31 July 2018 (Tuesday) - Cucumber and Foliage


Another night during which neither our dogs nor new-next-door's dogs made a sound all night long; I like this.
Over brekkie I watched more of "Orange is the new black"; I'm getting to like the show, but I don't see why it is described as a comedy - it isn't funny. There is a minor drawback in that each episode is an hour long so I don't have time to watch a whole episode before work. Half an hour was good though.

I set off for work; as I drove up the motorway through the torrential rain there was a lone motorbike driving up the miles of the slow lane which have been cordoned off for no reason. On the one hand he wasn't supposed to be on that bit. On the other hand there seems to be no reason why miles of the motorway are cordoned off, and being on a motorbike in the rain he was probably safer on the closed section.
The rain was rather bad this morning with the section by junction six actually under water. I was amazed at how a relatively raised part of the road could be under water.

As I drove the pundits in the radio were doing their thing. They were interviewing the education secretary who has made the apparently incredibly brave announcement that the government intends to help parents so that by the time their children go to school they are able to speak.  Amazingly twenty-five per cent of five year-olds going to school can't communicate. There were those who were complaining about the government intervening in the lives of private individuals; I can't help but feel that if someone has let a child get to five years old without teaching it to speak, then some intervention is necessary.
There was also consternation expressed from the national executive of the Labour party who are blaming Donald Trump for all their troubles. I get *so* cross with the Labour party. It is *such* a good idea in theory, but in practice it is just a shambles. It could be so much better.

I got to work just as the rain was stopping. I got out of my car and stepped into a puddle. i found myself thinking that in years gone by the last week of July was cub camp. I wonder if they are camping at Bilsington again this year?

I had a rather busy day at work today and was glad when home time came. An early start meant for an early finish, and once home I took the dogs round the park. Fudge tried to fight a motorbike on the way to the park, and once at the park both dogs had a swim in the river.
I did chuckle as we walked past the playpark when I overheard one young boy talking to his mother: “Look at than man with the dog and the baby bear” he said.
Presumably Treacle is the baby bear?

With our walk done I spent a little while messing with a new app. I’ve used the NeonGeo app for geocaching for some time, but I’m told that there was some issue with it along the lines of whoever made the thing never got permission to cobble it to Google maps (or something). Whilst mine is working OK, it seems that other people’s versions are stopping working so I thought I’d be pre-emptive and see if I could get something which would make a good replacement.
For me the main priority is the ability to use ordnance survey maps in the app. There are so many other maps available, and none come close to ordnance survey. A fellow hunter of Tupperware told me about an app called GCdroid. I’ve installed it and got the maps working. I shall give the thing a field test tomorrow before work and see how it goes.

Being Tuesday the clans gathered. We watched an old Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode, and put the world to rights. We should do that more often.
As we watched telly "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" was sending me updates on my most recent grandchild. "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" has some new pets. He has three slugs. “Gertie”, “Laura” and “Snorloc” live in a sandwich box and have been fed cucumber and foliage.
One can only hope that slugs eat cucumber and foliage or "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" is not going to be happy. Presumably “Gertie”, “Laura” and “Snorloc” won’t be too chuffed either…

30 July 2018 (Monday) - Early Shift

Neither our dogs nor new-next-door's dogs made a sound all night long; it was a shame that the rain was so loud against the bedroom window that it kept me awake for so much of the night.

Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Trailer Park Boys - Out of the Park". It wasn't really funny; none of the "out of the park" episodes have been. Such a shame when compared with what went before.
In today's episode our heroes went to Memphis where they met Alex Lifeson who apparently was the lead guitar player in the 1970s band "Rush"? Perhaps the show might have been better if I had ever heard of this bloke? The Internet says he is quite famous. It is amazing what you miss if you don't stay alert.

I set off to work on a damp and dismal morning. As I drove I found myself seemingly continually stopping. There are sixteen sets of traffic lights on the two and a bit miles from home to the motorway (and eighteen on the way back). Whilst not *all* of them were red, the vast majority were.
As I stopped and started the pundits on the radio were talking about the ethics of withdrawing life-support for people in long-term vegetative states. Some advocated pulling the plug, others felt those in comas should be kept alive in case they recover. There were convincing arguments made for both sides.  I'm just glad that I don't have to make such decisions.
On a much lighter note there was quite a bit made of the fact that "The Beano" was eighty years old today. I was amazed to hear that it is still going strong with sales increasing every year. I used to get the thing weekly when I was a boy.
There were two interviews with some of the major people at "The Beano"; one was with one of the artists was interesting and enlightening. The other interview was utterly unintelligible. The chap being interviewed had a rather thick Scottish accent and he mumbled and muttered. I've often wondered why Radio Four doesn't give these people a dummy run before broadcasting and weed out those who can't be understood.
(Is that discriminatory of me?)

I got to work for the early shift and did my bit. Work was rather trying today, but at lunchtime there was a rather interesting presentation about malaria. Most people wouldn't be that enamored with a particularly vicious little parasite which has probably killed more people than anything else in human history, but I suppose I'm not "most people".

An early start made for an early finish; the journey home was in many ways a reprise of morning's journey. Whilst there's only seven sets of traffic light between work and the motorway, most caught me, and a seriously high proportion of the traffic lights in Ashford (two more on the way home than on the way out) were against me too.

Once home I took the dogs round the park where Fudge again tried to pick fights with other dogs. I wish he wouldn’t.
And with "er indoors TM" off bowling I settled in front of the telly. "My Boy TM" has suggested I watch “Orange is the New Black”. Whilst it seems to be rather good, I was surprised to read that it was described as a comedy. I shall watch some more episodes and see if I laugh now I know I am supposed to…

29 July 2018 (Sunday) - Raining


There was so much I could have done last night; I had several offers, but I turned them all down. I was feeling rather rough so I stayed in and did the ironing.
I woke feeling marginally better that when I went to sleep last night, but still spent much of the day feeling iffy.
I got up and saw it was raining. Rain had been forecast, and we’d cancelled our plans because of the rain. On the one hand I was glad that we’d not cancelled for no reason. On the other hand I’d rather it wasn’t raining so we could have gone out. It had been dry all week; did it *really* have to be so wet today?

I sparked up my lap-top and had a look to see what I’d missed. A friend was having a birthday today. Facebook told me she was thirty-four. I’d often wondered – she could be anything from nineteen to forty, but I didn’t like to ask.
I also saw something which was a sad sign of our times. Today’s Mail on Sunday was running a feature on Andrew Beattie. The article’s headline was “Meet the man who’s aiming to earn £60k just for flying kites”. A rather sensational headline. I know Andrew Beattie – he’s on my Facebook list. He is laughing about the article because the headline was entirely made up.
Don’t believe what you read…

I then spent a while going through my finances. I like to check that what appears on my bank statements is something I’ve actually spent. Over the years I’ve not found anything that I’ve been billed for in error, but there have been a couple of things that I’ve spent money on for which I’ve never been charged (a tankful of petrol and a round of drinks).
The job of checking my accounts would be easier if the credit card receipts were produced in some sort of standard format rather than every business seeming to have made up its own design.
This month I found a little surprise waiting for me in the details of the accounts. Perhaps I’m na├»ve, but I didn’t realise that I would have to pay a transaction fee every time I used my credit card when we were abroad a couple of weeks ago. I used the card five time on just under a hundred and fifty quid’s worth of stuff, and got billed nearly a fiver for the privilege. Bearing in mind I wasted fifteen minutes on a *very* frustrating call to the bank before I went on this trip you think they might have warned me.

With the rain still falling I thought I might as well muck out the fish pond filter. It wasn’t *that* mucky, but it still stank. It took an hour, and with the thing back in place I saw the rain had slackened off to a medium monsoon. So with nothing else on the agenda I got out some secateurs and cut back quite a bit of the roses and clematis flowing over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door. I got two dustbin-fulls before the novelty wore off. I then tidied as best I could before the rain got too much for me.

Over lunch I looked at the geo-plan for a couple of weeks’ time. It has been suggested we go on a wander round the firehills of Hastings. I’ve solved a few puzzles in the area, but the caches there look rather spaced out and have some serious hills on the way. Still, it will be better than sitting indoors looking at the rain.

Seeing how the rain had stopped I popped the leads onto the dogs and took them out. I got as far as the co-op field before the rain started again. Within seconds I was soaked, but faced with the option of going home or carrying on I decided to carry on. Despite being soaked to the bone we had a rather good walk. Not many other people were braving the elements, but we did meet one other dog walker. It was a shame that Fudge had to pick a fight with his Alsatian.
As we walked round the park yesterday I saw that a tree had fallen and blocked the path by the dog beach. Today (less than a day later) the council were out removing the fallen tree. They were out and working on a wet Sunday; I was impressed.

With walk done I put on dry clothes and spent a little more time looking at that walk in Hastings. With a little genius and a little “non-standard-puzzle-solving” I’ve got a route of about thirty geocaches sorted. All I need now is to find a better parking spot – the suggested parking place is at the highest point on the walk. I’d rather walk down to the end, not climb up to it.

And today was something of the end of an era – the last of the current series of “Poldark”. Whilst I expect I will watch the new series when it comes out (if only for Demelza’s heaving thingies) I can’t help but wonder if the BBC are flogging a dead horse. The show’s reached a natural finishing point.
Time will tell – it always does.

Today has been rather dull…