1 December 2023 (Friday) - It Snowed



Having a bit of a sniffle and feeling generally sorry for myself I took a hot water bottle to bed with me last night. However I'd made the schoolboy error of forgetting that what with “er indoors TM and the dogs, space in the bed is at a premium. The hot water bottle soon got the heave-ho. But rather than just bunging it into the darkness I stuck it behind my pillow (for no explicable reason) where it kept clouting my head.  And rather than just bunging it into the darkness I just put up with it until I got completely fed up with the thing at which point I got up (far too early) and went downstairs.


Being the first of the month I had a shave with a new razor blade, and scrubbed my teeth with a new toothbrush. The bristles were falling out of the last one; I think I'd been a bit too vigorous with it.

I made toast and watched another episode of "The Couple Next Door" in which her who played "Demelza" in "Poldark" was getting particularly over-amorous with the neighbours. Call me puritanical if you will, but if you will wear saucy undercrackers like those she was brandishing, you get all you deserve.

I had a look at Facebook. The "Elf on a Shelf" memes were getting rather silly on one of the Star Trek pages I follow, with "Spock on a Cock" being perhaps the easiest one to guess. Opinion was divided as to whether these memes were good fun or annoying, and with seemingly nothing else to squabble about, people were getting rather aggressive about this particular bit of trivia.


Being the first of December I opened my Advent Calendar. Frosty the Snowman we perhaps an easier starting point that I've had in some previous years, but I still looked at him with a sense of "WTF".

I got dressed and pausing only briefly to put the bins out I set off to find my car.


It didn't take *that* long to scrape the ice from my car, and with ice finally scraped I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio spewed their usual brand of drivel. The cease fire in Gaza came to an end last night, and neither side wasted any time before commencing chucking missiles at the other. Both arguing that the other side started it, both seemingly as bad as each other.

There was talk of the COP28 climate summit meeting. It would seem the UK had a decent representation there, but how can you take the country’s commitment to climate issues seriously when the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the King all flew there in separate planes.

Talking of the King, it would seem that Prince Harry has accused him of racial comments. Personally I can’t help but think that if Prince Harry wants to flee half way across the world asking for the press to leave him alone, then he should piss off and stop attention-seeking like a petulant toddler.


I got to work and did my bit. As I did that which I couldn’t avoid I spent much of the morning watching the snow flurries. er indoors TM messaged at tea break to say there was snow in Ashford. As I messaged that there was no snow in Maidstone so it started. Not even enough to make the ground white, but snow is snow.


I came home just as “er indoors TM was going to deliver an Advent Calendar to “My Boy TM”. Every year she makes him a beer one. I had a shower and looked again at what had come out of my Advent Calendar this morning. Eventually I had some inspiration.

I wonder how the rest of the story will pan out?


er indoors TM came home with some dinner. I was glad to be home this evening; the plan for today was for me to be doing the night shift, but my colleague doing tomorrow afternoon asked if we might swap. Had I done the night shift, today would have been an incredibly dull waste of a day, and tomorrow would have been spent with me constantly nodding off. As it turned out today wasn’t a bad day, and the weather forecast for tomorrow means that being at work will be marginally warmer than sulking at home because will be too cold to do anything. Or that’s the plan.

Mind you if I still feel this grim I might phone in sick…



2 December 2023 (Saturday) - Late Shift



I slept better last night; the sniffle appears to have turned into a cough. I got up, and immediately opened my Advent Calendar. For all that I do like my little annual Advent story, and for all that I don’t think anyone is more amazed than I am at how the story progresses, I have certainly made a rod for my own back by not opening the windows in advance.

I looked at a little Lego signpost with something of a sense of dismay this morning… what could I possibly say about that? Eventually I had an idea.


I had a shave, made toast, and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. There had been heavy (for Kent) snow across the east of the county overnight. I turned off the lap-top and went to get ready for the morning somewhat earlier than usual.


I scraped the ice off of the car, and with “er indoors TM off out on a mission with her mates I got the dogs into the car and drove round to the Repton estate. We collected the money pot for Dog Club, then went on and opened up. Despite it being a cold morning there was quite a good turn out for Dog Club. Morgan and Bailey charged about having a great time. Treacle didn’t really join in, but I spent quite a bit of time playing “ball” with her which she seemed to enjoy. As we Dog Club-ed there was a load of messages flying here and there via WhatsApp about the organisation of Dog Club. It seems there’s issues about collecting the money pot at the end of the last session, and from here on it Dog Club will be going cashless.


From Dog Club we came home listening to Steve on the radio. The mystery year was some time in the late 1970s… and each clue made me think it was earlier and earlier. Eventually I plumped for 1977 and was right.

I put a load of washing in to scrub, and as the dogs snored I made a cuppa. Usually before a late shift I do so much that by the time I get to work I’m worn out. But what with this ongoing lurgy I wasn’t feeling on top form, so with Dog Club done, a quiet morning cuddling dogs suited me.


Eventually I had to go to work. As I drove up the motorway "Any Questions" was on the radio in which a panel of politicians, business people and the less simple-minded celebrities were asked their opinions on the questions of the day. Some aggressive feminist was up in arms because there weren't enough women at the COP28 climate talks; she was up in arms because there were any men there at all. Apparently climate change is entirely a man- (as opposed to woman-) made problem, as (so she claimed) are all the wars currently raging round the world and all the wars that have ever raged. Some chap came on and made the point that Britain has halved its carbon dioxide emissions since 1990. This was a red rag to a bull to this aggressive feminist. Had a woman delivered this announcement then it would have been heigh, ho, pip and dandy. But how dare a man say it?

There was then the question of who owned the Elgin marbles, Britain or Greece? Another woman on the panel gave the view of most of the UK; up until doing her research prior to coming on the radio she'd thought the Elgin marbles were a bag of toy marbles like those with which children play.

A Conservative politician then bemoaned how expensive houses were, despite their ridiculously high prices being a result of the market forces about which he was so enthusiastic.

Some people do talk utter rubbish on the radio...


I got to work and coughed a lot as did my bit. Mind you it has to be said that being too mean to turn the heating on, being at work this afternoon was much warmer than being at home had been this morning.


And with work worked I drove home through sub-zero temperature and fog. er indoors TM had turned the heating on and had sorted out pizza which we scoffed whilst watching this evening’s episode of “Doctor Who”. It was watchable, but I’m wondering why they brought back David Tennant; I don’t see what he’s giving to the show that a new actor couldn’t.


I hope I feel a bit better tomorrow; I’m fed up with feeling grotty.



3 December 2023 (Sunday) - Fed Up with Feeling Grim



I slept for nine hours last night, and “er indoors TM was up before me. that rarely happens; I must be poorly.

I eventually came downstairs with Morgan and Bailey to find “er indoors TM and Treacle already there. Sometimes this can be an issue; Treacle can get territorial and Bailey gets frightened and when “full” (like we all get overnight) we sometimes have little potty accidents. But this morning all was well.


I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Being the start of the Munzee Clan War there was quite a bit of whinging from the rank and file Munzers that they hadn’t received Clan War invites… Even though they had. But isn’t this life in general? There are those who contribute (not that what I do for the Clan War is particularly arduous) and there are those who find fault. Amazingly many of those kicking off were the non-premium people. A “non-premium” Munzer is one who plays the free version of the game. I personally chose to play the premium version for which there is a charge of about fifty pence per week. These people begrudge fifty pence and then complain about what they are getting for free… I decided not to tell them to wind their necks in.

There were several photos on Facebook from the two works parties I missed last night.  I had said that when I finished my shift last night I would go to the works Christmas do in Maidstone, and I’d also said that I would go to the boss’s leaving party in Tunbridge Wells. I forgot about both and came home instead. It looks like I missed some good parties. Perhaps if I’d not been feeling quite so grim?

I also had an email from my local councillor. On 15 November I found a local footpath flooded (yet again). That path has been flooding for over thirty years, and the fix is very easy. I wrote to my local councillor and at the time I wrote here “I wonder if she will do anything”.  Well, she hasn’t. She’s suggested I write to the Environment Agency and sent me a link that doesn’t work.


I opened my Advent Calendar. Today I had a reindeer. Perhaps an easier thing to add to my little Advent adventure.

er indoors TM set off to Folkestone to deliver “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”’s Christmas Tree; for some inexplicable reason we had it in the spare room. And with “er indoors TM” off for the morning I took the dogs out. Rather than going to the woods we had a little walk round the local roads. Being the start of Munzee Clan War I wanted to get two Qrates (as one does). I got them, and also ten per cent of the Clan’s total requirement for the month too. Go me!!

Once home I went straight into the garden to harvest the dog dung, and as I was in mid-harvest so the heavens opened. That was rather good timing.


er indoors TM returned from Christmas Tree delivery duties, and set off to Maidstone. A few months ago we went to Prison Island and had a great time. There was a family outing planned for today. I insisted that “er indoors TM  went and enjoyed herself, but by the time they’d all driven to Maidstone, parked, done the Prison Island rooms and the golf and had dinner, it would have involved leaving the dogs for far too long. And I was still feeling rather grim; the two-mile dog walk of the morning had worn me out.


With the heavy rain continuing and feeling grotty I settled down with the dogs and spent the afternoon staring at the telly.

I watched the last part of “The Couple Next Door” which was rather good. I won’t give spoilers… unlike Facebook did today for last night’s episode of “Doctor Who”.

I watched “King of Thieves”; a film about a jewel heist starring Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent and quite a few other famous actors. I quite liked it as a lot of it featured places I’d been. I’m funny like that; I like seeing places that I’ve been on the telly.  

I watched “Bronson”; a film about the chap considered to be Britain’s most violent criminal.

I watched the last episode ever of “Only Fools and Horses

I watched the Christmas “Blackadder”.


Normally I’d go stir-crazy sitting on my chuff for so long, but apart from getting up once for a cuppa and for a few (quite a few!) coughing fits, I didn’t move all afternoon.

I suppose I feel a bit better than I did this morning, but I’m still all-in.



4 December 2023 (Monday) - Road Rage



I gave up trying to sleep and got up shortly after five o'clock this morning, made brekkie and watched another episode of "Green Eggs and Ham" which was sadly rather disappointing. I don't think I will bother with the rest of the series.

I had a little look at Facebook. Despite the torrential rain yesterday several people had been out getting real Christmas trees; perhaps the rain had been confined to a very small area down our road?

I opened today’s window on the Advent Calendar, and wondered what to do with today’s model. The wondering took up much of the day.


With time to spare I set off on a pre-work Munzee mission; Points of Interest, joysticks, jewels, crossbows... I capped them all before heading up a very busy motorway. As I drove I listened to the morning news. Sir Kier Starmer has again alienated himself from the rank and file Labour party supporter by singing the praises of Margaret Thatcher.  Love her or loathe her, there's no denying she sorted out a mess when she came to office... even if she did so by stomping over all the little people.

There was an interview with a Ukrainian soldier who claimed the war is going rather badly for them. Anyone who would have volunteered for the Ukrainian army would have done so long ago, and so the standard of recruit they are now getting is leaving quite a bit to be desired, or so it was claimed.

There was reports of an interview with a top American politician who was calling for Israel to ease back on their treatment of the Palestinians; the implication being that Israel is conducting itself in Gaza in such a way that America is fast having to defend the indefensible.

And the Ministry of Defence have got the arse having been told their spending plans are unaffordable. Personally I wouldn't have broadcast that on national radio to absolutely anyone who might be listening, but what do I know.


As I drove the traffic was getting heavier and heavier. I was wondering where it had all come from, and then I found out. There had been an accident on the run-up to junction six. I made the mistake of coming off at that junction...

As I went round the Running Horse roundabout I was nearly tail-ended twice by some chap in a red car who then followed me up Forstal Road (towards Aylesford) not five yards behind me. I pulled over at the first opportunity to let him pass when he dangerously flew in front of me (bashing his car up the kerb). He stormed out of his car, staggered up to my car and started shouting at me about how I had nearly crashed into him twice (even though I was in front of him). When I told him I had no idea what he was talking about he span around (nearly falling over), staggered back to his car and flew off at breakneck speed regardless of the traffic around him.

There are those who've said I should have reported this little road rage to the police. I can't help but think that bearing in mind that the police refused to act on video footage showing “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” 's dad being knocked off of his moped and then run over, they aren't going to do anything at all about today's little unwitnessed altercation.


I carried on into Aylesford to the petrol station where the stuff was six pence a litre cheaper than the last time I'd got any, and then on into work. As I worked “er indoors TM messaged to say the roofer had blown it out today. I can't say I blame him for that. It can't be any fun being up on the roof in the rain, and at the moment the roof is (hopefully) waterproof. I really don't want him opening it up in a downpour.


With work worked I came home. As I do. “er indoors TM went bowling and I settled on the sofa with the dogs and watched the Bob Ross documentary on Netflix. There had been quite the squabble about the show on one of the Bob Ross Facebook groups I follow over the weekend. I can’t see what the argument was all about; from what I could work out (in between falling asleep; it was so tedious) what the late Bob Ross did on telly for many years was the work of a business partnership, and when Bob died his partners carried on taking the profit. As happens with business deals all over the world. It would have been nice for his son to have had a bung… but that wasn’t how the business had been arranged.


I really should have an early night…



5 December 2023 (Tuesday) - Bit Dull



In a novel break with tradition I had a rather good kip last night. When I went up last night I took Morgan with me, and after he’d spent fifteen minutes running laps of the bed (under the duvet at top speed) he settled and went to sleep. I’d rather he charged about before I go to sleep rather than waking me up later.

I might try taking him up early again.


Over brekkie I started watching something new on Netflix. “White Gold” is a comedy set in 1983 following some Essex-based double glazing salesmen. So far it is quite entertaining.

I then had a look at Facebook, and saw something that made me think. An old friend of mine (from childhood days) was posting yet more photos from yet another exotic holiday destination. Someone had commented asking how he is always on holiday and never working. He pointed out that in his line of work he can work remotely, and that when you tot up the cost of renting a house in the UK and having a car and getting shopping and washing your socks, it is actually cheaper to go from one holiday hotel to another than to have a UK home.

Is it?

I don’t know, but it makes you think, doesn’t it?


I opened today’s window on the Advent Calendar, sent out some birthday wishes, then set off to work. I had a quick voom round Ashford Munzing then set off up the motorway.

As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the “infected blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s”. This whole subject boils my piss. The simple fact of the matter is that some people (quite a few!) did contract HIV from blood products imported from America. But the reason that blood came from America was that there weren’t enough UK based donors.

And as for “1970s and 1980s”… the first case of HIV in the UK was reported in 1981.

The implication is that health care professionals were negligent in not knowing the first thing about an unknown disease. It wasn’t that long ago that the public were on the doorstep clapping the NHS like things possessed. Now the knives are coming out…

But this is a rant I’ve done many times before, isn’t it?


While I’m ranting, I’ll have a little whinge about the UK’s immigration policy which was outlined on the radio today. Deliberate government policy is making it more and more difficult for immigrant workers to come to the UK; specifically those willing to do the jobs that Brits demonstrably won’t.

On the other hand those wanting to be fed and housed at the tax-payers’ expense are being welcomed with open arms.

Funny old world…


I got to work and did my bit. We had posh shortbread at tea time. And with my bit done I headed home. I came home to a message from the roofer. He’s hoping to get the roof finished tomorrow.

With the roof (nearly) done, I wonder what needs doing next? The house is old… does it need rewiring? That would be a messy job.


er indoors TM boiled up some sausages for dinner which we devoured whilst watching the Christmas Lego Masters USA celebrity special. It was rather good, but I have no idea who the UK celebrities are in TV shows, let alone the American ones.



6 December 2023 (Wednesday) - Another Cold Day




I had another rather good night, sleeping right through till five o'clock. I was pleased with that. However having woken at five o'clock, I was then awake. I got up, made toast and watched an episode of "White Gold" starring him who was Boycie's son (in "The Green Green Grass") as a golf-playing yuppie.

With telly watched I had a quick look at the Internet. My cousin was posting her Advent Calendar of Christmas memories as she does every year. So many memories of things we used to have and used to do all those years ago. Today she was talking about the brightly coloured fluorescent towelling socks of the early eighties.  Pink, green, yellow... I had them all. And would always wear odd pairs. However today (forty years later) I earned that you were supposed to wear them in matching pairs. Mismatched fluorescent towelling socks were only worn by "Ultra Spazzes".

One lives and learns.


I scraped the ice off of my car and set off to work.  As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the ongoing enquiry into the government's handling of the COVID pandemic. Today the ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to give evidence. Rather than going over his lies (all of which have long been exposed), the chap presenting the news asked if the enquiry has actually unearthed anything that hadn't already been covered on the news. It would seem it hadn't. There was then a little discussion about the whole point of the COVD enquiry. Was it to learn lessons from the mistakes which had (no matter how well-intentioned) been made, or to assign blame?

The general consensus was that there had been a lot of mistakes made, but was it fair to assign them to Boris Johnson. Bearing in mind the chap's general demeanour, had it been fair on him and on the country to have ever put him into a position of authority in the first place?

Democracy - can't beat it !!!


I got to the work's car park and despite a very cold morning I went for a little walk. A geocache I'd hidden not far from work had been reported as missing. It was, so I replaced it. And I needed to cap a QrewZee as part of this month's Munzee Clan War. So I did.

As I was walking I met a woman with a pair of pugs, and spent a couple of minutes fussing them. They made exactly the same squeaking-huffing noises that dear old Sid used to make. Poor old Sid - I miss him.

I would have walked a bit further, but it was cold. I went in to work and had a cuppa, then cracked on with the day. As I worked I pondered on what I'd got out of my Advent Calendar this morning. I had absolutely no idea what the thing was supposed to be; let alone know what to say about it.

Sadly during the mid-afternoon my musings were put on hold. We had sad news - a colleague's pet chicken (Henrietta) had died. She was four years old, which apparently isn't a bad age for a chicken.


I came home to find the roof work was all done. I really should climb up and have a look before the scaffolding goes… if only I wasn’t too old to go climbing up scaffolds.

er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of scran which we washed down with a bottle of plonk… you can’t beat a midweek bottle of plonk.



7 December 2023 (Thursday) - Not On Leave



Usually when I need a tiddle in the night I just roll over and clench. I made the schoolboy error of getting up and going to a wazz at three o'clock last night, and came back to find the wolf pack all snoring in the warm spot I'd vacated. I eventually secured enough bed space in which to sleep, but sadly not enough in which to sleep comfortably.

I got up earlier than I might have done, and as I made toast so Morgan came down for a wazz. If only he'd come down when I'd come down a couple of hours earlier I might have managed to get a bit more of the bed.


I watched another episode of "White Gold". Being set in 1983 it brought back quite a few memories. All the girls had those perms, didn't they? And hooky videos. There were always market stalls and blokes on street corners selling incredibly badly copied VHS cassettes of whatever big movie was in the cinemas at the time. Funny how that never took off with DVDs to the same extent.

I then had a look at the Internet as I do. Quite a lot of the Lego Facebook pages were showing winter village scenes; perhaps I might turn my Lego town into a winter one? Perhaps I might do something with my Lego town - I've not done anything with it for ages.


I opened today’s window of the Advent Calendar and despite the torrential rain I set off to the car. It was where I'd left it three streets away. More and more I'm thinking I should spend a little more on house maintenance, sell the house and get one with off-street parking.

I had a quick Munz mission round Ashford; we achieved our first (of four) monthly goal today. And then I set off up the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were all a-twitter about how the Immigration minister Robert Jenrick has resigned. Regular readers of this drivel may recall my rant of only two days ago about the farcical state of Britain's immigration policy. Perhaps the ex-minister read my rant?

And there was a lot of talk about Boris Johnson's giving evidence to the COVID inquiry. If ever there was an idiot, it is him. Given the state of the UK after Brexit, and then a pandemic, no one would have expected the impossible from any Prime Minister. But had he combed his hair, tidied himself up a bit, and given a couple of uplifting rousing speeches, Boris Johnson could have gone down in history with Churchill. Instead he looked like a mess, and mumbled his way through a shambles which was much of his own making. And now history is judging him as the shambling mess that he was.

If ever anyone blew a golden opportunity…


I went in to Sainsbury's before work to stock up on some Christmas supplies. They've got this thing now where certain items are cheaper if you brandish your Nectar card. Doing so got me seven quid off of a bottle of port and ten quid off of a bottle of Bailey's. The price I paid at the till (using the nectar card) was a quarter less than I would have paid had I not had the card.

Just goes to show, doesn't it?


And so to work. Originally today was to be a day's leave, but what with a dodgy weather forecast and one thing and another I cancelled the leave... and soon wished I hadn't. I won't go into petty trivial details, but today was a classic example of the two hundred and eighty-fifth Rule of Acquisition.  No good deed ever goes unpunished.



8 December 2023 (Friday) - Late Shift



Apparently during the night I asked which dog had jumped off the bed. I have no memory of this, but one of them must have done so as there was a turd by the back door when I came down this morning. I suppose they’d tried to get outside?

I made toast and had a look at Facebook as I do. A friend (from years ago) was again off on another holiday in the sun. I would post about how can they afford it, but as has been pointed out to me, it is probably cheaper to have a week in a Spanish hotel than it is to turn on the heating in the UK…


As I peered into the Internet I heard some noises outside. The scaffolders had arrived to take the scaffolding down. I was pleasantly surprised at how the dogs didn’t kick off; I’ve been rather paranoid about their barking just recently.

As I put my boots on so “er indoors TM got the leads onto the dogs. The scaffolders held fire for a moment so we could get out. Almost directly outside our house was a car stupidly parked taking up two spaces which was clamped for not having paid road tax. That will be there for a week making parking more difficult…


We drove through the fog (and up out of the fog) to Kings Wood. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the poet Benjamin Zephaniah who had died. The chap had once been a guest editor on Radio Four and he’d run the show on that day only presenting good news. The chap was right to do so; I listen to the news most days and for all that wonderful stuff happens, it rarely gets reported.

We got to the woods and had a good walk. Twice we met forestry commission lorries driving in the woods, and both times the dogs came straight to me when called. We met other dogs and they were good.

The only fly in the ointment was I found myself comparing today’s trip with one we might do over the summer. Over the winter Orlestone Woods is a belly-deep swamp so we avoid it. But a trip to Orlestone, a walk, and the drive back takes just over an hour. Today’s round trip to Kings Wood was over an hour and a half, not including the time taken wash the mud off and then clean the bath out.


Bearing in mind I wouldn’t be home till quite late, I posted today’s instalment of the Advent Calendar story, and set off to the Repton centre to have a chat about Dog Club. A few months ago the chap who ran Dog Club couldn't make one session and wanted a volunteer to open up. I volunteered, and having given me the key the chap was in no hurry to take it back. And then he announced that his shifts had all changed and he couldn't make Dog Club any more. And somehow I now seem to be running the early sessions. Many years ago I found myself similarly embroiled in the snake club. A friend at the time made the observation "you can't just be a member, can you?"

He was right... then and now.


I drove on to work and did my bit. As I read my Kindle at tea break I saw a quote which made me smile. I do like my Kindle; I do read a lot. In the fifth book of the "Game of Thrones" series one of the characters says: "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads a book lives only one".

I like that.



9 December 2023 (Saturday) - Another Late Shift



I woke feeling particularly morose this morning; I wish I knew why. I suppose these dark mornings and seemingly constant heavy rain don’t help.

I opened today’s window of the Advent Calendar, made toast, and had a look at the Internet. There’s a Facebook page I help moderate about a series of books. Rather good books. There was talk about having them made into a TV series, and the general consensus was that this would be a bad thing. Why do books have to be made into TV series and films? It rarely (if ever) works well. Most times it happens the TV series and film end up making an entirely different story (as happened with “Foundation” and “Game of Thrones” and pretty much every “James Bond” book). Or they try to follow the books but can’t condense what is in the book into such a short time-frame so just televise the most cinematic bits of the book. And so have just a disjointed series of scenes which mean nothing to anyone who hasn’t read the books. Like they did with “Harry Potter”.


I helped “er indoors TM load up her car, and with her off on her mission I got the dogs into their coats and we drove round to Dog Club. With the awful rain there were only five dogs along (including our three), but with a smaller attendance Treacle had a go at playing with other dogs. Bailey kept instigating games of chase with a bigger dog, and then screaming in terror when she got chased.

We had a good time, but it was rather wet. After twenty minutes we reluctantly gave up.


We came home for hot showers and brekkie. And with the dogs washed and fed I took off wet clothes. I was soaked through to the skin. My pants couldn’t have been wetter had I tiddled them. I stuck the wet stuff into the washing machine and got the Mystery Year contest right on the radio. It was odd not listening to that on the car’s radio.


I slobbed on the sofa with dogs until “er indoors TM returned from her mission and I then set off to work. It was still rather damp as I drove,  and I got progressively more wet as I drove. The driver's seat was still wet from our earlier return from Dog Club.

As I drove up the motorway I listened to my frankly wonderful choice of music, and the MP3 player in the car randomly selected the Electric Light Orchestra's "Concerto for a Rainy Day" as I drove past Lenham.

How apt.

Have you ever listened to the "Concerto for a Rainy Day"? It is the first side of the second LP in the double album "Out of the Blue" and was absolutely spot for my day today. Having started "Standing in the Rain" at Dog Club, I ended up looking out of the works window at a glorious afternoon (Mr Blue Sky!)


I hadn't really been supposed to be working today, but I volunteered to cover a minor disaster. When I've mentioned this before, most people make comments about ignoring the phone and pretending you've something else better to do that day... Most people are also begrudging the striking doctors too, but expect a hospital to be open all day every day. I can't say I dislike my job, but given my time again I would work somewhere that puts up a "Closed" sign from time to time.


Being on a late meant I was rather late home. Over a late dinner we watched today’s episode of Doctor Who in which the new chap took over. To be honest he should have taken over three episodes ago: I really can’t see what bringing David Tennant back was all about.

The new chap gets his first proper outing on Christmas Day…  



10 December 2023 (Sunday) - New Boots, Canterbury, Munzing



I went to bed last night with something of an iffy stomach. I blame the sweet chili wrap I had for lunch on Friday; I’ve been farting like a fruitbat ever since. Assuming of course that fruitbats fart a lot. Do they? – I’ve never got that close to one.

I had a really good night’s sleep. I was licked awake by all three dogs at what seemed like the middle of the night only to find it was five past nine.


I got up and farted quite a bit more. I made some toast in the hope of settling my innards, but as I scoffed it I came over rather light headed.

er indoors TM went off to the monthly brekkie meet-up. I didn’t go. Last time we went Treacle spent the entire time barking. I’m getting paranoid about the noise she might or might not make, so feeling a tad iffy anyway I wasn’t taking any chances.

I posted up today’s instalment of the Advent Calendar, did some CPD, and didn’t have any time to watch telly before “er indoors TM returned.


The plan for today was to walk the dogs on a little Munzee session round Canterbury. Being on pavements we’d avoid the mud, and we’d get an hour’s walk in before the forecast rain hit. Sadly the forecast rain came early, but we got a mile or so’s walking in; Munzing loads of Munzees as we went.

Having had to cut the walk short we popped into “Go Outdoors”. Back in the day when I worked night shifts in Canterbury I used to go into that place before seemingly every night shift. But I’d not been in the place for years. As well as having a nosey around I needed new walking boots. I used to be very good at waxing and polishing my walking boots, but over the last few months I got a tad lax and the leather had actually split. So I got some new boots.

I also got some pickled onion flavoured peanuts too.


We came home where “er indoors TM dropped me and the dogs off before going off shopping. We settled in front of the telly and I watched more “White Gold” as the dogs snored. They’d not had much of an outing, but they were worn out.

er indoors TM returned and we had the pickled onion flavoured peanuts. Sadly they were something of a disappointment. Another disappointment was the children’s service from Canterbury Cathedral that was happening this afternoon. We got to watch it via You-Tube and did so for the simple reason that one of the smaller members of our tribe was singing in the choir. After a while we eventually spotted Bella who (sadly) looked rather miserable. The vicar giving the verbals was something of a let-down too. He was trying to persuade the kids that some fat bishop was actually Santa, and was encouraging the kids to write to the Prime Minister about the recent COP28 climate talks.

It’s been a while since I last watched a church service, and it will be a while before I watch another.


As we watched we got the news that someone had driven a van through “My Boy TM”’s garden fence, demolished it and drove off.


“er indoors TM boiled up a decent bit of scran which we washed down with a bottle of Malbec whilst watching “Taskmaster: New Zealand”. Whilst it passed an otherwise potentially dull half-hour, it isn’t a patch on the UK version.


I’m still not feeling on top form… but that might be the Malbec.



11 December 2023 (Monday) - This n That



I had something of a lie-in today, not getting up until six o'clock. Taking care to to wake anyone I crept downstairs, had a shave, made toast and watched another episode of "White Gold". Set in 1983 it is worth watching if only for the nostalgia. er indoors TM once had a perm like the leading lady's, I had a CB radio like the geek's one, and the soundtrack is rather good.

I then had a quick look at Facebook. The boyfriend of an ex-colleague (who hasn't communicated with me in seven years) was having a birthday today. And there was a squabble on one of the Garden Pond Facebook pages. It is worth following the garden Pond pages on Facebook if only for the way the opinionated blatantly contradict themselves. A few months ago everyone was demanding that everyone else install a drain at the bottom of their pond. Today the very same people were demanding that installing a drain at the bottom of your pond was an incredibly stupid thing to do. The reasons why it was a stupid thing to do were (through an amazing twist of logic) exactly the same reasons why it had been a good thing to do a few months ago.

They let these people vote, you know...


I walked several streets away to where I'd parked my car on Saturday, and then drove back home to get my works ID badge which I'd left at home.

I drove up the motorway listening to the radio as I do. For once Ukraine was back in the news. The UK is giving Ukraine two naval ships and President Biden is keen to keep throwing money at Ukraine even though the American Senate has said a resounding "No" to his plan to give them sixty billion dollars.

Whilst I am in no way advocating Armageddon, I can't help but wonder why the UK and the USA don't just bomb Russia themselves rather than egging on someone else to do so. I am reminded of being in the playground at primary school offering to hold the coat of the smallest child in the class if he would go give the class bully a slap.


Work was surprisingly busy; perhaps had I not spent quite so long swapping my shifts about I might have spent more time on what I was supposed to be doing. But having been given duties for the next few months I then needed to swap out of the Monday nights (when “er indoors TM” is bowling) and the Saturday mornings (Dog Club).

As I alternately swapped shifts and worked so “er indoors TM sent a message. It would seem that during last week's roof maintenance  the nice builder dropped a tile into the garden of not-so-nice-next-door and poggered her window frame. Did he? I'm not for one minute saying that not-so-nice-next-door is claiming he did so as to get a previously damaged window fixed. However her long-gone husband would certainly have done that; I'm sure he did that during the loft conversion of twenty years ago.


With work worked I came home. er indoors TM boiled up dinner and then set off bowling. I posted up today’s installment of the Advent Calendar. This year’s story seems to be a tad vague; but we are almost half-way through. Time flies, eh?

 I really should start putting waterproof dubbin on my new boots… but I’m on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs…



12 December 2023 (Tuesday) - Rostered Day Off



I had hoped for something of a lie-in this morning but that wasn’t happening. er indoors TM got up shortly after seven o’clock. Morgan and Treacle crashed off the bed after her, and Bailey cried because she’s not big enough to jump off the bed on her own.

I came downstairs, had a shave, made toast and had my usual rummage round the Internet. This morning it was rather dull, and that which wasn’t dull was depressing. If people weren’t posting sad things about recently departed dogs they were posting memories of departed husbands and wives. I find that these days I’m getting more and more morose without needing any help.


We got the dogs onto their leads, I put on my new boots, and with “er indoors TM going into the office today I took the dogs up to Kings Wood. We did one of our longer circuits of the wood; nearly four miles. As we walked we saw a couple of other dogs but not much else… apart from quite a bit of mud. Unless we walk the really long walk, the mud is unavoidable. But we avoided the rain. One weather forecast for today gave drizzle all morning. Another gave intermittent showers. The third said a lot without actually committing itself to anything. All were from the BBC.


With walk walked we came home for a warming shower. Even though it wasn’t particularly cold today, the dogs are small and when they get wet they get cold. With the mud washed off and them warmed up they soon settled and slept. I put a load of shirts in to wash, harvested dog dung from the garden, and set about a load of ironing whilst watching a film on Netflix. “Leave the World Behind” was… I hesitate to say “crap” but at two hours and twenty minutes it was probably about two hours too long. Seriously – pretty much nothing happened, and the film just ended in such a way that I really do think the people who made it had a mishap in the cutting room and forgot to add the last scenes.

Once my shirts were out of the washing machine I took the dog bedding out of the back of my car and put that through the washing machine. It was rather grubby and rather damp.


The needle and thread came out for replacing missing buttons, and as I stitched I watched “The Founder”; a film about the chap who saw the original McDonalds burger joint and turned it into a serious money-maker. That was rather good. But for every one person like Ray Krock who made it big, there are hundreds (thousands) who didn’t.


er indoors TM came home and boiled up dinner as I sorted the tumble-tried undercrackers. The poor washing machine hasn’t stopped today.

Unlike me… These rostered days off of mine follow a pattern. A walk round the woods, ironing, sitting on my bum watching telly. So why do I feel so tired?



13 December 2023 (Wednesday) - Tree's Up



The plan for today was to get up promptly and take the dogs to the woods earlier than usual, but after a terrible night I was rather later getting up than I might have been.

I made toast and had my usual look at the internet. Not much had changed overnight, but there was some serious ranting on some of the atheist-related Facebook pages I follow. Here in the UK whether or not you believe in a god really isn’t that much of a thing. But it would certainly seem to be so in America where the righteous and the atheists squabble like cat and dog. But when you get beneath the initial name-calling it would seem that each side is akin to football supporters. Neither side really knows anything about the faiths they do or don’t support; they’ve just seemingly randomly picked a side and decided to hate the other purely because it is the other side.

That really is human nature in action, isn’t it? I’ve seen people meeting for the first time, and the first question asked is “which football team do you support?”. We’re in the third decade of the twenty-first century and still we cling to this sort of tribalism.

I sent out some birthday wishes; a friend was having a birthday today; it would have been good to have caught up. And my father-in-law had his eightieth birthday today.


I took the dogs for a little walk. Not having time to go to the woods we just walked round the block. But round the block was almost a mile (according to my watch), and the sore bit on my heel that developed yesterday is now a blister. I need to keep putting waxy stuff on those new boots.

With walk walked I made us both a cuppa, did some CPD,  posted up today’s Advent adventure (which got its first two “likes” in less than a minute), then got ready for work.


Needing petrol I went to Sainsbury's to get some. I joined the queue and my piss boiled as some old git (actually probably my age) was fannying around, and in between putting petrol in his car, he was in and out of the car like a thing possessed. Eventually a little girl got out of the car and together they went to the kiosk... and immediately I smiled and decided that the two of them could do no wrong.

I drove to the pump in front of his car, filled up, and when I went in to pay I saw the little girl was wanting to examine every single thing in the shop. I grinned at them both, thinking that is exactly what “Darcie Waa Waa TM will be doing in a year or so.


Today I was working at Pembury; I drove through the -hursts and the -dens. Today there was only one set of temporary traffic lights, but as always no one was working on the bit of road they were blocking off. However there was an utter shambles of traffic in Sissinghurst with lorries and workmen swarming all over the road. If ever anywhere needed traffic lights, they did.


I got to work; being (nearly) Christmas the boss had brought in mince pies. Sainsbury's "Taste the Difference" mince pies. All very nice, but about half the size of a mince pie. Each one was certainly less than a mouthful.


And with work done I came home to find “er indoors TM has got a new Christmas tree…



14 December 2023 (Thursday) - Another Rostered Day Off



I slept right through till eight o’clock this morning. It helps when the dogs are settled. I made toast and had a look at the Internet. I saw that another book had been released in a series that I follow. Mind you when I say “book”, pretty much no one at all reads these books. Pretty much everyone listens to someone else reading the story out to them… and everyone on the Facebook page for the series gets rather aggressive whenever anyone comments that books are things you read.


I got the dogs onto their leads and we set off for a little adventure. With the BBC’s weather forecast giving a zero per cent chance of rain we walked through the drizzle to the car, and had to have the windscreen wipers going on our way to the woods.

As we drove there was something on the radio about one of the Roman emperors. But as is so often the case something which could have been really interesting was being killed stone dead by a blah-blah-blah presentation. I switched to singing along to Ivor Biggun songs.

We got to Kings Wood and after half an hour the rain finally stopped. We walked for nearly four miles during which we saw four other people; all of them within five minutes’ walk of the car park. The pups played with one dog we’ve now met a few times; the chap with the dog told us that he is new to the area, and Morgan and Bailey are the only dogs his dog will play with. We also met a nice hippy lady who was brandishing one of those cups of posh coffee that cost a small fortune. I’m not knocking cups of posh coffee that cost a small fortune, but bearing in mind we were a hundred yards from the car park in Kings Wood, where could she have got it from? The closest place must have been Ashford town centre, and surely it would have been stone cold by the time she’d driven it up to the woods?


Home for a cuppa - tea and coffee from the cupboard. As I said, I’m not knocking cups of posh coffee that cost a small fortune but for the price of one of them I can make several cups of coffee at home for a month. We had croissants from the corner shop too. Very nice.

I then emptied rubbish from the shed and took it round to the tip. Much as I like my car, it is at times like tip runs that I miss the Scenic and the Espace if only for their capacity. I had some knacked old shelving to get rid of today. I had to break them all in two so’s they’d fit in the new car. They would have just gone straight into either of my previous three cars.

Thankfully the tip was painless today. So often I go there and find my idiot magnet is going at full power, but not today. Mind you (as always) I did unload with something of a vague sense of guilt. With so many instructions about what goes where, and not chucking cardboard boxes in with the rubbish that the cardboard box is carrying I am paranoid that I’m going to end up on the wrong side of one of the many jobsworths that haunt the tip.

But not today.

I then slobbed on the sofa for the rest of the day dozing through all sorts of drivel on the telly


Meanwhile aliens have pranged on Mars



15 December 2023 (Friday) - Choccies



Yesterday with no alarm set I slept rather well. Last night with an alarm set I had a rather poor night, waking seemingly every twenty minutes or so. I gave up trying to sleep, got up at five o’clock and made toast.

I found myself enthralled with an infomercial for some gadget which makes a smoothie out of pretty much whatever you choose to put into it. There was some (so-called) celebrity advertising it. This woman had been on “Strictly Come Dancing” or “I’m A Celebrity” or one of the myriad of reality TV shows I don’t follow and was famous for having dyed her hair, and was claiming that a major selling point of this machine was that it was ideal for people who like to dye their hair.

That’s a point against it for me.

I watched another episode of “White Gold”, then got ready for work. I took great care to keep very quiet and keep all the lights off as I got ready, and as I was about to walk out of the door so “er indoors TM and the dogs all marched downstairs.


As I drove west-wards to Pembury I listened to the radio for over an hour. There was consternation in the European Union as Hungary have veto-ed the EU’s plans to give the Ukraine a fifty billion Euro bung. Apparently the EU are going to give Ukraine the bung anyway…

And there was talk of arrests in Germany where Hamas supporters were trying to do in some of the Jewish community for no other reason than that they are “the other side”.


Being on the lead-up to Christmas I wanted to take some choccies in to work. I’d taken some in to Maidstone last Friday, and so today some for Pembury. I got most of my shopping from Tesco, but they had sold out of tubs of chocolates.

As I tried to pay for my sandwich at the self-service till so some interfering old harridan (in Tesco uniform) bustled over, snatched every item in turn from my hands and ran them all through the checkout for me. And then took offence when I suggested we went and used a proper till.

I then went to Asda where I couldn’t see any tubs of choccies. I asked two separate members of staff if they had any. Both claimed to have never heard of “Quality Street”, “Celebrations” or “tubs of chocolate”. Eventually I found a chap who showed me where they were (hidden at the back of the shop). I explained about how neither of his colleagues had been able to help. The chap laughed and said that was typical of the sort of people that Asda employed, but was rather evasive as to whether the first two were either genuinely thick or were being deliberately awkward.


Work was work; I had a “low platelets” sort of day (as one does from time to time), and with work worked I came home and had another look at today’s Advent Calendar thingy. Eventually I found something to say about it. Much as I like my little Advent stories, they do strain my brain.


er indoors TM boiled up a rather good curry which we washed down with a bottle of Sainsbury’s claret (is that clar- IT or clar-EY?) whilst watching a film. Lego Scooby-Doo! Haunted Hollywood was rather good.



16 December 2023 (Saturday) - Lazy Day



I slept well I suppose. Better than I have done a few times recently. Over toast I had my usual rummage round the Internet as I do most mornings.

Facebook was much the same as ever. There were quite a few photos of Hastings from years ago being posted. The place has changed so much.

A chap I vaguely knew ten years ago (who regularly pleads poverty) was again bragging about how he drives round in a Tesla. He does this quite a bit, and tends to take the line that “Teslas aren’t as bad as you think they are”, and is for ever making excuses for the faults and issues he finds with his one. Not knowing the first thing about them, he’s rather put me off of ever wanting one.

I was bombarded with adverts for tour-guide-type games which involved spending good money on things for which there are free apps like Trigpointing or Adventure Lab.

And Goodreads (who?) had sent me an email telling me that I had read one book on my Kindle this year. One?


Being Saturday we piled into the car and drove round to Repton. As we drove I totally failed on the “Guess the Lyrics” competition on the radio. “I'm gonna find that girl underneath the mistletoe. We'll kiss by candlelight” wasn’t from Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime.

We got to the Repton Estate and the excited squeaking started. The dogs know when they are going to Dog Club. Last week’s was a bit of a washout, but today we had a great time. Dog Club is one of the highlights of my life; we stand in a field whilst a dozen dogs charge around. It’s far better than it sounds.

All too soon it was time to come home. Having totally failed on the Steve’s “Guess the Lyrics” competition on the radio on the way to Dog Club I did better on the Mystery Year competition on the way home. When did the first load of Doctor Who end? 1989.


We came home, and it wasn’t long before we had a visit. “My Boy TM” and Cheryl popped round. I took the first fruit of my loin into the garden. I’m not keen on how the bog filter currently looks, and I explained my plans for building an expanded bog filter for the pond by digging out the existing one and spending several hundred quid on a rather ambitious project over the next few months. “My Boy TM” explained what a stupid idea it was, and pointed out that I could achieve a far better result far cheaper and with a lot less effort. On reflection I think he’s got a point. What I had in mind would have cost me about four hundred quid. I can probably get a better result and change out of fifty quid with what “My Boy TM” has in mind.


er indoors TM then set off to Westfield for father-in-law’s birthday celebrations. It would have been good to have gone too, but just lately we might have occasionally left the dogs unsupervised a tad too long.

So I spent the afternoon watching drivel on the telly whilst they slept. Usually I’d go stir crazy, but I wasn’t feeling on top form today. Hopefully a bone-idle day has done me some good.



17 December 2023 (Sunday) - Family Xmas Bingo



Last night “er indoors TM came home from the family gathering with a humungous slab of Stilton. I hope she hadn't been hoping that it might last the entire Christmas holiday; I scoffed the lot in twenty minutes. And for all the old wives' tales about not eating cheese before bedtime, I slept like a log through till five o'clock.

I got up, had toast, sparked up Netflix and watched an episode of "Harry Enfield and Chums". Can you believe that show is now over thirty years old? It's stood the test of time better than many of the shows of that time; even if it does date itself by having people still smoking in pubs... or actually being able to afford going in to pubs, come to that.


What with it being far too early on a Sunday morning for anything at all to be happening on Facebook I got ready for work, and set off without disturbing “er indoors TM or the wolf pack.

I set off up the motorway to Maidstone listening to some rather interesting program about ants, and how the average ant is rather "meh", but working together as a colony they can do amazing things... including capturing and enslaving other ants. There was an attempt to draw parallels with humanity.

There was then talk of how Israeli soldiers shot three of their captured hostages who were supposedly waving a white flag. It has to be said that having entered this conflict from the moral high ground and with world opinion initially on their side, the Israelis are doing their utmost to piss on their chips.

And there was a lot of talk about how Baroness Mone looks set to profit from the sixty million quid her company made flogging protective equipment during the pandemic. This *really* boils my piss. Not that she's making money from it, but because this is supposedly news. Are people really this thick? Leaving aside woolly-minded blathering, basically in the UK we have a choice of two political systems:

Socialist (Labour) in which the state provides pretty much everything that anyone might ever need... and you pay for it in high taxes.

Capitalist (Conservative) in which the state sells off pretty much everything that anyone might ever need. Private industries buy them and then you with what you need. At a cost to you and at a profit for them.

I'm not getting into the rights and wrongs of each side; there's good and bad for both schools of thought. But at the moment we live in a (democratically elected!) system in which the state expects pretty much everything that anyone might ever need to be provided by profit-making industries. So let's not act surprised to find out we've got what we voted for. Or didn't we realise what we were voting for? Democracy, eh?


I got to work and did my bit. And with my bit done I came home. Being the last weekend before Christmas we did the Christmas family bingo game by Teams. In the past we used Zoom, but after an hour, Zoom cuts out. So we used Teams, and it too cut out after an hour.

We played eight cards; a row and a full house on each. I won one of the rounds, so was only thirty quid down on the deal. er indoors TM did a quiz after the bingo; I came second to last.


And in closing today here's a little tip for the festive season. Don't chuck any left over Baileys down the drain as it bungs them up. If any of my loyal readers understand the phrase "left over Baileys" could they please explain it to me.



18 December 2023 (Monday) - Guts Ache



I thought I heard new-next-door shouting in the night. Did I? I don't know, but if she was it was nowhere near as bad at the noisy sex noises that previous next-doors used to make. They were all funny the first time but soon became rather tiresome. I wonder if they still do the dirty deed at full volume at half past two in the morning wherever they are now?


Over some toast I watched another episode of "Harry Enfield and Chums"; whatever happened to Harry Enfield? According to Wikipedia he's not done much recently, but then what celebrities do last over forty years?


I set off to work. I was rather surprised to see the corner shop shut at six o'clock as I walked past. Back in the day “My Boy TM” used to be there at six o'clock every morning to get organised for his paper round. But come to think of it I've not seen a paper boy (or girl) for years. Are paper boys (and girls) still a thing?


As I drove to Pembury I found myself weaving in and out of an endless succession of dustbin lorries which had all been parked in such a way to bung up the traffic. I can understand being unlucky with one badly parked dustbin lorry, or even two. But so many that I lost count spread over thirty miles. What was going on this morning?

There was a lot of talk on the radio about wages in the UK. Someone or other was being interviewed who said that the average wage increase in the UK this year was seven point three per cent and then started on about the "inflation proof" jobs such as healthcare and education and much of the public sector. It would seem that an "inflation proof" job is one which doesn't get anything like an average annual wage increase, and consequently no one wants to work in them. It amazed me that this was presented as news.

There was also talk about how the Northern Ireland Assembly still isn't functioning after a hiatus of two years. Bearing in mind that the Democratic Unionist Party are the sticking point here I'd be inclined to let the rest of the Irish parties involved form their own assembly, and if the leaders of this assembly (likely Sinn Fein) plump for independence form the UK then that will save us all a bob or two.


I got to work. I don't mind doing the early shifts at Maidstone, but I have to be up silly-early for early shifts at Pembury, and what with the journey home, I don't get home especially early either. Having left home in the dark, I came home in the dark.

As I got home so my phone beeped. I had a friend request on Facebook from some epically chested bimbo. Or more likely from some sad act pretending to be an epically chested bimbo. I’ve not had quite so many of these lately; I can’t help but wonder just what whoever posts this sort of thing hopes to achieve.

Over the summer after an early shift we’d go to the woods. But this evening was cold and dark, so instead I puzzled over today’s instalment of the Advent Calendar, then fell asleep for an hour or so.


er indoors TM sorted a rather good dinner which we scoffed whilst watching last year’s Christmas “Lego Masters: UK”, and the more I scoffed, the more my stomach became iffy; mind you it hadn’t been right all day.

I might have an early night to see if that might settle my innards…



19 December 2023 (Tuesday) - More Guts Ache



I was up rather early again this morning. My innards still weren’t right. Perhaps that pound of Stilton I scoffed on Saturday night wasn’t sitting right? I watched an episode of “Harry Enfield and Chums", ten had a quick look at the Internet.

Yesterday I mentioned that I had another of those dodgy friend requests on Facebook. This morning I had another one. I hesitate to say that “Goddess Elizabeth” has been generated by an AI, but she does seem to have an extra buttock in a rather odd place.

And I had an email from the nice people at Credit Karma who said my credit rating had gone up eleven points. I have a theory about me credit rating. Having spent loads on getting the roof done, the rating went up. It went up when I bought the car a couple of years ago. Does it go up whenever I spend a load of money?


I set off to work. On the one hand the journey to work was easier than yesterday in that I didn't have to slalom around stupidly parked dustbin lorries all the way. On the other had it was rather scary having a huge lorry from EcoHome Insulation not five yards from my back bumper for several miles. I eventually found a spot where I could pull over to let this lorry pass, and it flew past me at breakneck speed only to get stuck at the next turning where I caught up with it. And then flew off again at breakneck speed only to get stuck at the next junction where I caught up with it again. And so it continued. After ten miles (from Biddenden to the A21) it eventually turned off towards Lamberhurst having got to that roundabout about three seconds faster than I had.


As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the USA is leading an international coalition to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea from pirates. Personally I'd think that having a flotilla of battleships would be counterproductive. If I was a pirate I'd wait until the warships all pissed off before doing any pirating. Surely the best thing to do would be to equip the cargo vessels with torpedoes and companies of marines, and when the unsuspecting pirates show up, blow them out of the water? But what do I know?

There was also an interview with Esther Rantzen. She's really ill, and has joined up with Dignitas; the clinic that helps people to die when their time is up. Personally I think she's done the sensible thing. Having taken two dogs down that route, it's the way I'd like to go myself... but not just yet, eh?


Work was work. I can’t say I dislike my job, but I will say I was glad when it was time to go home today. And then I braved the frankly dreadful journey home. Leaving work a few minutes before sunset I drove home through the dark with only some of the oncoming cars dipping their headlights.


er indoors TM boiled up pizza and garlic bread for dinner. With my stomach finally settled from the weekend’s Stilton I might well have set it off again with the garlic bread.

Have I? We shall find out…



20 December 2023 (Wednesday) - Before the Late Shift



Having been up at five o’clock for the last three days I was making the most of the opportunity of a lie-in. I was having a particularly vivid dream in which “er indoors TM was learning morse code when I finally woke to find she had all the lights off but was taking flash photographs of Bailey. It’s not like we’re short of photos of the dogs, is it?

I got up, opened today’s window of the Advent Calendar then made some toast. I saw a colleague’s grandmother had died overnight. She’d been ill for months and the death wasn’t unexpected, but what a rotten time of year to have your gran die.

My cousin was having a break in London.

I saw a friend was jetting off to Belgium for Christmas

And there was the usual mix of nonsense too.


Ideally I would take the dogs to the woods for a walk in the morning before work, but Orlestone is far too wet in the winter even without the constant downpour of yesterday, and a round trip to Kings Wood would have taken too long, so we just walked round the block. A totally uneventful walk round the block. Uneventful is good.

With walk walked I did “Dog Breakfast” in which Morgan and Bailey scoff theirs as fast as they can whilst Treacle waits. And once they’ve finished she eats hers whilst the pups watch. For her the most important part of brekkie is having an audience.

I had another look at today’s Advent Calender offering, and came up with something to say. I’m not entirely sure that today’s offering wasn’t actually a dog, but it serves the plot for it to be a mouse. Not that I’ve got a plot.


I set off to work. Via “er indoors TM 's car. I had orders from “er indoors TM to take the old baby car seat from her car to the charity shop. I hoiked the thing form her car to mine, and was about to set off when “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” messaged telling me not to take the seat to the charity shop but to bin it .

A dilemma. 

Which orders should I follow?

Daddy’s Little Angel TM” is certainly more scary that “er indoors TM, but I contend with “er indoors TM on a far more regular basis. And she cooks my dinner too. Cooking dinner was the clincher so I went to unload the thing onto the YMCA charity shop in Brookfield Road. The nice lady in the YMCA charity shop in Brookfield Road said they couldn't take second hand car seats because of "elven safety". I thought better of saying it was for babies and not for elves, but took it to the Sue Ryder charity shop in Singleton instead. The nice lady there didn't actually tell me to stick it up my arse, but they made it quite clear that not only did they not want it, no charity shop in the country would want it either. She seemed quite affronted that I should dare to try to foist such an unwanted article onto her lovely charity shop.

I apologized for my discourtesy and told her not to worry, and that I would throw it over a hedge somewhere between Ashford and Tunbridge Wells. Judging by her expression I think she believed me.


I headed off west-wards, enjoying driving in daylight for a change. I drove to Brenchley where there was a virtual geocache that would keep me occupied for a few minutes, and where there wer recycling skips where I might unload the car-seat. I found the virtual geocache easily enough, but where I distinctly remembered there being recycling skips, there was only a car park. I thought better of abandoning the car seat; I'll take it to the tip tomorrow.


As it wasn't that far out of my way I popped into the aquatic shop in Matfield. I've been after a new fish tank for some time; they had something that might be the right size for what I need. Not too tall. Most fish tanks are far too tall. I made a note of the measurements of the thing and planned to have a measure-up when I got home.

Mind you they weren't giving the fish away. Guppies used to be a quid each. Not a fiver each.


I got to work… and the rest of the day was rather dull.



21 December 2023 (Thursday) - A Day's Leave



I slept through till nine o’clock this morning, which was something of a result. Leaving “er indoors TM and the dogs in the pit I got up, made brekkie and had a look at the Internet. Quite a few people were posting ”packed up for Christmas” stuff. Some people really do have ages off work this time of year. There’s no denying that I get time off work, but it really is a day here and a day there.

Quite a few other people (on one of the local Facebook pages) were posting rants about waiting times in the local A&E department, and were being rather judgemental about who should and who shouldn’t go to an A&E department. I can remember hobbling to the A&E department four years ago when I could barely walk, and a whole load of people gave me serious abuse for wasting NHS time.


I got out a tape measure and measured up the space where the fish tank sits. That fish tank I’d seen yesterday wasn’t much wider than the current tank, and was actually shorter. I did right by not buying that tank yesterday but coming home to measure up first.


I checked the weather forecast, and seeing that the drizzle would soon be stopping we got the leads onto the dogs, and we all set off. er indoors TM had booked today off work, and we took the dogs to Kings Wood. One of my geocaches had been reported as being missing.

It was.

It was only a shame that it was the furthest cache from the car park. But replacing it made for a good dog walk; after all that’s why I’ve put all these geocaches in Kings Wood; they make for a good dog walk. Even if today’s walk was a mile and a half longer than our average walk round Kings Wood.

As we walked so the drizzle came and went for the whole time we were there. I need to delete the BBC weather app from my phone and get one which is better. Are there any?


We came home via Perry Court Farm where we got loads of Christmas food shopping. Perhaps a tad more expensive than Tesco, but their stuff is of rather good quality and we were driving past Perry Court anyway.

We also got salted caramel cake. Once home (and with dogs bathed) we had some with a cuppa. Rather good.


As I told the world about today’s Advent Calendar Story, despite having stocked up at Perry Court earlier, “er indoors TM went off to Aldi to get some more bits and bobs. She said it was busy but I’ve since heard that whilst she was in Aldi, cars had been queuing to get into Sainsburys.

With the shops closed for one day (Christmas Day), everyone is preparing for Armageddon.

Whilst she shopped I slobbed on the sofa under sleeping dogs watching “Star Trek” until “er indoors TM returned and boiled up a very good bit of curry.


And in closing, today is the shortest day of the year. For those who want to get technical, the actual solstice is at half past three tomorrow morning, but for all that sunrise is at the same time today and tomorrow, sunset is a minute later tomorrow. Just one minute, but it’s one minute in the right direction.



22 December 2023 (Friday) - This n That



I slept reasonably well, despite “er indoors TM going ballistic in the small hours that she couldn't find Bailey and that she'd searched everywhere for her. Bearing in mind that Bailey was cuddled up with me in bed and I was half asleep I (we) left her to her searching.
I got up when the need to tiddle was too much to resist, and as I was up I made toast and turned on the telly. I caught the end of an episode of "Takeshi's Castle" which is now called "Takeshi's Castle featuring Jonathon Ross". Does it need his name on the title? I suppose this is what being a celebrity is all about.
As I listened to the bin men shouting up the road outside I then had a quick look at the Internet. A friend was whinging on his Facebook feed that his dog had asked to go outside at half past two, and once outside chased a fox round the garden, barking like a thing possessed. I laughed; this sort of thing is funny all the time it is someone else's dog and some distance away. Still, someone else's dog, bin men... they all wake us up.

I got dressed and set off. I navigated my way through the abandoned bins to where I'd parked my car. Yesterday on one of the local Facebook pages I'd seen a post about how you used to give the dustmen a Christmas box back in the day. Back in the day the dustmen would put the bins back properly. I had to hop over the garden wall (not that it's very high) this morning as the discarded bins were blocking up the path.
I drove to the petrol station at Sainsbury's to fuel up for the long weekend. There was already quite a lot of traffic in the car park at quarter to seven, and once I'd got petrol I joined the growing queue in the kiosk to pay. We waited and waited because there was some chap blocking the only open till. He wasn't happy; he was loudly shouting and ranting at a captive audience about the wanton greed of everyone who was out of bed so early this morning. Ironically this chap was in full Sainsbury's uniform.
I considered pointing out that I wasn't out of bed so early by choice. I considered pointing out that only a couple of years ago he would have been standing on the doorstep clapping for me like a demented sealion. But I thought better of doing so. It is always best not to aggravate the idiot element.

As I drove to work the radio was a tad depressing. If there weren't interviews with correspondents in war zones across the world, pundits were giving their sage opinions on the mass shooting that happened in Prague yesterday. Why do people go on these killing sprees? Surely there is no need for the public to have guns?
And then there was an interview with someone or other who was a leading light in the country's hospices. It seems that pretty much every hospice in the country gets two thirds of its income from charity. Apparently this is how the public want it - there is (supposedly) more shame in dying in an NHS-funded hospital than in a charity-funded hospice.

I drove to work behind a Sainsbury's lorry. Not that it is possible to go very fast down the country lanes, my car told me I averaged twenty-seven miles per hour on the journey to work.

I got to work and did my bit. I didn't want to today. I spent much of the morning telling anyone who would listen about the first "last day before Christmas" I ever did at work at the (now demolished) Royal East Sussex Hospital in 1981. Pretty much all of the patients had gone home; there was almost no one in the hospital at all over Christmas back then. The person on the night shift came in at mid-day and we all went down the pub. After a couple of hours heavy drinking we staggered back to work, got in the way for a bit, then set about a bottle of whiskey in one of the offices before getting the bus home about four o'clock.

Happy days.

Sadly today's workload was just like any other day at work. But at mid-morning the boss asked if I could go to Maidstone for the rest of the day. I told her that I would be delighted; by the time I'd said goodbye to everyone at Pembury, driven fifteen miles cross country, found somewhere to park, and then said hello to everyone at Maidstone a couple of hours (or more) would be wasted. I don't think she was impressed. But I set off to Maidstone anyway, singing along to Ivor Biggun songs as I went.
I got to Maidstone to find a pre-Christmas buffet was on the go. I scoffed far too much.
It was a shame that the motorway was closed on the way home. Having averaged twenty-seven miles per hour on the way to work, I averaged twenty miles per hour on the way home. When you consider how much money was spent on this “Operation Brock” shambles and how much inconvenience it has caused, when there is an issue, the motorway is just closed. Someone at the Kent Highways department is demonstrably incompetent and should be sacked. I wouldn’t get away with it, would I? Would you?

Once I finally got home “er indoors TM went shopping. I put some washing in, fed the dogs, and had a few minutes sitting with the dogs. There’s something very relaxing about sitting with the dogs when they are quiet.

There was talk of fish and chips for tea… I hope she’s home soon.



23 December 2023 (Saturday) - A Christmas Dinner



After a relatively good night I got up. Having found a drawing pin on the carpet last night (in the dark) I was rather careful as I stepped about.

I made toast as I looked at a rather dull internet. Not much had happened on Facebook overnight, but I’d had a load of “Found It” logs from someone who had been round the geocaches I’d put out in Kings Wood.

He’d come all the way from Scotland, and openly admitted he’d found a cheat site from which he’d downloaded the final locations rather than doing the puzzles as they were supposed to be done.

I suppose if people want to cheat it is entirely up to them, but this chap has found over fifty thousand geocaches and hidden one. One! And they wonder why the hobby is dying on its arse.


We got the leads on to the dogs and set off to Dog Club where we had a rather good time. The dogs (ours and everyone else’s) had a great time. As they charged around a couple of the young lads who come along showed me what they had been doing over the last few weeks. They’d made a “Top Trumps” game featuring the dogs from Dog Club. The “Morgan” card had a very high score for speed. The “Treacle” card had a very low score for speed, but had a rather high “defence” score.

As we drove home we were rather disappointed that Steve wasn’t on the radio. His stand-in was at best a pale imitation.


We came home, had a cuppa, then set off to Singleton Lake where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we had a rather good walk round the lake and up to the waterfalls, then home for a bit of dinner. We had a rather good bit of dinner. And beer. And port and cheese. It was good to catch up.


After pretty much an entire bottle of port the rest of the day was rather vague…



24 December 2023 (Sunday) - Dull Christmas Eve



I came downstairs this morning to find Bailey waiting for me, together with wall-to-wall dire rear. You’d be surprised how much dire rear a small dog can generate.

I had a little clear-up then set about plunging the bath plug-hole. It gets bunged up with the mud washed from the dogs.

I was exhausted by the time I get to sit down with some toast and have a look at Facebook. This morning several people were wishing the world a Happy Christmas. I saw notices advertising  parties that happened on Friday evening. I saw the same post about some German woman’s cat on half a dozen different Spark-related pages that I follow. And (amazingly) quite a few pubs were posting that today was the last chance for a pint with them. Tomorrow would only be for be customers who had pre-booked, and then they were closing until 8th January. Whilst I understand that people need a break, why not stay open for the time between Christmas and New Year when people may well still be celebrating, and why not close on 8th January?

I downloaded bank statements, got the leads onto the dogs and we went for a walk.


We drove up to Kings Wood where there were fifty people (all dressed as “Where’s Wally”) all with their dogs having a little party with tables and food. Apparently they were a group who regularly go running in the wood with their dogs and were having their Christmas bash.

We walked into the woods and after five minutes stopped. A pair of women were walking up the path toward us with three or four dogs each. All on leads, all pulling in different directions, all barking and snarling. One of the women shouted asking if we might like to give them some space. I didn’t say anything but just did an “about turn”. Pretty much the same thing happened a couple of miles further on when some chap saw us and announced “lead on – again!”.

Mind you we did meet a nice family and their small dog, and they seemed amazed (and incredibly grateful) when I offered their little dog a treat.


With walk walked we got back to the car with something of a sense of relief. Usually we walk the woods mid-week and if we see more than two other dog walkers then that is a lot. Today we must have seen over a dozen other groups… but all within half a mile of the car park and on the main tracks.


Once home I washed the mud from three bellies, and the fox poo from Bailey, then looked at those bank statements I’d downloaded earlier. Being something of a miser I account for every penny I spend… and sometimes it turns out that I don’t spend as much as I think. The fifty quid’s worth of clothing I bought from Peacock’s last June has never appeared on any statement. Neither has an e-book I bought from Amazon in October. In the past I’ve had tank-fuls of petrol and pub bar bills not coming through either.

It's all about the little victories…

My Boy TM” and Cheryl popped round with Christmas pressies and stayed for a while, then I posted up the last episode of this year’s Advent Calendar, had a shower and went to bed for the afternoon.


I slept for a couple of hours until “er indoors TM returned with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM. They are here for Christmas…  I’m off to work.



25 December 2023 (Monday) - Quiet Christmas Day



The first ever Christmas Eve Night I worked was in 1985 when I had one blood sample all night long. Last night I had forty-eight blood counts, thirty-four coagulation investigations, one blood group to perform and one unit of platelets to issue. I wouldn’t say it was busy, but the work remained constant.

The roads were quiet coming home, but not as quiet as that Christmas morning in 1985 when my dad collected me at nine o’clock and we only saw six other cars on the road as we drove from Ashford to Hastings.


I got home to find everyone still in bed. Once I’d showered and shaved I dozed on the sofa for an hour until everyone else was up. “Darcie Waa Waa TM had been restless last night. We opened pressies, and had another kip whilst “er indoors TM boiled up dinner, then had a rather good dinner, then another kip, the scoffed some more…


That was how today went. A rather subdued day with scoffing interspersed by having a kip. We scoffed a lot and had several kips.

A rather good Christmas… I’m pleased “er indoors TM” liked her pressie.



26 December 2023 (Boxing Day) - Skid Markz



Even though I’d done little but sleep yesterday I slept through last night. er indoors TM cooked up bacon rolls, and leaving her under the tender care of “Darcie Waa Waa TM (or was it the other way round?), “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and I set off to Folkestone (once we’d found where she’d left her door key!). We collected whatever it was she’d left behind, then went to Asda for nappies. Parking took some doing; some idiot woman was inches from my back bumper as I drove round and round the car park; I had to tell her to back off. She stared at me as though I was talking some foreign language. I pointed out the obvious; I couldn’t park my car because she was giving me no space. The sooner I could park, the sooner she could park. Mind you I’d driven past several spaces that she hadn’t stopped off to park in. I think she was a bit “special”.

Asda was heaving; so many people buying so much stuff. And with nappies bought we collected “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and came home. Eventually. Ashford was gridlocked. The crowds in Folkestone’s Asda were nothing compared to the swarms trying to get into the Outlet centre.


We got home, and were soon joined by “My Boy TM”, Cheryl and Lacey. We had a rather good bit of dinner, then played “Skid Markz”; a rather good board game based on dogs dragging their bums round the carpet (as dogs do). Then we played cards… you know… that game we play at Christmas with twos, sevens, nines and tens?


All too soon the day had rushed away, and “My Boy TM” and his entourage had to set off. As “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” dozed on the sofa, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” finally got to turn the telly on, and we watched other people playing “Geometry Dash”; an odd video game in which a strange shape alternately collides into some objects and avoids others for no apparent reason.

Darcie Waa Waa TM sat on the kitchen floor. Despite having acquired a small fortune in pressies she was happy stacking the dog food bowls.


I had an early night… I was worn out with it all…



27 December (Wednesday) - Back to Work



I went to bed silly early last night. Leaving “er indoors TM and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” watching “Geometry Dash” I went to bed at ten o’clock feeling all-in. I slept for an hour or so, then was mobbed by dogs who were incredibly excited as they hadn’t seen me for an hour or so. After an age they all settled, then “er indoors TM came to bed and disturbed everyone as she fought for bed space. In between snoring, fidgeting dogs and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” going to the loo, I saw every hour of the night, and when I wasn’t wide awake I had several vivid dreams in which I had been drafted back to work at the Kent and Canterbury hospital because “only a special sort of person can put up with it there”!

At three o’clock I had a stroke of genius. In the past when restless I’ve got up and done something, then gone back to bed and slept. I got up and had a very early shave then went back to bed.

That didn’t work.


I got up properly, made toast, and picked up my lap-top. “Someone” (“Darcie Waa Waa TM” !) had drawn all over it in crayons. At least it was all over the outside and not on the screen, eh?

Despite the artwork (!) the lap-top worked fine, and I tuned into a rather dull Internet. A friend was having his fortieth birthday today. Forty? I would have thought older. I blame the beards everyone sports these days.

Three was a “discussion” about blanket weed on one of the pond groups I follow. Everyone was queuing up to offer contradictory opinions and to rubbish everything that anyone else was saying.

Other than that, not a lot else was happening, so I got dressed and ready for work.


The motorway was rather busy as I drove to work. I must have coincided getting onto the motorway with a ferry having unloaded; again there were loads of lorries slowly overtaking each other. And having overtaken then going slower than the lorry they'd overtaken forcing that one to then overtake.

Not having heard the news for five days I wondered if I had missed much. Sadly today the morning news program had decided against broadcasting any news. Instead they had wheeled on James May as a guest editor. It was duller than usual, and that's saying something.

There was an interview with the Minister for Transport who was being asked to guess and speculate about how driverless cars will operate in the UK when they are brought in (supposedly) in two years’ time. It could have been interesting had the Minister had anything to say, but all he could do was make spur-of-the-moment guesses on "what-if" questions that an eight-year-old might have posed.

And there was about fifteen minutes of utter drivel in which everything good in the country was claimed to be because of tea, and all the evils of the world were down to coffee.

Personally I maintain that tea drinkers boil my piss purely because they don't actually drink the stuff. Give someone a cup of coffee, and they will drink it. Give someone a cup of tea and they will have (at most) two sips and leave the rest in the cup to get cold and be thrown away half an hour later. Why don't tea drinkers have the stuff out of thimbles?  After all they are only going to drink one thimble-full, aren't they...

Tell me you've ever drunk more than a quarter of a cup of tea...


I got to work and in between doing work read my Kindle. Having finished the last of the "Game of Thrones" books in the small hours of Christmas Day I started on a new e-book this morning. Written by a chap I used to know, it hasn't really started well. Perhaps I'm being mean, but the claims in the book's foreword of being scientifically accurate don't really sit well with a 1950s-space-war-sci-fi-style story. Particularly when a lot of the story (so far) isn't particularly scientifically accurate.  And it does rather stretch credulity when (within minutes of the book starting) our heroes are boarded by space pirates and left for dead in a wrecked space ship... just next door to a space junk yard full of spare space ship parts...

Mind you, bearing in mind that Amazon never actually charged me for the e-book, I can't complain too much.


With work done I came home through the wind and rain. During the day “er indoors TM had taken “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and the grandchildren home. For all that the house was rather peaceful, it did seem rather empty. er indoors TM boiled up the last of the leftovers int a very good curry which we washed down with some of the box of plonk we’d got in for Christmas. As we scoffed we watched the Christmas episode of “Doctor Who”. Having been rather unimpressed with the three episodes featuring the short-lived return of David Tennant, this episode was rather good. Such a shame we’ve got to wait until May to see more of the new Doctor…



28 December 2023 (Thursday) - Missing Mum



I woke in dire need of the loo at three o'clock to face a dilemma. Should I lie in bed bursting for a tiddle but with some bed space, or should I go for a tiddle and give up all the bed space I'd currently got? I went for the tiddle, and came back and had a pitched battle to get just enough space on which to lie whilst two small dogs fidgetted trying to make themselves comfortable in a rather huge space that they would not give up, and for which I would have been incredibly grateful.

I didn't really get back to sleep after that.


I got up perhaps earlier than I might have done, made toast, and watched another episode of "Harry Enfield and Chums". It was entertaining enough for six o'clock in the morning.

I then had a look at Facebook and took a deep breath. So many people were posting those "not knowing what day of the week it was between Christmas and New Year" memes. I knew very well what day of the week it was... the second day back at work after Christmas.

As I've said before if I had my time again I'd not work in a hospital.


I set off to work through a very dark, wet and windy morning. Mind you, with tornados in Manchester and floods and storms in Scotland I think I got off lightly.

Again the radio's morning news program had a guest editor today. Ellie Goulding (I had to look her up) was pushing the Green agenda this morning. She started off talking about how travelling musicians are making the effort to be environmentally friendly, as an example of this she claimed that nowadays bands use the stages that are already at various venues. This was presented as being rather revolutionary; apparently in the past when on tour, bands would take their own stage with them. I thought this was laughably ridiculous, but thirty seconds on Google showed how wrong I was. Bands (U2 for example) really did drag their own stage round the country with them when they were touring.

There was then an interview with someone or other that Ms Goulding said was "an inspiration". I found her rather patronising. I'm not sure who this woman was. She was (and presumably still is) something big in the environmentalist lobby and she was banging on about how good it is that musicians and other celebrities are pushing the Green agenda because (so she implied) non-musicians and non-celebrities don't have the sense God gave a half-wit, and need to be told what to think, and need to be told what is good for them(!)


Work was work but being on an early shift was something of a result. I came home through the heavy rain to find “er indoors TM having a bit of a tidy-up. I suspect her having a tidy-up means I will be soon having a tip run.

She then set off shopping; I took the opportunity to load both dishwasher and washing machine and to settle on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs and finish that e-book I started yesterday. Usually an e-book takes me a couple of weeks to finish, not a couple of days.


er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of steak for dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Taskmaster: New Zealand” which was rather amusing. I’m going to have an early night now… I have a theory…

I wake up before three o’clock most mornings regardless of when I go to bed. So if I go to bed earlier I might get more kip. I could then get up and watch telly then.


And in closing, today would have been my mum’s eighty-eighth birthday. It’s nearly three years since she died. I can’t claim I was particularly close to her, but she was my mum… You don’t realise that you should make the most of the time you have until it’s too late.



29 December 2023 (Friday) - A Birthday



Last night I had a brilliant idea for getting a decent night’s sleep. Sadly it went the way of most of my brilliant ideas. I went to bed, slept like a log and woke busting for a tiddle at one o’clock. I came downstairs for that tiddle. er indoors TM and the dogs were still up doing a jigsaw puzzle (“er indoors TM” was jigsaw-ing, not the dogs). The dogs then charged upstairs and I charged after them in a race to secure bed space. I got some, and after a succession of vivid dreams in which I’d been drafted to be the Scout Association’s ambassador to the Open University (it was rather scary!) I woke at half past five with something of a backache.


I made toast and watched the last episode of “Harry Enfield and Chums”. With that watched I now need to find something else to amuse me in the mornings. Watching telly isn’t as easy as you might think. Back in the day with only three channels you just switched the thing on and stared at it. Nowadays with a thousand channels, catch-up TV, recordings and endless streaming services I am totally spoiled for choice, and have such trouble making my mind up.

With nothing much happening on Facebook (for once) and no emails of note I had a quick look at my Munzee app. Overnight our clan had completed the third of our monthly challenges, and all that remains for us to hit our final target is for Fishgirl to fill a second Qrate. Go Fishgirl !!! 

(There’s never a dull moment in Munzee).


I set off to work; the bin men were conspicuous by their absence this morning. I drove off... and did an immediate emergency stop to avoid colliding with some idiot on a bike. He started to get lippy; I told him in no uncertain terms that the moment he had a light on his bike and he wasn't dressed all in black in the dark would be the moment he could say anything at all. He cycled off muttering.


The guest editor on this morning's radio news program was Andrew Malkinson who spent nineteen years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

Unlike the guest editors of the last couple of days, this chap put some rather interesting content on the radio this morning including an interview with the chap who'd been his tutor on the Open University degree he did whilst he'd been banged up. Mr Malkinson made the observation that for all that "the system" encouraged him to study, the individual guards in the prison made it quite clear that they didn't like him studying and made it incredibly difficult for him to do so. This made me think...  Why were Mr Malkinson's guards resentful of his getting to do a degree? He said that doing a degree gave him something to do whilst locked in a cell for hours at a time every day. If I was him I would be naming and shaming those who'd been troublesome to him.

This was followed by a rather interesting article in which Mr Malkinson said he felt no malice for his accuser. The woman who'd accused him of rape had picked him out of an identity parade. Bearing in mind she said she was looking for someone with a hairless chest, no tattoos and a major scratch across his face (Mr Malkinson had chest hair, prominent tattoos on his forearms and no scratches) and who was three inches shorter than Mr Malkinson, I'd be suing her along with the police and state.


Work was work. I spent a little while with one of my more recently qualified colleagues looking for the rather badly-named "Green Crystals of Death"... Sadly these crystals were first identified in extremely ill people, and the name has stuck to the dismay of pretty much everyone in medical circles.


At tea break I started another e-book, the latest from a favourite sci-fi author of mine. Peter Cawdron specialises in creating plausible well-rounded characters and putting them into "what-if" situations. For example, given that an alien spaceship visited Earth, we all know that the Americans, Russians and Chinese would be charging off up there trying to get ahead of each other... but what would the aliens make of seeing three competing ships being launched to go say "hello"?

If you are ever at a loose end, download one of his e-books (especially anything from his "First Contact" series). They are rather good.


With work done I came home (as most people do). er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and as we scoffed it we watched more “Taskmaster: New Zealand”. Only two more episodes of that left… and then we start the second season. There’s four in total.


Oh – and today is the pups’ second birthday. Does then mean they aren’t puppies any moreApparently so…



30 December 2023 (Saturday) - Another Birthday



And then some nights the dogs curl up and stay settled and everyone gets a good night. I slept right through until the alarm went off at half past seven this morning.

I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Today’s on-line squabbles were about abandoned supermarket trolleys and how rude it is for people to write descriptions of geocaches in the language of the country in which they are in (!). And then “er indoors TM laid an egg as her toast burned, and she cast aspersions at the last person to use the toaster. Toasters boil my piss. They have two settings; “lightly warm the bread” and “incinerate”. The trick is to watch them like a pork (as “My Boy TM” used to say) and sprong the toast out manually when you think it is ready… because you know the toaster will stuff it up if left to its own devices.


With my arse kicked we got ready for the morning. As we drove over to Repton so Steve was on the radio doing the “Guess the Lyrics” competition. When we tuned in, only one person had got it right. “Right on the target but wide of the mark. What I thought was fire was only the spark”. I got it right away, and was incredibly smug as “er indoors TM recognized it but couldn’t place it. (ABC – Poison Arrow)

We went on to dog club. Attendance was down today; I suspect most people thought we were closed for Christmas. But we had a great time; the dogs certainly did.

As we drove home we listened to the radio again, and I got the mystery year right… 1972. Go me!!


Once home I emptied the dog club collection pot. We probably had as much money as we should have had. I’m not going to collect it from each and every person; I’m just going to put out the pot and trust people to pay. And several people pay by text or direct transfer anyway. I pocketed the cash and paid an equivalent amount into the Repton Community Trust’s bank account. I’m happy with the arrangement. I don’t use much cash anyway, and this way I won’t need to go to the bank every couple of months.

And then my phone pinged. Fishgirl had opened her qrate (as Fishgirls do) and our Munzee Clan had got our target for the month.


I loaded the baby seat into the car (well, “er indoors TM” did) and drove to Folkestone to collect “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM (“Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” had a better offer).  “My Boy TM” and Cheryl soon joined us and my brother and his branch of the tribe weren’t far behind. It was my brother’s birthday today and we were having a little family get-together. er indoors TM put on a very good spread and we all scoffed and drank.

I took a few photos during the afternoon, but things definitely got more and more vague as the afternoon went on. I can remember saying goodbye to everyone… and suddenly it was nine o’clock in the evening and I woke up underneath a pile of dogs.

I’ve got a bit of a headache…



31 December 2023 (Sunday) - New Year's Eve



I eventually emerged from my pit shortly after nine o’clock this morning. I made toast, and started reading the New Year’s Honours List. When I was a lad I wanted to do something with my life; something worthwhile that would be rewarded with a medal from Buckingham Palace. Had I done so I would probably be giving that medal back this morning. Whilst some of the recipients have done sterling work for various charities, this year some medals and knighthoods seem to have been given out for simply doing the job for which the recipients are already paid (and probably overpaid if truth be told), or for sucking up to the Prime Minister.

I suppose those who give out the medals are restricted by the nominations they get… if the decent people who deserve the medals don’t get nominated, they won’t get recognition. I blame myself; I really do. I first ranted about the country’s farcical honours system seventeen years ago on January 4th 2007, but I *still* haven’t nominated anyone myself. If anyone fancies nominating me for a lifetime of blood testing, or for services to Kentish Geocaching or for opening the gate at Dog Club, now’s your chance…


I spent a few minutes putting the finishing touches to next year’s birthday video. For some reason “TUUUBE!!!!” (as “Darcie Waa Waa TM” calls You-Tube) wanted to post the video as a “short” rather than as a video. Eventually I sorted it to appear as as I wanted it to appear. I won’t post a link to it… it will be a nice surprise on your birthday.


Seeing a rather bright morning we got the leads onto the dogs and drove over to Godinton for a little geo-adventure. There was a geo-souvenir to be had if you logged a find on a geocache today. We parked up a hundred yards from our target, walked the dogs down the road, and just as I found our quarry so the heavens opened. I quickly did the secret rituals, then hurried back to the car.

We drove round to Bybrook Barn Garden Centre for a little look-see. I wanted to check out the saxifrage (for the next pond project) and “er indoors TM wanted to see what craft bits were in the sale. As we shopped some old biddy was huffing and glaring at me. There was a puddle of dog pee by one of the stands. Bearing in mind I’d deliberately kept the dogs on short leads so that they wouldn’t piddle up things I think they were innocent. But had the old woman watched them peeing when I’d not been looking? Possibly. If so I wish she’d told me rather than just glaring and then hurrying off when I caught her eye.

As we walked out so I got us croissants from the bakery stall that sets up outside the garden centre.

Just as we got to the car so my phone pinged. A message from the boss. She was letting me know that a colleague’s husband dropped dead yesterday. The chap was in his late thirties and with no prior warnings or signs he had a massive heart attack.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?


We got home just as the torrential rain stopped, and had those croissants with a cuppa. They were nice… but at three quid a croissant I would hope that they were. That little bakery stall doesn’t give the things away.

I then had a little sort-out of the DVDs. A few weeks ago I mentioned that several seemed to be missing. er indoors TM found a box of DVDs, and having got all the DVD onto the shelves in alphabetical order I had to fit another fifty in, and there’s still some missing.

I then built a Lego set that “er indoors TM had got me for Christmas, and popped down the road to Beijing House to get dinner. The set meal for two was rather good; if far too much for us. I will certainly go back there again, if only to sayHappy Weekend” to the nice lady behind the till who was wishing everyone Happy Weekend”.


In the past on New Year’s Eve we’ve all gone down to Jose and Maria’s for the evening, but since COVID we’ve taken to having virtual meet-ups, and several of us tuned in to a Zoom meet for the evening. Spanish New Year with the grapes at eleven o’clock (UK time), a quiz… it was good to catch up.

We really should do that more often…


I suppose that what with the year coming to an end I should stop and reflect a little. Looking back over the year it strikes me that this last year has been a tad dull compared to some… or am I looking further back with rose-coloured glasses? Keeping a diary like this means I have some record of what I’ve been up to.


Sadly the Lego club which started in late 2022 died a death early this year. Looking back the club was dealt a death blow when the parents of the brat element were told the idea was to build Lego, not to run round constantly screaming, and the move from Tuesday evenings in a Guide hut to Saturdays in a gaming shop finished it off.

And there’s no denying that geocaching, the mainstay of the last ten years, is seemingly in something of a (probably terminal) decline. I found my first thousand geocaches in just under five months; my most recent thousand have taken over two and a half years. Sadly fewer and fewer people are hiding the things these days. But we’ve had a few geo-walks this year (including several on a rather good holiday in East Anglia over the summer). I’ve been to seven geo-meets this year including a particularly good one on the far east of the county over the summer and one I staged myself, and I’ve contributed a lot to the hobby this year hiding over a hundred of the things in Kings Wood.


As the grandchildren get older, we’ve been doing quite a bit of family stuff. A good day at Maidstone’s “Prison Island”, a good day at Hastings’ crazy golf. Two bingo parties; one in a family garden and one via Microsoft Teams. And a very good birthday session for my brother.

Rather sadly we sold Dad’s house, but with the proceeds we got our back room’s dodgy plastering sorted and got some long overdue roof maintenance done.


I’ve been busy in the garden. Having borrowed a leaf blower (and had great fun with it) I’ve bought one of my own. I’ve replaced the box pond filters with a pressure filter and turned the splash pool into a bog filter, and lifted and re-set the stepping stones which go up the lawn.

Also in the garden we re-started the tradition of a summer garden party; a tradition which stopped with the COVID pandemic.

And talking of COVID, I had a week off sick with it.


I’ve renewed my membership of the Friends of Kings Wood and walked up there with the dogs a lot this year. And Dog Club is still going every Saturday morning.


Looking forward I’m planning to semi-retire at the end of February… I’ve a vague idea to start monthly mid-week dog club walks. I’ve big plans for the pond, and for the garden…

I’m hoping for a good new year. Will it be a good one? Time will tell; it always does.