1 November 2020 (Sunday) - Hinxhill
For some inexplicable reason Treacle spent much of the night jumping off the bed then crying to get back up again. Personally I would have preferred her to have spent the night asleep like all the other dogs did.
I got fed up with her whinging, made some brekkie then (pausing only briefly to add to the Munzee virtual garden) had my morning rummage on-line. There was quite a bit of talk about Lockdown II which is starting on Thursday. Some of it was rather well-reasoned, some of it was ignorant ranting. Perhaps one of the most telling posts was from the tattoo studio where I last got tattooed. The chap who runs the place was saying that he is closing up shop for a month even though he’s been actively encouraging people to use the Track and Trace app, and in all the time they’ve used it they haven’t once had any alerts at all.
A lot of people were posting photos of their Christmas decorations. What with the upcoming lock-down there is a move afoot for people to put up their decorations very early this year. Personally I wish people wouldn’t do Christmas before December. This year by the time Christmas comes, I think I will be sick of it, having had it forced down my throat for two months.
There’s no denying that I had some reservations about going for a walk today. Although the rain had slackened off somewhat it was still rather keen as we loaded the "er indoors TM"-mobile. "er indoors TM" then hit on the sensible suggestion that since the dogs were going to get filthy, why didn’t we go in my car.
So we went in my car.
We didn’t have far to drive today, and we soon met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte. Karl too was a tad dubious about going for a walk today, but what with Lockdown II it is possible that this is the last time we can go for a walk together for a month. We made a start despite the rain, and after half an hour or so the rain did stop. We had a good walk, but I was glad for my wellies and waterproof trousers. The mud was quite thick in places, many of the puddles were deep,
The dogs enjoyed their outing; Fudge certainly did. At one point he shot off in hot pursuit of something or other. Too small for a deer and too big for a rabbit. Was it a hare? Eventually we retrieved him.
Mind you the walk wasn’t as dog-friendly as some we’ve been on; having to lift three filthy dogs four feet up over several very slippery stiles took some doing. And we did have quite a game trying to get everyone safely through the quagmire of a collapsed bridge. And whilst I’m having a whinge, quite a few of the footpaths weren’t as well-marked as they might have been. (Some farmers mark the paths, some don’t).
Having said that, I’ve a vague plan to walk this route again next year in the late spring. I would think that it would be a far better walk when it isn’t a swamp and the views aren’t obscured by the low clouds.
I took a few photos as we walked. It was a rather pretty place today; I’m sure it will be far better when dry.
Geocache-wise we did well; finding all of our targets. Again perhaps there were one or two too many field puzzles for my liking, but that’s probably just me being picky. Someone else has taken the time to go out and create a little guided walk for us, and I am grateful. If only more people would do so.
After seven miles we were back at the cars. We said our goodbyes and drove home. We were right to have taken my car. With my car we can do “boot dogs”, and the dogs were filthy. I don’t mind a bit of mud in the back of my car…
Mind you when I usually do “boot dogs”, there is only me and the dogs in the car. Today "er indoors TM" was with us, and Treacle wanted her mummy. It was a good job we only had a short drive home as Treacle screamed the entire way. My head was pounding by the time we got home.
Once home it was bath time for dogs. You would be amazed at how much mud three small dogs can accumulate. And just as we chased them into the garden to shake themselves dry so the rain started again.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, then set off Folkestone-wards. Apparently "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"’s pet rats are coming to have a little holiday with us.
I can’t say I’m happy about the arrangement…
2 November 2020 (Monday) - An Early Shift
I had something of a restless night as "er indoors TM" spent the night telling Fudge off for no reason that I could fathom.
I made brekkie, and scoffed it whilst watching the last episode of “The Job Lot”, then peered into the Internet as I do most mornings. I was rather amazed to see a link on the works’ Facebook page on which the hospital’s big boss gave his weekly message via a you-Tube video. Another local hospital once told me that the mere mention of the place on social media was grounds for a disciplinary warning, and here’s a far more forward-thinking place embracing the future.
I had an email from the Geocaching Association of Great Britain. They are having their annual election for the positions on their committee and are asking for nominations. For the last few years I have been told (by several people) that I am just the person they are looking for, and have been asked to stand for their committee. Every time I have asked what they actually do and am still waiting to get an answer. The closest to an answer that I have had is that what they do is entirely dependent on who gets elected to the committee, and from what I can work out (without wishing to sound sarcastic) all I’ve seen is that they take the credit for other people’s efforts. On the run-up to last year’s elections someone called Arthur said that he would arrange for me to become a “Friend of the GAGB” so that I could see what they do, and since then I have heard nothing at all. This really does seem to be how they operate; we only ever hear from them when they are having their annual election.
I added to the Virtual Reindeer Munzee park, then set off to work.
As I drove to work through a rather murky morning there was all sorts of talk about Lockdown II on the radio. Ironically the pundits on the radio who spent the past month wheeling on so-called experts who had been pushing for a lock-down were today wheeling on other experts who felt that a lock-down was a waste of time. Not that I am defending the Prime Minister in any way, but it does seem that no matter what he does, it will always be wrong in the eyes of the presenters of Radio Four.
Ironically the nation's chief racist (that odious Nigel Farrage) is taking the opportunity to stir trouble by re-launching the Brexit party as an anti-lock-down campaign.
Surely there can't be any doubt that the Brexit party was ever anything more than a vehicle for Mr Farrage's ego?
Mind you I did roll my eyes when the pundits interviewed people who are going to struggle during the upcoming lock-down. One of the people interviewed was a self-employed communications strategy advisor. Presumably she tells people not to send a letter when a phone call would be better? What kind of job is a "self-employed communications strategy advisor"!
Perhaps "self-employed communications strategy advisor" may well be one of the careers to go the way of lamp-lighters, pin-setters, lectors, ice-men and nun's priests in the new world order that will form when we finally get through coronageddon.
Work was rather good today; I spent the day doing hands-on training. Something I used to do rather a lot back in the day. But an early start made for an early finish. Even so I only just got home before twilight.
I walked the dogs round the road. It was a shame that Pogo had to kick off for no reason whatsoever.
"er indoors TM" went bowling tonight. She’s been running a bowling league on Monday nights for years. It came to an abrupt end over lock-down, and tonight was finally going to be the re-launch. Such a shame Lockdown II put paid to it. But some of the bowlers had the chance of one quick game this evening.
And with her out of the way I had the chance to watch a DVD that she wouldn’t appreciate. I was spoiled for choice but during the day I managed to come up with a shortlist of five DVDs I like that she doesn’t. I could have watched I.D. or Doctor Who and the Daleks. I could have watched Brideshead Revisited or Football Factory.
In the end I watched Quadrophenia. A lot of it was filmed in Brighton two years before I spent two years at college there. I do like seeing places that I’ve been to on the screen.
3 November 2020 (Tuesday) - Aldi
Treacle had another restless night. Whilst she stayed on the bed this time, she spent much of the night stomping round it. It is odd how at night dogs don’t walk but they stomp. Eventually I pulled her legs out from underneath her and forced her to lay down. She was then fast asleep in seconds. Obviously tired; why didn’t she just settle down herself?
I came downstairs a tad earlier than I might have done, cleared up one errant turd, and chased Sid into the garden. I made brekkie and watched an episode of “Time Gentlemen Please” before sparking up the lap-top. The Munzee clan war started this morning so I got jiggy with the ongoing virtual reindeer near Sevenoaks, and captured a jellyfish and a platypus-thingy in the garden. Over the next few weeks I’ve got to send out some virtual greetings cards and capture places, weapons and flat friends. All a good bit of silliness, but seeing how the thing is all recorded on-line there isn’t the scope for the bending the rules that is causing consternation in the geo-community at the moment.
There was also a squabble kicking off on one of the Facebook groups about Lego trains. Someone had posted a video of their Lego train layout. I quite liked the video, but then I like Lego. Unfortunately the first comment under the video read “I don’t find this video particularly interesting” and all hell had broken loose. As is always the way, the one who had written “I don’t find this video particularly interesting” was full of opinion, but rather light on actually contributing anything to that about which the squabble was over.
I had quite a few emails telling me that people had found the geocaches that I’d hidden out in the sticks and in Kings Wood. That was encouraging. And with little else of note I got ready for work.
As I drove to work through a very wet morning the pundits on the radio were talking about today's Presidential election in America. With the predicted demise of Donald Trump, many shops and offices in America have closed for the day and boarded up their premises expecting civil unrest. The National Guard has been mobilized too as vigilante groups are expected to take to the streets. If Donald Trump loses the election will he just declare himself dictator for life claiming that the election was rigged by the namby-pamby tree-hugging lefties? From what I can make out there are a lot of people who would support him.
There was also talk of the upcoming Lockdown II. The Labour party's shadow chancellor was interviewed. As members of the shadow cabinet so often do, she waxed loquacious about how crap the government is whilst offering absolutely no suggestions of her own. Perhaps if the Labour party ever suggested anything plausible then they might stand a chance of getting elected. Or perhaps they know that very well, and so make a point of never suggesting anything plausible.
Work was rather busy today. What with one thing and another I was an hour and a half late getting out this evening. So much for an early shift.
I came home via Aldi. "er indoors TM" had given me a shopping list.
Aldi was hard work.
I prefer going there in the morning before work when the “less problematical element” are still in bed. But that makes getting perishables somewhat tricky. Today seemed to have been “take your frankly obnoxious brat shopping day”. Did the snotty six year-olds *really* need to be climbing on the shelves. And has Monica’s mummy never considered the merits of a slapped arse?
But I got wine and cheese – and Bake-Off is on telly soon…
4 November 2020 (Wednesday) - Another Early Shift
I didn't sleep well (again). Snoring was the problem this time. I was reluctant to clout any potential miscreant as I was unsure as to whether I was dealing with a human or canine snorer. I'd finally got to sleep when the alarm went off.
Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Time Gentlemen Please" then peered into the Internet. For absolutely no (sensible) reason whatsoever the geo-feds have announced that there will be no new geocaches published during Lockdown II. I wrote to Geo-HQ, explained that this idea was idiotic at best and asked them just how many people have contracted COVID-19 from a film pot hidden under a rock. They replied with a pre-written standard response that failed to address what I'd asked them, and they also said that they weren't offering any refunds either. There were also whinges on Facebook from friends who had tried to create Earthcaches and had extremely rude dismissals from the reviewer. You would think that Geocaching might have thought that customer service might be important, wouldn't you? They must be losing custom hand-over-fist as people pack up with them and play Munzee instead.
I wandered out to find where I'd left my car, and realised that winter was here - for the first time this winner I had to scrape ice from my car's windscreen.
As I drove up the motorway the talk was about the American Presidential election that took place yesterday. With counting of the vote expected to take a few days it is far too early to call the result. But despite being quite a way behind in those states that have declared a result, President Trump was live on the radio this morning loudly announcing that Joe Biden can't catch him, and also accusing Mr. Biden of electoral fraud.
President Trump does live in a dream world, but he appeals to those who believe anything provided that it is shouted loudly and confidently.
As the day went on I peered into the Internet at tea breaks I was amazed at just how many people were posting on social media about how concerned they were that there was any chance that Donald Trump might secure a second term. Very few of them were American. Perhaps voting for a demonstrable idiot is an American thing? The bloke seems to be an out-and-out doombrain, but millions of people clearly love him.
Work was work; we had cake. And an early start did make for an early finish today. I came home and walked three-quarters of the resident wolf-pack round the block. Monday’s circuit of the block was something of a disaster; today’s was fine. We saw another dog and ignored it. We saw a cat and although we watched it “like a pork” (as "My Boy TM" used to watch "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" in days gone by) we neither barked nor tried to give chase. Some days the walk is a chore, other days it is a pleasure. I just wish I knew what goes through the dogs’ heads to make them kick off when they do. Which is exactly the reason why I loke going down to the woods where we can (mostly) avoid any sources of “episode”.
With walk walked I added to the virtual Munzee garden and sent out some virtual greetings. I’ve acquired a lot of those recently, and I get points for sending greetings this month (it’s a Munzee thing).
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we devoured whilst watching some utter tripe (on the Discovery channel) which was holding aliens responsible for pretty much everything that had happened in the history of mankind. "er indoors TM" seemed to be taken in by it, but she was singularly unable to tell me who would win in a fight between an alien and a yeti. Taking that as a total triumph for science, I then wrote a few blog entries about science whilst Fudge lay next to me on the sofa, hiccupping in his sleep (as dogs do).
5 November 2020 (Thursday) - New House Guests
I slept well (for which I was grateful), and after a bowl of granola (scoffed whist watching “Time Gentlemen Please”) I peered into the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight.
I saw a friend had posted one of these “I’m here for you – please share” memes that appear from time to time on social media. Whilst I’d like to think that I would be there for anyone who wanted my help, I don’t share this sort of thing… When I needed a friend (a few years ago now), those I’d known for twenty years couldn’t run away quick enough. Help came from the most unexpected quarters.
There are all sorts of sayings about “finding out who your friends are”… I was surprised when I found out…
I had over a hundred “Found It” emails on geocaches that I’ve hidden; many of them very complimentary. Which was nice. I wonder if I will carry on getting them – as Lockdown II kicks off I added a note to all one hundred and seventy of my active geocaches reminding the hunters of Tupperware that the rules of geocaching are very clear that to log a find you have to sign the paper log. Over the last lock-down there were quite a few people who were frightened to touch the plastic pots. I’ve told the world that if they don’t feel safe handling the geocaches, they should stay home until they do.
That should be good for a squabble.
I also saw that people have given "Favourite Points" to some of my geocaches. Hunters of Tupperware get to rate the film pots under rocks that "do it for them". I don't really bother much with the Favourite Points myself. But this week, geocaches that I have hidden have accrued twenty-one of the things. That too was encouraging.
I set off to work and had something of a "brown pants" episode as I drove up the motorway. There was a rather huge breakdown truck driving up the slow lane in front of me. I wanted to overtake it, but there was someone in a white van in the middle lane just behind me stopping me pulling out. As I sped up so they sped up. As I slowed down so they slowed down. Were they deliberately trying to block me in?... it certainly seemed like it. After a few minutes of this I looked back from glancing in the mirror to see that the breakdown truck in the slow lane in front of me had done an emergency stop. Those things can stop quite impressively. I slammed on the brakes, and before the idiot in the white van could realise and slow down, he had come past, and I was able to swerve into the middle lane missing the breakdown truck by inches.
No harm was done, but it was rather worrying at the time.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the American Presidential election is sliding into chaos. Trump supporters in the states where President Trump is leading in the poll were outside polling stations chanting "Stop The Count". And at exactly the same time Trump supporters in states where he is behind in the polls were outside polling stations chanting "Count The Votes".
Both chants were broadcast live this morning. Donald Trump's rather simple-minded view that the only way he can lose is by fraud isn't really inspiring confidence in the American electoral system amongst those to whom he appeals.
I got to work and did my bit. I had a rather good day; nowhere near as fraught as some of the days this week have been.
Once home I popped up to the attic room. Earlier in the week "er indoors TM" collected "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"’s rats. They are staying with us for a little while, and are actually rather sweet little things (not that I’m at all keen on having them). I spent a few minutes fussing and feeding them carrots now that they seem to have settled down in their new home.
I wonder how long they will be with us?
6 November 2020 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift
I had a rather better night (for which I was grateful). Over some toast I watched another episode of “Time Gentlemen Please”; is it really twenty years since that show was first broadcast?
I then loaded a whole load of rubbish into the car. What with paranoia having gripped the council we now have to book before we can take a trip to the tip. In the past I would just load up the car and get shot of rubbish when the mood took me. Now we have to book our visit to the tip in advance. This is something of a pain in the glass (as "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" would say). I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from this new arrangement. I got there and getting in was rather slow as one of the tip operatives stared at my car and took an age trying to find my car’s registration number on his clipboard. I parked up and got rid of my rubbish. I was rather surprised at how many members of staff there were. None of them were actually doing anything though; all were just standing around making sure that people parked where they were told to park.
With rubbish unloaded I came home. I came home shortly before nine o’clock. Usually the roads round the tip are very busy, and today was no different. Bearing in mind that today is the second day of Lockdown II I was expecting them to be quieter. At the start of the first lock-down I could drive to Maidstone during what used to be rush-hour and see maybe a dozen other cars driving about. Today the traffic was the same as it always is.
Once home I collected those dogs who were up for a walk, and took them down to Orlestone Woods where we did our usual circuit of the wood. As we walked we met our friends the red setters and all went well, for which I was grateful. And just as we were coming to the car park we saw a normal person walking toward us. There are many ways that you can identify normal people; one way is that they never let their dogs off of the leads. As an experiment I blew the whistle, and all three of my hounds sat and waited patiently whilst Mr. Normal walked his dogs past (on their leads). The chap commented on how well behaved my wolf-pack was. I smiled sweetly, grateful that potential mayhem had been averted.
But seriously – why take dogs to the woods if you aren’t going to let them run?
With walk walked I raked leaves off of the lawn, popped up to the corner shop (to save a supermarket visit later) then sparked up my lap-top. I tried to add to the virtual Munzee garden, but I’d run out of virtual (which was a pain) so I contented myself putting virtual flat badgers in the general vicinity of the M25.
I then wrote up some CPD.
As I wrote CPD the postman arrived with a parcel for me. I’d wanted some Lego plugs so’s I could wire up some lights. The plugs were fine, but the rest of the order wasn’t. Because the order came from Italy and there was a minimum spend I’d made the order value up by ordering what I thought was a Lego motor and a pair of train signals. Instead I’d actually ordered *instructions* for a Lego motor and a pair of train signals. Oh well… I didn’t actually want those, and I did get that which I wanted (and that which I had actually ordered), so I can’t complain. I’ve put the things up for sale on some Lego-related Facebook groups. I might get someone who wants the things who is willing to swap them for some real Lego. Possibly…
If any of my loyal readers want the paper instructions…
I then went to bed for the afternoon. Before going to bed I’d put a hot water bottle into the bed to warm it up a bit, and then had to spend a few minutes fighting Treacle for the warm spot.
I managed to sleep for three hours, despite dogs barking at random intervals for random reasons.
Hopefully "er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner in a while, then I’m off to the night shift. I can’t say I’m keen on the idea, but I was originally down to do the late shift today and also Sunday morning. A colleague asked if I would swap my two shifts for her night, and (on reflection) I think I got the better end of the deal…
7 November 2020 (Saturday) - Bit Tired
The night shift was hard work; I was glad when the relief arrived. As I drove home there couldn’t have been very much news at all. Personally if I were running the radio station I would have mentioned the latest Brexit news bearing in mind the Prime Minister was talking with the head honcho of the EU today. And I would have had a look at the ongoing debacle which is the American Presidential election in which Donald Trump was accusing everyone and everything of fraud despite his only evidence being that people didn’t vote for him. Instead the pundits on the radio broadcast a frankly dull conversation between an elderly war veteran and a woman who had befriended him. It was all very interesting in its way, but peak-time radio?
Mind you there was an interesting five minutes about how it is now illegal for Scottish parents to smack their children. There was a lot of hot air vented on the subject… I’ll just say that others may have had different experiences, but in my experience there are two sorts of people who advocate against smacking children; those with no children of their own, and those with the most unruly and ill-behaved brats.
I got home, had a shower and went to bed. As I walked up the stairs so Fudge sulked at me. He clearly had been expecting to go out for a walk, and wasn’t happy that we weren’t going right away.
I slept for three hours, and after a quick bit of toast I was ready to go for that walk.
All the dogs were asleep by then.
Eventually we got ourselves together. We drove a quick circuit of Stanhope where a few virtual greeting cards had appeared, then had a little walk around Park Farm. Years ago I had several geocaches down there. Once they had run their course I archived them in the hope that someone else would put out some new caches. Eventually someone did, and we spent an hour wandering the back alleys finding them.
We came home, had cake, then once I’d harvested all the dog turds from the garden (there were quite a few) I wired up those Lego plugs that arrived yesterday. Having made custom-length cables I then re-built my Lego locomotive to include a light. The thing works rather better now that it isn’t running on flimsy cables which keep flopping loose.
While I was at it I found quite a few Lego motors which don’t seem to work. It didn’t take long to open them up, fill them with WD40 and find which ones worked and which ones didn’t.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a particularly good bit of dinner which we washed down with a (frankly) disappointing bottle of plonk. As we scoffed and guzzled we watched an episode of “Star Trek: Discovery”. It was a good episode… or it could have been. The writers so obviously went for the “fanwank” option in which they played back to established Star Trek mythos. It would have worked if they had ever actually watched the series Star Trek; The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, rather than just mentioning a major thread of the show and completely getting it wrong.
You really would think that is a show with so much established continuity the writers would take the trouble to have a little look at what went before. Or is it just me who is such a geek that I can remember TV trivia from twenty-five years ago?
We then watched an episode of “Ghosts” which was rather good, and then the Graham Norton show which featured Kylie Minogue… She’s recently released a new record. Does she need the money? I suppose it is all vey well being famous, but does it pay the bills?
8 November 2020 (Sunday) - Not Working
The original plan for today had me working this morning. I think that by doing Friday night rather than the shifts on Friday (late) and today (morning), I got the better end of the deal. I got up about half an hour after I would have started working, let out those dogs that wanted to be let out, and made some toast.
As I scoffed it I peered into the Internet. I
saw a friend had posted a link about the possible closure of Downe Scout Campsite. There is a campaign to raise
two million pounds to save the place from closure. As an ex-scout leader
myself I can’t help but wonder that if the Scout Association charged a
sensible fee for the use of its facilities (rather than effectively giving
them away) then they wouldn’t be in this predicament. When I was a cub
scout leader we charged one pound fifty pence for a two-hour evening. Pretty
much all the children did three or four other activities every week which
cost over five pounds per hour. We used to offer a week at cub camp for
twenty quid. A seven-day residential cub camp was cheaper than one working
day’s child care. All the parents couldn’t believe how cheap scouting was. As
leaders we used to bend over backwards to subsidise people who were far
wealthier than we were.
And there were quite a few posts about today being Remembrance Sunday. Such a shame that the majority of people were posting about “less” we forget….
While "er indoors TM" scoffed her brekkie I went into the garden and raked up more fallen leaves. I got enough of the things; I deliberately didn’t give the job my best shot as there will be loads more to rake in a few days. There always is at this time of year. I’ve never raked leaves in previous years; instead every spring I find myself faced with a rather epic and rather yukky clean-up operation. I’m hoping next year’s garden spring clean might be a little less intensive.
"er indoors TM" had an errand to run in New Romney, so we settled Sid and all drove down there. And with our usual Sunday walk being cancelled due to Lockdown II we took the dogs for a run on the beach. I wasn’t sure if dogs were allowed there; a passing elderly couple gave me an evil glare as they walked past. I checked with other dog walkers – dogs were fine on the beach; that elderly couple just wished they weren’t. As we walked Pogo found (and rolled in) what looked like half of a dead fish. We watched canoeists getting stuck in the mud. Fudge ran out to help them and got stuck himself. He got free eventually; I didn’t have to go rescue him, for which I was grateful. We played throwing stones into the water. We all had a swim.
I took a few photos as we walked along the shore. We’d originally thought of walking along some footpaths from Old Romney church but had decided against that idea as the long grass would get the dogs wet. Instead we had three hounds all dripping sea water and covered in sand.
We went back to my car where we did our trick of “boot dogs” and came home where we did “bath dogs”, and it wasn’t long before they were all snoring. With a little time on my hands I played Lego. Years ago Jose got me the Lego Krusty Krab set. I finally put the thing together today. I had a vague plan to see what it looked like, then cannibalise it to build a generic shop in my Lego town. But once it was made I decided that it could go into Lego world as it was. I’m not sure about Mr Krab’s patty-mobile, but the café itself looks rather good. You can see photos of my Lego world by clicking here.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s episode of “Taskmaster” (which was rather fun) and a re-run of “Red Dwarf – The Promised Land” (which wasn’t). Not that I don’t like “Red Dwarf”…
To be honest I liked it when it first came out over thirty years ago, but in the intervening years the jokes have been done to death. The writers really should have learned from “Fawlty Towers” and stopped when on a high…
9 October 2020 (Monday) - Before the Night Shift
My phone rang with a very distinctive ring tone at twenty past four this morning. It was "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" – could I collect her from the local hospital? Had it been the first fruit of my loin I would have declared “Red Alert” and panic, but (much as I was very worried) I must admit I set off with an air of “what is it this time?”
It was a very foggy dark night; I nearly ran over a cyclist. I screamed at him (at half past four – probably waking the neighbourhood) demanding to know which flavour of half-wit cycles in the fog in the middle of the night dressed entirely in black with no lights on his bike (that’s not “lights with flat batteries”, that’s “no lights at all”). He replied with a half-hearted “f… off” but I think he realised what an idiot he was. On reflection I think I asked a valid question.
I got to the hospital only a quarter of an hour after I’d been summoned and found the most recent fruit of my loin loitering outside. She was in fine spirits. Apparently whilst enjoying a cup of tea at some stage yesterday evening "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" had inhaled it (rather than drunk it) and nearly drowned in it. The nice people at the hospital feel that most (but not all) of the tea had come out of her lungs and had given her antibiotics just to be sure that she didn’t develop pneumonia.
We put the world to rights as we drove through thick fog to Folkestone. I deposited her at her flat, came home, and I had just fallen asleep when she phoned me to see if I’d got home safely.
I then lay awake for an hour or so.
I made myself some toast and peered into the Internet. I’d had a flurry of “likes” and comments on the pictures of beach and Lego that I’d posted yesterday, but there wasn’t much on Facebook this morning. Had everyone really done nothing over the weekend? I wonder if there is a reason for so few people posting – a friend posted some meme the other day about not checking in to places on Facebook because that tells burglars that you are out. Seriously? I couldn’t possibly imagine anyone on my Facebook friends list taking a jemmy to my back door. What kinds of “friends” do some people have?
Fudge was clearly asking to go out (dogs really do ask to go out) so I took the hounds to Orlestone Woods. We had a (mostly) good walk. Fudge did straggle a bit, but that’s the whole idea of going to the woods. Lots to see and lots to sniff at.
We did meet one other person and her dog. I could see there was the possibility for disaster as she put her dog onto the lead when two hundred yards distant so I blew the whistle and got my lot together and leaded them up. We passed without physical harm, but the tiny little woman was being dragged about by one of the biggest Alsatians that you ever did see. Why do so many small people have such huge dogs? This woman was using all of her might and was barely managing to force the dog to follow her. My hounds are no angels, but at the end of the day I am stronger than they are (mind you it comes close with Pogo).
We came home; I popped up the road to the corner shop for a sandwich for overnight and pastries for morning coffee, then settled down with my lap-top as the dogs snored around me.
I deployed Munzees, then tried to contact the power company. Two weeks ago they told me that my “smart meter are giving us the incorrect reads and it seems that your smart meter need to be commissioned”. Someone was going to contact me in a day or so. No one has been in touch. But this morning their live chat thingy wasn’t working. Ho hum… So I wrote up a little CPD until mid-day. When I went to bed.
I stayed in bed for four hours despite two Amazon deliveries and a DPD (I think) pick-up, all of which were announced by a flurry of barking. And Treacle tried to wake me because she wanted to go bother the rats.
I’m still tired from last Friday’s night shift – and now I am off to another…
10 November 2020 (Tuesday) - Bit Tired
The night shift was busier than I would have liked it, but I'm not complaining. As I drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about how President-elect Joe Biden is being seen as the last hope for the struggling Brexit negotiations. Personally I don’t see how. He doesn’t take office until three weeks after the deadline for getting it all sorted. In any case, the UK voted for Brexit, and part of that is the closure of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic. And after years of strife the Good Friday agreements were clear that there would be no border checks between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic. Brexit and the Good Friday agreements are mutually exclusive. I must admit to a degree of amazement here. Did no one *really* not see this one coming?
And soon-to-be-ex-President Trump is starting his legal campaign to have the American election declared null and void. He must be either incredibly arrogant or incredibly stupid. It is interesting how over the course of a week he has gone from being a figure of ridicule to a figure of pity.
There was also concern expressed that over lock-down, many nursery-aged children have regressed. Some have supposedly lost the ability to use a knife and fork, and some now apparently need nappies where once they didn’t. I can’t help but wonder if this is true, or if someone has suddenly realised how late many children develop. As a cub scout leader we used to find every year that about a third of eight year-olds couldn’t use a knife and fork and that about a quarter of them had little (if any) bladder control.
Once home I took the dogs down to the woods where we had a good walk. It was rather muddy, and Fudge did straggle somewhat. But we walked for nearly two miles (I think that’s the distance – I must measure it!) and only met one other group. And that group was the chap with two red setters who doesn’t mind that Pogo barks at him.
Whilst we were out Pogo also barked at nothing. He spent at least five minutes randomly barking into thin air for no reason that I could fathom. Eventually I went and dragged him onward.
I wonder what had rattled him?
I went to bed for a while, eventually being woken by the commotion that goes hand-in-hand with every time the doorbell rings.
Over a lunch of hot cross buns I peered into the Internet. Not much had happened whilst I’d been snoozing. So with a little time on my hands I rather amazed myself by adding links from Blogger to my Untappd and Vivino accounts, so if anyone wants to know what I’ve been drinking recently feel free to click on either of the links to the right of the blog entries (this won’t work if you are reading from the backup blog website – if you are, have a look here). After all, I do like to record what I’ve done; if only to have "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" roll his eyes in despair at some point in the future.
I spent the afternoon ironing and watching episodes of “Time Gentlemen Please”, then once "er indoors TM" had done with work for the day we built the new rat house. The old one was fine, but we both felt it was a bit small.
I never wanted dogs; I certainly never wanted rats. But they are both (all) rather sweet little things.
11 November 2020 (Wednesday) - Rostered Day Off
I slept for eight hours last night. The soporific effects of a night shift and a bottle of red wine are quite amazing.
Once awake I went downstairs and let Sid out. I say “let” Sid out. The other dogs need to be let out as they ask to go out. Sid needs to be “sent”. I got him out in the nick of time; he started dropping turds almost the moment he was out the back door.
I thought I could either have my brekkie and wait for dog brekkie and generally waste the best part of an hour, or I thought we might go for our morning constitutional right away. We went right away.
We drove down to Orlestone Woods where the car park was surprisingly busy. Loads of cars; all parked somewhat haphazardly. Had people parked a little more thoughtfully then we could have parked a lot closer to the path into the wood. We have this trick of (once the walk is over) having the dogs jump into the boot where we put leads on and have a treat. But (obviously) I’m not happy having them off the leads running through the car park. But I can’t complain; we only had to walk ten yards of car park.
We had a good walk; we bumbled and snuffled and shouted at squirrels that were safe up in the trees. Despite all the cars in the car park we only met one other bunch – the nice lady with the two spaniels who we’ve met before. We exchanged pleasantries. For all that I like Orelstone in that we can walk and rarely meet another person, I also like it because most of the other dog-walkers that we meet understand what dogs are like. There are few “precious princesses” down there.
We came home and had our brekkies. It wasn’t long before the hounds were all snoring, and I made myself some toast and peered into the Internet. Facebook seemed to be heaving with those “I’m always there for you” memes which exhorted everyone to share them. I never share that sort of thing. I suspect few people ever find out who their true friends are. When I really needed help, friends of twenty years turned their back on me. People I barely knew bent over backwards to help.
I also saw an advert for one of those mail-order razor blade companies. They claim their product are the cheapest on the market, but then expect you to change the blade with a rather keen regularity. Bearing in mind Gillette reckon their razors are good for five weeks, I’m not buying something that only lasts seven days. And whilst I’m at it– the next time you need razor blades, buy from Gillette directly. Take the razors I use for example. They will post a ten-pack to you for about ten quid cheaper than the supermarkets sell them. Did you know that? I didn’t. There you are – I’ve saved you a tenner every year. You can buy me a pint as a thank-you.
I deployed a couple of Munzees, then took Fudge to the vet. We arrived, and had our weigh-in. Fudge weighs nine point six kilograms which is a healthy weight for him. I suppose that having seen him like a barrel for much of his life means that what is actually a healthy weight looks like skin and bones to me. We hadn’t been sitting waiting for long when the receptionist asked (with a smile) if I’d done my selfie yet. Apparently for all the customers they get, very few do selfies and check in on Facebook. I am one of the incredibly small minority that do. They’ve asked me to include all the reception staff in our next “vet selfie”.
Fudge got his claws clipped, and got his booster shots too. The vet seemed to think he was doing OK.
The selfie I posted onto Facebook got quite a few comments from friends whose vets don’t allow them in with the animals. It would seem that most vets have you phone them once you are in the car park, then the reception staff come out, take the animal in, and bring the creature back out when they have finished.
What’s the point of that? What with Fudge’s spondylosis and chronic kidney failure I want to talk to the vet about how he is doing, to ask questions and to hear directly from the vet. I don’t want to be fobbed off and left waiting in the car park.
The vet we use is in Pets at Home which was handy. I needed more training treats. Just as I picked up the packet, the two-minute silence was announced. Have you ever observed the two-minute silence in a pet shop? It was an odd experience, to say the least.
We hadn’t been home long when "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" came to visit. They wanted to see the new rat house, which got their seal of approval. I got us all KFC, and we spent the afternoon watching the Cartoon Network channel. Have you seen it recently?
What a load of tripe.
There was “Gumball” which features a cat and a rabbit who seemed to have had various strange offspring including a goldfish. There was “Teen Titans” which had to be seen to be believed, and there was “Apple and Onion” who lived in a town featuring all sorts of animate food including half a pound of butter, a pot noodle and a Cornish pastie. It kept a six-year-old amused, but I slept through a lot of it.
I bet I don’t sleep later…
12 November 2020 (Thursday) - Early Shift
I didn't really sleep that well last night.
Was it "er indoors TM"s night-long battle with
the dogs, or was it because I had an alarm set? I gave up trying to sleep and
was up well before that alarm would have gone off. I scoffed a bowl of
granola as I watched an episode of "Time Gentlemen Please",
then had my usual rummage of the Internet. A friend was posting on Facebook about
how easy it is to lose touch with people. This made me think - what with
lock-down and various family calamities (which I have rather glossed over
on here) I've not been that good at keeping in touch with people myself
over the last eighteen months. I really should remedy that.
I eventually found my car. I'd had to park it some distance from the house. The parking bay outside had been closed so that the water company can fix the leak in the water pipe over the road from home. It had been leaking quite impressively for months (if not years) and needed attention. The water people were supposed to fix it today. I am reliably informed they finally showed up at mid-day, then sat around waiting for some drain-pumping truck to arrive
As I drove up the motorway through a rather cold and dark morning the pundits on the radio were commenting sagely on the news on the day (as they do). Apparently chums of the ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn feel that the Labour party should apologize for their policy toward Brexit in the period after the referendum. I can't say that I agree, bearing in mind they didn't actually have a policy(!)
There was also a lot of talk about Lee Cain. Up until today pretty much no one had ever heard of him. Apparently he is one of the Prime Minister' unelected advisors who has resigned supposedly before he got pushed since the Prime Minister's "live-in partner" (is that the correct phrase?) doesn't like him very much.
Democracy - can't beat it!!!
And then after the frankly amazing news that a vaccine against COVID-19 may well be available before the New Year, Linda Lusardi has crept back from obscurity to denounce it. This really is one of the things that is wrong with our society, isn't it? A lot of the very people who should be having the vaccine now will turn it down on the strength that someone they used to fancy forty years ago thinks it is a bad idea, even though she has absolutely no scientific background to support her utterly spurious opinion. So many people value the opinion of celebrities over that of anyone who actually knows what they are talking about, even when the celebrity in question's only talent was for flopping out the jubblies.
(Not that I'm averse to jubblies being flopped out)
I took a little detour on my way to work today. A part of the ongoing Munzee Clan War I needed to "do" five Munzees that haven't been Munz-ed in over a year. There were three not that far from work. I got to the location of each and found that the reason that they hadn't been Munz-ed was that they had all gone missing. So I replaced them and "did" them and everyone was happy. I even got a little thank-you message from one of the people whose Munzee I'd replaced.
Compare that to geocaching where the done thing is to not lift a finger to help anyone, and sit back watching the hobby slowly die.
I got to work. Work was odd. Having done quite a bit of night work (on my own) recently, it was strange to have a lot of people about the place. A colleague was showing off photos of her daughter's home-made poppy. Her daughter' school had asked children to wear home-made poppies yesterday for Armistice Day since the head teacher had announced that "proper" poppies (bought from the British Legion) were a source of COVID-19 infection.
Personally I found myself wondering which ex-topless model had told the head teacher this little gem of wisdom (!). If a head teacher spouts this sort of crap, what hope for the future?
With work worked I took a little detour on my way home (five miles in the wrong direction) to “do” two more Munzees that haven't been Munz-ed in over a year. That didn’t take long; that part of the monthly Munz challenge is now sorted.
I came home and took a little while to find somewhere to park my car now that there is a big hole in the road opposite my house. Mind you I did chuckle when I saw that not-so-nice-next-door had ignored the parking restrictions and just abandoned her car next to the “Police – No Parking” bollards. And when I say “abandoned” I really do mean “abandoned” and not “parked”. I would not be surprised to hear that she’s never passed a driving test -she really is that bad behind the wheel.
She’s a strange woman. She practices her piano for over an hour every day and has shown no improvement in fifteen years. She is clanging away as I type this. But I’m not complaining; all the time she is making such an awful row, our dogs can all bark with a clear conscience…
13 November 2020 (Friday) - At The Dentist
I did have a vague plan to take the dogs out really early this morning. But I slept rather later than usual and woke to find it was pouring with rain, so I thought better of that idea.
I phoned the dentist only to get their answering machine. Last night a back tooth snapped in half. Their website claimed that they opened at eight o’clock; the overnight answering machine was still in action at ten past eight. I eventually gave up on phoning after the thirty-second phone call and walked down the road to the dentist. I knocked on the door and some young girl told me I had to have an appointment. I asked how I would get one of them bearing in mind that their answer machine was on. She said she’d turn it off. I asked if she wanted me to phone from their door-step; she simpered.
So I phoned for a thirty-third time and got a different recorded message. Interestingly this one gave contact details for an out-of-ours service which the other one didn’t. You would think that the details of the emergency twenty-four hour dentist would be on the message they have on at night, wouldn’t you? Had I known of an out-of-hours dental service I would have phoned it. However the answer machine I got last night just said to phone NHS 111.
Eventually I navigated their “press 1 – press 2” labyrinth and got to speak to the receptionist who pretended not to see me staring at her through the window from five yards away. She came up with an appointment for ten past nine, so I went home for half an hour.
I went back down the road and waited outside the dentist’s for five minutes until someone had the good grace to open the door. As I was waiting I was chatting with another chap who was waiting to go in. He told me he’d recently moved to Ashford, he’d not been a patient with that dentist for long, and how he thought he made a mistake signing up with them.
Once in I had the embarrassing ritual of all the COVID-19 testing and questioning whilst all the reception staff wore their face masks as neck warmers. Unlike on my last visit I was allowed to keep hold of my wallet and phone, and I was soon siting in the dentist’s chair. He had one look inside my gob, told me that one of my back teeth had cracked in two, and that it had to come out. Was I free today?
I told him that I was. He called up his diary and told me that he would pull the tooth at half past eleven. I should come back then, and on my way out I should tell the receptionist that I would be back.
I told the receptionist that the dentist had instructed me to come back at half past eleven. With a rather smug smile she told me that he wasn’t free at half past eleven. I (amazingly politely) suggested that she might like to have the argument with the dentist and not with me, so she did. And after a couple of minutes (with a face like a slapped arse) she confirmed that I was booked in for half past eleven.
Seeing that the rain had stopped, and having a couple of hours to kill I took the dogs down to the woods. There were a lot more cars in the car park than usual, but Orlestone Woods is a big place, and much of our standard walk takes us along some of the smaller paths that most people avoid.
We met one young woman with two spaniels who barked at us. She was mortified and so apologetic and was incredibly relieved to find that I really didn’t mind being barked at. We got chatting; her dogs are just like Pogo and Treacle. It had never occurred to her that the noisier one was sticking up for the quieter one.
We had a good walk, but the overnight rain hadn’t gone unnoticed. We came home and did bath-dogs as they were filthy.
I made "er indoors TM" a cuppa, then looked over the road. The parking bay outside our house was still empty apart from not-so-nice-next-door’s car, and the hole in the other side of the road was devoid of any activity. I’ve seen this happen up our road before. There is little co-ordination between the gang that digs the hole and the gang that does the fixing. So a hole can be dug and left open for several days before any fixing gets done.
And then I went back to the dentist. The receptionist wanted to do all the COVID-19 questionnaire again. I assured her that nothing had changed in the last two hours, and there was then a mini-conference behind the reception desk. Four secretaries (all wearing face masks as neck warmers) decided that their new policy was that the questionnaire only needed to be filled out once a day. I would have thought that some sort of expert opinion might have been useful in the decision-making process, but what do I know,
I got called in to see the dentist. He gave me some injections, and after twenty minutes of rather nasty crunching sounds he announced the tooth was mostly out. One of the roots was fused into my jaw-bone, but that shouldn’t be an issue. If it is problematical he can refer me to the hospital where they can cut into the bone under general anaesthetic. I didn’t like the sound of that, and said I thought I might just see how it goes. Something similar was suggested on previous extractions and all turned out well. In the meantime the dentist has told me that if it gives me any gyp I am to go back to see him regardless of what the receptionists say.
My dental surgery is odd… the reception staff and the organisation are lacking (to say the least) but the dentist himself is good, and being just down the road makes it rather convenient. And trying to change dentist with all the COVID-19 stuff going on would be rather tricky.
I came home and took myself off to bed where I dozed for five hours. I would have slept better had the dogs not been barking like things possessed for much of the afternoon. I wish they wouldn’t do that.
I’m off to the night shift soon. I did think about phoning work to tell that about my (ex) tooth and try to pull a sickie, but I’m doing tonight to cover someone else who couldn’t do it…
14 November 2020 (Saturday) - After the Night Shift
Last night’s night shift went rather well. Apart from a minor run-in with an anti-Kp(a) (a member of the Kell blood group system!) very little of note happened. Mind you I had a pot noodle for whatever it is you call the three o’clock meal. Usually I have a sandwich then, but what with a rear molar missing I thought a sandwich might have been a tad ambitious. In retrospect I think the pot noodle was ambitious.
As I drove home the pundits on the radio were pontificating on the news of the day. There was a lot of talk about the sacking/resignation of Dominic Cummings. The antics of the chap have been headline news because of the position he holds (held). He has been Prime Minister’s chief advisor despite being unelected in any sort of popular vote. He got paid close on a hundred thousand pounds for his “advice”, and there’s over a hundred other such advisors. I would have thought that the whole idea of a democracy is (surely) that the nation’s leader is advised by those we elect, not those he appoints?
There was also talk about how the government has announced that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned within a decade. I suppose it needs doing, but will electric cars be feasible by then? Personally I doubt it.
I got home and went to bed. I didn’t sleep well. “Red Alert” was declared a few times too often by the canine members of the household.
I got up, made toast, and peered into the Internet. It was much the same as it ever is.
Despite my phone giving me a “yellow alert” warning of rain we drove down to Brockhill park where (by one of life’s happy co-incidences) we ran into "My Boy TM"’s in-laws. Bearing in mind the current COVID-19 rules we had a little socially-distanced walk. Several passers-by gave us odd looks as we went round the lake; were we an illegal gathering? I don’t think so. I’ve read the rules a few times now, and they are vague at best. It is quite acceptable to chat with random strangers that you meet when out; I do it quite often when out with the dogs. So why not chat with family if you happen to run into them? We’ve not met up for months – it was good to catch up. But odd. Is conducting bellowed conversations from a government-sanctioned distance just to placate the “Karen from Facebook”s to become the new normal?
Mind you have you ever tried to get dogs to socially distance? Our wolf-pack was so happy to meet Rolo and Marley.
We said our goodbyes and came home. I gave the dogs a quick bath (they were filthy) and made myself a cuppa whilst I had another look at the Internet. I’d seen an advert for getting your dogs drawn as cartoons, so I spent an age getting the exact photo I wanted to be cartoon-ified, and spent a while deciding on the right canvas size... then saw that whoever it was that was doing it wanted a hundred and fifty quid. They can go whistle.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a particularly good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery”. When the new series started on October 16, I described the episode as “utter crap”. But this evening’s episode was perhaps one of the best Star Trek episodes I have ever seen That show has improved beyond all belief in just one month (and that is speaking as a life-long trekkie with trekkie tattoos).
15 November 2020 (Sunday) - Insurance
A combination of the noise of the rain and Fudge’s whinging woke me at four o’clock. I didn’t think he’d want to go out in the rain, but he did, and for some odd reason he didn’t want to come back in. I had to chase him back inside; he really did want to play silly beggars in the dark and in the rain.
We went back to bed where I slept until after nine o’clock.
As I went to let the dogs out I saw a puddle by the back door. Had one of the dogs been taken short? And then I felt a drip. I looked up. There were drips of water on the ceiling. The roof was leaking. That was a pain in the glass. I made toast, and waited for the insurance people’s office to open.
I eventually got through to some woman who claimed to be called “Marshanay” (!) who seemed to be under the impression that my insurance company (Hastings Direct) didn’t offer insurance, and wondered if I might like to be put through to someone else. That “someone else” being either a “premier account”, an “underwriter” or an “agent”. From what “Marshanay” was saying it would seem that Hastings Direct aren’t actually what I would call an insurer. She implied that they act as a middleman, taking my money and getting someone else to do the insuring. After a lot of arguing I told her to stop using technical terms and to connect me with someone who could fix the roof. This seemed to be beyond her ability to comprehend and she said she would put me through to Hastings Direct. I thought that was who I’d dialled in the first place; apparently not. Apparently I’d dialled some call centre which forwards calls out to people working at home.
I got through to someone who actually did work for Hastings Direct and she put me through to “Nick” in the home emergency department. He assured me that page one hundred and nine of my policy said that flat roofs weren’t covered. I can distinctly remember telling them that up to thirty per cent of the house had a flat roof.
I went outside and had a little look-see at the roof. I can’t see what the problem is, but then I’m not a roofer. Fortunately one of the family is. Hopefully we can hold out until Elliott can get to us.
Ironically I had a letter from Hastings Direct yesterday telling me that the house and contents insurance was up for renewal. Bearing in mind that earlier in the year they flatly refused to help when the front door lock was playing up, and that today they said my flat roof wasn’t covered I thought I might shop around. After eight minutes on confused dot com I got a quote from Sainsburys Bank which offered all that I had from Hastings Direct, which *does* cover locksmiths and flat roofs, and was one hundred and fifty quid cheaper than what I was currently paying.
I took great pleasure in phoning Hastings Direct and telling them to get bent. When the chap asked why I was leaving I told him about the lock and the flat roof. He then insisted that we were covered for both and put me through to someone who could supposedly sort the roof. After another ten minutes I got through to someone who took my details and said they would be in touch tomorrow. I quibbled with her and got put through to the home emergency line. The nice lady there too my details for seemingly the millionth time and put me on hold whilst she looked up the flat roof bit. She was insistent I wasn’t covered.
After three and a half hours of being passed from one incompetent to another I gave up.
"er indoors TM" made coffee and served up the last of the buns that Maria had sent us. It was something of a novelty to have "er indoors TM" make the coffee – ever since she started working from home I’ve been the tea boy.
Seeing how the forecast monsoon had fizzled out and that the weather had chirped up we took the dogs out. Bearing in mind how wet the beach or the woods would have been, we went round the park. In retrospect I would rather have gone to the woods and bathed the dogs afterwards. The park was awash with people who were treating their dogs as “precious princesses” and were glaring at us as we passed and didn’t understand that dogs like to play. There were no end of people who made strange noises (for no explicable reason) as we passed which upset the dogs. It was all rather hard work.
As we walked past the toilets we saw someone had painted a rather pretty mural which Pogo barked at quite vociferously. Cynically I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before the thug element defaces it.
As I walked I kept up a constant grumble about how wonderful life must be working in insurance or meteorology. “Yes you are covered, no you are not, who knows? – I don’t!”. “Rain, shine, what’s the difference?” Life must be so easy for them, as opposed to what I do where an error can be the difference between life and death. Again I can’t help but wonder if I made the right career choice. Again I wish I’d done something where I could stuff it up beyond all belief, no one would care, and I’d get far more money. Not that I’m bitter…
We came home where "er indoors TM" boiled up some cheese on toast. She enjoyed hers in peace and tranquillity; I found myself with a canine audience who were intently watching my every move. The dogs know who is the soft touch, and had far too much of what was supposed to be my lunch. They didn’t go scrounging round anyone else today. Odd, that (!)
With lunch scoffed I got out the ironing bord and spent the afternoon doing the ironing. As I slaved away I watched a DVD. “Doctor Who and the Daleks” was one of the first films I ever saw at the cinema. I think it is fair to say the film hasn’t stood the test of time. Had the goodie-aliens not been so camp and had Roy Castle’s character not been so slapstick then just maybe it might have been better.
I wasn’t expecting to lose a tooth on Friday. I wasn’t expecting a leaking roof today. It is common knowledge that disasters come in threes… I wonder what tomorrow holds?
16 November 2020 (Monday) - Hanky Panky
I slept like a log, for which I was grateful. Over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “Time Gentlemen Please” then had my usual peer into the Internet.
Apparently Des O’Connor died yesterday. My cousin was posting about the matter on Facebook and relating an incident in which he goosed up her arse. She didn’t seem to be unduly bothered about it either at the time or now. I might just claim this as a “lame to fame” - how many people have a cousin the arse of which was once goosed up by Des O’Connor?
Other than my cousin’s reminiscing about her goosing and a rather interesting article on the fastest forms of transport (the TARDIS only came in second place!) there wasn’t much else of note on Facebook this morning. There were a *lot* of advertisements though. Many of them were for custom-made stuff which would come from America for a small fortune. I would have thought that Facebook would have targeted the adverts a bit better, but when I clicked the “why am I seeing this”, every time it said that the seller wanted to teach people in the UK. Go figure. And quite a few adverts were for a company called “Calzedonia” which featured young ladies wearing pairs of tights and nothing else. I thought about complaining to the Facebook feds on grounds of morality, but seeing how they have only just removed the warning that appeared every time I logged in to my Facebook account I thought it better not to rattle their cage.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Prime Minister is now self-isolating as he's been in touch with someone who's tested positive for COVID-19. Several questions emerge from this - why isn't he doing all his meetings by video conferencing? Why does he need to self-isolate if he's already had the disease? Has he actually had the disease? There's probably valid answers to all these questions, but all of which (in one way or another) contradict what the government has said, don't they?
There was also talk of how there are two super-labs under construction. However there wasn't much talk about what else these super-labs will do other than COVID-19 testing. But when you look into it, the repertoire quoted covers a lot of testing currently done in hospital laboratories. Is the government looking to (yet again) cut what happens in NHS labs? You really would have thought they would have learned their lesson from the COVID-19 testing debacle, wouldn't you?
And the "Thought for the Day" made me roll my eyes. Yes - it would be a better world if everyone was decent to everyone else. But people should be decent because they should realise it is the right thing to do, not because they should be terrified of divine retribution from the vicar's imaginary friend.
I got to work, and pausing only briefly to stick a bar code onto a lamp post I was very soon doing my thing. As I did my thing we had a minor English lesson. Working with many people for whom English is a second language there are occasionally misunderstandings; we all of us had a chuckle as I explained the intricacies of the phrase "hanky panky". I was glad for a chuckle today as I spent much of the day in great discomfort as the elastic in my pants had gone.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of the new series of “The Crown”. For all that I liked it, and it *is* a good show, the episodes are a tad long.
Mind you, I’m looking forward to the next one…
17 November 2020 (Tuesday) - Rostered Day Off
I got up and spent a rather frustrating time chasing Sid round the garden, had a shave then chased him round the garden again. As I ate my toast Sid was shouting his protests from the kitchen. He wanted to come out of there, but having “done” nothing outside I wasn’t going to have Sid crap on the living room carpet again.
"er indoors TM" got up and she too chivvied Sid round the garden but to no avail.
I peered into the Internet and saw the same half dozen posts shared on dozens of Facebook groups. The same meme about dogs on six dog groups, the same obscure “Sparks” album cover on ten “Sparks” groups, the same grinning idiot brandishing a carp on a dozen fishing groups. No matter what the subject area, there are so many groups about each one on Facebook. All created by people who’ve had arguments with people in others and have started their own spin-off group. And each group filled with people who don’t actually *do” whatever it is that the group is about but just argue about it instead.
A friend had posted an article by the BBC about the forthcoming demise of the petrol-fuelled car. I don’t know the first thing about cars; electric or otherwise…. But stopping the production of petrol cars within the next ten years? What would this mean for someone (like me) who has a sixty-mile round trip to work every day with no practical public transport alternative and no facility either at home or at work for charging an electric car? As I say, I don’t know the first thing about cars but it looks to me like eking out the petrol and then being forced into early retirement. If it happens. With forty per cent of the UK’s houses not having off-street parking, how practical is charging an electric car going to be?
We got the leads onto some of the dogs, and was just about to settle Sid when he crapped on the carpet. It didn’t take long to clear up, and (while I still have a car) we all went out. Usually I would go to the woods as the dogs can run free. But we had to have a bath after we went there last time, and there’s been torrential rain since. So instead we drove out to Great Chart. I have a “backup walk for when it is wet” which goes from the cricket pitch out to the river and back. A there-and-back walk of about a mile and a half which is on gravelled and firmer ground and is idea for when the weather is against us… We got half-way “there” only to find the path was flooded.
We came home.
With a rostered day off I could have got on working in the garden but all I would have done would have been to stir mud. I could have tried to bodge the roof, but I really wouldn’t know where to start. Instead I went up the corner shop to get cake for us.
"er indoors TM" scoffed hers as she worked. She’s been working from home for some months now and seems to love it. I sparked up my lap-top and fiddled about. I did a little Christmas shopping, wrote up a little CPD, then went up to the attic room where I played Lego for a bit. Some time ago I got a vintage Lego London bus; I’ve been meaning to add to it for some time. Today I opened it up, expanded the driver’s cab a little, added a driver, a conductor on a footplate, and some passengers. A simple enough thing to do; it only took me an hour. But (if nothing else) it was company for the rats. They seem content enough up there, but I worry about them getting lonely.
On Sunday I watched a film. “Doctor Who and the Daleks” was rather lame. I thought about watching the sequel film, but instead I watched the DVD of the sequel TV series. “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” was better than “Doctor Who and the Daleks”, but in all honesty only better in the same way that constipation is better than diarrhoea.
As we watched my sister-in-law phoned. On Friday my nephew had gone missing. Over the years he’s been hard work. and we all expected him to turn up at some point over the weekend. He didn’t. He’s now been missing long enough for the police to officially get involved. The Facebook post from the Hastings Observer has been shared over four hundred times… the “share” I did has been further shared so many times that the Hastings Observer’s Facebook page has declared me a top fan.
If anyone sees Alfie, do let me know. He might be a little sod, but he’s *our* little sod.
18 November 2020 (Wednesday) - Nephew's Been Found
I slept well; over a bowl of granola I watched an episode of “Time Gentlemen Please” then sparked up the Internet to see what had happened overnight. The post I’d put up last night about my missing nephew had been shared thirty-two times, and the original post from the Hastings Observer had been shared over five hundred and sixty times. Interestingly overnight he had accepted my friend request on Facebook so I knew he couldn’t be very far off the radar.
With not much else of note on the Internet I got myself ready for work and set off.
It was rather dark as I set off to work this morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Prime Minister has put his foot in his mouth when he said that devolution in the United Kingdom had been a disaster. Personally I think he is right. Devolution, Brexit... surely at the time when the entire world should be coming together as one, the entire world is fragmenting into petty squabbling clans.
There was also talk about how Donald Trump is looking to make sweeping changes to American foreign policy in his last days in office. Rather than getting ready to hand over, he looks to be stirring up a shitstorm for his successor. There was also talk of the legal challenges he's made about the American election which have gone against him, and how he's going to have to pay up eight million dollars for one recount because the state in question (Wisconsin) can find no grounds for a recount.
I got to work for the early shift, and hadn't been there long when I got a message. My missing nephew had turned up in Reading (of all places!) in the small hours. My brother and sister in law had gone to collect him and had been stuck in a traffic jam for six hours.
Work was work – I spent (probably) far too long peering out of the window watching the antics of a load of small birds. There is a charm of goldfinches (collective term!!) that live in the tree outside the window and spend quite a bit of time spuddling in the puddles on the flat roof outside the other window. They are quite sweet little things.
An early start didn’t make for quite such an early finish today. Having been reliably informed that last week I’d been in close proximity to someone who has since gone down with COVID-19 I was sent for a swabbing. The nice man rammed his protuberance down my throat and up my nose and told me I’ll get the thumbs-up (or down) tomorrow.
I got home to see my parcel had arrived. A couple of weeks ago I ordered some Lego light bricks from a chap in Belgium. They arrived today. I’ve got a vague idea to rebuild my Lego church to give it stained glass windows.
And I also got home to a message. A fellow hunter of Tupperware was going to be walking one of my geo-series at the weekend. He’d seen one of them had reports of a wet paper log and had offered to replace it and wondered if there was any other maintenance he might do. There is… Some people were complaining about the given co-ordinates of one of the hides being mildly out, but no one has actually told me what they feel the co-ordinates should be. And other people have been quibbling about the given hint of one of the hides. Everyone says the hint is wrong; no one tells me what it should be. As my mate walks round he could sort these issues for me and only add less than a minute to his day. For me to make a special journey out there I’d have to give up half a day. It is such a shame that the more vocal element of the Tupperware-hunting fraternity look down on this sort of public-spirited offer.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the second episode of “The Crown” on Netflix. The show has stirred up quite a hornet’s nest though. Obviously the show must be allowed some artistic licence as no one is ever going to know the substance of conversations held between members of the Royal Family. But did the Queen dislike Margaret Thatcher? For all that it was common knowledge during Mrs Thatcher’s terms of office, was this actually true? Or did Prince Charles really say “whatever ‘in love’ means” in his engagement speech?
Personally I can’t help but wonder if the problem is that many people are getting their history lessons from Netflix rather than from their time at school. Perhaps if our schools were better… but that’s a rant I’ve done to death, isn’t it?
19 November 2020 (Thursday) - Kimberley Revisited
I woke up feeling full of energy and raring to go only to see it was twenty past midnight. I then saw every hour of the night. I did doze off at one point only to be woken by Sid’s shouting, but "er indoors TM" went to see what was up with him. I left them to it.
Over a bowl of granola I watched the last episode of “Time Gentlemen Please” then sparked up my lap-top to see if I’d missed much overnight. I didn’t think I had, and I hadn’t really. Mind you I did see a friend was squabbling on Facebook with another friend of his about whether or not the American election had been rigged. This other friend of his seemed to have a rather tenuous grip on reality. He seemed obsessed with some vote-counting machine, and from what he was saying Donald Trump lost this most recent election for the very same reasons that he won the election in 2016. Go figure.
A family member was also still posting misinformation, rubbish and blatant lies about the 5G communication networks, seemingly oblivious that the so-called facts he was posting had been disproved and the so-called experts quoted had long been discredited.
It never fails to amaze me how so many people feel that because something appears in writing on the internet it must automatically be true.
Seeing I’d got the thumbs-up on my COVID-19 swab I went out to find my car. It was rather cold as I set off to work this morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were seemingly obsessed with a “COVID-19 break” for the Christmas period. It would seem that there is to be a five-day total relaxation of all the COVID-19 rules over the festive period so that people can meet up with family and friends and spread the virus to their heart's desire, totally undoing all the efforts of months of staying away from everyone. There was one of the members of the government's SAGE panel being interviewed. Apparently the government's advisors have done some calculations, and the spreading of the virus by a five-day Christmas free-for-all can be compensated for by having a lock-down for the entire month of January. However I got the impression that the expert wasn't supposed to tell the world about the January lock-down.
Perhaps if someone were to ask the virus to take a break over the Christmas period, all would be well (!)... Mind you, bearing in mind how nonsensical the entire response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been I wouldn't be at all surprised if a so-called "expert" did try to negotiate with the virus.
I got to work and did my bit. At tea break I had a message from the Facebook Feds. On 13 October 2019 I had a message (via Facebook) from “Kimberley”. I posted her profile picture to my page and I wrote “This young lady is Kimberly. She’s sent me a friend request on Facebook and has asked if I want to be a member of her WhatsApp sex group. Apparently there are many beautiful women in this group who need sex. And (she says) I will not regret it. It’s even free…because (as she says) “everything is free without any money”.
I’m going to turn down her kind request as I’m not up to it (I’m still off work on sick leave). But if any of my friends would like to “do the dirty deed” with Kimberly I’ll pass on your details…” It would seem that the Facebook Feds have taken me at my word and felt I was being serious. After a little to-ing and fro-ing the automated system sent me a link with which I was able to submit a detailed explanation as to why their bots don’t understand humour, and apparently at some time in December a panel of real people will have a look to see if I really am sexually exploiting “Kimberley”. I wish my back was up to it…
20 November 2020 (Friday) - Watching Telly
After a rather restless night I watched an episode of “People Just Do Nothing” (I do like that show) before sparking up my lap-top.
I perused Facebook (while I still could). I had a message. Last night I’d offered someone some help on a geo-puzzle. This morning I offered more. And then I nearly choked on my coffee. Someone was asking on one of the geo-websites about whether or not you should do the on-line logging with the same date that you find the actual geocache. Someone else had posted about how not doing this was rather bad form, even though they’d caused no end of upset recently when they dated a local film pot with a date when they were on a holiday several hundred miles away.
And I saw that a work-related question I’d posted had stimulated quite a bit of discussion, and (amazingly) not a bit of squabble.
I found my car covered in ice, so I popped back inside to get a bottle of cold water. That shifts ice far quicker and far more successfully than endless scraping does. As I scraped, "new next door" came out and set off to his work on his bike. I would have thought that minus two degrees on a bike was a bit keen.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Chancellor of the Exchequer was considering a pay freeze for public sector workers. Public opinion is a fickle thing, isn't it. It wasn't that long that everyone was standing on the doorstep clapping me like things possessed, and now my promised pay rise is going up in smoke. Call me ungrateful if you will but given the choice of either people standing outside their house bashing their saucepans together or hard cash, I'd rather take the money.
There was also talk about the re-counts in the American election which haven't gone down at all well with Donald Trump and his followers seeing how the recounting (by hand rather than by machine) has just confirmed the original count. Again Donald Trump was being portrayed as a rather sad and pitiful figure – as another David once lamented: how are the mighty fallen.
There was also a lot of talk about the country coming out of lock-down in a couple of weeks. I found myself wondering if the country had gone into lock-down. The motorway signs were all bearing notices about "essential travel only" whilst the motorway was as busy as I've ever seen it.
I got to work for the early shift, did my bit and came home. I had intended to come home via Aldi in Aylesford but the traffic to get into the place was queueing up the road (what was that all about?) so I went to the Aldi in Ashford today for a rather stressful experience. The place was heaving, and not one person in twenty was looking at where they were going or what they were doing. Utterly oblivious to the universe around them, so many people were in their own little world, and looked most indignant when they kept falling over each other.
It was a shame that I got pretty much everything except the granola and biccies which were the only things I’d actually gone to buy.
Once home "er indoors TM" boiled up fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” which I didn’t like very much. I think I am fast coming to the conclusion that I can’t stand the lead character in the show.
And as I ironed I watched the next episode of “The Crown”. Something was “wrong” with the show, but what? This episode featured Mark Thatcher getting lost in the desert, the Argentinian invasion of South Georgia and Princess Diana being heavily pregnant. Thirty seconds on Google showed that these three events were some months apart; they weren’t simultaneous as the show would have had us believe. And that’s what is wrong with the show. It is based on real events, but only *based*. There is a lot of poetic licence involved, and as I can remember the actual events s they happened, I’m having to remind myself this isn’t a history lesson but a made-up story.
Didn’t I say that two days ago?
21 November 2020 (Saturday) - Flat Packed
A rather restless night – when the dogs don’t sleep, nor does anyone else. I gave up trying to sleep and came downstairs where I chased Sid into the garden. He was most indignant about being hoiked out, stood in the back yard with a most offended air and went back inside at the earliest opportunity having done nothing.
I made toast and peered into the Internet. Having completed the November Munzee Clan War yesterday I’d got my rewards and so I was able to deploy a virtual brown onto the Munzee reindeer garden that is slowly coming together near Sevenoaks. Ironically Sid then deployed a non-virtual brown on the kitchen lino (in excitement) as "er indoors TM" came downstairs.
I sent out birthday wishes and seeing not much going on with Facebook I checked my emails for the first time this week. I’ve got an alert set up to tell me if any geocache within thirty miles of home has an archiving request. It makes for interesting reading. A cache near Dover had an archiving request on it as two people had not been able to find it. Only two!! And as is always the way, the person making the archiving request has found over a thousand caches and not hidden anything in the last seven years. The fun is fast being sucked out of this hunting Tupperware game.
The plan was to go for a little walk around the woods between Godinton and Repton, but "er indoors TM" didn’t think to tell me that she’d promised "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" a sewing machine lesson. Had I known this was on the cards I would have taken the dogs out two hours earlier. As it was I took the dogs (on my own) to Orlestone Woods where we had a little walk. A walk which was hard work. The car park was nearly full when we arrived, and the woods were heaving with dog walkers, all of whom had their dogs on leads, and all of whom seemed to be frankly horrified that I’d let my dogs off the lead. “Are you allowed to do that?” one chap asked. Another seemed to be about to burst into tears at the sight of my dogs running loose. Another one was amazed by whistle training. He proudly boasted that his dog *never* comes when called. I asked how he knew that when his dog is never off of the lead; he seemed to miss the sarcasm.
As we drove out of the wood’s car park at mid-day there were cars queuing to get in to the place. I shan’t be going there after ten o’clock again.
I came home, and seeing sewing class still in full flow I spent half an hour clearing up other people’s fallen leaves from the garden. And then, feeling rather grotty, I went to bed for a couple of hours.
Cheryl phoned – could I pop round? We dropped "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" at the railway station and went round to see the first fruit of my loin and his entourage. They had spent the morning trying to build a wardrobe. The instructions said to build the thing on its back then lift the completed wardrobe into place. But there was a problem with this in that the ceiling was in the way. After a little “Right Said Fred” few moments I hit on the idea of building it in place from the floor up. Rather logical really; how else could it be done? "My Boy TM" thought this was a rather good idea. To be honest it was; he forgets that his father is a genius. We had the shell of the thing together in less than an hour. Putting the back on took a little longer and sorting out the sliding doors was quite a game.
"er indoors TM" boiled up some pizza which we scoffed whilst watching two more episodes of “The Crown”. Again the episodes were very good entertainment, but a rather inaccurate history lesson.
I’m still feeling iffy – an early night might be in order…
22 November 2020 (Sunday) - Early Shift
The dogs were still last night for which I was grateful, but I woke twice with the most intense headaches. What was that all about?
I made some toast whilst Sid snored, and leaving him snoring I scoffed it whilst watching another episode of "People Just Do Nothing". I do like the show if for no other reason that it really does capture the essence of how thick people don't realise they are thick.
Talking of which I then sparked up my lap-top and using herculean restraint I stopped myself commenting to a post I'd read on Facebook. A friend was saying that she can't wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A friend of hers was advising against taking the vaccine. She'd "done research" which showed the vaccines weren't safe. Don't you just love all the "Karen"s on Facebook who honestly do think that in misunderstanding something they've read on a crackpot conspiracy theory page on the Internet they suddenly know far more than experts who teach at PhD level. It really is the Dunning Kruger effect in action.
It would be funny if they weren't actually endangering people's lives.
I went out to find my car; it was only three streets away. Today there was no ice to scrape - it was ten degrees warmer this morning than it had been at the same time on Friday morning. I took a little detour to Stanhope before going to the motorway. There was a geocache there and seeing how I'd not logged a find for a couple of weeks I thought I'd better break the slump. There are those who would just fabricate the dates, but I don't like to do that (even though no one else would ever know).
I then set off up the motorway. As always the talk on the radio was of a religious nature. The Archbishop of Canterbury is to take a six-month holiday next year. The Archbishop of York and the Bishop of London will step into the breach for any emergencies that might pop up during that time. I must admit that I'm rather vague as to what the Archbishop of Canterbury actually does that he might need a stunt double for. All I know of the chap is that which Viz magazine takes the piss out of. I expect we will all find out what he does when he isn't there (wherever "there" is) to do it next year.
There was also a lot of talk about the "Muslim Pro" app that you can get for your phone. It translates the Koran into whatever language you want, tells you where Mecca is, and allegedly sells your data to the US military. Leaving aside that I was once told that the Koran shouldn't be translated and should be read in the original Arabic (is that really true?) don't the manufacturers of all apps sell data? Is the BBC just trying to stir it because the word "Muslim" was mentioned? They seem to have a history of doing that.
There was also some frankly ridiculous drivel about since following Brexit the regulations over the welfare of the country's farm animals are now the sole responsibility of the government, and something has been overlooked. The argument went along the lines of because it says in the Bible that all creation worships God, farm animals shouldn't be distracted from their primary pastime of praising the Almighty. Consequently the government should ensure that the animal's welfare is protected to that they can concentrate on saying their prayers. I must admit that when not locked down I spend a lot of time walking in the countryside and I've yet to see a particularly pious pig or any reverent cows or devout horses. Perhaps the European regulations prevented the livestock from being as devout as God intended? Perhaps now they can pursue a life of holiness?
I got to work and had a rather busy shift. As I sat down at one point I felt a little chilly "down below". Somehow or other I'd ripped the arse out of my trousers. Just as well I wear a white coat, isn't it?
Pausing only briefly for petrol I came home. "er indoors TM" had gone to visit relatives and so the dogs were excited to see me. The excitement lasted for less than five minutes and they all went back to sleep, and so did I.
23 November 2020 (Monday) - Before the Late Shift
I slept well but was still awake before dawn. I got up and as I shaved I saw it was getting light outside. Bearing in mind all the normal people that had been swarming round the woods on Saturday I thought an early start might be in order today. I woke those dogs who would be up for a walk, and we drove down to Orlestone Woods. We arrived to find only one other car in the car park. There was quite a bit of littler there though. There is someone who gets McDonalds from the drive-through (presumably), eats it in the car park at Orlestone, and throws the rubbish out the car window when they are done. I wish they wouldn’t. There were also a few empty cider cans too.
We ignored the litter (next time we should take a bin bag) and had a good walk. On Saturday we had been plagued by normal people demanding that the dogs should have been on their leads (it’s the law!!!). Today we went all the way round the woods off of the leads. We had a great time. We made two action videos (whistle training and ditch jumping), we barked at squirrels and also barked at absolutely nothing at all. As we walked we only met one other group – the little old lady with her giant poodle and Jack Russell. We chatted for a few moments. She too has met the normal people who plague the woods later in the day. She smiled as she said that was the reason why she goes out so early (like we do).
As we drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about the demise of Donald Trump. It was hinted that perhaps the reason why he’s so slow to implement COVID-19 precautions in America is a subconscious way of punishing the electorate for not voting him back in. That seemed a rather worrying perspective.
Once home I made some toast and sparked up the lap-top. I’d taken a few photos while we walked. Posting them to Facebook took some doing, but eventually I managed it. I sent out some birthday wishes, and then rolled my eyes at what I read on the Geocaching UK page. Someone had lost a camera and was asking for people to look out for it. Rather than just saying “OK”, there were those that were taking the opportunity to whinge about how anyone could be so careless as to lose a camera. Some people only want to argue… interestingly one of those was someone who was recently banned from one of the Kent geocaching pages. Do these people learn nothing?
Resisting the temptation to tall the squabblers to get knotted I then did a little CPD. That CPD blog gets an amazing amount of views bearing in mind it is incredibly dull. What’s the attraction?
With a little time to spare I popped to Sainsburys. My car windows were a tad grubby and I thought I'd get something to clean them up a bit.
Sainsburys was heaving; hundreds of people with not one looking where they were going. There were quite a few small children too. Shouldn't they have been at school?
I got sandwiches for dinner, I got beer and wine for Christmas... I totally forgot to get anything for cleaning the car's windows. And as is so often the way when on the late shift, pretty much everything of note in my life today was over and done with by mid day.
24 November 2020 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
What could have been a very good night’s sleep was somewhat marred by one of the dogs kicking me in the goolies in the small hours. Something like that makes you sit up and taken notice (both metaphorically and literally).
Bearing in mind how well yesterday’s early walk went I thought I might try it again. We left home a few minutes before sunrise and again had a good walk round Orlestone Woods. The Terrible Twins chased each other and chased squirrels up trees, Fudge straggled as he does. We were only two minutes from the end when we met anyone. When we walked toward where the path does a hairpin bend I could hear the little old lady with the poodle and the Jack Russell telling her dogs to come back. As we came round the corner she exclaimed “Oh – it’s you” and let her dogs off their leads. She too has met the normal people who occasionally can infest the woods and doesn’t want to take chances
As we got back to the car park we met another dog walker of our acquaintance who was clearing up the McLitter that gets thrown around. And we saw the “odd chap” who was still there in his car. I say “odd chap”; he is probably a pleasant enough person. But when we have our early walks we often get there to find him sitting in his car in the car park (with engine off and headlights on), and with walk walked we come back to find him still there. I wonder why.
As we drove home there was some utter drivel on the radio about how snooker players have got the hump. It would seem that efforts to have snooker classified as a “sport” have failed because it isn’t.
Once home I made some toast and peered into the Internet. As always squabbles abounded. Many so-called Doctor Who fans were still complaining about Jodie Whittaker playing the lead part in the show. Personally I’m not impressed with her, but I think I’ve not been impressed with many of the people in the lead role since Colin Baker was sacked in 1986. Sci-fi fans are a funny lot – so quick to complain about that which they profess to love. And they were certainly complaining about the show today. The forthcoming Christmas special has already been dismissed out of hand by many fane even though the show won’t be aired for another month.
There was some rather impressive nastiness on the Lego Facebook pages as some chap (clearly posting under a fake name) was getting rather over-excited and nasty about some video or other in which a Lego car was crashed, and had attracted quite a lot of bad feeling and hatred to himself. I would have thought that the joy of Lego cars is that you *can* do a “demolition derby” without damaging the Lego. Personally I’m rather more miffed at Facebook’s continuing to allow people to use aliases when I’m not allowed to do so myself.
Someone else was whinging about their Lego delivery. Using some app or other they were able to track the delivery driver. When this person posted their whinge the delivery driver had already driven past their house three times, was only on his thirty-eighth delivery, and their delivery was number one hundred and forty.
I wrote up a little CPD then had a look at the monthly accounts. As always I’m not doing that badly really. But (also) as always a *lot* more money would be useful; particularly as it looks like the bathroom roof is going to need a serious overhaul before too much longer.
I went to bed for the afternoon where I slept for three hours. Just after I woke "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" phoned. She’s planning to make a fire pit. I can’t see that one ending well.
Hopefully "er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner soon, then I’m off to the night shift.
25 November 2020 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
The night shift started rather busier than I would have liked and carried on in the same vein. But I’m not complaining; being busy meant the time didn’t drag, and soon I was on my way home. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how much the COVID-19 pandemic has cost us as a nation. Estimates vary, but it is more money than I’ve got.
I made a flying visit to home to collect the hounds, and we went straight to the woods. The car park’s height restriction barrier was open when we arrived, and there were some bulldozers in the car park. I wonder what they are up to? But they didn’t interrupt our walk, which was the main thing.
We were over an hour later getting to the woods today compared to the last two days, and there were more people about. We arrived just as the little old lady with the poodle and Jack Russel was leaving, and as we walked round we met quite a few other dog walkers; fortunately all encounters passed off without “episode”. We met one elderly dog being pushed round in a four-wheeled buggy thingy. I wonder if we might get one for Sid? We saw a bag of dog poo hanging from a tree some twenty yards from the path. Why bag it and hang it from a tree? Why not use a stick to flick it int the undergrowth and bury it with leaf litter? It would mulch down in a few days. And we saw something that amazed me. In the deepest part of the woods two women were trying to train a dog. The poor thing was at the end of the longest lead you ever did see. Both were giving the dog incredibly complicated instructions (I would have asked them to repeat what they were saying, and I speak English!). And both couldn’t understand why the dog was getting the lead tangled amongst the tree trunks. Pogo and Fudge went to investigate; a blast on the whistle called them back. I quite like doing the whistle training when there are ill-behaved dogs about if only so that I can gloat about how (relatively) well behaved my hounds are.
We came home, I had a bit of brekkie, then went to bed. I would rather have not wasted the day asleep, but it was probably better to go to sleep deliberately rather than just nod off. I slept for a couple of hours. I would have slept longer but "er indoors TM" had to go out on a mission and when she went out so the dogs started screaming. Not barking - screaming. I wish they wouldn’t. Mind you they all looked suitably ashamed when I came downstairs to them.
I made myself a cuppa, and then got the ironing board out. I spent a couple of hours doing the ironing whilst watching “People Just Do Nothing”. It is such a good show – I recognise one or two people of my acquaintance as I watch it. This afternoon our heroes went to church for a “christianing”.
As I ironed so my phone beeped. An employment agency wondered if I would be interested in a fixed term contract doing the job I now do, but for double the wages. At first sight this seemed an attractive offer, but the job was in the Orkney Islands.
I think I shall pass on that.
Hopefully "er indoors TM" will boil up some dinner soon and we shall scoff it whilst watching last night’s Bake-Off final. Even if I do know the result… Someone had blabbed the result on Facebook which I saw (by mistake) earlier. I suppose it was rather silly of me to hope to be able to avoid being told the result, but there’s no denying that when I saw that spoiler I wasn’t impressed. I won’t say who posted it, but I am I being *that* petty when I say that the person who posted the spoiler will be getting quite a few spoilers about all sorts of things over the next few weeks?
26 November 2020 (Thursday) - This n That
I came downstairs this morning to an intense smell of dog turds, but despite a vigorous search couldn’t find any. I suspect a Sid-fart. Let’s hope so.
I made toast and watched another episode of “People Just Do Nothing” in which our hero’s girlfriend was looking for a suitable wedding venue. But not just any old wedding venue – one with the right atmosphere and “ambulance” (ambience?). And again I recognised so many people’s mannerisms in the show. What is it with the younger generation these days? Couples will take out mortgages and have children but getting married is too big a step.
It was rather dark and dismal as I set off to work this morning. As I drove there was all sorts of talk about the ongoing pandemic on the radio. There was a lot of discussion about when will we all get over it. But it wasn't "get over" as in "get better", it was "get over" as in "pay for it all". There was also an interview with the shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer who took great delight in finding fault in all that the government has done, but seemed rather devoid of idea or suggestions of her own. But (as always) money is more important than people.
There was also an interview with my MP. He's got the hump because the entire county of Kent has will be put into the highest COVID-19 restriction tier next week. One small part of Kent has the highest COVID-ity in the country and so the entire county pays the price.
There was also a lot of hot air spouted about Christmas and how lock-down is stuffing up the right of people to go out carol singing. Whilst I'm not overly fussed about having the righteous caterwauling on street corners, I'm really keen to bring back urchins squalling carols on the doorsteps in a thinly-veiled rue to extort cash from the public. I used to go carol singing myself fifty years ago and it used to be a good little earner. "My Boy TM" used to go carol-singing from mid-November to supplement his pocket money.
And talking of Christmas I’ve found myself thinking about this “up to three households can meet indoors during a five-day Christmas period of 23-27 December” ruling that has been agreed by the leaders of all four nations of the UK. And on reflection my opinion is that it is utter bollox. Given that we have two children we now have to choose between seeing either my parents or mother-in-law or father-in-law over the Christmas holiday. And whoever we don’t see will probably take offence and with good reason. Mind you … I say “Christmas holiday”; I have only two of those five days off work.
I got to work and (pausing only briefly to stick a Munzee on a lamp post) I got on with the daily round. As I worked there was quite a bit of sniggering. A colleague had to take the day off at short notice as she had "leakage"; I would have chuckled too, but currently suffering the same affliction I know that an iffy roof is no joke.
Having left home in the dark I came home in the dark to a house in uproar. "er indoors TM" was in the throes of taking up the stair carpet and had found splits in the wood on some of the stairs. I suppose this is only to be expected in a house that was built over a hundred and forty years ago. She affixed repairs (with a hammer) then boiled up some dinner and we watched another episode of “The Crown” which again whilst making for good viewing wasn’t particularly historically accurate. The scandal of Katherine and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon came to light in 1987, some three years after Prince Harry was born.
But I stayed awake during it, and staying awake when watching telly is always good…
27 November 2020 (Friday) - New Stair Carpet
With "er indoors TM" having taken up the stair carpet yesterday, walking downstairs this morning was a rather noisy process. I cleared up the turds on the kitchen floor (nice one Sid!), made some toast, and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “People Just Do Nothing” then sparked up my lap-top to have a quick look to see what had happened overnight.
I spent a little while looking at some of the comments on the local Facebook groups. I try not to comment on them – they really are one huge nasty bitter argument. A lot of bad feeling was being expressed at yesterday’s announcement that the entire county will be going into COVID-19 tier three restrictions when lock-down ends next week. I didn’t comment on any of the rather ill-informed comments being expressed but reading them just reaffirmed by heartfelt conviction that democracy is no way to run a country. One woman was incensed that we will have tier three restrictions, and had taken great offence to other people’s suggestions that she was (partly) to blame because of the incessant anti-mask anti-social-distancing diatribes she has been posting all over Facebook for the last few months. Another chap had publicly declared that he will be ignoring any and all tier three restrictions until such time as the Prime Minister pays all of his ongoing household bills and professional expenses. (I can sympathise with that). And it spoke volumes that our own (Conservative) Member of Parliament was asking how it was possible for our town to go into lock-down in tier one and come out in tier three.
There was a rather telling discussion on one of the work-related Facebook groups. People working in a hospital some miles away were whinging at how slow the drivers doing their blood deliveries were. They weren’t happy that the courier firm they used had prioritised cake deliveries over blood deliveries. I’d intimated yesterday that perhaps the bakers pay more than the blood bank. Whilst a lot of people weren’t happy with that, it turned out to be the case. The couriers are running a business, not a charity.
It was again rather dark and dismal as I set off to work this morning. But today the street lights were on. They weren't on yesterday, but (in all honesty) they didn't make much difference today. Energy-saving non-light-polluting street lighting would be such a good thing *if* it actually lit the streets.
As I drove to work there was even more “blah-blah-COVID” on the news. I didn't really pay much attention to it. There is pretty much nothing to say, but the pundits on the radio say it every day. No one likes the forthcoming tier system, a lot of people will ignore the restrictions, but there it is. Pausing only briefly to stick a bar code onto a lamp post and earn five zeds (it's a Munzee thing) I went in to work for the early shift and did what I had to.
An early start made for an early finish and as I headed home I popped into Aldi in Aylesford. Last week I didn’t as the cars were queuing up the road to get in to the place. The queues were a little shorter today, but still ridiculously long. Bearing in mind I know where stuff is in that shop but I don’t know where stuff is in other supermarkets I queued up. I have no idea what the queuing was all about – there was just an epic queue to get into the car park, and an equally epic one to get out again. The car park itself wasn’t busy – there were loads of spaces. And the shop wasn’t busy either. I didn’t have to wait at all at the tills.
Mind you if any of my loyal readers went to Aldi in Aylesford today and went through the second till from the right, I’d disinfect whatever you bought. The woman on that till was wearing the most manky gloves you ever did see. She wasn’t at all impressed when I told the young mother behind me to thoroughly scrub anything that those gloves had touched.
I came home to find that the new carpet had been fitted. It looks rather good. Bearing in mind that we had the loft conversion done round about the turn of the millennium it has only taken us twenty years to get round to carpeting those stairs.
We should have done it years ago…
28 November 2020 (Saturday) - Day Off
I came downstairs admiring the new carpet and chivvied Sid into the garden. It was rather foggy as he bimbled about without a care in the world. We went back inside, I had a shave, and came out of the bathroom to find he’d crapped on the lino. He’s very good with tiddle, but seems to have lost all control over the other end (poor pup).
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. For some inexplicable reason I recently joined a Radio Four – related Facebook group and someone was whinging on there about how no one on that page has anything good to say about the station’s output. Isn’t this true of all fan groups though? No matter what the subject, no one has a good word to say about the show of which they are supposedly a fan. Look at the nastiness in the Doctor Who groups (today!) about the new Dalek design. And the show Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled in no small part by the constantly negative reviews from the so-called fans.
I then rolled my eyes when I saw what a cousin-in-law was posting on-line. Having made a conscious decision to move three hundred miles away to the arse-end of Cornwall, she’s constantly whinging about how far she has to drive whenever she wants to go meet any family or friends. There was quite the rant today about the seven-hour drive that she’s planning for Christmas Eve.
As I fiddled on-line so the doorbell rang. The DPD driver was delivering a parcel with which either he or his mates had been playing football. I’d never seen such a mangled package. I intimated to the driver that I wasn’t impressed. He didn’t actually say “f… off fatso” but his tone certainly conveyed the sentiment.
With the dogs itching to go out we drove over to Godinton where we had a little walk round the estate and woods. A friend had hidden some geocaches over there, and hunting them out gave us a little route for our walk. Some of the hides were a bit tricky; we did have to phone for help on one of them. But we found all that we’d looked for, and the dogs didn’t get that grubby either.
We dropped the dogs home and settled them, then went round to Asda for a bit of shopping. We wanted light bulbs; we ended up spending over fifty quid.
Supermarkets make me laugh at the moment. As you walk through the door there are spotty security guards making sure your face coverings are on, and there are constant announcements over the loudspeakers about keeping your face covered. But only half the shop staff are wearing face masks, and those that are wearing them have them as chin warmers rather than as anything protective. Two or three were wearing visors, which achieved absolutely nothing. Apparently those who wear visors are those who have an exemption from wearing the masks. I wonder if they have told the virus that?
We come home to find the garden waste recycling bin has gone. I wonder who has nicked that.
I spent a little while doing CPD, and since it was hopelessly out of date I had a look at my LinkedIn profile. Isn’t LinkedIn a load of old tripe. I have been recommended for my skills at haematology, Microsoft office and laboratory automation. All very nice, but not one of those recommending me have the faintest idea as to whether I’m any good at those skills. In fact some of those people recommending me have never even met me.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching another episode of Netflix’s “The Crown” which this time would have us believe that two incidents which took place seven years apart were actually in the same week.
And now we are watching “Nativity”. This year Christmas seems to be starting very early. As we walked earlier we saw so many houses with their decorations up. Personally I’m not convinced with the idea. I suspect that those who are currently “decking the halls with boughs of holly” will find that the novelty of Christmas will wear off sometime in mid-December. I hope I’m wrong, but time will tell. It always does.
29 November 2020 (Sunday) - Another Day Off
I sulked a little as I went to the toilet at four o’clock this morning. When "er indoors TM" goes to the loo there is a very noisy mass exodus as the entire wolf-pack follow her. When I go for a pee no one stirs, but I come back to find dogs in the warm patch that I’d left.
I slept for another four hours then got up. My chivvying Sidney into the garden bore fruit today (if you can call Pug turds fruit), and as my toast cooked I shoved a swab up my nose. The NHS has instigated a program of testing asymptomatic staff for the COVID-19 virus. Twice a week I test myself, and if all is well I carry on regardless. What happens if all is not well remains to be seen, but unless the vaccine gets a move on, I’m sure we will find out eventually. After all, these masks and social distancing aren’t at all preventative. Thy are just putting off the inevitable.
For all that I was feeling a tad under the weather, the test was negative. Perhaps I am sickening for something else?
I scoffed toast and peered into the Internet. I sent out a few birthday wishes, and I saw that Dave Prowse (The Green Cross Code Man and Darth Vader) had died. He was eighty-five. I once spent a day standing next to him at the University of London. I was selling a friend’s artwork; he was selling autographs. Neither of us did a roaring trade that day, but he seemed pleasant enough.
For once there wasn’t much else happening on-line.
Elliott arrived to have a look at the leaking flat roof. As he put it right, I pootled in the garden. Perhaps it is the wrong time of year to be mowing the lawn, but with four dogs crapping on it, the grass needs to be short so we can find the turds. I found, fetched and flushed four bucketfuls of the things today.
And with lawn mowed and turds flushed I raked up no end of leaves. It took a couple of hours to mow and rake, and once I’d had enough the garden really didn’t look that different to when I’d started. By then Elliott had done with the roof (for now). There’s still a lot to do, but that will keep until the better weather in the spring. Hopefully the fix will see us through this winter, and a complete new roof will be the subject of a blog entry next spring.
We had a bit of lunch, then took the dogs out for a walk. We drove up to Ashford Warren where the leaf litter was so thick we couldn’t find the footpaths. But we had a good little wander about. There was a geocache we hadn’t found right at the far end of the wood so we went up to see if we could find it. We couldn’t, despite having quite a good hint as to what we were looking for. Mind you the description did say that the co-ordinates given might be a bit squafty, and having since spoken with the chap who’d hidden the thing it would seem that our GPS was about twenty yards awry from his.
We did find the cache that was on the way back to the car though.
We came home, and "er indoors TM" made her Christmas wreath. Whilst we were out she carefully and caringly gathered some of nature’s bountiful harvest (or wantonly ransacked a couple of trees, depending on your personal perspective). The wreath itself looks OK in the piccie – what you don’t see is the boot lace and gaffa tape holding on to the kitchen door. I’ve been charged with attaching it to the front door, and I’ve been told I can’t use nails. I wonder how this will turn out.
Oh – and today is four years since we got Treacle. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" once described her as “a pain in the glass”. He’s not wrong.
30 November 2020 (Monday) - Dull Day
I slept like a log (which was a result). As I scoffed a bowl of granola I watched another episode of “People Just Do Nothing” in which our heroes went to Ipswich and found they didn’t need passports, but did come home with jet lag.
For once nothing had happened on Facebook overnight (which was something of a disappointment) so I set off. It was rather foggy as I went to find my car this morning. More and more I've been feeling the urge to move house; having somewhere to park the car more conveniently is only one reason why I want to move.
As I drove the pundit on the radio were talking about the forthcoming end of lockdown II. Coronavirus infections in England have fallen by about a third during lockdown II. They will probably soon rocket though as it seems that overwhelming numbers of people aren't happy about the COVID-19 tier to which their neighbourhood has been allocated and intend to ignore the rules and restrictions. It is a sad indictment of our society that most people seem to think that failing their GCSEs and listening to "Karen from Facebook" has given them a far better understanding of epidemiology and virology than years of post-graduate study might have done.
There was also talk about how farming subsidies will be handed out in the post-Brexit world. Rather than being paid not to produce milk, meat animals or crops, the new system, "Environmental Land Management" will pay farmers if they prevent floods, plant woods and help wildlife. So much for actual farming, eh?
And there was talk of how a government minster announced that the Lurpak butter factory was moving to the post-Brexit UK only to have the boss of Lurpak contradict him. Woops!
I got to work and did my thing. As I did I peered out of the window from time to time. The fog made today a rather glum grey one, and (adding that to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions) today was probably best spent at work. During tea and lunch breaks I found myself exchanging messages with "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" who has decided to construct a fire pit in the garden that she hopes (one day soon) to acquire. It has been my experience that the novelty quickly wears off of anything which is both (or either) garden-based and fire-related. But planning one is keeping her out of trouble, and that is never a bad thing.
I came home, and together with "er indoors TM" we delivered "My Boy TM"’s advent calendar. I get to start opening mine tomorrow. I understand that quite a few people are looking forward to seeing it appear (in instalments) on Facebook. I hope they aren’t disappointed…