30 March 2013 (Saturday) - Still Cold

As I scoffed my brekkie this morning er indoors TM" went off for five minutes to move her car. There are parking restrictions between 8am and 6pm. She was gone for (as I said) five minutes, and Fudge sobbed for those five minutes. He was distraught - the dog actually sobbed. It was so sad I nearly cried myself.

As it snowed outside I then had a look through this blog's archives - last year on Easter Saturday we went round to friends and had a barbie in the garden. Not this year. Too cold.

As I pootled on-line I saw someone had posted on the Kent Geocaching forum asking about the virtues of hand held GPS units. I am utterly convinced I am missing something as far as GPS units are concerned. I geocache with a smartphone. I can download all the caches I want directly to the phone, and log all the caches from the phone. People using a GPS unit have to mess about going via a PC because the GPS units don't have internet connection. Admittedly the GPS units have longer battery life, but they seem to involve a lot of fiddling around; fiddling around which is (to my mind) unnecessary. However people with GPS units think the sun shines out of the GPS unit's USB slot. One of my geocaching mates posted a long list of advantages of her GPS unit over my smartphone - to my mind they all seemed to be things I can actually do faster on my smartphone without needing to upload or download anything via a PC.
Clearly I am missing something here. I wish I knew what it was.

Once the blizzard had stopped we took Furry Face out for a walk. Out through the park and on to Singleton Lake where we met one of our partners in crime. We fitted in a sneaky geocache find and then whilst er indoors TM" popped into the shops Hurksy swapped his bike for his dog and we walked out onto the Godinton estate for a little stroll. And a crafty cache as well. From there we made our way home via a rather circuitous route through Great Chart and the Environment centre. It was a good walk, and glorious when the sun came out. But it was cold.

And so home. The new series of "Doctor Who" started tonight. The story wasn't bad. Quite good in fact. I think I liked the fact that the villain was from the Patrick Troughton era. But I'm sure I would have liked it with someone else in the lead role. I've seen enough now to say I don't like Matt Smith's portrayal of the Doctor. Idiot or hero - which is it to be?
Being both simply isn't working for me...

29 March 2013 (Good Friday) - Snow and Hail

I had rather a late night last night. And then whilst dozing in front of UK Gold one of the programmes featured a child playing a recorder. Fudge immediately woke up and started howling. It was really sweet so with the wonders of Sky-Plus live rewind we played it again and he howled again. The second time we replayed it we recorded him, and you can see him on-line. We played about like this for quite a while and so it was gone 1am before I got to bed.

I slept well for a couple of hours - it was a shame that er indoors TM" woke me when she came to bed at 3.45am, and I couldn't get back to sleep.

I got up just after 7am and looked out of the window. Snow. Not heavy, not laying, but snow. I got out the shears and gave myself a haircut, did my morning ablutions and found that the snow had given way to hail.
Many yeas ago I braved the elements to visit my brother who was fishing on Hastings beach in a monsoon. Soaked to the skin he announced he'd had a "flipping gutful". Only he didn't say "flipping". He said a rude word. Since then the term flipping gutful" has become family parlance for when patience runs thin. I think it's fair to say that I have now had a "flipping gutful" of this weather. Last year on Good Friday we went on a bike ride and a picnic. Today - snow and hail.

After a spot of brekkie I left er indoors TM" and Fudge both asleep and went off to Cheeseman's Green with Lisa. We found a bridge, assessed it as only geocachers can, and then came home again. I popped into the corner shop to see if I could get some hot cross buns. The chap behind the counter had never heard of hot cross buns. I explained that they were a traditional Easter thing. He smiled and said that he'd heard of Easter - it was an English thing (apparently).
Despite the snow we then took Furry Face for a little walk. We went down the road the the second hand furniture shop we'd found the other day. During the week they had one or two bits that might have gone well in the living room. Today they had nothing that suited us, so we came home. Via the bakery for a Belgian bun which made for a nice bit of dinner.

We then took Furry Face round to the park for some geocache maintenance, and then went out for an hour or so with Chippy and Morgan. Having turned them to the dark side we took them on a tour of some of Ashford's more unusual caches. There's nothing quite as much fun as watching someone struggle with a puzzle to which you already know the answer.

Being the last Friday of the month, tonight was astro club. As a committee we'd wondered about having it on a different night this month because of the Bank Holiday, but then that might have been confusing. So we decided to stick with the original plan. We had a surprisingly good turn out. And a good meeting too. The guest speaker was interesting, even if he did seem to jump from topic to topic with little theme in what he was saying.
The general consensus of the club was that this most recent comet has been a flop. But there is still enthusiasm for the next one due in November. I confidently predict that it too will not live up to expectations...

28 March 2013 (Thursday) - Walks, NeverWinter, Guardians

I was still aching this morning – I’m not going to try running again unless the last bus or a tiger is involved. But exercise will sort out aching limbs, so in the absence of "Daddies Little Angel TM" I took Fudge out on my own. We had fun in the Bowens Field wetlands park. Once there I let him off of his lead. He charged off into the distance and ten seconds later there was screaming from the general direction in which he’d disappeared. I trotted round the corner to find Fudge playing nicely with another dog which was still on its lead. At the other end of the lead was a hysterical woman. It was clear that Fudge was causing her hysterics so I attached his lead. As I did so this silly woman explained that she’d never taken her dog out for a walk until it was six months old and because it’s such hard work to train a dog she had decided not to train the dog at all. Consequently she rarely walks the dog because it’s such hard work. And she went on to say that she didn’t like seeing other dogs because when her dog sees another dog he gets all over-excited and she can’t cope with it.

Rather than offering to take the dog off of her hands I bit my tongue and walked Fudge along the path into Viccie Park where I let him off of his lead again. Other dogs were running riot there and I thought he might like to run riot with them. He did. I got chatting with the other dog-walkers. All of whom seemed to be in agreement with me; let the dogs play – if they have a problem they will sort it out amongst themselves. Fudge and two other dogs were having a great time when “silly cow” came past alternately dragging and being dragged by her dog which clearly had no idea of how to walk on a lead. Fudge and his friends ignored “silly cow” this time; which was a shame for her dog.

Once home my mobile rang. It was "Daddies Little Angel TM". Had she left her time sheet with me? Yes she had. Could I fax it to the agency? No I couldn’t. Who faxes anything these days? Rather than faxing I took the time sheet to the agency myself. The town centre isn’t that far away. Whilst there I actually looked around. Martin had said that the HMV was closing. It has gone – and so have a lot of the other shops in town. Ashford was never the best place for shopping, but now it’s becoming a ghost town – seemingly every other shop is closed and empty.

I spent the afternoon reviewing old haunts. I’ve not actually played “NeverWinter Nights” for over a year. How I’ve missed that place… And then we went down to Folkestone for the evening. Chinese for a birthday, then we watched "Rise of the Guardians" in 3-D. For once I could actually see thee 3-D effects in places. Quite impressive !

27 March 2013 (Wednesday) - Dull

I shouldn't listen to the news in the mornings. All it does is boil my piss. Like this morning's tale of Ms. Josie Cunningham who wasn't happy that the Almighty hadn't blessed her quite as much in the jug department as she might have liked. So she whinged to her doctor who prescribed breast enhancement surgery at a cost of over four thousand pounds to the taxpayer. Apparently not having an epic chest was making her depressed, and was something of an impediment to her ambitions to be a tit model. According to the news pundits she's happy now. And presumably about to flop them out for the delectation of the masses?

I wonder if the NHS might enhance my chopper for free as well?
On a sadder note you can hire people to come and cry at your funeral. For the meagre sum of forty five quid an hour you can pay actors to pretend to be upset about the demise of either yourself or a "Billy-no-mates" relative or friend. They will do their homework and find out about whoever it is that died so they can fool real mourners into thinking that they actually knew the one getting buried. And they will cry real tears so people will think the deceased will actually be missed.
It's a sad sign of our times that people need to be bolstering funerals in this way. I can remember being very embarrassed at a funeral several years ago. Steve, secretary of the snake club, had died. Literally hundreds of us were waiting to go in to the chapel for his funeral; waiting for the preceding funeral to finish. When it did finish it was sad to see there were only four mourners in there. I'd like to think that when my number is up I'll get more than four people along to say goodbye. And if only four can be bothered, then I'd rather it was four who wanted to show up rather than people who'd been paid to turn out.

Yesterday I mentioned that I'd painted the insides of a sandwich box. It was to replace a geocache that I'd hidden which had gone missing. This morning on the way to work I went to put the new cache in place. Disaster - the new box is too big. I shall have to get another box.

And so to work where I did my bit. My legs really ached today. Yesterday whilst in Kings Wood I tried a bit of jogging with Fudge. I thought he might like it. He didn't show much interest, and now I wish I hadn't bothered. And then home again where I fell asleep in front of the telly...

26 March 2013 (Tuesday) - An FTF...

An interesting interlude - whilst I was scoffing my brekkie some chap stopped outside the front of my house and started shouting. He got quite angry with whoever it was to whom he was speaking. On reflection I think he must have been having a conversation with someone using hands-free phone technology. I hope he was. But there was no denying that he looked like he was arguing with the voices in his head. "Hands-free "is great - it makes people look like nutters.

With "Daddies Little Angel TM" having arrived we took the dogs for their morning walk. They seem to like that. On the way up the road we stopped off to find a geocache that had gone live recently. It was on our way so it would have been a shame not to have gone for it. And once at the park we stopped off at the ladies following an unfortunate incident that I have been forbidden to blog about. Let’s just say it involved shrieking and dog dung and leave it at that…
We then walked on through the park past Singleton Lake and seeing that the floods had subsided we went looking for a geocache that last week had been in a swamp. Not quite a swamp now, but it was still rather damp underfoot. After a little mucking about I soon found the cache. And signed it for all of us. "Daddies Little Angel TM" will go mental when she finds that she might get mistaken for a geocacher.

We then made our way home via the Environment Centre. For some reason poor little Sid seemed to be having a hard time keeping up. Odd – he’s become used to coming on walks. Perhaps he was still tired from yesterday’s excursion.

Once home I knew that if I stopped I wouldn’t start again. So I went straight into the garden where I had another go at the lawn; this time strimming. And then I hacked back some of the jungle pouring over the fence. In years gone by I got the garden looking quite good. Frankly I can’t be bothered any more. It’s too much effort to fight back the stuff which is constantly coming over the fence.

I had a quick cuppa and checked my emails. A new geocache had gone live half an hour previously in Kings Wood.
I could be FTF - the First To Find. There’s a lot of kudos in being the first to find a cache. But it had been live for half an hour and there are a lot of local cachers who rush out to find them first. And I had stuff to do. I decided not to go for it. Instead I popped into town for a large box I needed to replace a geocache of my own that had recently gone missing. Whilst in town I checked the new geocache’s record on my phone. No one had found it so far. I wondered if perhaps I might have gone for it; and decided that if it wasn’t too late when I first saw the email, then by the time I got home it certainly would be too late. So I consoled myself with a Snickers milk shake from the shake bar and went home.

The Rear Admiral was visiting for lunch and we bandied insults whilst I painted the inside of my box. I’ve taken to painting the insides of sandwich boxes to camouflage them. I then had a spot of lunch and wrestled with indecision. Surely this new geocache had been found. I’d received the email timed at 11.42am, and it was 2pm by then. It is unheard of for one to go unfound for so long in our neck of the woods. But I had nothing else planned for the afternoon, and it wasn’t that far away really. So I put Furry Face’s collar and lead on him and we set off to Kings Wood.

I’d seen where the cache was on the map – I knew vaguely where it was. There would be a short walk involved. Once parked up we started walking and I activated the GPS to confirm where I was going. I was mistaken about there being a short walk. The cache was just over two kilometres from the car park.

So we set off. The cache was where I thought it would be – deep in the woods is a milestone with directions. The first time I ever passed this milestone four of us missed it completely and went miles in the wrong direction. Ironically when we missed it we actually posed for photos at its location, and those photos still exist in which you can clearly see this milestone in the background.

As I approached the cache I could see where it was. But then I had a GPS unit telling me where to look, and the experience of one thousand three hundred and eighty six previous caches telling me what to look for. The average person will walk straight past this geocache with no idea that it is there. Which is as it should be, and for me is one of the marvellous things about this hobby.
As I opened the thing up I looked at the log. Surely someone else had beaten me to it. I couldn’t possibly be first. Could I?

I was first to find it. No one else had been for it, and I signed the log at 2.57pm. I felt rather smug as we walked back to the car. The cache owner had obviously been watching the listing, and we exchanged insults via Facebook all the time I could get signal to do so.

It’s traditional in geocaching circles to say “TFTC” – “Thanks for the cache”. I think this one needs a special thank you. Firstly it’s a cache on its own. The ones I’ve hidden are either on my way to work, or on routes I walk Furry Face along at least once a month or so. Today’s FTF was over two kilometres into the woods; a cache on its own and in isolation. Maintaining this one will take special effort. And secondly it’s on Forestry Commission land. I’ve toyed with the idea of putting geocaches on Forestry Commission land and abandoned the idea. It’s too much like hard work. When you hide a geocache you hide it, tell the moderators where it is and they do their thing and all is tickety-boo. But if it’s on Forestry Commission land you need formal permission from the Forestry Commission people. You have to write to them (actually write) saying where the caches are; giving latitude, longitude and grid references. If they are going to send anyone to work in the area they ask you to go and fetch the caches back. And they want you to formally apply for permission every year. I looked at putting caches on to Forestry Commission land and decided it was too much like hard work. So I can understand the effort that has gone into this one.

And so home again where I messed about trying to edit html documents in Word. Not as easy as it might be. It’s such a shame that Claris Web Site Designer doesn’t run in Windows 7.

Being Tuesday the clans gathered – this time in Somerset Road. Once the obligatory squabbling was done we settled down to an episode of "Merlin". I was disappointed. Up till now they've been good, even plausible, Tonight's episode was just silly. Which was a shame...

25 March 2013 (Monday) - Shocking

"Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived shortly after brekkie and we took the dogs on a walk. Out through South Willesborough, under the bypass and off to the top end of Park Farm. It was cold, but surprisingly non-muddy. Fudge behaved himself off of the lead, amazingly un-fazed by the sheep in the next field. From Park Farm we investigated that bridleway I found last week. It turned out to be a disappointment.

As we came down Kingsnorth hill we saw a familiar face coming up – “The Man with No Alias” (patent pending) was having a day off and having taken his car for service and MOT was on his way home. We bandied insults for a few moments and then carried on with our walk. It would have been good to have followed a favourite footpath of mine across the south of Ashford and continued into Great Chart, but that would have been risking serious mud so instead we came home a rather more direct route.
We spent five minutes pulling faces through the Rear Admiral’s office window as we walked past, but he didn’t notice us.

Once home I did some homework, and did more household accounts. And seeing how many bank and credit card statements I had I thought that perhaps I might shred some of the older ones. In my enthusiasm I blocked the shredder. Unblocking it is a simple enough task – it comes apart once a few screws have been undone. In retrospect unplugging the thing from the mains might have been a good idea; I’d forgotten what an electric shock felt like.

Being short of r-swipe I popped round to Tesco to get some. For some inexplicable reason the cheapo brand r-swipe was the same price as the expensive executive brand toilet tissue. So I got the poncey stuff for a change.
Last week I bought a bottle of the cheap red wine. It wasn’t bad for £3.50 a bottle. Despite last week’s budget having put 10p on the price of a bottle of wine, today the same stuff was only £3.20. So I got another bottle of it.

Once "er indoors TM" came home we set about the dog. The vet had told us to brush his teeth periodically. I held him whilst she scrubbed. And he was as good as gold; just sitting still whilst we scrubbed his fangs.
I was reminded of brushing the teeth of "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "My Boy TM" when they were small(er). Neither wanted their teeth brushing; both tried to bite me.
And as I recall, both succeeded...

24 March 2013 (Sunday) - More Opinionated Ranting

I suppose that having had two nights of waking before 3am had given me something of a sleep deficit, so it wasn't unexpected that I might catch up on some sleep this morning. I woke at 5.30am, which wasn't bad, really. I got up and once abluted did the washing up. Dull.

Fudge woke and together we watched Babylon 5 over some brekkie. Or I watched Babylon 5. Fudge watched the tropical fish in their tank. Usually he ignores them, but from time to time something about the tank catches his interest. I wonder what it is.

And so to work. As I drove some opinionated chap was ranting on the radio about one of the Government's employment training schemes. Apparently some unemployed people are obliged to do various work experience schemes for a maximum of four weeks. In theory it's to give them work experience and to provide them with workplace training. They don't get paid for receiving this training and experience, and if they don't do it then they risk losing various benefits. Personally I can't see the harm in it, but what do I know?
Those who make a living out of claiming the moral high ground have likened this to slave labour. They've even got a web site, but if you read through their propaganda it's clear that they've lost their way, seeming to be favouring political publicity stunts rather than actually doing anything constructive. For example working when they would otherwise be doing nothing, like the people on this scheme might be doing...
The bloke ranting on the radio was lambasting the Salvation Army which would seem to employ such people on such a scheme. One of the leading lights of the Salvation Army came on to the show and told this do-gooder to wind his neck in. The Salvation Army wasn't in the business of making airy-fairy ethical judgements about the morality of such a scheme, nor was it interested in playing silly political games. It was trying to help specific individual people back to work.
From my experience of the Salvation Army (I was a member of their youth club as a boy, and did community service for them years ago) they are a really decent group of people. It was a shame this self-appointed bunch of do-gooders decided to have a pop at the Salvation Army. In doing so they merely made the Salvation Army appear better and made themselves appear themselves worse.

And then the bleeding heart loony leftie teachers came on the radio. It would seem that it is a hard life being a teacher because of the terrible behaviour of the brats in their care. Bad behaviour which is entirely down to the bad parenting skills of the feckless parents...
And my piss boiled.
When the fruits of my loin were of school age I might see them for half an hour in the morning before I would leave for work shortly after 7am, and maybe for an hour or two in the evening (when I got home after 6pm) before they went to bed. I tried my very hardest to instil a moral compass into the brats during those short hours, but my efforts were actively and deliberately undermined and thwarted by the crackpot loonies who taught my children. Every day for six solid and constant hours both fruits of my loin were brainwashed by these teachers into knowing that they could behave as badly as they liked at school with no fear of retribution. The teachers of my children made it very plain that it was not their place to impart any discipline or moral guidance to their charges. When the brats mucked about in the class the teachers would send me a report of the episode and would expect me to discuss the matter with the offending child in a calm and reasoned manner (!) And one of the teachers - one Dr Sheppard (head of science) - actually told me that were I to do anything other than to sit down and reason with my children about their recalcitrant attitudes then the school would formally call in the social services.

Extremely seriously terribly bad behaviour at school was punished by exclusion. When the child was extremely badly behaved they were told not to come in to school the next day. Apparently that was a punishment. It was rather frustrating that only I could see that such a policy just encouraged children to muck about more and more. The stupid teachers honesty believed this was a punishment.
I maintain that had the most recent fruit of my loin been given the cane (just once) things would have turned out very different. Children don't respect reason and discussion. They respect a crack on the bum at the moment of bad behaviour. When I was at school if anyone mucked about they got caned. It didn't happen often. It didn't need to. One child had a sore arse for a couple of hours and one thousand children behaved themselves for eighteen months. Seemed a fair price to me.
Let's be crystal clear on this. Bad behaviour in schools is entirely down to the regime in the schools. Bad behaviour needs to be tackled at the time it happens. Excluding a child from school for bad behaviour is no punishment. It is a reward. Bring back the cane. You don't need to thrash every brat. Just make an example of the first miscreant and all the rest will fall into line...
As I've said before there are two types of people who do not agree with corporal punishment for children. Those with no children of their own, and those with the most ill behaved brats you ever did see.
(takes a deep breath...)

Being Sunday the radio then had the Sunday Service. Today it was from Methodist Central Hall. Being an ex-Methodist myself I had high hopes for this, but I was disappointed. I don't listen to many Sunday services, but when I do, I want to hear old traditional stuff. Instead it's always modern happy-clappy drivel that frankly puts my back up.
I find that as the years go by I am seriously rethinking the aggressive atheism of my recent past and am beginning to wonder if all the platitudes I heard whilst in the Boys Brigade might just have a snippet of truth in them somewhere. Just possibly...
But if I am going to take up church membership (again) it will be something dull and traditional. I might even end up as a left-footer. You never know.

And so to work. I did my bit. Over a crafty cuppa I watched the weather forecast on the telly. As I'd driven in I'd seen that the fields that were white with snow yesterday were clear today. This had given me hope for getting out with Furry Face over the next couple of days. However the weather forecasters weren't so optimistic. Apparently there are winds coming straight from the North Pole for the next week which will make for yet more freezing conditions. I've had enough of being cold. And last Thursday I discovered a bridleway at the top of Park Farm I want to explore. I don't want to go off on a mission of discovery with a runny nose and a shivering dog who won't wear his coat.
I didn't mind being at work today. The last time I worked on a Sunday I missed a geocaching trip on which the protagonists ended up fighting the snow, and it tuned out that the same thing happened today.

With my bit done I came home to find my beloved was off at a conglomeration of candlemongers, so I spent a little while terrorising Furry Face. A week or so ago I bought him a rope ball tug toy thingy. It's all but destroyed now, but he seemed to like playing with it whilst it lasted. It would have been god if it had lasted longer than a week, but what can you expect from the pound shop...?

23 March 2013 (Saturday) - Ranting

I'd had a really good day out with my beloved and Furry Face yesterday. It must have taken more out of me that I realised because I spent most of yesterday evening nodding off in front of the telly. I hate that. And what makes it worse is that having wasted an evening being barely able to keep my eyes open, I went on to wake at 2.35am and then saw every hour of the rest of the night.

I got up before 6am and went downstairs to find a certain small dog was absolutely dead to the world. He too must have found yesterday draining. But he did drag himself out of his basket and sit with me over brekkie.
I popped myself on the scales - my weight is slowly creeping up again. I need to watch what I'm eating. I think having bought a job lot of curly-wurlies from the cheapo shop might be taking it's toll despite all the walking I'm doing. Mind you I can definitely see muscle definition on Fudge - the walking is doing him some good.
And so to work. The day was rather cold, and the radio had talk of snow. Which seemed odd as Ashford was clear. But as I drove to Canterbury I noticed that cars coming the other way had snow on them. Some had quite a heavy covering of snow on them. And the closer I got to Canterbury so the heavier the snow was - laying a couple of inches deep in places. I decided to take no chances and stopped off at the petrol station.

Whilst I drove there was some utter drivel on the radio. Apparently there are good and valid reasons why women shouldn't go to prison. I dare say there might be, but the pundits on the radio were making a very poor show of explaining the reasoning behind this latest crackpot scheme. As one of the pundits shrieked into the radio I could just imagine a picture of a stereotypical dungaree-clad shaven-headed aggressive-peace-protesting activist. She was ranting that women shouldn't go to prison because they are women. No more (apparently) needed to be said; the reasoning was something to do with the (so-called) fact that because this harridan had shrieked it, the statement was therefore a self-evident truth. Furthermore anyone who couldn't see the logic was either stupid or male. Or probably both.
I don't know why they have this sort of twit on the radio - it does no good to the feminist movement. Perhaps that's the very reason why they have this sort of twit on the radio...

Another twit on the radio was wittering about the success of the UK independence party. I say "twit" - the chap was actually talking sense. It's rather worrying that UKIP are enjoying serious successes in various elections when they don't actually seem to have any policies on any subjects at all other than the vague implication that they will be sending everyone who can't prove their Britishness back home on the next banana boat.
Even it's founder has been quoted as saying of the party: "It's got nothing to say on mainstream issues, nothing sensible". It's a very sad and worrying sign of our times that narrow-minded jingoism is a vote winner. Have we learned nothing from the lessons of history?

I parked up at work just as one of my colleagues was parking. Her car was thick with snow. She'd come from Whitstable where the snow was very bad.
I did my bit at work, spending much of the day alternately looking out of the window and checking the weather forecast. Yesterday had been a bit cold, but it had been a fine day for being out and about. I would not have wanted to do the amount of walking we did yesterday in today's weather.
Mind you as the day wore on so the snow was washed away by the rain. I had been hoping for a respite from the rain - everywhere I walk in the countryside is thick with mud at the moment, and today's rains will just make it worse.

As I drove home this evening the radio had mention of the fireball seen across several states in the USA. It would seem that this was quite an impressive sight. And the pundits were right for a change - there are a lot of space rock thingies up there. Many are small enough that we won't see them coming. But big enough to make a dent.
Another space rock thingy that we haven't seen coming is Comet Pan-Staars. I am now going to formally declare that this comet has had its chance and has blown it. Originally billed as a "once in a lifetime; lighting up the sky" comet it got downgraded to "visible for half an hour at dusk with binoculars if you know where to look", and ended up not actually being seen by anyone. Which was a shame really. I'd make it publicly known that were there a bright comet visible to the naked eye this year I would eat the astro club's raffle. And two weeks after Pan-Starrs supposedly brightest is Easter.
I had been hoping for one or two Easter eggs in this month's raffle. Eating Easter eggs is how one eats a raffle...

22 March 2013 (Friday) - Malling

My mobile beeped during brekkie - a message. My Ham Street Lover had the two bob bits (charming!) and wasn't up for coming out today. That was a shame - he'd been wanting to go on a caching for some time. It was a shame he couldn't make it, but "er indoors TM" and I eventually wrestled Fudge into his collar and we set off to West Malling.

We parked up, and wandered about the town of West Malling - there is a series of caches hidden in various places. Being set out in no particular order we found ourselves doubling back on ourselves several times. Each cache we found had a letter code inside; the idea being that once we had all the codes we could solve the bonus puzzle. However the last cache we found didn't have a code. So for want of any better plan I sent off an email to the chap who's hidden the caches and we went off on another series of caches.

The Ryarsh Rural Stroll was a rather good walk featuring a dozen geocaches around some rather pleasant countryside. Shortly after we started on these my mobile beeped - an email. I'd had a reply from the chap who'd hidden the caches. It turned out that A = .... I won't say what A corresponded with; I'm sure the logs will be amended soon. As we carried on we found a pub. We sat in the beer garden and washed our sarnies down with a pint of Doom Bar.
We finished lunch, and very shortly after finished the Ryarsh Rural Stroll. We then made our way back into Malling where, equipped with all the required clues, we found the bonus cache, and one or two others as well. We then drove the car a mile down the road and took on a third series of caches - the Malling Rural Stroll.

The last cache of the day - the fortieth - eluded us. We could have carried on searching but it was getting cold and the hail had started. So we decided to call it a day.
A shame my knee had been giving me gyp mist of the day, and that Fudge had had an iffy paw at one point but we'd had a good day out looking for small boxes hidden in odd places. And we'd given the pup a good run out. As always there are photos of the outing on-line.

And so home. Earlier in the week we'd talked bout going out for dinner today, but having a dog in tow does make that difficult, so instead we had KFC's finest and watched an episode of "Continuum". The Sy-Fy channel has started re-running the show from the start and I'd wanted to give it a go. The first two episodes were good, but now I've seen the third I'm left hoping it's not going to be just another police drama with a difference; the difference being it's just the same as all the other police drama shows...

21 March 2013 (Thursday) - Tangled

I've come to the conclusion that my insomnia is in some way connected to the need to get up promptly the next morning. So with nothing pressing planned for today, why was I awake before 3am?
Over brekkie I saw a trailer for the new Star Trek film. It looks absolutely dreadful. I do hope I'm wrong. I also saw that the article I submitted for publication yesterday has been accepted. I'm not sure the title is geographically spot on (as Rye is in Sussex), but other than that I'm quite pleased with how it's been turned out.

With my Ham Street Lover indisposed (best not to ask) I was at something of a loose end today. So to begin with I thought I'd do some exploring. A few months ago I found a way to get from South Willesborough to Park Farm going under the bypass. So far I'd only ever walked along as far as a footbridge and then turned off. Today me and Fudge followed the path all the way to the end where it joins a new housing estate. A route which is crying out for a series of geocaches...
Whilst we walked I let Furry Face off the lead. He was fine until he found some fox poo, and whilst rolling in it he got himself tangled in an errant carrier bag. I did laugh. Silly pup.
It was odd that he was ensnared by a Morrisons bag when the nearest branch of Morrisons is fifteen miles away.

We were out walking for a couple of hours. Once home I hosed the fox poo off of the dog and made a start in the garden. Normally I make a point of refusing to do anything in the garden before Easter, but this year I felt I couldn't leave it any longer. I scooped up all the dog poo and flushed it down the chodbin. In several flushes. I've been scurrying dog dung from the garden regularly these last few months and was amazed at how much I'd missed. I then mowed the lawn as it was getting rather long. Just a quick scalping to be getting on with - I'll make it look prettier next time.
Whilst I was mowing Fudge disgraced himself. He was not content with woofing at next door's dogs who were peering over the fence. He started hurling himself at the fence, and actually broke it. I went mental at him - and I could tell he'd understood that he'd been bad. He spent the next hour being incredibly clingy and with his ears right back he looked really sheepish and didn't react to next door's dogs at all fir the rest of the day.
I'm left wondering if he hurls himself at the fence every time when I think he's just outside having a download. Maybe he needs to be supervised when in the garden, or maybe we need to fence off the yard so he can't get further down?

With the gardening done I came in and had a cuppa. And found I had another problem. It would seem that my chodbin wasn't up to the excessive amount of Fudge's fudge I'd attempted to flush and I'd inadvertently blocked it. It was as well I had time on my hands, and I wasted five minutes clearing the toilet. It works now - thank heavens.
And seeing how today was a day's holiday I did ironing.. With ironing done I washed up and hoovered and sorted my smalls.
I must love it...

20 March 2013 (Wednesday) - New Wellies

I’d been expecting the most recent fruit of my loin today. She showed up eventually, and we set off walking the pups. As we do. Today we thought we’d try a different route. We usually go through the park, and we find ourselves making polite conversation with the nice Irish chap, trying not to fight with Mr Angry, and trying not to poke fun at "Orange Head and her Little Stocky Chum." (Patent Pending).
Instead we walked up past the station, along the back roads onto Hythe Road, and then totally mistaking right for left went a mile in the wrong direction. Oh how we laughed when we found the motorway rather than Arden Drive.
Whilst we were walking along the paths by the Stour Centre we met up with a gaggle of retired people coming the other way. One of whom waved at me, warmly greeted me, and asked after me. She clearly knew who I was, and knew all about me. I wonder who she was.

Eventually we made our way home, and leaving "Daddies Little Angel TM" to supervise the hounds I popped round to B&Q. My wellies had developed a major leak, and the kitchen light had gone squafty. B&Q had replacement wellies, but didn’t have fluorescent light tubes in the right size. In fact the nice man was under the impression that they don’t make light tubes that thick any more. So I thought I’d try Wickes – the old tube had their name on the side so I’d clearly got it from there. I asked the woman behind the counter if they had the tubes I was after. She clearly couldn’t care less. Fortunately a passing builder knew which tube I needed. I bought the tube on his advice; it would have been rude not to have done so. But I would be very loathe to shop in Wickes again after the attitude I received today.

It was with a sense of relief that I got the new tube into place and found it worked. Feeling I should have a break and a cuppa I was amazed to find it was mid-day, so I made myself a sarnie, and cracked on with some more writing – a review of the geocaching to be had on the Kent-Sussex border. I wonder if this article will be accepted. I hope so - it took long enough to write.

Meanwhile in another plane of reality there has been a budget. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said he won’t put up fuel prices in September. Whilst I’m pleased about that, realistically he needs to reduce the prices quite substantially. He’s also reduced the price of a pint of beer by a penny. That’s good of him. But all the time I can make the stuff for less than a tenth of the price of what it costs in the pubs, I don’t think he’s winning my vote any day soon.

19 March 2013 (Tuesday) - Stuff

Over breakfast I watched an episode of Babylon 5. It was the episode I'd put on twice last night; I'd tried watching it only to fall asleep. And when I woke to see the end credits rolling I then put it on again only to fall asleep again. I hate that - I kept nodding off in front of the telly when I wanted to be awake, and was then wide awake at 2.45am this morning.
I finally got the episode watched on the third attempt this morning. It would have been nice to have had Furry Face for company over brekkie today, but he had sneaked upstairs (when he thought I wasn't watching) to sleep at the foot of the bed, and I didn't have the heart to fetch him back.

As I drove to work the radio was all a-buzz with the latest scandal about the new Pope. The last Pope was allegedly a Nazi sympathiser. This one apparently had ties with the military Junta which ruled Argentina in years gone by. I have no idea whether he really had any such connection or not; after all, this was all half a lifetime ago. I suspect it is all a ruse to sell more newspapers.

Talking of which I hear that several of the country's leading newspapers have decided to have nothing to do with the Government's recently set-up watchdog. They aren't keen about its remit to monitor exactly what they are spouting.
I would have thought that such a legally-established watchdog would have power over the press, and that the various tabloids wouldn't be able to opt in or out as the mood took them, but what do I know? Apparently legal advice is being taken, and there is a school of thought that the recently passed legislation is applicable to bloggers like "Yours Truly" but not to the national press.

Meanwhile Ken Barlow (out of "Coronation Street") would seem to have gone completely mad. He's said in an interview with New Zealand News that anyone who's been molested by a celebrity paedophile has got all that they deserved because of their sins in a previous life.
An interesting point of view. It amazes me that in an open and free society we are supposed to respect the rights of nut-cases to spout such patent nonsense.

To work where we had a visitor. Someone with whom I used to work some thirty years ago. It was good to catch up and reminisce about old times. And then having done my bit at work my piss boiled as I listened to the radio on the way home.
There have been failings in various hospitals across the country. Sometimes quite serious. Occasionally potentially fatal. But hospitals are run by human beings. We fail from time to time. It's what we do. No one working in a hospital environment ever fails deliberately. And does it really help anyone by publicly pillorying medical professionals in the press when they have made a mistake? The realisation of having made such a mistake is horror enough without hounding these people in the tabloid press.
Could you imagine how you might feel having made an honest mistake which might have killed someone; and then having lived with the guilt of such a mistake for over a year before finally finding yourself in the dock being stared at by tabloid journalists who are treating your trial as some form of cheap entertainment?

I enjoyed my curly-wurly as I drove home. It would have been good to have gone to the Tuesday gathering, but I wouldn't have got there until nearly 9pm; it's not fair to expect everyone to wait for me. Instead I went straight home and took Furry Face round the block. He likes that, and he seems to be far more friendly with the Shetland ponies that live round the corner than he ever used to be. Perhaps he's mellowing with age...

18 March 2013 (Monday) - Stuff

Most Sundays I go on quite a serious walk - walking for several hours and many miles. Yesterday's walk was rather modest in comparison with what I am used to. So why on Earth did I feel so physically drained this morning?
As I scoffed brekkie "Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived, shrieking about "Hedge Suits" and complaining that the shop in her street had been charging her through the arse. It's another world....

We took the dogs out for a walk. Through the park and on to Singleton lake. I had asked the most recent fruit of my loin to come on a geocaching mission, and to my amazement she had agreed. But the area I was planning to search in was really wet and waterlogged, so instead we carried on up to the environment centre and walked across there. As we came in through the back of Singleton we saw an idiot walking his dog. From a distance of fifty yards he shouted that his dog was dangerous and that we were not to follow him. So we changed our direction. On seeing how we were now heading off at right-angles this twit ran with his dog to be in our way and again shouted to warn us off. So, obligingly, we again changed our route only to have this fool again double back on himself and shout at us again. This time I made a point of not answering him, but instead I loudly told the world at large that if any wild dog came near me and mine I would hoof it up the khyber. Surprisingly (or not) this idiot then beat a hasty retreat.

The rest of our walk home was relatively uneventful. Once home we popped round to see a friend who’d mentioned that she had a poker table she didn’t want. I thought it would be a shame for the thing not to be appreciated, so I’d offered it a good home. "Daddies Little Angel TM" and I popped round, fussed the cats, and came home with it. It’s a good table and there are quite a few poker chips with it. A shame Furry Face felt the need to eat some of it, but such is life.
After a quick bit of lunch the Rear Admiral visited. He seemed singularly unimpressed with the poker set. Which was a shame as I had a vague plan of installing the set at the Admiralty. Still, never mind. Instead I set about some laundry. At the weekend I found an old coat that my beloved had forgotten about. She’d asked me to wash it for her as it had collected quite a lot of dust during its months of neglect. Before washing it I emptied the pockets. Amongst the rubbish and clutter in those pockets I found two twenty pound notes. I don’t usually check pocket when I’m doing the washing. I shall from now on.

With "Daddies Little Angel TM" then going off on a mission I took Fudge out on another walk. I’d had a note from the postman to say a parcel was awaiting collection so I went to get it. Furry Face didn’t seem overly keen to go on another walk, and he merely plodded along by my side as we went; not pulling at all. That is quite unlike him. I hope he’s not sickening for something.
With parcel collected I sat down to do some more writing. On Friday I wrote an article about geocaching in Ashford which was received well. I’ve started working on another article about caching elsewhere in the county. Let’s hope that this one will go down as well.

And as "er indoors TM" set off bowling I settled down with a very sleepy dog and I watched more Babylon 5 DVDs. It was a good way to spend the evening...

17 March 2013 (Sunday) - Oxney

Rather a grotty night's sleep what with needing to pop top the loo with annoying regularity. And just as my guts finally settled, "er indoors TM" came home at 4am. I eventually nodded off to find that Furry Face had sneaked up from his bed in the kitchen and was on my chest; fast asleep and snoring.
So I gave up trying to sleep and was up and about before 8am. The original plan for the day would have had us up and about on an early start tackling some rather adventurous geocaches. But illness and hangovers had put paid to that idea. So whilst "er indoors TM" slept I took Fudge round the block. He was raring to go even if no one else was.

Eventually my beloved emerged from its pit, and together with those who weren't feeling too ill we set off on an afternoon spent relatively locally. We looked for a couple of geocaches in Tenterden, and then had a stroll round some woods on the Isle of Oxney. There were four geocaches in those woods - including a puzzle cache with a real jigsaw puzzle and a letterbox hybrid. Both dogs got absolutely filthy, but both dogs seemed happy so the afternoon had been well spent.

And so home. With "er indoors TM" off bowling I sat down with Fudge and put my Babylon 5 DVDs on the telly and promptly fell asleep...