1 May 2017 (Monday) - Feeding My Face
I slept rather well last night, probably not surprising really. I heaved myself up and waddled downstairs where I stood on the scales – I was three pounds down on last week. Not good, but not bad either.
I sparked up my lap-top and peered into the Internet. I had a rather impressively epic email about the myriad failings of one of my Wherigos (a GPS-based game); apparently someone had had a go at one of them yesterday and got stuck in the game. This person was very insistent that they had done a few before and they knew what they were doing and the fault was in the programming I had written.
The thing had worked fine in several trial runs, and nearly forty other people had played the game without problem. I was just about to email them to blather platitudes when they sent another message. All smiles. They had gone back this morning, rebooted the SmartPhone on which they played the Wherigo and all worked fine. Bearing in mind the final location of that Wherigo is just up the road from me I had half a mind to wander up the road and say “Hello”. In all honesty had I not been aching so much (after yesterday’s jaunt) I probably would have gone up with the dogs.
I then spent a little while correcting co-ordinates (it’s a geo-thing) and we then set off to Folkestone. Maria had invited us down for brekkie, and we put the world to rights for a couple of hours over a rather good full Spanish breakfast.
Pausing only briefly to get the makings of dinner from Morrisons we came home and tidied the house in readiness for the tribe to descend. We had a plan to have a family barbecue today, but what with the weather being iffy we decided to have a sit-down dinner instead.
It passed off rather well…
I did very little other than eat today…
2 May 2017 (Tuesday) – Gardening
I was up rather later than usual today, but today was a rostered day off. I sparked up my lap-top and peered into the Internet. With nothing of note in cyberspace and a good weather forecast I messaged "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" to see if Sam fancied helping fix the broken fence post. There was no reply, so I made a start and hoped I’d get a reply later. Last Friday I mentioned that nice-next-door had taken their shed down, and that one of the fence posts was only standing because it had been wedged between that shed and the pot of my monkey-puzzle tree. With little else to do and supposedly good weather I thought I’d sort the fence (again).
I managed to move the monkey-puzzle tree’s pot and got the fence panels down, the membranes and gravel pulled back, and I started digging. Whoever had put the old fence post in had embedded it in concrete. Which is all very well until the post rots. When that happens you have little choice but to dig the concrete out. I’d got quite a bit of the concrete exposed when Sam arrived. He got stuck in and I suddenly realised we were missing a vital ingredient for replacing the fence post. We hadn’t actually got a replacement fence post.
I popped to B&Q.
I got rather annoyed in B&Q; I was using the self-service till when some interfering busybody member of staff shoved me out of the way and did all the self-service till stuff for me (as though I was thick). Had I not been in something of a rush I would have told her to stick it, and gone elsewhere. But time was pushing.
I came home to find Sam had got the concrete core out on his own. I was impressed. Mind you those things are heavy; that’s one of the reasons I need an assistant. It didn’t take long to get the new post in place and one of the panels in with it. We left the other panel out for a bit. Nice-next-door are doing their garden too and they said that they don’t want their shingle. They said I could have it, so I used the hole in the fence as a gate and loaded up every spare bucket I had with their shingle whilst Sam compressed the soil round the new fence post (and retrieved Treacle from nice-next-door’s garden a few times too).
With the last fence panel back in place Sam had to get away. I then sorted out the gravel and membranes around the new post and thought it might be lunch time. I got myself a sandwich and slept through an episode of “BattleStar Galactica”.
I then had a look at the shingle I’d liberated from nice-next-door. I thought about just bunging it round the bare patches near the pond, but there was some soil in with it. The shingle needed to be washed.
Have you ever washed shingle?
I can only describe the mess I made as akin to the mess the fruits of my loin made twenty-five years ago when playing mud pies. I got three small bucketfuls of stones washed then realised where I had gone wrong. I needed to be using a large flower pot (with holes in the bottom) and the pressure washer.
I looked at the pressure washer and thought “sod that”, got the washing in, and took the dogs for a walk round the park.
As we walked we saw an unfortunate lad who looked just like “Mr Logic” from Viz magazine, and we met Bernie. I’d not seen him for ages; it was good to have a chat as we walked round the park together.
Just as Bernie and I parted and went our different ways so the rain started. I was rather wet by the time I got home.
I took the rain to be divine intervention; a sign from on-high not to continue with the gardening. So instead I had a look at the household accounts. I wouldn’t say I was skint, but I could do with making a few economies. I’m currently spending thirty-eight quid a month on Sky TV. Apart from “Game of Thrones” I wonder what else I would miss with if I replace the SkyPlus box with a Freeview box and an Amazon Firestick.
"er indoors TM" took the puppy to puppy class, and I went to the Tuesday gathering of the clans. We started off playing with Chris’s new wi-fi-enabled doorbell, then tried to confuse the Amazon Alexa before watching “Gotham”.
Bernie joined us this evening. It was just like old times…
3 May 2017 (Wednesday) - Bit of a Whinge
After a few days of good sleep I set an alarm for this morning, and found myself wide awake from 3am onward. Mind you I’ve had a rather good little holiday over these last few days. Dinner with mummy, gardening, a bittersweet reunion, the Kent Mega, a sixteen-mile walk, breakfast with friends, dinner with family, and catching up with old friends.
Today was back to the routine; get up early,, shave, brekkie whilst watching telly, and then I had my morning look into Facebook. Not much had changed really, but I saw that the astro club had appointed a new secretary to replace me. I wish her well; let’s hope she doesn’t have the same degree of nastiness and vituperation thrown at her that effectively forced me out of the role.
I also saw that the chap on night shift where I used to work had posted the little cartoon above (about being on the night shift). It was a harmless little joke; exactly the sort of thing that got me a formal disciplinary warning five years ago about bringing the hospital into disrepute when I posted something along the same lines. It is odd how people working there could post all sorts of things on social media but I got an arse kicking over something so utterly innocent and trivial. Victimisation?
I also had an email from Emmanuella Clement whose liver has (apparently) been poisoned by her step-mother in an attempt to cheat her out of her inheritance. As scam emails go it was rather pathetic really. I can’t see how anyone aged five or over would have been taken in by it.
I set off for work; it was raining. I took a little detour to the petrol station on the ring road. I went there a few weeks ago and wasn’t impressed. Today when I went to pay for my petrol the woman behind the counter made no secret of the fact that I was interrupting the call she was making on her mobile phone.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about the cost of Brexit. When the remain and leave camps were canvassing votes for the referendum as to whether or not we should stay in the EU the leave camp were crystal clear that leaving the EU would save the UK money. Now it is apparent that leaving the EU will cost the UK dearly. Figures of up to one hundred billion euros are being bandied about.
Had I bought Brexit in a shop I’d be taking it back.
I got to work and had a rather good day. And with my bit done I made good time home, and together with "er indoors TM" we took the hounds for a stroll up to the post office where I collected a parcel. Last week I ordered a couple of pumps to replace the broken ones in the garden’s water features. I’ve now got them. Between repairing those water features, washing gravel and painting the fences I have quite a bit of work to do in the garden. Oh well, it will keep me out of mischief.
On the way home we saw an egret. There’s several of those round Ashford.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and with that scoffed I then found myself falling asleep. If only I had slept better last night…
4 May 2017 (Thursday) - Local Elections
Yesterday the puppy woke me at 3am; it was slightly earlier this morning when her fidgeting about disturbed me. I tried to nod off again, but I saw every quarter of the hour between 2am and 6am.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Dad’s Army” then had my morning dose of Internet. Not that much was going on in Facebook really, but overnight I’d had a few job offers from employment agencies wondering if I fancied testing blood in Manchester and/or Northampton. It struck me as ironic that when I was seriously job-hunting I heard nothing from this agency, but now I am settled they send me loads of job offers. Mind you I did tell them I didn’t want to relocate and still they send me details about impractical opportunities.
LinkedIn again was trying to chum me up with people I’ve never met and with whom I have absolutely nothing in common, and “Tena Lady” wondered if I’d like to sample their incontinence pads(!)
Pausing only briefly to trip over the rubbish "er indoors TM" had littered up the stairs (and fall down three of them) I set off to work. I drove to work through rather heavy rain. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how dry it was, and how hose pipe bans will be coming into force soon.
There was also a lot of time given to the upcoming French election. A *lot* of air time was spent replaying speeches the leading candidates had made. What a waste of time; firstly because the average Brit can’t vote in the French elections, and secondly because they were speaking in French and the average Brit couldn’t understand a word they were saying.
I did my bit, came home, and then voted in the local elections. Who did I want running the local council? I had to choose between:
With my “X” cast we took the dogs round the park, then "er indoors TM" went to move her car closer to home. When we got home the parking was tight. I left my car where it was. I shall get it in the morning. "er indoors TM" then went up the KFC for tea. I was pleased about that.
KFC and an evening in front of the telly. “Benidorm” and re-runs of “Bake-Off”. Not too shabby…
5 May 2017 (Friday) - Retirement ?
The puppy had a good night; a quiet and restful night. Consequently so did I. Over brekkie I watched more “BattleStar Galactica” then got the lap-top going for my morning smurf of the Internet. Three people were having birthdays. Little Lucy Jones was twenty-one today. I think she was at primary school the last time I looked – where do the years go?
I set off to work. Last night I had to park streets away as there were no spaces nearby. There was a huge space outside the house this morning. I left home a few minutes early to walk to the car; as I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing yesterday’s election results. Nationally the Conservatives have made sweeping gains from UKIP (who now seed to be totally discredited) and Labour (who need to shake off Jeremy Corbyn). It doesn’t bode well for the upcoming General Election; having strong government is one thing; having weak opposition is very much another.
Locally we seem to have followed the national trend, but (to be honest) our result was seriously hindered by the incompetence of the local Labour candidate. He was the only candidate to put any leaflet though my letterbox, and the leaflet he posted looked as though it had been done by a small child who was in a rush. I expect his leafletting lost him votes.
There was also talk of the Duke of Edinburgh’s decision to retire from public life. I can’t say I blame him. He’s been averaging three engagements every week all over the country and he’s about thirty years older than most people when they retire. I certainly don’t intend to stay at work as long as he has.
I got to work, and as the day went on I met an old colleague who had come for an interview. Had he too got fed up with the “less than delightful” regime which I felt forced me out?
I did my bit, and came home again. "er indoors TM" boiled up some scan then went off to a girlie handbag party. I rather fancied having a poker night tonight; perhaps I should have organised one. I’ve tried a couple of times recently but no one’s been interested. Or (to be more accurate) no one’s replied, so I’ve taken the non-replies to be unavailability only to find people had been up for it all along.
Maybe cards next week?
6 May 2017 (Saturday) - East Peckham
I woke to find I was cuddling my dog as though he was a teddy bear. He seems to be unusually affectionate at the moment; he’s been sitting with me on the sofa for the last few evenings. I wonder what’s got into him.
I had a quick look at the Internet over brekkie. The crowdfunding attempt by Brighton Kite Fliers isn’t doing very well. Only three hundred and fifty quid in two weeks. Bearing in mind how may thousands of people have such a good time there, I was rather disappointed.
We got the dogs leaded up and set off to East Peckham (not the London one) where there is a series of puzzle geocaches. These ones are very easy to solve (I’m told). However I’ve been looking at these C.O.E. puzzles for some time now and haven’t got the faintest idea how they might be solved. So last week at the Kent Mega I met the chap who’d set the puzzles and gave him a bung for his favourite charity and he gave me two pages of solutions to his puzzles.
Perhaps not the way they are supposed to be solved, but he’d be the one deleting the finds if there was an issue with it.
We met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and were soon off on our walk. I’ve often wondered why so many people who go abroad for holidays bang on about how beautiful it is abroad; Kent too is beautiful. Not an hour’s drive from home was the prettiest scenery and paths through the hop farms. As we walked we saw ponies and traps, cows and calves, sheep, horses and pigs. We had a rather good picnic in the countryside, and had three pints (straight from the barrel) at the wonderfully-named “Bush Blackbird & Thrush”. And I even took a few photos too.
We started walking at 10am; eleven miles, fifty-eight geo-finds and seven hours later we got back to where we’d started. I (and the dogs) dozed much of the way home.
Once home "er indoors TM" was a quick scrub and (once she’d fed me and the pups) cleared off out to the film night thingy. I settled down in front of the telly. Had I known I was to be “home alone” yet again I might have organised something to do.
Mind you I’d probably just have stared at the telly…
7 May 2017 (Sunday) - Late Shift
I had a reasonable night’s sleep; I got up at 7.30am which wasn’t bad for me. As I opened the curtains I heard a knocking from nice-next-door. There were a couple of blokes in hi-vis jackets on their doorstep. I wonder what that was all about?
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook; not a lot had happened overnight. I had a ton of emails though. *Loads* of people came to Kent last weekend for the Kent Mega geo-extravaganza. And every time they logged a find on a geocache, geocaching dot com sent an email (saying what they’ written) to the person who originally hid that cache. It would seem that a *lot* of people did their logging yesterday. I was snowed out with emails telling me that people had found the caches I’d hidden. There are those that love getting emails of logs on their caches. Personally I look at the subject line and only read those that say “did not find”. Apart from those on my Wherigoes, I don’t read any of the “found it” logs. Is that wrong of me?
I then went into the garden and started washing stones. Last week nice-next-door said I could have the unwanted shingle from their garden; they were replacing it with lawn. I liberated quite a lot of the stuff, but a lot of mud came with it. The stuff needed washing. I had a go last week with a washing-up bowl but it didn’t work. I had this idea I could go faster with the pressure-washer. I set the thing up and soon worked out this system where I pressure-zapped stones in a bucket which was laying on its side. The theory was that I pressure washed until the water (mud) ran clean. It was a theory which worked, but it was so slow. After a couple of hours I had washed maybe a fifth of what needs washing.
As I pressure-washed, "er indoors TM" was doing the hoovering and the puppy got very over-excited not knowing whether to bark at the pressure-washer or the hoover. She had a rather admirable attempt at doing both.
As I worked I found myself singing my version of the Steeleye Span classic; however my version has an “arse” where hippies would have a “hat”.
After two hours I gave up. I gave up both singing and washing stones.
We took the dogs round the park for a walk; I wish the puppy wouldn’t keep jumping up at random strangers. Try as we might, it is a habit we just can’t break. It can only be a matter of time until one of the normal people gives her a slap.
Once home again I had another quick look at the Internet; was I the only person who didn’t know that the Folkestone Comic Con was taking place today? Mind you would I have gone? In years gone by I was quite the regular on the fandom circuit because that was the only place to get a lot of the fan merchandise (pre-Internet) but nowadays? I hear it’s now all cos-players posing and has-beens selling autographs at vastly inflated prices. I heard him who was in the Darth Vader suit was selling autographs at thirty quid a pop. Nice money *if* you are on the receiving end.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of carrot soup, and with that scoffed I set off to work for the late shift; my first on-my-own shift at my new place of work. It went well. Let’s hope that those sessions to come do too…
8 May 2017 (Monday) - Rostered Day Off
Having worked yesterday I had today off. I had a little lie-in (until 7.30am) then heaved my carcass out of my pit. In days gone past I would have organised a little geo-walk for a day off, but my heart wasn’t in it. I’ve tried taking both dogs on a geo-walk on my own before. It doesn’t work.
So with a day of home-alone I had nothing to do, and was feeling rather bored. I sent "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" a message to see if she fancied a dog walk, but she was whinging about having torn a ligament in her knee. Perhaps I’ve torn a ligament in my elbow?
I got the leads onto the dogs, and we went for our morning constitutional. As we walked the puppy tried to jump into my arms pretty much every time we saw another dog. For all that she terrorises small children, she’s not comfortable with other dogs. She also would insist on eating poo as we went.
We came home; before going to work "er indoors TM" had emptied the washing machine and put on another load. I hung out the washing, settled the dogs and popped into town.
I went to the bank for some Euros. The transaction would have gone a lot easier had the two women in the queue squawked more quietly. They weren’t speaking, or talking. They were squawking; much like my parrot used to.
From the bank I went to Burton’s to get some shirts. Burton’s had long since closed down. No one told me… In fact much of the town has closed down. There seems to be a growth industry in charity shops, and pound-shops are springing up. However there were a lot of empty shops where once were high street names.
But the CEX shop was still there; I got myself a couple of DVDs.
With shopping done I came home and thought I’d hang out more washing. The washing machine wasn’t quite done so I set up the pressure-washer and got ready to scrub more shingle. I then went back into the house to get the washing to hang… The washing machine hadn’t spun properly. So I repeated the spin cycle to no avail.
I sighed; I’d been there before. I got several towels and opened the washing machine’s crap-trap (flooding the kitchen in the process). "er indoors TM" has taken to using paper “colour catchers” in the wash; sure enough the crap-trap was blocked solid with gungy paper colour catcher remains.
With the washing machine reassembled I then alternated between washing laundry and scrubbing shingle for a couple of hours. I got down to an empty laundry basket and only having one dustbin of shingle left to scrub and decided to stop at that point. (Stop scrubbing shingle that is). I hosed down a rather filthy patio, devoured a cold cross bun for lunch, and set about the ironing.
As I ironed I watched one of the DVDs I’d bought in CEX this morning. “Interstellar” was…. How can I describe it? The film 2001 drags on interminably, but gets away with it because it is a classic. Interstellar tried to be 2001 but just dragged on interminably. It started with the premise that the planet Earth was becoming uninhabitable because all the farmers were setting fire to their crops (for no apparent reason), and then a retired astronaut-cum-farmer stumbled across a top-secret government spaceship building project. And then it just got progressively more nonsensical.
If I hadn’t been doing the ironing at the same time I would have turned it off.
Eventually I had the ironing done (and undercrackers sorted), and went out into the garden again. I looked at the last dustbin of shingle, but a twinge in my elbow made me think twice about doing anything more. I had a cuppa, and it wasn’t long before "er indoors TM" was home and boiling up a rather good bit of scoff prior to shoving off out again to go bowling.
I rather fancied a pint or two this evening… bit late now….
I’ve been very busy today on what was supposed to be a day off.
9 May 2017 (Tuesday) - Pup in the River
After a rather good night’s kip I watched my morning fix of “BattleStar Galactica” then sparked up my lap-top to stare into cyberspace. With nothing of note on Facebook and only a few spamming emails I set off to work.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were broadcasting from the London head office of the social media giant Twitter; today they were talking about how social media influences the public’s opinions and specifically the outcome of the upcoming election. There was concern that social media doesn’t give a balanced view of the political parties. One example of this is that so far in the run up to this election there has been lots of anti-Labour campaigns based on the premise that Jeremy Corbyn is a twit, and loads of pro-Conservative campaigns based on the premise that Jeremy Corbyn is a twit.
There was also concern that too much information about the upcoming election was being presented to a public which (apparently) didn’t understand any of it.
Social media representatives responded by saying that they don’t see themselves as having any responsibility in presenting a fair political argument. I have to agree with it. I read Facebook to see what people I know are up to, not to have their views edited.
I got to work, had a rather quiet day (which picked up right on going-home time) and just as I came home I had a phone call. Something of an emergency had happened.
To save time "er indoors TM" had taken the dogs out without me and Treacle had fallen in the river. I charged up to help only to find Treacle had been extracted from the river (together with a ton of rather smelly mud) but for reasons about which "er indoors TM" was rather evasive, Fudge’s lead had been dropped in the deep mud. My job was to scramble down the six-feet embankment to retrieve the lead. Just as I got to the lead Treacle jumped back in the river, then thrashed about in the mud with happy abandon as only a puppy can do..
Oh how we laughed…
Chippy and Martin arrived and we set off to Folkestone where we totally failed to get the Rear Admiral’s Chromecast to do anything.
On the way home I had something of a revelation. It was dark; street lights were on. Beaver Road has the old-style sodium street lights. You could see what was going on. Christchurch Road has the new LED street lights the council is installing. They don’t actually light up the street. Reducing light pollution is all very well, but reducing light pollution by not having any light at all? These LED lights are an experiment that has clearly failed.
Perhaps this is a job for the South Ashford Community Forum?
10 May 2017 (Wednesday) - Bad Driving
Another good night’s sleep; but again I woke up with serious pain in my elbow. What happens overnight to set the thing off?
Over brekkie I watched more “BattleStar Galactica”. When it finished the telly was randomly playing a fishing programme. This morning the anglers were talking about how to pose with a fish for best effect for the camera. "My Boy TM" always tells me that I can’t hold a fish to the camera to save my life. He assures me I hold a fish like I would hold a gun. Maybe I picked up a tip or two from the telly; we shall find out on next week’s fishing trip… if I catch anything.
I then had my usual morning root around the Internet. I got a little peeved when I had a look at Facebook. It seems to be the “in-thing” at the moment to post trite comments about how you are always there is people need you, but several people posting these memes certainly weren’t anywhere to be found when I had my little episode six years ago. Nor were they anywhere to be found when others have needed a hand from time to time.
For all that I am a fan of Facebook, the Facebook status message is nothing more than words. I can’t see how anyone can “support” any cause by copying and pasting something that someone else has copied and pasted. Supporting a cause means either giving that cause hard cash, or getting off your arse and actually doing something to help.
I checked my emails. I had a “found it” log on one of my geocaches which was dated last August. Why even bother doing the hobby if you are going to take nine months to do the admin that goes with it? I had more offers of free incontinence pads from Tena Lady (!), and LinkedIn told me that someone of whom I’d never heard had got a new job.
I set off to work. It was rather cold this morning. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the government’s commitment to reduce immigration. The problem of skilled workers in the NHS was discussed at length. The feeling being put forward by the government’s lackey being interviewed was that the NHS was over-dependent on cheap immigrant labour. He felt that the average Brit wasn’t doing the job of (specifically) a nurse because it was cheaper to import someone to do the job.
The implication was clear – a socking great pay rise for all NHS workers so that he NHS gets applications from British people again. I’d be up for that.
There was then a lot of talk about how the reduction of police patrol cars is making British roads lawless. I had a little chuckle over this; just as this theory was being expounded I had to swerve dangerously to avoid being rammed by a Sky TV van (registration PF12 DWE) which, having driven up the wrong lane, was determined to push into the queue of traffic in which I’d been patiently waiting for some time.
I got to work and had a rather busy day. So busy that I didn’t fancy going out with "er indoors TM", "Daddy’s Little Angel TM", "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and the dogs this evening. Instead I did dull CPD until "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scoff….
11 May 2017 (Thursday) - Early Shift
After I’d had my morning fix of “BattleStar Galactica” I filled in a questionnaire for Pieroth Wines. They were offering free mugs as a thank-you for answering their questions, but I’m sure they will be wanting more. I suspect they will ask me to host a wine tasting evening. I quite like the idea of that. Do any of my loyal readers fancy coming along? I’ve been to a Pieroth wine tasting before. You’ll be expected to buy some, but the evening will be something of a giggle.
I had a quick look-see round the Internet. Late last night I posted on the “Geoaching in Kent” page asking of anyone fancied another geo-ghost hunt in London. There were a few positive replies this morning, so that plan might just be good to go.
With no emails of note I set off to work. As I walked to my car I saw the vicarage up the road was up for sale. There have been rumours about Christchurch closing down; perhaps it *is* going?
The roads were certainly quieter than what I am used to as I drove at 6.30am. The pundits on the radio were mostly talking election drivel, but there were a couple of interesting snippets. Apparently the British native lizard is under threat from the European wall lizard which has established itself in the UK. And official figures ow how that people with HIV have a life expectancy much the same as that of the general public. What a success story for medical science. I can remember going to a seminar about the sixth HIV case in the UK (in 1982) and HIV was then seen to be the death of humanity.
I got to work for the early shift, and did my bit. I spent much of the day worrying about Pogo. Treacle’s brother and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"’s smallest dog; Pogo had his “bits” surgically removed by the vet today. A routine operation, but still cause for worry.
An early start made for an early finish. I was home two hours earlier than usual, and with a bright afternoon I made the most of the time and got the last of the shingle washed. It was very generous of nice-next-door to let me have their unwanted shingle, but getting it clean for use was backbreaking work. I’ve now got the garden so’s all the shingled areas are now sorted (I think).
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scran, then went off to her monthly craft evening. I considered suggesting she took the puppy with her, but thought better of doing so. Instead I watched more “BattleStar Galactica” and did some preparation for my planned geo-ghost hunt in London.
My elbow hurts; I think I overdid washing the shingle…
12 May 2017 (Friday) - This n That
I woke with a start when the puppy trod on my goolies at 5am this morning. After such a rude awakening I wasn’t going to get back to sleep. Over brekkie I watched an old episode of “Dad’s Army”. For all that I’ve seen all the episodes so many times I am only now realising just how unrehearsed the show was. Most of the actors were obviously stumbling over their lines; clearly not remembering what they were supposed to be saying.
I then stared in to cyberspace for a few minutes. Several people had asked me to put a black 8-ball as my Facebook status as some sort of prostate cancer awareness thing. I’m sorry, but (as I’ve ranted before) I don’t do this sort of thing. I’d rather *do* something practical or give a few quid. A Facebook status doesn’t really achieve anything.
I had an email from Mrs Rabe Maxi who claimed her husband had recently died leaving her several million quid to give to a charity, but the only way for her to get her hands on the cash involved my intervention. She was offering me forty per cent of the cash if I would then pass on the remaining seventy per cent (!) to a charity of my choice.
As scams go it was pretty weak; she could at least have got her sums right.
I set off to work for another early shift. It was rather damp this morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the case of the policeman who reported rampant racism in the Metropolitan Police Force who was then formally disciplined; having been accused of having made up the allegations. This is probably why so few people are afraid to be whistle-blowers; I know from bitter experience that if you stand up and say something that embarrasses the establishment, the establishment will find a way of sticking in the knife.
I am reminded of the two hundred and eighty fifth Rule of Acquisition “No good deed ever goes unpunished.”
I got to work, did my bit, and having been on the early shift I got away early. I was glad I did. Just as I got home I heard the news that the NHS has been the victim of a cyber-attack. My small corner of the NHS would seem to have been unaffected, but you have to wonder about the mentality of anyone who would attack a hospital in any way.
Once home, "er indoors TM" and I took the dogs round the park. As we walked we saw some blue tits had made a nest in a broken street light. How cute!!
Once home I watered my monkey-puzzle tree and fed the fish. I had canine assistance for both of these tasks. "er indoors TM" then set off to Hythe for the evening; I did some ironing whilst watching a DVD I’d bought last Monday. “Rise of the Krays” as quite watchable if you like that sort of thing.
My elbow still hurts…
13 May 2017 (Saturday) - Cite Europe
I woke (shivering) to find that most of the duvet had been seized by an alliance of "er indoors TM" and two small dogs. I conceded defeat and went downstairs. I had some stuff to do on the lap-top. I turned it on and it announced it was completing an update. It took an hour and a half to sort itself out, and from what I can see the only difference is an upgraded version of Internet Explorer (Microsoft Edge) and in all honesty who uses that anyway?
The lap-top finally became useable about ten minutes before we were due to go out; I decided to revise my itinerary later.
Leaving "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" in charge of the hounds we set off to Folkestone. A quick cuppa, then (with Jose driving) four of us set off to the Eurotunnel terminal. There was minor consternation as there had been delays reported, but we were only half an hour (or so) late getting Le Shuttle.
After our rather good trip to Bruges a few months ago we’d suggested a day in Cite Europe. I’d not been there for years. We had a good mooch around. We started in the Disney shop, then I got myself a crème brule ice cream. The nice lady (le femme belle) on the ice cream stall complemented me on my excellent spoken French; however in retrospect it is just possible she was taking the piss. We continued mooching, then went to The Black Bull for a spot of lunch. Whilst everyone else scoffed mussels (moules) I had a horse-burger and chips washed down with a rather good pint of Liefman’s. It was just like Vimto. Lovely. And with that devoured I had the most enormous plate of profiteroles.
Feeling suitably replete we went to the toy shop to get Lacey a cat keyring and Jake a robot turtle. We then went on to Carrefour (a French Tesco) where they were having a wine tasting. I tasted several, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the wine I liked the most was by far the cheapest. I bought a crate of the stuff.
By now time was pushing on so we made our way back to the car. We had a few minutes to spare at the Eurotunnel terminal; there was a nice man there offering free gin to interested parties. I was interested. The neat gin tasted like acid, but chilled and served with cucumber it made a nice refreshing drink. I didn’t buy any; we’ve had gin in the cupboard for years.
They were also offering free samples of wine too. I tried four. The best of the four was vastly inferior to what I’d bought at French Tesco, and one bottle of this stuff was more than the crate I’d bought at French Tesco too. But I was grateful for the free samples.
I slept most of the way home.
Once home we took the dogs round the park. We got half way only to find "er indoors TM" had lost Treacle’s lead. We backtracked most of our walk to find the lead, then carried on and came home. I was glad to finally stop.
We had a light tea whilst watching this evening’s “Doctor Who”; it was good to watch it on the evening it was broadcast; that way I didn’t get to read all sorts of spoilers on Facebook.
I’m worn out…
14 May 2017 (Sunday) - Leybourne and Snodland
Over brekkie I had a quick look into the Internet. There had been a rather serious cyber attack on the NHS (amongst all sorts of other targets) last Friday. This morning all sorts of (self-declared) I.T. experts were making all sorts of allegations of what they saw to be the incompetence of those (at all levels) providing the I.T. facilities of the NHS; my Facebook feed was alive with it. As usual, those who run down the NHS don’t have a clue what they are talking about.
What these so-called experts seem to forget is money. The UK’s NHS doesn’t have anywhere near the financial resources that most other comparable countries do. Consequently nor does the NHS have the ability to buy state of the art I.T. and trade it in on a regular basis. What limited resources the NHS does have needs to be spent on patient care.
I got rather cross with these people who were banging on about how their companies spend an absolute fortune on their I.T. From what I could work out, those who were taking advantage of yet another opportunity to run down the NHS (on average) have an annual wage which is between fifteen and twenty thousand pounds more than the average NHS worker. If they are *so* concerned about the NHS perhaps they might like to take a fifty per cent cut in wages and come and work in a hospital?
Perhaps in the meantime these so-called I.T. experts might track down the scum who would deliberately harm a hospital and then the UK authorities might execute them (the scum that is, not the so-called I.T. experts). Seriously. Execute them. Perhaps if the punishment were as serious as the crime, people might think twice before committing such a crime. After all, what kind of person would attack a hospital?
We got the dogs leaded up, and we set off to Leybourne Lakes where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and together we went for a walk around the lakes, and then on a circuit around Snodland following two separate series of geocaches.
The dogs had a good walk; the lakes were beautiful. We saw rabbits and squirrels. The dogs got to bark at the scuba divers swimming in the crystal clear-lakes. We had a rather good ice cream from a van as we walked; for all that I like a Mr Whippy a lemon sorbet in a cone is never to be turned down.
I took a few photos as we wandered. It was quite scenic in places but…
Geocache-wise, today was a walk of two halves. The first half was a guided walk around the lakes. One hide led to the next as you would expect; but some of the hides weren’t as straightforward as you might expect. We did have a minor issue in that in order to locate the bonus cache you needed to find cache #7 first. We found cache #7 but couldn’t get to it as a fisherman had set up right on top of where we needed to stand to reach the cache. But “really skilful geocaching” (TM") allowed us to find the bonus.
The second half was billed as the Snodland Boundary Loop. We followed the caches in numerical order (as best we could) under the assumption that they formed a guided tour around the outskirts of Snodland.
They did not.
We started badly with two “did not find” out of the first three. However we soon realised that the given GPS co-ordinates for the hides were up to ten yards out. (Realistically two yards is about what you might expect). So we found ourselves relying on the hints that were given. But some of them left much to be desired. I think it is fair to say that we all started to lose interest in the series when we read logs explaining that cache #7 of this series was only accessible by clambering over a locked gate. We weren’t at all impressed with the total lack of directions through an estate so new it didn’t appear on any maps (consequently having us miss caches #8 and #9). And having to sprint across the very busy A228 (twice) was just dangerous.
I’m sorry… someone’s obviously taken a lot of time and effort to put out these geocaches. I *don’t* want to be discouraging but I cannot recommend this series to anyone.
Firstly the given GPS co-ordinates for most of the twenty-odd caches are out by up to ten yards.
Secondly, giving the caches numbers implies the numbers for a logical sequence in which to proceed. If it is not supposed to be done as a walk (which in retrospect this one clearly is not) then the descriptions should say so.
Thirdly geocaching is a family-friendly activity. Having to sprint across the A228 is not a family friendly activity. When one goes on a geo-stroll there is an unwritten understanding that (unless it danger is explicitly stated) that the walk will be safe for children and small dogs.
However just as we came to the end of our ten-mile mission we found ourselves at the Freemason’s Arms where a pint of London Pride was swiftly followed by a pint of Doom Bar. So that cheered us up somewhat.
Once home I loaded my fishing gear into the car whilst "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. She then set off to bowling leaving me with two very tired dogs. I had a look at the geo-map to see if I could find a walk for next weekend. Possibly somewhere in the general vicinity of Hever Castle…
I then put on the telly and slobbed for a bit whilst the dogs snored…
15 May 2017 (Monday) - A Day's Fishing
I had a rather good night’s sleep; waking a little later than usual. Over brekkie I watched an old episode of “Dad’s Army” before having my usual morning look at the Internet.
I read something which frankly amazed me on Facebook. There is someone on my Facebook friends list; like most people on that list he is hardly a friend; just someone I know. Like a *lot* of people I know one of his parents has recently died. We’ve been there in the last couple of months; it is not good. But what amazed me was this chap was using Facebook to try to crowd-fund his mother’s funeral.
At the risk of giving offence here, don’t people make arrangements for when the inevitable happens? It didn’t take me more than a minute to come up with this website which shows that the average cost of dropping dead in the south of England is about eight thousand quid. It is bad enough that your children are going to be distraught (they better be!) without saddling them with eight thousand pounds worth of debt. And that’s without giving all the mourners a drinkie. Realistically I’m over half way through this game of life, and so I’ve taken out insurance to stump up for when my number is up. Doesn’t everyone of a certain age?
I went to the co-op to get a sandwich for lunch. The people in the co-op were giving away flowers. Bunches of flowers which cost four quid yesterday were free today as they’d gone past their sell-by date. Can you believe it? Flowers have a sell-by date!
I got some as something for nothing is always good.
I then drove round to collect "My Boy TM". Usually we’d go for a fry-up but today we had to drop Lacey at school after brekkie and she had no truck with the workman’s cafes where we’d usually go. But (to keep her old Grandad happy) she agreed to having a McBreakfast.
McBreakfast was good; I like McDonalds – you get people from all walks of life in there. There were retired couples, businessmen in suits, workmen, schoolkids as well as us. All enjoying a sausage and egg McMuffin.
We dropped Lacey at school, and we went on to Shirkoak for a day’s fishing. We drove through the rain, and set up in the rain. The rain was a feature for the morning; it finally stopped about 2pm. But we didn’t get *that* wet. We arrived to find one of the normal people already fishing, but after half an hour he made some lame excuse and went home.
Fishing-wise we then had the lake to ourselves for the rest of the day, but we did have two sets of people coming round who had heard about the place and had come for a look-see.
There was a minor dilemma in the early evening. For much of the day we’d been watching a mother duck swimming about with a single baby following her. Shortly after 5pm the baby came paddling about on his own; plaintively chirping for his mother. Mother was nowhere to be seen, and one of the other ducks was obviously picking on the baby. We managed to distract the bully with fishing bait, but we were rather worried about the baby. There wasn’t really anything we could do to help, but that didn’t stop us worrying. After about twenty minutes of rather pathetic chirping from the littlun, the mother duck appeared in the sky and dropped into the pond in much the same way that a brick would. There was a rather heart-warming reunion, and mother and baby swam off together (to our relief).
Fishing-wise the day was busy. Not as busy as it has been at Shirkoak on some days, but certainly busier than the last time we went. "My Boy TM" made a point of counting how many fish he caught but he lost count at forty which was some time in the early afternoon. I didn’t catch as many as he did, but I would estimate I had between forty and fifty carp, averaging a couple of pounds (in weight) each.
My biggest fish of the day was about five and a half pounds in weight, the first fruit of my loin had one which was about a pound heavier. We’ve been fishing this lake on and off for some time now; we don’t seem to catch anything any bigger than six pounds in weight. But when "My Boy TM" was young he would regularly catch fish up to twenty pounds in weight from this lake, I wonder what’s been going on – do fish shrink?
I took a few photos whilst we fished, and we even made a video of our exploits. If you like fishing, the video will just fly by. If you don’t like fishing the video will be like watching paint dry. But it does feature me rather prominently so time spent watching it won’t be wasted (if you like that sort of thing).
I think that I might have strained my elbow with all the fish I caught…
16 May 2017 (Tuesday) - Somewhere That's Green...
I slept well; I’ve had rather a busy long weekend. But I was still wide awake by 5am. Over brekkie I watched “BattleStar Galactica” then sparked up my lap-top. There wasn’t much happening on Facebook (which was probably for the best). I had an email from the South Ashford Community Forum telling me of plans to build a house on some disused land up the road from me, and I had a job offer in Hillingdon. I also had an email from LinkedIn telling me that people I don’t know were now adding cyber-connections to other people I don’t know.
As I pootled on-line I listened to Fudge snoring in his basket. He sleeps more and more as he is getting older. He loves going out for adventures, but the adventures do tire him. I worry about him; he’s not as young as he once was. He rarely gets up in the morning to hope for toast any more.
I set off to work; as I drove the talk on the radio was all about the upcoming election. My cynicism about democracy was proved beyond all doubt when the pundits interviewed an eighty-one year old bloke who had announced that he was going to vote at the upcoming general election for the first time ever. He was quite clear that at every previous election he had been uncertain of the outcome, but with the public’s perceived contempt for Jeremy Corbyn he felt sure of a Conservative victory. And so he felt that he could vote. He will vote Conservative; confident of their victory because voting for the loser is wasting your vote (apparently).
I got to work and had a message from an old colleague. A chap with whom I used to work at Canterbury came for interview a couple of weeks ago; he’d just handed in his notice and will be working with me again in a couple of months. Another old colleague also resigned today. I wonder if they too felt that they were being bullied out?
I had a rather good day at work, and with work done I came home and we walked the dogs round the park. "Furry Face TM" did dawdle; he has no urgency when we go out.
"er indoors TM" is boiling up dinner; what with the rest of the week being late shifts and night shift I didn’t fancy going to the Tuesday thing today. A night in front of the telly will suit me right.
Perhaps watching the telly wlil get rid of my ear-worm; “Somewhere that’s Green” (from “Little Shop of Horrors”) has been stuck in my head all day…
17 May 2017 (Wednesday) - What The Hell Is It This Time ?
Being on the late shift today I didn’t have an alarm set and I slept a *lot* longer than usual. I liked that. Over brekkie I had a look-see at the Internet (doesn’t everyone?) As usual, happiness, trivia and squabbling abounded in pretty much equal amounts.
I did find a link which turned your photos into works of art; I was quite pleased with the result. I also found the official video of Sparks’ latest single. It’s rather good. I can relate to it. “What The Hell Is It This Time” relates to God getting just a tad peeved with the relentless tirade of prayers demanding trivia.
I glossed over the latest scamming email from Nigeria (from Miss Rose Richard this time – she hopes I have a good moment!) and I took the dogs for a walk.
As we walked up the road we met the old Irish chap we see from time to time. He’d not met the puppy before; is it that long since we last saw him? We carried on into Bowen’s Field and did our usual circuit of the park with "Furry Face TM" straggling far behind. Sometimes I worry that the walks are a bit much for him, and other times when he charges off for whatever canine flight of fancy it is that takes him I wonder if he’s just becoming more and more wilful.
We went round the park and just as we crossed the co-op field so the rain started. Not much, just a shower. We came home; I had intended to do laundry and mow the lawn, but the forecast showers put me off of that idea. I settled the dogs and went off on a little adventure.
I went to Angling Direct (used to be Ashford Tackle), and promptly wished that I hadn’t. The staff were all too busy to see to me; they were entranced by some vacuous old windbag who was complaining that he’d been thrown off of some fishing venue because he was making a cup of tea, and boiling water is against health and safety. Most fishing shops have a fishing bore at the counter who buys nothing but somehow monopolises the place. I need to find a more convenient place to shop.
Mind you I then went to Argos where I got a fishing brolly for half the price of the one in Angling Direct.
I then drove into Aylesford; I had a look in the aquatic shop there, and then totally failed to find a fishing tackle shop that Google said was nearby. So I consoled myself with McLunch, and then went to the late shift where I spent the rest of the day being thirsty.
Why do McDonalds smother their food in salt?
18 May 2017 (Thursday) - Another Late Shift
The puppy had a restless night and consequently so did I. Over brekkie I sparked up the lap-top and wound myself up over social media. I lead an active life, and often have people saying that they would like to have joined in with whatever I had been doing over the last few days. “If only you’d said you were doing this, that or the other..” However these same people often post up photos of what they have been doing and never think to ask if I would have liked to have joined in with what they had been doing earlier this week….
Facebook itself annoyed me too. A rather thick young lady with whom I once worked was advocating a pro-fox-hunting Facebook site. Facebook had received nearly two hundred thousand complaints about the site, and the people running it seemed to be proud of the fact. I reported the site to Facebook and this morning I was told by Facebook that it didn’t “breach the community standards”. Over the years I’ve reported Facebook pages with concerns about cruelty to animals, child abuse, cyber-bullying… nothing breaches their community standards. I wonder what their community standards are? Presumably the right to make money?
I got the leads onto the dogs and we went out to meet up with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". We took the dogs round the park. Mayhem ensued in the playpark, and Fudge did his usual trick. He straggled far behind (making me think he should have stayed at home) until we got within striking distance of the river. He then flew to the river like a bullet from a gun. Clearly there was nothing wrong with him. Mind you he was a bit surprised when he got there. Yesterday’s rain had made the water level come up a foot or two. He stared at the higher water in frank disbelief. But that didn’t’ stop him wanting us to throw stones into the water for him to chase. He got caught in the strong current a couple of times, but managed to recover.
In the meantime "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" sang his new song “The Wheels On The Bus Go Up and Down”. In a spirit of helpfulness I created a second verse “The Wheels On The Bus Go Side to Side”.
As we walked we met our Irish friend we saw yesterday. He was with OrangeHead’s posse. He smiled, but OrangeHead blanked us, as she always does when with her little gang of chums. There was also a gang of rather portly young mothers doing al-fresco keep-fit by the fountain. They seemed happy, which I suppose was a result for them.
I came home, loaded the dishwasher and set off to work. I took a scenic route; yesterday I wasn’t at all impressed with the staff in Angling Direct. A little look on Google Maps showed that Maidstone Angling Centre was only a fifteen minute drive from work so I thought I’d have a look before the late shift. The place took some finding, but the staff there were friendly and helpful, the shop had two resident shop dogs, and there wasn’t any bores monopolising the staff’s time. I bought some bits and bobs; I shall certainly be going back.
I got to work, and not having had McDonalds I didn’t spend the day feeling thirsty. I shall just go for a McFlurry next time…
19 May 2017 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift
"Furry Face TM" was whimpering at the foot of the bed at 4.30am this morning. Bearing in mind how well he played in the river yesterday I suspect he could easily have jumped on to the bed but he’s learned that I’ll pick him up if he asks. But as well as waking me, he woke the baby. So once I’d settled my dog and myself, the puppy started marching all over us.
I managed to get back off to sleep and dozed until 7.30am when I woke with the most painful nose. Overnight I’d developed a rather unsightly zit. That soon got squeezed (yuk!)
I had brekkie; not much had happened on Facebook overnight. I had an email about a whole load of geocaches having sprung up in Battle Great Wood. I had planned to go off on a geo-walk this morning, but I changed my mind when I saw that rain was forecast. Perhaps I should have gone off to do that walk today. After all it wasn’t far from where Gordon and Norton live, and they went out and walked it.
I put some washing in to scrub, and took the dogs for a walk. We got just to the point where I was about to let them off of their leads when the puppy’s new collar snapped. That was a nuisance. By rights she shouldn’t have been out without a collar, but what could I do? We carried on with our walk. Today was an odd walk; there were a few people about but we didn’t see anyone we knew. Usually we see one or two familiar faces walking their dogs, but today there wasn’t anyone. Fudge trailed behind as we walked; we were forever stopping for him to catch up.
We got to the top end of the park; I reconnected Fudge’s lead to his collar, and not really knowing what else to do I made a lasso out of Treacle’s collar and led her with that. It was only a few yards to the co-op field; if the lasso didn’t work I planned to carry her on the last stretch home. But it seemed to do the trick, even if it did throttle her somewhat.
Once home I got out the lawn mower and scalped the lawn. I hadn’t cut it for some time; it needed doing. I then ironed for an hour or so; all the time getting more and more wound up that the forecast rain hadn’t come.
I spent a few minutes figuring out how to cheat at virtual jigsaw puzzles (it’s a geo-thing), and solved a few puzzles. After an hour the rain started. It was rather heavy, and I took myself off to bed for the afternoon with something of a sense of satisfaction.
I slept reasonably well; but my sleep was wracked with nightmares (afternoonmares?) about "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" fixing my mother’s shed. How can anything so trivial have been so traumatic?
I spent a little while thinking about a geo-day-trip to the Isle of Wight, and then "er indoors TM" came home. She boiled up a rather good bit of scran (she does that). and I’m off to my first night shift in Maidstone now. My last night shift was exactly four months ago. I wonder how tonight will go.
Let’s find out…
20 May 2017 (Saturday) - After the Night Shift
Last night’s night shift was rather good actually. When I was at Canterbury I did find the nights sometimes dragged with sometimes hours between blood samples. I was working constantly last night and so the time didn’t weigh heavily on me.
With less than an hour to go my phone beeped with the notification of a new puzzle geocache which was (sort of) on the way home. I took a little break to solve the puzzle, and when the day shift arrived I set off on a little geo-mission. It wasn’t long before I was doing the happy dance in a hedge, First to Find. Result.
I got home and took myself off to bed for a couple of hours. I had intended to get up at mid-day; I didn’t actually emerge from my pit until 2.30pm. But I got up to find that "er indoors TM" had been baking. Cake is always good; I scoffed some with a cup of coffee and had a little look into cyberspace. I had a wry smile at a couple of people who were complaining about all the political posts on social media. Personally I’d like to see more posts along the lines of “I’m voting for X because…”. However I’m not seeing that at all. I’m seeing a few posts along the lines of “don’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn because he’s a twit” and a *lot* of “vote for Jeremy Corbyn because he’s not as bad as they say he is”. This upcoming election will be won or lost (probably lost) on the public perception of Jeremy Corbyn.
I rationed myself to only ten minutes of this, then got dressed and had a look at the front garden.
Our front garden is “low maintenance”, but that isn’t the same as “zero maintenance”. Over time the weeds grow in the cracks between the paving slabs. I got down on hands and kness and pulled them all out, then took a pair of secateurs to the roses coming over the fence from “not-so-nice-next-door”. By the time I finally swept up I’d spent nearly an hour out there.
I then got my new fishing line onto my reel; "My Boy TM" has been nagging me about the old line. He originally put it on the reel (when it was his) about ten or more years ago. When I was a lad I used to replace the line on a yearly basis.
We then took the dogs round the park for a walk. The puppy has a new collar, and we put it to good use. As we walked we met all sorts of other dogs (unlike yesterday) and pretty much every time we met a dog, the puppy jumped into my arms. She seems terrified of other dogs. We encouraged her with the other pups; after a few minutes she would play with them, but the first encounter is always one of terror for her.
We had a rather good bit of tea, then "er indoors TM" went off to Saturday film night. I watched the last episode of “BattleStar Galactica”; it ended rather lamely. I’m now at a loss for something to watch; “Galactica” kept me entertained for two months; what’s next?
21 May 2017 (Sunday) – Chiddingstone
I was out like a light last night when the puppy decided to use me as a climbing frame. I wish she wouldn’t; no matter how tired I am, once I’ve been woken, that’s it for the night.
I got up earlier than I would have liked, and had a look into Facebook as I do. During the week there had been a lot of consternation on one of the work-related pages I follow. A blood-teser in America had been rather derogatory about her place of work and the patients it attracted. However she’d been daft enough to have her place of work listed on her public profile, and then she got rather upset when they sacked her. This morning I read posts from all sorts of people similarly running down their employers and their customers. Why do people do this? I was once given a formal warning from a previous employer for posting a selfie whilst on the night shift. Apparently a picture of me brought the place into disrepute (!)
We got the leads onto the dogs and set off. Shortly before we set off I saw a post on Facebook asking for help moving house. Perhaps I should have abandoned today’s planned walk, but we’d arranged to meet up, and the dogs need walking to destruction or they do get rather fractious.
We were heading to Chiddingstone which is on the Kent/Surrey border. I’d looked at Google navigation and it had said that the direct distance was thirty miles, but for speed it recommended a route which was fifty miles (mostly along the motorway). We started driving along the motorway, but "er indoors TM" announced she wanted to go the shorter distance route. She took us along the M26, and her phone totally forgot to tell us to take junction 2A. The next turn off was at Godstone, some twenty miles later.
Oh how we laughed…
But we did get to ponder on an “incident”; the motorway notice boards were warning us of something, there were police cars parked in the refuge lanes, there was a police helicopter hovering. There was nothing to be seen. I wonder what that was all about.
We soon got to our destination, and cleaned up the puppy sick. Treacle isn’t a good traveller. We then wandered down the road to meet up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and we had a rather good walk through the countryside. Along paths and through meadows. We saw cows and a hawk, and we thought we heard the hawk’s babies chirping. We met a few other walkers, and their dogs, and just as we had our picnic lunch I realised that today was the monthly county geo-meet. Mind you it was in Mote Park in Maidstone. It was as well we missed it; the puppy would have been too much of a pest there.
Our walk ended at a pub where we met a geo-friend wo told us he’d not found the fourth cache on the route. However when we walked we’d been overtaken by other cachers who’d found that cache after us and before he’d been there so if it is missing we weren’t to blame.
Cache-wise today’s walk was so much better than last week’s debacle. A well-laid out route with (relatively) straightforward hides. I can thoroughly recommend it.
With a little time on our hands we then drove down to Chiddingstone proper where we had a little wander about. There was a couple of multi-caches there which involved finding out some local information to then solve a puzzle to find our quarry. And there was an Earthcache too (a simple geology puzzle). These didn’t take long, and we spent the last of the afternoon soaking up the sunshine (and the beer) in the village pub.
The drive home was entertaining; "er indoors TM"’s phone threw a serious wobbly. Its screen display bore no relation to the road layouts, and then when we were nearly home the puppy was sick in the car again.
I took a few photos as we walked. Once home I popped them up on Facebook (as I do), and with "er indoors TM" off bowling I made myself some dinner.
I like toast…
22 May 2017 (Monday) – Stardust
"er indoors TM"’s gentle snoring woke me shortly after 1am, so I gave her a gentle nudge to stop her snoring. She started again after a few minutes, so I gave her a slightly more forceful nudge. This carried on until about 3am when a rather vigorous clout finally did the trick.
I got up at 5.30am feeling like death warmed up, and over brekkie watched an old episode of “Dad’s Army”. While I like the show, it is rather embarrassing watching the cast stumbling over their lines. The shows must have been made on a rather tight timescale; had I been the director I would have re-shot half a dozen scenes in today’s episode where the actors all clearly forgot the names of all the character in the show (including their own).
I then had a look on Facebook; a friend had been admitted to hospital overnight. All he could post about was how he wanted to get out of the place. I resisted the temptation to suggest that he just walked out; no one was keeping him captive there. Why is it that most people seem to be forever claiming to have all sorts of maladies and illnesses, but never seem to want the treatment that they require?
With no emails of note I set off to work rather early in the hope that there was a meeting of the Monday Morning Morphology Mob (it’s a blood thing).
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. The pundits on the radio were rather depressing. The talk was of Palestine and Ireland; one has nothing but conflict, the other looks set to have conflict again. Across the world people are only happy when arguing.
However for all the gloom and doom it was a beautiful morning.
I got to work; there *was* a meeting of the Monday Morning Morphology Mob. I was a few minutes late, but the meeting was a good one. And the rest of the day carried on being rather good too. Mind you I did get a good scam today – a text message claiming to be from the bank asking me to phone them urgently on their anti-fraud line. I phoned their anti-fraud line and found an automated system almost identical to the usual phone banking. But I paused when it asked for my account details. I hung up, and phoned the number I usually phone when talking to the bank. Sure enough it was all a scam. The bank hadn’t sent me any text messages. It was all a very elaborate scam.
I came home and we walked the dogs round the block. Fudge straggled somewhat, and we met a lovely Nepalese father and daughter pair. The little girl wanted to stroke the dogs; she was fine with Fudge, but seemed rather terrified of Treacle, But despite her terror she was determined to have a stroke. Bless her.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scran, then she shoved off to bowling. Being “home alone” I thought I’d have a little film night. The TCM channel (“Totally Crap Movies”) had shown the 1974 classic “Stardust” last night. It was one of those films I’d been meaning to watch for years…. It wasn’t all that good.
23 May 2017 (Tuesday) – Bread
In a novel break with tradition I slept without being snored, bitten or fidgeted awake. I slept for over six hours; I liked that.
Mind you I did get up to find I’d forgotten to set the dishwasher loose last night. Woops.
Over brekkie I watched a documentary about the early life of Queen Elizabeth I. There is a *lot* I don’t know about history; at school the history teacher’s technique was to have us copy out an entire text book over the course of a year. He never bothered to check if we’d actually done any copying, and consequently I (and everyone else in my class) learned nothing and dropped the subject at the earliest opportunity.
I then got the lap-top going and had a look-see in cyberspace. Facebook had several people expressing consternation and disgust at the terrorist attack at a pop concert in Manchester yesterday. I got a little annoyed at people marking themselves as “safe” when they hadn’t been within two hundred miles of Manchester, but what amazed me was how people were now publicly praying for the injured. How is it that their god is able to help the injured (if it feels it capriciously might wish to do so) but it let the atrocity happen in the first place.
I then had a look at my emails. There wasn’t many of note but I did see that planning permission had been turned down for a proposed nearby garage conversion. The power of the South Ashford Community Forum in action maybe? If so maybe we might turn their wrath on these frankly useless street lights in Christchurch Road.
As I drove to work the talk on the radio was all about the atrocity in Manchester. Local people have been helping out; providing accommodation for the injured, and refreshment for the armed services. The pundits presenting the show expressed amazement at this; one of the people being interviewed had to explain that this was just what decent people do. It is a sad indictment of our society that a *lot* of people don’t realise that.
I got to work, had a rather good day, and came home again. We walked the dogs round the block, then after a rather tasty bit of dinner we went round to Arden Drive for banter, an episode of “Gotham” and some home-baked bread.
That bread was rather tasty; I got to bring home what was left. It made for a rather good supper…
24 May 2017 (Wednesday) - This n That
Over brekkie I watched the second episode of the documentary series about Queen Elizabeth I. It was rather interesting, as is much of history. Why was it that the teachers at what was once regarded as one of the best schools in the South East had this ability to take the most interesting things and make them so boring? History, literature, physics… so many subjects were killed stone dead for me back then.
I was rather ashamed to read Facebook this morning. After yesterday’s news coverage of the atrocities in Manchester, social media abounded with a general hatred of all things foreign. Do these people not realise that the bombing was carried out by someone who was born in England?
Dark skinned friends of mine were frightened to walk the streets when Portugal’s football team once beat the English football team. It strikes me that unless the authorities start actually achieving something and bringing the terrorists to justice, the small-minded are going to start taking matters into their own hands. And from reading Facebook this morning it is patently clear that there are enough people willing to string up anyone guilty of looking just the teensiest bit different to themselves.
As a child I had hoped for a world which was so much better…
As I drove to work the news was all about the Manchester bombing. There was an interesting little episode just I was coming off the motorway. As I came up the slip road there was a frantic beeping of a hooter, and a BMW (registration GK06 CWJ) arrogantly tried to drive everyone else off of the road as it came up the middle. I gave him the V-sign, and then slagged him off on rate-driver.co.uk.
Have you ever looked up your own car on that website? I did – it lists all the MOT results including reasons for failure and any advisories. I wonder where they get that information. I wonder if it breaches any confidentiality?
I did my work, and came home again. The roads home were really busy for no reason I could fathom. Once home we ran the dogs round the park; "er indoors TM" had already started and I caught up with them at the co-op field. Fudge had no problem in running to see me as I arrived.
We walked the park, and then had a rather good bit of scoff washed down with a very good (three Euros) bottle of red wine. We watched last Saturday’s episode of “Doctor Who” which for once hadn’t been ruined for us by endless spoilers on Facebook. And then we watched the first episode of the2012 series of Bake-Off.
I really should have an early night – I’ve got an early start tomorrow…
25 May 2017 (Thursday) - Bank, River
It was a hot night last night and the puppy was very restless. Consequently I didn’t sleep that well. I was up before 5am, and over brekkie I watched the last episode of the documentary about Queen Elizabeth I. It was rather interesting; for all that he people of the time didn’t have telly or the Internet, they were pretty much just the same as the people of today. Only happy when having a squabble, and much of their lives directed by nonsensical religions.
I then had a look at the Internet as I so often do. Not much was happening on social media, but I had a couple of emails. A chap called German Zollinger sent me a very nice comment about this blog in a thinly veiled attempt to get me to add his spamming comment. An employment agency told me that I was the ideal candidate for a role in Dumfries. But I was most interested in an offer from Apata Folasade Esther who invited me to speak at the 2017 World Congress on Global Economy, Peace and Terrorism In The World. This congress starts off in the USA and then moves to India and all I have to pay for is the hotel costs. Or so Apata Folasade Esther claimed.
As I dressed the dogs were squabbling about a bone. There are four of these bones about the house; Fudge wants the lot. If there were a hundred he'd not let the puppy have a single one.
I had words with my dog...
I set off to work; the pundits on the radio were rather concerned that the recent events in Manchester may have breathed new life into the moribund UKIP.
And there was also a lot of talk about the Conservative's plans to offer free breakfast to all schoolchildren. Apparently their figures were based on the premise that charities were giving the food for free and a take-up rate of about only twenty-five per cent of the eligible children. Their sums were totally wrong, but that was still seen as nothing by the pundits presenting the show when compared to the fact that they didn't like Jeremy Corbyn very much.
I got to work for the early shift, and an early start made for an early finish. With a few minutes on my hands I did the monthly accounts.
Regular readers of this drivel may recall I blogged about a text message I had last Monday. It said I should ring the bank urgently, and when I did the bank knew nothing about it. At the time the people at the bank said it was probably a scam but it turns out it was a genuine text message. I completely forgot to pay my credit card bill last month and the bank wanted to talk to me about it. Even though no one there knew that they’d sent me a text.
I found out today that I'd been charged a month's interest and my card had been stopped.
After a while it got sorted (sort of) but what bothered me was the fact that no one at the bank knew anything about the text they'd sent me. I spoke with several people at the bank today who were all very understanding, and all said that the bank would probably have texted me if I had a payment outstanding. But not one could explain why no one at the bank on Monday had any record of the text they sent me. What is the point of sending a text saying "phone the bank urgently" if no one at the bank has any idea why I'm phoning them.
Oh well... payments have now been made, and my card should be unlocked by the end of the weekend...
"er indoors TM" came home and we drove the dogs out to Great Chart. We had this idea that they might like to go in the river on a warm evening. I certainly did. I was straight into the river, but both dogs seemed reluctant to get wet. However once they finally went in they loved it. We took a few photos as we do.
Mind you in retrospect we should probably have rationed Fudge to five minutes. He overdid it to the point of having worn himself out so much that I had to carry him back to the car.
"er indoors TM" went down to the chippy to get our tea, and we had an evening in front of the telly. I like those…
26 May 2017 (Friday) - Poorly Dog
Another restless night; I was rather warm. Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Detectorists”. The BBC is re-running the first season; I saw someone had been watching the show from a posting on Facebook and I had a sulk that I was missing new episodes. I wasn’t, but I then realised I’d like to watch the show again. Catch-up TV is a wonderful thing.
When it finished John Wilson’s fishing show was playing on the Quest channel. For all that I like fishing, I don’t really like the John Wilson fishing shows much. There’s something about the chap that winds me up; it is my brother’s lame to fame that he once told Mr Wilson to bugger off.
I then got the lap-top going and had a look into cyber-space. There wasn’t anything that happened on Facebook overnight. There had been this “don’t post anything on social media for twenty minutes to show support for the Manchester victims” thing last night (no – I didn’t understand it either) and it would seem that no one really then wanted to be the first person to be seen to post afterwards.
My email in-box was similarly disappointing. I had an offer of a cut-price coach trip to Windsor Castle (the trip included a cream tea on the river Thames!) but that was about it.
As I did this Fudge watched quietly from his basket without moving…
I set off to work. I had a moment’s panic when I saw the motorway information boards were saying there were serious delays between junctions five and six. I had a sense of serious relief when I realised that was for the M25; not the M20 that I was on. But as luck would have it there *was* a serious delay beteen junction five and six on my motorway anyway.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were making some thought-provoking comments about the mind-set of the recent terrorist atrocities. It was pointed out that Britain (and other countries) have a habit of getting involved in other people’s wars to support whichever side suits the political whim of the day, and once the perceived baddie is defeated, the poor locals are left without a pot to piss in and suffering the aftermath of a war they didn’t create. Furthermore they are then subjected to the crackpot religious ideas of whichever local nutter thinks he has a direct line to god in his head. And from what I’ve recently gleaned of history, up until a few hundred years ago much of European history was basically fighting over various superstitions so is it really surprising that religious nutters causing trouble are abounding? History repeating itself?
It was suggested that the Western world might leave others alone.
A racist thought? Maybe?
I got to work and had a good day. People brought in cakes and ice creams, and the workload was rather quiet. And an early start made for an early finish.
I came home; the puppy was rather excited, but my dog was limping about. He definitely overdid it in the river yesterday. We didn’t go for our evening walk; instead I spent two hours in the garden; I strimmed and mowed the lawn, then strimmed and mowed it again. By the time I’d raked up the grass and cut back the roses and clematis and assorted jungle hanging over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door I’d filled our garden waste recycle bin.
I’d intended to spend half an hour or so in the garden; I spent two hours out there.
"er indoors TM" came home and sorted dinner which we scoffed with a bottle of plonk. Little Fudge didn’t move all evening. I think he’s going to be on the sick list for a little while…
27 May 2017 (Saturday) – Working
Another hot night; I slept reasonably well. However I couldn’t help but think about the scout group I used to be a part of. Every year for thirteen years I would be dragooned into a cub scout holiday over this bank holiday weekend. I never really wanted to go on the weekend away, but always felt I had to go. Over the years we had weekends in Deal, Dymchurch, Hastings… all over the place. I wonder where they went this weekend? And I wonder if last night went like it always used to…
On the Friday night just gone the little darlings would be wide awake until about 3am, and would be waking about 5.30am on the Saturday morning. As I scoffed my brekkie whilst watching “Detectorists” I was again glad I eventually managed to extricate myself from the grip of scouting. It really does suck you in and not let go.
I then had a quick look on Facebook. Yesterday I’d posted up a picture of Fudge laying awkwardly in his basket. Overnight loads of people had reacted to the photo and sent kind messages. As I read them my little dog was laying asleep in his basket. I fussed him a little, but didn’t want to disturb him.
I hung the washing out and set off to work.
I went via the co-op to get some cash, and then via the petrol station on the ring road. Again there were men ten years older than me attempting to charm the pensioner operating the till. They weren’t just being polite; they were seriously sniffing. What *is* her attraction? I wouldn’t, and that speaks volumes (!)
Mind you I was pleased to find my credit card worked after the debacle with the bank on Thursday. However I’d taken cash just in case.
As I then drove on to work the pundits on the radio were *still* banging on about the atrocity in Manchester. They had absolutely nothing new to say, but they still kept on about it. Even the Archbishop of York had a go on the topic during the “Thought for the Day”, though I have to say his attempt was feeble. Even with the radio turned up I could hardly make out what he was mumbling about. From what I did hear there were a lot of platitudes and the word “pray” was repeated more than a few times.
I got to work, I did my bit and came home. "er indoors TM" had taken the puppy to visit relatives. Fudge was asleep; he tried to get up to see me and immediately cried in pain. I settled him again, and he slept for the afternoon whilst I pootled in the garden. I started off strimming, then had a go at fixing water features.
There was a bit of a problem in that the pumps I bought from eBay were billed as having ten meters of cable, but I opened the box to find that they actually only had about one meter of cable. Useful. I had a rummage and found an old adapter in the shed so I was able to bodge one of the pumps and fix one water feature. I then shifted gravel, moved concrete, swept and tidied (all in between sorting laundry) until my elbow and back were too painful to do any more.
I don’t understand how people enjoy gardening. You break your back putting in hours of work just to keep the place looking just the same.
"er indoors TM" and Treacle came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. After dinner I fancied a bit of port and cheese, and we spent five minutes throwing away all the expired crackers. I had an idea that a cream cracker couldn’t go off; you try tasting one that was best before 2014; they are mank!!!
28 May 2017 (Sunday) - A Day Off
"er indoors TM" must have carried "Furry Face TM" up to bed last night; it was a hot night and a combination of the heat and his bad back had him panting for much if the night. And as I panted I fussed helplessly.
I got up shortly before 7am and checked out his symptoms on-line. It’s rather silly really. I give "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" loads of stick for her constantly phoning NHS 111 every time "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" farts, but I’m fussing over my dog like a thing possessed. If taking him to the vets wouldn’t be a waste of several hundred pounds I’d be there like a shot.
This has made me think; this is a saving the NHS could make. My dog has got a long-standing back injury which had flared up after overdoing it during a very physical play in the river last Thursday. He needs rest. This has all happened before. Going to the vets will achieve nothing. End of story. I’m not taking him to the vets partly because it will achieve nothing and partly because from experience I know how much it will cost. But if it was free (like the NHS) we would go just because we could. And the vets would do a very thorough job (because they have to) which would cost someone; if not me.
I wonder how many human cases would think twice about going to the quack if you had to stump up five hundred quid only to be told you’ve got a bad back (like the vets).
I then spent a little while trying to see if the nutter who used to live next door has died. Over the years he ranted at me so many times how much he hated his wife and he would leave her like a shot, but there was no way he could afford to do so. I’ve not seen him for over six months, and it speaks volumes that it is his wife who now does the gardening. He loved the garden and wouldn’t let her near it.
Maybe he’s come into money and moved? Maybe he’s died? I’m rather worried that he might (just possibly) still be alive somewhere and planning to mount one of these terror attacks. I *really* do think he’s mad enough to do so. In the past he’s ranted at me about how he hated the English, and how Al-Qaeda had the right idea. If he’s dead then that’s a shame, but if he’s alive, what is he up to? I would ask, but her-next-door hasn’t spoken to me (or anyone else in the street) for some years.
I posted on Facebook asking how you find out if someone has died; I got all sorts of suggestions. Some might help. We shall see. I even contacted the police to express my concerns.
We had planned a rather long walk for today, but Karl had family problems, and what with Fudge being ill a day of not going too far for too long was probably for the best. We collected "My Boy TM" and his posse and we set off for the Isle of Sheppey. As I drove, "er indoors TM" announced that a couple of new geocaches had gone live which were (sort of) on our way. We stopped off to claim FTF on one; we left the other for someone else to claim. We’re kind like that.
We carried on our way and were soon at Whelan’s in Sheerness. Whelan’s is a wonderful place where they do all sorts of garden ornaments really cheaply. "My Boy TM" bought loads of stuff; I bought one statue and something with which I can repair one of our water features, and I got some ideas for the garden. Much as I dislike gardening I have ideas about the subject from time to time.
We then had a look in the garden centre over the road where I totally failed to photograph a bumble bee in a foxglove.
Once back in Ashford we unloaded the first fruit’s stuff, then came home to unload mine. But I couldn’t park near the house; my statue is still in the back of the car. It can stay there until I can park closer to home.
"My Boy TM" then arrived and he drove for phase II of the day; lunch.
Cheryl had booked a table at the Kennington Carvery; all you can eat roast dinner for a tenner. Very tasty. However for some reason it was nowhere near as busy as sometimes it is. Perhaps this might have been in no small part due to the children from hell at the next table. They were probably aged fourteen to sixteen; they were shrieking like five year olds.
We had dessert in McDonalds.
As we were driving past we popped off to have a look at Mark and Lisa’s garden. If you like palms and water features and Koi it is brilliant. Mark suggested a dog walk on the beach, so we all went home, changed, collected dogs that *aren’t* having rest enforced on them, and "er indoors TM" drove for phase III of the day.
After a little confusion about car parks we soon found Mark and Lisa, and we had a rather good muck-about on the beach. I paddled a good fifty yards out to sea (where it was shin-deep). "My Boy TM" went a *lot* further to where it was knee-deep and tried to swim. He had a good go before finally giving up.
Finding the local tapas bar wouldn’t serve drinks without food we then walked down the beach to the Jolly Fisherman. The Jolly Fisherman is an odd pub, but on reflection no odder than I should have expected. Family friendly pubs rarely have to advertise that families are welcome. And most pubs with signs saying that families are welcome aren’t the sort of place where any respectable family would dare to tread.
But we got a pint and sat in the sunshine outside.
We came home; there was the offer of going to the cinema, but I’ve never been a fan of “Pirates of the Caribbean“. Instead I spent a little time with my dog. The day’s rest had done him some good. He wolfed down the meat we’d got for him from the carvery, and he hobbled about to get the tennis ball that the puppy had left. He then settled himself for the evening and we had tea. Cheese, biscuits, crisps and half a bottle of port. Not too shabby…
29 May 2017 (Monday) - Bank Holiday
For once I slept like a log; it was such a shame that "er indoors TM" forgot to turn off her 7.30 am alarm. I came down to find my little dog in his basket. He tried to jump and and winced in pain. He’s getting better, but he doesn’t understand “taking it easy”.
Looking at Facebook this morning it seems I missed the mother of all thunderstorms last night. I then sparked up the email circuit with something of a sense of dread. I’d had a geo-complaint yesterday about the series of geocaches which I put out round Great Chart. I was told “Please may I suggest that you check this circular as from cache number 7 the footpaths are not very clear to follow, neither are the instructions on each cache. I know the aim of the game is not to give it away, but follow the footpath isn't a great help when there are multiple footpaths, and many of the routes are now not accessible due to horses occupying the fields. We have just ended up in someone's yard, with guard dogs who were very aggressive. I am with a seasoned catcher who has done many circulars and we have both decided to abandon this route. We have 2 kids with us and this route has become very dangerous. Please can I urge you to do this circular as a maintenance check, with the children in mind?”
What can I say without giving offence? To address the various points: The footpaths *are* clear. From point 7 you follow a straight line along the path you are already on. You then go through a gate and continue the straight line to point 8 and point 9 where you take a left turn. The path from the left turn is then obvious with several makeshift gates through electric fences. There may well be multiple footpaths going off in various directions, but that is where having a map and a GPS arrow come into play to help you find the ones you need. This is a feature of *every* geo-walk I’ve been on, and I’ve done an average of three a month over the last five years.
Horses have always been in the fields. A horse in a field does *not* make it inaccessible if there is a public footpath there. (You might be frightened of horses, but that is nothing I can do anything about).
If they’ve ended up where they shouldn’t be, what can I say.
I looked up the complainant’s profile. They’ve *really* not hunted much Tupperware. I won’t “name and shame” but to my mind a “seasoned cacher” finds far more than an average of forty three caches per year.
And I’d take issue with their claim to have done “many circulars”; including the half of my circular they gave up on yesterday they’ve done two in the entire time they’ve been caching.
Yesterday I gave them a polite response asking exactly what they wanted of me, but they didn’t reply. I suppose I could take Treacle for a walk tomorrow to have a look-see…
With a little time on my hands I went into the garden and disassembled one of the water features. This one had got seriously crudded up with the leaf litter from not-so-nice-next-door’s clematis over the years. I’d pressure-washed it clean a few weeks ago, and I relocated it and rebuilt it using the bits I got from Whelan’s yesterday. I was quite pleased with the result. I then managed to get my car close to home and I got our new statue in place. By the time I’d pulled weeds out of the shingle, scrubbed the paddling pool and sorted the patio I was quite worn out.
Nice-next-door then said hello over the fence. He (very politely) pointed out a broken fence panel behind the shed. I shall sort that just as soon as I can get a new panel. And then I’ve one or two more garden projects in mind. I need to overhaul our big fountain, I want ot go back to Whelan’s to get the makings of some raised beds, and I want a huge pot in which I will have either a small acer or a large bonsai. And I need to paint all the fence panels with something or other.
A couple of days ago I whinged about how I dislike gardening. In all honesty it is a futile pastime; fighting the second law of thermodynamics can only end in failure. But the pastime does seem to suck you in.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a spot of lunch, and I set off in the general direction of work. As is always the case on a Bank Holiday Monday, all the roads in Ashford were blocked up in all directions. It took me fifteen minutes to drive to B&Q; I can walk it in two minutes. They had fence panels, but wanted to charge me twenty quid to deliver it. When I need one I shall carry one home; I’m not paying twenty quid.
I then went to Wickes, but they wanted thirty quid to deliver a fence panel. Mind you they did have the water resistant electrical connecting device I needed.
I stopped off at Maidstone’s cheapo-bargain shop. They were doing the Ronseal fence stain at half the normal price, so I bought twenty litres of the stuff.
I got to work just as the rain started.
I don’t *really* mind working on a Bank Holiday; that and night and weekend work goes with working in a hospital. But what boils my piss is the insinuation (and outright declaration) that I barely work at all compared to others. I have the same amount of hours at work as most other people; I just work them at different times…
30 May 2017 (Tuesday) - Late Shift
Treacle made herself comfortable on the bed last night, and I tried to make myself comfortable around her. For the most part I failed.
I got up and fussed Fudge. He’s on the mend, but oh-so-slowly. I scoffed brekkie, and as I scoffed I reviewed the recent logs on my Great Chart geo-series. Every time someone finds a geocache they have to write a little story. Most people write nothing of consequence and (to be honest) since I have getting on for a hundred active caches I don’t read the “Found it” logs. But having had that message over the weekend I thought I’d better investigate. It seems that a few people have had issues at the half-way point of the series.
Fudge was too poorly to walk, so I took Treacle for a little outing. We drove out to Great Chart and started our walk. I thought I might as well do a complete maintenance run whilst I was at it, and I got a bit cross. Inside each geocache is a bit of paper to sign. To stop it getting wet I put that bit of paper inside a film pot which goes in the cache.
Most of the film pots had gone. Now bearing in mind that the paper inside was still there and that the caches were still there, where had the film pots gone. Stolen by other cachers for their own use? If people are that poor I’ll buy them new ones to save myself the inconvenience of having to replace them.
We had a good walk through fields and woods meeting goats, horses and cows. Treacle even chased a squirrel. All was fine until we got just past point 8 where the footpath had been “sort of” blocked, but was passable. From here on in was somewhere that people had often whinged but the footpath was clearly marked. There *were* horses in the field but there always had been.
But when I got to the lane at point 10 I saw a notice from the council which was all about a statutory footpath diversion. Effectively that stuffed up my route. We then followed the route back to the car collecting the caches as we went. I’ve archived the lot; the walk is impassable now.
One thing which boils my piss about geocaching is that people start off by finding a magnetic jobbie stuck to a road sign and then just carry on. Very few people come to it with any experience of hiking in the countryside. Few people realise that you can’t just randomly wander wherever you like. And few people realise that maps are different. Open Street maps are simply rubbish; they don’t feature most of the rights of way. Most people won’t use Ordnance Survey maps as they cost. And most people don’t realise the difference between a closed gate and a statutory footpath closure.
If people had told me there was a statutory order some months ago…
We came home and I wasted a few minutes trying to repair a water feature. But I didn’t have the right attachment so I gave up.
I was just about to pootle on-line when I thought I’d check the house phone for messages. There was a message from the police following up on my call about nutty-next-door that I made to them on Sunday. They asked if I could phone them back and quote reference blah-de-blah. So I did. Apparently my ex-neighbour is alive and well, but “Damien” (Force Number 59827) made it crystal clear that he was far too busy to do anything other than say that he was alive, and rather insinuated that what this chap does with his life is none of my business. I suggested he checked the records to find out why I was concerned; “Damien” said he was too busy.
My phone then upgraded its operating system (which was nice for it) and I then emptied the photos I’d taken over the Bank Holiday weekend and put them on-line. Bearing in mind I’d worked for a large part of two of the days I was amazed to see just how much I fitted in between leaving work on Friday and going back this afternoon.
Never a dull moment.
I drove to work via the Aylesford aquatic centre where I go the right attachment for the water feature, and then on to work….
31 May 2017 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift
With a little time on my hands this morning I set about fixing the water feature for which I bought the new pump yesterday. I had the thing working in ten minutes. It was a shame that I had to buy a pump; the pump I bought was twice the price of the ones on eBay, but it had the advantage of actually being fit for purpose. Internet shopping is all very well when they send you the right thing.
I then took Fudge to the vets. He was walking *really* awkwardly this morning; so much so I thought he’d dislocated his left shoulder. I got to the vets before opening time and they kindly saw us right away. We were in and out in less than five minutes. The vet agreed with my theory that he’s overdone it in the river last week, but her manipulations of "Furry Face TM" showed it was his left hip that was painful, and so he was walking oddly on it which made his shoulder look squafty.
He’s on tramidol and “official” rest.
Pausing only briefly to collect "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM", I then drove down to Hastings to see my mummy and daddy. They were well; bearing in mind how ill they have been over this last year they both seemed to be on the mend.
As we drove home "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" was expounding her theories on religion. She’s decided to have one, but doesn’t agree with any of the established faiths. I wouldn’t put it past her to devise one of her own; she was talking about something to do with reincarnation. I expect this will blow over, the last thing I need is her as a religious nut.
We got home: I went to bed for the afternoon and slept for four hours, which was good. I got up and spent an hour of so putting my new Ronseal wood jollop onto the fence. Regular readers of this drivel may recall I painted the fences once before. Fence painting is a slow process. Last time it took an hour and a quarter to do each fence panel. I’ve got over twenty to do. That should keep me out of mischief.
I’m off to the night shift now…