Nowadays the nights (when I’m not working) seem to follow the same pattern. I sleep for a couple of hours then go to the loo. When I come back I have to shift Treacle out of the warm space I’d left, and in doing so I disturb Pogo who then takes umbrage. What could be a two-minute-tiddle becomes a full-blown “dog episode” and it is rather difficult to get back to sleep after all the excitement.
I didn’t really get back to sleep after last night’s “dog episode”.
I got up whilst it was still dark, and watched an episode of “Drifters” before having a look at the Internet. There was a little to catch up with on one of the Munzee chat threads (I’m leading a Munzee clan again next month), and there were a lot of updates about which local petrol stations had run out of petrol (all of them).
As I walked to the front door so my hand brushed against the radiator. It was warm. We have the things on a thermostat and (apart from cranking it up once a month to make sure it works) this is the first time since last winter that it has been on. Winter must be coming!
It was rather cold as I drove off to work as well. The car's thermometer was reading four degrees and I had the car's heater going for most of the trip to work. This morning there was no queue of traffic up Brookfield Road like there was yesterday, but there was a car parked outside the petrol station pointing against the traffic with its headlights on full beam. I slowed, but being unable to see any reason for the car's dazzling headlights, I turned mine on to full beam too. Whoever it was in that car took the hint and turned their headlights off. As I drove past that car I saw a closed petrol station. I wonder what that car was playing at with his headlights? Silly buggers, probably. It is a game which gets played quite a bit these days.
Amazingly the pundits on the radio were claiming there is no shortage of HGV drivers, and that hauliers are using their extra drivers having leased the government's emergency tanker fleet. Personally I consider this to be a load of old bollox - I don't think that the current government is organised enough to have an emergency tanker fleet, but what do I know?
There was also a lot of talk about student loans. Back in the day only the cleverest of kids went to university, but this was seen as elitist. Every college and polytechnic then got re-branded as a university and suddenly loads of students went to uni... which cost the country a fortune in student grants. Nowadays students get a loan which they repay when they get a job which pays enough, but it would seem the bar has been set too high. It was claimed that fifty-three per cent of student loans never get repaid as the ex-students never get a job which pays enough to reach the repayment threshold.
The obvious answer is to ask why these kids are going to university in the first place. If they are going to get a degree which is of direct relevance to their chosen career then that makes sense. But so many careers these days are "graduate entry" regardless of what degree the students actually have. I've heard that fifty-two per cent of biology graduates go into banking, and that less than two per cent of history graduates do anything remotely historical.
Why don't employers go back forty years and take on trainees with "A" levels (or whatever they call "O" levels these days) and send them to the universities on a day-release option? Like I did? The cost of the education is paid by the employer as part of the student's wages. As a trainee my money wasn't brilliant. In fact at the time I was matey with a chap who worked in an abattoir who earned far more than I did. But as a trainee, part of my wages was having someone else paying for the courses I was studying (and much of the associated costs too).
I got to work for the early shift and had a relatively good day. As good a day as we could have without cake. At lunch time my phone pinged. A new geocache had gone live only three miles from work. As I left work I saw a “Did Not Find” log on that cache. Someone had been out and couldn’t find it. The First to Find was still up for grabs. Mentally composing a rather gloating FTF log I took a minor diversion on my way home and after fifteen minutes scrubbling on the roadside I had to concede that I couldn’t find it either.
Amazingly I was stealthy enough not to attract the attention of the police who were hammering on the door of the house directly over the road from where I was scrubbling.
I came home and collected the dogs. There was a dodgy moment when I opened the car’s boot and, in her impatience, Treacle head-butted the opening door as she leapt in. That made it open a lot faster. She seemed unharmed, but I kept an eye on her as we walked.
We went to Great Chart and walked from the cricket pitch up to the river and back (not going int the river today – too cold). As we walked we saw a few other dogs and all but one encounter passed off well. Each time another dog came close I made the dogs sit and I blew the whistle. My dogs’ attention was on getting a treat, and the other dog walkers could see we were doing something and gave us a wide berth… all but one plank who deliberately led his dog up thinking that there might be a treat going for his dog too. When it all blew over I explained (in a tone of voice that I would use with a petulant toddler) that my dogs can barely share with each other; let alone some dog they have never met before.
We walked out at Great Chart because I had some geo-maintenance to do. Some time ago (9 June 2020) I hid some geocaches along part of the Greensand Way. Supposedly easy to find, one seems to be more difficult than the others. With seven consecutive “Did Not Find” logs over the last two months I thought I’d better go have a look-see in case it had gone missing.
I saw the thing from several yards away, hanging in the hedgerow where I’d put it last June. I checked the location with my geo-app – when I took the photo of the thing my phone said I was three feet from the posted location. That’s about right. So why can’t people find it?
We came home where “er indoors TM” made me a cuppa. I took one sip, threw it away and made another. The milk I’d bought on Tuesday afternoon had gone off. The milk we get from the shop over the road never lasts more than a day or so.
“er indoors TM” also made a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the first episode of the new series of “Taskmaster”. I’ve heard of one of the five celebrities in this series, which is something of a result.