1 September 2009 (Tuesday) - Wasting Money




September already… I’ve been blogging here for three months already. Averaging just under a thousand hits per month with regular followers inAmerica (North & South), Canada and all over Europe, I’m amazed how popular my musings seem to be.


My side hurts – it got bashed yesterday whilst clearing away at BatCamp. At first I thought I’d popped a rib, but it’s just bruised. I’ll live. For a while longer….


Work was dull today, but I got to pop in to see one of my most loyal readers who is currently resident at my place of work. In the past I have been criticised for not using my blog to give health updates on people’s assorted maladies and infirmities. It’s easily overlooked that in my line of work I have access to very confidential information, and so I always find it easier to keep my trap shut. But bearing in mind that one of the blogs linking off of here gives more details that I will, I don’t think I’m breaking too many confidences this time.


Next week will see me having worked at the same place for twenty five years. Twenty five years. I would have got less if I’d torched the place. But it seems that the “long service policy” means I get a bung. I get three hundred quid.

Let me qualify that. I get three hundred quid to spend in Argos. That’s not vouchers (which I would flog on eBay for cash). I tell the finance department what I want from Argos up to a maximum of three hundred quid and they get it for me. However, if what I want is more than three hundred quid, then tough! I can’t make up the difference myself. So, I am now scouring argosdot com to find something on which to squander this money. My first thoughts were a new telly. Three hundred ain’t enough. Then I thought about a Wii. But I want something for me – not something I’ll never be allowed on because everyone else is using it. Maybe a scrat nav?


I have absolutely no idea what I want from Argos. I would like to be able to add money to the three hundred to get something I want. There are lots of things in their catalogue that I wouldn’t mind having which cost more than three hundred quid. But three hundred or under…. I think I’m going to end up wasting this money on rubbish.




2 September 2009 (Wednesday) - Tidying Up




Thanks to my early morning alarm earthquake, I was up and ironing by 6am. Well, I needed to get up as I was on an early shift. I took an extended tea break and vanished off visiting friends on the ward. I’m not breaking any confidences when I tell my loyal readers that she’s come home now.


Seeing how the camping season is over, last night Martin helped me take the top box off of my car. And since the car is now low enough to get into the tip, I have commenced a serious tidy up of the house. I say “tidy up” – I am just going to throw things away. Anything I’ve not actively used for a year is going to the tip. Oh, the rubbish I found. Two old computer cases. No components in them, just the cases. Network cards a foot long. Installation CDs for hardware I’ve long since thrown away. A knacked SkyBox. I’ve filled the car with rubbish for the tip.


And once I’ve emptied the car tomorrow, I have loads more to take up to the skip. I’ve discs of software that is antiquated and needs chucking. I’ve loads of software that has been superseded so many times that need to go. I have so many books that I’ve never read, and have no intention of reading. And the music CDs. We just hoard so much old rubbish. I have a watch in a box that was knacked and broken before I left Hastings. I have been saving this watch with a view to eventually getting it fixed for some twenty five years. It’s never getting fixed, is it? So why do I keep it? And I have so much else like that. It’s all going.


And then the stuff I’ve found. Two PCs which look functional – I’ll spark them up and see if they work. And photos – I found photos of a trip to Chessington World of Adventure. I can remember some of the rides there. I don’t remember being at he back of a log flume, though. But I’ve obviously paid to buy the photo.


And then I revamped the astro club’s flyer. The plan is that it can be given out at Challock Goose Fair to advertise both the club and the one-day Astrobash event in October. You can see the flyer here.The idea is that the two sheets on the website are printed on either side of a sheet of A4, and the whole thing is then a three fold flyer. I’d be grateful for any comments or suggestions. I can’t help but think it looks a bit busy. I’ve also got to put the finishing touches to the astro club accounts and arrange the change of signatory with the bank. And whilst in theory that would be the end of my involvement with the committee, in practice I suspect little will change. I certainly intend sticking my oar until I get told to clear off….



3 September 2009 (Thursday) - Stuff




One of my pet hates is needing a wazz in the night. I really should just get up and go to the cludgee. But I don’t. I lay there in pain for an hour or so before finally getting up. Why do I do this? Rather than laying there trying to sleep, I could be to the loo & back and asleep in less than a minute. Is it just me who does this? And just as I was nodding off, “My Boy TM ” stormed out of the house on an early shift. He’s currently got a cob-on because he maintains he doesn’t make “bear ruckus” in the mornings. But that didn’t stop him borrowing 40p. 40p – he must be skint.


I’ve counted up the astro club’s money. Last Friday we didn’t do teas or coffees. Only “constellation lottery” at a pound a go, and the raffle at 50p per ticket. So how on earth did we take X pounds and sixty two pence that night? Where did those sixty two pence come from? Oh well, I’ve phoned the bank to get the appropriate paperwork sent through. I wonder how long it will take to get the signatory handed over? It took several weeks when the new secretary took over earlier in the year. And I’m still getting monthly statements for the snake club even though I stood down from that over ten years ago. Ten years!! The snake club’s dead and buried – it croaked with the meeting where I stood down in favour of a rather fierce looking woman. I wish I could remember her name – she was pleasant enough, but just looked fierce. The other signatory is on my Facebook list. Perhaps we should do something with that money – it’s about a hundred quid. Over the years I’ve taken advice on what we legally can do with the assets of a defunct club, and most people advice leaving it alone. It seems a waste of a hundred quid. Surely there must be a pet rescue type place we could give it to? If we were allowed to.


Being on a late shift meant I had a bit of time before work this morning. Firstly to the council tip to get rid of the rubbish I packed up yesterday. For once the tip was relatively painless. Unlike my next call – Sainsbury’s. It has to be said that they place seems to attract a better class of customer than Tesco. However the staff did seem a tad “special”. Especially the one with the really spazzy beard.


And then to the craft shop in Bybrook Barn. The plan was to get a stamp for Astrobash so we can stamp people’s hands. Because that’s what happens at this sort of thing, or so I am told. I got a stamp – I think it does the trick.


Whilst in the craft shop, a young girl was dragged in by her grandparents who were obviously trying to interest her in painting. She showed utter contempt for all the paint sets, and then looked at the gallery of pictures on the wall (obviously painted by people not as talented as they might be) “Oh look” she said totally straight faced. “That’s nice. Paint your own disaster”. I just dissolved in fits of giggles whist Grandma gave me evils….




4 September 2009 (Friday) - Clearing Out




For once I wasn’t woken by “Bear Ruckus” at 5.45am. I did think that was due to last night’s practicing closing the front door quietly. But the womenfolk of the house were complaining about his racket, so I must have slept thought it.


After a bit of brekky I carried on with the chucking out of rubbish. I’ve got this utterly unreasonable ambition to be able to get all my books onto shelves - rather than having them in tottering stacks in various places all over the house. And so I’ve decided that in order to make sufficient shelf space, some of the older books must go. The mildewed falling apart Enid Blytons are history. As are the astronomy books from the seventies which are now hopelessly out of date. And I’m also getting shot of reference stuff I never use - the D.I.Y books, the gardening rubbish, it’s all gone. After all, who needs reference books when you’ve got the internet? And anything by Peter Hamilton has gone too. Great big books that I never finish.


‘er indoors TM had a veritable hoard of books littering my shelves. She’s not looked at any of them for years. I know that because it’s not been possible for her to get to the book shelves for years because of all the other tat which was in the way. I wondered if I should ask her, or whether I should just ding them. She would never know… In the end my innate cowardice got the better of me, and she has graciously allowed me to relocate her dust covered collection to a shelf downstairs that I’d forgotten about. That’s freed up some space.


Whilst doing all this, I took the opportunity to see what books we actually have got. It’s only when you have a good clear out that you realise what’s there. We had (at least) two copies of over a dozen books between us. I’ve finally got all the Adrian Mole books back together again. To say nothing of the myriad Viz books which were all over the place.


And the software I’ve dinged out – all the old versions of Serif PagePlus. Why did I keep them? And so many manky old disks which ran on Windows 95 & 98. Several versions of Encarta from the mid-90s. And how many copies of “Worms” does anyone need? And then there are the CDs. It must be over ten yeas since anyone’s played “The Smurfs Go Pop”. Or any of the other dust-encrusted CDs which sit below the Smurfs CDs. And ordnance survey maps. An OS map of Ashford so old it hasn’t got the Ashford to Maidstone motorway section. Four OS maps of Hastings. All now gone.


Whilst at the tip I had to exercise iron self control. One of the normal people was throwing away a huge water feature; purely because the pump was broken. He said I was welcome to it…. It was close, but I said no.



5 September 2009 (Saturday) - Sieve That !!




The morning’s post brought a letter from Ashford district scouts inviting me to their annual bunfight. This is the same lot who gave me a five years service certificate after I’d been there twelve years, and who gave the medal for outstanding service to the bloke who only turns up to take the subs (and only does that when he feels like it). They’d obviously overlooked the fact I’d stopped helping them nearly a year ago.


To Sevenoaks to help with a garden project. Over the last few weeks various diggings in Bryan’s garden have uncovered all sorts of rocks and boulders. Not content with leaving them all where they were, he dug them out and piled them in a corner of the garden. Today’s job was basically to dig a great big hole to bury all these rocks and boulders in. I’m told it’s called a soak-away; the idea is to stop the garden getting waterlogged. I’m sure “project management” know what they are doing. It sounds odd to me, but I just did the digging. All the stuff that got dug out got sieved, and the loose stuff was used as topsoil. The stones and rocks went back in the hole at the end. The expression “sieve that” was used rather a lot during the day. It’s amazing how much sieving compacted rock takes to turn it into useable topsoil. It’s a whole lot easier when you see it on “Ground Force”.


Yes – I know. Seems a lot of fiddling around to me as well. And I was the one in the hole digging. I usually find it best not to offer opinions when someone comes up with such hare-brained schemes. Other than pointing out the relative merits of a fish pond (having dug a pond sized hole) I kept quiet. But there was some dinner and a couple of beers in it for me, so I wasn’t going to rock the boat. The only mishap was when we realised we’d left the home made bread in the oven for an hour too long. I suggested we turned the oven off, denied all knowledge of the thing, and if anyone asked we would say it was “uncut toast”. In the end it turned out that the loaf was perfect, so we got away with that one.


And now after the day’s exertions, I can hardly move…



6 September 2009 (Sunday) - Chokey Revisted




Yesterday evening, following a rather physically strenuous day, I thought I’d take it easy. I did something I rarely do - I settled down to watch a film. “Brideshead Revisted” has always been a favourite book of mine. If you’ve never read it, I can thoroughly recommend it. It’s a smashing read, and in the 80s there was a twelve part TV adaptation of it starring Jeremy Irons, Antony Andrews and Lawrence Oliver among others. Recently there was a film made of the book, and I’d been looking forward to seeing this remake for some time.


What a load of tripe!! It had been made by someone who had overheard someone else describing his mate’s friend’s auntie’s cat’s opinion of the book. Some of the names of the characters were there, and some of the locations used in the book were featured. But the film was wrong. Oh so wrong. The lead characters in the book weren’t gay. Sebastian wasn’t camp. Charles wasn’t sniffing after brother and sister at the same time. The sister never went to Venice. And that bit on the cruise ship – what was that all about? And the army scenes? I suppose if (like most of humanity) you’ve never read the book, this rant means nothing. But it wound me up.


This morning I ached somewhat. But as always I had two choices. I could sit and bemoan my lot, or I could get on with it. I carried on with the tidying. Today’s plan was to do something with the two spare PCs I unearthed last week. That was easily done. One wasn’t a PC at all, merely an empty case. And the other when switched on tried (and failed) to boot up Windows ME. I shall take those two up to the tip tomorrow morning before work.


And so to the chokey for a family visit. Together with ‘er indoors TM and “Daddies Little Angel TM ” I went on a visit. Pausing only briefly for a spot of “Crackwatch” (see Facebook) in McDonalds, we were soon at the prison. I was expecting the place to be really busy today, because it was the weekend. It was actually the quietest I’ve ever seen the place. I turned up as usual and… that place winds me up. I’ve now visited five times, and every time the process has been different. Book in somewhere different, get quizzed differently, search done here or there or anywhere. This time I had an Alsatian sniffing round me.


Normal Stanley” seemed in good spirits. We fed him up with far too much chocolate and crisps and assorted drinks. He’s got a new inmate on his wing called “Stephanie”. “Stephanie” apparently has a rather epic chest, but was sentenced before the surgeons could remove his/her/its meat & two veg. Since Her Majesty’s Prison Service doesn’t cater for “inbetweenies” someone in authority has declared that choppers trump chesticles, and that “Stephanie” is technically male and so goes to a male prison. However he/she/it gets released from lock up earlier than the other convicts every morning so’s it can shower without attracting undue attention. It’s a funny old world, really. I would have thought that having gone to the trouble to swap your junk for wazzo jugs, “undue attention” would be exactly what you would be after. But what do I know?


And as always the two and a half hours flew by, and again we had to leave him behind. And then home. We’ve now finally emptied the bucket of fish food I bought in March. Eighty quid for the summer’s feeding wasn’t bad. They can rough it on bread until I get back to the Koi shop…



7 September 2009 (Monday) - Photocopying




Up with the lark again. Well, actually, before the lark. I’ve never seen a lark in the morning. Come to that, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lark at all. I expect they are all in bed until long after I’m at work….


Anyway – up early and on with ironing. I left home a tad later than usual to drop more tat off at the tip. The tip doesn’t open until 8am. And this was how I reminded myself why I leave for work so early in the morning. The rush hour traffic is awful. Far better to get to work early & have a cuppa rather than sitting in queues.


And then to arrange the photocopying of the astro club flyer. I phoned the people in Upmarket, because they did all the photocopying for the Snake Club, and Energize News (whatever happened to that?). They quoted me, and told me that Staples could do it cheaper. I phoned Staples who wanted double the price. So I took my dinner break and went to Upmarket. Oh dear… Perhaps I should have paid twice as much. Their photocopier was a tad temperamental. But nowhere near as temperamental as the shop assistant’s small child sitting in the corner playing “FarmVille” on the PC.


I wanted two hundred double sided copies. Once the photocopier had psyched itself up to actually working (and that took some doing), the thing could only do batches of twenty copies before needing a rest. The task was doubly complicated by the small child periodically wandering over and randomly pressing buttons on the photocopier to find out what they did. Staples could have done the job in minutes. I waited for an hour. It was painful. The shop (which offers photocopying as a service) ran out of paper at one point and had to borrow some. And just as the photocopier was getting up a good head of steam at about copy number 150, the small child finally realised that said photocopier was a serious rival for its mother’s attentions. And so in a pre-emptive strike it comprehensively trashed the device.


I eventually got my copies, and took them round to the astro club committee meeting. Technically I’m not on the committee any more, but as I mentioned a few days ago, I shall keep on sticking my oar in. I got given some more jobs to do at the meeting, so I suppose I wasn’t that unwelcome….



8 September 2009 (Tuesday) - Old Friends




To B&Q to get a battery for the squeaking smoke detector. In the past I’ve mentioned about the retards who cannot cope with the self-service tills in Tescos. Whereas the self service tills in Tescos are entertaining, the ones now installed in B&Q are infuriating. In Tesco, the retard element has the option to go to a till operated by someone else. B&Q have done away with all their cashiers, and now only have self service tills. Which is fine if you aren’t in a hurry. No – that last sentence doesn’t actually convey the truth of the matter. What I should say is “which is fine, if you have at least an hour to spare”. You can see B&Q from my house, and Homebase is three miles away. But with the new tills, it’s quicker to drive across town and buy stuff in Homebase than walk the few hundred yards to B&Q and queue up for half a day.


Meanwhile on Facebook, Barry Deacon has added me as a friend. That’s nice. If any of my loyal readers know who Barry Deacon is, please let me know. I’ve never heard of the bloke. From the mutual friends option, I would guess the bloke is something to do with kite flying, but I could well be wrong.


And this evening Sue came to visit. I’ve not seen her for ages. We had a good old gossip about the good old days, and even a text from the USAwhilst she was with us. Can’t wait till next time….





9 September 2009 (Wednesday) - A Quiet Night In




Today was rather dull. Got up, did even more laundry, to work, blah – de –blah. Being on an early shift meant I got home early, and then after drafting a witty and erudite crossword to sent into HMP Slade, I just fell asleep in front of the PC.


I woke up to find over an hour had passed, then spent some time in YoVille. It’s a bit like NeverWinter, but without the Dungeons and the Dragons (if that’s possible). And then me and ‘er indoors TM sat down to watch a film. Which is far easier said than done. I can’t stick the romantic dribble she likes. And she can’t abide the quality entertainment I like. For a house that is drowning in DVDs, there aren’t many we agree on. We settled for BlackBall, something we saw at the cinema six years ago. If you’ve never seen it, I can recommend it. What happens is….


And then, after a couple of bottles of beer and a decent fraction of a bottle of port, work phoned ….



10 September 2009 (Thursday) - A Dodgy Knee, Diets, and an Anniversary




I was a little later than usual getting up today. I went downstairs to find “My Boy TM ” in the kitchen. For once he hadn’t woken the world with his noise. When I commented on the fact, he said that he thought everyone was already up. If that’s not an admission of excessive racket on his part, I’d like to know what is.


The morning’s post brought a letter arrived from HMP Slade. “Norman Stanley’s“ littlun’s birthday was yesterday. It’s missing things like that which seem to upset him more than any of the discomforts of prison life.


To the doctor to get my knee sorted out. Whenever I walk downstairs, my right knee joint makes a horrible grinding sound. I’m sure it shouldn’t do that. As soon as I told the doc what the problem was, he told me to take my trousers off and lie on the couch. That was a result – he’s a fast mover is my doctor. He mauled my leg about, and then said to put my trousers back on. Oh well, it was good whilst it lasted. He then weighed me, and told me I was overweight. I wondered how many years he’d spent at medical school to come up with that. He also did my blood pressure which was 140/80. The 80 bit is good, but the 140 is a bit iffy.


He sent me for an X-ray, which was a bit dull. Whilst the doc couldn’t get my kex off quick enough, the fit X-ray bird wasn’t having any of it. Sensible girl, I suppose. She positioned me at all sorts of rakish angles and zapped me with radiation (she gets paid for that). And then she said I should give the doc a ring in a week or so for the results. If the X ray shows anything, once I’ve lost some weight I might need surgery. If the X ray is clear, once I’ve lost some weight I might get physiotherapy.


It was at this point that I began to detect a pattern. I bemoaned my fate at work with some fellow porkers, and a podge-a-thon has been declared. Apodge-a-thon is a bit like a diet, but there’s less fiddling about with calories. During a podge-a-thon, normal rules do not apply, and “salad” becomes a legitimate food item. Provided it’s curried. I’m currently weighing in at 109 kilos (or 17 stone 2 pounds in proper weight) and I need to get down to…. Well, I’ve no idea really. On the Internet it says 12 stone. I can’t see that happening, somehow. I shall just cut out all meat, bread and potatoes and see if my knee is still hurting and making a noise at the end of a month. I had this plan to start cycling to work to lose weight, but I’m not sure if it will play my knee up. Oh well, I’ll give it a go and see what happens.


Bearing in mind the need to lose weight rather urgently, I went to work today with a sackful of cakes and sweeties. The occasion warranted it – today marks twenty five years since I started working at St. Elsewhere’s Hospital. Twenty five years. The original plan had me staying at the place for three years to get my higher qualifications and then moving on. But then family happened, and now I can’t find anything else to do which pays as well. Oh well, bearing in mind I worked at “Hastings Infirmary for the Halt and the Lame” for three years as well, I can get my NHS pension in twelve years time.


I hope my knee will hold out that long…..



11 September 2009 (Friday) - Making Plans


In the spirit of weight loss and generally getting the knee sorted, I cycled to work this morning. That made my knee ache. As I cycled up the hospital drive there was a woman running down it, shouting “piffle, piffle, piffle” rather loudly. Bless (!)


And then I updated my “dates for the diary” section of the blog. I’ve pencilled in a cycle ride for a week on Saturday – I’m thinking the Flying Horse at Wye. With the kite season over, we’ll soon be into bonfire parades. It does wind me up somewhat that bonfire parades don’t seem to get advertised as early as they might be. I’ve emailed people about Xmas arrangements – and am waiting to hear back before I make any definite plans there. And I’ve provisionally pencilled in a few beer festivals too. The diet will long be over by then.


If any of my loyal readers know the date of next year’s Dieppe kite festival, please let me know. I went last year, and it was really good. I quite fancy going again.


Kites, beer, bonfires. All organised by others. What do I want to do for myself? In the first instance I wouldn’t mind some more bow snarrows. After all, that bow wasn’t cheap and I’ve used it twice. And a few more cycle rides before it gets too cold. And once it is too cold, I wouldn’t mind going to the pub - I’ve pencilled in a session round about my birthday. And camping. Kite festival dates are fixed, but there was talk of doing two bat-camps this year. Now we’ve got a functioning clammy-khasi, maybe we could have a go at Dering Farm in May?


And then I wasted an hour or so watching Doctor Who clips on You-tube…



12 September 2009 (Saturday) - Sumners Ponds




This morning was my Saturday morning to work. So I got that over and done with as quickly as possible, and then home. A quick cheese roll, and then off to deepest Sussex.


For some time a group of friends have periodically been camping at Sumners Ponds, and for some time I’ve been meaning to go see the place. It took about an hour and a bit to get there, and it would be tricky to find without scrat-nav, but it was worth the journey. We arrived to find Colin flying a sea horse. An impressively huge sea horse. It turned out that he’d ordered a five metre kite, and the people who made it sent a 10 metre one by mistake. We then wandered over to exchange insults with Dave who hadn’t spotted us, and then we spent the afternoon just relaxing with friends, flying kites, strolling around, and generally slobbing about.


Having heard so much about Sumners Ponds over the last year, my mission for the day was to “case the joint” with a view to camping there in the future. With a field to ourselves (away from the normal people), a toilet on site, and a café and shower block just a short stroll down the lane, Sumners Ponds is the ideal camping venue. It’s also got all sorts of footpaths going here and there which would be ideal for walks, and the ponds would seem to be excellent for fishing – I saw some rather large carp being landed.


We arrived about 2.30pm, and the idea was to stay until 5-ish. At 6pm I went to Tescos with Dave for some beer. Having had three separate offers to join people for tea, we stayed for the communal barbecue, and seriously considered the offer of staying in the spare caravan overnight.


As we came home shortly after 9pm, I found myself reflecting on camping in general. Each year we have four camping trips. We go from Friday to Monday, because with so much luggage, it’s not worth the effort for one night. But the luggage is mostly the cooking tent and all that goes with it. With a café on site for brekky and the communal barby on a Saturday night, we don’t need a cooking tent. We’d need a tent to sleep in, sleeping bags, and a change of undercrackers. There’s an off-licence just down the road which sells local beers - going for one night would be easy.

Three of my annual camping trips are to kite festivals. And the bits I like most are the Fridays and the evenings - the times when the “normal people” aren’t there. And Bat-Camp is great because being on private land, there’s no “normal people” anyway. At Sumner’s Ponds we’d have a field where it’s just the kiting people. No normal people in the way.


I’ve asked Colin for the dates of the next weekend at Sumners Ponds. I shall be there….



13 September 2009 (Sunday) - Gardening, Shopping, Digging




I dare say most people would relish being woken by a woman whispering “Hey, sexy…” in dulcet tones. However, I rise above such base instincts (usually). Mostly because it was my phone telling me I had a text message. You can always tell people who have small children. They are always texting at silly o’clock on Sunday mornings. Oh well, he will regret that move – when he’s not looking, I shall set light to his dustbin. And I needed to get up anyway.


The reason we didn’t stay overnight at Sumner’s Ponds yesterday was that with “Daddies Little Angel TM ” being out for the night, I could clean out the pond filter without getting grief about using the bath. So that’s what I did. And then my morning continued in much the same gardening vein. Pond filter scrubbed and rebuilt, pond water topped up, lawn mowed, edges trimmed, next door’s overgrowth given a haircut, and more fish food bought.


Half way to Tenterden pond shop I nearly ran down a cyclist. And then another. Being a cyclist myself, other cyclists wind me up. Some roads lend themselves to bike rides. Bypasses and A-roads don’t. And they especially don’t lend themselves to fat-bottomed cyclists who are so unsteady that they are weaving all over the road along which traffic moves at 60 mph.

The pond shop were having an end of season clearance sale, and I got a couple of fish. I don’t really need any more, but two Koi for £8.50 seemed a bargain. On the minus side, they’d sold out of NishiKoi food, so I had to get “TetraPond Koi Stix” to which the Koi don’t seem very partial. Oh well, they can eat it or they can go hungry. I’m not buying any more fish food until that’s gone.


The text I received earlier was to ask if I wanted to go up to the Goose Fair this morning. My original plan was to be there all day with the astronomy club. But… About a week or so ago there was talk of a day at Hever Castle today, and when I realised the astro club had enough help for the Goose Fair, I backed out of helping with the stall. Somewhere along the way the talk of Hever Castle seemed to stop, so I would have liked to have gone to the Goose Fair as a visitor, but once the morning’s garden jobs were done and I’d got fish food, the day was half gone.


So, for what was left of the day, we went to the arky-ologee dig. Where four of us scrubbled about in a hole for an hour and a half. We found some manky bits of broken pots, and some iron ore. The two looked identical. But we managed to prove that in Roman and prehistoric times, people were mucking about on Lenham Heath. Disappointment was expressed at the low turn out – four out of a membership of over forty. But Challock Goose Fair was on today – that would have pulled the punters in. And I can’t help but wonder how many of the club membership you can expect to go along to do digging. For myself I go to the archaeology club which meets in the evening. The evening – after dark in the village hall. Where we listen to someone who’s done archaeology telling us what happened. I have absolutely no interest at all in getting my hands dirty. I suspect the vast majority of the club membership are the same. It’s a shame the club management don’t see it that way.


Meanwhile I am reliably assured that Glenn’s “fanny magnet” has hit the streets. For the uninitiated, this is a vehicle which would seem to exhibit a magnetic attraction to…. well, I’m not sure what it’s going to magnetise. But I expect that whatever it does magnetise will be disappointed.





14 September 2009 (Monday) - Stuff




Last night I had words with the first fruit of my loin. He is on earlies this week. The phrases “quiet as a mouse” and “ninja stealth” were mentioned with reference to his getting up at silly o’ clock. This morning I was awoken at 5.30am by something which was not as “quiet as a mouse”, nor was it employing “ninja stealth”. Had last night’s conversation featured phrases such as “Krakatoa, east of Java” I might have been more impressed with his instruction following ability. This afternoon I think I found the cause of the noise. He’s dug out his old skateboard. Perhaps he’s skateboarding downstairs in the mornings?


Continuing with the weight loss campaign, I cycled to work. Where I spent the entire day sulking. I’m not really sure why. I stuck an idiot grin on my face, and tried to make the most of it, but my heart wasn’t in it today. On the plus side I managed to book another visit at the chokey, and it took less than two hours.


And then I cycled home again to find a letter from my doctor. Last week both the doctor and the foxy X-ray bird said I should phone the surgery in a week or so to get the result. Today I came home to a letter (dated last Thursday) asking me to make an appointment to discuss the X-Ray. At first sight, I thought this was somewhat ominous. So I phoned the surgery and they’ve given me an appointment for eight days hence. It can’t be that ominous.




15 September 2009 (Tuesday) - Salad (!)




The morning’s haul of emails brought one from Marilyn Anderson who wrote: “I am Hanna, I am 23 yo, pretty n sweet, hot body! I am cute, I am beauty! heheh My smile shall make you happy, n my soul shall make you believe”. The “believe” bit made me wonder if the righteous had finally cottoned on to using spam emails as a way of “spreading the light”, but it didn’t take many clicks to find it was only pornmongers hawking their filth. A shame – pornmongers are ten a penny on the Internet. I could do with the Holy Joe Brigade having a go.


I decided against cycling to work today. Being on late shift, I’d have to cycle home in the dark, and it was raining. Since I had a bit of time I thought I’d complete the household’s electoral register return. One year I’m not going to wait until the red reminder letter comes. Now you can do it on line. That saved a trip to the post office.


To Tesco to buy my "lunch". The retard on the till was struggling. He picked up the apple I was trying to buy and spent a good minute looking for the bar code before asking me if I remembered what it had said on the label on the shelf. I resisted the temptation of sarcasm, and said it was a Golden Delicious. But when he picked up the next item, evil got the better of me. "That f...ellow's a banana, mate!".


Being on a late start, I didn’t get to eat my lunch" until 2pm. It wasn’t worth the wait….





16 September 2009 (Wednesday) - More Salad (!!)




A late start, so I checked out the route for Saturday’s planned cycle ride. ‘er indoors TM did say that I was to devise a rout with not much “up” in it. Well, we have had routes with more “up” – it’s not a bad one really. I’m quite looking forward to cycling out to Westwell. What with the doctor’s appointment about my gammy knee next Tuesday, I might be advised agaist cycling, and this might be my last cycle ride. Mind you, I’ve been advised against drinking to excess, and that didn’t stop me. We shall see what happens.


Then I got some “lunch” from Tesco’s. I also got some green tea. I am told that the secret of weight loss is green tea. All the top models swear by it, and they ain’t porkers. And I can remember Samantha Fox hawking green tea many years ago. Now she was epically chested, flopped them out, got had up by Esther Rantzen and then got on the other bus, so that sold me on the idea of green tea.


Diets are fine in theory. In practice, this diet’s getting beyond a joke. Today’s “lunch” scaled heights of lameness to which I have hitherto only dreamed. And the green tea. Have you ever tried it? It is truly the most awful beverage I have ever tasted. Now I think about it, didn’t Samantha Fox get had up by Esther Rantzen because green tea didn’t actually work as a weight loss product?


Meanwhile another competitor in the podge-a-thon has announced that his diet strategy is to have an apple with his dinner. I’ve made myself a “salad” for tomorrow – I’ve chopped up an apple, a leek and a courgette and mixed in yogurt and curry powder. It doesn’t sound that appetizing, but it can’t be any worse that the rubbish I had today.




17 September 2009 (Thursday) - Got Guts Ache Now




Yesterday I chopped up an apple, a leek and a courgette and mixed in yogurt and curry powder. I stuck the lot in the fridge overnight, and this morning it smelled OK. It didn’t look too bad, either. A shame it tasted almost as bad as green tea. However, I’m told that green tea contains anti-oxidants, so now having had five cups of the foul stuff, I will have no worries with regard to being accosted by an oxidant. On the minus side, I’m trumping like a thing possessed.


Today marks the end of the first week of the weight loss campaign. I’ve lost half a stone, but am still officially obese. At (about) sixteen and a half stone I need to lose another two stone until I become merely “overweight”. I say “about sixteen and a half stone” since the readings on the scales vary considerably, but that would seem to be a consensus figure. Half a stone seems to be an average amount to lose in the first week of a diet. The rate of weight loss slackens off considerably after week one. My target weight is… well, I haven’t actually got a target. I shall continue until the knee stops squeaking, or the doctor replaces it with a plastic one.


A letter arrived today from the chokey. “Norman Stanley” is now two thirds of the way through his sentence, and sounds positive. He claims to have got a clue right in the last crossword I sent him. I shall have to make the next one a tad more tricky. Let’s see what he makes of “A wendy house for Meatloaf's daughter (3,5)”. Come to that, I wonder what my loyal readership will make of it….



18 September 2009 (Friday) - Radio 4




I woke at 5.45am this morning thinking there had been a gas explosion. Then I realised that it was “My Boy TM ” going to work. You’d think I’d be used to his noise by now. Hopefully it will be quiet tomorrow as he’s gone fishing for the weekend.


I set off to work via Asda (it’s on the way when cycling) where I got my “lunch” - a “weight watchers tortilla wrap” which was almost, but not quite, as lame as salad. I arrived at work early, and started the day with a cup of green tea. It’s foul, but I have it on good authority it starts off my metabolism. I was hitherto of the opinion that had my metabolism stopped, I would be dead, but it seems I am wrong. Green tea starts it off. One lives and learns.


I sat down to a pile of work, and tuned the work’s PC to radio 4. A passing manager whinged that it was against hospital policy to stream radio programs. I pointed out that areas of the hospital closer to windows have radios, and that there was very poor radio reception where I was working, and I threatened to lodge a formal grievance if everyone else could listen to the radio and I couldn’t. Said manager slinked away.


Half way through a surprisingly interesting article about Nelson Mandela, one of the trainees asked what I was doing. I made a rather supercilious speech about having the freedom to listen to radio, and how interesting and educational radio 4 is, and about how mundane and dull the radio in the main laboratory is. I felt a bit of a twit when I eventually realised that the trainee wasn’t asking about the radio. He was asking why I was at work before 9am when I wasn’t due to start until 11.30am. Woops!


I really detest the way our shifts are assigned. I can’t help but feel that a week of lates and a week of normals would be the best way. But the majority of people would seem to want to work an odd late here and there, and so it’s necessary to check the rota every day to see what hours you are working the next day. And if you mis-read your name, you wind up doing what is known as a “retard late shift” in which you start at 8.45am and finish at 8pm. Having realised the mistake I could have gone home and come back later, but it hardly seems worthwhile. I’ll get my time back next week (I hope).


The radio then had an article on premier league footballers. 96% of the population feel they are overpaid. Apparently that statistic is the highest agreement on any subject radio 4 has ever had. An ex-premier league footballer tried to justify the pay by pointing out that the career of the average premier league footballer isn’t that long, and they need to earn a lifetime’s wages (plus pension) in less than a couple of years. I can’t see that myself. What’s wrong with getting a job after the footballing’s done?


Next came a damning report on the outbreaks of E. coli that are making people ill across the country. Various tourist resorts are being held responsible for the children who are now sick. It seems odd that a farm can be blamed for that which grows naturally on a farm. E coli comes from animal poo. If you go near an animal, you go near E. coli. It’s that simple. Any blame for the sick children should be laid firmly at the feet of those who took the children to see the animals. You simply don’t take a child to see farm animals if the child can’t keep its fingers out of its mouth. You don’t. End of story. Rather basic, really.


And then to lower my blood pressure, the afternoon play was about a milk float race from Middlesex to Bognor Regis. The afternoon ended with something about the impending retirement of Terry Wogan, and his planned replacement with Chris Evans. I don’t listen to either, and have no idea what either is like, but the BBC would seem to be under a hail of criticism about the choice. It would seem that there is no clear distinction between radio 1 and radio 2 these days, and the choice of Chris Evans is merely muddying the waters more.


I’ll stick with what I know….




19 September 2009 (Saturday) - Westwell




I was rather late to bed last night. I’d been asked to perform a special request, and it’s ages since we last did anything on You-Tube. I wonder how long it will be until my latest video is pulled.


Then we got on our bikes – to the rugby club where we met Matt, and then on to Westwell. As we came past Chippy’s house we stopped and tinged our bells in a rather disrespectful manner, but no one came out to rise to the bait, so we pressed on. The Wheel at Westwell is somewhere I’ve not visited for some time, and it was perhaps a little too close to home for a decent cycle out. Joined by the “motorists”, seven of us sat down to “lunch” – and it was good. In the interests of weight loss, I continued the vegetarian lifestyle, and only had the one pint before moving on. The route home was cunningly planned to bring us past the Hare and Hounds where we had a pint of afters. The original plan was to then follow the cycle path back home, but we realised that it would be far more scenic (and not too much of a detour) to follow the lane down to Great Chart. There was a pub there where we could have a beer to reward ourselves for all the cycling – the first beer being to accompany dinner, and the second being afters.


And then home. The neighbours have seen rats in their garden. The man from the council says the rats are probably camping out underneath our shed. They’d have a job – the shed is flat to the concrete patio. There’s nothing under the shed for them to be in. The other neighbour seemed to think the sound of the pond was attracting the rats. He also said that rats are becoming a problem up and down the street since flats were built on the wasteland a few hundred yards away.


He may well have a point, but I’ve not had any problem with rats for a couple of years. Or, perhaps more accurately, I’ve not been aware of any problem. Having said that, it’s very easy to go on the defensive when something like rats is discussed. People have seen rats out there, and something needs to be done. After all, we did have them under the old shed, and we have had mice before. I’ve got a theory that the rats are in our flat roof above the bathroom. I’ve put up some poison and I shall check eBay for ultra sonic rat deterrents. From what I can see on line, the ultra sonic stuff won’t upset the fish, so maybe that would work.


The evening was spent pleasantly drinking continental wheat beers to excess, finally staggering home at 2am. Can’t be bad…



20 September 2009 (Sunday) - Margate Kite Festival




Sunday and so again woken early. Not by “My Boy TM ” (who is away in search of haddock), but by the infernal church bell up the road. Note that’s “bell” and not “bells”. The church up the road has one bell which they clang at 9am every Sunday morning. If it were it a melodic peal of bells, I wouldn’t mind so much. But it’s not. They have one bell which sounds awful. The first time I heard it was some twenty years ago when I honestly thought that the sound was made by small children on nearby wasteland banging a stick against some rusty lump of metal. And I’ve had that same noise every Sunday morning ever since.


I did once send an email to the church’s published email address to ask if such a racket was necessary. They replied (rather rudely) that their bell was nothing compared to the noise that comes from a mosque. I spoke with the council some years ago. They made it crystal clear they were scared to get involved because they didn’t want to be seen to be in conflict with a church. Perhaps I could try the local vicar again. He can only tell me to get stuffed.


To Margate for the International Kite festival. I bought a “kiss me quick” hat, and we soon met up with friends who’d been there all weekend. It struck me as a tad cold to be camping out all weekend at this time of year, but what do I know? We swapped a few insults, admired the kites, and I even got to fly a kite in the arena for the edification of the normal people. Not that there were many of them there, really. Today was one of the few (I think it’s the only) international kite festivals in the South East. And it had a really poor turnout from the general public. Again I find myself pondering on the whole concept of kite festivals. Why do we have them? Who are they for?


Take today for example. One of the UK’s biggest kite festivals. Held on the beach at high tide, at a seaside resort when all the tourists have gone home. Now I will concede that the tide does come in and out, but had a weekend been picked when low tide was at mid day, a far better festival could have been organised. (“Better” in the sense that there might have been space to fly kites, and that far fewer expensive kites would have been dumped in the sea). And had a weekend been picked when the tourists were about, the local traders might have made a bit more money. And the kite traders might have sold something. So whatever possessed the organisers to pick high tide and off-season?


In the past it has been mooted that we might run an Ashford kite festival. But we gave up with the idea because we were told by the kiting community that there were no weekends free. We suggested one weekend – that clashed with the Wolverhampton kite festival. We suggested another – that clashed with the Aberystwyth one. There is a kite festival pretty much every weekend of the year. So what….. Call me naïve, but I’ve always thought that a kite festival should be a local event for local people. But I’m fast coming to the conclusion that they are not. They would seem to be put on for the benefit of the kite flying community – hence the scheduling problems.


If Margate kite festival was being run for the locals, then the local media would have been advertising it. There was nothing in local papers or on local radio. I got chatting with local shopkeepers – all loved the idea of the festival. They really liked seeing the sky full of kites. But all of them said that the thing came as a surprise. The first notice anyone had was on Friday when a minor road was closed for the event. And none of them saw any increase in their takings from the festival. Because no one (other than the kite flyers) came to the festival.


Which is a shame….





21 September 2009 (Monday) - Rats!




Yesterday I had a whinge about how I thought it unfair that the average kite festival doesn’t seem to be intended for the normal people. It’s been (politely) pointed out to me that this viewpoint is somewhat at odds with my posting of a week or so ago (12 September) when I went on at great length about how I don’t actually like having the normal people at kite festivals. I’ve been (very politely) accused of being inconsistent. So, to clarify - … Yes. I am inconsistent. Guilty as charged. I do think that the average kite festival caters to the dedicated kite flier, and not to the general public or even to the enthusiastic kiting novice. And in all honesty that’s an attitude I like. Being utterly selfish, I don’t like having the normal people at kite festivals. So what was my problem yesterday?


I can’t help but think that it’s fine for a kite festival to do its own thing away from the normal people. And that’s where I’d prefer it to be. But if it’s to be smack-bang in the town centre, then it cannot help but be a public event. Take for example the seaside kite festivals in Dieppe and Berck where the whole town joins in what’s going on. In retrospect I suppose I would have preferred Margate kite festival to have been held out in the sticks somewhere….


Bearing in mind our supposed rat problem, I phoned the rat people at the council today. I spoke with a woman who gave the impression that she really couldn’t care less. But someone will phone me tomorrow morning, or so she grunted. In the meantime, “Dave The Owl” is on guard, and I’ve got some plug-in ultra-sonic gadgets. The package insert claims they work on a frequency of thirty thousand mega whatsits which is high enough to upset rodents, but too high to upset humans, dogs and cats. Which is probably for the best. I’ve popped one in the shed, and one in the electrical cabinet by the pond, as (on reflection) it’s far enough from the house to be the ideal place for rodents to shelter. I was rather concerned that ultra-sonic sound might upset the fish, but they seem to be scoffing happily enough. I really want a battery operated ultra-sonic whatsit so’s I can shove it into the roof space. I’ll try Kent Wool Growers in the morning…




22 September 2009 (Tuesday) - Monoarthritis




A minor disaster last night – I forgot all about the astro club committee. Woops! It would seem from the notes that arrived by email this morning that I didn’t let people down too badly. I just wish I’d remembered.


To the doctor for the results of my X-ray. I have monoarthritis of the right knee. Which is pretty much what I suspected. To the uninitiated, monoarthritis is basically arthritis confined to a single joint (the right knee in my case). Arthritis is technical term for the joint(s) getting swollen, stiff and creaky. So, effectively medicine has given a posh name to that which I knew I had already. The cure – basically there ain’t one. “Suck it up and get on with it” is the gist of the medical advice I’ve had. But for all that the knee creaks and aches a bit, I cycle for fifteen miles most weekends, so I can hardly claim to be that decrepit.


The doc has suggested a low dose of anti-inflammatory drugs. I’ll give it a go, but I’d rather carry on creaking than be on permanent medication. He’s also told me to keep up with the bike riding, but didn’t seem that fussed about my weight. Oh,well. I’ll keep dieting for a bit longer. As I came out of the surgery, some harridan was screaming at the receptionist. She was pointing at the weedy oik she’d got by the neck, and was broadcasting to all and sundry that said scrawny oik only had one kidney and he’d had a heart attack. I was tempted to stay to see the outcome.


Rat-Man” phoned, and denied ever having cast aspersions on our shed. He also said our pond was fine. He’s sending someone out with a trap next Friday. But on the subject of rats, I thought I’d try Kent Wool Growers for a battery operated rat deterrent. I walked in to find the staff bimbos squawking over a baby. After ten minutes they were still squawking over the baby. After fifteen minutes I walked out. As I opened the door to leave, one of them asked if they could help me. I told them they could have done, and just left. I shan’t be going back there. I must admit to a wry smile – today’s radio was full of “credit crunch” stories, and here’s a shop that openly alienates their customers….



23 September 2009 (Wednesday) - The Next Project



Last Friday I went into work some three hours too early. Today I compensated for that by going in some three hours late. Last week I mentioned that I’d done the electoral register paperwork on line, so this year would be the first time I didn’t get the red reminder. The red reminder arrived today. I hope the on line thing worked. I then put some directions for the next cycle ride onto the diary section of the blog. What with family reunions, birthdays, bonfires and astrobashes, I’ve only got one weekend available for cycling in the next six weeks. After that we shall be into bleak November. It’s possible that this might be the last cycle ride of the year, so we’ve chosen an old favourite at Warehorne as our destination. If any of my loyal readers are free on Saturday October 3rd, do come along…


To B&Q (again) – this time for a stiff brush and some masonry paint. Next door have painted the front of their house and it’s put mine to shame. One of the advantages of keeping a blog is that I can use it to find out how long it is since the house was last painted. Unfortunately the blog doesn’t go back that far. I’ve found a photo from 2002 which has the house with its current colour. It must be over ten years since I last painted the outside of the house, and it’s getting a bit iffy in parts.


Once I got home from work I spent an hour scrubbing the front wall (such as it is). The plan currently involves getting that bit scrubbed and painted first before making a start on the house itself. And I suppose that before I paint the outside of the house, I should really borrow Alistair’s ladder and get up and scrape the gutters out. I’ll do that over the weekend…..




24 September 2009 (Thursday) - Painted the Wall




Two weeks of dieting and my weight is now slightly over sixteen stone. That’s about a stone lost in a fortnight. I’m quite impressed with my never-fail diet. If anyone’s wondering what the secret is, it’s quite easy. No meat, no bread, no potatoes, no sweeties and increase the amount of exercise you do. Exercise is the problem – for me it helps being able to cycle (or walk) to work. Having boasted of my epic weight loss, I’m not sure my knee is any better for it. And after all is said and done, the idea of the diet is to make the knee better.


To work where I got a text: “Daddies Little Angel TM ” sneezed whilst brushing her teeth and managed to clout her head on a tap. And has spent the day with headaches and feeling sick.


An early start at work meant for an early finish, and so home and on with the front wall. It’s got its first coat of paint on. I took the top off of the brick post between us and next door and stripped the paint off of it. The next phase of the project will be to paint that, and to give the wall a second coat. Then it gets serious. I shall have to rub down the front of the house, remove any flaky paint and see about painting that. A job for Sunday, perhaps…



25 September 2009 (Friday) - A Birthday, Astro Club




Being on a late start I had time before work to get the second coat of paint onto the front wall. So I woke sometime around 5am and lay there thinking about painting the wall. Having a job that needed doing, I couldn’t sleep, and so was outside painting before 7am. I then scraped all the weeds out of the grouting between the paving slabs. I wonder if I can replace the cement between the slabs without having to re-lay them?


The birthday boy eventually emerged from it’s pit and we went to the fishing tackle shop to get him his pressie. He wanted boots – I was expecting something slightly more macho than fur-lined wellies, but if it’s what he wants…


To work, where I had couscous salad for “lunch” (never again), and then after yet another late shift on a Friday, to astronomy club where I arrived late to find I’d missed the talk. Still, the observing bits were fun, and I got to hawk the raffle again. It’s worth going just to wind up the normal people there…



26 September 2009 (Saturday) – Parties




A couple of spare hours this morning, so I got a second coat of paint on the fence post, and then broke down the rotten fence panels. By the time I’d done that, loaded the rubbish into the car (for a tip run) and swept round, the morning was gone.


Off to Hastings for ‘er indoors TM ‘s family reunion. I’ve been going to these reunions (off and on) for over twenty five years, and you would think that after all this time I would have finally pegged down who everyone is, and what their relationships are. I always tell nephews and nieces that you know you have arrived when you can pick two people at random and know what their familial relationship is to each other. And just as I think I have it sussed, a new branch of the family appears.


Over thirty of us sat down for dinner at the Victoria hotel in St Leonards. It’s a standard venue for the family, but I don’t like the place. It is seriously overpriced – you pay for the obviously fake Italian accents and the surroundings. The food isn’t all that – I eat better most Saturdays at various pubs for half the price. Today’s beef was raw. And the price of the drinks is really over the top - £4.10 for a Malibu and coke is just silly. I suppose if I don’t like it I can organise somewhere better myself. I might just do that (again).


But a good time was had by all – I got to meet some of my loyal readership from another continent, and I taught nephews and nieces how to make chickens from napkins. Most people had nice pretty animals on their name cards – mine featured a “pathetic shark” from Viz magazine.


The original plan had us popping into the FILO for a swift half as we were in the area, but the afternoon ran away so fast that before we knew where we were, it was time to come home. And so round to Andy’s for a 40th party. Now the original invite said to wear posh frocks, so I did. I thought I looked incredibly sexy. But the problem with dresses is they don’t have pockets, and so I had nowhere to put my camera. Photos were taken and will appear on-line at some point, I expect. In the meantime my loyal readership will have to use their imaginations. Good luck (!)


A wonderful evening was had by all – food, drink, chatting with friends. A particularly special occasion as I had a cigar. Perhaps only the second or third of the year. I eventually fell into bed sometime around 2am….




27 September 2009 (Sunday) - Painting The House




The infernal church bell was clanging at 9am this morning, which put paid to any hopes I might have had for a lie-in. I woke feeling somewhat under the weather. I blame the half a bottle of port I guzzled last night. So rather than laying in bed feeling ill, I got up and cracked on with the front garden.


Despite nearly falling off the ladder a couple of times, I got the loose paint chipped away, rubbed the walls down and got a coat of paint on before sitting down to a roast dinner. So easy to type, not so easy to do. The painting bit alone took just over three hours to do.


And then after dinner I demolished the skanky fence by the front door – the plan is to have some decent railings there in the not too distant future. By the time I’d painted up the decent fence, the light was beginning to fade. I took that to be a sign that it was time to stop. I got a lot more done today that I was expecting to. The next step is to do a second coat of white paint, so I shall need to find a clear three hours when it doesn’t look like rain. Then I need to do something with the ground anchor. I installed an anchor to which I used to chain my motorbike. I really should get rid of the thing, but I suspect it has rusted in place. There are all sorts of locks and chains attached to it for which I have long since lost the keys. I see a few hours sat with a hacksaw coming up.


And now I ache….



28 September 2009 (Monday) - Painting and Prison




Last night I worked out that if I got up promptly this morning I’d have time to paint the house. So I woke about 2am raring to go. I tried to get back to sleep, but couldn’t. And so I was outside painting before 5.30am. Over an hour before dawn. But the street lighting is good, and I was using white paint anyway. I left the coloured stuff until after dawn.


It’s amazing how many people walk up and down my road at silly o’clock. I was harangued by a mad old biddy who wanted me to join neighbourhood watch, and another old trout took offence when I told her I didn’t build walls. I can only think that she saw me up the ladder and assumed I was some sort of itinerant jobbing handyman. Would I build her a wall? She got quite uppity when I told her I wouldn’t know where to start. Eventually she stormed off muttering that I wouldn’t get far if I didn’t build walls.


I had a go at getting the ground anchor up, but I had to give up. When I installed the thing all those years ago, I would seem to have made a good job of it. If any of my loyal readers could lend me a crowbar and/or a pneumatic drill I might shift it, but I think the thing might be in place permanently. The next job is to get shot of all the moss on the concrete. I’ll see if B&Q sell dangerous chemicals in the morning. I also need to paint up the box around the gas meter. I’ll do that later.


And then to the tip to get rid of the wreckage that once was garden fences. Whilst chucking it away I noticed what looked like a brake cable hanging out from underneath my car. Panic set in, and so round to the Renault dealer where I found it was the battery overflow which had come loose. Which was a relief…


And then I met up with Chris and Stevey and we drove to the chokey. Usually I take the train, and I will again next time. I don’t really know the area round HMP Slade that well, and the parking was a nightmare. Eventually we found somewhere to park three counties away from the prison, and we trekked our way there. Via McDonalds where a foxy young lady was showing very ample bum cleavage. However despite my best efforts I failed to capture anything which would be good enough to appear on “CrackWatch”.


We got to the prison where the entry procedure was again totally different to any we’d had before. And the tea shop has closed down. One of the highlights of visiting the nick is to feed “Norman Stanley” to the point where he is nearly sick. We couldn’t do that this time. However, joking aside, some of the other visitors had travelled hours to get to the prison. For them, having no refreshments at all must have been really bad.


We soon met up with our mate, who was looking well. He’d been able to speak with his littlun on the phone at the weekend, and was really pleased about it. We sat and chatted, and bemoaned the demise of the tea stall. And, as ever, two and a half hours flew by, and all too soon it was time to come home. I slept most of the way back. I was rather tired for some reason…



29 September 2009 (Tuesday) - Another Day


I did the rounds of the DIY superstores before work this morning. Moss killer from B&Q, then round to Wickes and Do It All for some paint to go on the box round the gas meter. No one sells paint for plastic, but a fat American in Do It All suggested using the paint I did the house with.


Back to work after a day off. A rather tedious day. I really should get more positive about the place, but I’m going through a rather negative spell at the moment. Perhaps I should lodge a formal grievance about the guilt trip that gets given to me every time I take a day off? It’s always the same – the silent treatment for an hour or so, then a good whinge about how busy it was on my day off. I’m getting rather fed up with it.


Home again to slap Sandtex on the meter box and apply the moss killer. The instructions said to dilute the stuff in water. Why does everyone wait until I need buckets of water before wanting to go in the bathroom? And just after it got dark, I obtained the use of a hacksaw and a crowbar. I shall set about the ground anchor on the morning…




30 September 2009 (Wednesday) - Anchors Away...




Up at 6am to do their ironing again. And then to Asda for some vegetables for dinner. I’m getting a tad fed up with both.


Work was dull, and then home again where I eventually managed to saw through the padlock and got the cables off of the ground anchor. It’s been suggested that I leave the anchor where it is, and use it to secure a bench in place. I might just do that.


My Boy TM ” was watching telly. There was some hypnotist who was sending out mental vibes so that you would be unable to get out of your chair. God forbid either brat should see that….