16 February 2019 (Saturday) - Early Shift


I slept like a log until half past two when "er indoors TM" and the wolf-pack came to bed. Things were a tad crowded after that. I gave up trying to sleep and came downstairs. Over brekkie I watched an episode of "Alan Partridge" on Netflix (I do like Alan Partridge) and then got myself organised (without waking anyone) and set off to work.

When I'd got up I'd looked out of the window. I do that first thing every morning. At that time all the cars outside were frost free. Whilst I'd scoffed my toast a freezing fog had fallen. All the cars were suddenly thick with ice, and visibility was down to ten yards at best. I drove slowly to work; the fog came and went in patches. All very pretty but a pain for driving.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting rubbish as they so often do. Today they were talking about the amount of money that university vice-chancellors are paid. The Labour party has declared that university vice chancellors should not be paid more than twenty times the rate of the lowest paid member of their university's staff. At the same time the Labour party aren't advocating raising the pay of the lower paid or cutting the pay of the higher paid. Someone or other from the Labour party was wheeled on and he made a complete balls-up of trying to explain this clearly nonsensical (and impossible) idea. 
As a life-long right-wing lefty, the Labour party boil my piss. It seems that the only policy they have is to make themselves utterly unelectable.

I got to work, and with a few minutes spare I popped into the canteen and had the full English breakfast. Oh yes !! Feeling suitably bloated I got on with the day's round.​ I did that which I couldn't avoid, and left as soon as I could.

I drove from work straight to Kwik-Fit. Just lately my car has been making a terrible noise when I turn the engine on. I was convinced the exhaust system had had it. And bearing in mind the tyres had had the thumbs-down when I’d had the cambelt done a few months ago I thought I’d get the tyres looked at too. Ideally I would use my usual garage, but they couldn’t fit me in for another two weeks. Kwik-Fit could see me right away.
I got to Kwik-Fit, they got my car onto the car lift. The exhaust was fine; it was rattling because some clip thingy had perished. And there was nothing wrong with the tyres either. I went in expecting a bill for over five hundred quid; I came out only twenty-five pounds lighter. I was pleased about that.

I came home to find "er indoors TM" painting the skirting boards as a prelude to getting a new carpet. Perhaps I might have helped with the painting? She seemed engrossed in it so I didn’t interfere. I played Lego instead. I built a little shop-thingy from the bargain job-lot I bought last weekend. And with my little shop-thingy built I put in in place, and created a little photo album of progress so far with my Lego project. I really need a name for the town that I’m building.

I then tried to program “Hannah” for tomorrow’s little outing. It wasn’t having any of it, so I gave up. Over dinner we watched the latest episode of “Star Trek”. I think that the show is really suffering from having a needlessly complicated plot.
I then got serious with “Hannah” and programmed directly through GSAK. For those of my loyal readers who are unaware of the seriousness of this, programming through GSAK is fighting talk. I hope it worked.
I shall find out tomorrow…

15 February 2019 (Friday) - Wasting Time in Chatham


I had a rather good night’s sleep last night. It would have been better if I hadn’t been laying awake for the last hour in desperate need of the loo, but in retrospect I should have got up and gone for a tiddle, shouldn’t I? (It ain’t rocket science, is it?)

As I scoffed my toast I looked at Facebook as I do. The “Save our NHS Kent” brigade were up in arms about closures to stroke units in Kent. They’ve been up in arms about all sorts of things recently. What they seem to overlook is that a lot of these closures aren’t about saving money, they are about practicality. How *can* the local authorities keep a stroke unit open when there isn’t enough staff to run the place, and no one applies to adverts for the jobs? Here’s a suggestion for keeping the local stroke units open. Those who are complaining should shut their rattle and study (for many years) to post-graduate level and then fill the seemingly un-fillable vacancies themselves.
But to lighten the mood a friend had posted a video she’d taken in her hotel room. She was listening to the people in the next room who were doing noisy sex. I did laugh,

I took the dogs round the park for a walk. As we went through Bowen’s Field we saw the council had installed new rubbish bins. They were emblazoned with what seems to be the new corporate logo “KAC”. Apparently this stands for “Keep Ashford Clean”. I thought it was a mis-spelling and I would have put Fudge’s cack in there had Pogo not eaten it first.
As we walked round the park and the dogs played I thought something was up with Pogo. He was moving very awkwardly. And then I realised what was going on. He’s learned how to run in a sitting position so that Treacle can’t bite his ankles.
We came home through the co-op field and past the allotments which again reeked of “funny fags”.
Just as I got home my phone rang. It was an automated call from the power company asking what I thought of how they dealt with my query yesterday. Bearing in mind they haven’t dealt with it at all I hung up. I’ve been told (from various sources) that if you rate companies badly on these customer satisfaction thingies, all they do is have a go at the poor person with whom you spoke and *not* with anyone who might be able to help you.

I settled the dogs. I say that most mornings when I'm on a late shift. In the mornings they don't need much settling. In the evenings I only have to walk in the general direction of the kitchen and they all go mad. In the mornings I pick up the dog treat box and all three just lay where they are laying and not one moves. This morning was a typical example of this. I went to their treat box. Three pairs of eyes watched from the comfort of the sofas. Not one got up, or even stirred. I offered each dog a treat. Each lifted their head for me to put the treat into their mouth, and then chomped the treat whilst laying down. Clearly any more action on their part would be just too much like hard work.

As I drove this morning "Women's Hour" was on the radio. It would seem that young women barristers are leaving the profession in droves when they have children. Children are expensive things (apparently). There were one or two ex-barristers being interviewed who were whinging on about the cost of child care. It struck me that if a barrister couldn't afford child care then what hope was there for us mere mortals?

I drove to Chatham. I'd set myself a little geo-mission today in the Medway towns. First of all I had to find a plaque from which I had to get some information, I then had to answer some questions to get some numbers, do some sums, and then go get a geocache.
The sat-nav struggled getting me to the plaque. I eventually answered the questions, I did some sums and came up with what I thought might be plausible co-ordinates. I drove for a mile to find that they weren't. The location I'd come up with was in someone's back garden. I checked my sums, found my mistake, drove another mile in another direction and found myself in a residential street. I say "residential street" - it was realistically the sort of place where the council puts the scratters so that they can fight amongst themselves. There were several domestics kicking off as I walked up and down the road.  Finding nothing remotely resembling the clues I'd been given I gave up, and told my sat-nat to aim for work.
Easier said than done.
I don't doubt that there are many people who can drive round the Medway towns. I find it hard work. It is all up hill and down hill, all narrow streets and sharp corners, cars parked in the most stupid places, and every driver clearly thinks they are the only person on the roads. I was rather glad when I got on to Bluebell hill and got out of the place.

I got to work rather later than planned,  but still there was time for dinner. Being Friday a plate of fish and chips went down rather well. I went in to work, and did the late shift. It wasn't a bad shift - I've had worse.

Once home we watched the last episode of the current season of “Hunted”. It would seem the controversial ending has upset quite a few viewers.
Mind you I think I’d like to be in the next season…

14 February 2019 (Thursday) - A Bush in Challock


I had something of a restless night last night. Better than many recently but restless, nonetheless. I got up to find a rather good Valentine’s card from "er indoors TM"; she’s been making cards recently. This one featured a dog not unlike Fudge.

As I scoffed my toast I peered into the Internet. It hadn’t changed much since last night. I had an email from Amazon saying they could not publish the review I gave of the Lego boards I bought from them at the weekend. They didn’t say why though. Oh well. They bothered me for the review. Their loss.

I then phoned the power company. The nice people there sent their bill via email last night. They were planning to increase my monthly payments by about forty quid a month based on estimated charges. I thought the whole idea of a smart meter was that they knew exactly what we were using without having to estimate anything. I got through to them and couldn’t hear a word that they were saying. I phoned back and had a rather bizarre conversation in which they wanted to know why I was having an estimated bill when I had a smart meter. They then hit upon a frankly amazing idea involving their logging in to my smart meter and getting a reading from it. I suggested that I was in full agreement and that they had my permission to do so (if they needed it).
They are going to send me another bill.

I took the dogs for our usual walk. There was an interesting development; the Jehovah’s Witnesses stall is under new management. There used to be two little old ladies standing at the entrance to the park by the fountain. They had a little stand and were polite and civil and not at all pushy. They’ve gone. There is now a miserable-looking bloke at the stand, and the rest of the Jo-Bos are pulling a rather dirty trick. The two little old ladies have been replaced with two young women about eighty years younger with epic chests and legs that go all the way up to their bums. These two made a terrific fuss of the dogs whilst giving me the eye and making all sorts of suggestive looks, and after a few minutes of the “come-and-get-it-big-boy” stuff they pulled out the God-bothering pamphlets. I made polite excuses (having Pogo rummaging in a hedge was a reasonable excuse) and I left them to hunt down their next victim. If everyone else is Viccie Park is as shallow as I am, they will have an easy time.
We came home through the co-op field where the allotments stank of “funny fags” as they so often do.

I settled the dogs and set off to work. Due to a minor hiccup I’d been asked to do the late shift today. When we went out this morning my car had been covered in ice. In the meantime it had melted.
I headed to Challock. There was (and still is) a puzzle geocache there based on the village sign. Seeing how it was the only cache within seven miles of home that I hadn't yet found I thought I might hunt it down today. It would be the first stage of a little adventure that I'd planned to do on my way to work. I'd solved the puzzle that was used to give the co-ordinates of this cache and I'd plotted (on the map) where the thing was. It seemed to be near a corner along a rather obscure country lane. I did think it was rather far from the village sign on which it was based, but sometimes these things are a little way away from where you might expect them to be. I'd used Google Street View to find somewhere to park. I was surprised that the nearest lay-by was a couple of hundred yards from where I wanted to be, but I'd checked my calculations, and they were right (!
I was soon parked up, and with my wellies on it wasn't long before I was stomping about in the undergrowth. I found a likely-looking holly bush, and with the clue "hanging about" I was looking for something tied to a branch of that holly bush. I couldn't find anything. I widened my search, re-checked my sums, went back to that holly bush, rummaged... all to no avail. Perhaps the thing had fallen off? I rummaged in the leaf litter. I checked my sums again. I carried on rummaging. 
After about half an hour I re-checked my sums (for what must have been the twentieth time) and found I'd made a slight error. I had a "2" where a "1" should have been. A small error, but in the fourth place of a set of longitudes, that's the best part of a kilometre. Allowing for driving round twisty country lanes, I was over a mile away from where I should have been.
I went for a drive of about a mile, and when I was where I was supposed to be I saw the cache from ten yards away.
Oh how I laughed.

I did have all sorts of plans for the morning, but having wasted so long round the wrong holly bush I went straight to work. I had a rather good bit of broccoli cheese, then got on with the late shift. It was surprisingly busy…