1 November 2023 (Wednesday) - Still Poorly



I woke feeling rather grim at three o’clock so I came downstairs, and watched an episode of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” rather than laying wide awake. I felt a bit tired after that, and it was then that I had a stroke of genius. Bearing in mind I spent so long asleep on the sofa yesterday and the day before, I thought I might have a bit of a kip on the sofa, and not wake up coughing every five minutes.

If the telly is on in broad daylight I am out like a light when on the sofa. Last night in the dark I just gave myself a backache. So I went to back to bed at five o’clock and disturbed the dogs, two of whom then wanted a tiddle. Had I marched Morgan out as well he might not have had the “little accident” that woke me at half past eight.

At least it was only the smallest of accidents. A spot maybe the size of a fifty-pence piece. He held on to most of it to get it outside. But he does need to be tiddled regularly. Here’s a tip that all dachshund owners know very well, but deliberately keep a closely guarded secret. Dachshunds are never particularly good in the toilet training department.


I look the sheet to the washing machine, and as it scrubbed I made toast and had a look at the internet. Three Facebook friends were having a birthday today; I sent out my birthday video to the two that have made some attempt t contact me in the last six years. But sending that video isn’t as easy as it once was. Facebook now tells me that the video hasn’t been independently fact-checked and had its veracity confirmed and asks me each time if I want to continue with that in mind.


With torrential rain outside and me still feeling like death warmed up I cracked on with the ironing. As I ironed I watched the first episode of “Banged Up”, a TV show in which seven so-called celebrities see how they would cope in prison. The show was rather interesting (and frightening) but could have done with either having real celebrities, or telling us mere mortals who the so-called celebrities actually are. I’d not heard of any of them.

After that I sparked up Netflix and watched three episodes of the most recent series of “The Witcher”. I watched the first two seasons and can remember them being rather good. I watched today’s episodes with some enjoyment, but did have quite the feeling of “WTF was that all about”.

With ironing ironed and seeing a break in the seemingly constant rain I walked the dogs round the block. What with disease the dogs hadn’t had a walk for two days. We went round the block; we didn’t meet anyone, we got home before the rain started again.


Feeling a tad knackered after just going round the block I sat back on the sofa with Morgan and Bailey (or “Baby” as “Darcie Waa Waa TM” calls her) and watched episodes of “Four in a Bed” in which the people with the cheapest and shabbiest establishment seemed to think that anything better than piss-poor standards was a needless waste of effort.

I do like that show.

During the advert breaks I phoned the garage and the dentist and the hospital and rescheduled all the appointments with people who wouldn’t want to see me if I was diseased.


We had fish and chips for tea… and as the evening wore on I began to wilt. And cough. And I think my temperature is going up too.

I thought I was slowly on the mend…



2 November 2023 (Thursday) - Sick of Being Sick



I had something of a bad night last night. When “er indoors TM stopped snoring so the thunder and lightening started, and continued right up until the snoring started again.

I gave up with sleep, came downstairs and saw that I’d completely forgotten that I’d put a load of washing into the washing machine last night. Ho hum… I hung that out, made brekkie and sparked up my lap-top. This morning the thing worked far better than it ever had done. Up till yesterday it seemed to be stuck in a vicious circle of notifications in which some trivial thing would happen (someone clicked “Like” on a Facebook photo, I’d had another email I never needed or wanted…) and it would give me a notification about it. My phone would then give me the same notification as would my watch. And then my lap-top would tell me that I had notifications on my watch and phone. Depending on how chatty the technology was feeling I would sometimes get up to half a dozen messages about things about which I couldn’t care less. I had words with the lap-top last night, and this morning it had seen the error of its ways. I got a lot less unnecessary notifications.


I had a look at my emails. I had a message. I’ve been having issues with uploading stuff to my blog backup. The nice people who run the web hosting are doing all sorts of wonderful IT things behind the scenes; the practical upshot of which is that (like with every single IT upgrade that has ever been done in all of history) the uploading no longer actually worked.

Matters weren’t helped by the way that every time they replied to my questions (of which there were several!) they would send me an email to tell me that they’ve replied to my message in the message centre, and I then had to fiddle about logging in to find out what they’d actually said. They’d sent me several links to various help screens, none of which looked like the ones in the diagrams they sent. After quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing it turned out that after the upgrade that they’d done, I needed to upload to a different place and I needed a new login name to do so. Sadly getting to that realization was rather painful.

I saw that an ELO tribute band had been playing in Hastings last night. Had I not been diseased I might have gone along; I saw they were still advertising tickets yesterday afternoon. A friend who went along said the theatre was half-empty. I suppose mid-week isn’t perhaps the most popular time to go out?


And a series of geocaches had gone live on the Romney Marsh this morning. Last time I had the rona I managed a cheeky First to Find. Might this become a thing? I’d seen that people on-line were saying that they’d heard from friends that others had said that their mates reckoned that the overnight storms had left many of the roads to the Romney Marsh flooded, and those roads that weren’t flooded were blocked by fallen trees. However no one was talking from first-hand experience, and Google Maps showed the traffic was moving normally. So I zoomed down to the marsh, pulled up by a road sign… and the heavens opened. I wasn’t put off by the thought of rain as I keep a raincoat in the car. Or so I thought. I wonder where that went?

After a few minutes the rain passed. I soon had the cache in hand. First to Find. Go me. I decided to leave the rest of the series for another time.

I came home, and seeing the rain was still stopped I walked the dogs round the block, then had a five minute pootle in the garden. And I then realised that a little drive out, a walk round the block and five minutes in the garden had been too much for me. I was knackered and sweating. Having decided I’d had quite enough slobbing about feeling sorry for myself I’d made a bit of a plan for today. And I simply wasn’t physically up to it.

I was rather pissed off – the idea of a week’s sick leave is to have a bit of bonus holiday. It certainly was the last time I had the rona. I’d rather have gone to work than have been putting up with this. I sat on the sofa under a pile of dogs sniffling and coughing and watched all of the remaining episode of “The Witcher”.


As I binge-watched my phone beeped at me, and reminded me that seven years ago I went for an interview at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury. At the time I didn’t think the interview went very well, but I got the job, and accepting the job was one of my better decisions. As an example… On Monday when I go back to work the bosses will ask me how I feel. And it will be with concern. And if I don’t feel well enough I will take more sick leave… and won’t feel guilty for doing so.

In my previous job when I returned to work after sickness I was met by management with sarcasm and passive-aggressive comments about how there had been nothing wrong with me. Once after a bout of dire rear which had had me confined to the chodbin, and once after surgery.

And that was in a place which claimed to have a zero tolerance to bullying.

I should have changed jobs years ago



3 November 2023 (Friday) - Reorganising Webspace



I woke in the middle of the night and went to the loo. As I headed back to bed so Treacle came down and walked to the back door. I let her out and waited for her. And waited. Bearing in mind she doesn’t play silly beggars I got a little worried and took a torch into a cold wet night only to find that she was playing silly beggars.

As we came in so Morgan was standing at the door. He went out and he too took an inordinately long time to do a very short tiddle. I watched him; he sniffed everything in the entire garden before deciding to pee up the compost bin not two feet from the back door. As he came in so Bailey was laying in wait for him and a play-fight kicked off before Bailey then did about a dozen circuits of the wet dark garden before doing her widdle.

By then I was wide awake so I made a bowl of cereals and started to watch the last episode of the current series of “Star Trek: Lower Decks”. But I could hear a lot of movement upstairs. And whimpering too. Treacle was on the bed and was very much “King of the Castle” and wouldn’t let the puppies up.

By then it was half past four. Dogs can be hard work sometimes.


For the first time that I can remember I slept through the noise that the bin men probably made. I woke about half past eight and looked out at glorious sunshine. Today would have been a lovely morning for the woods, but bearing in mind how quickly I wilted yesterday I just made toast and had my usual rummage on-line. Today’s petty bickering on Facebook was about the practicalities of the alien spaceships in the 1970s Gerry Anderson series UFO. Some people though the things were too small; others disagreed. Bitterly.

And some woman had replied to a comment I made about dog tracking technology some three weeks ago. I looked into the stuff some time ago when Morgan and Bailey went rogue, but it soon became apparent that the whole thing hinges on having an active internet connection – which I haven’t got in the woods we walk in. If I can’t post to Facebook or call up Google then I can’t track an errant dog on the tracking app. It was suggested that if the dogs went AWOL in the woods I might drive home and use the reliable internet at home to see where they were.

So…I found myself presented with the position that given that a dog has gone rogue, I could see where they were from five miles away and so the tracking technology had worked. And that I was wrong in saying that the app was of no use to me.

The fact the tracking technology couldn’t actually assist in retrieving a missing dog was neither here nor there…


With no emails worth having I thought I might sort my web space. I have several on-line projects which behind the scenes were a mess. The folders for all of them were randomly all jumbled together which made it very difficult for me to see what was going on. And now that the web hosting people have had a tidy-up I thought I might do the same.

I started off with the blog archive. Each month has its own folder. I moved all of them into one folder called “diary” and in the process lost all my memories of April 2009. Recovering those took a little doing.

My Advent Archive is OK… for just under a month.

My personal Atlas of Haematology was something I fiddle with and forget about; I need to fiddle with it more often.

My “Beginner’s Guide to Geocaching” has been on the back burner for far too long as has my “Beginner’s Guide to Wherigo”.

And then I found all sorts of things that I’d completely forgotten about

I found the Batcamp archive and brought it up to date.

I found something I created four years ago for World Book Day. I shall update that at some point.

I found photos of when I took scouts to Canada twenty years ago and added them to my blog archive. After all, they are all diaries..

I found the start of a little “Desert Island Discs” project that I started ages ago. I added in my current thoughts. I should come back to this from time to time. Mind you I’m quite pleased with the piccie I created for it.

I found the archive of Kent Geocaching events with which I’ve clearly done nothing for three years.

I found the start of a project I started (and forgot about) about my Lego maxifigures collection. I might come back to this, or I might delete it. I’m still undecided.

I found the old website about my snakes… the last of which I re-homed over twenty years ago. I shall keep this for posterity, but I do need to update some of its hyperlinks.

And there was a lot of work-related training stuff which I removed from my webspace.


Fiddling about with webspace and on-line projects kept me occupied for most of the day which was for the best. The rain of the last week had abated and I’d been tempted to go for a decent walk round the woods, but just taking the dogs round the block had left me in a sweat.


Eventually I ran out of easy stuff to do with the web space. I know I’ve written lists of top ten books before… I just don’t know what I’ve done with those lists. I expect they will come to light eventually. Similarly I know I’ve done my Desert Island Discs lists many times… but can only find four of them.

I had a shower, then strained my brain over some geo-puzzles. I think this one is about Sumo wrestling (though I suspect it isn’t), and I had a stroke of absolute genius about this one.. which would have been a brilliant stroke of absolute genius *if* you can have negative longitude (which you can’t).


“er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with some plonk whilst catching up on this year’s season of “Bake Off”.

It was rather good…



4 November 2023 (Saturday) - Reorganizing Spare Rooms



I woke to the sound of Treacle squeaking so I took her and Bailey out into a damp garden at five o’clock. Just like yesterday, both wandered round and round before finally coming back inside.

I tried to get back to sleep, but I was cold, and the rain was rather noisy up against the windows. And then my phone started whinging that it wanted a virus scan. At six o’clock in the morning.

I got up at seven o’clock, made toast and had my usual look at the internet. It was still there. My brother and nephew were posting that they’d done an hour’s drive to Brighton where a coach would collect them ant take them to Liverpool for today’s football match. Let’s hope it goes better that the last one. The other week they went on a seven hour round trip to watch a 6:1 defeat.


I really didn’t fancy Dog Club this morning what with the torrential rain. The problem is that having volunteered to unlock every week I’ve rather shot myself in the foot as there is only one set of keys. I posted to the Dog Club admin group that I would unlock and come home and found myself on the brink of a “I’m more ill than you are” argument. I sighed. Dog Club is such fun. Is this about to dissolve into one big quarrel too?

I got my waterproofs on and walked to the car (which was quite some way away) and drove over to the Dog Club field. The roads were like rivers. I unlocked just in case any brave souls turned up, and came straight back home. Were I feeling a tad better I might have taken the dogs, but they would have just got wet and filthy. As it was the walk to the car, from the car to the field gate and back again, and (having parked up) walking home got me soaked.


I sparked up the lap-top, tuned into Steve on the radio, and listened to the clues for the mystery year… The Grand National was cancelled, M-People were in the charts. I had no idea. Thirty years of Doctor Who was the giveaway. 1993.

As I strained my brain on the mystery year I also struggled with geo-puzzles. I pretty much immediately solved the one which yesterday had given me co-ordinates which were north of the North Pole. And armed with a hint about another geo-puzzle I wasted an hour getting absolutely nowhere.

I then spent a little while on Google Street View virtually driving round the Romney Marsh. There’s half a dozen geo-puzzles in the area in which photos of roadside locations are given. All you have to do is find where the photos were taken. But one view across the marsh is much like another and I didn’t locate any.


Seeing a lull in the rain I took the dogs round the block. As we walked we met OrangeHead. Back in the day me and Fudge used to meet her a lot; she earned her sobriquet from her vividly dyed hair. These days she is much more restrained. She was walking a small pup; her old dog had died. As her pup and my pups sniffed each other we reminisced about old dogs.

I suggested she and her new pup might enjoy Dog Club; she said that she’d heard good things of it (result!) but getting there without a car was problematical. Perhaps I should have offered a lift?


We came home and I fell asleep in front of the telly underneath a pile of dogs. Once “er indoors TM had returned from craft club we went to the spare bedroom, We’d had the walls re-plastered a while back, the painting was done. It was time to make a start putting the room back to some semblance of order. Shifting furniture about took some doing, then as “er indoors TM cleaned and dusted I got the old desktop computer back together and working. It took a little fiddling about; eventually I made the amazing discovery that plugging the right cables into the right sockets made a load of difference. The thing is twelve years old and it would be far cheaper to replace with a new one than to bring it up to modern specs, but it has something which is something of a novelty these days. It can play CDs.

I then went through some of my old rubbish. Some I want to keep; much of it is fit for the bin. As I rummaged I found an old picture that had been drawn in the late nineties featuring me and the people with whom I worked at the time. I can put names to all but one of the characters. Sadly I have no idea who it is between the woman with the clipboard and “Big Gay Al”. Interestingly the chap who was portrayed as “Big Gay Al” went on to become the president of the British Blood Transfusion Society.


I then took a deep breath. The next thing to be done in the back room was to get the books and DVDs onto shelves. I don’t want to put shelves on the walls again, so bookcases it is. Back in the day there wouldn’t have been any delay; I would have taken my Espace to the shop, got new bookcases and chucked them in the back of the Espace. Everything fitted into my Espace. Much as I like my car, it isn’t big. So I would be stuck with the vagaries of delivery drivers. And who will deliver on a Sunday? I want to get on with sorting that room.

After a little fiddling about I ordered two bookcases from Argos who claim they will deliver tomorrow morning. Even though it is a Sunday. Will they? Time will tell; it always does.


“er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst catching up of episodes of “Bake Off”.

I should really have an early night in readiness for the bookcases which will be arriving tomorrow; possibly as early as seven o’clock…



5 November 2023 (Sunday) - Flat-Pack Furniture



I was having a particularly vivid dream in which the nation was overrun by escaped prisoners and I’d volunteered to go to prison as the country was now facing a shortage of them when my phone beeped. At five past seven. Yesterday when I’d ordered the bookcases, Argos had said “We’ll ping you an email or text to say when we’re on our way”, and so they did. They said they would be with me within two hours. It was a shame that they couldn’t be more specific than that two-hour window. I suppose Amazon’s live tracking has set the bar rather high.

So I made toast and checked the Internet whilst I waited.


A good friend was posting videos of his house. Having spent years being moved from one temporary house to another he finally got his own place over the summer… which is now flooded out from last week’s rains.

Other people had posted piccies from firework events. Some went ahead in Sussex last night; the rain must have held off. And again the mention of fireworks set off the pro- and anti- firework brigades. Personally I quite like looking at the things, but do they have to make such loud explosions?

I saw  that I had loads of emails about having bought the bookcases, and ones telling me that they were on the way (!)… and suddenly I realised that an hour had passed and I’d done nothing but look at drivel on Facebook whilst waiting for these bookcases.


They arrived just before nine o’clock, and I spent half an hour getting progressively more and more angry with the things. Like all flat-packed furniture, rather than coming with instructions they had frankly incomprehensible diagrams (with not a single written word on them) which meant absolutely nothing to me. I was all set to book a slot at the tip and just throw the things away (and good riddance to them!) and go buy a pair of proper pre-built bookcases, but “er indoors TM wanted a go. So I left her to it and took the dogs for a walk. And made myself quite breathless in doing so.


After she’d been fighting with the bits for a couple of hours “er indoors TM came to the conclusion that both of the flat-packed bookcases were missing a vital piece. “er indoors TM arranged for the missing pieces to be sent on to us and decided to get as far as she could with the bookcases… but the missing bits wouldn’t arrive for a few days.

I wasn’t happy. My whole plan for today hinged on getting the bookcases up and in place and I seriously wanted to have a little bonfire in the garden to get rid of the things if only out of childish petulance.

An hour later she announced she’d found the missing bits. Oh, how I laughed.


As she cracked on with the bookcases so I cracked on with the project I started on Friday. I made a start at updating my list of favourite books (well, it’s bookcase-related). After a while there was some minor consternation when “er indoors TM announced she’d put the drawer runners on back to front. So I went up to help and put that hiccup right whist she cracked on with the building.


The plan for today was to have the bookcases built by mid-day and then spend the afternoon putting stuff onto them and generally getting tidy. We stopped working on the bookcases at eight o’clock this evening. They just need the adjustable shelves fitting; we’ll do that in the week.



6 November 2023 (Monday) - Butt Cream



Having got a negative COVID test last night, it was back to work for me today. In a novel break with tradition my alarm woke me this morning. I got up and fortunately remembered about all the cardboard packaging I'd left laying around in the living room before I fell over it all. I had a shave, and needing to be cracking on this morning I didn't watch any telly. Instead I made toast and had a little peer into the Internet to see what had happened overnight.

Having rebooted my phone half a dozen times because the "back" button wasn't working on the Facebook app it would seem that the nice people at Facebook had deliberately turned it off, and people all over the world were grumbling about it. And it would seem that the loss of a "back" button was far more important than anything else on social media this morning.


I got dressed and then gave “er indoors TM a prod; she was taking a friend's littlun to school this morning. I left her yawning as I drove off on a little Munzee mission capping various Points of Interest before heading up the motorway to work.

As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Prime Minister has announced that from here on in every year licences will be granted for companies to drill in the North Sea for oil and gas. The Labour Party have announced that they will repeal this legislation when they come into power as it goes against all their environmental policies. Whilst I sympathise with the environmental lobby, I would ask what they intend we might run the country on whilst we wait for nuclear fusion power to become a practical proposition. Duracell batteries, perhaps?

And there was a lot of talk about the government's promise of thirty hours of free childcare each week for all pre-school children for all working parents of children aged nine months and upwards. A shame that this won't come into effect for two years, but it is a nice thought.

There were interviews with young parents about how the cost of child care is so high, and how young mothers have been refused promotion because of child care issues. Mind you  child care isn't the ultimate panacea which it was being made out to be; who's actually going to be doing the looking after? Has that one been thought through?


I got to work for the early shift and did my bit whilst keeping my head down. We had the inspectors in today. It was just a "surveillance visit", but I still wanted nothing to do with it. I rarely blog about work, but I've ranted loudly so many times before about inspections of blood testing laboratories. Back in the day the inspections were of what we actually did, of the validity of the results we produced, and whether or not the users were happy with the service we provide. These days the assessment process has moved out of the hands of people who know what they are assessing (Clinical Pathology Accreditation RIP) and into the hands of the UK Accreditation Service who assess engineering, food handling, facilities management... and rather than focus on what we actually do, they focus on the quality of the paperwork that we generate.

I did have a dental appointment booked for this afternoon, and I'd planned to take the dogs out and do a tip run as well, but the bosses had asked me to be on hand for today's inspection as they wanted "someone senior at the microscope". I fulfilled my "senior obligations" by formally and sternly admonishing all the trainees that under no circumstances were they to bite the inspector, and I spent the day sulking whilst looking at the glorious sunshine outside (after a week of torrential rain). Ironically the inspector had a personal emergency and went home at mid-day.


As I worked I had yet another nuisance phone call from the Carphone Warehouse trying to flog me a new phone. I told them (yet again) that I would never get a phone from the Carphone Warehouse simply because they keep phoning me up, and I (again) blocked their number.

I also had a phone call from “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. “Darcie Waa Waa TM has eaten her butt cream (“Darcie Waa Waa TM 's butt cream, not “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”'s), and they were waiting for a phone call back from NHS111 about the toxicology of butt cream. Personally I'd not eat the stuff, but a quick Google search makes me think littlun will survive this one


Being on an early shift meant I got out early (dur!) I got home just as it was getting dark and walked the dogs round the block. As we walked so some half-wit on an electric scooter pulled up next to us, screamed a load of profanities and sped off. I shouted after him that it was rather cowardly to have a full-face balaclava on, and as he turned to the sound of my voice so he was clipped by a passing car. Were the chap not a total half-wit he would have stopped, having been clipped by a car but he sped off.

Perhaps I should have reported this episode to the police, but I know from bitter experience that the police have no interest in doing anything that I consider to be police work.


I had a dunk in the shower and wrote up some CPD until “er indoors TM finished her work. She boiled up a very good bit of scran then set off to bowling. I shall sit in front of the telly and try to stay awake…



7 November 2023 (Tuesday) - Flat Friends



Over brekkie I started watching something new on Netflix. "Osmosis" is some strange French series in which a mad scientist develops a computer-controlled chip thingy which people swallow and it goes to their brain, logs on to the Internet and finds their perfect partner. However, like all mad scientists, this chap is quickly rumbled by his superiors and is chucked out on his arse. But, as is the case with all sacked mad scientists, no one thinks to revoke his free access to all his mad scientist equipment with which he might plan his revenge.

At the end of the first episode our mad scientist was vowing vengeance on an ungrateful world whilst his sister was planning to use the computer controlling chips to merge the brains of three volunteer subjects to cure her mother whose brain had packed up for no apparent reason.

The show might chirp up; I shall try another episode before dismissing it out of hand. But it speaks volumes that Netflix cancelled it three years ago.


Pausing only briefly to capture twenty Flat Friends (it's a Munzee thing) I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how you can now use other couriers than Royal Mail when sending stuff from the Post Office. I got the impression that Royal Mail have got the hump that other couriers have muscled in on what was once their monopoly, but these other couriers only want to muscle in on the profitable bits. They can deliver a hundred letters up my street in the time it takes to deliver one letter to someone who lives out in the back of beyond (at presumably a hundred time the cost to them), and so (sensibly) choose only to take the profitable work.

The obvious answer is that it is daft to charge the same price for delivering a letter to a crowded residential estate as for delivering to an isolated cottage with no other houses for miles around. But what do I know?


There was a lot of talk on the radio about how the King will make a speech today outlining the government's plans for the next year (most of which apparently he won't be keen about).

There was talk about how the death toll in Gaza has passed ten thousand. The Israelis have now killed ten times the amount that the Palestinians have killed. No one on the radio seems to have made the observation that no one on the International scene dares tell the Israelis off.

There were reports from the ongoing inquiry into the government's handling of the COVID pandemic.

And then some fatuous windbag was wheeled on to present "Thought For The Day" in which she started off by wittering about how terrible the situation is in Gaza, and how bad the COVID pandemic was, and then in some incomprehensible leap of (so-called) logic announced that the problem was that in both cases humanity had built its houses on sand rather than the firm foundation of her god.

To my way of thinking, she’s wrong and there's four possible explanations here. Either her god is oblivious to the situation in Gaza and the COVID pandemic, or it don't care about them, or it is powerless to actually do anything about them, or it is happy with the state of the world. None of which seemed to occur to the fatuous windbag who was wittering on.

But this is the righteous mindset in action, isn't it? Everything shitty in life is down to human nature, everything nice is a gift from god. A rather blinkered way of thinking to which the insecure cling. A desperate hope to curry favour with a disinterested deity so's they can go to heaven when they croak? Perhaps.

I'll take my chances... Though *if* there is a god I might have just pissed on my chips.


What with capturing twenty Flat Friends I was about twenty minutes later going up the motorway today. It's amazing the difference those twenty minutes make. If I drive up Hermitage lane before eight o'clock I drive straight to work. If I don't get there till after eight o'clock, I have twenty minutes of stopping and starting.

I shall get there earlier tomorrow.

Work was work. It was much the same as ever. I did what I couldn’t avoid, and then took a serious diversion home as the east-bound slip road onto the motorway was bunged up. So I went three miles west the wrong way up the motorway and turned at the next junction. It turned out that the problem was one broken down lorry. You’d think that realising the thing was about to conk out, the driver would have pulled onto the hard shoulder, wouldn’t you? It is amazing how one poggered vehicle can cause such a delay.


“er indoors TM boiled up a very good bit of scran which we scoffed whilst watching more “Bake Off”. I’m thinking of having an early night now… For all that I’d like to think I’m over last week’s bout of COVID, I’m wilting every evening.



8 November 2023 (Wednesday) - Pink Cake, Jubblies



I had an early(ish) night last night, slept like a log and woke at four o'clock. Much as I wasn't pleased, that was better than I often manage. I dozed fitfully for a while before giving up, getting up and starting with the day. Yesterday I mentioned that I'd started watching "Osmosis" on Netflix; a series in which a mad scientist developed a computer-controlled chip thingy which people swallowed and it went to their brain, logged on to the Internet and found their perfect partner. Or that was the idea. In yesterday's episode our mad scientist tested it on himself and found his perfect partner. They set up home together, but by this morning she'd had enough of him, told him to get knotted and did a runner. That rather put the kibosh on his amazing scientific discovery, which was something of a shame for his company's shareholders, if not for him.

Meanwhile one of the other test subjects flopped her jubblies out. Whether or not this was because of the computer chip in her brain or a shallow attempt to boost the ratings wasn't made clear. But for all that I am a fan of the things (jubblies, not ratings) it's usually the case that getting the jubblies out is the last resort of a bad scriptwriter. Look at the jubblies in "Game of Thrones"; they came out and got put away in direct relationship to the show's ratings.


I got dressed as best I could in the dark. There was a minor hiccup when I lost a pair of socks. I got some more from the sock drawer; I expect Treacle has now eaten the pair I lost.

I drove round to B&Q. I suspect our new bookcases haven't got enough shelves, so I got the ingredients for an extra shelf for each of them. And with shopping shopped I voomed round town capping Points of Interest, weapons and evos (as one does in Munzee-World) before heading up the motorway to work.


As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the ongoing situation in Gaza. The Labour Party's Shadow Minister for New Deal has resigned because the Leader of the Labour Party won't call for a cease-fire in Gaza. It was claimed that Sir Kier sees himself as a Prime Minister in waiting and so consequently feels obliged to copy absolutely everything that the American President does. And if President Biden won't call for a cease-fire, than neither will Sir Kier. The point was made that it is incredibly doubtful if anyone in Gaza has ever heard of Sir Kier, let alone takes any notice of him, but why should that get in the way of political posturing or matters of principle (depending on your personal perspective).

And thousands of people are getting ready to march round London this Saturday) in solidarity with the Palestinians. Despite it being Remembrance Day, the police say they are legally powerless to stop the protests. Perhaps they are, perhaps it is just the latest of their feeble excuses. But again I doubt if anyone in Gaza will take any notice of a load of shouting in London...


The motorway was surprisingly busy this morning. Again the breakdown of one lorry caused gridlock. I found myself stuck behind a Romanian lorry  displaying a very large notice saying "We Don't Go To the UK" which it then repeated in French. All very good political posturing for driving round Europe, but something of an own goal when driving in Kent.


Work was work. There was cake. There was also an inordinate amount of time spent in Trap One; something had upset my innards and I spent much of the day wishing that my rectum could be rectified. Perhaps I'm intolerant of pink fairy cakes?


I came home through some rather nasty rain. “er indoors TM had already gone off out on her evening’s mission so I had a little scoff then cracked on with the bookcases. I sawed the two shelves to size; sadly only one of them got sawed to the correct size. I shall take the wreckage of the mis-sawn shelf to the tip tomorrow. I then moved the new bookcases and the old existing one about a few times until there was some space in the back room. Surprisingly that took nearly two hours. I shall put stuff on the shelves tomorrow. And see if I actually need that second extra shelf…



9 November 2023 (Thursday) - Rostered Day Off



I slept through till quarter to eight this morning when I prodded “er indoors TM awake. She was supposed to be up early to be going in to the office today. Woops.

I made toast and had a little look at the Internet and saw that my Baptist Minster friend was spouting utter drivel on his “Prayers at Ten” podcast. He sounded rather croaky this morning. Apparently his doctor has told him to keep quiet or he risks damaging his voice more. However you can’t keep quiet and praise the lord at the same time, and he was earnestly thanking his god for making him ill (for no reason that made any sense to me).

I’ve mentioned before that I feel very guilty about this chap. His father died when he was a toddler; we met when we were five years old and he was so obviously latching on to any man he saw as a father figure. He idolised one of our primary school teachers, but the damage was done at Boys Brigade where he seemingly adopted the (very religious) leader as a surrogate father. I can hear our old Boys Brigade leader’s platitudes in what my old mate drivels on his podcasts.

Mind you his church seems to be quite successful; if it turns out that I am completely wrong and there is a god, I shall claim some of the credit for my old mate’s results.


With the weather forecast giving the weather getting worse as the day went on, and seeing a bright morning I took the dogs up to Kings Wood. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing Nadine Dorres. Once Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, she resigned with a rather nasty letter telling the Prime Minster what she thought of him. Then (so it was claimed) she made things difficult for the government because she didn’t get a peerage, and has now written a book claiming that some secret cabal is actually running the country and that this group are responsible for the downfall of the last five Prime Ministers.

You’d think that if there really was some secret illuminati behind the scenes they’d stop her book being published, wouldn’t you?


We got to the woods; we had a good walk. At one point I found myself with four dogs; we acquired one. His mummy soon appeared and said that this little dog (a whippet about the size of Morgan) had recently captured a squirrel. I was impressed.

Our walk went very well… right up to the point where we were about a mile from the car when the heavens opened. I was wet through to my pants by the time we got back to the car.


Once home the dogs had hot showers to warm them up, and they were soon snoring whilst I carried on putting stuff back on to the bookcases, and putting it all in some semblance of order. Somehow I’ve lost some DVDs; Auf Wiedersehn Pet seasons three and four, Blake’s Seven seasons one and two have gone as has the second season of The Young Ones and two seasons of Game On., and some films seem to be missing too. I’ve found a load of Star Trek hardback books that I really don’t want. I wonder if anyone wants them?  And “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” says she don’t want her old Boyzone CDs if anyone wants them...

I loaded up all the packaging from the bookcases and some bags of rubbish and took them up to the tip. The tip was surprisingly quiet at half past mid-day. I wonder if that is always a quiet time?


No day off work is complete without ironing, and I ironed for two episodes of “Osmosis” in which it turns out that the mad scientist’s girlfriend did love him all along, she just didn’t like his invention and wanted to be his soul mate without a computer having to tell him. And there was consternation when one of the project’s beta-testers found out that his soul mate and perfect match was a bit of a slapper and was only happy when doing the dirty deed with anyone else and everyone else.

Our mad scientist was consequently having trouble getting people to financially back his computer-controlled device for finding true love. Strange, that. Mind you, “Osmosis” was originally made in French. I can’t help but feel that (like the last Netflix thing I watched – the Japanese “Alice in Borderland”) it lost an awful lot in translation.


“er indoors TM” came home. Today was her day in the office and she came home loaded up with shopping. She boiled up pizza which we scoffed whilst watching more “Bake Off”.

I’m thinking about an early(ish) night; for a rostered day off I’ve not stopped. I feel all-in. I’ve finally done over six thousand steps today; the first time since going down with COVID… and when we were out earlier I got a blister which has now burst.




10 November 2023 (Friday) - Before the Night Shift



I slept like a log and slept through till half past seven. Seeing a decent morning outside but with rain forecast later I got the dogs organised and we set off fort Kings Wood.

As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the Home Secretary who has written a letter to The Times in which she accuses the Metropolitan Police chief Sir Mark Rowley of anti-Israeli bias, and whilst she was at it accused him of bias involving Northern Ireland politics, football thuggery and anti-lockdown protesters. Is he biased? Is she just attention seeking (as has been alleged). Either way this need a formal and impartial investigation to find out which one of them needs sacking.


We got to the woods and had a far better walk that we did yesterday in that we didn’t get soaking wet. We did one of our standard walks (of three and a half miles) and found the woods rather busy. We met six other dog walkers; usually three is a lot. But all encounters passed off with out any episodes. Treacle kept herself to herself and the puppies said hello nicely and then walked on past.

We started our walk in glorious sunshine, but just as we came back to the car park so the sky clouded over, and there was heavy rain before we were half way home. We certainly timed today’s walk better than we did yesterday’s.

As we were half way home so I had a complete melt-down about missing my Fudge-dog. It’s now two and a half years since he went.


We got home and all dogs went into the bath. Morgan and Treacle had the mud washed from their pays and bellies. Bailey had a serious scrub; she’d been rolling in all sorts of stuff including fox poo and dead birds.

I made a cuppa for “er indoors TM and me, and then wrote up some CPD before going to bed for the afternoon.


I slept for four hours; finally waking when all the dogs came and jumped on me. A spot of dinner, then I’m off to the night shift.

Like all days before the night shift I spent much of today moping about having to go to work later. Days before the night shift are so often nothing but dull.



11 November 2023 (Saturday) - Bit Tired



As night shifts go, last night’s was one of the better ones, but I was still glad to see the day shift arrive. As I drove home the pundits on the radio were talking about today’s planned marches in London. Following all the commotion in the week with the police saying they were legally unable to ban the protest marches, marches had been planned in support of both sides of the conflict in Gaza. I can’t help but wonder why anyone would march in London in protest about something happening in the Middle East; who are they protesting at? Is anyone who can do anything about it going to be listening? Somehow I doubt it. I could be wrong but I suspect many of those going have been attracted by all the hype.


As I got to the motorway I turned the radio from Radio Four to Radio Ashford and listened to the fizzing and crackling. After a mile or so I could hear Steve in the background, and as we drove past Lenham so I could hear him more clearly.

I drove straight to the Dog Club field. Had I come home for the dogs I would have been a tad late, and seeing I had the key to the place I felt I shouldn’t be keeping people waiting. I opened up, and within minutes Ralph (and his human) arrived. Soon there were dogs all over the place, and “er indoors TM soon arrived with a car full of dogs and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” who’d stayed overnight with his mother and sister. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” gave Dog Club a miss as “Darcie Waa Waa TM was taking a while to get going this morning.

Dog Club went rather well with a dozen dogs along. Lots of chasing and playing. Pogo seemed to get on rather well. It’s daft… standing in a muddy field watching a load of dogs charging about and then driving home trying to work out the mystery year on the radio has become one of the highlights of my week. And talking of the mystery year, I had it figured out today. I heard the clues, I listened to the music. I was confident that it was 1983. I was rather shocked when Steve said 1979.


We got home and rather than going to bed (as I would usually do after a night shift) I made toast and bandied insults with “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” for the morning. 

Eventually “er indoors TM took “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and the littluns off shopping, and I settled down in front of the telly underneath a pile of dogs and dozed until “er indoors TM returned. I had a cuppa and checked my emails. I’ve signed up for “Beat the Peak”; some scheme by which if we don’t use leccie at peak hours we’ll get money off our bill. And I had a notification that “LexisNexis” carried out an insurance risk assessment search on me. I wonder why. And the Friends of Kings Wood were asking for volunteers to help with pond surveys. I might be up for that.


“er indoors TM boiled up dinner then went off to Folkestone to watch some Queen tribute band. I settled on the sofa with the dogs and watched the last episode of “Osmosis”. The show started badly, and in all honesty went downhill from there. I must admit I had no idea what was going on for much of it.

And then I watched a film. I’d heard good things about “Ad Astra”. , but I’d been lied to. It started off with the planet Earth getting attacked by power surges from the planet Neptune. So our hero was sent to Mars (which was where the closest space telephone was located) to ask them to stop. On the way he was attacked by space pirates and space baboons, but on getting to Mars he was declared psychologically round the twist. To prove his detractors wrong he then hijacked a spaceship (accidentally killing all the crew) and sailed all the way to Neptune where he found his Dad who was even further round the twist than he was.

As crap films go, it was on the crap side.


As I watched telly so “er indoors TM said hello through the dog-cam. That made the dogs sit up and take notice.



12 November 2023 (Sunday) - Brekkie, Dymchurch



I slept for nine hours last night; the last few hours were spent dozing whilst fighting a battle trying to retain some of the duvet. A battle I eventually lost.

I got up, made a cuppa and had a look at the Internet to see if I’d missed anything overnight. I hadn’t really. There was a minor argument on one of the Radio Four Facebook pages. Someone hadn’t liked a program explaining how evolution worked, and people who didn’t understand evolution were making a pretty poor show of explaining it. There was a talk of an argument on one of the Facebook pages which features old photographs of Hastings… I say “talk of argument”; the chap who runs the group is often complaining about people causing upset on that group. I’ve never seen any myself (which is rare for a Facebook group); I offered to help moderate the group if that would help, and my offer was accepted. Perhaps I might see some of the squabbles now?

I had an email that one of my geocaches in Kings Wood had gone missing. As is always the case with missing geocaches it was one of those furthest from the car park but replacing it will make for a good dog walk in the week.

I had an email from Sainsburys home insurance saying the household insurance was up for renewal… at over double what I paid last year. I phoned through to them but the people I needed to speak with didn’t work on Sundays. Insurance companies are a pain in the glass (to coin a phrase). They always do this – they send through a renewal at a ridiculous price, and when you phone them to whinge they reduce the quote; often to lower than what it was last year.


We popped into town for our monthly brekkie catch-up with friends. You can’t beat a bit of brekkie. And with brekkie scoffed we came home and I spent a few minutes with moneysupermarket dot com looking at household building and contents insurance. Within ten minutes I had thirty-seven quotes that were cheaper than what Sainsbury’s were offering. Cheaper by hundreds of pounds.


With nothing else on the agenda and rain forecast for later we thought we’d take the dogs out. We drove down to Dymchurch and did the geocaching adventure lab caches down there. They took us on a simple but good little guided walk, and despite the colour of the sky, the rain held off.

We came home, and I spent the rest of the afternoon on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs watching more episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which (again) those with the crappiest Bed & Breakfasts felt they had so much to teach to people who were doing a far better job than them.


“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching last week’s episode of “Bake Off”; we’ve now caught up. Mind you, this year I’ve not heard any spoilers about the show. In previous years there’s been loads.

Is it losing its popularity?


I feel knackered – I really should have gone to bed yesterday…



13 November 2023 (Monday) - Feeling Rather Tired



I woke feeling full of energy and raring to go only to find it was twenty past two. I then dozed on and off not getting more than ten minutes continuous sleep for the rest of the night. I gave up, got up, made toast and watched something Matt had recommended to me. "Silo" isn't a new concept. A gaggle of people find themselves in an underground bunker; terrified of what might be outside. Eventually someone wants to go have a look. The first episode seemed watchable.


Taking care not to wake anyone I set off through a damp morning to find my car. Eventually I found it two streets away. I had a quick Munzee session round the town centre, then set off up the motorway to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the violence in central London at the cenotaph on Saturday. It was claimed that the (ex) Home Secretary egged on the far right wing groups responsible. Did she? Possibly. She's got the sack for it anyway, and it the ensuing cabinet reshuffle ex Prime Minister David Cameron has returned to the front bench as Foreign Secretary. He was one of the better Prime Ministers of recent years; mind you it has to be said he hasn't had much competition. To be honest I thought he'd jacked politics in after the Brexit debacle. It turns out I was right. He had. He's not a Member of Parliament at all; he's been given a life peerage so's he can return to government.

To my mind this opens a can of worms. Aren't there any Members of Parliament who can do the job? Not one out of over three hundred Conservative MPs? This is setting something of a precedent isn't it - appointing someone to do a job because all the elected candidates aren't up to it?

Apparently this happened all the time two centuries ago…


Needing petrol I popped to the Aylesford filling station where there was mayhem. Some huge lorry was at the front pump taking an age to fill up. The woman who had been in the car behind was marching round formally ordering people to back up so she could get her car out. When she bellowed to me to move I pointed out I couldn't reverse because there was a car tight behind my car, and asked if she couldn't wait a couple of minutes. She indignantly replied that she could not wait (clearly far too important a person to do that), and assured me she would move the car behind me.

Some people. eh?

Matters weren't helped by having half the petrol pumps cordoned off. It turned out that one of the tills was broken, and with only one till the cashier couldn't keep up with demand. Yesterday (apparently) traffic was queuing a hundred yards down the road as the poor till operative wasn't up to the job and the police had closed the place down.


Work was work; as the day went on I rather wilted. No sleep last night whilst still recovering form Friday’s night shift…

I came home. “er indoors TM boiled up fish and chips which we scoffed whilst watching “Richard Osman’s House of Games”. I do like that show, but it is spoiled by the contestants clapping themselves whenever they win a round. People clapping themselves is a pet hate of mine. I’m sure it is rarely (if ever) from conceit; people just join in the clapping. I wish they wouldn’t. It is such a silly trivial thing that boils my piss so much.


“er indoors TM has gone bowling. I shall watch more “silo”.



14 November 2023 (Tuesday) - A Day Off



I slept like a log last night; eight hours asleep. Originally I had an ENT appointment booked for today, but what with having had COVID the hospital wanted to postpone the appointment. I decided to keep the day as a day off though. And having no need to be up early I slept like a log.


Over brekkie I had my usual rummage round the Internet. It was still there. The frankly wrong messages about Facebook stealing all your personal data and about how speed cameras going live on the M25 were still doing their rounds even though they’ve long been proved to be frankly wrong.

There were also reports about the possibility of Paul McCann appearing in a new spin-off Doctor Who series. Everyone with a stake in the franchise seems keen on the idea… and there’s the problem. It’s now a franchise, isn’t it? And a franchise owned by Disney. Not that I’m in any way knocking the Disney corporation, but back in the day I got to see Doctor Who because it was on the BBC. Paying for the BBC is compulsory (by law you have to have a TV license). On top of that I also pay out on Sky, Netflix, Apple TV and Paramount Plus. A subscription to Disney is perhaps one too many.


With rain forecast for later I got the dogs onto their leads and we went up to Kings Wood. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the ongoing situation in Gaza. It sounds horrific. If what was happening there was happening anywhere else in the thirty-one other conflicts which are currently going on in the world, the international community would be up in arms. But it strikes me that no one dares say anything for fear of being branded antisemitic.


We got to the woods and had a good (if muddy) walk. We’d had reports that a geocache we’d hidden there last February had gone walkabout, and the whole idea of having all of my geocaches in Kings Wood was so that I could combine maintenance with a dog walk. The missing one was one of those furthest from the car park, but bearing in mind we were having a dog walk, this wasn’t that much of an issue. Mind you it was a shame that this wasn’t one of the ones on the hard tracks but was along a grassy (mud!) path.

We got to where the cache was supposed to be, and found it wasn’t. I popped a new one out. It was a shame that the people logging “did not find” chose not to do put one out. As I’ve said before they could have popped out a new pot in a fraction of the time it took them to complain that they didn’t find it.

As we walked we met several other dogs, and played nicely with all of them. One of them was on an epically long lead, and he wrapped his lead tightly round his human. Six times. It was only a shame that Treacle had to wade in every single puddle and swamp we found. Every single one.


We came home and had a bath. Just a little hosing-down of tummies and paws. For once no one rolled in anything (for which I was grateful). The plan was to then spend a little while tidying up in the garden, but by then the rain had started. Very heavy rain. It has to be said I’m getting fed up with the rain. It’s been hossing down on and off for weeks now.

So I spent an hour or so looking at renewing the house’s buildings and contents insurance. At the weekend everyone claimed they could do it cheaper than the quote I’d had from the existing insurer. When I looked into it today no one could, with all the quotes coming in hundreds of pounds more expensive than what we are currently paying. We’re staying with who we are with (for another year).


Yesterday I mentioned that I wasn’t feeling on top form. I was still rather iffy today. I spent the afternoon watching more episode of “Silo”. A show which started well has sadly become just another “police show with a difference”; the difference being it is just the same as all the others.

“er indoors TM is currently Zoom-ing with her mates. I’m going to watch more telly. If today hadn’t been a day’s leave I would probably have come home on sick leave.



15 November 2023 (Wednesday) - Floods, Car Service



The Old Bill flew down our street at twenty past two last night with sirens blazing. I didn’t think they were supposed to have those on in the small hours? I then lay awake for much of the rest of the night.

I made toast and had a look at the Internet. It was still there, but for once not a lot was going on. I sent out four birthday messages, and each time Facebook warned me that the birthday video I send out hadn’t been fact-checked. There are those who worry that AI will take over the world… it may well do but not out of any sort of malevolence, but through random actions from frankly idiotic programming.
I popped the leads onto the dogs and we drove over to the garage where the car was booked in for a service. As we drove Michael Howard (the ex-leader of the Conservative party and Folkestone MP) was being interviewed about the sacking of Suella Braverman who has written a rather damning letter to the Prime Minister following her sacking a couple of days ago. For all the hot air being blown out of the radio this morning, it will all be forgotten in a week or so.

We got to the garage, dropped off the car and walked home. The walk wasn’t one of our best ones; the lead brings out the worst in Morgan. He was pulling for over half the way; pulling hard enough to be walking on his hind legs for quite a bit. I wish he wouldn’t. When we see another dog in the woods when he is off the lead he just sniffs and walks past. Today there were two episodes of barking and snarling. As I apologised to the other dog walkers they smiled and said that their dogs are the same. Fine off the lead; a nightmare on it.

We had to take a minor diversion as we came home. The underpass under the railway at Asda was flooded. I can remember it flooding when I used to cycle under there to where I used to work in the early nineties, and thirty years later nothing has been done. I’ve sent my local councillor an email about it. I wonder if she will do anything.
Once home I raked up the leaves that were littering the lawn. There is a *huge* sycamore tree four gardens down the road and every autumn our garden fills with its leaves. And with leaves raked I sat on the sofa with the dogs and wrote up some CPD, failed to solve a geo-puzzle about cabbage, and watched the last three episodes of “Silo”. Then I had a look on Wikipedia to see what “Silo” was all about. Despite having killed off the lead character, a second season is being made. Mind you killing off lead characters has never been an issue ti telly programmes before, has it?
With all the dogs on top of me on the sofa and all of us very comfortable I didn’t go to bed for the afternoon. I just pulled a blanket over the top of us all and we dozed for a couple of hours until the car was ready.

Having walked two and a half miles coming home from the garage this morning we walked another two and a half miles back there, taking care to avoid the flood at Asda.
It was good to get the car back; not so good to spend out a couple of hundred quid though. But that’s the “joy” of having a car. With a sixty-mile round trip to work every day I need a car on which I can rely.

“er indoors TM is planning to go deploy a Golden Carrot (it’s a Munzee thing). Hopefully she’s planning to cook my dinner too. And once I’ve scoffed it (if I get any!) I’m off to the night shift. I can’t say that I’m keen on the idea, but I rarely ever am.



16 November 2023 (Thursday) - Bit Tired



I rather struggled with the night shift; I wasn’t feeling at all on top form and so was very pleased to see the day shift arrive.

As I drove home I listened to the radio as I do. The new Home Secretary was being interviewed… I say “interviewed”; the poor chap was faced with endless statements about how crap the situation he has taken over, and immediately after making a statement the (so-called) interviewer then presented another one. After five minutes the Home Secretary asked why he’d been brought on to the radio. As he pointed out, the whole idea of an interview is that you ask someone a question, listen to what they say, and then ask further more probing questions based on what they said. And also, as he pointed out, a seemingly endless list of the failings of his predecessor could have been read out whilst he stayed at home.

I was rather glad the chap said this; those presenting the news so often give up golden opportunities when they would rather just listen to the sounds of their own voices.


I got home, and seeing it wasn’t raining I took the dogs out. Usually I go straight to bed but with more rain forecast for much of the rest of the day I thought we might get in a walk whilst we could. We just walked into Ashford and back again and apart from getting rather over-excited about a squirrel in the Memorial Gardens the walk passed off rather well. Far better than most local walks go. To be fair to the dogs, they really need more practice on the leads. Perhaps they’ve been spoiled by going to the woods so often?


We got home as the rain started. It soon became rather heavy. I’m getting a tad fed up with the seemingly constant rain we’ve had for the last few weeks. With walk walked I had a shower and went to bed. I woke after three hours, and as I got up so Morgan and Bailey got up too; they’d come to bed with me.

I saw loads of messages on my phone; apparently a few minutes after I’d left work there had been some incident on the road to work and luckily I’d missed some rather serious hold-ups.

I was pleased about that.

I then had a look through something I signed up to yesterday. Bearing in mind that I’m hoping to take semi-retirement soon I thought I might use the dogs as guinea pigs. Yesterday I signed up to a course with the Dog Training College as Facebook said it was free, and I had this idea that I could use the dogs as test subjects in this free on-line course. However I’d completely forgotten about the fifty-ninth Rule of Acquisition: “Free advice is seldom cheap”. The course wasn’t free at all. The information pack and introductory video was free. The course itself would set me back two thousand quid.

Sod that.


As usual after a night shift I spent much of the afternoon doing the ironing whilst watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which some chap who considered himself to be a “big businessman” was running far and away the shabbiest establishment; seemingly unable to even clean his rooms, and putting instant coffee into a cafetiere. But isn’t this typical of those who advocate “business” and “management”; all full of important-sounding words but rather short on actually delivering that which they should deliver.


Meanwhile “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” has seen a UFO whilst taking Pogo for a walk, and “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM is creating new life forms. I wonder if God realises he’s got competition?



17 November 2023 (Friday) - Before the Late Shift



I slept well last night, but still woke at quarter past seven feeling vaguely miserable and “bleah”. It didn’t help that Treacle had barked at someone crashing next door’s metal gate. Several years ago (and several sets of neighbours ago) someone put metal railings round next door, and every time anyone goes through the gate it crashes loud enough to wake the dead. Or the dogs. I’m sure that passers-by bang the thing for fun.

To compound the issue there were some children standing outside shrieking too.


I got up, made toast, and had a look at the Internet. A new Lego set had been announced – a model of the Orient Express. A bargain at only two hundred and sixty quid. And an old friend (from over fifty years ago) was jetting off on another foreign holiday. He seems to have a lot of those, not that I’m being judgemental. There are several people on my Facebook list who seem to have an inordinate amount of foreign holidays, but I suppose that by the time I’ve spent out on three vet plans and dog food each month there’s a hundred quid (each month) I could put toward a holiday or squander on Lego.

And there were several of those annoying motivational memes being posted on-line. They sometimes boil my piss. It is very easy to say that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade when life has never given you a lemon.

I looked to see to whom I should send my birthday video today. When Facebook tells me someone’s having a birthday I send them a little “happy birthday” video. There were two people on my Facebook Friends list having birthdays today. Mind you I say “people”; one was a pub and the other was the blood transfusion simulator that gives me problems from time to time.

I didn’t send either the video…


With a little time on my hands I took the dogs to the woods. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the sacked Home Secretary Suella Braverman who has announced that the Prime Minister’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is dead in the water. Perhaps it is, but she was singing the praises of the plan a week ago.

It never fails to entertain me that every Cabinet member when sacked suddenly no longer feels constrained to pretend that someone else’s stupid idea (with which they had hitherto agreed unconditionally) is actually a stroke of genius and immediately slag it off. I’m reminded of myself when I was forcibly removed from a position of (admittedly minor) authority some twelve years ago and did exactly the same thing.


We got to the woods and had our walk. It was rather wet, muddy and slippery underfoot. Usually once we are away from the car park we walk for ages without seeing anyone. Today we met three “special” people.

The first had her dog on fifty yards of rope (rather than a lead). This dog saw the puppies, tried to play “chase” and made a rather impressive cats’ cradle of rope around the trees.

The next had a barking dog on a lead and was seemingly guarding one of the major crossroads in the woods. As we approached the crossroads she shouted asking us to keep away from her dog (which was on a lead and snarling at nothing that I could see). I whistled and my dogs came back. We backtracked a few dozen yards, but it became apparent that this woman wasn’t going anywhere. We stood and looked at each other from fifty yards away. Eventually I called to ask if she was just guarding the crossroads. She grumbled and wandered off.

And as we came back to the car park we met some chap with a dog the size of a cart horse on the lead over which he clearly had no control.

We walked a rather shorter walk than usual today, but I was surprised to see (from my smartwatch) that we walked half a mile further than we’d walked when going to the garage a couple of days ago.


With walk walked we came home for a bath. Treacle particularly needed a scrub; the other two just got generally grubby, but Treacle walks into muddy puddles then stops and looks at me as though showing off how clever she is. And with dogs scrubbed I set off to work via some points of interest (it's a Munzee thing). As I drove up the motorway I tried the cruise control. I mentioned to the nice people in the garage that there wasn't an indicator light to say the cruise control was active. there still isn't. Either they didn't replace the bulb or there isn't one. I wonder which it is.

I went to Sainsburys to get a sandwich for lunch. The car park was gridlocked when I arrived; half empty when I came out.


And apart from the cake that was waiting for my afternoon tea break the day was effectively all done by the time the late shift started...



18 November 2023 (Saturday) - Telly



Last night over a late bit of scoff I found myself watching the start of a film. “The Dirty Dozen” was something I once watched with a load of mates at the cinema in Hastings. It’s a good film, but I’d forgotten it played for three hours. I didn’t go to bed until one o clock.


I got up, made toast and had a look at the Internet to see if I’d missed anything overnight. I hadn’t really. Petty squabbles over trivia abounded, as they so often do. Today there were arguments amongst the anti-firework fraternity of Hastings; they’ve now got two rival Facebook groups (can you believe it?). And the often very opinionated and nasty people on the Facebook Garden Ponds group who only last week were advocating keeping pond surfaces as still as possible were today insisting that splashing fountains were a good thing.


The usual plan for a Saturday morning is dog club, but it wasn’t the warmest of mornings and the fine rain would have had Bailey soaked through within minutes. I drove over to the Repton estate to open up. Ralph and his human were there waiting. I exchanged a few pleasantries and left them to it. I was rather wet after a minute standing in the rain.

Once home I sat on the sofa with the dogs; Bailey was shivering without being cold and wet. We listened to Steve on the radio through the Alexa. In the past the Alexa hasn’t been able to tune in to Radio Ashford; this morning it managed with no problem. I got the mystery year pretty much right away. When was Blackadder 2 released? 1986.


With the rain showing no sign of letting up we took the dogs with us on today’s mini-adventure. To be honest we rather needed Bailey along as we wanted to get her a waterproof coat. We spent a little while in the pet section at Bybrook Barn trying on coat after coat. Those marked “small” were too big, and those marked “medium” were too small. Some were too long and not wide enough round the chest. Others would have gone round my chest but left half of her back uncovered. Eventually we got one that fitted.

From there we went down to Hythe where a friend was running a craft stall at a craft fair, but it had the same issue that every event we ran at the scout hut had. Being at the end of a cul-de-sac and being totally unadvertised the only people who were along were friends and friends-of-friends.

As we drove here and there the tyre pressure sensor on my car’s rear left tyre sounded the alarm, but the air pressure seemed fine when I got the pump out. I wonder what that was all about?


We came home, and with the rain still hossing down we spent the afternoon catching up on films we’d recorded onto the SkyPlus box. First of all we watched “Police Academy 4”, and then the most recent “Downton Abbey” film. Both were rather good.

We then watched three episodes of “Below Deck”; a reality TV series about life on a cruise yacht that gets chartered out. At a hundred thousand quid for hiring the yacht for three days you really have to wonder exactly who can afford that sort of thing.


“er indoors TM popped up the road to the kebab shop to get dinner, and we scoffed kebabs whilst watching a James Bond film. We’d recorded “Spectre” a while ago, and having recorded it we managed to shave forty minutes off the viewing time by fast-forwarding through the adverts.


Today wasn’t rally a bad day; we got out for a bit, we watched some good stuff on telly, and with the short winter day and the rain we couldn’t have done much else… but I do feel rather hacked off that we’ve wasted a day. Even though we haven’t.

I wonder why.



19 November 2023 (Sunday) - Geocaching International Film Festival



This morning as I looked at Facebook I saw some friends had been to a bonfire parade just outside of Lewes last night. Friends I met through kite flying, and ones I’ve not met in person for far too long. This is why I love Facebook – I can keep in touch despite being a four hour round trip away. Mind you the flip side of Facebook is all the squabbling. Browsing through one petty argument I learned the term “TERF this morning – it means “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” and someone was accused of being one on a Facebook page ostensibly about Star Trek (of all things).


We got the dogs onto their leads and went out. Up to Boughton Monchelsea for the Geocaching International Film Festival. We’ve not done one of these before. The idea is that hunters of Tupperware across the world make small films about their geocaching adventures and these get shown across the world and the worldwide geocaching community vote to decide the best one. A couple of dozen hunters of Tupperware sat down at the Boughton Monchelsea scout hut and after we’d all said hello the films started. Sadly we left half way through as the dogs were getting fractious. Perhaps we might have left the dogs at home, but having been told that Treacle isn’t averse to barking when left alone, I’m loathe to leave them for any period of time.

It didn’t help that there was some strange child there who sat facing away from the films and staring at the dogs whilst scoffing bowls of popcorn…


On leaving the geo-film show, our plan was to drive down to Tenterden to walk a geocaching Adventure Lab, but a quick glance at the map showed we were driving straight past one in Headcorn. So we stopped off there and walked up the High Street doing a rather enjoyable little treasure hunt. We were taken to five places where we had to get the answer to a question. All answers were quickly found except at the fourth location where there was mention of a footpath sign. There were two; we had the wrong one and didn’t see the right one for a minute or so.

At each point we had to count the vowels in each answer, and with all five locations visited we then did a few sums and soon ended up with the co-ordinates of the final bonus geocache which was only a short walk away.

This made for a rather good little walk for the day.


We came home and I did my usual trick of watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which three rather overpriced places tried (and failed) to compete with somewhere charging a quarter of what they were asking.

I then had a stroke of genius (I have those, you know). I might put together an entry for next year’s Geocaching International Film Festival.

I’ve already started on the script…



20 November 2023 (Monday) - A Birthday



I woke at five past three shivering and spent the rest of the night listening to snoring and shivering. An alliance of “er indoors TM and the dogs had secured the duvet and weren't letting it go without a fight.

I gave up at quarter to six, got up and made toast which I scoffed whilst watching the first episode of the second season of "Green Eggs and Ham" which was watchable. To be honest it had the advantage of having episodes which only played for half an hour. So much of the stuff I find myself watching has episodes of an hour, and I watch half an episode at a time and struggle to remember where I'd got to.

With telly watched I had a little look at Facebook, but it was probably still a tad early for any serious squabbling to be kicking off. I got dressed and set off to work feeling rather miserable for no reason that I could fathom. I've been on the morose side for a little while now. Sleep depravation, maybe? I have done a few night shifts recently.


As I drove through the rain my journey to Pembury was hampered by unattended road works. Sections of A262 and A21 were bunged up by temporary traffic lights which seemed to have no reason for being there. Am I being hopelessly naïve in thinking that if some company or other cordons off a section of road and puts up traffic lights then that company should not leave it unattended until the job is finished? Perhaps I should write to the county council? Mind you I wrote to my local councillor about the flooded footpath last week and still haven't had a reply.

As I drove I listened to the radio. There are problems with evacuating the hospital in Gaza, the mayor of Manchester was being interviewed about the plight of the homeless... and still the pundits on the radio wasted over ten minutes of prime air-time on (quite frankly) utter drivel about the history of the hymn "Amazing Grace".


I got to work; I didn't get *that* wet walking from the car into the hospital. As I did my bit I got chatting with one of the engineers who'd come to do some maintenance on one of our analysers. He mentioned that he was buying a house for six hundred thousand pounds. Once he'd gone we had a little look on the internet and worked out that if he was earning the average amount for someone in his line of work then the monthly repayments on that mortgage would be more than he earned each month.

How can anyone afford to buy a house these days?


With work done I came home through all the road works. I stopped off at “My Boy TM”’s house; favourite oldest granddaughter has her seventeenth birthday today. Perhaps I’m biased, but as oldest granddaughters go, she’s a good one.

And with “er indoors TM off bowling I settled myself on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs and watched a film on Netflix. “The Wrong Missy” was rather good. It was only a shame that I spent much of the film trying to work out what else I’d seen the wrong Missy in.

She was one of the wardens in “Orange is the New Black”.



21 November 2023 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift



There was the most amazingly ridiculous squabble this morning on Facebook in which someone or other was claiming that the TV series “To The Manor Born” was far superior to any TV shows made today because of the viewing figures it attracted which were many times more than any TV show gets these days. The fact that today there are over a thousand TV channels to choose from whereas back then there were only two (no one watched the high-brow drivel on BBC Two) never occurred to them.

And there was some very bitter squabbles about last week’s Doctor Who special on “Children in Need” in which Davros is no longer in a wheelchair as that is offensive to those in wheelchairs.

They let these people vote, you know.


I got the dogs onto their leads and we set off on a little mission. As we drove there was an interview on the radio with heaven only knows who. Having missed the start of the program I was completely in the dark about who was talking, and consequently very soon list interest. I listen to Radio Four so as to keep up to date with current affairs and to find out about all sorts of things about which I would be completely ignorant, but sometimes they do broadcast crap.

When I could have been broadening my horizons I found myself singing along to Ivor Biggun.


We got to Kings Wood and walked the same walk we did the last time we were there. This will probably be one of our standard walks from here on in; three miles which takes us an hour. The only problem is that it isn’t long enough for Morgan; at the end he was rather reluctant to come back to the lead.

As we walked we only met one group of dogs, and the meeting passed off without event. We saw two other groups, and when the puppies ran off toward them they both came back immediately when called. I saw that as a result.

I also got quite a bit of video footage of the dogs running about as a start of getting material together for my entry for next year’s Geocaching International Film Festival. It was a shame that when I got home I realised I needed to hold my phone in “landscape” orientation to get useable footage. All that I’d done was in “portrait”. Ho hum… Still, I learned something from this, and as I always tell the trainees at work, a day when you learn nothing is a day wasted (I’ve wasted a lot of days over the years!)


We came home via the vets (for flea treatments), and then had baths. I made a cuppa for me and “er indoors TM, and got some (correct orientation) footage of the dogs sleeping, and worked on the screenplay a little more. I think I have the plot of our film for next year’s Geocaching International Film Festival figured out. I know (vaguely) the scenes I need to film in the woods and the piccies I need to create for the film. I just need music. If any of my loyal readers could clang a piano to come up with any of Brahms’ Lullaby, Yakkety Sax, The Dick Barton theme and general background music it would be gratefully received. The people at geo-HQ are rather hot on copyright and I need stuff which I have permission to use.


I then wrote up some CPD because that’s what I do before a night shift, had a shower, and went to bed and despite the hot water bottle and two small dogs, I shivered. The bed is far warmer at night than it is in the afternoon.


And so I shall hope for some dinner, then I’m off to the night shift. The last few have been rather hard work…



22 November 2023 (Wednesday) - Bit Tired



I am very much a creature of habit… every time I am on a night shift I get some posh biscuits from Sainsburys to have with a cuppa around midnight and around five o’clock in the morning. I either get chewy granola slices or shortbread with Belgian chocolate. I’ve finally realised that I don’t actually like either, and the shortbread I had last night gave me something of a guts ache which lasted for far too long.

I was rather pleased to see the morning shift arrive.


As I drove home I listened to the radio. There’s been a cease-fire in Gaza, but for how long? There was some Israeli chap being interviewed who made it crystal clear that his side were only having a temporary break in the fighting and wouldn’t rest until the other side were obliterated.

This war is going to drag on and on.

There was also an interview with Ronnie O’Sullivan (the snooker player) who is at odds with snooker’s governing body because he would rather play in lucrative games in China rather than in their official matches which (presumably) don’t pay anywhere near as well.


I got home, had a shave and went to bed. Yesterday I’d mentioned that I was cold in bed. “er indoors TM had stuck an extra duvet on the bed, and I was rather warm this morning. Very warm.

After a couple of hours I got up and had a late brekkie, and had a little ponder. Usually after a night shift I just do the ironing and watch rubbish on telly, and sulk about a wasted day. So I didn’t do that today.

I got the leads onto the dogs and we went up to the woods for a little walk. Perhaps a short walk, but a walk in the woods is always good. As we walked I did some more filming for my latest project, this time with my camera in “Landscape”  orientation. I got some short videos that I might be able to use.

As we walked we had a minor episode. The pups ran up to some normal people and wouldn’t come back. The normal people were making a real fuss of the pups, and I think were giving them treats. I wish people wouldn’t do that, but what can you say without giving offence?


We came home; Treacle and Bailey had their paws rinsed; Morgan had a full belly wash. Being low to the ground he picks up the dirt.

Seeing how it hadn’t rained for over a day I got the lawn mower out. Perhaps the lawn was too wet to be mowed, but it wasn’t going to get any drier, and a mowed lawn makes for easier turd-spotting. And with lawn mowed I ran out the pond filter hose and cleaned out the filter. It was rather overdue its clean. There’s no denying the pressure filter is much easier to clean than the old box filters were, but I do need to do something about the reel onto which I wind the hose. I need some way of lifting it off of the ground for easy winding. And then I looked at the bog filter. The plants are clearly past their best, but what do I do? Prune the pond plants or leave them? In theory the obvious place to ask for advice would be one of the pond-related Facebook pages. In practice those pages are sarcasm central. I asked advice on the East Midlands Koi page… The East Midlands Koi Facebook page is that rare exception to the rule in that it has active moderators who immediately chuck out the keyboard warriors and attention-seekers.

I got advice.


After an hour or so in the garden I came in and was making a cuppa for me and “er indoors TM when I heard a commotion outside. There was some chap outside new-next-door rolling round the pavement pissed as a fart. He was bellowing for help because he was trying to take his trousers off and couldn’t get them over his shoe. Nice-next-door phoned me; she was a tad concerned. I went out to see what was going on. The pissed fellow tried to explain his life story to me; I understood maybe one word in fifty. Luckily his mate appeared and took him away; ostensibly to put him into a taxi. If I was driving a taxi, I wouldn’t have taken him.


I then spent a little while creating graphics for my Geocaching International Film Festival entry until “er indoors TM boiled up a very good bit of scoff which we devoured whilst watching yesterday’s “Bake Off” semi-final. I was rather surprised at who got chucked out…



23 November 2023 (Thursday) - Rostered Day Off



I had a rather good night’s sleep last night, which was something of a result. With “er indoors TM off to the office today I sorted the dogs’ brekkies, then as they all slept I sorted my own and had a little look at the Internet to see what had changed overnight.

Not much, really. A few people were posting to social media pointing out that today was the sixtieth anniversary of the first ever episode of “Doctor Who”, a few people were having birthdays, but this morning was a quiet one on the Internet.


I got dressed and took the dogs to the woods. As we drove out of Ashford it was a rather bright morning, but Kings Wood is high up, and we actually drove up into the fog. We had a rather misty walk, the fog not clearing until we were nearly half way round. We walked a longer walk today. Having been coming home covered in mud recently I had this naïve idea to stick to the better paths. But that made for a much longer walk (as it is all the short cuts that are muddy) and Morgan got caked in fox poo anyway.


We came home, scrubbed off the fox poo, and as Morgan’s frankly foul collar went through the washing machine I created the opening segment of my entry for next year’s Geocaching International Film Festival. I’ve got this idea that I need to make a rough and ready first draft of the entire thing, then work on improving each bit. If nothing else it will keep me out of mischief.

With the dogs asleep I spent the afternoon ironing and watching “Squid Game: The Challenge” which was a live-action version of “Squid Game” but in which no one croaked.

And then to the dentist for a root canal filling…



24 November 2023 (Friday) - This n That



I woke far too early following a rather vivid nightmare in which I and a load of my old muckers from the Boys Brigade (from the late 1970s) had been seconded into the Merchant Navy in order to make up the numbers for the posh dinners they were planning. We could do whatever we liked during the day time, but all of us had to be in Portsmouth Harbour every evening for a sit-down meal. Sitting down on the quayside whatever the weather.

What was that all about?

I hobbled downstairs. Overnight I'd developed a seriously painful right hip; it felt as though I'd been kicked. How did that happen?


Over toast I watched an animated episode of "Dad's Army"; someone or other has taken the old radio broadcasts of the TV episodes that were lost and has animated them in much the same way that the missing episodes of "Doctor Who" have been animated. Having seen the missing "Dad's Army" episodes recreated with new actors, the animations are far better for the simple reason that you can see which characters are which. In the re-created episodes I couldn't tell who any of the new actors were supposed to be playing.


I tried not to make too much noise as I got ready for work, but I suspect I could have been heard miles away. Now that the back room is sorted maybe I might squirt my armpits in there in the mornings. If I did that I could switch the light on rather than crash about in the darkness trying to find which tin has got some deodorant left in it, and which is one of the half-dozen empty ones I've not got round to throwing away.


I set off for work and was immediately confused by the bin lorry coming down the road. For over thirty years the bin lorry has come up the road; why has it changed its direction?

As I drove there was a lot to worry about in the news. With migration into the UK hitting an all-time high, right wing groups are calling for a stop to all immigration. The racist politician (from the "Reclaim" party) being interviewed this morning made the tired old comments that as a nation we shouldn't be reliant on immigrant workers, and that UK citizens should be doing care home and hospital work. The fact that this has all been said before (time and again) and UK citizens clearly aren't interested didn't deter him in the least. Mind you this chap was adamant that immigration should stop; better to have no one doing the work than to have immigrant workers was the implication.

I wonder who this bloke was; I wouldn't vote for him.

Meanwhile elections in the Netherlands have come up with a new leader for their country. One of his election pledges was a ban on the building of any new mosques. I wonder how he will get on with that.


With a few minutes spare I went to the petrol station to re-fuel; I was getting a tad low on the stuff. Petrol in Aylesford was eight pence per litre cheaper than in Ashford. Or would have been had the petrol station been open.

Sadly it wasn't.

I went into Sainsburys to get lunch, and to ask if anyone knew of a petrol station that might be open. No one did, but luckily for my back (which was saved from pushing my car), whilst I'd bought a sandwich Sainsburys had re-opened their petrol station.


I got to work and did my bit. I spent quite a bit of time today emailing more stuff to various people about my (hopefully) upcoming retirement. Just three months to go until I take semi-retirement. I don't dislike my job, but as the pension date approaches I find myself getting progressively more and more tired. I find myself taking longer and longer to recover from the night shifts, the late shifts are hard work, and given a choice it would be early shifts all the way since they finish two hours earlier than the core ones.


Being on an early today was a result. Mind you a few months ago I would have come home and taken the dogs to the woods. Today I raced the dusk home, and it was dark by the time I got home.

I stuck the dishwasher cleaning jollop into the dishwasher, set it going, and tried to have a look at the monthly accounts. Tried and failed; the excitement of today’s Black Friday was too much for the bank, and their app and website had crashed.

After a few hours it came back and I could get to my statements and have a look at the accounts. Could be better, could be worse…


My hip still hurts.



25 November 2023 (Saturday) - Rather Busy



I slept well, but woke feeling oddly morose. I wonder why. Over brekkie I had my usual look at Facebook and saw my brother and nephew were off on their football adventures again. This time to Nottingham. Four and a half hours each way. I’ve said before that I really don’t understand the attraction of football. I wish I did; so many other people love it. One or two people were posting twee memes, and there were again an inordinate amount of posts about scantily clad teenage girls and dying dogs. People often talk about how social media spies on us and presents us with what we’ve been talking about and browsing for… if it did I would have endless posts about living dogs and Lego.

And someone with whom “er indoors TM” works passed his driving test this morning… before eight o’clock. What time do driving tests start?


Despite it being a cold morning we went to dog club. The rain has put us off recently, but cold and dry is far better than cold and wet. We had a great time with a dozen dogs running riot.

And with dog club done we set off on our second mission of the day. As we drove to Badlesmere Steve was doing the mystery year competition on the radio. In which year did Concorde stop flying after twenty-six years? I can remember seeing Concorde flying in 1976 when I was at my Uncle Eric’s house in Orpington… 1976 + 26 = 2002. I was one year out. It was 2003. “er indoors TM said that Steve actually said “twenty-seven years”.

For some reason the radio reception was rather iffy today (that’s my excuse!) and we were listening to the radio through “er indoors TM ‘s radio app on her phone.


We got to Badlesmere where Karl, Tracey and Charlotte were waiting for us, and we had a rather good walk round our usual circuit up there. As we walked there was a minor contretemps with some old bat (presumably the landowner) who quite rightly pointed out that we weren’t on the official footpath. However the reason for that was that there was a pheasant shoot taking place on the official footpath and it would have been extremely dangerous to have been where we should really have been.

When I get a minute I shall find an email address and tell her to piss off.


With walk walked we were soon back at the cars. As always we’d parked by the Red Lion pub (can you believe it?) where we had a particularly good bit of dinner. The dogs were a tad woofy over lunch, but there were quite a few dogs in the place today, and to be fair to the pups, once they’d woofed to tell us there were other dogs they (relatively) soon shut up again.

It would have been good to have stayed longer, but there was quite a bit on the agenda today. We said our goodbyes and came home.


“er indoors TM dropped me and the dogs home and she went off to collect “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM” and “Darcie Waa Waa TM” whilst I had a chat with the roofer. The chap got out a ladder and scrambled up on top of the roof. I didn’t go with him, but he took a few photos up there and showed them to me.

My suspicions were right; some maintenance is due.


“er indoors TM” and the tribe arrived, and we all went up into Ashford for the Carnival of the Baubles. It was… I suppose it was OK. It could have been better. But billed as a festival of lights, maybe only one person in ten in the procession had made any effort. Most were just walking along in their everyday clothes. Would it have caused them physical pain to have stuck a glow-stick on their head or popped on a hi-vis jacket and joined in?


We came home and spent the evening watching daft animal videos on You-Tube.

I took a few photos during the day. It’s been a rather busy one.



26 November 2023 (Sunday) - Early Shift




Darcie Waa Waa TM didn't settle last night, and when she doesn't settle, neither does anyone else.  Perhaps having the heating on all night for her meant the house was too warm? I don't know but I couldn't have had more than fifteen minutes continuous sleep all night. I gave up trying at five o'clock and came downstairs where “er indoors TM was sitting with her. The dogs asked to go out, so I took them out and Pogo ran round the garden screaming. He doesn't bark; he screams. I wish he wouldn't. As do all my neighbours, I expect.


I scoffed a bit of toast, and once I'd scraped the ice from the car I set off to work (at 6am!). It was a cold morning this morning. As I drove I listened to the radio. There is rarely much of interest on the radio early on a Sunday morning, and today was no exception.

I caught the second half of "Something Understood". Have you ever listened to it? Give it a go; words can't describe how pretentious this drivel is. Supposedly about the power of memory, there were no end of readings of poetry which meant absolutely nothing to me (or anyone else I suspect). For all that there can be some interesting stuff on Radio Four, there is also a lot of highbrow rubbish that is of no interest to anyone but a vanishingly small minority. 

This was followed with an interview with Kelvin Fletcher. Apparently he was in Emmerdale and on Strictly Come Dancing, and he's jacked it all in to run a farm up north somewhere. He and his wife talked for half an hour without really saying anything.

Surely there could have been something better to broadcast before seven o’clock this morning?


I got to Pembury just as dawn was breaking, and got on with work. There's no denying that I didn't want to go to work today. I'd been sulking about it all week. I was probably over-reacting; I get worked up about working on my own at Pembury. Being a trauma centre, things can got from peachy to not-so peachy in seconds. I’ve had worse shifts than today, but I’ve certainly had better ones.


And with shift shifted I came home listening to the end of “Desert Island Discs” in which Matt Smith (of Doctor Who fame) was advocating some frankly dreadful music. My choices for that show are listed here.

I got home just as “er indoors TM was taking “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and her tribe home. I would much rather have been home with them today rather than working, but at least I got to see them today, if only in passing.


“er indoors TM boiled up a very good bit of dinner. I cracked open a bottle of Sainsbury’s plonk, and we watched yesterday’s Doctor Who sixtieth anniversary special. Bearing in mind how disappointing Doctor Who has been over the last few years, my hopes weren’t high. But the episode was rather good. Mind you I can’t help but think it a shame that they brought David Tennant back. Up till now the show has always moved forward… was this episode a backward step?



27 November 2023 (Monday) - Iffy Innards



I slept like a log last night, which was something of a result. Mind you I did have an early night after falling asleep on the sofa. I suppose I needed one after a night of “Darcie Waa Waa TM screaming and a bottle of plonk yesterday evening.

Over brekkie I watched another of the animated "Dads Army" episodes; watching it as a recorded program on the SkyQ box is the way to do it. Being able to fast-forward through twenty minutes of adverts meant I watched it in only twenty minutes. You'd think advertisers would give up, wouldn't you? There's no need to watch adverts, and I don't. To be honest (being an awkward bugger) if I find myself faced with an advert I can't avoid, I tend to avoid that product.


I set off to work on a rather rainy morning, but half past six this morning was a full ten degrees warmer than half past six was yesterday. As I drove there was a lot of talk on the radio about the upcoming United Nations climate talks. This latest round are being hosted by the United Arab Emirates. Apparently the BBC have found out that the United Arab Emirates plans to use its role as the host of UN climate talks as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals. It was claimed that leaked briefing documents revealed plans to discuss fossil fuel deals with fifteen other nations.

Like anyone would really be surprised about that...

There was a lot of talk about the cease-fire in Gaza and pretty much everyone was hoping that the cease fire might be extended. It's a shame that there had to be conflict in the first place, but whilst pretty much everyone interviewed on the matter is keen for the hostilities to stop, they've all got their decades-long grievances that they won't let go.


I got to work and made a bee-line for Trap One. Over the weekend “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM”  had dodgy guts, and whatever it was, I think I've now got it. I spent an inordinate amount of time in Trap One today.

Still, what are grandchildren for if not for spreading infections, eh?


In between dashing to the chodbin I did my bit at work. Work went better than it did yesterday; I prefer working with others around me, rather than being on my own for extended periods.

Over a mid-morning cuppa I sparked up the Internet through my phone. Someone had posted to one of the Dalek-related Facebook pages that I follow that they had just discovered the "Doctor Who and the Daleksfilms made in the 1960s. Someone else had commented asking how any so-called Doctor Who fan couldn't know about these films, and the petty name-calling that this generated was rather impressive, to say the least.

After nearly two weeks my local councillor had replied to the email I'd sent her about the floods by Asda. She said she'd look into it. Will she? I wonder.

And I got a quote for the repairs to the roof following the chap's having had a look on Saturday.


With my bit done I came home. It wasn’t that long ago that I would take the dogs for a walk after an early shift. Today it was dark and raining. So I sat and wrote up some CPD, and my piss boiled about one of the articles that had been emailed to me.  It’s no secret that a few years ago I made a serious mistake at work for which I was comprehensively crucified. Now it seems the same workplace allow their staff to openly admit to mistakes, for which everyone involved has (presumably) got off scot-free.


With “er indoors TM off bowling I settled myself on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs and watched the fourth episode of “Squid Game: The Challenge”. It was rather good. Now it’s finished I shall have a little kip; I’m not going to move until the dogs wake up. If a dog falls asleep on you, you can’t move them. It’s the law. Even if you desperately need the loo.



28 November 2023 (Tuesday) - Feeling a Bit Poorly



I slept rather well. Over brekkie I started watching a new thing from Channel Four. "The Couple Next Door" stars her who was Demelza in Poldark who moves in next door to a rather saucy set of  neighbours who seem to invite equally saucy friends round for regular sessions of jiggery-porkery. And over the road lives Hugh Dennis playing a rather sad peeping Tom who is watching it all with his telescope. In a novel break with tradition, her who was Demelza in Poldark did remove her undercrackers before “performing the dirty deed” in today's episode, but her protagonist forgot to do so.

I then had a quick look at the Internet. Our Munzee Clan has reached our target for the month, which was something of a result. And I deleted a comment from a sci-fi Facebook group that I moderate.  Based on the books of Julian May, that group generally doesn't need much moderation. But today's uncharacteristically nasty comment came from someone who didn't even know which books Ms May had and hadn't written.

As I got dressed I could hear a commotion outside. Some chap was standing outside our house bellowing two different conversations into two different mobile phones. Fortunately he'd gone by the time I went out.


For once the morning's news was interesting. Bits of the asteroid Bennu have arrived at the Natural History museum for analysis, and manned long-distance space travel looks (possibly) to be a practical proposition as human hibernation might not be the fantasy it has always been billed to be.

There was also a lot of fuss made about the Greek Prime Minister having the hump because Rishi Sunak has cancelled a meeting with him. The Greeks want the Elgin Marbles back. Bearing they are only in England under the most dubious of circumstances, and also bearing in mind that the average bloke in the street is utterly disinterested in the things, why not give them back?


I got to work. The iffy guts I had yesterday were continuing, and I felt rather tired for much of the day. As I worked I had several messages from “er indoors TM. The scaffolders arrived shortly after nine o’clock, and the roofers arrived soon after that. Treacle woofed a bit, and Morgan watched out the window with interest.

I’m reliably assured that most of the roof work is now done, and that the roofers will be back in the morning to finish up and tidy up.


“er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of scran this evening (as she does) and we watched the final of “Bake Off”. I won’t say who won it, but I will say that if I was a betting man I would be out of pocket right now.


My guts are still iffy, I still feel tired, and I think I’ve got a sore throat coming on…



29 November 2023 (Wednesday) - Dull



I slept rather well, but still woke over an hour earlier than I might have done. I made toast and watched the second episode of “The Couple Next Door” in which her who used to be Demelza in Poldark intimated that she was up for a portion of jiggery-porkery from the neighbours, and in which Hugh Dennis nearly got a punch up the bracket.

I then had a look at Facebook… Last night we made a point of watching the final of “Bake Off” only a few minutes after it was broadcast. I was glad we did; this morning spoilers abounded.


I walked two streets away to where I’d parked the car last night, and spent a few minutes scraping the ice off of it, then set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Prime Minister of Australia has apologized to survivors of the thalidomide scandal and their families. I’m not in any way detracting from the horrific birth defects that happened, but the thalidomide scandal was sixty years ago, and the Australian Prime Minister is sixty years old. How can he possibly give a credible apology for something that happened when he was in nappies?

There was an interview with one of the keepers at Edinburgh Zoo where the giant pandas were being made ready to go home to China. There was talk about how the arrangement for their being in Edinburgh was a ten-year loan from the Chinese government. There was also talk that the zoo was paying three quarters of a million quid to the Chinese government each year to have the pandas. I wonder which is right?

And there was the seemingly obligatory interview with someone from Gaza. I have no idea on which side the person being interviewed was on. It might sound heartless, but everyone from Gaza being interviewed says the same thing. They all have an axe to grind and no one will be content until the other side is totally obliterated.


I got to work where we had the inspectors in. I smiled sweety at them, and then did my utmost to avoid them. For the most part I succeeded.

As I worked I had a message from the roofer. Having been all set to crack on today he’d been delayed, his fan belt had gone. I’m not sure where it went, but fan belts do that. As she took the dogs for their constitutional, “er indoors TM took a photo of our roof. There’s no denying that after twenty years it probably needed some maintenance; I’m glad it wasn’t me who had to go up there.


Having watched the final of “Bake Off” yesterday we watched the final of “Taskmaster” this evening. It was rather good.


Today was dull… and I’m not feeling well either…



30 November 2023 (Thursday) - A Day's Leave



I woke feeling rather grim this morning; whatever lurgy I’ve got has turned into some sort of cold. But as always I can sulk or get on with my life.

I got on with my life.

I made toast and had a look at the Internet as I do. This morning there were several posts on the 1970s nostalgia Facebook pages all of which showed some random still from a film with comments “this was always popular” or “I liked this one” and me feeling that I was the only person in the world who had no idea what the film was. I am so tempted to post up a random family photo and comment “watched this one last night” and see how many people pretend they know what the film was (when it wasn’t a film at all).

I had a look at my emails. I saw some people had been out in Kings Wood finding the geocaches I’d hidden there, and unusually a new geocache had gone out. Another fiendishly difficult puzzle though. Several geo-meets had been created over the next few weeks too. None particularly local though, which was a shame.

I did a YouGov survey, then as the dogs had their brekkie I got ready for the morning’s mission.


Leaving “er indoors TM in charge at home I took the dogs up to Kings Wood. It was a bright morning at home, but again we drove up into the fog. As we walked so the fog slowly lifted and the mud (which was frozen on arrival) slowly melted.

We had a good walk round the woods. We ate some horse poo, and with no fox poo to be found we rolled in a dead sparrow. As we walked we saw several birds of prey. More than we usually see. And they were all fairly close. Was I being paranoid in thinking that they had their eye on Bailey?


We came home and met the roofer bloke clambering up a ladder. The roofer chap was finishing the work on the flat roof up on top, but showed me photos of the state of the roof over our bedroom.  The bits I thought would be an issue are fixed, but more problems have been found. Part of me is thinking “OMG!!!” and part of me is thinking that now we know there’s an issue we can get it sorted before it becomes a problem.

After all, what is money for if not to squander on roof repairs?

I washed the dogs’ paws, legs and bellies, then had a look at the pond. It was crystal clear. Bearing in mind how cold it has been recently the water flow would have made sure the water was cold, and consequently the fish all in torpor (fish hibernation). So I turned off the pumps and the filter, took the filter apart, cleaned it all out and put it all back together again empty ready for the winter. Several Februarys ago I wrote “Every year I turn the filter off when the pond is shut down in November, and every year I don’t clean it out then. Instead I leave carp turds festering over the winter so they are nice and ripe a few months later when I come to clean the thing out.” I didn’t make that mistake today. It needs the new bulb putting in place; I can do that another time.

I’m really pleased with this pressure filter. Back in the day I used huge box filter things. They were heavy. Carrying them down the garden to the drain (where I can clean them) involved my getting covered in fish poo flavoured pond water, and the cleaning took over an hour. I started off with one of those things on 22 March 2007 (when “My Boy TM” installed the first one) and I struggled on with that sort of filtering for just over sixteen years until 26 April this year when I put in the pressure filter.

It’s brilliant. I wish I’d installed one years ago. Leaving aside the fact the thing does an excellent job, I can do a quick clean in twenty minutes, or a deep clean (like I did this morning) in half an hour. The quick clean can be done without moving the filter at all, and being a lot lighter and being a sealed unit means I can take the filter to the drain for a deep clean without slopping fish poo all over the place.

It takes longer to get set up to do the cleaning and to tidy away afterwards than it does to actually clean. Life is so much easier when you’re not spreading fish poo flavoured muck all over the place.


I then had a little tidy-up round the garden. As I pootled I kept looking up at the roof. The nice roofer is doing work on our house and new-next-door at the same time and he was all over the roof. This made me think… There’s no way I would clamber all over the roof. But I think nothing of spending large parts of my day dealing with other people’s blood.


No day off work is complete without doing the ironing; I spent some time with the ironing whilst watching more “Squid Games: The Challenge” It’s a “reality TV” sort of show, or so it is billed. I hope it is all acted out; some of the contestants being interviewed are truly nasty.

With ironing ironed I settled myself on the sofa… and woke two hours later. Despite having cracked on with the day I still felt rather grim, and probably needed the sleep.

“er indoors TM” has gone out with her mates. I’ve just set up the Facebook album for this year’s Advent Calendar. I really should open the thing, shouldn’t I?

For a day’s holiday I’ve not stopped…