1 June 2021 (Tuesday) - A Dull Day
I often mention about having an early night. I actually had one last night. Ten hours working in the garden on a rather hot day had taken its toll. I slept until three o’clock then lay awake for a couple of hours before giving up and getting up.
Over brekkie I watched last week’s episode of “Alan Partridge”. For all that I whinge about the show, I do like it. In today’s episode Alan confronted a cyber-troll. His had me thinking for much of the day. I moan and grumble here, but do I troll? I hope not.
Overnight pretty much nothing at all had happened on Facebook. I had no emails of note, so I spent a couple of minutes doing the admin on the Munzee clan war thing. Over the last year I’ve been the admin for a Munzee clan (it’s a team thing) but I seem to have lost interest, the fun has gone out of it, and to keep up with the requirements I’m having to spend money on it. Someone else is taking over and I’m taking a step back this month.
I set off to work. As I walked down the road a cyclist pulled up next to me and started chatting. Having said "Hello Dave" he clearly knew me. Under the face mask and cycle helmet I had absolutely no idea who it was. I made polite conversation and pondered on who rides down my road (heavily disguised) at half past seven in the morning. If whoever it was is reading this, sorry I didn't recognise you.
I eventually found where I'd left the car, and headed off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about our Prime Minister's surprise wedding that took place last Saturday. As always it is "Good Old Boris" as he gets away with that which no one else ever could. People who have been divorced aren't supposed to be allowed to re-marry in Catholic churches, are they? Apparently in very specific it is possible to twist the teaching of the Catholic church so that they can. One live and learns. What amazes me though is why the monarch is legally forbidden to be Catholic, but there's nothing stopping a Prime Minister being one.
There was also some stark staring nonsense about how scientists are re-naming the various strains of the COVID-19 virus after letters of the Greek alphabet. Apparently calling strains "Indian" or "Kent" was inciting hate crimes against minorities. It was claimed that the Indian government have got the right arse about the current most virulent strain being labelled "Indian".
I got to work and had a rather busy day, but busy is good. It was just a shame it was so hot, but that's global warming for you. I had to stay an hour late this evening (that wasn't so good though). Regular readers of this drivel may recall I recently got stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway for several hours, and I needed to make up time for having rolled in late. I suppose the boss is right in saying that I must do this. Back when I was the boss this was the sort of thing to which I would turn a blind eye... and looking back the staff at the time took the piss big-time over things like that. Over the last few years I've been told by some of them that they never knew how good they had it until someone else took over from me.
I had hoped that leaving work an hour later this evening might have made for quieter roads on the way home. There was less traffic, but that which was on the motorway was seriously delayed by one lorry moving at forty miles an hour in the slow lane which was being overtaken by another lorry going at forty-one miles an hour.
I wonder if this will happen again tomorrow – I’ve got to do an extra hour then too.
And in closing, today is something of an anniversary. When I first started writing this rubbish it was on the Yahoo 360 platform. After two and a half years (in June 2009) Yahoo closed the entire 360 thing down and so bloggers across the world had to go elsewhere. Today marks twelve years of my rantings being hosted by Google. Thank you Google!
2 June 2021 (Wednesday) - Another Dull Day
Having spent much of yesterday feeling rather grim I slept like a log and woke this morning feeling better than I had been, but still not one hundred per cent. Taking care not to wake Sid I made brekkie and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Hardy Bucks” in which our heroes were something of a disappointment to all and sundry.
I then had my morning’s rummage round the Internet. It was fairly peaceful this morning with no squabbles kicking off. My in-box was also dull; the only email of note was from the Neighbourhood Watch people telling me of local crimes. I say “local”; there was only one crime which could be considered “local”. All the rest of them have happened miles away. Which was probably for the best.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing one of the head honchos of Cumbria's chamber of commerce. They had been looking forward to the end of lockdown restrictions until it became clear that the entire area is very dependent on tourism. Apparently there isn't a single hotel or pub in the entire area that is able to fill its vacancies and they won't be able to handle the expected influx of tourists. Having been used to an abundant supply of eastern European staff prepared to work for minimum wage, the hospitality industry is now pretending to be surprised that Brexit has persuaded most of these people to go home. And (you couldn't make this up) having been instrumental in making all those workers want to go home, Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin is now asking them all to come back again.
There was also talk about how the costs of veterinary treatment is going through the roof as so many veterinary practices are being bought out by private equity companies. It was claimed that pet owners are being faced with ridiculously high bills as a result. I must admit I'm glad someone has recognised the problem. In his last few weeks Fudge ran up a bill of over two thousand pounds.
Just as I got to work so my phone pinged. Gordon had tagged me in a memory. Five years ago today he and I (and dogs) had walked round the Biggin Hill area and he'd sent me a lovely picture of me and Fudge. That set me off... Fudge liked seeing Gordon and Norton. For all that he was a rather independent Tripe Hound, Fudge always recognised his friends. He used to get very excited when he saw Gordon and Norton whenever we met.
I miss our mid-week meet-ups. About the only thing I don't like with my current job is I don't get quite so much time off mid-week to go walking.
On the other hand one of the many things I do like about my current job is the amount of cake that goes with it. Today was a cake day. I was rather pleased about that.
With er indoors TM” off visiting “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” I was left home alone this evening. Usually I’d forage for dinner up at the KFC, but tonight I wasn’t feeling in a KFC sort of mood. I made some toast and quietly watched a few episodes of “Hardy Boys”. I wonder if I’ve still got sunstroke (or “sun poisoning” as my cousin called it on Facebook yesterday).
Yesterday was dull… so was today.
3 June 2021 (Thursday) - Late Home (Again!)
After a rather restless night I tried to make some toast. The toaster was particularly uncooperative this morning. Decoratively the thing can’t be bettered, but functionally it leaves a lot to be desired. Eventually it warmed a couple of slices of bread sufficiently and I scoffed them whilst watching an episode of “Hardy Bucks”.
The internet was interesting this morning. Someone had posted on the “Historic Hastings” website asking about a particular house and as the thread developed someone asked why the area where I played as a child was called the “Arvy Tarvey”. I never remembered it being called that. Isn’t this one of the wonderful things about history though? No one really has any idea what happened – you can just make up stuff like this and no one quibbles.
There was also some posts about how managers in a place where I used to work are so pleased that some of the volunteers who do vital work for them have received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, Using herculean restraint I didn’t say anything, but there is a place for voluntary work and it *isn’t* in healthcare. I can remember when this bunch of volunteers were first given the job they do. I can remember the chap who was made redundant because someone offered to do his job for free. As I’ve said before, no government of any political party isn’t going to fund anything (hospitals, schools, public services) all the time someone else is already paying for it. For example look at the hospice where my mother died. Two thirds of their income is from donations where the government has realised that someone else will pay for the place.
I sent out birthday wishes to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and set off to work. Before going to my car this morning I popped round the corner. A day or so ago someone had dumped some wooden boxes by the side of the road. Yesterday I had a stroke of genius about how I might use them to fix the knacked wooden boxes in the garden that I built a few years ago. However in the meantime someone else had snaffled them. Oh well... You snooze, you lose.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were still obsessed with coronageddon. There was an interview with someone or other who claimed to be a representative of health workers (doesn't everyone claim that !). She was rather concerned that the face masks that thousands of hospital workers wear don't actually protect the wearer against the particulate droplets that spread the COVID virus, or stop them from spreading them either.
Well... this isn't news is it? I can remember “My Boy TM” taking a huff on his vape-stick-thingy, putting on one of these surgical masks and then gently breathing out clouds of vapour which spread in all directions from the edges of his face mask. And I've smelled plenty of farts whilst wearing a mask myself. Explain that one, science!! (Unfortunately for me, science has already done so)
There was also talk about half the students in full time education being unhappy with having to study on-line and not wanting to do distance learning.
As a graduate of the Open University I managed to do a degree via distance learning, and I also have a post-graduate certificate in the delivery of teaching via distance learning. There's a lot to be said for a style of learning which *doesn't* involve sleeping in a lecture theatre (posh word for classroom) every day.
I did my degree (mostly) at home whilst working full-time, and many people in my line of work also studied and obtained post graduate qualifications whilst doing the same. As opposed to studying full time which has you running up debts of tens of thousands of pounds to get a degree which you never use. So many people see having a degree as an end in itself. Why get a degree?
Do you actually want to learn about something in great detail whilst still being able to go about your daily life at home (like I did)?
Or do you want to get vocational qualifications (like many of my students did back in the day)?
Or do you want a three-year-piss-up (which many of my friends openly admit to having had)?
I got to work, made myself a cuppa then as I drank it one of the girls (just returned from maternity leave) told me she was sorry to have heard about my dog's passing. That set me off. In the seven weeks since he's gone, something or other has set me off several times each day. Fortunately being sat at a microscope for much of the day I could sulk about my dog in peace without anyone clucking over me. And having made up the time lost the other weekend meant I got to go home on time this evening.
It was a shame I only drove two miles in the direction of home before finding that the motorway was closed. With the eastbound lane closed and all the eastbound traffic being diverted into Maidstone I went west and took a rather convoluted route home via Snodland, Rochester and Faversham and got home an hour late for the third time this week. If it had been any other day of the year I wouldn’t have minded do much but it would have been good to have seen “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” on her birthday.
I came home to find the postman had been. I’ve got an adoption certificate from the goat sanctuary. I’ve adopted Natalie (my goat) for another year. Apparently. I must have set the bank direct debit to carry on going when I set it up last year. I don’t mind though – if I don’t set an example of goat care, who will?
er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and we scoffed it whilst watching the latest docu-drama about Anne Boleyn. The show starts off by saying it is based on truth and lies. I suppose it has to; it really isn’t racist to say that Anne Bolen wasn’t black… is it?
4 June 2021 (Friday) - Early Shift
The alarm went off much earlier than usual today (as I was on early shift) but I was glad that it had done so. I had been embroiled in a nightmare in which I was running a post-apocalyptic blood-testing laboratory which had been invaded by the Church of England’s granny battalion which was looking for families for the orphans they’d gone round collecting. For some unexplained reason the old dears in the Church of England’s granny battalion then went psycho, the orphans had then killed the grannies in self-defence, and I was left looking after dozens of murderous angelic five-year-olds. Try doing that whilst attempting to secure some Duffy-negative O Pos blood (!)
I blame that bottle of cheap white wine we had last night. The sound of my phone (literally) saying “Get your arse out of its pit” came as a blessed relief.
Taking care not to wake Sid I made toast, watched an episode of “Hardy Boys” then sparked up my lap-top. Overnight someone in cyber-space had been fiddling. The Firefox browser had been updated, but in a novel break with tradition it still worked. Most I.T. (so-called) upgrades involve whatever it is that has been upgraded looking incredibly fancy, but being far less able to do the job than it was before the upgrade.
Facebook was mostly quiet this morning. There were one or two grumbles on the fishing pages from people who hadn’t gone fishing locally last night because of the weather forecast. They had the hump because the forecast rain hadn’t happened, and those who had gone fishing had had a really good night.
Is it my imagination, or has weather forecasting actually got worse? I can remember a time when the BBC’s weather forecasting app used to be quite reliable, but these days it really is rubbish. I can’t help but think that weather forecasting should be discontinued until those producing the forecasts can do so with some degree of ability.
I sent out birthday wishes via Facebook, and the wish got a “like” from the birthday girl at ten past six. Ten past six!! On your birthday, Sarah?!
I set off for work as I do. As I drove off the first thing I heard on the radio was "and that was Carthy with the sport" and I breathed a sigh of relief. If there is one thing more boring that watching sport it is listening to people droning on about it. Regardless of there not having been any sport news at all, Radio Four have five minutes devoted to sport every hour in which various windbags pontificate. If nothing has happened then they just speculate on the what-if and the might-be It really is a waste of air-time. Why do they have it on? I suppose (as always) I'm in the minority and most people do want to hear the latest trivia, what-if and might-be about whatever obscure football or cricket game has happened in some far-flung corner of the world.
Mind you for all that sport news is dull, so was today's world news. Pretty much nothing had happened in the world. The pundits on the radio were trying to make a big thing about Portugal having been moved to the "Amber List" of holiday destinations and there were calls for the government to postpone easing lockdown restrictions, but what does anyone expect. Global pandemics go over years. The morning's news programs often seem to be more suited to blowing trivia out of all proportion (and then having forgotten all about it in a day or so).
Work was work. There was no cake, but an early start made for an early finish. I’d been looking forward to the early finish all week having planned to take the dogs to the woods, but the rain was against that. However I was determined to make the most of the heavy rain. The dogs have stunk of stagnant pond ever since “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” walked them yesterday, so I had this plan that a walk in the rain might wash them clean(er).
It didn’t really.
With Pogo and Treacle walked (if not washed) I walked Sid. We didn’t go far as he wasn’t keen on the rain. We spent five minutes walking up to the new barber’s shop on the corner and back again. The new barber’s shop is odd. It seems to specialise in doing frankly ridiculous haircuts on teenaged lads, but having said that it never seems to be short of teenaged lads queueing up for frankly ridiculous haircuts.
er indoors TM” boiled up fish and chips and we scoffed it whilst watching the last episode of “Anne Boleyn”. Leaving aside the fact that Anne Boleyn wasn’t black there were one or two other glaring problems. Like Anne having a clockwork clock twenty years before the first one was invented.
5 June 2021 (Saturday) - Birthday Dinner
Over brekkie I watched the last episode of the current series of “This Time” with Alan Partridge. I do like the show even if I feel I’ve seen it all before. And as Sid snored I peered into the Internet to see what I’ve missed.
As I turned on Facebook it suggested I keep my page up to date. The page it mentioned was the one about my old Boys Brigade group. I set the thing up some time ago and it really hasn’t taken off like I’d hoped. Realistically I should do something with it or delete it. I wonder if I might do something with it. The 8th Hastings Boys Brigade company started some time in the 1950s (I think) and finally packed up about ten or so years ago (I think). I’ve got quite a bit of the history from 1975 to 1984 covered, but I have no idea about the rest. I wonder if I might tap up some of the other Hastings-related Facebook pages to see if anyone else who was a member at other times might have some memories and photos, and see if I can’t record some history.
I set off to work and really couldn’t be bothered with the news this morning. Instead I got out my Ivor Biggun CD collection and sang along with “The Winker’s Album (misprint)”; amazing myself that I remembered all the words of songs I’ve not sung in over ten years.
Before I walked in to work I popped in to the branch of Marks & Spencer in the hospital where I got cakes and cookies for everyone. Had I known the price, I would have gone to Sainsburys when I’d got petrol earlier. Marks and Spencer were (quite literally) double the price of Sainsburys. A bag of five cookies that costs a quid in Sainsburys was two quid in M&S.
Mind you, everyone scoffed them anyway.
As I worked so my phone beeped. Scratchleyu Saidmagomed had sent me a friend request on Facebook. She (I think) wondered if I would like to join her snapchat group of women who need a partner. I had the option to join to get the women I want. Looking at Scratchleyu’s chest I thought I might be well advised to give that sort of thing a miss.
Work was work, I did my bit, and came home singing along to another Ivor Biggun album. “More Filth Dirt Cheap” is still funny forty years after I first heard it.
Once home we settled the dogs, and I learned
something. Picking Sid up is a mistake as it worries him
and he pees everywhere. It is quicker to chivvy him into where you want him
to go than it is to move him and then clear the pee.
We went through several frankly ridiculous COVID precautions; it is amazing how people who know nothing about infection control have completely misunderstood what is actually quite simple precautions.
The waitress came to take the order…Seeing
that they had Wainwright’s ale in bottles I asked for one of those. That
caused confusion when she could not understand the difference between “Wainwrights”
and “White Wine”. So I walked up to the bar,
pointed at the bottle and asked if they had any that hadn’t been in the
fridge. The spotty oik masquerading as a barman then got involved and (rather
aggressively) said that anything in a bottle has to
be in the fridge. And then a manageress came over and said that she agreed
that ale shouldn’t be in the fridge but it had to be
because of health and safety requirements (!)
It was only a shame that my credit card got declined when I came to pay.
I slept most of the way home. Once home I walked Sid round the block whilst er indoors TM” took Pogo and Treacle to the co-op field, then called up the bank to find why my credit card had been declined earlier. They had no record of the thing having been given the thumbs-down. Apparently if I try again in five days’ time they might have an answer for me…
I’m not impressed…
6 June 2021 (Sunday) - Bit Dull Really
I did snigger when I took Sid out into the garden this morning. Not-so-nice-next-door was lurking on the other side of the fence and when she realised we were outside so she increased her volume incredibly. Sid didn’t react – he’s all but deaf. (Pogo and Treacle would have kicked off, but they were fast asleep). As we went back inside so she went quiet again. I’m sure she’s done this before recently. Am I being paranoid, or has she really taken to lurking behind the fence trying to provoke a reaction from the dogs?
As I scoffed my toast I saw that the friend request (on Facebook) from Scratchleyu Saidmagomed was still active. The Facebook Feds don’t move with any alacrity to deal with the iniquity of those promoting wanton nudey prod games, do they?
Not much else had happened on Facebook overnight so I spent a while solving geo-puzzles. I’d found a few to solve, but the were let down by rather ambiguous formulae. (Have you ever been let down by an ambiguous formula? – it can be something of a disappointment). For example what is the answer to 5*4-2+1? I’ve got a degree in maths and so I know what I think it should be, but few people have ever heard of the mnemonic "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" (parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) and so in this case the answer could be 19, 11, -2, 15, or pretty much anything at all. Or what is meant by 6-4/2? Is that (6-4)/2 or 6-(4/2). The answer here could be either 1 or 4. Perhaps not the most important issue in the world, but when you are dependent on getting the sums right for geo-purposes this is the difference between doing the happy dance and rummaging in someone’s back garden.
Unfortunately it has been my experience that trying to explain the error of the ways of the puzzle-setter is tantamount to asking for a fight, so I just tried various permutations until I got the green light from the geo-checker until my nerves could stand no more.
I ran round the garden with the lawn mower, then rescued a bee. The poor thing had fallen into some water in one of the buckets in the garden. Using a spoon I fished it out, then offered it some sugary water (that’s what all the books say to do). It slurped the sugary water, then flew off. I saw that as a minor result.
er indoors TM” and I then took the dogs out for a little walk. Usually we’d go on a geocaching extravaganza at the weekend, but the chief dog-wrangler had other things to do today.
We didn’t go very far, and I didn’t take any photos today. We just walked through some woods and along some lanes, and then came home where we washed the mud and stagnant pond water off of the dogs. And with dogs walked our phoned beeped. Charlotte (chief dog wrangler)’s “other things to do” today had been a karate grading, and she’d passed. She’s now got a black belt at karate. I’m rather impressed at that.
We had croissants and coffee, then I made a start on my next water feature. Not much of a start but I got the timber painted. You’d be surprised how long it takes to get timber painted; especially when dogs are trying to “help” by sitting on whatever it is you are trying to use.
er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Ade in Britain” in which Adrian Edmondson was in Cheshire making cheese and making jam and charming worms. If anyone else was presenting the show it would be dire in the extreme, but he somehow brings it to life.
Whilst er indoors TM” tuned into a Zoom meeting, I had a little look at my new Wherigo project. It is pretty much ready to go… but for it to go live, other geocaches have to go. There are those who peruse the geo-map, see the old ones go, and then go out looking for the new ones to claim the First to Find before they are published. You would be amazed at just how much offence such a seemingly insignificant thing like that has caused in the past. Whilst it is (arguably) within the strict interpretation of the rules, it certainly isn’t within the spirit of the rules. I shall hold off on removing the old geocaches until the last minute, and once the new ones are in place I shall visit them until publication. If there is any shenanigans I shall blow what is a rather trivial matter out of all proportion on the geocaching websites. Probably...
7 June 2021 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
Finding myself wide awake far earlier than I needed to be I kicked er indoors TM” out of bed and we drove the dogs down to Orlestone Woods. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the birth of Prince Harry’s daughter Lilibet. A very interesting choice of name from someone who supposedly doesn’t want to be a Royal any more. It is amazing how far that Prince Harry has fallen. From “national hero” to “bit of a twit” in such a short time. I blame his new wife who clearly knows all about how she thinks celebrities should behave, but knows nothing at all about being Royal.
It was then announced “over to (whoever) with the sport” and it was only as I parked the car that I realised I’d stopped listening to the radio some time ago.
We had a good walk round the woods. The mud that was there last week had dried out. The stinging nettles were five feet high, but they weren’t bothering us. We walked our usual circuit and (apart from the obligatory odd loner in the car park) we only saw one other person. We exchanged pleasantries with the little old lady with the Jack Russel and the poodle. I would say it was a good walk, but having wallowed in a stagnant swamp, Treacle then mired herself in fox poo.
We came home where it didn’t take *that* long to wash her off.
Usually on a morning before the night shift I would fiddle about in the garden mowing the lawn and pulling weeds and generally pootling, but I did most of that yesterday. Instead I went straight to writing up the CPD. Dull, but a necessary evil.
I then spent a little while looking at the geo map planning possible future walks and playing Candy Crush Saga, and with er indoors TM” going off for her second COVID jab I went to bed for the afternoon.
er indoors TM” is currently cooking pie and chips, then I am off to the night shift. I don’t mind night shifts (he said!) but I do feel I waste a day sitting round waiting to go to work…
8 June 2021 (Tuesday) - Tired and Hot
A little while ago I stashed some cheese & onion crisps in my locker at work in case I got hungry at any stage. Last night at three o’clock I was a tad peckish so I scoffed them. They tasted awful, and as I threw the bag away I saw that they were billed as “best before November 2020”. I’ve had a stomach ache that has lasted all day…
Last night’s night shift reminded me of exactly what time of year it is. In years gone by we would take cubs camping in late May, and would go camping in early June. Scorching hot days; bitterly cold nights.
I was glad when the early shift rolled in. Mind you, what’s in a name? An early shift is definitely “early” when you are starting before eight o’clock in the morning. However having been at work for eleven hours, eight o’clock in the morning seemed rather late to me.
As I got into my car the pundits on the radio were having a rather impressive argument. It would seem that all sorts of respected organisations (including University College London, Channel 4, the Equality Commission, the university of Winchester to name four) are leaving Stonewall’s Diversity Champions program. Are they? So it was claimed. Why? I have absolutely no idea. I *think* it was something to so with trans rights (?)
There was some chap called Ben Cohen being interviewed about the matter. I don’t know who he is, but he was having something of a rant. He utterly failed to justify whatever position he was trying to take (I have no idea what he was trying to say) as he rather rudely told the interviewer that white middle-aged men (like him and me!) have to respect the position of minorities, and implied that somehow we are fundamentally unable to do so because we don’t claim to be part of any minority. I don’t pretend to understand anything about the whole “trans” thing. Perhaps I’m showing my age. But given the chance to educate me, yet again I was just aggressively told “you don’t understand!!”
I turned off the radio and sang along to rude songs from my Ivor Biggun CDs for the rest of my journey home.
Once home I went to bed. Pogo came up and slept with me. More and more since Fudge has gone, Pogo is seeming to be becoming “my dog”.
After four hours it was too hot to sleep. I got up and tuned into Facebook where the Facebook Feds had sent me a message. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that on Saturday I got an invite to a live-action Snapchat nudey prod fest extravaganza. Despite my having reported it, the advert for wanton pornography is still active on Facebook, and the Facebook Feds had sent me a message telling me that that they “only take down content that goes against our standards. We review and update our standards regularly, with the help of experts”.
Clearly their experts are morally lax…
I spent the afternoon doing ironing and watching episodes of “Four In A Bed”, then walked Pogo and Treacle round the co-op field. Ideally I would have liked to have done a bit more of a walk, but it was far too hot.
This ongoing heatwave doesn’t bode well for a few days off work…
9 June 2021 (Wednesday) - Start Of My Holiday
Usually having done a night shift makes for a good night’s sleep, but I was up for the loo at two o’clock, and was taking Sid out at five o’clock.
I finally got up shortly after eight o’clock, did another COVID test (my fiftieth negative one) and then peered into the Internet. Regular readers of this drivel may recall my message from the Facebook Feds yesterday who had found nothing wrong with my having been given invites to mucky Snapchat groups. I contested their decision yesterday, and this morning they told me they had reviewed their decision and that I was right. Inviting random strangers to “do the dirty deed” *is* morally lax. I’ve found that the Facebook Feds generally ignore the first complaints, but actually do act on the second one.
I was about to take Pogo and Treacle out, but little Sid was watching me intently. He really was asking for a walk, so I took him first. We don’t go very far, and we certainly don’t go very fast, but he does love his little bimble up to Dan-Dan’s and back.
Once back I then did a dog-swap and took Pogo and Treacle out. Singing along to one of my Ivor Biggun CDs I drove the dogs out to Godinton where a geocache of mine had gone missing. I replaced it, and we had a little wander. As we walked so Pogo started barking at a dog coming toward us. Seeing that this dog was the size of a large cart-horse I put both dogs on their leads and made them sit as the dog walked past. Unfortunately this dog was being supervised by a half-wit who made a point of bringing his dog nose-to-nose with Pogo, and who acted surprised when Pogo reacted. As I explained to the half-wit, I don’t doubt his dog is fine, However Treacle can be nervous at the best of times, and seeing how large his dog was, my two were terrified. This really did come as a revelation to the half-wit (bless him) who was so confident about how well-behaved his dog was that he had never considered how other dogs might feel.
We came home, and I then got on with a little project I’ve been planning for a month or so. During the first May Bank Holiday I took apart the water feature that had been in an old whisky barrel. The whisky barrel was on the poggered side and needed replacing. Last week I bought all the ingredients for the barrel’s replacement, and today I put them all together.
I started off by sawing two planks into eight shorter planks and screwed them all together. I then cut the chicken wire and metal grille into shape (to support the stones), then sawed another plank into four small planks (for the top deck), then put that lot all together. Pausing only briefly for the blood flow to stop (saws are dangerous things!) I then got out “My Boy TM”’s tile cutter. It didn’t so much “cut” the tile (for the waterfall) as “snap” it, but I managed to hide the dodgy edge. A quick coat of paint, then I scraped the shingle out of the way, got it all into place, washed the stones, put it all together and I was quite pleased with the result.
I took a few photos as I worked. It only took me about six hours. I suspect that I could have done it far quicker if I knew what I was doing, but I had fun doing it. And I’ve (sort of) got the unique water feature that I wanted rather than some generic thing that everyone else has bought from the garden centre.
I can remember being at secondary school when my mates at the secondary modern school were taught carpentry and all sorts of other useful stuff. I wasn’t. I was taught Latin. At the time I asked our form master why we didn’t learn carpentry and handycrafts and other useful stuff… he said that as a grammar school alumnus I wouldn’t be expected to get my hands dirty; the expectation was that I would pay people to do that sort of thing for me. That never came off, did it? But if you’ve got a dead Roman with whom you’d like a conversation, I’m your man.
Once this pandemic is but a memory I’d like to do some adult education classes in carpentry. I enjoy doing it but I can’t help but think that I might be so much better at it if I didn’t just make it up as I went along.
And talking of adult education, er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and having given me orders to keep my trap shut she tuned into an adult education Zoom class. She’s being taught how to make floral wreaths by some woman with a rather irritating squawky voice. Matters aren’t helped by er indoors TM” having obtained rather short sticks (which are supposedly a fundamental part of the wreath). I’d take the line that size is no guarantee of quality, and I’d be more concerned that Treacle has chewed (and still is chewing) pretty much every plant-related thing that is supposed to be going into the floral wreaths. But having been given orders to keep my trap shut, I’m not saying a word…
10 June 2021 (Thursday) - Some Rants
Yesterday evening my lap-top told me it wanted to update its LiveSafe Vulnerability Scanner. I told it that if that is what floats its boat then it should pursue its dreams. When I went to bed it had got half-way to updating itself. However when I got up this morning it had got no further at all. I told it that it had had its chance and blown it nd stopped the attempt at updating. It can try again later.
As I peered into the Internet this morning I rolled my eyes at the “Ashford Kent Read All About It” Facebook page. It is a strange place in cyber-space in which residents of Ashford band together to say how bad the place is despite hardly any of them having visited (let alone lived) anywhere else. Someone was griping on about how unpleasant a view you get when coming out of the train station. I always thought it looked fine; certainly better then the view on leaving Folkestone or Hastings stations? And someone else was whining that their daughter had been mocked by a gaggle of children in the park. Doesn’t that entirely sum up today’s society. If someone rips the piss you go tell your mum who whinges on Facebook. When I was a lad if other kids picked on me in the park I’d slap them in the chops, and they didn’t pick on me again.
I was also presented with an advert for a course which would supposedly teach me to speak Welsh In a week. I live in Kent – what relevance is this to me? I went to Wales a few years back. On a week’s holiday I only once heard Welsh being spoken. Some old chap said something or other to which a small girl immediately replied “Please don’t talk in Welsh Granddad, no one understands it.”
I got Pogo and Treacle onto their leads and we went out. As I drove there was an interesting discussion on the radio. Some bloke who was once a woman (or was it the other way round?) was furious that someone else had declared that the whole “trans thing” offended their sensibilities. This someone had been sacked two years ago for claiming that people cannot change biological sex and was going to an industrial tribunal this morning to contest the sacking. The tribunal eventually ruled that the dismissal had been wrong. It took pains to say that the ruling had no bearing on trans rights at all, but both sides are claiming it as both a victory and a defeat.
I don’t really understand the whole “trans thing” but I do feel it is being forced onto me (via the morning radio) quite a bit at the moment. However I will make the observation that the trans community don’t seem to realise that it is human nature to want to fit in to a crowd (hence the appeal of being a football fan), and it is human nature to be wary of anyone who is different in any way. I’m not saying that it is right or wrong, but it is what people do.
Take myself for example – when (a few months ago) I was suddenly presented with a very attractive young lady who only a few short months ago was a rather spotty young lad. At the time my brain actually froze and I was (quite literally) speechless. If that was wrong of me, then I can only apologise.
We got to Hemsted Forest and had a good walk. Some time ago one of my geocaches out there had been chewed by a mouse. I replaced it today, and took a rather circuitous walk back to the car park
Once home I then spent three hours tidying the shed. I say “tidying”; I pulled all the stuff out of the shed, earmarked some of it for a tip run, and then put the rest back in again. I suppose the shed is tidier in that I can actually get into it now.
I then spent ten minutes repairing the wooden boxes that lurk outside the back door – over t he last few years the bottoms had got rather soggy and needed replacing.
er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed with a half-way decent bottle of red wine whilst watching “Bake Off – The Professionals” and “The Great British Sewing Bee”. I was once a professional chef (in 1981!) and I’m not too shabby with a needle and thread. Not quite telly standard at either, but enough that I can pontificate knowledgeably at the prowess of people far better than me (in both shows).
And in closing today I’m having something of a sulk. The original plan for today had been to fly out to Gran Canaria for a family holiday. This was in lieu of last year’s family holiday which got cancelled, and this year’s holiday has also been cancelled. Hopefully all should be good for next year’s holiday… Will it? Time will tell – it always does.
11 June 2021 (Friday) - Rather Busy
Finding myself wide awake at far too early I couldn’t get back to sleep what with the bin men “quietly” moving the bins about. Bearing in mind how hot the days have been lately I thought I might make an early start. As I got dressed so Pogo and Treacle (and er indoors TM”) snored. Was I going to walk on my own? I rattled the dog leads and both Treacle and Pogo came running.
We walked down the road to the car… Literally down the road. The bin men had moved all the recycling bins to where they would be ideally positioned for the bin lorry which was following them (an hour or so later), but bins ideally positioned for the bin men made the pavements impassable.
Singing along to rude songs on my Ivor Biggun CD we drove up to an empty car park at Kings Wood, and started our walk at quarter to six. I had received reports of three of my geocaches needing attention, and so getting them sorted was the plan for the morning. As is always the case, the ones that need attention were the ones furthest from the road. Two of the ones that needed seeing to today were just under two miles (as the crow flies) from the car park, and the third was a mile away from them in a different direction.
Usually Kings Wood is a lovely place for a walk; today it wasn’t really. The bits through the trees were pretty, but the thick fog had reduced the visibility in the open bits to twenty yards at best. Walking several miles with only being able to see twenty yards was rather dull.
As we walked so the dogs chased squirrels and were most indignant when the squirrels went up trees. They also chased pheasants and again weren’t happy when the pheasants went in a direction they could not follow; up. We could hear deer crashing about in the undergrowth. Treacle wasn’t fussed about them but Pogo growled at the sounds. As we rounded a corner three quarter round our walk we found ourselves twenty yards from a deer. It looked at us and we looked at it. Both dogs growled uncertainly; they weren’t at all sure what to make of it.
We got back to the car after an hour and three quarters having not met another soul. It made for a good walk for this morning, but I have dogs that need a walk. However I couldn’t help but wonder if it really would have caused a fellow hunter of Tupperware physical pain to have replaced the missing caches. According to the rules, cache maintenance is up to the person who hid the thing. But when you log “it ain’t there” knowing full well that the one that ain’t there is the furthest one from where you can park a car, you are asking someone else to give up hours to sort out what you could sort out in seconds.
We got home just before eight o’clock just as er indoors TM” was getting up. We’d walked five miles and wanted a rest. I had second brekkie and took Sid out for a bimble. He seemed to want to go, but he soon became breathless, and he is getting progressively more and more unsteady on his legs.
With bimble bimbled we came home and Sid got a bath. He’d become rather smelly, but he wasn’t al all keen on having a bath.
I then spent a few minutes scraping the weeds out of the cracks between the paving slabs in the front garden. A passer-by suggested I might pour salt water into the cracks to sort out the weeds. I need to do something, that’s for sure.
I then mowed the lawn. It’s a simple enough job *if* I do it regularly.
er indoors TM” went off for some work thing, and I watched seven of the eight episodes of the second season of “Love Death and Robots”. er indoors TM” returned and we then gave Sid a second bath and washed his bed as he’d had a little (big) accident.
I then went shopping. To Aldi where I got some bottles for the weekend. They do have a decent ale selection, but they also have women with faces like smacked arses on the tills. You certainly don’t feel they want you to come back. From there I went to Matalan. Their trousers came in a range of shapes. “Regular”, “Slim”, “Skinny” and “Super Skinny”. As luck would have it, some spotty oik with a “manager” badge wandered past and I gave him some stick. Keeping a straight face I told him that this sizing criteria was discriminating against the more rotund gentleman. As he blustered a rather pathetic apology I told him that the next time I visited I expected to see the range expanded to include “Fat Bastard”. He smiled nervously.
I then field tested my latest Wherigo project, and with successful field testing done, I put out the caches for the project, came home and did the geo-admin.
We had fish and chips whilst watching the last episode of “Taskmaster” and then I fell asleep in front of the telly. Today has been rather busy…
12 June 2021 (Saturday) - Goodbye Sid
For various reasons “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” hasn’t been able to have her dogs with her for a while, and we’ve been looking after them.
I found myself laying awake listening for Sid this morning. Yesterday he had taken a serious turn for the worse. He’s been as deaf as a post for ages, been incredibly unsteady on his legs for some time now and had pretty much no control over his poops for months. He’s been struggling to get up (without help) more and more recently.
Yesterday his bladder control went, and he had been peeing blood too. This morning he was still laying on the puppy pad we’d settled him on last night, and it was rather sodden in blood-stained pee. I helped him up and helped him outside, but he was leaking blood-stained pee as he went.
I made a few phone calls.
I drove down to Folkestone to collect “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, and we spent the morning sitting with Sid waiting for the vet from the dog crematorium to arrive. She agreed that his time had come and she did what vets from the dog crematorium do.
We shall miss Sid. He was quite the character. I first met him on Tuesday 27 September 2011.Wanting to feed him, “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had found a tube of dog meat in my fridge. She didn’t realise that the stuff was six weeks past its best and that I was saving it to use as fishing bait, and consequently Sid ingratiated himself into the family by dire-rear-ing all over the lino.
Unlike other family dogs Sid didn’t like water; Sid couldn’t swim. Amazingly he was heavier than water and on two occasions I actually watched him sink when he fell into ponds. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” pulled him out of our garden pond, and I can remember pulling him from the depths of Singleton Lake when he was two feet deep and slowly going down. Mind you he liked the beach (keeping away from the sea) where he would eat sand if left unsupervised.
He would come on walks with family and friends, but when he was tired he would stop. He would stop dead and refuse to walk another step. On several occasions we ended walks carrying Sid as he simply would not go any further. He was quite a heavy lump to carry about.
Sid was an accomplished camper and came along on family camps and to kite festivals where he made the most of the holidays – on one occasion when some key lime pie was dropped he spent over an hour licking a patch of grass.
He used to come tunnel-ratting back in the day (when we used to explore the various tunnels in the chalk cliffs near Dover); when our attention was on clambering in and out of where we weren’t supposed to be, so Sid would take the opportunity to eat the poo of whatever animals had been nearby recently.
He *hated* having his paws touched which was a problem as his claws grew so fast. I would take him to the groomer for claw clipping and listen in frank amazement at the horrific screams coming from such a small dog.
He had a stop-watch stomach; on the stroke of six o’clock he would go into the kitchen and start shouting for his dinner.
He even featured in two geocaches (much to the disgust of the most recent fruit of my loin)
He was never my dog. He was only ever having an extended holiday with us. I will miss him…
13 June 2021 (Sunday) - A Bimble Round Bobbing
Yesterday had been rather stressful, but I was still awake far too early. Towards their ends both Sid and Fudge had given up with the scrum of the bedroom, preferring a little more space and sleeping downstairs. I came downstairs to a very empty living room this morning.
I made toast, opened my third COVID-testing kit and did my fifty-first (negative) COVID test. The website on which I register the test results told me I had an eighty-eight per cent reporting performance even though I’ve done a test every four days (without fail) ever since I was first required to do one. How does that work?
As I scoffed the toast I watched the last episode of “Love, Death and Robots”. Have you watched any of these shows? They are worth the Netflix subscription themselves.
I then peered into the Internet. Over a hundred people had reacted to the photos of Sid I’d posted to Facebook last night. Once I’d stopped blubbing I had a look at the rest of Facebook. I sent out birthday wishes to a family friend, and then rolled my eyes when I saw that the LGBTQ community were making their presence felt on the Facebook “Upstairs Downstairs” page. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not bashing the LGBTQ community; just utterly amazed that they felt any need to say anything when nothing needed to be said.
And then I had a flurry of emails. The Wherigo series that I put out on Friday had been published. Or (to be precise) they’d been published on geocaching dot com. In order for that to happen they’d actually been published on Wherigo dot com late on Friday afternoon, and a couple of people had realised that.
Despite a hot day forecast we got ourselves and the dogs organised and set off to Sittingbourne. Karl and Tracey had planned to do a little geo-maintenance on one of their series of caches today. Since they knew were all of the geocaches were on their series (or knew where they were supposed to be!), the idea was that this shouldn’t take as long as usual and make for a shorter walk on a hot day.
We soon got to Sittingboune, parked on their driveway, and six of us (and two dogs) set off. Today was rather hot, but we’d put the dog’s cooling bandannas into the freezer before we left home, and (together with two litres of iced water) they kept the pups cool. Mind you the hounds did find some cooling mud on the way.
We met a busybody landowner who was insistent that he told us where the footpath went (even though we could clearly see the way). Like many landowners, this chap didn’t want us using a public right of way.
We walked through a solar farm where a remote-controlled drone seemed rather interested in watching what we were doing.
We saw a buzzard and a heron and some oak-apples, and I got to climb a tree.
The iced water (for the dogs) just about held out, and we were soon in the back garden having refreshing bottles of beer and cider. My first bottle got me five badges on the Untappd app, but none of the others got me anything. After a while the sun had moved round and we spent an entertaining few minutes arranging a sunshade. I say “we”; the ladies did all the work; I sat and offered sage advice (that was very helpful of me, wasn’t it?)
We had rather good pizza followed by rather good gateau, and as the afternoon wore on and the heat subsided so the birds and the squirrels were all over the feeders. We saw sparrows and coal tits. I *think* there were greenfinches, and the bees were all over the foxgloves, but it all became rather vague when the port came out....
I took a few photos as we walked, and as we sat. Today was a rather good day. Must do it again…
14 June 2021 (Monday) - A Rather Hot Day
I slept like a log last night. Bearing in mind the stress of Saturday and the amount of ale I sank yesterday, that wasn’t really a surprise.
I got up, and wrote yesterday’s blog, posted up photos to Facebook, and did all the geo-admin for yesterday’s walk as I scoffed toast. That only took an hour or so. As I started so I saw two new geocaches had gone live at twelve minutes past seven. A little later I looked at the descriptions of these new caches. One had been found thirty-five minutes after publication. Bearing in mind that cache was a twenty-minute drive away (when the roads aren’t heaving with the morning rush hour), someone had clearly sprinted out like a scalded cat desperate to get that First to Find. And having got that First to Find had then flown off (obviously at breakneck speed) to claim another First To Find only thirteen minutes later at a church which was a ten-minute drive away.
I had another iffy friend request on Facebook this morning. “Bella Reekado” (who has a rather impressive chest barely restrained by a rather saucy bra) wanted to my pal. Mind you, unlike the average porn-monger, she wasn’t pushing any dodgy websites. Just some saucy undercrackers and a friend request. I wasn’t having any of it though. If I don’t take a moral stance, who will?
Just as I was pondering what to do with myself today so my phone rang. It was “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” who had just been told that Sid’s ashes were ready for collection. It took two weeks to get my Fudge’s ashes back. Sid’s were ready in less than two days.
er indoors TM” and I got the dogs into the car and drove out to collect Sid’s remains. Much as the vets were excellent with my Fudge, having had two dogs put to rest recently it has to be said that Cherry Tree Gentle Farewells is the way to go when the time comes. With Sid’s casket collected we took it down to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” who was rather surprised at just how small it was.
Leaving her working we came home via some woods that we’d found. It was getting warm, but if the dogs weren’t walked they would just become unmanageable. We found some woods on our way home and walked for about fifteen minutes. I offered them fresh water as we went. They didn’t want fresh water, but yummed up manky stagnant puddle water.
We came home, scoffed the last of yesterday’s pizza, then (despite the heat) I loaded up my car with all the tat I’d mucked out of the shed last week. It didn’t take long, but I was worn out at the end of it. As er indoors TM” set about tidying up the bedroom I pulled the curtains (to keep the heat out) and settled down in front of the telly for an afternoon of “Four In A Bed”.
With telly finished, er indoors TM” went shopping. I stayed home for my Amazon delivery. I plan to disguise the fish pond’s filter later this week. I ordered the camouflage netting on Saturday on the “click to get it by 10pm”. It arrived at six o’clock this evening; some forty-four hours late. Mind you it is rare that I’ve ever had an issue with Amazon so I shouldn’t grumble (too much). A friend of mine is currently complaining over on Facebook that her Amazon parcel has just been chucked over her garden wall into her fish pond.
er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the last episode of “SAS: Who Dares Wins”. I like watching the show but I certainly wouldn’t want to take part in it.
I hope it cools down tomorrow…
15 June 2021 (Tuesday) - Disguising A Filter
It was a rather warm night last night – I didn’t sleep that well. Being wide awake far too early (as usual) I got up and over brekkie peered into the Internet. It was much the same as ever. Despite the Prime Minister having extended the final phase of lock-down last night, there seemed to be more interest on-line in Jodie Whittaker not appearing on the cover of next year’s “Doctor Who” annual. There was speculation that this was because she is leaving the series. I’m wondering if this is because she was even worse in the role that the one they wheeled on in the late 1980s deliberately to kill the program off.
I sparked up Magic Map to see if the woods we found yesterday would be acceptable to the geo-feds for cache hides. I got rather confused with Magic Map, and eventually asked Gordon for help. He understands the Magic Map where I don’t. It didn’t take him long to work out that where I had planned had scheduled monuments on it and so geocaches wouldn’t be allowed. Oh well…
I then drove my car (with its full load of rubbish) round to the tip. Ashford’s tip has this system where you have to book appointments to get shot of your rubbish. There was an entertaining five minutes as the chap in the car directly in front of me hadn’t booked an appointment, and he had the right arse as the tip staff told him to go home and book an appointment and escorted him out of the tip (with his car still full of rubbish).
I came home, and with er indoors TM” doing whatever it was that she was doing I went into the garden and made a start on today’s project. We’ve had our garden pond for fifteen years and we are on to our second pond filter. The filter does a wonderful job, but it looks awful. A great big green box just sitting above the pond, I had a plan to disguise it, and with the camouflage netting having arrived yesterday I made a start on boxing the filter. Stage One was to simply build a box around the filter. Despite breaking a drill bit, it didn’t take that long to build, and it took even less time to find out I’d made it too small. By the time I’d got the box to the right size er indoors TM” had finished doing whatever it was that she was doing, so we got the dogs together and set out on a little adventure.
Pausing only briefly to collect Rolo (“My Boy TM” was having his boiler serviced!) we drove the family wolf-pack down to Orlestone Woods. Knowing it would be warm we chose Orlestone because it has a lot of shade, and we took plenty of water for the dogs. Sadly nowadays we have a seriously diminished family wolf-pack, but we had a good walk. We only saw one other group as we wandered; a couple of old men who were brandishing some sort of large net about. Were they catching butterflies? Pogo had seen them and wasn’t at all fussed about them until Rolo went up to see what they were doing. Pogo then got very shouty; he is in no way top dog (that has always been Rolo for all that he is tiny) but Pogo does see himself as protector of the pack.
Fortunately (like dear Sid used to) Rolo hates water so he came home clean. However Pogo doesn’t mind a paddle, and Treacle is the archetypal swamp-monster. They both found plenty of ditches in which to wallow as we walked. So having taken Rolo to his home we came home to bath time.
As er indoors TM” scrubbed the stagnant mud out of Pogo and Treacle’s fur I went back to the garden and did Stage Two of disguising the fish-pond filter: I got the camouflage netting onto the box I’d made earlier. Within minutes of my hammering the netting into place so “not-so-nice-next-door” came into her garden and made a point of making a lot of noise as she watered her plants. Now (I have to wonder) who waters their plants at the hottest part of one of the hottest days of the year. Was she deliberately provoking the dogs (again)? She did go indoors at the dogs’ first bark.
I had this idea to neatly arrange the netting over the box, but it didn’t go on as neatly as I’d hoped. In the end I clouted in as many clout nails as I could and tied the rest of it into place. With the camo-box in place it just looked like a camouflaged fish pond filter rather than a plain fish pond filter. But after a little judicious rearranging of the rockery it didn’t look too bad. Will the camo-box survive? It has to be said that the thing was built with no expense spent. I made it out of wood left over from when we had the roof done and from the water feature I built last week, and put it together with whatever screws I’d found when I tidied the shed a few days ago.
I then spent a few minutes generally pootling in the garden. Cutting back the jungle that pours over the fence from “not-so-nice-next-door” (I have asked her to pull it all back!) and pulling weeds from shingle kept me occupied for a while.
With er indoors TM” Zoom-meeting her chums I turned on the telly and watched something I’d missed recently. The second episode of the new series of “Inside No 9” was rather good. I shall pretend that the series started with that episode, and that what had been billed as the first episode was something else entirely…
16 June 2021 (Wednesday) - Still Too Hot
Over brekkie I watched the third episode of the current series of “Inside No 9”. It was really good, thought-provoking, and I certainly didn’t see the twist at the end. Utterly unlike the first episode of the series which I suspect had many people turn off and not bother with the rest (which would have been such a shame).
Bearing in mind the weather forecast er indoors TM” and I took the dogs out early today. She wanted to hide some geocaches. I won’t say where and I didn’t post any piccies to Facebook as we walked. There really are those who stalk my movements in the desperate hope of getting a First to Find by seeing where I’ve been (can you believe it?!). We walked about two miles, we gave the dogs lots of water, but the heat was too much for them. Both stopped to lie down and refused to go any further until they’d had a rest (twice).
With walk walked I hung out a second load of washing, then had a little look-see in the lock-ups. I put up the event shelter and some tables (for later) and looked at our metal camping tables. When I say “looked at”, that is what I did. I looked at them. Over the years we have used them to destruction. I really need to put them all up and salvage maybe two useable tables out of the bits and throw the rest away. But I need a day which is not baking hot in which to do it. I then ran out the hose and set up a paddling pool for the dogs. They are funny things – they are straight into muddy ditches and stagnant ponds but show no interest whatsoever in clean water.
I straightened out the shingle by the pond (i.e. kicked it about to cover the weed-proof membranes) then sat and watched the pond fish for a bit. One of them looked to be swimming rather oddly. Is he sickening for something? As I stared at the fish so er indoors TM” came up with an iced caramel coffee. Very nice.
By mid-day the washing was dry, and it was too hot to be outside, so I set about the ironing whilst watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” as I do. As always those who were the most critical of others were the ones who were actually the poorest performers themselves.
As the afternoon cooled so I went into the garden and organised chairs and tables, and it wasn’t long before “My Boy TM” and Cheryl arrived so we could celebrate (if that is the right word) what would have been the last evening of our foreign holiday. We had a rather good evening sitting in the garden; having spent hours of effort on it over the last few months (and over seven hundred quid) it was good to enjoy it. er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with copious amounts of beer. Usually I’d be on the ale, but what with the heat of the day I had something of a "strange beer from the Polish shop" sort of evening.
We sat and scoffed and drank up until ten to
nine when the forecast rain arrived (ten minutes early). We got most
of the chairs and tables and stuff into the shed; the event shelter can be
put away tomorrow once it dries out.
17 June 2021 (Thursday) - On The Beach
Whilst tidying the bedroom recently er indoors TM” found an old stereo and put it in place where the old telly (that we never watched) used to be. Last night at the stroke of midnight the thing started playing “Vienna” by Ultravox. What with that and recurrent nightmares about recently deceased dogs I didn’t sleep very well.
I di my fifty-second COVID test (negative), made toast and peered into the Internet. There was a row kicking off on the Facebook “Garden Ponds UK” group. Some chap was claiming to have a “well established pond which had space for any fish needing re-homing due to pond closures”. Other people claimed he had a swimming pool he’d just set up and was looking for free fish to sell at a profit on behalf of an Essex-based aquatic company. But the row soon went beyond that which had provoked it and the name-calling was quite impressive.
And there was talk of John De Lancie appearing in Star Trek again next year. People were complaining loudly since he has visibly aged since his last appearance just over twenty years ago.
Some people really will argue about anything.
And talking about arguing about anything, those who had been grumbling about the excessive heat of the last few days were complaining about the heavy rain that had fallen overnight. That’s a really “British” thing to do, isn’t it? No matter what the weather, it is always a cause for complaint.
We got the dogs (and ourselves) together and set off to Hastings to visit Dad and give him his Father’s Day card and pressie. After we’d been driving for ten minutes we turned round and came home to pick up his Father’s Day card and pressie (which we had left behind). We got as far as Rye before having to stop for the dogs to poop, and the then stopped two miles further on in Winchelsea so that they could tiddle.
Dad was well. We stayed for a cuppa, but the dogs were rather fractious so we took them on to the beach at Pett Level. Were dogs allowed there? We had no idea so took pot luck and on seeing no “No Dogs” signs we carried on. We had an excellent walk. The tide was out, there was a sea breeze, and there was fog coming in from the sea. It was nowhere near as hot as it has been recently. The dogs had great fun on the beach and in the sea.
As we headed home I rather fancied a ploughman’s lunch so we took a rather scenic route up to Warehorne where I hoped that we might be able to get a table at the Woolpack for lunch. The place was rather busy, but they had tables free. er indoors TM” had fish and chips; I had a cheese ploughman’s lunch with a couple of pints of their ale followed by a crème brule. Very tasty.
I took a few photos whilst we were out. Once home we put away the event shelter and then bathed the dogs. Having got covered in sand and salt at the beach they had then got a good coating of mud from under the table in the pub garden.
I then dozed in front of the telly whist the forecast rain didn’t fall. We scoffed the left-overs from last night for a bit of tea – we weren’t hungry after the pub dinner. We watched Tuesday’s episode of “Bake Off; The Professionals”, and slobbed in front of the telly. I should have an early night – there is thunder forecast for three o’clock. I wonder if it will happen?
18 June 2021 (Friday) - Escape Room
“Vienna” by Ultravox again woke me at the stroke of midnight. I shall take the CD out of the stereo tonight. I slept marginally better last night than I did the night before, but only marginally.
Over brekkie I peered into the Internet and saw the row on the hunting Tupperware page was continuing. It seems to me there are two sorts of people who have geocaching accounts. There are those who actually go out and do the hobby (and whose geo-score is consequently high), and there are those who only occasionally do the hobby (often preferring to argue about it on-line instead, and whose geo-score is consequently low). Those with low scores always use the phrase “it’s all about the numbers” as some sort of insult directed at those with a higher geo-score. It isn’t an insult that works, though. If you are going to go on a geocaching walk twice a month, bearing in mind that most walks have at least twenty caches on them you would expect your geo-score to increase by about five hundred a year. The chap mouthing off last night has found two hundred in eighteen months, less than twenty this year, hidden none of his own, and (like most keyboard warriors) never actually been to a meet-up. This is so typical of Facebook groups. No matter what the hobby (baking cakes, building Lego, garden ponds, being a Monty Python fan, testing blood, having dogs, peering through telescopes at space, going fishing…) there are those who haven’t actually done the hobby for months (if not years) but who just want an argument.
I did have some encouraging geo-emails this morning though. A couple of people had driven a hundred miles to Ashford yesterday to play some of my Wherigos. They said very nice things about them and gave out loads of Favourite Points. That’s what hunting Tupperware should be – having fun and not looking to make a squabble where there needn’t be one.
I then braved the weather and drove my car over to the garage for its service. I say “braved the weather”; there had been heavy rain when I’d got up but the rain had stopped. Usually I take the dogs with me to the garage and we walk back. I’d decided against that today because of the rain – the rain which had stopped. The BBC’s weather forecasting does leave much to be desired. A few weeks ago a group of us were sheltering from a downpour under a tree on the Romney Marsh when the BBC’s weather app said there was only a nine per cent chance of rain. When er indoors TM” picked me up from the garage we had no rain at all despite the BBC feeling there was an eighty per cent chance of the stuff.
Ignoring the alleged eighty per cent chance of rain we took the dogs for a little walk. We took the path up to Little Burton and came home via the vets (for dog weigh-ins). As we walked we met a blind Labrador. The dog was bounding about and sniffling about. Pogo and Treacle were both as good as gold with him; did they know he was blind, and were they making allowances? The nice lady with him said that the dog’s going blind was a genetic thing, and this made me think. Would I cope with a blind dog? I suppose so. He seemed to be enjoying himself. Much like poor little Sid was making the most of it right up until he couldn’t any more.
We were out for two and a half hours, walked nearly six miles and didn’t see a spot of rain.
Mind you I say “walked nearly six miles”; I got that from my Google Timeline. Have you ever looked at your Google Timeline? Call up Google Maps and click on “Your Timeline” from the drop-down menu. It has got a fairly good record of my movements since May 17 2014. I wonder why that day? – There is nothing on my diary to suggest why. But it isn’t perfect. It lists home as my most visited place in that time (which I suppose it is). However work comes in at both second and fourth place, and where I used to work come in at fifth and seventh place. How does that work? It lists Wye Downs as my eighth most visited place, and that *certainly* can’t be right. How can it seriously think I’ve been there more times than I’ve been to Orlestone Woods (which only managed thirteenth place behind Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s). However whilst it isn’t entirely one hundred per cent, I will certainly leave my phone at home should I ever decide I’m going to leave the house to murder someone.
Flushed with enthusiasm sparked by two people having travelled a hundred miles to play my Wherigos I then spent a little while thinking about another Wherigo series. I have an idea and a location.
“My Boy TM” then pulled up outside and (despite the traffic) we all drove out to Canterbury where we spent an hour inside the old jail. Quite literally inside the jail trying to get out. I’d never done an Escape Room before; it was being in an hour-long episode of “The Crystal Maze”. It was a shame we didn’t get out in the time allotted, but we had almost solved the puzzles.
From there we drove back to Ashford and went up to “Cinnamon Spice” for a bit of dinner. Perhaps my finishing off everyone else’s dinner was something of a mistake. I feel somewhat stuffed now…
19 June 2021 (Saturday) - This n That
That infernal stereo started up again at the stroke of midnight. And then an hour later the football thugs staggering home screaming about “Ing-Ur-Lund” set the dogs off. Add to that several curry-induced trips to the loo; I didn’t have the best night’s sleep.
I made brekkie and peered at my lap-top. The thing has decided to give me a short cut to Microsoft’s local weather forecast. The prediction was “cloudy with a sixty-seven per cent chance of rain”. On other weather forecasts the prediction will be “raining with a forty per cent chance of rain”. Go figure.
The rows on Facebook weren’t that bad today. Today people seemed to be in a “selling things” sort of mood. Diet shakes were being rather aggressively forced at me today, but I did laugh at the advert being brandished. The advert mentioned “long country walks” and “results may vary”. Well, I’ve been doing long country walks for years and that’s achieved pretty much nothing in the way of weight loss. These massively overpriced shakes might work for some people; for me the only way to achieve weight loss is to be constantly hungry. But people fall for these adverts. Take a photos of a chubby young lady, then take another photo of her wearing clothes six sizes larger and everyone thinks that she’s lost weight.
And someone else was offering to clean your shoes for you… with a range of cleanings starting from twenty quid!!! Isn’t this a sign of our times in that despite so many people being in such hardships, people would still rather pay someone else to polish their shoes?
I did see a photo that made me remember old times though. Someone had posted a photo of Guestling Green on the “Hastings and Area, Past and Present” Facebook page. On that photo you could clearly see a pub. “The Hope” was somewhere I used to visit occasionally in the mid to late 1980s purely to see the landlord. The most unwelcoming, miserable and bitter person you ever did see. As you walked through the door he would rudely snarl “Are you eighteen?” and when you gave your age (at the time it was mid to late twenties) he would look at you in open disbelief. He would always engage the customers in conversation, and no matter what their opinion he would rudely dismiss it. I always thought that this was some odd novelty act, but people posting to the “Hastings and Area, Past and Present” Facebook page seemed to think that it was no act; the chap really was an incredibly bitter man who really wasn’t at all suited to the hospitality industry.
er indoors TM” gave me a lift to the garage to collect my car. It had been serviced yesterday. One or two things needed doing. I had some change out of seven hundred quid… but not much. I’ve always said that I will drive the car until it dies, but (nearly) seven hundred quid (!?) The nice man at the garage said that if it was his car he would see how it fares at the next MOT. Perhaps I might do that. Having had the car for thirteen years it has very rarely let me down. If I get rid of it and replace it I may well just be buying someone else’s trouble.
er indoors TM” and I got the leads onto the dogs and we took them for a little walk. I won’t say where since I was planning out a new series of Wherigo caches. I will say that the dogs got filthy in mud though, but the long grass we then went through was so wet that they came home absolutely pristine having had all the mud washed off of them. My boots got cleaned by the grass too; that saved twenty quid (!)
Once home I made a start planning my new Wheri-series. Having got it pretty much all done during the afternoon (whilst it rained) I can’t help but wonder if I am happy with the location, but with a Wherigo the actual location is pretty much a piddling detail.
er indoors TM” then took Pogo to Folkestone. For all that he has been with us for months (if not years) he is “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”’s dog and she wanted him back (if only for a few days holiday). I can’t really say no, but I’m not at all happy with this. We’ve gone from four dogs down to one in a very short space of time, and poor Treacle doesn’t understand it at all.
The house seems incredibly empty right now…
20 July 2021 (Sunday) - End Of The Holiday
I slept till nine o’clock this morning, and got up to an incredibly empty house. I’ve always said that we had far too many dogs, but we’ve only got one now. Pogo will be back in a few days but we’re missing him. It didn’t help when I turned on Facebook and was immediately presented with a memory – a video of Fudge playing in the river.
I then had a little think about my geocaching Community Celebration Event. As lockdown eases, several people (me included) have been given the opportunity to run a geocaching Community Celebration Event. This is supposed to be something special. Not just a “turn up, smile and go home” (like many geo-meets) but a proper “event”. I had an idea for a pub quiz, but that gets costly for those who support the pub, and I find it frankly embarrassing watching others make a glass of tap water last all afternoon. I had an idea for a hike, but the geo-feds said no to that in an email I received this morning. I’ve got one or two other plans, but I’m wondering if I can be bothered. The more I look into it, it seems that the idea is that I put on an epic extravaganza that lasts for (at least) two hours. However to claim the credit for attending all anyone needs to do is turn up, say “hello Dave” and then go home again. Quite a few people have said that no matter what is happening, turning up, saying “hello Dave” and then going home again is what they will do.
I phoned Dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day; we’d popped down with a pressie a couple of days ago. Like me, he doesn’t really go much on Father’s Day.
Bearing in mind how soaked we’d got yesterday we’d decided not to go on a major walk today, and so I found myself at something of a loose end for much of the day today. I was that bored that I got the old camping tables out of the lock-ups and gave them a once-over. Two are OK; two are salvageable. I just need several yards of elastic to fix them.
After a spot of lunch I put the finishing touches to my current Wheri-project whilst all the time peering out of the window. It wasn’t *that* bad outside. Maybe we could have gone out somewhere?
After a couple of hours checking and re-checking I think the Wherigo is all but finished. All I need now is an email of permission (or not) from the landowner and then I can see what the geo-feds have to say about it.
With the ran seeming to have completely given up on the idea of falling we took Treacle out for a short walk. We drove out to Wye from where we walked a cross-country route up to the farm shop and back again. I found a geocache on the way; er indoors TM” found two. Treacle found (and got) a rabbit.
I wish she hadn’t.
Mind you I think that rabbit must have been a sick one. When Pogo caught a rabbit last year it was after a prolonged chase, and he only managed to snag it when the rabbit ran head-first into a tree and knocked itself senseless. There was no major chase involved today; suddenly Treacle just had a rabbit in her mouth.
Getting the dead rabbit from her took some doing. Her recall was always the worst of all the dogs. I often felt she only came back to us because Fudge or Pogo had come back. If Pogo is going to have holidays with his mummy as a regular thing, Treacle will be on the lead a whole lot more.
We came home. Treacle had a bath, and I sat and listened to not-so-nice-next-door clanging on her piano. I say “clanging on her piano”; to be fair to her she’s not that bad really. She’s far better than I ever was when I took piano lessons some twenty-five years ago. But she’s nowhere near as good as you would think someone would be having practiced for two hours a day, every day, for the last twenty years.
And that’s my little holiday over and done with. It hasn’t been a bad break I suppose… it was a shame that over this last two weeks the weather has been (mostly) either *far* too hot or pouring hard, and for much of the time when the weather wasn’t against me I was crying about dead dogs. But there it is..
I’m back to work tomorrow. I am looking forward to it (I really am!) In years gone by I would be walking in to a guilt trip from the boss saying how much hard work it had been when I’d been on leave, whilst at the same time making it abundantly clear that he didn’t think I could be trusted to actually do the job unsupervised.
There is talk of where I used to work being merged with where I now work… If that happens I am *not* going to take the crap I took from their management (for many years). Perhaps I might retire if that happened?
21 July 2021 (Monday) - Back to Work
After something of a restless night I made toast, and as yet another negative COVID test cooked so I watched an episode of “Inside No 9“ before having a little look-see at the Internet.
Something that caught my eye was the “sexier than a squirrel” challenge being advertised on Facebook. It promised to have dogs stop pulling on their leads in just three weeks. I was up for that until I clicked the link and saw it was some American-based thing for which I only had to pay thirty quid (!) That can go whistle. Other than that there wasn’t anything else happening on Facebook. There was a new geocache sort-of on the way to work. I suppose I *could* have gone for the First to Find, but thought better of it.
I put on my new trousers and set off to work. I walked out to my car. Despite a ninety-four per cent chance of rain (according to the BBC) it was a dry morning. Clearly reality was in error.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about a report to be released by the US government some time soon which is supposed to address the issue of what UFOs actually are. The report is expected to be rather vague, as you might expect. Personally I can't see UFOs being down to aliens. I rather suspect UFOs are the work of the Russians and the Chinese deliberately winding up the Americans.
There was also a lot of talk over how the Royal Academy has banned the work of renowned artist Jess de Wahls over what was supposed to be "transphobic views". Ms de Wahls was interviewed on the radio this morning. She claimed her "transphobic views" was making the claim that once upon a time stating that there were two genders was a fact; nowadays that statement is a (rather questionable) opinion. Is she right or wrong? I'm not going to touch that one with a barge pole, but I will make the observation that when you add this incident to the removal of statues all across the country and the re-writing of history, you really have to ask what kind of totalitarian state we are finding ourselves in. Freedom of speech clearly has been thrown out of the window now that (so it seems) anyone can claim to be legitimately offended by anything at all.
I'm reminded of my landlady in the mid-1980s who belonged to what was seen to be a crackpot extremist fringe group. Everyone laughed at her and her mates, and whilst everyone laughed, she and her mates stood in various elections... Now they call the shots. No one laughs at environmental issues any more, do they?
People might complain about the rise of what is seen as a "woke agenda" but few (none) actually do anything to reverse the trend, do they?
I got to work - I did my bit. By then reality had seen the error of its ways by being at odds with the BBC's weather forecast this morning, and the rain was torrential for much of the day.
With my bit done I headed homewards. Having had reports of issues with the Wherigo I put out a week or so ago I went and had a little look-see, and having look-seen I came home and put up a Wherigo version 1.2. Let’s hope this solves the issue that several people have had… It is a shame that so many people have already downloaded that which is now out of date, but there it is.
I’m now going to spend half an hour in the loo reading the most recent copy of Viz…
22 June 2021 (Tuesday) - Stuff
As I scoffed my toast this morning I watched an episode of “Inside No 9” (which was particularly good) before sparking up the lap-top.
Having had an email from Geo-HQ last night confirming my concerns about the geocaching Community Celebration Event I asked on one of the local geocaching forums what people would do if I staged an event. Would they turn up and take part? Would they pop by in passing? Would they give it a miss? There were a few replies this morning. I think it is fair to say that those who always go to meet-ups would be there, and those that don’t wouldn’t, and there were a few who had no idea what I was asking. Whenever I look at that Facebook geocaching page it never fails to amaze me how there are quite a lot of people who spend an inordinate amount of time actually doing the hobby but seem to know relatively little about it. I was reminded of one young cub scout who wasn’t at all happy when I wouldn’t give him the “sportsman” badge (many years ago); despite going to rugby club every week he didn’t know how many people were on a team, how points were scored, how long a game was played for, or even the name of the rugby club he had been attending every week for the previous year.
With no arguments kicking off on-line, and with no emails worth the electricity to send them I turned off my lap-top and set off to work. Yesterday as I drove to work on a dry morning the pundits on the radio were talking about the rain. This morning as the windscreen wipers rattled at full pelt there was talk of a dry day everywhere with just possibly a spot of rain in Kent.
There was also a lot of talk about football - apparently there is some big football tournament going on at the moment (?) The ex-manager of the England football team Sven Goran Eriksson was wheeled on and he wittered on (for seemingly ages) without actually saying anything. This utter waste of air-time was then compounded by the "Thought for the Day" in which some vicar or other was blathering on about heart disease. It was very difficult to understand that this chap was saying because it sounded like he was shouting down a drain pipe. It rather brought back to mind the strange sounds made by my brother when he used to sing down the bath's plug hole some forty-odd years ago. I usually quite like listening to the radio on my drive to work; this morning was something of a disappointment.
I got to work and heard that a colleague has resigned. Having been off sick for some time, the chap isn't coming back. Which is probably for the best for him. Hospital work never suited him; he only ever had one topic of conversation which was how much he disliked the various shifts. What did he think the work pattern would be? It is a hospital - it never closes. I can only liken it to someone getting a job in a school then announcing they hate children, or getting a job on a dairy farm and then complaining about the smell.
Work was rather busy today; I felt all in when it was time to go home. er indoors TM” boiled up a particularly good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the last few episodes of “Intelligence” (which wasn’t bad) and an episode of “The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys” featuring a rather beautiful tour around Sri Lanka.
I wouldn’t mind going there for a holiday – there are so many beautiful places in the world where I have never been. er indoors TM” isn’t keen on Sri Lanka… if any of my loyal readers are up for it…
23 June 2021 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift
As I looked at Facebook this morning I saw that “we” both won and lost last night (?) After a couple of seconds on Google News I found out that the England football team won its match whist the Scottish football team lost. But friends were posting about the games in such a way that everyone supposedly knew what they were talking about. And to be fair, most people did.
I wish I understood the attraction of football. To me it is an incredibly simplistic game, and after watching it for five minutes you really have seen all that it has to offer. But so many people love it. I am clearly missing something.
Somewhere else that I am missing something is Brexit. Today marks five years since the decision was taken to implement it and despite still waiting to hear a single reason in favour of it that isn’t either racist or factually wrong, millions still insist it was the right thing to do. Having left the EU in large part because people didn’t want unelected bureaucrats giving out the orders (even though they weren’t), the UK has just announced it is going into some trade deal with Pacific counties… in which (so it would seem) unelected bureaucrats will be giving out the orders. However this is being brandished as some sort of triumph.
Again, clearly I am missing something here as well.
Sometimes I get fed up with being in the minority.
Treacle started squeaking at me so I took her for a walk. As we went down the road to the car so she tried to pick a fight with a dog on the other side of the road. With Pogo off on a little holiday it has become *so* clear that he has been taking the blame for her bad behaviour.
We drove to Orlestone Woods and walked round. Treacle carried a stick pretty much the entire way and wouldn’t put it down. I think it fair to say that refusing to drop the stick played a large part in one squirrel’s escape.
As we walked we met one other person. She asked about Pogo and Fudge, and that set me off.
Once home I gave the lawn a once-over. The heat of last week didn’t do it any favours, but it still looks better than it ever has.
I then spent a little while writing up CPD. All rather dull, but that CPD blog gets four hundred views each week. I can’t help but wonder who reads it… I write it because I’m obliged to keep myself up to date on professional matters, and this is as good a way as any to show I am doing so. It might (just possibly) get formally assessed one day. The thing is (deliberately) done anonymously… I wonder if anyone has ever blagged it and tried to pass it off as their own for their assessment?
I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. When I woke er indoors TM” had vanished. She was off to the cinema with Cheryl. But I woke to find Pogo on top of me – he had returned from his little holiday. I then sat in front of the telly for a couple of hours watching drivel on Netflix with a dog on either side.
I’m off to the night shift in a bit… I don’t *really* mind night shifts, but the day before them can be rather dull. As today was…
24 June 2021 (Thursday) - Bit Tired
The night shift wasn’t bad (as night shifts go). As I drove home the pundits on the radio were clucking about how Russian jets have been buzzing the British naval ship HMS Defender in the Black Sea. When you consider that HMS Defender is supposedly on its way to aggravate the Chinese, you have to wonder what it was doing in the Black Sea if not trying to provoke an argument. Two minutes looking at a map shows that the Black Sea isn’t on the way to China. It’s a bit like me popping in to the nearest pub when on the way to Tesco… which probably explains exactly why HMS Defender is in the Black Sea.
There was also a lot of talk about John McAfee who had been found dead in a Spanish prison. He was apparently awaiting extradition to America where he faced charges of tax evasion. I would have thought that someone who pioneered anti-virus software would have been quite “normal”, but apparently he believed all sorts of conspiracy theories. It was alleged that it was paranoia that fuelled his anti-virus research, and one chap being interviewed implied that Mr McAfee actually created quite a few computer viruses himself to give grounds for his paranoia. Did he? I don’t know, but they were queuing up to dish the dirt on the chap this morning.
I got home, and went to bed where I slept until mid-day. Over a rather late brekkie I saw I had an email from the local council. What did I think of my last trip to the tip? I suppose it was good of them to ask – I suggested they might do away with appointments and just let people get rid of their rubbish when they’ve got rubbish to get rid of, rather than having it kicking round in the way for a week or so (asking to be fly-tipped). And I also saw that the local council were asking (on their Facebook page) how they can make Ashford safer. I suggested getting rid of these silly l.e.d. street lights that haven’t delivered what was promised and don’t actually light the streets at all. I wonder if the council will take any notice of me. Somehow I doubt it.
I then took the dogs for a little walk up to the co-op field and back again. As we walked so Pogo tiddled every few steps. That set me off… that was Fudge’s influence. When Pogo first came to stay with us he would do one epic tiddle per walk. He learned from Fudge to spread it out and do a couple of drops, every couple of steps, for miles.
As we went up Christchurch Road there was an intense smell of gas. There was a British Gas van in attendance, but the two chaps (in British Gas tabards) both seemed for more intent on peering at their phones than they did on dealing with any leak.
We got to the co-op field, and had a good time. Some of the time Treacle ran with Pogo, some of the time she bimbled on her own. But she didn’t stay glued to my side like she did at the woods yesterday. She is so much more confident when Pogo is around.
I then spent a little while looking at the household accounts. Having accounted for every penny I spent last month I think it is fair to say I spent a lot of pennies. A car service costing twice as much as I had expected on top of dear little Sid’s final expenses had cost quite a bit more than I might have hoped to have spent. But there it is. I need a car to get to work, and Sid had been with the family for so long that I wasn’t going to skimp on him. And I’m not *that* skint really. After all, what is money for if not to squander foolishly?
I did the ironing whilst watching episodes of “Four In A Bed”. I do like that show, but I have to wonder if they decide in advance who is going to be the villain of the piece before they start. This afternoon we had some old biddy actively finding fault with absolutely everything she could. If someone had given her a million quid she would have complained that she wanted two million. And they don’t compare like with like in that show. In today’s show a B&B (in a country village) which I’ve driven past many times on the way to work was pitted against a hotel (charging over twice the price) on Brighton sea front.
er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with a rather good bottle of red wine (hic!) whilst watching this week’s episode of “Bake Off: The Professionals”. I could have been a top-class chef… (!)
25 June 2021 (Friday) - Awesome !!
I must have been tired last night - the bin men didn’t wake me s they came up the road ridiculously early. I got up rather later than I had hoped, made brekkie, and peered into a rather dull internet. There wasn’t a lot going on really. My fellow Ashfordians were running the town down on Facebook, but that is always the case. Those that have lived here (and nowhere else) all their lives are so quick to find fault with the place. Today’s fault? – the fault was entirely that of the local council. Apparently the local council should be forcing chain stores to be opening branches in the High Street. I didn’t think that was how the free market worked, but what do I know?
My cousin had posted an article about James Corden; a good actor, not so nice in reality. Celebrities can be like this. A friend of my mother once lived next door to Don “Lofty” Estelle who was far from the perfect neighbour. And I can remember my grandmother never having a good word for Charlie Chaplin who had been a family friend when he was young.
Seeing how the forecast rain hadn’t come we took the dogs down to Orlestone woods (where we found the forecast rain). But despite the heavy drizzle we walked round. With Pogo along, Treacle was far braver than she had been a couple of days ago. And despite the drizzle we saw far more people than we usually do in those woods. We met four other dog-walkers (which is unheard of down there), and as we were leaving so others were arriving.
Once home er indoors TM” got on with work; leaving me to wash the dogs. Future dogs (not that we are having any more!) will be white. That’s not in any way racist; that is practical. Not only do white dogs do better in the heat, but you can also see the dirt on a white dog. Neither Pogo nor Treacle looked grubby, but the bath was black by the time I had finished scrubbing them.
I rather wasted the morning playing Candy Crush Saga on Facebook and looking at frankly insoluble geo-puzzles. People who set geo-puzzles fall into two groups. On the one had there are those who want to give people a little brain teaser. On the other hand are those who want the personal satisfaction of knowing that people can’t solve the conundrum that they have created. I’ve set one of these. With nearly forty incorrect solutions, four correct solutions and only two people ever having found the cache I leave it active as an example of the stupidity of that sort of thing.
I drove to work singing along to an Ivor Biggun CD, had a quiet lunch scoffing my sandwich whilst reading Alexei Sayle's autobiography, and got on with the late shift. As I was up to my eyes in blood groups (as one becomes from time to time) I heard a cough. I looked up and saw pretty much all of my colleagues ranged around me smiling. And one of the bosses was brandishing a wrapped pressie. It turned out people had been talking about me recently - the general consensus was that what with losing Mum in February, losing Fudge in April, and Sid passing a couple of weeks ago I'd had something of a hard time recently. I had to agree with them. For all that I try to put on my smiley face and make the most of it, at the moment (in the words of the song) "it sucks to be me". My colleagues had clubbed together and got me the "Everyone is Awesome" Lego set.
Bearing in mind I've never been happier at work than I have been for these last four years, I felt that was rather appropriate.
26 June 2021 (Saturday) - A New Boss
I rolled my eyes when I turned on my lap-top this morning. Facebook was awash with those twee memes about “always being there for people who want a chat”. All sorts of people were posting them today. I didn’t join in. It was my experience that when I really needed someone for a chat, the very people I thought would be there for me weren’t, and people I barely knew stepped up. But then this is what social media is all about, isn’t it?
There was a bit of talk on my old school’s Facebook group wondering about old teachers. One had recently died (aged ninety-seven), and some of them are still going. My old school’s Facebook group is rather interesting if only for seeing what my contemporaries have done, and wondering what might have been. People with whom I went to school have ended up in all the corners of the world. Some are in Sweden, some in America, some in Australia, some in the Medway towns, one just down the road from me. Some have become millionaires, some are skint.
had a message via Facebook from Rita Kornegay who (so she claims) is a
single woman in UK who would like me to video chat with her and the lots of
beautiful women who are (apparently) waiting for me.
I also had an email from the nice people at Credit Karma. A few months ago (in a moment of boredom) I signed up with them, and the emails I they send me are frankly incomprehensible. They suggest that to improve my credit score I should ask the bank for a higher credit limit on my credit card. But when I used the card for major expenses (such as Fudge’s vet bills, car servicing and Sid’s funeral costs) my credit score went down?
I then spent some time trying to get ready for tomorrow’s planned geo-maintenance walk out at Great Chart. I printed off some paper logs and tried to cut them to size. “Tried” being the operative word. Scissors come in two types. “Cutting scissors” which actually cut that which you are trying to cut, and “chewing scissors” which cut nothing at all, but just chew at whatever it is you are trying to cut and mangle it. The manufacturers unfortunately make no such distinction, and it has been my experience that for every pair of “cutting scissors” I have had, I have had twenty pairs of “chewing scissors”.
I then wasted half an hour searching for bisons. Bisons are small metal geocache containers. I have a stash of half a dozen or more of the things which are always in my way when I don’t need them. But when I do need them, they grow legs, walk away and hide from me. So I buy more, use one, and add the rest to the growing stash which reappears when I’m not actively searching for it.
As I drove off towards work so the radio was playing the "From Our Own Correspondent" program. Have you ever listened to that at all? I can't recommend it - it is incredibly depressing. Today's show featured reports on children held in detention camps on the US-Mexico border, all sorts of unpleasantness coming from the recent political pardons in Spain, concerns from Afghanistan where locals are fleeing in terror as the western alliance is pulling out... I turned it off and headed up the motorway singing along to an Ivor Biggun CD. I made rather good time; I was rather conscious of my trip to the Saturday late shift a month ago when I spent three hours stuck in traffic.
Seeing the queues for the drive-through McDonalds I went straight to work where I got dinner from the works canteen. It wasn't bad... Usually their food is rather good. Today's wasn't anything I could complain about but was a minor disappointment compared to what I usually get. However I've had far worse food elsewhere at far greater cost.
was work – rather quiet for a Saturday late shift for which I was grateful.
As I took a break I saw that my boss had resigned. The
Health Secretary has jumped before he got pushed. Despite allegations of
giving backhanders to his mate’s husband and allegations of having it away
with said mate, he’s actually going because of
pictures of him braking social distancing guidelines whilst doing the dirty
deed with her.
27 June 2021 (Sunday) - A Walk, Bingo, Sad News
Yesterday I ran out of shaving gel and immediately forgot all about it. Have you ever tried to shave with just soap and water? It takes some doing.
Over a bit of brekkie I watched an episode of “Bonding” before sparking up the lap-top to peer into the Internet. It was much the same as ever. Most of the Lego Facebook groups carried the same advert exhorting us all to join yet another Lego Facebook group. I was going to ask why people keep creating Facebook groups when there are already so many in existence (for whatever the hobby is). I suppose it is so that whoever it is that creates the group has ultimate power over that group. (Like when the Astro club’s Facebook page got deleted after one squabble too many).
And I saw several adverts on Facebook for “Dog Friendly” – a magazine advertising all sorts of tourist attractions, cafes and pubs that are dog friendly. It struck me as rather odd that whoever it is that runs “Dog Friendly” magazine wanted nearly twenty quid a year for their magazine when there were over three hundred comments on their advert from people who were taking the opportunity to advertise their dog-friendly businesses.
I hoofed Pogo and Treacle out of bed, gave them their brekkie, and taking care not to disturb er indoors TM” (too much) we drove out to Great Chart. er indoors TM” had other plans for today (as did Charlotte) but Tracey, Karl, Treacle, Pogo and I had planned a little walk.
The rain was a tad heavier than had been forecast when we started (there wasn’t supposed to be any rain!) but we carried on regardless, and the rain soon stopped. We had a rather good walk following the series of geocaches I’d hidden along the Greensand Way last year. It was a shame that the dogs were on-the-lead off-the-lead all the time, but there it is. There are a lot of sheep fields on the way, and Treacle in particular can’t be trusted. However, the dogs had a rather good bowl of special rice for their picnic lunch and got a good play in the river too.
Despite the overcast day, I managed to catch the sun, and Tracey suffered with the grass pollen too.
Because we were following a series of caches that I had set we made good time. As we went we made sure that they were all OK. Most were. Only one was missing. Thirty-four geocaches over seven miles… not a bad series really.
I took a few photos as we walked.
With walk walked we said our goodbyes. We came home, collected Pogo’s bag and drove him down to Folkestone where he is having a little holiday with his mummy. After all he is “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”’s dog. I‘m missing him already, but he will be back with us in a few days.
er indoors TM” still wasn’t home, and with the rain having got worse (and thunderstorms forecast) I didn’t fancy going up the KFC to forage. I hand-fed Treacle her tea until she started eating on her own (she learned that from Fudge!), made myself peanut butter on toast, and tuned in to the family Zoom/bingo game. I missed the last one. I must admit I was a bit sceptical about joining tonight’s but I was glad I did. It was good to catch up with family, and we did chuckle. “My Boy TM” was calling the bingo numbers via an app on his phone, and we got to the point where the thing had run out of numbers and still no one had won. The app he was using was unable to count higher than seventy-five.
With technical difficulties eventually resolved I only ended up being two pounds fifty pence down on the evening
And I’m afraid I’m
going to close on a sad note tonight. A very good
friend is very unwell. He told me that he’d had
problems the last time we met, but that was ages ago. What with people
drifting apart and lock-downs we’ve not met up for
over two years. His problems have got much worse over the intervening time.
28 June 2021 (Monday) - This n That
Lacking any suggestions for anything worth watching, I started watching "Fresh Meat" (on Netflix) as I scoffed toast this morning. It wasn't a bad show... it wasn't good. It kept me occupied early in the morning.
Being on an early shift I skipped my morning trawl of the internet and set off to work.
The deputy leader of the Labour party Angela Lansbury was being interviewed on the radio as I drove. Making the most of the opportunity to stick the knife into disgraced ex-health secretary Matt Hancock she was now trying to dig the dirt on Gina Coladangelo (her who Matt Hancock has been allegedly porking recently). Ms Lansbury didn't do herself any justice on the radio though. I've mentioned before that (as a life-long leftie) the Labour party is a disappointment at best, and in reality is something of a joke. Rather than coming over with authority and conviction, Ms Lansbury came over as “Karen from Facebook” and would have done far better to have taken care to pronounce her words better (if not properly) and shrieked a little less.
There was also an interview with someone who was once something big in security circles who was intrigued by the photos of Mr Hancock's grabbing of Ms Coladangelo's arse that have been all over the media recently. Bearing in mind that once upon a time top ministers’ offices were routinely searched for bugging equipment, she wondered how a closed-circuit TV camera had gone unnoticed in Mr Hancock's office (let alone how the tabloids had access to it).
There was also talk about how a load of top secret government documents have been found laying around at a bus stop but this didn't seem anywhere near as interesting to the pundits on the radio as dishing the dirt on a disgraced minister
I got petrol, and went in to the early shift. Work was work. I did my bit, I did e-learning and digital morphological QA (as one does). In years gone by the mere mention of the word "work" in a blog was sufficient for a manager to issue me with a formal written warning (for bringing the place into disrepute) but things are different now. So different that said manager has even sent me a friend request on Facebook.
With work done I drove up to Beckenham to visit Terry and Irene. We’ve not met up for a couple of years. It was really good to catch up (if not under the best of circumstances). We shall meet up again soon – Beckenham isn’t far from work – and it is a straightforward drive too.
er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we watched whilst watching “The Great British Sewing Bee”. I used to be a dab hand with a needle back in the day.
Treacle is currently walking round the living room with a chew treat, crying inconsolably as she is trying to find somewhere to hide it. I can’t work out why she is so distraught.
29 July 2021 (Tuesday) - Awesome !!
Another restless night… I only seem to get a proper night’s sleep just after a night shift. I slept like a log last night up until two o’clock, then woke every twenty minutes.
I got up, made brekkie, and as yet another negative COVID test incubated I watched half an episode of “Fresh Meat” before having a quick look at the Internet. It was still there, but not a lot was happening.
I got ready for work and set off..
As I walked down the road to find my car my phone beeped. A message from the Munzee clan. I stepped down as Munzee clan leader last month (I wasn't feeling it what with Fudge having gone and Sid looking very ill) so someone else took over from me. In all honesty there wasn't much to take over, but this morning I found out that my successor has made even less effort than I have this month and so the clan isn't going to reach its target (and consequently not get the rewards). All rather trivial in the great scheme of things, but quite a major issue if sticking bar codes onto lamp posts is what floats your boat.
I drove through the drizzle up the motorway with my piss boiling as I listened to the radio. Shop workers all over the country in little corner shops and in large supermarkets (Morrisons, Marks and Spencer and Sainsburys were all mentioned by name) are getting rather fed up of being physically assaulted by customers and the police are doing absolutely nothing about it.
I can't say I'm surprised... Well, I'm rather shocked that this is happening, but (quite frankly) the police's response is exactly what I've come to expect of them. I've mentioned before how I have absolutely no confidence whatsoever in the police to do absolutely anything at all that you might traditionally expect of a policeman. Yet again they do nothing when a crime has clearly been committed. Which isn't to say that the police do nothing at all. I've had coppers victimising me personally twice in the last year. (Once for daring to visit my Dad just after my mum died, and once when I was supposedly at fault when some strange passer-by decided to whip Pogo with brambles for no reason whatsoever).
It would seem that I'm not alone in feeling this way. Serving policemen do too.
Perhaps if we had a police force that kicked arse where arse needs kicking (rather than picking on those who arse does not) perhaps society might be better...?
I got to work and cracked on with the early shift. At tea break I finished the e-book I was reading. "The Supernova Era" by Cixin Liu was rather good. I've always liked post-apocalyptic fiction and this book was not too shabby at all (to quote “My Boy TM”). Imagine "Lord Of The Flies" on a global scale. A colleague recommended the e-book, and now I've finished it I've downloaded another by the same author. So far I'm quite impressed with what I've read of his books. He seems to be an up-to-date Chinese Arthur C Clarke.
I came home via Lidl. I got a bottle of wine which cheered up an otherwise dull shopping basket, and then spent an hour longer than usual trying to get home along a bunged-up motorway. I had planned to take Treacle for a little walk, but it was raining rather hard when I finally got home.
er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner then vanished off upstairs to Zoom at her friends. I opened the Lego pressie that my colleagues had given me on Friday. The sensible part of me said to keep it unopened and pristine in its box and to sell it for an absolute fortune in a few years’ time. But it is no secret that “sensible” has never really played a large part in my life.
The set took about forty-five minutes to build. From a Lego builder’s point of view this is one of the best sets ever. Bright colours, straightforward build, unique pieces… it’s got pride of place in the living room above the telly between the SkyQ box and the DVD player…
I *might* take it apart and rebuild it with the orange and yellow swapped over with the black and the brown. At the moment the darkest part is on the edge and it doesn’t stand out as well as it might.
30 June 2021 (Wednesday) - Rise of the Machines (Pah!)
As I wandered to the bathroom this morning I was conscious of a rather odd sound coming from the dishwasher. Usually the only sounds it makes are those of plates getting a good seeing to. Which is as it should be. There are two schools of thought when it comes to dealing with dishwashers, as expounded on the "Extreme Dishwasher Loading" Facebook page. There are those who pander to the machines, filling them with salt and rinse aid and regularly cleaning the filters and generally sucking up to the devices. And there are those who feel that the machine should know its place and do what is expected of it (or face re-programming with a mallet!)
I am firmly in the second camp. Trying to keep the dishwasher sweet is just prolonging the inevitable collapse of humanity when the machines eventually rise up. I maintain that if we rule the machines with a rod of iron they will know their place.
However, overnight the dishwasher had suffered some sort of malfunction. Five minutes with the thing in pieces soon revealed the problem. Its out-pipe was blocked absolutely solid with congealed fat. I can only assume that er indoors TM” had tried to wash half a pound of lard in it.
With fat scraped out and chucked down the toilet (let's hope that don't block up too) I set the dishwasher to the "hyper-scrub" setting with a triple dose of dishwasher tablets and left it to do its thing.
I watched half of an episode of "Fresh Meat" then peered into the Internet. The photo I had posted last night of my Lego piccie had got nearly ninety "likes" on Facebook.
There were a lot of comments about "it's coming home". Presumably "it" being the football trophy for which all sorts of teams are currently competing. "It" might well be coming home, but I thought better of making the observation that it is a shame that the same can't be said for shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables.
There was also a minor squabble kicking off on the Facebook page for fans of the 1970 TV show “Upstairs Downstairs” in which some people had become rather abusive toward each other – over “Upstairs Downstairs” !!! Some people go onto the internet to follow their hobby, others just go to argue… Mind you I think that for a lot of people, arguing *is* the hobby.
And talking of arguing about hobbies, it is no secret that I’m not a fan of keeping geocaches going for ever, but there is one just round the corner from home that I hid seven years ago and it is still going strong. It is a liar’s cache. In order to claim a find you have to make up a story (in your written log) making out how hard and difficult the thing was to get to. It is a good bit of silliness, quite a few people follow it, and over the years it has garnered sixty favourite points. A few years ago someone from central Europe asked if they could copy the idea. I was very happy for them to do so. To be honest it wasn’t my idea in the first place. I shamelessly blagged it from someone else. And liar’s caches are allowed for in the official rules anyway.
Yesterday someone else asked if they could use the idea. Again I had no problems with it…
This morning the first person sent me a message saying that the second person lives just a mile down the road from her, that the second person’s geocache is a load of crap, that the second person is a b*stard, and that I should tell her she can’t have a liar’s cache.
I’m tempted to say “not my circus, not my monkeys” (because it is not my circus and certainly isn’t my monkeys) but I suspect the phrase would lose a lot in translation. I shall keep quiet and hope it all blows over.
I set off to work. For all the talk about shortages of lorry drivers, they were out and about in full force of the motorway this morning. Is it my cynical imagination, or do they *really* slow down and bunch up in the slow lane as they pass the slip roads? Are they deliberately not letting cars on to the motorway? It certainly seemed that way on the M20 this morning at junctions nine, eight and seven. And since when have they been allowed to drive at fifty miles per hour in the motorway's fast lane (as they were this morning)?
I got to work, did that which I couldn’t avoid, and came home again. I came home to a letter from a landowner who is quite happy for me to put geocaches on his land – provided I told him exactly where I put them. I spent a little while fiddling about with maps. It struck me as odd that the chap wasn’t interested in a precise set of GPS co-ordinates or plots of locations; instead preferring a best guess hand-drawn on a pdf.
er indoors TM” boiled up dinner, and with it scoffed I set the dishwasher going right away. It worked as it should… which is just as well for it bearing in mind that I won’t take failure from it lightly…