31 May 2020 (Sunday) - Sutton Valance to Wierton (and back)

I slept like a log, and woke feeling rather better than I had felt yesterday, which was something of a result. I made myself some toast, then peered into the internet to see what had happened overnight. Very little had happened on Facebook… I say “very little had happened”; my feed was filled with all sorts of quotes and memes from mindfulness websites and groups. I’ve always been rather dubious about “mindfulness” ever since some consultant psychiatrist was interviewed on Radio Four who said that mindfulness was actually rather dangerous as it was being practiced by all sorts of people who don’t actually know how to do it properly. Some of these were (so she claimed) doing more harm to people’s states of mind than good. She might have had a point… I once went to see a counsellor. I went in feeling a tad miffed and came out feeling positively suicidal. I’ve been wary of any of that sort of thing ever since.

We got ourselves and the dogs together (finally persuading Fudge to eat something) and set off. As we drove we listened to Steve on Radio Ashford until the reception became too poor.
We didn’t have to go *too* far out of our way because of the road closure at Leeds castle, and soon we were in the car park at Sutton Valence where the dogs started their howling/screaming concerto. They know when we are going on an adventure and once we arrive at where we are going to start walking, the excitement becomes too much for them.
We should really do something to stop it…

Karl, Tracey and Charlotte soon arrived, and we went for a rather good (if socially distanced) walk. Earlier in the week a series of geocaches had gone live following the Greensand Way from Sutton Valence up to Wierton and back in a circular route. The views were spectacular, the countryside beautiful. We walked past some rather impressive houses; we walked past one tumbledown shack which was up for sale. "er indoors TM" looked it up – half a million quid would secure you the tumbledown shack of your dreams (nightmares).
We watched a hawk fly into a tree, then swoop out and after vanishing from sight for a second it flew to a post where it perched. We managed to get to within fifty yards of it; it had clearly caught something and was ripping its prey to pieces. Yuk!
As we walked we found a little pond. It was rather pretty so we stopped and had our picnic. It was good being able to stop by water; the dogs all had a spuddle, and Treacle and Pogo both had a swim. I had worried that today might have been too hot for the dogs, but it wasn’t as hot as it might have been, we were able to have the dogs in the shade for quite a bit, they had plenty of water, and were able to swim in a pond. And their blue cooling neckerchiefs worked wonders. They were still damp and cold at the end of the walk.
It was a shame that Fudge had to roll in quite so much dirt and ash, but that’s the kind of dog he is.

Geocache-wise it was a very good walk. Aleta had done a sterling job in putting out this series. With caches packed closely together and good hints we didn’t really have any problems at all. There was one iffy cache – but that had been hidden by someone else. I posted “Needs Archiving” on it. But that one was a perfect example of why when I hide caches I don’t want anyone else’s caches nearby. People will walk this excellent series but remember the one crappy cache for which someone else is responsible. (Hopefully that one will soon be gone)
Today’s was a good walk -  I took several photos.

We got back to the car park; we said our socially distanced goodbyes. We came home cross country to avoid the road closure.

Once home we had a cuppa then "er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching a TV show that had been recommended to me. “The Secret World of Lego” was rather rubbish really. It was all about what goes on the Lego headquarters in Denmark, and because the company guards its secrets (you can’t blame them for doing so) it was rather out of date.
I only watched it because people at work would expect me to pontificate on the show tomorrow. I wish I hadn’t.

30 May 2020 (Saturday) - Early Shift

I slept rather well, but woke feeling like death warmed up. I got up feeling rather grotty, and wasn’t helped by the smell of the somewhat rancid milk that I nearly poured onto a bowl of granola.
I made some toast instead, and watched an episode of “Schitt’s Creek” then peered into the Internet to see if much had changed since last night. "er indoors TM"’s fundraiser for the goat sanctuary had raised over fifty quid overnight (which was a result for the goats), but other than that I hadn’t missed much. I sent out birthday wishes, then pausing only briefly to capture a nymph and a mermaid in the tree house and a flying horse and a Puffle in the Skyland (it’s a Munzee thing) I got ready for work.

As I drove off to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing some farmer who had the arse about how a very wet winter and a very dry spring had played havoc with his ability to plant anything. Whilst I sympathised for the fellow, I got the distinct impression that he was looking for someone to blame for the weather. I also got the distinct impression (that for some inexplicable reason) that person was me.
What was that all about?
There was also talk of how some vegetarian crackpot was claiming that the recent pandemic was just peanuts compared to what will happen if we all carry on eating chickens. He might have a point; he might not. Personally I'd rather eat a chicken than a lettuce.

I got to work; I did my bit. And with a few minutes spare I wrote up a little CPD.
Having woken up feeling rough I didn’t get much better as the day wore on and came home feeling decidedly iffy. I spent an hour or so sitting quietly working on solving some geo-puzzles that had gone live during the week. I solved some; others foxed me.

"er indoors TM" boiled up a good bit of dinner, then we tuned in to the Saturday Zoom quiz. This week we had multiple choices for each question. I knew what a gharial was anyway, but we chuckled about nuns chasing llamas, but alcarraza, barchan, carcajou, demiurge, elision, felucca, hafiz and impasto could have been anything on the “Call My Bluff” round.
Usually we would have stayed chatting, but we said our goodbyes and turned the telly to the BBC news channel and watched the launch of the SpaceX taking astronauts up to the International Space Station. The first time that people have been taken to orbit by a private company…
It’s amazing… and quite possibly it could be the worst thing that will ever happen to humanity as the keys to the universe are handed to rich individuals.

29 May 2020 (Friday) - Help the Goats

Yesterday some chap bought seven of those beer festival pint glasses I’ve been wanting rid of. This morning as I peered into the Internet I had a message asking about the rest. It would be good to send them to someone who wants them rather than send to the bin.
There was also quite a bit of talk on social media about the end of the Thursday clapping for the key workers. As a key worker myself (NHS) I really never wanted anyone to feel under any obligation to go out and clap me. I've yet to find any other NHS staff who weren't embarrassed and just a little insulted by the whole thing. The general feeling was that it was like clapping a bus driver for not crashing...
I also saw that this year’s Rye Bonfire Parade has already been cancelled. Such a shame – I’ve not got along for a while, but it was always fun.

Pausing only briefly to retrieve the bins from where the bin-men had flung them I set off to work on another bright morning but today I didn't have to brave the motorway. Instead I went cross-country to Tunbridge Wells. The roads weren't *that* busy and it wasn't a bad drive at all. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the government's furlough scheme is slowly being phased out, and they were interviewing some young half-wit about how she is being affected by this. Her job as a delivery driver is entirely self-employed, and she claimed she stood to lose all her income from that. She told quite a heartfelt tale about how her and her mother were desperate for income and struggling to maintain their previous lifestyle without that money.
However she then (somewhat idiotically) went on to say that her money earned from working in a petrol station was still secure, and that the money her mother gets for being her carer is unaffected (!)
I couldn't help but wonder if this woman knew she was telling the world (via national radio) about all her little moonlighting schemes?

There was also talk about how Donald Trump has again shown his unsuitability for high office. Having got the hump that Twitter have labelled one of his outbursts as being of dubious veracity he is threatening to make social media beholden to the same rules as newspapers. He is suggesting that their content must be fact-checked or they will be liable for any inaccuracies or outright lies.
However it was pointed out (with several examples) that if this is actually brought into law then his Twitter account has fallen at the first hurdle.

As I drove to Tunbridge Wells I again drove past the little independent petrol station. Again I felt a pang of guilt that I don't support them. But again I'm not going to support them when I can get petrol fourteen pence a litre cheaper elsewhere.
I got to work. I did my bit. There was cake. Happy days.

I took a little detour on the way home. This morning at tea break I saw a new geocache had gone live. As I left work seven hours later there was still no find logged on it. I set off hoping for a First to Find and I arrived at the point where my sat-nav said I should be at exactly the same time as a mother and daughter. When they realised what I was doing they became quite chatty. The daughter told me that her older sister had hidden the geocache as a Guide activity…
I tried to be encouraging but…
The thing hadn’t so much been hidden as drop-kicked in the general direction of a hedge. And rather than using a half-way decent cache container, the hider had used the sort of thing you’d expect to find filled with sweet-and-sour sauce at a Chinese take-away. None of which is the fault of the hider… Again a Guide leader has seen there is a geocaching badge and has thought they’d have a go with absolutely no knowledge or experience of the hobby. All their caches will be up for archiving by Christmas… Such a shame…

And in closing today the local goat sanctuary is in financial difficulties. You can help them by clicking here.