There's no denying I felt rough this morning; I blame the stout. Over brekkie I sat and stared into space; and as I waited for "er indoors TM" to emerge from her pit I did this week's installment of my Coursera course. This week we were covering the migrations of the first humans from their African origins to (basically) all over the world. There are a *lot* of theories on the matter, but preciious little hard evidence to back up any of these theories. But at least the spoken English in this week's video lectures was much more comprehensible than it has been.
Which is no excuse for the frankly abysmal score I got in the test. Again I blame the stout.
Over the last few weeks I've had some messages that some of the geocaches I've hidden had gone missing (as had"er indoors TM") so today was geo-maintenance day. Whilst out geo-maintaining we met up with an old friend. Emmaroo seemed well, as did her baby.
With baby clucked over and geo-maintaining done we then drove round to five churches in pursuit of church micro geocaches. With these five uner my belt I should be in position #456 in the country. Whilst out we stopped for sausage and chips. "Furry Face TM" liked the chips until he had some sausage. He wouldn't touch the chips after that; he can be fussy. We got cream cakes too, and we had a minor incident at Doddington church where the car got stuck in mud. In pushing the thing out I nearly (but not quite) went face first in the mud myself.
Home - where we scoffed the cakes. They were a disappointment. They looked wonderful. But what looked like cream was actually some manky chemical subsititute. I shan't be going back to that cake shop again.
And the the rest of the day was wasted in front of the telly. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Big Bang Theory, Harry Potter.
I am sure I could have done something more constructive with my time... but I did see a trailer for the new latest "Thunderbirds" re-make
The morning's installment had quite a lot of nudey-boobie-wobbling going on. So much so that I felt obliged to take a moral stance. They don't take themselves, you know.
Just at the third nudey-boobie-wobble my phone rang. Could I look after Lacey for the day? Of course I could. Lacey soon arrived, and we took "Furry Face TM" for a scooter ride round the park. (That is Lacey scootered; me and "Furry Face TM" walked). It was a cold day, but dry. As we walked and scootered we met and played with other dogs, and only fought with one. Mind you that one was a husky which looked like its ancestry included polar bears and wolves. He rolled in frozen fox poo and with only twenty yards to go before we got home, Lacey scootered into a pot hole and fell off.
By now "er indoors TM" had emerged from her pit, so we all went for a bit of an outing. The plan was to come home with tropical fish.
First of all we went to to Grafty Green. Once there was a really good garden centre there. Now that garden centre is a shadow of its former self. To be honest the obscure location together with the total disinterest of the staff can only mean the place's days are numbered.
By now it was mid day. Lacey fancied KFC for lunch, so KFC it was. And with KFC scoffed we popped into Dobbies. Unlike Grafty Green they had tropical fish. But like Tenterden Garden Centre their fish were terribly overpriced. So I swallowed my pride and went back to Bybrook barn. We stopped off at the American Diner for caramel sundae and pancakes, and then into Bybrook's pet section. At half the price of Dobbies we came away with over twenty quid's worth of tiddlers; including two "Silver see-throughs" that Lacey wanted. In fact we got all the fish that Lacey wanted. She told me I couldn't have the ones I wanted.
Once home we all settled in front of the telly and watched a film. "Shrek II" was entertaining. I then left the girls and set off to what (hopefully) might become a regular piss-up. The leading lights of the astro club gathered in Folkestone for a quiet drinkie or two. Pints of stout, selfie sticks, unpasteurised cheese, cigars, pool... it all got rather vague but I'm sure there was a kebab in there somewhere..
"Nudey DragonGirl" was back to centre-stage in the morning's installment of "Game of Thrones". However so was her kit. She's not got that off for some time; which is a disappointment for all concerned.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a morning walk; it was cold when we started; I hurt my back when I skidded on the ice in Bowens Field. When we got to Viccie Park we saw OrangeHead and a much younger but simularly orange-headed associate. I can only imagine she's taken on an apprentice.
"er indoors TM" set off for the Folkestonians; I collected "My Boy TM" and his entourage and drove down to my brother's house where the family were gathering for my mum's birthday. NIcky put on a wonderful spread, and once I organised my nephew's Facebook account for him we spent a very enjoyable afternoon doing what people do at family bashes. As the ladies came over from over the road so all the men went over the road where we played "shove ha'penny".
It was as well that I was driving; those that weren't had poured far too much down their necks. I don't think I could drink that much these days.
It was cold and icy when I went for our walk this morning; it was even colder and icier this evening when we got back into the car. We came home via the Indian take-away as Cheryl fancied a korma, and then home.
With dustbins put out I then spent half an hour trying to stop "Furry Face TM" eating the frozen grass in the garden. He seems to like frozen grass...
I would have slept better had "Furry Face TM" not jumped on to the bed and started pushing me off. Every time I moved him he would (after a few minutes) sneak back and continue pushing. Finally he got himself comfortable, and I resigned myself to trying too sleep with my arse hanging off the edge of the bed.
Did I ever say I never wanted a dog?
I got up shortly after seven o'clock and over brekkie watched more "Game of Thrones". Another major character has croaked (been killed); one thing I like about the show is that the writers have no qualms about killing anybody off. Mind you on the minus side, in a novel break with tradition everyone kept their kit on.
I then mucked about on-line for a while. I've sorted out a little geo-stroll round Battle in Sussex for next weekend. If any of my loyal readers fancy coming for a walk, drop me a line and I'll forward the details.
"er indoors TM" got up and did a fart that I actually applauded. I would have been proud to have done one like that myself.
We then drove out to Tenterden Garden Centre. Pausing only briefly in Brenzett for geocachical purposes we were soon at the garden centre. We bought a couple of birthday presents and had a look at the aquatic shop. It's been completely redesigned since I was last there; and for all that the fish selection was good, the fish were (at least) double the price of those in Bybrook Barn.
We came home, and took "Furry Face TM"round to the park. He needed a walk, and my amphibious associate had said that he would be doing one of my park-based Wherigos this afternoon. It would have been mean not to have gone along and offered advice on the trickier bits.
So I was mean and went along to gloat as he struggled with the trickier bits. But bearing in mind the abject failure of my Singleton Wherigo not working on Garmin technology I was pleased to see this one work on both Garmin and I-phone as well.
We came home, and made a flying visit to Asda for a take-out curry, then settled down to watch James Bond whilst we scoffed the curry. I can remember liking "Skyfall" wheen I saw it for the first time; I thought it dragged on somewhat this time...
I spent much of last night laying awake listening for the crying of a baby Grandson who spent much of the night fast asleep. I got up shortly before 7am because I heard "Daddies Little Angel TM" getting up. But she just used the facilities and went back to bed. I stayed up and watched drivel on the telly.
Eventually everyone got up, and we set off to Folkestone about an hour later than planned.
From Folkestone we drove down to see my mummy and daddy. We stopped off in Rye for geocachical purposes (crafty FTF - happy dance), but were soon in Hastings. We stayed for an hour or so; longer would have been nice but I was feeling rather tired.
We came home, and then did what normal people do at Christmas; slobbed in front of the telly. We started off watching the Christmas episode of Doctor Who... What can I say? I *want* to like the show; and Peter Capaldi is the best Doctor for many years. But he is only as good at the scripts he's given. And this one was done far better by the Red Dwarf team over twenty years ago.
Then the last episode of "Trollied"; a much-overlooked series. Next I sorted my undercrackers whilst watching a film; "Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists". That was surprisingly good.
The all-new "Still Open All Hours" was something I felt I had to watch; if only to run it down with a clear conscience. The original was frankly dreadful, and this sequel was in exactly the same vein. How can the BBC justify putting something so bad on at peak time on Boxing Day?
Having seen quite a build-up for BBC's one-off "The Boy in the Dress" I'd been looking forward to it. It was every bit as good as the hype would have had us beleive. We then got the meat and pickle out and scoffed that whilst watching the Christmas "Downton Abbey" which lasted far longer than the meat and pickle, so for dessert we sorted the port and stilton.
By the time I tootled off to bed we'd got ten per cent of space available on the SkyPlus box. Must keep up the good work getting all these programs watched...
I was really tired when I went to kip last night. I slept till 3am when the noisy drunks woke me up on their way home. From 3am onward there was a seemingly endless succession of noisy drunks going past the house.
I gave up trying to sleep at 5am, got up, and watched the first episode of Season Four of "Game of Thrones". Apart from the rather disappointing fact that nudey-dragongirl kept her clothes on it was a rather good episode.
And then at 6.45am I set off to work. More people work on Christmas Day these days than they ever use to; I can remember working the night of Christmas Eve (some years ago) and driving to Hastings at 9am Christmas morning and only seeing three other cars. Today at 7am (ish) I saw nineteen other cars between home and work.
Mind you the pundits of the radio said that, according to the Office of National Statistics, about three per cent of people in work were working today.
The largest group of workers was those employed by the NHS. According to Nick Palmer of the Office of National Statistics 141,000 doctors, nursing staff and midwives were working on this festive day. He was rather vague about the numbers of pharmacists, paramedics, radiographers, telephonists, porters, biomedical scientists, health care scientists.... as are many people.
The radio also (for some odd reason) featured a program about "Wallace and Gromit", and I spent much of the day with the theme to "A Grand Day Out" going through my head.
I got to work and (ably assisted by the inestimable "Soup Boy") I had quite a busy day. Unlike forty nine per cent of the country's vicars who apparently didn't work today. And with my bit done I came home to a rather full house. Nearly all of the tribe had gathered, and it was good to spend some time with family.
Up with the lark, and I watched the Christmas episode of "Derek" over brekkie. Previous episodes and series of this show have been really good. I felt this Christmas special was rather lame in comparison.
I then resisted the urge to tell someone in cyber-space to f... off. I'd heard tell that the regulations for concealing tupperware in Forestry Commission land have been relaxed, and so I had asked in the local tupperware-foragers group if anyone knew any details. Rather than answering the question, the very person who would be in a position to answer the question responded with unnecessary sarcasm.
I've encountered this sort of behaviour from this chap elsewhere in cyber-space before. Does it cause him physical pain to give a straight answer to a straight question? Bearing in mind that the group in question is mainly used by local people I can't help but feel the chap in question is deliberately trolling.
And so to work. As I drove the talk on the radio was doom and gloom about the recent tragedy in Glasgow. There was little else mentioned today.
I got to Morrisons thinking I'd treat myself to Christmas Eve sarnies; I found the place was heaving. If it was that busy at 7.30am I would hate to be there later in the day.
I got to work, and did my bit. At lunch time I thought about saxing, but the rain put me off. So I stayed inside. For some inexplicable reason I spent much of the day whistling "Joy to the World" right up until the point when the power supply in the PC I was using popped. It did make me jump, and I spent the rest of the day giggling after that.
Home, and the Rear Admiral called round and gave us a lift to Steve & Sarah. We had a rather good evening chatting with a dozen friends and scoffing far too much Chinese take out. Must do it again soon.
Once home I had a little sample of the Christmas beer I've brewed. At more than double the usual cost for about half the usual volume, I don't actually like it very much...
Over brekkie I watched teh last episode of the first (and so far only) series of "Dominion". Watching a whole series in a week is the way I like to watch a series; that way I can remember what is going on. "Dominion" wasn't too bad really. mind you I'm not sure about the complete about-face by the super-goodie. It did seem somewhat fabricated to make for a good season finale.
Still, I'm looking forward to the next season; it's not been cancelled yet.
I then had a look on social media. I had a little look-see at some of teh people on my old school's old boys page. Yesterday I mentioned about how some of my fellow old Hastonians (that's what you call someone who went to Hastings Grammar Scchool) had gone on to the country's top universities. Today I read that one of them was living in Dallas and was flying jumbo jets around the Pacific, and that another was "an operational performance improvement specialist, with a focus on the Healthcare Services and the Consumer and Retail sectors. (...) seeks opportunities at fundamentally sound, yet underperforming, businesses, and works with management teams to drive strategic and operational change. His team has a successful history in transforming such businesses in order to drive top-line and bottom-line growth". I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what an " operational performance improvement specialist" does but I have found out that whatever they do i from some rather swish offices in central London and pays substantially more than I get for showing up in Canterbury from time to time. Others with who I spent my formative years have gone on to be bank managers and directors at multinational companies.
Bearing in mind that at the time of taking "O" levels I came second in the class, some days I just wonder where I went wrong.
Feeling somewhaat sulky I took my dog round the park for a walk. I might not be a multi-millionaire like some of my contemporaries, but I have my dog.
And with him walked I dropped "er indoors TM" at her work, and I drove down to Folkestone to see "Daddies Little Angel TM", Sam-I-Am, and the baby.
With littlun (and bigguns) visited I set off on a rather circuitous route to work. On Saturday I'd failed to find a geocache. As it was (sort of) mid-way between where "Daddies Little Angel TM" lurks and work, it would be daft not to have another look-see. Bearing in mind Saturday's failure I thought looking in the daylight (as opposed to night) might help. I was rather keen to find this one, especially as no one else had found it yet. Even though it had been live for five days I still had a chance of a First to Find.
I parked up the car and had a look-see. After twenty five minutes searching I found it. FTF. Happy dance.
In retrospect it wasn't a difficult find; I'd just read the information which had been given, then fixated on a certain word and decided that I knew what I was looking for and where it was.
It was a shame it took me twenty four minutes and thirty seconds to realise my initial idea was wrong on both counts.
And so on to work for the late shift. I did my bit, and again at lunch time did my thing on my saxophone. I was again playing tunes which once I found difficult, but now I can have a go at them which is at least recognisable
With my bit done I came home. I could have gone to Folkestone where the tribes were gathering, but I was feeling rather tired this evening; so I went straight home and straight to bed in readiness for the early shift tomorrow...
Again I was up early and watching "Dominion" this morning before most people would be thinking of emerging from their pits. And with telly watched I checked out the Internet. I'm a member of a group on Facebook for old boys of my secondary school, and I saw something in that group this morning that made me think.
I went to Hastings Grammar School; for over a hundred years, at the end of every school year several boys would leave that school and go to Oxford or Cambridge universities. The names of those that did were put on huge notice boards that lined the corridors. Dozens of boards; hundreds of names, the list growing yearly.
When I was a pupil there government policy was against grammar schools; and so the place became a comprehensive school. One of the members of the old boys Facebook group had cause to go back to visit the school this week; no one's graduated to Oxford or Cambridge for twenty years.
So much for comprehensive education...
I stopped off for petrol on my way to work, and then drove on through the gloom. I'm glad we are now past the shortest day. As I drove the news was of the usual drivel; wars and squabbles.
I did laugh at the "Thought for the Day" bit. When it is presented by a Jewish, Muslim or Sikh speaker, it's interesting or thought-provoking. Today's was presented by a Christian. I can only assume that the Christians are so used to no one listening to them that they don't actually bother having anything worth saying. Today's speaker wittered on with an anecdote from her recent experience in an airport, then said that airports are just like God, and that was the end of it.
I got to work, did my bit, and at lunchtime I again abandoned my set saxophone homework in favour of just playing whatever I fancied having a go at.
My phone rang; "Daddies Little Angel TM" was distraught. Whilst having his nappy changed littlun had escaped her clutches and slipped off of the sofa. She'd phoned 999 and been told not to waste their time. I suggested she went round to the local walk-in health centre. She did. All was fine. By the time she got there, littlun had forgotten all about his accident. But it was worth going for her own peace of mind as much as anything.
As I came home I drove past the filling station where I'd fueled this morning. Petrol had dropped in price during the day; I was done out of forty-three pence. And once home I took "Furry Face TM" round the block. We woofed at various innocent people and objects as we went.
And this evening I finished my Coursera course. An odd course; called "Origins" it started with the Big Bang, then covered the origin of life. It then looked at evolution af various forms of life, and today's was an incoherent rammble about climate change.
In retrospect the course would have been more comprehensible if presented by English-speakers...
I set off for work early last night hoping for a First to Find on my way.... (it's a hunting tupperware thing). I got to where I was supposed to be easily enough; only taking a fifteen miles detour. I found somewhere corresponding to the description I'd been given. I searched for twenty minutes until an interfering busybody came bustling over and asked me if she could ask me what I was doing. I said she could; and that foxed her.
And then I gave up searching and went on to work.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" phoned me: whilst I'd been on my way to work, someone had tried to nick Sam-I-Am's moped. When doing so they'd been disturbed, and had dropped their bank cards. That should give the police an easy nick - it only took a few minutes with the bank card to find the miscreant's mother on Facebook.
One of the good things about being on my own on the night shifts is I can have the radio on; not many people will admit to liking listening to Radio Four. My heart fell when the evening's first program was a pretentiously high-brow discourse about the Prokofiev's classic musical work "Peter and the Wolf". I say "classic"; I thought it was dreadful when it was forced on me at school years ago, and hasn't improved in the meantime.
There was then a radio play about King Arthur. Unlike the TV show "Merlin" (which was basically the same tale) there was no mention of Sir BigTits. Mind you I suppose Sir BigTits doesn't work quite so well on the radio, but I can't help but think that they could have had a go. Mind you Sir Lancelot "lanced a lot" with Guinevere so I can't say they didn't serve up a dose of smut.
The Reith Lectures then bleated on about they way in which medical professionals work, calling for greater transparency about their performance; all but advocating witch-hunts, and completely avoiding the sad topic of the problems of recruitment that such a culture of blame would cause.
A quiz about things musical, an elegy for a dead poet, some so-called comedy, some new-age hippie-drivel for the solstice, the shipping forecast, and then my attention drifted somewhat as Radio Four joined the BBC's World Service at 1am.
I did my bit until the relief arrived shortly before 8am, and then I came home. And again (still) listened to Radio Four as I went. Being the last Sunday before Christmas I was hoping for a nice uplifting carol service on the radio. Instead there were old farts squalling dirges. I put on a CD instead
Once home I made myself some brekkie, sat down with it in front of the telly, and woke up two hours later. I then took "Furry Face TM" round to the park where the lumberjacks have finished hacking away all trees, shrubs and plants from around the river. I suppose there is a reason for what they've done; but I can't help but think that they've been rather extreme.
Once home we went down to Folkestone to see the baby. He's growing so much - he can now support himself when he sits up. I wound Charlie up a little; we went shopping in Folkestone's cheapo-bargains shop, and then I slept on the sofa for a little.
We came home, pausing only briefly to pay a flying visit to Lisa, and then I set about solving geo-puzzles. There's a major walk planned for New Year's Day. I have a theory that if on the walk I make a great fuss about having solutions for the easier puzzles, everyone else will automatically assume I've also solved the more difficult ones and give me the solutions which I shall say that "Furry Face TM" has eaten.
It's a good plan; my amphibious associate has been using it for a couple of years...
Having woken about 3.30am I didn't get back to sleep; I lay awake for a couple of hours, then got up and set about the laundry. In between filling and emptying dishwashers and washing machines I watched an episode of "Dominion". It's not a bad series. and after that, I mucked about on the Internet for a bit.
There's no denying that at times my shift pattern gives me quite a bit of free time. However there are other times when I seem to be working continuously. It is then (now) that I like to make a point of doing something to break up the pattern of sleep-work-sleep-work. Bearing in mind that with a night shift on the cards I would need to spend the afternoon in bed, so I had planned to go out this morning.
Being an avid fan of the Wherigo geocache we went to do one in Maistone. It was.... disappointing. We took along four devices on which to play the game; it wouldn't run on two of them. And when it did run... the thing itself needs to be proof-read by someone fluent in English. (That's not being sarcastic; that's an honest opinion). And the route it takes... with virtually all of Allington in which to wander did we *really* have to do pretty much all of the hour's walking along main roads? I've now gone after five Wherigo caches and three of them have been disappointing.
We made our way back to the car via five other geocaches. All of which looked to have been good in their day, but all of which seem to have suffered from the passing of time. In fact I extracted a dead blue tit from one of them.
This is the trouble with so-called "clever" caches; they are fragile and break.
We got home shortly after mid day, and after a spot of lunch I took myself off to bed where I slept for a couple of hours and then rather than watching more telly I had a look at a geo-puzzle that had been published a few days ago. It looked like it wouldn't be too far off of my route to work, and with no one having logged a First to Find I thought it might keep me out of mischief on the way to work. The puzzle was based on nineteenth century crockery. Or so I initially thought. A little brainstorming supplemented by a little idiot enthusiasm soon gave me the thumbs-up from the on-line checker.
Let's see if I can get that FTF...
Feeling rather rough last night I took myself off to bed shortly after 8pm last night. I slept like a log and woke feeling bright as a button at 2am. I then tossed and turned before finally giving up and getting up shortly after 5am.
I then watched more "Dominion"; a rather fit ArchAngel has appeared on the scene. Not entirely unlike "Sir BigTits" who featured in "Merlin"; the ArchAngel Uriel is "on the woof! side". And the fact that she'd chop your head off as soon as say "Good Morning" is certainly a result (in my world).
The morning's news struck a chord. After what was once imagined and then hoped to be some isolated incidents, there is to be a review of how the investigations against medical professionals are conducted when allegations are made against them. Am I entirely wrong in thinking there is merit in the "innocent until proven guilty" philosophy? It's apparently come as a surprise that firstly being wrongly accused and then secondly not being believed by anyone has been having a rather stressful effect on medical professionals who have been accused of things they didn't do.
Many have been driven to suicide, and others have been known to lose a third of their body weight with the stress of it all...
The pundits on the radio were blaming the "go sue someone" culture. And rightly so.
(This last paragraph doesn't seem to be quite as unbiased as it might be...)
I stopped off at Morrisons for some bits and bobs. In the queue at the checkout I was chatted up by a rather attractive young lady who was telling me that the vast quantities of sweeties was for her pupils; she was a teacher. I smiled sweetly. My mother warned me about talking to strangers.
And so to work where the BBC were in the department filming an article about the success of the apprentices we've been training. It's just possible I might have been seen on the evening's telly. Wouldn't have been the first time...
At lunchtime I had saxophone practice. What with the next two Thursdays being Bank Holidays I skived a little on my practice. Rather than doing the set piece, I mucked around playing other bits that I knew I could play reasonably well.
Seeing how the last Friday of this month is Boxing Day, tonight was astro club. We had a social meet-up which featured a quiz. Despite a rather (very) disappointing turn-out we had a good time. My team (just me - Team Billy-No-Mates) managed a respectable fourth place out of seven and I'm sure I would have got higher had the question-masters ever heard of Stoater; which is actually one of the lesser-known moons of Uranus.
To convey my disgust I flicked peanuts at them. Judging by the amount of peanuts I swept up at the end of the evening I must have had a lot of disgust to convey...
I slept reasonably well, but was still awake with plenty of time to watch "Dominion" over brekkie. The program took an unexpected turn when (for no adequately explained reason) the Queen of the Lesbians sent her girlfriend her sister's dismembered body for a present. And ArchAngels Michael and Gabriel continued to squabble.
Whilst I watched this my dog whinged from his basket. He's becoming rather noisy of late; wish I knew why.
With a few minutes to spare I checked emails and social media. Not much of note; except that I found I was not alone in not finding the TV show "Mrs Brown's Boys" funny. I've thought the program is rubbish for ages. As a long-term subscriber to Viz magazine people find this odd; but there is a lot more to comedy than just shouting swear words. In many ways "Mrs Brown's Boys" is Woody Allen all over again. No one actually thinks it funny but the social pressure of everyone thinking everyone else likes it means that very few people are brave enough to say a word against it.
However this morning one brave soul spoke up, and it unleashed a torrent of people who though that they were alone in feeling the show to be a waste of air time.
To work. As I drove there was talk on the radio about a Kentish woman who had been turned away from a night club because of her rotund stature. Apparently she wasn't the sort that was wanted in the night club; her being in the place would give off the wrong vibe.
Naturally thin people are so lucky. I know from experience that I have two choices. I can be fat, or I can be permanently hungry. And thin people who bleat on about slow release whatever and diets that stop you being hungry are simply wrong. (Sorry)
And the news also featured the thaw in US - Cuban relations. Surely it can only be a good thing, but the radio featured interviews with Cuban refugees living in America who have grievances going back fifty years. Surely it's time to move on. This is certainly the opinion of the American Judiciary in the recent case against Bill Cosby. Alleged to have committed all sorts of offences, the case against him has been thrown out of court because it all happened too long ago. American law gives the aggrieved three years to bring their case. Having left the matter for forty years is leaving it just a little too long. British law could do with such a statute of limitations.
I got to work, I did my bit. I scoffed left-overs from yesterday's buffet lunch. At lunch time I had a sax practice. Chromatic scales and "Summertime" were hopefully at a stage that wouldn't be too shocking for teacher, and so I set off to sax lesson in a rather hopeful frame of mind. Mind you my mind was more hopeful than the body. For some reason I was feeling particularly tired. Perhaps it's a reflection of the fact that I've not worked four consecutive days for some time.
Sax lesson went well. I've instructions to improvise. There is a fine line between improvsing and getting it wrong (so it suits me fine).
I then turned down tyhe chance of an evening out; I'd been looking forward to a pre-Christmas take-out. But I was feeling rather washed out so I sent my excuses and went home. I quickly took "Furry Face TM" round the block, and sat in front of the telly for half an hour eating toast and feeling sorry for myself before having an early night.
I had a really restless night again. What I thought was the flickering of someone's Christmas decorations (that I see flashing through the bedroom curtains) is actually a street light which is on the blink. It didn't bother me at all when I thought it was someone's Christmas decorations, but now that I know it isn't, it keeps me awake.
I was up at 6am for another episode of "Dominion". The angels are squabbling, and "The Chosen One" has tattoos (that he's borrowed from the ArchAngel Michael) that move about and send him messages. But it's still quite entertaining.
The morning's news *really* boiled my piss. Over one hundred children have been murdered in their school by Taliban gunmen because.... Well, "because" it doesn't matter, does it? There can be no reason or explanantion for such a deed. The whole world needs to not only unite in condemning this act, but in hunting down the perptrators for the barbaric scum that they are.
The morning's news also featured the Russian Foreign Minister who was talking about the current Russian financial crisis. Bearing in mind yesterday the punters were talking about the effect of Western sanctioons on the Rouble, today the Russian Foreign Minister took great trouble to explain that Western sanctioons had very little (if any) bearing on their troubles. Because to do so would be tantamount to accusing the West to an act of war.
To work, where we had a rather trying day. But in compensation we did have the Christmas buffet. Loads to scoff is always a good thing; even if I did come away with a guts ache.
Sax practice had to be cut short because of excessive scoffing.
And then home where an evening was spent trying to catch up with stuff recorded onto the SkyPlus box...
I didn't really sleep at all well last night; I was up at 5.30am, and soon after I was watching the pilot episode of "Dominion" - an odd show in which God seems to have gone walkabout and the Angels blame humanity and have declared war on them (us). It shows promise; I shall give it a couple more episodes and see how it goes.
Once it was over I quickly checked my emails. And my piss boiled. I had an email to give me the thumbs down on an Earthcache I'd been working on. An Earthcache is basically a geology lesson; last week I spent quite a bit of time working on such a project based on Singleton Lake. This morning I got a comprehensive list of the failings of my clearly pathetic efforts.
I'm slightly (very) pissed off about this matter; I had emailed the Earthcache reviewer with various questions and suggestions about this idea a little while ago. At the time he couldn't be bothered to make the effort to reply to me. He just sent back a hyperlink to the very guidelines I was asking questions about.
It's particularly galling that he's been rather scathing about what I've suggested, but the same critisisms he's made could be levelled at several other Earthcaches he's published across the south. Bearing in mind that there's only been three of these Earthcaches been created in the county over the last year you'd think they'd be a tad more encouraging, wouldn't you?
The chap who's been so scathing had the temerity to end his email "When you re-submit your EarthCache..."
Having clearly failed in my efforts I'm now wondering whether to just quietly delete the thing, or whether to tell the person who did the reviewing to stick my efforts up his arse. Sideways.
Off to work on what turned out to be the first day of winter. In my world I know that winter has arrived when I have to scrape the ice off the my car's windscreen. It may well have iced up earlier in the year, but if it had, it would have melted before I saw it. Today was the first time I had to scrape.
As I drove I listened to the radio. As I drove past the petrol station with amazingly cheap petrol the pundits on that radio were telling about the impending financial crisis in Russia. It would seem that falling petrol prices combined with various financial sanctions imposed by the Western governments have pretty much done for the Russian economy. Those who worry about such things are very worried about the impending collapse of the rouble and serious knock-on effects on the rest of the world. Which seemed odd to me as it was these same people who imposed these various financial sanctions in the first place.
I queued in the traffic in Wincheap for ages this morning; despite being up so early I watched quite a bit of telly before work which put me behind. If nothing else it has reminded me of the merit of leaving for work promptly when on core shifts.
Once at work I did my bit until lunch time when I blew my sax. My rendition of "Summertime" is getting there; it's just a shame it is so cold when I play it. Mind you I've heard that one of my nephews wants to take up the sax too. Good lad(!)
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Insults were bandied, complete ignorance on the Great Grape Ape and the favoured method of locometion imployed by the Hair Bear Bunch was exhibited. Oh - and we watched another episode of "The Flash" (zoom zoom).
I had rather bad back ache in the night. I suspect had I not been twisting and turning to avoid disturbing a sleeping dog my back wouldn't have ached so much. I suppose it's a sign that his back is better if he's returned to the bed; but I really should take him back to his basket at night.
I got up, and whilst boiling up my toast I realised that there was no sign of the butterfly we found yesterday. I wonder what happened to him?
I took "Furry Face TM" round the park. It was a little cold and damp, but we had a good walk. As we went we met a Ghurkha family, and like all Ghurkha families that I've met, the children love my dog whilst the parents seem terrified of him. As mother ranted at the children in Nepalese, so the children assured mother they see my dog every day and he's never bitten anyone yet.
I can't say that I was entirely happy with the qualifier of "yet", but they made a fuss of "Furry Face TM" and he seemed to like it.
I then went off to the late shift at work. Via Morrisons where I had to fight with the self-service checkout. When these things were first introduced they worked fine. Now they've been "improved" and it's actually quicker to queue up and have the nice lady do the checkout for you.
And having a little time on my hands I went to hunt out the morning's obligatory geocache. I didn't find it. I *think* I found where it was, but the instructions did say I would need a tool to get at the thing. I *think* I know what tool I will need. I shall bang off a quick email to the chap who hid it just to check I am on the right lines, and if so I shall go back the next time I am on a late shift.
As I drove there was a play on the radio based on a real-life story in which an eleven year old schoolboy was trying to get hormone treatments to make him grow up as the girl he thought he should be rather than as the boy he actually was.
It's easy to be flippant about these cases. I did feel for the plight of the poor boy/girl in the story. And at the same time I couldn't help but wonder how I would have reacted if one of the fruits of my loin said that they felt God had made a mistake with them.
I don't think I would have been as sympathetic as the parents in the radio drama.
I went in to work, did my bit, and at lunchtime had a sax practice. Now that I am back on day shifts for a bit I will have a little more regularity with sax practice. It's colder in the works car park, but I don't have small dogs singing along. Today, in the third week of December, I was playing a tune called "Summertime" on a saxophone which was almost too cold to touch.
A late start made for a late finish; I was home just in time to watch the last episode of "Gotham"; it was really good, but now is having a mid-season break until the spring. Which is a shame...
I slept llike a log and woke to find my hand on the head of "Furry Face TM". He'd sneaked upstairs in the night and made himself comfortable.
Through the wonders of phone technology I checked my emails from the comfort of my own bed, and saw that my latest Wheri-project had gone live an hour before I woke up. I was rather pleased about that.
Over brekkie I got a message that a fellow hunter of tupperware had embarked on my latest Wherigo and had had the thing crash on him. Disaster. I'd tested the thing extensively on the simulator and for real on my phone and I had no idea of what to say. I downloaded the latest version onto my phone and onto my tablet and took both devices (and "Furry Face TM") to a frosty Singleton Lake where I tested the Wheri-wotsit on both devices. Both worked fine.
Just as I was walking back to the car I saw a familiar face. My fellow hunter of tupperware had come back for another try; this time on an i-tablet. Unfamiliarity with the i-tablet was a problem, and sure enough I watched the Wheri-wotsit crash his garmin. But I handed over my Android phone, and it did the trick.
This is all rather embaarrassing. I've set eight other Wherigos; all of which haven't had any reported issues on any devices. Mind you half the Wheri-games I've played have had issues with the unit on which they are played.
I've suggested to any downloaders that they use Android devices because I don't know what else to say.
We came home to see that "er indoors TM" had found a butterfly. A Red Admiral was in the bedroom. Now here was a dilemma. What should we do with it. With freezing conditions outside it would die if we put it out the window. In the end we popped him on to the flowers in the kitchen and hoped for the best.
"er indoors TM" set off to collect the Folkestonians, and "My Boy TM" came round and we all made our way to Hastings for the family christmas party. Food and drink with laods of relatives. Fun games, and even a visit from Santa as well.
We came home through Westfield and spent a little while looking at the Christmas lights.
Once home I dozed in front of the telly. I do that...