1 March 2023 (Wednesday) - A Glass of Plonk
Finding myself awake far too early I got up and came downstairs. As I opened the door to the living room I jumped as something shot past my feet at lightning speed. Two somethings. “er indoors TM” couldn't have secured the puppies' crate last night and they had been waiting (poised like coiled springs) for me to open the door this morning so they could get to the big bed. They'd clearly spent the night out of the crate... as evidenced by the tiddle on the carpet and the poop on the lino.
Oh well... who'd have dogs?
I made toast and watched more Downton Abbey in which the chauffeur would seem to have abandoned Lady Sybil (men are all beasts) and Ethel's morality was found to be wanting (by those who were no paragons of virtue themselves).
I then had a look at the internet and sent out a birthday wish with something of a sense of guilt...
Yesterday I mentioned someone with whom I went to primary school. Today was the birthday of another friend I've known since 1969. This chap was a very good friend all those years ago; we went to primary school together, I walked three miles to secondary school (and back) with him every day for many years. But I can never forgive myself for introducing him to the Boys Brigade. The whole idea of Boys Brigade is to brainwash boys into religion. It caught me, but eventually I realised what was going on and saw sense. However my old mucker fell for it, hook, line and sinker. He became a lay-preacher (effectively a voluntary vicar), and eventually he gave up a very well paid job as a bank manager to become a full-time pastor in the Baptist church (which he still is). When the chap who ran our old Boys Brigade died, my old friend gave a sermon at the funeral. I have never heard such a disjointed illogical load of non-sequitur nonsense. My old mate admired the chap who'd died for his "faith". "Faith" was (to him) a wonderful thing – to me it is the ability to hold an unshaking belief in the patently absurd despite overwhelming evidence that your belief is clearly wrong. But my old friend believes every word of the nonsense he now spouts and consequently leads his life in cloud cuckoo land... and it is my fault for taking him there.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio with something of a sense of confusion. There was talk about the uncertainty as to how much the government is going to subsidise our energy bills this year.
I really don't understand what is going on with energy bills.
Years ago the government sold off the country's power generating ability to people who would run it at a profit. The people who bought the country's power generating ability did so in good faith; they knew a good thing when they saw it. But now we are hearing mutually contradictory news. On the one hand the pundits on the radio are claiming that the power generating companies are being told to sell the electricity and gas cheaper than they can make the stuff. On the other hand it is claimed that the power generating companies are supposedly making record profits selling it at this loss.
How does that work? What's going on there?
Work was work... we had a phone call. The nice people from the Care Quality Commission were on the way and would be with us in twenty minutes' time. I suggested to the boss that I might threaten them with a fight to scare them off but as the boss said, that wouldn't look good in the newspapers, would it?
Having had the heads-up that they were coming at twenty to nine I was on my best behaviour all day… But they hadn’t shown by the time I went home. I saw that as a result.
Being on an early shift I got home earlier than usual. We had a quick walk round the block, then I settled myself in front of the telly. With dogs piled on top of me I watched “Ancient Aliens” on the History channel. Have you ever watched that show? It has to be seen to be believed; the logic employed on that show wouldn’t be out of place in a church (!) It was stated as a categorical fact that aliens exist for the simple reason that the late Prince Philip was interested in UFOs.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of Pinot Noir from Lidl. With change out of four quid, it was a very good drop… Hic !
2 March 2023 (Thursday) - A Day's Holiday
With no alarm set I slept through until half past seven. I got up, made toast and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. Today’s Facebook feed featured loads of pictures of children dressed for “World Book Day”. You’d think that on World Book Day” children would read books, wouldn’t you? You would be wrong. Apparently World Book Day” is a chance for parents to get incredibly competitive as they send their children to school dressed as their favourite literary character… and if the parents or the children don’t realise that “Emmett” from “the Lego Movie” or “Elsa” from “Frozen” are from books, then that don’t matter.
There’s a very good rant on the matter here.
I’ll just make the observation that had “My Boy TM” or “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” ever had this nonsense they would have been sent to school in their usual school uniforms, and if anyone asked they would had said that they were “The Children Whose Daddy Couldn’t Be Arsed”.
I took the dogs out… Bearing in mind it is still too muddy for Orlestone we went to Kings Wood and explored some parts of the wood we’ve not been in before. As we walked we met a nice Canadian lady and her dog. The dogs all played nicely, and got given dried liver treats too. That was something of a result.
As we walked back to the car we saw some familiar faces. Some hunters of Tupperware were in search of the caches I’d put in the woods last weekend. It was good to catch up.
With dogs in the boot I gave them their usual treat, and then saw Morgan’s neck… It wasn’t as bad as I thought. When I got him into the bath it was clear that what I’d thought was fox poo was actually mud, but he got a good scrubbing nonetheless.
I settled the pups and drove down to Folkestone. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was having a driving lesson and I got to look after “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. I was reliably informed that she likes “Princess Power”, but she didn’t seem that impressed to me. We put on episodes of “Bebefin” until she fell asleep. I fell asleep too.
We were woken by the doorbell. Someone claiming to be a health visitor… Bearing in mind “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was out I sent this woman packing assuming she was some sort of fake. Two minutes later she returned with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”; it turned out she was genuine. But she seemed impressed that I’d not let her in; that showed I was looking out for WaaWaa… as if I wouldn’t look out for her?
Leaving “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” with her visitor I came home and rang British Gas. Earlier in the week some third party had wanted me to pay them for the outstanding gas bill at Dad’s house. A month ago I’d set up a direct debit with British Gas, so I phoned them to see what was going on. “Queen” told me that apparently that direct debit failed (?) I suggested that maybe they might have let me know; “Queen” said she was surprised that they hadn’t. But the bill is paid for now.
I then spent a couple of hours ironing whilst watching episodes of “Downton Abbey” in which Lady Sybil croaked, which cast rather a pall on the goings-on.
“er indoors TM” came home with a new haircut (apparently) and as she got busy in the kitchen I watched an episode of “Ancient Aliens” in which it was claimed that in World War Two the German Reich had access to alien technology… Didn’t help them much, did it?
As we scoffed dinner we watched something new (to us). “Stath Lets Flats” was first aired in 2018 and is rather good.
I’ve had a very busy day off… I’m worn out.
3 March 2023 (Friday) - Rostered Day Off
Having had no dubious friend requests on Facebook for a while, I found myself faced with two this morning as I scoffed my toast. There was one with a frankly epic chest who claimed to be a “Mrs” and despite the demure expression claimed to be a “Professional Dominatix and a shrink BDSM influencer, into different kinds of festish”. Her profile picture featured a rather impressive array of artificial pork swords,
The other one said she was a “digital creator” which is far more of a refined career, but her profile did feature some rather raunchy undercrackers.
I’ve reported both to the Facebook Feds… If I don’t take a moral stance, who will?
I had more adverts about cruises though. Now I’m old, Saga Holidays are sending me quite a bit of stuff. Today’s advert was for a two-week cruise up the Danube for only three thousand quid. I suspect that Saga Holidays have no idea that I’ve already had a holiday with them… it was a week in Jersey in 1986 (!) when “er indoors TM” worked for them.
I got the leads onto the dogs and took them up to Kings Wood for a little explore. Again we took the paths we rarely take, and had a rather good walk. Mind you we did meet an idiot… an idiot on a horse. The dogs ran to the horse. I blew the whistle and then started coming back. The idiot on the horse then called out what good dogs they were and they ran back to her. I blew the whistle and they turned and came to me. She then loudly announced “Forward, Dobbin” (or something along those lines) and of course the dogs were attracted again. After five minutes of this sort of thing I told her I was giving up as she was determined to be unhelpful. She asked what she could do to stop the dogs bothering her horse. I told her to stand where she was in silence whilst they came all the way up to me at which point I could get them on the leads. Grudgingly she did as I asked, and with them on the lead she eventually came past. I gave her a sarcastic “thank you” as she came past, but I think the sarcasm was wasted.
A little while later we met a nice man with four dogs who had also had a run-in with a horse. I wonder if it was the same one? I rarely (if ever) see horses in Kings Wood; we met three loads today.
When we got back to the car I realised I’d lost Bailey’s lead somewhere.
We came home. “er indoors TM” was off today, so we thought we might have lunch out somewhere. The Harvester was full as was the Pheasant. One of the legacies of the COVID pandemic is that fewer and fewer places allow you to just turn up for dinner; more and more places expect you to book in advance.
We drove out to Westwell to the Wheel. The place wasn’t only closed; it was being rebuilt.
We went to the Beefeater in the end. We’d had a good dinner there a couple of weeks ago. They had tables free. We had a rather good scoff.
And with scoff scoffed we went on a little shopping spree. To Bybrook Barn to get a new lead for Bailey. And a new collar too. Pets at Home would have been more convenient, but for the price of collar or lead at Pets at Home we got both at Bybrook Barn.
We then went to Pets at Home anyway… or to the vets in there. Last weekend Bailey had the trots. Rather impressively. Morgan has them now. I asked for a dose of the medicine that Bailey had had. We’ve got some – let’s hope it does the trick.
Being a Friday we watched the new episode of “Star Trek: Picard” which would have been far better had the main characters behaved in the way that was established over thirty years ago.
Today was a rostered day off – it’s been a rather busy one.
4 March 2023 (Saturday) - Another Busy Day
I was woken as the puppies shoved wet noses into my ear at one o’clock last night. Either “er indoors TM” hadn’t been quick enough to catch them coming upstairs, or had decided that (tummy upsets aside) they’ve gone all night with no disasters long enough to be allowed up. Both settled within seconds, and we went back to the old ways of me and three dogs having a quarter of the bed space, and my not daring to move because you aren’t allowed to disturb a sleeping dog (it’s the law!) Mind you I slept reasonably well, so I shouldn’t complain.
I got up and saw that “er indoors TM” had covered the bathroom floor in newspaper just in case.
As I scoffed toast I had a look at the Internet. This morning my feed was full of articles about striking nurses. One of them wound me up. Some well-intentioned person had sent two hundred bags of artisanal coffee to their local hospital. That was very kind of them… but who will get it? I would suggest it will go to the sort of people who have time to regularly check their emails to see that there is a freebie going. I’m reminded of the impromptu parades up and down streets in Hastings during the lock-downs when people shouted how much the loved the NHS, or of when people stood on their doorsteps clapping like demented sea-lions. If anyone *really* wants to help the NHS workers, a well-worded letter to the local MP is the way to go. Sadly that takes a little more effort than making a spur-of-the-moment donation or two minutes’ clapping… more effort than most are prepared to make.
I sent out a couple of birthday wishes, then being Saturday we went round to the Repton estate and Dog Club. The puppies charged round like mad things playing with everyone and anyone. Treacle sniffed and was sniffed by other dogs, and tolerated the presence of other dogs when they came near to me or “er indoors TM”, or joined in with her games of chasing Morgan. For Treacle that was quite a result.
The nice Canadian lady we met in the woods on Thursday came to Dog Club too; having stalked her on Facebook it seems we have friends in common who I know from where I used to work, geocaching and the old Astro club. It’s a small world.
We drove home listening to Steve on the radio who was doing the mystery year competition. I narrowed it down to either 1983 or 1978… it was 1977.
With dogs settled (they sleep soundly after Dog Club!) “er indoors TM” went off to craft club and I drove to Hastings… or tried to. The A2070 was closed and the diversion wasn’t helpful. Seeing the signs said the A2070 was closed I made my own route via Kenardington and Appledore and wasn’t *too” late getting to Dad’s house. We cleared out the shed today. It took some clearing.
By the time we’d got done I’d completely forgotten about the A2070 being closed, and didn’t remember until I got to the Brenzett roundabout and found it closed. Like an idiot I followed the official diversion which went about ten miles further than it needed to. All the way to Hythe and then up the motorway.
If nothing else this put me on the right side of town to go to Kwik-Fit. My car’s exhaust has been rattling like a thing possessed every time I hit a bump in the road, and I thought I’d better get it seen to before it fell off. The nice man in Kwik-Fit couldn’t find anything wrong with it, but he did say to go back if the problem persists. Let’s hope it doesn’t.
I came home, woke the dogs, and took them into the garden to do what dogs go into gardens for. I then sat down to spend a couple of minutes working on my next Wheri-project. Four hours later I saw what the time was and packed up.
As “er indoors TM” boiled up dinner I watched some telly. “Ancient Aliens” in which it was alleged that pretty much every prehistoric society on Earth had been visited by alien crocodiles from Sirius B. You’d think that alien crocodiles would have better things to do with their time, wouldn’t you?
And with dinner boiled up (it was a rather good dinner!) we watched a film about the meeting od a very young Roald Dahl and a very old Beatrix Potter. It was rather good…
I’ve put a hot water bottle in the bed. Here’s hoping that helps me get to sleep quickly tonight. I might get a couple of hours before the dogs invade…
5 March 2023 (Sunday) - Before The Night Shift
Another night with a bed full of dogs… Whilst perhaps not the best night’s sleep, it wasn’t the worst though. I eventually woke after a half-way decent nine hours sleep with a backache. If I can stay asleep long enough I usually wake with a backache.
Leaving “er indoors TM” and the dogs asleep I got up, made toast and had a look at the Internet in the desperate hope that it was worth looking at. The first think I saw was that I’d been asked to sign a petition. Did you know that we pay VAT on dog food and vet bills, but the sort of people who eat caviar don’t pay any VAT on it. Am I being overly cynical in thinking that is because the sort of people who eat caviar vote for our conservative government, and this is (in some small way) a vote-winner?
There’s a petition about the matter you can sign here.
I’ve signed it… but I wonder how much good it will do. I’m not running the organiser (Dogs Trust) down, but back in the day when “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was running a shop she offered to have one of their collecting tins on the counter… they never took up the offer. And before that, the Dogs Trust flatly refused to allow a collecting tin in a local pet shop whilst welcoming them in tattoo studios.
I spent an hour working on putting hints into a Wherigo cartridge, then we took the dogs for a walk. Somewhere different today – from Eureka Park up to Sandyhurst Lane. The dogs had a good run, we avoided pretty much al of the normal people.. and we found a geocache too. Result.
We came home and spent half an hour playing Lego. I made the set I got for my birthday; “er indoors TM” made the Lego flowers she’d got for Christmas.
“er indoors TM” then went off to visit “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. I went to bed for the afternoon, but again the dogs huddled up to me and the four of us had a quarter of the bed whilst the bit that “er indoors TM” lies in remained sacrosanct.
“er indoors TM” is boiling up dinner, then I’m off to the night shift. I can’t pretend I’m overly keen on them… but I do resent doing them on a weekend day. Perhaps I should jack it all in and retire?
6 March 2023 (Monday) - Bit Tired
Having spent pretty much most of the last four days off fretting about not wanting to do last night’s night shift, the shift turned out to be one of the better ones. Mind you I was still glad when the morning relief arrived.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were spewing their usual drivel. I listened to it for over half an hour as I drove, and nothing of it was in any way memorable. Mind you I did shout at the radio as I listened to the “Thought For The Day”. Some bollox-spouting vicar gave a very good talk about the importance of apologizing when we make mistakes… and then claimed that the ability to say sorry is in some way proof that his religion was right. I wish they wouldn’t do that; the thicker element believe them.
I came home, had a quick shave then went down the road to the dentist where the dental hygienist gave my cake-muncher the once-over. She asked if I would like the latest treatment; some sort of dental sand-blaster which is far less abrasive than usual dental treatments. She also had some strange gadget that went round my cake hole and kept it open. She jokingly said that with that in place I didn’t have to actively keep my mouth open, and I could lay back and go to sleep. Having done the night shift I was up for going to sleep. I had a go… but being at the dentist isn’t conducive to having a kip. If I hadn’t stayed alert I could well have drowned in that chair. The suction hose they shove in your gob only ever sucks out maybe a tenth of the water the dentist blasts in there.
I went to bed for a couple of hours with the puppies snuggled up to me. After a couple of hours I got up and took them (and Treacle) for a little walk up to the post office and back. Treacle is as good as gold on the lead. Bailey isn’t bad. But Morgan is a tad hit-and-miss. It doesn’t take much to get him pulling like a train.
“er indoors TM” sorted a bit of lunch, and with it scoffed I spent the afternoon working on my next Wheri-project whilst “Four In A Bed” played on the telly. As always the people making the show had four utterly different bed and breakfasts competing. I’ve said before that I love the show; but you’d think the competitors would have watched it to understand what they were letting themselves in for, wouldn’t you? There’s no point ranting bitter personal attacks when someone claims to have found dirt in one of your rooms; when people find dirt, that dirt I actually shown on the telly. Saying the room is pristine when demonstrably it is not just makes you look like a tit. Claiming that hairs in a room came from the person finding them doesn’t work when that person is as bald as a coot.
I found myself hoping that the evil harridan who was so quick to find fault in others whilst being so quick to take offence would come last. In the last episode that old bat had a face as red as a beetroot. Sadly she came second… by massively underpaying the opposition.
With dinner scoffed there was a knock on the door. Finally someone had taken up our offer of a free mattress, and the mattress which had been in the way for so long is now finally gone…
“er indoors TM” went bowling, and I squashed onto the sofa with the dogs and watched more “Downton Abbey”. Not a bad way to spend the evening…
7 March 2023 (Tuesday) - Before the Late Shift
I had a better night’s sleep last night. Having been on a recent night shift helped with that, but I’d struck on the frankly genius idea of starting the night a tad further from the edge of the bed, and so dogs wouldn’t be pushing me out of the covers and/or off of the edge. In a novel break with tradition my genius idea worked.
I slept rather well despite a rather vivid nightmare in which I was transferred from my place of work to the menswear department of Grace Brother’s department store where I was to be the crocodile handler. The logic (if that was the term) was that if I could handle Bailey (who is smaller than the average cat) then how hard could a full-blown alligator be?
I was rather glad to wake up.
I made toast and had my usual look at the Internet and saw that two more young ladies wanted to be my friend. One of them collects plastic pork swords as a hobby, as evidenced by some of the photos on its Facebook page. The other one seemed to operate out of a caravan in Ohio, and doesn’t seem to be reticent in brandishing the norks.
Neither appeared to have any interest in Lego, cakes or dogs so I deleted both requests.
I sent out a birthday wish to a Facebook friend. The chap in question is someone who I encountered through geocaching. I can’t claim to know him well, but over the years he has been incredibly helpful to me in many ways. Knowing that the chap is retired. I always assumed he was about six or seven years older than me… he is exactly two weeks younger.
I had hoped for a half-way decent walk before going to work, but I had an email from the geocaching reviewer. Yesterday I’d sent him a preliminary first draft of what I had in mind for my next Wherigo project. He’d found that I’d made two rather silly mistakes, and correcting them took longer than I expected.
So having less time than I’d hoped I just walked the dogs round the local roads fetching in old geocaches that had run their course. Some time ago I set up a virtual “Crystal Maze” geo-game in the co-op field. The idea was that you do the games in the co-op field and then get told the locations of where I’d hidden geocaches. Sadly (in all honesty) this was nowhere near as well received as I had been hoping. And in the meantime the council has planted a load of trees in the play zones, and you can’t physically get to the part of the field you need to get to any more as it is all cordoned off. But fetching in the physical pots gave the dogs a walk.
I got home to find postie had been with two magazines. One I will read from cover to cover, and one I will not.
I settled on the sofa with the pups and watched more “Downton Abbey” in which Mr Gregson was pursuing Lady Edith because his wife didn’t understand him. It turned out that his wife didn’t understand anyone as she was start staring mad and had been locked away. Meanwhile Lady Rose was being problematical, as Lady Roses are apt to be.
And so to work… and as is so often the way with late shifts, by mid-day the day was effectively over…
8 March 2023 (Wednesday) - Holi
A large crash woke me with a start as Treacle jumped off the bed in the middle of the night. I heard her going downstairs so I got up to let her out. She took one look at the light dusting of snow and went straight back upstairs.
Finding myself wide awake I had my ablutions, made toast and watched an episode of “Downton Abbey” in which Edna had a fair crack at attempting to pork Mr Tom, To his credit Mr Tom wasn’t having any of it.
Having seen the horror tales on Facebook I left for work rather early this morning. Apparently the snow was ridiculously heavy across the country. Despite there only being the lightest of dustings in Ashford, who knew what it might be like in Maidstone. I scraped the few specks of snow from the car and set off with something of a sense of trepidation.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about semaglutide; a weight loss drug which has been approved for use by the NHS. My ears pricked up at this; if there’s one thing I wish I could change about myself it would be my weight. Over the years I have tried absolutely everything, and found that the only way I can lose weight is to seriously cut back on what I eat, and (in doing so) being seriously hungry all the time. The expert being interviewed on the radio said that semaglutide works by suppressing appetite; it stops you feeling hungry. I would be up for that… and then the expert pointed out that (like with all diet and weight loss regimes), the moment you stop taking the stuff, the weight piles back on again.
So much for that, eh?
I got to work where the snow in the works car park was so heavy it could be measured in millimetres (!) and got on with work.
We had a rather good day today. As part of the trainees’ route to qualification they have to show awareness of “diversity in the workplace”. Back in the day we’d just do an on-line e-learning course and the box would be ticked. These days each trainee picks one cultural event from something that is not from their personal culture and organises a celebration of it. Today Ellie organised a celebration of Holi; a Hindu festival celebrating the arrival of Spring. We all learned something, we all got to scoff samosas, sweeties and cakes, and there was even a (rather demure) bit of face-painting too. I took a few photos of what went on, and the boss suggested that I put them on the works’ Facebook page…
How times change. Where I used to work the mere mention of the workplace on social media was grounds for formal disciplinary action; I still have the written warning for saying that I was tired at 6am on a night shift. In a far better workplace, the use of social media is encouraged.
But today was one of the reasons why I like working for the NHS. Most people that I know only work with a small group of other people, and so don’t experience that much of other cultures. I get to work with all sorts of people from all parts of the world. Despite what so many people would have you think, all of humanity is pretty much alike; we all have a lot of reasons for eating cake…
With “er indoors TM” taking Lacey to the O2 arena this evening I found myself home alone with the dogs. I came home via the works M&S where they were going three-for-two pre cooked chicken packages. I scoffed eight chine chicken wings myself, shared half a chicken with the dogs, and stuck half a chicken in the fridge for later.
I then sat myself on the sofa with the dogs and watched more “Downton Abbey” as the four of us all farted like things possessed. Not a bad evening, really.
9 March 2023 (Thursday) - The Jam Wasn't Mouldy
A few weeks ago we went for a little walk round the Bluebell Hill area when I wrote “As we walked we found a little stall selling jam for a greyhound charity, so I got some. Perhaps I paid too much, but it was all for a good cause”. I opened that jam this morning and found it was covered with a layer of mould.
I had marmalade (from Sainsburys as God intended!) on my toast this morning as I watched an episode of Downton Abbey in which Mr Tom finally succumbed to Edna’s wiles. Men do that given half a chance; generally they are beasts.
I set off to work through a rather dismal morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about an extreme weather warning (for snow) having been issued by the Highways Authority. Consternation was being expressed by the Highways Authority because they felt that if they didn't issue a warning because of the threatened snow then they would be in line for endless criticism when people found themselves stuck in snowdrifts. However they also felt they might equally well get loads of stick from people who'd stayed at home because of their warnings only to find no snow at all.
There was an interview with a professional weather forecaster who all but admitted that they made it up as they went along. Apparently the difference between snow and rain is a fraction of a degree's difference in temperature, and it is anyone's guess what way it might go.
Time to finally admit they can't do it, perhaps?
There was also talk about the cost of child care. It was claimed that it costs close on fifteen thousand quid a year to put an under-two child into nursery care. Am I being ridiculously old fashioned in wondering why people have children only to unload them on to someone else at the earliest opportunity?
I got to work and had a message from “er indoors TM”. What I thought had been mould in the jam was actually greaseproof paper. Apparently jam that doesn't come from Sainsburys has a bit of greaseproof paper on top of it.
One lives and learns.
I did my bit at work on a rather busy day, but being on an early was a result; I got to get home before it got dark. I walked the dogs round the block. They were amazingly well behaved. And then we all snuggled on the sofa and watched more “Downton Abbey” in which Edna got her much-deserved comeuppance (the hussy!).
“er indoors TM” came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching last Sunday’s episode of “Lego Masters: Australia”. It seemed rather odd not to be watching it on a Sunday evening, but what with night shift, bowling, late shift and O2 arena this was the first chance we got.
I was glad we got to watch Lego Masters this evening; it brightened up an otherwise dull day.
10 March 2023 (Friday) - Bit Dull Really
Morgan had a restless night; stomping over me and enthusiastically chewing my ear several times in the night. Apparently he had “er indoors TM” take him downstairs (for no reason) a few times too. He seems to wake in the night, crave attention, then go back to sleep.
Who'd have dogs?
I made toast, and put that non-mouldy jam on it. The jam wasn't the best I've ever had.
As I munched it I watched an episode of "Downton Abbey" in which Lady Mary was looking set to pork the Honourable Evelyn Napier; the mate of the Turkish attaché that she'd porked to death a couple of seasons ago. If the chap had any sense, he would have run.
Pausing only briefly to cap two tree houses (it’s a Munzee thing) I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were all a-twitter about today's summit meeting between (this week's) Prime Minister and the French Premier. The French have got all sorts of issues they want to discuss; the British just want to stop the armada of small boats brining illegal immigrants. There was an interview with the French Ambassador to somewhere or other who pointed out that the EU once had a problem in that there are thousands upon thousands of refugees who want to get to the UK. When the UK was part of the European Union it was a shared problem. When the UK left the European Union it was no longer the EU's problem.
The summit meeting ended with the UK giving France half a billion quid to do what the French used to do for free when the UK was part of the EU…
Did no one else see this one coming?
Work was work; I spent a rather good day teaching the intricacies of the microscopical examination of blood... and was just a tad cheeky on the tea breaks too. During one of the tea breaks I had a message through Facebook. The owners of the field in which we hold dog club are getting a tad worried about the whole tangled matter of insurance. As well they might... It was insurance which effectively killed off the kite festivals in Teston. If I want to hold a geocaching event in Viccie Park I've got to have five million quid's worth of liability insurance. I expect the owners of the Dog Club field have realised that if I go home from dog club and bite my own ankle rather vigorously, then it is their word against mine as to where the bite came from.
The organisers of Dog Club have (understandably) asked for money toward insurance. I'm quite happy to pay up... Mind you I *say* I'm happy to pay up. I wonder how much it will cost?
I came home, and before too much longer er indoors TM” came home. She’d been babysitting “Darcie Waa Waa TM” today. She then boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching tonight’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard”. It wasn’t bad, I suppose…
11 March 2023 (Saturday) - Early Shift
Finding myself awake far too early I scoffed toast (and jam!) and as “er indoors TM” and the dogs snored I watched more "Downton Abbey". Billed as a "period drama" it's rather a showpiece of un-moral behavior. In today's instalment James attempted to "get jiggy" with Ivy, but in a novel break with standard practice, Ivy wasn't having any of it. However Lady Edith had a letter saying that she was up the duff after her nudey sauce romp with the editor of whichever newspaper the editor edited. And having edited and done the dirty deed at Lady Edith, the editor chap has run off never to be seen again; leaving Lady Edith high and dry. And up the duff.
I suppose what with Lady Mary having porked the Turkish attaché to death in the second episode, the bar has been set rather high at the Abbey.
Pausing only briefly to cap six bouncers out of a tree house twice (it's a Munzee thing) I set off to work. As I drove I found myself wondering whether or not ranting on here is a good thing. Consternation was being expressed about ex-footballer and football pundit Gary Lineker who has been suspended by the BBC because of what he posted on social media earlier in the week. What he posted was rather critical of the government, but what he said was immaterial. Is he not allowed an opinion on current affairs?
It would seem that Mr Lineker has been told he can either present "Match of the Day" *or* he can express his opinions in public. Several other of his co-presenters have sided with him and said they won't appear on "Match of the Day" this evening, as have many professional footballers. As I write this drivel, today's episode of "Match of the Day" is looking rather iffy.
Are the BBC right to gag him? The BBC pride themselves on their impartiality, and bearing in mind how many extremely left wing and right wing friends hate the Beeb, they are probably not doing too bad a job of it. But does this mean a sports presenter can't rant about the government's immigration policy?
So how does this bother me?
Last October one of the country's leading experts on blood transfusion science was struck off because of his "inappropriate and/or unprofessional conduct". Some anonymous person took umbrage with what he'd posted on social media; you can read some examples of what he posted by clicking here. Some of it was a tad harsh perhaps, but I can sympathize with some of it. I've ranted along those lines myself in the past, but perhaps not to the same extent. But is this *really* “unprofessional conduct”. How does expressing such an opinion make one unable to perform in a professional manner?
Or take Poppy Sprague; a practitioner psychologist who is up before the tribunal for her anti-vax opinions. Personally I don't agree with her, but (provided she keeps quiet about them when dealing with patients) how does this opinion affect her ability to do her job?
What if someone takes umbrage with my rantings? Can I get struck off and sacked for an opinion?
Or consider the case of Christopher Manning who was cheeky and didn't pay his car park ticket...
(None of these cases are in any way confidential - all the links are a matter of public record. And when the hearings take place the public and press can sit and watch proceedings)
I got to the works car park, and having capped six bouncers out of a tree house twice earlier I did it for a third time. Go me.
Work was work... On the one hand I quite like weekend working as with a reduced staff and workloads I get a more varied day. On the other hand it isn't so easy to be cheeky with the tea breaks. And I must admit I don't like working weekend days when the weather is like it was today. And I had quite the sulk about missing Dog Club. “er indoors TM” took the dogs on her own... all three. I'm told they had a good time, even if Morgan did get over-excited as he usually does at Dog Club.
And not being home I missed “er indoors TM”'s test drive of a potential new car. She's been talking about some particular car or other for some time; to me they are all the same. They only difference is in the colour. I got my current car because “er indoors TM” said it was a good one, and I (in equal measures) didn't know any different and didn't dare argue with her.
I got home and my phone beeped. I’ve not had any friend requests from unmoral ladies for a few days… and then today’s makes up for that shortage. Today’s potential chum lists its interests as board games, card tricks, reading… and a whole host of frankly unhygienic activities that you would think would set off alarms on Facebook’s automated systems.
They certainly set off alarms when I read them.
I’ve been trying to think of something witty and erudite to say about this one, but at the end of the day all that comes to mind is “Bloody hell – look at the size of those!!!”
“er indoors TM” sorted a good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching more “Stath Lets Flats”. I might have an early night… I’m feeling a bit iffy. That bodes well for a week off work.
12 March 2023 (Sunday) - Rather Busy
With no alarm set I slept like a log last night. I woke just as it was getting light… about ten seconds after “er indoors TM” went to the loo when there was a mass exodus of dogs following her. I went too; partly for the loo myself and partly to make sure the dogs went out too and didn’t just follow her back to bed.
Suitably tiddled we all went back to bed and slept through till eight o’clock.
As I had my morning rummage round the Internet I saw that five people on my Facebook friends list had birthdays today. I sent out messages to those who’ve made some attempt to communicate with me in the last five years. I sighed at the sight of one of the people on the list. Someone for whom I did so much over the years who (on several occasions) really exemplified the two hundred and eighty-fifth Rule of Acquisition “no good deed ever goes unpunished”.
With the dogs settled we drove into Ashford for what is (hopefully) becoming a regular monthly catch-up brekkie with old friends that we don’t see anywhere near enough these days. Matt was late; a water leak had stuffed his electricals, and when everything runs through the Alexa that can be an issue. As I told him, I didn’t laugh *that* much.
After an hour I left “er indoors TM” with brekkie club; I had to get away relatively promptly. I’d told my brother I’d meet him at Dad’s house at eleven o’clock. I was twenty minutes late. Having been stuck behind a fleet of double decker buses for some miles I got past them at Winchelsea only to find myself stuck behind a convoy of learner drivers.
We got quite a load of stuff sorted at Dad’s house. Loads bagged up for a tip, and I brought home some old photos.
I got home earlier than expected, and seeing the weather was better than I had expected. “er indoors TM” and Cheryl took the dogs out and I had a go in the garden. Last summer I spent about three hundred quid trying to build a cascade arrangement to return water to the pond from the filters. Having been looking at it for months I’ve had to conclude that it didn’t work. It just looked like the wooden frame covered with butyl lining which it is; despite my best attempts to disguise it. And ever since I put it in place the pond’s water level has been dropping *fast*. So this afternoon I put it all back as it was last year. Ten seconds to type; a couple of hours of hard labour to do. And whilst I was at it I cleaned out the pond’s filters. Every October/November I turn them off and leave them over the winter to fester, and every March I have a foul sulphurous stench to clean up.
“er indoors TM” and the dogs came home, and I spent a little while working on my next Wheri-project. Just copying latitude and longitude co ordinates of half a dozen locations from one app to another took an hour. I soon got bored of that and had a look at old photos. Many will end up in the bin, but there were one or two classics.
“er indoors TM” boiled up dinner which we scoffed whilst watching “Lego Masters: Australia”. What with it being sei-finals week next week, things are getting rather hot on that show right now.
I’m going to bed in a minute… today has been rather busy – I’m feeling rather worn out.
13 March 2023 (Monday) - Week Off Work... Day 1
The puppies were restless last night, which was a shame. On the one hand now that they are big enough to come upstairs all night I worry about them a lot less. On the other hand they do fidget a lot.
I got up at half past six, made toast and watched a little bit of Downton Abbey before sparking up the lap-top. Not much had happened overnight, so I cracked on with my latest Wheri-project.
When “er indoors TM” and the dogs surfaced I went down the road to the dentist. When I had a check-up a week or so ago the chap said he would repair my chipped tooth. After a little wait I was soon in the chair staring at the dental floodlight thingy… which was so obviously bodged together with sticky tape.
The dentist did his thing, and I was soon on my way back home. Leaving “er indoors TM” working I took the dogs up to an incredibly windy Kings Wood where we walked a rather long walk (about double our usual walk). As we went Bailey got through a dog-proof fence to chase pheasants, but soon came back to the sound of the whistle. And shortly after that all three (together with two dogs of passing normal people) set off in hot pursuit of a herd of deer. Again I blasted on the whistle; my three and the two dogs of the normal people came sprinting back to me. The normal people were suitably impressed… as was I.
As we walked the woods on 22 February we found a portaloo two miles from the nearest car park. As we walked past it today someone had pushed it over. I sighed… who would be so feeble-minded as to do that?
The woods were muddy though. I nearly went arse over tit several times, and the dogs needed a serious scrub on our return. Though it didn’t help that Treacle insisted on wading through the mire at every opportunity.
With dogs scrubbed they were soon all snoring, and what I thought would be a two minutes job on the lap-top took pretty much all afternoon. I interspersed it with dull laundry.
“er indoors TM” then went to bowling rather earlier than usual. Seeing the dogs showing no signs of stirring I watched more “Downton Abbey” until she returned.
I feel a bit tired… perhaps we won’t walk quite so far tomorrow.
14 March 2023 (Tuesday) - Kings Wood (In The Snow)
I had something of a restless night. Now that the puppies are allowed upstairs at night we’ve got into something of a routine which I would like to change… I go to bed at about eleven o’clock and ask who’s coming up too. I get some “you must be joking; we’re very comfortable here” looks from the sofa, so I go up to bed. About twenty minutes after I fall asleep I’m woken by the most pitiful whimpering from the puppies as they want to come up onto the big bed, but it is too high for them to negotiate the jump in the dark.
I made toast for brekkie, as I scoffed it I peered into the Internet in the desperate hope that something noteworthy had happened overnight… it hadn’t.
Seeing the glorious sunshine I thought about putting washing in and hanging it on the line, but “er indoors TM” had done dog brekkie and the pups were keen to go. So as she went off to work I took the dogs out.
As we drove so my phone went potty with loads of geocaches going live… the ones I hid yesterday. I deliberately didn’t mention that we’d been hiding geocaches on yesterday’s diary as in the past fellow hunters of Tupperware have stalked my movements in the desperate hope of getting to a plastic pot that I’d hidden before anyone else could get to it (such is the addictive draw of needing to be first to find!).
There was a dodgy five minutes as we drove past the Towers School; all the children wanting to cross the road just randomly walked into the road wherever they fancied doing so. Not one used the pelican crossing; all just walked into the road and trusted the drivers not to mow them down. When I get a minute I shall set the head teacher an email suggesting that he add the Green Cross Code to the curriculum.
As we drove so the sunshine disappeared. There were specks of rain on the car’s windscreen, but we all needed a walk, so we carried on regardless. We got to the woods, and the first part of our walk was through the trees so we didn’t realise the rain was picking up. When we came to the more open parts of the walk so we got a bit wet… but it was only drizzle.
When we were about as far from the car as we were going to get so the snow started.
I brought home three very wet and muddy dogs. They had a hot shower to warm them up, and they were soon all bundled together on the sofa fast asleep.
I put in the washing that I’d thought about earlier, then having collected in old geocaches yesterday I started cleaning them up; who knows when I might be hiding them again (!) Seeing the drizzle had returned I hung washing over the banister, and put more in. I ironed shirts whilst watching two more episodes of “Downton Abbey” in which (amazingly) no one tried to pork anyone (either with recreational or murderous intent).
And then my phone beeped. The geocaches I’d hidden yesterday were being found for the first time… in the rain? I looked out of the window to see glorious sunshine again. I wondered about going up to the woods and walking in reverse order to meet the finder on his way round… then looked at the dogs sleeping and decided to carry on watching telly.
“er indoors TM” was a few minutes late home, She’d been doing Urban Fits (it’s a Munzee thing) and had got our clan up to Level One, and had then gone to the co-op. The co-op were doing bargain deals on steak pies and bundles of vegetables. I like steak pie; can’t say I’m overly keen on the veg though.
Sadly it gave me a bit of a bellyache… and when you’ve got as much belly as I have, that’s a lot to ache.
15 March 2023 (Wednesday) - Busy, Busy
I didn’t really have a good night. On “er indoors TM”’s side of the bed the duvet was touching the floor. On my side it wasn’t even covering me. Every time I heaved on it so the dogs would wake and start stomping all about, and “er indoors TM” was snoring as though practicing for the world championship snoring contest.
I made toast; as I scoffed I saw I had a e-message from the chap who’d been out and found all the geocaches we’d hidden on Monday. He’d sent a very polite thank you for setting up the cache walk and said he’d enjoyed it. I was pleased about that; Kings Wood is a lovely place; Hopefully what I’ve done will help other people to find bits of the wood they otherwise wouldn’t.
Seeing a half-way decent morning outside I hoofed the dogs out of bed and took them out.
Pausing only briefly to scrape ice from the car’s windscreen we were soon on our way. As I drove the pundits on the radio were dribbling on about the ongoing leadership contest of the Scottish Nationalist Party. The SNP amaze me; they lost the independence referendum, a consistent majority of Scots don’t want independence, and still they remain the most popular political party in Scotland.
We got to Kings Wood and went for a little stroll. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday we had torrential rain, howling gales and even heavy snow showers at times. Today it was beautiful; I took a few photos as it was so pretty. It was a shame that Morgan got duffed up… I say “it was a shame”; I was rather pleased. He was playing too rough with other dogs (as he so often does) and one of the other dogs clearly felt he was being too forceful, and firmly pinned him down. the woman with the dog was distraught, but I wasn’t. Morgan had overstepped the line and was firmly being told off. Hopefully he will learn from that.
As we walked so my phone pinged (I was amazed I had any Internet signal to ping to be honest). The eighteen Wherigo geocaches I hid yesterday had gone live. Flushed with enthusiasm I hid eight more, and found potential locations for another five.
We came home; the dogs needed a little shower to sort out muddy paws and tummies. They yummed up their brekkie and then snored as I did the geo-admin for the caches I’d just hidden.
Leaving them sleeping I headed off to Hastings. Together with my brother we bagged up more rubbish. As we worked an old friend visited to look at making off with the freezer. We were both kids together over fifty years ago; it was good to catch up. And my cousin popped over to say hello as well.
The plan had been to take bags of rubbish to Hastings tip, but having been told that Hastings was gridlocked we headed in the direction of Battle’s tip; stopping for McDinner on the way.
Battle’s tip was interesting. As well as all the usual bins for the various flavours of rubbish they had a little shop where they were selling the more choice bits of that which they had salvaged from the skips. There was a little unicorn hobby-horse. It was clean and looked decent. I thought about getting it for “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. I would have offered fifty pence for it; they wanted twenty quid.
I came home what seemed to be a rather circuitous way via Hawkhurst but looking at Google Maps I don’t think there was a better way.
I came home and spent the afternoon on the sofa (with the dogs) watching more “Downton Abbey”. James the footman got the heave-ho for having porked Lady Anstruther (the beast).
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good dinner which we devoured whilst watching a couple of episodes of “Ghosts”. We had a bottle of plonk too…
16 March 2023 (Thursday) - Urban Fit(s)
I had a much better night’ sleep last night having first secured a decent helping of the duvet on my side of the bed.
As I scoffed toast so my phone started beeping like a thing possessed; the Wherigo geocaches that I hid yesterday had gone live. That was a result. That’s seventy-two geocaches of mine gone live this week, and I’m now the county’s top hider of geocaches…(for now).
And I saw the HCPC are putting their fees up by twenty per cent. If I want to carry on being a professional blood tester I have to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. None of what they do is government funded. It all comes out of the payments of the registrants. I can’t help but think that if the government wants a regulated health care system, then it should pay for the regulation itself. Not expect those being regulated to pay for it out of their wages which are being increased at about a quarter of the rate that the cost of the regulation is being increased.
Bearing in mind the three major walks the dogs have had this week we just went for a small walk round the block today, capping two Urban Fits as we went (it’s a Munzee thing). And with walk walked we came home and as the dogs slept I watched a couple of episodes of “Downton Abbey” as I did the ironing. It was all go at the Abbey with Her Ladyship having to fend off an immoral advance, and I got the laundry basket emptied and all the laundry washed, if not all dried and ironed.
My plan for today was to organise the April’s geo-meet. I had it all sussed; we would be having an al-fresco session in the garden of the Red Lion in Badlesmere as we’ve been there several times before and had been well looked after.
I got there and there was a rather severe looking woman and a bearded chap behind the bar. I’d never seen either of them before, despite having been visiting the place pretty much every month over the last couple of years. I smiled and asked about holding the event in their garden. She looked at me as though I was some passing weirdo, and wanted to know just how many people would be along for a sit-down meal. I explained the whole concept of a geo-meet. We might have anywhere between twelve and forty people. Some would be eating, some wouldn’t. I could see from her expression that she wasn’t at all impressed. I explained that we’d had many meets there before. The bearded chap at the bar then intervened. He firmly told me that they had been at the Red Lion for five years and they had never had anything like that there before. Neither of them actually said “F… off fatso” but that was certainly their tone.
I walked out with a sense of total disbelief. What was that all about? I drove to Singleton Barn and they booked us in quite happily.
“er indoors TM” has since been in contact with the owners (who were having a day off). They would be only too pleased to have us… Such a shame, but Singleton Barn got me out of a hole last year and I’m not letting them down.
I came home via the petrol station where I got fuel for the car and fuel for me (in the form of a chicken sandwich). I spent several hours this afternoon working on a new Wherigo… I say a new one; it was (is) an old one I originally wrote eight years ago. Like many of the Wherigos I wrote ages ago it was perhaps a tad more complicated than it needed to be so I simplified it somewhat. I’m doing that with several of my old Wherigos; making them more user-friendly (now I know how to), and filling Kings Wood with them. The final of the one I’ve been re-writing to day is a pain in the glass (as “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” would say) in that it gets endless reports of “Did Not Find – It’s Missing – Sort It Out” and when I make a special journey I find it is exactly where it should be. The new one will be in Kings Wood where, if there are issues, I can sort them on a dog walk.
“er indoors TM” boiled up fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching “Outsiders”, and then Sandi Toksvig in a holiday home in the back of beyond in Scotland.
Despite having had a rather lazy day, I’m worn out…
17 March 2023 (Friday) - A Funeral
I slept well last night; eventually waking at half past seven with a backache. Leaving “er indoors TM” and the dogs snoring I got up, made toast and had a look at the Internet. Facebook had sent me a message saying how what they provide was changing on account of Brexit, but that I wouldn’t notice any change at all.
Isn’t this entirely what is wrong with society today? Obviously loads of people have been fiddling about behind the scenes to make absolutely no difference at all some years later.
There was an impressive squabble on one of the Lego selling pages. Someone or other was selling a huge Lego set via eBay. Others felt it overpriced, However the eBay and PayPal fees and postage costs came to nearly fifty quid… If you buy through a third party things are going to cost more. But the bickering was entertaining to read.
And there was another bitter tirade on one of the crackpot religion sites I follow in which some feeble-minded half-wit had proved the Earth was flat and consequently his god could have anyone else’s god in a fight. Leaving aside the half-baked pseudo-religious rubbish, why do flat-earthers still persist? Why did they ever get a hold in the first place. Go to the seaside and look at the sea-filled horizon. You really can see how the Earth curves by just looking at it.
Seeing the forecast rain hadn’t arrived I took the dogs up to the woods to hide yet another Wherigo geocache. We walked into the woods and did our thing, and (flushed with success) I thought we might find locations for more caches. We stomped off into the woods, and when we were about as far from the car as we were going so the rain started… and got rather heavy. I decided to give up and come home. It was a shame that the most direct route back to the car featured a stomp through mud which was belly-deep on Treacle.
We came home. The dogs got scrubbed, and were soon asleep. “er indoors TM” and I quietly slipped out and drove down to the crematorium at Hastings for a funeral. My sister-in-law’s father died a little while ago. Two months ago.
Had he been Catholic or Muslim then the funeral would have been far more prompt. However if you aren’t actively religious then the body can be left laying around for weeks until it gets sorted. Strange that.
I can’t pretend I was particularly close to the deceased. Despite having been to no end of family events where he was present, on reflection I don’t think he ever once actually spoke to me. But we went to show solidarity with the family.
And I had a pint or two afterwards. I slept much of the way home.
Once home we woke the dogs and sorted their dinner. We then watched this week’s episode of “Star Trek; Picard” which wasn’t too shabby really. As I’ve said before it is a shame that following two rather dire seasons the producers waited until the show got cancelled before making it watchable.
18 March 2023 (Saturday) - Dog Club, Geo-Meet, Lego
I woke to the sound of one of the dogs getting off the bed and trotting downstairs. Bearing in mind that is how they ask to go to the loo I got up and let Morgan (as it turned out to be) out. He wasn’t keen to go out as it was drizzling, but out he went.
As I was up I got on with my morning. I made toast and scoffed it as I peered into the Internet. It was still there. I rolled my eyes as I saw the flat Earth argument from yesterday was still going on. People who openly admitted they lived hundreds of miles from any coastline (and who had never seen the sea) were demanding that I was wrong in claiming that you can see the curvature of the Earth on the sea’s horizon.
Isn’t the Internet brilliant – you can get into the most petty and bitter of arguments over the most inconsequential and trivial of matters with people you have never met and never will.
I left that Facebook group… it was a weird one anyway.
I had two more dubious friend requests on Facebook. One from someone who I can only describe as “Batman gone wrong”, and one from someone who must be a bit thick. Claiming to be called “Jenet Marry” it has actually used a photo from an Internet model – the model’s name was still on the photo it used.
The rain was showing no sign of letting up, so leaving “er indoors TM” and Treacle at home I took the puppies to Dog Club. Attendance was noticeably down because of the rain, but those dogs that were there had a great time (as the humans huddled under trees for shelter). The white dogs who had been to the groomer yesterday rolled in the mud, and both Morgan and Bailey found holes in the fencing and escaped Dog Club; Bailey escaping twice. And on both occasions the escapees had returned to where they were supposed to be by the time I’d got to where they had escaped to.
But it was muddy and wet and cold. Bailey was shivering so we came home five minutes earlier than usual. As we drove home Steve was doing the mystery year contest on the radio. I had it narrowed down to any time between 1977 and 1985 when he mentioned that this was the year that the eleven-part Brideshead Revisited drama series was released. I knew that year – 1981.
With the puppies scrubbed and all dogs settled we had a cuppa and I spent an hour or so working on my next Wheri-project before “er indoors TM” and I set off to a pub near Capstone for the monthly geocacher’s meet-up. It was good to catch up with old friends. Back in the day we would meet up every month without fail, but lockdown put paid to our meet-ups. They are slowly catching on again… but so slowly.
Despite having had only half the beer I had yesterday I slept all the way home.
Once home I popped over the road to the shop. As I stood at the counter so two drunk pyjama-clad women came in shouting “alcohol-wine- alcohol-wine“. The woman behind the counter asked if she could help them, and the two piss-heads seemed surprised that the woman behind the counter spoke English.
I got some KFC flavoured crisps which tasted almost (but not entirely) utterly unlike KFC.
As I scoffed (supposedly) KFC flavoured crisps I mad a start on a Lego model – the Bonsai tree I got for a birthday pressie.
There’s no denying I got cross with it. It was rather fiddly and the instructions weren’t at all clear. But now it is done I’m quite pleased with it. The pink and white blossom can be changed for green leaves; I expect I shall change them over at some point.
As I got cross with the Lego so “My Boy TM” and Cheryl arrived with flowers for “er indoors TM” for Mother’s Day. It was good to catch up with them. It was a shame that Treacle got rather nasty with Ro-Ro, and I would be intrigued to know just what crimes Lacey had committed; she and Cheryl were having quite the spat on the phone.
Having eaten at the geocacher’s meet-up earlier, we contented ourselves with a bowl of rice pudding for dinner whilst watching “The Great Pottery Throw-Down”.
Today has been a rather busy one…
19 March 2023 (Sunday) - Mother's Day
After a good night’s sleep I made toast and scoffed it all whilst waiting for my lap-top to actually get to a state in which I could do something with it. I’m sure that during the fifteen minutes it takes to sort itself out it is probably doing all sorts of amazing things behind the scenes, but whilst it does that it isn’t actually any use to me during that time.
Eventually it started working and (understandably) my Facebook feed was full of Mothers’ Day stuff. In years gone by, today would have been a sixty-mile round trip to Hastings to see my mum… I can’t pretend I was ever the devoted son, but I still miss her.
I spent a couple of hours working on my next Wherigo project whilst the puppies kept jumping up. “er indoors TM” claimed it was because they wanted to see me; I’m not convinced that they weren’t deliberately trying to get tangled in the cables charging my lap-top and my phone.
With the dogs settled we drove down to Folkestone where “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had cooked a Sunday lunch for Mother’s Day. Whilst dinner cooked I sat with “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and he played video games at me. One of them was a pandemic simulator in which you chose your disease, and watched it take over the world. Some might think it in bad taste; I thought it a good way to teach epidemiology. Meanwhile “Darcie Waa Waa TM” ran riot. Not only is she now crawling, she is also standing up and toddling round holding on to furniture. And telling Pogo off too.
“Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” was rather subdued as he played video games. He didn’t want any dinner, and just before we left, he blew. That’s two days off school for him; in the new world order no child is allowed at school until two days have passed since they last threw up.
We came home; I spent a couple more hours working on my next Wherigo project. It’s a sort of Dungeons and Dragons - Game of Thrones thing. So far it seems to be coming along OK. But there’s no denying the software for making it is hard work. Many years ago the nice people at geocaching dot com had a brilliant idea to create Wherigo… then a little while later they stopped supporting it. Such a shame.
Having had a rather good dinner earlier we had lemon merengue pie for tea whilst we watched the semi-final of ”Lego Masters: Australia”. Bearing in mind how long it took to make a rather small Bonsai tree yesterday, what the contestants did in twelve hours was rather impressive.
I’ve had a good week off of work… back to the grind tomorrow…
20 March 2023 (Monday) - Early Shift
I had an early night last night and got an hour's sleep before I was woken by a ferocious snarling. Treacle had taken umbrage with the puppies over something or other. “er indoors TM” had a fight with her, and then had a fight with the puppies, hollering that it wasn't playtime and that it was sleep time as they flew over, under and through the bed playing chase. Eventually they pushed me out of their way to make themselves comfortable and they slept the sleep of the just as I hung off of the bed for most of the night.
I gave up trying to sleep, got up and stood on the scales. Seventeen stone and three pounds... time for a diet. I turned my nose up at toast and coffee and had a Slimfast shake for brekkie as I watched an episode of "Downton Abbey" in which Thomas made himself ill trying to cure himself of being "on the other bus". It was actually rather well done by the TV show's producers; a hundred years ago so many men really did make themselves physically ill paying a lot of money for crackpot cures to somehow supposedly "cure" themselves of being gay.
I didn't have time to wait for my lap-top to boot up this morning; I had a little look at the Internet through my phone instead. It was still there and not a lot had happened overnight really. Mind you, some mad woman was having a serious (and very entertaining) argument with her own sister-in-law on one of the pug-related Facebook pages as to whether her new dog was a pure-bred pug or not. And as the quarrel went on, other family squabbles were dragged up too. You'd think she would have kept what was clearly a family feud out of the public eye, wouldn't you?
And I had an email from the nice people at Credit Karma who told me my credit rating had gone up eleven points last week.
I wonder why?
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about that idiot Boris Johnson who is facing an investigation by the Commons Privileges Committee today to see if he really did mislead Parliament when he claimed that lockdown regulations were followed whilst he was allegedly staging piss-ups at Number Ten. If found guilty this would be the death knell for his political career. I would have thought being sacked as Prime Minister would have already put the tin lid on any political aspirations he might still have had, but what do I know?
There was also a lot of talk about the Scottish Nationalist Party being in disarray. A lot of talk about being in disarray, but not much about what the disarray was.
I since found out that the SNP's chief executive has resigned; the chap being the husband of Nicola Sturgeon (the leader of the SNP who has also recently resigned). But there are very few details to be found about what he has done wrong.
Mind you, if both are going, there's no smoke without fire, eh? Or that would be the implication of the morning's radio.
I got to work for the early shift and got on with it. As I worked so the phone rang. It was my brother. The gas engineer had been to Dad's house and given both gas fires and the cooker the thumbs-down. The hoses to all have perished, and have now been capped off.
Oh well, if we can sell the house that will be someone else's problem.
Being on an early shift I got out early (obviously!). Despite the rain I took the dogs round the block. They seemed to enjoy their walk. And I then spent an hour or so catching up with writing up my CPD. Continuing professional development is something everyone does mostly subconsciously; so few people realise they are doing it.
There are two tricks to CPD.
Firstly recognizing that you’ve done some.
Secondly writing up that you’ve done some.
I have to do it; it is a legal requirement. I live in terror of being called up to show that I have done it.
I then spent a few minutes doing “dog photography”: an activity which would be far easier if dogs sat still.
“er indoors TM” went off bowling. I settled on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs and watched two more episodes of “Downton Abbey” as the dogs snored.
I really should get to bed to get some sleep before they come up and hijack the bed again.
21 March 2023 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
My aching neck was rather painful as I tried to sleep last night. I was woken by the sound of “er indoors TM” getting up. She’d heard Morgan getting up, but hadn’t been quick enough, and there was a turd by the back door. At least he’s making the effort to get out.
I cracked open a Slimfast shake and had a look at the Internet. My lap-top booted up quite promptly this morning, and I saw the local Facebook group featured an article from Kent Online by the Mayor of Ashford who was whinging about the traffic going far too fast down Beaver Road. I rolled my eyes. If the Mayor can do nothing but whinge on-line, what hope for the rest of us? And how can traffic go far too fast down Beaver Road anyway? The road is constantly gridlocked at the Prince’s shop where the road narrows and no one is prepared to give way.
I sent out a birthday wish, and got dressed.
Despite the drizzle I loaded the dogs into the boot of the car and headed off to Kings Wood. As we drove the pundits on the radio drivelled on. Some days what they say is interesting and insightful; today they were clearly desperately trying to fill the air-time.
We got to the woods and despite being overcast the drizzle had stopped. We set off on a little wander. I wanted to get GPS co-ordinates for my current Wherigo project, and the dogs needed a walk anyway. As we went we played with spaniels and dalmatians, and chased pheasants and crows. I got my GPS co-ordinates and whilst we were at it I got final locations for three more Wherigos.
As we got back to the car I got a whiff of a familiar smell… Bailey who is supposed to be mostly white was mostly a sandy brown colour. She’d been rolling in fox poo.
We drove home. Kings wood is high. As we drove down so the rain started; quite heavy rain. Had we been above it at the woods? I’ve noticed that before.
Once home we went straight to the bathroom where all the dogs got scrubbed. I put a load of laundry in to scrub, and we all settled on the sofa. After a Christmas episode of “Downton Abbey” had played I hung the washing out, then took myself off to bed for the afternoon. The dogs flew up the stairs with me. They are funny – when “er indoors TM” is home they sit and watch me go to bed; preferring to sit with her. They make no secret as to who is their favourite.
I slept well, but jumped up when I heard Morgan jump off of the bed. I hurried after him, but was too late. He’d been taken short. But he’d tried to get out and had a little accident by the back door.
Ten minutes later he started making heaving sounds. I chivvied him outside where he threw up a turd. He’d tried to clear up after himself. (Who’d have dogs?)
I spent a couple of hours working on my next Wherigo project. Two hours of fiddling about created two minutes of game play.
“er indoors TM” has just come home. Hopefully she’ll do me some dinner before I head off to the night shift…
22 March 2023 (Wednesday) - Bit Tired
Being on the night shift last night I missed Lego club. I suspect I didn’t miss much. By trying to be all things to all people the club is sadly not working. Now that those who see it as somewhere for hyperactive children to run wild have been banned, there’s only me and Jose and a couple of young mothers with their kids… and that’s it. I’ve spoken with several people who have said that had it been set up as an AFOL group (Adult Fans of Lego) then they would have been up for it, but the children aspect put them off.
Is it too late to set up an AFOL group?
The night shift last night was hard work. Back in the day, the night work was overtime. We would come in when specifically called for a named patient. It would be rare to have work from more than ten patients all night long. We would go to bed and be called from bed if and when needed, and being called from bed more than twice was unusual. Last night I was working pretty much constantly all night long.
I was rather pleased to see the early shift arrive. I drove home listening to the radio. That idiot Boris Johnson is up before the tribunal today over his breaches of lockdown regulations. He’s apparently admitted to having broken the rules, but claims he didn’t do it intentionally. It seems the tribunal has to decide whether he is incompetent, or a liar. Or both.
I got home and went to bed. Just as I was nodding off all three dogs came up and staged a fight on top of me. They eventually settled and I got two hours sleep until Bailey started crying that she wanted to get off of the bed. Suspecting a potential “potty emergency” I took her downstairs only to find she wanted to stand in the kitchen and scrounge for food.
“er indoors TM” set off to Canterbury to collect her new car; I walked the dogs round the block in a break in the rain. And with walk walked I did the ironing whilst watching episodes of “Four in a Bed” in which (as usual) the most vocally critical were the ones with the most of which to be ashamed.
I ironed for five episodes of the show, then fed the dogs. And fed myself toast. “er indoors TM” had left me “home alone” this evening. Darren Hayes was playing in Brighton this evening so “er indoors TM” and a work pal had gone to see him. I stayed home dog-sitting and watching episodes of “Downton Abbey”.
There was so much I could have done with today. But a combination of rain and being worn out from the night shift meant I did very little other than ironing and watching telly. I tried working on my Wherigo project, sadly my brain wasn’t up to it. But watching telly from underneath dogs is never a bad thing.
Oh – and my Dad’s old house is up for sale. Please feel free to buy it.
23 March 2023 (Thursday) - Late Shift
I slept like a log last night, and after nine hours asleep I woke to find that “er indoors TM” had got home from her gig safely. She had a good time, even if Brighton was a long way to go.
I sparked up the lap-top, cracked open a Slimfast shake and saw that I’d had no less than four friend requests on Facebook overnight.
The first sells “marital toys” for ladies what marry other ladies.
The second is brandishing a whip for no adequately explored reason.
The third seems to have its chest under closer control than most, but features some very unmoral photos on its Facebook page.
The last proclaims (on its Facebook page) “BDSM lifestyle. Message to see if am naughty”, and sports a mouth which appears to be several sizes too big for its head.
I wish they’d go befriend someone whose back is up to that sort of nonsense
Our local MP was also grinning from the laptop’s screen. His Facebook feed is a never-ending succession of his appearing on social media advertising local events, activities and successes. There are those who would say he celebrates local success… there are others who say he never misses a photo opportunity. This morning he was at the launch of a playpark project which cost nearly half a million quid, There was no mention of the locals who were instrumental in getting the project off the ground, but the MP featured prominently. Though I suppose he would on his own Facebook page…
There wasn’t much else happening on-line. The rain forecast for this morning hadn’t happened, and so the weather forecasters had changed the forecast to match reality. Ideally I would have taken the dogs to the woods, but instead I had errands to run.
I settled the dogs and set off.
I set off for Hastings. There was some utter drivel on the radio about the legal system in ancient Greece in which it seemed that there is legal precedent for the nobs to be OK whilst the peasants can suck it. I turned the radio off and sang along to Ivor Biggun songs.
I got to the car park at the shopping centre where there were all sorts of signs about their hi-tec system. They'd read my car's number plate, so I could park up, do what I wanted, and when I went back the machine would tell me how much money I owed it. Personally I prefer the RingGo app, but clearly Hastings doesn’t.
I went to the estate agent who is (hopefully) selling Dad's house, signed bits of paper, and was on my way in a matter of minutes. The drive down from Hastings took me just under an hour; the drive from there to work was about eight miles further but took twice as long; road works (and glorious sunshine!) all the way.
I stopped off in Hawkhurst for geocachical reasons as I was driving past the final location of a puzzle cache, and then stopped off at the farm shop in Hartley (near Cranbrook) to get some lunch. Much the same stuff as Sainsbury's sell; twice the price. Obviously catering to people who like to spend far too much money. Sadly there really are people who like spending far too much money. I once worked with a chap who was adamant that given two items which were identical in absolutely every respect except the price, the more expensive one was clearly the better one.
Work was work… as I worked I had emails from the estate agent. Two viewings today; both thinking Dad’s house is overpriced. One of the viewers said he’d got a better bargain in Teddar Terrace… Teddar Terrace always used to be the rather rough council estate… perhaps we might need to revisit the asking price… But it is the asking price the estate agent recommended.
Mind you it is early days yet…
24 March 2023 (Friday) - Telly and News
After an hour or so's sleep last night I was shocked awake as a cold wet nose thrust itself up my bum. Despite being rather tired I didn't really get back off to sleep after that (could you?), and what sleep I did get was soon disturbed by one or other of three rather restless dogs.
I gave up trying to sleep, cracked open a Slimfast shake and watched an episode of "Downton Abbey" in which Lady Edith seemed to be spending her every waking hour gadding about in London (as those who could afford to do so did so a hundred years ago). So much for all the consternation caused by her wanting to be a devoted mother a few episodes ago, eh?
As I watched telly so the bin men made enough noise to wake the dead outside. You'd think they'd have the good grace to bellow up the streets quietly before six o'clock in the morning, wouldn't you?
As I drove to work on a rather bright morning the pundits on the radio were talking about how the rate of inflation is far higher than all the experts feel it should be. Every expert interviewed on the matter had its own solution to the problem, and not one agreed with any other.
And there was major upset in the sporting world when it was announced that "no one who has been through male puberty" will be allowed to compete in world women's athletics events. Is this unfair on the trans community? Perhaps I'm just an old reactionary who is hopelessly out of touch, but I'll (again) make the observation that I identify as a six foot four inches tall chap in his early thirties who is not at all overweight, who has over a million quid in the bank, and has a foot-long nasty.
However (to my mind) my identifying as that changes nothing... I wish I could understand why most people these days think it does. It gets rather tiresome being in a minority of one…
And yesterday I read on Facebook that last night Earth was to be invaded by aliens who were going to abduct eight thousand people and take them to another planet. Sadly there was no news whatsoever about that.
I got to work where I did my thing. During a tea break I capped a tree house (it's a Munzee thing) and reached the dizzy heights of being a Level 121 Munzer. Result(!)
Work was much the same as ever. I don’t dislike the thing, but I was still glad to come home.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of diet dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard”. The show is definitely picking up; there were *loads* of snippets for the geeks. I won’t give any spoilers, but if you haven’t watched it yet, watch it with your finger on the “pause” button.
25 March 2023 (Saturday) - Early Shift
With no dog noses going up my bum in the small hours I slept well. I had another Slimfast shake for brekkie as I watched an episode of "Downton Abbey" in which Lady Mary (presumably not the one with the canary) was attempting to dig the dirt on Lady Edith. It made for entertaining viewing before I had to set off to work.
As I drove up the motorway there was some article on the radio about the joys of walking a dog. Regular readers of this drivel may have picked up the idea that I quite like walking dogs, but walking dogs is something that you do. It doesn't really make for good radio. This was followed by some utter drivel on shellfish farming in which someone or other was getting very excited about which specific species of oyster was lurking in what he saw as his personal bit of the sea. I turned the radio off and sang along to Ivor Biggun songs as I drove to work.
Work was work. I started off in something of a major sulk about missing dog club. “er indoors TM” took the dogs along. They had a good time even if Morgan did roll in bird poo, but on the way home one of them (presumably Bailey) threw up half digested dog poo into the boot of “er indoors TM”'s new car. She's been talking about getting a boot liner for it; bit late now.
And I sulked as I kept looking out of the window at a non-rainy day. At least if it is raining outside I don't feel I am missing *too* much by working.
I always say I don't mind working at the weekends, but I think I do mind. Back in the day I used to work maybe one weekend per month. For the foreseeable future I have one weekend off per month.
I came home, and updated the co-ordinates on one of the puzzle caches that I put out in Kings Wood a couple of weeks ago. One or two people had told me they’d struggled with it. Kim was there today and told me the co-ords I’d supplied were quite wrong. I’ve updated with the ones she sent me.
GPS units are like that… no matter how carefully you measure the location’s co-ordinates, sometimes they just go squafty.
I then spent a couple of hours programming what will probably be about two minutes of game play in my next Wherigo project, then turned the telly on.
As “er indoors TM” did her jigsaw puzzle so I watched an episode of “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel. Have you ever watched that show? I hesitate to say that it is made by and for the feeble minded, but…
Imagine that you were able to cross interstellar distances and visit strange new worlds. What would you do when you got there? Watch quietly? Say hello to the locals? Or make strange pattern in the crops?
“er indoors TM” then popped up the kebab shop for a bit of dinner. You can’t beat a kebab…
26 March 2023 (Sunday) - Spring Forward
What with being rather knackered and clocks going forward, I slept through till ten o’clock this morning. When I got up “er indoors TM” told me that she hadn’t been able to get the dogs to go into the garden this morning. Seeing the rain I felt sorry for them, but rather a wet dog than a wet floor. However they do seem more inclined to go out in the rain when someone goes with them. So I went with them. We didn’t have to be out there long, but whilst we were there I had a dung harvest. Better to get that stuff gathered up before it gets torrentially rained upon.
There are those among my loyal readers who might shout “too much detail”; but I would say that this is one of the more important details if anyone is considering taking on a dog. Or three.
I didn’t really fancy a Slimfast shake this morning. I went Old Skool and had toast instead which I scoffed whilst having my morning’s rummage round the Internet. There was quite a squabble happening on one of the Lego-related Facebook pages. Someone was trying to get a bargain on second-hand Lego and was finding the stuff was nowhere near as cheap as he might have hoped. Sadly (for those who want a bargain) as an investment Lego is better than gold, and so it ain’t going to be cheap.
I also saw a new geocache had gone live locally. A challenge cache. In order to qualify for the challenge you have to have found (at least) one geocache which had been hidden in each month since January 2002. I was surprised to see that I didn’t qualify for this Jasmer challenge (as it is called) as my Jasmer grid was missing finds on geocaches hidden in December 2021, November 2022 and January 2023. I thought I’d got this challenge done. Some years ago (1 August 2016) Fudge and I went on a major road trip to the New Forest and back finding seven really old geocaches over the course of one day to complete the Jasmer challenge (as far as it can be completed within a few hundred miles of home on mainland UK). Obviously I’ve let this slip.
There’s a little project for the next few weeks.
I looked out of the window at the rain which was not quite as bad as it had been earlier. The weather yesterday had been glorious as I’d been at work. Today it was on the damp side.
But rain is for wimps. I put shirts into the washing machine, and leaving “er indoors TM” to her candlemonger mates I took the dogs out. For a change we went to Great Chart. One of our standard shorter winter walks is from the cricket green up to the river and back, and that is what we did today. As always when we got to the river Treacle got incredibly over-excited and squeaked like a thing possessed. That is her way of asking for stones to be thrown into the river. She then swims out to the splash and swims back again for more stones to be thrown. As she swam to and fro, the puppies looked on in frank amazement.
Despite this being one of our standard winter walks, the dogs came home filthy. We had a good scrub, and as they snored I ironed shirts.
What with the clocks having gone forward and having had a lie-in, time was running away from me,and I was getting hungry. I had this plan to fry up yesterday’s left-over kebab for lunch. Once I figured out how to work the hob (it took some working out!) I had a good bit of scoff which I devoured whilst watching an episode of “Downton Abbey” in which everyone now feels sorry for Thomas (who was very much the villain of the piece not so long ago).
I then spent two more hours on my Wherigo project and got the thing ready for a final test.
However I’d had enough by then and so put off the final test, and looked at the monthly accounts instead. Not as good as I’d like them to be (is it wrong to want to have far too much money?) but certainly not as bad as they have been in the past.
“er indoors TM” came home. As she set about boiling up dinner so I ran my Wherigo project through its final test… I say “final test”; it worked without crashing but I found several problems and mistakes in it. So as “er indoors TM” boiled dinner I put right that which I’d stuffed up.
Dinner was rather good. We washed it down with a bottle of Shiraz whilst watching more “Lego Masters: Australia”.
Bearing in mind the lie-in I had, and the fact I’ve not really done anything today, I’m worn out.
27 March 2023 (Monday) - "Ten Feet Deep,,,"
I woke in something of a cold sweat this morning following a nightmare in which I had been co-opted to run a one-off hiking-camping contest along the lines of those which had been such a large part of my time in the Boys Brigade forty years ago. Intended for teams of three teenagers, one of the teams (a crack SAS commando unit) had got hopelessly lost on what was supposed to be a two-mile hike across a couple of fields in Sussex. I eventually found them just south of the equator and had no idea how any of us had got to be in Brazil; let alone how we might get home again.
I wasn't going to get to sleep again after that so I got up and had a weigh-in. Last week's diet was probably marred by Saturday's kebab and yesterday's fry-up of the leftover kebab, but I still shifted two pounds. Better two pounds off than two pounds on, eh?
Flushed with dietary enthusiasm I had a Slimfast shake and watched more "Downton Abbey" in which Lady Edith looked set to shack up with a Marquess. Lady Mary had the arse over that as (being only on the Earl grade herself), she'd be outranked.
Meanwhile the cook was running a house of ill repute.
I got dressed; now the clocks have gone forward I put on a summer shirt (I have summer and winter shirts) and set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were all a-twitter about today's announcement of the new leader of the Scottish Nationalists. A few weeks ago Scottish politics seemed to be on an even keel; now it is in uproar and apparently whoever takes over as leader of the SNP has got their work cut out for them.
I got the distinct impression that Nicola Sturgeon had been holding the whole thing together personally and it all went to pot purely because she jacked it all in.
And there was a lot of talk about mass oil spillages in Poole Harbour from an on-shore oil field. I had no idea there was any such thing in Dorset.
Work was the same as ever. I must admit I spent much of the day peering out the window in a sulk. I was at home yesterday in the drizzle and rain. I was at work today in glorious sunshine.
I also spent much of the day with the most annoying earworm - the theme song to "Follyfoot". Not the actual song thought; the rude version "Down in the toilet ten foot deep..."
Did you ever watch "Follyfoot"? It was dreadful. It featured a couple of posh children and a load of peasants who felt they had to suck up to the posh children. The children spent much of their time with a rather dopey looking horse, and each episode ended with the posh girl riding the horse very fast for no adequately explored reason.
They dragged that rather simple premise over three seasons, and were still selling the "Follyfoot" annual to gullible children years after the TV show had finally given up the ghost.
Being on an early I got to come home early. “er indoors TM” was back from her mate’s funeral and was working from home. I walked the dogs round the road. As we went past the church we saw a couple of people with dogs in there. As their dogs crapped I asked if they’d like a dog poo bag as they were showing no signs of gathering up the dung. With a rather shamefaced expression one pulled a black bag out, and from the complete shambles she made of picking up the poo it was rather apparent she’d not done that very much before.
With walk walked the dogs settled, and I spent a couple of hours proof-reading my current Wherigo project. Once “er indoors TM” had boiled up dinner she went bowling, and I carried on Wherigo-ing.
This one is nearly done… I hope the public like it…
28 March 2023 (Tuesday) - After Some Wine
I didn't notice a single dog all night long last night. I could have slept so well… Such a shame that I woke in a cold sweat following a nightmare in which “er indoors TM” had half destroyed the chodbin trying to remove a lock on the door which wasn't there.
I didn't fancy a Slimfast shake this morning; neither did I fancy a visit to Downton. Instead I made toast and watched an episode of "Stath Lets Flats" in which our hero jumped in a canal because another idiot dared him to. For a series which started well, it is certainly fizzling out and looks set to end with a whimper rather than a bang.
I set off to work through a rather old and wet morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting all sorts of drivel on all sorts of subjects.
Humza Yousaf is now the head honcho in Scotland. I'd never heard of him before, and from what was being said on the radio it would seem that all of Scotland's politicians are something of an unknown quantity these days. If Nicola Sturgeon hadn't been running pretty much a one (wo)man band, all of her sidekicks either went with her, or had been keeping very low profiles.
There was also a lot of talk about upcoming strikes by teachers. The pundits interviewing the union official were rather critical, but they seemed to be missing the point of all these strikes. As a society we need skilled people teaching in schools and treating in hospitals. Why on Earth would anyone take on such a demanding job when you really can get just as much money working in a supermarket filling shelves?
Schools are already funded by do-gooders staging beetle drives and gofundme campaigns. I really can see a time when hospitals are run by St John's Ambulance volunteers.
I got to work. Being a Tuesday there was a greengrocer’s stall in the hospital foyer. The produce all looked rather good, but the chap was knocking apples out at five for two pounds fifty as some sort of a bargain. Fifty pence for an apple ain’t a bargain to me!
Work was much the same as ever. I did my bit and escaped early. I came home and walked the pups round the block, then (having finished my new Wherigo last night) spent a couple of hours on another new Wherigo project. Well… not so much “new” as “revamped”.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good chicken curry which we washed down with a bottle of Sainsbury’s sweet white wine from their “Taste the Difference” range. With change out of a fiver, you can’t complain about that stuff. As we scoffed and swilled we watched an episode of “Outsiders” which rather reminds me of my days as a scout leader.
And with that watched we put on an episode of “Landscape Artist of the Year”. Some of the artists were quite talented. Others… I honestly think my eight year old grandson could have done better… and probably has.
29 March 2023 (Wednesday) - Rostered Day Off
It was a rather cold night last night. It would have been warmer had I been allowed any of the duvet. After a bit of a rant and a forceful yank in the small hours I secured enough of the cover to get warm.
I fancied toast for brekkie this morning, and turned the toaster up. “er indoors TM” only ever has the thing set to “warm the bread up” but I prefer the stuff cooked. With toast (as opposed to warm bread) I sparked up the lap-top and peered into the Internet. I saw I had two new friend requests on Facebook. One had no end of different people in its gallery of profile pictures (and so was so obviously a scam profile). The other just had an epic chest. I accepted neither to my select list of chums.
I printed out some geocaching log sheets, made up seven geocache pots and got the dogs on to their leads.
As I drove the dogs up to Kings Wood the pundits on the radio were talking about Paul O’Grady who had died overnight. Having started as a TV drag queen twenty (or more) years ago he’s been on the telly pretty much ever since, and was something of a local celebrity living only a few miles down the road in Aldington. Several TV personalities were reminiscing about him on the radio this morning; yet again, and as the day went on, everyone’s Facebook feed filled up about him. I found myself in a minority of one in not knowing who the chap was.
We got to Kings Wood. The plan for today was to put out the geocache pots which will be the physical goals for the Wherigo I’ve been working on over the last week. And that was what we did.
As we walked we met a team of Labradors quite literally rolling in thick mud. My dogs get grubby enough without actually rolling in the mud. I exchanged pleasantries with the people whose dogs were in the mud. They seemed rather miffed that my dogs were relatively clean, and their demeanor wasn’t improved at all when I pointed out that even if my dogs *were* lagged up, being small they take a lot less scrubbing.
We put out seven geocache pots, then went on a little wander and found hiding places for four more. We could have looked for more, but the forecast rain had started so we headed back to the car park.
When we were about ten minutes from the car park my idiot mag leapt into action. Some bloke (and a harassed looking wife) appeared from nowhere and he demanded to know if he could ask me a question… well, two questions. How long had I been in the woods? (about two and a half hours.) Had I seen any birds? (a few pigeons and we’d heard pheasants). The bloke then started on a major rant about what a complete con Chris Packham’s TV shows are. Apparently whenever Mr. Packham goes into the countryside on his telly shows he is followed by flocks of golden eagles, and has to fight redcaps and nightjars off with a shitty stick. However whenever this looney I’d found goes into the woods he is lucky to see as much as a sparrow.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d seen the white deer earlier (if only fleetingly).
We came home to uproar. “er indoors TM”’s mate had the front door in bits. It had been sticking recently. A little while ago I phoned Everest (who fitted it some time ago) about it but the woman I spoke to was disinterested to the point of rudeness. “er indoors TM”’s mate has recently set up as a locksmith, and after an hour with him and his mate clouting the door the thing now noticeably opens much easier than it ever did.
Here’s hoping it don’t jam up again.
I did the geo-admin for the geocaches I’d hidden earlier, and then spent the afternoon watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which again those who knew the least were the nicest people and those who should have known better came over rather badly.
A quick bit of CPD, then on realizing she’d not got the makings of dinner out of the freezer, “er indoors TM” popped to the KFC for scran. So much for diet, eh?
We scoffed KFC whilst watching another episode of “Outsiders” during which “er indoors TM” learned a new word. How can anyone have never heard of the word “norks”?
30 March 2023 (Thursday) - A Wedding Anniversary
Yesterday I started off by saying "I didn't notice a single dog all night long last night". I certainly did last night. If one wasn't constantly stomping all over my head in the small hours, one of the other two was.
I made toast (again) and watched another episode of "Stath Lets Flats", then got myself ready for work. As I dressed, three dogs who had been so restless all night long were all blissfully fast asleep. I resisted the temptation to rudely wake them; they wouldn't understand anyway.
Pausing only briefly to cap six bouncers out of the tree house (it's a Munzee thing) I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing all sorts of people about the problems schools are facing with pupils claiming to be "trans". It seems there is no national guidance from central government, and so schools are doing what they each think is probably a good idea. Some are being sensible; some are making a total balls-up of it. Some are telling the pupils not to be so silly. Others are treating the pupils as being the opposite gender to which the pupils' parents are treating them (and deliberately concealing this from the parents). I've said before that I don't understand the whole "trans" thing. Whilst I am sure there are some genuine cases of gender dysphoria there is quite a bit of evidence to show that those adults being treated for it are just as miserable after treatment as they were before. And as for teenagers with it...
Am I being really such an old reactionary in thinking that when my father was at school there were those who dressed as Teddy Boys. When I was at school there were those who wanted to shock by being Punk Rockers. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was a "Goth Chav"... Does my granddaughter *seriously* have twenty genuine trans classmates? Twenty? In one class?
And then the pundits on the radio played recordings from "Yesterday in Parliament" in which the county's leaders sounded just like ill-behaved schoolchildren squabbling over trivia. I've been in high-level professional meetings before where there were serious differences of opinion, but every time the protagonists disagreed by stating the relevant issues and the pros and cons of the matters under discussion. At no point did anyone resort to the (frankly pathetic) petty quarrelling and name-calling that characterizes the parliamentary process.
As I drove to work my phone pinged. The Wherigo caches I'd hidden yesterday had gone live. But I had messages about them. One was working fine; but despite all the testing I'd done, six had downloading issues. That was a pain in the glass (as “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” might say). I had a theory as to what the issue might be, but there wasn't much I could do without my lap-top. I disabled the problem and cracked on with the day. In between cracking on I had a look at the exact error message that was coming from Wherigo dot com, and I had an idea… I knew exactly what the problem was.
I came home, walked the pups round the block and then sparked up the lap-top. I took out the completion code that was mentioned in the error log, uploaded a revised cartridge, and watched it all go belly-up again. So much for my genius idea…
After a bit of farting about I found that the problem was that when you start the little game on the app on your mobile (which is what the Wherigo actually is) the Wherigo asks for your name, and then as the game goes on, it calls you by your name.
Or it is supposed to.
This bit worked absolutely fine (and is still working absolutely fine) in the Wherigo I created a month ago. But it was causing total system failure in the one I uploaded last night. So as the dogs slept after their walk I stripped out all references to the player name, and re-wrote all the interactions between the player and the game. It only took an hour or so…
I managed to upload a cartridge which didn’t crash at about six o’clock, and within half an hour several people had downloaded it. Bearing in mind that the first version was un-download-able, I saw that as something of a result.
“er indoors TM” boiled up some scran which we scoffed whilst watching more “Outsiders” and an episode of “The Great Pottery Throwdown” in which several of the contestants had major disasters… which was entertaining.
As I gloated at the potters’ misfortunes I set about a tub of Cadbury’s Roses which “er indoors TM” had been hiding since Christmas. She likes to have one sweetie a week; I scoff the lot in one sitting. So much for diet, eh?
And in closing, today would have been my Mum & Dad’s sixty-sixth wedding anniversary…
31 March 2023 (Friday) - Cabernet Sauvignon
Usually when I go to bed I get an hour or so asleep before “er indoors TM” and the dogs come up and cause mayhem. Last night as I went up so Morgan and Bailey woke, got off the sofa and quietly trotted up with me. Seeing how subdued they looked I naively thought we might all settle down. Bailey looked pathetically at the bed, and I lifted her up. She and Morgan lay down. I turned the light off, settled myself... and all hell broke loose. Both puppies embarked on a pitched play-battle that (despite my continually separating them and telling them off) continued until “er indoors TM” finally came up at which point they both settled without her having to say a word… and then stared a play-fight with Treacle.
I made toast and watched the last episode of "Stath Lets Flats". Bearing in mind how well the show started, the ending was a grave disappointment.
I had a little look at the Internet and saw I had a friend request on Facebook from "Unfaceless Angel". I don't know if she thinks she looks sexy in the pose she is pulling in her profile picture; she just looks scary to me.
I got dressed and set off through the rain to find where I'd left my car. It was where I'd left it yesterday... a couple of streets away. Getting to it would have been easier had the bin men not deliberately made the local pavements impassable with discarded recycling bins. Back in the day the bin men collected the bin from your kitchen door and brought it back again. These days the bin has to be left in the middle of the pavement for them, and when they have emptied it, they just hurl it in the general direction of away from the bin lorry. Am I being unreasonably harsh in saying this? Come down my road on a Friday morning at half past six and watch them...
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how (ex) President Trump is to be indicted over the "Stormy Daniels" debacle. From what I can work out, it is quite acceptable to give a porn star large sums of money for the most vague of reasons. However if you do so, the accounts must be in order... and it was claimed that there are irregularities in the accounting of the bung that was allegedly given to Ms Daniels.
Either way, the expert opinion was that far from putting the tin lid on Mr. Trump's political aspirations, this whole business will do no end of good for his chances of being re-elected this year.
Funny old world...
And the UK government was hailing Britain's joining the Indo-pacific trade bloc as the UK's biggest trade deal since Brexit. Expected to be worth less than a tenth of a percent of the UK's economy it is certainly a piss-poor arrangement compared to what the UK threw away when we were part of the European bloc, but these days, (self-made) beggars can't be choosers. It was claimed that whilst the financial benefits to the UK might be trivial; the important thing would be that if the UK were part of the bloc then the UK would be able to influence Chinese policy should China ever wish to join.
It is a shame that they don't seem at all interested...
Work was work; the highlight of the day was a leaky biro. But being on another early shift I got out early. I drove home through heavy rain, and once home I took the dogs for a short walk. They weren’t keen on going out in the rain, but… they are funny. They clearly wanted to go out, but not out in the rain.
We walked round the block and came home again.
Despite no one having found the Wherigos I set on Wednesday I spent a couple of hours working on another new Wherigo project until “er indoors TM” came home.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which bearing in mind today was the end of an era (“er indoors TM” left her place of work today after over twenty years of being there) we washed down with a rather expensive bottle of wine…
Here’s a tip – you can spend over twenty quid on a bottle of Pieroth Cabernet Sauvignon, or you can spend a fiver on a bottle of Sainsbury’s “taste the difference” Cabernet Sauvignon which actually tastes better.
As we scoffed and drank we watched this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard” which was rather good. In retrospect the program probably worked better if you’d been watching Star Trek over twenty years ago… but I was.