31 May 2021 (Monday) - Bank Holiday

Finding myself wide awake about three hours earlier than I had hoped I got up and made brekkie. Peering into the Internet it would seem I was up rather late (half past six) compared to many people who had been posting about going to boot fairs a couple of hours earlier. I’ve quite liked the few boot fairs that I’ve been to, but why do they start so early?

Ironically only a few hours later my cousin posted to Facebook from a boot fair saying: “People smoking in my face and sheep shit” so perhaps I hadn’t missed much.


Regular readers of this drivel may recall that at the last Bank Holiday I discovered that B&Q keep their regular hours, so I was round there at seven o’clock this morning to get my bits and pieces; the ingredients for a new water feature and a tub of magnolia. Yesterday I mentioned that not-so-nice-next-door was ranting about the colour of a strip of wall that she can only see by leaning over the fence. Faced with the choice of keeping her sweet or telling her to get knotted I’ve opted to keeping her sweet. For now.


I came home, and as er indoors TM” set about defrosting the freezer I got the first coat of magnolia onto the wall, then mowed the lawn, pulled weeds out of shingle, and cleaned out the fish pond’s filter. As I have said before the fish pond filter is a job best done regularly; the temptation is to let it ride and suddenly (with no warning) you find yourself faced with a half-empty pond where the filter has blocked up. In the past I’ve cleaned the filter only to block the bath with fish poo, but nowadays I bodge  a huge flowerpot over the drains, upend the contents of the filter into that huge flowerpot and hose the whole lot down. This way I am only up to my wrists in Koi poo and not (as I used to be) up to my elbows in the stuff.

Pausing only briefly to wash off the Koi poo I put a second coat of paint on the wall. er indoors TM” took a break from the freezer, and we had a lunch of bread rolls that she had found encrusted in permafrost.


Having pondered my plans for the new water feature I realised I hadn’t got enough timber, so I popped to B&Q for more. There was a minor altercation kicking off as one of the normal people wanted some postcrete, but there is a national shortage of the stuff. In a very helpful (!) way a passing normal person told the one wanting postcrete that if he wanted postcrete he shouldn’t have voted for Brexit. Is there a connection? There is with quite a bit of stuff, but I don’t think there is in this case. Is there? I left them squabbling, and armed with the timber I needed I then went round to B&M Bargains for the decorative trellis that B&Q had sold out of.

B&M Bargains had the stuff I wanted, but they also had itinerant half-wits too. One was at the tills, loudly telling everyone that she “shouldn’t have said that”. I have no idea what it was that she shouldn’t have said, and neither I nor anyone else cared. But it didn’t stop her rattling on like a stuck record. She took serious offence when the chap in the queue told her to shut up and get a move on.


I came home and had a look at the far end of the garden. Not-so-nice-next-door had ranted about that yesterday as well. The fence panel that runs alongside her shed fell apart years ago. Over the winter it finally fell into a thousand rotten sodden bits. Once I’d cleared the wreckage I found two doors propped against her shed. One fell apart into a thousand rotten sodden bits as soon as I looked at it. The other was in a sorry state but was covering up a hole in the shed big enough to climb through. I had cleared the mess and bodged the remaining door in place with a trellis, but yesterday she ordered me to move it off of her land. I explained that what I’d done was doing her a favour, but she wasn’t having any of it. She told me she would rather have the shed collapse than accept my help.

I ran some battens from my fence to the little cupboard by the pond, used them to secure the old trellis, and put up the new one over the top. The new one has plastic ivy on it. It looks a bit tacky, but it looks far better than seeing the sight of her rotting shed. Ironically as I was doing this job I saw that her fence had seriously damaged the felting on the roof of the little cupboard by the pond. Fortunately I had the stuff to repair it with; the fix only took me half an hour.


It was at this point that my arms started cramping so (after ten hours working) I packed away all the odds and sods and came indoors where er indoors TM” was still fighting with the freezer’s glaciers. My diary doesn’t record freezer defrosts but judging by the expiry dates of what was recovered from the permafrost we think the thing was last defrosted about four years ago.


I’m left in something of a thoughtful mood today. Having carried out not-so-nice-next-door’s orders I wonder what will come next. She has been in the garden on and off today. I know she’s inspected the paintwork; I wonder if she’s seen how I’ve disguised her shed. Have I passed inspection?  Hope so. If not…

As I typed this up so she started clanging the piano. I’ve said before that if I’d been playing the piano for so long and not having made any improvement whatsoever I would pack it all up. But…

I cyber-stalked her and found her LinkedIn profile. Can you believe she claims to be a professional organist and offers piano lessons? I can’t help but be reminded of the old maxim: “those who can do; those who can't teach”. Am I being petty… possibly. But what do you do with a neighbour who is determined to be difficult, has spent twenty years being deliberately rude? I had hoped that her starting speaking was a good thing. I think I prefer being blanked.


er indoors TM” has formally declared the freezer defrosted. Hopefully that means our dinner I defrosted too. I think I’ve deserved dinner today. I shall be going to work for a rest tomorrow. 

And in closing today can I offer an apology to my loyal readers. I didn’t realise that this blog appears differently on mobile devices as opposed to on laptops and PCs. I’ve tweaked backgrounds and fonts and hopefully it should be a little more readable now…

30 May 2021 (Sunday) - Brookland to Snargate (and back)

I woke with a bit of a headache this morning. I wonder what that was all about? As I took Sid out so “not-so-nice-next-door” sprinted up her garden and into her house. I must admit to a wry smile at the sound of her fastening all the locks. She’s got a pretty chunky door anyway – the sort that cost a couple of thousand pounds from the double-glazing people. And somehow she’s added quite a few additional locks. Bearing in mind there’s pretty much no way into her back garden, who does she think is going to come along?


I made toast and peered into the Internet. It was much as I’d left it last night. People were posting the same tired memes to pretty much every Facebook page they could. Back in the day people would post photos of what they had done either to their own Facebook page or to a page about whatever pastime they enjoyed. Nowadays no matter what the hobby there are endless competing Facebook groups for that hobby; all of which carry pretty much the same content. For example if you want to go geocaching near where I live you’ve got a choice of half a dozen Facebook groups.

After ten minutes of scrolling through the same few things I gave up with it.


In readiness for going out I took Sid into the garden where I was accosted by “not-so-nice-next-door” who started shrieking at me. When my house was painted a few weeks ago we painted along the line that the previous paint job had taken. Partly because that was where the previous paint job had been, and partly because the old paint was rather tatty and needed making good. “not-so-nice-next-door” was furious that we had painted on her wall and demanded that I should have put it right by now (despite the fact we’ve just had the wettest May on record). She also ranted that she doesn’t like my dogs running round her garden. That confused me – there is no way they can get into her garden. She told me that they might. She then started a tirade that (quite frankly) I couldn’t understand. She then (in a very thick Japanese accent) asked if I didn’t understand English. I tried to placate her, but she wasn’t having any of it. What do you do with someone like that? Having blanked us for the best part of twenty years she is now doing her utmost to be disagreeable.


We got the dogs and ourselves organised and set off to Brookland Village Hall where we met Tracey and Karl. Charlotte was feeling under the weather which was a shame; we missed her today.

We set off on a little walk guided by some more of the “Trails of the Unconfirmed” geocaches. The walk started perhaps not as well as it might; walking through head high wet crops meant we got rather damp. But the crops soon dried (as did we) and we had a good walk. I was rather intrigued by the closed road we found. What was once a country lane is now quite literally collapsing. Rabbits and badgers have dug their burrows under it, and the tarmac has pot holes like you’ve never seen before. There were buzzards in the sky, sheep and cows in the fields, and I’ve never heard so many frogs in the ditches.

We also saw half a (very large) tree being burned in a bonfire on the side of one of the lanes. I would have thought there were rules against that sort of thing. And we found another geocacher’s mobile phone that they had dropped a couple of weeks ago. We shall post that back to its owner.

Our walk did take us past the Red Lion in Snargate – a veritable time-warp of a pub. The place does beer straight from the barrel, no food, no lager… but it was closed. Such a shame.

Geocache-wise we hunted out just over forty targets, finding all but two. Some were easier than others; most were rather smaller than I would have put out myself and perhaps more field puzzles than I would like (the dogs get impatient), but it was a good walk. One I would recommend.  You can see photos of it here.


We came home and I spent a couple of minutes moving the lock-up so that when I get some paint (tomorrow) I will be able to crack on painting. As I moved stuff about I heard “not-so-nice-next-door” unbolting the myriad locks on her back door, fiddle about and then bolt herself back in again. 

With the dogs snoring we then popped round to visit “My Boy TM”. er indoors TM” spent the evening in his hot tub. Stuff that – they are only “hot” all the time you are in them. They are decidedly cold when you get out.

29 May 2021 (Saturday) - Late Shift

I suppose that having done a night shift it isn’t surprising that I slept till nine o’clock this morning. I got up and saw that Sid hadn’t done anything so I chivvied him outside where he did. He did lots. It was at this point that er indoors TM” appeared from her pit and we ganged up on Sid. His claws needed clipping; they were really long and curling over. He has had serious difficulty walking and so they needed doing. But… He hates having his paws touched and clipping claws is incredibly stressful. Wee-ing and poop-ing ourselves has been a feature of previous clippings. So with him empty I bundled him up in a towel and we extracted each paw from the towel in turn to clip it. Whilst this avoided any “potty accidents” it was incredibly traumatic. If you heard any horrific screaming early this morning, that was Sid.

I’ve never seen him move so fast as when we released him from the towel.


I made toast and scoffed it whilst peering into the Internet. It was much the same as ever. Trivia abounded, as did people desperate to take offence at the trivia.

I also had a message about next month’s Munzee clan war. I think I might give Munzee clan war a miss next month. The requirements are so hard that it turns what is supposed to be a fun game into a (rather expensive) chore. And it is rather upsetting that someone has set up a memorial Munzee for Fudge. It is six weeks since he went; I’ve got rather upset several times every day about that silly dog and being reminded every time I turn on what is supposed to be a fun game isn’t helping.


I took Sid for a little pootle. We did our usual circuit up to Dan-Dan's house and back again (with me watching him like a hawk). Was it my imagination, or was he *really* walking better with his claws clipped? He only stumbled once where he usually has several little falls, and there's no denying that the short walk that normally takes us twenty minutes only took fifteen today.

That gave me five minutes to stand in the garden and stare into space whilst pondering on my next garden project. I have an idea for a new water feature...


Pausing only briefly to top up the oil in the car I was soon on my way. I drove straight up the motorway (unlike last Saturday!), and was soon at McDonalds... where I took one look at the immense queues (both for walk-in and drive-through), turned around and drove to the Subway near work. In the past Subway have done rather good toasted rolls. Today they didn't toast anything; I was just given something cold and unappetising. I asked why they didn't toast them any more. Everyone behind the counter mumbled and muttered and looked at each other; not one said anything I could understand.

I dropped their (frankly dreadful) offering in the bin and got a sandwich elsewhere instead. Looking at their reviews on Google it would seem that their output can be variable.


Work was work. I saw that my shifts for July through to September have been published, and I updated my diary accordingly. I might need to swap one or two of them, but where some people might grumble, I quite like the variety. Early, late, night... it could be a whole lot worse. And only a few short years ago I worked somewhere where it was a whole lot worse.

It was a shame I was on the late shift today though; I missed the family bingo night. I also missed the Kent garden show today. I had intended to pop in on the way to work, but had forgotten every word about it. Oh well... the last time I went to it I just spent a small fortune on stuff I didn't really need.


I’ve programmed “Hannah” for tomorrow… time for bed.

Today has been rather dull.