31 January 2018 (Wednesday) - Another Day Off

I was *so* pleased to have had a good night’s sleep for once; the puppy only woke me the one time. But on getting bread from the freezer for my brekkie I clouted my head on the freezer door and gave myself a headache which lasted for much of the day.

Over brekkie I had a look-see at the Internet. Other than a few photos of cocker-pugs, not much had happened on Facebook overnight, which was probably for the best.
I had a few emails. I saw the job I left a year or so ago was being advertised. Would I go back? No.
I say “no”; if I had to I would. When offered a choice between working for half the wages (and subservience to those I trained) or the push I swallowed my pride as I needed the money. If I *had” to go back or be out of work I would. I would prostitute myself again. But I would rather not.
I was rather surprised to see that only one more “found it” log came in overnight; putting out a series of caches yesterday has proved something I’ve been saying for some time. There are “geocachers” and there are “first to find-ers”. Of the four that logged FTFs only one did the entire series. It actually looks as though one of them had walked half a mile into the countryside, seen there were no more FTFs to be had, and had turned round and gone home. For some reason I find that vaguely insulting.
However I had an email notification to say that the one chap who did walk all of the series of geocaches I hid yesterday had awarded the route a favourite point. Favourite points are awarded by cachers to those caches they think are special in some way. For every ten caches you find, you get to award one point. I must admit I don’t really bother with them much; having accrued one for every ten finds, I have over five hundred still to give out (and probably never will). But it is always nice to receive one.
I then checked the weather forecast. The BBC have changed the layout of their weather page. I don’t like it. Not that there’s anything wrong with it; I just don’t do change very well.

I drove round to the garage near McDonalds to collect "er indoors TM". Her car has been making odd noises lately (apparently) and the nice man at the garage said he’d have a look at it. We left her car there and I drove her to work and then had a “me day”.

As I was in the area I had a little look-see at the fish section in Dobbies. They seemed rather helpful; I shall go back there when I need something.
I then drove in to town. I popped into the estate agent selling next door to ask why the place has changed hands (at least) a dozen times in twenty-five years. The nice lady passed me on to the manager who agreed it was excessive, but he said some houses are like that. He told me of one in Hythe Road which is on their books more often than it is not.
I went in to the bank. I had a cheque to pay in. Some officious busybody member of staff wouldn’t leave me alone, so I walked out. I need to go back with that cheque at some point.
I went to the old-fashioned sweetie shop hoping they would have Callard and Bowser’s chocolate toffee rolls. They didn’t.
I went to see the tattoo artist I saw yesterday. He’s come up with a design I like. I’ve made an appointment for a couple of weeks’ time.
I laid an egg when "er indoors TM" messaged me with the quote to have her car’s clutch fixed.

I came home, put the leads on to the dogs, and walked round to Newtown where we met "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" (together with Sid and Pogo). We had a rather good little walk to the playpark and back. As we walked "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" told me all about planets. He knows quite a bit about them. Also as we walked Treacle spent a lot of time biting Pogo’s ankles, and Fudge “gayed up” Sid (it’s a dog thing).
We got home about five minutes after the forecast rain had started.

No annual leave is complete without spending time ironing. So I spent the afternoon ironing. As I did I watched a film on Netflix. I can remember “The Martian” being really good when I watched it some time ago. Today it seemed to drag on interminably.
Just as it finished (and the ironing finished) the phone rang. It was "Daddy’s Little Angel TM". Sam had passed his driving test today; would I take them over to South Ashford so they could look at a car. Sam had a test drive…. I won’t say that the front half was a Ford Cortina and the back half was a Mini Metro, but the clutch was knacked as were the windows. Whilst the owner went in to get the service history we made a quick getaway. Personally I wasn’t even sure this car was the so-called owner’s car to sell.

I took "Daddy’s Little Angel TM"’s tribe home then collected "er indoors TM" from work. I thought about suggesting she walked… but then I was rather hoping for some dinner…

30 January 2018 (Tuesday) - The Warten Wander

I slept through till four o’clock, but after that I couldn’t really breathe any more whilst laying down. I tried to sleep, but lay dozing whilst struggling for air. Perhaps I should get another polypectomy (nasal re-bore) but I’m loathe to go through the surgery only to have the problem come back again after a few sort months (like it did last time).

Over brekkie I had a look at the Internet. There was a notification of a vacancy for which I might apply in Guys hospital. Must admit I’m not keen on anything involving trains to get to work. And I had a request to chum up via LinkedIn from someone I’ve never met.
LinkedIn is crap. It’s *supposed* to be about building a professional network. What can I possibly have in common with someone who is cabin crew for British Airways? He’s apparently got a “third” connection to me, which means he is an associate of a friend of a friend. But this is what LinkedIn is all about; when I clicked the “People You Might Know” link I got told about hundreds of people of whom I had never heard. And when I looked at my profile I saw I’d been endorsed for all sorts of skills by people who really don’t know how good (or not) I am at all sorts of professional activities.
Meanwhile on Facebook people I *do* know (who I *really* thought were good and decent and better than that) were posting up racist hate-provoking stuff. To all those who really would send them all back on the next banana boat, let me pose a dilemma (one I had to answer for myself on several occasions). You are on a recruitment panel to appoint someone to a responsible position. You have six applicants. Not one is a UK resident. You re-advertise again and again in all sorts of places. No UK residents apply.
What do you do?

I went outside to scrape the ice from the car. As I scraped so nice-next-door was scraping their car too. She said hello; I tried not to giggle. Whenever I see her, all I can think of are the screams she makes when “performing the dirty deed”.
With the ice scraped I got the dogs, and we drove out to Great Chart. A few weeks ago I’d planned a little walk with some geocaches along the way; today was time to hide the caches. The series is intended to give people something to do on the morning before the meet I’m running in a couple of weeks’ time. If I had any time off work closer to that meet I would have put them out then.

Me and my dogs had a relatively good walk…. Relatively. It started badly. In December I planned the route, and things were different then. Fifty yards into the walk we met with disaster. We went to cross a stile to follow a marked right of way. We found our way blocked by a slavering dog which was the size of a large horse. After it had snarled at us for two minutes a woman walked up. “I suppose you want to walk across the footpath?” she asked. I said I did; after all it was a public right of way. She conceded it was a public right of way, but she wished it wasn’t. It went across her field, and it was a nuisance having people on her land. I made a point of making her drag her dog away so we could pass, but at the end of our walk I came back and had to hurriedly re-organise the route. Unfortunately now there is far more road walking than I would like, but I’m not sure what else I could do.

But the rest of the walk went well. The dogs were off the leads for just under half of the walk. There was a dodgy five minutes when Fudge got onto the wrong side of a fence, and then a dodgier five minutes when we got him back and Treacle went there instead.
Mind you there is no denying that dog walks were better when it was just me and Fudge. Treacle pulls like a train every step of the way.
I took a few photos of the scenery and the dogs as we walked, and after two hours and three miles we were back at the car.

We came home. As I pulled up outside my house so the idiot who had been following also pulled up. On seeing us get out of the car they reversed, then carried on down the road. *So many* people do that; they are so close behind me that they cannot see what is going on ahead.
The dogs had a little bath; both had grungy tummies.

I settled the hounds and drove into town. I had a little discussion with a tattoo artist, then got petrol. In the past I’ve commented about the (apparently) sexy grannie at the cheapo petrol station on the ring road. She was on duty today and was excelling the expectations of even her staunchest supporters.
I pulled up at the only vacant pump. Every other pump had a car at it; no one was filling their cars, everyone was in the kiosk. When I went into the kiosk to pay I was shepherded through the masses at the till and I got to pay right away. No one else was in a hurry to get away. Everyone wanted to hang around the supposedly fit grannie.
I still can’t see the attraction.

I came home again and had a spot of lunch whilst watched an episode of “The Good Place”, then turned my sights to the geo-admin required for the new series of geocaches I’d hidden this morning. That took a while.
It is amazing how long it takes to prepare a little geo-walk. Every weekend I take it for granted that there will be a series of geocaches for me to walk. But take the “Worten Wander” series. A couple of hours poring over a map to come up with the route. Three hours on a provisional recce. Another three hours creating the cache web pages. An hour or so putting caches together. Two hours putting caches out. Half an hour submitting finalised cache pages…
This isn’t news to me; this is the sixth series of caches I’ve put out. But you forget just how much effort is involved.

My phone rang. It was the nice tattoo artist. He had something to show me (result!); we arranged for me to have a look tomorrow.
I got a bucket of water and sloshed the windows of my car, I gave the dogs a little walk round the local roads, I set the dishwasher loose on the crockery, and set the washing machine having a go at a woollen wash. 
Time for a break… I made myself a cup of coffee and put “Plebs” on Netflix. Until the next episode comes out on Friday I’ve seen all the episodes of “The Good Place

My phone beeped. There was consternation on the geocaching pages about the politics of who had been chosen to organise the UK-wide 2020 mega-meet. Quite a bit of nastiness and bitterness… Over the years I’ve done so many hobbies. Ale drinking and oil painting, astronomy and kite-flying. Reptile-keeping and cub scouts. No matter what I do, there is always someone trying to suck the fun out of it.
My phone beeped again. All those geocaches had been published. Less than an hour after I pressed the final button. Can’t be bad at all… It didn’t take long for the “found it” emails to come in. Not all the FTFs went to the same finder, but the first “First to Find” was timed only thirty-five minutes after the things were published. I spent quite a bit of time pressing the “refresh” button on my email gizmo to see that people had actually found all that I’d hidden. I was pleased to see finds registered on all but the puzzle one. Mind you the puzzle isn’t something that could easily be worked out whilst walking.

"er indoors TM" boiled up a pizza, and then (being Tuesday) the clans gathered at Matt’s. Having eaten far too many sweeties we watched an episode of “Mars” hen put the world to rights.
It was good to catch up this evening…

29 January 2018 (Monday) - A Day's Fishing

I didn’t sleep that well really; I gave up trying to sleep at twenty past five. I came downstairs to see (from the smart meter) that we’d used fifty-five pence worth of energy since midnight. Yesterday at the same time it was seventy pence.
I made brekkie; but there was a minor disaster. We’d run out of coffee. I found a sachet of the stuff that I must have blagged from somewhere or other. It had gone past its “best by” date three years ago, but it seemed OK to me.

As Fudge snored on the sofa I watched an episode of “The Good Place” then sparked up my lap-top. I’d been tagged in a post on one of the geocaching pages. A teacher wanted to take her pupils geocaching and I’d been recommended as someone who might suggest a route. I pretended I’d not seen it. I’m not a great fan of doing this as a classroom activity as it was my experience as a scout leader that there are quite a few children who, on hearing about geocaching, make it their life’s work to destroy all that they can find. And (call me old-fashioned) I can’t help but feel that children should spend their school time learning to read and write and do their sums.

I then had a look at my emails. I had one of encouragement from the nice people at https://www.hematologyinterest.com/ who were impressed with the work-related blog I write. I was pleased about that.

I then realised what the time was, and thought I’d better get a move on. For once the car wasn’t iced up or steamed up. I drove to the co-op for lunch, then collected "My Boy TM". Together we went to the Brookfield cafĂ© for brekkie. They do this “choose your favourite eight items” deal; it was good.
We then drove down to Shirkoak. We’ve fished other places; Shirkoak mightn’t have the biggest fish but it is relatively close to home and usually the fishing is good. We arrived to find we had the lake to ourselves; that was a result. I’d hate to be having a quiet fishing session then have me turn up.

We soon set up. We both set quivertips fishing on the bottom (stop me if I’m getting too technical) but after an hour we’d only had a couple of fish each. We swapped to float fishing the tiniest slivers of luncheon meat, and things picked up. The technique we were using would be ideal on a hot summers day for catching tiddlers; we both lost count of the amount of fish we had. There is no denying that we had some small fish, but the average fish must have been over three pounds in weight.
And (as I do) I took a few photos as we fished.

The plan had been to fish until mid-afternoon. The weather forecast said rain was due at three o’clock. A fine drizzle started shortly after two o’clock and we packed up. There are those who fish in all weathers; I have done, but neither of us fancied having to dry all the gear when we got home today, so we quickly packed up and went home.

Once home I walked the dogs round the block before the rain got *too* heavy, popped to B&Q for light bulbs, did a little shopping, gave myself a haircut, had a shower, and collapsed exhausted. I’d not been staring at the telly for more than two minutes when my phone beeped. Thirty new geocaches had gone live not twenty minutes’ drive from work. I might have managed a cheeky FTF if today hadn’t been a little holiday.

I hadn’t been sat down for long when "er indoors TM" came home, boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and went bowling. I thought I might prepare some geocaches with a view to going to hide them tomorrow…
Putting the boxes together took over an hour…