11 September 2017 (Monday) - Packing, Glands

It was cold when I got up this morning. So cold that I turned the central heating on. Once it had warmed up I bled a couple of the radiators then had a look-see at the Internet. I found myself getting more wound up about the virtual geocache reward for the best cachers thingy. Take for example this one - the chap who got it has only hidden three caches; the most recent hide being five years ago. How much time, effort and money has this person contributed to the hobby compared with any of the wonderful people in Kent who put out enough caches that I have a several-mile-long dog walk (at least once every week), something to puzzle about most evenings, and something to do on the way to every late shift (and still have loads in reserve to be getting on with)? There are those who deserve these virtual caches, but there are so many people who contribute more and who haven’t been recognised. And I’m now getting more and more wound up that no one else seems in the slightest bit bothered about this.

The dogs and I hitched a lift with "er indoors TM" up to the Repton manor estate and we walked home (past a relatively new geocache). We came through the park just as the forecast rain arrived two hours early, and we got even wetter as I waited whilst Fudge played in the river.
Once home I settled the dogs and drove off to the cashpoint machine, then made a start on packing for our holiday. Due to a minor mix-up with pounds and kilogrammes I found myself wasting time stripping the suitcase barer than it ever needed to be. I’ve probably not packed enough; when I go away I usually pack far too much.
If I need more… I’m told that abroad has shops?

Jimbo called round to get instructions for the next week as he’s going to be house-sitting; if nothing else it will be a holiday for him as well as us. And with Jimbo suitably instructed on the dogs’ habits and the care of my monkey-puzzle tree he set off back to work and I took Fudge to the vet. He’s been worrying the base of his tail quite a bit recently. That is usually a sign that his anal glands “need doing”.
I must admit I keep myself deliberately in the dark as to what exactly “needs doing” with anal glands; I take him to the vets, the nice nurse takes him away, and five minutes all is done. The nice nurse told me that there was a lot to be “done” this time, and asked me all sorts of questions about things best not questioned.

I then spent ten minutes talking to the nice man at Hastings Direct. A little while ago I harangued a colleague for never posting anything on Facebook. Being a nosey sort of person I like seeing what everyone else is up to, and I never hesitate to tell the world my trivia. However my ex-colleague declined to do so. He was adamant that telling the world what he was doing was an open invitation to burglars, and that checking in to anywhere away from home invalidated your house contents insurance policy. This has been preying on my mind for a while, and bearing in mind I shall be a little way away from home over the next week I thought I’d get expert advice.
Let’s just say that the nice man at Hastings Direct laughed when I asked.

Pausing only briefly to repair the bathroom blind that collapsed at the most awkward time, "er indoors TM" boiled up dinner then went bowling. I settled in front of the telly with my dogs and watched “Victoria”. I think an early night might be in order…

I’m now off on my holidays for a week or so. To save weight I’m not taking my lap-top and blogging from my phone isn’t practical. So I’ll see you all in a week or so…
And (much as I like the song) let’s hope I shall be rid of this ear-worm by the time I return. Even if it has got to #6 in the album charts

10 September 2017 (Sunday) - Home Alone

With absolutely no reason to get up early today I was wide awake at 6am. After an hour I finally conceded I was just wasting time by laying in bed and got up. I set the washing machine going, had some brekkie and wasted time on the sofa instead.
I got my lap-top going and my piss boiled when I got a notification about a virtual geocache in Germany. The chap who’d hidden it has been singled out as one of the world’s of one per cent of geocachers. Guess how much he’s contributed to the hobby? He’s hidden seven caches. Seven. And of that seven, two have been archived and one is currently disabled. How on Earth does that put him in the top one per cent? And later in the day I got notification about another similar one. Seven…
(As a point of reference I’ve hidden nearly two hundred over the years…)

With nothing else happening on social media I set the washing machine loose on some whites then fiddled about with some old diaries I’d found. I had finally unearthed my notes from the time we took the scouts to Canada seventeen years ago, and I put together a little website of the event. You can see it by clicking here, but I doubt it is of any interest to anyone who didn’t go.
I hung washing on the line. I did more website, I hung more washing on the line.

I got the dogs organised, then went round to meet "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". Together with Pogo we went for a little walk to South Willesborough and came home past the river. As we walked the dogs generally had a whale of a time. We had a little episode when "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" ran up someone’s garden path and kicked over all their ornamental lights. Having done this, he then loudly announced to the world “Jakey break the lights”. Whilst his mother unleashed a can of woop-ass on him I fell about laughing.
"Daddy’s Little Angel TM" returned Pogo home and walked with us as far as Asda. She had shopping to do. We came home where I got out the Hoover and tidied up a little. Looking at the black clouds I got the laundry off of the washing line, then realising it was already mid-day I realised I had to decide about lunch. I had thought about getting myself a pub lunch. But by the time I’d wandered over to Hythe Road and paid for lunch and a pint (or two)… So I got some scran from the KFC (for a third of the price of the pub) and devoured it watching an episode of “Plebs” which I streamed from You-Tube (or “lube-tube” as "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" calls it). And with lunch scoffed I got on with the ironing and watched more “Plebs” as the heavy rain fell outside.

I knew I was going to be at a bit of a loose end today. As a late birthday treat "er indoors TM"’s workmates were taking her to London for the party in the park event in Hyde park. I could have gone canoeing with the geo-crowd, but "er indoors TM" is the master canoeist. I’m just crew – it is her that has the licence. And with the car having been valeted in readiness for the airport run in a couple of days’ time I didn’t want to fill it with grubby dogs or fishing gear. But by the time I’d walked the dogs and done the ironing, sorted my undercrackers and fallen asleep in front of the telly it was 5pm, and it had rained for much of the day anyway.

Flushed with success at publishing my holiday diaries from the year 2000 this morning, I then created a similar website about the scouts trip to America and Canada which I helped run in 2004. You can see it by clicking here but again will probably only mean anything to those who were there. Creating the website kept me constructively occupied for an hour; I was only disturbed by the dogs barking at their own shadows.

I vaguely thought about a pub dinner, but I saw there was live music starting at 5pm. I say “live music”; some live music is good, but most is noise. So as the rain got heavier I turned the telly on again and got comfortable with my dogs…

9 September 2017 (Saturday) - Shorne

I had something of a traumatic start to the day – I went for a tiddle at 6am and trod in dog sick. That is the second time the puppy has blown after being allowed to finish off the fish batter. I didn’t really get back to sleep again after that.

I got up and had a look at the Internet. Overnight Jerry Pournelle had died. Perhaps not a household name, but he co-wrote one of my all-time favourite books as well as several others. “The Mote in God’s Eye”, “Footfall”, “Lucifer’s Hammer”, “The Legacy of Heorot”… It is because of him that every fishing and canoeing trip I take has me looking at the water just wondering if a Grendel will come flying out at me.
The corners of Facebook in which I lurk were full of praise for Sparks’ latest album (which I mentioned yesterday), but not a lot else was going on in cyberspace.

I then spent a couple of hours in the garden. The lawn needed attention. Firstly the dog turds had to be cleared, then I strimmed the edges and mowed the rest. I then wasted half an hour hacking at the overgrowth from not-so-nice-next door’s jungle. I stopped her in the street the other day and complained about the jungle, but she looked at me like I was the shit on her shoe.
I wonder if I might squirt weed killer over her fence?
I then spent the best part of an hour scrubbing out the fish pond filter. It is a simple enough job, but it has the drawback that (no matter how hard I scrub) my hands smell of fish turds for the next day or so.

"er indoors TM" came up with cake for lunch and then went off to take "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and Sid to the vet. He’s hurt his leg. I did say to "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" that setting up with a vet on the other side of town wasn’t a good idea.
Whilst she was out I got some spare house keys cut (just in case).

We got the dogs (and ourselves) organised and set off to Shorne where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we went for a six-mile walk. It was a rather good walk along well-marked footpaths along a variety of paths and roads. As we walked we heard parakeets and saw a possible UFO landing site. We lost the dogs a couple of times as they flew off investigating the sort of imaginary things that inhabit canine heads. We saw sheep wearing hoods for no apparent reason. Karl nearly fell in a river. We saw a warship sailing up the Thames towards London; we hoped it was one of ours.
Cache-wise this was a perfect walk. Well-maintained and easy-to-find caches with useful concise hints and clear directions. If only more cache series were like this.

After six miles we were back at the cars. We walked a hundred yards to the nearby pub. It looked a tad posh, but they let us bring the dogs in. As well as decent ale they had flavoured pork scratchings. Flavoured pork scratchings - -have you ever heard of such wonders? It was only a shame that two of the three flavours were awful. But three pints of Otter ale slipped down nicely.

I took a few photos as we walked. Once home I transmitted then to a waiting world. With "er indoors TM" off out watching films I might just watch one myself…