1 November 2018 (Thursday) - It Rained
I slept for over eight hours last night. It is odd that I can’t sleep much during the day time after a night shift, but I am out like a light during the night. I was eventually woken by the sound of the torrential rain on the window this morning.
There was so much I might have done today. There was talk of fishing. I might have taken the dogs on a rather long walk. The garden really needs a bit of attention. Everything was abandoned because of the awful weather. Perhaps it is time for a review of my lifestyle and find things to do which don’t involve being outside.
Mind you I’m glad we’ve got the rain this week and not last week when we were away on holiday. We had a *really* good break in the New Forest. Was it only a week ago?
Over brekkie I had a look-see at Facebook. A friend’s granddaughter was very ill, and she was asking for prayers for the little one. How does that work? Presumably the prayers are directed to some god who could cure the child? Surely this begs the question of why the god allowed the child to get ill in the first place, and why does the god have to be begged for help. Is this god the capricious sort that allows bad things to happen (or causes them) just so we beg for assistance? Or does it just have no idea what is going on until we prompt it with a prayer? I’m not sure I want anything to do with a deity like that. I wish I understood religion.
Another friend was ranting on-line about what a bitch his ex-girlfriend was and was listing her many and varied failings to the world whilst wondering why the courts were siding with her in his ongoing custody battle.
I had the obligatory email from Amazon suggesting I buy that which I’d already bought, and an email from the Internet provider telling me all the wonderful deals they were offering on the phone line that I cancelled last month.
The bank had sent me an email. They’ve started providing an e-newsletter. Someone’s obviously being paid a lot of money to produce the thing. I wonder how many readers it will get? I for one have no interest in reading a load of corporate nonsense.
Despite the rain I took the dogs round the park. Hardly anyone else had ventured out, but we did meet a rather bedraggled chap and his equally bedraggled red setter which Fudge tried to hump. When we were nearly home we met OrangeHead; her dog was wearing a coat. Fudge flatly refuses to wear a coat but I might try one on Treacle.
We got home just as the dishwasher was finishing. As we left I’d set both it and the washing machine on a one-hour cycle. The dishwasher was done but the washing machine still had half an hour to go. What was that all about?
I dried the dogs and settled them, gathered the dry washing from the radiators and went up into town. With pretty much all of the day’s possibilities being washed out I thought I might go to the library. Having done the Snowdog trail there were some freebies to be collected.
I drove into town, got to the car park and watched some old git push to the front of the queue for the car park tickets, then once at the library I watched some old bat elbow her way in front of me. When she’d finished giving the librarian serious abuse about the state of the local bus services (?) I got to collect my free badges and pens. The nice lady at the library told me about the upcoming Snowdog event and the auction at which they will all be sold off. Whilst there is no telling what price they will fetch, those “in the know” feel each Snowdog will sell for between three and five thousand pounds.
I wish I could afford one.
With time still left on the car park ticket I thought I might have a little look round town. Again the elderly showed their complete disregard for queuing in WH Smiths and Waterstones.
I came home and found that Treacle had knocked over all the washing I’d collected from the radiators. I knew it was her and not Fudge; I’d put it on the chair that she uses as a jump-off point to get on to the table. She knew she’d done wrong, but she got told off anyway. She then spent much of the afternoon sulking at me.
Over a spot of lunch I watched another episode of “Prison Break”. It is OK, but (like all fiction) *really* would benefit from a bit of research by the writers. For example if you want to visit a prisoner, you can’t just turn up. It’s not that simple. Before you can even consider going to visit, the prisoner himself has to add you to their list of visitors. Then the prisoner will send you a form which you fill out and return to the prison saying exactly who is coming (only those on the prisoner’s list are allowed) and what date you would like; the date being about a fortnight or so into the future. *If* you are lucky you’ll have your request approved.
Along the same lines was an e-book I’ve been reading. Billed as “hard SF” the author prides himself on writing fiction, but with “proper” science. He was banging on about preventing iron overloading by use of a reduced iron diet. For reasons I could go on about (for literally hours on end) the human body don’t work that way.
I spent a little time writing up CPD. I’ve been rather lax with that lately. I then did a week’ worth of archeoastronomy with the nice people at Coursera; but I couldn’t concentrate on it. All I heard was “blah blah Greek temple”.
After another episode of “Prison Break” "My Boy TM" came to visit. He was having his mother’s wireless phone charger. It struck me it would be more efficient to take the plug of the wireless charger and stick it into the phone, but what do I know?
With "er indoors TM" off out tonight I fed the dogs then foraged for my own dinner. I foraged in the general direction of KFC and foraged rather successfully. I scoffed KFC whilst watching my DVD of “The Moonbase”; a Doctor Who story first broadcast in 1966. Treacle seemed rather bemused as I sang the theme tune to her.
I shall watch another episode of “Prison Break”, maybe some more archeoastronomy, and then bed. It’s been something of a rubbish day today… I could have done so much more if it hadn’t rained.
Mind you some people spend all day doing nothing like this. What a waste of a day off.
2 November 2018 (Friday) - Late Shift
I slept well, but did have a night plagued with rather vivid dreams in which the departmental health and safety officer was walking round work clouting everyone over the head (rather vigorously) with a clipboard and shouting “HAZARD!!” at the most ridiculous things.
Waking came as something of a blessed relief.
Over brekkie Facebook reminded my that two years ago I went for a job interview. Reading my diary from two years ago it didn’t look like that interview went that well but looking back I’d say that was something of a turning point in my life. I quite like working in an environment where I’m *not* under pressure to look for my colleagues’ mistakes so that either they get in trouble for making them, or I get in trouble for not finding them. Mind you, looking back at where I used to work you have to admire the genius of the administration. Having implemented a “no bullying” policy the management can bully to their heart’s content secure in the knowledge that no allegations of bullying will be investigated as the place has a policy of not having bullying in the first place.
Realising I was getting rather bitter and twisted again I took a deep breath and pausing only briefly to get jam into my phone’s charging socket I took the dogs round the park.
Yesterday it rained hard all day. Today was a beautiful morning. We had a really good walk right up to the point where we met OrangeHead and her gang of cronies. Fudge decided to have a transfer of allegiance and walked off with her bunch. He does this *every* time; the only way to get him to come away is to put his lead on and drag him. He knows this and runs away whenever I get close. I very nearly walked off and left him there. I actually did walk off with Treacle on the lead. After a few minutes he followed rather sheepishly.
He knew he was in trouble…
We got home; I settled the pups and set off to work. As I drove there was some utter drivel on the radio in which someone was being interviewed about their skill in writing graphic novels. Have you ever read a graphic novel? They boil my piss. They aren't novels at all. They are comic books. I like a comic book (I subscribe to Viz magazine) but a comic is a comic. Calling it a "novel" is just wrong. A "novel" has words; a comic book has pictures. In my more unkind moments I describe graphic novels as being for those who can't be bothered to read the words so look at the pictures instead. Something of a subtle difference perhaps?... I turned the radio off.
I'd planned myself a little geo-mission for this morning. There were two geocaches along the A249 neither of which had been found in over a year. I thought I might try for a resuscitation or two, but (to be honest) I wasn't particularly hopeful about resuscitating either.
I knew my first target was going to be problematical. Previous finders had mentioned (in their written logs) the lack of footpaths from the roadside to the cache. The chap who'd hidden it claimed that according to the ordnance survey maps it was smack-bang on a footpath. I'm no expert but from the maps I could find, it looked as though the specified location was smack-bang on some sort of parish boundary. Still, climbing a broken fence and marching through a planted field soon had me at the World War II pill box in which the cache was supposedly hidden.
I couldn't find it.
To be honest the cache was part of a series very few of which have been found in the last couple of years. That could be because they are clever hides, or because they aren't there any more....
I marched back through the planted field and across the broken fence back to my car.
My second target was also not going to be easy. It was originally hidden by someone at Kent County Council who wanted to attract tourists to their country parks. The cache's name was "Ouch" and the description suggested "going in backwards" and not going in from the main road. Clearly it was going to be in the jungle of undergrowth.
Approaching from the country park my GPS led me to a thicket and said the cache was some eighty yards inside it. Like the idiot that I am, I followed the arrow through hawthorn and bramble. After twenty minutes I found my quarry. I was the first finder in over a year. Another resuscitation to my name. Happy dance.
Mind you I think it quite fair to say that the person who'd first hidden it had drop-kicked the thing into a rather thick hedge a few years ago and had left it to rot. Perhaps I should put "Needs Archiving" on it?
Pausing only briefly for a church micro (as one does) I drove on to work.
I'd planned to get to work early because there was a flu jab clinic today. Normally I'm not keen on injections, but after the fun I'd just had in the thickets and brambles, the flu jab was plain sailing. And I got a sweetie too.
The works canteen was offering cauliflower cheese for lunch. Not too shabby at all.
And so into work. I did my bit and came home to mayhem. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" has come to stay for the weekend. We watched “Paw Patrol” until far too late.
3 November 2018 (Saturday) - Stormageddon's Visit
I woke with something of a headache and a sore arm. Was that the after-effect of yesterday’s flu jab?
I got up and had a quick look at the Internet. It hadn’t changed *that* much since yesterday. This morning people were grumbling about how Christmas decorations are appearing in shops and Christmas adverts are on the telly. Personally I think they are probably right to grumble. Every year I start off in early November all keen and enthusiastic about the festivities, but by the time they arrive (two months later) I’m thoroughly sick of hearing about it. Starting all the Christmas stuff now spoils it for me.
Talking of Christmas I also read that there are no plans for a Christmas Day episode of Doctor Who as the people who make it have run out of ideas. I think they reached that point some time ago. I’ve not seen last week’s episode yet and am in no rush to see it. Which (as a life-long Doctor Who fan) is something of a shame.
"er indoors TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" came downstairs; we got ourselves together and drove out to the Beefeater on Eureka park where we’d planned to meet "My Boy TM" and his branch of the tribe for brekkie.
Have you ever been to the Beefeater on Eureka park for brekkie? I can’t recommend the place. Having been told there was a half-hour wait to be seated we sat for forty minutes looking at empty tables and watching people (who’d arrived after us) being seated and served. Eventually we got a table. After half an hour of being pointedly ignored by the staff "My Boy TM" fetched over a waitress who took the food orders. After another half an hour they brought up various plates of food; not one actually corresponding to what we’d ordered. But bearing in mind how long we’d waited already, and also bearing in mind that the McDonalds over the way had stopped doing breakfast by then, we decided to just eat it. I ate what I could. The black pudding was red where it was still raw. I don’t mind a runny fried egg, but it is the yolk which should be runny, not the white.
As I looked at my inedible leftovers I tried not to laugh out loud at the waitress who was clearing tables. What I worked in a restaurant I would carry away more than two pieces of crockery at a time when clearing a table. I also would pick up the cutlery that I dropped; not leave it for twenty minutes.
We’d read that if there were any problems we should bring them up with the duty manager. However when the duty manager came over to us we didn’t have chance to bring anything up. He marched up, announced that we should get a move on because breakfast was finishing in five minutes, and he marched off.
When I paid, the waitress was apologising profusely; she knew what a poor service they’d offered. Realistically they should have half the tables or double the staff. I told her so. She agreed but said that this had been pointed out to the management already.
Bearing in mind that the duty manager had had his chance, I slated the place on Google and TripAdvisor.
We then drove round to Bybrook Barn garden centre to have a look at the fish stuff and the toys, and then "er indoors TM" set off to a girls’ lunch in Folkestone. So we went home to collect the dogs, and took "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and the family wolf-pack round the park for a walk. As we walked I recorded some of our antic which I made into a little video.
"My Boy TM" and Cheryl went home; "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and I settled in front of the telly and watched “The Annoying Orange” videos on You-Tube until he got bored. We then had something of a fight which his mother tried to referee by phone from thirty miles away.
I suggested we might take to dogs up the park again to amuse him; he readily agreed but dawdled so slowly that it was dark by the time we got there.
We came home to find "er indoors TM" had returned. She boiled up pizzas for tea. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" has settled in front of the telly watching walk-throughs of video games (that he doesn’t understand) on You-Tube. "er indoors TM" has told him it is bath time several times. he has pointedly ignored her on each occasion. He seems to be rather proficient at doing that…
4 November 2018 (Sunday) - Early Shift
Finding myself awake far earlier than I needed to be I watched a couple of episodes of "The Good Place" to bring me up to date as I've missed it recently. I've now caught up and have seen all the episodes that are available. The first two seasons were rather good; I'm rather concerned that this third season was commissioned on the success of the previous two even though the writers didn't really have any idea of where they might go with a third season. Much the same happened with "The Last Ship" and "Lost" and "Last of the Summer Wine". Such a shame that they drag out these shows far beyond their limits.
Leaving "er indoors TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and the dogs snoring I set off to work. As I drove Rowan Williams (The ex-Archbishop of Canterbury) was on the radio spouting frank nonsense about music and architecture. Unlike most people I actually listened to what he said. Admittedly the words formed sentences, but no one sentence had any logical connection with any that came before or after.
It never fails to amaze me how no one is ever brave enough to stand up and say that pretty much anything coming from a cleric is frank nonsense. Take this morning's witterings; dribbling on when most people were in bed he could say whatever rubbish came into his head secure in the knowledge that no one would ever quibble.
I would be *so* good at being a vicar.
There was then an interview with a pair of sisters who were running a successful farm in the Shetland Islands (which was far less dull than it sounded, and far more interesting than what the ex-archbishop had been going on about).
I had planned to get petrol before going up the motorway. In the end I decided to get petrol in Maidstone. I arrived at the garage just as they were opening. That was good timing. I also saw that petrol is now five pence per litre cheaper than it was when I last looked. Bargain!
Resisting the temptation to have a full English in the works canteen I went into work. I had a rather non-stop day and was glad when the time came for me to beat a retreat.
Once home I got the light-up collars on to the dogs and we went for a little walk. I’ve noticed that you get a far more sociable dog and dog-walker earlier in the day in the park than you get later. As we walked in the dusk we found several dog-walkers who didn’t understand Fudge’s urge to climb on to the backs of their dogs.
Mind you I was glad for the light-up collars. In all honesty the new L.E.D. street lights might as well have been turned off for all the illumination they provided this evening. The only areas where we could see what we were doing was where the old sodium vapour lights were still in place.
We got home a little while before "er indoors TM". She’d delivered most-recent grandchild home and there was a minor issue in that somehow over the weekend "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" has lost a pair of trousers. I’m glad I didn’t take him home – I don’t want "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" on my case.
"er indoors TM" boiled up scran, then went off bowling. I’ve got a dog either side of me and I dare not move. I might just watch that telly…
5 November 2018 (Monday) - Late Shift
I actually had an early night last night, and apart from a minor disturbance when a wet nose was shoved into my left armpit in the small hours, I slept for eight hours.
I stood on the scales this morning. For all that I haven’t been dieting recently I’ve not put on *that* much weight. Maybe a pre-Christmas diet might be a good idea though.
Over brekkie I peered into cyber-space. I read something which was a sign of our times. Apparently youths had been using an air-rifle to take pot-shots at cars in one of the better parts of town. Naturally pretty much everyone was up in arms about it. But… Back in the day decent people would have gone out, taken the air rifle from the brats, snapped it as they watched, given the kids a smack round the earhole, and that would have been the end of it. Nowadays everyone just posts indignation from the safety of their keyboard and the brats wallow in the glory as they boast to their mates. And everyone acts surprised when the copycats start up.
I took the dogs for a walk. Over the years our morning walks would involve meeting loads of schoolchildren on their way to school. The pavements would be awash with them. Over the last year something has changed. We still see half a dozen secondary school youths on bikes, but we don’t see *any* primary school kids any more. Do they all go to school by car? Do they start earlier or later? Mind you we did see “Little Miss Cheerful”. I first met “Little Miss Cheerful” nearly thirty years ago. She lives just down the road from us and has a son of the same age as "My Boy TM". Over the years I’ve bumped into her at play schools, schools, cubs, youth clubs, in pubs and clubs, in shops… so many places. And on every single occasion she has a face like a slapped arse. The act of smiling *must* cause her physical pain; why else would she have appeared to be thoroughly miserable ever since the early 1990s?
We also saw a squirrel which probably wouldn’t have had an ecstatic expression on its face bearing in mind the turn of speed the poor thing had to have to evade the hounds.
After our walk I ran round the house with the Hoover. Our Hoover is a Dyson.
I set off to Tunbridge Wells. Being seconded to Tunbridge Wells for the late shift I'd found myself a few geo-targets to keep me out of mischief on the way to work. I say “found” – “I saw their locations on the map” might be a more accurate statement.
My first target had me solve a little puzzle based on a post box on someone's house, do a few sums, and then set off to a location a couple of hundred yards away. The hint was "behind tree". The sat-nav took me straight to a large tree. However behind this tree was a garden fence. And sitting in the garden was one of the normal people who was watching me in the same way I might look at dog poop on my shoe. I gave up and drove on to my backup geocache which (after doing some sums) had me rummaging fruitlessly in an orchard (to coin a phrase). After a while I gave up and drove in to work.
After twenty minutes driving round a rather full car park I eventually managed to park my car, and went to the canteen for lunch. Usually the works canteen(s) are very good. Unfortunately today was some sort of "burger day" and I wasn't impressed. But dinner is dinner. I scoffed it and walked in to my department to find a "red alert" in full flow. That is one of the troubles with my line of work. I have sometimes (in my more flippant moments) described what I do as "hours of boredom interspersed with moments of stark panic". A ruptured aorta is usually something which makes people sit up and take notice, as are antibodies to the Kidd blood group system.
After that, the rest of the day was something of an anti-climax.
6 November 2018 (Tuesday) - Another Late Shift
As I had my morning root around the internet I saw something that was rather upsetting. For many years I have been a staunch supporter of the nearby Capralama Farm reindeer centre. There are all sorts of allegations about animal abuse having taken place there. I wonder if there is any truth in this?
I also signed an e-petition about restricting the sale of fireworks. Something needs to be done about them. Back in the day firework were pretty and family-friendly. Now there is nothing to see on the ground-based ones – they are just noisy explosions. Admittedly the rockets can be pretty (the ones that don’t scream as they fly, that is) but having them launched from lager bottles held in the hands of pissed teenagers is hardly a safe way to carry on, is it? Perhaps there *is* something to be said about restricting fireworks to organised displays; if only the fact that organised displays don’t start after ten o’clock at night and go on till after midnight (disturbing us all with the noise of the fireworks and the resultant fire engines and ambulances).
I also had an email. Some French people had found some of my Wherigos and had written a rather extensive “found it” log (not something I do!) but it was all in French. So I called up Google Translate and… Bearing in mind Google has tracked my every movement for years and knows exactly where I go, whatever possessed it to translate from French in to Spanish?
I took the dogs round the park. Again there were no small schoolchildren. (Apparently primary school starts half an hour earlier these days). We had a rather good walk; Fudge wasn’t overly recalcitrant for once. We saw OrangeHead’s posse gathering by the playpark awaiting the arrival of their leader. The dynamics of her posse is quite amusing; her “chunky little friend” hasn’t been part of her gang for some time. The woman with the Scotties who used to be part of a rival gang of walkers has joined her, as has (of today) the bloke with the Red Setter.
As we came home we bumped in to Paul. We had a good chat and put the world to rights.
Bearing in mind the ongoing roadworks on the M20 I left for work rather early. As I drove the radio was playing "Women's Hour". I listened to the program, much as it winds me up. I realise that *some* men are evil creatures, but we're not all bad. It is a shame that those being interviewed on that show don't seem to realise that.
The program started with an expose of the sad plight of young women working in the Houses of Parliament. Andrea Ledsom was saying how middle-aged male MPs often employ young women for their nefarious entertainment, and was banging on about how there is no human resources department in Westminster to sort this sort of thing out.
Of course there isn't.
MPs employ their staff directly. There is no major employer in the palace of Westminster. That was glossed over by the presenters. Heaven forbid that facts should defend the male menace.
There was also talk in the growth industry of pre-parental counselling in which women pay counsellors good money to talk through whether or not they should try for children. You couldn't make this up! Don't these people have friends or family they could talk to? Why pay some stranger to talk to them about such a personal matter?
Is the show's target audience *really* "Belinda-no-mates"?
I'd set myself a couple of geocaches to try to resuscitate before work. I eventually got to my first target. Google told me I'd got there an hour quicker by not taking the motorway but it was academic anyway. With several "Did Not Find" logs I rather thought I wouldn't find this first target, and I didn't. But I did find the next one. Happy dance.
As I was walking back to my car from this second cache my phone beeped. A message from someone who was unable to find a cache I'd hidden. It seemed obvious that he was in the right place, so I suspected the thing had gone missing. Film pots don't stay put under rocks. They go walkabout. I suggested he might like to feel free to replace it. He replied that he had nothing with which to replace it and seemed surprised that I might suggest he would have.
It sometimes winds me up that so many people are so quick to get entertainment from hunting out film pots under rocks, but so few are prepared to put anything back into the game.
I drove in to work where (once I finally found somewhere to park) I had a rather good lasagna for dinner. I then got on with work. There was quite a bit to get on with today, and I was glad when the night shift rolled in.
It was a shame the motorway was closed when I came home…
7 November 2018 (Wednesday) - An Evening In
Having set an alarm I found myself wide awake at four o’clock listening to everyone else’s snoring. I tried to get back to sleep, but eventually gave up. I got up and watched last week’s “South Park” which was rather good.
I then had my morning look at the Internet. My phone told me I had a friend request on Facebook from someone I didn’t know, but when I went to have a look there was nothing in the “pending” list. Presumably another porn-monger who has had their account deleted.
I had a couple of emails. Someone had put a comment on a blog entry from three years ago trying to advertise their gambling website. I deleted it. Geocaching HQ sent an article about someone who’s published a list of their ten favourite worldwide geocaches. There were some rather wonderful places photographed; such a shame she was brandishing some football club scarf so prominently in all of them.
And (again) Amazon was suggesting I buy what I have already bought.
Bearing in mind the traffic I left for work rather early. As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the recent elections in America. The Republicans did well in some areas; the Democrats did well in others. And for all that President Trump was trounced, it turns out that his preferred candidates actually won in the areas where he himself turned up and campaigned in person. For all that he might seem to be something of a rather idiotic choice of a President, he is certainly a charismatic one. Not that I’m making a comparison of politics in any way but reading history it would seem that Adolf Hitler similarly inspired the masses. Charismatic people do. It is a shame that the electorate doesn’t see through their flannel.
Did I ever mention that I’m not a great fan of democracy?
My piss then boiled as the pundits spoke about the epidemic of knife crime which is sweeping the nation. The mother of one victim was on the radio advocating the widespread availability of first aid kits and trauma packs; the idea being that there should be treatment readily available for the stabbed.
I’m sorry but what a stupid idea this would be. Given that someone has just spiked someone else, are they going to stand around whilst passers-by tend to their victims? If they stab someone, they want them stabbed.
Surely it would be a better idea to have the courts take a firm line. Put the knife-wielding scum in the stocks. Just like they did in the middle ages. Stick them in the stocks with a placard saying why they are in the stocks and let the general public pelt them with rotten fruit. And bricks.
I’m serious about this – I once worked with a chap who hailed from deepest China where his village really did have the stocks. He said this village was the most law-abiding place you could imagine. He told me he could only remember the stocks being used once. That was all that was needed. If the scum element were held to account for their crimes then they wouldn’t do it.
Just like when I was a boy at the Hastings Academy for Budding Geniuses. The Headmaster had a cane. If anyone got out of line they got two strokes (not six). One boy had a sore arse for a day: a thousand boys behaved themselves for a year. I think that is a fair price.
I eventually got to work where I did that which I couldn’t avoid. As I walked to my car my phone beeped. Would I go collect something for a friend? Of course… I programmed my phone’s sat-nav and off I went. And when I got a mile from my destination the phone froze. I was also a mile from home so I went home. I can run the errand tomorrow
Being the only night all week that we would both be home we had a rather good bit of scran and a bottle of plonk and watched the first episode of “Lego Masters”. I quite like a bottle of plonk and I quite like Lego too.
And then, just as I was getting rather sleepy my phone bleeped. A new geocache. A direct replacement for the first one I ever found. Bearing in mind I’d been in correspondence with the reviewer about replacing it myself I wasn’t best pleased to see this go live. Oh well… such is life. In protest I shan’t be publishing the twenty-two cache series I had planned to put out.
It is amazing how petty one can become over a film pot stuck under a rock…
8 November 2018 (Thursday) - More Dogs Than Sense
I slept reasonably well but again woke far too early. I then lay awake watching the clock, finally nodding off ten minutes before the alarm finally went off.
Over brekkie I had a quick look-see at the Internet. Last night I’d had something of a sulk about my geo-plans having been thwarted; this morning I found I had quite a few messages of support. People are very kind. But what’s done is done and having spat my dummy out I shall continue to sulk in a rather petulant way. Despite being well over fifty I can be as childish as my grandchildren. I shan’t be putting a film pot under that rock or any other in the near future.
Perhaps more worrying was reading that Treacle’s brother Ethan is very ill. He’s eaten a packet of ibuprofen and made himself poorly. Treacle has a habit of eating pretty much everything she shouldn’t as well. I really must keep an eye out for exactly what she is eating.
As I walked to my car I asked my phone if there were any delays on the way to work. It said there were; it estimated my arrival time at five past seven.
I set off on a cold dark morning. The pundits on the radio were talking about an interview with Prince Charles who was discussing how he would approach being King. The chap is nearly seventy years old and he's having to consider a serious career move. I'm fifteen years younger than he is, and I'm hoping for early retirement.
There was also talk about how the Foreign Secretary is going to give a speech in France today, and great show was made of the fact that he is going to give it in French. Isn't that just good manners? Mind you it would be better manners if the French generally accepted that when people had a go at their language they are not going to be able to speak it perfectly and shouldn't pretend not to be able to understand anything other than perfection (not that I've experienced this rudeness from *every single French person I've ever met*...)
I drove through the delays that my phone had warned me about; I got to work at half past seven. I did think that my phone had been rather optimistic in its prediction.
The night shift was pleased to see me roll in. I'd volunteered to cover today's early shift; had I known what it was going to be like I might not have been so keen. It wasn't the best of early shifts. But things improved when the core cover arrived.
I did my bit, and an early start made for an early finish. I managed to run the errand that I didn’t run last night, and once home I quickly ran the dogs round the block. Can you believe there is a house round the corner with their Christmas lights up inside already?
With dogs walked I finished my Coursera course about archeoastronomy. Tonight I learned a valuable fact… when I am out walking I often wonder how far away is the horizon. Now – given a relatively flat landscape, the visible horizon (expressed in kilometres) is approximately the square root of 13h (if h is the height of the observer expressed in metres). Which means that for me the horizon is generally a shade under five kilometres away.
How about that !
"er indoors TM" arrived home a little later than usual. She’s been to Margate to collect a couple of house guests. Sid and Pogo are going to stay with us for a little holiday. That will be nice…
9 November 2018 (Friday) - Cover Versions
For the dogs, last night was just like the first night of cub camp. Everyone was far too excited to sleep. I went to bed at eleven o’clock and got an hour’s sleep before "er indoors TM" came up and then spent most of the night arguing and fighting with the hounds. She finally went downstairs (followed by the wolf-pack) at quarter to four and I got two hours relative peace despite Pogo coming to check on me every ten minutes.
Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet as I do. Not much was going on, but I had a few emails this morning. Coursera had congratulated me on completing the astroarchaeology course, and half an hour later had then sent another email saying that I had nearly finished it.
And then Amazon made me think. I’ve recently read a couple of rather good e-books on my Kindle app. They each cost me ninety-nine pence. Bearing in mind that the Kindle app uses long-established technology there aren’t that many overheads. I am reliably informed that the author gets about a third of that money
Amazon had sent me an email suggesting I buy the “Game of Thrones” prequel e-book for twelve pounds ninety-nine pence. Which is actually fifty pence more than they are flogging the hardback version for. Nice little earner for them!
Yesterday as I walked to my car I asked my phone if there were any delays on the way to work. It said there were; it estimated my arrival time at five past seven. I asked my phone the same question at the same time this morning. It said there were no delays and estimated my arrival time at seven minutes past seven.
As I drove to work the morning's news was the usual mix of trivial and ridiculous. There is a Dutch chap who is taking legal action to have his age legally reduced. He is sixty-nine years old but doesn't feel it. In much the same way that a man might want to be a woman and can legally swap gender, he feels he identifies as a younger person and wants to be legally recognised as such. He's prepared to give up his pension and he also says that being twenty years younger will improve his chances of getting a job and of getting his end away on the dating app Tinder.
I would have thought that at nearly seventy years of age, the urge to try to pork random would be on the decrease...
The Prime Minister is also under fire from the DUP. She's in an impossible position. One of the main reasons that the masses voted for Brexit was so that Johnnie Foreigner *wouldn't* have unhindered access to the UK. However one of the main reasons that years of fighting in Ireland stopped was the removal of the border between North and South. Either we have it and the violence starts again. Or we don't and there was no point at all in having Brexit.
Which is it to be?
Interestingly the global birth rate is falling. This is widely seen as a bad thing, but bearing in mind there are far too many people on this planet, is it really? Mind you with the average British mother only having one point seven babies, I hope there will be enough people to pay my pension...
I got to work far easier than yesterday. The same journey at the same time of day took eighteen minutes less. Today I was only two minutes later than Google had estimated. I had a rather tiring day – the lack of sleep took its toll on me. But an early start made for an early finish.
Once home I walked four dogs round the block. That took some doing. And with dogs walked I opened my post. A little while ago I saw that there was another CD of covers of Sparks songs being produced. I got the first one some twenty-one years ago from HMV in central London. Featuring some musicians af Faith No More, Jimmy Sommerville and Erasure it was rather good. The second came two years later and I thought was even better. Ten years passed before I got the third from an obscure website, but it wasn’t too shabby at all.
I’m afraid that the CD which arrived today was a bitter disappointment.
10 November 2018 (Saturday) - Thornden Woods
Another restless night in which the dogs all spent much of the night stomping all over us. I say “the dogs”; mainly Pogo. As he’s such a lump you can’t help but be disturbed when he moves about.
I woke to the aroma of turd. I got up to find "er indoors TM" clearing one up. All dogs were hoiked into the garden where three of the four pooped seemingly to prove their innocence. I’d had my suspicions as to the phantom pooper, and that one didn’t “lay an egg” in the garden this morning. Mind you, toilet training has never been Pogo’s strong point. We must work on that.
Over brekkie I had a look at Facebook. Some were running down the NHS, some were ranting about what nasty people their partners and ex-partners were (and still are). As I tried to look at everyone’s petty triviality Pogo was dabbing me for attention. For all that he’s a big lump, he really is a soppy one.
We then got the dogs and our stuff into the car. That took some doing with double our usual number of dogs. Pausing only briefly to clear the mess made when Pogo threw up we were soon at Thornden Woods. We arrived just as the heavens opened. Karl, Tracey and Charlotte soon arrived, and we sat in our cars for a while.
Eventually the rains subsided to a medium monsoon, and we decided to go for the walk. I was glad we did; we had a rather good wander round some rather pretty woodlands. It was a shame that the weather hadn’t read the weather forecast but the rain had mostly stopped by eleven o’clock, and we only got caught in one downpour. I’d worn my waterproof trousers for the first time today – they did the trick rather well. I wish I knew what I’ve done with my gaiters.
Geocache-wise it was a good route. We knew the first two targets were missing but we’d arranged to replace them. The rest were mostly straightforward hides… mostly. There were a couple which the previous finder had hidden how they thought the things should have been hidden (as opposed to how they were hidden), but their efforts were soon thwarted by digging dogs. You can tell a geocache hasn’t been put back right when Treacle digs it out from where she is randomly digging in the ground.
A four-mile walk was ideal for today. Pogo and Sid aren’t used to the long walks we usually go on, and so a shorter distance was just right to get them into the swing of things.
After four miles we were back at the car. It was only a short drive from the car park in Thornden Woods to the Prince of Wales in Hoath. “Loose Cannon” was on the hand pump, “Cat o’ Nine Tails” and “Friggin in the Riggin” were in bottles. All sorts of crisps were scoffed, and a glass of port helped to wash it all down.
Pogo was sick on the drive home too…
Over a rather good bit of dinner we watched last week’s episode of “Doctor Who”. It wasn’t that good really, which was a shame. Neither was the latest episode of “Big Bang Theory” either.
I then dozed in front of the telly for much of the evening…
11 November 2018 (Sunday) - It Rained
Another restless night. Perhaps the dogs should sleep downstairs? There’s no denying that having four dogs is a tad keen. Over brekkie Pogo crapped on the living room floor. It is closer to the garden than the bedroom, so I suppose that is an improvement on yesterday. As I scoffed my toast Fudge sat with me. He looked like it was all too much for him as well.
Facebook was filled with all sorts of stuff for Remembrance Day this morning, as well it should be. But I couldn’t understand what some people were posting up. Somehow they felt that wanting to remain part of the EU as being disrespectful to those who’d fought in the wars. Perhaps these people haven’t read much history? Another friend was seriously proposing that the entire country should have taken the day off work today for Remembrance. Surely one day off wouldn’t hurt the nation, he said… Well, speaking for myself there is a very good reason why my workplace never closes.
I popped round to B&Q to buy some odds and sods, and came home for what was supposed to be a day of D.I.Y. The light fitting at the kitchen end of the living room has been knacked for some time. Having been operating in the gloom for some time we decided to replace it with a standard “rose” light fitting. But once we’d got the old knacked fitting down we found there was far too much loose wiring to be shoved inside a standard “rose” light fitting. So we both went back to B&Q.
There was a range of light fittings. We needed something with a “skirt” big enough to stuff all the wiring into, but not too heavy so’s it would bring the ceiling down. B&Q had quite a good range of stuff. To be fair to B&Q *if* you know what you want then they aren’t too bad. It’s when you ask their staff for advice that you run into problems. We toyed with a colour-changing light thingy but soon realised that the novelty of that would wear off very fast. I quite liked the larger lights which I could only describe as “pendulous globes of joy” but "er indoors TM" wasn’t keen. In retrospect they were rather hideous. In the end we got something not entirely unlike what we already had. And to my absolute amazement we got the new thing in place on the first attempt and with minimal fuss and absolutely no swearing whatsoever.
I wonder how long it will last?
I had planned to replace the garden light and to fix the small leak on the lobby roof as well, but the rain outside put me off of that idea. I *think* I’ve found the source of the leak and I’ve bodged something until it is dry enough to apply the sealant.
We then went to Aldi to get the shopping. Usually "er indoors TM" gets the shopping on her own. I don’t usually go, and today I reminded myself why not. The normal people were out in force today. Does it *really* take the entire family of mum, dad, grandma and four kids to get the shopping? Is it a supermarket or a kids’ play area? Do people really have to physically pick up and scrutinise every single item in the shop before deciding they don’t actually want any of it?
I was glad to get home.
Once home we had a quick bit of dinner then took the dogs round the park. Four dogs is hard work. To be honest the hardest part on our walk was Sid. He didn’t really want to go out, and if wasn’t dragged he wouldn’t have moved at all. It was a shame that both Fudge and Pogo decided to “express the love that dare not speak its name” at Sid just as OrangeHead came in our direction across the co-op field. OrangeHead was having a whinge about the local thugs who ride their motorbikes around the co-op field. To be fair to the local thugs they were all sitting quietly by their motorbikes and not riding them anywhere, not one of the thugs was old enough to drive a motorbike legally, and if they didn’t ride them round the co-op field where would they ride them? There are those who would ask what they were doing with motorbikes in the first place, but… “not my circus, not my monkeys”.
A quick Belgian bun, then I set about ironing shirts and trousers. A dull task, but there it is. They don’t iron themselves.
Usually on Sundays we are out. But being home "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good roast dinner. Haven’t had a roast at home for some time. The dogs enjoyed their bowlfuls of chicken and potato and vegetables.
And with "er indoors TM" off bowling I watched a couple of episodes of “Prison Break” whilst all four dogs slept off their dinner.
Perhaps I should have kept them awake so they might sleep later?
Today was rather dull…
12 November 2018 (Monday) - New Pants and Cream Cakes
I slept reasonably well but woke to find there was only me in the pit and Fudge on top of it. I came downstairs to find "er indoors TM" on the sofa with Treacle, Sid and Pogo. One had wanted to go tiddle during the night, and all three had got wet in the rain. The plan was they would dry off, and they all fell asleep.
I watched “South Park” as I scoffed my toast, then took the car to the garage for a service. They offered me a lift home, but they wouldn’t be able to go for half an hour. The rain was only a fine drizzle and I walked home in twenty-five minutes.
Once home I got leads onto those dogs that wanted a walk, and (leaving Sid asleep on the sofa) took Fudge, Treacle and Pogo round the park. We had a good wander. Pogo *really* didn’t like the snow-dog in the park and had a serious shout at it. Fudge straggled as he does; a passing looney asked me if Fudge liked horses. Apparently in the looney’s experience dogs that lag behind read the Sporting Life magazine. We hurried away as quickly as we could. There is a fine line between “whimsical” and “insane”.
It was at this point that the heavens opened. Within seconds we were all soaked. Within minutes the rain had got through to my pants. We hurried home as quickly as we could only to find that all the dog towels were still in the boot of "er indoors TM"’s car. I dried the dogs off as best I could using old rags from the to-be-recycled pile.
I loaded all my wet clothes into the washing machine and set them to scrub. I got myself some dry plants and took Fudge to the vets for his annual once-over. He wasn’t quite as frightened at the vets as he usually is. The vet gave him a good going over. His teeth need some brushing, and he needs to lose about a pound in weight, but generally all is good for a dog of his age.
We came home, hung wet clothes out to dry (again) and I turned on the telly. As I did the ironing I watched “The Dirty Dozen”; a film I’ve watched many times in the past. It starts well, but it does go on a bit, and there’s no denying that at the end it does turn into that classic movie from the Alexei Sayle show; “Things Exploding”.
However five minutes from the end of the film everything stopped. We had a power cut. But only a short one; by the time I’d got some shoes to see if the power was out up and down the street the power was back. Looking on the local Facebook groups it would seem that much of South Ashford had a power outage too.
The garage phoned; my car was ready to be collected. The nice man drove round to give me a lift. From the garage I went on to Tesco. I have three pairs of trainers; all of which leak. So I got a new pair, and whilst I was at it I got new pants and socks and a cream cake too. I told the world about it on Facebook; the world seemed suitably impressed, as well it might.
I came home and seeing the rain had stopped I walked all of the dogs round the block. Walking four on my own isn’t practical. It is doubly frustrating when we came home and Sid immediately went to have a tiddle in the living room. I caught him and marched him outside. His toilet training sometimes leaves a bit to be desired.
By now the rain had stopped. Having worked six consecutive days last week when it was (mostly) bright and dry I’ve just had three days off in the rain. By the time the rain stopped today it was too dark for me to do anything much so I scoffed my cream cake whilst watching an episode of “Lost in Space”, and with cake devoured I sorted the undercrackers that the washing machine had washed and dried for me (now we had some leccie again).
"er indoors TM" came home from work and the dogs immediately started playing up. Having been well behaved (asleep) for most of the day they started attacking each other and trying to make off with the laundry I’d worked so hard to iron. We had a rather good bit of dinner, then "er indoors TM" went bowling and the dogs all settled again…
13 November 2018 (Tuesday) - Nectar Card
I had a better night last night, possibly because I went to bed an hour earlier than usual and got some sleep before the hounds descended on my pit. Mind you the dogs didn’t have *that* many issues overnight; I can vaguely remember a shouting match with new-next-door’s dogs in the small hours, but it was all rather vague.
Over brekkie I watched the most recent episode of “The Good Place” (which isn’t really going anywhere at the moment) then sparked up my lap-top to see what I’d missed on the Internet overnight. Marvel comics supremo Stan Lee had died. Whilst there had been a massive outpouring of grief on Facebook overnight, the chap was ninety-five years old. There was also a petty squabble kicking off on one of the American geocaching groups; some chap regularly goes trolling there and *always* manages to stir up a fight.
I got dressed putting on my new pants and socks, neither of which were very substantial. The socks were on the thin side and the pants did a frankly pathetic job of keeping my “junk” in place; I can't see any of them lasting very long. I then set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about a squabble between Italy and the E.U. Some Italian minister or other was being interviewed. He made me chuckle when he said the dispute would be resolved quicker if there were a few less tweets from either side.
And I heard that the TV fishing celebrity John Wilson had died. I believe my brother once told him to get knotted.
Today's "Thought for the Day" was from some professor hailing form Canterbury who was banging on about how gospel music has "sold out" in that it is no longer exclusively sung in churches but is features in some adverts. My attention was wandering as I found myself thinking "who cares", and I couldn't help but wonder how many thousands of listeners turn off at that point.
I stopped off at the petrol station this morning, It is a penny cheaper per litre than it was last week. As I paid the chap in the till asked if I had a nectar card. i said no. I always say no. I have done every week for the last year or so. But today this chap asked if I'd like one, and he gave me one. Result!
Work was work; getting home was fun! I have no idea what the hold-up was, but it took half an hour to get out of the works car park, and a further three quarters of an hour to get to the motorway. I came home to an empty house; "er indoors TM" had taken the hounds round the park.
I took a few minutes to register the Nectar card that the nice man in the garage had given me this morning. I’m not quite sure what I did, but I didn’t register it; I set up a new one. Woops. I *think* I’ve now connected it to my eBay account (not that I buy much with it these days).
I wonder if I will remember to use the thing.
14 November 2018 (Wednesday) - Stuff
I had a rather cold night; an alliance of "er indoors TM" and the wolf-pack had most (if not all) of the duvet. I eventually got fed up with being cold and got up.
Over toast I watched another episode of “Prison Break” which is getting rather good, and then I sparked up the Internet. On Facebook I had three friend requests from rather foxy transvestites who were trying to advertise porno websites. Much as I like Facebook, the people who run it don’t do a very good job of keeping out the rather foxy transvestites who want to peddle porn. Perhaps when registering with Facebook there should be a question: “Are you a rather foxy transvestite trying to peddle porn?” It might weed out some of the undesirables.
Other than blokes in skimpy dresses there wasn’t very much going on with Facebook this morning.
I set off for work. Bearing in mind just how bad the journey home was last night I asked Google to direct me to work. I knew things would be bad when it said to avoid the motorway. Three miles up the A20 there is a bridge over the motorway. As I drove over it I could see all the work-bound traffic queued up and at a standstill. I've played that game too much recently!
As I drove I listened to the pundits on the radio. They were all discussing the Brexit deal which the Prime Minister has finally agreed with the EU. She's now got to agree it with the UK, and this is proving to be tricky if for no other reason that the whole thing is one big secret and no-one know what it is.
Various windbags were either pontificating on the matter (or talking out of their backsides depending on whether or not you agreed with them). All were contradicting each other with their baseless speculations, but one of them made me sit up and take notice. I wish I could remember her exact phrasing, but her basic message was that any Brexit deal is pretty much meaningless in the long term as the UK will probably be re-applying for EU membership within a generation. Much as it wasn’t a popular thing to say, none of the other windbags seemed to want to disagree with this.
There was also talk about the fate of whistle-blowers in the NHS. For all that NHS workers are supposed to be able to speak up and point out failings in the system, it seems there are a *lot* of whistle-blowers who have been made to suffer for their actions, and there are precious few who haven't been made to regret opening their traps.
I wonder if the trick for successful whistle-blowing is to give serious thought as to exactly to whom one might squeal the faults of the system. Perhaps squealing to the very individual who is ultimately responsible for those faults you've found might be a bad choice? Talking totally hypothetically of course, this might be why some people were left high and dry whilst others received a medal from the Queen? Not that I'm bitter...
I got to work after an hour and a half, and had a relatively good day. The journey home was far easier than the journey in, and once home I got the leads on to the dogs. We walked out of the door just as "er indoors TM" was pulling up outside. That was a result; walking four dogs is a challenge so I was glad of the help.
With dogs walked they had their tea then ran riot whilst "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scran. We scoffed it whilst watching the most recent episode of “Doctor Who”. What was once family entertainment has become politically correct claptrap.
Such a shame.
15 November 2018 (Thursday) - Job Lot
When I went to bed last night I arranged the duvet so we would all get fair dibs of it overnight. I woke up shivering in the small hours. I thought about trying to wrestle some of it back, but I would be fighting a losing battle, and the old adage about letting sleeping dogs lie has never been more true than at three o’clock in the morning when everyone is finally quiet. I shivered for a bit.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of “Prison Break” then had a quick look at the Internet. A friend of mine who lives in Ohio had posted something to Facebook which amazed me. An American glassware manufacturer is giving all of its employees a handgun as a Christmas bonus. Each person gets to choose exactly what sort of gun they want; apparently “giving employees their choice of revolver as a gift is part of an effort to promote personal safety and team building”. I *really* don’t understand how Americans feel that having everyone walking round with guns makes the world a safer place.
I set off for work. Bearing in mind just how bad the journey was yesterday I again got my phone's sat-nav app to have a look at the journey for me. It said "motorway" today, and who am I to argue?
As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the Brexit withdrawal agreement. Bearing in mind the document only came out late last night and is over five hundred pages long I was amazed at how the people being interviewed this morning claimed to have studied the document thoroughly. I challenge anyone to pick up a five-hundred-page document, read the thing overnight, and be able to discuss the thing with any authority the next morning. (Go on - download the book "The Mote in God's Eye" (one of my favourite reads), read the lot in one go, then email me the location of Horace Bury's cabin and tell me who Angus and Brigit are. I'll give you till tomorrow morning... bet you can't do it...)
As I drove it was announced that the Northern Ireland secretary had resigned over the Brexit agreement. At tea break I saw that the Brexit secretary had also resigned. (Mind you he was a twit - he was on the news last week claiming to have had no idea of the importance of the port of Dover). By lunchtime the Work and Pensions secretary had also thrown in the sponge. And by mid-afternoon there were calls for the Prime Minister’s resignation.
Looking at the news it amazes me that anyone is surprised at this. Did *anyone* think it would go smoothly?
I drove home much easier than I thought I might; once home I walked the dogs round the block. This is a job which is much easier to write than do. Leaving aside the mayhem of four dogs, with the new “lighting” used on the streets of South Ashford, much of the pavements of Francis Road were in utter darkness.
Now that’s not “not very bright”; that’s “so dark I couldn’t see my dogs”. I’d send another letter of complaint to the council if I thought it might achieve anything.
With walk walked I refereed dog feeding time. Fudge then sat on the sofa with me, and Treacle ran in circles round Pogo who was being vigorously “gayed-up” by Sid. Sid continued in this vein until he got too breathless to continue. Fortunately (being a pug) that didn’t take too long.
My phone then beeped. The email I’d been hoping for. A couple of days ago I’d seen something on eBay of which I liked the look. A “job lot” of Lego. Three kilogrammes of the stuff including two motors, lights, gears, base plates… It looked like a rather good “job lot”. In a fit of idiot enthusiasm I put on a maximum bid of fifty quid secure in the knowledge that there must be a hundred quid’s worth there and I didn’t have a hope of winning it. I expected the final price to be about a hundred and twenty to a hundred and fifty pounds.
This evening I won it for seventeen quid. Result !!
Of course I’ve still got to receive the thing, but the seller looks to he a hospice so I’m relatively confident they will send the stuff.
A few years ago I had plans to make a 1970s Lego diorama with buildings and train track and stuff. I think it might be time to start that project…
16 November 2018 (Friday) - Cake !!
After another restless night I was up early and watching “Prison Break” rather earlier than I might have liked. I quite like “Prison Break” in that (like in “Game of Thrones”) the writers have no qualms about killing off a major character. In “Star Trek” you know full well that the captain survives, but “Jones from accounts” isn’t going to make it to the first advert break. Not so in “Prison Break”.
Having got up earlier than intended I had some spare time after watching telly, so I thought I’d have a more leisurely look at the Internet this morning. A shame there wasn’t much to see.
I drove off to work through a rather dismal murky morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the effect of Brexit with one of the leading lights at Rolls Royce. The chap being interviewed wasn't impressed with what he saw as a total debacle. He said that with his firm (and plenty of others) looking set to give up with the UK altogether, this week he was having conversations with government officials which really he should have had the week after the Brexit referendum.
My American friends have asked me what the UK is thinking of by going through with Brexit, and I am sure that in years to come my grandchildren (and great-grandchildren yet unborn) will be amazed at the history books. I wonder if they will have anything quite as momentous (and at the same time shambolic) in their lifetimes? The thing was so badly misrepresented before the referendum by blatant lies on one side and "Project Fear" on the other. If it was something you'd bought in the shop you'd take it back and get a refund under the Trades Description Act.
Having done the journey to Maidstone in a fraction of the time that the journey usually takes (for no apparent reason) I popped into Aldi. I went in for some biscuits and came out with peppermints and a shirt.
And so on to work where I had a rather good day. A colleague was having a sixtieth birthday, and we had cake. Lots of it.
I came home and walked the dogs round the roads. Again the lighting was so dim as to be dangerous. I’ve written to my local councillor about the matter. I bet he does nothing; that’s what he did last time.
I then looked at my Nectar account. Having bodged it to my eBay account was supposed to have been worth two hundred and fifty points, and the emails from last night’s Lego result said I’d got another seventeen. According to my Nectar homepage I’ve got no points at all. Nothing. Sod all.
The FAQ on the Nectar website does say that it can take a month for the points to show up. Oh well… it would seem I’d not been missing much all these years.
"er indoors TM" came home with "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" in tow. He’s here for the weekend. (That will be nice!) He started off by asking which dog was Pogo; clearly I’m not alone in being unable to tell one dog from the other. We then had something of a refusal over dinner and he is currently destroying "er indoors TM"’s card-making thingy.
Last time was hard work… let’s see how this pans out…
17 November 2018 (Saturday) - County Cachers' Meet
With most of the wolf-pack spending the night in the top bedroom with "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" I thought I might have got a decent night’s sleep. I only had Sid in with me, and he was on the floor. But his snoring was enough to have me seeing every hour of the night.
I got up at seven o’clock and watched most of an episode of “Prison Break” before mayhem ensued.
Dog breakfast time was interesting. Fudge flatly refused to eat his, preferring to sit with me on the sofa. We offered hm his bowl on the sofa, and he ate the lot. He was clearly hungry but would rather be on the sofa. What was that all about?
I checked out my Nectar account. The points I got for my Lego bargain have been added to my Nectar account. I’d spent seventeen quid and got nine pence back. Well, it’s hardly a “get rich quick” scheme but it’s better than a poke up the bum with a sharp stick. Meanwhile "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was playing with some fairy princess helicopter thing that used to belong to his mother. Treacle got hold of it and chewed it until S.B.O.D. took it from her and told her she was a “pain in the glass”.
I had an email. Yesterday I complained to my local councillor about the crap street lighting and said I doubted that he’d do much. He emailed this morning to say he wasn’t going to do anything. If any of my loyal readers are wondering for whom to vote at the next election, I’d say that as far as I am concerned George Kowaree has had his chance and has blown it.
I then took Fudge for a little adventure. We walked up to the train station and got on the train to Hollingbourne. We sat and waited and eventually the train got moving. Eventually we got to Hollingbourne only fifteen minutes later than planned. Karl Tracey and Charlotte were at the station waiting for us, and after a quick relocate to the village hall (where we met Nick) we had a rather good wander round the local fields finding half a dozen geocaches as we went.
With caches found we drove up to Doddington where the local hunters of Tupperware were having their monthly meeting. Stout, cheese, ploughman’s, ham, port, talking Tupperware, meeting friends… not a bad way to spend a winter afternoon.
I took a few photos whilst I was out.
Eventually "er indoors TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" came out to join us. Another glass of port, and then we came home.
We spent the evening watching “Octonauts”, “Toot the Tiny Tug Boat” and “Blaze the Monster Truck”; periodically phoning "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" to find out why we were having melt-downs for no explicable reason…
Bed time can’t come soon enough…
18 November 2018 (Sunday) - Before the Night Shift
We had a different allocation of dogs last night. The “Terrible Twins” and Sid went to the attic bedroom with "er indoors TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" leaving Fudge with me on top of my pit. However the “Terrible Twins” clearly weren’t happy with us being split up and Pogo and Treacle came to check on us several times during the night; each time licking my nose to check all was well. The seven o’clock check was rather vigorous and it was at that point that I got up.
No one else did though; just me.
I got up, had brekkie, looked at the Internet, played “Candy Crush Saga”, got rather bored. Eventually everyone else got up, and after a little “Octonauts” we went for a walk round the park. I say “walk”; “the slowest dawdle humanly possible” would probably sum it up better. We started with a minor melt-down. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was insistent he took Pogo’s lead despite being nowhere near strong enough. After Pogo pulled him over for the third time I got involved and said no. We went hysterical over this too. After an age we got to the play park where we waited and waited. It was at this point that Fudge had had enough, and he wandered off. After twenty minutes of searching one of the passing normal people told us they’d seen him a quarter of a mile away up by the main park gates. He’d walked up to where we put leads on after our walks and was patiently waiting for everyone to catch up.
Having been itching to get out, I was glad to get home again.
Over a cuppa and a slice of cake I spent a little while solving geo-puzzles for a possible walk some time over the next few weeks. I then took myself off to bed for a couple of hours. The idea would be that I would have a little sleep whilst "er indoors TM" took "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and Sid back to Margate (apparently Pogo is staying a little longer). That was the idea – the reality was quite a bit of You-Tube noise and slamming doors. And when they finally went the remaining dogs barked incessantly.
I got up and in five minutes got two bin bags of rubbish from the back bedroom. That room is full to overflowing with tat, and I’ve finally had enough. If I haven’t used something in a year then clearly I don’t want or need it.
I settled the dogs and drove off on the evening's mission. First of all to the co-op for this and that. Whilst I was in there I got some cash from their cashpoint machine. That thing *never* gives an advice slip with the money, and again it didn't this evening. As I was paying for my stuff I mentioned this to the chap on the till. He agreed it never gives advice slips; clearly not seeing it as anything to do with him. Perhaps it isn't; he only works there. What do I know?
I then drove round to the Beefeater. Bearing in mind the debacle of brekkie we had there the other week I was surprised that we were going back, but there was a family dinner there this evening. I arrived and met up with in-laws (if that's what you call prospective daughter-in-law's family). "er indoors TM" and everyone else soon arrived. We took our table and waited. And waited. Despite having given them our orders yesterday, the food took an hour and twenty minutes to come out. And when it did it was awful. The potatoes probably were good when they were first cooked (several hours previously) but by the time they'd got to us they were fit for the bin. The swede and runner beans clearly hadn't been warmed since they were taken from the fridge (they really were that cold), and my lump of lamb was burned on the outside. After fifteen minutes of concerted grumbling the waitress wandered out with some gravy.
We demanded to see the manager who eventually came out. He listened to our complaints, and once we'd told him of his failings (precisely and in great detail) he acknowledged that we were entitled to our opinion. His opinion was that we were wrong, and he claimed he was entitled to that opinion. It was only when we said we'd take the uneaten food to the Trading Standards people that he actually sat up and took notice. He then completely contradicted himself, said that they didn't usually serve roast dinner in the evening and they'd kept ours since lunch time as a special favour to us, claimed to have already bollocked the chef for what was clearly a piss-poor set of dinners, said there would be no charge, and went on to offer free dessert to everyone. He did try to lay on the guilt a little bit by saying how the waitress was crying her eyes out in the toilet, but we quickly told him that he was being utterly unfair on the poor girl by expecting her to deliver such rubbish dinners one hour and twenty minutes late.
He had no answer to that.
(Mind you I can't help but wonder what the Trading Standards people would have said if we'd turned up at their office with our left-overs. And the manager clearly hadn't noticed that I'd been so hungry that regardless of just how bad the dinner was I'd devoured all of mine anyway.)
Bearing in mind how long we'd waited for a frankly dreadful first course, and also bearing in mind I had places to be , I said my goodbyes and set off to Gillingham. A week or so I'd collected a parcel to give to Nick at yesterday's geo-meet and had completely forgotten to take it along. It didn't take me long to deliver the parcel this evening, and it took even less time to get to the general vicinity of work. There is a McDonalds in the general vicinity of work... Remembering that the rest of the family were scoffing free pudding I shelled out eighty-nine pence for a McFlurry. As I scoffed, the people on the next table were grumbling about how piss-poor their burgers were. I smiled to myself and said nothing.
I farted rather impressively all through the night shift. I blame that iffy dinner...
19 November 2018 (Monday) - Between the Night Shifts
It wasn’t a bad night shift last night, but I am always glad to see the relief arrive. As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing some Belgian chap who was giving the Belgian perspective of Brexit. He took the line that the UK has had the best part of two years to come up with a deal; the UK negotiating team had presumably known what was being negotiated for all of that time, and they’ve left it rather late to announce that the proposed deal sucks fish.
I think the fellow has probably got a point.
Yesterday I’d bagged up some rubbish; I stopped off at the tip to get rid of it on my way home. As I was driving into the tip there was some idiot in a small car driving up the wrong side of the road in an attempt to overtake everyone and everything. Narrowly avoiding going head-on into a dustbin lorry he then tried to overtake me on the entrance to the tip; no mean feat when the entrance road is only one car wide. When we got to the tip this car parked almost (but not quite) blocking the exit. The driver (who looked far too young to be driving) then tried to heave various items of furniture to the bulky waste skip. I did chuckle; the big man when behind the wheel; not strong enough to pick up a dining chair when not behind the wheel. Once I’d unloaded my rubbish I squeezed my car past where he’d tried to block the way out of the tip. I complimented him on his parking. I think the sarcasm went right over his head.
I got home to find some rather excited dogs. I walked them round the park. As we came past the fountain I felt rather sad, The snow dog that was there yesterday has now gone. They have all been collected in for a farewell event in a week or so. The fountain wasn’t the same without the snow dog.
We got home before the forecast rain. Having borrowed new-next-door’s ladder (mine is in Margate) I spent a few minutes dobbing waterproofing onto the bathroom roof. It has leaked a bit in the heavy rain recently. As I dobbed I saw a rather large gap by the fascia board. I shall need some filler for that.
I had a scrub and took myself off to bed. Before I’d started on the roof I’d popped a hot water bottle in the bed (I get cold feet when I sleep during the day). Pogo and Treacle were both curled up together on top on the duvet just where the hot water bottle was. I moved them off; they moved back on.
Eventually I tricked them by moving the bottle and sleeping diagonally across the bed until half past three when I was woken by a phone call from 0161 711 0322. I wonder who that was?
I got up, watched an episode of “Prison Break”, then carried on tidying up the back bedroom. I say “tidying up”; “throwing away” is closer to the truth. I found a few coats and hoodies that I’d not seen for years; all rather mildew-ed. I found a broken CD rack. I found loads of old documents - do I *really* want the paperwork for a life assurance policy that I cancelled in 1996? I loaded the rubbish into the back of my car for another tip run in the morning, then geo-puzzled for a while.
"er indoors TM" is boiling up a quiche, then I’m off to another night shift…
20 November 2018 (Tuesday) - After The Night Shifts
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were interviewing Peter Lilley. A conservative MP for many years he’s looking set to go to the House of Lords. Or he was until this morning’s radio interview. Having been a staunch Brexiteer he was being interviewed on an alternative for the Prime Minister’s plans for Brexit which now are quite clearly dead in the water. Bearing in mind that everyone says that black is white when it comes to Brexit, the pundits on the radio had an independent expert on hand to fact-check what Mr (not Lord yet) Lilley was saying. To be fair to Peter the independent expert agreed with much of what he was saying; only quibbling with some of the more trivial of the petty details. (Like the petty details of Britain’s trading arrangements with the US). But Mr (not Lord yet) Lilley took great exception to being fact-checked and rather spat his dummy out on live radio. It comes to something when the presenter had to tell him to calm down.
It was a rather horrible morning to be driving; cold, wet and miserable. The relief had been delayed this morning and so I too was delayed getting home. I took the dogs out, but it was bitterly cold, and three dogs is just too much like hard work when you aren’t on top form. We cut the walk short and came home.
I then had a little burn-up. Whilst tidying up over the last few days I found some of the paperwork from the little episode of unpleasantness I had at work seven years ago. Some of it can just go in the recycling; some needed to be shredded. Shredding brought back several rather unhappy memories, so I gave up shredding and just set fire to it. "er indoors TM" has got a chiminea in the garden so I thought seeing how it was raining outside no one would object to me having a little fire. There wouldn’t be much smoke as it was raining…
There would have been less smoke if I’d burned the shed down.
I took myself off to bed and found a minor disaster. The bit of my CPAP machine that goes up my nose has gone missing. I had the bedroom apart but couldn’t find it. I’m guessing a dog has eaten it.
I managed a couple of hours’ sleep then got up and watched an episode of “Prison Break” as I scoffed a lunch of malt loaf and cashew nuts. Perhaps not everyone’s choice of lunch, but they were in the cupboard, and I like malt loaf and cashew nuts.
I did some ironing this afternoon whilst watching a film on Netflix. “Arrival” was made a couple of years ago and according to Wikipedia it was one of the best films of 2016. All I can say is that there must have been some rather crap films made in that year. Like many sci-fi films made over the last forty years it follows the same formula of the film 2001. Start well, go on until people start to get bored, and then drag the ending out with some psychedelic drivel that no one understands. “Interstellar” was just the same.
I dozed until "er indoors TM" came home. She boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s episode of “Lego Masters”.
We had a bottle of plonk with dinner. Yesterday I’d got us a bottle of “Campo Viejo” as Sainsbury were knocking it out at a fiver off of the usual price. Billed as one of the world’s top six per cent of wines I wasn’t impressed.
And it is Lacey’s birthday today. Twelve years old – where have the years gone?
21 November 2018 (Wednesday) - Afternoon Tea
I slept a lot better than I thought I might have done; late last night the missing part of my CPAP machine appeared in Treacle’s mouth. There weren’t *too* many teeth marks, I fixed the thing and slept for over eight hours.
I looked at Facebook over brekkie and rolled my eyes. An ex-colleague “saw the light” a few years ago and Jesus has had him for a sunbeam. He was posting on Facebook about “Praise de Lawd !!!” for all the good things in his life but was again drawing a blank over the bad. I can remember a God-bothering good friend of mine finding fifty pence in the street and saying a loud and public prayer claiming it was a sign from God. But when he trod in a dog turd five minutes later that was just unlucky. (This chap is now a Baptist pastor).
Similarly eye-roll-provoking was pro-Brexit MP Nadine Dorries who has apparently attacked the government’s Brexit plan as it would leave the UK with no representation in the European Parliament. I must be missing something here? Surely this woman understands what “leaving the European Union” entails? Perhaps it is all a wind-up? Let’s hope so. If not, how can she possibly be an MP.
I then did one of those You-Gov surveys. It asked about all sots of things including my sex life. What does the government want to know about nudey sauce romps? It also asked about my leccie and gas supplies and asked about any benefits they offered. Vaguely wondering if this was in any way connected with nudey sauce romps I answered their questions and then wondered if the leccie and gas people do Nectar points.
I went to the leccie and gas people’s website and used their “live chat” thingy. After a rather tortuous conversation I found out that they stopped doing Nectar points years ago. That’s a shame. Now that I’ve got a Nectar account I’m rather keen to get some points. Apparently one thousand nectar points are worth a fiver, and I’ve currently only got twenty-six.
With the dogs leaded up "er indoors TM" and I took them round the park. Three dogs are so much easier when you’ve got someone else along. It was only a shame that Pogo had to crap in front of the nice lady at the bus stop.
As we got to the park we saw a police car driving round the footpaths. What was that about? Interestingly we also saw a chap spray-painting the wall in the play park. The police clearly hadn’t nicked him.
Mind you it was rather cold today. I was glad to get home.
We settled the dogs and went out to Tesco. Eleven days ago I wrote “I have three pairs of trainers; all of which leak. So I got a new pair…” When I was putting on those trainers last Friday one of the lace-holes ripped open. The shoes lasted for three days and ripped open on the fourth time I used them. I took them back today. The nice lady said did I want to change them. I said I did, but I couldn’t as Tesco had nothing in my size. No size ten shoes whatsoever. They gave me a refund.
From Tesco we went to Hastings and collected my mummy and daddy. We’d arranged to take them out for afternoon tea at the Royal Victoria Hotel on the sea front. In years gone by the Royal Victoria Hotel was a firm favourite place of the in-laws. Family reunions, weddings, meals… all sorts of events and family bashes. I got the distinct impression that absolutely nothing has changed in that hotel in the intervening twenty years. Mind you they did us proud this afternoon. Enough tea and coffee to sail a battleship on, sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, posh cakes, waiter service, and even tablecloths and classical music in the background. And (courtesy of Groupon) all less than seven quid per person. I was impressed as was "er indoors TM". And mum and dad liked it (which was the main thing). They’d never been out for afternoon tea before… says the old hand at the game who has now done it four times! I *really* like afternoon tea. You get to go somewhere posh and just drink coffee (or tea) and stuff your face until you feel sick. If anyone is ever thinking of buying me a pressie and is stuck for an idea… (hint hint!)
We drove mum and dad home, then popped round to visit mother-in-law briefly. Next time she’ll be taken out to tea.
Home again. I wanted to get home before the rush hour. We got home just before five o’clock. It was rather dark as I parked. We’d taken my car as the back seat of the "er indoors TM"-mobile is a tad grubby. (I blame the dogs). Once home I loaded my fishing gear into my car. The smell of fish dissipates far quicker than the mud of dogs.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good dinner. As we scoffed it we watched last weekend’s episode of “Doctor Who” which this week wasn’t as bad as some of the episodes of this season have been. “Young Sheldon” and “Big Bang Theory” were also good.
Today was a day’s annual leave… wasn’t a bad one…
22 November 2018 (Thursday) - A Day's Fishing
I had a decent night’s sleep. I have a vague recollection of a dog barking in the small hours, but I might have been dreaming. Unless I hear anything to the contrary I will assume I was.
I got up early and over brekkie watched the most recent instalment of “The Good Place”. After several weeks of going nowhere the plot has picked up again.
I got dressed, and with two layers of socks, two layers of troosers and no less than six layers on top I drove round to collect "My Boy TM". Together we went to the co-op to get a packed lunch and seeing how the Brookfield café was already open we had a fry-up. A rather good fry-up.
And then just as it was getting light we drove out to Cranbrook and Hartley Lands Fishery. We wanted to get one day’s fishing in before it got too cold.
Hartley Lands fishery is a rather good place to be. It is beautiful, and as we fished we watched the ducks and herons flying about. We watched a little rat swimming around, and we laughed at the pheasant who was very bravely stomping around us picking up any of the fishing baits that we’d dropped.
There’s no denying that it was cold today but being layered up it wasn’t *too* bad. I used the new wellies I’d bought from Aldi the other week; they were something of a disappointment. The heels were rather high. They would probably be ideal for a transvestite who wants or needs to traverse mud, but they weren’t that stable for standard piscatorial pursuits.
Fishing-wise it wasn’t too shabby. We didn’t catch anywhere near as many as we have in previous trips, but what we caught were of rather impressive size. I had three; the smallest of which was twelve pounds in weight. The biggest was my personal best carp. "My Boy TM" had eight. We estimated the smallest as being about eight pounds in weight.
We knew it was late November; we knew we couldn’t fish for as long as we’d like to. The temperate was dropping by mid-afternoon. We started packing up at quarter to four and by the time we got home it was dark.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather decent bit of sausage and chips this evening and went off as she does. I settled in front of the telly with the dogs and slept through a couple of episodes of “Prison Break”. I think I might have a cold coming on…
23 November 2018 (Friday) - Got a Cold
I had something of an early night last night but didn’t sleep overly well. I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go only to find it was only half past one. I then lay awake for much of the night as Fudge grumbled every time any else so much as breathed.
I dozed off just before the alarm went off, and didn’t have time to watch an episode of “Prison Break”. I thought I might see what ws on the telly. The Sky-Plus box’s menu looked interesting at half past five, but have you ever watched the telly at half past five? The menus all say that there is this show and that show on. In reality there is just a test card saying that programs start at six o’clock. I wish they wouldn’t do that.
So I looked at the Internet over brekkie. Facebook was relatively dull for once. Apart from the attention-seekers flaunting their maladies there were a few people posting about today being the fifty-fifth anniversary of the first broadcasting of “Doctor Who”. An anniversary I might well have missed.
I had an email from the fishing tackle shop. They have jumped on the “Black Friday” bandwagon. Here’s a link to what they are touting. I’ve grumbled before about the price of fishing tackle. Yesterday "My Boy TM" was being less than complementary about my knackered old fishing gear. The entire fishing community seems to have fallen for the marketing ploy that if two things are utterly identical in every way but price, then the more expensive one is clearly superior in every way.
Having said that, "er indoors TM" found a black screw on the kitchen floor last night. I wonder if it fell off the fishing trolley I bought that was one hundred quid cheaper than the one from which screws *don’t* fall off?
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were discussing Black Friday deals. Apparently they are all one big con; "Which" magazine claimed that nine out of every deal billed as a "Black Friday Special” was no different to the deal offered all year round.
There was also discussion about Dame Floella Benjamin who was on the kids TV show "Play School" years ago. When did she become a "dame"? She’s also now a Liberal Democrat politician. It’s amazing what happens when you aren’t paying attention.
I went to work via Sainsburys where I would have used my Nectar card *if* I'd actually received the thing. Instead I just quoted my Nectar number, and after several attempts the nice lady on the till managed to type it in properly. I've now got seventy-three pence worth of Nectar points. Seventy-three pence isn't much in the great scheme of things, but it is seventy-three pence for nothing for me.
As I then drove up the motorway my piss boiled. The country's ex-chief racist Nigel Farage was being interviewed on the radio. His successor as leader of UKIP has taken on British National Party and English Defence League front runner Tommy Robinson as some sort of advisor. All I know about the bloke is what I hear and read in the news; from what I can work out he has historically been even too racist for the racists; UKIP must be in a bad way if even Nigel Farage isn't overly keen on this turn of events.
I eventually got to work through some serious traffic, and did my bit whilst not feeling on top form. I seem to have caught a cold. A shame really; I could have done with being a tad more sprightly today. But an early start made for an early finish, and with the dogs walked I had a look at my in-box. Being up before the emails came in this morning I’d had several messages during the day.
Hartley Lands Fishery had shared the album of photos I took yesterday; I had a message asking for my advice on matters piscatorial from someone who’d seen it. They think I must be brilliant at fishing. I haven’t told "My Boy TM" about this yet; I can’t see him being impressed.
I had another email from Kent County Council about the local street lighting. They assured me that the local street lights are “at the appropriate level”. What a load of rubbish.… if the lights are at the right level then the level itself has been set wrong. How can they be “appropriate” when it is too dark to be able to see the dog on the end of the lead you are holding? I’d walked the dogs round the side roads this evening. There are islands of light round the lamp posts, but seas of darkness between them. With the shadows of parked cars it really is too dark to see anything.
I then filled out a reference for a friend. I won’t say who, or for what job, and I filled out a questionnaire about fishing for the Environment Agency.
My job lot of Lego that I ordered last week has arrived. It looks rather good. The lights in it alone are worth what I paid for it all (*if* they work). There is a motor and battery pack which look good (*if* they work). I’m not sure about the rest. I need to find somewhere to spread it all out to have a look. Somewhere where Treacle can’t eat any of it…
I might do that tomorrow… I feel grotty.
24 November 2018 (Saturday) - Rainy Day
I was out like a light last night and slept for eight hours until the dogs went mad when the postman knocked on the door. This morning postie brought me w little Lego house I’d won on eBay. And being from Royal Mail he knocked on the door and delivered it rather than leaving it laying in the front garden as other delivery firms so often do (like they did yesterday).
The postman also delivered my Nectar card. That only took two weeks to arrive. Mind you in that two weeks I’ve racked up two hundred points which is one whole quid.
I played a little “Candy Crush Saga” and joined a couple of Facebook groups which are to do with 1970s Lego. Bearing in mind that Facebook groups about geocaching, astronomy snakes, kite-flying, fishing, blood tests, dogs and beer are often little more than one huge squabble my hopes aren’t high. But you never know…
We got the dogs’ leads on to them. The plan for today had been a walk out at High Halden, but the miserable weather and the equally dismal forecast meant that we’d postponed that. Instead we thought we’d go to Canterbury. A small drive to get Pogo used to the car, a short walk for the dogs, and some shopping.
We got to Canterbury easily enough and parked up near London Road and walked round an estate finding geocaches as we went. An hour’s walk of about a mile or so blew away some cobwebs.
We then went on to “Go Outdoors” where we’d planned to get some stuff for the winter. I like that shop if only because dogs are allowed in. We went to the shoe department where we met a pinch-faced version of the TV character Hyacinth Bucket. This old bat was ordering her husband around as though he was a wilful child. Clearly he was taking too long to choose his footwear; I couldn’t believe it what she snatched the shoes I was holding, brandished them at her husband and ordered him to have those. Looking back I should have told her the error of her ways, but at the time I was too shocked to say anything.
"er indoors TM" couldn’t stop laughing.
I also got new gaiters as I’d lost my old ones, and also picked up an assortment of gloves, socks and hats. Treacle (true to form) tried to eat the socks before we’d even lifted them off of the shelf.
It was somewhat ironic that when I put the shopping into the boot of the car that I discovered my old gaiters laying there.
Whilst "er indoors TM" got petrol at Morrison’s car park I went in to the supermarket for Belgian buns. Morrisons at mid-day was a nightmare; a thousand people were shopping, each one seemingly totally unaware that there was anyone else in the shop at all. How can people be *so* oblivious of the world around them?
We stopped off at the pet shop in Chartham where the nice lady in the shop gave each of the dogs a treat. I’m not blaming her in any way, but up until then Pogo had been fine. Ten minutes later he blew; fetching his breakfast all over the car’s back seat.
The traffic was rather bad getting home. I *really* can’t see the attraction of the MacArthur Glen shopping centre. I’ve been there so many times; they don’t sell anything you can’t buy cheaper elsewhere, but people travel for miles to shop there, and it adds an age to our journey home.
Once home I scoffed the Belgian bun I’d got in Morrisons. "er indoors TM" cleaned up dog sick from the back seat of her car. There was a surprising amount of dog sick to be cleaned up. As she scrubbed the dogs barked at her as they watched her every move through the window.
I could have helped I suppose, but I wasn’t feeling very well. I slobbed on the sofa for an hour or so feeling grotty.
After a rather good bit of dinner "er indoors TM" went off to the Saturday film night. I stayed home, and with the dogs all sleeping I had a go at putting together some Lego houses for the scenery for my planned train set thingy. One house worked rather well. The other looks rather earthquake-damaged. Still, it’s not bad for a first attempt.
I’m going to slob in front of the telly some more, I think. I’m still not right…
25 November 2018 (Sunday) - Before the Night Shift
I woke shivering at four o’clock. After a quick trip to the loo I reorganised the dogs (mainly Treacle) so I could get some space on the bed. Despite Fudge grumbling seemingly every five minutes I then slept through till after eight o’clock.
I scoffed brekkie, and then got into a petty squabble on Facebook. Just recently people who are very much in favour of Brexit have been posting memes about why Britain fought a war a hundred years ago just to hand power to Germany now. It strikes me that this is exactly what Britain is doing by leaving the EU and giving up all involvement with all the decision-making bodies. For all that I was clearly wrong, no one could actually explain why.
I played “Candy Crush” games on the Internet until everyone else got up an hour later.
I then spent a few minutes working on my fishing trolley. "er indoors TM" found a black screw on the kitchen floor on Thursday. Whilst the screw looks a match for those on the trolley, I can’t find anywhere it might have come from. I shall keep the screw and wait for the trolley to collapse. Then I might know where it goes.
And then my phone beeped. I’d won another eBay bargain.
We took the dogs out for a little walk. "er indoors TM" has a series of geocaches locally. Some people had been whinging that they couldn’t find them, so we did a little maintenance run. If nothing else, it made a good walk for the wolf-pack. They didn’t get *that* grubby. And being quite close to home it was a short drive and Pogo wasn’t sick. And (to be honest) what with this rotten cold an hour was quite enough for me.
We came home via the co-op. For all that their Belgian buns are forty pence more expensive than Morrison’s, they are far superior.
Cliff popped round for a few minutes. It was good to see him. He’s got a lot of time off over the next few weeks. Sometimes I wonder about my choice of career; this year I’ve got both Christmas Day and Boxing Day off work and that’s it. Mind you I get a *lot* of time off at other times so I shouldn’t grumble.
I took myself off to bed and got a few hours’ sleep. I could have slept longer had I not needed the loo; coffee with that Belgian bun had been a mistake. Mind you I slept better than I usually do during the day; having "er indoors TM" on hand to shush the dogs made a difference.
Soon be dinner time, then time for the night shift. Today has been rather dull… the entire weekend has been rather dull.
26 November 2018 (Monday) - Between the Night Shifts
As I drove home from work the pundits on the radio were talking to the latest Brexit Secretary who was calling for everyone to get behind the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan. With no alternative to what is widely regarded as a rather crappy deal the nation was told that we either accept what is offered of “go back to square one”. Finding myself more and more amazed that no one saw this shambles coming, perhaps now is the time to go back to square one.
Not “square one” of Brexit but “square one” of the entire concept of democracy.
Over the last two years I’ve heard so many opinions on the topic of Brexit; for and against. Most start with “I don’t really understand politics but…” and most seem to be referring to some cloud-cuckoo land which bears no relation whatsoever to reality. On the one hand, the European Union *isn’t” the forerunner of the utopian society of “Star Trek” (which some think it is). On the other hand, leaving the EU *isn’t* going to transform the Commonwealth of Nations into the British Empire (which others assure me it will).
Is anyone surprised that Spain see a golden opportunity to re-take Gibraltar? Is anyone surprised that the French are going to fish in UK coastal waters whether the British like it or not?
Perhaps we might go back to a “square one” from which people have to demonstrate at least a passing understanding of that for which they are voting *before* they put an “X” in a box? People have to demonstrate an ability to be able to drive a car before they go out and mow down innocent pedestrians. Most professions insist on some sort of qualification before allowing people to practice. And here we are in a so-called “democracy” where an intelligent considered opinion is of no more worth than randomly doing what the newspaper tells you to do.
Meanwhile the Chinese have announced the birth of the world’s first genetically-edited humans. Is this *such* a bad thing?
My piss had cooled by the time I got home. Once home I walked the dogs round the park. Walking three dogs is hard work, but it isn’t fair on them not to walk them. We did a shortened version of our usual route, and we went in the other direction to what we usually take. On our usual normal morning stomp we meet up with OrangeHead’s posse just as we are leaving the park and we have a five-minute “episode” as Fudge wreaks havoc with them. I didn’t fancy that today.
Our walk (for once) was uneventful. Fudge’s straggling probably added twenty minutes to the journey, and we got caught in a few rain showers, but “uneventful” was good.
With our walk done I took myself off to bed. I put the phone onto silent and managed five hours sleep. That’s not bad for during the day. As I slept Pogo came and slept on top of me. He’s a lovely little dog. I say “little”; he’s something of a tank, but he’s such a good-natured and affectionate pup. He had no idea that he’s something of a tank.
I got up at half past three, and scoffed the left-over chicken drumsticks as a late lunch. There were three; I allowed each dog to have a go at one each as I held the bone (They aren’t allowed chicken bones unsupervised). They seemed to like their treat, then they all went back to sleep. I wish I could have done that.
I slobbed in front of the telly until "er indoors TM" came home. She’s boiling up dinner, then I’m off to another night shift.
I wish I could shift this cold…
27 November 2018 (Tuesday) - After the Night Shift
During a break on the night shift I saw I'd won another eBay auction. More 1970s Lego. Hopefully when it arrives this set of gears will be the basis of a windmill for the Lego diorama that I have in mind.
I did my bit at work and headed home. Much as I like the night shifts I do find them tiring. It was a shame that it took so long to get home this morning. The overhead motorway notice boards mentioned an “incident” which was causing delays. The “incident” was that someone had managed to drive off of the motorway into a hedge, and everyone was slowing to a walking pace to have a good look at what was going on.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking Brexit again. President Trump has now stuck his beak in and declared that the proposed deal sucks fish. Does he *really* think we don’t know that?
I got home just as "er indoors TM" was leaving. She had the hump because overnight some other car had scraped against hers. To be fair to her it has left quite a mark.
I then took the dogs round the park. Bearing in mind the shambles of recent walks I thought I’d try something different. Rather than having three leads pulling me about I dug out the old double-ended elastic lead and had the “terrible twins” on that. I originally got the double-ended elastic lead to have Treacle and Fudge on the same lead. It worked until Treacle grew from being a baby and I gave up with it when she was dragging him around. But the thing worked quite well today. Treacle and Pogo are about the same size and weight, and rather than dragging me about, they effectively cancelled out each other’s pulling.
Once home I made myself some toast and had a look at Facebook. One chap who was posting all sorts of Christian “God is welcome in my house” crap yesterday was this morning posting rather hateful racist memes. I pointed out to him that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were refugees at one point. (They actually were – look it up in the Bible - Matthew 2:13–23). It didn’t go down as well as it might have done. I *think* that if wannabe Christians knew what the word “refugee” actually meant then a lot less offence would have been taken.
I had a look at the Facebook marketplace thingy as well. Have you ever looked at it? I wouldn't bother. It is standard practice on most selling websites that you put something up for sale and say what it costs. The featured price that you see on the advert is what the item in question actually costs. Quite a straightforward idea; a shame they don’t use it in Facebook marketplace. Everything appears to be dirt cheap to get your interest, but the actual price is buried deep in the article description. I lost count of the amount of things I looked at which were billed as "Free" only to see the actual price of "£20" (or more) being buried deep in the description.
As I scoffed my toast the new part for my CPAP machine arrived. I’d phoned the local hospital a week ago to get it sent out; it took a week to get here. To be fair to Royal Mail it was posted yesterday. So why did it take six days to get sent out? I would complain, but I know from experience that the management of that place loves nothing more than a complaint. Oh, the meetings and emails and paperwork they can generate…
I took myself off to bed; after an hour or so there was a frantic hammering on the front door. Some smarmy git in a cheap suit asked if he’d woken me up. I told him he had. He apologised and asked if I was a night worker. I said I was (today I am!) He apologised again and said there had been some mistake as he makes a point of never waking night workers. But as I was up anyway he tried to sell me cheap double glazing. I didn’t *actually* tell him to get knotted. Surely common sense tells him that if he goes round bashing on front doors indiscriminately he’s going to wake night workers?
As I was up I had some lunch (peanut butter on toast; same as brekkie) and then spent the afternoon putting the washing machine through its paces. And with washing washed and ironing ironed I had a look at the household accounts. As always they aren’t *that* bad really. More money would be nice, but if I can afford to be wasting my money on Lego I can’t be that hard up, can I?
I then fell asleep in front of the telly.
"er indoors TM" came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. We devoured it with a bottle of Chilean red wine whilst watching this week’s “Doctor Who”. I’ve not been overly keen on the show over the last few years, but this episode was rather good. And then we watched the semi-final of “Lego Masters”. Brilliant!!
28 November 2018 (Wednesday) - The Lego Shop
Having done two night shifts it was no surprise that I was out like a light last night. Nine hours asleep was good. It is a long time since I found myself laying in bed so long that I got back ache.
As I scoffed brekkie I had a look at Facebook. Yesterday’s squabble over religion seems to have subsided; the wannabe Christians have got out a dictionary, looked up the word “refugee” and have conceded that the dictionary definition of the word actually does apply to what the Bible says happened to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The wannabe Christians don’t like it very much, but then neither do any refugees either.
And then I saw that a family member had used the “check in” facility on Facebook to tell the world they were at Shellness. Facebook even posts a map to show the world where is it.
Another family member had immediately commented “where are you?”
I took the dogs round the park. Fudge did straggle somewhat today, and Pogo tried to pick a fight with a greyhound. We met the dog warden and had a chat. She was rather concerned that I had lost a dog. I told her I hadn’t and had a quick roll-call. She was insistent that she’d seen me ten minutes earlier with four dogs. I said I only had three… she said that being a dog warden (and counting dogs) was her job. After a little to-ing and fro-ing she let me go. However she made it clear that if any errant hounds should appear in the park then they would be my missing pup.
Once home I settled the dogs and drove round to collect Matt. Together we drove up to Bluewater and the Lego shop. Whilst the job lot of Lego I’d bought the other day was a super-bargain, it was a tad short on roof tiles. I could have ordered up a job lot of roof tiles from eBay. I looked at the on-line Lego store and saw that the tiles I wanted were seventeen pence each; I could have ordered them from there. But I’d heard that you could go to the Lego shop in Bluewater (and just hope they’ve got the ones you want) and get a pint of bricks for twelve quid. So that is what we did. We went to the Lego store.
You really do take a plastic pint tumbler and fill it with bricks.
Matt had done this before… You don’t just fill the tumbler. You join the larger bricks together into stacks. You carefully arrange the stacks in your pint tumbler. You then scoop in the smallest bricks loose; one handful at a time and shaking as you go. The people at the Lego shop expect kids who chuck bricks in willy-nilly and have tumblers which are full of mostly air. Mine was rather judiciously arranged. By the time I was done I don’t think it would have been possible to have got another brick in the tumbler.
Whilst paying for my stuff, the nice lady on the counter asked if I would like to join the Lego VIP club. I did so; it is like a Lego Nectar card. Result!
We had a little mooch round Bluewater as we were there; it is years since I last visited. We had a sandwich, then came home. Going to Bluewater with Matt was ideal for today; he’s had a cold recently too, today was rather murky and wet. A day looking at Lego and putting the world to rights was just what the doctor ordered.
Once home I made myself a cuppa, called up the on-line Lego store, and had a look at what I’d bought. Whilst they didn’t have the exact roof tiles I wanted I got something which would do the job, and I got about sixty-five quid’s worth of Lego for twelve pounds. I see that as something of a result.
I saw my credit card bill was available on-line. I downloaded it and checked it. Call me mean it you will ("My Boy TM" does) but every month I go through it and account for every penny. Today I accounted for every penny. Each and every seventy-odd thousand of them; they all add up.
I then ironed for a couple of hours until "er indoors TM" came home for a flying visit. With some works thing on this evening I was left dog-sitting. I expect I shall watch more episodes of “Prison Break”…
29 November 2018 (Thursday) - Before the Late Shift
Every morning as my lap-top boots up it shows a picture from somewhere round the world. The current picture looked rather familiar… it was from Butchart Gardens in Canada. I’ve been there. Looking at the place on-line it looks beautiful; I can remember it being rather tedious. Isn’t that negative of me… but ornamental gardens often are tedious. After five minutes of looking at flowers you really have seen it all.
Mind you I went there with the scouts. Much of my memories of scouting are of utter tedium; shepherding a dozen ungrateful brats around places where they didn’t want to be tended to suck the fun out of everything. I packed up being a scout leader when I realised it was *supposed* to be fun. Looking back I think I’d been doing it wrong for some time before I finally knocked it on the head.
I had a little snigger when I looked at Facebook this morning. I saw an advert for “Montgomery Scott Blended Scotch Whisky”. From my days in active Trekkie-ing I just know that no end of people are going to hand over a small fortune for something they would never otherwise buy if it didn’t have a Star Trek logo on it. I can remember being at the “Star Trek Experience” in Bournemouth over twenty years ago when a pencil set (like you’d see in the pound store) was up for sale for forty quid purely because someone had printed “Star Trek” on it. People were buying them.
I wish I’d had that idea first.
Other than that there wasn’t a lot kicking off on Facebook for once.
My in-box was equally uninspiring. Amazon had sent me emails suggesting I buy that which I had already bought. NHS jobs suggested I apply for jobs I didn’t really want. LinkedIn had sent me a load of gibberish written in a foreign language (I don’t speak “management”).
I gave up and took the dogs for a walk. We got half way round the park before the rain hit. We came home again.
I spent five minutes loading rubbish into the car, then settled the dogs and drove off. I had a few chores to do on the way to work. First of all to the vet's where my piss boiled somewhat. Fudge and Treacle are due for their flea treatments. I thought we had loads of the stuff in the cupboard; we'd run out. I phoned the vet yesterday evening to arrange to collect some this morning only to be told I didn't have to arrange anything in advance; I could just turn up in the morning. So I turned up and explained why I was there and I waited and waited. Getting the flea treatments took an age. I asked if things might have been better had I phoned last night to say I was coming; the nice lady on reception said that would have been for the best, and perhaps I might do that next time. I thought about mentioning that I had actually done just that, but sometimes it is best not to stir these things more than they need to be.
I then took a car load of rubbish to the tip. Most of it went into the right skips, but I had a broken decanter that was too big for the hole in the glass recycling skip. I asked the nice man where I should stick it. Surprisingly he didn't give the obvious answer, but said it goes in the glass recycling. I explained patiently that it was too big for the hole. Consternation was achieved all round as all the tip operatives huddled together trying to decide what to do when something is too big for the hole. After five minutes they put the knacked decanter on to a shelf next to an old clock and said I should leave it with them.
I did so.
I then went to Longacres garden centre (Bybrook Barn to most people). Yesterday during our run-in with the dog warden she'd said that she was pleased to see that Fudge had his address and our name on a tag on his collar. She completely missed the fact that he hadn't. Fudge and Treacle had tags with my phone number (and nothing else) and Pogo had nothing at all. I thought I'd better get that sorted before we have another ding-dong with her (it can only be a matter of time...)
The pet tag gizmo at the vets had gone west, but the one at Bybrook Barn was working. The nice lady behind the counter (who operates it) wouldn't take my instructions for the tags verbally; she insisted that I wrote down what I wanted to appear on them. And having written down my name, address, post code and phone number I then had to spell each one out to her as she couldn't read my writing.
Eventually I handed over thirty quid (ten quid per tag) to find she'd spelt "Beaver" (as in Beaver Road) wrong on each tag...
Pausing only briefly to fail to locate a geocache in Barming I went in to work where the canteen was doing a rather good lasagne. It was really tasty and filling. I'm sure it is in no way connected with the fact that I was farting all afternoon.
And can you believe it is now two years since we took on Treacle. Where has the time gone?
30 November 2018 (Friday) - Pink Cupcake
The first job of today was to apply the dogs’ flea treatments. Pogo and Fudge weren’t at all bothered, but Treacle *hates* it. When she saw the packet she ran away, tried to hide upstairs and flatly refused to come anywhere near us. After a futile attempt to try to encourage her, we finally caught her in a pincer movement.
With a neck full of “Advocate” she then sulked.
As I scoffed my brekkie there wasn’t much kicking off on Facebook for once. No squabbles, and the bare minimum of attention-seeking. Rather dull really; that’ not why I look at the website at all. My in-box was equally dull. I had one email. Go Outdoors offered me fifteen per cent off of my next shopping trip there as a thank you for spending near on a hundred quid with them last weekend. Having spent near on a hundred quid with them last weekend I don’t think I’m going to be going back there any time soon. And their offer ends in three weeks’ time. Ho hum…
I took the now-road-legal dogs for a walk round the park. As walks go it wasn’t one of the more successful ones. Whilst Fudge kept up (mostly), Pogo was a pain in the glass (as "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" would say). He seems to have an issue with other dogs that are on leads. Other dogs running round the park loose are no problem; he’ll sniff them or ignore them or play with them. But (to him) another dog on a lead is an invitation to a fight. It all became rather tiresome; I didn’t actually tell the nice man with a dachshund to f… off in those exact words, but the sentiment was certainly there.
I got home with something of a sense of relief.
I played a little Candy Crush Soda Saga in the vain hope that whilst I was hop e the postman might arrive, I settled the dogs (who were all already fast asleep) and set off.
With a little time on my hands I thought I might take the scenic route to work via a geocache or two. My first target was in Pluckley. I arrived to find a throng of normal people swarming all around it, but they had all gone within minutes and I was soon doing the happy dance. As one does. It was as well that the throng of normal people had all shoved off as I would have looked rather daft doing the happy dance with them swarming.
My second target was at a (relatively) local airfield. The given directions had me rather foxed. "PLEASE USE THESE DIRECTIONS" they read. "..... Ahead of you is a gate with no public access. Go past this gate...". Finding myself at a gate which clearly said "no public access" and aerodrome staff telling me there was no public access I drove to the car park and went the long way round. I eventually found what I was looking for, and a trackable too. Finding a film pot under a rock is exciting enough; finding one with a trackable in it is the biz!!... if you like that sort of thing. A surprising amount of people don't.
My third target was somewhere that I'd been before. On November 5th I wrote "...the hint was "behind tree". The sat-nav took me straight to a large tree. However behind this tree was a garden fence. And sitting in the garden was one of the normal people who was watching me in the same way I might look at dog poop on my shoe". I got to this tree easily enough today. The normal person has moved a caravan up to within two feet of this tree, but it is on his side of the fence. He was nowhere to be seen this morning so I slipped in and found what I was looking for. I was the first person to have rummaged around that tree in over a year - another resuscitation. Another happy dance.
My fourth target eluded me. To find it I had to solve a puzzle and then look six feet up a tree at the location the puzzle took me to. I'd obviously stuffed up solving the puzzle as I found myself in a muddy field some fifty-four yards from the nearest tree (I measured it!).
From here a straight line to work took my right past the geocache I couldn't find yesterday. Half an hour rummaging in the hedge to no avail yesterday - found in less than ten seconds today.
I drove in to work where I took off my boots and put on trainers. A shame I’d not got a matching pair, but I don’t think anyone noticed. I had a rather good bit of cauliflower cheese for dinner, and then did that which I couldn't avoid. Mind you it wasn't a bad day. We had cake today. A pink cupcake. It was that sort of a day.
My hip hurts from walking round in mis-matched trainers all afternoon and evening…