1 February 2023 (Wednesday) - A Poggered Cordyline
Last night I am reliably informed that “er indoors TM” made a point of making sure that Treacle got onto the bed as quietly as a quiet thing, and of ensuring she didn’t stomp all round the bed. Consequently I stayed asleep until after five o’clock this morning when the backache finally woke me. I then dozed on and off until a cold wet Bailey-sized nose shoved itself into my armpit at seven o’clock.
I got up, and being the first of the month I had a shave with a new razor blade, then made toast and had a look at the Internet. There was quite the squabble kicking off locally. Someone locally had run over a dog and was trying to get the dog’s owners to pay for the damage done to the car. Opinion was divided into two schools of thought; there were those who felt sorry for the dog and its owners, and there were those who I don’t think I like very much.
I then sent out birthday wishes to those having a birthday today, leaded up the dogs and we went for a walk.
We didn’t go far today, really. Yesterday I’d come home to find one of those “we tried to deliver” slips left on the doormat by the postman. In the past I’ve found that they aren’t so much “we tried to deliver” as “we couldn’t be arsed to knock on the door” but to be fair we had been out when postie called yesterday. So today we walked up to the collection office to get the parcel. The walk there was relatively uneventful; mind you a lot of people did cross the road or back up against the walls in terror as we passed. Are the dogs *that* scary? They aren’t the biggest or scariest, are they? Or is it me?
We got to the collection office and got the parcel and headed home. As we came home the puppies had woofing fits at two other dogs. I blame the leads. When all the dogs are all off of the leads they greet other and have a little game. When all the dogs are all on the leads it is one big shouting match.
We came home past Brian’s house… I say “Brian’s house”, “where Brian used to live” is a more accurate description. But bearing in mind he did a runner last June I was rather amazed to see the disabled parking signs still up.
Once home I harvested a crop of dog dung from the garden. As I pootled I saw that my cordyline was in a rather sorry state. I had a look on-line and found as many opinions as there were people to give them. I asked on Facebook and found that maybe I should have covered the thing up in the autumn. Mind you “My Boy TM” says his has gone the same way. And he is the family font of knowledge on all things horticultural now Dad’s gone.I shall leave it until the weather chirps up in the spring and hope for the best. If all else fails I will give it a serious pruning; that has worked wonder with other ailing plants.
I spent a few minutes doing some of my current Coursera course, emptied the dishwasher, then watched some telly before settling the dogs and setting off in the general direction of work.
I stopped off at the co-op to get a sandwich. Every time there I end up wishing I hadn't. The parking is an absolute nightmare, and the place is full of normal people swarming. That isn't normal people "shopping", or "wandering about" or "blindly blundering". People in that shop really do swarm.
I tried the radio; there wasn't much on which was worth listening so I sang along to "Ivor Biggun" as I drove west-wards, making far better time that I did yesterday. I'm not sure about the first part of my journey, but the bit from the Lamberhurst roundabout which took me twenty-five minutes yesterday only took nine minutes today. That's the advantage of going to work later.
Having done that which I couldn't avoid I made better time coming home as well, but with the best will in the world, after a late shift at Pembury I'm not going to get home before ten o'clock at the earliest.
2 February 2023 (Thursday) - A Friend Request
Treacle was again brought to bed last night under strict supervision and again I wasn’t woken ridiculously early. I was eventually woken about six o’clock by an odd sound which was either Treacle growling or “er indoors TM” snoring. I poked both to be sure and went back to sleep.
I had my usual mooch round the Internet as I scoffed toast, and was rather surprised to see a woman with whom I used to work had announced on Facebook that she was retiring. She claimed to be retiring after thirty-one years of work having started at age eighteen. Leaving aside the fact that I always suspected she was the same age as me (if not older!), how can anyone in an NHS job afford to retire aged less than fifty? Presumably she made sound investments over the years? Something I might have done?
I had two friend requests on Facebook this morning. Both from young ladies, but one had substantially more clothes on that the other. The clothed one made me wonder why she was sending a friend request. Two of the people on her friends list had one mutual friend with me; someone with whom I used to work twelve years ago; a rather tenuous connection? The more “natural” one (pictured above; claiming to be called “Joe”) should have known better.
I took the dogs round the block for a quick walk. We didn’t go far. In a few months we’ll be going back to Orlestone before the late shifts, but right now the place is just a swamp.
As we walked I continued something I started yesterday. Every time we cross the road Treacle knows to sit before we step off the kerb. I had hoped the puppies would have started to copy her, but they hadn’t, so yesterday I was making them sit before we crossed any road. There is still a long way to go, but Morgan is beginning to get the hang of it.
With walk walked we came home and did “sit” to have our leads taken off, then I set the washing machine going as I watched more “Star Trek: Discovery”, then wrote up a little CPD.
With the dogs settled I set off on a little mission before work. The parcel that I collected from the post office's collection depot yesterday contained the latest bits I need for my Lego pirate ship project, but I also needed some black yard/thread/string stuff for the rigging over the sails. I knew of a haberdashery shop in Willesborough (just up the road from where the snake shop used to be), so I went there only to find it had closed down years ago. Ho hum...
As I was in the area I went to the Willesborough co-op. Am I being over-sensitive in thinking that when serving a customer (i.e. taking my money) the old bat behind the till shouldn't carry on squawking at her cronies as though I wasn't there? Needless to say I won't be going back there in a hurry.
I drove round to Hobbycraft hoping they might have some black yard/thread/string stuff. The first assistant I asked wasn't already squawking with cronies, but she was equally disinterested. She told me they might have some up the back of the shop, and (rather rudely) carried on with what she was doing.
With time running out I went up toward the back of the shop and found another assistant who was incredibly helpful. After ten minutes we got some stuff that should do the trick.
And then I headed off to Pembury singing along to "Ivor Biggun". Even though it wasn't quite mid-day, as is so often the way on a late shift, the best bit of the day was done by mid day.
All the rest of today was rather dull…
3 February 2023 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
As I peered into Facebook this morning I saw I had yet another friend request from another rather dubious young lady. I’ve now created an album on Facebook into which I am going to put pictures of these people, and a description of their antics. I won’t put up any links they send me. One thing I have established is that it is quite acceptable for them to advertise their filth, but my posting their link when flagging it to the Facebook Feds contravenes Facebook’s so-called “community standards”.
I walked the dogs round the block, then settled in front of the telly and watched “Star Trek: Discovery”. As we watched so there was a knock at the door. The bits for my CPAP machine had arrived. But they had taken longer to arrive from Canterbury than Lego had taken to get from Chicago earlier in the week.
With the puppies settled I took Treacle to the vet for her annual check-up and vaccinations. She wasn’t at all keen on it.
The vet took an age going at her chest with his stethoscope, and eventually concluded that he wasn’t sure that she didn’t have a chest murmur, but said it was nothing to worry about. He also said she needs proper teeth brushing and should see the nutritionist for “weight control dog food”, but other than that she was in good shape for a dog of her age.
I dropped Treacle back at home then drove down to Folkestone where I spent five minutes Munzing. What with today being the start of the Clan War I really wanted to get a Qrate. I got two. And then I supervised “Darcie Waa Waa TM” whilst “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had a driving lesson. Mind you when I say “supervised” I really mean “got slept on”. She was asleep the entire time.
There was talk of McDonalds after “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” got home from school, but I gave that a miss, headed home, collected the pups and took them up to Kings Wood where we walked our usual circuit. We had a good walk; Bailey disappeared at one point, but I gave three quick blasts on the whistle and she came running.
There was an odd incident just after the half-way point. Morgan started barking; there was a chap and his dog about fifty yards behind us. With a long straight path we would have seen them coming from quite a way away. They weren’t walking very fast, and there were no other footpaths from which they might have appeared. So how did they creep up on us so fast? After a couple of minutes I turned round expecting to see them about to overtake us, and they weren’t there any more. There were no footpaths off of the track we were on. Had they decided to stomp through the woods we would have heard them. Where had they gone?
What was that all about? Had we seen a pair of ghosts?
Equally odd was something we saw when we were just about three-quarters of the way round. About half a mile from the two car parks was a rather large pile of rubbish which had been fly-tipped. Bearing in mind the vehicular access to the place is only open to those with keys, someone had presumably carried all the rubbish about a mile into the wood.
Why would anyone do that ?
We came home and settled in front of the telly. With the puppies somewhat subdued I took a photo to send to the nice lady from whom we got them. I send her little “pupdates” from time to time. As the dogs settled and snored I made myself comfortable watching drivel on UK Gold… “er indoors TM” woke us up when she came home.
She then boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching more “Junior Bake Off”; a good show, but (just occasionally) you can see it gets a little too much for the contestants. They are only little kids…
Today was a day off – I’m worn out.
4 February 2023 (Saturday) - Early Shift
Last night Treacle got to bed before “er indoors TM” could take a firm line, and she made a point of stomping all over the show and trying to shove me out of the warm spot. When I say "she made a point of stomping all over the show" that was Treacle. “er indoors TM” just fought with her and told her off and generally made a racket.
Finding myself wide awake at one o'clock I then lay awake for much of the night. The new CPAP attachment giving me a sore nose didn't help much either.
I eventually got up just after five o'clock and took the puppies outside. Again there were several lights on in houses round and about. So many people are up and about far too early.
As the puppies mobbed “er indoors TM” I scoffed toast whist watching telly, then had a quick look at the Internet. It was still there. On one of the groups I follow there was a religious argument kicking off in which some half-wit was advocating the power of prayer, and claiming that no matter what the outcome, it was all proof of the existence of his god. Whether of not your prayers get answered depends on god's holy plan for the universe... obviously (!) Others were arguing with the half-wit, and during the "debate" (for want of a better word) this half-wit constantly changed his stance on no end of matters and effectively claimed that black was white and shit was sugar.
They let these people vote and do jury service, you know...
Leaving “er indoors TM” and the dogs asleep I set off to work. As I drove there was an interview with someone who used to be in the band Chumbawumba who now runs some sort of extreme choir. From what I could work out this bunch go out and about singing whilst fell-walking and whilst swimming in rivers and ponds. The chap made the claim that when they were famous, Chumbwumba were paid to appear on all sorts of TV shows internationally, and they never played live. They always mimed to a recording, and so the band rarely actually turned up. They would send friends and family members on the all-expenses-paid outings. Friends and family would stay in hotels and appear on foreign TV shows and get paid, and (so this chap claimed) no one was ever any the wiser.
I wouldn't mind some of that...
There was also in interview with an ex-potato farmer who has been getting no end of abuse from all sorts of people because he has stopped growing potatoes and now grows bird seed. Why does he do this? He used to grow potatoes at a loss, now he grows bird seed at a profit. As he said, he isn't running a charity... and people pay more for bird seed than they do for their own food.
Funny old world.
I got to work where I sulked. Usually rather than cracking on with blood tests on a Saturday morning I go to dog club. But being unable to swap shifts, that wasn't happening today. I also sulked because in years gone by the first weekend in February was one of the highlights of the year: Dover Beer Festival. But the Maison Dieu in Dover (the venue) is being renovated and so the event is on hold for a couple of years.
I wonder if it will start up again? It was always fun; if a tad messy at times.
I came home to an empty house. “er indoors TM” and the dogs were out with Cheryl and Ro-Ro so I ran a bucket of water and sloshed the grime off of the car’s windows. It has to be said there was a lot of grime to slosh.
As I then headed in I saw movement next door. On one side of our house is “not-so-nice-next-door” with whom relations are slowly improving. On the other side is “new-next-door”; a house occupied by a succession of people who never seem to last very long. The latest “new-next-door” is a young lady about the same age as the fruits of my loin. She seems nice enough, but bearing in mind that she is the sixteenth person to take up residence in that house in the last thirty-two years, I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before she’s off.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner, then we set off for an evening out. Jimbo’s band were playing at the New Chimneys, and the clans gathered. I must admit I went along thinking that it might be something to round of an otherwise dull day, and we had a really good time. Jose and Maria gave us a lift and we arrived to find Steve and Sarah sitting in what I can only describe as the “band’s groupies area”; a little part of the pub just behind the band with the speakers pointing away from us. We were soon joined by so many old friends. Denver and his new lady friend. Alan. Sue and Chris.
I’ve spent a lifetime making such good friends that I so rarely see these days. It was so good to catch up with people, but such a shame that with the loud band we couldn’t hear each other speak. I might suggest they do an acoustic set; does any pub band *really* need amplifiers?
Nevertheless we had a very good evening listening to Neon Street playing music from the eighties (when music was good!). Mind you I can’t help but think that the perception of the eighties from forty years away is probably somewhat better than the actual eighties were…
5 February 2023 (Sunday) - Family Day
I woke feeling like death warmed up this morning. Back in the day I used to shift ale by the gallon. Three pints last night gave me such a headache this morning.
The dogs were funny this morning. Once the puppies had tiddled they both ran up the stairs to the big bed, then both whimpered and came back to me. Treacle was standing at the bottom of the bed glaring at them daring them to see what would happen if they came close. I told her to shut her rattle and helped the babies up. Whilst the dogs get on all right, Treacle does bully the smaller ones from time to time.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Having had two rather dubious friend requests yesterday I had another today. Did I mention I’ve started an album of pictures of the sort of “ladies” who want to be my friend. I wish they didn’t. Who on Earth would want to be seen on the friends list on someone like that?
And I saw that Netflix are making a series of “The Three Body Problem”; an excellent book… I wonder how they will transfer that story to the screen? Here’s hoping they make a good job of it.
I drove round to the petrol station to fill the car up. I went to the one at Sainsburys, and the cantankerous old bat I’ve met before was again behind the till, but in a novel break with tradition she had a go at being civil.
From there I drove down to Folkestone to collect “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM”, “Darcie Waa Waa TM” and Pogo and fetch them all home. I had planned on fetching the pressure washer back as well, but where yesterday had been a warm day, today was freezing. I left the pressure washer in Folkestone.
We came home and went for a walk round the park. Viccie Park used to be a rather pretty park, but over the last couple of years the council has embarked on a rather ambitious project of renovating much of the park. From what I can see this scheme involves digging up much of the park, fencing off the dug-up areas and then leaving them alone for months.
Such a shame.
As we walked so “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” bleated constantly about needing the toilet. He bleats constantly about needing the toilet when none are near, and when there is a toilet within a few yards he goes for hours without needing one…
With walk walked I pootled in the garden for a bit. I had hoped that “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” might help me, but he soon lost interest. He and his grandmother mucked about with craft stuff and getting dinner ready whilst “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Darcie Waa Waa TM” and I watched “City of Ember”; a rather good Netflix film.
We then had a rather good dinner. “Darcie Waa Waa TM” particularly liked the sweet potatoes and chocolate cake and the cream.
She and her mother then had a little sleep on the sofa, her brother and Gran had a go at following crochet videos on Lube-Tube (as “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” calls it). Have you ever watched crochet videos on You-tube (or “Lube-Tube”)? They certainly look far easier than they actually are.
I did the washing up.
As it was getting dark so “er indoors TM” took them all home. One has to be up promptly for school tomorrow, and the other two looked as though an early night wouldn’t hurt.
We then cracked open the port, cheese and crackers and watched today’s episode of “Lego Masters: Australia”. Today was all about building huge Lego bridges and testing them to destruction.
There is something strangely satisfying in watching someone else’s Lego models getting destroyed…
6 February 2023 (Monday) - An Easier Drive
Unusually the alarm woke me this morning; that never happens! I woke feeling rather rough which was either the port yesterday evening, or the stress of having “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” about the house. Much as I love him, he can be hard work at times.
I am reliably informed that today he made a new verse for that classic song “The Wheels on the Bus” which goes “the weapons on the bus go bang bang bang…”
I got up and took the puppies outside, and in a novel break with tradition new-next-door's boiler was making noises. That has been silent since the ex postie with the motorbike (that never went anywhere) moved out three months ago. Having tiddled, the puppies went and harassed a sleeping “er indoors TM” and I made toast for brekkie and a sandwich for lunch. I scoffed the toast whilst watching the last episode of the current season of "Star Trek: Discovery". It was rather good, but I now need to find something else to keep me occupied.
I set off up the motorway to work. Much as I whinge about the motorway now being a dual carriageway, I far prefer driving up it than along the country lanes to Pembury. Even the antics of two lanes of slow-moving lorries forcing all the cars into the fast lane is better than the twists and turns through the -hursts and the -dens.
As I drove there was a lot of talk on the radio about the earthquake that hit Turkey overnight. The earthquake was felt thousands of miles away, and the death toll is in the thousands. Looking at the map it would seem the epicentre of the earthquake was only a few hundred miles from where we went on holiday a few years ago. This made me think... did you know that no one has ever successfully forecast a major earthquake?
You'd think that being able to do this might be a priority, wouldn't you?
Much of the rest of the news was about the strikes in the NHS which were happening today. A good thing or a bad thing for the future of the NHS?... I can hardly claim to be impartial, but I'll just make the observation that a lot of hospitals these days have a section in their staff newsletters advertising where the local food banks can be found. Does anyone think that people are going to take up a job knowing full well that it won't pay enough to feed them?
I had planned to go on a little wander round the streets Munzing before work, but I thought better of the idea. Instead I just took a little detour and did a SleepZee as you can do them from the comfort of the car without having to get up.
I got to work and parked up, and just as I realised I'd forgotten my sandwich so “er indoors TM” sent a message telling me I'd forgotten my sandwich. I suppose that is why God (or blind chance) put a branch of M&S just down the corridor from my bit of work.
I bought a sandwich, got to work, set myself up at a microscope and (realising I would be staying put for some time) phoned the probate people. I got through in a far shorter time than I had expected; it only took half an hour to get a reply. After a little to-ing and fro-ing it appears that the reason for the delay on getting probate on Dad's house was that there was a trivial question that I hadn't answered when I emailed them on 18 November. The very helpful (!) woman said that they had realised the oversight on my part, but didn't see why they should tell me about it. She implied that had I not chased them up then I would have probably waited for ever for them to contact me... as they in turn waited for ever for me to do something about which I was utterly unaware.
I asked how long it would be before we got the probate done. She (I thought) rather sarcastically replied that it all depended on how long I took to send them the information they wanted. I told her they would have it by email within ten minutes, and she seemed genuinely surprised about that. She then made the schoolboy error of saying that once they'd got my email, it should all be done in a few days... and on realising what she'd said immediately tried to back-track.
It must be wonderful to work in a place with no urgency whatsoever.
I got on with work, and with it done I came home just as it was getting dark. The view from the car park was rather pretty this evening. “er indoors TM” boiled up some pizza then went bowling. I ironed shirts, then settled down on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs and watched a film on Netflix. Jung-E was… What can I say? I think the best word to describe the film would be “tedious”. Without giving the plot away the film is a sort of Korean prequel to “Terminator” which loses an awful lot in translation.
I suppose if nothing else it was something to watch whilst the washing machine worked its magic on my smalls, though the view through the washing machine’s port hole was probably more interesting.
7 February 2023 (Tuesday) - Early Shift
Once I'd done the usual morning nonsense and the dogs were all settled, I too settled. I sat down in front of the telly and watched the first episode of "Physical: 100"
I rather thought it would be like "Squid Game", but it wasn't. It's a Korean reality TV program in which it is claimed that a hundred people of all races, creeds and colours compete in contests of strength, agility, and strategy until only one is left; that one winning two hundred thousand quid. However the reality of it was that there are ninety musclebound blokes all openly leering at ten women in leotards. Ninety-seven of these people are Korean, two are American and one is German. But the non-Koreans have all said (quite categorically) that they identify as Korean.
The first episode featured all one hundred competitors blathering platitudes (which lost a lot in translation) and then they all hung from a bar until they all eventually fell into a pond. Some sooner than others.
It has to be said it was rather tedious; even with fast-forwarding through the drivel ("the drivel" being most of the show) it was half an hour of my life I'm not going to get back. I’ve deleted it from my “Continue Watching” list, and that is something I rarely do.
I got dressed, made a point of picking up the sandwich I made yesterday and then walked miles to where I'd parked the car last night. It didn't take *that* long to scrape the ice from the windscreen, and once I'd avoided being deliberately run off the road by the HGVs coming up the motorway I listened to the radio.
There was a lot of talk about the earthquake in Turkey and about the major international aid effort that is happening. There was also a lot of talk about the effects of the same earthquake in Syria and about the lack of an international aid effort. Whilst you have to have pity for the Syrian victims of this tragedy, I suppose that if you have a regime supporting those actively conspiring against much of the rest of the world, the rest of the world is going to tell you to piss off when you realise that you actually need them. Which is why so many people flee from the area hoping to settle in somewhere that isn't still operating with a dark ages mentality.
I got to work despite the fog. The fog was odd; my journey alternated between thick patches of the stuff with visibility of maybe a couple of dozen yards, then being perfectly clear again. I got to work where the chap who'd done the night shift was glad to see me. I'd arrived early as I like to let the person who's been on all night get away promptly.
When no one was looking I chased up the probate people to check they'd got the email I'd sent yesterday. Was I being impatient? The automated reply I received yesterday said that if they wanted any more information then they would let me know. But the automated email they'd sent me in November had said the same thing... even though (as I discovered yesterday) they *did* want more information and had no intention of asking me for it.
After a lot less farting about than I had to fart yesterday I was assured they've got all that they need from me, and that because we've been waiting for more than sixteen weeks they are going to "escalate our case" and we should get probate in three weeks' time.
I bet we don't...
Being on an early meant I was out before the shops closed today. My work shoes have become incredibly painful recently; the insides of the soles have collapsed, so I went to Cotswold Outdoors at the Notcutts Garden Centre to get some more. The nice lady there was incredibly helpful, and when I came to pay she asked if there was any way she could give me a discount. I told her where I worked, and she knocked fifteen quid off of the price of the shoes. Result.
I then drove down to Hythe where I deployed sixteen briefcase Munzees and opened a Qrate (obtaining a Sloth Cubimal!) before meeting Jose and going on to Lego club. We had a good hour building things. Lego club has improved since I was last there; the brats who (quite literally) did nothing but run in circles screaming have been given the heave-ho. Mind you attendance was down somewhat.
Perhaps we need to have a big push to get more people along?
I see this evening I have one less Facebook friend than I had this morning. Someone has decided to de-friend me… and in doing so has automatically become my Facebook enemy (I don’t make the rules…)
And it is now two days since any young ladies of dubious morals have been in touch…
8 February 2023 (Wednesday) - This n That
As I stood in the garden at half past five this morning shivering as the puppies "did their thing" I found myself wondering. As they are getting older they are quite capable of going into the garden on their own to tiddle. Why do they insist that I go with them? They aren't happy if I don't go with them; if I don't, they both come back to find me.
After what seemed to be an age, eventually they both found the exact spot on which to tiddle, and I took them up to bother “er indoors TM” , then made toast.
After yesterday's debacle of Netflix's "Physical 100" I've started re-watching "Downton Abbey". The mansion that was used for Downton Abbey is the same one that was used for Totleigh Towers in the 1990s version of "Jeeves and Wooster", and I keep expecting to see Hugh Lawrie bumbling round the corner to utter a chirpy "What-ho". And I'd forgotten just what a nasty bunch most of the servants in Downton Abbey were.
I also found myself wondering just how long shows like this will work. Who has servants these days? How can anyone relate to that lifestyle? And... the main thread of the show's plot is much the same as that in another favourite of mine; “Price and Prejudice”, and is based on an antiquated law that has long since died. Basically the problem faced by the denizens of Downton Abbey (and by those of Longbourne in “Pride and Prejudice”) is that the ownership of the mansion, stately home or palace follows the male line of inheritance. If the owner of such a property dies with no sons, then the whole lot goes to the oldest and closest male cousin; no matter how distant. And so if the male owner dies with no direct male descendants, his wife and daughters may well find themselves homeless, or dependent on the charity of a very distant relative. This is rather laughable in today's society but was a serious consideration back in the day.
With this in mind, look at Shakespeare's plays, the plots of many of which hinge on an understanding of the society of the times (which is why so few people understand what the Bard was on about). Or look at Chaucer wittering on about nun's priests. (What's one of those?) I can remember in Latin classes at school having to have several lessons in ancient history before any of the stories of Virgil or Pliny made any sense at all.
For fiction to work, it has to be in a setting to which you can relate, and most people can only relate to the society in which they live. Look at how the society portrayed in the original Star Trek (made in the 1960s) is so different to that of the new Treks (made far more recently) as the societies making the shows changed.
Once I'd scraped the ice from my car I set off up Brookfield Road, and took a little diversion to cap some jewels (it's a Munzee thing) before heading up the motorway to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing Ozzy Osbourne who said he was stopping touring due to health issues, but said that a ballet inspired by Black Sabbath is in production. Heavy metal ballet, eh?
And apparently John Cleese is bringing back Fawlty Towers. I wonder how it will pan out? I'm reminded of how Red Dwarf was brought back after a hiatus of many years when on 13 April 2009 I wrote “…I was vaguely disappointed. I can’t help but think that over eight seasons, the whole premise of the show had been done to death. Last night’s special was obviously just trying to milk more money out of a tired formula. Whilst it was watchable, it reminded me of the latest movie version of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. “Red Dwarf – Back To Earth” was OK, but I’d seen it all before. There was nothing new or original about the thing - it was just yet another tired re-make.”
Am I being cynical in thinking that a Fawlty Towers re-boot will just be more of the same?
There was also a lot of talk about how Microsoft are launching their AI... everyone has one these days. Would I want one? I'm quite happy with Alexa.
I got to work and did my thing... from a seated position. The new shoes are far better than the old ones, but my feet were still very painful. I think I might be developing flat feet so I've sent to Amazon to get orthotic insoles for the new shoes. Alexa says they will arrive tomorrow.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Ghosts” and drinking a rather grim bottle of “Cotes du Rhone”. Not that I’ve much experience (!) but you have to go a long way to beat the Sainsbury’s cheapo wines…
9 February 2022 (Thursday) - Some Ranting
I woke this morning with something of a sense of "do I have to?". I don't dislike my job; I work in a far better place than where I was ten years ago. But still I'd rather have my days to myself, walking the dogs round the woods, pootling in the garden, doing the laundry whilst watching drivel on the telly, and building Lego. I expect one day I will get my wish, but... not today.
I got up, chivvied the puppies into the garden, made brekkie, and watched more "Downton Abbey" in which the dowager countess was being a total cow-bitch. As were the other ladies of the house. And many of the servants. Much as I'm enjoying watching Downton Abbey from the start again, I don't actually like many of the characters very much.
I set the dishwasher going, scraped the ice from the car and spent a moment or two looking at the pretty sunrise. The photos I took weren't very good, so I shamelessly blagged “My Boy TM” 's and Tracey's for today's piccie. I wonder if they will notice…
As I drove to work this morning my piss boiled as I listened to the drivel being spewed by the pundits on the radio.
The General Synod of the Church of England is meeting today to discuss whether or not churches can conduct blessings on gay marriages.
They are going to, but in making that decision they have utterly undermined any respect they might have had from anyone.
Their bible is perfectly clear that it feels homosexuality is wrong. So how can they even consider this? There was some idiot woman being interviewed on the matter. Having been a member of the Church of England for forty years she feels let down that her church doesn't recognise her marriage to her (now) wife.
Is this woman stupid? Seriously? Has he not listened to a thing the church says? Does she not read her bible?
What she's advocating is akin to me joining the local running club then demanding they all take up sitting on the sofa watching telly and eating cake. I'm reminded of a woman with whom I used to work who was an ardent supporter of the Conservative party because her father once said she was a "true blue"... even though she didn't agree with a single thing the Conservatives stood for and would spout pure socialism to anyone who would listen. She claimed to be a Conservative through and through, would distribute pamphlets for the local (Folkestone) Conservative candidates, would put up posters for them... and then spend an age arguing with Conservative councillors and the local Conservative MP (who was once the party leader) that they should abandon pretty much all that they stood for, and should take up all that which they opposed.
There was also a lot of talk about how the Ukrainian president is touring Europe. He met the Prime Minister and the King yesterday, and there is talk of the UK giving Ukraine a squadron of jet fighters...
Bearing in mind those things cost over eighty million quid each and a squadron consists of twenty-four of the things, if the UK hand over a squadron, that's over two billion quid.... just to give the Russians something to shoot down. Which they will. Let's not pretend the country is any kind of financial hardships, shall we?
If I was President Putin I'd find out which squadron was due to be handed over, send in a missile strike, and blat the planes before the things even took off.
Let's not pretend to be surprised when this happens, eh?
As I worked so my phone pinged. We've reached the first stage of this month's Munzee Clan War. I say "we"; sadly there's not that many of us in the clan this month. The head honchos at Munzee HQ have made this month's Clan War rather difficult for those who opt to play the free version of the game, and that has gone down like a lead balloon. Bearing in mind the paid version of Munzee (which I have) sets you back the grand sum of fifty pence per week, you'd be amazed at the bitter tirades coming from those who don't want to part with their money.
And then my phone pinged again. Due to an unforeseen family emergency (about which I shall be rather vague) “er indoors TM” and I had to zoom home from work to supervise “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM” for the evening. We started off with a KFC dinner and sang the chips song (a musical masterpiece), then “er indoors TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” played vinyl records and audio tapes whilst “Darcie Waa Waa TM” farted impressively as me and her watched “Bebefinn”. We all then went upstairs to the video recorder and watched Taz-Mania on VHS. “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” was as good as gold (bearing in mind some recent ”episodes”); he is fascinated by the ancient technology.
I can remember when all of that lot was state of the art…
10 February 2023 (Friday) - Bit Dull
I woke in a cold sweat this morning after a nightmare in which I’d been appointed Member of Parliament for Hastings with the manifesto promise of “You’ve had the sugar, here comes the sh*t”.
I did the puppies, and with them snuggling into the big bed before “er indoors TM” woke, I spent an age trying (unsuccessfully) to find my sandwich box. I eventually gave up, made toast and scoffed it whilst watching another episode of “Downton Abbey”. In today’s installment Lady Emily took her prospective paramour to church whilst Lady Mary porked the Turkish attaché to death. Quite literally. This caused quite a lot of consternation; what does one do with the corpse of a Turkish attaché who has been porked to death?
Once I’d scraped the ice from the car I set off to work. As I drove, the pundits on the radio were talking about how courts are stopping the power companies putting those who can’t afford leccie and gas onto pre-payment meters. So rather than shivering in the dark, those who can’t afford leccie and gas are to be allowed to run up debts they can’t repay?
The obvious answer is to seriously review how leccie and gas are delivered to the public. I don’t have any answers, but I’ll make the observation that now that the government have put a cap on how much they will pay for Russian oil, Russia has put a cap on how much oil it will supply.
Not having been able to find my sandwich box earlier, I took this as God’s way of telling me to get a sarnie from Sainsbury’s. So I did. And a croissant for second brekkie too.
There was a minor hiccup when I came to pay though. The self-service machine froze up. I smiled hopefully at the three members of staff standing nearby gossiping, but it took an age before one of them took the hint and did the job for which they are employed. Unfortunately I had the bad tempered old harridan with whom I’ve had previous run-ins. As we both stood staring at the broken self-service machine I made the observation (in a spirit of helpfulness) that had she been working at the proper tills, then we wouldn’t have been staring at a broken machine.
That really cheered her up…
Work was work… a rather good day today. I spent the day teaching one of the trainees the wonders of microscopy. Viral conditions, iron deficiency… all good stuff.
Once home I scoffed the last of yesterday’s leftover KFC whilst “er indoors TM” boiled up dinner. She boils up a good dinner. We then scoffed dinner whist watching more “Junior Bake Off” in which the children cooed up bread which was far better than anything I could ever do.
I think the leftover KFC might have been a mistake…
11 February 2023 (Saturday) - Before the Late Shift
Being wide awake far too early I gave up trying to sleep, saw to the puppies, and scoffed toast whilst watching more of my Coursera course. This morning I revised lymphoproliferative conditions before having a little look at the Internet. It was still there and squabbles abounded.
The atheism Facebook page I’ve started following was good for a laugh; there were no end of religious crackpots coming on to either spread the good news of their particular religion, to warn the godless that they are all going to burn in hell fire, or to confuse atheism with satanism. There were also no end of very aggressive atheists all laughing at the unsubstantiated arguments made by the believers, seemingly oblivious to the fact that their arguments abut the non-existence of a god are all equally untenable. But it all makes for entertaining reading. There was also some amazing drivel about how prayers are more likely to be answered if they are directed via the Middle East. I can’t help but wonder how you send a prayer on such a little diversion.
For myself I’m rather embarrassed that I really did use to believe in all that rubbish. These days I find myself thinking along the same lines as Sir David Attenborough, and he gets hate mail from the righteous. I remain an apathetic agnostic… there might be a god, there might not. All the evidence I have is that if there is one, it is completely indifferent to us.
I loaded up the washing machine despite Morgan and Treacle trying to steal grubby socks, and then we all loaded ourselves into the car and set off to Saturday morning dog club. The actual name of Dog Club is “Ashford Dog Socialising Group”, and much as the puppies love it and have a whale of a time, surprisingly the dog who is perhaps benefitting the most is Treacle. Despite always having had other dogs around her, she’s never much cared for other dogs. In the few months we’ve been going she’s got noticeably more tolerant of other dogs. She still don’t like them very much, and we still have little “episodes” (like we did today) but slowly we’re making progress with her.
Whilst she mostly kept herself to herself and grudgingly tolerated the other dogs so Morgan and Bailey had great fun. It was a shame that Morgan had to try to pull lumps of fluff from Fluffy Luna, and it was also a shame that I found one of the other dog-keepers trying to fend Bailey off so that she could gather her dog’s poo before Bailey ate it. But on the whole, dog club was a resounding success. As the days are getting warmer so attendance is increasing, and as spring is in the air, so the boy dogs were all getting “fruity”… mostly with other boy dogs.
And the little pug Sharkey tiddled up a few legs too…
I took a few photos whilst we were there.
As we drove home Steve was on the radio doing the Mystery Year quiz thingy. I got it right… 1988. “er indoors TM” said I’d guessed right. It wasn’t a guess; it was skill and expertise (!)
We got home; “er indoors TM” took the dogs inside whilst I popped up the road to the corner shop for a couple of pastries to scoff with a cuppa.
Eventually I got to hang out the washing when the washing machine finished. That machine is strange. Several times each week I load it up on setting number two and press the “go” button”. The numbers “1:50” appear on the thing’s screen and count down. But what do these numbers mean? Today the thing took just over two hours to finish; other times it is done in just under an hour.
With laundry hung out I set off to work and had a rather busy day. When I first started professionally testing blood, half a dozen blood samples all afternoon would have been thought excessive. Today I (quite literally) didn’t stop at all.
Certainly not how I’d rather be spending a Saturday afternoon and evening…
12 February 2023 (Sunday) - Lazy Day
By the time I’d got out late from work, taken an age driving home and one thing and another it was after midnight before I got to bed last night. I was pleased for a bit of a lie-in this morning. I eventually woke just before nine o’clock to find a bed full of dogs. As they and “er indoors TM” snored I put a load of washing on, made brekkie and had a look-see at the Internet.
I had another two friend requests on Facebook from rather dodgy looking individuals. The first claimed to be called “Noah” and hailed from Los Angeles where she “works at Mistress”, and judging by some of the photos on her Facebook page would be far better employed working at more hygienic activities.
The second one (Alexandra) comes from Fresno and claimed to be “domina, sadistic, classy” (is that good or bad?). She lists “dogs” as one of her interests so I suppose we might have that in common, but judging by her Facebook profile she would seem to be far more interested in running round in the nip with a very saucy expression whilst odd looking people in even odder bondage costumes look on.
So far not a single one of these “ladies” (if that is the right term) have offered me any cake… If they did I might be a bit more interested.
I sent out a birthday wish to a young lady who once did offer me cake, and got dressed. Call me old fashioned if you will, but even with absolutely nothing on the agenda, jim-jams is for the evening, not the morning.
I set the washing machine loose on a job lot of my undercrackers and went up to the attic where I carried on with my Lego pirate ship. On 8 November last year a colleague gave me a little pressie. Her mother had acquired a Lego pirate ship set for her children, but on finding some bits were missing they weren’t able to complete it.
Did I want it?
Yes please !!!
It has been a rather fun project - it has taken me three months, and I’ve had to make serious use of my spare bits. I had to send to BrickLink (it’s a Lego thing) in Germany and America for an anchor, masts, plastic rigging and steering wheels, and to Hobbycraft for the black yarn rigging.
Now it is built I need to find some space to display it… I have a vague idea of building a Lego harbour round it…
With it finished “er indoors TM” (and the dogs) came to have a look. “er indoors TM” then misplaced something or other, and announced that the attic might be haunted as things keep going missing from there.
And then the missing thing turned up. Where it had been left.
I then slobbed on the sofa with the dogs for a bit then, seeing the earlier drizzle has eased up, we took the dogs for a little walk round the roads. As we walked I carried on the dogs’ walk training. Treacle always sits when we come to cross a road. Morgan is learning to do so. And Bailey shows no interest in doing so and flatly refuses to do so.
We came home, and I made myself comfortable in front of the telly wand watched a load of episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which again the people running the worst bed & breakfasts were by far the most critical of everyone else. One of the places being visited today came in for a lot of criticism from everyone; every breakfast they served was absolutely smothered in pepper. The woman brandishing the pepper pot claimed that if anyone doesn’t like pepper then they should say so *before* she empties half a pound of the stuff on their plate. What is that all about?
As I watched telly there was a minor hiatus as the power suddenly went off. We had a five-minute power cut. Apparently a mile or so away “My Boy TM” had a power cut which lasted for an hour.
With power restored and telly watched I spent some time fetching and carrying whilst “er indoors TM” dusted dragon ornaments. They needed some dusting, and we only did about thirty of so of her six hundred dragons.
With one set of shelves dusted we set about a very good dinner whilst watching today’s episode of “Lego Masters”. In this one the teams made dragons which then flew (attached to drones) round a slalom course. Three crashed catastrophically.
Having just worked six days on the trot, I quite enjoyed having a lazy day… even if there was so much more we might have done.
13 February 2023 (Monday) - Before the Late Shift
With no alarm set I slept to over eight hours last night, finally waking as a wet nose thrust itself into my armpit at quarter to eight. I got up, I put eleven things into the washing machine (as the clothes horse has eleven rungs), and set about some toast as I looked at the Internet. Or tried to. The laptop said it was connected to the Internet, but nothing internet-related was happening at all. I could understand the lap-top’s reluctance to go on-line; when it finally did I saw I had two more “friend” requests on Facebook.
The one with more clothes on (and the scarier chest) claimed to be called “Harriet” and claimed that someone has set up a fake Facebook account using her picture and I shouldn’t accept a friend request from that account, though she was rather vague why I shouldn’t.
The other one was called “Dominatriz” and amongst the people listed on her account as her friends was “Peculiar Peter”. I reported both to the Facebook Feds for being extremely un-moral. It’s not often that I can claim the moral high ground, is it?
I sent out a birthday request to an old friend from primary school who I haven’t seen in person since 1975, rolled my eyes at various petty squabbles… and gave up trying to look at the Internet. All three dogs were having a serious play-fight, and if any one dog was feeling victimised they would jump onto me for support.
As the dogs were full of beans I took them out. It was too late to get to Kings Wood and back. Orlestone is a swamp at this time of year. So (against my better judgement) we went to the park. We got there and I let the dogs off of their leads, They immediately went to bother the normal people so I blew the whistle and they came straight back. I was impressed. As we went round the park so the puppies would charge up to random normal people, and immediately come back to the sound of the whistle.
As we walked some old chap (about my age) told me he must speak to me. My heart sank as I expected the worst. But I was wrong to be pessimistic. This bloke said that he’d seen us coming into the park and watched me letting the dogs off of the leads. He admitted he thought I must have been mad to let such small dogs loose, but he said he was really impressed at how the dogs responded to the whistle, and wanted to know how I did it. I explained the principle of whistle training (feeling rather smug). Whistle training is incredibly impressive to watch – when it works. When it doesn’t it is frankly embarrassing, but we are probably up to about an eighty per cent success rate with the puppies.
With walk walked I popped to the corner shop for pastries to have with a cuppa. I get those when “er indoors TM” is working from home. We scoffed them with a cuppa as I paid a bill. We had the boiler serviced exactly a month ago (on 13 January) and the nice lady at the plumbers (one of my ex-trainees) posted the bill right away. It arrived this morning. A second class letter took a month to get to me…
I wrote up a little CPD, then set off to work.
With nothing of note on the radio I sang along to “Ivor Biggun” songs as I drove up the motorway. Having seen the price of petrol in Ashford I drove up to Aylesford where it was twelve pence a litre cheaper, and so I saved myself five quid. As I walked to the kiosk to pay so the chap parked at the pump in front of me stopped me and pointed out we both had the same sort of car. He was amazingly excited about this.
To me, any car which is beige in colour is that same as my car, but apparently our cars were both Skoda Fabias. And being next to each other was really something… according to this chap. Bless him.
But much as I mock, that was pretty much it for my day… A dull one really.
14 February 2023 (Tuesday) - Valentine's Day
It was incredibly foggy as I took the puppies out this morning, but they didn't seem at all bothered. Did they even notice? All they were interested in was emptying out as quickly as possibly because then they are allowed up to the big bed.
With them settled I made toast and watched more "Downton Abbey" in which Lady Mary having porked the Turkish attaché to death is now looking set to do the same thing to Mister Matthew.
As I watched telly so I sorted undercrackers. This certainly wasn't the life I had in mind all those years ago...
As I drove through the fog to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing journalist Wiebke Hüster. Fraulein Hüster had published a review of a ballet directed by Marco Goecke. Herr Goecke didn't like the review, and so when Fraulein Hüster next came to the ballet, Herr Goecke publicly harangued her, and rubbed dog shit in her face whilst dozens of people looked on. Hanover State Opera (who own the actual ballet) have said that Herr Goecke has been suspended with immediate effect, as his "impulsive reaction" went against its rules of conduct.
After that, the rest of the day's news rather paled into insignificance.
Just as I got to the works car park so my phone beeped. It was “er indoors TM” telling me that (yet again) I'd left my sandwich box at home. It is just as well that there's a branch of M&S at work, but four quid a day gets a tad pricey.
I also had an email. His Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service had agreed that me and my brother can have probate on Dad's house. That was something of a result... now to sell the thing.
According to the Internet (so it must be true) there are seven steps of selling a property:
So... in the first instance can any of my loyal readers recommend a good estate agent?
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner this evening. Chicken and spinach thingies. We scoffed them whilst watching “Junior Bake Off”.
I’ve got an early start tomorrow and I’m feeling washed out. I really should go to bed… bet I don’t.
15 February 2023 (Wednesday) - Ironing For Three Hours
I woke in a
cold sweat in the small hours. This happens with annoying regularity. This
time it was after a nightmare in which I'd been invited to a party to
celebrate the retirement of John Le Mesurier (who was Sergeant Wilson in Dad's
Army"). Nobody but me thought it odd to have a retirement party for
someone who'd died forty years ago.
It was foggy when I took the puppies out into the garden. They did what I wanted them to do, and then squeaked in excitement as I let them upstairs and helped them on to the big bed. With them settled I made toast and watched more "Downton Abbey" in which Lady Mary was causing consternation (and that was without anyone knowing about the poor Turkish attaché that she'd porked to death last week)
Remembering to pick up my sarnies (that I forgot yesterday) I set off to work through the thick fog. Despite visibility being down to only ten yards at times there were still idiots on the roads flying around at breakneck speeds.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio had quite a lot to say for
themselves. There was a lot of talk about whatever it is that the
Americans had shot down over the weekend. Last week they brought down a
Chinese balloon. Whether spying or on meteorological research is anyone's
guess, but having brought one down, flushed with success the Americans
brought down three more last weekend. However "three more what"
is the question everyone is asking. The Americans have obviously potted three
"things", but no one knows precisely what. No government or
commercial company is complaining that they have had anything shot down.
There was talk about a male contraceptive pill which stops the little tadpoles from swimming about. Our old friend science has been hoping for a male contraceptive pill for years. Call me puritanical if you will, but I can't see what's wrong with a cold shower and a firm moral stance.
And my piss boiled as a self-styled expert started talking about blood transfusions. Apparently during the massive blood shortages of last year hundreds of thousands of people volunteered to be blood donors. Only a quarter of these people have actually given any, and there were calls for all the other volunteers to stump up what they had promised. What boiled my piss was the oh-so-simplistic talk of "universal donors" and "universal recipients". If it were really so simple why would we spend so much effort in compatibility testing? Here's a tip - if you ever encounter anyone using the word "universal" with regard to blood transfusions, rest assured you are dealing with someone who knows absolutely nothing about the subject.
I got to work for the early shift and go on with it. But an early start made for an early finish, and I was glad to get home early and walk the dogs. We didn’t go far; just round the block, but they liked the outing. And with a short walk walked they settled down. “er indoors TM” was off out with her work pals this evening, so I got the ironing board out and spent three hours emptying the ironing box. There’s never a dull moment in my life, is there?
As I ironed I watched more “Downton Abbey”, and paused only when the puppies asked for their dinner. They really did ask for it; both dabbed at me, then ran to their empty bowls, then ran back and dabbed at me, and kept on until I sorted their scran.
I sorted my own scran
too; “er indoors TM” had left some scoff and instructions
on how to operate the new oven. It took some operating…
16 February 2023 (Thursday) - Dull, So Dull...
“er indoors TM” and Treacle came to bed about half an hour or so after I nodded off last night. I pretended to sleep as Treacle stomped all over the place whilst “er indoors TM” argued and fought with her, and then I lay awake only dozing on and off for much of the night.
It wasn't foggy when I took the puppies outside this morning, but it had been raining. Usually we have a refusal to go out when the ground is wet, but they charged out, did what they had to do, and charged back in again. By the time I'd closed the back door behind them, both babies were throwing themselves at the door to upstairs, squeaking and squealing in excitement.
I made toast and scoffed it whilst watching the first episode of the second season of "Downton Abbey" in which the porked-to-death Turkish attaché is now just a sad memory. I've said before that I like any kind of TV show (or radio show or book) in which I can relate to the characters, and the makers of "Downton Abbey" have got it nailed. As I watched this morning I realised that "His Lordship" is a dead ringer for one of the doctors with whom I work at Tunbridge Wells. The cow-bitch-from-hell ladies maid could have been based on someone with whom I worked fifteen years ago who would deliberately alienate herself from absolutely everyone she could. The dowager countess could have been the twin of an old duck from the church from my religious days…
Remembering to pick up my lunch box I set off for work. As I drove up the motorway I found myself being grateful for small mercies; the fifty miles per hour dual carriageway bit has been reduced to only eight miles long. But despite having this restriction so that road works can be done, there is still no one actually doing any road works. You'd think that having someone getting on and doing the road works would be a pre-requisite for closing a road for road works, wouldn't you?
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how Nicola Sturgeon has thrown in the towel as First Minister of Scotland.
There was an interview with the leader of the Scottish Tories who claimed that she was leaving on a high as she'd pretty much exhausted all avenues available for the Scottish independence campaign and had nowhere else to go. He also claimed that the complete hash she'd made over the entire trans issue probably hadn't helped her, and he's probably got a point. Interestingly he claimed that he had a bet with Ms Sturgeon that she would be out of office before he would be, and I got the impression that he was more interested in collecting the hundred quid he felt he was owed than he was in anything else.
Work was work; as I did my bit I had a text from the dentist. They have cancelled my appointment with the hygienist next week. This isn't the first time they have cancelled at rather short notice. As I have said before, if the place wasn't just a hundred yards down the road I would have parted company with them years ago.
I re-scheduled but have been told I won't be seeing the usual hygienist. I thought about making the observation that I see a different one every time, but thought better of upsetting them. And then an hour later they phoned me again; seemingly utterly oblivious to the fact that we'd already booked another appointment.
“er indoors TM” boiled up dinner… we watched telly… today was one of those dull days.
17 February 2023 (Friday) - Thinking Of Mum
Finding myself falling asleep in front of the telly at ten o'clock last night I had an early night... and was wide awake at twenty past two. Perhaps I should go back to the hospital's sleep clinic? Mind you the last time I went they told me to keep going with the CPAP machine and not to drink coffee before going to bed. Perhaps enough people do drink coffee before bed so that telling them not to gives the sleep clinic a reasonable success rate? To be honest apart from the CPAP machine, when I saw the sleep specialist last time he didn't tell me anything that my grandmother didn't fifty years ago.
I dozed on and off for a bit, but eventually gave up, got up and did my usual morning ritual. I really should chuck a bucket of bleach over where Morgan tiddles; I have no sense of smell, but it might be getting a tad whiffy?
As I scoffed toast I watched more "Downton Abbey". Lady Mary's peccadilloes are history; Lady Sybil is causing consternation and the chauffer has gone so far as to plight his troth. At Lady Sybil. The beast(!) Mind you, I think she’s up for a portion…
I picked up my sandwich box and made my way to my car. As I left the house I dodged the wheelie-bin being carelessly flung in my direction by the bin-man. He half grunted / half mumbled an apology. I made the observation that God forbid they should put the bins so as not to deliberately block up the entire pavement, and the chap had the good grace to look suitably embarrassed. Back in the day the bin men would pick the dustbins from your garden, empty them into the lorry and put them back where they found them. These days they won't touch them unless they are out on the pavement (as they aren't insured to step into your garden!), and having emptied most (but not all) of what's in the bin into the lorry, they just randomly fling them somewhere out of their way. I've whinged about this before; I've complained to the council before but have been told that "we must all appease the contractor".
Being up and about ridiculously early I thought I might take the opportunity to run a little geo-errand. A couple of years ago I put out a series of geocaches in the back of beyond. In their first few months they proved rather popular, but within the first year pretty much everyone who was anyone in the geo-world had been out and done them. Over the last few months it has become very clear that they've run their course. Bearing in mind that the area is alive with pheasants and so a pain to walk with dogs (Treacle ran off the last time I was there - and that *never* happens!) maintenance is an issue for me, so I had good reasons to archive the series, and none to keep it going.
A fellow hunter of Tupperware walked the series yesterday and gathered up all the film pots from under the rocks, and so with a little time on my hands I drove out to where he'd stashed them all for me.
I drove off northwards, but after fifty yards an alarm went off on the car's dashboard. The boot was supposedly open. I stopped the car, opened and closed the boot, and the alarm shut up. What was that all about?
As I drove there was a lot of talk on the radio about the missing woman Nicola Bulley. The local police have come in for a lot of stick for releasing details about her struggles with alcohol and the menopause. Her family have asked for an end to speculation in the media about her. Whilst I sympathise for the family, I can't help but wonder just what it is about this case that has caught the public's interest. After all, on average each year over five thousand people in the UK have been reported as having been missing for over a year.
Where do these people all go? And why is there no public outcry about them?
There was also an interview with the head honcho of Britain's radiologists on radio. He (again) made the observation that the current NHS strikes aren't just to feather the nest of those in the NHS; they are to try to make the NHS a more attractive place to work. Yesterday there was an interview with the manager of a GP practice who pointed out that you can't force anyone to be a health care professional. He was saying that they have had no applicants for advertised jobs at all, and wondered what you do when there is a clear and present need for a job that no one is willing to do. He actually said on live radio that perhaps the only way to recruit a GP was to kidnap one from elsewhere. It might well come to that. All the time you earn (on average) nine hundred quid a year more from being a dustman than you do from being a nurse, who's going to want to go into healthcare?
I collected my geocaches from where they had been stashed; I drove on to work. Work was much the same as ever. As I worked I had an email from the bosses. Have a look at this.
I try not to talk too much about work, but I will make the observation that I work in the fifth best NHS Trust out of one hundred and twenty. I'll also make the observation that where I used to work was once rated the best but is now in position seventy-five.
And then my phone beeped to tell me it was going to update my watch's software. I wish it wouldn't do that sort of thing, but by the time I'd found out it was already on the case. It has been my experience that any kind of IT upgrade actually renders that which is being upgraded less able to do the job it is intended to do. After an age my watch told me it had been updated. Apart from the battery power level being a lot lower than it was I can't really see much difference. So far...
“er indoors TM” boiled up fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of the new season of “Star Trek: Picard”. It reminded me very much of a predecessor series “Star Trek: Enterprise” in that once the show’s cancellation was announced it suddenly started getting rather good.
Oh - and today is the second anniversary of my mum’s passing… It rather preyed on my mind today…
18 February 2023 (Saturday) - Busy Busy
I slept better than I have done recently, but finding myself wide awake an hour or so earlier than I would have liked I got up and did my usual morning things. As I scoffed toast I watched more “Downton Abbey” in which Lady Edith was looking set to get jiggy down on the farm. And then after completely unrelated shenanigans, Carson the Butler had a funny turn. God only knows what he will do when he finds out about Lady Edith.
I woke “er indoors TM” and the puppies, and as they did their things I had a look at the Internet. This morning my Facebook feed was heaving with the most odd adverts. Among other things I had adverts for “Goose Island” – a Welsh company making ladies clothes and the “National Organisation for Marriage” – an American crackpot religion. These people pay for targeted advertising – they really should ask for their money back.
Pausing only briefly to get cake from the co-op we drove round to the Repton estate for dog club. Morgan and Bailey were very soon in the thick of things, and after a couple of early grumbles Treacle walked a circuit of the field with me as she tolerated the other dogs. She then played with Morgan and Bailey as they played with other dogs. Treacle didn’t actually engage directly with the other dogs, but she was putting up with their presence, allowing sniffing to happen, and even letting other dogs come up to “er indoors TM” and me. Even when treats were involved. She’s slowly improving; bless her.
I took a few photos whilst the dogs ran round.
As we drove home we listened to Steve on the radio… the mystery year was 1970 – or so I thought. It turned out I was right.
Once home the worn-out dogs snoozed, and then we saw movement outside. Someone was doing the geocache in the garden. We went outside to say hello… and it was one of the young ladies from dog club. That was something of a surprise for all of us.
I then spent a few hours working on geo-plans for the future. I’ve rather given up on hunting Tupperware recently, but it isn’t a bad way to spend some time.
We then went round to see Steve and Sarah… and the kittens. They were rather sweet, but they are on the sharp side. Puppies are far more blunt.
It would have been good to have stayed longer, but there was a family gathering in honour of Fred’s birthday. A couple of hours scoffing buffet scoff and washing it down with mild…
Can’t be bad.
Not a bad start to a week off work…
19 February 2023 (Sunday) - Bluebell Hill to Nashenden (and back)
I slept rather well last night… perhaps the fourth pint of light & mild had some bearing on that. “er indoors TM” let the pups up at early o’clock, and we all dozed contentedly for a while.
Over toast I had a look at the Internet and rolled my eyes at the squabbling about Friday’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard”. There has always been squabbling about Star Trek by the fans, but it is getting out of hand these days. Thirty years away the only way to interact with other Trekkies was via the fan made newsletters and magazines. I used to subscribe to one; there’s an archive of the things here. But if I disagreed with what someone had said I would have to write a letter, get a stamp and envelope and post it. All that took time, and so I would think about what I was saying, and re-write and re-draft so that (hopefully) what I was saying was clear and to the point. These days with the instant communication of the Internet people misunderstand what others write, respond (in less than a minute) with “you are a cock” and it all goes downhill from there.
Such a shame…
It was at that point that Morgan and Bailey appeared on either side of me and started to use me as a battleground. I saw that as a hint to get up and get on.
We got ourselves and the dogs organised and drove up to Bluebell Hill. A new series of geocaches had gone live up there. What used to be a regular weekly outing has become something of a novelty. We were all soon together and off on our walk. It was a tad breezy across the top of the hill, but the views… beautiful. We’d never have seen them if not for this silly hobby of ours. It was a shame that both puppies had to roll in something disgusting about a third of the way round, but that’s the way dogs roll in the shire. As we walked we found a little stall selling jam for a greyhound charity, so I got some. Perhaps I paid too much, but it was all for a good cause.
You can see some photos of our walk here.
Geocache-wise it was a rather good series. Some hides were trickier than others, all reasonably spaced out on a route which was pretty and easy to follow. I would certainly recommend it.
I (and the dogs) slept all the way home. “er indoors TM” took a little diversion to Tesco (for dog food) and we all slept through that too. Once home the smaller dogs had an obligatory scrub; if you don’t want to be forcibly bathed, don’t roll in fox poo. A little maxim which is just as applicable to people as it is to dogs.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good curry which we scoffed whilst watching this evening’s episode of “Lego Masters: Australia”. A Hallowe’en themed episode… maybe we might have themed evenings at Lego club?
I’m feeling worn out – I’ve got out of the habit of going for long walks…
20 February 2023 (Monday) - Bluewater
I slept for nine hours last night, and was rather
aching when I woke. Leaving “er indoors TM” and the dogs
asleep I got up and made toast and had a little look at the Internet. I had
yet another dubious friend request, and added it to
the album. This one was ostensibly from a young lady who claimed to have been
born in London but who has since emigrated to the southern highlands of Papua
New Guinea where she has cultivated a rather impressive chest. She’d sent me
a photo of it. I must admit that had I such an epic pair I too would brandish
it with such abandon.
I also found myself faced with adverts for tropical fish shops from ridiculously far away. Just recently I’ve found I’ve had amazing service from the branches of Maidenhead Aquatics in the local Dobbies and in Notcutts garden centre in Maidstone. I shall stick with them.
We got ourselves ready to go out and settled the pups, and just as we were about to walk out the door so my phone pinged. A new geocache had gone live which was about fifty yards off of our planned route. So we set off and took a fifty yards diversion, and within a minute had the new geocache in our hands. First ones to find it too; it was only a shame that in my hurry I managed to fill my hand with splinters and thorns.
We then drove out to Charing where “er indoors TM” collected a bargain she’d got from Facebook Marketplace, and from there went on to Bluewater.
arrival we had a little wander around; as we saw what was what and what was
where we did a geocaching Adventure Lab cache. Whilst it made us notice all
sorts of things we otherwise would have walked straight past, we rather
struggled with finding the actual locations as the GPS really didn’t want to
By then we were hungry so we decided that a spot of lunch would be a good thing. And you can’t go wrong with a cheeky Nando… or so I thought. To be honest the service was excellent. The food was brought out with a minimum of waiting around, and it was *really* good. However all of that was let down by the background music; mind you “background music” wouldn’t have been a bad thing. What Nando had was a frankly awful repetitive chanting caterwaul played at deafening level. I suspect it was the dreadful background noise which made the small child (three tables away) scream constantly the entire time we were there.
The resulting headache lasted all afternoon.
We came home, woke the dogs and walked them round the co-op field practicing whistle training. As we walked round the field I couldn’t help but look at the trees which have been planted and have ruined the fied. Last year the council announced that they were going to plant over a hundred and thirty thousand trees as part of the “plant a tree for the jubilee” initiative. I can’t help but feel that it would have been better to have had a “plant a tree and look after it” initiative rather than a “plant a tree, forget all about it, let it die and get overgrown with brambles” initiative which is what would seem to have happened
While we were in Bluewater I’d got us some Whitby buns. We had them with a cuppa after our walk as we watched episodes of “Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins”, We spent half the time in frank amazement at the physical tasks faced by the contestants, and the other half of the time wondering just who these so-called celebrities were.
Over a light tea of pizza we watched some of the episodes of “Hancock’s Half Hour” that UK Gold has recently restored. I know some might regard me as a heretic for saying so, but Tony Hancock is up there with Woody Allen and Lenny Henry in that I honestly believe the only reason that they are famous comedians is because everyone thinks that everyone else thinks they are hilarious, and no one wants to admit the truth.
With “er indoors TM” off bowling I made myself comfortable om the sofa underneath a pile of dogs and watched a couple of episodes of “Downton Abbey”. Ethel is in disgrace having got tubbed off of Major Bryant. Things were very different a hundred years ago…
21 February 2023 (Tuesday) - A Rather Lazy Birthday
I would have had an excellent night’s sleep had “er indoors TM”’s alarm kept quiet. Mind you it didn’t go off before a wet nose had thrust itself into my armpit, so I shouldn’t grumble.
For over thirty years I would be woken at exactly twenty past seven on my birthday with a phone call from my mum who could never wait any longer before wishing me “Happy Birthday”. I miss those phone calls.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Nearly forty people had already wished me a happy birthday by the time I’d scoffed brekkie. Seeing the time made me think… it was just after nine o’clock. Fifty years ago I’d have been standing in a classroom with the rest of the class howling the “happy birthday” song at me and the two other classmates with whom I shared a birthday. I wonder whatever happened to those two. One of them (Johnnie Walker – he really was called Johnnie Walker) I’ve never seen since we left primary school in 1975, and the other (Leslie Marriott) I last saw in 1982 when he was on his way to a job in an insurance agent’s office in Brighton.
After a little farting around spent blagging MP3 files from YouTube we went round to “My Boy TM” and Cheryl’s.and from there we all walked out to Great Chart. As we walked I felt myself wilting; I really wasn’t feeling on top form. But we had a good walk.
We came home, and with the dogs settled, “er indoors TM” drove us up to the Beefeater in Hothfield. A mixed grill, a peanut butter sundae and two bottle of “Rocking Rudolph” did it for me. With scoff scoffed we came home and I fell asleep in front of the telly.
I went to sleep with Bailey on top of me, and woke up (two hours later) with Morgan where she had been. We settled the pups and went round to My Boy TM” and Cheryl’s. Cheryl had made loads of pancakes and waffles and we scoffed ourselves silly before slobbing in front of the telly.
Not a bad way to spend a birthday… over a hundred and twenty people sent me birthday messages. I’m rather pleased about that.
I still feel under the weather though. I’m absolutely worn out even though I’ve done very little other than a short walk, eat far too much and sleep…
22 February 2023 (Wednesday) - A Lazy Day
I woke with backache this morning. This seems to happen if I stay in my pit for too long. I don’t get the backache when I get up silly early. I’m thinking I’m getting used to the new mattress. If any of my loyal readers would like a used king-sized mattress, do let me know, or I shall have to get the council on the case.
I made brekkie and peered into the Internet. It was still there. Squabbles and trivia abounded, as they do. Ironically while I’m having a week off work a new geocache had gone live about two minutes’ walk from work.
The dog-hater brigade was out in force on the local Facebook page, but (to be honest) dogs was but one topic about which people were quarrelling this morning. I swear if I was to post on there saying “Ashford is a town in Kent”, not one person would agree.
I got the dogs together and we went out for a walk. We drove up to Kings Wood and walked round. We met a few other dog walkers and the meetings passed off without incident. We saw a herd of deer and the dogs gave chase, but all came back to the sound of the whistle (to my amazement). At about three and a half miles into the walk (two miles from the nearest car parks) we found a port-a-loo. What was a turdis doing in the middle of the woods?
The only problem we had today was when some brat (who should have been in school) charged at Bailey screaming “DOG DOG DOG” and tried to grab her. Poor Bailey ran in terror. Mother loudly announced that if the brat asked nicely then the brat might be allowed to pet the dog. I announced equally loudly that I didn’t think that would happen as the poor pup was terrified.
You’d think children would be taught how to behave round dogs, wouldn’t you? I’ve had other children grab Pogo by the ears and scream in its face because (as the mother told me) the child doesn’t like dogs.
We came home, and as I so often do I slobbed on the sofa watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which some Angolan chap slagged off all the opposition until it was his turn to play host at which point he suddenly fell ill.
“er indoors TM” sorted a rather good dinner which we scoffed whilst watching more “Junior Bake Off” in which the poor child with the miserable expression got chucked out, and then we watched Paul Merton driving a motorhome round Minehead. The Baptist minister of Minehead was one of my best friends fifty years ago and so I followed that show like a hawk just in case he appeared.
I’m quite enjoying these lazy days… I’m rather good at them.
23 February 2023 (Thursday) - A Muddy Walk
I woke when a wet nose shoved itself into my face this morning. Rather than getting up I let the puppies have ten minutes on the big bed as they really do love it.
I made toast, and as I scoffed it I had a look at the internet just in case anything much had changed overnight. It hadn’t really. I glossed over the petty bickering in the hope of finding something work looking at, and was sadly disappointed.
I sent out two birthday messages, and got the dogs ready for an outing.
As we drove the pundits on the radio were wittering on about someone or other who was some big cheese in the world of cinema. God only knows who it was, and after they’d wittered they then apologised for having got whoever-it-was’ name wrong. They didn’t apologize for getting Star Trek confused with Star Wars though. It was at that point that I turned the radio off and sang along to my rather odd choice of MP3s.
We got to Kings Wood and went off for a little wander. Two of my geocaches up there had reports which made me think they’d gone missing, so I replaced both. And while I was at it I hid a new one.
As we walked we had a shock… some woman and her cart-horse-sized dog jumped out at us from behind a tree (not ten yards away) and she started shrieking about how her dog was scared of other dogs. My three stayed with me as we walked by. I made the observation that next time she might like to shout from a hundred yards away rather than hiding until we were almost on top of her, but there is no reasoning with some idiots.
With walk walked we came back to the car. I opened the boot, said “boot dogs” and helped Bailey in – she is too small to do “boot dogs” on her own. I then blasted the whistle and gave them a treat each… and then another idiot bustled over. She’d seen me with my three dogs before; she was impressed with how I handled them (that was nice!), but she had a word of advice for me. She also has “multiple dogs” and finds it far easier to walk them one at a time. She’d just walked one dog round the woods, and was going home to swap the walked dog for another. She seriously felt I would get on better by making the fifteen-minute drive to the woods with just Treacle, going four miles round the woods with her, then having half an hour’s round trip to drop Treacle at home and collect Morgan… and then with Bailey. I suggested that if I started at nine o’clock I would finish at four o’clock, and that wasn’t allowing for dinner.
Does anyone else attract these looneys?
As I drove home I was mystified by an odd beeping sound. I think it was “Hannah”; my GPS unit, but I’m not convinced it wasn’t the car whinging about something or other.
We got home and went from “boot dogs” to “bath dogs”, and once they were scruubed I got some KFC for us all to share for lunch.
As we scoffed I watched an episode of “Downton Abbey” which was rather sad as William the footman croaked. However in a triumph for puritans everywhere, Mister Matthew’s injury has put paid to any nudey prod games, so Miss Lavinia breathed a sigh of relief.
I then wrote up the geo-admin for the geocache I hid this morning (that took over an hour) and sent it all off to the geo-feds. If it gets the thumbs-up it will be the five hundredth one that I’ve hidden.
And then I slobbed in front of the telly underneath a pile of dogs… I do that a lot these days.
My face feels rough… I’ve not shaved today. I *always* have a shave. How did I forget?
24 February 2023 (Friday) - Dentist, Walk, Writing a Wherigo
Some mornings my lap-top is a wonder of technology. Other mornings not so. This morning I turned it on and there was a twenty minute delay whilst the browser window farted about doing absolutely nothing at all. In the task manager it was obvious that it was doing all sorts of things, but doing whatever those things were had rendered it utterly useless for the tasks it is supposed to do.
Eventually it got going, and I saw I had two friend requests on Facebook. The first from a woman in a leather leotard with a haircut that looked like her mum had done it, the other from someone who looked like she was playing dressing up at being a vampire.
I also saw that the closest beach to me has been declared unsafe for swimming for the rest of the year due to the high levels of bacteria from raw sewage that is floating round the place.
I had an email from the geo-feds. The Wherigo geocache I hid yesterday had got the thumbs-down. Could I please replace the word “Garmin” in the written description with “hand held GPS devices”. Bearing in mind that I’d copied and pasted from a geocache description that had been accepted a year ago I took a deep breath and did that which was asked of me, and the thing went live ten minutes later.
I downloaded bank account statements and had my monthly tot up of how much I’ve squandered. The fish and chips we had at the seaside on 22 January didn’t appear on my credit card bill, nor did whatever it was that I got from Tesco on 23 January. That’s twenty quid in my back pocket. Result.
And so to the dentist. All was mostly OK… it took him maybe thirty seconds to determine that. I’ve got a chipped tooth which he suggested I got fixed. I’m booked in to get it done in three weeks. Mind you I had an appointment with the dental hygienist yesterday that got cancelled. I reckon two out of three appointments I make with them get cancelled so I doubt they will keep this one.
I took the dogs up to Kings Wood where we explored somewhere different. The pups seemed to enjoy being out, but unlike yesterday they didn’t come home smothered in mud. Which was another result.
Shortly after getting home I had an email telling me that the Wherigo geocache I’d hidden yesterday (that went live this morning) had been found. Flushed with enthusiasm I spent the afternoon writing another Wherigo. It is nearly ready for testing…
“er indoors TM” boiled up sausages and chips for dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard” which was rather good.
My nose really hurts; it feels like I’ve been punched in it. What’s that all about?
25 February 2023 (Saturday) - Sorting Dad's Stuff
Treacle was rather restless in the night. “er indoors TM” took her outside at four o’clock and came back up with the puppies. After a couple of hours Bailey got off the bed and ran downstairs, but by the time I’d followed her there was a bit of dire rear by the back door. At least she’d tried to get outside.
As I was up anyway I made toast and watched another episode of “Downton Abbey” in which His Lordship tried to pork one of the maids, and Lady Sybil eloped with the chauffer. It all happens in Downton Abbey, you know.
Whilst I waited for “er indoors TM” and the dogs to emerge from their pits I made a start on my latest Wherigo project. Being a GPS based game there is a lot of latitude and longitude co ordinates involved, and it really doesn’t help that geocaching uses one format (N 51° 08.135 E 000° 52.920) and Wherigo uses another (51.1355388128128N 0.881931358029555E). Converting between the two gives great scope for stuffing it all up.
You have to wonder why they don’t use the same format; after all it is the same company.
I put the bedding in to wash; for some inexplicable reason it was covered in dog sick.
Being Saturday we drove round to dog club. As always the dogs soon realised where they were going and got incredibly over-excited. The whole idea of dog club is rather simple, but there is something rather good about standing in a field whilst a couple of dozen small dogs charge around having a whale of a time.
With dog club done we drove home listening to Steve on the radio. We couldn’t listen in on the way there – the controls of the car music thingy don’t work when it is cold. As we do on the way home from dog club we strained our brains on the mystery year contest. I had no idea about any of the music played; the only thing which gave me a hint was the fact that the last part of the M20 opened in that year… which (for me) narrowed it down to the mid to late eighties. However according to Wikipedia it was 1991.
With dogs worn out from dog club and “er indoors TM” off on a mission of her own I drove down to Hastings and Dad’s house. Together with brother and nephew we carried on sorting Mum and Dad’s house… I say “sorting”; pretty much everything that we wanted we took out a few months ago. Today we bagged up all the stuff that needs to go. It was sad, but as I said to nephew if we didn’t ding it, his descendants would just be dinging it in fifty years’ time when he goes.
As we dinged we found a box of lion poo (It really was lion poo) that an aunt had given Dad to sprinkle on the garden. Apparently it keeps the cats away. We also found some investment certificates with which Dad clearly hadn’t been impressed, and a box labelled “double b*ll*cks” which contained enormous fishing hooks from the days when he used to dabble in fishing for skate which weighed as much as he did.
Sorting the house didn’t take long at all. I came home and popped up the corner shop for a sandwich where some bloke (pissed as a fart) was kicking off because he didn’t want to pay five pence for a carrier bag.
I then spent the afternoon on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs, periodically opening the back door for poor Bailey who has got a rather impressive bout of dire rear. I have told her many times not to eat dog poo, but will she listen?
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the final of “Junior Bake Off” which wasn’t so much won by one of the contestants as lost by another.
We had a bottle of Malbec too. Hic…
26 February 2023 (Sunday) - At the Vet's
I woke with a definite sense of déjà vu this morning. “er indoors TM” had brought the puppies up whilst I’d been asleep, and all three dogs were pushed up against me giving me about nine inches along the edge of the bed. I though the idea of a king-sized mattress was that I could have some room. Clearly I was mistaken.
Leaving them all asleep I got up and made toast. I rolled my eyes as I read Facebook’s feed this morning. Leaving aside dubious friend requests (from God only knows what), over the last few weeks my Facebook feed had been filled with videos of crocodiles. However this morning I had seemingly nothing but adverts for cruise holidays. Each advert offered a bargain price with a huge price reduction. Sadly the actual reduction itself was far more than I would want to spend on a holiday in total.
Having got up to glorious sunshine I had this naïve idea that we might go out and do some field trials of my current Wheri-project. However in the three hours it took everyone else to get ready the weather had gone off somewhat. By the time we got to the woods the sunshine had given way to (at various times) rain, sleet and hail.
As we walked we kept an eye on Bailey. She hadn’t seemed on top form earlier but we thought she’d rather come with us than be left behind. But the walk was a bit much for her; a combination of long walks in the week and the bout of dire rear had taken their toll. But whilst keeping an eye on Bailey we managed to miss seeing Morgan rolling in the fox poo. However we didn’t miss smelling it, and once home he had a serious scrub.
Once home I did the final tweaks to my Wheri-project as Bailey lay next to me whimpering and crying. After a few minutes I decided enough was enough and phoned the vets for an appointment for her.
I carried Bailey to the vets and we had to wait for a while – the only vet on duty was busy with an emergency. After a little while I was asked if I would be happy for the nurse to do a triage. I was very happy; as we walked into the consulting room Bailey did the most rank fart ever. “Oooh”, the veterinary nurse remarked. “That ain’t right”. The nurse then mauled Bailey about and found weaknesses on her left legs, and asked if I would mind if she carried Bailey through to where the emergency was going on so the vet could have a look.
As I waited I suddenly heard the most blood-curdling scream. Five minutes later the nurse came out and asked if I’d heard Bailey scream.
The final diagnosis was that she has two problems; a seriously strained front left leg and shitting through the eye of a needle (stop me it I'm getting too technical); both of which were aggravating each other.
We left the vet’s with more medicine than sense, a load of special dog food and orders that Bailey isn't allowed any walks for the next week... I carried her home.
We came home to find “er indoors TM” had got busy trying to sell the china cups and saucers that I’d fetched back from Dad’s house yesterday. Mum and Dad loved a proper cup and saucer, and I’d brought home the decent ones. Looking on eBay they seem to be worth something, but the true judge of their value is what they sell for, not what they are up for sale at.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this evening’s episode of “Lego Masters: Australia”. I do like that show, though I doubt I’d do very well on there.
has been a rather good few days off work… back to the grind tomorrow. I’d
rather not, but I’d rather go where I’m going tomorrow than where I’ve been
in the past.
27 February 2023 (Monday) - Stuff
Having had a week of half-way decent sleep (on my week off), with an alarm set last night I woke at ten past two, and then looked at the clock about every twenty minutes from then on.
I eventually gave up trying to sleep and came downstairs to find Bailey had made a great improvement overnight. Yesterday I was carrying her to the garden; this morning she sprinted to the back door the very instant I opened the pup crate. Mind you I made a point of carrying her upstairs to the big bed; she wasn’t going to be allowed to run up the stairs.
With the dogs settled I made toast and settled down for my morning fix of “Downton Abbey” in which the chauffeur got his drink spiked and made quite the exhibition of himself in front of the dowager countess. I think the dowager countess was rather impressed.
I set off to work. As I drove I listened to the radio, as I do. I know the pundits on their boil my piss, but if I don’t listen to them I find myself utterly unaware of everything that is going on in the world.
Apparently we’ve had the driest February ever. There was an interview about it… with a farmer from East Anglia whose usually swamp-like field are dry enough to drive cars and tractors over. The interview could have been insightful and interesting; instead it was like.. well, like, erm like… The poor woman must had used the word “like” at least three times in every sentence. You’d think that whoever oversees the morning’s radio would vet the people they have on there. Wouldn’t you?
There was also a lot of talk about customs arrangements in Northern Ireland. The UK is in the frankly ridiculous position of demanding that there both be a border *and* not be a border between Northern and Southern Ireland. Bearing in mind that everyone saw this coming during the Brexit squabbling, it is really a tad late to only now realise that voting for Brexit was voting for Irish reunification… whether the D.U.P. like it or not.
I got some petrol before work; I got it in Aylesford at eleven pence per litre cheaper than Ashford was knocking it out at.
And then I went to Sainsbury’s to get cakes for work (as it was my birthday last week). I got what I needed, and then had something of a fight with the self-service checkout. It was playing up rather spectacularly, and when I asked why the tills weren’t in use, the old bat (in Sainsbury’s uniform) told me there was no need for Sainsburys to have staff on the tills.
If only there was another supermarket within striking distance of work…
Work was work; it would have been a tad easier had I not been wrestling with the intricacies of the N blood group (did you know there was an N blood group?), but it could have been worse. And with work worked I came home.
“er indoors TM” sorted scran then went bowling. I’ve suggested that whilst she is out she might like to look for the northern lights. Apparently they are visible this evening… but not from our house as it is too cloudy. Not that I could have seen it from underneath the dogs…
28 February 2023 (Tuesday) - Rather Dull
I found myself in a rather reflective mood this morning as I watched “Downton Abbey”. Lady Edith had been left standing at the altar after her prospective husband thought better of tying the knot. Understandably she was a tad miffed. I know the thing is just a made-up TV drama, but the ridiculously rich can be miserable too. Was it wrong of me to think that her being miserable was in some way payback for being rich?
I sparked up the lap-top and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. I sent out birthday wishes… and thought of someone whose birthday it was today; someone I’ve only seen once in the last forty-eight years. When I was at Red Lake primary school, Vivienne Barr was in the same class as me every year for the seven years that we were both there. Her birthday was exactly one week after mine, and every year the teachers would remark on it as though it was of major significance, and so it has stuck in my mind. I’ve seen her once since we both left primary school, but every year I think of February 28th as “Vivienne Barr’s Birthday”. I wonder whatever happened to her? I think her father was something big in Sussex Police?
I was also presented with an advert for wellington boots. You can get them for less than a tenner on Amazon, but the ones in the advert were branded with a particular manufacturer of fishing gear, and the going rate for those was twenty-five quid – and that was second-hand. Fishing gear is a serious rip off. The stuff itself costs far too much, and whoever makes fishing gear then sticks their logo onto clothing and mugs and tents and all sorts of stuff, triples the price… and can’t keep up with the demand.
With very little else of note happening on-line I got ready for work. I’d rather not have got ready for work. I know that no one is overly keen on the idea, but when I started working full-time all those years ago it was on the firm understanding that I would get a full pension on September 14th 2021. That’s eighteen months ago and what with the vagaries of politician’s lies, a full pension is (sadly) years into the future.
The radio’s “Thought for the Day” was interesting… in a strange sort of way. Some vicar or other was banging on about ex-US President Jimmy Carter who this vicar claimed was the last actively Christian president. He also banged on about Tim Farron who packed in being leader of the Liberal Democraps because he felt his religious views were an obstacle to his political career. This vicar seemed to think that religious people made better national leaders as (so he claimed) a religious outlook was synonymous with a moral perspective.
This attitude from the righteous winds me up. Can’t people lead moral lives without the imposed fear of eternal damnation? And as for the success of religious leaders, just look at what’s going on in the middle east.
To think that forty years ago I was seriously thinking of taking holy orders myself…
Today was one of the dull days…