30 December 2019 (Monday) - Early Shift

Over an early brekkie I watched another episode of the National Geographic Channel’s “Mars” series. It was rather good. As I watched I sorted undercrackers and ended up with quite a few odd socks. How does that happen?
I sparked up my lap-top to send a birthday video to my brother, and on seeing nothing had happened on-line overnight I put my undercrackers away (because Treacle would have them if they were left out) and set off to find where I left my car yesterday.

Bearing in mind the weather forecasts had been talking about very mild weather I was rather surprised to have to scrape quite so much ice off of my car this morning.
With ice scraped I set off to work. The pundits on the radio were talking doom and gloom about environmental catastrophe. Today's guest editor of the morning current affairs program was the environmental activist Greta Thunberg and she ran the show in pretty much  the same way she seems to have captured the world's attention. Whilst I don't want to detract from Ms Thunberg in any way, she strikes me as being very full of concern and anger, but very short of any practical ideas.

I got to work and checked my emails. It had been rather early when I left home. I might have had an email in the meantime, but no. I had been hoping for a notification of a new geocache. Over the last seven years this has become something of a way of life. Something to do with an odd five minutes; a guided dog walk. Always going somewhere different... Always? Perhaps not for much longer. Over the years I've found twelve thousand of the things; an average of one hundred and forty a month. in this last month only fifteen new ones have been created within thirty miles of home. For all that there are a *lot* of friends who go out hunting for film pots under rocks, there are precious few people who actually hide the things for us all to go searching for. I particularly like series of caches which form the basis of our weekend dog walks; I've got maybe half a dozen such series left within an hour's drive of home. There's few enough people who hide caches; very few who hide a series of twenty or so.

As I drove to work this morning I did have a wry smile at the weather forecast which spoke of a mild morning with only isolated patches of frost. Ashford was frozen. I drove through thick fog which last ed all the morning. As the fog cleared at mid-day so my phone beeped. A "Yellow Alert" warning of possible fog.
In the last year the weather forecasts have got noticeably worse.

"My Boy TM" sent me a message as I worked. The fishery were we sometime go to drown maggots is up for sale. At a shade over a million quid I spent much of the day wondering just how anyone could afford to buy it. Clearly some people can, and clearly I’ve made seriously wrong life choices because I can’t.

An early start made for an early finish. I came home and met "er indoors TM" and the dogs at the park, then took "er indoors TM" to collect her car. Having spent a small fortune getting it fixed, the nice man in the garage gave he a list of things (as long as your arm) that needs doing to her car.
As "er indoors TM" boiled up scran so I strained my brain trying to solve some puzzle geocaches in the Tonbridge area. I solved some, but there are still some that have me foxed.
As we scoffed a rather good bit of dinner (washed down with Bulgarian Merlot) we watched a film on “Netflix”. “Downsizing” started good but it went on. And on. Like so many films it would have been so much better if it was a *lot* shorter.  

29 December 2019 (Sunday) - Visiting Mum

Despite "er indoors TM" having a squabble with one or other of the hounds in the small hours I slept through till eight o’clock. Mind you I felt rough when I got up. I’ve been feeling a bit grim for this last week; I’ve no idea why. But when I feel iffy I have two choices; I can either sulk or I can get on with it.
So I got on with it.

Pausing only briefly to dispose of the turd on the kitchen floor (Sid?) I made some toast and had a look at the Internet. For once my Facebook feed wasn’t snowed out with adverts. It would seem that I wasn’t the only person feeling under the weather. And we weren’t the only people who’s watched “Worzel Gummidge” yesterday, and unlike the initial reaction to the show, several people seemed to have liked it.
Other people were still posting to Facebook from extended holidays and seemed to be having a good time.
I quickly had a go at a geo-puzzle then we took the dogs out.

We did our usual circuit of Bowens Field and the park. The dogs set off in hot pursuit of a squirrel in Bowens Field. I chuckled as the squirrel shot up a tree, but my heart was pounding when the squirrel slipped, fell out of the tree and landed not three feet from the dogs. Had I fell from a tree I would have been fit for nothing, but squirrels are made of sterner stuff. It went straight back up the tree like a bullet from a gun.
As we walked through the park we met quite a few other dogs. There was only one “episode” and that was with a dog whose owner was treating him as a precious princess. I’m still trying to figure out how Pogo’s brain works (if indeed it does) but he seems to get on better with dogs that come up to him to say hello, or with ones that ignore him. Ones that cower in terror or ones whose owners shriek like pink Debbies in flowery dresses seem to set him off.

We came home, settled the dogs and set off. Pausing only briefly to collect "My Boy TM" we drove down to Hastings. We had McLunch and found a Munzee in the car park. "er indoors TM" got to be the “First to Munz” on it. Geocaches are usually found within a couple of hours of going live; this Munzee had been out for six months and no one had Munzed it.
We then went and got the geocache for which I’d solved the puzzle earlier, then it was up to Tesco to get presents for the invalid. My mum was still in hospital, and "My Boy TM" wanted to get her “grapes and shit”. I got an attack of the giggles with a mental image of him turning up at the hospital bearing a bowl containing two turds and a bunch of grapes.

We got grapes (but no “shit”) and drove up to the hospital. We spent a couple of hours with Mum. She’d had a collapse on Christmas evening and has been in hospital ever since. As time has gone on and as tests and more tests are done, the consensus of opinion is that she had a vasovagal attack. (Or fainted, to those who’d prefer less technical terminology). She seemed well; she’s scheduled for a scan of some sort tomorrow, and should be home soon.
I had intended to make a quick getaway to be home before dark (I don’t like driving in the dark), but as we walked out so we met my brother.
We weren’t *that* late home.

"er indoors TM" made cauliflower cheese. We discovered that Fudge likes raw cauliflower. I struggled with more geo-puzzles with varying degrees of success until "er indoors TM" dished up dinner. She boiled up a particularly good bit of cauliflower cheese, then went bowling. I cracked on with the ironing whilst watching the Christmas special episode of “Gavin and Stacey” which was quite good.
Not a bad day off really…

28 December 2019 (Saturday) - Early Shift

I had something of a restless night. "er indoors TM" was arguing with one of the dogs in the small hours. I'm not sure which one; I pretended to be asleep; I wasn't getting involved.

Over brekkie I watched another episode of "Flowers" then set off to Maidstone and work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking to some of the farmers on the island of Iona. Every year thousands of holidaymakers invade the local farms thinking that the farmland is fair game for walking and running their dogs and staging picnics and parties. Some of the local farmers were getting rather irate. Why do people not respect farmland? I walk through enough if the stuff. It's not that hard to follow footpaths, keep the dogs on leads and generally *not* run amok.
There was then talk of the New year Honours list. When I was a lad I had this idea that I would like to end up with an OBE. Today's recipients of honours included Elton John, Floella Benjamin (from "Play School"), Nadiya Hussain (off of "Bake Off"), Olivia Newton John and the drummer out of "Queen". Perhaps if more mention had been made of why honours had been given out rather than of who got them then I might have taken more notice.

I got to work and did my bit. As I did my bit I was thinking quite a bit about holidays. Yesterday Cheryl announced that this year's family holiday will be to the Cape Verde islands. I said "Yes Ma'am" and booked the week off. If any of my loyal readers fancy dog-sitting for a week in July...
And yesterday evening I was chatting on-line to a friend who was taking her family for a day trip to the Lego theme park in Denmark. With a flight from Stansted to Bilund costing twenty-three quid, the thing can be done as a day trip. I'm vaguely thinking going in February if anyone fancies a day out. Either as a trip to the Lego theme park, or as a day hunting Tupperware. I’m not sure which yet.

I came home to find "er indoors TM" had gone shopping. I also came home to find a kitchen floor awash with dog diarrhoea (or dire rear as I texted to "er indoors TM"). It didn’t take that long to clear up. Mopping up with bleach took a little longer, but it is all part of the whole “dog” experience.
Did I ever mention that I never wanted a dog? Let alone four…

"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner, and as we scoffed it we watched the new re-make of “Worzel Gummidge”. A lot of people have been very negative about it on-line. I thought it was rather good…