01 August 2007 (Wednesday) - A Day Out and Bodily Functions

01 August 2007 (Wednesday) - A Day Out and Bodily Functionsmagnify

12.15 am – just after the second bottle of beer had gone down (something I rarely do at cub camp), one of the older scouts shouted from his tent. One of the scouts had “blown”. On investigation, I could not disagree with this assessment. The scout had indeed “Blown”. But he was reluctant to move. He had positioned his legs in such a way to contain the “vom” in a pool in his sleeping bag. So we dragged him, locked in this position, out of the tent and into the field where the “vom” could be released. By now it was half past midnight, everyone concerned was shivering (to say nothing of waiting for another consignment ofvom”.) It was gone 1am before I was in my own sleeping bag. The things I do for fun!

Up at 6am, washed, shaved, chivvied the youngsters, and we were all on the coach to Hythe by 9am. The plan was a fun day out, and mostly the plan worked. We had an hour in the swimming pool. With the only running water in the field being one tap, going swimming is one way of getting the little darlings washed. Hythe swimming pool asks that swimmers shower before going in the pool. Probably a good idea, as one of our young leaders needed to wash sheep poo off of his foot before going in the pool. There was only a minor clothing catastrophe in the changing room as one of the cubs lost his shoes, and we went out with two more pairs of swimming trunks than we went in with, but such trivia is, in many ways, merely piddling details.

On then to New Romney where we boarded the light railway to Dungeness. The light railway station at Dungeness might be described as the end of the world. There’s the station, a cafe (straight out of the 1950s), a lighthouse, a beach, and a nuclear power station. It must be said that the cafe does an excellent sausage and chips. And having scoffed the sausage and chips we then had something against which the beginning of the day paled into insignificance. Brown alert! One of the smaller cubs had filled his pants. Fortunately we come prepared for such eventualities (funnily enough, not many people do, you know) and soon arses were wiped, pants abandoned, and it was off to the beach for a scavenger hunt. And all too soon it was back to the coach, where my dozing was continually interrupted by shouts of “PUB!!!!” every two seconds. What idiot had taught them to do that?

Back to camp, I packed my stuff and decided to stay for tea. Just as I took the first bite of my sandwich, the lad who’d caused the afternoon’s fun and games came up to me with another brown alert. This one was quite serious, and quite impressive, as these things go. It transpired that because this was his first time on camp, whilst he was quite happy to pee into a bucket, crapping into a bucked was beyond the pale (to coin a phrase). He’d therefore decided to “bake it” until he went home. However, he was only a small lad, and there’s a physical limit as to how much one can “bake”. So to prevent further brown alerts, I literally sat him on the bucket, zipped the toilet tent closed on him and told him to try for a poo. I’d never heard such a resounding fart and thunder, and then this little voice piped up “That did the trick”. I can only hope that did actually do the trick because it was on that note that I left camp early to come home.

I’d arranged to only do half the camp, and I enjoyed it. Perhaps that might be the best way for me to continue with scouting. A little bit less…..

1 Comment


02 August 2007 (Thursday) - A Birthday

02 August 2007 (Thursday) - A Birthdaymagnify

As it’s Thursday I couldn’t not mow the lawn. A frantic day was spent tidying the house & garden preparing for the evening’s festivities. Over thirty people came along for a birthday party. Can’t be bad…



03 August 2007 (Friday) - A Day at the Zoo

03 August 2007 (Friday) - A Day at the Zoomagnify

Woke up to find the garden was a bit of a mess so I thought I’d tidy up. Now two days ago I showed the cubs how hot fires still are a day later by putting some kindling onto the previous day’s ashes, blowing on it and watching it all burst into flames. I then gave them some old verbals about always making sure fires are put out properly. So it shouldn’t really have been a surprise when I upended the barbecue ashes into the dustbin and the whole lot went up in flames. Oh how I laughed.

And so to the zoo. A day out at Howletts. I spent a few minutes explaining to Alejandro about lesser African Chicken Eagles, the staple diet of which is gorilla poo. Your average gorilla craps it’s own bodyweight every five minutes, and so if it were not for the lesser African Chicken Eagle, the world would be knee deep in gorilla poo. It turned out he didn’t know about this amazing facet of natural history, so I also told him about the Javan Langurs, the only monkey that can write. Hence the expression “Java Script”. Javan Langurs are also great fans of Harry Potter, considering themselves to be the original Order of the Phoenix. They see their arch nemeses, the bison next door, to be the Death Eaters, and waste no chance to fling fruit over the fence at them. Bongos (a sort of antelope) when cooked taste of fruit – which is where “Um Bongo” comes from, and Red River Hogs make good geography teachers.

Meanwhile back on Earth, Howletts has increased their animal range since I was last there – now they have rhinos, and an area called “walking with lemurs” where you go into an enclosure and six lemurs are charging around with no bars or fences between you and the animal. There are signs saying not to touch the animals. Yeah, right! Like anyone’s not going to make the most of the chance to maul the animals about. There’s an impressive tiger area which is named after two keepers who were eaten by the same tiger within a month of each other in 1980.

And so to the gift shop where they exceeded my wildest expectations. Not content at unloading overpriced plastic tat, they are now doing the same with beer. Decent stuff – Oyster Stout – at 50p per bottle more than Asda does it for.

By now my foot was giving me gip, so back to home where we sparked up the carcass of the barby to cook up yesterday’s leftovers for tea, before having a crack at my nephew’s computer. Last Saturday I eventually ran out of time, but so far I’ve managed to get off all the anti-virus software that’s hindering rather than helping, stopped it trying to continually download episodes of Doctor Who, and got several viruses off of it. Next I’ve got to shift (at least) 106 bits of spyware. If only I could get into the task manager I might be able to sort it properly, but if all else fails I’ll give it the electronic equivalent of a hoof in the knackers. That usually works.


04 August 2007 (Saturday) - A Trip to the Ashdown Forest (Heffalumps & Woozles)

04 August 2007 (Saturday) - A Trip to the Ashdown Forest (Heffalumps & Woozles)magnify

As part of the ongoing birthday bash it had been suggested that we take a trip to Pooh Corner where the ancient game of Pooh Sticks was first invented. Five of us set off, and at Pooh Corner we met up with loads more friends. Money was squandered on tat in the gift shop (sounds familiar) and then it was off to Pooh Bridge. Some of us took our own sticks; I ransacked every dead tree I found on the way. Good fun was had by all, and then back to the car park for sarnies.

To view this multimedia content, please click here.

Some of our number left at this point, and those remaining walked up to the high point of the hundred acre wood. It was a warm day, and we'd been given directions to the ice cream van. Shame it wasn't there. I shall speak to my "local informant" later. To console myself I attempted to video Chippy having a wazz. I failed, but instead I've got a stunning admission on film:

To view this multimedia content, please click here.

The walk to the alleged ice cream van was all up, so the walk to the car park was down, which made things easier. Girly-types wanted to do more gift shop shopping, so to pass the time a pint of "Grasshopper" got guzzled in the beer garden of the Haywaggon. The plan was to go home via the sadly named "Brown Trout", but thanks to the wonders of police diversions and scrat-nav we found ourselves at The Star in Matfield. A pleasant beer garden, a rather manky pint of Harvey's. But these days it seems there is no other sort of Harvey's than manky. They've changed the brewing process this last year. It's not what it once was. And then, following a rather serious altercation with "Victoria" ending with her having her plug pulled we sunk a crafty pint of "Whitstable Bay" at The Bull in Linton.

Some of us then watched DVDs, ate pizza and drank beer for the rest of the evening. Me - I did the ironing.



05 August 2007 (Sunday) - Software

05 August 2007 (Sunday) - Softwaremagnify

I hung out two loads of washing, and its HOT today. Too hot to do anything. I could do with a lazy day after the week off work! I spent four episodes of Star Trek having a go at my nephew’s computer. I’ve got six viruses off of it, and over three hundred spywares off of it. But still it’s bleating about spyware being detected. Also, I can’t get into the task manager – it’s greyed out. All else is fast failing – format & re-start might be the only way forward.

But, thanks to “Him with one the size of a fun sized Mars bar” I now know that AVG do a free anti-spyware. I’ve downloaded it onto my PC and had a go – it found 76 bits of spyware. Just goes to show…. Well, it must go to show something I expect.



06 August 2007 (Monday) - Same Old same old.....

06 August 2007 (Monday) - Same Old same old.....magnify

After the fun of last week’s holiday – weddings, cub camp – the jamboree – Tina’s extended birthday bashes – it’s back to work. I try not to blog about my job. It’s not fair to say I dislike my job – it’s interesting and rewarding work, the money’s better than anything else I could probably get, the hours aren’t too bad (now I’ve jacked in the night work), my colleagues are good…. It’s just that in a month’s time I will have been doing the same job for twenty six years, and I want to do something else. Trouble is, I’ve no idea what.

In the meantime, if anyone has any ideas how to de-spyware my nephew’s computer, feel free to have a go at it. I’ll give it till the end of the week, and then if it’s still playing up, it’s “FORMAT C:


07 August 2007 (Tuesday) - A Good Sport....

07 August 2007 (Tuesday) - A Good Sport....magnify

In order to get the Chief Scout’s Award, Lizzie had to run an evening at cubs. Tonight she did an “Olympics Evening”, dividing the pack into teams and playing all sorts of games. We had a minor hiccup at the start. “Billy” isn’t very good at team games. He can’t be one of a team. Not only does he have to be the only winner, everyone else has to be seen to lose. And then have their noses rubbed in defeat. He’s a horrible child.

Things started badly when he ordered the rest of his team to sit down, shut up and watch him do all their turns. It was such fun to watch Lizzie announce that the next race would be the lo-lo ball. “Billy” can’t do the lo-lo ball. Not only did he fall flat on his face several times, the rest of his team then sat back and insisted he did all their goes like he’d insisted on earlier races. After all, he’s the best at sports (as he keeps telling them). Once he’d single-handedly successfully and spectacularly lost, the rest of his team laid into him about how useless he was. He then looked at me, and before he could bleat anything, I asked him what it felt like. And as he started his tirade about how mean everyone else had been to him, I pointed out that they had done nothing he hadn’t already done to them ten times over.

I hope he’s learned his lesson this time. But I doubt it.

1 Comment


08 August 2007 (Wednesday) - Stuff

I’ve done three days at work – that’s more than enough. I’m now having three more days off. Today’s educational seminar was on the subject of banger racing (we have a more varied syllabus over the summer). One of the trainees is a banger pilot. I didn’t realise that the average banger in banger racing only survives one race. One can either drive to win the race, or drive to prevent others from winning the race. Demolition derby is the name of the game. And any vehicle can be used. Even hearses & ice cream vans have a go. I’m paying my trainees too much!

The afternoon and evening was spent on “Ratwatch”. Allegedly there was a rat running around outside the window. Or that’s what’s being told to the girls. “Ratwatch” soon got boring as very little (absolutely sod all) was going on, so we looked to see what happens when you type your name into Google. Type in “Pornstar Dave Styles” and see what you get.


09 August 2007 (Thursday) - Getting Ready

09 August 2007 (Thursday) - Getting Readymagnify

My nephew’s computer is as good as it’s ever going to get. I’ve re-installed windows, plugged all the hardware cards back in (!) got anti-virus & anti-spyware running. They need updating, but he can do that. I’ve told him to take limewire off the thing. His PC’s not up to it, and if he wants to watch Doctor Who, then he can sell the PC & buy Doctor Who DVDs. I’ve half a mind to re-name his porn stash, but that would be mean, wouldn’t it?

And then to pack the Espace for the kite festival. The original plan had the morning earmarked for a trip to Hastings to load up with a polypin from the FILO, but as I’m rather skint I wondered how much beer I actually needed to get. A quick scurry round the house found thirty bottles of ale lying about. That should last a couple of days at least. I also found a knacked barbecue and some broken tents. I shall have to do a tip run when I return.

It’s Thursday – I mowed the lawn. Doesn’t take long, and it looks so much better. And so off to NeverWinter. I need to clear out all those orcs & trolls before the weekend.

1 Comment


10 August 2007 (Friday) - Here We Go Again

10 August 2007 (Friday) - Here We Go Againmagnify

NeverWinter Nights is a game in which you go through virtual landscapes solving problems, finding clues to puzzles, killing baddies….. I HATE it. I spent hours yesterday searching for four “thingies”, but could only find three. After several wasted hours I eventually went back to my character’s home town, and rather than telling the cleaning lady to bugger off (like I had been), I was nice to her, and she told me where to find the fourth “thingy”.

And so off to Teston kite festival for the tenth time. I hear there was people camped out last night.

Don’t forget to look for the meteors on Sunday night.


11 August 2007 (Saturday) - Teston Kite Festival

11 August 2007 (Saturday) - Teston Kite Festivalmagnify

Having heard that people were camped out at Teston on the Thursday night fuelled my panic that the August Teston Kite Festival was going to be standing room only, so yesterday we arrived shortly after 11am to find that the early birds were John & Danny who arrive early anyway, and Colin who’d got there at 11pm. I awoke feeling surprisingly chirpy (bearing in mind the gutful of ale I’d had the previous night) to find I’m seemingly missed 90% of the previous evening’s washing up. As I scrubbed, I looked around the field, and it seemed to me that there were less people than last time. I needn’ have panicked.

Breakfast was soon devoured, and then in true kite festival style, the day was pretty much squandered sitting around watching the kites, playing “Blokus”, drinking beer, and generally slobbing around.

All too soon the day was done, and the evening staged a barby which was scoffed by over twenty of us, and then we staged a birthday bash for the four birthday girls. As the night closed in, after a quick bat-hunt, telescopes were brought out and the moons of Jupiter were watched, before staggering off to bed around 1am.


12 August 2007 (Sunday) - Teston Kite Festival

12 August 2007 (Sunday) - Teston Kite Festivalmagnify

I awoke again feeling surprisingly chirpy (bearing in mind the gutful of ale I’d had the previous night) to find I’m seemingly missed 90% of the previous evening’s washing up. After the obligatory morning of “Blokus”, in a novel break with tradition I flew a kite. Apparently one of the kite companies has several thousand of the kites pictured above that they are unwilling to foist onto the public for the very good reason that the kites don’t actually fly. Following bombing the normal people several times, an extremely long launch got a flight of just over a minute. There were a lot of opinions being tried out to make the thing fly, but for some reason my suggestion (to fly it as a two lined kite as God intended) wasn’t one that was tested. It would have worked, too!

As a lot of people had to work on Monday, the day was spent saying goodbye to a good many friends, and I felt the place was somewhat depleted when we sat down to a smashing tea of Fajitas. I then made sure all the washing up was sorted this time, and we sat round a roaring fire to watch the predicted meteor shower. I must admit it was something of a disappointment. If you see one shooting star, you really have seen the lot. And if anyone tells you that the meteor shower is at it’s best after 2am, don’t believe them.


13 August 2007 (Monday) - Coming Home

A swift brekky, then time to take the tents down. Breaking camp is the bit I like the least – it all came out in three cars, so it SHOULD all fit back in the same cars. Now it’s all back in the shed & the lock-ups, all I’ve got to do is about twenty loads of laundry, and I’ll be all set for the next load of camping in two weeks time.


14 August 2007 (Tuesday) - Another Day in the Life

I see the Scottish want independence. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20070814/tpl-uk-britain-scotland-39349ed.html Why? An independent Scotland in the European Community will be different to the current set-up? I can’t see it. Mind you, it’s been my experience that the Scots are an odd lot. The ones I’ve met are always so proudly patriotic about “Bonny Scotland” that one cannot help but point out that you can’t get further away from Scotland than Kent and still be on the same island. If Scotland is so wonderful, why are they all in Kent?

It’s raining. Good job it didn’t rain yesterday. The last half-dozen camping trips have ended with putting away wet canvas and then all the problems of drying it out, so putting away dry tents was a bonus. The idea was to be getting them all out again in a fortnight, but with suspected foot and mouth disease less than twenty miles away, that plan might be cancelled. We shall see.

And so to cubs. The plan was to spend an evening up the park playing cricket, but rain stopped play. Instead we got the indoor curling stuff out, and good fun was had by all. Except by the one who spent the evening crying in the corner for no apparent reason. She does this a lot. Perhaps I’m too impatient, but if all she wants to do is grizzle, I leave her grizzling. In the past when she’s wanted to be part of what I’m running I tell her there’s no crying, and she doesn’t. I’m sure these kids play up for the audience.


15 August 2007 (Wednesday) - CAKE !!!!!

15 August 2007 (Wednesday) - CAKE !!!!!magnify

A week or so ago, one of my deputies baked gingerbread daleks. They were wonderful. Enthused by this, next Monday is the work’s “Cook-a-thon” in which everyone has to bake something vaguely cake-y and bring it in. In a fit of bravado I announced that I would bake a fruit cake. After all, I like fruit cake. How difficult can it be? It only has two ingredients, fruit and cake. A quick surf through Google led me to the Diocese of Oxford’s web site (of all places) where they had a “simple” fruit cake recipe:


·         225g self raising flour

·         150g butter

·         110g light brown sugar

·         2 medium eggs

·         1/2 tsp baking powder

·         250g luxury mixed fruit

·         10g chopped apricots

·         75g chopped almonds,

·         50g chopped cherries


·         Place the flour in a warm place before using and take the eggs and butter out of the fridge an hour before starting

·         Cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy.

·         Add the eggs, one by one, using a little sieved flour with each egg to stop the mixture curdling. Beat until smooth.

·         Fold in most of the sieved flour and the 1/2 tsp baking powder.

·         Shake the rest of the flour on to the dried fruit. (This helps to stop the fruit from sinking.)

·         Add to the cake mixture and stir well.

·         Put into a lined, greased 9-inch cake tin and cook in an oven at gas mark 5, 375ºF, 190ºC for 15 minutes.

·         Then turn down to gas mark 2, 300ºF, 150ºC for a further 1 and a quarter hours, or until the cake has risen evenly and is firm to the touch when pressed with a finger.

·         Cool on the rack before removing from the tin.

Now, bearing in mind that bringing in a lump of charcoal and declaring it was in the oven for too long is considered bad form, I thought I’d have a trial run tonight. A quick voom round Tesco’s found most of the ingredients. They didn’t have any chopped almonds, but I found some “dried peel” in the cake section. The nice lady in Tesco’s says it’s a standard cake ingredient, so I got that instead.

Having lugged the lot home I saw the first flaw in the recipe. Warming the flour, eggs and butter for an hour would take too long. Life is too short to fart around. Fifteen seconds in the microwave did the same trick (I expect). Next step – “Cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy””. Cream until fluffy? WTF does that mean? I stirred them about a bit until most of the lumps went. It didn’t taste too bad, so it can’t be that far wrong.

Adding the eggs was OK, but why on earth sieve the flour? It’s only going to get all stodgy when it mixes with the rest anyway. I just bunged it in along with the baking powder. I’ve absolutely no idea how much “1/2 tsp” is. I bunged in a muesli spoon full. Probably too much, but as I always say, better too much than too little. It can leave what it doesn’t want. There was a minor hiccup with the fruit in that I probably scoffed too much whilst mixing. But the recipe called for 50g cherries and I’d actually bunged in 200g. I hoped it would all work out alright in the end.

It was at this point that I reached a major problem. “Lined, greased cake tin”. Lined with what? Greased with what? If all else fails, ask Mum. Dad answered the phone, and the ensuing conversation showed what parental confidence is all about.

            Me: “Yo Dad, It’s me”

            Dad: “Hullo”

            Me: “Is Mum in? I need to ask her expert opinion”

            Dad: “Oh?”

            Me: “I’m baking a cake”

            Dad: “Oh God! (Aside to my mother) – Christ, guess what - he’s baking a cake!”

            Mum: “You’re baking a cake?”

            Me: “Yes”

            Mum: “Oh God!”

Having got past the parental incredulity, it transpired that the next stage was one of most amazing examples of farting around I’ve ever encountered. First of all you grease up the baking tin with butter, margarine or some other such grease. Then to counter this, you line the tin with greaseproof paper. Yes, I know – it sounds daft. Why not just chuck the dollop of cake mix in the tin and be done with it. Apparently it doesn’t work that way. I consider the whole thing to be a scam perpetrated by the makers of butter and greaseproof paper, but who am I to go against Mum’s sage advice? So I went up the shop to buy greaseproof paper. (Greaseproof paper indeed! – you couldn’t make it up!) I then farted about with butter, greaseproof paper and the baking tin, bunged the whole lot in the oven and shoved off for an hour or so.

Er indoors” came home half way through the baking process, wandered into the kitchen and fell about laughing. I suspect she’d been on the phone to my mother. Having said that, a cup of coffee (and biccies!) was delivered much earlier than usual. I expect she was covering all options just in case the cake wasn’t a total disaster and she wanted some.

It’s currently out of the oven and cooling off. It smells good. I shall try some in a minute.



16 August 2007 (Thursday) - Four Days until the Cake-a-thon

Well, the cake was a tad dry, but I blame the instructions – “Then turn down to… until the cake has risen evenly and is firm to the touch when pressed with a finger.” It’s a bit vague, isn’t it? How firm is “firm”? Marginally firmer than the original mixture, or firm as a brick? Mark II will be in the oven for a slightly shorter time. Also, the cake could have risen a bit more (well risen at all would have been nice). There are some schools of thought that say I should have sieved the flour first. I remain sceptical on that. A bit more baking powder would do the trick, or failing that, I’ll chuck some yeast in.

If nothing else, having a trial run has put the fear of God up some of the other participants in the “Cake-a-thon”. Not only is my “CAKE !!!!! Mk I” now well past the theoretical stage, but my boss has joined the fray, announcing that he’s good at making big cakes. Many of the other cake-ateers are looking very worried. Most of the PCs at work today featured various bakery-related Google searches. A late change to the rules has also caused consternation. It’s now necessary to announce the cake you are going to make by tomorrow and show the recipe. The idea is to stop people getting Mr Kipling to do the hard work.

Also, once someone’s bagsied a certain sort of cake, then no-one else can do that sort of cake. The plan was that we’ll have a decent selection of stuff to scoff, but this decree has upset the “cornflake cake” brigade, and I understand there are ongoing tense negotiations as to who gets to make the “cornflake cake” and who has to delve into the unknown waters of rice crispie fingers.


17 August 2007 (Friday) - In the Garden

A late start at work today gave me the morning for generally farting around. The plan was to do the ironing, but as the weather’s been a bit iffy lately, all the laundry is still at the “still grubby” stage. So I wasted the morning giving the washing machine a workout. By the time I got to the fifth load of the day the washing line was full, and I’d run out of pegs. If all else fails I can always nail my smalls to the fence (again).

Meanwhile back in the pond. I’ve got two brands of fish food for the Koi. The very expensive stuff at £30 per bag, and the incredibly expensive stuff at £80 per bag (which I won in the fish shop raffle). When I walk up to the pond, the fish know I’m coming, and are all at the surface with their noses a good three inches out of the water. But only if I’m feeding them with the £80 fish food. If I’ve got the £30 stuff, they are all three feet down, and have no interest in coming to the surface. How do they know? And if I chuck in a handful of each, they scoff the lot and then spit out the £30 stuff.


18 August 2007 (Saturday) - A walk to CHALLOCK !!!!!

18 August 2007 (Saturday) - A walk to CHALLOCK !!!!!magnify

A walk in the countryside had been planned for today, and walk we did. To Challock. Why do people ask “Oh you went to Challock did you?” as though that was not what we had in mind? For some strange reason there is a rumour that we were planning to walk to Molash? Molash? Who said anything about Molash? Who wants to go there? Stupid place!

There’s no denying the first bit of the hike had something of an “up” theme to it, but once all the “up” was done, we had a really good walk to Challock (NOT Molash!), pausing only briefly to phone Brian (who was cycling up). He’d arranged to meet us in “The George” at Molash for some reason (can’t think why he thought we told him to meet us there), and we though we’d best check he wasn’t waiting for us in the wrong pub..

The Chequers in Challock (NOT Molash!) is a smashing pub with a record of all the publicans of the place dating back to before the civil war. There’s no denying my heart sank when I saw that they had only one of four hand pumps working, and the one that was working had Harvey’s Best. Once my favourite ale, just lately I’ve found Harvey’s to be only marginally superior to the water you boil spuds in. It’s been manky in Rye, Hastings, Ashford, Matfield, all over the place. But today it was every bit as good as it used to be. Two pints of that washed down a plate of ham & chips, and following a swift banana split we set off to see if we could stuff up the map reading on the way home as well. After all, you can pretend that where you actually go for dinner is where you always intended to go, but you’ve actually got to get back to where the car was left. Fortunately we made our way home without serious incident. We’ll do Molash next time.

With barely time for a quick shower it was round to Chez Z for a drinks party. For some reason I was given command of the fire, and there’s no denying the chiminere had something of an after-burner effect at one stage. Still, as I’m reliably informed, where there’s smoke, there’s kippers.


19 August 2007 (Sunday) - Daisy

19 August 2007 (Sunday) - Daisymagnify

Having walked somewhat further than anticipated yesterday (for some inexplicable reason) I fully expected my legs to be aching today. But it’s not just the legs. Everything ached when I woke up. Rather than lying there griping, I leapt into action and spent two hours doing the ironing whilst watching SpongeBob Squarepants.

And then to Tesco’s for more ingredients for “CAKE !!! MKII”. I’ve been to Tesco’s more times than I care to remember, but today’s trip left me feeling really claustrophobic. It wasn’t so much the crowds that bothered me. It was the fact that no-one was actually shopping. Instead everyone seemed to be blindly blundering around the shop, crashing into each other. But equipped with butter and eggs I soon escaped and we set off for Folkestone for an afternoon in the pool. Or that was the plan. With one week until the August Bank Holiday, we had a monsoon party instead of a pool party. But a good time was had by all, far too much good food scoffed as well. And then the phone rang. “My Boy TM” had set off with “His Bird TM” to find Grafty Green garden centre. I was expecting him to be asking for directions, but he’d found the place, and was asking me if we had any heat mats left over from the days of the snakes. He needed a heat mat for “Daisy”.

Daisy is the latest addition to his menagerie, and is a scorpion. Now when I was into weird and wonderful beasts I was told that the scorpion stayed in the tank. He’s walking round holding the thing. All the books say the smaller the claws, the worse the sting. It’s got some pretty ferocious claws so in theory if he does get a poke off the creature, it shouldn’t be too bad. Mind you, Daisy’s attractive enough in his own unique way, I suppose.

Meanwhile back in the kitchen, “CAKE !!! MKII” was brought into existence. Following the advice of my loyal readership, I sieved the flour. This sieving lark took ages, and made a real mess. But on the plus side the thing has risen quite impressively. But, as the old adage goes, the proof of the cake is in the eating. We shall see tomorrow – at the cake-a-thon.



20 August 2007 (Monday) - Tea & Cake

20 August 2007 (Monday) - Tea & Cakemagnify

The cake-a-thon provided a decent haul of cakes. This morning I scoffed a gingerbread dalek, malt loaf and a lump of date & hazelnut cake. Dinner was chased down by a banana muffin, rice crispie cake & a rock cake, and at tea time I had some of my own CAKE!!, a cornflake cake and a raisin cake. With a slice of home made bread on the way home, there are still loads left over for tomorrow.

And so to the astronomy club. Tonight was a brill talk of the features of the summer & autumn sky. The odd shape in the sky I couldn’t figure out the other day was Sagittarius. Membership is on the up, double the attendance we had last month. As there’s precious few at the club who actually know much about practical astronomy I had this brainwave that they’d be better used talking to the new people, so I set myself up as “tea boy”. And apart from dunking my sleeve in the secretary’s coffee, I think I made a pretty good job of it.

Next time I’ll bring a cake!

1 Comment


21 August 2007 (Tuesday) - Fun at Cubs

One of the spanners at cubs was particularly delightful tonight. He claims to have some medical excuse for his abysmal behaviour, but most children do these days. After trying to start a game and having him disrupt it five times, I told him that I was not prepared to put up with his rudeness any more. I told him he was out of the game for ten minutes. “No I’m not” he replied. I assured him that he was out, and that he could leave the game himself, or I would drag him out, kicking and screaming if need be. He marched off, and as he came level with me, he looked me in the eye and deliberately burst into tears. “Oh, you’re crying” I observed. “Good! Perhaps you’ll not be so rude in future”. He stormed off, kicking a stack of chairs as he went.

A little late he attempted a repeat of his rudeness, and I picked him up on it. He stormed off to the big boss cub leader and complained that I was winding him up. Apparently he’s allowed to be as rude as he likes, but I cannot complain about his behaviour. Little sh*t! – I’m not having that. He was out again for another session.

But the others seemed to enjoy themselves. Which was the main thing.


22 August 2007 (Wednesday) - Some Old Photos

A last minute change to the leave calendar yesterday gave me a late start today. I quite like a late start on a Wednesday. For some reasons I get quite tired on a Tuesday evening (must be getting old). I thought I'd have a clear out on my PC, and I found one or two (thousand) photos from the last few years, so I activated "You-Tube Mode". I have plans for other such video compilations, perhaps themed ones? As always, I'm open to comments and suggestions.

To view this multimedia content, please click here.

In the meantime, does anyone have a very small toy trumpet (about six to eight inches long) and/or a very wide (three to four feet) water tank or container?



23 August 2007 (Thursday) - Preparing for Bat-Camp ?

The plan was to take a whole load of tents and such like to the farm today to set them up in readiness for the weekend. It rained pretty much all day long. I eventually got the stuff to the farm at 7pm, stuck it in a barn, and it can wait for tomorrow, or for the rain to stop. Hopefully both.

We got a fire pit and a poo pit dug, so the day wasn’t entirely wasted in NeverWinter.


24 August 2007 (Friday) - Off to Bat-Camp

24 August 2007 (Friday) - Off to Bat-Campmagnify

Thought I’d get up early & finish the packing. Whilst scoffing a bowl of muesli over “Fairly Odd Parents” there was a knock on the door. “Rabbit Boy” was delivering his emergency backup smalls. I’d barely got back to the antics of Cosmo and Wanda when there was another knock. Another camper (!) with even more emergency backup smalls. Perhaps I’ve not packed quite so well this time, but we seem to have a lot more luggage than we normally take camping.

At least this time a lot of it won’t be coming back with me. For much of the camping gear, this weekend is the equivalent of flying south for the winter, or until the second weekend in June next year. Enough mucking about – Martin will be here soon. A quick trip to Tesco for cash & petrol, some maggots from the fishing shop and then off we go to Bat-Camp Mk VIII.


25 August 2007 (Saturday) - Bat Camp

25 August 2007 (Saturday) - Bat Campmagnify

As always I’m up with the lark at Bat-Camp, and by the time I’d washed, shaved & abluted it was only 6.15am, so I thought Id have an early morning fishing session. However, it was rather foggy, and I got lost. I’m not sure how you can get lost walking across a field, but I managed it. Eventually I found my way to the pond, and spent a good three hours until the phone call for breakfast came.

Brekky was good, but by the time we’d scoffed and washed up, the morning was nearly gone. It’s something of a tradition that the Saturday at Bat-Camp is a pub lunch (or “dinner” to the more salubrious amongst us). We had a lovely walk up to the Chequers where some really good sandwiches were scoffed, and we then fed the fish in the pub’s pond. They were huge!! It was rather tempting to spend the afternoon in the beer garden, but as we’d plenty of beer back at camp, it seemed rather daft to line their pockets, so back to camp we went.

The afternoon was spent somewhat leisurely, dozing in the sun. Me – I went back up the pond fishing. In all I caught 122, which together with the 14 from the night before gave a running total for the weekend so far of 136. Towards the end of the afternoon I was joined by Martin and Tony who both had a go, one more successfully than the other.

And so back to the campsite for a smashing Barbie, and then we sat around the fire late into the night.


26 August 2007 (Sunday) - Bat Camp

26 August 2007 (Sunday) - Bat Campmagnify

Despite several beers last night I was again up and raring to go before 6am, and with only an hour’s break for brekky, I stayed at the pond fishing until about 4pm. Fortunately dinner (and beer) was delivered at mid day, and shortly after this, Matt and James arrived for an afternoon’s fishing. Or that was what they said. I am still rather mystified to what they were actually doing al afternoon ad they seemed to catch pretty few fish as my total for the weekend stormed up to 273.

And so back to the campsite where Father-In-Law had arrived to visit. An hour was spent hurling arrows in the direction of various targets before setting about another barby. I volunteered the services of “Rabbit Boy TM” to do the washing up, and hopefully he’s learned from my example that if you want to scoff the leftovers, do it BEFORE you smother the dirty stuff with washing up liquid.

Tonight’s camp fire was started earlier than usual. This had the bonus that I could enjoy more of it before falling asleep, but after a quick dose of “Foo-Foo the Bunny Rabbit“ I was soon snoring.


27 August 2007 (Bank Holiday Monday) - Bat Camp

Despite a load more beers last night I was again up and raring to go at 5.45am. One of our number – I know who it was – forgot that today was a Monday and their alarm went off at 6am. When you’re already up, that sort of this was quite funny.

With a running fish total of 273 I thought I’d just knock it up to a round 300 before brekky. It took some doing – that last fish just didn’t want to be caught. After a smashing brekky we broke camp, loaded it all up and soon were ready to go home. Well, not that soon. In previous years we’ve been off by 11am. This year it was late afternoon before the car was emptied.

It has to be said we did spend a little time hoiking dead fish out of the duck pond. His morning Clive & I saw two large dead carp, and so we sent the Navy (well, ‘er indoors on a sinking lilo) to get them out. A heron had spiked them with its beak. They were far too large for a heron to eat, but it had still had a go at the fish. But that couldn’t have taken more than half an hour… ?

1 Comment


28 August 2007 (Tuesday) - More Fishing

28 August 2007 (Tuesday) - More Fishingmagnify

One of the highlights of the cubbing year is the annual fishing trip. It’s not fishing in the traditional sense. Proper fishing is akin to a tug o’ war between man and fish, and the first one to enter the other’s element loses. With cub fishing we grab our nets and charge into the water to see what we can catch. In previous years this has ranged from ribbed ticklers to typhoid fever.

With thirty cubs of various shapes, sizes and swimming ability fishing, fitting and generally sodding about in the water, my hopes of a catch weren’t high, but we managed half a dozen tiddlers that were larger than at least fifty of my catches over the last weekend. It’s amazing how many cubs ask if there are crocodiles in the river (with an idiot grin) thinking that is an oh-so-original comment. They really have no idea that this was an old, tired gag long before they were born. It’s even more amazing how these same clever-clogs are the first to run out of the river screaming in terror when I turn suddenly and yell “Everyone out NOW!!!!! – Shark !!

Once we were so cold we couldn’t feel below our knees it was time to get out. Cake (CAKE!!!) was fed to all as those of us with dry clothing put it on. Before going in, each cub personally assured me they had a change of trousers and footwear. On coming out a good third of them stood shivering in wet clothing because they didn’t have a change of trousers and footwear, and had just trashed their best trainers by going goolies-deep in the river with them on.

Having paused to teach the girl cubs the rudiments of modesty, it was time to go home. We then stood by the park gates waiting for the parents who had been told to collect the cubs from the park gates. After ten minutes one of the leaders drove round to the scout hut to ask the thirty sets of parents what they were doing at the scout hut, and why hadn’t they read the notes sent home last week. They never read these notes….but that’s a grumble for another time.


29 August 2007 (Wednesday) - The News

Today’s news tells of prison officers on strike because their annual pay rise is the same as mine. Striking prison officers defy injunction During the course of the industrial action one convict was found dead in his cell. Apparently this is unrelated to the industrial action. Perhaps it is. I don’t know. If the inmates are banged up, someone needs to look after them. The prison officers are doing themselves no favours by illegally striking when when their union made a no-strike agreement a couple of years ago. And hearing their officials tell the government to “stick their offer up their arse” on the radio (I love radio 4) does little to foster public support.

Meanwhile in other news Russian woman sets fire to ex-husband's penis I’d like to think I’d know if someone was setting my chopper alight.

1 Comment


30 August 2007 (Thursday) - Law and Order Revisited

30 August 2007 (Thursday) - Law and Order Revisitedmagnify

In May I posted a rant asking what were the police playing at. The news of the day told the sad tale of a taxi driver who was murdered. A murder which other taxi drivers claim was inevitable as the police refused to listen to the concerns of the taxi drivers. The local chief superintendent at the time advised the public that “This is not an issue where individuals or groups should take the law into their own hands'.

Today’s news carries the tale of a chap in Belfast. He’d been providing drugs to local children. This was common knowledge and the police had been informed, and done nothing. And then it would seem the police have the gall to act surprised when decent people take the law into their own hands. The “drug dealing scumbag” was tarred, feathered and tied to a lamp post for all to see.

Do I agree with what they did….. yes. I do. IF they’ve got the “drug dealing scumbag”. But how do we find out if they’ve not got some poor innocent? We have a legal and judicial system. A system which has obviously fallen at the first hurdle as those charged with protecting the public aren’t going out and doing their jobs.

·         When “My Boy TM” was assaulted by the security staff at Ashford International the police refused to press charges.

·         On complaining about the paedophile who was telling all and sundry about his designs on my daughter, the police formally cautioned me to stop my harassment of this pervert.

·         Last year “My Boy TM” was arrested on totally trumped-up charges. Our local MP’s comments seemed to imply that the police can do whatever they like. I wrote to the chief constable whose office sent back a standard reply, and a few months later a local sergeant phoned to tell me to mind my own business.

·         When the car of My Boy TM’s bird” got broken into recently, the police flatly refused to show any interest in the matter.

·         The police know who smashed our front window, but refuse to press charges.

So what is the alternative to a have a legal and judicial system? Mob rule? Unless our legal and judicial system sorts itself out, we will have nothing but mob rule.


31 August 2007 (Friday) - Suspicion

31 August 2007 (Friday) - Suspicionmagnify

On Wednesday evening & night I did six loads of washing. Yesterday I pegged them out and did loads more. I then came home to find Katy had brought all the washing in and had hoovered and swept the stairs. This morning I pegged out loads more washing. Tonight I came home to find her getting the stuff off the line, having ironed all the stuff from earlier.

That girl’s up to something. I wonder what….