17 August 2017 (Thursday) - Another Late Shift

The puppy didn’t curl up last night. She spent the night waving her long legs about continually catching me with her claws. If she is banished downstairs she howls, if she is up with us she is restless. If any of the other bedrooms in the house were accessible I would sleep there. I might try the sofa tonight.

As I scoffed my toast the dogs barked for no reason. This happens all the time; I’m getting fed up with it. One dog will fart, or drop a toy, the other dog then starts woofing, and the first joins in. Both dogs then get incredibly stressed because neither knows why they are barking, and I get stressed because neither dog will shut up.

Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. I spent a few minutes looking at holiday photos from Arizona and Portugal and Spain. It is the middle of August; people are going to be on holiday. I was a tad jealous, but not as jealous as when I read the news (from LinkedIn) that an old schoolfriend of mine has a new job. I had a quick look on how-much-does-that-job-pay-dot-com and it looks like my old mate is earning about five times what I do. It’s not that I’m jealous, but I *am* incredibly jealous. I won’t say exactly what it is that he does, but it is basically pushing paper around an office (from 9am to 5pm). Today I was working until 9pm. I shall be working all night tomorrow and Saturday. If I slip up in what I do I have the potential to kill someone. My place of work (like all hospitals) is constantly under scrutiny with the public always looking to find fault. But I doubt if one person in a thousand gives a stuff for how efficiently paper is pushed.
It is too late for me to try to become some sort of office millionaire. And I must admit I quite like my (current) job. But I look at my old mate with his six-figure salary and can’t help but think “what-if”.

Despite the rain I popped the leads on the dogs and we did our usual circuit of the park. As we walked we could see the council were mowing the lawns, and the puppy went back on to the lead after she’d chased the lawnmower for the third time. Fudge could have done with going on the lead to have made him keep up. It’s not that he can’t; he just chooses not to. Just at the end of the walk (through the co-op field) the two of them were chasing each other like things possessed.

I set off to work, and went via Hollingbourne. There was a geocache there, but to be able to find it I first needed to solve a puzzle based on the village sign. I'd blagged some of the required information from the Internet at home, but I needed to go to the sign to get the rest. I got there, and whilst I was writing down various dates I thought I'd check the information on the sign with what I'd got from Wikipedia. And I had a shock.
Two of the so-called facts were different. Wikipedia was at odds with reality. Wikipedia said that William Cobbett wrote his book "Rural Rides" in 1830, but the information board by the village sign said differently. Is it possible that Wikipedia might be in error?  It was just as well I checked.  Personally I suspect reality has it wrong.
But with the information gathered and the calculations calculated I soon found the errant Tupperware that I sought, and I set off for lunch.

Usually I'd go to McDonalds for lunch. Today I thought I'd have a change. As I drive to work every day I see signs advertising the Woodstock garden centre and cafe. I thought I'd have a look-see and get lunch there for a change…
Following the signs takes you to an old mansion house not unlike the one in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The so-called garden centre is in the grounds of this place. It features a closed cattery, and some scary looking people selling vastly overpriced garden furniture. There was a cafe; I didn't go in. The woman behind the counter was eyeing me as though I would be the next thing on the menu.
Was I imagining it, or could I really hear the banjos in the distance?

I drove down to McDonalds. I thought I would stick to what I knew. And then, pausing only briefly to get some bogroll, I went in to work for another busy late shift. I could do with a quiet one.

16 August 2017 (Wednesday) - Before the Late Shift

I slept well; it was a shame that "er indoors TM" had set her alarm an hour earlier than usual. I woke to find the puppy was curled up next to me. She’s no trouble when she’s quiet during the night.
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. More people are “taking time out” on social media. This seems to be a “thing” at the moment. But rather than just not logging in, people disable their accounts and it looks (to paranoid people like me) as though they have decided to block me. And I then spend hours worrying about what I might have done to offend.
I also saw some photos posted on-line from friends on their various holidays. Pictures from Arizona, Alcatraz, Portugal, Spain. Everyone seems to be having a good time. I like social media if only so I can see what everyone else is up to.
"er indoors TM" set off to work an hour earlier than usual, and both dogs jumped on to the back of the sofa to bark furiously at passers-by. I wish they wouldn’t. Mind you I’m glad Fudge can get on to the sofa again; it’s just a shame he jumps. We spent good money buying him a small set of steps and he refuses to use them. The lazy puppy does though.

I popped the leads on to the dogs and we went for a walk round the park. For once the puppy played (relatively) nicely with other dogs. We saw OrangeHead (minus posse) but she didn’t see us. I did notice an “odd” smell when walking past the William Road allotments; I think smoking “odd” substances is a prerequisite to being allowed an allotment there judging by how often I sniff those “odd” smells.
All things considered the walk passed off uneventfully which was for the best. However for all that things were good when the dogs were off the leads, the same can’t really be said for when they are on the leads. The puppy pulls like a train and Fudge stops every five yards to sniff where other dogs have tiddled. I can’t help but wonder if he’d be happier if I just left him in the garden with a couple of bricks that all the local dogs had piddled on. And the puppy might prefer just being chained to a post that she could pull against.
The puppy’s pulling is so intense that she’s worn bald patches around her neck where she pulls against the lead so much.
Once home I fed the pond fish. We’d had a fatality; a dead tench. On reflection, the koi feed from the surface; I don’t think tench do that. And the koi don’t leave much food to sink.

I settled the dogs, and set off to Maidstone. Yesterday Aleta had mentioned that she’d had trouble locating a geocache in Ditton. I had a go and drew a blank too. Mind you by the time I’d finished messing around it was lunch time so I got myself some McScoff and then went on to the late shift.

It was busy…

15 August 2017 (Tuesday) - The Cuckoo Trail (North)

I got an hour’s sleep last night, then "er indoors TM" and the dogs came up. There was two minutes silence so’s "er indoors TM" could nod off, then the puppy started. She commenced by bothering Fudge (I could hear him growling) so after a few minutes I moved her. She then spent the rest of the night pushing forcefully against me. Eventually (at 6am) "er indoors TM" took the puppy to her side of the bed, but after fifteen minutes the puppy came back to harangue me.
A combination of the puppy and the noise of the rain against the window then kept me awake. I gave up and got up. Sleep is for woosies….

Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. First of all I checked the weather forecast for Heathfield. Rain very early but a dry day. So the plan for the day could go ahead (hopefully). I then read Drew’s latest blog entry. He’s off to America to watch next week’s eclipse. One thing he wrote made me think. On describing dropping off his luggage during the late evening he wrote: “There was no queue at all, in fact, I was the only person there, though there were two Virgin desk attendants on duty”. I can remember being in a quiet hotel bar one evening; 11pm and three staff were on duty. Compare this to the average hospital after routine hours….
Talking of which a friend of a friend had recently had a bad experience at the local hospital. Rather than complaining through the proper channels she just scribbled out a rant and posted it on Facebook without spell-checking or grammar-checking. I suppose it is what people do these days, but will it actually achieve much?

I got myself ready, and set off to meet Dick. We then followed his sat-nav to Hellingly along a rather circuitous route, and once there we met Aleta. She hopped into the Dick-mobile and we all set off to Heathfield.
The Cuckoo Trail is a long footpath following the route of a long-since abandoned railway line, and (needless to say) there are one or two geocaches along it. The Cuckoo trail is a straight line, fourteen miles in length. Having parked one car at its mid-point we then drove to the northernmost end and walked back to that car.
It was a good walk.
I took some photos as we walked, as you can see it was rather pretty. As we walked we met other walkers and cyclists. We even met other hunters of Tupperware. We met a little toad who was four feet up a tree; the thunderstorm which started at mid day only lasted for a few minutes, and the day was only marred by Aleta going arse over tit into a clump of stinging nettles. (There’s no way of elegantly going into a clump of stinging nettles). However I can’t help but feel that East Sussex county council could have put some dog poo bins along the way; there was dog poo everywhere.

Geocache-wise we found forty-three of the forty-six caches we set out to find. One simply wasn’t there. We found one, but it was too far up a tree to get to safely. And the last one was (according to the description) over ten feet up a tree, but we couldn’t see it at all. If I had a clue where it was I might have considered scrambling up… Of the forty-three we did find, most were rather difficult finds. Many were lacking any kind of hint, and I must admit I thought the given difficulty/terrain ratings were something of an underestimate.
Also several were listed as having trackables in them; not one actually did.

We eventually got to the half-way point of the trail where we stopped walking for the day, and drove back to Heathfield where we said our goodbyes (until next week). We made good time home, and once home I walked my dogs round the park. I would have taken them for the geo-walk today, but the puppy gets travel sick and it isn’t fair to fill other people’s cars with dog-vomit.
As we walked I noticed something. The puppy stank. "er indoors TM" had walked the dogs at mid-day, and the puppy had wallowed in a ditch of stagnant water. Once home again (and having got and scoffed my dinner) I told "er indoors TM" that her puppy needed a bath.

Being Tuesday the clans gathered. “Star Trek”, “Gotham” and “Benidorm” too. Not a bad way to spend the evening…