20 January 2019 (Sunday) - Tunbridge Wells

We had a terrible night with Pogo and Treacle stomping all over us pretty much all night long. I wish they would settle down and sleep in the small hours like I would if given half a chance..
Over brekkie I peered into the Internet. Yesterday evening I posted to Facebook telling the world I’d defriended someone because I was sick of seeing their constant posting of nasty hatred. Overnight twenty-odd people had sent messages of support. I was pleased about that; it is *so* easy to spread nastiness on the internet. Just one click and more hatred circulates. Is it *really* that difficult to take a few seconds to realise that just because someone wasn’t born within five miles of where you were born doesn’t make then a child-molesting anti-christ?
I spent a few minutes posting out birthday wishes to friends. Whenever Facebook prompts me that it is someone’s birthday I send them a video that I made. It is getting a tad old now; I really need to make a new one. Between clicks I saw that babies born in January and February are more likely to grow up to be rich and famous. Didn’t work for me…

With the dogs and ourselves organised we set off in the general direction of Royal Tunbridge Wells. For all that I have been working there (on and off) for the last year, I’ve not really explored any of the area. We thought we might put that right today. Pausing only briefly in Goudhurst to clear up dog vomit (Pogo “blew”) we were soon at where we’d been told was free parking. We’d been lied to; we had to stump up seven quid for a day’s parking. A tad steep? Well, we were in Royal Tunbridge Wells.
We soon met up with Karl, Tracy and Charlotte, and we set off on a little walk mapped out by sixteen or so geocaches. It was a really good walk; just right for a brisk winter’s day. Mind you it wasn’t that brisk that the dogs didn’t want to play in the stream. Pogo’s not overly fussed about water, but Fudge and Treacle love it. Treacle particularly gets over-excited in the water.

After a while we found ourselves back at the car. As we scoffed sandwiches we were approached by a passing vagrant. We could tell we were in a posh area. Usually the passing vagrants ask if you’d like a sip of their brasso before starting a fight with an invisible opponent and then pissing themselves. However this passing vagrant asked if we would like to buy some gin which he assured us wasn’t stolen. When we declined his polite offer he then offered razors or raisins (we couldn’t determine which).

With sandwiches scoffed and tramps politely off bothering others we walked up the hill to Wellington Rocks. There was a minor fracas when Fudge hopped on the back of another dog. Usually dog people laugh this off this sort of thing as being what dogs do. This dog’s entourage wasn’t impressed though; it clearly wasn’t what polite dogs did in Royal Tunbridge Wells.
We got to the rocks where there was an Earthcache for us to do. For the uninitiated an Earthcache is a bit like doing your geology homework. You go there, read the questions that have been set for you (on the app or website) and then email your answer (blah blah sandstone) to someone who gave up the whole idea of geocaching several years ago. Some of us did the geo-thing, others played on the rocks.

We made our way back to the cars along a route which led us past a few more geocaches, and then (once changed out of boots) we walked in to the town centre. As we walked we went past a geocache the instructions of which said it was up a tree. We thought we’d have a look. We looked and saw it pretty much right away. About twenty metres up. We decided not to bother with that one, and walked on to the Sussex Arms.
The Sussex Arms – what a find! No food nonsense. Just a proper pub selling beer. We sat in a corner on rather comfortable leather sofas drinking our favourite tipples. I had a couple of rather good pints before it was time to move on.

We fund time for a quick geo-resuscitation before heading homewards. As we drove Pogo was rather fractious. He wasn’t settling. We stopped in Goudhurst for him to have a little walk and to get some air, but he “blew” again just outside Bethersden. It is as well that "er indoors TM" had mats covering the back seat of her car; he “blew” rather impressively.

Once home I posted up an album of photos of the day, and then "er indoors TM" made some tea. We scoffed it whilst watching this week’s episode of “The Orville” which was surprisingly good. Both the TV show and the tea. The walk had worn out the hounds and it was good to eat tea without a furry audience…

19 January 2019 (Saturday) - Surprisingly Busy

I got up in the night and pulled the duvet two feet in my direction; it’s not "er indoors TM" that hogs it, fidgeting dogs drag the thing about. However pulling the thing back disturbed Fudge, who then spent the remainder of the night grumbling about every tiniest little disturbance.
I managed to stay in my pit until eight o’clock when I could take his whinging no more. I got up and sparked up my lap-top. As I mooched in cyber-space so Fudge came downstairs and lay on the sofa next to me. He was soon snoring. He sleeps so soundly on the sofa; nothing bothers him there. If only he slept so soundly upstairs.

I spent a little while fighting with the geo-puzzles that went live last week with varying success. I strained my brain until "er indoors TM" was ready, and we took the dogs round the park for a walk. What with no late shifts or night shifts this week and the dark nights I’d not been round the park for what seemed like ages. To be honest it hadn’t changed much, and apart from a minor fracas in the co-op field the walk passed off pretty much without incident.

We came home, settled the hounds, and drove down to De Bradlei Wharf in Dover. "er indoors TM" had got some boots reserved in the shop where Tracy works. We got the boots, some amazing gadget for taking boots off with, polish brushes, shoe horns, and chatted for a bit before moving on.
We had a good mooch about; De Bradlei Wharf is an odd place. I thought it was a shopping centre… it is actually more like one enormous shop with various departments not entirely unlike the old department stores of years gone by (like “Grace Brothers”).
Feeling rather peckish we popped into Cullin’s yard where we had a rather good dinner which was washed down with a pint of one of the best stouts I’ve ever had. A stout which they brewed themselves.

We came home via the carpet shop. The carpet in the hallway and up the stairs is looking a tad threadbare. It was old when we moved into the house, and we’ve been here twenty-eight years. The nice man is coming to measure up in a few days’ time.

Once home we had a cuppa, and I looked at the Lego set I’d bought over Christmas and the one "er indoors TM" got me for Christmas. With a little rummaging in my spares box I managed to get two complete houses together.
I need to get to the Lego shop for some base plates for the next stage of the project.
As "er indoors TM" pootled and tided I carried on battling with geo-puzzles. After some incredibly serious brain-straining and frantic emails and messages swapping futile ideas here and there I now only have two puzzles left to solve. Needless to say, these are the fiendishly difficult ones…

Having had a rather humungous lunch neither of us were very hungry this evening, so tea was a bag of crisps and a glass of lemonade whilst watching the first episode of season two of “Star Trek: Discovery”. I suspect that one day it will be a classic, but right now I’m not feeling it.
I suppose I should really program “Hannah” for tomorrow…

18 January 2019 (Friday) - A Petition

I was awake before the alarm this morning. Not by much, but still awake. Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Little Britain" (go Netflix!). After all these years it is still funny. I got myself organised, and letting sleeping dogs lie I set off to work. Yesterday the weather forecast had told me there would be a hard frost this morning. There wasn't.

As I drove the pundits on the radio spewed their usual brand of drivel. There would seem to be a national shortage of medicines. The people being interviewed on the matter were crystal clear that Brexit was not to blame. Apparently pharmacies and patients and GPs are stockpiling them for fear of shortages after Brexit which has caused shortages now. But Brexit is not to blame.
Personally I'd lump "Brexit" and "fear of Brexit" in together, but what do I know?
Needless to say there was loads of talk about Brexit itself. Loads of talk, but no news about it. We've had all the speculation ad-nauseum; I think it fair to say we are all sick of it. It is now time to crap, or to get off the pan (to coin a phrase).
There was also talk about the age of the rings of the planet Saturn.  There has been a marked change in the way that Radio Four deals with anything remotely scientific. Up until recently, anything vaguely science-related was treated with mild disdain and sarcasm. But that's changed, and it is reported no differently to anything else.
I wonder if I wasn't the only person who'd complained?

As I had a few minutes spare before work I took a little diversion to the petrol station. That stuff is seemingly getting cheaper every time I fill up (not that I'm in any way complaining).
Once at work I put in my choices for Bank Holiday shifts. As I've said before I get a *lot* of time off mid-week when everyone else is working. The flip side is that I work when everyone else doesn't. Easter Monday is (for me) a goner, as is (effectively) the spring Bank Holiday. But May Day and August seem to be good for me. Two out of four Bank Holidays off this year? I'll take that,

I did what I couldn’t avoid at work, then came home and walked the dogs round the block. We would have gone further, but it was getting dark.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of scoff as she does, then went out on the razzle. As the dogs snored I watched the first two episodes of this season of SAS: Who Dares Wins. In this season they are simulating alpine warfare up the Andes, and there are women taking part along with the men. Those ladies are double-hard; I wouldn’t mess with any of them.
I do like this show. I particularly like anything with Ant Middleton in it.

And I’m going to end today with a little request to all my loyal readers. Could I ask you all to sign a petition? You can see what it is all about by clicking here. In a nutshell, in order for me to be able to work I have to pay the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) ninety quid every year. This is a legal requirement, and if I don’ pay, I can’t work. Not content with my ninety quid, they want to put the fee up by another eighteen per cent. I’d rather they didn’t.
The HCPC is an independent self-financing organisation which is funded purely from the fees it collets from the likes of me, and all sorts of other medical professionals. Interestingly they spend five thousand quid a year for their works Christmas beano. Which is five thousand quid more than my employer spent on the Christmas beano, and is the equivalent of the annual contributions of over fifty registrants.
So please sign that petition…