19 April 2019 (Friday) - Swanley

When I came home from work last night I saw I had a letter from the local hospital. I had a quick look, and saw that I’ve been advised to had a screening for bowel cancer. I spent a night fraught with dreams about having all manner of things rammed up my chuff. And then this morning I re-read the letter…
What I’d received wasn’t an invitation to a screening for bowel cancer. It was a letter telling me that I was going to receive an invitation to a screening for bowel cancer.
It is commonly felt that the NHS is short of money. If this is the case, why waste money on this first letter? Why not just send the invitation?

I then spent a little while fighting with “Hannah” in an attempt to prepare for today’s walk. Eventually I got it to work (after a fashion). GSAK wasn’t having it, but in the end it relented.
In the absence of dog treats I got a pot of fish food (for Pogo’s ongoing training) and got ready for the day.

We had an interesting five minutes as we drove up the motorway. The contraflow (heading west) has a maximum speed limit of fifty miles per hour. We were going at that speed limit when some idiot came up behind flashing his lights and beeping his hooter clearly desperate to get past. With lorries nose to tail in the slow lane we couldn’t move immediately, but eventually we managed to let him pass. I then phoned the police and told them all about the driver of RE15 AEJ.
And then exactly the same thing happened again, but this time with a lorry. Can you believe it? Some lorry-driving prat was tail-ending our car. I’ve told the police, and once the Bank Holiday is over I shall be contacting the management of “Kelly International Transport” of Aylesford Kent about their lorry GN18 VKZ.

We got to Swanley where we met Karl, Tracey and Charlotte, and we went for a little walk. I say “little walk”; the series of geocaches we had in mind today was rather a big one. With eighty targets over (so we were told) thirteen miles we set off.
Have you ever been to the area around Swanley? It is an odd place. Our walk took us past beautiful posh houses, and some rather scratty council estates too. We went through stunning countryside, and through miles of fly-tipped woodlands. And it was amazing just how fast you would go from one area to the next. We would be admiring the house which would be worth millions of pounds, and then see the broken microwave thrown in the hedgerow. We would be looking at the well-manicured garden lawns, then see the pissed-on mattress laying on the wasteland.
I think the area might well be summarised by the pub we found. The Bull in at St Paul’s Cray looked really good from the outside. But getting a drink at the bar was tricky; the bar was completely blocked by locals who were clearly proud of having got themselves seat at the bar and weren’t moving for anyone. The beer garden seemed like an out-take from “TOWIE”, and as we sat with our drinks we were harangued by passing vagrants who wanted to know if we would like to buy DVDs, tobacco or cigarettes from the rather dubious carrier bags they were lugging round.

As we walked I kept a close eye on Pogo. I can hardly be impartial with that silly dog, but he managed to not bark at horses and some of the other dogs. But when he did bark at dogs it was at dogs that he’d seen before I did. Was he raising the alarm by doing that? He seems quite content and doesn’t bark when I tell him that something is going on.
Perhaps I need to be more vigilant?

Geocache-wise… The route was well-marked by the caches. And I know well just how much time and effort had been put into creating this route.  But I did wonder about some of the hides. Some of them were in odd places. Certainly the toffs on the golf course weren’t happy with us leaving the footpath to hunt for the caches; and searching under the security camera was uncomfortable. And some of the challenge caches?… in order to qualify to be able to claim some of the caches you had to fulfil certain criteria. How many people have hunted for Tupperware in twenty EU countries? And only allowing people with over fifteen thousand finds to log one - there’s less than a hundred and fifty people in the entire country who qualify for that. Personally I wouldn’t set challenges like that… but that’s just me. Some people delight in challenges like this. Each to their own.
I took a few photos as we walked. We walked for quite some time. Billed as a walk of thirteen miles, my sat-nav “Hannah” measured it as a shade over sixteen miles. We were walking for some ten hours too.

We came home; the journey home was far less problematical than the journey out. I popped to the KFC to get our dinner; we scoffed it whist watching an episode of “Young Sheldon”. As we scoffed, Treacle was quarrelling with the other dogs. Perhaps she was more tired that everyone else?
We’ll all sleep well tonight.

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