20 July 2024 (Saturday) - Hic !

As I drove home yesterday evening the weather forecast said that it would be a hot and humid night and that people wouldn’t sleep well.
They were spot on, but too much ale did help.
 
I made toast and peered into the Internet as I do most mornings. There were petty squabbles about Lego and Star Trek, and endless adverts for Temu who seem to be making everything from children’s toys to saucy underwear these days.
Judging by the pictures I saw several people were on holiday; I suppose it’s the time of year for that. My old mate from Boys Brigade days who moves from hotel to hotel was posting to the world from the Lake District today. He says it is cheaper for him to lead the lifestyle he wants by moving form hotel to hotel rather than having a house of his own with all the associated expenses.
It’s another world, isn’t it?
I got Wordle on the fifth attempt. I also had another dubious friend request.
 
Being Saturday we drove round to Repton and Dog Club. We’d had three people asking about Dog Club in the week, and in a novel break with tradition two of them turned up. So often we have people asking so many questions about Dog Club and preparing us for a dramatic appearance, and then never showing up.
Dog Club went rather well. It was a shame that Pogo had to hump Kai, but there it is.
Having totally failed Steve’s “Guess the Lyrics” competition on the radio on the way to Dog Club we were out late and missed the Mystery Year competition on the way home.
 
We got home. The dogs immediately went to sleep. I counted up the Dog Club money and paid it into the bank, then cracked on. Washing on to the line, putting away the garden chairs from last night, running the shears over my head for a quick haircut, then popped over the road to get some beers for later.
Disaster.
For years the Polish shop over the road has had the best beer selection for miles. Today it was no different to Tesco. Such a disappointment.
 
“er indoors TM  slipped off shopping. I fell asleep on the sofa and dozed for an hour or so until she returned. We had a spot of lunch, then set off to Sittingbourne where we had a rather good afternoon sitting in Karl and Tracy’s garden drinking beer, eating pizza and putting the world to rights. There’s no denying that after six pints cracking the gin open might have been construed as a questionable move, but it was a move I would certainly do again.
We left Pogo there; he is now having a little holiday. We came home down the M20 following a train which was setting off all sorts of sparks as trains do. “er indoors TM said it was lightning; who am I to disagree (as Annie Lennox once sung).
I’ve got to be up early for work tomorrow… right now that seems rather ambitious.
 

19 July 2024 (Friday) - A Birthday Get-Together

I was rather late to bed last night and slept like a log until quarter to one, then dozed fitfully looking at the clock every twenty minutes. This happens every time I have an alarm set.
I got up at half past five and made toast which I scoffed whilst watching an episode of “Boomers”, then had a little look at the Internet. It was much the same as ever.
A new series of geocaches had gone live about an hour’s drive away. I featured in one of the caches; rather flattering to be mentioned. And overnight the people who’d supplied the pond waterfall attachments had sent an email saying they would accept the things back again, which was just as well because they are going back whether they would be accepted or not.
Three people on my Facebook list had a birthday today. I sent out birthday wishes, failed at Wordle, then got ready for work.
 
I set off to work... once I remembered where I'd left the car last night. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the upcoming presidential election in America. Donald Trump has been confirmed as the Republican candidate, and there are moves afoot to get someone who's not in their mid-eighties to be the Democrat candidate. Poor President Biden would seem to be quickly losing the confidence of everyone. The implication was that the American public are being faced with a choice between the incompetent and the incapable, and given such a choice no one wants to choose "incapable".
There was also an interview with the new Defence minister who is today meeting with the Ukrainian president who's got the arse because the UK government won't let them fire UK weapons into Russia. I must admit I was rather disappointed with the new Defence minister. After so many years of Conservatives, this Labour minister sounds exactly the same as the Tories in that he said a lot without saying anything.
I suppose that's politicians for you.
 
I did my bit, and came home. We had a rather good evening in the garden with friends having a little get-together in honour of a sixty-fifth birthday.
A very good evening… the fourth bottle of ale might have been a mistake…

18 July 2024 (Thursday) - Pies, Late Shift

I slept well last night (for a change) spending over nine hours asleep in my pit. That was something of a result.
As I made brekkie so my phone beeped. The car parking I’d bought on the Ringo app last night was about to expire. I hadn’t realized that there was free parking from six in the evening until eight in the morning, so by parking at quarter to six and getting an hour’s worth I’d effectively brought three quarters of an hour’s parking this morning. Woops.
I had my usual look at the Internet. There were a lot less people wanting to join the “Upstairs Downstairs” Facebook page I help moderate this morning. The show has started a re-run on ITV3 recently and the group which used to get two or three membership requests a week has recently been getting a couple of dozen every day.
There was an argument about the correct name of the Post Office Tower in London. Some people were pretending not to realise the thing was over sixty years old. Apparently it is to be converted into a hotel.
 
I munzed from the sofa and captured “er indoors TM’s baby dragon. Then took five goes to get today’s “Wordle”. At the risk of giving spoilers, today’s answer was “Nerdy” – rather appropriate. I wrote up some CPD. CPD (continuous professional development) is something I legally have to do to keep myself up to date with what’s going on at work, but to anyone who doesn’t test blood it would be incredibly dull. But within minutes of having written up an incredibly dry few lines about this week’s newsletter from Oncology Central, that entry had had views.
 
I set off to work... with a few moments to spare I thought I might pop into Matalan to get some more work shirts. They had stuff which was either utterly posh or totally casual. I'll have a look on Amazon later.
Bearing in mind the utter shambles that is Operation Brock I decided against going up the motorway. I took the A-road instead and stopped off at Lenham. I thought I might treat myself and got a steak and kidney pie from the local bakery. I took one bite and the thing utterly disintegrated and sprayed its contents everywhere. It wasn't so much a pie as a gravy-filled grenade. It was as well that it came with a foil tray; I ended up slurping the wreckage out of the tray. Pies do that. If you are ever going to scoff a pie, have a plate, knife and fork to hand.  Pasties and steak bakes are a different matter, but never trust a pie.
I didn't actually go to Lenham for the pie (I wish I hadn't now).  I've got a geocache near the church which has had reports of being missing. I had a little walk across the fields to where it was supposed to be and found it was missing. I replaced it. It was a shame that the people who logged it as missing couldn't have done that. You really can replace the thing quicker than you can write a log saying "it ain't there any more" and save me a load of pie-related arse-ache. But there it is.
 
I drove on to the petrol station for fuel both for the car and myself. Having learned from my earlier pie-related disaster I got a sandwich and a bag of crisps. And then it was on to work for the late shift. Work seemed rather odd, but then ever since I've gone part time it's seemed odd. I'm not quite sure why. I did my bit. I don't really like the late shifts, but there it is.
 
I came home to find my new waterfall attachment (for the bog filter) that I ordered from Amazon had arrived. It was far too small. That’s going back.

17 July 2024 (Wednesday) - Folkestone

I didn’t sleep that well last night. Shortly after I finally nodded off “er indoors TM ‘s alarm woke me, and then once she’d got up, Treacle started barking for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
I got up and made toast. The Internet was its usual argument. There was quite the squabble this morning about a flood relief weir in the far east on one of the Facebook pages I follow. Was it made in the twelfth century or in the 1980s? I would say “who cares” but it would seem quite a few people did care. You wouldn’t believe how heated people got over something so trivial.
 
“er indoors TM fed the dogs and I took them up to the woods. We had a rather good walk round. The place was surprisingly much muddier than it had been yesterday. We met two other groups of dogs, and Pogo’s reaction was entertaining. If the other dogs don’t get in first he screams. But if the puppies recognize the other dogs, then Pogo just stands and watches in amazement.
We walked for over an hour; at the end my watch said we’d covered over four miles.
Getting home was entertaining. We got to within a few hundred yards of home and found ourselves stuck behind the local DPD van. We’ve met this one a few times before; the chap who drives it is an idiot. When he has a delivery he doesn’t pull over, like anyone else would. He just stops his van in the middle of the road, saunters out to make the delivery, chats on the doorstep, then wanders back and drives on to the next port of call where he again blocks traffic in all directions.
 
We eventually got home. I hosed the mud from Morgan’s belly (no one else had a grubby tummy) then sorted a cuppa for me and “er indoors TM. I did dull housework for an hour or so, then spent a couple of hours ironing whilst watching a film on Netflix. “Unfrosted” was rather good -  a comedy about the origin of pop-tarts with an all-star cast including Tyrian Lanister out of Game of Thrones. After this I watched an episode of UFO – made in 1970 and supposedly set in 1980 it hasn’t aged well.
I wrote up a little CPD, then once “er indoors TM had finished work we drove down to Folkestone. There was a geo-meet on the Leas from which I collected a Mad Hatter trackable. And having met and chatted with (mostly) German tourists we took a little walk along the Leas before coming home.
 
Being rather late(ish) home we had KFC and watched more “Meet the Richardsons”.
I’ve got a guts ache now…

16 July 2024 (Tuesday) - Gardening

I had a restless night. When the dogs settle all is well; there’s plenty of space for them at the foot of the bed so why do they spend all night long trying to nudge me over?
 
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. There was consternation on one of the Jack Russell Facebook pages I follow. Someone had been banned because the only posts she ever made to that page were posts begging for money to pay for vet bills. The people implementing the ban took the line that being able to fund a dog was an integral part of having one. I thought that perhaps a tad harsh, if true.
And there was a semi-joking meme about how following the England football team’s defeat by the Spanish, sales of tapas have rocketed in Scotland and Wales… I wonder if that’s far from the truth There’s a really odd relationship between the countries of the so-called United Kingdom. The English aren’t really that bothered about the others, but the others *really* hate the English on the pretext of historical events from hundreds of years ago.
I’m always running into Welsh and Irish and Scots who really hate England and the English despite their living and working in Kent from where they couldn’t be further from their home country but still be on the same island.
 
I took the dogs up to the woods for a walk. We took a longer walk than we did yesterday, and my watch told me we walked a tenth of a mile less. What was that all about? I had a plan we’d been done before the forecast rain; sadly we weren’t. The rain started when we were about a mile from the car. We got rather wet, and the rain stopped on the drive home.
 
Once home I ran round with the Hoover, and rather than having a cuppa I got myself a Magnum ice cream from the shop over the road. They are two and a half quid each these days. Can you believe it?
I scoffed it as I watched drivel on the telly, and with drivel watched and ice cream scoffed I went into the garden and pootled. I trimmed the lawn edges, mowed the lawn, kicked the gravel to some semblance of tidiness, then did something I’ve been meaning to do for years.
We laid all the stones round the pond on 9 April 2007, and over the intervening seventeen years the world and his wife has felt obliged to throw the stones into the pond. I got a net and hoiked quite a few out. The trouble is that it isn’t easy to get to the bottom of the pond what with pumps and hoses and leccie cables all over the place, but I got quite a lot out.
As is always the way when working in the garden after four hours I was worn out, and the garden looked just the same as when I’d started.
 
I fed the fish, spent a little while staring at the pond, then looking at Amazon. My pond’s bog filter isn’t big enough. I’ve twice tried to expand it, and both times I’ve made the mistake of trying to do so on the cheap. The first time I bought things which simply didn’t fit, and ended up throwing good money after bad and building a second pond. The second time I bought a cheap tank which I bodged into place but didn’t bother putting in the effort to sink it in the ground and I’ve got something which will look OK all the time that plants are in full growth (as they are now) but will look dreadful in a couple of months’ time.
I’ve bought a couple of waterfall blades. Once they arrive I shall get some sleepers that fit them. Then in the autumn I shall spend a couple of days doing some serious carpentry and digging a hole.
I also got a small hand-held pressure washer as setting up my current one is too much arse ache, more armpit squirt and a couple of bottles of smelly. I’ve been sweating a lot recently and don’t want to be whiffy(!)
 
I then dozed until “er indoors TM boiled up some dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the most recent series of “Meet the Richardsons”.
Supposedly the Richardsons have split up… I can’t help but wonder if this is something purely for the telly show. 

15 July 2024 (Monday) - St Swithin's Day

I slept reasonably well. Periodically I wonder about moving house; an en-suite would be nice as it is quite a trek to the toilet in the night.
I had a rather quick brekkie this morning then popped down the road to the dentist to see if I could get an appointment today. This week’s receptionist (there’s someone new every time I go) seemed surprised I went to the surgery rather than phoning; I asked if she’d ever phoned the surgery and she gave me a rather embarrassed smile. They said they could fit me in at lunch time, so I went home, put a load of washing in to scrub and took the dogs out.
 
As we drove to the woods the pundits on the radio were talking about last night’s big football game. It turned out that the England team didn’t win, so there’s no Bank Holiday to be had. There was talk about the manager of the England team being sacked because of the defeat. I don’t know much about it, but it strikes me that being a football team manager is a thankless task; they seem to get sacked very regularly.
 
We got to the woods; we had a rather good walk. One of our usual ones that didn’t take the slope down and the consequential slope back up again. It was a shame that Treacle had to wade through the swamp, but that’s what she does.
After four miles we were back at the car. We met a few other dogs; I wish Pogo wouldn’t scream at them. He didn’t bark or go up to them or be in any way annoying or threatening. He just screamed. He does that. I wish he wouldn’t.
 
We came home. I pegged out the washing, put more in and made us both a cuppa. There was a minor disaster in that when we wrote the shopping list yesterday we forgot we’d run out of biccies. Fortunately we’ve a job lot of expired Snickers bars from the Bargain Warehouse, so we had one of those each.
I had my root round the Internet rather later than usual today. But it was much the same as ever. People were arguing about garden ponds, crackpot religions, dogs, Star Trek…
Google told me that I am one of the top ten pub reviewers…
I saw someone I used to know was moving house today. He and his nearest and dearest have sold up and are moving hundreds of miles away to start a new life. Quite a few friends have done this over the last few months and years. Wales, Scotland, East Anglia, the West Country…people want to be anywhere but the South East it would seem. Some people moved to be with family and friends. Some moved for a job. Some are going home. Others just took a leap into the unknown, which is rather brave.
Sometimes I think I’d like to move house. Somewhere with off-street parking and a chodbin closer to my pit. But where… either Ashford, or *just possibly* (but incredibly unlikely) back to Hastings. I suppose I took a leap of faith when I moved from Hastings to Folkestone all those years ago, and another when I went from Folkestone to Ashford. But I was young and brave then.
 
I went down the road to the dentist where the waiting room was rather full. But again like with any medical appointment the person having the appointment had brought along an entire tribe to keep them company.
With my gob fixed I then went on to the pet shop to get some odds and sods, and as I was in there so the drizzle started. I came home to find “er indoors TM had brought in the washing from the line. Together with that which was in the washing machine I struggled to find space to air out all the damp washing.
With damp washing spaced out we had a cuppa with biccies. “er indoors TM daid we had biccies; I just couldn’t find them.
 
I then cracked on with something I’ve been meaning to do for ages; a general little tidy up round the chodbin. Wiping the blind took twenty minutes. I washed the walls down, scrubbed the skirting boards and generally tidies up a bit. It took an hour and at the end I was knackered and, like gardening, it looked just the same as it did when I started.
I then spent an hour writing up CPD. As I wrote up I kept glancing out of the window. In the great scheme of things cleaning the bathroom and writing CPD had been pencilled in for tomorrow. Today was supped to be an “in the garden” afternoon. But I’d come home from the pet shop in the drizzle, and the radio was giving yellow warnings of rain and thunderstorms. However the rain stopped about ten minutes after I got home, and the afternoon was rather dry.
 
“er indoors TM sorted dinner then went bowling. I’ve settled myself in front of the telly for the evening.
This forecast torrential rain hasn’t come yet. I wonder if it will? After all, if it rains hard today, it will supposedly rain all summer.

14 July 2024 (Sunday) - Cheeky FTF

Last night I saw that the First to Find was still waiting on that geo-puzzle I solved yesterday, so my plan for the morning was to wake at dawn, nip down to the marsh to find it and be back in bed before anyone realized I’d gone.
However far too much ale and port yesterday meant that it was nearly ten o’clock before I rose from my pit.
 
I had a little look in the garden when I got up. Yesterday I’d put two loads of washing onto the line which both got soaked in yesterday’s rain. This morning they were drying nicely. This weekend’s weather is typical for the second weekend of July. In years gone by we would have gone to Brighton Kite Festival for the second weekend of July and we would have had one day of glorious sunshine and one day of torrential rain. Every time.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet as I do. It was still there.
Seeing that the First to Find was still waiting on that cache on the marsh we took the dogs down to the marsh to see if we might get it. We parked up, and according to the map we had to follow a footpath across the fields for a little way, so the dogs got a little run. We got to where the GPS said that the geocache was. I saw a likely looking place, and after a minute or so it was in my hand. No one else had signed it. We were first. Result.
We then went on for a minor wander round Lydd, then took a rather circuitous route home.
 
Once home, seeing the laundry on the line had dried I put still more in to wash, then with “er indoors TM off shopping I spent a little while generally tidying up around the house before having a cheeky little doze on the sofa. I seem to be doing that more and more just lately. Dozing on the sofa that is, not tidying up.
 
“er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a bottle of Sainsbury’s claret. It went down rather well as I carried on washing undercrackers. As the rest of the country was busy shouting at the telly, I was washing undercrackers.
This evening the England football team was playing in the final of some big European tournament. I only mention this because there is talk that if the England team win (note that’s “the England team” and *not* “England”) then the Prime Minister might get the King to give us all an extra Bank Holiday. I have no interest whatsoever in the football, but I’m quite keen on getting a bonus Bank Holiday. Or half of one I suppose, as I now only work part time.
 
And I’ve lost half a tooth. I’ll go bother the dentist in the morning.