30 January 2020 (Thursday) - A Day Off

Having had four early starts this week it was good to have a bit of a lie-in this morning. I slept until eight o’clock when I was mobbed by the dogs who thought that since they were up, so I should also be up.

I made myself some toast and scoffed it as I had my usual morning’s rummage round the Internet. There wasn’t much going on at all really, but I did smile on one post I read about geocaching. Without going into tedious detail, someone in Belgium was impressed with something that happens in the UK and was asking “why don’t we…” Usually it is “why don’t you…” A subtle difference, but one that achieves results.
Another friend had posted a photo; she’d been doing the “10 day scouting leader challenge”; the idea being that every day for ten days you have to post a photo of why being a scout leader has been such a good thing for you. I was a scout leader for thirteen years; I started because "My Boy TM" was a nine-year old cub at the time, and they needed help. I must have enjoyed some of it; I’ve been told (many times) by the now grown up cubs that they had a whale of a time under my care. But looking back most of what I can remember is it being an endless chore in which I herded ungrateful brats who would rather just fight with each other or blankly stare into space rather than do any of the myriad activities that we’d spent hours planning for them. I admire those people who can see past the bad behaviour of the little horrors and make fun for the children.
I also had an email from Amazon which rather confused me. Amazon wrote “Based on your recent activity, we thought you might be interested in this” and tried to sell me murder-mystery hardback books. I wonder why they thought I would be interested in murder-mystery hardback books when my recent activity on Amazon was buying sci-fi e-books, looking at vintage Lego and watching Star Trek.
As I peered into the Internet so Pogo came and sat with me. He was making a pest of himself until I realised he just wanted a cuddle. All the books say that dogs don’t like being hugged; mine seem to enjoy it.

I put the leads on to the dogs and we went out to the car and drove to Challock. For those of my loyal readers who don’t know the area, Challock is substantially higher than Ashford, and some days you really do drive up into the clouds. Today was one such day; light drizzle in Ashford; mist and fog not five miles away. We went on to Kings Wood where usually you get the less-doombrained dog walkers, but we found a right one today. We hadn’t got away from the car park and the dogs were still on their leads when an idiotic woman loomed out of the mist. Pogo started barking at her dog so I walked to one side. Idiot woman turned to carry on walking at us. I turned ninety degrees and walked (and dragged Pogo) twenty-five yards away. With an idiot grin, this woman followed us and remarked that Pogo was rather noisy. When I (rather curtly) explained that I was trying to get out of her way but she wouldn’t stop following me she was rather taken aback, and walked off to a car that was nowhere near where she had been walking.
What was that all about?

We got into the woods, and (after I deployed a Munzee) I let the dogs run. Usually Fudge straggles terribly in Kings Wood, but he kept up relatively well today. There was a minor incident with the forestry people; one chap driving a tractor (with no lights) flew round a blind corner far too fast, saw us and swerved off the track. He gave us a wave and an embarrassed smile. I was tempted to give him the V-sign but smiled in a sickly fashion instead.
I took a few photos whilst we were out. Once home the dogs had a bath, and I spent half an hour trying to find what I’d done with their leads. Eventually I realised that I must have thrown them in the washing machine with the grungy towels with which I dried the dogs off after their bath. Imagine my surprise half an hour later when I realised their leads weren’t in the washing machine at all.
The leads eventually turned up where I’d left them…

I had a little look at the household accounts. I’ve still not been charged for two e-books I bought in September, which is something of a result. I watched a little telly, and with the dogs snoring I quietly slipped out and drove up to the local hospital.

I got to the hospital and parked up. As I walked through the doors I felt odd. I worked in that place for nearly thirty years. My children were both born there… the place has been such a major part of my life, but no one but me knew any of that.
I made my way to where I was supposed to be and sat with the Great Unwashed. As I sat and waited there was a young mother amusing her small child. The mother was doing a good job; the child was quiet and well behaved. It was a shame that there was some mad old biddy giving a running commentary on the child’s every movement.
Today was my follow-up appointment with the ENT surgeon following last October’s nasal rebore. I was called in ten minutes early; the surgeon was friendly and positive. He got out an endoscope and had a look up inside my nose, then showed me some rather gruesome pictures of exactly what he had pulled out of my beak last October. He’d sent the lumps off to the lab, and it turns out that what he’s extracted was a schneiderian papilloma. He took great pains to assure me that it wasn’t malignant, but it could well recur in a few years’ time (like it has done once already) and so he wants me to come to see him in the ENT clinic next year. Bearing in mind how long it takes to get an ENT referral, I’m very happy with that. He also said that if the thing does recur, then next time we (he) might like to consider more radical surgery which would involve drilling through bone. I wasn’t too keen at the sound of that, but after all is said and done, he is the expert.

I came home expecting to have the dogs demand a second walk; they greeted me, then all three went back to their beds and back to sleep. The morning’s walk had worn them out. I ironed some shirts andfell asleep in front of the telly until "er indoors TM" came home. She boiled up a rather good bit of scran which we scoffed whilst watching “The Dog Whisperer”. Bossing dogs about looks so easy on the telly…

29 January 2020 (Wednesday) - On Chesil Beach

I would have had such a better night had Treacle not got off the bed in the small hours. She has a habit of umping on to the floor, then crying and whinging. Eventually she got back on to the bed and settled, but not before she’d woken everyone up. She then curled up and was snoring whilst I lay wide awake.

Over brekkie I watched an episode of “Schitt’s Creek” before sparking up my lap-top. I did roll my eyes when I saw one argument kicking off on Facebook. Apparently the Welsh government have banned the smacking of unruly children by parents.
One childless woman of my acquaintance was crowing about how this was a positive move for humanity, and she was being backed up by her equally childless friends. However her other friends who have had children have come to realise the amazing corrective properties of a crack on the arse. It has always been my experience that there are two groups of people who advocate against corporal punishment; those with no children, and those with the most unruly, nasty and ill-behaved brats. The most badly behaved brats at cubs were the ones whose mothers were so proud of never having smacked their child. I can remember that the headmaster at my school had a cane in his office. He rarely wielded it, but when he did, one boy would have a sore bum for a day, and a thousand other boys would behave themselves for a year.

Another early shift meant for another early and dark start. I spent five minutes scraping the ice from my car before setting off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Americans have got the arse because Britain has ignored them and is going to use Huawei technology. Apparently the British government asked the American government what they might use instead of Huawei, but no answer was forthcoming. Dominic Raab (whatever he is these days) was on the radio ranting about how few hi-tech companies there are to choose from, and that there should be more.
There's a novel idea... where might they come from? Has no one told him what capitalism is all about?
There was also talk of the corona virus which is seemingly rampant in China. I suppose it is easy for us to be blasé about a plague which doesn't bother us. I suppose the attitudes will change when Brits start dying.
There were also rather interesting interviews with some big-wig from the Scottish Nationalist party and the Polish Ambassador. Apparently Scotland wants to have its own immigration policy after Brexit because all the skilled workers who are EU nationals are going home, and the average Brit is too thick or too lazy to do skilled work. But because much of the skilled work doesn't pay enough, many of these jobs don't qualify for the Government's immigration policy (like the job what I do). And so there is a shortage of skilled workers...
I can't be the only person who saw this one coming...

I got to work, deployed  a Munzee, then got on with my daily round. It wasn't a bad day really. And I got to leave early, which was something of a result. I came home to find that a fellow scanner of barcodes had been up our road and had scattered Munzees here and there, for which I was grateful.

I took the dogs for a walk; having watched the dog training show last night I thought we might have a good walk this evening. The dogs had to sit to have leads put on and had to sit every time we crossed a road. Amazingly it was Pogo who was always first to sit. Treacle was rather hit-and-miss, and Fudge was rather recalcitrant (as he often is).
With walk walked we were home before it got dark. I had a cuppa and biscuits. Bearing in mind yesterday’s debacle I watched Fudge like a hawk, and I got to have all of my biccies. As I had a cuppa I looked at the messages I’d had from Facebook. There was quite a bit of talk on the Munzee-related Facebook page. What with the end of the month coming up people are seeing how well they did in the monthly “Clan War” competition. Both "er indoors TM" and I did rather well (I thought) and consequently we’ve both been gone up into the next league. We’ve been promoted from the “Horlicks Clan” into the “Cocoa Clan” which I see as something of a result.
It’s not just scanning a bar code stuck to a lamp post, you know

With "er indoors TM" off out with her mates I put on a film I’ve been planning to watch for some time. “On Chesil Beach” appealed to me purely because of the title (having had two really good holidays on Chesil beach), but the film was rather good. Sort of in the same vein as “Brideshead Revisited” really.
I’d quite like to go back to Chesil beach…

28 January 2020 (Tuesday) - And Another Early Shift

Over brekkie I watched the episode of “Schitts Creek” that I slept through yesterday evening before sparking up the lap-top to peer into the depths of the internet.
I saw that my favourite music group “Sparks” are coming to the UK – they are playing a gig in London in October. I’ve been threatening to go see them live for years. I might just go this time. Tickets aren’t available yet; I suspect they won’t be cheap. If any of my loyal readers fancy a day in the wicked city followed by an evening of rather obscure music, do let me know.
I also saw talk of Paula White. This woman is “Special Adviser to the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative” There was ain interesting little video of her preachings that you can see by clicking here. She commands satanic pregnancies to miscarry, and fights against the marine kingdom and the animal kingdom… she takes the phrase “bat shit crazy” to another level, but the worrying thing is that the American establishment (including President Trump) listen to her rantings.

Usually I leave everyone fast asleep when I go to work, but I left the house in uproar. "er indoors TM" had been convinced to got to some pre-work fitness thing with her mates, and the dogs thought that being up silly-early was a great game.

Another early shift meant for another early and dark start. Fortunately the rain which had been so loud as I scoffed brekkie had stopped.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the Government's need to make a decision about whether or not to let the Chinese tech giant Huawei get involved in the nation's 5G network. The government would seem to be keen on the idea, but President Trump has said that they mustn't. Perhaps that mad religious nut warned him about the godless communists?
First of all the radio came out with a load of talk about what a 5G network actually is. Some specialist was wheeled on; I think the radio show's producers had gone out of their way to find the nation's most patronising person to deliver this bit. 5G is (apparently) very complicated and far beyond the understanding of us mere mortals.
One of the ex-head honchos from MI6 then came on and explained how the Chinese don't let any non-Chinese nationals get involved in their country's communication technology, and how pretty much no other country in the world has let Huawei into their networks because they aren't stupid, and the consequences of doing so are monumental. Heaven forbid that someone in Beijing might find out what I had for brekkie or see the photo I just took of my dogs.
Almost as an afterthought they then interviewed someone who seemed to know what they were talking about. This chap explained that Huawei technology is already in place in pretty much all of the nation's infrastructure.  He went on to explain how it would cost a fortune to replace it, and how Huawei's stuff is better and cheaper than the competition. He also said that no one seems to realise that Huawei's stuff is pretty much all sourced from American suppliers in the first place anyway.
I suppose that with three days to go, the Prime Minister has to choose whether the UK is to be a vassal state of China or the USA... Not a decision I'd like to have to make.

I got to work and found there was a special Munzee lurking in the works car park which was an unexpected bonus (if you like that sort of thing). I went in to work, and did my thing. Over lunch as I checked the Internet on my phone I saw that Nicholas Parsons had died. Famous for "Sale of the Century" and "Just a Minute", few remember that he was one of the better narrators of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", or that he appeared with Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmonson.

I came home whilst it was still light (I liked that!) and walked the dogs round the block. Not a good walk, but not a bad one either. If only all three could walk at the same speed, things would have gone so much better.
With walk walked I had a cuppa and a biscuit… or that was the plan. I had the cup of coffee, but Fudge stole the biscuit and scoffed it as quickly as he could. I would expect that of Pogo, and possibly Treacle (if it was a favour she liked), but Fudge? I’ve always said that my Fudge can do no wrong, but he wolfed that piece of shortbread in double-quick time.

"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we washed down with a (quite frankly) rather rank bottle of plonk. As we scoffed we watched “Dogs Behaving (very) Badly”; a rather engrossing TV show which makes training dogs seem to be oh-so-simple.
The reality isn’t quite that easy though…