The original plan for today involved going underground in the Dover area, but that was not to be. Backup plans involved going to Folkestone. But bearing in mind that the Folkestone half-marathon was being run today I wasn't keen to spend large parts of the day in traffic jams. So instead we stayed relatively local.
After a quick bit of brekkie we met up with Lisa and Earle and we spent the morning checking out geocaches we'd failed to find in the past. We found a dozen before adjourning to the Hooden Horse for a pint of "Bonkers Conkers" with a sandwich. Steve arrived, and we set off to Purchase woods for a stroll.
The idea was to walk through the woods. The map showed the bridleway going in a straight line down to Daniel's Water. Reality had the bridleway going in a large circle back to where it started; which was embarrassing for the map readers amongst our number. But for all that we didn't reach our intended destination we had a really good stroll in the woods; and got to hide a geaocache too.
Home, where we changed the bedding and I ironed a dozen shirts. Dull, but a job which needed doing. With ironing done I set up a challenge on line. Having found a whole load of gates with bombs being used as posts I thought I'd share this with the world. And then we watched some telly. Telly is good stuff...
The weekly weigh in. Another pound has finally come off - I'm quite pleased about that. And then I went round to see "My Boy TM" who had somehow trashed his telly with a candle and needed Daddies help to dispose of the wreckage. We needed to get it done as the tip closes on Monday. And it was hard work. There's something about Ashford tip that attracts the idiot element. They can't drive in a straight line; they can't park their cars sensibly....
The original plan for the day has us setting off to the Natural History Museum with the planned excursion, but train tickets aren't cheap so in the interests of being mean we thought we'd give that idea a miss and instead just think of those who'd gone on the trip anyway. I didn't sulk too much.
Instead the remaining clans gathered and we set off for a walk round Meopham. Ten miles up hill and down dale in the sunshine. A good walk for Fudge. And fifty two geocaches along the way. And then three more as a bonus. There's photos of the trip here.
We set off at 9am, we got home at 7pm. I could have gone on to the film evening, but instead stayed home. Monthly accounts needed doing, as did the astro club's accounts. Dull, but a necessary evil. And once that was done I moved Fudge out of the way (the poor pup was absolutely worn out after his walk) and I watched a bit of telly...
I only woke half an hour before I needed to get up this morning; which was a result. I went downstairs to find the pestilential pup loose in the living room. Again we'd not secured the dog-proofing (baby gate) in the kitchen and he'd managed to push it open. He was fast asleep on the sofa, and seemed pleased to see me. I would like to have stayed home with him and taken him for a mega-walk, and that had been the original plan for the day, but unforseen circumstances put paid to that idea.
A few weeks ago I blogged about whether I wanted a dog or not. At the time I was dead against having one. And now that he seems to be with us more than he's not I'm still unconvinced about having a dog.... It's not that I dislike him. Far from it. In fact I have got too attached to him; which is entirely why I didn't want a dog in the house in the first place.
Brekkie, and then I wrapped up warm and set off to work. Leaving at 6.45am makes for an early start, and an increasingly dark and cold start too. It won't be long before there is ice on the car in the morning. Which reminds me that I also need to think about shutting the Koi pond down for the winter.
As was driving past Morrisonson the way to work I got some petrol. That's not as cheap as once it was.
I did my bit, and got to leave a little early: it was astro club - I like to get there early to set up; especially on nights like tonight when I was in charge of getting the key for the hall. Whilst setting up one of the idiot parish councillors made a point of loudly shouting to his cronies not to park near the village hall because "the astrology lot park too close". After every shout he would look through the window at me to see what reaction he would get. After fifteen minutes of this I went out and loudly asked him why he'd brought his car along when he only lived a couple of hundred yards up the road. He didn't like that.
The main topic of the evening was the recent discovery of the Higgs boson. The talk was very interesting - a good refresher of some chemistry and physics, and then a clarification of sub-atomic structure All illustrated by the younger members of the club, fizzes and bangs, and choccie biccies. Contrary to popular belief it turned out that the Higgs boson hadn't been down the back of the sofa all along.
It was a shame that I'd left the raffle tickets at home, but such a piddling detail didn't stop me running a raffle...
Last Thursday I left home a little early to look for the geocache that "er indoors TM" had hidden near Eastwell. I didn't get to it then as I got stuck in the most horrendous traffic jam. Today I had another try at finding the thing before work, and again didn't succeed. It didn't help that my phone app first failed to actually locate that particular cache. And when it finally did locate the cache I had to drive through quite a serious flood and park in a swamp. I eventually got to with a few metres of the thing, but I didn't have wellies. The mud and deep puddles and the lack of time made me think that giving up might have been the best idea for the day. So I gave up. I'll try again another time.
Surprisingly I wasn't late for work. I thought I would be when I found myself driving for ten miles stuck behind a coach which was travelling at thirty-five miles per hour in a fifty miles per hour zone. As I drove there was something on the radio which promised to be quite interesting. Apparently theological thinking has proved the existence of a supreme being/creator/God by the application of basic intelligence.
I'd heard all the old arguments before; intelligent design, "I think therefore I am therefore God created me", absolute convictions, being threatened with eternal damnation, over the years I've heard all the old chestnuts. Today's radio program claimed to use logic; personally I felt it was using gibberish. The arguments went something along the lines of claiming that God (or the definition of God that they were employing) is the most supremely wonderful and perfect thing that there can possibly be. Absolutely anything that anyone can suggest as being wonderful and perfect isn't as wonderful and perfect as a slightly more wonderful and perfect thing, therefore a supreme being/creator/God is the most wonderful and perfect thing there is.
I couldn't quite grasp the sense in that, but as a clinching argument the speaker said that it is an indisputable fact that anything that one can think of is real. He could think of a supreme being/creator/God, therefore this (up till now) hypothetical supreme being/creator/God exists. Again the logic escaped me. I can imagine doing rather unspeakable things to various TV celebrities of my infatuation. Does that mean that I am actually going to get my wicked way with them in reality? I don't think so.
And today is a birthday. Google has been going for fourteen years. And what an impact it has made in that time. Could you imagine a world without Google? Or any of our amazing high-tech lifestyle? Talking of which I then heard something which made my piss boil. A colleague whose mobile phone comes from the same provider as mine asked me how much of a discount I get each month. I get nothing. She gets twenty five percent off the bill every month because she works in a hospital. She suggested that I phoned the mobile company and asked for the same discount. I phoned them. They didn't actually tell me to get knotted, but that was the gist of their message.
Any discounts they might give are applied at the time the phone is bought; and they don't like to make people aware of any discounts that they might be offering. I told them that I would bear that in mind when the contract is up for renewal. The woman at the other end of the line said that I should do that.
I had to spell it out to her that I wouldn't be renewing...
What with the torrential rain and the thunderstorm last night I didn't really have a very good night's sleep. I left for work a few minutes earlier than usual to allow time for a quick visit to the supermarket. It was as well that I did - I had to spend an unexpected five minutes driving through a flood. And I must admit that other drivers never fail to amaze me. With rain still torrential and cars aquaplaning in all directions I drove all the way to Canterbury with a twit (employed by Mears builders!) not five yards from my back bumper the entire way. Why on Earth do some people insist on driving in such a foolish and dangerous way when they have their company's name emblazoned all over the vehicle they are driving so badly?
To work, where I did my bit, and then came home again. Unfortunately being on a late finish meant I had to miss tonight's meeting of the arky-ologee club. It transpired that I missed Avis's talk on the history of the post office. Well, that was one winter's evening that must have flown by for some.
After five days that had been rather eventful, today was rather dull...
I woke feeling rather depressed today. After a day which was frankly wasted sheltering from the rain yesterday I wasn't happy to wake to the sound of torrential rain this morning. And I think that despite yesterday's blog I have got a cold after all.
A quick bit of brekkie, and having seen that the rain had stopped I took Fudge for a quick walk round the block. He seemed to like it, and we filled three poo bags on the way. Better out that in, I suppose. I spent a little while mucking about with Facebook games, then went round to see Matt.
We set off, and after ten minutes went back to Matt's house to collect his phone. And then we set off properly. We thought we'd spend a couple of hours geocaching. First of all to one which was somewhat off the beaten track and was (possibly) actually on private land. I'm not sure whether it was or not, but having to clamber over a fence did give me that idea. It didn't help that my geocompass seemed to have gone west to the tune of being out by twelve kilometres.
Into Kennington where we did a church micro and a quick cache in the garden of remembrance. And then the heavens opened. We got soaked. I used my phone to call up the weather forecast which proclaimed that the day was being "partly sunny"! We waited for a break in the rain before making our way back home via Brockington Farmhouse. And then the sun did come out, and dried us out.
Home via Argos (for a birthday present), and having collected the pup we wandered round to see "My Boy TM" who was twenty five today. Twenty five!! Where have the years gone. He's now officially old as he is now more than half my age, He didn't like that.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Tonight we watched the first episode of "Merlin". It was actually rather good. Whether it keeps up the standard remains to be seen...
Yesterday I thought I was sickening for a cold. Today I woke feeling not so sure. Yesterday I had a proper croak and sniffle, today it was just a mild headache. Mind you we have now turned on the central heating; it's suddenly got very cold.
After a quick bit of brekkie me and furry Fido set out on a mission to collect those catalogues we didn't get yesterday. Seven to collect; we got two. We were out for a couple of hours and only just beat the rain. Within five minutes of getting home the rain came down torrentially. So with nothing else to do I did the household accounts. They could be worse; I shouldn't grumble.
I then apologised to one of the normal people. Yesterday I made a light-hearted off the cuff remark on a geocaching site about Fudge tiddling on a geocache. Most people would take the comment with the smile that was intented. One bloke didn't; he went off on a rather prima-donna type tirade. Which is entirely the problem with the written word; it is so easy to inadvertently give offence. But the chap seems to have calmed down now, which is probably for the best.
What is it with hobbies and the Internet? When I kept snakes, the on-line reptile forums are little more than one big cyber-fight. The kiting forums get quite bitter at times. Why can't people discuss their hobbies and interests without falling out? Or is it just me?
I had hoped to do something with the day, but a combination of a lack of partners in crime and terrible weather left me home alone. And so with Fudge parked on my lap (fast asleep) I spent a few hours watching "Auf Weidershen Pet" DVDs until the phone rang. "My Boy TM" was wondering if it was me that had put a whole load of dog dung bags through his letterbox. It wasn't. I wonder who it was.
As the afternoon wore on so the rain wore off, and me and Fudge went for another little walk. On Friday I found that one of my geocaches had gone, so we replaced it. We came back via Pets at Home where I had intended to get some clippers to trim Fudge's claws. They didn't have small clippers, and to express his dissatisfaction Fudge tiddled up their displays. Fortunately the nice lady in Pets at Home was used to tiddling dogs and soon cleared up the mess. And to add insult to injury as we were walking out a small child patted Fudge and loudly announced that "that little doggie looks like a cat". Needless to say it will be a little while before I dare show my face in Pets at Home again.
On the way home I thought I'd check on another of my geocaches. That one was gone, so I've disabled the listing and ordered a replacement from eBay. Hopefully it will be here in a few days.
The phone rang. It was Adelina phoning all the way from Italy who was attempting to sell a bargain package of olive oil, tagliatelli, linguini, jams, marmalades, pestos and all sorts of foods which were low cholesterol, low sodium, and all were with (apparently) no calories at all. I tried to get a word in, but she wouldn't stop gabbling so I heard her out. When she finally stopped speaking she seemed amazed that I didn't want to buy her bargain package. The fact was that I quite liked the sound of it, but eighty quid for what was effectively a glorified pic-nic seemed a bit steep to me....
I woke feeling rather rough this morning. It's possible I have picked up one of the colds that are going around. It's also possible that far too much home-brew last night might have been taking its toll. And "Mr Trousers" didn't help by waking me with a barking fit at 4am. I didn't get back to sleep after that, and lay awake until finally shifting my carcass shortly after 7am. I came downstairs to find Fudge was fast asleep.
A quick bit of brekkie and we set off to Trosley. Or that is how it is pronounced. It's actually written "Trottiscliffe", What's that all about? The weather forecast wasn't good, but eight hardy souls (and one small dog) had decided to do the "Trotticliffe Trail"; a series of twenty seven geocaches. And we had a good time. Across fields,up hills and down dales. However as the morning wore on so the rain started spitting. And the temperature dropped. And the rain got harder; eventually it became torrential. By the time we found the last cache hidden under a lump of flint (that was something of a theme to the trail) we were all soaked to the skin, and Fudge was shivering.
We had originally planned to have lunch at this point and go on to do the Birling loop - another series of caches. But we were all soaked, so we decided to call it a day and come home. We'd decided to miss the planned kiting event at Capstone Park today, and judging by the comments we read on the Internet it seems as though it was as well that we didn't go - people flew kites regardless of the weather, but they got drenched.
Once home it was hot showers all round (including one for the pestilential pup), and with the rain having slackened off to a medium monsoon we went out to collect catalogues from the masses. And we got cold again.
And then disaster. My laptop wouldn't recognise my phone at all. I rebooted the computer no no avail. I searched Google. I rebooted the laptop again. I got cross. I nearly cried. And then I rebooted the phone and all was well. And having wasted an hour I then got to grips with pocket queries and .gpx files, which was easier said than done...
I did my weekly weigh-in this morning. My weight remains constant at just under fourteen stone. It's been that for a couple of months now. I wish it would go down some more. I did a quick on-line survey over brekkie and then Steve arrived. We collected the Stanhopians and set off to Tunbridge Wells. Today was a special birthday and the pressie had been left several miles away. Woops!
Se soon collected the pressies, and spent an entertaining five minutes playing with the gift wrap dispenser in Toys R Us before making our way home. It took us fifty minutes to get to Tunbridge Wells and four hours to get home. But we did come home the very scenic way via Pembury hospital, Lamberhurst and twelve geocaches. There were some beautiful views on the way, and I found my three hundredth cache.
Once home we had a quick change just before everyone arrived, and the we all went (mob-handed) 5o the birthday party. I'd made up a barrel of citrus home brew for the occasion and had been looking forward to see how it turned out. I was pleasantly surprised by the stuff; which was probably rather stronger than I was expecting.
The rest of the day was all rather vague...
The workshy layabouts came to collect our recycling today. I suspect that " workshy layabouts" isn't their official job title, but they boiled my piss. In the past we've had problems because if we don't leave the recycling almost (but not quite) on the pavement they won't take it. I have had words with the man at the council who admitted that they are too lazy to walk two paces extra to collect the bin. The same official at the council urged me not to make my grumble into a formal complaint because he was really loathe to upset the workshy layabouts.
This morning we'd put the recycling bin where they wanted it; in a position where they wouldn't have to take an extra step out of their way to get it. But once they'd collected the bin they dropped it where it fell. It was as well I saw the bin otherwise I doubt we'd ever have got the thing back again. I really should moan to the council; but the officials at the council have told me that they are too scared to complain to the contractors.
The plan for the morning was a trip to Folkestone so bearing in mind yesterday's fiasco I thought I'd better check the travel news. It was as well that I wasn't working today - there was another major hold-up on the A28 that I would have got embroiled in.
And so to Folkestone. I met up with Hosey and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours wandering here and there, up hills and down dales. Into the town centre and out again. Along the Leas, and then back to Hosey-World for coffee. Whilst there Hosey gave me some pointers for fine-tuning the settings on my sexy new phone. I now have an app that allows me to control all the geocaching apps from one screen. that will save a load of farting about in future.
I came home and collected the furry one, and we went for a little stroll to check my series of five local geocaches. It was as well that I did; one of them had gone missing. I shall have to replace that over the next few days. It will be interesting to see how long these caches last before they get "muggled".
I spent the rest of the afternoon watching telly with Fudge sitting (sleeping) on my lap, and then with the tribes gathered we set off to Hawkinge for a charity quiz night. A fun evening with friends, but if I had been running the event I would have got on with it with a little more alacrity...
Here's a story of our times. A mother found out about the death of her daughter through Facebook. It's amazing how social networking is becoming the way that news travels. Personally I can't help but feel that next of kin should be informed about the deaths of their children before the authorities are dumb enough to give it to the sort of person who would go on to make such a tactless post but what do I know?
Over a spot of brekkie I checked my emails. I saw that a new geocache had gone live; one that would only be five minutes out of my way on my journey to work. So I left home half an hour early thinking I'd find this cache and not be late to work. Normally it takes me between five and ten minutes to get to Kennington (the part of town where the cache was hidden). Today the traffic was awful, and it took over an hour to get that far. I found myself embroiled in two different hold-ups; both of which had been listed as "very severe" on the BBC's travel website. Needless to say I abandoned all plans to go caching and I just carried on to work. As I drove along the A28 the traffic was queued back five miles out of Ashford as far back as the Wye crossroads.
I've since found out that the delays were due to a serious accident in which four lorries somehow scrunched each other on the motorway. I suppose I shouldn't really complain. After all, spare a thought for the poor people who were involved in the smash-up. I've now been doing the Ashford to Canterbury journey for over a year and this is only the second time that there has been any serious delay.
But I can't help but feel a bit miffed that this had to happen today. In geocaching circles there is great kudos attached to being the first person to find a cache when it goes live, and today had there not been the traffic problems I might just have been that FTF (first to find) ! Mind you I got to be FTF with "er indoors TM" 's latest trackable; she's had Fudge made trackable. Fudge seems unfazed by the development.
Yesterday I mentioned that I was out and was following the train line along which nuclear stuff is transported to and from the power station at Dungeness. The news today told that the local council have voted against having a nuclear waste storage facility built on the site of that soon to be decommissioned power station. My gut reaction is that I wouldn't want a nuclear waste storage depot in my back yard either. But having said that I quite like running all my electrical appliances on the leccie that comes out of the nuclear power station; and nuclear waste is part of what goes with the whole nuclear package. If we do away with nuclear power what realistic alternative is there?
I woke raring to go after quite a good night's sleep. I wonder if the exertions of the weekend are finally catching up with me. I did a quick on-line survey over a spot of brekkie. That was easier said than done as Fudge was sitting on my chest and I had to operate the keyboard over him; only being able to see maybe a quarter of the thing.
I looked on Facebook and saw quite a lot on mention about "International Talk Like a Pirate Day". I've blogged about that in the past. This year the thing has been something of a non-event; the chap who ran it for years (Mad Cap'n Tom) gave up last year, the official web site yarr.org has gone, and hardly anything has been planned to mark the day. For all that I ranted about the thing in the past, it's a shame that it's died.
I had catalogues to distribute to the masses this morning, and a small dog that needed a walk. So in a fit of foolish bravado I thought I might combine the two. It worked reasonably well. We set off across the park where a fun fair was setting up. It was only a month since a fair was there last, and now another one's there.
We made our way along by the lake, through Singleton, putting catalogues of bargains through selected letterboxes. Twenty seconds to type; two hours to do. And with the last catalogue delivered I found myself only a couple of hundred yards from a geocache I failed to find a few weeks ago. So I thought I'd have another go, and this time I found it.
We then made our way home. Since it was on the way we popped round to visit where Fudge spends his time when not with us. No one was home. So I phoned to see where they were. They were at our house visiting us. We hurried home to meet them.
With a bit of time on my hands I had a go at trying to tidy up the living room. We tend to be out and about whenever possible which leaves very little time for mucking about with trivia like housework. The two tables in the living room have got somewhat cluttered and so I tried to sort out the mess. Whilst tidying I found nine pence in cash, and realised I couldn't find the phone charging cable that I thought was on the smaller table.
I then put away a pile of DVDs that was over three feet high. I would seem to have misplaced my "Brideshead Revisited" and "Voyage to the Planets" DVDs. I wonder what I've done with them.
And then I popped down the road to Lisa's where we then went on a little drive round the Brenzett area. It was a lovely evening; too good to be indoors moping. We intended to go out for an hour; we were out for three. We followed the old railway line down from Appledore as far as Lydd. Once an active railway it was closed by Dr Beeching fifty years ago and is now only used by trains carrying highly dubious cargoes in and out of the nuclear power station. And we found seventeen geocaches and three trackables along that train line whilst we were at it.
And once home I then popped round to deliver tables benches and beer for the weekend.
Following on from yesterday's witterings it transpired that "er indoors TM" had the flea comb in her bag all the time, so this morning after a spot of brekkie I got Fudge up on my lap and gave his fur a rake-through. He seemed to enjoy the process, and (fortunately) he turned out to be completely flea-free. Which in my experience seemed unusual. Previous dogs in my household have always had the odd flea when being combed. Perhaps the modern anti-flea preparations are better these days? It certainly makes me feel easier about giving "Mr Trousers" the full run of the house.
However this doesn't explain how I got so seriously bitten last weekend. Perhaps it was mosquitoes which got me. They have certainly done for me in the past.
I then set off to work slightly earlier than I might have - a new geocache had been launched and it was on my way to work. Or so I thought. Whilst I got within fifty metres of the thing, it was behind a row of houses on another footpath. I shall have to plan my route a bit better before I try for that one again. Or look at the map properly.
As I drove to work there was an article or two on the radio which got some steam from that most volatile of my bodily fluids. Apparently a candidate for the American presidential elections is looking down his nose at the sort of person who expects the state to provide homes, healthcare and welfare provision. Call me an old leftie if you will, but if the State doesn't provide homes, healthcare and welfare provision for those that need them, why on Earth do we bother having a State or a civilised society?
And talking of welfare provisions, there was an interesting statistic announced on the same radio programme. The claim was made that the average Danish chap who is in all ways identical to a simular British chap can expect a fifty per cent better return on his pension investments. That wound me up - clearly there's something going seriously wrong somewhere!
Or so I thought.
When I went on-line to look further into this I could find absolutely nothing to corroborate what I'd heard on the radio; but I did find that this average Danish chap won't get his pension until four years after the comparable British chap will get his.
The moral of the story is that I really shouldn't believe what I hear in the news. Another example of this is given by the current campaign by St John's Ambulance brigade to raise the profile of first aid in the general public. A couple of days ago they made a very emotive claim on peak time television that if the public were more aware of basic first aid them 140 000 lives could be saved each year. However there is a school of thought that they have their figures wrong by a factor of nearly thirty. Who is right -St Johns or fullfact.org? How can we ever know who we should believe?
Personally I have grave reservations about the entire concept of first-aiders, but that's another rant...
Meanwhile Fudge would seem to have a look-alike at Legoland
Downton Abbey's third season started last night. I do like that show, but episodes of an hour and a half in length are perhaps just a bit too long. It's also a shame that the success of Downton Abbey would seem to have killed off my favourite period drama of many years; Upstairs Downstairs. But (in this life) you can't have everything.
Bearing in mind I must have walked over twenty miles over the weekend I woke this morning with one or two aches. And I did feel a little bitten. I think I must have offended one of two mosquitoes on my travels over the last couple of days.
I got up and checked my emails, and applied for a couple of jobs that I know I'll never hear back from. I really should stop doing that. I only get my hopes up. Still, nothing ventured and all those platitudes, eh?
A quick belt of brekkie, and I set off for work a few minutes early so's I could pop into Morrisons. I'd forgotten to pick up apples and carrots at the weekend, and whilst I was at it I thought I'd get a flea comb for Fudge. I can remember other dogs of my acquaintance seemed to like being combed. "Mr Trousers" (as I've taken to calling him) has his soppy moments. He might like being combed. And if I got bitten over the weekend it might not have been mosquitoes, Fudge might have picked up some hitch-hikers. Morrisons didn't have dog combs. They did have fruit and veg; expensive fruit and veg. Now I write this I seem to remember blogging about this in the past.
"er indoors TM" got a flea comb from Dobbies, and after I did my bit at work I came home and had planned to give the pestilential pup a rake through. But she'd left the thing at work, so that will have to wait until tomorrow.
And that was the limit of my day today. I ached, I itched, I didn't get to comb the dog. As I have said before some days in my life are really good. And in comparison others are so dull...
Up early again. The original plan for the day was to flog paintings at the psychic fair, but frankly I don't want to give up a day for minimal (i.e no) profit. The next idea was to spend the day sleeping after a night cruise back from Dieppe last night, but that was not to be. I might have been scrubbling around under the ground, but a combination of trips to Scotland, birthday parties and motor racing made most of the usual suspects unavailable for the day, and so that plan has been rescheduled. And I could have done the Rotary club's sponsored walk, if I had been given more than a week's notice.
So with all else having failed I fell back on the new favourite pastime. Eight of us set off to Bluebell Hill and tackled the Griffin's Grizz. A series of twenty six geocaches (and a bonus one). Up hills and down dales. At the top of Bluebell Hill, and down by the river for a pint. Along the busy bypasses, and along some of the most peaceful country lanes. In hedgerows and up trees. I did spend the day wondering about he significance of the name of " The Griffin's Grizz"; scrutiny of the Internet has failed to come up with an answer.
In geocaching the terrain is graded from one (standard pavement) upwards depending on how impassable the ground is. The highest and most difficult terrain is graded as five. Today's walk was graded as difficulty five. I couldn't see it myself. it was rather uphill at times, but we managed to get along.
We started walking at 10am, and got home shortly after 6 pm, having walked an estimated ten miles. There's no denying that I was rather tired, and poor little Fudge seemed absolutely shattered. But it was such a good walk out in the countryside. Wonderful scenery in the company of wonderful people. There's pictures from the walk here.
Home, and we popped out quickly to gather in the catalogues I'd distributed to the masses on Wednesday. As "er indoors TM" set off to find out about the latest developments on flogging candles I did a couple of on-line surveys whilst next door clanged their piano and strangled their violin. Not that I'm complaining about the god-awful racket. I quite like it in fact. All the time they are making such a frankly awful din they have no justification in complaining about anything that I might be doing to annoy them. I just hope they shut up soon. I've had a busy weekend - I could do with a kip...
Up, and after a quick bit of brekkie Lisa and Earle were on the doorstep. We got into the car and set off to Deal. The plan for the day was a geocaching quest. Something like Dungeons and Dragons or NeverWinter Nights, but in real life. We met up with six other members of the Kent Geocaching Facebook group and set off. I'd been looking forward to the event, but must admit to having been a bit wary of who else might be coming with us. But I had no need to have been concerned. All of our fellow questers were likeable types and were good company. Not a "normal person" was in sight.
The idea for the quest was that we would be given a location to find a geocache in which was a clue, a question and a choice of where to go next. At the next point we would find another clue, another question and another choice of where to go next. Sometimes we would have challenges on the way. At one point we had a run-in with an executioner, and at another point we got mugged for our amulet of health. I contributed to the team's efforts by answering the riddle "What is greater than god, worse than the devil. the rich don't want it, the poor have it, and if you eat it you will die". The only fly in the ointment was that one of the GPS positions we were given was wrong. After an hour;s searching and ten of us finding nothing we eventually contacted the chap who'd set the quest only to find that our position was wrong by about thirty yards.
The instructions said that if we made the right choices we'd walk three miles; if we chose poorly we'd walk eight. Those who know how to use their GPS equipment better than me assured me we walked just under ten miles. But eventually (after six and a half hours) we got to the final cache and solved the quest.
It was a really good fun day out in the sunshine; having fun playing a silly game, meeting new friends. Really must do it again. There's photos of the day here.
We slowly made our way back to the cars, said our goodbyes, and seeing how we were only half a mile from the sea front we drove down for a quick bit of fish and chips. And with some power left in the smartphones and a couple of hours of daylight left we thought we'd check out Walmer for geocaches. We found a dozen...
I woke this morning and I wasn't feeling much like getting up. Having had an excellent day yesterday, and with plans for the weekend, today looked like being rather dull in comparison. And I was rather sulking about what might have been. There had been talk of driving down to Sussex today; mucking about in Brighton and then taking a late ferry to spend time at Dieppe kite festival. What with one thing and another this never happened. Which was a shame.
I also sulked about a possible (probable) waste of my money. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that a couple of years ago a group of us formed a syndicate which had secured exclusive fishing rights to a small local pond. A couple of years ago I fished that pond very regularly. Last year I fished it half a dozen times. This fishing season I've been once in three months. And realistically I doubt if I'll go again this year.
That was twenty quid that I can ill afford straight down the toilet.
I left for work a few minutes earlier than I might have done this morning: my beloved had put out a geocache of her own yesterday and I wanted to find it. It was a nice little cache in a very pretty place. Between the willow tree and the bullrushes in fact. As I drove to work I nearly ran over countless children; all of which were oblivious to the world around them, with their i-players firmly wedged into their ears, and all of which were randomly bumbling about the roads with no care for oncoming traffic. And at a time when they should really have been at school.
My piss boiled as I heard the day's news. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have got the hump because a French newspaper has obtained topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge. Surely they should have learned from the countless examples over the last twenty-odd years. Being the heirs to the throne they will have cameras on them constantly. And so was flopping out the royal jubblies a sensible thing to do? I can see that they might feel that being photographed whilst on holiday was an invasion of their privacy, and legally it might well have been. But practically they will live their lives in a goldfish bowl, and they really shouldn't do things like that which only encourage the gutter press.
I woke at 3am bursting for a tiddle; but did not dare go for fear of disturbing the pup. After a couple of hours I could hold it no more, so went downstairs to do my thing; expecting to then have a dog who was raring to go. Fudge was fast asleep, and didn't stir at all.
Back to bed for a couple of hours, then after a bit of brekkie I distributed catalogues of bargains to the masses. Whilst I was at it I nearly got run over twice. Why don't cyclists use the road? Why do they go up pavements? All the serious injuries to cyclists I've heard of have happened when cyclists are on pavements.
Home to collect the pestilential pup; and we went for a short stroll. Over the last few weeks I've put out five geocaches along an easy route for me to walk the dog along, so I thought I'd check up to see if the caches were OK. It was as well that I did. One had been left in the open air by the last finder. The chap had made no effort to hide the thing. And one was entirely missing. It was as well I'd brought along a replacement cache just in case.
Back home again to whinge to the world via Facebook about my trashed caches, and then to waste an hour doing the ironing. A tedious job, but one that needed doing.
Steve cane round, and then once we'd collected Earle we went on a drive down to the Romney Marsh. Dymchurch, Snargate, New Romney, Snave. Ice creams on the beach. We had a really good afternoon, and did twenty geocaches and three geo-challenges whilst we were at it. Today I found my two hundredth geocache. I took Fudge with us. There's no denying I was dubious about taking him, but I was glad that I did. He seemed to like the outing, and he was as good as gold.
It was amazing how quickly the afternoon went. All too soon it was getting cold as the sun was setting, and it was time to go home.
A quick cuppa and we said our goodbyes. And just as we finished out tea the doorbell rang. Some of the younger members of the astro club had found the geocache in my garden and thought they'd say hello whilst they were passing. It was good to see them, and good to know I'd made more converts...
I woke far too early as usual, and lay tossing and turning for a couple of hours. I wasn't feeling in top form as I got up; I had a sore throat and a nagging headache which dragged on through the day. Over a spot of brekkie I imparted my sage wisdom to an on-line survey and then set off to work; taking a half-mile detour on the way to do a crafty geocache.
If ever any of my loyal readers find themselves in Chartham and fancy a quick cache, there's one near the pub. You can't miss it; it was rather obvious when you know what to look for. In fact it was staringly obvious and I can't see how the normal people haven't long since interfered with it.
And that's now pretty much all the caches on my route to work found. There are one or two more which are a mile or two into the surrounding woodlands, but they aren't really ones to do on the way to work. Which is a shame. Mind you if I take a detour or two then there are more to be found. If only petrol was cheaper...
Regular readers of this drivel might notice the occasional advertisement appearing between blog entries from time to time. In this new world order of austerity I've advertised my services as a freelance writer and every so often I get asked to plug a business.. I write a hundred words about the client, include a few links, and I get a modest bung for my efforts. If nothing else it pays for the new pants.
This morning I turned down once such commission. Call me puritanical if you will, but I'm not going to advertise www.nudeyladiesdoingrudethings.com I might be skint, but I can still (just about) afford something of a moral stance.
And our old friend science is also taking a moral stance. It would seem that the animal kingdom is seeing a rise in the amount of facultative parthenogenesis that is going on. For the less biological amongst my loyal readers, facultative parthenogenesis is having babies without the pre-requisite nudey prod sauce romp games.
However so-called expert opinion is undecided as to whether facultative parthenogenesis is a good thing or not. Time will tell; it usually does.
I was rather tired yesterday evening so had an early night. Fudge had been sleeping until I put him in his basket. He didn't think it was bed time. In the next half hour I came downstairs six times to tell him to stop shouting.
Despite being so tired last night I didn't sleep well, waking for the last time at 4.15am. I lay awake for an hour before going downstairs. Fudge woke as he heard me, and he sat with me as I brekkied. He's not a bad pup really, even if he won't go to bed when told. It was a shame I couldn't be home today as he had another trip to the vet's as a prelude to his forthcoming knackersectomy. Consequently I spent much of the day fretting about the pestilential pup. I'm reliably informed that he spent much of the day with his Auntie Kat and Sid. Hopefully some of Sid's training will have rubbed off onto Fudge. He's getting better with his training, but still has a little way to go.
The news of the day was somewhat trivial. I suppose that after finding out that a dead seal had been found only a mile from my house all else tends to pale into insignificance. Mind you our old friend science has been having a go. Science was predicting that life might be far more widespread across the universe than it once thought as liquid water might exist in far more places than previous theories had thought. But for all that this news is exciting, it's still all very theoretical.
Science also published a list of the one hundred most endangered species. As well as big beasts like sloths, birds and antelopes it would seem that certain plants and fungi are on the way out too. This bit of news was imparted as a matter of fact - there was no speculation as to whether this was an effect of human activity. It probably is; but species have died off in the past. And it's difficult to stir the same feelings one has about extinctions of tigers for the demise of a fungus.
And so home. Usually on a Tuesday I would gather with the clans. But tonight's gathering was in Folkestone and by the time I'd got there it would have made everyone else too late, so I came home, had a bit of tea and reminded myself why I don't do Internet forums any more. Last Thursday I ranted about a geocache moderator who turned down one of my caches because the description I'd written contained a link to my blog. He was worried that my blog might have links to websites which might contain advertising. So I removed that link to my blog, only to then find a myriad of other caches all of which were carrying blatant advertising. And then I put out a new geocache only to have it turned down in its entirety because it was too close to a nursery school. Despite there being a cache going live in the last month which is actually stuck to the railings of a (different) nursery school that this fellow had approved.
I've since heard of this same moderator turning down caches purely because they are in the Ashford Green Belt only to allow other caches placed in the same green belt. And he's turned down some caches because they bear the name of the business near which they are hidden, and allowed others which do the same. This chap is clearly inconsistent in applying the rules.
I whinged about this on one of the Internet geocaching boards. Some twit who clearly hadn't read what was written suggested that if I don't like the rules I shouldn't play the game.
I don't do Internet forums any more...
I was hoping to have a lie-in this morning but the local cats were pulling faces at Fudge through the kitchen window at 7am, which started him woofing. So I got up and made a start on laundry. Dull, but it needed doing. Whilst the laundry cooked I brekkied, and did an on-line survey. It was a noisy brekkie - Fudge doesn't destroy plastic pop bottles quietly.
With brekkie scoffed I spent a little while in the garden gathering dung and mowing the lawn. And with the garden tidied I made a start tidying up some of my bits and bobs. I found an entire bag of Koi food I had no idea that I had. That was a result. And then the doorbell rang. The undercrackers I ordered from eBay had arrived. So I thought I'd try a pair out. They are a tad snug, but they will do. It turns out that they are Calvin Klein, so I suspect that the first fruit of my loin might try to make off with them.
Steve arrived, and we set off to take Fudge for a walk. Through Willesborough to Sevington, and then past Quest and Batchelors and home via the rugby club. A round trip of four hours and about ten miles. And eight geocaches on the way. There was a dodgy five minutes when Fudge gave one of the geocaches an experimental chew. He didn't actually eat it, but I'm not sure that the intention wasn't there.
Home; where I was expecting Fudge to be rather tired after his extensive walk. He didn't sleep. Instead he continued destroying plastic pop bottles. He seems to like doing that. I wish he would do it quietly. He might not be tired after the walk but I certainly am...