30 June 2015 (Tuesday) - Carrying a Fridge

As I did my thing ay work last night I listened to the radio. A documentary about post apocalyptic fiction, another documentary about sea monsters, an article about the making of the film "Jaws" (can you believe that film is forty years old now?) and a play which totally failed to grip my attention. Sometimes the radio is riveting, other times not so.
A lot of the time the radio was broadcasting the news. The focus was on the Greek crisis. I'm no expert but from what I can work out a previous Greek government has borrowed billions of Euros from the rest of Europe. Having struggled to repay their debts the Greeks have now voted in a government whose election manifesto was "tell those to whom we owe money to get knotted". And having been elected the rest of Europe is rather worried that the Greeks are now about to tell those to whom they owe money to actually get knotted despite the fact that their banks are about to collapse.

As I walked out to my car after work this morning I checked my emails on my phone. The people who do the admin behind dog microchips have finally got round to updating Fudge's chip so he's now registered to our address. Since we took "Furry Face TM" on from "My Boy TM" (who himself acquired the pup from someone else) I've always felt that my little dog was something of a vagrant. Now that he's finally registered to me I feel we've got a sense of permanance which has been hitherto lacking.
I also had an email from the people who produce GSAK. For those who aren't aware of GSAK it's a complete con. Well.. before I find myself crucified for disrespecting GSAK let me qualify that. Because the software provided by geocaching dot com isn't quite what it might be, in order to actually be able to do the geo-hobby (with any degree of practicality) you have to pay other people for their third-party software. GSAK is actually a very good bit of software which does a very good job, but I resent having to pay for it. I already pay for a premium membership with geocaching dot com.
I don't resent GSAK's developer getting paid for his efforts, but I can't help but feel that the nice people at Geocaching dot com should either beef up their software or pay for GSAK for me. I do resent having to pay out more money because everyone accepts that what we already pay for isn't good enough.

I was just about to drive home when my phone rang. "Daddies Little Angel TM" had located a cheap fridge-freezer and neeed someone to go get it for her. The journey which took less than half an hour last night took over an hour this morning thanks to "Operation Stack" and the French being on strike again.
I picked her up and we drove across Folkestone. Her latest acquisition was in a third-floor flat in Cheriton, and what are Dads for if not to carry fridge-freezers down flights of stairs?
Despite my whinging we soon had the fridge-freezer picked up and installed. Apparently her old one kept icing up. I suggested she might try turning it down; an approach which hadn't yet been tried. Oh how I laughed when I heard that..

I got home and took "Furry Face TM" round the park then scoffed a light lunch whilst watching last night's episode of "Dark Matter". It's not a bad show. Mind you with the exception of the sexy android its not good either.
Despite it being a hot day I then went to bed to try to get some sleep. My hopes weren't high but I slept for nearly five hours.

I got up and had what would normally be brekkie for tea (I quite like jam on toast) and then spent a few minutes rummaging on amazon dot com looking for a decent book for my Kindle app. I have been reading Wendy Alec's Chronicle of Brothers recently but it's a bit too "God Bothering" for my liking. I've read up to the end of the second of four books and in all honesty won't be bothering with the third or fourth.
I've downloaded something by Allen Steele to pass some time instead. If any of my loyal readers could recommend a good read I'm up for recommendations.
Because I spent a couple of quid on an eBook the nice people at Amazon have given me ten quid's credit on their app store. If anyone could recommend an app worth having...

I'm off for another night shift now. I hear the entire county's traffic is at a standstill because of "Operation Stack"...

29 June 2015 (Monday) - Beetroot or Broad Bean?

I wasn't too late to bed last night, and after another day's walking in the sunshine I was out for the count. My little dog had been snoring for much of yesterday evening, and he was still snoring this morning. Seeing the laundry bin was overflowing I set the washing machine to to its thing whilst I scoffed brekkie. Over brekkie I did a little brain-strain on some geo-puzzles which (hopefully) will form part of a walk I shall be doing on Thursday. Mind you as I scoffed brekkie the weather forecast for Thursday was for heavy rain... let's hope it changes in the meantime.
As I strained my brain my little dog carried on sleeping. Much as he seems to like coming for walks I do sometimes wonder if I'm over-exerting him. He's only got little legs, and he is covered in black fur which really sucks in the heat of the summer days.

It looked like being another hot day today so I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park quite early. Early enough in fact to miss most of the usual dog walkers. Mind you we still managed to have a fracas with a greyhound.
As we came back past the allotments by the co-op field a couple of gardeners were having a heated discussion about a certain plant in one of the allotments. One claimed said plant was a beetroot; the other believed it to be a broad bean. I’m not expert, but from thirty seconds on Google images I thought they looked completely different. I suppose it helps if you know what they look like in the first place.
We came home and I then got the lawn mowed whilst it was still relatively cool. I then thought I might set about my letter rack; it’s been some time since I did so.
I found some small geocaches and rubber stamps I’d ordered ages ago. I wondered what I’d done with those.
Virgin Media had twice offered me a deal. They do that a lot. I wonder how much cheaper they could be if they didn’t advertise so much.
There was a catalogue from “Go Outdoors” that went straight in the bin. Do people really read those things?
The Royal National Institute for the Blind had invited me to an open day. I give them some money every month, and I can recognise a thinly-veiled attempt to extort more money from me when I see it. They had also sent me a newsletter which (like the “Go Outdoors” catalogue) went into the bin unopened.
The Open University also wanted a hand-out from me. It’s twenty years since I finished with them.
The Nationwide building society asked me to vote for people who were standing to be on their board. How can I choose between candidates about whom I know nothing?

Over lunch I watched the first episode of "Sense and Sensibility" which is being run on the Drama Channel. It seems quite entertaining so far. And after my fix of period drama I went to bed for the afternoon. I didn't sleep very well; it was too hot to sleep. But I got a few hours asleep.
Once awake again I did the astro club's accounts; I had intended to do those this morning. And with the laundry fetched in from the line I set off to Folkestone to spend a few minutes with littlest family member before the night shift... I always say I like night shifts. I think I prefer the time off during the day time that goes with them rather than actually working the night shift...

28 June 2015 (Sunday) - Milton Creek

After yesterday's really good walk in the sunshine I slept really well. I have a vague recollection of my dog woofing in the night but judging by how tired he seemed this morning I think I may have dreamed it.
Over brekkie "Furry Face TM" continued snoring. WIth nothing on the SkyPlus box to watch I had a look on UK Gold and found an episode of "Jeeves and Wooster" which passed an otherwise dull hour until "er indoors TM" leapt into action.

I then had a look-see on the Internet. MessageToEagle (dot com) was spouting utter drivel. Their article was full of failures of logic. It started off by wittering about some geological age from hundreds of millions of years ago and saying how there were no humans at that time. Therefore (from what I could work out) if there were no humans hundreds of millions of years ago there couldn't have been any humans at any stage of history. Therefore any apparent record of human activity in the historical record must actually have been caused by aliens.
Much as I do love laughing at crackpots, the worrying fact is that there really are nutters who actually beleive this nonsense.

We then collected the caching crew and set off to Sittingbourne where a gaggle of us had arranged to meet up and hunt tupperware (it doesn't hunt itself, you know). We had a really good day. Once we were all together we set off. First of all along Milton Creek. I'd never been along there before. A rather pretty place; but amazing to see how many boats of all shapes and sizes have just been left to rot. As we hunted tupperware both dogs got rather filthy in the mud - it's a dog thing. There was a dodgy five minutes when "Furry Face TM" stopped and would not walk any further. As I turned back to him he looked at me and lifted his front left paw as though to say that there was a problem. I have no idea what the problem was; his paw didn't seem tender. I gave it a good going over and could find nothing wrong. We carried him for a bit, then put him down. He limped for a few yards until he was distracted by other dogs. It was at this point he forgot all about any paw-related problems and he charged off regardless. He never worried about the paw for the rest of the day. I wonder what that was all about.

A little further on we heard an ice cream van. As luck would have it the ice cram van drove into view just as the footpath crossed the road so we flagged it down and had a Whippy... (sigh)
No one had ever told me that a "Whippy" was a brand of ice cream. I honestly thought a "Whippy" was an ice cream in a cone.If any of my loyal readers see a "Mr Softie" ice cream van go and ask them for a "Whippy". It's like mistaking Tesco for Asda, or asking the Pope if he really is Catholic.
The nice lady in the ice cream van went mental at me.

We made our way back to where we'd parked the cars. On the way we met more hunters of tupperware; it's always good to meet up with like-minded people. We chatted for a bit then made our way to the cars. We'd parked the cars by the KFC so we had chicken and chips for lunch. Very tasty. There were a few spots of rain as we dined al-fresco, but it was another hot day so the rain didn't bother us.

Some of our number left us at this point; those of us remaining walked round Sittingbourne itself collecting church micros (it's a geo-thing). We wandered here, there and thither round all sorts of places I never knew existed including a rather well thought-out Road of Remembrance. Finally at 6pm we found the local McDonalds where I collapsed and devoured a Crunchie McFlurry.
I've not really been round Sittingbourne much before. There are *loads* of geocaches there; will certainly be going back at some point. Today's was a rather successful geo-mission. We ended up with thirty-five smiley faces and just one DNF. I suspect tagging along with the C.O. of most of Sittingbourne's caches whilst he did a maintenance run might just have made the day easier.

Once home (with my assistance) a certain smelly dog had a bath. He then scoffed his tea and was soon snoring loudly in his basket. As I often do, I took a few photos whilst we were out. I put those on-line. I always do; I *think* people like seeing them; so many people always say nice things about the photos. If nothing else I know my Mum likes seeing them (she's on Facebook now).
"er indoors TM" must have been tired; she didn't go bowling. Instead we then had a rather good bit of tea. As we scoffed we watched the third episode of "Humans". Eagle-eared viewers might have heard the mention of Isaac Asmiov; much as I'm enjoying the show it is exploring themes that Isaac explored over fifty years ago...

Oh - and my paternal grandfather would have been one hundred years old today...

27 June 2015 (Saturday) - A Wonderful Walk

After last night's debacle "Furry Face TM" was banished to his basket overnight. However he still managed to disturb everyone by declaring "Red Alert" and having a woofing fit at 3am. I didn't really get back to sleep after that. When next door's baby started crying at 6am I decided to get up. Mind you for all that I grumble about my dog, I do think the little baby's crying is rather sweet.
As I scoffed my brekkie toast so my dog snored. Clearly he was still worn out after his nocturnal woofing fit. With little else to keep me entertained I watched "Toddlers and Tiaras". The children are quite sweet, but the mothers are rather scary.

"er indoors TM" arose, and soon we were off on our way. Regular readers of this drivel are often reminded of what I've been up to in the past, and today I'll recall something I wrote on April 1 2013 when we went on a little geo-stroll round Eynsford. At the time I said "We definitely need to go back to the area - it's really scenic and there's lots more caches still to be found in the area". It only took two years, but today we went back. The "Wonderful Walk" geo-series has been seriously re-vamped over the last few months; some of the caches we'd done have been archived, some new ones have appeared, and there were some we didn't find last time that were still there waiting for us.

We met up with our geo-buddies at the designated starting point. Much as we were pleased to meet up there's no denying no one was as excited about the meeting as "Furry Face TM"; he simply would not stop woofing.
Our geo-walk started off on the wrong foot with a DNF (Did Not Find), and we struggled with the second geo-target but such is the life geocachical. I think it's probably fair to say that this series of caches isn't "yet another film pot under a rock"; it takes a little effort to find these caches (which is a good thing). Some we struggled with; some we couldn't find at all two years ago popped up immediately this time, some eluded us completely.
As we walked we saw hawks (of some sort), rabbits, a demonstration of fire engines, a fly-past by the Red Arrows, and there was a rather dodgy five minutes when my dog saw a squirrel and flew off in hot pursuit dragging poor Charlotte along down a rather steep hill at full pelt.
The walk from Shoreham up through Lullingstone is rather beautiful. I can thoroughly recommend it as a wonderful walk.

The last time we welked here we totally underestimated how long we should allow for the walk; there's no denying we ran short of time today. But we weren't *that* late back to the cars; certainly not too late for a couple of pints of ale.
And I even took a few photos whilst we were out.

My little dog is now snoring in his basket. I shall sleep well too...

26 June 2015 (Friday) - Deferents and Epicycles

I woke with a wet nose in my armpit shortly after midnight last night. I thought it sweet that my dog had crept up the stairs. I *should* have taken him back to his basket. I *could* have done so at any time during the night. Instead I lay awake whilst he was restlessly snoring and fidgetting all night long. When he wasn't snoring he was growling and whimpering in his dreams.
He'll sleep downstairs tonight.
I got up shortly after 5.30am and left the bed to him. I watched an episode of "Big Bang Theory" over brekkie then "Toddlers and Tiaras" before checking out the Internet. Overnight Patrick Macnee had died. Famous for having played "John Steed" in "The Avengers" he was the archetypal Englishman. I was therefore rather surprised to find he'd died in his home in California of all places.

I set off for the early shift hoping that the roads would be not so congested as they were yesterday. As the news crackled so my piss boiled. It has been suggested that a struggling NHS might start storing sperm samples from the entire male population because older men are more likely to have various inheritable diseases. As if there aren't enough demands on the NHS already.
The Prime Minister is said to be delighted with the outcome of his talks with the other European leaders yesterday. An odd attitude bearing in mind that the European Council President Donald Tusk has said that there will effectively be no changes made to the entire European set-up.

Once at work I did more than I had planned to. That seems to be becoming a regular occurrence. Over lunch I checked my emails. Regular readers of this drivel may recall I ordered a nice pair of leather insoles for my new shoes a couple of weeks ago and that I received cheapo plastic rubbish instead. the seller didn't reply to my emails so I squealed to eBay's complaints department.
The honchos at eBay have reviewed my whinging emails of complaint and have given me a full refund. It's only a fiver, but it's little victories like this that restore my faith in eBay. I've now effectively got a pair of insoles for free. It is a shame that they are cheapo plastic rubbish insoles, but you can't have everything.
I then left some negative feedback for the seller. I could have been nastier, but I told it like it was - wrong item sent - no response from seller - refund obtained via eBay complaints department.
I wonder if that will prompt a response from the seller. I have had instances in the past where the seller won't respond to any communication but is distraught to get negative feedback.

With my bit done I set off to McDonalds before astro clubbing. Both Jimbo and "er indoors TM" had better things to be doing this evening, but had time for a quick bite to eat. Whatever you are doing, a bellyful of McScoff is always a good start.
And so off to astro club. I didn't get along to the last meeting. I somehow doubt my being there would have prevented the complaints I heard (and received) about that last meeting. I can't pretend my heart was in it as I went along tonight. Attendance was down on the usual turn-out; there was just over thirty people along tonight. I found that disappointingly low.
Mind you the space-news was interesting and Anita gave a really positive short presentation on the role of women in current astronomy and science and society in general. I learned a lot from the "what's current in the sky section" and after I hawked the raffle I settled down for what I had hoped would be a rather interesting presentation on how models of cosmography have changed over the years.
Don't get me wrong; it was a good talk presented with enthusiasm but (on reflection) it wasn't really very different from simular talks I heard at Hastings Grammar School's astronomy club in the mid 1970s.

There were some new people at the club tonight. One had a rather interesting chest.... I hope she comes again...

25 June 2015 (Thursday) - Space, River...

Last night the word was that the Northern Lights would be visible from Ashford. I had a look just before bed time but it wasn't especially dark and there was a lot of cloud. I had this plan to have a look-see at any Northern Lights that might be doing their thing when I woke in the night (as I often do). I woke shortly before 4am when dawn was already breaking having missed it all. I went back to bed.
I got up just before the alarm went off. Shaving was rather tender today. Over brekkie (as my dog snored) I watched Billie Piper's stunt double flopping them out (with vim and vigour) in "Secret Diary of a Call Girl". Always entertaining (!)

Whilst checking emails I saw a new geocache had gone live on the way to work. I say "on the way to work"; it was in Kings Wood which would have meant driving a little way out of my way and then walking about half a mile into the wood. Had I received this email half an hour earlier I might have had time to chase the First to Find. As it was the road works along the A28 made me late enough as it was without going on little hikes as well.

I did snigger at the weather forecast which said about how the country was facing an overcast morning; in contrast with earlier in the week this morning's drive to work was through a really bright morning; I dislike wearing sunglasses (they make me look pretentious) but sometimes it is a necessity. As usual I had the morning news on.

I did wonder for how much longer I will be making this journey as artificial blood will (apparently) be in regular use in the not too distant future. Personally I hope it will be delayed until I'm safely retired (well I would, wouldn't I?). Mind you, for all that the pundits announced that artificial blood was created in Romania last year, I can remember the announcements about dogs being kept alive on the stuff in Japanese laboratories over thirty years ago.
Europe was in the news. The Greek crisis drags on and on as does the African refugee disaster. And with the Greeks demanding the moon on a stick and Europe drowning under a sea of fugitives the British Prime Minister is also wanting his bit as well. I suspect everyone will be disappointed.
And (complete with new haricut), "Game of Thrones""s very own nudey-dragon-girl would seem to have done her leg in. She's been seen wandering around on enormously high heels whilst propped up with crutches. What's that all about?

I got to work; I did my bit and came home again. Whilst walking "Furry Face TM" up the road towards Bowens Field this evening I met "My Boy TM" and Lacey taking Lacey's puppy Rolo to puppy classes. Our vet runs a puppy class once a week. We bandied insults, and then as they went to class I took my dog round the park. He did spend rather longer than I would have liked in the river, but but it was a hot evening.

Egg and chips went down well, and with "er indoors TM" off to a Pampered Chef party I found myself home alone. I activated the ChromeCast and streamed a couple of episides of Star Trek Phase II. It's incredibly fanwank, but I'm getting to quite like it... after all, I'm a fan.

24 June 2015 (Wednesday) - A Day's Sick Leave

The health watchdog NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have had a genius idea. Currently when your G.P. suspects there is something raher nasty wrong with you (the "C" word), you then get referred to see a specialist within two weeks. Said specialist then arranges an array of tests and says for you to come back when all the tests are done which is (in my case) some six weeks after the supposedly urgent referral.
NICE have recommended that the specialist doesn't order all these tests; the G.P. referring you does that, so when you see the specialist within the designated two weeks he has all the information to hand. It is a sensible idea, and apparently this should save about five thousand lives a year (because it currently takes so long to get all the tests done)
I wonder how many lives could be saved if people didn't have to wait for six months to get seen by the G.P. to get on to the system in the first place?

And with this rather cynical attitude I set off expecting an ultrasound-guided aspiration of the painful lump which has been in my throat since Christmas. Pausing only briefly to chat in the car park with an old friend I was soon on the table with my neck covered in some ultrasound-encouraging gloop....

About half an hour later with the side of my neck having been aspirated I came home and then took my dog for a little walk. I felt I probably needed it more than he did. At one point he seemed to be eating something disgusting that he had found under a footbridge, but dogs do that.
With both of us walked I got some KFC for lunch (I deserved a treat) and with that scoffed I set about ironing shirts; I'd not ironed any for over two weeks and so had a dozen to do. As I ironed I watched a film. I've seen "The Station Agent" before; but this time the lead actor seemed very familiar. Wikipedia told me that this chap is one of the better characters in "Game of Thrones". I thought I'd seen him in something recently.

It was surprising how much the morning's rather trivial surgical procedure had taken out of me; I had such plans for what I might get up to whilst taking advantage of a day's sick leave. In the end I didn't get up to much at all. With shirts ironed I thought I might work on a presentation for the astro club but fell asleep for much of the afternoon instead.
I did find time to mow the lawn. As I mowed I found myself getting more and more worked up about the letter that the neighbour sent me yesterday. He's asking me to complain about a tree three gardens away whilst his trees block the sunlight from over half of my garden and his clematis and roses are three feet over the fence into my garden.
On the one hand I might tell him to wind his neck (and his shrubbery) in. On the other hand it's taken ten years to get back on speaking terms...

"er indoors TM" came home and we walked "Furry Face TM" round to Frog's Island and then home for a rather good bit of scoff. As we scoffed we watched the second episode of "Humans" and the latest episode of "Thunderbirds". Both were quite good.
I'm off to bed now. I feel rather tired...

23 June 2015 (Tuesday) - A Letter

I slept like a log last night; finally being woken by my alarm at 6am. There was a minor disaster over brekkie. Apparently there is some sporting event on in the afternoons at the moment on BBC2 so my SkyPlus box is unable to record lame episodes of "Are You Being Served". In fact despite the thing being over seventy per cent full thre wasn't anything on it I wanted to watch so I spent a little while this morning struggling with geo-puzzles. A new geo-series went live a couple of days ago; it is only half an hour's drive away. I thought I might walk it next week so I spent a little time looking at the puzzles on the route.
I struggled with them; I solved one (I think); and am still struggling with others. Reading some of the logs from people who've solved the puzzles and found the caches it would seem there are mistakes in the way some of the puzzles have been set. I may well choose another walk for next week if that is the case...

I listened to the radio on the way to work. In between the crackling interference the morning's news was variably interesting, boring and irrritating.
The Greek financial crisis is still ongoing; I personally think its a victory for the Greek Prime Minister. He's made the rest of the European community take ownership of the problems he should be sorting out.
There are calls for cars to be banned from the sstreets of London as two more cyclists die. I don't know the specific details of the cases, but in general terms I'd personally be inclined to ban the bikes until cyclists learn how to ride the things safely. It's no secret that the average cyclist is a danger to herself and humanity at large.
And nudey-dragon-girl (from "Game of Thrones") has had a haircut. Is that *really* newsworthy?

Just as I started working (read "arrived at the place and started whinging about wanting to go home") a new geocache went live just down the road from the hospital. I was tempted to take a rather early tea break and nip out chasing a First to Find, but unfortunately there was work for me to do. So (in a novel break with tradition) I did some work.
I went on a little geo-mission at lunchtime instead. By then I'd missed getting FTF, but I don't really mind about that (any more). A little lunchtime walk is good. Now I've given up saxophoning I've taken to reading the Kindle app until I fall asleep at lunchtime and I hate that. (At least when I fall asleep in the works tea room no one plasters photos of the fact all over the Internet) This lunchtime was good for a little walk so I went to find this new geocache. Other than getting crapped on by a passing bird all went smoothly; I soon had the cache in hand. With the secret geo-ritual done I was quickly back to work for a rather dull afternoon.

I got home and.... what can I say? Words fail me.
Long-standing regular readers of this drivel may remember that when I first started blogging my garden was my pride and joy. It was immaculate. But over the years so much leaf litter has dropped over the fence from the neighbours with whom relations are fraught that I have effectively all but given up bothering gardening. I simply cannot keep it tidy with all the overgrowth pouring over the fence. Roses, creepers, honeysuckle,,, there is no end to it.
I came home this evening to find that he's written me a letter asking for my support in his campaign against the house three doors up the street because some of the leaves from their tree are falling in his garden. Look at today's piccie; my garden is the one with the pond; his is the jungle to the right. There is then his neighbours and then the offending tree. He's got the cob with *one* tree and has no qualms in asking for me to side with him. Has he even seen his garden?

I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk; half way round "er indoors TM" met up with us. We walked into the park, and my dog had a swim. He's got used to paddling but didn't realise that yesterday's rains had made the river deeper.

After a rather good bit of tea the clans gathered in Willesborough for a bit of a gossip and then more "Flash"; it started well but I dozed off...

22 June 2015 (Monday) - Late Shift

Yesterday when on the way from the kite festival to Beckenham we drove past a lump of rock (virtually) attached to which was an Earthcache. We (I) took two minutes to do the secret geo-thing, and this morning as I did the secret on-line geo-rituals I saw that I'd got an e-souvenir for my troubles. Every summer Geocaching dot com organise various e-souvenirs and now I've got the first of this year's haul.
I then uploaded photos from yesterday and laughed at the crackpots from MessageToEagle dot com; apparently they've found a pyramid which dates from before the time of dinosaurs. I ahd a look at some of the photos from the weekend's sci-fi day which had been staged in Herne Bay. In years gone by I would have gone to that. But then again in years gone by I would probably have gone to the weekend's beer festival as well.
There's so many events on over the summer weekends and more and more I find myself looking at them thinking "been there, done that". I'm getting very cynical like that as I get older...

I then checked emails, and generally wasted some time on-line. I had some time to waste... despite a really busy weekend I was still wide awake two hours earlier than I needed to be this morning.
As I pootled on line I had all of my toast to myself for once. My little dog was noisily chomping on his bone. At Saturday's dog show and fete I bought him a bone which is almost as big as he is, and it seems to be keeping him occupied. He likes chewing on it, but he doesn't do it quietly. (And it doesn't do much for his farts either)

I wasn't keen on going for a walk this morning; it was raining. But it's difficult to explain meteorological reluctance to a fractious Patagonian Tripe-Hound so we braved the elements and walked in a short circular stroll past the local horses.
It was as well that "Furry Face TM" was on his lead; he tried to fly at a motorbike and then at a car. I wish he wouldn't. Over one hundred years ago Jerome J Jerome described terriers as "quarrelsome" and in the intervening years little would seem to have changed about the breed. Much as I won't hear a word against him, sometimes the word "quarrelsome" describes my little dog perfectly.

And so to work. I took a detour to Folkestone to visit the smallest member of the family (and his mother).
As I drove the radio was spouting utter rubbish about how architecture reflects the political climate in which it is made; the implication being that Conservative governments build mansions and workhouses whilst Labour governments build high-rise flats. I turned it off and put on awful music instead.
I say "awful music"; I quite like it. No one else seems to though.

Once in Folkestone I had a cuppa, and had my laces undone by the littlun. He can now climb the stairs, and does so if left unsupervised for more than one second.
I didn't stay as long as I usually do; I had shopping to get from Morrisons as well as needing petrol too. I also had a look in Go Outdoors hoping they would have a six-metre pole for the astro club's banner (to replace the one which broke at the weekend). They didn't.

I got to work for the late shift, did it, and came home. The weather had cheered up somewhat during the day but had become somewhat dismal for home time. As I drove home this evening the radio was actually quite interesting (in contrast to this morning). There was an expose on how attractive young women are using their wiles to exploit rich older men. Obviously this isn't a new idea, but it's becoming amazingly widespread (apparently)

This struck a chord; over the last few weeks I've noticed several really expensive-looking sports cars flying up and down the A28 driven by men clearly ten (or more) years older than me accompanied by young women clearly five (or more years younger than my daughter. Personally I think it's rather sad, but in much the same way that my dog wants to fight with motorbikes, quite a few older men shamelessly sniff round younger women (given half a chance). It's simply the nature of the beast(s); it's just what they do. (Don't get me wrong - I'm not condoning it, or excusing it; just pointing out a simple fact)
It was interesting listening to the young women being interviewed; some of their "clients" want sex; some just want company. They pay someone to pretend to be their friend.
But whatever they want they are prepared to pay between five hundred and a thousand pounds for an evening's time.
If I was an attractive young woman I would have no qualms in taking advantage of this obviously lucrative gaap in the market.

Mind you if some attractive young lady gave me the come-on I doubt if I'd be up for it. I'd honestly prefer a kebab... as I told the one who was wearing the saucy suspender belt and the fake smile (and nothing else) at the strip club this time last year.

21 June 2015 (Sunday) - Streatham Kite Day

This morning as I looked at the Internet I was somewhat perturbed to see that the world is ending in nine days time. On June 30th there is going to be a leap-second. Leap-seconds are being added to clocks every few years because the Earth's rotation is slowing down. It does that. Most spinning things tend to slow down. There's no real need to add a leap-second to a clock, but people seem to like to assign night and day according to clock times and occassionally adding leap-seconds keeps everything straight.
But the amazing people at MessageToEagle dot com have realised that it's vaguely possible that some computers might vaguely be confused by a leap-second. And therefore it's the end of the Internet and consequently the entire world.
The fact that this has all happened before and no one was any the wiser is neither here nor there to MessageToEagle dot com. After all, why spoil a perfectly good crackpot theory?

I did see that a new geo-series has gone live not too far away. If we do survive past the end of the month I may well go for a little geo-stroll on Thursday 2 July if any of my loyal readers are up for it.

We then went for a little drive. Having collected the Bat from Smarden we made our way to the wicked city; despite a sat-nav hiccup we were soon at Streatham Common where there was a one-day kite-flying event. We soon met up with old friends, and we had a bit of a gossip. Pausing only briefly to get tomato ketchup down my shirt I was soon co-opted to anchor the man-lifting kite. It is something that I used to to all the time; it is something I miss. Mind you I wasn't completely happy with the anchoring arrangements. The double-lined method with elasticated roping that we used to use was much more flexible and safer when the pilot crashed. Which he did several times...

With "er indoors TM" spirit kite eventually untangled there was a spirit-fly-in; people either love or loathe those things. And in a spirit of being part of the community we persuaded three policemen (and a rather foxy police lady) to help anchor the man-lifting. It would have worked well had a passing looney not decided to end the event for everyone by taking it on to herself to remove the taping marking out the arena area and loudly announcing that the event was all over.
We left the police arresting her, said our goodbyes and went back to Irene and Terry's place where we sat in the sunshine for a while before scoffing ourselves silly on a rather good but of curry.

Having taken some photos of the fun we had today I then slept all the way home...

20 June 2015 (Saturday) - Shadoxhurst Dog Show

Over brekkie my phone carried on updating itself from KitKat to Lollipop. I am told that this is a good thing. I suppose it is but...
If I had to list my faults (and to be honest there are one or two), top of the list would be the fact that I don't like change. Anything new is immediately viewed with suspicion and distrust. I am making a serious effort to overcome this (which is why "Hannah" isn't in the dustbin already) but what on Earth was the point of my phone upgrading itself from KitKat to Lollipop? The process started off with a gigabyte of download (which took ages) and then involved a major cyber-fart-around which I left it doing overnight. This morning I then had to update Google services; that takes some doing when hitherto you are blissfully unaware of Google services.
After several hours I had a phone which (apart from a few tacky graphics) seems exactly the same as it was before except all the farting around had drained the battery.

As I messed about with Google services I was doing so one-handed."Furry Face TM" had pushed on to my lap and had put his chin on my left hand and gone to sleep. I was loathe to disturb him. Several friends have lost their dogs and cats recently and I was feeling rather soppy about my silly dog.
(Have I ever mentioned that I never wanted a dog?)

I then popped up to the corner shop where I exchanged stilted pleasantries with our neighbour. I then picked up Steve and Sarah and we went on to Shadoxhurst.
Every year the Shadoxhurst scouts run a summer fete and a dog show, and every year the astro club puts on a stall. You can't usually do much astronomy at a summer fete, but with a clear sky we can turn the solar scope on to the sun.
We arrived, set up our stall and I soon found the W.I. cake stall. With Steve and Jason having done a coffee and tea run we were soon having a tea break. And that rather set the tone of the day. In previous such events our stall has been heaving with interested punters all day long. For much of today we had no interest at all; and at no time did we have more than half a dozen people round our display. I suppose a permanently overcast sky didn't help; a telescope trained on a distant tree is somewhat dull.
I had a little mooch around the fete. Not only was the attendance down on previous events there were far fewer stalls than in previous years. But I still came home with a bone and new cushion for my dog. There was no shortage of dog-related stalls. In previous years the event has been a fete with a dog show. This year the event was clearly the dog show; the fete was very much a secondary attraction.

Leaving Jimbo in charge of base camp Steve and I set off for lunch. I must admit I was not impressed with the burger stall. Supposedly professional caterers; I honestly think I could have done a better job (and have done so in previous scouting-related events). They clearly had no idea how to do mass catering. But the burger (when it finally arrived) wasn't bad. Neither was the pint of ale that washed it down.

We prepared ourselves for the afternoon rush; it never came. At about mid day the sky became overcast and there were a few spots of rain. There was a noticeable exodus of cars from the car park, and those who might have come for the afternoon were clearly put off by the weather and stayed away. At what should have been their busiest time the beer tent announced they were slashing the price of the beer just to get rid of the stuff.
The event was supposed to be open until 4pm; we were packing up shortly after 3pm. A shame really; the organisers had clearly put in the effort, but what can you do when the public don't show up?

I took a few photos of the day; it actually was good fun; a shame that it wasn't a little busier.

While I'd been out "er indoors TM" had been giving my GPS unit a once-over. One of the major problems with "Hannah" is that when I've set her a target to find, the route on the map that I want to walk is then highlighted with a thick pink line. I suppose this is intended to be helpful, but it utterly obscures the very part of the map I'm trying to see. Effectively making the device useless. (Or more useless than it already is).
"er indoors TM" has turned off that "feature". (Why is everything that is usless about anything called a "feature"?) and has fiddled about with it a little to make it more "user friendly".
Having received a few adjustments, the device has actually been improved from being "Not Fit For Purpose" to being merely "Vastly Inferior To My Phone In Nearly All Regards".

I've given that GPS unit a fair trial over the last month. Despite being the biggest and best there is, the screen is still too small. The thing weighs a ton. The software sucks - it's got an alphabetical (as opposed to "qwerty") keyboard. It's got no wi-fi capability; it has to be pre-programmed at home before you go out so you can't just randomly geocache anywhere. And (what really boils my piss) you then have to pay for third party software to do the secret geo-after-rituals when you get home because the thing simply can't do them.
I suppose in the interests of fairness (and not appearing ungrateful for "er indoors TM" efforts) I should give it another go (if I can't get Ordnance Survey maps on my phone in the meantime)...

19 June 2015 (Friday) - News, Ultrasound, Walk

After a restless night I watched the second episode of the current documentary about the life of Bob Monkhouse. "er indoors TM" had put it on the telly on Wednesday night and I'd slept through it.
Sometimes I wish I'd been a TV celebrity. With no disrespect to the epically famous there's no denying that they've all been incredibly lucky in their careers.
I then checked out social media. Not much had happened overnight really.

And so to work. The radio fizzled a bit but the news worried me. The Prime Minister is being seen to be very brave in asking (telling?) the Muslim community to take the lead in sorting out the problems which are being laid at their door. Has anyone else noticed that decent hard-working people of that persuasion are described as "Muslims" but the loony-terrorists are now referred to as "Islamists"? I suppose the media has to make the distinction before the rest of society decides to take matters in their own hands and tar anyone of non-white-caucasian heritage with the same brush.

Eurozone leaders are apparently laying eggs over the Greek debt crisis. With only a week to go till the Greek government formally refuses to pay back billions the rest of the Eurozone are looking at seeing Greece leave the union.
It's no secret that he average Brit is stupid enough to vote for Brexit and I worry for the future. As I was bouncing my grandson about yesterday I told his mum that he's got about a one in two to one in three chance of living to be a hundred years old. What kind of future will he see?
It won't be high-tech like Star Trek. Desperately hoping the religious crackpots don't blast us back to the stone age it will be at best much the same as today with internecine petty international squabbling preventing any real social advancement. As a child I had expected so much more.

I got to work, I did the bare minimum (as I am told is usual for me). I spent a little while looking up the finer details of ultrasound guided aspirations. I've got an appointment to have my lump ultrasonically aspirated next Wednesday; the boss has given me the day as sick leave.
I spoke with one of the radiology nurses who assured me that I can just eat and drink before the appointment like I would on any other day, that I shall get a local anaesthetic and that I will be fit to drive home immediately after the procedure.
Wikipedia says I should fast from the night before and I should prepare for major surgery; also I will get valium and will be as high as a kite for the rest of the day.
I wonder how it will turn out. Either way it will be something of an adventure.

Over lunch I checked my emails. I had a few this morning since I'd left home. Another invitation to work on the island of Saint Helena; this time for only three months. If I didn't have a neck lump I'd be tempted.
The first newsletter came from the GPS training school; unfortunately it seemed to be little more than trying to sell me stuff.
And an interesting email... Yesterday I went out on a geo-mission before work and found a cache which the owner thought had been personally inspected by the geo-feds. Yesterday I blogged my thought that the reviewer hadn't been within fifty miles of the thing. Today I got a little message from the cache owner telling me she really thinks he did go have a look-see. So I sent a little message back; I also invited her to join the Kent geo-Facebook brigade and to come to the geo-meet I'm staging in August.
I hope she takes it in the spirit in which it was intended....

Talking of things geo we went for a little walk this evening. Four target geocaches; we found three of them. Despite risking life and limb on barbed wire we didn't find one of them.
Again I used "Hannah" (my GPS unit) and... I think it is fair to say I've given the thing a fair trial. I've come to the conclusion that I don't like it. With the sole exception of haiving Ordnance Survey maps it really is inferior to my phone in every single respect. I am now *utterly* convinced there is some big secret about hand-held GPS units that the rest of the tupperware-hunters aren't telling me. Why am I the only one who can see how rubbish they are?

I shall phone the Ordnance Survey company on Monday and see if I can get some sort of a subscription for their maps and see if I can sell this GPS unit. It might pay for a new lap-top...