18 September 2021 (Saturday) - Rocketman

Despite a rather vivid nightmare in which I’d been acclaimed leader of a post-apocalyptic band of Armageddon-survivors I slept rather well. Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Drifters” in which our heroes were “doing the dirty deed” with varying degrees of success, then watched as my lap-top struggled into action. Last night it had done a Windows update, thereby leaving itself unable to do anything whilst the update sorted itself out for what seemed an age.

 

Eventually it got going. I saw that Gordon had been to Wales and been on that rather impressive zip-line. I quite fancy that, but don’t fancy going all the way to Wales. I’m told there’s one at Bluewater – and it would seem I’m not too heavy for it. Does anyone fancy a day out?

There wasn’t much else happening on-line. I had over seventy emails to say that people had found some of the geocaches I’d hidden, but on closer inspection they’d found them in May but had taken four months to tell the world. I wish people would log finds more promptly; I see a “Found It” and assume that all is well. I haven’t got time to fiddle about reading each and every log.

 

As I drove to work so the farming program was on the radio. The presenter was talking about how potatoes are a "high risk" crop. What can be "high risk" about a spud? I had a look on the Internet and I'm still none the wiser.

There was also an interview with a dairy farmer who has had to chuck out days loads of milk as the dairies can't provide lorries to come fetch the stuff. This was brought up in a wider context of shortages of all sorts of farm workers. The government were invited to send someone for an interview; they declined but gave a statement saying that they were aware of shortages of staff all through the farming industry. the obvious answer is to improve the worker's conditions and to pay them more money.

The farmer being interviewed said he'd re-advertised jobs for which he'd had no applicants offering ten per cent more money but still wasn't getting any interest. I suppose he'll have to offer even more cash - after all ten per cent of sod-all isn't much. Mind you where will that pay rise come from? How much will you pay for your dinner? A pig farmer being interviewed was saying that she couldn't compete with the price of imported pork.

I suppose UK farms are facing the consequences of having relied (for decades) on cheap foreign labour all of whom have now gone home.

 

And the French are getting more and more wound up about the USA – UK - Australia nuclear submarine deal. Apparently they found out that they'd lost the contract from reading the newspapers (which didn't impress them much!). There are loads of British people who will shed no tears over the French being upset. I'm just waiting to pay the price. *Every* time the French get the hump over anything at all they take it out on the British by causing delays at the ports, and so the lorries will queue back up the M20 again; poggering my journey to work.

 

I got to work for yet another weekend shift and did my bit. There was cake, which is always good, and at dinner time I went to the works canteen for lunch. Cherry pie and custard - very nice. But... when you have any sort of pie with custard how do you prepare it? Surely the pie goes in the bowl first and then the custard goes on top? What strange sort of person fills the bowl full of custard then tries to float the cherry pie on top? And then has to wipe all the custard off of the pie ladle?

 

At going home time I remembered the car’s parking brake had played up yesterday. It hadn’t played up on my way to work this morning and it didn’t play up on the way home. As I was driving past the garage who were going to be looking at the brake issue on Tuesday I thought I’d pop in and have a word. I explained that it played up once and now seemed to be fine. The chap behind the counter at the garage said that this is a common feature of electric parking brakes, he said that the one in his car does it all the time, and he asked why I was bringing my car to them when they aren’t able to deal with electric parking brakes. I suggested that maybe when asked if they could fix electric parking brakes they might in future say “no” rather than “yes”. Next time I’ll go to my usual garage. There is clearly a reason why my usual garage is booked up for the next two weeks whereas other garages aren’t.

 

Once home “er indoors TM” and I took the dogs down to Orlestone woods. The dogs wallowed in two separate swamps, and each ate half a dead rabbit. They never do that when I take them on my own. 

Once the dogs had been bathed “er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we followed with stilton and biccies; all washed down with a bottle of Sainsbury’s home-brand claret as we watched “Rocketman”. It was OK… it was actually very good. It would probably have been better if I’d known more of Elton John’s music. But I stayed awake for it, and that was something of a result.

17 September 2021 (Friday) - Puzzles Solved

I slept like a a log last night despite the dogs having something of a scrap in the small hours. I wish they wouldn’t do that.

I made toast and scoffed it as I watched an episode of “Drifters” and as another negative COVID test incubated, then I turned on the lap-top. I had a friend request on Facebook from someone claiming to be called “Miethkea Shovda”. Wearing little more than a  Get It Here” expression in her profile picture, “Miethkea Shovda” suggested I might like to “join an established WhatsApp group, there are many hot girls in this group who need it. , so if you want raunchy women by your side, join our group because it's all free with no money”. Not that I want to appear judgemental, but if the hot girls are anything like “Miethkea Shovda”, the “it” that they need is to put some clothes on.

Pretty much nothing else at all had happened overnight so I spent a few minutes on that SpongeBob geo-jigsaw. When the thing’s clock told me I’d spent a total of four hours on it (over the past few days) I saw that as a sign to go get ready for work.

 

As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how half the GP appointments in the UK are conducted over the telephone these days. The leading light of the Royal College of General Practitioners was being interviewed on the matter, and he didn't really come over as well as he might have done. Several cases were cited in which people might not have died had they actually seen a GP rather than spoken to one over the phone, and one woman was on the phone to the radio show saying how a phone-diagnosed supposed muscle strain was actually a blood clot which moved to her lungs and nearly killed her.

I suppose the problem is the old problem that GPs have always faced. I once read a GP's biography in which she claimed that out of every hundred patients she sees, ninety get better and eight die regardless of anything that she does. The clever bit is to be able to spot the two per cent on which the GP can have any influence, and the obvious way to do this is to get rid of the time-wasting ninety per cent. I'm reminded of an old bloke I once met in a GP's waiting room who was loudly telling his mate that there was nothing wrong with him, but he came to see the doctor every Tuesday as he had paid his national insurance and he was entitled to do so.

 

There was also talk about how the French have got the arse over a new deal in which the UK and the USA will supply Australia with "at least eight" nuclear submarines. Apparently the French had a contract with the Australians but have been gazumped?

Bearing in mind the UK has only got four of the things, perhaps we might buy some off the French to keep them sweet? I'll put myself down for a couple of Skydivers if that's OK with the Ministry of Defence?

 

I stopped off at Aldi on my way to work. The place was surprisingly busy with dozens of customers. All blundering about, all utterly oblivious of everyone else in the shop, and not one looking where they were going. I got my shopping and got out as quickly as I could. I got back to my car and headed to work where I had a minor disaster. As I parked so the car’s parking brake refused to come on. The footbrake worked fine but the parking brake wasn't having it at all.

I spent an age phoning round trying to find a garage who could sort it. Eventually I found somewhere that would do it on Tuesday. No one else could do it any sooner.

With work done I came home… having completely forgotten about the troublesome parking brake. My memory wasn’t jogged because the thing had started working again. The car alarm did exactly the same thing a few months ago. Bearing in mind the foot brake works fine and the parking brake wasn’t attempting to work but is now fine, I suspect an electrical problem.

 

And I’ve now completed that SpongeBob geo-jigsaw. Only took four hours fifty-three minutes… And with all one hundred and thirty SpongeBob geo-puzzles solved maybe it is time to go searching for the geocaches?

 

16 September 2021 (Thursday) - Late Shift

I slept like a log, waking after eight hours asleep. I made toast and made my sandwiches for work once I’d found where the peanut butter had gone. Jam, margarine and marmalade all stay where I leave them, but peanut butter really does grow legs and walks away.

I made brekkie and rolled my eyes as I read Facebook. Some of the questions on the work-related Facebook pages amaze me. In the UK we have national standards of how to operate in a blood transfusion laboratory. Reading the Facebook pages it would seem this is not the case in America with each lab doing its own thing, and several people asking advice and opinion on what is (over here) established protocols.

American healthcare – paying a small fortune for something far inferior to what the UK offers for free… (!)

A cousin of mine was having a bit of a rant on Facebook this morning too. There is a chap who sits on the pavement in Ore Village (in Hastings) with a begging bowl. Every day this fellow comes into the shop where she works; her boss has an arrangement with him that he can change up the coins he is given for bank notes. The beggar doesn’t want to carry loose change about as it is so heavy; the shop owner doesn’t want the arse-ache of going to the bank for change. Everyone is happy with the arrangement… except the shop staff who can see that this chap makes more money in a few hours begging than they make in a day working. And those working in the shop have to pay tax too. To add insult to injury the beggar (apparently) regularly refers to begging as “his job”.

Perhaps this chap is truly needy? Perhaps he really can’t get “proper” employment? But there’s clearly something wrong when you can get more money by holding your hand out than by doing an honest day’s work.

 

I spent half an hour geo-jigsaw-ing then got ready for the morning. I put on a pair of the new socks I bought on Tuesday evening (rather flimsy!) and Munzee-ed my way to the town centre capping enough bar-codes as I went to open a qrate and even get a new one (as you do).

It wasn’t long before I was at the opticians. In the past I’ve always gone to SpecSavers, but regular readers of this drivel may recall that the last time I went there they didn’t realise that one of my ears is higher than the other. Their ill-fitting glasses gave me double vision and a week off work.

As the nice people at Brownbills looked at my glasses this morning they asked how I got on with them; specifically the varifocal bit. On reflection I said that I did feel I had to tilt my head back rather a lot for it to work. The nice lady showed me how the varifocal bit of my specs was a fraction of the size it was supposed to be, and also showed me how my glasses should be sitting on my nose. SpecSavers are all very well *if* you want cheap. But demonstrably (in my case) cheap doesn’t actually do the job.

I had my eyes photographed and pressure-tested, then had a serious session with the optometrist. My distance vision is fine, but my close-up vision prescription had changed somewhat. It was almost as if I’d spent two years with no close-up bit on my glasses (!)

I must admit I sat up and took notice when I got the bill for new specs but, as I’ve found to my cost, if you pay cheap you end up with double vision, a week off work on sick leave and a place in the emergency eye clinic at the hospital.

 

As I walked home I phoned my dad. He’s doing OK. My aunt was visiting and I wound her up rather impressively. I’ve always made a point of calling her “aunty” because it makes her feel old. I deliberately didn’t today and she took the bait. She asked why I hadn’t called her “aunty” so I said I didn’t think she’d want to be called “aunty” by someone who is a grandfather. I did laugh at her reply.

I came home via the corner shop where I got pastries to scoff with coffee. As I scoffed I did more geo-puzzle; a four-hundred-piece puzzle of SpongeBob SquarePants. A rather dull way to go geocaching, but there it is. Until the puzzle is solved (or blagged) the location of the final film pot remains a secret.

After an hour I got rather bored, put on my new shirt that I bought on Tuesday evening (not too flimsy) and set off to work.

 

As I drove up the motorway I caught the end of some utter drivel on the radio. It was claimed that  Mongolians are becoming world-famous as opera singers and sumo-wrestlers. Apparently the wide open steppes improves the baritone notes and muscular build? I turned the radio off and sang along to my rather odd choice of music, then (once I'd scoffed a bag of fish and chips flavoured crisps) I got on with the late shift. There was no cake, which was something of a disappointment. In fact the late shit was rather dull, and by the time I'd navigated the diversion caused by the closed motorway, got home, finally found somewhere to park the car and had a very late dinner it was nearly bed time.

The late shifts are all very well, but they do mean  that the day is effectively over by the early afternoon.

I’ll spend another half-hour on that jigsaw puzzle before bed…