1 August 2020 (Saturday) - Bye Bye Neighbours



I had over a hundred emails about people having found the geocaches I’d hidden in Kings Wood. Despite the heat people had been out walking for miles yesterday. Mind you they said nice things in their written logs, so that was a result.

With pretty much nothing at all having happened overnight on Facebook I spent a little while struggling with a geo-jigsaw puzzle, then we took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods for a walk. We had a good walk – we didn’t see anyone else at all. It probably doesn’t help Treacle’s socialisation issues, but it does wonders for my state of mind. As we walked we couldn’t help but notice all the dog turds; either the woods are getting busier, or people are getting more lax about where their dogs dump.

We came home to find the neighbours moving out… again… I wish I knew what was wrong with the house. No one *ever* stays for any length of time there. When we moved in there was a little old lady who kept herself to herself. She vanished, and after the house had been empty for some time she was replaced by the mother-in-law of the other neighbours. We got on well with her to the disgust of the other neighbours.
After her it is all something of a blur. I can't remember the exact order, and I may have forgotten some ... in between being empty (for nearly a year) twice:
There was the drunk Irishman who would play crap music at 2am.
There were two young Australian ladies who would sunbathe in the garden in the nip (I liked them).
There was a Nigerian family who would never pull the blind in their toilet.
There were two young lads who were great fun.
There was the Nigerian fellow who would regularly have a "crafty Joddrell" into the toilet in the evenings; the shadows of which on their bathroom blind were rather entertaining
There was the odd couple who tried to blame the flood from their upstairs bathroom on my downstairs washing machine.

There was the young family who ran away owning thousands (we had the debt collectors asking after them for months).

There were the people with three dogs each of which was the size of a cart-horse.
There was the nice couple who moved round the corner to Francis Road.
There was the lot who did noisy sex and who moved out in May 2018
There was the lot who used to run the Elwick Club and went to run the Albion.
Then there was the lot who moved out today.

They said something about a rodent infestation, but with two dogs in their house I somehow doubt it. They only moved next door in March and even for that house, that was not long. To be honest they were never happy with the house. They’d moved from some mobile home estate on the Romney Marsh and claimed they could get a mobile home (a la “Trailer Park Boys”) on the Romney Marsh which was twice the size of their house for half the price, and I think the whole “rodent” thing was just a ruse to get them out of their contract.

I did more geo-jigsaw-puzzle. After two hours I still haven’t got the edges done. I gave up, and leaving the lap-top updating itself I set off to work. I deployed a Munzee, then did the late shift.

I came home via the petrol station. With posters and signs everywhere demanding I wear a face covering, neither of the two members of the staff there were.

Once home I found "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" here for the weekend. Let’s hope they don’t get up very early tomorrow… 



2 August 2020 (Sunday) - Segway with the Birthday Girl

Sid kept me awake last night; when he stays with us he trots up and down the stairs to the attic room and the sound of his claws on the wooden stairs is rather loud. We really should sort out a carpet on those stairs; I got a quote from the carpet shop months ago.

I made toast and peered into the Internet. Other than the series of geocaches across the White Cliffs from Folkestone to Dover having been adopted (deliberately to wind me up?), nothing much had happened overnight. I had over seventy “Found It” logs on my geocaches in Kings Wood and “out in the sticks”; people seem to like those series. I’ve not had that many finds on my geo-series in Hemsted Forest recently, but it has been out a year and has had a hundred finds. Realistically it is reaching the end of its life; I suppose I should vaguely start thinking about replacing it in the next few months. But not just yet.

"er indoors TM" got up and opened all her birthday cards. She seemed happy with her birthday pressie. I’d bought her socks. I’ve always thought that socks are something of a crap pressie, but it is what she said she wanted. And at close on a tenner per sock (yes – per sock!) these aren’t any old socks.
"Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" came downstairs, had a frozen yogurt for his brekkie, and announced that Sid was the best-behaved dog because he doesn’t want a slap (!) He then fed as many dog biscuits as he could to the dogs in a scientific experiment to find out which one would be sick first, then had the cheek to tell Treacle she was a fat lump.

I spent a little more time working on my current geo-jigsaw-puzzle, then "My Boy TM" and Cheryl arrived and the four of us went out. First to Mote Park where we walked round the lake. Some of us admired the views, some of us had a recce at the fishing potential. For all that the place has quite a reputation for being *the* place to go fishing, I wasn’t impressed with what I saw. With no car parking within half a mile, and all the normal people sailing past in pleasure boats I can’t say I’ll be going fishing there any time soon.

From there we drove down to Leeds Castle where we’d booked a session on the Segways. Leeds Castle Segway Tours gave us a rather good afternoon. We started off with a little instructional session. Among other things we were told that you should either be on the Segway or off of it. You must not have one foot on and one foot off because that will make the thing spin in a circle. Some old chap immediately stood with one foot on and one foot off, his Segway span in a circle, he went flying and there was quite a lot of blood.
There was a brief hiatus whilst a surgical face mask was bodged into a makeshift bandage and was wrapped round his knee, and the instruction continued. But the surgical face mask bandage wasn’t up to the job, the blood continued to flow, and the instruction session stopped whilst a first aid kit was brandished.
We then set of Segway-ing around the grounds of Leeds Castle. We pootled off along the paths that the normal people use, then the nice lady pressed the button that turned off “training mode” and we went onto the open parkland where we got up to speeds of up to twelve miles per hour each. It doesn’t sound much, but when you are on the Segway it certainly feels zoomy-whizz. And again when we all pulled up (after a particularly zoomy bit) three more people came tumbling off because they hadn’t heeded the instructions.

With Segways segwayed we drove for ten minutes to the Toby carvery where we scoffed a rather good dinner (which featured a surprise visit from father-in-law), then came home for a spot of pudding.

It was a shame that "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had made quite such a mess of the house whilst we’d been out, but eventually they sorted their carnage. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had his bath, and with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" off visiting her mates we scoffed the last of the birthday cake that "My Boy TM" had left.

I think I might have caught too much sun today… You can see photos of it here



3 August 2020 (Monday) - Nice Girls...



After a rather restless night I gave up trying to sleep. Over a bowl of granola I watched “Good Girls” on Netflix then sparked up my lap-top. "er indoors TM" had posted some photos from yesterday, but the rest of my Facebook feed was dull. I saw the same post about Lego posted to a dozen Lego sites, the same post about Sparks posted to a dozen Sparks sites… Facebook can be repetitive in the extreme.


As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the over-fifties may find themselves compulsorily shielded in a bid to prevent a second wave of cornonageddon. I found the idea of being forcibly cooped up at home rather ironic bearing in mind there was no problem with me working constantly throughout the first lock-down. I think I might go stir-crazy if that happened... in all honesty I don't think I'd obey such a silly idea. Talking of which the pundits on the radio then wheeled on one of the government's advisors who has been at the centre of all the decision-making. The chap admitted that much of the lock-down decisions (and subsequent easing) have all been done based on what seemed to be a good idea at the time, and that any kind of reason or evidence didn't really have much of a role in the entire process.
There was then an interview with the head honcho at Hollywood Bowl who wasn't happy that his company hadn't been allowed to open up their bowling alleys this week. With over ninety-eight per cent of their staff still furloughed and the company losing one and a half million quid every week (since they still have all their outgoing and no income) the chap intimated that their company might not survive, and that bowling alleys may well be a thing of the past.


I took the A-road to Maidstone this morning and stopped off in Hollingbourne for Munzee purposes. Part of the requirements for this month's clan war is to find and capture Munzees which haven't been Munzed for over a year. Fortunately for me there are a few of these on the way to work. Unfortunately only those who've paid out to be a premium Munzer can actually do this bit of the clan war, so I'm wondering just how much of the resuscitating will fall to me. I did four this morning; the clan requirement for the month is to do a hundred and fifty between all of our clan. That would be ten each...*if* the clan were all premium Munzers. I know that "er indoors TM" isn't...


The traffic jams up the A20 didn't delay me *that* much; I was soon at work and raring to go on the early shift. I did my bit… during which I learned something. I was reliably informed by some of the young ladies with whom I work that if you are going to waggle your chest to its fullest effect you must cover up everything else. If you are going to wear a short shirt then the booby-bits must be firmly under control. Nice girls only brandish one saucy bit at a time.
One lives and learns.


An early start made from an early finish. Bearing in mind that there are only certain days on which this “doing the old Munzees” applies, and also bearing in mind there were a load of them not two miles from work, I went on a little munz-mission before coming home. I rather excelled myself doing over a third of our ten-person-team’s first level myself.


I came home; with "er indoors TM" driving "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" about, I took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods. We woofed with (and at) other dogs. Fudge got dog-piggy-backed (which he didn’t like at all) and then…

Pogo was barking frantically as we walked up a path. A chap appeared (seemingly from nowhere) and was all smiles. A young lady was hurriedly putting on some sort of raincoat/dressing-gown/item-of-clothing-whch-was-utterly-unsuitable-for-the-woods-on-a-summer’s-evening. As they fussed the dogs, so I noticed the carefully arranged Harley-Davidson motorbike and the camera on a tripod. Were they doing risqué photography? What did she have on under that covering-everything garment? As I marched the dogs away I heard her ask “how did you want me?”, and as we turned the corner I snatched a glance.

Let’s just say that she’s probably not a nice girl…



4 August 2020 (Tuesday) - Oh Deer



With nowhere near enough milk (wonder where that went!) I had toast for brekkie which I devoured whilst watching more “Good Girls” on Netflix. I’d forgotten how good that series was.

Once the lap-top started working I peered into the Internet. I saw that two friends had birthdays today. Ostensibly born on the same day forty-odd years ago I would have said that one was fifteen years older than the other. (Am I being uncharitable?). Again I saw many of the same Facebook posts appearing on so many different Facebook pages.

With very little of note appearing on Facebook I had a look at the Munzee map to see if I might plan a like mission to capture a lot of the old Munzees. But the special icon wasn’t visible on the map today. It turns out they only appear on the map on dates which are multiples of three and five. Go figure (both figuratively and literally!)
Leaving Fudge (and everyone else) snoring I got ready for work.

I took a little diversion into the Godinton estate to stick a Munzee onto a lamp post (I'm told there are those in that part of the world who appreciate that sort of thing), then set off up the motorway to work. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about a recent spate of thefts of agricultural machinery and livestock. Apparently farms all over the country have had all sorts of equipment stolen which has then been smuggled out of the country and has ended up on the black market in Eastern Europe.  And entire flocks of sheep have been stolen, butchered and the meat sold off.
Now I can only think I am missing something here. How does one successfully smuggle a tractor out of the country? How does one steal a flock of over a hundred sheep? Apparently this is being done quite successfully at the moment.
There was also talk of American Presidential hopeful Joe Biden. Looking set to be the next president of the United States, his tactic seems to be to sit quietly and let Donald Trump talk (tweet) himself out of the White House. It would seem to be a very successful tactic. Mr Biden isn't actually trying to win the presidential election; he is just letting President Trump is get on with doing his level best to lose it. The American Presidential election really does seem to be proof of the old adage "better to keep quiet and be thought a fool rather than to open your mouth and remove all possible doubt".

I got to work; I did my thing. I spent half an hour doing fire safety e-training. I escaped as quickly as I could. I had a theory that being on an early finish meant I might get to Aldi whilst it was quiet. Aldi wasn’t busy, but I was amazed at the approach being taken to facial coverings. Most customers had them on, (albeit with their noses poking out over the top), but not a single member of staff was wearing one. I asked Aldi UK (via their Facebook page) why not. I bet they don’t reply.

I came home with most of the shopping I had been instructed to get then, ably assisted (supervised) by "er indoors TM" I took the dogs down to Orlestone Woods where we had a good walk. As we walked we saw a deer. Just one. I’ve never seen them in Orlestone woods before. According to the British Deer Society Ashford is about as far eastwards as deer go in the UK. Mind you there’s loads in Kings Wood and that’s even more east, so what do they know? I was surprised to only see one deer; I thought they came in herds. but the Internet says they are solitary animals.

With walk walked we all came home. I tried to get the green paint off of Pogo’s ear but he wouldn’t let me pick at it. Over the weekend "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had announced that he was going to paint the dogs. Fudge and Treacle ran and hid but Pogo (silly lump) loved the attention.

I’m getting peckish… wonder what’s for dinner…



5 August 2020 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift

I slept all night long, but woke feeling as tired as when I went to bed. Over brekkie I peered into the Internet. Earlier in the week one of the old faces on the local geocaching scene had his Facebook account hacked, the hackers used his account to tell a sob story and ask for money, and several people unfortunately were tricked out of quite a bit of cash. This morning the conversation thread on the matter was still going strong with over thirty people talking about what we could do. I saw that a few people had removed themselves from the message thread; I’m not sure of the etiquette here. Is that rude?

But what can you do about these scams? I am one hundred per cent convinced that finding these scammers and physically hurting them would achieve far more than “going through the proper channels” ever would, but these cowards are probably hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away.

I had a look at my emails – a few dozen more “Found It” logs on geocaches that I’ve hidden over the last few months. People certainly seem to be enjoying what I’ve done.


We got the dogs leaded up and took them down to Orlestone Woods for an early morning walk. There were a few people about this morning. Not many, but far more than usual. And there were three joggers as well. Three! I don’t think I’ve seen joggers down there before.


With walk walked we came home. I hung out the washing I’d set going before we went out, and put more in to scrub, then ran out the hose pipe to top up the fish pond. The recent hot spell had lowered the water lever impressively. I gave the car a quick valeting (in readiness for tomorrow’s service). As I was hoovering it out I got chatting with a passing normal person. He warned me about the dentist down the road (the one I go to). He assured me that the dentistry is fine, but the organisation there is piss-poor. I had to agree with him; I’m still waiting to hear about the appointment that they said they would tell me about by last Friday.

I hung out more washing then pootled in the garden for a bit. Harvesting dog turds, mowing the lawn, cutting back not-so-nice-next-door’s jungle… after a couple of hours it was just too hot to continue. I sat on the sofa and geo-jigsaw-ed for a while.


After a spot of lunch I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. After a couple of hours I woke to find Pogo and Fudge had come upstairs with me. I wish I could sleep more in the afternoons, but a couple of hours was my limit. I geo-jigsaw-ed some more; after seven- and three-quarter hours (in total) I got to the stage of having all the sky done.

"er indoors TM" boiled up some tea, and I then planned a little Munzee-resusitation mission for the evening on my way to the night shift….



6 August 2020 (Thursday) - After the Night Shift



As I drove home after the night shift the pundits on the radio were talking about how both Facebook and Twitter have put curbs on President Trump’s accounts after he has been spouting factually completely wrong stuff about COVID-19. As I mentioned a few days ago, President Tump seems to be doing his level best to lose the upcoming election.

I drove to the garage where I met one of life’s “special” people. With her nose hanging out of her face mask she demanded that I stepped back because she felt I was too close. I smiled sweetly, then loudly pointed out the error of her ways before leaving my car with the nice people at the garage.


"er indoors TM" drove me home where I put the leads on to the dogs. With my car up on blocks, Orlestone Woods wasn’t possible. Instead we walked round to the co-op field where we met OrangeHead. She asked after Fudge and commented that she hadn’t seen us for a while. I said that the park had become too much like hard work with all the “special people” who know nothing about dogs demanding that they have the entire park for themselves and their pampered princesses. I explained that down at Orlestone it seems that you only get people who understand what dogs are like. A bit of barking, and then it is all over whereas at the park one dog barks and you are branded as a cruel owner of an evil dog. OrangeHead agreed entirely; it would seem that since I stopped walking round the park the place has got a whole lot worse. She wished she could drive so she could walk her dog elsewhere.

I suppose I could have offered?


We came home. As I left work I’d bought iced spicy buns. We had them with a cuppa whilst I checked out the Internet. There was a new series of geocaches not five miles from home. Each one requiring a little puzzle to solve. They can’t be as hard as that geo-jigsaw I’m struggling with.

I gave myself a quick haircut, then went to bed where I slept for about three hours.


I got up, wasted another hour on that geo-jigsaw then started puzzling out the new geo-puzzles. They seem rather straightforward. Then out came the ironing board. I ironed for a couple of hours whilst watching episodes of “Good Girls” until the garage phoned and "er indoors TM" drove me over to collect my car.

A good servicing, replacement of oil filters, bulbs, wiper blades, screen wash, oil a new suspension coil (?). A re-gas of the air-con, and they fished a shard of plastic out of the key hole. On the one hand it is all stuff I wouldn’t know how to do for myself. On the other hand it is several hundred quid I would rather be spending on Lego.


Once home again I geo-puzzled until it cooled down, then spent a couple of hours in the garden moving shingle. With the new fence scheduled for next week and a heatwave forecast, if I didn’t make a start this evening I’d never get the shingle scraped back in time.

And with most (but not all) of the shingle scraped back I collapsed in front of the telly. I’ll try to get the job finished tomorrow. If I can move. I can’t right now…



7 August 2020 (Friday) - Rather Hot Rostered Day Off




I slept like a log despite a rather hot night. It was a shame that the dogs had to kick off when "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" crept in during the small hours. She was being quiet – they weren’t.

I made some toast, saw that pretty much nothing at all had happened on the Internet overnight, and took the dogs to the woods. We had a relatively good walk even if we did shout at other dogs as we went. The biggest “episode” happened just as we were getting into the car to come home when a passing dog tried to get into the boot with my three. They had ignored this passing dog (amazingly) right up to the point where it tried to climb into the boot, and then all hell kicked off. I suppose it isn’t surprising really as this would be a blatant invasion of their space.


The idea of an early walk was to get done before it got too hot. When we’d arrived at the woods the thermometer in my car said it was twenty-two degrees (on the cusp of being too hot for the dogs); it was twenty-five degrees when we got back to the car, and that was before half-past nine. We came home (to twenty-seven degrees of heat) and I popped to Aldi where the car park was already thirty-one degrees hot before ten o’clock.

Unlike the Aylesford Aldi, all the staff in the local branch were wearing face masks. Some of them even had the face masks covering their noses as well as their mouths. Have you ever ben to Aldi? They have a really good range of all sorts of stuff, amazingly cheap, but the staff really couldn’t care less. Whilst none of them actually said “f… off fatso”, they really didn’t need to. But if you can ignore their attitude, the shopping is worth having.


With so much to do in the garden and elsewhere, we pulled the curtains and sat quietly in the living room avoiding the heat which got up to thirty-six degrees in the garden. I finished solving the geo-puzzles of the series that went live yesterday, then had another look at that geo-jigsaw puzzle. It was too hot to do anything else.

At half past six (having spent a total of fourteen hours twenty-one minutes and forty-two seconds at it) I finally got that igsaw finished, and was rewarded with the co-ordinates of a film pot which has been stashed under a rock somewhere in Sussex. I won’t say where; if any on my loyal readers would like to know they can find out by clicking here.


"er indoors TM" boiled up some fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching another episode of “Taskmaster”.  I did have a plan to do some gardening this evening, but it was (and is still) too hot. So I washed some undercrackers instead – so the day wasn’t entirely wasted.



8 August 2020 (Saturday) - Still Too Hot



After a very hot day yesterday we had a very hot night. I would have slept well had "er indoors TM" and the dogs not come to bed quite so noisily in the small hours, and then all had one big fight.

I eventually nodded off and slept through until eight o’clock when it was getting too warm to be laying in bed. I made toast and had a look-see at the Internet. In years gone past this second weekend in August would have been a weekend at Teston Kite Festival, but that died some time ago. The plan for this weekend had been to drive down to Sussex for the annual Mego-geo-meet, but coronageddon did for that. This morning I saw there was some virtual mega-geo-thing going on; I seem to have missed all talk of that.


My piss then boiled. Someone I’ve known for forty years (or more) was ranting about a news item. There has been a serious upsurge in asylum seekers crossing the channel and loads of complaints that the French authorities aren’t stopping them. Seriously – did no one see this coming? I certainly did.

The UK was part of a group of countries (the European Union) whose policy was that asylum seekers stayed in the first country they reached regardless of where they were trying to get to in the EU. But things have changed. Now the European Union finds itself with a load of asylum seekers who don’t want to get to one of its member states; the asylum seekers are just passing through. The European Union has no incentive to stop them, and every incentive to just let them carry on. And all the Brits who voted for this are acting surprised…


And there was a lot of consternation being expressed about how so many people are making the most of the hot weather and going to the beaches when they should (arguably) all be hiding from the virus.

It’s a difficult one, isn’t it? I realise that my view is very much that of a minority…

From what I can see (having something of a first-hand perspective on the matter) the virus is nasty *if* you catch it. But not everyone does. And the disease is a virus – it is already pretty much everywhere.

I know of several couples one of whom tests positive (both antibody and antigen) and one of whom tests negative. For all that opinion is changing all the time as more research goes on, there is lot of evidence to support the theory that most people (80+%) will just not catch it (in the same way that not everyone catches a cold when a cold is going about).

The expert opinion is that an effective vaccine is at best a year away, and bearing in mind the virus’s similarity to the common cold, I have to ask how long a vaccine to the common cold has been awaited.

Realistically I feel I have two choices. I can either cower away at home in fear waiting for a vaccine that may never come, or I can get on with the precious few years that I have left (albeit in a sensible socially-distanced way). I worked all through lock-down in conditions that weren’t socially distanced and with no face coverings and no one had an issue with that – they all stood on the doorstep and clapped for me.


We took the dogs down to Orlestone. Even though it was hot, they were fractious and wanted a walk. With the woods being mostly in the shade we thought we might get away with a quick walk there. In retrospect I think we might have been pushing it. Fifty minutes was about as much as any of them could take; it was over thirty degrees by the time we got back to the car and we were all panting.


"er indoors TM" came up with some iced coffee, I wrote up a little CPD, had some toast, and went to bed where (despite the heat) I slept for four hours.

I’m off to the night shift now… the days before the night shift are always oh-so-dull…



9 August 2020 (Sunday) - After the Night Shift




I did have a vague idea to go on something of a Munzee mission on the way home from the night shift, but I decided against it.

As I drove home so the pundits on the radio were talking about how the French (and consequently the European Union) want the UK to pay toward stopping the illegal immigrants  crossing the channel. The only surprise here is that anyone would be so stupid as to expect the EU to stop them for free. Why should the EU stop them at all? Letting them cross the channel solves a problem for the EU; am I the only one who sees this and isn’t surprised?

As I came home it was overcast and there was a drizzle. Had I been wrong to cancel our walk for today?


We got home, and took the dogs for a quick walk round Orlestone. It was noticeably cooler than yesterday, but by the time our walk was over the mist had burned off. We got back to the car at about the time we would have started a serious walk and it was too hot to continue by then.


Once home "er indoors TM" took "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" to the goat sanctuary. I would have liked to have gone, but it was too hot and I’d been up all night. I went to bed, and slept through till mid-afternoon.

Over a very late brekkie I peered into the Internet to see that pretty much nothing at all had happened. I sent out some birthday wishes and thought about going back to bed. The bedroom was cool; the living room like an oven. Instead I went out into the garden and read my Kindle and drank wheat beer until the swarming hordes came home. It was a shame that a wasp had to sting my finger.

Pausing only briefly to push Treacle into the pond, "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" announced that he had renamed one of the Koi “poo-poo-bum”, and told me that I was an “old grit”.


"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" boiled up fajitas for dinner, and with dinner scoffed we started the seemingly endless ritual of getting the family bathed. I wasn’t daft; I’d got in before dinner.


I hope this heatwave breaks soon…



10 August 2020 (Monday) - Cake




I was wide awake at silly o'clock this morning. It had been a hot night, and the sound of a dog sucking and slurping on the duvet wasn't conducive to sleep.

Over a bowl of granola I watched some utter drivel on the History Channel in which it was claimed that it stood to reason that aliens built Stonehenge since why would anyone else bother with all the farting around that had obviously gone into building it. I would have thought that aliens would have had better things to do with their time, but what do I know?


Finding myself awake far too early I went for a little Munzee-mission. Looking at the map I found a load of old ones not too far from work that I could resuscitate for the current clan war, so I set off up the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how schools are looking set to open next month as there is no evidence that COVID-19 spreads in schools. It spreads pretty much everywhere else, but not in schools. Apparently. The government half-wit being interviewed on the matter insisted that there was evidence to support this theory. Well... Of course there is. COVID-19 hasn't spread in schools because they have all been closed for months. Dur!

There was also an interview with some French politician who was questioned about why the French aren't doing more to stop all the migrants from crossing the channel at the moment. As the chap said, what's in it for the French to do so? There is a problem leaving France; the French are glad to see the back of it.


I got to Maidstone and started Munzing. I wanted to get fourteen of the things this morning; I got ten. I could see where the others I needed were, but the reason that no one had Munzed them for three years was that a seriously bramble-ridden thicket had grown up in front of them the meantime.

I gave up and went to work.

Work was good; we had cake in honour of Eid-al-Mubahala. I must admit I had no idea what it was until I got cake for it today. I looked it up on Wikipedia.


As I worked so "er indoors TM" kept me updated with progress in the garden. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that over the last few years at various time I have enlisted help to bodge my ailing garden fence. But fixing the rotten fence posts is hard work, and the fence is now at the stage where we’ve half a dozen (or more) posts which aren’t at all lined up, or level. I’ve spent a small fortune to have a nice man (and his assistant) put in a new fence, and work started today. I would put up a photo, but so far there isn’t much to see; today was mostly groundwork.


"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching more “Taskmaster”. I think I shall have an early night if only to get as much sleep as I can before everyone else comes up making noise…



11 August 2020 (Tuesday) - Early Shift




I slept well despite a rather vivid nightmare featuring my having to make endless excuses for Nigel Farage who in my dreams had suddenly become my best buddy. What was that all about?

I watched part of an old episode of "The Crystal Maze" as I scoffed my granola. For all that this was always a firm favourite of mine, I'd forgotten just how thick some of the contestants on that show were. Did they have to sit a stupidity test before taking part? Faced with the blatantly obvious, this morning several contestants stared in blank amazement before failing miserably. I suppose it saved the program-makers money in that they didn't have to shell out on big prizes.


I took a rather circuitous route to work this morning. Finding herself at something of a loose end, I'd suggested that the most recent fruit of my loin might do some voluntary work to gain experience before applying for jobs. I was rather amazed to find that she quite liked this idea, but in a classic example of her trademark flair for the utterly impractical, she immediately secured herself a morning’s shovelling shit (quite literally) at the goat sanctuary. Whilst I am an ardent supporter of the Buttercup goat sanctuary (my adopted goat "Natalie" lives there), it isn't the easiest of places to get to.  Have you ever been there? It is at the end of a very obscure lane about a mile from the closest bus stop (and that is derelict).

I dropped "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" off shortly after seven o'clock, and I headed in to work. As I drove there was all sorts of talk about how the education system is going to sort out the utter balls-up that was this year's school exams. Bearing in mind it wasn't practical to hold exams this year because of coronageddon, the only fair thing to do would have been to wait until it was practical, or to have rigged up some on-line exam system (with all its inherent potential failures).

Instead the teachers all said what grades they thought the students would get, and over-estimated to make themselves look good. The exam boards saw straight through this ruse and marked everyone down. Now no one is happy with the result.


As I drove through Maidstone so the thunderstorm started. I managed to get into work without getting too wet, and then got on with the day. Today I was something of a hero to the under twenty-fives with whom I work. Apparently the Rocky Horror Picture Show is undergoing something of a revival amongst the younger generation, and my having been a part of the world-record Time-Warp in Brighton eleven years ago was seen as being amazing in the extreme.

Work was work; I had something of a "macrocytosis" day, but being on the early shift, an early start made for an early finish. Just as I was about to set off for the goat sanctuary to retrieve "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" I got a message that she had already got herself home. I was vaguely disappointed; I had been hoping to get a little look-see around the place.


I got home; the new fence is coming on in leaps and bounds. I did think about painting the unpainted panel; I did think about taking the dogs for a walk. But with the temperature still well over thirty degrees I sat inside and sweated whilst writing up some CPD.


"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of the cheapest wine you ever did see. At three quid a bottle it really was as good as some of the stuff I’ve spent over seven or eight quid on.

I might have another early night – that would be three in a row… if only this heatwave would pass…



12 August 2020 (Wednesday) - Late Shift




Sid is currently staying with us for a few days. His barking and chattering woke me, so I came downstairs to let him out thinking he was asking to go out. He wasn’t. He was telling me he’d already crapped on the floor. I cleared it up and sent him out for a tiddle, and left the door open for him. When I’d had my shave I saw he’d piddled on the kitchen floor despite having had the opportunity to go out.


I made toast, and peered into the Internet. There was quite a squabble kicking off on the Geocaching UK Facebook page. The specific details of this particular spat are irrelevant (and utterly trivial), but there is always a squabble kicking off on there. I drafted a little post pointing out that the whole idea of geocaching is that it is supposed to be fun but decided against posting it. For many people who visit the Geocaching UK Facebook page the fun is (sadly) in the nasty arguing. I nearly choked on my coffee when I read the phrase “…it's cheating the CO and other genuine finders who have made the effort to do it correctly” which had been written by the very one who had stalked my movements to claim First to Find on caches before they had even gone live. It is frequently said in geocaching circles that everyone plays it differently. And because everyone really does play it differently, everyone has the opportunity to claim that the way they play isn’t cheating. You wouldn’t believe just how petty people can get when hunting film pots stashed under rocks.

I saw a rather impressive photo of a wonderful model of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory made from Lego. And then I saw it again. And again. Pretty much every Lego related Facebook group I follow had this model featured.

I sent out birthday wishes; some days loads of people have birthdays, some days none do. Today was a “loads” day.


"er indoors TM" fed the dogs and we took them for a walk. Usually they have brekkie after the walk, but we thought that having food first might stop them all eating rabbit poo. It sort-of worked… mind you I’m not sure if Pogo hasn’t so much lost the taste for rabbit poo as much as has gained a taste for blackberries. He eats them from the bramble.


We came home; I had a cuppa whilst writing up some CPD. I thought about a little Munzee or geocaching mission before the late shift, but it was too hot. Instead I told the dogs off (about a million times) for barking at the nice fence man who was doing his thing in the garden until it was time to go to work.


As I drove to work there was utter drivel on the radio, so I turned it off and listened (howled along to) my rather odd choice of music. Realising I had a few minutes to spare I thought I might have a little Munzee mission after all. I parked up in Maidstone and managed to resuscitate seven of the things, getting myself a Munz-badge into the deal. When I was at the point furthest from the car I thought I might have a look at the geo-map to see if there were any geocaches on the way back. I was rather amazed to find I was only twenty feet away from one. I soon found it and did the secret geo-ritual... or as much of it as I could. The geocache was seriously broken.

It was at this point that I realised that maybe I should have stuck to my original plan of going straight to work. I was at the bottom of a hill, and when I got back to my car the thermometer in it said the outside temperature was thirty-four degrees.


I got to work where I had a rather good shift. It was a shame that my apparatus chose to have an issue, but it does that from time to time. When I phoned the blood-test-machine company for help I had a pleasant surprise. The chap at the other end of the phone sounded rather familiar; it was someone with whom I used to work when I was at Canterbury. With the issue sorted we chatted for a bit; both of us are glad to have got out of what was a rather nasty and toxic working environment.


It was a shame I was so late home… but that’s the late shift, isn’t it…



13 August 2020 (Thursday) - Fence Is Done



I woke to the sound of some harridan shrieking in the street. There is a factory down the road where they refurbish mobile phones. A friend worked there once; he told me they are incredibly busy with shifts working round the clock. And quite often those starting at six o’clock in the morning walk down the road shouting at their mates who are only a yard or two away from them. And then (ten minutes later) those who finish at six o’clock in the morning walk up the road shouting at their mates who are only a yard or two away from them.

Usually we miss it all because the window is closed, but it is so hot we had the window open last night.


I came downstairs and hoiked Sid into the garden to do his thing, then (over a bowl of granola) watched an episode of “Good Girls”. It was rather rubbish in that the show’s producers hadn’t done their homework. When a pregnant woman has an ultrasound investigation of the unborn child, the probe is held against her belly. It isn’t rammed up her “lady bits”.


I then had my usual root around the Internet. For once things had been quiet overnight, Squabbling was at a bare minimum, and the few posts that had appeared on Facebook were just from random people showing their ignorance on political issues. I sent out a couple of birthday messages and checked my emails. I had a friend request through LinkedIn. Unlike many of the friend requests I get on Facebook, the sender of this request had kept her clothes on. However Elisa Robyn was offering “a blend of psychology and astrology to help me find, embrace, and live your soul's craving”.

That’s all I need…

And then my email pinged again. A new geocache not two miles away. I got myself organised and set off in hope of being first to find. It wasn't long before I was stomping about in the undergrowth. I took a while to find my quarry; when you hide a geocache you get to grade the difficulty from one (dead simple to find) to five (fiendishly difficult). This one was rated as "two", but had been hidden by someone who (in my humble opinion) rather underestimates the difficulty of her hides. She hides good caches, but they can be tricky to find. But after fifteen minutes of rummaging I had the thing in my hand. And I was the first one to find it too. Happy dance.

That's my FTF for this month sorted.


As I drove away I saw someone who looked incredibly like the local First To Find Fanatic pulling up in his car. Was it him chasing the FTF that I'd just got? I'll never know.

If I don't get to be first, I log the thing on-line anyway.  But there really are some people who if they are beaten to the FTF, then they don't log at all. I've been first at a geocache before, seen one of the FTF-hounds approaching, but on seeing me they turn away and slink off in the hope that I didn't see them. The chap I *think* I saw today went out to my latest geo-series the other week, and on realising that he wasn't first he came home and never logged anything on-line. He did that out Sittingbourne way a while ago, and I'm sure I saw him driving out to Wye last month when I was driving home after finding an FTF. He never logged that one either...

Some people take this silly game *far* too seriously.


As I drove up the motorway I heard something that made me sit up and take notice. The Rear Admiral is currently with his girlfriend in her family's holiday home in France. When their holiday is over they may well find themselves facing a two-week quarantine. They didn't expect that when they went.

There was also talk of about how the official estimates of coronageddon have been wrong. It would seem that rather than a few hundred thousand, over three and a half million people in the UK had the disease (that's six per cent of the population). If this is the case then perhaps all the social distancing and mask-wearing might need to be re-visited as the virus might really be already everywhere?


I did my thing at work, and came home to find the fence was finished. I think it looks rather good. With posts at the same height and in a straight line it is a far better job than I could have done myself. Mind you it wasn't cheap. I have bought more expensive things, but not many. In fact I think this fence is the sixth most costly thing I've ever paid for, being outdone only by two houses and three cars.

Apparently during construction not-so-nice-next-door had words with the nice man who did the fence to ensure that he didn't replace any of the fencing on her side. That is "her boundary" and he was not to go near it. The next time she tries to blank me I will ask her when she is going to repair "her boundary". It is falling down and in far worse shape than the fence I just had replaced. I really would have paid for it to have been done (if only to ensure the dogs don't escape), but since she insists it is her boundary...

But now the fence is done, I've got to stop prevaricating with the garden. Everything has been on hold until it was done... now it is time to start sorting that garden out.



14 August 2020 (Friday) - Day Off - Hurt Back




The dustmen woke me as they came crashing up the road at six o’clock. There seems to be two different mentalities involved with people who are up early. Either they feel that they should be quiet and respect those who don’t have to be up, or they feel that if they are up, then so should everyone else be up. A good friend of mine used to have the second attitude; whenever his baby woke in the small hours he would phone everyone to tell them that he was up, and honestly could see nothing wrong in doing so.

I suggested to "er indoors TM" that we might take the dogs out as we were awake; she went back to sleep.


I made toast and shared it with Fudge (the only one who didn’t go back to bed) and peered into the Internet. Squabbles were still rumbling on the Geocaching UK page. Some like the fun of hunting film pots under rocks; others like the fun of policing how everyone else does it.

Squabbles were still rumbling on the Lego pages. Some have no issue with buying the fake Lego sets (because they are cheap); others see it as the end of the world.


I took the dogs down to Orlestone for a walk. We had a good walk in that we only met a couple of other people and we had no dog-squabbles at all. We met a couple of young lads who were fascinated by Pogo and Treacle; most people are fascinated by cocker-pugs.


With walk walked I went on a little shopping spree. To Pets at Home for dog biscuits and goldfish food, and then to B&Q for paint brushes and some guttering. Not one member of staff in B&Q was wearing any face covering; I asked the chap on the till about it and wished I hadn’t. Apparently shop staff don’t have to wear face coverings, it’s the law… he didn’t actually tell me to stick a face covering up my bum, but that was his tone.

I came home and spent a little while pootling in the garden. Pausing only briefly to dispose of a dead pigeon (!) I tidied up and swept up, then I got busy with the guttering I’d bought. For all that I’ve buried the pond filter’s electrical cables in the shingle, they keep coming up again. So I had this plan to saw a length of guttering to size and use it to hold the cable in place under the shingle. It was a shame that the hacksaw snapped whilst I was cutting the guttering to shape but I eventually got the job done.

I then painted one of the new fence panels and touched up another. None of the work was particularly arduous, but I couldn’t walk at the end of it; my back was so painful.


I rested my back for a bit, then drove down to Tenterden. I needed supplies from the brewery. I came home via Matalan. They do good clothes at a good price, but (it has to be said) they don’t cater for those of the more rotund physique.

Feeling that my back was better than it was I pootled a little more in the garden, which was silly. I should have rested it more. But despite backache I got the garden a little more sorted, and I then did my packing for my hollibobs.


We popped round to Asda to get freshly cooked pizza, hen had an evening with "My Boy TM" and his branch of the tribe. Sitting in the garden, scoffing pizza… we had a good evening.

I’ve programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow… I hope my back is better in the morning.



15 August 2020 (Saturday) - Netheravon




The trouble with having hurt your back is that you tend to get into a position so that it doesn’t hurt, and then not move. I did that for much of the night and over brekkie.

As I scoffed brekkie I peered into the Internet. People were posting on the Lego sites showing off their bargains. Some chap had got a Lego train set for fifteen quid (usual price over a hundred quid) purely because the box was ripped. I wouldn’t even want the box.

I sent out a few birthday wishes and got ready for the off.


With the car finally loaded up we left the fruits of our loin in charge at home and set off up the motorway aiming for darkest Wiltshire. As we drove we Munzee-ed like things possessed, gaining over twenty-five thousand Munz points (which was quite the achievement). After an hour or so the torrential rain hit, which was when we realised I’d left my coat at home.

Pausing only briefly at Cobham services we were soon at Netheravon where we met Karl, Tracey and all of the girls, and we set off on a little wander.


We hadn’t been walking long when the rain hit; I blagged "er indoors TM"’s raincoat which I somehow squeezed into. We sheltered under trees, but after a few minutes decided to just keep going anyway, and that was when the rain stopped.

We had a rather good walk despite the iffy weather. Exploring an area we’d never visited before I was rather disappointed that we didn’t meet any of the tanks that the signposts had warned up about.

Geocache-wise the walk was something of a disappointment; the chap who’d hidden the caches had clearly lost interest years ago, but we got a guided walk, and that is never a bad thing.


We then drove for fifteen minutes to Pewsey where we found our home for the week. It was a rather pretty cottage which we explored (there was a surprising lot to explore), before phoning the local pub to ask them to cook our dinner.

They did, and as we scoffed it the nice man from Tesco arrived with shopping.

Beer, port… you can see some photos of the day here.


It’s a shame my back still hurts…



16 August 2020 (Sunday) - Milton Lilbourne




Despite having forgotten to bring my CPAP machine along, I slept reasonably well. It was a shame I had to have quite such a vivid dream about a vicar friend of mine who wanted me to buy him a minibus, but there it was. I can’t help but wonder what provoked that nightmare.


I got up, and being on holiday I used carbolic soap for my morning wash; I *love* the smell of that stuff. I then spent an entertaining few minutes watching Charlotte fussing Fudge, and Treacle marching round with a succession of shoes and socks and all sorts of things that she had stolen.

I made a cuppa, and explored the garden. I found the proper poop scoop which… let’s just say it failed miserably and draw a veil over the thing. Suffice it to way I found a little shovel which will tidy up after the dogs.


After a while everyone was up; we scoffed a bow of cereals, and set off to Milton Lilbourne (the villages round here have rather good names) from where we went for a rather good walk. As we walked we saw birds of prey and deer and rather wonderful views. There was quite a bit of “up”, but it was worth it for the view from the top. And it was a result that I found the dead bird before the dogs did.  

As we walked we found a pub, and with herculean self-control we walked past it. Bearing in mind that one pint leads to two (and usually three), and also bearing in mind that rain was forecast for later we thought it best to crack on. And we were right to do so; the rain started about three minutes before we got back to the cars. Had we stopped for a pint…


We came back to base where I had a shower and a cuppa, and then a rather relaxed afternoon. The forecast rain came to nothing, and we spent a rather pleasant afternoon pootling in the garden playing “fetch” with windfall apples and watching Fudge digging out the rabbit holes.

Dinner was particularly good, and as the evening wore on, it all got rather vague,

I took a few photos of the day



17 August 2020 (Monday) - Morgan's Hill




The plan was an early start to beat the rain. I got up at six o’clock to find it was already raining. I spent five minutes unloading the dishwasher and was rather baffled as to where I should put one thing I found in the dishy. After a few minutes I realised that what I had discovered was actually an integral part of the dishy; one of its wheels had fallen off. I saw that as somewhat allegorical of my life, made myself a cuppa and (despite being on holiday) had a little look at the Internet. It was much the same as it ever was.

As I pootled both Fudge and Pogo came down, asked to go out (as dogs do) and came back in again. Treacle came down to show off what sock she’d stolen and ran off before I could catch her.


It wasn’t long before everyone was up, and we had a particularly good cooked brekkie. You really can’t beat a fry-up. The dogs had some too; they were funny. They didn’t like the grilled tomato, so each of them just took it out of their bowl and left it to one side.


The weather forecast said it would soon be raining, so we got going as quickly as we could and made out way to Morgan’s Hill where we had a rather good walk. I had hoped that “Hannah” would have stayed programmed from yesterday, but she didn’t. Never mind; my phone’s GC Droid saved the day. As we walked we looked down on some rather spectacular views, we saw hawks and deer. This was a very good walk – the dogs were able to run off of their leads for some six miles.


We came home via Morrisons in Devizes. We had planned to come home via the Stonehenge brewery but they only open their shop on Saturdays. I had phoned then, and a rather disinterested chap said that they could deliver beer to us… on Friday.


Having obtained supplies we then sat in the garden for a rather glorious afternoon during which the forecast rain never came. I got my boots polished, we played with the dogs, Treacle got herself locked in the shed (how?!)

And we had a particularly good dinner of pizza, salad and cream cakes washed down with more beer, and I shared some cheese with the dogs as we downed a glass of port.

I woke up to find I was fast asleep…

I took quite a few photos today.



18 August 2020 (Tuesday) - Caen Locks and Wilcot




A cold night; having got warm and cosy I woke in the small hours to find that "er indoors TM" had secured most of the duvet, and that Pogo and Treacle were weighing it down. I gave up trying to sleep, and came downstairs where I spent a little while posting photos from yesterday’s adventures to the Internet before sending out some birthday wishes.

With everyone else still asleep I made myself another cuppa, emptied (and fixed) the dishy then sat in the garden and watched the fat pigeon. Obviously the thing is accustomed to having full run of the bird bath in the garden, but he was rather dubious to go near it having had Pogo shouting at him yesterday.


Bearing in mind yesterday’s GPS failure, I programmed “Hannah” specifically for where we had in mind today, then set about a spot of brekkie. The weather forecast wasn’t good, but we set off toward Devizes and Caen Locks. Waving at a passing dinosaur (!) we were soon at Caen locks; a series of twenty-six locks on the Kennet and Avon canal used by pleasure boats going along its length. Tracy’s brother and his family were on one such boat and we spent a rather good few hours watching the locks in action. Fudge was particularly fascinated by how the boats would suddenly drop down.

We met some other geocachers who were working out a field puzzle. Having overheard that they had solved the puzzle I walked over, introduced myself, and offered to swap a photograph on my trackable tattoo for the solution that they had just come up with. To my amazement they readily agreed.


Having helped the family boat to the bottom of the locks we drove into Devizes and the Wadworth brewery for a rather large tin of 6X, and for half an hour (or more) in what must have been the world’s slowest car wash. The chaps working there seemed more interested in winding up the dogs rather than washing the car.


With car eventually washed we then drove out to Wilcot for a shortish little geo-wander. There were eighteen geocaches there all of which had received rave reviews from the geocaching community. Some of them really were works of genius; some unfortunately once were works of genius but in the intervening years have been replaced with film pots under a rock.


We came home where we had the most amazing curry for tea. It was *so* good, and there was quite a lot of it too. So much so that there is probably enough left over for a spot of brekkie tomorrow…

I took a few photos today (as I do). I’m going to bed before I wake up and find myself asleep (again).



19 August 2020 (Wednesday) - Emergency Plan B



A year or so ago the BBC’s weather forecasting app was rather good. These days it is utter rubbish. When we get home I’m going to send the BBC a formal complaint about the thing. For the last four days we’ve been expecting rain in the next hour, and during the course of that next hour the BBC just move the prediction back another hour.

But that rain finally got here this morning. I woke to the sound of rain.

I got up and posted the photos of yesterday’s outing to Facebook where it didn’t take long to garner quite a few “likes”. I then did all the geo-admin from yesterday’s outing. And with everyone still asleep I peered into the internet whilst scoffing the last of last night’s curry. The curry made for a very good first breakfast as I looked at all the photos from the friends’ wedding that took place yesterday. What with England having effectively put weddings on hold, they got married in Scotland. It looked like all went well.

Fudge came down and asked to go outside. I opened the door, he looked at the rain and turned around. Foolishly I insisted he went for a tiddle, and he went and played silly beggars in the rain and wouldn’t come back in again. I think he was chasing the fat pigeon.


We had a rather good fry-up brekkie, The dogs liked the bacon. And with the rain showing no sign of abating, Karl and I went shopping. First of all to the Three Castles Brewery (as they *did* want our money unlike the Stonehenge Brewery). We knew what we wanted, but I had to sample the ciders to make sure I got what was best for "er indoors TM". I staggered out of there (into a torrential downpour) and we then went into Pewsey and to the co-op. The place was festooned with signs saying that face coverings were mandatory, there was an announcement on the loudspeakers telling us to wear face coverings. Not a single member of staff had one on.

Mind you one customer had tied a sock over his face.


We came back to base, sampled the beer, and had a game of “Blokus”. A firm favourite game of mine; the triangular version is very different to the square one. I came third, which was probably better than I deserved.

After a light lunch we spent a few minutes braving the drizzle in the garden. Treacle and Pogo got rather over-excited chasing apples that were thrown for them; Fudge got rather filthy digging out the rabbit hole that he’s taken to excavating.

The plan had ben to take the dogs for a short walk as the rain cleared, but the rain didn’t clear. It got worse. So we got the dogs inside, and after Fudge had been scrubbed (he didn’t want to go in the shower but had no choice) we had a game of “Cluedo”. I hadn’t played it for years, and rather struggled a bit. Eventually it turns out that I’d been victimising Professor Plums as it was me that did it.

We then had a rather frustrating few minutes whilst I tried to program “Hannah” for tomorrow and others tried to do various other Internet-related stuff. There are two wi-fi networks in the cottage which suddenly decided to randomly take turns in working, and we were (and still are) manually swapping network to transmit to the universe.


We played another round of “Cluedo” (with which I got on a lot better) then I thought I’d order our dinner as a take-away from the pub.

Oh, how I laughed…

Once we’d decided what we wanted (and that took some deciding(!)) I phoned the local pub. The woman at the other end clearly wasn’t paying attention. I explained we wanted a take-out for this evening. She was fine with that. We would collect it this evening. Not a problem. I confirmed they could do this evening, she was only too happy with that. I told her what we wanted, and she had questions about every single thing I said. And then she asked what time we wanted it for. When I said “as soon as possible” she announced that “as soon as possible” was tomorrow as they were over-run this evening.

I took a deep breath and phoned the chip shop.


"er indoors TM" drove me to the Dragon chip shop in Pewsey where I saw a sign in the window saying they only took cash. What was that about? The shop up the road had a cashpoint machine and I got some money out. Can you believe this was the first cash withdrawal I have made in over six months? What with coronageddon I’ve been using card and contactless payments and haven’t taken cash from a machine sine Valentine’s day?

We got out fish and sausages and chips and took them home. They were in a box which was rather warm on my lap, and once home we had a really good fish (and sausage) supper enjoyed by all (especially the dogs). We followed it with cream cakes (none for the dogs!), and in something of a first we then watched the news. With all that is going on in the UK, the BBC seem to devote a *lot* of air-time to the American election.


A glass of port slipped down nicely, and I went to bed before I fell asleep. I took a few photos today. Despite the rain (which never stopped once) we certainly made the most of the day…



20 August 2020 (Thursday) - Little Bedwyn




Pogo had gone somewhere else during the night. I’m not sure where but it gave me a bit more space. It was a shame that Treacle had to suck the duvet quite so noisily for much of the night, but there it is.

Once I’d composed yesterday’s blog entry I then tried to tell the world about yesterday’s antics. The photos went up to Facebook, but the Internet connection wasn’t working well enough to be able to talk to the Blogger website. After fifteen minutes we finally made contact.


After a bit of brekkie (only one today for me!) we drove out to Little Bedwyn where we went for a little walk… I say “little walk”; it was probably about ten miles. I can’t say for sure since I stupidly left my sat-nav back at base. But after the rain of yesterday it was good to get out. Pogo seemed to hurt a paw at one point, but I fiddled with it and found a piece of grit. Once that was out he seemed to walk better.

We walked along lanes and across footpaths and followed the canal for quite a way. There were cows and horses. We saw a flock of chickens which had gone rogue.

Some of our number saw deer; I didn’t but I heard them crashing in the crops. It was a glorious day to be walking; we had a rather good picnic, and saw hardly anyone else.

And along the way "er indoors TM" found her eleven thousandth geocache.


Geocache-wise… It has to be said that during this little holiday in Wiltshire we’ve been rather disappointed with the geocaching. With one exception we’ve found very old series of caches in various stages of neglect (which in Kent would have been replaced years ago) but today’s series…

It certainly wasn’t the worst series of geocaches I’ve ever done (that was a series in Essex). It wasn’t the second worst (that was a series near Bluewater). But is was quite possibly the third worst.

It started badly. The first hide was right outside the house of the chap who had hidden the series. We couldn’t find it, and no one else had found it for a couple of months. The description said that the neighbours were all aware of the cache and were happy with it. Two of the neighbours came out; they knew of the cache and clearly weren’t at all happy about it. And unfortunately that set the tone for the rest of the series.

Many of the caches we found didn’t match the given hints for location or size, having clearly been replaced by passing cachers over the years. One cache was no more than a scrap of paper in a bank bag stuffed behind a road sign.

Many were probably accessible when hidden five years ago but are now deep in thickets which have grown up. A few caches were on random spurs off of the route when they could have all been along the route (with no need for confusing back-tracking). Some were way off of footpaths, seemingly stuffed behind random hedges and trees. And one was a hundred yards from the nearest footpath and behind an electric fence.

At one stage we could see from our maps that the route left the footpath and started following a parish boundary.

The given terrain grade for one was a tad low; a T2 cache is *not* twelve feet up a tree.

But this seems to be geocaching in Wiltshire. In Kent there is a large community of people who delight in stuffing film pots under rocks. In Wiltshire there’s a few who go looking for them, but not so many keen on hiding them. And consequently those that are there are old and in sad need of attention.


We came back to base where I immediately fell asleep. It had been a hot day, and although I’d taken a bandanna, I’d not put it on. My whole head was glowing red. I slept for a couple of hours until Tracey called us for a particularly good but of dinner.

We followed dinner with a game of “Cluedo” which I am finally beginning to understand, and then I had something of an early night. I’d had too much sun.

As always I took a few photos of the day.



21 August 2020 (Friday) - Woodhenge




Finding myself wide awake a couple of hours before anyone else I emptied the dishwasher and told the Internet about yesterday’s adventures whilst the rain hammered down outside. Or, that is I told the Internet about yesterday’s adventures once I’d pointed my lap-top at the right wi-fi network. I then sent out a few birthday messages and had a look at the geo-map as the rain hammered down outside. Ironically the forecast for back home was a day of sunshine, but here it looked like fifty per cent chance of showers all day long. (In the end we had a few spots of rain and that was all).

My piss boiled somewhat when I read a “Needs Maintenance” log which had been posted on one of my newer geocaches. Someone didn’t like the wording of the hint that I’d given and felt I should change it.


We had a bit of brekkie, and pondered over what to do today. The rain had stopped but was expected to return shortly and the wind was getting stronger and stronger. Bearing in mind we were still rather worried about Pogo’s leg we opted for a shorter walk today.

There was a dodgy five minutes when something big and heavy bounced of off the windscreen of "er indoors TM" car, but it wasn’t long before we were parking at Woodhenge. Have you ever been to Woodhenge? I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was disappointed. Billed as “an atmospheric Neolithic site” it was actually a load of concrete markers in a random field. Perhaps we might have been more impressed had the wind not been quite so biting, but I think it fair to say that Pogo summed it up by taking a dump in the middle of it.

From here we took a short walk to the Cuckoo Stone. Anyone feeling that Woodhenge was disappointing would have cried at the Cuckoo Stone. It really was a random boulder in a field in the arse end of nowhere. But like so many random boulders in the arse end of nowhere, an Earthcache had been created around the thing so we got the answers to a few questions about it, and I shall send an email saying “blah blah chalk” to some random geocacher tomorrow.


Pausing only briefly to look at a monument to the site of a military kite-making establishment we thought we might then mosey on down along the footpaths to Stonehenge. As we walked we were harangued by some normal people who wanted to know where the best footpath to get to Stonehenge was. We explained that we thought it was along the road a bit, and carried on along the road. As we passed the footpath we didn’t want so the normal people pulled up in their car and told us that we’d missed the path. We told them we hadn’t, and they then tried (and failed) to be very subtle in their attempt to follow us.

We got within sight of Stonehenge, but we were in a field full of sheep. The dogs wouldn’t stop eating sheep poo, the wind was blowing at over fifty miles per hour as the remains of a tropical storm were passing by, there was no shelter at all, and the sky looked incredibly dark and we could feel spots of rain. We decided to retreat.

Ironically within half an hour the weather chirped up a bit. I say “chirped up”; the rain came to nothing but the wind remained.


We found some picnic benches by where we’d parked and ate that of our lunch which didn’t get blown away into the distance, then headed back to base. We stopped off to get petrol. The filling station had a big sign saying that face coverings were mandatory; I was the only person wearing one. I asked the chap behind the counter why no one was wearing them – he said he had enough to do without making trouble for himself by upsetting the customers.


Once home we sat in the garden drinking up the last of the beer before setting about a very good bit of dinner. I’ve not had chicken teriyaki before; I would certainly scoff it again.

Beer gave way to port, the cheese came out… I’ve eaten fa too much…

I took quite a few photos today, and now it’s bed time…



22 August 2020 (Saturday) - Coming Home




Last night’s cheese took its toll; I hardly slept and when I did I was plagued with nightmares in which I had been entrusted with the care of a frog which "My Boy TM" had bought as a family pet, and which I immediately lost.

I gave up trying to sleep, told the world about yesterday’s adventures by posting photos to Facebook, and sent off a message to the C.O. of the virtual geocache at Stonehenge asking of a selfie from half a mile away was acceptable. I don’t see why not – looking at the image gallery for that one there was a few people who had taken photos as they’d driven past in the car.


I spent a few minutes taking photos of our cottage home before we packed, and we were soon heading east and home. We had thought about coming home via the Three Castles brewery, but thought better of the idea.

We Munzeed as we drove along the motorway, and soon we were in Larkfield. Breaking up a long journey is always a good idea, and we thought we might have a little geo-walk when half-way home. We parked up and set off walking. It didn’t take long for Treacle to find a stick which was far too big for her, and we had a rather good walk (to begin with). There were horses, there were rather pretty houses, there weren’t any hills… it was a good walk right up to the half-way point. And then we followed a country lane. With a signposted speed limit of forty miles per hour, we took our lives in our hands as cars flew past at break-neck speed blatantly ignoring that speed limit.

Mind you, finding the last cache of the series was something of a bonus; not many people have found that one.


We said our goodbyes and headed home. As we drove I was messaging the “Main Mumma” of Munzee-ing locally. There has been something of a disaster in allocating Munzers to Clans. Utterly trivial in the great scheme of things, but rather serious for those who scan bar codes posted to lamp posts. Incredibly serious for me in my capacity as the Numero Uno Honcho in the “Cup of Hot Chocolate Clan”. I’ was promised two top-rate Munzers, but they have both been enticed away to other clans…


We got home. After a couple of hours (literally) we’d cleared most of the mess that "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" had left, and started on our unpacking. I got a load of shirts in to wash, and I then quickly gave myself a haircut.

Oh dear…

I give my head a once-over one every week with the shears. They felt odd today… it was only after I’d been going for a few minutes that I saw the cutting head thingy on the floor. The cutting head thingy controls how much hair gets left behind when cutting, and since it had fallen off, no hair was being left behind. By the time I’d realised, it was too late to salvage anything of the haircut so I chopped the lot. It won’t take long to grow back.

I am reliably told I look like a Lego maxifigure.


"er indoors TM" popped up to the KFC for some dinner. We scoffed it whilst watching “Taskmaster” and whilst the washing machine scrubbed my undercrackers. Hopefully it will have sorted them by the time I wake up….


Oh  and I took a few photos today.



23 August 2020 (Sunday) - Back to Reality




I slept like a log last night; partly being back in my own bed, and partly having a CPAP machine blasting air down my nose. After ten hours asleep I came downstairs to find that one of the dogs couldn’t wait any more, and there were two huge piles of poo by the back door. You can’t tell them off for that – the culprit had clearly tried to go to the right place, and it only took a couple of seconds to clear up.

I put more washing in and (pausing only briefly to repair the toaster) made myself some brekkie before peering into the Internet.


Facebook was much the same as ever. That which I’d posted last night had got quite a lot of likes, but very few people were posting up anything about that which they might have done over the last few days. A shame – being a nosey person I like to see what others get up to.

As always, the petty bickering continued on the national geocaching page as people got more and more nasty to each other, safe in the knowledge that they would never have to face their protagonists.

The same posts about Lego had been re-posted to every Lego Facebook page know to science; and the same was true of fishing, Sparks (the band) and local news. In fact this morning I probably saw the same half-dozen posts about fifty times. It’s a shame I can’t somehow filter these.


I rolled my eyes somewhat as I checked my emails… just as we were about to go on holiday I’d had a report that one of my geocaches had issues. A fence had been put up blocking it off. I wrote on the relevant website that the thing had issues. I disabled it and said that I would replace it when I could and if in the meantime anyone passing could fix it for me I would be grateful.

Another of my caches seemed to be missing. Again I’d said that if anyone was passing they might like to sort it out.

Several people have passed both in the week. Not one had done the decent thing; all had merely repeated the comments about the issues they had. And all of those people have found plenty of film pots under rocks but not hidden any themselves. There are those who contribute to the ancient and honourable art of stuffing film pots under rocks, and there are those who take from it. Much like life in general really.


I hung out washing and put more in to scrub, then hung that out too. With a third load on the go we took the dogs out to Singleton to sort the issues on those geocaches of mine. Sure enough one was missing and one was now behind a fence. To be fair the dogs needed a short walk today, but anyone passing could have fixed the issues in less time than it took them to write about it on-line, and saved us an hour or so which would be better spent on other things.


We came home, fetched in dry washing and hung out wet, then put even more in to scrub whilst I did the geo-admin that went with the geo-maintenance. As I fiddled about on-line I had a friend request on Facebook from some very dubious looking “person” but before I could get a screen shot of him/her/it their profile was suddenly deleted. Which was probably for the best.


I started pootling in the garden, but the forecast rain came two hours early, so I came in and whilst "er indoors TM" went shopping I started ironing the epic loads of laundry that I’d washed. It only took a couple of hours. I finished just as "er indoors TM" returned, and it was then that I realised that the rain had come to nothing, so I pootled in the garden. I say “pootled” ;“cut back all of not-so-nice-next-door”’s overgrowth is closer to the truth.


We had a rather good bit of dinner rather early, and as "er indoors TM" tuned into some epic four-hour podcast I watched a film. “2036: Origin Unknown” was a strange sci-fi film. Starring “Starbuck” from “BattleStar Galactica” it didn’t really have any other cast members. It was rather derivative of many other sci-fi films, but that is probably true of all sci-fi films. I quite liked it, and watched it all without falling asleep, which speaks volumes.


For all that I haven’t really done anything today, I feel rather worn out... I do hope I’m not sickening for something. I think a rather active holiday has taken its toll. The dogs have all been rather subdued today too.



24 August 2020 (Monday) - Late Shift




Another good night’s sleep. The dogs must all be tired as there were no “Red Alerts” in the small hours.

Over brekkie I had my usual root around the Internet. It was much as I’d left it last night, with disappointingly little new appearing on Facebook. One or two new people had joined some of the groups I follow, and had re-posted all of the jokes, pictures and memes that all newbies post to these groups (thinking they are oh-so-original), but on the plus side I did have over a hundred “Found It” logs on geocaches that I’d hidden over the last few months.


We got the leads on to the dogs and took them over to the back end of the Warren where "er indoors TM" had some geocache maintenance to do. One had been reported missing but was there. Another had been trashed when a new fence had been put in place. She sorted it all out, and we came home where we met not-so-nice-next-door coming along the road. I tackled her about her fence. It was a shame that she stopped our fence-fixing man going anywhere near her fence as it is falling down. She said she was aware of it falling down, but insisted that it was on her land. Apparently the boundary extends an indeterminate way into our garden, but I have her regal permission to paint our side of it (!)

However she actually spoke, and I suppose that is more than I’ve got from her in several years.


I set off up the motorway aiming for Sheerness, but autopilot kicked in and it was only as I drove past the junction that I realised that I'd missed it. Ho hum... Fortunately the next junction where I could turn around was only three miles further on.

It wasn't long before I was in Sheerness and at Wheelan's (perhaps the best suppliers of garden ornaments in the country). One of the water features we got from them several years ago had sprung a leak, and needed a new cement bowl. I got a replacement - only sixteen quid. Whilst I was at it I got three little tortoise ornaments and a hedgehog ornament too (if only to wind up the dogs).  I also got a selection of masonry paints with which I shall touch up the garden gnomes. They've all got a little bit tatty since "My Boy TM"  painted them all those years ago.

There were several other things I might have bought but decided against it for now.


I eventually heaved the cement bowl into the boot of my car (the stuff from Whelan's isn't light!), and using geocachical expertise I quickly located a geocache which wasn't too far away, and then thought I might do a little more Munzee resuscitation. Our clan needed fifty-four of those for the current clan war. I managed seven, and others got some as well. Between us we reached our target of a hundred and fifty resuscitations iin this month, and we got our rewards; our rewards being rather special bar codes that you can stick to lamp posts. I was rather pleased about it, but I can understand why others might see this as something of a disappointment.


And then I went to get some petrol.

Oh dear...

The petrol station were operating a "pay at the window" scheme. Customers weren't allowed to walk into the kiosk with the petrol station staff but had to form a queue outside. I asked the chap at the window if this was a new idea. He said it was because of social distancing. Bearing in mind no one inside the kiosk behind the window was wearing any face coverings or gloves (and they were packed in like sardines) the obvious implication was that the petrol station staff were all OK, but the general public were all diseased.

I asked if I could get a sandwich as well as petrol. The nice man said he would get one for me and pass it out, and asked what sort I wanted. I said I had no idea as I was standing outside and I couldn't see what they had. That foxed him. There was a little conference of the petrol station staff (whilst the queue grew and grew), and I was eventually told that I would like a ham and cheese sandwich. One sort of sandwich was much the same as another as far as I was concerned so I took it. As I got back to my car I saw that they'd opened the door to the petrol station's kiosk and had let the public in. Obviously choosing people's sandwiches was too arduous for them.


I got to work. the tea room has been redecorated. I didn't like it. But there was cake (I did like that). I did what I had to do and came home again. A few years ago I would have dreaded going back to work after a holiday. Nowadays it ain't that bad...


It was a shame that I was nearly run off the road on the way home, but I’ve squealed that person up



25 August 2020 (Tuesday) - This n That



Having set an alarm (for the first time in nearly two weeks) I found myself wide awake long before it was due to go off. Over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “Good Girls” which was quite entertaining, even if I had no idea what was going on.


I then spared up my lap-top to peer into the Internet. There was quite an argument kicking off on one of the local Facebook groups. Some woman living nearby had no hot water and wondered how widespread the problem was. Others had tod her that all water is cold when it comes to your house, and if it stays cold then this issue is with her boiler. I always thought this was the case, but this woman was adamant that she has hot water piped in (as do her neighbours), and there was quite a bit of name-calling going on.

Last night’s hiccup on the Munzee messenger app seemed to have calmed down. As part of the Clan War thing we band together into groups (clans) of up to ten players. I’d sent an invite to join the clan to one chap ages ago. He’d not responded so I gave his place to someone else. And then last night (almost a week later) he came from nowhere wanting to join. The bottom line is “you snooze – you lose”. I’m hoping we can sort him into another clan, but he ain’t happy.

I also saw that someone had been to Ashford yesterday and had done loads of my Wherigo geocaches. They had a few issues, but rather than messaging me about them, they’ve just whinged on-line. Interestingly there were a couple they couldn’t find, and “hoped I would allow them the find”. Bearing in mid this one never replied to me when I messaged her in the past, I wonder if she will find out whether or not I allowed it.

Again, here’s someone with over twenty thousand geo-finds and less than thirty active geo-hides.


It is amazing how these trivial little things become such major issues.

On the plus side I’ve been accepted into the Facebook group “Space 1999 in Lego”. All I need to do now is to spend a fortune getting enough grey bricks to build my very own Moonbase Alpha. I wonder if I can get a Martin Landau minifigure?


I set off through the rain up the motorway. My car was seriously steaming up, and as I turned corners I could hear some water (presumably) sloshing around somewhere up front. Perhaps that is where all the water in the under-floor compartment is coming from?

As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about face coverings in schools (what with schools looking to re-open next week). It has been suggested (decreed) that the children don't have to wear face coverings in the classrooms, but do have to in all the other parts of the school. What utter tripe - does the virus not bite them when that are doing their lessons, but it does in the corridors?


Just as I got to work so my phone pinged. “Shawn Bearden” wanted to be my friend on Facebook and has invited me to an exclusive WhatsApp sex group.

Would any of my loyal readers like to “do the dirty deed” with “Shawn”? I'm not keen, but if anyone fancies a portion let me know and I'll send the details... I copied the picture of “Shawn” to my Facebook page. I bet Facebook will delete that post... but won’t do anything about the porn monger in the picture...


Regular readers of this drivel may recall I visited the dentist in late July when I was told they would be in touch in a few days about another appointment. Bearing in mind a month had passed I phoned them today. After a lot of farting about I finally managed to get that appointment sorted. Apparently they are struggling because the British Dental Association says they can only have one dentist in the surgery at a time.

But there was cake at tea-time which was not too shabby.


I wonder what’s for tea?



26 August 2020 (Wednesday) - A Funeral



I got up and put the last of the garden gnomes through the dishwasher. Before I re-paint them they all needed a clean and going at them with a wire brush seemed a tad harsh. I thought the pressure washer might do the trick, but yesterday I struck on the (frankly genius) idea of sticking them through the dishwasher. Gnomes and dishy have all survived the ordeal. I put the gnomes outside to dry out and remembered the gnomes we had when I was a lad.

My dad used to make his own garden gnomes (from moulds) and paint them, and they were so good that they all got stolen. I wonder if the gnome painting skill is hereditary?


Over brekkie I peered into the Internet to see that I’ve been upgraded to the all-new Facebook. Several people have been grumbling about it, and I wasn’t pleased to see that the change is not optional. But after five minutes it strikes me that the only difference is that the whole thing seems to have a larger font size.

I also saw there was a new geocache not that far from work. To find it you need to solve a puzzle which looks to be ridiculously complicated. Why do people set these things? If you don’t want people to find your geocache (which clearly the hider of this one does not) why hide it at all?


With not a lot else going on I looked at the monthly accounts. Not too shabby. I could be a whole lot worse off. I would like to be a whole lot better off, but that is just greed.

Amazingly the credit card people still haven’t billed me for the hospital car parking last Christmas, the Smargard I bought from Munzee, some Lego from Bricklink and two e-books I bought from Amazon. Each on its own wasn’t much, but together that’s thirty quid’s worth of stuff I would seem to have got for free.

As I counted pennies there was quite a lot of noise from not-so-nice-next-door. Only a couple of days ago she told me she is too poor to afford to repair the broken fence, and today she had all the rear windows of her house replaced.

The people doing the work are going to give me a quote to have my rear gutters and facias done.


We got the dogs leaded up and went for our first proper walk since we came home from holiday. Down to Orlestone Woods. We had a good walk… we walked round the woods, the dogs didn’t run off, we only met one other person and had no “episodes”… a good walk.

Once home I popped up to the corner shop. They’ve taken to baking fresh croissants and pastries every day and they go well with a cuppa. Today I came home with pain au chocolat which were rather tasty.


We then set off to Hastings for the main business of the day. I have (had) two brothers-in-law called “Michael”. One died a couple of weeks ago.

I first met Big Mike in 1982. I can’t pretend I warmed to him. There is a lot I could say about him. I wrote quite a bit, and deleted it. It would be wrong of me to list his various crimes and failings; we are all human. I will just say that despite having been on many family camping trips with his brother over the years, I’ve probably only seen him twice in the last twenty years (one family wedding, his father’s funeral) and had I walked past him in the street I doubt we would have recognised each other.

Today was his funeral.


It went well… so I am told. The rest of the family have posted on Facebook saying what a lovely service it was. But I must admit that where everyone else (not that there were many there) was in tears, I was quietly seething. Like so many before him, he was christened a Catholic, he hadn’t been anywhere near the church for decades, and once dead the Catholic priest crawled out of some hole to claim his soul. The service started with my sister in law giving a rather good eulogy, and then this priest came on and blathered platitudes. To try to ingratiate himself he kept dropping names of family and friends… it was a shame he didn’t mention the deceased’s brother or sister.

(Exactly the same happened when my grandmother died – no one even knew she was Catholic until the priest showed up)

After the service the close family went up to father-in-law’s grave where we had a little “us time”. I can’t claim that we have the closest of families, but it was good to spend a few minutes together.


Pausing only briefly to cadge a cuppa off of my mum we came home. As we drove my phone rang. My brother had spotted us passing through Rye.


I’ve made a start on painting those gnomes…



27 August 2020 (Thursday) - Dull




I had something of a traumatic night plagued by nightmares in which having caught the world record carp (weighing in at one hundred and thirty-one pounds) this fish was incredibly camera-shy and flatly refused to have its photo taken. Have you ever had a stand-up row with a carp which is bigger than you are? It was unsettling, to say the least.

I made myself a bowl of granola for brekkie, had one mouthful and threw it away; the milk had turned overnight.  Am I alone in thinking that if you get milk from the huge chain supermarkets then it lasts forever, but if you support the local farmers by getting the local stuff from the local shops then it goes rancid in only a day or so? I'm all for supporting local businesses, but they've got to hold up their end of the deal. Perhaps they *don't* fill their stuff full of preservatives and other dangerous chemicals? All very laudable, but it still goes manky too quickly.

So I made toast and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of "Good Girls"; I do like that show, but I wish I knew what was going on. Having fannied around wasting time making another brekkie I didn't have time for my usual look at Facebook and set off for work.


As I drove up a very busy motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about how some senior civil servants have been sacked; presumably taking the rap for the recent school exams debacle. Rather unfair really, since the whole idea of the civil service is they just enact the decisions of government. they don't do anything of their own initiative. Have these ones gone rogue, or are they taking the blame?

There was also an interview with one of the head honchos at Rolls Royce who are making job cuts as their business has lost millions due to the Coronageddon pandemic. It amazed me that this was presented as surprising. with the aviation industry facing its biggest downturn in years, does anyone expect the makers of aeroplane engines to be making a fortune?


I got to work and did my bit. There were one or two "issues" at work... nothing serious really, but the sort of "issues" that management deal with. I sat back and reminisced that back in the day I would be sorting those "issues" and was rather pleased that now this is all somebody else's problem.


An early start made for an early finish. I had plans for that early finish. I was going to take the dogs to the woods and then I was going to paint some of the new fence panels, But it was pouring hard so instead I brought some iced buns home and we scoffed them as the washing machine had a go at my shirts. I got some more colours of paint onto the gnomes, then as "er indoors TM" tuned into to the weekly geo-meet I got my ironing done.


Today was a tad dull…



28 August 2020 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift



I woke to the sound of Fudge squeaking; he needed a tiddle. He’s a good boy and won’t just “go” inside. I let him out only to find torrential rain. That was a pain in the glass.

I made toast, and peered into the internet. Not a lot had happened overnight really. A cousin was singing the praises of the “Lord of the Rings” book(s). I wish I could see the attraction. So many people rave about Tolkein and I just find him tedious. For me the books just drag on with the author never using one word when twenty would do. Viz magazine once described "Lord of the Rings" as “ninety-five per cent adjectives, four per cent silly names and one per cent plot”, and that is a pretty accurate summary.

I want to like the books.


Pretty much nothing else had happened overnight at all. I had a look at my emails – my combined leccie and gas bill has gone up by twelve more quid each month, even though the people at the power company admitted that they couldn’t read my SmartMeter and asked if I could read it for them.

And someone had been out looking for the geocaches I hid a few weeks ago, and on having found them all had said nice things about them.


I got the dogs on to their leads and seeing a glorious blue sky (despite the BBC forecasting ninety-nine per cent chance of rain) I took them down to Orlestone Woods where we had a rather good walk. Pogo and Treacle charged about like mad things, and Fudge joined in the game from time to time. When he joins in the game, Treacle and Pogo automatically slow down so that he can keep up.


We came home, and I finished painting the gnomes. I think they look rather good. I scrubbed a couple more gnomes in preparation for more painting and looked at the garden. I had planned to paint the fence, but it was soaked from the overnight rain. It needed to dry out a bit before painting and more rain was on the way. So I popped to the corner shop for a croissant, and wrote up some CPD. Have you looked at my CPD diary? I wouldn’t bother. It is dull in the extreme and makes this drivel look interesting. But the thing gets no end of visits. There’s about twenty or thirty people who follow it. I can only (rather cynically) wonder if they are copying it rather than producing their own CPD?


During a lull in the rain I popped into the garden and spent a few minutes hacking back the overgrowth from “not-so-nice-next-door”; I filled a dustbin with the rose branches and clematis and other climbing plants that she insists on growing, then made myself some dinner (toast) and went to bed for the afternoon.

What with needing a tiddle, thunder, hail, and the nice man from DHL I didn’t sleep that well.


I made a start on baiting my second consignment of gnomes… I say “gnomes”; I think these two are elves. No beards and pointy ears – is that the difference? I’m no expert on gnomes but I can see that changing.

I’m hoping "er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner, then I’m off to the night shift.



29 August 2020 (Saturday) - Painting the Fence


The night shift went well; even allowing for a minor contretemps involving the Kidd blood group system.

As I drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about the government’s latest plans for the re-opening of schools next week. Teachers are rather miffed that the edicts were only issued yesterday, and seem to have been made up as the government has gone along. They wheeled on one of the government’s advisors who all but admitted that they were making things up as they went along. I suppose that the government and all the advisors are doing their best; we’ve never had a pandemic quite like this one before. Interestingly not one of the people criticising the government’s plans actually had a plan of their own.


I came home and went to bed where I dozed fitfully until mid day. I made myself a cuppa, scoffed the pains au choclat I’d got for my brekkie, set the washing machine going and headed off into the garden. Pausing only briefly to hang washing out I got on with that fence. I got seven panels done by the time "er indoors TM" returned from helping "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" in Margate. Just as she got home so "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" sent the message that she’d left her keys in Margate.


Oh how we laughed.


By the time we’d got to Margate, collected the keys, loaded up the car with her luggage, delivered her keys to her in Folkestone and got home again it was gone nine o’clock.


I really ache now. How can painting seven fence panels hurt so much?



30 August 2020 (Sunday) - Ashford Lok N Store




I heaved myself out of bed this morning – oh, how I ached. I made toast and peered into the Internet. A friend I’ve known for over forty years was posting on Facebook expressing his amazement about the recent conspiracy-theory anti-lockdown, anti-masks protest in Trafalgar Square. And in doing so he opened quite the can of worms.

This got me thinking.

His post has started an epic thread of (frankly) ill-informed posts which showed how everyone is an expert based on what they have read on social media. And unfortunately the mere appearance of a statement on social media is enough to make it true for many. “Fact-checking” is so easy to do, but no one bothers. Take one of the so-called experts cited by one of the keyboard warriors to support this particular conspiracy theory. The chap in question has been exposed as a quack, but still the conspiracy theorists lap up his nonsense. People want to believe conspiracy theories. Take a very close family member for example. A highly intelligent and educated man who is absolutely convinced that 5G is radiation beamed straight out of Satan’s arse.

As a state-registered scientist myself I find it amazing that friends I’ve known for years have far more faith in what “Karen from Facebook” posts to the Internet that anything I have to say.

I find it easier to just put on the tin-foil helmet and hope for the best, all the time reminding myself that these people are allowed to vote….


Having filled my car with a whole load of tat that "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" wanted storing last night, I drove round to Ashford Lok N Store and put it into storage. Have you ever been to Ashford Lok N Store? It is a place that begs so many questions. There are no end of rooms in the place; you hire one, stick whatever you want in there, and lock it. And when you want your stuff you just go and get it (provided the front door is unlocked). No one asks any questions. You can’t help but wonder about just what is hidden behind the padlocks. Probably a load of old tat like I was putting in there…

As I loaded so another family was putting furniture into storage. Or some of them were. Two chaps were lugging stuff about with a shrieking harridan barking orders at them whilst generally getting in their (and my) way. After a few minutes the younger chap told her (rather abruptly) to shut her mouth (he then told her to actually close it so that she could no longer speak) and gave her the option to either help them, or to piss off. I didn’t actually clap, but it came close.

Once we’d unloaded my car and the van that "er indoors TM" had obtained we drove out to Margate to get even more to put into storage.

How easy it is to type that; how hard to actually do.


With my car full I then left "er indoors TM" loading her van and I took a little diversion into Ramsgate. As I was scoffing brekkie earlier Jose had sent me a message. Someone was selling a Lego cinema. It wasn’t a set I recognised, but it looked to be a bargain. I eventually found the seller’s address where a young lady (wearing little more than a skimpy dressing gown and a smile) sold me probably fifty to a hundred quid’s worth of Lego for twenty pounds. She explained that her children had grown out of it, and asked if it was for my grandchildren. I paused, and said that I supposed that they could play with it if they wanted to. She smiled at me in the way that you smile at weirdoes, and I drove back to Ashford’s Lock N Store to unload.


I got home just as "er indoors TM" got home; she hadn’t been in time to unload as Ashford Lock N Store closed at one o’clock.

The plan for the morning had been to cook up all sorts of goodies, but instead I popped over the road and got far too many crisps, and we drove down to Dymchurch where a family barby was taking place. Far too much European lager eventually numbed the pain in my back…



31 August 2020 (Monday) - Bank Holiday



Despite having downed copious amounts of European lager yesterday I didn’t sleep well. A combination of belly ache and backache meant that I saw every hour of the night. But having changed my CPAP’s nose fitting for a full face cover I didn’t wake up with a sore nose today, which was something of a result.

Seeing a space outside the house I moved my car so that it was right next to the van that "er indoors TM" had hired. The van has to go back today, and still being full of tat we could unload it into my car that bit quicker.

I made myself some toast, and settled myself of the sofa. Fudge helped me eat my toast as I peered into the Internet. It was much the same as how I’d left it really. I then had a look at that Lego set I’d bought yesterday. Some of the individual bricks were fake Lego. I shall have to take the thing apart and find out just how much of a swizz this set was.

"er indoors TM" emerged from her pit, and we emptied that van into my car. It took some emptying. And with tat transferred we took the dogs out. Effectively being without transport we walked round the park, and reminded ourselves why we like going to the woods.

Keeping the dogs out from under the wheels of passing cyclists was a mission in itself. I suppose that we didn’t pick *that* many fights really, but one silly woman boiled my piss. She walked past as we were playing at the dog beach. Pogo saw her and wandered in her general direction. Said woman went hysterical, shrieking that the small dog with her had been attacked by some other mutt and could not be in the same universe as any other dog. It was a shame as her little dog clearly wanted to play, but she marched on, and we carried on spuddling in the river.

We came home and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" came on a flying visit. She then departed (taking Sid to the vet). "er indoors TM" and Cheryl set off to return the van to the car hire, and I carried on painting fence panels. I got half of one done before deciding that my back really did hurt too much to continue. 

I came in, and alternately read my Kindle and dozed in between hanging out laundry and fetching in laundry until five o’clock. We then collected "My Boy TM" and Cheryl and drove to Hythe. There was a minor family gathering at “Sunshine” – a rather good Turkish restaurant. I had a particularly good mixed grill. I stuffed myself silly and what with the government’s “eat out to help out” scheme it only cost us a tenner each.

We skipped puddings; we were all stuffed, and "er indoors TM" had boiled up an apple crumble. That went down rather well…