1 November 2016 (Tuesday) - Visiting My Mum
I had an excellent day’s fishing yesterday, but the fish we were catching were rather scrappy. I may well have overdone it; my right elbow was *really* aching this morning. The pain kept me awake last night (that and the combined snoring of "er indoors TM" and "Furry Face TM")
As I scoffed my brekkie this article popped up in my Facebook feed. It made me think… There was no such thing as ADHD when I was a child. But (apparently) whereas one child in ten is now diagnosed with ADHD in the United States, pretty much no children at all are diagnosed with it in France.
The author of the article rather implied that there is a high prevalence of ADHD in the US because the culture there is driven by loony-lefty-tree-hugging talking and reasoning with kids which is encouraged by the pharmaceutical companies who invented the phrase “ADHD” to sell their products, whereas in France if the kids misbehave they get a slapped arse.
This sounds rather cynical, doesn’t it? However I do remember "My Boy TM" bringing a friend home once. This child was supposed to have a severe form of ADHD. Other parents had warned me of his terrible behaviour. The boy lived over the road from us; I would sometimes see him on the front of his house hanging from the upstairs windowsills screaming and shrieking. When he came to visit, I told him very firmly that we didn’t have any of that nonsense in our house and something of a transformation came over him. He said OK, smiled, and his behaviour was perfect.
And when I was a cub leader we had a child who would constantly spin around like a whirling dervish (supposedly because of ADHD). We tolerated this because at cubs we had to run a loony-lefty-tree-hugging talking and reasoning regime. However one evening I asked him to go and do his dancing at the other end of the hall because he was in the way. He stopped spinning, glared and me and announced “it’s not dancing!” The other boys looked at him and said “yes it is”. The spinning/dancing stopped there and then; from then on he joined in with what everyone else was doing and the ADHD was never mentioned again.
Is ADHD a real condition? Is it just bad behaviour? Is it a manufactured money-spinner for the pharmaceutical companies? I don’t know but my limited experience makes me wonder if it *really* is a proper medical condition then just maybe it might be being over-diagnosed. And this may explain why.
I then took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a walk. As we walked I saw Bernie. I’d not seen him for ages. It was good to have a quick catch-up.
Once home I settled my dog and set off out. I went to the fishing tackle shop. On Sunday I whinged about the price of fishing tackle at the boot fair. Today I went to Angling Direct and I nearly laid an egg. I was expecting to pay up to twenty quid for a new reel. They started at eighty quid, and some were over four hundred quid. I’m going back to the boot fair.
I popped into Tesco for a box of chocolates and a get well soon card, then drove down to Hastings where I collected my Dad. We drove on to Brighton to visit my Mum. She’s had her aortic heart valve replaced. She was in good spirits; looking really well bearing in mind she is only five days post surgery.
We would have stayed later, but Dad was keen to get home before it got too dark; he is eighty after all. We left Brighton at 4.30pm. We got to Hastings two hours later, and I got home after a further hour’s driving. Three hours to cover sixty miles?
Sussex *really* needs a coastal motorway.
2 November 2016 (Wednesday) - Another Hospital
My little dog had a nightmare shortly after 4am; his fidgeting and whimpering woke me. I settled him and he was soon fast asleep again. Unlike me though. I gave up trying to sleep and got up shortly after 5am. I watched this week’s episode of “Dad’s Army” in which Private Fraser was found to have a hoard of gold sovereigns. It passed half an hour, but again the episode’s ending was rather weak.
I then had a look-see on the Internet. I had an email to tell me that my Apple ID had been disabled for security reasons. I wasn’t especially worried; I don’t have an Apple ID. But if I wanted to verify my Apple account (that I don’t have) they suggested I went to somewhere on albertsonshomecenter.com. That seems to be a timber merchant somewhere in California. I wonder if their website has also been hacked?
The blatant opportunism of these cyber-crooks amazes me. I suppose enough people must fall for their scams for them to bother continuing.
I set off to work; it was *cold* this morning. As I drove the radio boiled my piss. As it does. Apparently there are new rules as to what dangerous chemicals are allowed in school chemistry laboratories. And schools with blacklisted chemicals have to get the bomb disposal squads to come and blow them up. What really wound me up was the attitude of the presenter on the radio. As with anything scientific or technical the chap *always* tries to make the thing into a joke in a painfully transparent attempt to cover up his own ignorance.
I got to work; I did what I had to, and at lunchtime I made a quick getaway. I had some time owing.
I stopped off in Wincheap; the pet shop there sells fishing tackle. That is another supplier of fishing tackle which I’ve been unwittingly driving past for five years. Yesterday I whinged about the prices of reels. Today I got a rather good reel for fifteen quid. I shall test it out soon.
I then drove on to the hospital at Pembury where I had a job interview. Do I want to leave my current job? Not really; but I do feel I’m capable of doing more. Do I want to work at Pembury? I don’t know. I got there and the interview didn’t so much focus on what the job is about as on the paperwork that goes behind it. So my wishes may well turn out to be academic. Perhaps posting a selfie outside the place was a tad premature?
I came home and walked my little dog round the block. If I don’t take him out the very moment I get home he gets very over-excited and fractious. And with him walked I then got to have a look at the parcel which had been delivered. Last Wednesday I ordered a pair of trousers from eBay. I asked for 42 inch short – they sent 36 inch regular. I’ve emailed them to say I’m sending them back. We shall see what happens…
3 November 2016 (Thursday) - Dig Dug
I had a night plagued with rather vivid dreams from which I was rather glad to be woken by a restless dog. And with no reason to be up and about at sparrow-fart I found myself learning about dog psychology well before 7am.
I then checked my emails, and was pleased to see I only had LinkedIn emails to one account. Not that I use LinkedIn very much, but a while back I realised I was getting LinkedIn emails to my Google email address, and my profile picture on LinkedIn kept coming and going. After a little detective work I found that I had two LinkedIn accounts. One I set up using the email address that I use, and one I didn’t set up was attached to an email address I rarely use. I can only assume that when the nice people in PC World set up my lap-top they created me a LinkedIn account, or that someone has been playing silly beggars. I requested a password change on the old account and shut it down a couple of days ago. The emails seem to have stopped.
So if anyone has friended me on LinkedIn using the Google email address, that account is no more.
I bagged up the wrong trousers that came from eBay yesterday, put the lead onto my dog and we went out for a walk. We soon met up with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" ran to me. I was about to get down to my knees for him when he stopped running, He wasn’t running to me at all; he was running to my little dog. “Fudgey Fudgey Fudgey” he shouted.
We walked to the post office where I sent the trousers back from whence they came. Feeling a tad peckish we got sausage rolls from Greggs where we met Shrub’s mum. We chatted for a bit, then carried on with our walk. We went past where "My Boy TM" works, and we stood outside for a few minutes in the hope of seeing him. No such luck; so we came home along the river.
Once home I had another rummage in the shed to see what more fishing gear I could find. It is amazing what is in that shed. I found an unhooking mat, two rod bags and a large rod holdall, a rig wallet and a humungous rucksack to keep them all in. Result.
My phone beeped. Dave Higgins had added me on Facebook Messenger. I wonder who he is? As I pondered I thought I might sort my letter rack; I’ve not been through it for some time. I found a couple of bank statements so I had a quick look at the accounts. Bearing in mind how I’ve hammered the reserves recently (with ill dogs and car repairs and pond filters and new laptops and stuff) they could be worse. But bearing in mind there is bedroom plastering, new fuseboxes and hall lighting needing doing they could do with being a bit better.
I had a letter from the Halifax about changes to my account. I haven’t got an account with them.
I had a letter from the estate agent who sold nest door’s house asking if they could sell mine too.
I spent all the money I might have spent on Christmas cards on Crisis at Christmas.
I got an offer of cheap energy from “Ovo”. Call me an old traditionalist but I shall stick to getting my leccie and gas form someone I’ve actually heard of.
I had the offer of a free eye test from Vision Express.
I had a letter from the dentist to say he was putting up his bill by seventy pence per month. He’d also sent a rather posh magazine which went straight in the bin. If he’d not sent the magazine he needn’t be putting his prices up.
My optician and the water company also both sent rather posh magazines which went straight in the bin.
Renault sent me an incredibly posh magazine which went straight in the bin. That one must have cost a fortune to print.
Corgi Home Plan sent a rather impersonal letter saying that as my boiler was now five years old I should take out a policy with them. I shall stick with IB Heating.
My life insurance people had sent a letter saying I had life insurance with them. I re-read it a few times; I have no idea why they were pointing out the obvious.
And I had the option of having a cheap will written up for me. I’ve already written my will. It is on one of the links at the top of this page.
I then had a brainwave and wasted an hour or so rigging my laptop and ChromeCast so’s I could play “Worms” on the telly in the living room. It didn’t work… I got the sound to work, but not the video. I got it to do the picture for Dig-Dug, but the picture as lagging a couple of seconds behind the action on the laptop and I kept getting got.
So instead I reprogrammed a Wherigo – some chap played one of my Wherigoes and liked it and asked if he could have it. I was only too happy to oblige… so if you are ever in Devon…
4 November 2016 (Friday) - Catastrophe, Calamity, Cataclysm
I woke in desperate need of the loo at 3.20am, and was finally nodding off again when "Furry Face TM" jumped on me at 4am. I lay awake for a while before giving up on sleep and watching “The Secret Diary of a Call Girl” which the SkyPlus box had decided to record for me. I’ve a vague plan to upgrade to a SkyQ box but I’m not sure if I can transfer over all the rubbish I’ve recorded from one box to the other.
The plan for today had involved going caving in bath, but this wasn’t happening. So rather than suling about what might have been we went to London. Regular readers of this drivel may recall I organised a virtual geo-ghost hunt in London earlier in the year. I organised another today. Unfortunately today wasn’t a convenient day for most people, but six of us had a go at the “Catastrophe, Calamity, Cataclysm” series of geocaches. We met up underneath a railway bridge over the river Thames. Narrowly avoiding plummeting to my doom we then went up to the Monument.
Have you ever been to the Monument? It is about a squillion miles high and has perhaps the longest spiral staircase I’ve ever struggled with. Mind you the views were rather good. We admired them whilst our hearts pounded and our legs quivered.
From the Monument we walked past HMS Belfast and the Tower of London and on to the old Royal Mint. At this point I was glad to have people along who knew London. For the next hour or so we wandered around places I’d only ever heard about on a Monopoly board. We spent a few moments doing what might best be described as geology homework, and then as the rain started we thought we’d take a little break. A pint of ale and a plate of chips were very welcome, but by the time we’d finished what was drizzle had become heavy rain.
We had intended to walk from wherever it was that we were to Piccadilly. But instead we thought we’d take the tube. Totally failing to find Fenchurch Street tube station (has it got one?) we got the tube from Tower bridge to the Embankment and walked.
Before long we’d found our final known target and with all the information needed to solve the puzzle (I’d blagged it a week ago at home!) we got on the tube again. I won’t say where we took the tube to because that might be a spoiler. However where we thought would be the closest tube station was actually a mile and a half from where we needed to be. So we got back onto the train and went a stop or two down the line.
We still had quite a bit of walking to do, but eventually we found the final part of the “Catastrophe, Calamity, Cataclysm” series. Happy dance.
We would have carried on caching, but the rain was persistent so we made our way to the nearest tube station, and on to Charing Cross where we all said our goodbyes.
We were home shortly after 6pm; rather earlier than I’d expected. The rain in London had been bad; the rain in Ashford was torrential. There had been talk of fireworks; the rain put paid to that…
I took a few photos whilst we were out. I put those on-line then we had an evening on front of the telly.
5 November 2016 (Saturday) - Rhubarb Cider
I slept well last night – yesterday was a good day but had been rather tiring. Over brekkie I finished off this week’s work on my dog psychology course and did the end of week quiz. I got full marks. On hundred per cent. I was pleased about that.
So, flushed with success at my score and also still on a buzz over yesterday’s day out I had a look at the geo-map. The chap who’s set the geo-walk we did yesterday (and the rainbow series we did earlier in the year) had also set a walk round London based on Sherlock Holmes. Whilst the puzzles involved are supposed to be solved as you walk around, it is much easier on the day to have blagged the puzzles before you go out. That way all you have to do when out is to get the photos. The day is quite long enough with all the walking not to need to be puzzle-solving too. The Sherlock Holmes series has seven puzzles to solve; I have answers for four so far.
If any of my loyal readers know when new drains were fitted to Great Scotland Yard or is going near the Temple Church in Fleet Street…
My laptop then flashed up something in the status bar. Urgent attention was needed. Suspecting the worst I had a look-see only to find two messages. One was suggesting I buy more hardware from the people who made my lap-top so I can connect the device to other stuff I don’t have. That notification has been disabled. The other was about some feature of Microsoft Edge. Who uses Microsoft Edge?
I took "Furry Face TM" out for a walk. There was a little incident when he tried to attack a bus. He ran between my legs and as I went arse over tit I accidently trod on his foot making him yelp. I actually once broke a dog’s foot by treading on it as it ran underneath me, and with that in mind my dog got told off. He was rather subdued for the rest of the walk.
We got to the park and found the Saturday morning joggers out in force. Probably a couple of hundred people jogging; all looking miserable. One young lad was crying as his mother forced him to run. As we walked I met a friend pushing her baby in a push chair. She was off to town and told me how she’d just been sworn at by someone in a yellow hi-vis jacket who was marshalling the joggers. He felt that people should know better than to bring push chairs into the park when the joggers are there.
We also met OrangeHead. I say “met”; she was with her gang, and when with her gang she has an attitude. She looked at me with utter contempt. The next time I meet her she will be all smiles.
We came home where "er indoors TM" was making herself some pumpkin soup. It smelled nice; I was fobbed off with a hot cross bun. With that scoffed I made my way to the train station. The journey to Folkestone was interesting; I spent it listening to some twit droning on about his get-rich-quick scheme. He has this plan to somehow generate free electricity from sunlight in the deserts but he then ranted that it wouldn’t work because it is too cloudy in Folkestone and told me that he was buying a house in Cheriton Avenue where he would be starting his business. Even though there isn’t enough sunlight in Folkestone, his plan would be a winner because he wouldn’t have to pay any tax because sunlight is free (!)
I was glad when the train stopped.
I met Jimbo and we had a decent bit of brekkie in the Bridge café. From there we went on to the Firkin where we met my Ham Street Lover and had a few pints including one of rhubarb cider. Rhubarb cider - can you believe it!! We also discovered the wonders of Facebook live and transmitted to a waiting universe. I think the universe seemed to like what it saw.
Things were rather hazy when Emma joined us at the Pullman. There was talk of going to Kipps, and I can distinctly remember planning to get on a train…
6 November 2016 (Sunday) – Hythe
The plan was not to stay drinking in Folkestone for *too* long yesterday because I didn’t want to leave my little dog alone with fireworks going off. I think I may have stayed out just a tad longer that I had planned to. I can remember there being talk of a train and all of a sudden it was far-too-late o’clock and the guard on the train was waking me up and telling me we were at Charing Cross. Charing Cross!
The journey home was spent in the company of two rather nice young ladies (who had legs all the way up to their bums) who were even more drunk than I was. They blamed prosecco. I kept up a running commentary of my movements on Facebook; it seemed to amuse the world.
I was glad to get home; it was a shame it was about seven hours later than planned. I say “about”; in all honesty I have no idea what time I got home. It was all rather vague.
I woke before 6am feeling remarkably well; even if my innards were making odd noises. As they gurgled I pootled about on the Internet. There seemed to be very few piccies from people at fireworks events last night. Did no one do fireworks? I put together a Facebook event for the next astro club meeting, and tried to chivvy up a few more speakers for next year. I then started advertising the next astro club meeting but hit a snag. One of the websites that no one ever reads (Total Ashford) has gone west, but I got free adverts in other websites that no one ever reads.
I shall plug the club in the Facebook groups nearer the time.
As I pootled both fruits of my loin phoned to tell me off.
"er indoors TM" got up some four hours after I had. I *hate* this insomnia. I have no trouble nodding off at the most inopportune times (like when on the train home) but when I *want* to sleep (like when in bed at 5am) I am wide awake.
Normally on a Sunday we’d be off on a planned walk somewhere but with the possibility of mum being discharged from hospital today we’d kept our options open. As it turned out mum wasn’t coming home and others were visiting her today, so we thought a walk up the canal at Hythe might be a good idea.
We put the lead onto a rather over-excited little dog and drove down to West Hythe. I’d had a look on the geo-map and had found a series of six geocaches along the canal with one or two others on the way. We arrived to find the car park was full. We parked on the edge of the car park; no one gave us a parking ticket.
We had a rather good walk along the canal. "Furry Face TM" had a good run; we walked slower and found half a dozen caches.
I took a few photos whilst we walked. Once home I posted them on-line and "er indoors TM" did up the last of the pumpkin soup as a late lunch. I then slobbed in front of the telly for several hours.
I think I might still be drunk…
7 November 2016 (Monday) - Clever Dog !!
On the one day that I didn’t need to be up and I’d actually managed to stay asleep, "er indoors TM" had forgotten to turn her alarm off.
Over brekkie I watched the second episode of “The Young Pope”; an odd show. I wonder where it is going?
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned – did I fancy a dog walk? We went through the back streets to the far end of the park where "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" disgraced himself by sitting in puddles. As we walked we met OrangeHead who blanked us. Her Chunky Little Friend was civil, but I got the impression that OrangeHead wasn’t pleased about that.
We came home, and after a quick episode of “Paw Patrol” "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" went their way, and we drove round to Matalan where again I failed to get any trousers anywhere near big enough for me.
We then went on to Hastings to collect my daddy, and then on to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton to see my mummy. She’s now ten days post heart surgery and looking a lot better than she had been. There’s talk of her coming home later in the week.
We stayed for a couple of hours, then fought our way back home through the rush-hour traffic. "er indoors TM" then went bowling whilst I caught up with some of the stuff the SkyPlus box had recorded for me. The second of last week’s episode of “Game of Thrones” was good, and the last episode of the current season of “Poldark” was excellent. That Ross Poldark is quite the beast.
I then had a look at this week’s instalment on dog psychology. This week we are looking at “Communicative Intentions”. Apparently it came as something of a surprise to science to find out that dogs can actually understand what we say to them, and that they can communicate what they want to us. Science only determined that in the last twenty years.
Presumably science doesn’t have a pet dog? (Odd… I do!)
Mind you when science got going it found out that dogs can understand gestures from humans far better than chimpanzees or other great apes can.
Perhaps my dog is pretending to be thick, or just being wilfully disobedient…
8 November 2016 (Tuesday) - Fishing Again
The last day of my little long weekend; I was wide awake cuddling my dog at 4am. After a while I gave up trying to sleep. Over brekkie I finished this week’s instalment of the dog psychology course. It seems that whilst dogs are wonderful at communicating with humans, their closest relations (the wolves) are nowhere near so good. Wolves are on a par with the great apes. Have dogs evolved to communicate where wolves have not? Is that the secret of their success? I don’t know, but I completed this week’s work and scored one hundred per cent in this week’s test.
I felt rather pleased about that.
I had expected the car to be covered in ice; I was pleased to find it wasn’t. But it was still minus one degree when I collected "My Boy TM" at 6.30am. We went to McDonalds for McBreakfast, and with that scoffed we arrived at Shirkoak lake just as it was getting light. Bearing in mind our success the other week we thought we’d have another day’s fishing.
The fishing started slowly; mind you it was *cold*. But as the day warmed up so the fishing picked up. Both of us were kept busy for much of the day. "My Boy TM" was only using one rod as he maintains it is easier to keep an eye on just one rod rather than two. I was using two rods and proved him right. There were several times when I had rather big fish on both rods, and a couple of times when we had fish on all three rods at the same time.
We had been intending to have a day tiddler bashing; very few tiddlers were caught. But I lost count of how many times I needed to use the landing net. We must have had over fifty respectable carp between us. Although the fish we were catching weren’t huge, they were on average between two to four pounds in weight which isn’t bad when your average catch is only a couple of ounces. (Real fishermen weigh in pounds and ounces. Never weigh a fish in kilogrammes; you’ll only embarrass yourself). The biggest of the day (not caught by me) came in at nine pounds, and pulled “like a banshee on crack” (!)
The owner of the pond came round; we chatted for a bit as his dogs tried to eat our baits.
Ideally we would have stayed longer, but we knew that sunset was at a quarter past four. And by half past three it was getting rather cold.
We came home; I dropped "My Boy TM" home. He was late for dinner (!) Once I’d unpacked my fishing gear I walked "Furry Face TM" round the block. As we walked up Francis Road I saw that one house had already got their Christmas decorations up. Bonfire night was only three days ago and they are now Christmassing. Can you believe it?
With our walk done I ran round doing the Hoovering (with a Dyson) and managed to clout my knee against the doorframe. That *really* hurt. As I was still seeing stars my phone rang. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" was ranting about what a rip-off the TV license is. I told her to pay up and shut her ratlle; I might have been a tad more sympathetic had I not been counting into how many pieces my kneecap had just been shattered.
I hobbled to the sofa where I sat for a while. I don’t think I’ve done any lasting damage to the knee; it just hurts. As it throbbed I had an email. A few days ago I re-wrote one of my wherigos for a chap who lives in Devon. It has now gone live. I’m quite pleased about that.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered – tonight at our house. We had a good catch-up. And Bernie joined us. It was so good – whenever I’ve seen him recently he’s always been in a ruch for work. It was so good to catch up.
Must do that more often…
9 November 2016 (Wednesday) - Mr Trump ?
"er indoors TM" woke me as she came to bed at 1.20am, and I then lay awake from most of the rest of the night. I dozed fitfully, but never for longer than twenty minutes. I gave up trying to sleep and was up shortly after 5am.
As I scoffed toast I watched the documentary about a mock SAS training camp. Whilst it was very interesting there is no way I would want to go through that training. And they swore a lot too. This made me think; I swear too much. Must stop that.
I set off to work through the torrential rain. Yesterday morning at the same time I was setting up my fishing gear on a beautiful morning. What a difference a day makes.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were speculating on the results of the American Presidential elections, and just as I got to work the result was announced. Social media then filled up with all sorts of doom and gloom. Mind you it would have done regardless of whoever won. One candidate was alleged to be guilty of all sorts of misdemeanours; the other was seen to be a looney. Both got to be candidates for the most powerful position on the planet only because they could afford it. I suppose the director of the FBI announcing a major investigation into the conduct of one of the candidates a week before the election has had a major bearing on the result. Mind you the winner does seem not to mince his words – the public are often taken in by off-the-cuff brash promises.
Will Mr Trump be as bad as everyone thinks he will be? Time will tell. It always does.
I stopped off at Morrisons for some fruit. They had their Christmas decorations up already. If there was any other supermarket that hadn't got their decorations up I would have gone there instead as a protest. But I expect they are all in full Christmas spirit.
As I shopped I saw the new "Dad's Army" film was available on DVD. I bought a copy. Yesterday on Facebook I'd seen postings that Clive Dunn (who played Corporal Jones) had died. I thought he'd died years ago. He had. He died three years ago. I wonder why people were posting about his death yesterday?
I had a rather busy day at work but an early start made for an early finish. However an early finish means I get to Ashford for the rush-hour traffic. I got home, collected "Furry Face TM" then drove round to collect "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and then drove all the way back through the rush hour traffic. For some inexplicable reason my dog had to meet her new puppy. And the puppy currently resides at the far side of town.
"er indoors TM" showed up “chez puppy” and I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk and left them to it.
That was an hour and a half ago…
10 November 2016 (Thursday) – Stuff
Over brekkie I looked at my Facebook feed. It was still stuffed full with all sorts of rants about Donald Trump and the American Presidential election. Far more so than there ever has been about any British referendum or election. I then went through my friends list to see exactly who was posting this stuff. I have two American Facebook-friends. Two. I counted them. They weren’t posting much; neither were the Australian, Polish or Romanian people on the list. It was only the British ones who were being vocal.
Meanwhile yesterday’s horrific accident in Croydon goes pretty much un-noticed. Why don’t people get worked up over things which *are* something to do with them?
Whilst I had the Facebook-friends list up I went through it and removed the people I don’t actually know. Who are Stacey Scott and Doug Yeomans anyway?
I then looked at my emails. I had a job offer. Not the one I’m waiting for, but one which made me think. I’ve been offered a job on a cruise liner as a guest lecturer. I’d get more money that I get now for sailing around all sorts of exotic locations. Whilst at the locations I get to play tourist; whilst on the high seas I get to spout to the masses on a range of subjects. I know a thing or two about blood, snakes, astronomy, fishing… maybe I might just consider it.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for or usual short walk round the park. For once it passed off relatively uneventfully. As we walked we passed within a few feet of a squirrel on a couple of occasions. My dog didn’t notice the tree-rat at all. Sometimes he is not the most observant of dogs.
As we walked the nice men from the council were working around the park. I say “nice men from the council”; their vans all had logos for “Aspire Landscape Management”. I assumed this was some private company but it turns out I was right. Aspire Landscape Management is what any other council would call the “Parks and Gardens Department”. It is the branch of the council which does parks and gardens. I can’t help but wonder how much time and money they wasted coming up with the corporate name and logo. I must admit they do a *very* good job in Viccie Park, but what does the daft name achieve?
Once home my little dog had his brekkie, and I had a look at my printer. When I went to print off some astro club stuff the other day it wasn’t working. This morning there was nothing wrong with it. Odd.
I picked up the house phone; I was intending to phone Brighton Health Authority (or whatever daft name it operates under) to have a whinge to find we had a message on the 1571 thingy. Ruth Creedy wanted me to phone her about Alfie. I phoned her back and suggested she phoned the vet.
I then set off to work. As I'd fiddled with my printer I found a few astro club bank statements Woops! I drove them round to Sarah and popped them through the letterbox then went on to Fat Fish Tackle in Chartham; I needed a few more bits and bobs of fishing tackle. Swivels are always useful, and I got a couple of floats and some carp rigs and assorted stuff.
As I shopped I was very conscious of a loud-mouthed idiot who was pontificating noisily to the world in general with his opinions on everything piscatorial as he stood at the till. He'd obviously long since paid for his shopping but was just standing in everyone's way giving the assembled throng the benefit of his (so-called) wisdom. He thought this lake was good and that bait was bad, and it was clear that if he thought something was true then it must be true. I probably spent fifteen minutes looking at the stuff in the shop, and this twit was loudly rattling on the whole time despite the fact clearly no one was actually listening to him. As luck would have it he left just as I was about to pay for my stuff. As I walked to the till one of the chaps behind the till turned to the other and said "Thank F... he's gone". I innocently remarked to one of the assistants that I though the loud-mouthed twit was his friend; he fell about laughing.
Mind you it has been my experience that every fishing tackle shop has one such bore. Perhaps they wait in fishing tackle shops until the pubs open?
The rest of the day was rather dull…
11 November 2016 (Friday) - More Stuff
I slept for five hours last night. Not too shabby at all when you bear in mind that I’d decided that if I had another night like the last few I was going to take the day off work as sick leave.
Over brekkie I watched the third episode of “The Young Pope” which my SkyPlus box had recorded. It’s is a strange program; but in true keeping with today’s telly the foxy blonde got her tits out in this instalment. It is a drama about the Pope and the Catholic church, and yet the tits come out. Why? And again in true keeping with today’s telly seventy minutes of recording only played for just under fifty minutes by the time I’d fast-forwarded through the adverts.
I then sparked up my lap-top and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. Facebook was alive with lamentations about the death of Leonard Cohen. I have nothing against the chap, but I can't say I ever liked his music. I can remember my old mate David Thornton back in the late 1970s describing his songs as "music to slit your wrists to". A tad harsh perhaps? I must admit I thought the chap had died years ago.
Mind you I'm getting a little fed up with people giving glowing epitaphs on social media about ex-celebrities about which they have never previously publicly shown any interest whatsoever. Take this example of the late Leonard Cohen. I'd not anything about him for years neither in conversation, on social media or have I heard any of his music being played anywhere that I can remember since my old mate David Thornton was so dismissive of his work. And now everyone is devastated about his passing.
For all that it was rather obvious at the time, the referendum asked a rather stupidly simplistic question. Did we want to stay in the EU or not? Plenty of misinformation and lies were bandied about and the leave campaign won.
So the decision was made. But what *exactly* does leaving the EU mean? Do we try to remain part of their free trade bloc? If so that means keeping some of the EU rules? Do we just up-sticks and go?
It turns out that repealing all EU legislation would leave the UK with whole areas of law with no legislation whatsoever. No one realized that the UK handed over much of our law-making lock stock and barrel to Brussels and (apparently) there are whole swathes of law about which Parliament hasn't legislated for forty years. If we get shot of all the current laws will laws passed fifty years ago have any relevance to today's world? We might suddenly find ourselves with absolutely no laws about Internet usage for example...
It seems that there are enough MPs ready to vote
against any kind of Brexit until a *properly* thought out Brexit
strategy can be devised. (As opposed to the unworkable nonsense that
Farage and Johnson were touting - and where are those millions of pounds that
were promised to the NHS?)
I wonder what the new lot will be like…
12 November 2016 (Saturday) - Tea Party
After three hours sleep I found myself wide awake at 2.30am. Rather than laying in bed I got up and watched a little telly. Firstly a rather rubbish episode of “Game of Thrones”. Those who get rather obsessive about the show would say that the monumental battle of whatever-it-was is a turning point for the entire saga. I thought it was a lot of fighting and shouting that went on for about forty minutes too long.
I then watched the first episode of the second season of “Thunderbirds are Go”. I had no idea the second season had started; usually my SkyPlus box finds things like that for me. It was rather good.
I went back to bed at 4am and lay awake until finally nodding off shortly after 5am.
I got another three hours sleep.
I then had a little look-see on-line. The bank had emailed me to tell me of my “enhanced on-line banking experience”. I had half a mind to change my bank to one which wouldn’t have an “enhanced on-line banking experience” but would have “a new website” instead. Is anyone impressed by this nonsensical way of putting things?
I then had a look on Facebook. One or two people were posting about the death of Robert Vaughan. I quite liked him in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”.
I could have gone off tree-climbing today… I *could* have - but my weight combined with my rather painful tennis elbow doesn’t really lend itself to climbing. There was also the county geo-meet today but I wasn’t feeling it today. If only I could get a little more sleep I might feel a little more sociable.
Instead I took my little dog for a walk round the park. Fortunately we were late enough to miss the joggers. As we walked I saw a group of other dog walkers having a minor set-to with a collarless rather scruffy looking mutt. I got chatting with one of the walkers. He too has had altercations with the joggers in the past.
I had a vague plan to come home via the bakery, but the rain was getting heavier so instead I came home and spent an hour or so pondering a geo-puzzle. I have figured out who most of the golfers are. Presumably there is some competition each has won a certain amount of times. If I can find out which one it is that Arnold Palmer has won once and Nick Faldo twice then I might be on to something… I need to have it sussed by Thursday – I’ve organized a little walk on which I hope to find the cache which goes with this puzzle.
We came home, and "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" collected her Christmas decorations which were in storage in our attic room. I wonder how much else of hers we have up there. "er indoors TM" ran her home, and I dozed in front of the telly. Having been wide awake for much of the night I couldn’t keep awake for much of the afternoon.
We had been planning to go to Rye in the evening for the bonfire parade, but the weather was against it. In the past we’ve bonfired in the rain, but I wasn’t feeling it tonight. In fact this is the third year running I’ve backed out of going to Rye bonfire parade because of the bad weather.
So while "er indoors TM" went off to the film night I set about the mammoth pile of ironing which had mounted up over the last week or so. It only took three hours to shift…
13 November 2016 (Sunday) - Dry Hill
Over brekkie I watched yesterday’s episode of “Thunderbirds are Go”. It was only the fifth episode of the second series; I hadn’t missed the start of the second season by much, and I’ve now seen most of the episodes I had missed via catch-up TV. I quite like it; there are plenty of references to the original and to other Gerry Anderson stuff if you pay attention. There was even a South Park reference which surprised me.
Looking out of the window I could see the weather was a complete turn-about on yesterday. I think my little dog had also seen that and he knew what was coming. He turned his nose up at his breakfast; he never eats his breakfast when he thinks we are going out. I tried to get him to eat some more (or any of it) but he wasn’t keen. So I gave up trying to feed a dog that wouldn’t eat and we set off for deepest Surrey where we met Karl Tracy and Charlotte.
We’d been talking about walking the Dry Hill Hike for some time; today we got round to it. I wouldn’t say the hill was “dry”; but it was certainly not as wet as it might have been. A lot of the route we walked was on bridleways and country lanes, and despite a lot of the paths being obviously heavily used by horses, the mud was superficial at worst. As we walked we went past some rather beautiful houses. We saw lots of horses and their riders, a friendly robin, and we even rescued a little mouse from my dog. And at 11am we observed a two-minute silence on a little diversion to an iron-age fort.
Geocaching-wise we managed a clean sweep. We went along having spoken with the owner of the series who’d felt two caches might need replacing, but found the lot. One of the supposedly missing ones was laying out in the open in a field of crops some seven metres from the obvious hide, but we left it where (we felt) it was supposed to be. Mind you the walk was very “old-school”. We walked a series of twenty caches; the same route could have had forty. It was an excellent walk but had I organised the route I would have put more caches on it. But then these older series are more spread out.
After seven miles walking we got back to the cars rather earlier than planned, so we got out of muddy boots and wandered down the road to the nearby pub. We sat in front of a roaring fire and enjoyed a pint of Harvey’s best bitter. And then a pint of London Pride went down rather well. I was eyeing the Harvey’s Old Ale, but with a fifty-plus miles journey home along the motorway there is only so far one can go without a tiddle stop.
As we pulled up so our new neighbour was coming out of next door. We chatted for a few minutes; he seems pleasant enough. Here’s hoping.
I then hosed the mud off of my dog’s underneath and off of our boots. "er indoors TM" had been given a list of instructions from "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" so as she set off on her chores I sparked up my lap-top. I took a few photos as we walked; I published those for the world to see, then settled in front of the telly.
I watched Friday’s episode of South Park; I’m now pretty sure who I thought was supposed to be Michael Jackson is actually supposed to be Donald Trump’s wife.
I watched another episode of Game of Thrones. It was rather good.
Then there was David Attenborough and Planet Earth II. It was very good.
And then there was something of a disappointment. “Mars” is supposed to be a documentary about the first manned mission to Mars (in 2033) with flashbacks to current-day footage from Space X explaining the technology. The bits from Space X were interesting. The speculative bits were rather rubbish really. Obviously made from dramatic effect they were somewhat lacking in any kind of scientific basis. Even the Apollos of nearly fifty years ago didn’t have single stage rockets going from Houston to the Moon and back.
I’d been looking forward to the show… I hope the second episode is an improvement on the first…
14 November 2016 (Monday) – Rain
Both me and "Furry Face TM" slept well last night. I came down shortly after 7am to find him tightly curled up on the sofa. He usually sleeps well after a good walk, and much as I do like him on the bed he can be fidgety.
Over brekkie I had a little look-see on-line. Not much had changed overnight. Mind you I did get a little peeved by something I read on Facebook. One of my daughter’s friends was having a rant about how few women and black-minority-ethnic are in positions of authority in society. Is this true? I regularly answer to both professionally. And if it is true is this *really* institutional bias? I can remember the days of “positive discrimination” when people of various minorities were given various jobs on the basis of their minority (rather than their ability to do a job). The idea didn’t work because the people of the various minorities didn’t apply for the jobs for which positive discrimination was being used. I pondered about posting a little rant to this effect but decided against it. She obviously felt strongly on the matter, and I’m sick of the pointless arguments which the Internet generates.
I then stood on the scales and weighed myself. I’m sick of being so fat; I’m now seventeen stone and one pound. Diet time. Mind you when I say “diet time”, “constantly hungry time” is a more accurate description. I hate being fat, and over the years I have tried pretty much every diet there is. Everyone (especially those without a weight problem) has theories about weight loss that don’t work for me. After years of trying them all, the only way for me to lose weight is to be hungry all the time. I’ve reactivated My Fitness Pal dot com; keeping tabs on what I ate last time helped.
I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went out to meet "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". We had intended to walk out to Singleton Lake to feed the ducks but the rain put us off of that idea. We just had a quick zoom around South Willesborough and came home again. Once home I had intended to sort my fishing tackle; I didn’t get of with that rucksack I found in the shed and wanted to put all my gear back into the bag from which I’d taken it. But again the rain put me off of the idea.
So I phoned the hospital to reschedule the upcoming CT scan of my nose (that took about ten times longer than it needed to) and made a start on this week’s dog psychology course.
I went to bed shortly after lunch and spent a little longer than usual nodding off. Cold feet ! – I wonder where my hot water bottle went?
Over a bit of tea (chef select roast beef dinner – 396 calories!) I watched an old episode of “Upstairs Downstairs” and now I’m off to the night shift… I shall take a lot less food with me that I usually do…
15 November 2016 (Tuesday) - Between the Night Shifts
After a rather busy night I was glad to get away from work this morning. I would have liked to have gone directly home, but I had a hospital appointment. A pre-med before the next surgical re-boring of my nose. I arrived and was seen by the fattest nurse I ever did see. She was probably very professional, and extremely good at her job; but all I could think of was just how huge she was. As she took my blood pressure and stuff I could see the hoard of tins of sugary pop in her office. As I stood on the scales I mentioned I’d started a diet, and she had the cheek to tell me that was a good idea.
My little dog was glad to see me when I finally got home. We went straight for a little walk around the park. For one the walk passed off without excitement, and we came home and I took myself off to bed. Just as I was about to get to bed I heard a sound outside. A van from “Bensons for Beds” pulled up and started unloading, and just a few feet away from me on the other side of the bedroom wall the nice people from “Bensons for Beds” started building the bed they’d just delivered.
They weren’t *that* noisy.
I slept until the late afternoon; over a cuppa I had a little look-see on-line.
Ten years ago today I blogged about the extinction of the Chinese River Dolphin; it turns out that it is just possible that some might have survived. here's hoping
Last night I saw nextdoor.co.uk advertised. it is basically a way of getting in touch with the neighbours. it might be worthwhile; it might not. I've signed up for it.
I’m off to another night shift now…
16 November 2016 (Wednesday) - Bit Tired
I was glad when the day shift arrived at work this morning. I like working at night; the work can be varied, I feel I am actually doing something worthwhile by actively contributing to patient care when the rest of the world sleeps, but being a lone worker is so lonely. I left work quite a while later then I probably might have done because it was such a novelty to have someone to talk to.
I got home just as "er indoors TM" was leaving home. She pulled off just as I drove up. I was surprised not to be greeted by an excited dog when I got in. "Furry Face TM" was in his basket and was fast asleep. He looked at me (bleary-eyed) and heaved himself up. I couldn’t disappoint him, so we went for a little walk.
We did our standard “round the park” walk; as we went up Beaver Road my dog picked a fight with a bus and then with a motorbike and a gang of workmen.
We had something of a surprise in the park; the nice people from “Aspire Landscape Management” had been working on the Chinese garden. The Chinese garden is a rather pretty secluded corner of the park. But because of its seclusion it is an ideal place for the local drug dealers to do their thing undisturbed. Or it has been up till now. The chaps from “Aspire Landscape Management” have removed all the shrubbery and hedging and opened the area up. It looks rather good.
With walk done I took myself off to bed. I set my alarm, but didn’t need to. I woke shortly after mid day. Over some toast I watched the last episode of the documentary about a mock SAS training school. I liked the show, but I must admit I never warmed to the lead instructor. He swore too much. Having been watching him over the last few weeks has made me conscious that I too swear too much.
I then did more of my course on dog psychology. How on Earth did mankind’s worst enemy (wolves) become our best friend (dogs). It turns out that there is a lot of evidence to suggest this was through a process of natural selection in which the more sociable wolves effectively domesticated themselves.
As I learned all sorts of things my very own domesticated wolf snored on the sofa next to me; intermittently farting. I can’t help but wonder if dogs would have become so popular if the early ones farted as badly as my one does. I completed this week’s lectures and got full marks. I’m a swot!
I made myself a cup of coffee and had two hob-nobs with it. "er indoors TM" bought a packet of hob-nobs the other day. Much as I like them, a cup of coffee and two hob-nobs is one tenth of my daily calorie allowance. I need to go back to rich tea biscuits; they are less than half the calories.
I then dozed off in front of the telly…
17 November 2016 (Thursday) - Kings Hill
I slept well after having done two night shifts; I was licked awake by "Furry Face TM" just after 7am. Having woken me he wagged his tail and then went back to sleep. I wish I could have done.
Over brekkie my cousin was having a rant on Facebook about something she’d seen on the telly. She was incensed that potentially life-saving treatments were not available on the NHS. I don’t know the specific details of the one shs was so cross about, but some of these treatments not available on the NHS don’t actually work. I can remember the outrage in the 1970s when the people of Hastings raised thousands of pounds to send a young boy (who went on to be best man at my wedding) to Switzerland for treatment to stop him going blind? It didn’t work for him, and it has since been proved this treatment was a scam and didn’t work at all. But this didn’t stop people all around the world raising loads of money and sending children to a quack who was running a rather cosy little racket in a very scenic mountain location.
Quite a few of the treatments not available on the NHS don’t actually work. That’s why they aren’t available on the NHS.
I popped the lead onto my little dog and we set off to Kings Hill. We took a little longer to get there than we might have done. There is something fundamentally wrong with Google Navigation. Whilst it is excellent at knowing which roads are busy and which are not at a given moment, it has no idea when roads are closed for weeks at a time. But we weren’t *too* late in meeting up with Gordon and Aleta.
We had a rather good walk along paths which were well marked. We did take a little aside to our route at one point and it was there that we found the utterly impassable footpaths. And it did rain a little heavier that I’d been expecting. But all things considered a walk round the golf course with good company wasn’t too bad a way to spend the morning.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk; we found all our targets. We had a minor hiccup with the field puzzle; had we listened to what we’d been told and walked the route backwards things might have been a lot easier for us.
After two hours we found ourselves back at the car. I was amazed at how few photos I’d actually taken today. We said our goodbyes, and it wasn’t long before we were home. Once I’d hosed the mud off of my dog I popped up to the corner shop where I rescued the nice people who run the shop from a drunk. He was getting rather aggressive because they didn’t sell “Texan” bars. I told him they’d sold out, and he seemed happy and staggered off. He seemed to be oblivious to the fact that Nestle stopped making them thirty years ago.
I scoffed my sandwich whilst watching an episode of “Game of Thrones”. As I watched it my wet dog snuggled up to me. He burped a few times before falling asleep. I then spent a couple of hours doing on-line corporate inductions for my new job at Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells Health Authority (did I mention I got the job I applied for?). It turned out I wasted that time as my computer didn’t save the work I’d done. Oh well… do it again.
"er indoors TM" came home early and boiled up a rather good bit of steak for dinner. Probably a few too many calories, but having decided to cut out the extraneous rubbish I so often shove down my neck gave me a few calories to spare in my allowance.
This calorie counting amazes me. I walked off less calories in the morning’s walk than I would get from four hob-nob biccies…
18 November 2016 (Friday) - CT Scan, Downe House
I slept quite well last night. So did my little dog who spent the night in his basket. He seems to spend the night in his basket after we’ve been out for a longer walk. Perhaps he’s getting old?
Over brekkie (coffee, toast and jam, 297 calories, 15% of the day’s allowance) I had a look-see on-line. I had emails for the astro club advertising the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, from GPS tracking offering us the ability to track all our vehicles with GPS devices, and one from Gerald Yusuf who wanted to book accommodation in January. Somehow the email address has been picked up by a spambot.
I then drove out to Maidstone; I had an appointment with the human resources people at the hospital there. All sorts of paperwork to sort out before I can take up my new position with them.
I then went to the local hospital for a CT scan of my sinuses. Now to wait for an appointment to get the operation done. Mind you I can see this not happening. The specialist assured me it would be done as a day case; now they are talking about having to stay in hospital overnight. And they want me to take two weeks off work after the operation. That won’t happen with the new job on the horizon. And bearing in mind the polyps grew back last time I am beginning to question the logic of having it done again.
I came home. As I pulled up I could hear my dog barking. He doesn’t bark excessively when I’m about the house or in the garden; I’m pretty sure he recognises my car. I took him round the park where he nearly caught a squirrel. Had he kept quiet he would have caught it, but he rather spoiled his chances by barking at the poor creature.
I then organised a little geo-walk for next week, then had a cuppa whilst watching a bit of telly. I watched last night’s episode of “The Young Pope”. An odd show – I always thought Popes were supposed to be religious.
Jimbo arrived; we went to the gorge where we met Steve, Sarah and Stevey. After a rather good bit of dinner we slowly made our way to Downe House (sixty miles away) where the astro club was staging an observing evening for the paying punters. They’d all paid thirty quid a head and it was rather cloudy. But after an hour’s cloudgazing we gave them one or two PowerPoint shows.
It was a rather good evening… for the punters. Much as I didn’t dislike the evening I don’t think I really contributed much…
19 November 2016 (Saturday) - Off to Work
I hadn't been asleep long when my dog jumped on the bed and started walking all over me. That did it for the night's sleep. I dozed on and off; finally giving up trying to sleep shortly before 5.30am.
Not much had happened on-line overnight (which was
probably just as well) so I took the opportunity to get a little bit ahead
with the dog psychology course. Today I learned all sorts of things about how
dogs actually do understand hundreds of words, and the games you can play
with your own dog to prove this claim. As I learned, my very own test subject
was snuggling up to me in the hope of getting toast. He is not the ideal test
subject as I am convinced he understands me perfectly but often chooses to
ignore me. I've shown this by the fact that when I call him when he's
misbehaving he will often carry on what he is doing, but his tail will wag on
hearing his name. I wonder if I can devise any more experiments to prove his
Surely the legal questions of leaving the EU should have been sorted out *before* the decision was even considered?
The weather is supposed to get worse overnight…
20 November 2016 (Sunday) - Working Again
I slept surprisingly well last night; waking shortly
before the alarm. Mind you I don't like getting up whilst it is still dark
outside. I was surprised to find my little dog had spent the night in his
basket; mind you, much as I like having him with me upstairs I'm slowly realising that a lot of my restless nights are due to *his*
There was then talk of how religious fervour is sweeping the UK gypsy and travelling folk communities. One traveller interviewed was rather vocal about how praising Jesus is far better than stealing and fighting. (And they wonder where these stereotypes come from...)
I got to work and braved the weather as I ran from the car park to the door. Once in I dried off and did my thing. I didn't really mind being at work today as the weather outside was so bad.
Mind you I stayed awake, which was a result…
21 November 2016 (Monday) - Weight Loss
One of the most obvious things about me is that I’m a fat bloke. I hate it. I’ve been fat pretty much all my life, and have always been jealous of those who can neck the pies without a second thought. Periodically I try to do something about it. Over brekkie I had a weigh-in. I’ve been on a diet for a week, and I’ve lost half a stone. This weight loss thing is *really* easy; you just don’t eat. I’ve been constantly hungry for a week, and I’ve lost weight. Simples.
I find that making a written note of what I eat on myfitnesspal dot com helps. It knows how many calories I can have per day, and says how many calories there are in what I’m eating. And because I am really anal about keeping the food diary it makes me realise just how many calories there are in bars of chocolate and bags of crisps and stuff. And so I stop eating them.
The flip side is that I am constantly hungry. So much so that it hurts. Mind you this is probably why I am so fat; if I am not stuffed to the point of being bloated I am hungry. I’m trying to convince myself that the feeling of hunger is actually the feeling of weight loss. Between 2011 and 2013 I lost nearly six stones by being constantly hungry for two years.
Those who don’t have a weight problem tell me this is a bad way to lose weight. They are probably right but over the years I’ve tried every weight loss plan imaginable. None of them work for me. Being hungry all the time does.
Over brekkie (toast and coffee, 297 calories) I checked my emails. StatCounter had its weekly report on who had been looking at my other blog. I am legally required to provide evidence of how I keep myself up to date in professional matters so I write a little blog about work-related stuff. Other people have folders of random papers; for me a blog works. You can see the thing here (but be warned – it is dull).
It never fails to amaze me just how many people read that blog. It is hardly riveting.
Mind you neither is this, but seventy-eight people tuned in yesterday. Seventy-eight !!!
I then had a look on Facebook. I have an invite to go tree-climbing in a few weeks’ time. Much as I quite like clambering, my weight (coupled with a dodgy right elbow) doesn’t make it easy. Perhaps by then there will be substantially less of me to heave up a tree.
Not much else of note had been posted overnight.
Having just worked all weekend meant I now have a couple of days off. The plan for today had been a day’s fishing, but yesterday’s storm had made everywhere waterlogged, and a second instalment of the storm was forecast for mid-day, so fishing got postponed until another time.
Instead I drove round to collect my angling buddy, and me and "My Boy TM" went for a little drive. First of all we had a look round “World of Water” to get some ideas for garden pond-type stuff. And whilst we were there we popped into Lilly’s Café for a spot of brekkie. I have this theory that if I occasionally shove in a load of calories it fools my metabolism. Lilly’s Café is a rather scary-looking place, but the fry-up was good. Nine hundred calories good.
From here we drove down to Hastings to see my mum. She’s looking better after her recent heart surgery. We stayed there for a couple of hours; sorting out her new phone whilst we were there. Her phone isn’t difficult to work; she just seems to be determined not to be able to work it.
The plan was to come home via the Koi shop in Guestling but the place doesn’t open on Mondays, so we drove past it. We stopped off at Tesco. "My Boy TM" got the makings of dinner; I got the Doctor Who DVD “The Power of the Daleks”; first broadcast fifty years ago the episodes have long since been lost, but they’ve re-created it in animation form.
I took the first fruit of my loin home and then walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. The heavy rain of earlier had abated, and the sun was out as we walked. Our walk was rather uneventful; it has been like that for the last few walks. Probably for the best.
Once home my dog made short work of the treat I’d bought him in Tesco and I put on my new DVD. I watched four episodes before I had t go out. First of all to Steve and Sarah’s to shift a fridge, a dishwasher and a washing machine. And then to collect "Daddy’s Little Angel TM", drive her half way across town to collect a disassembled bunk bed and take the stuff back to her flat.
By the time I got to watch “Game of Thrones” over some tea I was worn out…
22 November 2016 (Tuesday) - A Walk, Watching Telly...
I woke in pain this morning; I think I overdid the furniture moving last night and my elbow was *really* hurting.
Over brekkie I watched last week’s episode of “South Park”. Whilst I quite liked it I got the distinct impression that I had no real idea of what was going on. I then struggled with my phone for a while. Last night it developed a bug in that the wi-fi would not turn on. After a lot of struggling with it I tried telling it not to scan for networks and it started working again.
I then checked emails. I had two for the astro club; one was an advert to improve our Google rankings, one was an advert for improving our organic audience development strategy. I’ve now removed the email link from the club’s website and put a picture of the email address there instead. If people want to contact the club they can read words in the picture. Hopefully spambots can’t read.
I also had a message from one of my loyal readers recommending the “alternate day fasting” diet in which you eat normally on one day and seriously restrict what you eat on the next. It may well be worth a try.
I popped the lead onto my dog and we went out. We’d arranged to meet friends for a little geocaching session not far from Bessel’s Green; Google’s sat-naving probably took us about twenty miles out of our way to get there. But for various reasons everyone else was delayed and we were actually first to get to the meeting point. It wasn’t long before we were all together, and four of us (and two dogs) set off on a rather damp walk. Bearing in mind how dry this year has been, it was rather odd to be walking along muddy and squelchy paths today. But we had a good walk. We were intrigued by one metal stile which had been comprehensively destroyed (how did that happen?) and we were amazed to find a full bottle of gin in the undergrowth. Hunting for a geocache; found a bottle of gin. How many people can say that has happened to them? I took a few photos whilst we walked. It was a rather pretty walk; it was only a shame the day wasn’t brighter.
We walked for two hours; billed as a walk of two miles, “Hannah” measured it at three and a third miles. I’m of the opinion that my sat-nav over-estimates walking distances.
Geocache-wise it was a good walk. There was a range of hides; some trickier than others. It would be an ideal route to take someone new to the hobby on to show them what sort of things to look out for. But I wouldn’t recommend it to the inexperienced; there were some rather difficult ones there. Personally I would have upped the difficulty setting on many of the caches (but that is just me). Some were works of genius, but as is so often the case, the cleverer the hide the more fragile it becomes.
We got back to the cars just as the rain started. We said our goodbyes and came home. I came home to find "er indoors TM" stashing meat into the freezer. She’s taken to ordering meat in bulk. It is *really* good stuff and it is really cheap too.
And with meat stashed "er indoors TM" went back to work. Me and my dog settled in front of the telly for the afternoon. His snoring kept me awake. Firstly through an episode of “Thunderbirds Are Go” which was rather good, then through another episode of “Game of Thrones”. I then voomed round with the hoover and watched Sunday’s episode of “Planet Earth II” over a cup of coffee. I must admit this episode was a disappointment. The first one was about obscure islands and the second one about mountains. I’ve not seen many wildlife programs set in these locations. But this third episode was set in the jungles; I’ve seen several programs about jungles.
My phone pinged. A month ago I ordered some new trousers from eBay. The ones which were sent were the wrong waist and leg size so I sent them back. I’ve finally got a refund, but no refund for my postage costs for returning the trousers. Time for negative feedback… that usually elicits a response.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Today in Romney Road. Insults were bandied (as they often are) and then we watched the Christmas episode of “The Flash” – last Christmas’s episode. We are a tad behind with the show…
23 November 2016 (Wednesday) - Broken Fence
My CPAP machine woke me at 4am. It was blowing at storm force 10. I turned it off, went for a tiddle and came back to bed. Having turned it off had reset it and it then gently helped me breathe until "er indoors TM"’s alarm went off at 7.30am.
I checked out the Internet over brekkie. Not much had changed overnight really. Mind you I did have an email from the astro club offering to help us revamp the club’s website to maximise its earning potential (for a price). Hopefully now I’ve tweaked the email links this spamming might abate a little.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a little walk round the park. There was a minor incident with a cyclist; dogs don’t understand cycle paths. And we met one of the dog walkers we often see. She knows Fudge by name, and commented that he always seems to be a happy dog. I hope he is.
The plan was to do some pootling in the garden before the forecast rain started, but I had a minor shock in the garden. Storm Angus (which hit last weekend) had taken out one of the fence panels. It was one which needed replacing; I’ve actually got its replacement ready to put in place. But there will be a little digging and landscaping involved. If any of my loyal readers are available on Friday morning for an hour’s messing about…
I rooted about in the shed and found some bits and bobs for fence-fixing, but whilst fence-fixing is fun with company it is dull on your own. So I came back inside to find the central heating was still on. I am forever adjusting the timer so it turns off shortly before "er indoors TM" goes to work. How does it switch back?
I then completed the sixth week of the dog psychology course. Today we touched on dingoes – the feral descendants of once-domesticated dogs. I got full marks in the end of week quiz; I was rather pleased about that.
A spot of lunch over an episode of “Game of Thrones”, then I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. I have no trouble nodding off at any time, but today I had cold feet. I can’t find my hot water bottle anywhere. I shall have to get one in Morrisons on my way to work later…
Off to the night shift…
24 November 2016 (Thursday) - Dull Day
I did my bit at work and came home. As I drove I had the radio on. Yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his autumn budget statement, and this morning he was interviewed live on the radio.
He was tackled about the cost of Brexit. Now that the decision to leave the European Union has been priced up, far from making massive savings the country is fifty-nine billion pounds worse off.
Did the politicians promising savings make mistakes, did they get their figures wrong, or did they just say shit was sugar to get their way? If I'd voted out because of the promised savings I'd be a bit miffed right now. Or is it that those who've come up with the figures are engaging in mischief-making? (as has been alleged)
Either way I'm fast coming to the conclusion that politics is too important to be left to the politicians who just treat it all as a way of scoring petty points against each other.
Once home I saw "er indoors TM" for a few seconds, then took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a walk. As we went he managed to run under the front wheel of a passing bicycle. He came out unscathed, as did the bicycle. I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. He then played nicely with several other dogs, but ten disgraced himself by making a nuisance of himself around Orangehead just as she was picking up her dog’s “deposits”.
I then sparked up my lap-top for a quick look on-line. Yesterday I finished Week Six of my dog psychology course; I had an email congratulating me on completing Week Four, and with little else of note going on I took myself off to bed for the rest of the day.
A spot of late lunch over “Upstairs Downstairs” and I’m off to another night shift… The day between the night shifts is often dull…
25 November 2016 (Friday) - Bit Tired
On Tuesday I went for a little geo-stroll with some friends. For a week or so before we'd been tearing our hair out about a rather tricky geo-puzzle. From the position of the icon on the map we thought we might be passing near it, but we couldn't solve the puzzle.
I posted some photos of our walk on Tuesday, and last night whilst at work I got a message that the chap who'd set that puzzle cache had seen my photos, and that we'd walked right past it. In fact, I'd taken one of my photos whilst almost standing on the thing.
That's what I like about geocaching; you have no idea that the things are there.
Also whilst I worked there was mention on the radio about the fascination that the British public have with Nazi Germany. Did you know there are people who collect spoons made by the third Reich? You can buy books about the subject on Amazon.
I came home, and it wasn’t long before "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and Sam arrived to help me with the broken fence panel. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" caused mayhem by nearly falling in the garden pond, but after a little messing about we get the new fence panel in place. I then walked home with them; it gave "Furry Face TM" a walk. And it gave me some company. Much as I like the time off that goes with the night shifts, doing the night shifts can be rather lonely.
As we walked home I couldn’t believe the queues of traffic waiting to get into the designer outlet village. It is probably one of the most popular shopping destinations in the South East; I think the place is rather over-rated. But that didn’t stop the traffic queuing in all directions to get there.
And then I went to bed for a bit… Four hours later I got up and over a late brekkie I watched last night’s episode of “The Young Pope”. I’m still not entirely sure what is going on, and for a program about the Catholic Church it has far too many tits. But it makes for entertaining viewing.
A quick McDonalds (too many calories) then it was time for this month’s astro club. Attendance was noticeably down this time. Possibly due to the talk – personally I was fascinated by the lecture on gravitational waves, but I can see that some people mind find if off-putting. For myself I find the attitude of one of our members somewhat off-putting. Having disagreed with her on a matter of some triviality some years ago she now makes a point of blanking me whenever she sees me, and has ordered her husband to do the same. Several people have commented on this. It is getting rather tiresome now…
26 November 2016 (Saturday) – Lingfield
After two night shifts I slept like a log. I had a vague recollection of being trampled by my dog in the small hours but when I got up we was fast asleep on the sofa. Over brekkie I watched an episode of one of my favourite shows - “Upstairs Downstairs” - on the ITV encore channel. In today’s episode her ladyship was having it away with a young airman. The young airman went on to get shot down – a judgment perhaps? I then had a little look on Wikipedia. It turns out that many of the actors who were in “Upstairs Downstairs” acted in very little else. Mind you this morning’s episode was rather different to many I watch. Usually I watch it in the afternoons, and at that time of day the adverts are about suffering animals and children. It made a pleasant change not having depressing adverts.
With "er indoors TM" off to the convocation of candlemongers in Windsor I had been left to my own devices today. So I popped the lead on "Furry Face TM" and we drove up to Leybourne where we’d agreed to meet Tracey and Karl. Having arrived a few minutes early I checked the geo-map to find I’d parked not sixty yards from a geocache, so me and my dog made a crafty find whilst we were waiting.
Tracey and Karl soon arrived and we set off for Lingfield in Surrey where we’d planned to wander round the Lingfield Loop series of geocaches. We parked up to find the car park ticket machine was broken (what a shame!) and we set off on our stroll. It was a rather cold morning; several of the puddles we found were covered in ice, and it was rather foggy too.
We walked past the village jail where the last resident was a poacher (over a hundred years ago). We saw pheasants and hawks. We saw some birds which we couldn’t decide if they were yellowhammers or goldfinches. We took the wrong bridge. We found a very odd arrangement of military pill boxes – whilst now derelict they had obviously been arranged to have overlapping fields of fire. What on Earth had they been set up to defend?
Geocache-wise it was a good walk. The caches were not too far apart and were (mostly) straightforward finds. We logged a “did not find” on one; we thought it had gone missing. Billed as a walk of six miles “Hannah” measured it as seven and a half.
And I took a few photos as we walked.
We finished walking just as it was getting cold. Rather than doing the nearby Wherigo we went to the Greyhound for a crafty half. The Greyhound is an odd pub. It looked rather posh from the outside. On the inside it was full of assorted thugs shouting at two TV screens. Interestingly the two TV screens were tuned to different channels and were showing different sporting events. But the thugs didn’t seem bothered, and they were civil enough as well.
My little dog slept most of the way home (when he wasn’t farting). Once home I drove round the block twice trying to find somewhere to park. There were no spaces to be had; eventually I found a space in Francis Road (three streets away). I had hoped to park closer to home so I could load up my fishing gear, but that wasn’t going to happen this evening.
Ironically "er indoors TM" came home twenty minutes after me and said there were loads of parking spaces outside.
After a rather good bit of dinner "er indoors TM" went off to the Saturday film night and as my dog snored I settled in front of the telly.
I might have an early night…
27 November 2016 (Sunday) - Fishing in the Cold
After a night of rather vivid and disturbing dreams I was rather grateful when "er indoors TM"s alarm went off. I was slightly less grateful that it was 5.30am though. She’d arranged to go on a day trip to Bruges. I could have gone. I would have liked to have been to Bruges, but to be honest the coach trip there and back was somewhat off-putting. Endless hours on a coach drives me mad, so I’d decided not to go. Also I’d been under the misapprehension that it was a girlie thing…
I wish I had signed up for it now.
I drove her up to the pick-up point then drove round to collect "My Boy TM" and we went fishing. We got to Shirkoak lake ten minutes after the gate was supposed to be unlocked (which was only ten minutes before the gate was actually unlocked).
We set up just as dawn was breaking, and were soon fishing. Fishing was rather slow today. And cold. After an hour or so a car pulled up in the car park and a chap got out. He slowly wandered round the pond, he chatted with us as he came past. He tried to impress us by pretending to be looking for where he thought the carp were lurking. If he was really as keen on fishing as he would have had us believe, then he would have been at the lake an hour earlier than he was.
Shortly after that another pair arrived. They had a rather large trolley on which they carried all of their gear and they made great show of setting up their camp. It was fun to watch them; one chap in bright yellow Hi-Vis jacket had clearly never been fishing before as his mate was having to do everything for him and to constantly shout instructions. However this mate seemed to be spending a lot of his time making endless cups of tea. We could hear the whistle of the boiling kettle going off every five minutes.
I took a few photos whilst we fished. Today was probably the quietest fishing session we’ve had all year. And it was COLD. Despite this we had a rather good time; we watched a kingfisher catching tiddlers and we saw a deer in the next field. But it was a shame that rain stopped play about an hour earlier than we’d intended to pack up.
As we drove home the rain stopped. I got to walk "Furry Face TM" round the park before it got dark. And once home I had a shower and finally started to get warm. Despite the cold of today I’d caught the sun and I sat in front of the telly with hands and feet like blocks of ice but with a glowing face.
I watched two episodes of “Game of Thrones” and an old episode of “Gladiators”. I’m hoping to get the David Attenborough planet Earth documentary watched and the National Geographic program about Mars watched before "er indoors TM" gets home.
Wonder if she got me a pressie…
28 November 2016 (Monday) - A Decision
I didn’t sleep that well last night, and got up well before the alarm was due to go off. As brekkie cooked I stood on the scales – I’ve lost another five pounds in weight. I’m going to investigate this “fast days” diet but in the meantime hunger is doing the trick. It is a shame that hungry hurts though.
As I scoffed my toast I watched Saturday’s episode of “Thunderbirds are Go”; although it is clearly a children’s program I quite like it. As I watched it my little dog came and sat with me. I quite like that too.
As I drove to work the radio was spouting its usual drivel but I wasn't really listening. I'd got my letter of resignation with me and I was still uncertain as to whether or not to hand it in. As I walked through the door of Morrisons I saw something which made my mind up for me.
I have all sorts of personal reasons for wanting to leave my current employer. Some rather petty and trivial, others not so. But the local newspapers were carrying the story about the review of hospital services in East Kent. The plan is... well, I won't go into details but the bottom line is that (in my opinion) if I don't jump ship I will either be left high and dry, or be transferred to Margate within a couple of years. So bearing in mind the hospital up the road in Maidstone is offering a recruitment incentive and Margate isn't the easiest of places to get to, I gave the boss my letter.
I start my new job eighteen miles up the motorway in eight weeks’ time. I wonder what the future holds. If the past is anything to go by it will be tears and smiles. Admittedly usually more smiles than tears, but time will tell.
It always does.
29 November 2016 (Tuesday) - Introducing Treacle
I slept better last night. I had been undecided about changing jobs for a while and the uncertainty had been preying on my mind. Now the decision is made and I have a start date I feel a little more settled.
Mind you I was still awake long before I needed to be awake this morning.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Derek” then had a look-see on the Internet. I’d received a friend request on Facebook overnight. From Hellene Corneil. I wonder who Hellene Corneil is. Apparently she lives in London but is originally from France. From what I can work out we have no friends or interests in common. I wonder why she’s sent me a friend request. Perhaps she fancies me. Understandable, but she’s in for a disappointment. I also saw that the Crystal Maze is to return to the telly.
I then checked my emails to see that (yet again) Amazon was trying to sell me that which I’d already bought from them.
I spent a few minutes scraping the ice from my car then set off to work. It was cold today – the dashboard thermometer in my car read minus six degrees.
The pundits on the radio were spewing their usual drivel but one article made me listen. The auction house Sotheby’s is selling an original musical manuscript written by Beethoven. But a musical expert from Manchester University claimed it was a fake. He listed all sorts of reasons why it was a fake. The chap from Sotheby’s insisted it was genuine and claimed to have a team of experts who would vouch for its veracity. He made great show of the fact that they hadn’t asked the bloke from Manchester University to verify the thing; the implication being that this chap didn’t know the difference between his own arse and a hole in the ground. Said Mancunian then pointed out more problems with the manuscript, and it was at this point that the chap from Sotheby’s told us all that the so-called Beethoven expert hadn’t actually seen the manuscript in question.
Unfortunately the radio presenters stepped in at this point and moved on to the next article. I thought they were going to have a fight.
I did my bit at work, and came home through the cold. I ran "Furry Face TM" round the lock, then a little later we went out to meet "er indoors TM" who had just collected the latest addition to our family.
“Treacle” is a little (mostly) black ball of fluff; the result of an unplanned meeting of a pug and a cocker spaniel. Fudge seems quite interested in her; she seems rather unsettled. The evening has been rather fraught…
I never wanted a dog. I’ve now got two…
30 November 2016 (Wednesday) - More Puppy Stuff
Fudge woke me with his fidgeting shortly before the alarm was due to go off this morning. I went downstairs to find "er indoors TM" had spent the night on the sofa with the puppy. She seems to be a rather delicate little blossom at times (the puppy, not "er indoors TM"). When me and my dog came down and woke them they both went up to bed. I thought the idea of "er indoors TM" spending the night on the sofa was so that the puppy didn’t get the idea of sleeping upstairs, but what do I know?
"Furry Face TM" helped me eat my toast as I watched another episode of "Derek", and then I set off to work. I got to my car and came straight back home again once I realised I had "er indoors TM"'s car keys rather than my own.
Once I'd scraped the ice from the car I set off to work, and again the dashboard thermometer read minus six degrees.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were spewing their usual drivel. Apparently two high street banks aren't up to standard. Personally if I had accounts with RBS or Barclays I'd be moving my money today. I have no idea whether or not those two banks are good or bad, but having heard that the Bank of England has given them the thumbs-down I wouldn't take any chances. I wonder how many of their customers feel the same.
There was also talk about the growing extremism across the world. The chap on the radio said that two fifths of all Germans see all Muslims as a threat. What a sad indictment of our world.
I got to work and we had a rather fraught day. The inspectors were in, and nerves were frayed. They come round every five years or so and it is usual for the inspectors to find many trivial failings. It is a commonly overlooked fact that when I was in charge the inspectors found the fewest failings they’d ever found. But am I bitter?
Once inspected I came home and found the baby asleep in her cage. Fudge woke her with his excitement. I let her out of her cage and spent a couple of minutes being licked by two dogs.
Against my better judgement I took both dogs for a walk. I say “walk”; "Furry Face TM" walked whilst the puppy was stuffed down the front of my jumper. We didn’t go very far at all; the baby was terrified by every passing car.
We came home to find "er indoors TM" was home over an hour earlier than usual. It was as well that she was home; on getting home her puppy immediately tiddled and pooped. She wanted the puppy; she can clear up after her.
Lacey was having tea at her other grandparents house just round the corner this evening. We collected her and took her home. It was an outing for the new puppy if nothing else. Sometimes she isn’t quite such a delicate blossom…