20 April 2021 (Tuesday) - Before the Night Shift

I woke up far earlier than I needed to have done, so once I’d scoffed toast and watched an episode of “Superstore” I got dressed and shouted “Who wants to come for a walk?” There’s no denying that I’d not been looking forward to the first half-way decent walk without Fudge, but it went well. And much as I miss my dog, there’s also no denying we got round far faster without him slowing us down. It was never that his legs were too short and he couldn’t keep up. He could if he wanted to; he just never wanted to. There were always far more interesting things to sniff at under bushes, holes to dig, squirrels to chase. Much as Treacle and Pogo sniff, dig and chase, they are far more people-centred. They can’t bear to be away from us whereas Fudge was *incredibly* independent and wilful.

We went up to Kings Wood… or what is left of it. Since we were last at the lower part there has been a tremendous amount of forestry work and tree felling going on. We met a couple of other dog walkers. One chap had his dog still on the lead a mile into the woods. Why take the dog to the woods if you won’t let them run. (Pogo learned to come back to the sound of the whistle in minutes). Meeting the other chap was something of an embarrassment. From some distance he called to ask if my dogs were friendly. Of course they are friendly… and then I looked at them. As they were running so Treacle had Pogo’s leg in her mouth in a grip of iron and was snarling. Well – I know that they are always doing this, but I suppose it might look off-putting to the normal people.

As we walked we saw a pile of horse poo. Pogo and Treacle sprinted to it and ate as much as they could, all the time staring at me as I ran straight at them. When I got close enough to them to grab them, so they ran away from the horse poo. Foul creatures. My Fudge would *never* have eaten horse poo. To be fair he would most definitely have rolled in it, but eaten it? Never.

 

We’d gone to Kings Wood to replace a missing geocache. I’d had reports that a few of the geocaches I’d hidden there had gone missing; yesterday someone walked the entire series and found all but one of them. I replaced that one today.

Replacing missing geocaches can be something of a sore point. The rules say that replacing them is the responsibility of the person who hid it in the first place. Which it is. However when we are going out hunting Tupperware it takes two seconds to glance at GSAK (it’s a geo-thing) to see if there are any potentially missing caches where we are going walking. It then takes about twenty seconds to send a message to the person who hid the thing to ask if they would like us to replace the missing cache. And then when we are at where the thing is supposed to be, if we can’t find it after a concerted search, it takes about ten seconds to pop out a replacement. So – for me to help someone else takes less than a minute. But when I am replacing my own missing ones it can take anything up to half a day depending on exactly where I have to go to sort the problem.

Fortunately I have dogs to walk, so I’ve hidden caches along routes which make for good dog walks, but what with one thing and another, getting out to do cache maintenance has been rather difficult lately.

 

With walk walked we came home and I tried out the instructions the nice lady had given me for making the final insurance claim for the bill we ran up with Fudge last week.

It wasn’t easy…

Having started logging in to the insurance portal the thing then emailed me a six-digit code to prove to the portal that it really was me. The portal didn’t accept the first two codes. Then the lap-top asked if I wanted to accept cookies on pretty much every key stroke that I made. What could have been a two-minutes job seemed to take an age.

 

With that (finally) done I set about my CPD folder and wrote up that which was worth writing up. You can see what I wrote here. I’m amazed at how many people do look at that.

I took myself off to bed for the afternoon where I slept for a couple of hours and lay awake restless for another. Hopefully er indoors TM” will boil up some dinner, and then I’m off to a night shift that (quite frankly) I don’t want to do…

19 April 2021 (Monday) - Extended Lunch Break

I had something of a restless night but woke feeling marginally better than I did last night. I made toast and scoffed it whilst watching an episode of “Superstore” in which the sensitive subject of gender inequality was addressed. The men in that show had a point – why are the floors in women’s toilets *never* awash with piss?

I sparked up my lap-top, and as it struggled into action I loaded no end of odds and sods into the dishwasher. My poor lap-top takes so long to get going I really need to do something whilst I wait for it. When it had finally got itself going I realised I might as well not turned it on. Very little had happened overnight that anyone felt they needed to tell the world about. I only had two emails of note… the first was an odd one. Six years ago someone found a geocache that I had hidden (and long since archived). Overnight that someone had logged in to their geo-account and changed the wording of what they had written. But not really changed it very much. I can’t help but wonder why. And someone else couldn’t find a geocache I’d hidden (in Fudge’s name). I bought some RUM (it’s a Munzee thing) and set off for work.

 

As I left the house I couldn't help but stop and admire how clean the front yard looked after I'd scrubbed it yesterday. I then went round to Banks Road. That supposedly missing geocache was exactly where it was supposed to be; I could see it from several yards away.

 

As I drove up the motorway I listened to the pundits on the radio who were talking about the proposed European Super-League that several football teams are threatening to set up. Opinion would seem to be divided on the matter. Some people feel this is a wonderful development; others think it is the worst thing to have ever happened to "The Beautiful Game". To me, one football game really is much the same as another. I can distinctly remember saying this at a residential management course many years ago. A few of us felt that way, many others disagreed. That evening there were several football matches on the telly. As all the football fans watched telly, some chap kicked over a dustbin outside, and as everyone looked to see what had happened, someone else flipped the channel. No one of the football fans realised they were suddenly watching a completely different football match.

But it would seem that a couple of dozen football teams going rogue in this way is big news. I suppose if it were hunters of Tupperware or builders of Lego going rogue, I too might be incensed.

 

There was also an interview with the leader of the Conservative party in Scotland who was making claims that the SNP's threatened or promised (depending on your viewpoint) second independence referendum is actually illegal. Is it? I don't know, but I will say that the chap making this claim didn't actually answer a single question that was put to him this morning.

 

I got to work, and when no one was looking I phoned the pet insurance people. They told me the existing claim (nine hundred quid) was going through and gave me instructions for how I should claim for the next lot (one thousand two hundred quid). I was incredibly impressed at how helpful the nice lady had been, but when I put the phone down so my mobile beeped  to tell me that their claims department had just received my first claim and I should expect to hear more from them in ten days’ time.

 

I took an extended lunch break (cheeky!) and drove out to Sheerness. Whelans only had one painted sausage-dog statue left, and I'd asked them to save it for me (for obvious reasons). The drive to Sheerness from work took less than half an hour, but when you add on shopping time, walking to and from the car, and looking for a parking spot I was gone for an hour and a half.

Still, no one said anything, which was a result. I might just try extending lunchbreaks more often…

18 April 2021 (Sunday) - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

I didn’t sleep at all well. Yesterday I probably went no more than ten minutes at any one time without getting all choked up about Fudge, and last night felt as though it was much the same. I gave up trying to sleep, made myself some toast and scoffed it whist trying to watch an episode of “Superstore” whilst the washing machine attacked assorted laundry.

I did another COVID test (negative), peered into a rather dull Internet, and on seeing pretty much nothing of note I got dressed. The plan for today had originally been a rather good walk, but I wasn’t up for a long walk today (mentally, rather than physically). Pogo and Treacle need long walks, and they will get them soon. But not today.

 

I went into the front garden. I say “garden”; it is really a rather scratty yard. I spent a few minutes pulling weeds out of the cracks in the concrete. As I took the skin off of my knuckles for seemingly the millionth time so my brother arrived. With the bathroom roof having been fixed last weekend he had been charged with painting the back of the house. He’d made a very good start yesterday in getting all the preparation done and was looking to get the soffits and facias painted today. Whatever they are.

I left him to it, and carried on in the front yard. I got the weeds out, swept it all down, and gave it a once-over with the pressure washer. That only took two hours. As I pootled, someone had been visiting the shop over the road and had left their car parked outside with the windows open, and “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” playing on a continuous loop  (for the entire two hours that I was in the front yard). Oh, that made my day… I actually cheered when they finally shoved off.

 

er indoors TM” made us all a cuppa, then once I’d cleared away my mess we left my brother to the soffits and facias and went shopping.

First of all to the vets to settle up for the costs of Friday. Putting my little one to sleep, having him cremated individually (and not chucked in with a load of other animals) and getting him a good casket cost the thick end of two hundred and fifty quid. This last week’s vet bill has set me back over one thousand two hundred quid, and I’ve still got a claim for nine hundred quid waiting to be paid by the insurance people. I shall phone the insurance people tomorrow and find out *exactly* how they want me to make the claim for these final expenses.

 

We then went to B&Q for exterior expanding filler (No – I have no idea either) and a length of drain pipe. Whilst I was in the queue to pay, my phone buzzed. I had an email for which I had been waiting. An outstanding debt had been settled. I have a website - http://www.mankybadger.co.uk/ for which I pay so much every three months. Last month I changed the way in which I pay, and set up a direct debit. Late last week the nice people who provide the web space sent me a message saying that the payment was overdue. After a little mucking about it turned out that the money left my bank account on April 8th and arrived where it was supposed to be this morning. So where has that money been for the last ten days?

 

With shopping shopped I came home. Soffits and facias hadn’t taken long, and my brother was well into getting a coat of paint onto the back of the house. It was at this point that I noticed that Treacle was the odd dog out; Sid and Pogo both had substantial amounts of blue paint on them. She didn’t.

I made my brother and me a cuppa (er indoors TM” had gone to Asda), and then got on with mowing the lawn. As I mowed, not-so-nice-next-door came out and had a rant. When they put up the fence between their garden and ours (over fifteen years ago) the thing didn’t follow the boundary line. It is about four inches to their side. My brother had painted up to the boundary between the houses down as far as the fence, then painted up to the fence. That way he made sure that the part of her wall that she couldn’t possibly reach was protected and maintained. I told her we thought we were doing her a favour. She wasn’t happy, but she rarely seems to be anyway.

 

With the first coat of paint done, my brother set off homewards. We had a spot of lunch sitting in the garden, and I watched Sid sitting with us. Usually he sleeps on his own for much of the day, but today he was making a point of being with us. Am I being overly sentimental in wondering if he too was missing Fudge?

We took the dogs up to the co-op field, saw some girls having a picnic and came straight back home again. Dogs and picnics don’t mix.

Once home we sat in the garden for a little more until it got too cold, then I sat on the sofa and dozed until er indoors TM” sorted some dinner. As we scoffed it we watched an episode of “Guessable”, and like pretty much all TV quiz shows it features the same contestants that all TV quiz shows have on them. Mind you it is quite an entertaining show. 

I’m not feeling on top form this evening; did I catch the sun whilst cleaning the front yard earlier? Possibly. I’m thinking early night… I wonder if I actually will…