1 August 2009 (Saturday) - A Garden Party



The morning started with a myriad of last minute preparations. Have we got this, have we got that? Have we got enough beer? (Dur!) Following a frantic setting-up in the garden, “My Boy TM ” was dispatched to the tip with a carful of rubbish, and then far too much money was spent in Tesco’s.


And then some time was spent racking my brain as to had I forgotten to invite anyone. I’m pretty sure that I had emailed and Facebook-ed everyone. And I had spoken with loads of people about the party over the last few weeks. And the party date had been up on the blog for a fortnight. I’m sure I told everyone.

I’m equally sure that over the next few days I will find people who didn’t get the message.


The plan was to start at 3pm, since originally I was supposed to be working until 1pm. In retrospect we should have started at 1pm. The morning was beautiful whilst I set up, and as I had a sarnie at mid day, so it clouded over. My brother arrived at 2.30pm, and it was getting darker. We probably had an hour or so before the weather turned. But, as I’d said before, we were going to carry on regardless of the weather.

With a gazebo, a couple of umbrellas, Chip’s gurt brolly and a tarpaulin hung over the washing line we managed to provide shelter for over forty friends and family. I say “shelter” – there was a small degree of cover, but it did get a tad damp towards the end of the evening. It was probably for the best that not everyone could make it – there is a limit as to how many people can squash under a gazebo. Next time I shall have two gazebos. But it was fun - there was close on a dozen still going strong when I went to bed at 1am…


If all has gone according to plan, you can see photos of the event here.



2 August 2009 (Sunday) - The Day After



I woke shortly after 8am to the sound of voices in the living room. Voices I didn’t recognise at first. Close on a dozen people had stayed the night after last night’s session. I wish I’d known that was going to happen – I would have arranged a full English breakfast for everyone.

And then it was time to clear away the carnage. “Daddies Little Angel TM  lost two nails, one camping chair didn’t survive last night, and one umbrella didn’t survive me taking it down this morning. And I had to rebuild the containment of one of the water features. All things considered, not too bad.

Normally a large amount of tidying away would have happened immediately after the session, but everything was waterlogged last night. This morning was glorious, and by 10am gazebos and chairs were dry and were put away. In fact the only thing still left to go away is Chip’s gurt umbrella-thingy. I would have taken it back home for him, but I can’t quite figure out how to disassemble it.


With four dustbin bags of party rubbish and another four bags of empty bottles we popped round the skip to get shot of it all. The local cats will rip open any bin bags just in case there’s something worth having inside them, and with the amount of half eaten sausages and burgers that was in them, the bags wouldn’t have lasted half an hour.

The local cats are a real problem. It’s got so’s anything we have with bones in, after the meal we throw the bones in the front garden so that the cats don’t have to muck about ripping open bags to get at the bones.


And then as it was a lovely day me and er indoors TM cycled the scenic route to Shadoxhurst for a pint of the mild and a bowl of the olives….



3 August 2009 (Monday) - Work Experience



Today I had a work experience girl in tow. Having completed the second year of a three year degree she thought she’d see “biomedical science” in action. I would have thought that such research would have been something she should have considered before starting the degree, but what do I know.


She didn’t seem overly impressed with blood tests, and having spent most of the morning watching what we did, she asked if we did any “analysis”. I again patiently explained what we did, and showed her the results of several analyses, together with the various interpretations one might make on the blood test results. She announced that this was all rather vague and dull.

It transpired that despite having been at university for two years, she’d been watching “CSI” and “Bones” on the telly, and thought it was all real. Bless. She then asked what “other biomedical scientists” do. Other ones? – Yes the ones that don’t work in hospitals (!)


Why do people do this? They’ve got to have a modicum of intelligence to get into a university in the first place. And then they run up tens of thousands of pounds of debts at said university studying a subject they think sounds exciting. Only to find it’s not.


In other news, my dress has arrived. I have had my spies roaming the charity shops to find a dress in my size. Now I have it, I have no idea why I wanted it. And so back to NeverWinter. There are more sailors there, I hear….



4 August 2009 (Tuesday) – Facebook



I see an Archbishop has declared that Facebook is the work of Satan. Apparently it undermines society. Some people will trot out any old rubbish to cover up the fact they cannot use a computer. Computer illiteracy these days as a handicap must be on a par with being unable to read or write. So rather than carrying on in ignorance, why not learn to operate the thing? It’s not difficult.


But this prompted me to have a look at my Facebook account this morning. I have 153 friends on it. I say “friends” – there are a lot of close friends and some people from work who are on there that I see face to face at least weekly. It’s fun to see what they are up to on a daily basis. There are quite a few people that I’d like to see a lot more of, but distance prevents it. Facebook is an ideal way to keep in touch. There are family members on there who otherwise I’d only ever hear from at Xmas and funerals.

And there are five people I don’t know from Adam. Who on earth is Alison Green from Nottingham? I’ve looked at our mutual friends. Two are people I also don’t know, and the other two are both very good friends to me, but I’m sure hardly know each other.


Facebook also suggests people you can add to your friends list. It keeps suggesting I should buddy up with Lorraine Bray. I’ve no idea who she is. She only has one friend on Facebook – one Chris White who is similarly utterly unknown to me. Another frequent suggestion is Keryl Gardner who also has no one at all in common with me.


You can play silly games too. “Bricks Breaking” and “Farkle” are fun. There’s my nation – “The People’s Republic of Badgerland”. And I use Facebook as an on-line photo album.

You can put your status on Facebook too. I try to put up sarcastic and amusing comments from time to time. A friend of my nephew uses his status to inform the world of the blow-by-blow turns of his on-off relationship with “Sophie”. And his mother uses her status to make personal comments at whoever has most recently hacked her off.

A cousin is currently making cryptically tearful comments on an hourly basis about her current life crises…. Perhaps the Archbishop has a point…



5 August 2009 (Wednesday) - Dull



Some days I find myself with stuff I can rant about. Other days my life is interesting. Today was rather dull. Got up, went to work, did my bit, came home again.

The only highlight was packing the car in readiness for Teston. The weather forecast could look better, but it could look a whole lot worse…


So to NeverWinter, where I’ve become a sailor on HMS Redoubtable. I’m chummy with the Captain, but when there’s fighting to be done, the Captain hides, and I’m left with Grimy Joe. A bit like life in general, really…




6 August 2009 (Thursday) - To Teston (Again)



For a long time, the second Teston Kite Festival had been looking to be something of a non-event for me. With er indoors TM away for the weekend in Birmingham, and most of the “usual suspects” unable to get time off work, for some time I’d resigned myself to either not going, or turning up in a very small tent and throwing myself on my sister-in-law’s mercy for food. In the end, enough people wangled time off work to make it worth going, and since er indoors TM would have to leave for Brum early on Friday evening, we asked the wardens at Teston if we could be cheeky and set up on Thursday.


They said it would be fine so having loaded the car yesterday, following a dull day at work I drove straight to Teston to set up. Two or three other intrepid souls had already set up their camps for the weekend, and after five minutes, Dan from work arrived. I’d mentioned that I was going camping, and I’d suggested he might like an evening in a field. Once he’d put all the tents up, everyone else arrived. Tea was soon cooked, a beer or two (twelve) drunk and then we had a bottle of port for afters. It was at this point that we realised our gazebo needs proofing. The steady rain on the outside of the gazebo was coming through as a fine rain inside the gazebo. But once you’re onto the second gallon of lager (!) no one really minds.


I was glad to be back at Teston. For all that it’s just a field thirty miles away that I go to for a long weekend twice a year, it feels like home. One of our provisional plans had us setting up camp, and then coming home for work on Friday. As we waved goodbye to Dan (shortly after midnight) I was so pleased I didn’t have to go back home just yet…..


7 August 2009 (Friday) - Teston Kite Festival (Nearly)



Last night er indoors TM had found her air bed had gone flat, and had decided to rough it. I always rough it on the floor, and this morning for some reason I woke up with the world’s worst backache. Once last night’s washing up was done we had a late breakfast. You can’t beat sausages, bacon and eggs in a field.


Once the banners were up, family and more friends arrived and started putting up their tents. Some went up easier than others, and there were reports of the Sevenoaks contingent having a disappointing erection. And then the morning had gone. I don’t know where, or how, but suddenly it was mid day. Time for a bit of scoff – bread & cheese and a bottle of beer. Can’t be bad.


Most of the afternoon was spent gloating. There is nothing as entertaining as someone else’s misfortune, and Dave certainly had misfortune. His car window had collapsed, necessitating a complete dissection and rebuild of one of the car doors. I can’t pretend to be an expert on car doors, but we spent an entertaining hour or so making helpful comments whilst Dave fixed the broken thing.

And then I thought I’d fly a kite. After all, it was a kite festival. However there was one minor drawback – no wind. Which is usually the case at Teston. Either no wind at all, or a hurricane right down the middle. Rarely anything in between. SO rather than flying a kite, I got out the bubble sword which I’d won at the Brighton Kite Fliers AGM earlier in the year. This soon attracted a following of littluns who all wanted a go, and the bubble sword probably lasted an hour before breaking.


Earlly tea as er indoors TM was off to the midlands, and whilst Batty went to fetch Brian (and some reading material) we spent the time chatting (or “Habjabbing” as I’m told it’s called). Whilst some of the campers went off to the Chinese restaurant, we watched others fill move the site’s picnic tables into the tents of the diners. These things are heavy, you need two people to shift them, and it was fun to see Dick’s reaction to stagger into his tent, only to be unable to get into his tent because it was full of table.


We got Dave’s telescope out and looked at the Moon, and the moons of Jupiter until the Sevenoaks contingent started blowing their home made digeri-!!!-doos for a wind up. Once we’d exchanged insults, the mist was rolling in from the river, and it was 1am. Time for bed…




8 August 2009 (Saturday) - Teston Kite Festival



Having slept like a log on Thursday night I didn’t sleep so well last night. Oh it was cold. And I was woken at 6am by the alarm on my mobile. Despite having switched the thing off, it decided to wake me, and as I found the thing, it had a message on the screen asking if I wanted to turn it on. I pressed “shaddap you face” and went back to sleep only to be woken five minutes later by the phone telling me I’d snoozed enough. In the end I had to turn off all the alarms, by which time I was wide awake and so set off on the long walk to the toilets.


Bryan was also going up the field, and I sensed all was not well. He had really bad gut pains, and I all but carried him to the loo. I tried to laugh it off, telling him it was a divine judgement for the didgeridoo noises of the previous evening, but privately I was wondering if I shouldn’t take him up to the hospital.


After a smashing bit of brekky we went shopping. Girly-types went off in search of groceries, provisions and stuff for the rest of the day’s meals. I drove a contingent to Morrison’s for more beer. We were down to a dozen bottles, and that wasn’t going to last.


And then back to camp. For some time (about three or four years) I have been threatening to have a serious maintenance session with our banners, fix and maintain the “elf” ones and adjust all the dragon ones so they fly at the same height. And that’s what I did. It was really peaceful, watching the kites in the sky, and fixing and stitching the banners. I stopped for a bit of bread & cheese, and then carried on. And then, just as I was putting the sewing box away after spending half a day fixing banners a freak gust of wind blew four of them over the hedge, and three of them into the hedge. I got the sewing box out again.


Whilst Blokus and guitar lessons went on around us, some of us (“Team Manky”) entered the festival’s quiz. Sixty questions of the sort of “7 D in a W”. Which is obvious – seven days in a week.15 M on a DMC” wasn’t so easy, and no one got “88 PK”. I got a spare sheet and I’ll send it in to the chokey instead of a crossword. At 4pm the results were announced. With a score of 40 out of a possible 60 correct, we had won the first prize of a home made fruit cake. And so “Team Manky” spent half an hour walking round the campsite gloating.


With er indoors TM absent, we were taking turns in the kitchen, and Lisa made a really good stir fry. I ate far too much, and then shoved down cake & custard just to be greedy. It was at this point that the news came that some of the children had had their bikes stolen. Because the festival site is open to the public, you never really know who is about, and some gits had stolen two of the bikes from next to the tents.


We carried on drinking to excess. The group down from us were getting excitable. One of the older chaps (who is sixty if he’s a day) was running round in a rubber thong for a bit of a laugh. But dinner wasn’t sitting well, so I wandered up to the loos for a gronk. Whilst sitting on the cludgee, I heard what I thought was the entire camp screaming for me. So, hoiking up undercrackers, I charged back to the field to find they didn’t want me at all. They were all bellowing “BOGIES!!!!” at each other, but at the distance of the toiltets it sounded like “MANKY!!!!”. Oh how I laughed.


Whilst other campers were sharing the delight of rubber thongs we staged an impromptu port & stilton party. Which soon ran into problems as the stilton run out after the first bottle of port. So the second bottle of port was accompanied by Dairylea Dunkers. Which wasn’t the same. By this time I was beginning to wilt, but I found myself chatting with all and sundry. The chap who runs Teston Kite Festivals has (after twenty one years) had enough. I had mentioned that if no one else wanted to take it on, I would. And so I found myself being canvassed by everyone about my opinions on this, that and the other. I think I had satisfied the concerns of all and sundry, because at 2am my election campaign was launched with the slogan of “Don’t be a daft !?*?!, vote Badger!”. I finally got to bed just before 3am.



9 August 2009 (Sunday) - Teston Kite festival (Still)



Despite being the last person at the festival to bed last night, I was still up and about at 7.30am. I spent a little while pootling about, and disappointed those who thought I’d put the kettle on for making coffee. If someone wants coffee in the morning, that’s fine. They can make me some too, whilst I do the washing up. “Daddies Little Angel TM  made a fine cup of coffee. Or that is, she made me a fine cup. Hers wasn’t so good. The milk had gone squafty overnight, and was actually now lumpy. Once she’d finished honking (and I’d stopped laughing) she got on with breakfast. She makes a good cooked brekkie.


Ably assisted by Batty (who had stepped into the role of catering supremo) we set off to Asda for the ingredients for tea. I was on cookhouse duty, and we’d decided I’d make a mild chicken curry.


And so back to campsite where I was greeted by my niece who was proudly telling the world she’d been peed on by a puppy. It transpired that some of the caravans were leaking pee, but people weren’t quite so proud about that. In the spirit of joining in with the kite festival I tried to fly a dustbin liner as a kite, then fixed more banners. Some had had the poles poke through them overnight.


Bread & cheese for dinner, washed down with a couple of bottles of Oyster Stout. And then I set about preparing the chicken curry for tea, whilst people sat around chatting, playing Blokus and generally relaxing. The news came that I wasn’t to be taking over the running of the Teston Kite Festival. Apparently the torch has been passed to the Kent Kite Fliers. I don’t really know much about the people, but I wish them luck. I didn’t really want the responsibility of running the thing anyway (as I blogged on 15thJune).


Something noteworthy happened during the afternoon. It’s traditional at Teston Kite Festival that all of the campers get together for a group photo. It’s a tradition that I found out about third hand, and for all that this was my fourteenth time camping at the place, this was only the second time I was actually invited to be in the photo. We all posed, mucked about, and spent quite a bit of time waiting for the camera to work. I wonder if I’ll ever see the piccie.


We said goodbye to Brian (who had to be back home for work), and scoffed the curry I’d made. I was rather nervous. This weekend we’d shared the cookery. Following excellent spag bol, fahitas, stir fry, and full Englishes I had an awful lot to live up to. But I was pleasantly surprised with what I’d come up with.


er indoors TM arrived back from training candles, and we spent a pleasant evening watching all and sundry doing gymnastics. As always with kite festivals, the best time is when the normal people have gone home. But the evening was in many ways quite sad. As a lot of the campers were going home, it was goodbye to a lot of friends I won’t now see again until the Xmas party, if not until next year.



10 August 2009 (Monday) - Reflections on Teston


I had a restless night. Having gone for a wazz at 2am, I came back into the tent to find uproar. Apparently er indoors TM ‘s airbed went flat simultaneously with my departing for a wazz, and I got the blame. Fortunately I could hear Batty’s pump going, so I knocked him up (oo-er!) borrowed the pump, handed it over and went back to kip. But didn’t sleep well. Last night’s port and stilton wasn’t sitting comfortably, and I was up at seven. It was either get up and do something, or lie there with guts ache.


I did the washing up from the previous evening as people got up, we had brekkie, and then we took our campsite down. With all hands to the pumps we were away by 11am. I came home via a farm in Smarden. We’ll be camping there in a few weeks’ time, so it made sense to drop off the tents and other stuff rather than bring it home again.


Sleeping bags away, washing into the washing machine – I was asleep in front of the computer by 2pm. On reflection, I’ve had a brilliant weekend. Bearing in mind the disaster that was last year’s August Teston, and also bearing in mind how wet the last few kite festivals have been, this weekend has been excellent. You can see photos of the weekend here.


Having said that… I mentioned yesterday that the best part of a kite festival is when the normal people have gone home. And on Saturday the children had their bikes stolen. Every time we are at Teston I sit back and watch several herds of “normal people” set up their picnics and games of rounders and football right in the middle of the field because that’s where they always do that every week. And clearly resent the kites being there.


I can’t help but wonder if invading the picnic site twice a year is the best thing to do. Once a year we camp on a friend’s farm. There’s no one there but us. A lot of the kiting people do something similar at a camp site inSussex – they book a whole area for themselves and so can do their own thing. Joining them is looking more and more attractive.



11 August 2009 (Tuesday) - Telescopes and Didgeridoos


It was as well I was on a late start today – what with four nights in a tent I needed a good night’s sleep. And better still a morning’s abluting in my own bathroom. Much as I like going away for the weekend, you can’t beat hot water from a tap and a gronk in your own cludgee.


As I had a bit of time before work, I had a go at the astronomy club’s accounts. Not too sad, as “My Boy TM ” would say. I then had a look at some of the preparations for the October “AstroBash” event, and perused the plans for this month’s meeting. It’s the AGM, and I’m wondering if I’m the right man to be on the committee. The secretary & chairman are full of activity & enthusiasm for the thing. And I suppose I am too, but the club’s going down the road of doing roadshows for cub & brownie groups. I did all that with snakes ten years ago. And the club’s also getting very much into practical astronomy with telescopes. Quite frankly if I want to look at something astronomical, I can see something far more impressive in far greater comfort by using Google Images.

I’ve sent an email round saying that whilst I’m happy to continue as treasurer (which I am), I wouldn’t be offended if anyone else fancied taking on the role. Mind you, I doubt anything will come of it – the email bounced back undelivered from half the recipients.


It’s amazing what you find when surfing the net. I see the didgeridoos that ruined the first Teston weekend for everyone had actually been invited to the Brighton Kite Festival in July. It’s probably just as well they weren’t able to make it. It’s even better that I didn’t find out they had been invited until after the event.

The weather forecast for the weekend was bad enough – but with the promise of their infernal racket there as well, I wouldn’t have gone…. Well I probably would have gone. But would have had words to say (!)



12 August 2009 (Wednesday) - Correspondence

This morning I had a letter from Accent market research. I had one a week or so ago – a questionnaire asking my opinions on the recent gas works up our street. I’d ignored it, thinking it was a joke, but they sent another one, so I replied:


Please find enclosed questionnaire. I did not complete the first one because in all honesty I thought it was some sort of a joke. Perhaps I might take a minute or two of your time to tell you of my complete and utter dissatisfaction with the incompetence demonstrated by the people charged with the gas repairs in Beaver Road.

The work outside my house started on Wednesday 28th January, and finally finished on Tuesday 16th June. During that time the gas supply to my house was interrupted for maybe an hour at most. The actual problem was the loss of some twenty or more car parking spaces in an area where parking is tight.

For some five months I and my neighbors have been forced to park where we could, often several streets away. One doesn’t mind this happening occasionally, but five months is a tad excessive. Especially when similar work in an adjoining street (Whitfeld Road) was completed in a fortnight.

One also wouldn’t mind if this work was necessary. However it was clear this work was not necessary. Having dug the holes, they were left open with no one working in them for weeks. Every so often someone in a high vis jacket would sit by the hole, shout a conversation to a girlfriend into a mobile phone and then vanish.

Telephoning Southern Gas Networks (something I did several times) was a waste of time. The people there denied all responsibility, and clearly weren’t interested. I telephoned Kent Highways who apparently had several meetings with the contractors to no avail.

The most helpful person I found was the chap who was charged with sweeping up after the holes had been filled in. He claimed that during the course of the work three different gangs had started work, made serious mistakes, been sacked for incompetence and replaced with people equally incompetent. He also went on to say that the contractors are paid for how much work they take on, not how much work they complete, so it is in their best interests to dig holes, but not fill them in.

Please feel free to pass my comments on to Southern Gas Networks.



I wonder what will come of it. Not much, I expect. Much the same as will come from the email I sent to the astro club. Having emailed the club membership yesterday, over twenty people’s email provider has sent the message back to me. All for the same reason - too many recipients.

I can see that might be a useful anti-spamming tool, but there are over twenty people who’ve obviously never received an email from the astro club. Let’s hope no one has missed anything important. To be on the safe side, I sent the same message via Facebook:



Apologies if you’ve already received this via email. However when I sent it, over twenty people’s email server bounced it back to me. If this is the first time you’ve had this message, I suspect you may have missed other emails from the club…

Jason emailed everyone to say:

May I draw your attention to the main page of the Ashford Astronomical Society website www.ashfordastro.org.uk.

The August meeting will be an AGM/Social occasion. Drew has put together some details of the night’s proceedings for your perusal on the main webpage, so that everyone can make plans, and / or have questions for the experienced members of the society on the night in advance.

Hope to see you all there, and please don't forget to bring your friends along too.”

I felt I might add to this:

Whilst we’re on the subject of the AGM, whilst I’m happy to continue as treasurer, if anyone else would like to take on the role, please don’t think I’d be offended if you’d like to stand instead of me :o)



I doubt I’ll get much interest – once you take on a voluntary role, you are usually stuck with it. But you never know – there might be someone who wants to have a go.


Talking of things astronomical, I was hoping to have a look at the Perseid meteor shower tonight. But there is solid cloud cover and pouring rain. Maybe next year…





13 August 2009 (Thursday) - Soon Be Xmas


Today a poster went up at work inviting us all to put our names down for the Xmas bash. Xmas!! Well, I suppose it’s only four months away. The year is flying past. With three of the year’s four camping trips now but a happy memory, it will soon be time to take the top box off of the car, and put the seats back into it. (Back in the car, not the top box!)


Perhaps I ought to start making plans for Xmas myself. I have said that the big Xmas dinner we staged in the living room last year will be repeated in January once “Norman Stanley” is released from Her Majesty’s Pleasure. So I suppose that lets me off the hook for Xmassy organising. I just need to chivvy up what other events and activities are planned, and list them on the blog so’s I don’t forget. Easier said than done.


And then to NeverWinter where my current game is playing up. My character enters a room, and that’s it. Nothing happens. Stuck. So I went to the relevant page at the NeverWinter Vault (there’s even a NeverWinter Wiki, you know) and it seems that for this particular module to work I need to download the latest CEP (look it up on the NeverWinter Wiki!). A 1Gb download. I don’t think so, somehow.


And that’s it for this time. Rather dull to read. Even more dull living it, today



14 August 2009 (Friday) - Doing the Lambef Walk (Oi!)



A couple of days ago I mentioned about the anti-social didgeridoos at Teston earlier in the year. This morning’s haul of emails brought an apology from the East Kent Didge Club, who said; “The ethos of the club has always been to extend the hand of friendship and show the didge, and the culture it comes from, in a positive way. On this occasion it would appear that we have failed to do that. Please pass our apologies on to those we kept awake.

That’s a result, I suppose. My only real reservation is that one of the leading lights in the East Kent Didge Club has taken over the running of Teston Kite Festival. Oh well - we shall see what happens.


Another result was a reply to the email I sent round to the astro club. I’ve found a volunteer to take over the role of Treasurer – provided I stay on to noisily hawk the raffle. I can do that - noisily hawking raffles is my middle name (what *was* my mother thinking of?).


And then straight from work to the World’s Wonder in Warehorne for an “old-time sing along featuring Elspeth at the pianoforte”. It was great fun. Probably as well that we went. Any singalong needs someone to get things going, and for the first few songs there was just Elspeth tinkling and us giving it welly. But before long, the normal people came along from the other bar, and an hour or two was spent pleasantly squalling away to “We’ll meet again, The Lambeth Walk, Roll Out the Barrel” and other such favourites.


Elspeth has suggested that next time we do a medley of Abba songs. I’m up for that…



15 August 2009 (Saturday) - To Woodchurch



For some reason I was up with the lark today, so more smalls went into the washing machine, and the washing up gone done. A quick voom to collect my car from where I’d left it, and then onto the pedal bike and off to Woodchurch for dinner. A reasonably flat route, but one which goes along some rather busy roads.


The Six Bells is somewhere we visit intermittently. I rate it at 8/10 on Beer in the Evening, and today it lived up to expectations. And then home again via the Kings Head in Shadoxhurst – somewhere which is becoming a regular stopping off point on cycle rides. Once home I mowed the lawn. It’s amazing how much the thing has grown in two weeks. And then I fell asleep by the fish pond, only to be rudely awoken a few minutes later by the Red Arrows roaring past. Noisy beggars !


I wonder if I should have slept a bit longer. I think I caught the sun today – I’m not feeling 100%. Perhaps an early night might be a good idea…


16 August 2009 (Sunday) - "Skillful Navigation"



Having an early night last night was a good idea. I felt better this morning. Better as in “better”, rather than “better get a bucket”. The original plan for today had us travelling for a couple of hours to visit a campsite in westSussex. But what with one thing and another we decided to put that on hold for a few weeks. Instead five of us (well, four and a half!) went down to Folkestone Warren. It could have been more, but emails didn’t arrive until too late. Oh well, there’s always next time.

Using “skilful navigation” we utterly failed to find the footbridge over the railway. Which was probably for the best. The idea was to walk along the countryside bits, then cross the railway and go up into Capel for a picnic and maybe even a crafty half (stranger things have happened). And then walk back again.

On reflection it’s probably as well we didn’t find the footbridge over the railway. Whilst the village of Capel is only one hundred yards north of that footbridge, it is some six hundred yards up. And that is an “up” which isn’t far from vertical. That’s quite a lot of “up”. We’ll save that for next time too.Have a look at the photos

, and let me know if you’d be keen to join a mission going back to the warren in a few weeks’ time. I’m told there are fossils there…


On the way home we popped into FarmFoods for some shopping. I might have to go there more often. It’s far cheaper than Tesco’s, and doesn’t seem to attract the retard element. The fact that it doesn’t actually sell what I want to buy is neither here nor there. I shall just have to change my shopping preferences according to what FarmFoods have in stock. This might mean buying frozen carrots rather than socks, but it’s all in the interests of economy. After all, what I save on socks I can spend on beer.


And then an email from the arky-ologee club. They would seem to have dibs to dig at one of their standard sites from mid September through to next March. That’s six months worth. If they think I’m excavating that lot for them, they can go whistle.


I then printed off the latest letter to the chokey. This one is the thirtieth. He’s been in there for some time – thirty weeks (!). It can’t be that long until he’s released….



17 August 2009 (Monday) - Earthquakes, Time and Money Wasting



I woke this morning and I could clearly visualise today’s blog entry. An earthquake in Ashford. And then I realised it wasn’t an earthquake. “My BoyTM ”s holiday is over, and he was going to work on an early shift. After such a rude awakening I couldn’t get off to sleep again, and so I ironed my work shirts. I’m seriously considering wearing polo shirts to work – they don’t need ironing.


Off to work where one of the trainees asked me if I’d done the day’s “prolonged weighting”. I said that I hadn’t, and whilst I tried not to giggle he then assigned the task to the new boy. The new boy’s prolonged wait went on for an hour and a half before he realised. Bless.


This morning’s post brought the latest Sparks tribute CD. The last one I bought was a double CD and was excellent. This one has cover versions of twenty of some of the more obscure Sparks tracks performed by various amateurs. It’s … “interesting”. Well, to be honest, not so much “interesting” as “tripe”.

I’ve always wondered about the popularity of amateur and semi-professional bands when so many of them are utter rubbish. And this CD confirms my opinion. The last quarter of the CD might warrant a second listening. The first three quarters certainly don’t. Oh well, just as I’m trying to economise, that’s another tenner down the pan.





18 August 2009 (Tuesday) - Found Whilst Tidying Up



I woke early this morning fully anticipating the earth-shattering noise of “My Boy TM ” quietly going to work. I wasn’t disappointed. Who needs alarm clocks? And since I’d been woken I got on with everyone else’s ironing. They all come downstairs and find their laundry washed and ironed and in their own piles. I swear they must think magical pixies do it overnight.


I thought I’d tidy out my locker at work today. It’s not very big, and it’s got so cluttered that I can’t get my sarnies in there any more, so a rake-out was a must. I was amazed what I found. A newspaper from eleven years ago featuring a nudey Anthea Turner. An Empire magazine from fourteen years ago featuring (thankfully) clothed Klingons. And a whole load of paperbacks I’d given up for lost.


Gripped by the tidying bug I came home and threw two dustbin bags of rubbish out of the kitchen. If anything precious has gone with the rubbish, then (frankly), that’s a shame. I’m fed up with living in the middle of a mess. I’m getting ready for a major hoik-out in a couple of weeks time. Once the top box is off of the car and I can drive into the tip again I’m going to seriously clear some space about the house.

There’s all sorts of rubbish in the house that is going to get thrown away. Ten year old motherboards and sound cards. Miles of telephone extension cables. The old Sky-Box. Two knacked camping beds. The old round wooden table. Mouse-eaten tents. Mouse-eaten gazebos. Spare parts for mouse eaten gazebos. Spare parts for heaven only knows what. All will go in the bin. So be warned, dear reader. If you think I’m looking after your stuff for you, please be sure that I am aware that I am doing so. Because in two weeks time, it’s going to the tip.


In other news I’ve managed to obtain a portable cludgee for camping to replace the one that died at the Brighton Kite Festival. I say “obtain” - “won on eBay” is perhaps a better description. I’m hoping it will be more hard wearing than the last one was…



19 August 2009 (Wednesday) - A Paddle in the Briney


Last night I had a word with “My Boy TM ” about his noise in the mornings. He promised faithfully that when he got up this morning he would be “as quiet as a mouse”….


…In the Warner Brothers cartoon “Hare-Way to the Stars” (released on March 29, 1958) Marvin the Martian’s Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator fails to blow up the Earth. Marvin is disappointed, because he was expecting an Earth-shattering “KABOOM!” He should have given up with his Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator. He should have triedbeingas quiet as a mouse” up Beaver Road this morning at 5.45am. He wouldn’t have been disappointed with the “KABOOM!” that was generated as the front door was closed.


What I find particularly frustrating is that when it’s not silly o’clock in the morning, “My Boy TM ” actually can creep around the house. He really does move in true ninja fashion. I’ve long known that I will meet my maker having popped my clogs from the shock of him creeping up on me. He *can* be quiet if he tries. He just can’t do it at 5.45am.


Seeing as the temperature had soared today, er indoors TM suggested we went to the beach for a walk. So we went to Dymchurch beach for a paddle. The tide was out, and we waded through several hundred yards of mud to the sea. The sea was a tad cold, but fun – I’ve not gone for a paddle for a few years. We thought we’d have some chips, but the queues at the chippies in Dymchurch were a tad long, so we drove down to Littlestone and had chips on the beach there.


Much as I like a stroll along the beach, or sitting on the beach with chips, I can’t see the attraction of spending all day there. The place was heaving with “The Great Unwashed” who had spent all day (and probably all week) there. Leaving aside the discarded cigarette ends, picnic wreckage, barbecues and inflatable dinosaurs they had left behind, “The Great Unwashed” were also at the beach themselves, spoiling it for decent people (i.e. me).

One gaggle of pikeys were loudly bemoaning the fact they had no money to spend on drink to drink. Presumably they had money to spend on drink for other purposes. One of the “normal people” was having a go with a metal detector, but every time he found something, he had to fight a swarm of opportunistic pikey children out from under his feet to investigate his find. And in the chip shop another bunch weren’t happy that they didn’t get a number to let them know when their order was called. Instead the friers would call out what food was ready. This wasn’t fair because why should this bunch remember what they’d ordered?


As we drove out of Littlestone it struck me that for all I’ve fancied retiring to a house on the seaside, the thought of sharing the seaside with the pikeys it attracts would do my head in...



20 August 2009 (Thursday) - More Inane Drivel....



After I went to kip last night someone had meddled with my PC. I can always tell when it’s been meddled with - the screen resolution had gone to pot. It didn’t take too long to fix (about two seconds), but I just wish that people (“Daddies Little Angel TM ) would leave it as they find it.


The morning’s post brought the latest missive from the chokey, and a visiting order for my tribe to go up to see him. Since I was on a late I had some time this morning, so I wasted two hours trying to get through. This afternoon I tried at tea break time and they answered on the first ring. They really don’t make visiting easy!


I came home to find I have had umpteen phone calls from various relatives. Cousin Eric has died. My brother is somewhat distraught. I’m feeling a tad guilty that I am not. I’ve not actually seen the bloke since his mother’s golden wedding party in the late seventies, and I’m afraid I can’t shed a tear over a relative that distant.


Meanwhile, somewhat appropriately for today, a survey investigating another blogging site has found that forty percent of the stuff posted there is nothing more than “pointless babble”. Nearly ten percent was dribble repeated from other people’s postings, five per cent was self-aggrandizement, and five per cent was spam. I’m sure that my loyal readership are now feeling themselves very lucky to be reading a blog such as this……



21 August 2009 (Friday) - Stuff



Regular readers of my drivel might have noticed that I have a “Forthcoming Events” section on the blog. This is in many ways for my own reference as much as for my loyal readership. It’s so easy to agree to something and then forget about it. Having the dates put up make things so much easier. Easier to remember what is happening, and easier to arrange other events for when nothing is going on.

So having realised that nothing is planned for three weekends hence, I arranged a visit to the chokey. Today Medway council announced that they are going to hold a kite festival at Capstone in three weeks time. Three weeks! – How much notice is that?


My portable cludgee that I won off of eBay arrived today, so I thought I’d put the thing together. I’m hoping that today was co-incidence, but I unwrapped the thing in glorious sunshine, and in the five minutes it took to put it up, the weather turned to monsoon. I’ve not seen it rain so hard for ages. The tent is currently sitting in the shed, waiting to be hung out to dry. I’ll do that tomorrow – weather permitting.


Today was pay day. I was rather dreading getting the pay slip. Taking a voluntary grade reduction has done wonders for my insomnia (first fruit of my loin excepted), but how about the money? Well, effectively it’s been a 14% pay cut. It could have been a lot worse. I’ll just waste less money on beer and toilet tents, and be grateful I’m not up all night worrying about problems that I didn’t create and can’t solve.






22 August 2009 (Saturday) - Brook



I woke with backache and was bursting for a wazz, which is usually a sign I’ve slept too long. That’s to be encouraged. After a quick pump of the bike tyres, four of us set off to Brook. On March 7th a group of us went for a country walk and had scoff at the Honest Miller in Brook. Now we are at such a peak of physical fitness (!) that we cycled to the place. (Or some of us did). The landlord remembered us from our visit of five months previously. We were the lot who had the little baby with us (Emily) and were taking photos of our dinner to post into the prison. Were we *that* memorable?

Oh, the food there is good. Pork chops marinated in cider followed byTennessee toffee pudding with cream. I took some photos of today’s dinner which I shall post in to the chokey with tomorrow’s letter.


The original plan (there *was* a plan!) had us cycling back home the way we came out. But that would have involved a rather serious “up”, so using random guesswork we figured a route home via Wye. Much less “up”, even if it was five miles longer, making a sixteen mile round trip. Whilst coming through Wye we discovered the New Flying Horse, a half-way decent pub at the top of Wye. The food’s not cheap, but the garden is pretty. And following some rather grim experiences in the Tickled Trout, we needed to find a decent pub in Wye. So we sat in the garden and had a crafty pint ofWhitstable Bay, and laughed at the pretentious twit in the panama hat who was trying to look oh-so-distinguished after having had two bottles of wine. Or that is, I did. Others of our number were leering at the biker-chicks. Me – I couldn’t work out which ones were the biker chicks and which ones were the bikers. One of them seemed rather well endowed in the chest area, but on reflection so am I, so that as a criterion was hardly conclusive.


And then home along National Cycle Route 18. Over the last few months we’ve explored a lot of the area around Ashford on our bikes, and National Cycle Route 18 from Ashford to Wye is a brill road for cycling. Very scenic, not too much “up”, and it brought us home via Chris’s house. So we popped in to say hello. Shame he wasn’t up yet. Maybe next time…



23 August 2009 (Sunday) - The Isle of Sheppey



Simon phoned mid-week – did we have anything planned for Sunday? We didn’t, and various ideas were floated. Bike rides, Bewl water, Brenzett air museum. In the end we did something different. A quiet day out to the Isle of Sheppy.


We met up at Notcutts just outside Maidstone at 11am. A quick squzz round the model shop and then into the garden centre itself. I wouldn’t say it was a con, but… What a con !! They didn’t have anything you couldn’t have bought cheaper elsewhere. A chiminiere like I bought Tina for her birthday, only fifteen quid dearer. Solar powered lights like Hosey has in his garden, only double the price.


And then we went up to Whelan’s. I so love that place. It’s the number one place for garden ornaments, and it’s so cheap. I got myself a concrete rattlesnake for a tenner. We spent ages there, and concluded that we’d have to go back. And then, seeing as we were in rather unexplored territory we thought we’d explore.


First of all, we explored some dinner. We found a pub called the Ship on Shore. The landlord was a character, and the dinner was excellent. Only one ale on the hand pump and no bottled beers, so scoring-wise I couldn’t in all conscience give the place more than 6/10. But I’d certainly go back there.


And then we thought we’d do the beach. And seeing how we didn’t know the area we drove around, took pot luck and found Leysdown. A perfect beach – a field with steps leading down to the sea. I’m not a fan of sand, so I could sit about up the top, whilst those who like beach can go down to it. There was an ice cream van, a café and toilets. We frequented all of the facitities.

I got two photos for CrackWatch, and there was a nubile young lady there who had gone nuclear. In that she was suffering from fall out. Her right breast had completely dropped out of her bikini top, and she was utterly oblivious to it. Oh it was great – I did laugh. We paddled, and er indoors TMgot completely drenched by a freak wave. I laughed about that too. Grown men (not in our group, I hasten to add) were swimming in nothing but their pants. And then walking up the beach in nothing but their wet pants. It was brilliant. I nearly wet myself.


We flew kites (something I so rarely do these days). And when I was flying a kite one of the dogs of the normal people got upset. It was so funny – just like in the cartoons. The rat on a lead forgot that it was on a lead, and it flew at the kite. And of course, the lead went tight, but the rat on the lead was running with such force that when the lead went tight, although the animal’s neck was stopped, the rest of the body kept going underneath. The mutt did a complete mid air summersault, didn’t like it, and bit the dog next door in temper.

We walked along the sea front. I got a “lemon thing” (that’s what it was called) from the ice cream van, and we paddled some more. You can see the photos of the day here.


And all too soon it was time to come home again. Whenever I’ve been to the Isle of Sheppy before, it’s just been to Whelan’s and back again. The beach at Leysdown is only forty miles and fifty minutes away from home. OK, it was a bit “council estate”, but then, as I mentioned earlier in the week, that’s what the beach is. And the town of Leysdown itself looked wonderful. We only drove through it, but it seemed to be a super-big version of Dymchurch. Full of tourist-trap shops and market stalls. Leysdown is certainly on the list of places to go back to.

As I said, only forty miles away, and the place was wonderful. I’m left wondering how many other nearby gems I’m still to find.



24 August 2009 (Monday) - Scoring 0/10...



My Boy TM ” had a bit of a cob today. Did I want to lend him twenty quid? No I did not. He then proceeded to be a tad miserable. After a while I asked him what the matter was. He had the hump because he was skint, and because I wouldn’t lend him any money. That threw me. What made him think I wouldn’t lend him any money? I’d never said I wouldn’t lend him twenty quid. I said I didn’t want to lend him twenty quid. Not that I wouldn’t. A subtle distinction, but an important one.

He claims he’ll pay me back on Thursday. I hope he does. I got a hundred quid out of the bank on Friday. Having given (lent!) him twenty quid, I only have a few pence left. I do need to start economising. Or stop tiddling quite so much of it up various walls.


On the subject of beer, there’s rumblings from Dungeness. On July 18th a gaggle of us went up the lighthouse in Dungeness, and then had a meal at the Britannia pub just down the road from there. I must admit I wasn’t overly impressed with the place, and said so on a certain web site. It would seem that the landlord of the place has discovered Beer in the Evening, and had had a little rant. Apparently it’s not fair that people are allowed to publicise their bad experiences of his rather grim establishment, and he wanted to give his side of the story in the form of some personal abuse aimed at his critics.

As you can see from the above link, I’ve told him to wind his neck in, and this morning I found a review on his pub from someone who loves the place. Which has left me wondering about my hobby of reviewing pubs. Particularly those at the bottom end of the scale.


It’s no secret I like a drop of ale, and that I act as a roving reporter for Beer in the Evening. I rate pubs on a score of 0/10 to 10/10 depending on some vague guidelines I knocked together whilst I was bored one evening a long time ago. I’ve never awarded 10/10 (yet) but the Chambers bar in Folkestone and the Red Lion in Snargate are coming close. I’ve awarded a score of 0/10 seven times. I give 0/10 as a score to pubs which I find to be personally insulting:

And now I’ve added the Britannia in Dungeness to this list.


But am I right to do so? Perhaps I shouldn’t have such subjective criteria for the most damning score possible? On reflection I must admit to a twinge of conscience about my rating for the pub in Portland. But the other places…. I don’t *really* mind a rough pub, or a grim pub. But I do mind a pub in which the staff are downright rude.


And as for low scores generally – I score an average pub at 6/10. I’ve given a better than average score to 69 pubs, average to 46, and below average to 58. Am I being somewhat harsh on these pubs? What if I’m catching them on a bad day?

But then again, last weekend I spent nearly seventy quid in assorted pubs (Good grief!) Beer in the Evening serves a useful function in that one can use it…. Well, if not to find the best pubs, at least to find the dives that don’t deserve my hard-earned cash.


Meanwhile “Daddies Little Angel TM  has been hanging the washing out. What’s she up to…. ?



25 August 2009 (Tuesday) - Retards and (in) Dresses



My corner shop had sold out of postage stamps, so I went to another sub post office to get some. And ended up getting more than I bargained for. Why do I always find them? The family from hell was in front of me in the queue. Mother-retard had decided to buy every item that the post office supplied. But one item at a time, pay for it, count her change, and then buy something else. The three hundred and forty seventh item (I counted!) was a postal order. Did she want it crossed or not crossed? After five minutes of indecision, we actually had tears over this dilemma. She didn’t know. Why should she know? She just wanted a postal order.

Meanwhile smallest-son-retard was trying and failing to steal sweets from the shop counter, and oldest-son-retard was seeing how hard he could punch the post office’s weighing scales, despite the woman behind the counter’s constant screeching at him not to.


Regular readers of this drivel might recall a posting of a few weeks ago (3rdAugust) when I mentioned about my new dress. I had a bit of a shock today. My boss’s boss’s boss has got a new dress. And it is identical to mine. I spent all day alternating between fits of giggles and having to stop myself from telling her…




26 August 2009 (Wednesday) - An Anonymous Admirer



My Boy TM ” was out last night. He came home quietly at 3.45am. I then fended off an attack from er indoors TM who was attempting to steal my blankie. Is it so much to ask to just be wanting a bit of kip?


This morning’s post brought an anonymous ”found this and thought of you” note accompanying a couple of rather splendid pink feathers. I’d like to thank the sender – the feathers will go quite nicely in my pink hat this weekend. Unfortunately there was no postmark to help me identify who sent them. The fact the address on the envelope didn’t go as far as “U.K.” (possibly) excludes any of my overseas pals, and I suspect it probably didn’t come from the chokey as those letter need inmate numbers on them. I have narrowed the sender down to a shortlist of about a dozen (or so), and will identify the culprit by seeing who collapses in a fit of giggles the next time they see me. That one never fails.


And then to the farm where we erected “Brown and Smelly” in the rain. I say “rain” – light drizzle is perhaps a better description. But it’s up now. One less job to do on Friday…



27 August 2009 (Thursday) - Street Art, and a Rant



Today was one of those dull days. Get up, go to work, and come home again. Dull, dull, dull. Mind you, the house up the road has now become a gallery. There is a lump of concrete with a green ball balanced on it outside their house. And there is a sign saying “Art for sale - £2000”. I wish I’d thought of that get rich quick scheme.


Meanwhile the latest school exam results are announced. And for the ten thousandth year running, the results are the best ever. This mirrors the success at A level announced a few weeks ago. However the same pundits who praise how well the children have done have no explanation for why half the universities in the country have to run remedial courses in maths & English for their first year students. Either the university courses are getting harder (which wouldn’t be my experience from my involvement with undergraduate tutoring), or the unthinkable has happened – GCSEs and A levels aren’t what they used to be. (I remember a group of us considering doing a GCSE in Star Trek a while back – the thing existed at the time!)


There are those who say it is wrong to run down the GCSEs and A levels, because this undermines the students who have just obtained these results. If these students are truly as bright as is claimed, then they would be able to see the dumbing-down for themselves.


However we are stuck with a self-perpetuating system. Obviously it looks good for those running schools to be achieving more each year, and it looks good for the politicians overseeing the schools to have a system which is seen to achieve more each year. It would take a brave Secretary of State for Education to bring in a system which doesn’t automatically get better year-on-year…



28 August 2009 (Friday) - To BatCamp (and on to Astro Club)



er indoors TM went onto Argos’ web site last night to reserve some gas canisters. Their web site texted me the reservation number. This morning I turned up at the shop, typed in the number, and there it was. I’m impressed.


Once equipped with Martin & Tony we set off (via the tackle shop) to Tesco’s. Supplies were bought, and we then popped into Starbucks. I don’t do that very often. They do good stuff, but they don’t give it away.


And then to BatCamp. Martin & Batty had set up most of the stuff yesterday, but we still had the turdis to erect, and a poop-pit to excavate. Those jobs didn’t take long, and then I put up my new £7 hammock (£7 – bargain!!) and dozed for most of the afternoon.


Once 4pm came, I was conscious that I was wasting time asleep, and so we got an hour’s fishing in. Relative to what I’ve had there in the past, I got a couple of whoppers before I had to leave. Tonight was the AGM of the astronomy club, and as I was stepping down as treasurer, I really felt I ought to be there. Otherwise people might assume the worst.


As always these days, astro club was excellent. Despite it being a bank holiday, we had over thirty people along. We’d suggested a social evening, and asked everyone to bring some food. We had a real good feast, a new committee elected, and an excellent telescope session. And I got to meet up with Stevey again, and afterwards I met his new cat.


And now I’m not on the committee of the astro club…. I don’t suppose it will make any difference. I will still go to the club. I will still put the chairs out, hawk the raffle, give the occasional talk. But we’ve now got another person on the committee, which is never a bad thing…




29 August 2009 (Saturday) - Drinking too Much


Despite a late night last night, I was up and out and at BatCamp before 7am. Seeing as the place was such a hive of industry, I went fishing for a couple of hours until people woke up. Having seen a heron and a shag (oo-er!) around the pond, I expected the strange looking bird I found there to be equally unwelcome. But despite my giving the bird evils, it continued to sit by the pondside, and it went to sleep. It turned out the bird was a Muscovy duck who lives there.


I wandered back to camp shortly after 9am to find people beginning to move about, and we soon tucked into sossies, bacon and eggs. A quick dose of washing up, and then back to the fishing. The pond was only dug out a few years ago, and all of the fish in it are ones I caught in another pond and fetched over in a bucket. Those fish have really grown in a very short time, and are breeding.


About mid day, some sixth sense told me to return to the camp site. I got there to find Terry and Irene had just arrived. We tucked into Ploughman’s lunch and a bottle or two of ale, and then Chip arrived with Ruth, Sam, Bub and “Daddies Little Angel TM . A pleasant afternoon was spent comparing the relative merits of various beers (hic) followed by a smashing bit of curry for tea, whilst various girlies shivered. For all that it was the August Bank Holiday, it wasn’t very warm.


I did most of the washing up, but as the light was failing, I gave up. I’ve washed up in the dark before, and it’s a silly thing to do. I left it for the morning, and having said goodbye to our visitors, we sat around the fire until far too late….



30 August 2009 (Sunday) - A Family Reunion




Despite a gutful of beer yesterday, I was up, shaved, yesterday’s washing up done, and fishing before 7am. A successful couple of hours were spent at the pond before braving the campsite and hoping some brekky was on the go.


Just as we tucked into bacon and eggs, “My Boy TM ” arrived with “Daddies Little Angel TM ”. Both had joined us for the day. This must be the first time since Xmas the whole family has done anything together. Following brekkie, the first order of the day was to shift one of the duck houses. Regular readers of my blog may recall a day last November when I nearly died of hypothermia-induced shock whilst installing the duck house into the pond. Unfortunately there is more to duck houses than just launching them into a pond. They require maintenance. So we eventually managed to get the duck house onto dry land, and then left it there to drain out. The thing had become somewhat waterlogged.


My Boy TM ” and I then spent a couple of hours fishing. In his pursuit of leviathans, he would seem to have lost the art of tiddler bashing, but he soon got the hang of it again. After dinner we wandered around the fields, and then back to the duck house. The thing had drained sufficiently to allow four of us to lift the thing onto a trailer. And then “My Boy TM ” got to drive the tractor & trailer back to the barn, and that was the last we saw of him for some time. He then used the tractor to help with muck spreading, to deliver a boat to one of the ponds, to round up sheep… he developed quite a rapport with that tractor.


Having told me that he would only be along for a couple of hours, “My BoyTM ” spent most of the day with us. Busying around. His sister lazed around the campsite with her mother. Both seemed happy, which was probably for the best. They eventually set off some time in the late afternoon, and then I went fishing again. This time in the pond from which we had taken the duck house. The fish were bigger, but the pond was difficult to fish. There was hardly and space to move about, wield rods or land fish. Which was a problem as four of my catches needed the landing net.


And then to tea – pork & apple braise. It has been said that when we camp, we camp in comfort. And last night’s tea was an example of this. A rather good bit of scoff. Given food like this, I really don’t mind washing up. And once washed up, rather than going to the camp fire, we sat, dozed and had a few drinks. But only a few. We were all worn out, and were all asleep by 11pm…



31 August 2009 (Monday) - Photographs....

Oh, I woke up with such a backache today. Perhaps sleeping in a tent isn’t good for me? But I was up and fishing before 6am – it hurt to lie down. So I had another go at fishing in the “duckhouse pond”. I had nine fish, six big enough to need the landing net. And, to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it at all. There wasn’t enough room. No room to wave the rod about, no room for the net. I was constantly tangled in brambles. Next time I shall take the chain saw to the undergrowth.


And then brekky – featuring omelette made up of all the leftovers. It was really great. And then we packed up camp. There’s something about BatCamp – at a kite festival we are up early, breakfasted and packed away by 11am at the latest. Today we were still fiddling around at 2pm. I suppose that because we are on home territory, there is no urgency. But eventually everything went back into the barn – that’s camping done for another year. And home to wash the laundry – in three days I’ve generated loads.


And then I thought I’d put up the photos of the weekend on Facebook. Oh I got so wound up. If I saw the message “Upload failed” once, I’ve seen it a hundred times today. This would seem to be an ongoing problem with Facebook photos. The uploader simply doesn’t work. I tried it in IE8 as well as Safari. Both to no avail. You *can* use the “simple uploader”, which is what I eventually did, but it can only do five photos at a time, and seeing how I was trying to send up seventy six photos, it became a tad painful.


I managed to get an album on Picasa (eventually). Creating the Picasa album is easy enough – you can see it here. However, I put it on Picasa with a view to putting a slideshow of photos onto the blog, but that too was painful. I think I’ve got it sussed now, and I quite like the idea of my most recent photo album as a blog slideshow.


However I need to decide where to put my photos from now on. Assuming the world wants to see my piccies, I’m only too happy to share them. However this afternoon I’ve spent five hours to get the photos I want to get onto Facebook. Facebook photos has the advantage that people can tag themselves and comment. But it has the disadvantage that it doesn’t actually work.


I have a theory that the file size of the photos I’m taking might be too big. I can vaguely remember using Paint Shop Pro to batch convert photos, but there comes a point when one has wasted too much time on a job, and I’m now sick of the sight of these photos….