1 June 2015 (Monday) - On the Late Shift



I woke up feeling rather negative this morning, but was pleased to see my beer had started fermenting. Over brekkie I checked out social media. There didn't seem to be much that had changed overnight so once my toast was (painfully) swallowed I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park.


We went through Bowens Field where I once hid a geocache. Yesterdy I had a report that it was missing. I had a look-see. It was fine. They usually are. From heere we took the footpath to Viccie Park. That is I took the footpath. My dog took the cyclepath and ran under the front wheel of an oncoming cyclist. Dog and bike were fine; and bearing in mind the cyclist didn't actually end up in the river I don't see what he was complaining about.


Once at the park I was pollitely greeted by the Nepalese community. They seem to have claimed the picnic area by the Hubert fountain as their own and at most times of the day you will find a gaggle of Ghurkhas there; all minding their own business. This morning half a dozen of them were doing keep fit excercises.

We took a detour to avoid the two old codgers who flatly refuse to stop feeing treats to "Furry Face TM",. and met up with a friendly grey dog escorted by a rather fit lady. Wouldn't mind meeting up with them again(!)


We came home via the co-op field where my dog caused mayhem with a group of other dogs who had hitherto been playing "fetch" nicely. Just as we came to William Road a small child announced loudly to her mother "Look Mummy it's Fudge" and went on to say that Fudge was her favourite dog in the world.

Talking of William Road... Yesterday we noticed that there isn't a house numbered twenty. There's eighteen and twenty-two, and between them is a space plenty large enough for a house. I wonder if it got bombed out during the war. I wonder how a nosey person (such as me) could find out.

Some days our dog walk is dull. Today's made a rather eventful start to the morning.


I fed my dog, settled him down and set off to work maybe a little earlier than I might have done. I went via Folkestone to see the baby. He's not such the baby he once was; like all of them he's growning fast. He now stands up on his own.


I then went to Morrisons for some apples and bananas, and on to the Cheapo-bargains shop. I don't go there anywhere near as often as I used to; I quite miss that place. I didn't really have anything in mind I wanted to buy. I just wanted a mooch. I walked out scoffing a topic at half the price I would have paid elsewhere.

I got to work; and having done some I came home again. A possible geo-wander had been suggested for Wednesday so I set about solving the required puzzles until "Game of Thrones" started. I do like that show; I sometimes have trouble keeping track of which character is which in TV shows. In "Game of Thrones" it's easy. The stars don't "flop them out"; only the bit-part players. You can tell how nudey-dragon-girl's role has increased in importance over the years from the lessening of the floppings out.


Personally I'm a fan of floppings out which probably explains a lot of things...



2 June 2015 (Tuesday) – Stuff



Over brekkie I watched yet another episode of "Are You Being Served". Arguably the lamest character in the show (and that's up against some pretty serious competition) Mr Tebbs left to be replaced by Mr Goldberg. As I recall its at about this point in the show's history that it becomes seriously lame.

Mind you I found out today that the actress who played Mr Grace's secretary was (at the time) famous for "flopping them out". I might have mentioned that I'm a staunch supporter of this sort of thing.

As I watched so my "friends" next door had something of a family domestic; shrieking and shouting at 6.30am. In years gone by that chap would listen at the wall and report the squabbles that I and "Daddies Little Angel TM" would have to the council's social workers.

I wonder if he realises that I'm *not* returning the favour.


I then checked out the Internet. The entire nation is up in arms because the winner of "Britain's Got Talent" apparently cheated by using a stunt dog in her performance. I initially was going to pose the question "who cares?" but to the nation's shame evidently millions of people seem to care.

Instead I'll make the observation that the whole stunt dog debacle was probably done deliberately to keep the show in the news.


As I drove to work the Minister for Health was being interviewed on the radio. At the risk of sounding disrespectful, that chap is a master at talking bollocks. Apparently (!) there is a serious shortage of doctors and nurses and so agencies are able to charge a fortune to supply doctors and nurses from their staff.

The Minister for Health thinks this is too expensive and he intends to bring in legislation capping the maximum amount an agency can charge.

Now I thought that his was called "market forces" and that Conservative politicians felt it was a good thing. But what do I know?

It was interesting that the Minister for Health seemed to be oblivious to the fact that there are more people than just doctors and nurses in hospitals. Pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, radiographers, biomedical scientists, medical coders, porters, painters, cleaners and the like didn't warrant a mention. I wonder if there are shortages amongst those peeople too?

It was also interesting that he pundits on the radio didn't seem to want to take any responsibility for a crisis in NHS staffing; were they not to be constantly running a witch-hunt on every hospital in the country perhaps people might want to work in them?


I stopped off at Morrisons to get all the stuff I forgot yesterday and then went on to work where I did some. I then came home and took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a walk. The fun fair has arrived, and there are caravans full of fun-fair-folk all over the place. We didn't hang around.

On the wayy home we met a small child in full Kung-Fu costume obviously on his way to Karate class. He was "Hi-Ya-ing" in a menacing fashion at everyone and everything he saw... until he saw my dog. It was at that point when he screamed and ran in terror.


Being Tuesday the clans gathered; this time in Somerset Road. Having forgotten to bring the right episode of "The Flash" we played ChromeCast games and watched Doctor Who take on the latest variety of cybermat...



3 June 2015 (Wednesday) - A Geo-Walk



Over brekkie we had that very rare thing; a laugh-out-loud moment in "Are You Being Served" in which during ballet practice Mr Lucas inadvertently kicked Mr Humphries in the goolies.

It is commonly said that simple things please simple minds, but I found it hilarious.


I then got my gear together for today's walk. "Hannah" (my GPS unit) was fully charged this time. But just in case I had got rechargable batteries which I'd put in to juice up overnight. Are they supposed to get hot as they charge?

I put the lead onto "Furry Face TM", opened the door and saw torrential rain. But the weather forecast for the day was that it was going to be bright so we took a chance. We were right to do so; the rain stopped within five minutes.


Earlier in the week I'd asked if anyone was free for a geo-wander today. Sometimes people are; sometimes they aren't. But Richard had some spare time so we met up in the general vicinity of Orpington and wandered about. Our planned geo-stroll only took a couple of hours so we then went on and did another. We had a really good walk; beautiful views, wonderful scenery. And even a crafty First to Find along the way. I say "first" - there's some chap on-line who's claiming he did the secret geo-dance six hours before us. Perhaps he was; I don't doubt his e-claim but we found a blank log sheet when we arrived. (Rules is rules!)

We did get a few of our geo-sums wrong on the way; some of our mistakes were easily recitfied; others (involving Russian spies) not so. But we had an excellent walk; even if I did forget to take any photos.


I came home and had my fourth go with GSAK. GSAK is an amazing bit of software which does absolutely eveything you could ever ask for (provided you only ever ask for geo-things). There's no denying that I had to phone "er indoors TM" at one point, but on the whole I think I've sussed the software.


The Rear Admiral called round and we went on a minor geo-mission locally; pausing only to meet up with "er indoors TM" for some McDinner. And with half a dozen caches logged we went off to the astro club committee meeting.

It went surprisingly well. Or, not so surprisingly really....



4 June 2015 (Thursday) - Busy Day



I slept like a log last night; I have no idea why I was so tired. I woke this morning, had my fix of sad TV, then checked out the Internet. The spaceship model used in"Blake's Seven" was up for sale on eBay. With two weeks still to run on the auction, bidding has already reached over thirty thousand pounds.


I then put "Furry Face TM"'s lead on him and we went for a walk. I had intended to go out planning a new geo-walk today, but with my last three plans scuppered and plenty else to do at home I thought better of the idea. So we went round to Singleton Lake where my dog narrowly avoided being bashed up by geese. We came home through the park where we caused mayhem with various other dogs. As we crossed the co-op field we met OrangeHead. Being on her own she was friendly and civil. The moment her chunky little friend arrived she became very aloof.

Usually girls grow out of that when they leave school.


Once home I put on some seriously old clothes and set about the garden. The fish pond filter had blocked up so I ran out the hose to top up the pond, and scrubbed out the gungy filter. Oh - that thing stinks.

I then mowed the lawn. It had not been mowed for over a week; I *really* shouldn't leave it so long; it grows so fast.

And with the hose pipe run out I got out the pressure washer and zapped a few things around the garden. That pressure washer is a good toy.


I made a flying visit to Tesco, then over lunch watched the first episode of a biographical show about Bob Monkhouse. It was at this point I realised that my dog was still fast asleep. On the rare days when I actually show up at work I worry that he's bored at home. But it seems that after we've had our morning walks he spends most of the rest of the day asleep.


I then had a look at my letter rack. I don't do that anywhere near as often as I should. The bank statements had arrived; I checked through them. Could be better; could be worse. What is money for if not to squander foolishly?

I had a letter from the Kent Messenger people. I did a sponsored walk for them many years ago and every year they ask me to do another. I wish they wouldn’t.

The bill from the water companies was about thirty quid cheaper than it was last year. That’s a result.

My new bank cashpoint card had arrived; the old one had expired four days ago. Woops.

The Aspinall Foundation had written to me again. They always send a quarterly newsletter which I never read, and a quarterly free ticket to the zoo which I never use. I really should start donating money to them again now I’m not quite as skint as once I was.

SightSavers too had sent me their quarterly newsletter; another publication which I never read.

The people who provide the building and contents insurance for the house had sent me a letter which was frankly incomprehensible. I’ve filed it with a pile of similarly incomprehensible letters which I will throw away in the next financial year.

The bank also sent me an "equally clear" letter about changes to their terms and conditions which I also filed.

Legal and General had got wind of the rumour that I might be past my prime and were trying to get me to take out a “when you croak” policy. They can go whistle. I looked into those a while back. My first thought was that if I can’t take it with me then I wouldn’t go. But on realising the impracticality of that I took out a “when you croak” policy with someone else.

I found the voucher for five pounds that Morrison sent me when I last complained. I’ve put that in my wallet so I don’t forget about it again.


I spent a few minutes updating my calendar and e-linking it to my phone. I've got something organised pretty much every weekend from now till the end of August, but I can never remember what it is. Now I should be able to see what I'm doing from my phone.

Next on the list of "To Be Sorted" was the astro club accounts. I started off with balanced books and ended up with fifteen quid more than I should have. If I can't figure out where it's come from I shall just embezzle it and everyone will be happy.


The plan was to then do the ironing but by the time I'd put the hose pipe away and got the washing in from the line the afternoon was all but done. Instead I sparked up "Hannah" and once "er indoors TM" was home we set off for an evening's geo-walk. The weather was too good not to.

A few days ago a series of geocaches had gone live in Chilham; effectively stuffing up the 30+ cache series I had planned to put out in the area. I sulked for a bit, but this evening we went to do those caches. They made for a good walk for the dog. Mind you I did think they were rather spaced out. There were seven caches in the loop; there could have been twenty.


As we came home we saw that a neighbour had put out some teddies for the dustmen. "Furry Face TM" is currently ripping them to pieces.



5 June 2015 (Friday) - Laptop Maintenance



After a rather busy day yesterday rounded off with a walk, a late dinner and a bottle of plonk I suppose its not surprising that I slept well. I woke, pootled about, had brekkie and watched an episode of "Are You Being Served" all before my dog woke up. He was tired too.


I then got a bit stressy with my laptop. The old thing's being getting slower; it had almost reached the point of being unusable. But what with having already bought a pressure washer and "Hannah" recently the budget won't realistically stretch to a new laptop for a little while. So instead I got the AVG 1-click maintenance software. AVG antivirus has always been good in the past so I thought I'd see if this bit of kit might do the trick. After a bit of farting about setting it up it then did its thing. I left it doing so, and I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk.


Since the fun fair is in Viccie Park at the moment, we walked round to Frog's Island. As we walked I had a fit of the giggles. My dog was sniffing round a fence, utterly oblivious to the cat which was stalking him from the top of the fence. He sniffed and the cat stalked for at least five minutes before I finally got bored with the game.

As we walked there was a sign about a footbridge being replaced. I shall have to keep an eye out. Not only is that footbridge rather vital in our walks to the South Willesborough area, I've also hidden a geocache underneath it.

As we came home a small girl marched up to my dog, announced "Hello Fudge" and started stroking him much to the dismay of her mother. Mother then started shrieking about how on Earth was the child now going to wash her hands. At first thought I took offence, but before I could tell Mother to wind her neck in I realised that (bearing in mind "Furry Face TM"'s prediliction for fox poo) Mother probably had a valid point.


Once home I had a look to see what AVG 1-click maintenance had been up to. It claimed it had cured 228 problems in my registry, fixed 230 broken shortcuts, sorted 2290 program errors and had implemented no end of recommendations.

I suppose it's going to say that; after all it's hardly going to claim that there's nothing much to do. It's not going to tell me that I've wasted my time installing the thing, is it?

I then set it scanning the drives and went to the dentist. In a fit of forgetfulness I forgot I had a dentist appointment booked for last Tuesday and had re-scheduled for today.


I was told I was lucky to get seen today; I arrived to find they'd replaced the front desk. Again. I go there once every six months (on average) and every time they seem to have done something with the front desk. They also got a new receptionist. Whilst admirably (and demonstrably) equipped in the chest departtment her dental receptionist skills seemed sadly lacking. I suppose one can't have everything.

I eventually got checked in and it wasn't long before the dentist had a rummage in in my gob. He did some X-rays and announced that all seemed well.

I've got to go see the dental hygenist in a few weeks time. Once the dentist himself would do all that; nowadays he has a lackey to do it for him.


I came home to find my drives were still being scanned. Pausing only briefly to stop "Furry Face TM" rolling in a dead sparrow that the cats had left in the garden I then scoffed a spot of lunch whilst watching "Secret Diary of a Call Girl", and then took myself off to bed for the afternoon. Usually I get off to sleep right away; not so this afternoon. It was rather hot, and the claps of thunder just as I was nodding off didn't help. But I eventually managed a few hours kip before my dog's snoring woke me; I'd forgotten to close the stair gate and he'd sneaked up.


I came down to find the disks of my laptop had finally finished scanning. So I had a cuppa, and I'm off to see "Daddies Little Angel TM". She's said she'll cook my tea before the night shift.

Cooking my tea... She's twice this week posted on Facebook about "Share this if you love your Dad".

That girl is up to something.



6 June 2015 (Saturday) - Between the Night Shifts



As I drove home from last night's night shift this story in the news made me snigger. Yesterday an ISIS jihadi posted a selfie on-line. US forces were able to locate landmarks in the selfie, and within an hour or so of the photo going on-line the Americans had bombed that jihadi; and the (up till then) secret base from which the selfie had been taken.


Once home I turned on my lap-top. After yesterday's day of intensive PC maintenance I was hoping for great things from it. In retrospect I was expecting too much. I had been hoping that the thing would have been transformed into HAL-9000. I suppose it is noticeably faster, but I still get warnings about unresponsive scripts. That was one of the main things I'd been trying to fix.

Various windows still keep freezing too. I wish they wouldn't.


We then took "Furry Face TM" on a little walk down through Park Farm and home via "LegoLand" and South Willesborough;pausing only briefly to chase frogs at Willesborough Dykes and at at Asda for Belgian buns. Asda Belgian buns are smaller than those touted by Morrisons, and slightly more expensive. Not that I'm an expert on the matter.

Once home I barrelled the forty pints of home-brew, had a quick shower, scoffed the bun for lunch and took myself off to bed for the afternoon.


I slept well; I would have slept longer had "Furry Face TM" not been barking at the neighbours. He seems to have taken a dislike to the new people. A shame really as they seem to be a great improvement on some that we've had over the years.


The day between night shifts is usually dull; and this one was no exception. I'm off to another night shift now...



7 June 2015 (Sunday) - After the Night Shifts



With another night shift done I made my way home. In years gone by I used to grumble about the night work. Nowadays I think I prefer the night work to the day work. Being on my own for most of the shift, the job itself is more varied, and I can work at my own pace and in my own way. And being a longer shift (than the day shifts) I actually do less of them.

I *could* have listened to the radio as I drove home, but I'd had the radio on all night. What with documentaries about the failings of the Labour party, a play based on the Barchester Chronicles, pretentious quizzes, even more pretentious drivel about poetry, dull reports from the Moscow correspondent and opinionated ranting about healthy eating (to say nothing of the shipping forecast and the farmers' round-up) I think it fair to say I'd had enough of the radio.

Instead I listened to the random music I had stored on my phone. Sparks, Queen, the Dickies, ELO, Kate Bush, B.A. Robertson, quality stuff (!)


I came home expecting to have to navigate around road closures; last week I'd seen notices that the main road through Ashford was going to be closed. The council had advertised a phone number from which to get information about the road closure. I'd rung it, and been asked to leave a phone number on which they could get back to me with directions. They hadn't.

I drove home rather hoping that diversions would be signposted. They weren't. The road wasn't closed at all, but the signs saying it *would* be closed were still in place. I wonder what all that was about.


Once home I thought I'd get a little shut-eye. I woke at mid day to find I was cuddling my dog like he was a teddy bear and to find that "er indoors TM" had gone to Bluewater with her posse. I had my breakfast for lunch and then thought I might take "Furry Face TM" for a walk.

We did our usual circuit of Bowens Field, Viccie Park and Co-op field. As we walked into the park I got a fit of the giggles. There was a gaggle of schoolgirls (aged about twelve I suppose) loitering as young girls do. One of them had her arms crossed under her not insubstantial bosom and was using her crossed arms to wield her chest to its best effect. A yound lad (also aged about twelve) came up on his scooter and stopped about three feet away from her. He blatently looked her up and down, gave a very piercing wolf-whistle and loudly announced "Nice tits".

We walked away just as the fist fight started.


There were lots more children and teenagers in the park; all running riot as they do. As well as using the "F" word a lot, they seem to now have a new insult. Apparently calling someone a "fannywhacker" is fighting talk. Once lives and learns.


With our walk done I spent an hour or so working on my next presentation to the astro club. An as-yet unnamed talk (provisionally designated as "Why Comets Are Crap") it explores the various reasons why comets are crap. I thought I'd better get on with it; circumstances might necessitate it's being ready earlier than planned.

I didn't get as much done as I was hoping; a hot day added to being post night shift had taken its toll. I went back to bed for another couple of hours until "er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of scoff which we devoured whilst watching "Thunderbirds". She then had a little lie-down and my piss boiled somewhat...


In years gone by my nutty neighbour would listen at the wall for hours on end. He'd give the fact away by often stopping me in the street and giving me his opinion on whatever we'd been discussing the night before. If ever I had a difference of opinion with "Daddies Little Angel TM" (it happened occassionally - would you beleive it) he would call out the social workers because he found raised voices to be distressing.

He spent an hour or so this evening shrieking at his wife who is (apparently) only still with him because she's too proud to go back to Japan.

This happens all the time. I once called out the emergency psychiatrist (they actually exist) to come see him. I was told that although he was highly stressed he wasn't actually clinically insane.

Sometimes I wonder if we might revisit that diagnosis.


Time to wake "er indoors TM" - we're off to the airport to collect "My Boy TM".



8 June 2015 (Monday) - Bit Tired



By the time we'd waited round Clacket Lane for the phone call to tell us that the airplane had landed last night, it was past midnight before we got to the airport. It didn't help that I couldn't find where to go, and that the *helpful* staff at Gatwick deliberately sent me to the wrong place. (I know they mis-directed me deliberately because I later found the person who'd done so, challenged him and he confirmed he'd deliberately sent me to the wrong place!)

We eventually found the returning holidaymakers, and everyone was home and in bed shortly before 3am.


Despite two night shifts and then a 3am bed time I was raring to go at 7am this morning. I'd booked a day's holiday for today thinking I might be tired. I had vaguely planned to do a recce on a new geo-series I have in mind, but thought better of the idea. Just recently I've planned three such routes only to have other people put out caches in the way (effectively stuffing up my plans) and so at the moment I really can't be bothered.

Instead we scrounged a lift with "er indoors TM" to her work and walked home through the golf course. A new geocache had gone lilve there over the weekend. I spent five minutes having a look but a combination of spiky hawthorne and nosey golfers put me off and I gave up.


As we walked through the Warren my dog saw something. A squirrel, a rabbit, a yeti; I don't know what it was but without warning he sprinted after it. I'd deliberately kept him on the lead in case this happened. He flew until the lead reached its fullest extent, but he was running with such force he snapped the lead.

I bellowed at him, and to his credit he stopped instantly. I suppose it was only a matter of time until that lead snapped. It was getting rather worn.


Once home I did that traditional pastime on my days of annual leave; laundry. Washing onto the line, ironing, washing machine at full power, sorting undercrackers... the usual.

As I ironed I activated my laptop to Chromecast Power and watched some Star Trek episodes. But not just any episodes; new ones. Star Trek Phase Two is supposedly carrying on from where the third season of the original Star Trek left off. It was watchable enough whilst doing the ironing, but... had the actors been given any original dialogue rather than re-hashing very recognisable phrases from the original TV series and films,

and had the writers tried original plots rather than re-workinng old stories it might have had promise.


I could have then gone shopping; we now need a new dog lead and I need something to connect two lengths of hose pipe. I could have mowed the lawn or pressure-washed the front garden. I could have continued working on my presentation for the astro club.

Instead I fell asleep in front of the telly until "er indoors TM" came home.


Out of interest I had a look on the geo-map. We had been invited to go on holiday with "My Boy TM" so I checked out the geocaching in the area. There were no caches within forty miles of where they had been staying and only six within a hundred miles. Compare that to Ashford where there is one hundred and ninety five within two miles of my house.

And it's Monday night. Game of Thrones. I think I need to get the DVDs and watch the entire lot again to figure out why everyone is doing what they are doing, and to figure out to whom it is they are doing it.

And also to see nudey-dragon-girl before she got so famous that she was allowed to keep her clothes on...



9 June 2015 (Tuesday) - Still Tired



I went to bed right after "Game of Thrones" last night and slept for seven hours but still woke feeling rough. Over brekkie (shared with my dog) I watched another black-and-white episode of "Dads Army". I thought I'd seen all of that show so many times, but I don't remember these black-and-white episodes at all.

I struggled to then check out social media; for all that I've wasted money on AVG I-click maintenance I still get the lap-top frezing with warnings about unresponsive scripts.

Sometimes it's quicker to take the battery out of the thing and re-boot it than it is to wait for it to respond.


As I drove to work I listened to the news on the radio. Despite the fact that it's only a month since the Conservatives won the General Election, the pundits are forecasting doom and gloom for them. Apparently it's all to do with the Euro-referendum. Not all of the Conservatives are united on the question of whether or not the UK should remain in the European Union.

The feeling is that whichever side wins, the losing side won't be happy and there will be an irreconcilable rift in the party; probably fuelled by UKIP who, despite having only secured one seat at the general Election are already mischief-making for this upcoming referendum.


To my mind this entirely illustrates what's wrong with our so-called democracy. Once every five years we each get to vote for a local MP; and we can only really choose on the broadest terms. Most people will find they side with one candidate on education and health matters, but agree with another on foreign and social issues. No candidate really stands for all that we want.

And the MPs themselves are in the same boat. Nominally of one political party or another, they too only really agree with their party's policies in the broadest terms. many of them disagreeing on many individual policies.

And consequently we have a government hopelessly divided on what is possibly the most important issues of the year, if not the entire term of the parliament.


Meanwhile my bank has seen the writing on the wall and is preparing to abandon the UK. Seriously cutting their investment in Britain they are looking to shed one in every six of their employees and take their money elsewhere.

It gives me no pleasure to predict they will be the first of many businesses and companies to do so.


Being on the early shift meant for an early finish thus giving me a few minutes spare after work. I did a little shopping; specifically that shopping I should have done on my day off yesterday.

To HomeBase for the hose-pipe fixings; to Pets at Home for a new lead. Fortunately I had some three-quid-off vouchers for Pets at Home. Admittedly I had to spend over thirty quid to get the bargain, but I just made up the difference in dog food. Effectively I've got a week's scoff for free... if you overlook the fact I had to buy a new lead.

I got some petrol as well; I've been getting through a lot of that lately.


Once home I took "Furry Face TM" out and we put the new lead through its paces. It seems to to the trick - let's hope it lasts.

Usually Tuesday sees a gathering of the clans. What with one thing and another enough people were indisposed to persuade us to postpone. Which in retrospect was probably for the best; I was still feeling rather washed out. So I experimented streaming stuff from my phone to the telly via the intermediary ChromeCast. Its amazing what you can do with that thing...



10 June 2015 (Wednesday) - New Grand-Dog



Finding myself falling asleep in front of the telly I had another early night last night, and slept through till 7am. Admittedly I did a couple of night shifts last week, but this is now getting somewhat excessive. I wonder if I'm sickening for something.

I didn't watch any lame telly over brekkie; instead I checked out social media on a lap-top which was gracious enough to work (after a fashion). I've noticed that more and more I give but a glance to the Facebook antics of family and close friends, but am absolutely enthralled by the postings of those I don't really know very well. In fact it might be time to prune the Facebook list again; there are several names on it that I do not recognise at all.


I then took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk. I wonder if he's sickening for something too. He didn't get up this morning as I scoffed brekkie, and I've noticed that when he walks he sems to be very stiff in his movements. Am I walking him too much?

As we walked we saw something odd; OrangeHead's dog, but not with OrangeHead. Said dog was with a rather odd-looking chap who seemed to be either two feet too tall or several stones underweight and was sporting an ill-fitting beard. "Son of Orangehead" perhaps? Are such things possible?


I went to work via a visit to the first fruit of my loin. They've got a new puppy. "Rolo" is quite the little cutie; even if he should really have been called "Dave". I spent a little while fussing him.

"My Boy TM" had words to say about the little dog not being toilet trained. I've made the prediction that the puppy will be toilet trained far quicker than "My Boy TM" ever was.

The first fruit of my loin wasn't happy with that act of clairvoyance


As I drove to Canterbury the radio had a documentary about Ernest Holloway Oldham who worked for the Foreign Office in the 1920s and 1930s and at the time was selling British secrets to the Russians for financial gain.

Apparently the Russians were paying him the eaquivalent of thousands of pounds each week which he was spending on drink. Didn't anyone notice how pissed this chap was on a regular basis?


A new geocache had gone live right on my way to work; I stopped off to get it whilst passing. I narrowly missed being first to find; I nearly didn't get it; fortunately the clue said exactly where it was. The GPS was taking me some thirty yards away.

I've politely suggested that the person who hid it might like to re-visit their GPS-ing. Mind you I'm pretty sure I know what's happening here. This new cache is a direct replacement for one which used to be in that area and went missing. They've put out a new one in a better hiding place but used the old co-ordinates.


With a little time still on my hands I then went to have a look round "Go Outdoors". For all that my GPS unit was a serious bargain, their clothes aren't cheap. Does anyone *really* pay twenty quid for a T-shirt?


And so to work. The boss took the afternoon off, and for a few hours I was "The Numero Uno Honcho with Authoritah" or so it was announced. I've been "The Numero Uno Honcho with Authoritah" before. I don't really like it very much. It's all very well all the time everything is peachy, but things soon go sour when the poop hits the propellors.

I got round the difficulties by appointing "A Numero Due Honchette with Authoritah" - no one messed with her....


I was glad to get home this evening. A late shift had made for a rather late finish and time never drags quite so much as when the elastic in your undercrackers has given up the ghost. Those undercrackers are now in the bin (thank heavens!)

It's not the first time I've dinged pants; I'm getting quite low on the things. I shall visit Asda at some point...



11 June 2015 (Thursday) – Stuff



After a decent night's sleep I woke with something of a headache. I hate that; morning headaches seems to drag on interminably. Over brekkie (shared with "Furry Face TM") I watched "Secret Diary of a Call Girl". Billie Piper is very good in that; so good that I was so wrapped up in the plot that it wasn't until the show was over that I realised she'd kept her kit on for the entire episode.


I then had a look on social media. Seeing a friend had a birthday reminded me of something I'd heard on the radio yesterday which had slipped my mind. I didn't realise that the song "Happy Birthday to You" is still copyrighted. Public performances of said song incur a royalty payment. Whilst it's practically unenforcable for the vast majority of the times it is sung, whoever owns the copyright gets enough of a bung every time it appears on TV, film and radio to make it the most profitable song of all time.

Whenever anyone has a birthday I often post my trademark birthday video to their Facebook page. I wonder how much I owe for having done that over the years.


As I drove to work I listened to the radio. A survey of two hundred thousand Britons has declared that the Robin is Britain's favourite bird. However the validity of the vote has been cast into doubt. Apparently most votes cast were cast by schoolchildren on the day on the General Election (to teach them all about voting) and consequently the Barn Owl came in second place because all the kids who voted were Harry Potter fans. This has caused consternation in some quarters as it was hitherto common knowledge that people prefer blackbirds over owls....

And this is news?


Once at work I had another busy day. I'm getting fed up with being expected to actually do stuff at work.

Mind you the day wasn't without excitement. "Daddies Little Angel TM" phoned in a less than tranquil frame of mind. Her landlord has decided to sell their house and has told them to sling their hooks. I can understand her dismay; but part of me thinks this is the problem of living in rented accommodation. You *can* be hoiked out at the drop of a hat.

Mind you this *could* be a good thing. I've always said there are too many stairs in that flat for my liking.


With work done we took "Furry Face TM" for quite a long walk; it was too nice not to his evening. Down to Park Farm (via South Willesborough) and back. "Furry Face TM" seemed to like the walk. I wonder if my latest grand-dog will like long walks...

Spare a thought for that little puppy - "My Boy TM" is up in arms because "Rolo" has taken to going under the sofa for a tiddle. I think it's quite sweet really; mainly because its not my sofa.



12 June 2015 (Friday) - Car Fire



I again went to bed last night an hour earlier than usual. Why am I so tired just lately? "Furry Face TM" had a woofing fit at some stage in the night but "er indoors TM" got up to see to him so I left her to it.

Over brekkie I watched a particularly lame episode of "Are You Being Served", and bearing in mind the general standard of the show, that was up against some pretty serious cometition. And after Mrs Slocombe had been very willy-nilly with her pussy I found something quite amazing on the telly. "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" was expounding the theory that global warming was all a scam to make money. He was rather vague about who was making money, and how they were doing so, and not one of the so-called experts were actually identified. It was clearly hyped-up drivel, but it made for worrying watching for those who are stupid enough not to to give a moment's thought to any crackpot theory with which they are presented.

The trouble is that there are lots of people who really are stupid enough not to to give a moment's thought to any crackpot theory with which they are presented (Did I ever mention that I don't beleive in democracy?).

Mind you I would suggest that my loyal readers have a look at the show; his assistant reporter has clearly had some sort of cosmetic sugery done to her face. Each of her lips is larger than my buttocks.


I set off out and had something of a surprise. It turned out that "Furry Face TM" had been barking at blue lights in the night. Overnight the car which had been parked next to mine had caught fire. Apparently the fire brigade had been called to put the thing out. "er indoors TM" had been out and seen it all and had even offered to move my car if it was in the firemen's way.

It's amazing what happens when you are asleep.


I then went up to the hospital for my out patient appointment. I've been fretting about it for a while. The maxillo-facial specialist had a rummage in my neck and immediately found the troublesome lump. He mauled it around for five minutes then confidently said it was probably nothing to worry about. I asked about the "C" word and he then backtracked (but only slightly). He suggested I should have an ultrasound scan just to be sure and I should come back to see him in a month or so.

I was of the opinion that maybe I should have had the scan *before* seeing the expert, and *if* it's nothing to worry about, why does it hurt so much. But what do I know?

Perhaps they might eventually tell me what (if anything) they intend to do about this lump. It's the uncertainty which gets me down.


I then made my way to Canterbury for the late shift; wasting time in the Cheapo-Bargains shop as I went. Work was again surprisingly busy. I've had to actually get off my arse this week and do stuff. Can't say I'm a fan of that.


Once at work I realised the sole of my shoe was coming away from the top. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that this pair of shoes was bought on the cheap from eBay. On 17 February I worked out that if those shoes lasted more than five weeks I'd be in profit. At that time I hadn't factored in the fact that the heels were leaving black marks everywhere, so I had to then spend a further twelve quid on new heels. So that meant the shoes had to survive for seventeen weeks to be realistically any cheaper than a decent pair of shoes.

They have lasted exactly seventeen weeks.


I now have a dilemma. Do I buy another pair of cheapo shoes or shell out on a decent pair of Doc Marten's?

I suppose that from the maxillo-facial specialist's optimism a decent pair of shoes wouldn't be quite the waste of money I've been thinking it might have been..



13 June 2015 (Saturday) – Deal



Yesterday I mentioned how I'd cunningly calculated value in footware. A decent pair of Doctor Marten shoes lasts me two years (on average) and when I last looked they cost about one hundred pounds. So (roughly) that's a quid a week. In order for a pair of cheapo-bargain shoes to actually be a bargain they have to work out cheaper than a quid a week. Or so I worked out in February.

The same pair of Doc Martens which was just over a hundred quid on eBay then now only costs sixty quid. So much for the official UK inflation figures which would have us all beleive differently. It didn't take a genius to work out the cheapest move; the new Doctor Marten sixty quid shoes should arrive on Wednesday.


I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park. At one point I lost him, but he soon came to light when I saw the amount of birds that were flying out of a hedge that seemed to be shaking in a very un-natural fashion.

We came home via the bakery; can't beat a Belgian bun. Once home "Furry Face TM" got his monthly flea treatment. I really should have mowed the lawn this morning, but it was still wet from the overnight rain so instead I again wrestled with the lap-top. Despite AVG-1 click maintenance's best efforts the thing is becoming effectively unusable with the various applications all freezing for no apparent reason.

I've given up with FireFox and taken to using Chrome as a browser; that seems to freeze up less. Interestingly the moment I activated Chrome it suggested downloading the MicroSoft Malicious Software Removal Tool which I did. It did a "quick scan" of the most likely places it might find any malware. After five minutes it announced it hadn't found anything. After ten minutes Chrome started freezing up as well.

Mind you I do intermittently see an icon telling me that WIndows is downloading updates. Perhaps the's either the problem or (will be) the cure. I also see another icon has appeared saying I can get Windows 10 for free when it becomes available. I wonder if I should get it? Perhaps a new lap-top might be a better idea?


The plan for the afternoon had been a garden party. But I was in a bit of a sulk. I suppose it's the disappointing outcome of yesterday's out-patients appointment. Is this lump "something to worry about" (and if it is, then in all honesty I'm not really *that* worried) or is it not? Either way it hurts, and I'm just a little fed up with the uncertainty.

I wasn't in the best frame of mind to be making polite conversation so I took the train to Deal to be with people with whom I could have a sulk (and they wouldn't mind).

Surprsingly we had a pint or two.... but it's not easy to stage a booze-up when it hurts to swallow.




14 June 2015 (Sunday) – 5000



I was fast asleep when "er indoors TM" alarm went off. She'd set it for 3am for no reason that either of us could determine. I struggled to get back to sleep after that. I finally dozed off only to be woken by "Furry Face TM" who had a woofing fit when the neighbours we like went out at 5am. I gave up trying to sleep at that point, got up and had a bit of brekkie. I programmed "Hannah" for the day's upcoming geo-event, had a shave, and went back to bed.


After laying there wide awake for an hour I gave up, got up and thought I might use the time semi-constructively. I put a load of washing into scrub and mowed the lawn. I then strimmed the edges and cut back the overgrowth pouring over the fence from next door. Whilst then hanging out the laundry on the line I saw I'd somehow got a rather nasty blood blister whilst doing the gardening.

I then emptied one of the lock-ups to get the astro club's event shelter out. And having emptied it I realised I'd emptied the wrong one, so I put it all back and emptied the correct one. I then got out my clippers and gave myself a haircut.


By then it seemed like I'd done a day's work but it was only just gone eight o'clock. I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little walk. We met a new dog walker today. A nice lady who is very heavily pregnant; in all honesty she looks like she's got a football team in there (poor girl).

And as we came home through the co-op field so my dog found the fox poo. He ate those bits that he didn't roll in. Foul creature.


I then spent a few minutes fighting with the recalcitrant lap-top. I've registered for Windows 10; desperate times call for desperate measures.


We then set off to Maidstone where we picked up Aleta. She seems to be doing really well after her recent knee replacement operation. We then went up to Rochester for the monthly cacher's meeting. Bearing in mind the weather did't look too good we'd left Fudge on guard duty at home as the pub wasn't dog-friendly. But the pub was wasn't bad at all; they did a rather good roast dinner. We met up with the other hunters of tupperware, and had a really good jabber about all things tupperware-hunting-related. And I got my five thousandth geo-smiley-face too...


We didn't then go for a geo-wander. We had a mooch round Toys-R-Us as it was over the road, then came home. Having been up most of the night I dozed pretty much all of the way home, and after a little visit to the outlet centre I spent a little while fighting with maps. It is apparently possible to get Ordnance Survey maps onto the geo-apps on my phone. I *really* can't do it.

I then had a look at a Facebook group which was claiming to be able to allow me to do so, but it lied.


"My Boy TM" came to visit in the evening. He was wondering what DVDs he'd left behind in what was once his room. I must admit that it seems a shame having spent twenty thousand pounds on a loft conversion only to have the loft room not being used.

Mind you it makes a good guest suite on the rare occassion we have people staying over.


This evening saw the start of a new TV show. "Humans" is set in the near future when human-like robots are commonplace. On the one hand I quite like it because it's not yet another American police show; set in the UK it's been filmed on some of the places I've been. On the other hand it's tackling topics that decent sci-fi dealt with in the 1950s.

The first episode was quite good; but I think the show is going to take the direction that Isaac Asimov took in 1974 when he wrote the short story "...that thou art mindful of him"

Mind you I will watch the next episodes having recorded them first. I can't be doing with all the adverts.



15 June 2015 (Monday) – Telly



A very young Barbara Windsor guest-starred in this morning's episode of "Dad's Army". Another black-and-white one; another one I'd not seen before. I then watched teh end of an episode of "Smallville". I've only ever seen snippets of that show. With ten seasons of it, I sometimes wonder if its something I might like. I wonder if I can download it all from somewhere.


My piss then boiled as I checked my emails. Having spent sixty quid on new shoes over the weekend, today eBay send me a voucher for twenty per cent off of all purchases over twenty quid. They *could* have sent that email two days ago...


I set off for work, got to the car and realised I'd left my wallet behind. So I came home and once I was in and had collected my wallet I went and woke up my dog. He goes mental when someone visits a house over the road, but was completely oblivious to someone coming into the one house he is supposed to be guarding.


I drove to work; the radio played its usual mix of trivia. I stopped off at Morrisons for supplies, then did some work.

At lunchtime I popped out on a geo-mission. A new cache had gone live within walking distance of work. It didn't take me long to get there; didn't take long at all to find it.

It was a tad obvious. It's been there a week, and from reading the logs it looks like the local kids have already discovered it. I hid it slightly better than it was (not at all) hidden when I found it, and I took the liberty to throw away the sweeties which were inside it. Rules is rules - there should never have been sweeties in the thing in the first place.

I hope a few more of these caches go out near work; it made for a pleasent diversion at lunchtime today. Mind you, at the risk of appearing negative, Canterbury is notorious for people discovering the geo-hobby, rushing out hiding new caches, losing interest and then leaving their caches to decay.

I must admit that geo-alarm bellls are ringing; here's (yet) another Canterbury cache hidden by someone with a total find-count of six (including having cheekily logged this one of his own). Let's hope this new hider of tupperware don't give up too.


Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park where he got rather carnally involved with a chihuahua and a spaniel. Not at the same time (I hasten to add) but on reflection I'm wondering whether that was a good or bad thing.


Over tea we watched something new on telly which reminded me of something I'd heard on the radio this morning. There had been an interview with Dan Postgate. Son of Oliver Postgate; he's brought his father's "The Clangers" back to our TV screens. I quite liked "The Clangers", and this re-boot was good fun.


"er indoors TM" went bowling and I watched another new TV show. "Dark Matter" was rather reminiscent of "FireFly". I quite liked tonight's first episode even if the same story was done much better in Star Trek: The Next Generation's episode "Conundrum".

And then it was time for the last in the current season of "Game of Thrones". Can't say I've liked it as much as I liked the earlier seasons. When the show started there were beleiveable characters and nudey-dragon-girl flopped them out with entertaining regularity. Those few beleivable characters that are left haven't been developed at all in this last season, nudey-dragon-girl had kept the puppies on a tight leash, and any sort of plot has been abandoned in favour of gratuitous mindless violence. I've seen that in "Football Factory", "Essex Boys" and the like. Has "Game of Thrones" run out of ideas? Certainly looks like it...


Yesterday I mentioned that "Humans" was a story which had been done to death by sci-fi writers fifty years ago. Just recently we've been watched the CGI-ed "Thunderbirds". "Poldark" (which I liked immensely) was a re-make. Now it's "Clangers - The Next Generation".

There's nothing original on the telly any more.



16 June 2015 (Tuesday) - Bit Dull



Last night I had a reasonable kip; the first for a while. Mind you I was still wide awake at 5am. Over brekkie I watched "Are You Being Served" which the SkyPlus box had recorded for me. I think I'm now on the last season which is probably for the best.


Being on the early shift I set off a little earlier than usual; the news had its usual blend of irritation. Having spent some months saying that they will abide with the public's decision after the loss of the independence referendum it now seems the Scottish Nationalist *are* pushing for another one.

The Greeks are causing concern. Apparently having up so much debt they owe everyone everything, they've now decided to solve their debt problems by not actually paying anything back. Apparently their major creditors are up in arms wanting their money. It strikes me that our Prime Minister could learn a lot from the Greek attitude.


I got to work, did some, and came home. The plan was to make the most of the early finish; instead I got stuck in a queue of traffic and didn't really get home that early at all.

We had out customary walk round the park. The walk itself was pretty much uneventful, but there was an interesting sight as we left the co-op field. The nice lady in William Road had clearly forgotten to close the curtains. Or perhaps she didn't care. Or perhaps she was deliberately waggling her ample charms on purpose. Either way it brightened up what had (till then) been a dull day.


Once home I had a look on-line. I did laugh at "MessageToEagle dot com

". Billed as "thought provoking news for open-minded people who can think outside the box" a more accurate description would be "utter drivel which is clearly laughable to all but the most feeble-minded simpleton". Today's installment featured a message to humanity which aliens had left (some time ago) which they had coded into our DNA. I did think about sending them a message to say that I'd already seen this idea on "Star Trek" but I've always thought it bad form to enter into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

Perhaps more useful was finding a bunch who give lessons in the use of GPS units. They aren't cheap but I've registered with them. Apparently there is a monthly newsletter which might give me some pointers in how best to use "Hannah"


Being Tuesday the clans gathered. "Furry Face TM" liked the attention, and after finding myself stuck on the floor we eventually managed to watch an episode of "The Flash". The telly didn't recognise the USB stick, but transmission via ChromeCast saved the day.


Oh - I nearly forgot... my new Doc Martens have arrived; they seem to be OK. We shall find out tomorrow.



17 June 2015 (Wednesday) - Still Dull



Yesterday evening I had a minor rant at the astro club membership. This Saturday is the Shadoxhurst Fun Dog Show and Fete. It is usually a really good event. The astro club puts on a stall; those of us manning the event have a good time. Helping out is open to all.... if only for a few minutes. Every little helps. Some of us are going to the event, others might be, some can't make it, some say they will be there but have no intention of turning up because they don't live in England (I've told them off about that before but still they persist...).

With just four days to go just over eighty-five per cent of those invited haven't even replied to the invite. Are we going to be snowed out with helpers? Will it be just half a dozen of us (because some who've clicked "Going" don't live in England!)?

Setting up this sort of thing as a Facebook Event only works if people actually respond to them (and respond properly).

I woke up wondering what (if any response) my little rant had provoked. I found it had elicited very little.


Whilst having a working lap-top I had a look round the rest of Facebook and I found my piss boiling over trivia. Someone had asked on the "Geocaching in Kent" page about the best way to play Wherigos. Having planned, designed, built and tested the seventeen local ones I offered my sage advice. Someone with a proven track record of preferring his own opinion to reality (and having only done one of the Ashford ones) had posted contrary (and wrong) advice.

The things are not devised to be played on Garmin GPS units. I wish people wouldn't keep recommending that my ones should be done on them; it doesn't show them in a good light.


It was only when I'd finished cyber-ranting that I realised that my little dog was still asleep. He seemed very subdued this morning. Perhaps (like me) he finds the Tuesday late finish rather tiring, or perhaps he's sickening for something.

Bearing in mind there's been a spate of friends loosing their pets recently I spent much of the day worrying about the little pup.


As I drove to work the radio kept cutting out. I wonder if the fault was with the BBC or my car radio. I hope it was with the BBC; I don't need the expense of a new car radio at the moment.

As always the weather forecast amazed me. They start the forecast by describing the current weather. They waffled on about the dismal overcast morning. I was driving through glorious sunshine. If they can't get the weather of the moment right (and you can get that by sticking your head out of the window) what hope have they of getting any forecasts right?


To work. Just lately I've taken to going for a little walk at lunch time. I didn't today as the new shoes are still being run in. Instead I fell asleep whilst reading my Kindle app. I am *so* tired at the moment.


Once home I saw the postman had been. I'd ordered leather insoles for my new shoes. What arrived wasn't what I'd ordered. And what had arrived had been delilberately folded in half by the sender. I've put in a formal complaint but I doubt anything will come of it.

I again checked out the Facebook Event page for this weekend's astro club stall. Yesterday's rant had encouraged a grand total of three people to answer the invitation.... so I'm left wondering whether people aren't actually seeing the invitation or whether they can't be bothered to respond.

Either way Facebook Events aren't working as a way to publicise. I wonder what effect Twitter might have...



18 June 2015 (Thursday) - On Mars



After yet another evening spent mostly asleep on the sofa I had an early night.I slept reasonably well despite a few nightmares about what might have been in a previous life. I was again wide awake before 6am (and feeling rough). My little dog was awake this morning and very thirsty. I don't think we shall allow him too many gammon bones in future; they are too salty for him.

Over brekkie we (me and pup) both watched "Secret Diary of a Call Girl". On the one had Billie Piper's stunt double isn't averse to flopping "them" out. On the other hand does fifty per cent of the dialogue really have to be the "F" word?


I then had a look on-line. I had a Facebook friend request from Joan Carbon. "Joan Carbon" (if that is her real name) would seem to live in the Philippinnes and from what I saw it doesn't look as though English is her principle language. Much as I dislike being anti-social (even though I'm a mardy old git) I've already got enough people I don't know on my Facebook list. With absolutely no connection at all to "Joan Carbon" I gave her request the thumbs down.

I had a look at the Facebook Event page for the weekend's astro club stall. After my little rant I see that I prompted a total of six people to respond and answer the invitation. However the "plum" who lives in Spain who says he will come has not removed his "will attend". I remember this twit; he said he was coming to something I once organised and when I messaged him to assign him some duties on that event he said he never goes to any Facebook Event; but he always clicks the "will attend" to show his support (!)


This morning's installment of total nonsense from MessageToEagle dot com was rather entertaining. Today they were punting the theory that there was once two races of ancient Martians (on Mars) both with a level of technology consistent with that in ancient Egypt who managed to obliterate themselves in a nuclear war.

Now I'm no historian, and much as I admire the Pyramids, I don't think the Pharoahs has atomic weapons. I can vaguely remember something about at Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulators on Mars, but (as always) I am in thrall to the superior wisdom of the crackpot fringe.


I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. Beaver Road was rather congested. There is a barrier up the road which only opens for buses, taxis and emergency vehicles. A juggernaut was trying and failing to get through much to the consternation of all the taxis queueing behind.

We walked on through the park past the Ghurka who was doing press-up on the park bench until we saw OrangeHead's dog. But no OrangeHead. The dog was under the supervision of a rather foxy-looking hippie. "Daughter of OrangeHead" perhaps?


With a couple of hours before I was due on duty I set off to Folkestone. I had birthday pressies to deliver and was under orders to bring milk.

The radio reception was a little better as I drove today and Christians were in the news. Starving Iraqui refugees have been supplied with Bibles. I would have thought the money would have been better spent on food. I can't help but cynically wonder how tasty a Bible might be. Closer to home a supposedly Christian person is ruthlessly haranging his neighbour because their garden lanterns are too gay for an area in which children abound. Having been an active Christian myself once, I find myself looking back at the stark nonsense I once espouced. At the time it seemed quite sensible.

That is the trouble with religion...


I got to Folkestone; littlun was well. As well as pulling himself up and being very mobile, he's learned how to kiss, and he kissed his old Grandad.

I spent half an hour with him and his mum putting the world to rights before setting off to work.


I've seen a dozen or so geocaches marked on the geo-map between Folkestone and work, and when on the late shifts I've taken to picking off the odd one before work. It's something to do on an otherwise dull journey. Today's target cache was in Barham and was one I'd had my eye on for a little while. The previous logs read as though previous finders had destroyed the thing beyond redemption. The most recent maintenance log would lead one to beleive the geo-feds had actually been out to give the thing their regal seal of approval (something they do *not* do).

I went along and... what can I say? It's a small geocache; a good hide, but not one I hadn't seen before. Co-ords were about three to five yards out; but realistically that's about as good as you're ever going to get. It took me a few minutes to locate it; I did the secret geo-ritual known only to the select few, and then carried on to work.


And as is usually the case when on the late shift, my day was effectively done by mid day...



19 June 2015 (Friday) - News, Ultrasound, Walk



After a restless night I watched the second episode of the current documentary about the life of Bob Monkhouse. "er indoors TM" had put it on the telly on Wednesday night and I'd slept through it.

Sometimes I wish I'd been a TV celebrity. With no disrespect to the epically famous there's no denying that they've all been incredibly lucky in their careers.

I then checked out social media. Not much had happened overnight really.


And so to work. The radio fizzled a bit but the news worried me. The Prime Minister is being seen to be very brave in asking (telling?) the Muslim community to take the lead in sorting out the problems which are being laid at their door. Has anyone else noticed that decent hard-working people of that persuasion are described as "Muslims" but the loony-terrorists are now referred to as "Islamists"? I suppose the media has to make the distinction before the rest of society decides to take matters in their own hands and tar anyone of non-white-caucasian heritage with the same brush.


Eurozone leaders are apparently laying eggs over the Greek debt crisis. With only a week to go till the Greek government formally refuses to pay back billions the rest of the Eurozone are looking at seeing Greece leave the union.

It's no secret that he average Brit is stupid enough to vote for Brexit and I worry for the future. As I was bouncing my grandson about yesterday I told his mum that he's got about a one in two to one in three chance of living to be a hundred years old. What kind of future will he see?

It won't be high-tech like Star Trek. Desperately hoping the religious crackpots don't blast us back to the stone age it will be at best much the same as today with internecine petty international squabbling preventing any real social advancement. As a child I had expected so much more.


I got to work, I did the bare minimum (as I am told is usual for me). I spent a little while looking up the finer details of ultrasound guided aspirations. I've got an appointment to have my lump ultrasonically aspirated next Wednesday; the boss has given me the day as sick leave.

I spoke with one of the radiology nurses who assured me that I can just eat and drink before the appointment like I would on any other day, that I shall get a local anaesthetic and that I will be fit to drive home immediately after the procedure.

Wikipedia says I should fast from the night before and I should prepare for major surgery; also I will get valium and will be as high as a kite for the rest of the day.

I wonder how it will turn out. Either way it will be something of an adventure.


Over lunch I checked my emails. I had a few this morning since I'd left home. Another invitation to work on the island of Saint Helena; this time for only three months. If I didn't have a neck lump I'd be tempted.

The first newsletter came from the GPS training school; unfortunately it seemed to be little more than trying to sell me stuff.

And an interesting email... Yesterday I went out on a geo-mission before work and found a cache which the owner thought had been personally inspected by the geo-feds. Yesterday I blogged my thought that the reviewer hadn't been within fifty miles of the thing. Today I got a little message from the cache owner telling me she really thinks he did go have a look-see. So I sent a little message back; I also invited her to join the Kent geo-Facebook brigade and to come to the geo-meet I'm staging in August.

I hope she takes it in the spirit in which it was intended....


Talking of things geo we went for a little walk this evening. Four target geocaches; we found three of them. Despite risking life and limb on barbed wire we didn't find one of them.

Again I used "Hannah" (my GPS unit) and... I think it is fair to say I've given the thing a fair trial. I've come to the conclusion that I don't like it. With the sole exception of haiving Ordnance Survey maps it really is inferior to my phone in every single respect. I am now *utterly* convinced there is some big secret about hand-held GPS units that the rest of the tupperware-hunters aren't telling me. Why am I the only one who can see how rubbish they are?


I shall phone the Ordnance Survey company on Monday and see if I can get some sort of a subscription for their maps and see if I can sell this GPS unit. It might pay for a new lap-top...



20 June 2015 (Saturday) - Shadoxhurst Dog Show



Over brekkie my phone carried on updating itself from KitKat to Lollipop. I am told that this is a good thing. I suppose it is but...

If I had to list my faults (and to be honest there are one or two), top of the list would be the fact that I don't like change. Anything new is immediately viewed with suspicion and distrust. I am making a serious effort to overcome this (which is why "Hannah" isn't in the dustbin already) but what on Earth was the point of my phone upgrading itself from KitKat to Lollipop? The process started off with a gigabyte of download (which took ages) and then involved a major cyber-fart-around which I left it doing overnight. This morning I then had to update Google services; that takes some doing when hitherto you are blissfully unaware of Google services.

After several hours I had a phone which (apart from a few tacky graphics) seems exactly the same as it was before except all the farting around had drained the battery.


As I messed about with Google services I was doing so one-handed."Furry Face TM" had pushed on to my lap and had put his chin on my left hand and gone to sleep. I was loathe to disturb him. Several friends have lost their dogs and cats recently and I was feeling rather soppy about my silly dog.

(Have I ever mentioned that I never wanted a dog?)


I then popped up to the corner shop where I exchanged stilted pleasantries with our neighbour. I then picked up Steve and Sarah and we went on to Shadoxhurst.

Every year the Shadoxhurst scouts run a summer fete and a dog show, and every year the astro club puts on a stall. You can't usually do much astronomy at a summer fete, but with a clear sky we can turn the solar scope on to the sun.

We arrived, set up our stall and I soon found the W.I. cake stall. With Steve and Jason having done a coffee and tea run we were soon having a tea break. And that rather set the tone of the day. In previous such events our stall has been heaving with interested punters all day long. For much of today we had no interest at all; and at no time did we have more than half a dozen people round our display. I suppose a permanently overcast sky didn't help; a telescope trained on a distant tree is somewhat dull.

I had a little mooch around the fete. Not only was the attendance down on previous events there were far fewer stalls than in previous years. But I still came home with a bone and new cushion for my dog. There was no shortage of dog-related stalls. In previous years the event has been a fete with a dog show. This year the event was clearly the dog show; the fete was very much a secondary attraction.


Leaving Jimbo in charge of base camp Steve and I set off for lunch. I must admit I was not impressed with the burger stall. Supposedly professional caterers; I honestly think I could have done a better job (and have done so in previous scouting-related events). They clearly had no idea how to do mass catering. But the burger (when it finally arrived) wasn't bad. Neither was the pint of ale that washed it down.


We prepared ourselves for the afternoon rush; it never came. At about mid day the sky became overcast and there were a few spots of rain. There was a noticeable exodus of cars from the car park, and those who might have come for the afternoon were clearly put off by the weather and stayed away. At what should have been their busiest time the beer tent announced they were slashing the price of the beer just to get rid of the stuff.

The event was supposed to be open until 4pm; we were packing up shortly after 3pm. A shame really; the organisers had clearly put in the effort, but what can you do when the public don't show up?


I took a few photos of the day; it actually was good fun; a shame that it wasn't a little busier.


While I'd been out "er indoors TM" had been giving my GPS unit a once-over. One of the major problems with "Hannah" is that when I've set her a target to find, the route on the map that I want to walk is then highlighted with a thick pink line. I suppose this is intended to be helpful, but it utterly obscures the very part of the map I'm trying to see. Effectively making the device useless. (Or more useless than it already is).

"er indoors TM" has turned off that "feature". (Why is everything that is usless about anything called a "feature"?) and has fiddled about with it a little to make it more "user friendly".

Having received a few adjustments, the device has actually been improved from being "Not Fit For Purpose" to being merely "Vastly Inferior To My Phone In Nearly All Regards".


I've given that GPS unit a fair trial over the last month. Despite being the biggest and best there is, the screen is still too small. The thing weighs a ton. The software sucks - it's got an alphabetical (as opposed to "qwerty") keyboard. It's got no wi-fi capability; it has to be pre-programmed at home before you go out so you can't just randomly geocache anywhere. And (what really boils my piss) you then have to pay for third party software to do the secret geo-after-rituals when you get home because the thing simply can't do them.

I suppose in the interests of fairness (and not appearing ungrateful for "er indoors TM" efforts) I should give it another go (if I can't get Ordnance Survey maps on my phone in the meantime)...



21 June 2015 (Sunday) - Streatham Kite Day



This morning as I looked at the Internet I was somewhat perturbed to see that the world is ending in nine days time. On June 30th there is going to be a leap-second. Leap-seconds are being added to clocks every few years because the Earth's rotation is slowing down. It does that. Most spinning things tend to slow down. There's no real need to add a leap-second to a clock, but people seem to like to assign night and day according to clock times and occassionally adding leap-seconds keeps everything straight.

But the amazing people at MessageToEagle dot com have realised that it's vaguely possible that some computers might vaguely be confused by a leap-second. And therefore it's the end of the Internet and consequently the entire world.

The fact that this has all happened before and no one was any the wiser is neither here nor there to MessageToEagle dot com. After all, why spoil a perfectly good crackpot theory?


I did see that a new geo-series has gone live not too far away. If we do survive past the end of the month I may well go for a little geo-stroll on Thursday 2 July if any of my loyal readers are up for it.


We then went for a little drive. Having collected the Bat from Smarden we made our way to the wicked city; despite a sat-nav hiccup we were soon at Streatham Common where there was a one-day kite-flying event. We soon met up with old friends, and we had a bit of a gossip. Pausing only briefly to get tomato ketchup down my shirt I was soon co-opted to anchor the man-lifting kite. It is something that I used to to all the time; it is something I miss. Mind you I wasn't completely happy with the anchoring arrangements. The double-lined method with elasticated roping that we used to use was much more flexible and safer when the pilot crashed. Which he did several times...


With "er indoors TM" spirit kite eventually untangled there was a spirit-fly-in; people either love or loathe those things. And in a spirit of being part of the community we persuaded three policemen (and a rather foxy police lady) to help anchor the man-lifting. It would have worked well had a passing looney not decided to end the event for everyone by taking it on to herself to remove the taping marking out the arena area and loudly announcing that the event was all over.

We left the police arresting her, said our goodbyes and went back to Irene and Terry's place where we sat in the sunshine for a while before scoffing ourselves silly on a rather good but of curry.


Having taken some photos of the fun we had today I then slept all the way home...



22 June 2015 (Monday) - Late Shift



Yesterday when on the way from the kite festival to Beckenham we drove past a lump of rock (virtually) attached to which was an Earthcache. We (I) took two minutes to do the secret geo-thing, and this morning as I did the secret on-line geo-rituals I saw that I'd got an e-souvenir for my troubles. Every summer Geocaching dot com organise various e-souvenirs and now I've got the first of this year's haul.

I then uploaded photos from yesterday and laughed at the crackpots from MessageToEagle dot com; apparently they've found a pyramid which dates from before the time of dinosaurs. I ahd a look at some of the photos from the weekend's sci-fi day which had been staged in Herne Bay. In years gone by I would have gone to that. But then again in years gone by I would probably have gone to the weekend's beer festival as well.

There's so many events on over the summer weekends and more and more I find myself looking at them thinking "been there, done that". I'm getting very cynical like that as I get older...


I then checked emails, and generally wasted some time on-line. I had some time to waste... despite a really busy weekend I was still wide awake two hours earlier than I needed to be this morning.

As I pootled on line I had all of my toast to myself for once. My little dog was noisily chomping on his bone. At Saturday's dog show and fete I bought him a bone which is almost as big as he is, and it seems to be keeping him occupied. He likes chewing on it, but he doesn't do it quietly. (And it doesn't do much for his farts either)


I wasn't keen on going for a walk this morning; it was raining. But it's difficult to explain meteorological reluctance to a fractious Patagonian Tripe-Hound so we braved the elements and walked in a short circular stroll past the local horses.

It was as well that "Furry Face TM" was on his lead; he tried to fly at a motorbike and then at a car. I wish he wouldn't. Over one hundred years ago Jerome J Jerome described terriers as "quarrelsome" and in the intervening years little would seem to have changed about the breed. Much as I won't hear a word against him, sometimes the word "quarrelsome" describes my little dog perfectly.


And so to work. I took a detour to Folkestone to visit the smallest member of the family (and his mother).

As I drove the radio was spouting utter rubbish about how architecture reflects the political climate in which it is made; the implication being that Conservative governments build mansions and workhouses whilst Labour governments build high-rise flats. I turned it off and put on awful music instead.

I say "awful music"; I quite like it. No one else seems to though.


Once in Folkestone I had a cuppa, and had my laces undone by the littlun. He can now climb the stairs, and does so if left unsupervised for more than one second.

I didn't stay as long as I usually do; I had shopping to get from Morrisons as well as needing petrol too. I also had a look in Go Outdoors hoping they would have a six-metre pole for the astro club's banner (to replace the one which broke at the weekend). They didn't.


I got to work for the late shift, did it, and came home. The weather had cheered up somewhat during the day but had become somewhat dismal for home time. As I drove home this evening the radio was actually quite interesting (in contrast to this morning). There was an expose on how attractive young women are using their wiles to exploit rich older men. Obviously this isn't a new idea, but it's becoming amazingly widespread (apparently)


This struck a chord; over the last few weeks I've noticed several really expensive-looking sports cars flying up and down the A28 driven by men clearly ten (or more) years older than me accompanied by young women clearly five (or more years younger than my daughter. Personally I think it's rather sad, but in much the same way that my dog wants to fight with motorbikes, quite a few older men shamelessly sniff round younger women (given half a chance). It's simply the nature of the beast(s); it's just what they do. (Don't get me wrong - I'm not condoning it, or excusing it; just pointing out a simple fact)

It was interesting listening to the young women being interviewed; some of their "clients" want sex; some just want company. They pay someone to pretend to be their friend.

But whatever they want they are prepared to pay between five hundred and a thousand pounds for an evening's time.

If I was an attractive young woman I would have no qualms in taking advantage of this obviously lucrative gaap in the market.


Mind you if some attractive young lady gave me the come-on I doubt if I'd be up for it. I'd honestly prefer a kebab... as I told the one who was wearing the saucy suspender belt and the fake smile (and nothing else) at the strip club this time last year.



23 June 2015 (Tuesday) - A Letter



I slept like a log last night; finally being woken by my alarm at 6am. There was a minor disaster over brekkie. Apparently there is some sporting event on in the afternoons at the moment on BBC2 so my SkyPlus box is unable to record lame episodes of "Are You Being Served". In fact despite the thing being over seventy per cent full thre wasn't anything on it I wanted to watch so I spent a little while this morning struggling with geo-puzzles. A new geo-series went live a couple of days ago; it is only half an hour's drive away. I thought I might walk it next week so I spent a little time looking at the puzzles on the route.

I struggled with them; I solved one (I think); and am still struggling with others. Reading some of the logs from people who've solved the puzzles and found the caches it would seem there are mistakes in the way some of the puzzles have been set. I may well choose another walk for next week if that is the case...


I listened to the radio on the way to work. In between the crackling interference the morning's news was variably interesting, boring and irrritating.

The Greek financial crisis is still ongoing; I personally think its a victory for the Greek Prime Minister. He's made the rest of the European community take ownership of the problems he should be sorting out.

There are calls for cars to be banned from the sstreets of London as two more cyclists die. I don't know the specific details of the cases, but in general terms I'd personally be inclined to ban the bikes until cyclists learn how to ride the things safely. It's no secret that the average cyclist is a danger to herself and humanity at large.

And nudey-dragon-girl (from "Game of Thrones") has had a haircut. Is that *really* newsworthy?


Just as I started working (read "arrived at the place and started whinging about wanting to go home") a new geocache went live just down the road from the hospital. I was tempted to take a rather early tea break and nip out chasing a First to Find, but unfortunately there was work for me to do. So (in a novel break with tradition) I did some work.

I went on a little geo-mission at lunchtime instead. By then I'd missed getting FTF, but I don't really mind about that (any more). A little lunchtime walk is good. Now I've given up saxophoning I've taken to reading the Kindle app until I fall asleep at lunchtime and I hate that. (At least when I fall asleep in the works tea room no one plasters photos of the fact all over the Internet) This lunchtime was good for a little walk so I went to find this new geocache. Other than getting crapped on by a passing bird all went smoothly; I soon had the cache in hand. With the secret geo-ritual done I was quickly back to work for a rather dull afternoon.


I got home and.... what can I say? Words fail me.

Long-standing regular readers of this drivel may remember that when I first started blogging my garden was my pride and joy. It was immaculate. But over the years so much leaf litter has dropped over the fence from the neighbours with whom relations are fraught that I have effectively all but given up bothering gardening. I simply cannot keep it tidy with all the overgrowth pouring over the fence. Roses, creepers, honeysuckle,,, there is no end to it.

I came home this evening to find that he's written me a letter asking for my support in his campaign against the house three doors up the street because some of the leaves from their tree are falling in his garden. Look at today's piccie; my garden is the one with the pond; his is the jungle to the right. There is then his neighbours and then the offending tree. He's got the cob with *one* tree and has no qualms in asking for me to side with him. Has he even seen his garden?


I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk; half way round "er indoors TM" met up with us. We walked into the park, and my dog had a swim. He's got used to paddling but didn't realise that yesterday's rains had made the river deeper.


After a rather good bit of tea the clans gathered in Willesborough for a bit of a gossip and then more "Flash"; it started well but I dozed off...



24 June 2015 (Wednesday) - A Day's Sick Leave



The health watchdog NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have had a genius idea. Currently when your G.P. suspects there is something raher nasty wrong with you (the "C" word), you then get referred to see a specialist within two weeks. Said specialist then arranges an array of tests and says for you to come back when all the tests are done which is (in my case) some six weeks after the supposedly urgent referral.

NICE have recommended that the specialist doesn't order all these tests; the G.P. referring you does that, so when you see the specialist within the designated two weeks he has all the information to hand. It is a sensible idea, and apparently this should save about five thousand lives a year (because it currently takes so long to get all the tests done)

I wonder how many lives could be saved if people didn't have to wait for six months to get seen by the G.P. to get on to the system in the first place?


And with this rather cynical attitude I set off expecting an ultrasound-guided aspiration of the painful lump which has been in my throat since Christmas. Pausing only briefly to chat in the car park with an old friend I was soon on the table with my neck covered in some ultrasound-encouraging gloop....


About half an hour later with the side of my neck having been aspirated I came home and then took my dog for a little walk. I felt I probably needed it more than he did. At one point he seemed to be eating something disgusting that he had found under a footbridge, but dogs do that.

With both of us walked I got some KFC for lunch (I deserved a treat) and with that scoffed I set about ironing shirts; I'd not ironed any for over two weeks and so had a dozen to do. As I ironed I watched a film. I've seen "The Station Agent" before; but this time the lead actor seemed very familiar. Wikipedia told me that this chap is one of the better characters in "Game of Thrones". I thought I'd seen him in something recently.


It was surprising how much the morning's rather trivial surgical procedure had taken out of me; I had such plans for what I might get up to whilst taking advantage of a day's sick leave. In the end I didn't get up to much at all. With shirts ironed I thought I might work on a presentation for the astro club but fell asleep for much of the afternoon instead.

I did find time to mow the lawn. As I mowed I found myself getting more and more worked up about the letter that the neighbour sent me yesterday. He's asking me to complain about a tree three gardens away whilst his trees block the sunlight from over half of my garden and his clematis and roses are three feet over the fence into my garden.

On the one hand I might tell him to wind his neck (and his shrubbery) in. On the other hand it's taken ten years to get back on speaking terms...


"er indoors TM" came home and we walked "Furry Face TM" round to Frog's Island and then home for a rather good bit of scoff. As we scoffed we watched the second episode of "Humans" and the latest episode of "Thunderbirds". Both were quite good.

I'm off to bed now. I feel rather tired...



25 June 2015 (Thursday) - Space, River...



Last night the word was that the Northern Lights would be visible from Ashford. I had a look just before bed time but it wasn't especially dark and there was a lot of cloud. I had this plan to have a look-see at any Northern Lights that might be doing their thing when I woke in the night (as I often do). I woke shortly before 4am when dawn was already breaking having missed it all. I went back to bed.

I got up just before the alarm went off. Shaving was rather tender today. Over brekkie (as my dog snored) I watched Billie Piper's stunt double flopping them out (with vim and vigour) in "Secret Diary of a Call Girl". Always entertaining (!)


Whilst checking emails I saw a new geocache had gone live on the way to work. I say "on the way to work"; it was in Kings Wood which would have meant driving a little way out of my way and then walking about half a mile into the wood. Had I received this email half an hour earlier I might have had time to chase the First to Find. As it was the road works along the A28 made me late enough as it was without going on little hikes as well.


I did snigger at the weather forecast which said about how the country was facing an overcast morning; in contrast with earlier in the week this morning's drive to work was through a really bright morning; I dislike wearing sunglasses (they make me look pretentious) but sometimes it is a necessity. As usual I had the morning news on.


I did wonder for how much longer I will be making this journey as artificial blood will (apparently) be in regular use in the not too distant future. Personally I hope it will be delayed until I'm safely retired (well I would, wouldn't I?). Mind you, for all that the pundits announced that artificial blood was created in Romania last year, I can remember the announcements about dogs being kept alive on the stuff in Japanese laboratories over thirty years ago.

Europe was in the news. The Greek crisis drags on and on as does the African refugee disaster. And with the Greeks demanding the moon on a stick and Europe drowning under a sea of fugitives the British Prime Minister is also wanting his bit as well. I suspect everyone will be disappointed.

And (complete with new haricut), "Game of Thrones""s very own nudey-dragon-girl would seem to have done her leg in. She's been seen wandering around on enormously high heels whilst propped up with crutches. What's that all about?


I got to work; I did my bit and came home again. Whilst walking "Furry Face TM" up the road towards Bowens Field this evening I met "My Boy TM" and Lacey taking Lacey's puppy Rolo to puppy classes. Our vet runs a puppy class once a week. We bandied insults, and then as they went to class I took my dog round the park. He did spend rather longer than I would have liked in the river, but but it was a hot evening.


Egg and chips went down well, and with "er indoors TM" off to a Pampered Chef party I found myself home alone. I activated the ChromeCast and streamed a couple of episides of Star Trek Phase II. It's incredibly fanwank, but I'm getting to quite like it... after all, I'm a fan.



26 June 2015 (Friday) - Deferents and Epicycles



I woke with a wet nose in my armpit shortly after midnight last night. I thought it sweet that my dog had crept up the stairs. I *should* have taken him back to his basket. I *could* have done so at any time during the night. Instead I lay awake whilst he was restlessly snoring and fidgetting all night long. When he wasn't snoring he was growling and whimpering in his dreams.

He'll sleep downstairs tonight.

I got up shortly after 5.30am and left the bed to him. I watched an episode of "Big Bang Theory" over brekkie then "Toddlers and Tiaras" before checking out the Internet. Overnight Patrick Macnee had died. Famous for having played "John Steed" in "The Avengers" he was the archetypal Englishman. I was therefore rather surprised to find he'd died in his home in California of all places.


I set off for the early shift hoping that the roads would be not so congested as they were yesterday. As the news crackled so my piss boiled. It has been suggested that a struggling NHS might start storing sperm samples from the entire male population because older men are more likely to have various inheritable diseases. As if there aren't enough demands on the NHS already.

The Prime Minister is said to be delighted with the outcome of his talks with the other European leaders yesterday. An odd attitude bearing in mind that the European Council President Donald Tusk has said that there will effectively be no changes made to the entire European set-up.


Once at work I did more than I had planned to. That seems to be becoming a regular occurrence. Over lunch I checked my emails. Regular readers of this drivel may recall I ordered a nice pair of leather insoles for my new shoes a couple of weeks ago and that I received cheapo plastic rubbish instead. the seller didn't reply to my emails so I squealed to eBay's complaints department.

The honchos at eBay have reviewed my whinging emails of complaint and have given me a full refund. It's only a fiver, but it's little victories like this that restore my faith in eBay. I've now effectively got a pair of insoles for free. It is a shame that they are cheapo plastic rubbish insoles, but you can't have everything.

I then left some negative feedback for the seller. I could have been nastier, but I told it like it was - wrong item sent - no response from seller - refund obtained via eBay complaints department.

I wonder if that will prompt a response from the seller. I have had instances in the past where the seller won't respond to any communication but is distraught to get negative feedback.


With my bit done I set off to McDonalds before astro clubbing. Both Jimbo and "er indoors TM" had better things to be doing this evening, but had time for a quick bite to eat. Whatever you are doing, a bellyful of McScoff is always a good start.

And so off to astro club. I didn't get along to the last meeting. I somehow doubt my being there would have prevented the complaints I heard (and received) about that last meeting. I can't pretend my heart was in it as I went along tonight. Attendance was down on the usual turn-out; there was just over thirty people along tonight. I found that disappointingly low.

Mind you the space-news was interesting and Anita gave a really positive short presentation on the role of women in current astronomy and science and society in general. I learned a lot from the "what's current in the sky section" and after I hawked the raffle I settled down for what I had hoped would be a rather interesting presentation on how models of cosmography have changed over the years.

Don't get me wrong; it was a good talk presented with enthusiasm but (on reflection) it wasn't really very different from simular talks I heard at Hastings Grammar School's astronomy club in the mid 1970s.


There were some new people at the club tonight. One had a rather interesting chest.... I hope she comes again..



27 June 2015 (Saturday) - A Wonderful Walk



After last night's debacle "Furry Face TM" was banished to his basket overnight. However he still managed to disturb everyone by declaring "Red Alert" and having a woofing fit at 3am. I didn't really get back to sleep after that. When next door's baby started crying at 6am I decided to get up. Mind you for all that I grumble about my dog, I do think the little baby's crying is rather sweet.

As I scoffed my brekkie toast so my dog snored. Clearly he was still worn out after his nocturnal woofing fit. With little else to keep me entertained I watched "Toddlers and Tiaras". The children are quite sweet, but the mothers are rather scary.


"er indoors TM" arose, and soon we were off on our way. Regular readers of this drivel are often reminded of what I've been up to in the past, and today I'll recall something I wrote on April 1 2013 when we went on a little geo-stroll round Eynsford. At the time I said "We definitely need to go back to the area - it's really scenic and there's lots more caches still to be found in the area". It only took two years, but today we went back. The "Wonderful Walk" geo-series has been seriously re-vamped over the last few months; some of the caches we'd done have been archived, some new ones have appeared, and there were some we didn't find last time that were still there waiting for us.


We met up with our geo-buddies at the designated starting point. Much as we were pleased to meet up there's no denying no one was as excited about the meeting as "Furry Face TM"; he simply would not stop woofing.

Our geo-walk started off on the wrong foot with a DNF (Did Not Find), and we struggled with the second geo-target but such is the life geocachical. I think it's probably fair to say that this series of caches isn't "yet another film pot under a rock"; it takes a little effort to find these caches (which is a good thing). Some we struggled with; some we couldn't find at all two years ago popped up immediately this time, some eluded us completely.

As we walked we saw hawks (of some sort), rabbits, a demonstration of fire engines, a fly-past by the Red Arrows, and there was a rather dodgy five minutes when my dog saw a squirrel and flew off in hot pursuit dragging poor Charlotte along down a rather steep hill at full pelt.

The walk from Shoreham up through Lullingstone is rather beautiful. I can thoroughly recommend it as a wonderful walk.


The last time we welked here we totally underestimated how long we should allow for the walk; there's no denying we ran short of time today. But we weren't *that* late back to the cars; certainly not too late for a couple of pints of ale.

And I even took a few photos whilst we were out.


My little dog is now snoring in his basket. I shall sleep well too...



28 June 2015 (Sunday) - Milton Creek



After yesterday's really good walk in the sunshine I slept really well. I have a vague recollection of my dog woofing in the night but judging by how tired he seemed this morning I think I may have dreamed it.

Over brekkie "Furry Face TM" continued snoring. WIth nothing on the SkyPlus box to watch I had a look on UK Gold and found an episode of "Jeeves and Wooster" which passed an otherwise dull hour until "er indoors TM" leapt into action.


I then had a look-see on the Internet. MessageToEagle (dot com) was spouting utter drivel. Their article was full of failures of logic. It started off by wittering about some geological age from hundreds of millions of years ago and saying how there were no humans at that time. Therefore (from what I could work out) if there were no humans hundreds of millions of years ago there couldn't have been any humans at any stage of history. Therefore any apparent record of human activity in the historical record must actually have been caused by aliens.

Much as I do love laughing at crackpots, the worrying fact is that there really are nutters who actually beleive this nonsense.


We then collected the caching crew and set off to Sittingbourne where a gaggle of us had arranged to meet up and hunt tupperware (it doesn't hunt itself, you know). We had a really good day. Once we were all together we set off. First of all along Milton Creek. I'd never been along there before. A rather pretty place; but amazing to see how many boats of all shapes and sizes have just been left to rot. As we hunted tupperware both dogs got rather filthy in the mud - it's a dog thing. There was a dodgy five minutes when "Furry Face TM" stopped and would not walk any further. As I turned back to him he looked at me and lifted his front left paw as though to say that there was a problem. I have no idea what the problem was; his paw didn't seem tender. I gave it a good going over and could find nothing wrong. We carried him for a bit, then put him down. He limped for a few yards until he was distracted by other dogs. It was at this point he forgot all about any paw-related problems and he charged off regardless. He never worried about the paw for the rest of the day. I wonder what that was all about.


A little further on we heard an ice cream van. As luck would have it the ice cram van drove into view just as the footpath crossed the road so we flagged it down and had a Whippy... (sigh)

No one had ever told me that a "Whippy" was a brand of ice cream. I honestly thought a "Whippy" was an ice cream in a cone.If any of my loyal readers see a "Mr Softie" ice cream van go and ask them for a "Whippy". It's like mistaking Tesco for Asda, or asking the Pope if he really is Catholic.

The nice lady in the ice cream van went mental at me.


We made our way back to where we'd parked the cars. On the way we met more hunters of tupperware; it's always good to meet up with like-minded people. We chatted for a bit then made our way to the cars. We'd parked the cars by the KFC so we had chicken and chips for lunch. Very tasty. There were a few spots of rain as we dined al-fresco, but it was another hot day so the rain didn't bother us.


Some of our number left us at this point; those of us remaining walked round Sittingbourne itself collecting church micros (it's a geo-thing). We wandered here, there and thither round all sorts of places I never knew existed including a rather well thought-out Road of Remembrance. Finally at 6pm we found the local McDonalds where I collapsed and devoured a Crunchie McFlurry.

I've not really been round Sittingbourne much before. There are *loads* of geocaches there; will certainly be going back at some point. Today's was a rather successful geo-mission. We ended up with thirty-five smiley faces and just one DNF. I suspect tagging along with the C.O. of most of Sittingbourne's caches whilst he did a maintenance run might just have made the day easier.


Once home (with my assistance) a certain smelly dog had a bath. He then scoffed his tea and was soon snoring loudly in his basket. As I often do, I took a few photos whilst we were out. I put those on-line. I always do; I *think* people like seeing them; so many people always say nice things about the photos. If nothing else I know my Mum likes seeing them (she's on Facebook now).

"er indoors TM" must have been tired; she didn't go bowling. Instead we then had a rather good bit of tea. As we scoffed we watched the third episode of "Humans". Eagle-eared viewers might have heard the mention of Isaac Asmiov; much as I'm enjoying the show it is exploring themes that Isaac explored over fifty years ago...


Oh - and my paternal grandfather would have been one hundred years old today...



29 June 2015 (Monday) - Beetroot or Broad Bean?



I wasn't too late to bed last night, and after another day's walking in the sunshine I was out for the count. My little dog had been snoring for much of yesterday evening, and he was still snoring this morning. Seeing the laundry bin was overflowing I set the washing machine to to its thing whilst I scoffed brekkie. Over brekkie I did a little brain-strain on some geo-puzzles which (hopefully) will form part of a walk I shall be doing on Thursday. Mind you as I scoffed brekkie the weather forecast for Thursday was for heavy rain... let's hope it changes in the meantime.

As I strained my brain my little dog carried on sleeping. Much as he seems to like coming for walks I do sometimes wonder if I'm over-exerting him. He's only got little legs, and he is covered in black fur which really sucks in the heat of the summer days.


It looked like being another hot day today so I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park quite early. Early enough in fact to miss most of the usual dog walkers. Mind you we still managed to have a fracas with a greyhound.

As we came back past the allotments by the co-op field a couple of gardeners were having a heated discussion about a certain plant in one of the allotments. One claimed said plant was a beetroot; the other believed it to be a broad bean. I’m not expert, but from thirty seconds on Google images I thought they looked completely different. I suppose it helps if you know what they look like in the first place.

We came home and I then got the lawn mowed whilst it was still relatively cool. I then thought I might set about my letter rack; it’s been some time since I did so.

I found some small geocaches and rubber stamps I’d ordered ages ago. I wondered what I’d done with those.

Virgin Media had twice offered me a deal. They do that a lot. I wonder how much cheaper they could be if they didn’t advertise so much.

There was a catalogue from “Go Outdoors” that went straight in the bin. Do people really read those things?

The Royal National Institute for the Blind had invited me to an open day. I give them some money every month, and I can recognise a thinly-veiled attempt to extort more money from me when I see it. They had also sent me a newsletter which (like the “Go Outdoors” catalogue) went into the bin unopened.

The Open University also wanted a hand-out from me. It’s twenty years since I finished with them.

The Nationwide building society asked me to vote for people who were standing to be on their board. How can I choose between candidates about whom I know nothing?


Over lunch I watched the first episode of "Sense and Sensibility" which is being run on the Drama Channel. It seems quite entertaining so far. And after my fix of period drama I went to bed for the afternoon. I didn't sleep very well; it was too hot to sleep. But I got a few hours asleep.

Once awake again I did the astro club's accounts; I had intended to do those this morning. And with the laundry fetched in from the line I set off to Folkestone to spend a few minutes with littlest family member before the night shift... I always say I like night shifts. I think I prefer the time off during the day time that goes with them rather than actually working the night shift...



30 June 2015 (Tuesday) - Carrying a Fridge



As I did my thing ay work last night I listened to the radio. A documentary about post apocalyptic fiction, another documentary about sea monsters, an article about the making of the film "Jaws" (can you believe that film is forty years old now?) and a play which totally failed to grip my attention. Sometimes the radio is riveting, other times not so.

A lot of the time the radio was broadcasting the news. The focus was on the Greek crisis. I'm no expert but from what I can work out a previous Greek government has borrowed billions of Euros from the rest of Europe. Having struggled to repay their debts the Greeks have now voted in a government whose election manifesto was "tell those to whom we owe money to get knotted". And having been elected the rest of Europe is rather worried that the Greeks are now about to tell those to whom they owe money to actually get knotted despite the fact that their banks are about to collapse.


As I walked out to my car after work this morning I checked my emails on my phone. The people who do the admin behind dog microchips have finally got round to updating Fudge's chip so he's now registered to our address. Since we took "Furry Face TM" on from "My Boy TM" (who himself acquired the pup from someone else) I've always felt that my little dog was something of a vagrant. Now that he's finally registered to me I feel we've got a sense of permanance which has been hitherto lacking.

I also had an email from the people who produce GSAK. For those who aren't aware of GSAK it's a complete con. Well.. before I find myself crucified for disrespecting GSAK let me qualify that. Because the software provided by geocaching dot com isn't quite what it might be, in order to actually be able to do the geo-hobby (with any degree of practicality) you have to pay other people for their third-party software. GSAK is actually a very good bit of software which does a very good job, but I resent having to pay for it. I already pay for a premium membership with geocaching dot com.

I don't resent GSAK's developer getting paid for his efforts, but I can't help but feel that the nice people at Geocaching dot com should either beef up their software or pay for GSAK for me. I do resent having to pay out more money because everyone accepts that what we already pay for isn't good enough.


I was just about to drive home when my phone rang. "Daddies Little Angel TM" had located a cheap fridge-freezer and neeed someone to go get it for her. The journey which took less than half an hour last night took over an hour this morning thanks to "Operation Stack" and the French being on strike again.

I picked her up and we drove across Folkestone. Her latest acquisition was in a third-floor flat in Cheriton, and what are Dads for if not to carry fridge-freezers down flights of stairs?

Despite my whinging we soon had the fridge-freezer picked up and installed. Apparently her old one kept icing up. I suggested she might try turning it down; an approach which hadn't yet been tried. Oh how I laughed when I heard that..


I got home and took "Furry Face TM" round the park then scoffed a light lunch whilst watching last night's episode of "Dark Matter". It's not a bad show. Mind you with the exception of the sexy android its not good either.

Despite it being a hot day I then went to bed to try to get some sleep. My hopes weren't high but I slept for nearly five hours.


I got up and had what would normally be brekkie for tea (I quite like jam on toast) and then spent a few minutes rummaging on amazon dot com looking for a decent book for my Kindle app. I have been reading Wendy Alec's Chronicle of Brothers recently but it's a bit too "God Bothering" for my liking. I've read up to the end of the second of four books and in all honesty won't be bothering with the third or fourth.

I've downloaded something by Allen Steele to pass some time instead. If any of my loyal readers could recommend a good read I'm up for recommendations.

Because I spent a couple of quid on an eBook the nice people at Amazon have given me ten quid's credit on their app store. If anyone could recommend an app worth having...


I'm off for another night shift now. I hear the entire county's traffic is at a standstill because of "Operation Stack"...