8 December 2021 (Wednesday) - Late Shift

With no alarm set I slept through till seven o’clock, which was something of a major result. I opened my Advent Calendar and wondered just what I might say about a white plastic Christmas tree.

I made toast, and peered into the Internet. Today a lot of people were trying to sell their unwanted rubbish on Facebook marketplace. I suppose people might make a quid or two here or there, but why would anyone buy a tatty dog-eared book from some stranger half-way across the county when they can buy a brand new one from Amazon (and have it delivered to the door) cheaper?

There were also adverts for stuff I for one would never think of buying. I’ve heard that Facebook has algorithms to target adverts to what customers have looked at on-line, but they don’t seem to work very well. I get no adverts at all for Lego or dog stuff or Sparks music, but I’m snowed out with adverts for nudey sauce romps. A classic example of the failure of targeting an audience this was this morning’s advert for a Live LED map of the twelve main lines of the London Underground network showing trains as they move around on it. With over three hundred LED lights and updating over wi-fi ten times every second the thing is currently available as a Black Friday deal at ninety-six quid. I suspect this is one of those “limited edition” things limited to however many they can sell. I hope for their sake they haven’t made too many.

And a local flooring company was advertising vacancies on the local Facebook pages. I suppose that’s a sign of the times.

 

I had an email from the dentist offering me a Christmas present – nearly one thousand three hundred quid of off the price of having my teeth straightened. Are they crooked? And I had an email telling me that my email address had appeared in a data breach. Apparently “Gravatar” (?) had been the victim of a cyber attack and some e-villains have obtained my email address. No passwords, just the email address. Is that so terrible?

 

“er indoors TM” wanted a lift to work, and as her work is on my way to Kings Wood we all bundled into my car and set off. The traffic was a nightmare this morning. We got to the cows roundabout to find it gridlocked. So many idiots were slipping through as the lights changed and effectively blocking the road for those who should then have been able to drive on.

Eventually we dropped “er indoors TM” off, and me and the dogs carried on to Challock and the woods where we had a rather good walk. We practiced our whistle training and Pogo responded well. Treacle didn’t which was a shame. We met four other dog walkers and had no “episodes” at all. I got chatting with one woman who remarked on how she likes walking in the woods as people there understand what dogs are like and described the “episodes” she has had in Viccie Park with the normal people and their dogs. I smiled – I was glad it isn’t just me who has these issues in Viccie Park.

We did meet one odd dog walker though. Quite deep into the woods (about a mile from the nearest road) with his dog on a really short lead. Why not get an extender and let the dog have some freedom?

 

With walk walked we came home, I opened the door and told the dogs to go to the bath. They looked at me as though they had no idea what I was talking about. This made me wonder – they understand being told to go to the bath. Then I realised the bathroom door was shut. I opened it and both jumped straight into the bath.

I washed their paws then thought I’d give myself a quick haircut. I did have a plan to grow my hair long and have a ponytail, but on reflection that would be silly. But disaster struck – my haircutting shears have broken. I shall have to get new ones…

My phone asked if it could update itself, and I made the schoolboy error of allowing it, and then spent an age fighting with the anti-virus before uploading today’s instalment of the Advent Calendar adventure, and with both dogs snoring I set off.

 

As I drove I kept an eye on my car's petrol gauge. Something odd has been going on with the car's fuel economy. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the petrol gauge had stayed on the "completely full" level and didn't start to fall until I'd driven two hundred miles. After the most recent fuelling the gauge fell right away. Last time I drove four hundred and seventy miles and eight round trips to work before needing more petrol; this time I only managed four hundred miles and seven round trips out of more petrol.

Interestingly the morning after I got the last load of petrol “er indoors TM” said that she'd found the door thingy what you open to get to the fuel tank hadn't been closed properly. Had some cheeky sod syphoned out some petrol?

I had been wondering just what would happen when the fuel gauge reached the red bit, and I found out half-way up the motorway. It sounded an alarm, told me I had  thirty-five miles of petrol left and suggested I got some more petrol pretty soon. So I did. I don't usually let the range get to less  than a hundred miles, and I doubt if I will do so again... but it is nice to know what happens when the fuel does get low. 

I had a minor result at work today; we had the Christmas raffle draw and I won a rather humungous bottle of bubbly. That'll do for Christmas.

7 December 2021 (Tuesday) - Australian?

I slept through till quarter to two this morning, and then dozed fitfully for a couple more hours before I gave up trying to sleep. I made toast and watched the sixth episode in the current season of “Lost in Space” which despite several glaring plot holes and scientific inaccuracies made for an entertaining watch. I suppose this is true of much that is on telly though.

 

I then sparked up the lap-top as I do every morning. Someone had found some of my geocaches… and had complained that the containers I’d used did not “lend themselves to the wet conditions”. I sighed… if a commercially produced watertight container doesn’t lend itself to the wet conditions, what does?

And I had a message from the neighbourhood watch people. There had been a few robberies in the area, and police were asking if anyone had security or doorbell footage… Perhaps if the police were seen on the streets then thugs wouldn’t be attacking decent people on the streets? I’m not advocating having bands of vigilantes cleaning up the town… or maybe I am? Clearly keeping the town safe isn’t something the police can do.

 

I had a quick Munz from the comfort of the sofa then got ready for work. I was originally down to be doing the late shift today but yesterday I was asked if I would rather do the early… Yes please.

Taking care not to slip on the icy pavements I slowly made my way to the car, and spent seemingly ages scraping the ice from the windows. Yesterday the pundits on the radio were talking about Prince William. Today they were talking about his brother who has also been interviewed and has said job losses and resignations during the pandemic "aren't all bad" and went on to say that many people across the globe "would have been stuck in jobs that didn't bring them joy". Easy for him to say with thirty million quid to fall back on. Speaking from bitter personal experience having a job that brings joy is an incredible thing, but a job that brings misery still puts food on the table.

It amazes me just how little respect Prince Harry commands these days when you think how popular he was only a couple of years ago.

 

I got to work and did my bit. Having arrived at work just as it was getting light, I left just as it was getting dark. And as I left the wind was picking up and the rain was coming down in buckets.

I came home and both dogs looked hopeful. I said “do you want to go out?” and both sprinted to the front door. I put a coat on me, and leads and light-up collars on them and opened the door. Both dogs refused to go out into the rain.

After a little (lot) of persuading we had a quick walk round the block just to say that we’d been out. Less than five minutes and we were all soaked.

 

“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of “The Great Australian Bake Off” which was rather good. As we scoffed we had a bottle of plonk, and some cheese for afters.

The dogs were funny. After seeing the results of poor Fudge’s blood tests, Pogo and Treacle don’t get cheese any more, but they do get some of the cheesey biscuits. As we finished the last one I told them that we’d come to the end. Both looked at me and I repeated “All gone”. Both of them immediately got up and went over to “er indoors TM” – they really did understand what I’d said.

I need to get some more bottles of red wine…

6 December 2021 (Monday) - Back to the Grind (?)

I slept like a log and woke feeling full of beans and raring to go only to find it was half past two. I then dozed fitfully; never asleep for more than fifteen minutes. I eventually gave up trying to sleep and got up. I opened today’s window of the Lego Advent Calendar, made toast and as another negative COVID test incubated I watched an episode of “Lost in Space” in which our heroes did frankly stupid things for no apparent reason. If your spaceship is about to launch and you have no possible other means of escape, do you *really* go wandering off into some strange caves?

 

With telly watched I had a quick look-see on-line. Consternation abounded in some of the Facebook “Doctor Who” groups. Having created a fan-made 1965 Doctor Who annual and taken hundreds (if not thousands) of orders for the thing, its creators were surprised to find that the BBC have threatened them with court action over breach of copyright. This is such a “sci-fi nerd” thing. Being a “sci-fi nerd” myself, back in the day I regularly used to go to a Star Trek themed pub in London. It was really good. It was such fun. And it too was shut down as it was making money on that which someone else had copyrighted.

sci-fi nerds” never seem to realise that their fun and delight is someone else’s livelihood.

And I had a message from the Facebook feds. They had reviewed the public posting that Oliveri Elina had made and had decided that advertising Whatsapp dating groups by saying ”there are many hot women in this group who need it. , so if you want vulgar or sexy women by your side, join our group because they are all free without money” doesn’t breach their community standards.

I would say “one lives and learns” but I think that this is something that wasn’t at all unexpected.

 

I didn't go straight to the car as I left home; I wandered up and down the road collecting half a dozen gnome hats, then drove round to Stanhope where I collected a dozen greeting cards. There's never a dull moment when playing Munzee.

When I finally headed in the direction of work the pundits on the radio were talking about an interview with Prince William who apparently likes the music of AC/DC and has said "There's nothing better on a Monday morning, when you're a bit bleary-eyed after the weekend and trying to get yourself back into the grind of the week..." I have to admit that this boiled my piss a little; what does he know about the grind of anything? I've always had respect for Prince William; perhaps he is trying to relate to the average person in the street? But he might have shot himself in the foot here. As time goes on, I find I'm not quite the ardent royalist I used to be.

There was also an interview with Jeremy Hunt who is currently chair of the government's Health and Social Care Select Committee. He was banging on about how the business model employed by most care homes in the UK is wrong. The interviewer picked him up on his phrase "business model"; Mr Hunt sees nothing wrong in making a profit out of caring for those in need... what a delightful fellow he must be. He went on to say that the terrible state that the country's social care is in is the result of the country's lack of long-term planning for social care... Nobody seemed to realise that he was Secretary of State for Health from September 2012 till July 2018 - the very person who should have been making those long-term plans.

 

I got to work and did my thing. During my lunch break I finished my current e-book. I've been reading e-books by Peter Cawdron recently. Have you ever heard of him? No - I hadn't either. His books are rather good. He writes the best sot of sci-fi - when the characters are believable you go along with the utterly implausible scenarios he creates. Look him up on Amazon and give him a go.

I've now downloaded the first "Harry Potter" book to my  phone's Kindle app. Let's see if it as good as i remember it being.

 

“er indoors TM” has gone bowling. I’ve updated the Advent calendar. I’ve got dogs curled up with me. I might just watch a few more episodes of “Lost in Space”…