18 October 2021 (Monday) - Bit Dull

I woke feeling like death warmed up this morning. I made brekkie and watched an episode of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” which was surprisingly good and had quite a few nods to what had gone before (if you paid attention).

I had a very quick look at the Internet to see if I’d missed much. The hate-filled review about Cherry Tree Gentle Farewells had been removed (which was for the best), but I was rather disappointed to see hardly anyone had posted anything at all about their weekends to Facebook. Being a very nosey person I like to see what everyone else has been up to, and this morning was something of a disappointment.

 

I got dressed quietly as “er indoors TM” and the dogs snored. I thought about making the sort of noise they make when they come to bed but thought better of it and was soon off on the way to work.

It was cold, dark and foggy as I drove to Pembury this morning. As I drove there was a lot of talk about the death of Sir David Amess, the MP who was murdered last week. Whilst his death was tragic and should never have happened, several things came up on the radio this morning which made me think.

It was mentioned that parliament had reconvened today having shut up shop for a few weeks so that all the MPs could go to their party conferences. Is it necessary for *all* the MPs to go to the conferences? Are they all taking part? I doubt it very much. Couldn’t they just watch the edited highlights on the news? When my workplace has professional conferences we send maybe one or two people but the work carries on regardless.

It was also mentioned that parliamentary business was suspended today so that all the MPs could pay tribute to Sir David Amess. I don’t doubt the fellow deserves many glowing tributes, but can’t these be made in MP’s own time? What was parliament doing today that was so trivial that it could wait?

This got me wondering just what hours MPs actually do work. The official website is rather vague on the matter, but it does mention a three-hour lunch break.

 

I got to work and did my bit on a very busy day; I was glad when it was time to go home. It is a shame that it takes so long to drive home from Pembury but there it is.

Once home I took the dogs out for a walk. There was a minor episode when they both barked at a small girl. The child’s mother wasn’t vey pleased but saw my point when I explained that the dogs were frightened of the strange howling-screaming noise the child was making. Apparently it was some sort of song (?) but as soon as she stopped sounding like a cat in pain so the dogs stopped barking at her.

We went up to the co-op field. As we walked the drizzle got heavier, and was a full-on downpour by the time we were playing “fetch”. We weren’t totally soaked by the time we got home, but we weren’t far off of it.

 

Being a Monday night “er indoors TM” went bowling… I say “being a Monday night”. Back in the day every Monday night was bowling night and I would get to watch my drivel on the telly. This is only the third bowling night in the last eighteen months but I’m getting quite used to an evening of cuddling up with the dogs and watching the sort of stuff I want to watch.

Two more episodes of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” kept me occupied whilst Treacle snored… and cheered up what had been a rather dull day.

17 October 2021 (Sunday) - Farningham

Over brekkie I peered into the depths of the internet and saw that someone with whom I used to work was having a birthday today. I’ve not seen the chap for years, but ten years ago when I needed a friend he stood up when many others didn’t. He’s an interesting chap and I’ve often wondered about his lifestyle. Twenty years ago we were both of equal grades (and therefore equally paid). I lived in a terraced house in central Ashford; he lived in a palatial detached almost-mansion overlooking the sea. At the time I drove round in a rather knackered third-hand Austin Maestro (which eventually quite literally blew up) while he sped about in a little sports car which  am reliably informed cost about four times our annual salary. He was part of the Worshipful Company of Something-Or-Others who had the right (and used it) to drive sheep over London Bridge once a year, whilst I was a cub scout leader and would periodically shiver in a tent.

How did he live like he did? Were the fruits of my loin *really* that expensive? Did he just run up massive bills?

He’s not the only person I know who seems to lead the champagne lifestyle on a brown ale income either. I’ve often wondered where I went wrong in life… I suspect I’ve left it a little too late to find out.

 

This morning’s Facebook squabble really was one that you really couldn’t make up. When poor Sid’s time was up earlier in the year we contacted Cherry Tree Gentle Farewells and their vet came to our house and helped Sid pass peacefully. Their service was caring, and professional and I would recommend them whole-heartedly.

A couple of days ago Supervet (off the telly)’s dog died. This was mentioned on Facebook and the vet from Cherry Tree posted a message of condolence. Some rather stupid woman immediately accused the Cherry Tree vet of using the dog’s death to drum up trade and wrote a rather nasty review of Cheery Tree on the Facebook review site. And then it all kicked off.

 

I then had a little fight with GSAK (as one does from time to time). GSAK (geocaching Swiss army knife) is a rather useful bit of software for people who like rummaging in the undergrowth hunting for hidden Tupperware. This morning I gave it the longitude and latitude of where we intended to park the car for today’s walk and told it to get the information of the thousand closest geocaches. Bearing in mind that we were parking (at the top of the M20) at cache #1 of a series of twenty-five, asking it to find a thousand should have meant it would have got all the caches I needed for the day. It was as well that I checked. Out of the twenty-five caches I actually wanted to know about it had found out about seventeen of them. It hadn’t bothered with remaining eight, but had got information on geocaches in central London and Maidstone.

On the third attempt it finally did what I had asked of it.

 

With “Hannah” (my GPS) finally programmed for the day we loaded our luggage and the hounds into the car and set off. Now that all the fuel stupidity is over we dared to drive a little way today, and we went up to Farningham. We’ve walked there before a few times, and the views are rather good.

We met up with Karl, Tracey and Charlotte and we set off on a little stroll. We started off walking along a the side of a river where we saw trout swimming. Our route took us through fields where we saw horses and ostriches. We went along lanes and crossed over the motorway (I got photos of the bridge from as we drove under and as we walked over). We could see the Shard and The Toaster and much of the London skyline. We walked through a field of alpacas, and one came up to me to say hello.

 

Our route today was (as always) guided by a series of geocaches. We found all but one of them; the one we didn’t find had a rather incomprehensible field puzzle to solve. But I did think that the given co-ordinates of the ones we found were a bit off. Were they *really* awry, or was the problem with my GPS? The on/off switch seems to have worn through and needs fixing.

I’ll see if I can find a contact for Garmin…

 

As we walked I found a plastic coin-thingy in in one of the caches. It had a hashtag on it - #suffolksickle24. It said to log it on Instagram (I think) but the inscriptions weren’t very clear. So I logged it in my second-ever post to Instagram. You can follow me on Instagram if you want. One hundred and seventeen people do; I don’t know why as I don’t post anything over there.

As always I took a few photos today and they are on Facebook. I post stuff there because… because I always have done. I’ll stick with Facebook for now I think.

 

“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching telly. We watched the first episode of Prue’s Great Garden Plot in which Prue Leith and her husband showed off to us mere mortals what a wonderful house they’ve just had built for themselves in the Cotswolds; having sold her old house for a mere ten million quid. I’d been looking forward to watching this show as I’ve always liked seeing her on “Bake Off” but I wish I’d not watched it. I rather resent her now…

16 October 2021 (Saturday) - Early Shift

I was awake far too early again this morning, and used the time to watch another episode of "Squid Game", then sparked up the internet and had a look at Facebook. One or two people have been posting rather nasty memes about being proud to say “Merry Christmas” and not wanting to have to say “Happy Holidays”, and telling anyone taking offence to leave and offering help with their packing….

Now let’s give that some thought… has anyone *ever* actually personally known of anyone who has taken offence at Christmas? No? I suspect the whole thing is a fabrication by those trying to stir hate but on reflection I suppose I might well be one of the supposed offended as I really am an accredited minister of the Church of the Apathetic Agnostic, and my winter holidays are nothing at all to do with anything religious. But I’m not offended enough to do anything about it (that’s what apathetic agnosticism is all about).

As for my leaving… anyone posting these memes is welcome to help me pack, but where am I supposed to go? I’ve lived here Ashford for over half of my life. Originally I came from Hastings but I can trace my paternal line back to 1760 when my family were brickmakers in Essex. I suppose either of those would do?.

However I suspect I’m not the target of those memes. I suspect this is just more factually incorrect racially motivated hatred. Those posting it are those that don’t to go to church from one year to the next.

I must admit I was rather surprised to see that sort of thing on my Facebook feed; I thought I’d purged my Facebook list of these sort of people ages ago. Obviously not…

 

I quickly capped a Munzee from the sofa then set off to work. As I drove the farming program was on the radio. There was a load of talk about how gene technology was creating new strains of tomato plants. This was being done pretty much in the same way that nature breeds new strains, but in a fraction of the time. But the phrase "gene "technology" had frightened those who didn't understand it, and some of the crackpot questions being asked on the radio were frankly laughable to anyone who has spent more than five minutes reading up on the subject. Of course gene technology and tomato plants is just a microcosm of the whole world. Incredibly few people spend more than five minutes reading up on anything any more. Everyone seems to prefer to continue spreading lies and misinformation that they read on-line. Fear of tomato plants, finding Christmas offensive... it's all a sign of our times.

 

There was also talk about Sir David Amess; the Essex MP who was stabbed in his constituency yesterday. This is now being seen as an act of terrorism, and there were other MPs on the radio this morning saying that now is the time to stop the general public having direct access to their MPs. I can't pretend that I'm an ardent supporter of democracy but this is perhaps a step too far.

 

I got to work and had a surprisingly busy day. As I worked “Daddy’s Little Angel TM phoned. She's been looking to move from her attic flat for some time, and she'd found an ideal basement flat just down the road from where she lives. All she needs now is a team of mugs to fetch and carry all her stuff from one flat to the other for her. If any of my loyal readers find themselves at a loose end over the next couple of weeks and don't mind humping all of her tat up and down the road... please contact her directly. Leave me out of it.

 

With work worked I came home to an empty house. “er indoors TM” and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had gone down to Hastings for the bonfire procession. I gave it a miss; what with having been at work today, by the time I would have got there I wouldn’t have been able to park within an hour’s drive of where it would all be happening. Instead I took the dogs to the co-op field (where we had a good game) then came home where I set about more ironing. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had left cold KFC in the microwave. The chicken warmed up OK, but chips don’t re-heat any sense.

As I ironed and scoffed I binge-watched the last three episodes of “Squid Game”. Now I’ve seen it all… it started rather slowly, get very good in the middle, and ended with very much a feeling of WTF was that all about with quite a few unanswered questions. I suspect it lost an awful lot in translation.

 

I hope “er indoors TM” and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” are quiet when they come home. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” left her phone here by mistake and I can’t see them getting home much before midnight… and I’m worn out.

 

Oh – and today marks six months since Fudge died. There have been a few days when I haven’t pathetically cried about him… but not many.