1 August 2022 (Monday) - Before the Late Shift
Treacle had a serious sulk this morning. A tad overdue, but we did the dogs’ flea treatments before brekkie and Treacle doesn’t like it at all. Morgan and Bailey came when called and had theirs done; Treacle ran away and hid.
I made toast and scoffed it as I peered into the Internet. “We” won last night… “we” being the England ladies football team. It would seem I was the only person not watching the match. I wish I understood the attraction of football. So many other people obviously love it. I don’t dislike it; I just find it utterly tedious. Whenever I’ve watched a match (and I’ve tried so many times) I lose interest after five minutes.
And there was a lot of sympathy being expressed over the death of Nichelle Nicholls (who played “Uhura” in “Star Trek”) who died over the weekend. For all that so many people who had never met her were seemingly distraught, very few people seemed to realise she’d been ill and was eighty-nine.
But both the death of Ms Nicholls and the football win were being touted for all sorts of political reasons this morning.
I also saw that today was “Yorkshire Day”. On more than a few occasions I’ve been told (at great length) just how wonderful Yorkshire is by people who’ve moved out of the place. I’ve had the same from Scots too. If Kent is so awful, why live here?
With a little time to spare we drove down to the woods for a little walk. We did our usual circuit of the woods, but as we turned a corner so we saw a woman about fifty yards ahead of us. On her own with no dog. Morgan woofed at her and she turned, saw us, and then stomped through chest height brambles and hid behind a tree until we’d gone past. What was that all about?
As we walked we practiced whistle training with varying degrees of success.
With walk walked I loaded up the car with rubbish, and had a look at the pond filter. The overflow guttering seemed to be doing the job; in a day or so I will take out the foam until I can get another box in place and running.
I then sat on the sofa with sleeping dogs watching “Another Life” until it was time to set off.
Leaving the dogs snoring I set off to the tip. It was as entertaining as ever; as I'd emptied the last of my rubbish and was going back to my car some strange woman shouted "don't just stand there" at me and gave me a glare as I drove off.
I then drove down to Rolvenden and World of Water to get another filter box just like the one I got yesterday. They didn't have any, but the nice man said he'd get one in for me. I got chatting with the nice man and told him my theory about having two smaller filters rather than one huge one. He agreed entirely, but I suppose he would. I got the extra tubing I will need, and the nice man suggested I might have a Y-junction rather than a T-junction as this avoids back pressure. Not wanting any back pressure I readily agreed. The nice man said he would ring me when the new filter box arrives, and I drove off with a Y-junction and six metres of tubing. That only cost forty quid...
I took a rather scenic route on to Pembury. As I waited at the traffic lights in Hawkhurst there was an entertaining five minutes. Rather than queuing by the pelican crossing, a swarm of normal people were standing ten yards to the right of it. Having been blocking the drive to a hotel, they were then having quite a squabble with the driver of a car who wanted to go in there.
They were getting rather nasty with each other...
I stopped off at Tesco (for a sandwich) where the woman on the tip remarked on how old my Tesco Clubcard is. Apparently I'm the only person with one that old; it is a museum piece. She *always* goes on about how old the card is. I once asked if she could replace it with a new one... and ended up wishing I hadn’t. I just smiled today (like I usually do).
And then into work. And again the best bit of the day was all over by one o'clock.
2 August 2022 (Tuesday) - A Birthday
Once I’d taken the puppies outside to do that which puppies do outside I opened the door to upstairs so they could have their hour or so in the morning upstairs. Within two seconds Morgan and Bailey came back downstairs and looked at me with rather pathetic expressions. Treacle was guarding the top of the stairs and wouldn’t let them pass.
With dogs sorted I made toast and watched an episode of “Another Life” in which our heroes had found an alien planet. In an attempt to make the place look alien the set-makers had spray-painted a part of a woodland with blue paint… But they’d done a rush job. If you looked closely (or even just taken a cursory glance) you could see where they’d not really taken much time with the spray paint and you could see the green underneath all over the place.
I spent a few minutes of Facebook sending out birthday wishes, then rolled my eyes at one of the UK Weather Forecasting pages. The chap who runs it was ranting about how he is fed up with the negativity he is reading in people posting about his (continually crap) weather forecasts. You would think that he might compare his forecasts with what actually happens, look back at his forecasts, and then try to come up with a better way of forecasting. Demonstrably what he is doing doesn’t work.
I woke “er indoors TM”, wished her a happy birthday and set off to work. I went via the petrol station where petrol was ten pence per litre cheaper than it had been last week. I also got a sandwich which the woman on the till scanned without comment. In the past they have flatly refused to scan any shopping; presumably someone has had a word with them?
As I drove west-wards the pundits on the radio were talking about energy prices. With BP and other energy companies reporting record profits, my monthly leccie and gas bill looks to be topping three hundred quid a month before too much longer. Can't say I'm keen on that.
There was also talk about how prospective Prime Minister Liz Truss has described the leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon as annoying and best ignored. That bodes well for the future of the (so-called) United Kingdom, doesn't it?
I got to work to find that there was a load of free croissants going begging. Apparently a colleague lives next door to someone who runs a company which specialises in making sure that food isn't wasted, and periodically he brings in a load of bread products which are past their best. I had a couple of stale croissants with coffee. I would be so easy to kill... just put a pile of poison on the table, put a sign on it saying "free food" and I would yum it up.
With work worked we went round to visit the first fruit of my loins. Being “er indoors TM” s birthday Cheryl had boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. And with dinner scoffed I fell asleep whilst the girls did the hot tub.
I suspect the hot tub will be one of the first economies once the gas and leccie bills top three hundred quid…
3 August 2022 (Wednesday) - Found a Qrate
Once the puppies had tiddled they went upstairs as they usually do. Within minutes they came trotting back downstairs with “er indoors TM” who was not happy that Treacle had just been sick on the landing. She’d thrown up seemingly endless fragments of tennis ball; I wish the dogs wouldn’t swallow that which they shouldn’t be chewing. “er indoors TM” busied about whilst I scoffed toast, did another COVID test and then sorted undercrackers. The whole point of sorting undercrackers at six o’clock in the morning was that the puppies would be upstairs asleep; it was a shame that Morgan kept trying to run off with them.
I left home a few minutes early. With today being the start of Munzee Clan War I went to Singleton Lake and munzed half a dozen greenies in the hope of getting a Qrate (as you do). I got two (including a diamond one) which was something of a result.
As I munzed round the lake I saw a couple of chaps fishing. Despite all the signs saying "No Night Fishing" they had obviously been there all night. Cheeky(!)
And then I set off west-wards to work. As I listened to the radio as I drove through the -hursts and the -dens there was some economist being interviewed on the radio about Liz Truss's claims about what she will do if she gets to be Prime Minister. This chap may well have been a leading light in David Cameron's government but he certainly was rubbish at being on the radio. He would utter a few disjointed words (none of which ever made a coherent sentence) and then laugh out loud at something that only he thought was funny. And in between gibbering he would hesitantly and nervously offer "yeah... erm... you know..."
I've said it before, but some people really shouldn't be on the radio. Why can't these interviews be pre-recorded, and not broadcast if they turn out to be unintelligible?
And then there was an interview with some Chinese diplomat who was up in arms about Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. Ms Pelosi is Speaker of America's House of Representatives (apparently that is quite important!) and despite the advice of pretty much everyone she'd gone to Taiwan to annoy the Chinese.
Though if the Chinese diplomat being interviewed was in any way typical of his countrymen they seem rather easy to annoy. Apparently what Ms Pelosi has done has aggravated some squabble dating back from 1959. If we are going to dwell on trivia from five years before I was born we'll never get anywhere, will we?
Work was work... busier than yesterday but despite an altercation with the Duffy blood group system it wasn't as bad as it might have been.
And I came home to find Treacle very much under the weather with what looks like a rather bloated tummy. She’s going to the vet tomorrow…
4 August 2022 (Thursday) - Start of the Holiday
I lay awake for much of the night listening for Treacle to get up and be sick, or to move about, or to do anything but just lie there fast asleep.
She got up a minute after “er indoors TM” got up, growled at the puppies, and then scoffed her brekkie.
I scoffed mine and had my usual trawl of the Internet. My Facebook feed this morning featured some utter drivel from a religious nut who had a video with proof of the existence of Jesus. Apparently every other superstition’s founder has bones kicking about somewhere. Because there aren’t any bones of Jesus to be found anywhere proves Jesus is alive(!) By the same argument millions of other people who’ve died throughout history and left no detectable remains (thousands of years later) are still alive as well? Using this logic you can prove the existence of the Great Green Arkleseizure, the Great Prophet Zarquon, and my Auntie Keith….
I also saw that I’d missed the Pram Race in Hastings yesterday evening, and that people were travelling up to Derbyshire for the annual geocaching Mega-meet-up. I wouldn’t have gone to either, but it would have been nice to have known they were taking place.
I took Treacle to see the vet. She seemed to have perked up a little overnight. The vet said she’s probably got gastro-enteritis… well, the vet said she’d probably got a belly ache, but she also said that “gastro-enteritis” makes it sound worthwhile going to the vet.
She’s got some medicine.
As we came out I rolled my eyes as some scrawny-looking bloke lost the fight he was having with a Great Dane. Why get a dog which is far stronger than you are?
We came home, and I had a little look at the pond. The pump is too much for the smaller filter box which was leaking quite impressively; so much so that the pond had lost eight inches of water. So I took the foam out of the filter (that will speed the flow), ran out the hose pipe and left it filling whilst I ironed seven shirts. And then with shirts ironed and dogs settled I drove round to B&Q. Once the nice man in the pond shop gets me my second filter box I will need to plumb it all in. On Monday I got the hoses and the Y-junction. Today I got the jubilee clips and the waterproof box for the electricals.
And then I popped down to see “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. She wanted to borrow the pressure washer. She claimed she wants to clear up her back patio area; I suspect it will be more along the lines of something for “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” to play with. He’s played with it in my back garden before.
I came home with Pogo; he’s coming on holiday with us.
There was all sorts of stuff I could have done during the afternoon but instead I just sat with the dogs until “er indoors TM” came home. We got as much packed as we could, then had KFC for tea – it is the start of the holiday after all.
As we scoffed we watched “Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly” on the telly. Much as I like the show I wonder if continuing to watch it will be a practical proposition. Morgan didn’t like seeing the dogs and spent much of the time barking at the telly.
5 August 2022 (Friday) - New Forest Day One
This morning was a tad hectic what with packing for holiday, but eventually I got myself and the puppies organised and leaving “er indoors TM” with the bigger dogs I took the babies to their home for the next week. After a few minutes they settled, and I drove round to Sittingbourne where I parked the car, and waited for “er indoors TM” to arrive to collect me. I had this stroke of genius whereby “er indoors TM” might pick me up, and there was my mistake…
I stood at the bus stop as “er indoors TM” would drive past it and that was a sensible place for her to collect me… The bus came and I told the little old lady standing there that I wasn’t waiting for the bus and that she might like to get on the bus. She didn’t like that. I wasted five minutes trying to persuade her that I didn’t want the bus. Eventually she got on the bus and told the driver that I didn’t want the bus. The driver wasn’t happy. “You alright, mate?” he called to me. I explained that I didn’t want to get on the bus, and after a few minutes it became clear that the driver was going to physically throw me on to the bus…
“er indoors TM” arrived with the dogs and we set off to the New Forest munzing as we went… we stopped off at Cobham services. “er indoors TM” went to the loo and I walked the dogs round the car park where I met more idiots. Pogo had a poop and as I was about to pick it up some passing idiot announced that he would “rub his f…ing nose in it”, then looked at me, realised what he’d said, tried to run away in terror, tripped over the kerb and fell flat on his face in a hedge.
As we walked away some young girl came the other way with a dog which was snarling and growling at us. I went to her left to get away… so did she. I went to her right to avoid her… so did she… I told her I was trying to avoid her snarling dog. She replied that she was trying to bring her dog to say hello…
And then some passing woman tried to make such a fuss of Treacle that Treacle slipped her collar.
Winchester services was every bit as bad. There was some upper class twit and his equally inbred offspring in the M&S seemingly oblivious to the fact that there was a universe around them; seemingly deliberately blocking everyone else from getting to any of the shelves.
And then there was the small child who couldn’t walk. I say “couldn’t walk”… this child was staring into space and its mother gave it a huge shove. It staggered forward half a dozen paces until it stopped when mother gave it another shove. And so it continued. If only mother could have shoved it somewhere other than in my way.
It was with a sense of relief that we got to our holiday cottage… I took a few photos today I actually had a very good day; it wasn’t all about the idiots who seem to plague my life. It was a shame that the lap-top doesn’t want to talk to my phone any more but eventually I uploaded them…
6 August 2022 (Saturday) - Beaulieu Airfield
I woke up far too early, had a shave and cut a slice out of my chin. It didn’t bleed *that* much… perhaps an hour and a half? Whilst everyone snoozed I held toilet roll to my bleeding chin and sparked up my lap-top which still was unable to connect to my phone. After a little while one-handedly fiddling about and getting progressively more stressed with it, I hit on the frankly genus idea of turning the phone off and re-starting it. That did the trick.
I then programmed “Hannah” for today’s planned walk… and then went to find a pen or a “similarly poky thing” as I’d forgotten “Hannah”’s power switch broke some time ago and only works when I stick a poky thing into the hole where the switch used to be.
Everyone else got up about two hours after I’d woken up (I wish I could sleep in!) and it wasn’t long before the Sainsbury’s delivery arrived. It wasn’t long after that when we worked out what they’d not delivered. The ice cream and gin were missing, and after quite a bit of messing about on the phone Sainsburys said they’d give us a refund. Refund? That’d no use when you want ice cream and gin, is it?
But we had a rather good bit of brekkie, and as everyone else tidied up afterwards I walked up the road to the farm shop where we’d called in yesterday. They had pink gin, and walking there and back and talking to the nice lady in the shop (and four loads of horses on the way) only took twelve minutes.
We then went for a little walk. From the cottage we walked round the ponds and across the heathland which used to be an airfield. It was rather hot, but I kept the dogs going with the promise of a dip in the lake on the way back. As we came to the lake I said “go on – in the water”. I meant the clean lake water about ten yards away. *Not* the stagnant mire only a foot away that somehow I’d not seen. Oh, it (and they) stank.
We had a rather prolonged game at the lake trying to wash off the filth.
It didn’t wash off very well, and to add insult to injury there was no ice cream van at the pond as we walked home.
Once home we (not me!) bathed the dogs, and then we all gravitated to the patio where we sat and had ciders and bees and lemonades and dog ice cream (the dogs’ ice cream was here!) and coughed and spluttered as the half-wit next door burned all his garden rubbish and made so much smoke. No matter what it was, it went on his bonfire (including green weeds pulled straight from the garden). We made some rather loud pointed comments but he made a point of ignoring them. Eventually another neighbour came up and pointed out the blatantly obvious (having a bonfire when the entire New Forest is tinder-dry is the work of an imbecile) and the smoke stopped.
After half a dozen pints we shared half a dozen pizzas and a lot more profiteroles, then wandered over to the lakes again to watch the sunset.
It was rather pretty.
I took a few photos today. Today was a good day.
7 August 2022 (Sunday) - Clay Hill Heath
Despite a rather vivid dream in which the Kent geocaching fraternity all turned up at our holiday cottage to stage a “who’s the sweatiest” contest, I slept well. I would have slept better had my phone been a tad quieter. Despite having made a point of turning off its wi-fi and mobile data they turned themselves back on to tell me about a rather trivial email at half past five, and then Pogo dabbed at me until I said “Good Morning” at which point he went straight back to sleep.
I had a shave (without slicing another lump out of my chin) and as everyone else dozed I made a cuppa and had a look at the Internet.
It was still there.
We had brekkie, and then drove five miles to Lyndhurst where we parked the cars and had a little wander round the woods. Clay Hill Heath was a very pretty place to walk; it tired the dogs (and me). We had a short walk; after an hour and a half we were back where we’d started and after a little sandwich we took the scenic route back to base (I say “scenic route”; everywhere is scenic in the New Forest) via the co-op in Brockenridge for more supplies.
And with supplies acquired we had a very relaxing afternoon in the garden quietly soaking up said supplies. A very good dinner was scoffed (quiche – hot or cold? – there is only one correct answer!), and after five pints of very good ale we moved on to the port (and stilton!).
It was at this point that I remembered all the dog dung and the dead sparrow – I’ll take them to the bin tomorrow. It’s all too vague right now…
I took one or two photos today, Today was a good day,
Meanwhile back in reality there have been a couple of updates. “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” had got himself locked in the lavatory, and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was looking for guidance on replacing the lavatory door which (presumably) got destroyed in the process of releasing him. And her phone has also been destroyed as well… If any of my loyal readers have a spare phone or a spare lavatory door…
And the puppies are doing well on their little break. Morgan is being somewhat naughty having managed to nick cake which he is not allowed, but Bailey is behaving.
I must admit it is a serious weight off of my mind that the puppies are being looked after so well whilst we are away.
8 August 2022 (Monday) - Exbury Gardens
Being awake too early again I had a quick look at the Internet and sent out some birthday wishes (as I do) and waited for the dogs to wake before making any noise disposing of their “things”; once the dogs are awake, so is everyone else
With everyone else awake (and dog poo and dead sparrow disposed of) we had a particularly good bit of brekkie, then drove down to Exbury Gardens. Having spend some time fighting with their on-line booking system yesterday I was pleased to see that our booking had worked. We got straight in and started off on the little steam train that goes round the place. Treacle in particular was fascinated by it.
From here we clambered all over the wooden assault course thingy (well, me and the girls did!) before going to the falconry display.
It has to be said that the falconry display was something of a disappointment. The chap with the birds was reluctant to let the birds fly as they might catch a thermal and fly off. I was rather of the opinion that flying off was something at which birds excelled, but what do I know? In the end the chap wheeled on a couple of hawks which flew ten yards, one which refused to do anything, and an owl which walked over some children who were idiot enough to lie down and get walked over.
I won’t say his display was crap but Pogo is more deserving of applause and he’d not really done much but pull on the lead for much of the day.
We found the ice cream stall and had ice creams all round (including the dogs), then had a good walk round the park; it was a shame it was so hot but there was a breeze, and when you got into the shade it wasn’t too baking hot. Especially when the sprinklers caught you. “er indoors TM” got soaked.
After five hours we were a tad peckish and moved on to the Royal Oak where we had a particularly good bit of dinner. My liver and bacon was excellent, and looking round the table there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t have scoffed.
We came home, and after a couple of games of cards I fell asleep whilst everyone else played “Cluedo”; a rather tricky game which needs you to think and play attention. I struggle at that.
I took a few photos today. As I do. And now I’m really tired…
9 August 2022 (Tuesday) - Hurst Gardens
This morning was rather sad. Once we’d scoffed brekkie Victoria set off homewards. Having recently started a new job she only has limited annual leave. But we’d made the most of the days she had been with us.
Karl and Tracey (and Jess) took her to the train station; we then set off south-wards and parked up in the village of Keyhaven where we waited for them to catch up. Whilst we waited we spent (wasted) twenty minutes looking for a geocache hidden by the local scout group. The thing had been hidden seven years ago. The given hint was now (according to previous finders) out of date, and the people who had hidden this cache had only ever hidden the one and never logged any finds on any others.
As an ex-scout leader myself I suspect that for the scouts who hid it, geocaching is but a happy memory and they have long since moved on to dog training, wig-spotting and global domination badges.
We joined the queue for the ferry and (after a while) sailed out to Hurst Castle; a castle built in the days of Henry VIII to defend the Solent against whichever Johnny Foreigner might have come sailing up it. Despite much of the castle being closed for renovations we had a good look around the place.
And then we wandered round to the beach to find a spot in the shade of the castle in which to eat lunch… the lunch we soon found we’d left in a bag back in the boot of the car. Oh, how we laughed.
But we had a good time on the beach throwing stones to get the dogs into the cooling water.
We then came back to get the return ferry at pretty much the same time as everyone else did. The queue was seemingly endless. But what can you do? We got an ice cream and waited patiently and chatted with everyone else and with the girl from the ferry company whose job it was to pacify the queue. She seemed to think that bearing in mind the amount of time we had to wait (and how hot it was) that everyone was amazingly patient. She said that in the last few days she has had formal complaints about her because on one occasion she was looking into the harbour to point out the ferry to someone, and that on another occasion the tide had gone out leaving only a narrow channel in which the ferry could sail (!)
However I must admit that the ferry company did itself no favours limiting passenger numbers to twelve per ferry when their boats could clearly hold more, but I expect that is “Health and Safety” being completely misinterpreted again.
As we sailed a fellow passenger told us about The Drift Inn which from her description was clearly the best pub in the New Forest, if not the universe. So once we’d got back to England we drove there. We actually went straight past the cottage and on for five more miles to a rather mediocre bar attached to a chain hotel. It never fails to amaze me how so many people feel that dreadful pubs are in any way acceptable, let alone exceptional.
After a pint and some ice cream we made our way back to base for a lazy afternoon and evening. And a rather good bit of dinner…
10 August 2022 (Wednesday) - Setthornes Inclosure
Some time ago “er indoors TM” got blackout curtains at home. At the time I wasn’t impressed but the cottage has the most flimsy of white curtains, and the bedroom is in broad daylight from before five o’clock every morning which really doesn’t help with getting sleep.
I sparked up my lap-top and sighed. I had a message from someone who has never done a wherigo before telling me of a problem with one of mine. Despite nearly eighty people having got through the thing successfully, they couldn’t do it *therefore* the thing didn’t work. I knew what the problem was… it is always the same problem with wherigos. Rather than reading the information in the screens people just keep pressing “next” in an attempt to move the game on without actually finding out what to do.
I played “Bubble Pop on the lap-top and watched the cows walking up the road past the cottage (it’s a New Forest thing) until the dogs woke and I could unload the dishwasher.
We had a rather good leisurely brekkie, and then drove for twenty minutes to the Setthornes Inclosure; a particularly pretty wood where there was shelter from the baking heat of the day and in between copious water stops we walked about three miles following a set of geocaches.
In retrospect this wasn’t perhaps the best series we’ve ever walked. The description said “The caches are not necessarily on main tracks ... No 1 and No 2 are off the track. Not all tracks are shown on the app, and some are not shown on the OS Leisure map.” I would have thought that if the people setting the series were going to use the kind of tiny tracks I would *never* use myself they should have positioned their hides in such a way to make it clear what is “tiny track” and what is “where a deer walked through some bracken”. And the first one certainly was off the track; it really had been drop-kicked into the undergrowth.
That’s all very negative of me, isn’t it? But someone had given us a guided walk, and it kept us occupied.
After a couple of hours we were done, and had lunch, hen went on to the brewery as we needed supplies. As we’d driven yesterday we’d seen a sign for “The Pig Brewery” so we popped in. I must admit that my heart sank when I saw one of the Real Ale Twats (from Viz magazine) pootling about in the brewing area. Karl and I had a pint of the wheat beer and got a few bottles to takeout… but only a few. This place prided itself on making “craft beer” which is sold by the half-pint at pint prices.
From here we went on to “The Filly” which would seem to have gone downhill slightly over the years.
But the nearby farm shop was rather good.
From there we came home, and (once the dogs had had all the dust scrubbed off of them) we spent the afternoon in the garden. Beer, playing extreme-piggy-in-the-middle, a rather good bit of dinner, stargazing, and finally falling asleep over pudding.
As always I took a few photos today.
11 August 2022 (Thursday) - Rans Wood
I had a marginally better night’s sleep; laying in till after half past eight, which is unheard of. Eventually we all got up, and after a leisurely brekkie made a plan for the day. We drove for about five minutes to nearby Rans Wood where we had a very good wander about. We found a couple of geocaches and kept to the shade as far as possible, and after an hour or so returned to base.
We’d given the dogs water every fifteen minutes and for all that they were keen to continue, it was too hot.
Having spent an hour or so trying to keep the dogs in the shade in the woods, left to their own devices in the garden they insisted on basking in the sunshine. I eventually gave up chasing them into the shadows.
We had a couple of beers and a rather good picnic lunch, then dozed in the afternoon’s heat. Eventually my phone beeped me awake. Another person was having Wherigo issues, so I sent a walkthrough and a link to my “How to Wherigo” site and hoped that would help.
Another beer, and it was time for dinner. On our first night we went to a nearby pub. We first visited the Turfcutter’s Arms some years ago (23 October 2018) when I described it as “a rather good pub”. The food was good last Friday so we thought we’d go again, but like so many pubs it needs to choose its target audience. Outside in the garden were families and holidaymakers having rather good meals. Inside the locals were drunkenly swearing at each other. Each group seems tolerant enough of each other though…
After a rather good bit of dinner we came back to base, and “er indoors TM” and I went off on a little mission. Leaving Charlotte to supervise dog dinner we went off to find a bottle bank to recycle the empties (and there were a few…) Sadly the local council doesn’t seem to go in for recycling to any extent; the instructions that came with the cottage said to chuck all the rubbish in together and leave it all for the bin men. We weren’t keen on that, but type “bottle banks New Forest” into Google and see how few there are.
The closest to us was some ten miles away so we thought we’d go there and shift the empties. You’ve never seen such overflowing bottle banks.
We returned to base via a petrol station where “er indoors TM” swore impressively at the petrol pumps, then once back we played a couple of rounds of “Cluedo”; a game at which I am spectacularly rubbish.
In the end it turned out it was me all along… with the candlestick in the library.
I would have got away with it too if it hadn’t been for those pesky meddling kids…
It’s all a bit sad – we’re going home tomorrow,,,
12 August 2022 (Friday) - Home Again
Pogo deliberately woke me at four o’clock for absolutely no reason that I could fathom. He then pootled off and woke me again twenty minutes later when he finally jumped onto the bed.
I then dozed fitfully until seven o’clock when I got up and made a start on clearing up. Before long everyone was up and joining in. It wasn’t long before the place was sorted and we were all ready to go. Just as we were about to set off homewards the cleaner arrived. She was keen to make a start; she’d arrived half an hour early at half past nine and said she had five holiday cottages to sort out before the next loads of guests arrived at four o’clock this afternoon.
When we drove down to the New Forest a week ago we took over five hours. Today we did the return journey in less than half the time. I suppose only stopping once at a much smaller services on the A3 rather than at Cobham and Winchester made a difference.
As “er indoors TM” went to the loo I took the dogs for a tiddle, and whilst we all tiddled I found someone’s credit card on the floor. What do you do when you find a credit card?
We got back to Sittingbourne where I collected my car, said our final goodbyes to Karl, Tracey, Charlotte and Jess, and I went to collect the puppies. I must admit they had been a worry; they were too small to come on holiday (holiday cottages say the babies have to be a year old) and our original plan for dog care had fallen though. But with a week or so to go a rather wonderful couple got in touch through the Kent Dachshund group and as I arrived to collect them today it was quite clear that the babies had had a wonderful holiday.
I brought them home, and I had a look at the pond. “My Boy TM” had said the water level was a tad low. It was more than a tad low(!) The trouble is that I’ve fitted a filter which is half the volume of the old one, and it can’t cope with the output of the pump. I phoned the pond shop – the second filter box which they assured me would be waiting still hadn’t arrived. That was something of a pain in the glass (as “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” would say).
As I drove Pogo to his home I wracked my poor brain…
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was pleased to see Pogo, but not as much as Pogo was to see Darcie Waa Waa. And then I had a stroke of genius…
There is too much water coming from the pump for the filter to handle. So I needed to reduce the pump’s output. I took a little (quite major) diversion to the pond shop and got a tap to slow the water flow.
I managed to get home in one piece; much of the roads from Ashford to Rolvenden were being used as race tracks by sports cars and motorbikes. And once home I installed that tap. It took some installing, and despite putting a screwdriver through the palm of my hand (there wasn’t *that* much blood) It seemed to work.
I then sparked up the lap-top. Even though the hose pipe ban came into force today I couldn’t leave the pond as empty as it was.
https://www.southeastwater.co.uk/about/updates/tubs-faqs says “Using a hosepipe where the welfare and/or health and safety of animals including fish is paramount will not be restricted”. So I ran out the hose pipe. It is daft really… there is nothing to stop me filling the pond with endless buckets of water so why should I feel guilty about using a hose pipe?
I then phoned the credit card company and told them I’d found someone’s credit card on the floor. The nice man at the other end of the line said that it was good of me to report it, that he would cancel it right away,and would I please destroy it.
I should have got one or two fraudulent buys in first, shouldn’t I?
“er indoors TM” boiled up fish and chips and as we scoffed it we watched the Lego Batman Movie – it was a freebie from the SKY VIP thingy. It was rather good…
I feel absolutely worn out and my hand really hurts…
13 August 2022 (Saturday) - In The Garden
Last week was a particularly good holiday but (as I have found so many times) you can’t beat your own bed. I slept for nine hours without a break last night.
On waking I had a sudden panic about the puppies so shot downstairs to see that my coming downstairs had woken then. We went into the garden (because that’s what you do when you get up!). The pond looked OK, but until the thing is back to full filtration I shall be keeping an eye on it. The pups did their thing, and I gathered it up. I also found quite a few dried-up things… before we went on holiday I had a major rummage around making sure I’d cleared all the errant turds. Obviously quite a few eluded me.
As I pootled in the garden so not-so-nice-next-door was in hers. Had she looked in my direction I would have smiled, but she made a point of moving about so that her back was always to me. A feat which clearly took some doing.
I put some washing in, and made toast before having a serious fight with my lap-top. I’ve been using the Firefox browser for years but more and more the thing simply doesn’t work when I start up the lap-top. I start it and it hangs. So I close it and re-start it and nothing happens. Maybe after five or so goes it eventually starts working, so I tried using Chrome this morning. It worked (eventually), and I wasted far too long playing bubble pop games until the washing machine finished.
I hung out the washing, put more in then started a day in the garden. First of all trimming back the overgrowth from not-so-nice-next-door. That only took an hour. I then had a go at the bush overhanging from nicer-next-door before hanging out the undercrackers on my eco-friendly twenty-first century green technology (which some might describe as the clothes horse which I’d put in the garden). If we have to have a heatwave I might as well make use of it.
And then I made a start on sorting out the mess coming over the back fence. I really need to have a word with the chap whose driveway comes past the back of our house. The previous owner put the gate in the wrong place. According to the deeds of our house his garden starts once the drive comes past our garden, *not* before it. If he’s amenable to me giving the tree a pruning it won’t forget, all is fine. If he kicks off I’ll have to speak to a solicitor and that might get messy.
“er indoors TM” sorted a rather good lunch (there’s posh!) of baguette and stilton and as I scoffed it I suddenly has a stroke of genius. All morning I’d been looking at the fish pond; worried about the reduced water flow through the filter. Reduced water flow would result in reduced oxygen levels, and so many fisheries locally have reported oxygen crashes recently in which pretty much all the fish die simultaneously because of catastrophically low oxygen levels. I suddenly remembered that three residents ago in nicer-next-door, him who went off to run a pub gave me a load of stuff from his garden pond (that he’d closed down years previously). I can remember him saying that I had a pond and he didn’t, the stuff he had would be of more use to me than it would to him, and if I didn’t want it I should chuck it away. Being something of a hoarder I stuck a large crate of pond stuff in the shed, and today I dug it out. There was a rather large pump in there, and after fifteen minutes it was in the pond and powering a very basic fountain. It doesn’t look particularly pretty but it is making lots of bubbles, and that’s want the pond needs.
I then shifted the rockery about, scooped away loads of shingle and wired in the (supposedly) waterproof double socket to power both the ultra-violet bulb that I have got and the one which is coming. As I scooped shingle and hoiked boulders I uncovered a little slow-worm. Back when we first dug the pond there were loads of slow worms in the garden; I hardly see any these days.
All that I did today was so simple to type, but such hard work to do (and in temperatures over thirty degrees too!). By this stage I was ready to drop. I got out the Doctor Pepper and sat reading “Jeeves and Wooster” until “er indoors TM” said dinner was ready. And a very good bit of dinner it was.
I’m absolutely worn out… and my hand is so painful (from where I spiked a screwdriver though it yesterday)
14 August 2022 (Sunday) - Still Too Hot
I ached somewhat when I woke this morning. Perhaps I overdid it somewhat working in the garden yesterday. Something else I overdid was turning down the hot water. I had this idea if the hot water is on for a shorted time (and at a lower temperature) I might go some way to reducing the fuel bill. However when I came to have a shave the hot water was tepid at best. I’ve turned it back up a notch or two.
“er indoors TM” set off to collect “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and Darcie Waa Waa to take them to the family swimming at Faversham. I thought better of going. I’ve had enough of this sunshine, and I’m too fat to be waddling abut in my swimmies. Instead I got on with ironing all the clothes that I’d washed yesterday from last week’s holiday. As I ironed I watched a couple of episodes of “The Sandman”. Supposedly the second most popular show on Netflix right now, it has made a good start.
After a couple of hours of ironing it was all done, and I had a look up the garden. Whilst still far too hot outside, it wasn’t as hot as yesterday. And I had a sudden thought. During the winter the shed roof leaked quite a bit. After the heatwave of the last month the shed roof isn’t going to get any drier, and there is heavy rain forecast for the coming week. Despite the heat, today was the perfect opportunity to re-roof the shed.
First of all I measured the length of the shed roof… and therein laid my mistake. What with a bit of overlap on the sides I needed three strips of roof felt each being one hundred and thirty inches long. I drove to B&Q and got a roll of roof felt, then came home and cracked on.
I only got three of the lengths I needed out of the roll of roof felt I’d bought, and I got all wound up about it. Three of those lengths is three hundred and ninety. The roof felt was supposedly ten metres long. In theory I would have over half the roll left; in practice I only had a tiny strip about ten centimetres across left over.
I phoned B&Q; had a rant, and just as I was putting the finishing touches to the roof I realised that my felt strips were one hundred and thirty inches long. Inches. Not centimetres. Woops!
But if nothing else the shed’s roof is now waterproof. It’s a shame that there’s some serious gaps between the planks on the sides of the shed, and in the shed door, but that will be a problem for another day. One day later in the week when the rain comes, I expect.
“er indoors TM” returned with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and Darcie Waa Waa, and little Darcie Waa Waa was living up to her name. She was distraught and would not stop crying. Eventually she settled after having been given some Gaviscon. The plan had been that we would all then go round to see My Boy TM”, but “er indoors TM” drove the most recent fruit of my loin and her branch of the tribe home. Littlun clearly needed to sleep, and “er indoors TM” said she’d meet me at My Boy TM”’s house later.
Managing to scrounge a lift from Glenn and Matt I beat her there by about an hour and a half.
We had a rather good evening. The first fruit of my loin sparked up the barby and we scoffed ourselves silly. And once we’d reached the point at which no more food could possibly be eaten, Cheryl got out the puddings.
I feel stuffed. But again I also feel rather knackered having overdone it yet again. And my hand still hurts…
15 August 2022 (Monday) - Back to Work
I woke probably every twenty minutes all night long last night. With no reason to get up I sleep well. Knowing there was an alarm set meant I barely slept last night.
I took the puppies outside to do their thing, and with thing done they cried at the door to go upstairs to have an hour or so on the bed with “er indoors TM”. And having run upstairs they cried on the landing for me to come up and protect them from Treacle. She can be rather grumpy at the babies first thing in the morning.
I made toast and listened to the seagulls squawk. We seem to get a lot of seagulls, even though you can’t get any further inland in Kent than where we live. As I scoffed toast (and as another COVID test incubated) I watched another episode of “The Sandman” then set off to work.
There was no end of doom and gloom on the radio this morning. First of all there was talk of the ridiculously high energy costs. Was Jeremy Corbyn's plan to nationalise the power companies such a bad idea? All I am doing by paying far too much money to EDF is subsidising the French energy bill.
And then there was no end of talk about crackpot religion. Girls in Afghanistan aren't allowed to go to secondary school any more. The chap being interviewed on the radio said that it is all very well for the educated people in the world's cities to want to educate women but doing so offends the ignorant and uneducated superstitious people who run the show in the hinterlands in Afghanistan.
Time for new people to run the show, perhaps?
And over thirty years ago Salman Rushdie gave offence when he wrote some book or other. Those who were offended offered up a reward for his death, and on Friday the chap was stabbed.
Religion... it's such a comfort, eh?
I got to work a tad earlier than I might and took a little walk to cap four Qrewzees (it’s a Munzee thing). If only more people would do this it would make the Clan War a bit easier, but in order to do what I did this morning you have to be a premium member. And that costs money. Not a lot (about fifty pence a week), but there are those who have made it quite clear they will not put their hands in their pockets and that they expect others (i.e. me) to do the things that cost. Perhaps I should do the same.
Mind you I got to unlock a Qrate, so all wasn't entirely bad.
And then it was back to work. It wasn't a bad day really. I have a job that I am trusted to do, and I spent quite a bit of time teaching a trainee today. I like doing that.
Being on an early shift I got out early (obviously!). I had planned a dog excursion to the woods, but it was still twenty-eight degrees when I got home. Rather than going to the woods we just pootled in the back garden.
I say “pootled”; I pootled, the dogs kept trying to eat algae from the pond. I wish they wouldn’t. Eventually “er indoors TM” came home and put a stop to their shenanigans.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a good bit of dinner then set off bowling. I settled in front of the telly with the dogs and watched another episode of “The Sandman”. This morning’s one had featured Jenna Coleman as a lesbidaceous exorcist. This evening’s starred her who was Brienne of Tarth (out of “Game of Thrones”) as Lucifer.
I’m quite enjoying this show… it’s based on the book by Neil Gaiman. I’m nearing the end of my current e-book. Maybe I might try some of his books?
16 August 2022 (Tuesday) - This n That
I would say I slept better last night, but I'm not sure that would be true. I slept longer, but seemed to spend much of the night in a rather perplexing dreamscape. Having scored top marks in the works' "Zombie Apocalypse Training" program, I was seconded to the hospital's training department to lead "Zombie Apocalypse Training" for all staff. And then found myself faced with a real-life (death?) Zombie Apocalypse.
I was rather pleased to wake up.
Treacle made me laugh this morning. Her attitude to the puppies is rather inconsistent. Yesterday evening she and they were playing very nicely together in the garden. Paul and his boys visited yesterday evening and Treacle growled at them and wouldn't let them near the puppies. This morning the puppies were terrified to go near the bed as Treacle was guarding it and wouldn't let them anywhere near it.
Once the dogs had sorted themselves out and gone back to sleep I made toast and watched an episode of "The Sandman" (featuring Remus Lupin from "Harry Potter" as a well-intentioned idiot) before setting off for work.
As I got into my car so not-so-nice-next-door got into her car and made a point of blanking me. It was rather laughable; parking her car against the traffic she was staring right at me whilst pointedly ignoring me. A shame really; I feel I should point out the ridge tiles on her roof that are about to come off.
She then tried to turn her car round. That too was rather laughable. I must admit I often find myself asking if she has ever had any driving lessons, let alone actually passed the driving test; she is terrible at driving.
With her finally out of the way I set off to work listening to the radio as I do. there was more talk about the situation in Afghanistan one year after the western forces effectively abandoned the place.
And there was talk of COVID vaccines too.
Just as I drove in the hospital drive I saw a colleague walking past. I smiled and waved, as did he. And a short while later I heard he'd phoned in sick. Had he turned round and gone home, or does he have a double?
Work was work; but getting home was hard work. It took as long to drive the two miles from work to the motorway as it did the twenty miles from there to home.
I got home just as “er indoors TM” was taking the dogs out. Rather than going with them I took the opportunity to get the event shelter packed away before the forecast rain came. Mind you the thing wasn’t entirely dry; the feet into which the poles fit each had an inch of a rather pungent liquid in them. I couldn’t say with absolute certainly that it was Morgan piss… but there’s not many other possibilities.
To think that having him was my idea…
17 August 2022 (Wednesday) - There Was Cake
I put the event shelter away yesterday evening as I wanted the lawn to get the benefit of the forecast overnight heavy rain... it didn't come. Last night the weather forecast gave over ninety per cent chance of heavy rain from four o'clock onward this morning. I let the puppies out to bright sunshine.
Once they'd done their thing they went upstairs and looked at me from the top of the stairs. I carried them and dumped them on a sleeping “er indoors TM” whilst Treacle glared her indignation at me. I made toast and watched another episode of "The Sandman" featuring a sadly non-lesbidaceous Jenna Coleman (which was something of a disappointment)
As I drove to work through a very dry and bright morning it was obvious there had been no rain up the motorway at all. And my piss boiled as the pundits on the radio were talking about the so-called "blood scandal". At first sight this blood scandal is terrible; people have been given all sorts of infections through transfusions of infected blood and blood products. But when you look a little deeper into the matter...
Much of the infected blood came from America where the less salubrious members of society were being paid for their blood. And so the habitual intravenous drug users could finance their drug habits by selling their blood. Why did the UK use American blood? Because UK residents don't donate (not sell!) anywhere near enough of the stuff.
This morning it was announced that all the victims are to get interim payments of one hundred thousand quid each. There was an interview with one such victim this morning whose life was blighted when a blood transfusion in 1975 gave her hepatitis C. Now there's two issues here...
Firstly blood transfusions aren't given lightly. There must have been a clear and serious reason for that transfusion.
Secondly hepatitis C wasn't identified until 1989. Is it reasonable to accuse the NHS of negligence when they were trying to help and had no knowledge of a disease which wouldn't be identified for another fourteen years?
And they wonder why fewer and fewer people want to go into healthcare as a career…
I got some petrol before work, then went in to Sainsburys for this and that. In a sign of our times there wasn't anyone on the tills so I had to use the self-service checkouts. But there was an interfering busybody member of staff who wouldn't leave me alone as I tried to scan my shopping. She wasn't at all impressed when I suggested we went over to a proper till where she could do the job that she is paid for and that I was trying to do for free.
And so to work where I sat by a large window and spent much of the day watching for the forecast rain. By mid day the weather forecast had an eight per cent chance of rain for mid-afternoon, and that was when the torrential rain came. I say “torrential”; after two minutes it had gone.
I’m reliably informed that other parts of the country had massive amounts of rain today, but I didn’t see any.
Mind you there was cake, so the day wasn't entirely wasted.
18 August 2022 (Thursday) - Random Ranting
Having discovered an errant turd on the carpet behind the table last night I took no chances this morning and frogmarched two very sleepy puppies into the garden far earlier that any of us would have liked. After a while both eventually tiddled. Dogs are strange things. I wake up every morning in dire need of the loo; dogs wake up with no such urge and are quite content to bimble round the garden playing silly beggars before eventually "producing" after ten to fifteen minutes later.
I'm finding that these days so much of my life revolves around the toilet habits of two small dogs...
They went back to sleep, and I watched an episode of "The Sandman"; this one featuring Stephen Fry as "Gilbert". I went to school with a Gilbert; albeit a different one. The rat I dissected during my A-level biology classes was named after him. He ran competitively at county level in the late 1970s. He once sold me a pedal-bike that fell apart within a week of my buying it. And he sadly died some time ago in an air crash.
And so to work. My piss boiled as I drove. The pundits on the radio were talking about the recent murder of Thomas O'Halloran; an eighty-seven year old chap stabbed to death whilst on his mobility scooter in London. The chap's local MP was interviewed who said that this was the fourth murder in the area in six days. For all the hot air vented and crocodile tears shed, no one was brave enough to address the core issue that the police are (yet again) unable to keep the streets safe. Is there *really* any practical alternative to having vigilante mobs keeping us all safe?
A-level results were published today. It would seem that grades have fallen. Seriously? For the last two years COVID restrictions have meant that A-level results have been issued on the strength of what teachers think the students would achieve, and which teacher is going to claim that their students would get anything other than a brilliant result?
And hot on the heels of COVID, double figure inflation and record breaking temperatures is a predicted world-changing volcanic eruption according to our old friend science. That would be a nuisance...
With work done I came home… and was lucky to get there. As I came down the Operation Brock contraflow (with a fifty miles per hour speed limit) I was intensely conscious of the lorry behind me. Inches behind me. Either the driver was falling asleep at the wheel and was unaware of how close he was. Or he was impatient with the speed limit and was deliberately trying to hit my car to get me to go faster (even though there were other cars in front of me). I’ve emailed the email address on the side of the lorry to ask which it was.
I wonder if they will reply?
19 August 2022 (Friday) - Master of Munz
With no need to be up early I let “er indoors TM” see to the puppies this morning. I listened to her refereeing their squabbles as I had a shave, and by the time I’d scraped they’d all had their brekkies. So I took them to the woods a tad earlier than usual.
As we drove the pundits on the radio were making great show about how so many under-thirties are spending a third of their income on rent and how this is unaffordable. Seriously? When we moved to our first flat in Pavilion Road in Folkestone the monthly rent was one hundred and seventy-three quid a month. At the time my monthly take-home pay was two hundred and thirty-three quid. Three quarters of my income went on the rent thirty-eight years ago. Even allowing for “er indoors TM”’s wage (which was intermittent at best as she was young and working through an agency) at our financially best we were spending over half our income on rent. Why is this being bandied as news today? As Oliver Hardy once remarked “Twas ever thus”.
We got to the woods; we had a good walk. As we walked we met two dogs on leads. Treacle walked straight past but the puppies made a point of trying to bother them. Fortunately (amazingly) three sharp blasts on the whistle got them to come to me each time, and as we walked we practiced whistle training until Morgan lost interest. He has a rather short attention span even when food is involved (which makes training problematical).
We came home, I had brekkie and as three dogs snored on the sofa next to me I watched another episode of “The Sandman” and then sparked up my lap-top.
Yesterday I mentioned I’d emailed the company of the lorry which nearly crashed into me (several times) as I drove home last night. I had a reply. The chap who’d emailed me said that he would review the lorry’s dash-cam footage. On the one hand I feel guilty that the driver might get into trouble. On the other hand he was either asleep at the wheel or deliberately driving dangerously.
I also had an email from the power company. My bill for the period from February to August was available. The power company operates this daft scheme in which I pay so much a month into a holding account. Twice a year they produce a bill, and take the money I owe from that holding account. You’d think that with SmartMeters they would take exactly as much money as is needed to pay for what I’ve used, wouldn’t you? After all the SmartMeter updates the power company every half-hour. However… in the last six months I’ve paid just under one thousand two hundred quid to them, and in that time I’ve used just under nine hundred quid’s worth of power. I’m three hundred quid in credit with them, and I’m told my monthly payments are staying the same. Oh well… better in credit than in debt, eh?
I settled the dogs (they didn't need much settling) and drove round to B&Q. Over the years some of the panels on the shed walls have warped, and my plan for Sunday is to replace them. I got the drill bit and galvanised nails for the job, but the fence panels themselves were too big to fit in my car. They would have easily fitted in previous cars, but not the new more sensible (smaller) car. I shall go back tomorrow with “er indoors TM” to help me carry them home.
And from B&Q I set off to work. Work was much the same as ever. As I did that which I couldn’t avoid I got a message from Munzee HQ. They’ve had an awards ceremony and I got given several e-badges (which was nice!)…
20 August 2022 (Saturday) - Late Shift
I overslept somewhat today. Thinking it was perhaps shortly after seven I woke to find it was after nine o’clock. I flew downstairs to see to the puppies. They were both fast asleep.
With the morning ritual done and cleared away (yuk!) I made toast. Having run out of jam I had a rummage in the cupboard and found some honey. That was good for an argument. I like the set stuff (as God intended) but “er indoors TM” prefers “the runny shite” (to coin a phrase). Mind you the so-called “set” stuff wasn’t as set as it might have been.
I had a look at the Internet as I scoffed the toast. The Internet was still there, and much the same as ever. Rather than wasting my time there I chivvied “er indoors TM” into action and we went to B&Q. Yesterday I looked at lengths of wood for fixing the shed and decided I’d need help to carry them home… Did they shrink overnight? The same things were much more manageable this morning, and I carried three home having wasted twenty minutes of “er indoors TM”’s time.
Once home I fed the pond fish. “er indoors TM” cleared up dog sick. It was one of the puppies – you could tell because of the fish food (dogs are gross creatures!).
I set off for work. It wasn't my idea; I've already worked five days this week, but I had been allocated six. The pundits on the radio were talking about diesel shortages in Haiti so I turned the radio off and sang along to my odd choice of music.
As I got near to work I took a minor diversion for geo-reasons. Every year the third Saturday in August is International Geocaching Day and there is an e-souvenir if you log a find on that day. I've got one on the last nine, so I felt really should go for it today. There was also a world-wide attempt to get the most logged geo-finds on any one day. No one really seemed to know what the most on any one day was before, so I suppose no matter what happens, a record will be claimed anyway. I made the find and went on to work. Looking back through my diary I see that of the ten International Geocaching Days I've been involved with I had been working on nine of them.
I got to work and went to the canteen. Fish fingers and chips followed by jam roly-poly and custard went down very nicely. But (as is so often the way with the late shifts) the day was effectively all over by the early afternoon.
Some days in my life are rather good... and others have a highlight of a trip to B&Q and a bowl of jam roly-poly and custard...
21 August 2022 (Sunday) - Not Working (?)
As I shaved I heard “er indoors TM” telling Morgan off about some crime or other. Even though Treacle is far and away the naughtiest dog, it is always little Morgan being told off for one thing or another.
I made toast (with set honey!) and had a look at the Internet. There had been a geo-meet yesterday in honour of International Geocaching Day yesterday I couldn’t get along (what with work) but it looks like it had been well attended. And there was a new geocache this morning too. A shame it was so close to work; having driven there for the last six days I wasn’t going to make the journey again today, but hopefully things are back on the up for hunting Tupperware?
I sent out some birthday wishes and found myself thinking as I did so. A friend from way back was having a birthday today. During the late seventies we were the best of buddies through our membership of the Boys Brigade. But over the years we went our separate ways. I’ve only seen the chap in person twice since 1983; the first time at the retirement of the chap who ran the Boys Brigade, and the last time at the funeral of the chap who ran the Boys Brigade. Stalking my old mucker on the Internet it seems he’s the managing director of some big firm in the city and has an annual income of about half a million quid.
If I had an annual income of about half a million quid I’d only want to see the likes of me once every twenty years as well…
“er indoors TM” got the Asda shopping, then set off to Folkestone. Today was the Folkestone air show and the tribe was going to see it. If you like planes (which seemingly everyone else does) it is a really good day out. I’ve seen it before and can remember it as being hours of tedium. You stand plaintively staring into the sky, and about every half-hour or so some plane or other comes over which (to my uneducated eye) all look the same.
I got on with what I had planned. On 4 April 2008 I got a new shed. According to shedman.co.uk a decent wooden shed (if maintained) should be good for thirty years…
Over the years I’ve replaced the roof felt twice, but rather more serious maintenance was needed today. Some (six) of the planks on the side had warped leaving great big gaps through which rain could pass. I tried bodging the holes last year with decorative filler, but that didn’t work. So I got new planks yesterday and the plan was to pull off the warped planks, cut the new ones to size and put them in place. Easy… Or so you’d think. To be honest (apart from putting the drill through my thumb) everything went rather well. There was a minor hiccup when I found that I needed to replace two more panels than I had first thought, but I did that with the off-cuts
I took a few photos as I worked…
I must admit I’m rather pleased with the result bearing in mind that the only woodworking skills I’ve got (such as they are) are entirely self-taught. As I worked I found myself reflecting on the words of an old schoolmate (Simon Hargraves) who once asked our French teacher why we wasted our time at school learning Latin and religious education and ancient history. He asked why we didn’t learn useful things such as woodwork like the boys at the secondary modern school did. Our old French teacher replied with something I’ve remembered all my life, and sums up where I’ve gone wrong all these years. He said that we were grammar school boys. He said that in years to come we would be paying the ex- secondary modern school boys to do the manual labour for us, and that as ex- grammar school boys, manual labour would be beneath us.
I suppose it is for my mate having his birthday today (him on half a million a year)…
By the time the shed was fixed it was mid-day, and I had a stroke of genius (I have them from time to time). It occurred to me that all the normal people who infest the woods would be having their lunch, and we might get a walk without being plagued by them.
The idea nearly worked.
We got three quarters of the way round the woods when we turned a corner to see someone who had seen us first and was putting his dog on a lead. Rather then putting my three on their leads I blew the whistle. Having had perfect whistle training in practices up to that point, the puppies were a tad slow coming back. Treacle came instantly, and as the normal person walked past he made some sarcastic comment about a success rate of one out of three. He then saw my dogs were getting treats and, presumably wanting one for his dog, made some conciliatory comment about how bad his dog behaves off the lead and that the puppies weren’t that bad really. I told him that they were babies (which they are) and were still learning (which they are), and I walked off up the path with all three perfectly at heel.
It was only a shame that when I put the treats away the babies chased off down the path to bother the normal person’s dog again.
We came home and I had lunch. Haagen Dazs lime mojito sorbet washed down with a can of Tizer. Not everyone’s first choice of lunch, but it did for me.
As I’d fiddled with shed panels this morning I’d also been doing the laundry and getting it onto the line. With walk walked and lunch scoffed the laundry was all dry. As I got it in so there was a noise. The Red Arrows flew overhead. Directly over the garden; they couldn’t have been more than fifty yards up.
And as the dogs snored I spent a couple of hours doing the ironing whilst watching the last episodes of “The Sandman”.
“er indoors TM” came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, only marred by the pain in my thumb… I had one day off this week and I didn’t stop.
22 August 2022 (Monday) - FTF, Dragons
I found myself awake rather earlier than I might have been. Sleep wasn't happening so I got up, tiddled the puppies and took them up to see “er indoors TM”. They are so eager to go upstairs every morning, but they don't dare go without me as Treacle is so grumpy toward them.
With dogs settled I made toast and had a quick look on-line. That geocache near work that went live yesterday morning still hadn't been found, so with the chance of a First to Find I set off earlier than I might have done.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were interviewing various government ministers. Firstly about the unmonitored dumping of raw sewage onto Britain's coastlines, and about the cost of living crisis.
Everyone was talking about which agencies and charities might help, but no one in authority seemed to feel that it was up to them to do anything as none of them had the power to do anything. Isn't this the trouble with Britain today? Ever since Margaret Thatcher came to power forty years ago pretty much everything to do with the running of the country has been sold off to profit-making companies. I'm not saying that things were any better back in the day, but at least with nationalised infrastructure those supposedly in authority could actually do something about the running of the country (whether they did or not is entirely a different matter!)
I got to as close to the new geocache as was possible to drive, and started walking. As I walked a woman came up the path toward me... "Good morning" she announced. She then told me that today was her birthday (she was forty) and proceeded to give me the detailed version of her life history. She seemed happy enough, but I formed the distinct impression that she was incredibly lonely... how many people are out and about on their own on obscure footpaths talking to random strangers at half past six in the morning on their fortieth birthday?
Eventually she wandered off, and I followed my sat-nav (phone) to a tree in a thicket where I rummaged to no avail. After a few minutes I had a look at the next tree along and found that for which I had been searching. And I was the first one there. FTF... Result!!
I went in to work for the early shift. As always I get in early so the night person could slip off promptly, and then spent much of the day peering down a microscope.
At tea break my phone pinged. “er indoors TM” had sent instructions. Usually I buy the household's bumwipe whenever I pop into Sainsburys on my way to work. But I have been relieved of bumwipe acquisition duties; she's set up a standing order with Amazon for bumwipe made out of bamboo which is (apparently) more eco-friendly than the stuff that comes from trees, and has less packaging too.
I can't wait for the first consignment to arrive...
An early start made for an early finish. I came home and took the dogs to the woods. We met two other groups of dogs. We played with the first set, and gave the second set a wide berth. The second set of dogs were each the size of cart horses and were both on leads. The woman holding the first dog was nowhere near strong enough to control that dog. Why get a dog that is far stronger than you are?
With “er indoors TM” off bowling I watched the first episode of “House of the Dragon”; the prequel to “Game of Thrones”. Initially I nearly turned it off; for the first ten minutes it was just like the first “Star Trek” film; all special effects. But it soon chirped up. I won’t say what happened but I will say that I’m looking forward to next week’s episode…
23 August 2022 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
I slept like a log last night, for which I was rather pleased. By the time I got up “er indoors TM” had seen to the puppies, but they were rather excited to see me.
I made toast and peered into the Internet as I do most mornings. It was still there. I had a friend request on Facebook fromربيع منصور who presumably saw something that I had posted on a work-related Facebook page. I don’t know this person, have never had any dealings with him, her or it whatsoever, and from what I can determine from Google Translate they seem to be something of a religious nut. I think I will steer well clear.
I took the dogs down to the woods. As we drove there was an interesting program on the radio in which people with diametrically opposed points of view were invited to try to understand the other person’s perspective. There was a rather aggressive-sounding harridan who was banging on about how unfair private schools are (because she felt they are far better than state schools), and that the money spent on them should be spent on state schools as that would be fairer. Some headmaster of a private school pointed out that there are good and bad private and state schools, and the more calm the headmaster was, the more angry the woman became. It made for entertaining listening even if it didn’t really achieve anything.
We got to the woods and had a good walk. Not seeing anyone else as we walked probably helped. Mind you there was something large crashing about in the tree tops. Judging by the squawking it might well have been a pterodactyl.
I came home and pootled about waiting for a delivery. The plan for the morning had been to sort the new pond filter which was due to arrive today. I’ve heard it said that God laughs when we make plans…
I saw red when I eventually looked at the front door and saw there was a “we tried to deliver your parcel” from Royal Mail. According to Amazon the delivery was attempted half an hour after we’d got home from the woods.
I blame myself… I should have contacted the seller when I bought the pond filter from Amazon on Saturday. If I’d known that they were going to use Royal Mail I would never have ordered it. Amazon leave the thing on the doorstep for you. Royal Mail employ postmen who sneak silently to the door and push a “you weren’t in” card and then expect you to go get the thing from the sorting office yourself the next day. I really have watched them do it. Watch the parcel delivery people yourself… Perhaps I’ve got a bad local one, but if he had any intention of delivering parcels he would carry them from the van to the houses, rather than bringing just a handful of “you weren’t in” cards.
I must admit my mood wasn’t helped by the fact that having clicked the next day delivery option on Saturday morning, once they had my money they’d then said the day after Saturday was Tuesday…
I contacted the seller who seemed to be utterly disinterested. Oh well… their loss. I immediately bought a job lot of Koi food from another aquatic supplier out of spite.
I then did a little CPD… and got it wrong. I say “wrong”; the blood transfusion simulator is very much a work in progress that no one seems to be working on. I suspect (hope) I’ve found a glitch in the system.
And with something of a sense of failure I went to bed for the afternoon.
On waking I watched the first episode of “Shadow and Bone”; a watchable enough show. And as I watched I got a message that our Munzee clan had reached its monthly target today. That was a minor result. I didn’t think we’d get the required amount of Qrewzees – to get those you have to be a paid-up Munzer (not just anyone can do a Qrewzee, you know!) and only half of our clan have paid up.
I also got a message that there had been another attempt to deliver my pond filter at half past three this afternoon… There hadn’t.
I shall collect it from the sorting office tomorrow… when hopefully I won’t be so grumpy.
24 August 2022 (Wednesday) - So Tired
Last night’s night shift was rather hard work; I was very pleased when the early person arrived so that I could go home.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace about the UK’s continuing involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Mr Wallace was saying how the western allies of Ukraine have to walk a tightrope in that they want to support the Ukrainians without overtly antagonising the Russians. Mr Wallace wasn’t at all happy with the suggestion that what with the ongoing cost of living crisis (with inflation looking set to hit eighteen per cent and the Russians putting the price of gas through the roof) more and more people feel the UK can’t afford to get involved in other people’s wars. He wasn’t happy… but didn’t really have a plausible reply. A bit like the wannabe Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who was interviewed for twenty minutes and said so much without actually saying anything.
I got home, had a quick wash and brush-up and headed down the road to the dentist. As I’d driven past there on my way home there had been some teenage girl sitting on a push-along scooter outside the dentist. She was still there as I went in.
I saw the hygienist first. This one was amazed at how good my gob was. The last time I saw her (26 February 2021) she’d given my cake-muncher the serious thumbs down and was particularly rude about it. I’ve not done anything different in the meantime and I’ve since seen two different hygienists who were happy with my trap… what was that all about.
I then went in to the dentist for a check-up. I was in and out in less than a minute before making appointments for next February.
The girl on the scooter was still sitting outside as I left.
I drove into town (to get that pond filter that Royal Mail hadn’t delivered yesterday) and parked in a half-empty Vicarage Lane car park. That place is usually heaving; where were all the cars? I wasted ten minutes fighting with the ticket machine. I don’t begrudge the sixty pence parking fee but I do begrudge the waste of time to get the machine to actually sell me a ticket. Once I’d finally got the ticket I walked over to the sorting office, got my parcel and was back to the car in seven minutes. I thought about haranguing the sorting office staff about their (frankly crap) delivery staff, but there were enough other people giving them a hard time already.
I came home, got the dogs and (driving past the girl on the scooter who was still sitting outside the dentist) we went down to Orlestone Woods. There were a few cars in the car park, and as we walked into the woods so several people (and their dogs) were walking out. We saw more people in the first fifty yards than we usually see on the entire walk. In fact other than the groups on their way home we only saw one other bunch; a young couple with *loads* of dogs. Presumably that had been their van in the car park with the dog-walking company logos all over it?
And with walk walked we again drove past the girl on the scooter who was still sitting outside the dentist as we came home.
I managed a little sleep, but not much. There was a knock on the door. A few days ago “er indoors TM” had stuck a whole load of crockery in the front garden. There was no room in our cupboards for it, but it was too good for the bin, so if anyone wanted it, they could help themselves. A passing young mother’s daughter wanted one of the cups. Were they *really* going free?
Finding myself awake I spent a few minutes looking at my new pond filter and determined that the ultra-violet light worked. I could sort the rest another time. I then downloaded the bank statements and went through them. Bearing in mind that over the last few weeks I’ve had two major holidays and a catastrophic failure of the pond’s filter system, I could be a whole lot worse off…
I feel absolutely worn out… a night shift will do that. I need an early night. I often say that but oh-so-rarely actually do it.
25 August 2022 (Thursday) - Before the Late Shift
I made toast and as I scoffed it I saw something on Facebook. The "Pantosaurus" song has been stuck in my head all day... Remember – your pants cover up your private parts!!!
As I drove the dogs to the woods for an early morning walk there was some gay Christian icon being interviewed on the radio who making great show of being gay and of being a Christian. Now I have no issue with the gay community at all. Many friends and members of my family are gay. I have some issues with Christians though; mostly because they don't actually understand what being a Christian is all about... and that is why Gay Christians annoy me so much.
Have you ever read the Bible? I have. I used to be a steward in the Methodist church. It was up to me to hire and fire the vicars. So I know a little bit about the Bible. Much of it is contradictory, and there are a lot of occasions in which for every statement the Bible makes on a subject, there is another saying the direct opposite... except for homosexuality. The Bible is crystal clear on this matter. The Bible thinks it is a big no-no. Gay Christians are going against the direct orders of their God...
(Personally I'm with the gay community rather than the Christian one here, but read the Bible. Seriously. According to the established teachings of the religion, the two don't mix - if you disagree, don't tell me, tell God!)
We got to the woods and had a walk, and I realised something. Treacle has always been wary of other dogs, but recently she has been a lot braver, standing up for the puppies. But today when the puppies went to say hello to two Spaniels we often meet, Treacle shied away. She did that yesterday too. She's gone back to her old ways; has she decided the puppies are old enough to stick up for themselves? To be fair they (mostly) don't need sticking up for any more.
We came home, the dogs went to sleep, and I set off on a little mission. Navigating my way through all the road works in Ashford (and there were a *lot*) I eventually got through and out to Canterbury where I picked up a child's garden slide. A straight one. This will form the central part of my next garden project.
From Canterbury I drove through the rain up to Sheerness where I had a little look-see at the stuff in Whelan's. I saw something else that I might need for the next garden project, but wasn't sure, so I contented myself with two garden gnomes and a dragon. It was a shame that some idiot driver forced me to brake so hard that one of the gnomes bashed against the dragon and chipped it...
I then faced something of a hold-up on the A249. There are massive road works at the junction of that road with the M2. Were I the Minister for Transport I'd bring in a rule whereby that if someone digs up the road they have to fix what they have dug up before digging the next bit... There are great swathes of land dug up with no one finishing anything off up there.
I then went to the pond shop in Aylesford having forgotten what happened last time I was there. The obnoxiously rude woman was still behind the till. If there was anywhere else selling pond stuff within striking distance I would have given her two fingers and walked out...
I stopped off for some petrol as I then headed to work. Getting petrol was easy enough; paying for it not so. There was some epically fat woman standing in the doorway to the petrol station's kiosk piddling about on her phone. She was utterly oblivious to the fact that no one could get in or out of the kiosk with her blocking the way. Eventually after several tactful coughs, the chap three in front of me loudly announced "will you get out of the way!" and the woman seemed to wake up with a start. She was obviously shocked to realise where she was and had no idea of the obstacle she had been to everyone. She bustled away apologizing to anyone who would listen.
The rest of the day was rather dull...
(pant - pant - pantosaurus...)
26 August 2022 (Friday) - International Dog Day
The internet was rather dull as I scoffed toast. But not as dull as the morning's radio. As we took the short drive to the woods the sports news was on. They really might have been continually repeating "blah blah sport" for all that it interested me. I have always maintained that sport is to be done, not watched. And as for listening to some has-beens (or never-were) talking about sporting events that happened yesterday... I suppose enough people must be interested in this to have it on the radio.
We got to the woods and had a good walk. Everyone
behaved and came when called (eventually). No one rolled in anything
disgusting. All in all, a good walk.
Narrowly avoiding a collision with a van from J Knight and Sons we made our way home. I've often remarked on the fallacy of having your business emblazoned on the side of your van if you are going to drive like a lunatic.
I settled the dogs, and set off on another shopping mission. I shall need more pond hose, rocks and cobbles for the planned pond project so I got that from Bybrook Barn. Eventually. No one told me that the main road going west out of Ashford was closed. It took a while to navigate the diversions.
Bybrook Barn also had a new attraction; a "Compost Drive Thru"; I decided against that. however they didn't have the bits I need for the upgrade to the pond's fountain so I went to the pond shop in Notcutts where I found a rather helpful assistant. A great improvement on the miserable one I encountered in Aylesford yesterday. I explained what I wanted, and the girl in Notcutts was quite honest. She didn't know if she had anything, so she rummaged under the counter and dug out her box of odds and sods and said I could have a rummage to see if I could find anything useful.
As I walked back to my car a passing elderly couple were telling all and sundry to avoid the butchers in Notcutts as "it smelled rank". I didn't small anything as I walked past; I wonder how many people they put off going in there?
I then had a stroke of genius and realised that my next project required paving slabs, so I went to Wickes. How easy to type "I went to Wickes". Have you ever tried to drive thought Maidstone. usually I go right round the outside, but Wickes is right in the middle, and Maidstone has a (frankly) bloody awful one-way system. But I got there, and as I queued to pay there was a near punch-up. I must admit that the chap in front of me did himself no favours. He was standing around some five yards from the tills. I asked if he was in the queue; he glared at me, walked back another five yards and said it was a socially distanced queue. So socially distanced that another shopper didn't even realise there was a queue and went straight up to the tills. The chap advocating social distancing might be scared of COVID-19 but he certainly wasn't scared of people pushing in. It was rather entertaining, but I managed not to laugh out loud. I then put my back out heaving the larger paving slabs into the car. The first fruit of my loin says he'll help me move them tomorrow.
With a little time on my hands I popped to Sainsburys (as I'd forgotten to pick up lunch). I saw that petrol prices are falling, and that Sainsbury's in Aylesford are selling the stuff seven pence a litre cheaper than in Ashford.
And so to work where having cake made for a rather good day. Unlike “er indoors TM” who messaged me a photo of little Bailey who had smothered herself in fox poo. She don't do that when I walk her... but I suppose that what with today being "International Dog Day" she did it as a celebration.
And just as I was on the final stretch at work my phone rang. Dad had been taken ill and an ambulance was on the way. I left work immediately. And as I drove I got the message that the ambulance was taking him to the hospital in Eastbourne. Maidstone to Eastbourne in the dark wasn’t the best of trips, but I arrived in the car park at the same time as my brother, and we actually beat the ambulance with Dad and sister in law by a couple of minutes.
After a lot of waiting and waiting I eventually got in to see him… He’d had a stroke and didn’t seem to be in a good way. Eventually the staff moved him to a ward, and it was clear that he needed a good night’s sleep, and there was nothing more to be achieved by our hanging round getting in everyone’s way…
I got home at one o’clock… which was a lot earlier than I had expected.
27 August 2022 (Satuday) - Back to Eastbourne
I slept surprisingly well last night. Yesterday had been rather full-on. I’d spent much of the shift at work telling people that what with dog walk and shopping I was worn out before I started work, and I suppose following that with an impromptu road trip of a hundred miles didn’t help matters. Mind you after five hours I was wide awake.
I made toast and phoned the hospital (East Dean ward) and was told that Dad had had a “good night”. What an utterly meaningless phrase that is. Apparently when I phoned he was sleeping but was easily roused. I made an appointment for me and my brother to visit this afternoon (you have to make appointments to visit!) then saw about some brekkie.
With little of note on-line I went into the garden. I had a look at the fountain attachments I bought yesterday. It turned out they weren’t what I wanted, but I bodged the pond’s fountain into shape, and managed to hide its power cable too. And I then cleaned out the pond filter. It cleaned far quicker and easier than the old one ever did.
I unloaded the car of the cobles and rocks that I bought yesterday, and with “My Boy TM” busy I managed to get the heavy paving slabs out and into place; even if I did do for my back and cut my hand rather impressively. As I waited for the bleeding to stop I mooched about planning until it was time to set off.
There had been plans to go to the monthly geo-meet today. There had also been plans to go to the Duck Race in Hythe. Instead I drove to Hastings, and after a cuppa with family (together with my brother) I set off to the Eastbourne hospital for the second time in as many days.
Dad was as well as could be expected the day after a major stroke. He was sleeping, but woke when he heard us. He tried to speak to us, but was slurring a lot. He wasn’t happy about being in hospital; he certainly wasn’t happy about being in Eastbourne. He wanted lemonade, but as he seems to have lost the ability to swallow that was a big no-no. We stayed with him for forty minutes, but it was clear we were tiring hm by being there, so we slipped off as he slept.
I came home to a message from “er indoors TM”; she was off to the woods with the dogs. Did I want to come along? I did. We had a good walk. And with walk walked we came home for a bit of dinner. Maria had sent up some pies… Oh they were good.
I’m feeling rather worn out… I’ve had a rather stressful couple of days. And my hand is rather sore.
28 August 2022 (Sunday) - Family Bingo Afternoon
Another restless night; despite going to bed earlier than usual I slept for less than five hours, and after two more hours of laying wide awake I got up.
With the puppies tiddled and settled with “er indoors TM” I made toast and watched another episode of “Shadow and Bone” then phoned Eastbourne hospital to find out how Dad had done overnight. I spoke to one of the nurses who said that he was still unable to swallow and they’ve put a tube in to feed him. He don’t like it and is trying to pull it out. They’ve put mittens on him to try to stop him.
He was being reviewed by the chest people this morning as he seems to be developing a chest infection (from where he’s not swallowing properly). He’s been on oxygen overnight but his O2 level was back where it should have been.
There was talk of physio and speech therapy after the weekend…
I decided not to go down to visit today as they said there was really not a lot of change… Yesterday and Friday I was convinced I was tiring him out by being there.
I went into the garden and fiddled about wit the pond. I laid the paving slabs and got the splash pool cleaned out. I then fiddled about plumbing in the new second filter box, and got the slide covered over to make a cascade…
After over two hours I stopped; not entirely happy with what I’d done. The slide/cascade arrangement is far too short. If I can get a longer one I can push the filter boxes back and disguise them. It will stay as it is until such time as I can get a slide thingy which is two metres long (double the length of the one I’ve got) or until I get fed up with it.
I took the dogs to the woods where we had a good walk. We met three sets of dogs and all encounters went well. The puppies said hello nicely, and Treacle kept her distance.
With the rain having subsided we went round to the abode of “My Boy TM” for a family bingo afternoon. Over the year everyone has put in ten quid each month, and we had several rounds of bingo for cash prizes. Bearing in mind what I’d put in over the last few months I was twenty quid down on the deal. But it wasn’t about the money; we had a rather good afternoon. And after six pints of ale it was all rather vague…
29 August 2022 (Monday) - Bank Holiday Woodwork
Yet another restless night. I woke to see two missed calls from my brother on my phone. I phoned him (expecting the worst) but there was little news of Dad really. His temperature spiked overnight and he has been put on antibiotics, but that goes with a chest infection. Apparently his sisters are visiting today and once they’ve been and gone my brother is going in to see him. I decided against going down; he will be worn out after all that lot.
I had a look at the pond as the puppies tiddled… I wasn’t entirely happy with what I did yesterday as the cascade/slide isn’t long enough. But the thing didn’t seem to have leaked in the day since I set it up yesterday, which is a “proof of concept” if nothing else.
As I scoffed toast I had a look at the Internet. My cousin was bemoaning the state of her local cinema. It isn’t what it used to be. Back in the day things were different. My aunts used to go to “The Classic” in Hastings every Tuesday evening as there were only three TV channels in those days and no VCRs or streaming. No matter what film was showing, it was better than the telly. And cheap too. But these days I've got a thousand channels of stuff on the Sky box which I can watch in peace and quiet and press the "pause" button whenever I like.
I can’t help but think that cinemas have had their day. It costs over a tenner to sit through a film with the smelly burping farting great unwashed; many of whom are messing about on their mobile phones. I can't remember when I last went to a cinema... certainly I’m in no rush to go to one any time soon...
And the proprietor of “The Red Pig” was having a rant on Facebook. The Red Pig is a little roadside café at Pett Level which has been giving tea and cake to refugees (who arrive in a boat) whilst they wait for the authorities to arrive. This little act of humanity has sparked quite a bit of outrage from the haters. I’ll just make the observation that (in my experience) many of those who object to the refugees do so as they see refugees as competition for their dole handouts, and it is those who were once refugees who now do many of the jobs in the UK that those jealously guarding their dole handouts won’t do.
We didn’t make plans for today… we had one or two options but what with Dad being a tad poorly (to say the least!) I wanted to be available and relatively local just in case. But the dogs needed a walk, so we walked over to Singleton and walked up part of the Greensand Way. I’d had reports that some of the geocaches I’d hidden there were missing. Some were, some weren’t. I replaced the ones that were missing, and “er indoors TM” got to log finds on the ones that were there (and on the two I replaced).
The walk up the Greensand Way is rather pretty, and when you almost (but not quite) get to Hothfield there is a lovely little path down past Ripper’s Wood and back to the river where the dogs like to swim. It is only a shame that there are so many sheep along that way; the dogs were on the leads far more than I would have liked.
We got home at mid-day and had a Belgian bun and a cuppa for lunch, then I went to B&Q. As we’d been walking I’d had a (frankly genius) idea of rather than hunting around to find the exact child’s slide that I want, I might make a wooden frame and cover it with the spare pond liner that I’ve got to make a cascade of the size that I want.
I got to B&Q… and after ten minutes demanded to see the manager. I pointed out to her (and she had to agree) that at most only one out of twenty of their customers were watching where they were going. I’d had a dozen crash over the timber beams I was pushing on my trolly, and as I ranted at the poor boss-lady so the normal people were continually bouncing off of each other. I suggested that she might put a sign on the door saying: “open your eyes and look where you are going”. She admitted the need for one, but felt that people might take offence. I made the observation that when the idiot public sue for damages, she might change her mind. But it was obvious she was more worried about getting rid of me than about people falling over each other.
I went to load my shopping into the car… and had a minor disaster. The timbers didn’t fit; they were too long. I phoned “er indoors TM” who was brilliant and hurried round to help me carry them home.
And with shopping shopped “er indoors TM” went off to visit her mother. I decided against going; all her family would mean well, but they would all be asking after my Dad, and tutting and shaking their heads. He wouldn’t want any of that. Instead I cut the timers to length and shape, and built the wooden frame that I need for cascade MkII. After three hours I had the thing made but was aching somewhat. I’ll put it in place another day, eh?
I really ache now…
30 August 2022 (Tuesday) - Early Shift, Eastbourne
I had planned to start off today by saying “it’s not been a bad Bank Holiday” as it was my first Bank Holiday not working since the beginning of May 2021 and my second not working Bank Holiday since August 2019. But despite some rather productive garden work and impressing myself with my woodworking skills it could have been a lot better. If only Dad had been well enough to get to the bingo afternoon; he’d been looking forward to it for so long.
Talking of which I phoned the hospital to ask after him. No news is good news I suppose; there had been no change overnight. I made my appointment to visit (I suppose it makes sense) and watched half of yesterday’s episode of “House of the Dragon” which so far seems entertaining enough. I suspect like “Game of Thrones” (the show on which it is based) it will benefit from being watched a few more times.
I set the dishwasher going. That's quite a thing these days. Back in the old kitchen we had a smaller one which was just right for two of us. We've now got a humungous one, and since I'm too mean to run it half (three-quarters) empty it only goes on twice a week. And when it finishes it takes some emptying (!)
I got dressed, and chuckled as I saw Treacle and Morgan cuddled up together. An hour earlier Treacle had had quite the grumbles and snarls about the puppies coming up for the last couple of hours of the night, and there they were snuggled up together.
I drove through the rain to work. As I drove some admiral or other was trying to make light of the UK's aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales having broken down. What an admission; it was all over the news. I bet the Russians and the Chinese keep quiet when their aircraft carriers go west...
And there was quite a bit of talk of the Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi who was off on a jolly to America. Bearing in mind the new Prime Minister will be announced soon, he'll probably be out of a job within the week, so why not make the most of it and get the freebie holiday when he can. I would - wouldn't you?
But the main news of the day was the announcement that thousands of pubs face closure as they can't afford the ongoing energy costs and rising bills.
The cost of living crisis is hitting everyone; for a long time a trip to the pub has been something of a luxury. If people can't afford to eat and heat their homes, a cheeky piss-up certainly not in the budget. The chap being interviewed was quite open that he can’t pass on his costs to the public any more, and was hoping (demanding) that the government subsidise him.
Will this be the death knell for pubs? Will they go the way of The Golden Egg and Rumbelows?
Work was the same as ever. I worked through what might have been tea break so that I could get out a tad earlier than usual when on the early shift, and set off to Eastbourne. Looking at the map there is no easy way to get from Maidstone to Eastbourne but at least I did it in daylight today (unlike last Friday night).
Next time I will take the main roads and totally ignore the sat-nav which was obsessed with taking the narrowest of country lanes.
So there I was driving along Smith’s Hill (B2010) when White Van Man came flying round the corner far too fast openly fiddling about on his mobile phone. The lane might have been wide enough for us to pass at walking speed (but only just). I swerved and scraped the hedges, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the look of panic on his face. But he didn’t slow down at all, and was out of sight in less than two seconds…
Presumably his van is scratched up too; I have no way of knowing. It has been suggested that I might have benefitted from a dash-cam. But (to the best of my recollection) this is my first smack-up in eighteen years.
After an hour and a half I eventually got to Eastbourne Hospital. Dad seemed far better than he was over the weekend, but was still very tired. He dozed off after twenty minutes, and I slipped off.
Getting home was much easier (and less traumatic) than getting there.
Oh… today would have been Fudge’s twelfth birthday…
31 August 2022 (Wednesday) - No More Lateral Flowing
I had another restless night. I'm getting a bit fed up with them. I doze off during the daytime, and lie wide awake at night. But as Oliver Hardy once remarked, "twas ever thus".
I gave up trying to sleep, and it was still dark when I took the puppies out for their morning tiddle. And once tiddled they went upstairs to spend the rest of the night with “er indoors TM”. They are funny; they love being on the bed, but are scared of Treacle grumbling at them when they go up. I have go with them and keep Treacle quiet whilst I lift them onto the bed.
I made toast and watched the second part of the second episode of "House of Dragons" which was quite good, and then set off for work. I spent a moment or so looking at the (epic) scratch on the side of my car. How much will that cost to put right? I'd posted a photo of the damage on Facebook last night and several people had commented about having a dash-cam. But what's the point? Perhaps the insurance people might do something with dash-cam footage, but I'm convinced the police won't. “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” 's dad was once knocked off of his moped and run over by a woman who blatantly drove through a red light. The entire episode was filmed on one of these dash-cams. It plainly showed he was in the right and she was in the wrong. But Folkestone police refused to prosecute.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how Germany (and the rest of Europe) are facing problems as the Russians have turned off the Nordstream gas pipeline. Ostensibly claiming that this is due to "maintenance issues", the Kremlin has made no secret that the gas is off because the West is siding against them in their ongoing Ukrainian debacle. It just amazes me that everyone is pretending to be surprised about this.
And there was a lot of talk about "affordable housing" in Cornwall. House prices are going through the roof as people sell their houses to the rich who want a holiday home. In the village of Megavissey the local council has tried to stop the sale of houses to non-locals, insisting that people buying a second home should pay more than the locals... but they are having trouble enforcing any such rules. If I was selling a house I'd sell it to the person who would pay me the most for it.
I blame Margaret Thatcher who (forty years ago) turned a house from something you live in into a financial investment.
Work was work; I had an MGUS sort of day (as one does from time to time). But today we had an announcement. For the last couple of years I've been doing a lateral flow test every four days. It's been a pain in the arse (nose!) but the government has announced that I don't have to do them any more. I'm pleased about that. Mind you having only ever missed one test in all that time (when I was on holiday in Gran Canaria) I've only got a reporting rate of eighty-nine per cent. How does that work?
With work done I took the dogs to the woods. As we walked we met a young family with a small French bulldog (on a lead). The children told me that they had thought that their dog was the smallest dog in the world, and there I was with two smaller dogs… and they weren’t even on leads. They asked their mother why my two weren’t on leads. Mother said that the gentleman (me?) had trained the puppies very well.
One lives and learns.