1 October 2014 (Wednesday) – Waiting



My mobile rang at 5.30am this morning. "Daddies Little Angel TM"'s waters had broken. I thought this was all rather exciting, but with a "been there, done that" shrug "er indoors TM" went back to kip for another hour or so.

I got up, fed toast crusts to my dog and watched the next episode of "Revolution". The series started well, but as time goes on I find myself questioning the show's plausibility. Like any sci-fi show one can go along with the patently unlikely scenarios if the characters are beleivable. But the leading protagonists have no consistency. One moment they have a firm moral compass; the next they are carboard cut-outs doing whatever makes for a simplistic plot. Having travelled miles to do right wrongs and stand up for the little guys, today our main hero is trying to create anthrax-bombs to unleash on an innocent public. Really?

But with only four episodes to go I shall see it out till the end.


Off to work... as I drove I tried to listen to the radio, but there was hardly anything of note. I got petrol this morning; working on the principle that with the littlun on the way I might be better off with a full fuel tank rather than an empty one.


I got to work, and did my bit. About mid morning I got the message that "Team Maternity" had decamped to the hospital. Not the one I was in; which was probably for the best.

At lunchtime I got the message that the entire labour process was on hold, and that "Team Maternity" was going home until things started happening again. I didn't get much saxing done at lunch time; I spent much of the time messaging here, there and thither


This evening's walk with "Furry Face TM" was interesting. We took his ball; and this time he wanted me to throw it for him (a few times). Every time he chased it he got the ball fine when it was still moving. When it stopped before he could get close he seemed to have trouble finding it; even though it has an internal light and it glows. I've often wondered if he has bad eyesight.


And then I got a message from "er indoors TM". Labour pains have started again, and she is back off to the hospital with "Daddies Little Angel TM".

I am reliably informed there are sausages in the freezer...



2 October 2014 (Thursday) - New Family Member



My phone beeped wih a message to wake me shortly after 3.30am; the littlun was born at 3.12am. I phoned my mother right away; I was under orders to do so as soon as I had news, and I did so. She was wide awake and had been sitting up all night waiting to hear. I messaged my brother and he replied right away; I guess he was awake too.

I did't get back to sleep after that, even though I tried. I gave up trying to sleep and watched telly until the first photos came through at 6am.


As I drove to work I listened to the radio. . The Prime Minister has recently announced that in the near future the general public will have access to GP surgeries until 8pm every night and at weekends too.

There was an interview with one of the leading lights in the Royal College of General Practitioners who explained that what with the preponderance of GPs coming up to retirement and an inability to recruit, surgeries will be closing due to lack of doctors rather than staying open later and longer. You'd think the Prime Minister would talk to people before committing them to the impossible, wouldn't you?

There was also talk of the latest battles in the Middle East, and about how the western world should negotioate rather than fight. I must admit I didn't pay attention. My mind wandered somewhat. Is it wrong of me to dismiss this news purely because it's not news and there is *always* fighting in the Middle East?


I got to work, parked up, and as I parked some prat wanted me to park elsewhere so he could do some obscure horticultural thing on the grounds nearby. I moved my car ten yards, and said prat wouldn't leave me alone; he kept bothering me with explanations about what he was doing, and he followed me for a couple of hundred yards making those explanations.

On the morning of the birth of a grandchild I had several phone calls to make. The last thing I needed was to be harangued by a gardener. After smiling sweetly, making excuses, and finally flatly telling him to piss off I just ignored him and made quite a few phone calls with this prat drivelling on in the background.


From work I went to the hospital to meet my new grandson....



3 October 2014 (Friday) - Forgetting the Late Shift



With all the excitement of the last day it's hardly surprising I slept well last night. Over brekkie I watched "Revolution". I've been somewhat disparaging about the show recently, but it's not bad really.


Off to work. It was a particularly foggy day today. As I drove I listened to the radio. The burning issue of the day would seem to be the Government's hopes to abolish the Human Rights Act.

Something which seriously boils my piss is the fact that more and more these days I seem to be in agreement with the Government. Whilst in theory the Human Rights Act is a vital and essential part of a decent society, in practice it is being abused and is nothing more than a shield for the despicable. There is something seriously wrong when murdering terrorists cannot be brought to just ice because doing so contravenes their "human rights".

And one of the bosses of the John Lewis firm has made a rather savage attack on the French; advising other businessmen not to invest in a country where "nothing works"

I'm no fan of the French, but even I though that was rather harsh.


I stopped off at Morrisons for some supplies. I bought their cheapo-jam which tastes exactly the same as their normal jam but is half the price. I suppose some prefer the snob value of not being seen to buy the cheapo-stuff. Me - I'm not proud.

I also got a half-price bottle of Merlot; usually a tenner, this was a fiver. I shall give it my sage opinion later.

Whilst there I saw that Morrisons have reduced their petrol prices since I got a tank-full yesterday. Mind you they are still more expensive than Ashford.


I got to work, and prepared to do my bit. But before I could do so I was met with amazement by my colleague. What was I doing at work so early?

I'd completely overlooked the fact I was on the late shift today. What with the excitement of getting away promptly yesterday to see the baby I'd not checked my shift. Woops.


So with three hours spare I went off round Canterbury on a geo-mission. There were three geocaches round Canterbury that I've looked for before and have been unable to find. With little else to do and nothing planned I thought I might try for these ones again.

The first one was one I'd been given a little (great big) hint about, and it wasn't where I was told it was supposed to be. I think it might well have gone missing. They do that.

The second was supposedly "inside a tree stump" but there was only one tree stump in the vicinity and I couldn't find anything inside that stump; nor could several previous searchers. Perhaps that one has gone walkabout too.

The third was one I'd twice before tried for; and this time it was glaringly obvious. How could I have missed that? I was sure it wasn't there last time.

On opening the thing and reading the log inside it was clear I hadn't missed it previously. With only one previous finder this cache had been placed two weeks ago either by the C.O. or by the only other person to have signed the log. But either way I've claimed it as a find.

Flushed with success I then went to look for a fourth cache. I'd been told this one was missing, and I would agree with that. I couldn't find it.


So with a couple of hours productively wasted I set off to work where I had a little sax practice before finally getting on with stuff rather later than I'd intended. I did my bit, saxed some more at lunch time, bit a bit more work, and came home some three hours later than planned. Consequently I had no time at all for visiting baby. I wasn't very pleased about that; but I have no one but myself to blame.


Once home I put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and took him for a bit of a walk. As I walked I started to Ingress. Ingress was (for a couple of months) a silly bit of fun. I would periodically have a pop at what a local blue player was doing, and from time to time a local blue player would have a pop back. There was balance, and it was fun.

Not any more.

I looked at the play-map this evening as we walked. What was once green was now blue. Lots of blue. In fact hardly any green left at all. And the ubiquitous blue was of such high level that I wouldn't have a hope trying to play against it.

I met a blue Ingresser kicking the last dying breaths out of what I'd done over the last few weeks. Apparently there is an organised bunch of higher level blue players who delight in regularly meeting up and travelling to someone else's town to smash up (in the game) and take over.

Having ruined the fun of Ashfordians tonight they are apparently off to Ramsgate and Maidstone en-masse over the next week or so. It would seem that it's not enough that they should win. Everyone else has to lose, and be seen to lose.


I can remember teaching the cubs (aged eight) about good sportsmanship... I've deleted the game from my phone.



4 October 2014 (Saturday) - Wedding Anniversary



I was up with the lark this morning. As usual. But for all that I seem to be in a routine of walking shortly after 5am these days, it's a great improvement on 3am which once it was, so I'm not complaining. I fussed my lttle dog and fed him my toast crusts as I watched "Revolution".


I had an email from Cotton Traders. Bearing in mind teh fiasco I had with their piss-poor walking shoes I'm rather loathe to get anything from their mail order service again. And looking at the email of bargains I have to admit that I can get pretty much the same stuff (without the Cotton Traders logo) cheaper from Matalan.


I checked out social media. Facebook had wished me well for my wedding anniversary today. That was nice of them. I also saw that several people of my acquaintance were off to a "fun run" today at Hever Castle. I say "fun run" because that is the widely used phrase. But I have to question that phrase. Why do people go running for sport or for a hobby. Have you ever looked at any of these runners. They either look miserable, knackered or in pain. I have *never* seen one who actually appears to enjoy what they are doing.

This was particularly brought home to me when I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park this morning. There were dozens of joggers; all with faces like smacked arses. Not a single one looked as though they were in any way remotely happy.


My mummy and daddy called, and we drove down to Folkestone where the tribe gathered to spend the day looking at the baby. The baby seemed pretty much oblivious of all the attention he was getting; alternately feeding and sleeping. I suppose it's a sign of the times that littlun had four great-grandparents present. I only met one of mine.

A few of us went for a quick walk to the harbour seafood stall; but it was raining and we got soaked.


With baby looked at we came home and had a rather good bit of dinner as we caught up with stuff on the SkyPlus box. And we had that bottle of plonk I'd got from Morrisons yesterday. Not too shabby...



5 October 2014 (Sunday) - A Walk, Sax Practice



After a bit of a late night last night I slept right through until aafter 6am this morning. "Furry Face TM" was fast asleep as I watched the last episode of "Revolution". I say "last episode"; it was the last episode on the SkyPlus box. There's a whole second season to be watched somewhere. There's also a fourth season of "Game of Thrones" somewhere that I'd like to see as well.


With a little time on my hands I solved a geo-puzzle. This one is in the general vicinity of where I plan to be walking in a few days time (weather permitting). I also failed to solve half a dozen other geo-puzzles from the same area too. Maybe we might see them as we walk by; it wouldn't be the first time I've found geocaches by pot luck.


I then fiddled about with AVG's PC tune-up to see if I could get my lap-top to work a little better; the poor thing wasn't top of the range when I got it, and it is struggling more and more these days, with various windows freezing and not responding with annoying regularity. AVG's PC tune-up found several thousand problems which it offered to fix for me; and in a fit of foolish bravado I let it do its thing. Let's hope for the best here.


WIth laundry put on the line I spent an entertaining few minutes listening to the neighbours arguing. I say "arguing"; she was shrieking and he was shouting "I hate you". They do that a lot.

Mind you, for all that I sometimes wonder about the chap's state of mind and don't really like the way she publically blanks me, the two of them are a distinct improvement on the fundamentally evil pair who lived there before.


We then put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and went for a little walk. Parking the car in the general vicinity of Bobbing (near Sittingbourne) we walked for about five miles round the "Fruitcake's Follies" series of geocaches. Some were easy to find, some tricky. One in particular was in an "unusual container" ; from the previous finder it was obvious what that container was. Interestingly the person writing the spoiler in his log hadn't actually signed to say he'd actually found the thing. As we walked "er indoors TM" scoffed chestnuts; in fact she was so intent on scoffing chestnuts she didn't realised she'd left her handbag at one of our stops.

It was a good little walk. I say "little"; at five miles it's probably more than many people would consider little; realistically me included at the moment. It's been several weeks since I last did what I would call a "decent" walk.

As always I took one or two photos of our walk.


We came home and had a cuppa. "My Boy TM" visited with a present for his old Dad. He brought me three French sticks. He'd found a bargain somewhere and remembered how much I like the stuff. He's a good lad.

I then had a little sax practice. My dog didn't like it very much.

And with a rather good bit of tea scoffed and "er indoors TM" off to lob bowling balls at unsuspecting pins I ironed shirts whilst watching "Jeeves and Wooster"...



6 October 2014 (Monday) - Chairs, Surveys



Surprisingly on a day with no burning need for me to be up early I managed to stay asleep until 7am. I may well have slept longer had I not woken myself by getting tangled in the hose of my CPAP device.

Having watched all of “Revolution”, over brekkie I watched “Extras” then took “Furry Face TM “ for a walk. As we walked through the park we found a few dining chairs arranged al-fresco. They were broken and fit for the bin, but rather than putting them out for the dustmen, someone had taken the trouble to carry them round to the park to leave them there.


We met Hannah from the astro club as we walked by the lake; I reminded her that I was closing the astro club’s members’ survey this morning; she said she’d better get on with offering an opinion and she pulled out her mobile. Five minutes later my mobile pinged to tell me I’d received another survey response. Presumably hers.

I never fail to be amazed by the power of these little mobile phones.

As we reached the part of our walk furthest from home so the rain started. We strolled across the Singleton Environment Centre and it was there that we met another small dog. Fudge expressed his friendship by brandishing his lipstick as only a small boy-dog can. I wish he wouldn’t do that. We paid the vet good money to surgically stop that nonsense.

We came home through the top end of Stanhope where a rather delightful gentleman (who *could* have been mistaken for a scratter) was sitting on his doorstep having a fag. This fellow was actually sitting on the doorstep in a very loose dressing gown, with his “flowers and frolics” hanging out for all to see. How charming.


Once home “Furry Face TM “ took himself to his basket and went to sleep. I turned on the PC and activated SurveyMonkey. In late July I set up a survey to get people’s opinions about how the astro club is going, and how we might improve. Our survey said…. Well, I won’t publish the results here. I will say that in seventy days we had fifty responses; most (pretty much all) of which were positive and encouraging. Those who were less than gushing in their praise were those who had only ever attended occasionally; which is what you might expect.


I then took myself off to bed for the afternoon, and slept like a log until I was woken by a phone call from some twat whose records told him that I had a frozen pension. I told him that my records told me that he should stick his records up his arse. I found it very odd that I had to repeat this several times before he got the message.

Now being awake I got up (taking care to let a certain sleeping dog lie) and I went downstairs. I got out my sax; thinking that I might get a quick toot in. Unfortunately “Furry Face TM was also feeling musical and he came and sang along. Having seen the video I posted yesterday I’m not sure which of the two of us is worst.


I’m off to work now. Night shift….



7 October 2014 (Tuesday) - After the Night Shift



I've not done a night shift for a while; I quite liked doing the night shift last night. The only real disadvantage was that I was coming home through the rush hour traffic. I might just have to look at planning a different route home for next time.


Once home I wasn't quite sure about how to organise my day, so faced with a rather enthusiastic dog I put the collar and lead onto "Furry Face TM" and took him for a little walk. We went down to Park Farm where I had a little look-see to check that my "Park Farm Pootle" series of geocaches were all OK.

They were.

Fortunately for my nerves today's walk was relatively uneventful. Fudge tried to "do his lipstick" to a boy dog ten times his size, we met a pug puppy, all very quiet really. Mind you I did have a wry smile as we came through Park Farm. As we walked along a pavement we heard a frantic shrieking. "Look out, look out" screamed a woman being dragged along the path at a gallop by a dog which was the size of the average Polar Bear. Why do people have dogs which are so large that they cannot control them.

As we walked along the new path from Park Farm to Asda we saw a familiar face, and I geo-chatted with Simon for a few minutes. We then came home via the pet shop, and after a little brekkie spent watching "The New Avengers" I took myself off to bed. I slept for three hours. I would have slept longer but, like yesterday, I was woken by someone asking about my alledgedly under-performing pension.


I got up; there's no denying I wasn't feeling especially lively. So I watched a film about the family life of a lesbian couple. It was billed as a comedy-drama. For all that it was entertaining enough there was precious little comedy about it. One of the actors looked incredibly familiar and I spent much of the film wondering what I'd seen him in. Having looked him up on the Internet I can only think I'm confusing him with someone else.


Martin called round, and we walked round to Romney Road where, once the clans had gathered, I stayed awake through another episode of "The 100". With only about seventy still surviving I have absolutely no idea what's going on. But an evening spent with old muckers is always good.

Our walk home brought us past the chip shop (by some odd coincidence). I was rather miffed to find it was closed...



8 October 2014 (Wednesday) - Wet, Broke...



I suppose its not really surprising that I slept quite well last night; woken only once by "er indoors TM" snoring. Over brekkie I watched "The Last Ship"; a post-apocalyptic drama about a microbiology lab on a US naval ship trying to make a cure to a worldwide plague. The first episode seemed watchable enough. I shall give it a go and see how it pans out.


My Ham Street Lover called shortly after 8am and we took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. Shorne Shenanigans is a series of forty geocaches laid out on two loops over some eight miles. The weather wasn't looking too good, but with the promise of it brightening up later we thought we might walk the series in reverse order doing the smaller loop first. If the weather didn't chirp up we could abandon the walk.

We set off into a rather bright looking morning but... what can I say?

To cut a long story short the weather didn't chirp up. It chirped down. I can't really remember ever having been wetter, and I've fallen in ponds and rivers. We had a good laugh, we found all the geocaches we set out to find, Steve even got one or two chestnuts, but there's no denying that the weather could have been better. It wasn't long before we were soaked to the skin. Even little "Furry Face TM" looked like a seal, and he was actually whinging and crying because he was so wet.

As is always the case we didn't get to the point where we needed to abandon until we were at the furthest point of the walk from the car. When we got back to the car we were sodden. I poured the water out of my boots (literally about a pint), wrapped a shivering dog in a towel, and we came home to warm up.


With "Furry Face TM" finally settled and happy I drove down to Folkestone to spend an hour or so with "Daddies Little Angel TM" and the baby. We all of us dozed for some of that time. After a while I came home; as I walked back to my car I was harangued for a fag by a passing scratter.

Before I drove off to come home I plugged my phone into the car charger to give it some juice; nothing happened. Once home I tried different batteries and different chargers. It seems to have lost the ability to charge its battery. I contacted the insurance people. The new phone arrives tomorrow...


We had a good bit of tea tonight, it was a shame that in the process of boiling up the scran the grill support in the cooker collapsed. I've had a go at bodging it back but whetever it is inside the cooker that the screw fits in to has gone. I shall see if I can get a slighttly fatter screw (oo-er!) or a new cooker.

Phone, cooker.. they say these things come in threes. i wonder what will be next.



9 October 2014 (Thursday) – Waiting



Despite a decent night's sleep I woke feeling rather restless; a nagging feeling that I had forgotten something important. I watched "Family Guy" over brekkie whilst my dog slept, and then I checked out the Internet. I had email. I have an email alert set up to tell me when new geocaches go live within thirty miles of home. Some had gone live this morning; but at twenty (ish) miles distant they were too far away to chase First to Finds. But they were the first to go live this month, and its the ninth of October today. It wasn't that long ago that it was unusual *not* to get one or more of these notification emails every day. Either the general public is losing interest in stashing sandwich boxes under rocks, or Kent is reaching saturation point.


I would have put the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and taken him for a walk right after brekkie, but I had a delivery from which I had to sit in and wait. That wasn't something that I could explain to a Patagonian Tripe-Hound, and as I watched the telly my little dog did whinge a little. We watched all sorts of drivel from the SkyPlus box. I washed laundry. I even put my collection of souvenir pint glasses (from ten years of beer festivals) through the dishwasher. The delivery was due at some stage between 9am and 1pm; the chap arrived with my new phone at 1.15pm, which was rather frustrating.


On activating the new phone immediately wanted to update all its on-board apps; all the ones I never use and don't want but don't dare delete. By the time I'd then downloaded apps for GMX, NeonGeo, AVG, Red Alert Screensaver and the Kindle book I was reading I really needed to get a bit of sleep prior to tonight's night shift.

I had to leave personalising the phone properly until another time.


In a change to what has gone before I set off to sax lesson. On a Thursday (!) This is the new time for sax lessons; it suits both me and teacher better. the lesson went well, and I then set off to the night shift. Via Morrisons where I found myself at the checkout behind someone who had bought twelve packets of Haribo Fangtastic and two bottles of whiskey... I wish I bought shopping like that.



10 October 2014 (Friday) - Poorly Pup



I expect things will change, but at the moment I quite like doing night shifts. I did my bit overnight, and with my bit done I then had my orders. A geo-pal had some chests of drawers that were surplus to requirements. The most recent fruit of my loins didn't have enough chests of drawers. I had the wherewithal to chauffeur chests of drawers around the county. From work it was a surprisingly short distance to Seasalter where I loaded up the larger two chests of drawers. I activated Google maps and was very surprised to find that Folkestone was a lot closer than I thought it was; I didn't realise that Seasalter is (almost) due north of Folkestone. I chauffered furniture to "Daddies Little Angel TM", got given brekkie, cuddled the littlun, and went back to Seasalter for the second consignment.

I didn't take those to Folkestone; they are in the back of my car still. For all that the journey from the north Kent coast to the south Kent coast was shorter than I thought; I'd still driven eighty miles more than I had been planning to do this morning.

I came home and found a very subdued dog still wrapped in the blanket that "er indoors TM" had wrapped him in earlier. He didn't get up to see me, he just looked at me. I fussed him a little, and took myself off to bed.


I slept for several hours, got up and thought I'd take "Furry Face TM" for a walk. Usually he goes mental at the sight of the lead, jumping and squeaking. He didn't this time; he just trudged over to me. As we walked he didn't pull once which is rather unlike him. He showed absolutely no interest in chasing his ball; when I threw it he sat down and looked at me. I noticed that despite being very warm he was shivering.


We went round to the vets. His temperature is OK, the vet says he is walking OK and there is nothing palpable in his tummy or his joints. There is nothing to which the vet can assign a malady name at the moment.

He is eating and drinking which is a good sign, especially in a dog which is very fussy about what he will eat. But he is periodically shivering and is clearly under the weather. Vet says it might be just a viral thing (the dog equivalent of a cold) or it might be the start of something else. Vet says to keep an eye on him. Vet didn't actually say I was over-reacting and clucking like a mother hen, but I got the impression he was thinking that.


Over a rather good bit of tea (mostly spent fussing a poorly dog) we caught up with more stuff recorded onto the SkyPlus box. Downton Abbey and the Great British Bake-Off. It was only a shame I'd already heard who won the bake-off on the radio last night...



11 October 2014 (Saturday) - Still Poorly



The night shift had taken its toll, and I slept like a log; finally waking shortly after 8am. I came down to find my dog in his basket. He was still shivering and when he saw me he started crying. I offerd him some milk; he had a little. I sent him outside for a tiddle; he went slowly. I phoned the vets and got an appointment for 9.45am. Fudge clearly wanted to walk when he saw his collar and lead, but he walked oh-so-slowly. When I tried to hurry him (as he dawdled across the zebra crossing) he cried.

We didn't have long to wait at the vets. If anyone saw me blubbing in the waitng area as I cuddled my dog they didn't say anything. We saw a young girl vet who looked young enough to be my daughter. She was excellent - she gave "Furry Face TM" a good once-over. He seemed OK, but for the shivering and panting. But the vet soon found that he whimpered whenever she manipulated his mid-back; just at the base of his ribs. It's apparently quite common that longer dogs get bad backs in that region. My dog's got a bad back. Just like his Grandad. It all fits now. It's been a while since he jumped up onto our bed at night. He whinges for cuddles but struggles to jump up onto my lap. He won't jump over stiles when we are walking any more. He *really* has trouble getting into the car.

The vet gave him a shot of anti-inflammatory drugs and a shot of morphine to releive the pain. We have some stuff to give him after meals, and he has a follow-up appointment booked on Wednesday. As we came out of the vets I could see torrential rain so I carried my little dog home. Once home I towelled him off and he ate his brekkie (which was a good sign), curled up in his basket and was soon snoring like a train.

I sat on the sofa and blubbed. Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog?


We left the little pup snoring as we set off to the monthly meet-up of the county's tupperware hunters. My initial plan was a flying visit to the meet and then to actually go hunting tupperware with anyone who was up for a hunt. But the weather was against us. The day's weather was very deceptive; glorious sunshine was always followed (within five minutes) by torrential rain. So instead we stayed inside and chatted with like-minded people. Talking tupperware hunting is always good, and I was really touched by the number of people who asked after my little dog.

I explained to young Harry that rather than politely selling raffle tickets he would make far more money by demanding money with menaces, and then having won a decent haul at his raffle we set off for home.


We did find one geocache on the way home, and we came home to find "Furry Face TM" was still under the weather. I say "under the weather"; I'm not convinced he wasn't still morphined. Mind you he wasn't too zoned out that he let me practice my saxophone; he had quite a howl when I started tooting.

"Furry Face TM" ate some of his tea; I opened a tin of sardines for him, and he ate half of the tin; specifically the half which I fed him by hand; piece by piece.


"er indoors TM" went off to film night, and I put on the telly. "Big Bang Theory" and "The Last Ship" made for good viewing. Whilst I watched telly I kept an eye on my little dog. He slept for much of the evening, but did have the occasional whinge.

I hope he gets better soon...



12 October 2014 (Sunday) - The Pants of Death



A decent night's sleep was rudely interrupted at 6.30am when I had a phone call from someone in Rye who announced that they were a wrong number and hung up. I came down to see my little dog was wandering round the living room. I let him out for a tiddle; he came back in, and for all that overnight he'd eaten the tea he hadn't eaten yesterday, he didn't seem at all interested in his brekkie. He turned his nose up at the crusts of my toast too.

Being wide awake some hours earlier than I needed to be, and being at something of a loose end I got the ironing board out and ironed for an hour or so. Periodically "Furry Face TM" whimpered. I'm not sure if he was actually still in pain, or if he's doing it for attention. If he is attention-seeking, it's certainly working.


As I ironed I watched the telly. "Carry on Again Doctor" was on. Forty five years ago (when it was made) Sid James slapping young ladies (and laughing) on the arse was seen as harmless fun. Nowadays people are going to prison for doing that. I found myself watching the film not for entertainment, but as an example of how much social attitudes have changed in the last few years.


With ironing done I was soon going stir-crazy. Little pup was not allowed to go for a walk (vet's orders) and by the time "er indoors TM" got up I was bored senseless. Eventually we set off to Follkestone to deliver the last of the furniture I collected on Friday and to see the baby. We weren't alone in going to visit the littlun; we had quite a convocation of the family. We had gone to Folkestone via Tesco, and as we saw the littlun we had coffee and doughnuts of three flavours; jam, cheese & onion and salt & vinegar (really!)

We had a little stroll to the harbour for cockles; I wound up larger grand-children by defeating them with my pants of death. A good time was had by all. (Except for those defeated by the pants of death)


On the way home we stoped off at the coastal park to get the final bits of info needed for the Earthcache there for International Earthcache Day (it's a geocaching thing), and came home. I'd hoped my dog had had a quiet day. I supose he had, but he was excited to see us, and being an "immediate" kind of dog he charged to see us and put his back out some more. Silly pup.

And with "er indoors TM" off bowling (and all my ironing already done) I settled in front of the telly to watch "Jeeves and Wooster". What else does one do on a Sunday evening?



13 October 2014 (Monday) - Off to Birmingham



I came down to find my little dog had had a little accident on the carpet overnight. He also seemed to have taken a turn for the worse. He seemed to be chirping up last night; this morning he seemed rather ill. He was struggling to hobble about. I went off to work with a heavy heart and spent the morning worrying about the little pup.

I would have come home for him at lunch time, but I was under orders to go to a course in Birmingham tomorrow. Rather than rushing up i nthe morning I'd arranged to go up this afternoon and take my time. The fact that there were two webcam caches on the way was neither here nor there(!)

The first webcam cache was in Banbury. I'd never been there before, and was rather dubious about the place. A Welshman I once met had told me that he's been to Banbury on a day trip and had been beaten up by the locals. I arrived, parked up, and was told by the parking attendant that no parking fees were applicable that late in the day. I thought that was very nice, pootled off to do the webcam thing, and came back to find my car had been imprisoned inside a load of parking barriers. This same parking attendant then started blustering about the car park space being needed for a fun fair. I ignored him and dragged enough barriers out of the way so that I could drive out, and I drove out; giving the chap the "V" sign as I went.

The next webcam cache was at the Student Union at Warwick University. Other than students swarming and torrential rain, this one went mostly uneventfully.


I then made my way to the guest house I had booked some months ago. In all honesty these two webcam caches had only added half an hour to my journey, but despite road works and delays a journey billed as being one of three hours took just over five hours.

I got to the Highworth Guest House, What can I say.... It's rather basic, but I knew that before I started. What I didn't know was that the promised dedicated parking simply doesn't exist. The advertised Sky TV features a range of satellite channels but not the Sky ones. The (rather small) towel in my room was still damp from the room's previous occupant. The wi-fi's functioning was was sporadic at best.

Despite a rather poor grasp of spoken English the landlady offered to cook me up an evening meal, and I scoffed a rather good plate of home made curry. I then went for a little stroll despite the rain. There was a geocache not two hundred yards from the guest house, and it would be daft not to have gone for it.


"er indoors TM" phoned. She had taken a very ill little dog to the vets. The bad back was much worse than they thought as he seems to have lost the use of his back legs. The vet was now suspecting a slipped disc, and this meant referral to a specialist vet in Surrey. "My Boy TM" drove "er indoors TM" and "Furry Face TM" to this vet whilst I was stuck in Birmingham watching the latest new thing on the telly; "Gotham".

I've only seen the first episode so far, but "Gotham" seems quite good so far. It does seem rather overloaded with references thatt may well fly over the heads of people who haven't read every single Batman comic book, but perhaps that's why I liked it


With Gotham watched the phone rang. The dog spinal specialist had given "Furry Face TM" a once-over. He has a grade two spinal injury but given rest there is an eighty-five percent chance of recovery without surgery. Mind you "rest" means enforced rest. And lots of it. The poor pup is to be locked in a dog-crate for six weeks and only allowed out for tiddles, poops, scof and cuddles.

He'll go stir-crazy..



14 October 2014 (Tuesday) - Back Home Now



Yesterday evening I mentally prepared myself for a bad night's sleep. The rather noisy young lovers upstairs finally gave up fornicatiing shortly before 11pm, and soon after that the dreadful Bollywood music came to an end. And the noisy neighbours stopped shouting at each other well before midnight.

I got a few hours sleep, but it was amazing how much nocturnal noise was generated in a rather small guest house in the early hours. People were crashing and clumping about from 4am onwards. And after experiencing the melodious farting fanfare from the communal lavatory just down the landing (at 5.30am) I gave up trying to sleep and got up.

I'd been asked what time I wanted my full English breakfast; I'd said 7am. Bearing in mind my experiences so far I walked into the dining room at 7am expecting the worst. There were three sugar bowls round the dining room; all empty. The breakfast... wasn't overly generous and it did give me guts ache.


It is possible I have been just the teensiest bit harsh on the Highworth Guest House. After all is said and done, the place isn't especialy bad; the room I was in was comfortable enough. I can't really complain when I only paid forty quid. What I got was fine; it was just rather disappointing that they made a lot of promises that they didn't keep.

And bearing in mind the incredibly bad standard of spoken English demostrated by the landlady there was absolutely no point in trying to quibble about FreeView being different to Sky TV, or about a sink not constiuting "en-suite" or about the non-existant off-street parking or about the wet used towel or about the rather rubbish wi-fi.


From the guest house to my meeting was only a short drive; but bearing in mind the meeting was at the confluence of several motorways I thought the traffic might be bad. So pausing only briefly to pick up a Midlands geocache I arrived at the National Motorbike Museum a little earlier than I might have got there.

Once at the meeting I met up with a couple of old muckers and we spent most of the day together. I will blog elsewhere about the specifics of the meeting; suffice it to say that I stayed awake for most of it.


I got away from the meeting at 4.30pm; the Sat-Nav told me that it would take three hours (and five minutes) to get home. Including a geo-stop at the M40 services the journey took nearly five hours. There's no denying that this meeting has been rather hard work. Or, to be specific, the meeting was fine; the journey was hard work.

But then I had allieviated much of the pain of the journey by making it into a geo-mission. With caches found in four new counties, two webcam caches done, and a new "furthest north" find, the hours spent in traffic queues on various motorways were far more bearable.


I came home, bandied a few insults with the gathered clans, and then made a fuss of my little dog. We have acquired a cage in which he will (mostly) live for the next two months until his back gets better. He seems quite settled in there. I'm not settled about him being in there though...



15 October 2014 (Wednesday) - The Brown Note



I suppose the road trip to the West Midlands had taken its toll. I slept like a log last night; not waking till gone 6am. I came downstairs quietly and found my little dog soundly asleep in his cage. I let him out over brekkie, and he sat on my lap where he scoffed the crusts off of my toast. I should really stop letting him do that; during this forced inactivity he's going to put on weight.


As I drove to work I listened to the news. The ebola pandemic is getting to be a serious concern now that the western world seems to be being threatened.Perhaps next time those of us who could actually help might do so sooner?


But (as is so often the case) one of the most important issues went mostly un-noticed. There are moves afoot to have smoking banned in all London parks.

There was an interview with one of the leading lights in the campaign to get smoking banned. The same bunch are also campaigning to have fast food establishments banned from being allowed to set up in the general vicinity of schools. The chap on the radio actually said that they are hoping to have no fast food outlet within four hundred metres of any school because (apparently) it is an established fact that the average schoolchild does not walk more than four hundred metres from their school.

When I was a lad I used to walk three miles to school every morning, and three miles back home again in the evening. Perhaps reinstating walking to school might go a long way to combat childhood obesity and would be easier and simpler for the government than fighting with big businesses.


Once at work I chased up the ENT secretaries about my proposed nasal re-bore. Finally I have a date for the operation; November 4th. A little more notice to re-arrange shifts would have been nice; and wouldn't have been too unreasonable for them to arrange bearing in mind they've known about this operation being pending for some months; but what do I know.


At lunchtime I had a sax practice; what with trips to Brum, visiting baby and ill pups I've let my saxing slip recently. I really need to get back on the case there. Today's practice was somewhat iffy. Rather than playing low C I think I nearly (but not quite) got the Brown Note.

(For those of my loyal readers who don't watch South Park the Brown Note is a musical note so low in pitch that when anyone hears it they involuntarily sh*t themselves to death)


This evening I really should have gone to the astro club committee meeting. But I was rather late home yesterday evening, and wasn't home at all on Monday evening. I really wanted to sit with my poorly dog tonight; and that's what I did. With "er indoors TM" off out to one of the meetings of the association of certified candlemongers I tried to explain to a sulking Patagonian Tripe-Hound exactly why he's been imprisoned for the next six weeks.

I don't think he understood...



16 October 2014 (Thursday) - In A Dress



"Furry Face TM" seemed marginally more sprightly when I let him out of his cage this morning. He pootled round the garden but didn't seem to do much in the way of things that little dogs are supposed to do when they are taken outside.

Over brekkie I watched the latest South Park episode; in order to get better lavatorial facilities today's episode featured Eric Cartman announcing that he was becoming transgender.

Interestingly the morning's radio news also featured an interview with a transgender person who had become a lawyer. This person was discussing the allegations about a radio presenter having left his job after announcing that he was changing from one flavour to another.

Personally I can't really say it bothers me one way or another what someone is or what they want to be. But it does bother me that the pro-transgender brigade really can't understand why the general public cannot help but be surprised when confronted with such a person. I can remember when the first fruit of my loin met a transgender person for the first time. He was five years old. What he encountered really did look like a twenty-stone navvie wearing a dress.

Whilst I fully support anyone's right to appear as whatever gender they want; that person must also understand that what they are doing isn't "usual" and will initially attract stares.


The radio also featured the news that the green lobby are up in arms. Following the sacking of the ex-environment minister, said ex-environment minister has now become an advocate against the climate change lobbyists. He was on the radio rallying against what he called the "wicked green blob" and was hankering after a majority Conservative government which would see the sense in putting personal financial gain ahead of decency and common sense.

If nothing else, having the Dribbling Democraps in a coalition government has curbed the excesses of personal greed that have historically characterised "another political party".


I got to work, did my bit on a rather busy day, blew my sax at lunch time, and came home via the music school for sax lesson. Sax lesson went well; I've got a couple of traditional tunes for this week's homework in addition to one I've never heard before.


I came home to find that "er indoors TM" had let "Furry Face TM" out of his cage. When he saw me he started to run toward me, managed two steps and then yelped in pain. I wish I could explain to him that he needs to take things easy...



17 October 2014 (Friday) - Goose on the Razzle



Again I slept until 6am. I like this; for me this really is a lie-in. I got up and my little dog was still asleep. He woke when he saw me and I tried to shush him, but he would insist on leaping up. With his bad back he should really be like me and get up slowly, but there is no reasoning with him. I took him out to the garden where he did his thing; fortunately (unlike last night) didn't try to chase any cats this time.

It's been suggested that "Furry Face TM" might benefit from seeing a canine chiropracter.... It's not that long since I would have ranted here about the entire concept of a "canine chiropracter". But he has an appointment with the vet tomorrow. We'll see what they say on the subject.


As I drove to work I noticed that petrol prices are nearly two pence per litre cheaper than I paid on Monday. A shame; I could have squandered that eighty pence I might have saved on vet bills. It's unusual for Morrisons to be beaten on petrol prices.

Talking of which, supermarkets were very much in the news today: a blind woman was ordered to get her guide dog out of a branch of Tescos, whilst two amorous young ladies have caused consternation (and complaints) by their snogging (each other) in Sainsbury's

Personally I wouldn't have a problem with either, but given the choice I know which I would rather have in my supermarket.


I got to work for the early shift, did my bit, and then at lunchtime I had a go at the new tunes I've been given to learn for this weeks saxophone homework. I can do a fair rendition of "The Drunken Sailor" but it could be faster. "Greensleeves" comes unstuck on the sharps in several places. But the tune which is new to me - "Goose on the Razzle" - really does sound like a goose which has been on the razzle. I can't honestly say I'm entirely sure what the tune of "Goose on the Razzle" should be, but I'm pretty sure I've not quite mastered it yet.


And finding myself home along (yet) again I spent the evening firstly ironing shirts and then fussing a small pup. Sometimes he seems to be perking up; other times he seems rather under the weather. I'm wondering what six weeks enforced rest will do...



18 October 2014 (Saturday) - Bit Dull



Having been gloating about how well I've been sleeoping I was wide awake from 3am this morning. Probably worrying about "Daddies Little Angel TM" who's been poorly again.

I got up at 6am and let "Furry Face TM" out for his morning tiddle which today was performed with a cocked leg (rather than as a squat). I am seeing that as a very good sign.


I then set off to work before dawn, and as I drove a very red sky became rather evident as the sun rose. Remembering the old adage "Red sky in morning, shepherd's warning" I can only imagine that the red sky warns shepherds of coming good weather; I spent much of the morning looking out of teh window at a lovely day.


As I drove the pundits on the radio were being mean about UKIP's latest (only) MP. Having left the conservative party he was being lambasted about all the things he once said as a tory that now he seems to have gone back on. I must admit that I can't help but agree with the chap when he said that changing circumstances made him change his mind. If only more people would admit when they think they've made a mistake then the world might be a better place.


I stopped off at Morrisons for lunch. I paid for my stuff in the self service tills. I didn't want to, buut I was turned away from the attended tills; today they were being used by Morrison's staff who were getting their shopping. I can't helpp but wonder if using an attended till is a perk of the job, or a sign that management doesn't trust its workers?


And so to work. Usually I don't mind working at weekends, but my heart wasn't in it today. Possibly because I was missing the annual spectacle of Hastings bonfire parade. I came home to find the fmaily were all out at the bonfire. Mind you my little dog was pleased to see me. He's been to the vet's today. He had his booster shot and a quick once-over. The feeling is that a canine chiropracter wouldn't be much help in his particular case. Rest remains to be the order of the day.

I let him out for his tiddle, and he rushed off down the garden barking like a thing possessed. What a difference a week makes...



19 October 2014 (Sunday) – Hucking



What with all the excitement of working yesterday it was gone 9pm before I got home last night. By the time I'd scoffed tea and fussed "Furry Face TM" it was getting on for midnight. I did snigger when "Furry Face TM" started chasing flies round the kitchen. A week ago he literally couldn't move; now he's a lot more sprightly.

Allowing for a quick nocturnal loo-trip I slept in until 9am, and was just the teensiest bit disappointed to wake up to rain. But by the time I'd got dressed the rain had stopped. I voomed up to the corner shop to get a loaf (we'd run out) and I saw something unusual. One of the normal people was walking his dog. Said dog had "dropped its load" and the normal person was clearing up the mess. Just lately I see so many people letting their dogs crap everywhere; it was good to see someone not leaving bombs behind.


We had brekkie, and then settled "Furry Face TM" into his cage. He's getting better but we're going to enforce his resting. We then rallied the troops and set off to Hucking for a short stroll. There was a minor hiccup when some of the troops announced they were already at the start point; I'd been rather vague about times; in retrospect I could have been rather more clear about the time we were leaving Ashford as opposed to the time we were starting walking.


But eventually we were all together for a little geo-stroll. Compared to some of the extravaganzas we've done over the summer, today's walk was rather tame. But it's been a little while since we've been out, and it never hurts to break ourselves in slowly. We set off with eleven geo-targets and hoped we might get one or two extras along the way. We ended up with seventeen finds and no DNFs ("Did Not Find" - it's a geo-thing).

The Hucking estate is a great place for a little stroll; leaving aside the wonderful name (it hucking well is called "Hucking"!) there were some wonderful views to be had. As we walked we found some rather good arty wood carvings including a living log, a shepherd, and a herd of pigs.

We also met some other geocachers too; Kim and Andy had mentioned that they thought they'd spotted a likely looking pair, and as we went round we met up (several times) with the "Otford Strollers". When you sign a geo-log you sign with your geo-pseudonym. There are so many wonderful names I've read over the years; it was good to finally put faces to one of the names today. Interestingly they recognised me immediately. Everyone always does; I wonder why?

We'd been advised to wear wellies today; it was as well that we did. The ground was *very* muddy. I was glad for the chance to test out my boots. The last time I wore my wellies I ended up pouring a pint of water out of them after that walk; today they didn't leak at all.

I took some photos whilst we were out. It's been a little while since I put up a Facebook album.


After a rather good bit of tea I settled down with my dog and we watched the League of Gentlemen film. In all honesty I was disappointed with it...



20 October 2014 (Monday) - One Hundred FTFs



Having been gloating about how well I was sleeping last week I was again wide awake far too early this morning. The insides of my sinuses had swollen beyond belief; this promised surgical re-boring of my snout can't come quickly enough.

I came down and opened the gate of "Furry Face TM" 's cage; he carried on snoring. I did my morning routine, and over a spot of brekkie I saw a series of twenty-four geocaches had gone live quite near to work.

With my dog still on the resting list I had no morning dog walk to do. I did have a geo-plan already for the morning, but I scrapped that plan and thought I'd go chase some First to Finds. (The sadder ones among the geocaching community do that!)


As I drove the pundits on the radio were crucifying some twit from the Home Office. Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBSOs) are to be replaced with Criminal Behaviour Orders (CRIMBOs)

The experts being interviewed had very little confidence in the new CRIMBOs; they will be the same old piss in a different shaped bottle (apparently) and held in contempt by the majority of scratters and scumbags who fell foul of the old system and who currently feel it's actually clever to have an ASBO.


The radio show then featured an interview with Professor Brian Cox. Supposedly giving his views on the likelihood of meeting aliens, foxy-Coxy wittered on in a rather banal way without actually saying anything at all. He seems to be rather good at that.


Eventually I arrived in Harbledown. I popped on my wellies and set off on a little stroll. For various geo-reasons I needed to find seven geocaches today; having First to Finds was a rather nice bonus. The first one I found was about twenty-five yards away from where the GPS would have me believe, and the third one was especially tricky, but I got the seven caches that I needed. As luck would have it the last one was actually my one hundredth First to Find. Happy dance indeed.

I didn't really have enough time to do the entire series; and it's only fair to give others the chance of an FTF or two, so having gone entirely the wrong direction for half a mile or so I retraced my steps back to the car. I'll go find the rest another time.


Once de-booted I then set off to McDonalds for a celebratory McBrekkie, and then on to a surprisingly busy day at work.

Lunchtime sax practice went reasonably well. I'm quietly (noisily) confident with "Greensleeves", feel I can do something with "The Drunken Sailor" (oo-er!), and have all but given up with "Goose on the Razzle"...

I suspect most people give up with geese on the razzle.



21 October 2014 (Tuesday) – 4000



What with working at nights and at weekends, new babies being born, trips to Birmingham and dogs with slipped discs it's all been a bit much recently. So today I took a day off work; I needed a rest. As always I woke far too early and by the time "er indoors TM" got up three hours later I was bored senseless.

I surfed the net in boredom. I discovered this. This Saturday there's a bus trip round some of the better pubs in the Dover and Deal area. I'm rather tempted to join in; the organiser has said that everyone is welcome. If any of my loyal readers fancy a pint or two this weekend why not come along...


With "er indoors TM" ready we set off on the mission of the day. One of my geo-goals is to find more Wherigo geocaches than I've hidden. Wherigos take quite a bit of setting up, and they aren't at all common. I've hidden five of the things, and today we set off in pursuit of my fourth one to be found. We very nearly fell at the first hurdle as the software would not work on Samsung Android phones (neither mine nor that of "er indoors TM") but in a novel break with tradition the iPhone came to the rescue. We Wheri-wandered around Faversham for just over an hour discovering all sorts of places that I've never before been to, and finding out all sorts of things about the place that I never knew. We even got a couple of Munzees along the way. But eventually we came to our goal; something of a milestone geocache for me; my four thousandth find.


Whilst in Faversham we visted the home-brew shop and got the makings of some beer for Christmas, and then having spectacularly failed to find two more geocaches we set off for home. We stopped of in Badlesmere to see what the pub there was like.

I've heard bad things about the Red Lion in the past, but I was very impressed with what we experienced today. Good ale, good food... we may well just organise a mass trip out there at some point.


We came home via Eastwell church and Lidls, and then had coffee and cake as we watched an episode of "Doctor Who" that we'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box a couple of weeks ago. It was rather good.

Then, being Tuesday, the clans gathered. We drove round to Arden Drive; usually we would walk, but today we'd seen the weather go from being completely clear to torrential and back to clear in moments, and we didn't want to get caught in a downpour.

As is often the case insults were bandied, spell checkers were blamed, and it would all have been a lot easier had some of us more respect for algebra (!) I actually stayed awake for an episode of "The 100", and there was a discussion about in which film(s) Stacey (of "Gavin and Stacey") flopped them out.


And in closing today I'd like to thank my loyal readers for all the messages of support I've received recently. Over the last week or so I've been really touched by all the kind words people have sent me about my little dog.

"Furry Face TM" would seem to be on the mend now. After a tiddle-trip to the garden this evening he jumped over the back door step when coming in; he leaped onto my lap earlier, and he's even tackled the stairs for the first time in two weeks. We're still enforcing rest by caging him when he's unsupervised (much to his disgust) but I'm hoping that surgery is looking less and less likely.

Mind you both me and him are missing his walks...



22 October 2014 (Wednesday) - Boobs, Brushes, FTF



I slept for six or so hours last night; not bad at all. But I woke with a sense of foreboding; I was sure bad news was in the offing. I wonder what that was all about.

I came downstairs and opened the gate to the dog cage. "Furry Face TM" didn't stir. I wonder if keeping the dog cage after he's completely better might be a good idea; when he sleeps in his basket (or on my lap) the slightest noise would have him leaping up. When he is sleeping his cage he is utterly sparko and would sleep though anything.


Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Jeeves and Wooster" that I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. It was the one with "Ask Dad" and Cyril Bassington Bassington; but it was never revealed whether Cyril was a Shropshire, Hampshire or Kent Bassington Bassington. As Bertie says, the world is adequately stocked with Bassington Bassingtons. Mind you I've lived in Kent for over thirty years and have yet to encounter one.

I do like "Jeeves and Wooster" but there is no denying that I have seen every episode too many times.


Yesterday I mentioned I'd bought the makings of some Christmas beer; with a little time on my hands this morning I thought I might make a start on getting the stuff going before work. I emptied the old sterilising jollop out of my beer bucket and replaced it with fresh stuff ready for later use; but then disaster struck. I hadn't cleaned out the beer barrel since I last used it. It was a bit rank (!) so I swilled it out, put some water in it to soak, and spent my spare time in search of a bottle brush with which to scrub it.

Bybrook Barn didn't have one, but they did have an unfound (by me) geocache nearby. I then drove into Canterbury to see what I could find. As I drove I realised that I was going past one of the geocaches that went live on Monday. With the First to Find still waiting to be had on that particular one I couldn't just drive past and leave it unclaimed. So I stopped... FTF - happy dance.


I got some sugar for my beer from Morrisons, but they didn't have a bottle brush. The spotty assistant had never even heard of the concept of a brush. Bless (!) Neither Argos nor Boots had bottle brushes. The cheapo-bargains shop also let me down too, but I did have a wry smile in there. "Daddies Little Angel TM" has been struggling to maintain her modesty whilst feeding littlun recently. In the cheapo-bargains shop was a new mother who had no truck with modesty. Her left boob was openly flopped out for all to behold, and a baby was being brandished in the general vicinity of said boob. The baby would have a nibble from time to time; otherwise it just stared into space whilst the boob flopped around. As boobs are (sometimes) wont to do.

I would have taken a photo, but I had a vague feeling that it wasn't really the polite thing to do.

Fortunately I eventually found a traditional hardware shop in Wincheap. Real old-school; it actually smelled like a hardware shop should smell. They had the brush I needed.


When I commented on the matter to a colleague she said that this was typical; the thing you for which you are searching is always in the last place to which you go. That expression boils my piss. Of course things you look for are always in the last place you look. Who keeps searching for something once they've found it? (Dur!)


Work was much the same as work usually is; at lunchtime I had an interesting interlude during sax practice. I was at the far end of the works car park giving "Greensleves" a tootle when a little old lady came marching across and wanted to know if I was the bloke who usually plays his instrument in the car park at lunch times. I toyed with asking if she'd seen any others, but instead I decided to smile sweetly. This little old lady had a complaint. My heart sank. But it wasn't bad news; her complaint was that I was playing too far away from the hospital. It turned out that this little old lady was something to do with the head injury rehabilitation unit and apparently her patients had been asking to listen to live music. They'd asked if I would give a recital.

I must admit I'm not keen on the idea, but I suppose I must be improving for her to come and ask...



23 October 2014 (Thursday) - Various Rants



After a fairly decent night's sleep I got up to find my little dog was still snoring. I abluted and gave the beer barrel  a bit of a scrub, then settled down to brekkie. I watched an "All New South Park" episode which didn't feature any of Stan, Kyle, Cartman or Kenny, but did have Dick Dastardly and Muttley. And there was a Canadian version of Penelope Pitstop in the Queefmobile too. 

As I watched the telly my dog watched me. Hopefully. He's not been up at brekkie time much lately, but today he saw off the crusts from my toast before settling onto my lap for some grooming. He likes being combed.


I set off to work, and my piss boiled as I listened to the radio. The NHS is having yet another radical shake-up to save yet more billions of pounds. The pundits on the radio were interviewing some NHS big-wig who was talking about the expensive mis-use of hospital services and was saying that it would be a far better use of resources for many patients to be seen in the GP surgeries.

It strikes me that moving patients from one health care location to another isn't going to save any money; the hospital bill might be less; the GP bill will be more. Perhaps the "experts" might look at why people go to A&E departments rather than GP surgeries.

Is it perhaps because you can *always* get seen in an A&E department? You might have to wait, but you will get medical attention. But if you phone your GP, more often than not you will be told to bugger off and try again tomorrow.

Perhaps A&E departments could learn from GP surgeries?


I stopped off on the way to work in the hope of being first to find a new geocache. I'd had an email yesterday saying that a cache would be placed at 5am this morning. It's unusual to get prior notice of the things going out, but this one looked as though it was going to be on my journey to work. It would be daft not to have a look-see. Mind you I was expecting the worst when I read the cache's web page:  "This cache is special, so if you want to find it you have to be accurate and act smart! A big surprise awaits the first one to find it! The cache will be placed at 23/10/2014 5:00am. Stand in the given coordinates and hear... To find it you'll have to follow the music! The container is a small taper-ware well hidden. Be cautious! Good luck."

I'm not a fan of caches with descriptions written in such poor English, but I thought I could have a go at being accurate and acting smart...


I soon found myself at a communal rubbish tip where there was no music. All I could hear was the noise of nearby traffic. After fifteen minutes the bin men arrived.

I gave up. There is only so much hunting "taper-ware" that one can do.

I kept an eye on that cache's web page - as the day went on others reported that they too had had a listen (as well as a look) to no avail. This evening came the news the thing hadn’t been put out at all… I’ve squealed to the Geo-Feds.


I did my bit at work, and at lunch time I did my best with "The Drunken Sailor" and "Greensleeves". I got a round of applause from the schoolchildren walking along the nearby footpath. I expect they intended it sarcastically, but I took a bow anyway.

Being Thursday I went from work straight to saxophone lesson. The lesson went well. I have graduated from drunken sailors. This week (whilst still wrestling with “Goose on the Razzle”) I have been assigned “Amazing Grace” and the introduction to “Baker Street


And talking of things musical, Alvin Stardust died today...



24 October 2014 (Friday) - College Hotties



Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Family Guy". I've noticed that I've recorded too many episodes of that show in HD. That takes up an awful lot of space on my SkyPlus box. Whilst trying to find BBC Three in standard d (as opposed to HD) I discovered an amazing show. "College Hotties" features skimpily-lad vacuous bimbos waggling their charms at the camera. It was on the FilmOn.TV channel (Sky channel 237) at 6.30am. It passed an otherwise dull ten minutes but it has to be said that the plot is rather simplistic.


I set off to work a little earlier than I would normally (even though I was on the early shift). There had been developments on that geocache I'd whinged about yesterday. Overnight the thing had actually been put out. Seeing as I would be driving past it anyway I thought I'd have another go to try to find it.


As I drove through a rather damp morning I listened to the radio. Apparently an ex-tree hugger-hippie-ban-the-bomber has been awarded forty thousand pounds in damages from the Metropolitan Police. Over a two year period of spying on her and informing the authorities of her every movement, an undercover copper even had a child with this ex-animal rights activist to maintain his cover. I can see how the authorities need to keep an eye on the extremist fringe, but surely this was a bit excessive. Personally in his shoes I might have stretched to a mucky weekend away, but that would have been as far as I would have gone (given the chance)

There was also an interview with the leader of Plaid Cymru (the Welsh Nationalist party). She raised some quite interesting points. It would seem that in the aftermath of the Scottish independence debacle the Scots have got rather a good deal from the rest of the UK. In fact in many ways a better deal than the rest of the UK have got. The Welsh aren't at all happy about why the Scots should be treated better than the Welsh, English or Irish. She didn't *actually* say that the Welsh now all hate the Scots, but that was pretty much the gist of her rant. I thought that was rather an extreme position; just when we though the Union was sorted, all sorts of constitutional aggro would seem to be on the way.


I got the Canterbury, parked up, and went to have another look for that elusive geocache. According to the instructions I was to go to the designated place and listen. The instructions were rather vague about what I should be listening for, but I'm always game for this sort of thing.

I listened for fifteen minutes and heard the passing traffic and the occasional seagull. With time pressing I gave up, and logged on line that I'd drawn another blank.

By the time I'd driven to the works car park (three minutes) the chap who'd hidden that cache had logged that it "was stollen". A couple of hours later the same fellow archived it. What a complete waste of my time that had been.

There are those who would say that about tupperware-hunting in general; but that would be rather harsh.


I did my thing at work; by my own admission today I was "a blur of activity". I had to point that out to my colleagues who otherwise might not have noticed.

Lunch time sax practice was fun; in addition to "Goose on the Razzle" I had two new tunes to learn. At the moment "Amazing Grace" is just "Rather Mediocre Grace", and "Baker Street" is something of a disappointment. But I have a little while to work on them.


An early start made for an early finish, and we spent the evening feeding McDonalds to grandsons. Well, to the oldest one at least. The littun is still too small for McScoff. Mind you, at three weeks of age he's put on over a pound in weight since he was born...



25 October 2014 (Saturday) - Hic(!)



Not including a nocturnal tiddle I slept though until 7.30am this morning when backache finally forced me out of my pit. I came downstairs to find a very sleepy dog still fast asleep. He didn't stir even when I opened the cage door or even when I scoffed toast. He finally staggered over and sat on my lap for morning soppiness which was when I took a few photos of him.


In a fit of boredom I drafted a geo-whinge to post on a geocaching forum. I was wondering what people want from the hobby. Earthcache day was a couple of weeks ago and I only had two logs on my three owned Earthcaches. I put quite a bit of effort into making a new Wherigo a little while back and after five finds in two weeks it's had no one near it in a month. Last month I put a lot of effort into making a puzzle cache. It's been found twice and at the last meet I was told (many times) that said puzzle had gone onto the ignore list as people couldn't be bothered to make the effort to solve it. Yet if I shove a film pot cache under a rock, for all that everyone slags it off,dozens of people actually go look for it.

I did have half a plan to get involved in another rather involved geo-project, but I have a dilemma. I can spend hours of time and effort only to have two people say "well done Mr B", or I can stick a magnetic key holder on the back of a roadside and have swarms of people smiling.

I drafted the geo-whinge and then deleted it without posting it anywhere. It would only start an argument.


"er indoors TM" emerged from her pit and we went round to Asda. She wanted a free flu jab. I'd been offered one but had turned it down. Having been rather dragooned into having one last year I felt rather ill afterwards and didn't fancy that again. I have a theory that when I have the flu jab I am poorly, and when I don't have the flu jab I don't get flu anyway.

Once home I got the Christmas beer out of the tin and into the bucket, I had a quick sax practice much to the disgust of "Furry Face TM", and then we had a rather good bit of brekkie.


Andy and kim came round, and "Furry Face TM" got very over-excited, and when I picked him up he yelped in pain. His back isn't quite right yet. So we settled him down and got the train to Dover. The Rear Admiral and associate joined us half way, and we spent a rather pleasent afternoon wandering round Dover drinking ourselves silly. We found a micro brewery at DeBradlei Wharf we never knew about. We found a new micro pub that plans to start brewing soon. The Port of Call was (finally) open and Kim had chilli cider (yuk), and we finished off the Dover session by a

Dinner in the Samuel Peto in Folkestone went down very nicely, and the rest of the evening was something of a blur...



26 October 2014 (Sunday) – Harbledown



I had a rather restless night, most of the night was spent wide awake and I was up far too early; I blame excessive amounts of various ales. Most people relish the clocks going back an hour; for me that just adds to the tedium.

Whilst vaguely making plans for next weekend I saw that there was to be a themed mega-meet of geocachers. Hundreds of people getting together in the Midlands for a Hallowe'en party. That looked to be a fun thing to do for next weekend; I was just on the point of putting the word out and seeing if there was any interest when I realised that this event is not planned for next Saturday. It happened yesterday. Woops!

Eventually the time passed, and over brekkie an email popped up. A new geocache. Initially I thought I would leave it to be something to do before tomorrow's late shift at work, but a relatively easily solved puzzle and little else to do meant that I was soon out of the house chasing a First to Find. I chased it; I got it. Happy dance and smug mode.


I came home, and after half an hour or so "er indoors TM" emerged from her pit. After a little pootling we set off on the day's walk. I *so* wanted to take my little dog, but for all that he seems to be on the mend he seems to be sleeping a lot more and a lot deeper than he ever used to. He is reluctant to go up the stairs, he won't jump onto sofas, and he yelped yesterday when picked up. His back is still not better, and so the enforced rest continues.


In a novel break with tradition I drove today; and having rallied the troops we drove out to Harbledown. Earlier in the week a series of twenty-something geocaches had been put out in a circuit round there, and today we went for a little stroll along that circuit and found the lot despite a few minor queries as to which way was left and which way was right.

As we walked we went through orchards, alongside the river, through swamps, underground, even into areas of low oxygen (!)... billed as about four miles we measured it to be five miles. We even met another gaggle of hunters of tupperware who recognised me. Everyone seems to recognise me; incognito doesn't seem to be something I can do especially well.

I remembered to take some photos whilst we were out as well...


We came home and made a fuss of "Furry Face TM". WIth a little time on my hands I organised a walk for next Sunday. If any of my loyal readers fancy joining a stroll round North Kent and have escaped a Facebook invite, just drop me a line and I'll send "when and where" details.

As I messed about on-line "The Grinch" was on the telly. Very unusually my little dog was watching the telly. He rarely shows any interest in the television, but he seemed entralled by this film.


With "er indoors TM" off bowling I set about the laundry. Half way through ironing shirts there was something of a disaster; my ironing board collapsed. After more years than I can remember the welding on the thing has finally given out. This ironing board is older than "My Boy TM" but has finally thrown in the towel.

I can't help but wonder from where it is that one purchases a new ironing board...



27 October 2014 (Monday) - New Ironing Board



After a decent night's kip I woke and turned awkwardly. Somehow I managed to pull a muscle in my neck, and it's been aching ever since. Over brekkie I watched the episode of "Family Guy" through which I slept yesterday. As I watched it I combed "Furry Face TM"; his recovery is odd. He's rather reluctant to be picked up, which makes me think his back still hurts. And then he chases around the garden like a thing possessed which makes me think he's on the mend.


SInce he had been chasing around the garden like a thing possessed earlier, I decided to take him for a little walk this morning before work. Comapred to our usual walks this wasn't much at all; usually we would be out for over an hour; today we only went to the off-licence and back. It was a stroll of about two hundred yards, and at the end he wanted to keep going. But we'll start gently. Once home he started whinging at an empty pop bottle; I gave it to him and he took it to the garden where he started savaging it.

With time on my hands I then sterilised the kit for syphoning the beer I'm currently brewing and put some washing in to wash and then to dry. Whilst my woolie-pullies were on the spin cycle and my dog was outside I thought I'd have five minutes sax practice. Despite slipped discs, "Furry Face TM" was there as quick as a flash and was howling along.


Eventually it was time to go to work. As I drove to work I listened to the radio. I know I shouldn't. It seems the public are up in arms about immigration again. The defence secretary has gone on record as saying that "British towns are "under siege" after being "swamped" by EU immigrants". He might have a point, but why is that? When one advertises a vacancy and there is not a single applicant from a UK resident, what should one do? There are several firms locally with that problem. It's such a shame that such xenophobia seems to be a vote-winner; look at how well UKIP are doing in the polls despite having no policies at all and despite forming alliances in Europe with racists and holocaust-deniers.


I took a detour to take the fragments of the old ironing board to the tip; it was only when I got there that I remembered that I had a *lot* of other rubbish I should have taken with me as well.

And then I looked at getting myself a replacement ironing board. Several people had suggested I try Dunelm Mill; I drove there, and after fifteen minutes of wandering randomly around the place I eventually discovered a disinterested assistant. I asked her about ironing boards; she vaguely waved her hands in the general direction of some stairs. She didn't *actually* say "get knotted baldy", but that was definitely the vibe I picked up. I went up those stairs at which she had waved, and, after having been mistaken for an assistant several times by other customers (equally in need of assistance), I finally found ironing boards priced at eighty quid each.

Having scraped out my pants (the price had been something of a shock) I drove to the nearby cheapo-bargains shop where I got substantially the same ironing board for only fifteen quid. That saving of sixty-five pounds will come in handy.

I also got some jollop to un-bung the drains; the bath has been taking too long to empty just lately.


I went to work; I did my bit. Over lunchtime I blew my saxophone unaccompanied by a certain small dog. I can now do the first two bits of "Baker Street"; "Amazing Grace" is better than it was, and I'm finally getting to grips with "Goose on the Razzle". I've had some enquiries about this tune; I can now confidently say that it goes "da-da-da-daaa, da-da-da-daa-a-a" then it goes a bit fancy, then some more "da-da"s and then I get stuck. But I think I'm good for the first two thirds of the tune now.


And then after what seemed a rather long day (I blame the clocks going back) I came home and poured my unblocking jollop down the plug hole in the bath. It didn't seem to do much good.

And having got that new ironing board home it looks rather small...



28 October 2014 (Tuesday) - Tablets, Petrol



Yesterday I did something to my right shoulder. I don't know what, but it's still rather painful and it kept me awake for much of the night.

Unlike my little dog who was snoring when I opened his cage at 6am, and still hadn't stirred an hour later.


Over brekkie I watched more "Family Guy" and then started on a week's worth of medication prior to next Tuesday's planned surgical re-bore of my nose. I've got a week's worth of antibiotics to clear out any infections which might get a hold during the surgery, and I've got a week's worth of prednisolone. The stuff is a steroid; I wasn't keen on having it, but the surgeons think it will make the operation easier. We shall see.


Off to work a little earlier than usual; I needed petrol. As I drove the radio spouted the drivel I've come to know and love in the morning. The leading light behind the Space-X program likened potential artificial intelligences to biblical demons. Demons - in this day and age (!)

The chocolate manufacturer Cadbury announced they are stopping making chocolate coins because other firms can make the same thing cheaper. It's sad but true that the same can be said for pretty much everything that Cadbury makes. I wonder how long it will be before Cadbury goes the way of Rumbelows and Woolworths.:


I pulled in to the cheapo petrol station, parked up, stuck the petrol nozzle in my petrol tank, squeezed the trigger, and nothing happened. I looked around and everyone else was similarly failing to get any petrol. The woman behind the till in the kiosk was waving frantically at us punters. I waved back. After a few minutes she stomped out to the forecourt and ranted (at whoever was listening) about the till having crashed. One of my fellow customers offered to pay for his petrol in cash if that would help. This was a red rag to a bull as far as till-woman was concerned; she started raving and frothing at the mouth about peak time demands and the failings of the till's secure internet connection. I asked if the petrol station had any petrol. She shrieked that they had loads. So we all stood like lemons for a few minutes after which time till-woman coned off the entrance to the petrol station.

Before I could say anything another fellow customer sarcastically suggested that if she was actually shutting up shop she might like to actually tell us. As that chap and till-woman got into a fight I drove round to Sainsburys. Although the petrol was 0.1p per litre more expensive, they were actually selling the stuff. And despite having spent myself six pence more on petrol than I was expecting, I set off to work.


I did my bit at work, I blew into my saxophone at lunch time. I exchanged pleasantries with a passing normal person who seemed enthralled with the entire concept of playing saxophones in car parks. I suppose that (for some unlucky souls) it's not an everyday occurrence. And with my bit at work done I came home; turning down the geo-chance of a First to Find. As I drove home along the A28 I passed within a couple of hundred yards from a geocache which went live at 4.30pm. But it was along a footpath, and I wasn't going to mess about in the dark. It's bad enough walking "Furry Face TM" in the dark, and tonight's walk was only one of five minutes along well-lit pavements.


Being Tuesday we gatherered (at the Admiralty) to bandy insults and to watch the last episode of "The 100". It was watchable enough. I suspect the episode would have made more sense had I not slept through so many of the preceding ones...



29 October 2014 (Wednesday) – Stuff



Yesterday I mentioned that I'd started taking prednisolone. According to wikipedia one of the major side effects is insomnia... After one day my nasal polyps have noticeably shrunk. However I saw every hour of the night last night and was up and watching "Family Guy" before 6am.


I set off to work through a rather damp morning. As I drove the talk on the radio was on illegal immigration into the UK.

Every day the Italian Navy sails the Mediterranean to look for (and bring back to Italy) people fleeing Africa. There's about four hundred of these people rescued every month. (and an estimated three hundred drowning in the attempt to get across the Med every month as well). Once brought ashore these people give the Italian authorities the slip, make their way straight to Calais (because there are no European border controls any more), jump on the backs of lorries and come to Britain. Why do they go to the furthest part of Europe from where they landed illegally? Because the benefit hand outs they will get are better than anywhere else in the world. Or so says the Mayor of Calais.

The Prime Minister is under attack because no one seems to have any control on illegal immigration into the UK however it seems to be easy enough to count the cost to the UK taxpayer.

Surely the answer to this problem is simple:

Stop the Italians going out and fetching back the illegal immigrants. Either by not sailing out looking for them in the first place, or by taking those rescued back to the African coast.

Beef up the security at Calais and Dover to stop these people getting to the UK.

Apprehend these people when they come to collect their dole and pack everyone back to the strife-torn war zones from which they have fled. Quite straight-forward really...(!) Mind you I can't help but wonder what I would do if I was in fear for my life and was so desperate as to risk everything to try to get to the UK...


Yesterday I mentioned that a new geocache had gone live along my drive to work. I wasn't going to play silly beggars in the dark last night, but as I drove into Chartham this morning so the rain abated. I parked up, and after a short walk along the cycle-path by the riverside I soon had the cache in hand. A straight-forward find in a rather idyllic spot. And First to Find into the bargain. Happy dance.


I got to work for the early shift, and shifted. Lunch time was damp, but I still ventured to the car park to practice my saxophone. Having got to my car rain stopped play; I sat and dozed in the driver's seat whilst I played various tunes stored on my phone.

And then after a rather busy afternoon I drove home. Through the rain. And once home I walked "Furry Face TM" through the rain. Just a short walk of five minutes but he managed to woof at two normal people and tried to fight with a taxi. He also managed to jump on and off the sofa this evening too.


I did have the offer of a wild night on the razzle this evening; "er indoors TM" was off to the arky-ologee club. Contrary to rumour the thing was not moribund and hasn't packed up from chronic apathy. Tonight they were presenting a stunning and fascinating lecture on the manky bits of broken pots that have been dug up locally by those with nothing better to do.

I've often thought that if manky bits of broken pots were actually stunning and fascinating then they wouldn't have been left in a ditch in the first place, but what do I know?

Bearing in mind the terrible night's sleep I'd had last night I decided I'd rather doze on my own sofa with my dog rather than snore in one of the arky-ologee club's uncomfortable seats. I watched a film I'd recorded a week or so ago. "Dog Pound" is the story of life inside a young offender's institution. It was rather dark, rather violent, and utterly predictable to anyone who'd seen the British film "Scum" which had been made some thirty years previously.



30 October 2014 (Thursday) – Music



Yesterday I whinged about a bad night's sleep. I slept marginally better last night; waking a little while before the alarm having had a rather vivid dream. I had become a native American (red indian) named "Talking Bullsheet" and was on a mission for the Ministry of Defence having been sent to northern France to rescue Mrs Bridges and the cast of the 1970s TV show "Upstairs Downstairs" from what was apparently a war zone.

What was that all about?

"Furry Face TM" then had much of my toast; I scoffed my tablets, and then I watched my dog chase sparrows out of the garden. For a dog who could barely move just three weeks ago he's a lot more sprightly than he was. He's even jumping on and off of the sofa without a thought. He doesn't seem to realise he'd supposed to be resting.


Off to work. As I drove the new leader of the Scottish Nationalists was mentioned on the morning news. Having been told quite convincingly by the Scottish electorate that the Scots aren't interested in her isolationist policies she's now trying to say how unfair a referendum in which all of the British decide en-masse about continued membership of the European Union would be.

How does that work? She wants Scotland out of the UK but to remain in the larger political union.? In any event she's been handed her arse on a plate by the electorate. You have to admire the tenacity of the defeated politician.

There was also talk about the recently released Government files dated from thirty years ago when the threat of a nuclear attack on the UK was a rather serious concern. It would seem that the government of the time had plans for the post-apocalyptic UK; with a decimated population and a overly-stretched police force, martial law would have been declared, and it was suggested that unfeeling psychopaths could be enlisted to ruthlessly enforce law and order.

Fortunately that plan never came to fruition, but it was plans like this which make me think I was right to have been a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament when these crackpot schemes were being hatched.


As I drove up the A28 I was dangerously overtaken by a twat in a green Transit van. As this chap sped up the wrong side of the road at the Wye crossroads cars swerved in all directions to avoid him. Six miles later I caught up with him at the Chartham junction where (as soon as opportunity arose) the chap took a short cut by going the wrong way up a one-way street.

I wish I could remember his registration number... mind you from the way he drove I can't help but wonder if he was one of the psychopaths who, had the bombs dropped, would be laying down the law.


Work was work; I got to scoff some home-make cake and then at lunch time I blew my saxophone. After work I went for the weekly sax lesson. It's rather apparent that for all I'm not that good at reading sheet music, I do it better than trying to work out a tune from letters written in a sequence. "D D# C B A B C# B" doesn't give you any idea of the rhythm; if I say that "D D# C B A B C# B" is the introduction sax solo to Baker Street you get to understand my problem. I hope...


Home for a quick bite to eat, and then I turned down the chance of a meal out with my workmates because "Access all Areas" were gigging at the Windmill. Being on the tablets (and consequently off the beer) I was on driving duty and wouldn't have time to have a meal out and do all the driving in time for the gig. Which was a shame, but in keeping with the day's musical theme I was glad I got to see the band play.

I generally don't like live music, but that's because usually it's not done very well. Tonight's show was rather good. Or perhaps I'm just the teensiest bit biased. Good music, good company....

...the evening was only marred by seven quid for a bottle of cider and a glass of pop finally served up when the barmaid could be bothered.



31 October 2014 (Friday) - Feeling Particularly Miserable



I have insomnia because my right sinuses are full of polyps which prevent me breathing when asleep. I have been given a course of prednisolone to shrink the polyps. The drug *has* shrunk the polyps so I can breath at night. However the stuff has side effects. It causes insomnia itself so I have trouble sleeping. And it is a diuretic (makes you piss more) so as soon as I nod off I wake up needing to go to the loo. Several times.

As an added bonus I am experiencing many other side effects of the stuff including having hot flushes, experiencing noticable weight gain, and feeling particularly miserable pretty much of the time (even more than usual!). It also suppresses the action of my immune system, so I am on antibiotics to counteract that. Pills for my pills (!)

So I am now in the position that my insomnia is worse and I am paying for pills to make it so, and to also make me uncomfortable and disagreeable into the bargain... only three more days of them.


Over brekkie I watched "Family Guy" and while trying to waste an hour or so before work I browsed the Internet. A couple of years ago I did an on-line course about astro-biology. The course provider emails me with matters of note from time to time. This morning they sent a frankly nonsensical article explaining why we haven't yet found any aliens. The crux of the author's argument is that *if* life does advance and proceed by natural selection, then biological life will be supseceded by artificial intelligences and life forms.

An interesting premise until one gives it thirty seconds thought. Leaving aside the fact that the author of the paper has (like everyone else) avoided making any definition of what he means by "life", his theory explains nothing. Rather than asking "where are the aliens?" we should instead be asking "where are the robots?" Fermi remains unanswered.

Mind you it was rather apt for astro club day...


I was on an early start today, and set off to work shortly after dawn. As I drove the pundits on the radio were discussing the pros and cons of putting the calorific value of beers and wines onto the labelling of bottles and cans of the stuff. Apparently people have been observed in pubs and restaurants each consuming some four hundred calories less (on average) per piss-up when menus giving out calorific contents are made available to them. In these days of combating obesity, putting the calorie content onto a label is demonstrably a sensible thing to do. But will the drink industry do it? Apparently not because beer and wine is not "officially a food stuff".

I can't help but wonder how many faceless administrators have to be given a back-hander to re-label a bottle of Spitfire.


Perhaps equally nonsensical is the revelation (from our old friend science) that dogs tend to align the direction in which they are facing with the Earth's magnetic fields when having a dump. However when it comes to having a tiddle, only girl dogs point themselves in a north-south manner; boy dogs tiddle in all directions. One lives and learns.

I shall take a compass on my next dog walk and see if "Furry Face TM" craps in a northerly or southerly way. Having established this I can then use him as a makeshift compass should the need arise when next out on a long walk.Who needs a compass when one has a shitting dog? If nothing else it's another reason to hurry his recovery.


My lunchtime was (mostly) spent on another sax practice. I managed to blag my way out of having to waste any more time with "Goose on the Razzle" at last night's sax lesson. I am now on "Hello Dolly" and a famous American piece of music which everyone has heard, but of which no one knows the name. It starts with a "da-da-da daa-daa" in ascending note order kicking off from a G (I think). "Hello Dolly" has promise, but the other one is still leaving a lot to be desired. It don't help that he sax keeps going squawky.


An early start made for an early finish, and as it was the last Friday of the month I had an appointment in McDonalds with Luke Warm for McScoff before going round to the new-look new-format astro club.

It's no secret that the attendance at the astro club is noticably down on what it has been. A lot of the once-regular members haven't been seen for months or years. We need to do something to bring back the old hands and retain the new ones. So there's been a change to the way the evenings will proceed. The idea is that during the winter months we'll start with a quick welcome and intro session. Then go out with telescopes, and then tea, coffee, raffle, and end with the lecture.


Now *perhaps* (!) I'm biased here. I admit I have no interest whatsoever in looking through a telescope at a faint splodge of light that might be absolutely anything. (And judging by the rather poor attendances at so many organised observing sessions over the last five years, I would say that neither have more than half a dozen other past or present club members). I'd rather have the talk earlier in the evening. Because that's the bit I like, and for which I go along to the club. And when people go out and shiver round telescopes later in the evening, make polite excuses and go home five minutes later, that's when I put all the chairs away and then go home myself. Leaving a few hardy souls to stand around shivering out in the cold whilst I go home to where it's warmer.

The whole plan hinges on the premise that people want to look through telescopes. Personally I don't. And from experience I don't think many others do either. Perhaps that's why I'm not keen on the idea.


(And doesn't that little rant sound negative.... I wrote it this morning over brekkie. I considered deleting it, but I shall leave it as a reminder to myself and the world of the mood-altering power of prednisolone.)


There's no denying I went along tonight expecting the worst. But I thought I'd give the idea a go before dismissing it out of hand. After all, if nothing else, over the years this blog has catalogued many instances of me being completely wrong. And was I wrong this time?


On reflection I wasn't *entirely* wrong. The evening started according to plan with a welcome and introduction session. But it wasn't quick... with a lot of interesting news it went on for forty five minutes. According to the schedule that only left fifteen minutes for stargazing, so the schedule had to be rapidly re-vamped.

The stargazing session went... I wouldn't say it didn't go well, but a good quarter of the people present didn't go outside at all, and over half of those that had gone out were back inside within twenty minutes. Mind you I do sometimes feel that the first part of the evening involves too much sitting about. And tea time can be something of a scrum; tonight's observing session with people coming and going was much more relaxed so maybe having the observing session earlier wasn't a bad thing.

Completely contrary to what I had been expecting, pretty much everyone stayed after tea when usually half the people present go home. People then had the choice of carrying on with telescopes or listening to a lecture. Exactly as I had thought, judging by how many seats were taken for the lecture, I don't think more than half a dozen people could have stayed outside telescoping (on the clearest night you could hope for). People *do* go along to listen to the speakers.


Mind you I was wrong in that I had gone along expecting the worst. For all that we tried a radical departure from our usual plan, it was a really good evening. With a couple of very minor tweaks this new format might just work. Change isn't necessarily a bad thing...


What a rant today has been.... did I mention that this Prednisolone stuff I'm taking is a depressant...?