30 November 2015 (Monday) - Parsnip Dalek & Cauliflower Sheep

After two bad nights I slept well. I was rather pleased about that. Over brekkie I watched a rather awful episode of "Dads Army" then had a look-see on-line. Checking out the Internet it seems that several people watched a program on telly last night about the last flight of the Vulcan XH558 bomber plane. Over the years many of my friends have raved about this plane. And (as always) I am in a minority of one. I've reseached and looked-up, and I can't see any reason why this plane should have attracted such interest. I can't find anything of historical importance with which the plane was involved. I have asked before, and just had "you don't understand" shouted at me. Which is a fair summary. I didn't understand then and I don't understand now.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not decrying this plane in any way. I just have no idea why it is so popular.

As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about the United Nations summit on climate change. The general consensus seemed to be not so much trying to stop global warming but arguing about just how much global warming the planet can realistically cope with. Expert opinion seemed to feel that a two degree rise in mean global temperatures would just about be manageable and so that seemed to justify everyone pretty much doing nothing to stop carbon emissions.
There were still some politicians actively denying the entire concept of global warming...

There were also calls for there to be a twenty per cent tax on all sugary drinks to try to stop kiddies from becoming quite so fat. The idea was that the tax would not be at all unfair as there are always non-sugary alternatives. For myself I drink the sugar-free alternatives as I actually prefer the taste but that doesn't stop me being fat. Personally I would think that this would scupper the scheme but apparently not. The pundits on the radio wheeled on some shrieking harridan who ranted that such a tax worked in Mexico where it reduced childhood obesity by six per cent. And to give both sides of the argument equal air-time the pundits then wheeled on someone from the CDSD (Council for Drinking Sugary Drinks) who pointed out that the Mexican government had actually abandoned their sugar tax as they had found that it hadn't worked.
The shrieking harridan didn't like that. She seemed to know that the tax had been abandoned, and seemed to think that it had been abandoned as a personal affront to her.

I stopped off at Morrisons before work. I got some fruit, I got a paper packet of coffee for a fraction of the price of a glass jar (thereby doing my bit to save the environment). And I got a new ironing board cover. I shall use that in a day or so. It will be something to which I can look forward with anticipation. (Never a dull moment in my life).

I got to work shortly after 8am. Three quarters of an hour earlier than I needed to be there, but I am usually a little early. I have found that I can either get to work early and read my Kindle or I can leave home a little later and spend half an hour stuck in queuing traffic burning petrol. And sometimes (just occasionally) being at work early means that if there is a problem with the early shift I can step into the breach, start work early and therefore go home earlier.
That's what happened today. Result!
The bank's "disputes team" phoned me as I was working. I didn't hear the call, and so on seeing a missed call I rang them back. My request to them was quite straight-forward; stop all payments to Genes Reunited for the simple reason that I've not used teh website in years.
The chap to whom I was speaking was (to be frank) a total cock. He said they could do nothing to help because I hadn't answered their initial call. He went on to say that even if they did stop the payments and cancel the direct debit that wouldn't stop payments being made in future. He then pretended not to be able to speak English any more, and after a few seconds the line went dead.
Oh my piss was boiling. I phoned back and a nice lady answered who sorted the problem in less than fifteen seconds.
It would have been so much easier if she or someone else who spoke English had answered in the first place.

An unexpected early start made for an unexpected early finish, I hoped to be able to drive home before it was completely dark. I hoped in vain.
Once home I ran "Furry Face TM" round the roads then I spent a little while whittling a parsnip. My employer has organised a competition to build a nativity scene made out of vegetables. A team from my department is seriously up for this. The creation of various nativity characters has been assigned to individuals and it falls to me to make the Christmas Dalek out of a parsnip. It came as a surprise to me to find that not that many people had actually heard of the Christmas Dalek. I thought everyone had heard of it; it made its way to Bethlehem by following "Yonder Star".
Mind you in retrospect I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting the Christmas dalek to look like. But whatever it was, I think it has turned out to be something of a disappointment.
On the other hand Hannah's cauliflower sheep are excellent.

29 November 2015 (Sunday) - Visiting My Mum

I woke several times in the night needing the loo. I have no idea why that might have been. There is no denying that I might have slept better has a certain dog not been so fidgetty. I *really* should have taken him back to his basket so I have only myself to blame.

I spent a little while fiddling about on-line over brekkie and then waiting whilst "er indoors TM" got ready. There didn't seem to be much of note going on in cyberspace. We were only a few minute behind schedule when we drove down to Folkestone to collect "Daddies Little Angel TM" and the littlun.
Sam-I-am stayed at home today - bearing in mind he'd been run over only two days ago I didn't blame him.

As we drove on to Hastings we went through New Romney. Earlier I'd had an email about a new geocache having gone live there. Despite "Daddies Little Angel TM"'s vociferous protests we thought we'd try for a First to Find. We found the cache; we were first. Happy dance.
And so on to Hastings where we had a quiet "family" afternoon. I say "quiet"; now that my grandson can walk he has become "Stormaggedon; Bringer of Destruction". He emptied out his great-grandmother's cupboards and demanded to be allowed to play with the christmas ornaments. My mum actually encouraged him to break them. I'm told it's a great-grandmother thing.

We took the younger generations back to Folkestone, "Daddies Little Angel TM" and littlun slept most of the way. There was a minor hiccup when "Daddies Little Angel TM" realised she'd left her keys indoors and was locked out, but it didn't take long to sort that problem.

Once home "er indoors TM" decided against her usual Sunday bowling; instead we had a quiet evening in. Over a rather good korma we watched last night's episode of "Doctor Who". Bearing in mind how good some of the recent episodes have been, I was rather disappointed...

28 November 2015 (Saturday) - A Booze Up

I was rather late to bed last night. I managed about four hours sleep. After having been wide awake for seemingly ages I got up to find it was only 5.30am. But being wide awake I thought I'd get some laundry on then watch some telly. "You, Me and the Apocalypse" was rather good; only eight hours till the apocalypse now.
I had a little look-see on social media. Having seemingly offended the universe yesterday I would appear to have managed not to have wound anyone up overnight. Mind you I must admit to being somewhat offended myself. Over the years I've inadvertently caused offence on-line several times. Why is it that those who are so quick to take offence at what I see as humourous whilst they themselves and their nearest and dearest post racist and sexist claptrap? Why is it acceptable to poke fun at me because I am fat, bald and always falling asleep? (three things I *really* don't like)
Perhaps I'm just a little over-sensitive? Bearing that in mind I had a little cull of my Facebook list. It would seem that one of those who wouldn't have survived the cull had already blocked me. Oh dear.

With brekkie scoffed I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and took him out. I’d had reports that one of my Bethersden geocaches had gone missing so we drove out to Bethersden for a look-see. Sure enough it wasn’t there. Someone had trashed the hide I’d made for the cache, so I made a new hide and put out a new sandwich box.
As we walked back I saw the biggest buzzard you ever did see. I say “buzzard”; pterodactyl might have been closer to the actual fact of the matter.
We then popped up to Bethersden church to track down a geocache I’d failed to locate on several previous occasions. I finally found it today. I was pleased about that: today was a “calendar day”.
We came home to an empty house; "er indoors TM" had gone off to the candlemonger's winder extravaganza. A certain dog had a bath, and the washing machine worked its magic on my smalls as I did some dull household paperwork.
First of all I had a look at the household accounts. They’ve been worse. I did notice a payment of nine quid to Genes Reunited. I’ve not used that website for at least four quid so I asked the bank to stop payments. They’ve referred it to the “disputes team” who don’t work at weekends.
Then I had a go at the letter rack. I found a missing Ordnance Survey map of the Ashford area. I knew it would turn up eventually.
I found the renewal letter for the household building and contents insurance. It was as well it was set to automatically renew.
I found the renewal letter for the washing machine insurance cover. On the one hand I could pay out for a new washing machine. On the other hand for less than the price of a round of drinks once a month I can have the nice man come out to the house and fix whatever is wrong with the old machine. I shall stick with what I know.
I had yet another letter from the dentist telling me about the administrative changes they are making that won’t affect me in the slightest.
The power company sent me information about downloading their app. Heaven only knows why my gas meter needs an app.
I found my HCPC registration certificate. I might need that.
Virgin media had sent me a ton of rubbish despite my asking them not to do so.
There was a reminder that I needed to get my boiler serviced (from the chap who did it).
There was a newsletter from the Howletts Foundation which went straight in the bin.
There was also a newsletter from the RNIB which also went straight in the bin.
In fact probably the only thing worth having out of that letter rack was the Secret Santa gift I’d bought for next weekend’s geo-xmas-bash. I’d been wondering what I’d done with that pressie.
Having a few minutes spare I had a look on-line to see how my geo-trackables are doing. For those of my loyal readers who have better things to do with their lives a geo-trackable can be absolutely anything. You put them in a geocache and someone finds it and moves it on (and logs on-line that they have done so) and you can follow the progress of the things are they go round the world.
In theory…
In practice I have eight of the things. I say “have”; there are eight that I have set loose into the wild. I now have no real involvement with them.
The Homesick Alien” has completely vanished and is actually lost.
The Brighton Kite Flier” is in a sandwich box near Folkestone.
Mr Manky’s stunt double” looks to have run out of steam somewhere in north Kent.
The World’s Sexiest Chip Fork” is currently in a sandwich box near Bristol.
Oh Pooh” looks as if it is in Devon.
Pisces-ed as a rat” seems to be in the vicinity of the amazingly named town of Gaylord Minnesota.
Clowning Around The World” seems to be lost somewhere in Germany
In fact there is only “Adventures in Space (and time)” that seems to be currently active.

"Daddies Little Angel TM"phoned. Sam-I-Am doesn't seem to be too well after his accident yesterday. There was talk of his going back to hospital.

And then I took the train down to Folkestone. The train ride was fun. there was a rather attractive young lady (with legs all the way up to her bum and rather kinky boots) pontificating to an audience of admirers. She came out with some howlers: "I always wanted a dog. I wanted a polecat" and "if I don't persevere I will give up".
I'd arranged to have a weak shandy with Jimbo. We started off in the Firkin which is getting busier and busier. After two pints we made out way to the Pullman for a pint of "Mister Chubb". We had then planned to go to the British Lion but it was closed so the Guildhall (and smoked porter) is always a good back-up plan. Half an hour's catching up with an old friend in Kipps was then followed by an investigation into the Red Cow. I've walked past this place so many times over the last thirty years and had never gone in, I won't go in again. And then a farewell pint in the Park Inn before a kebab and the train home.
Things became rather vague as the afternoon wore on but I gave the Untappd app on my phone a good workout....

27 November 2015 (Friday) - Sigh...

Having been woken at 2am by a CPAP machine which was trying to inflate me to bursting point I spent a few minutes fiddling with its controls. It seems to have calmed down a little.
I was still up and about before 6am though. "Furry Face TM" went mental round the garden for a little, and then over brekkie I watched last night's episode of "Detectorists". This show has come up in conversation so many times recently. For a gentle nondescript show it seems to be something that everyone is quietly watching.
I then had a little look-see on-line. Last night I saw that the Ashford Herald had published the news that the local council was in negotiations about building a new observatory. Bearing in mind the Ashford Herald has a reputation for not quite getting it right I took what they said with a pinch of salt. It did occur to me that they seemed to know about as much as I did and probably found out at about the same time as I did.
I'd suggested that the astro club might like to cancel the talk I was due to give tonight in favour of a discussion on the new observatory but my thinly veiled ruse of getting out of having to turn up tonight failed.

As I drove to work that idiot Jeremy Corbym was in the news. He's apparently all against bombing the IS murderers because doing so goes against their inalieanable human rights to murder (or some other politically correct claptrap). Apparently several of his front-bench shadow cabinet chums are now publically disagreeing with him, and finally there are now calls for him to resign. Surely it is quite plain to everyone that he was put in place by a Tory plot to trash the Labour party. No sane person would want to go back to the stupidity of what passed for socialism in the 1980s.
There was also a lot of fuss made on the radio about the so-called "Black Friday" sales that are happening today. Many stores in the UK are copying the US tradition of having major sales on the day after Thanksgiving. But it doesn't seem to be universally welcomed. There was consternation in Scotland when one branch of Tesco turned away people not wanting to buy sale stuff.
And apparently having first brought the entire "Black Friday" thing to the UK, Asda seems to have completely abandoned the idea.

I got to work and did that which I couldn't avoid. As the day went on so I had some bad news. The father of my grandson has been run over. He was knocked off his motorbike by a stupid woman who drove through a red light. His foot is broken; his bike is a write-off. At least the driver has admitted responsibility.

With work done I went for some McScoff with Jimbo, Stevey and "er indoors TM". From there it was on to astro club.
There's no denying I didn't want to go tonight. I've really enjoyed it for some years but over the last year I've not been feeling welcome there. There's a few people there who've decided they absolutely hate me and make a point of publically blanking me. On more than one occassion I've been chatting with people and these "delightful folk" have just barged into the conversation as though I wasn't there. On one occassion making a point of standing in front of me with their back to me.
I *really* wasn't looking forward to their antics tonight.
Fortunately not one of them was there this evening and I actually had a surprisingly good time. I went along having actually decided that this would be the last time; I'd even written a resignation letter. But I came away thinking I might give it another chance. Why should they spoil it for me?

Following on from which... this morning I saw a little joke on Facebook which poked fun at the rampant politically correct aggressive (frankly nasty) feminist attitude which has brought me to the brink of leaving the astro club. So I re-posted it.
It's caused offence....

26 November 2015 (Thursday) - The Fur Flew

For the last couple of years I've been sleeping with a CPAP macine blowing air up my nose. It keeps me asleep by ensuring I don't have quite so much trouble breathing whilst I am sparko. It has worked fine all the time I'm not sleeping for *that* long but I have noticed taht the longer I sleep so the harder it blows. The thing woke me shortly after 6am this morning when it was trying to inflate me like a balloon.
Perhaps it needs servicing?

I took "Furry Face TM" for his morning walk. Oh dear. Yesterday's passed off without event. Not so today. As we walked through Bowens Field he shot into a thicket. There was a *lot* of commotion and after a minute or so a huge dog came running out. I say "dog"; the animal looked to have been the love-child of a cart horse and a grizzly bear. This giant beast looked terrified of Fudge.
We then went round to Viccie Park where he got into a scrap with a very large fluffy Alsatian. I have heard the expression "the fur flew" used in relation to a fight; I had never actually seen it before. But this morning it actually happened. The fur really did fly. Not Fudge's, but the fur of the fluffy Alsatian. Mind you the nice lady with the Alsatian seemed to blame her dog entirely. I was pleased about that.
This is why he stays on the lead when we go on long walks at the weekends.

It was with something of a sense of releif that I came home and (having settled "Furry Face TM" ) set off to Canterbury a little earlier than I might have done. As I drove there was an article of the radio about the Salem witch trials. On the one hand it is amazing that so many people were killed because of crackpot religion. On the other hand it's not really surprising at all bearing in mind how religious crackpotism is clearly alive and well in the Middle East. Perhaps in three hundred years time they too might have grown out of that nonsense.

I got to Canterbury, found a geocache as a calendar-filler then treated myself to McBreakfast. As I queued for McBreakfast there was a gaggle of students (all apparently pissed as farts at 10am) arguing with the counter staff that they wanted Doritos.
I giggled a little as they tried to find the way out of the place.

I then spent a few minutes in the cheapo-bargains shop then went to work. And (as is so often the way when I'm on the late shift) the day was all but done by 11.30am.

25 November 2015 (Wednesday) - Shaddap You Face

I woke rather early this morning from a particularly vivid dream in which I had recently moved to a rather salubrious part of town called "Posh B*stard Estate" and had been forced to make emabrassingly polite small talk with a whole load of chinless wonders. It was horrible.
On waking I could hear next door's baby gurgling and people singing "Happy Birthday". One of the sad things about the fruits of my loin having grown up and left home is that birthdays don't start before 5am any more. Mind you one of the sad things about having a Patagonian Tripe-Hound is that most days seem to start before 5am.
Said Patagonian Tripe-Hound was sitting with me as I scoffed my brekkie. He was half asleep; dozing contentedly (as he does) when suddenly and for no reason he leapt up and ran around barking. I often wonder what goes through his head.
Talking of what goes through heads, for some reason the song "Shaddap You Face" was stuck in my head this morning. It didn't seem to want to go anywhere. So I posted it to Facebook and took "Furry Face TM" for his morning constiutional. Yesterday I mentioned I wasn't feeling on top form; this morning I was certainly feeling a bit under the weather as we walked. It was probably just as well that nothing much of note happened this morning.

Shortly after coming home the phone rang. The phone display said "International" so I knwo it was someone trying to con me. I answered the phone fully intending to waste their time (I do that) but the person at the other end of the line merely shouted "Carling" half a dozen times and then hung up. I wonder what that was all about.

As I left home I had a look at the humungous geocache which sits in my front garden. At the weekend Gordon told me the lock didn't work. I had a go; sure enough the lock seemed jammed.
This is a "clever cache" it took loads of brain power to devise and cost me over forty quid to actually create. It's been found less than ten times and is now broken. I shall squirt the lock with WD40 but I suspect it is not going to come off unless I use bolt cutters.
Again the more effort that goes into making a "clever cache", the shorter the thing actually lasts.

As I drove to work there was an interview on the radio. The pundits were talking to some supposedly famous historian who was discussing his biography. He referred to one stage of his life as "bleak" because at the time he had small children. That annoyed me; small children is the best of times. So I turned the radio off and sang along to Ivor Biggun's rude songs instead.
Braving the traffic jams I finally arrived in Folkestone where I spent a little while with grand-son before making my way to work. Work wasn't especially taxing today; in fact it was rather dull. But eventually it was home time.

Once home I considered taking "Furry Face TM" round the roads. But he's had a good run today. I'll take him out in the morning when we can see what's going on...

24 November 2015 (Tuesday) - Feeling a Bit Iffy

I slept like a log last night, finally waking to the cries of next door's baby shortly before 6am. Over brekkie I watched last week's episode of "South Park" and then a documentary about the lifeguards on Brighton beach (the one in Sussex). I used to go to college in Brighton and had one or two enjoyable days on Brighton beach. There weren't lifeguards on that beach when I was last there.
When that show finished there was a little countdown of the top ten movies currently in the cinemas. I've never really had much interest in going to the cinema. It looks like there's quite a few films out at the moment that I'd like. No one told me there was a Charlie Brown movie !!
My aunts used to go to the cinema once a week (every Tuesday) and take pot luck as to what was on. Thyet were rarely disappointed. Once a week might be a bit much. Once a month maybe?

Today's drive to work wasn't as cold as yesterday's. It was actually ten degrees warmer. Seven degrees (celcius) this morning; minus three yesterday. As I drove the radio spewed its usual blend of drivel. The most memorable part of it was that it didn't actually go fizzy and lose reception for several miles around Godmersham. Dodgy atmospherics or a new transmitter?

Once at work I carried on organising the troops. The hospital has advertised a competition for Christmas; participants have to create a nativity scene out of vegetables. Rather than carving a parsnip myself I've decided to mastermind the scheme. I have a team poised to create. All we need is the instructions. The flyer we found said to email for details. We have emailed; we wait expectantly.

I came home to find "er indoors TM" was home. She'd taken the day off sick today. She'd been whinging about being a bit under the weather for a few days. I must admit I wasn't feelin quite one hundred per cent today; I wonder if I'm going down with the same bug?
Perhaps an evening in front of the telly might sort me out?

23 November 2015 (Monday) - Cold

Another restless night; I shall have to steer clear of these all-you-can-eat buffets in future. Rather than laying in bed with stomach ache I decided to get up and have stomach ache instead. A brekkie of coffee and toast went some way to settling things.
As I scoffed I watched an episode of "Dad's Army" which the SkyPlus box had thoughtfully recorded over the weekend. Much as I quite llike that show I'm coming to the conclusion that it would have been a lot better if it had not had Clive Dunn as Corporal Jones in the cast. There is a limit to how many times that they don't like it up 'em.

It was rather cold as I left home this morning. For the first time this year I had to scrape ice off of my car. That means that winter has officially arrived.
As I drove I listened to the radio. And I got just the teensiest bit wound up. Apparently hospitals are now not allowed to pay the extortionate fees that locum agencies charge for staff. Payments to agencies will be capped. At first sight this seems a sensible idea because these payments cost the NHS a fortune. However the NHS needs locum workers because it can't fill the vacancies it has. Jobs are advertised; no one applies for them. And so agency workers are used to do the jobs that demonstrably no one else wants to do. And these locum workers are (in large part) coming from overseas attracted by the good money. But this money is not going to be there any more. If the money isn't offered then people won't travel half way round the world. And so there vacancies won't be filled.
The obvious solution is to pay a wage that attracts staff in the first place. Why should someone study for five years to attain a post in a hospital which only pays half the wage a trainee train driver gets after six months.

There was also an interview with Ed Milliband (the previous leader of the Labour party). He seemed to appear to be very good in that he didn't run down Jeremy Corbyn in any way. But he was strangely silent when asked to comment about how the Labour party is effectively dead in the water.
He was also rather non-committal when it was mentioned that he's apparently said to his critics “I bet you didn’t think things would actually get worse”.
The Labour party annoys me. they could do so much better.

Last week I mentioned about having a vague plan to fill my geo-calendar. Today was a date on which I'd not previously logged a find, and so locating a sandwich box was on the cards for something to do before work.
According to the geo-map there was a large cache hidden not very far from work so once I'd visited Morrisons I went for a look-see. According to the instructions on-line the cache was near (but not in) an old derelict shed. As I walked up to the shed I saw a large plastic box with an "Official Geocache" sticker. This box was laying upside down in the middle of a field. I collected it, and followed my GPS to where the cache was supposed to be. The lid and cache contents were strewn around the area. It had obviously been deliberately trashed. Bearing in mind that the nearby derelict shed was exactly the sort of place where I would play when a youngster I can't help but think that kids have found it and wrecked it.

I went on to work and did my bit. And then came home again. The evening wasn't quite as cold as the morning had been, for which I was grateful.
Steve and Sarah delivered chocolate (which was to be encouraged), and then "er indoors TM" went bowling. I ironed shirts and spent a little longer fiddling with my new Wherigo...

22 November 2015 (Sunday) - Brenchley

My stomach wasn't right last night. I hoped a good night's sleep might help. It didn't. Between "Furry Face TM" woofing and "er indoors TM" snoring I farted through every hour of the night.
I say "farted"; it was more akin to a transimittion in morse code.

Over brekkie I had a look-see on line. Last night in the restaurant I saw Mr Stephen Crowhurst. For those of my loyal readers who have never encountered the fellow he is a local tradesman who we once employed to do our loft conversion. To cut a very long story short he did about half of a rather shoddy job then just walked away, costing us thosands of pounds to put right. (Needless to say "the proper channels" were of no help to us). There is no denying I contemplated going up to him and giving him a slap, but realistically what would that acheive? It is a well-established point of law that people are legally permitted to defraud others.
This morning I looked him up on the Internet. Despite (supposedly) having gone bankrupt the chap is still operating a loft conversion business and a plastering business too.
Isn't private enterprise a wonderful concept. Caveat emptor !

With brekkie scoffed we rallied the troops and set off for the Sunday geo-wander; today to Brenchley. It is in the vague direction of Tonbridge - I didn't know where it was either. Eleven of us (and four dogs) had a rather good walk of some seven and a half miles. The day started rather cold, but the sun came out and it brightened up. As we walked dogs chased squirrels, woodpeckers flew about, sheep were inquisitive and we even saw birds of prey being flown. There was beautiful scenery, a disused glof course, and there was even an impromptu chorus of "Into the Valley" (originally performed by the Skids) as we walked into the valley.
There's no denying the mud was quite slippery in places but it was a good walk; it sums up why I like this silly hunting tupperware game. Again it took me somewhere beautiful where I wouldn't otherwise have gone.
In fact the day was only marred by my ongoing guts-ache. I *really* shouldn't have pigged out at last night's all-you-can-eat buffet.

Geocaching-wise this walk rather demonstrated a point I've been trying (and failing) to make for some time. As we walked around some twenty-odd cache hides we found ourselves solving a field puzzle. We found several today, but one of them involved our having to back-track for a couple of hundred yards. Not a major problem; it was actually a good puzzle, and a good hide, but in the weeks and months to come whenever anyone asks about the Brenchley walk we will remember it as "that one where we had to back-track".
Now the cache which involved the back-tracking *wasn't* put out by the chap who put out all the other caches. But it is the one over which he has no control which is the one which will be remembered about his walk.
I've been asked to run my new series in the general direction of pre-existing caches. I don't want to do so for this very reason. If people are going to remember a walk I've set out I would like it to be because of what *I've* done or not done.

After the walk we felt we deserved a glass of weak shandy. But the two pubs in Brenchley had both closed down. So we drove down the road for two minutes to the Halfway House. What a find! - it is the sort of place that you would probably drive straight past without giving it a second thought. But they had eleven ales on; all poured straight from the barrel. Family-friendly and dog-friendly, and although we didn't eat there the food looked rather tasty.
We were good; we only stayed for two pints. I could have stayed longer.

On the way home we stopped off at "My Boy TM" to drop off a car seat. As always I took a few photos today. After a rather good bit of tea I posted them on-line. "er indoors TM" set off bowling and I had a look-see on the Internet...
My stomach is still every bit as iffy as when I woke up. An early night might be a good idea...

21 November 2015 (Saturday) - A Birthday Meal

I must have been tired yesterday: I slept for over eight hours; finally being woken by the backache I get when I've been iin my pit for far too long. I got up to find a very rainy day outside. Over brekkie I saw on social media that people had seen some snow earlier.
The rain must have been bad; "Furry Face TM" knows that when I'm not working we go for a walk immediately after brekkie. He wasn't at all interested in going out until I got dressed.
We went for a little walk round the park. There was a pheasant in Bowen's Field; fortunately my dog didn't see it. As we'd left home the morning was brightening up; as we walked the weather was going from bright sunshine to rain and back again on a minute by minute basis. And it was *cold*; winter has definately arrived.

Once home, being at a loose end, my thoughts turned to matters geocachical (as they do from time to time). I've got half a dozen caches in the Park Farm area that have been there for three years. A couple would seem to be in need of fixing. I thought about going out and replacing them (again) but pretty much everyone who is going to find them has found them by now. So rather than leaving them blocking up the area it is time to think about making room for something else. So I started working on a new Wherigo.
I have effectively all but abandoned the Dungeons and Dragons one I was planning for the Viccie Park area; it is far too complicated. People want easy. So I started working on an easy one with a view to putting it in the Park Farm area. It will replace one of the caches there leaving half a dozen places for others to put things out.
After three hours I had come up wiith about thirty seconds of game play.

We took a little time out for a spot of shopping at the outlet centre. Mountain Warehouse were having a "fifty per cent off" sale so we went round to the outlet for a look-see. Mind you Mountain Warehouse's fifty per cent off still made their prices double that of Matalan.
I really can't see the attraction of the McArthur Glen outlet centre. People travel hundreds of miles (literally) to go there just to pay vastly over-inflated prices.
We contented ourselves with a festive bevarage from the festive beverage stall (they actually had one) and then went round to Matalan. I got a couple of pairs of trousers for less than the price of one pair of trousers from Mountain Warehouse; the only difference being the ones I bought didn't have the brand name on them.

Once home I had a bit of Lacey's birthday cake with a cuppa. I checked out emails whilst I did so. Isn't LinkedIn a load of old rubbish? Do people *really* use it as a professional network? I saw I had been endorsed for my skills in management, quality assurance, medicine and research by a couple of people who have never even met me, and I had been asked to give a professional opinion on a chap I've met (fleetingly) on less than half a dozen occassions. I was also asked to add Dean Quinn, julie Hayes and Katherine Hibberd to my list of connections. If any of my loyal readers know who Dean Quinn, julie Hayes or Katherine Hibberd are, perhaps they might let me know. And perhaps they might tell julie Hayes about the concept of capitalising a forename.

A couple more hours were wasted making the Wherigo until "My Boy TM" came round and eight of us went into Ashford for Lacey's birthday meal.
The Paper Duck does an "all you can eat" buffet. I didn't quite eat as much as the young lady on the opposite table who really did eat until she was sick. But there's no denying I ate far too much. Having scoffed ourselves silly we then want back to Mark and Lisa's where we watched Christmas songs and I tried to settle my stomach with a couple of pints of Bishop's Finger.
It didn't really settle...

20 November 2015 (Friday) - Cold

Another night spent semi-consciously shivering having escaped from the duvet. I finally woke enough to cover myself about half an hour before I needed to get up.
Once abluted I was surprised to see my little dog anxious to get outside. He flew round the garden as if chasing something then havinig worn himself out he helped me with my toast before taking himself back to bed. As I scoffed those bits of toast he allowed me I watched this week's episode of "detectorists"; a gentle comedy that I quite like.

I then checked out the Internet. As I started to smurf I got an "Update Java" prompt. Whilst I'm all for updating Java I do think it is rather cheeky that you need to be very careful to make sure the thing doesn't change all your internet settings for you. Whilst the nice people at Java might think settinmg Yahoo to be my home page is a good idea, I'd rather make the choice for myself.

As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were expressing surprise that it's been confirmed that the terrorists who had committed the atrocities in Paris last week had got into Europe hidden amongst the thousands of recent refugees; and once in Europe had then had free rein to go wherever they fancied.
Apparently there is a high-level meeting of European leaders today to review the open borders policy. Despite the fact that this has demonstrably helped the terrorists, European leaders seem determined to keep the policy. I would have thought that any such open borders policy was clearly going to work in the favour of those who want to avoid detection (for whatever reason). But apparently not having such a policy goes against the "fundamental right of freedom of movement".
Perhaps those who make such policies might realise that a "fundamental right of freedom of movement" is actually a rather silly thing to have. But what do I know...

I stopped off at Morrisons (who now have their Christmas tree up), did a little shopping then phoned Lacey to wish her a happy birthday. I got to work for the early shift and did my bit. One of the trainees was doing her homework today (or do she said) I tried to take a moral stance; there is a fine line between "biology diagrams" and "nudey pictures".

I'd arranged an early finish for today so's I could get to the astro club's presentation to the punters at Downe House; English Heritage was charging then fifteen quid each for us to witter on about the stars and space and stuff. We actually had cllear skies to do the telescope thing, but it was *so* cold. After an hour of shivvering whilst people queued to look at the moon we went inside and we then gave them a few shows and talks and things. They seemed to lap it up; punters usually do.
Mind you in retrospect I'm not sure why I went along. I don't think I actually contributed anything to the event, I shivered in the cold, slept through the talks and (in all honesty) I can't help but wonder if would have been better spending the evening with my granddaughter. ..

19 November 2015 (Thursday) - Before the Late Shift

I spent much if the night feeling incredibly cold. In the early hours I finally hit upon the idea of pulling the duvet over myself and suddenly I was warm again. The rest of the night was spent in vivid dreams in which I had hit on the idea to move into sheltered accommodation because it "made sense" (for no apparent reaason). However because the place didn't hold with wild parties I was then taking bus-fulls of geriatrics on major pub crawls.
It was with something of a sense of relief that I got up shortly after 7am; albeit feeling as though I'd never actually been to sleep.

Brekkie was preoblematical; we seemed to have run out of margerine. This was my fault as "er indoors TM" hasn't actually used the stuff since the weekend. So I smeared marmalade onto dry toast and had a look-see on-line. Apart from my cousin having squirted her armpits with hairspray rather than deodorant, not a lot of note had happened in my world overnight (I love social media!).

I took my little dog for a quick walk round the park. He was well behaved; unlike a small child in the playpark. As this child was going to and fro on the swing he shouted "look Mummy - it's my willy". Mother replied "is it darling?" to which said darling responded "Yes Mummy it's my willy". The conversation continued noisily in this vein; we hurried off.
As we came home I saw a hand written notice haad been stuck under the windscreen wiper of a nearby parked car. Commuters regularly park along the local roads because the parking is free. It makes parking for residents somewhat difficult, and clearly one such resident had taken umbrage.

Having a little while spare before work I thought I'd go see my grandson. As I drove the pundits on the radio were wittering on about the literary merits of PG Wodehouse's daughter. Or I think that was who they were wittering on about. I didn't really know, and it didn't really grip me. So instead I put on a favourite album: "Initial Success" by B.A. Robertson. A rather obscure album from 1980; I remember spending my first wage packet from the Harbour Restaurant on a vinyl version.

I got to Folkestone and in a novel break with tradition I was actually able to park near where I wanted to be. I spent a few minutes playing with littlun (and associated dogs) whilst "Daddies Little Angel TM" ranted on about courts and estate agents. She does that.

And so off to work for the late shift. Don't you just hate it when the day is effectively over by 11.30am...