1 January 2023 (Sunday) - New Year's Day
I managed to sleep for over eight hours last night and wake up with no backache this morning. Here’s hoping that this bodes well for the New Year. When I got up “er indoors TM” had already seen to the puppies as well… something else that can continue…
I made toast and sparked up my lap-top. It wasn’t raining outside, and I sighed as I saw that the weather forecast had changed completely overnight. Why are they (“they” being the entire meteorological community) allowed to continue issuing forecasts when what they say is so often so completely wrong. They really do seem to say any old rubbish and then change it at the last minute to conform with what actually happens.
Before I had chance to get wound up by the usual trivia that abounds on-line I had a message. “My Boy TM”’s shed roof had gone west. Did I have any roofing felt?
I got the felt that was in the shed, some clout nails and a hammer and drove round to his house. Sure enough during the winds of last night a great lump of the felt on his shed roof had come off. Amazingly when his shed was built, whoever made it didn’t build it so’s the two roof panels met – along the top of his shed was a gap an inch wide and seven feet long covered only by roofing felt… the same roofing felt which had blown off overnight, and so his she was awash.
It didn’t take long to fix… When I say “fix”, I mean “bodge”. We’ve made it good for now. Once the wood of the shed roof dries out we’ll replace all the shed’s roofing felt and sort out the wooden edges too. Or that is “My Boy TM” will fix it and I will generally get in the way, make “helpful” suggestions and post photos of the antics to social media.
I came home, collected “er indoors TM” and the dogs and we went up to Kings Wood for a little walk. We made a point of keeping the dogs on their leads until another group had got a way away. There was a group with some disabled dogs; three dogs all with their rear ends in a wheelchair arrangement, all zooming about propelled by their front legs. They seemed to be having fun, but the puppies can get in the way, and Treacle can be grumpy so we kept our distance.
We then walked our usual four mile circuit round the woods. The woods were busy today. I suppose being a Bank Holiday weekend they would be.
With walk walked and fox poo scrubbed from dogs (they can be such foul creatures) “er indoors TM” set about her jigsaw puzzle, and I settled myself in front of the telly. “The Bridge Over The River Kwai” is a classic film, and has stood the test of time far better than today’s second film “Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.” which was sadly on the lame side.
I would have turned it off and played Lego had Morgan and Bailey not been sleeping on me, but they were, and you can’t disturb a sleeping dog. It’s the law.
I then made this year’s birthday video. You’ll see it on your birthday. “er indoors TM” sorted some rather good lamb shanks which we washed down with a bottle of rioja whilst watching the New Year Bake Off.
It’s been a rather good day off, if a lazy one… It was only a shame there was no geocaching walk planned for today. Apart from one locked-down year there has been a major meet-up of the Hunters of Tupperware on every New Year’s Day for as long as I’ve been hunting Tupperware.
I’m hoping that no event today was just a blip.
2 January 2023 (Monday) - Lazy Day
For the second day this year (!) the forecast of “constant heavy rain all day” was changed overnight to “no rain at all”. This got me wondering.
I spent a little while having a look on-line at the accuracy of the ability of weather forecasts to predict rain and couldn’t find any information. Forecasts are claimed to be eighty to ninety per cent accurate in getting the temperature right to within a couple of degrees, and pretty much everything I could find about forecasting accuracy was based on temperature. Not rain.
I suppose it was probably as well that the forecast was wrong. The forecast rain had put me off of going to Scarborough today. Over the last week a walrus has been sitting on the sea front there, and I worked out that if we left home at four o’clock in the morning we could get there, see the walrus, and still be home (after a six hundred miles round trip) before it was dark.
The forecast rain put us off the idea of going, and that was for the best as the Internet said that overnight the walrus has shoved off to wherever it is that walruses shove off to.
We thought better of taking the dogs to the woods; with no rain the woods would be full of normal people. Instead we took the dogs to Great Chart where we did a geo-adventure lab (and got an e-souvenir too), then walked a little way up the Greensand Way. As we came toward the railway so Bailey went rogue. She was eventually recaptured, and we cut the walk short.
“er indoors TM” jigsaw-ed whilst I watched “Escape to Victory” which I can remember being a far better film that it was this afternoon, then with “er indoors TM” off shopping I made myself comfortable with the dogs and watched several episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which the one obsessed with cleanliness turned out to have a mildew-ridden mattress.
I did snigger.
We had a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the New Year’s special episode of “Taskmaster”, and I’m thinking about an early night before an early start tomorrow.
I never used to like having utterly lazy days… but I seem to be getting the hang of them.
3 January 2023 (Tuesday) - A Fractious Watch
I had one of those episodes last night where I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go, only to find it as half past one. I then dozed, waking every twenty minutes or so.
I gave up trying to sleep, “did” the puppies, then made some brekkie and had a quick look at the Internet.
Squabbles abounded on the “Normalising Atheism” Facebook page I’ve started following. It’s an odd part of the Internet in which people of all sorts of faith spout stark nonsense to try (and fail) to persuade anyone who will listen about the validity of their particular brand of religion, whilst atheist use logic and reason to show that their ideas are ridiculous at best. Today several people were arguing about the efficacy of prayer; in the cases being discussed (ranted about) demonstrably it didn’t work, but hard evidence is nothing compared to blind faith.
And they let these people vote, you know…
There was also an advert for “The Ramblers” featuring two rather foxy young ladies in a shallow attempt to attract the sad sorts that would go sniffing round two rather foxy young ladies.
I had an email from the Credit Karma people telling me my credit rating had improved by eleven points over the last month. I wonder why. And I saw that my watch had measured that I’d done thirty-eight steps before I picked it up.
I then sighed as I sent out a birthday wish to an old schoolmate who has now retired and got ready for work.
I set off in the dark, driving to the car park of the railway station. I parked there and capped four Munzee Points of Interest (as I so often do). The place was rather quiet. So it should be - the railway workers were on strike today. I know the strikers are frowned upon, but I was talking with a good friend at the weekend who is himself one of the strikers. His side of the sorry tale really needs telling.
He's been offered a relatively decent pay rise (compared to the piss-poor amount I've been offered) for this year and next... and then he will get compulsory redundancy in 2025. Have you ever tried to get a job when you are the wrong side of fifty? He's not hanging on for a silly pay rise. He's hanging on for a job.
I then went to the Vicarage Lane Car Park for five more Points of Interest (which were far less interesting that you might think), then went to Sainsbury's for petrol as I only had forty miles worth left in the car. I rarely let the thing get so empty.
Petrol was far cheaper than it has been for ages... but still at a quid and a half a litre they ain't giving it away. Being short of the stuff I went to the Ashford Sainsburys petrol station where having a face like a slapped arse seems to be a prerequisite to getting a job there. I'm sure that if either of the two miseries behind the counter had smiled, their faces would have cracked.
Co-incidentally as I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about falling fuel prices. They wheeled on some gasbag or other who went on at great length about how a drop in the wholesale price of fuel in no way means a cheaper gas or leccie bill for the likes of me, nor should it. Petrol, yes. Gas and leccie, no. One lives and learns.
With a few minutes spare (I'd deliberately left home early) I drove past the hospital and went on to the nearby housing estate where I Qrewzee-ed. This involved Munzing Munzees which hadn't been Munzed for over a year. There are those who might (with good reason) see this as something of a waste of time, but it was good for a little walk; putting two thousand steps onto my watch's step counter. My new watch is constantly pestering me to walk at least six thousand steps each day, and it gets quite fractious when I sit still at the microscope for any length of time... and then it makes sarcastic comments whenever I do get up and walk anywhere.
As I sat still at the microscope (with my watch getting progressively more and more fractious) I phoned the probate people. When I applied for probate on Dad's estate the government website said to give it eight weeks. Eight weeks have passed... now they say to give it sixteen weeks...
I also phoned the pension people for a quote for what pension I'd get if I jacked it all in tomorrow. The quote will take a couple of weeks to come, so maybe I'd better not jack it in for a fortnight. Not that I want to jack it in... Well... Don't get me wrong. Unlike ten years ago I'm quite happy with my job in that the thought of the thing no longer makes me feel physically ill. But I'm getting on a bit, and I'm tired with it all. Maybe taking my pension and going back part-time? I'll see what the numbers look like before I sigh (again) and just get on with the job.
Rather than coming straight home I went on to Lego club. I couldn’t stay long what with having an early start tomorrow, but I made the most of the half-hour I had there. Part of me wonders if we met in a pub we might avoid the children that clearly don’t want to be there and just run round screaming and shouting, but those of us that were Lego-ing had a good time. And I’m just an old grump.
The trouble with meeting in a guide hut is that all scout and guide huts are echo chambers…
Now for an early night… I’m knackered…
4 January 2023 (Wednesday) - Guts Ache
I woke in a cold sweat after a nightmare in which “er indoors TM” wanted to go to Spain to buy a "hooky motor" from Boycie out of "Only Fools and Horses". Neither the fact that Boycie didn't operate out of Spain nor the logistics of getting a "hooky motor" back to the UK from Spain were in any way stumbling blocks to her plan.
I sorted the puppies, made toast and had a look at the Internet. The Facebook page about "Normalising Atheism" has rather become an obsession for me at the moment; some people really do believe stark staring nonsense. Today some woman was apologizing for giving up being an atheist. She was taking up some brand of happy-clappy Christianity not because she believed in it at all (she actually thought it was all a load of laughable twaddle), but because she liked what it was promising and it made her happy, even though she said she didn't actually believe any of it. She went on to say that the leader of the church she’d joined was quite clear that you didn't have to believe any of it to be a member of the church.
I was reminded of my time in the Methodist church where so many people went along for the social aspect (and because it was fun and entertaining) rather than out of any religious convictions.
I had a little Munzee mission before work. Again I stopped outside the train station. Despite the strike, all the lights were on in the place. There goes the environment. eh? The pundits on the radio had much the same idea this morning with talk about how ski resorts are currently shutting up shop and people are on the beaches in Spain this week as Europe is having a winter heatwave
There was also a lot of talk about the Prime Minister's announcement that everyone will have maths education (of some sort) until they are eighteen years old... despite there not being anywhere near enough teachers to deliver this. This was not unlike the talk which followed about the current NHS crisis. It doesn't matter how much money the government throws at the NHS if there aren't enough staff. This was painfully illustrated in an interview on the radio with the head honcho of one of the NHS Trusts in East Anglia who spoke of nurses packing it all up because they can get more money for less hours doing a far less stressful job filling the shelves in Sainsburys.
I got to work... I've always said that I like the early shifts but I am fast going off of them. They are getting to be too much like hard work.
When the work eased up a bit I phoned British Gas to talk about Dad's gas bill. As the sale of the house is dragging on a tad I thought it best to set up a direct debit to pay for the gas and leccie until we sell the place. So easy to say, such arse-ache to do. The nice lady at British Gas (who sounded like death warmed up) wanted meter readings, and my pleas that getting meter reading entail a round trip of sixty miles fell on deaf ears.
Oh well... I'll send my brother... when he has a minute.
With work worked I came home and walked the dogs round the block. It was getting dark when I got home and was completely dark by the time we’d done our walk.
I then sat on the sofa with the dogs and we all slept until “er indoors TM” came home. She boiled up some Christmas pud which I had with a gallon of cream… I’ve got guts ache now…
5 January 2023 (Thursday) - Before the Night Shift
With no alarm set I didn’t wake up silly early, sleeping through until after eight o’clock. “er indoors TM” had seen to the puppies, so I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Last night I’d made a comment on the “Normalizing Atheism” Facebook page that I follow about how religion isn’t really a big thing in the UK. Over two hundred people had commented about how America is every bit as much a dark ages theocracy as the Middle East. Which probably explains the ongoing global troubles as one bunch tries to convince the other that one imaginary friend is better than another.
Why does religion still have such a hold on the world when none of it stands up to any logical thought?
I got my boots on and heard a sound. Morgan was peeing. I chivvied him outside even though it was too late. He does ask to go out, but he will leave it to the last minute. There was a five minute delay as I cleared up dog tiddle, then I got the pups on their leads and we went out.
Fortunately it wasn’t raining so we went up to Kings Wood. I had a blast (it’s a Munzee thing), then had a stroke of genius (I have them from time to time!). Chatting at Saturday Dog Club it would seem there’s quite a few people who haven’t heard of Kings Wood or don’t know where it is. So as we walked I took a few photos to post to the Dog Club Facebook page so people might see where Kings Wood is and what it looks like.
Kings Wood was busy today; we must have seen half a dozen other dog walkers. All three dogs chased a squirrel. Rather a stupid squirrel really as it ran for at least a hundred yards passing dozens of trees before eventually going upwards.
The only real “episode” we had was when Bailey was reluctant to get her lead back on; she was too busy chasing crows.
With walk walked we came home. All the dogs went in the bath, but just to have paws washed as we weren’t that grubby today. That’s why I like Kings Wood; we walked a shade over six kilometres in an hour and a quarter and the muddiest bit was the two hundred yards nearest to the car park.
As the dogs snored I set the washing machine loose on more laundry and watched the last episode of the first season of “Star Trek: Prodigy” which was rather good.
I hung out laundry then took all the dog bedding out of the back of my car (what they do “boot dogs” on), loaded it into the washing machine, set it to “mega scrub” and went to bed for the afternoon whilst the washing machine did its best.
I slept reasonably well. It was a shame that Treacle had to go so berserk when the junk mail was delivered during the mid-afternoon. It was equally a shame that junk mail got delivered at all. Does anyone ever read the stuff?
After three hours I got up and hung out the dog blanket that I’d washed. The dog bed was in a bit of a state though. There was no way I could see of opening the thing to take the liner off, and it was rather wet anyway from where wet dogs had been on it. I put it in to tumble-dry for a bit, hung it out, and I’ll see what it is like in the morning. After all, it just gives wet muddy dogs somewhere to sit on the way from the woods to the bath so it doesn’t have to be perfect… but then my dogs sit on it so it has to be perfect.
I’m hoping “er indoors TM” will boil up some dinner in a bit, and then I’m off to another night shift. I wonder what the night will hold…
6 January 2023 (Friday) - Bit Tired
Last night’s night shift was a busy one; when the early shift came in my watch told me that during the shift I’d walked two and a half miles whilst doing my thing.
As I drove home the radio was spouting its usual brand of drivel. That idiot Prince Harry was still attention-seeking by now claiming that his brother the new Prince of Wales physically bashed him up a year or so ago. Harry claims he wants reconciliation with his family… That might take some doing, but here’s a tip to get started. He might give the hundred million quid he got from his recent publicity deals to charity, move back to the UK, and stop acting like a twat.
There was an interview with ”Lance” out of “Detectorists” who is starring in the upcoming new “Raiders of the Lost Ark” film, but contractually wasn’t allowed to discuss the film at all… which made me wonder why he was being interviewed at all.
And then my piss boiled. There was an interview with the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK who was rather cross about how the morning’s news had featured the antics of resigned royalty and upcoming movie news. He was of the opinion that UK media doesn’t focus on the ongoing Ukrainian war enough and that decent allies would devote more air-time to them and help them more. Bearing in mind there’s little else mentioned on the morning news and the millions of pounds of said they’ve been given… I’ve mentioned before about the ingratitude…
I got home and went to bed for a few hours. Over a late brekkie I saw I had a message on Facebook from someone wanting me to get involved with some international day of protest against religion. When I pointed out that this was the sort of thing that simply would just be laughed at here in the UK, offence was taken. A rant at me was ranted, and the ranter has now blocked me.
No loss there, eh?
I took the dogs for a little walk. All three seemed to be popular; we had no end of people telling me how cute they all were.
And with walk walked we all got home just as the rain started. I spent a couple of hours ironing whilst watching “The Witcher: Blood Origin”. One of the better (actually rather horrible) characters was played by Lenny Henry. I must admit I’ve never warmed to him, and was amazed to see what a good actor he can be.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of “Lego Masters: Australia”. A two-hour recording was shortened by over forty minutes by fast-forwarding through the adverts. Bearing in mind that commercial television is dependent on them, I can’t help but wonder if anyone actually watches them.
The day after a night shift is usually dull.
7 January 2023 (Saturday) - Rain Stopped Play
I slept like a log last night… one benefit of the night shift. I took the puppies out. Morgan peed by the back door then refused to come back in. He alternately stared at the lake of pee and stared at me as though to ask how he was supposed to get past it. Silly dog.
With pee lake navigated the two of them went upstairs to bother “er indoors TM” and Treacle as I had brekkie.
For once I couldn’t face the usual Facebook drivel, so I spent a few minutes emptying my email in-box. It needed emptying.
“Snag The Tag” were harassing me again. “Snag The Tag” is basically geocaching for the very rich. You buy a tag (they are actually rather ornate things and quite collectable). You hide it in a wood somewhere and tell the world where it is. There is then a race, and the first person to find the tag keeps it. And that’s it. The second person there (and anyone else) gets to sulk that they were too late. At fifteen quid per tag this game isn’t taking off like the organisers hoped it might.
I had more emails from the Isle of Wight branch of Halfords. For some reason they insist on sending me all sorts of messages that I don’t want. I unsubscribed yet again; I expect the emails will start again in a week or two.
No end of people of whom I have ever heard want to add me on LinkedIn.
Recruitment agencies (whose emails I have long since cancelled) were still bothering me about vacancies which were of no interest to me.
Firefox Monitor told me that my email address had appeared in a data breach. Bearing in mind that the data breach in question was two years ago and it has only just come to light, I doubt it is much to worry about.
I ended brekkie with an empty in-box. I expect it will slowly fill up again.
Being Saturday morning we drove round to the Repton estate for dog club. Treacle isn’t overly keen on it, but the puppies love it. Morgan and Bailey were soon dashing through the mud with Smudge and Willow and all of their friends. Sharkey tiddled up (at least) two different people. I know the dogs, if not the humans they come with.
The meet-up only lasts for forty minutes, but the puppies love running round like loons bothering everyone else. A girl I work with has started going to dog club; she said that the leader of the puppy classes she attends doesn’t approve of dog club as it teaches the dogs bad ways. Perhaps it does, but all the dogs there (about two dozen today) all seem to enjoy it. I took a few photos as well (as I do).
It was a shame that the rain started just as we were leaving and the bigger dogs were arriving, but the weather forecast had predicted rain for the weekend, and so far (in a novel break with tradition) the forecast has been right.
It was also a shame that both Morgan and Bailey had to be vigorously scrubbed when we got home (to remove the fox poo)
With dogs scrubbed and snoring “er indoors TM” and I went shopping. Generally I hate shopping, but for some inexplicable reason I was convinced I might miss something if I stayed home.
How wrong I was.
We drove up to Aldi (which wasn’t as busy as sometimes it can be) and got shopping. I had hoped there might have been something worth having in the middle aisle. There wasn’t. Shopping was dull. With a capital Dull.
We came home, unloaded shopping, and seeing the rain was showing no sign of letting up “er indoors TM” cracked on with her jigsaw. I opened the Lego set that “My Boy TM” got me for Christmas. One or two bits were missing, but nothing I couldn’t replace from my spares. And the motor isn’t as powerful as it might be; it’s got some slippage. A judicious dollop of superglue will sort that. But despite one or two hiccups I had an enjoyable time making little powered cars and using them to wind the dogs up.
And then I re-drafted my will (as I was that bored). I’m rather bothered that the fruits of my loin have differing number of fruits of their loins, and am rather keen that everyone gets equal dibs of what I leave. The obvious answer is that I squander it all myself, I suppose.
“er indoors TM” sorted fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching episodes of “The Crown” on Netflix. As we scoffed my phone pinged. We’ve achieved the first level of this month’s Munzee Clan War. Result (!)
There was so much more I could have done today… I suppose.
8 January 2023 (Sunday) - My Uncle Stan (!)
I slept like a log last night. I woke to the sound of heavy rain about six o’clock. There’s nothing more depressing than the sound of rain, is there?
I went back to sleep finally emerging from my pit at half past eight.
I had a little look at the Internet and was presented with a brand new Ivor Biggun song. I say “brand new”; the description says it was an old one, but I’d not heard it before. I hear Ivor sometimes plays live in Suffolk… I really most go see him before it is too late.
With the dogs settled “er indoors TM” and I popped into town for a bit of brekkie with some friends we’d not met up with since before lock-down. It was good to catch up and put the world to rights… it was a shame I struggled to squeeze myself between the chair and the table.
We need to meet up more often. What with lock-down I got out of the habit of being sociable. I need to do something about that.
We then drove through the rain down to Ham Street where “er indoors TM” ‘s mate was running a stall at the craft fair. Or so we thought. The craft fair isn’t until next weekend… Woops.
Whilst we were in the area I solved a geo-field puzzle and logged the geocache whilst “er indoors TM” did some maintenance on her geocaches. I say “maintenance”; I mean “did that which no one else could be bothered to do”. If the thing is clearly missing does it cause physical pain to replace it? And although just going ahead and replacing it is technically against the rules, why don’t people do their homework, read the logs and see what ones look to be missing before they leave home? They might then send a message to ask if they might be helpful and replace the missing one. Mightn’t they?
Very few do, though. It’s a rant which has been done to death. The death being the death of geocaching locally which was dying in its arse a year ago and is now terminal.
Such a shame
We came home via Stanhope where we drove a loop capping Chinese Zodiacs for Munzee purposes. As a hobby Munzee is going from strength to strength.
Once home I chivvied the dogs into the garden. With the rain they took some chivvying. And then as “er indoors TM” carried on with her jigsaw I made a start on my Lego pirate ship. A little while ago a colleague asked me if I’d like a Lego set she’d acquired. She’d warned me that some of the bits were missing. I’m not sure the instructions were the original ones either… I wasted quite a bit of time before I realised that the bricks that were green in the instructions were actually the black ones.
My colleague was right – quite a few bits were missing. I managed to scare up replacements for the missing bits from my spares. But running up and down the stairs to get odd bits of Lego got a tad gutty after a while.
I stopped after about four hours. I’m probably over half-way with it. I’ll finish it later.
And then my phone pinged with geo-news. The future of geocaching is Adventure Labs. Rather than rummaging for film pots under rocks, you go somewhere, answer questions, and score points for getting the answers right.
If you’ve got the Adventure Lab app on your phone, move the map to the general vicinity of Big Ben and call up the lab cache "Happy New Year".
Lab caches are set up so that you can answer the questions a short distance from the location of the question to allow for dodgy phone signals. These ones are based in Westminster and I answered them from fifty miles away. The questions are somewhat simple… along the lines of “Which is a Chinese Zodiac animal: Horse, Armadillo, Bacteria, Sheffield Wednesday“. I suspect that geo-HQ will lay an egg when they find out about it. Log it while you can.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner. As she boiled so she slipped the odd scrap to the dogs. So much so that Morgan was sick. Three times.
We scoffed dinner whilst watching the first episode of the third season of “The Crown”. Very entertaining… but the most entertaining bits were entirely made up. It bothers me that so many people think (so-called) historical drama on the telly is any substitute to a history lesson.
9 January 2023 (Monday) - On The Telly
I had another of "those" nights, waking feeling full of energy and raring to go only to find it was only ten to two. And then dozed for fifteen minutes at a time for the rest of the night. This happens so often when I have an alarm set.
I eventually gave up trying to sleep and took the puppies into the garden where they had a great time playing silly beggars (a game they seem to enjoy). Had something had been through the garden in the night - a fox? a hedgehog? They were certainly sniffing like things possessed. Mind you I can't see any holes in any fence where something might get in or out of the garden.
Once they'd stopped messing about I dumped them on a snoring “er indoors TM”, and leaving Treacle snarling at everyone and everything (she's not a "morning dog") I made toast and had a look at Netflix. Wanting something to watch in the mornings I had a look-see at what was available. Frankly, not much. I can't deny that there are hundreds of shows on Netflix, but when you take out all the police and crime shows there's not much left. What is it with crime and police shows? Every one of them features some policeman or detective with a quirky difference - their quirky difference being that they are exactly the same as every other policeman or detective.
Don’t the tV companies know anything else? Take for example the TV show "Lucifer" about the Devil himself... who becomes a policeman.
Of the few non-police/crime drama on Netflix. most of them were foreign imports with subtitles.
I eventually found one or two things that might keep me occupied and added them to my “To Watch” list, then got dressed and set off to work.
I was so pleased to see the motorway was open this morning; the stupidity that is "Operation Brock" has stopped. The motorway is now a motorway again, and no longer a rather narrow dual carriageway.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about Richard Branson's Virgin company launching the first satellites from the UK. They are going up on a jumbo jet and the rocket stage will go from the plane.
There was also still more talk about that idiot Prince Harry who is quite possibly realising the true price of his media deals.
Pausing only briefly for Munzical purposes (two qrewzees – go me!) I was soon at work for the early shift. Whilst the bosses weren’t looking (well, they were!) I phoned British Gas to set up a direct debit for the gas and leccie at Dad’s house. I eventually got it all done, but I formed the distinct impression that during the phone call, both of us in the call felt we were dealing with a half-wit. The British Gas woman clearly sets up direct debits all the time and thought I was asking some daft questions. I thought it odd that I could chose how much I might pay each month, and thought it very odd that they didn’t have a suggested amount (i.e. an average figure of how much it costs each month).
As I worked, several times I found myself singing along to today’s earworm: “My Uncle Stan” by Ivor Biggun.
An early start made for an early finish, and even earlier getting home as the motorway was actually a motorway again.
I got the dogs onto their leads and we walked round the local roads Qrewzing (it’s a Munzee thing). I got three hundred points – result!.
“er indoors TM” boiled up pizza then went off bowling. I sat on the sofa with the dogs and watched a film I’d chosen this morning. The verbals about “The War Below” said “Based on a true story, the film is about a group of British miners recruited during World War I to tunnel underneath no man's land and set bombs below the German front at the Battle of Messines”. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Sadly the film was rather tedious…
Let’s hope the rest of the stuff I’ve added to the list is better.
10 January 2023 (Tuesday) - A Glass of Wine
I heaved my carcass out of its pit this morning far earlier than I would have liked, did my usual morning routine, and as I scoffed toast I watched the first episode of "The Pentaverate". Starring Mike Myers it is described as a comedy, but it is more "funny WTF?" rather than "funny ha-ha". I can remember watching Mike Myers for the first time and during his act whenever he cracked what he thought was a joke he would then stare at the camera as though to prompt you that it was funny. Sadly this is something he's stopped doing over the years; if he still did it, I for one would know when I was supposed to laugh. Once you get the hang of his humour (and of the show) it is quite amusing, but it takes some getting used to.
Leaving everyone fast asleep I set off to work... once I'd scraped the ice from the car. It was a cold morning today. With “er indoors TM” still using my lunch box as a backup biscuit barrel I went to the co-op to get a sandwich. I smiled at the woman behind the counter, and that was a red rag to a bull. Oh, she was in a bad mood. Not happy at all. Some people really shouldn't work with the public, should they?
As I drove up the motorway there was a lot of talk on the radio of the UK's first mainland space launch that went up last night. Sadly it didn't go up quite far enough. There was "an anomaly" and the whole thing ended in failure. So far it seems all that is known is that the thing failed because of "an anomaly", but that didn't stop the radio wheeling on an expert to spend ten minutes saying that he knew nothing. This expert refused to be drawn on how much money went down the toilet with the rocket's failure. Can you blame him. Were the satellites insured against being pranged on blast off? Amazingly there are about twenty companies which offer such insurance.
There was also talk about how the government is bringing in anti-strike legislation so that if there is a strike in a hospital or other public service institution, certain minimum service levels must be maintained. I wonder exactly what those minimum levels would be? Quite likely lower than whatever is being achieved on a daily basis already, I expect...
I got to work for the early shift, and did my bit. As I peered down the microscope so my phone rang (well, wibbled as it was on silent mode). “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had taken “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” to the dentist for a filling. I am reliably informed that he wasn’t keen on it. I have vague recollections of “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” once biting a dentist so I suppose “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” not being keen is something of a result.
With work done I came home and got home just as it was getting dark I took the dogs round the roads, then all four of us settled on the sofa and Alexa played instrumental music whilst we all slept for over an hour until “er indoors TM” came home. She boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the second episode of the latest season of “Lego Masters: Australia”. And then cheese and red wine… The dogs all sit with me and they get cheesy biscuits. They love it – it is clearly one of the highlights of their week. In years gone by dogs got cheese, but when poor Fudge had blood tests his cholesterol was through the roof. The vet could never understand why… I could. No cheese for dogs these days.
And in closing today… My phone has been talking to my watch (oh, brave new world…) and together they have decided that over the last week I’ve walked more than two thousand steps per day than the average person of my age. I’m in the top sixteen per cent of everyone who records their steps.
So the burning question must be “why am I such a fat sod?”
11 January 2023 (Wednesday) - Bit Tired
Last night when “er indoors TM” wasn't looking I scoffed the last of the biccies and so this morning (once I'd sorted the puppies) I was rather pleased to get my sandwich box back. I made my trademark peanut butter and marmalade sandwiches (don't say "yuk!", try it!) whilst my toast cooked.
I scoffed toast whilst watching the second episode of "The Pentaverate". I'm not going to dismiss the show out of hand just yet, but it is edging on to the crap side.
Leaving “er indoors TM” and the dogs asleep I set off to work. Having had the use of the motorway for two whole days, the "Operation Brock" barriers and the fifty miles per hour speed limit were back this morning. Oh well... having had a motorway had been nice...
As I drove the pundits on the radio talking about today's strike by ambulance workers. They were interviewing one of the leaders of the ambulance driver's union who was talking about the government's insistence that certain minimum levels of service must be provided during a strike. Ironically it really does seem that a higher standard will be expected from the ambulances when they are on strike than when they are not. The observation was made that the desire to improve the piss-poor level of service (which has been all over the news for months) is why the ambulance drivers have gone on strike in the first place... An ironic turn of events which would seem to have gone right over the heads of those actually in a position to sort the problem out.
There was also consternation being expressed about uranium being found at Heathrow Airport. A "source" said the stuff was found in a shipment of scrap metal. Does the UK import scrap metal? If so, surely shipping by sea would be cheaper?
Work was work. As I sat at the microscope teaching a trainee the wonders of the fine details of human blood, so a familiar voice piped up, telling the trainee sitting to my right at the double-headed microscope "I used to sit there once". It was the boss's boss's boss who (thirty years ago) was one of my trainees. She was right; back in the day she did sit by my side as I taught her the wonders of the fine details of human blood. She told me that she remembered me describing a certain element of the blood as being the “triple-B” (Big Blue B*stard). I’ve always felt that things like that stick in the mind; she agreed as clearly it does.
I remarked that thirty years ago I would have told her to "shup up and get on with your work" but these days I say "shut up and get on with your work... ma'am".
I'm rather pleased for this ex-trainee. I remember all of my trainees; over the years several of them have gone on to quite senior positions. I'm pleased for them all. But I'm not in the slightest bit jealous. I've been a manager in the NHS before. Some people love it; I certainly didn’t.
I feel absolutely knackered and have done all day… But I bet I don’t sleep properly tonight…
12 January 2023 (Thursday) - A Dull Day
I gave up laying awake and got up at silly o’clock. Once I’d done the puppies and settled them I made toast and scoffed it as I watched another episode of “The Pentaverate” with something of a sense of amazement. There are certain comedians who I find simply aren’t funny at all (Woody Allen Count Arthur Strong, Lenny Henry) but still keep going strong. Mike Myers is one such. “The Pentaverate” just isn’t funny, but a lot of other people have found it amusing. I’m watching it trying to find what I am clearly missing.
Being wide awake far earlier than I really needed to be I could have slobbed about watching more rubbish on the telly, but bearing in mind that today was a Qrewzee day (it's a Munzee thing) I thought I might have a little Munzing session before work.
As I walked to my car so a house over the road was having an Iceland food delivery... at quarter past six in the morning. That was a bit keen.
Having checked out the Munzee map I'd seen there were potentially rich pickings to be had in Harrietsham this morning so I headed up the A-road. Whilst the traffic was going faster than on what passes for a motorway these days, at least the lighting on the M20 is fairly constant. As I drove up the A20 the lighting varied from pitch black to the dazzling full beams of the headlights of the oncoming traffic. Maybe one car in ten would dip their lights.
I got to Harrietsham, parked up and went for a little walk (four thousand steps - a mile and three quarters) capping thirteen Qrewzees as I went. Go me. As I scanned bar-codes stuck to lamp posts and street signs I got one or two odd looks from passers-by. I gave them each a sickly smile and they soon bustled off.
After forty minutes I found myself two hundred feet from my car as the crow flies. However crows fly over houses. Two hundred feet as the crow flies was half a mile as the fat bloke walks...
I got back to the car and carried on to work listening to the pundits on the radio as I went. Some mornings the radio is rather dull. In fact most mornings it is dull, but if I don't listen I end up so ignorant of what's going on in the world.
This morning there was an interview with the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Whilst he wasn't pushing for massive pay rises for the Old Bill he made the observation that a lot of coppers are dependent on food banks to feed their families. If the Old Bill are so hard up as to need food banks, how many of them would be open to a little back-hander here and there to make ends meet? Bear that in mind the next time one pulls you over for speeding (!)
Some Hindu chap was then wheeled on to present "Thought For The Day". He was banging on about some software being outlawed in schools because it can blag essays and poems and all sorts of written work which otherwise students would have to write for themselves. As a demonstration the speaker had got the software to generate the morning's platitudes. To be honest what the software generated was utterly indistinguishable from any other drivel spouted during the "Thought For The Day" couple of minutes.
I would say "makes you think, doesn't it?" but it doesn't make you think at all, does it? The software saves you the bother.
And so to work. The day was a rather good one, really. But dull. So dull that I fell asleep.
If I could only sleep at night…
13 January 2023 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
With no need to be up early I had planned on a bit of a lie-in. “er indoors TM” ‘s alarm woke me at seven o’clock, and then at five-minute intervals from then on. I gave up trying to sleep and got up.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Again ladies of dubious morals were plying their trade on my Facebook feed. Facebook’s community standards are rather inexplicable, aren’t they?
With not much else happening on Facebook I had a look at my emails. Linkedin were offering me the chance to take part in their live on-line seminar which would help me develop a career game plan (?) They would tell me all about the importance of having a plan and how to create one, how to set realistic goals and create success habits, and warn me of common mistakes in setting goals and how to avoid them. I could even take part in the live Q&A following the discussion.
It bothers me that there are those who really do take all this bollox seriously.
Leaving “er indoors TM” to deal with the plumber who had come to service the boiler (woof!) I took the dogs to Kings Wood. As we drove the head honcho of the frozen food firm Iceland was on Desert Island Discs. He said that when he started Iceland it was from a lock-up and he worked on it during the evenings because he worked at Woolworth’s during the day. And when the boss at Woolworth heard of his moonlighting he got the sack.
We had a good walk round the woods. At one point I saw Bailey was eating something. She made the schoolgirl error of stopping for a tiddle so I pounced on her and pulled a dead mouse from her mouth. Quick as a flash Treacle then pounced and scoffed the dead mouse and had swallowed it before I realised what had happened.
Have I ever mentioned that dogs are foul creatures?
We came home where the plan was just to wash muddy paws, but one look (and smell) of Bailey meant she was up for a full scrub.
I then spent a little while getting loads of rubbish from the shed into the front garden. Over the last few months I’ve been bagging and boxing rubbish for a tip run. Sadly despite my best efforts last year, the shed roof has sprung a leak and so most of the cardboard boxes were rather sodden. But (one way or another) I got the rubbish out of the shed.
And then I went to get the car…
Parking near home can be something of a nightmare. Having parked up a few streets away I brought the car round, parked on the double yellow lines and loaded up the rubbish. Much as I like my car, there’s no denying that it lacks the rubbish capacity hat previous cars have had.
I went round to the tip where getting rid of rubbish passed off rather uneventfully. The staff there were quite happy for me to unload without trying to police my every action (like they have done so often in the past), and I came home again.
The plan for the afternoon was to do the ironing, but finding myself on the sofa underneath some sleeping dogs I just sat with them. “Four In A Bed” was on the telly, and I soon found myself engrossed in the show. Today’s contestants were some hippies from Devon who got laughed at by all the other contestants, an ex-Mr Universe, some woman from up the road in Charing (whose pub has now closed down), and the winner was a bone-idle chap from Oxfordshire whose staff did everything for him.
In between telly I took a few selfies with the dogs. I might be a tad biased, but the dogs are rather photogenic… even if getting them to pose for the camera takes some doing.
“er indoors TM” boiled up some fish and chips for dinner which we scoffed whilst watching another episode of “The Crown”. I know that the show is only based on reality and takes quite a few liberties with the actual facts, but as it goes on, it doesn’t seem to be very sympathetic to her late majesty.
It’s not been a bad day off today… which was as well. The weather forecast for tomorrow is awful.
14 January 2023 (Saturday) - Rather Busy
I woke to the sound of the rain, rolled over and went back to sleep. I woke a little later to hear no rain and smiled. I took the puppies outside to find it was pouring down outside. How did that work? They did their thing and went to bother a sleeping “er indoors TM”. Two soggy dogs made her sit up and take notice.
I made toast and watched the fourth episode of “The Pentaverate”. In the introductory monologue the narrator (Jeremy Irons) said that this was episode four so if you’ve watched it that far you might as well carry on with the rest. And that was why I carried od watching. If you’ve not seen the show, don’t bother.
I then sparked up the laptop. There was an interesting discussion on Facebook about capital punishment where a very middle-class chap (who I have known since 1975) was pondering on the morality of imprisoning someone for the rest of their life. There were all sorts of opinions being expressed. Some were saying that execution was too good for them, others felt that a stern talking-to would make offenders see the error of their ways.
Whilst no laws can be absolute (which is why we need judges and juries) I can’t help but think that people break whatever law is being broken because for them the benefits of doing so far outweigh any consequences their action might bring.
I once worked with a chap from the deepest parts of China who would leave his six-year-old daughter having her dinner in the works canteen. When we explained about how it isn’t safe to leave children on their own, he explained that in his home village there was a stocks where wrong-doers got put, and villagers would throw things at them. Traditionally we think of rotten fruit, but apparently on the one time in living memory when the stocks was used people threw bricks. And so everyone behaved themselves.
Or take when I was at school. I for one was terrified by the thought of the cane and so didn’t muck about. The headmaster had a cane and anyone who sodded about sufficiently would get “two of the best” (NOT six). They would have a sore arse for a day, and a thousand boys would behave themselves for ages.
Or look at how children carry on these days. When my two were small if they sodded about they got a crack on the bum and they knew it. Those people who disagreed with corporal punishment either had no children of their own, or had the most ill-behaved brats.
As a leader in the Boys Brigade and in the Scouts I would watch other leaders trying to reason with recalcitrant brats who were openly laughing at reason.
Generally (there are some exceptions) crimes are committed because there is little deterrent. With a harsher penal system, people behave themselves and crime is lower.
It has been my experience that those who don’t subscribe to the “hang ‘em high” philosophy are some of the best and most decent people I have ever met, but really don’t understand that not everyone holds their values.
Seeing the rain had slacked off to a medium monsoon I chivvied the puppies out of bed. Leaving Treacle and “er indoors TM” snoring I took the small ones to dog club. I rather expected a poor turn-out, but in (yet another) triumph of idiot enthusiasm over common sense loads of people ventured the weather and brought their dogs to the swamp which was the field at Repton Community Centre.
There are those who wouldn’t see the fun in standing in a swamp watching dogs running riot (whilst getting tiddled on three times), but the dogs love it, and so do I.
As we drove there and drove home we listened to Steve on the radio. I strained my brain on the mystery year… “Poldark”, “Space 1999”, “The Growing Pains Of PC Penrose”… I was confident that it was 1976… then changed my mind to 1978.
Google told me it was 1975. I suppose I was close…
We carried on listening to Steve as we then drove to Sainsburys. “er indoors TM” went into Sainsburys; I went off to get petrol. Far be it from me to disrespect those who fixed the car’s bodywork before Christmas, but before the car went in for fixing the trip meter would get to five hundred miles before the “need fuel” light comes on. Now it comes on just after four hundred miles. All the fix-it people did was bodywork; there’s nothing they could have done which would have caused this… but over the last month I’ve been getting a hundred miles less per tank.
I drove on to Sainsburys and chivvied “er indoors TM” out.
We came home, and I spent three more hours working (struggling with) the Lego pirate ship that a colleague gave me late last year. Last Sunday I said of the thing “She’d warned me that some of the bits were missing. I’m not sure the instructions were the original ones either…”. I can quite understand why she and her children had given up with it. I was making full use of my spare Lego today. I stopped at the point where I found the Lego anchor was missing. I shall have to think about how I might make one of those.
We got ourselves organised and set off for Sittingbourne. A friend was having a surprise get-together for her boyfriend. I must admit I wasn't keen on leaving the dogs, but Charlotte had volunteered to dog-wrangle. As we approached Karl and Tracy's house so Treacle recognised the area and got incredibly excited. The puppies picked up on the excitement and it all got a bit much for Morgan who disgraced himself on the laminate flooring. It happens to the best of us from time to time.
Perhaps we might replace the carpets with laminate flooring?
As Charlotte dog-wrangled so the taxi arrived and we went into Sittingbourne where quite a few of us had a rather good evening which got progressively more vague as the evening went by.
15 January 2023 (Sunday) - Early Shift
For once I slept like a log until my phone's alarm told me (quite literally) to "get your arse out of its pit". I came downstairs, got the puppies arses out of their pit, and once they were sorted I made brekkie. As everyone else snored I watched the second-to-last episode of "The Pentaverate". I had hoped the show might perk up as it went along, but with only one episode to go, any perking up has been left rather late.
I could really have done with some perking up myself. Hammering the Drambuie last night hadn’t been one of my more genius moves, and there’s no denying that had there been anyone else at work with me today I would have pulled a sickie.
Taking care not to disturb anyone (too much) I got ready for work, then wandered down the road to find my car... remembered where I'd left it, turned round and wandered up the road instead.
It was rather cold as I drove up the motorway, and rather busy too. What were so many people doing driving at seven o'clock on a Sunday morning?
As I drove the "Farming Today" program was on the radio in which several New Zealander farmers were singing the praises of agri-tourism which is big business down under. It would seem there's more money in having a farm which is all for show and charging people to come visit than there is in running a real farm. Going for a day out at the farm? It really would seem that visiting a farm is a big adventure to the average Kiwi. One such farm visitor being interviewed had no idea that baby cows drank milk (let alone where milk came from), and thought that cows, and alpacas were both varieties of sheep.
One of the farmers being interviewed was talking about the pigs in his farm which are useless for meat, but have been bred for their sociable nature so that visitors can pet them.
There's no denying that I wasn't keen on having to work today. For some inexplicable reason (!) I felt rather grim today. As I did my bit I found myself staring out the window at a rather beautiful day. It poured hard pretty much all day yesterday, but today when I was at work (note I say "at work" and not "working" - a subtle distinction!) it was glorious.
In between sprints to the toilet I did that which I couldn’t avoid. Today was a rather quiet day really, which was probably for the best. There’s no denying that I wasn’t on top form today, and was rather glad when home time came.
I came home to find the house smelling wonderful. “er indoors TM” had been busy boiling up the most wonderful curries. “My Boy TM” and Cheryl soon arrived, and we all set about scoffing. Different sorts of rice, five different curries, samosas and naan breads… and a particularly good flanny- thing for afters too.
Mind you, my innards weren’t right before I started on the curries. Was scoffing far too much a mistake?
Time will tell – it always does.
16 January 2023 (Monday) - Hubble Bubble...
I had an early night last night and was sleeping like a log when “er indoors TM” and Treacle came up a couple of hours later. Treacle then stomped all over me several times until she was sure that I was wide awake, then she made herself comfortable and went to sleep. I then spent most of the rest of the night listening to the torrential rain (as my stomach gurgled).
So much for the snow that had been forecast. It really is time to stop this stupidity which is weather forecasting until such time as it can be done with any level of reliability.
The puppies weren’t going out into the rain this morning and I couldn’t blame them. They went to bother “er indoors TM”. With any luck they woke Treacle (!)
I made toast and watched the last episode of “The Pentaverate” which was pretty much as crap as all the preceding episodes.
With a little time on my hands I sparked up the lap-top. I had a friend request on Facebook from someone of whom I’ve never heard who looked young enough to be my granddaughter. Her list of friends featured a load of blokes who all looked old enough to know better.
Several people were posting twee mems and platitudes. I rather tire hearing about making lemonade when life gives you lemons from those who have never been given a lemon by life.
Sadly very few people had done much of note over the weekend, or if they had, few had seen fit to post it on Facebook. Being a very nosey person I like to see what everyone else is doing.
Fortunately my car was just outside the house so not only could I actually find the thing this morning, I didn't get *that* wet getting to it either. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing the head honcho of Norway's equivalent of British Gas. What the chap said was quite amazing. On the one hand he was saying that the price we pay for gas (and leccie) is going to remain sky-high for the foreseeable future. On the other had he said that gas prices are now at pre-pandemic levels.
So what's going on?
Presumably someone is making a profit here?
There was also talk about how so many people have paid for Christmas on credit cards, and quite a few aren't at all confident about being able to repay what they've borrowed.
Why do we all go so silly at Christmas buying stuff we don't need or want? Our shed is still full of endless drinks that never got drunk, and the fridge has never been so full (well, not since last Christmas).
I got to work and did my bit... in between endless trips to the loo. Saturday night's excessive beer session followed by yesterday's curry-a-thon had taken its toll. Hubble Bubble Toilet Trouble...
During one trip to the loo as I sat reading Facebook on my phone I was amazed to see all the floods in Hastings with an eel seen swimming through the shopping precinct.
I'm reasonably confident that Dad's house is safe, being at the top of a hill. But there were floods in Frederick Road, and that is on one of the steepest hills in Hastings (and being in Hastings it is up against some stiff competition).
On several subsequent trips to the loo I was following a petty squabble on the Facebook page I follow about a series of books. Someone was asking for suggestions of what other books make good reading...
These days the word "reading" doesn't mean what it used to. Very few people actually read a book these days. More and more people listen to someone else reading a book to them. Those who actually read a book were advocating gripping stories and particular authors, those who listen were listing stories read by specific narrators who use a wide range of voices for the various characters.
And both groups were getting rather nasty with each other.
Yesterday I sat looking at the glorious day outside. Today I found myself not really looking out of the window until the mid afternoon, and then sulking as it is still getting dark so early. It wasn't that long ago that I could take the dogs to the woods after work. Sunset today was over an hour before I finished.
As I’d been working so two lorries had crashed on the motorway blocking the London-bound carriageway between home and work. I was able to drive home as far as the motorway exit at Ashford, but from there the roads were at a standstill as all the traffic going London-bound was coming off the motorway to take the A-road. Faced with a quite epic traffic jam I took a rather circuitous route home from the motorway junction and despite going five miles out of my way I was only twenty minutes late home.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and then went bowling. I settled down with the dogs and watched the first episode of “Dark”; a sort-of German version of “Stranger Things”.
It looks like it might have promise, but so did “The Pentaverate”…
I’m just off to the loo again…
17 January 2023 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
With no alarm set I slept like a log, waking about half past seven as a cold wet nose shoved itself into my armpit. I dozed with the puppies for half an hour; much as they love coming up to the big bed, they are as good as gold in their crate every night. It’s only fair to let them have a little reward… not that they really understand the big bed is a reward.
Eventually we all got up and had brekkie. I tuned in to Facebook and saw the epically-chested child who’d sent me a friend request yesterday hadn’t had her account deleted. In one day her friends list had grown quite substantially, but no one claiming to be her friend was actually of an age (or gender) to plausibly be her friend. All were old enough to know better than to sniff round someone young enough to be their granddaughter. I deleted the friend request. Sometimes I can be rather puritanical.
There wasn’t much else happening on-line so I got dressed.
I got the dogs on to their leads and we went to the car. After ten minutes of vigorous scraping of ice I could see though the windows. The plan was to go up to Kings Wood, but the traffic was against us. After fifteen minutes we were only half-way up Brookfield Road. By the time we got to the traffic lights my patience had worn out, so we took a left and went to Orlestone Woods instead. I had this plan that the mud would still be frozen, and thought I might give Morgan another chance (in the past he has been difficult there).
We got to the woods where Morgan was as good as gold. However I discovered a meteorological peculiarity (!) As we drove down to Orlestone the car’s thermometer said it was minus three degrees. Once in the car park the temperature was suddenly plus nought point five degrees. We had a good walk, but the mud wasn’t as frozen as it might have been.
When we got back to the car the temperature was plus two degrees. That’s why the mud was melting. However as we drove out of the car park onto Malthouse Lane so the temperature dropped to minus three degrees. The woods were warmer than the surrounding area. How does that work?
As we walked I took a few photos of the woods to share with the Dog Club’s Facebook group. Several people had commented over the last few weeks that they had never heard of Orlestone Woods.
We came home and the pups had a hot shower to warm up, and soon all were fast asleep. I got pastries for the humans (“er indoors TM” was working from home today) then spent an hour or so (as the washing machine scrubbed laundry) writing up CPD whilst tired little dogs snored next to me.
As I CPD-ed so I heard something at the door. My new phone charging cable had arrived. I ordered it through Amazon last night and it arrived about twelve hours later. All the time they send the right thing, this is the future of shopping.
I went to bed for a few hours and got some sleep. Not as much as I might have liked. Sleep is dodgy stuff; it would be much easier if we came with “off” switches.
Hopefully “er indoors TM” will boil up some scran in a bit, and then I’m off to the night shift. Sadly I’m missing Lego club tonight as I can’t get there for long enough to make it worthwhile before work. Mind you there’s been a development with Lego club… there are moves afoot to have the smaller children having their own session. Personally I can’t help but feel that this can only be a good thing; two weeks ago I mentioned the children that clearly don’t want to be there and just run round screaming and shouting (they really did quite literally just run round whilst screaming and shouting). But isn’t this a sign of our times. Back in the day if either of my two behaved unacceptably like that I would have physically dragged them out. These days it is the child’s inalienable human right to do whatever the f… it wants, where it wants and when it wants.
Mind you Aristotle thought the same and he died over two thousand years ago…
18 January 2023 (Wednesday) - Bit Tired
It took quite some time to scrape the ice from the car this morning. When I eventually got the thing driveable my piss boiled as I listened to the pundits on the radio. I really shouldn’t listen to them, but if I don’t I end up so oblivious of the world around me.
Just like so many other people are, I suppose.
After five years of deliberation the Church of England has decided against conducting gay marriage ceremonies. Personally I’m all for gay marriages, but I can see why the C of E isn’t. Their Bible is crystal clear on the matter. For pretty much every bit of advice or instruction on any matter whatsoever in the Bible there is usually a contradictory bit of advice or instruction advocating the complete opposite…however homosexuality is pretty much the only issue on which the Bible is clear. Look at Genesis 19, Leviticus 18 & 20, Romans 1:18-32, Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:8-10.
Why has it taken them five years to decide this?
But the Church has confirmed it will perform ceremonies of "prayers of dedication, thanksgiving or for God's blessing" for same-sex couples following a civil marriage or partnership.
Why? Why are they condoning that which their religion specifically condemns?
Don’t those in the Church of England read their Bibles, or don’t they agree with what the Bible says? As an ex-religious nut, I know that very few Christians have any idea of what their religion is all about. Perhaps this ignorance is spreading into the higher-ups now?
Don’t get me wrong on this. I am all for gay marriage. But the Bible is not. You can’t be gay and be a Christian. Can’t be done. Those who say it can haven’t read the Bible.
I got home and said good morning to “er indoors TM” who was scraping the ice off of her car. I had a quick scrub, then went to bed for an hour. I got maybe five minutes’ sleep in that hour. Treacle was continually declaring “Red Alert”, running round shouting, then crying as she wanted to be lifted back on to the bed. I eventually gave up trying to sleep and took the dogs downstairs. They played silly beggars charging round the garden whilst I harvested turds. Dog turds are far easier harvested when frozen (as they were this morning).
I made toast… and ate it before walking the dogs round the block.
Whilst the dogs all snored I cracked on with the ironing. As I ironed I watched a film. ”Bank of Dave” was rather good. It featured Joel Fry (from “Plebs” and “Game of Thrones”) as a London lawyer who went to Burnley and turned out not to be quite the stereotypical soft Southern fairy that all the locals thought he was.
And with ironing ironed I sat on the sofa with the dogs and watched the start of three-hour Four-In-A-Bed-a-thon. I saw the first few minutes of the first episode, and woke up in time to see the end credits of the last one.
“er indoors TM” came home with a bargain pizza bundle from Tesco. We scoffed it whilst watching last Sunday’s episode of “Lego Masters”. Being a music-based challenge this week, great show was made of a mystery guest judge who turned out to be Delta Goodrem. Am I the only person who had never heard of her?
Oh – and I’ve started following “Amyywoahh” on Facebook. With a succession of pet fish all called “Swimmy” (all of whom get flushed down the loo to fish heaven) and an obsession with explosive dire rear, she makes videos that are on my level…
19 January 2023 (Thursday) - Before the Late Shift
I was woken this morning when a cold wet nose shoved itself into my bum. I rolled over to find the puppies looking incredibly pleased with themselves; they love being allowed on to the big bed. I rolled over and got another hour’s sleep.
The first half-hour this morning summed up my family life entirely. As “er indoors TM” pootled about so all three dogs followed her every move like second shadows, utterly oblivious to what I was doing. When she went to work they looked at the door for five seconds, then all came and mobbed me as though to say “she’s gone; backup plan”.
As I scoffed toast I had my usual trawl of the Internet. The Lego club has now changed its name to “… for 8-199” rather than “… for all ages”, and there’s been surprisingly little aggro on-line. I suppose it’s fair to say that had the under-eight brigade behaved decently they wouldn’t have been given the heave-ho. Back in the day there were under-eights at the Astro club and arky-ologee club and various snake clubs and geocaching outings and all of them managed to sit down, shut up and join in with whatever was going on without (quite literally) running round in circles constantly screaming and shouting.
There wasn’t much else happening on-line so I got dressed, woke the dogs who had all gone to sleep, and went on the morning’s little mission.
We walked down the road to the vets. As we walked it was rather icy. No end of idiots were cycling, skateboarding and scooter-ing through the ice. There was a dodgy episode when a skateboarder and a cyclist collided. Both had headphones on and were blissfully unaware of anyone or anything else around them until the impact.
We got to the vets. The puppies were madly over-enthusiastic about everything but Treacle wasn’t happy to be there. One of the veterinary nurses held her lead whilst I weighed the puppies, and seeing her chance Treacle gave the lead a huge tug, pulled her collar off and made a run for it. Sadly (for her) she ran straight into the waiting area and was immediately recaptured. I don’t know why she was so unhappy to be there; all we did was sit and wait for a few minutes.
With treatments dispensed we came home, and I did the treatments. All treatments were done in less than five minutes. All that is needed is a drop of flea juice on the back of each neck. When “er indoors TM” is involved it becomes quite the pantomime; all three were as good as gold for me.
The dogs were very soon asleep with me on the sofa. I sparked up the lap-top again and did an entire week’s worth of Coursera in an hour or so. CPD might be a tad dull, but doing it is a legal requirement, so there it is. All the time I do blood tests, I do CPD.
I also phoned the local hospital to sort out a new nosepiece for my CPAP machine. I left a message on their answer machine. I wonder if anyone got that message.
And I spent an age trying to remember what else it was I had planned to sort out this morning before work. I knew I had two phone calls to make. One was sorting the CPAP machine, and I completely forgot what the other one was. I get so wound up by that. There are all sorts of things at work that I need to do which I remember as I drive home. All sorts of things to do at home whilst I remember when at work…
And as is pretty much always the case when on the late shift the day was effectively over by noon. Work was… frustrating might be a good way to describe it. I shall gloss over the petty trivialities but console myself with the thought that once Dad’s house is sold I could survive on my current pension.
And I could stop with the CPD…
20 January 2023 (Friday) - Before Another Late Shift
On Tuesday I saw that some of the random buckets in the garden had filled with rain water from last weekend and had frozen solid. I chucked the bucket-shaped lumps of ice onto the gravel and put the buckets so that they wouldn’t fill with rainwater again. This morning as I took the puppies out I saw the bucket-shaped lumps of ice were exactly as I’d left them three days ago. The temperature in the garden clearly hasn’t got above freezing for any length of time over the last three days.
The puppies went to bother “er indoors TM” and I made toast and looked at the Internet. Facebook was filled with prostitutes again. Despite their so-called “community standards”, there’s no end of people on there offering to do the dirty deed for cash.
There wasn’t a lot else going on, so I used Google to check the traffic and the best way to get to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” (bearing in mind the roads locally are difficult in the morning). It failed. Miserably. It presented me with one possible route which was through the A2070 (which is effectively poggered by road works) to junction ten of the motorway and said no other route was available.
I took pot luck and went to Junction Nine of the motorway via the way I go to work, but at the motorway headed east rather than west. That route was available. I wonder how I tell Google?
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about nothing else other than the death of David Crosby who was the singer in The Byrds and in Crosby Stills and Nash. I’d heard of the groups, but I can’t say I’d ever heard of him. Judging by the morning’s radio program it would seem that I was in a minority of one; the world and his wife were coming on air to talk about him. Pretty much everyone was unanimous in their verdict on the chap. No one who knew him liked him, everyone who knew him thought he was obnoxious and that he was a drug addict continually stoned out of his mind, but everyone also thought that this was quite acceptable because he was successful.
The American dream, eh?
I got to the abode of “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” was at school, and I had to amuse “Darcie Waa Waa TM” whilst the most recent fruit of my loin had a driving lesson. I turned on “Lube Tube” (as my grandson calls it) and we danced along to the Duck Song, Shaddap You Face, the Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, and an hour’s loop of the Baby Shark song. If I wasn’t actively waving “Darcie Waa Waa TM” about she would get rather fractious. As she grows she is getting rather heavy to wave about.
I was worn out by the time “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” came home.
I had a cuppa, then set off in the general direction of work. I stopped off for petrol before going in to work. With two weeks at Pembury coming up I thought I might make the most of Maidstone’s cheap petrol. The petrol station at Sainsburys near work was flogging petrol twelve pence per litre cheaper than the one in Ashford. The chap in the queue in front of me said he’d just come from Canterbury where the petrol was thirty-two pence per litre more expensive. It pays to shop around…
I got to work and did my bit… with the Baby Shark song continually going through my head…
21 January 2023 (Saturday) - Dog Club, McDinner
I was woken by a wet nose up the bum at five o’clock this morning as “er indoors TM” helped the puppies up to the big bed. The puppies are no trouble in the big bed; they both curl up tightly and you really wouldn’t know they were there. Unlike a couple of years ago when their places in the family wolf-pack were taken by Fudge and Pogo who would both somehow manage to take up about three times more area (each) than was physically possible.
My alarm eventually told me to get my arse out of its pit, and my arse took some shifting today. The strain of yesterday’s hour and a half of “Darcie Dancing” was taking its toll. I could hardly move.
There was (amazingly) something of note on Facebook this morning. The Town Crier of Hastings has resigned in protest that Hastings will no longer host the national town crier’s contest. I can’t help but think that what with inflation running at over ten per cent and only twelve other local council areas in the country being more deprived than Hastings, Hastings council has far more pressing matters than a town crier contest which will be of no interest to anyone but a vanishingly small minority.
It turns out that for some councils a Town Crier is a paid job which they fund. I always thought it was an honorary thing. If Ashford were to advertise for a Town Crier, I’d volunteer to do it for free. It looks like being a bit of fun.
But rather than resigning in a fit of pique, why didn’t the chap in Hastings do something constructive like start a crowdfunding campaign to fund the contest?
We got the dogs into the car and drove round to the Repton estate for Dog Club. Morgan and Bailey had a whale of a time. Treacle started to join in, but I made the mistake of stroking another dog and she had a fit of jealousy. Eventually she sniffed a couple of other dogs. It is very much baby steps with Treacle at Dog Club, but I think we’re seeing some progress with her. Similarly bringing Bailey home without any fox poo to wash off can only be a step in the right direction.
There was a minor incident when the bigger dogs came for their session and we had to go. Morgan and Bailey flatly refused to leave. I had to drag them out; they wanted to stay. I’m seeing that as a good thing.
As we drove home Steve was on the radio. This week’s mystery year competition – Jeffrey Archer, Harry Potter…? I was only ten years out.
We came home, and the dogs all soon settled. Dog Club always wears them out. We drove down to Folkestone to visit “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. We went straight to McDinner where the most recent fruit of my loin got added pickles on the Big Mac. Who knew such wonders were possible?
We then went to “The Works” for diaries (don’t ask!), and there was a minor melt-down as we came back past the gaming shop. “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” wanted more Pokemon cards for his collection. I was happy to get some for him so we went into the shop and he told the nice lady what cards he wanted. She gave him a packet, and a free bonus packet too. As we came out I asked him how many Pokemon cards he had. “These ones” he replied, holding up what we’d just got in the shop. Mind you when we got back to the abode of “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and opened the cards he was delighted with what he’d got in the packet. Some of the best Pokemon cards there are, apparently. Even better than the ace of Pikachu, or so I am told.
Eventually the rest of the family woke me up, and we came home where I settled in front of the telly and watched a few episodes of “Ancient Aliens” on the Blaze channel. In the first episodes it turned out that Ronal Reagan had tried to get Mikael Gorbachev to help him fight off an alien invasion. The next episode claimed that yetis were something to do with Adolf Hitler’s secret base in the Himalayas, and the third episode featured some utter bollox about Noah’s Ark and the Book of Enoch.
The trouble with “Ancient Aliens” isn’t that they talk utter bollox. To me that’s the attraction of the show. The trouble is that the idiots talking rubbish are so inconsistent and once they’ve presented some stark staring nonsense as incontrovertible fact they then forget they’ve done so. And so they present half a dozen utterly contradictory explanations for pretty much everything on the planet. Who built the pyramids? God? Ancient Aliens? A parallel dimension? The Loch Ness Monster? Yetis? Depending on which episode you watch, all might be plausible, either individually or working on various combinations..
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of the new series of “Junior Bake Off”. I do like that show, but just occasionally it all gets a bit much for some of the contestants. They are all only small; is it fair to give them such stress?
As I pootled about here and there today I found myself thinking more and more about Scotland (of all places!). Last year a good friend (that I’d known for twenty years) just upped and moved there leaving friends, family and a pregnant daughter behind. The first anyone knew about the move was hearing that he’d already gone. Yesterday I heard that another friend is also in the throes of moving north of the border.
I can’t imagine why anyone would just abandon family and friends and go five hundred miles like that.
Mind you they may well soon come back. When we were taking scouts to Canada we met so many people who had enjoyed holidays in Canada, moved there, and found that actually living somewhere was utterly different to having a holiday there, and moved back within months.
22 January 2023 (Sunday) - Lego, Chips
“er indoors TM” and the dogs had quite a major lie-in this morning. I would have too, but my back hurts if I stay in my pit for too long. I made toast and had a look at the Internet.
You really do have to admire the cheek of some people. There is some chap who this morning was all over the Facebook Lego groups like a rash. He “collects and restores” old Lego models apparently. I’m not sure how you “restore” a Lego model. Re-build it, perhaps? Anyway he’s run out of spare parts and wants people to give him theirs. Bit cheeky!
I’m in the throes of “restoring” an old Lego model at the moment, and when I find I need certain Lego bits I buy them from any of the myriad of dealers who sell Lego parts. Apparently this chap has contacted all the sellers and is still waiting for replies. I suspect he will wait for some time. But… if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
There was also talk about the Inland Border Facility at Sevington which is only two miles from home (as the crow flies). The traffic lights around the place have caused traffic mayhem, it apparently cost a hundred million guid to be built, and the place is pretty much empty and deserted as whatever reasons it was built for never came to pass.
Word is that it will be demolished for yet another housing estate.
As “er indoors TM” and the dogs emerged from their pits I left them to their brekkie and got on with “restoring” my old Lego model. Last year a colleague gave me a Lego pirate ship and was very clear that the set was incomplete. A few weeks ago I thought I might build it on a wet afternoon but struggled to get very far. Last week I had another session and got as far as I could, but had to send to BrickLink for an anchor and some rigging. The anchor arrived on Friday and I spent an hour or so Lego-ing today. Again I had to make extensive use of my spares box, but had to stop. The thing is missing an entire mast, the ship’s steering wheel and the cable rigging.
“er indoors TM” made me a cuppa and I spent half an hour on BrickLink ordering up the bits I need. So many places had the lower part of the mast but not the top, or vice-versa. Eventually I ordered most of what I needed from a place in America with the bits costing me fifteen dollars, and the postage another thirteen.
If any of my loyal readers have any thick black yarn I’d be grateful… (I can ask for hand-outs too!)
We got our coats on and went to the coast where we met Glen and Matt and their dog Hudson. We’d not met Hudson before. Morgan and Bailey were most odd; having barked and growled at every other dog they welcomed Hudson with open arms. How did they know he was family? Mind you Treacle was her usual disagreeable self to begin with, but she eventually warmed to him, and she and Hudson walked together for most of the afternoon. “My Boy TM” Cheryl and Ro-Ro joined us too, and we all walked along a very clear (if cold) coast to the chip shop and back again.
Chips aren’t cheap these days, are they?
We came home and I sat on the sofa, waking an hour later underneath a pile of dogs. “er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good curry which we scoffed with a bottle of Sainsbury’s hock (hic!). As we scoffed we watched tonight’s episode of “Lego Masters: Australia”. When you bear in mind how long I’m taking to make this Lego pirate ship, what they do in a few hours on “Lego Masters: Australia” is rather impressive.
I’m feeling a bit rough… my face is glowing. Did I catch the sun this afternoon?
23 January 2023 (Monday) - NCC 1031-A
As I stood in the garden at half past five this morning waiting for the puppies to tiddle I was again amazed at how many houses had lights on. Early starters? can't sleep? So many people are up and about far earlier than I'm sure they would want to be.
I made toast (despite there being no jam) and watched the first episode of the fourth season of “Star Trek: Discovery”. I can remember the first three seasons being something of a disappointment, but so far the show seems to be picking up.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi whose tax affairs would seem to be dubious, to say the least. It was claimed that Mr Zahawi "paid a penalty to HMRC over unpaid tax" while he was Chancellor; this penalty being in the region of five million quid.
It's another world, isn't it?
There was also a lot of talk about the new head honcho of the BBC. Some claim he was appointed properly according to the rules. Others say he got the job after effectively giving the ex-Prime Minister (that idiot Boris Johnson) a quite substantial bung.
Again there's no end of scandal about the country's politicians. It has to be said that the country's politicians leave a lot to be desired, but they are all those judged by the electorate to be the best of a very small bunch who have made the effort to get off their arses and stand for election. In many cases that is quite blatantly only to feather their own nest, but how many of us get off of our arses for any reason whatsoever? I can't help but feel we get the politicians we deserve.
Today rather than going up the motorway to work I went west through the "-hursts" and the "-dens" to Pembury. The roads were surprisingly busy, and (as always) there was an idiot lorry driver who had wedged his lorry on the sharp bend by Goudhurst church, and the congestion was compounded by all the cars refusing to give said lorry any space whatsoever.
With a few minutes to spare I went to Tesco to get jam. A little while ago “er indoors TM” told me I wasn't to get any more as we had far too much. Far be it from me to disobey, but we needed the stuff. Despite the cost. The last time I got jam (last autumn) it was twenty-nine pence a jar. Now it is thirty-nine pence. That's twenty-five per cent inflation for you!
We also needed washing jollop for the washing machine but I forgot about that. Woops! I didn't forget to get some Cadbury's mini-eggs though...
Work was work. As I did my bit so my phone laid an egg. Apparently on Saturday I'd been in close contact with someone who has since tested positive for COVID. Well, it wasn't “er indoors TM” or “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. It must have been someone at Dog Club. I thought about telling the Dog Club, but thought better of it. There's quite enough needless scaremongering about COVID as it is.
As I drove home I thought of all the money we‘d be getting. One of the items on the morning’s news was all about how there was a major drive to cut down on power usage between five and six o’clock this evening. This would be monitored by SmartMeters and people not using much power in that time would be rewarded. Bearing in mind I didn’t get home until after half past six I should be quids in.
I got home and kept very quiet. “er indoors TM” was on the warpath. Yesterday for some reason she’d taken the Hoover apart, washed some vital component or other, put it somewhere to dry… and lost it. Apparently she made a point of telling me where it was. Had she? Quite possibly.
In between looking for missing Hoover bits she boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Mastermind”. I thought that had died a death years ago. In this evening’s episode two women with specialist subjects of “Catherine the Great” and “Some Poncy Painter or Other” had their arses handed to them on a plate by some bloke whose specialist subject was “Wallace and Gromit”.
There’s a lesson for us all in there…
“er indoors TM” went bowling. Having saved a fortune by not using any power a couple of hours previously I set washing machine and dishwasher to full power and watched more “Star Trek: Discovery”. The second episode of the fourth season was rather good too…
24 January 2023 (Tuesday) - Road Trip (?)
I felt rather grim when I woke this morning, and thought about phoning in sick. But I got up and got on with life, and by the time I was chivvying puppies round the garden (five minutes later) I'd forgotten that I was feeling grotty.
I made toast (with the jam I'd bought yesterday) and scoffed it as I watched more "Star Trek: Discovery", then had a little look at the Internet.
There was yet more upsets about geocaching…On January 8th I mentioned a Geocaching Adventure Lab that had been set up in Westminster in such a way that it could be logged from miles away. Being able to log it from miles away was arguably a tad cheeky, but made it rather good fun. At the time I said “I suspect that geo-HQ will lay an egg when they find out about it. Log it while you can”. Apparently someone has complained to Geo-HQ and had the thing shut down.
The whole idea of geocaching (like any hobby) is that it is supposed to be fun. Some get the fun from going out hunting for the caches. Some enjoy setting hides for others to find. Some like sharing their favourite walk. For me I like the opportunity to go out on a guided walk with friends. But (sadly) there really are those who get their enjoyment from appointing themselves referee and demanding a slavish adherence to their personal interpretation of the rules from everyone else. I wish they wouldn’t. Bearing in mind the hobby is clearly dying on its arse, why are these people trying to kill it?
I also saw that my rating with Credit Karma has dropped by eleven points. I wonder why. They always tell me when my rating goes up or down, but never give any reasons or explanations.
I headed off to Pembury again. As I drove along the A28, A262 and A21 in the dark maybe one driver in ten dipped their headlights.
There was a lot of talk about managers of football teams on the radio this morning. The manager of Everton looks set to get the sack because the team are losing every game they play. How is that his fault?
And there was an interview with the manager of Darvel FC who are doing far better in some contest or other than anyone had ever expected. As always, whoever it is that organises these interviews had done absolutely no preparation whatsoever. Rather than talking about the prowess of his football team, the chap being interviewed was drivelling on about his son's birthday and his entry in the Scottish Pie Contest which took place today (he didn’t win).
It was all rather embarrassing really; those conducting the interview said as much.
I got to work, made myself a cuppa then launched myself into the day's work. After half an hour the boss came up to me, and with a rather sheepish smile asked if I wouldn't mind going to Maidstone for the day as they were rather short-handed.
There are those who would say I’d been messed about in this way. I wasn't at all bothered. I saw it as a rather good skive; I drove to Maidstone quite happily singing along to "Ivor Biggun" songs as I went. The only problem was that I got to Maidstone to find that the works car park was full. Having driven round it (in the hope that someone would go) for half an hour I eventually gave up, drove half a mile down the road and parked in a random back street.
Work was work; and with it done I walked back to my car to find a minor disaster. The screen thingy which shows the radio stations and reversing indicators and car status has stopped working. The radio and reversing beepers still work, but the screen just has the Skoda logo and nothing else.
I shall see about getting it fixed… later…
But driving home was far easier than I had originally thought. Rather than negotiating the tortuous bends of the country lanes masquerading as A-roads I stuck on the cruise control and went straight down the motorway.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of Montepulciano. With change out of a fiver from Sainsbury’s you really can’t quibble about the stuff. And with dinner scoffed and more plonk still to be swilled, I set about a lump of cheese and crackers. I ate cheese and shared the crackers with the dogs. They love dry crackers – silly pups.
As we scoffed and drank we watched more “Junior Bake Off”.
Not a bad evening really…
25 January 2023 (Wednesday) - Early Shift
Yet again I did that infuriating thing where I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go at ten past two, and then dozed for intervals of fifteen to twenty minutes for the rest of the night.
Being on an early shift in Pembury this morning I was up and about and tiddling the puppies even earlier than usual, Recently I remarked on how many local houses had lights on at half past five in the morning. Only two (not including our house) had lights on at five o’clock.
With puppies tiddled they shot upstairs to the big bed (they love it!) and I sparked up my lap-top. With not enough time for telly this morning I had a plan to muck out my in-box instead.
Despite having told me that it was closing down last November, the NHS Jobs website was still sending me daily emails that I didn’t want.
LinkedIn was suggesting I congratulate people that I don’t know for doing things I consider to be meaningless trivia,
Credit Karma congratulated me on having paid down my credit card balance. What does that phrase even mean?
Sky suggested I might start up monthly subscriptions with even more channels. Seriously? The Sky-Q box is already recording stuff up to six times faster than we can possibly watch it.
Google had told me that I’d logged in to my account…
And this was the email account to which I have stuff that I have stuff I want sent. I I had a look at my Gmail account (which is for the crap I don’t want) and there were nine hundred and ninety-eight unread emails. Ironically it told me that fourteen of those were spam. I deleted the lot without even looking at them.
I also spent a few minutes looking up how to fix the issue with the car’s dashboard display thingy that had died yesterday. People on the Skoda forums said there were two solutions. I could either pay the garage nearly six hundred quid, or I could disconnect the battery for ten minutes.
I then had a look at social media . Yesterday’s geo-squabble has calmed down. Interestingly I made a comment a couple of days ago that I will be archiving quite a few of my Wherigo geocaches (as everyone has done them and no one has been near for a year), and no end of people have appeared asking me not to get rid of them because they still want to play them. I’m rather pleased that the things are popular… you never know; I might revamp one or two of them if people like to play them.
I looked up who on my Facebook Friends list had a birthday today and sent a birthday wish to an old friend, downloaded bank statements then got ready for work.
I wandered off through a very dark morning to find where I'd left my car. As I started the car so the dashboard radio display thingy leapt into life. Dead yesterday, fine this morning. What was that all about?
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about Justin Bieber who has apparently just sold all the rights to his songs, and made a profit of two hundred million dollars.
I can't say I blame him. Aged twenty-eight he's now set for life, isn't he?
There was also a lot of talk about how the Western world are sending tanks to Ukraine, but nowhere near enough, if you listen to the Ukrainian president who wants (demands) three hundred and has been given (about) fifty.
Apparently one of the Russian leaders who was in South Africa the other day said that Russia are beginning to see the war as being not against Ukraine, but against the entire Western coalition of nations who are supplying Ukraine with the weapons.
He's got a point. And let's not have anyone pretending to be surprised when some Western country or other finds its capital nuked and everyone else gets a stern warning to mind its own business.
Work was much the same as ever, but being on an early start meant I got out early, and was home at dusk. Mind you by the time I’d walked the dogs round the block it was completely dark.
With walk walked I watched more “Star Trek: Discovery”, then dozed with the dogs until “er indoors TM” came home, when I carried on sitting on the sofa with the dogs.
I spend so much time just sitting with the dogs when there is so much more I could be doing…
26 January 2023 (Thursday) - Late Shift
As always when I didn’t have an alarm set I slept well, finally being woken by a cold wet nose being shoved up my bum shortly after seven o’clock. We all lay dozing until Treacle got restless and woke everyone by stomping all over us.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet as I do. The Facebook “Hematology Interest Group” boiled my piss as it so often does. Someone had posted a photo of what they had seen down their microscope and said “what do you think?” The answers that poured in (over seventy) had very few in agreement, and all were wildly wrong. Imagine you reaction on taking your car to what you assume to be a collection of mechanics, saying “it’s making a funny noise” and being told that the gearbox was poggered or the clutch has had it or it has run out of fuel or the sparkplugs need changing or it had blown a gasket or the radiator had blown or the tyres are flat…
I don’t think one member in a hundred on that Facebook group has the faintest idea.
I sent an email to the probate people. They have now taken double the length of time they said they would take to do whatever it is that they do about Dad’s estate.
I chased up the Lego mast I ordered on Sunday. With the on-line tracking I could see it was posted from Madison WI (wherever that is?) on Monday and moved through the Oak Creek distribution centre (wherever that is?) yesterday and today it had got to the Chicago international distribution centre (presumably in Chicago – I’ve heard of that one…)
I walked the dogs round the block. They are strange things. Whilst Treacle just keeps herself to herself, when we go to dog club the puppies charge around wanting to play with everyone. When they are on the leads they snarl and growl. I wish I knew why.
As we walked so Morgan did the most humungous turd; rock-solid and probably half as long as he was. I shall have to keep an eye on him.
We came home and watched another episode of “Star Trek: Discovery”. I think where I went wrong with this show before was watching each episode one per week as it was released. By binge-watching you can follow the tortuous plot so much easier.
I then did some more of my current Coursera course. Whilst it is very much work-related, I’m enjoying it and learning a few things along the way. As I always tell the trainees, a day when you learn nothing is a day wasted… Over the years I’ve wasted quite a few days.
The dogs perked up as I got ready for work. They are quite clever. They know when it is walkies time and they get very over-excited. They know when it is work time and they go to their beds where they get a treat from me on my way out.
How do they know the difference?
I went to B&Q before work. The living room light is flickering. Expert opinion on the internet (!) claims that the flickering in the LED lights is either because they are taking too much power or they don't like the dimmer switch. So I went to get some lower wattage LED lights, a non-dimmer switch and a screwdriver. B&Q were in the throes of having a re-design with much of the store cordoned off, and not a single thing on the shelf where it used to be. I asked several assistants for light bulbs, switches and screwdrivers, and just got blank faces. Everyone working there openly admitted that no one at all knew where anything was.
I've had issues in B&Q before; they really do need to work on some basic training for their staff. When asked "where is item X" the answer should be “I don't know - let me find out for you". It really shouldn't be along the lines of "F... only knows. I can't find anything either", should it?
I eventually got what I needed and set off west-wards through the -hursts and the -dens and the traffic lights. I lost count of the amount of road works I met this morning before finally getting to work, where I had a rather busy late shift.
in closing, today is something of an anniversary. Sixteen years ago today I signed up with Facebook. And today would have
been my Dad’s eighty-seventh birthday.
27 January 2023 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
I didn’t sleep well last night, and again lay wide awake for seemingly hours. I got up far earlier than I needed to, “did” the puppies, and watched more “Star Trek: Discovery” before turning on the lap-top and spending yet another age trying to get the Firefox browser to actually do anything at all. Mind you when I say “do anything at all”, the thing was clearly doing all sorts of IT wonders that I can’t see. It just wasn’t actually doing the job I needed it to do.
Eventually it got going.
Last night I had a friend request from an incredibly epically chested young lady. I have it on good authority that she is supposed to look “sexy” but personally I find her rather scary. The friend request was still there thing morning but I thought better of accepting it. She doesn’t look like the sort of person you could take home to meet your mother. I could imagine “er indoors TM” laying an egg had My Boy TM” brought home something like that.
In the past Facebook has often presented me with the chance to get better acquainted with epically chested young ladies, but more and more I’m now getting videos of crocodiles in my Facebook feed. I can’t really understand why the algorithms at Facebook HQ would think I’d be interested in either when most of what I post about is either dog- or Lego- related.
I had an email too. Whilst my Lego mast is still in the international distribution centre in Chicago, the nice people there have told Royal Mail it is on the way, and Royal Mail have told me they are poised (like coiled springs) waiting for its arrival.
As “er indoors TM” and the wolf pack emerged from their pit I set off Folkestone-wards. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, was having another driving lesson and I had to supervise “Darcie Waa Waa TM” (“Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” was at school). I got there and peered through the window at Pogo who was desperately trying to swallow the mouthful of brekkie he was half-way through munching before he could bark.
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” went off driving (with strict instructions not to mow anyone down). “Darcie Waa Waa TM” grizzled for twenty minutes then went to sleep, and the two of us dozed whilst Netflix played “Bebefinn”. Am I alone in thinking that the mother in “Bebefinn” is *far* sexier than that which sent me the Facebook Friend request overnight, even if she is boss-eyed.
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” returned having not mowed anyone down. I came home, collected the dogs and took them to Kings Wood for a walk. We had a good walk. The puppies were amazingly well behaved; coming to me whenever called. They can behave when they want to, and when they do as they are told it is incredibly impressive to any onlookers. It is only a shame that we are currently only running at (perhaps) a seventy per cent success rate, but (as I keep saying), they are both works in progress.
We came home where I spent a couple of hours ironing. As I ironed I watched episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which the most picky people were actually the ones with most to pick fault about.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching another episode of “Junior Bake Off”.
For a supposed day off I’ve been rather busy…
28 January 2023 (Saturday) - Dog Club, Badlesmere
I woke a tad earlier than I might have. Not as early as I have been, but still early. I got up, “did” the puppies and as I scoffed toast I had a look at the Internet. It was still the same as ever. As well as epically breasted bimbos and crocodiles I also seem to be getting no end of messages from religious crackpot at the moment. At the risk of stirring up a hornet’s nest I’ll just make the observation that (as an ex- religious crackpot myself) when you actually give the matter any serious consideration, all of these so-called gods need an awful lot of excuses.
“er indoors TM” and the dogs got up (once I’d chivvied them out of their pit) and once we were all organised and I’d scraped the ice off of the “er indoors TM”-mobile we got on with our day.
First of all we drove round to Dog Club where we had a great time. I say “great time”; Bailey seems to do her own thing, Morgan goes absolutely hyper, and Treacle… Treacle is funny. Initially all the other dogs come up to Treacle and say “Hello – play with me”, and Treacle replies with “F… off and leave me alone!” but as the session goes on so Treacle slowly warms to the other dogs. We’ve found that doing “dog agility” with her along some of the benches in the field calms her and makes her more amenable to saying hello to the other pups. But we all had a good time. The club is all about socialising, and that’s what happens; albeit some more than others.
From Dog Club we drove up to Badlesmere where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and we had a rather good wander up to Lees Court and back again following a route we’ve walked many times. It is a good walk. Back in the day Fudge used to set off in hot pursuit of pheasants when we were up there. Today Treacle set one off, and the puppies leapt into hot pursuit… though it has to be said that they obviously had no idea what all the fuss was about.
After a couple of hours we were back at the cars where boots were swapped for shoes and we went to the Rad Lion where we had a rather good bit of dinner. Perhaps we might have walked for a bit further to have tired the dogs some more, but they weren’t as bad in the pub as they have been in the past. And they got to taste the custard too. Dogs like custard – who would have believed it?
We watched an episode of “Junior Bake Off”, then “er indoors TM” put on a film. “Hotel Transylvania 2” looks rather good… but I might go to bed and sleep there rather than falling asleep in front of the telly.
29 January 2023 (Sunday) - Early Shift; Feeling Grim
I felt like death warmed up as I heaved my carcass out of its pit this morning. Having had a couple of rather good days off I wasn't keen on going to work today. It has to be said that I have been far happier in my job over these last few years than I have been for the previous thirty-five, but I'd still rather get the wages without actually doing any work.
I "did" the puppies, and as they snuggled up to “er indoors TM” on the big bed (they love it) I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Yesterday I mentioned that I am getting an increasing amount of crackpot religion appearing on my Facebook feed. This morning in the targetted advertising that Facebook does I was presented with a job opportunity. Did I want to be a pioneer evangelist working of the Church Army in the Diocese of Gloucester? If I got the job I would be "pioneering activities that bring Christian hope and building worshipping communities (“fresh expressions of church”) amongst groups not normally touched by the church, and I would enable others to do so too. I would focus on young adults, particularly 18-35 years, and by extension their families, and particularly those with low incomes/low aspirations/low self-esteem". For doing that for thirty seven and a half hours each week I would get twenty five thousand quid a year, and a pension if I stuck at it long enough. And before anyone shouts that heathens like me needn't apply, as part of the Church Army's corporate inclusivity, being a Christian isn't a requirement for the job - see page seventeen of the job pack. You don’t have to be a member of the religion you are professionally evangelising. Seriously?
Back in the day when I was a steward in the Methodist church I and my fellow Sunbeams would have willingly done all this sort of thing for free. And we did.
Is this a sign of our times that even do-gooders have to be paid these days?
I rolled my eyes, and taking care not to wake anyone I set off to work. Being a Sunday the talk on the radio was of a religious nature... or was stark staring nonsense (depending on your personal perspective)
Someone or other was drivelling on about how in the Old Testament God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. So without batting an eyelid Abraham made a start of getting on with it. In some narratives apparently Abraham wasn't entirely keen on the idea so he asked his son Isaac what he thought... and the idiot child said that if the voices in your head say to kill your own child, then you have to do it. In the story, on seeing that Abraham was quite prepared to murder his own son, God changed his mind and suggested he mutilate a sheep instead. Which was nice for Isaac, but not so nice for the poor sheep (who wasn't doing anyone any harm). The most amazing part of this was that this nonsensical bollox was presented as a somehow being good thing? To think I used to believe every word of it...
I turned the radio off and sang along to "Ivor Biggun" songs as I headed to Pembury.
I got to work and did that which I couldn't avoid doing. As I worked I had an occasional glance out of the window. This time last year I sat in the garden and shivered for an hour as part of the annual RSPB Birdwatch. The idea is that you sit in the garden, record all the avian activity, and tell the RSPB. Last year after an hour in sub-zero temperatures I recorded one pigeon, and no one from the RSPB (or anywhere else come to that) thanked me for my contribution to avian research. As I glanced out of the window today I didn't spot many birds... none at all to be precise. Perhaps the rain put them off?
With work done I drove home through the rain. I stopped off at Gouldhurst to have a look at the farm shop there; I had a plan of getting “er indoors TM” a pressie. I had a look round, got studiously ignored by all the staff, and came straight out. They weren’t giving it away. Take for example the gin they were selling from a local distillery. The stuff was ten quid a bottle more expensive in the farm shop than what you’d pay at the distillery.
I got home and found “er indoors TM” having a “Bake Off” moment. She’d made some chocolate buns. Very nice. I scoffed one, then had a little doze with the dogs. Actually quite a big doze with the dogs. I probably needed the sleep.
“er indoors TM” boiled up dinner which we scoffed whilst watching more of “Lego Masters: Australia”, and I slobbed in front on the telly some more. I’m feeling rather washed out… I’ve felt rough most of the day. perhaps another early night might be a plan?
30 January 2023 (Monday) - Sick Leave
I woke feeling like death warmed up. I should have stayed in bed and phoned work later to say I was sick. But I didn’t. Over the years others have taken sick leave for all sorts of reasons, but being rather “old-skool” I’ve never wanted to myself. I’ve needed to, but never wanted to. Over the last six years I’ve taken sick leave after nasal surgery (twice) and the time my ill-fitting glasses gave me double vision. I’ve vague recollections of having a week off when I seriously smashed my leg (and got cellulitis and couldn’t walk) after playing “Piggy in the Middle” with the kids in the garden when they were small, and I can remember two instances when I felt too grotty to get out of bed.
But generally “I don’t do sick leave” so I got up.
The puppies were as good as gold this morning. I made toast and watched “Star Trek: Discovery” then walked three streets away to where I’d left the car. Much as it would be a monumental arse-ache I’d really like to move to a house with designated parking. Yesterday when I came home I spent ages driving round trying to find somewhere to park, and the closest place was ridiculously far away.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. The Prime Minister has finally sacked Nadhim Zahawi for… well, I don’t think anyone knows what he did wrong. All that I can find out is that he is being investigated by HM Revenue and Customs. I’m not defending the chap but is this a case of “no smoke without fire” or just the rough and tumble of political life.
That idiot Boris Johnson was also in the news, claiming that during his time as Prime Minister the Russian leader Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile strike in a telephone conversation. Did he? I don’t know, and the Russians are denying it. I would say “they would, wouldn’t they”, but there’s an easy way to find the truth here. Presumably all high-level diplomatic phone calls are recorded (if not, why not), so just play back the recording. And if there is some reason of confidentiality or national security as to why they recording can’t be made public, then that idiot Boris Johnson should be prosecuted for making the allegation public in the first place, shouldn’t he?
My piss then boiled with talk about how “trans women with male genitalia” are no longer to be housed in women’s prisons in the UK. Apparently some chap who’d been raping women declared himself a woman and got put in a women’s prison before he’d had his “meat and two veg” removed.
Perhaps I’m an old reactionary hopelessly out of touch with reality, and I am very open to being shown the error of my ways, but surely a “trans woman with male genitalia” is a man. Isn’t he? And then locking one of these up with a whole load of women... What am I missing here?
I got to work. I lasted an hour and a half before admitting I really wasn’t feeling up to it. I spent a few minutes talking to the supervisor… is “arguing” the right word? Why was I going home? Apparently “because I feel like death warmed up” wasn’t something that could be put on the form… even though that was the reason I was going home.
I came home, went to bed and slept solidly for five hours.
When I woke I saw I had a message from Hastings Direct asking how I felt they’d done with getting my car fixed after my little accident of last August. I marked them as low as I could in every category except the quality of the repair as a good fix had been done (if far too late), and told them “Having had the accident in August, not getting the car repaired until the end of November was far too long. Especially bearing in mind the local repair place (Alpha Rapid Repair) could have done the job for only two-thirds of the price in the first week of September.
And since getting the car back the petrol consumption is far worse. Where I used to get five hundred miles form a full tank, now I only get just over four hundred miles.
And - have you ever tried phoning Hastings Direct? It takes over an hour just to get put through to the wrong department.”
I wonder if they will reply?
“er indoors TM” went bowling and I settled myself on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs from where I watched more “Star Trek: Discovery”.
I’m still not on top form but I’ve certainly perked up a little having spent the afternoon asleep. I shall have an early night. I should really phone in sick again tomorrow… even though I would feel guilty doing so.
31 January 2023 (Tuesday) - No Lego Club
Treacle again woke me far too early by stomping all round the bed (several times) before finding the most comfortable spot. To be honest I am amazed she found one; this new mattress is still giving me a back ache if I lie on it for more than a few hours.
I dozed on and off for the remainder of the night but (apart from the backache I’ve have every morning with the new mattress) I woke feeling somewhat better than I did yesterday. I got up, "did" the puppies, and as they went upstairs to bother “er indoors TM” so I made toast and watched more "Star Trek: Discovery". I then debated about whether or not I should take today off sick. Part of me was saying "sod it", but part of me knew I had to go to work; especially if I was going to go to Lego Club later.
As I drove through the "hursts" and the "dens" the pundits on the radio were talking about how today was the third anniversary of Brexit, and how by pretty much all measurable parameters the country is far worse off. They then wheeled on all sorts of windbags who claimed the exact opposite with equal conviction.
Who was right? Who knows? There is no way to know. It just strikes me that it is time to stop bellyaching about what might have been and to get on with reality as it is.
Similarly there was also a lot of talk about the Hillsborough tragedy. Without in any way trying to downplay the seriousness of what happened, isn't it time to move on from that as well?
So much of the morning's so-called news program isn't "news" at all, it is endless speculation about what might have been.
As I drove out of Biddenden I slammed on the car's brakes as a hawk swooped seemingly inches in front of the car's windscreen, snatched up something from the grass verge and flew off back past my windscreen again. It was rather spectacular; I wish I had a dash-cam which could have recorded it.
The journey to work was rather tedious today. Having left home rather later than usual I got caught in the slow-moving traffic which infests the A21. It took me forty-five minutes to drive the twenty-one miles to the Lamberhurst roundabout, then a further twenty-five minutes to drive the six miles from that roundabout to work.
Work was work; I’d arranged to leave an hour early so I could get to Lego club. I’m rather growing to hate the journey to Pembury, and Pembury to Hythe isn’t the easiest of journeys. After nearly two hours I got to Hythe and was rather concerned to find the place where we meet in darkness and the door locked. A quick look at the Lego Club’s Facebook page told me the meeting had been cancelled…
Oh well… these things happen.
Had I known there was no Lego Club today I would have had another day on the sick leave…