1 July 2022 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
Being on a rostered day off I had something of a lie-in before taking the dogs to the woods. As we drove Bono was on “Desert Island Discs” playing all sorts of music of which I have never heard before, as everyone does when on that show.
I’ve often wondered what I would choose as my eight desert island discs if I had to choose… Today it would be (listed alphabetically)
But I suspect the list would be different tomorrow.
We got to the woods. I parked as close to the wood as I could and let the dogs loose. Bailey did her usual trick of running into the woods shouting like a thing possessed; it’s a habit I’d like her to stop. Seeing one of the normal people was a few yards ahead and taking our usual route we walked a different way round the wood. We chased a huge squirrel (probably about the size of Bailey), got covered in mud (which was chest deep on Morgan) and there was crying (very loud crying) when Bailey found herself on the other side of a thicket from everyone else and thought she was lost. She was only lost for about ten seconds, but you wouldn’t believe how loud the noise of heartbreak was from such a small dog.
We came home for a bath, then as the dogs snored I spent much of the day ironing all the laundry generated in the last week or so (including all the stuff from the holiday). It took some ironing.
And with it ironed I uploaded last month’s blog entries to the backup storage (eventually). I’d tried last night and not got anywhere. After quite a bit of help from the nice people at 123 (and some farting about) it seemed that my VPN was preventing uploading. Uploading worked when it was turned off and didn’t when it was turned on. The nice man at 123 said he’d never heard of this before
VPN? My VPN came as a freebie when the antivirus was upgraded earlier in the week. And like most IT upgrades it would seem to have been a backwards step. And with the VPN disabled I uploaded my latest CPD project, and wrote up a little more CPD.
“er indoors TM” boiled up fish and chips for dinner and as we scoffed we watched a film. We’d recorded “The Favourite” months ago and it was… I won’t say it was crap. It was actually rather good, if a tad strange, and the film didn’t do itself any favours by just stopping in mid-scene. I’ve looked the ending up on-line; apparently there are several theories as to what that was all about.
And today’s bird is “Dunnock” (that’s posh for “sparrow”). So far all these birds rather sound the same.
2 July 2022 (Saturday) - Bit of a Lazy Day
This morning the laptop’s McAfee LiveSafe thingy told me that in the last month it had blocked over two thousand risky connections. Had it? That’s over sixty a day. Bearing in mind since the upgrade last week there is barely a website that the thing doesn’t see as a threat (it *really* don’t like You-Tube!) I wonder if it is being a tad over-sensitive?
I wasted an hour fighting with a geo-puzzle. It is clearly all about the distances from Earth of the stars in the constellation Cassiopeia, but I can’t find any two lists of those distances which agree with each other; let alone give me the thumbs-up from the checker.
We got the leads on to the dogs and took them for a little walk. Rather than sticking to what we know we went to Dungeness and had a little wander around the beach. We had a rather good walk; marred only by the normal people who are clearly terrified at the thought of their dog ever meeting another dog. One of those people saw the puppies and snatched up their precious princess and held it at arm’s length whist our dogs looked on wondering “WTF is going on”.
We took a scenic route home via several Romney Hythe & Dymchurch railway stations (for geo-reasons), and spent the afternoon in the garden drinking eastern European lager whilst the dogs slept.
Not a bad lazy day really… Having done incredibly little today, I feel exhausted.
3 July 2022 (Sunday) - Before the Night Shift
As I peered into Facebook this morning several friends were ranting about the Halifax Building Society’s decision to have personal pronouns on their staff name badges so anyone can tell at a glance which gender any member of staff identifies as.
friends were saying what a good thing this was, others weren’t so impressed.
I can’t help but feel that if someone born as a male feels they are actually a woman (or vice versa) and wish to
identify as such, then that is their right. Speaking for myself as a nearly
sixty-year-old five foot eight seventeen stone baldy
I identify as a six foot six fourteen stoner with a full head of hair in his
mid-twenties… Sadly identifying as such changes nothing. And whatever anyone
“identifies as” has no bearing at all on their ability to do their job
for the Halifax Building Society. (Does it?)
There was also a lot of whinging about the (supposedly) dire state of the shops in Ashford’s town centre. People were bemoaning how there is little more than overpriced coffee shops, hairdressers, nail salons and tattoo artists, and they wanted to see more when aimlessly wandering round the place. What more do people want from a town centre? Surely the days of department stores and chain stores are long gone. Pretty much anything I want can be left on my doorstep (note that’s “left on my doorstep” and not “delivered to my doorstep”) by Amazon.
Only a couple of weeks ago a colleague was complaining that they’d visited the Ashford Outlet Centre and spent a fortune on stuff they didn’t really want. When I asked why they’d gone to the Ashford Outlet Centre I was told it was “something to do”.
“Going shopping” is a rather expensive pastime, isn’t it?
And I saw I’d missed a geo-meet this morning. Am I being rather paranoid in thinking that had been a rather well-kept secret?
We took the dogs to the woods for a walk. Being the weekend it was rather hard work; he woods were filled with normal people and their dogs, and heaven forbid that the dogs of normal people should ever met another dog (the dogs don’t have an issue, but the normal people do).
And with walk walked we came home where I spent the afternoon asleep.
Being the first day of the Munzee Clan War I shall Munz a little on my way to work… and then I’m doing the night shift… unless I get a better offer in the meantime.
I can’t imagine a better offer coming though… As always a day before a night shift is (sadly) a day wasted.
4 July 2022 (Monday) - Bit Tired
Last night’s night shift was probably one of the better ones. I think I would have preferred it if the day that was wasted before ethe night shift hadn’t been a Sunday though.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing the Minister for something-or-other about the spiralling costs of child care. It was claimed that the average family in the UK spend about twenty per cent of their income on child care whereas in Germany that figure is one per cent. The Minister for something-or-other claimed that the reasons for this were many, and he was looking into it. It strikes me the reason for this is straightforward. Germany has (according to Wikipedia) a “liberal-left coalition government” whilst here in the UK we’ve got the Conservative party with a stonking majority.
For those of my loyal readers who feel I’m knocking the government, I’m not at all. This is a simple statement of fact. A “liberal-left coalition government” will pay for such things as childcare (by taxing the electorate) whereas a Conservative government with a stonking majority will not. That’s how the two of them operate.
Mind you the obvious question is where do the Germans get the money to pay for child care? No one on the radio asked that question. How much more tax does the average German family pay compared to the average family in the UK?
These pundits on the radio never give the full story, do they?
Once home I took the dogs out. We went to Orlestone where we had a good walk. The puppies met some Spaniel friends and bothered them (as puppies do). One of the older Spaniels was a tad grumpy and told the puppies off, which was good for them.
And with walk walked I went to bed and slept right up until someone with an utterly incomprehensible accent phoned me trying to sell me something. I *think* it might have been a new phone he was hawking; after five minutes I told him that I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, and he would be better off bothering someone else. After I’d repeated myself three times he hung up. I think understood me as poorly as I understood him.
Presumably some people buy these things or the companies wouldn’t keep randomly phoning people… would they?
Finding myself awake (which was more than the dogs were) I made toast and had a look at the Internet and my piss boiled. I follow my local MP on Facebook… he mentioned that he’s taking the week off of politics as he’s just become a grandfather for the first time.
Having a grandchild is a wonderful thing… and so must be being able to take an extra week off work to celebrate. I didn’t take any time off work for the births of “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” or “Darcie Waa Waa TM” as doing so wasn’t possible. I was also back at work immediately after both fruits of my loin were born, let alone grandchildren.
I then had a little look on the government’s web sites. Parliament closes down for fifteen weeks every year so it’s not like he’s short of leave. and bearing in mind the way MPs are paid I can’t help but wonder if this week off is paid or unpaid. Though with an eighty-four-thousand pounds salary to say nothing of all the other little earners you’ve got on the go, it’s not like he can’t afford an unpaid week off work, is it?
Yet again I find myself questioning my career choices…
Oh – and the TV show “Quantum Leap” is coming back… Could be good. I’m actually rather looking forward to it, though I wonder if I will ever see it. Back in the day you turned on the telly and chose your channel. But as so many TV shows go to so many obscure channels (which all charge), watching telly is sadly becoming an expensive proposition.
5 July 2022 (Tuesday) - Time for a Change?
The alarm woke me this morning; not a usual occurrence. I blame yesterday's night shift. Am I too old to still be doing night shifts? I chivvied the puppies into the garden and went out with them. Yesterday afternoon I left the back door open and let them come and go. After coming and going followed by a couple of hours of having been sitting with me, Bailey suddenly threw up far too much semi-digested dog poop (how delightful!), so this morning I wanted to be sure she wasn't eating that which she shouldn't.
With poops done (and not eaten) the puppies flew upstairs before I could catch them. I thought about retrieving them, but I could hear Treacle growling at them. I stayed well out of it, and watched "Orange is the New Black" before setting off to work via several Points of Interest. (It's a Munzee thing)
As I drove I listened to the news. Ex Prime Minister David Cameron once referred to Boris Johnson as a "slippery piglet" referring to his ability to get away with pretty much everything and anything. He looks set to get away with the latest scandal, having now supposedly been aware of all the allegations surrounding the so-called "sex pest" MP Chris Pincher. Far too much air-time was wasted on the matter; the Prime Minister has got away with far worse. Having appointed someone to the office of deputy chief whip despite their having a chequered history is peanuts compared to what he's done in the past. And (in his defence) from what I can see, there's precious few MPs without some scandal or other in their past from whom the Prime Minister can choose.
Meanwhile out old friend Science has suggested that only lady cyclists should use the saddle. Male cyclists should cycle in a standing position to avoid injury to the "flowers and frolics"... One lives and learns.
I did my bit at work. At tea break I had a message from an old trainee. For many years I oversaw the training of students. Each student would spend up to four years going through a course of formal training and studying before eventually becoming state registered. I would liaise with their university tutors, setting and marking a lot of their work. I would oversee their professional training. Over this time each one had smiles and tears. Over the year there were twenty-five of them; I remember them all. One or two have left professional blood testing. Most have stayed in the NHS and have moved on. Most are now in far more senior positions than I have ever held.
One is now a senior manager in the private sector… and wants me to come work in her lab… Do I want to? Ten years ago when I was in a very different place (both literally and metaphorically) I would have jumped at the opportunity. Now… I’m quite content where I am, and just want a quiet life until I retire.
But I do miss my trainees.
Do they do night shifts in the private sector?
6 July 2022 (Wednesday) - A Temporary Secondment
As I drove to work (via various point of interest) the pundits on the radio were talking about the latest disaster to befall the Prime Minister. Perhaps "disaster to befall the Prime Minister" is the wrong phrase as yet again he is up to his neck in a pile of poop that he himself has crapped out.
Having got sick and tired of him the Health Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer have both resigned (and subsequently stuck the knife in) together with various other lesser dignitaries. But yet again that idiot Alexander De Pfeffel (“Boris Johnson” is *not* the Prime Minister's actual name!) is carrying on as though nothing has happened. I'm sure that all sorts of other things must have happened in the world today, but very little else was covered in the morning's news.
Mind you there was an interview with a retired general who made an interesting point. Following the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, not only have Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO, but (apparently) every tin-pot little country in the world is now clamouring to have its own nuclear arsenal. The general consensus is that the Russians would never have invaded the Ukraine if the Ukrainians had nukes. I suppose the general has made a valid point. There is no point on picking on someone who is strong enough to hit back, is there?
Is “Mutually Assured Destruction” still a deterrent?
I got to work; I did my bit... for half an hour. Then was asked if I wouldn't mind going to Pembury. I didn't mind; it would be a day out. So I drove off through a glorious morning through some rather pretty scenery, and continued doing my bit when I arrived.
As we worked the subject of electric cars came up. Apparently there are about forty two thousand charging points for electric cars in the UK. However the UK will need 2.3 million of the things within the next eight years to meet the government's plans to phase out petrol usage.
So (having a degree in maths!) I worked out that we've got just under two per cent of the charging points that the country will need. Is creating over two million more in the next eight years feasible? Are electric cars a viable option? Seriously?
Also as we talked some of the younger members of staff (they are *all* younger members of staff!) were discussing being "old". Once pointed out that she was closer to thirty than she was to twenty. "That's funny" I remarked. "So am I !" And the place collapsed in uproar.
7 July 2022 (Thursday) - Good Riddance
After I had my morning ablutions I stood on the scales. The half a stone I put on over my recent holiday has now come off, which was something of a result. Leaving “er indoors TM” and the dogs all snoring, rather than hunting out Points of Interest I drove into Stanhope where I found no end of Jewels, Weapons and Flat Friends (never a dull moment with Munzee!) And whilst I was at it got to being a level 120 Munzer.
I then set off west-wards to work. The pundits on the radio were all of a-twitter about the state of the government. Having been told by all and sundry that it is time for him to go, The Prime Minister was still refusing to throw in the towel; having sacked Michael Gove (who had been one of his staunchest allies). As the radio show went on the resignations of four ministers was announced live and as they happened, and by the time I got to Pembury over fifty members of the government had told that idiot "Johnson" (not his real name) to stick their ministerial appointment up his arse.
As the day wore on the news came through that "Boris" had finally got the message and resigned. Mind you he intends to remain in post until a successor is appointed... as Ivor Biggun once said, he's "going to hang around like a fart in a Volkswagen". It has been claimed that he wants to remain in office for a few more weeks as he's planning a big party for his wedding anniversary and plans to stage it at Chequers (the Prime Minister's country house paid for by the taxpayer). If he does that as Prime Minister, the taxpayer will pay for it. If he does that as a private citizen he will have to put his hand in his pocket.
Is this true? I don’t know, but quite frankly nothing would surprise me about this bloke. He is the fifth Prime Minister to go whilst I've been blogging. Some have been mediocre, some bad, but this is the first one to whom I would say "good riddance to old rubbish".
Mind you (not that I want him to stay) there was a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister only the other week in which he came out with the thumbs-up, and that was supposed to have settled the matter, wasn't it? We've been told (seemingly constantly) over the last six years that the far closer result of the Brexit referendum was binding for all eternity. And now it seems that Boris is to go, no matter how anyone voted. Funny old world...
There was also talk about how "downblousing" is to be made a criminal offence. A little while ago the law was amended so taking indecent photographs up women's skirts was made illegal. but for some inexplicable reason it remains permissible to take photos down their tops. I am reminded of the production of spirits (whisky, gin, etc...) It is illegal to distil your own by boiling up the stuff and condensing the alcoholic vapour. But going the other way (in a temperature sort of way) and freezing out the unwanted water is perfectly legal. (I've done it myself)
Why is there these loopholes in the law? Because whoever made the laws in the first place never thought it through. As always the law has been written by those who don't actually think about what they are doing.
As I drove I stopped off in the little shop in Sissinghust and got some bottles of decent beer for our next walk, and a cheese an bacon wrap for second brekkie. And once at work had that second brekkie with a cup of coffee. All rather good!
Work was work… I did my bit.
Once (eventually) home “er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a decent bottle of plonk. And then I had a glass of plonk with some cheese and biscuits, and I shared the drier more dull wafers with the dogs.
They absolutely love the dry wafers.
8 July 2022 (Friday) - This n That
As I drove to work through the -hursts and the -dens the pundits on the radio were all of a twitter about what happens now that the Prime Minister has thrown in the sponge. There was endless speculation; the reality of the matter is that things will slide and no one will take command as Britain has an "unwritten constitution". An "unwritten constitution" means that there aren't actually any written rules which lay down how the country is run, and so when something unusual happens, anything that happens is made up by those making it up as the go along. This presupposes that there is someone willing to stand up and make something up... and this isn't happening right now.
As the sport news was drivelled out I realised something. When there was talk of rugby or tennis or cricket or pro-celebrity arm wresting, then that sport was mentioned by name. However there were plenty of references to "the league" and "the cup" and "the women's euros". It seems that football is so important that it doesn't need to be explicitly mentioned. The implication is that everyone automatically knows that in the absence of any specified sport it is football that is being discussed. I wish I know why football is so popular; to me it is *so* tedious.
There was then an interview with Angela Rayner the deputy leader of the Labour Party. She squawked on (she didn't speak; she really did squawk) without actually saying anything; flatly refusing to answer any question that was put to her. You would think that with the government in such disarray the Labour party would be streets ahead in the polls wouldn't you? But they aren’t. If a general election was called tomorrow, there would be a hung parliament.
If the Labour party can't command a majority now, they never will.
Meanwhile Science has made a discovery. For some time astronomers have had something of a dilemma. Most of the universe is made of stuff called "dark matter", and astronomers have been rather embarrassed by the fact they can't actually find any of the stuff. Now Science has come up with the reason why not... There's no such thing as "dark matter".
One lives and learns...
Oh… my day was a tad dull today.
9 July 2022 (Saturday) - A Hot Day
As I peered into Facebook as I scoffed brekkie I saw that quite a few people were selling off their fishing gear today. Have you seen the price of fishing tackle? I’ve mentioned it before; it ain’t cheap. When I was a lad I used to go fishing and pay for pretty much everything I needed out of my pocket money. Anything that was beyond that budget (rod, reel, tackle bags and holdalls) weren’t beyond the budget of grinning hopefully at a grandparent and saying I’d been a good boy. These days the same odds and sods (hooks, floats, weights, bit of bait) that would have cost a small fraction of a child’s weekly pocket money would set you back the thick end of forty quid.
There were also a few posts from teacher friends saying no one is ever as tired as a teacher at the end of term and how today sees the start of their (two-month) summer holiday. I thought about making sarcastic and bitter comments but thought better of doing so.
Pausing only briefly for Bailey to be sick I got dressed and cracked on with what promised to be a rather dull day.
I went into the front garden and spent an hour or so pulling weeds out of the cracks in the concrete. As I pulled I exchanged pleasantries with passers-by. As I was pulling I realised I was being watched. There was a nurse (in nurse uniform) who remarked “you’re doing well today, Mr. Smith”. From my reaction she then asked if I was Mr. Smith. She seemed rather miffed that I wasn’t, and after a little fiddling around it turned out that whilst she was at the right number house, she was in the wrong street. She wanted Beaver Lane, rather than Beaver Road.
I pulled weeds out of the cracks in the concrete in the back garden then took Bailey to the vet. She needed a check-up before Monday’s surgery. (I don’t know why Morgan didn’t)
All seemed well; it was a shame she had to bark at an Alsatian, but the Alsatian wasn’t bothered.
We came home and I then took a pair of garden scissors to the edges of the stepping stones that go up the lawn until “er indoors TM” came up with some scran. She’d baked a loaf which we scoffed with real butter. Very tasty.
She then went off shopping and I carried on in the garden generally tidying up. As I tidied a helicopter came past followed by a spitfire doing barrel rolls. What was that all about?
By this time I’d been working in the garden for about five hours. The garden looks OK, but (in all honesty) doesn’t look very different from how it did when I started.
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate gardening?
“My Boy TM”, Cheryl and Ro-Ro popped in. They seemed well. And once they’d popped off we took the dogs to the woods as it had cooled down a bit by then. Morgan rather disgraced himself by trying to pick a fight with a passing Spaniel, and compounded his disgrace by bothering a rather amorous couple. To be honest if anyone is planning to “do the dirty deed” in Orlestone Woods I’d suggest getting off of the main paths and being a little less conspicuous.
We ran into this couple a little later in the car park where they were trying to suck each other’s faces off. Ain’t love sweet?
I had thought today was going to be dull. It wasn’t quite as dull as it might have been. But it was as hot as had been forecast (*very* hot!) and that together with all the crouching and crawling doing the weeding has taken its toll.
I really ache… and feel a bit grim too.
10 July 2022 (Sunday) - Dinner Alfresco
The night was uneventful… in years gone by the second Saturday in July would have been spent at Brighton Kite Festival, and usually featured torrential rain.
I miss the fun at Brighton Kite Festival, but looking back how much of it was going to a kite festival, and how much was a cheap camping weekend?
I made toast and as I scoffed it I had a look at Facebook. The local Green Party candidate was extolling the virtues (banging the drum?) of an electoral system based on proportional representation. It strikes me that whilst proportional representation will be more representative of the voting of the electorate as a whole, but we would still have a system in which the considered opinion of an educated person is still of no more worth than the whim of a half-wit.
For example I once worked with a woman who very loudly advocated the Conservative party (and did volunteer work for them) because her father one said she was a “true blue”. She didn’t agree with any of their policies though, and everything she felt was a good idea was pure Labour party propaganda.
neighbour stopped voting Labour and voted Conservative when her husband got a
supervisory position because “we are now management, and management vote
It’s long been recognised that for a lot of people voting for the winner is more important than any of the issues being voted for. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_behavior - I know several people who voted “remain” in the Brexit referendum and feel cheated because they didn’t vote for the winning side.
Why not push for a scheme in which voting is only open to those who actually understand what is going on…
Or am I just being unreasonable.
(Thinking about it, I wonder if such a policy would seriously increase the Green vote !)
We got the leads onto the dogs and went out for a walk before it got too hot. The plan was to walk part of the Greensand Way sorting out one or two of my geocaches that supposedly had issues. Sadly we found ourselves following some idiot with a huge dog that was far stronger than he was. The idiot’s dog wanted to come bother us, and the idiot didn’t have the brains (or the strength) to clear off.
We gave up and came home. It was too hot for the dogs anyway.
Once home I had a little tidy-up. The nice man who’d done our kitchen came to collect one of the broken units (that the kitchen people replaced). He had a use for it; I had been planning to take it up to the tip. I’d rather the thing got used.
I then had a little sweep up, and did a little maintenance on some of the water features. I had planned to clear some of the rubbish out of the shed in readiness for a tip run but it was too hot to do that. That will keep. Instead we put up the event shelter, and whilst “er indoors TM” got ready for the evening I had a little doze until Jose and Maria arrived.
We then had a rather good evening; dinner in the garden was very good, and we played snapchat. Snapchat is a bit like mojitos; how can I have gone so long without it…?
11 July 2022 (Monday) - Getting the Puppies "Done"
Yesterday I mentioned some of the stupid things that stupid people of my acquaintance had said with regards to voting. The stupid were out in force again on Facebook today as I scoffed my toast. One chap was posting on the garden ponds forum saying that it is common knowledge that topping up a garden pond with tap water is a very bad thing to do (is it? – that’s what I do!) The same chap was wondering if he might use the water from his children’s paddling pool to fill his fish pond as he was keen to recycle. I couldn’t help but wonder what he used to fill his kids’ paddling pool. Bottles of Evian, perhaps?
And I had an invitation to join “Restore Trust”; a breakaway fringe of the National Trust. It would seem that there is some serious bickering and in-fighting going on in the ranks of the National Trust. Some people will argue about anything.
I also saw there had been a sci-fi convention over the weekend focussing on “Blake’ Seven”. Not that I would have gone, but more and more I’m finding that the sci-fi conventions which were such fun twenty years ago are now very much a closely guarded secret; any publicity for the things only emerging after the event.
Such a shame.
I got the puppies onto their leads and walked them down the road to the vet where I left them with the nurse. Today was the day of “being done”. Part of me wasn’t happy with the idea, but it will (hopefully) have a calming influence on Morgan, and Bailey is too small to have puppies of her own.
I came home, and took Treacle out.
We drove out to Hemsted forest where three years ago I hid a series of geocaches. They’ve been found a hundred and seventy times (each) and have run their course. Three of them were reported to be missing, and I had a choice between either replacing the missing ones, or pulling the lot in. Whilst the woods are a good place to walk the dogs, the place is seriously overgrown with brambles in the summer and is a swamp in the winter. It’s over half an hour’s drive away and so doing any maintenance is something of an issue. Things wouldn’t be quite so bad if people were to do the decent thing by checking to see if any are missing before they go out and offering to replace the missing ones for me. But (for the most part) people don’t. Instead they leave snarky comments expecting me to spend half a day replacing the missing pot that they could replace in a matter of seconds (as they are standing right where the thing should be).
I was particularly annoyed as I walked round gathering in the old pots this morning. Three were reported as missing; they were. The others were easily found; laying on the ground looking for all the world as if the last people to find them had casually flung them at the nearest tree and leaving them wherever they had bounced. The last people who logged having been out to find them were a group of cachers with over thirty thousand finds between them. Surely they wouldn’t have left the things so carelessly chucked out in the open?
Two of the pots I brought in were strange… having replaced them myself (with smaller film pots) over the last three years, I found the original pots today. Had people taken the original ones home to show their mums and then fetched them back later? I’ve seen it happen before.
Before we left home I had reservations about taking Treacle out. Was it going to be too hot for her? We walked slowly and kept to the shade as much as possible. I took water for her (not that she wanted much), and when back to the car, rather than doing “boot dogs” I had her on the passenger seat with the air-con blowing on her. She seemed to like being out, but she refused her brekkie before and after the walk, and she spent the afternoon sitting next to me (with the noisiest of tummies) as I watched an episode of “Orange is the New Black.
I then got a load of rubbish out of the shed and into the front garden ready for tomorrow’s tip run then went round to the vets where I met “er indoors TM” and we collected the puppies. All had gone well with their operations; even if the bill did come in slightly more than two hundred pounds over what I’d been expecting.
Morgan seemed a bit more alert as he’d just had his “flowers and frolics” removed, but Bailey seemed more subdued. As well as having her “girl bits” gone, she’s also had her hernia repaired, and had two baby teeth taken out too.
We brought them both home where they both lay down and dozed.
As they dozed I worked up a sweat moving the rubbish from the front garden into the car; oh, it was hot today. As I was busying about so “not-so-nice-next-door” pulled up and parked in her own unique way. It really does have to be seen to be believed. She finds a space in which to park and reverses into it so that her car is (quite literally) at right angles to the pavement. She then spends (again quite literally) between ten and fifteen minutes shuffling the car forward and backward to turn it through the right angle so that it is parked parallel to the kerb. She then made a point of blanking me as she stormed past.
“er indoors TM” sorted out fish and chips, then went bowling. I sat in front of the telly with three sleeping dogs. Treacle had perked up no end now she has been hand-fed her food. Morgan seems to be on the mend and is already getting up to mischief. But Bailey seems to be under the weather. Mind you she is tiny and has had a lot done to her today.
Here’s hoping a good night’s sleep will work wonders…
12 July 2022 (Tuesday) - Road Trip
The puppies had a right cob-on this morning when I wouldn’t let them upstairs. The vet-nurse had said “no stairs”, and so “no stairs” it was.
As they sulked I made toast and scoffed it as I had a little look at the Internet. It was the same as ever. Today’s bitter tirade was from some chap on one of the weather forecasting Facebook pages. This bloke has spent the last week producing scaremongering weather forecasts. Whilst it is *very* hot at the moment, his predictions are for temperatures about fifteen degrees hotter than reality. He seemed rather miffed that people would take umbrage with what he’d been posting, and couldn’t see that because his forecasts were demonstrably wrong he should come up with a different way of making forecasts.
I then got on with the business of the day. First of all to the tip where I chucked away all the stuff I’d loaded up yesterday. And I learned something. Whenever you book a slot at the tip you get a half-hour window. I always turn up at the start of that half-hour window as does everyone else, and the place is heaving. Today I’d got stuck in traffic and arrived ten minutes into that window to find the tip was empty with no other people unloading at all. I shall do that next time.
From the tip I then took my life in my hands as drove down to Hastings. With white vans not five yards from my back bumper for much of the way and oncoming cars straddling the white line up the middle of the road it wasn’t the best drive I’ve ever had. But I got to Hastings and spent a few minutes with Dad. He was well and quite chatty. He wasn’t keen about the ongoing heatwave, but then who is?
Pausing only briefly in Westfield for geo-reasons I then went on to Northiam and Will’s Bakery. I’ve driven past there several times; I shall stop more often.
I stopped at the pond shop in Rolvenden as well. I needed new filter medium for the pond’s filter, and I had a question. Bearing in mind that it is nearly sixteen years since we put in the pond’s liner (21 October 2006) I’ve been wondering if the thing might need replacing any time soon. The chap in the shop said it had a “lifetime guarantee” to which I remarked that it was therefore guaranteed until such time as it perished since that would be the end of its lifetime, The chap in the shop stopped and thought… and remarked that no one had made that observation before. He went on to say that the thick rubber liner should probably be good for twenty-five years. Let’s hope it will be.
I then drove up to Hartleylands Fishery where the first fruit of my loin and my brother have been fishing since Sunday. They have been camped out there for two days and are staying till tomorrow. They seemed pleased when I arrived with bottles of cold orange juice; their first cold drink in two days of heatwave. They were also pleased with the toasted cheese and bacon baguettes. And were rather chuffed when they saw the pizzas and meat pies I’d got for them for later.
I remarked that I’d not seen any fish photos posted on social media. There was a reason for that. Despite having been fishing for two days, neither had actually caught anything (at all). Mind you the weather hasn’t been conducive to fishing where they were. They were fishing a rather big lake which only contained eighty fish. Admittedly rather big ones, but only eighty. As I sat with them I could see quite a few of the fish basking in the sunshine. With the baits on the bottom of the pond, the fish were on the top. They’d tried using floating baits only to be then fighting a losing battle with the local ducks.
After an hour I came home, and as the dogs slept I got on with ironing. I watched the last episode of “Orange is the New Black”. That show only took three months to binge-watch. It was rather good. I then watched a film I’d recorded months ago. ”Beautiful Thing” was probably very avante-guard when it was released twenty-five years ago, but just seemed rather dated today. And with ironing ironed I sat on the sofa with the dogs and watched the third season of “Love, Death and Robots”.
“er indoors TM” had been out for dinner at mid-day with work, and so not wanting dinner herself this evening she did me a plate of liver and onions. The dogs got liver too. Treacle likes liver; it was new to the puppies, but they yummed it up. They had their “cones of shame” removed to eat, but soon had them put back on when they started to scrap. Morgan settled, but Bailey wasn’t keen to quieten down.
Have you ever tried to tell a rather fractious and quarrelsome dog that only yesterday she had three serious operations and needs to rest?
13 July 2022 (Wednesday) - Another Road Trip
As I peered into the internet over brekkie I was presented with some memories. One of a really good weekend in Europe four years ago going to the geo-mega-event in France. And a rather sadder one – is it really a year since Terry died?
I scoffed toast, then drove out to Canterbury. There is a private hospital there and the hospital laboratory manager is someone with whom I used to work in years gone by. I actually turned her down in her first interview for a managerial position some twenty years ago. She has got some vacancies, and another mutual friend suggested I might like to apply. Taking the line that it never hurts to go have a look-see I went to have a look-see.
I was tempted by what I saw.
The department is much smaller than the one in which I currently work, and has (about) one per cent of the daily workload that I currently have. And with no A&E or maternity departments the place is entirely devoted to planned surgery. Consequently there is incredibly little scope for “brown alerts”; the bane of the life of any professional blood tester.
The hours of work aren’t really what I had in mind. The place opens at half past eight in the morning and closes at six in the evening. The rest of the time the place is covered by an “on-call” system in which people are called in from home whenever they are needed (which isn’t often). I was told that he on-call system meant that (for all that I would rarely be called in) I would be expected to be available one night in every four, and one entire weekend each month.
Where I currently work the shift pattern means I have mornings off to walk the dogs, and early finishes to walk the dogs… and over a week’s more annual leave.
Oh well… it didn’t hurt to have a look-see.
From Canterbury I drove to Folkestone to see “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Darcie Waa Waa” and Pogo. All were very well. I arrived to find “Darcie Waa Waa” had just had her nappy changed which was something of a result. I sat with her in my lap and Pogo nuzzling up against me for an hour before coming home.
“er indoors TM” had arranged for an engineer to come to sort out the lights in the cooker hood which have never worked since the new kitchen was installed a couple oof months ago. After ten minutes the nice man announced that the motherboard was poggered, and that his office would be in touch.
As I waited for the engineer, and once he’d gone I watched some of Sky’s take on “The Midwich Cuckoos” until “er indoors TM” came home. She boiled up a very good bit of dinner, and with it scoffed we cleared up the pee that Bailey peed all over the sofa (who’d have dogs?) then watched the first episode of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”. It was rather good…
14 July 2022 (Thursday) - Watching The Telly
I had quite the fight with the wi-fi this morning. Whilst the lap-top was connected to it, it claimed there was no internet access. Even though my phone was connected to it and was seemingly working fine, as was the Sky-Q box and the telly. After half an hour’s fighting I struck on this idea of turning off the VPN, and it suddenly worked fine. My VPN is something that I got when the anti-virus thingy renewed a week or so ago. It was a freebie, and great show was made of how I was getting sixty quid’s worth of kit for nothing. I mentioned that I had trouble with it the other day. It strikes me that a VPN is absolutely typical of today’s IT; it may well be doing all sorts of wonderful things in the background, but if in doing so it leaves my lap-top unable to function, it’s no use at all, is it? It’s now off and is staying off.
Finally connected to the Internet I sent out birthday wishes, and rolled my eyes at someone who was trying to provoke an argument about the lyrics of a song that Sparks released in 1994. Some people really will argue over anything.
I spent a few minutes writing up some CPD; if only to prove to myself that my Internet connection was working. As I wrote there were some chaps digging up the pavement over the road. There has been a water leak over there for years, and finally they decided to do something about it. I’m not sure what was worse; the intermittent drilling, or the torrent of shouted swearing in between the drilling.
I put a load of washing in, then as Treacle sulked I took the puppies out. Not much of a fun outing; we went to the vets for a check-up after their operations on Monday. Both got the thumbs-up.
We came home and spent the morning in the garden. Hanging out washing, cutting back overgrowth, pruning, pulling dead leaves out of the cordyline and the monkey puzzle tree. I spent two hours at it, and at the end the garden looked exactly the same as when I’d started. But by then it was too hot to continue, so I came inside and watched the last of “The Midwich Cuckoos”. It was a good show I suppose. It did bring the original book (written seven years before I was born) up to date, but having had six episodes in which pretty much nothing at all happened, the last episode was somewhat rushed.
And what was it with all the adverts? An hour’s TV show has twenty minutes of adverts to fast-forward through. Why does anyone still pay to have an advert made these days? Doesn’t everyone fast-forward through them all?
With the temperature still far too hot I activated Netflix and watched “The Sparks Brothers”; a rather good documentary about my favourite band. It struck me as being honest; showing the band’s bad days as well as their good ones. I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is keen on Sparks, but at two and a half hours it probably only appeals to the enthusiast.
“er indoors TM” came home and boiled up burgers which we scoffed
whilst watching the second episode of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”.
It was rather good as well.
15 July 2022 (Friday) - Shopping, Digging a Grave
We both woke to missed calls from “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. When we finally got through to her it turned out that one of her rats had died. Poor Squeak. The first mention of him in my diary was on 3rd October 2020, so he was a good age for a rat. Mind you “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” didn’t seem overly fussed at Squeak’s demise, which was probably for the best. He’s told his mother she’s still got another rat (and Pogo) and he can’t see what all the fuss is about.
I made toast, and as I scoffed it there was something on Facebook which made me think. In one of the 1970s groups I follow there was a photo of a jumble sale. Back in my days in the Boys Brigade in the late 1970s we would have jumble sales to raise funds to pay for whatever it was that we were doing. And before the jumble sale we’d go round the local houses asking for unwanted stuff that we could sell. Fast-forward to today; when did you last see or hear of a jumble sale? These days everyone sells their unwanted stuff on Facebook marketplace, pockets the profit, and pays ten times the (relative) cost of whatever it was that jumble sales used to finance.
I then did a little research. Poor Squeak’s body had been put in the freezer until such time as “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” decided what to do with him. I had a look on-line. A cremation would come in just under two hundred quid. Two hundred quid. For a rat!! I shall do the farewell myself… and have told “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” just that.
“er indoors TM” was working from home this morning, so I left the dogs with her and went for a little drive.
First of all to B&M Bargains. They usually have garden shingle (which was what I was after). They had some, but they had no trollies for moving the bags of shingle about. And then an assistant came past with exactly the trolley I needed. I asked her where they were kept. She looked my up and down as though I was the sh*t on her shoe and said: “they aren’t for customers” and walked off. I shouted after her “so that’s it, is it?” and whilst what she said was “I said they aren’t for customers”, her tone was very much “F… off fatso!”
It was at this point that some manager-type bustled over asking if there was a problem. I assured her there was no problem at all, and that I was grateful to her staff for making it quite clear that they didn’t want my money, and that I would go to somewhere that did.
I drove for thirty seconds to Wickes where I got three bags of gravel for half the price that B&M were selling it for, and some exterior filler (for the garden path) as well. Wickes allow customers to use their trollies; I commented on this to the chap on the till who laughed, and said I wasn’t the first one to have walked out of B&M and gone to them.
I then drove up to Bybrook Barn (or whatever it is called these days). I also wanted bags of red gravel, and whilst I was at it I got three large rocks too.
And then home. With nowhere to park I put the car on the double yellow lines and emptied out the gravel bags and boulders one at a time. Jut as I was on my seventh (of nine) unloads so the person whose car was parked right outside my house decided to move. A minor result; just a shame she couldn’t have gone fifteen minutes earlier.
And then (despite the heat) I dug a grave for the deceased rat. Shoving the shingle about and moving the anti-weed membranes took long enough; let alone excavating a hole big enough and deep enough for poor Squeak. Hopefully it should be deep enough for when the other one goes too…
“er indoors TM” then went off for her works’ summer afternoon jolly. I could have arranged gravel, or sorted the rockery or filled the cracks in the garden path.
But since it was so hot I turned on the telly and watched “Oats Studios” on Netflix. It was rather good. A bit like “Dark Mirror” or “Love Death and Robots”. It is now five years old – how did I miss it?
I did like watching telly whilst cuddled up with dogs though… if only the dogs would stay cuddled on the sofa. They seem to have taken to quarrelling over the chew toys. We’ve got about twenty identical chew toys, and they all want whichever one it is that the other dog has…
16 July 2022 (Saturday) - All A Bit Vague
My piss boiled as I read the news over brekkie this morning. Andy Burnham (former Health Secretary and now Mayor of Manchester) has announced that officials should face charges of corporate manslaughter over the deaths of thousands in the so-called contaminated blood scandal.
It strikes me that if anyone should face charges it should be the politicians of the time. It was no secret that there were nowhere near enough blood donors and that the UK was dependent on imported blood products. And because America paid blood donors at the time (don’t know if it still does), a lot of drug addicts sold their blood to finance their habits. The UK had a choice of blood products from drug addicts or no blood products at all. If there is any fault to be assigned. It should be to the politicians of the time for not making blood donations compulsory for clean-living UK citizens. But who’s going to be brave enough to insist on that?
A couple of facts which seem to be overlooked are that HIV (the virus itself) was first identified in 1983, and the first test for the virus was developed in March 1985, and the NHS started screening blood products seven month later. But the ongoing investigation is considering cases back as far as 1970.
So there’s a couple of issues here, aren’t there?
Firstly how can anyone be held responsible for something about which no one was aware at the time? And any officials in a position of authority forty years ago will be long dead by now, won’t they? Or are we going to put today’s senior officials in the ridiculous position of apologising for something which was nothing to do with them.
It isn’t unlike the current move to demand an apology for the government policy of forcing young mothers to give up their children for adoption; a policy which was abandoned nearly fifty years ago. Whilst the policy was clearly wrong, there is no one who can apologize with any credibility, is there?
Once my piss cooled I went into the garden and pootled about having a little tidy-up until “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” arrived with Darcie Waa Waa and Pogo. I cracked open the first beer, then Steve and Sarah arrived, soon followed by Heather. We had a rather good afternoon which became progressively more vague as it went on, as afternoons do.
I took a few photos too…
17 July 2022 (Sunday) - Still Hot
As I made my toast I listened to the boy racers speeding up and down the bypass. They were at it yesterday, as they have been every weekend for at least the last ten years (probably a lot more). You’d think the local police would do something, wouldn’t you? After all they’ve got an easy target. You can hear (from at least half a mile away) that the boy racers are there; you can put a police car at each end of the bypass… so why do the police allow this to continue? How many more serious accidents do the police feel is acceptable?
As I scoffed my toast so the wolf-pack came downstairs with a rather irate “er indoors TM”. I’d not long let the puppies upstairs and despite having been into the garden to do that which puppies do, Bailey had still tiddled on the bedspread.
And I sighed as I looked at Facebook. There is a group I follow which is about the 1970s TV series “The Tomorrow People”. More than nine out of ten posts on my feed this morning were from this group. There is a chap who has screen-shotted every single frame of every single episode. He posts all of those with pictures of the half-undressed teenage boy stars to this group until someone or other complains, at which time he goes into Facebook Jail for a week or so, and then just carries on doing that which he has been asked not to do.
I also saw that friends had gone to the French Mega geo-event. We went to that four years ago. It would have been good to have gone this time (albeit a bit too hot though), but it would have taken some prior planning – not least of which would have been knowing that the thing was actually taking place. There was a similar event a few weeks ago somewhere else on the continent about which I knew nothing until after the event…
Am I being paranoid in thinking that more and more geocaching is becoming something for the in-crowd (of which I’m not a member)?
I drove down to Folkestone to collect “Daddy’s Little Angel TM, Darcie Waa Waa and Pogo. We had planned to return home via the McDonalds in the Orbital park, but seeing the traffic was queued back from there all the way to the motorway we drove up to the next motorway junction and got McBrekkie from the McDonalds by Dobbies.
We sat in the garden, McBreakfasted, and then had a rather sad ritual in which poor Squeak got buried. Having done all the groundwork on Friday the burial only took a few minutes, and now you wouldn’t realise there was a rat’s grave there. It just needs a good belt of rain to wash the new stones.
We looked after Pogo as “Daddy’s Little Angel TM and Darcie Waa Waa went to their friend’s littlun’s christening. There was so much we could have done this afternoon, but it was far too hot. I just sat in the garden reading my Kindle as the dogs slept and “er indoors TM” tried to un-pogger the cooker.
Somehow or other she had put the thing into “safe mode”. I didn’t realise that cookers had a “safe mode”. Back in the day a cooker’s “safe mode” was “off”. I roughed it with a cheese and pickle sandwich, and prepared to resort to my emergency backup plan of having daughter and daughter-in-law feed me. Mind you I don’t think that either daughter or daughter-in-law were overly keen on the plan; the best offer I had was the promise of a lasagne in the post.
Fortunately “er indoors TM” sorted the oven…
I’ve got to go back to work tomorrow…
18 July 2022 (Monday) - Back to Work
I had a terrible night. As it was so hot we needed the window open. And with the window open we could hear everyone walking up and down the street shrieking at their pals who were either on the other side of the road or on the other end of the phone. There was never more than fifteen minutes between people coming past, and not a single one spoke; every one of them shrieked.
As I got up this morning at 6.15am there was someone standing outside coughing loud enough to wake the dead.
I made toast and sighed as I looked at Facebook. Yesterday was the Pirates Day in Hastings. It would have been too hot to have gone, but it would have been nice to have known it was happening. I suppose I should really pay attention and sometime each February make a list of what is happening throughout the year.
And so back to work after a week off. Originally I wasn’t supposed to have been off work last week, but the boss told me that the week when I was stricken (!) with COVID would count as sick leave rather than annual leave. And consequently I suddenly had an extra week’s holiday. What with the puppies having had their operations and the heat I ended up pootling round the garden for much of last week. We had a good afternoon with friends on Saturday, but there was so much that I had planned that I never got round to.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about yesterdays (frankly shambolic) "debate" on the telly between the candidates for the leadership of the Conservative party. Those currently in the government were distancing themselves from everything the government has done over the last few years. Those not in government were saying that a new broom sweeps clean, and Tom Tugendhat was telling anyone who would listen that he was a war hero. I suspect the average bloke in the street would have been impressed with Lieutenant Colonel Tugendhat, but last night no one with whom he was debating (read "bickering") was interested. In any event Mr Tugendhat is out on his arse now anyway.
There was going to be more televised debates, but it seems that the head honchos in the Conservative party have told the leadership candidates that if they can't argue nicely they can't have any more.
I got to work where I begrudgingly did that which I couldn't avoid. There was a little entertainment when a colleague had forgotten he was on the late shift and had rolled in four hours too early. I did laugh - that sort of thing is always very funny all the time it is happening to someone else.
Today was a tad uncomfortable; it was hot. There was a lot of talk about how with supposedly record-breaking temperatures forecast, concern was being expressed that the general public wasn’t taking it seriously, and that the public were seeing it as just another nice sunny day.
I can't help but feel that if weather forecasts were ever remotely accurate then people might listen to what was forecast. Today was hot, but I followed the Met Office’s feed for Maidstone and the highest actual reported local temperature was four degrees less than the local predictions had been.
Weather forecasters are "the Boy Who Cried Wolf", aren't they? I can't help but remember all the dire forecasts of doom and gloom from the early 1990s. By the year 2000 the entire Romney Marsh would be under the sea... It never happened.
I wonder how hot it will be tomorrow?
19 July 2022 (Tuesday) - A Bit Of A Rant (sorry...)
I had a plan to take the dogs to the woods first thing this morning, but having slept far better than I had expected it was already far too hot by the time I woke. So I made brekkie and wound myself up with the weather forecasts…
Why is this? Because we have expectations. If someone bills themselves as a professional/expert then we feel they should be able to do what they say they can. So why do we put up with such shoddy weather forecasting?
This morning The Hastings Observer (the local newspaper for Hastings) posted a warning on their Facebook page: “Extreme heat' warning in Sussex. Temperatures could hit 35°C today”. This is seven degrees cooler than they had been scaremongering last week.
And the chap who runs the UK Weather Forecasts Facebook page was speculating about whether today’s temperatures would break records. Records that last week he was adamant would be smashed.
Yesterday I said: “Today was hot, but I followed the Met Office’s feed for Maidstone and the highest actual reported local temperature was four degrees less than the local predictions had been”. The same turned out to be true today, and for Hastings and Ashford as well. And the hottest recorded temperature was well below the predictions
I’m not trying to belittle the heatwave, but weather forecasting boils my piss. It simply cannot be done to the degree of accuracy that is claimed. Four degrees can be the difference between taking the dogs for a walk and not taking them out.
And it isn’t just temperatures. Take for example our walk on the Romney Marsh on 2 May 2021 when despite only a nine per cent chance of rain we all got soaked in the downpour (as the dogs cowered from the hailstones), or the walk on 30 May 2021 when exactly the same thing happened again.
At brekkie time that chap who runs the UK Weather Forecasts Facebook page was posting photos of all the thunderstorms that had happened overnight; thunderstorms that a day or so ago he was adamant wouldn’t happen
If you cannot forecast a temperature with any accuracy, give a range rather than a number. Or just say “very hot”. If you can’t predict rain (which demonstrably meteorologists can’t), then don’t attempt to do so.
But we all put up with it, don’t we?
Don’t forget that we pay for these forecasts either directly through the TV licence fee, or indirectly through taxes which run the met office. I’d love to be as crap at my job as weather forecasters are at theirs… “Oh, WASN’T it a cold, Mr Jones? – what was it in the end? leukaemia? – Oh silly me!” and then we all have a good laugh and go on to stuff up someone else’s life.
I have more faith in a horoscope than I do in a weather forecast. So why do I take so much notice of them?
Apparently this heatwave ends in a day or so… There I go again trusting the weather forecast…
20 July 2022 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
The night shift was rather average last night, but I couldn't help but look back to the first one I ever did. It was a Wednesday night in August 1985.
I started that night with nothing left for me by the day shift, and during the course of the night I did five blood counts and prepared two units of blood for transfusion. I was phoned about each blood sample individually by the doctor who wanted me to do it, I finished the last task at half past midnight, and slept for the rest of the night.
Things are different these days; I didn’t come in to find nothing waiting for me last night, and during the night I performed over ten times that amount of blood counts that I had all those years ago, did almost as many haemostatic investigations, prepared units of blood and platelets for transfusion, did maintenance on various analysers, and during a lull in proceedings caught up with work-related emails and made a start on the paperwork for my annual appraisal. Not that the lull lasted that long - I was on the go pretty much the entire time. And as for being phoned for each request (like it used to be) - if we still had that outmoded way of working I would never get off the phone.
But I'm not complaining - as I drove home the pundits on the radio told me I've had a pay rise.
I'm a bit vague about the exact amount I’m getting as I can't find a something which says "Dave you will get £X" but most of the work-related Facebook pages say I will get four per cent. That's nice isn't it?
But the same pundits on the same radio said that inflation is currently running at nine point four per cent at the moment.
So if these figures are correct, what does that actually mean? Putting my degree in maths to use... I shall spell it out. Imagine that a year ago I went shopping and squandered a hundred quid on Lego or beer. Today I have a hundred and four quid to squander. Result !
However what was a hundred quid's worth of beer or Lego last year now costs a hundred and nine quid and forty pence. I don't get as much for my money. I’m down five quid forty pence on the deal; I've effectively had a pay cut of (about) five per cent.
And this isn't anything new - inflation always outstrips pay rises. And when you think that back when I did my first night shift all those years ago my pay wasn’t as much as my unskilled mate (with no qualifications whatsoever) who swept up in an abattoir.
I wonder if I can make up the shortfall by wheeling on the general public and having them stand on their doorsteps and clap (like things possessed) at anyone to whom I owe money? Ironically (according to wikipedia) it seems that the woman who came up with the idea of clapping for our public services rather than paying for them has received quite a bit of abuse.
I must admit if I knew where she lived I’d put a turd through her letterbox right now…
21 July 2022 (Thursday) - Late Shift
“My Boy TM” and Cheryl came to dinner yesterday evening. What with three pints of ale and the night shift on Tuesday it’s not surprising that I slept like a log.
Rather than having brekkie I thought we might get out for a walk right away before it got too hot. We walked to the car with Bailey shouting at everyone and everything as we went. I wish she wouldn’t do that; hopefully it is something she will grow out of.
As we drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing Liz Truss who is looking set to be the next Prime Minister. Now the leadership contest is down to two candidates it is becoming rather embarrassing. Both have been in senior government positions for years, so what amazing new policies and ideas can they come up with?
Meanwhile the Russians have more than halved the amount of gas they supply to Europe in retaliation for Europe’s attempts to thwart the in their ongoing war in Ukraine. Let’s not pretend that we didn’t see this coming.
We got to the woods to find an empty car park, but nevertheless we still met three other dog walkers. More and more people don’t park in the car park at Orlestone Woods; preferring to abandon their cars on the narrow country lanes. What’s that all about?
The puppies (and Treacle) were good with all the dogs we met; we had no “episodes”. No dogs ran off *that* far, and as we walked I resumed whistle training. The idea is that I blow a whistle and give the dogs a treat each. After a few goes they associate the sound of the whistle with a treat, and so when they are doing their own thing I blow the whistle and they come to me to get a treat. Bailey seems to have got the idea. To be fair it never really worked with Treacle and it worked with varying degrees of failure with her today. Sadly it wasn’t what I had hoped for with Morgan; whenever I blew the whistle he would look at me as if to say “I’m busy!” and would carry on doing whatever it was that he was doing. I blew the whistle twice when Morgan had run so far that I couldn’t see him; both times he came back close enough to see that I was still there, then carried on doing his own sweet thing.
In the end I found that he prefers having a fuss made of him than he does food.
We were right to have started our walk early; whilst nowhere near as hot as it has been, the car’s thermometer said it was twenty-four degrees as we drove home.
I made brekkie, and as the dogs snored I watched another episode of “Another Life”. Starring Katee Sackhoff (from “Battlestar Galactica”) it is a sci-fi story in which a whole load of astronauts fart around in a poggered space ship in their underwear, whilst thinking how much safer it would have been to have stayed at home. I had a vague feeling I’ve seen it before; I have. In July 2019. But I shall stay with it – a second season has been released in the meantime.
I set off for work, pausing only to get a sandwich from the co-op. Something odd was happening in there; all the customers were giggling like idiots at something or other. I wonder what it was; probably me...
I took a little diversion up to Whelan's; our ornamental windmill's sails have been broken for some time and they look awful. I got replacements and got a set for Jose too. I looked at loads of other stone ornaments whilst I was there, and eventually thought better of buying a whole load of stuff that I neither need nor want. Having not done so I'm rather regretting not having bought a particular stone lizard. I shall have to go back.
My diversion wasn't as long as I thought it might be; I wasn't late for work... But as is always the case on a late shift, all the good part of a dull day was over and done with by one o'clock. Work was rather busy, but (as always) it could have been a whole lot worse.
I’ve got to go back there tomorrow.
22 July 2022 (Friday) - This n That
I woke in a cold sweat in the small hours following a nightmare in which one of my colleagues had seen photos of me (on Facebook) in a bandanna. Having thought that a bandanna was the coolest item of headwear in the universe (which it is) she tried one on. And then found she was extremely allergic to them. She ended up in the intensive care unit, and the consensus of opinion was that if she died it would have been my fault as no one but me wears a bandanna these days.
I got up and took the puppies outside for a tiddle. They then flew upstairs and set Treacle snarling (she doesn’t like the puppies at the best of times; let alone at silly o’clock in the morning). I left them to it and watched another episode of “Another Life” which is an entertaining enough show *provided* you don’t actually think about it. Imagine humanity’s first ever mission to the stars. Who would go? Highly trained astronauts and scientists or a bunch of argumentative f*ckwits who spend most of their time in their underwear?
And so to work… As I drove home yesterday there wasn’t a single lorry in the “Operation Brock” bit of the motorway. Overnight a queue of lorries had formed, and as I headed up the motorway ten hours later this morning the queue was three miles long.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how few people can afford to buy a house these days. When we bought our first house we could get a mortgage for three and a half times my annual salary. In the meantime the value of that first house has increased tenfold, but my salary certainly hasn’t. How can anyone afford a house these days?
Mind you there was also a lot of talk about the pressures on the NHS, and it seems that private medicine has never been so popular. More and more people are managing to find the price of a hip replacement… presumably by cashing in on the profit made from rocketing house values?
Work was work… Or was it? One of the bosses left today, and she worked diligently up to the last minute. Back in the day when another boss had his last day I can remember him wandering around passing out swigs of his bottle of whatever it was that he was drinking, and his wife arriving to take him home before tea time.
How times have changed.
I took a little diversion on the way home. A little while ago I’d posted on Facebook asking if anyone had any rockery-type rocks they didn’t want. I got seven from a friend who was glad to be rid of the things. He’d got some space in his garden; I got some rocks. Everyone was happy.
And as I drove home the queue of lorries down the motorway had grown to ten miles long.
23 July 2022 (Saturday) - Early Shift
Once the puppies had done what was expected of them (and rudely woken Treacle) I made toast and watched an episode of "Another Life" in which an astronaut on humanity's first mission to the stars was acting like a truculent four-year-old. Sci-fi works if it has plausible characters... this show doesn't, really.
I set off to work. I'd rather not work on a Saturday, but there it is. The masses have stood on their doorsteps and clapped me, so I suppose it *is* what the public wants. As I drove the "Farming Today" show was on the radio. It doesn't take a genius to realise that grape vines loved the heat of the last week and that cows didn't. The presenters then listed pretty much everything grown in British farms and went into great detail as to whether the recent heatwave had been a good or bad thing for whatever it was being grown. After five minutes I tired of listening to the patently obvious and turned to "Ivor Biggun" songs instead.
As I drove home yesterday I went past ten miles of lorries queuing in the lorry park bit of "Operation Brock". This morning that had grown to twelve miles, with another ten-mile queue of lorries in the contraflow bit (the bit I am supposed to use to get home!) It turns out that the Rear Admiral had hoped to go across the channel last night. Living only a couple of miles from the channel tunnel terminal it had taken him six hours to drive to it during the night.
The cause? The French passport control people were blaming technical difficulties and Brexit. The British were blaming the fact that less than half of the French staff had turned up to work...
All I'll say is that my plans for tomorrow (my one day off) are now scrapped over something which was utterly predictable
I got on with work; as I worked I had a message from “er indoors TM” that the power to the fish pond had failed.
Having done my bit I crawled home down the A20. What would usually have been two lanes of traffic going down the motorway (albeit at fifty miles per hour these days) was one lane of traffic going at a snail’s pace.
I got home and had a look at the pond and soon found the problem. The cable to the ultra-violet lamp isn’t long enough. Some time ago I put a waterproof extension cable onto it. As I picked up the waterproof bit that connected the cables, so the water poured out of it. Just as well I’d turned the power off, wasn’t it? I took it all apart, dried it all out, and put it all back together with added waterproofing. Thirty seconds to type; a couple of hours to do. It has to be said that matters weren’t helped by Morgan piddling all over that which I was trying to re-wire. I know it’s a dog thing, but I wish he wouldn’t do that.
I got the thing working, but after a couple of hours the trip switch went again. I’ve isolated the problem to the UV light… I shall leave the filter running overnight to prove the rest is OK and worry about the UV later in the year when it actually does something.
And with less than two weeks to go until our holiday our plans for dog-sitting have gone west. If anyone can recommend somewhere that might be good for the puppies, or if anyone fancies taking them on for a week…
24 July 2022 (Sunday) - Another Garden Day
I came downstairs to find a subdued pair of puppies and a rather foul smell. Baily had developed dire rear. I chased them into the garden and put their bedding into wash, then took a bucket of water to what Bailey had poured onto the lawn (yuk!)
I made toast once I’d found the marmalade. In the old kitchen I knew where everything was. The new kitchen is all very well, but I don’t know where anything is. To be honest much of it is still in boxes in the shed or on the living room table.
Facebook was rather dull this morning. There was one chap who’d found a load of old Lego and was asking pretty much every Facebook page there is how much his job lot was all worth. And quite a few of the local Facebook pages were advertising some singer or other who was performing at an obscure pub on Romney Marsh this afternoon. So many people love live music; if I’m going to the pub with friends and family I’d rather enjoy the company of those people. If there is live music, invariably all you can do is sit and get a headache as the music is always at super-deafening levels. Does any band playing in a pub need an amplifier? No – it doesn’t. Turning up the volume *doesn’t* turn up the quality.
I spent a few minutes looking at the monthly accounts. They could be a whole lot worse… It turns out that using my mobile phone to access the Internet when we were in Gran Canaria cost me two quid per day. That’s not bad.
I also saw I’d made a payment to “Diamond Publishing”. Never having heard of them I did a little looking on the Internet. It turns out that my subscription to Viz magazine now goes to “Diamond Publishing”; some office-type had probably been paid far more than I get paid for this seemingly meaningless change.
“er indoors TM” popped to Asda to collect the shopping whilst the puppies barked at everyone passing the house. When I leave them unsupervised they are in their crate with the curtains pulled (!)
And with shopping shopped I hung out a second load of washing and had a look at the pond’s electrics again. With the UV light pulled overnight the pump had been fine. So I bypassed what I thought might be the troublesome extension and plugged the UV light back in. After half an hour the power tripped out. So… I’ve isolated the problem as being the actual UV filter itself. I can get a new one easily enough… for a couple of hundred quid.
would have gone to get a new filter, but we had a message that “Daddy’s
Little Angel TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction
TM” were coming to visit, and were
bringing Darcie Waa Waa with them. Within minutes
of their arrival “My Boy TM” and Cheryl turned up, and we
spent the afternoon in the garden.
25 July 2022 (Monday) - Remembering Bob
It was raining when I let the puppies out to do their "thing" this morning. Mind you they didn't seem to be at all bothered by the rain. And as always they seemed more interested in playing silly beggars than in doing their "thing".
I made toast and watched an episode of "Another Life" in which it turned out that the astronaut acting like a truculent four-year-old was actually an evil space alien. That explained a lot.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the astronomical cost of the football costumes that so many football fans like to wear. With football teams changing the design of their shirts every year, football fans are shelling out a hundred quid a year to have the latest kit. And that's just for themselves. Babies’ football costumes sell at forty quid a go and it seems that suppliers can't keep up with the demand, to say nothing of all the other merchandise they sell. No matter what you have in your house it seems you can buy the same objects with the logo of your favourite football team emblazoned on it for ten times the price of the original thing.
There was also talk about the ongoing queues to cross the channel at Folkestone and Dover, and even if you can get to Europe, it now seems that the blue badges used by disabled drivers aren't valid on the continent any more
Like we didn't see this coming...
I had a rather good drive west-wards to work until I got to Goudhurst. I've mentioned before about the tight corner by the church there. The road is passable enough... for considerate drivers. This morning I met a stream of rather arrogant self-centred drivers all of whom wanted to drive up the centre of the road, and seemed rather irate that anyone else should be coming along the road toward them.
This attitude was also prevalent in the Pembury branch of Tesco. As I walked in I saw someone asking one of the members of staff where the jam was. The member of staff snarled a reply of "seven". The customer repeated her question and got the shouted reply "I said seven". Was that aisle seven? I don't know. I didn't want jam, and the prospective customer just walked out.
I got rhubarb flavoured shower gel and went to work. I did my bit, but as the day went on I felt myself wilting. Too much sun yesterday? Some bug from one of the grandchildren? Being wide awake since half past two? Once I’ve ironed my shirts I’m going to have an early night.
But before I go, would you look at the latest news from the medical world...
Twenty years since my old mate Bob from the snake club (so it was rumoured) died from being bitten by his rattlesnake, so more and more people are being bitten by theirs. There’s a reason why having a rattlesnake as a pet is illegal…
26 July 2022 (Tuesday) - Oh So Dull
The puppies were fast asleep when I let them out of their crate this morning. As we went into the garden I followed them with a bucket and trowel (as you do) and once we'd all done, they went upstairs to bother Treacle and “er indoors TM”.
I watched the last episode of the first season of "Another Life" in which our heroes finally met the space aliens they'd gone to find and having found them, zapped them with a space laser. So much for all their talk of coming in peace, eh?
It was raining as I left home. Rather ironic as the pundits on the radio were jabbering on about drought orders and hosepipe bans. It was claimed that this is the driest year since 1976, but still we have no hosepipe ban yet. We used to have them all the time.
There was also a lot of talk about last night's televised debate between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. Listening to the radio and reading the news you would think they had quite the ding-dong last night. I actually watched it and thought it was rather dull and unremarkable, and neither really having very much to say that was in any way different to the other. Like most politicians really.
Being unable to find my sandwich box this morning I used that as an excuse to buy a sarnie, so I went to Tesco, and got some drain unblocker too.
And that was today…
The highlight of my life today was either clearing up dog turds or unblocking a plug hole... I can’t decide which was the best.
27 July 2022 (Wednesday) - Energy Bills
After my usual morning routine I spent a small fortune filling the car with petrol, then drove west-wards to Pembury. As I drove there was talk about the massive hikes in energy bills coming in the autumn (as if this morning's petrol bill wasn't enough). It was claimed that (in an attempt to buy votes from those who might vote for him), wannabe leader of the Conservative party Rishi Sunak is offering to cut VAT on fuel bills. The other wannabe leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss was quick to say that Rishi hadn’t been keen on cutting fuel taxes until he realised he might buy votes that way.
What he seems to have overlooked is that the average person eligible to vote for him in the next few weeks is rich enough not to really be that fussed about their leccie and gas bills, and that cutting the VAT on those bills is little more than pissing in the wind anyway (!) when the bills are going up over a hundred quid or more a month compared to what they were a year ago.
Meanwhile in Europe there are serious worries about fuel bills. With the Russians reducing their gas exports to Europe to a fifth of what they once were (and at the most expensive it has ever been), Europe is in for a bleak winter.
However I have a theory... Call me cynical if you will, but the Russians clearly have a stranglehold on Europe. And why are the Russians strangling? Because the Europeans are backing Russia's enemy in the ongoing war.
But will Europe be doing that for much longer. Suddenly the news today was all about seven hundred (or more) institutions across Ukraine in which the mentally and physically handicapped are being mistreated. There was quite a bit of consternation over this…
I hope I’m wrong, but keep an eye on the news... I wonder if over the next few weeks more and more stories like this will come to light, and slowly but surely the public's opinion will be turned against the Ukrainian underdog. For all that the Ukrainians are the injured party, the Russians are the ones we need to keep sweet.
28 July 2022 (Thursday) - This n That
Over the years I’ve mentioned here and in conversations about gathering up bumper harvests of dog turds from the garden. I gathered another this morning; fortunately as the babies get older it is less of a race to stop them eating it. But you wouldn’t believe how much dung three small dogs generate. All rather yuk, but so many other people look at me un utter disbelief when I say that we regularly (several times a day) de-dung the garden. And so many people with dogs tell me that they don’t. Either my hounds are crapping like things possessed, or there are a lot of people with rather rank gardens.
As I scoffed toast I watched another episode of “Another Life”. I find that I am watching it purely because it is so terribly written I can’t help but wait to see what comes next. Given that you are finally negotiating with the space aliens you’ve been trying to negotiate with for years, why attack them in the first few seconds?
And then I had a quick look at the Internet. It was much the same as it ever was. It seems my credit score (with Credit Karma) has gone up by eleven points this month. I wonder why? The last time I looked it had gone down, and I’ve not done anything different from one month to the next.
I saw the rant I’d posted on a work-related Facebook page had been “liked” quite a few times. My professional body is rather concerned that fewer and fewer people are becoming professional blood testers and want to remedy the situation. What can be done to make people want to test blood for a living?
I had a suggestion…
In order to do the job you need post-graduate qualifications both as a legal requirement and to actually know what you are doing. When I started I took a job as a trainee and the hospital paid for my education which was done as day-release to various technical colleges, and also paid my train fare to get there. They gave me the cost of my lunch (and a pint) every time I went, and thirty quid to spend on text books each year. When all my other mates were going to university to run up debts, being a professional blood tester was an attractive proposition. But in the meantime successive governments have decreed that wannabe blood testers can pay for their own education and apply for a job once they’ve got the degree for themselves… and are now acting surprised that very few people actually do this.
I made the radical suggestion that we go back to employing school leavers as trainees and train them. This seemed rather obvious to everyone *except* those in a position to make this happen.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about yesterday's sacking of Sam Tarry. Mr Tarry is the Labour MP for Ilford South and has been removed from his post as Shadow Transport Minister following his standing on picket lines during yesterday's train strikes. Weren't the Labour party supposed to be chummy with the unions? It was claimed on the radio this morning that he is the partner of the deputy leader of the Labour party. Is there some silly power play going on here?
I then felt my age as there was a lot of talk about social media; it would seem that children and teenagers are mostly of the opinion that Facebook is what their parents use. And this was compounded in an interview with Sir Lenny Henry (since when has he been a "Sir"?) who brought the baton to the Commonwealth Games yesterday. He commented on how so many younger people in the crowds (in their twenties and thirties) were looking at him and wondering who he was.
At tea break I found that Bernard Cribbens had died and that pretty much none of my younger colleagues (they are all younger colleagues!) had heard of him. Bernard Cribbens should have been a "Sir" - did voicing The Wombles and appearing with two different Doctor Whos count for nothing?
Someone else who died recently was Darren Stretton; or so my brother messaged me. Darren Stretton was someone with whom I used to mess about back when I lived in Grove Road (in Hastings). I moved out of Grove Road in the summer of 1975 and certainly never saw Darren since then. But I remember him, his older sister Mandy and two older brothers Mark and Paul. Paul kept ferrets, Mark fancied himself as a junior Satanist and both were a tad odd and went to a special school. His mother was festooned in jewellery and was a large lady, unlike his father who was a rather small and wiry chap. How strange that I can remember that from nearly fifty years ago, but couldn't tell you what I had for lunch two days ago.
29 July 2022 (Friday) - Before the Late Shift
With no need to be up at silly o’clock this morning I had the chance of a bit of a lie-in. Or so I thought. Treacle started deliberately bashing me on the head about ten seconds after “er indoors TM” got up. If ever a dog was saying that it was time to get my carcass out of its pit…
I got my carcass out of its pit, made toast and got just the teeniest bit depressed as I looked at Facebook… Some people with whom I used to be close ten years ago were posting from the field of Portsmouth Kite Festival. I miss the kite festivals. And other friends were off to Piratemania; yet another big geocaching event about which I knew absolutely nothing.
It turns out that not many other local hunters of Tupperware knew about Piratemania either.
I got the leads onto the dogs and we drove down to Orlestone Woods. Despite there being a lot of cars in the car park we only met one other person as we walked. The walk went well; as we went I practiced the whistle training. Bailey really seems to have mastered it. Treacle does it somewhat half-heartedly. And Morgan hears the whistle and comes back some time in the next few minutes when he’s finally finished whatever it was that he was doing. We tried to pose for a photo, but it wasn’t happening.
We came home and I wrapped “er indoors TM”’s birthday pressies. Eventually. Once I’d found scissors that actually cut (and not chewed) the wrapping paper. Some bright spark could make a fortune by creating scissors that are razor-sharp and cut things rather than most scissors which are marginally more blunt than my arse.
I then wrote up a little CPD, and just sat on the sofa with three sleeping dogs until it was time to leave for work… and that was it for today. I drove the thirty miles to Pembury, did my bit, and drove home again. I don’t dislike my job, but it’s not as riveting as it might be.
30 July 2022 (Saturday) - A Little Drinkie...
I woke at seven o’clock to the sound of next door revving his motorbike. When I had a motorbike (over the years I’ve had four) I would use the thing as a form of transport; driving all over the place on it. I understand that my biker friends do the same. But him next door seems to enjoy revving the thing to make a noise and make a smell.
Each to their own, I suppose.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the number of people on my Facebook Friends had gone down by one. Someone had de-friended me and consequently became a “Facebook Enemy” (I don’t make the rules!). This morning as I scoffed my toast I found out who it was.
Five years ago I found a dog running loose in the co-op field. He followed us into William Road and started running in the road. I managed to catch the dog with the help of “a passing nice lady (with small children)” and after all the excitement the “a passing nice lady (with small children)” joined the elite group of over six hundred people on my Facebook Friends list. This morning I saw she’d posted on one of the local groups, and that I had the option to add her as a friend. Oh well… her loss… (!)
I also read a lot of whinging about waiting times in A&E departments across the country. Forty years ago in his autobiography Dr Robert Clifford (a west country GP) once wrote that out of every hundred patients he saw, ninety get better and eight died regardless of anything he did. He felt the clever part of his job was spotting the two per cent over which he could have any effect.
Surely now the focus must be on getting the ninety per cent to stop clogging up the system?
I hung out the washing, then had a little look at the pond filter. With the UV bulb unplugged it had all worked fine all week. I changed the plug on the bulb, turned it all on again, and within minutes the power had all tripped out again. That was a pain in the glass.
We then drove off up the motorway and the A249 to see Karl and Tracey. The original plan for the day had been the geo-meet in Sheerness, but as we got closer to Sheerness it was obvious that it was going to be too hot for the dogs there; especially as the meet was a kilometre’s walk from the car park and on a beach. Instead we sat in the garden where one beer led to another and the afternoon just flew past.
A “couple of hours” became somewhat vague and ended up sending out for Chinese and getting home at midnight
31 July 2022 (Sunday) - Filtration, FTF
I woke dripping in sweat and feeling like death warmed up shortly before four o’clock, so taking great care not to wake the babies I crept downstairs and sat in the garden drinking a tin of Doctor Pepper as the dawn broke. In the past when I’ve watched dawn break the birds’ dawn chorus is rather beautiful. Today it was just seagulls shrieking. I don’t know why we’ve got so many seagulls locally; the closest coast is fifteen miles away.
I went back to bed, turned on the fan, and slept rather better for a few hours.
I came downstairs for a second time, let the puppies outside, and now that it was light saw the washing that had hung outside overnight.
I made toast, sent out three birthday videos, and had a look at the Internet. It seemed that yesterday’s geo-meet wasn’t that well attended. Admittedly the location was against it, but a friend I met through geocaching had a birthday today and looking at some of the photos of memories being posted made me sit up and think. Back in the day there would be close on fifty people turning up to the monthly meets. I (and others) would suggest meeting up for a walk and we’d often get fifteen to twenty people along.
But now… has the thing run its course like scouting, snake-herding, astronomy and kite-flying? Today marks ten years since I found my first ever plastic pot under a rock (at Kingsnorth Church). Is it time to look for another silly waste of time?
I then went back out to the pond. Having pretty much established that the UV bulb was the cause of my electrical issues I unplugged everything and opened it all up. Quite a bit of stagnant water poured out of the electricals. That would be the cause of the short circuit, then.
Leaving “er indoors TM” with the dogs I drove down to World of Water at Rolvenden where I got a new pond filter. Rather smaller than the old one though: to be honest the old one was far too heavy when it came to emptying and cleaning. Hopefully the new one will be more manageable. I also looked at the pre-cast waterfall features they had. I saw the very one I wanted, but at nearly four hundred quid it can wait for another time. I shall have to save up
I brought the new filter home, and once we’d had a spot of lunch (“er indoors TM” had been baking) within a few minutes it was plumbed in and filtering like a thing possessed. I cleaned the old one and got it ready for the tip tomorrow, then had a little look at the Internet.
This morning a geocache had gone live in some woods mid-way between home and Canterbury. It still hadn’t been found by late afternoon. The temperature was cooling slightly and the dogs needed a walk, so we thought we’d try for a cheeky First To Find.
We got to the designated sport from where we had to follow a footpath for seventy paces until we found a big hole. At seventy paces (of my paces) I could see a humungous hole a few paces on… that would do. We then stood with our backs to this hole and looked in the right direction where we could see something fitting the description of that for which we were looking. And behind it was the cache. With a blank logsheet. We were First to Find – go us!
From there we had a little walk round the woods. We’d not been walking in these woods before; they were rather pretty. As we walked we met a pair of walkers coming the other way who put their dog in the lead when they saw us. My heart sinks when that happens; the etiquette is that you too put your dog on a lead so that they can all snarl at each other as they get dragged past. Whereas if off the leads things are generally much more sedate. But before we could lead them, the puppies flew up to say “hello”. I pulled out my whistle, gave it three sharp blasts, and (would you believe it) both Morgan and Bailey stopped dead, turned, and ran back to me. When the whistle training works it is incredibly impressive, and other dog owners who don’t know me stare in amazement as though I have the best trained dogs in the universe. What with the FTF and dogs doing as they were told I felt incredibly smug as we walked the rest of the way round the woods.
It was only a shame that Treacle and Bailey found chest-deep (on Treacle) stagnant mud in which they both wallowed.
We came home and as “er indoors TM” showered the mud from three dogs (Morgan wasn’t entirely spotless after the walk!) I had a look at the pond filter. Disaster… the filter box was dripping. I’ve had a little think (it hurt!) and the smaller box is possibly a tad too small for the volume of water coming from the pump. To be honest I thought this might be the case, and I’ve rigged up some guttering to collect the overflow. When I get a minute I shall get another filter box and a splitter and spread the pump output between the two boxes.
I shall ask for a day off in the week. Bet I don’t get it…