1 March 2019 (Friday) - Boot Dogs
Despite Treacle and Pogo having a minor spat in the small hours I slept rather well. It was a shame that the bin men had to make quite so much noise at six o’clock.
I got up and looked at our smart meter. Day one on our new cheaper leccie and gas tariff and we seem to have used thirty per cent more (in money) by getting-up-time than usual. This doesn’t bode well.
There wasn’t much happening on Facebook this morning, and my email was equally dull. But I did have a message about the camera I bought last night on eBay. It was being posted. My digital camera has been knacked for some time. It would cost thirty quid to have it replaced, but a new one would only cost me fifteen quid.
I got the dogs organised and got them into the car. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" always laughs when we have “boot dogs”. We drove up to Stalisfield. Yesterday I reached the point where I had found every geocache within seven miles of home. Pushing that radius up to eight miles might just be possible. Or so I thought. I had a dozen caches to find to achieve this goal, and four of them were close enough together to make up a rather good walk for the morning.
We parked up in what I hoped was the village hall’s car park, and wandered across muddy fields and along quiet lanes. There were sheep in one field who seemed very interested in the dogs, and the dogs had a good run about in some woods. We walked for about two miles and didn’t see another person at all. I was glad to have my phone with me – just in case.
Geocache-wise I found two of my targets and logged “didn’t find” on the other two. Bearing in mind both were billed as low difficulty I’m wondering if they were there or if they had gone missing. Mind you also bearing in mind that some days (geocachically-speaking) I can’t find my own bum with both hands I’m also wondering if a return visit with some help might be a plan.
I took a few photos as we walked. Soon I will have a new camera to do that with.
We walked for about an hour and a half, and then came home again. Once home all dogs had their muddy paws washed, then I got the pressure-washer out and had a go at the back yard. As I scrubbed, so Pogo got cross. The pressure-washer was really bothering him for some odd reason. I scrubbed as well as I could, but the trouble with a pressure washer is that it just lifts the dirt from the surface you are washing. You are then left with a sea of grubby water. I scrubbed and swept the water until my back was too tender. It was at this point that the rain also started, so I took that as being as good a time as any to pack up.
I got a sandwich from the corner shop and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Titans”, then built a little Lego, watched more “Titans”, then did a bit of C.P.D.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner and as we scoffed it we watched “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Orville”. It pains me to admit that Star Trek is fast falling into second place here…
2 March 2019 (Saturday) - Chislet
A rather restless night. Treacle brought a bone up to bed and wanted to spend the night chomping on it. The rest of the wolf-pack wanted some as well, and a minor scrap ensued. "er indoors TM" took the bone away, and Treacle whinged for hours wanting it back.
I eventually gave up and watched an episode of “Titans” until everyone finally got up.
As I scoffed a hot cross bun I looked at the new series of puzzle geocaches that went live last night. I solved one or two, others eluded me. Yet again a tremendous amount of effort has gone into creating loads of puzzles which mean very little to most people. I expect this will go the way of pretty much every other puzzle series in that I will swap the solutions that I have for the solutions that friends have. Whilst it is really taboo to admit to this, this is what many people actually do.
I don’t see why people mess about creating geo-puzzles in the first place. The hobby is a treasure hunt. If people want to solve puzzles then why not do a course in logic with the Open University, or buy a book of puzzles from the corner shop? Puzzle caches boil my piss. For the uninitiated, here’s how to solve a geo-puzzle. Call up any puzzle geocache on the Internet. You might read a meaningless phrase and see a picture of a tennis racquet and a bag of crisps. It means absolutely nothing, does it? But look closer. The web page appears on a screen. The letter “c” appears in that word. And you *see* the screen. “C”? “see”? – sea !! That’s where the cartoon character “Aquaman” lives. In the film “Aquaman”, “Aquaman” was played by the actor Jason Momoa who was born in Hawaii. Hawaii !! – so the puzzle is all about the states of America.
(You might think I’m being facetious here, but that *really* is how the logic works in some geo-puzzles)
Finding a pair of socks I never knew I had I got dressed. Despite "er indoors TM" feeling less than one hundred per cent we took the dogs out. We drove up to Chislet where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and we had a rather good walk despite one or two hiccups.
We set off on out planned route. We found our first target film pot under a rock by a telegraph pole. Our second target would seem to have gone missing. To be fair, our second target was actually one I had found five years ago, but I didn’t remember it. From here we followed a farm track to a country lane where we found our next targets. We found two and was then approached by a chap who asked if we were lost. I said we weren’t. He said we were, and he said that we were on private land. He politely but firmly told us to piss off, and (to be fair to the fellow) when we got to the end of the lane, sure enough there was a sign saying that we were on a private road. Woops!
We quickly re-planned our route, and after getting clagged up with mud had a rather good walk along country lanes and bridleways. There was a dodgy five minutes when we stopped to let a horse come past. Pogo took exception to the horse, lunged at it and snapped his lead. Fortunately the horse wasn’t bothered.
Today’s walk wasn’t a long one, and we were soon at the Gate Inn. Last winter we’d visited the place and had been incredibly impressed at the ale selection. We’d planned today’s walk to end at that pub. It was something of a shame to find that the place was closed for refurbishment.
They say disasters come in threes…
Geocaching-wise today was something of a mixed bag. Some of the caches were straightforward finds. Some (shall we be polite here) weren’t where I would have put them. Pretty much all of them had wet logs, and we logged “needs archiving” on two of them.
We got back to the cars, and after a quick bite to eat we drove up to a pub we knew, only to find that the Prince of Wales in Hoath was heaving. So we drove on to the Huntsman and Horn in Herne Bay for a crafty half of weak shandy. You can see what we got up to by clicking here.
I had four pints of rather good ale, and slept most of the way home.
Once home I had a look-see at the Internet (as I do). This morning I’d messaged friends about the new cache series that went live last night. With pictures of Mario Brothers and Space Invaders all over the place, I am reliably informed that the theme of the caches was the French equivalent of the artist Banksy. I felt rather smug that me earlier description of puzzle caches was clearly spot-on.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and once it was scoffed I used my new-found information to try to solve those geo-puzzles. I didn’t solve any so I watched telly instead.
I quite like “Titans” – I don’t seem to sleep through it…
3 March 2019 (Sunday) - Rather Dull
After a decent walk, everyone sleeps well. This was certainly the case last night. I eventually got up just after eight o’clock.
I made toast and had my usual peer into cyberspace. It would seem that very little had happened anywhere yesterday that warranted mention on Facebook. I bet there was; just nobody took the time to record it. I wish people would; I’m very nosey. And without any emails at all having arrived overnight, I carried on struggling with the geo-puzzles that I whinged about yesterday.
Yesterday evening I failed miserably at solving any. This morning I had another idea, and apart from a minor interruption when Pogo decided to take a crap on the carpet I did surprisingly well at getting what looked like plausible results.
I gave up after four hours. My nerves could stand no more of searching the internet for obscure pictures.
By early afternoon the wind and rain had eased off to a medium monsoon, so we took the dogs round the park. As we walked I realised that we were a little short of poo bags. Pogo must have realised this as he tried to help by eating that which Fudge was squeezing out. Foul creature !!
Mind you, apart from Pogo trying to eat turds, the walk passed off rather uneventfully. Any march round Viccie park which goes so well is to be encouraged.
We then popped to “Pets at Home” for assorted dog sundries including a new lead for Pogo. This one is for dogs up to twice his weight. I’m hoping he won’t snap it. And with shopping done so the rain started again so we came home and I carried on geo-puzzling. As I puzzled I scoffed home-made buns that "er indoors TM" had boiled up. They were rather good.
After about seven hours concerted effort (and a little help from my friends) I’ve got what looks like believable co-ordinates for the entire series of caches that went out yesterday. It looks like being quite a walk – maybe for the Easter weekend unless any other plans emerge in the meantime.
Over a rather good bit of dinner we watched the most recent episode of “Star Trek: Discovery”. A show which has been rather dull has suddenly perked up.
Mind you, something needed to perk up today – the wind and rain made for a rather dull day…
4 March 2019 (Monday) - Back to Work
I lay awake for much of last night listening to the torrential rain against the bedroom window. I got up and stood on the scales – sixteen and a half stones – that’s a tad heavy and a stone heavier than the last time I weighed myself. Time to start counting those calories and being permanently hungry again.
As I scoffed toast and jam and guzzled coffee (three hundred calories) I watched the first episode of the new season of “Still Game”. Despite the critics having been less than complementary, I quite liked it. And seeing that there was very little of note on Facebook or email I got myself ready for work.
It was light as I set off to work. I do prefer the lighter mornings. As I drove the pundits on the radio were still blathering about Brexit. I've made a point of not listening to the news during my last week's holiday, but this morning I heard that with less than a month to go until our country leaves the European Union, absolutely nothing has changed or been planned.
It does seem that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has found some money to give to the poorest parts of the country in a bid to bribe MPs to vote for plans which have already been thrown out. Mind you it was mentioned that less than one in four people know who the Chancellor of the Exchequer actually is...
There was also talk about putting music back on the national curriculum for schools. *If* it is done properly this could be a good thing. I remember our music teachers at secondary school. We had a middle-aged married couple ("Ma" and "Pa" Jennings) who totally abused our music lessons to rant their various odd opinions at us rather than teaching us anything useful. "Pa" would witter on about how stupid we all were, then (without warning) rush to the piano, play the National Anthem, and then tear into the last child to get to his feet.
All in all, I'd not missed much by not listening to the radio for a week.
Despite rather heavy traffic I got to work for the early shift and did my thing. At tea break I saw that "er indoors TM" had posted to Facebook. All three dogs weren't keen on getting their paws wet at this morning's tiddle time. And at lunch time I had a message from "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" has announced he wants to be a pilot when he is older, and that getting a pilot's licence will cost someone thirty-seven thousand pounds. At the moment it is rather vague as to who this "someone" actually is. As long as it isn't me, I'm quite happy for him to learn to fly. Whether he flies himself or an aeroplane remains to be seen.
An early start made for an early finish. I got home and went to the dentist for a filing, then took the dogs for a walk. As I walked I had an odd episode. Some young lad cycled past, and when he was five yards behind me he started shouting about how rude I was, jumped off his bike and staggered up to me and started shouting in my face. He reeked of drink and strange cigarettes and was quite threatening. I say “quite threatening”; the dogs weren’t bothered by him so he was probably harmless, and if he had got physical I would have given him a slap. In retrospect a serious slap might have killed him, but I would have claimed self-defence.
The most disturbing aspect of the whole episode was when two other lads of about his age came past and “Thugbert” turned on them. They were terrified and couldn’t run away quick enough.
I took the dogs round the block, and we came home.
I thought about reporting my little episode to the police, but in my experience they really aren’t interested, so I posted about it on the Facebook “Ashford & Surrounding Areas Crime Page‼️”. If the local police are any good they will be monitoring that page. Not that they will do anything.
"er indoors TM" went bowling, so I settled myself in front of the telly and watched more “Titans”. I really should have an early night – I came home to find that my camera is waiting for me at the post office and I need to have collected it and be on my way by seven o’clock for the free parking…
5 March 2019 (Tuesday) - Crap Day
I gave up on any attempt at sleep shortly after four o'clock. The dogs wouldn't settle and Treacle wouldn't stop snarling. I went downstairs where I wouldn’t be trying to sleep in a war zone and lay (very uncomfortably and wide awake) on the sofa for an hour before giving up and watching last week's episode of "Still Game" which was rather good.
With telly watched and toast scoffed I had a little look at the Internet. Several people had commented on my Facebook post about my little episode with the stoned and drunk youth yesterday. I'd even had a few personal messages about the matter. Everyone was taking the line of "Oh it's shocking, are you alright?" which is probably why youths go round being obnoxious whist drunk and stoned. If a few more people had taken the line of "Iet's go out and kick some scumbag arse" we might just have a better society, mightn't we?
I blame the schools entirely. If I'd put a foot wrong when I was at school I would have got a caned backside. I behaved myself for fear of the stick. Today however we cannot terrify the brats into behaving themselves. Every little oik has endless rights and no responsibilities. What the bleeding hearts don't understand is that there is no point trying to appeal to the better nature of a thug who hasn't got one.
Eventually my piss cooled, and I left the house shortly after six o'clock. Last night new geocache had gone live yesterday about a mile south of home. The first person to find it had written that they had found it laying out in the open and that they had hidden it where they felt it should have been. I couldn't find anything, but I could see where others had been rummaging. (I sent a message to the first finder, and an hour or so later I got a message about it. It would seem that my GPS had put me about ten yards out on the wrong side of the track).
I then drove to the post office to get my parcel. There was a surprising amount of people wandering around the park by the sports centre at half past six; I think it fair to say that I was the only one not smoking funny cigarettes. I got my parcel - for once the traffic wardens weren't laying in wait outside the sorting office.
As I headed up the motorway to work I listened to the radio. There was pretty much nothing of note being discussed really. Dame Margaret Hodge was accusing Jeremy Corbyn of misleading her with regard to the anti-emitism scandal, and she was on the radio for seemingly an age; wittering on without actually saying anything. Ex-Home Secretary Amber Rudd was also complaining about anti-semitism in the Labour party in her constituency of Hastings and Rye.
Coming from there myself I wasn't aware of any Jewish community in the area? Is this a new thing?
I got to work for the early shift and did that which I could not avoid. At tea break I checked my emails. Coursera had sent me a list of courses that might interest me; I've signed up for one on botany. I don't really know that much about plants, but I'm keen to learn. Work was good; but I was so tired I nearly dozed off a couple of times. I was glad to be on the early shift so I could go home early.
It was a shame that the traffic was queued all the way from the motorway as far back as work. A mile and a half driving at walking speed rather wiped out any benefit of an early finish. The motorway was running rather slowly, and I got to Ashford to find the roads logjammed there as well.
I got home and opened the door to carnage. One of the dogs had had the bin out of the kitchen and had strewn rubbish everywhere. Taking a deep breath I left the rubbish scattered across the floor and walked the dogs whilst it was still light. The walk would have gone better if Treacle hadn’t fallen in a ditch of stagnant water.
With dogs walked I chucked all three into the garden whilst I cleared up their mess. It only took twenty minutes. And then when I thought nothing else could go wrong I opened my new camera to find it wasn’t what I thought it was. I wanted a camera that takes batteries I can buy in any shop. I’ve got one that takes some specialist battery (that didn’t come with the camera). Quite frankly if anyone wants it, they can have it. In my mind it typifies today’s disasters and I want nothing more to do with it. If no one wants it, I will bin it.
Tomorrow will be a better day.
6 March 2019 (Wednesday) - Planning for Brexit
Apart from a minor disturbance in the small hours when the dogs were running up and down the stairs I manged to get a decent night’s sleep. I wish I could get that more often.
Over brekkie I watched this week’s episode of the new series of “Alan Partridge”; whilst I do like the character, in many ways it is very much “more of the same”. The most recent series of “Red Dwarf” were like that; entertaining, but just re-hashes of what has gone before.
I watched the first video in my Coursera botany course, then had a look at Facebook as I do most mornings. There was quite a bit of comment about the mess the dogs had made of the dustbin, I was told that you can get dog-proof bins. That might be an investment.
I checked my emails. LinkedIn were spouting management drivel. If I wasn’t so close to retirement I wonder if I might see if Coursera do courses in management-speak so I could understand what was being said. LinkedIn is a foreign language to me.
Amazon was trying to sell me that which I’d already bought, and with no other emails of note I got dressed and set off to work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing the American Ambassador to London. They challenged him about some disparaging remarks he'd made about Brexit, but (to be fair to the bloke) the remarks he'd made were fair. Brexit *is* a total balls-up. The chap spoke eloquently for five minutes, which is more than most of the people they interview most mornings.
They also interviewed one of the leading lights of the Chinese tech giant Huawei. Apparently no western government wants anything to do with Huawei as they are seen as a security risk. This chap disproved every allegation that was made about his company, and made the accusation that by bad-mouthing Huawei, Nokia and Sony_Erikson stand to profit.
He's probably got a point. Thinking about it, this is probably obvious. Have you noticed the bad press that McDonalds often get when none of the other burger chains ever get any stick?
I stopped off at Aldi to get supplies. Jam, marmalade and armpit-squirt. I totally forgot to get sugar, granola and bum-wipe. Oh well.
I got to work to find a colleague swearing. She'd arrived at work at the same time as me only to find she was on the late shift today. And consequently at work four and a half hours too early. Whoops.
She wasn't much happier later when she told us that she'd spent the morning trying to referee a squabble amongst the local school's mother's Whatsapp group about an alleged outbreak of nits at the school. I remember those days when there were rumours of nits at schools. To be fair to the fruits of my loin, I don't remember them having nits, but I have a vague memory of threatening one or other of them with insecticidal dog shampoo.
The boss also told us that we should think about what might affect our journeys to work after Brexit. My plans are to drive up the motorway every day like I do already, but it was suggested that the motorway might be blocked with queues of lorries formed from aggro at the docks. I've given the matter some sage concentration and got dispensation to be flexible with my hours if I need to get the train, and in a spirit of helpfulness I've suggested that I might look at designs for a dog-sled as a fall-back position.
It has been suggested that I'm possibly not taking this as seriously as I might...
The journey home was much easier than yesterday’s. Once home I walked the dogs round the block, then did some more of my Coursera course.
"er indoors TM" boiled up sausages and chips which we devoured with a bottle of plonk whist watching an episode of our latest discovery. “Derry Girls” is rather good…
7 March 2019 (Thursday) - World Book Day
Over brekkie I was looking at Facebook and saw endless pictures of children in the most obscure fancy dress. Today is World Book Day, and so small children go to school dressed as their favourite literary character.
Or so it is said.
The truth of the matter is that bearing in mind that most of the young mothers haven’t read much, they have a look on Google and/or go up the road to the local fancy dress hire shop and see what they can find. I saw quite a few children dressed as literary characters today, but I also saw quite a few TV characters too. Since when have Indiana Jones and SpongeBob SquarePants been major landmarks in the field of literature?
Perhaps I’m just old and grumpy, but why not teach the children to read a book rather than having them dress up as something out of “Paw Patrol” and have them expecting a Nobel Prize for literature?
I’ve always been an avid reader myself; I’ve started a new little project. The very provisional first draft is on-line here. Eventually I might work on it somewhat. Or I might forget all about it. Time will tell.
However I must admit that traditional books are very much “so-last-Tuesday”. When I got to the point that there simply wasn’t any more room in the house for more books I got a Kindle and many bibliophiles would say I turned to the dark side. But e-books are so much easier. You can carry a library round in your pocket. E-books don’t gather dust and fall apart. And when I dropped my Kindle and poggered the screen I realised I could read e-books on my phone. I didn’t need to carry anything extra round with me. And they are cheaper. Is that wrong of me?
As I got dressed Treacle came and sat with me. I can imagine many people looking at her and thinking how sweet that was. I wasn’t fooled for a second. She sat looking angelic, and the moment she thought my attention had wavered she made a bid for my socks.
Being on a late shift I had time for a walk round the park with the dogs. We had what I might best describe as a near-miss with a cyclist in which Pogo nearly had him in the river, but it ended with him apologising to me. The chap was cycling along; Pogo ran past his bike. There was a swerve and nearly a splash. I decided that the best form of defence was attack, and when the cyclist had finished ranting I firmly pointed out that if he wasn’t wearing headphones he would have heard me calling the dogs. And that if he wasn’t fiddling on his phone he would have seen the dogs, And that if his hands had been on the handlebars he could have applied the brakes a bit sooner. And that if he’d been paying attention, he would have seen that the dogs weren’t actually on his side of the cycle-path.
The chap on the bike conceded defeat.
We got to the park to see something I’ve never seen before. The Jehovah’s Witnesses stall at the park gates was having a religious argument. Up until now they have been rather good; just leaving people alone and smiling sweetly. But the stall is under new management and they are somewhat pushy. However this time they had bitten off more than they could chew. A fellow dog walker was ripping into them about all sorts of religious things, and all the chap on the stall could say was that the woman was raising very good questions. I stood and listened for a few minutes until the dogs got bored; the nice ladies on the stall (the ones with legs all the way up to their bums) had been fussing the dogs in a shallow attempt to pretend they weren’t anything to do with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As we walked, all three dogs pooped. Last night we’d tried some new dog toothbrushes; things made of very hard blue plastic which we filled with dog toothpaste. The dogs chew the things, and it is like brushing their teeth, only easier (have you ever tried going at a Patagonian tripe-Hound with a toothbrush?). This morning all three were pooping out small blue plastic fragments. Those dog toothbrushes are going in the bin.
Once home I did some more of my online botany course, then set off in the general direction of work. I drove down the road to Currys/PC World. Recently I bought a camera from eBay which turned out to be of absolutely no use to me. So last night I thought I might try to repair my old one. To cut a long and rather sad story short, the fragments of that old camera are now in the bin. None of the staff in Currys/PC World were prepared to give me the time of day, but it didn't look like they had any cameras anyway.
I drove up to Snodland. There is a geocache there that hadn't been found in over a year. I found it right away; I felt rather smug about that.
From there I drove to the Currys/PC World near work. I was immediately harangued with a rather supercilious assistant who clearly held me in the same low regard in which I came to hold him. He had an incredibly thick beard, and was glowering at me through it in a way not unlike that in which a rat might peer through a bale of hay. I explained I wanted a camera, and that (for me) the most important feature was that it would take AA batteries. The assistant thought this was rather a laughable priority and demanded to know why I would be so foolish as to want AA batteries. He wittered on for some time about milliamp-hours and the reliability of power packs. When he had finished his (obviously pre-prepared and rehearsed) speech, I suggested that when the power-packs go flat you can't buy them just anywhere, whereas every corner shop sells AA batteries. It rather obviously boiled his piss that he couldn't argue with this.
In the end he suggested I bought a particular camera that they didn't have in stock. I made a note of exactly what make and model it was, and I shall have a look on Amazon later.
I got to work, and once I'd found a parking space I went in to the works canteen and had a rather good dose of lasagne and chips. Diet - what diet?
8 March 2019 (Friday) - Stupid Dog
I didn’t sleep very well last night. I’d been rather uncomfortable for much of yesterday. That lasagne I had at lunch time hadn’t been sitting well, and it was with something of a sense of blessed relief that I came out of “Trap One” this morning.
Over a bowl of granola I watched last night’s episode of “Still Game” then I sparked up the lap-top. Nothing much had happened in cyber-space overnight so I did some more of my on-line botany course before setting off to work.
As I walked out of the house, not-so-nice next door was scraping the ice from her car. She glared at me as though I was the sh*t on her shoe. I walked fifty yards up the road to my car which had no ice on it. The weather up our road can be very localised.
As I drove towards Pembury I listened to the drivel on the radio. The pundits were interviewing a head teacher of a London school who was describing the dire straits her school was in. Because of lack of funding for the school, this head teacher was doubling up as a cleaner and as a dinner-lady. Someone from the Department of Education had sent the radio presenters a letter claiming that school funding was at an all-time high. The head teacher being interviewed spoke of a letter signed by seven thousand head teachers claiming that school funding is woefully inadequate. The pundits had done some research and had come up with official figures which did show that that school funding was at an all-time high. And they had also come up with other official figures showing that funding of schools was now considerably lower than it was ten years ago.
"official figures", eh?
The pundits on the radio then wheeled on Jeremy Hunt to discuss the ongoing Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe case. Basically this woman's been in prison in Iran for several years for allegedly trying to topple the Iranian government. Or so the Iranian Government say. She says she was being a journalist. I can't help but feel that Iran would be a place to stay away from, and her case would illustrate that sentiment admirably.
To be honest I didn't really pay that much attention to what was being said; Jeremy Hunt boils my piss too much. Anyone who is dependent on him for help must be in a bad place.
The "Thought For The Day" made me laugh. The vicar that they had on this morning banged on about how he always admired magicians when he was a child because they made the impossible look real (even though it wasn't). He said that he wanted to be a magician, but he became a vicar instead because the magic was better. He seemed to gloss over that although the claims of vicars are far more preposterous than those of magicians, they are all equally just make-believe.
I broke my journey just outside of Goudhurst. A new geocache had appeared there since I last drove along the A262. I got to the place where my new geo-app said to go, and sure enough there was the little plastic tub. Laying on the grass at the base of a post with absolutely nothing at all to cover it.
Regular readers of this drivel may remember that last Thursday I was less than impressed with how a scout group had thrown a plastic tub at a fence in Bilsington. Today's cache had been thrown down by the same scout group. I've ranted before about how scout groups shouldn't be playing the hiding Tupperware game...
I got to work, and did my bit. It never fails to amaze me how much quicker my phone goes flat when I'm working in Pembury. I suppose that is a feature of working in the basement. At tea break I saw that "er indoors TM" had posted a picture onto Facebook. The "Terrible Twins" had found a stash of Easter eggs at home and all seven Easter eggs had been scoffed. This was rather worrying in two ways. Firstly chocolate isn't good for dogs. And secondly where had "er indoors TM" found to stash so many Easter eggs without me knowing about them?
I was somewhat delayed getting home. Whenever I drive home from work I have Google Drive on so it can tell me of any delays. This evening it diverted me through all the back roads round Horsmonden because of road works on the A21. This was probably for the best. I came home to find "er indoors TM" with mops and buckets at full power. She’d come home to a house full of dog sick. Treacle and Fudge were both fine but Pogo was looking very sorry for himself and seems to be amazingly thirsty. As well he might be. It is no secret who scoffed all the chocolate.
The vet said that we should take him in to be checked. But when they said that all they would do would be to look at him and bill us a hundred and sixty quid, I asked what were the danger signs. The vet said to watch for him being listless and lethargic. He does look very sorry for himself, and seems to be on quite the sugar rush. He’s drinking constantly and has eaten his tea. The vet agreed that we can monitor him, and if he takes a turn for the worse then we should take him in.
Did I ever mention that I didn’t want any dogs…
9 March 2019 (Saturday) - Norton to Lynsted (and back)
As I scoffed brekkie I watched more of my on-line botany class. Phototropisms today. All good stuff if you like that sort of thing. I then sparked up my lap-top and looked at the Internet. I had a little laugh at my cousin’s expense. Having spent a small fortune “going down the Alexa route” her iPad has crashed and now pretty much everything in her house is inoperable.
Several people had commented on the photo of Pogo I posted to Facebook yesterday. I sent out some birthday greetings. And with nothing else happening on-line I went to wake the rest of the tribe.
It wasn’t long before we were all in the car. Despite the drizzle (that wasn’t in the weather forecast) we drove round to the co-op where yet again their cash machine didn’t give me a receipt. It never does. From here we eventually drove up to the church at Norton despite Google navigation trying to take us into someone’s front drive.
We soon met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and did a little field puzzle based on the opening hours of the church. As we calculated our sums so a whole load of ramblers came past. This somewhat confused Fudge who joined in with them and had to be called back. We waited for them to pass before setting off ourselves; there’s nothing worse than getting lumped in with the normal people.
The early drizzle and strong winds soon passed, and we had a rather good walk along quiet lanes and well-marked (if muddy) footpaths. Some of us enjoyed the views and the scenery, some of us carried sticks, some of us rolled in fox poo. Each to their own. There was only really one hill, and that wasn’t *too* arduous. As luck would have it, we chanced across the Black Lion in Lynsted at mid-day. "er indoors TM" had a pint of the dark fruit cider; I had a couple of pints of Goacher’s dark ale. We sat in the beer garden sheltered from the breeze and reviewed our route back to the car.
Our route did need reviewing. Quite often when geocaches are hidden they follow a numbered sequence. You start at #1, go to #2 and so on. The caches we were hunting out weren’t hidden that way. Each one needed a puzzle to solve before the actual location became evident, and with a hundred caches in the series they were effectively in smaller loops. But the number sequence didn’t really guide you as much as some judicious map-reading would. Personally, I feel this is a good thing. So often people just blindly follow the arrow of their GPS. With over a hundred targets along many lanes and paths we were able to plan a route which would not only give us quite a lot of Tupperware to find, but also allow us to plan another route for next weekend.
Having said that, I first learned map reading in the Boys Brigade over forty years ago and have been doing it regularly ever since. Some people aren’t quite so comfortable with a map and compass as I am. But (at the risk of appearing flippant), that’s not my circus, and not my monkeys. I can read a map; I’m OK !!
We had a rather good walk. I took quite a few photos.
We successfully navigated our way back to the cars. We said our goodbyes and came home. Usually the dogs are quiet on the way home from a walk; they were a tad fractious today. I wonder what that was all about?
"er indoors TM" came up with a rather good bit of scoff. We troughed it whilst watching this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” which is surprisingly slipping behind “The Orville” with every episode, then watched “Big Bang Theory” and “Derry Girls”.
I really should go to bed – I’ve an early start tomorrow.
10 March 2019 (Sunday) - Early Shift
I would have had a better night if I could just have gone to the loo and back in the small hours and didn’t have to clear up a humungous dog turd. I’m going to blame Pogo as he is the only dog large enough to have done one that size.
Pausing only briefly to break the dishwasher’s drawer as I unloaded it, over brekkie (once I’d got the Internet working again) I watched the first episode of “After Life”; a new show starring Ricky Gervais. I’m not sure if I like it or not.
I took care not to disturb Fudge as I got dressed. He was fast asleep on the bed. I say "fast asleep" - his eyes were open, and he seemed to be watching my every move, but he wasn't moving much.
As I drove to work there radio was broadcasting their "Farmers World" bit. Usually it is dull, but today there was a rather interesting thing about stoats. It could have been better; the person presenting the thing seemed to have a right sulk on. Apparently he'd been banging on about stoats on the radio for years and no one could give a metaphorical rat's arse. But when David Attenborough mentioned the creatures a little while ago, everyone sat up and took notice. I did think that this just illustrated the difference between a world-renown presenter on prime-time TV and "jimmy-no-one" on an obscure radio show at half past six on a Sunday morning, but perhaps I was being a tad harsh.
At seven o'clock stoats gave way to the morning news program. Apparently the bleeding hearts are all upset about the Shamima Begum case. Having come to the UK with her parents she announced that the UK was a load of old crap and went off to join ISIS knowing full well she wouldn't be allowed back.
She then had babies in the war zone to which she'd moved, and now feels the UK should take her back as a war zone is no place to bring up a family. Whilst I feel some sympathy for her as she was rather young when she absconded, it turns out there's now more other ex-British citizens who've run off to join ISIS, realised they've picked the wrong side and had their British citizenship revoked.
These two specifically mentioned in the news are old enough to know better. On the one hand is it fair to leave people in danger? On the other hand they went there of their own accord with full knowledge of where they were going.One of the people being interviewed on the radio was wise enough to realise that allowing these people back just plays into the hands of the far right wing racists and hate-mongers..
It's a sad old world, isn't it?
There was also talk of how the current Pope is going to open all the Vatican's archives on Pope Pius XII who was in the papal hot-seat during the second world war. There are all sorts of allegations about the bloke, but I can't see how digging the dirt eighty years later is going to achieve anything
I got to work and seriously considered going to the works canteen for a fry-up, but thought better of it. instead I went in to work and got on with it. As I sometimes do. As I worked I had a phone call. A friend was hunting out a geocache I'd found a couple of weeks ago and was finding it rather elusive. Did I remember where it was. Actually I did. At the risk of giving spoilers, if ever you are roaming the countryside and find a discarded DVD bearing the artwork of "Minge Mania" (a DVD appealing to a rather specialist interest niche market) then you will be close to it. Personally I couldn't help but wonder who would buy a DVD entitled "Minge Mania" and then be so careless as to lose it some two miles from the nearest DVD player.
Part of me was jealous that I too wasn't out walking. But not *that* jealous - I could see the rain on the window. I don't mind working at the weekend when it rains.
With my bit done at work I came home to a house smelling rather strongly of paint. "er indoors TM" had been busy today whilst I was at work. Seeing that the rain had stopped and that the dogs were asking to go out, we went round the park. Oh, it was cold. And it didn’t help that Pogo was trying to pick some fights (once he’d finished eating Fudge’s poops). I was glad to get back home.
We *could* have gone to the geo-meet in Harbledown this evening, but the place where it was being held didn’t do food, and we were a tad peckish. So we didn’t go. We watched some of “Crufts” on the telly instead. "er indoors TM" is going to do a bit more painting; I might just continue with a geo-project I started last September…
11 March 2019 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
I stood on the scales this morning. I’ve lost three pounds in weight since last Monday – that’s something of a result.
As I scoffed my granola I watched the second episode of Ricky Gervais’ “After Life”. I’m still not sure about the show. I then sparked up the lap-top. Nothing much had happened on Facebook overnight, but I had quite a glut of emails; mostly Amazon trying to sell me stuff which I had randomly clicked on during the last week. Big Brother certainly is watching me.
I did some more of my on-line botany course, but failing the end of week quiz gave me the sulks so I turned it off and fiddled about on my latest geo-project. I’ve got a series of geocaches out near Great Chart. They’ve been active for some eighteen months and I’ve never really been happy with the amount of road that the route follows. I’ve also acquired a series of caches which is quite close to it which has been out for some five years. Both have run their course. I’m planning to combine the two routes into one. But the creation of the websites for each cache takes an age. If I can get one or two done every so often it will help.
With brekkie scoffed I drove up to the hospital. On 7 December last year I went to my G.P. to see what was going on about sorting out my nasal polyps. I know I need surgery; my G.P agreed with me and again referred me to the hospital. The appointment was today. I arrived early (parking can be a nightmare) and was seen half an hour earlier than planned. The specialilst looked up my nose, told me I had nasal polyps, ad that he would put me on the waiting list for surgery.
I explained I was on the waiting list, that they’d booked me for surgery the week I was starting a new job, I’d asked for a postponement, and that was two years ago. The specialist laughed and made the observation that whoever it is that organises the operating lists was hopeless, and that I was starting waiting on the list again. The two-year delay has just been swept under the carpet.
I shall wait patiently for a date for the operation and lodge the formal complaint once I can breathe again..
I came home, collected the hounds, and we drove out to Badlesmere. "er indoors TM" has got a series of geocaches out there and she’d had reports that some needed maintenance. She’d also hidden two relatively recently that I hadn’t found, so I thought I could track those two down, do her maintenance, and walk the dogs somewhere where Pogo wouldn’t be trying to pick fights all the time.
We got out to Badlesmere and had a mostly good walk. The walk went well when the dogs could run. Not so good when they had to be on the leads. Three dogs is too many. We did the secret geo-things, and with walk and geo-stuff done we came home again.
It was a shame that she’d told me to maintain ones that were fine, and not told me to maintain the one that had gone missing… woops!
We came home to find the postman had been. The most recent “Viz” magazine was on the doormat. I do like “Viz”; I’ve been reading it for over twenty years. Mostly whilst on the loo. Talking of which, I quickly ran round the garden harvesting dog turds. Bearing in mind how much the hounds dump when out and about I can’t see how we get quite so much dung in the back garden. It all went down the chod-bin; copious buckets of water and stirring with a trowel shifted it all. I then read some of “Viz”.
I had a sandwich whilst watching more of Ricky Gervais’ “After Life”, then had a shower and went to bed for the afternoon. Treacle laid on the bed next to me and was as good as gold. I think (to be fair to the hounds) this is entirely the problem with the dogs. Each dog is individually a wonderful creature; it is having three of them that I am finding problematical.
Having said that, I would have slept better had Fudge not spent the afternoon barking at random shadows.
After three hours I got up and fed dirty laundry into the washing machine. With the volume turned up I reviewed the on-line lectures on last week’s part of the botany course. I finally passed this week’s test on the fifth attempt. I’d been studying about how plants “see”. It turns out they do respond to light in quite a few odd ways. I’m now on to the lectures about how plants “smell”.
"er indoors TM" will be home soon. I’m hoping she’ll boil up some dinner, then I’m off to the night shift. I’m hoping I can set off early enough to go shopping on the way. If I can get some plastic tubs I might just get my new geo-series in place on Wednesday…
12 March 2019 (Tuesday) - After the Night Shift
After a rather busy night shift I made my way home. As I drove down the motorway the Secretary for the Environment Michael Gove was being interviewed on the radio. He was one of the leading lights in the run-up to the Brexit referendum three years ago, but now he seems to have pretty much vanished into obscurity. He was talking about today’s Parliamentary vote on the Prime Minister’s deal which was comprehensively rejected a few weeks ago. He was most insistent that there not be a second referendum even though that was effectively exactly what Parliament was doing today.
Once home I said hello to "er indoors TM", loaded the hounds into the boot of my car (they seem to have latched on to the idea of being boot-dogs) and drove down to Woodchurch. A geocache went live there last night and no one had claimed the First to Find.
There is this etiquette when logging a First to Find that you make out that you “happened to be in the area” or was “just passing” or “had an appointment nearby”. None of those applied to me today. I went to Woodchurch deliberately to try for that First to Find. And I got it. I was rather pleased about that.
(It since turned out that I beat two other people by minutes)
I’d had my fun; it was time for the dogs to have theirs. We all went back to the car and drove to Orlestone woods where we had a very good walk. I was able to let the dogs off of the leads before they jumped out of the car, so we had none of this dragging-me-up-the-street nonsense that spoils so many walks. We wandered round the woods; the dogs all sniffled and snuffled as we went. We met one other dog-walker and the encounter passed off without incident.
I took a few photos as we walked.
Orlestone woods is only a quarter of an hour away in the car; I might just drive the dogs down there more often rather than go round the park; if only for the sake of my nerves.
We came home, and I marched all the dogs to the bath. All had been swamp-monsters in the woods and so all needed a wash. Some more than others. Some just needed a quick hose-down of the paws; some needed the entire lower half scrubbing.
And with dogs and myself hosed down I went to bed for a while.
I woke four hours later and put some washing in to scrub. I scoffed toast, then ironed shirts. As I pootled about I put a film on Netflix. “Solis” was… Well, I won’t sugar-coat it. It was utterly crap and I turned it off half way through. For science-fiction to work it needs believable characters. And for all that the science *is* fiction, it has to be plausible. Falling into the sun makes for a good story-line *if* you are near enough to the sun to fall into it. The starship Enterprise travelling at warp speed would have got to the sun slower than the protagonist in “Solis”.
Instead I watched the last couple of episodes of Ricky Gervais’s “After Life”,
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a very good bit of scran. We washed it down with a bottle of plonk whilst watching “Bake Off”. And with al the plonk washed down I had a go at the last of the current bottle of port.
I say “current bottle of port”; there’s one or two ready in reserve…
13 March 2019 (Wednesday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept rather well; over a bowl of granola I channel-hopped on the telly eventually settling on “Butterflies” which was being broadcast on the UK Gold channel. Our Latin teacher used to rave about the show forty years ago (I have an “O”-level in Latin you know!).
I thought the show was crap back then, and my opinion hasn’t changed with time.
I had a little look at the Internet. Not much was happening on Facebook which was probably for the best. I had quite a few emails, but none which I really wanted. I saw a new geocache had gone live in Ruckinge, but I got a First to Find for this month yesterday. Others are wanting to keep monthly streaks going, so I left it for them. I’m currently on a four-month FTF streak. I once managed twenty-three months.
The plan for today was provisionally to go out and hide geocaches on the new series that I’m planning, but I hadn’t got everything ready so I thought that might keep till later. Instead I took the dogs down to Orlestone woods again. We had a rather good walk despite the mud. In over two hours we hardly saw anyone; just two other dog-walkers. But both encounters passed off without incident. Treacle did hide in terror from one of the other dogs, which is ironic bearing in mind how much she bullies Pogo.
As we walked I realised that these woods would be ideal for a geo-stroll, so I looked out a few suitable places for hiding Tupperware. I noted down over twenty good places to hide pots.
After five miles we found ourselves back at the car, and we drove home. The dogs were filthy, so they had a bath. They didn’t complain much really. I scoffed a sandwich whilst watching this week’s episode of “Alan Partridge” then made a start on organising that geo-series around Orlestone woods. Being Forestry Commission land, I knew I would need special permission so I messaged Gordon for advice. He sent through some useful websites and I made a start organising and calculating geo-projections. Two hours later Gordon messaged me. I’d stuffed up on the Magic Map. The entire area I was planning to use is a site of special scientific interest, and so no Tupperware would be allowed under any rocks anywhere near the place without all sorts of permissions.
I’ve phoned the nice people at Natural England and shall wait patiently for them to tell me “no”.
I took a deep breath and carried on working on the geo-project that I had been working on earlier in the week. It is now effectively ready; all I have to do is go out and hide the things. I’m provisionally thinking of doing that next Thursday.
I then went down the road to Curry’s/PC World where I got a bit irate. Last week I spoke with the fix-it people in Curry’s/PC World about my lap-top’s keyboard. Since I bought the thing in July 2016 I’ve been paying a monthly fee to get it fixed just in case it goes tits-up. It’s not broken, it’s just that regular on-line ranting on my part has taken its toll on the thing; specifically the “A”. “S” ,“H” and “L” keys. They work just fine; it’s just that the actual letter has worn off of each of those keys.
Last week the nice man on the fix-it counter said this was a common problem, and I should take the thing in and he’d pop a new keyboard in. Unfortunately the nice man wasn’t there today. Instead they had the officious jobsworth on duty. He had never heard of the lettering of a key wearing off (the implication was that I had been doing something unwholesome with the “A”. “S” ,“H” and “L” keys). He was sure that wear and tear on the letters was not covered by any guarantee. I said I didn’t care about guarantees and that I’d pay if I had to. Seeing that his shallow attempt to get me to piss off had failed, he grudgingly phoned head office. After an incredibly long time he told me that he would send the lap-top off to them. It would be away for a week, and that his company couldn’t guarantee not to totally bollox the thing up. I told him I’d take it somewhere else, to which he replied that anyone else fiddling with it would invalidate the warranty. He had no reply at all when I asked him what the warranty was worth if his own company might well knacker the thing.
The officious jobsworth was adamant that they’d *never* done in-store servicing and repairs when they most certainly have, and I was told when I bought my lap-top that most repairs would be done whilst I waited.
If any of my loyal readers know how to install a new keyboard onto an HP laptop… And if any of my loyal readers have anything guaranteed by pissy world, I’d suggest the check the small print.
I came home and had a cuppa whilst I calmed down. I planned a little adventure for tomorrow morning before the late shift, then completed the next section of my Coursera course. I passed the test first time this time.
"er indoors TM" came home and knocked up some rather good scran which we scoffed whilst watching “Derry Girls”.
For a rostered day off I’ve been rather busy… I’m feeling rather worn out.
14 March 2019 (Thursday) - Late Shift
I wasn’t feeling very well went I went to bed last night. I slept well, but wasn’t really on top form this morning. Is it the nasal polyps giving me gyp? Am I still tired from Monday’s night shift? Or have I got the lurgy? In any event I had two options from which I could choose. I could retire to bed and sulk, or I could get on with life. I chose to get on with life, even if I did whinge for sympathy from anyone who was listening.
I made toast this morning, and scoffed it whilst looking at Facebook. Facebook was having technical issues yesterday. The ability to post, comment or react to anything was working intermittently at best, and I’d been unable to send birthday videos to anyone. It was as well that it was fixed – four friends had birthdays today.
I took the dogs for their morning walk. Over the last few days the dogs have been loaded into the car and we’ve driven to a wood. This has the advantage that I don’t get dragged up the street, and that we don’t end up squabbling with the normal people. Today we went back to the park. I wasn’t dragged *that* much really. Pogo only picked one fight, and it was a shame that Fudge tried to hump the rather mangy-looking hound of a passing vagrant, but all things considered it could have been a lot worse.
Once home I extracted the ultra-violet light bulb from the fish poo filter. It needs changing yearly and for all that they have letters and numbers written on them, I’ve found from bitter experience that the only way to get the right replacement bulb is to take the old one into the shop and ask the nice man for one like that.
I didn’t head off to work right away, I had planned a little geo-mission for this morning before work, but it was a wet morning and I wasn’t feeling on top form. So whilst the dogs snored I had a look at my Coursera botany course. Having learned all about how plants respond to light and to smells, now I’m learning how they respond to touch. Plants are rather strange things, you know.
After half an hour of sitting quietly with me, Treacle got up and was sick. I wonder what that was all about.
With dog vomit cleared I set off in the general direction of work. As I drove up the motorway I saw miles and miles of lorries queuing on the coast-bound carriageway. "Operation Stack" was in full flow.
Rather than going directly to work I popped to the aquatic shop in Aylesford to replace that light tube from the fish poo filter. Pausing only briefly to completely fail to find a geocache just up the road from the shop, I got to Aylesford Aquatic just as the heavens opened. I didn't get *too* wet as I sprinted from my car to the shop. I got my fluorescent tube, and I also got myself a bag of Cadbury mini-eggs to scoff on the way home.
I went in to work, and (as I do when on the late shift) I went to the canteen. Broccoli cheese and chips set me up for the afternoon. Looking back, I might have set myself up better by going home and phoning in sick; I really struggled through the day today. But I can't complain really. I quite like my job which is much more than I could say three years ago. I do like the odd hours. My "Monday morning at nine o'clock" was lunch time on Thursday this week. And we had more cake than sense at work today.
I like cake…
15 March 2019 (Friday) - Raspberry Farming in Kosovo
I slept like a log; eventually waking five minutes before the alarm was due to go off. As I scoffed my granola I watched last night’s episode of “Still Game” before sparking up my lap-top for a look-see at the Internet. Facebook seems to have recovered from its hiccup earlier in the week, and people were once more using it to transmit to the world. Petty triviality, holiday snaps and (unfortunately) hatred were posted in varying amounts.
And with only one email in my inbox I set off to work
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the utter debacle that is Brexit. With the Prime Minister's plans having been laughed out of Parliament for the second time and the possibility of a second referendum now seemingly dead in the water, the plan is now to ask the EU for a deferment of Brexit.
With no plans at all (and no hope of any) the UK should e6ither leave the EU without a deal right now (and lose Northern Ireland), or give up on the whole sorry idea. Demonstrably there are no other alternatives.
There was also talk about thousands of school children walking out of their lessons today. They are apparently having a strike in protest about the global climate change catastrophe. Whilst I sympathise with the sentiment, how many are *really* walking out for environmental reasons, and how many know a good skive when they see one?
My journey to work was rather different today. Usually when seconded to Tunbridge Wells I drive along the A262, then up the A21. However there are often delays at Goudhurst when long lorries get stuck at the double bend by Goudhurst church. Finding myself behind such a lorry as I drove in to Goudhurst this morning, I turned right to take the back road in to work via Horsmonden. Avoiding the stuck lorry and the queues on the A21 I got to work half an hour earlier than I had planned, and I had time to find a geocache (that I have previously failed to find) as well. It was one that hadn't been found in over a year - another resuscitation. Happy dance.
As I walked in to work half an hour earlier than planned I could smell the cooked breakfast that had been prepared in the canteen. So I went for a quick fry-up. Very tasty.
At tea break I got talking with a colleague. She is leaving work in the next few weeks. She is jacking it all in to become a raspberry farmer in Kosovo. This made me look back on my life. I *could* have been a policeman. I *could* have owned a restaurant on Hastings sea front. I *could* have gone to Antarctica with the British Antarctic Survey. I *could* have gone to St. Helena for half a year.
Don't get me wrong - my life isn't bad. But sometimes I do wonder what it might have been... And is it too late to become a Kosovan raspberry farmer?
I had a bit if a restless night – my dodgy nose didn’t help. I wonder how long it will be before I hear back from the hospital?
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. It was much the same as ever, really. Not much had changed really. I sent out birthday wishes to some people having birthdays, and de-friended others. As I do.
I then had another go at getting my lap-top sorted. Several of the keys have had the lettering wear off over time. During the week I established that fixing it was beyond the ability of Currys /PC World, so I took my lap-top to the nice man in Bond Road. He seemed friendly enough and had a look-see. Apparently changing these lap-top keyboards is straight-forward, but a bit of a faff. Half the battle is getting the right part, or so I’m told. He took down my particulars (oo-er!) and said he'd be in touch. He seemed far less utterly useless than the bloke in Currys/PC World, so here's hoping.
I came home to find "er indoors TM" had got the dogs organised, and we took them out to Pluckley for a little walk. One of her geocaches had gone missing (one I'd checked on a couple of months ago!) so we thought we could replace it and walk the dogs at the same time. We had a good walk. Despite the overnight rain it wasn't *that* muddy. We only saw one other dog-walker but we were able to give him a wide berth. Avoiding the park means that there are far less chance of squabbling with normal people or having altercations with nutters, and the dogs don't run under the wheels of cyclists, and only seeing one other person is ideal to achieve that.
We got back to the car just as the rain started. Good timing !!
As we drove home I learned something. "er indoors TM" had a CD playing in the car. I didn't realise this, but apparently Katy Perry sings very nicely and *doesn't* howl as though she's got her tits caught in a mangle. I thought she did; I am reliably informed I was wrong. One lives and learns.
The walk did take a little longer than expected, and so once home I grabbed my sandwich box and set off for work. I did snigger at the Matalan roundabout. Traffic heading on to the roundabout and going town-wards was moving rather slowly and was quite seriously bunched up. You would have thought that anyone driving away from town would have seen this and driven with a little care. You wouldn't expect anyone to fly down the road at breakneck speed then rudely be blasting the horn at anyone in the way. Especially not when they were in the company's van. I wonder if the bosses at JH Carpentry would have been impressed?
Pausing only for petrol (still far cheaper in Maidstone than in Ashford) I went in to work. Macaroni cheese and apple pie went down well, then on with the late shift. During a break for a cuppa I checked Facebook on my phone. My cousin had got the sulks. Being a breast cancer survivor, she has to have regular check-ups. She'd got the results of the most recent visit to the hospital, and she'd been told that the examination of her breasts showed they were "unremarkable". I did snigger.
I might just bring this up from time to time…
17 March 2019 (Sunday) - Lynsted Revisited
As I looked at Facebook over brekkie it seemed that there were some rugby matches yesterday. It was somewhat ironic that many of those who were most vocal about the things were those who have been very vocal in their opposition to a second Brexit referendum. This made me think…
Italy played France yesterday. According to Wikipedia this is the forty-first time that this has been played, and the vast majority of the matches were won by France.
Ireland played Wales yesterday. Wikipedia would have us believe these two countries are more evenly matched, with Wales winning sixty-eight previous matches to Ireland’s fifty-one.
And England played Scotland. Again. England having won seventy-five previous encounters; Scotland forty-three times and eighteen matches have been drawn.
So… dare I ask… having played these same games so many times before, why on earth did they need to be played again?
I then had a look at my emails. Amazon have been hounding me to leave reviews on stuff I’ve bought from them. Have you ever read any reviews on Amazon? So many of them are just so ridiculously unbelievable. How can anyone be gushing with praise and over-excitement about how wonderful their mundane purchase was. I seriously considered putting “the landing net I bought was so brilliant I wet myself with excitement” but thought better of it. However the trouble is this: what *can* I say which is honest but not ridiculous? “I bought a landing net which does the job” is rather dull. And anything short of expressing undying love and adulation is seen as very disrespectful on the part of the seller. This is particularly true with e-books on Amazon. Seemingly each one now ends with a note from the author begging for good reviews.
I was just about to get myself organised to go out when I received an email. A new geocache had gone live which (from the description) might well have been in the general vicinity of where we would be walking today. I wasted forty minutes solving a puzzle to find it was fifteen miles distant. Oh dear.
We got into the car and drove to Sainsburys for petrol and cash. Yet again the money machine didn’t give me a receipt. It never does.
It wasn’t long before we were in Lynsted where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. They’d met other friends who were also tracking down the elusive Tupperware.
Last week’s walk had taken us past a rather good pub, but from there we didn’t have enough time to look for all the caches in the area. We deliberately left a loop of a dozen caches for another time. And with some of us feeling a tad under the weather, that short series was ideal for today. Bearing in mind the overnight rain I walked in wellies; but the ground wasn’t *that* soggy. The country lanes were covered in mud, though. It was a good walk; the dogs were able to run free for much of it. And we even found a rather good sheltered place to picnic whilst the rain shower passed.
You can see photos from our walk by clicking here.
It was a shame that "er indoors TM"’s new sat-nav was still playing up. I wonder if the nice people at Garmin might be able to help us with it?
After a couple of hours we were back where we started. A rather short walk by our standards, but this cold-thing I’ve got had left me rather breathless and my right leg was aching rather a lot (I wish I knew why), so we went into the beer garden of the Black Lion for a pint or two. Goacher’s dark ale is good stuff; ideal for washing down the crisps and peanuts.
We took a rather circuitous route home what with road works on the A20. Once home I spent a little time preparing the pots and assorted containers for the new geo-series I am hoping to put out this week. It is amazing how long it takes to wrap some camo-tape round some plastic tubs.
I spent a little while looking at the geo-map vaguely thinking about planning another geo-series, then did some more Coursera – do plants feel? They certainly respond to touch, but do they feel pain? I don’t know.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we devoured whilst watching last week’s episode of “The Orville”, and then I did more of my plants course.
I failed the test on this section. Twice.
18 March 2019 (Monday) - This n That
As I scoffed toast this morning I watched the first episode of “Love, Death and Robots”. It was rather violent, a tad saucy, and rather good. I wonder how the rest of the series will pan out.
I felt rather smug as I looked at the Internet this morning. Yesterday evening I did some CPD – I have to keep up to date with all that goes in in the world of blood science (it’s a legal requirement) and as part of that I wrote a little Google document about lymphocytes and posted it to a work-related Facebook group. Overnight the thing had received nearly a hundred and eighty “likes”. I was rather amazed at that. but then again, there are thirty thousand people in that Facebook group of which less than fifty contribute with any regularity. In many ways this is the Internet, isn’t it? Everyone watches, few actually do things. I wish more people would.
I had another go at the end of module quiz on that Coursera course I’m doing, and failed another three times. I wondered if I might perhaps revisit a couple of the video lectures.
Pausing only briefly to fuss the waking dogs I set off to find where I’d left my car.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about Brexit (as if they talk about anything else these days). They were interviewing someone or other from the Democratic Unionist Party who was taking great pains to claim that the Prime Minister wasn't giving Northern Ireland massive amounts of money for the votes of their MPs. Perhaps she is, perhaps she isn't. But either way it will take a *lot* more votes than those of the DUP MPs to salvage the wreckage of her Brexit (so-called) deal.
I must admit my attention wavered as the radio show wittered on. For all that Brexit actually is the most momentous thing to happen in British politics for years, it is getting really tedious. There isn't really any chance of Parliament agreeing on any deal, so either the Prime Minister should either give up at trying to get a deal or give up with Brexit. The trouble is that both options requires more courage than most politicians have got.
I stopped off at Aldi to get my shopping. That was fun. I arrived just before they opened, and when the doors opened, half a dozen of us walked in. One sour-faced woman rushed past everyone, snatched the first thing on a shelf that came to hand, slapped it on the conveyor belt at the till, and went off to get the rest of her shopping. I got my bits and pieces and went to the till to see no one but the cashier there. The cashier called me forward. I pointed out the shopping that had been left on the conveyor. Was this supposed to stake a claim at the front of the queue? The cashier insisted I came forward. So I did. I paid for my bits, and the cashier then started serving the next customer. Quite a queue had formed behind me.
Just as I was walking away the silly woman who'd put some stuff onto the conveyor came running up, aggressively demanding that she was first in the queue and that everyone else should take their turns. I hurried to my car as it all started to kick off.
I do seem to attract these nutters. Is it just me whose life is plagued by them?
I went to work, I had a rather busy day, I came home again. "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner then went off bowling. I revisited the video lectures on calcium transport in plant leaves and managed to pass the test on the sixth attempt.
I’ve set the washing machine loose on my smalls; I might just watch some more of that “Love, Death and Robots”; I wonder if it will carry on in the same vein?
19 March 2019 (Tuesday) - Book Reviews
I slept reasonably well, but was still wide awake an hour before the alarm was due to sing at me. I got up and watched two more episodes of “Love Death and Robots”. Each episode is rather short and rather absorbing. In just one day I’ve got a third of the way through the first season.
I then had a look at Facebook and defriended yet another hate-monger. This was one who loudly and regularly bangs on about being a Christian, but like quite a few Christians, he never practises what he preaches. I was tempted to ask why he felt that the European Union was any way reminiscent of Hitler’s Third Reich? The only similarity that I could see is that they both are across the sea. But for many people in today’s Britain, coming from over the other side of the English Channel is reason enough to hate.
Such a shame.
Mind you, with him gone I’ve still got over five hundred other people on my friends list, so I doubt I’ll miss him.
I also had an email from LinkedIn asking if I would like to send a message of congratulations to Ledina Mino who was now been working Pegasus Med Laboratory for five years. I drafted a message to LinkedIn asking who Ledina Mino was, and where and what was “Pegasus Med Laboratory” but then I saw the email had come from one of those no-reply email accounts. I suppose they do that deliberately.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were blathering about Brexit (yet again). Apparently the Prime Minister *isn't* going to be allowed to waste any more Parliamentary time squabbling about her moribund Brexit deal because it has already had the thumbs-down twice before. To support his position in saying "NO!!" the speaker of the House of Commons has cited all sorts of historical precedents going back to 1604. There are those who think this is a bad thing. There are those who think it pedantic, or even ridiculous. However this is what you get from having a Parliamentary democracy with rules. Perhaps the rules are rubbish, but they are British rules (!) (You'd think that the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson would be pleased about that!)
There was also talk about the terrorist atrocity in New Zealand last weekend. The New Zealand premier has said that she will not speak the name of the perpetrator of the terror attack as this just gives him posthumous publicity. I think she's right. Interestingly this isn't a new idea. I wonder if she has read Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" books?
I got to work; I did my bit. Over lunch break I finished my e-book. And following on from last week's rant about National Book Week I'm going to be a bit more vocal about what books I like and what books I don't. "Do You Dream of Terra Two?" by Temi Oh had been appearing in adverts on my Facebook feed for some weeks. I downloaded it thinking it was a decent sci-fi book. It wasn't. It was effectively a teenage angst story set in outer space written by someone with a very dubious grasp on orbital mechanics. Whilst it is rather simplistic to give a book a score, a score is what Amazon want. I'd be hard pressed to give it more than two out of five.
Talking of which, a week or so ago I mentioned about a little book-related project I started. I worked on it a little bit more. You can see what I’ve been reading recently by clicking here.
I came home. "er indoors TM" was a little late, so she came home via the chip shop. We scoffed cod and chips whilst watching this week’s celebrity Bake-Off. I say “celebrity” Bake-Off. Johnny Vegas is famous, but with him was an MP, an athlete, and some very noisy idiot who left half-way through. I looked the bloke up on the Internet. He’s apparently a rapper. I think they missed off the “c”…
20 March 2019 (Wednesday) - Early Shift
I slept like a log and woke feeling full of energy and raring to go only to find that it was eleven minutes past three, and that an alliance of all three dogs had left me hanging off the edge of the bed. Bearing in mind the old adage of letting sleeping dogs lie, I made the most of the six inches of bed that had been left for me and dozed fitfully. I might have had a better night if I’d ben allowed any duvet, but that wasn’t happening.
Over a bowl of granola I watched two more episodes of “Love Death and Robots”. Very good episodes, but again the makers of TV shows made the mistake of not realising you can’t do raucous racy graphic sex scenes in which the protagonists keep their pants on.
I then had a look at Facebook. That dull work-related thing I’d posted on Monday night had received its three hundred and sixth “like”. Bearing in mind other posts on that work-related Facebook group were only getting thirty of forty “likes” I was rather pleased with myself.
I also had an email telling me of a job at work. I knew there was going to be a vacancy at a grade above my current one. Do I want to go back in to management? Part of me thinks I should because that’s what people do. Part of me thinks “been there, done that – finally happy at work”. In retrospect I left management under what I could only describe as less than deal circumstances and would like to have stepped down on my own terms. However I was in a managerial position for nearly twenty-five years and looking back I was never anywhere near as happy at work as I am now.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Pope has made a declaration about human rights and their being applied (or not) to artificial intelligences. Apparently there is a robotics conference going on at the Vatican (of all places) next week, and I can only assume that His Holiness has been watching the Sy-Fy channel and mistaking it for Sky News.
There was also an interview with the Prime Minister of New Zealand who was talking about the aftermath of the terrible mass murders which took place at a mosque there over the last weekend. She's appalled, and rightly so. So am I. But I got thinking. New Zealand has recently taken in a *lot* of refugees and immigrants, and if history teaches us anything, it is that humans don't like anyone or anything which is different to themselves. On the one hand the developed world has a moral obligation to help those less fortunate than themselves. On the other hand, doing so is a red rag to the bull of human intolerance.
One for His Holiness to sort out (during the Sy-Fy channel's advert break) perhaps?
I got to work, but an early start meant for an early finish. I came home and walked the dogs. I had intended to walk them over at Great Chart, but as I drove home the traffic at that part of town was so heavy that I just parked the car and we all walked round the park. Only one cyclist skidded because of us, but Pogo did try to pick a fight with a Doberman.
It has been a little while since we were last at the park; the gardeners have done wonders with the Chinese garden. I do like the park, but it is hard work with three dogs.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scran. We scoffed it whilst catching up with what the Sky-Plus box ad been recording over the last week. “Young Sheldon”, “Big Bang Theory”, “Derry Girls”. We washed the scran down with a bottle of Tempranillo red wine. It was bloody awful. If any of my loyal readers need their drain unblocking I can’t recommend the stuff highly enough. But if you want something to have with your dinner, I’d recommend toilet duck over this stuff.
21 March 2019 (Thursday) - A Day Off
Treacle did have something of a spat with Pogo in the night. I wish she wouldn’t. "er indoors TM" refereed it whilst I tried to sleep.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Love Death and Robots”, but as I watched it I had something of a mini-revelation. For all that it is a very good show, didn’t “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits” do pretty much the same thing seventy years ago?
Once the dogs had scoffed their brekkie we went for a little walk round the park. It could have gone better; it could have gone a whole lot worse. The trouble with walking the dogs round the park is (quite frankly) the other dog walkers. Most are fine; most realise that the dogs themselves need to get used to each other. There is usually a lot of sniffing, a bit of shouting, and then it is one big game. The trouble comes from the dog owners who don’t really understand how a dog’s brain works, and pick up their darling pooches every time another dog comes close. Pogo had an incident with one such dog today. After it was all done the woman who had had the hump with us started running us down to another dog walker. By chance this other dog walker was an old friend of ours who told her exactly and precisely what Pogo is like, and that her idiot actions couldn’t have upset him more. Maybe this woman will learn, maybe she won’t.
I also got accosted by the Jehovah’s Witnesses again. They are still employing the shallow ruse of sending out two young ladies whose legs go all the way up to their bums and whose chests are set to overload. They both came up to me and told me what lovely dogs I had, and asked my name, and fluttered their eyelashes, It was as well that Fudge picked that very moment to try to hump a passing spaniel otherwise Jesus might just have had me for a sunbeam.
I took the dogs home, and then I set off on a little mission. Firstly to the fishing tackle shop for some scopex squid wafters. I have absolutely no idea what “scopex squid wafters” are, but I read on one of the local Facebook fishing pages that “scopex squid wafters” are *the* ideal bait for where we plan to go fishing tomorrow. I’m hoping "My Boy TM" will know what to do with them.
I then drove round to Singleton to hide the geocaches on the series I’ve been working on recently. As I walked I met a bunch of ramblers coming the other way. Most of them just smiled and said hello, but one chap stopped me. He was intrigued by “Hannah” (my GPS unit). He felt I was incredibly brave going out walking in the countryside on my own; he wouldn’t dare go out alone as he would be sure to get hopelessly lost. He wondered that if he got himself a GPS unit then he might not have to go out with the ramblers to look after him. Just as I thought that I’d picked up yet another stray (!) he realised just how far in front his group had gone, and he hurried off so as not to get left behind.
After three hours I was back at the car. I came home, and scoffed a little lunch. As the washing machine scrubbed laundry I then did all the necessary geo-admin for the cache series I’d hidden. Despite having prepared everything in advance, it still took me an hour to tell the geo-feds what I’d done this morning.
I then got the ironing board out and got busy. As I ironed I watched a film. I’d recorded “Brighton Rock” from the TCM channel because I thought it was a classic. It was only when I finally got to the end of the film that I remembered that the TCM in the channel’s name stands for “Totally Crap Movies”.
With "er indoors TM" off out with her mates this evening I was left to forage for my dinner. I foraged in the general direction of the kebab shop, and I scoffed kebab with the help of the wolf-pack. As we scoffed so my phone went absolutely doolally as eighty-eight emails came in at once. The geo-feds had given my new series the thumbs-up. However for each film pot that I’d stuck under a rock I had a notification that the geo -feds had dealt with it, a notification that they had published it, a notification that there was a new film pot under a rock, and a notification that *my* film pot under the rock had gone live.
Finding myself “home alone” I thought I might take the opportunity to do some of my Coursera course on plants. I did an entire module (how plants respond to gravity) and got full marks in the test on the first attempt. Bearing in mind how I’ve struggled with some of the tests so far, I was rather pleased about this.
Now my geo-series is live I’m thinking about doing another…
22 March 2019 (Friday) - Gone Fishing
Yesterday I put out a series of geocaches. They all went live at half past seven in the evening, and (despite my written instructions) had all been found by midnight. On the one hand I’m glad they were all found. On the other hand you can sometimes tell when people have been caching at night as the things aren’t always hidden as well afterwards as they are hidden when you’ve got daylight to help you see what you are doing.
Hopefully someone will go out tomorrow and put the things away if there are any issues.
Over a bowl of granola I watched another episode of “Love Death and Robots”, then got myself organised. I drove round to collect "My Boy TM" and then we drove to McDonalds for McBrekkie. You can’t beat a sausage and egg McMuffin. It was a shame the McAssistant mumbled so much though.
Suitably replete we popped to Tesco for dog biscuits (bait), and then on to Hartley Lands fishery. We were on the lake side by half past seven.
I tried out my “scopex squid wafters”; realistically that was seven quid down the drain.
As we fished we could see large carp on the surface of the pond. All the books and all our experience says that on a cold March day the fish should be at the bottom of the lake, They weren’t. They weren’t last time we fished there either. That’s why we got the dog biscuits. With the fish on the surface of the water we needed a bait that floats. Or, more precisely, we needed something that floats to attract the fish. We had “pop-ups” as bait – they float. The idea of the dog biscuit is that you put a pop-up on a hook and cast it out. You then chuck out dog biscuit around the pop-ups to attract the fish, and they scoff the lot – dog biscuit, pop-up and all.
Fish aren’t stupid though. They scoffed all the dog biscuits and left the pop-ups.
This was when I had my idea. I would put a dog biscuit on a hook. Because the dog biscuits are rock-hard I thought I might bore a hole in one with my baiting needle….
For the non-piscatorial of my loyal readers a baiting needle is an incredibly sharp barbed metal spike which you use to poke holes in solid baits. Hence the name. It is incredibly sharp, and is slightly larger than the javelins that athletes throw around in the Olympic games (or so I maintain!). As I tried to bore a hole in a dog biscuit I slipped and rammed the thing an inch into my finger. “Alas” I said. “How unfortunate. Aren’t I a silly goose?” or words to that effect. Looking back I think that most of the words I said began with the letter “f” and rhymed with “cluck”. The baiting needle was wedged deep in my hand, and the barbed end prevented me from getting it out. We tried minor surgery, but none of our knives were sharp enough to cut flesh. Ironically the baiting needle was, but that was embedded in my paw.
By the time the first fruit of my loin had finished laughing we realised that we had a choice. (I say ”we” – it was down to me, really). I *could* go up the local hospital to have the thing removed, but that would involve trusting "My Boy TM" with the key to my car. And having left the pass card to the hospital’s staff car park at home, I wasn’t going to pay for parking in the visitor’s area. So I grabbed the baiting needle and gave it a good yank. It *really* hurt but stayed put. So I took a deep breath, and as my eldest shouted “DAD – DON’T DO IT…” I gave it an incredibly strong yank whilst twisting the thing.
There wasn’t *that* much blood really. And the baiting needle survived. Eventually my finger stopped bleeding.
We had a rather good time (despite the blood). You can see photos of the day here. I would like to have stayed longer, but I was *so* cold. Possibly blood loss, or possibly I need to get some long johns.
I came home to find Treacle in the front window watching the world go by. I went up to the window and stared at her to provoke a reaction. She didn’t bat an eyelid. Once I’d got my fishing gear away I spent a little while preparing my next geo-project until "er indoors TM" came home with "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". S.B.O.D. and I played Lego for a while until it was bed time.
I wonder what mayhem he will wreak tomorrow…
My finger still hurts.
23 March 2019 (Saturday) - Jake Stayed Over
I slept rather well; but I was still wide awake a couple of hours earlier than I would have liked to have been awake. I gave up trying to sleep, and scoffed a bowl of granola whilst watching two more episodes of “Love Death and Robots” whilst Fudge snored on the sofa next to me. After a little while I began to hear the sounds of crashing from upstairs. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" had awoken to bring chaos to an unsuspecting world.
Chaos ensued for a few minutes. Realising that "er indoors TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" weren’t going to be going anywhere or doing very much very soon, and also realising that the dogs were getting rather fractious I took the hounds out for a little walk. I decided to begin to finalise my plans for a new geo-series. I won’t say where we went; in the past I’ve had fellow hunters of Tupperware blag my ideas. But I will say we had a rather good walk.
After four hours we came home to find that other than S.B.O.D. having played Lego, we’d not missed much at home. S.B.O.D. and I played Lego for a while until he got bored. Then, as he harangued his grandmother, I started working on the geo-admin for my new geo-series.
Eventually we all got bored with what we were doing, and we all took the dogs to the beach. Taking the dogs to the beach sounds like a good idea, but on a cold March afternoon it wasn’t quite such a good one. Especially as grandson hoiked rocks into the sea for the dogs to fetch. He didn’t get *very* wet, but it was only a few seconds before the hounds were soaked. We then walked along the beach a little to try to dry them out. I do like the beach, but it was *cold*!!
Mind you I was amazed by a house we saw. You can see the details by clicking here. It looks as though it would fall down if I were to so much as fart in its general direction, and it is up for sale at over a million pounds.
We came home; we had a bit of dinner. I say “we”; littlun wasn’t hungry. He watched a little telly, then announced he wanted to go to bed. With "er indoors TM", "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM", Treacle and Pogo all off to kip upstairs, Fudge made the most of having a snoring session of his own downstairs. I finished as much of the geo-admin from this morning’s outing as I could and sent it off to see if the geo-feds will stand for it. I hope they do; I’ve put a lot of work into it.
24 March 2019 (Sunday) - Toddler Hysteria
I was having such a good sleep when Treacle came for a fight at half past six this morning. She does like a fight. Eventually she conceded defeat and cleared off. I had hardly rolled over in my pit when she came charging back in to the bedroom hotly pursued by "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" who was not happy that she’s stolen the very bit of Lego that he was playing with.
I came downstairs and hid on the sofa with Fudge as the youngest member of our tribe played football in the living room with his grandmother’s bowling ball.
As mayhem ensued I worked on my new geo-series. First of all I tweaked an existing Wherigo so that I could use it again, then I prepared my disclaimers. As one does.
Eventually we went out for a little walk. We thought we might get some pine cones to paint, and if we got them from where I went yesterday then I could test out my new Wherigo. My testing went well; it was a shame that S.B.O.D. just took the opportunity to go hysterical for absolutely no reason whatsoever *quite* so often.
We came home. The plan had then been to drive littlun back to Margate, but "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned to say that they would be over to collect him. I think she wanted a little drive out; she has been working in that shop rather a lot lately. So whilst "er indoors TM" and “Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" mucked about I cracked on with all the geo-admin for my new geo-project. Bearing in mind just how many dog-walks I get out of the hobby, it’s only fair I put something back into it. If nothing else this new project (together with the series that went out last week) will boost my “caching Karma”.
(“caching Karma” is something I discovered only last week. It’s a bit geeky, but everyone who rummages under rocks looking for film pots has a score (their “caching Karma”) which is defined as the number of finds people made of the specific person’s caches, divided by the number of finds that person has made on other people's caches. You can see anyone’s “caching Karma” score at project-gc.com/ProfileStats/xxxx in the “Hides” tab (where xxxx is the geocaching username of the person you are stalking). Ideally you want the score to be above one. That way people are finding what you’ve done more than you are finding what they have done.
My score is currently about two. Which ain’t bad).
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and Sam arrived and stayed for dinner. It was a shame that S.B.O.D. had to disgrace himself *quite* so much whilst they were watching. Or perhaps it was as well that they saw him?
He’s not a bad lad but perhaps I’m getting old; I can’t remember either of the fruits of my loin being quite such hard work. I’m quite worn out.
25 March 2019 (Monday) - Doggie Doggie Doggie !!!
Despite not actually having done that much over the weekend I was absolutely all-in last night, and slept for over seven hours.
I sparked up my lap-top and as I scoffed brekkie I finally managed to delete the “Quiz Planet” thingy from my Facebook account. "er indoors TM" had sent me a link to the app over the weekend, and I’d clicked on it. I’d since been bombarded with messages from the thing so now it has gone. My phone has quite enough to do already (and has a short enough battery life span) without this.
Sadly this seems to be the way of Facebook at the moment. When I joined it ten years ago it was something of a scrap-book where you could be nosey and see what your friends had been up to. This morning it was mostly “Quiz Planet” interspersed by people selling things, and people ranting about Brexit. I did see one thing posted which claims that the leader of the “Leave” campaign openly admitted that they won because of the lies they were pedalling. Is that true? If so, then a second referendum really should be staged (even if all the damage has already been done).
Mind you Facebook did tell me that a fellow hunter of Tupperware was having a birthday today so I sent a message. It still has some uses.
I took the dogs out for a little walk. As we walked up the road so a little toddler sprinted at as shouting “doggy doggy doggy” despite it’s mother screaming at her to come back. Then suddenly, quick as a flash, a slightly larger child appeared from nowhere (presumably the elder brother), rugby-tackled the first child to the floor, and started belting seven shade of sh*t out of her. As the mother ran up and tried to referee the fight, we all crossed the road. I think (to be fair) none of the dogs could be held responsible for this fracas. And for once, other than chasing a squirrel up a tree, the walk passed off completely without incident.
Such a relief.
Once home I installed the new light bulb into the fish-pond filter. I’d allowed myself half an hour to do it; it took five minutes. With the job done and as I turned the pump back on my phone beeped. An email from the geo-feds. The locations for my new geo-series are OK but the specific wording of the disclaimers I had to put in the descriptions wasn’t quite right. On the one hand that took up half an hour; on the other hand it needed doing and I was glad that the geo-feds were on the case so promptly to allow me to sort it out.
As I revised my disclaimers (as one does) the dogs declared a “Red Alert”; the postman had delivered the mail. My polling card for the upcoming local elections had arrived.
What’s that all about?
What was wrong with the last local elections?
Didn’t the people speak then?
Isn’t having another election massively disrespectful to those who voted last time?
I thought about cracking on with geo-checkers (doesn't everyone), but time was pushing. I settled the dogs (as best as anyone can settle three dogs who were by then fast asleep) and set off toward work. With the M20 bunged up with preparations for Brexit disaster I was rather glad to be working at Pembury today.
I stopped off at Lamberhurst to hunt out a geocache. According to the map there was one there I hadn't found which was only five minutes off of my way to work. According to the information given, the thing was supposed to be hidden in a multi-trunked tree. After a little rummaging about in the woods I found it laying on the ground where anyone might trip over it.
I did the secret geo-rituals, then stuffed it into a nearby tree, hoped for the best, and went on to work.
As I parked my car my heart sank. There was a horrendous mechanical grinding sound. My car was clearly not well; whatever was wrong with it sounded terminal. It was only when I turned the engine off that I realised it wasn't my car making a noise at all; it was the air-ambulance helicopter landing. I did snigger.
I went in to the works canteen. Braised steak and dumplings; rhubarb crumble and custard. That set me up for the late shift. But (as always when on the late shift) the day was effectively over by the early afternoon…
26 March 2019 (Tuesday) - A Glass of Plonk
I woke in something of a cold sweat in the early hours following a nightmare in which I had been seconded to work for the Church of England as a bishop on the strength of having an “O” level in Latin.
I didn’t really get back to sleep after that.
Over brekkie I watched last night’s episode of “Alan Partridge”, then did the first of the video lectures on the next section of my Coursera botany course. For all that plants are absolutely everywhere, when you really look at them closely and see what they do, they are *really* strange things. Far more so than any fictional alien I’ve ever come across in any sci-fi tale.
I then sparked up my lap-top for my morning’s root around the Internet. This morning there was not a single thing on my Facebook feed other than people selling things. Perhaps I was up and on-line too early? Seeing I also had no emails worth the electricity used to create and send them I did a little more of the necessary admin on my latest geo-project before setting off for work.
I spent a couple of minutes scraping the ice from the car's windscreen. Yesterday I started up the garden pond's filter thinking that spring as on the way, and this morning we had a heavy frost. Reality has got it wrong; the BBC said we are in for a warm spell.
I laughed out loud as I drove. The pundits on the radio announced that the Mexican government is seeking a formal apology from the Spanish authorities and the Pope for the behaviour of the conquistadors some five hundred years ago. How ridiculous. How can anyone alive today apologise for anything from so long ago?
The sad thing is that today's politicians *do* make apologies for stuff over which they could never have had any responsibility whatsoever.
There was also an interview with one of the ministers who resigned yesterday so that they could vote with Parliament so that the MPs could take over Brexit negotiations. This chap claimed that there are a myriad of schemes that Parliament hasn't debated. Admittedly most of them are stupid ideas, and very few have much support any MPs, but the plan is to consider loads of plans and throw out the most unworkable. Then reconsider all the suggestions again, and throw out what was then the most unworkable. And so on, until they are left with the least impractical suggestion.
Personally I would have thought it better to come up with the best idea rather than the least crap idea, but what do I know?
Work was rather fraught today; I was glad to get home. I sorted out five more geo-checkers before dinner. We had a rather good bit of scoff. A bottle of plonk, some port and stilton. The dogs helped me with that.
Not a bad evening…
27 March 2019 (Wednesday) - Late Shift
I slept rather well last night, but I had something of a rude awakening with a rather loud crash when Pogo fell off of the bed just before getting-up time.
I made some toast and scoffed it whilst Fudge sat with me on the sofa. As we scoffed I did another instalment of my Coursera course – short term memory of plants this time. I could have done more, but I heard movement upstairs (not just dogs falling off beds) so instead I did my usual trawl of the Internet. I saw that Stevie had been taken ill overnight and was broadcasting to Facebook from the local hospital. About the only thing I miss from that place is not being able to easily visit friends when they are poorly.
I did get cross with a certain family member who was spreading lies and misinformation about Brexit on Facebook. He wants out of the EU. That’s his opinion. However to support this position he is filling his Facebook page with stuff that he all but admits is lies; saying that he just wants people to talk about it. But what is there to talk about when any given item of (so-called) discussion is either factually wrong or is a thinly-veiled racist attack?
The dogs were keen to go for a walk this morning. I wasn’t. I’ve come to dread taking them out; it can be hard work. But despite Pogo tiddling on Fudge’s head, today’s walk went rather well. Pogo played nicely with other dogs and didn’t try to fight with anyone (on or off a lead). We met OrangeHead and her Chunky Little Friend and even that passed off without incident.
I got the eyelash-flutters from the Jehovah’s Witnesses again, but (to be honest) the appeal of that was as nothing to that of the bouncing chest of the lycra-clad joggers. I *think* the Rovers Witnesses have got to up their game a little to compete with that.
Once home I gave the pond fish some cornflakes. They seem to like cornflakes. I then tried to set the dishwasher going, but I found a vital component had fallen off. I fixed it and set it loose on the crockery, then created some more geo-checkers as one does (only five more to go) and learned some more about memory in plants (Coursera is great!).
I then set off in the general direction of work. I don’t like leaving the dogs, but all three were fast asleep.
As I drove there was an interesting article on the radio about the life and times of Queen Victoria as it appeared to her youngest daughter Princess Beatrice. It was fascinating... and then the person presenting this announced that she'd used this perspective as the basis of a ballet production.
The life and times of Queen Victoria in ballet?
I took a rather circuitous route to work this morning. About mid-way between home and work is Findings Wood. There are two geocaches in there that hadn't been found for over a year. Could I go for a double resuscitation? I went for it... The first one was a straightforward find. The second one not so. The hint said "under flint"; I arrived to find lumps of flint as far as the eye could see. But I had an idea of what to look for... I wasted twenty minutes rummaging about then found the cache in exactly the sort of place I thought I should have looked for in the first place.
As I hunted for Tupperware I was rather aware of something or someone nearby. I couldn't see anyone, but something big was moving about. Not in a frightening way, but certainly not in a stealthy way. Was it deer, perhaps?
Pausing only briefly to get petrol I drove in to work and had a rather good bit of dinner in the works canteen. Spicy chicken and chips; syrup sponge pudding with custard. Very tasty. Suitably replete I got on with a rather busy late shift. Mind you I was working with a weather eye on the travel news. There were several reports of the motorway home being impassable. For all that I am far happier working where I am now compared to where I used to be, there is no denying that the journey to and from work can be somewhat fraught at times.
The journey home wasn’t bad; but finding somewhere to park took some doing.
28 March 2019 (Thursday) - Stuff
I woke feeling refreshed, full of energy and raring to go only to find that it was a quarter past one. I dozed on and off for the rest of the night, finally giving up trying to get to sleep at six o’clock.
Over a bowl of granola I watched a couple of episodes of “Love Death and Robots”. They were good; why hasn’t the general public latched on to this show? I then watched another lecture about plant memory before peering into the depths of Facebook. It told me that one of my nephews was having a birthday today. He’s twenty. Twenty!! – and he is one of the younger ones. Where does the time go?
I had a few emails this morning. Several comments on blog entries over the past year. All trying to sell stuff. I reported the lot to the feds at Blogger; I wonder if anything will come of it? And LinkedIn suggested I might like to chum up with Kate Heitzman who is the boss maths teacher at a school in Tonbridge. With that unusual name I suspect she may be in some way related to a chap with whom I was at primary school some fifty years ago. But that struck me as a rather tenuous reason for anyone to suggest a friendship; cyber- or otherwise.
I created the last three checkers I needed for my new geo-series, then got myself ready to brave the journey to work.
As I drove up the motorway (at fifty miles per hour) the pundits on the radio were talking about the latest Brexit debacle. Parliament had decided that they would come up with a Brexit deal, and yesterday's parliamentary time was dedicated to doing that. In a move which has amazed everyone the world over, Parliament has thrown out pretty much any conceivable Brexit deal, as well as having thrown out the possibility of no Brexit deal whatsoever or of no Brexit at all.
There are those of my loyal readers who say they don't understand politics... what has happened is akin to going to a car showroom and announcing that you won't leave until you've bought a car, but don't like any car on the market. Or akin to going to a restaurant, demanding dinner and refusing everything on the menu.
It is just like how my four-year-old grandson behaves when he is having a tantrum.
Realistically it is an utter failure of democracy. What do you do when there is no agreement whatsoever? Someone has to make a choice knowing full well that large swathes of the population won't like it. Interestingly the Prime Minister has offered to resign over it all. But what will that achieve? Whoever takes over will have the same problem. The country is in an impossible position. Have I ever mentioned that democracy is a silly idea?
At lunch time I slipped out and went over the road from work where there is a charity shop. I bought a fake apple which will come in useful with the geo-series I'm working on, and I then went on-line to Amazon to order some camouflage tape to disguise the film pots which I shall shove under rocks to create this new geo-series. I've arranged to have the tape delivered to the Amazon locker at work some time tomorrow. Every day I look at that Amazon locker, and for some odd reason I get really jealous of people who are collecting stuff from it. Hopefully my turn will come tomorrow.
As I then scoffed a sandwich I finished another e-book. “Immortal” by Nick M Lloyd was… well… I bought this book as it kept cropping up on my Facebook feed. I read it right the way through which (in all honesty) is more than I have done with some e-books I've bought recently.
Goodies that turn out to be baddies and a rather one-dimensional villain are rather standard in many books. And although the ideas and concepts presented were rather thought-provoking, I originally encountered them in sci-fi over thirty years ago. Not a bad book really,,, but not great. Amazingly if you look at the book’s entry on Amazon it has nothing but five-star reviews. I couldn’t really score it more than three stars, but seeing how everyone else has raved over the book I didn’t leave a review.
With work done I came home (as most people do) and started putting camo tape on those film pots I intend to stick under rocks next week. I got twelve taped up; twenty more to do.
"er indoors TM" then boiled up a rather good bit of scoff which we polished off whilst watching “Young Sheldon” and “Derry Girls”, and then followed up wth port and stilton (the dogs like cheese!)
I then had a look at the household accounts. Not too shabby really… could be a *lot* worse.
I was supposed to have been on a night shift today. I swapped at the last minute… I’m sure I would have had a much duller day had I done the night shift.
29 March 2019 (Friday) - Too Much Cake
I slept like a log last night; such a shame that the dustmen have to be quite so noisy at five o’clock. They send people to move the bins so that it is easier for those bin men coming later with the lorry to get at the bins. Personally I would have thought sending the advance party a few minutes ahead of the bin lorry would have been a better idea than a few hours, but what do I know.
Over brekkie I watched the last two episodes of “Love Death and Robots”. I’ve seen all of them now – all *very* good. There’s no mention on-line of a second season yet. I remain hopeful.
I then had a little look at the internet as I do most mornings. Nothing much had happened overnight, and with no emails no getting deleted I finished off the current module in my Coursera course. I then amazed myself by passing the test on the first attempt.
I then left the house some two hours after the bin men had woken me. "er indoors TM" informs me that the bin lorry came round between half past seven and eight o’clock.
As I got in to my car to go to work I was very conscious that the original plan for this morning had been to be coming home from the night shift which I had swapped. Being at home today on what liked being a rather bright day was suddenly rather appealing.
I was also very conscious that the original plan for today was so-called "Independence Day" when Brexit would have come in to effect. The pundits on the radio were interviewing all sorts of people about the latest developments on that front. It would seem that after nearly three years of bickering and squabbling, Brexit will now ultimately be decided by whoever is stupid enough to become the next Prime Minster now that Mrs May has thrown in the towel.
I can see this dragging on and on...
On a more positive note, the pundits on the radio also announced that official figures just released say that with three weeks to go until Easter, one in four British adults have already scoffed at least one full-sized Easter egg. I haven't done so yet... perhaps I should?
I got to work and read my Kindle until it was time to leap in to action. I do that from time to time - it confuses my colleagues. Break time was good today. Working in a laboratory with blood and stuff means we can't have a cuppa as we work; we have to go for formal breaks. Someone had brought in cakes to celebrate her birthday. Quite a few cakes. You can't go wrong with too much cake. And I would have missed cake had I done last night's night shift.
As I scoffed cake so my phone beeped - an email. My camo tape had arrived in the Amazon locker just up the corridor from work (about ten yards up the corridor!). I went there, entered the combination I'd been given, and a door opened so I could get my parcel. It all took about ten seconds, and walking back to work I found I was disappointed. I don't know what I was expecting from the Amazon locker, but I was expecting more.
Once home I got out the drill and bored a hole in my fake apple (as one does), then carried on putting my camo tape to good use. Pausing only briefly to chuck cough mixture all over the floor "er indoors TM" boiled up fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s installment of “Star Trek: Discovery”. Both were rather good…
30 March 2019 (Saturday) - Tenyham to Lynsted (and back)
Over a bowl of granola I watched the last ever episode of “Still Game”; another really good TV show that has been missed by the masses.
I then sparked up my lap-top to see what was going on in the world. Facebook was something of a disappointment this morning. For all that I persevere with it, more and more it is becoming a second-rate version of eBay with people trying to sell stuff that in years gone by would have gone to a jumble sale. Mind you I did see one advert from the “Christian Leaders Alliance” offering me the opportunity to get ordained. I did laugh; I’ve already been ordained. I am actually an ordained minister in the Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic (“We don’t know and we don’t care”).
I yawned and stretched a bit (to the obvious bewilderment of the dogs) and got myself ready for the day.
We set off for Tenyham. As we drove we listened to Radio Ashford as a good friend was presenting the morning show. However it was a shame that his -um- guest -um- presenter -um-was -um-quite -um- so -um- hesitant. It didn’t make for a good show.
We stopped off on our way to hunt out a geocache we’d previously failed to find. Seeing that others had found the thing recently we wondered where we’d gone wrong. I found it after a couple of minutes. The rules of sticking film pots under rocks say that the things can’t be buried. I wouldn’t say that this one had been *actually* buried, but it had been shoved into the soft earth until the top of the thing was at ground level, and then had a load of soil dumped on it.
We were only a couple of minutes meeting up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we had a rather good walk from Tenyham out to Lynsted and back again hunting for film pots that had been stashed under rocks. Some were found easily, some were rather tricky. One involved sending "er indoors TM" up a tree, and one wasn’t there (or so we decided).
We planned our route so we would call in to the Black Lion in Lynsted over lunch time. We’ve popped in there on our last two walks, and hadn’t been disappointed. Today was similarly good, but there’s no denying that both the dark ale and the mild were past their best. Mind you the light ale was OK – I had two pints just to be sure. It was a shame that there was a child there who was terrified of dogs; if you just pat my hounds and say “yeah whatever” to them they soon clear off. But if you sit behind a bush waving a rag doll at them and then scream when they come close, they are going to think it is some sort of game.
I took a few photos whilst we were out. Today was a glorious day to be out. As we headed home my phone beeped. Someone had been walking the series of geocaches I hid last week. They hadn’t been able to find the one near the railway crossing. As it would only be a ten-minute diversion, we went to check on it. Sure enough, it was missing. I replaced it, but am left wondering what happened there. What happened to the original? I shall wait to see if it goes missing again.
Once home I had a go at doing all the geo-admin that one does after having found a film pot under a rock. I have a rather good gizmo on my lap-top that does it all for me. Yesterday I downloaded the latest version of the software and it didn’t work any more. Fighting with that wasted half an hour.
I spent the evening ironing shirts whilst watching last week’s episode of “Victoria”. I do like period dramas, but I have to remind myself that a lot of it is made up. Did Queen Victoria really hare Lord Palmerston?
I wonder what history courses Coursera offer?
31 March 2019 (Sunday) - Early Shift
I had something of a restless night which wasn’t helped by having to get up very early for an early shift which was further complicated by the clocks having gone forward. Seeing that my SkyPlus box had recorded the entire second season of “Uncle” for me, I watched the first episode then got ready for work.
I set off towards work. The roads were rather quiet, as they are at seven o'clock on a Sunday morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were still discussing Brexit as they do. At the moment the only certain thing about Brexit is that no one has a clue about what will happen next. Mind you, one thing is certain - future generations will look back and wonder what we were thinking of.
There was also talk about how measles is now a serious health issue in parts of America where people are choosing not to vaccinate their children. Some people are claiming that vaccinations go against their religious beliefs (but are utterly unable to explain why) whilst others are refusing vaccinations for their children out of plain arrogance. Can you believe that we are in the twenty-first century with the ability to put people on the Moon, and the ability to perform live organ transplants, and still people are allowing their children to die because they are choosing to be so stupid?
I got to work; I thought about having the full English breakfast but thought better of it. I got on with the morning's tasks. As I worked I looked out of the window at a rather drab day. We certainly had the best weather for going for a walk yesterday. It wasn’t a bad shift really.
Rather than coming home I drove round to "My Boy TM" and his branch of the tribe. He’d collected "er indoors TM" earlier for a Mother’s Day thingy and she was making serious inroads into a bottle of plonk.
The first fruit of my loin has acquired a hot tub. I say “hot tub”; personally I think the name is somewhat misleading. I had a go – it was on the cold side. I was shivering after five minutes. I gave it ten minutes then got out. I might try again when it warms up a little (both inside and outside the tub). However it is possible that "My Boy TM" was being unfair to the hot tub’s heater as there was perhaps a tad too much water in it. I took the opportunity to expound on Archimedes’ principle. The science fell on deaf ears until we got into the tub and all the water overflowed. Science is far better presented in demonstration than lecture(!).
I’m reliably informed that sitting in a hot tub is an ideal way to relax on a warm summer’s evening. I rather thought that after ten minutes of sitting in the thing I had pretty much exhausted the thing’s possibilities.
We came home; I might have an early night. What with the clocks going forward and an early start and perhaps too much hot tub I’m feeling rather under the weather…