1 November 2022 (Tuesday) - A Bottle Of Plonk
Perhaps not getting home till late last night was the issue, but I didn’t really sleep at all well last night. It was one of those nights when I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go after an hour’s sleep, and then just dozed fitfully for the rest of the night.
I was up far earlier than I really needed to be. After yesterday’s little contretemps (!) Morgan was as good as gold doing that which was expected outside (and not in the bathroom), and both got their reward of an hour or so on the big bed.
As they all slept I watched some of the new season of “Big Mouth”. Now it is into its sixth season it seems to have rather lost its direction… like most TV shows do.
As I watched it I sorted my socks (be still my beating heart!), emptied the clan (it’s a Munzee thing) and then had a look at Facebook to see what I’d missed overnight. Apart from (quite possibly) the worst cover version of a Sparks song that I have ever seen, I hadn’t missed much. Three Facebook friends were having a birthday today; I sent birthday wishes to the two who have contacted me in the last few years, then got ready for work.
Having parked quite close to home last night I didn't have my seemingly usual morning ritual of wandering the streets trying to find where I'd left the car.
I set off through the rain to Pembury, doing my best to avoid the other cars; the drivers of many of which seemed hell-bent to run everyone else off the road. If not driving (quite literally) up the centre of the road, many were spontaneously slamming on the brakes and doing U-turns for no discernible reason.
As I drove, the pundits on the radio were talking about the fuel crisis facing the country this winter. It is hoped there will be no power cuts or blackouts, but no one seemed able to give any firm assurances. Consternation was being expressed that there are no reserves of gas being built up. I can't help but wonder just who would be building up these reserves, bearing in mind the country's power generation has been farmed out to private companies. Any spare money these companies might have had to spend on building up a sensible gas reserve is under threat of being stolen by the government as a windfall tax. You can't blame them for not taking any chances, can you?
There was also a lot of talk about the abysmal conditions in the refugee camp at Manston airport. No one seemed to address the obvious cause of the crisis though... Six years ago the United Kingdom was part of an international bloc dealing with the issue. Now that international bloc has solved the refugee crisis by letting through as many as want to come to the UK where they become somebody else's problem.
I stopped off at Tesco to get a couple of bottles of plonk. The customers in Tesco were pretty much as bad as the drivers on the road this morning; not one was looking where they were going. I also bought some Kenco coffee three-in-one sachets. They were far better than the Nescafe ones... and far more expensive too.
I got to work; today was exciting… “Exciting” in a blood bank isn’t really a good thing. I was glad when home time came, and doubly glad I’d swapped out of the late shift.
I came home through torrential rain to an empty house. “er indoors TM” had taken the dogs out and got caught in a downpour. The poor pups looked more like seals than dogs. Once they’d dried “er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the quarter-final of “Bake Off” and washed down with one of the bottles of plonk I’d bought earlier…
That was nine quid down the toilet.
2 November 2022 (Wednesday) - Bit Dull Really
Again I found myself wide awake far too early. The puppies were rather obliging this morning and we didn’t have to stand outside in the cold and dark for *too* long before coming back in.
I made toast, watched an episode of “Big Mouth” then had a look at the Internet as I do most mornings. One day it will be amazingly different… but not today. The religious adverts were out in force today. I used to be religious once… The local Facebook community groups were naming and shaming burglars by sharing their photos (supplied by Kent police). I must admit that seems like a good idea… all the time that it is a real burglar and not some innocent whose photo is being shared. As I pootled on-line so “er indoors TM” came to and fro with various consignments of dog sick (to throw down the loo); something had upset the dogs’ bellies overnight. From personal experience I’d rather deal with dog sick than from the other end. I mention this in case any of my loyal readers are considering getting a dog. Don’t ever let it be said that I paint a rosy picture of dog life… they can be foul creature, you know.
I perused the Munzee map to plan a trip for tomorrow morning (when it is a Qrewzee day!) then got ready for work.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were all a-twitter about the revelation that no end of people with criminal records and all sorts of sexual predators have been allowed into the police force. It's no secret that I've a very low opinion of the Old Bill based on quite a few personal experiences of them, but I had no idea that things were as bad as they seem to be. Perhaps the time has come to bring in some proper public oversight of what they get up to?
And there was a lot of talk about Matt Hancock. One-time Minister for Health, Rushi Sunak overlooked him when setting up his new government a week or so ago, so with nothing better to do he's signed up for the new series of "I'm A Celebrity". Understandably he's now had the Conservative whip withdrawn and now sits as an independent MP... or he would if he was doing the job he's being paid to do rather than having pissed off to the jungle for a far more lucrative option... whilst (presumably) still taking the money he gets paid for being an MP.
I got to work and did my bit, despite having the Pantosaurus song stuck in my head all day long. How do you shift an earworm?
I feel worn out… If only I could be asleep when I should be asleep I wouldn’t be nodding off when I should be awake…
3 November 2022 (Thursday) - Munzing in the Rain
When I let the puppies out to do their thing (at half past five!) I saw the rain had stopped, so I settled them with “er indoors TM” and went off on a little mission before work. Today was the start of the Munzee Clan War. I needed to capture two Qrates very early in the month, and being the third of the month I could get some Qrewzees too... the way Munzee is played can be rather complicated (unlike geocaching which really is just finding a film pot under a rock).
I got two Qrates in Stanhope. As I found one, a passing driver stopped and asked if I was OK. I assured him I was, but he stayed parked, staring at me as though I was some sort of weirdo. Doesn't everyone use their phone to scan the back of a street sign in the dark before dawn?
Once he finally shoved off I drove down to Bethersden for two Qrewzees and a Sleepzee (as one does). I had hoped to deploy in Pembury, but the overnight rain which had stopped came back with a vengeance so I contented myself with four Qrewzees before going to Tesco (as I'd forgotten to bring any lunch).
I parked up, and walked a couple of hundred yards out of my way to get round the ankle-deep flood to get to the supermarket. Once I'd got what I wanted, seeing none of the tills were staffed I asked a passing manager (or so her name badge said) if any of the tills were open. I was directed to one of the tills and was told someone would be over. The manager-type walked off; I heard the word "SERIOUSLY!" shouted, and a woman with a face like a slapped arse stomped angrily to the till, glaring at me and muttering about why some people couldn't use the self-service tills.
As I'd driven from bar-code-on-lamp-post to bar-code-on-lamp-post (and then on to Tesco) I'd been listening to the pundits on the radio as I do. There was an article about how people with strong and broad accents feel that are looked down on by the rest of society...
This was followed by a woman from "Oop Norf" talking about the advertising which is appearing on Netflix. She was talking about how various "brons" were reacting to this... After a few minutes the interviewer made it clear that when she was saying "brons" she actually meant "brands"... Accents?
There was a lot of talk about the scandal of the overcrowding of the migrant centre at Manston. It was alleged that officials from there have been taking migrants and dumping them on the streets of London following the discovery of a dozen of them at Victoria station yesterday all (so it was claimed) rather dazed and confused. So much for border control, eh?
My piss did boil at the "Yesterday in Parliament" bit when they broadcast excerpts from yesterday's "Prime Minister's Question Time". Have you ever heard it? What is the point of it? It doesn't actually achieve anything, does it? Members of Parliament just attempt to embarrass the Prime Minister (whoever it is this week) and either do so, or make idiots of themselves in the attempt. Their squabbling is rather pathetic; I found myself reminded of “My Boy TM and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”'s quarrelling when they were six years old, and I used to deal with it with smacked arses all round and sending them to bed.
Perhaps someone should smack the arses of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and send them to bed? A job for our new King, perhaps?
Having had my Munzee mission rained off I had a little time on my hands so I went to the works canteen for the brekkie... it wasn't bad, but it didn't sit well. To be honest it rarely does.
I did that which I couldn't avoid, then (seeing the rain had slackened off to only a medium monsoon) took a few minutes pumping up the car's tyres before coming home. As I'd approached the works car park this morning the car told me that the tyre pressures were low, but I didn't fancy pumping them up in the torrential rain of the morning.
And with tyres pumped to the car's satisfaction I set off homewards through thirty miles of thick fog; rather amazed at the amount of cars that had skidded off the roads into ditches and hedges along the route home.
A decent bit of dinner, “Lego Masters: Australia” on the telly… Hope this rain stops soon.
4 November 2022 (Friday) - Babysitting before the Late Shift
As I shaved this morning, with no warning at all my back went into a rather impressive spasm. I didn’t actually collapse in a heap, but it came close. My back has never been right since I put it out whilst trying (and failing) to impress the girls in the Harbour Restaurant forty-odd years ago.
I made toast and fought with my lap-top. Yet again the Firefox browser wouldn’t do anything at all. Eventually I gave up with it and went with Google Chrome, but no matter what the browser, there wasn’t a lot happening on-line.
I'd read on the local Facebook pages yesterday about how horrendous the morning traffic on the A2070 is, so I left home to get to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”’s flat with plenty of time. I found absolutely no delays at all and drove through the A2070 without stopping once.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the bank of England is having to clear up the aftermath of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwartang, and how what those two did looks set to throw the country into the longest recession in history. Will it? I don't know, but it amazes me that you need qualifications to be a plumber or electrician or solicitor or surveyor (or blood tester!) but demonstrably any old half-wit can just have a go and balls up the country. Isn't it time that the offices of state required some oversight as to exactly which doombrain is being put in charge of them?
I got to Folkestone about forty minutes earlier than I had expected, and so went on a little Munzee mission; opening the Qrates I found yesterday (A result, if that floats your boat!).
And then as “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” went off on a driving lesson I sat with Pogo and “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. Darcie wasn't really settled today. She slept for about half an hour whilst I played "Goat Simulator", but then woke and was very restless. About ten minutes before “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” came home, “Darcie Waa Waa TM” did a series of rather epic farts, which probably explained a lot.
I then set off for work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing people who had had atom bombs dropped on them whilst they did National Service. Understandably the survivors want compensation. Perhaps not quite so understandably, they also want an apology. Bearing in mind whoever had the idea to drop atom bombs on National Service lads is long dead, who would make that apology?
I had a rather good drive from Folkestone to Tunbridge Wells. Although it took a while, the way was rather pretty. I got to work and did that which I couldn't avoid.
Being on a late, I didn’t leave work until after nine o’clock. The overnight road works at Bethersden had expanded somewhat since Monday’s late shift; so much so that I was diverted through Tenterden. As I came through Woodchurch I stopped the car to look at the deer on the side of the road. The deer were quite fearless; only moving when I tried to train my camera on them.
I came home via the co-op just up the road; “er indoors TM” said we needed milk. There was no other shop open between Tunbridge Wells and home.
I got home fourteen hours after I left home this morning…
5 November 2022 (Saturday) - It Rained... A Lot
I woke feeling particularly grim this morning. What was that all about? I’m blaming “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. But (as always) I could either sulk, or I could get on with life. So I made toast and got on with it.
My laptop invited me to find out what my McAfee Protection Score was as I booted it up this morning. I clicked the button and (for once) the Firefox browser leapt into action (funny, that!). It told me my protection score was 794/1000 which was “very good”, and suggested I clicked on a link to find out three ways to improve the score. I clicked, and immediately my score dropped by a hundred. The three things it recommended were:
To install their app on my mobile (which I did when I got the thing two years ago!).
To install inti-virus software (which comes with their package and was installed years ago!)
To review a data breach when my password to MyFitnessPal was breached four years ago.
I saw there was a geo-meet scheduled for today. In the rain. I wasn’t keen.
I also saw I’d been accepted into the “Ashford Dog Socialising Group” on Facebook. This bunch offer meet-ups for dogs every Saturday at Repton Community Centre. It turns out that there are three meetings; the first one is for puppies and the smaller and more timid dogs. After that is a meeting for medium sized dogs, and then one for larger ones.
Usually when at a loose end on a Saturday I take the puppies to Dachshund club, but that is a round trip of fifty miles. Repton Community Centre is walking distance (not that we walked!)
So with “er indoors TM” and Treacle off on an errand for “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” I took the puppies over to Repton Community Centre where we found a few other people all asking each other if this was the right place. Like me, a lot of people had only discovered “Ashford Dog Socialising Group” recently (I found it at eleven o’clock last night!), thought it sounded like a good idea, but weren’t sure what to expect. I must admit that (as I do in life) I went along hoping for the best but expecting the worst, but I was pleasantly surprised. I expect that a lot of my loyal readers wouldn’t appreciate standing in a wet woodland in the rain making polite conversation with a bunch of total strangers, but I had a great time. And so did the dogs.
We were at the meet for smaller dogs; Bailey was the smallest dog there (but not by much) and she and Morgan charged round like things possessed with their new friends. There were a few “episodes” but everyone there seemed to understand what dogs are like and no one took offence or got humpy. For once not one of the “episodes” involved my two; there is something strangely satisfying when other people’s dogs are kicking off and yours ignore it with regal condescension.
I took a few photos (as I do).
The only drawback was that it was very wet and a tad cold. Bailey was shivering at the end, but we were back home and had had a warm bath before ten o’clock. I wouldn’t say that I’m now finished with the Dachshund club, but a round trip to them is over sixty miles and takes half the day.
With puppies bathed they were soon both snoring. I put some shirts and trousers in to wash, and ironed them as I watched episodes of “Four in a Bed” in which (as always) the most opinionated and picky contestant was the proprietor of (by far) the poorest guest house in the competition.
“er indoors TM” and Treacle came home. I think “er indoors TM” must have whatever bug I’ve got (only a lot worse) as she took herself of to bed for the afternoon, and all the dogs went with her. The drizzle of the morning had become full-on heavy rain, so with nothing else to do I started working on my eulogy.
I rather upset “My Boy TM” a few weeks ago when I gave him written instructions for winding up my affairs if and when I croak. My Dad had done just that for me and my brother, and it was such a sensible idea. However the first fruit of my loin thought that I was intending to peg it fairly soon. I’m not, but I won’t tell him about the eulogy just yet. It’s just that when my father-in-law and my brother-in-law died, it was quite plain that the priest giving the eulogy had no idea who they were talking about. If someone is going to stand up and go blah, blah, blah about me I want it to be factually correct. So, as “My Boy TM” once got told off (by a primary school teacher) for saying, “if you want a job done, do it yourself!”
The first draft runs to three sides of A4. I expect (hope) to revise it a few times before it gets used.
“er indoors TM” suggested we might have kebab for dinner. I was up for that. We scoffed it whilst watching “Lego Masters: Australia”. I do like that show.
I woke feeling grim… I’ve had a headache all day. I hope I feel better tomorrow.
6 November 2022 (Sunday) - Still Raining
Apart from a swift tiddle at four o’clock I slept for eleven hours last night. I finally woke when “er indoors TM”
let the puppies stomp all over me just after ten o’clock. I said I was feeling iffy yesterday.
Having “done my business” I took the dogs into the garden to do theirs. They weren’t keen on the idea. The overnight rain was still bucketing down, and the garden which had been a desert only a couple of short months ago was now a quagmire, and the humungous tree down the road had dropped its leaves all over my lawn again. The garden really needed (and still needs) an hour or so’s tidying up… but not today.. Once it all dries up a bit I shall see if I can borrow a leaf blower from somewhere. That might be something with which I could amuse the dogs.
As we all stood in the rain, two dogs eventually did that which was expected of them; Morgan stood on the doorstep glaring his contempt at the rain, and crapped on the bathroom floor a short time later.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Overnight a friend had posted a link to my Facebook page. There’s a castle for sale… Admittedly it is in Scotland, but…
*If* you know what you are doing, the restoration would be a project you could do yourself. I know of one or two people who live in what I can only describe as palaces, having started off in tumbledown sheds, done them up, sold them at a profit and moved on. A castle of my own… It would be good, wouldn’t it? If I had my time again, I wouldn’t piss about with testing blood. I’d have learned how to build. Having said that I know of several builders who are struggling right now.
I just want to be able to afford to live in a pristine castle. Is that so much to ask?
I then sent out invites to nine other people who waste their spare time scanning bar codes stuck to lamp posts so as to build up our clan for the Munzee clan war. It has to be said that if I scanned a few less lamp posts and learned how to do a dovetail joint then I might be living in a castle…
While I waited for “er indoors TM” to do whatever it was she was doing I wasted an hour trying (and failing) to make a small Lego Dalek.
With the heavy rain showing no sign of letting up we drove down to Hastings. First of all we visited the hospice to deliver some donations. Dad had been very impressed with how they had looked after Mum in her last two weeks, and wanted any donations in his memory to go to them. Hundreds of pounds were donated on-line, but some people sent cheques for the hospice to the funeral directors. Whilst that was incredibly kind of everyone, for me it was something of a “pain in the glass” (as “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” would say). It’s actually a legal requirement that any donations that the funeral directors receive in memory of the deceased have to be forwarded to the executors of the deceased, *not* to the person or organisation for which they are attended…
This means that (by law) cheques received at the funeral directors (which is a ten minute walk from the hospice) had to be posted to me (thirty miles away) so I could then make a sixty mile round trip to deliver them.
With cheques delivered we drove on to visit sister-in-law… I say “visit sister-in-law”. Seeing her (and niece and nephew) was definitely an added bonus, but I am sure she (and niece and nephew) were well aware that my attention was on the puppies. Her dog had had a litter of puppies a couple of weeks ago. They were such adorable little things. All but one have now got homes. I would be tempted to take on the last one, but being Labradors they will be a tad bigger than I could really cope with.
Whilst there I got perhaps the best cup of coffee I have had for years (must find out what coffee she uses!) and scoffed some rather good choccy cake thingies and biscuits too. And as a second added bonus I got tiddled on. There are some who wouldn’t be too keen on having a small dog piss all over you; I thought it was rather adorable.
From sister-in-law we went on to visit mother-in-law. Not having fallen off of any ladders recently (!) she was well. We chatted for a while bemoaning a nephew who seems determined to utterly stuff his life up and won’t listen to reason or common sense (but that’s a rant for another time).
The plan was to be home relatively promptly; but what with daylight saving it was dark before we left Hastings.
We got home and the dogs went mad sniffing us all over. They were very excited at the smell of puppy tiddle. I had a shower and put the tiddled-on stuff in the washing machine whilst “er indoors TM” boiled up dinner.
Despite the rain, today was a rather good one.
7 November 2022 (Monday) - This n That
It was still pouring hard when I chivvied the puppies out this morning. Constant heatwave and drought a couple of months ago; constant hossing down now. It’s a shame the weather can’t be somehow evened out, isn’t it?
I dumped two soaking wet puppies onto a sleeping “er indoors TM”, made toast, and once I’d watched an episode of “Big Mouth” I had a look at the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight. Not much really. I read the same instalment of the latest developments in the life of some German woman half a dozen times; I know I tell the world about my life every day but I do it here on my own blog. This German woman blogs daily too… but posts the same update on all of the Sparks-related Facebook pages. And now some American woman is posting her weight loss journey to the Facebook Bill & Ted group.
Being a nosey person I quite like seeing what they are up to, but some people really don’t understand how social media works.
With nothing else happening on the Internet I got ready for work. Not that I would dream of complaining, but the drive to Maidstone this morning was far easier than the cross-country drive to Pembury had been for the last two weeks. As I drove, the pundits on the radio were interviewing the leader of the Dribbling Democraps about the state of the country's finances. Sir Whatever-his-name-is missed no opportunity to tell the world how crap the Conservative party is but had precious few practical propositions of his own. The Labour party are much the same at the moment as well. And isn't this why the country is in such a state?
On the one hand British politics has the Conservative party having a go at running the show (albeit not that well), and on the other hand are all of the opposition parties saying how crap the Conservatives are. And the electorate has to choose between one lot with policies that no one really likes very much (and *are* crap), and two other lots with no policies other than finding fault with everyone else.
Interestingly there was also some interviews with American politicians and voters this morning (in the run-up to their elections) in which it seemed that American voting was akin to cheering on your favourite football team. No one was voting for any policies; they were all voting the way they did because they always have... and also wondering why they got idiots like Donald Trump in charge in the past and are looking set to get him again.
There was also talk about the Prime Minister going off to the COP 27 climate talks for the simple reason that Boris Johnson is going (not that anyone seems to know why)
I got to work and deployed a Tree House. That should do some good for the Munzee-ing. And at tea break I got a message that our clan had reached Level One in the Clan War even though we'd only been at it since last Thursday. Result!
My phone also told me that I'd been using it (on average) for one minute a day whilst driving this last week... ! What was that all about. Admittedly I did have a little Munzee mission on the way to work, but I make a point of leaving the phone in my pocket until the car is stopped, out of gear, handbrake on and engine stopped (even though I'm the only one in the car!) as per the government's instructions.
Why did the phone think I'd been using it whilst driving? Did it spring into life whilst in my pocket? I used it quite a bit yesterday when “er indoors TM” was driving and it didn't have any grumbles?
Work was actually rather busy; today's theme was "iron deficient". As I looked at the hypochromia and microcytosis I found myself thinking about days gone by. Years ago there was a chap who used to appear all over the medical-related parts of the internet about his theory that God made all the elements except iron. Iron had been made by Satan, and there was no such thing as iron deficient anaemia. He would plague all of the biomedical websites only too willing to show off his misunderstandings and getting extremely aggressive with anyone who dared to disagree with him.
I wonder whatever happened to him?
I came home and after a quick bit of dinner “er indoors TM” went bowling. The dogs are showing no sign of settling; not having had four miles round the woods they will be hyperactive until she comes home…
8 November 2022 (Tuesday) - And... It's Still Raining
It was still raining when I took the puppies out this morning, but they went out without too much chivvying. Mind you I think Bailey has realised that what with it being dark it is easier for her to eat turds without being spotted.
I then dumped the tiddled puppies onto “er indoors TM” then made brekkie and watched an episode of "Big Mouth" before setting off to work.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the MP Sir Gavin Williamson. He's now back in the Cabinet despite allegations that he was particularly nasty to colleagues and that he once told an unnamed senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defence to "slit your throat" when he was defence secretary.
Part of me wonders just how these people get to continue in their jobs; I certainly wouldn't be able to. And another part of me cynically thinks that it is convenient that the senior civil servant in question is "unnamed" and presumably untraceable... possibly even non-existent?
Doesn't it speak volumes about our government that we are more interested in the gossip about them than in their ability to do the job?
There was a lot of talk from the COP 27 climate talks. What with the Russians pulling the plug on Europe's gas supplies it seems there's a lot of African nations keen to make up the shortfall. Rather ironic from an international conference to reduce carbon emissions, wouldn't you think?
Meanwhile Fiji deals with climate change by moving villages up to higher ground. A simple idea; if expensive. Understandably they want financial help in doing this, and the developed countries aren't keen on helping those in the most need, or anyone come to that.
Mind you I wonder if money would be forthcoming if the Fijians were fighting someone? It strikes me as very odd that the Western world is very reluctant to help those in serious need from climate change (which helps us all), but only too quick to throw billions at Ukraine so they can carry on fighting Russia.
I got to work and capped the new tree house. That was good for a few points *if* you are into that sort of thing.
As I did my bit a colleague gave me a pressie. Her children had been given a Lego pirate ship, but some bits were missing. Did I want it? Yes please!!!
The plan was that being on an early I would get out early and come home where I would meet “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” (who would have just got home from taking Pogo to the vet). We would then take all the dogs for a walk up to the station and she would get the train home.
For no adequately explored reason she came out without a coat (on a day which had torrential downpours every ten minutes) and so was soaked through by the time she’s got to the vet.
Having taken twice as long to get home as I usually do I drove her straight home, then came home myself. The traffic was a nightmare this evening. From work I came home, collected “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” (and her entourage), took them home (with Pogo whinging the entire way) then came back home myself. A round trip of sixty miles which took three and a half hours.
I’m worn out… I shall look at that Lego pirate ship later…
9 November 2022 (Wednesday) - Finally Stopped Raining
The plan wasn’t to wake to the sound of torrential rain. The plan was that the rain would have stopped overnight. But as I shaved the rain eased off a bit, so I thought we’d go on our planned trip to the woods; after all. If the rain came back, we’d shelter for a bit and come back home again.
As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about that idiot Donald Trump. Apparently he’d backed several candidates in yesterday’s American mid-term elections, many of whom lost. This was being seen as a serious blow for his plans to run for President again in a couple of years. It was being alleged that there are other candidates being mooted by the Republican party, and that Donald Trump is threatening to expose all sorts of scandal and gossip about them. And then I found myself wondering…
To me Donald Trump is on a par with the more feeble-minded eight-year-old cub scouts that I used to look after. He blusters and postures like a child and makes the most ridiculous comments and statements. But all that I know about him is what I hear on the radio and read on-line. It has to be said that the chap is a multi-millionaire and that he has been President of the USA. He can’t *really* be as stupid as he comes over, can he? Just possibly there really is a clandestine conspiracy against him? What other explanation can there be… Or is he just a rich twit?
We got to the woods as the rain was stopping. The car park was all but empty. We walked our usual circuit. Despite the recent rains the path was good going. I’d worn walking boots but it would have been fine in trainers. However the dogs insisted on running in and out of the woods and got filthy. Ironically there were loads of squirrels today, and the hounds didn’t see a single one.
At about the half-way point I reached for my camera. Something was creeping out of the undergrowth onto the footpath. Long and black and low-down… just like a weasel but about twenty times bigger. Just as I was about to photograph it I realised it was Morgan. Woops.
We didn’t see anyone until we were three-quarters of the way round when we smelled someone rather than saw them. There was some chap in posh trousers, best shoes, shirt, tie and jacket walking along in the middle of the woods smacked out of his skull on wacky baccy. What was that all about?
Shortly after this we met a Golden Retriever. The pups said hello to her. She said hello back (as dogs do) but was far more interested in scoffing the chestnuts on the floor. As I walked past I could hear a dog whistle being frantically whistled. A hundred yards up the path and round the corner was a gaggle of old biddies, one of whom was whistling away like a thing possessed. Another asked me if I’d seen a Golden Retriever. I wish I’d said no. The dog wasn’t allowed to eat chestnuts, and somehow it was all my fault that it was doing just that. My protestations that my dogs were the three that were with me and behaving, and that their dog was the one that had gone rogue fell on deaf ears. And they seriously weren’t happy when we walked on past and kept going.
Does anyone else have an idiot magnet quite as powerful as mine?
We came home and the pups had a hot shower. For all that they had a good time, Bailey was shivering. I wonder if she needs a coat? Mind you, Fudge needed a coat but would never wear one.
As the dogs had a post-bath shake-off in the garden I saw that the frankly far-too-big sycamore tree down the road has (yet again) buried the garden in its fallen leaves. Raking them out of the gravel takes some doing. I've got various rakes to do it but getting behind the stone planters hurts my back (I'm an old man!)
I had a (frankly genius) idea about getting a leaf-blower to gather them all up?
So I took a little detour on my way to work. I stopped off in Lenham as Andrea had said I could borrow her leaf-blower. I thought I might have a go with someone else's before I waste my money on something which is either too feeble to blow anything, or which blasts leaves gravel, soil and bedrock down to a depth of ten feet.
The thing looks like being a good toy; I shall let the garden dry out before having a blow. Or a suck; apparently it sucks too. Result (!)
I then went on to work, and as is usually the case on a late shift, everything of note today was over and done with before noon.
10 November 2022 (Thursday) - Kebab and Trifle
With no overnight rain there was far less of a fight to get the puppies to go do their thing outside this morning. And with things done they went upstairs to bother a sleeping “er indoors TM” and I went off to bother toast and coffee whilst watching telly.
After an episode of "Big Mouth" I had a very quick look at the Internet and saw that I'd had a friend request on Facebook from a very unmoral lady claiming to be called "Goddest Stella". He, she or it was trying to interest me in a website featuring nudey ladies performing very unhygienic activities. I turned the Internet off, wondering if because I'd received a friend request from "Goddest Stella", was there a "Godder Stella" who simply wasn't as good, or a "Not Very God At All Stella" who was only starting off on the porn-mongering journey.
"Goddest Stella" had been banned by Facebook by the time I got to work. Funny, that...
I wandered off to my car; having made a point last night of remembering where I'd parked. As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about Lord Wolfson (the head honcho of the clothing chain "Next") who having loudly advocated in favour of Brexit has now got the arse because Brexit was "not the Brexit he wanted". It would seem that when all the foreign workers went home because they no longer felt welcome in the UK, a lot of them who went were the very people who had been working in his shops and used to make money for him.
Like we didn't see that one coming? There's an old proverb about being careful what you wish for, isn't there?
There was also some talk about how the membership of the Royal College of Nursing has voted for strike action; this was immediately followed by a lot more talk about growing NHS waiting lists. A year or so everyone was encouraged to stand on the doorstep and clap (like demented sea-lions) for the NHS. Now it seems the nation is being primed to turn against NHS workers.
Again, like we didn't see that one coming?
Work was work. It usually is. As I did my bit I had a message from “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. Someone in Folkestone is trying to set up an AFOL club. For those of my loyal readers who aren't that sad, AFOL is an acronym for "Adult Fans of Lego". A local(ish) Lego club? It could be fun if you like that sort of thing. Which I do.
Mind you, in years gone by I thought the same about the snake club and the astro club. Although they both started off very well, both of those eventually dissolved into rather bitter squabbles. I won't write the Lego club off before it has even started, but I shall try not to get too wrapped up in this one.
With work done I came home… eventually. It took twenty minutes to get out of the works car park for absolutely no reason that I could work out. Once out of the car park the traffic was actually quieter than usual, so what was causing the jam?
Once home I organised the dogs; this evening it was down to me. Lacey had tickets to see “D Block Europe” (who?) at the 02 arena, but what with train and tube strikes getting there was rather problematical so “er indoors TM” had driven her up there and taken Cheryl for the ride. With no one else legally obligated to feed me within striking distance, once I’d fed the dogs I went foraging for my dinner. I foraged up kebab and trifle; the kebab having the advantage that the dogs could share it with me.
I think the extra-large portion of both lamb and chicken kebab was perhaps a tad optimistic; I’m now having a farting contest with three dogs and there’s no clear winner…
11 November 2022 (Friday) - Before the Late Shift
I hadn’t been up long when er indoors TM” commented on how ripe the dogs’ farts were this morning. I smiled sweetly and hoped she wouldn’t make the connection with last night’s kebab bonanza which me and the dogs shared.
I got the dogs leaded up and into the car and we drove up to Kings Wood. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the staffing shortages in the hospitality sector. The chap doing the interviewing commented that he had personal experience of this, having just been on a short break to the Lake District and found so many pubs, restaurants and hotels closed from lack of staff. The woman being interviewed was a leading light in the hospitality sector who again pointed out how difficult it was to get staff after all the workers went home after Brexit. I can’t pretend that I thought that Brexit was a good idea, but the government has had six years to sort it out… It can’t keep on being used as the reason for all the country’s problems, can it?
A government spokesman was wheeled on who wittered on about how foreign workers can apply to work in the UK (if they want to jump through endless legal hoops to do so), made the observation that no one wants to work in the hospitality sector anyway (as it is too much like hard work), and then said that what with double-figure inflation and the cost of living crisis fewer and fewer people will be able to afford to go to pubs, restaurants and hotels, and so the sector will need a lot less workers anyway.
A rather strange admission from a government spokesman, wouldn’t you think.
There was quite a bit of talk about the NHS as well… since the Royal College of Nursing announced the result of the strike ballot there has been a definite change of attitude from Radio Four about the NHS. More and more the talk is about the waiting lists and the unspoken implication is that this is entirely due to the lazy workforce. Or am I just being paranoid?
We got to the woods and did our usual four-mile circuit. Just after half-way we heard a voice. There was some rather aggressive-looking woman a hundred yards behind. “I vould like to come past” she bellowed in a thick German accent. I don’t know why she had to make the announcement; there was plenty of space.
She ran past with her dog on a lead attached to her belt; her dog being something huge (quite literally the size of a small pony). Her dog stopped when it saw the puppies, and when a dog that size stops, anyone roped to it stops too. She didn’t like coming to such an abrupt halt. Her dog then started bounding and jumping and playing with the puppies, and the puppies were playing and bounding and jumping too.
The German woman then announced very loudly to the world (even though there was only us there) that she was sick and tired of other dogs attacking her dog. I actually laughed and explained that all the dogs were playing. With a face like thunder she insisted “Zat dog is attakink my dog” whilst pointing at Bailey, who is about the size of a small cat.
Eventually she pissed off, which was for the best. The next chap we met said he’d had a run-in with her as well… As we got near the car park we met a Dalmatian puppy who was so excited to play with Morgan and Bailey that she actually trod on Bailey (several times!)
As we drove home “Desert Island Discs” was on the radio. We only caught the last half of the show. Richard E Grant was the castaway. I must admit I didn’t think much of his choice of records, and when he spoke I got the distinct impression that nothing he said was from the heart, but all had been carefully rehearsed. Perhaps I’m doing the chap a disservice?
Once home the dogs soon settled… Treacle in the puppies’ crate and the puppies in Treacle’s basket.
I set off to work singing along to the songs that my car plays for me. They are mostly by "Ivor Biggun", but there are three CD's worth of "The Tiswas Album" and several other songs best described as "assorted and various".
I went to work via Sainsburys as I needed a sandwich for work... and I also wanted to test that my new credit card actually worked. I've had issues with new cards before. Fortunately it tricked the woman on the till into giving me a sausage sandwich and a bottle of fizz, and once I'd got those scoffed I went in to work.
I say "work"...
There was cake, and then I spent a few minutes explaining to the new trainee that if she walks round carrying something then people will think that she is busy. And (advanced skiving technique!) that if whilst carrying something she has a lab timer clipped to the pocket of her lab coat then people will think that she is multi-tasking.
Several people have commented that I should apply for the post of departmental training lead...
12 November 2022 (Saturday) - Dog Club, Garden, Job Application
“er indoors TM” went to the loo early this morning and came back with the puppies who immediately mobbed me. Treacle then started grumbling, so I gave up any hope of sleep, got up, made toast, and watched an episode of “Motherland”. I then spent a few minutes this morning dusting off my CV… or I would have done if I’d been able to find one less than ten years old. I had various different positions during my time at Canterbury… I wonder what the dates of those jobs were.
I gave “er indoors TM” seemingly ages, but with her showing no sign of surfacing I got the puppies onto their leads and left her asleep with Treacle. I took the puppies round to Repton Community Centre where we went to dog club again. It was rather good; loads of dogs of about the same size got to charge around with each other. The puppies loved it; Treacle would have hated it.
I spent much of the time chatting with an old friend with whom I used to work (many years ago). It was good to catch up.
The local dog club has got the advantage over the dachshund club in that being local and starting earlier we are home so much earlier. As the puppies scoffed a late brekkie I went into the garden and got out the leaf blower that I’d borrowed from Andrea and Joe on Wednesday. I say “blower”, the thing only seems to suck, but it was ideal for what I need. It sucks at *exactly* the right power so as to suck up all the leaves from the gravelled areas, but leaves the gravel behind. And it also doesn’t suck hard enough to suck up the dog turds either (which could be yuk!) I borrowed the thing to see if I could actually use one if I got one; I shall be getting one of my own soon.
With leaves sucked I then ran round the garden gathering up all the dog turds which I had uncovered (there were a few) then voomed over with the lawn mower.
“er indoors TM” went off out with Cheryl to some Christmas bazaar or other, and I ironed shirts whilst watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which the obvious favourites to win pulled out half way through the last episode for no apparent reason. A quick Google search says that the reason for their leaving was nothing to do with any damage caused to their hotel, and that the program maker has offered to pay for any damage. What was that all about?
“er indoors TM” then came home and sliced up the spicy bread/loaf/thingy she’d baked. It made for a rather good bit of lunch. Then as she took Treacle out of a little mission visiting her chums, I ran the puppies round the block (so they didn’t feel left out) then sat down with the NHS Jobs website.
I’m in a rather odd position…
Twelve years ago I made a mistake at work for which the management of the time threw me under a bus. Up until then I had been the departmental training officer and up until I got the heave-ho I’d trained over twenty students from their first day up to the point of becoming professionally registered; a process which takes years. After I got the heave-ho I slowly recovered my position, but over the last few years (much as I like my job) in many ways I’ve just been twiddling my thumbs until retirement.
A new position has arisen at work; that of departmental training lead. My boss’s boss’s boss is one of my original trainees, and she feels I should be a trainer again. As does a colleague who was once one of my trainees. As does pretty much everyone else I work with. Do I want to go back into management? On the one hand it could be a lot like hard work. On the other hand I really do feel that I am doing nothing but twiddling my thumbs until retirement.
I shall apply for the job. *If* they offer it to me I shall ask for assurances that I can just do the training and not have to get involved with all the other management stuff.
And so I spent a couple of hours blagging my employment history from memory because (as I mentioned earlier) I can’t find any of the dates of when I started and finished the carious jobs I’ve done over the years.
One of the very good reasons for writing a diary is so you don’t have to blag stuff like that… (!)
I then spent an hour or so trying to write a personal statement about why I would be the ideal candidate for the job… Trying and failing. I decided to give up and come back to that later.
We had a rather good dinner this evening washed down with a decent bottle of malbec. As we scoffed we watched last week’s episode of “Bake Off”, and then started watching Netflix’s “The Crown” from the start.
I feel worn out… and I’ve not really done that much today…
13 November 2022 (Sunday) - Collapsing Stool
I woke at five o’clock to the sound of “YOU SLLAAGG!!!” being continuously screamed. I peeped out of the window and saw two young ladies shoving each other about in the middle of the road. After a few minutes the shoving stopped and one of them squatted and had a tiddle in the gutter whilst the other continued to shriek at her. With tiddle tiddled the shoving resumed (presumably it is bad form to attack your protagonist whilst they tiddle?) but it was only half-heartedly, and after a minute or so the one that hadn’t had a tiddle stormed off down the road; presumably to find a more secluded spot for her tiddle.
I didn’t really get back to sleep after that.
I made toast and had a little look at the Internet. Facebook is slowly filling up with all sorts of Christmas songs and memes… I wish it wouldn’t. Every year the Christmas hype starts earlier and earlier, and by the time Christmas actually arrives I really am sick of it all. If everyone else likes Christmas going on for ever, that’s fine, but they do spoil it for some other people. Half a dozen people on my Facebook list are now “snoozed for thirty days”.
There was quite the rant going on in one of the Hastings-related Facebook pages about why the volunteers at the Hastings YMCA shop weren’t doing something or other. The specifics of the squabble are irrelevant, but it amazes me that so many people are so quick to find fault with what others do, and so few people are prepared to actually do anything themselves.
I then posted a rant to the local geocaching page. I’ve got notifications set up for any new caches appearing within thirty miles of home, and ten miles of where I work in Maidstone and in Tunbridge Wells. And I’ve also got notifications set up for any “Needs Archiving” logs that appear in those areas too…
The “Needs Archiving” logs are coming far more often that the notices of new caches (which are very few and far between)… And in large part the “Needs Archiving” logs are from reasonably experienced cachers (with finds in the hundreds) who have hidden nothing themselves. So we’ve got people active in the hobby who are actively trying to close it down…
The thing used to be fun…
We took the dogs up to Kings Wood where we met Karl and Tracey and had a little wander round some of the paths we don’t often walk. It was good to explore the parts of the woods we rarely get to, even if the puppies were a little over-excited.
I took a few photos as we walked.
It was a shame that the collapsible stool I bought over the summer collapsed underneath me so spectacularly on only its second outing… that was twenty quid down the toilet. I’ve asked for a refund. Bet I don’t get one.
Once home “er indoors TM” bathed the dogs and had a cuppa which we downed with some of that rather good bread that she boiled up yesterday.
As she then had a bit of a kip I carried on with my job application, then wrote up a little CPD. That took a few hours.
Over a rather good bit of dinner we watched the final of “Lego Masters: Australia” and the second episode of “The Crown”. The dogs slept through Lego, but both girls seemed absolutely fascinated with “The Crown”. Who would have thought that dogs would like Netflix drama?
My back hurts… I wonder if the stool did me a mischief when it collapsed?
14 November 2022 (Monday) - Shaddap You Face
I woke with some pain in my lower back; perhaps having that stool collapse underneath me did some damage?
I made toast, sparked up the lap-top and peered into the Internet as I scoffed it. I had an email from the mobile phone people. My contract is up. Do I want to get a new phone with them, or continue at the same level of service for twelve quid a month? I’ll stay with what I’ve got… Or will I? My phone gave me its weekly report today (it started doing that last week) and claimed that I averaged seven minutes screen time whilst driving every day last week. Where is it getting that idea from?
And I had an email saying that the house building and contents insurance is set to auto-renew with a twenty-two per cent price increase. I wish I knew how the government calculates inflation… Clearly not the way I would do so. What I would do (with my degree in maths) would be to look at how much prices have gone up in the last year. I would take this year’s price and divide it by last year’s price, subtract one from the result and then multiply that number by one hundred. This gives you the percentage increase over the year. Home insurance, the price of a kebab or a jar of jam… doesn’t matter what it is, the sums remain the same. But the government seems to do something *very* different to what I would do as they end up with a much lower figure.
Perhaps they just make it up?
I got the leads onto the dogs and we walked up to the train station where we met “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, and “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. We went for a walk round the park. I’ve not been there for months; much of it has been dug up. In many ways I was reminded of Kent’s roads. With three huge areas of park fenced off from the public, only one had any work going on. And when I say “work going on” what I actually mean was five blokes sitting inside three different vans smoking whilst one bloke started into a hole which had been dug.
We came home. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had some appointment to go to, and I was to look after “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. The pond distracted her for less than a minute, and Joe Dolce singing “Shaddap You Face” on You-Tube was good for twenty seconds at a time, but other than that she screamed pretty much solidly for an hour and a half until “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” came back, at which point she finally shaddap her face.
We then went for a spot of McLunch. I didn’t know you could ask for extra pickles and extra sauce in the Big Macs. Who would have thought such wonders were possible?
And with McLunch McScoffed we went over t he road to Dobbies to look at their fish and garden vacuums. They had a garden vacuum gizmo that I quite liked the look of, but I must admit to liking the look of the same thing on Amazon much better (as it was half the price).
We got fish, I ran the fish (together with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM”) back to Folkestone, then came home. The dogs seemed rather excitable to I took them for a little walk round the block. It was a shame Morgan had to pull quite so much. So much that he actually snapped his collar.
I spent another hour (or so) on the job application; this time drafting the “blah-blah-blah about me” bit. A major obstacle to me getting the job is that I seriously do see what I did this afternoon as being the “blah-blah-blah about me” bit and not a “personal reflective statement”.
“er indoors TM” came home and boiled up sausages and chips and went off bowling. I spent the evening watching drivel on the telly from underneath a pile of dogs.
Not a bad day’s annual leave really…
Oh – and I got a full refund for that stool that snapped yesterday. I wonder if I should sting them for compensation for the backache I’ve had all day?
15 November 2022 (Tuesday) - Eight Billion
I woke with backache this morning. I get that when I stay in my pit for too long. I took the pups out, then had brekkie and peered into the Internet where today it was filled with adverts from various organisations wanting my money. The Labour party, the ramblers, the national forest, companies selling fishing baits… everyone had their hand out this morning.
With toast scoffed I saw the forecast rain hadn’t come, so I took the dogs out. As we drove the pundits on the radio announced that the eight billionth person alive would be born today. When I was born the world population was three point two billion, and the five billionth was born in the year that “My Boy TM” was born.
It would seem that the current population is about four times the ideal number, and is continuing to grow. There were lots of predictions about just how high the world population will go before levelling off, but no one seemed to realise that this is an old idea in science-fiction but we are already one billion past the most famous dystopian idea. At the risk of looking after number one, is it wrong of me to hope it doesn’t level off until my pension is paid for?
As we came round the roundabout by the motorway I slammed on the brakes as Terry flew by. I can only assume someone called Terry was driving; why else would you have the memorable registration plate “T777RY D”? Having cut me up in spectacular fashion, this chap then drove a couple of feet behind the car in front of him for the five miles up to Challock, getting to the turn-off to the woods about five seconds before we did. That dangerous driving sure saved Terry a lot of time, didn’t it?
We got to Kings Wood and set off on our walk. We took what has become our usual route, but as we walked the sky darkened. At the one-mile point so the rain started, and went from no rain at all to torrential in a matter of seconds. All the time we were under the trees the rain wasn’t too bad, but the last two miles of the our usual route have precious little tree cover, so we cut our walk short. Probably for the best; we were all soaked by the time we got back to the car.
We all had a hot shower when we got home, and those of us that wear pants put on a dry pair.
The dogs all curled up together on the sofa and I got on with the ironing as I watched the first two episodes of the second season of “Stranger Things”. I quite like the show in that it has believable characters and characters to whom I can relate, but in two hours, absolutely nothing happened.
And with ironing ironed I watched the Netflix production of “All Quiet on the Western Front”. According to Wikipedia the film “received positive reviews from critics for faithfulness to the source material's anti-war message”. Bearing in mind that the source material was a book I’ve read many times, I can only imagine that these critics haven’t read the actual source material. Despite having my school English teacher try to kill the book stone dead, it was actually a rather good book, with several interesting characters and a plot. The film on the other hand just had a lot of blood and mud and gory wounds.
I then finished the job application I’ve been working on for the last few days. Job applications are such hard work, aren’t they? I remember my first successful job application. I turned up at the Harbour Restaurant where I asked the boss if he needed anyone to help about the place. He said he did as it was a Bank Holiday, and I walked out nine hours later having done a full day’s work.
Things are a bit different these days.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good curry which we scoffed whilst watching the final of this year’s “Bake Off”. I won’t say who won it, but I will say cauliflower cheese pies – who would have thought such wonders were possible?
16 November 2022 (Wednesday) - Still Raining
The sound of the rain rattling against the window woke me. I’ve said before that there is nothing more depressing than the sound of heavy rain.
I took the dogs into the garden. All three weren’t keen on the idea, and I stood with them in the rain until they’d all done something. Some “did” quicker than others.
I made toast and had my morning look at the Internet. Some chap was all over the local Facebook pages offering an incredibly cheap TV package deal. For a one-off payment of a hundred quid he will come to your house and plug an Amazon Fire Stick into the back of your telly. You can get the things for thirty quid and plug them into the back of your telly yourself, but I suspect there are enough people out there who will pay this bloke.
I also saw the same advert about buying a yacht (with its own fule (!) tank) half a dozen times, and I got notifications about pretty much every Christmas fete and bazaar in Cornwall… that’s only an eight-hour drive away. And two or three adverts for hairdressers (like I need a hairdresser!). I know that Facebook is paid for by the adverts, but those paying for the adverts aren’t getting their money’s worth, are they?
Seeing a break in the rain I took the dogs round the block for half an hour. We didn’t go far, and when I came home my foot was soaking wet; my old trainers have clearly had it and sprung a leak. We got home just as the rain came back, so as the dogs snored I wrapped Christmas pressies then over a bit of lunch watched an episode of “Stranger Things”.
In the early afternoon I looked out the window at glorious sunshine and looked at the sleeping dogs. I decided against waking them to take them to the woods. I was right to have done that – in less than an hour was torrential rain again.
Instead of going to the woods I spent a little while messaging with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” about fish tanks. Our one needs a new lighting set-up, and for only a little more than the cost of that I can get a whole new tank (with lighting)
As the rain carried on thundering against the window I turned the telly on and watched some episodes of “Four in a Bed” in which a town centre hotel was compared with a country club, a rural bed and breakfast in the Lake District and a rather disappointing wannabe-hotel in Blackpool. With the cheapest charging a third of the price of the most expensive, how could any meaningful comparison be made? But (as is so often the case in this show) the most vocal contestant had far and away the grimmest establishment, and no one wanting to go back there.
Having said that, I would have been quite happy in it.
I watched a couple more episodes of “Stranger Things” until “er indoors TM” came home. As we scoffed dinner we had a seriously major result. Morgan was lurking by the back door, and when I opened the back door he went out into the pouring rain to have a “download”.
It is a sad indictment of my life that these days I seem to spend more time fussing about dogs’ toilet arrangements than pretty much anything else… I’ve had three days leave spent sheltering from the rain and watching telly…
17 November 2022 (Thursday) - Gallium, Farting Water-Melons
As I scoffed toast there was a rather petty squabble kicking off on one the local Facebook pages. Someone was posting photos of the early days of one of the local retail parks. The date 1986 was mentioned and everyone else was claiming that either they too worked there in that year or they walked their dogs across the place at that time as the retail park wasn’t built until five years later.
There was a minor spat on one of the Lego-related pages where someone was trying to sell something at a ridiculously high price. Having paid way over the going rate for two of the things, the seller wanted to recoup her losses on one of them. As she’d paid far too much it was only fair that someone else should do the same(!)
Why is life always such an argument? I’ve been asking this for years and the arguments show no sign of subsiding.
Mind you the woman who’d bought the Lego does show a sign of our times. Back in the day if you bought something second-hand you got it cheap *because* it was second hand. I’ve been looking at lighting for the fish tank (because the current lighting has had it) and I can get a complete fish tank (bigger than the current one) for not much more than the price of some of the second-hand lighting fluorescent systems I saw advertised this morning.
The rain slackened off somewhat; enough to take the dogs out. Bearing in mind how filthy the woods would be, we walked round the local roads via Munzee Tree Houses; if nothing else these geo-location games I play do take us on a guided walk. But (as always) my idiot magnet was at full power. We nearly got splatted by an idiot taxi driver who was pulling wheel spins for no apparent reason. And we only escaped the pissed alcoholic who appeared from seemingly nowhere and attempted to molest Bailey when she fell (quite literally) arse over tit (the alcoholic, not Bailey).
It was a relief to get home.
I watched an episode of “Stranger Things” then settled the dogs and went round to the garden centre. The nice lady there sold me an LED light for the fish tank, then I got some petrol, and made my way to Folkestone where “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was off for another driving lesson, and I was to look after the lilttluns. “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” played the goat simulator game in which he was playing an Italian Dinosaur goat which farted water-melons. After he got bored (as if you could ever get bored of that!) we watched several Lube-Tube (as he calls it!) videos about gallium. Gallium looks like any other metal really, but it melts at thirty degrees Celsius so you can make all sorts of things out of it, then melt it in your hand. It looks like it would be rather good fun if it wasn’t so expensive. The stuff is over a quid per gram.
After an initial grizzle, “Darcie Waa Waa TM” slept for over an hour and would have slept longer had Pogo not started screaming for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
After an hour and a half “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” returned. The driving lesson had gone well; she has now experienced the dizzy heights of fourth gear.
I set off for home and eventually got there. The road works along the A2070 are frankly ridiculous. So much of the county has been dug up; so little of it actually has anyone working in the dug-up bits.
Once home I planned to install the fish tank’s new LED light…
The box had quite obviously already been opened. With no obvious way of getting electricity from the socket to the device I phoned the fish shop. After a little to-ing and fro-ing it became clear that someone in the shop had taken the plug out of the box. If I would like to go back to the shop they will sort it all out for me…
That would be a job for Saturday…
18 November 2022 (Friday) - Fiscal Policies
I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go only to see that it was only half past one, and then dozed fitfully, waking every twenty minutes or so. I hate that; it happens too often.
I eventually gave up trying to sleep and got up. I took the puppies outside... they are funny little things, but they aren't daft. Usually when we go outside they mess about and pootle and take their time. But they know that once they've done their first tiddle of the morning they are allowed upstairs on the bed with “er indoors TM” and Treacle. Both had done what was expected of them within seconds, and were soon jumping up and down at the door in excitement
With everyone else asleep I made toast and watched another episode of "Stranger Things". The show has now reached the point where the plot is obviously starting to flag, so the writers have introduced a whole new bunch of characters. It perked things up a bit.
Taking care to let sleeping dogs (and “er indoors TM”) lie I set off to work on a dry day. Having had four days off work when it did nothing but rain, I went back to work just as the rain stopped.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about yesterday's Autumn Statement by the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. The details are in many ways blah blah blah, but the practical upshot is that the country was in a financial mess before Liz Truss became Prime Minister and through her incompetence added thirty billion quid to the debt. I can’t help but think that Liz Truss and that other idiot Kwarteng should have all their asset seized and spend the rest of their lives forced to live in abject poverty with pretty much everything they had or will get being confiscated to repay the country. I know that won’t even begin to come close to cover the debts they’ve caused, but it would serve as an example to any other incompetents who might be tempted to have a go.
It was claimed that the coming changes to the country’s tax system means that those who work will be stung big-time and end up worse off, but that benefit payments will keep up with inflation, so (just maybe) I might be better off jacking it all in and retiring?
There was also an interview with the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer on the matter who (in true Labour party style) just said how crap the Tories were whilst not offering anything tangible of her own.
I got to Pembury, I did my bit. At lunch time I had an email from the probate people who had a question for me. Dad's will had listed mum as the principle executor, so why was it me contacting them and not her? I thought better than actually writing "because she's dead, dur!"; instead I tactfully pointed out the obvious failings of the government's "tell us once" service.
As my brother (probably rightly) said, that one question will probably add a couple of months to the process. Had we been doing probate through a solicitor I suspect this question would have cost us quite a bit of money.
I wonder if the rain will come back for tomorrow?
19 November 2022 (Saturday) - Phone Signal, Shopping, Dinner
As I scoffed toast I watched another episode of “Stranger Things” in which all of the new characters introduced in the previous episode had totally disappeared. The old guys were back and acting rather strange. Having deliberately turned off the power in the secret lab in which they were hiding they then risked life and limb turning it back on again. What was that all about? And whilst waiting for a phone call having phoned for help they immediately destroyed the phone. All very dramatic, but rather nonsensical.
As the on-screen incomprehensibility dragged what could have been done in five minutes over three quarters of an hour so my phone beeped with a message. I now have 5G. That’s nice. For those of my loyal readers who might be a tad vague on the matter, 5G is one of two things. It is either a vastly upgraded signal for my phone to transmit to and receive from the world. Or it is the means by which Satan is going to take control of the mortal realm… depending on whether or not the view from your kitchen window now features a 5G mast. Not that I’m sick of seeing the crackpot posts all over social media.
I also had an email from the nice people at Credit Karma who were rather concerned that my credit score has gone down. Bearing in mind absolutely nothing in my world has changed financially recently, so was I. So I logged in and saw the score was exactly the same as it has been for the last few weeks.
What was that all about?
Leaving “er indoors TM” and Treacle asleep I took the puppies to the meet-up of Ashford Dog Socialising Group, or “Dog Club” as I call it. There was a minor episode, but we got away with it. Morgan peed (ever so slightly) up the leg of one of the normal people. Said normal person didn’t notice, but a passing bulldog did. The dog had a sniff, then on realising another dog had tiddled, he added his bit (as dogs do). It was like a hose pipe had been turned on… The normal person noticed that.
We had a good time though. It was only a shame that I had to bath the puppies when we came home as both stank of fox poo. This does raise the point that for all that “Dog Club” takes place in a secure field, if a fox can get in…
We settled the dogs, then went on a little shopping trip. First of all to Dobbies to change the fish tank light for one with a plug. Then on to Bybrook Barn (as it will always be known even though it has been called “Longacres” for a few years now) for a few odds and sods. From there we went to the bed shop… it wasn’t my idea. “er indoors TM” wanted a new mattress. Our old one is getting on a bit. We got our old one eight years ago when a dodgy-looking Geordie sidled up to me in the charity shop in Brookfield Court and said “Psst – wanna buy a mattress”. I must admit that I wasn’t overly keen on the idea at the time, but it lasted eight years.
We had a look (and a go on) all sorts of mattresses today, eventually getting one at half-price in a Black Friday deal. We got some pillows too as they were only twelve quid reduced from forty.
The thing arrives in a few weeks’ time. It is a shame we have to wait; dodgy Geordie delivered his one there and then.
Once home I installed the new light for the fish tank. It certainly looks far better now than it did. I had some cake and a cuppa, a little snooze, and then we went round to the abode of “My Boy TM”. Cheryl had boiled up a particularly good bit of dinner in honour of Lacey’s birthday tomorrow.
I scoffed far too much, and now have a belly ache…
20 November 2022 (Sunday) - Sulking about the Late Shift
The little bit on the task bar of my lap-top which gives me the (massively inaccurate) weather forecast was flashing between the weather forecast and (football) world cup coverage as I scoffed toast this morning. I have no interest in the football whatsoever, but the political scheming that goes with it is quite interesting, isn’t it?
When Qatar won the bid to host the world cup twelve years ago they agreed that alcoholic drinks would be sold at the venues. And then with one day to go they’ve changed their minds. *If* this was for religious reasons (as has been claimed) why wait for twelve years until everyone has paid their money and then make the announcement at the last possible moment? It has also been mentioned that several sponsors are rather concerned that they look to lose out on the deal too. Quite a few gay people who’ve gone to the world cup on the understanding that they will be tolerated (!) are now wondering if they will be imprisoned too. After all, why should the England team be told not wear armbands in support of them?
There was an interview on the radio on Friday with the BBC’s sports correspondent who claimed that there’s nowhere near enough hotels at the venue, and that he’s actually staying in another country; for every match he has to leave the hotel he’s in, get to the local airport, take an hour’s fight and then an hour’s coach trip to get to the football matches he’s supposed to be reporting on. And then go back to the hotel.
Personally I’d say “sod it” and go home, but doesn’t this leave you wondering?
The officials in Qatar have had over ten years to sort things in readiness for the football tournament and simply haven’t delivered. The whole thing looks like one big balls-up. Is this because they couldn’t do what they promised, or that they wouldn’t; preferring to force their ways onto the rest of the world? There are those who say that if people travel to another country then they must accept the ways of that country. Personally I’m of the opinion that you don’t spend ten years telling the world that you will accept their ways, then at the last minute either change your mind or go with what you had planned all along (I wonder which it was!).
Quite clearly no one is able to enforce what was originally agreed. Doesn’t this make you wonder about the enforceability of any (so-called) legally binding contract?
Mind you the Qatar authorities have got money, and clearly that is all that counts these days (and had ever counted).
With the rain showing no sign of letting up I put laundry in to wash and had a look at eBay to see what I might like for Christmas. You have to laugh… people are openly selling sets of instructions for Lego models for a tenner; you can download these for free.
I suppose some people will pay up either as they collect the original instructions or (more likely) they didn’t read the description properly.
As the torrential rain gave way to bright sunlight so I set off for work. I grumbled about that (!) As I drove "Desert Island Discs" was on the radio. Today's castaway was the sports promoter Barry Hearn who was surprisingly incredibly interesting. At one point he mentioned about as a poor child he started a car cleaning business going to the posh houses at the top of the hill... and now he could afford to buy the entire hill as he's a self-made multi-millionaire.
If you get the chance to listen to the program, I'd thoroughly recommend it.
With a few minutes spare I went to Aylesford Aquatics to see it they had any fish tank thermometers. Our existing one isn’t working. Has the colour-change thingy had it? – It must be several years old…
I never learn, do I? I go to that shop every few months, find the experience to be an utter disaster, vow never to return, forget all about it, and then go back for another really bad episode.
I remembered how bad the place was as I walked up and all saw the staff (but one) standing outside listening to someone or other. Whoever this someone was, he was regaling the tale of some fight that he had had recently. Apparently the one he'd been fighting with had ended up covered in blood. I'm not sure if the shop staff were listening out of interest or out of terror of getting a slap if they didn't pay attention.
I went to the counter and waited. And waited. As I waited so the queue grew and grew. After what seemed to be an age I told the assembled queue that what I wanted could be bought far cheaper on-line (which it can), and I walked out... straight past all the staff who were showing no sign of coming back in to the shop to do their job. Some of them had even got themselves a cuppa from somewhere.
I don't deny the staff need a break from time to time, but do they all have to go at the same time? Did they *really* need to leave so many customers waiting for quite so long?
I drove to work, and used the work's wi-fi to order a set of three fish tank thermometers from Amazon for a third of the price that Aylesford Aquatics wanted for just one. Amazon claim they will be with me tomorrow... I expect I will be ranting about their non-appearance tomorrow, but having said that I got a notification that the things have been dispatched half-way through the afternoon, so I may well be wrong. Stranger things have happened.
I popped to the works canteen; cauliflower cheese and chips was rather good, and was the chocolate pudding (and custard) that came after it. And then I spent a few hours doing my thing looking at the beautiful day outside until it got dark, when I just stopped looking out of the window, and just did what I had to until the night shift turned up...
I always say that I don't mind working night and weekend shift... until I have to actually do the shifts.
21 November 2022 (Monday) - Before Another Late Shift
Seeing it wasn’t raining when I emerged from my pit I took the dogs out right away. As we drove to the woods the pundits on the radio were interviewing the head of the British Football Association who was being incredibly tactful and diplomatic, but made no secret that the (football) world cup hasn’t turned out to be quite that which had been expected.
We got to the woods; the car park was nearly empty; the threat of rain had clearly scared a lot of people off. As we walked out of the car park we saw a woman with two Labradors, and a hundred yards later we played for a couple of minutes with a Dalmatian. And that was it for the normal people for today. We walked what is fast becoming our usual four-mile route without seeing anyone else at all. The woods are so much better during the week; most of the (very few) people we meet are sensible dog-walkers. There’s none of the horse-riding brigade screaming at everyone to get out of the way or the thugs with their muzzled death-hounds trying to look impressive that can infest the place at the weekends… well, not that much.
I must admit that things did look a bit dodgy at the furthest point from the car; the sky did turn an ominous shade of grey. But we got back to the car (and drove home) before any rain came.
We had a quick bath. Fortunately for my nerves there was no fox poo, but small dogs do get grubby tummies. And once home I was (quite frankly) amazed to see the fish tank thermometers I’d ordered from Amazon yesterday lunch time had arrived. I was rather impressed with that.
I had a quick cuppa and had a look at the Internet. It was still there, but I thought better of wasting too much time in it today.
Leaving “er indoors TM” and the hounds in charge at home I set off in the general direction of work. I got in the car, started it, and it immediately told me to change the battery in the key. The battery in the key of my old car once went flat on me; this car gives me prior warning. That was a result. It was only a shame that the car left me to my own devices as to actually sorting a new battery and installing the thing.
I went to Halfords and looked pathetic, and the nice lady sorted me out, which was a result.
From Halfords I went to the bank. I had a cheque to pay in (the ongoing saga of Dad's estate)... because the cheque was for more than five hundred pounds I couldn't scan it in with the mobile app. The woman on the bank's phone line said I had to hand it in over the counter in a bank. She was insistent - I had to go to a real live person in a branch of the bank because of the sum of money involved.
I got to the bank and queued up. And waited. And waited. Eventually I got to the head of the queue where some rather harassed-looking woman (in a bank uniform) told me I could use the paying in machine to pay the cheque in to my account. I explained that I had been told I had to hand it to someone in the bank personally, and I *couldn't* use a machine. The woman (in the bank uniform) said I didn't, and she paid it in for me, using the paying in machine whilst I stood and watched. I took the opportunity to tell her that the bank was far better when it was a proper bank with a counter rather than a load of machines and three staff looking like they are about to cry. The woman (in a bank uniform) agreed with me; she said she hears that a lot.
As I came out of the bank I noticed the bakery. Rather than getting myself a sandwich for lunch I had a brainwave and I got a broccoli and cheese quiche and a lump of bread pudding.
I then drove up to Lenham to return the leaf blower (sucker) I borrowed a couple of weeks ago. Having established that it did the trick, I needed it out of the shed to make room for one of my own.
I delivered it back to Joe, and we had a little chat whilst I fussed his dog.
And then on to work. It was at this point that the heavens really opened. I got to the car park and scoffed lunch whilst waiting for the rain to subside.
Here's a tip - if you want a seriously impressive gets ache that will last all afternoon, I'd thoroughly recommend a broccoli and cheese quiche followed by a lump of bread pudding.
22 November 2022 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift
I was rather knackered by the time I got to bed last night. The main problem with the late shifts is (like everyone else) I’ve done loads in the morning before the shift and am worn out before I start. By the time I’d found somewhere to park I didn’t get home till ten o’clock last night.
I slept like a log last night despite a rather vivid dream in which National Service had been re-introduced and I’d been drafted into the Sea Scouts.
I made toast which I scoffed as I peered into the internet. There was a photo of the two women out of Abba on one of the random Facebook pages I follow, and you wouldn’t believe the nasty squabbles kicking off about whether or not they were recognisable.
As I rolled my eyes so “er indoors TM” announced that Morgan had asked to go outside and had “done one” in the garden. That was something of a result; as we commented on how his toilet training was improving and what a good dog he was, so Morgan quietly ate the doormat.
I put some washing on to scrub, and whilst it scrubbed I took the dogs out. As we drove we nearly ran over a child. Said child was zooming down the wrong side of the road on an electric scooter looking back over her shoulder, with those white earbud things bunging up her ears. If I’d splatted the child, the newspapers would have said it had been my fault. Back in the day the local copper would have had a word… when did you last see a copper?
We got to Kings Wood and walked round our usual route. We saw a few other dogs and said “hello”. All passed off fine, as it (usually) does mid-week. Just as we were about a couple of hundred yards from the car park so a herd of deer leapt out of the thicket and ran across the clearing. They were quite spectacular; a shame they were too fast for me to photograph. Treacle stood with me and watched; Bailey and Morgan set off in hot pursuit, but came back to the whistle.
We went up to the car, did “boot dogs” (Bailey has to be lifted in), I tooted on the whistle and gave them all a treat (as I do) and we came home to disaster. The front door was locked and I couldn’t find my keys. I had them twenty minutes previously as the whistle is on my key ring. I checked all my pockets (so many times), but no joy. Had I dropped my keys as I’d got into the car at the woods?
I drove back to the woods and searched the ground of the car park. No keys. I put my hand in my pocket for what must have been the twentieth time… and there were my keys. They’d been in my pocket all along.
Oh, how I laughed (!)
We came home again; the key debacle had only wasted three quarters of an hour. Once home the dogs very quickly settled, and my phone beeped. I had a Facebook friend request from “Godess Rose” who seemed to be a cross-eyed bloke wearing a frankly humungous pair of fake tits. I sent him/her/it a message asking why he/she/it was asking to be my friend, and also what he/she/it was supposed to be.
I pootled about with more of the paperwork on Dad’s estate, then went to bed for the afternoon where I struggled to sleep. Despite having a hot water bottle I couldn’t keep warm. Perhaps I should have hoiked Treacle off of it?
I’m hoping “er indoors TM” will sort me some dinner, then I’m off to the night shift. I’ve got to go via Sainsbury’s – we are out of washing jollop for the washing machine… I say “we are out of washing jollop for the washing machine”; I am reliably informed that *I* am out of washing jollop for the washing machine…
23 November 2022 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift
As night shifts go, last night’s wasn’t one of the better ones. I wouldn’t say that I was busy, more than that I didn’t stop. All night long. Hospitals are always on the go.
As I got on with it last night I found myself thinking about what I’d seen when I went shopping before the shift. As I’d pootled round Sainsbury’s there was a woman in full Tesco uniform pushing a trolley in which was one of those cubical Deliveroo bags. She had a shopping list on her phone and was quite openly filling the Deliveroo bag with stuff on that order… What was that all about? Surely she would have been better going to Tesco if only to save time (because she clearly works there) and because (presumably) she’d have got a staff discount?
With work done (and no staff discount!) I came home through torrential rain listening to the radio… or trying to listen to the radio. Some years ago I realised just how ignorant I was of current affairs and so I now make a point of listening to the morning news as I go to and from work. Sometimes it is interesting, sometimes it is frustrating. Today it was just tedious. This morning the Shadow Minister for something-or-other was being interviewed, and I can only describe the chap interviewing her as “being a dildo” (a crime for which “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” once grassed me up to “er indoors TM”). No matter what she said, the interviewer had to challenge it; changing his own position completely several times each minute. If this woman had claimed that water was wet, the interviewer would have asked her why she thought that was so.
I gave up and sang along to “Ivor Biggun” songs as I drove through the rain.
I came home to consternation. There was a turd on the living room carpet and not having seen the deed being done, “er indoors TM” didn’t know on whom she should unleash an arse-kicking. Through a logical process of elimination, I determined the culprit. I knew it wasn’t me, I don’t think it was “er indoors TM” (as the turd was too small for her),Treacle goes outside, and if he’s going to do it inside, Morgan goes on the laminate flooring in the back bedroom. That only leaves one suspect…
With turd gathered I had a shave and went to bed from where I listened to Treacle barking at pretty much everything she could. Later in the day when I was out of my pit she was absolutely sparko, but she was the embodiment of vigilance as I tried to sleep.
I gave up with bed after a couple of hours, and seeing the rain had let up I walked the dogs round the block. I thought about going to the woods, but I don’t like driving after a night shift and although the paths are quite decent, the areas off the paths where the dogs run can be rather wet and grubby.
As we walked up the road there was a landscape gardener having an argument with a traffic warden. The traffic warden didn’t like the fact that the landscape gardener had parked his van straddling the kerb whilst the chap emptied a lad of garden waste from a garden into the van. The traffic warden clearly has no issue with the delivery vans that regularly park in exactly the same place, or the customers of the local shop who also regularly park in exactly the same place. I suggested to the traffic warden that he might like to walk fifty yards down the road and do something about the cars on double yellow lines belonging to people having haircuts in the hairdressers, but the traffic warden wasn’t interested.
They rarely are.
I spent the afternoon doing the ironing whilst watching episodes of “Four in a Bed”. In today’s shows there was one chap who was *incredibly* critical of everyone else’s cooked breakfasts, but when it was his turn to host, not only did he not offer a cooked breakfast, he just put out croissants and fruit the night before, and left them to go stale overnight whist he then had a lie-in… and then had the gall to take offence when others told him how crap his service was.
I love that show…
“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of plonk.
Here’s a tip… if you are going to get someone a bottle of wine for Christmas (because you don’t know what else to get them), get them something from the Sainsbury’s “House” range. It will set you back less than a fiver, and it is good stuff…
And if any of my loyal readers want to get me a pressie…
24 November 2022 (Thursday) - Bit Dull
What with having done a night shift and then shifted a decent helping of red wine yesterday evening I slept like a log last night; only waking when “er indoors TM” and Treacle had some sort of a fight (which Treacle won) shortly after half past six this morning.
I got up, saw to the puppies, and left them bothering “er indoors TM” as I made toast and watched telly. Today I started on the third season of "Stranger Things". The first two seasons both featured mad scientists having unleashed untold terrors after meddling with two different sorts of things that they should have left well alone. It came as no surprise that the third season started with more mad scientists meddling with a third sort of thing which would also have been best left well alone.
I set off for work. As I drove, I listened to the pundits on the radio who were rather excited. Apparently historians have discovered a whole new Roman Emperor. It would seem that historians of old had been very quiet about Sponsian, and not much is really known about him, other than that his face appears on quite a few Roman coins that have hitherto been thought to have been fakes.
There’s a moral in there somewhere, I expect…
There was also talk about "Upstairs Downstairs" star Meg Wynne Owen who apparently had died over the summer. It turns out that she had granted power of attorney to some friend eight years ago, and said friend had milked her for pretty much all she was worth.
There’s a moral in there too…
I got to work where there was cake. As I scoffed it at tea break I had a look at the Internet and saw that “Goddess Rose” (the epically-chested cross eye’s object that had messaged me a few days ago) had gone from Facebook, which was probably a result for the morally upright community.
With work worked I came home and as “er indoors TM” boiled up dinner I had a look at the monthly accounts. The gas and leccie company have made a payment of sixty-six quid into my bank account. I would say that was kind of them, but it turns out this is a bung from the government which comes in six instalments.
To be honest, I don’t much care who it is coming from… I’ll just take it anyway. But I would prefer cake… Sixty-six quid’s worth,,,
Today was a tad dull…
25 November 2022 (Friday) - Dogs And Stuff
Usually having done a night shift means I sleep rather well for the next few nights, but despite Tuesday night's efforts I was wide awake at half past two this morning and lay awake for the rest of the night. On hearing “er indoors TM” get up for the loo just before five o'clock I thought I might as well get up and let the puppies out, and she could then take them back upstairs with her whilst I had brekkie.
I thought this was a good plan…
Admittedly things did smell a bit whiffy when I opened their crate but Morgan had been farting a lot last night so I thought no more about it. I chivvied them (and Treacle) into the garden and came back in (ten minutes later) to find “er indoors TM” disassembling their bedding as someone (presumably Morgan) had had a little "potty accident". In a spirit of either helpfulness or of being a foul creature Bailey then tried to eat it. There is a school of thought which goes along the lines of having her eat it gets rid of it… however this theory overlooks the sad fact that she then sicks it all up a couple of hours later.
I mention this just so’s my loyal readers get a rounded view of dog-herding in it’s entirely rather than having a rose-tinted view of some impossibly ideal perfect dog. Dogs are truly disgusting creatures...
The clean-up only took twenty minutes (!), and with “er indoors TM” and the dogs gone back to bed (and the washing machine going full-pelt at dog bedding) I made brekkie and turned on the telly to watch an episode of "Stranger Things". The good thing about this show is that for all that the "stranger things" are rather strange, the writers have created and developed believable characters... it was such a shame that in this morning's episode pretty much all of them were acting utterly unlike their established ways purely to move the plot along.
I set off to work, and had to chuckle. You could tell it was dustbin day from the dustmen bellowing up the street (at half past six in the morning) and from the amount of rubbish festooned all over the street. The dustbin lorry had been parked on the roadside, and as I walked out of the front door so a car was coming down the road. The dustbin lorry then deliberately pulled out to block that car. It couldn't have been moving forward to ease bin collection as it only went about five yards down the road then stopped between cars parked on either side. It really did move purely to obstruct the traffic.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the upcoming strike called by the Royal College of Nursing. Apparently massive efforts are being made to ensure the strike will cause no disruption to the running of any hospital... so what it the point of the strike? Mind you, this is a hospital thing. I can remember strikes at the (now demolished) Royal East Sussex Hospital where strikers ensured that their shifts were covered before they went on strike.
And there was also talk about the ongoing war in Ukraine. The Ukrainian First Lady is claiming the people are preparing themselves for years of ongoing war... provided the western world pays for it.
I got to work and deployed a Tree House (as one does), then got on with the early shift. Work was rather good. No cake today, but we had posh biccies.
An early start meant for an early finish. But even at early finish time it is still dark at this time of year, so with a few minutes spare I thought I might get petrol…
There was quite a queue at the petrol station. Some impatient idiot couldn’t wait and squeezed his car through the queued cars with only an inch on each side, only to get to the pump to find the nice petrol station lady had just hung an “out of order” sign on it. This idiot then leapt from his car to remonstrate with the nice lady…
Today’s new word is “remonstrate” – it means to scream, shout and generally carry on in such a way to leave no doubt in the mind of any onlookers that they are dealing with a half-wit.
Anyway, as this idiot remonstrated it became clear to everyone that not only had he forgotten to apply his car’s handbrake, but he’d also not left it in gear. It took him a surprisingly long time to realise his car was rolling away. It was so hard for me not to point and laugh out loud.
I got home… Morgan seems a whole lot better…
26 November 2022 (Saturday) - Rather Busy
One of the first things that appeared in my Facebook feed this morning was a suggestion that I might like to follow some councillor or other. Bearing in mind I’d never heard of the chap I wondered why Facebook thought I might be interested in him… it turned out he was the councillor for the area a mile up the road, and I’d never heard of him. This got me wondering about who was my local councillor… I found out who she was. She doesn’t have a presence on social media, but was apparently the local mayor a few years ago. I can vaguely remember writing to her to complain about something or other, and her reply was along the lines that she had no power to do anything at all about anything at all and that I should take my bellyaching to the county council.
I found my county councillor; he seems quite active on social media.
And then I wondered why I’d spent twenty minutes looking up councillors about whom I have no interest whatsoever.
“er indoors TM” and Treacle both came to Dog Club with me and the puppies this morning. The session we go to is for puppies, small dogs and timid dogs, so we thought Treacle might get some benefit from it. It has to be said she’s not good with other dogs in that she’s generally terrified of them. She snapped at one or two that came too close, but everyone there was understanding, and she allowed several dogs to come up and say hello. Morgan had a whale of a time; charging round in the thick of all the chaos. It was a shame that Bailey sneaked off a couple of times, once to eat a rather large lump of poo, and once to eat a dead bird. But as I said yesterday, dogs are foul creatures.
We came home, washed the fox poo off of Morgan, settled the dogs (who were soon fast asleep after their adventure) and set off to Folkestone. Steve wasn’t on the radio this morning; his replacement (sadly) wasn’t very good.
We went to see Jose and Maria. We don’t see anywhere near enough of them these days. Maria had cooked up a very good bit of brekkie, and with it scoffed we sat and put the world to rights before getting Jose’s Alexa to do a variety of farting noises. Jose had a spare Alexa (which came with his doorbell). Did we want it? Yes please !!!
From there we went (via the KFC’s take away department) to visit “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM”. The most recent fruit of my loin was poorly (so she claimed), and once we’d scoffed KFC we played “Worms” on the Play Station. Or (to be honest) “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” played “Worms” on the Play Station. I took turns in randomly struggling with the handset until one of my worms blew itself up, then passed the handset on.
I then dozed off, only to be woken by a very worried “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” who was under the impression that if I went to sleep without my CPAP machine it might be fatal for me. She didn’t realise the thing keeps me asleep, it doesn’t keep me alive.
We came home, plugged in the new Alexa, and whilst she updated herself we went up to Ashford where the “Festival of the Baubles” was taking place. You can see some photos of the event by clicking here. It was… How can I best describe it? One of the little old ladies in the crowd told her mate that this year’s parade was far better than last year’s. I can only imagine last year’s was something of a disappointment. For example you could tell from which school the various groups came by seeing a bored teacher holding the name of the school typed on a sheet of A4 paper nailed to a bit of wood. How long would it have taken to make a decent poster? And I didn’t see any scout groups along – weren’t they invited? Back in the day this would have been the sort of thing the 6th Ashford would have lapped up.
Even allowing for a trip to Aldi on the way home we were back home only an hour after we went up to see the procession.
Once home we saw that Alexa had updated herself, so (to “er indoors TM”’s disgust) to check she was working I got her to do twenty-one fart sounds and then play “My Grandfather’s Frock” by Ivor Biggun. Happy that the important things were functional I shall sort out dull things like weather forecasts and news bulletins tomorrow..
27 November 2022 (Sunday) - Wet Sunday
I slept like a log last night, but wasn’t too pleased to see the rain as I took the puppies outside this morning. Admittedly the rain had been forecast, but I had hoped this would be yet another of their wildly inaccurate predictions. Sadly it wasn’t.
I took wet puppies upstairs to bother “er indoors TM”; they love going to see her in the morning but won’t go past the landing without me as they are scared of Treacle who is always very grumpy at them in the morning. Having left Treacle snoring on my side of the bed when I’d got up, Treacle had deliberately moved to guard the door. The puppies love her so much, and she is hateful to them.
As the washing machine did its thing I made toast and scoffed it as I waited for my lap-top to boot up. The poor thing is struggling to get going these days. Eventually it got going. There was concern in the Munzing world today… Every month there are “Clan Wars” in which various prizes are awarded to teams who scan certain amounts of bar codes stuck to lamp posts. There are levels of prizes, the lower the level, the easier it is to achieve. We go for level four. Level three is a tad too easy, but level four can be a bit of a stretch. It would seem that some who’ve gone for the dizzy heights of levels five and six are finding that what was supposed to be fun was fast becoming a chore.
I then spent three hours preparing a presentation for next week. I’ve applied for the position of Training Lead and have got an interview in eight days’ time. As part of that interview I’ve got to give a ten minute presentation entitled "Personal development plans, to meet current and future service requirements".
Creating the first draft of a PowerPoint presentation that will play for ten minutes took me all morning, and it’s still not quite right.
I took the dogs round the block for a walk; we didn’t get *that* wet. And with the dogs thinking that they had had an outing I went round to the scout hut with “er indoors TM” for the scout group AGM. She had to go; she’s the group secretary. I didn’t have to go, but I had nothing else on the agenda.
The old place brought back some memories, as did listening to the reports presented to the AGM. Scouting amazes me; so much is achieved for the children by so few people. Half a dozen leaders effectively give up their lives for the place, and (for the most part) their efforts are totally unrecognised. It turns out that the group scout chairman is throwing in the sponge and they need a new one. Is that something I could do? Possibly? Of all the activities and clubs and hobbies I’ve done over the years, Scouting never descended into being one big argument…
We came home and I spent a few minutes assembling my new leaf sucker/blower. Seeing how it was far too soggy outside to test it, I had a go in the living room. The “suck” settling sucked up some of the carnage the dogs had strewn over the living room floor, and the “blow” setting rather wound the dogs up.
I then had this (frankly genius) idea that Alexa might help in calming them down; sadly “Calming Music for Dogs” was an abject failure, but I did get Alexa to swear. Sort of… She only knows one swear word; “knickers!”.
After a few minutes spent frantically tidying up, “My Boy TM” and Cheryl came to visit. It was good to catch up. Cheryl is particularly envious of our Alexa; it has got a screen (which hers hasn’t), and to add insult to injury she had been planning to get us an Alexa for Christmas.
Once they’d got home we then did an “Alexa call” at them to prove the thing works.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching an episode of “MacDonald & Dobbs”. I don’t usually like police-based TV shows, but this one is rather good…
28 November 2022 (Monday) - Rostered Day Off
I woke at two o’clock last night with a pain in my neck, and spent much of the rest of the night trying to get comfortable, but it wasn’t happening.
I gave up and came downstairs to find a mutiny in progress; the puppies were refusing point-blank to go outside for “er indoors TM”. I told them “come on” and they followed me outside right away. What was that all about?
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. It was back to its old ways… Radio Four, geocaching apps, pugs, Sparks and Star Trek… No matter what the subject, everything was one big argument today.
“er indoors TM” sorted dog breakfast, and we both watched Treacle ignoring hers. She seemed to be all right in herself` but did look a little bloated. She’s been looking like that for a couple of days now. Once the puppies had eaten theirs, she then ate hers whilst they watched.
I then sat about waiting. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that on 30th August I had to swerve my car into a hedge to avoid a head-on collision. A local garage assured me that they could have fixed it within an hour, but it wouldn’t have been cheap, so I went through the insurance people. Three months later they eventually got round to sorting it. I’d been told that they would collect the car today and drop off the courtesy car too… at some point during the day. Apparently they were utterly unable to give me any indication of when; the best they could do would be for the nice man to give me a ring when he was half an hour away, so I had to give up an entire day to sit round waiting for them. It took some doing, but I managed to swap shifts about, and then ironically the nice man turned up at five past nine (with no phone call)… so I could have done the late shift after all. There had been no need for me to give up an entire day.
The courtesy car they’ve left me with seems to be the economy version of the one that’s gone for repair. The controls are fairly similar to my car, but it only has five gears. Mind you it does have scratches on the passenger side front bumper, below the passenger side headlight and on the boot door frame. I emailed the company about that, and they emailed back to say that they knew, and told me about seven other dings on it. That was honest of them.
One of the rules with the courtesy car is that dogs aren’t allowed in it… that was something of a pain in the glass. Mind you my car was set up so that the dogs would be contained in the boot; I couldn’t guarantee their not escaping from the boot of the courtesy car. So with the woods being out today, we went on a half-hour wander round the local roads. The wander went well, even if we did terrify several passers-by.
What is it with the Nepalese community and dogs? We walked past quite a few Nepalese people today; they were all very polite and civil (as they always are), but all of then reacted as though I was taking three tigers for a walk rather than three small dogs.
With walk walked I popped up to the corner shop to get croissants or “pain o chocolate” or something for me and “er indoors TM” (who was working from home today), but the shop had sold out. Sometimes they’ve got loads left at mid-day, other times they’ve sold out at ten o’clock.
I then spent anther couple of hours working on the Personal Development Plans presentation for a couple of hours until the nice boiler man arrived. Having had a cancellation the nice lady at the plumbers (who in years gone by was one of my trainees!) arranged for us to get our boiler serviced this afternoon… or (to be precise) she arranged for the boiler engineer to call. Sadly when the new kitchen was fitted earlier in the year the boiler was quite comprehensively boxed in and the engineer couldn’t get to the boiler. There’s now a delay whilst we see if and when the kitchen fitter can come back…
No day off work is complete without ironing; I ironed for a couple of hours whilst watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which one of the contestants was banging on constantly about what a big businessman he was… and his bed & breakfast establishment was quite literally falling to pieces. Like so many people he knew all the theory and none of the practice.
“er indoors TM” went off bowling, and I settled down with the dogs and watched two episodes of “Stranger Things”…
My neck still aches…
29 November 2022 (Tuesday) - Lego Club
Tiddling the dogs goes one of three ways. They can flatly refuse to go out. They can go out (under protest) and mess about playing silly beggars for quite some time. Or they go out like bullets from a gun, do what is required, and zoom back in as fast as they possibly can. In the early mornings they usually take the third option because they know that once they've "done", they can go upstairs to the big bed with “er indoors TM”.
With them sorted I made toast and watched another episode of "Stranger Things" which was rather good, and now we're into the third season it actually features some things that really are stranger than most other things.
As I watched so “er indoors TM” came downstairs to the loo... complete with her entourage. Whenever I get up to go anywhere the dogs might roll over into the warm spot that I might have left, but that would be all the response that my absence would warrant. Whenever “er indoors TM” gets up to go anywhere all three dogs leap up and follow her every move.
I set off for work listening to the news as I do. I rolled my eyes as it was announced that billions of pounds need to be spent on flood defences across the country as officialdom has finally realised the folly of letting developers build wherever they like. Didn’t they realise that developers like to build on land that regularly floods because it is cheap? As an example of this, look at the Park Farm development in Ashford. Thousands of houses built on land which thirty years ago wouldn't used by local sheep farmers between October and April as it flooded too much and was a swamp every winter.
There was also more talk from the First Lady of Ukraine who was hoping that the people of Britain wouldn't forget about the plight of the Ukrainians... and then asked for more millions of pounds to spend on fighting the Russians.
And I found myself wondering about the Chinese government cracking down on dissident voices and outlawing certain brands of social media. For all that I rip into the government, I should really be grateful that they allow me to do so... Not that I expect they even realise I'm sitting here throwing rocks at them.
As I drove up the motorway I investigated the various functions of the courtesy car I've got. Some might say that I randomly pressed all the buttons to see what happened, but I prefer to say "investigated the various functions" as that sounds like I had some idea of what I was doing.
Once I'd got the mirrors pointing in the right directions (that took some doing), I discovered the cruise control, and spent a while playing with that.
As I fiddled I was very conscious to remember I wasn't in my car and made a point of not trying to use sixth gear for the simple reason that this car hasn't got a sixth gear. Reverse is where sixth gear should be. If I was to use that half way up the motorway the engine would just leap out of the bonnet in a rather spectacular fashion.
I wonder if that would be covered by the insurance?
I did my bit at work, and (once I'd checked the travel map on Google) rather than heading home I went to Hythe where the Lego club was having its inaugural meeting. Would it be any good? Would it be a load of rubbish? I must admit I went along hoping for great things but expecting the worst. Mind you I had my reservations about Dog Club, and (so far) that has turned out quite good. And (if nothing else) it would be an opportunity to catch up with Jose who had told me that he would be along.
My reservations were totally unfounded. The turn-out wasn’t huge, but those of us that were there had a great meeting. After a little chatting we pulled up some tables and just built Lego models. I’d taken some maxifigures along to show (as those are what I collect) so I made a cat, dog, parrot and some other strange animal to go with them. As we all built we all carried on chatting. We all seem to be of one mind; the hobby is supposed to be fun. And with that in mind I think we might just be on to a winner here…
I took one or two photos…
I don’t think the first fruit of my loin approves…
30 November 2022 (Wednesday) - This n That
I woke to the sound of Treacle jumping off of the bed with a loud crash. Thinking she wanted to go outside to "do her business" I leapt up to let her out only to be reminded what a clever dog she is. The very second that I got up she leapt back onto the bed and curled up in the warm spot I'd just vacated.
I contented myself with taking the puppies outside. There's always some "business" to be "done" in the mornings in my world if you look for it.
I had brekkie, watched a bit of telly, then set off to work. As I drove through thick fog so the pundits on the radio were telling the world that the fog today was restricted to the far west of Cornwall(i)
They were also talking about last night's England-Wales football match. A *lot* of air-time was devoted to this match, and it left me thinking. That match took place yesterday evening when I'd been at Lego club, and together with a small group of like-minded people I'd had a fun time. Listening to the radio this morning it was clear that for millions of people last night's football match was anything but fun. The Welsh supporters interviewed were bitterly disappointed to have lost, even though they had expected it. And the English supporters interviewed were far from magnanimous in victory (seeing the Welsh as just someone else to stomp underfoot) , but openly expecting bitter upset in the next few weeks when the England team gets knocked out of the world cup.
I've said it before; I wish I understood the attraction of football...
I took the courtesy car to the petrol station; filling it with petrol was far easier than I had expected it to be. Many years ago I once spent twenty minutes standing at the petrol pump trying to find where the petrol went in to my grandfather's car. The chap from the garage eventually came out and he couldn't find the filler cap either. Eventually we found it behind the rear number plate (which folded down!) Ever since then I've expected no end of arse-ache every time I take a new (to me) car to a petrol pump.
And then having filled it with petrol I couldn't help but wonder if diesel might have been a better idea. How do you know which to put in? Mind you the thing is still making the same noises it was before I put the petrol in, so here's hoping.
I got to the works car park and spent five minutes trying to turn the car’s lights off. For some reason they wanted to stay on. I expect while randomly pressing all the buttons (like I have been doing) I've randomly pressed the wrong one.
As I did my bit at work so my phone rang. It was the people who are supposed to be sorting my car. They’ve taken two days to tell me what the chap who picked up the car on Monday said, and they estimate it will be fixed two weeks this Friday.
On September 1st the local garage had a look at my car and sent me a quote. They could have taken the car in on the following Monday and had it done that morning for a thousand quid. I wonder how much the insurance people are being stung for.
Work was much the same as ever, but even being on an early shift it was still dark when I got home.
I took the dogs round the block and risked life and limb. The pavements are extremely slippery with fallen leaves, and the utterly inadequate street lighting means that you can’t see where the fallen leave are. I sent an email of complaint to the local councillor. Mind you I’ve complained about the inadequate lighting to her before and had a rather disinterested reply. I suppose the more argumentative fat sods that pogger themselves in the dark, the less stick she gets in her in-box. She actually replied in less than an hour. She didn’t actually say “f… off fatso” but she might as well have done.
We drove round to see “My Boy TM” and deliver his Advent Calendar. Every year “er indoors TM” wraps up twenty-four tins of beer for him.
I get to open the first window on my Advent Calendar tomorrow…