1 March 2020 (Sunday) - Before the Night Shift
I slept through till nine o’clock this morning. Perhaps I needed it after the exertions of yesterday?
Seeing it was the first of the month I changed my razor blade. All these on-line sites for getting razor blades claim to be so cheap – they are only cheap if you change the blade every five minutes. I reckon I can get six weeks out of a decent razor blade.
I made myself some toast and peered into the Internet. It would seem I wasn’t the only one who was aching after yesterday’s house move.
The Munzee clan war had ended; we’d done rather well at sticking bar codes onto lamp posts, and are staying in “the cup of cocoa” clan. Which I rather good if you like randomly sticking bar codes on to lamp posts.
And it seemed there were all sorts of e-badges available for finding all sorts of geocaches on yesterday’s leap day. I was rather busy yesterday anyway, but it would have been nice to have known about them; I might have got one or two. But more and more this is how the local geocaching scene is going. Five years ago there would be events and outings organised to publicise this sort of thing and to get people involved. Nowadays one person tells everyone else what they have missed after it is all too late to join in.
Such a shame…
Bearing in mind I’m a couple of pounds over my ideal weight (!), the first of the month seemed a good time to re-start a diet. At a shade under seventeen stone it is time to shed the tons. I have these diets from time to time; some more successfully than others. I wonder how this one will go. I don’t like being a porker, but (from a lifetime’s experience) everyone has a diet plan that doesn’t work. For me the only way to lose weight is to be constantly hungry.
We took the dogs up to Kings Wood. Usually this is a good place to take the dogs, but I usually go mid-week. At the weekends all the idiots would seem crawl out of the woodwork. One such twat asked if my dogs were safe, and said that if they weren’t he’d give them a boot. I didn’t actually tell him to get f**ked, but he seriously didn’t understand why anyone would take offence at his attitude. As we parted he wished us a good walk. I wished him that he wouldn’t break a leg on the way back to the car park. I think he could tell I wasn’t sincere.
But other than that we had a relatively good walk. "er indoors TM" had a new game in which all of the dogs start with one hundred points, and each loses a point every time their name is called. Treacle made it all the way round with a clean slate. Pogo lost a few points, and I think it fair to say that Fudge ended up in negative numbers because he straggled so much.
With walk walked we came home. The dogs had the mud washed off of them, and "er indoors TM" boiled up a couple of baguettes before I took myself off to bed for the afternoon.
I’m off to the night shift in a bit…
2 March 2020 (Monday) - After the Night Shift
The night shift went as well as any night shift could do. As I drove home I laughed out loud. The pundits on the radio were interviewing the president of “British Naturism”; the organisation for the nation’s naturists. They’ve got the hump because everyone else points and laughs at them and suspects them of all manner of perverted and unnatural behaviours simply because they run round without any clothes on. I felt a little sorry for the bloke until he announced that naturists should be an “official minority” with all the rights and protections offered to any other minority. He seemed to feel that running round in the nip should be regarded as some sort of philosophical or moral stance, and was therefore almost a religion. Consequently (so this twit maintained) ripping the piss out of those in their birthday suits was a “hate crime”.
This was followed by the weather forecast which predicted a warmer day. The interviewer commented (rather sarcastically) that the naturists should be grateful for that…
I got home and took the dogs round the park. It was rather muddy, and we saw that the frogs were laying loads of frogspawn in Bowens Field. Spring is on the way.
The walk went rather well until we were nearly attacked by some out-of-control wolf-like canine which flew out of a house and ran down Jemmett Road at us. It went for Pogo but stopped dead in its tracks when I yanked Pogo behind me and shouted a swear-word (very loudly) at it. The dog then stood there looking rather sheepish until a little weasel of a man came running after it. He didn’t seem pleased that I’d been disrespectful to his dog, but couldn’t really say anything as he couldn’t deny that he was clearly in charge of a dangerous animal.
We walked away; I felt rather smug that (for once) it wasn’t my dogs causing the problems.
We came home; I went to bed and got up four hours later. I made myself some toast, watched an episode of “Uncle” then wasted half an hour. The leccie company had sent me a letter saying that the tariff I was on was coming to an end. I wondered if I might get a better deal elsewhere, so I phoned U-switch. After half an hour I finally told the woman at the other end of the phone line that I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. I *think* she as saying that I was already with the cheapest provider, so I used the on-line thingy of the company I was with already to get a better deal. I had it sorted in minutes.
And whilst I was at it I renewed my fishing licence. That’s thirty quid for something I will use maybe half a dozen times this year.
Still feeling rather tired I went upstairs to the attic room and played Lego. I built a couple of platforms to make a start on a little Lego station for the train. That wasted a couple of hours. As I built and took apart and re-built so the dogs barked on and off for no reason whatsoever. It’s a dog thing.
"er indoors TM" boiled up some dinner. I counted its calories, then she went bowling. I watched a film on Netflix. “England is Mine” was based on the early years of the singer Morrissey and it was rather crap.
I think I might have an early night…
3 March 2020 (Tuesday) - Community Celebration Event
I slept well, but after the night shift I rather thought I might. I watched an episode of "Uncle" whilst scoffing a bowl of granola (diet food), spent rather too long fussing Fudge, then set off.
As I scraped the ice from my car I was accosted by one of the normal people who was walking up the road. This chap made a point of coming up to me and loudly announcing "Good Morning!!". He then stood and stared intently at me as if daring me to return the greeting. I gave him a half-hearted "allright?" and carried on scraping ice. I've better things to do than bandy pleasantries with passing nutters.
I had planned to drive to work via Staplehurst as a new geocache had gone live there yesterday evening, but the FTF brigade had been out overnight. That cache will hopefully form the basis of a little adventure some time in the future when it isn't quite so cold.
As I drove to Pembury the pundits on the radio were talking about the corona virus (so-called) outbreak. There is now talk to fast-track retired-NHS workers (out of retirement) through the registration requirements of the statutory regulatory bodies to get them back into work to deal with the crisis (should it happen). I couldn't help but wonder if anyone has asked the retired if they want to be drafted back into service.
There was also talk of the elections of Presidential hopefuls in America where the front-runners are twenty years older than me.
Am I the only one who doesn't want to work forever?
There was also talk about home security cameras. Did you know that the unscrupulous can hack into the things and use them to watch what is going on in someone else's house? Some villains are using them to see when people are out so they can go burgling. Others are more imaginative; some footage was played in which some despicable individual was using the camera's speaker to try to groom an eight-year-old girl for his own perverted ends.
A *lot* of air-time was devoted to keeping children safe from this, but no one touched on why anyone would put a video camera into the bedroom of an eight-year-old girl in the first place.
There was a minor delay getting to work; a bus had broken down on the A21. Right in the middle of it. You would have thought that between making an odd noise (with smoke belching out of the engine) and actually grinding to a halt, the driver would have had some opportunity to steer the bus to the side of the road, wouldn't you? But this one was stopped right in the middle of the northbound lane, seemingly deliberately positioned to block everything.
Seeing that today marked the start of the Munzee clan war I thought I might contribute to the team (clan) effort. As a group we have to get a certain number of a specific sort of bar code stuck to a lamp post. My Munzee app said there was one of these in the car park of a hotel I was driving past. My app lied. So I contented myself with sticking a virtual crossbow on the bypass and went in to work and did my thing.
As I do.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good curry for dinner. We scoffed I whilst watching last week’s episode of “Hunted” which was rather good, and last week’s episode of “Doctor Who” which wasn’t.
And I’ve had an email from geocaching HQ. I’ve been offered the chance to stage a Community Celebration Event. It’s basically a bit like the geo-meet I ran a couple of weeks ago, but on a larger scale. I’m currently thinking beach party some time over the summer…
4 March 2020 (Wednesday) - Stuff
I felt particularly hungry when I got up this morning. But hunger is what weight loss feels like (!) so I’m seeing this as a good thing. I had a bowl of diet granola as I watched an episode of “Uncle” then quickly had a look-see at the Internet. It was pretty much the same as ever. Pretty much nothing at all had happened on Facebook overnight, and there weren’t any Earth-shattering emails in my in-box. The power company had emailed to say my new tariff starts in April. I’ll be intrigued to see how this goes. My smart meter said I’d used one pound and thirty pence worth of leccie and gas by six o’clock this morning (how is this possible), and the direct debit is planning to take twenty quid a month more than the monthly tariff that I agreed to, so it could be interesting. If power bills can be interesting,
Yesterday as I scraped the ice from my car I was accosted by a nutter who loudly announced "Good Morning!!" at me as though it was some sort of challenge. This morning the same nutter hurried past me oblivious to my presence. What was that all about?
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about one of many problems with the government's plans for dealing with corona virus. Given the first sign of infection, their advice is to self-isolate for a fortnight. However most employers only give sick pay on a self-certification for five days. The Prime Minister has announced that the duration of sick pay will be extended for the duration of any self-certification. However there are those who see this as a free fortnight off work, and there was talk about how self-quarantining might just become a good skive.
I'd be up for some of that.
There was also talk of yesterday's elections in America to select someone to challenge President Trump later in the year. Presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg was looking set to drop out of the running having spent about five hundred million dollars (of his own money) on his election campaign. Five hundred million dollars!? I'd like to be able to afford to (effectively) waste that amount of cash.
I got to work and parked up. As I walked in I saw a new notice board had gone up in one of the public areas at the front of the hospital. It had names of the members of staff who had served in the NHS for the longest. I was rather pleased to see my name in the thirty-five years section. Some small recognition was good. That's why I like working where I am now. I know of "other places" where loyalty is rewarded with a knife in the back. Not that I'm bitter...
Just as I was looking at the notice board so my phone beeped. A new geocache had gone live in Kings wood. i was there only the other day. With space for at least thirty more of the things, *one* has appeared.
Oh well... it's one more than anyone else has put out recently.
As I did my bit I found myself thinking about this "Community Celebration Event" that Geo-HQ have given me. I must admit that i would have had a serious sulk if I hadn't been given one, but now that I've got it, I have no idea what I want to do with it. I've basically got to stage some sort of event or activity that is to be two hours long. Ideally it should be free to anyone who wants to join in; a beach party, a summer picnic... But then again we want it to be exclusive to the invited audience. We don't want the public crashing the thing. Perhaps I might hire a village hall somewhere and have a quiz?
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scran. We scoffed it whilst watching “Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly”. I do like that show. Pogo was watching it rather intently too…
5 March 2020 (Thursday) - World Book Day
Yesterday evening we had the margarine on the table with dinner. This morning as I tried to make a sandwich I could only find the lid of the margarine. The actual tub came to light eventually. Hidden behind a chair and licked clean. Treacle is the prime suspect; Fudge wouldn’t do something like that and Pogo would just be brazen about it. Treacle knows it is wrong and so tried to hide the evidence.
Did I ever mention I never wanted dogs?
Today is “World Book Day”. I say “World Book Day”; my Facebook feed was filled with photos of children in fancy dress. Rather than being a celebration of literature, “World Book Day” is just an excuse for dressing up at school The spirit of the thing was summed up entirely today by one little incident. A colleague was grumbling that she’d been up till after midnight making a frog costume for her son to wear to school for “World Book Day”. When asked if he was “Toad of Toad Hall”, she said that he was just a frog. Apparently most of the girls in the class had gone as various Disney princesses since you can get colouring-in books of most of the Disney films. I suggested that the lad should have gone in his usual school uniform; he could claim he was dressed as “The Boy Whose Mother Couldn’t Be Arsed”.
I’ve ranted about this before.
Last year on “World Book Day” I started a little project in which I recorded all the books I’ve read since last March. You can see that by clicking here. I’ve kept the thing going for a year… shall I keep it going?
I got the dogs into the car and we drove out to the garage where "er indoors TM" had left her car to get it serviced. We collected her, took her to her work, then went to the park for a walk. It was raining, but we still like our walk.
As we walked we had an “episode”. I maintain we were just innocent bystanders… Fudge was straggling. As I looked back for him so I saw some woman was cycling along with her dog. The dog was on a lead tied to the bike. As the woman cycled past Fudge so her dog ran round the front of the bike to see Fudge. This was a big dog (about the size of a rhino) and with a lead attached; when the dog stopped it was as though the bike had dropped anchor. The bike (and cyclist) skidded in the rain and hit the tarmac path like a rubber duck. As I helped her up she had things to say about dogs that weren’t on leads. I did explain what had happened; a dog lead was entirely the cause of her falling off.
We came home and dried off. I hung one load of washing on the clothes horse and put another load in to scrub then took Treacle to the vet. She’s been doing the “bum wiggle dance” recently (it’s a dog thing) and the only cure is for the veterinary nurse to shove a finger up the bum to empty her anal glands (Treacle’s, not the veterinary nurse’s).
As we waited there was a minor fracas kicking off. Some six-stone weakling was trying to restrain his dog. His dog looked to be a cross between a grizzly bear and a t-rex and was named “Zeus”. Have you ever noticed that small men always have humungous dogs and name them “Zeus” or “Tyson” or “Death Bastard”? You never see a little man with a pug named “Petal” sporting a pink ribbon, do you?
Treacle got the finger up the bum. I can’t say she was impressed with it. She also got put on the scales and would seem to have lost no weight at all. I didn’t tell the vet about the tub of margarine…
I hung out the second load of washing and set off to work.
In the past I would have had a little geo-adventure on the way to work. More recently I might have gone Munz-ing. But with the forecast "light rain shower" becoming more and more torrential I drove straight to work. As I drove I caught the end of some drivel on the radio about journalism in Russia, but when this was replaced with a wannabe pretentious saxophonist learning the fine art of pretentious-ness from a guitarist I turned the radio off and sang along to my fine choice in music.
I eventually found a space in the car park and went in to work. Beef lasagne was on the menu in the works canteen; that was rather good. But being (supposedly) on a diet I skipped pudding. That was rather abstemious of me, wasn't it?
I did my bit on the late shift. As is so often the case on late shifts, the best bit of the day had been before noon. Mind you the journey home was interesting. I nearly ran over a deer, the road at Sissinghurst was flooded, and the road at Bethersden was closed…
6 March 2020 (Friday) - Late Shift
I was sleeping like a log when the bin men came crashing up the road. I wish they would crash quieter. Over brekkie I had a look at the internet and was rather pleased to see that the WhereYougo app is being revived. It is one of a very few ways of playing Wherigo, and without it Wherigo will probably croak. I’ve volunteered to be a beta-tester.
Mind you if you don’t go Wherigo-ing it is probably a matter of the utmost indifference.
With no emails of note I got the dog on their leads and we went for a walk.
I did have a vague plan to go for the First to Find on a geocache in Kings Wood, but didn’t want to get the dogs too grubby so we went round the park. In retrospect we might as well have gone to Kings Wood; after yesterday’s rain everywhere was waterlogged and the dogs were loving running through the puddles and wet grass. The area by the fountain was knee deep in water; I know that as some idiot schoolboy tried to cycle through and fell in. I’d just taken a photo of the flood; getting my camera out again would have been just a bit *too* obvious.
As we walked I was having Pogo and Treacle stop and sit every time we came to cross a road. Several people commented on how well-behaved they were. I’m not sure who was more impressed with those two today, the normal people or me.
We came home; I programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow, settled the dogs, and seeing the weather was far better than yesterday I set off on a little adventure. Firstly I went to get some petrol. Bearing in mind I am on a diet, with superhuman willpower I didn't buy any sweeties. As I drove to Pembury "Women's Hour" was on the radio. Against my better judgement I listened to the show. Some vicious harridan was ranting that white men are responsible for all the racism and sexism in the world purely because they are white men. And people like me trying to say that they aren't racist or sexist are just making matters worse. She seemed to think that the world would be a better place if people like me just admitted to being sexist racists. When challenged about this, this silly woman just ranted that this was the way of things.
One lives and learns.
I stopped off of the way to work for a little Munzee adventure. I scanned bar codes like a thing possessed and came back to my car to get a shock. The back window was smashed.
I don't think it was vandalism; I'd not walked far from the car and no one else had been about. There was broken glass both inside and outside the car, and the window was broken at both ends. I think it just shattered somehow. Old age, perhaps?
An annoyance, but it was when I phoned the insurance people that my piss boiled. The breakdown people said it wasn't a breakdown issue; I had to phone the insurance people directly. OK - fair enough. But as I was trying to phone the insurance people so the breakdown people phoned me back to remind me that they weren't coming and that I should phone the insurance people. I thanked them for repeating themselves and tried to phone the insurance people again. I was again interrupted by the breakdown people who wanted to be sure that I knew they weren't coming.
When the breakdown people phoned me to repeat themselves for the fourth time I was rather rude to them...
I tried to phone the insurance people... I got nowhere. By now over an hour had passed so I phoned the window repair people. They don't do roadside repairs and suggested I went to their nearest branch.
So I punched out as much of the broken glass as I could and drove to the nearest window repair place. They told me that they didn't have the right part in stock, they were busy, how would two weeks on Monday suit me? I told them the trouble I'd had; when they heard the word "insurance" they changed their tune. If I could quote a policy number, they could fix it there and then...
They eventually gave me a plastic sheet with which I bodged a temporary repair and I drove in to work from where I phoned the insurance people, got straight through, and made an appointment for a fix next week when the nice man will come to the house and do a roadside repair. If it isn't raining...
Work was work; it took my mind off of the broken window. I did my bit.
Amazingly the bodged repair held all the way home. I’ve reinforced the bodge with a plastic bag to make it waterproof overnight, and I’ve got a plan for making it even better tomorrow…
7 March 2020 (Saturday) - A Walk Round Norton
I didn’t sleep that well. For some reason "er indoors TM" had brought a candle up to the bedroom and its flickering was rather disturbing. Not that I would dare tell her that. When I finally did doze off, Pogo made himself comfortable behind me and started scratching my back.
I got up and stood on the scales. In one week of diet I’ve lost four pounds. I say “diet”; that’s not so much “diet” as not getting a cheeky bar of chocolate on the way out of work and not having a bowl of cereals for supper. I shell keep this up for a while.
As I got off the scales I manage to get a sliver of glass in my foot. Where did that come from?
I had toast and coffee (three hundred calories) and peered into the Internet. I’d had an email from the nice people who provide the infrastructure (big word!) for this blog. “Alex” had made a comment on my blog entry about when I went to the eye clinic last year. He’d tried to comment with a link to some spamming website, but I wasn’t having any of it.
I had a look at Facebook. Quite a few people had offered plastic sheeting to help with bodging the broken car window for which I was grateful. Other than that, not a lot had happened.
I spent a few minutes looking about on-line to see what local pubs had a function room; I’ve got a vague idea to stage a “fun night” for this geocaching “Community Celebration Event” I’ve been given. An evening of bingo, beetle drives and a quiz.
The trouble with this idea though is that it requires people to spend money.
We got the dogs (and ourselves) organised and drove out to Norton church where we met Karl Tracey and Charlotte. Together we set off for a little wander. The “G4me On” series of caches was put out as a little gift to me… a while ago a friend said he was going to walk a series of geocaches I’d hidden. I gave him a few paper logs to replace any that were wet. It turned out that very few were wet, and so he used the logs in creating this new geo-series instead.
We had a rather good walk. Treacle climbed trees, we walked field and footpath and country lane. We saw loads of frogspawn in the swamps. Bearing in mind how much rain we’ve had recently the fields and paths were amazingly dry.
Geocache-wise it was an excellent series. Some hides were rather straightforward; some were rather more challenging. We replaced one cache... as we searched a rather nosey old biddy came bustling up and wanted to know if we were lost. She seemed rather put out when we said that we were find and didn’t need any help from her.
Three hours and six miles after we started saw us back at the cars. From here it was only a short drive to Doddington and the Chequers. The Chequers is an old favourite pub of ours; we’ve been there for a pint or two a few times in the last few years. Today we went for dinner. And a good dinner it was too. Despite the three pints of stout, being on a diet I went for the mushroom stroganoff, and I think I made an excellent choice. Mind you, everyone else’s dinner looked rather good too.
You can see photos of the dinners and of our walk by clicking here.
We said our goodbyes, and in a novel break with tradition I stayed awake for the journey home. As we drove we tried to listen to Steve who was broadcasting his show on Radio Ashford. Unfortunately he was interviewing someone whose music was in a field of its own, and (quite frankly) it would have sounded better in a field on its own. Reluctantly we turned it off.
We came home. The dogs were soon snoring. "er indoors TM" set off to visit "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". I spent an hour or so doing the ironing (dull!) they watched yesterday’s episode of Star Trek: Picard. I was amazed at how un-natural one of the major protagonists appeared to be. Plastic surgery perhaps?
It was a shame I spent quite so much of the evening asleep in front of the telly…
8 March 2020 (Sunday) - Early Shift
It was very dark when I got up this morning. As I fumbled in the dark I thought I could count two dogs on the bed I wondered where the third was, and found him as I tripped over a sleeping Pogo.
I fussed him, and as I fussed him he was crying. I was standing on his paw. We sorted that, and soon I found myself fussing all three hounds. We had a little "Good Morning" ceremony, then we all had our morning ablutions. Some were less keen than others to go out for a tiddle. It was dark and wet; I wasn't keen on going out, but I did, if only to check that tiddles were done.
As I scoffed a bowl of granola I watched last week's episode of "Inside No 9" which was rather cleverly done, then with all the dogs settled I set off to work just as the dawn was breaking.
As I drove the morning got lighter, and less windy and less rainy, which was a result what with my rear window being on the iffy side. I only had to stop twice to bodge running repairs (which was good). As I drove I listened to the radio which started off with some really pretentious drivel about poetry. This was followed by a wildlife program about where the flies go in the winter. It turns out they carry on flying around like they usually do, but far fewer people go outside to see them in the winter. As some professor of entomology was droning on I couldn't help but wonder if I might have been a fly-ologist. I bet they don't have to drive thirty miles to start a shift at half past seven on a Sunday morning.
I got to work; just as I parked I realised I'd left my lunch at home. Oh well... that will do for tomorrow.
I went in and walked straight past the canteen. Diet means no cooked brekkie. Mind you for all that hospital food is very good, the brekkie does leave something to be desired. Every time I've had one I get a guts-ache from it. And when you have as much guts as me, that's a lot of ache. Hence the diet.
The shift went well. Apart from a little hiccup with the Duffy blood group system, today's was one of the better weekend shifts I've had recently. I drove home, not needing to bodge the rear window repair at all (which was a result).
Once home I took a dustpan and brush to the car and swept out as much of the broken glass as I could. I might need to have a go with the Hoover in the week. "er indoors TM" then helped me reinforce the bodged window cover by hoiking a shower curtain over the back. It’ll do until I get the repair done properly.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching last week’s episode of “Hunted”. I could do that show…
Once we’d scoffed, we then gave the dogs swede and cauliflower for their dinner (with a little gravy); They all loved it. Who would have thought it?
9 March 2020 (Monday) - New Neighbours
I woke up giggling at three o’clock. I have no idea why. I wonder what that was all about. I didn’t get back to sleep after that.
I got up at five o’clock. Amazingly the Smartmeter said that we had used one pound twenty-nine pence worth of leccie and gas since midnight – how is that possible? (We’d only used two pounds sixty pence worth of the stuff by nine o’clock this evening…)
Over a bowl of granola I watched another episode of “Uncle” then peered into the Internet to see if I’d missed much overnight. I do this every morning just in case something good, interesting or amazing had kicked off.
I’d had a friend request on Facebook from some weird new-age-hippie bloke. His supposed name was as long as your arm and with nowhere near enough vowels in it. Dwyfd Dltyghth ap Fggyth Plnthch (or something along those lines – I can’t remember now). Having been posting all sorts of drivel about bees, mediumships (?) and Barsoomian airships I thought that I didn’t really need this nut case on my list of cyber-friends.
As I drove up the motorway I drove rather slower than usual, but the window repair held. As I drove the pundits on the radio were fuelling the flames of national panic over the corona virus outbreak. Some expert was saying that it was now too late to panic. When is it *ever* too late to panic? Some government spokesman was explaining that the government was in contact with the supermarket chains to ensure that essential supplies will be available; spokesmen from the supermarket chains were explaining that this was the first they'd heard of any contact from the government.
For those of my loyal readers who don't do politics, this is the drawback of a capitalist system (Conservative). The entire ethos is that market forces control supply, and the last thing that should ever happen would be that a government should get involved in a supply chain. To be fair it is a system which works OK for most of the time, but when uncontrolled panic buying sets in, it becomes painfully apparent that there is no control over what is in the shops. Or isn't...
There was also talk about how serving police officers are less likely to be convicted of domestic abuse than any other member of the general public. I wasn't so much amazed by this as by the fact that this was presented as being surprising. It's not as though the local police haven't cautioned anyone for an offence for which they obviously hadn't committed, is it? Of if the local police haven't imprisoned anyone with absolutely no evidence whatsoever is it? Of if the local police didn't tell me that I am *not* to complain to the Chief Constable about them, is it?
It's a shame really – the actual idea of a police force is a good one.
I got to work; an early start made for an early finish. I came home via Aldi partly because I needed supplies, and partly because I’d heard that because of the corona virus scare there was a national shortage of bog-roll and that supermarket shelves were bare. And it was true (in part). The shelves where the cheap bog-roll sits looked as though the locusts had been through. There were a few rolls of the pricier stuff left. Not that I want to condone panic buying, but after a week or so I might just be choosing which socks to abandon, so I got some expensive bog-roll.
I came home. The bodged rear window was flapping a bit by the time I parked so I fixed it, and then took the dogs for a walk. When we came home we met our latest new neighbours…
On 28 May 2018 I ranted about “nice-next-door” (as opposed to “not-so-nice-next-door”). Back then, as one set of neighbours moved out and another moved in I wrote “I can’t help but wonder just how transient this lot will be”. Today that question was answered. The couple who will be recorded here as “them what went off to run a pub” lasted a year and ten months. As occupants of that house that’s quite a long time.
The new people (as yet un-alias-ed) seem pleasant enough but doesn’t everyone the first time you meet them. The young chap was telling me that a lot of the house has been bodged together; I got the distinct impression he wasn’t happy with the place. I wonder how long they will last… Gone by Christmas? Probably.
Once I got in I saw that the postman had been. I’d ordered a couple of maxi-figures from eBay. Politically incorrect I suppose, but then the 1970s were.
"er indoors TM" went bowling; I wrote up a little CPD. Tear-drop cells…
10 March 2020 (Tuesday) - Stuff
I slept like a log, waking only ten minutes before the alarm was die to go off. Over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “Uncle” then spent a few minutes peering onto the Internet. But only a few minutes. Absolutely nothing at all had happened overnight. Having sent work-related things to professional Facebook groups and having had a whinge at Munzee HQ I was hoping to have had some response, but nothing…
Perhaps it was too early?
As I drove up the motorway I again drove rather slower than usual, and was rather glad that the window repair held. As I drove the pundits on the radio were still fuelling the flames of national panic over the corona virus outbreak. There is now talk of people self-quarantining for a week after a sneezing fit. I must admit I'm rather confused about the whole corona virus thing.
On the one had we were told that it is a mild form of flu. Serious for those already ill, but a mild inconvenience to most people.
On the other hand Italy is in lock-down and the British government is preparing for Armageddon.
Bearing in mind the death toll for other epidemics
am I being *that* cynical if I make the observation that it is over a week since I heard anything at all in the news about Brexit, and corona virus is a useful smokescreen?
When I got to work I went for a little walk and a crafty deploy (it's a Munzee thing) and then again checked my phone to see if anything had happened on the Internet once people had all woken up. An acquaintance of mine who sells kites was sining the praises of the corona virus. He loves it. As well as people panic-buying toilet rolls it would seem that there is now a national shortage of kite lines (the stuff you use to fly a kite), and he is having to ration his customers. Kite lines and bog-roll... hardly what I would panic-buy.
Work was work, for some inexplicable reason I spent much of the day whistling the theme tune to “Huxley Pig”, but a third consecutive early start made for a third consecutive early finish. I came home. As I walked to the house I listened for sounds of barking (as I always do). I couldn’t hear anything over the noise of new-next-door’s Alsatian which was barking and throwing itself at the front door (from the inside).
I took my three round the block; they seemed to ignore the Alsatian as we went out. We didn’t go far, only round the block but it was far enough to encounter an idiot with a precious princess of a dog.
As I was gathering up Treacle’s dung I heard barking. Rather high-pitched. Some idiot woman was standing ten yards down the pavement with a dog that I can only describe as a rat on a lead. This one was straining at its lead desperate to fight. My three just looked at it; not even Pogo responded. Once I’d bagged up the dog dung I loudly announced “We’ll cross the road, shall we?” and we crossed the road. Idiot woman then came past; clearly she’d been waiting for me to get out of the way. Stupid woman; why didn’t she cross the road to get past?
"er indoors TM" boiled up a particularly good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Sandilands”; the latest offering from the UK Gold channel.
It was rather good…
11 March 2020 (Wednesday) - Late Shift
A rather cold night; an alliance of "er indoors TM", Treacle and Pogo monopolised most of the duvet and I shivered.
Over some toast I looked at the Internet. It was much the same as ever. Facebook was filled with rants by people who didn’t understand that about which they were ranting. One of the local fishing pages made me roll my eyes. There was a lot of hatred being spewed about otters in Kent. Apparently they were illegally released in parts of the county and have spread. The “thick element” were advocating taking shotguns to the otters when fishing, and were surprised that the anti-fishing brigade were making a *very* good case for banning fishing in some parts of Kent based on the anti-otter posts on that very Facebook page.
These people are allowed to vote, you know. Sometimes I think it must be wonderful to be stupid.
I set the washing machine and dishwasher going, then took the dogs out for our morning constitutional. The walk went well, and passed off without a single “episode”. We met other dogs, and we all just sniffed each other nicely. We met OrangeHead’s posse and they were civil.
We did get a bit grubby though. Bowen’s Field is a swamp, and parts of the park were rather waterlogged as the river is still very high.
We got home just as the rain was starting. I did the dull laundry thing, and put more in to scrub, then watched an episode of “Uncle”. It was rather good.
I hung out a second batch of laundry, and as the dogs snored I set off to work.
As I drove away from home there was a huge thud as something bounced off the car's windscreen. I *think* it was a rather large bird (possibly a hawk?) I would have stopped, but the car behind was ridiculously close, and there's not really anything I could have done. By the time I could have pulled up, one of the local cats would have already been in like Flynn.
Rather than going to work along up the motorway I took the A-road as I'd heard there were delays on the motorway. As I drove Alexei Sayle was on the radio. Among other things he was ranting about how the British justice system is biased in favour of the prosecution. It is the state which brings cases, and which juror in the case of "The Crown versus Scousie McStabface" is going to go against Her Majesty?
I think he's got a point.
I got to work; I had a very good plate of chicken and chips for dinner, then got on with a rather busy late shift…
Today was dull…
12 March 2020 (Thursday) - World Kidney Day
As I scoffed brekkie and peered into the Internet I saw that yesterday had been budget day. It’s amazing what you miss when you don’t pay attention. There was a budget calculator on Facebook; I put in some numbers (the right ones I hope) and it said I will be eight quid a month better off because of the budget. That’s a result.
There was also a lot of doom and gloom about the corona virus… I seem to be rather cynical about the thing. Having given the matter quite a bit of thought I think that my problem is that I’ve been let down before.
It was a matter of common knowledge that the world was going to end on 1 January 1980. I can remember walking round Hastings with my mate Douggie Small the day after. Both of us were at something of a loose end; the world hadn’t ended. Similarly the world didn’t end at the end of the last century. And humanity survived HIV, bird flu, swine flu, the millennium bug, Nibaru, raptures and all sort of other scare stories. For me, corona virus is just the latest in a long line of hype. And our old friend science would seem to agree with me.
I also saw that today was World Kidney Day. Bearing in mind that Fudge has chronic kidney disease I donated to the fundraiser that "er indoors TM" started. If any of my loyal readers feel so inclined, you can donate by clicking here.
I took the dogs out. Again Bowen’s Field was a swamp; the dogs got filthy. As we walked into the park the Jehovah’s Witnesses smiled politely. They always do. It’s odd; the Jehovah’s Witnesses have a reputation of being a right pain in the glass (!) but the bunch at the park are always friendly and aren’t pushy at all. Today one of them remarked on what a bright morning it was, and how it made a nice change. I smiled sweetly and resisted the temptation to comment that if anyone could change the weather it would be their boss.
We walked on; we met Teddy. There is this thing with dog walkers – you don’t know the names of other dog walkers but you know the names of the dogs. Fudge and Pogo tried to hump Teddy, and far from being cross, Teddy’s mummy asked if she could walk with us. We had a good walk; the dogs all played nicely and having a dog play nicely with Pogo is always good. It was a shame that Teddy had to jump into the filthiest ditch he could find, but that’s what dogs do.
Teddy’s mummy said she works in London but had been told to work from home for two weeks for fear of the corona virus. Having just spent out six hundred pounds on a monthly train ticket she was hoping to get a refund.
When we got home I checked Facebook and saw an ex-colleague had posted a photo from Victoria station at half past eight this morning, The place was deserted. I would seem to be in the minority with not taking this corona virus scare seriously.
I put some washing in to scrub, harvested a crop of dog turds from the garden, watched a bit of telly and had a fight with the banking app. I tried to pay Cheryl for the holiday she’d booked last night, but the bank had logged giving money to my own daughter-in-law as a “high risk transaction”. I didn’t dare tell her that.
Eventually I got the money sorted… corona virus outbreak permitting we’re off to Marrakesh. I say “we” – I’ve got a couple of months to arrange dog-sitting. If any of my loyal readers fancy taking on a hound do let me know. I plan to (hopefully) send them all on individual holidays of their own; I can’t imagine anyone taking on all three…
Once the hailstorm finished I set off to work… and that was pretty much it for today. I drove up the A-road to work, parked up, had lunch, did my bit… not a bad day… but rather dull.
13 March 2020 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
A good night’s sleep. When the dogs sleep well, everyone sleeps well.
Over brekkie I had my usual look at the Internet; the fear of corona virus is still sweeping the nation. With many other nations effectively in shut-down, how much longer will it be before the UK follows suit and stays permanently at home? It’s relatively irrelevant to me as I shall be labelled as a “key worker”; when most of my colleagues will be at home looking after children it will fall to me to keep the service going. I don’t dislike my job, but yet again I find myself questioning my career choice. Again I would say to anyone looking to find a job – never work anywhere that doesn’t put up a “closed” sign.
I wasted quite a bit of time looking at rubbish on the Internet, only stopping when Pogo was sick on the carpet.
I then phoned the car windscreen people. They were supposed to be letting me know when the nice man was coming to fix my car. Bearing in mind that they might be along any time from eight o’clock onwards I thought it odd that they’d not been in touch by half past eight. I phoned the number I’d been given and spoke to a rather officious chap who said they only turn up at the depot at eight o’clock, and I should expect a call by half past ten.
If I’d been told that I would have taken the dogs out earlier rather than having sat around wasting time.
Working on the principle that the bloke wouldn’t be arriving any time soon I took the dogs for a walk. We did our usual circuit of Bowen’s Field and the park; we didn’t have any arguments or fights, and all the dogs played nicely with all the other dogs. If only every other day could be like that.
Once home I ran round with the Hoover, and ironed for a while. As I ironed I watched a film on Netflix. “The Young Victoria” was a period drama and I quite liked it… once it got going. Why do all films start off with “Aardvark Films Present… in association with Channel 28 ¾ … a Spizz Titsey production… by Gutsache Studios…” and so on. Does anyone care about this drivel?
At quarter to eleven I again phoned the car windscreen people. They told me the bloke would be out today and seemed rather surprised that I felt that “today” was on the vague side. At quarter past eleven the man doing the fixing phoned. He explained that he’d started in Hastings, was currently in the Medway towns, he had a job in Sittingbourne and would be with me last as he lives in Ashford.
Finally I had a vague idea of when he was due.
Seeing I had a couple of hours’ grace I popped into town. I’ve been after a Kindle to take on holiday. Much as I like the Kindle app on my phone, it eats the battery. I remember my old Kindle’s battery lasted for ever. I got a really old Kindle from the CEX shop, and a generic cover for it from one of the the phones accessories shop. I had to hunt about for the cover; several of the people in the phone accessories shops laughed at how old the Kindle was; who would have a cover for something that was six years old?
I got a sandwich from the corner shop (five hundred calories!) on the way home, and I scoffed it whilst setting up the Kindle. With dogs around and on me I read my new Kindle for a bit, but fell asleep until I was woken by the arrival of the car window man who finally rocked up at three o’clock. He’d had quite a day, and he said he used to live in the house just over the road from us.
After forty minutes he was done. The new car rear window looks the business. Mind you anything looks better than having a cheap shower curtain taped over the back. The nice man said that the rear windscreen wiper might not have survived the process, and that I should leave the whole thing for the glue to set. On the plus side he’d been in and out of the car with an industrial vacuum cleaner so hopefully he’s shifted all the glass fragments.
I then watched the first episode of “Noughts and Crosses”; a program set in a Britain which was invaded and conquered by an African empire some time in the middle ages. It shows promise…
As I watched telly so the dishwasher had a go at last night’s dishes. I’d forgotten to set it going earlier. Having run out of dishwasher tablets I thought I’ give it a hefty squirt of washing up liquid. Perhaps too hefty a squirt? I then ran the dishwasher until all the froth had been shifted.
"er indoors TM" came home with fish and chips, and we scoffed whilst catching up on episodes of “Star Trek: Picard”. I want to like it…
14 March 2020 (Saturday) - Late Shift
Once I got up and done what you do when you get up I stood on the scales. I’ve lost another pound this week. Not much really, but a couple of late shifts with dinner after ten o’clock didn’t help. And “lost” rather than “gained” is a step in the right direction.
I scoffed a bowl of granola (diet food!) then had a look at the Internet. I saw that because of fears of corona virus, Geocaching HQ have postponed the “Memory Lane souvenir challenge”. I think this might have caused more consternation if anyone actually knew what the “Memory Lane souvenir challenge” actually is.
There was a lot of consternation being expressed on Facebook about how travellers will have to get passports stamped every time they enter the European Union. Those who loudly advocated for Brexit and wanted to “take back control” were seriously upset that Brexit means delays when going on holiday. How can anyone be so stupid that they are complaining about that for which they campaigned?
I wasted an ago struggling to solve a geo-puzzle before asking a friend how he’d solved it… Basically you have to convert letters to numbers with the added complication that (say) the first instance of “B” translated to being “6” you then had to ignore the second instance of “B” for no apparent reason.
The trouble I have with solving puzzles is that having a degree in maths I’m used to thinking logically (can you believe it?). Geo-puzzles are often best solved by listening to the strange voices in your head.
My piss then boiled as I checked my emails. Some chap had been out and walked the series of geocaches I’d hidden near Benenden. Having written “Found OK, thanks for the cache” for twenty-two of his “found it” logs, the chap had the cheek to write “All caches found OK, and a few of them were somewhere near where our GPSrs were pointing” on the twenty-third. I’ve sent the chap a message saying “I see you had some issues with the co-ords of some of my caches – if you could let me know your readings I shall look at amending the formulae”.
It’s a shame that the chap lives a hundred miles away; he’s stuck a few film pots under rocks. I’d like to go find one and be equally petty in what I would have to say about it.
Thinking that the rain had stopped we took the dogs out, the rain hadn’t stopped; we did a quick circuit round the block and came home to dry off. I wasted an hour playing Tetris, then set off to find my car. The first thing I did when I got into my car was to press the de-mister the button just in case it all blew up. I'd prefer that if it was going to explode, it did so with the car at home rather than leaving me stranded miles from anywhere (like it did a week or so ago). Fortunately nothing blew up. In fact nothing happened at all when I pressed the button, which was probably for the best, but with a not-misted window I didn't expect anything to have happened. I shall have to wait for the window to steam up and try it then.
Despite the fix-it man's dire warnings the rear windscreen wiper had survived the ordeal of window replacement for which I was grateful.
As I drove I was conscious that I could see out of the car's rear window. The side mirrors are good, but you can't beat having a rear window rather than a shower curtain.
I drove to Sainsury's to get some petrol. At the moment petrol is the cheapest it has been for ages. I would have thought that the same corona virus panic-buying mentality which has lead to shortages of toilet roll and pasta (and kite line!) might have led to a run on petrol, but apparently not. Yet.
I drove up the motorway because I could. I've been going to work along the A-road recently which made for a much slower journey. The drive was amazingly quiet without a shower curtain noisily flapping about behind me.
I got to work, deployed a Munzee not that far from the works car park, then went into the canteen where I had a very good bit of dinner. However I was rather amazed to find that the same meal which cost four pounds seventy-five pence on Wednesday was only three pound sixty pence today. I commented on this to the nice lady on the till; she told me I was wrong.
I got on with work on what was a rather busy afternoon. I was rather glad when the relief turned up.
Now to program “Hannah” for tomorrow…
15 March 2020 (Sunday) - Stuppington
As I scoffed my toast this morning I saw that I’d been defriended by someone on Facebook. Some people on my Facebook list are family, some are friends, some are colleagues. Some are people I’ve not actually met for years but with whom I want to keep in touch. Some are vague acquaintances. There are a precious few I keep on the list because I love following the drama of their lives. It was one of these that has de-friended me. Living in a half-million-pound house with a daughter at a private school costing six thousand pounds a term, this person regularly goes for two-month-long international holidays and still has the cheek to be constantly pleading poverty on social media and seemingly wanting hand-outs.
I shall miss her…
I saw that I had been promoted in the Munzee world. I am now “QRew” which is a serious elevation for those who go round sticking bar-codes on to lamp posts. For everyone else I suppose it is a matter of the utmost indifference, but I am pleased with it. Everyone else is just jealous!
We got ourselves and the dogs together and drove out to Canterbury where we met Karl Tracey and Charlotte. With extending leads on some and boots on others we went for a little wander; this time guided by the “Stuppington Stroll” series of geocaches.
We had a very good walk. The route wasn’t that muddy really (when you consider how much rain we’ve had lately) and followed well-marked paths with only a little lane-walking, no cattle, and some wonderful views of the cathedral.
At one point we followed some overhead power lines which randomly came to an end in the middle of a field. What was that all about? We spent a little while peering into a building site that we passed. There were several odd green things in there. What were they? Just as we came away from the building site we found a little shelter from the wind and stopped for a bite to eat. Some random passing looney decided to come and watch what we were doing. This chap made a point of walking past us a few times, all the time staring at us intently, and seemed not to realise he was stomping along a rather muddy path wearing carpet slippers.
He eventually cleared off, and we then met a bloke wielding a metal detector. Is it just the ones I meet, or do all metal detectorists go around dressed as though they think they are in the SAS?
Just as we came toward the end of the walk so Treacle found a tennis ball. Having carried her customary huge stick for miles she dropped it for the tennis ball. A ball has the advantage over a stick that the other dogs will want it; it is good for a quarrel.
Geocache-wise this was a very good walk. Thirty caches spaced out over five miles of well-marked lanes and paths. Mostly straightforward hides, there were one or two more challenging ones in there, but all with good hints to help us. We were pleased to have found the lot.
I took a few photos as we walked. Usually we’d go for half a pint of weak shandy after a walk, but lunch time on Sunday isn’t the time to turn up hoping for a pint. All the pubs would have been heaving with the Sunday dinner crowds, so we came home.
We had a cuppa, and I went upstairs and played Lego. Since I revamped the train track a while ago I’ve needed to re-organise my Lego town. I tend to do it a little at a time. Today I re-built Darth Vader’s riding school. I relocated it to the other end of town, gave it a fence and put some overgrown grass round the fence. That took an hour.
I then had a bit of a surprise… My Lego spares are a bit of a jumble. I thought that I had put all my maxifigure bits and bobs into one box. There were several sets of arms with featureless heads. I found an envelope with heads (with faces) which were missing most of the arms. I put the two together and cobbled together six more maixigures. Much as I like the Lego minifigures (and my Lego town is built to the minifigure scale), I do like the maxifigures. They are what I had when I was a lad.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching Celebrity Bake-Off. I say “celebrity”; out of the four people on the show, I’d heard of one. Does having been on “Love Island” really make anyone a celebrity?
16 March 2020 (March) - Bit Dull
I didn’t have a good night. Treacle was restless and quarrelsome, and a night of snarling and growling wasn’t restful. I gave up any attempt at sleep at five o’clock, and over a bowl of granola watched last week’s episode of “Inside No 9”. Usually a very good show, this one was (sadly) perhaps the weakest one that has ever been done.
I sparked up my lap-top to peer into cyberspace. It would seem my ex-Facebook friend with more money than sense had de-friended more people than just me yesterday. I then left one of the Facebook Munzee groups; an attempt to reason with an idiot was fast descending into petty bickering. I’ve mentioned this before – why is it that when I say “I disagree with you for the following reasons” people respond with “you disagree with me therefore you are a prat”? I’ve wasted too much of my life trying to reason with people who are incapable of reasoned debate.
There wasn’t much else on Facebook this morning other than a colleague’s holiday snaps. A lot of people can be very disparaging about that sort of thing but being a naturally nosey person I love seeing other people’s photos. And these photos left me pondering. Based on my own (admittedly limited) experience, do all Mediterranean hotels have populations of feral cats in residence?
I sent out some birthday wishes, and checked my emails. There was nothing of note. I got dressed - I put on new trousers. Perhaps rather dull, but on a dull day, new trousers was (relatively) exciting.
I walked seemingly half a mile to find my car and drove off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were fuelling the fires of panic over corona virus. The crisis is now expected to last for a year or so. Ho hum...
There wasn't much else on the news at all today. The Prime Minister is supposedly going to be addressing the nation on the matter on a daily basis. That will be nice.
Just as I got to work so my phone beeped. I'd driven past a new geocache in Harrietsham. If the geo-feds had done their bit earlier and had I driven up the A-road I might have had a cheeky First to Find. Oh well...
With a few minutes spare I continued my exploration of the estates near work. I had no idea there were so many houses at the back of the hospital. I had a vague idea about moving to one... not that "er indoors TM" would be up for it.
I went in to work for the early shift and did my bit. Work was much as it ever is… but on re-reading that sounds rather negative, doesn’t it? Looking back five years, work nowadays is far better than once it was.
As always, an early start made for an early finish, and an early finish meant that there was a parking space near home.
I came in and saw "er indoors TM" had converted the living room table into a workstation; she’s been sent home from work to work from home for a week. I didn’t disturb here *that* much as I took the dogs out.
We walked round the block, we (the dogs; not me) got fussed by a couple of young girls sitting on the green box at the end of Francis Road. And then we met a toddler. He was fascinated by Fudge and Pogo tiddling up the walls. He and his mother walked with us to the end of Bond Road. They turned right, we turned left… and then the toddler burst into hysterics. He had waved goodbye to the dogs and they hadn’t waved back. He was inconsolable.
His mother and I spent a couple of minutes showing that dogs are physically incapable of waving; their paws lack the necessary articulation (I put that in terms a toddler could understand). I explained that a wag of a tail is a dog’s way of waving, and he seemed rather impressed with that as he went his way and we went ours.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, then went bowling. I sat in front of the telly with the dogs and slept through the second episode of “Noughts and Crosses”. The SkyPlus box has automatically downloaded the third episode… I don’t think I shall bother with it…
Today was dull…
17 March 2020 (Tuesday) - Rostered Day Off
Some nights there is plenty of room in the bed for two humans and three dogs. Other nights there isn’t room to swing a cat. Somehow I found myself precariously balanced on the edge of the bed with maybe a few inches of duvet to keep me warm.
I gave up trying to sleep, and scoffed a bowl of granola whilst watching an episode of “Uncle”, then had a look at the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight. It would seem that that the paranoia about corona virus is gathering steam with no end of events and activities having been cancelled. This was mentioned at work yesterday – with under-twelves’ football having been cancelled (to prevent spread of disease), all the kids just met up and played football anyway. Presumably viruses only spread at organised activities?
Also several after-school clubs had been cancelled. Viruses aren’t active during normal school hours?
It has been said that I’m not taking the national crisis seriously… perhaps I might not seem to be doing so. But after thirty-eight (and a half) years in hospital laboratories not knowing what diseases with which I might come in contact (on a daily basis) means that infection prevention and standard precautions are part of my everyday life. And (it has to be asked) when has mass hysteria helped any situation? I‘ve been trained to stay (relatively) calm in stressful situations.
The Prime Minister has announced effectively a national lock-down. While everyone is concerned about travel bans, government enforced quarantines, not going down the pub and being out of school/work for who knows how long, who do you think will still be allowed and required to go to work? Yes – me.
So please bear with me if I appear flippant. As the world shits its collective pants in unreasoned terror, it’s business as usual for some of us…
Having said that… if you take the historical perspective it would seem that corona virus is pretty small fry to what has gone before; especially as we’ve been led to believe that the disease isn’t *that* severe to most people. So I have to wonder what is all the fuss about? Are people being paranoid, or is there something that the government isn’t telling us?
(takes a deep breath…)
The plan for today had been to go join in with a geo-walk that had been planned some months in advance, but yesterday the event had been cancelled because of fears about this corona virus…I also had a vague idea to go visit my mum and dad, but I phoned them and decided to be sensible and follow the government’s advice. Dad’s a bit frail and mum’s had half a lung removed last year. So I took the dogs up to Kings Wood.
Bearing in mind the broken car window of the last week or so it was good to be able to do “boot dogs” and have all three hounds in the back of the car..
As we drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing some representative of the pub industry who have (understandably) got the arse following the Prime Minister’s suggestion that people don’t go down the pub during the current corona virus panic. He was suggesting that the government might like to bail out pubs that would otherwise go bankrupt. The government was taking the line that not going down the pub was only a suggestion and not an order and so they shouldn’t have to stump up anything.
Yet another example of how a socialist government is a bad thing until you actually need a government to step up and govern…?
We got to Kings Wood, we had an excellent walk. A couple of hours walking a few miles through the woods during which time we only met one other person. It was a shame that Fudge tried to hump their Labrador. Bearing in mind that the Labrador was over twice Fudge’s height, and also bearing in mind Fudge’s spondylosis, you have to admire his enthusiasm.
We came home for a bath. Trying not to disturb "er indoors TM" who is working from home I loaded a load of rubbish into the car and went to the tip to unload. I asked the nice man at the tip what I should do with all the broken glass that was once my car’s rear window. The chap was insistent I threw it in with the old mattresses. How does that work?
From the tip I went to Smyths toy shop. I need some Lego road plates; they didn’t have any, but I deployed a Munzee in their car park and then went on to Tesco.
Tesco was an experience. Many of the shelves had been striped bare. Every time someone put something into their basket they were jealously watched by everyone else. I honestly felt that if I exclaimed “Oh my God – they’ve got pickled octopus!” it would have started a riot.
With no Belgian buns to be had for love nor money (they’ve not had them in for over a week!) I settled for a couple of croissants. I picked up the second-to-last pack of dog food and an eight-quid bottle of wine and came home again.
The croissant wasn’t as good as a Belgian bun, but it wasn’t bad. And I’m supposed to be on a diet anyway.
I went out into the garden and mowed the lawn. The first mowing of the year is more of a scalping, and the ground is still really wet, but it needed doing.
I then woke up the pond. What with it having been asleep all winter I’d rather forgotten how many Koi were in there. Fudge seemed happy to start running round the pond watching the fish like a hawk. It is only a matter of time before he falls in that pond. Again.
I had planned to then slob in front of the telly, but what with "er indoors TM" working from home I went up to the attic and played Lego. I had an idea to make a little bridge over the Lego train track. It look a little while, but I was pleased with the result. I made a little video of the bridge in action.
I then spent a little while ordering bits and pieces of Lego maxifigures on-line.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with that eight quid bottle of wine whilst watching last week’s episode of “Hunted”. Both were rather good…
18 March 2020 (Wednesday) - Coronageddon Continues
The dogs were settled last night, but I didn’t sleep very well. I woke shortly after two o’clock and dozed fitfully for much of the rest of the night.
I got up at five o’clock, scoffed granola whilst watching an episode of “Uncle” then sparked up the lap-top to have my obligatory peer into cyberspace.
Paranoia, misunderstandings and outright lies about corona virus was still rife. I clicked the “haha” button on several comments that I read on Facebook, and wished there was a “FFS” button. Did you know that some supermarket managers are forbidding the drivers of the delivery lorries from using their toilets for fear of disease? Thousands of the general public can have a tinkle, but not the delivery drivers.
I put on the new shoes that I bought from Go Outdoors a month or so ago. I have no idea why it has taken me so long to try the things out.
I set off to work on a bright morning. As I drove up the motorway one of the head honchos from the local brewery Shepherd Neame was being interviewed on national radio. In view of the government's advice that the general public should avoid pubs, this chap can see his profits going straight down the pan. He was therefore suggesting that the government do away with the need for employers to pay national insurance contributions for the duration of the corona virus pandemic. Bearing in mind how it is common knowledge that Shepherd Neame screw their tenants for every penny they can get, I thought this rather cheeky.
The pundits on the radio then debunked the myth that pregnant women are especially at risk from corona virus, and also wheeled on an expert who laughed at the rumours that ibuprofen just makes the illness worse. They spent a few moments worrying about the power of social media; at this time of national panic people are believing any old rubbish that is posted on-line.
I got to work with time to spare, and went for a little walk, deploying a Munzee as I went. As I came in to work there was some consternation. Following the government's advice about who is most at risk from corona virus, the little old ladies who run the hospital's league of friends shop have been told to close the shop and go home.
They weren't happy.
I remember the league of friends shop in the hospital where I used to work. The volunteers in that shop used to hate each other; I'd make a point of going there when the shifts changed over. Those starting would go through the till and loudly berate those leaving about how little money they'd taken.
I did my bit at work. At tea break my phone beeped. I'd seen a rather rare and obscure Lego set on eBay yesterday. I wasn't going to pay the price that was being asked for it, but I saw there was a "make a bid" option. I offered between a quarter and a third of what the set was probably worth, and the seller had accepted the offer. Result!
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching last night’s episode of “Celebrity Bake Off”. Once it was scoffed she told me that the stuff had a sell-by date of four years ago. I rather liked it… which is probably for the best. What with the expected shortages to be coming with coronageddon, we don’t dare throw anything out…
19 March 2020 (Thursday) - A Day Off
On Tuesday night we had a bottle of plonk and a decent helping of port. Yesterday I was feeling full of energy and raring to go. Last night I was in bed at half past ten; I slept for over eight hours and woke this morning feeling like death warmed up.
I had a bowl of granola whilst watching an episode of “Uncle” which was rather sad. Why do comedy shows insist on having upsetting episodes? I wish they didn’t. there’s quite enough misery in the world already. I watch comedy to cheer myself up, not to go on a downer.
I then had a look at the Internet. There were loads of squabbles kicking off on some of the geocaching pages. Ironically one person who was very openly demonstrating his ignorance was calling anyone who disagreed with him “retarded” and that had started quite the argument. Others were seeing “self-isolating” as being synonymous with “staying at home”, and apparently nothing spreads corona virus faster than having the likes of me walking through the countryside looking for film pots under rocks. I pointed out that we are all doing a hobby which involves finding things left out on the open for months, covered in mud and slime and moulds and suddenly everyone is hygiene crazy. A few people saw the irony.
Having been unable to get the Lego bits I wanted from the local shops I had planned to pop up to the Lego shop in Bluewater today. But coronageddon means that the Lego corporation have closed all of their shops (all around the world) for the next two weeks. I ordered what I wanted on-line from someone in Hong Kong; it will take a while to get here, but hopefully will be here before the Lego shops re-open, and (provided it actually does arrive) at half the price too.
So rather than going to Bluewater I took the dogs up to Kings Wood. A year ago I hid thirty-odd geocaches up there. I really need to do a maintenance run and replace the paper logs in all of them… but I’m not happy where the geo-art lies on the map, I’m not happy that when walking the series you have to back-track the last quarter of a mile… Bearing in mind that the series has had nearly a hundred “Found It” logs it has pretty much run its course. I thought I might just make a new series by expanding what’s there, so I had a little explore and found locations for a dozen new caches.
There are those who would say I should have stayed in the house today because of coronageddon, but I was pretty much as isolated in the woods as I was at home. We only met two other groups of dog walkers, and there seemed to be an unspoken agreement that we would all keep our distance (that was odd!) One woman was walking two large Labradors on long leads. She said that I was brave letting my dogs run. Apparently when off the leads in the woods, her dogs often return with bits of deer in their mouths. You have to wonder just what is in Kings Wood that is large enough to dismember a deer.
We had a good walk; as I drove home I noticed the rear window had steamed up. I got to test the de-mister – it worked; for which I was grateful. There was also a distinct smell of fox poo, so once home we went from being “boot dogs” to “bath dogs”.
I then popped up the shop to see if they had any milk. They had. The woman in the shop said that they had never been so busy. We all laughed about corona virus, but no one mentioned that she was wearing rubber gloves.
"er indoors TM" made cheese on toast for lunch. She ate hers in peace; I had an audience and ended up sharing mine with three dogs. The dogs *never* scrounge from "er indoors TM" but always demand my dinner.
With "er indoors TM" still working from home I got out of her way. I had intended to strim the lawn’s edges, but the rain put me off of that idea. I went upstairs and played Lego. Did you know there’s a shortage of bog roll in Lego Land as well?
My Lego world is effectively in limbo until I can sort out the roads, and it will be a while before they arrive from Hong Kong. So I fiddled. I enlarged the church’s graveyard by four graves and gave the vicar a parking space and a congregation. I then made a few more Lego cars (for when I have roads) only to find I’d run out of wheels a while ago.
I had a look for some on eBay. Having seen that the specific sets of wheels I wanted were going for a quid each (plus postage) I tried another eBay store and got eight for a fiver (including postage). It pays to shop around.
"er indoors TM" went shopping. I made a start in collating the information I gathered on this morning’s run with a view to putting out a new geo-series. After three hours I had all the co ordinates and a route sorted. Now…do I just put them as straight geocaches and have all the bitter sarcasm about “another film pot under a rock” from those who’ve not hidden a cache in years, or do I obfuscate the locations with a puzzle which will bring all the complaints about puzzles from those who seem to have no problem in obtaining the answers by one means or another?
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scran which we scoffed whilst watching “Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly” and “Young Sheldon”. Good stuff.
I think I might have an early night… today was a day’s leave just to use the leave rather than loose it… I’m worn out.
20 March 2020 (Friday) - Star Trek: Picard
I heard Fudge jump off the bed in the small hours. When I came downstairs at five o’clock he was running in circles by the back door. I let him out and he shot off like a bullet. Had he been desperate for the loo all that time?
I had a bowl of granola and watched an episode of “Uncle”. I could have watched the latest episode of “Star Trek: Picard”, but (to be honest) I couldn’t be bothered. When the show started I watched it as soon as I could over brekkie, and again a day or so later with "er indoors TM". Now that it hasn’t lived up to expectations I watch it when I remember. In many ways the show has become like “Doctor Who”; I watch it out of a sense of duty rather than because I enjoy it. Which is a shame.
And with telly watched I sparked up the lap-top to peer into the Internet. Pretty much nothing had happened overnight which was probably for the best.
I fussed Fudge, then set off to find my car on a cold morning. It seems the further from home that I park my car the day before, the colder the next morning is going to be.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were again worrying everyone with the ongoing coronageddon panic. Today the nations’ schools have all closed to all but the children of "key workers". "Key workers" are those who are involved in keeping the nation going, and the definition of "key worker" is rather broad. I'm a "key worker"... I'm not sure if that's a good thing.
There was then a telephone interview with a doctor who was stranded in Peru having gone there on a holiday and found himself unable to leave when the Peruvians closed their borders. It was rather amazing how they managed to drag "I'm a doctor and I'm stranded in Peru" over such a long period of time which could well have been more constructively used.
There was also talk about how retired medical professionals have been approached to come out of retirement for this period of national panic. This clearly hasn't been thought through. The current advice is that the older members of the population should self-isolate to avoid the virus, and here's the government asking thousands of over-seventies to go get involved with the infected. Go figure...
I got to work and once I'd been for a little Munzee adventure I did my bit. As I do. As I did I spent much of the day whistling "Zippity-Doo-Dah"; having read at tea break that the Disney corporation is withdrawing the 1946 film "Song of the South" in an attempt to retrospectively censor history.
I came home via Aldi where there wasn’t much left to be bought, and that which was left was being severely rationed; a maximum of four of any given item per customer.
Once home "er indoors TM" boiled up pizza and chips which we scoffed whilst watching yesterday’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard” … as I mentioned earlier it wasn’t that good…
21 March 2020 (Saturday) - Barham
I stood on the scales this morning. I didn’t lose any weight this week. Mind you I didn’t put anything on, so it wasn’t all bad.
I scoffed a bowl of granola, then had a look at the Internet as I do. Not much had happened really; coronageddon had prompted one or two jokey memes, each of which had been reposted a dozen times.
I checked my emails and saw I had yet another spamming email ostensibly from the chap who took over running Teston kite festival. This chap’s email account gets hacked at least once every week; you’d think he’d do something about it… but looking back at what was effectively the demise of one of the best events in the social calendar I’m not surprised he hasn’t really.
The numero uno honcho at Sainsburys had emailed me to tell me that they were changing their opening hours and will only be open from eight in the morning till eight in the evening during the crisis. That’s something of a pain the glass for me (as "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" would say). I wonder if they really are doing this because of staff shortages, or if coronageddon will be used by the supermarkets as a means to get away from being constantly open? Do they really make that much money being open at four o’clock in the morning?
I sent out some birthday wishes to friends (the ones whose birthday was today obviously!) then got ready for the off. There are those who feel that the current nationwide directive to “self-isolate” means to stay at home. We can effectively avoid the masses by going for a walk in the countryside.
We drove out to Barham where the local shop had bread (can you believe it?). We were soon joined by Karl, Tracey and all of the girls. They had been to the farm shop up the road and had got us some mince (that stuff is like gold dust!) and some turnips for the dogs (all vegetables are in short supply).
We then had a rather good walk around the area following well-marked paths and some rather quiet lanes. Barham is rather beautiful; we’d been there before. As we walked today we met sheep who were probably in the wrong field, we saw buzzards flying in the sky, we played in the fords. The water in the fords was flowing at a very impressive rate. There was a rather dodgy hole we had to avoid at one point where a tree had collapsed; Fudge nearly fell down it.
As is usually the case our route was guided by a series of geocaches. A rather excellent series. It was a shame that the people who’d walked the series yesterday didn’t quite understand how to put the paper logs back inside the plastic pots properly, but we sorted it all out.
Usually we’d end our walk with a pint in the pub, but the Prime Minster has asked all the nation’s pubs to close because of coronageddon, so we took some beer with us, and had a couple of crafty pints whilst out. One as we walked, and one with a snack.
And I took a few photos as well…
We said our goodbyes; as we drove home we listened to Steve broadcasting on the radio. You can’t beat a bit of the electric light orchestra on the way home.
Once home we unpacked, and it wasn’t long before the dogs were all snoring. "er indoors TM" set off to visit "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". I went out to the garden and harvested so much dog dung that I blocked the chodbin. It was nothing that a few buckets of water and some frantic chivvying with a trowel couldn’t shift, but next time I won’t put quite so much dog dung down the loo in one go.
Feeling rather peckish I got myself some KFC. Walking to the KFC was odd. Our road is the main thoroughfare from central Ashford to the southern parts of the town. There are always people walking up and down it at all times of day and night. At four o’clock this afternoon there was no one. No one at all.
I got my KFC and scoffed it whilst watching “The Adventures of a Plumber in Outer Space” which was one of the funniest things I’ve seen on telly for years. It was a cheesy, low budget, frankly crappy film, but if you were brought up on “The Benny Hill Show” (like I was), you’ll love it.
With the dogs fed I then spent the evening ironing shirts whilst watching a film. “Ender’s Game” is rather good, but (like most films) it would be better if it was half an hour shorter.
The washing machine has just finished its third load, and it is refusing to open its door… this could be entertaining…
22 March 2020 (Sunday) - Gardening, Breakdown
I had a good night’s sleep; having Pogo doss down on the bedroom floor (for no reason that I could see) probably helped. It was only a shame that Fudge was sick when we all got up. Over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “Uncle” then sparked up my lap-top.
Facebook was heaving with misunderstandings about coronageddon. Just reading it for five minutes this morning reaffirmed my honest conviction that allowing the masses to vote and do jury service is a *really* silly idea.
There was some voice clip circulating on Facebook messenger. It was spoken by someone who claimed to be a nurse (therefore it had to be true) claiming that the way to avoid infection was to drink hot beverages every half an hour to wash the virus into stomach acid.
There were quite a few pointed comments aimed
at people (like me) who have actually dared to set foot outside the
house. Not that I’m trying to justify myself, but from what I can work out, the virus has a two per cent death rate in those
who are already very ill. For the well public (which is most of us)
the disease is like having the flu. It makes sense to do the social
distancing thing (to slow the spread), but unless you are going to live
in a hermetically sealed space suit, sooner or later you are going to come
into contact with the virus.
Ironically the same people who felt that I should stay in the house and not take the dogs out had no problem with me going to work in a hospital where I would come into close contact with over fifty people every day.
Seeing that the washing machine hadn’t gone west after last night’s hiccup I fed it a load of laundry, fed the dogs some chicken flavoured dog food, then took the dogs out. It was a rather bright (if cold) morning and bearing in mind how dry underfoot yesterday’s walk had been I thought we might try Orlestone woods.
As we drove the five miles to Ham Street we didn’t see another car on the road. Not one.
We got to the woods and found that my plan wasn’t that good; the woods were rather muddy. Not that bad that the dogs needed a bath, but still wet underfoot. We only met one other person in the woods. For some inexplicable reason this woman was in the depths of the forest but still had her dog on a lead. Why don’t these people let their dogs run? I greeted her with a cheery “hello”: she cowered behind her dog as if I were a combination of rapist, axe-murderer and escaped psychopath. I can understand how coronageddon has swept the nation; I made a point of keeping my distance, but would it have caused her physical pain to have said “good morning”?
Being mother’s day I had intended to go see my mum today. But what with her being over eighty, having half a lung missing, and having had a constant cough since Christmas, she is someone who should be self-isolating at the moment.
We came home, and with nothing better to do I did some gardening. Despite having been round with a trowel and bucket yesterday, I got another bumper crop of dog turds this morning. I then strimmed the edges of the lawn. I must admit I didn’t recognise the strimmer when I got it out of the shed, but looking at my diary I see I’ve had the thing for nearly a year. With strimming strimmed I then gave the lawn another mowing before spending seemingly ages pulling weeds out of the gravelled areas of the garden. I’m not sure what went wrong here; the whole point of having gravelled areas is so that I don’t have to do weeding.
I had a sandwich, watched the last episode of “Uncle”, then went back out into the garden. I got out the pressure washer and had a go at the patio. I say “patio”; I mean the concreted bit by the shed. It gets rather grubby and the pressure washer brings it up a treat. It makes a mess at the time, but after all the floods have subsided it looks “not too shabby” (to coin a phrase). I thought about pressure washing the front garden too, but decided against it. Instead I got out a pair of shears and trimmed back the jungle pouring over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door. Before he disappeared I once mentioned to “Nutty Noodle” that I’d appreciate his trimming back his plants. In all seriousness he told me that having roses and clematis pouring over the fence was a good thing as it would deter burglars, and that he would encourage it to grow over the fence as it would reduce my house contents insurance.
I then kicked the gravel around the pond to cover up the anti-weed membranes. There’s a bit of a problem with the shingle round the top of the pond. Being rather higher, all the shingle migrates down the slope from there and the bare membrane are rather obvious. I’m not sure what I can do about it. I did have an idea to pop to the garden centre to get more shingle, but what with coronageddon that wouldn’t be a good idea. I’ve got some rather large concrete cores that once held up fence posts; maybe I might do something with them?
By then it was well past three o’clock. I’d started in the garden shortly after ten o’clock, and I was worn out. I’d spent over five hours doing hard labour, and (in all honestly) the garden didn’t look *that* much different from when I’d started. Did I ever mention how much I hate gardening? I was just sitting on the loo planning a Netflix binge when my mobile phone beeped. "er indoors TM"’s car had broken down some twenty-five miles away. The RAC were on the way, but could I drive out, collect "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and take him home?
As I drove I activated my phone so as to transmit my location. Smallest grandchild was (so I’m told) fascinated with following my progress. I collected him and left "er indoors TM" waiting for the recovery van. As we drove, SBOD ("Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM") told me about his latest playstation game which feature goats with jet packs. He was also made up with the gauge on my car’s dashboard which showed how many miles I could drive before needing more petrol. He said that nanny needed one in her car because the reason she’s broken down was that she’d run out of petrol. If only…
Just as I dropped him off I got instruction to collect "er indoors TM" from the garage where the recovery chap was taking her car. We’ve got to go back in the morning to talk to the garage people; there is talk of “cam belts” and “warranties”
In the meantime I’ve uncorked a bottle of the red stuff. This might get messy…
23 March 2020 (Monday) - A Prime Ministerial Announcement
There’s no denying that I felt rather grim when I woke. Red wine, port and amaretto does that.
This morning I had a hot cross bun for brekkie; there was no bread in the corner shop yesterday but they had hot cross buns and so I panic-bought four of them. Not a bad brekkie really I suppose. As I scoffed it I had a look at the Internet. Coronageddon panic was everywhere with maybe one person in a hundred seeming to appreciate the difference between “social distancing” and “self-isolating”. I resisted the temptation to point out the fallacy of some people’s attempts at logic, but you can’t argue with stupidity, can you?
I then put the telly on and watched the news. The Minister for Health was being interviewed. The chap has got a very difficult job at the moment; it is easy to knock politicians but at these difficult times they really do need our support. Having said that he didn’t come over at all well. He wasted ten minutes of air-time spouting meaningless phrases rather than saying anything of note.
I drove "er indoors TM" to the garage where we salvaged as much gear as she needed from her car before going to talk to the nice garage man. Or that is she went and talked to him; I stayed in my car. The nice man in the garage said it will be two weeks before they can even look at the remains of her car. I must admit I thought this might be the case; whenever I’ve been there they’ve always had a full diary. Oh well, probably as well that she’s working from home.
I did suggest that she come for a walk with me and the dogs, but she felt she should get on with work. So I dropped her home and took the wolf-pack down to Orlestone woods where we had a good walk. We met one other person; a little old lady with a Jack Russel and a large poodle who we’ve met her before. There is a nodding acquaintance in the dog-walking fraternity; just both having dogs is reason enough to strike up a conversation. The little old lady summed up her attitude to coronageddon and she seemed to be in complete agreement with me. She’s in the “at risk” group (in several actually) but her dogs need walking. Bearing in mind I was the only person she met in the woods and she could see we were both keeping a sensible distance, she was as isolated in the woods as she was at home. And having come out she could at least talk to someone rather than being totally alone all day long.
We came home, and I then popped to Tesco. I had orders to get cherry tomatoes; they didn’t have any. In fact they had hardly any vegetables at all. Loads of fruit, but very few vegetables. Go figure! They had bread so I got some. They only had two bottles of diet Doctor Pepper, so I panic-bought those, as well as a few bottles of beer (just in case).
Once home we had a cuppa. I didn’t really have much of a plan for today; I just had a day’s leave which I could use or lose, so a month ago I decided “use”. I spent four hours writing a very simple Wherigo, and another couple of hours re-writing three others. Then two more hours creating geo-art. I say “art”; “geometry” is closer to what I did.
We had a rather good dinner, and for afters we had fresh raspberries and cream. With no toilet roll or dog food in the supermarkets, there was plenty of cream and raspberries.
And then we watched the Prime Minister’s broadcast to the nation. I expect this will be something about which the future historians will wax lyrical, and I will be able to say “I was there”.
He’s put the nation in lockdown. I can now only leave the house to get essential food shopping, one bout of exercise a day, and to go to work.
It’s all getting rather serious…
24 March 2020 (Tuesday) - The Day After Lockdown
I slept well… I think. I have a vague recollection of "er indoors TM" fighting with the dogs, but it could have been a dream. Over brekkie (Aldi’s muesli) I watched an episode of the new season of “The Good Place”; perhaps I would have benefitted from having re-watched what had gone before, but it was entertaining enough.
Facebook was rather dull this morning, but admittedly I was up early. There was something of a row kicking off on some of the geocaching pages. There is a very vocal demand that the hobby be suspended in its entirety for the duration of the crisis for fear of disease. People who don’t really know the first thing about microbiology were advocating not leaving the house for fear of corona virus. They seemed to think that it would attack in much the same way that a tiger might do. Yet again there were a *lot* of people showing they don’t know the difference between self-isolation and social distancing. But (as always) trying to talk sense was doomed to failure. Despite having multiple degrees and being educated to a post-graduate level and with thirty-eight years of experience of dealing with human disease on a daily basis, I have been put in my place several times recently by “Karen from Facebook”,
I contented myself with posting a link to a Coursera course that many people would be well advised to take, and left it to others to undertake the utterly futile exercise of trying to talk sense to those who have decided not to listen to reason.
I got dressed taking care not to disturb "er indoors TM", then went out to find my car on a rather cold morning. Colder than I had realised. Seeing the windscreen was rather grubby I squirted the windscreen washers, and the screen rinse froze on the screen.
I spent five minutes scraping it off.
Bearing in mind the Prime Minister had announced that only key workers were allowed to be out and about today, the roads were just as busy this morning as they ever were. Vans bearing the logos of swimming pool suppliers, pumps accessories and all sorts of seemingly unimportant trivia were out and about.
The pundits on the radio were talking about the lock-down. They wheeled on a senior policeman to ask exactly how the police were going to enforce the lockdown. The chap said he had no idea; he said he'd heard the same announcement we'd all heard last night, and that was the extent of his knowledge.
They then interviewed someone from Sports Direct who tried to make a case that selling sporting goods was a vital service in the time of national crisis. They didn't fool anyone.
I got to work, and bearing in mind that most people weren't even allowed out of the house I decided against going to stick out a Munzee. I went straight in to work and did my bit. It wasn't a bad day; we had cake. However we also had a rather foul manure-ish smell permeating the entire hospital. Some local farmer had been muck-spreading. I wish he'd stayed in lock-down.
Bearing in mind we’re allowed to go food shopping, "er indoors TM" sent me a list. I welt to Aldi after work and found it far more controlled than it had been last week. With the exception of toilet roll they had pretty much everything I needed (even if I don’t know the difference between pasta sauce and lasagne sauce)
Coming home down the motorway was odd. This morning had been like any other morning. This evening when coming home the motorway was incredibly quiet. The only time I’ve seen it quieter is on Christmas morning.
I did have orders to get dog food, but in this new world order of lock-down, Pets at Home closed at six o’clock and I was too late.
I came home to see the postman had been. The Lego “Red Indians” set that I’d ordered from eBay had arrived. Originally released over forty years ago this set was never available in the UK. Rather politically incorrect, the “Red Indians” bit is actually the Lego corporation’s official set name, and is in no way racist or pejorative…
Originally both the figures in the canoe had paddles, but over the years one went missing. Such is life…
25 March 2020 (Wednesday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept reasonably well; over a bowl of muesli I turned on the TV news. It was rather different to the morning’s radio in that there was a *lot* of repetition. I turned the telly off when they started asking for volunteers to help the NHS… volunteers… that’s a rant for another time.
Facebook was much the same as ever. There weren’t quite so many showing off their ignorance this morning, but there were enough for me to change my Facebook status to “Dear Facebook… in addition to the “like”, “love”, “haha”, “wow”, “sad” and “angry” reaction response icons, could you please create a “FFS” one with which I could respond to much of the fuckwittery I am seeing posted on a regular basis right now…”
However this morning did see an upsurge in posting from the hypochondriac brigade who were noisily staying at home. Don’t get me wrong – I have several friends who aren’t well and who do have chronic illnesses who really should be at home during the current coronageddon. However I also have several people on my Facebook list who go to the doctor if they so much as fart twice in half an hour. It was the latter who were making the most of it this morning.
Amazingly the co-ordinate projection software was working this morning (it’s a geo-thing). I got rather cross with it yesterday evening when it could project anything I wanted provided it was in a due north direction, which is no use when you are trying to make a circle. I’m looking to make a pretty pattern with geo-icons for a new series of geocaches that I am planning. There are those who don’t like that sort of thing, but on the whole, those who don’t like it are those who contribute absolutely nothing to rummaging under rocks for film pots.
I managed to eventually produce my geo-art. I’m quite pleased with it. It’s just a geometric shape, but "er indoors TM" says it looks like a peacock.
Despite the current lock-down, the Prime Minister has said that everyone is allowed out for one bit of exercise a day. I could have walked the dogs round the park, but we would encounter people there. I drove up to Kings Wood where we walked for four miles and only saw three other people. One of them had headphones on and was utterly oblivious that I had said hello to him. (I thought that was rather rude). One was a chap on a mountain bike. We kept at least ten yards apart; the chap told me he was self-employed and was rather concerned for the future. He asked what I did; I told him. He thought I was some sort of super-hero. The third one we encountered came past as he was driving a four-wheel-drive down one of the rough tracks some two miles from the nearest road. I wonder what he was up to?
We had a very good walk; the mud had dried out, we saw a huge bird of some sort. Heron or buzzard? It was about the size of an ostrich.
It was only a shame that the dogs had to eat quite so much horse manure.
As we walked my phone beeped. Someone somewhere had scanned a bar code I’d stuck to a lamp post and the resultant points I’d got had made me a level 101 munzer. Result!
With walk walked we came home. The Prime Minister has also said that everyone is allowed out for essential shopping, and Pets at Home was closed yesterday when I went there so I popped round for dog food.
Fuckwittery was in full force there.
They had a little old lady on the door controlling how many people were in the store at any one time. A good idea in theory. In practice did she have to take quite so long to decide to let me in when there were only two other customers in there?
I got the dog food and took it to the till. I put it on the counter, and the chap at the till asked me to step back to the yellow square marked on the floor some six feet away. So I did. When he asked for payment I explained that I couldn’t reach the card reader device from six feet away. He said that I could come forward; I only needed to keep my distance when he was scanning the stuff I’d bought. Sensible… so I came forward expecting him to move back. He didn’t. Instead he leaned forward and (with a smile) started banging on about how more people should be co-operative like I’d been and abide by their rules. I smiled sweetly and resisted the urge to ask if viruses only attack the checkout lad when he is otherwise distracted by scanning merchandise?
I spent a little while (three hours) doing geo-admin for the new cache series I have planned, then looked at the household accounts. Today I looked at the annual summaries… I try to put aside money that we might need in case of disaster and (despite one or two disasters), we’ve ended the year with slightly more in reserve than when we started, for which was pleased. I also saw that the council tax for next year has gone up by a fiver a month, but the water bill’s now cheaper. As always I seem to be doing OK financially… not ridiculously wealthy and rolling in money, but OK…
I can remember when I first started testing blood for a living in 1981. Up till then I’d been working in my spare time in a seaside restaurant. I’d often spoken with the boss about taking the plunge and buying a restaurant of my own. It would mean tremendous bank loans and a lot of risk, and I decided against it. I plumped for a regular wage. At the time my boss (“Boss” was a little fat Italian chap who was in retrospect one of the wisest men I ever met) told me that by doing this, I would be comfortable financially in life, but I could be so much more.
Yet again I find myself looking back to this chap and wishing I’d listened to him.
"er indoors TM" cleared some space in the freezer (as we’d had a meat delivery) and she found a bone that we’d frozen for the dogs ages ago. I say “dogs”; it was probably from a time before Treacle. With the bone defrosted I sat down and supervised the dogs who enjoyed it immensely. There was no quarrelling or squabbling. Each dog had a chomp and waited patiently (mostly) for their next turn. My dogs might not be the best behaved dogs in the world, but there’s not many that will share a bone.
"er indoors TM" then took the dogs out (for her daily exercise). In all the excitement Fudge sicked up the meat he’d chewed from the bone, and before anyone could do anything, Treacle and Pogo ate it.
Dogs can be foul creatures…
26 March 2020 (Thursday) - This n That
I had a rather fraught night. I was woken by "er indoors TM" having something of a row with Treacle. I woke in intense pain, and lay in intense pain for some time until I struck on the (frankly genius) idea of rolling over. The pain went right away, and I saw the alarm was due to go off two minutes later. I nodded off and woke seemingly ages later to see it was only three o’clock.
What was that all about?
I watched an episode of “The Good Place” as I scoffed a bowl of muesli, then I had a little look into the internet. Still more people were showing their ignorance on Facebook. It is a sad reflection of our society that any vocal half-wit can become an oracle these days. On a more serious note, one or two people had been laid off as their firms closed up for the foreseeable future as the coronageddon situation worsened. Rather than keeping people on it is cheaper to let them go. I understand that lists of companies doing this are being drawn up. When this is all over we will know where not to spend our money.
I eventually found where I'd left my car and set off to work on a rather cold morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were making a rather poor attempt at describing how testing for corona virus is performed. One can either test for the actual virus which takes an age and costs a fortune. Or one can test for the body's having had a reaction to the virus. This is relatively quick and cheap but has the disadvantage that the test will remain negative until the body has had a reaction which can take a few weeks after the initial infection. Therefore it will have a high incidence of falsely negative results. Perhaps it's because this is what I do every day, but I can't understand why the people on the radio had such a hard time understanding this. It's all rather simple. In fact this has been the case when testing for glandular fever for about a hundred years ever since messers Paul and Bunnell devised their test all those years ago.
There was also an interesting (if chilling) thought posed by the ex-chief scientific advisor to the government. He said that this corona virus pandemic is going to cause a world-wide economic recession, and attempts to alleviate it will make that recession worse. He went on to say that the corona virus will (for the most part) take out those members of our society who are least economically productive, and that a global economic recession would also cause many deaths. He suggested that by *not* treating the elderly and infirm and leaving them to croak we could lessen the effects of the coming global recession and in the long run have less deaths in total.
Is he right?
Is this really how the government is thinking?
I got to work and found that since I was last there the door now had a lock on it and that my swipe card didn't work on that lock.
As I had a cuppa before I started by phone beeped. The geo-feds had checked the locations of the potential new geocaches I'd been working on and had given me the thumbs-up for most of my plan. That was something of a result. There was a minor hiccup with one bit of what I had in mind; I thought that I might sort that on Saturday until I had an email from the head honcho at the forestry commission. He has announced that they have closed all their forests to the general public for the duration of the current emergency.
I was in one of their woods yesterday for hours and only met three other people. There's far more social isolation to be had in a forest than there is in the local park.
As the day went on I heard of more lunacy. A good friend of mine is the manager of a branch of (let’s call it) a well-known high street store. He’s been told to close up for three weeks. Another branch of the same store not thirty miles away has been told to stay open as that branch is “key workers”.
I came home via Aldi where I got more supplies. I’m getting better at this shopping and got pretty much everything I was after. Some of it (the chili sauce) went into tonight’s dinner. It was rather good….
27 March 2020 (Friday) - Lego Delivery
I went to the loo in the small hours and came back to bed to find that the entire wolf-pack had made themselves comfortable where I’d been sleeping. I should have hoiked the entire lot off the bed, but instead I wormed my way in between them and tried to sleep despite Pogo’s grumbling every time anyone moved.
Over a bowl of Aldi muesli (which isn’t that good) I watched an episode of “The Good Place” then had a look at the Internet. The new sparks single has been released; like the muesli it wasn’t that good either (unfortunately).
Facebook was fairly quiet; with the world on lock-down no one had been doing much.
I posted a couple of birthday videos to friends (whose birthday was today obviously!), I sulked a bit because today is smallest grand-dog Rolo’s birthday and due to coronageddon I’m not allowed to visit, I saw I had no emails at all, and I got ready for work.
I spent a few moments wiping the condensation off of my car, then set off to work. There was an iffy few seconds as I joined the motorway as a truck of the Green Box recycling company (registration number emailed to the company) followed perhaps five yards behind me as I drove up the slip road, and stayed that close to me for quite some time. I don't know if he thought that by driving so close he would force me to overtake the van in front where there was no space to do so. I wish people wouldn't drive like idiots, but when they do so in the company's van at least you have the ability to bring their idiocy to the attention of someone who can do something about it.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the Chancellor of the Exchequer who made a speech yesterday which was well received. There was talk about the Prime Minister's latest TV and radio appearances looking rather weak in comparison. Doesn't it speak volumes about our political system in that a leader isn't judged by their ability to lead or by the policies they devise, but by how well they amuse the masses?
As I arrived at work so my phone beeped. Those Lego plates I was going to buy from Bluewater last week have now been posted from China. I wonder when they will arrive?
I had a cuppa before I started work. As I did I had a look at Facebook on my phone again. Not much had happened earlier; people had woken up now and there was a lot of concern being expressed in that the vape shops haven't been declared "essential" and have all closed down. Those who like puffing clouds now have nowhere to get their supplies. This was apparently a major issue - has no one heard of on-line shopping?
At lunch time there was some chuckling at work as we got the news that the Prime Minister has succumbed to the corona virus. I say "succumbed"; he's got a cough and a bit of a temperature and is now self-isolating. Will he carry on running the show by video link as an example to us all? And if he goes down with it, who takes over? You'd think that the country would have thought about this before the leader went down with the virus which has been sweeping the nation for weeks, wouldn't you?
I came home and with "er indoors TM" still diligently working from home I took the dogs out. I wanted to go to Kings Wood to get GPS co-ordinates to put the finishing touches to my new geo-series, but a blanket ban on supposedly non-essential travel meant that I couldn’t. To be honest I didn’t go to the woods simply because of respect to the Forestry Commission’s request that people don’t go, rather than because of this travel ban.
We went round the park. On Wednesday we walked in the woods for three hours and met two other people; neither of which came within fifteen yards of me. Today in three quarters of an hour walking locally we saw dozens of people, and despite my best efforts twenty-two potential disease-carriers came close enough that I could have touched them.
As we walked home we came past the allotments where social distancing certainly wasn’t being observed, and neither were the rules about avoiding non-essential driving with all the gardeners having brought their cars.
With walk walked I went to feed the pond fish. I will need to scare up some more food for the Koi soon. I really should stop the dogs from scoffing quite so much of it; especially as in his greed, Pogo fell in the pond this evening.
I then spent a few minutes opening the post. Some of my Lego had been delivered today. I had a little look-see to check that what I’d ordered had arrived. All I’m now waiting for are those large base plates from China.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the last episode of “Star Trek: Picard”. Now I’ve seen the series I must admit that it was a disappointment… Such a shame.
28 March 2020 (Saturday) - Locked Down
The dogs were settled last night, and when they sleep, everyone sleeps.
I stood on the scales this morning – I’ve managed to put on two pounds this week. On the one had I want to lose about three to four stone in weight, on the other hand despite what I do or don’t eat I’ve always been a porker.
I had toast for brekkie (for a change), then peered into the Internet. The geocaching groups were still at each other’s throats about the national lock-down.
This is something which is boiling my piss right now.
Despite the ongoing arguments and bitterness it is possible to leave the house and still avoid spreading the corona virus. You just avoid people. But there is a school of thought which says that people should not set foot outside the house for any reason whatsoever. Many of those who advocate this are extremely forceful in their opinion, but none seem to have a valid reason for what they are saying. There are those who think that the corona virus is like a tiger in that it is crouched behind the neighbour’s hedge poised to ponce on them (much like a tiger might). And there are those who advocate staying at home because “that is the law”, seemingly oblivious to the fact that this law has been devised by someone who is even thicker than they are.
Don’t get me wrong – I am on no way advocating business as usual or civil disobedience, but a little education on matters microbiological would go a long way right now.
I sent birthday wishes to one of my nephew’s three Facebook accounts then had a look at my emails. The geo-feds have given the thumbs up to my latest tweak to the geo-series I am planning. Interestingly with the country on lock-down, the chap who contacted me to say all was well had sent the email before six o’clock this morning.
I also had emails from the dentist and the vet saying they were closing for all but emergencies. I suppose that’s understandable under the circumstances.
Whilst "er indoors TM" got herself organised I sorted Lego. I found a huge box of the stuff that I’d forgotten about. There were several sets of wheels in that box; it was a shame that yesterday’s delivery included quite a few sets of wheels that I’d ordered as I thought I’d run out.
The plan for today had been to drive out to Hemsted forest where we’d planned to meet up with friends, but that plan went doubly west. Firstly we aren’t allowed to drive anywhere to walk dogs, and secondly the Forestry commission have closed all their woods.
So instead we went for a little walk locally. Out through Willesborough dykes to the top end of Park Farm and home via South Willesborough and Frog’s Island. We had a fairly good walk, "er indoors TM" found a geocache (I’d found that one eight years ago!) and Treacle fell in something. We aren’t quite sure what; it was near the river but we didn’t see her anywhere near the water, but suddenly she was soaking wet and covered in foul-smelling mud.
With walk walked and dog bathed we had a light lunch (scones and jam with coffee) then I ordered some food for the pond fish. It should be here by Tuesday. I can’t help but wonder how many other people are ordering stuff like this on-line. At the moment on-line ordering is great; with "er indoors TM" working from home there is always someone at home to accept delivery.
I then played Lego for a bit. With yesterday’s delivery of spare odds and sods I managed to make fifteen more maxi-figures including two which will be part of a statue in the Lego world’s park which I shall make once the base plates arrive.
I then had a message. A little while ago I mentioned that someone from Sweden had been using a VPN to cheat at claiming a find on my Adventure lab cache in Ashford. It would seem that the answers to this Adventure have been posted onto a cheat page on Facebook together with how to trick your GPS to make you think you are miles away from where you actually are. I’ve disabled the thing for now (no one’s allowed out to do it anyway) and shall decide what to do with it if and when coronageddon has subsided somewhat.
Bearing in mind I’d had to re-vamp the end of my geo-walk in Kings Wood I then re-programmed one of the Wherigos and created some of the web pages for the geo-series. I’ve got over half of the web pages done now. I’ve just got to create the last twenty-four web pages, decide what the puzzles are actually going to be, add then to the pages… it will keep me occupied during coonageddon if nothing else.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which I washed down with the bottle of beer I had intended taking out for today’s cancelled walk. As we scoffed we watched a film. “Year One” was something of a disappointment…
29 March 2020 (Sunday) - Stuff
I was sleeping like a log when "er indoors TM" and the wolf-pack all came to bed at half past two (or half past three bearing in mind the clocks went forward). All hell then seemingly broke loose, and mayhem continued right up until five minutes before I had to get up.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of "The Good Place" as I scoffed muesli. The milk might have been past its best, but in this new world order of coronageddon, manky milk is better than no milk, so I made the most of it.
I didn't bother looking at the Internet this morning as I was on a mission; I set off for work.
It was rather cold as I searched for my car. I eventually found it, and as I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about religious stuff as they do most Sunday mornings. And (as always) there is an incredibly fine line between "religion" and "stark-staring-nonsense". There was an idiot being interviewed who wasn't at all happy about the advice that churches should not open because of the possibility of spreading the virus. This idiot claimed that the virus had been made by Satan with the express intention of having churches close. He was also adamant that God wouldn't allow any transmission of infection to take place in a church.
I would have thought that if God could have prevented the transmission of the virus then he, she or it might have stepped in a little while ago, but what do I know?
There were then some interviews with people who run crematoriums (crematoria?). It would seem there are no national guidelines for funeral services. Some crematoriums are carrying on as usual. Some are restricting attendances to randomly selected figures between six and twenty-five depending on what the individual crematorium manager decides. And some have closed to the public altogether.
The ones that have closed have come up with an interesting suggestion. They are carrying on cremating the dead. They will present the family of the deceased with the ashes, and a service can be carried on at a later date. It's been suggested that this service doesn't need to be in a crematorium or church. It seems that this idea might catch on, and traditional funeral services might become a thing of the past.
I like the sound of this.
I've got this idea of having my ashes scattered in the depths of Kings Wood, if only to have those few who will cry at my departing trek some miles into the woods to do their blubbing.
I'd left home early and not looked at the Internet this morning so that I would have time to get some shopping, but Aldi was closed. The nice man at the shop said that they were opening at half past nine for NHS workers. I explained that I was an NHS worker and that at half past nine I would be well into my shift. He said that despite all the current crisis the laws governing shop opening hours hadn't changed.
Oh well... they can close the nation on the Prime Minister's say so, but they can't open a supermarket an hour earlier...
Finding myself with some spare time I went into work and had a cooked breakfast. As always I ended up wishing that I hadn't. Their dinners are excellent; brekkie not so.
I got on with my work. Often when working at the weekends I sulk because of what I might be missing. Ironically today much of the country (if not the world) would envy me because I was legitimately allowed to leave the house. Mind you it was raining hard for much of the morning, with the rain periodically giving way to hail. I hear there was sleet and snow back home.
With work done I came home via the branch of M&S at work. I was hoping to get all sorts of shopping bits and bobs, but the shop was more geared up for the lunch market. But they did have some lemon Danish pastries which we had with a cuppa. It was a shame that we made the cuppas with the last of the milk which was definitely past its best.
We took the dogs round the park. There weren’t many people out, and those we met (unlike Friday) were doing social distancing. It was odd; a month ago you’d pass someone on the pavement without a word. Now you all make a point of keeping apart and smile at each other and shout polite pleasantries and apologise for the social distancing.
With walk walked I spent ten minutes re-designing the Lego statue I made yesterday. It’s now vaguely along the lines of the statue of Bill and Ted in San Dimas. Ideally it would be in grey, but they don’t do maxifigure arms in grey. I then had the (frankly genius) idea of re-doing it in blue. I need to do something about the yellow maxifigure heads… I need to get some blue paint or blue indelible marker.
Karl then video-whatsapp-ed and we had a little video chat. We filmed dogs eating turnips, and Treacle seemed intrigued with the video. I need to work out how to cast it to the telly.
Wonder what’s for dinner?
30 March 2020 (Monday) - House Party
After a rather fraught night I poured away the last of the skanky milk and opened a fresh bottle for this morning’s brekkie. I watched an episode of “The Good Place” before having my morning’s root around Facebook. Quite a few people were posting brain-teasers on Facebook (which is more than many usually do), but there was a worrying undercurrent of resentment aimed at the NHS workers. A week ago the sun was shining out of the bum of the NHS workers; this morning there were quite a few other key workers who were rather envious of all the free coffee, half-price pizza and special shopping hours supposedly being offered to NHS staff.
There is something of a misunderstanding here. The free coffee and half-price pizza are very limited in numbers (maybe fifty to one hundred when there are about a thousand or so eligible for the offer), and these offers are issued on a first-come first-served basis. Advertised by internal email, they are snapped up by those who have time to be constantly reading internal emails.
As for the special shopping hours, speaking for myself the special shopping hours coincide with when I’m working, and from what I’ve heard any “key worker” can turn up; the criteria for being a “key worker” being to declare yourself as such.
I got dressed taking care to let sleeping dogs lie. Now that we are in British Summer Time I put on a thinner summer shirt (I have winter shirts and summer shirts – it came as something of a surprise to find that most people don’t) and set off work-wards. As I walked to my car I was very conscious that I wasn't wearing a winter shirt. The summer ones are much thinner and it was rather cold this morning.
Last week the roads in the morning had been much the same as ever, this morning the roads were noticeably quieter. Lock-down is starting to really take effect. As I drove there was talk of the virus on the morning news. It would seem that this lock-down will realistically be in place for at least three more months. Looking back over the last few weeks I was rather sceptical about the whole coronageddon pandemic when it first kicked off.
It would seem that I was wrong.
However the whole thing is a classic example of "the boy who cried wolf" isn't it? With the media having been declaring the end of the world so many times over the years, when something serious happens (like this current pandemic), no one takes it seriously. I certainly didn't. I would suggest this is why so many people are still flaunting the advice to stay at home and are still staging parties and barbecues.
And talking of serious, the pundits on the radio were saying that the virus has now taken a hold in Africa (a little behind the rest of the world). If there was ever any doubt, my Moroccan jolly planned for July is now definitely out of the window. I just hope that the week away planned for August can still go ahead. At this rate I can see my holiday this year being downscaled to a weekend in a tent in the back garden.
I got to work for the early shift. Some early shifts are straight-forward. This one wasn't.
My plan was to go to Aldi after work. I went to Aldi, took one look at the queue and came home. I got the odds and sods we needed from the corner shop, then took the dogs round the park for a walk.
One of the many disadvantages of coronageddon is that what with many people off work and not allowed to drive and are only allowed out once a day, Viccie Park is getting more than its fair share of “The Great Unwashed” who until last week would never set foot in the place from one year to the next.
We met a young family. Mum and dad had three young children with bikes. They had clearly never ridden their bikes before; all were going full-pelt in straight lines and could only stop by jamming on the brakes and falling off. Mother or father would then run up, stop the crying, and watch helplessly as each child then sped off again only to be in tears thirty seconds later.
We met a musclebound chap doing his sit-ups. Pogo thought it was a great game and started licking his face.
And then we saw a father and young child both on a scooter being towed by a dog the size of a cart-horse. It was going rather well up to the point when a squirrel ran across the path in front of the dog…
It was with a sense of relief that we left the park, but just as we were passing the shop up the road from home I overheard some “delightful young lady” bellowing into her phone that she’d gone right through the park and was at the shops by Singleton. I wondered if I should tell her that the shops by Singleton were about two miles away, but I thought it best not to interfere in other people’s balls-ups.
I phoned my mum and dad to wish them a happy wedding anniversary. Ideally we would have visited, but visiting isn’t something that happens at the moment. And having phoned them we had an experimental video game with "My Boy TM" and his tribe. “House Party” is a rather good app in which you can see people with the video camera whilst playing silly games.
If only I could get my mum to do this sort of thing…
31 March 2020 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
Over brekkie I watched “Lake Escapes”; a program in which two celebrity anglers went fishing in a river. I have a theory about celebrity anglers. They aren’t on telly because they are any good at fishing; they are on telly because they come over very well on-screen. Take today’s pair who were brandishing fishing rods as though they were swords. When the fish takes the bait you should gently pick up the rod. You *shouldn’t* thrash the thing back over your head as though trying to launch the fish into orbit.
This was followed by the morning TV news in which it would seem that both the National Police Chiefs' Council and the College of Policing have issued a statement telling the police to be consistent in their approach to forcing the ongoing lock-down. It does nothing for public confidence in the Boys in Blue when they publicly lambast people for walking in the countryside when (it transpires) that these people live there.
Usually I wouldn’t go out for the morning dog-walk at half-past eight but with the world on lock-down, half-past eight was rather quiet. We only had one “episode” as we walked our usual circuit. As we came through Bowen’s Field some woman started shrieking at me from her garden. “Your dog’s done a shit” she continually ranted. When I turned round she ran into her house, closed the door and peered at me from behind the net curtains. I think she’d got confused as Treacle squats to tiddle, so we carried on. This harridan ran back into her garden and started squawking again. And again when I stopped she ran back inside. I went back and had a look but could discover no errant turds. This continued for five minutes before I finally shouted back that unless she could direct me to the site of the download, then I could do nothing.
The woman glowered at me from the safety of her kitchen.
We went on into the park where we met quite a few more joggers than usual, and a few dog walkers too. My wolf-pack all played nicely with the other dogs. And I did chuckle when I saw the remains of a kite flapping in a tree. You can tell that the normal people are using the park more and more - I can’t remember the last time anyone flew a kite in Viccie Park.
As dog-walks go, this was one of the better ones.
We came home, I went round the garden with a trowel and bucket and harvested a bumper crop of dog turds. It never fails to amaze me how the dogs manage to “do” anything when we go out when you consider how much they’ve already “done” in the back garden.
Usually I would then slob in front of the telly, but with "er indoors TM" working from home I didn’t want to make too much noise. So I wrote up some CPD (dull!). As I wrote so the door bell rang. The job lot of fish food I’d ordered at the weekend had arrived. At only two thirds of the price of the stuff I got last year it seems to be quite the bargain. Or it will be *if* the fish eat it and *if* it doesn’t cloud up the pond.
I then spent a little while creating the last of the web pages that will describe the geo-walk I’m planning for Kings Wood (once normality is resumed). I eventually got them done. All I need now is a puzzle for each, and to go and actually put film pots under rocks once normality is restored.
I spent most of the afternoon asleep with Fudge on the bed with me. "er indoors TM" working from home meant there was no dogs barking at all during the afternoon which made for a good few hours’ shut-eye.
I’m off to the night shift soon. I wonder how coronageddon will affect it?