reading my Kindle whilst sat “on the throne” when my phone beeped with the news of the publication of a new geocache. I took one look at the puzzle and decided it was beyond me and not to bother chasing the First to Find.
But two minutes later I wondered how long it would be before another cache gets published locally, and told myself that I shouldn’t be so negative. In the cache description there was a hint, and that which had looked like gibberish suddenly made sense. I frantically got Googling the common denominator of Benny Hill, Lord of the Rings, The Simpsons and Narnia and it wasn’t long before I had some co-ordinates. Mind you I had a minor problem with the first digit of the eastings; my calculations had the final location of my target either in southern France or in hyperspace, but bearing in mind that I’ve actually got a degree in mathematics (I really have!), I checked my sums and realised I only had to drive two miles down the road to get to where the cache was.
Despite road closures I was soon at the obvious parking spot where there was another car parked with the engine running. Had I been beaten? I didn’t recognise the chap in the car. Was he just the chauffer for some other hunters of Tupperware? I looked across to the obvious target as described in the hint and couldn’t see anyone. I wandered over and after a short search I uncovered what I was looking for… and at that very moment I remembered I was supposed to be ill.. I held my breath and held everything at arm’s length as I did the secret geo-rituals. And I was the first one to find it as well. Result !!! This was only my second FTF in over a year. Back in the day I tried to get one a month.
I walked back to my car, and as I got in it, so the chap in the other car drove away. I wonder what he’d been up to? I suspect he wondered what I’d been up to as well.
I came home and scraped the mud off of my boots. I had planned to mow the lawn but it hadn’t grown much at all since I last scalped it. Instead I put a load of washing in to scrub (even though the washing basket was empty yesterday!) and ran round with the Hoover.
I then started planning a Munzee mission for tomorrow. Tomorrow is the start of the Clan War and I can Munz in splendid isolation from inside the car. I sparked up my Munzee app to see that Munzee HQ had given me a present of fifty Zeds. Zeds are a crypto-currency used in the Munzee game. One Zed is worth about half a pence, so whilst fifty of the things isn’t going to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams, it is better than a kick in the goolies.
I then made a cuppa and found that the chocolate digestive biccies had gone off. You wouldn’t think a chocolate digestive biccie could go off, would you? They were foul! I had a little look at the sell-by date and read the packet and realised the biccies hadn’t gone off at all. They were mince pie flavour. Have you ever had a mince pie flavoured chocolate digestive biccie? They are a bit grim.
I then alternated the rest of the day between reading my Kindle, watching “Trailer Park Boys” and playing “Worms” pausing only briefly to send out for dinner. My “Just Eat” app called up a kebab and some chips from… I won’t say where, but I will say it was double the price of the kebabery up the road, and it fuelled the guts ache the mince pie flavoured chocolate digestive biccies had started.
“er indoors TM” then video-called from Norfolk, and I spent a few minutes talking with everyone… and sulking about testing positive for COVID. I must admit that I feel as though I’m testing positive for COVID as opposed to actually having the thing, and I think it fair to say that compared to thousands I seem to have got off very lightly. However that doesn’t stop me wishing I tested negative.
3 April 2022 (Sunday) - Surprisingly Busy
I woke to a bright morning which was either four degrees below freezing or two above, depending on which weather forecast you chose.
With toast and coffee at my side I had a look at the Internet in the forlorn hope that something radical or revolutionary had happened overnight. I do this every morning, and (as usual) I was again disappointed. There was a minor row kicking off on one of the local Facebook pages caused by someone wanting to apply for a council grant toward their gas and electricity bill. The row was between those who feel that their every expenditure should be funded by some grant or benefit, and those who resent that they personally are being expected to fund everyone else’s reluctance to pay their way in life. As always the truth of the matter was somewhere between the two viewpoints but the squabble looked set to run and run.
I had a look at my emails; I had a notification of a new virtual geocache. They are rather rare and being first to find one of those takes some doing. I saw it was south-east of me… there’s not that many hunters of Tupperware to the south-east. And then I read the description properly. It was south east of me… in France.
There were (surprisingly) also two new geocaches relatively locally. One in Charing and one in Dover. But having been first yesterday, that’s me done for the month.
Seeing the washing I did last night was dry I got dressed (bypassing the ironing board) and went out for a little adventure, hermetically sealed from the masses inside my car.
The first thing I did was to unseal myself. I needed to scan some physical Munzees to get a Qrate or two (as you do), so I went to an industrial estate on the outskirts of town where I could be confident on not meeting anyone. I struggled with those Munzees… The trouble is that in order to capture a physical Munzee you have to find the 2-D barcode sticker. Your phone will take you to where the sticker is… or to be precise, to where the phone used to put out the Munzee thinks it was put out. And there’s the problem. When you activate your phone it can take a few seconds (sometimes up to a minute) for your phone’s GPS to sort itself out. Not everyone realises this. There are those who stick bar codes to lamp posts, pull their phones out, do the scan and move on all in less than five seconds. And when someone like me then comes along to find the bar code I am dependent on any hints or clues since the actual given GPS location can be up to fifty (or more) yards out.
I couldn’t find the first two I looked for, and then managed (with varying degrees of difficulty) to scan six Munzees in a deserted industrial estate (to get two Qrates) before sealing myself back into my car.
I then drove through town and through Wye remotely capturing (rather dull) Points of Interest. These are all virtual Munzees, and (like all virtual Munzees) can be Munz-ed remotely by just being in the general vicinity. From Wye I drove up to an open field in Chartham. Seeing no one was about I slipped out of the car and Munzed like a thing possessed capping weapons, mysteries and Flat Friends. As I Munz-ed I became conscious of one of the normal people watching me. This chap followed me across the field, across the level crossing (and back again), and as I went back to my car so he got into a car and drove round and round the car park making no secret of his watching me until I eventually drove off.
I drove up to another empty playing field near Canterbury for gaming Munzees, and from there up to Boughton. I needed to scan twenty Munzees which hadn’t been Munz-ed for over a year, and I needed to do it away from everyone else. According to the Munzee map there were a load along the footpaths bordering the golf course. I did what I wanted to do, both in terms of Munz-ing and in avoiding contact,
Have you ever been to Boughton golf course? Membership certainly ain’t cheap; six hours golf costs more than a year’s premium membership of geocaching or Munzee. Consequently you’d think they would attract a certain sort of client. I was frankly amazed to find they attracted the sort who swear very loudly and very frequently. As I walked around the paths I could hear pretty much every swear word known to science (except “fitbin”) being screamed from all directions.
Having achieved pretty much all the Munz-ing I wanted to do today I headed home. As I’d driven through Canterbury I’d seen queues at the petrol stations of people panic-buying petrol. There wasn’t any of that nonsense in Ashford so I panic-bought some from Sainsbury’s before it again became fashionable closer to home.
Once home I made lunch (toast) and had a look at the smart meter. The thing was laying an egg as we were suddenly massively over budget for use of gas and leccie. The nice people at the power company had told it that they’d increased their charges last week, but had left it to me to tell it that how much I was paying had changed as well (even though the nice people at the power company had changed that without asking me!). I had a little fiddle with the smart meter and had a look at my on-line account. Last Thursday the price of a unit of electricity was only fifty-seven per cent of what it is now. Similarly last Thursday a unit of gas cost me only forty-three per cent of what it costs me today.
Over an early tea I watched a film. “Brighton” was the story of two old couples coming on a day trip to Brighton to re-live and remember the visits of their youth. It could have been a good film *if* the film makers had done their homework.
I suppose for anyone who hasn’t lives on the East Sussex coast (i.e. pretty much everyone) these trivial details would go completely unnoticed. But I noticed them…
And now it is beginning to get dark outside. I thought today was going to drag with me doing little but sulk about what I was missing. What with Munz-ing and sorting the power bill and telly today has been rather busy, which was probably for the best.
I shall play “Worms” for a bit, then see what’s happing on that telly…
4 April 2022 (Monday) - Surprisingly Dull
I was up rather early this morning. Having a rather hopeful idea that I might get a negative rona test I thought I might load up the car, do a quick tip run just as the tip opened, and be on holiday by mid-day. However things didn’t turn out that way.
Seeing myself still diseased I made toast and watched the last episode of “Trailer Park Boys” then loaded up some rubbish for the tip. I drove the long way there via a rather circuitous route along which I Munz-ed fourteen rather dull Points Of Interest.
As I drove I listened to the radio as I do. There was a lot of talk about the ongoing situation in Ukraine. The general consensus of opinion is that the Russians have bitten off far more than they can chew, and the Russian leaders are being accused of war crimes. In the same breath it was made pretty clear that no convictions would likely be made.
There was a lot of talk about climate change. Everyone that the pundits on the radio wheeled on talked about the COP26 conference as though the Ukrainian situation hadn’t left it dead in the water and said that more still had to be done. There was a lot of talk about changing every aspect of our lives and of carbon capture technology.
I got to the tip and as I queued I deployed some jewels as I forgot to do that on yesterday’s Munzee adventure. It wasn’t long before the gate opened, and as I suspected I was pretty much the only person there. I unloaded my rubbish and was away in seconds.
Once home I had a little look-see on-line at the carbon capture technology that the pundits on the radio had been talking about. One of the companies mentioned caught my eye. This Swiss firm uses science to capture carbon dioxide from the air and to turn it into carbonaceous minerals which can stay locked up in rocks. I was impressed. The only problem is there isn’t much profit to be made form this, so I’ve signed up to give them a regular bung to pay for the removal of fifteen kilograms of carbon dioxide each month. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.
I then had my usual look at the Internet. It was still there; much the same as ever.
Finding myself rather bored I did a little bit of ironing then played “Star Trek: Elite Force II” for a while until I got hungry. Over a sandwich I watched a film. “Adventures of a Taxi Driver” was best described as being “on the crap side”. The standing joke of the film was a stripper’s pet python called Monty. Monty would be an apt name for a python, but this one was actually a boa constrictor.
During the afternoon everyone else with whom I was supposed to be on holiday had a rather good walk. I am reliably informed that a fit of bravado the dogs chased a deer.
I spent the afternoon immersed in “Star Trek: Elite Force II”. Whilst it certainly wasn’t what I originally had planned for the afternoon, it certainly passed the time.
I had some toast for dinner then started watching episodes of “Orange Is The New Black”. I originally watched all the episodes four years ago, and realistically needing something to fill quite a few hours this week, it seemed to fit the bill.
Today wasn’t what I’d hoped for. It was dull…
5 April 2022 (Tuesday) - Painting Gnomes, Munzee Gardening
I slept rather well, but woke feeling as thought I had a cold. Which (I suppose) isn’t that far from the truth. I made some toast and had a little look at the Internet as I do most morning. A friend was ranting about the closure of some bus services near where he lived… Like most people he seemed to have overlooked the sad fact that buses aren’t public services any more. They all got sold off and nowadays are run by companies looking to make a profit. (Little bit of politics – we get what we vote for…)
Much the same happened locally. People were up in arms on Facebook about some particular bus services going… and then one of the bus drivers (someone on my list of Facebook friends!) piped up that he drove for one of the lines under threat and more often than not he was driving an empty bus. After a massive public outcry the bus route was saved (the G-line) but still very few people use it.
I also saw that there was a new Munzee garden being created just down the road. A Munzee garden is a load of virtual Munzees deployed on the map in such a way to make a pretty picture. They do make a pretty picture *if* they are put out in the right place. However if they are put out on top of a whole load of pre-existing stuff it just looks a mess.
I then spent a little while (two hours!) looking to design a Munzee garden of my own. I eventually got to grips with the software, but eventually didn’t so much “give up” as “put on hold” since although I’d got a suitable location, I didn’t know what picture I wanted to draw.
I went outside, fetched in some (three) garden gnomes and the paints, and spent an hour or so touching them up. The paint has peeled a bit in the two years since I last painted them (in August 2020). As I painted I watched more episodes of “Orange Is The New Black”. I’d forgotten just how graphic that show can be.
Feeling a tad peckish I use the “Just Eat” app to order up some McLunch. It was surprisingly easy and using the app I got to track my dinner as it crossed the town and came through the gate supposedly only to be used for buses, taxis and the emergency services.
Flushed with success I then tried to organise a delivery of odds and ends of shopping that I need. Tesco couldn’t do any home deliveries at all for a week. Sainsburys could deliver tomorrow morning… but wanted seven quid for doing so.
I shall just make do with what I can forage from the cupboards.
I painted four more gnomes, played a little more “Star Trek: Elite Force II”, then had anther look at the Munzee garden creator. As a first attempt I thought I might go for something geometrical rather than artistic, and actually managed to complete the project in a fraction of the time I’d wasted this morning. Having decided what I actually wanted to do, I got it all done in about forty minutes, and now it is down to fellow Munz-ers to join in. Effectively what happens is that rather than sticking a bar code on a dog poo bin, people go to an excel spreadsheet in my Google drive. This gives the latitude and longitude of the point where I would like people to deploy a Munzee, and also what sort I’d like deployed. I’ve stuck a piccie of what it should look like when it is finished above.
Within half an hour of my setting the thing live, half a dozen people had contributed to it, so as a “proof of concept” the thing isn’t the abject failure I thought it might have been.
I thought today would drag; it didn’t… Still wish I was away on holiday though. Mind you I got a message from the bosses saying that they’ve cancelled this week’s leave and put me down as being off sick. A minor victory, I suppose.
6 April 2022 (Wednesday) - Feeling a Tad Grim
I slept like a log. I’ve noticed that over the last few days I’ve slept well and woken in exactly the same position as that in which I went to sleep. I don’t seem to move during the night any more. Is this a “rona thing” or a “not being trampled by dogs” thing?
I started on the daily COVID testing… The boss tells me that I now have to do lateral flow tests every day. Do I? I didn’t argue; I just did as I was told. The test was still positive… as I expected.
I made toast and peered into the internet and sulked as I looked at an album of photos from Norfolk. “er indoors TM” and the dogs and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
And then my piss boiled. The BBC have apparently decided to cut some of their management and administrative roles, and someone called June Sarpong was getting the heave-ho. Apparently Ms Sarpong has been getting over a quarter of a million quid a year as the BBC’s “director of creative diversity”. She was supposed to ensure audiences across the U.K. (from all backgrounds and communities) can feel that the BBC is for them. And she only worked a three-day week. Doesn’t this speak volumes about our society in that political correctness is valued *far* higher than hospitals and schools.
Bearing in mind the utter shambles that was Tesco and Sainsburys home deliveries yesterday I had a look at getting what I needed from the co-op via Deliveroo this morning. They offered free delivery on an order over ten quid and claimed it could be with me in half an hour. I pressed the buttons and while I waited I got on with my plan for the morning.
With rain forecast for mid-day I thought I might quickly mow the lawn before the rain, then afterwards I might pressure-wash the front garden. Despite having the word “wash” in it, this is a job which generates a lot of mess, and always looks better after the rain has washed away much of the muck. Ideally the rain which had been forecast for mid-day would wash away much of the muck. It was a good plan…
I thought that as I waited for the Deliveroo chap I might make a start getting the front garden swept and ready for the pressure washing. As I swept up I saw a bit of rubbish… it was nicer-next-door’s milk bill. nicer-next-door get their milk delivered to the doorstep from one of the local dairies. Their milk bill for March was sixty quid. Sixty quid(!) Part of my morning’s Deliveroo order was four pints of milk; that was one pound fifty and two of those four-pint bottles would last the two of us (if I wasn’t abandoned “home alone”) for a week. I think it fair to say that our monthly milk bill is under fifteen quid. Sixty quid – I’m all for supporting small businesses, but someone somewhere is having a laugh.
As I stared at the milk bill in amazement so I saw the Deliveroo chap walking up the street. He was amazingly quick; arriving only twenty-five minutes after I’d put in the order (suck on that Tesco and Sainsburys!). However he’d brought the rain with him.
I abandoned the plan to go out to the back garden and mow the lawn. Instead I got out the pressure washer and scrubbed the front garden. Scrubbing it in the rain meant that I didn’t have to deal with the half-wit who lives down the road who hates pressure washers and always comes and whinges and me about all the water it generates (that I sweep into the gutter).
With pressure washing pressure washed I spent the afternoon alternating between “Orange is the New Black” and “Star Trek: Elite Force II” until it was dinner time. I used my “Just Eat” app to send out for a Chinese takeaway that was something of a disappointment. Sadly Chinese takeaway is usually a disappointment. I get one, think “well… that was crap”, and after a couple of years forget that it was crap, order another and remind myself why it has been two years since I last got one.
I then spent much of the evening sulking with a stomach ache… as well as feeling rather under the weather with the rona.
7 April 2022 (Thursday) - Still Feeling Grim
I woke feeling like death warmed up. I wanted to lay in bed, but the backache was against it, so I got up, and the backache soon went. I made toast (with the bread that Deliveroo fetched yesterday) and peered into the Internet. As I scoffed I saw an advert from Wren medical asking for people who’ve had a positive rona test in the last week to contact them, and offering twenty-five quid to take part in their research. Something for nothing is always worth having so I left them a message.
There was a lot of consternation being expressed about the state of the county’s motorways on Facebook this morning. With a shortage of ferries and everyone wanting to go on holiday, the county’s motorways are gridlocked, and the A-roads are feeling the pinch too. “Operation Brock” would seem to have failed, and had I been up to driving I wouldn’t have got anywhere.
I had an email from Geocaching HQ. They’ve given me another series of Adventure Labs. I was rather cynical about the first set I got (which I didn’t really do very much with) but my second set (Lenham church) and my third set (a tour of Great Chart) have proved rather popular. I just need to find somewhere for this fourth set to go. I’ve got a couple of ideas…
The COVID app on my phone said I was allowed out of the house today but I wasn’t feeling on top form, and the state of the county’s roads put me off of going anywhere. So I spent the morning pootling in the garden. I got the lawn mowed and hacked back the roses, clematis and assorted plants pouring over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door’s garden. It has to be said that for all that he was “a colourful character”, he liked his garden, and in the years since he has seemingly disappeared their garden has somewhat gone to seed (both figuratively and literally). Seeing that not-so-nice-next-door‘s car wasn’t outside I took this as a sign that she was out, and took the opportunity to fix the fence that she won’t fix. I then pulled the weeds out of the shingle, and moved the stones about to cover the underlying membranes. I even got a bowl of soapy water and scrubbed the sails of the garden windmill. After two hours effort the garden looked much the same as it ever looks.
I felt quite worn out after that, so I had a
cuppa and watched another episode of “Orange is the New Black”.
Being allowed out of the house I went for a little walk. I munz-ed along the back streets up to the station, and back via the corner shop where I got some bleach. The bathroom plug hole isn’t draining as fast as it might, so I put a couple of pints of bleach down it, and let it soak whilst I had a sandwich and watched more lesbidaceous prison drama. It has to be said that “Orange is the New Black” is on the saucy side. Featuring Kate Mulgrew (out of “Star Trek”) as “the only one who doesn’t flop them out” it has the double bonus of both saucy young ladies in the nip *and* a plot. As far as TV dramas go, I must admit to being a fan of both.
After a little sleep (of over an hour) I gave up on “Star Trek: Elite Force II” as I’d got to a bit I just couldn’t get past despite using all the available cheat modes. So against my better judgement I got NeverWinter Nights running on the lap-top. I’ve wasted days in that game… I shall use some self-control this time.
For tea this evening I microwaved the rest of the Chinese I didn’t finish yesterday. It tasted far better a day old having been sitting in the microwave. How does that work?
I started today feeling like death warmed up; I rather chirped up as the day went on. Here’s hoping that’s a good sign…
8 April 2022 (Friday) - Back To NeverWinter
The noise of the bin men woke me this morning as it does most Fridays. I lay awake listening to them scraping the bins about the streets. Back in the day everyone had metal dustbins which the bin men collected and carried from your back door (and returned to your back door) with far less noise and fuss than the current lot make when wheeling the wheeled bins a fraction of the distance.
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” phoned. She was off to the hospital to have the baby induced. Ideally she would have got a lift, but with the county’s roads still in uproar she was looking to get the train there.
I set yet another COVID test going and left it to cook. The thing came up positive (as I expected) but nowhere near as thick and dark as line as I’ve been getting earlier in the week. Here’s hoping it continues to get fainter. Mind you I’ve still got this intermittent cough.
I went for a little walk to the pet shop to get puppy food, and to the corner shop to get a sandwich, munz-ing as I went. Pausing only briefly to periodically Whatsapp at “er indoors TM” and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and assorted colleagues from work I spent an hour or so in NeverWinter until lunch time when I scoffed a sandwich whilst watching an episode of “Orange is the New Black”, before going back to NeverWinter where I spent much of the afternoon battling with “weak zombies”, “diseased thugs” and “mysterious assailants”.
Tea time came… I was gripped with indecision. Did I wat a Just Eat set meal for one from the Indian down the road, or did I want peanut butter on toast. I went for the Just Eat set meal and regretted it. Over sixteen quid for something which didn’t come close to peanut butter on toast.
I’m going back into NeverWinter for an hour or so… the place is over-run with blood pirates. If I don’t clear them out, who will?
I’d forgotten jut how easy it is to lose hours in there.
So far “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” hasn’t produced…
9 April 2022 (Saturday) - Still Waiting
That curry I had last night gave me the worst guts ache and I was up most the night.... I would have been far better off having had peanut butter on toast. What sleep I did get was filled with rather vivid dreams about having a wake for a friend who died last July, and was broken with messages from “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” who intermittently Whatsapp-ed to tell me that there was no news on the baby front.
I managed to stay in bed until I got back ache, and then set another COVID test going. Still positive, but with the weakest line you ever did see.
I made toast, and had a look at the Internet. It was still there (as if it wouldn’t be). A friend was ranting about how much her leccie bill had gone up. Seemingly oblivious to current affairs she had no idea that the price hike was coming. I would say that it amazes me that people don’t keep abreast of the news, but the reason I listen to Radio Four is to force myself to keep up to date with what is happening in the world having found myself equally oblivious to current affairs in the past.
I sent out birthday wishes to three birthday boys. One I see periodically through hunting Tupperware, one who used to be quite active in kite flying, and someone who was my bestie back in the mid seventies when we were both inmates at the Hastings Academy for Budding Geniuses. I’ve not seen Dave in person since he gave me a lift home from Reading in the mid-nineties, but I love Facebook because through it I am still in touch with him.
Hearing that there was still no news on the baby front I got dressed, had a very quick tidy-up and sparked up NeverWinter Nights (because I could).
I’ve been reliably informed that NeverWinter Nights (and many old games from twenty years ago) simply don’t run at all on Windows 10. They do… *if* you are either a genius, or watch instructional videos on You-Tube. If you’ve got an old game you want to play I am reliably informed this works with a *lot* of games.
Firstly install the game in a folder on your computer but not in the program files.
Find the file which launches the program. It will be named “something-or-other .exe”. re-name it whatever you like but take off the .exe bit. And when you then click on it, it runs the game. Worked for me,
I spent quite a bit of time in NeverWinter today, periodically messaging with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” (who was in the local hospital) until “er indoors TM” came home with Pogo and Treacle. It was amazing just how quiet the house had been without them…
Despite having been induced twice, “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” still shows no inclination to squeeze the baby out. I hope she don’t’ shift it before mid-day tomorrow – I’ve got plans…
10 April 2022 (Sunday) - Additions To The Family
I woke to a text message. Waters had broken at four o’clock and (apparently) there was a lot of swearing going on at the hospital.
As I had a shave yet another COVID test incubated. This one was negative… that was nice. Having missed a holiday to which I had been looking forward for months, I am now fit to go back to work tomorrow.
I made toast and had my usual root around the internet. It would seem there are moves afoot to sort out the stupidity at the local tip. During lockdown the council brought in a scheme by which you could only turn up at the tip by appointment (booked some time in advance). The council then confirmed that the public liked this idea by holding a public consultation that they didn’t publicise…
The scheme doesn’t really work for me – I don’t really know when I’m going to have a load of rubbish for the tip, and when I do I have no idea if it is a couple of bin bags or a couple of car-fulls. It has been suggested that the appointment system be kept for the weekends, but be dropped during the weekdays. A sensible compromise… you can sign the petition by clicking here.
And the White Rock Theatre in Hastings has announced its pantomime for next Christmas. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, but… next Christmas? It’s only April.
I walked Pogo and Treacle round the block, and once home they were soon both settled. We were just about to set off when the phone rang. News from the hospital. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had been taking a while to produce, but the baby had arrived. Such a shame that the hospital has a “no visitors at all - grandparents can piss off” policy.
But unvisited granddaughters notwithstanding we had a plan for today. We set off up the motorway. All week long I’d been listening to the news saying about “Operation Brock” and how the motorway was closed. We were able to drive up the motorway London-bound (albeit at only fifty miles per hour). For the first ten miles there was nothing coming back the other way. Now that was not “not much traffic”. That was “absolutely nothing at all”. After ten miles we saw one lorry coming down the motorway. And then there was about one lorry every half-mile or so until we got out of the “Operation Brock” bit at the junction by Leeds Castle.
There had been absolutely nothing in the coast-bound carriageways, and absolutely no reason at all for them to be closed.
It wasn’t long before we were in Meopham where we collected the puppies. During the week I’d been having second thoughts. A year ago we had four dogs and (much as I loved them all) four dogs was too many. But I took one look at the puppies and realised we’d done the right thing. Both babies were quite happy to be picked up, and once Ellie-Dog-Lady had said goodbye we set off home-wards.
We had taken up a dog-carry-bag to transport them in, but we thought they might be frightened in it. So as “er indoors TM” drove I held them as they slept.
We broke up the journey by calling in to see Karl, Tracey and the girls. The puppies had a drink, we had a cuppa, and chief dog wrangler got to see that which she would be wrangling over the next few walks (and years).
We were almost home when little boy pup was nearly sick all over me.
Needing collars and tags we stopped off at Bybrook Barn. We’ve got collars and leads from them before and always found their stuff good and their staff helpful. As we tried on collars and were fussed by an adoring public so little girl pup tried to pick a fight with a rather huumgous Alsatian. She’ll fit in just fine with the other women of the family(!)
And so home for what could have been rather awkward… introducing the babies to Pogo and Treacle. I sat in the front garden with the babies, and “er indoors TM” fetched Pogo and Treacle out. The introduction went about as well as could be expected, and we all then walked through to the back garden where we spent an hour or so getting to know each other.
The little boy seemed quite amiable and friendly. The little girl seemed rather frightened of everyone and everything and feels she needs her brother to protect her. Pogo still looks at them with a “WTF” expression, and Treacle has (so far) mostly pretended to studiously ignored them.
I took quite a few photos of the puppies while we were in the garden… shame they weren’t good photos. Little girl did a tiddle in the garden, and three poops on the carpet when we came inside. Having set up a dog crate for the puppies, they set up their own little nest under the dog ladder (which is there for dogs to get to the sofa) and promptly went to sleep.
“er indoors TM” came up with a decent bit of dinner, and with it scoffed I sat in front of the telly. I had the small babies to my right, and (rather amazingly) Treacle came and sat on my left. She slept as the babies growled at the telly. The little girl seems to really dislike the telly.
She’ll have to get used to it…
11 April 2022 (Monday) - Small Dogs
I lay awake for much of the night listening for the sounds of crying puppies but heard nothing; they seemed to have had a good night. I suppose having got the pair of them as a “double act” each has a known quantity with them in a strange new world. They both seemed pleased to see me as I let them out of their crate, and then both tiddled all over the place. It was a shame that “er indoors TM” had hidden the newspapers and the puppy pads we’d got for this very reason. As I blotted the tiddle with toilet roll so Bailey (the lighter smaller little girl) snatched it from my hand and started shredding it.
I managed to shave with puppies running round my ankles… then realised it was quiet. The pair of them were eating one of the living room rugs.
I got a whiff of something unpleasant as I was pouring out my coffee. One of them had done a rather impressive turd. It must have been Morgan (the larger darker one) as the turd was as long as his sister.
Both were swarming at me as I sat down with my brekkie, so I lifted them onto the sofa where thankfully they both immediately fell asleep. They are quite the little whirlwinds.
I had a little look at Facebook as I do most mornings. The photos I’d posted of the puppies had got a lot of “likes”, as had the photos of new granddaughter that “er indoors TM” had posted last night. I didn’t think visitors were allowed on the post-natal ward but would seem that “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had told the nurses that her mother was coming in to see the baby, and that was the end of it.
I would like to have been allowed in, but I’m sure my time will come.
And I registered the negative COVID test that I somehow managed to get this morning in between the puppy mayhem. Having been positive all the time I could have gone away on holiday last week, now that I’d got two consecutive negative tests I could go back to work. That was nice.
I put the sleeping babies back in their crate and set off to work... as I got to my car I remembered that I had planned to use my new pump thingy to check the tyre pressures last week, and had forgotten all about it. I drove up the motorway at a steady fifty miles per hour once I'd got on to it. As is so often the case, junction nine London-bound had a stream of traffic nose-to-tail in the slow lane determined not to let anyone on to the motorway. I try to pull over as I approach motorway junctions to let people on; it seems I am in the minority.
And just like yesterday the coast-bound carriageway was closed to traffic for no sensible reason whatsoever, and the "Operation Brock" bit featured a dozen (certainly no more than twelve) slow-moving lorries spread out over the fifteen miles of the "Operation Brock" bit. No lorries were stacked at all. I could see no reason whatsoever for the coast-bound carriageway to be closed. There may well have been traffic mayhem in Dover, but that was over twenty miles away. The current reasons being given for "Operation Brock" being in place really seem to have been devised by someone who clearly has no idea what is actually happening across the county. Why close a motorway to use as a lorry park if you aren't going to park lorries on it?
As I drove the pundits on the radio seemed to be obsessed with the ongoing elections in France. I don't know why; from the turn-outs at elections it is clear that the average radio listener in the UK has very little interest in UK elections, let alone French ones.
I got to work and spent much of the day messaging with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, showing photos of granddaughter to those who liked babies, talking about puppies to those who liked dogs, and generally catching up on what I'd missed over the last two weeks whilst I'd been off. And there was posh biscuits at tea break too. Not a bad way to spend the day really. Five years ago I really hated going to work, and was constantly on my guard wondering what a bullying management would do next. It really is quite wonderful not feeling physically sick at the thought of going to work.
The journey home was far better than I thought it would be. The traffic kept moving down the A20 (albeit slowly at times) and I was only twenty minutes later home than usual.
I came home to an empty house; “er indoors TM” had taken all four dogs out. Pogo and Treacle on their leads, Morgan and Bailey in a carry-bag. I am reliably informed that this wasn’t her best idea.
We then had something of a “dog evening”. There’s still a lot of sorting of the pecking order going on with Treacle desperately trying to assert herself. Morgan seems to be every bit as greedy as Pogo. Bailey has learned to use the dog ladder to the sofa. And both babies are still in the very early days of potty training.
It’s all quite a big adventure…
12 April 2022 (Tuesday) - A Small Baby
I came downstairs as quietly as I could this morning. I got into the living room and instantly there was a very excited squeaking from both of them. We had five minutes of fuss and cuddles, then went into the garden. Both pups had a tiddle (which I saw as a major result), then we came in where I tried to have a shave. When they weren’t constantly squeaking for a fuss they were into mischief, with Morgan trying to make off with a bath towel before crapping on the living room carpet.
For many years breakfast has been a rather special time for me. A time of peace and tranquillity before the rigours of the day. I expect it will be again in a year or so. However right now breakfast is something akin to trying to eat toast in a maelstrom.
After half an hour’s mayhem both sat on the sofa with me and went to sleep. I didn’t turn the telly on this morning; Bailey doesn’t seem to understand what a telly is, and barks at it. For a tiny dog she is incredibly gobby.
I settled the babies back in their crate and got ready for work.
As I drove up the motorway I was strangely pleased to see queues of lorries parked up along the motorway. If it is being closed to be used as a lorry park, it should actually be used as a lorry park. A shame that no cars were coming down the contraflow bit though.
As I drove so a police car sped past with blue lights flashing, only to find itself stuck behind a white van the driver of which deliberately blocked the carriageway so the coppers couldn’t get past. After a couple of minutes the van got out of the way, but the driver was definitely making a point.
I got to work where I did my bit as best I could. Last week when I actually had COVID I felt a tad under the weather and had a bit of a cough. Today (when testing has proved I’m over it) I felt like death warmed up. I’ve heard that quite a few people have had this; the post infection lethargy is often worse than the disease itself.
As I walked out of work “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” phoned. Apparently she’s got herself moved into a side-room all of her own, and so is now allowed visitors. Did I want to come to see the littlun? And if I did, did I fancy bringing chocolate McMilkshake with me?
The roads home were busier than yesterday, but not as bad as they might have been. I got to the hospital easily enough, delivered McMilkshake, and spent half an hour fussing the littlun. Despite being tiny (less than four and a half pounds), she’s feeding well, and can be quite demanding when she’s not quite finished having a scoff.
I came home to dog mayhem; the puppies have learned to climb the stairs. Well, not the entire staircase but enough stairs that they can go up and get stuck. It can be all rather chaotic when the puppies are charging about, and as is the case with babies the world over, everyone sleeps when they sleep.
I’m worn out with it all.. I’m thinking about an early night and deliberately going to bed rather than waking up on the sofa with a neck ache in an hour’s time.
13 April 2022 (Wednesday) - So Tired
I woke feeling like death warmed up, but forced myself up. Again I had another morning of mayhem with the puppies. After a little “”hello session” which generated quite a few spots of tiddle we went out to do our tiddle properly. Or that was the plan. We just carried on having a fuss in the garden, then came in and had a tiddle and a poop where it was warmer.
As I shaved, both puppies chewed on the bathroom doorstop, and as I tried to make toast so we found the squeaky toys that Treacle had taken away from us last night. Treacle is quite funny – she has never let Pogo play with any of the dog toys, and now she can’t keep up with three dogs from which to take the dog toys. She doesn’t want the toys for herself; she just doesn’t want anyone else playing with them. The noise of the squeaking obviously woke Treacle who came downstairs, looked at the puppies with an expression of “oh no – it wasn’t just a bad dream” and then went back to bed in disgust.
After having been up for half an hour I sat down with the lap-top and spent ten minutes trying to stop the puppies from chewing it, and after forty minutes of being little whirlwinds the puppies both fell asleep.
As they so obviously dreamed so I peered into the Internet. Eventually. The Firefox browser wasn’t having it, and Chrome wasn’t overly keen on doing much either. Eventually I got into Facebook and saw the photo of me and the llittlun I’d posted last night had got responses from a hundred and fifty people. It was at this point that we heard “er indoors TM”, Pogo and Treacle getting up, and we had a little woofing fit about it. Bailey is quite a gobby little pup.
I set off to work rather later than usual. The roads weren't as busy as usual; I blame Easter. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about our (quite frankly) shamefully disgraceful excuse for a Prime Minister. He's been found guilty of breaches of lockdown regulations.
Having told the public he was having work-related meetings it turns out one of these so-called "work-related meetings" was on his birthday, and his wife turned up with birthday cake. Usually this would be a matter of the utmost indifference, but this was at a time when the country was in lockdown. No one was allowed to meet with anyone outside of their immediate family unless there was a clear and serious reason. People (like my mum) were dying alone without saying goodbye to family and friends... and this chap just showed his contempt for us mere mortals.
And the Chancellor of the Exchequer (who would be the obvious successor) has pissed on his chips by not only having been on the piss with the Prime Minister in breach of the lockdown rules, his own wife has been openly playing fast and loose with her tax returns.
Both have received fines. Both have paid them. And in doing so admitted guilt. They should both resign. After all, any registered medical professional who breaks the law faces investigation and usually finds themselves out because (to quote the oft-used phrase) "your fitness to practise is impaired". But yet again despite being openly caught out having lied to the public, our Prime Minister carries on as though nothing has happened.
It would seem that the office of Prime Minister is held to a far lower standard of conduct than I am.
Work was work. I had a little look at my annual leave. Having been told that last week was going down as sick leave I've effectively got an extra week's leave this year, which is something of a bonus (I'd rather have had the holiday away as planned last week though!)
So I spent a few minutes booking time off here and there bearing in mind that if I don't use the holiday, I may well lose it.
The journey home was rather awful this evening, and once I’d run the bigger dogs round the block “er indoors TM” set off on a mission to deliver nappies to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. Cam you believe that a maternity ward doesn’t supply nappies for new-borns?
Whilst she was out I settled down on the sofa with four dogs and slept. I’ve never been so tired as I felt this evening.
Over dinner we watched the first episode of the new series of “SAS: Who Dares Wins”. Following some scandal or other, ex-frontman Ant Middleton has been replaced by Rambo. The series isn’t what it used to be…
14 April 2022 (Thursday) - Before the Night Shift
I woke feeling rather like death warmed up, but with no need to be up early I let “er indoors TM” see to the puppies’ getting up ceremony. I came down five minutes later to be studiously ignored by Pogo and Treacle.
I made toast, and once my lap-top had finally woken up I sent out some birthday wishes. Seeing pretty much nothing else had happened on-line I helped to referee dog breakfast,
I then took Pogo and Treacle for a walk round the park. As we walked we carried our tennis balls and were as good as gold. Unlike some other dogs we met. As we walked so my phone beeped. Our Munzee Clan had got to Level One for this month. That was a result.
We came home, emptied the dishwasher, put a load of laundry in to scrub, then had the first lesson of “dog school”. Treacle has been getting rather shaky at “sit” so she and Pogo had something of a refresher. They were both very soon up to speed, but the puppies were a little too over-excited to do it properly (or at all).
After five minutes we called for a recess. I eventually got the babies into their carrier and we went to see the vet for a once-over and injections.
Morgan weighed in at three point eight kilogrammes, but wasn’t overly keen on his kennel cough drop up the nose, and he actually screamed when the injection needle went in. I’ve never seen a dog even notice the injection needle before.
Bailey was tiny at only one point eight kilogrammes, but was as good as gold for injections and drops up her nose. Mind you there were one or two issues. What we thought was a rather pronounced belly button was actually a hernia. The vet thinks it isn’t an immediate cause for concern, and will surgically repair it when they are both “done” in a few months’ time. But the vet did wonder if her bloated tummy was a sign of her having worms. She’s too small for the usual tablets so we’ve got some juice to squirt down her gullet over the next few days. That should be entertaining.
As we waited to go in and as I did the paperwork afterwards so we growled, grumbled and barked at all the other dogs in the waiting room.
We then came home, and had more “dog school” while we waited for the washing machine to finish. Pogo and Treacle seemed to be reasonable au-fait with “sit”, but the puppies still didn’t have a clue. Still… early days…
I pegged out washing for the first time this year, then messaged with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” about how she and the bub were doing. She’s been playing with the breast pump (Eeeewwww!!!). I then set up the puppies’ geocaching trackable tags so that we can log them in as we go hunting for Tupperware and keep track of how far they have travelled. According to dear little Fudge’s tag in nine years he travelled over twenty-six thousand miles. That’s more than going round the world.
I had so much planned to do for the morning, but time had run away from me. I had a quick shower, settled the dogs and went to bed. I slept for three hours despite Treacle and Pogo taking up a lot of the bed space.
After three hours I got up. We fetched in the washing, and then I refereed the dogs for a while. Treacle wasn’t happy with Morgan having a squeaky toy. Even though there is plenty to go round. And Morgan wasn’t happy with Bailey having a chew toy… even though there is plenty to go round.
“er indoors TM” will be home soon. She can help with the worming treatments, then I’m off to the night shift for a rest (or that is the plan!)
My brother just phoned – he’s got the rona…
15 April 2022 (Good Friday) - Puppies' First Adventure
Yesterday I rather tempted fate by writing about going to the night shift for a bit of a rest. It was one of the busiest I've had for a while. But as I found a few minutes to skive (just after four o'clock) I read something which made me think... Some clever people at the Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm have devised a mathematical model which predicts how people's opinions about moral matters such as corporal punishment of children, abortion-rights and how parental leave should be shared between parents, will change with time. So far their predictions have been right. What I find fascinating here is that what was science-fiction fifty years ago is science-fact today. This is *exactly* what Isaac Asimov wrote about. I wonder if the Second Foundation has already set up shop somewhere?
I did my bit overnight, and was so glad to see the early shift arrive. Early - late? Everything is relative when you've been up all night. I wandered off to find my car, and was rather miffed to see it was still having its little episode. Last night as I drove to work so the display between the tachometer and speedometer had frozen. It can be set to display a range of things; I like having it as a digital speedometer. Right now it just shows a schematic picture of a car. Apparently (according to the Internet) disconnecting the battery for half an hour will sort it out. To be honest I don't know where the battery is; let alone how to disconnect it.
I came home (down the newly opened motorway) and after a quick wash and brush up we set off out to meet Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. With good weather forecast for today we thought we might make the most of it for the puppies’ first big adventure.
We had a good walk following familiar paths. Treacle and Pogo played “fetch”; Morgan and Bailey really seemed to enjoy just being out. The plan had been to carry the babies round, but they got to walk for a while too. And seemed to enjoy it all. Morgan wasn’t overly enamoured with his collar but seemed to be quite content to walk on the lead.
After a couple of hours we were back to where we’d parked the cars… just over the road from a pub. And we then spent a couple of hours in a “dog socalisation” session in which we all sat in the beer garden eating and drinking whilst all four dogs (with varying degrees of success) ignored what was going on around them.
Not a bad way to spend a Bank Holiday at all.
I took quite a few photos whilst we were out.
I slept much of the way home, and once home “er indoors TM” went of on a little mission to deliver shopping to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. I sat on the sofa with the dogs and we all slept for an hour or so until the phone rang. It was “My Boy TM” who was rather keen to meet the pups. Half an hour later he and Cheryl were round and were both in love with the babies. We sat in the garden drinking beer until it got too cold.
Cheryl also brought round cheesecake. That was something of a result…
16 April 2022 (Saturday) - Busy Day
After nine hours asleep I woke feeling like death warmed up to find Pogo snoring at my feet. “er indoors TM” and Treacle had gone downstairs to play with the puppies. Treacle has gone from an utter disdain for the puppies to supervising them when she feels the need. This morning she was insistent that the puppies didn’t play with a particular cardboard box. The puppies had no interest in that box until Treacle had started to guard it. After a while we all lost interest in the box, and Treacle came and sat with me on the sofa regarding the puppies as God might judge a rather dubious creation. After a while Pogo came and joined us, and the sofa became something of a sanctuary from which the older ones could escape from the mayhem of the puppies.
I had a cuppa and peered into the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight. Someone was asking for details of holiday cottages on one of the local Facebook pages, and then having a little rant as every suggestion wasn’t on a regular major bus route that went from their house. But other than that, not a lot else was kicking off.
We settled the dogs and drove down to Folkestone Harbour where we met up with Jose and Maria at the Captain’s Table café for a spot of second brekkie. Jose had chips with his. Chips – with brekkie. That’s just wrong. But it was good to catch up. I’d not been to the Captain’s Table café before; it was rather good. But (like so many cafés) the place did echo. I could hardly hear what was being said.
We came home via The Range where I got a job lot of cobblestones.
“er indoors TM” dropped me at home (with the job lot of cobblestones) then went off to collect “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and her entourage from the hospital and take them all home. I got busy in the garden. One of our water features wasn’t so much a “water” feature as a “green slime” feature. I don’t really mind the dogs drinking from the water features all the time they are drinking clean water, but I draw the line at drinking green slime. So I mucked out the green slime, and I filled what used to be a water-filled moat with cobblestones, then poured in water. The theory is that with the water being under the stones it won’t go green. Will that work? Time will tell; it always does.
I then got out the masonry paints and touched up the digging dog garden ornament and the two badger garden ornaments. It was at this point that Morgan somehow got white paint all over his nose.
I had a tin of fizz and a bag of crisps for lunch, then used the excess cobbles to fill two planters to make stands for the badger garden ornaments… it was a shame that there wasn’t enough cobbles, so I sent a message to “er indoors TM” to ask her to get some more.
I then spent a few minutes pushing the shingle round the pond about to make sure all the membranes were covered up. The stones get kicked about by the dogs so much. Ideally I’d like a couple of inches more depth of stones, but that would be a couple of tones more stones.
Feeling rather exhausted for no reason (post-COVID?) I sat on our new bench, and the babies immediately wanted to sit on my lap. Pogo then sat next to me, and Treacle sat on my feet, and there we were for an hour or so. The babies slept, I read my Kindle app, and Pogo formally declared the garden to be a “no fly zone” and got progressively more and more irate at the squadrons of pigeons and seagulls and starlings and sparrows who insisted on conducting provocative sorties purely to wind him up.
“er indoors TM” came home, and I went out to her car to get the bag of cobbles. It took less than a minute to do what I needed to do with them, and then we both went and sat by the pond for a bit. After a few minutes the nice people up the road sadly put their music on in their garden. Have you ever put your music on when you are in the garden? Here’s a tip. No one (no one at all!!!) likes anyone else’s choice of music in their garden.
But to be fair to them they’d not had it on for most of the day, my dogs hadn’t really been quiet today, and it was getting cold anyway.
I took a few photos as today went on.
Also as today had gone on I’d been looking at various Facebook pages. Sparks were playing in Bexhill this evening and having left it too late to get a ticket I was desperately hoping that someone might have been offering one for sale at the last minute. One person did…but sadly they got in touch about an hour after what was realistically the last minute.
Next time I will have to book the ticket earlier…
I say “next time”; being in their mid-seventies I have to wonder just how much longer they will be going on round-the-world tours.
Instead I scoffed a particularly good dinner that “er indoors TM” boiled up and washed it down with a bottle of plonk as we caught up on a couple of episodes of “Star Trek: Picard” that were OK… but only OK. Sadly “Star Trek: Picard” is all “Picard” and precious little “Star Trek”.
And today marks one year since my little Fudge-dog died… There have been some days over this last year when I haven’t had a quiet cry about him. But not many.
17 April 2022 (Sunday) - Another Busy Day
With “er indoors TM” going off on a mission with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” later, I thought I’d make the most of her presence before she went. Leaving her to organise the dogs I got the lawn mowed. It didn’t take long but is far easier to do without dogs swarming.
As I mowed, in my mind I could hear the voice of “Nutty Noodle” (the madman who used to live next door) who would *always* formally order me to stop mowing the lawn whenever I got the lawn mower out. The grass would be too damp. It would be too early in the day. It would be too late in the day. The sun would be too high. It would be too overcast. Every time I would politely smile and tell him that I mowed the lawn when it was convenient for me to do so and would carry on mowing, and he would carry on ranting.
I wonder whatever happened to him?
I made toast and peered at the Internet as the washing machine had a go at grubby T-shirts. And I sighed. Having been posting on various Sparks-related Facebook pages for weeks asking if anyone had a spare ticket for last night’s show in Bexhill I heard nothing until an hour before the show was about to start… and this morning several people told me that they had had spare tickets. There are tickets still available for tonight’s show in London but… Tickets for the Bexhill show initially sold for thirty quid each. The tickets for tonight’s show are starting at one hundred and eighteen pounds. And the show is in Camden and I’ve got an early start tomorrow.
Interestingly for all that there had been a lot of talk that the band had asked the audience to ware face coverings, there were a lot of photos of last night’s gig on-line, and maybe one person in three was actually doing so.
There was also a minor squabble kicking off on one of the local Facebook groups about why the supermarkets were all closed today (what with it being Easter). Some “Holy Joe” type was playing the religion card and said that all workplaces should be closed today…
This annoys me. Imagine their reaction on turning up at a hospital with a broken leg only to be told to piss off and come back tomorrow.
And on one of the dog-related Facebook pages some woman was banging on about how her dogs have constantly got ticks and fleas. She wanted to know if anyone had a way to stop ticks and fleas but only wanted ”herbal remedies”. She’d tried lots already, but none of them actually stopped the ticks and the fleas. It was suggested she tried using the various treatments from vets (that actually work) but for some unexplained reason this was akin to a red rag to a bull.
As I peered into the Internet there was an even bigger squabble kicking off on the sofa as the puppies were quarrelling over a huge bath sponge that they’d stolen from who knows where. Treacle told them both off;
she seems to have appointed herself arbiter of puppy arguments.
“er indoors TM” set off on her mission with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and suddenly I was in the middle of a pile of sleeping dogs. Not daring to move them I spent the hour or so until they woke doing some CPD.
When they woke I went and sat by the pond. Bearing in mind the time and effort I put into that pond I really should sit by it more often. The dogs came up with me for fish-feeding time (they love scoffing any fish food that doesn’t fall into the water) and then the dogs bimbled round the garden whilst I sat by the pond and read my Kindle.
After a while there was a little “plop” and some splashing as Morgan fell into the pond. I watched him for two seconds (no more) and, confident that he could swim (if he had to) I hoiked him out.
“er indoors TM” came home, and we took all four dogs to the park. Treacle and Pogo played ball for a bit, then carried their balls. Morgan and Bailey got carried all the way. But an outing is always good, and one which passes off without incident is even better.
We came home, had coffee and cake in the garden for lunch, then had a phone call. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had strained herself by overdoing it with “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM”. So we took the dogs down to Folkestone to distract grandson. Little Jake loved meeting the puppies, and he showed me loads of Minecraft videos on “Lube-Tube” (as he insists on calling it). “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and big Jake seemed to like the puppies, which was just as well as they are dog sitting in a month or so.
And I got to cuddle with smallest granddaughter too.
We came home where “er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the Easter episode of “Doctor Who”. Featuring the first appearance of the Sea Devils for nearly thirty years it was perhaps one of the better episodes of that show for some time.
Sadly that wasn’t up against much in the way of competition…
18 April 2022 (Easter Monday) - Early Shift
It was one of those nights when the (bigger) dogs were restless. Pogo was seemingly dabbing me on the head all night long, and Treacle had successfully annexed most of the bottom of the bed. I gave up any attempt at sleeping and came downstairs as quietly as I could shortly after five o'clock. But not quiet enough that I didn't wake the puppies.
They woke with a rather sweet squeaking noise. I let them out of their crate, and as they bimbled about in half-sleep so Bailey had a little accident. I should have carried them both straight outside. Morgan managed to get out before tiddling though, so we had a fifty per cent success rate.
I made toast, and with the babies still sleepy I popped them next to me on the sofa, and they slept as I watched half an episode of "Orange Is The New Black" before carrying sleeping puppies back to their crate and setting off to work.
As I drove I was rather pleased to see that the car’s digital speedometer display had started working again. I'd completely forgotten that it had gone west late last week. As I drove I listened to the pundits on the radio. The war in Ukraine is continuing apace, with the Russians clearly utterly oblivious to international opinion.
There was also a lot of talk about the government's latest scheme to sort out the illegal immigrants coming across the English Channel in armadas of little boats. Rather than putting them into detention centres in the UK from which they just walk out (and disappear into the UK having achieved that which they set out to do), the plan is to ship them all out to Rwanda whilst their applications are processed.
This seems quite sensible to me. Possibly a tad expensive, but it solves the problems (doesn't it?) Those genuine cases can then be brought to the UK. Those non-genuine cases can be deported back to where they came from. And those who abscond from the detention centres aren't in the UK anyway and are somebody else's problem. However there were a lot of people kicking off about this scheme - I'm clearly missing something.
There was also an interview with the president of the National Farmers’ Union who was talking about how more and more farmers are looking at automation and robotics for picking their produce now that all the eastern European workers have gone home. She was saying that it would cost a fortune, but fewer and fewer people seem to be interested in getting stuck in with the harvest anymore. Interestingly she made the point that whilst British farmers have quotas of how much land they must devote to wildlife and to planting trees and to solar panels, there are no national quotas of how much food they are supposed to grow. You would think that with the world's bread-basket (Ukraine) now one big war zone and British ports little more than lorry parks, the government might be keen to make sure the country has got some sort of food security, wouldn't you?
I got to work and did my bit as I do. I can't pretend I was overly keen to be working today, but I don't mind really. It was just a shame that today was far busier that I would have preferred to have been. And with work worked, I came home.
I came home to find “er indoors TM” had been beavering away like a thing possessed (and still was). I sat in the garden by the pond for a while feeling absolutely worn out. I seem to be so tired right now – I blame COVID.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching another episode of “Lego Masters: USA”. The contestant who got sent home tonight really had a face like a smacked arse; she wasn’t happy about getting sent home.
And then we watched two episodes of The Great Big Tiny Design Challenge in which Sandi Toksvig hosted a show in which contestants got to make dolls house accessories. It was actually far better than it sounds, and again the losing contestants really sulked when they got the heave-ho.
I might have an early night. The puppies are crapping and peeing like things possessed and are in something of a “we bite everything” mood which has gone down like a lead balloon with Treacle, who has now got the right hump. You wouldn’t think that a dog could get a moody, would you?
19 April 2022 (Tuesday) - Bit Dull
I didn’t really sleep that well last night, waking far too early and watching the clock for two hours. I stayed in bed until it was light outside, then got up. As I came downstairs so the puppies started squeaking, and I bundled them outside where after a few minutes both tiddled.
As I I had a shave, I smelled a turd. Fortunately it was on the newspaper.
I stood on the scales and saw I weighed in at seventeen stone. Too much. Let’s see what a week on the Slimfast does. I had my cafe latte breakfast shake as I watched half an episode of “Orange is the New Black” before having a rather frustrating little look at the internet. There were more “DNF” logs on some of my geocaches including an “I think this one is missing” log. I sighed. People are so quick to suggest that someone else replace the missing caches for them, and so slow to actually go put the things out themselves. But this is a rant I’ve done to death, isn’t it?
More people were posting on the Sparks Facebook pages saying what a shame it was that they couldn’t make the gig at Bexhill last Saturday and what a shame it had been that their tickets had been wasted.
Before my piss boiled any more I turned off the lap-top, settled the puppies and set off to work.
I walked down the road capturing tridents and gnome hats (it's a Munzee thing) and then drove some very quiet roads to Tunbridge Wells. As I drove the pundits on the radio were speaking to the shadow minister for something or other (shadow attorney general perhaps?). This woman was trying to stir up politicians and public alike to all rise up and demand the sacking of the Prime Minister for what she claimed was a deliberate attempt to mislead Parliament and the public over the "partygate" scandal.
Did Mr Johnson deliberately attempt to mislead Parliament and the public? Probably. It only takes less than a minute on Google to see he's got a track record here. But sadly this is what we've come to expect from Boris Johnson, isn’t it?. He has heard the old adages that "all politicians are liars" and so gives the public what they expect. He's been doing it for so long that no one expects any different from him, do they? No one is ever going to undermine Mr Johnson for claiming that he is "economical with the truth" because that is exactly why the masses love him. It was claimed this morning that the public have had enough of his lies. Have they? I wish it were the case, but somehow I doubt it.
There was then (probably) far too much air-time devoted to the death of Harrison Birthwistle who was (apparently) a famous British conductor. Presumably a music conductor, but for all that I know he may well have been a bus, train or electrical conductor. I'd never heard of him, and neither had anyone else I spoke with today.
I got to work far earlier than I had expected today; the roads had been rather quiet. I spent much of the day supervising one of the trainees. I miss the days of being a training officer. Mind you I miss very little else of those days, but training was always something I enjoyed doing.
With work worked I came home. Being at Pembury today I was rather later getting home this evening. “er indoors TM” came in two minutes after I got home having taken the hounds to the park. I then helped to referee dog dinner, and we scoffed human dinner as we watched he second episode of “SAS: Who Dares Wins”. After a rather shaky start the show seems to be chirping up a bit now.
20 April 2022 (Wednesday) - A Rather Good Present
Another rather restless night sadly. I spend so much of the evening fast asleep on the sofa, and then so much of the night wide awake.
I got up and carried the puppies outside where both tiddled. Pooping is still a bit hit and miss, but it is still early days. I got a strawberry shake and drank it as I watched an episode of “Orange is the New Black” with the puppies slept cuddled up next to me; they are either full-on whirlwinds or fast asleep.
I sparked up the lap-top and sent out a birthday wish. This morning my Facebook feed was filled with all sorts of posts from crackpot religions. Why do people seen to be so obsessed with the idea that their personal idea of a god loves them and is so wonderful when the evidence to the contrary is so compelling?
With the puppies settled I got dressed, and found that my trousers were missing a button. Where did that go?
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio amazed me by not concentrating entirely on the war in the Ukraine. Admittedly a lot of their talk was on the latest lies of the Prime Minister (realistically a topic which has been done to death), but there was quite a bit of talk about Netflix this morning. They've lost a lot of customers and consequently a lot of income so far this year. Putting up the prices here in the UK and America and pulling out of Russia probably didn't help. Apparently Netflix bosses have hinted they will start to crack down on account sharing, claiming that worldwide over a hundred million households are breaking its rules by sharing passwords. Breaking its rules? I was told that when I signed up my password could be shared with three other people... which I have done. And the Netflix home screen has their pictures on it so they can sign in.
I suppose the bubble had to burst for streaming TV eventually. Subscriptions to Sky, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV... to say nothing of Disney Plus, BritBox and Pluto TV. We can't afford them all.
Prince (didn't he resign from being a prince?) Harry was in the news claiming he is " making sure the Queen is protected"... And he's done that by moving half-way round the world? A couple of years ago he was a national hero. Now he's seen as a bit of a twit.
And there was a lot of talk about self-driving cars. Even though they don't exist yet, the Highway Code is being re-written to clarify the rules for using the things. It would seem that when in the driving seat (if that is the right word) you can watch a film on the car's display screen or read a book. But you can't use a mobile phone. How does that work? Some (so called) expert was wheeled on to explain this but failed miserably to do so.
I got to work where there was quite a bit of talk about latest granddaughter. Everyone was amazed at how tiny she is I was rather surprised when more than one person thought I was father rather than grandfather. I suppose I should be flattered really.
One colleague had made a beautiful blanket for her which was very kind. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was really grateful for that (as was I)
Work was work; I again got to spend time teaching a trainee on the wonders of what you can see down a microscope. And for no reason that I could work out I got home twenty minutes quicker this evening that I did yesterday.
Once home I found “er indoors TM” chucking tennis balls around the garden. Primarily for the bigger dogs, but the puppies were joining in the chaos too. We are slowly moving away from two sets of two dogs to having one set of four.
And talking of dogs we've got a minor hiccup. There are what appears to be tiny blood spots on the newspapers down for the puppies, and the dogs are all sniffing round little Bailey. At sixteen weeks old she's far too young to be in season. Isn't she?
21 April 2022 (Thursday) - Dog School
I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go… at half past two. I lay awake for far too long before giving up and getting up. The puppies were so sleepy as they saw me, and once they were carried outside both did both types of what they had been carried out to do. They then slept next to me on the sofa as I watched an episode of “Orange is the New Black” which ended pretty much at the time when my alarm was due to go off to wake me up.
I logged my brekkie on my myfitnesspal app, and registered another negative COVID test. I rather resent having negative COVID tests at a time when being positive wouldn’t be such an issue. Being positive three weeks ago was a real nuisance.
Facebook was rather devoid of anything of note this morning; probably because I was up and about far too early. I sent out a couple of birthday wishes, then had a look at my emails. I had a money off voucher from Halfords… well, I didn’t. Someone with the same name as me who lives on the Isle of Wight has been having a squabble with their local branch of Halfords and he should have had the voucher. I’ve had correspondence about this chap’s account with the building society as well in the past.
And with nothing else of note I settled the puppies and got dressed… and realised I never replaced that button that had gone missing from my trousers yesterday. I meant to do that yesterday evening but fell asleep far too early. I could have done that at five o’clock this morning when wide awake and watching telly but had forgotten.
I set off to work west-wards. I have quite a long drive to Pembury through the -hursts and the -dens, but it can be a rather pretty drive (when I get to do it in daylight). This morning I lost count of the number of hawks I saw hovering over the fields; obviously poised to have any unsuspecting mouse.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were playing a lot of the recordings of what had happened yesterday in Parliament. Have you ever listened to Parliament. Quite frankly it is a national disgrace. With the Prime Minister shouting that the Leader of the Opposition was "out of his tiny mind", had it been the fruits of my loin squabbling I would have sent them to bed (with a slapped arse each).
There was also quite a bit of talk about Prince (apparently he still is) Harry who had yesterday given some deliberately controversial interview to someone or other. Despite having made a mysterious statement about wanting to "protect" the Queen he then deliberately undermined her birthday celebrations today with his attention-seeking. He has hinted he might move back to the UK; I suspect he thinks he's more likely to get money from the UK government than he will from anyone in America (or am I doing him an injustice?)
I got to work for the early shift and had a better day than I might have done. As I worked, the boss's boss's boss asked me about my CPD blog. He seemed quite enthusiastic and encouraging about it; such a difference of attitude from where I used to work where I was actively discouraged because what I was doing wasn’t on their official headed paper.
An early start made for an early finish (as I so often write). I came home and then didn’t stop. I walked the bigger dogs round the block, then took all four dogs into the garden for another lesson in dog school. We worked on recall today.
The idea was that I would chuck a tennis ball up the garden and all dogs would chase after it. Once at the far end of the garden I would blow the whistle. Pogo and Treacle (who know whistle training) would then come running for the treat that goes with the whistle. And the puppies would soon learn the idea from the bigger dogs.
It was a frankly brilliant idea, however…
I chucked the tennis ball once, and Treacle got it and wouldn’t let it go. I blew the whistle and Pogo came charging up for a treat. Morgan followed, but despite wresting the ball from Treacle and throwing it again and again, neither boy would leave me as I had the treats. And Bailey just bimbled about doing her own sweet thing.
I gave up after fifteen minutes when the treats ran out, and when all four dogs started chewing the monkey-puzzle tree (I wondered why as well – it looked rather sharp and spiky to me). In the end we’d given Pogo and Treacle something of a refresher, and the puppies seemed to have formed a rather vague idea of what it was all about. We’ll try again tomorrow.
I then ironed for an hour or so until “er indoors TM” came home and boiled up some tacos. They were rather good.
I’m definitely having an early night tonight… I’m knackered.
22 April 2022 (Friday) – Stuff
Despite finding that the bigger dogs had been using my bed as a hidey-hole for their tennis balls I slept far better last night than I have done all week, waking only twenty minutes before the alarm was due to go off. I crept downstairs as silent as a carrot (to coin a phrase) and managing not to disturb the puppies I got to the bathroom and had a shave in peace.
I then woke the babies and took them out to the garden. Both tiddled, both pooped, then Bailey attempted to do her "perpetual motion" trick by trying to eat that which she had just pooped out. I *think* I stopped her but dealing with a very small dog in the dark took some doing.
The puppies soon nodded off on my lap, and I guzzled a brekkie of Slimfast chocolate shake jollop whilst watching an episode of "Orange is the New Black"... and suddenly there was a commotion. Treacle came downstairs making enough noise to wake the dead and both puppies then kicked off. Treacle wanted to go into the garden so we all went out with her. I told the puppies about how good Treacle was by asking to go outside; in actual fact Treacle only wanted to go outside to play silly beggars. After stomping around the garden for five minutes (just as it was getting light) she then went back to bed.
I settled the puppies (who were asleep and stayed asleep while being settled) and set off to work. I stopped off after a few hundred yards as I wanted to check on one of my geocaches; having had a report that it had gone missing. This morning I'd received a log saying "didn't find it checked everywhere", and so wasn't impressed to see the supposedly missing cache exactly where it was supposed to be, in plain sight and clearly visible from ten yards away. Mind you the chap writing that log hadn't ever actually found any geocaches at all, so had no idea what he was looking for. I should really have checked that before wasting my time.
As I drove west-wards the pundits on the radio were talking about that idiot Boris Johnson who is in India. He's made a speech saying how he is making immigration to the UK easier for Indian workers as the UK desperately needs skilled workers and we've got a massive shortage of them. If only he hadn't led a campaign to get rid of all of the skilled immigrant workers, eh?
There was a lot of talk about how Germany is skimping on supplying weapons to Ukraine. How does that work? The NATO countries are supposedly scrupulously not getting involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict but are actually supplying military hardware (ammunition and missiles) to the Ukrainians. The German government was being criticised for not sending enough tanks. I would have thought that not sending tanks to a war zone goes hand-in-hand with not getting involved, but what do I know?
And the Large Hadron Collider is being turned on again today. Our old friend science is going to use it to make some dark matter. That will be nice.
Work was work. As I did my bit, so the new girls was stomping round the place singing (howling) some monotonously tedious religious dirge about how much she loves God. All I can say is that if her god loves her as much as she loves it, then it must be stone deaf.
Another early start made for another early finish. As I drove down the A21 I contemplated stopping. There was a dead deer on the roadside. What happens to dead deer? I had a vague idea of trying to hawk the carcass round the local butchers to see if anyone wanted any venison. Would I have had any takers? Would I have made any money? In the end I didn’t bother as I didn’t want deer fleas in the car in case they contaminated the dogs.
Once home we had another “dog school” session working on our recall. If nothing else Pogo and Morgan are very keen on getting dog treats and Bailey isn’t averse to them, so the session hasn’t been a total failure. Treacle generally doesn’t run amok and so isn’t usually an issue.
“er indoors TM” boiled up fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching last week’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard” which was quite possibly the worst Star Trek episode I’ve ever seen. Such a shame.
“er indoors TM” is now emptying the kitchen cupboards in readiness for the new kitchen’s installation. Or she would be if dogs weren’t helping her…
23 April 2022 (Saturday) - Geo Meet
I slept like a log last night, even managing something of a lie-in. but not much. I was awake from half past six listening out for the sounds of the puppies. I lay there listening whilst they were blissfully asleep; finally woken by me when I came to check on them at half past seven.
I let them out of their crate and caried them to the garden where both did that which was expected of them. A minor result, but a result nonetheless.
I made some toast, and as I scoffed it I remembered I’m on a diet and should have had a shake thingy at a hundred and fifty calories less. As I scoffed I peered into the Internet. There were quite lot less jingoistic posts about St George’s Day than there have been in previous years; over the last few years fervent patriotism seems to have declined somewhat, which isn’t entirely a bad thing. Particularly when few people actually know the first thing about St George. I can remember one half-wit of my acquaintance once wondering why Christmas is in December when St George’s Day is in April.
We then set off on the day’s mission. “er indoors TM” had errands to run in Folkestone, so she dropped me in Badlesmere first. I took Pogo and Treacle with me and we sorted an issue with one of her geocaches. The thing had had several “did not find” logs, so me and the dogs took an hour out of our day to do that which those who had written the “did not find” logs could have done in less time than it took to write those “did not find” logs.
From there we walked into Badlesmere where after a little while we met up with several friends. We had a geo-meet today, and everyone who’d done their geo-admin properly had received a message about meting up to go for a little walk before the meet-up. A dozen of us then set off along a rather pretty walk, and after a few minutes “er indoors TM” caught up with us.
I took a few photos as we walked; the paths round Badlesmere are rather pretty, and have the advantage of being flat, which is never a bad thing
With walk walked we then adjourned to the Red Lion. To be fair, we’ve adjourned there more than once in the past, and as places to adjourn to, it takes some beating. We all sat in our booked area, and scoffed a particularly good lunch as I drank my way through the ale selection and then made serious headway into the place’s port reserves
Before lockdown, geo-walks like today’s were a major part of my life. Someone would announce that a walk was happening, and a dozen or so assorted people would turn up, and a really good outing of like-minded people would happen. We really must start this off again.
Having scoffed a rather major dinner in the pub we didn’t bother with tea. Instead we tried to stay awake as we watched last night’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard”. Yesterday I mentioned what a disappointment last week’s episode had been; last night’s episode was just “crap”. You’d think that whoever has control of the franchise would want the average Trekkie to want to watch the show… wouldn’t you?
24 April 2022 (Sunday) - Early Shift
I had a rather bad night last night, waking shortly after midnight then seeing every hour of the night as I desperately fought Treacle and Pogo for bed space. I eventually gave up and started what has become my morning ritual (when I am first one up).
I crept downstairs and sneaked to the bathroom where I had my shave before unlocking and opening the back door, then woke the puppies. They staggered out of their crate to see me, and I bundled them up and hurried them outside where both did what they go outside to do. They then sat with me whilst I watched "Orange is the New Black"; I say "sat"; "fought for thirty seconds then went to sleep" is what actually happened. And with them both asleep I carried them back to their crate, got ready for work and set off up the motorway.
Despite the best efforts of the lorry which was tail-ending me all up the "Operation Brock" contraflow I survived the drive to Maidstone. As I drove there was something which could have been interesting on the radio. The show was billed as being about people who either stayed with or left their places of worship when they found themselves at odds with their religions. It could have been an interesting insight into how people reconcile their consciences with their beliefs, or carry on going to a place of worship where they don't feel welcome... I was reminded of my days in the Methodist church when I wasn't part of the "in crowd", and of the chap who was the leading light of the Boys Brigade in Hastings who seemed so happy when he told me that he and his wife had changed their church.
But the radio show was nothing like that.
It started off by saying how the church in South Africa didn't speak up against the apartheid regime and named one priest who did. They then played a frankly awful musical dirge, then named another priest who stood up against the German church which didn't oppose Hitler (before playing another frankly dreadful musical howling). And so it went on. An endless list of people who stuck with a church with which they clearly disagreed interspersed by frankly awful music. In an attempt to be inclusive they mentioned a woman who had deliberately tried to stir up trouble in a mosque when everyone had asked her not to, but that too was reduced to tedium.
I suppose not many people listen to the radio at six o'clock on a Sunday morning, but those of us who do would like something better.
I'd set off to work a little earlier than I might have done this morning. Just before bed time last night I saw a new geocache had gone live only a short walk from work and this morning I saw that no one had claimed the First To Find. I've already had one this month, but with (seemingly) no active hunters of Tupperware operating near work I thought I might try my luck. I drove as close as I could to the location, and walked a short distance to find an eight-foot high fence in my way. I parked somewhere more sensible, and it wasn't long before I found what I was looking for. And I was the first one to find it too. Result.
Being early I had a crafty cuppa before starting work. I would have had a celebratory croissant from the works branch of Marks & Spencer had they not opened until an hour after my shift started.
I wasn't supposed to be working today. Originally I was supposed to be working the early shift at Tunbridge Wells today, but I'd managed to unload that onto a colleague who wanted to work extra shifts. However last Monday (on the Bank Holiday) the chap who took over from me said that he'd booked a little holiday in Blackpool this weekend, but had forgotten he was working today. Could I cover it for him? I could... I don't mind stepping into the breach when these things happen. I suppose it is all part of working in a hospital. I don't dislike hospital work, but if I had my time again I would work somewhere that (periodically) puts up a "closed" sign.
Mind you I was missing out today. Whilst I worked Tracey came round to play with the puppies. It would have been nice to have caught up. And the weather was rather good today. I rather resent working when I could be out and about doing things in decent weather.
I came home via Stanhope where “er indoors TM” had mistakenly magnetised a Skyland (woops!). Once home I fussed the dogs then continued “dog school”. I would sit by the pond until the dogs lost interest in me, and would then blow the whistle. Treacle and Pogo would come running and get their treat, but the babies would only come if they hadn’t gone indoors. Once inside they seem more interested in what is going on in there than in the whistle sounds from outside.
After a few goes at the whistle I then started getting all the bank accounts downloaded in readiness for the monthly “accounting for every penny” (because I am mean like that).
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good home-made pizza which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Lego Masters: USA” in which the contestants made windmills which were then tested to destruction in hurricane-force winds.
I wish I could play on the set of that show for a day or so…
25 April 2022 (Monday) - Rostered Day Off
I woke feeling profoundly miserable for no reason I could fathom. I tried to get back to sleep, but Pogo had a barking fit, and by the time I’d got up to see to him he’d gone back to sleep
I came downstairs to see to the puppies. They were rather keen to go outside; as we went I picked up the poop scoops so as to thwart Bailey; she has become a poop-eater. Picking the stuff up the very second it is laid is sadly the only way; dogs can be foul creatures.
Eventually “er indoors TM” came downstairs with Pogo and Treacle and the puppies immediately lost interest in me and swarmed the bigger dogs who are slowly learning to tolerate them.
As “er indoors TM” went round the garden with dogs I scoffed toast and had a look at the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight. As always I hadn’t missed much. Two Facebook friends were having birthdays today. One was someone who was a close friend with whom I worked on a daily basis for twenty-five years; I’ve not seen him for over ten years now. The other was more of a friend of a friend; again someone I’ve not seen for over ten years.
I sent both the birthday video for old time’s sake.
I registered another negative COVID test; still sulking about the holiday that I missed through having COVID three weeks ago.
I had quite a few “Found It” logs on geocaches that I’ve hidden. No more “Didn’t Find It” logs, which was something of a result. I did have a plan to go out and archive one of my geo-series today, but filled with enthusiasm from Saturday’s meet (and a flurry of favourite points given to the caches I’ve hidden) I decided not to. Realistically I shall let things slide until someone else who has found thousands and has hidden none makes a snide comment about the maintenance that I haven’t done, and will archive them then in a fit of pique.
I’ve got three series of caches which need a little attention. I say “attention”; just a walk-round to replace the wet paper logs is all that is needed. This is nothing that the people actually walking the series can’t do (but most won’t), but now having four dogs (and two of them babies), this is a bit of a mission for me right now.
So instead of anything geocachical I set undercrackers washing, left the puppies with “er indoors TM” and took Pogo and Treacle to Orlestone Woods. It takes about as long to drive there as it takes to walk to the park, and now that we are well into spring the ground has dried out and we get a much better walk that is rarely infested by the normal people.
We did our usual circuit of the woods, admiring the bluebells as we went. Orlestone is such a good place to walk; it is a shame that the thick mud makes the place impractical for much of the year, but it was good today.
We came home, took clean undercrackers from the washing machine and put in shirts, woke the puppies, and all went into the garden where I ran out the hose pipe to top up the pond, and then I generally fiddled about in the garden for a couple of hours, at the end of which the garden looked much the same as when had started. I then wasted some time attempting to do some dog photography, and we all fed the fish in the hope of getting some fish food. I then Munzee-ed from the back garden and was won a cash prize in the Munzee crypto-currency. Sadly two Zeds is worth about one pence, but it is better than a kick up the bum.
As planned the exertions of woods and garden had worn out all four dogs, and they slept as I ironed through three episodes of “Orange is the New Black” before sparking up my lap-top to go through the monthly accounts.
It would seem the council has given me a bung. As part of some government initiative all the poor people have been given a hundred and fifty quid ostensibly toward their massively increased fuel bills. Bearing in mind my combined leccie and gas bill has gone up by eighty-four quid each month, this bung won’t even cover two months.
I must admit to being rather insulted by this bung though. The government has given it to the poorer members of society; judging wealth by the council tax band in which each household is in. I’ve got a bung, but friends who earn far less than me and colleagues on *exactly* the same wage as me haven’t got it because they live in bigger houses. Go figure…
With the dogs all still asleep I spent an hour in NeverWinter (because I could) until Treacle got the hump. Having got up for no reason whatsoever, Pogo had bagged her spot next to me, and she wanted it back.
“er indoors TM” came home, boiled up dinner for us all and then set off bowling. I sat with Pogo and Treacle on the sofa as the puppies ran riot. And having been very good toilet-wise all day, both puppies disgraced themselves. I think it fair to say both are very over-tired… A bit like I am really…
26 April 2022 (Tuesday) - Darcie WaaWaa
I had another bad night last night, again waking far too early. At least Treacle and Pogo weren't overly fidgetty. I gave up trying to sleep and crept downstairs taking great pains not to wake the puppies so as I could get a shave done in peace.
I then turned on all the lights, woke the babies and hurried them outside where they both did that which puppies do. As we hurried outside I saw one of the dog blankets piled up by the washing machine. Had they done that which puppies do on that last night after I'd gone to kip? I didn't take any chances, gave it a quick shake to dislodge any errant turds (fortunately there weren't any) and set it scrubbing as I watched an episode of "Orange is the New Black" in which our heroines were starting a small business by selling purloined undercrackers.
As I watched telly so both puppies slept with me, and so didn't need much settling when it was time for me to settle them. I got dressed, and it was rather good to button up my trousers; the button had gone missing last week and I finally got round to sorting it last night.
Pausing only briefly to scrape bird dung from the car I was soon on my way up the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about Elon Musk who has just bought Twitter for forty-four billion dollars and now that it is his personal property he's planning to remove all moderation from the platform to give free reign to free speech. There was a lot of concern being expressed that this will open up a can of worms by giving a mouthpiece to minority hate groups. It's been my experience as a moderator of several Facebook groups that the removal of moderation will mostly result in the non-removal of adverts for porno websites. And the biggest cause for concern for Twitter (Donald Trump) has apparently said he doesn't want to start Tweeting again anyway.
Three other people with more money than sense have just returned from a week's jolly on the International Space Station which cost them fifty-five million dollars (each)
I would love to be able to buy Twitter, or to have a holiday in space. I wouldn't buy Twitter, and neither would I have a holiday in space, but I would like to be able to afford either.
Meanwhile President Putin says he is actually fighting a war with NATO and has told the West to stop supplying weapons to Ukraine.
I think the chap has got a point. Whilst the NATO alliance has said it will not get involved in any conflict in Ukraine, its constituent countries seem to have no issues with sending the Ukrainians weapons. There's a very fine line between actually staging a war with Russia, and just providing the weapons for someone else to do so, isn't there? I can remember as a schoolboy at various times egging mates on to have fights with people I didn't like; offering to hold their coat whilst they got stuck in. Handing over weapons to one of the protagonists of a war is much the same, but on a (much) larger scale... isn't it?
I again managed to get through the "Operation Brock" contraflow without being run off the road. I wish drivers of lorries and white vans would realise there is no point in tail-ending me; I can go no faster than the cars blocking both the lanes in front of me. There are fifteen miles of two-lane traffic all going at the speed of the slowest car. It can be frustrating if you like driving far too fast, but dangerously overtaking at the very exit of the contraflow whilst blasting your hooter achieves very little other than to remind everyone to make a note of the name on the side of the van as it flies by, and not to use that company.
I got to work on what looked to be a beautiful morning, and did my bit whilst staring out of the window at what turned out to be a beautiful day. More and more I'm thinking I'd really like to jack it all in and take early retirement. Today I could quite easily have walked all four dogs out to Wye or Pluckley or Ham Street and come back home on the train... Mind you I did do that with Fudge and it wasn't a success. He hated the train. How would four dogs respond to it?
As I worked I had messages. “er indoors TM” 's car had got a flat tyre. Did I have a pump? Yes, I did. It was (and still is) in my car. She wasn't happy about that, but I'd rather have it where it will be needed.
And “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was messaging me about smallest grandchild who has started making odd noises and is known (for now at least) as "Darcie WaaWaa". I wonder if that name will eventually warrant a TM after it?
I am reliably informed that "Darcie WaaWaa" looks just like me…
Being on the early shift I got out early. What with having to wait for tyre fix-it people “er indoors TM” had been working from home today so I left her with the puppies and took Treacle and Pogo to the woods. There was a minor hiccup when Treacle started limping. I had a look at her paw, pulled out a thorn the size of a small dagger, and all was well.
I had a little gloat as we walked past some of the normal people who were staring in horror at their Labrador who was standing chest deep in stagnant mud… and then just at the end of the walk both Treacle and Pogo ran at top speed into a thicket. I blew the whistle to call them back and I heard them stop, then heard two muted “plop” sounds. Both then appeared covered from shoulder to paw in muck. I frogmarched them back to a stream I knew to have clean water and chucked them both in, but the damage was done.
I sent a message telling “er indoors TM” to spark up the bath, and once home I volunteered to look after the puppies whilst she scrubbed the bigger ones. I think I got the worst part of that deal.
It will be dinner time soon… I will scoff it, then spend the evening constantly falling asleep in front of the telly before spending much of the night wide awake…
27 April 2022 (Wednesday) - Another Early Shift
It was rather good to have a proper shave with shaving cream this morning. I'd run out yesterday and had done the best I could with soap.
With a scraped face I woke the puppies and took them outside. Both did that which was expected of them in the garden, and then both came in and did an encore in the living room. Fortunately it was on the puppy pads that are down for such an emergency, but I'd rather they didn't. And then having Bailey sick up a turd she'd obviously eaten at some point yesterday was just the icing on the cake.
Sadly I had run out of Slimfast shakes so I had to make toast. One major advantage of a Slimfast shake is the zero preparation time, leaving me able to supervise the puppies. They ran riot as I made toast, but soon settled and were fast asleep as I watched another episode of "Orange is the New Black". As I watched so “er indoors TM” came down to do what the puppies had so spectacularly done earlier (not on the puppy pads however), but in a novel break with tradition she didn't have an entourage of Treacle and Pogo with her. Both presumably couldn't be bothered to get up.
I set off to work; for once not having anyone driving up my arse for miles. I did watch a dustbin lorry drive straight through a red traffic light though. Fortunately there was no one coming through, but that could have been nasty.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about a recent Cabinet meeting in which that idiot Boris Johnson was looking at ways in which the government can help the average household to make savings allegedly by relaxing relax rules on childcare (thereby making it cheaper) and by having less regular MOT inspections on cars and lorries. (And I feel guilty that I refer to him as "that idiot" and not "Prime Minister"!)
Mind you the opposition is little better with Angela Rayner (the deputy leader of the Labour party) being described as "Zippy" to Sir Kier Starmer's "Bungle"Meanwhile the world is pretending to be surprised as the Russians turn off the gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. Like we didn't see this one coming. One of the things which seriously boils my piss is when people (be it anyone from little “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” up to God himself) seem to be surprised by the utterly predictable.
I stopped off for petrol, then went on to work. During a tea break I read something on Facebook which could only be a good thing. I follow the local scout association's Facebook page. Whoever it is that runs that page was grumbling about how much scout leaders have to pay for membership of the scout association.
The funding of the Scout Association has always annoyed me.
When I was a cub scout leader (for thirteen years) we had over thirty children along every week. For most of them what we did was just the "Tuesday activity". Most kids did some activity every night of the week. Football, rugby, dancing, archery, pro-celebrity arm-wrestling... Most of these other activities lasted for an hour and cost between five and ten pounds. We at the cubs had the kids for two hours, charged one pound fifty, and were paranoid that we were over-charging. Consequently a large part of being a scout leader was giving up a lot of time and effort to fund-raise to subsidise people with higher incomes than ours who lived in bigger houses than ours and who drove more expensive cars than ours. Scout leaders used to *love* working hard to fund that which others could pay for with the loose change in their pocket.
I had a surprisingly busy day at work today. As I did my bit my phone rang. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had taken Darcie WaaWaa to see the midwife this morning, and the littlun had pooped all over the midwife’s desk. This is the sort of thing which is hilarious all the time it is someone else’s desk, and as it wasn’t my desk I laughed like a drain.
I also laughed at “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”’s washing machine. She’d mistakenly set it to wash at ninety degrees, and the thing had filled the kitchen with clouds of steam before packing up and being utterly unresponsive to any button she pressed on it. For no adequately explored reason she thought I might know how to fix it. I suggested she pulled the plug, checked the fuse, and told it she still loved it. Failing that I said she might send for a fix-it man. The only other thing I know how to do is to empty the gunge filter, and I think that her poor device was long past that.
Needing a new shirt (or two) I came home via Matalan. I always forget that I have vowed so many times not to go in there again. I can get better shirts far cheaper from Amazon. There is a far better selection on-line, no swarms of feral children running round, and no staff making no secret of the fact they don’t want to be there.
Once home I thought about taking the dogs out. But thought better of the idea. When the puppies are bigger we will definitely go to the woods. But not today. Instead we played in the garden. I opened the back door and in the time it took me to pick up the poop scoop, Bailey had found a mouthful of turd. I physically emptied her mouth (yuk!), then had a look round for more poops. They we played “fetch”. Or Pogo and I played “fetch”. The puppies swarmed around trying to join in but not really understanding what was going on, and Treacle played her own game in which she tried to get as many tennis balls into her mouth to stop anyone else having any toys.
“er indoors TM” came home with a job lot of Slimfast shakes, and is hopefully boiling up dinner… I could do with an early night…
28 April 2022 (Thursday) - Goes Well With Aubergines
I slept better than I have done recently last night, but was still awake far too early. I crept downstairs and managed to get the shave done before waking the puppies. Unlike other dogs who seem to sleep with one eye open, the puppies are out like a light when asleep.
I watched an episode of ”Orange is the New Black” as I drank my Slimfast shake, then paused the telly program. Morgan seemed to have a dried poop stain on his head, and in scrubbing that off I managed to wake both pups who got a tad over-excited. The excitement didn’t last long though. The babies are either manic or fast asleep, with little in between.
Five friends had a birthday today. I sent out the birthday video, then had a quick look at the Internet. There wasn’t much happening, so I carried the sleeping pups to their crate, put on one of the new shirts I bought yesterday and set off to work.
I rolled my eyes as I drove up the motorway. The pundits on the radio were interviewing some Welsh Conservative MP who as banging on about the success of "diagnostic hubs".
This is the latest fashionable idea for the NHS which has been brought in on a political whim. The idea is that "GPs will be able to refer patients to a centre so they can access life-saving checks closer to home and be diagnosed for a range of conditions, rather than travelling to hospital". This sounds like a good idea doesn't it? However this is a complete about-face for NHS policy. For years smaller centres like the ones proposed have been closed down and the services centralised for both economies of scale and because there aren't enough NHS staff to keep loads of small centres open. Where there used to be four blood-testing labs across south Kent there is now only one. So many hospital laboratories across the country have been merged. This was the key take-home message of the Carter report of 2006 and after working to that end for sixteen years it seems that it's "all change" at the NHS again, even though there is demonstrably nowhere near enough staff to do this. This is entirely what is wrong with the NHS, isn't it?
And while I'm thrashing myself to death whist waiting to be redeployed to a diagnostic hub, our MPs are allegedly sitting in the House of Commons watching filth on their mobile phones.
Nice work if you can get it.
I did my bit at work. At tea break I used my mobile phone not to watch filth, but to get the latest on “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” 's washing machine. The poor thing has been brought back from the dead. Apparently it was spinning a tad too vigorously and had managed to pull its own plug out (a nice trick if you can do it). The clouds of steam remain unexplained, but bearing in mind that the thing is now working, the steam is (in many ways) just a piddling detail.
It is just as well it was all sorted; she had been looking at contacting some chap who advertises that he will take the carcass of poggered washing machines in part-exchange for reconditioned ones. This chap will then bodge the dead machine into some semblance of life at which point he will look for some unsuspecting sap to whom he will sell it (presumably only for it to pack up again very soon).
This too is also nice work if you can get it.
As I peered down the microscope for much of the day I again reflected on my career choices. I suspect there is far more money to be made from looking at filth in the House of Commons or from unloading hooky washing machines to an unsuspecting public than there ever is to be had from peering down a microscope.
I came home, and spent a little while in the garden playing “fetch” with the dogs. Treacle hoarded as many balls as she could, and the puppies did their own strange thing, but Pogo had a go at “fetch”; it is a game he seems to enjoy.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a vey good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of Malbec which we chose because the tasting notes said it went well with aubergines. Does it? Never knowingly eaten an aubergine I have no idea.
And I then used the last of the plonk to accompany a lump of cheese and some crackers. I had the cheese to myself but shared the crackers with the dogs. Bailey and Morgan are learning “sit” and sitting for crackers went a long way to reinforce the training.
29 April 2022 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift
I had a bit of a lie-in this morning. When I woke “er indoors TM” had already gone downstairs. Pogo and Treacle were still on the bed with me. Treacle leapt up but Pogo didn’t. I lifted him off the bed and we came downstairs to find “er indoors TM” dealing with a poop bonanza in the puppies’ crate. Clearly I shouldn’t lie in but should get up to see to the babies earlier.
“er indoors TM” did dog brekkie, and Pogo wasn’t first in the queue. I watched him moving very awkwardly on the sofa as I went on-line to register another negative COVID test, and saw I had a message through Facebook. “Emily Brandon” had said “Hello, how you doing. I'm Mistress Emily and i personally seek a slave to serve me. So tell me your name, age, and more about yourself. If your interested”.
I reported her to the Facebook Feds, as much for her poor grammar as for her porn-mongering. Mind you, judging by the amount of filth I get on my Facebook feed I suspect she is just the sort of person they are after.
Whilst I was on Facebook I saw there was some big “Thank You NHS Workers” concert in London last night to which NHS staff who had kept going all through the pandemic had been offered tickets…
Or so it was claimed.
Like most of the freebies that have been offered to NHS staff, this came as something of a surprise to most NHS staff who found out about it after it had all happened.
“er indoors TM” distracted the puppies and I took Pogo and Treacle to the woods for a walk. We had a good walk doing one of our longer circuits. We met a few other dog walkers, but all passed off well. Pogo seemed to be walking fine, but when we got back to the car I had to lift him in. He’s done something to his back; probably twisted it when playing the “catch” game that he loves to play. We shall have to watch him – being so overweight doesn’t help. If only he understood the need for a diet… mind you I’m not that good at that myself.
As we drove home I managed to press the wrong button on the car radio, and I discovered that it has got DAB. Digital audio broadcasting is absolutely archetypal of our age. It uses all sorts of wonderful technology to give an end result absolutely no different to that on which it is supposed to be a vast improvement. As I drove I kept flipping between the DAB and FM versions of various radio stations and could hear no difference whatsoever.
Once home we took the puppies into the garden where I hung out laundry. We came in, and all four dogs soon settled (on me) and I spent an hour writing up CPD and sulking about having to do so.
If I am to continue as a professional blood tester I am legally obliged to produce evidence of keeping myself up-to-date with developments in my field. I don’t get paid for doing that… in much the same way that no one got paid for going to last night’s “Thank You NHS Workers” concert either…
I went to bed for the afternoon where I slept for a few hours with Treacle and Pogo keeping me company. The puppies slept in their crate – they are too small to be left unsupervised for now.
I got up and we all went into the garden where in a little over-excitement over feeding the fish Morgan got pushed into the pond. He swam to the shallower end where I hoiked him out, and he sat on my lap as I towelled him dry as I watched an episode of “Orange is the New Black”.
The trouble is that three other dogs wanted a go with the towel too; seeing it as some sort of new way of making a fuss…
I’m off to the night shift in a bit… the last one I did was a bit like hard work. Let’s hope this one isn’t quite so bad…
30 April 2022 (Saturday) - Bit Dull Really
The night shift went rather well; far better than the last one I did, but I was still glad to see the early shift arrive. Sadly half an hour before they’d turned up I’d had a patient arrive with an anti-Jk(a) antibody which I was only too happy to hand over… if anyone ever tells you about blood group O Negative being a universal blood donor, take a few drops of the O Negative in me, stick it in this patient and then see what happens… Or don’t.
Actually I would seriously suggest you don’t; it would kill them.
As I drove home there was talk on the radio about the MP who was been caught watching filth on his mobile phone. He says it was all a mistake; he clicked on the wrong link. I suppose (in his defence) this might have been the case. I get sent a lot of iffy links in amongst the stuff I see on-line. Mind you my local MP was in the news a little while ago with loads of smut having been found on his lap-top. Why don’t the IT people in the Houses of Parliament set their networks so as you can’t access the filth? The hospital network I use has got all sorts of safeguards in it so that you can’t get to the grumble sites.
However surely the scandal here isn’t that he was looking at pictures of nudey ladies without any clothes on. Surely the issue is that the naughty MP was fiddling about on his phone when he should have been doing the work for which he has been elected and for which he is paid to do. I’m not allowed to fiddle about on my mobile when I’m supposed to be working, am I?
I got home and went to bed. I didn’t set an alarm and so didn’t wake until the middle of the afternoon. I usually set an alarm for mid day so that the day isn’t entirely wasted.
Over an incredibly late brekkie I peered into the Internet. I had a friend request on Facebook from a new girl at work. I clicked “accept” and was amazed at some of the mutual friends we have. But that is social media, isn’t it? My brother and cousin are Facebook friends with an ex-manager of mine who lives in Dover. What’s the connection there? My brother (who lives in Hastings) and the husband of an ex-colleague (who lives in Aberdeen) are both Facebook friends with some chap from the West Midlands. People I know through kite-flying are Facebook friends with people at work. People I know from my days in the astro club are friends with hunters of Tupperware…
The connections people form are amazing.
Leaving the puppies with “er indoors TM” I took Pogo and Treacle to Orlestone for a little walk. Pogo had no trouble jumping in and out of the car, which was a result. As we walked we met an “interesting couple”. Two of them a little way off the footpath both desperately clinging to a lead at the other end was a dog the size of a rhino and with the temperament of a total b*stard. The chap screamed at me that I should hurry past as their dog wasn’t good with other dogs and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could hold the lead. I resisted the temptation to point out the blatantly obvious, and we sauntered past. When we got back to the car (fifteen minutes later) we could still hear that dog’s vicious snarling and barking in the distance.
Why do people get such big dogs that they so obviously can’t control?
Once home I did something I should really have done three weeks ago. I finally got round to updating the puppies’ microchips. If they should ever go walkabout the chip is their neck will enable any vet to contact us; or it will do once the information has been updated. It didn’t take *that* long to do, but am I being an old meanie in thinking that an admin fee of twelve quid (per dog) is just a tad excessive?
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a four quid bottle of Sainsbury’s hock, and as bottles of plonk go, that four quid bottle of plonk was far better than a lot of the stuff we’ve quzzled recently. As we scoffed and quaffed we watched the most recent episode of “Star Trek: Picard” which was (sadly) best described as “crap”. Nearly an hour’s viewing… pretty much nothing happened.
This is true of pretty much all of the new “Star Trek” and all of the new “Doctor Who”. I watch them because I always have done, but am always disappointed.
And then I got to scoff the trifle that “er indoors TM” had made. Now that was rather good…
Apart from the trifle, today was something of a dull day really. Had I been able to have swapped out of last night’s night shift I might have gone on a geo-walk round Greenwich which took place today. I would have liked to have gone on that but getting anyone to swap into a Friday night takes some doing. And a Friday night before a Bank Holiday weekend… I certainly wouldn’t want to swap into one.