1 May 2022 (Sunday) - Out With The Old
I would have thought that a night shift and a bottle of hock would have meant for a good night’s sleep last night. Sadly they didn’t. I woke just after three o’clock and lay awake for hours, finally nodding off just before the alarm told me “get your arse out of its pit” (it quite literally says that!)
I got my arse out of its pit, came downstairs and spent an entertaining five minutes following the puppies round the garden with a trowel. You need the trowel to gather turds right away before Bailey eats them. It is a shame that unlike Pogo who does one epic dump, the puppies do *lots* of really little poops which they scatter all over the place.
I mention this is case any of my loyal readers are considering following in my footsteps and getting a puppy; I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking it is all lovey-dovey and one big happy adventure.
Morgan and Bailey ate the bathroom rug whilst I had a shave. Being the first of the month I got out a new razor blade and sliced myself quite impressively with it.
It was at this point that “er indoors TM” got her arse out of its pit and at which I immediately resumed my role as “second favourite human”; none of the dogs make any secret about who is their favourite.
I made some toast (whilst I still could), scoffed it then set off Folkestone-wards. Pausing only briefly (for geocachical reasons) in Sellinge I collected “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, Big Jake and Darcie WaaWaa and fetched them all home.
“My Boy TM” and Cheryl were waiting for us with “er indoors TM”. The idea was for all of us to spend the weekend stripping out the new kitchen in readiness for the new one’s arrival later in the week. But with a little judicious hammer-work and power-screwdrivering we had the job all done in just over two hours. Mind you when I say “we had the job all done in just over two hours” I think it fair to say that all I did was carry wreckage outside.
After a few minutes were spent tidying up I popped up to the KFC to get us all lunch which we scoffed on the garden table for the simple reason that there was nowhere else to scoff it; everywhere else was loaded up with clutter from the kitchen.
The plan had been to spend the afternoon continuing to disassemble the kitchen but having finished far earlier than anticipated we collected Ro-Ro and all went for a little walk round the Warren. I don’t go there for a walk very often as there are quite a few hills there, but it isn’t a bad place to go.
We had a good walk; it was good having the family wolf-pack back up to full strength. But I did puff a little going up and down the hills.
It was rather good getting the tribe together today. We really should do it more often…
And now we’ve got a rather trying week or so coming up. The living room is packed to overflowing with that which has come out of the kitchen. The kitchen has a cooker and sink. The microwave is perched on top of the fridge, and the only work surface is the top of the washing machine. The sooner the new kitchen gets installed the better…
I’m expecting the worst, but hoping for the best…
2 May 2022 (Monday) - Bank Holiday? Working !
I woke with something of a backache, so got up and quietly crept to the bathroom so as not to disturb the puppies, even though they would seem to sleep though anything. Once shaved (without lacerating myself) I then chivvied the puppies outside to do that which puppies do. They are getting better at "doing" outside; we still have the little accident, but then that's a puppy thing, and chivvying them outside reduces the accidents.
We came in where they both asked to be picked up, and I popped them onto the sofa next to me where they had a brief scrap, then settled and slept. I watched more "Orange is the New Black" in which absolutely no-one "flopped them out"; something of a first for that show.
And then I set off to work. We had been asked for our Bank Holiday working preferences quite early in the year; I must have volunteered to have been working today... but having done Friday night I wonder if I did volunteer for today or just got given the shift? What with sleeping most of Saturday my Bank Holiday has been one day (yesterday), and much of that was stripping out the kitchen. I didn't want to work today; I would rather have had today off. I might have gone to Jack in the Green in Hastings. I might have gone for a rather good dog walk. I might have sat in the garden drinking myself silly. I might even have done a tip run to shift the kitchen wreckage we generated yesterday.
Instead I went to work.
As I drove up the motorway I listened to the pundits on the radio; flicking between DAB and FM. I'm sorry, but if anyone tells me they can hear a difference, I don't believe them.
The pundits on the DAB and FM were talking about how the cost of living is going through the roof, and were interviewing a chicken farmer. The chap was talking about how grain prices (for feeding the chickens) are rocketing what with a war going on where the grain comes from, and what with all the disruption at our ports. The chap said the cost of feeding the chickens is now four hundred quid a month more than it was last year, and that before long chicken will cost as much as beef.
As I listened to him I couldn't help but look at the miles of lorries queued up on what was supposed to be the coast-bound carriageway of the M20. How many of those drivers had been there all night? How many are going to put up with those working conditions? That's why the cost of living is going up and up and up - having all these lorries full of whatever it is we want to buy sitting idle can't be cheap.
There was also talk about the leader and deputy leader of the Labour party who (like the Prime Minister) are also accused of having staged piss-ups during lockdown. After a few minutes on-line I found this which speaks volumes about the Labour party.
As of last Thursday (when anyone with any sense packed up for the Bank Holiday weekend) the Labour party were six points ahead of the Conservatives in the popularity polls. Six points ? Is that all? With a Prime Minister who has been caught out in his own lies time and again, a Prime Minister and a Chancellor who have both just had fines for breaking the law, and Conservative MPs caught re-handed watching filth in the House of Commons, why aren't the Labour party sixty points ahead?
Mind you the drippling democraps, tree huggers, and all the others put together can only scrape up just over a quarter of the poll. What is wrong with our country's political system?
I got to work and had a rather dull day mostly spent sulking about all the other things I could have been doing. And with work and sulking done I came home and spent an hour in the front garden sawing up the larger fragments of the old kitchen into more manageable sized bits. One of the disadvantages of having a smaller car is that (obviously) I can’t get as much into it as I could the three larger cars I had previously.
I can probably shift the kitchen wreckage in two car-loads now… if only I can park the car anywhere near home to load it up tomorrow.
We then fed the koi… and in the aftermath Bailey fell in the pond. It had to happen sooner or later; now we know that (like her brother) she can swim.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner; an incredibly good bit of dinner bearing in mind what we’ve now got as a kitchen is lacking (to say the least). I think it fair to say that the kitchen right now doesn’t come close to what we used to have when we went camping.
Hopefully the nice man starts building the new kitchen tomorrow…
3 May 2022 (Tuesday) - Four Pints of Mild
I don't mind taking the puppies into the garden at far-too-early o'clock to do their business. But I'd rather that all I had to do was stand and wait whist they did their business. I'd rather not have to watch Bailey "like a pork" (to coin a phrase) to check she doesn't eat any turds she might find, and I'm not at all keen on trying to get the turds she is trying to eat out of her mouth.
The poor little puppy really didn't understand why I wasn't keen on "dog kisses" as I watched "Orange is the New Black" this morning.
The monthly Munzee Clan War started today. As part of this month's challenge I have to Munz forty "Points of Interest". Don't be fooled by the name - they are dull, but I managed to Munz a quarter of the monthly requirement before setting off up the motorway to work.
As I drove my piss boiled. With petrol prices going through the roof, and my combined leccie and gas bill up over eighty quid a month on what they were a few months ago, the fuel giant BP has announced record-breaking profits. The pundits on the radio wheeled on the leader of the dribbling democraps who said that if the government slaps windfall taxes on BP (in a fit of pique) then BP will probably stop investing in the UK. He's probably got a point. This is sadly a practical demonstration of "market forces" in which those with loads of money get loads more, and those without end up without even a pot in which to piss.
And there was a lot of talk about how the American supreme court is looking to outlaw abortions in the USA.
Pro-life campaigners annoy me. How many are really sincere in their beliefs, and how many are blindly following the teachings of a church which has told them what to think for their entire life. I was reminded of someone with whom I used to work who now is an internationally famous pro-life campaigner. A very intelligent woman all the time the local priest wasn't around. But when he was about, she blindly followed any old claptrap he spouted, no matter how patently ridiculous. I looked her up on the Internet today. I won't give a link, but describing herself on her Twitter profile as “passionately pro-life, pro-marriage & pro-family” she is clearly drawing a veil over the husband and child she left in Africa twenty years ago.
I listened to the radio for rather longer than usual this morning. A lorry had had a blow-out on the M20, and bearing in mind that only half of the M20 is in use these days it doesn't take much to stop the thing dead in its tracks. I crawled at a snail's pace for over five miles as queues of traffic tried to get past it.
I had planned on a Munzee mission near work before I started, but all the time I would have spent scanning bar codes stuck to lamp posts was wasted queuing up on the motorway.
Work was much as it ever is, but being on an early shift was good. With no broken-down lorries in the way I got home far quicker than I got to work, and rather than going in to the house I spent half an hour loading up much of the wreckage of the kitchen into the back of my car. I rather thought that the dogs would be barking through the window at me, but they were rather preoccupied with the nice man who was doing “New Kitchen Phase I”.
“New Kitchen Phase I” involved replacing the rather naff glass partition between the living room and kitchen. Yesterday I realised it still had the masking tape on it from where I’d painted round it maybe twenty years ago.
We settled the dogs and went up to The County Hotel where several of us met up for a meal and a catch-up. It was good to meet up with friends we’d nod seen for months (years), and four pints of mild slipped down far too easily…
4 May 2022 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift
There’s no denying that the fourth pint of mild last might was something of a mistake. The alarm woke me at seven o’clock this morning and I came down to find the puppies were awake. By judiciously following them outside with a trowel I managed to avoid any poops getting eaten this morning.
Leaving “er indoors TM” with the dogs I drove round to the tip and joined the queue. As I waited I deployed Munzees and listened to the pundits on the radio interviewing the Environment Secretary who seemed to treat every question he was asked with utter contempt. When asked about some old woman who goes on endless bus journeys (as the bus is warmer than her cold house) the idiot just said that the Prime Minister was right when he said the old woman should be grateful for her bus pass.
The tip opened on time, but there was something of a delay because I wasn’t on the list of people allowed in this morning. I had my booking reference, but the jobsworth guarding the gate wouldn’t let anyone in who wasn’t on his list. He didn’t want to know about the confirmation email I had received; apparently *if* I had a booking reference then I would be on his list. I turned his logic round and pointed out that since I did have a booking reference I *was* on his list. The chap checked again and (lo and behold) I was on the list.
Having delayed everyone needlessly (being second in the queue there were quite a few cars behind me) we all finally got to unload our rubbish.
It took far longer to unload this morning than it had taken to load up last night, and I drove back home where I filled the car with more rubbish for tomorrow’s tip run.
I then took the dogs to the park for a little walk. Our walk was somewhat plagued by cyclists, as had my earlier driving been. Cyclists have always been something of a law unto themselves, but today they were flying down the pavements, shooting through red traffic lights, wobbling about on the wrong side of the road… they really do seem to do what they like when they like.
We wandered through the park, and then went on round some of the roads nearby on something of a Munzee mission, capping Greenies (as one does) in the hope of finding a Qrate. I found two. I also found a nutter in a mobility scooter who followed us shouting “chicken chicken chicken” at the dogs for no reason I could fathom.
We eventually shook hm off by going down an alley too narrow for his scooter.
With walk walked we all then had a little sleep on the sofa until the nice man arrived to carry on sorting the kitchen. Having woofed at him a little, the dogs then ignored him mostly. The puppies did steal some masking stuff he was using, and Morgan did get a white nose (somehow) but they eventually got bored with him and went back to sleep.
After an hour or so the dogs woke and were fractious, so whilst the nice man sealed up the kitchen and made loads of dust I took the dogs into the garden where we did a few minutes of “dog school” in which Pogo and Treacle showed Morgan and Bailey how to do “sit”. Morgan had a fair stab at it but if this had been a proper school, Bailey would have been wearing a dunce’s cap.
“er indoors TM” had to go to the office for the morning; she came home at lunch time and I went to bed for three hours, waking to find that one of the puppies had crapped on “er indoors TM”’s phone.
Going to the night shift in a few minutes will be a blessed relief ...
5 May 2022 (Thursday) - After the Night Shift
I wouldn’t say that last night was one of the worse night shifts, but it is always good to see the relief arrive. I set off homewards down the motorway listening to the pundits on the radio spewing their drivel. And drivel it was. I listened to the “Thought for the Day” and seriously considered writing to the speaker to formally apologize for being a white man.
Whilst historically there has been a lot of very bad things committed by various groups of people against various other groups, I didn’t kill Stephen Lawrence, and neither did millions of other white middle-aged men. The woman speaking on the radio this morning was seriously implying that every white middle aged man should feel responsible for every racist act ever committed.
I drove to the tip and found someone different on the gate. Unlike yesterday there was no “jobsworth attitude” and I soon unloaded the last of the kitchen rubbish. As I unloaded I saw the nice man with the hawk was at the tip. The hawk (and the nice man) visits several times each week to keep the seagulls and other vermin away. The nice man saw my Ringwood Brewery hoodie, and thought I worked there. Apparently he likes their beers, often stays with friends near the brewery, and had no idea that the brewery had a shop.
With rubbish unloaded I put the car seats back, re-installed the dog-proofing around the boot, then drove home to find the new kitchen had arrived. It had been delivered before I’d finished the night shift. Mind you that’s “delivered”; not “installed”. The bits of the new kitchen are all filling one end of the living room, and all of the contents of the living room have been doubled up at the other end. I rolled my eyes at the mess and went to bed.
I woke after three hours when my CPAP machine stopped working. It stopped with everything else when the nice man doing the kitchen had to pull the power for some reason or other.
I came downstairs to find that the living room was still rammed wall-to-wall with all sorts of stuff… apparently as well as our new cooker we’ve got one for someone in Bexhill as well. Having that taken away tomorrow will free up some space. But seeing how tight we were for space I took the bigger dogs out to somewhere where it wasn’t quite so claustrophobic.
We went to Orlestone woods where we encountered an odd fellow. As we walked we caught up with some chap and his dog… I say “caught up” – we got to within thirty yards of him when he looked back at us in utter panic, then ran on. And we caught up with him again, and he again ran on. And so it continued until he eventually took one turning and we took another.
As we walked we couldn’t help but notice that the squirrels were out in force. I lost count of the amount of the squirrine menace that was chased up trees. It was a shame that both dogs had to run through the swamp several times, but there it was.
With walk walked we had a bath (well, some of us did), and then we had another instalment of “Dog School” in the garden. Treacle and Pogo didn’t seem very fussed about taking part; they really did exude an aura of “been there, done that”, but little Morgan seems to have mastered “sit”. Little Bailey doesn’t seem to have a clue, but she’ll get the hang of it eventually… or she won’t.
With no kitchen, “er indoors TM” popped up the road to the kebab shop, and we had a rather good dinner, marred only by Treacle (of all dogs) screaming for scraps. I wish she wouldn’t…
6 May 2022 (Friday) - Before the Late Shift
With no toaster or oven or any way to warm bread at all, I thought I might have cereal for brekkie. With the remans of the old kitchen forced into a very crowded living room I managed to find a bowl and a spoon. The cereals themselves eventually came to light behind the new kitchen units… I could see them, but there was absolutely no way of getting to them, so I made do with a cup of coffee and once I’d had a go at the kitchen window hinges with some WD40 I cleared up dog spew. “er indoors TM” got some new dog food yesterday. Those hounds that didn’t have the trots had blown.
The joys of dogs…
Having cleared up pretty much all of the various canine outpourings that I could find (yuk!) I took Pogo and Treacle down to the woods for a walk. We came out of the house to find the car which has been parked outside for five weeks (literally hadn’t moved for five weeks) was gone. Result! Parking is always at a premium round our way.
As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about yesterday’s by-elections. The conservatives had lost a lot of seats, but there was no clear winner between the Labour party, the dribbling democraps and the Greens (who are slowly but surely becoming a force to be reckoned with). It would seem that the country has had enough of the Tories, but isn’t sure about who to replace them with, and all the time the anti-Tory vote is split, there is no effective opposition.
We got to the woods, and bearing in mind that the last two trips to the woods have been followed with dog bath time, I planned a route avoiding as many swamps as I could. There was a minor hiccup when Treacle managed to jump a fence and get into a field where she shouldn’t be, but a triumph for whistle training soon had her back with me.
We had a minor episode when we were about to leave. I opened the boot of the car as I do and the dogs jumped in as they do. I blew the whistle and gave them treats… and a passing idiot loudly announced to his dogs that it was treat time and brought them over in the hope of treats. Pogo and Treacle can barely tolerate another dog of our wolf-pack getting anything; let alone some stranger. Both of my dogs flew from the boot and chased the intruders away. The passing idiot was rather taken aback. It was rather sad really; he honestly thought that my dogs would be only too happy to share. But he openly admitted that his dogs certainly wouldn’t share treats with strange dogs.
I certainly do attract them, don’t I?
We came home and didn’t need a bath which was a result. Leaving the dogs with “er indoors TM” I set off in the general direction of work. As I drove up the motorway I listened to “Women’s Hour” in frank amazement. It is no secret that women are biologically equipped to have babies. Not only was this (apparently!) devised by a man, the fact that there are no artificial wombs was also down to men. And there was then a fifteen minute “what-if” session in which some perfect world was imagined having been brought about by artificial wombs. The fact that these are purely in the realms of science-fiction didn’t seem to be a stumbling block for planning a world with them, and the fact that artificial wombs are purely in the realms of science-fiction was somehow a male plot.
“Women’s Hour” amazes me. Whenever I listen to it can’t get over the amount of vitriol spewed at all men.
I thought I’d get some petrol, and so joined the queue. Queues for petrol? Had the stupidity of panic buying started again? Apparently not. Apparently Friday morning is always busy at the petrol pumps. I shall remember that.
And having got to work early I then Munz-ed like a thing possessed. Having planned to cap twenty Qrewzees I got to open two Qrates as well. Result.
And so to work for what was the busiest late shift for some time… I quite like the late start because I can get all sorts of things done in the morning and have all sorts of adventures… but the late finish isn’t so good.
7 May 2022 (Saturday) - Before Another Late Shift
I chivvied the puppies round the garden as I do most mornings where both did that which was expected of them. With no chance of brekkie this morning and rain forecast I took Treacle and Pogo out. I’d had reports of a missing geocache in Kings Wood. I’ve had reports of missing geocaches of mine all over the place, but Hemsted woods is too far away, and “Out in the Sticks” now has signs about keeping dogs on leads because of copious amounts of rat poison about.
We were minutes from the lower car park at Kings Wood when my watch rattled. A new Adventure Lab cache series had gone live not two miles down the road from where we were.
So I changed plans in the hope that I might get FTF on some lab caches.
We followed the sat nav to the Devil’s Kneading Trough. Have you ever been there? It is at the very top of the North Downs. We walked across a field to our first location where we had to answer a question about a mill stone. Then we went all the way down to the bottom of the downs for our next port of call. Then all the way up again. And all the way down again. We even managed to take a few photos and screen shots.
With five questions answered we had the information to find a physical geocache which was (you guessed it) back up again. First to Find on five Adventure Lab caches and one physical cache. There was a minor issue in that I couldn’t see the physical one on the geo-map to do the admin. I messaged the chap who had set it all up only to be told that the geo-feds had given the location of the physical cache the thumbs down… even though there have been geocaches within spitting distance of that place before.
If I had to describe the way geocaching is run using only one word, that word would be “inconsistent”.
We came home where we washed the fox poo off of Treacle (she learned how to roll in the stuff from Fudge), and had a cuppa (as we can get to the kettle).
“er indoors TM” set off shopping, and I sat with four sleeping dogs for as long as I could before settling them and setting off to Kingswood (the one near Maidstone). The plan for tomorrow involves hunting out Tupperware secreted in the area, and the location of one of them involves a two stage puzzle. The first part uses "What Three Words" to take you to a point outside a post office, and the second part of the puzzle is based on the notice board there (which you can't see from Google Street View). I counted the letters on the header board, I counted the legs and the keyholes... and then spent fifteen minutes getting progressively more and frustrated because when I subtracted one from five I didn't get four. Have I ever mentioned that I really do have a degree in mathematics?
Having eventually got a green light from the checker I shared the location with those who needed to know it, then set off to work. I had a quick bit of macaroni cheese, the cracked on with the late shift whilst I sulked.
Working at the weekends means I get time off during the week. But it means I can miss out too. There was a big meeting of hunters of Tupperware at the crazy golf in Hastings today which I missed.
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was staging a big family get-together this afternoon featuring four generations of family which I also missed.
Instead I sulked as I worked. Today’s late shift was rather arduous. As was yesterday’s… Can’t say I’m keen on this.
8 May 2022 (Sunday) - Kingswood
“er indoors TM” spent a bit of time sorting the carnage of the house yesterday and we now have a tiny bit of space in what was and what will be the kitchen. Not much, but enough for the toaster. Oh, how I’ve missed having brekkie.
I scoffed toast whilst I had a look at the Internet. It was still there, and pretty much the same as ever. Quite a lot of it was squabbles in the aftermath of last week’s elections. So many people follow political parties in much the same way that they follow football teams. I know of people who would vote Conservative or Labour even if they were led by Satan himself and had policies of eating babies; purely because that party is “their party”. None of the people squabbling had any idea of the actual policies advocated by their political choice, and (quite frankly) didn’t care about them either.
This is what is wrong with our so-called “democracy” isn’t it?
Mind you a friend of a friend was posting photos of his holiday in Svalbard. This is somewhere I would *really* like to go , but I’ve heard tell it ain’t cheap. This chap was saying that the going rate up there for a tube of Pringles is four quid. That is exactly double the price in Tesco.
I also saw I had over fifty emails of which I wanted/needed maybe three. So many emails from recruitment agencies asking me to join LinkedIn. Are professional blood testers in such short supply? Bearing in mind that most hospital labs have vacancies they can’t fill, I suspect they (we) are.
We got ourselves and the dogs together and set off a little later than usual. We drove up to Kingswood (the one near Maidstone) where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and set off on a little walk (as always) guided by a series of geocaches.
We started off walking round the rather pretty village, then moved into the woods which were beautiful. The bluebells were in full bloom, the footpaths were clearly marked (if somewhat at odds with the maps), and there weren’t too many normal people getting in our way. We found a rather good spot for lunch, and watched a rather large buzzard flying about. I kept a close eye on the pups; I don’t think the buzzard would have had them… but he was certainly big enough.
We met a couple of other dogs, but it was little Bailey (the smallest by far of the wolf-pack) who kicked off.
I took few photos as we walked.
Geocaching-wise it was a really good walk. There were four puzzles to be solved before we left home. Straightforward ones, but one I had to work at. There was a range of container sizes, from tiny up to rather huge. Some were straightforward hides, some not so; including one unusual container the like of which I had never seen before (in over fourteen thousand finds). There were two tree climbs which defeated us; we could see the caches up both trees. We couldn’t get high enough up the first one; the second one needed ropes and climbing equipment.
However there was a minor issue… Each cache was titled “Kingswood Caching” and then had a little bit of title which was unique to each hide. However on the GPS screen all I could see was the “Kingswood Caching” bit. Personally I’d rather the caches in the series had started with a number to guide us round; without a number we were dependent on judicious map work to ensure we didn’t miss any of the caches. But that’s just a piddling detail really. Someone had taken a lot of time and put in a lot of effort to give us a guided walk through some rather pretty woods, for which I am very grateful.
We came home, and as I posted photos to the internet so “er indoors TM” and all four dogs snored like things possessed. Pogo and Treacle (and “er indoors TM”) are used to the distance, but was it too much for the puppies? Possibly. Mind you they were carried for a lot (most) of the walk.
“er indoors TM” sorted a bit of dinner, then once I’d found the iron (it took some finding!) I ironed shirts whilst watching an episode of “Orange in the New Black”. What with having the contents of the kitchen and the living room in the way, this was the first telly program I’d watched for a while. As I ironed “er indoors TM” took the puppies to visit “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and to collect a large tank for her. Apparently “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” is getting a pet axolotl…
9 May 2022 (Monday) - This n That
I woke feeling rather knackered, but I did wake probably earlier than I would have liked (as I so often do). Taking care not to wake the puppies I crept downstairs, had a shave, *then* woke the puppies. Bailey was keen to see me; Morgan looked as knackered as I felt. I carried them outside where they did their things (as puppies do), then settled them, got dressed and set off on a little Munzee mission before work.
I've found two spots in town where I can park and between the two places I can get eight Points of (rather dull) Interest Munzees. From there I set off up the motorway and diverted off at Junction six for four more of the things. As I drove the talk on the radio was of little else but the ongoing situation in Ukraine. But there was a little else. There was talk of Sir Kier Starmer who (like the Prime Minister) is accused of breaking lockdown rules. Did he? I don't know. But as it was mentioned this morning, no politician can ever get on with anything all the time there is scandal hanging over their head.
There was also an interview with one of the head honchos of one of the country's biggest power companies (was it Scottish Power?) who warned of the country's gas and leccie bills going up another thousand quid per year before too much longer. The chap had a point though. The government decided to sell off the country's power supply and make it a profit-making industry many years ago. (It's called "capitalism", isn't it?) But then the government put a cap on how much these companies can charge their customers. And so the power companies are now in the daft position that they have to run at a loss. How can it be right that they buy something for a quid but are legally not allowed to sell it on for more than ninety pence? How can that possibly work? The obvious answer is for the company not having to find profit for all its shareholders... or am I just an idealistic old leftie?
I got to work where I realised I'd left home without having had any brekkie. Woops. Fortunately the works branch of M&S does croissants. The works canteen where I used to work thirty years ago did croissants too. I could get two croissants and a cup of coffee there for thirty pence. Today one croissant alone costs me a quid. There's inflation for you... Or capitalism.
Work was… frankly too much like hard work for my liking today. I was pleased when it was time to go home. I came home and took the bigger dogs to the woods where we had a good walk and managed to avoid most of the normal people. Treacle waded through some mud, but only ankle-deep. It soon washed off once we got home.
Once home I fed the dogs whilst “er indoors TM” went bowling, and then set the washing machine scrubbing my smalls. The thing worked intermittently – I eventually found the problem was that the switch of the power socket was on the iffy side. Hopefully that switch will be replaced along with the rest of the old stuff in the kitchen…
I’d better check that it is on the list…
If only the puppies would calm down. Pogo and Treacle are hiding from them; the evening has been like living with a pair of whirlwinds…
10 May 2022 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift
With the toaster and kettle precariously balance on the washing machine I made some toast and coffee. Then I (equally precariously) balanced plate and mug on the assorted rubbish on the table whilst I struggled myself into the sofa. It is ten days since we stripped the old kitchen out, and I am so pleased with the chap we’ve got fitting the kitchen. Despite no end of setbacks including having had other people’s units delivered, having had to get replacements for damaged units, and having found the supplier’s measurements were wrong, the chap has taken it all in his stride and worked wonders.
As I scoffed toast I had a look at the Internet as I so most mornings.
A few people had seen the posting I made last night to the local geocaching Facebook page. I’ve decided to archive two of my series. One has been out quite long enough and has run its course. The landowner of the other has put up signs saying to keep dogs on leads as he’s putting down rat traps baited with poison. Both would seem to have missing caches on them, and (quite frankly) if those getting enjoyment from the walks can’t be arsed to replace a missing pot as they walk by I can’t be arsed to make a special journey to do so either. I had this naïve idea if I clear these spaces then other people might put out caches, but having looked at Project GC it would seem that I am the county’s third most prolific hiders of geocachers, and only four of the top ten are still active in the hobby.
Bearing in mind that anything might happen in the house today I got the lawn mowed whilst we still had some leccie to power the lawnmower. That didn’t take long, and then I took the two bigger dogs up to Kings Wood. We walked for quite some way and had had a very good walk… In over thirty years of visiting Kings Wood (at various times) I’ve never seen horses up there. We met two loads today.
I must admit I was rather reluctant to come home… I dreaded what I would find. And I came home to find the kitchen sink in the front garden and the outside kitchen wall apparently crumbling away.
“er indoors TM” says it will all be worth it in the end.
As the nice man bashed crumbling wall I sat and wrote up some CPD whilst the dogs got more and more wound up snapping at flies, before going to bed for the afternoon where I slept for four hours. I’m told I slept through a lot of hammering and bashing and lot of barking too….
I’m off to the night shift now. The last three shifts I’ve done have been rather stressful. If I get another I am going to seriously start thinking about retirement. I don’t mind going to work; I just don’t like doing too much of it…
11 May 2022 (Wednesday) - Bit Tired
With no kitchen, last week before the night shift I went to McDonalds and was sadly disappointed. So still with no kitchen. last night I thought I might have a sandwich before work. I stopped off at the Larkfield Sainsburys, put a sandwich and *loads* of other stuff into my trolley and queued up. And waited. And waited. As always there were nowhere near enough tills for the amount of customers... but that is a rant for another time. When I eventually came to pay I was told that the sandwich I wanted had been "withdrawn from sale". Other customers were finding the same. None of us were offered any explanation or alternative, and all the assistant could do was give a rather sickly smile as she clearly had no idea what else to do. All she could say was that the sandwich had been "withdrawn from sale", and she repeated that like a stuck record. I told her that if an item is "withdrawn from sale" it should not be on the shelves, and (to be fair to her) I also told her it was not fair to have untrained staff dealing with this sort of problem. Her smile didn't falter or flicker... she really was like a robot which had been programmed to grimace when events exceeded its capabilities.
Leaving twenty quid's worth of other stuff at the till I walked off (as did the woman on the next till), and drove up to Morrisons which (in all honesty) wasn't much better. I got what I wanted for overnight. I didn't get the red wine though; the very same stuff had been two quid cheaper in Sainsburys.
As I came to pay some officious busybody in a hi-his jacket bellowed in my ear that we should all get a move on as the store was closing in five minutes. He then bellowed at a passing assistant that the fruit at the checkout should be reduced in price to ten pence. I said I'd have some of that for ten pence, but I was just about to pay...
I couldn't have it for ten pence until "Martin" had re-priced it. But "Martin" didn't know how to operate the re-pricing gadget. And having said that I'd like some of the reduced price stuff, the woman on the checkout refused to scan any of my stuff until "Martin" had done his thing... even though "Martin" was quite openly saying he didn't know how to.
I had to be quite rude before the woman gave up on the idea of selling me cheap fruit. Why do I attract these idiots?
I got to work where I scoffed a late tea. The sandwich wasn't all that good; certainly wasn't worth the aggro I'd been through to get it.
During breaks between work I did what I often do on the night shift. I read old blog entries. Last night I was reading about what I was getting up to in early 2008. Fourteen years ago I was a very active scout leader. I was a leading light in the fledgling astronomy club. I was a regular at the archaeology club, and ran a weekly Star Trek fan club. I would regularly do archery, go camping and attend beer festivals. And spend an inordinate amount of time in NeverWinter.
All whilst having a far more demanding job than I have now (much as I prefer my current job!).
There is so much that I used to do that I don't any more. How did I ever have time for it all?
Mind you, back then we had a functional kitchen. It was with a sense of "FFS" that I looked at the now-redundant old kitchen sink and dishwasher (in the front garden) as I came home this morning.
I then spent much of the day feeling like a zombie… Am I too old for night work?
12 May 2022 (Thursday) - "The Dog Ate It"
After Treacle's many attempts to push me off the bed I shoved her back two feet, and then slept rather well after that. Getting up rather later than usual I found the puppies wide awake so took them out into the garden where they embarked on a pitched battle with each other (as puppies do); showing no interest in doing that for which we'd actually gone outside. Eventually Bailey "did" something, but with Morgan still “fully loaded” I wasn't letting them loose in the house. I took them both into the bathroom with me where Morgan ate my pyjama top whilst I shaved. Fudge once ate his coat and his bed, so there is a precedent for Jackshunds eating that which they shouldn't.
I then struggled to brush my teeth as my electric toothbrush had gone flat, and I was unable to charge it as Morgan had also eaten the charger.
Being unable to locate the kettle or toaster (it's a "having no kitchen" thing) I thought I might have brekkie at work.
As I drove up a very busy motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about how Finland is applying for membership of N.A.T.O. A year or so the overwhelming majority of Finns didn't want anything to do with N.A.T.O. Now they've seen what has happened to Ukraine, they can't join quick enough. Funny that...
There was also talk about the ongoing crisis facing the NHS – the delays in getting hold of an ambulance. I don’t want to rant too much, but let’s just say that as a country we are in a sad state when the mother of a one-month-old fitting baby is told it would be quicker to get from Folkestone town centre to the William Harvey Hospital by public transport than by emergency ambulance (not that this actually happened this week !)
I got to work and got a croissant from the works branch of Marks & Spencer which I had with a cup of coffee for my breakfast. As I scoffed I saw I had emails. Yesterday when I took the dogs up to Kings Wood I'd hidden a couple of geocaches (I'm going to concentrate my geo-efforts up there from now on!). This morning the geo-Feds had given me the thumbs-up. Both of my new hides had been accepted, and I even got a souvenir for hiding them... which is more than the previous four hundred and ninety-odd had got.
I also saw I had an email from Credit Karma who told me my score had dropped by three points in the last month. They didn't tell me why, though I suspect squandering far too much money on two small dogs probably didn't help it.
I made noises about getting with work... and after five minutes the boss came up to me. Apparently several people had phoned in sick. I looked around; we seemed to have a full house. But the sickness was in Tunbridge Wells... Picking up my lunch I wandered out to the car park and had a leisurely drive along the A26.
I finally made a start a couple of hours later than I might have done, and had a rather better day than some I've had recently. As I said to anyone who would listen, I didn't mind going to Pembury; it was a day out, wasn't it?
However being at Pembury meant I was half an hour later home than I might have been. I came home to a locked house; “er indoors TM” had taken the wolf pack out with her to do some geo-maintenance.
I had a little look at what was once a kitchen (and will be again). We’ve now got a sink and what looks like a plumbed-in washing machine. The kettle and toaster are set up on a cardboard box. However the microwave seems to have disappeared. I wonder where that has gone. I expect it will turn up; most everything else has vanished and come back again over the last week or so – the kettle and toaster are particularly good at that.
I made the most of the peace and quiet, and wondered when the dogs and “er indoors TM” would be home and what dinner they would bring with them. Other than toast we can’t cook much at home…
13 May 2022 (Friday) - Before the Late Shift
I went to the loo at five o’clock and inadvertently woke the puppies. They went out and had their tiddle, and I told them “back to bed”. Amazingly they went back to their crate and settled down so I went back to my pit and settled down too. I am reliably informed that two minutes after I fell asleep the puppies started screaming, and I got up three hours later to find that “er indoors TM” had spent the rest of the night on the sofa with all four dogs.
Once I’d had a shave and brushed my teeth (with my new non-electric toothbrush) I thought I’d make toast and coffee as I could see the kettle and toaster were set up. However finding a plate, a mug, a knife and a spoon involved some serious arse-ache.
Finally having created some brekkie I squeezed myself onto the sofa and scoffed it whist peering at the Internet (like I always used to do). There was a good argument kicking off on one of the local Facebook groups in which some chap had posted footage of himself running over someone on an electric scooter; the electric scooter having sped across the road with no consideration for anything so trivial as looking to see if a car was coming. As always the keyboard warriors were out in force grumbling about electric scooters. Not one of them was brave enough to suggest going out to clear the streets of these things, which would be the obvious solution to the problem. Not that I’m in any way suggesting we form vigilante mobs to do the job that the police are either unwilling or unable to do…
There was also a squabble on one of the work-related Facebook groups in which some old codger (actually younger than me!) was griping about how apprentice blood-testers these days are all whinging about how low-paid the job is.
Well… to be fair, they are, but I can’t understand how anyone can come into the job any more unless they are doing it as a hobby or a second income whilst being funded either by a rich partner or inherited money.
When I was a lad I was full of idealistic talk about job satisfaction… several of the people with whom I had these conversations are now on ten times my salary (quite literally ten times!)
Money might not buy you happiness, but it allows you to be miserable in comfort.
With a little spare time I thought I might take Pogo and Treacle up to Kings Wood. We got as far as the traffic lights by the outlet centre, and on seeing the queues and traffic jams we would have to negotiate, I did a U-turn and (once we'd got past the juggernaut going at sixteen miles an hour in a national speed limit zone) we went to Orlestone Woods instead, where we had a very good walk. We didn't go in any swamps. We didn't bark at anyone. We had no "episodes" at all. We did chase a frankly epic squirrel, but the squirrel got away. To be honest it was so huge I did doubt it was a squirrel until it went up a tree, and judging by the size of the thing it was as well that it got away.
With walk walked we came home. Usually I would have fiddled around the house, but there was plenty of fiddling already going on in the ex-kitchen, and with plans to turn off the power and plans for a new dishwasher arriving, I thought I might be better off getting out of the way.
I drove out to Frittenden. There is a series of geocaches there that have been on the radar for some time, but the designated parking zone didn't look very good on Google Street View. It looked a whole lot better in reality. I then carried on to Sissinghurst where I bought a rather overpriced sandwich, and some bottles of beer for future walks, and then took a little detour. I thought I might see if I couldn't find two geocaches (along the same footpath) which might give me a little adventure before work. My first target (the one which was furthest away from where I'd parked) had detailed instructions about how to deal with the camouflage netting concealing it... Camouflage netting (like camouflage bags) is something on which hiders of Tupperware spend a small fortune only to have it fall apart within days. There was no camouflage netting that I could see on (or near) this one.
My second target (on the way back to the car) was a straightforward find... once I'd stepped over the turd that someone had been crapped nearby. There really was a human turd that someone had crapped out by the tree. Aren't some people delightful? I kicked leaf litter over it, did the secret geo-rituals and made my way back to the car.
I got to the works car park a little earlier than I might have done, and read my Kindle for a bit. Most days I read my Kindle. I'm getting quite into an author called Peter Cawdron right now. He's written a rather good series of books. Each one is a stand-alone book and investigates how humanity might first contact aliens.
Like all good books they feature well-developed characters and are rather thought-provoking. Imagine if First Contact wasn't a spaceship turning up on the lawn of the White House, but was actually through Twitter?
As I read I scoffed my sandwich which I washed down with a tin of vanilla-flavoured Doctor Pepper. Have you ever tried vanilla flavoured Doctor Pepper? If you haven't I wouldn't bother - it was awful.
Interestingly on 4 November 2019 I had some cherry and vanilla flavoured Doctor Pepper which I described as "wasn’t all that at all", and on 6 July 2017 I had a tin of vanilla flavoured coca-cola and that was (and I quote) "bloody awful". I've also got a vague memory of vanilla flavoured Monster Munch at a kite festival many years ago that was terrible.
I wonder if the next time I see vanilla flavoured stuff I will remember that vanilla flavour only works for ice-cream? I doubt it.
I got on with work.. in something of a sulk. Not that I am superstitious but what had I been thinking when I'd volunteered to do a late shift at a trauma centre on Friday the thirteenth. And I wasn't supposed to be at Pembury today anyway. I was supposed to me at Maidstone where they had been having a "diversity day" which I am told featured a lot of cake.
During a lull in the work I tried to book a slot at the tip for Monday to get rid of kitchen rubbish, but the works IT refused to let me. It had recognised the website for booking appointments at Ashford's tip as being "Entertainment".
As I worked so “er indoors TM” sent me a message. The new dishwasher had arrived, and some passing vagrants had knocked on the door and asked if they could have the old dishwasher that was in the front garden. That's one less thing for me to take to the tip... if I can ever book a slot.
Oh - and in closing today I would point out that today a court has ruled that calling a man "bald" is now a form of sexual harassment. It would seem that commenting on a man’s baldness in the workplace is equivalent to remarking on the size of a woman’s breasts, and receiving comments about it gives the slap-head grounds for claiming compensation.
I'll have some of that...
14 May 2022 (Saturday) - Lazy Day
Last night when I turned the lap-top off it told me it would install some updates before shutting down. After forty minutes it was still doing its thing so I went to bed.
I got up this morning to find it had eventually turned itself off, so I pressed the “on” button then I made toast in a way not unlike how I used to when camping which I hunted here, there and thither to find all the tools and ingredients. Eventually the lap-top sorted itself out, but in total it spent about an hour “updating” to end up marginally slower than it had been before it started.
I had a notification; our Munzee clan has got to level one. That’s rather good going bearing in mind there’s only me and “er indoors TM” in it. And then I looked at Facebook. Six friends had a birthday today… “six friends”. Two of them were the same person with duplicate accounts, one hadn’t actually told Facebook today was his birthday, and none of the other three have made any attempt to get in touch whatsoever for over five years.
“er indoors TM” and I took the dogs out. The plan had been a shortish walk and a pub lunch, but events had conspired against us (actually against our fellow walkers and the chief dog wrangler) so instead we just took the wolf pack to Great Chart and walked from the cricket pitch up to the river where we had great fun. I threw stones into the river and Pogo and Treacle got incredibly over-excited chasing and jumping and swimming after the stones I threw. Morgan and Bailey got incredibly over-excited because Pogo and Treacle were incredibly over-excited
We came home, where we declared “Emergency Plan B”. With little else to do we set about some of the beer in in the house. “er indoors TM” made a very good ploughman’s lunch. We scoffed and drank whilst reading books (old skool!) You can’t beat a bit of “Jeeves and Wooster”.
And then finding myself nodding off I lay down on
the sofa where I was very soon underneath a pile of dogs. We all slept for a
couple of hours before turning on the telly.
We watched the last episode of the current season of “Star Trek: Picard” in which the writers obviously though that it was time to make an effort. The episode was rather good, with lots of nods to what had gone before, with some surprises… it was just something of a shame that the writers had left it right to the end before making the effort.
And then an episode of “Bake Off: Australia” which was forty minutes shorter than you might think; it is amazing how much time you can save by fast-forwarding through the adverts.
We’ve had a rather lazy day today… but a good one.
15 May 2022 (Sunday) - Another Lazy Day
I slept like a log last night; both the puppies nor “er indoors TM” didn’t. Apparently she sat up with them until the dishwasher finished (we have a dishwasher!) I would have waited till the morning before washing dishes as the strange noise in the dark would be unsettling to baby dogs, but I was fast asleep by then.
I did have a vague plan to get up promptly this morning having had a tip-off that there would be new geocaches in Wye, but I didn’t emerge from my pit until an hour after they’d gone live. And in the world of being the first one to unearth a new Tupperware pot, an hour is an eternity. Instead I took the puppies round the garden (as I do) and then failed to stop them eating the bathroom’s doorstop as I had a shave.
I made toast and had a little look at the Internet. Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest that was on last night… and several people were pretending to be surprised about it on Facebook. We didn’t watch Eurovision last night; I’ve never seen the attraction. But then I’ve never understood the attraction of football or the Olympics or anything else that the masses lap up either. Apparently the UK came second (Note I say “The UK” and not “we”) with a song I have still to hear.
And there was a lot of consternation being expressed on one of the local Facebook pages. Yet another European lorry has been seen dangerously tail-ending other road users on the M20. This happens all the time; and I’ve had it happen to me. If you are obeying the speed limit on the dual carriageway bit of “Operation Brock” and a foreign lorry wants to go faster, they really do drive dangerously close up behind you, flashing their lights and blasting on their hooters. They get away with this partly because Kent Police are demonstrably utterly disinterested in doing anything (I’ve ranted about this ad nauseum in the past), and partly because the cameras on the automatic number plate recognition cameras don’t work on non-UK number plates.
It seems odd that the ones in Europe have no trouble recognising UK number plates…
As I scoffed toast “er indoors TM” had a fight with the new oven (we have an oven too!) She claimed you need a degree to be able to operate the thing. I’ve got some of those but kept quiet. After a lot of swearing we (she) discovered that it doesn’t start working until you close the door.
And then I had something of a shock. The puppies had been charging round the living room playing their rather vigorous version of “chase” when Bailey leapt on to the sofa with me, hotly pursued by Morgan. Both puppies can now jump onto the sofa unaided.
I then took the big dogs out. We went to the park where it looked like there was a “Tidy Up The Park” session going on. There was nothing on the “Friends of Victoria Park” Facebook page about it, but (being totally racist) it did look like everyone involved was part of the big local Nepalese community. Had they organised something?
We had a good walk… mostly. As we walked I called the dogs away from another dog sporting a bright yellow harness. The woman with the dog wanted to know what my f…ing problem was. I explained that with such a bright yellow harness, it was clearly her dog with the f…ing problem. After a little f…ing it turned out that this woman had never heard of the “Yellow Dog Project” in which a dog wearing something bright yellow is a sign to give it space.
The woman with the fake yellow dog then remarked that she wondered why everyone seemed to avoid her…
I then ran
out the hose pipe to top up the fish pond, and with
that topped up I finished off loading up the car for tomorrow’s tip run… once
I’d found where I’d left it.
Once home we watched last week’s episode of “Lego Masters: USA” which we paused half way through. As we were watching I was idly stroking Treacle when I felt something. She had a tick. That soon came out, and all four dogs were then given the third degree. No more ticks were found… I suppose bearing in mind how much they go out and about, the surprise is that we’ve not had more…
16 May 2022 (Monday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept well, as did the puppies despite me having a trip to the loo in the small hours. I’ve worked out that if I go to the loo whilst it is still dark, they don’t think it is time to get up.
I finally did get up when my phone told me to “get your arse out of its pit” at seven o’clock, and spent ten minutes chivvying puppies round the garden in the desperate hope that they would “unload”.
Pausing only briefly to continue eating the bathroom doorstop, the puppies got settled back down, and I drove a car-full of cardboard, polystyrene packaging and black sacks of rubbish to the tip. The tip had attracted its usual quota of idiots… whereas most people take rubbish straight from their car to the appropriate bin, one particularly stupid woman was arranging all of her rubbish in a nice little display around her car, and was getting more and more frustrated as everyone else was tripping over and through it.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing the head honcho of Ofgem who was explaining that Ofgem don’t set the prices of gas and leccie; they just make sure that the companies selling it do so at a fair price. It was a shame that the chap was utterly unable to say what a fair price was, or to outline the criteria by which Ofgem determine this fair price.
Once home I made toast, then we moved everything back to being in the way so that the nice man would have space to continue sorting the kitchen. I made some toast and coffee which I scoffed (having wedged myself between table and sofa) whilst peering into the Internet. It was still there and was much the same as ever. Today’s amazingly trivial squabble was in one of the Hastings-related Facebook groups in which people were pretending to be offended that Rolf Harris had appeared in the local theatre fifty years ago.
I had some emails telling me that geocaches I’d hidden have been found, and ones of mine which had been marked as missing had also now been found. Either they weren’t missing at all, or someone’s done me the favour of replacing them. Both alternatives are good.
I then took the puppies to the vets. Morgan is now five point one kilogrammes and Bailey is two point five. Morgan’s weight gain wasn’t really a surprise, but I was pleased to find Bailey had put on weight. The nice nurse seemed happy with their progress, and I took them home and did a dog swap.
Leaving “er indoors TM” with the babies I took the bigger dogs up to Kings Wood where we walked for miles (I estimate about seven) investigating the paths that previously we’ve just walked past. As we walked we saw a buzzard swooping ridiculously low along one of the paths, and on hearing what really did sound like a double-decker bus driving through the undergrowth we saw a herd of deer running past; not twenty yards from us. If only I’d got my camera out quicker.
And then I had a moment of both pride and amazement when some random woman walked past with what I can only describe as “the hounds from hell” and she commented on how well-behaved Treacle and Pogo were.
After three hours we were back at the car park. We came home and fed the fish and then had a few minutes of “dog school”. Morgan is mastering coming to the sound of the whistle; Bailey seems to be following Treacle’s lead and mostly doing whatever the strange voices in her head prompt her to do. If she copies Treacle and follows her brother like a lost lamb, all will be well.
I then spent much of the rest of the afternoon either reading “Jeeves and Wooster”, sleeping, or trying to video the myriad birds that were having a wash in the pond’s splash pool.
“er indoors TM” has gone bowling. The car is loaded up with yet another load of rubbish for yet another tip run. The dogs are all asleep. I wonder how long this sleep will last…
17 May 2022 (Tuesday) - Before the Late Shift
When I went to bed last night I had six hundred and twenty-two friends on Facebook. This morning I had six hundred and twenty-one. Overnight someone decided that they didn’t love me any more. I wonder who that was.
I used Facebook to send out a birthday wish to someone who does still love me, then had a little look to see what I’d missed overnight. There was a minor whinge on one of the geocaching puzzle pages in which someone couldn’t solve what seemed to be a simple puzzle. I pointed out that you aren't supposed to see what the solution is.. You really do just randomly try absolutely everything until by chance you hit on whatever was going through the head of the person who set the puzzle at that moment. Which is why I hate puzzle caches. People really do try to outdo each other with the most ridiculously convoluted conundrums.
For example you might see a puzzle with a description about dog food. You might try every possible answer relating to dog food, but get nowhere. However give it some (what is described as) logical thought. Dog food… Dogs are descended from wolves… Wolves howl at the moon… The puzzle is actually about the numbers of the various Apollo missions of fifty years ago.
Why do people put out such insoluble puzzles – the who thing is supposed to be a bit of fun (isn’t it?). There are those who disagree with me… but not one of these people have solved the puzzle cache I put out specifically to illustrate this point.
I took the dogs to the park. We would have gone to Orlestone, but the car was full of tip rubbish. We had a good walk; marred only by the glares of the leaded-dog community. The dog walkers of Viccie Park are fast forming into two distinct and mutually exclusive sets. there are those who let their dogs run off of the leads, and those who don't. Those who don't quite openly judge those who let their dogs run, whilst keeping their dogs on extending leads which spool out to ten yards and tangle and trip anyone and everyone in that radius.
With dogs walked we came home, and I went out into the garden to see what the puppies were up to. They were both far closer to the pond than they every usually go on their own, both pacing up to and jumping back from some large orange thing. Initially I thought they'd stolen some vital part of the kitchen installation equipment, but it was a fish. One of the Koi had jumped out of the pond. It looked dead, but when Morgan nudged it, it gave a rather pathetic twitch. I popped it back into the pond, and swirled it to and fro so water flowed through its gills (the piscine equivalent of the kiss of life). After a couple of minutes the fish seemed to revive, and swam off.
I wonder if it will survive?
I left dogs and fish under the supervision of “er indoors TM” and went round to the tip where I unloaded all my tat... even if I did get charged four quid to get rid of the old sink. The chap at the tip had a credit card machine, and wouldn't unlock the appropriate skip unless I paid four quid. I've got some bags of hard core and tiles to get rid of; the bloke at the tip wants four quid for each bag. He's having a laugh.
From there I drove up to Ulcombe church to get the information for two puzzle geocaches. Sensible ones. I found the grave and the war memorial that I needed and got the numbers, and then drove into Coxheath for more geo-nonsense (as I do before work).
As I drove I was listening to "Women's Hour" on the radio which (among other things) featured an interview with some lesbian footballer for no reason that I could fathom other than any potential shock value. This woman was talking about how much public interest there had been in last Saturday's women's football cup final; she claimed it was because of all the "advertisingment" and continued going on about the "advertisingment". I thought it rather cruel of the show's producers to have brought this woman on only to make an idiot of herself on national radio because she couldn't pronounce the word "advertisement".
I got to work, eventually found somewhere to park... and as always when on the late shift the best bit of the day was over and done with by noon... even though I didn’t get home till after ten o’clock.
18 May 2022 (Wednesday) - Bit Dull, Bit Tired
As I took the puppies out to the back garden this morning I could hear not-so-nice-next-door unlocking at least half a dozen locks on her back door. Having unlocked all the locks she then stepped into the back garden and immediately locked the door behind her. She then did whatever it was she went into the garden to do (which didn’t take long at all), then unlocked all the locks, went back in again and locked them all again. About ten to fifteen seconds later (as I was waiting for the puppies to stop scrapping and start pooping) so I heard all the locks again. She came out, locked all the locks behind her, fiddled about for less than a minutes, unlocked them all again, and went back inside again.
And as I waited for the puppies to do their thing she did this three or four more times.
She does make me laugh; who does she think wants to get in to her house. And bearing in mind that there is impenetrable overgrowth all over the high fences round her garden how does she think anyone can get to her back door?
Whilst I was out listening to the sound or back doors being continually locked and unlocked I had a look at the pond. The fish which nearly had his chips yesterday seemed to be OK; swimming about with all his pals.
Being unable to find either kettle or toaster I thought I'd get brekkie at work. I walked the epic mission to where I'd left my car (two streets away). As I walked I watched an idiot jogger. With those huge headphones that block out all sound other than what he was listening to I watched him run right in front of a car without realising that he'd done so, and a few seconds later he ran out in front of my car. I blasted my hooter (which he heard) and he seemed surprised to realise he was in the middle of the road inches from having been run over.
I drove up some rather busy roads this morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were rather depressing. With the Ukrainian situation worsening for both sides and inflation having reached a forty-year high, the world seemed particularly bleak today. Perhaps that was why I struggled to get any enthusiasm for work today. Despite finding a rather interesting and particularly obscure case (a sub-group of blood group “A”), for much of the day I really couldn't be arsed. I don’t dislike my job, but I’m getting more and more fed up with having to do it. If inflation wasn’t at a lifetime’s high I would have retired this morning.
There was something of a minor victory as I came home; I was glad to see the coast-bound bit of "Operation Brock" was in use. Last night it wasn't and I'd had to drive along the bit that the lorries use... at only thirty miles per hour for twenty miles. This evening I could go at fifty miles per hour. Only twenty miles an hour slower than I might have done, and I was only quarter of an hour later home than I might have been.
With the kitchen getting ever closer to completion “er indoors TM” was able to use it to incinerate a bit of scran for our tea. There’s no denying that the new oven is a tad keen. I expect she’ll get the hang of it. I hope so; if I have to get the hang of it, I shall put the thing on eBay and go up the KFC.
I feel surprisingly worn out… I wonder why. It’s not like I’ve done much today really…
19 May 2022 (Thursday) - On The Wrong Motorway Brigde
With storms forecast for last night I was rather worried that the puppies might be frightened, so I was listening out for their cries during the night. I heard some whimpering at half past two, but by the time I'd got my slippers on they had settled again. Having got up to get my slippers on I tripped over Pogo who wanted to get on to the bed. I made the mistake of helping him up; he immediately hogged my spot. I then spent five hours fighting him for bed space.
I later remarked to “er indoors TM” about the puppies crying. She laughed and said she'd been up with them until two o'clock because they had been upset by the storms that I slept through.
Despite the kitchen getting closer and closer to being finished, the kettle and toaster were still missing this morning, so once the puppies had been tiddled I set off to work without any brekkie.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about Prince Charles who is on a trip round Canada where he has been asked to take back a message to the Queen asking her to formally apologize for the ‘assimilation and genocide’ of the native people.
That's a cheek, isn't it? When I took scouts to Canada I heard so much racial abuse and hatred directed at the native population... and that was from the local scout leaders. If they are so nasty to the indigenous people, what must the average Canadian think of them? And they want the Queen (of all people) to say sorry?
As I drove the rain got worse and worse, despite the weather forecast saying what a bright day we were having. I've commented before on what a racket being a weather forecaster must be.
Work was a tad different today; I spent the day in training learning how to operate a new blood testing machine we are getting. I learned loads, and it beat working.
I came home to find the kitchen is seriously nearing completion. It looks like there’s still loads to be done, but I am reliably informed there’s not more than a few days’ work left. Let’s hope so; what’s been done looks good, but I have to say I’m getting fed up with living in uproar. We’ve effectively been camping in the living room for three weeks now.
Meanwhile some unmoral young lady is flashing her jubblies at motorists on the Thanet Way… I wonder if she might take a day trip to the M20? It would certainly liven up “Operation Brock”.
20 May 2022 (Friday) - Diversity Day
I woke in a cold sweat at three o'clock, and with little choice I braved going downstairs to the loo. Moving "as silently as a carrot" (as I have heard it described) I got to the loo and back without waking the puppies, and reprised this feat three hours later when going for a shave. However the noise of my shaving woke the babies, and I took them outside for a successful morning's "emptying".
Usually I try not to wake “er indoors TM” and the bigger dogs when I get dressed, but the babies have figured out how to get up the stairs as quick as lightening. And once they've reached the bedroom both Treacle and Pogo growl their disapproval. Leaving “er indoors TM” in "dog central" I started the epic walk to wherever it was that I'd left my car yesterday.
Again with no functional kitchen I needed to buy a sandwich; I thought I'd try the co-op this morning. There were two members of staff there today; both radiating their utter disinterest. I spent far more with them than I have done recently in the works M&S.
And so up the motorway. As I drove there was a lot of talk on the radio about various festivals taking place across the country. There was talk at work yesterday about sci-fi conventions. Both of these sorts of events sadly seem to have gone the same way. What used to be great fun events at which you turned up and joined in are now staged entertainment for which you pay a frankly ridiculous admission fee months in advance. Tickets to comic con are over thirty quid for a day. The old LAT-con events (at the University of London) were free - just turn up and join in. The woman being interviewed was talking about the "economics of the festival market" and in that phrase she summed up where the whole thing has gone wrong.
There was also talk about how the Prime Minister is re-organising the staffing of 10 Downing Street. Ostensibly to increase efficiency, the sensible money thinks he is looking for a scapegoat for the "Partygate" affair. The pundits on the radio this morning made the observation that Boris Johnson has four times more people employed in 10 Downing Street than Margaret Thatcher had.
Eventually getting past the idiot driving at twenty miles per hour in a fifty miles per hour zone (!) I got to work for the early shift. Last Friday I whinged that I’d missed the diversity day and all the food that went with it; diversity day was today. And there was quite a bit of diverse food to be had as well.
Am I being undiverse in saying that I stuck to the pork scratchings, sausage rolls and Victoria sponge and judged those who didn’t like pork scratchings?
The training went on a little longer than I would have liked; I was half an hour late getting out. I came home, and in a fit of foolish bravado took all four dogs down to Orlestone Woods. My first walk on my own with all four off the leads went rather well really. Treacle and Pogo are old hands at being off the lead. Morgan followed Treacle and Pogo, and Bailey followed Morgan.
With walk walked we came home for a wash. Some of us had picked up more mud than others. The nice kitchen man is getting ever closer to completion and worked rather late this evening. But by the time he was done it was too late to mess about cooking so (once we’d moved stuff out of the way of the telly) “er indoors TM” went to the fish and chip shop to get something to scoff whilst watching last week’s episode of “Lego Masters: USA”.
It was rather good…
21 May 2022 (Saturday) - Rather Busy
I was a tad pissed off as I peered into Facebook this morning. Back in the day whenever there was any sort of event taking place in whatever hobby (be it geocaching, kite flying, fishing, oil painting, beer drinking, scouting, snake herding, duck racing or whatever) someone or other (very often me) would spread word of this event and arrange for a group to go up to whatever event it was. A couple of years ago I organised a very good trip to the sea forts in the Thames estuary. Over the last few years I’ve arranged all sorts of trips to London. Before that loads of us would go to beer festivals and kite festivals all over the place. We would go to sci-fi conventions that weren’t too far away.
Nowadays one or two people go off to these events on their own and tell everyone else what they’ve missed after the event. This morning I found out that there was a humungous geocaching event in Prague last weekend. I would be wrong in saying it was a well-kept secret, but I certainly had no idea it was taking place. Would I have gone to it had I known? It would have involved a serious re-organisation of my work rota… but it would have been good to have had the option.
It is less than a week since I was last asked when I will next be organising a geocaching outing somewhere or other… And I’ve been asked this quite a few times over the last couple of months. I’m beginning to take this personally… Everyone wants to come with me when I organise something but no one wants me to go with them when they organise something. Am I getting (more) paranoid?
The plan for today had been more kitchen fitting, but with that postponed we were at something of a loose end. So I hung out washing, set more going, and started a mini tidy-up of the back garden in readiness for Monday’ tip run. Even more carboard and polystyrene to go, old wiring, the old light fitting, one or two now-poggered power sockets, and endless old kitchen floor tiles all for the tip.
Or so I thought.
As I carried the umpteenth load into the front garden I couldn’t believe my eyes. Some bloke was in the front garden quite openly rummaging through my rubbish bags. On seeing me he asked if I was really throwing way the old floor tiles. Bearing in mind they are all split and stained and fit only for the bin I thought that was rather obvious. The bloke asked if he could have them and took them all away with a rather self-satisfied air.
If anyone else would like to rummage through my dustbin, please feel free. It will save me a trip to the tip…
The dogs needed a walk, but mid-day at the weekend isn’t the best day to go to the woods (Kings or Orlestone). But I had a mini stroke of genius. A couple of days ago a set of Adventure lab caches went live at Camber. Rather than going to points of interest In a town or village, these ones take you on an hour’s walk across Romney Marsh.
As an idea for an Adventure Lab it was a stroke of genius. And to be fair it would have been a really good walk if we hadn’t had four dogs in tow. Whilst the humans (me and “er indoors TM”) got to explore new territory, the ground was smothered in cow and sheep poo, and that which the dogs didn’t eat, they rolled in.
With walk walked we came home for baths and quite spectacular dire-rear. Pogo’s rear was particularly dire.
I mention this in case any of my loyal readers might be tempted to get more dogs than sense. Those who have never had a dog have this picture-postcard idea of the loving perfect “man’s best friend which can do no wrong”, Reality is rather different…
As “er indoors TM” scrubbed dung from dogs I loaded up cardboard and polystyrene into the car in readiness for the tip run booked for on the way home from work on Monday morning. We’ve also got an old door to go to the tip. That won’t fit in my car; I shall have to saw that up at some point. Not today though.
I then had a cuppa, and both puppies wanted to sit with me. Both were soon snoring. Rather than disturbing them, I sparked up my lap-top and brought the monthly accounts tally up to date. I have an excel spreadsheet on which I account for every penny I spend. Not because I’m mean (which I know I am) but because I really do need it to keep track of what I spend. Take this last two weeks for example. I guesstimated I’d spent between thirty-five and forty quid. When I totalled it up it came to a shade under a hundred and forty-five pounds. Which is *exactly* why I need to keep a tally.
“er indoors TM” used the new oven to boil up a rather good bit of cauliflower cheese, then went off to see “The Full Monty”. I fed the dogs, and as they snored I got the ironing board out… Then got two chairs back from the shed so that I could put the ironed stuff somewhere… Then hunted high and low to find the iron…
I eventually spent three hours ironing whilst watching episodes of “Orange is the New Black”. Just as I finished ironing so the puppies woke up.
They are now scrapping on the sofa… I wish they’d have a bit more sleep. I could do with some.
22 May 2022 (Sunday) - Sulking
This morning we did the monthly dog flea treatment. Before we started we closed all the doors and cornered the dogs; they hate having it done and always try to escape. Just as we were about to start we spotted a tick in Treacle’s ear. That’s two ticks in her in a week.
With tick removed from ear, all four dogs underwent inspection. Despite particularly grubby lugholes on Morgan, all passed, and I spent brekkie looking up “ticks” on the Internet. It seems they are on the increase in the UK because of the increase in deer numbers… Deer… We saw loads of deer in Kings Wood last week, and we’ve seen deer in Orlestone before. Is that where they are getting the ticks from? And it seems that the monthly flea treatment doesn’t affect ticks…
I had a look at the rest of Facebook. A friend was having a birthday. Finding himself going bald he’s taken to shaving his entire head. I could do that… But then shaving just my face every morning is enough arse-ache.
I saw that someone whose name I didn’t recognise had got married. On closer inspection it turned out that a colleague had got married and had changed her name. That was a surprise. Mind you with regularly being moved from one workplace to another and working various odd hours it is difficult to keep up with what is going on. Mind you… getting married? How did I miss that?
I then mowed the lawn… something which is easier said than done. And with lawn mowed I trimmed back all the overgrowth poring over the knacked fence from not-so-nice-next door. Their garden used to be quite pretty back in the day, But since “nutty noodle” disappeared (it must be five years since he was last seen) their garden has become a mess. I did offer to replace that fence last year, but rather than replying, she just ranted some incoherent gibberish.
With garden tidied I hung out more washing, then bagged up another load of rubbish for tomorrow’s tip run then we took the dogs round to the park on what must have been one of the worst dog walks ever. I suppose I should have known better; it is always a mistake to go to the park after ten o’clock at the weekend. The normal people are always out in force.
If people, their dogs and children have issues, why go out looking for confrontation? Let’s just say that I managed to drag Pogo away from Thugbert before Pogo got a good kicking, and leave it at that.
Once home I sorted the undercrackers that the tumble drier had dried (which was very good of it!), and after a quick bit of bread and cheese I went to bed for the afternoon where I slept on and off in between dogs barking for no reason whatsoever.
I’ve woken with a stinking headache; too much sun whilst mowing the lawn and walking the dogs perhaps?
“er indoors TM” is boiling up dinner, and with that scoffed I shall be off to the night shift. I don’t mind doing night shifts when it means I don’t miss much during the day time when I’m asleep, but (I have to admit) I seriously resented having had a pretty much wasted day today…
I shall be in a better mood tomorrow…
23 May 2022 (Monday) - Still Sulking
As I drove home from a rather good night shift the pundits on the radio were interviewing Anneka Rice who (forty years ago) was the face of Channel 4. Her programme “Challenge Anneka” is returning to the telly. Ironically it was the BBC who first announced the return of what will be a Channel 5 show. Do you remember the show? What do you mean - it was aired before you were born?
The idea was that Anneka Rice would turn up somewhere or other where there was a rather epic community project that needed doing, and in the space of a few days she would achieve the impossible with the help of whoever she could get to help. I always remember the episode that aired on 20 October 1989. Anneka Rice was just down the road in Tenterden at the Tenterden Town railway station where the people running the Kent and East Sussex railway wanted her to lay four miles of railway track from what was then the end of the line at Wittersham Road down to Northiam. A formidable task indeed… but who was that marching down the road…? A gullible public was expected to believe that a battalion of the Royal Engineers were just randomly coming past, and with absolutely nothing else to do with their time would be only too happy to build the railway for her.
I suppose there are some who really believed this co-incidence wasn’t staged; over thirty years later I still feel that this was an insult to my intelligence.
I came home via the tip where I could have unloaded a lot quicker had one of the tip operatives not wanted to inspect the light fitting I was throwing away. Did it have a bulb in it? No it didn’t. Was I sure? It was rather obvious that there was no bulb in it, but the chap asking the questions had to be sure, so he called his mate over to check out the patently obvious.
Sometimes the tip staff can be helpful, and sometimes they can be very difficult.
Once home I went to bed for five hours, waking intermittently by the sound of the rain on the window and the sound of whatever drilling, sawing or general racket was going on in the kitchen.
After five hours I could lay in bed no more so I got up and (despite the rain) took the dogs out in batches. Smaller dogs got a “once-round-the-block”, then bigger dogs got a walk up the road and a loop back home via the vets for tick collars. As we walked down what was once the Black Alley I couldn’t help but see loads of anti-vaccination slogans graffiti-ed all over the place. The anti-vaccination brigade amaze me. I am told that I should be open minded and that I need to understand how anti-vaxxers feel to make sense of their actions…
Take the anti-vax propaganda scrawled down the Black Alley. To my mind it is factually wrong. However to me a “fact” is a statement which has been proven to be true. Sadly, to society at large a “fact” is an unsupported statement made up on the spur of the moment to somehow give credence to whatever bollox is currently being spouted. Its veracity comes not from any provable evidence but from how loudly it is shouted and on how many lamp-posts it is scrawled.
This is one of the things which boils my piss about today’s society… the considered and researched opinion of an educated person truly is of no more worth than the whim of a half-wit.
With walk walked I took the bigger dogs and my lap-top upstairs away from the commotion of kitchen work. Dogs get in the way, and the kitchen work seemed to spread across much of the living room.
I set a puzzle cache for the fraternity of the Hunters of Tupperware. Named “To Illustrate A Contention” it will or will not prove how few people bother with these puzzles. And I then wrote up CPD (because I have to!), with Pogo and Treacle alternately snoring or squeaking that they wanted to go make nuisances of themselves downstairs.
“er indoors TM” went bowling, and the kitchen work for today was declared “finished” an hour later shortly before nine o’clock…
Yesterday was a wasted day and today was sadly much the same…
24 May 2022 (Tuesday) - Painted Dogs & Incinerated Chips
I slept well; a night shift does that for me, but I still woke half an hour before the alarm was due to go off. I managed to sneak to the bathroom without waking the puppies, and then had quite a serious mission. I'm not quite sure how I managed it but I managed to forget to have a shave yesterday, and scraping off two days' worth without severely lacerating myself took some doing.
I didn't make brekkie. I could see where the kettle and toaster had been stacked up, but I couldn't be arsed to dig them out. instead (seeing the puppies were now awake) I let them out of their crate. We had a little fuss and then both ran to the back door. I got them both into the garden where they both "did things". It's a very good sign that they both run to the back door to go out, but we still have little "accidents".
It is rather sad that one of the highlights of my life is tiddles and poops that aren't inside the house.
Leaving “er indoors TM” snoring with all four dogs I set off to work. The pundits on the radio were trying to make mischief out of the latest photos of the Prime Minster having parties during lockdown, but weren't achieving anything. For all that our Prime Minister is a bit of a twit, he is clearly a bomb-proof bit of a twit who can do no wrong in the eyes of the public. As Viz magazine (of all people) pointed out earlier this week, he really could go on live TV wiping his arse on the Turin shroud and the masses would still applaud him.
I got to work where I got a croissant for brekkie (from the works M&S) and as I had my brekkie I peered into the Internet. That geocache I created yesterday had gone live, and one person had solved the puzzle, but hadn't gone chasing to be first to find. I wonder who that person was. I'd like to think it was the geo-Fed who had published it, making sure that the checker worked.
I saw five friends had a birthday today; all five got the birthday video posted to their Facebook profiles.
And the selfie I'd posted to Facebook last night of me and Pogo had got a lot of "likes".
I got on with work. It wasn’t an arduous day today. I spent much of the day looking out the window at the bright day and planning a dog walk round the woods, and five minutes before I left work so the thunderstorm hit.
It turned out the storm had come up to Maidstone from Ashford, and so although I got home to find the rain had stopped, everywhere was wet. We didn’t go to the woods. Instead I took the bigger dogs round the local streets where we met an ex-colleague with whom I chatted for ages catching up on gossip.
We came home to find the last of the kitchen work being done. Ironic that on the last day both of the boys (Morgan and Pogo) should get covered in paint, but there it is.
With kitchen finally finished (Hoo-bloody-rah!) “er indoors TM” boiled up some dinner. The new cooker seems to have a hatred of chips; seemingly wanting to incinerate them, but I suspect this is a phase it will get over.
Let’s hope so…
25 May 2022 (Wednesday) - New Kitchen
In the past I used to be very disparaging about the old toaster which although was (supposedly) a work of art, was unable to do more than slightly warm the bread. As part of our all-new kitchen we have a new toaster. This one (like Moxey from “Auf Wiedershen Pet”) has convictions for arson. Not only was the toast it created burned to a crisp, the thing also emitted a smell of burning plastic from where I think it tried to incinerate itself along with the toast.
But having toast was something of a novelty this morning. I spread the last of the jam on it, and once the puppies settled I watched half an episode of “Orange is the New Black”. As the show goes on there is a lot less being flopped out, which is a result for puritans everywhere.
I then loaded the new dishwasher, set it going (which took some doing) and leaving the puppies with “er indoors TM” I set off.
Firstly to the bin up the road to dispose of a dead koi; the fish which jumped out of the pond last week jumped out again yesterday, and this time didn’t survive. I’m reliably informed it might have done had the puppies not thought it was some sort of toy.
As I drove to work there was an interview on the radio with the head honcho of Severn Trent Water who have just paid their shareholders a rather good dividend. The pundits on that radio were giving her a hard time because the company is a profit-making company and not a charitable organisation, and they seemed to gloss over the fact that Severn Trent are doing their best to help those in need. Instead they made great show of how this head honcho gets paid over two million quid a year; thirteen times what the Prime Minister gets.
And if I was in any doubt about my career choice there was then an interview with one of the leading lights in the railway workers’ union. When challenged about why the average railway worker ears fifteen thousand pounds a year more than the average hospital worker, he became rather reticent.
Work was rather hard work today. Perhaps I was still tired from Sunday’s night shift. Perhaps I was thinking I should work on the railways or the water board. But I wasn’t feeling it at all today and was rather glad when home time came. As I have said many times before I don’t dislike my job, but if I had my time again, knowing what I know now I would work for a profit, and would work somewhere that periodically puts up a “closed” sign.
I came home to find the first fruit of my loin and Cheryl visiting. They seemed rather impressed with the new kitchen (and with the puppies too).
Am I impressed with the new kitchen?
I suppose it looks nice, but it wasn’t cheap, and took (seemingly) ages. I expect I’ll get used to it… but I don’t do change very well.
Some bloke’s just banged on the front door – can he have the old kitchen door I was planning to take to the tip tomorrow?
And Morgan has just crapped on the carpet.
26 May 2022 (Thursday) - Late Shift
I had a bit of a lie-in, but the puppies woke me at half past seven; both wanting to come up on to the bed. I took that as my cue to get up. Finding the knob on the toaster I dialled it down somewhat and had toast (rather than charcoal) for brekkie. There was a minor hiatus as I clouted my head on the extractor fan thingy… I never liked the look of it, but “er indoors TM” wanted it and I just agreed to it like I agreed to everything about the new kitchen. Looking back I think that this acquiescence in all things kitchen was probably a big mistake.
Morgan charged about the living room with “er indoors TM” ‘s crochet as I scoffed toast and peered into the Internet. It would seem I hadn’t missed much overnight. Mind you there was a photos in one of the Sussex groups I follow. A chap named “John Walker” had gone missing. Looking at the photo he looked rather like a “Johnnie Walker” with whom I went to school fifty years ago. We shared a birthday, and he kept pet mice. Was it him? Three of us at primary school shared a birthday… I’ve not seen Les for years either.
I checked the weather forecast… despite it telling me “rain coming”, the hourly breakdown of the day gave only a one per cent chance of rain all morning, with the highest probability of rain being seven per cent at nine o’clock this evening.
I took a chance, and took all four dogs down to the woods where we had a reasonable walk. Bailey would whimper and whinge all the time she wasn’t actively taking part in a rough-and-tumble or a chase game. As we walked we met one other dog – the huge fluffy pup we meet from time to time. Both Pogo and Bailey barked at him, and he took no notice. The only problem we had was right at the end of the walk when both Bailey and Morgan refused to come to be loaded into the car. They’d been as good as gold up till then – did they want to carry on walking?
And so home. I spent ten minutes loading all the crap from the front garden into the car for another tip run. Mostly cardboard and wood, but there were also six carrier bags of assorted rubbish. Much as I like my (relatively) new car, it doesn’t have the carrying capacity that previous cars have had.
And with car loaded I ran round the living room with the Hoover. You’d be amazed how much mess is generated by small dogs chewing on that which is supposed to be in the car and going to the tip.
And talking of the tip, with the dogs settled,
that’s where I went. There was a minor fracas kicking off when I got there.
Have you ever been to the tip? The trick is that when you get there you
immediately chuck some cardboard into the cardboard skip, and some planks
into the wood skip. This gives the staff the impression that you know what
you are doing and they leave you alone. The staff
were having a squabble with some chap who was dumping absolutely everything
into the general household and was shouting at the tip operatives that it all
come out of his household, so that was where it went, be it wood, electrical,
metal or whatever.
Pausing briefly to get some petrol I went in to a frankly horrendous late shift, and when it was
over I found the (so-called) motorway had a thirty miles per hour
27 May 2022 (Friday) - Another Late Shift
As I scoffed my toast and peered into the Internet I found myself wondering if today was “post a motivational twee meme day”. “There is no need to have it all – just make the most of what you have”. “Silence your inner critic”. “Today is your day”. I am told that some people really do find this twaddle inspiring and helpful. I’ll just make the observation that (in my experience) those who advocate making lemonade when life gives you lemons have rarely (if ever) been given a lemon by life.
I saw an ex-cub scout had a birthday today. He was twenty-six… Twenty-six!!! Where do the years go? I remember him (and his little sister); in my mind they are both ten years old.
I took the dogs down to the woods where we had a good walk, probably helped by not seeing anyone else at all. That doesn’t do much for sociaisation, but it does wonders for my nerves. As we walked I watched the dynamics of the dogs. More and more Morgan is trying to join in with what the bigger dogs are doing. Bailey tries to follow, but she is rather small.
As we drove home the paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds was on Desert Island Discs. She was saying that her choices of music weren’t ones she actually liked very much, but found inspiring… I found them frankly dire.
I was reminded of twee memes.
Having avoided all mud, swamps and mire we came home clean, and didn’t need any baths. I did another negative COVID test, then sat on the sofa with four sleeping dogs as I prepared “Hannah” for tomorrow, and then watched an episode of “Orange is the New Black” before sneaking off to work.
I thought I'd get some lunch... In retrospect I should have just gone hungry. The co-op car park was rammed, and having discovered it was rammed I wasted ten minutes trying to get out.
As I was driving past I thought I might try Waitrose... I wasn't spending four quid on a a frankly scabby-looking sarnie so I gave up, and as I walked out so all the hoity-toity made no secret that they were looking down on me.
I then had this idea about going to the bakery in Lenham...
Once I'd negotiated the mile-long (at least) queue caused by the traffic lights I then found myself behind a funeral cortege for another mile. I eventually got to Lenham where the bakery told me they didn't do sandwiches (in a f... off fatso tone of voice). By now time was running out so I went into the village shop where the chap behind the counter was having a great time pretending he was unable to understand anything said to him by any of the customers.
I really should have stuck with Sainsburys.
And so to work where the day got better as it went on. But (it has to be said) I've had better days. Ones when Morgan didn’t piddle on the sofa…
28 May 2022 (Saturday) - Biddenden
I slept till after eight o’clock this morning. I’ve been feeling rather exhausted lately. Too many late shifts perhaps?
I took the puppies round the garden where we tiddled, but didn’t poop, and the puppies then sulked when they had to come into the bathroom with me whilst I shaved; they weren’t going into carpeted areas unsupervised whilst “still loaded”.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Not that I would be going, but I was sad to see that this year’s Brighton Kite Festival had been cancelled. Apparently the membership decided to cancel at their AGM as there wasn’t enough people willing to offer help and support for the event. Such a shame there’s not more input from the club’s members… Mind you there never was. Ten years ago much of the help and support for a Brighton-based club used to come from miles away. We don’t do a two-hour journey to get there anymore. Have others stopped too?
I miss the days of Brighton Kite Festival.
We got ourselves and the dogs together and set off to Biddenden where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte for a little walk. A series of geocaches had gone live in the Biddenden area some time ago and we’d spent the last year thinking about going out there. A couple of weeks ago I drove out to the suggested parking and saw it was far better in reality than it appeared on Google Street View, and so today we thought it might make a good short walk for the puppies. And it did. As a walk for small dogs it did the job, Despite the footpaths being rather vague in places we found our way around without too many problems (even if we did have to carry the dogs through the stinging nettles at one point). It was a rather pretty walk with no farm animals on the way. We stared in frank amazement at the parachutists dropping through the sky. And the dogs were able to run free for most of the route. We walked two and three quarter miles in just under two hours, it wore the hounds out and it built up an appetite. I took a few photos as we walked.
However geocache-wise I must admit to an amount of disappointment. The series was billed as being unusual and home-made caches, and on reading the previous “found it” logs I approached with high hopes. Sadly I was reminded of a cache at which I was First to Find on 16 August 2014. That one was a bird box which was opened by fiddling about with the perch, and was already broken when I found it, and I was also reminded of a similar series in Maidstone which I walked with “er indoors TM” on 20 December 2014 when I wrote “We made our way back to the car via five other geocaches. All of which looked to have been good in their day, but all of which seem to have suffered from the passing of time... This is the trouble with so-called "clever" caches; they are fragile and break.”
I think this was possibly the case today. Those of the caches that were home-made did seem rather worn. The paper log of one of them was wet. One of them was a film pot laying on the ground with what we thought was the home-made cover laying on the ground some yards up the path (we took the liberty of re-assembling it how we thought it should have been)..
There are those who sneer at the film pots that I put under rocks, but unless you are prepared to be doing maintenance runs on a very regular basis these “clever caches” are going to break.
With walk walked we drove down to the Three Chimneys. I can’t remember how long it has been since I last visited, but with beer poured straight from the barrel and rather good food I can’t recommend the place highly enough. It was a shame that once the dogs had had their rice the puppies had to bark quite so much, but there it was. We had a rather good afternoon in the sunshine and had a very good plate of dinner washed down by three pints of Goacher’s best and four large glasses of port. We would have stayed longer had rain not stopped play… Rain… Despite the BBC’s weather app claiming only a two per cent chance of rain when we said our goodbyes.
Once home “er indoors TM” gave Bailey a bath to wash off whatever foul stuff she’d rolled in, but there was a minor disaster as the water pressure suddenly fell to non-existent. Did we have a water leak? I could find no leak anywhere, but the water to the upstairs tank was noisily pouring in to it. Had the toilet done its thing again where it keeps pouring water down the pan until you fiddle with the mechanism to stop it and drained the tank?
I fiddled with the mechanism and the toiled stopped pouring water down the pan. It seems fixed… is it? Time will tell – it always does…
I then slept for much of the remainder of the day. Not surprising really.
29 May 2022 (Sunday) - Lazy Day
With water pressure re-established (I wonder what did happen yesterday?) I set the washing machine loose on T shirts and scoffed toast and coffee as I peered into Facebook. Desperately hoping to see something interesting that friends might have done yesterday, I was instead deluged with no end of poorly written adverts for stuff in which I have no interest whatsoever. And I wouldn’t ever answer most of those adverts as (call me elitist if you will) I have to wonder just who is putting out these things. Take the very first advert I read: “GRASS CUTTING GET UR FREE QUOTES TODAY on me thanks”. When you type this on your lap-top the mis-spelled words are underlined in read, and the grammatical nonsense is underlined in blue. If you do it on the phone then the spell-checker kicks in there too. I’ve been told off about my attitude in this before, but as far as I am concerned poor spelling and poor grammar is a sign of a rush job, and do I want someone who can’t be bothered to take two seconds to look at a spell-check to do a paid job for me?
And then Bailey sicked up all the poop I didn’t see her eating when we’d gone out earlier.
Whilst the washing machine worked its wonders on a second load I made sure the dogs were inside, ran out the hose pipe, lifted the manhole cover and cleaned out the fish pond filter. It was as well that I did – it was rather grungy. And with all the fish poo hosed down the drain I hung out washing, mowed the lawn, then scared up yet another carful of rubbish for yet another tip run. And then hurriedly got all the washing back inside as the rain started.
“er indoors TM” went off to B&Q; I stayed on the sofa. With three dogs asleep on me I didn’t like to move them. So I took two minutes to do as I’d been asked and add my preferred pronouns to my LinkedIn profile. Rather than “he/his” (which was too obvious) I went with “hatstand/fusebox” for the simple reason that I could. (preferred pronouns? Seriously?)
I then spent an hour or so in NeverWinter until “er indoors TM” came home. She’d bought some really expensive masking tape which wouldn’t rip the paintwork off when removed, and used it to rip a great big hole in the new paintwork on the wall that was only done a week or so ago whilst doing the doorframe. I thought about suggesting she could have put some on Morgan to stop him getting covered in paint (again), but by the time I’d plucked up the courage to do so, it was too late.
As she painted I watched the classic “Doctor Who and the Daleks” films on the telly. After a while I realised the puppies were quiet. Too quiet. I looked over and one of them had gone out to the yard, pulled a plant out of its pot, dragged plant (and soil ball) past “er indoors TM” (who was still painting) and onto the living room carpet where they had destroyed it.
Once we’d cleared the mess “er indoors TM”
boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the
final of “Lego Masters: USA” which was rather good.
30 May 2022 (Monday) - Front Left Legs
Treacle woke me when she came up to bed last night by sitting on my head, and then spend much of the night laying on top of me like a ton weight. I eventually gave up trying to sleep, and once I'd tiddled the puppies I sat with them watching an episode of "Orange is the New Black" as they snored.
I didn't look at the Internet this morning; being on an early shift and having seen a lot of delays on the road recently I set off to work promptly. My piss boiled as I listened to the pundits on the radio talking about the latest shooting of children in a school in America. It would seem that absolutely no one is brave enough to tell the American public that having everyone touting guns is a demonstrably stupid idea, and the only things being offered to the bereaved are "thoughts and prayers". And the bereaved are furious as they want something more tangible... Have the God-fearing American public finally worked out that "thoughts and prayers" achieve absolutely nothing?
Fans of the Liverpool football team are up in arms having been tear-gassed in Paris over the weekend. There was apparently unrest at some football match or other over the weekend when thousands of British fans arrived with what the French claim were fake tickets. Were they fake? Possibly. But from personal experience I know that the average Frenchman hates the English with a passion and the average Parisian even more so (I would never go back to Paris!) Am I being xenophobic in wondering if this was too good an opportunity for the French to turn down?
And sports centres up and down the country are struggling to make ends meet as the soaring energy costs are making their swimming pools too expensive to run. Not that I've been swimming for years, but I can always remember the swimming pools I went to being far too hot and humid. Turn the heating down a bit, maybe?
I got to work for the early shift and did my bit. Sadly with the "Waddley Doodle" song stuck in my head. Where did that come from? It is a rather annoying little ditty that “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” used to squall some twenty-five years ago, and which she claims she has now forgotten. I'll remind her of it...
An early start made for an early finish, but Operation Brock made sure that the early finish didn’t make for an early getting home. But once home I got the dogs onto their leads and we went down to Orlestone Woods where we went all the way round our shorter walk without seeing anyone else. Pogo and Treacle had a good time playing. Morgan joined in with them quite a lot, and Bailey spent much of the time at my ankles whinging. I wish she’d play with the other dogs - once home she got stuck in all with the rough-and-tumble that was going on.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “SAS: Who Dares Wins”. I must admit I don’t like the chap who has taken over from Ant Middleton. Ant Middleton came over as a soldier, this new chap comes over as an actor.
As we scoffed and watched we also gently mauled Morgan about. Having charged round the woods like a mad thing and then come home to charge round the house and garden like a mad thing, he was holding his front left leg awkwardly. He doesn’t seem to flinch when we touch or fiddle with his leg, but he is definitely holding it awkwardly. Has he twisted something?
And Bailey has a scar at the top of her front left leg…
31 May 2022 (Tuesday) - Jolly Good Fellows
I watched Morgan like a hawk this morning. He still seemed to be walking awkwardly on his front left leg, but it wasn’t causing him active pain. I’m thinking he’d strained it and needed to rest it, but have you ever told a puppy to take it easy?
I made toast, and watched Morgan eating his brekkie. He seemed to tuck in very well – an iffy leg hasn’t affected his appetite at all. As I scoffed I peered into a very dull Facebook. Very dull indeed.
I popped up the road to fetch the car closer to home. As I went so a chap came down the road having a full-blown argument with himself; screaming obscenities at the voices in his head. On the one hand it is wrong that people this ill should be allowed to walk the streets. On the other hand having seen the wards in which these people are imprisoned, perhaps he’s better off out?
I then got all four dogs and we drove down to Orlestone. I thought about leaving Morgan at home, but he wouldn’t understand the need for rest, so we did a very short loop and came home. As we walked so his leg seemed to be a tad better… and then he was limping again. And then it improved… And then it didn’t. We walked for ten minutes just to say that we’d had an outing.
As we drove home the pundits on the radio were trying to scare the public about monkeypox. They wheeled on an expert who was billed as being a Fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. That was nice – I am one of those, you know (I really am!).
We got home just as the rain started, and I loaded up the rubbish for the tip before it got too wet, then sat with the dogs. They slept and I watched an episode of “Orange is the New Black” as another negative COVID test incubated. And them before I could stop him Morgan jumped off the sofa and set his leg off again.
With the dogs settled I drove round to the tip (yet again) and unloaded no end of wood, general tat, and two bags of tiles from the old kitchen wall (for which I had to give them a bung of eight quid before they would take). I also had an old fluorescent tube from the old kitchen light to get shot of. Unusually this one was plastic (and not glass). The chap who'd taken my money to get rid of the tiles told me to chuck it in the general waste. As I was about to do so, another tip operative came busying over and was nearly apoplectic when he saw what I was doing. He told me I had to put it in "the cage". I explained that his mate said I was to chuck it in the general waste; this new bloke was having none of it. As luck would have it, the first bloke came bumbling past, so I collared him, and the two tip operatives nearly came to blows over where my broken tube should go. I left it propped up against "the cage" and quietly slipped away.
I drove up to Sainsburys where I got lunch. As I came out there was another squabble going on. A rather threadbare and unwashed vagrant was haranguing the chap selling copies of the Big Issue; telling him to stop begging and to get a job. The pot was indeed calling the kettle black here.
I got to the works car park and scoffed lunch, and finally got round to having a look at the Internet. A day or so ago I mentioned that this year's Brighton Kite Festival had been cancelled. The chap who took over the kite festivals at Teston was saying that this year's kite event at Teston had also been cancelled. Whilst that is a shame, I must admit that I'm not surprised. The chap who was supposedly running the event said it had been cancelled "due to lack of interest from kite fliers generally". I thought the thing had died a death years ago. It certainly isn't publicised like it used to be. perhaps if I'd taken the event on all those years ago (like I offered) things might have turned out differently?
And so on with the work… and with it done I came home. Morgan’s leg is still bothering him…