30 September 2015 (Wednesday) - Skint

A rather vivid nightmare woke me shortly after 3am. I didn't really get back to sleep after that, and was up watching "Toddlers and Tiaras" rather earlier than I would have liked. In this mornning's episode the children were all sporting false teeth and wigs, and the winner announced she was going to spend the prize money on turtles.
"Furry Face TM" got up to scrounge toast and have a little combing but he soon took himself back to bed.
As the toddlers did their things on the telly I had a look-see on the Internet. A chap with whom I once worked was jetting off across the world on business. For a minute or two I was just a little jealous; I spent two years trying to get into sales. I'd be far better at selling stuff than this bloke.
But then I wondered if I would actually like that sort of a life style. For all that jetting aabout on business might sound glamourous I have (in a previous life) been very lonely in hotel rooms in Milan and Paris and Brussels whilst away on business. My job quite suits me at the moment.

And talking of my job, I'd had a week off. It was time to go back to work. As I got the car going a warning light came up. A service is due. As I mentioned yesterday what with "er indoors TM" having had five hundred quid for new brakes and my having splashed out over two hundred quid on new specs I was rather looking to make some economies this month. Oh well...

As I drove to work the pundits were discussing the antics of the new leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn. For all that the media paint him as a twit there is no denying he won the leadership election by a landslide. Mind you if he is half the idiot the media would have us beleive, I can't help but wonder if tens of thousands of Tory voters really did join the Labour party to nobble the leadership election and leave them effectively unelectable.
Someone else who came over equally idiotic was the woman wittering platitudes on the radio's "Thought for the Day". She started off commenting about how NASA has found water on Mars (they actually have). From here it was only a short leap to the fictional TV series "Life on Mars" featuring John Simm. And from there she said that because Lewis Carroll claimed it was patently obvious that God exists there could be no denying that God does exist (thank you, and goodnight).
I love listening carefully to sermons and religious waffle. The speakers are so used to no one actually paying any attention that they never feel any need to present any attempt at a reasoned argument and trot out any half-baked nonsense that takes their fancy.

I got to work where we had something of a cake-themed day. And then I came home. Parking was somewhat tight; I finally found somewhere to park three streets away.
"Furry Face TM" was pleased to see me; we went for our walk which passed off uneventfully. And then it was time for the semi-final of "Bake-Off"...

29 September 2015 (Tuesday) - It Has Arrived

I slept like a log again last night. For all that I liked the holiday it seems you can't beat your own bed. I came down to find "Furry Face TM" snoring. He wagged his tail and graciously allowed me to rub his belly. He seems to be over his sulking now.
I set the washinng machine loose on various assorted colours (as one does). The thing was making something of a grinding noise yesterday as it dried my smalls; let's hope this is not a terminal noise.

I hung out the washing and then wandered up into town; my new specs were ready for collection. But I couldn't just get them; I had to have an appointment. I arrived, some secretary-type say me down, handed them over, asked if they fitted and if I could see anything throught them and then sent me on my way.
What a waste of time. I could have done that at any time. Did I *really* need an appointment?
I then went on to Boots for an errand for "er indoors TM" and whillst there I got a dozen film pots for geo-purposes. On eBay you have to pay for the things; Boots give them away.
On the way home my phone pinged. Email. My new geo-series in Bethersden had gone live and my phone nearly exploded under the strain. For each sandwich box I'd hidden I had an email to say that the reviewer had published it, an email to say the reviewer had put on a note saying he'd published it, an email to tell me that my geocache haad received the official thumbs-up and an email to tell me there was a new cache in the area. All that lot - thirty eight times. Deleting one hundred and fifty two emails gave me something to do as I walked back from town.

Once home I popped the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and we went for a little stroll. Through the back roads to Singleton Lake and back home via the park. For once our walk was relatively uneventful. We met a few other dogs on the way, but little Fudge seems to be getting more and more wary of other dogs as time goes by. Whereas in the past he would cause mayhem, these days he shies away from them.

We were out for a couple of hours. Once back I got the lawnmower out and attacked the grass in the back garden. I'd not mowed for a couple of weeks and it showed. Ideally I should give the lawn a haircut every week, but it doesn't happen. I could have done a better job I suppose, but my tennis elbow started playing up. So I adjorned and watched the last episode of "The Last Ship" as I scoffed lunch.

I then had a look at the monthly accounts. Oh dear. New specs and new brakes on the "er indoors-mobile TM" had pretty much cleared the bank balance. Perhaps we shouldn't have gone away for the long weekend? But what is money for if not to squander foolishly?
It was at this point I got a message. A geo-astro-buddy had been out round my Bethersden geo-series and had located the lot. I was pleased about that. For all that we all get the same notifications and we all get the same chance for First to Find, locally it is *always* the same old chap who sprints out to get them. It was nice to see someone else getting a look-in.
Flushed with success I then looked at the geo-map with a view to putting out a smaller series for the Kent Cacher's New Year's Day walk. It's not easy finding anywhere nearby but I have one or two ideas. I'm back on nights in a couple of weeks time so I'll start hunting out specific locations then.

I got the washing in from the line, and with little else to do I spent a little while watching fan-made Star Trek episodes. I fell asleep.

Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Insults were bandied, the naughty bits of various mammals discussed, and we watched Saturday's episode of "Doctor Who" which I actually enjoyed.
Oh - and Matt brought my lego advent calendar. Not long now....

28 September 2015 (Monday) - Bethersden Again

There was a lunar eclipse last night. I had all good intentions of getting up and having a look but what with having come back from a busy hoiday I slept right through it all. Had anyone else been up for the thing I would have got up.
After all I had the day off work today just in case anyone had suggested an alll-nighter.
I had planned to rant about the eclipse today. But I don't really feel ranty.... I feel - I supposed "resigned to it" sums up my feelings. Earlier in the year there was a solar eclipse for which the astro club arranged nothing. On 23 May this year Saturn was at opposition which made for good viewing. The astro club did nothing for that either. on 24 May I whinged and suggested we might organise something for this eclipse. Nothing happened.... I realise I'm to blame. I should have sorted something. But part of me cynically can't help but wonder why are we trying to build a multi-million pound observatory when no one actually goes out and looks at stuff?

Over brekkie I looked at photos of the eclipse taken by people who did stay up. It looked rather pretty. I wish I had made a point of getting up now. And as I scoffed my toast "Furry Face TM" glared at me from his basket when he thought I wasn't looking at him, and made a point of looking away from me when he thought I was. Since collecting him from "My Boy TM" yesterday he had something of a sulk on.
When I was ready for the off I showed him his lead and he grudgingly got up. Usually he runs mental at the sight of the lead. Not today.

Today I decided to do phase three of my Bethersden geo-project. Having figured out where I wanted to have my geo-walk (after two reconnaissance missions) and having done all the geo-admin, today I went out and drop-kicked thirty-eight sandwich boxes into various hedges.
We got to Bethersden and had a good walk. Admittedly I would have got on faster had I not taken "Furry Face TM", but what is geocaching all about if not taking a dog for a walk. As we walked we acquired another dog; a sheep-dog joined us at one of the farms. He was very friendly and clearly had every intention to follow us on our way. I had to tell him "SIT!" as we left his farm and keep pointing at him to stop him following us.
A little way down the route we were crossing a field full of sheep. "Furry Face TM" started barking at them and the flock ran off. Or that is (to be precise) all but one of the flock ran off. One single sheep ran up to us and was every bit as friendly and affectionate as the dog we'd recently shaken off. I made a fuss of this sheep; my dog immediately started pulling away. I tried to get a photo of the two of them together. The sheep was up for it but Fudge seemed to be terrified of this sheep.

We left the sheep behind, and after a near miss involving a sandwich box and a river I saw one of the biggest birds I've ever seen outside of a zoo. It was about fifty yards away, circling. The closest thing I've ever seen to it was an eagle I saw when in Canada. I think this thing must have been a huge buzzard.
Andd just as we were on the home stretch we had a little entertainment. There is a part of the walk where the footpath goes rather close to someone's house. That someone was a nudey ladey without any clothes on who was sunbathing in the nip. I was shocked (!)
Unfortunately there are some people who shouldn't sunbathe in the nip, and this nudey lady was one of them.

We completed our walk; just over eight miles distance and just under five hours time. Once home someone had a bath. One of our number had been rolling in fox poo when the opportunity arose during our walk. I'm not naming names but I will say there were only two of us on the walk and it wasn't me rolling in the poo.

I fancied a sandwich for lunch so I popped up to the corner shop. There was a silly old bat in the shop who was loudly telling everyone that she hoped they'd all seen last night's eclipse as there won't be another for many years. I told her not to beleive what she read in the papers, but she loudly dismissed me. Eclipses are ten a penny she said, but last night's was special because it happened during a full moon. "How often do you think that happens?" she asked me with a self-satisfied smile. "Every single lunar eclipse - dur!!!" I replied, and before she could continue I launched into an ad-hoc lecture about the phases of the moon and eclipses using a can of Doctor Pepper to be the Sun, my sandwich to be the Earth and a lamb samosa to be the moon's stunt double.
As I concluded (to a minor round of applause from the assembled throng) the old biddy dismissed it all saying "well I've never heard any of that before and I'm interested in astromomy" (not astronomy!) By now I was getting hungry and was more than a little tetchy. So I told her that I had no doubt that she was interested in "astromomy", but if she was also interested in astronomy (as well) why had she never once shown her face at the local astronomy club which has been going for at least seven years. It was clear that this old biddy was not used to people telling her when she was talking out of her arse, and she tried to make out that there wasn't a local astronomy club.. I told her that as a founder member of the club and the club's current treasurer I could assure here there certainly was. I gave her the web address, details of the Facebook group and told her where to find us.
The old bat had a sudden change of attitude and then started treating me as though I was the Astronomer Royal and started telling me about her grandchildren who live in Cork.
It was at this point I realised I should have kept my mouth shut

I eventually shook her off, and then as the washing machine chewed on my smalls I finally got to scoff my sandwich. By now "Furry Face TM" had forgotten his sulk and he snored on my lap as I set about the final bits of geo-admin for the geo-project.
I had so much else I wanted to do this afternoon but by the time I'd fnished fannying about it was nearly 5.30pm.

With "er indoors TM" off bowling I found myself watching vintage Doctor Who on the horror channel whilst struggling with a geo-puzzle. If anyone can name the people in this picture I'd be grateful....

27 September 2015 (Sunday) - Southwold

It was rather sad to find myself having my last brekkie at Colts Lodge this morning. As I admired the view there was a deer, bold as brass, right in the middle of the field outside the conservatory.
With brekkie scoffed we said our goodbyes to our hosts. If any of my loyal readers need a bed for the night in the Norwich area I can't recommend Colts Lodge highly enough.
We've had a good holiday. We've eaten well, seen some rather good views, had some good days out. However we didn't get to some of the places we were hoping to see, and we didn't get to visit friends that we would have liked to have seen.
I didn't realise just what a large place East Anglia is.

Today's plan was (basically) to come home and to do something or go somewhere on the way. Looking on the map it seemed that a trip to Southwold wouldn't be too much of a diversion. Southwold is where the nobs had a country house in "Upstairs Downstairs". It is where they make Adnam's beer. And there is a virtual geocache on the pier too. So we thought we'd spend some time there.
We got there.... I've spent a little time trying to be polite in my phrasing. But I can't. Southwold was a bitter disappointment. A few days ago I said that I was disappointed iin Great Yarmouth because it was little different to any other seaside town. Southwold is very different. On the sea front it has a pier, a crazy golf course, a boating lake and a stall that sells ice cream. And that's it. If you search out the back streets you might find the sweet shop but (frankly) I'm not sure it is worth the effort. I took a few photos of the place. It is very pretty but there really isn't much there.
Mind you there were thousands of peoople milling about the place. Perhaps the rest of Suffolk is even duller?

We then took a rather circuitous route home (via a geocache or two) and collected "Furry Face TM" from his holiday with "My Boy TM". I've missed that dog. He's currently now asleep in his basket having been walking for much of the afternoon.
"er indoors TM" has gone bowling and I'm left "home alone" yet again. It seems to be back to business as usual...

26 September 2015 (Saturday) - Castle Acre

I woke at about 5am this morning and lay awake listening for whoever else was staying in our guest house to go into *my* bathroom. At 6.30am I realised that rather than waiting for them to get in the bathroom first (which would really boil my piss) I should get out of my pit and do my ablutions first. So I did.
We met the newcomers at brekkie. They were hippies (!) And vegetarian hippies as well. I wasn't having any of their nonsense as I scoffed my sausages and bacon.

The hippies said their goodbyes; they were only staying the one night. As "er indoors TM" got ready I watched for deer out of the conservatory window. Unfortunately there weren't any about today. "er indoors TM" was soon ready and we set off for today's excusion.
When we decided to come to Norfolk for our holibobs we asked on the "Geocaching in East Anglia" Facebook group if there were any must-do caches in the area. The first place we were told about was the geo-walk around Castle Acre. We were told it was a walk of five and a half miles which would take about three hours, so we had our morning mapped out for us. We found the place and started walking. I made a minor navigation error initially, but I can throw the pair of us over barbed wire fences when the need arises. Despite our little diversion we had an excellent walk. We saw trout swimming in the river, we found friendly cows, and we even saw a grass snake. If only I had been quicker with the camera...
As we walked we found ourselves passing the entrance to the ruins of the Abbey, so we paid the nice lady from English Heritage and had a liittle diversion looking round the place before continuing with our walk.

As a geo-walk it was good; all of the cache hides had excellent GPS co-ordinates. Personally I would have put in a few more caches (but that's just me). But like all cache series the published distance was something of an underestimate. Billed as a stroll of five and a half miles, "Hannah" measured it as a tad under eight miles (and I did turn off the GPS as we took our abbey diversion).
Mind you for all that the walk was described as one of three hours, the same description did warn us that it was possible to spend all day in the area. We did spend quite some time looking round the Abbey and then at the end of our walk we had a look round the castle then had a cream tea. Our original plan was to visit Castle Acre in the morning and then go on to Sandringham in the afternoon. We finished our cream tea shortly before 5pm.
We abandoned our plans to visit Sandringham. We'll go there another time.

We'd had advice for where we might have dinner. The Ferry House in Surlingham is only a mile fom our guest house, but what with there being a river in the way it really is quicker to walk there from the guest house than it is to drive there. But we were coming from Castle Acre so we drove.
The place was welcoming; the staff friendly. the beer choice was good and the food excellent. I'd certainly go back again if the opportunity arose.
I took a few photos whilst we were out and once back to base I put them on-line. As I type this I'm feeling rather sorry for our host at the guest house. There is some big rugby game on the telly; he's been raving about it since the moment we arrived. He's been looking forward to it because tonight the guest house is full and he's been expecting to watch the match with a room full of like-minded rugby fans. Everyone else is currently cowering in their rooms, and I'm only in the lounge because I've paid good money to be here.
Periodically (when something rugby-ish happens on the telly) he's making noises of amaazement and wonderment. He simply doesn't understand that I have absolutely no interest in the rugby whatsoever and hasn't noticed I've spent the last hour messing on my lap-top...
Apparently England lost and "we" have got to do well against Australia next week... Speaking for myself I'm not going to make any effort against Australia at all...

25 September 2015 (Friday) - Banham Zoo

Another restless night unfortunately. But at least today there was no one else in the guest house to whom we had to be polite. As we scoffed a rather good Full English we watched the deer in the distance from the conservatory window.

We were soon ready for the off. We went (via a few geo-targets) to Banham Zoo. Many years ago when holidaying in Felixstowe with the fruits of my loin we had a day trip to Banham Zoo and I could remember it being a really good day out. So seeing it was only half an hour's drive (or so) away we thought we'd have a look-see.
By the time we'd finished geo-mucking-about we arrived at the zoo shortly before mid day. I was initially shocked at the cost; forty quid to get the pair of us in there seemed a tad extreme but in retrospect we got our money's worth.

There were all sorts of animals there; big and small. And you could get up-close with a lot of them. The meerkats were really good, as were the mongooses (mongeese?). The otters were noisy. the lemurs were sweet. The penguins were all on their nests. "er indoors TM" took a really good video of the giraffes which was marred only by my declaration (toward the end) of "Christ!!! - Look at the size of that zebra's cock". Perhaps I am naive but I didn't realise just how well endowed the average zebra is.
We had a cream tea and watched a cheetah devour half a cow's leg. Then we walked round the place again. The zoo was laid out in such a way that for all that it is not huge, it seems a lot larger than it actually is. We'd been there for over four hours before realising there were camels and tigers.
I went there thinking it might be a good way to spend a couple of hours; we were in there for over five hours. We only left because the place was closing.

We came home thinking we'd pick up a few random geocaches on the way back to base, and that we might find a pub for dinner as we drove. We found several random caches including one quite a way up a tree (and another Wherigo too) but we didn't randomly find a pub. So instead we took a recommendation from our current landlord.

The Shoulder of Mutton in Strumpshaw is an odd place. I walked in and took an instand dislike to the thug who was falling about at the bar whilst shouting obscenities. They I saw the barrels on the bar from which the ale was poured directly. Bearing in mind that time was pushing on and that we were hungry we stayed and had cod and chips. The food was *really* good, but of all the places we've visited over this holiday so far, this place is far and away the worst. Leaving aside the fact that the waitress couldn't keep up, this place needs to decide what it is. At the one end (where we were) is a haute cuisine restaurant. At the other end the thugs are competing to see who can shout the F-word the loudest. You can't successfully cater to both markets....

I took loads of photos today, once we were back at the guest house I popped them on-line as we slobbed about what I have come to see as our personal lounge. I took a few photos of the place.
Apparently some other normal people are staying. I'm told I shall meet them soon... I'm not sharing this lounge.

24 September 2015 (Thursday) - Great Yarmouth (and elsewhere)

Being in a different bed, I didn't sleep that well. I saw every hour of the night. I was just about to give up with sleeping and go have my morning ablutions when I heard another resident of our guest house go into the bathroom. He (she or it) was in there for half an hour. What were they doing? When they finally finished I went in and was done in five minutes.
Brekkie was very good; marred only by having to make polite conversation with the other people who were staying in the place. As we scoffed we commented on the rain. The weather forecast said it would be finished soon.

With brekkie scoffed the rain showed no signs of abating. So with complete confidence in the BBC's weather forecast we set off on our planned mission for the day. We started off with a little geo-nonsense. The UK's most easterly geocache is in Lowestoft. It would be daft not to get this one as it was (relatively) so close. It only took half an hour or so to get to Lowestoft where (despite the rain) we got not only the most easterly cache but also the most easterly multi-cache and the most easterly church micro too.

As the weather cheered up we then combined geo-nonsense and playing tourist by visiting Burgh castle where we did a Wherigo. Burgh castle was an odd place; little more than a wall in a field. I felt sorry for the passing normal people who were obviously trying to hang round us as our Wherigo cartridge was giving us far more touristy information than the normal people were otherwise able to glean.

From Burgh castle we went into Great Yarmouth to visit the Sea Life centre. It was excellent. All sorts of sea-going beasts were on display. I was in raptures over a crocodile and "er indoors TM" got bitten of off a shrimp. But the highlight of the place had to be the penguins. We watched their antics for ages. Did you know that they bray like donkeys?
After an age we moved on. We wandered up and down the prom but (to be honest) I was a little disappointed with Great Yarmouth. I was born and bred in a seaside tourist town, and the only difference between any of them is the name on the rubbish that is sold to the tourists. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying Great Yarmouth is bad. Far from it. But I was expecting something different and it is (in essence) just like Weymouth, Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Folkestone and all the rest.
Mind you I was disappointed with Amazonia. I'd been looking forward to seeing the reptiles; the place had clearly been shut down for months.

With a little time on our hands we then drove up the coast to Kelling for a walk. And on the way home we were getting a tad peckish so we thought that we'd take pot luck and find a pub at random for dinner. As luck would have it we found the Brickmaker's in Horsford. We were fortunate; Thursday night is steak night. It took two pints of their (rather good) ale to wash down the plate of steak and chips.
If any of my loyal readers are ever north of Norwich I can thoroughly recommend this place.

We got back to the guest house shortly after 8.30pm to find we were seemingly "home alone" so we slobbed about in the sitting room. I took loads of photos whilst we were out; I eventually got them on-line. If I have anything bad to say about this guest house, it is that the wi-fi is a bit iffy...

23 September 2015 (Wednesday) - Off to Norfolk

Yesterday I had a whinge about why Addenbrookes hospital was in special measures. Here's another reason.; the wanton profiteering of the drugs companies. One such comapy has put of the cost of one of its products from $13.50 to $750 for no other reason than that they could.
Perhaps NHS pharmacies might start making their own drugs and cutting out the commercial compaines altogether?
In the last day or so I also whinged at the amount of accusations of child abuse being made against children which later prove to be unfounded. Today over brekkie I was reading that eighty per cent of the prosecutions brought by the RSPCA fail to end in a conviction. There is talk of removing the RSPCA's right to prosecute as they too clearly seem to delight in making baseless allegations.
And just as I was launching into serious rant mode I had a message; my lego Advent calendar will be delivered next week. That left me in a better frame of mind to start on the morning's chores.

A bit of cleaning, a bit of laundry, a few deliveries and a tip run, then I took "Furry Face TM" for a short walk. We passed the vets, and as we often do we popped in and sat in the waiting room for a few minutes. Bearing in mind how terrified he was in the place only two days ago it was amazing how he didn't bat an eyelid as we went in today. Where I usually battle to get him (and keep him) on the scales he jumped on of his own accord and sat quietly.
We walked round past the Riverside Inn. The field there has a transient horse population. Some days there are no horses at all. Last week I counted six. Today there were over a dozen horses there. Where do they come from? Where do they go?

Once home I packed my bits and pieces and waited for "er indoors TM" to return. Once she was home we loaded the car and set off on our adventure.
In planning our route to holiday-land I'd seen there was a virtual geocache only a couple of miles away from where we were driving, so (after a hundred miles) as we came into Cambridgeshire we turned off. We needed to stretch our legs a little, and a little walk up to a trig point seemed like a good idea.
The description for the virtual cache said there would be sheep in the field. There were Highland cattle. With great big horns. But they seemed friendly enough and didn't bother me as I crossed their field to do the secret virtual-geo-ritual.
To be honest virtual geocaches are so obscure I wouldn't turn down the chance to get one; after all I expect I can run faster than a cattle.

Back to the car, and after another sixty miles we were skirting Norwich and in the village of Postwick which is pronounced (by some) as "Possick". We found the B&B... eventually. The post code took us half way along a country lane. The instructions were to keep going until the lane became a dirt track then follow the dirt track. About a mile past the point at which I decided that we must have made a mistake we found our temporary home.
It's a really lovely cottage miles from anywhere. We settled in, and the landlord told us of a rather good pub not ten minutes up the road. We soon found The Yare in Brundall, and before we went in we went to hunt down a geocache which the app said was only a hundred yards away. We soon had it. And (would you beleive?) having driven a hundred and sixty miles, the last person to find it was a fellow regular at the Kent cachers' meetings.

Dinner was excellent; as was the two pints of ale that washed it down. We had a minor hiccup in finding our way back to base, but that's one of the problems of being based in the back of beyond.
But we soon pulled up. A quick shower, and now we're slobbing about in a rather luxurious lounge. I shall make myself a coffee in a minute...

22 September 2015 (Tuesday) - Tribble-ations

After a rather restless night mostly spent tangled in the hose of my CPAP machine I got up and watched the latest episode of "South Park". It is now up to series nineteen and... I won't say that it isn't funny any more but I got the distinct impression that if you aren't up on current affairs in the US then most of the show will go over your head. I then watched the end of "Toddlers and Tiaras" in which the winners were very happy and the losers were not.
With a few minutes before having to leave for work I quickly checked my emails. Amazon (dot com) recommended that I might like to download the ebook "Brideshead Revisited" because it was simular to something I'd downloaded before; namely the ebook "Brideshead Revisited" (!)

The rain was rather torrential as I drove to work. And as usual I listened to the radio. Hate campaigners are trying to forment civil unrest by circulating rumours that the British Legion has decided not to sell poppies in certain areas in order not to upset the minorities. It turns out that this is all lies. If poppies aren't being sold anywhere it is because no one in that area is volunteering to sell them.
Perhaps those who stir the hatred might be better employed selling poppies.

There was a lot of talk about the dire straits in which Addenbrookes hospital is finding itself. Once a world leader it is now in "special measures". A lot of hospitals are now in these special measures; mostly for ridiculous financial reasons. And they really are ridiculous reasons.
Hospitals are supposed to be run like businesses these days. However if a proper business like B&Q, Amazon or even a lady of loose morals (to name three at random) gets a customer they provide a service or a product and present the customer with a bill. Hospitals don't work that way. They get a customer (patient) and provide their service for free then tell the Government what services they have provided. The Government then says it cost too much, gives a fraction of what the actual cost was, and then wonders why hospitals are all over-spent.

Equally laughable are moves by the English Bridge Union to have the card game "bridge" re-classified as a sport. Sport England had told them to get knotted and have made the accusation that there are hundreds of bridge clubs up and down the country who are just trying to milk money out of Sport England.

After two hours I finally got to work. A journey which normally takes forty minutes was somewhat delayed by five seperate floods across the road. Once at work I did my bit, and had a much easier journey home.

Once home I walked "Furry Face TM" round the block, we had a rather good omelette then set off to Folkestone. We terrorised the baby in his ball pool for a few minutes, then went on to the Tuesday gathering of the clans. The ChromeCast was a little under the weather, but we played a few games, then made ourselves feel sick through eating too many sweeties and watched Captain Kirk being inundated with tribbles.
Quality stuff....

21 September 2015 (Monday) - More Baseless Lies

This morning over a bit of brekkie I read that the police have dropped one of the investigations they are conducting about Sir Cliff Richard on the grounds that there was no truth in the allegations whatsoever. The poor chap has had these baseless lies hanging over his head for a year since the police first raided his home (when he wasn't there). Apparently Sir Cliff found out that he was being investigated through the media rather than being told directly. And for all that it's all over the papers, Sir Cliff hasn't been formally charged with anything.
Whilst there is nothing worse than "interfering" with children, as time goes on it would seem that there's also not much that is actually rarer. I've lost count of the amount of celebrities who have had their careers and reputations ruined by baseless allegations.
Perhaps the law might be changed in such a way that reporters can't comment on allegations until the accused has been found guilty in a court of law.

I put the lead on my dog and we set off early for our morning walk; as we went up the road we saw a bus trying to do an about-turn. I have absolutely no idea what a bus wold want to do an about turn but it was causing serious traffic chaos as it did.
We then went on through Bowens Field where, having ignored a dozen cyclists my dog then went mental at the next one. Sometimes I wonder what goes through his head.

We made our way to the vets; someone was due for a booster shot. I walk him in there at least once most weeks. We go into the waiting area, sit for a bit and come out. When we are not seeing the vet there is no problem. When we are seeing the vet he knows. I had to drag him in to the place this morning, and once in the place he cowered under the benches. As he cowered I got chatting with a chap who'd brought in a ferret with a sore foot. My dog's terror of the vet was no match for his jealousy and he soon came out from under the bench too see what he was missing.
We were called in to see the vet; "Furry Face TM" was dragged in. I lifted him onto the vet's table and caught him in mid-air as he immediately leapt off. The vet was really good with him. I told her that he seems rather quieter than usual lately. She gave him a serious going over and couldn't find any problems. She suggested the problem might be a combination of a historic bad back and not being as young as he once was. I expect there's a lot of truth in that.

He got his booster injection, and we came home to find we'd had a letter thorugh the door. I say "letter"; it was a flyer from "Nationwide Cleaners" telling us how a cleaner could save us valuable time. It's no secret that I don't live in the tidieest of houses. Having someone to sort the mess would be handy.
Until I saw their prices. Ten quid per hour. Ten quid !!!! Am I just being mean?

As I drove to work Women's Hour was on the radio. Perhaps I'm just a sexist pig but I usually find that show generally supercilious and patronising. As I tuned in they were starting an expose on erectile dysfunction which I found to be presented in a rather insulting sort of way. I formed the distinct impression that erectile dysfunction was being presented as yet another thing that men did wrong purely to annoy women.
This was followed by a pre-recorded interview with the late Jackie Collins (she died over the weekend) who was reading some of the raunchier extracts of her books. Call me old fashioned if you will but in my world there is no space for caressing nipples on national radio at 10.30am.

I stopped off in Morrisons for apples and bananas, then went on to Go Outdoors for some new trainers. They weren't cheap but hopefully they will last a little while. I have a twenty-eight day no quibble return period so we shall see.

And then to work. And as is so often the way when on the late shift, all of note in my day was over and done with by 11am...

20 September 2015 Sunday) - Hawkinge, Vets

As is so often the way, after an ale or two I didn't sleep well last night. I was up and eating cornflakes whilst watching "South Park" at 3am in an attempt to settle my wayward stomach.
It settled (after a fashion); I went back to bed. However my sleep was marred by vivid dreams in which I had been called into work because I had recently been to London for a day's parasitology course (which I had) and my wisdom was required. In my slumbers an associate had gone bright yellow having contracted the rather rare strain of "bastard malaria".
I finally gave up with the idea of sleep shortly after 7am and watched "Toddlers and Tiaras" over toast and coffee. That settled my stomach far more than cornflakes ever did.

As I was prepping "Hannah" for the day I had a message. Yesterday we spent the evening at a geo-camping event. Nick's phone had been charging in the car as we sat chatting. This morning - disaster. Nick's keys had gone missing. "er indoors TM" had a look in the car as I prepared to drive back out to Yalding to deliver them, but they weren't in our car.
For all that we breathed a sigh of relief I can't help but wonder where the errant keys went.

"Furry Face TM" seemed rather subdued this morning; only nibbling at his breakfast. Usually when he sees me getting backpack and walking boots together he gooes mental, but not today. Perhaps he was worn out with yesterday's excitement. But subdued dogs notwitstanding we got ourselves together and set off to the south coast.
We had plans to walk three shorter geo-serieses today, and so we drove out to Hawkinge to start the "Up on the Downs" series. Billed as a walk of two and a half miles the plan was to do this and another series before lunch, and then move on to Samphire Hoe for the afternoon.

We started our walk with a little diversion into Hawkinge itself, and then went on to the country lanes. We saw rabits and pheasants and fox poo. The walk was rather scenic; I took a few photos whilst we were there. But as for a geocaching walk.... I don't want to be negative, it wasn't a bad walk. In fact looking back it was actually a rather good one. And in his defence the chap who'd put the series out did say he'd never had much to do with the outdoors and that he was new to hiding tupperware... but...
I had a couple of trivial issues with the series. Personally I would have put more caches along the route; I would have had more caches at places where you change directions and footpaths just to make that change more obvious. And I would question the published distance. Billed as two and a half miles, three GPS units measured it at a shade under four miles.
However I would say that the first geocache could have been worked differently. The puzzle was was overly complicated and the final co-ordinates were some two miles away and weren't actually on the walk. The final location involved a little detour from the circuit of about half a mile. I would have done it differently.
But I'm probably just being picky here. The chap who'd put the caches out had obviously put a lot of time and effort into providing me with a walk around places I've never been before, and for all that I might whinge, I am very grateful for his efforts.

As we walked we noticed a little blood on Suzy-pup's side. We stopped and looked closer. There was a gash in her side about an inch long. So rather than carrying on into Alkham we abandoned our plans for the rest of the day and drove to the vets in Folkestone. In addition to the gash the vet found two puncture wounds. We are pretty sure she ripped her side on barbed wire; either when chasing pheasants, or when falling out of a tree (it's a dog thing).
The poor pup didn't seem overly bothered but had we carried on she would have got the wound infected. The vet closed the gash with three staples and put a "bucket of shame" over Suzy-pup's head and ordered rest, so we cut the day short and came home.

Once home "er indoors TM" drove "My Boy TM" up to the hospital. Cheryl's back had been getting more and more painful. She is booked for surgery for a slipped disc, and having been to the Accident & Emergency department she'd been told she could have the surgery today.
After a few hours of waiting around she was told things weren't as urgent as they seemed and she was back on the waiting list and sent home again.

And with "er indoors TM" off bowling I was left "home alone" with my dog. He seemed really quiet, and as I did the ironing I had to turn the telly up over the sound of his snoring.
He's laying asleep next to me now; he sees absolutely knackered. He has got an appointment with the vet himself tomorrow. I shall ask them if I'm fussing about him unduly...

19 September 2015 (Saturday) - Teapot Island

I was rather later getting going than I might have been today. What with having swapped duties around (I'm accommodating like that) I've just worked four nights out of the last six. Perhaps that's why I was tired.

Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. The rugby world cup has kicked off (does rugby kick off?) and I'm not going to dare to say a word against it. I will however ask the question that why is it acceptable that everyone else can openly sneer at any pastime I enjoy (such as hiking, saxophoning, geocaching, home brewing, playing cards, astronomising, kite-flying, camping) whilst if I say a word against organised sport, serious offence is taken?
I can distinctly remember a rather nasty incident a few years ago when a chap I thought was a good friend had been lambasting me about some sad Trekkie cards I was collecting at the time. I then mentioned something about "Mighty Morphing Queens Park Rangers" and I was told in no uncertain terms that were I not a good friend of his sister in law he would have knocked me out. (This was no joke - he was serious)
Today is also national "Talk like a Pirate Day". I've mentioned this in previous years. It is a silly game which has run its course though; even the official website has gone. The replacement's not really been updated for some time either, which is a shame.

I got dressed; putting on a pair of the new pants I'd bought in Morrisons the other day. There is something wonderful about having pants with functioning elastic. I then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We went round to the park; normally I avoid this place on Saturday mornings because of all the joggers. Today we were alittle later than usual and most (nearly all) of them had gone home.
My dog played nicely with some other dogs; I wish he'd do that more often. More and more these days he just ignores other dogs.

We came home, and I spent another couple of hours working on my next Wheri-project. It took that long to get a mythical beast to ask a riddle. I say "that long"; perhaps "at least that long" might be more accurate. I've not got it to work correctly in the simulator yet.

Being at something of a loose end for the day I looked on the geo-map and had a stroke of inspiration. There was a canoe-ing geo-event scheduled to end up at Teapot Island this evening so we thought we might pop in. We arrived at Teapot Island, solved a geo-puzzle, failed on a Wherigo and being three hours too early for the geo-meet we retired to the riverside pub and downed ale and watched the world go by for a while.
When the time was right we wandered over to the camp site and helped the canoeists ashore, then helped get the barbecue fire going. And we had a frankly wonderful evening just sitting and chatting as it got darker and darker.
I slept all the way home...