29 May 2017 (Monday) - Bank Holiday

For once I slept like a log; it was such a shame that "er indoors TM" forgot to turn off her 7.30 am alarm. I came down to find my little dog in his basket. He tried to jump and and winced in pain. He’s getting better, but he doesn’t understand “taking it easy”.
Looking at Facebook this morning it seems I missed the mother of all thunderstorms last night. I then sparked up the email circuit with something of a sense of dread. I’d had a geo-complaint yesterday about the series of geocaches which I put out round Great Chart. I was told “Please may I suggest that you check this circular as from cache number 7 the footpaths are not very clear to follow, neither are the instructions on each cache. I know the aim of the game is not to give it away, but follow the footpath isn't a great help when there are multiple footpaths, and many of the routes are now not accessible due to horses occupying the fields. We have just ended up in someone's yard, with guard dogs who were very aggressive. I am with a seasoned catcher who has done many circulars and we have both decided to abandon this route. We have 2 kids with us and this route has become very dangerous. Please can I urge you to do this circular as a maintenance check, with the children in mind?

What can I say without giving offence? To address the various points: The footpaths *are* clear. From point 7 you follow a straight line along the path you are already on. You then go through a gate and continue the straight line to point 8 and point 9 where you take a left turn. The path from the left turn is then obvious with several makeshift gates through electric fences. There may well be multiple footpaths going off in various directions, but that is where having a map and a GPS arrow come into play to help you find the ones you need. This is a feature of *every* geo-walk I’ve been on, and I’ve done an average of three a month over the last five years.
Horses have always been in the fields. A horse in a field does *not* make it inaccessible if there is a public footpath there. (You might be frightened of horses, but that is nothing I can do anything about).
If they’ve ended up where they shouldn’t be, what can I say.
I looked up the complainant’s profile. They’ve *really* not hunted much Tupperware. I won’t “name and shame” but to my mind a “seasoned cacher” finds far more than an average of forty three caches per year.
And I’d take issue with their claim to have done “many circulars”; including the half of my circular they gave up on yesterday they’ve done two in the entire time they’ve been caching.
Yesterday I gave them a polite response asking exactly what they wanted of me, but they didn’t reply. I suppose I could take Treacle for a walk tomorrow to have a look-see…

With a little time on my hands I went into the garden and disassembled one of the water features. This one had got seriously crudded up with the leaf litter from not-so-nice-next-door’s clematis over the years. I’d pressure-washed it clean a few weeks ago, and I relocated it and rebuilt it using the bits I got from Whelan’s yesterday. I was quite pleased with the result. I then managed to get my car close to home and I got our new statue in place. By the time I’d pulled weeds out of the shingle, scrubbed the paddling pool and sorted the patio I was quite worn out.
Nice-next-door then said hello over the fence. He (very politely) pointed out a broken fence panel behind the shed. I shall sort that just as soon as I can get a new panel. And then I’ve one or two more garden projects in mind. I need to overhaul our big fountain, I want ot go back to Whelan’s to get the makings of some raised beds, and I want a huge pot in which I will have either a small acer or a large bonsai. And I need to paint all the fence panels with something or other.
A couple of days ago I whinged about how I dislike gardening. In all honesty it is a futile pastime; fighting the second law of thermodynamics can only end in failure. But the pastime does seem to suck you in.

"er indoors TM" boiled up a spot of lunch, and I set off in the general direction of work. As is always the case on a Bank Holiday Monday, all the roads in Ashford were blocked up in all directions. It took me fifteen minutes to drive to B&Q; I can walk it in two minutes. They had fence panels, but wanted to charge me twenty quid to deliver it. When I need one I shall carry one home; I’m not paying twenty quid.
I then went to Wickes, but they wanted thirty quid to deliver a fence panel. Mind you they did have the water resistant electrical connecting device I needed.
I stopped off at Maidstone’s cheapo-bargain shop. They were doing the Ronseal fence stain at half the normal price, so I bought twenty litres of the stuff.
I got to work just as the rain started.

I don’t *really* mind working on a Bank Holiday; that and night and weekend work goes with working in a hospital. But what boils my piss is the insinuation (and outright declaration) that I barely work at all compared to others. I have the same amount of hours at work as most other people; I just work them at different times…

28 May 2017 (Sunday) - A Day Off

"er indoors TM" must have carried "Furry Face TM" up to bed last night; it was a hot night and a combination of the heat and his bad back had him panting for much if the night. And as I panted I fussed helplessly.
I got up shortly before 7am and checked out his symptoms on-line. It’s rather silly really. I give "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" loads of stick for her constantly phoning NHS 111 every time "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" farts, but I’m fussing over my dog like a thing possessed. If taking him to the vets wouldn’t be a waste of several hundred pounds I’d be there like a shot.
This has made me think; this is a saving the NHS could make. My dog has got a long-standing back injury which had flared up after overdoing it during a very physical play in the river last Thursday. He needs rest. This has all happened before. Going to the vets will achieve nothing. End of story. I’m not taking him to the vets partly because it will achieve nothing and partly because from experience I know how much it will cost. But if it was free (like the NHS) we would go just because we could. And the vets would do a very thorough job (because they have to) which would cost someone; if not me.
I wonder how many human cases would think twice about going to the quack if you had to stump up five hundred quid only to be told you’ve got a bad back (like the vets).

I then spent a little while trying to see if the nutter who used to live next door has died. Over the years he ranted at me so many times how much he hated his wife and he would leave her like a shot, but there was no way he could afford to do so. I’ve not seen him for over six months, and it speaks volumes that it is his wife who now does the gardening. He loved the garden and wouldn’t let her near it.
Maybe he’s come into money and moved? Maybe he’s died? I’m rather worried that he might (just possibly) still be alive somewhere and planning to mount one of these terror attacks. I *really* do think he’s mad enough to do so. In the past he’s ranted at me about how he hated the English, and how Al-Qaeda had the right idea. If he’s dead then that’s a shame, but if he’s alive, what is he up to? I would ask, but her-next-door hasn’t spoken to me (or anyone else in the street) for some years.
I posted on Facebook asking how you find out if someone has died; I got all sorts of suggestions. Some might help. We shall see. I even contacted the police to express my concerns.

We had planned a rather long walk for today, but Karl had family problems, and what with Fudge being ill a day of not going too far for too long was probably for the best. We collected "My Boy TM" and his posse and we set off for the Isle of Sheppey. As I drove, "er indoors TM" announced that a couple of new geocaches had gone live which were (sort of) on our way. We stopped off to claim FTF on one; we left the other for someone else to claim. We’re kind like that.

We carried on our way and were soon at Whelan’s in Sheerness. Whelan’s is a wonderful place where they do all sorts of garden ornaments really cheaply. "My Boy TM" bought loads of stuff; I bought one statue and something with which I can repair one of our water features, and I got some ideas for the garden. Much as I dislike gardening I have ideas about the subject from time to time.
We then had a look in the garden centre over the road where I totally failed to photograph a bumble bee in a foxglove.

Once back in Ashford we unloaded the first fruit’s stuff, then came home to unload mine. But I couldn’t park near the house; my statue is still in the back of the car. It can stay there until I can park closer to home.
"My Boy TM" then arrived and he drove for phase II of the day; lunch.
Cheryl had booked a table at the Kennington Carvery; all you can eat roast dinner for a tenner. Very tasty. However for some reason it was nowhere near as busy as sometimes it is. Perhaps this might have been in no small part due to the children from hell at the next table. They were probably aged fourteen to sixteen; they were shrieking like five year olds.
We had dessert in McDonalds.

As we were driving past we popped off to have a look at Mark and Lisa’s garden. If you like palms and water features and Koi it is brilliant. Mark suggested a dog walk on the beach, so we all went home, changed, collected dogs that *aren’t* having rest enforced on them, and "er indoors TM" drove for phase III of the day.

After a little confusion about car parks we soon found Mark and Lisa, and we had a rather good muck-about on the beach. I paddled a good fifty yards out to sea (where it was shin-deep). "My Boy TM" went a *lot* further to where it was knee-deep and tried to swim. He had a good go before finally giving up.
Finding the local tapas bar wouldn’t serve drinks without food we then walked down the beach to the Jolly Fisherman. The Jolly Fisherman is an odd pub, but on reflection no odder than I should have expected. Family friendly pubs rarely have to advertise that families are welcome. And most pubs with signs saying that families are welcome aren’t the sort of place where any respectable family would dare to tread.
But we got a pint and sat in the sunshine outside.

We came home; there was the offer of going to the cinema, but I’ve never been a fan of “Pirates of the Caribbean“. Instead I spent a little time with my dog. The day’s rest had done him some good. He wolfed down the meat we’d got for him from the carvery, and he hobbled about to get the tennis ball that the puppy had left. He then settled himself for the evening and we had tea. Cheese, biscuits, crisps and half a bottle of port. Not too shabby…

27 May 2017 (Saturday) - Working

Another hot night; I slept reasonably well. However I couldn’t help but think about the scout group I used to be a part of. Every year for thirteen years I would be dragooned into a cub scout holiday over this bank holiday weekend. I never really wanted to go on the weekend away, but always felt I had to go. Over the years we had weekends in Deal, Dymchurch, Hastings… all over the place. I wonder where they went this weekend? And I wonder if last night went like it always used to…
On the Friday night just gone the little darlings would be wide awake until about 3am, and would be waking about 5.30am on the Saturday morning. As I scoffed my brekkie whilst watching “Detectorists” I was again glad I eventually managed to extricate myself from the grip of scouting. It really does suck you in and not let go.

I then had a quick look on Facebook. Yesterday I’d posted up a picture of Fudge laying awkwardly in his basket. Overnight loads of people had reacted to the photo and sent kind messages. As I read them my little dog was laying asleep in his basket. I fussed him a little, but didn’t want to disturb him.
I hung the washing out and set off to work.

I went via the co-op to get some cash, and then via the petrol station on the ring road. Again there were men ten years older than me attempting to charm the pensioner operating the till. They weren’t just being polite; they were seriously sniffing. What *is* her attraction? I wouldn’t, and that speaks volumes (!)
Mind you I was pleased to find my credit card worked after the debacle with the bank on Thursday. However I’d taken cash just in case.
As I then drove on to work the pundits on the radio were *still* banging on about the atrocity in Manchester. They had absolutely nothing new to say, but they still kept on about it. Even the Archbishop of York had a go on the topic during the “Thought for the Day”, though I have to say his attempt was feeble. Even with the radio turned up I could hardly make out what he was mumbling about. From what I did hear there were a lot of platitudes and the word “pray” was repeated more than a few times.

I got to work, I did my bit and came home. "er indoors TM" had taken the puppy to visit relatives. Fudge was asleep; he tried to get up to see me and immediately cried in pain. I settled him again, and he slept for the afternoon whilst I pootled in the garden. I started off strimming, then had a go at fixing water features.
There was a bit of a problem in that the pumps I bought from eBay were billed as having ten meters of cable, but I opened the box to find that they actually only had about one meter of cable. Useful. I had a rummage and found an old adapter in the shed so I was able to bodge one of the pumps and fix one water feature. I then shifted gravel, moved concrete, swept and tidied (all in between sorting laundry) until my elbow and back were too painful to do any more.
I don’t understand how people enjoy gardening. You break your back putting in hours of work just to keep the place looking just the same.

"er indoors TM" and Treacle came home and boiled up a rather good bit of dinner. After dinner I fancied a bit of port and cheese, and we spent five minutes throwing away all the expired crackers. I had an idea that a cream cracker couldn’t go off; you try tasting one that was best before 2014; they are mank!!!