29 December 2010 (Wednesday) - Stuff

I woke to find the house empty. That was nice (!) I sulked for a bit, then went on the internet over a spot of brekkie. A couple of days ago whilst we were at Dover Castle we joined English Heritage. I’ve been putting this off for years, and to be honest we joined against my better judgement. This morning I called up the English Heritage website to see exactly what I’ll get for my money (all eighty-something quid of it!). Having had a look round the website, I think I’ve been conned.
Take my home county: there are twenty seven English Heritage properties in Kent. Many of them are open over the winter, the Knights Templar church in Dover is a classic example of the sort of thing. But one ramshackle wall (which has fallen over) looks (to my uneducated eye) much like another. And to add insult to injury, most of the places which are open all year long are free to the public anyway. The few places they’ve got which aren’t tumble-down broken wreckage don’t actually open until the summer when I’ve got all sorts of better things to do.
So I thought I might have a look farther away. In our neighbouring counties there’s rather thin pickings. There are ten English Heritage sites in Essex, two in Surrey, three in East Sussex and two in West Sussex. Most of which are al-fresco remains of things which collapsed years ago, and have been rotting since Methuselah was a lad, and are free to visit anyway.
I think I might send them the cost of Tuesday’s trip to Dover Castle and cancel the direct debit.

I then downloaded a manual for my new camera. I say “new” – a good friend had a FujiFilm FinePix S5600 gathering dust in the cupboard, and I’ve borrowed the thing on a semi-permanent basis; the idea being to have a go at astrophotography. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that three weeks ago I obtained a telescope. In theory I should now be all kitted out to astrophotograph. In practice the telescope turned out to be fit for the dustbin; which was why it was being given away. But I’ve got my hands on a half-decent camera, and am desperately trying to figure out how to adjust the shutter speeds. All I need now is a telescope that isn’t fit for the dustbin, and I might be onto something.

We then went shopping. First of all to Comet to get an adapter for “My Boy TM‘s new electric razor. Then on to Comet and Pissy World. I wanted to look at their e-book readers, and to ask the advice of the experts (!) in the shop. And as is always the case, because I wasn’t wearing a shirt & tie, and because I looked a bit like a slob, I was studiously ignored by the staff in both shops. Oh well, it’s their loss.
The home brew shop wasn’t open – they are closed over the holidays. And then we went to the town centre. People were queuing to park in the Vicarage Lane car park. But the multi-story car park had loads of spaces. Are people that mean that they will queue for half an hour to save a few pennies on an hour’s parking fee? I popped into WH Smiths. For Xmas I received (among other things) a WH Smiths voucher. To my mind, WH Smiths are filling the gap in the market left by Woolworths. They seem to sell a bit of everything, but don’t specialise in anything, and when shopping they would be the last place you’d try for anything. After a few minutes I came to the conclusion that rather than looking for what I wanted, I was browsing the shelves looking to waste ten quid on the thing I didn’t want least.
I remembered I’d been recommended Jeffrey Archer’s prison diaries, so I thought I’d look for them. I couldn’t find them, so I asked at the counter. The girl at the enquiries desk snapped that she didn’t work on books. When I didn’t shove off, she glared at me, and snarled to ask if I expected her to have a look for the book. I suggested she didn’t put herself out, but it was too late: she stomped to the shelves, looked around and then loudly announced to the world in general that she supposed I wanted her to check the stock. She made great show of thumping the computer before announcing they didn’t have it, and suggested I try another branch of WH Smiths. There are some in Folkestone, Tenterden and Canterbury, apparently. I told her that I’d try eBay, as it would be less trouble all round. I suppose I should complain, but it wouldn’t achieve anything.
In the meantime if any of my loyal readers need to spend a tenner in WH Smiths, please feel free to buy my voucher off me first…

We mooched round a few more shops, then home to watch the last episode of “Upstairs Downstairs”. Brilliant!!! And then we spent a little while watching stuff we’d recorded onto the SkyPlus box. Or ‘er indoors TM did. I slept through a lot of it.

After the obligatory turkey curry we set off to the arky-ologee Xmas shindig. Not the most raucous of festive celebrations, but it took my mind off of feeling poorly and sorry for myself. I got quite involved with the quiz. The first round involved anagrams of the names of various people of historical importance. It didn’t help that I’d misread one of the clues as “Corporal Pooh”, and I swear that what they claimed was Michelangelo was actually Rod Hull and Emu. But what do I know? I scored equally poorly in the general knowledge round, but got nine out of ten in the sayings. S---/A-/H----- is “Safe As Houses”. So what is N-/S---/W------/F---? Or G------/L---/A/W------/J--?

And so after a brief pit-stop in Asda for loo roll it was home time. I do hope this cold gets better soon. I’ve had enough of it now…

1 comment:

  1. We can go see the Knights Templar Church when we visit the detached Bastion in the warmer months, It's not worth making a trip just for that, so we might as well tie it in with something a bit more interesting.