1 May 2023 (Monday) - May Day
Having spent years threatening to sell the tat we have hoarded around the house, “er indoors TM” was up at sparrow-fart this morning and (ably assisted by “My Boy TM” and Cheryl) off to the boot fair to unload it all onto an unsuspecting public.
Seeing the dogs had followed her downstairs I had this idea to walk them early before the woods filled with the sort of normal people who infest the place at the weekends and Bank Holidays. However the dogs had actually just moved from the upstairs bed to their downstairs beds. I turfed them out of bed, and we drove up to Kings Wood. It was rather pretty so early in the morning, and apart from a couple of people on their mountain bikes we didn’t see anyone at all as we walked.
We were on our way home by seven o’clock.
We got home, put washing in to scrub, and had brekkie before starting the ironing. As I ironed and hung out washing I watched a film. I’d been meaning to watch “The Dark Knight Rises” ever since it was released over ten years ago and I have to say it was something of a disappointment. The premise of the film was that a mad villain was planning to blow up Gotham City for two reasons. Firstly because he was a villain, and secondly because he was mad. The film dragged on for over an hour longer than it needed to, and I watched the credits roll with something of a sense of relief that it was over. Sadly that was three hours of my life wasted… at least I got the ironing done as I watched it.
I then booked a slot at the tip for tomorrow morning, then went to the garden and had a look in the shed to see what I can take. Yesterday “er indoors TM” found two poggered camping tables and there was the broken pressure filter I’d found a few days ago. I found no end of other rubbish that needs dinging too.
As I sorted rubbish so “er indoors TM” returned from the boot fair. She seemed happy with her profits; I must admit I’d rather not go boot fairing at all… so I hadn’t.
Within minutes of “er indoors TM” returning so the rain started, which was probably for the best; it made me stop. I put everything into the shed to keep it dry, then sat on the sofa aching from my exertions. I’d seriously overdone it yesterday and working in the shed today hadn’t helped.
I spent a couple of hours working on my current Wherigo project. I’ve now done all the programming for the games of the Crystal Maze (Mark II), and just need to program the end game. That should only take a few hours…
We drove up to the town centre where we met “My Boy TM” and Cheryl and went to Aspendos for a bit of dinner. We went for the “bit of everything” option, and in having a bit of everything I had far too much.
I‘d not been to Aspendos before; I will certainly go again.
I’ve eaten far too much and have a belly ache…
2 May 2023 (Tuesday) - Oh, I Ache...
I slept like a log last night, but woke in pain. I really overdid the gardening on Sunday and probably did too much clearing out the shed yesterday.
I had my usual look at Facebook as I scoffed brekkie and saw that yesterday we’d missed “Jack In The Green” in Hastings. Again. Back in the day it was a very good day out. These days… whilst we enjoyed being there in the past, the place was heaving with about (quite literally) fifty thousand tourists too many. And it was never a cheap day out either, by the time I’d called in to every pub there was.
There wasn’t much else happening on-line so once the dogs had scoffed brekkie we went for our walk.
As we drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing the leader of the opposition Sir Kier Starmer. Like all leaders of the opposition he was very quick to point out the government’s failings, but was less forthcoming with specific details of how his bunch would do things better.
We got to the car park, and had a rather good stomp round Orlestone Woods. The mud has noticeably receded since last week, and we did our usual circuit without any of the nonsense from Morgan that spoiled our walks last year.
In fact he only misbehaved once… I’ve noticed that on our recent trips to Orlestone as we come to the car, Morgan stops. They other two come to me to get their leads put on. Morgan doesn’t. He just looks at me. And when I blow the whistle he deliberately turns away. He never does anything like this after the (admittedly much longer) walks in Kings Wood. Is he saying he wants a longer walk?
We came home and had a quick bath. Being small, Morgan and Bailey get mud up their legs and bellies, and Treacle deliberately chooses to wade belly deep in the stagnant mire.
With baths bathed I got all the rubbish out of the shed that I’d bagged up yesterday and loaded it into the car. Much as I like my (had it for eighteen months now!) new car, it hasn't got the tip run capacity that the old car had.
I popped to the corner shop for a croissant and a pain au chocolat, then ordered some razor blades from Amazon. Have you ever done that? It takes some doing. I had to go through all sorts of verifications steps. Next time I shall just go to Sainsburys.
I instructed a solicitor (!) then got changed for work.
I popped round to the tip to get rid of the rubbish I'd sorted yesterday. I think that everyone had the same idea as I'd had yesterday about clearing out sheds; the tip was heaving with normal people today. The staff were telling anyone who would listen that they'd never had such a busy Tuesday.
One of the tip staff inspected one of my consignments of rubbish and told me I'd failed. Rather than dinging it all in the general waste I had to spread it out over half a dozen skips. I made a point of waiting until that chap was haranguing another customer before lobbing my bagfuls of rubbish into the general waste. Mind you it was only the one chap who was checking the rubbish. No one else seemed to care.
Despite the place being heaving it didn't take *that* long to unload and I was soon on my way westwards through the -hursts and the -dens singing along to Ivor Biggun as I went. As I got to the works car park so I had a message from “er indoors TM”. My two old pond filters had been collected.
“er indoors TM” had this plan to sell the things via Facebook marketplace. I had this plan to fling them in the skip at the tip as no one in their right mind would give me money for them. To prove I was right I advertised the things on Facebook marketplace yesterday, and to prove me wrong some chap drove up from Deal and gave me (well, “er indoors TM”) eighty quid for them both. That's eighty quid more than I thought I'd get. Let's hope he realises the things won't work without a hundred quid's worth of pump (that I *wasn't* selling).
I got to work and felt rather worn out. What with a busy weekend, and then this morning's dog walk and tip run I think I rather overdid it this morning.
As I tried to skive at work I tried not to laugh out loud as I listened in on someone else's conversation in which someone who works down the corridor was adamant that gammon was a type of fish…
3 May 2023 (Wednesday) - So Dull
I slept like a log, but still woke aching. I made toast and had a look at a rather dull Internet. On seeing no one had anything much to say I turned to the Munzee map and planned my route to work. Today was the start of May’s Clan War, and being the third of the month I could do Qrewzees (as one does). Not that there looked like many on the way to Pembury.
There were three in Orlestone Woods though…
I drove the dogs down to Orlestone. As we drove the defence minister was talking about security precautions for Saturday’s coronation. He seemed to be more concerned about foreign terrorists causing problems to highlight issues which are nothing at all to do with the UK. I must admit I would have been more impressed with him had he not talked about foreign nationals’ domestic disputes “hundreds of thousands of miles away”. When you bear in mind that there is nowhere on Earth which is as much as thirteen thousand miles from where the coronation is happening, I wonder where the defence minister thinks these foreign terrorists are coming from. Mars, perhaps?
We got to the woods and did our usual walk. As we went we chased squirrels and ate rabbit poo. Bailey and Morgan avoided the swamps, but Treacle just stomped straight through them.
We met one other dog-walker today; she seemed more bothered by the puppies than her dogs were. Sadly she didn’t seem to be the usual sort of dog-walker that walks dogs in the woods. I’ve often wondered why people have their dogs on leads in the depths of a wood. If there was anywhere where you would let the dogs run, it is in the middle of a wood. If you don’t want your dog mixing with other dogs, why not walk your dog round the streets where every dog is on a lead?
We came home, and as Treacle barked at absolutely nothing at all I worked on my current Wherigo project. Just putting GC codes and final co-ordinates into pictures took an hour. I then spent ten minutes on the phone to solicitors and estate agents, then set off to work.
Yesterday I had a fairly decent run to work; today I found myself behind every slow-arse on the planet, and had quite the delay at Goudhurst. A lorry far too big to negotiate the chicane had just scraped its way through the narrow corners, and was then followed by about fifteen minutes' worth of traffic who had been following hot on its heels. The seemingly continual delay at Goudhurst isn't just the huge lorries which get physically stuck; it is all the arrogant drivers behind the lorry who won't give way to oncoming traffic.
And then to add insult to injury there was a five minute delay two miles further on. Another huge lorry had ignored the signs and was heading up to Goudhurst, and the chap several cars in front of me had driven his car over to the centre of the road forcing the huge lorry to stop. He'd then got out of the car and was shouting abuse at the driver who was on his way to get stuck.
It was all rather embarrassing.
Had the shouty idiot said "you should turn your lorry round at the earliest opportunity as it won't get through the corner two miles ahead" everyone would have been happy. Instead the chap was just bellowing personal abuse, and the lorry driver (quite understandably) had wound up his windows and was waiting for the shouty idiot to go away.
I got to work and got one Qrewzee. I would have got three in Orlestone earlier had there been any phone signal.
As I worked “er indoors TM” sent me the message that the razor blades had arrived. She'd had to tell the delivery chap her year of birth before he handed them over. No one's ever asked me that whenever I've bought razor blades.
And the vets sent a message. The pups' vaccinations are due. I booked an appointment for them... they won't like it.
Having had a bad drive in to work, the drive home was even worse. I found myself stuck behind a tractor pulling a load of hay bales for five miles. What’s a tractor doing on the A28 at ten o’clock at night?
Some days in my life are rather eventful. Some are fun... to be honest the best part of today was all over by nine o'clock as the dog walk ended. Today was dull.
4 May 2023 (Thursday) - A Day's Leave
I slept like a log, and in a novel break with tradition was the last one up today. I made toast and had a look at the Internet. There was quite a bit of political talk today what with it being election day. I particularly sniggered at one friend’s left-wing rantings. For many years the chap had been a staunch Conservative supporter. From what I could work out that was because at that time in Ashford, Conservatives were most likely to win. However he eventually set up with a girlfriend who was very anti-Tory and pro-loony-lefties, so now that is his political stance…
As I scoffed toast so Treacle came and stared at me. And then started dabbing me. She really was telling me she wanted to go for a walk. So I got organized and drove the dogs up to Kings Wood. We parked in the lower car park and had a rather good walk of about four miles putting out the pots for my current Wherigo project.
As we walked I could smell something… Something foul. Treacle was absolutely smothered in fox poo. Whilst I’d been looking elsewhere she’d rubbed the stuff right into her fur. Foul dog.
And then there was a worrying episode. I watched a huge bird of prey fly out of the trees. I could be wrong but I think it was a Red Kite (you don’t see many of those in Kent!). It flew low and close and was obviously circling us. Or (more precisely) circling Bailey. I shouted swear words at it and it flew off. Was it considering having Bailey?
We came home, had a *serious* scrub, and I popped up the road to the voting station. Who did you vote for today? I had the choice of four candidates…
The Labour candidate has been the Labour councilor in an adjacent ward having won the last election there. So I found myself wondering why has he changed to a ward that doesn’t have a Labour majority?
The independent candidate was until very recently the town’s Conservative mayor. Leaving aside the question of what the story behind her split with the Conservative party is, over the years I’ve contacted her about a range of issues. There wasn’t a single one she actually did anything about. No matter what I asked her about, it was never anything to do with her. She would refer me to another councilor, or the county council or to absolutely anyone at all except herself.
The Local Conservative candidate runs the grim pub down the road where bare-foot chavs play pool (they really don’t have shoes), and locals have been known to carry their own bar stool down from home rather than use the pub’s furniture. And the chap doesn’t know what a bottle conditioned beer is all about.
The Green candidate was possibly the best of a bad lot, but I had to wonder why she kept her address secret when no other candidate had done so.
Gripped by indecision for some weeks, I felt I had a toss-up between either a reluctant cross for the Greens or just drawing a great big cock & balls on the ballot paper… it’s not as though I haven’t done that before…
As I went off to vote, “er indoors TM” said I wasn’t allowed to draw a great big cock & balls on the ballot paper.
As I have said before, it is easy to throw rocks. I should really stand for office myself if I’m going to criticize. But I’ve done public office (to a much smaller extent) a few times before. It really is an example of the two hundred and eighty fifth Rule of Acquisition in action. No good deed ever goes unpunished.
The Snake Club was one huge argument. The kiting got rather (very) nasty. You wouldn’t believe the bile spewed at me during my time on the committee of the Astro club. Being a scout leader was (at best) a very thankless task.
Mind you reading the posts on a friend’s Facebook page I can’t help but wonder if the way we as a society run local councils needs to be re-thought. The chap posting was talking about his local council with which he had a lot of dealings as he was the Town Crier. The fellow claimed that in the last council only two out of fourteen elected councilors served the entire length of time for which they’d been voted in.
It is a rather thankless task.
I then sat on the sofa and rather than cracking on with no end of gardening I deliberately took it easy. I spent a few hours putting the final touches to the Crystal Maze Wherigo project then looked at two more Wherigos to which I might give a new lease of life.
We then drove down to Folkestone. “er indoors TM” and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had tickets to see Ivo Graham, and I was to supervise “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. Smallest grandchild slept for much of the evening, and me and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” watched all sorts of nonsense on You-Tube.
I am reliably informed that by not going to see Iwo Graham I had the better evening…
5 May 2023 (Friday) - Little Bit of Politics (Sorry!)
I woke a tad earlier than I might have done, but got up anyway, made toast and watched an episode of “Shameless” which was rather good.
Rather than messing about on-line though, I set off for work. As I drove there was a lot of talk about yesterday’s local elections on the radio. The consensus of pretty much everyone interviewed was that elections are rarely won on the promises of the wannabe candidates, they are lost by the more obvious failings of the incumbents… regardless of whatever successes they might have had. It was generally agreed that tomorrow’s coronation has come as something of a godsend for the Conservatives as it is taking the public’s attention off of their frankly disastrous results.
There was an interesting snippet from the chairman of the electoral commission who was talking about how people were turned away from polling stations yesterday because they didn’t have the required identification. The chap is apparently organizing a formal review into the matter and will deliver his report in September. I wish I had to work to such lax deadlines.
I can’t help but feel that not allowing people with the correct papers to vote is a good move. There has been no secret at all about the need to have identification to vote; the information has been publicly available for months. If anyone is so out of touch that thus came as news to them, how can they be in any way informed enough on current affairs to cast a vote?
I stopped off in the Tesco at Pembury to get some odds and sods. I ranted about the place the other day, but I do like going in there. The attitude of the staff there has to be seen to be believed; they *really* don’t give a shit. A classic example of this was when my Tesco Clubcard failed to work this morning. The woman behind the till offered to put it in her bin for me, rather than do anything to help.
Eventually equipped with shopping I went on to work and had something of a dull day.
There was a minor episode as I drove home. As I drove past the Pig and Sty in Bethersden so there was a small dog running loose in the road. I couldn’t leave the pup so I stopped and rounded him up. The dog was sitting outside a rather impressive gate behind which I could hear voices, so I shouted at them, and eventually some chap came out and seemed rather shocked that his dog was loose.
I came home to an empty house; “er indoors TM” had taken the dogs to the park. I spent a few minutes correcting the mistakes I’d made yesterday on the Wherigo I’d been working on, and then had a look at the results of yesterday’s local election. Had I actually drawn a cock and balls on the ballot paper it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. But the actual result is something of a joke when you actually look at it in detail. The winner (Green candidate) only got twelve more votes than the one who came third.
The proportion of votes locally was:
With a twenty-eight per cent turnout this can hardly be called a resounding victory, for the Greens though can it? To my mind the only loser is the Independent who has only got half the votes she got as a Conservative.
Locally, Ashford’s council is no longer Conservative controlled. That’s not happened for years…
6 May 2023 (Saturday) - The Coronation
Yesterday I bought some honey whist in Tesco. This morning I spent an age trying to find where “er indoors TM” had hidden it. Once I finally found the stuff I stuck some on toast and smiled at the Internet. Quite a few people were posting all sorts of pro-royalist stuff about the coronation… including one chap who until very recently had been a very vocal republican until he met his new royalist girlfriend.
I saw my latest Wherigo project had got the thumbs-up from the geo-Feds; that’s over a hundred geocaches that I’ve now got up in Kings Wood.
The dogs came down and I took them onto the garden where we fed the fish. “Feeding The Fish” has become something of a ritual in which the dogs get quite a bit of the fish food themselves. Perhaps too much for Bailey perhaps as she did seem somewhat “egg-bound” this morning.
As we fed the fish I couldn’t help but admire the pond which is now crystal clear. Yesterday evening the latest “new next door” remarked on how the pond looks good now it has fish in it. Some of those fish have been there over ten years, but with the state of the water recently you couldn’t see them if they were more than a few inches deep.
Being Saturday we set off to Dog Club. As we turned into the Repton estate so the dogs started squealing in excitement; they’ve come to love it. We had a good Dog Club today. Morgan and Bailey chased and played with the other dogs. Treacle is slowly becoming more accepting of other dogs, and only had a couple of minor spats at the very beginning of the session.
We put leads on and made a move as the bigger dogs arrived; even though the smaller two would quite happily stay and play with the bigger dogs.
We came home, settled the pups and popped out to Bybrook Barn garden centre. On February 1st I mentioned that my cordyline was poggered. Having researched poggered cordylines I found that if you chop off the top then the thing grows a new top and sorts itself out. So several weeks ago I chopped the top off… It hasn’t recovered.
We went to the garden centre to get a new one. We got another bush thingy as well, and whilst we were at it, we got a couple of very small sturgeons for the pond, and a walnut and coffee cake too.
Once home again we released the little sturgeons into the pond. They are rather sweet, but you really have to look closely to see them.
We then put the kettle on, had coffee and cake, and watched the coronation. I wanted to watch it as a coronation is for me (probably) a twice in a lifetime event and I wouldn’t want to have missed it. We sat down and were rather captivated with the pomp and ceremonies, but after a while it started to drag. One choral howling was much the same as another to my uneducated ear, and there was far too much “ooooh God, oh you are so big” for my liking.
At the end of it all I watched the King’s carriage pull in to Buckingham Palace with something of a sense of relief. I expect I’m in the minority again but the whole coronation could have been rather better if it was shorter, snappier, with a lot less religion and far more involvement of the general public.
Despite the drizzle I went into the garden and mowed the lawn. Perhaps I shouldn’t have mowed it when wet, but with only one dry day forecast in the next week (and me working on that day) I couldn’t leave it much longer. I then pruned the tree that hangs over the back of the garden. It needed pruning. Every summer the tree drops over-ripe plums that attract wasps. They grow too high to harvest, the birds don’t have them, they smell, and end up swarming with wasps. This year I’m being pro-active. And with the tree pruned I then sawed up the branches so they would go into the green waste bin. It took about a minute to cut down the two problematical branches, and about an hour to cut them into bits small enough for the compost bin.
I really wanted to pot the new cordyline but the drizzle was getting heavier and I was starting to ache. That will keep.
And then we had a rather traumatic evening as “Darcie Waa Waa TM” came for a sleepover. If only she would stop snogging the dogs…
7 May 2023 (Sunday) - Early Shift
“er indoors TM” took “Darcie Waa Waa TM” to the attic room last night as that is where the cot is set up. The dogs all went with her and I thought I might have a peaceful night. What a silly thought.
Treacle came down after an hour or so, jumped on my bed, shoved me over and made herself comfortable. And just as I nodded off again so she got up, stomped all over me, and went back upstairs. A little while later another dog (presumably Bailey) came down, cried pathetically until I got up to see what they wanted, and then went back to upstairs bed again.
And so it continued.
I got up early, made toast and had a little look at the Internet. There were quite a few people grumbling about the cost of yesterday's coronation. I must admit that I wasn't overly impressed with it, but it goes with the territory of having a Royal Family, and all the time the Royals contribute more to the national economy than they take I don't see anyone really has too much grounds for complaint.
No one had a birthday for me to send out birthday wishes, pretty much everyone seemed to have forgotten about the elections of three days ago, and with nothing else happening in the world and everyone asleep I set off to work.
And then came back for my wallet.
With a few minutes spare I drove into the town centre to cap some Points of Interest for the Munzee Clan War, and just as I was about to head off up the motorway I remembered I hadn't got my works pass card. So I went home again.
There was some dull farming thing on the radio this morning. Dull. So as I cruise-controlled up the motorway I sang along to Ivor Biggun. I was back at Maidstone today; a much easier journey. Even if even more of the motorway has been cordoned off for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Is it hopelessly naive of me to feel that if the Highways Authority aren't ready to do whatever work they want to do, then they shouldn't close the motorway until they are ready.
Just as I came off the motorway so the low petrol alarm came on. There is something odd with my car's fuel usage. When I got it, it would do just over five hundred miles on a full tank of petrol. After the car fix-it people had it to repair the crash damage last year it would only do four hundred miles on a full tank of patrol. But just recently that distance is creeping up again. This morning the petrol alarm sounded after four hundred and eighty miles since last refuelling. I wonder what that's all about?
Like the rest of the world, the petrol station was surprisingly busy so early on the Sunday of a Bank Holiday weekend
Work was work; surprisingly busy for a bonus Bank Holiday, buut an early start made for an early escape, and I spent much of the evening quietly soaking up ale. And rum. And gin.
We watched the last episode of “Celebrity Hunted” hunted this evening. The second to last to be caught rather gave the game away. Had she kept her trap shut then the hunters wouldn’t have known were to go hunting.
I feel rather tired…
8 May 2023 (Monday) - Bank Holiday - Waiting for the Rain
I slept like a log last night. I was eventually woken by Bailey licking my nose, and having woken me up she went back to sleep. Being suddenly wide awake I got up, made toast and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. Some people were whinging about how the Munzee servers had crashed yesterday, and others were gloating that the servers at geocaching dot com hadn’t. There are some hunters of Tupperware who are incredibly anti-Munzee in exactly the same way that some Conservative voters hate the Labour party, and some supporters of Manchester United FC hate Liverpool FC. A tribal thing where it isn’t enough that your chosen team does well; the other team has to be seen to be doing badly.
I gently pointed out that the huge mainframes at Munzee HQ actually do far more than those at geocaching dot com, and without third-party software, geocaching dot com would have been dead in the water years ago.
No one replied to that.
Seeing the forecast rain wasn’t due until the mid-afternoon I put some washing in, got dressed and went into the garden. Having landscaped the rockery behind the pond last week, “My Boy TM” had given me a rather better idea, and so I stripped out the rockery and made it look different; if not better. Rearranging the rocks took an hour; far shorter than I’d thought it would. So with time on my hands I got the dead cordyline into the compost and the new one into its pot.
Pausing only briefly to harvest even more dog dung (how do three small dogs generate so much dung?) I then rolled out the new hose I’d bought in the week for fish-pond filter cleaning. Rather than sending me two ten-metre lengths, the nice people had sent one twenty metre length. That was something of a result.
With no sign of the rain I then walked the dogs over to “My Boy TM”’s house to collect my car from where I’d left it yesterday, and then had another idea about rearranging the rockery.
“er indoors TM” set off to visit family; with the forecast rain due I went indoors and set about the ironing whilst watching three episodes of “Shameless”. As I ironed I had half an eye on the weather, waiting for the forecast rain that never came.
“er indoors TM” came home and sorted a good bit of dinner. As we scoffed we watched more of “The Great”.
And I’m off to bed now… aching from a busy day.
And that forecast rain still hasn’t come…
9 May 2023 (Tuesday) - Oh, I Ache...
I heaved my aching carcass out of its pit, made toast and started watching an episode of "Shameless" as I sorted the undercrackers... then gave up sorting. The tumble-drier had done a rather shoddy job; they were all still rather damp. So I had words with the tumble-drier, and bunged them all back in again. Hopefully it did a better job on them second time round as I set off on a little pre-work Munzee mission.
I capped some dull Points of Interest then set off up the motorway listening to the radio as I went. Radio Four now has a WhatsApp channel on which you can contact the pundits on the radio. Though why you might want to do that is beyond me. The idea of national radio is that the pundits on that radio tell me what is happening, not vice-versa. It was a shame they didn't really have anything of note to tell me today though. They didn't shut up once during the forty minutes it took to get to work, but they didn't actually say anything worth listening to the entire way.
I got to work earlier than I might have done, so went for a little walk capping some QrewZees as I went (as one does), then had a cuppa and had a look at Facebook before I started work. There was a minor squabble kicking off on one of the UK Koi-keeping Facebook pages in which various people who have their own ways of doing things were getting rather nasty with anyone who dared to do anything different to how they did things. No one squabbling seemed to realise that everyone else was quite successfully keeping fish despite what they were doing.
Work was work. As I worked I had a phone call about my ENT appointment scheduled for later in the week. Originally my appointment was planned for tomorrow but it got moved to Thursday (or so I thought). I've had reminders about appointments planned for both tomorrow and Thursday, so I'd phoned and asked them to tell me what was going on. The nice lady phoned had back to tell me that the IT system of the hospital (where the appointment is happening) can't cope with appointments being changed, and so it sends out reminders about every appointment that has ever been made, regardless of whether it is actually happening or if it has been cancelled.
The nice lady apologised; she said that everyone in their hospital knows about this issue, but no one is able to do anything about it. She said she was getting rather fed up with it. You'd think that someone would have sorted it, but as anyone who has ever used IT realises, it is never quite that simple.
“er indoors TM” sorted dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “The Great”, then we tried watching something else we’d recorded. Sadly whatever it was had the sign language interpreter thrashing about on the side of the screen. I’m sure that there are many who appreciate this, and I’m sure the failing is mine, but for me the sign language interpreter is too distracting to let me watch whatever it is that they are interpreting.
And I still ache. I must have overdone it yesterday.
10 May 2023 (Wednesday) - Early Shift
I heaved my still aching carcass out of its pit, made toast and started watching an episode of "Shameless" in which our heroes had yet again got themselves into a disaster of their own making. Much like all of us, really.
Being the Clan leader I had a quick look at our Munzee Clan's progress after the first week of this Clan War; at the moment the Clan looks to be doing OK. There are still three who haven't accepted their invitations to join yet, but they've got two days to go before they have to accept.
Pausing only briefly to get a thousand points out of the Tree House up the road I set off to work. I bet not one person in a thousand realises there is a Tree House up the road from my house; let alone how to get a thousand points out of it.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about that idiot Donald Trump who despite having been found not guilty of rape, has been ordered to pay her millions of dollars in compensation for slagging her off. Mind you I say "that idiot Donald Trump", surely the true idiots here are those who don't see this as any sort of obstacle to his re-election. Those discussing the matter this morning were talking about how for anyone else it would be the absolute end of their political career, but Donald Trump seems able to get away with absolutely anything at all in the eyes of the electorate.
Boris Johnson is much the same; there are still calls for his return.
Have I ever mentioned what a stupid idea democracy is?
There was also talk about diabetes, and how " less than half of people with the condition in England received all eight of their required checks in 2021-22, meaning 1.9 million did not receive the care they need" and it was claimed that this led to seven thousand unnecessary deaths.
Now my dad was eighty-six when he died last year. I don't think for one moment he would have lived forever. But his diabetes was rather bad. Despite phoning his GP many times, he never saw any diabetes specialists during or after the COVID lockdowns. No checks in two years for him when he should have had sixteen?
I got to work for the early shift. It was a glorious morning, even though there was a lot of talk on the radio about forecast thunderstorms. I spent much of the day looking out of the window. The weather continued being glorious.
As I drove home though a beautiful afternoon I could see black clouds in the east… in the direction of home. As I got closer I could see flashes of lightning in those clouds. As I got to within a mile or so of home it was obvious there had been torrential rain.
I decided against taking the dogs to the woods; we went round the block instead. The dogs were as good as gold, and when we came home we did “Feed The Fish” which is always something they enjoy. As do the fish. There is quite the ritual now. I ask if they want to feed the fish, and they charge to the pond’s edge in the hope of getting some fish food. The fish see the dogs and come to the surface smacking their chops in anticipation of food. I make a point of scattering some of the fish food on the planks surrounding the pond, and there is quite the free-for-all. The pups haven’t tried getting the fish food from the water yet; Fudge used to, and would sometimes get his nose sucked by a hungry fish.
“er indoors TM” boiled up pie and chips which we scoffed whilst watching another episode of “The Great”. Ostensibly the story of Catherine the Great, it bears pretty much no relation whatsoever to reality. When you consider that TV shows like this is the closest that most people come to a history lesson you’d think the makers of the show might have made a bit more effort, wouldn’t you?
11 May 2023 (Thursday) - Rostered Day Off
I woke with backache this morning; a sure sign ‘d been in my pit for far too long. I made toast and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. I watched a little religious posting on Facebook with more than a sense of guilt. In 1975 I took a friend of mine along to the Boys Brigade. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the Boys brigade was (and still is) a rather dangerous insidious trap in which youngsters were (and still are) indoctrinated with religious claptrap. It took me a long time, but eventually I escaped. But my mate I took along didn’t. He’s now the pastor of a Baptist church down the west country, and every morning his church posts “Prayers at 10” on Facebook. When my old mate is the star of the show his prayers all follow the same format. He starts off with saying how crap he is and how he is not worthy to lick piss off of a stinging nettle. He then goes on to sucking up to his god about how wonderful it is. He then thanks his god for all that is good in the world. There is then pathetic begging for his god to put right all that is wrong… even though what is wrong has always been wrong and his prayers haven’t achieved anything. And the comments on the Facebook posting are filled with people blessing him for this.
If it were anyone else presenting this I would just laugh at it, but it is my old mate. It is because of me that he is spouting this nonsensical gibberish. “er indoors TM” says I should let it all go as he is happy. But is he happy? Or is he like I once was – neck deep in crackpot religion desperately hoping it is all true and terrified of the alternative?
I got the dogs onto their leads; they seemed keen to go out this morning. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how crap the train service is in the north of England. There was an interview with someone who was the head honcho of “the northern powerhouse” who was saying that train connections are crucial to the prosperity of the area, and the unions are thwarting them at every turn. From what I could work out it seemed that “thwarting them at every turn” meant that the unions didn’t want staff to be forced to work on rostered days off. A valid point perhaps… but do the staff all have to be rostered off on the same day? I’m rostered off today and working on Sunday. Other colleagues have different allocations.
It ain’t rocket science…
We got to the woods and had a good walk. A pair of French bulldogs started a game with Morgan and Bailey, then ran in terror. Apparently they don’t like other dogs. I suggested to the bloke with them that they might have a yellow harness in future. Why has no one ever heard of the Yellow Dog Scheme?
Mind you the Dalmatian puppy we met wanted to play.
I took a few photos as we walked, and hid two more geocaches too.
Pausing only briefly to get myself a croissant and a pain au chocolat for “er indoors TM” I set off to the hospital for an ENT appointment. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that in January last year I had my third surgical nasal re-bore and today was a check-up to ensure all was good.
Basically it wasn’t (and isn’t).
The ENT surgeon shoved hs endoscope up my nose and showed me where the papilloma has come back (again). As it isn’t affecting my breathing (yet) he suggests a wait-and-see approach rather than charging straight back to the operating theatre for a fourth bout of surgery. He’s probably right. I’m going back to see him in six months so’s he can have another look up my snout.
I came home, put some washing in to scrub then got on with telling the geo-feds about the two geocaches I’d hidden earlier. Simply setting up two web pages took over an hour.
I then ironed like a thing possessed (a day off work is never complete without ironing) then wasted a few hours snuggling on the sofa with Morgan whilst watching drivel on the telly.
And then I video-called my brother and we went through some of the solicitor’s paperwork for the sale of Dad’s house. Can you believe we have to agree to leave the light fittings and switches? Presumably some people try to take them when they move house? And there was an extensive checklist of what we were leaving and what we were taking. Do people *really* take the carpets and shed when they move house?
And the solicitor wanted an “Energy Performance Certificate” for Dad’s house. I had no idea what one of those was, so I had a look on Google. The first link I found offered to provide one for as little as thirty-four quid. I thought that was rather reasonable until I looked Google’s second link which was to the government’s web site from which I downloaded the certificate for free.
How many people have paid the thirty-four quid in good faith?
12 May 2023 (Friday) - Feeling Tired
I woke at 12:40am this morning as one of the dogs (Bailey?) started licking my head, and I then spent much of the rest of the night fighting a losing war with the puppies for bed space. Treacle has realised there is plenty of space at the foot of the bed and dosses down there. Perhaps I should take a leaf out of her book?
I eventually gave up trying to sleep.
I made toast, watched an episode of "Shameless" and then rolled my eyes at today's squabble on Facebook. There were those who seem to have vast reservoirs of rain water with which to fill their garden ponds as they claim that the chlorine in tap water would kill their fish stone dead. There were those who were laughing at them; claiming that they've been filling their ponds from the tap for years with no adverse effects (like I have been doing). But I'm not going to quibble; if someone wants to fart around collecting rain water, good luck to them. Mind you I'm intrigued about how they stop it going stagnant during storage.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about how astronomers have discovered the biggest explosion in the history of the universe. Ten times bigger than anything ever seen. Quite a wallop! Probably almost as loud as the bin men were this morning.
And then my piss boiled. I was originally supposed to be on the night shift today. I'd moved heaven and earth to swap so's I could go out on the razzle in Folkestone this evening and it turns out there's a train strike.
There was an interview with the head honcho of one of the unions who was challenged about the disruption the strike causes. Someone on the radio staff couldn't get to a funeral today because of the strike. The chap being interviewed laid the blame for the strike entirely at whoever sets train drivers' wages... which is why the train drivers get a decent pay rise and we (I) don't.
Yesterday was rather eventful… today was dull. The only real thing of note was being told I've got Norway in the works Eurovision sweepstake; they currently have a three per cent chance of winning…
I’m going to bed – I feel all in… Let’s hope the dogs sleep tonight.
13 May 2023 (Saturday) - Rather Tired
As I had a look at Facebook during brekkie this morning I read about a new business venture. People are hiring out Lego sets. There’s one particular set which retails for about a hundred Euros which you can hire for sixteen Euros per week (and an eleven Euro delivery fee). Either this is a nice little money-spinner, or cash down the drain, depending on whether or not you get all the bricks back.
On the other side of making money out of Lego were endless gripes on Facebook about someone called Fabien who seemed to be taking people’s money for Lego sets he never supplied.
There were one or two rants on some of the work-related Facebook pages about the disappointing pay rise that the NHS has been offered… I say “pay rise”; here’s the truth of the state of the NHS pay dispute. Have a look at the NHS pay scales over the years (type “Agenda for change” into Google).
Pick any NHS worker at random and it takes a matter of seconds to calculate their hourly rate of pay both now and over the last few years.
Then choose anything you might regularly buy and Google how the price of that thing has changed over the years.
It is then a simple calculation to work out a rate of pay in terms of what people buy on a regular basis.
If you calculate my hourly rate of pay in terms of Freddo chocolate frogs or pints of milk, my pay has dropped by half in the last twenty years.
We got ourselves organized and drove over to the Repton estate for Dog Club. We were first there so the dogs got a bonus ten minutes. The puppies had a whale of a time, and Treacle was less antisocial than she has been. As “er indoors TM” fussed Treacle for being tolerant of another dog who had sniffed her, she spotted a tick on Treacle’s head. We found a pair of tweezers and had an impromptu tick removal masterclass.
There was quite a good turnout at Dog Club today. “er indoors TM” overheard someone else saying that everyone was smiling, and that sums up Dog Club for me.
As we drove home my ears pricked up; we had a mention on the radio. Steve said hello to us, said we always listen in on our way home from Dog Club and wished us well in the Mystery Year competition.
I got it right – 1973.
“er indoors TM” got some non-dogged trousers and set off to Craft Club. I scrubbed the muddier two dogs (Treacle was surprisingly clean) and then I went into the garden. The lawn had liked the rain of the last week and needed mowing. And with the lawn mowed I looked at the pond. It was two and a half weeks since I’d installed the new filter. The instructions said to clean it out every two weeks. Despite having read the instructions and watched the You-Tube videos I was somewhat apprehensive; I’m never any good with anything new. But… I had nothing else to do until “er indoors TM” came home. So I did what the instructions said.
I ran out the new waste hose, connected one end to the “out” bit of the pump and stuck the other end over the drain at the other end of the garden thirty yards away. I turned everything off, turned the filter’s taps to the right settings, turned on the pumps and cranked the cleaning handle like a thing possessed.
After a couple of minutes I turned it all off, disconnected the waste hose, turned all the taps back as they were, and turned it all back on again.
In the past cleaning the pond filter was physically hard work; a messy smelly job taking at least forty minutes. Today it probably took less than ten minutes. The most troublesome and time-consuming bit was running out the waste hose and putting it away afterwards.
Next time I will lift the grill over the drain and stick the waste hose into it as the muck did bung the grill up, but I was amazed at how easy it all was.
I made myself a cuppa and paid the water bill on Dad’s house. I was amazed at how easy that was too. I then settled the dogs and collected “er indoors TM” from Craft Club and we went for McLunch. That’s not cheap these days.
From McLunch we drove to Dad’s house where we met my brother. There’s not much left in there any more. We loaded Dad’s fridge into the boot of my car, together with one or two other bits and bobs. I took down the house’s name plate… and the home was suddenly just a house.
Now (realistically) we’re ready for the house clearance people. It’s all rather sad really.
On the way home we stopped off for geocachical reasons, and with geocache found we came home, unloaded the car and put the new fridge in place.
It took some putting.
Dad’s fridge was to replace the one in the shed, so first of all we had to heave it through the house to the back garden. Then was the job of getting the old fridge out. It was physically wedged in place, and took a fair amount of heaving to remove. I’m not sure that “er indoors TM” *really* needed to slam my hand in the door of the old fridge, but there it is.
Once I’d shouted a few swear words we then had to get the new fridge into place. With the new fridge being about a millimetre taller than the space into which it was going I got under the bench and forced it upward as “er indoors TM” shoved the new fridge in pretty much every direction known to science except the one in which it needed to be shoved.
Oh, how I laughed…
“er indoors TM” says we are going to watch the Eurovision Song Contest this evening. She says that will be nice. Bearing in mind my poor mangled hand, I don’t dare argue…
14 May 2023 (Sunday) - Working, Drinking
I was woken at silly o'clock. Morgan was having a dream and his tail was wagging so much it whacked me awake. Dogs really do dream.
I got up and watched an episode of "Shameless" featuring him out of "Hornblower" who in this episode was running round in the nip. I wish he hadn't been.
Once I'd remembered where I'd parked my car I set off to work. Being a Sunday the talk was of vaguely religious stuff. It kicked off with the head honcho of the National Secular Society who had upset quite a few people when the NSS had said that the coronation had been "unnecessary and expensive religious ritual which is incompatible with democracy and equality between citizens of different religions and beliefs".
Interestingly there were quite a few leading lights of the Church of England on the radio this morning in full agreement with her. The general feeling was that a clearly archaic and outdated religious service had done as little favours to the church as it had to the monarchy. Apparently in light of what is seen by the establishment as "a legal irrelevance" and a "silly and superstitious Church of England ritual", there's talk of planning Prince (for now) William's coronation as something that won't be quite so tedious.
There was also talk about the ex-Archbishop of York who allegedly failed to act on disclosures that a Church of England vicar repeatedly raped a teenage boy in the 1980s. The ex-Archbish claimed the author of the report bringing this to light (an experienced safeguarding investigator) had a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the responsibilities of bishops and archbishops. Presumably bishops and archbishops are only supposed to check that vicars are spouting gibberish and twaddle, and *don't* have to check that they aren't porking choirboys? One lives and learns.
I got to work, had a fry-up, and then got on with the day's round. One of my colleagues was gloating. Having drawn Sweden in the work's Eurovision sweepstake she was fifty quid up on the deal (as opposed to my being two quid down) and was talking about getting everyone pizza on Monday. I suggested bringing in a bag of doughnuts and pocketing the profit.
With work done I came home, and we spent the afternoon in the garden drinking lager (of various colours) in the sunshine. Having put so much time and effort into the garden I put so much effort into actually enjoying it…
15 May 2023 (Monday) - A Day's Leave
I had a dreadful night. After a couple of hours spent fighting for any duvet at all I stood up and yanked the thing three feet in my direction (at three o’clock this morning). As I was up I popped to the loo and came back to find all three dogs spread out across where I’d been trying to sleep.
Another battle then ensued.
And then just after I finally managed to doze off so Morgan started making “being sick” noises.
I made toast and had my usual root around the Internet. It was still there, and much the same as ever. I sighed as I read one of the Lego-related pages. This particular page is intended to be about identifying obscure bits of Lego. Back in the day people would post photos of a bit of Lego shaped like a cross between an armpit and a marquee and ask what set(s) it was originally from, and what function it served. Nowadays people post the photos and ask how much the piece is worth.
I also saw that a cousin-in-law’s daughter had married her girlfriend at the weekend. That would explain the cryptic countdown that had been appearing daily on cousin-in-law’s Facebook page last week. Back in the day the entire family (no matter how distant) would have gone to something like that, and regularly did. Nowadays, things are sadly different. I blame the demise of the annual family reunions.
I drove down to Folkestone to collect “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. She was off out with Cheryl today, and I was looking after “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. I deposited the most recent fruit of my loin with Cheryl and brought most recent granddaughter home.
In retrospect it was probably something of a mistake having “er indoors TM” working from home today; with two of us here, littlun couldn’t decide who she wanted to be with. We went through all the episodes of Bebefinn (twice), harassed the water dogs (pond fish) several times, snogged Treacle, Morgan and Bailey several times, but apart from a forty-minute sleep at mid-day, she didn’t really settle at all.
It was a shame that Morgan ate her socks.
“Daddy’s Little Angel TM” returned after a few hours. Leaving her with littlun and her mum I took the dogs to the woods. We had a fairly good walk; Morgan was a tad recalcitrant though. Like “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. He was probably over-tired.
And with dogs walked I drove “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM” home. Littlun cried the whole way. She cried on the way up too; she doesn’t seem to like cars very much.
“er indoors TM” went gone bowling. I watched an episode of “Shameless” and I think an early night might be in order. What with the piss-poor night’s sleep and WaaWaa being full-on all day, today wasn’t the most relaxing day’s leave I’ve ever had…
16 May 2023 (Tuesday) - Early Shift
I woke far too early, but I do that. I got up taking care not to disturb the dogs, but once I was up they were immediately into the warm spot I'd left.
I made toast, watched an episode of "Shameless" and set off work-wards.
As I drove there was talk on the radio of Suella Braverman (the Home Secretary) who is apparently undermining the Prime Minister in what is being billed as the first move in her campaign to become leader of the Conservatives. I can't pretend to be their number one fan, but surely what that lot need right now is stability, isn't it? Or has she seen the writing on the wall and has decided her future is better leading the opposition rather than leading the country?
And crude oil prices are falling. Apparently this is seen as a long-term trend as Green energy is becoming less of a crackpot scheme and more of a reality.
I got to work for the early shift and did my bit. In pain. On Saturday “er indoors TM” shut my hand in the fridge door, and yesterday I went arse over tit down the stairs and strained my knee. One of the worst things about getting old is that I hurt pretty much all the time, and knacked fingers and knees don't help.
I had this plan to get petrol tomorrow morning on the way to work, if only because it is six pence a litre cheaper in Aylesford. But the “Get some petrol” alarm came on just as I got onto the motorway to come home this afternoon. Nine days ago I mentioned that I got four hundred and eighty miles from a tank of petrol; this time I only got four hundred and forty. Is that a result of a week (or so) going up and down the motorway as opposed to country lanes?
I got petrol, collected the dogs and took them to Orlestone. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned about Morgan being wilful at Orlestone; he didn’t run off at all today, he came back to the whistle… but he (and Bailey) certainly seemed to be bolder and braver in Orlestone than they are in Kings Wood.
I shall take them to Kings Wood tomorrow for a “compare and contrast”.
After yesterday I went to work today for a bit of a rest… I think I’m still worn out from yesterday’s “Darcie Waa Waa TM” session…
17 May 2023 (Wednesday) - Half Day's Leave
I woke far too early again, made toast and watched another episode of Shameless, then had a look at the Internet. Last night a geocache went live not a million miles from work. It was still unfound this morning so I set off on a little geo-mission.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the owners of Vauxhall cars who have got the arse. Apparently making cars isn't a profitable business anymore and so they have formally ordered the government to re-negotiate the Brexit deal in their favour.
It speaks volumes that a commercial company can do this, doesn't it?
Mind you there was also talk about that odious Nigel Farage who had apparently announced that in his opinion Brexit has failed. It's a shame that he didn't listen to those telling him what would happen and how much it would cost each of us personally when he had the chance. The sad part of all this is that (with his history) it can only be a matter of time before he's back on the public stage, can't it.
I got to junction five of the motorway, and eventually found somewhere to park my car. From there it was a half-mile walk along some rather pretty countryside. As I approached where my phone said the cache was I saw some rather obviously trampled down grass around the fence post to which I would have attached a film pot. I soon found what I was looking for, and no one else had signed the paper log before me. First to Find. Go me!!! That’s two hundred and seventy-one First to Finds that I’ve had…
I went on to work and had a cheese scone as a celebratory second brekkie, had something of a thalassaemic morning, and soon it was home time.
Sooner than usual.
For all that “er indoors TM” works from home, occasionally she has to go into the office. Today was one such day, and so I took the afternoon off to be on dog duty. Yesterday I mentioned that Morgan (particularly) was rather willful at Orlestone Woods, so in a spirit of scientific investigation we went to Kings Wood to see how he would be. He was as good as gold. Treacle was a minor problem though; not turning down any chance to be belly-deep in a swamp.
We had a little “episode”… well, *we* didn’t. At about the three-mile point of our walk two larger dogs (about the size of cart-horses) appeared seemingly from nowhere. They ran up to the pups and immediately a great game started. Seconds later some chap appeared and was overflowing with apologies about what his dogs were doing… and then he went quiet and seemed to be amazed that the dogs were all playing nicely. So amazed that he took some photos and a little video to show his wife.
We came home, and after “swamp monster” was bathed we all settled on the sofa and watched episodes of “Shameless” whilst the washing machine sorted undercrackers and dog towels.
I really ache now… the morning’s little walk and the afternoon’s bigger walk have taken their toll…
18 May 2023 (Thursday) - Death Certificates
I didn't sleep at all well last night. Ironically “er indoors TM” and the dogs all slept the sleep of the just. I gave up trying to sleep, got up and made toast, and as I sat myself in front of the telly things felt rather cold. Somehow or other I'd ripped the arse out of my favourite pyjamas.
I watched an episode of "Shameless" which was rather good but... The whole premise of the show is a love triangle. Who will Frank choose? But Frank has to choose between two rather attractive and likeable women. And Frank is (quite literally) a rather disagreeable tramp who stinks of his own piss (as he is regularly pissing himself). Not very plausible, is it?
I then set off to work. Via the post office to post more legal paperwork to my brother. I pulled up outside the collection office, and posted the letter and was away in less than twenty seconds. The whole thing passed off without incident... which was a bit of a shame. Traffic wardens regularly lay in wait outside the sorting office and I'd been looking forward to a fight.
As always I listened to the radio as I drove up the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing Fergal Sharkey (of all people) about recent announcements made by the UK water companies.
It would seem that the UK water companies have formally apologised to the UK public about the sewage spills into the country's rivers and seas, and have announced a ten billion pound clean-up of the nation’s waterways. However as Fergal Sharkey pointed out, this ten billion quid is coming from increased water bills. the water companies are still keeping a tight grasp on their profits.
And there was talk about how the average obese person costs the NHS twice as much as the average not-obese person. As a fat sod I take offence at that. I don't choose to be a fat sod. According to my Samsung Health app, I walk an average distance of three and a half miles each day. That’s more each day than over four fifths of the people of my age, and still the pounds pile on.
I stopped off at Sainsbury’s on the way to work. Not content with not having anyone on any of the tills forcing me to use the self-service checkouts, they then insisted on physically checking that I’d paid for everything in my shopping bag.
I told them to stick it up their arse; I shan’t be shopping there again.
As I did my bit at work I had an email… Over the last few months I’ve been so grateful for dad having put his affairs in order, but it turns out there was one thing he didn’t do. He didn’t take Mum’s name off of the deeds of the house. The solicitor wanted to know who this “Doreen” was, and would she be involved in the sale of the house… I sighed.
They wanted a copy of mum’s death certificate… I’ve not got it. Fortunately you can get them sent out from the registrar’s office on the day after you ask for one. It would have saved a whole load of farting about if they could have sent it straight to the solicitor, but that’s not possible. Apparently. I’m sure it could be *if* they tried. After all, they had to check that I was the right person to be asking for a death certificate, and sending it to a solicitor’s office is a rather crap way to run some sort of scam, isn’t it?
The death certificate should be in the post to me tomorrow. That’s another thirty-five quid…
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the final episode of “The Great” which didn’t so much “end” as “fizzled out”.
As we watched we swilled a bottle of plonk… that’s a headache for the morning…
19 May 2023 (Friday) - Dull (Apart From The Cake)
I had a better night's sleep than I have had for some time, but still found myself wide awake far too early. I made toast and watched another episode of "Shameless". I'm now into the third or fourth season and am sadly wondering if I've reached the point at which most of the original cast have got better offers and the scriptwriters ran out of ideas.
With telly watched I had a look at Facebook. A church-going friend has had a heart attack, and her family are asking for prayers for her. How does that work? I *seriously* don't understand this one. Why would a loving god allow the heart attack in the first place? Does this god have the ability to allow her to get better? And if so, is it rather capricious in its decision, and would it be swayed by our begging?
As someone who was so into religion back in the day, I *really* don't understand any of it today.
I set off to work. Pausing only briefly to deploy a Golden Carrot I was soon on my way up the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the summit meeting of the leaders of the G7 nations. They are planning all sorts of sanctions against Russia. I wonder why; it is quite apparent to anyone reading the news that the Russian leadership isn't taking any notice of international opinion over the war in Ukraine.
And there was quite a bit of consternation being expressed by teachers who want formal guidance for how to deal with pupils claiming to be transsexual.
It seems that a lot of bodies and organisations have all issued guidance on how to handle trans pupils, all of the guidance being contradictory. Whilst I don't doubt that there really are trans people who have serious needs and issues, in the first instance the teachers need to be able to distinguish between the genuine trans and those jumping on the bandwagon, don't they? Can my granddaughter *seriously* have twenty trans classmates (out of thirty)?
Am I being cynical in saying that I identify as a six feet four inch tall multi-millionaire with a full head of hair who is five stone lighter than I currently am?
I got to work; there was cake. I did my bit. After work I popped in to the vet’s where I got flea treatments for the dogs, then came home to find “er indoors TM” off out to Folkestone. Fortunately she’d let me some dinner which I scoffed whilst watching telly and doing the ironing.
You can’t beat ironing, can you?
20 May 2023 (Saturday) - A Wedding
With no alarms set I had a better night asleep, even if I did make the schoolboy error of popping to the loo in the small hours, thereby leaving half the bed undefended and open to canine invasion. After a little battle to regain enough space for myself “er indoors TM” started snoring loud enough to wake the dead.
I made toast and (as I do) had a look at the Internet. It was still there; it hadn’t changed. Trivia and squabbles abounded. One of the Facebook pages I follow is that of a local lake the owners of which seem to delight in being as rude and obnoxious as they possibly can to anyone who might be considering giving them good money. And again this morning they were doing their best to send potential customers to the opposition (of which there is plenty).
We got the dogs onto their leads and set off to the Repton estate. Whenever we go to the woods they just sit quietly in the boot; today there were squeaks and squeals of excitement when we were still a mile from the place.
Dog club was very well attended today. However spring was in the air, and there was quite a bit of “dog piggy backs” going on. Morgan and Bailey got involved in all sorts of games with the bigger dogs. One of the largest dogs tripped over Morgan; I didn’t laugh much…
Treacle started well, but became more withdrawn as more and more dogs arrived.
As we drove home (and on the way there too) we listened to Steve on the radio, and got a mention too. I wonder how many other people on the way home from Dog Club wonder why we get mentioned and they don’t. I wracked my brain over the mystery year competition. It was obviously some time in the mid 1980s… eventually I narrowed it down to 1984.
The answer was actually 1992. Woops.
We stopped off at the co-op for milk and bread and Belgian buns… and then had to tell the woman on the checkout *not* to put the milk on top of the buns as she packed the bag. I couldn’t work out if she was blissfully unaware that half a gallon of milk would squash the buns, or whether she simply didn’t care.
We had a cuppa and the (non-squashed) Belgian buns, then I set about more of the paperwork for Dad’s house. The solicitor had sent back the Fittings and Contents Form with a query, and I had to chase up a replacement Electrical Installation Condition Report. All piddling little things, but things which needed doing.
Whilst I piddled about with paperwork “er indoors TM” brandished her new carpet washing device.
I am reliably informed the living room carpet looks wonderful now…
Leaving the dogs under the watchful eye of “My Boy TM” and Cheryl we set off to the Leas for a wedding. The Metropole was a rather nice venue, and James and Emma had a very good wedding service.
We went into the garden with a glass of champagne and then I went to the bar for gins and tonics. And I chuckled a bit. Have you ordered a gin and tonic lately? What sort of gin? What flavour? What sort of tonic? Ice or not? Lime or lemon? And meanwhile the bottled ales are all in the fridge!
We then went in for a spot of dinner. There weren’t as many red wine drinkers as there might have been so I ended up polishing off two bottles of the stuff. Then I discovered the stout. There was amaretto and cigars too…
It all got rather vague toward the end. Not a bad way to catch up with old friends. Must do it more often…
21 May 2023 (Sunday) - Feeling Grim
Despite far too champagne, far too many gins and tonics, two bottles of red wine a decent helping of stout and more amaretto than sense I was still wide awake at six o’clock this morning. However (it has to be said) that I wasn’t on top form this morning… I wonder why?
I made toast in the forlorn hope of removing the taste of last night’s cigars. I do like a cigar in the evening; however you do wake the next morning feeling as though you’ve eaten the leftover ashes of a tramp’s bonfire.
There were quite a few photos from yesterday’s wedding on Facebook this morning. I didn’t take many photos at all, which was rather unlike me. There was also quite a lot of talk on one of the local Facebook pages about local vets. The same question comes up time and again; which is the best local vet? Pretty much every vet surgery for ten miles is mentioned with good and bad being spoken about all of them. Surely common sense tells us that a truly crap vet will soon be shut down by the regulators… doesn’t it?
With time on my hands I made a start on today’s project; replacing the dead palm tree. The palm tree looked as dead as I felt, but I had this naïve idea that if I got on with my day I might chirp up a bit.
I gathered up the brindle chippings and removed the weed-resistant membrane in ten minutes, and then had quite the fight trying to extract the dead palm from the pot. Have you ever tried to shift a dead palm tree when you feel like death warmed up yourself? Eventually the corpse of the tree was in the garden waste bin. And with something of a sense of achievement we went out to get the dead tree’s replacement…
Via the town centre where we met Matt and Martin for a little bit of brekkie and a catch-up.
The full English breakfast perked me up somewhat, for which I was grateful. Mind you perking up (like most things) is (as Albert once said) relative. So only feeling “seriously grim” we went to the garden centre where we got a cornus alba “miracle”, some triffid or other for “er indoors TM” to forget to water, and some cake.
We came home, and again I thought that if I got on with my day I might chirp up a bit. It hadn’t worked earlier, but I carried on regardless. I got the lawnmowing stuff out, then “er indoors TM” frog-marched the dogs inside; they’ve developed this annoying habit of attacking the lawnmower whenever I try to use it.
With lawn eventually mowed I got my cornus alba “miracle” into its pot, and picked up the weed-proof membrane just before Morgan tried to pee on it.
With plant potted I got the gardening scissors and trimmed round the edges of the paving slabs that go down the garden. I was determined to crack on with my day and chirp up a bit, even if it wasn’t happening.
And with slabs edged I then had a little weeding session.
Far from chirping up, after the weeding I could barely move. But “er indoors TM” had arranged for the nice man to collect the wreckage of her old bike, and today was the only chance I would have to excavate it from the shed.
The shed needed a tidy-up anyway.
I found a garden hammock, a yard brush and two sledges I didn’t know I had. In retrospect we should have chucked her poggered bike out years ago, rather than sticking it at the back of the shed, and then piling all sorts of other crap on top of it.
By then it was mid-afternoon, every movement hurt, and I still felt yuk. “er indoors TM” sorted a bag of tortillas and some fizz and we sat in the garden. I put so much effort into the garden I really need to start using it. As gardens go, it’s not a bad one to sit in reading a Kindle app.
As I read, I watched Treacle. Back in the day my Fudge used to stalk the pond fish constantly. That’s why his memorial is by the pond; he loved it there. Treacle has suddenly taken up where Fudge left off. She spent pretty much all of today walking round the pond and periodically stopping to dab at the fish.
Cheryl called in. Her mum had bought a patio heater… and immediately bought another better one. Did we want the first one which hadn’t even been taken out of the box yet?
The thing is still in the box. Getting it out this evening would hurt too much.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good roast which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of the latest season of “Taskmaster”. It was rather good.
Perhaps if I have an early night I might chirp up a bit overnight?
I can still taste those cigars…
22 May 2023 (Monday) - Feeling (Very) Tired
I still felt rather grim when I woke. I sorted some toast and put on an episode of "Shameless". The show has now got to the stage at which what were once minor characters are now the focus of the story. This is either a sign of excellent writing... or because who used to be the lead characters have all had a better offer elsewhere. I'm not quite sure which is the case here.
Leaving “er indoors TM” and the dogs fast asleep I walked seemingly miles to find where I'd left the car after Saturday's Dog Club... and then drove back home to collect all that I'd forgotten to pick up. Woops.
As I drove I heard that "Operation Brock" was being re-instated for the bank holiday weekend.
Mind you, "re-instating" Operation Brock just means that the left hand two lanes of the motorway are in use rather than the right hand two lanes. The M20 hasn't been a proper motorway between Ashford and Maidstone for years.
As I drove and stopped and drove and stopped, amongst the drivel spouted by the pundits on the radio was an interview with the Labour party Leader Sir Kier Starmer. Despite not being able to complete a single sentence (because the interviewer simply wouldn't let him speak) he tried to outline his plans for the NHS. I formed the impression that what he is proposing sounds ambitious, but I have no idea what he is actually proposing as he couldn't get more than six words out before being interrupted. He was allowed to speak a little more on the subject of immigration. He made the (very valid) point that businesses and industry (and the NHS) are employing skilled immigrant workers as the country's schools and universities aren't coming up with them. When I used to interview people I found this was an issue fifteen years ago... and nothing has changed in the meantime.
What with the delays on the motorway I was only an hour late getting to work. I did what I couldn't avoid. At tea break I finally got round to having a look at the Internet. There were photos of Jimbo and Emma; having got married on Saturday they are now in Greece on holiday, and having a good time too (by the look of the photos).
I capped a Tree House (I've got two at work!) and got fifty Zeds as a reward (which is worth about twenty-five pence) and had an email from the solicitor. The solicitors of the chap who is hopefully buying Dad's house are concerned that the house is "in an area with potential ground stability issues".
All I can say is that Dad’s family have lived in that area for at least a hundred years and I've never heard anyone talk about subsidence.
Mind you, you never know until the house collapses, do you?
“er indoors TM” boiled up sausages and chips and went bowling, and I found myself enthralled by a documentary about dinosaurs presented by Stephen Fry. It was really good… and I was rather disappointed to wake up to find I’d slept through the last half of it.
I’ve been incredibly tired today… Can’t imagine why… (hic!)
23 May 2023 (Tuesday) - An Afternoon Off
I slept through till four o'clock this morning, which was something of a result compared to many days. I lay wide awake for an hour listening to “er indoors TM” and the dogs snoring before giving up trying to sleep and getting up.
I still felt fragile, but was rather more chipper this morning than I had been yesterday or the day before. Back in the day (specifically 7 October 2006) allegedly amongst the many things I drank at a wedding included twenty-one pints of London Pride, and the next day I was well enough to build a fence and move (literally) one ton of soil.
Getting old sucks.
I watched another episode of "Shameless" then quickly checked the Internet. Google said the traffic on the M20 was moving better than it had been yesterday so that was something of a result. Google also said that filming had started yesterday on this year's season of "Celebrity Hunted", and that celebrities and camera crews had been spotted in Norfolk.
I set off to work in the desperate hope of being accosted by a rather fraught looking dream team of Anthea Turner and the mother out of "Bebefinn" who (in a perfect world) would have been desperate for my assistance… The exact identities of the celebrities taking part haven’t been reveled yet, but I shall be keeping a hopeful eye out for the next fortnight.
As I drove up the motorway the pundits on the radio were talking about the amount of lead and nickel being breathed in by children vaping all sorts of unregulated muck in their vapes. It's no secret that there's pretty much no control over the content of vapes; people have been concocting their own mixtures for as long as e-fags have been about. Some vacuous windbag or other was trying to say that children aren't allowed to vape until they are eighteen years old so it shouldn't be an issue... where do they get these co-called "experts" from? Back in the late 70s I was probably the only one in my secondary school class who didn’t smoke ten a day. And nothing has changed in the meantime.
And there was an attempt to make scandal over the Home Secretary who was done for speeding last summer. I must admit I'm not really sure what the scandal is. People get done for speeding all the time. Perhaps being Home Secretary she should have driven a bit slower and set an example? Allegedly she asked for a private speed awareness course? What's wrong with asking... provided the officials said "no!" Which they did.
To be honest after having been seriously naughty in the dying days of Liz Truss's government, got the heave-ho, and then being re-instated less than a week later I can't help but think she'll ride this one out.
I got to work far quicker than I did yesterday and did what I had to. I didn’t actually do very much. The opportunity to take the afternoon off came up, so I came home, loaded the dogs into the car and took them up to the woods… in the desperate hope of being accosted by a rather fraught looking team of Anthea Turner and the mother out of "Bebefinn" who would be desperate for my assistance…
Other than not meeting any fugitive celebrities we had a good walk. All dogs behaved themselves. It was perhaps a tad warm, but we followed some of the less walked paths through the trees which were in the shade.
We came home and watched a couple of episodes of “Shameless” until “er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the “Plebs” movie. Did you know there was a “Plebs” movie made last year? I didn’t.
24 May 2023 (Wednesday) - A Greenish Tinge
I woke in the small hours to find Bailey fast asleep on head... licking it. I wish she wouldn't. I didn't get back to sleep after that.
I made toast, watched more "Shameless" then had a little look at the internet. There was a minor squabble on one of the Facebook pages I follow. The chap who runs it comes over as being very "precious" and had been called out on it. Everyone can see just how "special" the chap is; why does anyone have to rattle the chap's cage? Some delicate petals are best left alone.
I also saw that my rating on Credit Karma had gone up for absolutely no reason that I could fathom.
There were also emails in my inbox telling me that someone had asked to change the passwords on my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Whoever was trying to get in didn’t, but it just goes to show, doesn’t it?
I went into the garden. Yesterday evening I thought the pond had something of a greenish tinge; this morning the filter's input was beginning to choke up with blanketweed. I scraped it all out, had a good wash, and set off to work.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting drivel. I listen to the radio every morning in the desperate hope of keeping abreast of current affairs, but some mornings current affairs are dull. But I chuckled at an interview with Wales's commissioner of police. He'd been wheeled on to talk about the riots in Cardiff earlier in the week. The interviewer tried her normal trick of constantly interrupting the speaker, but this chap wasn't having it. When he started speaking he just kept on going until he'd finished what he had to say, and then left a rather awkward pause whilst he waited for the interviewer to come up with her next question. He *really* made the interviewer uncomfortable; I wish more interviewees would do the same.
I got to work; there wasn't cake. As the day went on I had a message. Yesterday evening on seeing how green the pond was going I ordered some jollop to bung in the pond to sort out the green. It had arrived. That was fast.
Fortunately when I got home “er indoors TM” had taken the dogs out so I ran out the drainpipe, connected it up and cleaned out the pond filter prior to bunging the jollop into the pond. Again I was amazed at how quick and easy it was to clean out the pond filter. But I need to find a better place to store the drainpipe. It is rather heavy and unwieldy in the pot I’m keeping it in, and on trying to heave it into its current storage place I pulled something in my back and tripped over one of the dogs who had just arrived home.
“er indoors TM” sorted dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Taskmaster”. I’ve downloaded the bank and credit card statements… I should sort them out really…
25 May 2023 (Thursday) - Flashbacks
I mentioned I was woken by Bailey gently licking my head in her sleep. Last
night she was wide awake when she set about licking my head in much the same
way that an over-excited toddler might attack a lollipop.
I woke in a cold sweat, got up, made toast and watched another episode of "Shameless". One of the characters now has a pet python. If they wanted to show a python on screen you would have thought they would have brought one on wouldn't you? I suppose not everyone knows the difference between a boa constrictor and a python... but they are *very* different to look at. And are both very misunderstood animals.
with a telly watched I had a quick look at the Internet. As always squabbles
abounded. Sparks are back in the UK. Having played in Oxford and Liverpool,
they are playing in London at the weekend, and so-called fans were using this
as a chance to argue. Some people wanted to know what songs they were
playing; others didn't. To me the solution to this was obvious. Those who'd
seen the shows could post about them on Facebook; those who didn't want to
know could snooze those Facebook pages... like I do whenever I don't want to
see spoilers. Personally I'm glad I saw the spoilers about what songs they
were playing on this tour. Having got quite the sulk that (again) I
missed out on getting tickets, I was quite pleased to see that a lot of what
they were playing was their newer stuff which I'm not overly keen on.
This prompted me to go have a look at my pond. The jollop I put in yesterday had done the trick and the blanketweed was gone... for now. I've been reading up on blanketweed and there is a theory that, filter as much as you like, the nutrients (fish poo) in the pond will feed some plant growth, and if you don't have pond plants, it will feed algae (blanketweed). Pond plants take the nutrients and stop blanketweed. Or so it is claimed.
Perhaps I should look at having plants in the pond?
I set off to the post office and posted yet another official house-sale letter to my brother, and then drove up the motorway to work. As I went the pundits on the radio were talking about leccie bills dropping. From what was being said, my bill for next year should be about three hundred quid less than it was this year. But what they didn't say was that for six months of last year I had a monthly bung from the government towards my power bills (everyone did)... so next year's bill will actually be sixty quid more than last year's.
There was also talk about the latest immigration figures which were released this morning showing record numbers of people coming to the UK to work... to work in agriculture and care and the NHS and all the sectors which aren't paid enough to attract the resident UK workers...
And to add insult to injury did you know that for every thirteen people working in the UK there is one on long-term sick leave (and benefits). Four million not working. Don't get me wrong - I'm sure there are genuinely ill people who would work if they could... but four million?
Work was work. As we did our thing we heard reports of an ex-colleague who is up before the professional regulator for alleged misdemeanors. For me this brought back flashbacks of a particularly bad time of my life some twelve years ago.
And as I drove home so the chap phoned me. I’ve been where he is going so I know what he’s going through. There’s absolutely nothing I can do to help him but listen and understand.
I hope that is enough… It won’t be.
26 May 2023 (Friday) - This n That
When everyone else sleeps well, so do I. With no one snoring or restlessly stomping all over the bed I had a better night's kip, for which I was grateful.
Or so I thought. I later found out that “er indoors TM” had been downstairs for much of the night with Treacle who had been sick and had been wanting to do little else but eat grass pretty much all night.
I had a minor episode making brekkie; you'd think that the manufacturers of bread and the manufacturers of toasters might speak to each other and come up with compatible products, wouldn't you?
Once I'd rammed and forced the bread into the toaster, and then eventually prised the toast out I scoffed brekkie whilst watching an episode of "Shameless". Today everyone was spending money at a phenomenal rate because a permanently pissed alcoholic had claimed to have won the lottery. Who would be stupid enough to believe his claim?
I had a look at the pond; not as green as it once was, still greener than I would like. I need to seriously think about pond plants.
And then off to work... taking a minor diversion to avoid the traffic jam caused by the dustbin lorry. Sadly I just drove into the traffic jam caused by all the cars trying to avoid the traffic jam caused by the dustbin lorry.
As I drove I listened to the radio as I do. Some of the articles were interesting, some were dull. Most were incomprehensible because the interviewees were unintelligible. Radio Four seems to make no effort at all to wheel on people who can speak English in a way that can be understood. And those few people who aren't constantly stammering and repeating "erm, yeah, you know, like..." can't be heard because of the piss-poor quality of the broadcasting equipment used by the outside broadcast teams.
There was one bit that made me think though.
Apparently our local hospital's maternity unit was nearly closed by the Care Quality Commission in their recent inspection... Are they saying that they thought the place wasn't fit for purpose and in not closing it deliberately endangered the lives of my daughter and granddaughter?
There is something very strange about East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, isn’t there? A few short years ago it was Doctor Foster's number one hospital in the country; now it seems to be failing at every opportunity. What's going on? The last time I checked they were in seventy-second place in the country. This morning they are in ninetieth position.
I’ll just point out that where I currently work is rated fourth…
I got to work; I Munzed a Tree House and got a Horse Power badge. Go me! There's never a dull moment in Munzee.
At tea break I had a message. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had been mugged by a seagull; it snatched food out of her hand. This isn’t the first time this has happened.
Being on an early I got to get out early. I took the dogs to Orlestone; Treacle seemed to have recovered from whatever laid her low overnight. We had a good walk; we didn’t see anyone else. The walk which used to take well over an hour with my best boy Fudge took just over half an hour today. He *really* did straggle.
We then spent a while fighting with “er indoors TM”’s phone to get it to load Wherigos for tomorrow, then scoffed fish and chips whilst watching more of the latest season of “Taskmaster”. I can remember the show being good in the past, but this time there’s some real “laugh out loud” bits. If you’ve not seen it, give it a go…
27 May 2023 (Saturday) - Dog Club, Wherigo, Garden... Busy
This morning the Internet was heaving with reviews about the latest Sparks album which was released yesterday. I’ve not listened to it yet. I’m in no rush to do so.
I blame the internet.
In the Internet’s early days I learned of the release date of their seventeenth album. I can remember taking a day off work in 1997 and going to London to get the CD (long before streaming and having stuff delivered). I enjoyed that album. Since then every Sparks album has come with months of on-line build up and hype and (to quote Sparks themselves) “nothing is as good as they say it is”. Be it Sparks albums, new episodes of Star Trek, the Harry Potter films… nothing lives up to the hype.
As I finished toast so Morgan came down and asked to go outside. I had a sudden realization that he’s now toilet trained. To be fair he has been for some months, but the moment he walks in the general direction of the back door I sprint to it just in case he won’t wait. And I check the back bedroom for turds every day – even though he’s not done any there for months.
We got ready for the day. I did have the offer to walk with family from Hastings to Rye today. I considered going. Back in the day I would have been up for that, but these days twelve miles is perhaps a tad ambitious.
Instead we started off with our usual Saturday morning at Dog Club. We had a good session; as it is getting warmer so more and more people are coming along. Bailey and Morgan had a great time; Treacle tolerated the other dogs; far more than she would have done in the past.
With Dog Club done we set off toward Kings Wood. As we drove we listened to Steve on the radio. The mystery year was *definitely* 1989… right up to the last clue. The great storm was 1987… ten days after “My Boy TM” was born.
We got to Kings Wood where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. The plan for today was a rather sedate walk playing some Wherigos as we went. I’ve put so much effort into making the things it was good to see them in use.
The Crystal Maze played as it should. Where (do) I Go worked well… even if I did find a load of spelling mistakes in it. And the Canine Conundrum is always fun. It’s the old fox – chicken – corn puzzle but with a twist.
And with the Wherigo bits of our day done we had a gentle walk through the woods spotting woodpeckers and lizards. At the furthest point from the car we had a rather good picnic in the sun.
I took a few photos (and screenshots of the Wherigos) as we went.
I’ve missed our weekend outings…
We came home rather earlier than I had expected. Rather than sitting on my bum and wasting the afternoon I got on with some of the chores I had planned for tomorrow morning. I strimmed the lawn’s edges and mowed the rest of it. I ran out the hose to top up the pond and cleaned the filter (such an easy job these days). I sorted the shingle around one of the potted shrubs, then watered the potted plants.
And even gave myself a haircut.
“er indoors TM” set off to babysit “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM” whilst “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” went off to some comedy show. I wanted to see the littluns, but I don’t like leaving the dogs.
I should have gone to see the littluns. The dogs usually sleep very well after Dog Club. After Dog Club followed by a four-mile trip round the woods they were asleep from the moment we came home. They got up for a tiddle and dinner at half past eight, and all three went straight back to sleep.
As they slept and “er indoors TM” babysat I set about ironing whilst watching more episodes of “Shameless”.
The shirts, trousers and bandannas have come out OK… but in retrospect sticking my best tie through the washing machine was something of a mistake. The poor thing is poggered beyond redemption.
I wonder if I can get a new one from Amazon?
28 May 2023 (Sunday) - Pond Plants Before the Night Shift
With no need to be up for anything this morning I slept well. Eventually I got up, set the washing machine going on a load of grubby clothes, made toast and settled down to read this morning’s spate of bitter arguments over utter trivia on the Internet.
People were getting *very* nasty with their opinions on music by Sparks from forty years ago. And other people were being incredibly critical of photos of other people’s garden ponds (whilst being sure not to post any photos of their own).
Mind you the was some rare agreement on the Kent Carp Facebook page where people were talking of setting up vigilante groups who would go round checking for fishing licenses. Pretty much everyone felt this was a good idea… provided that vague groups of “other people” might set up vigilante groups who would go round checking for fishing licenses. Absolutely no way would anyone actually do anything themselves.
As I rolled my eyes at the antics of humanity so the dogs grumbled at the window. Nothing at all was happening outside, but that didn’t stop Treacle growling. And the more she growled at nothing so the more the puppies joined in.
I wish they wouldn’t.
I hung the washing out (never a dull moment, eh?) and we drove to the garden centre for pond plants. As we drove we had a pitched battle with my car’s music player thingy. Sometimes it recognizes the USB stick, and sometimes it doesn’t. As we drove to the garden centre it didn’t.
Navigating round the people playing “silly buggers” in the car park we were soon parked and inside. There were quite a selection of pond plants, but (like everything) they weren’t giving them away.
The car’s music player thingy did recognize the USB stick on the way home.
The lily went into the pond easily enough; I just dumped it in. The marginating plants were a different matter. I’ve got this idea to make the splash pool into a bog garden, but the pots are taller than the splash pool is deep. I shall get some shorter pots, or just new pots and cut them down, and in the meantime if anyone asks why the current pot is so tall, I shall say that the plants are acclimatizing. No one would know what that means, and everyone would just nod in agreement.
We also dumped a small bale of barley into the pond to help with getting rid of the green. Treacle had it out. Twice. She’s taken over guarding the pond from where Fudge left off. But (it has to be said) she guards it a lot quieter than my Fudge ever used to.
I took myself off to bed for the afternoon and slept well… right up to the point at which “er indoors TM” went shopping. Then the barking started. I shouted at the dogs to shut up; they ignored me. After ten minutes I came downstairs to find Treacle walking in a circle barking. She saw me and shut up instantly. If ever a dog had an “oh shit!” expression it was Treacle.
I marched all three upstairs and closed the door. All three then slept quietly for two hours.
“er indoors TM” is boiling up dinner and once that’s scoffed I’m off to the night shift. This one wasn’t my idea…
29 May 2023 (Monday) - Family after the Night Shift
With the car's music thingy now reading USB sticks I listened to "The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte" (the latest album from Sparks) as I drove to work last night. I listened to it on the way home this morning as well. Bearing in mind I consider myself to be a life-long fan of Sparks I feel I should say something good about the album. So...
It is probably their best album in twenty-five years (since "Plagiarism" in 1997). Sadly that's not saying very much. There's one track I really like, two or three half-way decent tracks, half a dozen "meh" ones, and three or four stinkers.
Having listened to it in its entirety twice I'm rather disappointed that I'm in no rush to do so again. In all honesty I had to force myself not to keep pressing the “skip” button as I drove home this morning. Other bands and musicians I like (Queen, ELO, Hazel O'Connor, Kate Bush...) make albums that you want to listen to the whole way through. For me, Sparks haven't done that since they released "Angst in my Pants" in 1982. I wondered if perhaps I've gone off the band since their halcyon days of the mid-to-late seventies, but I don't think that's the case. For me, the other bands and musicians I like (Queen, ELO, Hazel O'Connor, Kate Bush...) have output which all of a muchness; all very good. But more and more nowadays Sparks come up with songs which are either absolutely totally marvelous or just a bit "meh".
Such a shame.
I got home, had a shower and shave and went to bed. I’d told “er indoors TM” that if she went out she was to close the dogs in the bedroom with me so that it they started fits of barking I was on hand to shut them up,
I was woken once by Treacle who immediately shut up when told. If she’s downstairs she feels brave enough to ignore my shouts until I get up to her.
After a couple of hours asleep I got up, made toast, and once my lap-top had finally updated itself I had a look at the Internet. It was much the same as it had been when I’d last looked at it a few short hours previously.
I got dressed, and prepared for the afternoon. It didn’t take long to get garden stuff laid out, and before long we were all organized for the afternoon.
The family gathered. Too much beer, a rather good bit of dinner…. It was a shame it was so windy this afternoon, but we had a rather good time. Really should get together more often.
As always I took one or two photos.
And having had a rather good day I find myself wondering if my watch is poggered – it tells me I walked twelve thousand steps today… Seriously? Eight hours at work and then pootling round the garden drinking beer?
Compare this with twenty thousand on Saturday on quite a major hike round the woods…
30 May 2023 (Tuesday) - Feeling Grim
You'd think that a night shift followed by an afternoon on the beer would have been conducive to a good night's kip, wouldn't you?
But the dogs were restless last night and it was a hot night. And I was wide awake at five o'clock.
I made toast and watched more "Shameless" before setting off to work.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were saying that there has been heavy shelling in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev from Russian forces. And there have also been drone strikes on Moscow too. The identity of who was taking a poke at Moscow was rather vague, but I must admit I'm surprised that it has taken this long for anyone to take the fight back to the Russians. If no one claims responsibility it will be interesting to see who gets given the blame.
There was also talk about how pubs are despairing for the future as their bills skyrocket. Having heard this I found myself wondering why someone locally would spend a hundred thousand quid on a local pub which has already gone bust recently.
I got to work and did my bit. I could have done with sleeping last night as I felt like death warmed up for much of the day. But being on an early was something of a result – I got out early.
I came home and took the dogs to Orlestone where I took a chance. Morgan has a history of running amok there so rather than our usual walk (which goes too close to the road) we went to the southernmost part of the woods where it is often incredibly muddy. But the mud had pretty much all dried up today. And Morgan didn’t run amok at all today.
With no mud, no dogs needed a bath when we got home. As we got home my phone pinged… a friend request from a rather dubious looking young lady looking rather younger than my children.
Today was a tad dull… I think I shall have an early night and get some kip before the bed is invaded by dogs…
31 May 2023 (Wednesday) - Another Early Shift
I slept like a log last night which was something of a result. I was woken by my alarm… and that happens oh so rarely.
With no hour spare for an episode of telly I made toast and had a quick look at the Internet. There were a lot of photos from Sparks’ second sell-out gig at the Royal Albert Hall last night. When I heard about the concert last year the tickets had already sold out. I must admit to a bit of a sulk – I would have liked to have gone. But it turns out they only did three or four of (for me) their better songs and concentrated on all the new stuff I’m not keen on. Perhaps I didn’t miss as much as I thought I might have done.
I rolled my eyes as I saw that some half-wit was trying to start an argument on one of the Facebook pages I follow. He was pointing out the inconsistency of atheism. He asked “Why do (most) atheists have no problem in believing that there were once dinosaurs, but mock Christians for believing in God”? He seemed to be serious… they let these people vote and do jury service, you know.
And (as always) squabbles abounded. There were some rather nasty ones (over the most petty things) on the garden ponds pages and the Lego pages.
Talking of ponds… I’ve found a relatively local garden pond club… I say “garden pond”; it’s the South East Koi Club. Based in Orpington it might be a good day out at some point. And talking of clubs reminded me that I’ve heard nothing about the Lego club recently. Apparently they moved into a gaming shop in Folkstone and had a meet whilst I was at the wedding a couple of weeks ago. It’s amazing what you miss when you aren’t paying attention.
I set off to work listening to the drivel spewed by the pundits on the radio. They were interviewing the Labour spokesman on international trade about some trade deal between the UK and Australia which comes into effect today. Apparently pretty much everyone with an opinion to offer seemed to think this deal was something of a shambles; being seen as a sad shadow of what the UK used to have back in the day, and a financial masterstroke for the Aussies who will be laughing all the way to the bank.
The Labour spokesman on international trade was asked his opinion. He didn't give it. Either on the Australian deal or any other subject. He was speaking on the radio for a good five minutes but never actually said anything. A nice trick if you can do it.
There was also loads of talk about the rise of artificial intelligence and how this might well lead to the extinction of humanity. Either through the social chaos that the AI might inadvertently generate, or through the machines actually rising up against their human oppressors.
To my mind there was a lot of Luddite attitude being expressed. Why is everyone automatically terrified by that which they don't understand?
I got to work and did that which I couldn't avoid. As I worked I had a phone call; the insurance on Dad's house is now sorted for another year. I'm hoping that a year's worth is overkill and that in a few months I can get a refund on the rest of the year, but that is a worry for another day.
And a colleague told me she's had an estimate for getting a mega-tattoo on her back. What she has in mind would need to be done in three sessions and will set her back a thousand pounds. Tattoos never were cheap, but (like everything these days) the prices are now nothing short of daft. I think the most I ever spent on a tattoo was a hundred and fifty quid... and that was on something which was over six hours work when tattoo artists were charging sixty quid an hour. I got a bargain then...
With work worked I took the dogs to the woods. I would say that we had a good walk… We had no “episodes” but as we walked I had a very eerie sense of being watched. As we came to the end of the walk there was a huge rustling and crashing in the trees about ten yards from me. I thought the dogs were particularly noisy, and then I saw them running to me from the opposite direction as I heard whatever it was in the woods heading away. Deer? Boar? Another dog? People doing the dirty deed? I wonder what that noise was… and if it was in any way connected to my feeling watched.
As we walked I was rather pleased at the dogs not getting grubby. At the end of our walk as the dogs jumped into the boot of the car I saw Treacle was filthy. Somehow or other she’d found a swamp when I wasn’t looking. She went straight in the bath when we got home.
We scoffed a rather good dinner as we watched an episode of “Taskmaster”. I think I must be getting old… we had salad for scran – and I liked it.