17 December 2017 (Sunday) - Cold and Foggy

I had possibly the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had last night. With "er indoors TM" off out for the night on the razzle the puppy wouldn’t settle, and had barking fits every fifteen minutes until 3am. I managed to get three hours sleep, but it wasn’t long after 6am that my phone gave me all sorts on notification alarm messages even though they were all turned off.

As I scoffed toast, Facebook told me that several people had their birthdays today. I spent a few minutes sending out the birthday video that I made up a while back.
Other people’s birthdays amaze me. Why have I aged so badly? It’s not as though I don’t do any exercise? People who look ten years younger than me are actually ten years older. And when will maturity come? Some *seriously* normal people are little more than half my age.
I then spent a little while trying to solve more of the puzzles on the virtual pub crawl in London. Herculean efforts got us past yesterday’s sticking point but now we’ve got to a pub not a million miles from Liverpool Street railway station. We need to read the plaque by the door. Can we find it on Google images? So… I’m reliably informed that one of my loyal readers is occasionally not a million miles away from Liverpool Street so I’ve sent instructions…

I popped the leads on to the dogs and we walked round to Newtown. We’d decided against out usual long Sunday walk as the weather forecast had been against us. I think we were probably right to have done so. Today was bitterly cold with a freezing fog.
We soon found "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". Littlun immediately took charge of the dog poo sacks, and we did a little circuit out to the playpark at South Willesborough and back again. It was a shame that "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" insisted on going into the playpark. We had fun going “Grandad-fast” on the roundabouts and going “Grandad-high” on the swings, but he wouldn’t be told what bits of the playpark to avoid, and all too soon he was soaked from the melting ice on the slides. Cold and wet, he whinged and whined all the way home. Not even the promise of putting the dog poo into the bins could cheer him up.

We came home, and I made a point of washing the dogs’ paws. Just lately there has been a lot of talk of the need to do so as dogs get salt on their paws form the salting and gritting of the roads, and yesterday I noticed Fudge constantly licking his paws.
Both hounds seemed not too bothered about having their paws done, and bearing in mind that half the day had gone, I went up the KFC for lunch, and devoured it whilst watching an episode of “Still Game”.

Having been up most of the night I wasn’t feeling that lively, and the forecast rain had arrived. So had "er indoors TM" (she’d brought cake!).
I sat on the sofa and spent much of the afternoon geo-puzzling. It gave me something to think about. Have you looked at the geo-puzzles in London? There seems to be this unwritten rule that any such puzzle in London has to be nigh on insoluble. Four hours brain-strain and co-operative effort gave me eight solved puzzles.

I wonder what’s for tea. Whatever it is can only be better than last night’s bag of crisps and some ice cream…

16 December 2017 (Saturday) - Shave, Tattoo

I took a little while to nod off last night; nice-next-door were doing “noisy sex”. It lasted for about half an hour and then seemed to fizzle out. This was different to previous sessions of “noisy sex” which have got more vigorous as time progressed.

Over brekkie I spent a few minutes on a virtual pub crawl. There is a geo-puzzle in London which goes from one pub to another before finally leading you to a geocache somewhere in London. The idea is that you do the pub crawl; most people seem to start and give up and have to come back later. Through skill, genius and pot-luck (together with Gordon) I’ve got about half-way along the trail using Google.
Our co-operative effort has got us to stage eight of fifteen, but we are struggling to get a close-up of a particular sign. If any of my loyal readers have any reason to go to the post-code area EC2M 1RP could you drop me a line and I’ll give details of what I need you to photograph for us…

Having a little look at Facebook I saw that last night was a colleague’s first night shift. He used to work with me in years gone by, and now (like me) he can post to Facebook that he’s on the night shift without getting a disciplinary warning for doing so. (I actually once got a formal written disciplinary warning that posting to Facebook that I was on the night shift had brought my then-workplace into disrepute!)

We settled the dogs and drove down to Folkestone. A couple of weeks ago Jose was waxing lyrical about the wonders of a hot towel wet shave, and said I should have one. Today we did. We drove up to the top of Cheriton; I was a tad concerned to find ourselves in the vicinity of Cheriton’s notorious “rub-and-tug” shop but my fears were unfounded.
Have you ever had a hot towel wet shave? It’s rather good. They strap your head up in hot wet towels, then lather your face up, and scrape it off with an old cut-throat razor. Then they hot-towel your head again and give you a rather vigorous massage. During all of this you get a bottle of rather decent lager. Admittedly it was nowhere near as close an actual shave as I get at home, but for an experience it can’t be bettered. Jose took some photos whilst I was in the chair.

We then went for a little shopping in “The Range” where I got a couple of dog chew-toys, and then it was lunch time. Parking in Folkestone town centre was tricky, but eventually we met Jose and Maria at the Samuel Peto hand had a rather good bit of lunch. Everyone else had burgers, but I had turkey; It *is* nearly Christmas after all. I also had a couple of winter ales; I must admit they were a disappointment.

It would have been good to have hung about in Folkestone, but "er indoors TM" had plans for the evening and we’d left the dogs long enough. We came home, "er indoors TM" set off to wherever it is she’s gone to, and I took the dogs round the park. Today’s walk was dull; there were a few surly teenagers whose faces lit up when they say my dogs, but the walk passed off without incident.

Once home the dogs soon settled, and I went up the road to the tattoo shop. I’ve been promising myself a certain tattoo for months. I’ve got *my* compass between a pair of roses. Unlike previous tattoos it didn’t hurt *that* much, and unlike previous tattoos now I’ve got it I don’t think I like it very much.
I wonder how long it will be before I can get a cover-up done?

I came home and fed the dogs and gave them their chew toys. They immediately swapped them, then Fudge took both. I spent a few minutes refereeing the squabble until they sorted themselves out. Fudge spent the a while chewing his; Treacle spent a while guarding hers until she fell asleep. Having forgotten to book my cinema ticket (sorry Jose!) I made myself comfortable in front of the telly. Fudge then came and sat with me whilst I watched a film on Netflix. “Approaching the Unknown” was supposedly about the first manned mission to Mars. I think it is fair to say the film would have benefitted from some input from anyone who’d actually ever given any thought whatsoever to the logistics of space flight. With plot holes big enough to fly a space rocket through it wasn’t a good film.

I did have an invite to go to the ex-works Christmas bash tonight. Part of me wanted to catch up with old friends. Part of me remembered why I resigned.

I suppose I shall watch a couple more episodes of “Still Game” before bed.
I wonder if nice-next-door are going to have noisy sex again? Perhaps I might go ask them…

15 December 2017 (Friday) - Fixing the Fence

I slept like a log last night; finally waking just before 7.30am. As I scoffed my toast an article on Facebook caught my eye. Several people were posting on one of the local groups; there was consternation and indignation that what was once a pub is to be demolished and rebuilt as flats. I can’t see why this is such a shame. When the place was open it wasn’t the sort of pub you’d dare walk in to. It has been closed for nearly ten years, and derelict since the fire of four years ago. So many local people were bleating about how a modern block of flats would be far worse than a burnt-out shell.
How does that work?

I got myself together, plugging in my electric screwdriver to charge it up, spent ten minutes scraping the ice from my car, and set off to collect "My Boy TM". We decided that first things should be first, that we should get our priorities right, and we went straight to the Brookfield Café for a fry-up.
We made our way to B&Q where we found they didn’t have any met-posts so we went on to Wickes who did. As we drove home we realised that we’d not got anything to help us get the concrete cores out of the ground (the ones I’d loosened yesterday) so we went back to B&Q where we go three metres of ratchet strapping (?) for the price of two.

We came home and I explained to the first fruit of my loin what we had to do… Whilst I ponced around in a managerial fashion he would get the concrete cores out of the holes. Put one fence panel in place. Stick in the first new fence post. Put the second fence panel in place. Put in the second new fence post. Repair the broken fence panel and stick that between the two new fence panels. Fill in the holes round the new fence posts. Replace all the shingle and make good. We would both then get some dinner. Job done.
It took me about thirty seconds to write that… it took us about three hours to actually do it. Having done a lot of the preparation yesterday had helped us quite a bit, but there’s no denying we did waste a *lot* of time when we lost one of the met-posts. How can you lose a met-post? They are three feet long and weigh several pounds. And we had a minor panic when we went to put the final panel in place and found the panel was about an inch too long for the gap we’d made for it. But in the end we managed to get most of the job done.
With it only remaining to replace the shingle "My Boy TM" suggested we left that for a couple of weeks to let the soil settle. It will sink naturally and it we’d replaced all the shingle today, it would look daft in a couple of weeks. We’ll sort the shingle and make it good later. As we worked I took some photos; you can see them by clicking here.

As we worked so the dogs bimbled about doing their own thing. Fudge was happy to wander round the fish pond. Treacle was happy to wander round nice-next-door’s garden. I wasn’t happy with her doing so, but that was why we were fixing the fence. She wouldn’t be able to once we’d sorted it, so I thought I’d let her make the most of it.
There was a minor episode when nice-next-door’s cats started pulling faces at the dogs from an upstairs window, but I think the cats won that one. And towards the end of the session we had to shut the back door as Treacle was lifting slabs of ice from the garden pond and trying to take them into the house.

Just as we were finishing, nice-next-door came home for lunch. We got chatting; they are moving as the house isn’t big enough for them. About six or seven occupants ago someone turned one of the bedrooms into a bathroom and what was the downstairs bathroom became a utility room. Everyone wants three bedrooms, and no one is fussed about a utility room…

We went to McDonalds for some McLunch; after the morning’s exertions we felt we deserved it. In a break with tradition I had a McBurger. For all that I go for McLunch a lot, I rarely have a burger. I usually have chicken strips or just ice cream. The spicy select burger was rather good.
I took "My Boy TM" home, then came home to shouting dogs. On seeing me they wanted to go for a walk. We walked round the park in about three times the amount of time it might have taken, had Fudge got a move on. He certainly takes his time when we go for a walk.
With walk done I got out the Dyson and did some hoovering whilst both dogs quivered in terror. They hate the thing.

By then it was nearly five o’clock. I’d certainly made the most of the day’s leave. I had a shower then made myself a cuppa and watched episodes of “Still Game” on Netflix until "er indoors TM" came home…
Fish and chips, telly – I really should have an early night.