1 December 2017 (Friday) - Bit Tired
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were discussing one of many sticking points in the Brexit negotiations. I say “sticking points”; this point is realistically already decided. According to everyone interviewed on this morning’s radio show no one really wants a physical barrier between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. But didn’t we as a nation vote for Brexit so that we as a nation could take back control of our borders? Bearing in mind that for many people this was a number one priority, is anyone *really* suggesting that all three hundred and ten miles of The Republic of Ireland–United Kingdom border just be left open so that all and sundry can come and go as they please with no checks at all?
Perhaps a barrier could be built funded from all the savings made by out leaving the European Union?
There was also talk of First Secretary of State Damian Green (my local MP). He’s accused of all sorts of wrongdoing, and loads of mucky pictures have been found on his parliamentary computer supposedly accessed on his log-in.
He’s denying having looked at filth in work’s time. Well he would, wouldn’t he?
Once home I helped "er indoors TM" bandage up her arm (her burn isn’t getting any better) and despite the rain I took the dogs round the park. The rain must have put everyone else off of walking; dog-wise we had the park to ourselves.
However the rain worked against us. The rain had made the other dogs’ poos rather wet and soft and runny, so that when Treacle ate some, it ended up smeared all over her chops. When we came home I had to pin her down and wash her face. Have you ever tried to wash runny shit off of the face of a dog that doesn’t want it washed off (whilst another dog is getting in the way to gloat)? It isn’t an experience I would care to repeat.
With puppy scrubbed I walked down the road to the dentist. I had an appointment with the hygienist. Rather then paying for dental treatment I have a DenPlan policy which gives me two free sessions with the hygienist every year. I suppose it is worth having these sessions; even if at the time it is akin to being in a torture chamber.
And with my gob having been seriously raked out, and with the taste of blood in my mouth I took myself off to bed; I didn’t set an alarm. I slept for four hours.
I got up shortly after three o’clock, and over a rather late brekkie I watched this week’s episode of “Peaky Blinders”. Having binge-watched the first three seasons of the show on Netflix and catch-up TV, I’m finding this fourth season something of a disappointment.
I then spent an hour or so working on my geo-website, though realistically I probably spent ten minutes on the website and the rest of the time was spent dozing.
"er indoors TM" boiled up fish and chips for tea. Very tasty…
2 December 2017 (Saturday) - Xmas Geo-Meet
There is nothing quite like having just done a couple of night shifts to give me a good night’s sleep. Such a shame that “nice next door” had to have noisy sex quite so early this morning. Her squeal and screams woke me just after seven o’clock, and two minutes later a particularly vigorous “oh YES oh YES!!!” woke the puppy who leapt bolt upright in shock.
I opened the second window of my advent calendar, then made myself some toast. As I scoffed it I had a look at the Internet. It was still there. I had several emails, none really worth mentioning.
The Geocaching Association of Great Britain came in for some stick. Having made great show of introducing themselves to the Kent branch of the Tupperware hunters, the chap who’d made the overture had announced that living in Tyne and Wear meant he was too far away to actually *do* anything practical. Bearing in mind the chap who does live locally hasn’t got in touch, hasn’t replied to messages and wouldn’t seem to win any popularity contests, I think the GAGB must be dead in the water. Which is a shame.
I saw one article on a work-related Facebook page that wound me up. An eighty-four year old doctor (admittedly in the USA) has had her doctoring licence revoked because she flatly refuses to have anything to do with computers. How does she keep records, administer prescriptions, get the results of lab tests… Leaving aside the fact that computers are central to how I do my job in the hospital, I use computers to keep my skills and knowledge up to date. How on Earth does this woman keep abreast of current developments without access to the Internet?
"er indoors TM" went shopping; I took the dogs round the park for a walk. I’d forgotten about the Park Run people, but fortunately they didn’t seem to be doing a run today. As we walked we met a few other dogs. Fudge straggled miles behind, Treacle wouldn’t leave my side. An average walk, much the same as ever. But it was nice not to have to wash poo from a little girl’s face when we got home.
I then sat on the sofa with my dogs watching Alexei Sayle videos until "er indoors TM" came home from shopping.
We settled the dogs, then made our way to Leybourne (via a couple of geocaches) where the Hunters of Tupperware were staging the county Christmas party. We’d arranged to meet Karl and Tracey half an hour before the event, and we had a rather good dinner. We then spent a few hours with all sorts of friends. It was so good to catch up. Nick had organised the event and it was rather good. Catching up with friends is always good; the home-made scoff was excellent, and we had custom-made M&Ms. And we had such fun with the raffle; alternately cheering and jeering the winners. Certificates of achievement were awarded to people according to their geo-scores, but in such a way that the numbers didn’t really matter.
I took nearly a hundred photos of the event.
After a gallon of ale and far too much port we wended our way homeward where the puppy tried to eat the pressie I won in the secret Santa draw.
I think an early night is in order… let’s hope next door doesn’t start feeling fruity too early tomorrow morning…
3 December 2017 (Sunday) - Family Party
I slept like a log and despite far too much ale last night I woke feeling refreshed and raring to go. I looked at the clock and saw it was only a quarter to three. I then lay in my pit for three hours trying to get back to sleep. I gave up at six o’clock and came downstairs. I looked at our new smart meter and saw that we’d used fifty-six pence worth of leccie and gas since midnight. How had we done that?
Over brekkie I watched yesterday’s episode of “Thunderbirds are Go” and I found myself getting rather upset when Sherbet (Lady Penelope’s little pug) was in peril.
I then fired up my lap-top to see what had happened in cyber-space overnight. The photos I took at yesterday’s geo-party had received favourable comments; quite a few favourable comments.
As "er indoors TM" performed her morning ablutions I took the dogs round the park for a walk. Again I forgot the Park Run was on; today it was the children’s run. There was a couple of dozen children being bullied round the paths by parents who were very keen that their offspring should enjoy running just as much as they do. Even though the children clearly hated it. Two kiddies seemed to be running in their pyjamas.
Still, the run was better than it has been. Over the summer there were literally hundreds of people running/ Far too many really. Personally I don’t see why they can’t stage the run at the Julie Rose stadium (somewhere purpose-built for runners).
We settled the dogs, collected "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and her entourage and pausing only briefly for petrol set sail to Hastings. Just as we were getting petrol my brother sent a message. Had we remembered something-or-other? Woops – we’d forgotten it. But the traffic trying to get to the outlet centre was so bad that getting back home wasn’t practical. There was so much traffic when we left home that we could have walked to Newtown quicker than we’d driven.
What *is* the attraction of that outlet centre?
We popped in to see mother-in-law for ten minutes, then drove up to Hollington for the annual extended family Christmas party. I took a few photos of what went on; there was a ball pit and bouncy castle for the littluns, party games for kids of all ages, a rather good spread, and Santa came to visit too. It was a rather good session; the only fly in the ointment was the ale selection… next year I’ll get the ale in.
I slept for most of the drive home…
"er indoors TM" has gone bowling. I’ve programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow… I shall slob about in front of the telly for the evening. I‘ve eaten too much at the party this afternoon and given myself guts ache…
4 December 2017 (Monday) - A Day in the Wicked City
I woke with something of a back ache this morning. I wonder what that was all about? Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Red Dwarf” before sparking up the lap-top to peer into cyber-space.
There were several comments on the photos I’d posted to Facebook last night; as the dogs slept I’d turned the telly to BBC1 and intended to watch David Attenborough’s “Blue Planet II”. However I spent most of the time watching Treacle. She was fascinated with the sea-lions and crabs, and was particularly intrigued by the puffins. Mind you she didn’t like the sharks, and growled at them.
I took photos of her watching the telly, and several people had commented overnight.
I got my stuff together, and leaving "er indoors TM" and the pups in bed I made my way to the railway station. I got my ticket, and soon I was on the train. Someone had left a newspaper, and I amused myself by struggling with the crossword puzzle. I got some (but not all) of it done by the time I arrived in Charing Cross.
For some time I’d fancied going to London to do two geocaches which together would take me all over the capital. A little while ago I posted on the “Geocaching in Kent” Facebook page to see if anyone else fancied a day out. Eight of us met up at the fourth plinth.
We started off with something of a minor disaster; We arrived at Trafalgar Square just as the huge Christmas tree (the annual gift from the people of Norway) was being installed. For us to start the first part of our little treasure hunt we needed to get some information which the builders had obscured. We then had a minor contretemps with the security staff… We naively thought that the barriers had fenced off the parts of Trafalgar Square in which the public weren’t supposed to go. The reality was that the public weren’t supposed to be within twenty yards of the fences. Whilst some of our number got the information we needed, I kept the security staff distracted by “politely” suggesting that if they put the fences in the right place then they wouldn’t need to have security staff chasing the likes of me away from the fence.
Some people have no sense of humour…
From Trafalgar Square we headed along Northumberland Avenue. There was (and still is) a field puzzle which I was unable to blag from Google Street View. And with puzzle blagged we set off to the toilet. If all else fails, have a tiddle.
Our next port of call was Parliament Square for a geology lesson featuring Prime Ministers Lloyd George and Peel, and then on to the Buxton Memorial Fountain and Smith Square. We didn’t realise that at this point we were walking past the end-point of a field puzzle we would solve later. This happens quite a bit when hunting Tupperware in London; you go somewhere, do a field puzzle, and after fifteen minutes of brain-wracking you realise you walked past the final location half an hour ago.
Oh how we laughed when we realised…
Lunch time came and we weren’t even close to the half-way point of our day. But we found a little café with the somewhat saucy name of “Crumpets” and we were hungry. I had a rather good cheese and tuna panini washed down with a bucket of latte.
As we scoffed lunch we sent messages… one cache we had found had a field puzzle in which we had to find the mobile phone number of the Queen (supposedly) and sent her a text asking for the final location of a particular geocache. Several of us sent several messages. One of us got a reply.
We then walked here, there and thither, soon arriving at the half-way point of the day. The second virtual wander round the capital started from Buckingham Palace. We took a few photos, and carried on going all over the place.
I must admit I did snigger when I was watching the security staff watching Nick being stealthy.
After a couple of hours we found ourselves by a pub on the South Bank, and went inside for a pint of winter warmer. “Wild Holly” wasn’t the best winter warmer I’ve ever had, but it certainly wasn’t the worst.
There’s no denying I was flagging here. We’d done over six miles. I was happy to stay in the pub, but geocaches don’t find themselves. We cracked on, and with the promise of another pint later we ended up at that pub having walked eight miles. And (I have to say) “Parabellum Milk Stout” probably *is* one of the best milk stouts I’ve ever had.
It was a very short walk to Cannon Street where I said my goodbyes and made my way to Charing Cross and home…
I’m worn out… You can see why from the photos I took.
5 December 2017 (Tuesday) - Rochester
I slept quite well, but woke with something of a backache. I blame all the walking round London yesterday. Not a lot had happened on Facebook overnight, but I did get an email telling me how another of the world’s top one per cent of geocachers had been announced. This chap has contributed to the hobby by hiding four caches. Four ! I’ve only hidden a hundred and ninety so in comparison I am really crap.
Or so I thought… I’ve seen that Geo-HQ have release a press statement about their rewarding the top one per cent of geocachers – you can see it here. Basically they’ve admitted the way they chose the top one per cent was flawed and was insulting to pretty much everyone.
I might just start putting out more caches now they’ve said sorry.
I spent a little while preparing for my next geo-trip to London. There is a fifteen-stage pub crawl round central London; at each point you get information for the next; eventually getting to the final location at which a piece of Tupperware has been cunningly concealed. Having stalked the geo-profiles of people who’ve done this ale train, if nothing else I have an idea of some of the London puzzles I need to solve before I head to the wicked city again.
I’ve got a vague idea to do this on my birthday…
Being on a week’s holiday I’d arranged to have the boiler serviced today. The plumber was due at 9am. He was a tad early; he was in and out by ten to nine.
I set the washing machine loose on some laundry and I took the dogs for a walk. There was the usual idiot on the path between Bowens Field and Viccie Park. With two parks to use, he tries to play “fetch” with his Labrador along a narrow cycle path. There’s a river on one side and a swamp on the other, and he wonders why he keeps losing the ball.
As we came to Viccie Park I saw the Jehovah’s Witnesses weren’t there. They’ve not been there for a week or so. Perhaps it is too cold to save sinners?
We came home to find a “For Sale” sign on “nice-next-door”. I sighed. I think that house is cursed. No one lasts there for any length of time. When we moved in (in 1991) there was an old lady in there. She gave way to another old lady who was succeeded by Australians who used to do nudey sunbathing (result!). There was then a young family, and then an older family who had no concept of curtains in the toilet. There was a couple of young lads, then the drunken Irishman. There was the young family about whom we were always being bothered by debt collectors. There were those with the huge dogs. There was the young lady whose pregnancy seemed to last forever, then the current incumbents. In between times the place was empty for up to a year (at least twice). Everyone living there seemed to be of the opinion that they were doing the house up to sell at a profit. It has been stripped to a shell at least twice…
Perhaps no one wants to live next door to me… I wouldn’t.
I came in to find that according to our smart meter it cost eight pence to do one wash-load. That’s not bad. I hung it out to dry and then spent a little while going through my letter rack. I found a fifteen per cent off voucher for Matalan which expired yesterday. I saw the monthly direct debit for my car’s road tax had gone up by eighty-eight pence each month.
There was a letter from the vets saying that Treacle’s kennel cough vaccination was due.
There was another letter from the vet saying Fudge’s annual once-over was overdue… this letter dated the day he actually had that done.
There was a letter from the building society saying that due to increases in the interest rate our mortgage repayments would stay the same (!)
There was a letter from the house insurance people about this year’s renewal. Last year I realised that I saved quite a bit of money by paying for it all in one go rather than in monthly instalments. I phoned them and had a chat – I was interested to know if my mobile phone was covered for accidental damage by the policy I had with them. It wasn’t.
There was a letter from HMRC (the income tax people) saying I owed them a hundred quid.
There were quite a few more letters… I shoved them back in the letter rack. I’ll look at them next time.
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned. Was I hungry? We went for McDonalds, then I drove her to Rochester where she had a business appointment (you go, girl!). Whilst she did her thing I wandered up and down Rochester High Street hunting geocaches.
I found a rather good one in the library.
We came home, and I took the dogs round the road. I then made myself comfortable in front of the telly and watched and slept more “Red Dwarf” via Netflix.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, then we went round to Arden Drive where the clans had gathered. It was good to catch up… we hadn’t done that for a little while. Must do it again soon.
6 December 2017 (Wednesday) - Waste of a Day Off
I spent much of the night shivering what with "er indoors TM" having captured most of the duvet and the weight of the puppy pulling down the rest. I eventually managed to twist myself into an odd shape round the dogs and got some sleep, but woke up with backache.
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook. Not much had happened overnight really. Probably for the best. I then spent a few minutes on a geo-puzzle which had occupied my for a couple of hours last night. If any of my loyal readers know of something in the vicinity of Newgate prison which used to be fourteen days but was reduced, could they let me know what it was reduced to. Failing that the password for this web page would be good. It is something to do with something on the pavement outside a London pub.
I popped the leads onto the dogs and drove for ten minutes out into the countryside. We parked up and walked for a couple of hours. As there had been a load of talk on the “Geocaching in Kent” page (but very little activity) about an event at the New Year I thought I might see if I could put something together.
We had a good walk. Even if Fudge did wander off on his own. We soon found him with a look of panic in his eye; he was rather frightened that he’d got lost. And about half way round Treacle got a *serious* shouting-at from me. Does she really have to pull with all her might every step of the way? When they are off the leads in the woods all is fine, but in fields with goats and sheep in them she has to be sensible.
After two hours we got back to the car. I’d found hiding places for a series of seventeen new geocaches as we walked. We came home and I did the admin for setting up the geocaches. It took over twice as long to do the paperwork as it did to walk the route.
I emailed one of the geo-feds to see if the locations are permissible, and then having spent the best part of seven hours on this little project it turned out that someone else *was* arranging something for New Year’s Day after all. After a little squabbling it was suggested I organised an event during the daytime of New Year’s Eve, but any such event would (for various reasons) have to be over by 1pm *and* more than twenty miles from Folkestone. That doesn’t suit me, I’m not interested in doing that, but that didn’t stop me being constantly badgered about the matter.
Still, as a little walk the project still might be on (depending on what the geo-feds say).
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. As we scoffed we watched “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (via Netflix). Yesterday I’d been told how good it was. What I saw (when not fast asleep) was rather tedious. Like most films it was between half an hour and an hour longer than it needed to be.
I hear the next Star Wars film is out in a few days’ time; I shan’t be hurrying to see it.
7 December 2017 (Thursday) - At the Dentist
I slept well for once; mainly because the puppy slept well. Over brekkie I sat with a dog on either side of me as I had a look-see at the Internet. I had an email from the geo-feds about the preparation I’d done yesterday for a series of caches. All was fine, and I now have three months in which I can set the series live… I *could* do it when the rain stops, but I’ve decided to wait until my birthday in the New Year and do it with a formal geo-event.
The original plan for today was a day’s fishing, but the rain put paid to that idea. As the washing machine did its thing I took the dogs for a walk through the drizzle. Treacle was a pain. When on the lead she pulled with all her might. When off the lead she stayed within a foot of me.
As we walked we met one of the regular Viccie Park dog walkers. She wasn’t so much walking her dog as riding a bike up and down the park as her dog ran alongside. I suppose both get exercise that way.
As we came across the co-op field I met an old colleague. It was good to catch up… when I left where I worked seven years ago it wasn’t a good place, and despite formal anti-bullying policies, the departmental bully is still in place and bullying all and sundry. An anti-bullying policy is ideal for management. Having such a policy means that (by definition) you don’t have that problem and so can happily ignore it… I’m so glad I’m out of there.
Once home Treacle then ran off all the energy she should have run off whilst we walked, and I hung out laundry and put more in to scrub. More laundry went into the machine, I settled the dogs, and went for a little drive.
As I’d scoffed brekkie I’d seen an advert for the shop at the Old Dairy Brewery in Tenderden. They advertised all sorts of things that might be good for an Xmas pressie for "er indoors TM" so off I went. I got there to find their shop was little more than an off-licence. They sold beer and nothing else. Oh well… if nothing else I got a gallon of “snow top”.
Pausing only briefly to brave the rain at Tesco I came home where I spent a couple of hours doing the ironing before going to the dentist. I got the thumbs-up, and then the dentist shook my hand, thanked me for all my custom over the years, and said goodbye. He’s off to work in London, and from here on in my gob will be seen to by “Tilly upstairs”.
I’ve not had much luck with dentists over the years. The first chap I had when I moved to Ashford was more nervous that I was. His hands shook when doing dentist-ing. He was succeeded by a chap who had a telly in the dentist-ing room and he spent most of his time enthralled by the telly; only working on my gob during the adverts. The next one never kept a single appointment.
This one has been very good; I’m sad to see him go.
“Tilly upstairs” only works three days each week, whereas my gob is 24-7. This isn’t going to work…
I came back from the dentist and found both dogs raring to go, so we walked round the roads, Just as we came back home we found the pavement blocked by a van from Crystal Windows. Not content with blocking *most* of the pavement, the driver was to-ing and fro-ing the van to block *all* of it.
Together with all the other pedestrians we walked in the middle of the road to get round the van. Amazingly the van had one of those “How’s my driving” notices on it. I phoned them and told them. I got the distinct impression they were getting sick of hearing about that van.
"er indoors TM" came home, fed me, and shoved off again. I’ve now got to sort my socks into pairs without the puppy eating my pants.
When I was a child I expected so much more out of life…
8 December 2017 (Friday) - Victoria's Birthday
Another good night; I *think* I might have heard the dogs quarrelling in the small hours, but I wasn’t sure. I woke with Treacle in a heap on top of me and came downstairs to find Fudge asleep on the sofa so maybe it was all a dream?
Usually brekkie is a peaceful time but today it was rather fraught with "er indoors TM" chasing round the living room trying to retrieve a pair of my undercrackers from the puppy. As the two of them chased, I sparked up my lap-top to see what had been going on in the world of social media overnight. Not a lot had happened really. There was a minor spat on one of the work-related Facebook groups I follow. Some chap was having a gripe that he spends ages trying to photograph what he sees down his microscope. He then posts it on his Facebook page and gets no interest whatsoever. However on the rare occasion that he posts it on “The Facebook Blood Test Page” he gets hundreds of “likes” and comments from all around the world. But he would rather people “liked” and commented on *his* page because he wants the kudos of having the “likes” and comments on his page. He doesn’t want “The Facebook Blood Test Page” getting the credit for his efforts. To further compound the chap’s stupidity he posts to “The Facebook Blood Test Page” under a pseudonym because he doesn’t want to be bombarded with friend requests from people he doesn’t know. This morning this fellow was utterly unable to understand why people thought he was a twit.
I got the leads on the dogs and we scrounged a lift from "er indoors TM" as she went to work. Hopping out of her car over at the Repton Manor estate meant we had a rather good walk home. It was a shame my back was hurtling for much of the walk, but such is life.
We came home through the park where both dogs ran into the river and started playing. Didn’t they realise just how cold it was today?
Just as I came home my phone beeped. I had an email. Regular readers of this drivel may recall a rant I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how the Department of the Environment funded fencing at a nearby fishery. Bearing in mind that this fishery charges over eight hundred quid a year I rather felt that public money would be far better spent on those fisheries that are within the financial reach of the average person. I wrote to the Department of the Environment and told them so, and they sent their reply today.
Basically there is a fund they run to help various fisheries, and Wingham fisheries got the money because they asked for it. No one else did.
And then the phone actually rang. Some chap with a thick Asian accent called with the usual scam of "I am the windows computer department and your computer is spreading the virus". When I laughed at him he got rather aggressive. He demanded to know what I was laughing at; he was *not* amused when I told him that I was laughing at him. He started ranting and blustering and got very stressy when I told him that he was about ten years too late with this scam. Usually they hang up before I can annoy them; I was glad I could get him going. Usually these people phone me when I’m trying to sleep when I’m pre-night shift, and hang up very quickly, so I saw today as something of a pay-back.
If you get a phone call from 01791 647812, don’t bother answering.
Much to the dogs’ disgust I then spent over an hour tidying up. I sat them both in their baskets so they wouldn’t be in my way, but they wouldn’t stay put. No matter where I tried to tidy or hoover, so a dog was in the way. After an hour I had a bin full of rubbish but the living room looks just as it always did.
Over lunch I watched more episodes of “Still Game”. I discovered it on Netflix last night; it’s really good. It is also over fifteen years old; why have I never seen it before? It is not unlike another favourite of mine “Rab C Nesbit”, but you can actually understand what they are saying in this show.
I settled the dogs and went round to see "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". It was a shame that "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" insisted on running round in the nip, but not everyone can take a moral stance.
I then went round to the Windmill…
Karl, Tracey and the girls had come down to Ashford; I had been charged with sorting out somewhere for dinner. I’d decided on going to the Windmill in Hythe Road. OK – I might be biased here, but I defy anyone to come up with a better ale selection and better food within thirty miles of Ashford. The beer was excellent, the food wonderful.
With five pints of rather good ale sunk and perhaps the best burger I’ve ever had scoffed we moved on to the bowling alley where I (arguably) had my arse handed to me on a plate…
9 December 2017 (Saturday) - A Day in Ashford (for once!)
There’s no denying that I felt a tad grim when I got up this morning, I blame pretty much anything except the copious amounts of beer I poured down my neck last night.
I made myself a coffee, and guzzled it whilst staring at the Internet whilst my piss boiled. There was lots of talk about the ongoing Brexit deals, and the consensus of opinion is that Britain is basically going to have to do as the EU tells it to do in the future. But what actually wound me up was that the very people complaining about how Britain now has no say in formulating EU laws and policy were the very people who were advocating Brexit a year or so ago.
We settled the dogs, then drove round to the French Connection. Karl, Tracey and the girls had stayed there overnight and we went along for brekkie. Cereal was followed by a Full English. Very nice.
We then came home to collect the dogs, and together we took them round the park where we played “Cops and Robbers” – not a bad Wherigo even if I do say so myself.
With the dogs walked we settled them and went round to the Outlet centre. The girls went shopping; Karl and I found a stall selling European beers, and we settled in for the duration. German wheat beer, fruli… not too shabby at all.
Eventually the cold got the better of us and we wandered off to find the girls (meeting a distant cousin as we went). We had a little shop-about. I saw a rather sexy jacket, but it was too small for me. However the chap in the shop had one in my size… I bought it. It was (and is) incredibly sexy. Ideally I would have got one from a charity shop as if it was cheap I wouldn’t mind it getting beat up. But I shall just wear it regardless.
We thought about getting a crafty half in the Riverside on the way home, but the place looked rather busy. I’ve formed the opinion that it is more of a restaurant than a pub these days, so we gave the place a miss.
We said our goodbyes; Karl Tracey and the girls went home. I sparked up the lap-top and started making preparations for the geo-meet I’m running in February. Creating the web page took over an hour.
As fiddled about, "er indoors TM" snored on the sofa.
She eventually woke, and set off to the Saturday night film show. I stayed home with the dogs and put various drivel on the telly and we all dozed through it. As we so often do…
10 December 2017 (Sunday) - Dinner with Nick
I slept reasonably well, finally giving up and going to the loo shortly after 7am. The rain against the kitchen window was torrential, and it continued as I scoffed brekkie.
As I scoffed I had a look at the Internet. I had some emails; four of which told me the same news. Namely that the geo-meet I had planned for February had received the thumbs-up from the geo-feds.
I just have to hope people turn up to my meeting now…
Mind you, it seemed odd that the automated system should give me four notifications of the same thing; particularly when the automated notification I have set up to tell me about new geocaches only works (at best) two thirds of the time.
Geo-HQ *really* need to have a look at what they are playing at. Over the summer they put a lot of effort into setting up an algorithm which pissed off people all over the world, and just recently they were fannying about in a co-operative fanny-about with the “Magic: The Gathering” card game. Meanwhile you can’t realistically do the hobby (which is their business) without resorting to third-party providers. I can’t help but think they need to sort out their core business before doing anything else.
I also saw something on Facebook which rather wound me up as I devoured my toast. The pro-Brexit brigade were advertising about a project funded by the EU (eight years ago) featuring a blogging donkey. The outer-s felt that the blogging donkey was a waste of money. I suppose it was a waste of money, but then so was the monster-thingy created to raise awareness of workplace pensions, and the UK government spent two million quid more on that than the blogging donkey cost, and no one complained about that.
I then spent two hours playing Tetris. What a waste of time.
Once the dogs got up and had their brekkies I walked them round the roads. The day was cold and wet, but they wanted to go for a little wander. But only a little one. Today wasn’t the sort of day for the walks we usually go on.
As we walked Treacle ate something disgusting. I wonder what it was?
"er indoors TM" went shopping; I played more Tetris. When she came home we settled the pups and set off to the Medway Towns. Earlier in the day Facebook had been alive with photos of the snow. We’d had no snow in Ashford, but we’d had serious rain. And the rain returned as we drove up the motorway.
As we drove through Maidstone we could see there had been snow there, but surely the rain would wash it away?
We got to the Waggon at Hale, and had a pint. Then ten of us settled down for a rather good dinner courtesy of a good friend. We started off with broccoli and stilton soup. Really good. I glanced out of the window and saw the snow was getting rather heavy.
Then Sunday roast was served up. Some had the beef. I didn’t I had the turkey (and sprouts) because everyone knows the baby Jesus was born in a turkey manger on a sprout farm. Oh; it was so good. A third pint, then strawberry meringue. I did look at some of the other desserts, but I think I made the right choice. The others looked heavier and by that stage I was feeling pleasantly replete (that’s posh for “stuffed”). A glass of port, and I soon dozed off. Twice.
Snow, decent ale, Christmas crackers, turkey dinner… it really was looking a lot like Christmas. We had a very good dinner; it was great catching up with friends. I explained how we were having dinner (lunch is for girls, the posh, and ploughmen); we talked about how often we bought flowers for the ladies (do pineapples count?). When I got up this morning I was feeling a little bit “meh!”, but this afternoon was definitely “not too shabby” (to quote the first fruit of my loin). There are photos of what happened here.
Fortunately the snow had subsided by the time we had to set off homewards. Snow is all very well to look at (through a window) but driving through the stuff can be tricky. I *think* the journey home was OK; I slept through it.
Once home the dogs joined in the fun; having been given far too much beef, "er indoors TM" brought her left-overs home for them. They like beef.
I then had to referee their squabbles. The house is awash with chew toys and marrow bones, and sometimes Fudge gets possessive and wants the lot. He will take every single one from the puppy, and having taken one, he then has no interest in it. He had a toy. He dropped it and took the puppy’s. The puppy picked up another; so he wanted it. And so it went on.
I had words with him.
"er indoors TM" is off bowling in a minute. I shall sleep in front of the telly. Again…
11 December 2017 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
I was sleeping very well until the puppy pushed up alongside me and started scratching. This lasted (on and off) for a couple of hours. Eventually the puppy settled down and I dozed off. I was amazed to find it was nearly eight o’clock when I finally woke. I thought it was much earlier; it was so dark outside.
I scoffed my toast with my Fudge sitting next to me. And (as usual) I had a look at the Internet. I saw something which made me stop and think. An on-line shop was offering vouchers worth five per cent off of your next shop with them in exchange for favourable reviews on Google. They were making this offer to compensate for a shitty review that someone had given them.
I’ve often wondered about these on-line reviews. For all that I do them (quite a bit) I wonder just how reliable they are. How many people *really* bother giving a good review for no reward? When I used to review pubs on “Beer in the Evening” it was painfully apparent that several pubs were getting their mates to big them up.
I also had an email from the Geocaching Association of Great Britain. They had a questionnaire they wanted me to fill in. They are doing a survey to find out what they should be doing. Oh well… at least they are trying to find out what they should be doing… Mind you I’m not sure they should be doing anything. Seemingly rather irate at being labelled as “just another Facebook page” I have been reliably informed that they are actually “just another Internet forum”. I’d never really heard much about them until a couple of months ago, and now that the stupidity of trying to force a schoolboy to take office in a national organisation has passed, I suspect I won’t hear much in the future.
I then made the mistake of posting something on a Star Trek Facebook page. Star Trek fandom has always been one big argument, and having been less than hysterically over-excited about Star Trek: Discovery I’d inadvertently upset someone. I couldn’t work out whether this person was twelve years old, or a social misfit. After a while I gave up trying to reason with him, her or it. After all it is bad form to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.
I had intended to walk the dogs as I do every morning when not at work. But it was raining hard and *very* cold, so I put “Still Game” on Netflix and waited for the rain to stop (whilst the washing machine did its thing on my T shirts).
It didn’t stop.
By mid-morning the rain had given way to sleet, so I put another wash load on.
I was just about to go to bed for the afternoon when I got a text from nice-next-door saying that the fence was in a state. I went and had a look… it was. Realistically I made a mistake putting up panels that are six feet high. I’ve bodged the fence, and when I get time (and volunteers) I shall replace the panels with shorter ones.
I then went to bed rather colder than I had been, but eventually warmed up and got a couple of hours sleep.
I got up and thought about taking the dogs out. But it was cold and wet and they weren’t interested. The weather has got to be bad it they don’t want to go out. So I updated my Lego Advent Calendar album and sat about waiting for"er indoors TM" to get home.
I hope she gets home soon… I’m hoping to get some dinner before the night shift…
12 December 2017 (Tuesday) - Shivering Between Night Shifts
Overnight my car door had frozen shut. When I eventually prised it open the dashboard thermometer read minus five degrees.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were saying that it had been the coldest night of the year. They were talking about Brexit (again). A leading American think-tank has announced that the UK will be worse off under Brexit regardless of any possible eventual outcome. Rather depressing.
They then interviewed the newly appointed American ambassador to the United Kingdom. The chap tried to pretend that the “special relationship” between the US and the UK is still alive and kicking despite President Trump’s recent outbursts. I don’t think he was fooling anyone.
For all that the temperature remained freezing, the sun was in my eyes for the entire journey home. I shall wear my sunglasses tomorrow.
I came home to rather excitable dogs. They day was cold, but it was dry. We went round the park for our walk. Treacle enjoyed breaking the ice, and for once Fudge kept up with us; only straggling to make a nuisance of himself around OrangeHead.
It must have been cold; there were lumps of ice floating down the river.
With walk done I had a spot of brekkie whilst watching an episode of “Still Game”, opened today’s window on the advent calendar, and went to bed with a view to sleeping for as long as I could.
After five hours I got up and watched the end of “Miracle on 34th Street”, then made the mistake of washing my car’s windscreen (it was rather grubby). "er indoors TM" and I took the dogs round the block and we came home to find my car’s windscreen had frozen. Oh well, it is clean ice.
I shall scoff tea then scrape it off before another night shift…
13 December 2017 (Wednesday) - Broken Fence
When I say “at brekkie time” or “during lunch” everyone knows when I mean. However there is no accepted name for the meal that one eats at quarter to three in the morning when half way through the night shift. But whatever that meal is called, as I scoffed it I had my obligatory check of Facebook and saw a friend had been visiting relatives in my local hospital, and weren't overly impressed. Anyone who knows my history will realise I have trouble being objective about that place, but when I worked there it was actually the number one hospital in the country. Now it is coming out of "special measures" because the place had gone downhill so fast over the last few years. How can a hospital go from "#1" to "rubbish" so quickly?
When I checked my emails I saw I had an email from the Environment agency, and my piss boiled. I pay them thirty quid a year for my fishing licence. They stick quite a bit of that money into the Angling Trust and I've ranted about that before. That Trust funded a fishery nearby that costs over eight hundred quid a year to join.
Today the Environment Agency invited me to join the Volunteer Bailiff Scheme. A worthy cause? I see it that rather than funding water bailiffs themselves, they want the likes of me to volunteer and do it for free. So... I spend money with them which they throw at the rich people, and because (having thrown their money away) they've no money left they want me to do the job which I thought I'd paid them to do.
Am I missing something here?
I also had an email from the dentist. They've now got a fully registered aesthetics clinician joining their team, and wondered if I was thinking of having facial aesthetics treatment. I wasn't; mainly because I had never heard of it.
Basically it's a face-lift. They are offering fifteen per cent off the price if I fancy having one. I think I'll give it a miss.
I got on and did my bit on the night shift, and came home. "er indoors TM" had already gone to work but the dogs were pleased to see me. I put their leads on and we went for a little wander. As we walked through Bowens Field the nice people from “Aspire Land Management” (the posh name for the council parks people) were doing their thing. For all that it is fashionable to run down the local authorities, Ashford council (under the alias of “Aspire Land Management”) do a rather good job with our local parks.
Our walk passed off without anything really noteworthy happening for which I was grateful.
With dogs walked, I spent a little while looking in the garden. Earlier in the year I spent the best part of three hundred quid buying eight (I think it was eight) fence panels and posts and stuff, and aided by "My Boy TM" and Sam I installed them at great physical effort.
Over the winds of the last few days the fence had broken again. "My Boy TM" is off work on Friday and the boss said I could take the day off so I made a start at sorting the wreckage in readiness for fixing it at the end of the week.
I took down two fence panels which were either side of a snapped post. One panel is undamaged; the other is (probably) salvageable. However before I can replace them I need to replace the post which involves digging out a lump of concrete which is just over a foot square by a shade more than three feet deep. I’ve done this a few times before. It is hard work. According to Google this lump of concrete is about twice my body weight, which is why when I say “I’ve done it before” I mean “my son and son-in-law have done it before for me”.
And to compound my problems another fence post has snapped which also needs replacing.
I made the fence so it shouldn’t get any worse; there’s a great big hole where the panels used to be. The dogs will have to be supervised at tiddle time for a day or so.
I took myself off to bed for a while.
I woke, and seeing the time I thought I’d get a second dog walk in before the light failed. As we walked through Bowens field we could see what the nice people from the council (“Aspire Land Management”) had done today. They’d done a really good job in clearing and tidying up, and they’d even removed the tents which had been in one of the thickets for some months. We left home at half past three; it was noticeably darker by four o’clock, and we came home in the dark. As we walked we met OrangeHead who was amazingly chatty. She’d got a yellow flashing collar for her dog. I’d not thought to put the illuminous collars onto my pups; I should have done.
It was at this point that the rain started. We were soaked by the time we got home.
I made myself a cuppa, then had a fiddle-about on-line. The nice people at Facebook have given me a Facebook page for this blog. Heaven only knows why, but I might as well have it before someone else has it. I’ve set it up good enough to be getting on with; I doubt I’ll touch it again.
As I fiddled so both dogs snored.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up some rather good scran accompanied with couscous. I devoured it (with a couple of beers) whilst we watched “Tattoo Fixers”. If I didn’t have a fence to fix I’d be tempted to get another tattoo.
14 December 2017 (Thursday) - Rostered Day Off
Having slept through the last two days (pre night shift) when I woke and saw the clock read 12.50 I was rather confused as to why it was so dark outside. It took me a few minutes to work out the difference between 12.50pm and 12.50am.
I dozed through toll about 5am, then lay awake struggling to breathe. I seem to have developed a cold.
Over brekkie Facebook was alive with the new Star Wars film. Last night’s midnight showing had proved rather popular. The last Star Wars film had a midnight showing, and by the next morning I knew all that happened and didn’t need to see the film. Much the same happened today.
I had thought about going to last night’s showing to avoid the spoilers, but I expect the tickets had sold out, I was feeling rather tired and… To be honest we watched the last Star Wars film last week. I wanted to turn it off half way through.
I had no emails worth mentioning today. I was hoping for one - I’m getting a little twitchy hoping for a notification about a new geocache. I like chasing the First to Finds, and in geo-circles there is kudos to be had for getting at least one every month. I’ve currently got six consecutive months with FTFs. I once managed twenty-three such months, However December is usually the end of these streaks. No one hides Tupperware under rocks in December.
"er indoors TM" and I took the dogs round the park for a little walk. I saw the Jehovah’s Witnesses were back at the Park Gates. Everyone moans about the JoBos coming door-to-door. The ones in Ashford are harmless enough; they have a stall by the Hubert fountain and just smile pleasantly at passers-by.
Our walk passed off uneventfully; we saw OrangeHead in the distance. Again she was alone. Whereas she was once the queen bee of the viccie park dog walking circuit, nowadays she seems to be on her own more and more.
With dogs walked I went into the garden; I had a plan to make a start and do some preparation for tomorrow’s planned fence repairs. My intention today was to clear the shingle from where we would be working. In the past this alone has been a serious task. Today I did it all in ten minutes. So, with time on my hands I thought I might expose one of the concrete blocks. What in the past has been two hours of digging took me forty minutes. And (to my amazement) once the soil was out I got a spade behind the concrete block, gave it a damn good heave and the thing fell forward. I can’t get it out of the hole on my own (as it weighs about twice as much as I do), but I’d achieved far more on my own than I thought possible. So in a spirit of gung-ho optimism I dug round the second concrete pillar and got that loose too. In two hours I achieved more than I’ve done in an entire day in the past. I think the recent rains having made the soil soft has helped a lot.
Flushed with success I decided to call a halt. Tomorrow is actually “fence day” for which I have the assistance of the first fruit of my loin. We have to remove the two concrete pillars from the holes, put in metposts and fence posts, repair the broken fence panel and replace three fence panels.
Sounds straightforward enough…
I had a shower and sat down for a cuppa, then found that after the morning’s exertions I couldn’t move. Eventually I heaved myself up. We settled the dogs, I put on the sexy new jacket I bought last Saturday and we went to Folkestone. We thought we might have afternoon tea as a pre-Xmas treat. "er indoors TM" had got a Groupon voucher for tea at the Best Western Clifton Hotel. We got there and were made very welcome; we had sofas and a little table by the fire, and we scoffed ourselves silly.
Have you ever had a formal afternoon tea? I can heartily recommend it. You get a bucket of tea or coffee (or prosecco or hot chocolate) with endless refills, and you swill that whilst devouring posh sandwiches and la-de-dar cakes until you feel sick. There’s some photos of what went on here. And (I still can’t believe it) we paid less than fourteen quid for the pair of us.
We came home (via a Church Micro) and realising we had far too may cakes that needed walking off, we tool the pups round the park again. Treacle nearly played with a beagle, and picked fights with a couple of other dogs. She’s getting braver.
With dogs walked I had a shower and sat on the sofa with Fudge feeling rather stuffed whilst "er indoors TM" put up the Christmas tree. Treacle “helped” her. I maintain the tree looks better for having been chewed.
"er indoors TM" went off to craft club… I’m going to watch the telly. I think I’ll skip dinner tonight…
15 December 2017 (Friday) - Fixing the Fence
I slept like a log last night; finally waking just before 7.30am. As I scoffed my toast an article on Facebook caught my eye. Several people were posting on one of the local groups; there was consternation and indignation that what was once a pub is to be demolished and rebuilt as flats. I can’t see why this is such a shame. When the place was open it wasn’t the sort of pub you’d dare walk in to. It has been closed for nearly ten years, and derelict since the fire of four years ago. So many local people were bleating about how a modern block of flats would be far worse than a burnt-out shell.
How does that work?
I got myself together, plugging in my electric screwdriver to charge it up, spent ten minutes scraping the ice from my car, and set off to collect "My Boy TM". We decided that first things should be first, that we should get our priorities right, and we went straight to the Brookfield Café for a fry-up.
We made our way to B&Q where we found they didn’t have any met-posts so we went on to Wickes who did. As we drove home we realised that we’d not got anything to help us get the concrete cores out of the ground (the ones I’d loosened yesterday) so we went back to B&Q where we go three metres of ratchet strapping (?) for the price of two.
We came home and I explained to the first fruit of my loin what we had to do… Whilst I ponced around in a managerial fashion he would get the concrete cores out of the holes. Put one fence panel in place. Stick in the first new fence post. Put the second fence panel in place. Put in the second new fence post. Repair the broken fence panel and stick that between the two new fence panels. Fill in the holes round the new fence posts. Replace all the shingle and make good. We would both then get some dinner. Job done.
It took me about thirty seconds to write that… it took us about three hours to actually do it. Having done a lot of the preparation yesterday had helped us quite a bit, but there’s no denying we did waste a *lot* of time when we lost one of the met-posts. How can you lose a met-post? They are three feet long and weigh several pounds. And we had a minor panic when we went to put the final panel in place and found the panel was about an inch too long for the gap we’d made for it. But in the end we managed to get most of the job done.
With it only remaining to replace the shingle "My Boy TM" suggested we left that for a couple of weeks to let the soil settle. It will sink naturally and it we’d replaced all the shingle today, it would look daft in a couple of weeks. We’ll sort the shingle and make it good later. As we worked I took some photos; you can see them by clicking here.
As we worked so the dogs bimbled about doing their own thing. Fudge was happy to wander round the fish pond. Treacle was happy to wander round nice-next-door’s garden. I wasn’t happy with her doing so, but that was why we were fixing the fence. She wouldn’t be able to once we’d sorted it, so I thought I’d let her make the most of it.
There was a minor episode when nice-next-door’s cats started pulling faces at the dogs from an upstairs window, but I think the cats won that one. And towards the end of the session we had to shut the back door as Treacle was lifting slabs of ice from the garden pond and trying to take them into the house.
Just as we were finishing, nice-next-door came home for lunch. We got chatting; they are moving as the house isn’t big enough for them. About six or seven occupants ago someone turned one of the bedrooms into a bathroom and what was the downstairs bathroom became a utility room. Everyone wants three bedrooms, and no one is fussed about a utility room…
We went to McDonalds for some McLunch; after the morning’s exertions we felt we deserved it. In a break with tradition I had a McBurger. For all that I go for McLunch a lot, I rarely have a burger. I usually have chicken strips or just ice cream. The spicy select burger was rather good.
I took "My Boy TM" home, then came home to shouting dogs. On seeing me they wanted to go for a walk. We walked round the park in about three times the amount of time it might have taken, had Fudge got a move on. He certainly takes his time when we go for a walk.
With walk done I got out the Dyson and did some hoovering whilst both dogs quivered in terror. They hate the thing.
By then it was nearly five o’clock. I’d certainly made the most of the day’s leave. I had a shower then made myself a cuppa and watched episodes of “Still Game” on Netflix until "er indoors TM" came home…
Fish and chips, telly – I really should have an early night.
16 December 2017 (Saturday) - Shave, Tattoo
I took a little while to nod off last night; nice-next-door were doing “noisy sex”. It lasted for about half an hour and then seemed to fizzle out. This was different to previous sessions of “noisy sex” which have got more vigorous as time progressed.
Over brekkie I spent a few minutes on a virtual pub crawl. There is a geo-puzzle in London which goes from one pub to another before finally leading you to a geocache somewhere in London. The idea is that you do the pub crawl; most people seem to start and give up and have to come back later. Through skill, genius and pot-luck (together with Gordon) I’ve got about half-way along the trail using Google.
Our co-operative effort has got us to stage eight of fifteen, but we are struggling to get a close-up of a particular sign. If any of my loyal readers have any reason to go to the post-code area EC2M 1RP could you drop me a line and I’ll give details of what I need you to photograph for us…
Having a little look at Facebook I saw that last night was a colleague’s first night shift. He used to work with me in years gone by, and now (like me) he can post to Facebook that he’s on the night shift without getting a disciplinary warning for doing so. (I actually once got a formal written disciplinary warning that posting to Facebook that I was on the night shift had brought my then-workplace into disrepute!)
We settled the dogs and drove down to Folkestone. A couple of weeks ago Jose was waxing lyrical about the wonders of a hot towel wet shave, and said I should have one. Today we did. We drove up to the top of Cheriton; I was a tad concerned to find ourselves in the vicinity of Cheriton’s notorious “rub-and-tug” shop but my fears were unfounded.
Have you ever had a hot towel wet shave? It’s rather good. They strap your head up in hot wet towels, then lather your face up, and scrape it off with an old cut-throat razor. Then they hot-towel your head again and give you a rather vigorous massage. During all of this you get a bottle of rather decent lager. Admittedly it was nowhere near as close an actual shave as I get at home, but for an experience it can’t be bettered. Jose took some photos whilst I was in the chair.
We then went for a little shopping in “The Range” where I got a couple of dog chew-toys, and then it was lunch time. Parking in Folkestone town centre was tricky, but eventually we met Jose and Maria at the Samuel Peto hand had a rather good bit of lunch. Everyone else had burgers, but I had turkey; It *is* nearly Christmas after all. I also had a couple of winter ales; I must admit they were a disappointment.
It would have been good to have hung about in Folkestone, but "er indoors TM" had plans for the evening and we’d left the dogs long enough. We came home, "er indoors TM" set off to wherever it is she’s gone to, and I took the dogs round the park. Today’s walk was dull; there were a few surly teenagers whose faces lit up when they say my dogs, but the walk passed off without incident.
Once home the dogs soon settled, and I went up the road to the tattoo shop. I’ve been promising myself a certain tattoo for months. I’ve got *my* compass between a pair of roses. Unlike previous tattoos it didn’t hurt *that* much, and unlike previous tattoos now I’ve got it I don’t think I like it very much.
I wonder how long it will be before I can get a cover-up done?
I came home and fed the dogs and gave them their chew toys. They immediately swapped them, then Fudge took both. I spent a few minutes refereeing the squabble until they sorted themselves out. Fudge spent the a while chewing his; Treacle spent a while guarding hers until she fell asleep. Having forgotten to book my cinema ticket (sorry Jose!) I made myself comfortable in front of the telly. Fudge then came and sat with me whilst I watched a film on Netflix. “Approaching the Unknown” was supposedly about the first manned mission to Mars. I think it is fair to say the film would have benefitted from some input from anyone who’d actually ever given any thought whatsoever to the logistics of space flight. With plot holes big enough to fly a space rocket through it wasn’t a good film.
I did have an invite to go to the ex-works Christmas bash tonight. Part of me wanted to catch up with old friends. Part of me remembered why I resigned.
I suppose I shall watch a couple more episodes of “Still Game” before bed.
I wonder if nice-next-door are going to have noisy sex again? Perhaps I might go ask them…
17 December 2017 (Sunday) - Cold and Foggy
I had possibly the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had last night. With "er indoors TM" off out for the night on the razzle the puppy wouldn’t settle, and had barking fits every fifteen minutes until 3am. I managed to get three hours sleep, but it wasn’t long after 6am that my phone gave me all sorts on notification alarm messages even though they were all turned off.
As I scoffed toast, Facebook told me that several people had their birthdays today. I spent a few minutes sending out the birthday video that I made up a while back.
Other people’s birthdays amaze me. Why have I aged so badly? It’s not as though I don’t do any exercise? People who look ten years younger than me are actually ten years older. And when will maturity come? Some *seriously* normal people are little more than half my age.
I then spent a little while trying to solve more of the puzzles on the virtual pub crawl in London. Herculean efforts got us past yesterday’s sticking point but now we’ve got to a pub not a million miles from Liverpool Street railway station. We need to read the plaque by the door. Can we find it on Google images? So… I’m reliably informed that one of my loyal readers is occasionally not a million miles away from Liverpool Street so I’ve sent instructions…
I popped the leads on to the dogs and we walked round to Newtown. We’d decided against out usual long Sunday walk as the weather forecast had been against us. I think we were probably right to have done so. Today was bitterly cold with a freezing fog.
We soon found "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". Littlun immediately took charge of the dog poo sacks, and we did a little circuit out to the playpark at South Willesborough and back again. It was a shame that "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" insisted on going into the playpark. We had fun going “Grandad-fast” on the roundabouts and going “Grandad-high” on the swings, but he wouldn’t be told what bits of the playpark to avoid, and all too soon he was soaked from the melting ice on the slides. Cold and wet, he whinged and whined all the way home. Not even the promise of putting the dog poo into the bins could cheer him up.
We came home, and I made a point of washing the dogs’ paws. Just lately there has been a lot of talk of the need to do so as dogs get salt on their paws form the salting and gritting of the roads, and yesterday I noticed Fudge constantly licking his paws.
Both hounds seemed not too bothered about having their paws done, and bearing in mind that half the day had gone, I went up the KFC for lunch, and devoured it whilst watching an episode of “Still Game”.
Having been up most of the night I wasn’t feeling that lively, and the forecast rain had arrived. So had "er indoors TM" (she’d brought cake!).
I sat on the sofa and spent much of the afternoon geo-puzzling. It gave me something to think about. Have you looked at the geo-puzzles in London? There seems to be this unwritten rule that any such puzzle in London has to be nigh on insoluble. Four hours brain-strain and co-operative effort gave me eight solved puzzles.
I wonder what’s for tea. Whatever it is can only be better than last night’s bag of crisps and some ice cream…
18 December 2017 (Monday) - Raw Tit
With no dogs barking at shadows and no neighbours doing the dirty deed I slept right through till 5am. Longer would have been nice, but the toilet was calling. I went back to bed and found that "er indoors TM" and the hounds had made themselves comfortable in the two minutes that I’d been gone. I then lay awake for two hours listening to the snoring.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. Overnight I’d only had a couple of emails. They were from Amazon suggesting I might buy what I’d already bought from them. I did have a dozen notifications on Facebook with people liking various things I’d posted up. Perhaps I post too much onto that site? I looked round Facebook whilst I had the site on my lap-top. There wasn’t really anything much that had happened overnight.
However, there was quite a bit of consternation and indignation on some of the work-related pages I follow over the story in which President Trump is alleged to banned the Centre for Disease Control from using the words “Vulnerable”, “Entitlement”, “Diversity”, “Transgender”, “Fetus”, “Evidence-based”, “Science-based” in any of their reports or publications. *If* this were true it would be quite the news story. But thirty seconds on the Internet shows it’s all lies. It amazes me that these stories get such publicity when they are patently made up.
I took the dogs for a walk, and after five minutes I got rather impatient with Fudge. When we walk, Treacle stays close, Fudge does his own sweet thing. He *never* keeps up; he bimbles about fifty yards behind, and if he wants to turn round and run back the way we’ve just come, he does. I wasn’t having any of that today; he can keep up when he’s on the lead. He could keep up today. I walked behind him and herded him like a sheep. Apart from a run-in with OrangeHead it worked well.
Talking of OrangeHead I saw she was with a gang of other dog-walkers today, and because she was with a gang, she completely ignored me.
Once home I pootled for a bit. As I did so the dogs squabbled over their new rubber toys. I supervised their squabbling, but if it continues I shall throw the things away. Neither wants to actually play with the toy. Both want the other dog’s toy.
I settled the dogs and set off earlier than I needed to this morning. I drove toward town, realized I'd forgotten my wallet and came home again. Eventually I got into town and found somewhere to park. I wanted to talk to the tattoo artists in the town centre... On Saturday I went to get a golden compass tattoo-ed on my arm. I actually got a grey-shaded somewhat pissed life-belt. But nil desperandum... the chaps in town can salvage something from it.
I set off up the motorway and hunted after a geoache I failed to find twice earlier in the year. I failed again. But as I was in the area I drove into Ditton and thought I'd hunt one out there. I found it; I say I found it... I found a tic-tac box (stuffed down the fittings of a power box) which was full of water and contained what looked like a soggy geo-log. I've claimed a find.
As I was finding the thing, Karl rang. He'd slipped out of work and had got the information I needed for the virtual pub crawl in London. Sterling chap !! There is a minor hiccup in that stage ten doesn’t seem to be a pub but a public garden.
That’s a bit of a nuisance…
It was lunch time, I was hungry... there was only one thing to do. McDinner. As I drove from McDonalds to work I found myself behind a car with the registration T17 RAW. I did snigger....
And then to work... What with night shifts and days off today was the first non-night shift I've done this month. Not bad, really... It was a shame I had to do some work, but I suppose most people have to (from time to time)...
19 December 2017 (Tuesday) - Tuesday Booze-Up
I then had a quick look-see at the Internet just in case anything had happened overnight. Nothing had happened on Facebook, but last night I’d messaged the chap who’d set the pub crawl in London to say I thought we’d gone awry… we had.
He asked to see our workings so far, so I sent him what we’d come up with.
I wonder what he’ll say?
I scraped the ice from my car and set off to work through a morning of minus four degrees. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about some scandal in the prisons in Liverpool. In all honesty I don’t know what the scandal was. The chap being interviewed mumbled and muttered but didn’t actually make himself comprehensible at any stage. You’d think that Radio Four would sound-check people to ensure that they could be heard before allowing them prime-time radio.
I made a little diversion to Sainsburys in Aylesford before work. I got petrol, some fizz for Boxing Day, and some attitude from the cleaner. I asked the cleaner in Sainsburys where I might find the fizz. His words were that he didn’t know where it was; his attitude was “F… off Fatso!”.
I got to work where I had a hot day. Today was Christmas jumper day, and I sweltered. I also had a busy day. I won’t go into details, but I will say that if you are considering having a medical emergency, don’t have it under a private medical insurance policy.
And then home. I ran the pups round the road, then being Tuesday the clans gathered. Being the last Tuesday before Christmas, we’d arranged a little party and I think it passed off rather well. Three pints of stout and a bottle of port… hic !!!
20 December 2017 (Wednesday) - Bit Tired
I felt rather rough when I woke this morning. Can’t imagine why. Over brekkie I watched last night’s epiode of the new series of “The League of Gentlemen” then looked at the Internet. I had an email about a new puzzle geocache about five miles from work. With fifteen minutes spare I realised I’d need about an hour to solve this puzzle, so I didn’t chase the First to Find.
I set off to work; when I got into my car I noticed that it was ten degrees wormed this morning than it was yesterday. Mind you it was a dark damp overcast foggy morning. But no ice to scrape is always good.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio amazed me, as they often do. With record numbers of people across the country turning away from organised religions, the BBC is going to increase the prominence of religion across its programmes and schedules.
They then put on the "Thought for the Day" in which some strange vicar spent three minutes spouting utterly unrelated platitudes. I've mentioned before that the Muslims and the Jews and the Sikhs and the Hindus make sense on that show, but the Christians talk utter rubbish.
I got to work; I spent much of the day feeling like death warmed up. On the way home I got a message from the chap who had set the pub crawl in London that I am trying to work out from home. I’d got one of the clues wrong. There was a word I had to find. Let’s pretend that the word was “elbow”. How many letters in that word? I must have got confused with my arse as I thought it was four. Whoops.
Having realised my error (together with Gordon) I virtually visited three more pubs before "er indoors TM" said it was dinner time. We’ve now got up to stage twelve and may well need to physically deploy an assistant to the area.
Over a rather good dinner we watched the first episode of “The Orville”. I’d seen it a few weeks ago and thought it was crap, but I decided I might give it a second chance. I was right, it *was* crap…
21 December 2017 (Thursday) - Shortest Day
I slept like a log, despite disturbing dreams of having somehow been entered into a running race. (Me!?)
I got up taking care to to wake the dogs, and as I scoffed brekkie I watched the last in the new series of “The League of Gentlemen”; there were only three episodes, but they were good ones.
I then had a look-see at the Internet. It don’t look at itself. With very little of note having happened I set off to work.
It was another damp and foggy morning. I was amazed at how busy the roads were today; yesterday "er indoors TM" had commented how quiet the roads were on her drive to work. The motorway was horrible today.
As I drove the pundits were discussing my local MP Damien Green. He's been sacked from the cabinet. From what I can work out, he's been given the heave-ho for lying about looking at pictures of nudey ladies on his works computer. It's not really that shocking an offence; he should have owned up to it, and everyone would have said that everyone looks at pictures of nudey ladies on computers. That's what computers were made for.
But he lied about it.
What bothers me most though is that the scandal was (apparently) deliberately leaked by the police. Bearing in mind it is widely reported that the police authorities hate Mr Green, you would have thought the coppers would have been more circumspect in squealing on him.
But there's no denying that my piss boiled when I heard the allegations about one in five pregnancies having harm caused by the treatment mothers and babies receive from the NHS.
The story might be true; but what winds me up is the way it is reported. The implication is that medical professionals go out of their way to cause hurt.
I've whinged about this before...
I stopped off at Aldi before work. We needed cranberry sauce and a Christmas cake. I asked an assistant where they were. He told me he didn't know and walked off. As did another chap. A passing woman told me she was too busy to deal with customers. The fourth assistant all but said "F... off fatso".
I found someone willing to help on my sixth attempt. If I wasn't running short of time I would have gone to Sainsburys.
I did my bit at work, and remarked at how depressing it was that it got dark so early in the afternoon. But I'd completely overlooked how today is the shortest day. The days will start getting longer from here on in.
Once home I took the dogs round the road. They like their walks. Once home they had their tea and were soon both snoring. It turned out that "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had been round for a “dog adventure” and the dogs were worn out.
With "er indoors TM" off on her works booze-up I had to fend for myself, so I scoffed some malt loaf for tea whilst watching the last episode of the current season of “Peaky Blinders”. That show started well, but I don’t think the writers realised how successful it would be. It certainly isn’t what it once was.
I wonder what time "er indoors TM" will get in. Previous works Christmas booze-ups have been messy…
22 December 2017 (Friday) - Late Shift
"er indoors TM" “came home “quietly” and once she’s stopped crashing about and fighting with the puppy she spent much of the night being rather restless. I didn’t dare say a word.
Eventually her alarm went off. I came downstairs leaving her and the puppy asleep. I found Fudge; he had spent the night on the sofa. He’s not daft.
Over brekkie I perused the Internet. A new Wherigo had gone live. I thought about chasing the First to Find until I realised it was in Eastbourne. Apparently there had been a stabbing locally overnight. I would say “that’s worrying” but that sort of thing happens rather more often than you’d think. The news people are selective as to what they announce.
As I surfed the net Fudge sat with me on the sofa. We both watched treacle getting into mischief. She would shove her nose into "er indoors TM" handbag, or the dustbin, and make off with some scrap or other. And if no one reacted she would make a point of parading her trophy until she got a reaction.
I then had a message from the first fruit of my loin. The "My Boy TM"-mobile needed to go to the garage and could I give him a lift home after he’d dropped the car off.
As per instructions I met him at the garage, and we drove round to the Foundry cafe. A double sausage, double bacon fry-up was very tasty. We were both impressed by the food, but nowhere near as impressed as we were with the waitress's ample charms. I can only imagine she had some super-padded bra or had had extensive surgery; her jubblies were at least half a dozen sizes too big for her chest.
I then went back to "My Boy TM" s place for a cuppa and we sat about for a bit whilst I fussed Rolo.
After half an hour I set off in the general direction of work . I went via three geocaches. I found one after a rather pretty walk across a meadow. I abandoned the search for the second when I realised there was nowhere nearby that I could park my car, and I found the third in a rather iffy bit of scrubland.
Bearing in mind it is the Christmas weekend I went to Sainsbury's for petrol. I thought it better to have a car full of the stuff than not. As I filled the car with fuel I was conscious of a bloke peering through my car's passenger door window. I asked if I could help him; he ran away. I wonder what that was all about?
And then I spent half an hour trying to get out of Sainsbury's car park. I wouldn't have wanted to go shopping there today.
And pausing only briefly for a McFlurry I went to work.
Today was the works Christmas buffet. I scoffed myself silly. And I got an Amazon voucher worth fifteen quid in the "Secret Santa" draw. I was well chuffed with that.
I wasn't quite so chuffed with the amount of work I had to do though. Today was BUSY!! And we had a nasty case in the blood bank just as the day shift was going home. That always happens on the last full working day before Christmas.
I found my thoughts going back to the first Christmases I worked in hospitals and last full working days before Christmas all those years ago. There was hardly any work at all back then. We would all go down the pub at 11.30am. Back then the bosses did what little work there was whilst we drank. We would stagger back to work at about the time the night shift came in (two hours early) to deal with the nasty cases, and everyone was happy. Even the person on the night shift was happy with the arrangement as they knew that what went around came around and they would be down the pub next time.
I can remember my first one very vividly. Thursday 24 December 1981; after drinking what seemed to be my body weight in lager I made my way back to work where a dozen of us shared a bottle of Johnny Walker and I fell asleep on the bus home.
Things were better then... and *very* different now.
23 December 2017 (Saturday) - Not at Work
I woke shortly before 6am, and considered driving to Eastbourne. Yesterday a new Wherigo went live there. Last night I figured out the exact location of the thing, and still no-one had logged a First to Find. It could have been me if not for a round trip of just over a hundred miles. Bearing in mind it is now the twenty-third of the month and no new caches have gone live within fifty miles of home, my monthly FTF streak is looking as though it is coming to an end.
Whilst I was figuring out the thing’s location I found myself pondering. Why is the Comedy Central channel bleeping out the word “*sshole” at 11pm whilst Radio Four has no problem with the word “w*nker” at 7pm?
I got up and coughed some more. My cough seems to be building up for a crescendo which I forecast will be on Christmas Day. Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook as I do. My Lego advent calendar continued to receive favourable comments. I was pleased about that.
I then spent half an hour working on the virtual pub crawl in London. Pubs twelve and thirteen seem to be down an alley where Google Street View fears to tread. Unless any of my loyal readers are in the Bishopsgate area of London over the next week or so, I think we’ve probably got as far along the trail as we can before going to London in the New Year.
We drove round to collect Lacey and went to the Cinema. Lacey wanted to see “Daddy’s Home 2”. I had no idea what the film was about, but didn’t want to miss out. I must admit I thought it wasn’t going to be anything special, and my heart sank what I realised Will Ferell was in it. But I was wrong. It was one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long time.
I also saw trailers from some other films that might well be worth a watch. But then I always do when I go to the cinema.
With film watched we collected "My Boy TM" and went for McLunch. Seeing as it is Christmas I rather fancied a cheeky Nandos but I was on my own on that one. So McLunch it was. And with McLunch scoffed we went on to B&M bargains (as it is just up the road) for a look-see. I don’t like the Ashford B&M; the Canterbury one is *much* tackier.
I slept all the way home. Once home we took the dogs round the park. We met several other dogs; Treacle ran in terror from them, Fudge humped them. Business as usual really.
With walk done "er indoors TM" had a little snooze, as did the dogs. I geo-puzzled for an hour or so. I eventually gave up. I had some successes, but if any of my loyal readers know the common factor or the tube stations Goldhawk Road, Barbican, Tower Hill, Hammersmith and Latimer Road, or of the tube stations Westminster, South Kensington, Green Park and Pimlico, please feel free to gloat.
Over a rather good bit of dinner we activated Netflix and watched the first “Daddy’s Home” film. Today was my first day off for five days – how do most people work “normal” hours?
That Wherigo is still waiting for an FTF….
24 December 2017 (Sunday) - Christmas Eve
Yesterday I got the old table in from the shed. We shall need that on Boxing Day. Last night when I went for my 4am widdle I’d forgotten all about the old table and fell over it in the dark.
Oh, how I laughed.
I went back to bed. I dozed off once the pain had subsided.
I eventually got up, and when I did I had words with my hounds. They were both circling by the back door, both clearly rather in need of a widdle. I opened the door for them and they sauntered outside. Treacle sniffed the planters I made over the summer, Fudge inspected the shed. It was a little while before either considered actually having the wazz they both so obviously needed.
Over brekkie I saw a new load of geocaches had gone live near Bedgebury. Billed as a series of ten caches I could only count nine. And I had another look at some of the puzzles that had me stumped yesterday. I remained stumped.
I then took the dogs for their morning constitutional. As we walked Fudge found half a baguette that someone had thrown away. He had it scoffed before I could get it out of his gob. Treacle also found something to eat that she shouldn’t have.
I made a point of walking behind Fudge and chivvied him along today, and consequently we got round the walk in half the time it usually takes. As we walked Treacle found a fluffy little puppy with whom she actually played (rather than running in terror). And she made friends with a small girl who is usually terrified of dogs, but who said that a dog called “Treacle” can’t be scary.
As we walked back across the co-op field my phone beeped. A new geocache had gone live a mile away.
We came home; I sparked up the lap-top and fiddled about for a bit. We had to go to Tesco anyway, and seeing the new cache hadn’t had a find logged yet we thought we might chase the First to Find. We did it; a rather tricky hide, but we were first there. Happy dance (!)
We went on to Tesco to get supplies for Boxing Day. The place was heaving, but the staff were helpful and friendly. I couldn’t help but compare the place with Aldi last Thursday where the staff couldn’t be arsed.
We had focaccia for lunch (!) and I puzzled a bit more. Armed with a rather huge bit of help from Gordon I solved one of the trickier puzzles I’ve got on my “to do” list. I then made quite a bit of headway into another – I’ve got a degree in maths; if only I could remember basic trigonometry.
We then set off for the traditional Christmas Eve relative-visiting. First of all to brother-in-law. We spent an hour or so catching up. Then on to father-in-law who was building a perpetual motion engine. I say “perpetual motion”; he has a plan for a gadget which hydrolyses water using electricity from solar panels, then recombines the resultant hydrogen and oxygen. Thus generating power and the water you first started with.
Sounds like a good idea.
We then went for a little walk. We went up to the New Inn hoping for a pint. We went in; the place was characterless. I can only describe it as being like a doctor’s waiting room. It was full of small children shrieking and the echoing cacophony was deafening. It wasn’t possible to get to the bar; it was being used as a table by locals jealously guarding their places. We turned round and came out.
We walked down the road to see the Westfield Lights. Every Christmas the people of the village of Westfield light up their houses. It is rather beautiful. And this evening there was a geo-meet to see the lights. It was good to catch up with some old friends.
On the way home we visited "My Boy TM"; he’d offered us some of their left-over gammon. We scoffed ourselves silly on their left-overs.
I shall have an early night; I’ve got an early start tomorrow…
25 December 2017 (Monday) - Early Shift
I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go. I looked at the clock and was a bit miffed to find it was only a quarter past two and I was wide awake. I read my Kindle for a bit to see if that would make me feel sleepy. It didn’t. I lay wide awake until giving up and getting up shortly after half past four.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Still Game” and was plunger-ing the bath before six o’clock.
Fudge came downstairs clearly wanting to go outside. I naively thought he wanted a tiddle. He didn’t. He wanted to run about barking. Though (to be fair to him) I don’t know which was loudest; his barking or my shouting at him to shut up. He then went back to bed. Wish I could have done so.
Leaving "er indoors TM" and the dogs sleeping I set off to work. As I walked out into the still dark morning I remembered my mother's tales of Uncle Eddie. I never met the chap (he died before I was born), but apparently during the 1950s and 1960s he would walk round the Clive Vale area of Hastings at 2am every Christmas morning, clanging a hand-bell, noisily singing "Christians Awake, Salute the Happy Morn".
I bet the locals loved him.
I decided against following his example.
I switched on the car radio; there was some drivel about how Christmas was better in the good old days when we all had rickets, polio and plague. I turned the radio off and as I drove to work I listened to a CD. "Mr Hanky's Christmas Classics" had me feeling almost as festive as Mr Hanky himself. (For those of my loyal readers who aren't as versed in the genre as I am, Mr Hanky is the Christmas poo.)
Normally when I drive to work on a Monday for the early shift the motorway is a nightmare. Today, whilst there were quite a few cars heading coast-bound, as I drove on the London-bound carriageway to Maidstone I only encountered three other cars.
My hopes were raised when I got to Aylesford. I saw the lights were on in McDonalds, but I was to be disappointed. The place was all lit up, but was closed. McDonalds closed!!
I got to work early; the night shift was glad to escape a few minutes early, and I coughed and spluttered through my shift. As I worked my phoned beeped seemingly all the time with various messages of consolation. Obviously I'd rather not be working on Christmas Day, but (in all honesty) it goes with working in a hospital. I've worked on Christmas Day before and I expect I shall do so again in the future.
But there was no denying that i was pleased to see the relief when he arrived. I told him about the blood delivery that was coming (some poor chap was having to drive half way across the country with some rather obscure blood product today) and I drove back to Glenn and Matts where I started Christmas about ten hours later than everyone else.
Mind you it was worth waiting for. A vey good dinner, far too much stout, and we played “Family Fortunes” which is nowhere near as easy as it looks.
Walking home was rather cold and windy… Once home I had a look-see at pressies. Not a bad haul.
26 December 2017 (Tuesday) - Family Xmas Bash
I’d not slept well on Sunday night; I was falling asleep yesterday at Glenn and Matt’s (I *hate* that!) and so I had an early night last night. I got an hour’s sleep until nice-next-door started having noisy sex.
Eventually they sated their base urges and I slept like a log. I woke, looked at the clock and distinctly remember seeing it was 7.27. I thought I’d had a few minutes more sleep, and after a few minutes I saw it was three o’clock. Was I dreaming previously? I must have been.
I went for a tiddle, and as I was in the loo I heard the most pitiful whimpering from Fudge. He wanted to go outside. I let him out, he shot up the garden like a bullet from a gun, barking and shouting as he went.
I finally got him back in and settled. I went back to bed where I lay coughing for two hours before giving up and getting up.
Again I’d spent much of the night wide awake, knowing full well that I will be fast asleep later when stuff is going on.
Over an early brekkie (five o’clock) I had a look at the Internet and saw all the spoilers for the TV shows that I had been intending to watch over the next few days. I wish people wouldn’t give spoilers about popular TV shows. Not everyone spends their holiday time staring continually at the telly. I have mentioned this to specific people who are particularly bad for this, and every time it just causes offence. I decided not to rattle any cages today, so (seething) I then spent an hour wrestling with a geo-puzzle. My trigonometry isn’t what it once was.
"er indoors TM" and the dogs got up, and we spent a couple of hours re-arranging the living room. I then took the dogs round the park (supposedly to wear them out). As we walked we met "My Boy TM" and Rolo. Together we wandered to where I’d left my car yesterday afternoon. The idea was that I would drive "My Boy TM"’s branch of the tribe back with me, but they weren’t quite ready so I came home without them.
Shortly after I got home "Daddy’s Little Angel TM", "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and Sam arrived. The first fruit of my loin and his womenfolk weren’t far behind, and my mummy and daddy were hot on their heels, together with mother-in-law.
Four generations of us (pestered by five dogs) sat down for a rather good Christmas dinner. "er indoors TM" did a rather good spread. We all scoffed ourselves silly. And (as predicted) I spent much of the afternoon fast asleep. But I did wake for Christmas pudding.
In retrospect we got too much food in. Three was *loads* left over, and we didn’t cook up the mushrooms or carrots, and the stout, cheese, stolen and Christmas cake went untouched. And perhaps eleven people (and five dogs) was just too many; there wasn’t space in the living room for us all.
But we had a rather good afternoon.
Despite having been told what was going to happen, once the family had departed we sat in front of the telly and watched the Christmas “Doctor Who”. Without wishing to give any spoilers (even though I’m in the minority on this), I liked the program; it catered for the die-hard fans of the show. But it did go on a bit. It could have been twenty minutes shorter, and if it had been it would have made for a better show.
We also saw the Christmas “Trollied”; that was rather good.
The plan was then to have “Dog Christmas”; the pups have received quite a few presents. We deliberately waited until after the family bash before opening their pressies as we didn’t want Sid, Rolo or Pogo making off with their stuff. But the afternoon had worn the pups out. They both spent the evening snoring.
We’ll do “Dog Christmas” tomorrow…
27 December 2017 (Wednesday) - Back to Work
In the end we had “Dog Christmas” late last night. It wasn’t a success. Rather than playing nicely the dogs fought over their new toys. Over the last few days and weeks they have had s few spats. If this continues one of them will have to go…
I slept like a log (for once); over brekkie I watched an episode of “Dad’s Army” that the SkyPlus box had recorded for me, then I sparked up the lap-top to see if much had happened overnight on social media. It hadn’t, so I set off to work.
As I walked to the car I felt somewhat resentful. "er indoors TM" is still off for another week. At this time of year there is always talk of “holiday season”; I had a weekend spent shopping and visiting relatives, and one day off. I do like my job, but once a year I’d like to have a Christmas like everyone else gets.
As I left the house I met an ex-colleague. We exchanged pleasantries, then I drove off to Maidstone. As I drove the pundits on the radio were having something of a "different" day. Because it is the Christmas season, Prince Harry was the news program's guest editor. He started with an interesting article about all the plastic in the sea. But he then rather ruined the show. In theory something about the plight of the children in Syria caught in the local conflicts would have been fascinating. However in order to get the inside story on this, they chose to interview someone whose spoken English left a lot to be desired, and they interviewed this chap over seemingly the world's worst telephone line.
"Thought for the Day" was then presented by some Muslim who was crowing about all the good work he'd done after the Grenfell Tower tragedy. But he then scored something of an own goal when he admitted he'd done good stuff because it said in the Koran that he had to do so. Can't people do good because it is the right thing to do? Do we only do decent things for fear of what a vengeful God might do to us?
I hadn't felt one hundred per cent when I got up; as I got closer to work I felt progressively more and more ill. I got to work and suffered through the day.
As the morning wore on I watched the now falling outside. It didn’t last long, but was pretty whilst it was there.
Once home "er indoors TM" converted yesterday’s left-over vegetables into bubble and squeak. It was rather good. We scoffed it whilst watching the Christmas “Bake-off” and then the second episode of “The Orville”.
“The Orville” – such an odd show. It could be *so* good but it is as though the writers are determined to r the piss out of it.
Oh – and I’ve made another video compilation based on my rantings on here.
28 December 2017 (Thursday) - Still Feeling Grotty
I slept like a log, waking one minute before the alarm went off. I looked out of the bedroom window as I do every morning and was amazed to see the cars outside covered in thick ice. The weather forecast had predicted a mild night.
Over brekkie I watched “Thunderbirds Are Go” (I like that cartoon) then had a look at the Internet. I saw I’d been mentioned on one of the geocaching pages on Facebook. Someone new to the game was asking about the hobby and someone else I barely know was suggesting they joined in a walk I might organise. I suppose I’m flattered that people see me as an organiser in hunting Tupperware.
With no emails of note I got dressed and once the coughing fit had subsided I went to scrape the ice from my car. The ice took some shifting.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the bishop of Liverpool has denounced several evangelical American vicars for their openly supporting the policies and activities of President Trump. Apparently supporting what he does rather goes against Christian teachings.
Mind you (without wanting to give offence) I always felt that the whole American-capitalist way of life went against Christian teachings. After all, isn't all of what Jesus taught basic socialism? But what do I know?
I rather lost interest in the rest of the news; it was only when I got to Maidstone that I realized I couldn't remember a word of what had been said. Some mornings the news is interesting, on other mornings the presenters might as well say "blah blah blah" for half an hour for all the notice I take. Between the sport and "Thought for the Day" there is quite a bit of scope for my mind to wander.
I got to work without too much bother; it was more like driving on a Sunday that a Thursday today. I did my bit in between coughing fits. Perhaps I should have phoned in sick today?
Once home we scoffed left-overs whilst watching a film. “Epic Movie”. I’d not seen that before. It was rather good. We then watched more re-runs of the Crystal Maze that the SkyPlus box recorded months ago.
I really should have an early night…
29 December 2017 (Friday) - Intruders ?
A sound woke me in the small hours. Footsteps. Someone was walking round the house. I reached over and found that "er indoors TM" was fast asleep and one of the dogs was snoring on top of her. So why weren't both dogs seeing off the intruder? Perhaps they were ill? But I was on the early shift... "er indoors TM" would have to make an appointment with the vet..
After a couple of minutes I realised that I was worrying about imaginary illnesses in the hounds when there was someone walking about the house at three o'clock in the morning. And then I heard a creaking noise. The bedroom door was being pushed open. I leapt up to give any burglar a scare and tripped over Fudge who'd just walked in. It had been him wandering round the house.
Oh how I laughed (once the coughing fit had subsided).
I then lay in bed for an hour coughing before eventually nodding off again.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Dad's Army" which the SkyPlus box had recorded for me. I must get into the thing's works and stop it doing that. Much as the show passes half an hour, I've seen the episodes so many times that I actually know the scripts almost off by heart, and I find myself saying what the characters are about to say before they say it.
I had a very quick look at the Internet. Apparently NASA are considering doing what they should be doing eventually; actually going to have a look-see at another star. They are hoping to launch a robotic probe to Alpha Centauri in fifty years time.
Bearing in mind it will take at least fifty more years to get there, I won't be around for its arrival. A shame; I'd like to see that. Mind you I'd also like to see manned missions to Mars, and realistically I won't live long enough to see those either.
After coughing so much I nearly threw up I seriously considered phoning in sick. But it’s not something I do lightly. I got into the car. Despite the pundits having said that last night would be the coldest of the year, the thing wasn't covered in ice. I drove through the rain to the co-op where the disinterested assistant couldn't be arsed to show me where the cough sweets were. Fortunately her manager could be arsed, and as I walked out I scoffed one.
As I went on to work the news was on the radio. The pundits were talking about how at this time of year, seventy per cent of those attending at A&E departments are pissed as farts. Their concern was to have facilities in city centres to deal with drunks away from busy hospitals.
My concern was how can so many people afford to spend so much money in pubs? I can't.
I got to work for the early shift and coughed and spluttered my way through another day. I declined the opportunity of extra work this weekend, and came home at the earliest opportunity.
I came home to find "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" wreaking mayhem. I don’t know what they were up to; I tried (and failed) to get some sleep.
"er indoors TM" boiled up turkey curry and we scoffed it whilst watching yesterday’s episode of “The Orville”. I don’t get that show at all; it is really good sci-fi interspersed with comedy that doesn’t work and bits that are just ridiculous. Everyone else seems to rave about it. Do you just ignore the stupid parts?
After that we watched “Mr Bean’s Holiday”; a film of which I have seen the end so many times, but never the beginning.
I wish I could stop coughing…
30 December 2017 (Saturday) - Trigonometry
Apart from toilet trips and having to lift dogs on to the bed (several times) I managed nearly nine hours asleep with only one coughing fit. I saw that as something of a result.
I had a look-see on-line. Not much had changed overnight. Mind you my eyes did roll at one point. A month or so ago there was some confusion as to who would be organising the New Year’s Day Kent geocaching walk. As nothing seemed to be sorted I spent a day organising stuff for it only to be told that it was all in hand. The person who had it all in hand has since organised everything *except* the New Year’s Day Kent geocaching walk. Yesterday someone else went and organised it for her.
When I read about this on Facebook I was also rather amazed to see posts from someone who’d come along on the London trip earlier in the month. Completely oblivious to everything about hunting Tupperware it didn’t stop her trying to call the shots on our London mission, and now she wants to be taken for a walk round Kent…
There was a minor “Red Alert” from the dogs when the postman delivered the letters. Just bank statements, so I opened them and had a look at the monthly accounts. There is no denying that I rather intended being a lot better off financially at this stage of my life than I actually am.
With a little spare time on my hands I then had another look at the geo-puzzle that has me stumped in London. I can vaguely remember trigonometry… but no matter what I did to my sines and cosines, I wasn’t getting it big enough.
I finally got dressed just before mid-day. We took the dogs for a walk most of which I spent wracked with fits of coughing. As we walked, "My Boy TM" phoned to say a local garden centre was selling a lot of rocks cheaply. I would have liked to have gone to have a look-see, but all I *really* wanted to do was go home.
Once home we had coffee and stollen for lunch. I like stollen.. it’s just like cake. I then sparked up my lap-top, switched my brain to overload, untangled my hypotenuse from my cosine and finally solved the puzzle that has been tormenting me for months. My plans for a geocaching trip to London are beginning to take shape now.
"er indoors TM" went shopping; I did some ironing, then watched episodes of “Still Game”. I say “watched”; dozed through might be more accurate.
"er indoors TM" came home and made some rather good mushroom soup for tea. We scoffed it whilst watching “World’s Strongest Man”; a very under-rated Christmas show.
As the dogs slept on me I then watched the Christmas episode of “Victoria”; something of a disappointment. It went on for two hours and nothing really happened.
Bit like today really. Today was rather lazy. Mind you with this cough, a lazy day was probably a good idea…
31 December 2018 (Sunday) - New Year's Eve
Apart from one coughing fit at two o’clock I had a good night’s sleep. Mind you I wasn’t pleased to wake to rain at eight o’clock.
Over brekkie I sparked up my lap-top. For some inexplicable reason it has taken to presenting me with a blank Word document every time it starts. I wish it wouldn’t do that. As I scoffed toast I had a look at the Internet. One of the geocaching pages I follow was up in arms. When hunting Tupperware you have an alias for yourself. There is a chap in Hastings who has made his geo-identity to be based on serial killers. Having had this for a couple of years, this has only now given offence.
We got ourselves and the dogs together and were just about to set off to the morning’s geo-meet when the phone pinged with news of a new geocache not one mile away. It would be rude not to go for this, so we took a minor diversion and came out with a cheeky First to Find.
The geo-meet was in Dobbies. After a little mucking about (and tiddling up shop displays) we were soon in the thick of the morning’s meet-up. It was good to catch up with friends. We chatted for half an hour or so, then went for a little wander. As luck would have it the morning’s meet was almost on top of a little geo-series that "er indoors TM" had hidden a while ago. Nine of us (and two small dogs) wandered round the outside of the golf course (and right across it) hunting out a dozen geocaches as we went.
It was a matter of conjecture as to whether the timing of our walk was either a work of genius or pot luck, but either way we started just as the rain had subsided, and we finished just as the torrential rain hit. Either way we got round dry.
We got back to the cars, pulled off wellies, and went for lunch. It didn’t take long to get to the Windmill. We’d had an excellent meal there a few weeks ago, and again we had a rather good bit of dinner washed down with some rather good ales.
We came home, and I woke a couple of hours later.
We put on our red pants, collected "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and went down to Folkestone for the traditional Spanish New Year. There was a rather good buffet, and a rather tricky quiz in which our team NABOR (Not A Bunch Of Retards) came second. Did you know that another country uses the tune of the British National Anthem for their National Anthem?
Eleven o’ clock came; we did the grapes (it’s a Spanish thing) and at midnight we watched the fireworks in London on the comfort of a telly. In years gone by we would then have watched “Mamma Mia” or something along those lines, but we’re getting old….
We got to bed just before two o’clock…