19 October 2021 (Tuesday) - Red Wine and Blue Cheese

I slept rather well; even if my night was plagued by nightmares in which Pogo wouldn't stop stealing bacon. For some inexplicable reason pretty much everyone in the world was eating a cooked breakfast with their plates on the pavements and Pogo was the only dog in the world doing that which you would expect from pretty much every dog in the world.

I woke with something of a sense of relief.

 

I made toast, and as another COVID test incubated I scoffed the toast and watched another episode of "Star Trek: Lower Decks" which Amazon Prime had warned me contained nudity. Nudey cartoons - what is the world coming to?

I looked at my COVID test and was pleased to see it was negative. I thought it would be as I had the booster jab last week, but there is quite the upsurge in infections going on at the moment. Seeing not much was happening on-line (again) I got dressed and set off for work.

 

As I drove through the rain the pundits on the radio were talking about how so many companies are making all sorts of claims about how environmentally friendly they are, but it transpires that talk is cheap, and (as yet) there is no reliable way to monitor these claims. So some group is being set up to verify the claims of companies to prove if they are as green as they say they are. For some inexplicable reason this regulatory body is being headed up by the pension department of the Church of England.

My eyes rolled as it was then announced that it was time for the sports news. That is usually incredibly dull. But rather than a continual droning  of "blah blah sport" there was a dull crashing sound, and a muffled "oh shit" followed by a rather embarrassed silence. I did chuckle.

There was then talk about gas boilers being phased out over the next few years, and talk of government subsidies to help us all buy heat pumps. I say "help us all" - for all that there was talk of a five thousand pounds subsidy being promised, the total amount of money earmarked is but a drop in the ocean of what is required for everyone to get one. So do I jump in early and got one cheap, or wait a few years and spend more to get one that works better?

 

I popped to the Sainsbury's petrol station in Aylesford before work. With the national petrol stupidity having ended I'd let my tank get rather low before re-fuelling. But add an empty tank to the increased petrol costs (following all the panic-buying stupidity) I spent more on petrol this morning than I had ever spent in one go before. Seventy quid (!)

I did have this naive idea to get myself a sandwich form the petrol station as well, but they didn't have any. The chap behind the counter suggested (in a rather patronising way) that I should have made my own one at home. I told him I thought I didn't need to as I thought that I was going to somewhere that sold them. He (rather sarcastically) suggested that I might go over to the main Sainsbury's store to get one. I thanked him for that suggestion and made the observation that whilst I was over there I might find the store manager and complain about the piss-poor attitude of some of their staff.

That made him sit up and take notice.

I went over to the main store. I didn't complain, but did chuckle at the three or four of the Sainsbury's staff who were all standing at the newspaper section loudly "WTF-ing" at the fact that Sainsburys now sells the New York Times.

 

Work was work… I failed to get a photo of the goldfinches having a bath in the puddles on the flat roof, and apart from a passing strange person having a conversation with the tree outside our window, the day was rather dull.

 

Together with “er indoors TM” and the dogs I went down to the woods for a little walk. We didn’t see anyone else which is always for the best. And with walk walked we came home where “er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching Joe Lycett (the Esther Rantzen of the twenty-first century) and this week’s episode of “Bake Off”.

Some of us had wine and cheese too. The dogs didn’t. they had biscuit, but seemed happy to be included… 

I realise I am hardly impartial, but Pogo is a seriously handsome dog.

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…