30 April 2014 (Wednesday) - Success

The CPAP machine isn't the most comfortable of things to wear; especially when trying to sleep eith it on. I took rather longer to doze off than usual last night. But once asleep I slept through until after 4am which was quite good really. I then took the thing off and slept "naturally" until 5.30am. For a first attempt I'm rather pleased with the thing. We'll see how tonight goes.
Over brekkie I watched more "Ade at Sea"; today Eddie was off the coast of Scotland on the isle of Eigg. I'd never heard of the place before. I checked my emails - I've passed the on-line course I've been doing. I got a distinction for "Internet History, Technology, and Security". I'm quite pleased about that.

To work a little later than I might have gone. As I drove I listened to the radio. And again I despaired for the world.
Crackpot extremists in Nigeria have kidnapped two hundred girls from their school; the reason being that their religion doesn't think women should have any form of education whatsoever.
These children have been missing for over a week. As the worried parents said, it would be difficult to conceal half a dozen children; let alone two hundred. There must be a *lot* of crackpots complicit in this crime. The latest theory for their prolonged absence is that the poor girls are to be forced into arranged marriages. That too is acceptable to certain gods.
This episode alone should be enough to have this form of superstition banned.

There is to be a by-election and the pundits on the radio were criticising the leader of the UK Independence Party for his decision not to stand as a candidate. Even though the chap openly admits that he has no connection with the area, and that for him to do so would be nothing other than a cheap publicity stunt.
It is a sad indictment of our nation that with the government coalition parties unpopularity and the Labour party still recovering from the debacle they made of the economy, rampant jingoism appears to be a sound political position.

Once at work I did my bit. Sax practice went reasonably well. I think I'm getting to grips with "Daisy, Daisy", and fortunately for public morality I didn't see anyone in the car park "getting to grips" with anyone else this lunch time.

Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park. He actually cried in fear when a large Alsatian came up the path towards us. I wonder what that was all about. As he's getting older he's getting more cautious around bigger dogs, but to cry?
I then took the back seats out of my car so I can get more luggage into the thing, and with a bit of effort I got the top box onto the car single-handed. I think I might have done something to my back whilst I was at it...

29 April 2014 (Tuesday) - CPAP

I usually whinge about poor sleep most days, but there is no denying that last night ranks among the worst nights ever. Going to bed at 10.30pm, I woke at 1.50am and was awake for the rest of the night.
I was watching "Ade at Sea" at 5am; an interesting series following the exploits of Adrian Edmonson as he sails round the British Isles. Today "Eddie" was shrimping for salmon (!) in the Bristol Channel. As I watched so "Furry Face TM" hauled himself out of bed to have the crusts off of my toast. He likes those.
But there is only so much telly one can watch, and I left for work at a ridiculously early 6.30am.

I went via Wye to find a recently released geocache (for something to do), and I stopped off in Thanington to hide one as well. Having been given an ammo case as an Easter prezzie, today I put the thing to use. Hopefully like-minded people will go looking for it, and when they find it I will get emails telling me that they have found it.
Sometimes I wonder if I am not doing justice to this pastime.
It was as I was doing the last part of the on-line geo-admin for my new geocache that I saw that had I left home at a more sensible time, then I would have had the chance of an FTF on three caches not far from home that had just gone live. Rather frustrating...
... In fact almost as frustrating as shopping in Morrisons for some apples and bananas. I found myself behind some twit who had clearly not grasped the concept of a check-out. Bless him.
I then got petrol which is now no cheaper in Canterbury that it is in Ashford. When I first transferred to work in Canterbury two (or so) years go petrol was five pence cheaper (per litre) in Canterbury. Now it's the same price (if you know where to go for the stuff)

Today I went back to the sleep clinic and was fitted with my CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device; a useful gadget that blows air into my nose all night long. Apparently this thing senses when I stop breathing and blasts more air up my nose, thereby keeping me asleep. Here's hoping.
Lunchtime sax practice went well. Or that is to say it went well for me. I don't think the young couple in the car parked next to mine appreciated my renditions of "Daisy, Daisy" and "On Top of Old Smokey" as they tried to fornicate.
In the same way that I have established that he far end of a car park is a good place more me to practice my saxophone because I won't bother anyone, this young couple would seem to have identified the place as somewhere private for a little bit of filth.
It's a good job that I am able to take a firm moral stance. With a saxophone.

Once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a wlk, and then it was off to Queen Street for the weekly gathering. Insults were bandied and I slept through most of an episode of Merlin. Wish I hadn't done that.

And so to bed to try out my CPAP machine. I wonder if it will be any use...?

28 April 2014 (Monday) - Another Day's Leave

I woke at silly o’clock, and got up and shaved and pootled about for an hour or so before going back to bed. The idea was that I might get back off to sleep. I didn’t.

I finally gave up trying to sleep when ‘er indoors TM‘s alarm went off at 7.30am, and after a quick cuppa I took “Furry Face TMfor a walk. Out to Singleton where I had heard reports that one of my geocaches had gone missing (it had). We then went on to the lake and home through Viccie Park. As we came home through the park I lost count of the amount of people swigging cans of lager before 10am. Have things gone downhill that much, or was there something special about today of which I was unaware. Was it “lager Monday”?

Once home I put the washing onto the line to dry, put more washing in, and went up to town. Astro club money to the bank, and then home again. I had intended to have a black forest gateau milk shake on the way home, but the milk shake shop was closed, which was a shame.

Over an early lunch I watched a film I’d recorded onto the SkyPlus box some time ago. “Bridesmaids” carried a warning about strong sex scenes and language throughout; I thought it was rather lame.
I then spent ages writing to the DVLA; I am legally obliged to tell them that I went to a sleep clinic. Having filled in reams of paperwork I’m hoping they won’t take my driving licence from me; that would be something of a pain.

“My Boy TMphoned: could I drive round and collect a load of stuff to take to the tip? I had some stuff to take to the tip as well, so we did a tip run and I went back with him for a cuppa before coming home and spending two hours ironing all that I’d washed and dried earlier.
As I ironed I watched stuff I’d recorded onto the SkyPlus box over the last few weeks. I can remember the Doctor Who story “The Brain of Morbius” being something of a classic. Perhaps it was when it was first broadcast in 1976; there’s no denying it’s not really stood the test of time.

My new walking shoes arrived. Unfortunately they were delivered by one of these franchise courier types. I told the chap he was supposed to take the old ones back. He didn’t want to. When I threatened to complain he grudgingly agreed to, but suggested I might get someone else to do the job. Hopefully the old ones will arrive where they are supposed to be.

I seem to have developed something of a cough over the weekend. I wonder if it was that cigar…

27 Aprill 2014 (Sunday) - Farningham and Eynesford

The rules for yesterday's pub crawl was that moustaches were compulsory. Having grown a full set of chops for the event, there's no denying that I was glad to scrape it off this morning. There are those who sport beards and moustaches. I generally don't; I can't say that I like having it. Shaving every day can be a bit of a chore, but personally I'd rather that than have the beard.

I did feel a little less than one hundred per cent this morning, but a few cups of coffee sorted me out. I checked the weather forecast and saw that the day was going to be overcast and showery. We decided to go on with the planned walk, and dressed accordingly. In the end we were right to have done so; there was no rain until we were driving home. The day was lovely.

Having collected Gordon Tracy we drove up to Farningham, parked up, put on waterproofs and set off on our walk. Initially we were on a rather busy main road, but not for long. We were soon in full countryside, speaking with a rather tame sheep who came up to us to be petted. This sheep was very friendly, and wasn't at all bothered by the dogs. Mind you Suzy is well behaved, annd since his experience with the electric fence a couple of weeks ago "Furry Face TM" is rather cautious around sheep.
We saw a couple of alpacas in with the sheep, we saw some sort of large flightless bird in with the goats; I think it was a rhea, but it might have been an ostrich. And over a spot of lunch I saw something black and very low to the ground in the next field which (just possibly) might have been one of those panthers or pumas that your hear about.
As we went along we found all of the caches we were after; including two puzzle ones we'd all solved in the week. I had to supply the vital co-ordinates to the rest of the party though. Apparently everyone else had worked out the puzzles using pencil and paper, and the dogs had eaten their homework (!)

Billed as a three mile walk, our independent sat-nav technologies recorded the distance as being five miles. Geo-walks are always longer than the description claims; not that this is a bad thing.
With the walk done we still had an hour or so spare, so we drove into Eynesford where we collected another puzzle cache that we'd all solved iin the week; even if the dogs had again eaten everyone else's homework. In the village we met some fellow cachers who told us that a certain cache was missing, and advised us not to bother looking for it. I saw that as something of a challenge, and sure enough after a short search we had the elusive film pot in our hands.
By 3.30pm we could feel spots of rain, so having exhausted the area of unfound sandwich boxes we came home. As we got closer to home we could see there had been very heavy rain at home today. We'd been rather lucky with the weather.
And as always there are photos of the day on-line. the geocache series we did today was called "Kent Views", and as you can see there were some wonderful views to be enjoyed.

Once home we had a rather good bit of egg and chips for tea, and as "er indoors TM" set off for the Sunday bowling I mucked about on-line. I was rather frustrated to find that during the week I'd solved a dozen geo-puzzles and that today we'd not been that far away from them. Oh well, we were planning to go back to the area anyway...

26 April 2014 (Saturday) - A Gentlemen's Afternoon (hic!)

Being up rather earlier than I’d hoped I set about the astro club’s accounts. Not too bad, really. I then pootled about for a bit fiddling with my presentation for next month’s astro club. I hope it goes down well; it’s not especially long at the moment.

I could have gone out to be public-spirited this morning. I could have gone to a CITO (cache in, trash out) event in which geocachers do a bit of tidying up of a public area.
Last year I went to a CITO event. It was on 10 March and on re-reading my blog entry for that day I can see that I was rather unimpressed. Sixty brave souls turned up to be rather public spirited, but most people soon lost interest and shoved off to do their own sweet things, leaving only a few hardy souls working their butts off in the cold and rain.
There was another such event today. But it was in the same place as last’s year’s one. Presumably supervised by the same council employee. Bearing in mind it was already raining I decided to stay home this morning. ‘er indoors TM went along. She’s more public-spirited (and more forgiving) than me.

On March 7 I wroteMy new walking shoes have arrived…. I wonder how long they will last” Today I got my answer. I took “Furry Face TMfor a short walk, and within fifty yards I realised I had a wet foot. Looking at my feet I saw that the sole of my walking shoe had a huge split in it. On the one hand I got the shoes for half price. On the other hand they lasted six weeks. I would have expected a reputable brand such as Cotton Trader to have supplied shoes which would have lasted a little longer. Or do I walk *that* much that I have given the things a lifetime’s wear in a little under two months.
I phoned Cotton Traders to have a whinge. They were really helpful and have arranged for the knacked shoes to be returned and new ones sent out to me.

I then set off to Bybrook Barn; I’ve been needing an ink stamp for my latest geo-project. And having got one I lunched in the American diner.
Sax lesson went very well. I’m making progress, and this week’s homework has some well-known tunes such as “Yankee Doodle” and “On Top of Old Smokey”, and a couple of scales. My problem with squawkiness is probably due to my breathing (or lack of it).

I’d gotten to the music school a little early, and the student before me hadn’t shown, so I was finished there rather earlier than I might have been. With over an hour until the next phase of the day, I did what real men do. I went to the pub.
We were having “A Gentlemen’s Afternoon” going round Folkestone’s ale houses in lieu of a stag do. The plan had been to meet up at Ashford International at 3pm. Being at a loose end and having heard that Terry had arrived at the Admiralty I took the earlier train. We were soon in the Firkin where I had a rather nice pint of porter, and I got through another two pints whilst waiting for all our number to assemble.

A dozen of us then moved on to the Chambers for another pint; then to the Samuel Peto for food. You can’t beat a good mixed grill after far too much ale. Kipps bar had oatmeal stout. Very nice.
Most people were then going back to Ashford to see a band. But as Terry was staying in Folkestone and I don’t see him much I stayed in Folkestone for another pint at the Black Bull. Once a very rough pub this place has been done up very well.
I eventually said my goodbyes, got myself a kebab, found a train going in the general direction of home, fell asleep and woke up half way to London. Oh how I laughed…
As always I took a few photos of the action. All in all, not a bad day….

25 April 2014 (Friday) - A Day Off Work

Today I had a rather later start than usual, being on a day's holiday. Originally the plan had been for a weekend away caravaning, but things didn't go quite as we'd hoped. But I still took the holiday, and after a spot of brekkie I took "Furry Face TM" for the sort of walk we used to do back when I was on three-day weeks. We went through the Bowens Field wetlands to Viccie Park and on to Singleton Lake. The weather forecast hadn't been good, and we did get rained on for five minutes. However the rain soon let off, and we even found one of the two munzees in Singleton. Mind you the other one still has me foxed.

Once home I went through my letter rack. There wasn't much of note there; mostly bills for the next year. I did the monthly accounts. On the one hand I've had a pay rise. On the other hand I have to spend more on petrol now that I'm doing five day weeks. The extra money from the pay rise is almost exactly equal to my increased petrol costs. Ho hum...

I was going to mow the lawn; it was raining. I was going to repair the tent poles; I needed a hacksaw. So I had a bite of lunch and watched more lame 1960s Doctor Who and a documentery about Queen until the Rear admiral arrived to collect some odds and ends.
I then spent half an hour on sax practice. Or to be more precise I spent five minutes on sax practice and twenty five minutes stopping my dog from howling along. I then had another look for a hacksaw, and having found one I managed to fix those tent poles.

The rest of the afternoon was spent bashing my head aagainst a brick wall solving geo-puzzles, and then I went round to McDonalds wheere I met the Rear Admiral and Stevey for some McTea. From there it was on to astro club. We had a huge turnout and a guest speaker.
I have mixed feelings about guest speakers.
On the one hand its good to get an expert lecturer in. On the other hand these so-called experts are often little more than people like me who've taken the trouble to research astronomy on Wikipedia and then put on a show for a bemused public. I much prefer the astro club to have lectures from our own members.
Tonight's talk had been billed as being on exo-planets; a fascinating topic. The speaker however announced he wasn't going to talk about exo-planets; he was going to talk about how unlikely it is that the human race and the planet Earth exist at all. It could have been interesting...

Whenn discussing a rather esoteric and complex subject some speakers try to illuminate and elucidate. Some try to blind with science. Some endeavour to baffle with bullsh*t. Personally, when I'm lecturing I like to think that people are listening to what I am saying, and if anything is complicated, then that I have conveyed the salient points in a way that people can understand.
I could see the eyes of many of the club members glazing over as tonight's speaker droned on.

He presented random speculation after random speculation as established and proven facts. His fundamental arguments and reasoning were factually wrong on at least three seperate key issues. And in the question and answer session after the lecture he contradicted what he'd said earlier with nearly (but not quite) every answer he gave.
I can't help but feel that the misconceptions presented about living things and living ecosystems would have been blown out of the water by a two-minute discussion with a professional life-scientist. Perhaps as a professional life-scientist I should have said more; but I felt it would be bad form to have one of the most prominent club members present vociferously arguing with the speaker.

It was a shame that the speaker then went on to plug his latest book. Yet another book which has the age-old argument back to front. It's not amazing that the human race exists despite all the vagaries of the Earth's multi billion year history. We are here precisely because of the specific vagaries of the Earth's multi billion year history. And had things been different, then humanity would be different.
Had the moon not been present, or had the solar constant not been quite so constant, or had the ice ages been more intense then maybe we would now be twelve feet tall on average; or green skinned and photosynthetic, or intelligent octopi.

Normally after an astro club meeting the club's Facebook page is alive with comments about how well the evening's talk went down. Tonight - not a sausage... which is a shame.

24 April 20144 (Thursday) - Big Pants

I had a particularly vivid dream last night in which my long-dead grandfather had become best of chums with my daughter. He particularly liked having a great-granddaughter. I've never before realised just how simular in temperament the two are (were?)

Despite a good night's sleep (for me) I was up and watching telly by 6am. This week's installemt of The Tomorrow People was marred by smut. Do people have to get jiggy on screen? Three seperate lots were geetting grubby.
If they had got to be seen doing the nasty then, like all telly, it should be beleiveable. I'm not saying that we need to see graphic detail, but if people have supposedly just been doing dirties, then they won't be wearing dull huge undercrackers. You have to take those off to do dirties.
Doctor Who wasn't doing filth (thank the Lord), but today's episode was just as lame as yesterdays. Crap plot with even worse acting. How on Earth did it become popular? The other stuff on TV in the 1960s must have been bad if this is what survived.

As I drove to work my piss really boiled. The Cornish have been officially recognised as a "minority". The Cornish woman being interviewed on the radio was seriously suggesting that should the Scottish should vote for independence, then the Cornish might do the same.
I can remember having a conversation in a pub in Bromley in the mid-1980s when I was loudly pontificating that in thirty years time Britain would be part of a United States of Europe which would be looking at even larger international affiliation. Instead of knocking down barriers we are putting up more and more. Where will this push for independece end? In utter anarchy with no central authority whatsoever?
Sometimes I despair for the future.

Work was busy; sax practice went well, and once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the park where I had a good laugh. In the children's play areea is a rubber tyre suspended horizontally three feet off of the ground. Two parent-types were busy extracting a grandparent-type from this tyre. I say "extracting"; they were trying, but not having much luck.

With "er indoors TM" off flogging candles I set about ironing shirts, and with shirts ironed I slept in front of the telly. I wish I ddidn't do that...

23 April 2014 (Wednesday) - Debbie Doo-Doos

I suppose I had a reasonable night, but I was still up and watching telly before 6am. Today I watched something I'd recorded over the weekend; old Doctor Who episodes. Specifically the first episode in which the daleks ever appeared on our TV screens.
I was disappointed.
I knew that the special effects weren't up to much. But I rather thought the plot and storyline and acting might get round that little hiccup. They did not. Doctor Who has always been a character to whom one would warm . William Hartnell's Doctor was surly and unfriendly. Not at all likeable. And it didn't help that William Hartnell usually got his lines wrong as well. For example in today's episode our heroes were searching for "anti-radiation drugs". The Doctor was talking about "anti-radiation gloves... erm... drugs".
I expect I shall watch the next instalment tomorrow. If nothing else it will give me something to whinge about.

And so to work. As I drove I listened to the radio. The talk was about how the incidence of violence and crime is at its lowest level for years. Not only in the UK, but internationally. Many reasons have been postulated for this; but the most likely seems to be the decrease in binge drinking and consumption of alcohol which is a contributory factor to many crimes.
It would seem that the financial crisis of the last few years had left most people unable to afford to go out drinking to excess.

Work was much the same as ever; until I had cause to go walkabout. I encountered a tribe of what I can only describe as "pikeys" who seemed to have met up with an old friend. There were half a dozen of them, standing in a semicircle, all pointing at a chubby simpleton whilst shreiking "It's Debbie Doo-Doos" in surprise and delight. The chubby simpleton seemed delighted to have been discovered by the pikeys and was grinning like a loon. The more that the pikeys shrieked about "Debbie Doo-Doos", the more "Debbie Doo-Doos" got over excited. She was even doing a little happy dance.
I couldn't get away quick enough. Unlike "Debbie Doo-Doos" who seemed content to stay there all day being told that she was "Debbie Doo-Doos". Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't just chuck it all in and become a professional chubby simpleton. Life is definitely much more straightforward for them.

My lunchtime sax practice saw me finally getting to grips with the Egyptian dance tune with which I have been fighting for a week. Next on my list is a traditional Hungarian ballad that is (at the moment) rather tricky about the upper octave. We'll see how I get on with that tomorrow.

Once home we went round the park for our usual walk. As we went some teenagers were haranguing the local Polish who were having their customary picnic on the street corner. I wish they wouldn't; it will all end in tears.
"Furry Face TM" was really good; we have a new trick. When I want to get him back on he lead I shout to get his attention and hold up the lead. He sees it and comes to me. I'm not sure how he learned this one, but so far it seems to work....

22 April 2014 (Tuesday) - Priorities

After another restless night I was up and about well before 6am. Having spent a little while puzzling puzzles I've now solved all the astronomical puzzle series I've been looking at. I then went on-line and applied for a new tax disc for the car. Doing it on-line is far less painful that mucking about in the post office. I would have shared brekkie with my dog, but he didn't seem interested in toast. Since he got a large bone a week ago he's not really shown any interest in any food other than his bone.

To work - a wet mucky morning so unlike yesterday. As I drove I listened to the radio. There was very little of note. The talk was all about who would be the next manager of Manchester United football club. I can't help but wonder if the BBC had got their priorities right. After all who really cares about a silly game of football when there is so much else of note in this world.
The Russian troop build-up in the Ukraine increases and the world has completly ignored the fact that the Russian takeover of Crimea is now complete. The UK Independence Party has apparently resorted to outright racism in its election campaigning. Science has figured out how to cure faulty genes and has cured hereditary illness in laboratory mice. And today was Earth Day.
But none of these warranted air time because the fortunes of some football club was apparently more important.

I popped into Morrisons for the makings of lunch. I thought I might get a pair of tweezers to replace a set I gave away at the weekend. After all they are only cheap things. Or so I thought. A couple of months ago a pair of tweezers in Morrisons was forty six pence. Today the same thing was two pounds. Inflation in action!

And so to work where I did my thing. I saxed at lunch time; I'm now convinced I'm doing something wrong as the squawking sound is getting worse. And with my thing done I came home and walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. He tried to fight a bus on the way, but was completely oblivious of the remote controlled racing car shooting across the fields. I got chatting with the lads whose toy it was; they say that the makers claim it goes at over fifty miles per hour.

The clans gathered this evening for another dose of Merlin. Good stuff...