1 June 2018 (Friday) - Calling Alan Tracey
Have you ever brushed your teeth with Corsodyl toothpaste? I did this morning. It was perhaps one of the most foul things I have ever tasted. How does this stuff keep going when it tastes so bad?
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Thunderbirds are Go”. For all that it is obviously a children’s program it is very hit-and-miss, this morning’s show was “hit”. Especially when Thunderbird 3 ran out of fuel.
Working on the principle that the Internet doesn’t look at itself I had a quick rummage in cyberspace. Those who crave attention had been doing so on Facebook overnight as they regularly do. Cryptic postings abounded. I also had a friend request from a bloke wearing a dress. I am reliably informed that in this twenty-first century if a man wants to be a woman, then (s)he is perfectly entitled to pretend to be so, and that I am to go along with the pretense.
Perhaps I’m just a little too reactionary sometimes?
I had a few emails as well, and in a novel break with tradition I had a request to join my LinkedIn network from someone of whom I *have* heard. Welcome aboard Tracey – I’m sure you’ll find it a disappointment…
I also had an email telling me about another of the world’s top one per cent of geocachers. This person has hidden one traditional cache which was eventually archived by a reviewer (because they didn’t respond to the reviewer’s requests to replace it when it had been missing for months), and they have also hidden four Wherigo caches. I (on the other hand) am rather insulted that having contributed *far* more to the hobby I haven’t had so much as a “cheers” off of geo-HQ.
You’d think that after a year I would have let it drop, wouldn’t you?
As I drove to work I listened to the radio, Today the pundits were interviewing some woman. Claiming to be British, her house was in Luxembourg and she actually works here, there and thither all over Europe. Her professional future is uncertain after Brexit as a working visa for such an itinerant worker isn’t something that is looking very likely..
I would have thought the obvious answer for her would be to apply for citizenship of one or other of the European countries in which she works. However this didn't stop the producers of Radio Four wasting ten minutes of valuable air-time in making a mountain out of a mole-hill. Sometimes it amazes me how much time the people on the radio waste in trivia like this.
Meanwhile the theory that aliens are planning to take over the universe seems to be gaining ground.
Killer aliens isn't a new idea, is it? Mind you, it seems strange to me that it has taken so long for people to stop laughing at the idea, and to start being scared by it.
Perhaps Alan Tracey might sort them out for us…
I got to work and did that which I couldn't avoid. As I worked the dentist again texted me. They had a cancellation and did I fancy having an appointment at half past two this afternoon? Bearing in mind my next appointment isn't for a few weeks they seem to be getting just a little ahead of themselves.
Being on an early shift I left work with time to do a little shopping. I’ve plans to brew a job load of beer (like I have done in the past), but in the intervening years since I last made any, so many home-brew shops have closed down. I eventually located a home-brew shop in Faversham and parked as close to it as I could. It is a good job that I am happy to walk quite a distance; many people wouldn’t have bothered walking quite that far.
I got what I needed, and came home to walk the dogs. As we went round the park we met a young lady who had a screaming fit on seeing us. In between hysterical sobs and gulps she told me that she was terrified of dogs. I looked her up and down and said (without thinking) that she was being bloody stupid. From her reaction it was clear that no one had ever told her that before. And from her expression as she watched my hounds walking past I suspect she’d finally realised just how stupid she was.
Perhaps I might have been a tad more tactful; if I had she would still be terrified of dogs.
"er indoors TM" was off out at some Madonna tribute thingy this evening so I’d been left to forage. Me and the dogs had kebab and chips for tea (again). Bearing in mind it is national fish and chips day I was tempted by a bit of cod (aren’t we all?) but the kebab shop is closer to home and half the price.
Once I’d done the ironing I was ready for bed… I’ve just worked five days on the trot and I’m worn out. How do people do it all the time?
2 June 2018 (Saturday) - Up on the Downs
I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go only to find it was twenty past two. I hate it when that happens. I dozed on and off until it was time to get up. Despite not having been as good on the diet as I might have been over this last week I’ve managed to drop another pound.
As I scoffed my morning toast, Treacle came marching round the living room carrying one of "er indoors TM" slippers and looking very pleased with herself. She made a point of showing me what she’d stole, then ran off hoping to be chased. When I didn’t give chase she came back to show me what she’d got. Again I took no notice until she came close enough for me to nab it from her. She’s a bit thick like that.
We got ourselves together and set off at seven o’clock. In retrospect this was a tad late; I didn’t realise just how far we had to go. But we made good time, and despite one near mishap we were soon at McDonalds in the back of beyond where we met our accomplices for the day. Overnight the Visa credit card network had failed, but fortunately it was fixed by this morning; civilization hadn’t collapsed and it was sausage and egg mcMuffins all round. My dogs like sausage and egg McMuffns.
We set off to an obscure lay-by somewhere on the South Downs. It was a shame that our Brighton pals weren’t along, but I’d seen during the week that Basingstoke kite festival was in full swing today.
We soon got ourselves organized, got our extending leads on (those of us that have extending leads, that is) and we set off on a rather epic walk.
As we walked we saw birds of prey, we saw squirrels and rabbits and even a slow worm. We even saw some rather sweet baby birds, and one of our number managed to get one of the chicks in her mouth.
After five miles we found a pub. “The Gun” in Findon had a rather nice beer garden, and with a selection of Ringwood ales on the pumps we stayed for possibly two more beers than perhaps we might have done. But it was a warm day, and we did need to re-hydrate and take on fluids. Personally I turn my nose up at re-hydrating and taking on fluids; preferring to have a drink instead, but in my world you tend to go with the flow.
From Findon we walked up a gentle incline to Cissbury Ring where we had a spot of lunch. We’d made good time in the morning, but after three pints of re-hydration we were slowing somewhat. Mind you Cissbury Ring is a pretty place to be. We took a little twenty-seven cache diversion here, and it was toward the end of this section (whilst climbing the steepest hill of the day) that we lost Fudge. I say “lost” after a fraught five minutes he turned up. He was only a few yards away, rolling on something disgusting in the long grass.
Geocache-wise today was a mixed day. Having chosen to do two different series of caches (hidden by different people) interspersed by all sorts of random other ones it couldn’t help but be mixed. Mind you, several were puzzles in that their location was calculated from distances and bearings from a given point, and some of those were only found by the given hints; the co-ordinates on some were a little awry.
The plan for the day had been to walk on into Steyning for dinner, then back to the cars, but time was against us. So we made our way back to the cars and drove to The Star in Steyning. We’d sheltered from the monsoon here only a few weeks ago, and today Karl treated us all to a sport of dinner. My chorizo burger and Eton mess were some of the best ones I’ve ever had.
We said our goodbyes and set off homewards. We’d had a *very* long day. We left home at seven o’clock in the morning; we got home at quarter to midnight.
3 June 2018 (Sunday) - A Birthday
I rather ached when I woke at six o’clock this morning. I would have liked more sleep, but it wasn’t happening, so I spent a little while telling the world about what I’d done yesterday whilst the washing machine had a go at making my laundry once again presentable.
Once I’d got the second wash load on to the line to dry I got dressed and looked at the garden.
The heavy rain in the week had done wonders for the lawn or stuffed it right up (depending on your view on lawn mowing). So I edged the lawn and ran round with the mower. A much easier job now I’ve bodged the lawn mower’s dead man’s handle. And with the lawn mowed I then did something I’ve been threatening to do for some time. I stripped out the shed.
Several years ago I put some ultra-sonic rodent deterrent gizmo in the shed, and up until recently it has done very well. But it seems to have thrown in the sponge over the last few weeks and months. There has been a mouse problem in the shed. As I emptied stuff out it was clear they had been into my fishing ground-bait and moved the pellets about. They had put pellets of ground-bait all over the shed, in everything and on everything. And they had made a substantial nest in the cushion which went on the garden lounger which (ironically) I’d taken to the tip a few months ago.
Over the course of two hours I got all the stuff out of the shed, swept out chewed fishing bait and mouse turds, and had a rather substantial tidy-up. It is only when the shed is ransacked that you see exactly what rubbish you have in it. I had four tubs of ant powder. Three unopened garden strimmer lines. No end of clout nails. Unopened weed-proof membranes. The electric drill I’d lost and replaced. Countless rusty drill bits. I’ve got a boot-full of rubbish for the tip for tomorrow morning,
And then I re-packed the shed. Unlike before, the stuff I use frequently is to the front. So I am not reaching over all sorts of rubbish once a week to get the extension cable for the lawn mower. And the stuff I rarely use is to the back because I rarely use it. Logical, eh?
The shed’s curtain have had it… I wonder where I can get new ones?
Just as I was sorting out the last of it, the birthday girl arrived. She’d brought round a new inflatable paddling pool (as the mice had chewed a hole in the last one) and once the thing was up and running, she and "er indoors TM" supervised "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM"’s paddling. Sam and I sat in the sun and I had something of a Czech lager hour, then fell asleep for a couple of hours. I *hate* that – being asleep at six o’clock would have been good; being asleep for much of the afternoon was a nuisance. But I enjoyed that for which I managed to stay awake.
It was such a shame the new paddling pool sprung a leak after an hour or so…
With the family gone we had a rather good bit of scoff and "er indoors TM" went bowling as she does most Sundays.
I spent an hour or so ironing… I must love it.
4 June 2018 (Monday) - Late Shift
During yesterday’s mucking-out of the shed I discovered copious quantities of packing peanuts (the stuff that fills out the dead space inside parcels). "er indoors TM" offered them up for free on one of those “Get It Here” Facebook sites. Despite seemingly everyone being interested, no one actually turned up to collect them, and there is a *huge* bag of the things on the living room table. "er indoors TM" is going to offer them up again; I would take them to the tip.
Other than advertising our packing peanuts there wasn’t an amazing amount of news on Facebook this morning. A distant cousin was using social media to get in touch with her brother. I couldn’t help but wonder what she was playing at as she never actually had a brother. Those with fibromyalgia continued to tell the world that they really were ill despite not appearing to be so. Surprisingly little attention was given to the nutter who has come to visit us all from the year 6491 and has got himself stranded here.
As I walked the hounds round the park I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do if I could travel back in time and got stuck there. Presumably I would have done my homework and would know enough to make a few sound investments and be able to live comfortably? I’d like to think I wouldn’t be starring on You-Tube claiming to be a nutter from the future.
As we walked round the park we saw some kids on the way to school. A couple of them were wearing motorcycle crash helmets on their pedal bikes. That must have been hot. And the schoolgirls were all dressed decently and demure. Perhaps those ones I saw the other week really were dressed up?
As we walked Treacle chased birds and Fudge straggled. An average walk really.
I settled the dogs, got into my car, and had a moment of panic. The car didn't start. Usually the thing never lets me down, but this morning it wasn't having any of it. As I began to worry I made myself take a deep breath. I counted to ten, tried again and after a little shuddering and coughing the car started. I suspect that I should have revved it a little as I pressed the starter as it had sat idle all weekend.
Mind you I shouldn't complain about my car. My great plan had been to trade it in for a newer model some six years ago. It's not doing *that* badly really.
Having filled the car with shed rubbish yesterday I drove round to the tip to unload. The parking at the tip left a lot to be desired today; it was a total disaster. I arrived to find some plank (who had parked at the back) loudly demanding everyone get out of his way so he could leave. And as he went, some other plank followed him to the exit, then parked their car blocking the exit whilst they unloaded their tat.
I took a little detour on my way to work. I drove out to Iden Green to find a geocache right next to a school. That has gone onto my little list. From here it was only a short drive to my next geo-target... or it would have been had my phone's sat-nav known the difference between left and right. It said "turn right" when it clearly meant "turn left"... but eventually I was rummaging at the base of the correct tree.
I nearly broke my neck scrambling up a minor cliff to get to my third geo-target. At the top of the cliff was a tree - it was supposedly up that tree. I could see the wreckage of what was probably that which I sought some twenty feet up the tree. I gave up and consoled myself by failing to find another one in a clump of stinging nettles half a mile up the road.
Pausing only briefly to get sugar from Tesco I went in to work. Being on a two-week secondment to Pembury I had lunch at work (I tend to do that when on the late shift there). Feeling rather healthily-minded I had salmon and runner beans. And to counteract the goodness I had fruit crumble and custard for dessert.
Just as I was getting into the thick of what turned out to be a rather busy late shift I suddenly remembered I had intended to get electronic mouse-scarers from B&Q this morning before work. And net curtains for the shed as well... Woops.
I *knew* there was a reason I left home early this morning...
5 June 2018 (Tuesday) - Stuff
Over a rather early brekkie I watched last week’s episode of “Thunderbirds are Go” in which Virgil was suffering from excessive gas. And Gordon was something of an embarrassment too.
I then had a look at Facebook – not much had happened overnight. I posted up to see if there was any interest in a trip out into the Thames estuary. There are two geocaches out at sea there; I quite fancy a boat trip and can charter a boat if I can persuade others to share the cost. Ironically this trip is in exactly the same waters in which the first fruit of my loin was once rescued by the lifeboat on 30 May 2010. There are a dozen spaces in the boat I can charter – having had talks with various friends I’ve got takers for half of the spaces. I just need to get takers for the rest.
I had quite a few emails this morning. Most went in the bin, including the one from myfitnesspal dot com who were advocating sleeping in the nip. I took a moral stance on that one!
I set off to work through the drizzle. As I drove I sniggered at the radio's weather forecasts. The first one spoke of a dry day all over the UK except for parts of Northern Ireland. By the time the next one was given (half an hour later) someone had clearly looked out of the window as it spoke of a wet morning everywhere. For all that the forecasts on the BBC's weather app is usually reliable, the BBC's weather bulletins on the radio do little more than describe yesterday's weather and then say what they can see out of the window at Broadcasting House at the time. They don't actually spend much time on predicting what the weather is going to do later.
Mind you if I was a weather forecaster, I probably wouldn't either.
There was also talk about the planned expansion of Heathrow Airport. The proposed third runway has been on the cards for twenty years. Either build it or don't, but someone should make a decision at some stage soon. People who were for and against the issue were interviewed live on air. Those who want the country to prosper offered up all sorts of evidence supporting the building of a third runway. Those who don't want a bigger airport because they live near to where it might be built offered up all sorts of evidence against the building of a third runway. Neither were particularly eloquent, and both said "er" and "um" a lot which didn't make for good listening. I wish the pundits on the radio would prepare their interviewees so that they don't stammer and stutter *quite* so much.
As I drove through Goudhurst I had to swerve suddenly to avoid flattening a weasel which ran in front of my car. It was a shame I wasn't quicker with my camera so's I could log it on my "mammals" app. I must admit to a degree of disappointment with my "mammals" app; there's nowhere near as many of the things about as I thought there was.
I've now downloaded a "plants" app. With the "mammals" app I have to tell it what mammal I've spotted. The "plants" app will identify plants for me. bearing in mind that I'm only really much good with monkey-puzzle trees, dead palms and pansies (oo-er!) I'm hoping for more results with my "plants" app.
I got to work and did my bit. As I do. Being in a bit of a rush this evening I found myself with a twenty-minute delay with traffic lights at Goudhurst, and then Fudge got over-excited at fish-feeding time and fell in the pond. Have you ever seen a dog who has fallen into a garden pond? I have (several times) – the look of shock and surprise as they suddenly find themselves swimming is *so* cute.
After a rather good bit of scran we settled the pups and went round to Arden Drive where we bandied insults and watched a rather good episode of “Gotham”.
I really should have an early night…
6 June 2018 (Wednesday) - What If...
I woke finding myself in a rather awkward position hanging off the edge of the bed. An alliance of "er indoors TM" and the hounds had captured most of the bed.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Trailer Park Boys” – it is the sort of show that people will instantly love or hate. I rather relate to it. With nothing much happening on Facebook, and no emails of note I set off to work.
Being up and about earlier than I might have been and bearing in mind those traffic lights at Goudhurst, I set off to work earlier that usual.
Overnight I'd seen that the geocache that I spent twenty minutes hunting for on Monday had been replaced so I took a little detour to the back of beyond and soon had the thing in hand. If nothing else it broke up what can sometimes be a dull and tedious journey.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about a strange quirk in UK law which puts landlords in an impossible position. The government's new immigration policies require landlords to demand that potential tenants show evidence that they aren't an illegal immigrant (should there be the slightest suspicion that they might be) before renting them accommodation. Obviously this is leading to landlords wanting only to rent to people with a British passport which is (apparently) discriminatory against those who might well be an illegal immigrant. Furthermore the act of asking for evidence that someone isn't an illegal immigrant can be used as evidence of such discrimination, and may well land the landlords in court.
You really couldn't make this up, could you?
The traffic lights in Goudhurst weren't *that* much of a delay this morning, but the jogger five miles later was. Some idiot woman was jogging up the middle of the road.
When I say "jogging up the middle of the road" I don't mean that metaphorically or figuratively. I mean it literally. This woman wasn't just tootling on the edge of the carriageway. She was running along the white lines on the middle of the A262.
I got to work far earlier than I might, and read my Kindle app for a while before I started. The book of "Game of Thrones" is making a lot of sense out of what was a very confusing TV show.
As I worked today I was thinking about something I read on Facebook last night. Yesterday I'd seen that the Citadel in Dover was up for sale. We went there once when Fudge slipped his lead (!) and I'd had this idiot idea about forming a consortium to crowdfund and buy the place and make something of it but chatting with a colleague this morning made me realise the folly of this idea.
A chap with whom I work has recently taken up a voluntary position on the committee of a local golf club and is wishing he hadn't. He is being inundated with petty gripes and whinges from other people associated with the club. Even as we spoke his mobile beeped with whines about golf-club trivia.
I can sympathize with him. Over the years I've held various voluntary positions myself. In the Scout association, in sci-fi fan clubs, in the local association of snake-herds, amongst those that fly kites, in the astronomy club... no matter what I tried to do to be public-spirited, there was never any shortage of people wanting to tell me what I was doing wrong and to suggest what I might have done better. And my co-worker has found the same. All of the complaints he has been receiving recently start with "why don't you..." and "can't you...". Everyone starts off with what "you" could be doing; it is never "we".
He's also found (as I did) that there are quite a few people who delight in throwing metaphorical rocks at him and being rather nasty purely because of the position he's taken up. There really are people who do this simply because they honestly believe that is what you are supposed to do to people who've taken up these voluntary roles.
Like me, he's got off his arse to do something that most other people simply won't do, and like me he's beginning to regret it.
Again it is sad proof of the two hundred and eighty fifth Rule of Acquisition... no good deed ever goes unpunished.
But just think what we could achieve *if* we bought the Dover Citadel...
7 June 2018 (Thursday) - Early Finish
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Trailer Park Boys”; it is the sort of show that sounds absolutely dreadful when you describe it, but I rather like it. As I watched it, so Fudge snored and I fidgeted on the sofa. I could not get comfortable. This has been a problem for the last week or so. For all that I’ve been a tad lax on the diet recently, I can feel the weight loss is slowly continuing. My hands feel bonier what I rub them together. My face isn’t so fat when I have my morning shave. And my bum is sore. When I sit I tent to slouch and that worked well when I had a much fatter arse. However now some of the padding has gone, the bit of my backside which makes contact with the chair has become rather sore and sitting still for any length of time is becoming problematical. Perhaps it is God’s way of saying to eat more cakes?
I sparked up my lap-top. Myfitnesspal dot com were again advocating sleeping in the nip. Morally they may well be lax. NHS jobs suggested I might like to work at St Thomas’s hospital in London. LinkedIn suggested I might pal up with all sorts of people with whom I have absolutely nothing in common.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing how Paul Dacre was stepping down from his position as editor of the Daily Mail. They wheeled on journalists from the Daily Mail and the Guardian to offer opinions and whilst they didn't actually have a fist-fight live on-air, it came close.
There was also a lot of talk about how the Brexit secretary David Davis is at odds with the Prime Minister over all sorts of piddling details about the mechanics of Brexit. I'm getting fed up with hearing about Brexit on the radio now. Was it a good idea? Was it a bad idea? One thing is for sure - it is an idea that was never actually thought out.
Over the years I've had all sorts of crackpot schemes. Only two years ago I had this idea to take a professional secondment to St Helena for six months. A working holiday in a tropical paradise was a great idea... but five minutes of rational thought showed just what an impractical scheme it would have been. It's a bit like crowdfunding the Dover Citadel. It could be done, but not on the spur of the moment like I thought two days ago.
The nation has done exactly the same with Brexit... Bung out all the foreigners, stick up Union Jacks everywhere all on the strength of “one world cup and two world wars” but who will run the hospitals, what about the Northern Ireland border, what about all the pan-European co-operative business ventures, and we’re still stuck with rules from Brussels but now we have no say in their creation whatsoever... Why don't we re-think *exactly* what we want out of leaving the European Union? Is having a plan *such* a radical suggestion?
I got to work where I had a dull day. Having some time owing me I skived out a little earlier than usual. I spent five minutes hunting out a geocache in Pembury only to find it laying in the middle of a footpath. I hid it where I was intending to look, then spent ages getting home. Why is it that drivers of *huge* lorries insist on driving along the A262 through Goudhurst when there are big signs up saying the road isn’t suitable for *huge* lorries?
Once home I took the dogs round the park and we had a ding-dong with a cyclist. There was a screech of brakes as he nearly ran over Treacle. Had he been on his side of the path… It’s not difficult, is it? There’s a great big picture of a bike painted on the bit bikes are supposed to go on.
Most cyclists are sensible, but the idiot minority is quite idiot enough to spoil it for everyone.
The dogs and I shared a chicken kebab (and chips) for our tea whilst watching stuff that the SkyPlus box had kindly recorded for me, then I got five gallons of beer going in readiness for a booze-up in a couple of months’ time.
I *really* should have an early night…
8 June 2018 (Friday) - Shopping
Yesterday I said I should have had an early night. I didn’t. Instead I fell asleep in front of the telly and woke with neck ache. I was sleeping well until "er indoors TM" started snoring. I say “snoring”… Pinching her nose stopped the snores but when I let go she started again. I was loathe to wake her in case she unleashed a can of whoop-ass on me for disturbing her, so I suffered in silence. Or not so much “silence” as “infernal racket”.
I got up to find my beer was fermenting nicely. I was pleased about that.
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook. "er indoors TM" had been to an open-air concert at Canterbury cricket ground yesterday evening and judging by what I saw on Facebook this morning so had pretty much the rest of humanity. So many people went there last night.
And with no emails of note I got the dogs organised and we went for a little walk.
As we walked up the road we met an idiot child who, on seeing the dogs, had what I can only describe as a fit. He started screaming and thrashing about. Needless to say the dogs were unsettled by this. We stood back whilst he finished his show. Having worn himself out this idiot child told me that he was scared of dogs because they always bark at him. I told him that I wasn’t surprised and asked him if he acted out that fit thing every time he saw a dog. He said that he did. I suggested that if he tried not to be so bloody stupid and just walked normally then dogs would ignore him.
That was an approach which had simply never occurred to him before.
We carried on into the park where the rest of our walk passed off much more uneventfully. As we came past the allotments by the co-op field I got chatting with one of the allotmenters. Unlike most allotmenters by the co-op field this one wasn’t smoking cannabis (the place *stinks* of the stuff) but he had a strimmer with what looked like decently thick strimmer cable. I asked where he got it from. Not only did he tell me of a garden shop in Ashford of which I had never heard, he gave me a few yards of the stuff. I shall try that out over the weekend.
Bearing in mind I forgot to do my shopping before Monday's late shift I went on a little mission this morning. I needed electronic sonic rodent deterrents (don't we all) and net curtains (like what my gran used to have) for the shed.
I originally got my old electronic sonic rodent deterrents from Kent Wool Growers, but they closed down ages ago and relocated to Deal. That was no good for me, but I'd heard there was a similar shop on the Ellingham industrial estate. I went down the road to Ellingham and found that there wasn't. Mind you there was a curtain shop on that estate. I went in there...
They had about a dozen old dears sitting around the place having some sort of needlework master-class. When I asked about net curtains the old dears went into raptures about the things. They all remembered net curtains. Those were the days - when we all had our nets... They all missed their nets and wished they still had them.
The general consensus of the shop keeper and the old grannies were that the last net curtains on the planet died round about the turn of the millennium. One old grannie thought that there might be a shop in Faversham that sold them, but I shouldn't hold my breath.
I eventually escaped from the grannies and set off in the general direction of work. I stopped off at the garden centre at Bethersden hoping for better results with electronic sonic rodent deterrents.
I was disappointed. They didn't have any.
The woman on the till was adamant that the things aren't made any more because they don't work. I told her that mine worked for years before giving up only a few months ago; she told me I was wrong.
The old woman queuing at the till behind me told me all about rat poison and how her husband swears by it, and it was such a shame (we never did find out *what* was a shame)... and she got all tearful before taking a deep breath and then telling me all about her other husband (who had died).
The curtain shop at Goudhurst didn't have net curtains. They were of the opinion that the last net curtain on the planet drowned when it failed to secure passage on Noah's Ark. The nice lady there wondered if I had considered muslin instead? I hadn't. She showed me some - it looked like the sort of stuff you'd make pants out of. I wasn't having hanging that in my shed! As I walked out, the nice lady suggested I tried a charity shop as those places have the kind of old rubbish you can't get any more.
It was at this point that I was struck by divine inspiration and I went to the branch of John Lewis near work. They had net curtains - loads of them. All sorts of shapes and patterns and designs. However they weren't impressed when I said I didn't want anything fancy as it was only for my shed.
They didn't have electronic sonic rodent deterrents though. I'm thinking eBay for those...
Needless to say I had a little geo-adventure on the way to work. On the morning of Monday 5 March I had a mooch round Horsmonden church. At the time I blogged: "I started my little adventure with a double failure at Horsmonden church. There were supposedly two caches in the vicinity. I solved the puzzle for one to find it was three hundred yards away across a quagmire, and the other looked to have gone with a landslide."
Today I had double success. The quagmire had dried out and I had a rather good stroll across the fields. And the one which I *thought* had gone with a landslide hadn't, it was actually rather obvious and I found it within ten seconds. How did I ever miss that two months ago?
Once at work I had a plate of fish and chips from the canteen (it *is* Friday) and got on with some work. Quite a lot of it today…
9 June 2018 (Saturday) - Bit Bored Really
I woke with a headache at four o’clock. For some strange reason I thought that having a very early shave might help. So I had a shave just as dawn was breaking. Why on Earth did I think that having a shave would fix a headache? It is no surprise that the shave didn’t affect the headache in any way.
I went back to bed where I lay with a headache for a few hours before eventually getting up.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet as I do. It was much the same as it always is.
Yesterday I’d suggested (on Facebook) a walk from home out to Bethersden for the beer festival. Having received absolutely no interest whatsoever I knocked that idea on the head. Instead I got the lawn mower out and spent a little while in the garden. I got the lawn sorted, then spent some time cutting back the over growth from “not-so-nice next door”. I also lifted some of the membranes under the gravel on that side of the garden and with a shovel cut the roots of the shrubs which are growing under the fence and coming up in my garden. I was tempted to put down some weed killer too, but thought better of the idea.
I then spent five minutes putting up my nice new net curtains in the shed. They look rather smart. All shed windows should have net curtains.
With "er indoors TM" off out for the day I got the leads on to the dogs and we drove out to Great Chart where one of my geocaches had gone missing. When you have a problematical geocache, it is never the ones on the roadside that are being troublesome. It is *always* the ones far from roads. But it made for a good dog-walk.
Eventually we got to where the cache was supposed to be. Sure enough it *had* gone missing. I replaced it. It was a shame that the last few people in the area couldn’t have done that for me. I carry a whole load of spares with me when I go hunting Tupperware, but for some inexplicable reason, being helpful really is frowned up on in geo-circles. Usually when we go for a major weekend walk I contact the person whose caches we are going to hunt out to ask if there are any issues we might sort for them, and generally I am met with bemused surprise. Some people even bluntly turn me down. Can you believe that doing repairs and maintenance on poggered geocaches without permission is a serious “no-no”? I *really* don’t understand this. Going out to replace a broken film pot under a rock costs time and money. Why wouldn’t anyone want someone else to do it for them?
We came home. I had a bite of lunch then set about painting up one or two bits in the garden. Last weekend when I tidied the shed I found several new paint brushes. Could I find them today? Eventually I found one and spent an hour painting sleepers and boxes before cutting back more stuff flowing over the fence from “not-so-nice next door”.
As I pruned Mrs “not-so-nice next door” walked up the garden and made a point of blanking me. Both dogs snarled at her. Good dogs!
After about five hours work in the garden I stopped and had a look at my efforts. For all that the garden was tidy, it *really* didn’t look like I’d spent five hours slaving away at it.
I *hate* gardening. Some people love it. For me it is just a chore.
With "er indoors TM" off out with her mates this evening I got Netflix to play me a movie. “Oblivion” used ideas which I’d seen in other sci-fi from “2001” to “Star Wars” (via “Planet of the Apes”, “BattleStar Galactica” and “Terrahawks”), but for all that, it was rather good. I’d recommend it, and for me that is high praise.
Being bored I then spent half an hour writing up CPD. I’m legally obliged to keep up to date with professional matters… sometimes I wonder if anyone else does it in the same way that I do. What some might call “plagiarism” I would call “collaboration”.
I shall put the kettle on in a minute… "er indoors TM" left cake…
10 June 2018 (Sunday) - Painters Forestall
Several friends had been out last night in pubs that had live music, or at open air concerts and festivals. All had posted videos (on Facebook) of what we had missed. There wasn’t one that made me wish I’d been there. What is the attraction of live music? You are packed in (like sardines) with the Great Unwashed, and the music (which isn’t good to begin with) is distorted and echoes so much that the songs I played this morning on Facebook really could have been anything from “God Save the Weasel” to “Pop Goes the Queen”.
Whilst I waited for "er indoors TM" to emerge from her pit I spent half an hour writing up more CPD, then we got our gear and wolf-pack together and set off to Painters Forestall. Having travelled quite some way for walks recently, it was good to have one only half an hour’s drive away.
We soon met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and set of on a little wander from the village down to the church at Throwley and back again. It was a really good day for a walk in the countryside. As we walked we saw buzzards and kestrels. We saw *huge* edible snails – I’ve never seen those before. The dogs saw a mouse and set off in hot pursuit. I saw a frog and nearly ran in terror – I’ve never realized just how a frog’s legs look just like a huge spider’s legs.
As we walked somehow I managed to catch my left arm and rip it rather spectacularly. I’ve no idea how I did it, but the scar is rather impressive.
As we walked I found myself watching Fudge. For all that he seems to be his normal self, he is obviously losing weight. He’s not the little barrel he was a few months ago. It could be his anal glands are still playing up… it could be worse.
I shall watch him for a while longer and see how he goes…
Geocache wise the walk was hard work… Perhaps I should qualify that. Just recently we’ve walked major series of loads of caches over great distances. Those are (by their very nature) relatively easy finds. Today’s walk of twenty-six caches over seven miles. The hides were trickier. We found most of them, but they took some hunting out, and they were a little more spaced out than we’d been used to.
After seven and a half miles we were back at the car. We *could* have gone to the pub nearby. We went there a few weeks ago, and on the strength of that visit we decided to take our money elsewhere. A ten-minute drive had us at the Chequers in Doddington where we’ve been before. A dog-friendly pub with a rather good choice of ale…
After three pints (and more crisps and peanuts than sense) we staggered homewards.
I slept most of the way home.
Once home I posted up the photos of today’s walk, and "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner before setting off bowling. I watched a few episodes of “Trailer Park Boys”.
The new season of “Poldark” is on in a minute. I can remember I liked the previous seasons, but I can’t remember anything of what happened other than Demelza’s bosom heaved a lot. Here’s hoping it heaves again…
11 June 2018 (Monday) - Stuff
Over brekkie I watched more “Trailer Park Boys” as the SkyPlus box didn’t seem to have recorded any “Thunderbirds Are Go” over the weekend. I do like that show – there *really* are people who are as thick as those in the show - and they are allowed to vote and do jury service…
As I had my morning look at the Internet I saw something which made me think. When I go geocaching I talk about “film pots under rocks”. That is predominantly what I hunt out – a relatively easy find, and lots of them in a series marking out a long walk. On the way to work I will look for slightly different ones – isolated ones here or there. There are some caches though which are much more difficult to find. Some have a trickier hide, some have a more inaccessible location. Some are only accessible by boat along a river. Some are twenty yards up a tree. Yesterday someone drowned whilst looking for one which was hidden in a storm drain in Prague.
The worrying thing is that if I saw there was one marked on the map, I’d not think twice about clambering into a storm drain to see if I could find it.
I had an email as I scoffed toast, and seeing there was a new geocache not six miles from work I set off rather earlier than I might have done this morning. As I drove up Brookfield Road I stopped off at the filling station up there. Where the filling station on the ring road had the grannie with her admirers, the filling station on Brookfield Road had someone on the till who I can only describe as "vacant". No smile, no conversation, clearly just there to take the money and bide her time until she can go home. Mind you I suppose being this way doesn't encourage the hangers-on that plague other filling stations.
Armed with petrol I told the sat nav to set sail to this new geocache, and it did so. Following previous episodes where I went wrong by not listening to the thing, today I followed its instructions, and I soon found myself on the M26.
The quickest route to this new cache (by about five minutes) took me quite a few miles out of my way. I didn't realise that it is actually faster for me to drive to Pembury via the M26 than it is by taking a direct route. I might go twenty miles further, but I would do the journey in less time.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing President Trump's latest antics. Over the weekend he was at an international summit where he effectively stuck two fingers up at countries who over the years have been America's staunchest allies.
Today the idiot is planning his upcoming summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The Korean people being interviewed about his summit said that in their opinion the difference between the two leaders in that Kim Jing Un does what he feels he *has* to do whereas Donald Trump does what he *wants* to do.
A subtle distinction.
I find it ironic that American friends of mine spend quite a bit of their time apologizing on behalf of their nation for what a twit they have elected as President.
There was also talk about the new measures introduced to protect doctors after the Bawa-Garba case in which a doctor was struck off after the death of a small child.
The pundits on the radio wheeled on the mother of the child who died. Listening to her was very sad. Clearly she was upset following the death of her son. Who wouldn't be? But the right decision has been made. The unpleasant truth is that ill people do die, and if lessons can be learned in such cases, then that is some (very) small consolation.
I've asked before what kind of a health service will we have in which all medical professionals are absolutely terrified of litigation, and people would rather work in McDonalds as the law suits would be less onerous?
Eventually I got to where the geocache was hidden...
I *really* should have read the description *before* I left home. The thing had been hidden by someone who had only ever found one of the things. And it showed.
I hesitate to say they didn't know what they were doing but the description spoke of a tree at the end of a road. The given co-ordinates came to the middle of a road. There were a few trees a dozen yards away, but none especially close. The hint seemed to have some cryptic (meaningless?) number puzzle. I had a cursory glance up a few trees which were within fifty yards, then gave up and went on to work.
At work I drew out my team for the works World Cup sweepstake. Apparently the World Cup starts in two days time. It is a matter of the utmost indifference to me, but it does boil my piss somewhat that football is such an arrogant game that the fact that we are considering the *football* World Cup is a distinction which doesn't need to be made.
I've drawn "Peru". I didn't even know Peru had a football team, let alone one which is good enough to get into the World Cup.
I came home via a much more direct route than I’d taken to work and got home just as "er indoors TM" was taking the hounds out. We had a good walk, but there was an episode with a jogger. Like most people these days this jogger had earphones in and so couldn’t hear anything. He was so wrapped up with his music that he was oblivious to the world around him, and nearly (but not quite) went straight over the top of both dogs. The dogs saw it as an attack and nearly (but not quite) retaliated.
It could have been nasty…
I’ve just shared some stilton with my dogs. Both are farting as though it is going out of fashion…
12 June 2018 (Tuesday) - More Stuff
I slept well, but was still wide awake an hour before the alarm was due to go off. As I scoffed my toast I watched more “Trailer Park Boys” then had a look-see at the Internet. It was much as it always is… some people were posting political stuff that they didn’t understand, others were attention-seeking, others were posting pictures of cats… it’s the small things that make social media “social”; I love it.
As I drove to work I couldn't help but wonder why the road was so quiet this morning. Where had all the traffic gone?
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about President Trump's meeting with the North Korean leader Kin Jong Un. For all that the world seems to be impressed at what is being billed as a historic meeting, the details of the outcome of this meeting are vague in the extreme.
There was also talk of the upcoming World (football) Cup. This time video-referee technology is to be used for the first time at such an important event.
There's quite a bit of controversy about the thing. Interestingly it was mentioned on the radio that the Italians have been using this for a year or so and in this time the incidents of fouls, yellow and red cards in Italian football matches has dropped dramatically. It seems that since the players are being watched more closely, they are playing more nicely.
I got to Pembury and found where all the traffic had gone. Deserted roads in Ashford; heaving in Pembury.
I stopped off at Tesco for some supplies. In the past I've been unable to get into the Tesco at Pembury as schoolkids had blocked the entrance with their discarded bicycles. Today it was clear that someone had spoken with the schoolkids as the entrance was clear, and the children were all sitting on their bikes some twenty yards away, glowering at the customers going in and out of the supermarket.
I got some of what I wanted. But only some. I was running short on deodorant, but a tin of armpit-squirt which costs two quid in Tesco is eighty-nine pence in Aldi. I shall eke out what little I've got left and pong a little...
I got to work, and did my bit as I do. Over lunchtime I posted to Facebook and wished I hadn’t.
I really would like an old trolley for carrying my fishing gear from the car to the lakes when fishing so I wrote an advert and posted it to two "fishing stuff for sale" Facebook pages. One immediately rejected it as contravening Facebook standards because I was selling banned items such as "animals, guns and illegal items" (!). The other ran the advert, and within minutes I had some chap from Deal trying to flog me a second-hand trolley for fifty quid. Fifty quid! - I can get a brand-new sack barrow for half the price from B&Q.
I told him as much and he got the hump.
What is it with fishing gear? Mind you it's not just fishing gear - it is pretty much everything. You stick a designer label onto whatever you are trying to flog, and the punters queue up to pay over the odds. This trolley I'd been offered was of the "Preston" brand and apparently is well worth fifty quid, even if you *can* get something that does exactly the same job for less than half the price.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Today we were at Chippy’s new home. He certainly seems to like living upstairs… This evening was good – it made up for the rest of the day being on the dull side…
13 June 2018 (Wednesday) - Feeling Tired
I didn’t sleep well last night. I blame the dogs.
Over brekkie I watched more “Trailer Park Boys”. They stole a model rocket and launched it to the planet “Juniper”. It’s a wonderful show. I then sparked up my lap-top, and once it had eventually finished its updating I had a look-see at the Internet. There wasn’t a lot going on with Facebook, so I had a look at my emails. Amongst the masses clamoring to join my LinkedIn network I had a request from someone I actually know. Can you believe it?
I had an email from Geocaching dot com advertising their latest gimmick. They’ve got some new souvenirs based on “Hidden Creatures” which starts in a few weeks’ time, and to advertise the thing they had a questionnaire to find out which hidden creature you are. You can do it by clicking here – I got “Fairy”. With so much that could be improved on their app, with absolutely no consistency in the reviewing process and with people drowning in storm drains you’d think that there would be other things that the people at Geo-HQ might be concentrating on, wouldn’t you?
I set off to work; I took a little detour to the Biddenden vineyard for geo-purposes. Before I rotate back to Maidstone for work I thought I’d get a geocache by the vineyard as it is sort of on the way I drive to work when I am at Pembury. This one was in a rather beautiful setting and had originally been hidden in September 2001. Judging by the state of it, it looked like it was originally hidden in September 2001. I thought about offering to adopt the thing as it was such an old one, but the last time I offered to take on an old cache I never heard back from the owner, and this one had already been adopted out once anyway.
I drove on to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the demise of the UK mammal population. However they didn’t make any mention of the mammal app they’d suggested I download a few weeks ago. Mind you, I couldn’t help but wonder if everyone else who had downloaded it had had as much “success” as I have had with it. Having only found three mammals to log on it, perhaps it is best brushed under the carpet.
There was also quite a bit of concern voiced about possible football thuggery at the World Cup. In years gone by it was the British fans who were the troublemakers. Nowadays it seems that it is the Russians who are the problem. I realise that the violent fans are in the minority, but does any other sport have such a fractious following?
Work was hard work; I came out to find my petrol tank had lost half its contents during the day. There was no evidence of a leak, but there was a whiff of petrol. I’ve spoken with the nice people at the garage who wonder if when I hit a pot-hole yesterday I might have bumped a seal open, and I’ve got some evaporation going on. That would be a pain. I’ve booked some repairs.
Once home I walked the dogs round the park. I say “walked” – have you ever played the old video game “Sheep”? You can download it here. Herding Fudge round the park was akin to playing that game this evening.
With time against us, "er indoors TM" got KFC for dinner. It was OK, but (to be honest) given time she boils up better.
I got the beer into the barrel – maybe I might have an early night?
14 June 2018 (Thursday) - Bit Tired
I was sleeping *so* well when Treacle went mental in the small hours in response to new-next-door’s dog going equally mental. Finding myself awake I went to the loo and tripped over Fudge who was sprawled out on the bedroom floor.
I was awake for much of the rest of the night…
I scoffed my brekkie whilst watching more “Trailer Park Boys”. In today’s episode out heroes were making a mucky DVD. I say “making”; failing to make was closer to the truth. “Trailer Park Boys” is excellent – there’s *so* much on Netflix. In a few short months I’ve binge-watched “The Mighty Boosh” “Still Game”, “Lost in Space”, “The Crown”, “Plebs”, “Peaky Blinders”, “F is for Family”, “Red Dwarf”, “Star Trek”, “Big Mouth” … all for less than a tenner a month.
Amongst this morning’s emails was one concerning a geocaching trackable of mine. A couple of years ago I won a rubber chicken in a raffle. I stuck a geocaching trackable tag on it, took it to the New Year’s Day geo-event I organized at the beginning of 2016, and then tracked the thing’s movements. It travelled some one thousand five hundred miles along a rather tortuous route to Corfe Castle where it was picked up by some French people and was never heard from again…
Until this morning.
I messaged the people who’d taken it from Corfe in mid-March. They finally replied to my message overnight. Yes – they had picked it up. They’d lost it but found it yesterday.
Flushed with success I might just release some more trackable items.
As I drove to work I found myself being rail-ended by a van from the T Kirwan company (whoever they are). I've mentioned before that if you are planning to drive like an idiot it is best not to do so in a vehicle with the company's name emblazoned all over it.
As I went along the A28 I listened to the radio. The pundits were discussing the revelation that those who regularly go to church live (on average) six years longer than those who don't. On the one hand this could be evidence that the abstemious pious lifestyle is better for you. On the other hand it could be proof that Big G doesn't want that sort of do-gooder cluttering up His Heaven.
There was also a lot of talk about how the Government is planning to restrict immigration laws so's that foreign doctors and nurses will be exempt from being sent back on the next banana boat in order to alleviate the staffing crises in hospitals. Whilst doctors and nurses are to be allowed to remain in the UK (and encouraged to come here), no mention was made of physiotherapists, pharmacists, cardiographers, radiographers, biomedical scientists and everyone else who works in a hospital. Mind you there rarely (if ever) is mention of all those types. However there was a *lot* of talk about why the UK is dependent on foreign medical staff whilst the rest of the countries of the world seem to recruit medical staff of their own nationality. I can't help but think the average Brit listens to the news and sees just how keen the other average Brits are to sue anyone working in a hospital, and consequently wants to drive a train or sell burgers for less aggro (and quite often more money).
I had a rather busy day at work, and drove out into one of the worst traffic jams I’ve had on the way home from Pembury. After forty minutes I was still only three miles from where I’d started.
Once home "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and went off to craft club. I watched this week’s episode of “Gotham”.
I really need to write up more CPD in a minute… Or I might have a kip…
15 June 2018 (Friday) - Method Feeder
Treacle woke me with her whimpering just before half past two this morning. I settled her, and Fudge started grumbling. When they eventually settled, new-next-door’s dogs started. The night continued in this way until I finally gave up and came downstairs for an early brekkie. As I watched “Trailer Park Boys” Treacle came downstairs, barked at pretty much everything then went back to bed.
I wish they’d all shut up.
As I looked at Facebook this morning I sighed. So much racial hatred was being posted. So many memes about how immigrant families are living high at the British taxpayer’s expense; all being copied and pasted and immediately believed. Not one with any real verifiable information. Who are these people who allegedly get over a hundred thousand pounds in hand-outs? Which council funds this? What are their names? Where do they live? Do they *really* exist? I’ve cleared several people from my Facebook list; I don’t want people spreading hatred like that in my life.
I checked my emails as I do. There were job vacancies being advertised in Eastbourne and Orpington. Neither was really practical for me. Mind you at the moment Tunbridge Wells isn’t practical until I get my car sorted.
Talking of which I then went out to my car. Despite a whiff of petrol, it didn’t seem to have leaked much overnight, and after a few seconds’ effort the engine started. I drove off down the road and ten minutes later it was with a tremendous sense of relief that I pulled up at the garage. The earliest appointment they had isn’t until next Thursday, but I couldn’t leave it on the road until then. I’ve left the car at the garage; the nice man said that if they get chance they will sort it out earlier.
I walked down to where I’d agreed for "er indoors TM" to pick me up. We’d agreed to meet at McDonalds, and after a swift McBrekkie we came home.
I then went to the dentist; I had an appointment with the hygienist. She rummaged around in my mouth giving it all a good clean-up. When I came to rinse there was perhaps a tad more blood than I might have liked, but she seemed happy with the state of my biscuit-muncher.
Before I left they asked me to fill out a questionnaire about my experience at the dentist today. I ticked the “I loved it” option for pretty much every question, but one question puzzled me. They wanted to know if there was anything more they could do to accommodate for my sexual orientation. What a stupid question. Can you imagine their response if I’d answered honestly and said “bigger tits and saucier undercrackers”.
I came home to find "My Boy TM" had loaded my fishing gear into his car, and leaving "er indoors TM" doing the decorating (it was her idea!) we went fishing.
Sam’s Lakes near Headcorn is a rather beautiful place to be. On our last trip to the tackle shop the first fruit of my loin had suggested I get a “method feeder”. Sparing my loyal readers the technicalities, a “method feeder” is a brilliant way for me to avoid wasting loads of money because I’m a crap shot with a catapult. I had a go with the “method feeder” and it worked well. Perhaps not the roaring success it might have been, but well enough. Catching tench, roach, bream, common carp, mirror carp and crucian carp the thing earned its place in my tackle box today. Even if "My Boy TM" did catch fish more than three times the weight of my biggest with his dog biscuits.
As we fished we watched the antics of a little rat. It was scurrying about as and swimming all around. I logged it with my “mammals” app.
We also watched the antics of the chap fishing next to us. Fortunately he only stayed for a couple of hours. He was rather amazing; it was patently obvious he didn’t have a clue about what he was doing. For example, it is standard piscatorial practice to set up within striking distance of the water. Not some eight to ten yards away from the stuff. And the float he was using… I was sad to see him go; had anyone fallen in, his float was big enough to have used as a life boat. I’ve seen smaller balloons.
I took a few photos whilst we fished. We could have stayed longer, but time was pushing on so we came home.
With "er indoors TM" still decorating like a thing possessed I took the hounds round the park for a walk. There was a near miss incident with a particularly thick child. This brat saw Fudge, screamed “Sausage Dog” and sprinted straight at him. I quickly stepped in the way so the idiot bounced off of me, and didn’t flatten my dog. Its equally vacant mother stared into space as all this took place. After a few seconds she realised I was glaring at her and she mumbled an apology.
Once home I got to shower off all (most) of the fish slime, and "er indoors TM" boiled up some fish and chips. We scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Young Sheldon”; we’ve got rather behind with that show…
I think I might have caught the sun today…
16 June 2018 (Saturday) - Late Shift
I mentioned yesterday that I thought I’d had a touch too much sun. I woke up in front of the telly just before midnight and then took myself to my pit where I slept for over seven hours.
Not too shabby at all!
With my car still in dry dock I spent a little while looking at maps of train routes for work and for fun. You don’t realize just how you depend on a car until it goes west.
And then I nearly choked on my toast as I read a post on the Facebook page “Geocaching in Kent” this morning. Someone had posted: “I have lost all motivation to cache…. I seem to have attracted arsehole cachers so far this year and had nasty logs from brand new accounts who have also sent horrible messages…. Until this year I'd only met nice cachers”
This from someone who I actively avoid after she posted some rather nasty personal abuse at me a while back. Perhaps she didn’t mean to be nasty? Perhaps I was being over-sensitive? But it is commonly said that what goes around comes around.
I went out in to the garden with the intention of mowing the lawn. Instead I blew a fuse. I turned on the lawnmower, there was a dull “thud” sound, and then nothing. It didn’t take long to determine that a fuse had gone; and didn’t take much longer to replace it. But it was a nuisance nonetheless.
With lawn mowed I pruned back not-so-nice-next-door’s roses which were again hanging over the fence. What is it with roses? They look pretty for a day, then drop their petals everywhere and look messy for weeks.
As I pruned "My Boy TM" came to visit. He picked up the ChromeCast that Jose had kindly left for him, and I gave him a crash course on Netflix. Did you know that several people can all have sub-accounts from the one Netflix account? Our family has one each all from the one subscription. I can’t praise Netflix enough.
He then cluttered off homewards planning on having a telly-o-thon, and "er indoors TM" popped to B&Q to get the ingredients for the decorating she was planning to do today. I asked her to get me a wire brush; if nothing else it gave the impression that I was intending to do something decorative in the near future.
I'd not been looking forward to driving to work today. What with my car out of action I had one of two choices. I could either borrow "er indoors TM" 's car, or I could take a train to Tonbridge and then spend heaven only knows how much on a taxi. I went for "er indoors TM" 's car.
I don't like driving at the best of times, and in my world "the best of times" involves driving my own car. "er indoors TM" 's car has a driving seat which is far too low-down, a rear-view mirror through which I could see hardly anything, a gear stick which is in *completely* the wrong place, and it has a handbrake. A handbrake! One you have to manually release yourself when you drive off (how quaint!). I only forgot once.
Knowing the rather delightful choice of music she has in her car, I brought along a CD of my own. As I drove cross-country to Pembury I howled along to arguably one of the best music albums ever released. It is sad that hardly anyone has ever heard of the album "Kimono My House", let alone knows all of the words to all of the songs.
After an hour and twenty minutes I pulled up in the works car park. Remembering to use the handbrake (!) I parked the car and went in to work.
One of the good things about being seconded to Pembury is that the works canteen is rather good. I had some rather delicious chili beef and rice followed by strawberry crumble and custard before going to do my shift. Having had a rather good rostered day off yesterday it was only fair that I did the late shift. Even if it was a bit like hard work.
Talking of hard work I came home to find "er indoors TM" hadn’t been skiving. She’d painted like a thing possessed and completely replaced the kitchen lino and bathroom carpet. She’s done a good job…
Mind you it wasn’t “lino” that she replaced. On 26 January 2007 she unleashed serious whoop-ass on me for saying that what she’d come home with was lino. On 27 January 2007 she laid a “vinyl-based floor covering”. It lasted well. I wonder if the new stuff will do as well..
17 June 2018 (Sunday) - Father's Day
Over a rather early brekkie I watched more “Trailer Park Boys”. I can imagine a *lot* of people wouldn’t understand the show, but for me it really is a laugh-out-loud programme. Mind you I go hysterical over Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz magazine, so I suppose I am easily amused.
I had a wry smile as I looked at Facebook this morning. The wife of my lesbian cousin (her who went on the Jeremy Kyle show and told the world the exact process by which she artificially inseminated her wife) was rather insultingly banging on about who needs men on Fathers’ Day. I’ve whinged about this pair before. Some people are gay, some are not. It isn’t *really* a big deal, is it? These two seem to think so, and seem to be very defensive about something over which no one is attacking them.
I then somehow got embroiled in a squabble on the “Ashford” Facebook page. I showed my ignorance. Apparently mediums don’t predict or foresee the future. That would be stupid (!) Instead they just pass on messages from the spirit world. It amazes me that anyone would feel that someone going into a trance and predicting the future is laughable whilst at the same time thinking that communicating with the dead is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. It *really* amazes me that these people are allowed to vote and do jury service.
I phoned my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day, I went round the garden clearing up the dog turds, and then we set off out.
We met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and had a rather sedate walk round Chilham Lakes. Perhaps a rather shorter walk than we’ve done recently, but a good one. For all that I drove through Chilham for six years whilst working in Canterbury, and I’ve looked at the lakes from the train so many times, I’ve never really walked round the lakes. It was a rather good place to wander. Well-marked footpaths, no serious hills or bushwhacking… it was an ideal dog walk even if Fudge did roll in the dirt. And I couldn’t believe the amount of dragonflies we saw today.
After a short wander we drove into Chilham where we had a pint or two in the beer garden of the White Horse. There were some other people there with dogs, and we had half an hour of general dog mayhem. I did feel sorry for the normal people who were trying to have a quiet pint.
We said our goodbyes, and on the way home we stopped off in Repton Manor where this month’s geo-meet was talking place. It was a shame we were a tad late, but not too late to miss the rather good cakes which had been baked for the occasion. We chatted for a while, then came home, settled the dogs and went to the New Chimneys.
Cheryl had arranged a Father’s Day meal for her portion of the tribe. A dozen of us sat down for dinner. Most had the carvery; it looked good. "My Boy TM" had the breakfast burger. It looked good. I had the barbecue chicken with fries. Whilst it wasn’t burnt, it was very dry. I wouldn’t have it again.
And the place was a tad hot. Hot to the point of making me feel rather iffy.
But for all that, it is always good to meet up with family,
We came home, "er indoors TM" dished out ice cream and got on with painting. I stuck some photos of the day onto Facebook, and then had a little doze.
Poldark is on later. I like that show. Or, to be more precise, I like Demelza’s heaving bosom. I wonder if the show would still be so good if Demelza was to have a day off?
18 June 2018 (Monday) - Finchampstead
I woke feeling rather rough. This seems to happen more and more these days; I wonder why? Was it the three pints yesterday? I remember a conversation with a colleague about ten years ago when he said that when in his forties he could drink like a fish, but in his fifties he suffered after only a few drinkies. Certainly ten years ago I would think nothing of seeing off a gallon of ale; these days it is noticeably less.
Or perhaps it was too much sun yesterday and on Friday?
As I looked at Facebook over brekkie I realised I’d missed the Herne Bay Sci-Fi convention yesterday. It would have been nice to have gone along. Back in the day I would have been one of the attractions. Back in the day I would also have been at reptile fairs, village fetes, and beer festivals. These things come and go in my life. At the moment it is fishing and hunting pots under rocks. Talking of which…
The plan for today had me loading the dogs into the car, driving to Tenyham to collect Matt, and then setting off to Berkshire. But what with the car being ill and Fudge having issues with trains, it was just me walking to the train station.
I got to the station to see the train pulling off. But I’d got there early, and the next train wasn’t far behind. As luck would have it, it suited Matt to pick me up at Barming station, and that is the station I will need for work tomorrow. So this morning was a practice run for work if nothing else. It was a practice run which worked well, and it wasn’t long before I was sitting in the MaattMoo-mobile on the way to Finchampstead.
There is an *incredibly* old geocache in Finchampstead. A few weeks ago Matt had asked on the “Geocaching in Kent” Facebook page if anyone fancied a trip to go find this one. Four of us met up today and we very soon had the thing in hand, My second-oldest geo-find (so far).
We then carried on along a wonderfully named series of local geocaches. The “Finchampstead Undulations” (FU) series followed a rather beautiful route. As we walked we saw a tiny little mouse and a deer; both of which I logged with my “mammals” app. And we saw *so many* red kites. What beautiful birds! They were following some agricultural machines which were harvesting crops; obviously hunting for the mice being chased out of the crops.
I took a few photos whilst we walked. The photos of the red kites really don’t do them justice.
Geocache-wise it was an odd walk really. The two old caches (which were the main targets for the day) were good caches. The route we then walked was in need of maintenance. The multi-caches on the route seemed to have been put out with start, waypoints and end-points all somewhat at random (which was strange as they were less than a month old), and there was one cache in blatant breach of the proximity rules.
But I was glad for the caches being there – they made for a good walk.
We had a crafty pint in the nearby pub, then made our way home. The M3 and M25 were busy; I didn’t doze off “too” much. And I also got a practice run on the train I shall take home from work tomorrow.
As we drove home the garage phoned. They’d had a look at the car. The parts alone will cost five hundred quid…
19 June 2018 (Tuesday) - On The Train
Every night before I go to sleep I check my phone is not connected to the Internet. Mobile data off, wi-fi off. And still (somehow or other) it manages to randomly connect itself to the World Wide Wubbish. It did so at half past two last night and started shouting with notifications about all sorts of stuff. Why didn’t it leave me asleep?
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Trailer Park Boys” then had a look to see what my phone thought had been so urgent in the middle of the night. It turned out that there wasn’t much of note. There rarely is.
Mind you I did snigger when I saw one post on Facebook. Someone who used to live over the road from us was posting an ADHD awareness meme. She used to have the world’s worst-behaved brat who would periodically come over to play with "My Boy TM" when he was younger. When in his own home this brat would hang from the first-floor windowsills screaming, would sprint up and down the middle of the street… When he came to our house he was as good as gold because I told him we weren’t having any of his crap, and he respected that stance. He didn’t have ADHD at all; his mother had announced he had it as an excuse for not dealing with his bad behaviour. I used to see this when I was a cub leader; for every child that *really* did have ADHD, there was a dozen diagnosed by mothers who had ill-behaved brats.
With the car still in car-hospital I walked up the road to the railway station and was soon on the train to Barming. I found a copy of “The Metro” and occupied myself with the crossword. Half an hour passed rather uneventfully, and then a twenty-minute walk had me in work. I’d not been in at Maidstone for a couple of weeks; nothing much had changed. I did my bit, took a shortened lunch break, and skived off a few minutes early so I could get the earlier train.
The train home was marginally more exciting than the train to work. I found a discarded “Evening Standard” and had a go at its crossword. It was far trickier than that in “The Metro”. Did you know that a sabot is a wooden shoe? No? I didn’t either.
I must admit to having spent a few minutes watching a young mother giving her child a severe telling-off. The child’s crimes were the sort of things of which most children are guilty, but the mother was decidedly odd. She had exactly the same hair style as “Vir Coto” out of the sci-fi show Babylon 5. I wonder if she knew?
I arrived home at exactly the same time as "er indoors TM" and we walked the dogs round the park. It was a rather good evening for a walk. Usually Tuesday would see the clans gathering, but events conspired against that today, so we walked a little further than usual.
I wonder what’s for dinner…
20 June 2018 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift
I’ve been rather thoughtful and reflective over the last day or so. Yesterday I received an invitation to a party, but was warned “but so-and-so is going to be there.” “So-and-so” is an odd fellow. Over the course of five years he went from being everyone’s favourite person to being a universally disliked bully. It is commonly said that one should stand up to bullies, so at the time I did so. But everyone else who was being subjected to his nastiness continued to kow-tow to him so effectively I found myself isolated and have done ever since.
I sent an apology in reply to the party invitation; not perhaps that polite an apology, but one explaining in no uncertain terms why it wouldn’t bother me if I never saw “So-and-so” again. I got an instant reply which was rather sympathetic. I was told I wasn’t alone in feeling that way; no one likes him. When I asked why he remains part of the social circle which I have decided to abandon, and specifically why he got invited to this party at all, I got rather vague evasive answers.
Should I have not stood up to this fellow? Should I have stayed quiet and remained “part of the gang”? If being “part of the gang” involves being part of a social group which is beholden to his bullying ways I’m glad to be out of it.
I’ve also found myself thinking about other people’s religions. As I had my morning rummage round Facebook I saw a few friends thanking God for every trivial little incident that happened in their lives whilst drawing a blank over the much larger horrible episodes. I remember a friend of mine (now a Baptist minister) once offering up a prayer when he found a fifty-pence coin on the street but then saying that treading in a dog turd five minutes later was just blind chance.
As I scoffed my toast my phone beeped with a reminder from my google calendar that I had an appointment with the dentist this morning. I’d forgotten about that. Despite bombarding me with texts telling me about cancellations they’ve had and would I like an appointment at short notice, the dentist didn’t think to send me a message about the appointment I *did* have.
So with half an hour spare I devoured my toast and set off to the fang-quack. It is very handy having a dentist which is just a couple of hundred yards down the road.
Today was the first go with the new dentist. I’ve not had a lady dentist before. She rummaged in my gob, took some X-rays and found all sorts of problems that the hygienist didn’t spot last week. Don’t hygienists look for that sort of thing? Did the hygienist miss my dental dilemmas? Is the dentist just touting for trade?
I’ve got to go back in a few weeks’ time to get it all put right. I eventually managed to make an appointment; I couldn’t really hear what the receptionist was mumbling over the noise of the radio.
I came home and once the washing was pegged out I took the dogs round the park. Fudge was comical; at the point of our closest approach to the river he stopped and looked at me as though he was asking. “Oh go on then” I said, and he smiled (as he does) and ran straight to the dog beach. I video-ed his antics; he stands in the river and barks for you to throw stones onto the water. He then runs to where the stone went in, and barks for you to throw another.
We played for a few minutes before coming home. More washing got pegged out, and I had a go at some flaking paint with a wire brush (as one does) before running round the living room with the Hoover. The thing worked far better once I’d emptied it out…
I watched more “Trailer Park Boys” over a sandwich, then went to bed for the afternoon. For once the dogs didn’t bark incessantly at nothing, and I got a good three hours asleep.
Once I’d got the washing in I then updated the McAfee anti-virus thingy on my lap-top. That took some updating.
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. A spot of dinner, then I shall get the train to the night shift. I had hoped my car would be fixed by now. To be honest I never thought it would be ready; I just hoped it would be. Still, I’ve done that train trip twice this week already. I should be good at it by now…
21 June 2018 (Thursday) - Got My Car Back
The night shift was.. It was OK really. Six years ago my professional circumstances were somewhat different; I never thought I'd be asked to do night work again. For all that I would rather not be up all night, there is something satisfying about being trusted to do the job unsupervised. It is only after that has been taken away (albeit only for a couple of years) that you appreciate it.
Usually after a night shift I would drive home and have my piss boil as I listened to the radio. But my car was in for repair this morning. With the relief arriving only seven minutes before the train was due to leave, and having the train station some fifteen minutes walk away, I took my time and went to the works canteen for brekkie.
As I queued up I found myself biting my tongue. The fry-up is self-service; how is it possible for someone to take ten minutes (I timed them) to put scrambled egg, beans, mushrooms and two sausages on to a plate?
It is my habit to check the Internet over brekkie; it is much easier to do this with toast and a lap-top than with a fry-up and a mobile, but I had a go.
One email made me sit up and take notice. I did say "fuksake" out loud, but I don't think anyone noticed. A few weeks ago there was an article on Radio Four all about just how poorly understood are the numbers and habits of the mammals of the United Kingdom. The public were asked to download an app to their phones so they could report sightings of mammals to enable the experts at the to figure out how much of what we've got, and where we've got it.
I was dead keen to get involved. And I did. But this morning whoever it is at the other end of the "mammals" app on my phone sent me an email. They have rejected the deer sighting that I logged on Monday because the location that the GPS on my phone gave them is "outside the known range of deer."
We saw the thing and I took a photo of it, and used the app to log the sighting. From the geocaching I'd been doing on that phone that day I know that the GPS is accurate to a couple of metres.
So... rather than learning from evidence and updating their database, the people at the UK Mammal Society are sticking to what they know, even if it is wrong. I must admit that sticking to what I know, even if it is wrong is the sort of thing that I tend to do. but then again I didn't go on Radio Four to launch a nationwide campaign that I then chose to ignore.
With brekkie scoffed I wandered down to Barming railway station and was soon on the train home. Yesterday evening on the way to work I'd picked up a discarded "Evening Standard" and this morning I had a go at the crossword. I had this idea that it would keep me awake on the way home, and I wouldn't wake up an hour past my stop finding myself in Ramsgate. After all, I've slept past my stop once or twice before. It was an idea which worked. I transmitted photos of my progress to Facebook, and several of us had fun doing the crossword.
I got home an hour later than usual after the night shift, and took the dogs round the park. We had a good walk; we didn’t have any untoward incidents (which is always a good thing). I video-ed the dogs and posted it to Facebook, but it didn’t elicit much response. Photos on social media get quite a bit of attention; videos not so much.
I came home, and went to bed. I slept for a few hours until the garage phoned to say the car was ready. I took the hounds out again to collect the car. On Monday the nice man at the garage said that the parts alone would cost five hundred quid. Today I paid for the parts, the labour, a re-gassing of the air-con, and the VAT, and it came in at fifty quid *less* than the parts alone were supposed to have cost.
I’m not complaining.
It was good to drive home. Once home again the dogs settled and I spent the afternoon doing the ironing. Dull, but a job which needs doing. Just as I was finishing "er indoors TM" messaged to say she would be going out straight from work. Me and my dogs had kebab for tea…
22 June 2018 (Friday) - Frustrating
I slept like a log last night; the aftermath of a night shift is a wonderful cure for ongoing insomnia. I eventually emerged from my pit and over brekkie I had a look-see at the Internet. The edit I did on Wikipedia yesterday had survived; I’d had a message out of the blue asking if I could do something for a friend of mine. I was happy to do the edit on Wikipedia. It is easy enough to do, but more often that not, every time you change something on Wikipedia, someone else changes it back again.
With little of note on Facebook, and not even LinkedIn sending me an email, I took the dogs round the park.
As we walked along the path we had a rather nasty set-to with some stupid woman. She and her seemingly idiotic child were cycling along the path. Not on the bit clearly marked for bikes (with a bike painted on it) but on the bit for pedestrians (with a person painted on it). This obnoxious cow cycled straight at Treacle who was on the non-bike bit. She stopped and told me to put the dogs on leads. I told her where the cycle path was. In front of her kids she told me to f... off. I complemented her on the fine example she was showing her children.... and that's when it all got a bit nasty. The more angry she got, the more polite I got, and my being polite was *really* boiling her piss. In the end I wished her a good day, and I said that I hoped she didn’t go flying over her handlebars face-first into the tarmac. (That last bit was a lie, but I think she was too thick to spot the sarcasm)
We came home, and just as I’d loaded up the car with rubbish to take to the tip my phone beeped. There was a new geocache about half an hour’s drive away. So, thinking I had a few minutes to spare, I set off chasing the First to Find. I found it, and just as I was doing the top-secret geo-ritual my phone rang. It was "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". The nursery had phoned her to say that "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was ill. She was in Ramsgate – could I go get him?
I set off to the nursery; taking a rather convoluted route as the roads of half of Ashford are currently dug up. As I drove down Willesborough Road I was reflecting on "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" being poorly and how you never know what will happen next in life.
It was at this point that my car stopped.
I say “stopped” – it didn’t actually stop as such; the engine stopped making engine noises and the thing just fizzled out and eventually came to a rest at a bus stop. I pressed the starter button. It made all the starter noises but didn’t actually start.
I phoned the breakdown people and spent a frustrating fifteen minutes being messed about by their automated switchboard. Eventually I spoke with someone who was helpful, and told me that a rescue vehicle had been dispatched.
I stood with my car watching the traffic jams that my breakdown was causing, and half an hour later rescue arrived. After a little farting around and my explaining the problems I’d had with the petrol leak in the car last week, the nice breakdown man had an idea. He explained how the fuel gauge in my car is computerised. It tells me how much petrol I have left based on my average fuel usage. Last week’s petrol leak wasn’t “average fuel usage”. He opened the car bonnet, squirted WD-40 into the fuel lines and asked me to start the engine. It started.
We went to the petrol station at Tesco, filled a jerry-can with petrol, took it back, poured it in the petrol tank and the car started instantly. I’d run out of petrol. Oh, how I chuckled.
I drove to Tesco and filled up with petrol; my car has never taken so much petrol before.
I eventually got to the nursery five minutes before "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" did.
The plan for the day had been to walk the dogs, do a tip run, a bit of shopping and to be working in the garden by ten o’clock. What with First to Finds and running out of petrol I was now three hours behind. I went to Tesco to get dog biscuits for Monday, and then to the fishing tackle shop to get a *huge* float. I then went to the tip and unloaded the rubbish, then popped in to Matalan to get some trousers.
It was nearly two o’clock by the time I sat down for lunch, and over an episode of “Trailer Park Boys” I remembered all the other shopping I’d forgotten to get.
I settled the dogs and went back to Tesco, where "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned me. She’d taken "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" to the doctor’s; he had a heat rash. It is odd how he comes home from that nursery with bumps and bruises that the staff there don’t notice, but the same staff lay an egg over a heat rash.
I came back home via B&Q; paint is expensive stuff.
Once home I ran out the hose pipe and started topping up the fish pond; a job I’d intended to get started at about ten o’clock this morning. By the time I’d mowed the lawn and cleaned the fish poo out of the pond filter it was gone five o’clock. I shall pressure-wash and paint another day.
Today was a rostered day off. I had planned to get so much done… God laughs when we make plans.
23 June 2018 (Saturday) - The Essex Way
A rather early start this morning; up and about before five o’clock. It was such a shame that Treacle’s restless night had kept me awake for much of the night too.
Over brekkie I saw that my niece’s boyfriend had removed his rather inflammatory post that he’d put on Facebook last night. He’d put up one of these hate-filled English Defence League memes claiming that he was going to have to work until his mid-seventies to fund freeloading immigrant families. I suggested that he would be lucky to live till his mid-seventies as he was creating an atmosphere in which no immigrant families would want to come to the UK. And with no such immigrant families where would the UK’s hospitals get the pharmacists, physiotherapists, cleaners, cooks, biomedical scientists, podiatrists, speech therapists, cardiographers, dieticians, porters, secretaries, med lab assistants, biochemists and all the other jobs that the average Brit demonstrably cannot or will not do?
I’d told him off about this last night; he had never thought the matter through. He admitted (on reflection) that he had no personal experience of any immigrant families living high on the hog at tax-payers’ expense, but he did know of several who were all hard-working. He seemed to think that as this meme was on the Internet it must have been true.
Why do people persist in perpetuating these lies? Are they *really* that thick?
We got ourselves ready in good time, and were away by six o’clock. As we drove up the motorway "er indoors TM" remembered that the liver she’d been frying as a treat for the dogs (at half past five) was still where she’d left it. Woops!
It seemed odd just driving through the Dartford tunnel; the toll booths are long gone. Mind you it seems odd having to pay to use the crossing, but that’s a squabble for another time.
We were very soon at our agreed meeting point at junction seven of the M11 where we met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and after a swift McBrekkie we drove to the car park of Epping tube station.
Today’s walk was following the Essex Way. Most of our walks are vaguely circular so we end up where we started. The Essex Way isn’t circular, so we took a taxi out to the twin churches at WIllingale (yes – twin churches!) and walked back to the cars. Half an hour in a taxi; twelve hours on foot.
How easy it is to write that!
The going was good; the route was mostly flat. There were a few slopes, but nothing you would really call a hill. As we walked we saw deer poo and watched a kestrel hovering over a mouse. After a minute he caught the mouse (poor thing). We saw a game of cricket in full flow, we found some channel rocks.
After five miles we found ourselves in the village of Chipping Ongar. As we were walking past the Royal Oak pub we thought we’d have a pint. If you ever find yourself in Chipping Ongar I can’t say I’d recommend the Royal Oak. For all that it was friendly enough I got the distinct impression that if you wanted a fight, the locals would be only too willing to oblige. And the beer selection… There was a sign saying “cask ales” but the woman behind the bar assured us that they didn’t do that sort of thing.
Mind you at least we managed to get a bottle of Old Speckled Hen. After ten miles we walked up to the Green Man pub in Toot Hill to find it was playing the worst music you’d ever heard (far too loudly) for some private party.
We rolled up to the Theydon Oak in Theydon Bois at seven o’clock spitting feathers…
As we were walking through Coopersale I popped in to the graveyard to see the grave of my great great great grandfather. It is kept in good condition; I wish I knew who was looking after it.
There used to be a series of geocaches along the Essex Way a few years ago. Three years ago we walked two of the sections. Looking back it seems that today we’d walked all of the old first section and half of the second. There is no denying that we ached as we arrived back at the cars twenty minutes before sunset.
It was a good walk – I took a few photos. But it had been a long walk.
Geocaching-wise it was an odd walk. The old Essex Way series of caches had all been put out by the same people; the current caches along the Essex Way are by several different people. As you walk a geo series you get into the mind-set of the hider. This wasn’t possible today. You would walk a mile or so of good, well-maintained caches, then a mile or so of finding several missing and those you did find in serious need of repair. Some had helpful hints and good GPS co-ordinates; some had (frankly) meaningless hints and were ten yards out.
But it was a good walk. And I found my ten thousandth find today. I’d taken along a bottle of bubbly to celebrate… It was after this when "er indoors TM" fell in the ditch.
24 June 2018 (Sunday) - Late Shift
I woke in a muck sweat at six o’clock this morning following a rather odd nightmare in which yesterday’s geocaching walk had turned out to be some odd front for a drug-smuggling cartel and in which "My Boy TM" had decided to be a little boy again and promptly deliberately fell down the stairs in an office chair as part of the smuggling drugs to Essex racket.
There are a few people who wonder what goes on in my head; I am one of them.
Over brekkie I looked at the Internet (I usually do). Yesterday I’d posted a piccie of my ten thousandth geo-find to the Facebook group “Geocaching in Kent”, as had "er indoors TM". This morning the two piccies had received over a hundred “likes” and had had kind comments from loads of people (quite a few from people I had no idea who they were).
Ten thousand geo-finds, eh? I had a little look-see at the official stats page. At brekkie this morning I was the three hundred and sixty-sixth most prolific hunter of Tupperware in the UK, but yesterday’s finds hadn’t been counted then. Mid you it’s not just about the numbers. For me the silly game of looking for film pots under rocks gives me guided walks and something to do before a late shift. It has formed the basis of road trips to Oxford, Norfolk and Cornwall. It was a far better tourist guide to Kos than any official guide. And it has found me quite a few decent friends along the way as well.
I spent a little while trying to solve some geo-puzzles, and I got cross. I sometimes wonder if I’ve solved all that I can within fifty miles. Perhaps those remaining puzzles are either beyond me, or have no solution (I have heard rumours that there is one such not too far from work that has been put out purely to annoy a local puzzle solver).
We then took the dogs round the park. Yesterday was ideal weather for walking; this morning an hour round the park was *too* hot.
I set off in the general direction of work. I'd originally been rota-ed to do the early shift today but earlier in the week I had been asked to swap to do the late. With a fifteen-mile walk planned for yesterday I thought doing the late shift might be a good idea. As it was I'd woken at six o'clock this morning anyway and as I drove up the motorway I found myself wishing I'd kept the early shift; at least I would have been finished that bit earlier.
I then went to Aldi as I'd heard they had collapsible trolleys. I want one to lug my fishing gear round lakes and ponds. They hadn't got any. I wondered if the cheapo-bargain shop next door might have some...
I asked the girl at the tills if they sold trolleys. She gave me a shopping trolley. The sort you use to carry your shopping from the shelves to the tills. I explained that I wanted to buy one. She said those belonged to the shop. I asked if they had trolleys for sale; she gave me one of the shop's shopping baskets. I again explained I wanted to buy a trolley; she explained (as though I was some sort of half-wit) that they belonged to the shop. I took a deep breath and explained exactly what I wanted to buy. On seeing her blank expression I then took another deep breath and explained in great detail the entire concept of shopping and retail and capitalism in general. Clearly this was far too much for her; she fetched her manager who told me they didn't sell trolleys at all, but he had heard that Aldi next door had some…
I went for some McLunch, but on seeing the swarming hoards of ill-behaved brats running round the place I gave up and went into work where I had a rather good broccoli-cheese bake and chocolate pudding with custard from the canteen before embarking on work.
Work wasn’t too bad… I wish I’d done the early shift though…
25 June 2018 (Monday) - The Week Off Starts
With an alarm set I didn’t sleep well, and was watching “Trailer Park Boys” before six o’clock. I’d loaded all the fishing gear into the car last night so that I would have a quick getaway this morning, but still I forgot stuff. I got dressed quietly, then just as I was about to leave I went back upstairs for my shoes. How can you forget to put shoes on?
I drove round to collect "My Boy TM", and after a quick McBreakfast (during which I knock a cup of coffee flying) we came home again to collect the sunglasses I’d forgotten. We’d planned to be at Hartley Lands fishery for half past seven; we were there before eight o’clock (just!).
"My Boy TM" had a quick recce and found a good spot to fish; we struggled our tackle to the lake (I *really* need a trolley!) and soon we were fishing. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that last Friday I went to the tackle shop. I spent a small fortune on special floats for today. They were absolutely rubbish; one is still in its packet and the other is up a tree. Regular readers of this drivel nay also recall that yesterday I went to Sainsburys to buy the secret ingredient for my never-fail secret bait recipe. I tried it today; it failed.
Eventually I figured out why the first fruit of my loin was catching fish and I wasn’t; having smaller bait and having a float I could actually see paid dividends. It was a shame it took me four hours to work this out.
But once I’d figured out the error of my ways I was soon catching fish like a thing possessed. The average fish we caught today was bigger than anything I’ve caught in Shirkoak or at Sam’s Lakes. I had several over ten pounds in weight, and one of today’s carp equalled my personal best in weight. In fact, since "My Boy TM" didn’t weigh his biggest fish of the day, I’m claiming that I had the biggest one.
I took a few photos as we fished. We’ve been fishing in several places over the last few years. I think Hartley Lands fishery is my favourite place. It isn’t busy mid-week, it is beautiful, and the average fish size is bigger.
After we’d been fishing for five hours some normal people arrived. Now… imagine the scene. You arrive for a day’s fishing. You look at the lake and see it is about three hundred yards long and about a hundred yards wide. You can see large carp coming to the surface all over the lake, and there are only four people fishing. You can fish absolutely anywhere you like so… where do *you* choose to set up?
Would you believe this idiot set up a few yards to my right?
We ignored him as best we could.
As the day went on my phone brought me messages from reality. My smallest grandson was in trouble; "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned to say that "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had been in a minor ruckus at nursery in which one child got bitten. As the most recent fruit of my loin ranted that smallest grandchild had never fanged anyone before, I couldn’t help but think “not my circus, not my monkeys”.
"My Boy TM" also had messages. My granddaughter has a boyfriend. That will be good for some tears in a little while.
Once she was back we had fish and chips; she went bowling and I settled in front of the telly. I took some Malteser cookies fishing but didn’t eat them, so I scoffed them whilst watching telly. Last night’s episode of “Poldark” was rather good…
26 June 2018 (Tuesday) - Busy Busy
I slept like a log last night; waking just before seven o’clock. I had a little look at Facebook as I scoffed my toast, and (as usual) people annoyed me. Why is it that so many people cannot distinguish between the concepts of patriotism (which is a good thing) and narrow-minded racism (which isn’t)? And why is it that those who think their invisible friend created the universe think that everything nice in life is evidence of God’s actions, but ignore everything no so nice?
I had a plan to walk the dogs early before the normal people came out in force. It was a good plan; we got round the park and home again with absolutely no problems, hiccups of fights at all.
Once home I thought I might fix the garden light. I’d bought a new one months ago, but it had vanished into the general mess that is our living room. "er indoors TM" unearthed it last night, and I had a go at it this morning. After five minutes I drove round to B&Q. Over the years I must have bought hundreds of small screwdrivers; where do they all go? Whilst I was in B&Q I got some masonry paint too. That is intended to come in useful later in the week.
I went back to the garden and after a few minutes I had the new light up and running; it took longer to go buy the screwdriver than it took to do the job of getting the light in place. I then painted round the wood to which the light fits, settled the dogs and went on a shopping trip.
First of all I went to the fishing tackle shop. Yesterday’s fishing trip had been fun, but had seen a high attrition rate on my tackle (result!). Five floats, a baiting needle and two packets of hooks and no change from twenty quid.
From there I drove round to Home Bargains near Sainsbury’s. the word on the street was that they had cheap folding trolleys which would be ideal for lugging my fishing gear round a pond. They did have some a weeks ago. They’d sold out.
I got some posh lunch from Sainsbury’s and went home.
As I scoffed posh lunch I watched an episode of “Trailer Park Boys”; I couldn’t imagine them eating posh lunch. I was tempted to watch more telly, but instead I gave the wood another coat of paint, then got the pressure washer out and scrubbed down the front of the house to save a little time later in the week. Whilst I was at it I broke the outdoors broom. I say “I broke”; I actually went arse-over-head over the thing and it didn’t survive. I’ll get a new one in a day or so..
And whilst the hose pipe was run out I topped up the pond and water features and stuff until I couldn’t cope with the heat outside any more.
I came in, and spent a few minutes looking at the household accounts. Bearing in mind I had an unexpected (close-on) five hundred quid bill for fixing the car this month, the accounts could have been a whole lot better. But they could always be worse. After all, what is money for if not to squander foolishly.
Once it had cooled a little outside I pruned back the stuff pouring over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door, gave the wood a third coat of paint, and when "er indoors TM" came home we took the dogs round the park. They’ve got new collars – I’m not sure if the other dogs won’t laugh at them…
For a day’s so-called “holiday” I didn’t stop today…
27 June 2018 (Wednesday) - Road Trip
I can only describe last night as being akin to the first night of cub scout camp. With "My Boy TM"’s little dog Rolo with us for a week, excitement abounded. There’s no denying that the four o’clock barking frenzy was instigated by him.
After an early brekkie I set off to collect "My Boy TM" and his tribe. Having turned down the opportunity of a week in Turkey with them, I was driving them to the airport today. I was wishing I was going with them.
We made a good start; after fifty yards Lacey announced that she’d left her phone behind. We went back for it, couldn’t find it, and so dialled its number. A ringing sound came from one of the suitcases. We drove off again.
"My Boy TM" then had this genius idea that we set the radio so that it would give us updates on traffic jams. I pressed the appropriate button and five minutes later an announcement came thorough. It mentioned Gatwick Airport, and there was then so much excitement about Gatwick Airport being mentioned and that there was something worthy of mention on the radio that the first fruit of my loin talked all the way through whatever it was the nice man on the radio was trying to tell us.
We got to Gatwick only twenty minutes later than expected. I waved them off, then set off on a little geo-mission to pass the time on the way back home.
There is a challenge geocache not that far from Gatwick Airport. To qualify for this one you have to have found different types of geocaches as your official “milestone” finds. I have, and with my next official “milestone” find being realistically five years or more away I thought today would be as good a day as any to go find the thing.
Having found it and done the secret rituals known only to those who do this sort of thing I thought I might follow the theme of this cache and take a route home via different sorts of geocaches.
My second find of the day was an Earthcache. There is a statue of an iguanodon in a shopping precinct in Southwater (near Horsham). I soon found it, did my geology homework and emailed in my answers, Hopefully I got them right.
From here there was a little drive up to Lingfield in Surrey for cache types three and four. Much of the effort here was on a Wherigo. Having created several of my own I appreciate just how much effort goes into making one; however this one was *dull* (sorry). It didn’t help that I found the GPS was out a little in some places. I’d tried to blag this Wherigo from home several times; I’ve finally got it done.
Whilst I was walking round I got the multi from the local village sign done too.
The fifth port of call was near Edenbridge in Kent where I rummaged in a bush near a golf course for a traditional cache. And having rummaged successfully I then took a little diversion to the Brecknock Arms in Bells Yew Green. I had developed a hankering for a stilton ploughman’s for lunch. I was rather disappointed when the barman said they didn’t do them, but was rather happy when the chef (who was passing) said she would knock one up.
It was brill! Fresh bread, loads of butter, Rocket with balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, pickles, strange purple vegetables and two types of stilton. I scoffed it whilst watching the antics of the baby birds in the beer garden aviary.
And so having had lunch I had but one cache type left to find. I set off to East Sussex where I very nearly fell at the final hurdle. The hint for my target cache mentioned a water trough. Water trough? There might have been one deep in the brambles but I couldn’t see one. Fortunately there was another letterbox cache within walking distance of this one, so the day was saved.
I came home via a fishing tackle shop that I never knew existed. I’ve driven past it every day when working in Pembury. It has been there for two years. I had no idea. "My Boy TM" had got one of his mates to email me the address; having told me it was either in Biddenden or Ham Street, the place was half-way between High Halden and Bethersden. (About ten miles from either of the places he thought it might have been!)
They had fishing trolleys; they had the idea trolley for me. It was only two hundred pounds… I think I might try some charity shops for trolleys.
Once home I got all three dogs onto their leads and we went round the park. Fudge lost his new collar. It was on him when he went under the ramp in Bowens Field, it wasn’t when he came out. I couldn’t find it. Rolo picked fights with every dog he met that was more than ten times his size; amazingly every one of them ran off in terror.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and I then doze for much of the evening feeling rather rough. Too much sun ?
28 June (Thursday) - Painting the House
Treacle woke me with her whimpering and crying at half past six. Expecting the worst, it turned out that she wanted to play and everyone else was asleep. By the time I’d got up for her she’d lost interest and was settling to sleep herself.
I got up, watched an episode of “Trailer Park Boys” then sparked up the Internet as I do most mornings. It is obvious that some gremlin in cyberspace is watching what I do on-line since as I opened Facebook I was presented with an advert for a trolley which would be ideal for what I need for my fishing gear. And it was only thirty quid. However the thing was “collection only” and by the time I’d done a round trip of two hundred miles the thirty quid would have become seventy what with fuel costs.
I took the dogs round the park. The nice people from the council had turned the Hubert fountain off and were giving it a good clean. They’d also roped off the lower half of the park for tree felling so we cut our walk short and came home. That wasn’t a bad thing; Rolo does try to fight with every big dog he meets.
Once home I hung out the washing, and made a start painting the front of the house. I’ve not painted it since 29 September 2009, so it was rather overdue. After two hours I had the job done, so I painted the wood out the back (again) before settling the dogs and going on a little shopping mission.
I was determined to get a trolley for fishing. B&M bargains had nothing, neither did Wickes or B&Q. I saw exactly what I wanted in Halfords, but they only had one and they had promised it to someone else. They assured my they would have one for me for tomorrow though, and took my phone number so’s they could give me a ring when they came in.
I came back home and over lunch I watched the episode of “Gotham” from two weeks ago. It was rather good.
I considered saying “sod the painting”, but what else was there for me to do? It was too hot for the dogs to go for a walk, so I got ladder and paint brush and gave the front of the house a second coating. A tedious job; in many ways like gardening. You spend ages doing it only to have the end result look no different from how it looked when you started.
As I painted I had a message on my phone. Where had I been last night? There had been a geo-meet last night at McDonalds. That was kept rather quiet.
Just as I was finishing the painting my phone rang. It was the nice people at Halfords. The person for whom they had reserved the trolley didn’t want it any more. Did I want it? I was round there in less than five minutes. I’d been after one of these trolleys for ages. And having fifteen quid off was a very nice bonus.
I lugged it home, and once home I thought I would take a photograph of it and put the photo on Facebook. That’s the sort of thing I do. There was one minor hurdle to overcome though – it didn’t take *that* long to scoop up all the dog poo from the back garden.
As I was in the garden I thought I might weed the gravelled areas. That took over an hour.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of scran. As we devoured it we watched an episode of “Humans”, then watched some celebrities charging round the Crystal Maze. Katie Price was one of them. She used to be rather attractive; now she looks more artificial than the androids in “Humans”
29 June 2018 (Friday) - Bit Bored, Really...
No four o’clock barking sessions, no playful dogs at silly o’clock; I had a wonderful night fast asleep.
It was only a shame to come downstairs to find a packet of “love hearts” had been strewn everywhere. I blame Treacle.
Over brekkie I had a look-see at the Internet and I’m afraid my piss boiled. Yet another of the world’s top geocachers had been announced. This chap had hidden five Wherigoes (I’ve hidden twenty-one – all with more “favourite points” than his). I emailed geo-HQ and asked if I’d *only* hidden those twenty-one Wherigoes (and not the two hundred others) would I have been part of the elite gang. I explained that I didn’t want to get into a long argument; just a “yes or no” answer would suffice. I wonder if they will reply. Somehow I doubt it.
I wondered if I should cancel the boat trip out to the Red Sands fort that I was trying to charter. A rather high drop-out rate combined with the reticence of the people at the boat hire to answer emails, and hearing that on Monday the sea was as calm as a mill pond and yet the boat’s captain felt the sea was too rough to go on to the fort have all left me thinking “no”.
I then spent an hour or so solving geo-puzzles in the New Forest area just because I could.
I took the dogs round the park for our morning constitutional. There was a minor hiccup when one of the normal people (and his dog) wouldn’t leave us alone. He was a bit odd, and Rolo was continually trying to fight with his dog. Eventually he pissed off, and we had a fun five minutes playing in the river.
With our walk done I had a plan to put the old lino from the kitchen onto the shed floor. After five minutes I decided against this idea. There was just too much stuff in the shed which needed to be shifted before I could do the job. Instead I tidied the back yard and did a tip run. However there was a little problem. The tip doesn’t take half-empty tins of paint. Apparently I have to let them dry out and then the tip will take the dried paint and the tins separately. I was reliably assured that tins of wet paint are the most dangerous things in the world. I reflected on just how brave I’d been yesterday dealing with the stuff myself, and decided to restrain myself from laughing out loud at the jobsworth idiot who *really* did think that tins of wet paint are the most dangerous things in the world.
I came back via B&Q where I picked up a new yard brush. There was quite a queue at the tills. One of the self-service machines was broken. One of the members of staff who was standing idly by said he couldn’t help as his shift was over and he was going home. I thought it was odd that he was still standing there doing nothing ten minutes later, but what do I know? After all, I’m silly enough to handle tins of wet paint.
I had a spot of lunch, edited Wikipedia some more, and then (once I’d set tins of paint to dry out) set up the pressure washer. I gave the back yard a serious scrubbing. The idea was that it would take some time; it was done in an hour. So bearing in mind I’m supposed to be on holiday I put my feet up and watched a film. “Tau” was something of a disappointment. So much so that I slept through much of it.
Over fish and chips we watched last week’s episode of “Humans”; again something of a disappointment. Mankind is faced with armies of sentient robots; friends or foes? Science fiction did this them to death (much better) seventy years ago. I’m just waiting for one of the androids to be named “George 10”.
Mind you yesterday’s episode of “Young Sheldon” was rather good, if only for the fact that Meemaw is dating the Grand Nagus (from Star Trek)
30 June 2018 (Saturday) - Heaverham
I was sleeping well until "er indoors TM"’s alarm went off at five o’clock. She’d set an alarm for last Saturday’s walk round Essex and hadn’t cancelled it. I didn’t get back to sleep after that.
I got up and watched an episode of “Trailer Park Boys” over brekkie in which Bubbles was having troubles with a Samsquanch. And with telly watched I had a look-see at Facebook. Some morning social media is interesting, some mornings it is fun… more and more though it is becoming attention seeking and racial hatred in equal amounts.
Yesterday I mentioned that I’d watched the film “Tau”; this morning Netflix emailed me to suggest I might watch it. Yesterday I also mentioned that I’d emailed Geo-HQ with a specific question. This morning they sent a standard email to which I replied asking that they might answer “yes” or “no” to the specific question I’d asked. I bet they won’t.
"er indoors TM" had plans for today so we said our goodbyes. I got the dogs into my car, seat-belted them in, and we all drove up to Heaverham. We’d arranged with the nice people at “The Chequers” to use their car park, and soon together with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte we set off on a rather good walk. The geo-series “The Heaverham Huff-Puff” is so named because of the huffing and puffing to get up the hills. We’ve walked in this part of the world before, and with "er indoors TM" elsewhere we deliberately chose to come here as we knew she wouldn’t like the hills.
It was a good walk; with one exception the footpaths were clearly marked (but we managed) and we only once found farm animals in any of the fields we had to cross. As we walked we saw buzzards circling in the sky, and the dogs smelled all sorts of things to get very over-excited about. Both Fudge and Rolo rolled in stuff; I’m sure Rolo isn’t allowed to roll in stuff when he is at home.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk. We had seen that two caches appeared to be missing; we’d contacted the chap who’d hid them and offered to replace them if we couldn’t find them. Both seemed to have gone; we replaced both. There are those in geo-circles who frown on that sort of thing; personally I wish more people would be helpful like this.
We’d promised the nice lady at “The Chequers” that we would repay their kindness in letting us use their car park; once back at the pub we got some drinks in and ordered dinner. I can’t recommend the place highly enough – they were so friendly and helpful. And the food was excellent. The ploughman’s lunch was *so* good. You could have two different cheeses, and ham or olives… the only fly in the ointment was when the waitress told me I was having the vegetarian option. I hadn’t considered it to be “vegetarian”.
We sat in the shade of the garden umbrella for over two hours. We had considered meeting later, having lunch first and walking in the afternoon. We were all glad we’d started early. It was warm enough in the morning; the afternoon would have been just *too* hot.
I took a few photos whilst we were out. I do that.
We came home; with "er indoors TM" off out I had to get my own dinner. I foraged in the general direction of the KFC fully expecting to share it with the dogs. But they were all fast asleep when I got back from the KFC. They all came over looking hopeful, and then all went back to beds and sofas and snored.
Perhaps it *had* been too hot for them today? But they had all had plenty of cold iced water as we walked, and plenty of water and shade in the beer garden. And all had been playing in the beer garden. I suspect that having Rolo along made the adventure more exciting for my two, and the adventure itself was fun for Rolo.
They were all still asleep at nine o’clock… not one had asked for dinner…