31 May 2010 (Monday) - Bank Holiday

For those of my loyal readers who were wondering about “My Boy TM ” and his antics on the high seas yesterday, never fear – he is well. The lifeboat arrived to rescue him at 9.05pm last night, and deposited him and the crew of HMS “Pride of Beaver Road” on Whitstable beach shortly afterwards.

The fact that their cars were some ten miles away in Faversham is probably best seen as a piddling detail, bearing in mind that HMS “Pride of Beaver Road” is still floating at anchor some two miles off of Whitstable. One wonders how the vessel’s captain will retrieve the ship, or even if he intends to.

Ahab” and “Sinbad” have made their way on to the BBC news, and on to the RNLI website, both of which have made me smile. I realise I shouldn’t take the mickey quite so much…

I had plans for this morning - to finish off making good the ceiling which was damaged by the leak. To put the top box back onto my car. To spend some time pootling round the garden. In the end I wasted the morning in NeverWinter.

The plan for the day was to visit the in-laws who were doing a boot fair in Icklesham. I quite enjoy looking at all the tat which is touted in boot fairs. For no adequately explored reason I felt the urge to buy something with maritime connotations – a life jacket perhaps? But leaving later than planned, together with serious traffic hold-ups in Rye meant we arrived just as everyone was packing up. Which was a shame. In the end I bought a hip flask fro a quid, and together with the relatives we went to the New Inn in Winchelsea for dinner. I’ve been there before – June 2007, to be specific. Back then I felt this pub was OK, but only OK. The place has gone up in my estimation. But only a bit. It’s a clean and tidy enough pub with reasonable food at a reasonable price. But the garden is spoiled by the licensee’s children and their friends - you get the distinct vibe that you are intruding on their play area.

With only two ales on the hand pump (Greene King IPA & Abbott) the ale selection isn't up to that of many other local pubs. (Only five minutes drive away is a pub with nine ales). The New Inn is a good enough pub. In some parts of the world it would be top banana. But in this part of Sussex it's up against some pretty stiff competition.

Together with my niece I ran riot in the beer garden, ripping holes in my new T-shirt and eventually scaring off the resident gang of kiddies who had been treating the place as their own private domain. As they left they gave me the pub’s cat, telling me that they’d had enough of said cat, that it was rubbish and that I could have it. The cat didn’t seem too bothered at being given away, and the daft animal was purring as I carried it around like a baby.

In-laws had to leave after dinner – boot fair tat doesn’t put itself back into the garage, you know. We then came home the scenic route along the coast. I had this plan to call in at the visitor centre at Dungeness lifeboat station to buy a souvenir. We missed their closing by ten minutes, and so contented ourselves with a tacky sailor ornament from Dymchurch tat shop.

I hope he’ll appreciate it. I somehow think he won’t.

30 May 2010 (Sunday) - Lazy Sunday

A rather disturbed night – my guts were somewhat unsettled (can’t think why), and my beloved was in full “warthog snorting” mode for most of the night.

A while ago I bought a belt on eBay. Naively I thought a belt billed as “size 42 inches” would fit a forty two inch waist. I was wrong. A belt billed as “size 42 inches” is actually forty two inches long, and so doesn’t come close to what I need. Bearing in mind the overlap one needs when wearing a belt, I should have ordered a forty eight inch belt. However the belt itself was good enough, and I’ve given it as a gift to “My Boy TM ”, who seems to appreciate it, and I consoled myself with leaving a neutral comment on the eBay feedback.

I spent a little while this morning in an interesting email correspondence. It always amazes me that eBay sellers who flatly refuse to answer emails suddenly are all over you when you post them neutral or negative feedback. The people who supplied the belt have offered me a refund if I agree to withdraw the neutral feedback I’ve given them. Which to me sums up the fallacy of the entire eBay feedback system. I’ve also got a DVD ordered on eBay which hasn’t arrived. Perhaps I might do the bad feedback on them to prompt a response.

Whilst I mucked around in NeverWinter “My Boy TM ” was preparing for a day’s fishing. His mate has swapped his car for a boat, and was intending to go for its maiden voyage today. Currently moored in Faversham creek, this chap’s never sailed it before. I must admit to having had visions of the thing being shipwrecked before the day was out. In the event it would seem I was prophetic.

And then to the seaside for Sunday roast dinner. One of the best dinners I’ve had in a long time – good food and good company. We ate far too much, and then sat down to watch yesterday’s Doctor Who episode whilst dinner settled. Not a bad Doctor Who really, but if they are going to bring back an alien from the bad old days, then I can’t help but feel that the alien should bear at least a passing resemblance to how the baddies used to look.

I then came third in a game of scrabble. I would have done better, had my word “fawny” been allowed. After scrabble we had fruit crumbles and custard, and then our team won in the “Little Britain” DVD game. I then dozed through the end of “Carry on Cruising” and a documentary about Frankie Howerd before we said our goodbyes and came home.

Just as I got home I had a message from two miles off shore. Having been exchanging text messages all afternoon with My Boy TM ”s fishing expedition, it turns out that after an afternoon’s fishing, HMS “Pride of Beaver Road” has suffered a catastrophic engine failure, and even as I type this entry I am reliably informed the lifeboat can be seen speeding to the rescue…

29 May 2010 (Saturday) - Beer & Eurovision

For some time my computer has been finding unknown hardware every time I turned the thing on. This morning, using skill and expertise (ahem!), I managed to update the appropriate driver and cure the problem. From what I could work out, my PC didn’t seem to realise it had a video card. I wonder how it was displaying anything on the VDU – using the mouse as a backup, perhaps?

However, I would still seem to have problems with my SM bus controller (oo—er!). It was disabled and was giving me a code 22, which the internet tells me meant that the thing was disabled. It said on the screen that the thing was disabled too, so I don’t know why it bothered having a code 22 alert as well. Probably to make me waste ten minutes looking up what code 22 meant. The obvious solution was to enable the thing, but when I did that I got a code 28 alert which (after another ten minutes on the internet) I discovered meant that there were no drivers installed. Which again was what it said on the screen. I clicked on the reinstall software button to no avail, and after half an hour I gave up and disabled the thing again. I hope that an SM bus controller isn’t vital to the computer’s function – it doesn’t seem to be (so far!). If any of my loyal readers have a spare SM bus controller they don’t want, I’m your man.

And then on with the business of the day. As the girls set off to Lenham to see an art exhibition, the bloke types set off to the town centre for a fried breakfast before walking to Willesborough for the beer festival. I’d been looking forward to sitting in the sunshine dinking beer for some time. In the event we spent the afternoon huddled under a tarpaulin shivering whilst hiding from the rain, with our faces painted. The nice lady had made such an effort to set up the face painting stall, and for most off the afternoon the only customers she had was fairy princess badger and Bat-Smurf. But once Enger-lund! had a go, so the punters started joining in too.

And I all tried fifteen ales on the beer list, ranging from “Yeah, woof! That’ll do” (for the Nine Gallon Guzzler) to “F*!* dreadful!” (for the Bateman’s G.H.A.), and as the rain slackened off to a medium monsoon, so the band started playing “Here comes the sun”. And seeing how they were making such an effort to make the most of the afternoon, it would have been rude not to encourage them.

And then to Andy & Heather’s to cheer on the UK in the Eurovision song contest. I say “cheer on the UK” – my vote went to Avon (from Blake’s 7) and a Gary Glitter look-alike who were squalling for Albania. After all was sung and done, the UK came last and a rather awful song from Germany won. I’d been scoring the lot, and in my humble (!) opinion the German song only got three points out of a possible thirty.

But a good evening was had by all. Was it really three years since the last time we had a Eurovision party…?

28 May 2010 (Friday) - Sellindge

I was up with the lark as usual, and whilst I sorted the laundry I watched my latest favourite program – “Man v Food”. It’s the video diary of a greedy beggar who is making his way around America, eating the biggest meals he can find along the way. Whist it’s simply pure gannetry, he might give some gannets of my acquaintance a run for their money. I don’t think I could have managed the 72 ounce steak and three pounds of chips he ate in half an hour…

On my way to work I stopped off at Asda for lunch and various other bits of assorted shopping. Or that was the plan. Asda don’t sell Alpen. Why on Earth not? And then I had this plan to take doughnuts in to work. Asda came up with some as a personal favour to me – whilst telling me that they don’t normally do doughnuts before 8.30am. What’s that all about?

After work we popped in to Sellindge where preparations were well in hand for the weekend’s steam rally. I have often said that one year I will actually go to see Sellindge steam rally. But from what I saw being set up this evening, I don’t think I’ll be doing that any time soon. Apart from a few steam powered traction engines, a fun fair and some army trucks, there didn’t seem to be much else going on. And they charge seven quid to get into the event.

Some friends had set up camp there for the weekend to put on some kite displays. It was good to meet up with some old friends. It came up in conversation that Dover kite festival has been cancelled. I’ve amended the blog’s diary dates accordingly. It’s just possible that we might go up to Sumner’s Ponds that weekend instead. But bearing in mind that is the day after Canterbury beer festival, I’ve not making any firm commitment just yet.

27 May 2010 (Thursday) - Another Pond

There is a pond somewhere near Warehorne which for some years has been the purview of a small angling club. However this club has packed up, and Matt and his father in law have a plan to form a syndicate to acquire the rights to fish this pond.

After work, together with “My Boy TM ” and Matt, I set off to investigate it. It’s not big, and isn’t home to any leviathans; I can’t see the great hunter that is the first fruit of my loin getting involved in this venture. But having had a look-see, I’m up for it. Whilst I don’t fish as often as I might, this pond’s only a few minutes away, and I might go there on the odd evening over the summer. And it might be fun tidying up some of the overgrown swims on the pond as well.

Talking of ponds, I’m glad to report that the Koi would seem to have regained their appetites. However their pond’s water level has dropped a tad. I shall top that up at the weekend. I blame evaporation. Thank the lord I don’t have to contend with elephants.

And in closing, the beer list is up for the weekend’s festival. If any of my loyal readers would like to treat me to a pint, drop me a line to find out when I shall be there.

26 May 2010 (Wednesday) - Filling the Hole

Whilst driving home there was an article on the radio about being left handed. People who know me know that there are certain things that wind me up, and in the past I was once very intolerant of those who favoured the Devil’s hand, until the most recent fruit of my loin turned out to be a leftie….

The article was fascinating. Historical research has shown that about a hundred years ago only some two per cent of the population was left handed, and that estimate allows for the fact that in days gone by, children would have their left hands tied behind their backs to force them to use their right hands. Today about ten to fifteen per cent of the population is left handed. The radio commentator was of the opinion that if left handedness was as prevalent a century ago as it is today, society would have been more tolerant of Southpaws. However they had no idea as to why being left handed is on the increase. Interestingly cack handers are generally more intelligent that right handers, and it would seem, end up being better paid too.

So in years to come “Daddies Little Angel TM ” will have no excuse for not financing her old dad…..

Yesterday I mentioned that my hole-filling motivation was lacking. Today I forced myself to make a start. The hole is probably too big for decorative filler, but if I do it with small amounts and leave them to dry, it will either work or it won’t. I can always pack the hole out with newspaper if need be – after all, what is a job if not a bodge job?

I’ve realised that I shall need some more Artex too. Or any kind of textured ceiling cover, come to that. So another trip to B&Q is on the cards. I’ll go during the week – I can’t face a trip there at the weekend again.

I fed the fish this evening. Or that is I went up to the pond to feed them. Usually they swarm at the sight of me, and come up and feed from my hand. Today they glanced at me with disinterest, and weren’t hungry at all. Either they are sickening for something (let’s hope not), or an offspring has already fed them. I shall ask.

And so, with a heavy heart, to arky-ologee club. The talk tonight promised to be interesting: a talk on Roman Turkey and Ephesus, but bearing in mind previous disappointments I went expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. After all, last month’s talk (“Victoria’s Uncles”) might not have sounded that riveting, but was really good. Interesting, and loads of scandal about disgraced Royalty too!

Tonight’s meeting started as well as might be expected. An entertaining ten minutes was spent watching a slide projector being precariously balanced on a chair on a table, only to find that no one could see the slides because of the chair and table being in the way. Some announcements were made concerning the club’s future plans (including a dig by Mossop), and it was announced that Avis had recently had a result. Thankfully details of said result were not given. The evening’s talk was better than expected – holiday snaps from a trip to the Bay of Figs made some thirteen years ago. I must admit to a wry smile as (once again) the bachelors of the club sniffed around the (relatively) fit new bird.

But it’s easy to chuck rocks at the arky-ologee club. Actually doing something for the club is harder. So I’ve volunteered to give a talk at a club meeting next year. After all, in the past I’ve lectured on such diverse topics as malaria, reptile husbandry, the planets Mars, Venus Uranus and Neptune, thalassaemia, and the Drake equation. It can’t be that difficult to rustle up something of historical interest, can it…?

25 May 2010 (Tuesday) - Rather Dull

I now have the filler, but I lack the motivation to use it to fill the hole in the ceiling. Oh well - the hole has been there for some time, and isn’t going anywhere in a hurry. It will be there waiting to be filled when my motivation returns. I also need to find motivation for another tip run. Various garden projects have left me with a collection of timber fragments which I really need to take to the tip. Sometime over the next week or so I shall be needing to put the top box onto the car, and once that’s on, it stays in place till September. And with the box in place, I can’t get under the barrier at the tip. So I need to do the tip run this week, or it ain’t going to happen.

Having knocked Twitter on the head yesterday, I thought I’d see if I could get free Facebook on my mobile. In fact I thought I had it already. Eventually I managed to log onto the 3 website (which was easier said than done). Like most websites these days the thing was big on style and appearance, and rather lacking in information. So I phoned the mobile phone people. Kamal praised and thanked me for managing to phone him up (!), and eventually told me that if I wanted to access the internet from my phone, I could pay for it. I thought I was doing so already. My mistake. Oh well, I never really wanted to get on line with my phone anyway.

Some days are eventful, others rather dull...

24 May 2010 (Monday) - Stuff

A late start today, so I had planned a bit of a lie in. I thought I deserved it after the weekend, but I was up and fixing the hole in the bedroom ceiling before 7.30am. Regular readers of this drivel may recall my leak. The outside damage was fixed a month or so ago, and the inside bit has dried nicely, so I thought I might pull off all the dried flaky stuff, rub down, fill the hole and then paint over. However there was a minor hiccup. Having made three journeys to D.I.Y. shops yesterday, I totally forgot to get any filler. Still, I got the dried flaky stuff off and rubbed down, so I’ve made a start.

I then Hoovered up my mess. I say “Hoovered up” – I switched on the Hoover and listened to it make Hoover noises, and watched it utterly fail to suck up anything at all. So I took it to the back garden for a little bit of maintenance. For some utterly inexplicable reason, all of its innards were bunged up with straw, small turds and assorted guinea pig detritus. It sucks now, which is probably for the best.

There are those who would think it somewhat keen to be cracking on with D.I.Y. projects before brekky. I suppose that following an especially hectic weekend, I’m still “all circuits go”.

I make a point of trying to have busy weekends – there’s nothing I detest more than having wasted a day doing nothing. But this weekend seemed particularly busy. And it could have been even busier. I never did get down to Peacehaven which was possibly on the cards. Or get to the camping session to which I’d been invited either.

On Friday I received the dates when the Kite Weekenders are having informal camping sessions in West Sussex. Regular readers may remember that I went to visit the camp one Saturday last September, and was really impressed with it. But of the five weekend dates I was given, I’ve got plans for all but one of them.

I’ve updated the diary dates on the blog. And I think I need to add some more. In the past, cycle rides, walks, outings have all “sort-of-just-happened”, but I’ve half a plan to schedule some – particularly some more adventurous walks or rides, or trips to the better local pubs. If any of my loyal readers might like to let me know their availability over the summer, I’ll start making plans for the weekends that are still free.

And in closing, if any of my loyal readers have started following my Twitter stream, you’re in for a disappointment. My mobile phone statement arrived. Every “Tweet” I sent to Twitter from my phone costs me eight and a half pence. Having tweeted fourteen times from my mobile, I am now £1.19 down the Suwannee. I think I shall knock that game on the head.

23 May 2010 (Sunday) - The Bike Locker

Our neighbours on one side have dogs; on the other side they have a piano. Today was the first Sunday in ages that the dogs weren’t screaming from the crack of dawn onwards. However the piano was going from 8am to compensate. Oh well – I won’t complain about either noise. It strikes me that with all the racket generated on either side, I can make as much din as I like and no one can really complain. After all, I wouldn’t want to live next door to me.

A few days ago I blogged about how crowded and cluttered the shed has become, and mentioned about how I might build a bike locker this weekend. It would be easy enough; just build a great big wooden box to stick bikes in. Simples!!

If only it were that simple. There was a space between the shed and the bathroom which would be ideal for a bike locker. But at the front of the shed the space is thirty seven inches across. At the back it’s forty two inches. Building a crooked box seemed a bit tricky, so I had this plan to attach battens to the wall about six inches above handlebar height, and put a roof on the battens. The bikes could then sit under said roof.

How easy it is to type these words. First of all I had to fight my way round B&Q to get my first load of ingredients. B&Q was particularly problematical today. It seemed to be “bring your problem children to B&Q day”. There was an endless sea of misbehaving brats running wild, with parents utterly failing to instil any control whatsoever. One chap, obviously close to tears, was attempting to stop his brat ramming a display with a trolley by bribing him with promises of McDonalds. The brat wasn’t interested, and was intent on wreaking destruction. Personally I can’t help but feel that a slapped arse goes a long way, but what do I know?

Home with the battens, and in a novel break with tradition I dug out the spirit level to help get the battens in place. There was a dodgy five minutes when the drill bit broke, leaving half of itself embedded in the bathroom wall, but I’m hoping I’ve got away with it. Time will tell – it always does. It was during the drilling that “My Boy TM ” appeared on the scene, and it was just as well he did - I was at the point where I needed his assistance. We scrounged a lift back to B&Q and after a quick sausage baguette we got the wood for the roof for our bike locker. I’d seem the bits of wood on my first visit and decided I’d need help. The flat lumps of wood came in two sizes – matchbox or football pitch. I thought that we might get a larger lump of wood and cut it to shape. But first I would need help getting the thing home. We carried it between us. Again, how easy it is to type those words. The two of us staggered home from B&Q with a lump of wood eight feet long, four feet wide and weighing several tons.

Having got it home there was a problematical ten minutes whilst we wrestled the thing through the house and into the garden. By now it was mid day and we decided that we’d do more shopping at this point to avoid working in the hottest part of the day. We’d had this plan that we might felt the roof we were building, but B&Q didn’t have any tacks, and we thought their roofing felt was expensive. So we drove over to Wickes where the same amount of felt cost twelve quid (as opposed to twenty eight quid).

By now we were on the final stage of the project. Cut the wood into shape, felt the thing and all would be done. I must admit to a wry smile at this point. On this blog there is a link to other blogs. Over on the “Ursus Volans Parachute Company” Guy is converting a VW Crafter LWB panel van into a Motorcaravan. He’s been at it for a couple of months, and I’m really enjoying keeping up with what he does. An excellent conversion job, with painstaking attention to detail. And then there was us two with our bike locker, sawing away with rusty saws using a rickety picnic table for a saw-horse, pausing only to apply plasters to various injured extremities, with “rustic charm” as our watchword.

We soon realised that the roof was too heavy, and having got the thing sawed into shape, we then chopped it in half. It will be easier in future to deal with two smaller bits than one heavy bit. And we even managed do bodge a door out of the off-cuts. Admittedly the door is a bodge, and I’m not sure how long it will last. But what would have cost over one hundred and twenty quid if bought from the shop cost us less that fifty quid when we made our own. We can only get three of the four bikes into it, but you can’t have everything.

And then, with the bike locker completed, “My Boy TM ” set off. Places to be, people to see. I mowed the lawn, did some pruning and cleaned out the drains. I now stink, but that’s nothing new…

22 May 2010 (Saturday) - Bethersden

With no reason to be up early, I was still up and about by 8am this morning. If I stay in bed too long I get backache. God’s way of punishing sloth, perhaps?

I spent a few minutes over breakfast going over the financial transactions of buying my new car, and was glad that I did. There’s so much fiddling about with road tax, insurance, MOTs, registered keeping and stuff that it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on. And if all seems well with this myriad of paperwork, it’s very tempting to leave it all alone and to let sleeping dogs lie. I’m glad I didn’t. I thought that I overpaid on the loan on my old car, and it would seem that I had, and I’ve not been refunded for that. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing I was assured the money would be refunded by the end of the week. I shall chase them if it isn’t.

But I’m left wondering if this isn’t a profitable little sideline? – I doubt if many people are completely on the ball with all of the administrative details that goes with selling and buying a new car. I’ve found two refunds to which I was entitled, both of which I’ve had to chase up. I wonder how many people don’t realise they might be entitled to money they don’t know they are owed?

And then the tribes gathered, and six of us got on our bikes and set off via the back roads to Bethersden. There was considerably less “up” than on last week’s trip to Pluckley, and the journey out was relatively uneventful – we only scared two normal people. Bless them – two young ladies weren’t expecting anyone else to be using the back lanes, and were busy doing their singing and dancing routine, and didn’t hear us cycling up behind them. They did scream when they saw us, and screamed even more when we joined in with the dancing.

What was supposed to be an hour’s cycle ride only took forty five minutes, and very soon we were in Bethersden. We’ve walked and cycled past the George before but never called in; always being en route to somewhere else. Bearing in mind this pub is at the top of a large slope we thought we’d stop our journey here today before we got onto this hill. The whizz down the hill is fun, but it is a serious slog to get back up.

Whilst sitting in the beer garden we exchanged pleasantries with some people who’d walked to the pub from Ashford, and were on their way walking to Biddenden. That’s some hike!!

With four ales on the hand pump and the best steak and kidney pudding I’ve had in a long time, The George is somewhere we shall certainly be coming back to.

After a serious bit of dinner we looked at our bikes and decided that we didn’t fancy cycling. But we’d seen the bus go past ten minutes earlier, so there wasn’t much option but to cycle home. We came back via the route that Batty suggested – whilst it looked slightly longer on the map, the roads were much quieter, less hilly and five minutes faster. We stopped off at the Hooden Horse in Great Chart for a pint of DoomBar, as it would have been rude not to, and then home.

Whilst girls went off doing whatever it is that girls do, the blokes found an ice cream van, got some cakes and mooched to the tattoo studio to kill the time waiting for girlie types. And when girlie types found us in the tattoo studio we went home and spent time in the garden drinking tea and coffee and eating cake.

I like our weekend days out on the bikes….

21 May 2010 (Friday) - On The Beach

Again I was up with the lark and was watching “On The Buses” at silly a.m whilst doing the ironing. A few days ago I got a text message from “Daddies Little Angel TM ” telling me that “the printer has kicked the can”, so I went to Tesco’s to get a new ink cartridge. Or that was the plan – they didn’t have one for my printer. Staples did – they never let me down.

As it was a nice evening, ‘er indoors TM suggested we went to the beach for a walk. We tried our usual haunt of Dymchurch, but were disappointed. The council is in the throes of building sea defences which have made the beach non-existent at high tide – the sea came right up to the new sea wall.

So we went to Greatstone, and suitably armed with a portion of sausage and chips each, we walked to the beach. There were a gang of girls playing some sort of ball game, and we watched them whilst we scoffed our chips. Then we walked down to the water and paddled whilst watching the antics of some student photographers. One was brandishing a camera, the fit one wasn’t wearing much, but was pulling all sorts of stupid poses in varying depths of sea water, and two others were wielding reflective surfaces in order to increase the amount of light falling on the fit one.

I kept an eye on their antics for ten minutes, purely on the off-chance that the fit one might “flop them out”, but when it became apparent that “they” were staying within the confines of her blouse, we walked off through the waves down the beach. An entertaining half an hour was spent watching the cockles. As the tide went out and the sand on which the cockles were sitting started to dry, so the cockles would bury themselves.

I say “entertaining half hour” – the novelty had worn off within two minutes, but I am given to understand that there will be videos of cockles on the Internet before too much longer….

20 May 2010 (Thursday) - Bike Lockers

This morning I woke up and I ached so much. I wonder what that was all about. But I still got eight shirts ironed whilst watching “On The Buses” at silly a.m. They don’t make telly programs like that any more. Thank God!!

Yesterday I mentioned that I could do with a bike locker, so after work I went to B&Q. When they were based up the road from me, B&Q was (in my mind) synonymous with “useless”, but since they changed premises a few years back, they’ve been so much better. Until tonight.

Earlier in the year they had wooden bike lockers – exactly the sort of thing I’ve got in mind. But I couldn’t find any. So I asked the strange looking assistant, who told me she was busy with the plants. I asked if I should wait, which confused her. She muttered something about looking in the catalogue. I turned to a nearby catalogue chained to a stand. She snarled at me that I was looking at the lawnmower catalogue and stomped off towards a nearby computer. Not knowing what else to do, I followed her. She rummaged in the cupboard under the computer and found a dog-eared catalogue which she thrust into my hands, then snatched back and looked up bike lockers herself. Finding the one I wanted, she called it up on the computer. From the computer screen it looked to me like they had twenty three of the things in stock. However she announced they didn’t have any. She claimed there’d been a fire, they’d lost a lot of their wooden products, and hadn’t got round to updating the computer.

I thought I’d give Halfords a go. I wasn’t hopeful, but you never know – they might have had something. However when I got to they bike section there was a weird looking freak having a conversation with an inner tube, so I gave up and went home.

On reflection, there’s a space between the shed and the bathroom window where I could build my own bike locker. I might just have a measure up and see if I can’t make something myself this weekend.

And so home, to find the fish poo filter was bunged up again. Those Koi don’t half generate a lot of turds. I suppose the down side of having a clear pond is having very regular filter maintenance. It’s an easy job, and you soon get used to the smell of fish poo.

On Monday I mentioned that I’d chased the garage for the refund for the service contract. They had told me there would be a forty quid administration fee. But my calculation shows they only charged twenty seven quid. I shall spend the saving in the pub later….

19 May 2010 (Wednesday) - In The Shed

After a rather grim day at work I came home to mow the lawn. And then wrestled with the contents of the shed trying to put the lawnmower away.

I wondered if space would be an issue when we got the shed. But I was assured it wouldn’t be a problem as “My Boy TM ” was going to be getting a smaller shed for his fishing gear. Oh so he said, all those years ago. The current shed arrived on April 4, 2008 and his fishing gear has been “temporarily residing” in it ever since. Despite having no expenses other than beer, he never has any money to buy himself a smaller shed.

Tonight I’d had enough, and stripped out all the tat that littered the shed in an effort to get some space back. How many fishing bivvies can anyone use? I found three. And despite a huge rod bag there were several loose fishing rods: some of them mine, some I think might be mine - I don’t know (!) And then I found the “hench beast”. I mentioned about the “hench beast” in a blog entry in June 2008. It's a metal thing which “My Boy TM had plans to screw on his car somewhere and it would make a noise. Or so he claimed. Two years later it’s still in the shed.

I also found a push-along lawn mower. If any of my loyal readers want a push-along lawn mower, do let me know, or it will be going up the tip shortly. And in the meantime perhaps I might spend some time looking for a bike locker so’s I can get the bikes out of the shed…

18 May 2010 (Tuesday) - Stuff

Last Friday I mentioned I bought new work trousers. Yesterday evening I found another pair of new work trousers that I must have bought at some point and forgotten about. Oh well – I shall keep them in reserve until I burst out of the new pair.

I phoned Kent County Council’s highways department to have a whinge about the lack of gully cleaning. On three separate occasions over the last month the council has banned parking up our road so’s they can do gully cleaning, and then not actually cleaned the gullies. I’m not bothered about the gullies, but it’s a pain having to park three streets away only to find they’d wasted my time (again). When I phoned them this morning there was an automated reminder that they might record the phone call for “quality and training purposes”. I hope they did.

First off I spoke to Adrian who didn’t have a clue. He asked me if gully cleaning was something that the council did. And then he put me on hold to find out what gully cleaning was. He then transferred me to Betty who also put me on hold for ages. She eventually came back to say that she’d spoken with Janice who was trying to find the paperwork, and when they found it she would phone me back. I asked when that might be. She had no idea. Paperwork would seem to be elusive stuff.

Over on Facebook I read something which made me chuckle. Two Facebook-ers are complaining about someone who they’ve added to their Facebook friends list because of a presumed mutual interest in kiting. However it seems that having added this person, they’ve found he doesn’t fly kites, and they have no idea who that person is. And now they are suspecting he’s a Russian gangster or worse.

I find it rather ironic because both of the people involved in the whinge both added me to their friends list because they saw I had friends on Facebook who flew kites. Even though neither of them have ever met me, or have any idea who I am.

In the meantime do the names “Gareth James” or “Allen Taylor” ring any bells with my loyal readers? I’ve Facebook requests from both, and I don’t think I know either of them.

17 May 2010 (Monday) - Bit Dull, Really

I think something’s gone awry with the blog software. According to my Blogger dashboard (some high-tech thingie I use behind the scenes), yesterday saw my three hundred and sixty fifth blog entry. However bearing in mind that I started blogging here at the beginning of June last year, I wasn’t expecting that landmark until the end of May. Odd!

I see I might have been wrong about the new government. They’ve announced there is to be no redundancies in the NHS. I had a sneaking suspicion I was up for the push.

They have also announced that they aren’t going to go along the ludicrous route of performance related pay in which staff run themselves ragged to finance their manager’s bonuses. Now I’m assured that savings won’t go in managers’ pockets, I shall be more inclined to make some.

Still, it’s not quite the second week of the new governmental alliance yet. Let’s see how things progress; it’s still early days.

Being on a late start I then spent a little time working on my CPD project. In order to stay State Registered, I legally have to do a certain amount of educational and training activities in my own time and at my own expense (it sucks!). So I’m completely revising and revamping a training website I devised a year or two ago. If nothing else, it’s something to do when I’m bored.

On April 26 I blogged about cashing in the service plan on the old car, and I said how difficult getting the money back was proving to be. It’s not gotten any easier in the last three weeks. Alex at the finance company said it’s up to the garage to reimburse me. Sue at the garage said it’s nothing to do with them. Neither seemed as though they could care less. After all it’s not their money.

Eventually the finance company admitted they’d refunded the money to the garage. Which seemed odd as the garage insisted that the policy was between me and the finance company.

But after some more to-ing and fro-ing the garage said they’d post me a cheque. Let’s hope so – it might just cover my phone bill for this morning’s argy-bargy.

Twitter update: I’ve tweeted three more times today. I think it fair to say the novelty is fast wearing off…