1 May 2012 (Tuesday) - Hoping...




After a relatively good nightís sleep I was raring to go to todayís interview. On with the shirt, and on with the tie. Itís odd Ė I miss wearing a tie to work. I left earlier than I needed to (to be sure I wouldnít be late) and was soon at the Holiday Inn in Sevenoaks. It seemed an odd venue for an interview for a company which was actually based fifty miles elsewhere; but what do I know.


I got there with time to spare, and sat in my car and planned what I would say Ė all about me, why I want to sell their products, why I am the man for the job. And I got fed up with waiting and went into the hotel, introduced myself at reception, got taken to a waiting area, and spent more time planning what answers I might give to questions.

I got in ten minutes later than expected; there was only one chap interviewing; he was very friendly and welcoming. I got to give my practised spiel all about me; and my practised spiel all about how Iíve been trying to sell things. And for much of the rest of the interview I listened to what the job would entail. It sounds good. I can only hope that I sounded as good. At the end of the interview the chap gave me his card, and Iíve sent an email confirming my interest. I hope that was the right thing to do.


And then more hope. Over a spot of lunch the phone rang. It was an agency with a possible job opening. And then another agency with another potential opening. To think that a week or so ago I was on the point of giving up the job hunting as a waste of time.


I had an email Ė requesting the use of my writing talents. I wrote the flier below for a firm called ďBuzzHostingĒ, and immediately after I published it my blog crashed. Itís been doing that from time to time just lately; I wish it wouldnít. I now have three days to see if I get paid for the advert Iíve just done. I wonder if it will come up with anything? On reflection I could have done a better job - it was a bit of a rush job. Perhaps if I'd spent more than five minutes doing it and less than two hours playing "Angry Birds"?


Being Tuesday the clans gathered - this time at Somerset Road. Insults were exchanged, and we watched the last episode of season two of "Being Human". Inbetween times some of us played "Draw Something". Shart...?



2 May 2012 (Wednesday) - Deer



Thermoregulation may well be a cause of my insomnia; at night I am often either swelteringly hot or icy cold. Both of which wake me. This was certainly a problem for me last night. Perhaps I need to look into this a bit?


A quick bite of brekkie, and then as the fruits of my loin came home (for various reasons of their own) I set off delivering catalogues to the lucky punters. I covered three roads in an hour. Letís hope these punters are grateful for my efforts. The last bunch could have been more effusive in their appreciation. Not that Iím complaining or anything.


And having offered wonderful bargains to the masses I came home and did the monthly accounts. Which (it has to be said) could be healthier. And then having again revamped my C.V. I spent a couple of hours applying for jobs. Itís interesting that most of the jobs that come up on the websites Iíve been perusing seem to have been being advertised for months. Perhaps they canít get the right candidates. Perhaps they need to actually read my C.V. rather than just bin it. I donít just apply for any old job Ė I only apply for jobs I honestly think I can do well. Perhaps my C.V. needs sexing up so people wonít bin it. Iíve sent it off for a once-over from ďThe Man with No Alias (patent pending)Ē. Letís see what he makes of it.


This afternoon I went to the dentist. Iíve been trying to get an appointment for weeks, and have had to cancel due to the vagaries of my shifts. So I phoned them on the spur of the moment to see if theyíd had any cancellations. They had; and my fang is now fixed.

Home again, and I got beer out of the bucket and into the barrel ready for camp. Camp is six weeks away, but preparation is everything. And talking of preparing, loyal readers might like to make a note in their diaries for Sunday July 15th for a day out at the Dover Western Heights: they are having an open day. We went last year and it was quite a good outing. So, loyal readers, make yourself a picnic and Iíll see you there for a race down the Grand Shaft. And even a race back up again.


With an hour to spare I could have watched drivel from the Sky-Plus box. I could have played ďAngry BirdsĒ. Instead I wrote more of my novel. Another one thousand five hundred words in a scene I hadnít planned, but just seemed to pop into my head. Two of the protagonists have had their first meeting. It went as well as I could expect it to. And if it had gone any differently I would have erased it from existence and re-written it. An author has quite serious power over his creations you know.


And then off to Kings Wood. The weather wasn't good, but the Tree Huggers were having a bluebell walk. Last year's was a good evening's walk, and "er indoors TM" had offered to give the walk leader a lift. Despite the drizzle eleven of us set off for a stroll round Kings Wood. We saw bluebells; which was an improvement on last year. And we say deer. Loads of them. If you look very closely at today's photo, the white splodge in the middle is one of the deer...




3 May 2012 (Thursday) - Dull...



Yesterday I had a good wander round Kings Wood. And when I came home I had a look on their web site and found one or two events coming up that I might like to go on later in the year. I've added them to my calendar (which is accessible from the link above). Because if I don't, I'll forget all about them.


Last night (for want of anything better to do) I weighed myself. I did it three times to be sure. Every time I got a result of fourteen stone and one pound. Nice! Still a way to go, but a lot better than it once was. This morning I again weighed myself. I again did it three time to be sure. Overnight I'd put on three pounds. How is that possible?


And I pumped up one of the tyres on my car. I had to borrow a pump. Last summer I bought a little pump that fits into the cigarette lighter socket in my car. Useful for pumping up car tyres as well as all sorts of things when camping. And now it's gone. I was sure it was in the compartment under the driver seat in my car. it's not. I wonder where it's gone.


Yesterday loads happened in my life. Today was dull.



4 May 2012 (Friday) - Stuff



I noticed yesterday that one of my car tyres hasn't been holding its pressure. So today before work I went to Road Runners to sort the problem. I called up their web site. They hadn't got one (!), so I guessed that they would open at 8.30am. There were people behind the counter in there at 8.30am, and they smiled as I entered, took my details and sat me down. As they did all the other customers. Was it my imagination? Were they doing other sorts of work I didn't notice? Or did they really wait until the stroke of 9am before leaping into action and actually doing anything?

But I really can't complain - they took a screw out of my iffy tyre, fixed the damage and only charged me a tenner. As I stumped up I commented on the place's lack of a web site. "Yes" they agreed "We don't have one". They seemed rather indifferent to the lack of a website. Personally I feel that a lack of web presence for a business these days is lamentable. Such contempt for the realities of our digital age is surely somewhat akin to boasting that you can't read or write? But what do I know?


The journey to Canterbury was then rather problematical. Having got used to driving before 7am and after 8pm I've got used to the roads being relatively quiet. Does everyone drive at 25mph in a national speed limit zone during daylight hours?

And when I got where I was going my mobile rang. The employment agency with news of Tuesday's interview. The good news was that I got down to the final two. The bad news.... yes - you've guessed it. The other bloke was pretty much the same as me in terms of experience except that he had had a year of selling to hospital laboratories already. I must admit that I hadn't expected to have got the job. But I can't pretend that having been turned down didn't come as a blow.

So, loyal readers, if ever you are going to buy binoculars or cameras or anything optical think of my sulk before you hand over your cash, and give me a call instead. I'll tell you which company we don't buy from....


A super-late finish; from now on I'll be doing 10pm finishes from time to time. On the way home I got some petrol. I's come down in price. Not much, but it's two pence a litre cheaper than the last time I filled up. I am grateful for every little bit that I can get these days. And getting it in Morrisons gave me more points on my Morrisons card. I often wonder exactly what good this Morrisons card is, but I keep collecting the points.



5 May 2012 (Saturday) - Stone cum Ebony



I fell asleep in front of the telly last night and woke at 1am with a stiff neck. I took myself off to bed and was hoping for a good night's kip. The phone rang at silly o'clock: was today's walk going ahead? I glanced out of the window. The rain didn't look that bad, so I said yes. We would carry on. And after a spot of brekkie that's what we did. Into the Bat-mobile and round to the Fudgery to take Fudge for a walk. His entourage had other plans, but we said we could take our grand-dog for an outing. During this last week Fudge has lost his coat. I think he may have eaten it. But his nice coat is but a memory. Instead he was wearing what I could only describe as a dress. An amazing technicolour dreamcoat of a dress. But a dress nonetheless. We loaded Fudge into the car and took his dress off. All the other dogs would laugh at him if he turned up in that.


My mobile bleeped - a text - where were we? We weren't the first to get to the meeting point in Appledore. We weren't the last either. And eventually twelve of us (and four dogs) were together. Our start off was delayed by a few minutes whilst we relocated some of the cars. The plan was to park up near the Black Lion, walk and come back for a pint later. Some grouch from inside the pub came out and had a whinge that we couldn't park in the pub's car park. Their loss.


As we set off walking the rain started. I was a bit miffed about that, but fortunately the rain stopped after a few minutes. The day wasn't really bright, but (in all honesty) it was ideal for a walk. We followed the Military canal for a couple of miles, then took the lanes and footpaths into Stone cum Ebony. Which made my nephew snigger.

We were soon at the Ferry Inn. We first went there three years ago when we watched a Chinese Neil Diamond tribute act in the rain, and we went there last summer whilst on a walk. The place had four ales on the hand pumps, and were happy for us to eat our picnic in their garden. I washed my sarnies down with a half of Oxney ale and a half of Ferry top. Both of which were beers brewed especially for that pub. And suitably fed and watered we pushed on back to the cars. A good walk - about five miles. A walk we shall do again at some point. There are piccies of the day here.


We said our goodbyes, and came home. Fudge's entourage were out so he came home with us. Since he'd got a bit grubby I thought I'd be brave and give him a bath. He was as good as gold - he just stood and didn't struggle or fight whilst I hosed him down. And he then dozed for half an hour or so. Perhaps the walk had tired him. Whilst he dozed I did some on-line surveys.


We then took Fudge home, collected catalogues, and after a decent bit of tea we wandered round to the Chrisery for the Saturday night film show. We started off with the latest Mission Impossible film. Very good. And then "Decoy Bride" wih pretty much every British actor known to science. Again another good film. I do like the Saturday night film show....




6 May 2012 (Sunday) - Flying Foxes, Simon Pegg



The weekly weigh-in. Another pound lost. My weight loss has really slowed down, but I feel that I'm actually getting a lot thinner at the moment. I feel that I'm getting bonier by the day. And thinner too. The pair of trousers I bought on 28 March is now rather baggy. And I've had to add notches to a couple of my belts. A few years ago I gave a belt to "My Boy TM" as it was too small. He's given it back. It fits me now. My BMI is now 28.6. It was knocking 35 not so long ago.


I then fiddled about with my ongoing novel. For all that have a plan, the bits that I've done so far have all been written in isolation, and there was quite a lot of contradiction between the various bits. I've (hopefully) got it all to be consistent now, and got something of a time-line together. Things are now happening in some sort of order, and in a timed order too. There's still a way to go with the thing, but it's now over twenty thousand words long. And it's quite depressing in parts. I need to write some lighter bits. I'll do that next.


We then popped out for a bit. Catalogue collecting, and then round to Dobbies garden centre. We have a problem with the fish tank with stringy algae. We'd heard that the solution would be algae-eating fish. Either American Flagfish or Flying Foxes. We didn't like the look of the American Flagfish, and they'd sold out of Flying Foxes. So we went round to the old favourite: Bybrook Barn. Where they had Flying Foxes over a pound cheaper. It pays to shop about. Whilst there we had a look for charcoal biscuits for the grand-dogs's flatulence. Or more specifically to cure the grand-dogs's flatulence. They didn't have any, which was a shame for Sid's local environment.


We came back home. I mucked about with on-line scrabble. As did a lot of people. I suppose that it was some consolation that as everyone else was mucking about on-line I wasn't missing anything. But I did spend most of the afternoon in a sulk. Yesterday was a great day. Today was something of an anticlimax, and I spent a lot of it sulking about having to work tomorrow when I will be missing one of the year's highlights.


We spent some time clearing more stuff from the Sky-Plus box. Several episodes of Time Team, and the last episode of the ITV's Titanic drama series. I must admit I didn't like it much. It was the same story from several different viewpoints, and as such was rather repetitive. Which was a shame. And a film - "How to lose Friends and Alienate People". Simon Pegg was in it. He was in the Mission Impossible film we watched last night, and I've seen him in lots recently. He's certainly the actor of the moment. When I was younger I wanted to be an actor. I could do what he does..... I expect.....



7 May 2012 (Monday) - A Rant


It has been said that I am a creature of habit. And I'd probably have to agree. Take May Day for example. May Day for the last four years has either been spent in an alcoholic haze at the Jack in the Green celebrations in Hastings with family and friends I've known for over thirty years, or exerting myself walking serious distances round the Weymouth area with other really good friends. All of which have actually made for very good May Days. In retrospect May Day has always been one of the year's high points for me.

So getting up early this morning to do a twelve hour shift came as something of a disappointment. Don't get me wrong - in this new world order of austerity I am very grateful for the overtime. But there's no denying that I had more than a passing thought about what I might have been doing today. Especially bearing in mind that "er indoors TM" and "My Boy TM" had gone down to Hastings to meet up with the Sussex bunch of the family to do Jack in the Green.


And I spent some time this evening being rather angry about the family reunion being planned for September. The last one we went to was in Ringwood in Dorset. It took three hours to get there, and today the journey there and back would cost just under sixty quid in petrol. We went to another one a couple of years ago that was in Kingsfold which was a round trip of one hundred and fifty miles.

It's our turn to organise the event this year. We're looking at staging it somewhere near Leeds Castle for no better reason than its being equally convenient for us and contingents from Hastings, Folkestone, Tonbridge, Eastbourne and South Mimms. And people from further afield can get more or less all the way on motorway. And being our turn to organise it means that it's our turn to go somewhere relatively local. And the vast majority of the family live in Kent or Sussex anyway. So somewhere near Leeds Castle is central for the majority. Good choice?

I'm feeling rather miffed to be told that Maidstone doesn't suit, and to be told about the amazing merits of Hayling Island. I looked for Hayling Island on the Internet. An hour's drive the other side of Brighton; it'll cost me the best part of fifty quid just to get there and back. If it's to be in Hayling Island I won't be going. End of story(!)


Going to lie down now......



8 May 2012 (Tuesday) - Bethersden



So much for a lie-in this morning. The most recent fruit of my loin woke us by hammering on the door. She'd somehow bent her front door key and couldn't get in. How on Earth can anyone bend a key? Over brekkie I got turned down for two more jobs, and (to add insult to injury) got told I couldn't claim expenses for last week's interview. But am I downhearted?


I spent a few minutes writing more novel. One of my protagonists has gone to a football match; the other to church. Which was nice for them both. And, feeling flushed with success after last Saturday's walk I thought I'd see about sorting out some more for the next few weeks and months. My initial thought was to lead a wander from Chilham to Godmersham, but for the contingents from Folkestone and Hastings, Chilham is just a little bit too far. So I got out my books of short walks. One of them: "Forty Circular Walks Around Kent Inns" is a good idea in theory; it lists short walks which start and finish at pubs in the Kent countryside. In practice the walks listed are a bit on the short side, and the directions are very "local" in parts - "turn left at the cottage with the green door". Bearing in mind the book is twenty years old I'm not convinced the directions will be much good now

Another book "Short Walks from East Kent Pubs" is equally dated; listing the landlords and beer selections from twenty five years ago. So I turned to the Internet which came up trumps. Mind you, I could probably devise my own walks. Perhaps I should.

Whilst I fiddled about, "er indoors TM" argued with the car insurance company. Having got us a super-cheap deal it turned out that journeys to and from work weren't insured by the policy. What's the good of that? After a bit of fiddling about we agreed to pay three quid a month more to insure what we actually wanted insured. "Daddies Little Angel TM" bustled about in the background whinging about her foot. Apparently she has lost half a toe somewhere. Personally I think that was careless of her, but what do I know? Perhaps she lost it when she bent her key?


The original plan for the day was a trip to Highclere Castle. But somehow or other this just didn't happen. So being at a loose end this afternoon we went out to check out one of the walks we found on the Internet this morning. We started off at Bethersden church and walked through a swamp up to a mud bath. There was a dodgy five minutes whilst we pondered a sign warning of low flying aircraft, before we encountered a rather savage-looking guard dog. And then we saw a kangaroo. Yes - a kangaroo. Well it was probably a wallaby, but the principle was the same. Big bouncy Australian animal. And reindeer too. I didn't realise that our route went through the reindeer farm. And from then on the rest of the walk was something of an anticlimax. But as walks go, it'll do. Four miles; taking a little under two hours. I've provisionally pencilled it in for a week on Saturday (May 19th), so if any of my loyal readers are at a loose end on that day, why not come along?

Mind you the ground was quite wet and muddy in parts today. If there is much rain in the meantime we'll abandon the walk and go to the George on our bikes instead.


Tonight was Tuesday - the clans gathered at our house for the beginning of Season three of "Being Human". Not bad - is it my imagination or is all of the BBC's output set in Wales these days?



9 May 2012 (Wednesday) - Shadoxhurst to Coldblow



Admittedly we did have a late night last night. But we didn't wake until 10am. I spent a little while mucking about with on-line surveys, and then tried another little money-spinner that I doubt will come to anything (but you never know). Following on from yesterday's excursion and last Saturday's outing a cousin suggested I put my walking routes on-line. People will then pay me to use the routes I've lovingly created. A good idea in theory. In practice the Internet was running so slowly I got rather fed up with the whole thing and gave up in disgust having only uploaded one walk in half an hour. I then got even more angry by putting the mobile app for it onto my phone.


To calm my nerves we went out delivering catalogues to the masses. Not all of the masses were enamoured with my efforts. As I popped one catalogue through the door I heard a child screaming "Mummy - quick - Mummy - quick". Realising that what goes on in other people's houses is none of my business I left them to it. But Mummy had been alerted. Mummy followed me down the road and handed the catalogue back to me (handling it as if it was a dog turd). Looking down her nose at me, she told me that she didn't buy from the door step. Her loss, really(!)


We got a new tyre for the "er indoors TM" - mobile, collected Fudge, and set off to Shadoxhurst to try out my new app. I rather hoped I could record the route we walked. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but for all that it recorded time and distance, the route wasn't saved to my profile. So when we got home I did it manually. Mind you the walk was quite a good one. Six and a half miles in three and a bit hours. The paths could have been marked better in parts, but thanks to "really skillfull navigation TM" we got round despite serious mud. At one point Fudge was literally belly deep in the stuff. And we had a dodgy five minutes when we encountered a horse on a bridleway. Fudge hadn't seen anything like it before. If ever a dog had a "wtf?" expression, it was Fudge this afternoon.

We'll go back to do this walk mob-handed at some point. But not for a few weeks - there is too much mud at the moment. For all the talk of drought, the swamps need to dry out quite a lot before doing that route again.


And then home. We could have taken Fudge straight home. But he'd been in mud which was over half as deep as he was tall. And he'd been eating horse turds too. We couldn't really take him home in that state. So having got him filthy (for the second time in a week) we took him home for a bath. Fortunately Fudge is the rare dog that likes baths, so scrub passed off relatively uneventfully. The bath was a state afterwards though.


And with Fudge taken home we had a really good bit of scoff for tea. And a bottle of wine as well. One of the advantages of having (pretty much) given up the beer means that the wine takes its effect pretty quickly.





10 May 2012 (Thursday) - Painting, Telly



I had the opportunity to do some overtime this morning. Overtime working from home as well. I leapt at the chance. A couple of hours work, and then I got my paints out. I haven't painted much lately, but having been on four walks through the countryside in the last week I was feeling rather inspired. As always I don't think the photos do justice to the actual paintings. And as always if any of my loyal readers (or anyone at all) wants to give me money for the paintings, feel free to do so.


Being at something of a lose end I thought I'd get some of the stuff I'd recorded onto the Sky-Plus box watched. "Trapped in Space" was a film that I'd recorded a few weeks ago about some people trapped on a crippled space ship. The description of the film looked good; the film itself was watchable, if something of a disappointment.

Something else of a disappointment was the "V" mini-series. It was originally aired in August 1983 when I was at Boys Brigade camp and so missed it. Over the years I'd never got round to watching it. I'd recorded it, and watched it this afternoon whilst doing over three hours worth of ironing. I suppose it was good. But not that good really.

And with "er indoors TM" out and up to no good this evening I got myself ready to go to the astro club's committee meeting; only to find that the committee meeting is next week. Woops(!) So finding myself with little else going on I mucked out the fish tank and had a rummage in the freezer to forage for tea. I found some left-overs and half a tin of baked beans that "My Boy TM" had left over the weekend. I boiled the lot up and scoffed it whilst watching a documentary about Kenneth Williams.

I might not have achieved much today, but if nothing else I got eight hours of drivel off of the Sky Plus box...



11 May 2012 (Friday) - More Painting


I spent an hour job hunting this morning. But only an hour. There's no denying I'm getting quite disillusioned with the whole thing. How does one gain the required experience for the job when a prerequisite is that you have already got that experience?

I got the paints out and did another painting of taking Fudge for a walk. In retrospect I think I should have put more greenery and branches around the edge of the painting to make it look more like the view from inside the woods. I think I'm better with alpine scenes. But it's not bad as paintings go, I suppose. I enjoyed the hour I wasted doing it, and that's the main thing. If people like my paintings, then I am pleased. But I like painting for its own sake. It's something I can do. Sort of.


And (despite the drought order) with the rain having stopped for the first time in over a month I got the lawn mower out and gave the lawn a haircut. As I started, so next door's dog was half way over the fence. The bloke from next door grabbed the dog and apologised. And as I mowed I could hear the sound of the dog screaming, trying to get free, trying to have a go at me in my own garden. Don't get me wrong - the people next door are decent people; but it's now got that I can't set foot in my own garden without their dogs going mad. And me feeling that I'm intruding by being in my own garden.


I did a survey about biscuits, and then I wrote another three thousand words of novel. I've come up with another plot twist which I have fitted into the ongoing story. I hope it works. I think it does, but I would, wouldn't I? I also had a read through. I did this in two sittings as the thing is now forty pages long. And then I had the first serious editing session which took over two hours to do.

Most of the plot is there. It just needs two more major scenes, several minor scenes and a bit of padding out in places. I'm not quite sure how much padding I should do though. How long should a novel be?

And after a decent bit of fish n chips (diet, pah!) we watched "Eragon". A film which has never really appealed to me, but was actually not too shabby (to coin a phrase)...




12 May 2012 (Saturday) - Stuff


I had a bit of a restless night. I have a theory that I don't sleep well when I know I have to get up promptly in the morning. And that could well have been the reason why I was restless last night. Alternatively it could have been my beloved's phone bleeping every time anyone on her contact list so much as looked in the general direction of the internet.

It was eventually with a sense of relief that I crawled out of my pit at 6.15am this morning.

The weekly weigh-in: I got on the scales and couldn't believe my eyes. I am now under fourteen stones in weight. Admittedly only by a quarter of a pound. Thirteen stone, thirteen and three quarter pounds. But it's under fourteen stone. A year ago i would have thought that getting to below seventeen stone would have been an achievement. I honesty can't remember the last time there was so little of me. I must now be at my lightest weight for over twenty years.

Mind you I've now got a target. I have definitely got to lose at least another stone because I'm superstitious and being thirteen stone is unlucky(!)


To work - where I arrived for a 9am start thinking I was on an 8am start. Woops (!) Having been off for a few days, it was with a heavy heart that I went back to work today. On the one hand I don't like working at the weekend when everyone else is off. On the other hand there are distinct advantages to having time off when everyone else is working. The next time I have an extended period of time off work mid-week I should rally the troops in advance.

So whilst I was working today what did I miss? "er indoors TM" went off collecting the catalogues we posted out on Wednesday. The O'Latas went to London to see filth. Others went for ten mile runs; having spent yesterday "hydrating and carbing up" (me- I eat and drink!).

Once I'd done my bit I came home. Via the Chrisery for the second half of the Saturday night film show. I caught the last half of "The Golden Compasses", and got to see "Puss in Boots" - the spin-off from the Shrek movies. It was good - I can thoroughly recommend it....



13 May 2012 (Sunday) - Religious?



As I came home last night I nearly impaled myself on the bicycle of the first fruit of my loins. For some reason he'd parked his trusty velocopede in the hallway. Having survived the experience I took myself off to bed. Just as I was dozing off he came home quietly to claim his bike. I'm sure my loyal readers half way round the world must have heard him quietly collecting his bike in the early hours.


After yesterday's debacle of getting to work an hour earlier than I needed to, I made a point of lying in my pit until 7am this morning, and then over a bit of brekkie I checked to see what the world was doing. Actually I logged on to Facebook - it's much the same thing really. Some people were up and about. Some weren't. I was quite pleased to see that i wasn't the only person up early on a Sunday. And one of my cousins had remarked what a beautiful morning it was. As I drove to work I realized she was right. There is something particularly special about the early morning sunshine. Seeing it is one of the things than makes camping and early morning fishing so special. Mind you, I'd rather have spent another couple of hours in my pit. But today that was not to be.


As I drove to work I had Radio 4 on (as I usually do). Rather than a news program they were broadcasting the Sunday service. I could have turned over. I could have put a CD on. I didn't I listened. And what did I think? A couple of years ago I would have dismissed it all as the superstitious nonsense that I then thought it was. Nowadays.... I'm not so sure. Whilst reason tells me it's all crackpot gibberish, a small voice of doubt is creeping into the back of my mind. Am I getting religion in my old age? I don't think so, but sometimes I wonder....


And I then spent another day in work, looking out of the windows at glorious weather; sulking about the week of rain I've just spent at home...



14 May 2012 (Monday) - Painting



For some reason I wasn't feeling one hundred per cent this morning. Some days are better than others, and this morning wasn't one of the good ones. For all that I was having a grumble it was good to see the most recent fruit of my loin. It seemed odd not seeing her over the weekend.

There is only so much sulking that one can do, and I got my paints out. I've got the offer of running a stall at a craft fair on Sunday, and so I thought I'd put together some smaller paintings that might be more likely to be snapped up by the punters. I quite had the muse on me as I got going, and I painted for over three hours. With eight small paintings done I was quite pleased with the morning's efforts. It's a shame that the photos don't do justice to the paintings. But then photos of paintings rarely do.


"My Boy TM" and Cheryl popped in. They'd been to the dentist, and were squabbling about fishing trips and EuroDisney. And once they'd set off on their way I watched the second half of the documentary about Hitler that I'd started watching last week. And I fell asleep during it. I hate that. I woke up to see it was raining; so I made a quick dash outside to get the laundry in. Bearing in mind how good the weather was this morning, I'd had a vague idea to pootle in the garden for the afternoon. But rain put paid to that idea. Which was a shame. Instead I got literary and wrote another seven thousand words of novel. It's now over thirty thousand words long. I really need to go back to the plan and write paragraphs which are in keeping with the story. Rather than randomly writing what seems a good idea at the time and popping it in.

I then wrote the review below for basketball tickets. It's not an especially loquacious article; perhaps I could have done better. But I only had three days to respond to the advertiser; and having been working for the last two days, I think I did leave checking my emails to the last minute. I really must make a point of checking them more often. I then did some more surveys and applied for more advertising commissions. Something might come of it. One lives in hope.


My mobile rang. There was no caller number displayed. And no one on the other end. I hung up, and the same think happened with the house phone. No called I.D., no one on the other end. I wonder what that was all about? I'm suspecting the worst.... It's odd how a missed phone call can set me worrying....

And then the Folkestonians visited. Which was good. For all that I like having non-working days in the week, they can get lonely at times...



15 May 2012 (Tuesday) - More Stuff



Yesterday I mentioned that I shall be one of the attractions at a craft fair on Sunday. I put a plug for the thing on Facebook, and invited about a hundred people. Of course a lot of people will be busy. I totally understand that. So why do I feel so disappointed when a very small minority of people say that they have prior arrangements?


I was woken by the noisy chatter of a gaggle of whoever-it-was walking up the road at 5am this morning. I wonder if there would be any mileage in our decamping to the back room for sleeping and to use the main room as a dressing room? And so to work. Having been paranoid that yesterday's missed phone calls was something terrible from work, i arrived to find no one had any burning issues or messages; all was the same as it ever was. I wonder who those phone calls were from?


Another phone call. From an agency I'd never heard of. Had I considered a career in the financial world? And then she started wittering on about this and that. I stopped her and told her I knew nothing about finance. But she seemed to think that with the sales experience on my C.V., that wouldn't be a problem. The only fly in the ointment would be that I would have to relocate outside of the UK. I wasn't keen on that. Still, if nothing else it shows my CV is now working.


Other than a minor intestinal emergency in the early afternoon, my working day was relatively uneventful. Which, these days, is probably for the best.

And then home. Via Chippy's for the traditional Tuesday night gathering. Seeing I'd come straight from work, "er indoors TM" had brought up some scoff - Co-op's Chinese chicken curry. If any of my loyal readers are considering having a Co-op's Chinese chicken curry, be very wary. If you like liquorice, then you'll love it. It's like liquorice and rice. For myself it is quite possibly the worst thing I have ever eaten....



16 May 2012 (Wednesday) - Yet More Stuff




I slept well last night for a change. Mind you I was tired yesterday evening. Which was unusual: I rarely feel tired. For all that I fall asleep in front of the telly with infuriating regularity, it's not because I am tired. Or, to be a bit more specific, not because I feel tired. One minute I will be wide awake watching whatever is on the telly; the next minute I am out for the count. But rarely do I ever actually feel tired. I did yesterday; I didn't like it.


I got on the scales this morning. I've lost three quarters of a pound since the last time I weighed myself, which was only a couple of days ago. Thirteen stones, thirteen pounds. And I did some research on the internet. For all that I've shed over a quarter of the mass I had a year ago, I still have quite a way to go. Exactly how much is open to question. The least amount I have to lose is another sixteen pounds, but the consensus of opinion is that I should shift at least another twenty five pounds. And that would only be to get to the top end of the "not overweight" category. So realistically I've got to shift another two stones. Well, I suppose I'm two thirds of the way.


One of the blokes at work was showing off a photo of his daughters: they'd had someone bring in some snakes to their school. The girls looked quite sweet with the royal python. It reminded me of another little girl who was particularly good with serpents in her youth.


Seeing that the latest amazing MMORG was now free, I signed up for Star Trek On Line. I signed up for free, like it said. And the downloading started for free. And then I had a look at what was downloading. Three gigabytes worth. An estimated three complete days of downloading. So I cancelled that idea. Which was a shame... Perhaps I could have a look-see to find out what's been going on in NeverWinter since I was last there...?



17 May 2012 (Thursday) - Hot Dog Sandwich



With a double dose of catalogues to unload onto an unsuspecting public this morning I made an early start. I was just delivering the last one when a voice called out: "What you sticking through my letter box!" Suspecting the worst I put a happy smile on my face and prepared to get an earful of abuse. But to my surprise it was a chap I used to work with. Someone who's even on my Facebook list. He'd seen me delivering to his house, recognised me, and had come out to see how I had been keeping. We spent an enjoyable ten minutes chatting. I'd not seen him for ages. It was good to catch up.


And so home, where I applied for a few jobs. And had a couple of phone calls from agencies. Something might come of these applications, something might not. Time will tell; it usually does.

"My Boy TM" was about; clumping up and down the stairs, as he does. Just as I was getting a tad peckish he hollered up the stairs to me. Did I fancy a hot dog sandwich? He had a tin of eight of the things and didn't want them all. I was quite happy to have lunch made for me, and I sat with him and scoffed. Very nice (!)


As he set off out to work I wrote a letter to the bank about the astro club's account; a year after we told them about the change of address for bank statements they are still sending the statements to the wrong address. I then set myself in front of the telly with a plan to muck about doing on-line surveys on my lap-top for the afternoon. I didn't get many done - I had quite a few phone calls from employment agencies with possible jobs for me. Some seemed quite appealing. Some impractical. We shall see.


This evening I had planned to get the cameras out and have a go at photographing the deer at Kings Wood. But I cancelled that idea in favour of a better offer from the Heaths Countryside Corridor (a bunch we know through the arky-ologee club) inviting us to a bat and newt evening.

And then I remembered it was astro club committee this evening. Oh well - so much for making plans.

Mind you, although a committee meeting sounds much duller, it wasn't. A chance to meet up with a gaggle of people who have become some of my staunchest friends is always a good thing.

And I had a letter I needed countersigning by the committee bods too...



18 May 2012 (Friday) - The News



The morning's news made me think. The government is proposing introducing lessons in how to be a good parent to prospective parents; after all (as the Prime Minister says) driving lessons are a must, so why not parenting lessons. I must admit that being faced with a baby was a daunting prospect: some help and advice would have been welcomed. But then the newsreader when on to say that the idea of parenting classes was to improve the general unruliness and social behaviour of the youth of today. And that's when I got a bit cross.

The best parent in the world does not have face to face contact with their child for most of the child's average day. The parent will spend most of that time at work, or looking for work whilst the child is at school. Surely (if the object of the exercise is to improve the social skills of the kiddies) some onus needs to be placed on the schools and the teachers. I can remember many years of frustrations from teachers telling me what bad brats I had engendered; and telling me a week or so after whatever crimes had been committed, and with no inclination to inflict any discipline of their own.


Meanwhile our old friend science has invented a new fruit. It's actual name is T109, but seeing how that is rather a dull name, the pundits have dubbed it the "papple" because it's (apparently) a cross between a pear and an apple.


My mobile rang - the number was 01772643080. When I answered the person on the other end hung up. This has happened quite a bit lately. I Googled the number and found that I'm not alone in getting these nuisance calls, and that the number has been reported to OFCOM, for all the good that would seem to have done.


And in closing today spare a thought for Her Majesty. Who has found herself in a no-win position. The Foreign Office had sent out invites to all the world's assorted monarchs inviting them to a beano at Buck House. Today they all showed up for the bunfight, and the country's media has decided to go through the list and decide which ones are acceptable, and which ones should be told to get knotted because of various misdemeanours they may or may not have committed.

It strikes me that if you're going to get all the world's royalty together, you get the lot, or you don't bother. Picking and choosing will only give offence. And who exactly should get to do the choosing anyway?



19 May 2012 (Saturday) - Family Barbie



Having fallen asleep in front of the telly last night I woke at 1.30am and took myself off to bed. A bit of a lie-in, and then a quick on-line survey over brekkie. Lacey came to visit, and showed us her skipping skills, and told us all about Rainbows. She's got a badge already. And she told us that after Rainbows is Brownies, and then Cubs(!) I wonder if Brown Owl knows that's how Brownies and Cubs are seen by the littluns these days?


Once littlun had set off to wherever it was she was going (apparently it involved a Panda dressed as a person) we went out to collect the catalogues I had delivered on Thursday. Quite a good return rate, really. And three orders as well. Can't be bad.

Home; where I had a small apple turnover and a cup of coffee for lunch. In days gone by I wouldn't have thought anything about having had two of those turnovers as well as some lunch. But when one is calorie counting, one can scare one's self. And talking of calorie counting, the morning's weigh in showed another pound gone since last week. Weight loss has definitely slowed, but is progressing. Which (I suppose) is some small consolation for being permanently hungry.


The Folkestonians arrived, and once they'd done with the hair straighteners we went round to the Fudgery for the rest of the family. And with a carfull we made off to my brother's house for a family barbecue. A great time was had by all; really should do the family thing more often. I got to be father and son, husband and brother, uncle and cousin. And the first fruit of my loin scored with a biddy fifty years his senior. There's even one or two photos of the day on-line as well (if you know where to look)

And I've got guts ache now......



20 May 2012 (Sunday) - Craft Fair



I concluded yesterday's blog entry with the observation that I had guts ache. The guts ache continued on through the night. One of my many problems is that I don't realise I've eaten enough until half an hour after I've eaten enough. By which time I've already gone on to shovel far too much food down my gullet. I spent the night and much of the morning with a rumbling tum.


Up far earlier than would be usual for a Sunday. Today was one of those days for which we had multiple offers; but couldn't do them all. We turned down the kite flying at Leeds Castle. Reluctantly; because last year's kite flying at Leeds Castle was really good. But we woke to a grey, damp morning. A wet field might not have been the best option today.


Instead we went to the craft fair at Furley Park school to raise money for the Park Farm scouts. I say " to raise money for the Park Farm scouts"; we handed over our table fee, and anything we made we then pocketed. "Badger-Original-Landscapes (bespoke-artwork)" staged it's first stall, alongside Lisa's engraved glasses and some frankly amazing candles. There was also a stall selling hand and body lotions, three other stalls all selling incredibly cheap jewellery, tea, coffee, raffle, and a small boot fair outside. I must admit that I had a little giggle when a family were perusing my paintings, and on seeing the purple circular night scene (with pine tree in snow), they all commented that this was the painting that Grandma had. I didn't have the heart to tell them that it wasn't. But I did wonder what it was that Grandma did have.


There's no denying that I didn't get rich today. But I did sell some paintings; and more than covered my expenses for the day.

From a purely mercenary point of view the fÍte had the same problem that all scouting fund-raising events have: no passing trade. The only people there were people who had been specifically invited. And so (again from a purely mercenary point of view) it would have been the same old people putting their hands in their pockets.

I'd certainly go and run a stall there again. But (having got the taste for running a stall) I wonder if I might find a summer fayre over the next few months. Maybe one of the outlying villages, or Challock Goose Fayre. They would have a much higher turn-out of punters onto whom I could unload more paintings.


And so home where we wasted the rest of the afternoon. Firstly by falling asleep for an hour, and then in having a minor tidy-up. Dull, so dull.



21 May 2012 (Monday) - Craft Fairs ?



I spend quite a bit of time in my living room at the moment. At various odd hours. I seem to spend a lot of that time listening to next door alternatively spending hours playing dull scales on their piano, or hammering away on their DIY projects. I'm not complaining; because I dare not.

I would just make the observation that it's odd that they have no problem in playing the piano loudly for hours on end. And it is fine for them to spend hours banging, hammering and drilling. But they put a letter of complaint through our letterbox because we tapped the skirting board too loudly when we were sweeping up.


I turned on the pond's filtration system this morning after the winter's hibernation. Ideally it would have gone on some time ago, but it's been too cold this year; and it's got to the point where I feel I can't leave it much longer. Mind you, with the overgrowth of shrubbery from one side of the garden, and dogs continually barking on the other, the pond isn't the peaceful place it once was. I've half a mind to drain it, take the fish to a lake I know at Dering Farm and be done with it.

Perhaps I should stop being so negative....


To work, via the farm shop for super-cheap (and high quality) apples, and then I stopped off at Dunelm Mill to pick up some small canvases. If I'm going to make a go of craft fairs (and I think I'd like to), then I can't help but feel that small canvases is the way forward. If someone wants a big painting then I've got a web site and word of mouth to drum up trade. But it's going to be a rare punter who's got more than a fiver in petty cash to squander. yesterday I noticed that he stalls selling things were stall selling cheap things. And there's a clear lower limit for the prices of my paintings if I intend not to just give them away.

So I'm going to stock up on the sort of thing that people will be able to buy with the cash that's in their pockets and tout those at craft fairs. Small, colourful ones. Ideal gifts for Grandma or for an aunt. I'll still do bigger paintings, but they will be more on a commission basis. Or that's the plan today. I expect the plan will change. It usually does.



22 May 2012 (Tuesday) - Painting, Diary....



I did my usual thing of sleeping for a few hours then waking. I then dozed fitfully for a bit. And gave up trying to sleep. It was really weird: my hair was dripping wet where my head was sweating, but my feet were like blocks of ice. And try as I might, I could not sort out my temperature. So I gave up and leapt into action; knowing full well I would nod off in front of the telly later.


Last week I mentioned that I'd written a letter to the bank. I popped that into the bank today, and whilst in town I got the makings of some beer for the kite festival in Brighton. I forgot to get the sugar though. Woops. And then I went round to the MacArthur-Glen outlet centre. People travel for miles to go to this shopping centre. I can see the thing from my house and go there twice a year at most. But today I went there: to The Works. Over the last few days I mentioned that I'm going to make up a load of small paintings to trot out at craft fairs. The first step in doing this is getting the small canvases and easels. I did my research, and buying them over the counter from The Works was the cheapest option. And was less than half the price that the same thing was going for on eBay. Which is a sign of the times. Once eBay was the place to get a bargain. I suppose there still are bargains there; but it's been my experience lately that any bargains on eBay aren't as easy to find as once they were.


Home again. I had planned to paint today, but on getting home I wasn't feeling at all artistic; so instead I got the lawnmower out and had a go round the garden. Whilst pegging the washing out the washing line snapped. It was just as well that "er indoors TM" had bought a replacement washing line the other day. And I fed the fish. Despite the high death rate over the winter there are still at least half a dozen sizeable fish in the pond. The pond looks rather mucky; the filter still has quite a lot of work to do.


Over lunch I did a couple of on-line surveys. It took half an hour and raked in £1.80. Some might say it was a waste of time. I did it whilst watching a film, and it's (almost) the price of two small canvases that I won't have to shell out for.

Talking of which, by early afternoon the muse was on me, so I got the paints out. I wish I hadn't. Some days my paintings are quite good (he said in all modesty!). Other days they are frankly dreadful. Today's muse wasn't one of my better ones. I wish I could tell one muse from the other.


I spent a little time on my diary. Flushed with success after yesterday's craft fair I thought I might like to do more. I've provisionally booked myself in for five fairs over the next few months. I'm looking on it as a way of getting commercial experience onto my C.V., and a way of paying for more paints. I'm getting quite low on some of the colours.

And there are four camping weekends already booked, birthday parties, weddings and other events already in the diary. To say nothing of my working all weekend every so often, and having some 10pm finishes (which has put paid to my going to the next card school).

However I also want to do more walks and cycle rides over the summer. Getting myself organised for the next few months was something that needed doing. I've got one walk organised today, if nothing else. As always, events are on the diary which is accessible from the above link. Why not click and see what you might like to join in with.

And if anyone feels that this might be a good way to suss out when we aren't in and fancies a bit of housebreaking; feel free. I pity anyone disturbing the first fruit of my loin when he thinks he's got the house to himself...



23 May 2012 (Wednesday) - Beamed up



I did a couple of on-line surveys over brekkie. And got annoyed with them. I don't mind being screened out if I don't fit the profile they are looking for. But I was over half way through one when they decided that I didn't fit their profile. I think that's a bit cheeky.


Earlier in the week I found small canvases on eBay. They weren't cheap, and the postage was extortionate. I sent the seller a message to ask if they would do cheaper postage on a job lot. And in the meantime I got the same thing at less than half price from a shop not ten minutes walk from my house.

This morning's haul of emails had one requesting payment for a job lot of canvases from this same eBay seller. I emailed back to ask what it was all about: I'd just asked about postage costs. I'd not bought anything from her. When I checked my emails a bit later I saw I had a reply. She thought she'd save time by going to the shop, buying a job lot of small canvases, bagging them up and sending me the bill.

She was rather miffed that I didn't actually want to buy her overpriced canvases; apparently she'd gone out of her way to get the canvases for me. Presumably to the same shop that I went to yesterday. Was I being unreasonable? I don't think so. In any case if she thinks I'm paying her twice the price charged in high street shops she can get stuffed.


Talking of arty stuff I see art has hit the news. A world-renown painting has been defaced and the vandals are in custody. They've apparently defaced the artwork for political reasons. Personally I think that the fact that the painting features someone waving their willy about is reason enough to take a moral stand.


Meanwhile the people who brought us (or NASA) Space-X have taken the ashes of James "Beam me up Scotty" Doohan into orbit. Bearing in mind that the launch was on a commercial basis, I can't help but wonder how much this rather quixotic gesture has cost. And who's stumping up the bill. And for all that this is actually rather amazing, no one seems to have realised that Scotty has been dead for these last seven years. Do people keep the ashes of their loved ones kicking about on the off-chance of hoiking them into orbit....?




24 May 2012 (Thursday) - Diet... What Diet?



It never occurs to me (until it's too late) that other people might be free mid-week too. I'd found that the Bat was at a loose end today, and he treated me to breakfast. A breakfast which had more calories than my usual breakfast and lunch combined. But I'm not complaining; from time to time you can't beat a good fry-up. And we walked off some of those calories delivering catalogues to the masses. It's amazing how little time it takes to dish out the catalogues: we unloaded over seventy today in less than half an hour.


Back home, where we sat by the pond for a few minutes. the filter is doing it's thing; there's at least ten fish in there. And then I fixed the washing line and got Dave the heron back into position. Easy enough jobs to do; made easier with a helping hand. And then on to Kent Wool Growers to look at plumbing attachments for the upcoming camping trip. I wasn't entirely sure what we were looking for, so i just nodded sagely and agreed.


We then moseyed round to Cineworld. I'd not been to the cinema for ages. We watched Dark Shadows - the latest Johnny Depp movie. I quite liked it. Mind you it was a Tim Burton film, and I seem to like most of the stuff that he directs. As we left the cinema my phone rang. "er indoors TM" had lost her purse. We went home and turned the house upside down trying to find it. And then my phone rang again. She'd had it all along. Oh how we laughed (!)


As the Bat set off on his way I sat down and had a read-through of the novel I'm writing. Oh, that took some doing. It's now thirty five thousand words long, which is almost fifty pages of A4. Reading through, changing some of the words and phrases and correcting spelling mistakes and typos took me four hours. I've now got four more major scenes to write (which will probably bring it up to forty thousand words) at which point I shall dragoon some proof-readers into action.


And then fish and chips for tea, So much for the diet today....



25 May 2012 (Friday) - This n That



Regular readers of this drivel may well have realised that on most days I try to do something constructive with my time.(There's no denying that I get bored easily.) Yesterday was a good day. I did quite a lot of things with my time. And on reflection I then spent much of today sulking that I didn't do more with it. The first fruit of my loin phoned me at 6.30pm last night asking if I fancied going round to see their fire pit. As time was pushing on I turned his offer down. I wish I hadn't now. I wish I'd gone round there last night.


I also sulked about an email I had this morning which was offering me a job I could easily do: telephone support for a product I know well. Unfortunately the job would be based on the other side of the M25, making the whole thing somewhat impractical. Still, if nothing else it shows that the agencies are keeping me in mind for when things do come up.

I sulked about another email I received as well. Earlier in the week I mentioned that I'd like to run more stalls at fetes where I might sell paintings. I got a reply to one of my enquiries today. I am very welcome to go to a local scout's fete over the summer. Once I've paid them a set price for running a stall, anything else I take is clear profit. This sounds good in theory, but they want to charge me a fee of twenty five quid. That strikes me as being a bit steep.


Some of my recent blog entries have attracted comments. The entry I made on 2 May has received the following comment: "This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am actually pleassant to read everthing at single place. my webpage - check this on..." whilst the entry I made on 6 May received this: "This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am actually pleassant to read everthing at single place. my webpage - check this on...."

I've removed the websites they were advertising. What are these people thinking of? Let's be clear on this point: if anyone is going to advertise here, it's only going to happen if I get a cut of the profit (!)


And my piss boiled when I read the news. A young woman has become so fat that part of her house had to be dismantled in order for her to be taken to hospital. This woman has apparently been on national radio claiming that the NHS should fund her attempts to lose weight. I funded my own weight loss. It's quite simple. You stop eating the cakes. If this person had got too fat to be able to leave the house, then weight loss is easy. Whoever is bringing in the cakes should stop doing so. There is no need for expensive crackpot diets. And certainly no need for them if my taxes are paying for them....



26 May 2012 (Saturday) - Trannie and Sherlock



The weekly weigh-in. No weight loss this week. Hardly surprising really. I had a choccy bar on Wednesday, a fry up and Ben & Jerry's ice cream on Thursday and fish and chips in the week too. For weight loss to happen, intake has to be less than requirement. Still, not feeling constantly hungry made for a nice change for a while.

And with that thought in mind we set off to the Gorge for a full English breakfast. Eight of us met up, and once we'd each scoffed over a thousand calories of brekkie we went round to Chippy's house. "Trannie" the Ford Transit was full of stuff to be unloaded, so we got busy.


"Trannie" was soon emptied, and so we set off to Kennington to fill it again. That didn't take long; nor did emptying it. Getting stuff into the house was a different matter. The arm chair wouldn't fit through the door. No matter how we tried it wouldn't go. So we took the door off of it's hinges. That made all the difference. The sofa-bed was a different matter. It went through the front door, but wouldn't go into through the living room door. And when we tried to get vigorous with it, the bed bit popped open and the whole thing was firmly wedged in the hallway for half an hour. Oh how we laughed. Eventually we prised the sofa-bed out of the house, and in sheer desperation we thought we'd try to get it in through the window. It went straight in, and was in place in less than a minute.


Back to Kennington for loads more furniture, and then after a quick buffet (very nice!) we made one last run with "Trannie"; this time to empty a garage. We played heading the garage door a few times, and then having filled Chip's house full to overflowing with furniture, boxes and stuff we all left them to the unpacking.


Saturday is now catalogue collection day. On Thursday we dished out catalogues; this afternoon we fetched them back. And my piss boiled. As I went up to one of the houses I saw they hadn't left the catalogue out. I was about to pop a "we'll call back" note though the door when a little old lady came to the door. I asked if she had the catalogue; as she handed it over she apologised that she'd not had time to go through it; she'd just got back from hospital. She'd been there for several days having had treatment for her cancer. She chattered on with me for some time about her illness. It was quite clear to me that she had no one else to talk to about her cancer. What kind of world have we created when cancer patients have no one closer than the door-to-door delivery man to talk with about their illness?


To Tesco for some shopping, and then home where I had a Belgian bun for tea. (Four hundred calories.) And then we went out. We had two invites for Euro-vision song contest parties, but this year I really didn't fancy it. I had the option of a Monty-Python-a-thon as well. But we turned down all offers in favour of watching the two recent Sherlock Holmes movies.

I think we made the wrong choice. For all that the movies were (relatively) entertaining, I don't know why they were called "Sherlock Holmes" movies. They had as much in common with Doyle's Holmes as they did with Star Trek or Coronation Street. I liked the idea of seeing Tower Bridge being built, but on reflection I think I'd rather have watched Monty Python...



27 May 2012 (Sunday) - Back to Bethersden



A lie-in would have been nice. But "My Boy TM" started getting his fishing gear at 6am. I'm reliably informed he did it quietly. But once he'd spent half an hour cluttering about I couldn't get back to sleep. So I got up and had a look on the Internet. I couldn't believe social networking this morning: was I really the only person who didn't watch the Euro-vision Song Contest last night? It's exactly the same thing every year, and it was looking tired ten years ago. And everyone still tunes in to it. What's the attraction?


I got the washing out on to the new washing line I put up the other day, and we set off to Bethersden for a walk. I'd originally invited forty people along, but what with prior arrangements, moving houses, bereavements, bad backs, exams, girlfriends announcing they would never walk again in their lives, forgetting to invite people, still being drunk from last night, hay fever and one thing and another there was quite a high drop-out rate. But eight of us and a dog met up at Bethersden church and set off. This was a walk we did at the beginning of the month and it was very wet underfoot then. Today the ground had really dried out. We had a really good wander. Through the airstrip, past the reindeer and wallabies, and through the fields and woods back to where we'd left the cars. Four and a bit miles; two and a bit hours. A lovely way to spend a day. And having left the cars by the pub we had a crafty pint with our pic-nic before going back home again.


A quick round-up of the catalogues we didn't get yesterday, and then home. Then I got cross. Having finally got some batteries into my USB binoculars/camera today. I took loads of close-up photos with it, and got home to find that it's not recognised by Windows 7. I spent quite a bit of time downloading drivers and mucking about; all to no avail. If anyone has a PC that runs on Windows XP that I can dump to, I would be grateful....



28 May 2012 (Monday) - A Dull Day



I had a brown-trousers moment this morning: whilst driving along the A28 I found myself faced with a car coming head on at me. For no adequately explained reason the bloke was driving on entirely the wrong side of the road. He eventually noticed me, and drove off to where he should have been. But for a moment it was all rather nerve-wracking.


Meanwhile just down the road from where I live science is trying to re-introduce the short haired bumble bee. Once native to the Romney Marsh, it's been extinct there for twenty odd years. Today fifty queens got released (oo-er!) to see if they can make a go of it. I wish them well- and I might just see them if and when we do the sound mirrors in the autumn. I say "if" because the only dates I can find on the Internet clash with the kite festival at Teston, and I'd like to do that festival one last time before it packs up.


And talking of Romney Marsh, here's a chilling thought. Apropos of nothing I was smurfing about on-line and I found this article about cyber-warfare which claimed that the lap-top I'm writing this blog entry on has got more anti-virus capability that the average power station. Let's just hope that the power station in Dungeness has more protection than average.


It's rather obvious that today was on the dull side. So having had a really good weekend I spent a little while trying to see that next weekend will be as good. I started off by trying to firm up the arrangements for next Saturday's air show in Folkestone. I have a plan that we might park up near the Admiralty and walk down and set up on the beach by the coastal park. That way the littluns can play on the swings, the bigguns will have a good view of the planes, and given decent weather I can have a swim in the sea. I've not done that for years. If any of my loyal readers are up for this, then the details are on the internet.



29 May 2012 (Tuesday) - More Dull



I spent a little while this morning applying for jobs. There were one or two that I felt I could do. But realistically I'm not going to get my hopes up. I'm more and more coming to the conclusion that job hunting is something that I shouldn't do - it is just winding me up.


The most recent fruit of my loin was home this morning together with Sid. As I left she asked if there was anything about the house she might do. I expect she was just being polite to her old Dad, but I took the opportunity to give her an epic task list to be getting on with. That'll teach her to ask me if jobs need doing (!)


And so to work. Being on a late start meant I left two hours later than usual. Those two hours make all the difference between clear roads and being stuck in traffic. And between an empty car park and a full one.

And coming home two hours later than usual makes a lot of difference to the journey as well. The roads are about as busy, but the listening on the radio is terrible. There was a choice between some dribble on Radio 4 about heaven only knows what, or the organist who was failing to entertain the listeners on Radio 2. I was almost (but not quite) at the point of tuning into Sophocles who was having a tragedy on Radio 3 (bless him!). But there was no way that I was going to pretend that I am still hip enough to be one of the cool types who listen to Radio 1.

I suppose there are other radio stations than those run by the BBC. Perhaps I might give them a try before dismissing them out of hand... ?

Perhaps I should have watched what was on the telly. And before much longer that will quite possibly be an option when driving. Successful trials of self-driving cars have just been concluded in which three cars and a lorry all effectively drove themselves for two hundred kilometres. Reaching speeds of fifty miles per hour, they were at times within only six metres of other cars. I'm impressed. I wonder how long it will be before this sort of thing becomes standard.


In the meantime, science has been morally lax. Apparently whilst those of a latin temperament leer at women's behinds, those of anglo-saxon descent are more interested in the chesticles. Personally I can't help but feel that science should have a cold shower.



30 May 2012 (Wednesday) - Thorpe Park



Having twice in the last week actually been woken by my alarm, insomnia struck again, and I once again lay awake fretting about things outside my control. The ageing hippy counsellor woman I went to see a few months ago advised me not to do that. I wish it were that simple.


But I needed to be up promptly today. "My Boy TM" had acquired a two-for-one ticket to Thorpe Park, and absolutely no one wanted to go with him. With nothing on the itinerary for today, and fed up with dull days, I was up for it. I didn't mind having Father's Day a little bit early.

We made good time to Thorpe Park, and only queued for twenty minutes to actually get into the place. We soon found "Colossus" - a roller coaster with ten loop-the-loops, and after thirty five minutes queueing we went on it. It was surprisingly good fun.

The "Saw" roller-coaster was a different kettle of fish. Three quarters of an hour queueing for one minute of sheer terror. I quite liked it, even if first fruit did squeal like a girl. As did most everyone else. Me - I was too terrified to make any noises whatsoever. As we got off a voice announced "Congratulations - you are still alive", which I felt was rather appropriate. The next ride, "the Slammer," was a new one, and had no queues. You sat in your seats, got lifted twenty yards into the air, and did three loop-the-loops forwards, and then three backwards. I quite liked that one.

"Detonator" was a ride that I did the last time I went to Thorpe Park. You sit in your seat, get taken about fifty metres straight up, and then get dropped straight down.

"Nemesis" was next - another roller-coaster, but rather than sitting in a train, you sat suspended from the track.


At this point we adjourned for an ice cream for lunch, and then went on a rather sedate boat ride to calm our nerves. And then after half an hour's queueing went on "the Swarm;" which was another suspended roller-coaster. I was then challenged the a helter-skelter boat race ride which I lost (shenanigans!), and seeing the queues had subsided we had a last go on "Nemesis" and "Colossus". I would like to have stayed longer, but the time was pushing on, and a combination of a hot day and being hurled about at serious G-force had made me feel a bit icky. Either that or my continually clouting my head on the "Colossus" ride. And having seen one pool of vom being cleaned up we didn't want to make more work for the staff, so we decided to call it a day.


I'd not been to Thorpe Park for ten years. It was a really good day out, and a wonderful Father's Day present. I'd thoroughly recommend it... but for the price. Even with the discount it was still over twenty quid per person just to get in. By the time you've added on the cost of getting there and back and bought an ice cream it's an expensive day. If only it were closer to home and a bit cheaper. Which got me thinking....

Take the "Colossus" ride. To load it with thirty people, run it and unload it takes (at most) three minutes. Each of those people has paid (at least) twenty quid each. The park is open for seven hours a day, and the roller-coaster is going pretty much non stop all that time. So in one day the park brings in eighty four thousand quid from that ride alone. Bearing in mind that as the season goes on the queues grow and you can't do all the rides in one day (there's quite a few), and that people pay good money for fast track tickets, and they want four quid just to use the car park (to say nothing of the prices they charge at the various stalls), is it unreasonable to think that they take over a hundred thousand pounds per day?

Perhaps I'm wrong?


Once home we scoffed a quick tea, and then went round to the arky-ologee club. I was frankly ashamed to be part of it tonight. The chair-lady gave her opening address; the speaker gave a surprisingly good talk on tithe maps and tracing ancestry, and over half the attendees just rudely talked through the lot. This seems to be standard practice at arky-ologee club these days; it's a shame; the club has potential; but won't realise it if it carries on like this....



31 May 2012 (Thursday) - Busy, Busy, Busy...



I hurt; my shoulders are bruised. I expect that this is probably from having been hurled about upside-down yesterday. I've also lost four pounds in weight since yesterday morning. Not eating much and loads of adrenaline must have done that. It's amazing how my weight varies. I take my "official weight" to be that on a Saturday morning, but I weigh on a daily basis; sometimes at different times. It's amazing how I can sometimes put on weight overnight.


After a quick bit of brekkie I set off to distribute catalogues to the masses. Or actually not the masses this time. Today I tried my luck with the elite. I went to what I had always thought to be one of the posher parts of town to find it was a right mess. It was dustbin day, and for every bag that went into the dustbin lorry, one had been scattered over the roads. Our bin men are really good; why was it such a mess over in the posh area?


With only six weeks until Brighton kite festival I got five gallons of beer started in readiness. In years gone by I have spent over eighty quid on beer for that festival. This year (if all goes to plan) I will have spent a tenner. Much more sensible (!) I then ironed shirts. Twelve of them: it took a little while to do.

Whilst I was ironing "My Boy TM" came visiting with part of his entourage. He needed to do something on-line, and Dad's computer is always good for that. And after he'd computed we all went up the school. Littlun's school was staging a cake sale in honour of the jubilee. It was good to be asked along; and it was odd to go back to Victoria Road primary school. I've not been there since "Daddies Little Angel TM" knocked the place on the head some twelve years ago. Walking about the place brought back some memories, and made me wonder if being a teaching assistant mightn't be a bad career move. I might do some research....


And then home; into the garden where I mowed the lawn. It's amazing how fast that thing grows. And then I turned on my PC and checked emails. One of which was one which had reviewed my C.V. Apparently my C.V. needs to list my achievements; I was told that it reads more like a job description. So I again re-vamped it and I then spent a little while applying for jobs. I got a call back from one of the agencies; something might come of it; but I'm not getting my hopes up. I then did some on-line surveys. If any of my loyal readers would like to do on-line surveys do let me know. I get a bung for everyone I recommend (!)

I had planned to get my paints out and do some small canvases, but by the time I'd finished mucking about on-line it was nearly 7pm. So I didn't.


And then for tea. What with late finishes, bowling, one thing and another, we rarely eat together these days. So this evening it was good to open a bottle of plonk over tea. I expect I shall have a headache in the morning. One of the problems of having considerably reduced my body mass over these last few months is that my alcohol tolerance isn't what it once was....