31 july 2020 (Friday) - Before the Late Shift



I spent much of the night fighting Treacle for space on the bed. When we finally arranged some sort of truce so the bin men came crashing up the road, then the alarm went off.
I gave up, got up and over some toast (shared with Fudge) I peered into the Internet. Donald Trump is looking to postpone the American election in a desperate bid to cling to power… which would seem to have annoyed a lot of people who live in the UK. You would think with the post-Brexit negotiations in shambles and prices of many household goods looking to soar, they would have more things to worry about, wouldn’t you? There was consternation that some Chinese firm has ripped off the latest Lego model and is marketing a cheaper version.

And my cousin’s cat had died. I found that most upsetting of all.

I had a very interesting email from Geo-HQ. I’ve been in correspondence with them all week following an episode at the weekend. It is no secret that I plaster my every move all over the Internet. "My Boy TM" once mentioned that he knows whenever I fart because he reads it on Facebook. Someone was so desperate to get First To Find on the series of geocaches that "er indoors TM" hid a couple of weeks ago that our movements were monitored, and then our footsteps were followed, and the caches all found before their formal publication. I was a tad miffed about this, but according to Geo-HQ this is within the letter of the law of hunting film pots under rocks. However as the correspondence went on it became rather interesting. A geocache can be logged *before* formal publication, and Geo-HQ told me this morning that if whoever hides it wants to let a select audience know about it before that formal publication then that too isn’t against the rules.
So… if any of my Tupperware-hunting pals would like to get to be First to Find on a film pot which hasn’t long been under a rock, let me know. The monopoly of the FTF has been broken.

You’d be amazed at just how seriously such a trivial matter is taken in some circles.

I sent out birthday wishes, then with "er indoors TM" emerging from her pit we took the dogs out before it got hot. We drove down to Orlestone Woods where we found the car park empty. Mind you we didn’t have the woods to ourselves; we were just the first ones there. As we walked we met other people and other dogs. Treacle had a minor spat with a giant poodle, but the nice lady with the poodle laughed it off. After all, that’s what dogs do. And that’s why I’ve taken to driving for ten minutes to Orlestone rather than walking round the park. People who walk dogs round Orlestone Woods realise what dogs are like, and these little squabbles are just laughed off. At the park this would be seen as a major issue. As we walked I used my PlantSnap app to identify a plant.
There is a lot of a rather pretty purple plant in the woods; we’ve often wondered what it is.
Purple loosestrife is quite common apparently. I might blag some for a pot in the garden.

We came home; I took two minutes to wash the grime from my car’s windscreen, then popped up to the corner shop. They had a big signup saying that face coverings are compulsory but had two customers inside without any face covering. And as I shopped so another walked in not masked. No one said anything, but would anyone; are the small corner shops really going to turn trade away?

I got a sandwich for lunch and some pastries to scoff with a cuppa, then as I scoffed pastries (with a cuppa) I wrote up some CPD. It was as well that I did; not only is it a legal requirement for me to do so, the nice people at Blogger have updated the blogging software. I say “updated” – I mean “changed because they can”. In the past I’ve written this drivel as a word document and copied it over. Doing that now causes massive spaces between paragraphs, but I’ve now figured a work-around. I hope…


As I figured the work-around the food I’d ordered for the pond fish was delivered. It was a shame that the man from DPD chose to kick the front door rather than knocking on the door or ringing the bell, but I suppose that was his way of staying safe from coronoavirus?

At eleven o’clock I stopped CPD-ing and tuned in to the live feed from the big cat sanctuary in which we saw feeding time for the cheetahs. It was a shame that one of the keepers was wearing a face mask and one wasn’t; you would have thought that they would have decided that the things were necessary or they weren’t.

And , as always is the case when on a late shift, the day was effectively over by mid morning…


30 July 2020 (Thursday) - New Series Got Published




Over a bowl of granola I watched the last episode of the current series of “The Young Offenders” then peered into the Internet to see what I’d missed overnight. I hadn’t missed much at all.

 

As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how a quarter of the UK's mammal species are in danger of extinction. I listened with interest until I heard that this proclamation had come from the British Mammal Society, and then I stopped worrying quite so much.

A few years ago the British Mammal Society were on the morning's radio show. They said that no one really knew just what mammals were wild in the UK, let alone how many there were of them. They asked people to download their app onto phones. The idea was that people would use the app to photograph wild mammals and send photos to the British Mammal Society. Their experts would identify the creature you had photographed, and the geo-location ability of the phone would tell where the mammal had been seen.

That way they could establish exactly what animals were wild in the UK, and where they all were. A good idea in theory.

It took them about two years to respond to the first photos I sent in (squirrels), and I must admit I stopped using the app when they told me that some of my photos had been rejected. I'd photographed deer somewhere or other, but their experts said there were no deer where I'd taken the photo; the implication being that I was somehow playing silly beggars with them. I though the whole idea of the project was to find where these animals were? Why bother trying to find out what animals are where if they have already decided that they know the answer and won’t be told?

I've no confidence in this announcement.

 

There was also a lot of talk about how non-white children are more likely to get exclusions from school and all sorts of speculation was made about unconscious bias by teachers. A couple of non-white people were then interviewed. Both have made successes of their lives after leaving school. Both had many suspensions and exclusions whilst at school. And both said that when they were at school they were unruly little brats who got what they deserved.

Is it just me who sees all sorts or racial tensions being stirred up for no reason at all?

 

As I started the early shift so my phone went mad. The thirty-seven geocaches I'd hidden yesterday had all gone live. It wasn't long before I received messages that there were errors in the puzzles that I'd set. Some messages were polite, others not so.

Mind you there couldn't have been that serious a problem - it wasn't that long before I was told that all had been found for the first time (and more) - and not by the usual FTF-chasers. After the unpleasantness of last weekend (when we found we'd had our movements stalked so's someone could claim to be first to find a geocache), it was good to see someone else being first.

 

With work done I came home. I had planned to take the dogs to the woods for a walk, but as I pulled up outside the house the thermometer in my car said it was over thirty degrees; far too hot for dogs. So, as even more messages came in about the errors in my formulae I set about correcting my mistakes.

You write the formula and you check it. And you check it... and still mistakes get through...

And with mistakes corrected I tuned in to the weekly geo-zoom meet.

 

"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good bit of scran which we scoffed whist watching an episode of “Taskmaster” (which was rather good), and then I started falling asleep in front of the telly.

 

29 July 2020 (Wednesday) - At The Dentist

Being on a rostered day off I wanted to get my current geo-project over and done with, and so a very early start at it made for an early finish.
I then took the dogs for a walk. We went to Orelstone Woods where we met the chap with whom we’d had a run-in a few weeks ago. Rather than waving his dog around like a rag doll (like he did previously) he picked his dog up and tucked it under his arm as he walked past. He grunted “Good Morning” and busied off.
With him gone we had a good walk. The dogs played and ran and straggled as dogs do, and Fudge joined in the chase with Pogo and Treacle. Pogo and Treacle are really good to Fudge; when he chases them you can see them slow down so he can keep up, and when he loses interest they speed up again.
It was mid-morning before I got to peer into the Internet.

Amazon had given me a three months free trial access to Amazon music. I won’t be taking up that offer. They also suggested I might like to buy a book from them that I had already bought from them. Greg Williams (?) and Prateek Sinha (?) had both asked to by my chum on LinkedIn (does anyone *do* anything on or with LinkedIn?)
I also saw that my subscription to Project GC was about to expire, so I renewed it. It’s a rather useful thing to have when rummaging under a film pot is what floats your boat.
I ordered more food for the pond fish. Using the “order again” option I could be sure of getting the right thing, and the stuff is now a pound cheaper than it was in April. I saw that as something of a result.

I wrote up some CPD, then spent a little while on a geo-jigsaw puzzle before going down the road to the dentist. Last week they’d phoned me to cancel my appointment. When I told them that I wasn’t going to pay them for appointments they weren’t keeping they suddenly reinstated my appointment for me. They phoned me yesterday afternoon to confirm the appointment, and then phoned again half an hour later to cancel. When I complained they offered me an appointment with another dentist. When I told them that I didn’t care who I saw they were somewhat amazed.

I walked down the road to the dentist to find the place had a notice on the door saying that they were closed on the advice of the British Dental Association. Just as I finished reading and was about to come home so the door opened. The work experience girl came out (in *very* loose fitting surgical scrubs, full face mask and visor) and asked what I wanted. I told her I thought I had an appointment; she went in, got my notes and conducted the pre-examination interview in the street outside the surgery for all the world to see and hear. Mind you I wasn’t complaining; the loose-fitting surgical scrubs didn’t keep much secret. There was a dodgy five minutes when she measured my temperature as being at fever-pitch. It might have been brought on by the grandstand view I had of her rather epic unbridled chest (in all its glory), but was more likely to have been the result of her using a contactless thermometer in bright sunshine. Covering up to get a little shade brought the temperature down. She could have done with covering up her chest too, but I said nothing.

She then took me through to see the dentist. Everyone was in full disease-containment garb, and the dentist took maybe a quarter of the time they usually take rummaging in my gob before telling me I needed a filling, I needed to make another appointment, and he said he would arrange to have me escorted to the receptionist (presumably I couldn’t be trusted to walk ten yards). As I waited for escort, so the dental nurse methodically scrubbed everything with which I had been in contact. However she did not touch the overhead lamp the dentist uses to light up people’s cake-holes.
Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a blood scientist!) to realise that when the dentist rummages in my gob then adjusts the light, he is transferring whatever is in my gob to that light. And then when the next patient is in the chair, he then transfers whatever he put on that light into their gob.

I got taken to the receptionists who were wearing their face masks as though they were some kind of necklace. I tried to make an appointment, but was told that they didn’t know what dentists (if any) were working this week, and someone would phone me by the end of the day on Friday. Probably.
I smiled underneath the mask I had to wear; I’ve often thought about going to another surgery as they can be rather useless., But being just down the road from home puts them in a very convenient location, and I wonder how many other dental practices have as impressive chests on wanton display.  

I came home and spent the rest of the afternoon ironing whilst watching episodes of “The Young Offenders”.
"er indoors TM" then boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the final of “Bake Off: The Professionals”. We washed it down with a rather good bottle of plonk.
I think I should go to bed before I fall asleep…

28 July 2020 (Tuesday) - Bit Dull


I slept better than last night – the duvet-sucking dog (I think it was Pogo this time) didn’t start noisily slurping until nearly getting-up time.
I made toast and peered into the internet.to see what had happened overnight. The new series of geocaches that went live yesterday evening had all been found. Some of them in the dark. Personally I like a pleasant walk in the countryside enjoying the views. Others like to dash from one film pot under a rock to the next at breakneck speed, actually risking breaking their necks in the dark. Each to their own, I suppose.

I saw that some of my geocaches that I archived last October had been found yesterday – a nice trick if you can do it(!) I sent out some birthday wishes, then "er indoors TM" and I took the dogs down to Ham Street to put the final touches to the last bit of the planning for the ongoing Greensand Way geo-project.
As we crossed the footbridge at Ham Street railway station some people who looked incredibly familiar waved to me from the opposite platform. There were two people there; both smiled. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I hope they don’t think I was being rude. I’m sure I know them, but I didn’t recognise them at all.

We had a good walk through the woods. The dogs didn’t disappear for that long really. Pogo did start shouting at a passing dog (I think that was a “lead” thing) and Fudge did try to play “dog piggy back” with a Labrador ten times his size, but other than that, the walk went well.
Once home I popped to the corner shop for a sandwich for later and croissants for brekkie. This was the first time out for my now-legally-compulsory face covering.
What a shambles.
I had mine on. The other people in the shop had theirs hanging from their ears and covering all sorts of parts of their anatomies except those through which they breathe. And the woman behind the counter didn’t have one on at all.

We had coffee and croissants, and I carried on geo-jigsaw-puzzling. I spent an hour and a half on it last night, and another two hours this morning. I hope the film pot I shall find under a rock will be worth it.
And that was it for today really. I went to work, did my bit and came home again…
Today was rather dull…