1 April 2020 (Wednesday) - After the Night Shift

Yesterday evening I had this naïve idea that when I got petrol I might also get some food from Sainsbury's filling station for the night shift.
Oh dear...
I got to the filling station in Aylesford to find that the door to the kiosk was locked. They were only selling petrol (no food), and all transactions were being conducted via a drawer underneath a window. There were two people inside the kiosk. One was doing a barely adequate job of dealing with the public by taking their money; the other just seemed to be getting in his way. The one who wasn't taking the money was determined that no one in the forecourt should stand within ten yards of anyone else, and several times leaned on top of the one doing the work so that he could rudely bellow out through the serving drawer. It struck me as odd that this fellow was concerned that I should not be within ten yards of someone else whilst queuing to pay for petrol, but he was quite happy to be physically on top of his colleague.
Perhaps they were very good friends?
Seeing there was no food to be had I went up to the Sainbury's supermarket where there were two women guarding the door. One said I had five minutes to get my shopping; the other said I was too late. I walked away leaving them having an argument about the time.
If nothing else their petrol was fifteen pence a litre cheaper than it was a month ago.

I went into work and did my night shift. Fortunately I'd brought a sandwich so I wasn't as hungry as I might have been. Bearing in mind that we needed some bits and bobs I went back to Sainsbury’s after work. They were apparently opening half an hour early for NHS staff…

I got to the supermarket to find a queue of dozens of people waiting outside. I marched up to the front and asked if this was the queue for the NHS workers. “Oh no” I was told with a smile. “In you go”. Everyone else who was lined up was just waiting for the store to open properly. It was all rather embarrassing really. I apologised to the people in the queue and (rather pathetically) explained that I’d been up all night to which I got smiles and thumbs-up and was told the quicker I got my shopping the quicker I’d be back to work.
So I went into the store and somehow walked through a portal into another dimension.
Outside everyone was happy and smiling. Inside the customers were all in worlds of their own, and the staff all had faces like smacked arses. I asked one assistant where such-and-such was. She turned from the shelf she was filling, told me she didn’t work there and was a shopper like me, and went back to filling her shelf. When I went to the check-out to pay, the sourpuss at the till told me that I would rather use the self-service counter.

As I came home I listened to the radio. I did chuckle when one expert put the pundits on the radio in their place. He told them that their trouble was that they kept giving air-time to people who were talking about matters of public health, disease control and epidemiology when they clearly didn’t know anything about it.
I think that fellow had a point.

Once home I unloaded the shopping, went to bed and slept right through until Pogo woke me by treading on my goolies. Pogo is a lump, and when he treads on your goolies, you know about it.
I spent a few minutes making a Lego van for Lego world; I’ve got this idea of incorporating a Lego used car lot but until my base plates arrive I can’t really do very much with Lego world. I had a look on eBay to track them. They’ve left China and have an estimated delivery date of any time between Friday 3 April and Thursday 14 May. That’s rather precise, isn’t it.

"er indoors TM" took a lunch break and we took the dogs to the park. Why is it that when I go to the park I meet all the “special” and “delightful” people, but when she comes along we never meet any of them?
As luck would have it, "My Boy TM" and Cheryl were at the park taking little Rolo for a walk (Treacle spotted them first). We shouted hellos and walked together in a socially distanced manner. Not for fear of contracting any viruses but just in case any do-gooder might squeal us up for being an unlawful gathering.
We came home via the co-op field where Treacle and Pogo shot through a hedge into someone’s garden where then spent five minutes eating unmentionable stuff from a compost heap.

We came home; "er indoors TM" got on with her working from home, there seemed to be quite a kerfuffle with some client who had a problematical dongle. I put “Bottom” on Netflix and spent a couple of hours doing the ironing.
I hope its dinner time soon. I’m feeling rather peckish and I bought strawberries and cream when I went shopping earlier,,,

31 March 2020 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift


Over brekkie I watched “Lake Escapes”; a program in which two celebrity anglers went fishing in a river. I have a theory about celebrity anglers. They aren’t on telly because they are any good at fishing; they are on telly because they come over very well on-screen. Take today’s pair who were brandishing fishing rods as though they were swords. When the fish takes the bait you should gently pick up the rod. You *shouldn’t* thrash the thing back over your head as though trying to launch the fish into orbit.
This was followed by the morning TV news in which it would seem that both the  National Police Chiefs' Council and the College of Policing have issued a statement telling the police to be consistent in their approach to forcing the ongoing lock-down. It does nothing for public confidence in the Boys in Blue when they publicly lambast people for walking in the countryside when (it transpires) that these people live there.

Usually I wouldn’t go out for the morning dog-walk at half-past eight but with the world on lock-down, half-past eight was rather quiet. We only had one “episode” as we walked our usual circuit. As we came through Bowen’s Field some woman started shrieking at me from her garden. “Your dog’s done a shit” she continually ranted. When I turned round she ran into her house, closed the door and peered at me from behind the net curtains. I think she’d got confused as Treacle squats to tiddle, so we carried on. This harridan ran back into her garden and started squawking again. And again when I stopped she ran back inside. I went back and had a look but could discover no errant turds. This continued for five minutes before I finally shouted back that unless she could direct me to the site of the download, then I could do nothing.
The woman glowered at me from the safety of her kitchen.
We went on into the park where we met quite a few more joggers than usual, and a few dog walkers too. My wolf-pack all played nicely with the other dogs. And I did chuckle when I saw the remains of a kite flapping in a tree. You can tell that the normal people are using the park more and more - I can’t remember the last time anyone flew a kite in Viccie Park.
As dog-walks go, this was one of the better ones.

We came home, I went round the garden with a trowel and bucket and harvested a bumper crop of dog turds. It never fails to amaze me how the dogs manage to “do” anything when we go out when you consider how much they’ve already “done” in the back garden.
Usually I would then slob in front of the telly, but with "er indoors TM" working from home I didn’t want to make too much noise. So I wrote up some CPD (dull!). As I wrote so the door bell rang. The job lot of fish food I’d ordered at the weekend had arrived. At only two thirds of the price of the stuff I got last year it seems to be quite the bargain. Or it will be *if* the fish eat it and *if* it doesn’t cloud up the pond.
I then spent a little while creating the last of the web pages that will describe the geo-walk I’m planning for Kings Wood (once normality is resumed). I eventually got them done. All I need now is a puzzle for each, and to go and actually put film pots under rocks once normality is restored.

I spent most of the afternoon asleep with Fudge on the bed with me. "er indoors TM" working from home meant there was no dogs barking at all during the afternoon which made for a good few hours’ shut-eye.
I’m off to the night shift soon. I wonder how coronageddon will affect it?

30 March 2020 (Monday) - House Party


After a rather fraught night I poured away the last of the skanky milk and opened a fresh bottle for this morning’s brekkie. I watched an episode of “The Good Place” before having my morning’s root around Facebook. Quite a few people were posting brain-teasers on Facebook (which is more than many usually do), but there was a worrying undercurrent of resentment aimed at the NHS workers. A week ago the sun was shining out of the bum of the NHS workers; this morning there were quite a few other key workers who were rather envious of all the free coffee, half-price pizza and special shopping hours supposedly being offered to NHS staff.
There is something of a misunderstanding here. The free coffee and half-price pizza are very limited in numbers (maybe fifty to one hundred when there are about a thousand or so eligible for the offer), and these offers are issued on a first-come first-served basis.  Advertised by internal email, they are snapped up by those who have time to be constantly reading internal emails.
As for the special shopping hours, speaking for myself the special shopping hours coincide with when I’m working, and from what I’ve heard any “key worker” can turn up; the criteria for being a “key worker” being to declare yourself as such.

I got dressed taking care to let sleeping dogs lie. Now that we are in British Summer Time I put on a thinner summer shirt (I have winter shirts and summer shirts – it came as something of a surprise to find that most people don’t) and set off work-wards. As I walked to my car I was very conscious that I wasn't wearing a winter shirt. The summer ones are much thinner and it was rather cold this morning.

Last week the roads in the morning had been much the same as ever, this morning the roads were noticeably quieter. Lock-down is starting to really take effect. As I drove there was talk of the virus on the morning news. It would seem that this lock-down will realistically be in place for at least three more months.  Looking back over the last few weeks I was rather sceptical about the whole coronageddon pandemic when it first kicked off.
It would seem that I was wrong.
However the whole thing is a classic example of "the boy who cried wolf" isn't it? With the media having been declaring the end of the world so many times over the years, when something serious happens (like this current pandemic), no one takes it seriously. I certainly didn't. I would suggest this is why so many people are still flaunting the advice to stay at home and are still staging parties and barbecues.
And talking of serious, the pundits on the radio were saying that the virus has now taken a hold in Africa (a little behind the rest of the world). If there was ever any doubt, my Moroccan jolly planned for July is now definitely out of the window. I just hope that the week away planned for August can still go ahead. At this rate I can see my holiday this year being downscaled to a weekend in a tent in the back garden.

I got to work for the early shift. Some early shifts are straight-forward. This one wasn't.
My plan was to go to Aldi after work. I went to Aldi, took one look at the queue and came home. I got the odds and sods we needed from the corner shop, then took the dogs round the park for a walk.

One of the many disadvantages of coronageddon is that what with many people off work and not allowed to drive and are only allowed out once a day, Viccie Park is getting more than its fair share of “The Great Unwashed” who until last week would never set foot in the place from one year to the next.
We met a young family. Mum and dad had three young children with bikes. They had clearly never ridden their bikes before; all were going full-pelt in straight lines and could only stop by jamming on the brakes and falling off. Mother or father would then run up, stop the crying, and watch helplessly as each child then sped off again only to be in tears thirty seconds later.
We met a musclebound chap doing his sit-ups. Pogo thought it was a great game and started licking his face.
And then we saw a father and young child both on a scooter being towed by a dog the size of a cart-horse. It was going rather well up to the point when a squirrel ran across the path in front of the dog…

It was with a sense of relief that we left the park, but just as we were passing the shop up the road from home I overheard some “delightful young lady” bellowing into her phone that she’d gone right through the park and was at the shops by Singleton. I wondered if I should tell her that the shops by Singleton were about two miles away, but I thought it best not to interfere in other people’s balls-ups.

I phoned my mum and dad to wish them a happy wedding anniversary. Ideally we would have visited, but visiting isn’t something that happens at the moment. And having phoned them we had an experimental video game with "My Boy TM" and his tribe. “House Party” is a rather good app in which you can see people with the video camera whilst playing silly games.
If only I could get my mum to do this sort of thing…