31 March 2015 (Tuesday) - Crockham Hill

I didn't think I was feeling quite one hundred per cent last night but it is difficult to be sure after night shifts. I had an early night, slept like a log and woke feeling like death warmed up. I *could* have stayed in bed feeling sorry for myself, but what would that have acheived?

Over brekkie I saw a new puzzle geocache had gone live not a million miles from where I was planning to go. I can't make head or tale of the thing. It's something to do with a song by the Psychedelic Furs. If anyone has a clue as to how to proceed on this one I'd be grateful for a pointer.
So with no idea for the puzzle I got my gear (and dog) together and we drove off to Crockam. As I drove the Prime Minister was being interviewed on the radio. Last week he was interviewed on the telly and came over very well. Today he didn't. He had only one thing to say, and that was that the electorate shouldn't vote for Labour, because they are rubbish. Interestingly this interview was followed by one with the leader of the Welsh Nationalists who ruled out any kind of coalition deals with the Conservative party because the Welsh Nationalists don't like them very much.
Rather than a General Election, we seem to be having a popularity contest.

I got to Crockham in just over an hour, and soon our little group was assembled. We met up at the first geocache, and three of us (and "Furry Face TM") went for a little stroll. There's no denying my piss boiled at our second port of call. A multi-cache; well planned and executed. But the final location was rather close to a school. Realistically not that close; but closer than the distance that I have (several times) been told is too close.
We then wandered onwards and upwards. Quite literally. We'd been advised there was a serious hill climb early on the route, and there's no denying that I did puff a little. But the climb was well worth the effort; the views from the top of the hill were spectacular.

From here we came down. We walked along well-marked footpaths; for once there was no question about where we should or should not have gone. I know where I would like to have gone, and I said so as we walked past the Westerham brewery. One of the staff was there and we got chatting. Unfortunately they didn't have any samples to give out.
As the day wore on so the forecast wind picked up. It was incredibly strong on the open stretches; but we found a sheltered spot for lunch.

For much of the route today I played "Cacher's Eye"; not so much using the GPS as guessing where I would hide a geocache and seeing if I was right. Sometimes I was correct, and sometimes I wasn't. Obvious clues such as well-worn paths to certain trees or lumps of rock four feet up a tree were dead giveaways for some caches; others weren't so easy to find. Many of the hides were ingenious; mind you the given clues were far too cryptic for my poor brain.Of the thirty-five caches we set out to find today we didn't find two. That's quite a high number really.
It was only a shame that there weren't more caches on the route. There was probably space for another ten, but it is easy for me to say that; I don't have to maintain them.
This time I remembered to take some photos. You can see them here.

We did the last secret geo-ritual of the day at 3.45pm; said our goodbyes and came home. It was at this point that I got cross. As I drove along the A25 (parrallel to the M26) there was a road sign giveing directions to Maidstone via the motorway. That would be exactly what I wanted; or so I thought. However it wasn't via the motorway I could see. Instead it took me onto the M25 and we went north for several miles. We finally picked up the M20 where we then sat stationary for over an hour. A journey which took me just over an hour to make there took three hours to get back.

When finally home I gave "Furry Face TM" his bath and his tea, and once "er indoors TM" arrived we had pizza and set off to the Admiralty. Rather than watching any telly we played ChromeCast games and had the occassional drop of port.
Very nice...

30 March 2015 (Monday) - This n That

The night shift went as well as can be expected. Whilst not everyone would want to work nights I quite like it. To be honest the bit I *really* like is the amount of time I get off work when doing the shift pattern, and the work's not bad really.

As I drove home I listened to the radio. It would seem that the director-general of the BBC has been under a twenty-four hour police guard since he received death threats following the recent sacking of Jeremy Clarkson. Death threats? Who on Earth would make such threats?
On a much smaller scale I myself have received one or two pointed comments from various quarters about my not being in formal mourning for Clarkson's removal from our screens. Personally I can't say I like the chap's TV persona, and I couldn't help but feel some vindication when I heard that having been given the heave-ho from the BBC, ITV and Channel Four and Sky TV don't want him either.

Once home I took my dog for a walk. He seemed to be walking awkwardly. Yesterday he'd been taken out in the rain and his coat was a little tight. It would seem to have rubbed a bit. He has tender armpits. We'll need to keep an eye on that.
As we walked through the Bowens Field wetland park I saw the trolley I'd pulled out of the pond on Saturday. Someone had thrown it back in. I pulled it back out again.
We carried on to Viccie park where Fudge had "another go" at (on) a poodle. This one wasn't one he's climbed on before. Said poodle's owner went mental, and my comment of "Oh - your dog's a girl? My dog's gone bisexual then" *really* didn't go down well. The owner was shrieking about not wanting puppies; I explained that my dog had been "done" a couple of years ago. She repeated that she didn't want puppies, I repeated that he'd been "done". As she repeated again that she didn't want puppies I took a deep breath and explained about "the birds and the bees". (And "done" dogs). Judging by her reaction I think that the concept of a dog being "done" was entirely new to her.
I hadn't intended to go very far today, but we carried on to Singleton Lake where "Furry Face TM" chased several ducks. His sore legs are only sore when he's attention-seeking. He can still chase ducks with the best of them.
Once home I went to bed for a bit. Not as much of a bit as maybe I could have had.
I spent what was left of the afternoon looking at the accounts. As has been the case recently they are a lot better than they have been, but they could still be better.
On Saturday I mentioned we had a letter from some debt collectors about someone else's vet bill. I phoned the debt collection agency who'd written to us. I was fully expecting the conversation to be hard work; it was not. As soon as I said that the letter was addressed to someone who doesn't live here, the chap at the other end of the phone immediately said that he's fed up with people giving fake addresses and assured me we'd hear no more about it.

With "er indoors TM" off bowling I set about the ironing. As I ironed I watched yesterday's installment of "Poldark". Captain Poldark is getting lucky; his cousin not so. And then Gotham in which we met another super-villain in the making...

29 March 2015 (Sunday) - A Day Asleep

Last night I had to make do with the original Doctor Pepper to drink (well, the diet version) as Morrisons would seem to have stopped selling Doctor Pop. A shame really as I actually prefer the cheapo version "Doctor Pop" to the original Doctor Pepper.
I got to work and turned the radio on. When I drive to work Radio Four is usually broadcasting news. Overnight they have a wider range of programmes. Some are quite interesting; others not so.

There was very boring half an hour about why Liverpudlians like their scouse accent whilst no one else does.
There was a play set in India in the 1970s which was quite good. Mind you I can't help but wonder if it would have been quite so good had it not been after the dire scouse accent show.
Michael Buerk led a discussion on the morality of lionising Richard the Third in which some vacuous windbags wouldn't let their lack of any knowledge on the subject stop them spouting twaddle.
I actually answered some of the questions in the quiz "Brain of Britain"
Stephen Fry then presented a feature on why the clocks were going forward this evening. I would have been looking forward to this had anyone other than Stephen Fry been presenting it. I've always found him to be somewhat smug and self-obsessed in his manner; however last night he was absorbing and interesting.
And in a novel break with tradition there were no awful schools singing programmes at 3am.
You would have thought that in these days of austerity the BBC would have had better things on which to waste the licence fee.

With the night shift done I came home. Yesterday evening before work I'd posted on the Kent geo-Facebook group to ask if anyone fancied going for a walk on Tuesday. Usually when I make such posts about doing things mid-week I seem to get snowed out with people telling me that they are working. I was fully expecting this to happen again, but when I had a look over brekkie I saw that  a few people have said that they'd be up for a walk. That's good; I'm off work on Tuesday and I have somewhere in mind. It will be good to have some company whilst taking my dog for a walk.

Instead of going out on the usual Sunday walk I then went to bed. Whilst I do like the Sunday walk, bearing in mind the rain, today probably wasn't the best of days to be walking round Bewl Water. I was in bed shortly after 9am, and woke just gone 2pm. With my little dog gone on the walk the house seemed oddly empty, but I took full advantage of his absence to have half an hour on the saxophone. It went well... sort of. Whilst the tune is (I think) recognisable I don't think it's quite as technically accurate as it might be.

I'd known in advance that I would be waking to an empty house, and so I'd arranged for the most recent fruit of my loin to be feeding her old dad this evening. She'd sent a message telling me about bunk beds that needed collecting, so I drove down to Folkestone to do some removal work. We popped round to Kingsnorth Gardens, got the fragments of a bunk bed from a drugs den and took them home for her. As we drove the weather was going from bright sunshine to torrential rain and back again every five minutes. Definitely not a day to be out walking.
We watched "Fawlty Towers" DVDs, had shepherds pie for tea, and then it was time to go to work.
Another night shift...

28 March 2015 (Saturday) - A Letter

I slept like a log last night; finally getting up about 8am. Over brekkie I checked out social media; not a lot had happened overnight.
I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We went round to the park; I'd forgotten that Saturday morning is when the runners all do their thing in the park. Over a hundred runners; not one looking as though they are enjoying the run. Every single one looking as though they were in intense pain.
We came home through Bowens Field; on the way we met the poodle with which Fudge attempted a "dalliance" during the week. The owner glared at us both.
As we came through the wetlands park I did my good deed for the day (sort of). Someone had thrown a supermarket trolley into the pond. In a moment of being public-spirited I pulled it out. I was then faced with a dripping pondscum-encrusted supermarket trolley and no idea what to do with it. I had this genius idea to share the love. I'd done my bit by extracting the offending trolley from the pond. It would only be fair for me to let someone else share the "public-spirited" by letting them dispose of the trolly. So I left it by the pondside to dry off.

We drove down to Folkestone to see the baby. On the way we tried to get First to Find on a new geocache; we missed out by fifteen minutes.
We weren't too late arriving at the abode of "Daddies Little Angel TM", and after getting bashed up by a particularly weak grandson (who's a lot stronger than I'd ever admit to him) I fell asleep for a bit.
We came home via Maplins. I needed a new charger for my portable power pack. I've got one somewhere but I've lost it. I've spent months searching to no avail. I expect that having spent nearly twenty quid on a new charger the old one will soon turn up.

We got home to find the postman had been. I opened the letter without really paying attention to the addressing. I then nearly laid an egg. A demand for nearly a thousand quid from a debt collection agency for an unpaid vet bill.
I then re-read the letter a little more carefully. It was a letter about a vet bill owed to a vet we've never used and was adressed to people who don't actually live in our house. I phoned the vet in question; they didn't seem very interested. I shall have to phone the debt collection people on Monday; I'm not paying someone else's debts.

I spent the afternoon fast asleep in bed. It would have been good to have gone to the birthday party that everyone else is going to this evening, but that wasn't possible this time. Instead I'm off to the night shift now. And the clocks are going forward tonight. That's a result.
I wonder if I'll be docked an hour's money...

27 March 2015 (Friday) - Shorne, Wombles

I could not beleive the morning news. Only fifty four per cent of people polled thought that the Prime Minister came out on top of last night's televised interviews; forty six per cent thought the Leader of the Opposition did best. Whilst my better nature and plain human decency want the Leader of the Opposition to look better, there is no denying that the Prime Minister shone last night, and that the Leader of the Opposition came over as a complete half-wit who looked as though he was going to cry.
I can't help but wonder who was actually polled. It certainly couldn't have been people who watched the interviews.

My piss then boiled when I saw something on social media about "Time Out Stools" where ill-behaved schoolbrats are sat. There was no such thing as a "Time Out Stool" when I was a lad. Instead we had "A Slap on the Arse" and consequeently far less ill-behaved schoolbrats.

To counteract the seriousness of the early morning I used my ChromeCast to stream Fat Slags claymation videos from You-Tube to the telly for an hour or so whilst my undercrackers tumble-dried and my boiling piss cooled.
I then popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we drove to Shorne. Last October me and my Ham Street Lover (and my dog) started walking a geo-series near Shorne and we got rained off. Earlier in the week I posted on Facebook to see if anyone fancied a trip to Shorne to walk with me whilst I finished the series. Three brave souls met up with us, and we had a really good morning's stroll. Thirty geo-finds is always good; and a minor tree climb was an added bonus. Added to which one of our number got his most cache finds in one day. The only fly in the ointment was Richard spiking his head on a tree; it drew quite a bit of blood.

Today's walk was really good, but it was a relatively short session. We started walking shortly after 9am; we were back in the car before 1pm. We came home where a certain dog had the fox poo hosed off of him.
I then had a little look-see on the Internet. Someone sent me a Facebook friend request because we both have nasal polyps. Admittely I do have Facebook friends I've only ever met on-line; but they are few, and they are people who I have cyber-encountered many times.
Why on earth would you send a friend request to someone with whom you've exchanged exactly one comment?

"er indoors TM" came home and immediately started shoving our biscuits down "Furry Face TM"'s neck. I *thought* she'd been doing that. I then wasted an hour or so solving geo-puzzles and playing Cookie Crush Saga before gettting myself ready for the evening. I put on jeans; I rarely wear jeans. I found three quid in the pocket. That was a result.
Suitably attired we went down to Park Farm. Having effectively had astro club early this month we had something of a soial evening tonight. Chatting with friends. Jacket potatoes and chili and artic roll - very tasty. And wombling songs on vinyl.... remember you're a womble?

26 March 2015 (Thursday) - On the Telly

It's a shame that the noisy nights and mornings up Beaver Road never coincide with my restless nights. Had next door's musical alarm gone off any other day this week I wouldn't have minded. But it would wake me today when I was actually fast asleep at 4.30am.

I eventually got up shortly before 6am and did brekkie for both of us (me and my dog). He yummed his brekkie; usually he's a lot more picky. I'm wondering if "er indoors TM" has been feeding him stuff that I don't know about; he's certainly eaten better this week than he usuall does. Which is more than can be said for me. It's Day Four of "home alone" and the strain is begining to tell.
Over brekkie I watched "Secret Diary of a Call Girl". It's a good show; I could sell my body to strangers for cash. Or that is I'd be willing to. Whether I actually could do so is a matter of conjecture.

My dog took up his sentry post on the sofa from where he could guard the house, and I set off to work. As far as I was concerned the most important item on the radio's morning news was the launch date for the re-imagined "Thunderbirds" I'm quite looking forward to the return of the Tracy brothers. Mind you it's a shame that it's yet another re-make. There is so little on telly these days which is actually original.
I also had a wry smile about the Christian bakers who are facing legal procedings for refusing to bake a cake featuring a pro-gay marriage slogan. It's an interesting case. On the one hand is the pro-equality brigade campaigning for equality for all. On the other hand is the pro-religious freedom brigade campaigning for the rights of nutters to beleive there are fairies at the bottom of the garden.
Who will win this squabble will speak volumes about our society.

Work was much the same as ever; at lunch time I saxed, and after work I had the weekly sax lesson. My semibreves are more lke minims, and my rests are a little too active. But I could be doing a lot worse.
I then ran "Furry Face TM" round the block, and got a special curry from the Hong Kong Kitchen for tea. As I scoffed it I started watching a film I'd recorded. "Trapped in Space" started badly, and after half an hour I gave up with it. It was crap. Instead I ironed shirts and watched "Big Bang Theory" and then I watched the pre-election live televised interviews of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
Whilst Mr Cameron has acheived a lot, and he made many valid points, I cannot really have any faith in a Prime Minister who seems to be proud of the relatively recent proliferation of food banks in the country.
It was such a shame that the Leader if the Opposition then took the opportunity to come over as a bit of a tit. He hadn't so much had his hair done as had a wig nailed on to his head. and other than running down the Prime Minister (and was told off by the interviewer for doing so) he had very little to say. When asked if socialism was an important Labour party value he waffled of for five minutes without saying "yes". As the interview went on so he looked worse and worse.

It's ironic that the Prime Minister never wanted to appear on telly prior to the upcoming general election and the Leader of the Opposition was keen on the idea. The Prime Minister has made a life-long leftie think, and the Leader of the Opposition has comprehensively pissed on his chips...

25 March 2015 (Wednesday) - This n That

Another restless night; as I lay awake at 6am I had a sudden realisation that I sleep better in the afternoons before a night shift than I do at night. Was that because then I pull the duvet up over my head? I tried an experiment and was absoultely out like a light when a text message and a Facebook message both from "er indoors TM" woke me. All is well in Southampton. (Not so in Beaver Road, but I didn't let on)
By then it was getting on for 8am so I got up and had some brekkie.
After yesterday's memory lapse "Furry Face TM" was looking at my toast with a hopeful expression. But no toast for him today. As I selfishly had all of my toast myself I had a look on social media.

Following the publication of the formal investigation into his conduct, those who were rather nasty to anyone who dared to say anything bad about Jeremy Clarkson over the last few days and weeks are now realising that the man isn't a saint. It now turns out that Clarkson *did* assault someone because he couldn't have steak and chips for his tea.
However there is still a groundswell of opinion in favour of letting him continue producing his TV show "Top Gear". It would seem that to many that Jeremy Clarkson is a "colourful character" and "a bit of a lad" and giving out slaps is what those sorts of people do. And furthermore ignoring and forgetting the fact that he's assaulted someone is a fair price to pay for the continuance of a favourite TV show. Apparently.

With a little time on my hands I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We met OrangeHead's chunky little friend and her spherical dog. Chunky little friend had the nerve to greet Fudge with "Hello Porky".
We then had a minor altercation. Yesterday "Furry Face TM" expressed his physical love for a small boy poodle. This morning we met a larger boy poodle, and my dog again thought he would "brandish his lipstick". However this poodle definately did not "bake a moist sponge"; neither was he "good with colours." Said poodle made his disinterest crystal clear. Fudge soon ran away leaving me to sort it all out. It's rather embarrassing having to apologise for your dog's failed amorous advances.
Shortly after that we met OrangeHead who was polite and civil. OrangeHead and her gang make me chuckle. When you meet any of them individually they are polite, courteous; even friendly. When you meet them together they are like a playground gang and make a point of blanking you.

We came home; and then I settle my dog and I went off to the late shift. As I drove to work this morning I listened to "Women's Hour" (as it was on the radio). Sometimes this show is interesting and informative; other times it is little more than a platform from which men-hating harridans spew their bitter vitriol. Today wasn't a good day. Today's misandrists were particularly vicious. I don't know why the BBC puts up with them; I suppose that (unlike others I have mentioned) they haven't actually physically assaulted anyone yet.
There was also an interview with a spokesman of "Dark Justice". This bunch are a load of vigilantes who have decided to clear the streets of paedophiles but don't feel that they should be bound by such legal red tape as evidence or proof. It was rather worrying to hear their chap ranting on the radio. Clearly not over-burdened with brains this fellow felt that his deciding that some innocent was a paedo was enough to start hounding that person.

Before getting to work I discovered that there is a branch of "Go Outdoors" in Canterbury. Being an outdoors sort of person I thought I'd have a look-see. There's no denying they have an extensive range of stuff. But if I ever need to buy anything I will be sure to check their prices carefully. Some things were reasonably priced; others vastly over-inflated. I'm not paying over a hundred quid for a pair of trousers that I can get for fifteen quid in Matalan. The designer label isn't worth that much to me; but I'm sure there are those who will pay for it.

I got to work; I did my bit. At lunch time I blew my sax. It's coming on reasonably well. For all that I'd rather work weekends or nights, working day shifts does give me that lunch break which lends itself to saxophone practice.

And with my bit done I came home. In the dark. I hadn't realised how much longer the days have got lately.
As I drove home I wondered what I would have for tea. The decision hinged entirely on where I parked. If it was up the road from home it would be either KFC or kebab; if down the road it would be curry and chips.
In the end it was a pulled chicken burrito. It was a disappointment...

24 March 2015 (Tuesday) - A Smack in the Gob

I woke at 1.30am this morning following a rather vivid dream in which the river Exe (in Devon?) was about to flood the world. For no explicable reason only I could save humanity by somehow creating a huge milk churn out of the contents of the local branch of Curry's. It's amazing how shook up I was by this; I didn't get back to sleep properly after that shock, and dozed fitfully until brekkie time.
I blame the trauma of being left "Home Alone" and unsupervised.
Over brekkie I watched another episode of "Dad's Army" in which they didn't like it up 'em. As I watched I fed half my toast do my dog; completely forgetting that he's supposed to be on a diet.

I was on the early shift today; as I drove the pundits on the radio were lambasting the Prime Minister. In a recent interview the chap has said that should he win the upcoming election he'd be pleased with the result, but he has no intentions of trying for a third term in office. Personally I think that's a sensible decicion; however those who make the news have seen this as a golden opportunity to start speculation about his successor some five years preamturely. And an inordinate amount of air-time was wasted on the subject.
There was also mention about money being allocated to the University of Nottingham solve some of the most famous mathematical problems of our time.
One of the problems they are trying to sort out is to prove or disprove the Riemann hypothesis. I can remember having the matter explained to me as a maths undergraduate and I couldn't make head or tail of the matter. As I recall it had something to do with integration.
I respect and admired those who have an inkling of what it is all about. But (as usual) the presenters on the radio tried to make fun of the subject in an unconvincing attempt to cover their own ignorance. Why do they always ridicule anything they don't understand?

I got to work; I did what I had to, and at lunch time I had an amazingly successful sax session. I'm perhaps a little piccolo on my vibrissimo, but my "Moon River" is every bit as sexy as the current TV ad for chocolate.

An early start made for an early finish. I came home and ran "Furry Face TM" round the park where he expressed his physical love for a poodle. The poodle in question was a boy poodle; my dog was clearly never confused.
Being a Tuesday the clans gathered; this time without me. Several restless nights have taken their toll; being out late wouldn't be a good idea today... I had an early night instead.

And in other news "Daddies Little Angel TM" has been bashed up off of a seagull. The feathered fiend swooped from nowhere, slapped her firmly in the mouth with its wing, and made off with her cheeseburger. Personally I think it is hilarious, but she is distraught, and apparently in quite a bit of pain too.
It would seem that getting bashed up off of a seagull is akin to all of life's other misfortunes; only funny when happening to someone else.

23 March 2015 (Monday) - At the Chip Shop

After a quite a lot of walking yesterday followed by an ale session (that I promised myself I wouldn't have) I slept like a log until a wet nose thrust itself into my left armpit shortly before 3am. As my dog then snored so I lay awake for the rest of the night.

I got up to find very little had happened overnight on social media, and I set off to work. The news was much the same as ever really. The pundits were up in arms that a prospective Conservative candidate for the next election had allegedly organised a race riot and then had it de-organised in order to make it look as though he was marvellous. Whilst what he has (alledgedly) done is despicable, it's the sort of cheap stunt that I for one have come to expect of politicians.
Mind you there's no excuse for what happened to Nigel Farage yesterday. Leader of UKIP, and potentially the worst thing that could happen to the UK, the poor chap and his family were hounded out of a pub by those who would oppose his politics. It's rather sad that those who would see UKIP fail in the polls have actually garnered sympathy for the UKIP leader by their actions.
Or is this another political publicity stunt? I don't know.

I stopped off at Morrisons before work. Having been there in the evenings just lately it seemed odd to do my own packing this morning. Just recently there have been Brownies at the checkouts doing packing as a fund-raiser. I don't mind the girls themselves, but I did feel obliged to give them a donation. I don't mind giving the donation, but I do mind being made to feel obliged to give said donation.

Work was work; at lunchtime I saxed. "Bridge over Troubled Water" is crossing some very troubled water. And "Moon River" is rather troubled as well.
As usual I'd parked at the far end of the car park so as not to disturb anyone. However when I went out at lunch time there was a chap in his car; ten yards from mine. He had all the doors of his car open and was sitting in the driver's seat revving the engine/ As I started saxing so he glared at me and revved the engine louder.
He did that for forty minutes. He must have money (as well as petrol) to burn.

After work I went home via the chip shop in Nunnery Fields. With "er indoors TM" off on a course in Southampton I've been left to fend for myself. It's possible I might not survive till Friday.
I'd bought a pasty in Morrisons this morning for tea, and thought some chips might accompany it well. (Gourmet dining here you know!)
It was a shame that whilst in the chip shop I was accosted by the village idiot's thicker sister.

Whilst another *one* (Beryl) was having a good old gossip with the woman behind the counter (and the queue grew and grew), the village idiot's thicker sister latched on to me and told me all about her operation, and how she can no longer "strut her stuff" until her tummy gets better. Apparently she lives in a box-room; and it would seem to be her life's dream to meet someone else who lives in a box-room. Mind you her pleasant manner soon evaporated when he got to the front of the queue and placed her order. She was going to have to rough it with a battered sausage because loquacious Beryl had had the last of the chicken nuggets. It very nearly came to blows.

It took twenty minutes for me to get a bag of chips. It would have been quicker to cook them myself.
I came home, and watched "Poldark" as I scoffed. I then set about getting the laundry done, and whilst the washing machine did its thing I had a look at the astro club's accounts.
And then there was a near disaster. The SkyPlus box had ofrgotten I'd told it to record "Gotham". It's forgetting quite a lot these days. Maybe time for a new one. A free new one. Or Sky can go whistle and we'll go with Virgin.

22 March 2015 (Sunday) - East Peckham

I woke this morning feeling particularly miserable; but half an hour spent on the sofa wiith my dog perked me up somewhat. My phone rang rather earlier than you might expect on a Sunady morning. Whoever it was never actually spoke, but I could hear chattering in the background. Mind you with today's technology you get the caller ID displayed. I shall phone 07804 602107 tomorrow morning at 5am to see who it was.

We got ourselves ready and drove out to Paddock Wood. Or nearly Paddock Wood. There was a geo-meet planned for the evening so we thought we'd have a walk round the area beforehand. Eleven of us and two geohounds meet up in a pub car park at 10am and set off for a walk. And an excellent walk it was.
We covered nine miles; we found forty five caches. It might have been more had the field puzzles we solved been closer. Several milestones were acheived by various people on our walk; including Sue and Malcolm's five thousandth cache find.
I took a few photos whilst we were out and about.

The evening meet-up was scheduled for 6pm; we got back to the pub with two hours to spare. Fortunately we weren't too late for food. A plate of roast lamb slipped down very nicely. As did Shepherd Neame's ales straight from the barrels; to say nothing of a bottle of Brilliant ale and a bottle of Christmas ale.,

I'd spent the day walking with excellent company, and the evening chatting with even more excellent company. Not a bad day at all...

21 March 2015 (Saturday) - Stargazing Live

Last night at five to bed time I had some emails. One of which was telling me of a new puzzle geocache. I had a look at the thing. I had it solved in a few seconds, and went to bed. I woke rather earlier that I was expecting to, and couldn't get back to sleep. So I hopped in the car, went for a drive and soon had this new cache in my hand. First one to find it too. I was pleased about that.

Once home I collected "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little walk. We stopped every five paces so's he could sniff where other dogs had tiddled. That gets a little frustrating really; if all he wants to do is sniff tiddle then I might as well piddle up the garden fence and leave him in the garden for the day.

We had stale hot cross buns for brekkie. Stale, but they toasted up fine. And with brekkie scoffed we drove down to Folkestone to see the baby. He's getting bigger. For all that I like seeing the littlun there's no denying that I spent most of the visit fast asleep.

We came home with a rabbit (!); and when the rabbit was collected by its new parent I went for a brief bit of shopping before setting off to the astro club's annual "Stargazing Live" event.
In previous years this has been a really good evening; well supported by the public who have been enthused by a week's astronomy frrom the BBC. This year I think it would be fair to say we had ben let down by the BBC. The material they supplied us for the public was rather poor compared to previous years; and it was all about the solar eclipse which happened yesterday. It seemed odd that the BBC provided this stuff about what happened on one day but asked us to have the events the day after. And they didn't publicise the thing like they used to; despite our best efforts to advertise locally attendance was half that of previous years.

Mind you we still had over eighty people along. Some excellent talks, and a rather good bit of chilli too; most people seemed to like what we put on. The only fly in the ointment was a rather garrulous child who persisted in repeatedly asking trivial and pointless questions. This child wasn't expressing a genuine interest (which I would encourage) but purely liked the sound of his own voice.
When my children were younger I wouldn't put up with that behaviour and they knew it. I do hope this child doesn't show up again...

Between that little brat (who *really* boiled my piss) and managing to get myself locked in the hall when trying to close up at the end of the evening I had to stop and take a pace back to realise we'd actually had a good session. Next year we won't rely so much on the BBC...

20 March 2015 (Friday) - Eclipse and Cards

Sunrise this morning was (about) two hours before the end of my shift. Realistically the breaking dawn did little more than to show me the cloud that I suspected would be in the way of seeing the sun. Overnight (as always) I'd had the radio on; at least once every half-hour the pundits had proclaimed that the long-awaited solar eclipse was going to be hidden by clouds. I've said before that astronomy is a crap hobby. Most of the time it's too cloudy to see anything; and if you ever get that rare occassion when there is no cloud, then it's chuffing freezing.
But bearing in mind that I wouldn't get the chance to see another solar eclipse for many years I decided to go with the plan; the cloud might clear. After all, I had the astro club's solar telescope in the back of the car in readiness. And there was a geo-meet arranged especially for the event.
I *might* get to see a once-in-a-lifetime event. If nothing else I could talk tupperware-hunting with other geocachers and maybe drum up some interest for tomorrow's "Stargazing Live" show.

I was glad I did go to the geo-meet. For all that the clouds didn't part and we didn't get to see the eclipse, it was an excellent meet-up. I chatted with loads of people about this and that. Several people said very nice things about my Wherigos (I got *very* smug), and I now have ideas for two more Wherigos. Bacon rolls were provided for the hungry; and we even streamed live footage of the eclipse from the BBC who had goone to where it wasn't quite so cloudy.
Just as we were all leaving and making plans to see one another at the next meet-up, the family with whom I'd been talking asked about the next meet. Specifiically what was it?
After a little confusion and explanation it tuurned out that this family weren't geocachers at all. They were a little embarrassed to say that they'd seen me shouting at another cacher in the car park when I'd arrived, and they thought I might be important. So they'd followed me and watched me being very noisy at what seemed to be an organised group (which confirmed their suspicions). They were impressed with the solar scope that I'd set up (even if we didn't use it) and everyone seemed to be friendly, so they just joined in.
They liked the sound of geocaching, and said they might take it up.

I could have gone on from the meet to a caching mission; the optionn was there. People were going hunting tupperware. But I was a bit tired, so I came home. I walked "Furry Face TM" round the park, and then had a crafty kip. I'd only intended an hour or so's shut-eye; I was out like a light until the phone woke me shortly after 4pm. I slobbed about watching "Upstairs Downstairs" in my jim-jams for a bit, then got ready for the evening.

Apologies to any of my loyal readers who would have liked a game of cards tonight. Realisitically we can't have more than nine people playing as it gets impractical. I could easily think of thwenty five people I could have asked along. I invited eight other people based on relative proximity and how much people like cards, and the probability that they would turn up; and did ask that if people couldn't make it they might let me know so's I could ask others.
Eight of us eventually got round to Texas-ing and Omaha-ing; and in a novel break with past form I actually won. Whilst doing so I shifted getting on for a gallon of ale, and the Rear Admiral put his arse through one of the chairs.
There was a time when I would play cards on a weekly basis; I do like a game. I really should play it more often...

19 March 2015 (Thursday) - Little Bit of Politics

As I drove home this morning from the night shift the talk on the radio was all about yesterday's budget.
The pundits were of the opinion that it was a budget aimed at buying votes in the upcoming election. (As if we didn't see that one coming.) I *really* hope that the electorate can see through such cheap vote-grubbing, but realistically we've hardly got much of an election to look forward to.

Over the last few weeks and months several of my loyal readers have confided complete bafflement about the political situation in the UK, so I'll take this opportunity to summarise that for which we get to vote in only forty-nine days time.
In years gone by the vote was a straight choice between wanton greed on one side and well-meaning incompetence on the other. There were other choices (most notable was platitude-blathering); but they weren't ever going to amount to anything, and hadn't done so for the best part of a century.
However over the last fifteen (or so) years the wantonly greedy and the well-meaning incompetent have taken on board one or two elements of the other's policies. The differences between the main political parties aren't quite so clear-cut any more, but if you look closely one side still advocates self-interest and the other is still incompetent (but well-meaning).

Things really came to a head five years ago at the last general election. With no clear winner the blatherers of platitudes got to hold the balance of power. Despite having effectively come third in the election, they got to choose the government by deciding with whom they would form an alliance.

Leaving aside the entire way the blatherers of platitudes abandoned any and all principles they might once have had, they have however set the mould for the next election. It is highly unlikely either of the two major political parties will have a majority of seats in the House of Commons after the upcoming election. This means that everything any party might try to do can be outvoted by everyone else acting together.
So to get a majority in the House of Commons one or other of the major political parties will need to form an alliance with one (or more) of the smaller parties. (That's a "coalition" - what we have at the moment)

The trouble with a coalition govearnment is that in order to form a workable alliance the major party in the alliance has to accept at least some of the demands of the smaller party. This can have a moderating effect on the larger party's policies (as has probably happened with the current government), but will probably have dire consequences in the next coalition government.

Having abandoned too many policies and principles in order to gain power, the blatherers of platitudes are effectively now a spent force in British politics.
There are two small parties who will effectively hold the balance of power at the next election. Commanding a very small percent of the vote, they will hold sway over the future direction of the country. And both of these parties are single-policy parties and so will only have one thing to demand of a potential coalition partner.

I predict that the next government will be a coalition which will either have Britain leave the European Union (having first sent them all back on the next banana boat), or will (within six months) have made Scotland an independent country.

I hope I'm wrong, but this time it won't matter who we vote for. This time the minority will win.
Perhaps we need a whole new system?