22 January 2020 (Wednesday) - Next Door

As I drove home from the night shift the pundits on the radio were interviewing one of the candidates for the upcoming election for the position of leader of the Labour party. Lisa Nandy would seem to be a consummate politician as she spoke eloquently and forcefully for some time without actually saying anything at all.

Once home I got the dogs onto their leads. I did have a vague idea to go up to Kings Wood again, but today there was no frost. With the frost yesterday the mud was frozen. With no frost today the place would have been a swamp.
We went round the park instead where we only had one “episode”. Some jogger came past, but rather than jogging, the fellow was running sideways whilst flapping his arms up and down and puffing like a steam engine at full thrust. He frightened me; he terrified the dogs.

With walk done I went to bed where I slept for a while until the dogs had a barking fit at the postman. I then slept a little longer until nice-next-door went out crashing their gate as they went (they have got the noisiest gate in the world!!). I dozed off again only to have someone phone me up to try to sell me something or other.
I eventually gave up trying to sleep and got up just after mid-day. I had a humungous bowl of granola for lunch in a shallow attempt to convince myself I was doing healthy eating, then watched episodes of Schits Creek whilst doing the ironing and wondering about next door…

We've not had much luck with our neighbours since we moved into our current house in the autumn of 1991. When we moved in we had a rather vicious nasty woman and her hen-pecked weasel of a husband in the house next door (going down the road from us). This was years before the bypass had been built, and (being obsessed with peace and quiet) they were constantly angry that they had moved on to what was then the busiest street in the town. They also never forgave us for moving into the house where their friends had once lived, and they made no secret of the fact that they despised children in general and ours in particular. I can distinctly remember having to pretend to reprimand  "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "My Boy TM" (aged about six and seven at the time) for standing in the back garden loudly singing (to the tune of the Australian soap opera “Neighbours”) “Neighbours… we hate the f… ing neighbours”.
After years of her constantly complaining about trivia they finally moved out and were replaced with an odd pair who I often refer to as “not-so-nice-next-door”. I honestly believe he is clinically insane; she looks at me like I am the sh*t on her shoe. Neither have hardly said a word to us since I had a solicitor write to them over ten years ago when they didn’t seem to realise that I don’t need their permission to lead my own life.
He hasn't been seen for over two years, and I am wondering what is going on. I suspect he might be in a secure mental unit, but I could be wrong. I've asked the police about him; they assure me he is still alive but refuse to tell me where he is.

The house going up the road from us is a different matter. No one ever stays there for any length of time. Over the years, as well as the house being empty for over a year (twice) there has been in residence:

  • The little old lady who kept herself to herself.
  • The mother-in-law of the other neighbours. We got on well with her to the disgust of the other neighbours.
  • The drunk Irishman who would play crap music at 2am.
  • Two young Australian ladies who would regularly sunbathe in the garden in the nip (I liked them!).
  • The Nigerian family who would never pull the blind in their toilet.
  • The two young lads who were great fun and who gave me the table my fish tank now stands on.
  • The Nigerian fellow who would regularly have a "crafty Joddrell" into the toilet in the evenings; the shadows of which on their bathroom blind were rather entertaining
  • The odd couple who tried to blame the flood in their upstairs bathroom on my downstairs washing machine.
  • The young family who ran away owning thousands of pounds (we had the debt collectors asking after them for months).
  • The people with three dogs each of which was the size of a cart-horse.
  • The nice couple who moved round the corner to Francis Road.
  • The pair who regularly did noisy sex in the small hours.
  • And most recently her who ran the Elwick club

This house is now up for rent as the current incumbents are moving to take on a pub. When they moved in I told them that they wouldn't last. They assured me they were there for keeps, but eighteen months later and they are going. There is something about that house; no one lasts more than two years in there. Mind you, I wouldn't want to live next door to me.
And now we get new neighbours again. I wonder who we will get this time... and how long they will last?
I was amazed to see that they are asking for nine hundred pounds per month rental for the house, and that doesn't include ongoing bills. Nine hundred quid - I've half a mind to move out and rent out our house!!

The night shift is taking its toll – I think an early night is in order…

21 January 2020 (Tuesday) - Kings Wood

I slept through till after eight o’clock this morning. I would have slept longer had the dogs not been barking for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
I came downstairs to the smell of sausages; "er indoors TM" was cooking herself a hot cross bun. Since when have they smelled of sausages? The dogs all got over-excited when they saw me; Pogo and Treacle staged a game of tug-o-war with a cushion to celebrate. I wish they wouldn’t do that.

I made some toast and shared the crusts with three dogs whilst peering into the internet.
I couldn’t believe one thing I saw on-line. I generally don’t do Twitter, but June Mummery MEP (Brexit party) had tweeted about the EU “The big question now is, who will be here to hold these people to account while they still control Britain’s waters, but the UK has no representation?” Obviously fisheries are very important to her. Ms Mummery is also the managing director of BFP Eastern Ltd, fish market auctioneers who operate in Lowestoft. … has no one told her that *she* as an MEP was holding the EU to account, but as a Brexit party MEP *she* had decided not to do so.
Some of my loyal readers have claimed not to understand politics, so I’ll spell this one out. Someone who has been elected to the European Parliament with the single policy of having the UK leave it!!! was making the point that the UK’s membership of the European parliament was a good thing.
Is she right or wrong? Don’t know and (at this stage) don’t care. But here we have someone shouting “BLACK”!!! but voting white.
Have I ever mentioned that I don’t think democracy is as good as it is cracked up to be?

I scraped the ice from the car, got the dogs on to their leads, and drove up to Kings Wood. The lower car park was full, so for a change we went to the upper car park and walked the part of the wood we’ve not walked for ages. It was very pretty, the mud was still frozen (which was for the best), and we had no “episodes” with the few other dogs that we saw at all.
As we walked I found one or two footpaths that might form the basis of a new series of geocaches… I could probably get a series of fifty or more caches out, but then again so could someone else. Maybe this could be a project for next year?

We came home; the dogs were snoring within seconds. I had planned to have a go at the broken bathroom heater, but "er indoors TM" sent me a message to say she’d bought a new one. So I had a sandwich and went off to bed for the afternoon.

Sleeping in the afternoon is odd; my feet are always cold and it takes an age to get warm, so I have a hot water bottle. But the dogs find the hot water bottle and sleep on it so I can’t get near the thing. I fought a little with Treacle, and then hit on the idea that if I put the hot water bottle where "er indoors TM" usually sleeps, at least I wouldn’t have dogs swarming all over my legs. It was an idea which worked. I got a few hours sleep, which is more than I often do in the afternoons.

I got up, and watched some more of “Schitt’s Creek”. "er indoors TM" will be home soon. She’s (hopefully) going to feed me, an then I’m off to the night shift.

20 January 2020 (Monday) - Cold

I didn’t sleep well last night. Perhaps if I got up and went to the loo rather than laying awake not wanting to get out of bed I might sleep better?
I made some toast and shared the crusts with Fudge and Pogo. Treacle didn’t seem fussed about them. As I scoffed toast I peered into the internet. Despite having turned off every notification setting I could find about adverts I still found several on Facebook. I also saw a lot of political squabbling. The pro-remain brigade are still posting all over Facebook talking about legal ways in which Brexit can still be blocked and posting up all the disadvantages of leaving Europe. The pro-Brexit brigade were posting “we won, suck it up” as though narrowly winning a misinformed referendum was all the justification they needed to gloat. Some chap living locally asked an interesting question on the subject though. Bearing in mind the Prime Minister promised the nation savings of three and a half million quid a week from Brexit, why is he trying to crowdfund repairs to Big Ben which (according to what he said) could be paid for in ten days after leaving the EU?
Someone else was asking if anyone knew of a sci-fi based museum. I was reminded of the Museum of the Moving Image where I once took the fruits of my loin when they were small. I thought I might revisit the place but thirty seconds on Google showed me that it closed over twenty years ago.
It’s amazing what happens when you aren’t paying attention.

I took the dogs for a walk. It was a cold morning, but being cold had the advantage that the mud was frozen and we were able to walk through the co-op field which is usually a swamp in the winter. As we walked we could see that the gardeners had been busy in the park again. You can see from the fountain right through to the flats; another of the overgrown thickets has been cleared out.
Dog-wise the walk went well. There was a minor episode when Pogo barked at a passer-by, but I blame the passer-by entirely. If you don’t like dogs, just ignore them. If you start waving your arms around and shouting and all-but-breakdancing at them then the dog is either going to be frightened or think you are playing a game. And the dog will react accordingly. All three dogs had a bark shortly after that, but two other dogs had already started a shouting match, and my three were just some of the dogs that were joining in.

We came home; I went round the garden with a bucket and spade to harvest the dog dung. Harvesting dog dung is much easier when the stuff is frozen. Though having been speaking with quite a few people it would seem that we are in the minority in harvesting the dog dung from the back garden. Several people have mentioned that they just leave the dog poo out there in their gardens. Eeewww!!!!

I watched another episode of Schitt's Creek whilst the dogs snored, then I set off. First of all to B&Q. We needed fuses. I couldn't find any so I asked the staff. "They're over there" said one disinterested old biddy whilst waving her hand vaguely. Pretty much all the other people supposedly working there were busy having conversations on their mobile phones. No one actually said "Get knotted, baldy", but the sentiment was most definitely there.
I eventually got the fuses, and went for petrol; the staff at the petrol station couldn't have cared less either.

As I drove to Pembury "Women's Hour" was on the radio. Someone or other was talking about global overpopulation and how people shouldn't he having quite so many children. Some aggressive harridan agreed with her entirely and was utterly unfazed when it was revealed that this shrieking harpie had three children.  She ranted on at length to explain that if you are a vegan you can have as many children as you like. This idiot woman was seriously maintaining that global overpopulation was a meat-eater thing and that breeding no end of vegans wasn't contributing to global overpopulation at all.

There was then half an hour spent talking about the fate of Dunford Hall. Apparently this ancestral seat had been bequeathed to the YMCA many years ago, and despite their best efforts, the YMCA couldn't do anything with the place that didn't end up costing them money so they were trying to sell it. Some descendant of the bloke who'd given the place to the YMCA had the arse about his as he felt the YMCA were being really ungrateful and seemed to think that he was doing the right thing by obstructing the sale.
It was amazing just how much effort this chap had expended to thwart the sale. You'd think that people would have had better things to do with their time. I did chuckle when the chap eventually raised enough money to buy the place and the YMCA then sold it to someone else.

I took a little diversion on the way to work to seek out a Munzee in Brenchley, but I couldn't find it. The thing hadn't had a find logged since it was first putout six years ago, so I suspect it is long gone.
Pausing only briefly to deploy a Munzee in Pembury I went into work. With a few minute spare I went to the canteen for lunch and had a rather mediocre curry which gave me a guts ache which lasted for the entire late shift…