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)...