1 January 2024 (Monday) - New Year's Day



A rather good night‘s sleep… with many more to come (he boasted foolishly!) In the past the dogs have got onto the bed between us and the duvet got pulled down under their weight, got pulled off of us (me!) and we (I) shivered. We’ve now got a single duvet each and so when the dogs get in the middle they don’t pull the duvet off of us (me!). The first night was a success; I slept through till nine o’clock this morning.


Being the first of a month meant I changed the blade on my razor, and with my toast made I had a look at the Internet. Pretty much everyone who posts on Facebook was wishing the world a happy new year, which was nice.

Back in the day there used to be a big walk for all the geocachers in Kent on New Year’s Day following the epic pub session for all the geocachers in Kent on New Year’s Eve, but with geocaching in a terminal decline, sadly no one organized anything this year. So we got the dogs onto their leads and “er indoors TM and I took the dogs to Hythe for a little geo-adventure of our own. We walked round the town doing the series of Adventure Lab caches that are there, and with the Adventure Lab done we found ourselves at a church where there was a geocache with a puzzle needing quite a bit of information to be found around the church. As we walked around getting what we needed from benches in the graveyard we were approached by some chap who introduced himself as a friend of a very serious geocacher who has over two hundred finds… and he offered us help and advice. He showed us where he lived and said if we needed any more help just to knock on his front door and ask. I smiled sweetly.


After a couple of hours we came home and over a lunch of leftovers we watched the Christmas episode of “Ghosts”, then we watched “Chicken Run; Dawn of the Nugget”. As we watched I made myself feel quite ill scoffing a tub of Cadbury’s Heroes, and “er indoors TM got rather stressed trying to get a quote for dog insurance. They don’t give it away you know.


We had more leftovers for dinner, and scoffed them whilst watching the Lego movie. Both were rather good.

In the past New Year’s day has been quite the adventure; today was rather quieter.

I quite liked today…



2 January 2024 (Tuesday) - The News



Yesterday I foolishly boasted about the triumph which was our new duvet system. Although it gave us a decent night sleep on its first go, I overlooked that it does nothing about having restless dogs. Morgan was particularly restless last night and consequently so was I as he kept fidgeting about.

Needing some drivel to watch as I scoffed toast, this morning I started watching "Peep Show". “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” has raved about it in the past. In all honesty I thought the first episode was rather crap, but I shall persevere; it might get better.


I got dressed and walked a couple of streets away to where I'd parked the car after collecting “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” on Saturday, then set off to work through a rather dull and dark morning.

As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting their usual drivel (as they do). They started with an interview with the Shadow something-or-other... some bloke who was being rather critical about the government's financial record. Bearing in mind there's been a global pandemic and a global financial disaster (to say nothing of Liz Truss ballsing it all up in the meantime), the current government is probably doing the best it can under less than ideal circumstances. This chap said that today the Labour party would be releasing some website in which you can work out how badly you've personally done under fourteen years of Conservative government. It tells me that under the Tories I’m a thousand quid a year worse off.

Well, it would, wouldn’t it?

All I can say when it comes to finance and the Labour party is that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.


There was then a lot of talk about Labour's plans for dealing with illegal immigrants... The whole subject of illegal immigration boils my piss. It is a problem that we as a nation have chosen to have. Back in the day the UK was a member of a group of twenty-seven nations, most of which had a problem in that loads of illegal immigrants were charging through their borders hell-bent on getting to one of them. However that one of them left and set up on its own, and overnight what was once a collective problem for the European Union became somebody else's problem.

Illegal immigration to the UK is (sadly) a totally predictable consequence of Brexit...

The Labour spokesman being interviewed spoke a load of twaddle, as spokesmen of all political persuasions do. However the only solution to the problem of illegal immigration is for the UK to make itself a far less attractive proposition than any of the alternatives open to the illegal immigrants. It ain't rocket science, is it?


And it would seem that the Shipping Forecast is a hundred years old. I can remember my father listening to it mesmerised as it spoke of precipitation being within sight in Cromarty and something falling more slowly in Wight. The woman who reads it out every night (at about quarter to one in the morning) was being interviewed, and she claimed that a lot of people find it relaxing and restful.

Back in the day when I used to be alone when I did night shifts in Canterbury I used to turn the radio off during the Shipping Forecast; I've always found it rather sinister.


Needing petrol I popped to the Sainsbury's filling station in Aylesford where the stuff was being knocked out at ten pence per litre less than the last time I got any.

And then on to work. At tea break when I tuned in to my e-book my Kindle app announced it had given me an award for actually reading a e-book, and it told me it has eight others it might give me before the end of March if it feels so inclined.

I wonder if it will?



3 January 2024 (Wednesday) - Repeating Myself (Again)



I had a better night's sleep than I had the night before, but I'm not at all convinced about this "double duvet" theory of “er indoors TM 's.

I was again wide awake far too early, and so I watched the second episode of "Peep Show" which was an improvement on the first. Perhaps the show has promise?


I got dressed in the dark as I do; easier said than done when small dogs are determined to be sat upon. I moved them out of the way so that I could sit on the edge of the bed, and they moved back again. They can be stubborn little things sometimes.

I walked two streets away to where I'd left my car then had a little Munzee adventure before heading up the motorway. Being the first day of the Clan War I got a couple of Qrates and deployed a Golden Carrot too.


As I drove to work I listened to the radio. Wars still rage in Gaza and Ukraine. For all that loads of air-time was spent on them, there wasn't really anything new to report. As in pretty much every war ever, those suffering aren't those with anything to do with the causes of the war. One day the little people will say "enough is enough", and those who want a war will have to face the consequences of starting one.

But not today it would seem.


And there was talk about the junior doctors who went on strike this morning. Apparently the strike was only going to happen if there had been no pay offer over the Christmas period. Some politician or other spouted loads of management-type catchphrases whilst trying to brush over the fact that there had been no offer (increased or otherwise). This was followed by an interview with the head honcho of an NHS Trust in Surrey who spoke about the six-day strike covering "four working days". Doesn't this speak volumes about the head honchos in the NHS? In a hospital every day is a working day... isn't it?

I must admit I feel for the junior doctors' position; if only out of a sense of self-interest. I want there to be doctors in hospitals as I get older and need them more. As the junior doctors point out, with their wages having fallen by thirty-five per cent in real terms, who wants to be a doctor when you can do something far more lucrative needing far less qualifications and far less effort.


Ironically at tea break I found myself looking at my old school's Facebook group in which I saw people with whom I went to school who have retired years ago and live in far better houses than I've got with pensions higher than my wages...

One of them - the lad who sat next to me for many lessons for many years - was having his birthday today. He retired a couple of years ago and lives in one of the expensive mansions by the park in Hastings.

If I had my time again I wouldn't go into health care again. I'd go into industry and business like all my old schoolmates did.


I’ve done this rant before, haven’t I?



4 January 2024 (Thursday) - Before the Night Shift



Last night the “twin duvet theory” was a total failure as I shivered. I found myself wondering whatever happened to the sleeping bags.

I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Three friends were having a birthday today so I sent out the new birthday video. A friend posted to Facebook that his daughter was twenty today; he’s not seen her for about fifteen years since his ex-wife threw a wobbler and took herself and the children off to America. For all that there are laws against doing that sort of thing, the law would seem to be powerless with dealing with the situation once it has happened. Funny old thing, law.

There was a piccie of a Lego steam train that someone had made… well, not so much made as designed on some software package. Making virtual Lego models (as opposed to actual physical models) is now a hobby in itself apparently.


I got the dogs on to their leads in the living room this morning. I’ve discovered that in the living room leads just go on. Putting on leads in the hallway is chaos.

We drove up to the woods and I rolled my eyes as we pulled up. More and more people have taken to bagging their dog poo when the dogs download in the woods, and carrying it back to the car park where they then leave the poo bags on a little bank rather than walking a further twenty yards to the poo bin.

We had a good walk round the woods. Despite the mud we followed some of the less walked and narrower tracks. This avoids the horses and the land rovers which can be a pain in the glass for dogs. As we walked our four miles we met four other dog walkers, all within a few hundred yards of the car park.


We came home for a belly wash. Strangely Treacle (the tallest dog) was the grubbiest. You’d have thought that those at mud level would have been the filthiest, wouldn’t you?

I then ran the trimmer over my head. I do that every so often. There is a barber just up the road from me, but every time I walk past I see that he chap only knows one haircut, and that is frankly ridiculous. He shaves round the sides and gels the top. People queue up for it… the odd thing is that having been given these absolutely laughable haircuts, you never see anyone in the street sporting one of them. What’s going on there?


I wrote up some CPD, then went off to bed for the afternoon. I took a hot water bottle as my feet never warm up when I try to sleep in the afternoon. As I dozed I could hear next door flicking her light switch on and off. She must have turned the light on and off twenty times during the afternoon. What was that all about?

As I dozed so the rain started. What had been a rather bright morning became a very wet afternoon.


Hopefully “er indoors TM will boil up some dinner and then I’m off to the night shift…


5 January 2024 (Friday) - Bit Tired



Last night’s shift wasn’t especially busy… but I’ll make the observation that I can remember one day in 1984 when my workload included six coagulation investigations. My boss at the time thought this to be ridiculously excessive and sent a memo to everyone with the authority to request these tests. He explained that six in one day was far too many, and would doctors please only request those coagulation investigations that were strictly clinically necessary.

Last night I did forty.


As I drove home this morning I listened to the news on the radio as I do. There was a lot of talk about the general election. One hasn’t been called yet but (by law) there has to be one this year. Mind you, as I ranted yesterday, “the law” only works all the time people follow it. What would happen if the Prime Minister didn’t call a general election? After all, Donald Trump only went wrong when he lost an election and tried to stage a coup. Had he just stayed in office and not called an election…?

Back in the day I was something of a loonie leftie. These days I’m not so sure. But I predict that the main player in this year’s general election will be the Reform UK party. Most people haven’t heard of them so far. Basically they are an extreme right-wing bunch whose main policy is to send them all back on the next banana boat, and have taken over where UKIP and the Brexit party left off. Having announced they intend to contest every constituency in the next general election they will split the Conservative vote and Labour will get into power not because they won, but because the Conservatives lost.

Democracy, eh?

And there was a lot of consternation being expressed about the plight pf poor Luke Littler. Having won two hundred thousand pounds by coming second in the World Darts Championship he’s got to pay eighty-three thousand quid in income tax.

Darts fans are up in arms.

I can’t see why. This is how professional darts players operate. They compete for a cash prize in the same way that I stroll up to a hospital and do blood tests. I have to pay income tax; why shouldn’t a darts player, no matter how old they are?

It amazes me that all the darts fans are up in arms about his having to pay tax. No one has voiced the rather controversial opinion that two hundred thousand quid for coming second is about six times the average annual income for someone working in the UK.


I got home, had a shave and went to bed for the morning. I woke after two hours. I could have gone back to sleep, but I got up. If I’d spent the entire day asleep I wouldn’t have slept tonight.

I made myself a rather late brekkie, and then spent nearly three hours catching up on the ironing. What with Christmas I’d let it slip. As I ironed I watched something on Netflix about the Great Train Robbery. It was rather good. And after that I watched two hours of Ancient Aliens on the history channel. Have you ever watched Ancient Aliens? It is so laughable that it is brilliant. The show takes pretty much everything and anything and makes the assertion that whatever it is talking about this week *might* be the work of aliens when clearly anyone but the most feeble-minded simpleton can see that it is not.


er indoors TM got us dinner from the KFC, and I then spent the evening trying to stay awake.



6 January 2024 (Saturday) - Dog Club, Boxley, Infinity Table



The bin men came up the road this morning around six o’clock. Not able to make quite as much noise from plastic bins as they’d like, they shouted across the street to each other as they went. I expect they were sulking from not getting what used to be a traditional Christmas bonus.

I made toast and looked at the Internet. My brother was at Brighton and Hove Albion’s football ground waiting for the coach to take him and his pals to Stoke on Trent. Google told me it was a four hour drive and that the match didn’t start for another eight hours.

This morning there were interesting squabbles on Facebook pages about “Game of Thrones” and “Star Trek” both featuring people who’d never watched the TV shows.  The squabble about “Game of Thrones” made me laugh out loud; some chap openly admitted he’d never watched the program but still had an opinion on it.

Facebook told me that a Facebook friend was having a birthday today. I had a look and vaguely recognised the name. Looking at our mutual friends I *think* I used to work with her about fifteen years ago. Facebook is good for keeping in touch with friends I’ve not seen for ages, but I also find I’m keeping in touch with people I barely knew at the time (and that time was “yonks ago”). Perhaps I need to have a little cull on my list? I had a little look at it; there were eight less people on it than there were the last time I looked. Perhaps some obscure acquaintances had already dumped me? Cheeky!


Being Saturday we drove round to Repton and Dog Club. It was perhaps a tad nippy which probably explained attendance being down. It does take a certain hardy sort to stand in a field for forty minutes in January. But the dogs had a whale of a time. There was a minor episode when Bailey wouldn’t stop bothering the bigger dogs, then screamed in terror when they tried to play with her. To be honest we’ve got a vague idea that Kai (one of the biggest dogs) sees Bailey as some sort of mobile squeaky toy.

Having missed the “Guess the Lyrics” competition on the way to Dog Club we listened to all the clues for the Mystery Year contest as we drove off. Elvis Costello, the bear in the Scottish Highlands, Blondie… surely it was 1978? I was two years out. 1980.


Rather than going home we drove up to Boxley where we met Karl and Tracey and had a little walk. Karl and Tracey have a series of geocaches in the area and several people had posted “Did Not Find” logs so a maintenance mission was in order. There weren’t as many missing as we’d been led to believe; there rarely is.

As we walked we saw quite a few off-road motorbikes vooming about. Getting permission to put geocaches on what is a Site of Special Scientific Interest took the best part of a year, but no one seems at all bothered about the thug element motorbiking all over it. I suspect no one is brave enough to stand up to the thug element. I’m not going to.


We came home, washed lumps of mud off of the dogs (Morgan!) and I had a little doze until Chris arrived. He’d brought round his Infinity Table and with it set up half a dozen of us played “Ticket to Ride”; a rather run game which I can only describe as “Risk on Trains”. I won the first game though I have no idea how.

We had a rather late end to a rather busy day…

As always I took a few photos.



7 January 2024 (Sunday) - Rather Dull



What with a rather (very) late night last night I didn’t wake until after nine o’clock. er indoors TM headed off to the monthly brekkie date. I passed. The café we meet up in is a very noisy place and the second bottle of port last night had left me with something of a headache. I put bread in the toaster and grubby stuff in the washing machine and dishwasher, and with toast incinerated I had a look at the Internet.


Two friends had birthdays today. The chap who lived next door when we were both lads, and one of the girls from my religious days who has (like me) since seen the darkness. My old neighbour now lives in Scotland and my ex-god-bothering pal and now runs an animal sanctuary somewhere in East Anglia. I sent them the birthday video. I had two friend requests from young ladies. Both had their clothes on (which was probably for the best), and one was photographed with what looked like her mother. I deleted both requests.

I had a message ostensibly from the Prime Minister asking if I would like to follow him on Facebook. I’ve clicked the “follow” button, but my hopes aren’t high. As far as I’m concerned the bloke has had his chance and blown it. He’s leaving it rather late to perk up, but you never know. It probably doesn’t help that he bears a more than passing resemblance to Roland Rat.

Not a lot else was going on in the Internet, so leaving dogs snoring on the sofa I emptied the dishwasher. I wish I knew where all the stuff goes; I just cram it into various cupboards and hope for the best. I hung out the washing, and “er indoors TM returned.


Yesterday had been a dry day; today was cold and with heavy rain.  Taking a minor detour to pick up a couple of geocaches we went to Ham Street garden centre. Last week there was a suspicion that Morgan might have tiddled up a display (I’m pretty sure he didn’t!) but there’s no denying that he “dropped a big one” today whilst we were looking round the garden furniture bits.

We came home, and I spent much of the day geo-puzzling. A series of thirty geocaches had gone live this morning in the Biggin Hill area; all needing a puzzle to be solved to work out their final locations. I puzzled them, and one or two others in the area as well. This might well make a decent walk when the weather chirps up a bit.


er indoors TM boiled up a very good lamb roast which we scoffed whilst watching “Outsiders”. As the evening wore on I rather wilted. I feel rather exhausted, and my face is glowing as if I’ve caught the sun. I’m feeling as I should have felt after yesterday’s rather busy day.

Yesterday had been a rather good day; today was one of the dull ones. So why do I feel worn out?



8 January 2024 (Monday) - Snow



I felt grim when I went to bed last night; I chirped up a bit overnight, but was still wide awake far too early. I made toast and watched an episode of "Peep Show" which was rather entertaining, then had a little look at the Internet. It was much the same as it always was, and probably always will be.

I took a few moments to find what I'd done with my trousers (they vanish if left unsupervised!) and set off.


I was rather hacked off to find a huge parking space outside the house; yesterday I'd had to park two streets away as there was nowhere closer to leave the car. It was rather cold and wet as I wandered off to find the car. I have a minor issue in that I often forget where I leave my car and have to wander the local streets searching for it. On more than one occasion I've had passing friends tell me where they've seen it. I don't mind the walk, but I'd rather be sure of where I have to walk to.


I voomed round town capping Points of Interest (as Munzers do) then headed off up the motorway.

The motorway was rather busy today, and as is so often the case was frankly dangerous with all the cars being forced into the fast lane with a stream of lorries moving at forty-five miles per hour in the slow lane, and enough lorries in the middle lane (moving at forty-six miles per hour) to bung it up.

As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the Horizon scandal in which hundreds of post office workers had been falsely convicted (and sent to prison) because of the failings of an IT system. Am I being cynical in wondering if the only reason the politicians are up in arms about it is because ITV have just screened a documentary about it. Had ITV broadcast something about tits and bingo, the general public would have remained utterly oblivious. Wouldn't they?

And the Americans were blasting off to the Moon again. Mind you, when I say "the Americans", it is a private American company which is sending up the probe. Space travel is something that NASA is farming out to private enterprise more and more. Here's a thought... if this trend continues, when humanity becomes established in space it won't be countries calling the shots up there. It will be private companies. Countries are (supposedly) democratic. For all its faults, democracy in theory holds the leaders accountable to the public. Since when have the managers of any commercial company been accountable to its employees. The future of humanity may well be tyrannies and despotism that would make Hitler and Genghis Khan look like preferable options.


Work was work. As I looked out at a rather bleak and wet morning I saw the sleet and snow. As the morning went on we had various weather reports from all over the county. Most places had snow to some degree. The snow started in Maidstone shortly after nine o'clock and was still off-and-on six hours later, with a particularly black sky at half past one.

I was reminded of one particularly thick woman with whom I used to work twenty years ago who was terrified of snow, and would drop everything and go home at the slightest suggestion of the stuff. Several of us used to have a great game by standing within earshot of her and commenting that the weather forecast predicted snow in the next few hours. Invariably she would immediately run off home (without looking at either weather forecasts or the actual weather), and the next day have a major argument with her manager about why she’d walked out because of the snow that never happened. Eventually the manager realised what we were up to and ironically we were the ones who ended up in trouble.

I messaged Gordon who'd said he was planning to walk that new geo-series near Biggin Hill today. He'd started before the sleet started and so was carrying on with the walk. It was far too cold and wet and muddy to be walking for five hours today. Wasn't it? So why was I wishing I was out there with him?


Being on the early shift I got out early, but didn’t get home early. Usually I can get home in about forty-five minutes after an early shift. It took that long to drive the mile and a half to the motorway today. There’s road works in Hermitage Lane. Well… when I say “road works” there’s traffic lights round a fenced-off area in which precious little seems to be happening.


I got home and found I had an email… I’ve been trying to organise a geocaching CITO in Kings Wood. The idea is that a dozen or so of us go up there, have a little litter-pick, have a picnic and come home. Having been emailing them on and off for a couple of months they now want “a comprehensive risk assessment” and a written assurance that we will take home any litter we find. I can take a hundred family and friends up there and trash the place and that’s fine. But I try to get a few people together to do them a favour and they are bending over backwards to make things difficult. I’ll find somewhere else to have a tidy-up.


With “er indoors TM off bowling I thought I might watch a film on Netflix. There is so much on there that looks rather good when I am flicking through. When I want to watch something it all looks like tripe. I settled for a film called “The Rise”. Featuring “Barry” from “Auf Wiedersehn Pet” and “Lip” from “Shameless” it was something of a disappointment.


I wonder if it is still snowing?



9 January 2024 (Tuesday) - Award Winning



I woke at half past two this morning and lay in bed trying to convince myself I didn't need to get up for a tiddle. After half an hour I gave up, got up and had that tiddle. I then lay awake for an hour and just as I nodded off so the snoring started. It was one of the ladies; it wasn't me or Morgan.

After a while I realised that sleep wasn't happening so I got up and had my morning scrape. As I shaved I realised that all the talk about having the bathroom done up has fallen at the first hurdle. Everyone we've approached to quote for getting it done says that having a wall mounted fan heater is a total no-no because of "health and safety". But a fan heater warms the cold bathroom in a matter of seconds. Radiators don't.


I made toast and watched another episode of "Peep Show" which was rather good.  One of the main characters (Robert Webb) bears an uncanny resemblance to someone with whom I went to school. I'm sure it's not him, but he must be a close relative. I wonder whatever happened to Paul Jackson. I've heard nothing of him for over forty-three years. A quick Google search came up with nothing.


I set off to work... once I'd got my car out of its space. Some people pride themselves on being able to get their car into the tightest spaces, but have no thought for how the car they've just blocked in can get out. Fortunately I'm not "car proud"; if I have to bash bumpers or scrape cars, I don't care.  Luckily for whoever had parked me, in I didn't leave any dents. Or that is I don't think I did. There's none on my car that weren't there before.


I set off on as little pre-work Munzee mission then headed off up the motorway. This morning the pundits on the radio were talking finance. There was an interview with someone from some American bank who was talking about aerospace engineers. These people are hired and fired depending on how "the market is doing", and the banker being interviewed could see nothing wrong with this. But he did have an issue with fired aerospace engineers going and getting other jobs because this meant that "the market" couldn't hire them again when the whim took it. This banker had no care for the concerns of real people, but was clearly very passionate about "the market" and clearly cared more for it than for people who'd lost their livelihoods.

I wonder if all the aerospace engineers having pissed off to get other jobs is why bits are falling off of Boeing 737s? Apparently loads of these planes have been grounded with all sorts of bolts needing tightening since one lost part of its fuselage in Alaska recently.

There was then some spokesman or other telling how tough things are in the hospitality sector. They didn't have a good Christmas. Much as I like a pint, having one in a pub isn't a cheap option. Chuck in a meal and another pint or two (and the same for family and friends) and you are looking at the thick end of two hundred quid. For the price of a round of drinks in the pub you can go to Sainsburys and be drinking at home all night long. And the family had Christmas dinner at home a couple of weeks ago cheaper than my personal bill was at our last pub outing.

Sadly pubs are a luxury few can afford these days. I can't help but wonder if they had their day.

Yesterday I mentioned that some private American firm had sent a probe to the Moon. Apparently it has gone tits-up.  That's a pain in the glass, isn't it?


Eventually I got to work. The motorway was busy, and again Hermitage Lane was blocked up by road works which were all "road" and no "works". Once in the car park I scrubbed the car's windscreen. Since the weekend it has got incredibly grubby.

I did my bit, and as I did it I started out of the window at a very bright day. So different to wet and snowy yesterday. There was cake at tea time, and as I read my Kindle app it gave me another award. A week ago it gave me an award for actually using it. Today it gave me a prize for having read two e-books this year (week). I finished another e-book today.


I got home far quicker than I did yesterday. But having had a rather grotty night last night took its toll this evening as I kept nodding off. I hate that; wide awake when I should be asleep, and fast asleep when I should be wide awake.

I’m definitely going to have an early night.



10 January 2024 (Wednesday) - Stuff



I slept well last night, and woke far later than usual. Still far too early, but later than usual, which was a result. It was rather cold when I got up. I made toast, watched more “Peep Show” then had a little look at the Internet. Someone on my Facebook list was jetting off on yet another holiday. I have a theory about holidays… a holiday is cheaper than turning on the heating. It must be.


Taking care not to sit on any dogs as I got dressed (they get under-arse as well as under-foot) I set off to find my car, and spent a few minutes scraping the ice. It was particularly frosty today, but what do you expect in January?

I decided against a Munzee mission today. My heart wasn’t in it. Pretty much every hobby I’ve ever got involved with that involves interacting with other people has one big drawback. The people with whom I interact. In every other such hobby (the snake club, the astro club, geocaching, scouting) there are those who contribute to the hobby, and there are those who sit back and take advantage of those who contribute to the hobby. Sadly I’m finding I’m spending upwards of twenty quid a month on Munzing and I’m beginning to resent doing so.


Today I was working at Pembury, so I left home early. The last few times I was there I found my journey hindered by endless road works. Today there was only one set of road works which I drove straight through. Mind you I did find myself faced with an idiot in a white van coming head-on at me in Sissinghurst. The idiot in the white van seemed rather hacked off that I was driving on the right (as in “correct”) side of the road.

As I drove I listened to the pundits on the radio spouting their drivel. Much of it was immediately forgettable, but I was disappointed to hear that NASA has postponed its planned lunar landing by a year. I don’t remember the first Moon landing, but I remember Apollo Thirteen. As a lad the Moon landings were exciting and a vision of the future. A future which turned out to be something of a let-down. I expect people will walk on the Moon again in my lifetime, but I’m sure I won’t live long enough to see people walking on Mars.

There was also a lot of talk about the Post Office computer scandal. It would seem there’s now calls for the people who made the computer system to be held accountable for the thing’s failures. Personally I can’t help but think that the blame lays with those who didn’t test it properly. Does anyone remember the NHS “Connecting for Health” project of fifteen years ago when the people who made the Post Office’s errant computer system contracted to made an NHS-wide computer system… eventually admitted they weren’t up to it and didn’t get sued for wasting public money.


I got to work and didn’t have the best of days.  I did my bit whilst grumbling, and was glad when home time came. Having driven straight in this morning the A21 was bunged up this evening so I cut cross country. As I drove the radio told me it was broadcasting the evening comedy show. I was glad it had told me; I wouldn’t have realised. “Clare in the Community” was on the lame side.


er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the last episode of “Outsiders” and then we found a rather random show about Bill Bailey swimming with whale sharks.

I wouldn’t mind doing that… I’d have to go to Australia though. I probably won’t. It’s not the money, the problem would be leaving the dogs for so long…



11 January 2024 (Thursday) - A Little Drinkie



I had another good night, but woke to another cold morning. I made toast and as I turned on the telly there was a very old episode of "Bullseye" featuring Jim "super, smashing, great" Bowen. As was always the way in this show he was faced with two rather frightened looking contestants who (in a display of wanton greed) gambled some rather crappy prizes in the forlorn hope of winning a caravan they neither needed nor wanted, and lost the lot. There is an urban myth in Ashford that somewhere on a disused railway yard near Matalan there is the remains of an old speedboat which was won by contestants on that show who abandoned it there as they had absolutely no use for it, and having abandoned it there, there it has stayed for forty years.

I watched an episode of "Peep Show" featuring a supposedly nudey Olivia Coleman, and as I turned Netflix off the TV was playing an infomercial for the latest model of the nutribullet which still features the grinning bimbo from the "Yes Car Credit" adverts. I blogged about her ten years ago; in the meantime she's got a family and would seem to feed them on stuff minced up in her all-new nutribullit. They’ve made a Mark II of the thing which she is now flogging.


I had a very quick look on-line and saw that Sainsburys had sent me an email. They had analysed the shopping for which I'd got savings on my Nectar card over the last year. Apparently in 2023 my top purchase from Sainsburys was small bottles of diet coke, with Shaken Udder salted caramel milk shake in second position and all-butter croissants in third.

I wouldn't have thought that. But their computer says so, so it must be true...


Unless their computer comes from the same place as the post office's computer. The pundits on the radio were talking of little else but the Horizon computer scandal this morning. A lot of what was said was speculation about what they didn't know or repetition of what little they did know. There was nothing new to be said, but they still talked and talked. The only thing of interest on the matter was in the "Yesterday in Parliament" section; with all the MPs banging on about the Horizon scandal, some MP from the Scottish Nationalist Party listed loads of other miscarriages of justice and asked when ITV would make a drama series about those so that Parliament might then take them seriously as well.

The chap had a point. A week ago there was nothing but Gaza in the news. It got a little mention today, but not much. And I've heard nothing from Ukraine for ages.


I stopped off at Ashford's Sainsbury's for petrol, and at Pembury's Tesco for cereal bars (I like those).

You'd have thought that petrol would have featured on my Nectar card purchase list, wouldn't you? I wonder if Tesco's clubcard keeps track on what I buy?


At tea break I had an email from the people in whose field we stage Dog Club. They'd had an email from the people who provide the insurance. Do we have any XL Bullies that come to Dog Club?

We don't.

I'd have thought that a banned breed of dog would automatically be excluded from any insurance policies anyway; I expect those providing the policies have had so many "episodes" that they need to point out the obvious. It's a sad old world in which the obvious needs to be pointed out, but there it is.

Once home I posted about this to the club’s Facebook page so’s people can’t say they haven’t been told.


er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching a couple of episodes of “The Reluctant Landlord”. A show from six years go; it was rather good.

As we scoffed we had a bottle of plonk. I like a bottle of plonk… However at three quid a bottle this stuff lacked a certain je ne sais quoi



12 January 2024 (Friday) - Remembering Boss



Once I'd made my toast I watched some more "Peep Show" which again featured a nudey Olivia Coleman, which was something of a result for those who like that sort of thing (the beasts!).

As I watched telly and got dressed and walked off to find my car I was amazed by the bin men. They were being quiet today. No bellowing up the street. No hurling bins around. What was that all about?


I found my car and drove off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the air strikes that the Americans had launched at the Houthi rebels in Yemen overnight. Having been terrorising international shipping for weeks, the Americans have given them a bit of a slap. The Americans mainly, with a bit of help from a gaggle of allies including the United Kingdom. Was this a good idea? There were no end of windbags lining up to be interviewed on the matter, and as many opinions were aired as there were windbags to air them.

One thing became very clear though; the Houthi rebels who got bombed were just pawns in some international power struggle in which those with weapons far too powerful to be unleased get the little people to fight their squabbles for them.

And there was talk about the state of the UK footpath network. Fed up with the likes of me going for walks in the countryside, landowners aren't keeping the rights of way as clear as they might be. This was something with which I was very familiar as a lad when going hiking with the Boys Brigade nearly fifty years ago; why has this only become news now?


I got to work and found myself embroiled in a squabble on Facebook. Someone who openly admitted he'd never been to Dog Club had taken exception to the insurers not wanting banned breeds along, and seemed to think I should be taking a stand against the insurers. Someone who runs a local dog training business (who'd also never been along) then joined in with him and got rather personal and abusive (then had the good grace to delete what she'd posted). Neither seemed to realise they were trying to fight with the wrong people.


In between squabbling on Facebook I spent much of today thinking about the summers of 1980 and 1981. Early on one May bank holiday morning in 1980 I marched into the Harbour restaurant on Hastings sea front and asked to speak to the manager. A chubby little Italian fellow waddled up from the kitchen and I asked him if he had any vacancies. He said (in a very thick almost incomprehensible Italian accent) that bank holidays were always busy and he would give me a day’s work. I worked for him for every day that I wasn’t in school from then until October of that year, and again from the next Easter through till when I took up professional blood testing.

That chubby little Italian fellow introduced himself as “Boss”; and that is how he was known to everyone.

He drove a brand new car which (parked on Hastings sea front) was covered in seagull poo.

He had a wad of bank notes in his pocket which was never less than an inch thick from which he paid everyone’s wages and every bill.

He insisted the kitchen staff sang the meow mix song (*very* loudly) every time a customer ordered gateau (as “gatto” is Italian for “cat”)

He would have the kitchen staff compete to see who could shout the phrase “F…ing Hell!” loudest and with most passion up the lift shaft which sent food from the kitchen to the restaurant.

He taught all us young lads to cook because (as he said) “boys are focking useless and if I don’t teach you, you will starve to death”. He used the work “focking” a lot (spelt with an "o" and in a very thick Italian accent) and was the first adult I ever knew to swear regularly.

When we were quiet at work he would send me to his house to do gardening where I learned to use a chain saw.

He was incredibly well-read and very wise. He would often offer advice and wisdom at which I and all the other lads would laugh. I wish I’d listened to him; I would have learned so much.

He would regularly go to concerts of classical music with one of the orthopaedic surgeons from the local hospital.

He was devoted to his wife - an equally chubby Italian woman known to all as "Missus".

When I got the job as a trainee professional blood tester he was the only person who advised against it. When I told him what the job entailed and the pay he told me that I would neither be rich or poor. He told me I would be comfortable, and that being comfortable was the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone.


He died late last year; despite being a chubby fellow he lived to be ninety. Today was his funeral. I considered asking for the day off and going along, but the funeral was in the church where my father-in-law had had his funeral. The priest there was clearly just reading a script and got so many personal and family details wrong. I couldn't take that priest seriously again.

And how many of Boss’s contemporaries would be left. Would anyone from the restaurant from 1980 or 1981 be along? Would I recognise them if they were? It would have been good to have caught up with his son and daughter, but I’ve not seen Marco or Gloria since 1981. And would they remember me after all these years? And would they want me crawling out of the woodwork after so long? 

Ironically one of my most vivid memories of Boss was of him unblocking one of the restaurant’s sinks. He was plunging away like a thing possessed whilst grumbling about the “focking plogol” (as he called plugholes). As the afternoon wore on “er indoors TM messaged to say the kitchen sink’s plughole was bunged up.

I came home via Pembury’s B&Q. Our plughole has had the dangerous chemicals in it for a couple of hours now but not a lot seems to be happening. Perhaps I should have done what Boss used to do. He never unblocked a sink with proper sink unblocking chemicals; he always used “bilich” (as he would call “bleach”).



13 January 2024 (Saturday) - Late Shift



Just as I was about to go to bed last night I realised that after four hours soaking in dangerous chemicals yesterday evening the “focking plogol” remained blocked solid. After scattering the contents of the cupboard under the sink all over the floor and subsequently flooding the kitchen I found the problem. The U-bend was bunged up solidly with a huge amount of solidified fat. There must have been a mug-full of rock-solid thick white fat which vaguely smelled of roast lamb. Where did that all come from? It took some shifting.

I slept better knowing that the sink would now drain.


Over toast I had my usual look at the Internet. I had a friend request on Facebook from “Rose Marie”; an AI-generated person who sported both a rather impressive of norks though, and a moustache as well. Sadly the moustache wasn’t of the same standard as the norks, but given time it might grow… However I will never know as I deleted the request. I also had a suggestion from Facebook that I might like to follow the antics of Anthony Browne. No – I’d never heard of him either. Apparently he’s the MP for south Cambridgeshire.

There wasn’t much else going on on-line so we got ready for the off.


We drove round to Repton; as we turned into the road leading to the field so the dogs started squealing in excitement. Dog club went rather well this morning with the biggest turn-out we’ve had for a long time. I tried counting the dogs, but they wouldn’t stay still. I counted eighteen, but there may well have been more. We had some new people along who seemed to like what was going on, including one lady who lives over the road from the field and had been watching us for months. At first wondering what goes on, and then wondering if she and her dog might join in.

I wore wellies; I got cold feet. I need to get some woolly socks.


We must have been a tad late getting out of Dog Club; Steve was playing music from the mystery year but we missed hearing the clues giving what had happened in that year. After two records which I don’t think I’d ever heard before he announced that the year had been 1998.


We came home for a cuppa, I paid the money collected at Dog Club into the Repton Centre’s bank account.  Leaving “er indoors TM to put all the stuff back into the kitchen cupboard (which had dried out) I set off to work in daylight, which made a change. As I drove I listened to Steve in the radio, but not for long. Sadly the signal gave out after a few miles (at Bethersden), so I turned over to Ivor Biggun CDs and sang along as I drove to Pembury.


I got to work and did what I had to do. I always say I don' t mind working at the weekends, but I think I do really. During a lull in proceedings I finished an e-book. If any of my loyal readers are at a loose end, "Calculating God" by Robert J Sawyer is well worth a read. Like all good fiction, the book poses a rather intriguing "what-if". What if aliens turn up and rather than wanting to meet all the politicians and leaders, they just want to visit the museums like any other tourists. And then it comes up in conversation that not only have the aliens got actual incontrovertible proof of the existence of God, but also all of Earth's religions have all been sucking up to the wrong God?

My Kindle gave me a third award for finishing that e-book. It is getting rather generous with those. I then started on another e-book; an old favourite of mine. More speculative fiction; this one was written years ago. "The Cloud Walker" by Edmond Cooper is an old favourite of mine. Set in a post-apocalyptic future where crackpot religion holds sway, a young lad wants to commit the heresy of flying a kite.


As I worked I chuckled. We had two lab assistants with us today. One's been with us for several months and knows me fairly well, the other is quite new. The new one was civil enough, but was treating me in much the way I would politely treat a mate's grandmother. At tea break I took off my lab coat and went to the rest room (we can't eat or drink in a laboratory with blood samples about!). As I went I was conscious that new girl was staring at me. As I walked round the corner I heard the other girl saying "He's covered in tattoos; he'll show you them if you like. And he's got loads of Lego". New girl was much more friendly after that...


I got home rather late; “er indoors TM had boiled up stilton soup. That was rather good.



14 January 2024 (Sunday) - A Day Off



Apart from a trip to the loo at five o’clock and letting the dogs out at half past six I had a good night’s sleep, finally emerging from my pit just after nine o’clock.


I made toast and had a look at the Internet. The squabble on the Dog Club’s Facebook page was continuing. I say “squabble”… I’d been asked to post saying that if the government declares any breed of dog to be banned, then they aren’t covered by the insurance we have, and consequently we can’t accept them. It’s patently obvious but in this day and age it has to be pointed out. A bit like bottles of bleach having to be labelled “don’t drink this”. Two people took exception to this. Neither have ever showed up at Dog Club.

As is always the way the squabble was instigated and fuelled by people who have no intention of ever meeting the people with whom they are trying to quarrel.


We loaded ourselves and the dogs into the “er indoors TM”-mobile and set off to Hastings. Having missed the last post we needed to deliver my nephew’s birthday card.

As we drove we went past Orlestone Woods and Treacle recognized the place and stared squeaking. The squeaking of excitement about going somewhere stops when we arrive, but because we weren’t going to the woods, she kept squeaking and worked herself into quite a frenzy which didn’t stop until we got to Hastings.

Sadly nephew (and entire family) were out, but we met some passing relives and spent a few minutes catching up.


From Hastings we went on to Tenterden. We could tell when we’d left Kent and entered Sussex on the way down, and we could tell when we left Sussex and came back to Kent on the way back. People moan about pot holes, but go drive round East Sussex. In most of the UK we drive on the left; in Sussex they drive on what’s left. We saw a few pot holes with road cones in them; two thirds of the road cones being below surface level (the pot holes really were that deep). It wasn’t so much driving as playing a game of real-life Mario Kart.

We got to Tenterden and had a little wander about. As we walked we went past an “Artisan Baker’s Stall”. Have you ever seen an “Artisan Baker’s Stall”? There’s one at Bybrook Barn garden centre, but that one is like a boot fair compared to the one at Tenterden. The place sold ridiculously overpriced pastry stuff… I say “sold”; we walked past at two o’clock and it really didn’t look as though they’d sold a single thing. The stall was still as full as any bakery when it first opens. If they were to halve (or quarter) their prices they would make so much more money as they might actually sell something.

As we walked we saw quite a few dogs on leads also going for walks, and one cat on a lead as well. I wondered if the cat identified as a dog, but I thought better of saying anything.

Our wander had been guided by a Geocaching Adventure Lab series. We walked past the museum and the train station, up to the church and on to the village sign. It was a rather good wander about.


Once home “er indoors TM immediately set off shopping. I put a load of undercrackers in to wash, then set about the “focking plogol” in the bath. It has been running slower and slower. I blame all the dog hairs and mud that gets washed off of the dogs as they get bathed. They’d have quite a few baths over the last few months. Hopefully it’s now unbunged; getting at that that one’s U-bend wouldn’t be a practical proposition.

I then dozed on the sofa with the dogs.


er indoors TM” boiled us all up a decent dinner. The dogs got kidney (as it is cheaper than dog treats) and we had a decent roast with a very decent bottle of plonk. And then I had the last of the stilton. The dogs were happy to sit with me and have the biscuits. I would have thought that after fresh kidney they would have turned their noses up at dry biscuits, but they didn’t.

Having worked six days on the trot, today was a good day off.



15 January 2024 (Monday) - A Friend Request



I woke feeling raring to go and full of energy... and saw it wasn't even one o'clock. I went to the loo, and tried to get back to sleep. I then saw every hour of the night, not sleeping for more than twenty minutes at a time.

I gave up with trying to sleep, got up and had a shave. The bathroom sink was draining better than it had been, which was a minor result. I made toast and watched an episode of "Peep Show" in which (unlike the previous two episodes) Olivia Coleman wasn't in the nip.  Absolutely nothing had happened on Facebook overnight (which was another result), so I set off for work.


It took a few minutes to scrape the ice from the car's windscreen, and it was good to be going up the motorway to Maidstone rather than along the A-roads to Pembury this morning. There were loads of lorries on the motorway playing silly beggars (as they do), but there wasn't anyone coming head-on at me with headlights on full beam as happens on the A-roads. And the journey to Maidstone whilst only eight miles shorter took a full forty minutes less to travel than last week's journeys.


As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing some aide to France's ambassador to the UK about the most recent deaths of migrants in small boats trying to cross  the channel. Why were these people leaving a perfectly safe country? What are the French doing to stop this sort of thing happening? I have no idea; a combination of poor radio reception and a thick French accent meant I couldn't understand a word the chap was saying.

Similarly there was some woman from Gaza being interviewed who was also incomprehensible.

Why do they bring these people on to the radio when they can't be understood? You'd think they'd vet them first, wouldn't you? There must be plenty of people who can talk on whatever might be the burning issue of the day who can be understood? Or am I just being mean (again)?

There was also a lot of talk about how in the upcoming elections the Labour party look set for a massive landslide victory with a majority of over one hundred seats.

Closer to home the constituencies in Kent are changing quite massively. The map of the new constituency in which I shall be is rather interesting. The old Ashford constituency has been divvied up into rural and urban ones and the old Ashford MP who so publicly tried to get selected for the rural bit didn't get his way, and has been selected for the urban one instead. The sensible money seems to think that he won't get elected. Partly because of there being more Labour votes in urban areas, and partly because he was caught with pictures of nudey ladies on the computer that tax-payers bought for him.

Is the thought of being out on his arse the reason why this chap has recently been all over local social media getting his face seen in all sorts of places in a shallow attempt to suck up to the electorate? Sadly much of the electorate aren't bright enough to see through this.


I got to work where there wasn't any cake. During a lull in proceedings I had a little look at the ordnance survey maps. er indoors TM has been talking about creating a new geo-walk, so I sussed out some possible routes. All I have to do is to persuade her that the routes are good... maybe a preliminary investigation might be something we might do this weekend?


Being on the early meant I got out nearly two hours earlier than I might have done. Just as I got home so my phone beeped. Someone wanted to be my friend on Facebook. This one told he (according to its Facebook profile, it is a “he”) is getting into the swing of his slave's intensive training. Apparently day eight included a decent dose of corporal punishment. If training slaves is anything like training dogs, I’d suggest a packet of treats from the pet shop, though I suppose it depends on what the slave is being trained to do.  I know I’ve asked before, but is this “sexy”? It’s been a while but I’m sure that “sexy” never used to be quite like that.


Once “er indoors TM finished work she boiled up a decent bit of scran and set off bowling. I ironed some shirts whilst watching a Netflix Film. “The Midnight Sky” was (like most films) probably about half an hour too long. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. But once the ironing was done it gave me an excuse to sit on the sofa doing nothing underneath a pile of dogs.

I wonder if I will sleep tonight?



16 January 2024 (Tuesday) - Rather Cold



I woke at one o'clock again this morning, but rolled over and then slept through for a few more hours. I got up, made toast and watched another episode of "Peep Show" in which Olivia Coleman again kept her kit on. Mind you she was getting jiggy in the store room; something I've never done myself. Not that I'm claiming the moral high ground (much).


With telly watched I had a little look at Facebook. Several people were posting all sorts of things about it being far too cold for dogs to be outside. It *is* far too cold for dogs to be outside. I wish someone would tell Bailey. She is one of the smallest dogs I have ever seen and she spends most of the evenings whinging at the back door asking to go out, and once she's out she flatly refuses to come back in. The only way to get her back inside is to physically capture her and carry her in. And then she starts whinging to go out into the cold again.

There were also loads of people asking to join Dog Club this morning... when I say "join Dog Club" there were loads of requests from people wanting to join the Facebook page of Dog Club. For every one person who goes to Dog Club there are over a dozen followers of that Facebook page. I can't help but wonder why people want to follow Dog Club on-line. As Facebook pages go, it is rather dull. Pretty much all that happens is that I post a few photos every Saturday morning.


I got myself organised and set off to find where I'd left my car. Having totally forgotten where I'd parked last night I walked the streets pressing the "unlock" button on the car key until I saw the car's hazard lights flash in the distance.

I took a few minutes to scrape the ice from the windscreen this morning; there was quite a lot to shift.

As I drove up the motorway I chuckled at the pundits on the radio. Yesterday I mentioned that it had been claimed on the radio that the Labour party look set for a massive landslide victory with a majority of over one hundred seats. This morning the same pundits said that Labour would need the biggest swing in election history to get in.

And there was a lot of talk about Donald Trump who is powering ahead in his attempt to secure nomination for the upcoming Presidential election. Just in case you've forgotten about him, here's eighty-two blunders he's made. But despite being a twit, the public love him. Like that idiot Boris Johnson, the public love a showman...


The journey  to work was easier this morning; far less lorry drivers were playing silly beggars this morning. If I was a lorry driver I would just stay in the slow lane and keep going. Why do so many of them constantly take the best part of a mile to overtake the lorry in front, just to have that lorry then take just as long and as far to overtake back again?


I got to work; there was cake. As I worked I listened to two colleagues talking about the weekend "they" had just had. "We" did better than "you" as "you" lost... it soon became apparent that they were talking about their preferred football teams, but talking as though they had both been actually on the pitch playing with the teams. People take football so much to heart and so personally, don't they?


With work done and cake scoffed I came home. It was a full eight degrees warmer as I drove home compared to my journey to work this morning, but it was still far too cold.

er indoors TM set off to take “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” shopping. They wanted to go to The Range. I certainly didn’t so I stayed home.

I am reliably informed they found a packed of dog poo bags which came with instructions. Doesn’t it speak volumes about today’s society that people need to be told how to bag a dog turd?

As they shopped I did more ironing whilst watching something off of Netflix. “Human Traffic” was… I won’t say “crap”, but after an hour nothing was happening so I turned it off, and dozed underneath a pile of dogs until “er indoors TM came home. I seem to do that quite a bit these days. It’s all about shared warmth.



17 January 2024 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift



With no need to be up early I had the chance of a lie-in this morning. er indoors TM had got up without disturbing us. Sadly at eight o’clock Treacle decided I should get up and stomped to and fro over my head until I got up.

I made toast and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. Facebook invited me to follow the page of Ben Everitt. No? – I’d never heard of him either. Apparently he is the Conservative MP for Milton Kenyes north and his political stance is “Vote for me – I’m not as bad as the Labour lot”. Sadly this is pretty much the stance of many of our politicians both locally and nationally. They don’t have any policies of their own; just point out the failings of everyone else.

I had an email from the co-op. They are changing how their card works. Rather than building up loads of money in my account with them, I’ll now get money off whenever I wield my card when I buy stuff. Over the years I’ve built up just under four quid credit which I’ve got to redeem by the end of the year. That’s better than a poke up the bum with a sharp stick, isn’t it?


Not much else had happened on-line so I got ready for the morning’s walk. I took the dogs up to Kings Wood. We met quite a few people as we walked despite the car park being perhaps the emptiest I’ve ever seen it. We had a really good walk; I’d left the bathroom set up with towels and dog shampoo ready for seriously filthy dogs on our return, but we arrived to find all the mud was frozen and only starting to melt as we came back to the car. As we walked we met a horse and a land rover; the pups came straight back to me at the sound of the whistle.


We came home, and as clean dogs curled up and went to sleep I emptied the garden waste bin of the bottles and cans that passers-by had dropped into it. Why drop stuff in the garden waste bin? Why not pop it in the recycling bin? I then harvested a bumper crop of dog turds from the back garden, emptied ice from all the buckets laying round the garden (before it becomes smelly stagnant water in a month or so) and trod dog shit into the new doormat that “er indoors TM bought when she went shopping yesterday.

I popped up the road to the corner shop to get some pastries and fed her one with a cup of coffee in a thinly veiled attempt to placate her. Bearing in mind if it was my new mat caked in dung I would have laid an egg, I think I got away with it rather well.

I have a theory that I might put a small fence and gate across the bottom of the garden restricting dogs to paved areas when they go out unsupervised. It would make harvesting dung easier in that I could see them; at the moment turds engage “stealth mode” on the lawn and in the shingle.


As I scoffed my croissant and coffee I wrote up some CPD; I seem to do that after a walk and before an afternoon in bed. And with CPD written up and coffee and croissant scoffed I took myself off to bed for the afternoon.


Hopefully “er indoors TM will boil up dinner and then I will complete the rest of the ritual. Every day before the night shift follows a routine. Bit of a lie-in, extended dog walk, bit of gardening, write up CPD, afternoon in bed, early dinner, Sainsburys and work.

Just dinner, Sainsbury’s and work to do…



18 January 2024 (Thursday) - Rather Dull



Last night’s shift wasn’t bad, but I was still glad when the early shift rolled up. Pausing only briefly to scrape the ice from the car’s windscreen I was soon driving down the motorway listening to the pundits talking drivel on the radio. The Prime Minister has got his way getting Parliament to agree (in principle) to sending asylum seekers to Rwanda. Am I being harsh in thinking that not a single one of those coming over the channel in small boats is actually an asylum seeker? I don’t deny they are felling from something nasty, but the moment they arrived in mainland Europe they were safe and in a position to seek asylum.

There was also talk of Pakistan and Iran hurling missiles at each other.

Am I being hopelessly naïve in wondering why people can’t make the effort to get on with each other for a change?

I got home, had a shower and a shave and went to bed for a couple of hours.


On waking I took the dogs for a little wander round the roads. I’d had a message that one of my nearby geocaches had gone missing. It had, so I replaced it.

We came home, I put the kettle on and had a couple of croissants (that were going cheap in Sainsbury’s last night) for a late brekkie, and put on a film. “The Football Factory” is an old favourite of mine; is it really twenty years old? As I watched I shared a bag of pork scratchings with the dogs. They seem to like pork scratchings.

And then I had my look at the Internet. It was still there; not much had happened since I’d had a look in the small hours whilst at work. So I made a cuppa, cut myself a lump of Christmas cake, and dozed in front of the telly watching episodes of “Peep Show” until “er indoors TM came home.


The trouble with doing a night shift is that once I’ve done one, I’m no good for anything and so the day after a night shift is effectively a day wasted. Having done the ironing on Tuesday evening, the highlight of today really was sharing a bag of pork scratchings with the dogs.



19 January 2024 (Friday) - Some Rants, Some New Friends



Apart from being rudely awoken by a cold wet nose being shoved up my bum in the small hours I slept well. There was a minor dilemma when I found we'd run out of jam and honey, so I made do with marmalade on toast as I watched an episode of "Peep Show", then I had a little look at the Internet.

This morning there was a squabble kicking off on one of the Doctor Who related Facebook pages I follow. Some chap in Portsmouth was giving away a load of Doctor Who VHS tapes to anyone who would come and collect them. People were competing to ask how far this chap was willing to travel to deliver these tapes for free, and some were getting quite nasty with him. They really didn't like being told that the tapes were being offered for free and it was unreasonable to expect him to drive a round trip of over a hundred miles to do a favour to someone he'd never previously met.


I set off to work. As I drove home yesterday the pundits on the radio said that yesterday was the last cold morning of the wintery spell and that things would be warming up today.

They lied.

It didn't take *that* long to scrape all the ice from the car's windows.

I drove to the petrol station at Ashford's Sainsburys. Despite the car's thermometer telling me it was minus four degrees, some idiot was standing at the petrol pump in Bermuda shorts and a rather flimsy jacket. There was a minor issue when I came to pay. I'd bought myself a sandwich and a bag of crisps. In the past the battleaxe on the till has expected me to scan all my shopping myself. This morning she scanned it... or tried to. She pointed the bar-code scanner in the general direction of the shopping, and waved it round and round to try to get the stuff to scan. It was painfully apparent that she was *not* going to actually touch what I was trying to buy.

I would complain, but it was actually rather amusing to watch. I suppose if you were in a rush it might be a nuisance; there's no denying that quite a queue built up whilst she farted about.


My piss boiled as I listened to the radio as drove up the motorway.  The Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has given America's President Biden (and the rest of the worldtwo fingers as he publicly rejected everyone's telling him to stop killing the innocent.

And OFSTED's chief inspector announced that school teachers have been forced to lock themselves in their classrooms due to "safety concerns", while other teachers have been stopped by children for stepping into 'no-go' areas in schools.

The problem in both cases is the same. We have a world ostensibly run by pussies.

In the first instance everyone should cut off all foreign aid to Israel and let them try to pay for their own wars.

In the second instance kids should be told who is in charge in the schools; by force if necessary. Seriously. If any kid tries to order a teacher about they should be thrashed in front of the rest of the school in order to discourage the impressionable. I can remember the Packington brothers getting slippered when I was at Red Lake Primary School. I was terrified; little girls watching were crying... We all knuckled down and behaved ourselves after that.

A bit old fashioned? When the bleeding heart looney lefty human rights brigade kick off, they can get knotted (sorry – not sorry!). They've had their chance and demonstrably their silly ideas didn't work. I can remember one such advocate of the bleeding heart looney lefty human rights brigade who was a leader when I was in the Boys Brigade forty-something years ago. The kids used to get away with murder and laugh in his face when he tried to reason with them. The leaders who took no crap achieved far more with the kids as the kids respected them.


I took a deep breath and drove on to work. As I drove into the car park my phone beeped. Some young lady with a frankly gargantuan chest wanted to be my friend on Facebook. She was dressed as a nurse, but I suspect that was a ruse. Proper nurses don't come in "wipe-clean" costumes.

I had a second dubious friend request at lunch time. I think this one was female as well (it is difficult to be sure). This one was also wearing a "wipe-clean" costume but was already in the bath. Was that good or bad? Mind you she looks more cross-eyed than my smallest dog and her left hand doesn’t look right. I’m not entirely sure she isn’t AI-generated.

I have to wonder what these people hope to achieve by sending me friend requests. They had stopped on the run-up to Christmas but seem to be picking up again.


With work worked I came home. In daylight, which was something of a result. er indoors TM boiled up some fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching the last episodes of “The Reluctant Landlord”. That was a rather good show… we’ve got to find something else to watch whilst scoffing our dinner now.

Bearing in mind that if I was to press the “play” button on the Sky-Q box now, the stuff we’ve got recorded would probably play for weeks (if not months), finding something shouldn’t be an issue.



20 January 2024 (Saturday) - Lazy Day



Just lately social media has been crawling with memes about not letting dogs go out into the cold… pretty much all posted by people with absolutely no experience of dogs whatsoever. Morgan and Bailey love going into the garden to sniff round no matter what time of day. After umpteen sessions of “silly beggars” this morning I said no – they could not go out again, and whilst I had a shave one crapped by the back door.


er indoors TM set off out for the day leaving me and the dogs “home alone”. I made toast. Overnight a jar of honey had appeared by the toaster. As I scoffed toast I had a look at the Internet. This morning’s main argument on Facebook was about garden ponds. You wouldn’t believe how aggressive people get about garden ponds. I turn off the pumps on my pond when it gets cold. Physics tells us that water is densest at four degrees centigrade, so if you don’t stir the water, the warmest water sinks as it is heavier than the stuff which freezes at the top. Thereby leaving liquid stud for the fish to swim in.

And physics also tells us that a pond filter full of ice-cold water will freeze up and pogger itself.

However it is plain that physics holds little sway in pond keeping circles with many people demanding that pumps and filters be kept running all year long. And also with the same people asking where they can buy new pumps and filters because once their pond froze entirely, their pumps and filters got poggered by the ice as well.

I also saw that three people on my Facebook Friends list had birthdays today. I sent birthday wishes to the one who has made any effort to keep in touch over the last seven years then got the leads onto the dogs.


We drove round to Repton where I opened up the field and we had a rather good Dog Club. We chased and played and had a great time, even if there was a definite shortage of tennis balls. Some new dogs were along for the first time; they seemed a little daunted at first but soon got into the thick of things.

As all the dogs charged and played I became conscious that I couldn’t see Bailey. I whistled and Morgan came running. But not Bailey. I walked round the rest of the paddock and I heard someone calling. A woman in her dressing gown was standing on her doorstep asking if we’d lost a dog. When I looked closer I found my missing pup in her arms. Somehow Bailey had escaped. That was embarrassing.


What with errant dogs I was a tad late getting out of Dog Club this morning and so missed most of the clues for the Mystery Year competition on the radio. That was a shame; I like that.

I had considered taking the pups to Kings Wood as the Friends of Kings Wood had organised a “dog friendly” walk starting in the late morning. But after an email to the organiser it turned out that the walk wasn’t so much “dog friendly” as “dogs tolerated but must be on leads the entire time”. Bearing in mind my three are used to running free for miles round Kings Wood I thought better of going.

We came home and I harvested an epic bumper crop of dog dung from the garden. Something odd is happening in the world of dog dung; I cleared the garden of the stuff late yesterday afternoon. Could three rather small dogs *really* have generated so much poop overnight; especially when you consider that one of them (the escape artist) has a penchant for running round eating turds.

I then gently cracked the thick ice on the pond, then came inside. Once I’d got the washing machine showing my undercrackers who was boss I tried to run round with the Hoover. You’d think this would be a simple task, but both Morgan and Bailey had declared war on it and were trying to bite lumps out of it every time I moved the thing.


By the time I sat down with a cuppa and the last of the Christmas cake I was worn out. With the Hoover put away the dogs soon settled and it wasn’t long before they were snoring. I cracked on with the ironing whilst watching episodes of “Peep Show” in which our heroes were competing to “do the dirty deed” with with Big Suze.

With ironing done I sat with the dogs and read “Orange is the New Black” on my Kindle App (which gave me another award), then after a little sleep watched episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager” until “er indoors TM came home with kebabs. We scoffed kebabs whilst watching “McDonald and Dobbs”.


Sometimes you can’t beat a lazy day.



21 January 2024 (Sunday) - The Tower on Holly Hill



I managed to lay in bed until by back ached last night… usually a sign of having had a good night’s sleep.

I got up and made toast. As I scoffed it I peered into the Internet as I do so often. It was still there. A couple of days ago I mentioned that I was seeing adverts for the MP for Milton Keynes on my Facebook feed. After having seen quite a few I commented on one of them saying “The fourth time your advert has appeared on my feed. I'm over a hundred miles away. If I were you I'd ask for my money back...” I got a rather aggressive response from some right-wing chap this morning. And on a Star Trek related pages other people were getting very nasty with each other about trade unions. One of the sad things about social media is it gives the cowardly the opportunity to be rude to people safe in the knowledge they will never have to face them in real life.

There was a semi-religious argument going on too. Someone on one of the pages I follow had gone to her local vicar asking for help for her money worries. The vicar had suggested she prayed; prayer being the answer to all life’s problems. And at the next church service the same vicar was demanding hard cash from the congregation. I was reminded of a wedding I once went to (at the big church in the centre of Rye) where they had the cheek to pass the collection plate round three times at different points of the service. And then at the reception the vicar was the first one at the bar and was handing over twenty-pound notes.


I then looked up videos on how to top up screen wash on Skoda Fabias. The screen wash hasn’t been flowing quite as freely as it might in my car. I’ve never topped it up; topping up screen wash has always happened in the garage at services up until now.

It looked straightforward on the video so I got dressed…

Having spent a week fretting and worrying about topping up the screenwash it was a really simple thing to do, and was all over in less than two minutes. I was surprised at how little screenwash the thing took. Flushed with success I cleaned the windscreen wiper blades and washed the dog nose art off the back windscreen. Go me.


er indoors TM had an errand to run in Canterbury, and with errand run we took a circuitous route home via Holly Hill. The dogs needed a walk… There is a small series of geocaches there leading the Hunters of Tupperware on a circular walk from a small car park up to a derelict tower and back again. Usually we would want a much longer walk but for a short outing for the dogs on a very windy afternoon, this was ideal.

I took a few photos whilst we were out.

Also whilst we were out I had another friend request on Facebook from what looked to be the sort of lady that my mum warned me about.


We came home following what the sat nav said was the fastest route. Sat navs seem to think that you can do the national speed limit down the narrowest of country lanes.

Once home the dogs had their paws and bellies washed, “er indoors TM put on a DVD (how old skool!) and I started reading my Kindle.

I woke up two hours later to the sound of not-so-nice-next-door playing her piano. Mostly she clangs away playing frankly dreadful attempts at scales, but just occasionally she plays a half-decent tune. Very rarely, but she managed to do so for five minutes this evening.


er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of Sainsbury’s Merlot, and then I scoffed some of the leftover Christmas cheese and biccies. The dogs sat with me for cheesy biccies, and on the very moment we had the last biccie they went straight back to “er indoors TM”.

They make no secret as to who their favourite is.

Yesterday was dull; today was rather better.



22 January 2024 (Monday) - Feeling "Bleaugh"



I woke feeling vaguely "Bleaugh" this morning. I thought about staying in bed, but only thought about it. I had this idea that I might perk up if I got up, so I got up, and got on with my morning routine. Shave, make a sarnie for lunch, toast, telly, look at Internet. What I do every morning...


Telly was rather dull this morning. The internet wasn't much better.  I had yet another friend request on Facebook ostensibly from a young lady offering all sorts of mucky promises. You have to wonder why they do it? Presumably enough sad acts are taken in by them?

And (somewhat ironically) there was a twee meme on my feed posted by someone who was once a rather good friend. This meme banged on about how we can't change other people and how we must accept others or walk away from them... I've always felt it a shame that when I felt forced to walk away from her pals I had to walk away from her too.


I got ready for work, found the car, and headed off up the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the BBC is to face scrutiny for it's supposed lack of impartiality. I've heard complaints about bias in the BBC news reporting from friends whose opinions range all across the political spectrum. The right wing claim the BBC is leftie, the lefties say it is right wing. Is the Beeb biased? Probably. Aren't we all?

That idiot Donald Trump looks set to get the Republican nomination for the upcoming American presidential election now that his main rival has thrown in the towel. There's no denying that Donald Trump is less than perfect. Are there no other alternatives? I suspect Mr Trump will get in again. He's a showman; the public want to be entertained. Love him or loathe him, he's entertaining.

And there was a lot of fuss about the storm that hit overnight.


I got to work ahead of whatever it was that bunged up the traffic in Maidstone today. Being on the early shift I got in early (as one does) but those who tried to come in for the core shift all got stuck in traffic jams.

I'd rather get to work before the traffic builds up...

I did my bit on what turned out to be a rather "hypersegmented" sort of day. Sadly (for me), having not phoned in sick on the hope that I might have perked up turned out to be little more than wishful thinking; the vague feeling of "Bleaugh" with which I woke got more and more "Bleaugh" as the day wore on.


With work worked I came home. er indoors TM boiled up some scoff then set off bowling. I looked at putting a film on the telly, but that would play for too long and I would probably have fallen asleep. A couple of episodes of “Peep Show” watched from underneath a pile of dogs did the trick for the evening.

I wonder how long this feeling "Bleaugh" will last?



23 January 2024 (Tuesday) - Seven Years Later



Treacle woke me shortly before the alarm was due to go off; she was having a nightmare. She was whimpering and growling in her sleep, so I fussed her until she settled. Dogs really do dream.

I had a shave, made toast and watched another episode of "Peep Show". I'm now into the fifth season of it; apparently there are nine seasons so I am now half-way through. It passes an otherwise dull half-hour whilst I scoff toast. Some episodes are more entertaining than others, but unless something changes rather radically, if you see one episode, you've seen the lot.


With toast scoffed I had a look at the Internet. It was still there. Not much had happened overnight other than me getting an email from the power company who have looked at my gas and leccie usage over the last year. Despite leccie and gas prices soaring and the last year's rampant inflation, they have decided to cut my monthly bills by thirty quid. I'm now paying sixty quid a month less than I had been paying two years ago. How does that work?


I got dressed; Treacle was sleeping peacefully by then. I set off to work through two sets of temporary traffic lights. No one was working at either... Am I being hopelessly naive in thinking that if no one is working at traffic lights then the contractors should put down huge metal sheets (over which the traffic could drive) and open up the road? I'm reliably informed that road works carry on overnight in other parts of the world.

As I drove up Brookfield Road I was conscious of a large van behind me. Driving far too close behind me with his headlights dazzling me. This chap stayed at a constant two yards behind me until he eventually came alongside at the traffic lights for the Godinton estate where he flew off rather dangerously. I've often said that if people want to drive like idiots that is up to them, but doing so with their company's name emblazoned all over their vehicle can be somewhat counterproductive. Look at the Google reviews of this company (picking one totally at random). No one comments on their construction abilities; just their poor driving.


As I headed up the motorway I listened to the pundits on the radio as I do most days. There was quite a bit of talk about Royal Mail and how often they deliver. Back in the day there were two letter deliveries a day, but back in the day they were delivering twenty billion letters every year. Nowadays they shift less than half of that amount, and this morning there was talk of delivering twice weekly rather than twice daily. I'm not sure who was doing the talking though; I'm sure we currently only have deliveries twice a week.

And overnight American and British forces have given the Houthi rebels in Yemen yet another slap. It doesn't seem to have discouraged them though. History tells us that those who think they are fighting a religious war won't let up easily, doesn't it? Talking of religion, India is gearing up for presidential elections, and the hopefuls are making a point of being seen acting very piously in the temples.

Here we are in the third decade of the twenty-first century and still superstition triumphs over common sense.


I got to work for the early shift. Today was something of a milestone at work; it is seven years since I started working at Maidstone. There’s no denying that I was rather apprehensive about leaving where I used to work. I’d had good times and bad times there; toward the end some incredibly bad times. But having worked in a place for thirty-two years, leaving takes quite a serious leap of faith. Seven years ago I said about my new job “I rarely blog about work, and I’m not going to do so today. Suffice it to say I quite like the look of what I saw and I fully intend to go back tomorrow”.

I had written a rather bitter diatribe about where I used to work, but on re-reading it all sounded rather petty. Let’s just say that looking back I think I might well have had grounds for a constructive dismissal case against where I used to work. In retrospect I am well out of that place. It’s been seven years and I am still getting used to be happy in my workplace.


er indoors TM” sent a message at lunch time. She had the arse. Having spent a little while making the bed, Bailey promptly trashed it. Bearing in mind Bailey is too small to get onto the bed unaided I suspect we've pissed on our own chips here.

She also gave me a shopping list of what I might buy on my way home (or else). Milk was OK - I can get milk. but "vegetable oil"... WTF is that? She sent me a photo of the stuff (which was helpful). Those of my colleagues who do shopping assure me it is used to make chips.


I came home via Tesco where I got milk and vegetable oil. I got cream cakes as well. I had to act fast though; when I came to pay, the idiot on the counter stuffed it all into a carrier bag and almost put the milk on top of the cakes, and when I stopped him he honestly couldn’t see anything wrong with doing so.

Once home we had the cakes with a cuppa. Bringing home cakes keeps “er indoors TM happy, but there’s no denying that cream slices have shrunk over the years.


er indoors TM boiled up some sausages. The vegetable oil might have been involved; I have no idea. As we scoffed them we watched “Junior Bake Off”. Have you ever watched it? The children are hilarious. In today’s episode (actually broadcast some time ago) the children had to bake a gingerbread model of what they thought was the most important invention in history. Models included cars, televisions, space rockets, mobile phones, clocks… but my favourite was chicken nuggets and chips. One lad put chicken nuggets and chips as the pinnacle of human achievement.

I think he’s not entirely wrong.



24 January 2024 (Wednesday) - Oi-Oi-Oi (!)



Despite a relatively good night asleep I was still wide awake half an hour before the alarm would have gone off. Note that is "would have" and not "would of". No one in the entire history of the English language "would of" ever done anything. Neither has anyone ever "might of", "should of" or "could of" done anything either...

This is one of my pet hates. Such a petty and trivially insignificant thing, but it boils my piss to the limit and beyond.



I got up, made toast and watched another episode of "Peep Show" as best I could. As I watched telly not-so-nice-next-door was making strange noises. Not particularly loud, but there was a constant stream of her shouting "Oi - Oi - Oi" coming through the wall. I wonder what that was all about? Some sort of exercise routine perhaps? Back in the day she used to go running very early every morning. Perhaps she does aerobics now?

With telly watched and "Oi - Oi - Oi" stopped I had a little look at the Internet. There was a minor squabble on one of the local Facebook groups in which someone was claiming that they were being victimised. All of this woman's posts to this particular group weren't passing the moderators, but other people were posting stuff containing swear words with impunity. It seemed that the moderators of that group had no problem with swearing but didn't want a constant stream of posts trying to sell stuff which people neither needed nor wanted. Personally I would have taken my tat elsewhere to flog it (and in days gone by I did just that), but this woman seemed to enjoy playing the victim. I suppose we all do really; I certainly have done from time to time.


Taking care not to wake “er indoors TM or the dogs I got ready for work and wondered whether to go up or down the road. Ideally I needed to go in the direction which would have taken me to my car... if only I remembered where I'd parked it yesterday. I took pot luck and went down the road pressing the unlock button on the key. Eventually I saw some orange indicator lights flashing in the distance.


As I drove there was more talk on the radio about Royal Mail deliveries. Yesterday there was talk about their cutting the frequency of deliveries. Yesterday I mentioned that I don't think we get daily deliveries any more. It was intimated  that not everyone does, even though Royal Mail have a legal obligation to do so. The chap being interviewed today pointed out that at the moment Royal Mail only get a third of the letters they are geared up to deal with. Various possibilities for the future of Royal Mail were discussed, one of which being that the government actually pay for a public service and learn the lessons from the fallacy of selling off public services to make a quick profit.

A lesson I think we all learned years ago.

The "Yesterday in Parliament" session was interesting... I say "interesting". Our elected leaders were braying and shouting like ill-behaved schoolchildren. Were they to conduct themselves with a little more decorum then people might have a little more respect for them.

There was quite a bit of talk about how Simon Clark (MP for  Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland) has called for the Prime Minister to resign because Rishi Sunak “is leading the Conservatives into an election where we will be massacred” because “he does not get what Britain needs. And he is not listening to what the British people want.” Bearing in mind that Mr Clarke was a leading light in the utter debacle that was Liz Truss's government, I can't help but think that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Or lob rocks. The general consensus from those wheeled on to the radio was that Mr Sunak is doing the best that he can under less than ideal circumstances. It was also hinted that that bearing in mind the Conservatives will be out on their arse at the next election anyway, it would be kinder to blame him for an election defeat *after* it happened rather than before.

This left me wondering why anyone would ever want to go into politics. Unless you give the feeble-minded what they want when they want it, you just get chucked out of office in favour of the next smiling smarmy git who says that shit is sugar.


Work was work, but one of the benefits of being on an early is that I get out early. I came home, made “er indoors TM and myself a cuppa each, and had my monthly look at the accounts. Not too shabby really. They could be better, but they have certainly been worse.


er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Junior Bake Off” and then “Dogs Behaving (very) Badly”. When I see how bad some people’s dogs are, I realise that my three could be a whole lot worse…



25 January 2024 (Thursday) - Before the Late Shift



I didn’t have the best of nights; I was up to the loo twice. I suppose I’m now of the age when that sort of thing happens. I’ll give it a couple of weeks and if things don’t improve I’ll see about talking to the doctor.

I’d rather not, but there it is.

I got up and sulked as I looked at the rain. I did have a plan for the morning.


Instead I got on with my usual morning round. I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Three Facebook friends had birthdays today. I sent birthday wishes to the one with whom I went to college for four years (1983 – 1987), and wondered who the other two are. One I think is a friend of a friend of someone I met through kite flying fifteen years ago, and the other might be a very distant in-law?

I found out that the petrol station I use near work is closing for five weeks. That’s a pain in the glass.

And I had some emails. The bank emailed to tell me that the bank statement I downloaded yesterday was ready to be downloaded. That was nice.


Seeing the rain had slackened off to mild drizzle I got the leads on to the dogs and we went for that planned walk. Not really having time to go up to Kings Wood I thought we might have a look at Orlesone Woods. That place was always a favourite back in the day, but I rather gave up with it last year. For all that it is much closer to home and a shorter walk (we can get there, walk, and be home in half the time we take at Kings Wood) it is *very* muddy, and Morgan and Bailey’s behaviour has always been noticeably much worse there than in Kings Wood.

I had this idea that now they have grown up a bit, they might behave better.

I was wrong.

For all that they did (mostly) come back when I whistled, the one time they chose not to was the one time that they were running on the road. We can’t have that.

And as we walked we met the Forestry England people who were either doing necessary forestry work or wantonly vandalising the woods, depending on your personal perspective. Bearing in mind the woods are a Site of Special Scientific Interest I wasn’t allowed to put geocaches there because of potential damage to the local environment. However the Forestry England people had driven all sorts of land-moving equipment, fuel tanks and toilets through the woods and were intently blocking off footpaths and destroying the forest.


We came home. The dogs needed a serious scrub. I thought they might get muddy; they certainly did. I made a cuppa for “er indoors TM and myself, and sent a long-overdue complaint to Kent Highways. Having been delayed on our way to the woods this morning by temporary traffic lights around a hole in the ground (in which no one was working) and also delayed on our way back by another hole in the ground (in which no one was working), my piss was boiling (it does that).

Whilst I understand that road works need to be done, is it really *that* unreasonable to suggest that the contractors might actually get on with the work rather than putting up the traffic lights and then pissing off and not actually getting on with the work (like they demonstrably do)?

Alternatively given that there are road works going on in an area, is it unreasonable to suggest that all available contractors get on with that job and no more work be started in the area until it is finished?


Having sent a complaint to the email address given on the Highways department’s website, they replied within minutes saying that I needed to complain to the Highways department, and not to Adult Social Services…


I complained again, then set off to work... via the co-op.  They'd emailed me a little while ago telling me that they were changing the way their loyalty card operated so I cashed in my balance. It was only a bit over three quid, but it bought me a chicken sandwich.

Driving up the motorway in daylight without huge lorries playing silly beggars certainly made for an easier ride than I've had recently.

I got to work and did my bit. At tea break I finished my Kindle e-book. For those who've seen the TV series "Orange is the New Black", don't bother with the book. It is rare to see a film or TV adaptation of a book that is actually better than the book, but here's one. I've now started another read of "Ender's Game" which I remember being rather good, but with a dreadful sequel.

As I read my Kindle at tea time I scoffed a caramel wafer. Apparently one of my colleagues claimed she owed me? I have no idea what she owed me for, but I will happily scoff a caramel wafer.



26 January 2024 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift



I slept like a log, and unlike last night didn’t get up at all during the night. I made toast and tuned in to the Internet as I do where there was quite the squabble happening on Facebook’s “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” page. Last night someone had asked how Ford Prefect had got his name, and I made the schoolboy error of pointing out the bit of the book where this is explained (towards the start of the very first chapter!). Ford had mistaken the dominant form of life on Earth and seeing motor vehicles everywhere he’d thought that “Ford Prefect” was nicely inconspicuous.

Fifty years later people in America who’d discovered “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” through the most recent film had the arse because this explanation only made any sense to people who lived in the UK. The fact that it originated on an obscure UK radio channel was neither here nor there.

I find this happening more and more. Particularly with Star Trek and Doctor Who related Facebook pages… people who’ve just discovered something which has been going since before they were born (and who clearly don’t know the first thing about it) are very quick to start arguments about that something; if only to show their ignorance.

Not much else was happening on-line, but our Munzee Clan had reached its target for this month. A result… if sticking bar codes onto lamp posts does it for you.


I got the dogs onto their leads and we set off. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about home-schooling children. I can remember having home-schooled children being brought along to cubs back when I was a cub scout leader. They were all the same; the moment their parents left they either stayed at the side of a leader (in stark terror) or physically clung to them (me!). They were utterly unable to interact with the other children in any way at all; flatly refused to join in with any activity that meant they had to deal with the other children, and looked at the other children as though they were dangerous wild animals. In more recent years a friend’s wife did home schooling with her children. One of them did nothing but play tennis all day long. The other hoped to get into college but had the disadvantage that at age sixteen he couldn’t read or write.


We got to Kings Wood and had a rather better walk than we did yesterday. There was mud, but nowhere near as much as there had been in Orlestone Woods. There were quite a few more people, but once away from the car park we walked for over three miles and only met one other group; the young mothers and dogs running group.


With walk walked we came home and went into the bath for paws and bellies to be washed. They were grubby, but we didn’t need the intensive scrubbing we had yesterday. I did a cuppa for me and “er indoors TM”, then wrote up some CPD and enrolled on another coursera course.

Suddenly Treacle went berserk; the postman had dared to deliver a letter. The bank wanted to know what to do with the money left in the account of the reptile club. That club packed up in a particularly vicious argument years ago. I’m not sure how many years ago but there is no mention of it in any previous blog entries so it must have been sometime before September 2006. From what I can remember I thought I’d resigned as Treasurer before the club folded? The nice lady at the bank suggested I filled in the form they’d sent, and we might take it from there…


I went to bed for the afternoon. I woke to find “er indoors TM had gone to collect “Darcie Waa Waa TM. She’s babysitting tonight. So while I waited for mayhem to ensue, I cracked on with the Coursera course I’d signed up to earlier. It’s about “quality management”. For some years this has been the big thing at work… but I’ve always been rather sceptical about it. Maybe I might learn something? I’ve passed the first week with a score of eighty per cent, but I achieved that by remembering certain figures that were given during the (frankly rather dull) video lectures.

I know it is early days for this course, but I enrolled because I’ve always considered “Quality Management” to be a load of blah-blah-blah that gets in the way of doing my job, and for years I’ve been wondering just what I’m missing. I must be missing something.

So far the course has been nothing but blah-blah-blah, and all it is doing is confirming my preconceptions.

So… engaging “reflective mode”. Why do I consider this Quality Management course to be a load of blah-blah-blah? Because there are loads of words and loads of talk and very little practical example of improvement.

Bearing in mind this was an introductory week, the course might perk up. I hope so.


The girls should be home soon; they’ve been in Asda for over half an hour. I’m off to the night shift now. Ideally I wouldn’t have been doing one tonight. Ideally I would have stayed home with the littlun. But there it is. Hospitals never close, and so I have to work at all hours.

If I had my time again I would work somewhere that periodically puts up a “closed” sign.


And in closing, today would have been my Dad’s eighty-eighth birthday.



27 January 2024 (Saturday) - After the Night Shift



That letter from the bank (about the old reptile club's accounts that arrived yesterday) had me spending spent much of last night's night shift thinking about the old reptile club. I can remember the club's first meeting at The Plough in Brabourne some time in the mid 1990s (it must have been about then - according to my old snake-herding website I gave my first talk on snakes in 1997). It was rumoured that the landlord there kept snakes; particularly a huge python. Everyone knew the rumours of this snake but no one ever actually saw it.

At that first club meeting I got talking with the chap who'd arranged it, and I offered to produce a newsletter for the club (I was keen on my Serif desktop publishing package back then). I can distinctly remember just after making that offer being told by a friend "you can't just be a member, can you?"

I soon became very much wrapped up with that club. Initially there was a minor battle between the two local reptile shops as to which one would hold sway... I say "battle"; the shop which tried to call the shots soon went bust.

The chap who started the club very soon disappeared (never to be seen again), but the club grew without him. The chap who became chairman of the club became a good friend of mine. It turned out that his wife knew me from my religious days in Hastings in the early 1980s. The club moved to The Fox in Willesborough, and then on to The Albion. We had speakers and quizzes. Guest experts would come along; we once had a vet who said he loved reptile keepers as they always knew what was up with their animals and all he ever had to do was sell the medicine. The club would put on displays for local schools and clubs. We had a great time.

Sadly after three or four years it all fell apart. Looking back it is probably fair to say the club over-reached itself. There was talk about setting up an animal sanctuary as a registered charity, and people who had been firm friends suddenly felt they were competing for jobs in a business which was never going to exist.

By then I'd become treasurer of the club (I seem to become treasurer of clubs) and a rather aggressive woman from Stanhope (I think she might have been an "Audrey") was also on the committee and was watching me like a hawk. She insisted that she counted all money collected at club events before it was ever handed to me, and she was regularly demanding to look at the bank statements. She was absolutely convinced that every month I was giving thirty quid of the club money to some other committee member (who I can vaguely remember being called Adrian and who was a cub scout leader in Bethersden). She was particularly angry about the matter because I was supposedly managing to hide this thirty quid so well it never appeared in any of the accounts. To shut her up we had the accounts professionally audited, but that just wound her up more.

Personally I suspected she just wanted some of the cash for herself, and thought if she made enough fuss I might hand some over.

Eventually the club stopped being fun. Having some harridan constantly publicly accusing you of embezzlement does that. I walked away from the club which then folded a couple of months later.

Sadly clubs seem to do that. The Kent-wide Trekkie club got rather nasty (I was accused of fiddling the money there as well!). The attempts to form a UK-wide kite club got very bitter. Astro club used to be fun. In my blacker moments I wonder how long Dog Club has got left...


Talking of which, once the early shift arrived this morning I set off to Dog Club. The initial plan was to drive home, collect everyone, and then drive them round to Dog Club. But some genius at Kent County Council had put two sets of temporary traffic lights between home and Dog Club. So having looked at my journey on Google Maps I was faced with a decision. Either arrive at Dog Club on my own fifteen minutes early and let “er indoors TM” fetch “Darcie Waa Waa TM and the dogs, or go home and collect everyone and arrive fifteen minutes late. Bearing in mind there is only one key to the paddock and that key was in my pocket I thought it best not to keep anyone waiting.

Dog Club went very well. I spent a few minutes bunging up the holes in the fence before people arrived, and we had a great session. A few people wondered if their dogs should graduate up to the “middle dogs” group that follows ours, so we stayed with them rather later than we usually do.

It was good to do the dog thing (even if Max did tiddle up my wellies) but we missed the Mystery Year contest on the radio.


We came home; “Darcie Waa Waa TM sang along with all sorts of nonsense on You-Tube. Rather than going to bed I sat on the sofa to be with her… and fell asleep there instead.

After far too many Dave And Ava Songs  “er indoors TM” took “Darcie Waa Waa TM home. I had a very late shave, dishwashered and generally got ready for the evening.


Chris soon arrived with the Infinity Table, and once it was set up, Steve and Sarah arrived; followed by Martin and Tony. We had a rather good evening playing “Ticket To Ride”; I managed to win a game (heaven only knows how!)

It’s a shame that there is a limit as to how many people can play the game. Next time we’ll set up another table with something else going on.


Usually the day after a night shift is a tad dull. Today was rather good…



28 January 2024 (Sunday) - Kings Wood



There was some minor consternation on Facebook this morning. The Angling Times has produced a list “The Top 50 Most Influential People In Fishing Right Now”. Matt Hayes (the famous TV angler) isn’t happy because he comes in at fortieth place. He had a bit of a rant on Facebook; if I was in his place I would have done so as well. Why did he score so low? Basically he doesn’t get endless corporate sponsorship. Fishing these days is big business. If you watch any TV show abut fishing these days they are all sponsored by some bait or tackle manufacturer. These companies make the TV shows, pay the anglers, and the money all comes from the massively overpriced fishing tackle. It’s all about making money. The more cash you bring in for the angling companies, the more they give you. On reflection I suppose that is true of any job, isn’t it? But there’s the issue. For many, fishing is now paid employment.

When I was a lad I paid to going fishing out of my pocket money. I couldn’t begin to do that these days. I’ve ranted on here before about the price of fishing tackle.

I have several friends who go fishing and when they catch something impressive post phots onto social media with #acmefishingcorporation because the Acme Fishing Corporation (or whichever company) give them cheap bait in return for the publicity.

Matt Hayes hasn’t had a new show on telly for over ten years. He is now talking about crowdfunding for a new one. Perhaps that is the way forward?

And I saw that this weekend was the Great British Birdwatch in which people sit in their gardens for an hour and count birds. I did that last year and in one rather cold hour I only saw a solitary pigeon. I beat that this morning when I went out to gather up the dog turds and saw a couple of starlings on the fence.


We got ourselves organised and set off to Kings Wood where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte We went for a little wander following one of the series of Wherigo geocaches I hid earlier last year. We had a good walk; it wasn’t too muddy at all. But (as always) the Wherigo takes an age to play. Once we’d finally ascended to the Porcelain Throne (as one does) and had a picnic lunch time was running away. We had planned another Wheri-adventure, but that will keep for another day.

As we walked we met Amy and Willow from Dog Club, and loads of other people too. When we go mid-week we barely meet another soul; at the weekends the place heaves with normal people.

I took a few photos as we walked, but not many. er indoors TM blagged my phone to do the Wherigo.


We came home. er indoors TM had a little kip. I looked at the geo-map. Now that the worst of the winter is past (he laughed!) I’d like to get back in to going for decent walks at the weekends. The trouble is that what with everyone wanting to find caches and precious few people wanting to hide them we have to travel further and further for a decent geo-walk. I found some puzzles which once solved might make for good walks… I started solving puzzles.


er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good curry which we scoffed whilst watching “Junior Bake Off”, and with telly watched I set about solving more puzzles. As I solved Bailey snored on the sofa next to me. As she snored she grumbled and growled in her dreams.

A dreaming dog is rather sweet…



29 January 2024 (Monday) - Bit Dull



I watched another episode of "Peep Show" as I scoffed my toast this morning. In this morning's episode our heroes had a new friend called "Gunny"; a gun found in a dead aunt's house. For all the antics they had with "Gunny", no one ever considered why the dead aunt had a gun in the first place.

As I watched, I sorted undercrackers. A dull task, but they don't sort themselves.


I went to work via the Ashford Sainsbury's where I got petrol. Petrol is usually cheaper at the Aylesford end of my journey, but the patrol station at the Aylesford end is now closed for a month or so for refurbishment. I like to go to Sainsburys for the Nectar points... not that I've ever done anything with then other than accrue them. Ironically my phone's Nectar app has logged itself out; I really should log in again. I wonder what the password is?

Whilst I was getting petrol I got a sarnie for lunch too. I do that when getting petrol. It rather made a mockery of spending fifteen minutes trying to find my sandwich box last night, but there it is. Again the old bat on the till flatly refused to touch any of my shopping; waving the bar-code scanner at all angles until it finally registered.


It was rather foggy as I drove up the motorway this morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were saying that the Americans have got the arse. Having been wantonly bombing the shit out of Johnny Foreigner in the Middle East for as long as anyone can remember, Johnny Foreigner has now bombed the Americans back and killed three US servicemen. Like we didn't see that coming? Several of the main suspects are hotly denying responsibility, and I can't say I blame them.

And French farmers have also got the arse, and are blocking Parisian streets in protest. They want more money in their pockets, and aren't happy that the French government is going along with EU deals to import cheaper foods from around the world. There was an interview with one of them on the radio this morning. This farmer felt that the French government shouldn't be importing cheap foreign food when people can buy far more expensive home-produced stuff. It strikes me that despite the French farmers wanting top dollar for their produce, the average Frenchie isn't going to want to shell out more when he can get it cheaper elsewhere, is he? Here's a squabble that will run and run.


For some reason the motorway was rather busy this morning, and frankly dangerous. You'd have thought people would have taken more care in thick fog, wouldn't you?

Work was work, but having started early I was home early. A shame it was such a damp evening; I solved more geo-puzzles until “er indoors TM dished up bangers and mash. She then set off bowling and once I’d ironed shirts I had a look at more of my Coursera course. The lectures played for the best part of an hour; they said an awful lot without actually saying anything and I got ninety per cent in a multiple-choice exam by choosing the answers that weren’t either frankly ridiculous or laughable.


I’m going to look at more geo-puzzles until “er indoors TM comes home. She says she’s coming home via Asda. Here’s hoping…

After a rather good weekend, today was a tad dull




30 January 2024 (Tuesday) - A Day Off



I was rather glad when “er indoors TM”’s alarm went off. I was embroiled in a rather vivid dream in which the local geocaching community had decided to resurrect the snake club, but not knowing the first thing about reptiles were trying to muddle through with film pots and sandwich boxes.


I had a quick bit of toast, then got the leads onto the dogs and set off rather quickly as I had a busy morning. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the government’s latest announcement about social housing. Back in the day you either lived in the house you owned, or rented one from the local council, and everyone was happy. Or if not happy, not excessively morose. These days you either live in your own house which you either bought years ago or inherited, or you live in a house rented from a private landlord (and which costs more than actually buying a house). Pretty much all the council houses are reserved for illegal immigrants and those seeking asylum (or so it would seem).

The government has announced that it is changing the rules, and the minister for something-or-other was wheeled on and presented a load of rubbish which was factually inadequate about the public sector’s provision of housing, but he did admit that the authorities are going to start providing “social housing” for locals, and will chuck out the scumbag element which gives some council estates a bad name. I wonder if this means that the local authorities will put illegal immigrants and those seeking asylum into privately rented accommodation and the cost will soar.


We got to Kings Wood and had a very good walk. A bit shorter than usual; only two and a half miles. But the dogs were well behaved and came back when called. And no episodes at all. Something of a result.

We came home, had bellies and paws washed, and once brekkie was scoffed the dogs were soon snoring.


Leaving them with “er indoors TM I set off on a little mission. First of all to Timpson’s where I got some more keys cut for the lock of the paddock in which we have Dog Club. It is daft only having one key. As I paid (with my card) I thought about something my cousin had posted to Facebook earlier. Less than a month ago a shop opened in Hastings making great show of only taking cash payments. It didn’t take long at all for them to abandon that policy. Back in the day shops that took credit cards had signs in the window saying they took cards. Nowadays no one puts up the sign as everyone pays with cards. The chap in Timpson said that he goes days between anyone paying with cash, and that he leaves the till open so that potential robbers can see he’s got nothing to take.


From there I went up to the hospital. There was mayhem in the car park; having parked my car easily some way from the hospital I then watched a swarm of normal people arguing about who could have the space closest to the entrance. If they could, they really would have driven into the place and leaned out of the window to have their appointments.

I didn’t have to wait long before I saw my ENT specialist. I told him I thought those polyps up my nose had returned. He shoved an endoscope up my beak. He showed me my clear and healthy left nostril, and then the two huge polys up the right one. Each looked to be the size of a small grape. Bearing in mind I’ve had polyps cut out three times before and they just came back, he’s suggesting something a tad more radical this time. He wants to do a Caldwell-Luc incision. In the past he’s gone in from the front and carved polyps out. This time he plans to drill through the bone in my upper jaw and come in from behind, which has a ninety-two per cent success rate.

That’ll be something to look forward to; he assures me it is good for three weeks’ sick leave afterwards.


I then went on to the bank to talk to them about the old reptile club’s bank account. They were very polite, but weren’t much help really.

Pausing only briefly to go to Repton to check the new keys worked I came home via the co-op and Belgian buns for lunch. And with those scoffed I cracked on with the ironing. No day off work is complete without doing the ironing. It only took an hour, and with ironing ironed I set about geo-puzzling with varying degrees of success.


er indoors TM boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of rioja whilst watching telly. As well as “Junior Bake Off” we watched the episode of “Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly” for which “er indoors TM” and Treacle had been filmed as extras. We were rather disappointed to see they didn’t get onto the telly…



31 January 2024 (Wednesday) - Red Alert



Having taken care to ensure the internet connection and mobile data were switched off on my mobile, it woke me a couple of times (just as I was nodding off) with alerts about things to which it should have been totally oblivious. Even with all connection to the internet severed it still manages to get these alerts. I wish it wouldn't. It never shouts to tell me about anything I really need to know about right away.

er indoors TM” brought the dogs to bed about an hour after my phone finally shut its rattle. As she settled down and started snoring so the dogs fought a pitched battle for the bed space she wasn't occupying. The fact that I was already in it was neither here nor there to the hounds. Eventually an uneasy truce was reached, and I tried to sleep as best I could, twisted around Morgan and Treacle. For all that they are rather small, they take up an awful lot of bed space.


Over brekkie I watched another episode of "Peep Show", then had a look at the Internet. There was a serious squabble kicking off on one of the Facebook pages I moderate. The page is about an obscure series of sci-fi books written over forty years ago. Someone had asked that if the books were made into films, which famous actors would play which characters. And someone else was getting rather nasty that hardly anyone had chosen a racially diverse group of actors. Personally I wouldn't have done so because I would have cast actors according to how the characters were described.

In any case it is incredibly unlikely that the films would ever be made... some people would argue over anything


I set off for work. As I drove I listened to the radio to keep abreast of the news of the day... Or that was my plan. With moonquakes (like an earthquake but on the Moon) where the Americans are planning to build their Moonbase and an entirely new form of life having been found the pundits on the radio were dribbling on about the petty bickering of politicians who will be out on their arses before the year is out.

It never fails to amaze me how much importance the radio puts on petty trivia, and how low the regard in which they hold stuff which may well be the key to the long-term survival of humanity.


I got to work, and five minutes into the early shift I had a red alert. People have entirely the wrong idea about red alerts; they are nowhere near as exciting and sexy as Captain Kirk would have you believe. Fortunately this one was all over in less than ten minutes, but those ten minutes were rather nerve-wracking.

The rest of the day was a tad dull in comparison.


With work worked I came home and cleared the garden of dog dung. Not the most pleasant of tasks, but I’d rather do it before Bailey does it (she can be a foul creature!) and I then did a little more of my Coursera course. After a shaky start it seems to be perking up a bit. Measurement of quality… be careful with what you choose to measure.

As I finished so not-so-nice-next-door started clanging on her piano. I rather thought she was away; I’ve not seen lights on in her house for some time.


er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of scran which we scoffed whilst watching more “Junior Bake Off”. She’s now having a go at a jigsaw; I’m going to fight with some geo-puzzles, and have an early night. I end up with more bed space if I get to bed first, get all of it and then have it taken from me rather than trying for a fair fight with the dogs.