1 July 2016 (Friday) - Blown a Fuse
It is no secret that I feel my dog doesn't drink enough. He likes milk but the vet says it is not good for him, so every evening I fill a small bowl with water, add enough milk to colour it and he yums it up.
Last night as I was preparing his "white water" all the lights in the house suddenly went out, but the telly stayed on. Obviously the fuse had gone. After a bit of torch-lit farting about I replaced the fuse and it promptly blew again. I immediately knew this was a problem beyond my ability to fix, and I went to bed.
Surprisingly I slept well, waking seven hours later to find I was hugging my dog like a teddy bear.
Over a rather dark brekkie I updated my blog archive this morning, and got a little cross with social media. I've ranted before about stupid people. Some people have taken offence at my rantings. I'm sorry, I don't want to give offence but are people *seriously* so thick that they do not understand why Nigel Farage cannot take over as Prime Minister? (or as "priminister" to quote the thick element)
I then dug out the "home emergency" insurance details. I left them for "er indoors TM" in the hope that we were covered (she's better with "home emergencies" than I am) and I set off to work.
As I drove the pundits were discussing the current political climate. The Labour party remains in deadlock and the Conservative party is fiddling while Rome burns. There was a lot of talk about Boris Johnson's decision not to stand in the election for their next party leader.
Some say he's been stabbed in the back by his political opponents. Others say that he's been cowardly in not facing up to the chaos he has created. I can't help but wonder if he's been rather clever. Whoever takes over as Prime Minister will inherit an impossible position. I suspect that after six months whoever is then Prime Minister (or "priminister"(!) ) will be forced to resign having been made the scapegoat for the current political mess. And at that point Boris will be billed as the saviour of the nation.
Whether he will actually save the nation or stuff it up even more remains to be seen...
I got to work and spent the morning plagued with visions of the entire house needing rewiring. "er indoors TM" sent a message at about 10am to say the electrician had arrived, and had asked when the house electrics were last checked. My heart sank; but on reflection surely they had a once-over when the loft conversion was done about twelve years ago? After several messages to and fro I finally got the news that the fault had been traced to the light fitting on the upstairs landing. That will need replacing very soon, and we've got a recommendation to get a new consumer board. Bearing in mind the old one still has Bakelite fuse holders from about seventy years ago, I don't think that is an unreasonable suggestion.
I wonder how much that will cost?
As I arrived home my phone beeped. A message from "Daddies Little Angel TM"; apparently my grandson "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" has learned a new word. He can now say cake.
I got home; it is amazing the difference having a light in the toilet makes. It was rather good to be able to see what I was doing. I then ran "Furry Face TM" round the park, programmed "Hannah" for the weekend's planned extravaganza and was all set to whizz down to Capel for the astro club's observing evening when I got a message that clouds had stopped play.
Just as well that message hadn't come five minutes later...
2 July 2016 (Saturday) - Geo-Rally
We loaded up the car and took "Furry Face TM" round to "My Boy TM" where he was having a little sleep-over with Rolo then we set off for Farthing Corner for the start of the weekend's planned event.
In other parts of the world geocachers are allowed to have ralllies where they meet up, and then have a set time to cache like things possessed then meet up again to see who got the most. The geo-feds have opposed our attempts to stage such an event, but after over two years' perseverance we managed to get a twenty-four hour competition off the ground. With points available for types of cache found, counties and countries visited it paid to go at this with a plan. I'd spent a while formulating such a plan for our team.
Having the organisers in our team meant we couldn't actually be part of the contest... but we took part anyway. The organisers organised the event; I organised our team. (After a fashion...)
We met up, had a bite to eat, and then several car loads set off in various directions. Our plan was to go for high-scoring cache types in as many counties as we could, and so we thought we might (at various distances) circle London.
We found one geocache nearby, and having got one in Kent we set off through torrential rain towards Eastbourne. We drove for an hour and a half suspecting the event would be a washout, but the rain stopped whern we were about twenty miles from Eastbourne and didn't come back again. We were rather pleased about that.
The plan was to hunt Earthcaches and Church Micro Multis in Eastbourne until 6.30pm. And that was what we did. We had a rather good geo-session in which we chased students away from modern art in the town centre and in which we gott to play silly beggars on the beach. And at 6.30pm we adjourned to Favo'loso for dinner. Despite the mad woman at the next table having conversations with the voices in her head we had excellent meals, and (as per the schedule) left East Sussex at 7.30pm.
We arrived in Lancing in West Sussex an hour later where the plan was a geo-ghost hunt and to randomly chase tupperware until 1am. We had a really good walk along the coast, we watched the kite surfer, we played in the children's play park, we found a cache that really shouldn't have been near the children's play park, we got to act *very* suspiciously in churchyards after dark, and we even rummaged under boats.
But having effectively chased all the tupperware that was conveniently placed to be chased we thought we'd get a little ahead of ourselves and left West Sussex at 11pm.
We're off to Surrey now...
3 July 2016 (Sunday) - Six More Counties
Finding ourselves a couple of hours ahead of our geo-schedule we arrived in Surrey feeling rather smug. The plan for Surrey had been a spell of night caching. Personally I'm not a fan of hunting tupperware after dark, but you have little choice when doing a twenty-four hour session. After all every twenty four hour session has a night.
I'd located a series of several puzzle caches all as close to each other as it was possible for them to be; all of which looked to be relatively easy finds. So we arrived at where we'd decided to park the car, and three of us set off whilst "er indoors TM" had a little sleep.
The first cache took a little finding in the dark. The second one involved scrambling down a rather treachourous bank in the pitch-darkness. Finding ourselves a little off course the third had us scrambling over barbed wire fences at 1am.
I suppose I only have myself to blame. I should have planned more carefully. But climbing trees at 2am was rather good fun.
There was only a little blood on only one of us when we got back to the car (now two hours ahead of schedule). We made a bit of a hash of a cache hidden near a railway, then moved on to Berkshire.
We arrived just as dawn was breaking. The plan was to get two easy finds. One find wasn't that easy and eluded us, but having time on our hands we took a little divesion into Oxfordshire.
Some regatta or other had been going on yesterday in Henley-on-Thames. I've never seen such a mess, and clean-up crews were working at 4am.
It was at this point that the schedule began to slip. A short trip to Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire took rather longer than it should have due to a failure by the navigator (I fell asleep) but we were by the train station and rummaging in a hedge before most normal people were awake. And another failure by the navigator (I fell asleep again) had us heading back to Oxfordshire rather than on to Hertfordshire.
We got to Hertfordshire; we found our first target. We managed to disturb a dog. I don't think his barking woke the *entire* village, but he certainly was noisy. We moved quickly on a second find, and then on to South Mimms services for brekkie.
I didn't know there was an Ed's Diner at South Mimms. It was a good find. We had a rather good bit of brekkie. But it was at this point that i realised that although I'd intended us to have brekkie I'd not allowed any time for it. Consequently we were running half an hour late when we got to Thorndon Contry Park in Essex.
Thorndon Contry Park has loads of earthcaches (which were worth lots of points to us) and on the map it looked as though the place had well-marked footpaths. It was with something of a sense of disappointment that we found that the maps of Thorndon Contry Park bear little (if any) resemblance to the reality. After an hour and a half of hacking through thickets we gave up and headed to the coffee shop for a cuppa, and then back to meet all the other competitors.
We arrived back at Farthing Corner with ten minutess to spare having travelled three hundred and twenty eight miles through nine counties. We thought we'd done well. but others had gone further through more counties, and some had even gone abroad. However when the points were totted up we found we'd come a respectable fourth. I was quite pleased about that.
We came home for a bit of a kip. And having had a bit of a kip (despite next door's piano) we collected "Furry Face TM" from his sleep-over. I then posted some photos of our adventure on-line, and we had a rather good bit of tea.
I was in bed shortly after 7pm...
4 July 2016 (Monday) - Bit Tired
I had a really early night last night. The weekend's fun had really taken it out of me. I slept like a log until 4am, then just lay awake trying to sleep before finally giving up shortly after 6am.
Over brekkie I did the weekend's geo-admin. Or (more precisely) I told my laptop what geo-admin to do, and as it did it I had a look to see what I'd missed on social media over the weekend. I seem to be ranting about my fellow man quite a lot these days. Here's something else to rant about. I saw this piccie on Facebook this morning. I saw it several times It has two pictures. It starts with a whole loads of youngsters protesting that the older voters were in favour of leaving the EU (not entirely fair) and ends with scenes from the Second World War implying the youngsters are ungrateful and disrespectful to the older generation of voters who (presumably) fought for them.
What those posting this picture seemed to overlook (or don't realise) is that the war shown in the pictures ended seventy one years ago. And so anyone who actually fought in the war must now be (at least) eighty five years old (assuming they lied about their age when joining up). Whereas the statistics show that the vast majority of the voters against whom the pictured youngsters were ranting weren't born until ten years after that war.
Do those people posting these pictures realise this? Do they even realise they won that referendum and it is now time to move on? Or do they feel that having fought a war against a nation (a lifetime ago) is reason to hate that nation for evermore? I have German and Spanish friends. Is that wrong?
I wish I knew what happens inside some people's heads. If nothing else it might help me understand just what is going on.
I then realised that my laptop had done the geo-admin that I'd told it to do. However what I had told it to do wasn't exactly the same as what I actually wanted it to do. I'd mistakenly got it to log Fudge's trackable along with us. (Fudge has got a tag with which we recod how many miles he goes geocaching and it now had over three hundred miles too many). So I spent half an hour undoing what my laptop had done in a couple of minutes.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we walked round to meet "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". Apparently all is not sweetness and light with the mother and toddler group. The toddlers have had fisticuffs, and the mothers have been coming close. Ironically the group is called "Happy Faces"...
We walked through the North Park and came home past the e-fags shop. We were alomost home when I noticed that "Furry Face TM" was smothered in fox poo. How had he done that? So "Daddies Little Angel TM" carried on scraping up brindle chippings in the garden whilst my dog had a bath. I mowed the lawn whilst more brindle chippings got scraped up until the younger generations set off to the play park.
I had an early lunch spent looking at the geo-map, then took myself off to bed for the afternoon. I slept for maybe twenty minutes until my dog decided to have a barking fit for absolutely no reason whatsoever. With him suitably chastised I goot another hour's sleep before a gaggle of senior citizens sat on my garden wall and started shouting at each other.
I gave up trying to sleep at about 3pm and did the household accounts instead. They've been better. They could be worse.
"Upstairs Downstairs" was on the telly; it's always entertaining. And then Jimbo arrived to collect some camping gear. He's off to Brighton Kite Festival this weekend. In previous years I've been the first one to go, but "er indoors TM" couldn't get the time off work this year and I found myself wondering if I actually wanted to go. Much as we do have a good time there I've not flown a kite since last year's festival, and I've not been a member of Brighton Kite Fliers for some years. Would going along be taking advantage?
And there is an awful lot of work setting up and taking down the camp. And what with my sleep apnoea I can't sleep and I spend several hours sitting around in the mornings waiting for everyone else to get up; on one day last year I was wide awake at 4am waiting for a brekkie which finally arrived at 11am.
In previous years we've gone mob-handed (which shares out the work) but over time people have gone their seperate ways. So this year I've decided to give it a miss.
As we loaded stuff into his car part of me wondered if I actually want to go....
I'm off to the night shift now...
5 July 2016 (Tuesday) - Between the Night Shifts
I heard an interesting fact on the radio as I worked last night. Apparently Neil Armstrong's hairdresser used to sweep up after his haircuts and sell his hair. This chap would get three thousand dollars for doing so.
I can't help but wonder who would pay that much. Mind you I could do with aa few more strands up on top...
WIth the night shift done I came home and put some washing on (how dull!) and we met up with "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and went round the park for a walk. We saw OrangeHead's gang. There is a new gang member whose haircut I can only liken to a bag of candy floss. As haircuts go it is rather impressive. In fact it looks as though the barber would have had to add hair rather than cut hair off.
Perhaps that's where NeilArmstrong's hair went, and where I'm going wrong?
We carried on to Singleton lake to feed the ducks. I say "feed the ducks"; "Daddies Little Angel TM" equipped us all with some bread. she fed the ducks, I fed the carp, and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" fed his slices of bread to "Furry Face TM".
Once home I hung out the washing and then spent the day asleep. I'm now off to work again.
The day between night shifts is often something of a disappointment.
6 July 2016 (Wednesday) Stuff
As I was getting into my car last night our troublesome neighbour was arrving home. He hadn't seen me (which was probably for the best). I wasted a little while watching him in amazement. He spent a minute or so unlocking the various locks on his front door, all the time glancing furtively around. Eventually he plucked up the courage to open the door (as little as was necessary), then slipped inside and quickly closed the door behind him all in less than one second. And then I heard the rather noisy sounds of various locks being fastened.
In the past he's ranted at me at great length about the importance of having his back garden fences all smothered in roses. He says this deters anyone from trying to get into his garden. He simply can't understand that I've never thought that anyone would ever want to intrude into his (or my) back garden.
Is he *really* that paranoid or is he hiding something in his house?
I then drove off to work (getting some food for the night from Morrisons on my way through). Once there I did my bit in between listening to the radio. I quite like Radio Four and Radio Four Extra during the night. There is no music; it is all talk. And when on the night shifts I like hearing a voice (that isn't in my head). Usually on a two-night-shift session I go over forty eight-hours in which (other than work-related matters) "Daddies Little Angel TM" is the only person I speak to in all that time. (and that is only if she isn't at mother and toddlers groups)
Talking of "Daddies Little Angel TM" she messaged me a few times. She has a hankering for a pet turtle. I can't help but think that a turtle might be a bit big for her flat. A terrapin might be better size-wise, but those things have a nasty bite. I've been given instructions to design a vivarium for an as yet unspecified chelonian; after all we used to make vivaria in the past.
I've agreed as it is always easier to agree. I expect (and hope) that this idea will soon be forgotten. On the other hand I can't help but wonder what hare-brained scheme she will come up with next. She is definately her father's daughter.
Once home from work I took "Furry Face TM" round the park where we narrowly avoided OrangeHead's posse. As we walked I met a lady with a poodle. This lady had the most massive hearing aids and the poodle's lead had "Hearing Dog" emblazoned on it. I didn't know poodles could do that sort of thing. Mind you the lady did say the dog got very easily distracted.
I came home and went to bed for a couple of hours, then over a bit of dinner watched the first episode of the new series of "Dark Matter". The first series was rather good. the second hhas started well; but I'm sure I would have liked it more if I remembered what had happened in the first series.
I then set about the ironing. Eight shirts kept me occupied for the best part of an hour, then I geo-puzzled for an hour or so until "er indoors TM" come home and went out to aqua-zumba. I wondered what aqua-zumba was, but didn't like to ask.
So I programmed "Hannah" for tomorrow and waited patiently for my tea....
7 July 2016 (Thursday) - Horsted Keynes, Spamalot
After a geo-rally and some night shifts I waas grateful for a proper nightt asleep last night. Even if I was wide awake a lot earlier than I might have been.
As I sat down to brekkie I saw that the SkyPlus box had decided to start recording "Game of Thrones" right from the very first episode. I've been thinking that I should really watch that show right form the start again, and so I did. There was lots of blood, Nudey-Dragon-Girl got them out, and I think I now know who some of the main characters are.
I then popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we drove out to Horsted Keynes where we met Gordon and Norton, and we went for a little (just over eight miles) geo-stroll. There was some beautiful scenery to be seen and we were amazed that (seeing how we finished exactly where we started) there was a *lot* more up than down.
It was a hot day; we were all glad of the iced water we'd taken, and especially glad of a pint of "Landlord" in the pub at the end of our walk.
Cache-wise the walk was best described as "old school" with hides not that close together. But all were relatively straight-forward finds.
We set off homewards, and got home with a minute to spare. Ideally I would have had a bit of a wash and brush up before going out, but I had just enough time to change into trousers that weren't covered in mud and into a clean shirt before zooming out again. Perhaps I shouldn;'t have stopped off for three more geo-finds on the way home...
Steve and Sarah had arrived and we set off to Maidstone. We got a bite to eat in Nandos (very tasty) and then went next door to the Hazlett theatre. We had tickets for "Spamalot
". I'd not seen it before. I'd certainly go back and see it again.
I slept well, but woke with a nagging sense of being rather pissed off for absolutely no reason that I could determine. Perhaps jam on toast was something of an anticlimax after a really good (and busy) day yesterday. Or perhaps I was sulking that I might just have wanted to be going to Brighton Kite Festival. Mind you that would have been problematical; last night I was asked to spread the word that anyone intending to be camping at the festival shouldn't arrive before mid day. The reason was that this would give the police time to remove the gypsies and other travellers from the site.
I've been criticised in the past for being less than respectful to travelling folk; all I can say is that every year they have to be evicted from the site of Brigton Kite Festival. They always seem to arrive a few days early and use the shower blocks as stables for their horses. Pressure-washing away a week's worth of horse crap takes some doing (to say nothing of the rest of the mayhem they cause). Perhaps there are good decent travellers out there; all I can say on the matter is that the ones who descend on Stanmer Park every July aren't.
I scoffed some toast whilst checking out the world via Google News. Ex Prime Minister Tony Blair looks to be in for a hard time following the publication of the Chilcot report. Did he really take the the UK into an illegal war ten years ago? In retrospect it seems he did, but did he know so at the time? It is easy to look back and realise mistakes with hindsight. He was interviewed on the radio yesterday and, as he said, at the time he was faced with a maniac apparently brandishing nuclear weapons and anthrax. If I'd been in his position I might just have done what he did. And had he not done what he did, might we now have a middle east which was an anthrax-riddled nuclear wasteland?
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we met up with "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" . We went for a short walk round the park. OrangeHead was spotted in the distance; we kept her there. After a short game with some staffies we came home through the wetlands park where "Daddies Little Angel TM" was harangued by Jehovah's Witnesses. She graciously offered to read their literature. That was good of her.
With walk done I popped washing into the machine then voomed round the house with the hoover. There was a dodgy five minutes when "er indoors TM" crochet voomed up the hoover (she's recently taken up crochet). There was a strangled squawking sound and a burning smell as the crochet wrapped itself around the works of the hoover. I got a pair of scissors and after a few minutes I managed to rescue the hoover. However "er indoors TM"'s crochet didn't surrvive the ordeal. Oh well, crochet is more easily replaced than a hoover. Or that is the line I shall take.
I then went down the road to the dentist - I had an appointment with the hygenist. I was only fifteen minutes late getting in, but it seemed like an eternity. The nice lady rummaged about inside my gob for half an hour.
I then collected "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and we went for McLunch. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" got a small toy cat with his happy meal and had a whale of a time throwing the thing about. We didn't disturb everyone else *that* much...
We then drove down to Bilsington for geo-reasons - there is an earthcache at the monument. I first saw Bilsington Monument during the late 1970s when camping with the Boys Brigade at Ruckinge. And it was a regular feature of the landscape when I was running cub camps just up the hill for thirteen years from 1997 to 2009. I particularly remember the summer of 1999 when volunteers were repairing the monument. They started working at dawn, and the noise of their hammering woke me most mornings.
We then drove on to Ham Street garden centre for a mooch. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" spoke with the flowers, then we went for coffee and cake. They served very good coffee and cake at that garrden centre; it was only a shame that my grandson insisted on continually shouting "cock!" as we had coffee. He probably had a good reason for dong so. In years to come I shall ask him.
It was a shame that the Ham Street garden centre didn't have all the stuff I needeed, and that which they did have was more expensive than the same stuff in Bybrook Barn. So we went to Bybrook Barn where we bought (hopefully) all of the stuff we'll need for Monday's planned day of gardening. Mind you it came to over a hundred quid. Let's hope it was all worth it.
"er indoors TM" came home and we drove round to see Heather and Andy. A birthday barbecue filled the evening very well; especially with the non-EU chipolatas. Parents of the youngsters seemed concerned that the littluns were over-excited. Me I loved it. Must do it again!
I had something of a restless night last night waking at 3am and then laying awake for much of the rest of the night. I gave up trying to sleep at about 6.30am and over brekkie had a look-see on-line.
I read something of a spoiler for the new Star Trek film. I considered ranting about it but thought better of doing so. After all I never bothered going to see the most recent Star Wars film as so many other people had told me what happened in it. Suffice it to say "I don't beleive the rumour because I've actually seen Star Trek!"
We popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and set off to Godstone where we met Karl, Tracey and the girls, and we went for a little geo-wander. There are two series of geocaches starting from the green in Godstone. Pausing only briefly for a bit of a scramble we were soon on our way. There were rather scenic lakes and churches to be seen, bridges to be climbed under, and we even saw a pair of buzzards circling. There was talk about whether the buzzards could have made off with my dog. Looking at the size of them they might just have been able to.
It was a warm morning to be out and about; it was a very good stroke of luck which brought us right past the Barley Mow. And any qualms we might have had about grubby boots inside a nice pub were assuaged by seeing that they had little counter from the bar which opened on to the beer garden.
The first circuit of caches had been billed as five and a half miles; we all felt it was a tad more than that and it was with a sense of releif that we found ourselves back at the cars a couple of hours later than planned. We hd a rather good picnic sitting on the village green, then set off in search of more hidden tupperware. After all, the second series of caches had been advertised as being a slightly shorter distance..
The paths on the first loop had been somewhat overgrown; we found the afternoon's paths somewhat more passable, even if they were a bit more up and down. There was one up-and-down bit which was rather extreme; the cache as billed as being at the top of a minor mountain. I managed the scramble up and down without breaking my neck, but the screen of the sat-nav got a rather nasty scratch fom the ordeal.
We also saw a rather well-to-do manor house flying what looked like the Royal Standard. Was the Queen visiting? We stood and stared for a few minutes trying to see her. Needless to say we didn't see any royals, but we did find another pub. It was a shame that the evening's pub wasn't as good as the morning's.
I slept like a log this morning. I ached a little when I got up. I think my little dog ached too; he was walking rather stiffly when he got up. I wonder if we might both have overdone it somewhat yesterday.
When we arrived we parked up and were soon chatting with people I see all too rarely. It was so good to catch up with family and old friends. But having been wondering about whether or not to camp out I think I made the right decision. We arrived in the rain, and the rain stayed pouring (on and off) all day. I seem to remember so many kite festivals stood sheltering from the rain.
I was wide awake and messing about on-line at 3am this morning. Having been wide awke for an hour thought I'd get up and pootle until I felt tired. I pootled on-line for half an hour or so then went back to bed and didn't really sleep that well at all.
I got up shortly before 7am and carried on pootling on-line for a bit before looking at sorting out an agenda for the astro club committee meeting; there is quite a bit going on behind the scenes. I also looked at putting together the intro talk for this month's asto club meeting, and dug out an old talk I might give just in case the invited speaker don't show up. Having been under the impression that the chap had been booked to talk to the astro club some months ago it came as something of a shock to find that he hadn't been. And having (eventually) made contact with him and arranged for him to come to the club, the chap now isn't answering messages and emails. Perhaps he's busy? But having a backup plan is never a bad idea...
We popped to B&Q, then came home. The earlier rain had stopped and we cracked on in the back garden. "My Boy TM" and Sam got new membrane into place and set the edging stones and re-laid the brindle chippings. "Daddies Little Angel TM" washed the chippings, and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" generally wreaked havoc.
After three hours we'd effectively got the job done. Some of the edging stones need a little more setting, but that will wait for a while. We then got my monkey puzzle tree into its new pot, and then "My Boy TM" spotted some ferns growing through the decking. I was all for getting rid of them, but the first fruit of my loins wanted them. Apparently such ferns go for seven to ten quid in the garden centres, so we lifted the decking and extricated the three fern plants (complete with roots). Everyone was happy.
I then took "Daddies Little Angel TM" and her entourage home, and "My Boy TM" and I went to Bybrook Barn. My next plan for the garden involves fixing dead water features and so I need new fountain pumps. They didn't have any in Bybrook Barn so we went out to Submarine Aquatics in Challock. I shan't be going back there. If you like vastly over-priced stuff sold with serious arrogance then I can't recommend the place higher.
I drove "My Boy TM" (and his ferns) home, and then came home myself. Reallising that what with all the day's excitement I hadn't walked my dog, so I popped the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and we went round the park. Our walk was cut short as tree-felling was taking place, so we came home and I mowed the lawn, strimmed the edges and got the new washing line into place.
I slept well, but woke feeling rather hacked off that today was the last day of my little holiday. I spent a little while over brekkie preparing my introduction talk for the astro club meeting at the end of the month, then went out to meet "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" . As we walked past the mini-mart we bought some lettuce. We've seen a few signs recently about bread being bad for ducks and how lettuce is much better for them. So armed with an iceberg we collected "My Boy TM" and Rolo and went round to Singleton Lake where we couldn't find a single duck that didn't turn its beak up at lettuce.
As we walked the dogs were sniffing round the lake. Sid over-reached himself and fell into a deep bit. Not only can poor Sid not swim but he doesn't float either. It was as well that I saw him fall in; I could see him sinking out of sight. Quick as a flash I dropped to my knees and plunged my arm into the murky depths to grab him. Just as "My Boy TM" made a rude exclamation and "Daddies Little Angel TM" turned round, I dumped a soggy pug onto the lake's bank. He was none the worse for wear after his ordeal, but he kept his distance from the water for the rest of the walk.
We walked round the lake once, then walked Rolo and "My Boy TM" home before continuing along by the river. The Jehovah's Witnesses were at the park gates talking religion to a random passer-by. They were just onto the bit about things happening according to God's will when "Furry Face TM" jumped onto the back of their dog and did something rather un-pious.
Once home I put the washing onto the line then over a spot of lunch I watched the second episode of "Game of Thrones". Watching the series from the begining again is making sense of what happened in the later episodes.
And with ironing done I cut back all the various roses and clematis and stuff pouring over the fence from next door. After an hour of doing this the torrential rain started so I went in and spent an age doing more astro-and-geo stuff until "er indoors TM" came home.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" (and a few others) had posted a little picture onto Facebook; the upshot of which was that after all of the mess of the referendum, we as a nation have effectively got exactly that which the majority were voting against. The comments made on that picture made for interesting reading.
In years to come future historians will look back at today and ask "WTF was going on". Having had a national referendum about leaving the European Union (a couple of weeks ago) a majority voted to leave.
Now look at how things have turned out. Having lost, the Prime Minister could not continue with any credibility, and the leading lights of the side that won have all resigned (for no adequately explored reasons). Consequently we now have a new Prime Minister who was on the losing side, and will have to take Britain out of the EU even though she doesn't agree with the decision. I can't see how she will be able to command any respect in doing so.
Ironically many of those voting to leave the EU did so because (according to the media backed up by various rantings on social media) they felt it was an undemocratic form of government. They clearly did not realise that the predicable resignation of Mr Cameron would give us a Prime Minister who was not in office as the result of a General Election. Judging by what I was reading on the Internet this morning many were not happy with this state of affairs. Even though the process of succession of Prime Ministers is well established. Look at the succession of James Callaghan, John Major and Gordon Brown..
As drove the radio wittered on as it does. We have a new Prime Minister, but the Labour party remains in disarray over their leadership issues. Like him or loathe him, Jeremy Corbyn clearly does not have the support of the parliamentary Labour party. Is he the only person who can't see that this is the important issue?
I stopped off in Morrisons for supplies then went on to work. As I worked could see torrential rain altenating with hail through the window so it was a good day to be there. Fortunately the rain stopped by home time so once home I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. We got home just as the rain started again.
Every night seems to be the same. I spend the evening drifting in and out of sleep. I go to bed shortly before 11pm and sleep for a few hours, then lay awake. I eventually give up trying to sleep and watch drivel on the telly until 7am when I need to start the day but actually feel as though I want to go back to bed.
Last night was exactly that. After laying awake for ages I got up at 5am, did my morning things, watched the third episode of "Game of Thrones", and then realising I had to be in at work at 8am I felt like death warmed up at 7am.
Mind you Game of Thrones" was entertaining. Now I've started watching it from the beginning much of what has happened in the later episodes is making a lot more sense. At the risk of appearing puritanical I'm not sure the show needs quite so much nudity (for all that it seems to be the show's trademark), and watching it on the SkyPlus box means that I can fast-forward through over twenty minutes of adverts in every show. It's not a bad waste of time when otherwise I would be bored.
I got dressed, fussed my dog (who was still asleep), watered my tree and went to work. As I drove the news was all about which politicians have found and lost favour in the eyes of our new Prime Minister. Some appointments were well-deserved as were some dismissals, some were predicable, and some were frankly ludicrous. But as to whether they will actually be good decisions, only time will tell.
Once at work I did that which I could not really avoid, and then came home to take my dog for a walk. Once he was walked and fed Jimbo and Stevey arrived. We had a cuppa then went round to Steve and Sarah's. We sent out for take-away. My chili beef and chicken curry was excellent, but poor Steve had been given the wrong order, and Jimbo had more balls than sense.
Denver and Jon arrived, and we had an astro-committee meeting. With the club running on an even keel we made all sorts of plans for the future. It only remains for me to remember exactly what those plans were and to write them up. Failing that, the minutes of the meeting will be what I say they were. After all I've minuted meetings like that before...
I was sleeping like a log when "Furry Face TM" declared "Red Alert" at 5am. I have no idea what bothered him, but after his little woofing fit I was wide awake. However by the time I'd got up to see what had bothered him he was fast asleep again.
Over brekkie I watched the fourth episode of "Game of Thrones". I realised something of a spoiler this monrning. Up till now I really thought that "Nudey Dragon-Girl"'s role was to flop them out from time to time to maintain the ratings. However it transpires that her character is somewhat central to the plot. I'd often wondered why they had her character in the show (if not for the obvious reason); it all makes a lot more sense now.
And (as always) I had the radio on. The pundits on tthe radio were talking about the latest atrocity in France. Apparently as people were out celebrating Bastille Day so a truck driven by a looney drove through the crowd, mowing people down as it went. Why did they do this? For no other reason than that because they can? Why would anyone do this?
There was also passing mention made of Mick Jagger who (at age seventy-two) is about to become a father again. I feel rather sorry for the child. Whilst they will (probably) be financially set for life; bearing in mind how old Mick Jagger is, for how long will they have their father around?
With work done I came home and (together with "er indoors TM") took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the Warren. We found a geocache there; we failed on two others. Mind you we did see the highland cattle.
I woke at 4am, but after a swift nocturnal tiddle went back to bed and actually stayed there until 7am. That is rather unheard of. I sparked up my laptop as I sat down to brekkie and it started installing updates.Does it *really* need to render itself useless for half an hour twice a week to install these updates which seem to make no difference whatsoever to how it actually works?
So I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we drove out to Great Chart. My little dog needed a walk and I had a list of problems with my geo-series which is in the area. Admittedly the last cache of the series was broken and needed replacing, but other than that the series seemed to be in reasonable order compared with many. After all if you leave a tupperware box out in the elements for six months a certain degree of weathering is inevitable. But I'm not complaining. My Great Chart geo-series was put out with the intention that any maintenance runs that were needed would double up as a walk for Fudge, and he got a good hour and a half in the countryside this morning.
As we walked my little dog was sniffing and tracking all the way; his head was down as he intently tried to sniff out all manner of prey. It was a shame that he was so intent on sniffing that he never saw the rabbit, squirrel and pheasant that (at various times) came within four feet of him.
We got home just as "er indoors TM" was going out. Today was one of those days when everything was happening. Originally we had planed to go to France today, but for various reasons that fell through. Today was also the county geo-meet. I'd have liked to have gone there. "er indoors TM" was off canoe-ing. I wouldn't have minded a day on the river.
Meeting Steve at the railway station we made our way to Folkestone. It wasn't long before we met up with everyone at the Firkin. A swift pint, and then we followed a rather foxy pair of skimpy white shorts down to Kipps for a pint of stout. Suitably refreshed it was only a stagger of a few yards to the Big Boy Burger Bar where the stag failed to eat his body weight in burgers.
I couldn't sleep last night. I was too hot. I finally gave up trying to sleep and got up shortly after 6am. Most people have something of a lie-in on a Sunday morning; I spent an hour or so writing up the minutes of Thursday's astro-committee meeting. I then sent a circular email begging for help at the astro club's stall at the New Romney Country Fayre which is planned for the end of the month. I'm not sure how this has come about but somehow or other we've agreed to put on a show when no one is actualy available to do it.
I emailed over fifty people to ask for help... fully expecting not a single reply. Personally I suspect the average astro-punter only wants a one-a-month meet-up (and has no interest in anything more).
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk round the park. I usually avoid the place on a Saturdy morning as it is full of adult joggers. It would seem I should avoid the placeon Sundays too; it appears that the children jog on a Sunday morning. There was an organised event with about a hundred kids raring to go. Some twit was telling the kids (via loudspeaker) that they couldn't jog with dogs (whilst glaring at my dog).
And talking of a lot of dogs... "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" came round this morning and we went to Essex to attend "PugFest". To be honest we'd been looking forward to "Pugfest" for months, but weren't sure what to expect. However we were expecting more than a boot fair to which it was compulsory to take a pug. And if that wasn't disappointment enough, we'd had to buy tickets in advance which were a fiver each.
We made the most of the day. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" seemed to like playing on the bouncy castle thingy. I quite liked my ice cream sundae, and a picnic lunch is always good. A shame we had to abandon lunch for a passing rainstorm, but the rain went as quckly as it came.
We went back. It wasn't bad. But our initial feelings remained. For all that it was a good day out it was something of a novety. It really was no more than a boot fair for pug-owners (that charged a fiver admission)
With little else to do I had a look-see on-line. Yesterday was Pirate's Day in Hastings; I always miss that. I also saw that geo-friends had been up a tree. And I was also rather pleased to see that one of my contributions to the national congress of tupperware-hunters has been accepted.
Yesterday as I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park we saw a rather odd monolith which hadn't been there the last time we looked. This morning as we walked we found two more. Apparently Tesco paid for them. Billed as the Young People's Sculpture Trail, it will "take people on a journey of discovery, telling stories of the parks past, and encouraging learning and engagement in green spaces management".
The sculptures have been created by local young people with the help of artists and craftsman, through school workshops, youth groups and open drop in sessions. There are supposedly six of the things in the park. I've found three. They actually look rather good. I hope they last.
We came home; I settled my little dog and went out to my car. I've had a rather good weekend. A good walk with my dog on Saturday morning followed by an afternoon on the beer with good friends. And a day out with family to PugFest yesterday.
I didn't really want to go to work this morning. I wanted another day of doing as I pleased. It was with something of a heavy heart that I set off to work. Doubly so. My laptop is playing up but the money I had earmarked to replace it needed to be spent on a new filtration system for the garden pond. After nearly nine years the pump has finally given up.
I drove out to Ark Aquatics at Chartham. "My Boy TM" had been most insistent that I paid Internet prices for the pond pump gear, and Ark Aquatics is an Internet-based bunch with an outlet in Chartham. They were *really* helpful (unlike other pond shops I've been to), and although the bits and pieces I bought came to over four hundred quid, it was not over the five hundred I was expecting to have to shell out.
Last night I slept better than I had done for some time (not that this is saying much) and over brekkie I saw that my SkyPlus box had spotted something that I had not. The third season of "The Last Ship" started on Sunday evening. I'd not seen that advertised but my wonderful SkyPlus box had. Being able to fast-forward through the adverts, a recording of an hour and five minutes took forty minutes to watch. It might have been better if I could have remembered what had happened in the last season, but I thought it was a rather good show anyway.
My litle dog watched it with me; just lately he's not got up in the mornings. I liked having him with me today. He looked hopefuly at my toast, but did't get any. Vet says he gets too many scraps and treats.
Bearing in mind yesterday evening's fun with the pond hoses I thought I might well be needing a couple of jubilee clips so I stopped off at B&Q before work. The service there is variable; today they were utterly disinterested. I couldn't find the jubilee clips, asked for help, and was told "probably aisle seven" by an assistant who clearly had better things to do with her time.
If I'd had more time I would have gone elsewhere. As it was I eventually found what I needed. As I paid the woman on the checkout made a point of directing me to their website to rate the service I'd received.
I got to work, and had a surprisingly busy day. I was glad when home time arrived. I went home via the pond shop; I'd phoned them during the day about my discrepant nozzle sizes and the nice man had found just the adaptor I needed, and threwin some extra hose for free.
My plan was to go home and crack on with the pond stuff. I got home to find "er indoors TM" , "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" were messing about in the garden with the paddling pool. I worked around them (which is easier said than done) and got the new filtration system up and running. It isn't very pretty - it needs a bit of fidling around and lansdscaping, but that can wait.
Despite a hot and humid night I slept through until nearly 5am. I got up, and went to have a look at the pond. It as pretty much as I'd left it last night. I'm not sure what I was expecting but I was somewhat releived to see the filter was still doing its thing. As I came back in to the house "Furry Face TM" started a woofing fit. I wish he wouldn't try to fight the local cats nearly two hours before most people get up.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Dad's Army"; it's back on the telly now the tennis has stopped. I then wrestled with a rather fiendish geo-puzzle. I *think* the thing involves a vignere cipher but I'm rather stumped with it.
There was some excitement as I drove to work this morning. Just as I was driving on to the ring road so a car sped out of one of the car parks hotly pursued by a police car. Within seconds a second police car sped past me with only inches to spare. I've since read on-line that this was supposedly some police training exercise, but friends of friends who saw this little episode within minutes of me seeing it mentioned that one car was deliberately trying to ram another. Surely police training exercises don't have innocent motorists scattering in all directions to avoid the chase? If what I saw was truly a training exercise I'd suggest whoever is in charge of the local police's training ought to have a re-think.
I came home, ran "Furry Face TM" round the park, then mowed the lawn. That worked up a sweat. Whilst I was there I had a look in the pond. Whilst it is far from being crystal clear it is certainly better than it was.
"er indoors TM" woke me at quarter to midnight. She'd been to look at the pond and seen the top of the filter box had been knocked off. Consequently water wasn't being filtered and returned to the pond but was pouring away. By the time she'd seen the problem the pond was three quarters empty.
This has never happened before in nine years of pond-ing. The obvious answer is that "Furry Face TM" got tangled in the cable when chasing cats. The cable is about small-dog-chest-height because the new cable is shorter than the old one. And this is why I was in B&Q buying stuff to connect electrical cables (to make it longer) yesterday.
If only I'd made that cable longer bd buried it in the shigle yesterday evening like I'd planned to do... Mind you I have speculated on giving the pond a change of water. If nothing else that is one job less to do.
Surprisingly I then slept through until after 7am. I got up to see that the pond was filling well. I then spent a couple of minutes making mental notes of what I might take to the tip later. And my dog then tiddled on each and every item I planned to take to the tip. I suppose he thinks he's being helpful.
Over brekkie I then carried on with with some geo-puzzles. Having wasted no end of brain-ache on vignere ciphers last night I suddenly realised (when I was told!) that cistercian and subsitiution was the way forward. After seriously straining my brain I finally ended up with the same decoding that Jo had got. I'm not saying we've got it right, but at least we are both wrong in the same way. So flushed with success I carried on decoding for a few minutes as I scoffed my toast until "My Boy TM" phoned. He'd seen the photos of pond disaster on Facebook, and he was instrumental in digging the pond all those years ago.
Once home I emptied my car of the tat which has accumulated in it over the last few weeks and then loaded up garden rubbish to take to the tip. The smelly part of the old filter went, as did the rotten garden edgings and the light fitting which blew our fuses the other day.
And so to the tip. As usual the people emptying their rubbish were bumbling about with no regard for anyone else, and the tip staff were looking down on everyone with utter contempt. Some things rarely change; Ashford's tip is one of them.
I then drove on to Bybrook Barn garden centre. I wanted some beach shingle; they only did coloured stones. So I drove out to Chartham garden centre. Thirty quid for six bags of shingle... this garden lark isn't cheap. As Ark Aquatics was there I got some finer filter mesh for the new filter. I had planned on a cuppa and a bit of cake, but time was short.
I did my bit, and came home to find "er indoors TM" had got the hairdresser in. So I sat about for over an hour waiting for the hairdresser to finish... I'd vaguely speculated on going to the midnight showing of the new Star Trek film. Hairdresser seemed to think this was pehaps the craziest sugestion in the history of the universe.
Over brekkie I had a look at my accounts. Having had last week's pond failure has taken its toll. The idea was that having done a bonus Saturday as overtime (a few weekends ago) I was supposd to be rather flush. The reality is that after payday (in two days time) I will have nine quid left. Oh well; I won't be replacing this lap-top any time soon. But I shouldn't grumble. Things could always be worse...
I put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we walked out to meet up with "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" . The most recent fruit of my loin had ordered some stuff from Argos, so we walked over to Willesborough to get it. I did think that her shorts were a silly idea, an a field full of stinging nettles proved me right.
We got to Argos; I had a look in their catalogue. The mini -shed in which the pond's electrics are housed is a little knackered. Regular readers of this drivel may recall me getting that shed on the day on which Michael Jackson's death was announced. Looking back at that blog entry I saw that I wasn't impressed with it at the time, and thought it would only last a year. It has lasted seven years...
Argos's catalogue has a small cupboard which would do to house the pond's electrics, but it cost forty quid. I thought I might shop around. Wickes had the same thing for over double the price... I decided that the shed might last a little longer.
With lawn edgings edged and electricals tidy, Sam helped me (i.e. did all the work) take up the stones from around my big dragon garden ornament, lift the membranes, re-landscape,replace membranes and generally restore the little shingled area to its former glory.
Kat, Sam and Jake then really had to go home. But I was so grateful for their help; we'd got loads done in the garden. Sam helped me load my car with loads of rubbish and they went their way and I went mine.
After the tip run I had a look at the mini-shed in which the pond's electricals live. It was knackered. And then I had a closer look. The shed itself was fine; it was just the roof that was knackered. So I had a rummage in the shed. I had roofing felt left over from when last fixed the main shed's roof. I had a little measure-up and popped round to B&Q for a roof-shaped lump of wood, then spent a happy half hour bashing roofing felt onto said lump of wood. Clouting things with a hammer is always fun, and I soon built new shed roof. An hour's work had given me a perfectly servicable shed again. Bearing in mind I realistically expected to have to replace the entire thing five years ago, I'm seeing this as something of a result.
I spent half a hour hunting out my secateurs, then made a start cutting back the jungle which flows over the fence from our troublesome neighbour's garden. After a couple of hours I looked at my watch. It was 6pm. 6pm ? The plan had been to garden until about mid-day.
I had hoped to lay the shingle I'd bought yesterday and to level up the new filter box. Also for all that the electricals have been tidied I really need to plumb them back into the wateproof housings. And 'd plpanned to iron eight shirts.
I popped up to the KFC to get some dinner. "er indoors TM" was out at her work's summer party. Her works parties don't take prisoners (!) so I wasn't expctinng her home any time soon. KFC was devoured whilst watching the fifth (or was it the seventh?) episode of "Game of Thrones". For all that I *really* do like that show, this episode was somewhat akin to a porno version of American wrestling.
I *could* have gone to see the "Star Trek" film this evening; Steve had phoned to ask if I was up for it. But I'd declined. A day's hard work in bright sunshine has taken its toll. I think an early night might be in order.
It was a rather hot and sweaty night. I woke up feeling rather bleaugh at 3am and lay awake; finally giving up and getting up at 5.15am. I went straight outside and had a little look round in the garden. For all that we'd worked endlessly yesterday, there wasn't really that much to see. This is why I dislike gardening so much; you bust a gut just to stay where you are.
Over a spot
of brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Little had changed overnight. But I did
see that the new geocache which had gone live in Bonnington on Thursday
morning was still unfound. Bearing in mind that Bonnington is six miles in
the wrong direction for work I set off about an hour earlier than I needed
to. Two minutes later I came back home to collect my wallet. Fifteen minutes
later I was in Bonnington.
So I guessed again that the answer might be supposed to be zero, and re-calculated. Eighty yards later I found myself at exactly the sort of place where I might hide a small plastic pot. Personally I felt that the sheep's jaw bone sitting fairly close to where I needed to search had been deliberately placed as a marker. I had a rummage and sure enough I was in the right place. I found the cache - no signatures on the log before me. I was the first one to find it. Happy dance... at 6.30am. Mind you it was a multi-cache. Getting First to Find on those is relatively easy; no one ever goes after multis (which is a shame).
I then spent much of the day sulking. Today wasn't a day on which I was rota-ed to work. I'd done a swap. But for all that the swap had actually suited me, "er indoors TM" and everyone else had gone off canoeing today.
I also could have gone to the beer festival in Canterbury. In fact that beer festival was only a mile away from where I was working. I *could* have rallied the troops and gone for a few pints after work. But I know what I'm like at a beer festival. Bearing in mind that money is tight at the moment, shelling out fifty quid just to feel ill the next day probably isn't a good plan.
However the "Create"
one is run by the council (at rate-payers expense) and I don't like
how it's run. Because it is only a couple of minutes walk from home I feel as
though I should go to it. And I go there to resent being body-searched by
paid thugs before being grudgingly allowed into the park which I walk round
five times every week. I also resent not being able to walk in with a bottle
of ale whilst drunk teenagers stagger in carrying slabs of cans of lager. And
I get arsey wasting my time and money watching on spotty dimbos who clearly
cannot work the ice cream machines they are paid to operate. And my piss
seriously boils when much of the park is fenced off for a week whist the
set-up and take-down is going on.
I got up and over brekkie spent a little while putting the word out about this week's astro club meeting. And then I had a little look-see at the travel news. There are serious delays at Dover at the moment due to the increased terrorrist threat. Interestingly all those people who only a few weeks ago were shouting about how important it is to leave the EU to have strong border controls were today grumbling all over Facebook about the consequences of having those strong border controls.
I got dressed. I had intended to go straight to work in the garden but my dog had other ideas. So I took him round the park for a walk. All sorts of people in hi-vis jackets (with council logos and council vans) were clearing up the carnage of yesterday's "Create" festival. Fudge tried to content himself with hoovering up the scraps of food which were everywhere. I *think* I stopped him.
I took it all apart and put it back together and plugged it into the extension cable I use for the lawnmower. It glowed brightly. I put it back onto the electrical extension I'd wired in on Friday and nothing happened. It is bodged with the lawnmower's cable for the time being. I'l sort it properly later in the week.
"My Boy TM" and Lacey arrived and the idea was that we would drive round to see "Daddies Little Angel TM". My mum and dad were visiting "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" . But it turned out that they only intended a flying visit and were gone before we could get there.
We had planned to go to Folkestone in the afternon to see the Alice in the Coastal Park show. But the chaos on the motorways made going to Folkestone an impractical idea. So we had a family barby in the garden instead. I took a few photos - not a bad way to spend the afternoon. Having spent so much time, effort and money getting the garden half-way decent we might as well use it...
I slept better than I might have done, put some washing on, and over brekkie I had a little look-see on line. There is one chap who appears on some of the natonal geocaching Facbook groups from time to time. Either deliberately or inadvertatly, he seems to give offence at every turn. Whe he joined the Wherigo group (which I started) I was warned about him (and if he pisses about in there once more he's out). I won't say who he is, that might be mean. But I had a little smile this morning. Having seemingly spent all year alienating himself he's going to tthe national week-long meet-up next week, and was asking (on a nation-wide forum) if anyone would buddy up with him.
I then had a look at the pond as I hung the washing out. Having got the UV lamp going yesterday and having run it for a day was hoping for rather clearer water. Perhaps it is time to resort to chemicals?
I then walked "Furry Face TM" round to meet "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". We walked along one of our favourite footpaths (which was rather overgrown) and "Furry Face TM" chased frogs. We found a play-park but "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was more interested in watching the nearby bulldozers.
I then watched last night's episode of "The Last Ship" and took myself off to bed for the afternoon. Despite the heat I slept rather well. An episode of "Upstairs Downstairs" and then I'm off to the night shift...
I stopped off at Go Outdoors on my way to work last night. Pretty much every member of staff asked if they could help me. They always do that when I'm just browsing. When I want help, they don't come anywhere near me.
As I browsed I saw someone who looked incredibly familiar. I watched from a distance and eventually realised it was a chap with who I'd worked many years ago. Probably about seven or eight years older than me, he'd married the older sister of an old primary school friend of mine. The last I'd heard of him he was still living in Hastings; I wonder what he was doing in Canterbury.
Mind you this chap was one (of several) who'd made my three years of working at the Royal East Sussex Hospital an absolute misery. He hadn't noticed me so I made a point of not letting him notice me. Mind you I'd recognised him after thirty-odd years, I doubt he would have recognised me.
I got to work; I was having a sulk. For all that I really don't mind the night shift when I get there, I wasn't keen on actually going and doing it. But it's not a bad game. I can have the radio turned to Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra all night long. I don't think anyone would put up with that if I wasn't alone.
The radio droned on in the background as I worked. There was a documentary about Hilary Clinton, there were tales of Dick Barton. And there was something which frankly amazed me. In the more remote parts of Malawi some men are paid to be "Hyenas". People who live there believe that immediately following the onset of their first period, young girls must have sex with a "Hyena" or calamity and disaster will befall the entire family. And (for exactly the same inexplicable reasons) newly widowed women must have sex with a "Hyena" before they can bury her recently deceased husband. And all these sexual encounters must be without condoms or they "won't count"
There was an interview with one such "Hyena". Needless to say this chap had recently had an HIV test and was HIV positive. He was quite open that he didn't want this fact made public as it was bad for business.
I set the washing machine loose on some whites and then took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk. We wandered rather aimlessly, ending up at the vets where I popped him on the scales. He's not gained weight since the last weigh-in, but neither has he lost any. His weight remains constant at almost eleven kilogrammes. Which is at least two too many.
Once home I hung out the washing and saw the nice lady next door. She's expecting another baby and the two-bedroomed house is too small for them. Mind you they like the area and are only moving round the corner. I wonder who will be next in that house?
Yesterday I mentioned something I heard on the radio about how in the more remote parts of Malawi some men are paid to be "Hyenas". People who live there believe that immediately following the onset of their first period, young girls must have sex with a "Hyena" or calamity and disaster will befall the entire family. And (for exactly the same inexplicable reasons) newly widowed women must have sex with a "Hyena" before they can bury her recently deceased husband. And all these sexual encounters must be without condoms or they "won't count"
There had been interview with one such "Hyena" who was HIV positive. He was quite open that he didn't want this fact made public as it was bad for business. It turns out that it wasn't just me listening to the radio that night. Last night's radio carried the news that the Malawi government had heard it too. The chap who was interviewed has been captured and arrested.
I came home and took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. Something of a lonely walk as "Daddies Little Angel TM" had taken "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" to "brat brigade". She does that on Wednesdays. So as we walked I took a few video shots of my dog using my phone's camera. Once home I used the video-making app on my PC to bodge together a litle movie. The PC said it would take a little while so I left it going, I put the grubby racks from the barbecue into the dishwasher and went to bed.
I then had a look at my video. I'm quite pleased with "The Adventures of Fudge #1"; I may well make some more. Mind you having posted it on Facebook I was rather disappointed with its apparent lack of popularity.
I slept for over eight hours last night. It is amazing what two night shifts can do. Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line and got a little bit cross. Lloyds bank are axing three thousand jobs and closing two hundred branches. They are blaming the decision on Brexit. Perhaps the decision to leave the EU is to blame for the job losses. Perhaps it is not. I don't know. But the decision to leave and he decision to axe has been made.
I shall allow allow myself an "I told you so" rant. But not about the rights and wrongs of Lloyds, or the decision to leave the EU. Instead I shall rant about those who made the decision to leave the EU.
One was bewailing Lloyd's decision and ranting about why the new government is actually going through with Brexit when "everyone *knew* the UK would never leave regardless of the referendum's result". She had voted "out" as some sort of protest; safe in the knowledge that the UK would stay in the EU (which was what she actually wanted).
And another chap (who at the time didn't understand the issues and so voted out because his mum ordered him to) was ranting about why didn't "they" see this coming. This chap is now (too late) in the "remain" camp because his mum has changed her mind.
Flushed with success then spent an hour or so in the garden. I replaced the electrical connector (for the UV light extension) I got from B&Q with a new one from Homebase. This seemed to work; I was pleased about that. Hopefully the pond electrics are now sorted for a little while. And so having freed up the extension cable I use for the lawnmower I used said cable for the lawnmower. If only I can mow the lawn weekly then it doesn't get too bad.
I strimmed the lawn edges in record time as well. I've often griped that the strimmer's cable doesn't last. When using it I'm replacing it every thirty seconds. "My Boy TM" suggested using cable ties in place of strimmer cable. They lasted about a minute. So I had this idea to use left-over washing line. It is rather thick and it goes through the grass like a rubber duck. What usually takes twenty minutes was done in two.
I then did a little preparation for the geo-meet I'm staging in August; it is amazing how long it takes to write a simple web page. And with a few minutes spare I had a look-see on-line at prices of new lap-tops. My current one is about eight years old and needs replacing. I've been recommeded the Samsung xe700t1 and the Dell XPS13. Neither are cheap.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM", drove down to collect Lisa, and we set off to Otford. Earlier in the week I'd asked if anyone was free for a walk. Six of us (and two dogs) had good walk up hill and down dale. Bearing in mind we finished where we started, somehow there was a lot more "up" than "down". We met a rather threatening herd of cows, Fudge rolled *near* fox poo and I inadvertently dragged him through it. And I even manged to take a tumble at one point. But it was a good walk; being out in the countryside with friends is always good. I took a few photos whilst we walked. I do that...
"er indoors TM" did a rather good bit of dinner this evening. We had a bottle of proseco with it. For all that everyone raves about proseco I found it rather tasteless. And as we scoffed and guzzled we watched a film. For all that everyone raves about The Hunger Games, it has ben playing for over an hour and nothing has actually happened yet...
I put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went out to meet up with "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" . We went round to the park and wreaked havoc in the play-park. Then the dogs had a swim... well Fudge had a swim. Sid watched from a safe distance. We then fed the ducks. All passed off relatively peacefully. Something of a shame really as I made a little video of our walk and was hoping for something exciting to have hapened. Never mind - the video wasn't that bad. You can watch it by clicking here.
I then had a spot of lunch whilst watching "Game of Thrones". I had to rewind it twice as I fell asleep. And then I sat about waiting for Jimbo to arrive. Apparently he wanted to collect something. After a wasted hour I found out he was collecting something from somewhere else.
I drove out to Tesco to get more petrol as the car was nearly empty. The petrol pumps at Tesco keep stopping whenever I use them. After a *lot* of struggling I got enough petrol to get me to Morrisons and decided that would do. Their petrol pumps work. And their petrol is cheaper.
I went into Tesco to have a look at new laptops. They were all boxed, and with no assistants to be seen I drove over to PC World. Or that was my plan. I got to where PC World used to be. It had gone. Whilst looking at an empty building I met Gordon of all people (he lives in Battle !) He reminded me that PC World relocated about a year or so ago. They are now by the vets just near my house. Woops!
So I drove to where PC World actually is. I found a really helpful assistant. After half an hour I gave him lots of money (that I couldn't really afford) to set up the new laptop which I shall collect next week.
Once home spent a little sorting out a mistake on the astro club's web site. Then I spent a little while rummaging to see how many bisons I had got (it's a geo-thing) before setting off to McDonalds. I met up with Jimbo, Stevey, Sarah and Steve. We sat outside where I couldn't hear a word being said because of the screaming of the ill-behaved brats who were running riot.
We then went on to astro club. We had a really good meeting; a guest speaker who was excellent, and Stevey's talk was really good too. If we can carry on in this vein then I'd say we would be back on track.
I set the alarm for 6am today; I was wide awake at 5.30am. For me that's not bad at all. I got up, abluted and had a look-see on-line. I banged off a quick email of thanks to the chap who'd spoken to the astro club last night. I thought he had been rather good. We'll have to have him back again.
wasted twenty minutes aimlessly roaming the local streets desperately trying
to remember where I'd parked my car last night. Eventually I found it and set
off to work. As I drove the radio was broadcasting its usual tripe. One article made me think. Since
supermarket have been charging five pence for carrier bags, supermarkets have
apparently used eighty five per cent less of the things. Clearly the general
public are re-using their bags; which is what the idea of charging for them
was all about. All I can say is I'm not. I still forget to pick one up when I
go out and end up buying one. My locker at work is stuffed full of them.
And (to my mind) this is *exactly* what is wrong with our country today. We as a nation live on past glories. So many people take national victories that happened years ago so personally. I know of several people who still crow about this 1966 football success as though it happened yesterday. My own brother often harps on about this football match referring to it as when "we beat the krauts" even though he was born five years after it happened.
I had a rather restless night. However having lain awake for an age I got up, walked about, went back to bed and nodded off right away. I have a theory that my nasal polyps swell up when I lay down (and wake me up because I can't breathe) and on getting up the swelling subsides. I can then breathe again and so getting up solves the problem.
I resisted the temptation to fiddle with my new laptop over brekkie. "er indoors TM" collected it for me yesterday. I'd left it with PC World on Friday to let them do the awkward fiddling about and setting up, and "er indoors TM" had plumbed it into the home network yesterday. I had a little mess about with it on-line last night, but I've still got a load of farting about to do with it. I need to copy over a ton of stuff from the old laptop... but before I do that I need to go through the old stuff and see what is worth keeping and what is not. Then I need to see what apps and programs I need. FireFox, Paint Shop Pro, Urwigo and GSAK are musts that immediately spring to mind. I also need to get to grips with the new version of Microsoft Office. I spent eight years on the old laptop fannying around with OpenOffice. It was a good enough freebie, but had many limitations; for example it had no spell checker. So now (if nothing else) future blog entries might not have quite so many howlers in them now that I'm back using proper Office.
But with so much to do I thought I'd best leave it till I had some time. Instead of farting about with a new laptop I watched "Dad's Army" instead. Private Pike got his head stuck in some railings. Stupid boy !
And so to work. I'd made a point of remembering where I'd parked and so didn't waste any time like I did yesterday. The pundits on the radio were talking about some chap who did a world record sky dive yesterday. He went up in a plane and jumped from twenty five thousand feet. But he jumped without a parachute. Instead of a parachute he aimed for a large net. Fortunately for him (and the spectators), he landed in the net.
There was then something which made me ponder. Apparently there is a census going on in Australia soon. The Australian Atheists Brigade (or whatever they are called) are calling on the public to fill out the census properly.
Apparently if someone puts their religion as "atheist" or "no religion" then the census records it. But if someone treats the question as a joke and puts their religion as "Jedi" or "football" or something else equally silly then the census does not record it. They just treat it as nonsense. (But having an invisible friend is taken seriously. Go figure!)
The head honcho of the Australian Atheists Brigade was on the radio saying that at the last census "no religion" got twenty two per cent of the religious vote; only three per cent behind Catholics (which was the highest-rated religion in the census).
But for all that (supposedly) thousands put down "Jedi" or "football" or something else equally silly, the actual figure wasn't recorded. If these people would put down "no religion" or "Atheist" then Catholics might get knocked from the number one spot. This is a matter of some importance for the Australian Atheists Brigade.
Personally I would have thought that these people might have had something better to do with their time. I'm an accredited minister of the Church of the Apathetic Agnostic, and those who aren't apathetic about their disbelief wind me up . So many atheists get just as confrontational in their non-beliefs as the religious-types do with their beliefs.
I got to work and sulked. I don't mind working at the weekends when it is raining. To be honest it often rains when I am working at the weekends. But today was rather sunny. And was rather hard work too...