30 March 2012 (Friday) - Another Birthday

Have I ever mentioned that I dabble in oils? I've been watching Bob Ross on telly for years, and about ten years ago a colleague told me about art classes in the Bob Ross style. The first Bob Ross style painting I ever did was of some trees in a field with a footpath and some mountains in the background. That painting still hangs in my mother's hallway. It's not particularly good; at the time I thought I could do better and since then (without wishing to sound conceited) I have. Since then I've painted all sorts of scenes and landscapes; but I still like the simple concept of that first painting, and from time to time I've gone back to it and tried to do it again.
Today I returned to the theme for the fourth time. I quite like the red sky and the mountain - a mountain without snow isn't something I've tried before. The trees are OK - for all that I tried to keep them simple, they could be better. And the painting has a fence in it. Just lately I seem to like fences in my paintings.
I'm quite pleased with the finished result. And (like all the paintings I do) it's available to buy....

Whilst I was painting my mobile rang: one of the employment agencies had a vacancy that might interest me. We chatted - the vacancy did interest me, and my C.V. has been forwarded to the employer. Will anything come of this? Here's hoping.
And then a C.V. company phoned. Unlike the last lot, this lot had no advice to offer; they were just trying to extort money from me. They failed.

Painting was all done by mid day. I watched a film, and dozed in front of the telly until the first fruit of my loin (and his entourage) came to visit. They weren't here long, and when they went they asked if I wanted to go with them - apparently I looked bored. I must admit I was rather bored. I've nowhere to hang another painting and I'd done all the on-line surveys that were available. I would have gone with them, but the Rear Admiral was on the way.

He arrived, and after I boiled up some scran we collected Stevey and set off to the astro club. Tonight marked the club's fifth birthday. From a shaky start, the astro club has really come on in leaps and bounds. Tonight's talk was about the Moon landings, and was really good. We had cake with tea, and then we had a really good telescope session: I got to see Mars, Venus and Saturn. And I've decided that I really should get my telescope out more often...

29 March 2012 (Thursday) - A Birthday

Despite being on holiday, I was up rather earlier than I would have liked today: it was the car’s MOT & service, and so I had the car round to D & D autos and I was back home and playing “Angry Birds” before 8.15am. I wasted a few minutes with “Angry Birds” before setting out again: this time to the dentist. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that a few weeks ago I gave up half a day’s leave to go to the dentist because I chipped a tooth. At the time the dentist seemed rather disinterested, and said there was no cause for concern. Today he took loads of photographs of the damaged fang, and told me I needed to make appointments to get the fang fixed. Why couldn’t he have done that a few weeks ago?
Mind you, the nice dentist did remark on how svelte I’m looking. I got on the scales this morning and saw I’d lost another pound.

Back home, where I carried on working on my colleague’s web site; and then gave Badger Original Landscapes an overhaul. Don’t forget, loyal readers, that your friends and loved ones would far prefer to have a painting than chocolate this Easter (!) And then I had a go at the monthly accounts. They could be a lot better, but there’s no denying that they could be an awful lot worse.

I then spent a little while fiddling with the “Dates for the Diary” section of this blog. After a few minutes I found out how to export my Facebook events into my Google Calendar. That should make it much easier to keep the “Dates for the Diary” section up to date. Whilst I was at it, I created two more events for the next few weeks. In April we’ll have a walk round Aldington, and in May we’ll go back to Appledore and Stone in Oxney. I toyed with the idea of setting more dates. After all there’s a walk round Pluckley and a walk round Chilham to be done. To say nothing of walking round Teston and even returning to Capel. But it’s still only March. All sorts of things might get planned in the meantime.

My phone rang - my car was ready for collection. Would I like them to send a courtesy driver to collect me? Yes please. The driver was with me very quickly, and four hundred pounds later I had my car back. Four hundred pounds!!! I didn't cry, but it was close.

And then to Folkestone to celebrate a birthday. Chinese for scoff, and then an evening exchanging insults. And in a novel break with tradition the birthday boy gave me a pressie - a binatone tablet PC. ANd then whilst girlie-types gossiped, the blokes fiddled with tablet PCs. Because we could....

28 March 2011 (Wednesday) - More Stuff

After a spot of brekkie I went off to see a counsellor. Bearing in mind all the unpleasantness of the last year, my new boss felt that seeing a counsellor might help me. Not wishing to appear negative I thought I'd give it a go.
We met in a darkened room (which I didn't like), and she asked me what had prompted me to seek counselling. I told it like it was. We chatted for a bit; and the counsellor felt that I might benefit from writing down what had happened, and my feelings about the matter. So here we go.

Perhaps I should give this counselling a chance. Perhaps I'm not the kind of guy who blathers platitudes. But I do need to stop wallowing in self-pity. To be fair to myself I'm doing it less and less with time. I expect I shall get over it.

And then to Tesco. Over the last few weeks I've been doing on-line surveys and my Tesco vouchers (as a thank-you) arrived. So I went to get some trousers that actually fitted. Tesco's didn't have much choice - they now seem to be  geared up to shorts rather than trousers, but I got a pair. The last set of trousers I bought was a forty-four inch waist; today's was a thirty-eight. Which is a positive thing I suppose. I shall tell the counsellor lady about it next time (!)

The sun was shining, so I bombarded Bond Road with catalogues. And so home -  "Daddies Little Angel TM" was home with Sid. She was tidying the kitchen; which was another thing I should be grateful for. And as she carried on tidying, I got my painting stuff out. Not oils and canvases this time: fences. The front garden fence needed doing. Over the years I think that rain water has got into the fence paint: it did seem to be rather runny. But I got the fence done. And then I got the bikes out from under the tarpaulin I'd bodged over them and pumped up their tyres in readiness for next week's inaugural cycle ride.

The phone rang. Someone with  the thickest Indian accent you ever did hear (claiming to be called Michael) was ringing to sort out my PPI claim. That was nice. It was about the loan I'd taken out in 2003, but for security purposes could I tell him who I'd had the loan with. Bearing in mind that this was an unsolicited cold caller and I had not taken out any such loan, I called his bluff. I told him that if he was truly working on my behalf he'd know who my loan was with, and he could tell me. Michael was quite adamant that I had to tell him, and he actually kept talking over me every time I asked him who this loan was with. In the end I shouted at him. I told him to actually close his mouth and listen. He shut up. I told him that if his company wasn't a bunch of con men he would tell me who this supposed loan was with. And failure on his part to tell me that information was an admission on his part that he was a con man. That foxed him. He still refused to tell me what company he thought I'd taken a loan from. He did give me three possibilities, and would I choose from one of them. Needless to say I'd not had a loan from any of the companies he listed. Therefore this bloke was a con man; and he was in the embarrassing position of being unable to deny the fact.

I spent the rest of the afternoon designing a website for a colleague. I wonder if there might be any mileage in "Badger Web Designs"? And then, being the last Wednesday of the month it was arky-ologee club. Tonight was billed as members talks. We started off with the club's youngest member talking about William Shakespeare. Young Anthony is over thirty years younger than the club's second-youngest member, and he gave a really good talk. Wayne then spoke about the bronze age horde he found a few months ago, and the evening was wound up with a talk about the pubs of Ashford; illustrated with bottles and flagons from the local inns and hostelries from two centuries ago.
That's two consecutive meetings of the arky-ologee club taht have been worth going to.

March 27 2011 (Tuesday) - Chilham

Another good night's sleep, which was a good start to a mini-holiday. I have the last of my annual leave to use up. In retrospect, given the choice I wouldn't have worked last weekend and I wouldn't have worked yesterday. But I wasn't given the choice.
It was a shame that having forgotten to set her alarm for the last two working days, "er indoors TM" forgot to turn the thing off for this morning, but despite being on holiday I had to be up promptly this morning. One of the employment agencies wanted to have a Skpye-interview with me this morning. Oddly enough it's years since I last used Skype: not only did I have to install all of the software again, I'd forgotten all my account details and had to set up a new one. And so I found myself sitting on the sofa in shirt, tie and pyjama bottoms at 9.30am waiting for a call. It's years since I last had a Skype call - I was wondering exactly what was going to happen.
Perhaps I should have had a practice call with someone beforehand. I must admit to feeling rather unprepared for the skype-interview. Normally I over-prepare for this sort of thing. But this agency only contacted me half way through Friday, and had suggested some major re-writes to my C.V. By the time I'd done two night shifts and my usual busy weekend, I didn't have much time left for re-writing C.V.s. I spoke with them yesterday morning, and it was then they mentioned about Skyping. Perhaps I shouldn't have played "Angry Birds" yesterday before going to work.
For some reason the agency phoned me on my mobile this morning to see if I was ready for Skype, and the actual call started five minutes later than planned. We chatted for quarter of an hour; the interview seemed to go well. Mind you they always do. It's how well everyone else's interview went that counts.

We then had a minor disaster: as "er indoors TM"  was pegging out the washing, so the washing line snapped. Over the winter the rope has become so brittle I can snap it with my bare hands. Really easily. Fortunately there was some rope left in the shed: hopefully that will last the summer. I know I'm getting really mean in this new world order of austerity, but every little helps. And following on from yesterday I played "Angry Birds" for an hour whilst waiting for "er indoors TM" to get a shift on.

And then on with the business of the day. To Chilham for a walk. We followed footpaths and bridleways and the south stour walk through some beautiful countryside. It was a lovely day to be out and about, and we had a really good picnic in the sunshine. After an hour and a half we had made our way down to Godmersham where I was amazed to find the community hall had been demolished. Bearing in mind that I drive past the place every day, it can only show how observant I am. And then we made our way (in a circular route) back to where we'd parked the car. In total we walked for three hours. And now we know the way, this would make a good walk to do mob-handed over the summer.

Back home, where "My Boy TM" was in residence. I asked if he was busy. He wasn't. I asked if he fancied finishing off the tattoo he started on my leg on March 2nd 2011. He said he did, and he did. And I realised why I'd waited a year to have the tattoo finished. Oh, having tattoos hurts. I like the finished product; I really don't like having them done.

And then, being Tuesday, the clans gathered. Round to Matt's where we admired his progress with his railway, and then watched an episode of "Being Human". It just keeps on getting better...

26 March 2012 (Monday) - Stuff

Regular readers of this drivel must get fed up with reading about my nocturnal habits. But last night was a novel break with tradition. I went to bed about 11pm, and slept for eight hours. Eight whole hours: it must be years since that last happened. In retrospect I suppose that only having had less than eight hours sleep from Thursday evening to Sunday evening must have had some bearing on the subject. Being on a late start this morning I lay dozing, and finally emerged from my pit when one of the employment agencies rang me about a possible opening.

Once roused I had brekkie, and then wasted an hour playing “Angry Birds” before setting off to work. I went a rather scenic route this morning. Firstly via the farm shop where the posh people were out in force (and looking down their noses at me!), and then via Dunelm Mill where my piss boiled. I wanted a couple of small canvases for some painting ideas I have. But could I get to the craft section? There were about twenty to thirty people in the shop; all utterly oblivious of the fact that anyone else was trying to shop there. They were all wandering about blindly, all getting in everyone else’s way, blundering into merchandise, displays and each other. What should have taken thirty seconds took me quarter of an hour by the time I’d navigated my way through the swarm. At the till I loudly suggested to the assistant that they should have a sign on the door warning shoppers that other people were in the store; that the store catered to more than one customer at a time. The nice assistant laughed – she knew exactly what I meant.

And so to work. Dull, as always. However the monotony of the day was broken up somewhat by the seagulls. They were attempting to do unspeakable acts to each other (the beasts!), using the department’s windows in order to get some purchase. I’m told that this is the time of the year for unspeakable acts; and it’s only natural. I can’t condone such immorality. Personally I feel that if I don’t take a moral stance, who will? Certainly not the seagulls.

And after a dull afternoon, and an especially dull evening I came home. With "er indoors TM" out bowling I had run of the house, and do over tea I watched a film. "Essex Boys" is good viewing, and as an added bonus River Soong from Doctor Who flopped out her jubblies. You can only have so much of a moral stance....

25 March 2012 (Sunday) - Folkestone Warren

Went to work last night, did the night shift. It wasn't exciting. Mind you I did regular night shifts for twenty years and they never were exciting. Best described then as hours of boredom interspersed by moments of panic, in the intervening years it would seem that nothing has changed. I've always said that I don't mind night work. I don't, but I really have to qualify that statement. I don't mind the actual night work itself, but I hate spending the day before the night shift sulking at the thought of having to do the night shift. It's never anywhere near as bad as I expect it to be; I just resent the fact the I have work to look forward to. I'd rather get up each morning and go straight to work.
Having done my second twelve and a half hour shift this weekend I came home, shaved, was in bed by 9am, but was wide awake, up and raring to go by 11.30am. I was up long before "er indoors TM" this morning, who is fast developing her late Grandmother's nocturnal lifestyle

The clans gathered, and we set off to Folkestone's East Cliff where we looked at the battleship moored just outside Folkstone harbour. I have no idea what a naval ship was doing off of Folkestone. If any of my loyal readers know, please tell me (because I'm nosey like that).
We met up with more of our number and wandered down to the beach and along the warren. It's odd: it can't be more than three years since I went to Folkestone warren for the first time, but I would have to say that it is one of my favourite places to be. We wandered along the coast in the sunshine. There was a minor panic when grand-dog Sid started limping. Close scrutiny of his paw showed he'd trodden on a thorn, and with the thorn pulled out, he was back to his usual self.
I've since been told that we walked about five miles today; I think that's a fair estimate. It was really good to get out and about: I must start doing it a lot more now that spring is here. There's another walk planned for next weekend, and a bike ride in the not too distant future. If any of my loyal readers would like to come along, please drop me a line.

And so home where we quickly zoomed round the roads collecting catalogues before having a very rushed bit of tea - the clocks going forward an hour last night had thrown us somewhat. And with "er indoors TM" off bowling, I slobbed in front of the telly for a bit. There  was a documentary about Sandhurst  (the military academy) which was rather interesting. One of the instructors interviewed described the place as "Hogwarts with guns". And then two episodes of "Outnumbered", and the season finale of "Upstairs Downstairs". I did like that show. I don't know what I shall do on Sunday evenings from now on...

24 March 2012 (Saturday) - Viccy Park

Last night I'd volunteered to do the night shift because of the mayhem that would follow because of the building works that were scheduled to take place at work last night. I suspected the worst as I arrived at the hospital grounds: as I drove in, so the builder's van drove out. I went in to find not a builder in sight. Fortunately the boss had given me other jobs to do overnight as well as generally chipping in where I could. Unfortunately I finished the jobs she'd given me within a couple of hours. I was rather miffed. Having been messed about for the two previous weekends and having trashed my plans for this weekend, there was no way I was going to come home and give up the overtime. So (being an industrious soul) I found some other jobs that needed doing, and kept myself busy all night long.
It was odd: during the evenings at home I am always dropping off. Being at work I stayed awake all night without a problem. And when the day shift came in I gave the shift leader an earful, and instructions to let me know if I would be needed tonight. I would rather not go in if I can avoid it, for all that I need the wonga.
As I walked to my car, so the contractors arrived. I (politely) asked them what they were playing at. They were quite happy and told me that he works were scheduled from 8am this morning to 8am tomorrow morning. Oh well. A night's money is always useful. And as I got home so my mobile rang - it was  the shift leader confirming that I was needed tonight.

I went to bed and slept for about an hour or so, and then lay awake wishing I could sleep more, and got up about mid day. Over a late brekkie I perused Facebook, and then went over the road with the offer of a cup of tea. I'd noticed a bus on the pavement over the road from us. It had clearly broken down, so we wondered if the driver would like a cuppa. He was grateful for the offer, but had been to the corner shop for refreshment already.
We left him awaiting the recovery vehicle, and wandered to the park where we met up with the denizens of Queen Street (what a wonderful street name!). We spent a pleasant afternoon at the park, playing with the kiddies on swings and roundabouts and zip lines. Viccy park is a far better place than people give it credit for, and it was good to see it being used by so many people. It was a glorious day, with the sun shining, daffodils out, and people picnic-ing, playing games, and generally enjoying themselves. I can hardly believe that only six weeks ago we were sledging in that same park.

On the way home we picked up catalogues dropped earlier in the week, and came home to find the broken bus was still where we'd left it. And then I slobbed in front of the telly, sulking about the thought of having to go to work. Over the last few months I've really come to see the Saturday film night as one of the week's highlights, and really resented having to miss the gathering tonight...

23 March 2012 (Friday) - A Lazy Day

A very late start at work today gave me loads of time to fiddle about. I started with the (now seemingly obligatory) hour of applying for jobs which I don't have a hope of getting, and them I mowed he lawn. In the past I've never done anything in the garden before Easter. This is the lawn's second mowing and Easter is still two weeks away.
I then tided up general mess (I knew him when he was a corporal!), and then looked at the bike shelter. With the aid of "My Boy TM" I built a shelter for the bikes a couple of yeas ago. Those years have been hard on the bike shelter - it's collapsed. I've covered the bikes with some tarpaulin, and if any of my loyal readers are feeling particularly good at handicraft, feel free to give me a hand rebuilding the thing.

"My Boy TM" then had a flying visit. He was sniggering about the misfortunes of my grand-dog Fudge. Being a dog of base instincts (and a rather handsome dog too), Fudge had taken out to stud this morning. He seemed quite enthusiastic about the idea, but when push came to shove (to coin a phrase), he couldn't find the right (or any) hole. After half an hour the attempt was abandoned. I did laugh. I doubt Fudge did though.

Over a spot of lunch my phone rang. An employment agency had seen my C.V. and thought I was quite suited to one of the vacancies they had on their books. Did I have any sales experience? I mentioned the commercial ventures outlined above on this very blog, and the nice lady from the agency nearly tiddled her knickers in excitement. And she went on to tell me that I really should include them on my C.V. Which was completely at odds with the formal C.V. advice I received earlier in the week when I was specifically advised *not* to mention "Badger Original Landscapes".
This is the problem with writing a C.V. - what one person feels is good, another hates. But the nice lady has asked me to re-write my C.V. and email it to her for Monday morning. I can do that.

At 2pm I went to bed; hoping to sleep for a few hours. I lay awake. Wide awake. At 3.30pm I gave up and got up again. I expect later when I want t be awake I shall be nodding off. If only we had switches and timers so sleep wasn't such a vague quantity.

And so, at 7pm, to work. Two weeks ago I was offered two nights overtime at the weekend because of the chaos which would ensue because of building works at work. Half way through the preceding Friday the building works were postponed for a week.
And so last weekend I was offered two nights overtime because of the chaos which would ensue because of building works at work. And again half way through last Friday the building works were again postponed.
In theory the building works are to take place tonight and tomorrow night. Will they actually go ahead this time? I've had no phone calls to say that they won't. Let's hope they are going ahead. Because I shall be claiming for a night's overtime whatever happens...

22 March 2012 (Thursday) - Last Will and Testament

I woke this morning to see a missed call on my mobile. "Daddies Little Angel TM" had called me at silly o'clock and I'd clearly slept through the call. Suspecting the worst (why else would she phone at silly o'clock), but suspecting her to be asleep at 5.40am, I sent a text message, and spent an hour worrying. Eventually I got a text back apologising for the call. She'd been randomly pressing buttons and had called me by mistake.

To work (dull), and home again. I met up with an old friend on the way home, and spent half an hour chatting about this and that. And then I spent a few minutes delivering catalogues to the masses. I do hope the masses want the bargains I'm unloading onto them.
Eventually I got home to find that the most recent fruit of my loin had visited today. All my moaning, nagging and whinging about the dog biscuits has done some good as she's obviously swept up errant bonios. Mind you the cereal bowls, cups of tea and human biccies were still strewn everywhere.

The phone rang. It was some bloke from Trust Inheritance. Had I thought about making a will? Yes I had. Would I be wanting to make it soon? Yes - I should do. Why didn't I take advantage of the special offer in which I could get a will drawn up for only sixty-five quid?
And then that's when it all got a little nasty. I asked why I should pay up sixty-five quid when I was quite capable of writing down my own instructions, or finding a will template for free on the Internet. The answer I got was a lie. The bloke on the phone told me that paying cash for his will made it a legally binding document. A home-made one (apparently) wouldn't be legally binding. What rubbish. If you write a will, then that's it. It's your will regardless of anything. And if anyone wants to contest it, then they can contest it, regardless of how much wonga you might have paid for the will.

So here's my will. If I croak first, "er indoors TM" gets the lot. If "er indoors TM" has already croaked when I kick the bucket, then all is shared equally between the fruits of my loin. Seems quite straightforward to me...

21 March 2012 (Wednesday) - Guts Ache

Last night I had a wonderful time with wonderful company. And there’s no denying that I ate and drank far too much. When I came home my stomach was definitely suffering from overindulgence. And it carried on rumbling and complaining most of the night. In retrospect I can see my mistake. I had far too much of the rice, and washing it down with three beers didn’t help. The beer made the rice swell up, and that was what made it hurt so much. I came home last night and went straight to bed. I didn’t even pause to write my blog last night. And that is quite unlike me (!)

As well as having a serious guts ache, I woke this morning with such a hangover. One bottle of spitfire and two (small) bottles of San Miguel, and I felt like death warmed up. Over the last few months I’ve certainly suffered whenever I’ve had a drink. Perhaps I should give it a miss from now on?
I gradually became more human over a spot of brekky, and having been inspired by Bob Ross I set off to work. It was a foggy morning; I couldn’t see more than twenty yards through the fog. And so many people were driving at break-neck speed with no lights on their cars. Idiots!

Today the chancellor of the exchequer announced his budget plans for the next year. It seems he’s bashed the rich to give to the poor. In this new era of austerity, I might (just possibly) have benefited. I say *might* - I suspect I haven’t. It’s been my experience that what the government give in a budget with one hand, they take with the other. Any bung I might get from raising of tax thresholds will be more than wiped out by the summer’s rise in fuel duty. But am I downhearted…

Yesterday I mentioned that a C.V. writing company had phoned me. Today another one did. I was expecting the worst, and was about to tell them to get knotted when it suddenly became very clear that the chap on the phone had actually read my C.V. He had a useful suggestion. And another useful suggestion. He talked for about half an hour. He wasn’t surprised that I’m not having much luck with my job applications because he felt the C.V. I was submitting was rubbish.
It turned out that my C.V. was little more than my previous job descriptions. Anyone could have done that. What I should be doing in a C.V. is saying about what skills I’ve got, and how I apply them. I should say how I do what I do, not what I do. So I’ve done (yet another) major C.V. re-write. Hopefully some of my loyal readers might give it the once-over and offer their sage wisdom before I try the new C.V. out in a day or so?

And in closing, it's Smarden duck race in a couple of week's time. If you're up for it, let me know...

20 March 2012 (Tuesday) - Chilli

Regular readers of this drivel must have realised that there are several things about this life which boil my piss. Today I’m going to rant about my duvet.
Every night when I clamber into my pit I arrange the duvet neatly and tidily over the bed. When it’s time to get up in the morning I can’t actually get out of said pit. Instead I have to untangle myself from the miles of duvet which have migrated in my direction overnight, wrapped themselves around me, and have attempted to smother me. ‘er indoors TM has maybe six inches of  duvet cover, and I have several yards of the thing round my arms, up the wall, over the floor  - all in my way as I’m trying to get up. How does it get there? Bring back blankets – you can’t go wrong with a blanket.

To work (dull). Yesterday I mentioned that I was planning to shout “Woo Hoo” as the bearer of the Olympic torch will run past my house with the thing in a few months’ time. So today I put in for the day off. It looks like quite a few other people have had the same idea. Oh well – if I don’t get the leave I might just have more reason to sulk about the job. And I don’t really need any more of that.

Yesterday I mentioned that I’d applied for some jobs. Today one of the agencies rang back. They seemed very keen about my chances with one of the positions I’d applied for. Here’s hoping.
And a CV writing company phoned. They’d offered a free appraisal of my C.V., so I’d sent it to them. They wittered on down the phone for quite some time without actually saying anything; then announced that their next step would cost me over three hundred quid. I told them it wouldn’t, and hung up.

 And being Tuesday the clans gathered. This time in Cheriton. We’d not been to Paul’s before, and he did us proud. An excellent chilli, and we’d not laughed so much in ages.
Really must do it again….

19 March 2012 (Monday) - The Olympic Flame

It was a clear night last night. Or so I read on a friend’s Facebook status. I should really have taken my telescope out and had a look at this and that. But I couldn’t be bothered. When you think about it, astronomy is a rubbish hobby. You either can't see anything because it's too cloudy, or you lose the enthusiasm to look at anything because its too cold. And why shiver when the Hubble telescope is in orbit taking better pictures than I could ever get?
I expect the clear night accounts for the thick ice that was over my car this morning. It wasn’t anything a bottle of cold water couldn’t sort out, but it was a pain having to sort out the bottle of cold water.

Work was dull. I sat quietly for much of the day whilst blokes far younger than me talked at length about their plans for this year for their allotments. Allotments(!) I suppose if one enjoys a hobby, then the enjoyment is merit enough for that hobby. But I for one still can’t shake my life-long conviction that gardening is either an old man’s hobby, or a necessary chore. There’s no pleasure to be had from it for me.
Talking of things with no pleasure in it for me, I spent an hour this evening applying for various jobs. I must admit that one of the most annoying adverts on telly at the moment is (for me) the advert for reed.co.uk. Some hip young thing is singing about "Love Mondays". I don't, and am rather jealous of friends of mine who seem to do so. I hope something comes of all these job applications soon.
I see that the route of the Olympic flame has been published today. And I see that the flame is coming to Ashford on Wednesday 18 July. And it’s not just coming to Ashford: it’s coming right past my front door. I had half a plan to take the day off work to watch the thing come past. Bearing in mind the chaos that ensued when the Tour de France came past a couple of years ago I either need to have the day off work or be on a twelve hour day on the day in question. I suspect all traffic movement around the town will (again) be stopped for a whole day for something which will be all over in half an hour.
I mentioned this to "er indoors TM" who seemed very enthusiastic about the whole idea, so we've decided to make a day of it. If any of my loyal readers fancy taking the day off work for a once in a lifetime event, why not come and shout "Woo Hoo" from my front garden... and bring a bottle of beer and something for the barby as well....

18 March 2012 (Sunday) - Angry Birds

Having come home late after the film night last night we were slobbing about watching telly when (at 1.30am) the door bell rang. There was a small army of police on the door step, complete with police vans. The lead copper looked me up and down and asked me if they were at the wrong address. Did we have any Romanians about the place? And before I could tell him that we didn't, all the coppers turned and wandered back to their old-bill-mobile.

With all the excitement of having had the law visiting I was left wondering who or what this Romanian had done to warrant so many coppers to come chasing him, and so I'm blaming that for my restless night.
I got up slightly earlier than I might have on a Sunday and did the weekly weigh-in .I did the weigh-in yesterday only to find my weight was unchanged over the week. I thought I'd try again today, and still no change. I suppose that holding constant is better than putting weight on, but there's no denying there is still quite a bit of weight still to be shifted.

I then got the laptop going over a sot of brekkie. Some on-line surveys, then I wasted an hour on the latest waste of time that is sweeping the universe - "Angry Birds". Like most games it is somewhere where you can lose hours, but I stayed there long enough to hand her "er indoors TM" her arse. Which was nice.
"My Boy TM" came visiting with a wodge of tulips for his mummy, and seeing it was Mothers Day we set off to Hastings to do the filial thing. The mother-in-law was on holiday, but my mum was home, so we popped in for a cuppa. We exchanged insults, and I tried on a suit. My Dad had found a suit he hadn't worn for ages, and was wondering if I was now thin enough to fit into it. I'm not quite thin enough yet.
Then we went on to visit my sister-in-law. We hadn't seen her since her wedding at New Year. We keep saying we should meet up more often. We should do, but never seem to get round to it. And so home via Tesco's (which I've never know to have been so cold), and then we quickly went round the block collecting catalogues and orders.

Tea, and as "er indoors TM" set off bowling I settled down to do some more job hunting. Or that was my intention. I set the washing machine going and thought I'd spend just five minutes playing "Angry Birds". Three hours later I was still catapulting birds about...
And then the reason that telly was invested - "Upstairs Downstairs" - it gets better and better...

17 March 2012 (Saturday) - The Pink Bunkadoo

I had been asked to help out at work on the night shifts last weekend. With major building work planned I would be needed to help out because of the ensuing chaos. But with only a few hours to go, the building work was cancelled, and I wasn't needed. The building work was postponed to this weekend, and again I was asked to go in for the night shifts this weekend. And again (with very little notice) the building work was cancelled.
I can't say that I want to be up all night long for two nights running, but there's no denying that the extra money would come in handy. And I'm now feeling rather messed about.

We had planned to go to Hastings for a family gathering today for Mother's Day. The plan was that we'd booked out a restaurant for a major gathering,but at the last minute the restaurant told us that they were operating a "first come first served" scheme. So, bearing in mind how long it takes us to get going in the mornings, we would probably be driving for an hour just to find that the place was full already. So we abandoned that plan.

After some brekkie we set off to the Fudgery. With the denizens of the Fudgery moving house, we'd volunteered to fetch and carry, lift and shift, give orders and drink coffee. I disassembled two beds, loaded the fragments onto the van (together with some wardrobes), got chauffeured round to the new Fudgery, unloaded, and then went back for sofas. We were told all manner of horror stories about how difficult it would be to get the sofas out of the house: we did it in less than five minutes. And with sofas delivered we went back for the fridge, the electric cooker, the washing machine, the barbecue and the garden slide before saying goodbye to Dave and his van. And as Dave drove off with his van we remembered the garden swing and all the other stuff for which we needed his van. Oh well,, such is life.

I then reassembled beds and wardrobes whilst "er indoors TM" plumbed in the washing machine. It's still leaking now. And having flooded out the kitchen, we left them to it and came home for a spot of lunch. I would have stayed longer, but all the fetching and carrying had been done. All that remained was the unpacking, and you can't really do someone else's unpacking for them.
Once lunched we popped into town (despite the rain), and did what we had to do. Being Saturday afternoon, on our way back we collected the catalogues I'd delivered on Thursday. And then went home. I was glad to get home. Two days ago I'd had a day off work. The weather was glorious. Today was cold, overcast and wet. So we spent an hour or so watching stuff we'd recorded onto the Sky Plus box. Whilst we did this I signed up with another writing website. The idea is that people will pay me to write blog articles. I signed up with another such website a week or so ago, and so far the generated demand for my talents has remained constant (!).

And then after a little while spent messing on the laptop we set off for the Saturday film night. First of all "In Time"; an almost watchable cross between Robin Hood and Logan's Run. And then a classic - "Time Bandits". I've not seen that for years -it's brilliant.

16 March 2012 (Friday) - Stuff

Can I start today with an apology to any of my loyal readers who’ve been waiting for me to do my turn in the twenty-odd games of on-line scrabble I have on the go. I tried to catch up with some of the games this morning before work. But now every game I try to play is delayed by a pop-up window. It stays on screen for ten seconds before I can close it. Ten seconds might not sound very long, but when you have far too many games on the go those seconds soon add up.
I am seriously considering packing up on-line scrabble because of these pop-up windows. So much for advertising (!)

And then to work - the end of the week – the end of the great experiment. I’ve just worked the same amount of hours in three days (Monday, Wednesday and today) that I would normally work in five days. Rather than doing seven and a half hours each day, I did twelve and a half hours.
How did it go? I liked it. What with chronic insomnia and getting to work early anyway to miss the traffic, the early start made no difference to me. And the late finishes? Er indoors goes bowling on Mondays and swimming on Wednesdays and flogs candles to the masses on Fridays, so I didn’t miss much at home. And having days off mid-week gave me the opportunity to not waste my weekend in chores such as job-hunting and laundry and gardening, and gave me some quality time for doing some painting with the fruits of my loin. Alternating days off with days working meant that (oddly) I didn’t have that “Monday feeling” this week.
The boss has hinted that she thought it went well for the department (as no one wants to do the late finishes), so this might just be the way of the future. If so it might make getting to astro club tricky, but I’m sure I can sort something out once a month. After all, that’s what annual leave is all about.

My phone rang whilst at work. Stevie’s phone had gone berserk and had randomly decided to phone me. Mobile phones do that – only the other day I had a rather bizarre text message from another friend whose phone had chosen to pick a random text message from its message history and send it to me. I do hope my phone doesn’t feel the need to join in.

I feel the need to apologise for my ire, but this morning’s news annoyed me. I see that the Archbishop of Canterbury is jacking it in, and is going off to run a university. I realise that I too am planning to abandon one career in favour of another, but I’m not an Archbishop. Being an Archbishop is something of a vocation: you don’t pack up being an Archbishop and go and do something else instead. You either retire, or drop dead in harness.
It’s odd that as someone who’s not been active in religion for nearly thirty years I find that this story has actually rather wound me up.