31 August 2018 (Friday) - Butt Grips and Surveillance

I felt like death warmed up this morning. What was that all about? I heaved my carcass out of my pit and fed laundry to the washing machine, put what I *thought* was all the still-to-be-washed stuff back into the laundry basket then set about brekkie. As I scoffed I saw the dogs were playing a rather vigorous game of tug o’ war with one of "er indoors TM" best socks. As she unleashed whoop-ass on the hounds I kept quiet as to how they might have got hold of that sock whilst I looked at the Internet.
Not much was happening on Facebook, but I had an email. A few days ago I complained to my councillor about the ineffective street lighting up our road. This morning she emailed me to say that the responsibility for street lighting is shared between the local and the county councils and she will have words with both. I wonder if she will? Mind you I didn’t think I’d get a reply at all, and she didn’t tell me to go get bent (like the bus people did yesterday) so here’s hoping.
Talking of the bus people – they got in touch this morning as well. The chap who had been left behind by the bus yesterday had made a complaint himself and had cited me as a witness for the prosecution, and the bus people asked if I was happy to give evidence. All a bit “Crown Court” really…

I got the leads on to the dogs; as always it took some doing. Fudge generally is too over-excited at the thought of a walk to sit still to have his lead put on, and Treacle just fidgets. Once out we went up the road barking at pretty much everything that moved and most of that which didn’t. In Bowen’s Field each dog did more than its own bodyweight in dog-dung, and in the park we alternately ran in terror from, tried to pork and tried to fight with every other dog we met. And we met quite a few. I eventually got home with something of a sense of relief. And wet feet. My old shabby trainers had let the dew in, so as I hung out the washing the tumble-drier had a go at my socks and trainers.

I settled the dogs, put on dry shoes and went for a little drive. I collected "My Boy TM" and we drove out to Bethersden to visit a fishing tackle shop. “Carper’s Den” is an odd place. It caters for the specialist carp angler and (in my honest opinion) is rather over-priced, and somehow reeks of desperation – how many shops offer a cup of tea to shoppers?
We left here and went to Angling Direct (an old favourite) where we got some baits, then went to the co-op for a sandwich, and then home where I found that the postman had delivered my butt grips. I have high hopes for the things for tomorrow’s fishing trip, even if they did get quite a bit of disrespect when I posted a picture of them on Facebook.
I hung out washing, put more in to scrub, loaded my fishing gear (and butt grips) into the car, and then had something of a shock.

I thought I’d have a look at the website of “Carper’s Den”. I typed it into Google and was told “You visited Carpers Den on 31 August 2018 from 10:16 to 10:30.” This is true, but whilst I was there my phone didn’t leave my pocket. Is the thing tracking my every move? I was rather surprised to find that it is. I clicked on the “View in Timeline” link and I was presented with a detailed itinerary of my morning listing where I’d been and at what times, and a map showing where I’d been. Yesterday’s map had our dog walks and my jaunt round High Halden detailed. Tuesday and Wednesday’s maps showed my trips to work together with my diversions for geocaches… in fact Google has a detailed record of my movements going back to 17 May 2014.
I had no idea they were watching me like that. I wonder how I can stop this monitoring of my movements… or if I even want it stopped. Mind you, after a little fiddling about it seems that only me and Google can see where I’ve been. If noting else it makes for interesting reading.

I scoffed a sandwich whist watching an episode of “Orange is the New Black” and seeing how I’m on annual leave and I’m something of a traditionalist at heart I set about doing the ironing. As I ironed I watched several more episodes of “Orange is the New Black”. It’s rather a good show; drama, intrigue, suspense, with believable characters... but frankly all is undermined by the ongoing gratuitous filth.
I also watched this week’s episode of “Krypton”; it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, which is a shame.

I then had a little sleep, then had a fight with the geo-website. There is a magic app called GSAK which does pretty much everything a geocacher would ever want (including making the tea and feeding the dog) in the blink of an eye.  Or that is it does pretty much everything (including making the tea and feeding the dog) in the blink of an eye for everyone else. For me it seems to involve an awful lot of farting round to end up with something massively inferior to what you can get off the geo-website in a matter of seconds.
I’ve sadly come to the conclusion that I’m not part of the in-crowd who is privy to the secrets of the thing (not that I’m paranoid).

"er indoors TM" is making banana bread. I’ve got my eye on a bottle of wine…

30 August 2018 (Thursday) - High Halden

When I’m not working I seem to have developed a habit of getting up, watching telly for an hour in the middle of the night, and then going back to bed again. I did that last night and probably had a better two sleeps than when I stay in bed all night long.
I got up properly at half past seven this morning and as I scoffed brekkie "er indoors TM" was running round with the Hoover. I had planned to do that later in the day, but she saved me a job. As I scoffed brekkie I found myself reading some utter claptrap on the Internet about how the Bible supposedly prophesied all sorts of stuff. This sort of nonsense would be far more entertaining if people saw it for the comedy and the piss-take it really is rather than the crackpot nonsense that their addled superstitions frighten them into thinking might be.
I took the dogs on a walk round the park. As we walked we met other dogs. Some were playful, some were not. For once the people with dogs that weren’t to mix with other dogs had the sense to have yellow harnesses so you could see at a distance to keep away from them. I wish more people took notice of the Yellow Dog scheme; we’d have a lot less “episodes” if they did.
We had an embarrassing five minutes near the swings when Fudge disappeared. It is odd how he goes forward at a snail’s pace but can go in any other direction at warp speed. We eventually found him bothering other dogs a few hundred yards away. Such a shame that OrangeHead’s posse had to witness his disgrace.
As we came past the allotments in William Road I noticed something odd. There was no overpowering scent of “funny fags” today. I walk past there five times a week and there is usually a distinctive aroma of “herbal cigarettes”. I can’t help but wonder if smoking them is compulsory for allotment-eers and if they grow the stuff on-site. But today – nothing.
We were almost home when I saw something that boiled my piss, There was a bus coming up the road. There was a chap ten yards from the bus stop hurrying to it as fast as he could; waving and shouting. I watched the driver of the bus deliberately look away from this chap and drive past leaving him not five yards from the bus stop. I stopped and chatted with the fellow; he is disabled and clearly couldn’t sprint to the bus stop. Fortunately I’d noticed that the bus’s registration was GN09 ANU. I told him so and suggested he put in a formal complaint. I have done so, not that Stagecoach seemed very interested. They told me that since it wasn’t me that missed the bus I can go mind my own business.

Once home I managed to pin Treacle down to apply her anti-flea treatment. Fudge doesn’t mind the stuff; Treacle hates it. And with dogs treated I went into the garden and spent some time repairing the carnage left yesterday by the nice people from the water board. It was a shame they couldn’t have left our garden as they’d found it. And what had they done to the yard? Earlier in the year I spent some time pressure-washing it. I had a go with broom and scrubbing brush but I’m going to need to get the pressure-washer out again to clear the mess they made. And did they need to leave *quite* so many shit-encrusted rubber gloves laying about the place?
I then had a quick review of my fishing gear to make a list of exactly what I needed from the tackle shop. Every time I go fishing I realise I am in need of whatever I need. Every time I go to the tackle shop I buy floats and hooks and weights but not what I actually need.

I settled the dogs and went to the co-op to get some cash. As always I told the machine I wanted a receipt, and as always it didn’t give me one.
My original plan for today was to go on a preliminary look-see round the Godinton – Great Chart area to plan for hiding a new series of geocaches, but given the opportunity to go out with friends hunting for the things I changed my plans. Six of us (and four dogs) had a rather good wander around the High Halden area rummaging in hedgerows as we went. For all that it is only a few miles away today’s walk took me to places I have never been before. Such beautiful fields and farms and woods so close to home.
Geocache-wise it was an excellent outing; most of the hides were straightforward, but with fun containers. Billed as an hour and a half’s walk we must have taken our time as we were walking for over two and a half hours.

We ended up at The Chequers pub where we had a pint, then most people went their various ways. Tracey and I stayed and had a rather good bit of lunch, then wandered over the road where a geo-meet was about to start. This was only the fourth one I’ve been to in six months; I really should get back into going to these meets.

I took several photos while we were out today. Once home I zoomed the dogs round the park before the rain started (we didn’t get *that* wet) then showed the photos to the Internet.
"er indoors TM" came home with a ton of shopping (she does that) and set to boiling up a rather good bit of dinner (she does that too).

I think I caught the sun today…

29 August 2018 (Wednesday) - Drains

I woke in something of a muck sweat shortly after four o'clock having had something of a rather vivid dream in which I'd been telling an ex-manager to get knotted. To be fair it is something I'd wanted to do for a long time back when I worked "somewhere else". Over the years "Wing-nut" (so named because his huge ears made his head look like a wing-nut) time and time again showed himself to be an untrustworthy liar. It has to be said that I've come to realise that such a description can be applied to many people, but when I knew this bloke he was a leading light in the Kent scout association at the same time that I was a cub scout leader. All scouts had (and still have) to make a promise to keep the scout law which included something along the lines of "A scout is to be trusted". He clearly couldn't, and I held that against him. Call me idealistic if you will, but the scout promise meant something to me even if it didn't to him.
I've had nothing to do with "Wing-nut" for over ten years - I wonder what prompted that dream? I didn't get back to sleep again after that.

I remembered to have granola for brekkie this morning; I scoffed it as I watched more "Orange is the New Black", and then (leaving the family snoring) I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how French fishing boats have been harassing British fishing boats; going so far as to throw things at them and to fire flares at them. The British fishermen have asked the Royal Navy for protection... I've said before that Britain will be at war with France within my lifetime...
There was also talk about Prime Minister Teresa May's visit to Africa, and a prominent Nigerian politician was being interviewed. He trying to make light of how much of the foreign aid that Britain gives to Nigeria ends up embezzled. The chap admitted that corruption is rife in Nigeria, and I remembered my old colleague Sylvester who was from Nigeria. Fifteen years ago he once said that he liked me as a boss because I would grant his leave requests whereas his previous boss in Nigeria wanted a bribe of twenty quid before allowing anyone to take the annual leave to which they were entitled.
And people in the UK complain about their lot...

I stopped off at the shop in Goudhurst to get some lunch. At the till I saw they had white chocolate snickers bars. White chocolate snickers bars - who would have thought such wonders were possible?
Despite the rain I then made a little diversion (for geo-reasons) into Cranbrook. Looking at the map I could see there was an old geocache down a farm track. I drove as far as was safe, and then walked the last five hundred yards to find a sandwich pot cunningly hidden under a pile of sticks that hadn't been disturbed for over a year. Another resuscitation - go me!!

I went on to work; amazingly no one tried to run me off the road today.  I did my bit, but after my morning, the day was haunted by memories of the times when I worked with "Wing-nut" and Sylvester and releasing that despite all my problems and hardships of the early years of this decade, things haven't turned out that bad for me. I try not to blog about work or mention it all all on any sort of social media because when I worked "somewhere else" I was once formally disciplined for posting a selfie at six o'clock in the morning and saying I was tired. It is only now that *I don't work "somewhere else" that I realise I should have left that place years ago.

I came home to find the garden in uproar. The nice people from the water board had taken down a fence panel to try to fix the drains. Apparently the drain has collapsed under new-next-door’s conservatory. I had a fence panel temporarily removed and a manhole cover up; no great hardship. New-next-door have got a hole in their kitchen floor. I can remember that conservatory being built several neighbours back. I said at the time that building over a manhole cover was a stupid idea, but the people in the house at the time weren’t overly burdened with common sense. We struggle with two small dogs – they had three the size of cart-horses.
The drain is supposedly fixed now… let’s hope it stays that way.